No surprise for Campbell
May 1 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CLAIMS that Everton have been the surprise package of this Premiership season draw a tart reaction from a man whose goals have helped carry them to their highest placing for seven years. Kevin Campbell has been a frustrated participant as the Blues have battled relegation for three of the four seasons he has been at Goodison. But he always believed the Blues were better than their results suggested. "This season hasn't surprised me, to be honest, because I've always believed we had the potential," he declared. "There have been flashes of it in the past. We have beaten Championship-chasing teams and when we've needed to pull results out we've pulled them out. But it's the sustained peformance level that has been missing. But we have worked on all aspects of our performance - fitness, mentality, the actual organisation and it shows on a Saturday. "I think it's always been there, but for whatever reason we haven't showed it. Maybe the manager has that knack of getting a bit more out of us. "Everyone looks fresh, we haven't had half as many injuries as we had in the past - myself included - and it's very welcome." A place in next season's UEFA Cup is now within touching distance - and while that is everyone's immediate target at Goodison, Campbell also has a significant individual honour within his grasp . . . again. His classic centre-forward's strike against Aston Villa last Saturday saw him creep almost unnoticed into a position of power at Goodison. In three of his four seasons so far in Royal Blue, Campbell has finished top scorer - only last season's injury-ravaged campaign depriving him of yet another honour. But his towering header against Villa saw him draw level with Tomasz Radzinski at the top of this season's chart with 11 goals. "Of course you take pride in being top scorer," said Campbell. "It's important for me because I took a lot of stick last season. People were saying I was this and that, for whatever reasons. Everyone has their opinions, but I know given the right opportunity and given the same playing field as everyone else I can do the job." Campbell exploded onto the Goodison scene in the spring of 1998 with a burst of nine goals in seven games. That was enough to install him as leading marksman, as were hauls of 12 and 10 in the following injury-interrupted seasons. He was pipped by Duncan Ferguson last term, but his occasional strike partner's absence this season has demanded even more responsiblity from the number nine. "Obviously there's more onus on me because I am the only target man," Campbell explained. "I thought when I was starting to look a bit tired the manager did a great job by bringing Brian McBride in and he scored some vital goals. "That allowed me to get a little rest and recharge my batteries . . . then to go again. When you feel a little tired and you've not had a break you do start to feel it a little bit. I needed to recharge my batteries to enable me to go again and I am feeling the benefit for that, definitely." His age and experience does have its benefits, though. Not for the first time, Campbell (right) has been able to help a talented young striker take his first significant steps into top flight senior football. "I am the old head so I don't have to try!" he said. "I am the most experienced player here at the moment but that role comes naturally to me. I was always looked after when I was the young lad at Arsenal and you tend to find that you take that mantle on anyway as you get older. "I think my game has become more adaptable since I came to Everton because I have had to play with so many different strikers.
"Franny Jeffers, Duncan, Radz, now Wayne, I've played on my own, too, then with Brian. That is a lot of strike-partners, but I know I can play with any different striker so I have to make sure I am fit and ready and mentally strong." This current campaign has clearly been the most productive since Campbell returned to England from Turkey in 1998. But he hopes there is even more to come - both for the club and from him personally. "It's been the most enjoyable season I've had here, without a doubt," he explained. "We've been up in the top six, challenging for a Champions League place which has been quite a ride for us. "Nobody gave us a chance of being up there. Most people thought we'd probably just avoid relegation again. So it just goes to show how well the manager, the players and the fans have worked. "I have two years left and I feel better now than I did when I came to the club. If I am doing the business that's all that matters. People may think that I'm getting on a bit, but age isn't a factor. I feel strong, I feel fit. I can last 90 minutes no problem, so as a long as I can still put in performances week in week out, and the team continues to do well, then who knows? Maybe there is another year or something for me? "But I'm going to let my football do the talking for me and hopefully help the club get some silverware because we're desperate to be successful."
No rest for ace Wayne
May 1 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON is set to ignore appeals from David Moyes and extend Wayne Rooney's first senior season by another month. The Blues boss met the England coach at a special London summit yesterday to discuss a number of issues. But the subject of Rooney's possible inclusion in next month's friendly match in South Africa dominated this morning's headlines. Moyes has previously declared his wish for the 17-year-old to be rested for the May 24 friendly. But Eriksson said last night: "Why should he not go to South Africa? "I haven't picked the squad yet. It is too early. But if he is picked, he will play. Why not?" Both Moyes and Eriksson agreed not to comment until an FA statement was issued. Moyes said today: "The meeting was not about Wayne Rooney going to South Africa." Moyes was joined by Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson, Peter Reid and Alan Curbishley at yesterday's meeting. A similar meeting was held today. The FA's Acting Chief Executive, David Davies, said: "A whole range of issues were covered. I have no doubt all the managers are supportive of the England team." Moyes was waiting today to see which of his internationals reported back safely for the weekend's vital trip to Fulham. Thomas Gravesen, who scored his only Everton goal of the season against the Londoners, grabbed his second Denmark goal in a month with a rare header to beat Ukraine 1-0. "Hopefully Tommy is on a roll and ready to end the season with a bang," said Moyes. The FA has referred Duncan Ferguson's elbowing incident last weekend to its video advisory panel. The Scot could be suspended for the first three games of next season. Everton Reserves entertain Leeds United at the AutoQuest Stadium tonight (Thursday 1 May).
Ratcliffe down - but not out
May 1 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN RATCLIFFE plans to take a break from football as he comes to terms with the lowest point of his managerial career. The Everton legend quit as manager of Shrewsbury less than 24 hours after his side's relegation from the Football League was confirmed by a 3-2 home defeat against Carlisle.
After three-and-a-half years at the Gay Meadow helm, Ratcliffe's tenure ended in the worst way possible. "The fans weren't great with me on Tuesday, but I wasn't expecting anything else," admitted Ratcliffe. “They have been quite patient through the year so they were entitled to voice their opinion on Tuesday. "I don't know what the future holds at the moment. I will be getting away in the next couple of weeks. "I will just sit back and see what is about for me. It is too early to make plans." Having managed Chester City for four years prior to his time at Shrewsbury, Ratcliffe has become associated with management in the lower divisions. He accepts that will remain the case if he is to return to football. But he has been backed by Shrewsbury striker Nigel Jemson to prove his managerial credentials elsewhere if and when the opportunity to return to football arises. Jemson said: "Some of the stick the gaffer has received from the fans recently has not been warranted. He knows what has happened and he'll bounce back. He's a good man. "He's done a magnificent job in the last three years while he's been there. Unfortunately, the writing was on the wall before the game and all credit to Carlisle. "Everyone takes the blame. We have to take responsibility because we have not done it on the pitch." An inability to keep things tight at the back has seen the Shrews win just two matches in the league since their famous FA Cup third round triumph over Everton in January. That torrid run led to them dropping from a reasonable mid-table position to the bottom of the pile. And this week their fate was sealed, ending the club's 53-year spell in the League. Ironically, their final game on Saturday is against Scunthorpe, the first side they faced when they arrived in the League in 1950. "We didn't defend well on Tuesday and that is what has cost us all season. We have been too sloppy at the back. "It disappoints me that I didn't achieve what I set out to achieve at the club and the buck stops with me. That is why I took the decision I did. "I didn't think it would come to this, but we haven't produced the results when we have needed them, even though we have produced performances good enough to earn points in particular games. "In the four home games before Tuesday we did enough to have won three and draw the other. "But at the end of the season you can have no arguments because the league table doesn't lie," he added.
Rooney can reign supreme for years to come
May 1 2003 By Paul Walker, Daily Post
WAYNE ROONEY should not be too concerned about missing out on being named PFA Young Player of the Year because he could win the award for the next five years, according to former Everton striker Duncan McKenzie. Rooney was overlooked in favour of Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas for the players' award this week but nevertheless, says McKenzie, was "the best 16-year-old in the world" at one point this season. A regular visitor to Goodison Park, McKenzie has been astonished by what he has seen from England's newest striker this season, but fears the problems are only just starting for Everton. Even though Rooney, now 17, and his family are all Everton fanatics, McKenzie believes the teen star will become increasingly attractive to top clubs across Europe if his current club cannot provide a top-level stage for him to play on. What it comes down to is that Wayne will eventually want to play in the Champions League and Everton have to get there before he does," said McKenzie. "They almost managed it this season but the UEFA Cup is now the more realistic target. "You come to a point when you must not allow your support for a club as a boy to cloud your entire career. "I'd be gobsmacked if there wasn't a massive bid for him in the next two years. I know the family are mad Evertonians and the theory is they will all be there forever. "Wayne's a massive Everton fan, but you can point to Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush and Steve McManaman. Every one of those have been rabid Evertonians as boys and ended up playing across the road. "In the end financial considerations come into things. What will happen is - and I'm sure Everton and David Moyes know this - if they match the kid's ambitions themselves by being consistently there and thereabouts in the championship and playing in Europe, things will be okay." He added: "To achieve that, what Everton must do now is move on and improve as a team.
"The problem Wayne has had with Everton is that there is not an overload of support for him from midfield. It's not the type of team that possesses a Hoddle or Scholes who will break and probe.
"It's a functional, disciplined, defensive-minded in midfield, and to be fair they have done very well with it, but they have over-achieved. "We are in a crossroads regarding finances in the Premiership and there are very good players available virtually for nothing. Clubs will unload because they can't afford the wage bills. "Very talented players, some who are first choice at major clubs, will be knocking about and a little summer smash and grab in the summer could see Everton acquire the two or three quality midfield players they need to turn themselves from potentially in the UEFA Cup to potentially in the Champions League." McKenzie predicted Rooney will be playing alongside Owen as England's first-choice partnership in attack next summer in the Euro 2004 finals.
"John O'Shea and Jermaine Jenas had more of a call on the young player award than Wayne, certainly when you consider the voting probably took place around January time when Wayne hadn't played for England and had barely played for Everton. "O'Shea and Jenas have both played consistently and regularly at a higher level and in the Champions League as well. But he shouldn't worry, he'll be young player of the year probably for the next five years. "He's got a long way to go yet before he's even considered 'young'. He's a baby at the moment, but he was the best 16-year-old in the world. "To be fair I've never seen anything quite like him. It's size and pace but when you see people as explosive and as physical as he is and then you couple that with a wonderful first touch, you know he's something special. "His first touch is exceptional, it's the first thing I notice because I was considered that type of player. His control is instant, better than mine ever was." As for next season, McKenzie added: "The next season will be more difficult for him. People are looking out for you - that's always the case. "But I don't think he will suffer as much as most young players do in their second season, largely because of his physique. "This time last year he was still at school. His progress has been astonishing and this time next year he will be on his way to Euro 2004 with England. "I don't go along with the theory that you have to play 'a big one and a little one' up front. I can see Wayne being a quite regular partner for Michael Owen up front for England by then."
McKenzie agrees with Moyes' rigid stance on trying to protect his young star from the intense media spotlight. "I feel for David Moyes and what he's tried to do to shield the lad. He's fighting a losing battle; when you've got photographers following a 16-year-old around the streets and to restaurants, you know you have problems. But that's what it's like these days. "It's very sad. The reality of all that has struck David Moyes. Then he was confronted with Sven-Goran Eriksson bowing to media pressure to put him in for England. I think he would have been under a lot of pressure if he hadn't won that Turkey game. "I actually don't think he actually realised how good the kid really was. He was probably pleasantly surprised by what he saw on the pitch in the end."
Moyes attends Swede summit
May 1 2003 Moyes attends Swede summit
DAVID MOYES was among five Premiership managers to meet England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson yesterday - and heard how the Swede is determined to "defend English football". The Everton supremo (right) figured in the first of a series of meetings between Eriksson and leading managers in an attempt to bridge the divide between club and country. Eriksson held two hours of talks with five Premiership managers - Moyes, Sir Alex Ferguson, Peter Reid, Sir Bobby Robson and Alan Curbishley - at a central London hotel. He will sit down again with Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier, Arsene Wenger, Steve McClaren and Gordon Strachan today, with a third meeting planned later in the season with other leading bosses. Eriksson still needs to decide upon individual cases, such as Moyes' call for Wayne Rooney to be rested instead of travelling with England to their post-season friendly in South Africa. Eriksson will consider the request over the next couple of weeks, although it does seem likely that David Beckham will travel to the game even though he is suspended for the ensuing qualifying game on June 11. The England coach's over-riding concern, however, was to ensure that a level of understanding is reached between himself and the leading managers as they both want to protect players against burn-out amid so many games. He has attempted to relieve the strain on players by making mass substitutions and not organising so many friendlies, but has come under fire from FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Having been a club manager, Eriksson realises the inherently different priorities which exist, with issues having arisen over not only Rooney's availability, but also that of other players, such as Paul Scholes. No firm conclusions were reached after only the first meeting, although a 'statement of intent' will eventually be published when all the get-togethers have been concluded. The Swede, who was accompanied at the meeting by Football Association acting chief executive David Davies, nevertheless believes that progress had been made in finding some common ground. "It can only be a good thing that people from the clubs and people from the FA sit down to talk about the fixtures that we have in our game," Eriksson said. "We have to find a solution that is good for the clubs and good for the national team. We need to look to the future and agree. What do we want to do with friendly games for example?
"The fixture list is always a big problem in England because of the amount of games but we will try and find a solution - together. "I am not here to simply fight the interests of the national team. I want to defend English football. "If I am only defending the national team and they only defend the clubs, then there would be no point in having the meetings in the first place."
Duncan set for FA trial by video
May 1 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
THE FA are ready to call Duncan Ferguson to task for elbowing Joey Gudjonsson after referring the incident to their video panel last night. TV cameras showed the Everton striker catching the Aston Villa midfielder with a flailing elbow during Saturday's 2-1 win for the Blues. Referee Graham Poll missed the incident but the FA's decision to investigate the matter has now brought the prospect of a three-match ban for the Blues' forward a step closer. "We will be looking at it on video before deciding what action to take," said a spokesman for the FA last night. If the video panel instruct the FA's disciplinary committee to punish Ferguson he is likely to miss the first three games of next season. He is unlikely to be banned for the potentially crucial last day game against Manchester United due to the duration of the disciplinary process. The FA are also still investigating David Moyes' dismissal from the dug-out after an altercation with referee Steve Bennett at The Hawthorns recently. Everton, meanwhile, must withstand the late surge of one the Premiership's most in-form teams to hold onto their European place. Only champions-elect Manchester United have collected more points than Blackburn Rovers over the last ten Premiership games, the Blues' main rivals for sixth spot and a place in the UEFA Cup. United have taken 24 points from a possible 30, while Rovers and Liverpool are tied in second place with 22. Everton have collected 14 in that same period and, barring a late slip-up by Graeme Souness' side, need four more points from their final two games to guarantee European qualification.
* Everton reserves are in action against Leeds tonight at the Halton Stadium (kick off 7pm).
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 2 2003
No to Kev
THIS Kevin Kilbane link is very scary - he is just another worker, a kick-and-chase winger - please NO!!! Irish fans have wanted shot of him for a while now.
James B, Edinburgh
BLACKBURN are effectively two points behind us with their superior goal difference. They also have a guaranteed three points at home to West Brom this weekend. We NEED a point at least at Fulham, so we go into the final game above them knowing it is all in our hands. We can even hope that Tottenham do us a favour and beat Blackburn. It would be a real shame for us to miss out on Europe, but it has been a great season whatever. And as for all the bitterness, don't you realise how great it would be for the city to see both clubs in Europe? I know for a fact that everyone would love to see Everton v Liverpool in Europe.
Matt Jones, Liverpool
I THINK this season we have lost many goals due to David Weir (Man Utd at Old Trafford, Arsenal at Goodison Park and Highbury, Southampton at Goodison Park, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge etc). Please buy a quality defender like Gareth Barry or John Terry or even former Blue Richard Dunne back from Man City. We also need a playmaker like Joe Cole or Marcelo Galado from Monaco or Owen Hargreaves from Bayern Munich.
B Zhu, via e-mail
THIS season has been extremely good for us but if we are to progress then Everton need to secure Yobo and Li Tie, who have been a big part of our season, as well as adding at least four new faces in the summer. Everton lack in midfield, so a creative midfielder, a goalscoring midfielder and a winger are a must along with a central ball-playing defender as ours just hump it up field! Mekail Miah, via e-mail
AS THE season draws to a close it seems so long since Moyes took over, but what a season it has been. But if the season has taught us anything it is that to increase leads and improve goal difference we need a midfield that is strong, quick but most importantly a mid-field that will drive forward with confidence. Players that are not afraid to run at defenders and strike the ball. Players that can support the likes of Rooney and hopefully Chadwick. Our midfield has crumbled too often with Gravesen, Li Tie and more often Gemmill being major culprits. How often we see these players jogging back and not closing down, only to be just as ineffective outside the opposition's area? Let's just hope these goal-timid players don't cost us our 100 per cent deserved UEFA place.
Rick Waine, Merseyside
Fulham pose a genuine danger
Fanscene With Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
May 2 2003
WELL, in the words of the Human League, it's do or die. While everyone seems to have their eyes fixed on the final-day encounter with Manchester United we still have the small matter of a potentially troublesome trip to Loftus Road. It's difficult to envisage anything other than Blackburn cranking up their goal difference against West Bromwich Albion, so three points are a must for Everton tomorrow if we don't want to go into that final Sunday needing to win. At first glance Fulham, managerless and at the end of a disappointing season, seem ideal opponents. However, they do have a number of dangerous players in their line-up - even John Collins has been released from captivity - and there's a certain amount of bad blood between the sides following last season's tag team wrestling. If the Everton players are expecting an easy ride they could be in for a rude awakening. If we're to triumph in West London then no doubt a great deal will rest on the young shoulders of Wayne Rooney. For the first hour against Aston Villa he looked the only Everton player with any idea at all. It was only when Duncan Ferguson was introduced that the Villa defence were given another threat to deal with and the youngster was able to find himself some space. His injury-time winner was yet another magic moment in this remarkable season for those of us who aren't bothered about 'shooting off handy to miss the traffic'. t's a shame that Ferguson's half-hour on the pitch won't be remembered for an exemplary display of the art of the target man. He held the ball up magnificently and terrorised the visitors in the air - he was as instrumental as Rooney in securing the three points and keeping our European hopes in our own hands - yet the biggest talking point afterwards was his alleged elbow on Joey Gudjohnsson. It was completely indefensible. Firstly, no player deserves to have his health threatened in that way, Gudjohnsson could have ended up with a serious injury. Secondly, if the referee had spotted it Ferguson would have been straight down the tunnel along with any hopes of an Everton comeback. He did exactly the same thing to Steven Caldwell in the reserves the other week. Nearly all Evertonians think the world of Ferguson and down the years have defended him against his many critics. Getting himself banned, as he undoubtedly will, is no way to repay that support.
Everton Res 1, Leeds Res 2
May 2 2003
BRAZILIAN star Rodrigo made a successful comeback by playing the last 25 minutes in Everton Reserves 2-1 defeat against Leeds at the Halton Stadium. The South American midfielder hasn't played since September after damaging knee ligaments, but looked lively. The Blues named a young side and were immediately on the back foot as the visitors were awarded a penalty within five minutes. Peter Clarke pulled down Simon Johnson, but goalkeeper Iain Turner saved Clarke's blushes by saving the spot-kick with a superb stop. Leeds continued to put Everton under pressure, however the crossbar came to their rescue when Cansdell-Sherriff looked to have put them in the lead. Everton tried in vain to take the game to Leeds but time and again Nick Chadwick was denied.
Two minutes before the break however, they did take the lead. Steven Beck crossed from the right-hand side and Craig Garside was on hand to fire home with a right-footed shot. Tobias Linderoth failed to appear for the second half, probably with a place in the first team squad in mind for tomorrow's trip to Fulham, Alan Moogan replacing him. Despite Everton's dominance Leeds got back on level terms 10 minutes after the re-start and again Peter Clarke was at the centre of the action.
Leeds midfielder Harpel Singh fired the ball at the Everton defender's hand and the referee felt it was enough to award a penalty. Singh was successful from the spot at the second time of asking after some player s had encroached into the area. Everton looked to have regained the lead on the hour, but as Chadwick was about to pull the trigger he was fouled by Henry McStay. The Leeds player was sent off for the foul and the free-kick came to nothing. Everton's luck was not to change as Leeds went on to score the winner. Harpel Singh sent over a corner which was met by Candsell-Sherriff who headed home past Turner. Craig Garside came close to earning Everton a point and they also were denied a strong penalty claim but the visitors held on to take the points.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner, O'Hanlon, B Moogan, Pilkington, Clarke, Linderoth (A Moogan 46), Beck, Schumacher, Chadwick, Garside, Carney (Rodrigo 66). Subs: Crowder, Gallagher, Barry
LEEDS UNITED RESERVES: Carson, Richardson, Cansdell-Sheriff, Keegan, McStay, Kilgallon, Milner, McMaster (Farren 29), Johnson, Winter, Singh. Subs: Coyles, Armstrong, Edwards, Tyrrell
Dixie memories still fresh
May 2 2003
EVERTON Football Club has had its fair share of legends over the years, but there has been none greater than the one and only William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean. This Monday marks the 75th anniversary of when Dixie scored an incredible 60 league goals in one season, and last night Evertonians got together to celebrate his memory. But at the annual Bluekipper.com presentation night at the Sylvestrian Club in Vauxhall, there was one man who brought something special. Lifelong Blue Cyril Taylor, 86, was fortunate enough to be among the Goodison Park crowd on May 5 1928 when Dixie scored a hat-trick to surpass Middlesbrough's George Camsell's record of 59. "I was 12 when I saw Dixie break the record and it will never be done again," he said. "I can still see that third goal now. There were only about 10 minutes left and all the crowd were willing him on. Then we got a corner. Alec Troupe sent the ball in as Dixie made his run from the edge of the box before heading home."
Cyril took time out to talk with Wayne Rooney's mother Jeanette before presenting Dixie's daughter Barbara with a bottle of champagne to commemorate his record. Barbara said: "Dad always had so much pride when he was wearing the Blue of Everton and it's fantastic that he is remembered in this way."
Rodrigo steps up bid to stay at Goodison
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 2 2003
BRAZILIAN star Rodrigo has taken the latest step in his race against time to earn a permanent contract with Everton. The midfielde came off the substitutes' bench to play 25 minutes of the reserves' 2-1 defeat against Leeds United at Widnes last night. The 26-year-old has been sidelined since September after rupturing his cruciate ligaments during a training session before the home game with Middlesbrough. Rodrigo was signed last summer from Botafogo for £1.5million on a season-long loan, with Everton then having the option to sign the midfielder in a deal similar to the one agreed for Joseph Yobo. The Brazilian returned from spending five months recuperating in his homeland at the end of February with the aim of playing a part in the Blues' Premiership run-in.
But his rehabilitation has taken longer than expected and after having made only four substitute appearances before his injury, he will now have just three more reserve games to force his way into David Moyes' long-term plans - unless the Blues negotiate to extend Rodrigo's loan stay until the start of next season. Tobias Linderoth continued his comeback last night with a 45-minute runout for the reserves, while the absence of Alessandro Pistone from the second string suggest the Italian is likely to come into contention for tomorrow's crucial Premiership visit to Fulham. Moyes, meanwhile, is heading for a fall-out with Sven-Goran Eriksson following the news the England boss is set to ignore appeals to rest Wayne Rooney from friendly international duty. The managerial duo met on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues, but the subject of Rooney and his possible inclusion for the May 24 friendly in South Africa remains a talking point. Moyes has already made public his concern about the 17-year-old striker making the long journey for a non-competitive match following an arduous first full season. But Eriksson said: "Why should he not go to South Africa? I haven't picked the squad yet. It is too early. "But if he is picked, then he will play. Why not?" And Moyes insisted yesterday: "The meeting was not about Wayne Rooney going to South Africa." Thomas Gravesen, Gary Naysmith, Scot Gemmill and Lee Carsley all returned unscathed from international duty this week and will be available for tomorrow's trip to Loftus Road.
Prize is greater this time round
May 2 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN David Unsworth almost burst the Park End net 29 seconds into Fulham's visit to Goodison Park last season, it was the catalyst which helped Everton emerge victorious from their most important match of the season. Forty-five Premiership matches later Everton take on Fulham again, and while the context is completely different this time, Unsworth says: "It's probably more important to be honest. We have to win." The appalling prospect of relegation was the booby-prize for an Everton failure against the Cottagers last season. This time round it is Fulham whose Premiership place is shaky, while Everton have the far more appealing prospect of a place in Europe next season to goad them on. "We have to win," explained Unsworth, "and then we have to hope that Blackburn don't win so it can be party time all the way home! "That's in an ideal world, but I can't see it happening as sweetly as that. I can't really see Blackburn tripping up, so it's imperative that we win at all costs and it will then go to the final day which will be very exciting. “It's a very different pressure to last season, much more enjoyable. "It's still pressure, but that's what we get paid for and I'd much rather be playing Fulham with the chance of qualifying for Europe rather than playing Fulham needing to win to stay up. "That's the kind of pressure where you don't sleep and you are forever thinking about it. This is a lovely position to be in and one I'd like to get used to."
Last week's dramatic last-gasp defeat of Aston Villa - the 15th single goal success of the season - has kept Everton's European fate in their own hands. Victory at Fulham's trary home of Loftus Road would leave the Blues needing a single point from the visit of Manchester United on the final day.
"People keep pointing out the number of games we have won 2-1," added Unsworth. "But if you you look at the games we have lost or drawn which we could have won and should have won, it's a little bit frustrating that we haven't qualified for Europe already - because we should have done.
"The Fulham game is going to be a great one to play in. Regardless of what happens it will still go down to the final match, when I would like to think Manchester United had won the title already before they come to Goodison!" Coincidentally, Everton's last trip to Loftus Road was during the 1994-95 season - the last time Everton qualified for Europe by winning the FA Cup. A stunning last minute Andy Hinchcliffe free-kick earned Everton a 3-2 away win. "I remember that afternoon well," he said. "Andy Hinchcliffe scored a wonderful goal to win it for us. Hopefully that's a good omen. We will settle for one of them on Saturday." And a Baggies backlash at Blackburn . . .
Radz return is 'highly unlikely'
May 2 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI has pulled up in training again - making the prospect of a comeback in Everton's final two games of the season highly unlikely. The Canadian striker broke down in training on Tuesday and was sent for another precautionary scan. The investigation revealed no serious damage, but with his absence now stretching back almost two months David Moyes is resigned to being without the influential forward for tomorrow's trip to Fulham and the final match of the season against Manchester United next weekend. "I don't think he will be available tomorrow, as for next week we don't know," said Moyes. "It's not a hernia problem, which has affected a couple of the lads this season, it is a small muscle in the lower stomach region which is causing some discomfort." Alessandro Pistone will be added to the Blues' travelling squad as Everton go to Loftus Road for a must-win match. "It's amazing how many matches in the Premiership over the next two weekends have something riding on them," said Moyes. "This is a proper match. Fulham have something to play for, as we have, and it will be like a cup tie." Moyes welcomed back midfielder Rodrigo to competitive action last night, as the Brazilian came on for the final 25 minutes of the reserves' 2-1 home defeat by Leeds United. "We were delighted to see Rodrigo take the first step back on what can be a long trail from such a serious injury," he said.
Cottagers are no pushovers
May 2 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
FULHAM are struggling in the Premiership, but they will be no easy opposition when Everton visit tomorrow. They have a decent home record since they moved to Loftus Road and they have plenty of pace in their side. Fulham are one of those clubs that have changed their manager in a bid to stave off relegation, but you can't tell me that Chris Coleman has more experience than Jean Tigana.
Leeds did the same, but with Peter Reid they brought in someone with experience. West Ham have made an enforced change, but replacing the manager could not save Sunderland. For all his international experience, Mick McCarthy has not worked in the Premiership before. Clubs make changes at this time of the season because the fear of relegation panics them into action. The Everton board must have thought the Blues were in danger of slipping into the bottom three when they brought in David Moyes (pictured). In Everton's case, it worked. Moyes made an immediate impact and that is what the directors at any club are looking for when they appoint a new manager. They want a fresh face with new methods coming into the dressing room. Bill Shankly once said that clubs have to change their manager once in a while or change the players, otherwise things can become repetitive. Everton have to beware of the changes at Fulham if they are to hang on to that European spot. Right to stick with Roo BEFORE last Saturday's match with Aston Villa, David Moyes had been talking about resting Wayne Rooney. It suggests he may have been considering substituting the lad sometime during the game, replacing him with Duncan Ferguson. But when you are chasing goals as Everton were, you want as many of your proven goalscorers on the pitch as possible. Ferguson did indeed come on, but it was in place of David Unsworth. Moyes kept faith with Rooney and he scored the winner in dramatic fashion.
Rats faced limitations
KEVIN RATCLIFFE'S resignation from relegated Shrewsbury was disappointing, but he was working with limited resources. At that level you are scraping around trying to find Kevin served his managerial apprenticeship at Chester and I thought Shrewsbury was a step up, but maybe his stay went on a little too long. The cup win over Everton was his opportunity to move on. Other clubs would have taken note of what his side had achieved. Kevin is a strong character and hopefully he will soon get a chance at a club that has the resources to be successful. Just play remainder
THE last thing you want when you are 2-0 up is for the match to be abandoned and you then have to replay it, but that is what happened to Tranmere last weekend. During my time in Spain, if that ever happened the two clubs would meet again, but only play the remaining minutes. The scoreline would also be carried over from the original game. It was a much fairer system.Thankfully Tranmere beat Mansfield 3-1 when they met again on Tuesday night.
Fulham 2, Everton 0 (D, Post)
May 5 2003 Andy Hunter at Loftus Road, Daily Post
SO MUCH changes and yet so much remains the same for Everton. A season of extraordinary revival and fresh hope, and it will end with glances cast nervously towards the Goodison green and hearts skipping a beat with score flashes from London once again. David Moyes has performed a miracle in his first full season as a Premiership manager but without the arrival of a realistic transfer budget and new faces there was always a limit to that transformation. Fraught final-day finales at Goodison Park, therefore, have not been consigned to the past yet. Manchester United fans will not be the only ones accustomed to the rituals this Sunday might entail. While they will be throwing another title party, Evertonians are again steeling themselves for the trauma of capital radio. As far back as 1986, when Liverpool won at Chelsea to deprive the Blues of the championship, Everton's final-day fortunes have rested on the fortunes of London clubs. Premiership survival was aided by Chelsea again in both 1994 and 1998 while Arsenal beat them at the last to a UEFA Cup place in the 1996 campaign. Now it is Tottenham's turn to possibly secure their place in that same competition by keeping Blackburn at bay this weekend. With Spurs' stadium now dubbed 'White Flag Lane' that seems a forlorn hope, though in truth Moyes' men shouldn't be in need of favours from elsewhere anyway. Had Fulham been despatched as they should have been on Saturday the Blues manager could have been preparing for the arrival of the champions-elect with a cigar in one hand and a travel brochure in the other thanks to Blackburn's shock draw with West Brom. But that would have been the easy way, and when have Everton ever chosen that option?
The assertion that it has been a successful season for the club whatever the final league position has been aired increasingly of late as Everton's hold on Europe weakens by the week. It is correct, and this week's tension is a release compared to recent fears of relegation, but it will not cushion the bitter disappointment if the UEFA Cup disappears from view now - six months after the Blues first dropped anchor in the top six. Blackburn's failure to beat the already-relegated Baggies may have huge ramifications for Everton's season, though the Blues were in no position to savour others' misfortune this weekend after directing both barrels towards their own feet at Loftus Road.
"A comedy of errors" was one description from within, "comic capers" another, yet those words were in stark contrast to the faces of thunder that filed out of the visiting dressing room on Saturday evening and rightly so. So much progress has been made through collective endeavour that to throw away a tangible reward through individual error now is a galling prospect. But that prospect is now a step closer after a display that explains why more hope is pinned on White Hart Lane than Goodison Park this Sunday even though the Blues, as is their want, are still capable of pulling off one more seismic shock. Initially the Blues looked confident in their step towards the continent, as Wayne Rooney probed down the flanks and Thomas Gravesen broke from midfield with a sense of purpose and intent. Just three minutes had elapsed when Mark Pembridge's delightful cross from the left found its way to Lee Carsley roaming free inside the box and his shot deflected away from Maik Taylor only on to the Fulham keeper's post. The crucial deflection came off Portuguese winger Luis Boa Morte, and it would be the first of several costly interventions by Fulham's agent provocateur. At Anfield last month the Londoners were a disinterested, disorganised bunch deserving of the drop. It was Jean Tigana's last game in charge. Since the Frenchman's departure, however, they have regrouped and began to earn their lavish reputations under Chris Coleman and once they overcame the nerves of their own crunch game - with victory needed to ensure Premiership survival - they slowly stemmed the visitors' threat. Both Rooney and more blatantly Kevin Campbell could have had penalties when pulled back inside the area but on both occasions referee Graham Barber ignored their protests. Everton, however, were increasingly guilty of ignoring the threat down their own right flank as Boa Morte and Lee Clark exploited the space ruthlessly and Tony Hibbert's lack of match fitness was exposed. Joseph Yobo - his reading of the game, command and distribution radically improved back at centre half - just denied Boa Morte with the final touch inside the area as the Fulham midfielder surged on to a break led by Steed Malbranque. But four minutes later the first of two horrible own goals inside eight minutes arrived via the outstretched boot of his defensive partner Alan Stubbs. The end of season for Everton has seen them over-reliant on Rooney for inspiration and their labouring midfield shown up. When that happens they simply have to keep things tight to stand a chance of winning, but at Loftus Road they weakened even that suspect foundation for success. There was no immediate danger when Sean Davis' header landed on the edge of the Everton area even though Elvis Hammond was closing in on last man Stubbs, but he reached out to clear and only succeeded in lobbing his stranded goalkeeper Richard Wright. Campbell should have restored parity a minute later when Carsley's header set him free but his final shot was too close to Taylor, while Alain Goma hit the bar with a header from a corner at the opposite end. Hopes of another Everton turnaround performance, however, evaporated horribly four minutes before the break as Fulham controversially doubled their lead.
Malbranque's powerful free-kick towards the near post squirmed through Wright's grasp and over the line after Boa Morte had stuck out his hand at the ball in front of him. The Blues keeper said afterwards: "I'm not sure who got the final touch. Thomas Gravesen's foot was in the vicinity as well when the ball came through but Boa Morte definitely stuck out his hand and intended to handle it.
"It is very frustrating it wasn't given and a very frustrating afternoon." Handball or not, it should never have crossed the line once Wright got his chest and arms behind the ball and as Moyes stated once again: "He should have saved it. The intent was there to handle the ball but that would be just nit-picking on our part. The performance wasn't good enough but goals change games and we gave away two of the worst I've seen this season." Everton's genuine complaint over Fulham's second should have been the theatrical dive from Boa Morte that won Malbranque's free-kick in the first place. The arguments rumbled on into the tunnel at half-time, and two down Moyes, with few options on the bench, could only bring on Duncan Ferguson to chase the result. There was the predictable cavalry-charge after the interval via the predictable football that arrives when Ferguson appears. Campbell slipped in front of goal just as he seemed to latch on to a knock-down by Rooney, who then blazed over following a flick on by the big Scot. The strikers combined to set up Yobo for the goal that would have ensured a frenetic last seven minutes but the defender somehow managed to turn the ball over from five yards, while countless free-kicks were wasted from prom-ising positions just outside the Fulham area. Everton's second-half effort could not be faulted though it was ugly to watch and arrived too late, unlike their quest for Europe which inspired but may have petered out too soon. It requires one final, remarkable push for the Blues to regain control of their European destiny now. More likely, it seems, they are at the mercy of texts and transistors once more.
FULHAM (4-5-1): Taylor; Finnan, Melville, Goma, Harley; Malbranque (Hayles 86), Legwinski, Davis, Clark, Boa Morte; Hammond (Saha 68). Subs: Van Der Sar, Collins, Knight.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert (Pistone 62), Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Gemmill (Ferguson 46), Gravesen, Pembridge (Watson 62); Campbell, Rooney. Subs: Simonsen, Osman.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Hibbert (foul) and Fulham's Hayles (foul).
REFEREE: Graham Barber.
The mystery of 'Dixie' revealed
By David Randles, Daily Post
May 5 2003
NAME GAME: Dixie Dean's goalscoring exploits are renowned the world over
THE mystery behind the nickname of Everton's most celebrated player William Ralph 'Dixie' Dean has finally been revealed by the best source possible - his daughter. Ask any Evertonian worth his salt who 'Dixie' Dean was and you will get a host of proud definitions outlining his illustrious career with the Goodison Park club. Ask them why he was called Dixie however, and you may meet a wall of silence. On the 75th anniversary of the seemingly unsurpassable feat in which he scored 60 league goals in one season, Barbara Dean finally dispelled the myth surrounding the origins of one of the most famous nicknames in football. "All sorts has been said down the years but it all started because of his dark curly hair," she recalled. "Back in those days there was no hair gel so he would put olive oil on it which made it go darker and shiny, and when the sun came out he would go brown straight away. "From that people used to say he looked like someone from Dixieland in America and it just stuck. That's what dad always told us." Barbara put the record straight at Everton fansite Bluekipper.com's third annual presentation evening as part of on-going celebrations to mark the 1927-28 season when her father defied all odds with an incredible goal haul. Presenting Barbara with a bottle of champagne to mark the occasion was lifelong Blue Cyril Taylor, who was fortunate enough to witness Dixie's hat-trick in a 3-3 draw with Arsenal at Goodison all those years ago.
"I was 12 when I saw Dixie break the record and it will never be done again," 86-year-old Cyril said.
"I can still see that third goal now. There were only about 10 minutes left and all the crowd were willing him on. Then we got a corner. Alec Troupe sent the ball in as Dixie made his run from the edge of the box before heading home. He was magnificent in the air so it was fitting he should get the record that way." Following an horrific motorcycle accident in 1926, Dixie suffered a broken jaw and fractured skull and it was feared he would never play football again. However, after scoring 40 of his 60 league goals with his head, rumours were again rife as to his amazing aerial ability.
"He was magnificent in the air. They say he had a steel plate fitted inside his head after his crash because he scored so many goals that way," said Cyril. He scored 100 goals in all that season including cup and international goals. He was incredible and it can never be done again. "Dixie was a robust fella but very clean. I never saw him get his name taken by a referee. "After he scored the third goal to break Middlesbrough's George Camsell's record of 59 goals which was set the year before, a few fans ran onto the pitch to congratulate him. Shortly afterwards he asked the referee if he could go off. Imagine what would have happened at the final whistle if he had stayed on - we'd probably still be there now." Cyril has seen some great players come and go during his time following Everton, but despite the club's latest star Wayne Rooney bursting onto the Premiership and international scene this year, none can match the memory of Dixie Dean. "Brian Labone was a great striker and Dave Watson was a fantastic centre-half, but Dixie was the greatest player ever," he added. "Wayne Rooney is fantastic but a different type of footballer to Dixie. Dean wasn't as clever as Wayne with his feet but young Rooney is still learning and will only get better in the air, like Dixie." Just as Cyril beams with pride when he talks about Dixie, Barbara Dean holds the affection of a daughter for him. "Sadly I never actually saw him play as I am the youngest of his four children, but I've seen plenty of videos and I know he was something special," she said. "However, he was just dad to me so I was always proud of him anyway." "I was born and bred in our pub the Dublin Packet in Chester. It was great when people like Liverpool goalkeeper Elisha Scott and the jockey Lester Piggott used to come and visit. Dad was also great friends with Bill Shankly who always spoke highly of him. "Dad was always proud but liked joking with the press. After he got his 60 goals, reporters always used to ask him 'Dixie do you think anyone will ever take your record?' and he'd reply with a grin, 'well there is one person and he used to walk on water.' "The club's recent 100 years celebrations at St Georges' Hall was a very proud moment for me. As I walked in dad's name and face was everywhere. It was as if he filled the room like a giant. It was marvellous." A giant and a true legend, the name Dixie Dean will never be forgotten.
Blues pay price after United joy
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 5 2003
EVERTON have been left up to £500,000 out of pocket after Manchester United clinched the Premiership title yesterday. Arsenal's home defeat to Leeds means the championship race has been decided a week before the end of the season, and has led to Sky TV scrapping plans to show the Blues' game with United on Sunday. Instead, TV bosses have opted to broadcast Liverpool's trip to Chelsea and the games involving relegationthreatened West Ham and Bolton. Meanwhile, Everton are still on a collision course with United over next Sunday's title trophy parade. Blues officials have been locked in talks with Premier League chiefs and their United counterparts over how to handle the championship trophy presentation. TV bosses had also been involved in discussions before they decided not to broadcast the match. Everton want David Moyes and his players to have a traditional lap of honour immediately after Sunday's game with United receiving the Premiership trophy afterwards. But United are exerting pressure on the Blues to compromise so Ferguson's men can take centre stage instead. That raises the prospect of United fans without tickets coming into Goodison to see the presentation once the gates open with 15 minutes of the game remaining.
Last night Ian Ross, Everton's head of communications, said: "The bottom line here is safety - there can be no compromise or risks taken. "Throughout negotiations Everton Football Club and the Premier League have always shared common ground on this issue. "The final decision over the arrangements will be taken by Club Safety Officer Norman Whibley - a man of vast knowledge and experience with regard to such matters. "We have already told the Premier League that we are more than happy for Manchester United to receive the trophy either on the pitch after our players have completed the traditional last day lap of honour or in the dressing room immediately after the final whistle. "Both these offers have always been on the table and we must not forget that we at Everton have enjoyed a very successful season and our fans will want to say thank-you to David Moyes and his players and vice-versa. "We are certainly not killjoys at Everton Football Club, but we have absolutely no intention of cutting corners where the safety of supporters and players is concerned." Talks are set to continue between Goodison Park officials and a final decision will be taken tomorrow.
'Rooney's ready for England' - Shearer
Simon Stone, Daily Post
May 5 2003
ALAN SHEARER believes teenage sensation Wayne Rooney should be allowed to play for England against South Africa later this month. Everton boss David Moyes has suggested his young striker should be left at home to gain some valuable rest after his amazing efforts for club and country this season, a view which has met with frustration from England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. With a vital Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia to come on June 11, Eriksson wants to spend as much time with his first choice squad as possible and is eager to take the opportunity of working with Rooney in the build-up to the clash at the Riverside Stadium. And, while Shearer can understand Moyes' concerns, the former England skipper believes Rooney should be allowed to make the trip and get his rest once his international commitments are over. "Wayne has achieved more than anyone expected this season," said the Newcastle skipper. "I can understand David Moyes' problem but he is still young and very fit and I don't think it would do him any harm to go out there and learn his trade a little bit more. Then, after June 11 he can have a good rest." Meanwhile, Moyes has urged his Everton players to "hang on in there" as their UEFA Cup D-Day looms. Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Fulham has left the Blues boss knowing failure to beat title favourites Manchester United on Sunday, coupled with a Blackburn victory at slumping Tottenham, will end their dream of continental football at Goodison Park next term. Moyes pleaded with his men to keep their push for Europe rolling for another seven days, saying: "We have come this far and are very close so we would like to hang on in there if we can. "Do we belong in Europe? We do in the long term but are we ready yet? Next Sunday will tell because we'll end up where we deserve to end up. "We've been in the top six since September and you finish where you deserve to be. We've done okay this season and have tried to cover up our weaknesses as much as we can. "It's been a big jump for us from this time last year and I'm not going to set myself up by saying we're favourites."
It is now all or nothing for us, says Campbell
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 5 2003
KEVIN CAMPBELL last night insisted Manchester United's title win has made Everton's European bid even harder as he admitted it is now "all or nothing" in their UEFA Cup chase. The Blues must beat Sir Alex Ferguson's champions on the final day of the season this Sunday or hope Blackburn fail to win at sliding Spurs to book their place in Europe. But even though Leeds' victory at Highbury yesterday took the pressure off United's trip to Goodison Park and gave them an eighth championship in 11 seasons, Campbell believes that could work against David Moyes' men.
The Blues striker warned: "We'll be going to win, we won't be thinking about anything else. It's our last home game of the season and we need to make sure we are in Europe while United will be wanting to go out on a high too. "It's going to be some game. Even though the title is all over I don't necessarily think it will be of benefit to us because you could say they'll be feeling good about themselves and can play with a bit more freedom." Campbell added: "It always looked like it would be decided on the last day for us and that's the way it's going to be with the way the results went on Saturday. "The one slight comfort was Blackburn not winning. Noone would have given West Brom a hope at Ewood Park but that just shows how, in this league, any team is capable of taking points from anyone else. "Now we've got to do the same against Man U. "The good thing is it is still in our hands and this time we aren't going into the last day of the season with the fear of having to stay up but with the positive pressure of trying to get in Europe. "That is what we have been striving for all season, why we have been putting in all the hard work and what we want to achieve as professionals. "Now it's all or nothing in 90 minutes. "The pressure never leaves though. They have the title and we are after Europe so it is all to play for now. The pressure will be on us because we are at home and expected to go at them so it's a double-edged sword."
Fulham 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
May 5 2003David Prentice at Loftus Road, Liverpool Echo
THE sight of the West Brom team bus, marooned on the car park which is the M6 motorway, did little to lift Evertonians travelling in the opposite direction on Saturday morning. In the event, The Baggies gave the Blues their one ray of consolation from a wretched afternoon. Despite pre-match preparations which included a tortuous coach journey on the day of the game, West Brom gamely battled to a deserved draw - a result which knocked Blackburn's European ambitions and resuscitated Everton's. By contrast, Everton's preparations were immaculate. Late training session on Thursday to accommodate the players involved in the previous night's internationals, late start Friday and a journey to Fulham the day before the game. But the lacklustre show which followed simply underlined one transparent fact. David Moyes has squeezed as much out of his squad as he possibly can this season. The Blues have been running on empty for a month now. Even more worrying is that if the Blues do qualify for Europe, they will need extra players to ensure they do not hit the Premiership wall even earlier next season. Saturday's clash was the kind of match Everton were edging earlier in the season, through resolute defending, a spark of invention in front of goal and more energy than their opponents. They produced none of those qualities at Loftus Road.
Let's examine those areas individually. Joseph Yobo looked infinitely more assured at centre back than he has done at right back recently - one lightning recovery to poke the ball away from Luis Boa Morte as he looked poised to score was straight out of his October formbook. But he was the exception. Everton were leaden-legged and insecure and Alan Stubbs' desperate attempt to stretch and prevent the ball reaching Elvis Hammond - an intervention which sent the ball arcing over his stranded goalkeeper - was indicative. In front of goal Everton were no less assured. They created chances frequently, but could still be playing now without looking like scoring. Lee Carsley's third minute shot was deflected onto a goalpost by Luis Boa Morte - more of him later; Kevin Campbell shot straight at Taylor when clean through; Campbell slipped when presented with another opportunity from a tight angle; Campbell didn't have the pace to profit from Wayne Rooney's pass in the 69th minute; Yobo spooned a close range shot over the bar, directed a header straight at Taylor and also headed over. Steve Watson, who also headed over, slid a volley just wide and free-kicks in dangerous positions around the penalty area were wasted. But don't let that succession of half-chances kid you Everton were in any way dominant. With Duncan Ferguson impressively effective again as a second half substitute, Everton's direct approach upset Fulham. But it was also largely a result of the relegation-threatened home team's nervousness and their own inadequacies across midfield that Fulham struggled. Further forward they always looked threatening. For such an inoffensive individual, Luis Boa Morte has an incredible habit of upsetting Everton. Like a latter-day Jim Melrose, he's a journeyman striker who regularly irritates Blues fans. Last season, he was red-carded in the same fixture, then managed to get the decision rescinded, while jointly dismissed David Weir's punishment stood. On Saturday he tumbled theatrically on the Blues' touchline to 'win' a free-kick which proved decisive. The reaction of the incandescent Evertonians in front of him spoke volumes. Richard Wright was even more explosive seconds later. Steed Malbranque drilled the free-kick towards Everton's near post. Gravesen swung a boot, Boa Morte flashed out a hand - and one or the other connected to send the ball spinning wildly past Wright. But the simple fact was the goal should still have been prevented and Everton never looked like pulling even one goal back. The make-up of the Blues' bench simply underlined the paucity of resources at their manager's disposal. Only the promising, but untried, Leon Osman and a goalkeeper remained after Pistone and Watson had replaced Pembridge and Hibbert in the 62nd minute. The uncalled upon Li Tie and Niclas Alexandersson were equally unlikely to influence the outcome. But, before any summer shake-ups are considered, Everton's season still has something positive riding on it.
Last match deciders to determine where Everton will be playing their football next season are nothing new at Goodison Park. But instead of Walsall and Wimbledon, Evertonians can enter the last match of 2002-03 next weekend dreaming of Wisla Krakow and Werder Bremen (well, you think of somebody interesting beginning with 'W'!). And, while a small vote of thanks should be sent to The Hawthorns for that fact, the credit for an astonishingly improved season lies within Goodison.
Moyes has transformed Everton this season - and he still has the chance to earn some-thing tangible at the end of it.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor, Finnan, Melville, Goma, Harley, Malbranque (Hayles 86), Davis, Clark, Legwinski, Boa Morte, Hammond (Saha 68). Unused subs: Van Der Sar, Collins, Knight.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert (Watson 62), Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley, Gravesen, Gemmill (Ferguson 45), Pembridge (Pistone 62), Campbell, Rooney. Unused subs: Simonsen, Osman.
REFEREE: Graham Barber.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert (foul) 52 mins, Hayles (92) foul.
GOALS: Stubbs own goal (33 mins) 0-1, Wright own goal (41 mins) 0-2.
United to be given trophy at Goodison
May 5 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NEWLY-crowned champions Manchester United will almost certainly receive the Premiership trophy at Goodison Park next weekend. But Sky TV have decided that as the title race is over they will not screen the match 'live.' Arsenal's defeat by Leeds yesterday - handing the title to United a week before the season's end - may have diffused a potential row between Everton and the Premier League. Sky wanted to screen the presentation of the trophy to United captain Roy Keane at the end of next Sunday's Goodison clash. Everton, however, voiced security concerns at the timing of the presentation --particularly if their bid to qualify for the UEFA Cup next season had failed due to a controversial incident. "We have given the Premier League two options," said Everton's Head of Corporate Affairs and Public Relations, Ian Ross. "They can either have the ceremony on the pitch approximately 15 minutes after the final whistle when we have done our own lap of honour and the Everton fans have left the ground, or we will allow the cameras into the dressing room for the presentation to take place there. "It's not that we don't want to stage the presentation, but we have safety concerns and that is the over-riding priority. It's our home game, we have had an excellent season and our supporters should be able to acknowledge the players and vice-versa.
"Once the safety officer has given the allclear then the trophy can be presented." But with United having already started their celebrations, Sky bosses have opted for more significant matches next weekend - notably Liverpool's Champions League showdown at Chelsea, and the battle to avoid relegation with West Ham facing Birmingham and Bolton entertaining Middlesbrough. Sky's decision not to screen Everton's final match live will cost the Blues up to £600,000 in appearance money. Everton have traditionally used their final home appearance of the season as a stage for the fans to pay tribute to the players - and the footballers to thank the fans for their support. An immediate presentation of the Premiership trophy would prevent that occasion. A final decision expected by tomorrow.
Keeper: Goal not Wright
May 5 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FRUSTRATED Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright insisted Luis Boa Morte's hand influenced the outcome of Saturday's match at Loftus Road, regardless of whether the Fulham forward made contact or not. The Portuguese striker clearly stuck out his hand at Steed Malbranque's 41st minute free-kick which deflected past Wright for the decisive second goal. Even video evidence could not determine afterwards whether it was his hand or Thomas Gravesen's boot which changed the flight of the ball, but Wright said: "We've looked at it again on TV and Thomas Gravesen put his foot out, but Boa Morte has definitely held his hand out. "Whether he has pulled it away at the last minute we don't know. "It's very frustrating, especially as it seems to have made the ball move. As a goalkeeper you are waiting for the ball to come in and when it clips someone else it's very frustrating. "Technically, if a ball is coming straight into that situation then as a goalkeeper you would go at it differently, but because I have gone in with my hands high expecting it to come in one position it is difficult to adjust from just three yards away. "The first goal was also frustrating. The ball's been whipped right across the box and we're all trying to get a foot to it. Alan Stubbs did but unfortunately dragged it into the net. "We created opportunities but it just didn't seem to fall for us. It was an even game, but they created a few chances after that because we were chasing the game and it was a very frustrating afternoon." Team-mate and captain Kevin Campbell defended his keeper afterwards. "It was handball, but I think the ref was unsighted and the linesman was unsighted. Sometimes there's nothing you can do about it," he said. "Before the first goal we think there should have been a free-kick on me in the middle of the pitch, but for some reason he played on and they went on and scored a goal." Campbell also believed the Blues should have been awarded a penalty kick four minutes before Fulham opened the scoring. The skipper appeared to be dragged to the floor as he tried to reach a Mark Pembridge free-kick and he said: "Without a doubt there was a penalty on me, too. "I just can't understand why the referee hasn't given that. I'm sure if we had done that in our box to them he would have given it. It happened at the wrong end really. "I'm not one to criticise referees. They have a hard enough job, but that was a stonewall penalty." David Moyes, however, dismissed complaints about the standard of refereeing.
"I'm not sure the free-kick hits his hand, but he does intend to do it. I would need to see it again," he explained. "He also dived for the free-kick. We've seen that again and that's definitely not a free-kick, but we're nit-picking. Richard Wright should have saved it. "Generally I thought the performance wasn't good, but goals change games. I didn't think there was a great deal in the game until the own goal."
Blues still not out of Euro chase
May 5 2003 Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S setback at Fulham was disappointing - but a European place is still up for grabs.
Their crucial game against Manchester United has much riding on it, but they still hold a two-point advantage over UEFA Cup rivals Blackburn, who must win at Spurs. Everton could be helped by United themselves, if Sir Alex chooses to field a weakened side having already clinched the Premiership title. As big a blow as failure to make Europe would be, I still think the Blues have had a tremendous season. They have developed into a good little side and, after struggling for so many years, are now challenging for top six places. A mid-table position was possibly David Moyes' aim before the start of the season, so to be in their position where they have a good chance of playing European footbal l next season is tremendous. I am sure that, come the final whistle next Sunday, the Goodison crowd will rise to salute Moyes and his team after a fine season - whatever the outcome.
* Just a word on Tranmere. They have had an amazing run-in in their play-off bid, but have just failed. However, Ray Mathias and his side must take great credit for their glorious failure. Here's to promotion next season!
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 6 2003
ANOTHER poor showing by the Blues. I can see Everton missing out on the UEFA Cup and that would be a bitter blow. But, are the Blues ready to take on Europe's best? Not yet. Next season will be David Moyes' toughest test. He will most definitely have to bring in some top quality players to complement the two we already have, Wayne Rooney and the Toffee Lady!
Joe Longworth, (via e-mail)
I AM glad United have the title in the bag. They should have their big party at Old Trafford on Saturday and I hope a few of their young players get a run out at Goodison Park on Sunday.
In any case I believe Spurs will finally get their act together and give their home fans a decent performance. Fortunately we can get the Euro place even without winning - Blackburn cannot - so it's certainly advantage Everton. A victory would be the perfect end to a fabulous season. Whatever happens the manager, staff and players deserve a huge ovation.
Frank Warren, Liverpool
Shuffle the pack
PLAY Big Dunc and Chaddie, with Osman behind them (we may even get a goal from midfield!)
Rest Wayne (he has done brilliantly for us) and play against the Mancs like we want to win!
We need to buy creative, imaginative players who can win us games when the chips are down!
John Jones, Kirkby
Hope flickers on
HOW do you spell Evertonian? M-A-S-O-C-H-I-S-T, that's how! West Bobbly Allbegone did their part, we didn't. Does the new strip come with a shirt that has a hairy lining? Accessorised with bundles of twigs for self-flagellation? But there is still hope, faint as it is and Blue hope, as always, must spring eternal as we face another anxious week of 'wotivs' and 'ivownlees'.
Bill Gard, North Wales
Making life hard
SO THE Blues press the self-destruct button yet again. Thank you Morecambe and Wise, sorry I mean Stubbs and Wright. David Moyes knows he needs to get rid of at least seven to eight players who put on the Blue shirt against Fulham before the start of next season. Our midfield goals return this season must be the worst in EFC history.
John Connor, (via e-mail)
So close to Europe
SPURS can beat Blackburn or at least hold them to a draw. We're almost there. Let's just go out and beat United to make sure though.
Brian MacDougall, (via e-mail)
A king's ransom
IF THE Everton board were able to find the money to fund our share of the Kings Dock stadium, now that this is in the bin, is this money available for new players?
John Johnstone, Liverpool
Title trophy row rumbles on for Blues
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 6 2003
EVERTON'S title trophy row with Manchester United rumbled on yesterday after the new Premiership champions insisted they want to lift their prize at Goodison Park. The Blues had expected the furore over Sunday's trophy parade to ease after Arsenal's defeat by Leeds sorted the title issue before the final day of the season. But despite an understanding United would stage their own presentation on Saturday in that event, Old Trafford chiefs still want Everton to play the accommodating hosts at Goodison Park. Only 3,000 United fans will be present at Sunday's game, which will now not be shown on live television as SKY tune in to the Champions League decider between Liverpool and Chelsea instead. But the champions are pressing ahead with plans to collect the Premiership trophy on Merseyside, leaving them the option of lifting it one hour after the final whistle - once Everton have conducted the traditional lap of honour - or in their own dressing room.
More talks are planned between Everton officials, their Old Trafford counterparts and Premier League executives this morning in a final attempt to resolve the row. But suggestions the trophy could be presented before kickoff are a non-starter with Everton as it will disrupt David Moyes' pre-match preparations and increase safety concerns. After another hectic day of negotiations Ian Ross, Everton's head of communications, revealed last night: "We had a meeting with Premier League officials last week when the various options open to both parties were discussed in an amicable and friendly manner. "Our understanding was if Manchester United had won the title before the game at Goodison Park they would receive the trophy before the fixture took place. "That did seem the logical outcome because it would give the club with the biggest fan base in world football the opportunity to share their special moment with as many people as possible." David Moyes, meanwhile, believes Everton go into their last day UEFA Cup decider with the psychological edge over European challengers Blackburn. Rovers missed the chance to leapfrog the Blues in the table on Saturday when they were surprisingly held at home by relegated West Brom. Blackburn need to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Sunday and hope Everton fail to overcome United to pip Moyes' men to the one remaining UEFA Cup place. But the Goodison boss believes going into the last game still ahead of their rivals will boost Everton confidence ahead of their biggest test of the season. Moyes said: "It gives us a psychological boost that we are going into the last game of the season ahead. "I expected to come off at Fulham hearing that Blackburn had beaten West Brom and we would have then gone behind on goal difference. "But we haven't, we're still there and on Sunday of next week we might make a UEFA Cup spot. "The result at Blackburn doesn't change my thoughts on how I am feeling after losing at Fulham. "But it is not a bad position to be in - we could have been in a lot worse spots than this. "We are still two points ahead of our close rivals who are pushing us hard for a UEFA Cup spot with one game to go. "We have something to play for and we are going to be involved in a great game next week."
Everton will stage United party
May 06, 2003
Manchester Evening News
The Premiership trophy will be presented to Manchester United at Goodison Park on Sunday after all - but only once Everton have completed their lap of honour and left the pitch. Everton officials had earlier expressed concerns about United collecting the title at Goodison, worried it would attract ticketless Red Devils fans to Merseyside and also infringe on their own celebrations. David Moyes' side can guarantee a Uefa Cup place if they beat Sir Alex Ferguson's team. A spokesman for Everton had declared that the final decision rested with the club's safety officer, but Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore made it clear the presentation would go ahead at Goodison. Scudamore told the Daily Mail: "We have obligations to our sponsors and to our television partners to which Everton put their name. "There is no question. The trophy will be presented at Everton at some stage on Sunday afternoon. "I do not believe there is a safety issue. I am quite certain that the whole occasion can be safely policed."
United to parade trophy on Sunday
May 6 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER UNITED will receive the Premiership trophy at Goodison Park on Sunday - after Everton have completed their traditional last match lap of honour. Both parties reached a promise this morning to resolve a dispute which had threatened to sour the final match of the season.
Manchester United's players will leave the pitch after the final whistle, to allow Everton to undertake a "lap of appreciation" in front of their own followers. The Everton players will then form a guard of honour to welco m e th e United players back, approximately 20 minutes later, to receive the Premiership trophy. The presentation will be made in front of the United supporters, who will be housed in the Bullens Road Stand. "We have reached an agree-ment with the Premier League which we believe satisfies all parties," said Blues' Chief Excutive Michael Dunford. The newly-crowned ons will not embark on a lap of honour, but will parade the phy only in front of their own
United have an allocation of 3,000 tickets for the final match of the season.
Centre stage best for Yobo
May 6 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO'S return to form at Fulham on Saturday had much to do with his return to central defence. Speaking as a centre-half who was asked early in his career to play full-back, I know how difficult it can be to adjust to what, on paper, appears to be a relatively straightforward switch.
I was never a left-back, and I think most Evertonians would agree with me on that! But later in my career, when I had accumulated plenty of experience, it was a role I enjoyed. As a young defender, though, I found it difficult to handle - and I think Joseph has been in the same position. I always felt more comfortable in the middle. It was only at the end of my career - when I had Mark Ward in front of me - that I began to grow into the full-back role. Joseph looks happier in the centre - and his pace clearly gives Everton an asset in an important position. David Weir's suspension means he will almost certainly stay there on Sunday, and whoever Manchester United decide to play up front, that quality will undoubtedly be needed.
Celebrate at Old Trafford
MANCHESTER United's early title triumph may not be such a good thing for the Toffees. The anxiety and nervousness will be absent - and a relaxed and laid back United can be a formidable football team. Most of the build-up seems to be focusing on whether the trophy will be presented to United after the match or not. I can't understand why United don't make the presentation at Old Trafford.
Only 3,000 of their fans will witness the moment at Goodison Park. The worry from Everton's point of view is how many more United fans will try to get into Goodison Park when the gates open at three-quarter time. There are clear safety issues and the best way of avoiding them all would be to take the presentation back to Old Trafford.
Hartson has Sharp edge
I NOTED with interest reports linking the Blues with Chris Sutton over the weekend. I have no idea whether the stories are true, but good player though Sutton is, the Celtic striker who always impresses me is John Hartson. He is the nearest thing I've seen to my old teammate Graeme Sharp. Sharpie used to work the channels better, but other parts of Harston's game remind me of Graeme.
If he ever became available, Everton could do a lot worse.
Dixie's sixty is unbeatable
RECORDS are made to be broken, but one landmark was set 75 years ago yesterday that will never be passed. Dixie Dean's 60 League goals in a single season is an incredible achievement - and one Evertonians are rightly proud of. Not even Ian Rush could get near to it so I'm sure it will be safe for many more years.
Blues maintain safety worries
May 6 2003David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE Premier League and Everton were still at odds today over when Manchester United will receive the Premiership trophy. Further discussions were taking place today, but Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore dismayed Goodison officials when he declared: "I do not believe there is a safety issue. I am quite certain that the whole occasion can be safely policed." Everton are more than happy to play host to the trophy tion, but on their terms. Goodison Park safety officer Norman Whibley has real fears about a presentation taking place immediately after the final whistle on Sunday. Blues' Chief Executive Michael Dunford explained: "My personal feeling is that it should be at Old Trafford now that they have a week to organise it, but hopefully we will come up with a solution that satisfies everybody. "We are not being churlish and we do not have any problem with Manchester United. "But the only way it can happen here is after the game and after our supporters have been the opportunity to salute our players. "It is our home game after all.
"And there are real safety issues. There is the possibility thousands of United supporters could try to gain access to the stadium to see the presentation when the gates are opened 15 minutes from the end of the match. "And we have to be concerned about the reaction should United triumph in controversial circumstances and deny Everton a place in Europe next season. "It only takes one idiot to cause a problem." Given Everton's treatment by Premiership officials all season that may not be just a distant possibility. Mr Scudamore added: "We have obligations to our sponsors and to our television partners to which Everton put their name. There is no question the trophy will be presented at Everton at some stage on Sunday afternoon." Everton believe the safest time to make the presentation would be after their own traditional end-of-season lap of honour, 15 to 20 minutes after the match has ended.
Neighbours cry foul at flats plan
By Deborah James, Daily Post
May 7 2003
EVERTON star Duncan Ferguson is coming up against stronger opposition off the pitch than he is used to on it - in the form of a band of angry neighbours. Wealthy residents yesterday staged a protest outside the Blues striker's Formby home in a bid to stop him building a block of flats in the property's grounds. A party gathered at the high security gates of the striker's exclusive £2.1m pad yesterday to confront a party of councillors on a site visit. Ferguson, 32, has applied for planning permission to build 12 two and three-storey flats or a detached house within the Victoria Road site.
It is believed he will split half the cost of the development with Everton team-mate and neighbour Alan Stubbs - the flats could fetch around £250,000 each, and the house up to £600,000. But other neighbours in the quiet suburb have vowed to fight the plans, including a party of six who turned up yesterday morning to demand councillors reject the application. They have already sent a 70-signature petition and letters of complaint to the council and were angry the routine site visit was going ahead. Next-door neighbour Trevor Douce said: "We are worried once one person gets permission everybody else will jump on the bandwagon and the character of this road will be lost."
His wife, Jean, said: "People are very angry. These plans are totally out of keeping with the area. He wouldn't be doing this if he was going to stay in the area, he wouldn't want people looking over into his house." The £35,000-a-week star bought the land for £2.1m two years ago. He knocked down one five bedroom house on the property in February, and is now living with his wife and daughter in a smaller house on the site. John Moore, 64, says the new flats would look over the back of his property of Firs Road, and could mean a loss of privacy and increased traffic. He said: "We feel our area is being decimated by people who are coming in, making a quick buck and then getting out again." George Hensley, also of Firs Road said: "We are here for the long term, but some of these people like the footballers don't care about the area like we do." Councillors spent barely five minutes being shown around the site by an agent yesterday before continuing on a tour of properties up for development around Sefton. Planning committee member Coun Jack Colbert said: "Residents are very important in helping us make our decisions and we will take their views on board." He invited anyone with concerns to attend a planning committee meeting when councillors will decide whether to refuse or grant outline planning permission, at Bootle town hall today at 6.30pm.
Bradford Res 0, Everton Res 3
May 7 2003
EVERTON Reserves enjoyed a comfortable victory in their final away fixture of the season beating Bradford City 3-0 with the help of a double strike from striker Nick Chadwick at the Bradford and Bingley Stadium. Chadwick took his goalscoring tally for the reserves to 13 for the season with his two goals before being replaced midway through the second half, while midfielder Leon Osman was also on target again. But it was the big centre forward headed home the Blues' opening goal after 20 minutes when he finished off Steven Schumacher's cross. Osman had already tested the City goalkeeper, who was in for a busy night. Schumacher himself went close with a rasping drive just over the crossbar. And another effort by Peter Clarke came back off a post after the Bantams had failed to clear a corner. Everton went in at halftime two goals to the good when Chadwick managed to get himself clear of the Bradford defence and shot home under the body of trialist Craig Dootson in the home goal. The home side had hardly settled into their stride before finding themselves three goals down. Schumacher was again involved, this time setting up Osman to once again get on the scoresheet for Andy Holden's side. Brazilian Rodrigo made his second appearance in a week replacing Osman with 34 minutes to go and the little South American could not be faulted for his enthusiasm. Tobias Linderoth and Chadwick also left the action, making way for Steven Beck and Anthony Barry on 65 minutes. Despite being in total command the Blues could not add any more goals and now face Liverpool on Thursday at the Halton Stadium before wrapping up their campaign against Birmingham City.
EVERTON RES: Gerrard, O'Hanlon, B Moogan Clarke, Pilkington, Linderoth, Schumacher (Beck 65), Osman (Rodrigo 56), Chadwick (Barry 65), Garside, A Moogan. Subs: Turner, Southern.
BRADFORD CITY RES: Dootson, Agbatar, Wright, Brodie, Morgan, Bentham, George, Penford, Ekoku, Sanasy, Riviere. Subs: Fishlock, Flynn, Swift, Richardson, Doherty.
REFEREE: Mr D Storrie
United will lift trophy - after Blues parade
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 7 2003
THE SAGA of the Goodison trophy parade has finally been resolved - with Manchester United picking up the Premiership title on Sunday as Everton initially suggested. Everton had been painted as killjoys in the row over the new champions' trophy presentation. But after a final round of talks between Goodison officials and the Premier League yesterday it has been agreed Sir Alex Ferguson's men can lift their prize 20 minutes after Sunday's final whistle - once Everton have completed their own lap of honour. That was one of two options put to the Premier League and Sky TV chiefs by the Blues last week. Both were rejected sparking days of controversy and further negotiation, but after a compromise was reached on the timing of the presentation Everton's initial plan has now been accepted. The Blues had never refused to allow a presentation at Goodison Park, but wanted it on their own terms after concerns over safety and security. With only 3,000 United fans attending Sunday's game there are fears thousands of ticketless away supporters will try to gain entrance to Goodison when the gates open 15 minutes before the end of the match. Everton had also been led to believe United would stage their own ceremony at Old Trafford if the title had been won before the final game. That proved to be inaccurate, but after talks yesterday it was agreed Everton could complete their own end of season celebrations and then leave the pitch to allow United to receive their title trophy. An Everton spokesman said: "We have now reached an amicable agreement with the Premier League. "Manchester United will now receive their trophy on the pitch after Everton's players have taken their lap of honour. That will be between 25 and 30 minutes after the final whistle. It had never been our intention to stop the presentation, and this offer now accepted has always been on the table." Safety fears remain, however, despite finding a solution to the trophy saga. Everton's chief executive Michael Dunford said: "There are real safety issues. There is the possibility thousands of United supporters could try to gain access to the stadium to see the presentation when the gates are opened. "And we have to be concerned about the reaction should United triumph in controversial circumstances and deny Everton a place in Europe next season. It only takes one idiot to cause a problem." Last night a Premier League statement confirmed: "The club had always agreed to make Goodison Park available for the presentation provided that any safety concerns had been fully addressed. "The Premier League would like to take this opportunity to thank Everton for their constructive and helpful attitude in resolving this matter."
Nyarko mars Moyes plans
May 7 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALEX NYARKO hasn't kicked a ball for Everton for two years, but the unhappy African could still scupper David Moyes' summer spending plans. The Blues boss is anxiously awaiting news of how much money he may be handed this summer to consolidate the outstanding work he has already achieved this season. Everton's improved league position will increase the revenue brought in from the club's final league placing by more than £3m. But it is the Blues' current wage bill which could still hinder any new arrivals. Everton's budget for wages is currently up to its limit - with Alex Nyarko's salary still being paid by Paris St Germain. But with the player having walked out on the French club a month ago he is currently set to return to Bellefield in time for pre-season training in July. "Unless any interest in him materialises between now and then, we fully expect Alex Nyarko to return to Bellefield in July," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. "We have had one or two tentative enquiries about him, but nothing serious." Nyarko's French loan ends on June 30, when Everton start paying his wages again. The Ghanaian has two years remaining of a £10,000 a week contract at Goodison. David Moyes, meanwhile, is delighted that Manchester United will receive the Premiership Trophy at Goodison Park on Sunday. "It's the right decision," he said. "If you win the Championship you deserve to be presented with the trophy before the season has ended.
"If we had won the title at Old Trafford I am sure we would expect to be presented with it there. It's the right thing to do and I'm delighted United will receive it after the game on Sunday."
How Buttercup beats Eminem in Everton's big game build-ups
May 8 2003
EVERTON players like listening to Build Me Up Buttercup before a match, a report revealed last night. The song by The Foundations is a favourite of striker Kevin Campbell who frequently requests it before the team go on the pitch. Also on the list of the Blues ' top tunes is Eminem's 8 Mile, U2 and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. The survey was carried out for the Barclaycard Premiership.
It also reveals that Everton's opponents for Saturday's game, Manchester United, listen to the Iggy Pop classic Lust for Life before a match. The survey gave teams the option of anonymity, which means that Liverpool's own pre-match tracks will have to remain a mystery. A spokesman for Barclaycard said: "Unfortunately, Liverpool wanted to keep their pre-match music secret."
Eminem topped the Premiership's favourite pre-match listening followed by U2's greatest hits. Music psychologist Dr Neil Todd of Manchester University said: Eminem's music may play a role rather like the Haka (New Zealand rugby's pre-match chant) helping players reach an aroused competitive state." Barclaycard sponsorship director Nic Gault said: "From Chas and Dave to Paul Gascoigne's Fog on the Tyne, music has always gone hand-in-hand with football."
Wayne 'can outshine Gazza'
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 8 2003
WAYNE ROONEY comes to the end of a first momentous season in the Premiership on Sunday with a showdown against the champions, being told he will one day be better than Paul Gascoigne.
That tribute came from former Everton chief Walter Smith, who claimed: "Rooney can be better than Gazza." Rooney, still only 17, has become England's youngest ever full international and shared in Everton's best season in years - contributing crucial goals and shooting down the then champions Arsenal with the pick of the bunch. Now, on the last day of term, it is a clash with the new champions from Manchester United as Rooney and Everton bid for the crucial win they need to be certain of qualifying for the UEFA Cup and a return to European competition after eight years.It is a tough task to expect Rooney to carry that weight on his shoulders alone, and boss David Moyes will do all he can to take the pressure off the teenager. But Rooney will be boosted by claims from his former manager Smith that he can emulate and better Gascoigne, arguably the best English player for a decade. Smith, while Everton boss, wanted to blood Rooney in the first team when he was still at school but was barred from doing that because league regulations would not allow schoolboys to play in the top flight. But Moyes has given Rooney his big chance this season and the rest is history. Smith said: "Wayne rates with Paul Gascoigne, there's no doubt about that. His ability is tremendous and he has the capability, if handled properly and he himself keeps his feet on the ground, to go on and make a better career and make a better player than Paul Gascoigne."
And that claim comes from a manager who was Gascoigne's mentor in a triumphant spell at Glasgow Rangers and then brought the wayward Geordie to Merseyside for his swansong in the top flight, before bowing out of English soccer at Burnley. Smith rated Gascoigne hugely, and said: "I think that takes a lot for me to say that about Wayne." Rooney will now want to end his first full season in the top flight on a high and engineer Everton the points they need to get into Europe. Blackburn are breathing down their necks, and if Graeme Souness' side win their final game at Spurs, Everton know they must beat the new champions on Sunday.
Rooney is Sven's young sensation
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 8 2003
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON named Wayne Rooney as his Premiership young player of the year, describing him as a "worldwide sensation" for the way in which he has burst onto the international scene. Eriksson must still announce whether he will take Rooney to England's imminent friendly in South Africa, with the squad to be named next Monday. Everton manager David Moyes has asked Eriksson to give the 17-year-old striker a rest and the England coach will consider his request over the next few days. However, he is still keen to work with Rooney ahead of the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia in June, when the teenager could have an important role to play for his country.
In the longer term, Rooney has a bright England future, with Eriksson believing he has pipped Jermaine Jenas, the players' choice as young player of the year, to his own accolade. The England coach also over-looked the claims of Patrick Vieira and Alan Shearer, as well as David Beckham, to name Paul Scholes along with Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelrooy as his overall players of the season. "Van Nistelrooy, Henry and Scholes are my three players of the season. It's difficult to separate them because they have all stood out for me," he said. There was no question in the Swede's mind, however, as to his young player of the year, with Rooney clearly having caught the England coach's imagination. "That's Rooney," he told the Football Association's website, www.theFA.com. "He has been an explosion this season. He's doing very well at his club and has been fantastic for us. "When you are playing for England at 17 years old of course it's a sensation all over the world. He's one of those player that, whenever he gets the ball, something seems to happen. "Whether it's finding a good pass or taking on a player, it's exciting and that's what makes him such an interesting player both now and for the future. "He's young but I don't think he's nervous at all. He's very confident and knows what he can and can't do. He has no fear and not too much respect for the opponents." Eriksson believes Rooney, who made his England debut against Australia at Upton Park in February and was handed his first senior start against Turkey, can adopt a variety of roles for his country. "I don't know him as well as David Moyes does but I can see the qualities in him that allow him to drop deeper," he added. "He can turn on the ball and then drive forward. It's very dangerous because he can beat people and play his team-mates in as well.
"Although he is not tall, he is strong, so you have the option of playing him right up front. Because of his broad talents, he could play with almost any kind of the partner - and that makes him very useful."
Race to quiz Wayne
May 8 2003
'ROONEYMANIA' has spun its own world wide web after Everton were swamped by fans hoping to interact with the wonder of Goodison Park. Everton are inviting questions to Wayne Rooney after confirming he is to take part in an online interview with the club's website. It will be the striker's first media engagement since speaking exclusively to the Daily Post in January. But such has been the response the Blues have had to extend the deadline for questions by a week - after they received a staggering 6,367 e-mails in five days! Questions to Rooney range from "What's your favourite Everton goal?" to "Even though you are now a superstar do you still have to help your mum with the housework?"
Duncan's pigeons fly back to north east
May 8 2003 By Emma Gunby Echo Reporter
DUNCAN Ferguson's beloved birds have gone home to roost. The Everton FC star's racing pigeons headed north after they were scared away by renovation work at his home in Formby. The Blues striker caused uproar with his neighbours after announcing plans to build a block of luxury flats in the grounds of his home. But it seems his pigeons are also less than impressed. The homing birds are thought to have disappeared some time last week and have turned up at Duncan's old home in Newcastle. Ferguson moved to Newcastle FC in 1998 and his pigeons went with him, returning to Merseyside when the star signed a contract with Everton in 2000. An Everton insider said: "It is quite funny really. Some of the birds have been missing for a few days and Duncan did not know where they had gone. "It turned out they were all roosting on the roof of Duncan's old house. The new owner is apparently very confused. "They have never done this before, so it must be down to all the building work at his house, it must have disturbed them." Pigeon expert Howard Ackerman from the Royal Pigeon Racing Association said moving pigeons about could unsettle them. He said: "If the birds originate from Newcastle, then if they became unsettled, they could quite well have made their way back there. "They have good memories and are just like humans, I suppose, in thinking that there is no place like home. "They would be specially likely to do this if they were unsettled or frightened."
Wayne the goal maker
May 8 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
THE latest edition of Everton's official club magazine, The Evertonian, is conducting a poll to discover Everton's Goal of the Season. From a shortlist of six, four have been scored by Wayne Rooney - and that doesn't include his most recent solo spectacular against Aston Villa. But while the teenage prodigy has become known as a scorer of great goals, he has another - less publicised - string to his bow. In his first season in senior football only one player has created more goals for Everton - and it took Thomas Gravesen 31 senior starts to carve out seven goals for his team-mates. Rooney has conjured up one less, and kicked off half that number. An ECHO investigation has analysed every goal Everton have scored this season - crediting assists when a direct pass or cross has led to a goal.
Ironically, the five goals which were not deemed to have been created by a pass all came from the same player - and read like a list of contenders for Goal of the Season: Rooney v Arsenal, Rooney v Leeds, Rooney v Blackburn, Rooney v Arsenal again and Rooney v Aston Villa. But the youngster's vision in and around the box has proved one of his most impressive qualities this season. "Everyone talks about his pace and his strength," said Alan Shearer on the occasion of the 17-year-old's full England debut "but for me the most impressive part of his game is his ability to spot a pass."
Team-mate Kevin Campbell, who profited from one of his cleverly picked passes at West Bromwich Albion, was even more fulsome in his "Even at such a young age his maturity is second to none," he said. "His talent is frightening. "I've played with top-class players. I've played with Ian Wright and Alan Smith but the kid is awesome, and that's to put it mildly." England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson believes Rooney can use his vision and intelligence in a variety of roles. "I don't know him as well as David Moyes does but I can see the qualities in him that allow him to drop deeper," said Eriksson.
"He can turn on the ball and then drive forward. It's very dangerous because he can beat people and play his team-mates in as well. "Although he is not tall, he is strong, so you have the option of playing him right up front. "Because of his broad talents, he could play with almost any kind of partner - and that makes him very useful." praise. Eriksson named Rooney as his Premiership young player of the year, describing him as a "worldwide sensation". Eriksson must still announce whether he will take Rooney to England's imminent friendly in South Africa, with the squad named next Monday. "He has been an explosion this season. He's doing very well at his club and has been fantastic for us," Eriksson added. "When you are playing for England at 17 of course it's a sensation all over the world. He's one of those players that, whenever he gets the ball, something seems to happen. "That's what makes him such an interesting player both now and for the future.
"He's young but I don't think he's nervous at all. He's very confident and knows what he can and can't do. He has no fear and not too much respect for the opponents."
United's lucky ref for Blues
May 8 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FAIR GAME: David Moyes has never been scared to vent his feelings EVERTON must overcome Manchester United's lucky charm on Sunday if their season is to end with European qualification.
Mike Riley will be the last referee to test David Moyes' patience at Goodison Park this season, after he was appointed to take charge of the Blues' final match. United have had good reason to celebrate Mr Riley's appointments this season. The Leeds-based official has taken charge of four games at Old Trafford this season, when United have been awarded six penalty kicks. One of those decisions resulted in a red card for David Weir back in October. Blues' boss David Moyes has had a numbr of run-ins with Premiership officials this season, including Eddie Wolstenholme, David Elleray and Steve Bennett - but he had no complaints about Mr Riley after he had taken charge of Everton's 4-1 hiding at Chelsea recently and the Worthington Cup thriller at Newcastle earlier in the season.
Everton will sport their new retro-home strip on Sunday, which went on sale today. A Sixties' style top with a round white collar, the kit is based on the design worn by the 1966 FA Cup winners.
David Moyes was due to meet up with England coach Sven- Goran Eriksson again today to discuss Wayne Rooney's looming i nternati o nal commitments. Eriksson names his squad for the end of season friendly in South Africa on Monday - with Rooney expected to be included. Everton meanwhile, will face Liverpool at the Halton Stadium in Run-corn tonight in the Blues' penultimate reserve fixture of the season. Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo is in the squad.
Blues feeling pinch from deals
May 8 2003 Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON COULD be counting the cost of Duncan Ferguson's salary for the next two years as David Moyes' plans for the future are haunted by lavish deals of the past. Moyes is yet to discover how much he has to spend this summer, but his plans to further his stunning Goodison transformation will be restricted by the expensive contracts offered to the likes of Ferguson and Alex Nyarko.
Ferguson alone will cost the cash-strapped Blues £4m in wages over the final two years of his Goodison deal. The Scot has made only 30 starts and 15 substitute appearances for the Blues since a £3.75m return from Newcastle in August 2000 as injuries have reduced his role to a bit-part player in Moyes' Everton revolution. There were fears the idol of many Blues fans would have to quit the game earlier this season due to the serious back complaint that led to another injury-ravaged campaign. But while an intensive rehabilitation scheme has enabled Ferguson to make seven appearances from the bench this term, question marks remain over the prospect of the striker ever recapturing the fitness levels needed for a full Premiership campaign. Yet despite an appalling injury record, Everton cannot terminate the contract they gave Ferguson to make him their highest paid player at £35,000 a week. And that salary makes the prospect of a cheap exit from Goodison Park highly unlikely as clubs drastically cut their costs as football finance dwindles. Everton are now paying a heavy price for lucrative deals gone wrong with controversial midfielder Nyarko also straining limited resources just as Moyes has put the club in a position of strength in terms of attracting new talent Nyarko, signed in the same summer as Ferguson in a £4.5m deal from Lens, faces the ignominious prospect of having to return to a club he vowed never to play for again following his infamous run-in with a fan at Highbury in April 2001. Everton are up to their limit on their wages' budget and with few senior players out of contract this summer face a fight to reduce that expenditure. But they must resume payments of around £10,000 a week to the Ghanaian when his loan deal with Paris St Germain expires on June 30. With no club making a serious offer for Nyarko after he walked out on PSG, he is set to return to Merseyside for pre-season training in the summer. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "Unless any interest in him materialises between now and then we fully expect Alex Nyarko to return to Bellefield in July.
"We have had one or two tentative enquiries about him, but nothing serious." * Everton are set to play Glasgow Rangers in a pre-season friendly at Ibrox on Saturday, July 26. They are also planning to take on Glasgow rivals Celtic as part of a Scotland tour but that game will only go-ahead if Martin O'Neill's men win the title and avoid the need for a Champions League qualifier
Recipe for disaster
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 9 2003
Recipe for disaster
I AM writing to voice my concerns over the Premier League's ridiculous decision regarding the awarding of the Premiership trophy on Sunday. I understand that Everton were very insistent on this, but we seem to have just been steamrollered by the Premier League who cannot have thought this through properly. The prospect of thousands of ticketless Manchester Utd fans turning up to try and gain entry to the ground once the exit gates are opened is very real and an absolute recipe for disaster (especially if the result of the game doesn't go our way and we miss out on European football). Surely the police can over-rule the PL's decision? The United fans are usually escorted to and from the ground by the police anyway - how are they expected to cope with this extra influx of ticketless fans? I still think that Everton as a club should have INSISTED that this was not allowed to take place. For Richard Scudamore to dismiss our concerns as "stupid" was quite simply appalling. Haven't we learned anything from past tragedies?
Paul McMonnies, (via e-mail)
EVERTON must fill that big hole in midfield. Its been our weak point all season and Fulham exposed it the way Charlton did on my last visit to London. That aside, things are getting better under David Moyes.
Dave Darlington, (via e-mail)
HOPEFULLY our over the last few weeks will have persuaded the board to back the Premiership's brightest young manager with hard-earned cash. All the other 'big' clubs are lining up next season's transfer targets already. We need to be in there competing with them. Remember Ipswich!
Tom Roberts, Liverpool
Start with Dunc
DUNCAN Ferguson has done well in the last few games and he upsets any defence, so why not play him and hope United play Laurent Blanc and Roy Keane as centre backs. How come Nick Chadwick never gets a look-in as he scores two goals in most reserve games he plays?
Ted Welsh, (via e-mail)
I DON'T know what everybody is moaning about. We were poor against Fulham but those players must be tired after the hard work and effort they have produced this season. If everyone was to be honest, we would have expected mid-table but this has been so much better. Get off the players' backs, they have furthered all our expectations this season
Phil Shutt, Fazakerley
Too much United
IF I were at Goodison on Sunday I would get up and walk out after our team's lap of honour. Who wants to see United receive anything? We see too much of them already. The TV powers-that-be can't see past them.They don't seem to recognise that there are viewers and football fans who just aren't at all interested in them
Hilda Bradley, (via e-mail)
One final effort is needed from Blues
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
May 9 2003
WITH all the brouhaha over, if and when, Manchester United are to receive the championship trophy on Sunday the importance of the actual match for Everton almost seems to have been overlooked. While this has been a better season than anyone could have had imagined at the outset the Toffees' own celebrations will have a hollow ring to them if, at the final hurdle, we fail to secure a UEFA Cup spot. Quite frankly Bobby Charlton and Mick Hucknall can join Status Quo on the pitch for a rendition of 'Come On You Reds' as long as Everton have won. How our European fate still remains in our own hands after last week's debacle at Loftus Road is a mystery to foot-ball's finest minds. Jason Koumas' unlikely equaliser at Ewood Park saved our bacon but also illustrated that you can take nothing for granted at this stage of the season. Therefore it would be foolhardy to assume that a poor Tottenham side will not lose at home to Blackburn simply because, as the home side, they'll want to put on a good show for the fans in the last match. We need to forget about what's happening in North London, beat United and put the matter beyond doubt. After the relief of hearing about West Brom's point at Blackburn emotions turned to frustration in the realisation that a result at Fulham would have more or less had the whole thing sewn up. Shocking individual errors at the back, reminiscent of the early stages of the season, gifted the three points to Chris Coleman's side, although in fairness we could have been still playing now and wouldn't have scored. The players, particularly in the second half, looked tired and frustrated with each other - the season can't end quickly enough for most of them. However, one last monumental effort is still required if they're to overcome the champions and clinch a league position that few outside of Lancashire would begrudge them. It's vital that we grasp this opportunity now because you never know when it will present itself again. The impact of the UEFA Cup on the club will be massive in terms of earning money from the competition itself, but more important is the whole feelgood factor that qualification will generate over the summer. Season ticket and merchandise sales will surely be the first things to benefit. It's time to forget the recriminations following Fulham and concentrate on performing the way we know that we can. If nothing else the players owe it to themselves to finish a great season with a tangible reward and no regrets. Come on you Blues.
Everton Res 5, Liverpool Res 1
May 9 2003
EVERTON completed a double mini-derby victory as the Blues crushed Liverpool reserves for the second time in a week at the Halton Stadium. Both sides fielded relatively young line-ups, but it was Everton who took control from early on and never looked like losing it. Nick Chadwick looked back to his very best as he tormented the Reds defence from as early as the 11th minute, forcing a good save from Patrice Luzi. The Blues were ahead on 20 minutes and Chadwick inevitably was involved, smashing his shot onto the crossbar before the impressive Michael Symes headed home for a goal reminiscent of Paul Rideout's FA Cup goal of 1995. However Liverpool pulled themselves level within five minutes, as Neil Mellor controlled a cross superbly in front of goal before smashing his shot into the top corner of Steve Simonsen's net. Liverpool though continued to look shaky at the back and it was no surprise to see the Blues regain the lead on 35 minutes. Michael Symes repaid Chadwick's earlier assist, laying on the cross for the big Blues forward to volley past Luzi. Two-one down at the break, Liverpool capitulated in the second half and their evening started to go wrong dramatically on 56 minutes when Mellor was taken off with what looked like a bad knock to his left ankle. Within a minute they were 3-1 behind, as Brian Moogan's cross was headed home by Symes for his second and Everton's third. Things got quickly worse for the Reds when keeper Patrice Luzi pulled down Symes in the box. The keeper was shown a red card and Nick Chadwick successfully dispatched the penalty to effectively seal the win for Everton. However the pain wasn't over for Liverpool yet, as on 66 minutes a moment of madness from Markus Babbel saw him first kick the ball away in frustration at conceding a free-kick and then the German international showed a lack of professionalism when he head-butted Michael Symes. The referee was left in no doubt about sending the Reds defender off, and he will now miss the first three games of next season.
Chadwick should have had two more goals in addition to substitute Craig Garside's fifth for Everton, but the home side were well worthy of their 5-1 scoreline. They now wrap up the season on Monday at home against Birmingham City and will be in confident mood.
EVERTON RES: Simonsen, O'Hanlon, B Moogan, Clarke, Pilkington, Linderoth, Schumacher, Osman (Garside 77), Chadwick (Barry 81), Symes, A Moogan. Subs: Turner, Beck, Gerrard.
LIVERPOOL RES: Luzi, Vaughan, Wright, Foley, Otsemobor, Babbel, Wilkie (O'Donnell 68),Welsh, Mellor (Flynn 58), Gillespie, Butler (Harrison 60). Subs: Massie.
Reluctant Moyes accepts Rooney's call-up
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 9 2003
DAVID MOYES has been forced to reluctantly accept that Wayne Rooney will almost certainly be named in Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad on Monday. The Everton boss spoke to the Swede last night and the 17-year-old striker is set to be included in the squad to face South Africa in an end-of-season friendly. That represents a blow for Moyes who had hoped his teenage prodigy would be rested after his gruelling breakthrough season, but will now inevitably face the full round of Press coverage and expectation ahead of the game on May 22. England's Euro home 2004 qualifiers against Serbia-Montenegro and Slovakia then follow on June 3 and 11, meaning that should Rooney play in the latter, his extraordinary first season in topflight football will have lasted almost a year since Everton's pre-season friendly against SC Bruck last July, meaning his involvement in more than 40 games. Meanwhile, Rooney's fellow striker Kevin Campbell claims Everton want to put "the icing on the cake" of a fine season of improvement by beating new champions Manchester United on Sunday. And the front man insists they are more than capable of beating United - who have beaten them six times out of the last seven at Goodison Park - on Sunday to ensure they finish above Blackburn and clinch the last UEFA Cup spot. Campbell said: "We can beat anybody on our day, as we've proved several times this season." Everton have already beaten Arsenal and Newcastle at Goodison this term, and Campbell now wants to make that three top scalps. But Campbell also revealed the deep feeling of achievement and success felt at the club this term, a season that has seen their fortunes turned around by Moyes in his first full campaign at the club. Campbell said: "Since the beginning of the season, there's been a tremendous sense of well-being around the club and to get a European spot would be the icing on the cake for us." Everton can take some comfort from their performance at Old Trafford this season, when Rooney made one of his first appearances and worried United's defence. Even though Everton finally lost 3-0 and had David Weir sent off - the Scottish defender is also suspended on Sunday following a second red card this term - their earlier dogged display delighted Moyes. Campbell said: "When we played them at Old Trafford, I don't think they were going through the best of spells and I don't think we were either, but we kept it close until five minutes before the end when they hit us with three goals. "They'll be coming to our place looking to finish their season on a high. "But if we can keep it tight, as we usually do, and nick a goal, then we can beat them."
Spurs can lift Blues
May 9 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IT MAY not be necessary for Everton to claim any points against Manchester United on Sunday and still qualify for Europe. I'm certain that whatever happens at Goodison, Tottenham will have a big say in whether Everton or Blackburn claim sixth spot. Spurs had a real setback against Middlesbrough last weekend and they will be looking to finish their season on a high, especially at home. When they face Blackburn on Sunday, there should be a reaction to that 5-1 defeat by Boro. And Spurs' timing in letting Teddy Sheringham go could be a factor. If he plays against Blackburn, it will be his farewell and he will want to sign off in style. The dilemma for Hoddle is whether to play someone with no future at the club or whether to leave him out altogether.
Price of freedom
MANY players will be given free transfers this summer, but Everton will be looking to move personnel out before bringing anyone in. It shows how the transfer situation in football has changed drastically. Aston Villa are talking about letting £30m worth of players walk away for nothing. They now have no market value, but Graham Taylor does not want them at the club. Villa are suggesting letting them go for nothing to get them off the wage bill. My most expensive mistake was Mo Johnston. He was my biggest buy, but lost me £1.5m. There were no takers for him, so what should you do? You don't want to hang on to a player who is on a big contract but isn't playing. I ended up giving him a free transfer.
Moyes fuming at Rooney call-up
May 9 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
WAYNE ROONEY will be asked to salvage England's controversial end-of-season friendly in South Africa - and his manager is hopping mad. Poor ticket sales for the May 22 match in Durban has led to the South African FA specifically requesting that England name the young Everton striker in their squad. Moyes believed he had an agree-ment that the youngster could enjoy a well earned break before he joins the squad for the friendly against Serbia-Montenegro on June 3 and the European Championships qualifier with Slovakia eight days later. But he will now be in action until mid-June, with Everton reporting back for pre-seasson training again on July 3. "I do not do my talking in the press," snapped Moyes today, clearly upset that Rooney's inclusion in Monday's squad had been leaked. With Arsenal and Southampton players not selected because of the FA Cup final the day before, the FA were anxious to give the squad a profile by including the teen-ager who has become a world-wide phenomenon. The 17-year-old's first senior season is now likely to last 11 months. But even more worryingly for Everton is that at the end of next season England are likely to be involved in the European Championship finals in Portugal - stretching Rooney's campaign once again.
"I think parts of Wayne's game have been very good recently," said Moyes "but there have also been signs that it has been a long, hard season for him. "We have demanded a lot from the players in every game. At times we have been under-strength with injury and people have had to play more than they normally would have. Wayne has had to start our last seven games plus internationals. It's lucky we didn't overplay him at the start of the season." The burden on Everton's strikers may be eased against Manchester United on Sunday with Tomasz Radzinski finally in with a chance of a long-awaited return. There are no clues from United on the likely make-up of their starting XI, but Moyes expects a stern test regardless. "I wouldn't expect Manches-ter United to come and not play to their very best. "I have great respect for what Manchester United have achieved, but we have a good record at Goodison Park this season. Our support has been fantastic all season and hopefully that can continue one final time."
Keane still up with best
May 9 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
RUMOURS of Roy Keane's demise are premature - says a man who has played both against and alongside Manchester United's compelling captain. Lee Carsley has shared the Republic of Ireland's midfield engine room with Keane, and also been on the receiving end in the Premiership of his abrasive challenges. And he has seen enough to warn his Everton teammates not to expect any chinks in the Irishman's armour. "He is still up there with the best midfielders in the league," said Carsley. "He is head and shoulders above most midfielders. He and Patrick Vieira are still the best in their position in the Premiership." The worry for Everton on Sunday is that the same criteria applies for most positions at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson may rest one or two individuals with the Premiership title now decided, but that will only allow fringe players like Juan Sebastian Veron, Diego Forlan, Phil Neville and Roy Carroll to come into a still formidable line-up. "Whatever team Manchester United put out you know what you are going to get from them. That's why they are so successful," added Carsley. "They are the best team in the league, and the fact the pressure is off them now will make life more difficult for us." For Carsley himself, the pressure he will be facing will be happily different from previous campaigns. In 2000-01 he was a member of the Coventry City side which was relegated, two seasons after he had been part of the Blackburn Rovers squad to suffer the same fate. Last season he was involved in another grim tussle to avoid the drop, this time with Everton, so the current campaign has been a breath of fresh air. "We've really enjoyed it," he said. "When you talk about people's expectations, I think they thought that this season would be the same as the last few, or maybe just a little bit better. "But we set the tone from the first game of the season and kept it up - and I don't think people expected that. "Once we were up there people didn't think we could maintain it, but we have been in the top six now for three-quarters of the season. "Whatever the result on Sunday it will have been a good season for us, but if everybody's being honest, if we miss out on Europe it will be such an anti-climax. We have been in the top six so long and if I'm being honest all I'm thinking about is staying there. "I think the gaffer has had a lot to do with it, but I also think we've been fortunate with injuries and suspensions this season. We haven't had as many injuries or suspensions at key times. "We've had the luxury of three strikers for most of the season with Radz, Kev and Wayne and that has helped enormously." That trio has contributed the lion's share of Everton's goals output this season.
Manager Moyes has asked for a greater contribution from midfield, bu t o n ly Steve Watson and Carsley have looked like responding to the appeal. Carsley hopes he still has one goal left up his sleeve this season. I think the way we are playing the gaffer expects us to get into the box as often as we can, especially the wide midfield play-ers," he explained. "He wants us to get forward at every opportunity - as long as we get back! The way that the game is going nowadays you have to start chipping in with goals now from all over the place. If I can try and get another one on Saturday I will be well pleased. "I am much happier in the middle. That's where I've played my whole career. But the way the wide midfielders play here we are not expected to hug the touchline and produce a few tricks and that. The main thing is that we play our own game, do what we want to do and not worry about United. They have classy play-ers all over the field but if we are all on our game we can match them."
Ruud chases Law's record
May 10, 2003
Manchester Evening Post
RUUD van Nistelrooy can equal Denis Law's 39-year-old season goalscoring record with a hat-trick at Goodison Park. And Sir Alex Ferguson believes that if the flying Dutchman pulls it off, it would be an even more remarkable feat than that of Manchester United legend Law. He says that van Nistelrooy, a student of United history, will go into the game aware that another record is beckoning if he can draw alongside Law's tally of 46 set in the 1963-64 season. "Ruud will want to do it himself, you can be sure of that, and if he was to equal that record it would a be a hell of an achievement in modern terms," said Fergie. "It's harder to score today, it must be. Today Denis would be the perfect model of a player because of the attitude that he had, but Ruud has been phenomenal. "The goal against Fulham was marvellous, that stands out in my mind, but he has had a lot of great goals. "Law's strike ratio that season was amazing - his 46 in all competitions came in just 41 games, and included six hat-tricks. Van Nistelrooy's 43 have come in 51 games."
But the Dutchman will set more new records with just ONE goal tomorrow - he will break his own club record of scoring in nine consecutive games, set last season and already equalled this. One more would also equal the United record for goals in consecutive league matches, set by Billy Whelan in 1956 and already equalled by van Nistelrooy last season. United want to win tomorrow to set up the Premiership trophy presentation nicely, and to lay to rest Arsene Wenger's claims that his Arsenal side would have won the title had they beaten Leeds last Sunday. Fergie has refuted Wenger's suggest- ions that the Gunners were the better team this season. He argues that the league table and the form book do not lie. "You just have to examine how we have achieved it. We have dropped six points since Boxing Day, which is championship form. "And look at our goal ratio in the last few weeks at every step - four against Charlton, four against Liverpool, two down at Highbury, six against Newcastle, two down at Tottenham, three at home to Blackburn. "That's quite an impressive number of goals to score, and we sailed through the games everyone said the title would be decided on. "We beat Newcastle and Liverpool and drew down at Highbury, and we were unlucky down there - their first goal was offside and the second got a lucky deflection off Thierry Henry who may also have been offside. "We proved our mettle when it matters, and that is how you win championships. "Our goals total at the moment is 72, less than we usually get, but you have to think about early season when we were not at our best. "I felt once we had momentum going it was on, but you can never be sure. "There is a lot of hope attached in football. You hope you don't get injuries, you hope you get the breaks, you hope players retain their form. "But when we hit form you knew they were up for it, the focus was great and team spirit marvellous, and you knew we had a chance." Now Fergie is intent on finishing the season with a win. "We don't want any finger-pointing stigma attached to a Manchester United performance at any time, nor suggestions about who you are going to help and who you are not going to help. "That washes away when you consider that David Moyes doesn't need any help from anyone - the job he has done there has been magnificent. "His team has got to the stage where it has a genuine chance of being in Europe and we'll go there and perform to the best of our ability with our strongest team." And Fergie also believes the Premier League was correct in over-ruling Everton and insisting that the trophy be presented at Goodison Park. "At the end of the day you have to capture the moment when it's there, and the moment is there on Sunday. "Talk about presenting the trophy at eight o'clock at night at Old Trafford is not the right atmosphere, when you have Sky television filming it. They have to get that, because they have put a lot of money into it." Gary Neville, who has a foot problem, is the only player unavailable.
Everton 1 Manchester United 2
May 11, 2003
Manchester Evening News
GOLDEN BOY: Van Nistelrooy makes another run
UNITED finished the season on a high with a 2-1 win at Goodison Park before collecting the Premiership Trophy. And Ruud Van Nistelrooy's second half penalty that won the game also ensured that the Dutchman finished with the golden boot as the league's top scorer. The reds were playing an Everton side that needed to win to book a Uefa cup place. but ended up outclassed. Everton went ahead in just eight minutes when Kevin Campbell rose at the near post to head home from a corner, but the Reds came roaring back, carving out a host of first half chances. Van Nistelrooy scorned two great opportunities to close in on Denis Law's club goal scoring record for a season of 46. But it was David Beckham who levelled the scores, in typical spectacular fashion, on 42 minutes.
United were awarded a free kick on the left hand edge of the Everton penalty area. It seemed perfect for the left footed Giggs, but Beckham chipped a screamer beyond Richard Wright for a goal that was stunning even by his own standards. United set out to win the game but needed a great save from Roy Carroll to deny Everton wonderboy Wayne Rooney. And with Laurent Blanc on for a farewell appearance United edged ahead in the 78th minute. Van Nistelrooy was pulled back in the box by Alan Stubbs and picked himself up to roll the ball into Wright's bottom left hand corner.
With the match won, the fans waited patiently to applaud the United squad as they collected the Premiership trophy to bring the curtain down on their season.
Blues Euro dreams shattered as curtain falls
May 11 2003 icLiverpool
EVERTON'S gallant quest for Europe suffered a final day collapse as a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester United saw Blackburn Rovers snatch the final UEFA Cup spot. Despite a Kevin Campbell opener on 8 minutes the newly crowned Premiership champions were simply too strong for David Moyes' brave troops. A David Beckham freekick on 45 minutes was followed by a Ruud Van Nistelrooy penalty 10 minutes before the end which meant that Blackburn's 4-0 win against 10-man Tottenham at White Hart Lane was enough for the Lancashire side to leapfrog the Blues into Europe.
The heartache of missing out on Europe is a massive blow to Everton who have made great strides under Moyes this season. After occupying a top six position for most of the campaign the Blues were still in the running for a Champions League place until Easter and many had suggested a return to Europe would have been just reward for a fabulous season. To make things worse, the Toffees' teenage sensation Wayne Rooney picked up a medial ligament knee injury and will miss his country's trip to South Africa in the summer. The 17-year-old striker (pictured) aggravated a knock picked up early in the game via a second half clash with United defender Laurent Blanc and is also a doubt for England's Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia. Rooney will have a scan on the injury on Monday.
Elsewhere, a 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge saw Liverpool fail to make the Champions League as Chelsea grabbed fourth spot. West Ham were finally relegated despite drawing 2-2 with Birmingham at St Andrews as Bolton clung on to beat Middlesbrough 2-1 at the Reebok Stadium to guarantee their Premiership status for another year.
Everton 1, Man United 2 (D, Post)
May 12 2003 David Prior At Goodison Park, Daily Post
SO a season kept afloat by dreams of the Continent has sunk with the harbour lights in sight. The treasure courted for nine months, cruelly gone. The faces that trudged the lap of honour told a story of a season that will now be unjustly remembered as a failure, of a prize squandered with the finishing line within reach. In the end their last-day decider was a step too far, a coasting Manchester United proving an ocean apart even on half-throttle. But while the final blow may have been made yesterday in a blur of missed chances, this was a campaign that ran out of steam some weeks ago. Even David Moyes, the man responsible for Everton's staggering transformation, could not magic a fairytale to go with his miracle. Of course, when the confetti is hoovered off the Goodison pitch and cooler heads can review this season, there will emerge a catalogue of improvements; umpteen reasons to be cheerful once the initial pain dies. Fingers will be pointed no doubt at Mike Riley, the referee obviously with a fondness for watching Ruud van Nistelrooy take a penalty, or Wayne Rooney, who will long remember his afternoon for all the wrong reasons.
But blame-apportioning a season's gains on one 90 minutes' woe seems futile. Seventh place is an unimaginable performance given the state Everton were in when Moyes picked it up off its knees 14 months ago. Scant comfort now, of course - in the words of Moyes' brutal post-match assessment, it's about winners and losers. Yesterday, with the Blues' reputation as party hosts hardly enhanced in the past week, United were forced to bring their own balloons and jelly. The accepted wisdom was that the newly-crowned champions would either turn on the style, free from the shackles of pressure, or, with their eighth title in 11 seasons safely in the bag, not have the will for such a final-day battle. And for a time it did indeed seem as if all that champagne had dulled some of the men in red's senses as they opened with all the zest of a flattened pugilist. Fortunately Everton initially grasped the level of urgency this fixture demanded. Intimidation is often the Old Trafford's side most powerful weapon, but from the start Moyes' men, typified by a scowling Rooney, were giving their famous visitors the kind of respect usually reserved for matches against those other Reds. Wes Brown, departing on a stretcher in the first half after a Rooney tackle, soon found out that this was never going to be a day for casually preserving fitness ahead of summer sojourns. But with United so convincingly restored to the top of the Premiership turret, few had envisaged an Everton lead established within eight minutes. It was just what their energetic start deserved, however.
Gary Naysmith and Lee Carsley engineered a neat short corner before the latter swung in a cross that Kevin Campbell headed inside Roy Carroll's near post. Five minutes earlier Rooney had already set the precedent for the open game that followed by spurning the first of several excellent chances, on this occasion after Carsley's incisive ball through. But even as the fans were still celebrating their goal, there palpably came the realisation that a seventh-minute lead against United is very rarely a decisive one. All it meant, if anything, was 83 minutes of nerve-jangling, sustained pressure to absorb. Richard Wright, delivering the kind of display that would win many another match, was first called upon to block a point-blank Ruud van Nistelrooy header. The Dutchman, unusually wasteful for large parts of the game, should have levelled for United after 24 minutes when side-stepping Alan Stubbs but his shot evaded both Wright and post. He would, though, return to make amends.
Doing anything but justify his manager's claims of tiredness, Rooney was a bundle of energy, a constant source of worry for the United back four, and Roy Carroll had to be alert to palm away his high 26th-minute shot. Two minutes later and Thomas Gravesen, rarely a man to shirk the chance of a quick nose-to-nose, duly involved himself in a hotheaded confrontation with John O'Shea that required skipper Kevin Campbell's mediation to spare the Dane an early trip down the tunnel.
Campbell though was to make that trip himself 13 minutes later, a knee injury forcing his replacement by Duncan Ferguson. The Scot is half the player he was when grabbing the winner the last time Everton beat United at Goodison eight years ago, however, and the loss of Campbell was keenly felt. United by this stage had slipped into their trademark flowing, fluent style and an equaliser was looking increasingly probable. Paul Scholes was buzzing around huge swaths of grass, calling Wright into excellent diving saves either side of a low 20-yarder that hit the post.
But the Mancunians' irresistible football did not bring them level - instead, it was from another entirely predictable source: David Beckham's right foot. With a free-kick from an angle so acute a goal would normally be classed unintentional, the England skipper found the back of the net in a manner so sublime his manager would forgive him even if he had complimented his hair-band with a dash of mascara. One minute before half-time, the timing for United was perfect - the omens for the second half, the half-time Goodison air seemed to suggest, were not good. And so it transpired, with van Nistelrooy grazing the crossbar within seconds of the restart. The second half was sheer end-to-end entertainment, at least for the neutral, and had Rooney shown the merest glimpse of the prowess he had shown in front of goal all season, today's rescheduling of next season's foreign trips' budget could still be on. But time after time the opportunities were snatched at and wasted, the gigantic expectation weighing too heavily even for his broad shoulders. One point-blank miss in particular, from Naysmith's centre, fooled even the hasty electronic scoreboard. Wright, meanwhile, was performing heroics at the other end, first van Nistelrooy, then even more spectacularly, from Beckham. Even Roy Keane's charge and shot met only a solid Blue wall. Still Everton pressed, Rooney's turn and shot requiring a desperate block from Carroll. But with the inevitability that made them champions, van Nistelrooy was debatably fouled by Alan Stubbs; the Dutchman picked himself up, maintained his 100 per cent spot-kick record and took the Golden Boot prize to boot. With Blackburn thumping Tottenham at White Hart Lane, that was essentially the final dagger in the season. The hope visibly drained from them as they sensed their season would end with nothing, Everton blustered through the final moments as United turned on the party tricks.
One victory in their last five games is testament to a season that spluttered to an end. But there are grounds for promise scarcely envisaged a year ago - such optimism should not be lost on a day when the Continent seems every bit as far away as it did last August.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Carsley, Gravesen (Chadwick 75), Naysmith (Pistone 83), Rooney, Campbell (Ferguson 40). Subs: Simonsen, Gemmill.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Carroll, Brown (Phil Neville 40), Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Blanc 45), Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer (Fortune 78). Subs: Veron, Butt.
REFEREE: M Riley (W Yorkshire).
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gravesen, Hibbert, Rooney, Stubbs, Ferguson and Manchester United's Ferdinand, Blanc, Phil Neville.
May 12 2003Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney's magical first Premiership season ended yesterday when champions Manchester United came to Goodison Park. PADDY SHENNAN reflects on the birth of Rooneymania in the city
IT was about 4.50pm on Saturday October 19, 2002 when Clive Tyldesley, sitting in his commentary position at Goodison Park, uttered a simple five-word sentence. But while it may have been simple, it signified a star had been born ...
"Remember the name: WAYNE ROONEY!"
What a goal. And what a story which was about to unfold. Remember the season: 2002/2003: the year of Rooneymania. The year of Roonaldo. What a season. What an incredible season. Some might say Wayne's had more magic moments in one season than Paul Daniels has conjured up in an entire career. That late, great goal which helped Everton beat reigning champions Arsenal (ending their 30-game unbeaten run in the process) was scored by an Everton-mad 16-year-old from Croxteth, who was just a few months out of school. Clive Tyldesley is one of the millions who will never forget it. He tells the ECHO: "The name 'Wayne Rooney' had been whispered with awe around the corridors of football clubs for a couple of years and I had Evertonian friends telling me about his exploits in the previous season's youth cup. "People were telling me 'Remember the name.' I had heard so much about this boy and my instincts told me to be confident enough to say, in effect, 'By the way, folks, this is just the start!' And I really think it was. "But if he had scored with that chip immediately afterwards I don't know how I would have explained that!" In the Main Stand that day, as they have been all season, were Wayne's parents, Wayne senior and Jeanette, brothers Graham and John - and Bob Pendleton, the scout who took him to Everton when he was nine. Two days after That Goal, as Jeanette laughed off suggestions that her son could already be set to leave Everton, Bob, a good friend of the family, said: "Wayne has set the city on fire. And the good news is this is just the start ... He was born to score goals." And he was born to play for England - although even one of his biggest fans was surprised that it would happen less than a year after he left De La Salle Comprehensive. Bob says today: "I knew he would make an impact at Everton this season, but I wasn't even thinking about England - but that's Wayne, he's the boy for the big stage. "What he has also done is promote Everton Football Club and the city. Newspapers around the world have been writing about him and kids all over the country are wearing 'Rooney' shirts." Wayne had only been on the pitch for 10 minutes on that famous day against Arsenal and he continued to make an impact from the subs' bench. Everton, for example, hadn't won a league game at Leeds United since 1951 - but then Rooney made his customary dynamic entrance to score the only goal of the game.
And no, it wasn't a tap-in. It was another glorious strike. But fame has its flipside. That same month, it was also reported that vandals had slashed the tyres of the Rooney family's people-carrier on two occasions. The family declined to report the damage to the police or to make any comment on the attacks. And in April, the Rooney s came under attack again, when vandals fired paint ball gun pellets at the family home. Again, the incident wasn't reported to the police. The police, sadly, were brought in - by several Liverpool fans - when Wayne spat on the pitch while apparently looking towards the away support during the recent Goodison derby. But it was possibly the non-story of the year and police simply decided to have a quiet word in Wayne's ear. In December, meanwhile, Middle England got its collective knickers in a twist when a nervous-looking Wayne collected his BBC Young Sports Personality Of The Year award, while chewing gum. He was also - shock, horror - wearing a loosened tie. Even funnier, the teenager and his team-mate Alan Stubbs were mistaken for burglars by posh London estate agents who believed they were trying to case £1m homes to set up a break-in - this despite the fact they were high-profile players wearing club tracksuits! Wayne also got to know one or two Premiership referees, including David Elleray. The Harrow headmaster didn't seem able to resist sharing the Rooney limelight - he presented the teenager with his first red card at Birmingham on Boxing Day. But you can't keep a genius down for long and, after a serving a ban, Wayne returned to terrorise defences - and delight England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Eriksson called Wayne up for the friendly international against Australia at Upton Park on February 12. He would play the second-half, making him England's youngest ever player. Wayne senior said at the time: "The whole family is absolutely delighted for Wayne and obviously I am a very, very proud dad. Playing for England has always been his dream." And Arsenal's ex-Everton ace Franny Jeffers made it a Croxteth double - Franny, who played alongside Wayne in the second-half, also attended both Our Lady And St Swithin's and De La Salle schools. Wayne also came on as sub - this time later in the game - against Liechtenstein, before making his full debut in the two-nil victory over Turkey at Sunderland's Stadium of Light on April 2. Even the player's mum has enjoyed her share of fame this season - at the Gwladys Street Hall Of Fame dinner at the Adelphi Hotel in March, fans (led by yours truly) queued up to get Jeanette's autograph and, as she collected a trophy on her son's behalf, more than 500 Blues chanted "Rooney's mum! Rooney's mum! Rooney's mum!" Wayne, himself, continued to do his talking on the pitch - not least when he scored the last-gasp Goodison winner against Aston Villa on April 26, to keep the Blues on course for Europe. The European dream, sadly, proved a bridge too far. But despite that, it's been a wonderful season for Everton and Wayne Rooney. Remember the name? Who could forget it? IT was some season . . .
* August 17, 2002. Wayne Rooney makes his Premiership debut for Everton, at home to Tottenham Hotspur.
* October 1. Wayne scores his first competitive goals for Everton - two of them, at Wrexham, in the Worthington Cup.
* October 19. He - briefly - becomes the youngest-ever Premiership goalscorer when he hits a late winner (and first league goal) against reigning champions Arsenal at Goodison Park. Leeds Utd's James Milner was to soon snatch his record.
* October 24. Happy birthday Wayne - 17 today.
* November 3. Everton end a 51-year wait for a league win at Elland Road - when another Rooney classic beats Leeds.
* December 8. Wayne is crowned the BBC's Young Sports Personality Of The Year.
* January 17, 2003. Wayne signs his first professional contract with Everton.
* February 12. The 17-year-old makes his debut for England, playing the second-half against Australia at Upton Park, thereby becoming England's youngest-ever international.
* April 2. He makes his full England debut, against Turkey, at The Stadium of Light, Sunderland.
* April 26. Wayne scores a crucial last-minute winner against Aston Villa, as Everton continue to fight for a UEFA Cup place.
* Wayne has so far scored eight goals for Everton in all competitions - from 16 starts and 20 substitute appearances.
Day to forget has cost a fortune
May 12 2003
FOR Merseyside football, it was one of the most costly 90 minutes on record. Liverpool's failure to secure Champions League football at the hands of Chelsea yesterday could have cost them as much as £20m. Everton's own failure to secure UEFA Cup football is not initially as expensive, with a third round place worth only £40,000, but Liverpool's victory in the 2001 tournament ended up earning them around £15m. A pool of £349m is drawn from the sale of TV and marketing rights for the Champions League and shared between the clubs. In the first group phase each club gets £5.5m and a further £166m is split between the 32 teams depending on the TV market in their country.
Newcastle estimated that getting through to the second phase this year increased their turnover by £25m. Liverpool will pick up £8m for their Premiership efforts this year. Everton's seventh position place has still earned the club £7m.
* EVERTON and England footballer Wayne Rooney, 17, has bought a new £500,000 house in West Derby for his family.
Just vying for Europe a sign of progress
Len Capeling, Daily Post
May 12 2003
THE lesson to be drawn from this ultimately comfy win for the champions, is Don't Upset Manchester United. All the hoopla that Everton allowed to develop over United's crowning ceremony clearly upset the knight of Old Trafford and his proud army. So when he sent out his awesomely talented team to demonstrate the finer arts at a packed Goodison, he clearly told them to ensure that only one team would have something substantial to celebrate come close of play.
That didn't prevent 40,000 Blues supporters giving thanks for a season that has seen new life and new hope breathed into the Everton team by the messianic David Moyes. Nor should it have done. To have a UEFA Cup place resting on the very last match is more a signal of progress than an indication of failure. But the fact remains that when it really mattered, only one side possessed European credentials and that side was dressed in blood red. Early on, a deftly-headed goal from Kevin Campbell and a determination to be first to every 50-50 made Everton favourites to end the day on a high. Twice United keeper Roy Carroll was forced into vital interventions to end muscular incursions by the lively Wayne Rooney. This was exactly what David Moyes desired. No spaces for the predatory Paul Scholes to drift into, and Joseph Yobo keeping watch on the Premiership's premier striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy, whose footwork still dazzled. Problem was, a series of poor crosses and naive final passes enabled United to ease back into the game and find the passing range and composure. That was the end for Everton, in a pure footballing sense. As soon as United began to flow, Everton began to become nervy. As soon as United began to flow, the midfield flaws that Moyes has been unable to eradicate began to reveal themselves. The David Beckham equaliser - from a free-kick for a foul on the increasingly influentual van Nistelrooy - showed Everton at the most unprofessional. The wall was rickety and Richard Wright's positioning so wrong that he made up Beckham's mind for him, and the ball arced into the net. Wright, to his credit, didn't allow his misjudgment to affect the remainder of a 90-minute work-out that showed him still to be a goalkeeper of some promise. Five times he stood between van Nistelrooy, Scholes and Roy Keane, Horatio at the gate, as United began to shred the Everton cordon. The Dutch striker also struck the post as did elusive Scholes, and you began to wonder whether United would be denied yet another victory due to their inability to finish off the victim. That thought may well have flashed through Sir Alex Ferguson's mind in the second half as Rooney, of all people, contrived to knock some glitter off his golden reputation by twice firing wide with the goalkeeper rooted. And then banging the ball into Carroll's legs instead of the net. Any of those would have granted Everton a priceless lead - though the true picture of chances missed fell something like 7-3 in the Reds' favour. The one that did finally count came from the penalty shot, courtesy of an Nistelrooy who set a new United record of 10 goals in 10 games. It looked a soft award as van Nistelrooy fell under minimal challenge from Alan Stubbs. But referee Mike Riley made strange decisions all afternoon, so the spot-kick was no surprise. In fact, it probably represented some kind of soccer justice because it ensured that the team that played most of the football won an enthralling encounter. Unstoppable when they're in this mood, the champions ended the match toying with a careworn Everton unable to mount a final assault. If I could count above 20, I'd tell you how many United passes were elegantly stroked around as the boys in Blue wilted. For Sir Alex Ferguson, the win gave another example of his tactical ability and his integrity in these matters. It also showed the rest of the Premiership that the gap between the champions and the also-rans is massive - no matter what Arsene Wenger may say to the contrary. For David Moyes, the result was a kick in the teeth - not least from the Gravesen twin who spoiled a combative display with the kind of yobbish indiscipline which forced the Everton manager to remove a key player to save him from a second yellow card and a deserved red.
But don't knock the season. It's been an exhilarating one, and hopefully it indicates future freedom from the R-word. As for Europe, it can wait until Moyes gets himself the team he really wants.
Memo to Goodison's multi-millionaire director, Paul Gregg, show us your money or show us your departure ticket.
Injury puts Rooney out
Simon Stone, Daily Post
May 12 2003
WAYNE ROONEY will miss England's trip to South Africa after compounding a bad day in front of goal by picking up a medial knee ligament injury in Everton's 2-1 defeat to new Premiership champions Manchester United. The 17-year-old will undergo a scan this morning to assess the extent of the damage but manager David Moyes believes Rooney is also a doubt for the Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia. The news has been greeted with suspicion by the Football Association, who have been embroiled in a row with Moyes over Rooney's availability for the South African trip, coach Sven-Goran Eriksson insisting only yesterday the player should travel, and the matter could yet escalate into a full-scale row. "Wayne picked up an injury in the first-half, then aggravated it when he was tackled by Laurent Blanc in the second," said Moyes. "He will have a scan in the morning but he definitely won't travel to South Africa and he is a doubt for the later matches as well." The FA seem sure to ask for a medical report into Rooney's fitness and may also ask him to travel south for an independent assessment into the injury, which has come less than a fortnight since Moyes met Eriksson to try to improve relations between the England camp and the leading clubs. Football Association head of media relations Adrian Bevington revealed England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson had spoken to Moyes, but a decision would not be made about Rooney until the results of the scan were known. "Sven spoke with David Moyes on the telephone after today's game regarding Wayne Rooney," said Bevington. "As we are well aware Wayne will have a scan on his knee in the morning and following the scan, the England team doctor will have a conversation with his counterpart at Everton - from where we will assess the situation further. "Sven will name a squad for games against South Africa, Serbia-Montenegro and Slovakia at lunchtime tomorrow." It was a disappointing end to a rare afternoon to forget for Rooney, who will reflect on three wasted chances during the second half when the sides were locked at 1-1. His failure to convert any of them, particularly the golden opportunity presented to him by Gary Naysmith's perfect cross along the six-yard area which found Rooney completely unmarked in a central position, cost Everton their chance of landing a prized UEFA Cup spot next season.
Rooney injury setback as Blues miss out on Europe
David Prior, Daily Post
May 12 2003
DAVID MOYES paid tribute to "the most improved squad in the Premiership" after Everton lost out on the final UEFA Cup spot yesterday - and then revealed Wayne Rooney could miss England's qualifier with Slovakia next month. The 17-year-old striker will have a scan today to determine the extent of the medial knee ligament injury he picked up during the Blues' 2-1 defeat against Manchester United, with Moyes immediately claiming that would rule him out of contention for England's friendly in South Africa - and possibly the Euro 2004 qualifiers that follow. Moyes had earlier yesterday said he did not want Rooney to be included on the trip to allow him to recuperate from a long campaign - but Swede Eriksson seemed set to ignore the Scot's plea. It capped a day of misery for the Blues who, with Blackburn embarrassing Tottenham at White Hart Lane, needed to beat United to grab sixth place and a passport to the continent. But the task proved just beyond their grasp, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy from the spot cancelling out Kevin Campbell's early goal to give Moyes' men no reward for their season of vast improvement. And afterwards a disconsolate Moyes had no complaints at his side's cruel fate. He said: "You end up where you deserve and congratulations to Blackburn, they've done great. To go and win at Tottenham was a great result. "I think that there has been improvement here and the players have done particularly well and they deserve a lot of credit. It's been a good season for Everton. "They've turned themselves round, and are probably the most improved squad in the Premiership if you're looking at where things were this time last year, to now. "The players are achieving and doing well but we couldn't quite get over the finishing line." Everton spurned several superb chances, several falling to Wayne Rooney, but were just unable to generate the victory which would have meant a first return to European combat in seven seasons. Moyes added: "United were extremely professional and I'm sure they wanted to finish the season on a high and get as many points as they could. "We've lost today to a fantastic free-kick and a penalty kick against Manchester United, and that says a lot about how we have done. "We had some good saves from our goalkeeper and we missed good chances, too, to maybe wrap the game up. When you get them against Man United you have to take them."
But he added: "But there's no silver lining. It's about winners and losers." Graciously, a majority of the Everton fans stayed in the ground to hail Sir Alex Ferguson and his team, with Ruud van Nistelrooy predictably getting the loudest reception. It was the Dutchman who won yesterday's contest, blasting home a late spot-kick after referee Mike Riley capped a string of decisions which left Moyes fuming by ruling Alan Stubbs had dragged Van Nistelrooy back inside the area. The £18.5million signing from PSV was scoring his 44th goal of the season, in the process becoming the first United player to find the net in 10 successive games, as well as equalling his own Premiership record of scoring in eight matches on the trot. It also earned him the Premiership's golden boot award, with player of the year Thierry Henry unable to match his 25 goals. "The golden boot and a Premiership winners' medal is a great combination," said the 26-year-old. "Last year I won some awards but they didn't mean as much because the club didn't win anything, so today is extra special.
"I have no complaints about Thierry Henry winning the player of the year. He deserved it. In any case, I voted for him, so I can't say anything."
Everton 1, Man United 2 (Echo)
May 12 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SO, at the end of a season of renewed passion, restored pride and unimagined progress at Goodison Park, there was nothing tangible for Everton to celebrate. No Europe. No sixth place and not even a last day victory over the newly crowned champions. But if Evertonians can allow themselves time for the message to sink in to - and it will undoubtedly take time after this heart-wrenching disappointment - David Moyes has given Evertonians a more enduring gift to enjoy this season.
Hope. The Blues will not be dreaming of Thursday night sojourns in downtown Tirana next season, but they will look forward to a new Premiership season without fearing the trauma of another relegation dogfight. They will not be scanning easyJet flight schedules nor anticipating complicated cup draws on Eurosport. But they can savour a season when the club has been given back its pride.
That's the highly creditable achievement David Moyes has wrought throughout Everton's 100th season of top flight football. It's been a long time since they were a member of the highest echelon of the top division. And yesterday's performance by a switched off Manchester United underlined how far they are away from rejoining that elite. But no longer are they a part of the bottom tier either - and when this fixture was announced way back in June the overwhelming fear amongst every Evertonian was that Everton may need to win to preseve their top flight status. To suggest then that it would be a last day European decider would have had you hauled off, securely restrained in a strait jacket. But that's the transformation David Moyes effected - and now he must be given the financial help to consolidate that progress. It's an open secret that purse string are still tight at Goodison. But an extra £4m has been generated already on improved league position alone this season - and the sight of the spent players chasing shadows in the dying minutes shows every penny will be needed to maintain the zest and workrate which has carried Everton so far this season.
For United, that work-rate is taken for granted - even when the Premiership crown has already been clinched. And the gulf in class is vast. They even had an admirer in match official Mike Riley. The Old Mother has been criticised for the abnormal number of penalty kicks he has awarded Manchester United this season. But it wasn't just the award of a penalty kick which infuriated Everton yesterday, although when a free-kick is awarded 20 yards from goal it's almost as good. That was the pivotal moment of yesterday's match. David Unsworth was adamant his sliding tackle on Solksjaer three minutes before half-time had been clean, and he did, indeed, come away with the ball at his feet while the Norwegian rolled round and round as if someone had aministered strychnine to his pre-match drink. But Riley was insistent and Beckham trotted up to clip an effortlessly glorious strike from the right hand corner of the Blues' box into the top left corner of the net. That levelled Kevin Campbell's seventh minute header from a short-corner routine - a goal which edged him clear as the Blues' leading scorer once again this season - and Everton's European dreams were already looking shaky. The expected penalty kick when it duly arrived - the seventh Riley has awarded to United in five matches this season - was just as hotly contested as the earlier free-kick. Ruud Van Nistelrooy tangled with Alan Stubbs, who may or may not have tugged at the Dutchman's shirt, but Riley's instant reaction showed he was certain. So, too, was Van Nistelrooy who strayed from his usual bottom left target - but was no less effective. Everton had enjoyed chances before then, but for once Wayne Rooney was not to be the star of the show. His best chance, in the 52nd minute, was just a couple of yards out from Gary Naysmith's low, left-footed cross. Somehow he contrived to sidefoot the chance wide. Ten minutes later he found himself clean through again after Alan Stubbs had launched a long ball forward and Blanc misjudged. The ball bounced high a couple of times before Rooney gathered it on his right foot, but then he hurried a volley a foot wide of the post.
There was no fault attached to the chance which went begging in the 73rd minute. Rooney turned to strike Ferguson's head-down on target - but Carroll stuck out a leg to divert the shot behind for a corner. They weren't isolated goalmouth incidents. Such was Everton's anxiety to get the ball forward that they left gaps at the back - and United exploited them often. Scholes shot wide when well placed after only two-and-a-half minutes, Van Nistelrooy headed straight at Wright, Van Nistelrooy raced around Yobo before clipping an effort uncharacteristically wide, Scholes was denied by the woodwork while Wright made an outstanding one-handed stop from Scholes' shot. That was all before the interval, when Riley was booed off for a succession of sympathetic decisions in the visitors' favour. It was just as open in the second half - Everton were forced to replace Campbell with Ferguson following a late Wes Brown tackle - a challenge unpunished by a caution. After the break Van Nistelrooy took just 27 seconds to lob against a goalpost, Wright blocked the Dutchman's shot with his knees and made a back-breaking tip over from Beck-ham's dipping shot. That came on the hour, when the game and Everton's European ambitions were still in the balance. But both were settled when United 'won' their penalty kick 12 minutes from time. The reaction from the shattered Blues' players showed how much they had put into the preceding 78 minutes. The truth is Everton ran out of steam a month ago. Taking Everton from 15th to seventh has been a rare, and difficult achievement. The bad news is that it is even harder to make the switch from seventh to sixth, fifth or fourth. That must be Everton's next target. They have the right man at the helm to try and take them there and Evertonians can take solace from that throughout this summer.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Carsley, Gravesen (Chadwick, 75 mins), Naysmith (Pistone, 83 mins), Campbell (Ferguson, 39 mins), Rooney. Unused: Simonsen, Gemmill.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Carroll, Brown (P Neville, 39 mins), Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Blanc, 45 mins), Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Solskjaer (Fortune, 77 mins), Van Nistelrooy. Unused: Veron, Butt.
REFEREE: Mike Riley.
BOOKINGS: Gravesen (27 mins) foul, Ferdinand (47 mins) foul, Blanc (50 mins) foul, Hibbert (53 mins) foul, Rooney (59 mins) dissent, P Neville (66 mins) foul, Stubbs (77 mins) dissent, Ferguson (77 mins) dissent.
Sven keen for Rooney to travel
May 12 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpoo, Echo
THE importance of Wayne Rooney to the future of England was underlined yesterday when Sven Goran Eriksson admitted he was ready to take the Blues striker to South Africa. The national team boss was willing to antagonise Everton and manager David Moyes by naming the 17-year-old striker for the forthcoming friend-lies against South Africa and Serbia. But the medial knee ligament injury Rooney sustained during yesterday's final game of the season against Manchester United means the teenager will not be fit for those games. The injury also ensures there will be no club versus country row. But before yesterday's Goodison Park finale Eriksson was already trying to defuse a potentially explosive situation by insisting he has every sympathy with Moyes. He said: "David Moyes, he has a diamond in his hand and he has to protect him because he sees him every day and he knows him much better than I do. But I hope to take Wayne with England. "I have never had any problem with managers and I always try to make sure it is a good relationship. I under-stand their problems with friendly games at this time of the year. "It is disturbing for them to have a friendly game. I know from my time as a club manager." Ironically, Eriksson has revealed when he was a club coach he was always willing to withdraw players if he felt they were not 100 per cent fit. The England boss could now try and force Everton's hand by choosing to take the injured Rooney to South Africa despite his lack of fitness. He added: "I hated Italy playing when I was at Lazio. I would let my players go because I had to do it. But if I had a player with a little problem I would ring the national manager and say 'please don't take him'." The importance of Rooney to England became clear to Eriksson when the teenager made his full debut against Turkey. Eriksson recalls: "He is 17 so you are always afraid how a player of that age will react. But when I told him three hours before the game with Turkey he just shrugged and said okay. "Then I understood he would not be nervous. He handled the game like it was a school game and that was amazing. In that way he really did surprise me very much. "It was a very important game for England in front of our own fans and his reaction was to go out there and show no fear, trying to dribble past players. "He was not afraid and was very mature for a 17-year-old. When he did make mistakes it did not affect him. He just played his game. "That really did surprise because he is still so young. "I am sure all the players were very happy after the game because he showed he could handle it." But that mental strength, coupled with his undeniable star quality will now be missing from England's match in South Africa.
Moyes rules out Rooney
May 12 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
WAYNE ROONEY has no chance of being fit to face South Africa on May 22, says Blues' boss David Moyes. This morning's scan on the player's knee injury sustained yesterday revealed a "grade one medial knee ligament strain", which usually takes two weeks to heal. Moyes said today: "The scans shows quite clearly that Wayne has suffered a grade one medial knee ligament strain. "It normally takes up to two weeks for those type of injuries to clear, so Wayne will not be fit to play against South Africa. "If everything goes well we would hope he would be able to join up with the England squad when they go to La Manga a week on Friday. "The injury is a genuine one. The scans quite clearly show the extent of the damage." The 17-year-old has been named in the 25-man squad to play in South Africa on May 22, against Serbia & Montenegro on June 3 and the vital Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11. Earlier today Sven Goran Eriksson claimed Rooney will have to join up with the rest of the squad on Sunday ahead of the trip to South Africa. The England boss said: "I think going to South Africa will be very good to him because he will come into the family even more. "It is very important to have a good relationship with David Moyes. But Wayne is even more important. "He is important to Everton but he will be very important to England as well. He will come to join us at the hotel on Sunday. Our doctors will look at him and we will make a decision from there whether he will go to South Africa or not. the doctors decide it will be better if he stays at home we will accept that. But the decision will be made on Sunday. "There has been no issue with Everton. Our doctor has been talking to the Everton doctor and we will see what happens on Sunday." England's youngest international completed the full 90 minutes yesterday, but went on the traditional lap of honour with an ice pack strapped to his right knee. David Moyes has already begun honing his squad for next season by allowing Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo to return to Botafogo. "Unfortunately Rodrigo picked up a really serious injury at the start of the season and it's hindered him," explained Moyes. "It's been a struggle for him and we won't take up the option to sign him. He's a terrific lad and a terrific professional and we wish him well in the future."
Young winger Kevin McLeod, meanwhile, has been offered a one-year extension to his existing deal. Currently on loan at Queens Park Rangers, the player has still to indicate whether he intends to sign.
Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, has been formally charged by the FA with violent behaviour folowing an incident at the end of the Aston Villa match at Goodison Park last month. Ferguson has 14 days to respond.
Moyes downbeat despite Everton progress
May 12 2003 By Scott Mcleod At Goodison Park
THE pain of defeat was all too plain to see on the face of David Moyes yesterday. The Everton boss is the epitomy of a bad loser - he does not hide that fact. So after his brave Blues lost a grip on their top six berth for the first time since December with a final day defeat to Manchester United he could not bring himself to focus on the positives. A few sympathetic journalists did their best to coax any plus-points from the dejected manager, but he was having none of it. In doing so, he gave everybody in the post-match press conference a glimpse of the character that is sure to drive Everton to bigger and better things. That attitude has clearly rubbed off on his players. It will serve the side well in the years to come. Moyes' first full season in charge at Goodison has already seen a dramatic transformation in the club's fortunes. Twelve months ago people would have laughed at the suggestion that the Blues would go into the final game of this season chasing a European place.
It is a measure of the impact Moyes has made that, in the end, the failure to claim that place came as such a bitter disappointment. Afterwards he said: "It's been a good season, not a great season. I wouldn't say it has been a great season. This game is about winners and losers." The winners yesterday were Blackburn Rovers, who benefited from the Blues' failure to hang onto the lead they were given by Kevin Campbell after just seven minutes. Graeme Souness' men were also given a little helping hand from referee Mike Riley. A series of controversial decisions and a spate of yellow cards was capped with a dubious penalty for Manchester United. It was the seventh spot-kick the official has awarded to United in six games this season. Alan Stubbs had every right to feel aggrieved after being adjudged to have tugged at Ruud van Nistelrooy's shirt. It was a blow Everton could not recover from, as Moyes admitted: "I thought it was a soft penalty. The nature of that goal did knock the stuffing out of the players," he said. "In such an important game, for it to go like that with so much riding on it was hard to take. "You end up where you deserve and congratulations to Blackburn, they've done great. "But I think there has been improvement here and the players have done particularly well and they deserve a lot of credit. "They've turned themselves round, and are probably the most improved squad in the Premiership." The Everton boss was full of praise for Sir Alex Ferguson's champions. He added: "United were extremely professional and I am sure they wanted to finish the season on a high. "But we've lost today to a fantastic free kick and a penalty kick against Manchester United, and that says a lot about how we have done. "But you end up where you deserve and you have to give credit to Blackburn." The manager's disappointment did not stop him praising the fans. He concluded: "I thought the supporters were fantastic. They got behind us but they were also very appreciative of Manchester United. The fans deserve credit."
Celebrations well deserved
May 12 2003 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S players thoroughly earned their lap of honour around Goodison Park. Defeat might mean European football is put on ice and signalled a frustrating end to the season, but this team has excelled itself in the way it has challenged for a top six place for most of the season. A UEFA Cup place would have been an ideal finale, but under David Moyes this season they have made significant progress. They lost in controversial fashion to Manchester United - referee Mike Riley strikes again - and it was strange that Wayne Rooney should have such an off day in front of goal.
But they have now found a route back to the elite of English football and it is important next season to prove that they can at least maintain those standards. A few new faces might help. But they have shown that they are not a club threatened by relegation any more, but one making good progress along the road to recovery.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 13 2003
FIRSTLY I would like to say well done for this season to the Blues. Sadly we slipped up in the final quarter as we ran out of steam. The referee was a disgrace against Manchester United. I would show the door this summer to Duncan Ferguson and another five or six players. Hopefully Everton will rebuild with some decent midfielders and another forward. Sunday wasn't young Wayne's day; he will look at those chances he missed and won't believe it. But like all great players, you are going to get those days; unfortunately it had to Sunday for Wayne.
Peter Smith, Liverpool
AH WELL, "close but no coconut." Thanks to all the boys (and girls) in Blue, players, coaches, the board, the groundsmen, the tea ladies, thanks for a great season. We will, I am sure, continue to progress ever upwards.
Bill Gard, (via email)
I AM bitterly disappointed at not making the UEFA Cup. The reality is Everton are not good enough, but still a decent season nevertheless. Can we improve? Not with the current crop of players!
J Robshaw, (via e-mail)
DISAPPOINTED with a seventh spot in the Premiership and missing out on Europe, but what a season! Big thanks to David Moyes and his backroom staff, all the players, the Goodison crowd and Evertonians worldwide. I've supported the Blues for more than 40 years and this has been a most satisfying season. We didn't dominate like in the 60s and 80s but we expected to do well back then.
This was a season beyond expectation. Pride and smiles have been returned, some great stuff has been played, "no surrender" attitude and some fantastic (thank you Radz and Wayne) goals. We have some good young talent in the side (Wayne, Hibbert, Yobo) and some more waiting for their chance (Chadders, McLeod, Osman). Radz was sorely missed at the end and has to be one of the most exciting strikers in the Premiership and, for me, our player of the season. A few more astute buys by Moyes in the summer and I can see us building on what we have already achieved.
Al Brown, (via e-mail)
Show of respect
RESPECT to the Everton supporters! It was great to see those that stayed to see Man U collect the Premiership trophy and applaud their efforts - a credit to the best football playing club on Merseyside.
Darren Anders, (via e-mail)
SEVENTH place and clear of the next team - Southampton - by seven points. It's a marvellous achievement. I'd have taken that at the start of the season. In the end we missed Tomas Radzinski (pictured) terribly and our run-in was the hardest of any of the top seven teams. I think we've done brilliantly.
B MacDougall, (via e-mail)
No cash to splash
A DISAPPOINTING end to such an exciting season, but with Mike Riley in the middle - what did we expect? Having said that, young Rooney had a few chances to win it for us. Missing out on Europe will hurt but let's not forget the fact that we have had a tremendous season. The fact that we haven't made Europe should stop all the stupid comments from people calling for David Moyes to sign Cole, Defoe, Tommasson and Edgar Davids of all people! If you guys had any knowledge of Everton FC you would know we simply haven't got the cash to splash. I think a transfer budget of £5-£6m will be the most we can hope for. With that in mind, I hope we can secure Yobo's signing and bring in some youngsters (ie Miller, Samuel, Healey, Pennant, Koumas, Brown, Dawson etc). Well done Everton - we're proud of you.
Steve Millar, (via e-mail)
Everton Res 2, Birmingham Res 2
May 13 2003
EVERTON RESERVES completed their campaign with a hard-fought 2-2 draw against Birmingham City at the Halton Stadium with a lunchtime kick-off. It was no surprise that a very young side was on show, however, striker Nick Chadwick played the 90 minutes despite being involved against Manchester United less than 24 hours earlier. Everton were first off the mark when Leon Osman (pictured), who has enjoyed another tremendous season in the second string, fed David Carney who slid the ball under the keeper and finished left-footed into the goal. City wasted no time in responding positively as Carl Motteram rolled a free-kick to Andy Barrowman and his shot went inches wide of Turner's goal. Within seven minutes though the visitors were level, Chris Cottrill's cross evaded a number of bodies before it met Craig Fagan who slammed the ball past Turner.
Everton looked like they might regain the lead when Leon Osman worked his way clear on the byline and crossed only for the ball to just evade Michael Symes. Alan Moogan also went close before the break with a terrific shot which flew just over Colin Doyle's crossbar. City came out much brighter in the second half and very nearly took the lead when Peter Till fired over from 20 yards. Sean O'Hanlon got himself into the action midway through the second half with first a powerful header and then a vicious volley, however both chances were off target. On 78 minutes Birmingham City did go in front. Darren Carter's cross was volleyed home by Till, who cashed in on some hesitant defending from Everton. Just as it looked as though Everton would finish the season on a disappointing note Peter Clarke shot in the box and Peter Gilbert stuck out a hand, the referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot-kick. Nick Chadwick, who has had a great season for Andy Holden's side, smashed home the penalty only after having to retrieve the ball himself from the stands with ball boys a scarce commodity. So the Blues finish sixth, one point and one place behind Liverpool, but nevertheless boss Andy Holden has been pleased with the season's work. "There have been many positives," said Holden. It was good to see the emergence of players like Leon Osman who has been tremendous and of course the continued progression of the big fella up front, Nick Chadwick. "He's been out on loan and had injuries but has shown a lot of spirit to get back to scoring a lot of goals." Chadwick's late strike put him level as the league's second top scorer alongside Manchester United's Daniel Nardiello, behind Liverpool's Neil Mellor.
EVERTON RES: Turner, O'Hanlon, B Moogan, Clarke, Pilkington, Schumacher, Osman, Chadwick, Symes, Carney, A Moogan. Subs: Crowder, Gallagher, Southern, Garside, Barry.
BIRMINGHAM CITY RES: Doyle, Cottrill, Arrowsmith, Motteram (Parratt 79), Alsop, Till, Barrowman, Vaughan (Longthorne 69), Gilbert, Carter, Fagan. Subs: Sheppard, O'Brien, Dormand.
Euro riches increase the great divide
May 13 2003
MANCHESTER UNITED'S spoils from the season mount up to £50.6million from television and prize money alone - highlighting the yawning gulf between the haves and the have-nots in English football. Arsenal have earned slightly more, £51m - as 2001-02 champions last season they took the biggest share of Champions League TV cash - while by comparison relegated West Brom brought in £16.6m. Liverpool generated £45.15m, which was almost twice as much as Everton's £23.89m.
The earnings from the Premier League, UEFA and Football Association competitions do not include gate money, which will swell the coffers at the biggest clubs even more. The key to financial success is qualification for the group stage of the Champions League. That immediately guarantees a share of the television money which has been worth between £7.75m and £12m to the four English clubs who qualified, then there are match and performance bonuses which increase the further each side progresses. Sports finance expert Dr Bill Gerrard claims the huge rewards of the Champions League makes it impossible for those clubs not in the competition to challenge for honours in the domestic championship. Gerrard, from Leeds University's Business School, said: "The Champions League is having an impact on domestic leagues. It creates a virtuous circle where those inside it are more able to dominate in the domestic league and then qualify for the Champions League again. "It could be a problem for UEFA because it has created a situation where only a limited number of clubs in Europe have the financial base to get to the quarter-finals." The figures also highlight the shortfall Liverpool can expect next season after losing out to Chelsea for a Champions League place. When the situations were reversed for the season just past, Liverpool brought in £16m more than Chelsea. The Premier League allocate £503,000 for each place in the table, while BSkyB give the teams £9.4m plus £597,000 for every live game on Sky Sports or £150,000 if it is on pay-per-view
Blues sights on Caldwell
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 13 2003
DAVID MOYES will this week discover how much money he'll get to soften Everton's UEFA Cup blow with Newcastle defender Steven Caldwell primed to join his shopping list. The Blues manager can finalise his summer spending plans after a meeting with the Goodison board later this week.
And highly-rated defender Caldwell could be on Moyes' list after yesterday rejecting Newcastle's latest contract offer, leaving him free to walk away from St James' Park when his current deal expires at the end of this month. The Scottish international figured in 17 Magpies games this sea-son, including a start in their last-day draw at West Brom on Sunday, but is known to be frustrated with his lack of first team action. Jonathan Woodgate's £9million arrival from Leeds has furthered limited his long-term chances and now the 22-year-old admits it could be time to leave.
Caldwell, who would cost Everton a nominal fee as he is under 24, said: "The ball is really in the club's court now because I have rejected the offer they made me and I'm waiting to see if they come back with another offer for me. "I'll just have to wait and see what happens, but hopefully things will be sorted out one way or another by the start of next month." Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed Rodrigo is returning to Brazil after the Blues opted not to extend his Goodison stay.
The 26-year-old was signed in a £1m loan deal for this season with a view to a four-year extension, only for a cruciate ligament injury to ruin his debut season in England. He has now returned to former club Botafogo to resurrect his career. "Unfortunately the serious injury Rodrigo picked up at the start of the season has hindered him," said the Blues boss. "It's been a struggle for him and we won't take up the option to sign him. He's a terrific lad and a terrific professional and we wish him well for the future. "At the start of the season we didn't have a vast amount of money to spend. We brought in two or three players on loan and in the main they worked well for us. "But in this situation we feel it would be better to allow Rodrigo to return home." Moyes is now waiting to hear whether young winger Kevin McLeod will take up the offer of a one-year extension to his Goodison deal. McLeod is currently on loan with promotion-chasing QPR as he considers Everton's proposal.
Rooney must turn up, rule FA
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 13 2003
THE FA are insisting Wayne Rooney reports for England duty this Sunday - despite confirmation he'll almost certainly miss their South Africa friendly with a knee injury. A scan yesterday revealed Rooney had - as David Moyes indicated immediately after the costly defeat by Manchester United - suffered "a grade one medial knee ligament strain" which requires a fortnight's rest to cure. Everton's official verdict came after Sven-Goran Eriksson had named Rooney in his latest squad and declared England would make their own decision on the player's fitness this weekend. But despite the medical results and Moyes' hope the Blues star will recover in time for next month's internationals Eriksson still wants to run the rule over Rooney before finalising his squad for the May 22 game with South Africa. Moyes said: "I am sure there are a lot of people thinking I am pulling him out because I don't want him to go to South Africa but this is a genuine injury and we have the scans there to prove it. "Wayne has got a tear on his medial knee ligament. It's not severe and won't keep him out too long, but I expect it will keep him out for a couple of weeks and he will not be fit to play against South Africa." Moyes has made no secret of his desire for Rooney to be left out of the trip to Durban but the continuing aspersions cast by England over his injury verdict are sure to widen the gulf between club and country. It was less than two weeks ago that Eriksson met various Premiership managers to fuse the rows over his England selection policy. Moyes was subsequently dismayed to see the Swede go public on the Rooney issue despite an agreement to keep the discussions private. And the Blues manager believes his star player can still make the game that matters, the Euro 2004 qualifer with Slovakia on June 11, providing he is allowed to rest. Moyes added: "I have always said that it would be better for Wayne not to play against South Africa and be ready to play against Serbia and then Slovakia. "It would have been ideal for Wayne because it would have also given him the break he needs and maybe it will now be an enforced break and he will be able to get that. "It's been a really long year for the boy and at 17 there is a lot of expectation and pressure on him. "I think, at the right times, he has to be been given a break. We have to remember his age and not expect too much of him. "If everything goes well we would hope he would be able to join up with the England squad when they go to La Manga a week on Friday."
England team doctor Leif Sward spoke to the Everton medical staff before Eriksson named Rooney in his 25-man squad for the forthcoming games. The Swede backed his selection by saying: "He can rest for six days and we'll see what is happening on Sunday. "He will come on Sunday to the hotel where we are and from there we will take a decision on if he is coming to South Africa or not. I hope he will be fit as soon as possible - that is a decision we have to take on Sunday." Amid the continuing furore over Rooney and England there was disappointment for Everton keeper Richard Wright when he was left out of the squad altogether, with Leicester's Ian Walker his surprise replacement.
* Duncan Ferguson is likely to start next season back on the sidelines after he was formally charged with violent conduct by the FA yesterday. The move relates to Ferguson's elbow on Joey Gudjohnson during the Blues' recent win over Aston Villa and carries an automatic three-match suspension. Ferguson has 14 days to respond before the FA invoke the punishment.
Moyes gets top boss award
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 13 2003
EUROPEAN football may have proved beyond his team but David Moyes had reason to celebrate last night when he was named Manager of the Year. The Everton boss was the clear winner in the vote conducted by the League Managers' Association in recognition of his stunning first full season in the Premiership. Moyes is also among the favourites to lift the coveted Barclaycard Manager of the Year award when it is handed out in the next few days.
Turn cameras onto the cheats
May 13 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON has been charged by the FA for violent conduct - retrospectively. I have no argument with players being punished for their actions which referees may have missed - but the FA should now extend the idea and include a crime which can prove even more damaging. Players who dive to win penalties should be punished just as severely. Violent conduct can injure players and rule them out of future fixtures. But it could be argued that diving to win unjustified penalty kicks can be even more damaging to a football team. Everton's European ambitions were ended on Sunday by a dodgy penalty. I don't think Ruud van Nistelrooy dived, but equally I don't think a foul was committed either. The Dutchman simply lost his footing and Mike Riley was far too quick to give a penalty. That decision may have cost Everton millions of pounds - and I am sure there have been other occasions this season when players have conned referees and cost clubs even more.
If violent players can be punished after the event by the FA, why not cheats too? Try for Davis, David
DAVID MOYES' summer rebuilding plans will be largely driven by who is available. But I think he would accept that a creative midfielder would be integral to his planning. The only difficulty is finding a player of that ilk, who can also fit into the hardworking regime he has instilled this season.
That work ethic has been the bedrock of Everton's improvement this season - and whoever comes in must embrace that. A player who has caught my eye this season and who fits that bill perfectly is Fulham's Sean Davis. He can create, switch the play intelligently and works hard. He is also a year or so from the end of his contract and could be picked up for a value-formoney fee. The only problem now is making sufficient cash available to Moyes to enable him to bring in a player or two.
Look at bigger picture
WAYNE ROONEY undoubtedly needs a break - and the medial knee ligament injury he has sustained could not have come at a better time. Not only do Everton and England need to think about allowing Rooney the chance to recover from this season's exertions, they have to think about next season, too. Everton report back for pre-season training on July 3 - and if England qualify for next summer's European Championship finals their season may not finish until 12 months later.
The matches are not a problem. Any 17-year-old kid will tell you he would play twice a day every day if he could. The problem is the mental pressures they generate, and how they affect a young person. Sir Alex Ferguson referred to it this weekend, when someone suggested Everton were protecting Rooney in much the same way he looked after Ryan Giggs. Sir Alex pointed out how the pressures today are infinitely more intense than when Giggs was 17. England should try to appreciate that.
Moyes voted best coach
May 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has been named Manager of the Year by his fellow bosses. Now he will be hoping to claim the prestigious Barclay-card Manager of the Year voted for by the football writers in the next few days. Moyes was selected top boss by the managers' union the League Managers' Association in recognition of the outstanding progress he has achieved at Everton this season. He took over in March last year, with the Blues battling to avoid relegation. He kept the club up and with largely the same resources and took them to the brink of European qualification this season, winning the Premiership's Manager of the Month for November along the way. That was the culmination of a six-match winning sequence in the Premiership, Everton's best run for more than a decade.
Moyes said: "When you walk into your first major job in your career and see Gascoigne and Ginola in front of you, you realise all your efforts are worthwhile. "I feel I have shown those players respect and this trophy shows I have gained their respect." Moyes has become a cult hero among the Everton supporters. Sir Alex Ferguson was named Manager of the Decade at the same awards ceremony. "It tells you my team has done well for a start," he said, "but it is special when you are honoured by your fellow pros. "I was probably the only manager to survive the ten years!"
United's latest Premiership success was their eighth in the last 11 years. The Division One and Two prizes went to the league champions of each division, with Portsmouth's Harry Redknapp and Wigan's Paul Jewell taking the prizes. In Division Three, Wrexham's Denis Smith was named top boss for guiding The Dragons to promotion.
Eriksson wants to see Rooney
May 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON has tossed the rulebook at Everton as the row over Wayne Rooney's England call-up continued. The Blues informed the FA of the contents of the scan on Rooney's injured knee yesterday - but the England coach has insisted he still joins up with the squad on Sunday. Wes Brown, also injured on Sunday, and Nicky Butt, an unused Manchester United substitute at Goodison Park - will not be asked to report. Eriksson, however, explained: "The rules are that we are entitled to request a player to join up if we think there is a chance of him playing.
"It is quite different when you have a player who has played for 90 minutes and others who have been unable to finish their games because of their injuries. "I've no doubt Rooney has a problem. I don't know the details but the two doctors agreed the best solution is he comes on Sunday.
"From there we will make the decision what to do for the South African match and, hopefully, the other two games as well. "We will have to wait and see whether he can be fit or not. I do not see this as a test or competition with Everton. "It's about common sense and if the doctors decide on Sunday then that is it. "If we do not like that there can be no discussions about what is right or wrong." New Leeds' boss Peter Reid, meanwhile, is reported to have gone for a royal blue backroom staff at Elland Road. A report today suggested Adrian Heath and Ian Snodin were in line to replace Eddie Gray and Brian Kidd. Reid has reportedly identified Everton transfer target Colin Healy as a potential first signing this summer and hopes to have talks later this week.
Ban for disabled fan
May 13 2003 by Scott Faulkner, Liverpool Echo
A DISABLED Everton fan who hurled his crutch on to the pitch at former Liverpool star Nicolas Anelka has been banned from football grounds for three years. Bachelor Ian Nash, 40, from Fazakerley used his crutch like a javelin after the Manchester City and France striker completed a hat-trick against the Blues in their 3-1 win at Maine Road last August. Nash was fined £250 with £55 costs by Manchester magistrates for throwing a missile on the pitch and obstructing the police. The court heard that he gave his brother's name when arrested. Magistrates were told that the crutch missed Anelka but nearly hit a woman steward in the face. His solicitor Sean Sexton said Nash's behaviour was a "moment of madness" but claimed Anelka had made an "inappropriate" gesture after scoring his third goal. The football fan was not available to comment but today (Tuesday, May 13) his mum Shirley, who he lives with him in Dereham Crescent, Fazakerley, told how he had been left "devastated" by the ban and regretted what had happened. The said: "Football is his life and it is all that he's got and to have it taken away has really upset him. "He is sorry that it happened and wishes that he could turn back the clock. "He is not an aggressive man and has not been involved in trouble like this before. "I think it was frustration and I don't think he meant to harm anybody.
"The people who banned him have overreacted." She said problems with Nash's legs ulcerating had caused him to lose mobility during the last five years and that he had to use a zimmer frame or walking stick to get around. She added: "He has had so many operations on his legs that I have lost count. "He cannot straighten either of his legs and has trouble walking but manages as best as he can, but it means he hasn't worked for a long time. "He goes to games at home and most of the away matches as well and a big part of his life has been taken away by the decision to ban him."
Blues bid to seal deal for Yobo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 14 2003
EVERTON officials will fly to Marseille today in a bid to seal Joseph Yobo's permanent move to Goodison Park. Confusion has reigned over the Nigerian defender's transfer all year with the Blues claiming a deal has been agreed only for Yobo to insist otherwise. After further talks Everton are confident the 22-year-old is now ready to extend his stay by four years. But they must overcome one final obstacle as Yobo believes he is owed a pay-off from former club Marseille. Under the terms of his contract with the French club Yobo is entitled to a severance payment worth around £350,000. Marseille dispute that amount, but if today's talks resolve the wrangle Everton will have completed the first official signing of the summer. The Blues signed Yobo on a £1million one-season deal, with the option of rubberstamping a £4.5m permanent move which they took up before Christmas.
Now they will stage talks with their Marseille counterparts to tie up the few outstanding issues.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, meanwhile, may take Wayne Rooney to South Africa even if the England medical team confirm he is not fit to play in next Thursday's friendly in Durban. Rooney suffered a medial knee ligament injury in Sunday's last-day defeat by Manchester United and will need two weeks' rest to cure the problem. But with David Moyes having signed last week's "charter of commitment" - which granted Eriksson the right to call up players, particularly at the end of the club season - the England boss is asserting his power in the row over Everton's teenage prodigy and believes he will benefit from being included in the international "family". Moyes will face competition from Peter Reid if he decides to renew his interest in Celtic midfielder Colin Healy.
The new Leeds manager has targeted the Republic of Ireland international as his first Elland Road signing and is planning talks later this week.
Moyes' £4.4m transfer setback
May 14 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will not be allowed to spend the £4.4m extra he has generated by the club's highest League finish for seven years. Everton received just over £7m in Premiership prize money from their seventh place finish this season. Last term's 15th spot yielded just £2, 635, 566 - compared to £7,042,000 from this campaign. But the extra money has already been earmarked by the Blues to make Joseph Yobo's transfer permanent. Blues' Chief Executive Michael Dunford confirmed: "Joseph has been here on loan for a year. When the deal becomes permanent, which it will, the funds will have to be found from this year's budget, of which the Premiership prize money is part."
David Moyes is still waiting to learn how much money he may have to juggle with this summer if he is to improve his squad. But he is already resigned to chasing free transfers and loans once again.
Quite apart from funds for transfer fees, Everton's wage budget is currently up to its limit - and the Blues board is adamant it will not allow the club's financial footing to be compromised as it has been in the past. Players like Niclas Alexandersson, Scot Gemmill and Mark Pembridge - all used intermittently this season - have another year left to run on their existing contracts, while big earners like Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell have two years remaining. The financial restrictions will once again test the ingenuity of the Blues' board as they seek to build on the outstanding work produced by Moyes this season. Blues officials flew to Marseille today in a bid to tie up the permanent transfer of Yobo. Everton announced several months ago that the player had already committed his future to the Blues. This, however, was in the form of an agreement to sign a permanent contract at the end of the season, rather than a contract itself. That agreement is legally binding, but Yobo is currently trying to resolve a pay- off he believes he is owed by Marseille. Once the deal becomes permanent Yobo is entitled to a severance payment of £350,000 from the French club. Marseille have disputed that amount and the Blues hope that a meeting today can resolve the wrangle.
Your say on the latest club v country row
May 15 2003
IN light of Wayne Rooney's injury on the final day of the season, we asked you the FANS what you think of England mangager Sven Goran Eriksson's decision to call the 17-year-old up for international duty this week. Here is what some of you said...
ENGLAND have a nerve insisting on calling up Wayne Rooney against the club's wishes - and for a meaningless match against South Africa. If Rooney is forced to play injured and aggravates his condition will the FA compensate Everton? Not on your life.
B Meiser, Liverpool
THE Rooney to South Africa case has become farce. Sven-Goran Eriksson has obviously decided he is going to take on David Moyes. It is time for parental consent to come to the fore. At 17, Rooney should have permission from his parents to travel. His mum or dad should now tell Eriksson he is not travelling, in order to protect their son. England need Rooney more than they need Eriksson.
Tom Coogan, Liverpool
WHAT ON earth does Eriksson want? Rooney has been playing almost non-stop since last summer and has certainly deserved a chance to rest up a little bit. He is not going to be much good to England, Everton or Egremont if he is worn out and/or seriously injured which is what will happen if the boy is not given a bit of breathing space. By all means, prepare him for the European qualifying game (which is still a good few weeks away) but until then, let him rest and take stock from his astonishing year.
M. Pushkin, Liverpool
JUST because other managers in the league pull their players out of internationals when they feel like it, David Moyes should not be tarred with the same brush. He is aware that Rooney is going to play better for Everton if he is improving his game at international level and he is not so mean as to deprive someone of the chance to play for England. All he is concerned about is the welfare of the kid and he is right to try and put his foot down about him trekking halfway around the world to play in meaningless friendly when he could be getting some valuable rest.
Eddie Phillips, N Wales
I CANNOT understand the FA with their attitude to Wayne Rooney. After a season when he broke into the Everton side, Moyes resisted the temptation to play him, except as a bit part player, until he was forced to when Tomasz Radzinski became unavailable. So after a season that was an upheaval in young Wayne's life, Eriksson decides not to give Wayne a well-earned rest, but to cart him off around the world to play a meaningless friendly. Everton have had to take this course of action to protect a young boy from being used to increase the size of the gate and sell England shirts.
Are England that hard up for strikers, that a 17-year-old must play?
Mike Hughes, Wirral
I'M A Liverpool fan and Sven should not have picked Rooney this time round. The lad's got injured and should miss out on yet another pointless trip. Rooney is a tremendous talent and I would have given him a break. Let him join up with the squad when he's fit and ready.
Mike Buckley, (via e-mail)
SO SVEN wants Rooney to trek all the way to South Africa to watch another meaningless England friendly. What's the point? If the game was over here it would make sense for him to be among the players for experience purposes, but the fact that Eriksson is putting his foot down with regard to the 'charter of commitment' while using a 17-year-old as an example is rather pathetic in my eyes.
Dave Bradshaw, Walton
Ex-Blues boss in running for Villa job
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 15 2003
FORMER Everton boss Walter Smith will consider a Premiership return with Aston Villa. Smith, out of the game since being sacked by the Blues in March 2002, has thrown his name into the hat to replace Graham Taylor who resigned as Villa manager yesterday. Former Villa players David Platt and Peter Schmeichel are among the early favourites to replace the former England coach.
But given Platt's abysmal record at Nottingham Forest and the Dane's lack of managerial experience, chairman Doug Ellis may turn to someone with a proven Premiership pedigree. David O'Leary and Micky Adams are also in the running with Smith showing interest for the first time since his departure from Goodison Park. Brazilian winger Rodrigo, meanwhile, believes he can prove Everton were wrong to let him go by resurrecting his career in the Premiership. David Moyes was unable to offer the midfielder an extended Goodison contract as he seeks to maximise a limited transfer budget this summer. The 26-year-old made just four substitute appearances for the Blues before being cruelly struck down by a cruciate knee ligament injury. But despite that setback and his Goodison exit Rodrigo believes he can prove his worth in the Premiership next season.
Middlesbrough and Leeds were linked with the former Botafogo star last summer before Moyes clinched his signature on a £1million one-year loan deal. Rodrigo said: "It came as a big disappointment when Everton decided not to take up the option to sign me after my loan period.
"I have worked so hard this season to return from my cruciate knee injury and I wanted more than anything to get the opportunity to show the Everton fans what I could do and what they had been missing all season. "This was not to be but I will hopefully now get a chance to prove myself elsewhere in the Premiership. "After having a taste of the Premiership earlier in the season I am hungry for more. I have received some interest from a few English clubs and I am hoping to join a new club sooner rather than later." He added: "It has always been my dream to play in the Premiership. I love the atmosphere at the stadiums in England and the fans are so passionate.
"I believe I have the skills and ability to be as successful in the Premiership as Juninho and Gilberto and it would be fantastic to make a name for myself in England as they have done."
Moyes' spending plans on ice
May 15 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S squad rebuilding plans will stay on ice, until next week at the earliest. Blues' boss David Moyes will not know the size of his summer spending pot until a regular board meeting reveals what funds can be made available. It is unlikely to be a sizeable sum, with the extra money generated by this season's improved League finish already committed to the permanent signing of Joseph Yobo.
The Blues switched banks last year also, and cannot go over their agreed wage budget which is currently at its limit. As a result reports that the Blues have made a move for Motherwell striker James McFadden are wide of the mark. Reports today optimistically claimed Everton had bid £750,000 for the Scottish international. But manager Moyes said today: "That's not true. We did make an enquiry about McFadden last summer, but we have not been back since." Former Blues' boss Walter Smith, meanwhile, has been linked with the vacant managerial post at Aston Villa.
Smith has enjoyed a break from football since losing his job at Everton last year, but would relish the chance of a return to Premiership management.
Moyes will be a great
May 15 2003 By Paul Walker, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes is destined to become one of the world's greatest managers, according to deputy chairman Bill Kenwright. The Blues' owner is overjoyed that 40-year-old Moyes has been named by the League Managers' Association as the Manager of the Year. In his 14 months in charge, Moyes has taken Everton from relegation strugglers to the brink of European qualification.
Everton are the most improved club in the Premiership, jumping from 15th to seventh in the recently-completed season where they missed European qualification by just one point on the last day. And Kenwright declared: "I believe he's destined to be a great Everton manager and I'm convinced he will become one of the greatest managers in the world." He added: "I couldn't be more proud of him. Words can't express just how much David Moyes means to Evertonians.
"He's taken us to the brink of Europe and part of the man's greatness is that right now he's experiencing the pain that every Evertonian is feeling." Everton were in a European qualification spot from November until their last-day defeat by Manchester United, which helped let in Blackburn to claim the final UEFA Cup berth. Kenwright added: "That pain will continue until he's got us to where he wants us to go. "And we won't lose him. He's totally committed to the club. He lives, eats, sleeps and breaths Everton. "He's going nowhere, he's here to do a job for us and he will get us where we should be. The players are 30% fitter, stronger and meaner."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 16 2003
I WAS interested to see the comment on the performance of Mr Riley and his officials on Sunday at Goodison. United's first goal resulted from a foul given for a perfectly-executed tackle from the side by David Unsworth. The United player went over his leg after the ball had gone. The second (penalty) even looked a non-event. Maybe we could institute a new award, and call it the "Clive Thomas refereeing award of the season!"
John Waldren, Formby
Well done David
CONGRATULATIONS to David Moyes on being manager of the year. Let's hope we keep on making strides in the right direction. I still would like to see us buy Nigel Martyn though as Richard Wright isn't up to it!
P Ledger, Crosby
I THINK it was fair to say that it was a bad weekend for Merseyside football as a whole. Let's be honest if either club (EFC or LFC) does well it raises the profile of the city and North West - and therefore the chances of the better European players coming to us. So while yes, it's nice to be five points behind Liverpool - wouldn't it be nicer if we were five points behind them in second place - well maybe not... but rather than slagging off Liverpool we should focus our attention on Mike Riley - he was/is a disgrace!
J Babani, Stockbridge Village
WELL DONE David Moyes. First time in years Evertonians can hold their heads high. The royal blue shirt is making a comeback on the local park recreation ground. We must not be too complacent there are a few positions that need strengthening for next season. Right full-back for one. Present incumbent makes far too many serious mistakes which has cost us dearly these past few months. Next season will be even better.
G Dilly, Storrington
On the bright side
SO, a fairly good season. Nipped to the UEFA Cup by Souness on the last day, beaten in the derby at home, knocked out of the FA Cup by a team that's now been relegated from Division Three and our new stadium plan in tatters! Actually I'm kidding - there's been loads of positives as well.
Moyes is clearly class. Wayne is likewise and has signed a contract. We're not nearly as skint as Liverpool and the new home shirt's top! We've done okay - but think what might have been?
Paul Jackson, Manchester
Send Sky bill
WHY couldn't Manchester United have been presented with the trophy at Old Trafford midweek?
Sky could have done a "special" and still got their pound of flesh while minimising the potential for trouble. Instead they ignored Everton's safety fears and carried on. They should be sent the bill for the cost of policing the event.
Steve Guy, Liverpool
More highs than lows as Blues fall short
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
May 16 2003
SO, no European adventure for the Toffees after all. Obviously we we're all desperately disappointed but ultimately you finish where you deserve and Blackburn, who played great football while being mugged twice by us, must be applauded for the performances that lifted them just above us at the death. It would be easy to simply blame the Mike Riley and Ruud van Nistelrooy double act for our downfall but, as the old cliché goes, these things eventually even themselves out.
Our form did seem to dip near the end, which may have been down to fatigue due to our small squad, but just as likely is the fact that we simply had a glut of hard fixtures in the run-in. When we look back over the whole campaign it becomes apparent that we didn't lift ourselves into the higher reaches of the league by beating the top teams - apart from the odd exception - but by generally taking something off the weaker sides, particularly at Goodison. Therefore we shouldn't get downhearted when we look at the squads of Manchester United or Chelsea when we wonder how we're going to move on next season; they're not really the teams we're competing with. If David Moyes (above left) does manage to strengthen his squad, and particularly the midfield, then it's not beyond the realms of possibility that we could even improve on this remarkable season simply by being a bit more ruthless and not dropping silly points against the likes of Spurs and Birmingham, for instance. That's obviously a big challenge, but that's the nature of the game, you set standards and then try to incrementally improve on them. Luckily we have - and now it's official - the best manager in the Premiership working hard to bring about those improvements. So, before minds turn completely to barbecues, wasps in your beer and Henman choking at Wimbledon, it's time to reflect on the highlights and stars of the season. Wayne Rooney's first Premiership goal is the obvious number one magical moment, although everything he does is a bit special. Despite his impact, however, Tomasz Radzinski must be the player of the season - unfortunately that was underlined by just how much we missed him. Hopefully, despite living in the shadow of Rooneymania, the Canadian realises how much Blues appreciate him. And while it's nice to single out the headline-grabbing stars it must be remembered that the dramatic progress we've made this season is equally down to the efforts of the likes of Lee Carsley, Steve Watson, Scot Gemmill and Alessandro Pistone.
These players, and plenty besides, have been in and out of the side but when called upon have never given anything less than their all in what has been a fabulous team effort. They've given us some wonderful days out and done us proud, which is ultimately what it's all about. Happy holidays.
Royle may return for Gerrard
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 16 2003
JOE ROYLE looks set to team up with Paul Gerrard for a third time - handing former club Everton some much-needed room to manoeuvre in the transfer market. The Ipswich boss yesterday handed his first-choice keeper Andy Marshall a free transfer as part of a cost-cutting exercise at Portman Road. And that clears the way for Gerrard (pictured) to complete a permanent move to the first division club. The Blues reserve keeper spent a month on loan at Ipswich earlier in the season only for a dislocated knee to end hopes of an immediate transfer. But Royle, who brought the former England Under-21 international to Goodison Park for £1.5million in 1995, remains interested and could clinch a deal with a £300,000 offer. That would not only help David Moyes' transfer budget but more importantly reduce a wage bill that is already up to its limit. Moyes is still unable to make Joseph Yobo a permanent addition to his playing staff despite Everton's efforts to end his pay dispute with Marseille. Yobo is waiting for a £350,000 pay-off from the French club before tying up his £4.5m move to Goodison Park. And though Arsenal and Manchester United have been linked with the Nigerian star, Everton have yet to tie him to a four-year contract. Chief executive Michael Dunford is set to make a renewed bid to settle the dispute within the next few days. Last night he admitted: "The situation is quite simple. We haven't got a dispute with Joseph or Marseille.
"We had an agreement with Marseille to exercise the option to sign Joseph which we took up at the beginning of the year and we have agreed terms with Joseph for another four-year contract.
"The issue is an historical one which we tried to mediate in and that is that Joseph and Marseille are in discussions over a severance payment. These discussions are still on-going and hopefully they will be resolved very quickly, but it is purely a domestic matter between Joseph and Marseille.
"We were there purely to oil the wheels of a meeting and we came away thinking that some progress has been made. However, it has not been concluded yet." Moyes, meanwhile, has denied making a renewed £750,000 bid for Motherwell striker James McFadden. The Scotland international is a possible target for the Blues manager once he discovers how much he has to spend this summer. But he said: "We did make an enquiry about McFadden last summer but we have not been back since."
Yobo deal is safe - Blues
May 16 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have confirmed they are confident that the cash dispute holding up Joseph Yobo's permanent move to Goodison will be resolved shortly. The Nigerian international - on a year's loan from Marseille - is demanding a £350,000 pay-off from the French club. The dispute must be cleared up before his £4.5m move to Everton can be rubber-stamped. With Arsenal and Manchester United said to be interested in the defender, the Blues have stepped into the row in an effort to speed up Yobo's transfer. Blues spokesman Ian Ross today said: "All three parties are working to resolve this as soon as possible. We are optimistic." Everton chief executive Michael Dunford flew out to Marseille in a bid to iron out the problems. He said: "We were there purely to oil the wheels of a meeting and we came away thinking that some progress has been made.
"We haven't got a dispute with Joseph or Marseille. We had an agree-ment with Marseille to exercise the option to sign Joseph which we took up at the beginning of the year, and we have agreed terms with Joseph for a four-year contract. "Joseph and Marseille are in discussions over a severance payment. These discussions are still on-going and hope-fully they will be resolved very quickly, but it is purely a domestic matter between Joseph and Marseille." Meanwhile, Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard could be a target for Ipswich boss Joe Royle. Gerrard spent a month on loan at Portman Road earlier in the season and the Suffolk club are now allowing first- choice keeper Andy Marshall to leave on a free, clearing the way for Royle to permanently sign the Blues reserve stopper.
Moyes joins bargain hunt
May 16 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES achieved a minor miracle in his first full season at the helm of Everton - transforming perennial relegation strugglers into Champions League challengers. He did so through the force of his own personality - and with four loan signings and an international goalkeeper cribbed on the cheap. When injuries and suspensions threatened to impair the impetus of his re-motivated side, he added three more loans in Brian McBride, Espen Baardsen and Ibrahim Said. Moyes may need to repeat history next season. Simply maintaining the progress his squad has shown could prove to be a major miracle - and the LMA Manager of the Year will need to show the same ingenuity and acumen to consolidate his squad in the closed season. The extent of Everton's transfer pot this summer will not be known until next week. But with any extra cash generated through improved league position already committed to Joseph Yobo's transfer, and the prospect of Alex Nyarko rejoining the payroll on June 30, that pot is likely to be severely limited. Swoops for soon to become available talent like Joe Cole, or even boyhood Blue Steve McManaman, may be beyond Everton's current financial limits. Some sources have suggested Moyes may have to move players on before he can buy. With nobody at Everton out of contract until next summer at the earliest, that could prove harder than attracting new talent. But until a clear public statement is issued, Everton will continue to be linked with new players. Bearing in mind the financial restraints likely to be placed in front of him, the ECHO put together a possible hit-list of transfer targets for David Moyes.
NAME: Lee Bowyer
BORN: 3 January, 1977
CLUBS: Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, West Ham United
CONTROVERSY follows the fiery midfielder around with the same fervour he reserves for his challenges - and a move to Goodison just 12 months after he was unsuccessfully chased by Gerard Houllier would raise eyebrows. But the midfielder possesses many of the qualities David Moyes admires - he is young, energetic, English, and available on a free transfer now his contract has expired. Wages would be a stumbling block, but the box-to-box midfielder should not be discounted at this stage.
NAME: Colin Healy
BORN: 14 March, 1980
CLUBS: Glasgow Celtic
THE Republic of Ireland international has made as many appearances for his country as he has for Celtic this season, but that hasn't diminished his appeal to Moyes. Healy missed Ireland's 2002 World Cup squad when Mick McCarthy was refused permission to draft him in as a replacement for Roy Keane. A lively midfielder with an eye for goal, Everton tried unsuccessfully to sign Healy during the Scottish mid-season break last winter. Celtic's valuation then was beyond Everton's, but he has now become a free agent.
NAME: Sean Davis
BORN: 20 September, 1979
A MIDFIELDER with the ability to win possession and spray the ball around confidently, Davis is the photofit of the kind of player Moyes likes to nurture and bring the best out of. Similar in style to Li Tie, any interest could hinge on whether the Blues decide to extend their year-long loan of the Chinese midfielder or not. Davis' experience in the Premiership could give him the edge and Moyes may try to take advantage of Fulham's crippling debts to acquire the services of a player included in the England squad which faced Australia.
NAME: Jason Koumas
BORN: 25 September, 1979
CLUBS: Tranmere Rovers, West Bromwich Albion
THE Blues' backroom staff know all about the former Tranmere star, and he did himself no harm with a lively display when Everton won at West Bromwich Albion towards the end of the season.
Capable of providing the creativity - and goals - Everton's midfield department currently lacks, the stumbling block could be the size of fee The Baggies would demand for their player of the season. West Brom have always budgeted for relegation and do not have the same need to sell as West Ham or Sunderland.
NAME: Gavin McCann
BORN: 10 January, 1978
CLUBS: Everton, Sunderland
DAVID MOYES has been linked with bringing The Gavnor back to Goodison before - and has always rejected the reports. But the limited resources on offer to him this summer may force him to renew interest in a player who has an cap to his name, and who would be available at a knockdown price.
Berger on Blues menu
May 19 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will have to check their purse strings before deciding whether to make a move for Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger. The 29-year-old Czech international is out of contract in a fortnight and available on a Bosman free transfer. He has attracted interest from a host of Premiership clubs and German outfit Munich 1860 but is believed to be willing to talk terms with the Blues. However, the player's £20,000 a week wages and the signing-on fee could be a problem for Everton. Manager David Moyes will find out this week what his summer transfer budget will be. It is expected to be modest, with the extra £4.4m he earned by leading Everton to seventh place in the Premiership already earmarked for use in making Joseph Yobo's switch from Marseille permanent.
As a result of his limited budget, the manager is reluctant to invest in players who will stretch the club's wage limits. But if Berger is willing to negotiate a deal which would fit in with Everton's pay structure a deal could become reality. However, the midfielder is also attracting interest from Leeds and newly-promoted Portsmouth. Peter Reid is keen to add the Czech international to his ranks but only as a replacement for Harry Kewell, who is being linked with Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has been given permission to sit out England's trip to South Africa this week after undergoing a medical at a Heathrow hotel yesterday. The 17-year-old striker was accompanied south by Moyes and physio Mick Rathbone. Both men were present for the medical examination by England's doctors, as was Sven Goran Eriksson. The insistence by England that Rooney should join with the squad suggested Eriksson was not convinced by Everton's insistence the player was injured. But yesterday's diagnosis backed up Everton's original assessment of the injury, sustained in the final game of the season against Manchester United.
The striker will receive treatment on the injury this week with a view to joining up with England at their La Manga training camp on Saturday. But the extent of the problem means Rooney is a big doubt for the friendly with Serbia and Montenegro at the Walkers Stadiumon June 3.
Blues in new stadium talks
May 19 2003 Exclusive by Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
NEW BLUE VISION: The latest proposal for Everton's new home EVERTON are in talks over a new 60,000-seat stadium on the banks of the River Mersey. Developers have approached the club with £500m project which would see the Blues move to the Central Docks - next to the Stanley Dock warehouse to the north of the city. Today (Monday, May 19) the club stressed that it had been approached by a number of developers over a new stadium and they would all be considered before a decision was taken. The new docks scheme has been put together by urban regeneration expert David Taylor and involves some of the world's bigest names in design and construction. Taylor has devised a massive facelift on the derelict docks area north of Waterloo Dock and has already held talks with Everton chief executive Michael Dunford and hopes to make a more detailed presentation to the club board within a fortnight. Crucially, Everton must decide if they want to try to raise the cash to become stadium owners or agree to lease a new home. Previously the club has insisted it will be landlord of any new stadium. Mr Taylor is a former boss of Lancashire Enterprises and sits on the board of Preston North End football club. He first came to prominence as a judge on Tony Wilson's Flying Start TV show for small businesses. He said: "This started out as a fall back for Liverpool FC in case their plans to move to Stanley Park fell through, but now they are committed to that we are now dealing with Everton after the collapse of their Kings Dock plans. "We have met Michael Dunford and hope to meet the board in the next couple of weeks." His plan is a mixed-use scheme, including residential, leisure, pubs and bars and a dedicated train station on the nearby Northern Line close to the listed Stanley Dock warehouse. "We would bring people through the Stanley Dock area, about four minutes away from the ground," he said. "The total cost will be about £500m and we're talking to Everton about whether theirs will be a lease arrangement or they will own the stadium." He added: "Central Dock is far better than Kings Dock because we can put a new rail link in and there are plenty of park and ride spaces there, too. It's also far enough away not to interfere with the city's retail areas and relatively close to Everton's existing home." His Preston-based David Taylor Partners consultancy is working with Liverpool developer Inner City Solutions, which has helped regenerate Speke Garston and Japanese company Kajima who are renowned for their sports stadia. "Our architects are NBDJ Architects who are probably the world's leading designers at the moment. They have just finished the Philadelphia Eagles stadium which will open with its first game in August between Manchester United and Barcelona," said Mr Taylor. He said the proposed Everton ground would seat between 55,000 and 60,000 and, unlike the Kings Dock scheme, does not have a sliding pitch or roof: "It is a football stadium," he added. He said he has also held talks on his proposals with land owner Mersey Docks and Harbour Company and English Partnerships. It is believed several developers have targeted Everton since their Kings Dock move fell through with alternative proposals and sites. The ECHO is aware of at least one other scheme which offers the club a dockside stadium, close to Mr Taylor's Central Dock plan. An insider said: "There are probably half a dozen groups trying to entice Everton into their projects and they won't all be in Liverpool." A Liverpool city council spokesman said they would be happy to work with Everton in their search for a stadium site. A Merseyside Docks and Harbour Company spokesman declined to comment. Everton FC spokesman, Ian Ross, said: "It is fair to say that many developers have contacted us with proposals over a new stadium. "They are aware that we have a mandate from supporters to move. "But we have made it clear that no decision has yet been made and the board of directors will meet shortly to discuss what to do next." What do you think of the latest stadium plan?
Wayne ruled out of Africa
May 19 2003 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES was last night proved right in his bid to excuse Wayne Rooney from England's friendly in South Africa on Thursday. The Blues boss and club physio Mick Rathbone were present as the Everton striker underwent a medical in London yesterday. The findings concurred with Moyes' initial assessment that the 17-year-old had suffered a medial knee ligmanent injury in last Sunday's 2-1 home defeat to Manchester United. And it brought to a close a controversial seven days in which Moyes had opened up the club-versus-country conflict addressed by England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson in his meetings with top Premiership bosses. Rooney will now spend the next five days recuperating with Everton while his international team-mates spend 22 hours in the air as they meet Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Wednesday and play South Africa the following day.
Eriksson hopes Rooney will be fit enough to join the rest of the squad on Friday for a six-day training camp in La Manga, Spain, ahead of the friendly with Serbia-Montenegro and the Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia. Moyes, who had already staunchly opposed Rooney's participation in the fixture, had said after the United game: "Wayne definitely won't travel to South Africa and he is a doubt for the later matches as well." But last Monday, Eriksson insisted he report to London for his injury to be assessed. And the importance placed on Rooney's fitness - or lack of - was emphasised by the fact both the medics and managers of England and Everton had a ringside seat for his failed fitness test.
Rooney's examination was conducted in the presence of England's medical staff - which is headed by Dr Leif Sward and physio Gary Lewin - Everton physio Rathbone and both Eriksson and Moyes.
An FA spokesman said yesterday: "Wayne Rooney has had to withdraw from England's squad for the game against South Africa. "The England medical staff, together with Everton's physio, today assessed Wayne's knee injury in London and agreed the player should return to his club for treatment." The spokesman continued: "It was agreed Wayne will remain with Everton for the remainder of the week with a view to joining the England squad for the trip to La Manga.
"Sven-Goran Eriksson and David Moyes were also present at the examination." Eriksson has yet to decide on whether to call up replacements for Rooney or Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy, whose absence represents another blow as the Swede had already been forced to replace Newcastle's injured Kieron Dyer with West Ham's Joe Cole. Arsenal's Ashley Cole and Southampton pair Wayne Bridge and James Beattie have already been excused from the Durban fixture due to Saturday's FA Cup final. Combined with Rooney and Murphy's withdrawals, Eriksson's 25-man squad has now been reduced to 20. Meanwhile, Everton Chief executive Michael Dunford has revealed that the club has been inundated by people seeking season tickets for next season. Despite only narrowly missing out on a place in Europe, thanks to the improvement under Moyes last season's average attendance was the highest since 1977-78, surpassing even the trophy-laden campaigns of the mid-80s. Currently, over 24,000 Evertonians hold season tickets and signs are encouraging that the figure will be increased by the time the Premiership begins again in August. "We've had a very good response from new applicants, as you would expect," said Dunford. "The pleasing point already is the number of new applications we've got coming in."
Rooney in fintness battle for Slovakia date
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 20 2003
AYNE ROONEY is facing a race against time to be fit for England's Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia. The Everton striker has already been forced to pull out of his country's friendly in South Africa on Thursday after suffering medial knee ligament damage in the Blues' final match of the season at home to Manchester United nine days ago. A second scan on Sunday in London - under the watchful gaze of both David Moyes and England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson - confirmed the injury, and Rooney has been making good progress since returning to Merseyside for treatment.
But Everton physio Mick Rathbone has cast doubts over whether Rooney will be fit for England's friendly against Serbia and Montenegro on June 3 and the important clash with Slovakia on June 11. Rathbone said: "Normally these things take three weeks to heal, but he's training comfortably with me. "He's able to run in a straight line and we're happy with his progress." England hope Rooney will be able to meet up with the England squad at their La Manga training camp on Friday but Goodison officials fear he may not be fit for the trip to Spain. But Rathbone added: "He remains doubtful for the game with Serbia and Montenegro on June 3 but he has a better chance for the game on the 11th with Slovakia." Rooney's injury sparked an unseemly club-versus-country row, with Blues boss Moyes - already against his striker making the trip - claiming a scan after the United game revealed the 17-year-old was unfit for international duty. Eriksson insisted Rooney should still report to London with the rest of the squad, and sought a second opinion with a further scan on Sunday. Rooney - accompanied by Moyes and Rathbone - subsequently had to report to a Heathrow hotel at the weekend for tests by England's medical staff before being ruled out of the trip to South Africa. Despite reports to the contrary, Rathbone insisted that throughout the dealings there was little rancour between Everton and England officials. "We met the England medical staff in London for a very amicable meeting between myself, the national team doctor and Gary Lewin, the England physio," he said. "All parties agreed on the extent and nature of the injury, which we had done all week. "We were in unanimous agreement that the best thing for Wayne would be to remain at Everton to receive treatment here, as he did last week." As he recuperates from injury, Rooney will discover if he is the proud recipient of a sporting 'Oscar' tonight. The youngster has been shortlisted for the World Newcomer of the Year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco. He will be up against tennis players Daniela Hantuchova and David Nalbandian, Chinese basketball player Yao Ming and Olympic champion speedskater Jochem Uytdehaage of Holland.
Niclas out Berger in?
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 20 2003
EVERTON will listen to offers for Goodison outcast Niclas Alexandersson - as David Moyes refuses to rule out a move for Liverpool's Patrik Berger. Swedish midfielder Alexandersson hasn't started a game for the Blues since the 2-1 home win against Middlesbrough on September 14 last year.
The 32-year-old has since fallen out of favour with Blues boss David Moyes, subsequently making just three substitute appearances. Alexandersson is entering the last year of a four-year deal he signed when bought by Walter Smith for £2.5million from Sheffield Wednesday in July 2000. Everton are unlikely to recoup much of that outlay, and may consider offers of around £500,000 for the Swede. Meanwhile, Moyes has refused to dismiss making a move for Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger. The Czech international is out of contract this summer, and has previously intimated he would prefer to join another Premiership club. Moyes is keen to bolster his midfield and will find out later this week his transfer budget for the forthcoming campaign, but is expected to be handed only limited funds. As a free agent, Berger is available under the Bosman ruling but his reported £20,000-a-week wages and any possible signing-on fee could prove prohibitive. Moyes insisted that there has not been any contact with Berger, but added: "We're looking at a lot of players. I wouldn't rule it in, or I wouldn't rule it out."
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 20 2003
AN IRISH midfield powerhouse for Everton would be great - Colin Healy (left) and Steve Reid for a total of about £3m. With Yobo tied up and Caldwell also on the cheap, I reckon the team could be greatly strengthened.
Dave Lett (via e-mail)
EVERTON won't have much of a transfer budget, so we should try and get people like Lee Bowyer and Michael Carrick from West Ham. Bowyer is free and West Ham will let Carrick go cheaply because they haven't got much cash. Steve McManaman on loan would be a great signing.
Marc Halsall (via e-mail)
I STATED before the season began "A working midfield is not the same as a creative midfield. Until we get at least one creative midfielder, we will struggle in the long run.The money spent on Richard Wright would have been better spent elsewhere." I believe events have proved me to be correct. We have a bunch of enthusiastic journeymen, and nothing more.
Tom Dundee (via e-mail)
THE LATEST plans for a new stadium being suggested by a docklands developer don't look as good as the Kings Dock project. However, maybe that is a blessing in disguise as the club was too over-ambitious with their initial plans and therefore this new idea probably has more chance of getting off the ground. Let's get things right on the pitch first though.
John Cavanagh, Huyton
ALL THIS fuss about Joseph Yobo seems to be dragging on for no apparent reason. If the player was so eager to sign for us he would put pen to paper and worry about the £350,000 Marseille owe him afterwards. Thses things can be sorted out in court if need be, so I don't see that is delaying his signing for the Blues.
Harry Burton, Walton
NOW THE disappointment has subsided a few things are abundantly clear. 1. Moyes has worked beyond his remit, thank you. 2. Everton's midfield is woefully short of quality. Get rid of Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith, Alexandersson and Carsley. 3. Ferguson is bleeding the club dry; freeze him out and get rid quick. 4. Unsworth's a great lad; supporters should get off his back. We could do with a few more with his heart. Finally, a message to Bill Kenwright and the board. Start delivering - the stadium's dead, we don't want Kirkby or Gillmoss. We're getting weary of tearful anecdotes and reminiscences. If you've got the club at heart then give Moyes some serious money to do a proper job or make way for someone who does.
Mike Allanson, season ticket holder for 30 years, Childwall
Moyes has left Eriksson shaken by stir
By Richard Williamsom, Daily Post
May 20 2003
DAVID MOYES has found himself cast in the role of Dr No to Sven-Goran Eriksson's James Bond.
The Everton manager is being painted as the bad guy who is threatening to undermine the fragile peace of the nation - despite being proved right over the extent of Wayne Rooney's knee injury.
As the man with the golden gun - in the shape of hot-shot Rooney - Moyes was expected to deliver a licence to thrill for the England supremo as he plots how to conquer Europe. But Rooney's fitness test in London on Sunday was never going to be a case of for your eyes only as far as Moyes was concerned. He joined his striking protege for the vital examination that would decide whether Rooney would make the plane for this week's trip to South Africa. The fact that England have now cancelled Rooney's ticket and sent him back to Merseyside for further treatment only serves to confirm Everton's initial assessment of the knee problem that flared up in last week's Premiership finale against Manchester United. And there won't be an Evertonian anywhere fretting over the possible effects on England's European Championship qualifying campaign. Moyes has a duty to them to ensure their most exciting prospect in years is in the right physical shape for next season's challenges - and the seasons that lie ahead. Easing his summer burden after a year of unbelievable progress is the very least Moyes will want to achieve. And that is the nub of the problem for any club manager as he juggles the demands of his own supporters and the country's patriotic fervour, and why any truce in the club-versus-country row will always be an uneasy one. Moyes deserves immense credit for the delicate way he has steered Rooney through his first season as a fully-fledged professional. Even Sir Alex Ferguson admitted the glare of publicity which has shone in the face of the Blues striker is far more intense than the one he tried to shield Ryan Giggs from a decade ago.
After working so hard to protect the teenager from the excessive demands of the modern game - both on and off the field - Moyes was in no mood to see the dividends of his approach cast aside.
He did not hide his view that Rooney should be spared the punishing journey to South Africa squeezed between the end of a demanding Premiership campaign and England's June 11 meeting with Slovakia, which will prove so crucial to Eriksson's hopes of leading out a side during Euro 2004.
Blame for that fixture conundrum lies with the Football Association mandarins who organised such a trip. Moyes' critics will point to the fact that his protests came against a background of Rooney being pushed to the forefront of Everton's ultimately fruitless bid for a place in Europe over the closing weeks of the season. They conveniently overlook the fact that his hand was forced due to the injury sustained by in-form Tomasz Radzinski. Given the vigorous nature of Moyes' argument, when he stood before the world half an hour after the end of Everton's season and announced Rooney had picked up a knee injury which would prevent him linking up with England, it is not a surprise that eyebrows at Soho Square were raised. It left Eriksson with two choices. Either accept Moyes' word or fall back on his determination to clarify any medical problems by demanding Rooney report for an examination by new England doctor Leif Sward, whose appointment was designed to ensure complete independence from the club game. By opting for the latter strategy, Eriksson would claim he was leaving no room for argument. In truth, he was creating one. Is it any surprise that club managers - their futures at the whim of a board swayed by public opinion following a run of bad results - are prepared to fight so hard to keep their jewels out of harms way? But that, in some eyes, makes Moyes the bad guy and leaves Eriksson both shaken and stirred.
Sales going tickety-blue
May 20 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S resurgence under David Moyes took physical form yesterday as massive queues formed at Goodison for season tickets. Last season's average attendance was the highest for 25 years and, with the club capping season ticket sales at 27,000, the rush was on yesterday to secure tickets for the forthcoming season. As soon as the box office opened at Goodison yesterday staff were having to deal with a steady stream of fans. Indeed, the queues were so big club officials had to turn some fans away. A spokesperson admitted: "Unfortunately due to the exceptionally large number of people wishing to apply for new season tickets on the very first day, it has been necessary for us to stop people queuing to avoid supporters enduring waiting times in excess of three hours.
"Due to the administration process involved with new applicants and the number of supporters wishing to view seats it greatly increases the transaction time of each sale and obviously means queues." The club have revealed current season ticket holders are responding well to the renewal notices sent out on May 9. Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "The pleasing point is the number of new applications we have got coming in and they will be dealt with in due course. "Given the success that we've achieved last season, a number of people are wanting to secure their place at Goodison Park for next season." Last season Everton sold 24,000 season tickets. That figure already looks like it will be surpassed. Existing season ticket holders have until Saturday, June 21 to renew and may also post their renewals in to the box office to avoid having to queue.
Moyes' day trip worth it
May 20 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY may play football like a seasoned pro, but he is still only 17. He is young and, like any person that age, can be easily influenced. That is why David Moyes should be commended for making the journey to London with his young star on Sunday. He was looking after the interests of the player and his club. And he made sure Wayne was not press-ganged into the South Africa trip.
The last thing anybody wants to see is Wayne reaching burn-out because he has played too much football or returned to action when he is not 100 per cent fit. When you are a young player, all you want to do is play. But sometimes that attitude can be harmful to your long-term success. David has shown excellent management skills in the way he has groomed Wayne this season. He is a prized possession and the manager knows exactly what is right for the young player. No doubt the FA would have loved Wayne to travel to South Africa, even if he wasn't going to figure in Thursday's friendly because of injury. He is quickly becoming a star on the world stage and it would have been good PR for the national team if Wayne had been present in Durban and there to meet Nelson Mandela. But a ten-hour trip would have done his injury no good whatsoever. The player and Everton were best served by him remaining in this country to receive treatment. Paying the price of a six-hour round-trip to the capital is small fry for Moyes when it comes to ensuring nobody takes advantage of Rooney's enthusiasm to play football. Linnets' final lifeline
Blues warn England over Rooney
May 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have accused the FA of double standards - and warned that Wayne Rooney may not be fit for England's entire summer programme. The Blues' striker has been receiving treatment all week after the England physio confirmed on Sunday Everton's original diagnosis of a medial knee ligament injury. But the Blues are privately fuming that while Rooney was asked to travel to London for a fitness test, Manchester United's Nicky Butt was spared the journey. Butt was on the substitutes' bench at Goodison Park on the final day of the season, but pulled out of the England squad for Thursday's friendly against South Africa with an ankle injury. The request for Rooney to attend confirmed a belief that Sven-Goran Eriksson doubted David Moyes' original assessment. England want Rooney to join up with the squad in La Manga on Friday for a period of rest and recuperation, ahead of another friendly against Serbia-Montenegro on June 3. But Blues' physio Mick Rathbone said: "Normally these things take three weeks to heal, but he's training comfortably with me. He's able to run in a straight line and we're happy with his progress. "He remains a doubt for the game with Serbia and Montenegro on June 3, but has a better chance for the game on the 11th with Slovakia." The atmosphere of mist rust which exists between Everton and England is clearly still strong. The producers of a documentary on Wayne Rooney have even agreed to tread carefully to avoid upsetting the protective Blues' boss. Due to be screened on June 11, Sky One's Wayne's World could potentially probe into areas Moyes would prefer remained untouched. But a Sky spokesman said: "The producers have been careful not to intrude into Wayne's life and have not approached the player for an interview."
Sven: No rift over Rooney
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 21 2003
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON insisted he has no rift with Everton boss David Moyes as he revealed that even Wayne Rooney's agent attended the medical which led to the striker pulling out of England' s trip to South Africa. Eriksson was determined that the Rooney debate should be concluded as his squad landed in Durban without him ahead of tomorrow's friendly against South Africa. He was also keen to ensure that, while John Terry is ruled out of the game, none of his remaining 19 players should be injured on a pitch that, at best, looks fit for rugby union. However, the Rooney story took a new twist as Eriksson revealed there were seven people present for the examination which determined that he should stay in England for treatment on his knee injury. Eriksson was joined by team doctor Leif Sward and an England physio but Rooney was accompanied down to London by not only Moyes and Everton's physio but also his agent, from Paul Stretford's Proactive Group. All seven of them conferred over the scan of Rooney's knee, which Moyes had steadfastly maintained should rule the 17-year-old out of the four-day trip to South Africa. Moyes' presence at the examination has led to insinuations of a continuing lack of trust between the competing interests of club and country. However, Eriksson, who had initially put his foot down in insisting that Rooney attend the medical, maintained: "I don't have any problems with David Moyes. We had a nice talk and that's it.
"I think that there have been too many words said about that story. If I could finish it now, I should be very happy. "Everything was resolved on Sunday, between the physio of Everton, Wayne Rooney's manager and his agent, together with me, our doctor and our physio. No, I didn't have my agent there. "They agreed, in a medical way, that the best way to get him fit for the game against Slovakia was for him to stay with his physio and practising every day. That's what he's doing and keeping in contact with our physio. That's it." When asked whether he had ever known of both a player's manager and agent attending such a medical before, Eriksson replied: "I don't know. I haven't done this before. "For the manager and the physio, I think that's okay. The agent, if he wanted to be there as well, then why not? I have no problems with that." Even though Rooney (right) could return to the squad next week, it still goes to show just how valuable a property he has become at such a tender age. With Kieron Dyer, Danny Murphy, Sol Campbell, Jonathan Woodgate, Gary Neville and Nicky Butt also sidelined, while David Beckham is suspended for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia, Eriksson cannot now afford any further problems. The England coach admits he would take a defeat in Durban ahead of a serious injury, but he will nevertheless start against South Africa with his strongest remaining XI. Some local journalists are concerned that the uneven pitch could cause problems for the players, especially given the physical nature of some past encounters between African and European sides. Indeed, it was against South Africa at Old Trafford in 1997 that Jamie Redknapp sustained a serious injury. However, Eriksson insisted: "The pitch is okay. It is not the best in the world but they will cut the grass for us. "They told me the grass was very new and you can see that. But if they cut it, I think there will be no problems. "I hope it's going to be a fair game, with tackles of course but no stupid ones. I'm not concerned about that though.
"If I had a choice between a defeat or losing a player for the Slovakia game, of course I would take the defeat in a friendlyeven though I don't like to lose friendlies."
No award for Wayne
May 21 2003
WAYNE ROONEY missed out on the prestigious Laureus World Newcomer of the Year in Monaco last night. He was pipped by Chinese basketball star Yao Ming. The winners were chosen by the 41 members of the Laureus world sport academy including sports legends such as Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Sergei Bubka, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Alberto Tomba. Four-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong received the Sportsman of the Year award and Serena Williams was named the Sportswoman of the Year, while Real Madrid striker Ronaldo claimed the Laureus World Comeback of the Year award as well as collecting the World Team of the Year trophy on behalf of Brazil in Monte Carlo.
Duo eyeing Li Tie swoop
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 21 2003
CHINESE STAR Li Tie has emerged as a surprise target for Newcastle and Southampton as doubts remain over the midfielder's Everton future. The Blues are refusing to meet the £1million price-tag put on Li Tie by Liaoning Bird, the Chinese club who hold his registration and from whom he was loaned as part of the sponsorship deal with Kejian last summer. And that has alerted Premiership rivals at St James' Park and St Mary's as they both prepare to tap into the Far East markets.
Li Tie, who could become Asia's Footballer of the Year for 2002 today, enjoyed a successful debut season in the Premiership after arriving on a 12-month loan. But he started only two of the last 10 games for Everton as they slipped out of European contention and manager David Moyes is anxious to strengthen his midfield this summer. With his transfer budget limited and midfielder Alex Nyarko also heading for a Goodison return the Blues boss cannot afford to match Liaoning's valuation.
Everton are prepared to pay around £500,000 to land the 25-year-old on a permanent contract. A club spokesman said: "We want him to stay, he wants to stay, and the fee is being negotiated."
But with his loan deal now expired the Blues risk losing out if Newcastle or Southampton pay up.
Both clubs can offer European football next season, increasing their exposure as they seek to follow Everton's lead into opening up lucrative revenues from the Far East. The benefits of having Li Tie on board for that mission will magnify further if he is named Asia's top player at an awards ceremony today. Li Tie is on a shortlist of four after following up his World Cup campaign with a successful Premiership start with Everton. He is up against Fulham's Junichi Inamoto, South Korean World Cup hero Ahn Jung-Hwan and Feyenoord's Shinji Ono for the honour. Moyes meanwhile last night ran the rule over a possible midfield replacement for the Chinese international. The Blues boss was in Corsica to watch Mickael Essien in action for Bastia against Sochaux. The 20-year-old Ghanaian midfielder was linked with Everton earlier this year but valued at £4million and wanted by both Monaco and Lyon. The Blues will have a fight on their hands to land the rising star.
* FORMER Everton defender Carl Tiler has been given a free transfer by Premiership newcomers Portsmouth.
Blues chief foots bill
May 21 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today sprang to the rescue of 3,000 devastated young footballers. Anfield Junior Soccer League faced shutdown after vandals wrecked pitches - but Blues' deputy-Chairman Bill wright, today pledged to help. The yobs went on the rampage in Stanley Park, destroying goalposts which cost £2,100 to replace two years ago. But Mr Kenwright read of the league's plight in last night's ECHO and immediately pledged to replace them. He said: "I was appalled by the damage inflicted on one of the city's cultural landmarks. "Stanley Park is also the original home of Everton Football Club so it seemed only right to help out." Steve O'Reilly, who helps run the league, said: "This is absolutely fantastic news. "For Everton to come in like this and rescue the Anfield Junior League and the Jeff Howard League is brilliant. "We have already received a lot of support from Liverpool FC and we are aware of the financial difficulties at Everton, so this really is a great gesture.
"I am over the moon and I'm sure all the youngsters who play on Stanley Park will be as well."
The latest attack is part of a catalogue of vandalism in the north Liverpool park. A Victorian sandstone wall has been knocked down, benches ripped up, and a listed pavilion damaged by fire.
Wrong to rush Rooney - Owen
May 21 2003 By Chris Bascombe Liverpool Correspondent
MICHAEL OWEN says it would have been wrong to rush Wayne Rooney back into action against South Africa in tomorrow's friendly international. Owen has reassured Rooney there is plenty of time to make his mark on international football. Controversy surrounded the Everton starlet's omission from the England touring party. But having suffered himself from the lack of a summer rest when he made his breakthrough as a 17-year-old, Owen has more sympathy than most for Rooney's position. Rooney has stayed behind to receive treatment on his knee injury after Sven-Goran Eriksson eventually accepted the 17-year-old striker should rest his knee further rather than flying to Durban. That could have represented a chance for Rooney to develop his budding strike partnership with Owen, which showed early signs of promise against Turkey last month. However, with Rooney ruled out and James Beattie given a week's rest after the FA Cup final, the door has opened for either Emile Heskey to return or for Darius Vas-sell to be given another chance to shine.
Eriksson is still hoping Rooney will be able to join up with the squad in time for their break in La Manga next week before coming into contention for the friendly against Serbia and Montenegro on June 3. Owen, meanwhile, insisted: "There will be plenty of time for Wayne Rooney. He's probably got tons and tons of England caps to come. "So I don't think we should be under any rush to risk him with his injury. There will be plenty of times to come, maybe even in this next month. We don't know whether he will be missing for all three games yet." Rooney will force his way back into the side in time for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11, if fit. Owen also publicly backed the decision for the squad to travel out to South Africa for this week's friendly, despite the exhausting nature of the four-day trip at the end of an arduous season. The Liverpool striker hasn't had a full summer break since he was 16, but he said: "I suppose there mustn't have been any other dates to arrange the Slovakia game on June 11. "It's important that we play a couple of friendlies beforehand as you can't go a month or so after the season and then play a game." Meanwhile, Marseille are prepared to fight Liverpool for the signature of Auxerre's Jean Alain Boumsong.
Reds boss Gerard Houllier is currently in France, where he checked on Gregory Vignal in last night's 2-2 draw between Bastia and Sochaux. He will also be meeting Guy Roux imminently to discuss the avai labi l ity of Boumsong and striker Djibril Cisse. The centre- half is reportedly unsure he can claim a regular place at Anfield and Marseille are also in the Champions' League. Houllier also watched Basle's Hakin Yakin on Friday, a player the Reds have been scouting all season. Yakin is available for just £750,000 and is another possible summer recruit.
Reaction to Blues' stadium is mixed
May 21 2003 By Emma Gunby Echo Reporter
NEW plans for a waterfront stadium for Everton FC have received a mixed reaction from fans.
As exclusively revealed in the ECHO, developers have approached Blues bosses offering them a 60,000-seat stadium in a £500mproject near Stanley Dock. But fans are less than united in their opinion about the move. Supporters have already faced the disappointment of Everton's failed bid to move to the Kings Dock, and now scores of fans have contacted the ECHO to let us know exactly what they think about the club's latest plans. Brian Hankin from West Derby said: "Everton are no longer in trouble, no-one is really that bothered about a new stadium if it is to leave us bankrupt."
But Mark McInnes from Wirral disagreed, saying: "Great, build the stadium but make it an all-weather pitch/ ground. This way it can be used for concerts, athletics and no closure due to b ad weather." Mike Foster from Leighton Buzzard sai d: "Forget the stadium for a few years. It would only mean less cash to spend on building a team to stay in the league. What would happen if we got a £500m ground and got relegated?" Formby lad Matt Jones said: "It's great that we still might be able to play on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey. But where is the money coming from? Paul McCartney, lend your old mate Billy Kenwright some dosh and do the city of Liverpool proud for the people's club!" B Tarbuck of Liverpool was cynical about the financial implications of the move, saying: "Developers intend on squeezing maximum cash out of the club. How come it only cost Southampton £28m to build their new stadium?" Joseph Banks of Liverpool was enthusiastic about a riverside home for the club. He said: "The northern docks always offered a far better home than Kings ever did. The population is less, trans-port better and there's plenty of room for other devlopments." And Danny Boyle of Liverpool joined the chorus of approval for the dockside development: "I'm encouraged that the Blues are after a new 60,000 stadium. But we had trouble raising £30m for the Kings Dock, this one is due to cost £500m. Shall we have a whip round?"
Gerry Rogers of Liverpool has one major stipulation: "Brilliant, this is Everton's homeland. But no joint stadium with Liverpool please. S Davis, of Vauxhall, said: "£500m sounds a little steep for a stadium complex. Although I like the idea of a new stadium I am sceptical about the prospect of being ripped off by developers."
Players' stalwart bids farewell
May 21 2003 Liverpool Echo
EMINENT Evertonian Dr David France enjoyed a Last Supper with friends and acquaintances last week. Dr France is emigrating to Canada this summer - and hosted a farewell dinner at the Adelphi Hotel. There was no Judas present on the night, but a Golden Vision did present itself - in the shape of Everton idol Alex Young. Dr France became friendly with one of the Blues most revered figures when he founded the Everton Former Players' Foundation in 1999. And Alex said: "I wouldn't have missed this occasion for anything. David has done so much for former Everton players - including myself - and raised fans' spirits during the bad times of recent year s with h is now legendary Hall of Fame dinners. "It was a great send-off for him and I wish him all the very best for the future."
Ian MacDonald, representing the Everton Independent Blues, added: "David leaves a huge void which cannot be filled. He has made a vast contribution to Everton Football Club which should not be under-estimated."
Moyes given £5m pot
May 21 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
DAVID MOYES will have almost £5m to spend on new signings this summer - on top of the deal to land Joseph Yobo permanently. The news will be delivered at a Goodison board meeting tomorrow - when Moyes and Blues' directors will discuss options available to them for bolstering last season's successful squad. The Blues are still operating under stringent financial restrictions after last season's long term consolidation loan. But Moyes will be rewarded for his remarkable progress last season by further funds. Las t summer the Blues stretched their ingenuity to the limit by bringing in Joseph Yobo, Richard Wright, Rodrigo, Li Tie and Li Wei Feng for a total outlay of less than £5m.
They also added Brian McBride, Espen Baardsen and Ibrahim Said on loan towards the end of the campaign. Everton will investigate the possibility of loans and free transfers again, unless they can move on some of the existing squad. One departure could be Chinese midfielder Li Tie.
Everton have until June 30 to decide whether to take up the option in the contract signed last summer to sign him permanently for £1m. The final decision will be made by Moyes. The player himself is also keen to stay on Merseyside after a successful 12-month loan spell when he started 31 matches. Moyes watched last night's Bastia versus Sochaux game, with Bastia's Mickael Essien and Sochaux's Mickael Issabey reported as potential targets. The Blues' boss will also watch tonight's UEFA Cup final in Seville, although targetted midfielder Colin Healey will not be playing.
Everton have added another date to their pre-season schedule, when they will play two matches.
An Everton XI will face Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road on July 22 in a testimonial match for Shaun Smith and Steve McAuley, and will also take an XI to Rochdale the same night.
Blues unveil final heritage plaque sites
May 21 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
EVERTON'S 100 Seasons in the Top Flight celebrations have drawn to a close - where it all began.
The Blues unveiled their final two heritage plaques, at Stanley Park where The Toffees played their first ever match and at the old lock-up which adorns Everton's club-crest, 'Prince Rupert's Castle' on Everton Brow. Graeme Sharp, the club's Fans' Liaison Officer and the second highest goalscorer in the club's history, unveiled the latest plaques. One stands on the gatepost at the entrance of Stanley Park and reads: "Everton Football Club's first match was played here in Stanley Park on the 20 December 1879. Everton defeated St Peter's Church Football Club 6-0 to win the day."
The second, reads: "Built as a lockup in 1787 this round, conical roofed structure is the oldest surviving building in Everton. It stood at the west end of Everton village which lay on the brow of the hill. When the successful local chapel football team took the name 'Everton' this well-known landmark was adopted as the Everton Football Club insignia." Everton have placed a number of commemorative plaques at sites of particular historical significance this season. Previous plaques were installed at the Sandon public house in Anfield, Goodison Park, the Dixie Dean statue, Bellefield training ground and Anfield. Graeme Sharp said: "It's been an amazing season for Everton and great that the club has recognised such significant local landmarks which have played a major part in its history."
Blues chief foots bill
May 21 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC today sprang to the rescue of 3,000 devastated young footballers. Anfield Junior Soccer League faced shutdown after vandals wrecked pitches - but Blues' deputy-Chairman Bill wright, today pledged to help. The yobs went on the rampage in Stanley Park, destroying goalposts which cost £2,100 to replace two years ago. But Mr Kenwright read of the league's plight in last night's ECHO and immediately pledged to replace them. He said: "I was appalled by the damage inflicted on one of the city's cultural landmarks. "Stanley Park is also the original home of Everton Football Club so it seemed only right to help out." Steve O'Reilly, who helps run the league, said: "This is absolutely fantastic news. "For Everton to come in like this and rescue the Anfield Junior League and the Jeff Howard League is brilliant. "We have already received a lot of support from Liverpool FC and we are aware of the financial difficulties at Everton, so this really is a great gesture.
"I am over the moon and I'm sure all the youngsters who play on Stanley Park will be as well."
The latest attack is part of a catalogue of vandalism in the north Liverpool park. A Victorian sandstone wall has been knocked down, benches ripped up, and a listed pavilion damaged by fire.
Blue m'lord and Red m'lady
Alan Weston, Daily Post
May 22 2003
LIVERPOOL Town Hall is being divided into two halves - Blue and Red! And every day will be a Merseyside derby, as Liverpool's new Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress vie for footballing supremacy!
Councillor Ron Gould took the reins as Liverpool's first citizen yesterday from retiring Lord Mayor, Coun Jack Spriggs. Ron's wife Tina is his Lady Mayoress and although they have been happily married for 41 years, there is one thing they have never quite been able to agree on. He is an Everton supporter, while she follows Liverpool. Ron said: "It's the first time I can remember there being a Lord Mayor and Mayoress who have represented both the Blue and the Red halves of the city. We've had plenty of arguments over football, but we'll try our best to unite the city's football rivals." Ron has worked for more than 40 years, both as a community and mental health pharmacist and as a city councillor. He said: "Through my career, and my work as a councillor, I've been lucky enough to be able to help all kinds of people, from children to the critically ill. I hope to continue doing this during my term of office." A Liberal Democrat Councillor for Aigburth, he has held a number of senior positions on the city council. His wife is the council's assistant executive member for environment, and chair of the Riverside South area committee.
Six pack with a dream of glory
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
May 22 2003
WITH a production line to rival Fords or Vauxhalls, Everton hope to be rolling out some new models for the first team over the next year or so. The Blues Academy system is one of the most productive in the country and the contracts offered to six of the club's brightest talents maintains the steady stream of youngsters provided for David Moyes' first team squad. When the Blues offered Kevin McLeod, Sean O'Hanlon, Leon Osman, Stephen Schumacher, Michael Symes and Alan Moogan a one-year extension to their stay with the club earlier this month, it was vindication of the work done at youth level by Academy director Ray Hall and his staff. So far the Blues have given first-team debuts to 18 players in the past six years, with McLeod and Osman just two players to live out the dream of playing in the Premiership. Midfielder McLeod, who has yet to decide his future, is coming to the end of a successful loan spell at QPR and should he stay, he will be hoping that next year sees him join Wayne Rooney, Tony Hibbert and David Unsworth as players who have come through the ranks to play an integral part in Moyes' first team. Osman, who made his Premiership debut in the final day defeat at Goodison against Manchester United as a late substitute, is another who will be hoping to make the breakthrough in the top flight. The 22-year-old midfielder has been one of the stars for Andy Holden's reserve side this season. England under-20s defender Sean O'Hanlon, who played for the national side last night, has also been an integral part of Holden's second string. But it will the youngest trio of the six that will be most pleased to have extended their stay at Goodison. The final year of the three-year Academy scholarship is a vital one, with players knowing they must impress if their dream of playing for Everton is not to fall at the final hurdle. So Schumacher, Symes and Moogan's elevation as full-time professionals is another feather in the cap of the Academy.
Academy director Hall said: "Three of the boys - Leon, Sean and Kevin McLeod have moved out of the Academy and have been with the first team for two or three years now. But we are delighted that three of our U19s have been offered a further contract. "At the moment we have three boys away on international duty. Peter Clarke with the England U21s, Sean O'Hanlon, who is with England's U20s, and Stephen Schumacher who is with England U19s. That recognition at national level means a lot because it not only helps develop young players it also recognises a certain type, because England have high standards. They wouldn't pick players they felt would let them down."
Schumacher (right), along with Moogan and Symes, featured in the FA Youth Cup side which reached the final in 2002. And after the highs of that year and seeing their team-mate Wayne Rooney step up to the first team and beyond, all three were determined to continue their progression. But it hasn't been all plain sailing. Hall added: "After doing so well in the FA Youth Cup last year as finalists, we had players moving up a level. Michael Symes started playing in some pre-season games with the reserves, but unfortunately got injured and spent a lot of time out. He only got a decent run towards the end of the season but was injured again. "Alan and Stephen missed about a third of the season with injuries at the beginning, so it took a little bit of time for them to get a head of steam.
However because of how they have performed the club has given them another opportunity to see whether they can make the next stage. "And I'm sure they would like to establish themselves as regular reserve players and push themselves to do well beyond that. Whether that means a loan period out at another club or on to the fringe of our first team." Schumacher from Kirkby and Symes from Aintree, have both been at the club almost ten years, while Moogan, who is from West Derby, joined when he was a 14-year-old. And the local flavour is a key factor in the Blues' strategy of grooming youngsters who have the club at heart. Hall added: "When you have a nucleus of local players about the place, they have got a real desire and feel for the club and that doesn't diminish at a young age. Their dream is to play for our first team, nobody else's." But Hall and his team ensure that they do not get carried away and keep their feet on the ground every step of the way.
Hall said: "Every day since they have been here has been important. And what I say to young players when we meet with their parents, especially at a young age, is that if they are just focused only on going on to play in our first team, they seldom achieve it "But if they set targets for themselves. The first target is to get into the club, they next target is to make sure they get a place at U10s from U9s, the next target at 12 is to get a two-year registration to 14. Then from 14 to 16 and to try and get a scholarship, then to go from the U17s to U19s. While they are in that to play for the youth side, the reserves, international caps where possible and before you know it these boys are coming up to their 20th birthday. "Having achieved each little goal they are closer than they have ever been to their ultimate dream."
Owen: Rooney's time will come
May 22 2003
MICHAEL OWEN has reassured Wayne Rooney there is still all the time in the world to make his mark on international football. Rooney missed England's whistle-stop trip to South Africa to receive treatment on his knee injury after his agent joined Everton boss David Moyes and the club's physio for last weekend's England medical examination. With England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson accepting that the 17-year-old striker should rest his knee rather than flying to Durban, he will miss out on the friendly against the Bafana Bafana. That could have represented a chance for Rooney to develop his strike part-nership with Owen, which showed signs of promise against Turkey last month. However, with Rooney ruled out and James Beattie given a week's rest after The FA Cup final, the door has opened for either Emile Heskey to return or for Darius Vassell to be given another chance to shine. Eriksson is still hoping Rooney will be able to join up with the squad in time for their break in La Manga next week before coming into contention for the friendly against Serbia and Montenegro on June 3. Owen insisted: "There will be plenty of time for Wayne Rooney. He's probably got tons and tons of England caps to come. So I don't think we should be under any rush to risk him with his injury or whatever. "There will be plenty of times to come, maybe even in this next month. We don't know whether he will be missing for all three games yet." Rooney could therefore still force his way back into the side in time for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11.
Boss turns down rescue bonus
May 22 2003
DAVID MOYES was offered a cash lump sum by the Everton board as a reward for rescuing the club from relegation in his first season at Goodison - but the Blues boss turned the gift down. Chairman Bill Kenwright reveals in a programme to be screened tonight how the board felt Moyes deserved some financial bonus for saving the club from the drop at the end of the 2001-02 campaign.
He says: "I'll tell you a story nobody knows, other than me, David and the board. "I phoned him up and said, 'listen, the board would like to give you something for saving us from relegation so early, so wonderfully, just as a present'. "He wouldn't take it. He said 'no, I don't want it, I'm really well paid by Everton Football Club, I'm doing my job, I'm privileged to be here, I'm happy and I'm doing the job'. That's what the man is." Moyes took over in mid-March last year with the club 15th in the Premiership and in danger of losing their Premiership status for the first time in a century. Everton won three of their first four games under the new boss, however, eventually securing survival with two games to spare. Tonight's programme, entitled 'Moyesie-Side', looks at the renaissance under Moyes which took Everton to the brink of a European spot this season. * Soccer Stories will be shown on Granada tonight at 11pm.
Blues' targets put in shop window
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 22 2003
POTENTIAL Everton target Steven Caldwell admits he is now playing to get away from St James' Park. The Newcastle defender is out of contract this summer and recently rejected the Magpies' extension offer in a bid to find more regular first team football. Now he hopes playing for Scotland this summer can put him in the shop window for a lucrative Premiership switch. The centre-half played in Tuesday night's B international win over Northern Ireland and is today hoping for a call-up when Berti Vogts names his squad for the friendly with New Zealand and the Euro 2004 qualifier with Germany. And Caldwell admits it is not just his international career that will be at stake in the coming weeks. The Scot, who played 17 games for Newcastle this season, including a Champions League victory over Bayer Leverkusen, said: "I'm not certain where I will be playing my football next season. It is still hanging in the balance but the only thing I am thinking about for the next three weeks is Scotland." Caldwell has also been linked with Rangers since turning down Newcastle's offer and added: "I would be pleased to listen to offers from anybody. Playing for Scotland puts you in the shop window and lets people see you." And if nothing then materialises the 23-year-old could still go back to Tyneside and put pen to paper on the existing offer. He said: "It may be not entirely what I want but I'm not ruling out going back to Newcastle. Sometimes you have to gamble and sadly that's the way things are in football now." Another Everton target in action in the B international was Motherwell's James McFadden. The Blues had a bid for the Scotland striker turned down last year but could renew their interest this summer with the Scots' forced to sell. Well are certain to finish bottom of the Bank of Scotland Premier League and will discover on Friday if First Division champions Falkirk's application to groundshare while their new stadium is built will be enough to get them promoted. McFadden is the most saleable asset at Fir Park and with the club still in administration it would be no surprise if they cashed in after Saturday's final game. He said: "It might be my last game but it is not up to me - it's up to the club. If they want to sell me I will respect that decision but I am not going into it thinking 'this is my last game'." Well would hope to recoup around £1.5m for the 20-year-old, who has already broken into the senior national team.
Moyes joins Dunn race
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 22 2003
DAVID MOYES will join the race for wantaway Blackburn star David Dunn - even though a successful bid could swallow up his entire transfer kitty. The Everton manager believes the £5million-rated England international is the man to galvanise his midfield next season and has made him top of this summer's wish-list. Dunn yesterday opened the way for a summer bidding war by rejecting Rovers' offer of a new contract extension at Ewood Park. But the Blues face strong competition to land the 23-year-old while Moyes' hopes could be scuppered by his restricted transfer budget. The Blues boss is expected to be told at a board meeting today he has around £8m to spend, a sum that compares favourably with most other Premiership clubs. But with £3.5m ear-marked to complete Joseph Yobo's transfer from Marseille in the next few days the Blues manager has little left for a midfield overhaul. Nevertheless, Moyes is not ready to scale-down his ambitions yet and wants the England under-21 skipper, who has made one senior appearance at international level and has two years left on his Blackburn deal. Graeme Souness insists he is in no rush to off-load Dunn, but after their fall-out earlier this year over the midfielder's lifestyle he is prepared to sell to the highest bidder. The Rovers boss revealed yesterday: "We asked him if he would be willing to sign a new contract and he's said no he won't. "There was no mention of the length of contract or money. John Williams (chief executive) simply asked him if he was prepared to sign a new deal and he said 'no' and that was the end of it." "So the reality is we've offered him an extension. I'm under no pressure to make a decision. I want him in the squad for next year and it will be in everyone's interests if he starts next season here and does well for us." Souness added: "We'd be very reluctant sellers if it ever came to losing David Dunn. "We've just had a great season and we'd be foolish to think we can't do any better than that. So I'm not about to sell off all my best players if I can help it."
Souness, however, knows the situation could be out of his hands with Dunn's value diminishing as he approaches the end of his contract. Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa have all been linked with the midfielder but Moyes is also prepared to test Rovers' resolve. A further stumbling black, however, will be having to pay the transfer fee for Dunn up front. The cost of transfers from abroad can be spread over the length of a player's contract but that does not apply in the Premiership. That could see Moyes divert his attentions to Bastia's £4m-rated midfielder Mickael Essien if Rovers' price the midfielder out of Everton's grasp, with free transfers and imaginative loan deals similar to the ones that captured Yobo and Rodrigo last summer on the agenda again.
Plymouth fuming over Fergie link
May 22 2003 Liverpool Echo
THE manager of ambitious Second Division club Plymouth Argyle is hopping mad - after being linked with a swoop for Duncan Ferguson! Reports in the South-West claimed that the club, which finished 15 points below Tranmere last season, wanted to sign the Everton striker who has two years left on his Blues contract. But boss Paul Sturrock said: "I cannot understand it. He's on £40,000 a week. "He's going to have to take a wage decrease to get another football club, but it's quite scary that people would associate him with us. It's time we kiboshed these rumours."
Everton clinch Yobo deal
May 22 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have completed the permanent transfer of Joseph Yobo - but have been warned that Li Tie will not be joining them for a cut-price fee. The Blues successfully resolved the wrangle with Yobo's former club Marseille last night and have secured the defender on a four-year contract. He will cost a further £3.5m, bringing to an end months of confusion over the player's future. The Nigerian World Cup star originally arrived at Goodison on a 12-month loan, but such was his early impact that Everton immediately exercised an option to secure his services on a long-term deal. This took the form of an agreement to sign a contract, but comments by the player then suggested there were financial difficulties still to resolve. These, however, were between Yobo and his former club Marseille and Blues' officials flew to France last week to try and resolve the differences. These were finally sorted out last night. The Blues have until June 30 to decide whether to exercise their option to sign Li Tie on a long-term contract for £1m. But a spokesman for his club, Liaoning Bird, has said that the fee is not negotiable. Zhang Shuguang told the Chinese press: "Li Tie is not only the best player in the country, but his Asian Player of the Year nomination just goes to show what kind of a talent he is. "The potential to be crowned the best player in China is fine testament to what he can achieve. "He has shown his ability over the last European season and has done his talking on the pitch. He is totally comfortable playing in one of the top Leagues in Europe and his price should not be below 20 million yuan (about £1.5m). "Even if other clubs in China want him, his price will not go any lower than that as well. "The club is fully supportive of what the player wants and his opinions.
"We are fully behind his wishes to continue his career in Europe, but the club also needs to be fair, both on ourselves as well as the player, to get a just price that everyone should deserve."
As reported in yesterday's Echo, Blues' boss David Moyes will today be handed a summer transfer pot of around £4.5m. He must now decide whether he wishes to spend a sizeable slice of that fund on Tie.
Be realistic, Blues
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 23 2003
DAVID MOYES' achievements this season have certainly established him as a fans' favourite but I think Evertonians need to be realistic for next year and beyond. Yes we had six straight wins that yielded 18 points, some of those fortunate. If we had accumulated eight points only (a reasonable assumption from past we would have finished the season with 49 points. If we did not have a phenomenon like Rooney who scored spectacular late winners, it is possible we could have gone down. I have been an Evertonian for 33 years through good times and mostly bad. I have been disappointed most of the time, none as much as when we lost the derby. We have limited funds and a board unlikely to part with money this summer. At best we can hope for a mid to lower third finish next year.
A Jay, Neath
We need to buy
DAVID MOYES has done a first class job this season. Now we need to supply some money to Moyes or we might as well let him go, as it would not be fair to keep him and hold back his career. All you ever hear is talk about building a new stadium, which is all great if we have a great team to play in it. We need to improve the team big time, and then we will make enough money from future European adventures to fund a new stadium.
Gordon Crawford, Belfast
Think big on bids
BLINDING season, the boys have done well for us. What we need now is simply two new midfielders: Sean Davis from Fuham would be great and why don't we try and shake up the money teams for once. Moyesey, put in a bid for Jermaine Pennant or maybe teach the Reds a thing or too by nicking Malbranque. A winger and central midfielder is all that's needed. Don't lay abuse at Naysmith and Carsley's doors as I've seen them play excellently this season. Shipping out Big Dunc's wages would be good though, perhaps make his full wage appearance-reliant.
Matt Read, Leicester
£5MILLION can get you quite a lot in the current transfer market these days. Also if £2-3m can also be raised by getting shot of a bit of the deadwood, that would give us a reasonable amount of ammunition to rebuild the midfield and even add a striker and a defender. Koumas is available at around £2m, also players like McFadden, Berger etc, could be bought for nominal fees. As for a striker, we were linked with Bent of Ipswich and Hulse from Crewe recently - both fit the David Moyes profile of potential targets, as both are young and very promising.
A Thomas, Walton
Cup tradition lost
IT was disgraceful that this year's FA Cup final was played under a closed roof. It was an insult to the traditions of the Cup. No more muddy pitches or players sweating buckets in the blazing sun, no more goalies wearing caps. It's the little things that make the final what it WAS. All history and tradition has now been broken, and all because the FA VIPs might get wet!
Neil Hawkins, Liverpool
Blues to seal deal for Yobo today
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 23 2003
JOSEPH YOBO is expected to become an Everton player, signed, sealed and delivered, today.
The Blues have finally won the long-running battle to land the Nigerian ace after months of rows over the defender's pay-off from Marseille. And that means the £350,000 Yobo insists he is owed will be paid by the French club. The World Cup star has been on loan at Goodison Park for a season, which cost Everton an initial £1million, and they have now agreed to pay a further £3.5m to complete the permanent deal. Everton took up their side of the option on Yobo earlier in the season, but the player - who changed agents during the campaign - claimed he was not happy with his side of the deal and would not sign until the pay-off from his French club was sorted out.
Everton officials flew to Marseille last week to try to break the deadlock, but returned without a clear decision. But further negotiations have now been successful and Yobo will sign a contract keeping him at Goodison Park until 2007. Everton chief executive Mike Dunford confirmed: "Joseph Yobo has now reached an agreement with Marseille and we expect the deal to be sealed in 24 hours. He is now our player." The capture of one of Europe's most promising young centre-halves will now allow David Moyes to concentrate on rebuilding his midfield. Bastia's Mickael Essien was watched again on Tuesday night, with Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier also running the rule over the young Ghanaian midfielder, while David Dunn is a top priority if Everton can finance a £5m swoop for the Blackburn star. The Blues boss will have until June 30 to decide whether to retain Li Tie on a permanent contract and meet Liaoning Bird's £1m-plus asking price. Moyes is willing to pay around £500,000 to land the Chinese international, who will discover next week if he has been named Asia's Footballer of the Year for 2002. Everton still hope to reach a compromise with Liaoning, who yesterday insisted they would not drop their asking price. A spokesman for the Chinese club, Zhang Shuguang said: "Li Tie has shown his ability over the past European season and he is totally comfortable playing in one of the top leagues in Europe and his price should not be below £1.5m.
"Even if other clubs in China want him, his price will not go any lower than that as well. "The club is fully supportive of what the player wants and his opinions. We are fully behind his wishes to continue his career in Europe but the club also needs to be fair, both on ourselves as well as the player, to get a just price that everyone should deserve."
* Scot Gemmill has been omitted from the Scotland squad to face New Zealand and next month's Euro 2004 qualifier with Germany. Gary Naysmith has retained his place in Berti Vogts' plans.
No harm done to O'Neill reputation - Kendall
May 23 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
CELTIC may have lost the UEFA Cup final, but manager Martin O'Neill's reputation will have been done no harm. Whenever there's a vacancy, he is linked with it. Just before I left Everton five years ago, his name was being put forward as a replacement. It is no surprise he is in demand, he is doing a superb job. I believe O'Neill will move on from Celtic in the near future purely because he will want greater competition. O'Neill is a manager who enjoys being wanted, although he has not always enjoyed such popularity. When I was in charge at Sheffield United we went to Leicester not long after O'Neill had taken over. After we beat them, their fans were ripping up the seats wanting him out. The change since those days has been extraordinary. Bowyer can be Blues key DAVID Moyes is a very lucky manager to have more than £4m to spend on new players. Lee Bowyer would be a superb signing. When a player of that quality becomes available on a free transfer Everton should go and get him. A lot has been written about his character, but at the end of the day he does his job on the pitch. He is a top class player who will get eight or ten goals from midfield. That's what Everton lacked last season. Bowyer's style is infectious, in a similar way to Wayne Rooney's. He would have a big impact on the team. In previous times, perhaps clubs would have steered away from Bowyer because of his past, but as there is now such a shortage of available talent clubs are prepared to handle him. I don't believe there would be an adverse reaction from the fans if he signed. Once they see what he can do on the pitch, they would take to him. Un f or t unate ly, when a player like that is available, a lot of big clubs like Newcastle show interest. The problem for Everton is that Newcastle can offer European football to any player they are keen on. Everton should act now and try to outbid their rivals. After all, as the fans saw last season, it is in midfield where the Blues need to be looking to improve.
Wright happy to get a break
May 23 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT is using the pre-season break to clear up a niggling knee injury. The Everton goalkeeper was forced to step down at the last minute from the Blues' match at Spurs on January 12 - but despite an ever-present appearance record after that the problem did not completely clear.
Wright was recalled to the international fold for the friendly against Australia in February, but while David James, Paul Robi nson and I aninternational duty in South Africa last night, Wright was recuperating at home. The problem does not require surgery and is expected to be completely healed in time for pre-season training on July 3. Meanwhile -Scot Gemmill, has been left out of Berti Vogts' latest international squad for Scotland's friendly against New Zealand and Euro 2004 qualifier against Germany. The 32-year-old has not even made the list of nine-players on standby. Gary Naysmith, however, is in the squad for the friendly at qualifier at Hampden Park on June 7.
Th e Blues have announced that the final match of last season agains t Manchester United broke the club's gate receipts record. Receipts of £740,007 were taken from the 40, 168 gate - £ 10, 000 higher than the previous best, also when Manchester United were visitors, in September 2000.
Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "At the end of a season of fantastic support, sellout gates and an average attendance of over 38,000, it is fitting that we should break the record. "We would like to thank our supporters for their continued support and we hope for more of the same next season."
Pembridge aims to put UEFA Cup disappointment behind him
Report By Mark Currie, Daily Post
May 26 2003
EVERTON midfielder Mark Pembridge is looking on Wales' friendly with the United States in San Jose as the perfect opportunity to dispel the personal disappointment he feels about Everton's narrow failure to qualify for the UEFA Cup. Pembridge, one of the unsung heroes in the resurgence of Welsh footballing fortunes, will take his tally of caps to 48 when the friendly gets under way in the Spartan Stadium at 3am tomorrow morning UK time. But he hopes to put the sad end to a season of promise behind him. He said: "I was a little bit unhappy with my own performances towards the end of the season because I got injured in training after we beat West Brom and if I had been fit I might have been involved in the next game, which was against Liverpool. "Neverthless, it's been a great year overall, but everyone was a bit down that we didn't finish in sixth place because we had been there or thereabouts since before Christmas. But it was the club's best finish since I've been at Goodison Park and it was a nice feeling to be at that end of the table for a change. Now we have to build on that." Manager David Moyes has rightly taken plenty of credit for turning Everton around but Pembridge claimed there was no magic formula other than proper preparation. "I think it was that we worked hard, we worked well and we did it for each other," he said. "We were hard to beat early in the season and we didn't concede many goals while, at the same time, creating loads of chances for ourselves. That's not an easy thing to do in the Premiership but we did it well and we saw the results." Emphasising that teamwork was the key to Everton's improvement, he was reluctant to add anything to the hype surrounding teenage striker Wayne Rooney. "Wayne started off well, getting a goal against Arsenal, and it just went on from there for him. He's no different from anyone else, he gets on with all the lads and I don't really want to add anything else," said Pembridge. "You can see for yourself what he's like, but at the end of the day, it's a team game."
Painful end was so hard on us - Moyes
Andy Hunter Reports, Daily Post
May 26 2003
D AVID MOYES had carried out the safety-net long before Everton's season of revival came to end against Manchester United. European qualification or not, he insisted, the season was of celebration not commiseration and his players, staff and supporters should embrace that fact.
And of course Moyes was right - it has been a campaign to exceed and also reawaken expectations at Goodison Park. But two weeks after falling out of the top six for the first time in six months and being pipped to a UEFA Cup place by Blackburn Rovers, the Blues manager is the first to admit the agony of that day still lingers. The disappointment hasn't gone away," he says. "That hangs with you all summer, but that's football. "But we have to realise it's been a good season and the players have made big strides. That's all we asked of them at the start of the campaign." Moyes added: "We achieved our objectives which were to improve and to make progress. Those objectives had changed by the end of the season though. "You always have to set your sights higher and it looked for long periods as if we would qualify for Europe. For a long time we were in with a shout of the Champions League, then the UEFA Cup and to be pipped on the last day was very disappointing but overall we have to be pleased." Thoughts have already turned to next season, however, with record season tickets sales a sure sign of renewed belief. Moyes concedes expectations have been raised but at a club of Everton's stature that should not be such an issue. Now it is a case of maintain-ing the momentum of the season just gone. The Blues boss admits: "It's going to be difficult to match that next season. Most people would think it is going to be tough but that is our objective. No squad has improved as much as we have in one season and our next job is to get even higher. There is no reason why we can't do that next season. "The players we have will have to try and deliver the same again. We finished seventh last year but for the majority of the season we were higher than that." Everton's chase for Europe next season is, in all likelihood, to be carried by the same squad that pushed the dream as far as it could go last term. With no-one out of contract and only a limited transfer budget at his disposal - possibly even less than the £4.5million quoted - Moyes' hands are tied again. With Everton now an attractive proposition again many believe it is time for the Goodison board to gamble by somehow handing the League Manager's Association's Manager of the Year a sizeable pot. The realistic Moyes, however, says: "We'd like to bring in one or two new faces but we don't want to get into a Leeds situation where we end up having to sell our best players. I want to be at a club that doesn't sell its best players but adds to them and I'm not going to break up anything that's in place. "We have Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Richard Wright and the emergence of Wayne Rooney and that's four very good young players. If it's possible to add to that then we've got the makings of a good team for the next few years to come. "Seventh isn't good enough in the sense that we want to be aiming for the top of the league. You can never tell in football, as Leeds showed last season. Everton have been up and down for a few years now so nothing would surprise you. "If you look at the clubs who finished above us they have all spent heavily on their squads. Their grounds are refurbished and they have still been able to finance team building. "Everton are only at the start of that road. We've got a long way to go to catch them up in terms of spending, but we have shown this season that we are willing to compete with them all."
Moyes wait as McLeod set to stay
Report By David Prior, Daily Post
May 26 2003
DAVID MOYES has admitted he is still waiting for the Everton board to reveal the size of his summer transfer kitty - but that Ghanaian midfielder Mickael Essien is top of his wanted list. The Blues boss is reported to have around £5million to spend after his superb first full season at Goodison.
However he is yet to receive confirmation of just what funds he has at his disposal for summer squad-strengthening. And Moyes painted a bleak picture of the current transfer market, admitting it was now more difficult to secure the kind of player he was looking for. He said: "Like most clubs we carry a hefty wage bill which doesn't leave us much room to add to that. "At the moment we've got the same squad of players under contract. "We've got Joseph Yobo and we'll try to add one or two more but as yet the board haven't confirmed how much funds I have to spend." Essien, currently at French club Bastia, has suggested he would be reluctant to leave France but that should not dissuade Moyes from trying to bring the highly-rated 20-year-old to Merseyside. He added: "Essien is a player we are interested in. I think transfer activity will be very quiet though. "We don't have any players out of contract so there won't be movement in that direction." Moyes continued: "The board are going to make funds available but I don't have a figure yet. "And I don't think the way the market is now will make it easier, it could make it harder to buy players. "At the bottom end of the market it may be easier to sign players but clubs are going to want top dollar for their prized assets." One player however who could be set to pen a new deal at Goodison is Kevin McLeod. The 22-year-old was a devastated loser yesterday as QPR, whom he joined on loan from the Blues earlier in the season, lost their Division Two play-off final to Cardiff at the Millennium Stadium. McLeod has admitted he felt he was "wasting away" in the Everton reserves and could well have won a permanent deal at Rangers had they secured first division football. However he has been offered a new one-year contract at Goodison and may now plump for that and a further stab at breaking into the first team, although other clubs are said to be interested in the winger.
Wayne shows his quali-tee
May 26 2003 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has joined his England team-mates for a practice session - on the golf course!
Rooney was spotted practicing his swing in La Manga, where he is attending a training camp in the build-up to the friendly with Serbia and the European Championship qualifier with Slovakia.
After missing out on last Wednesday's 2-1 win over South Africa, he is receiving treatment from the England medical team as he attempts to recover fully from the knee ligament injury he sustained on the final day of the Premiership season. Rooney has been able to continue his rehabilitation with some light jogging but the sight of the teenage sensation on the course led national newspapers to suggest that he could be fit for the Serbia match a week on Tuesday. However, the FA poured cold water on those claims. "Everyone played golf with the express permission of our physio Gary Lewin," said FA Spokesman Adrian Bevington. "The only training Wayne has done has been to run in straight lines. He is not yet fit to play football."
Match made in heaven
May 26 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON wonder-kid Wayne Rooney stole the show with his girlfriend Colleen McLoughlin as they soaked up the Spanish sun. The 17-year-old star and his sweetheart lazed by a swimming pool with Rooney's England colleagues. The national side, all joined by their families, relaxed in La Manga where they are training. Rooney decided to take Colleen, who is still studying for her A-Levels.
An onlooker said: "All the stars were there but everyone was looking at Rooney and his girl."
Watch out for new Wayne
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 27 2003
DAVID MOYES has warned the Premiership to be prepared for the new improved Wayne Rooney next season. The Everton striker has proved a revelation since stepping into the first-team last August, helping fire the Blues to within a point of UEFA Cup qualification and being nominated for a clutch of domestic and world awards. Such has been the 17-year-old's impact, he became the youngest-ever England international barely six months into his professional career when making a second-half appearance against Australia in February, and produced a manof-the-match display in his first competitive start for the national side in victory over Turkey in April. However, Moyes insists Rooney has so far been a more potent performer coming on from the bench than playing from the start. But now the Blues boss has alerted his top-flight rivals that the youngster - currently with the England squad at their La Manga retreat in Spain - is ready to make the next step up from supersub to consistent performer. "If you look back on last seaso n Wayne did much better as a substitute than in the games he started," said Moyes. "Out of 15 or 16 starts he was exceptional in a few. He can be magnificent for 30 minutes, which is where the substitutes role comes in, and next year we hope it will be an hour. "His performances will become more regular as he gets older, stronger and fitter. "That's our aim and it will help him in the long term with Everton and England."
The clamour for Rooney's inclusion in the international arena led to an unseemly club-versus-country row earlier this month after the player was withdrawn from the friendly trip to South Africa after sustaining medial knee ligament damage against Manchester United on May 11. Rooney has since joined up with squad in preparation for next week's friendly against Serbia and Montenegro and the crucial Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia eight days later. The injury continues to threaten Rooney's presence in both games, and while Moyes has previously admitted it is unlikely to be the last time he is at loggerheads with England, he will continue to put the player and Everton first. "This time next year England will hopefully have qualified for the European Championships," added Moyes. "Will people be asking me to leave him out of the Everton team so that he's fit enough for England? I have to do what's right for Everton and Wayne Rooney." Moyes, meanwhile, has revealed he is attempting to secure the services of Li Tie on loan for another season. The Chinese midfielder arrived at Goodison last summer on a oneyear deal from Liaoning Bird as part of the sponsorship deal with Keijan. However, with Moyes having only a limited transfer budget, the Blues are refusing to meet the £1million-plus asking price to make his move permanent. Moyes said: "Li Tie's club seem to want too much for him now, so we will try to get another year's loan." But with Newcastle and Southampton also interested in signing Li Tie, it seems unlikely Liaoning Bird will agree to such a deal. The Chinese club have said they have no intention of lowering their valuation before Li Tie's current loan deal expires on June 30, meaning Everton will almost certainly have to increase the £500,000 they are willing to spend on bringing the 25-year-old to Goodison on a permanent contract.
Teenage dreams are so hard to beat
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 27 2003
FOR most 17-year-olds, the idea of spending a summer holiday lounging around the pool with England's finest footballers is the stuff of dreams. It's the kind of thing you joke about with your mates, something you might hope for when the plane touches the tarmac. But as unlikely as actually playing for England yourself. Not for Wayne Rooney. Never mind holidaying alongside the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen and company - Rooney IS that company. And if confirmation were necessary, seeing you with your girlfriend splashed across the front pages of national newspapers serves only to emphasise the impact the teenage striker from Croxteth is making not only on the Premiership, but also the national psyche. What David Moyes, Rooney's Everton boss and protector-in-chief, makes of the suffocating attentions of the Fleet Street pack is probably unprintable on these pages. But Moyes' well-meaning efforts have been swept aside by the tide of Rooneymania which the player, with one sensational performance following another, has unwittingly done little to stem. Everton's youngster-ever goalscorer in scoring his debut goal at Wrexham. The Premiership's youngest-ever marksman - albeit for only eight weeks - after his memorable last-minute winner against Arsenal. England's youngest-ever international aged 17 years and 111 days when a second- hal f substitute against Australia. Little wonder he has been so lauded, being named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, runner-up in both the sporting Oscars' World Newcomer of the Year and the PFA Young Player of the Year as well as now taking the Daily Post's Everton Player of the Year award. It's been a whirlwind 12 months. This time last year, knowledge of the precocious talent that Everton were about to unleash on the Premiership was becoming an increasingly open secret. A whisper here, a rumour there, but no-one was quite prepared for what the fledgling striker was about to achieve. Now there is barely a person in world football who hasn't heard of the name Rooney. Praised by Pele and recommended by Ronaldo, it's a far cry from the days when the youngster was the Blues' mascot at the Anfield derby in November 1996. "I always hoped I'd become a footballer but it was hard to imagine back then," said Rooney.
"When I was mascot I wanted to play for Everton so badly that I just used to play football in the street all the time, re-living all the games. "My first derby match as a player was at Anfield and I was getting a fair bit of stick that day and all I could think about on the bench was coming on and scoring so I could wind their fans up." The day Rooney was mascot, Duncan Ferguson was Everton captain. And the 17-year-old admitted it took a while to get used to playing alongside the big Scot. "It is a bit of a weird feeling really," he said. "I used to idolise him when I was a kid and then just a few years later I am in the same side partnering him." A highlight of a memorable debut season for Rooney came at Leeds, where his late winner after coming on as substitute gave Everton their first win at Elland Road in 51 years. "It felt fantastic because we had been on a great run and had enjoyed a few back-to-back wins," said the striker. "I was only on for about 10 minutes and scoring the winning goal in front of the Everton fans is a moment that will live with me for a very long time to come.
"It is definitely up there with the Arsenal goal." Rooney's first Premiership season has not been without its pitfalls, however. A series of bookings during the winter period culminated in a sendingoff at Birmingham City and a subsequent four-match ban. And the player admitted there were times when he struggled to come to terms with the massive leap forward from the youth team to English football's top flight. "It is a lot faster, more physical and it is something that is a bit of a shock when you move up," he added. "You have to be on top of your game all the time. If you make a mistake in the Premiership you get punished straight away. It is not the same at youth level.
"My youth team colleagues have been very helpful. They have supported me along the way by coming to the games and they have all offered me advice. "They have played a major part in getting me where I am today and I am still mates with them all today." He continued: "In the Premiership, you are up against players like Sol Campbell, who I admire. He is a big, strong player who reads the game well, although I have scored two goals against him! "He is definitely the toughest, but there are a number of great defenders playing in the Premiership who make life difficult for strikers."
Rooney created another piece of history for himself when he made his full international debut in England's 2-0 win over Turkey in April. But the player - who was named man of the match in that Stadium of Light encounter - insisted: "I wasn't nervous when I played for Eng-land. All I was thinking about was winning the game for England. "It was a massive qualifier and all I wanted to do was make sure I performed to the best of my ability not only for myself, but also for my club and my country." Despite the best efforts of Rooney and the massive strides made under Moyes, Everton's season petered out after a bright start and a UEFA Cup place - for so long in their grasp - was allowed to slip away. But with Moyes insistent his striking starlet will re-emerge stronger and fitter following his own summer break, it would be no surprise to see Rooney help the Blues go one better next term.
MAN OF THE MATCH AWARDS
EVERTON (42 games)
WAYNE ROONEY (from 17 starts) 8
Tomasz Radzinski (from 30 starts) 8
Joseph Yobo 6
Alan Stubbs 4
Tony Hibbert 3
Thomas Gravesen 3
David Weir 2
Steve Watson 2
Richard Wright 2
Gary Naysmith 2
Kevin Campbell 1
David Unsworth 1
Moyes: Fans trust us again
Report By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 27 2003
DAVID MOYES believes Everton have regained the trust of their fans. The Goodison Park chief may still be hurting over failing to bring European football back to the club after narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Champions League or UEFA Cup, but he believes much of the frustration and anger from the fans over past failings has gone. Everton were the most improved club in the Premiership, rising from 15th to seventh in the first full season of Moyes' management. And that was a major difference from the constant relegation battles of previous regimes. Now Moyes says: "I thought it was a good season with the progress the players have made. There's a difference between a great and a good season and had we qualified for Europe that would have been the difference. But we didn't win anything, apart from winning the supporters' trust back. "They filled the ground and could see that we were trying to do the best for Everton; in the future they will see us continuing to do just that." Moyes admits he has been over-whelmed by the depth of support and appreciation from Everton's success-starved fans. He said: "I have attended functions recently when the Everton fans' response to the season has been fantastic, and I have left wondering what on earth they would be like if we actually won some-thing. I'm hoping to see it. "The fans are coming back, they can see a team that maybe is not full of top players but certainly a team top in commitment, attitude and the desire to play for the jersey. None of those things labelled against the players when I first took over -like lack of commitment and not having a good attitude - now apply. "That can't be said after this season. I was pleased with what they achieved."
Non-league profile is rapidly growing - Ratcliffe
May 27 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
THE non-league scene is the place to go if you want value for money football. Last week's FA Trophy final provided evidence of that. More than 14,000 fans were at Villa Park for the game between Burscough and Tamworth. SKY's coverage of Conference and FA Trophy football this season has boosted the profile of the non-league scene at a time when the standard of football is higher than ever. Unfortunately, though, it is a silver lining to a dark cloud that has been hanging over English football for too long. More and more talented British players are having to drop out of the professional game and find part-time employment in the non-league game. The influx of cheap foreign imports to the top tier of the game has led to a domino affect. Managers are having to trim their squads and release players that, in an ideal world, they would probably prefer to keep hold of I have no problem with top quality international players coming to this country. They add quality and diversity to our game. But there are too many clubs now in possession of average foreign players.
Everton, like every other club, is in the same situation. David Moyes has inherited a squad which possesses players like Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth. They rarely figure for the first team but are earning good money and taking two places in the squad that could be occupied by promising young British players. It is something that shoul d have been addressed some time ago.
Shrewdness pays off
EVERTON and Bolton are the two Premiership clubs leading by example in the more money conscious Premiership. Both David Moyes and Sam Allardyce have been inventive with their transfer dealings because of the lack of transfer revenue available to them. They have used long-term l oans an d extended payment deals to land players with the quality to make an impression i n the Premiership But it is not just in the top flight where inventive contracts can ease the financial burden. Blackpool are paying their players just £90 a week over the summer. It sounds unfair, but the club have simply spread the payment of their wages to ensure the bulk of their basic pay is dished out in the football season, when the club has the turnover to afford it. The players still earn the same amount over a 12 month period, but it benefits the club. There are also more clubs putting together pay-as-you-play deals. You wouldn't be able to get away with it with the top players, where the control is still with them. But, as players start to realise the balance of power has swung back to the clubs, they will have to come to terms with more deals based on the time they spend on the pitch.
Blues eye up move for Dunn
May 27 2003 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is prepared to spend his entire transfer kitty to bring in one big summer signing.
And that could now mean a move for £5million rated Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Dunn, along with Birmingham who have already had a bid for him turned down, though reports that a bid has already been made are wide of the mark. The England Under-21 international, who recently turned down a new contract at Ewood Park following a much publicised fall-out with Blackburn boss Graeme Souness, is thought to be at the top of Moyes' shopping list. Young, dynamic and offering a goalscoring threat from mid-field, Moyes would see Dunn's addition to his squad as another step towards breaking into the top six. Dunn is away on a family holiday at present and club sources at Everton rubbished reports today that a deal had already been set up to bring him to Goodison.
But there is little doubt that Dunn, tipped to be a future England star, is much admired by the Blues hierarchy. Another name linked with a big money move to Merseyside is Bastia's Ghanaian midfielder Mickael Essien, for whom Moyes has made no secret of his admiration. "He is a player we are interested in, though I do think transfer activity will be quiet," the Everton boss confirmed.
"We do not have many players out of contract and we are happy with that. We will work with them as much as we did last year and hope-fully get the best out of them. "No squad has improved as much as we have done in one season and our next job is to get even higher, but there is no reason why we can't do that." Should Moyes decide to spend all his budget, that would not stop others from coming in. Just like last year with Joseph Yobo and Li Tie, Moyes would also be looking to bring players in on special loan deals with a view to buy in the future. Not only that, there will also be a huge number of players available on Bosman free transfers. It is estimated 500 professionals will be looking for new clubs come Sunday when the transfer window opens.
Blues aim to Tie up a deal
By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
May 28 2003
DAVID Moyes wants to extend Li Tie's loan spell for another season. The Blues' boss is unwilling to pay the £1m being asked by the Chinese midfielder's club Liaoning Bodao to make his Goodison stay permanent. Everton value him at around half that and see a loan extension as the best compromise. The hard working Li Tie impressed in the Everton midfield last season after arriving on a 12-month loan as part of the sponsorship deal with Kejian. The much capped China international made more than 30 appearances for the Blues, including 21 starts. Everton are keen to hold on to him for another season to bolster the Blues' engine room. Ian Ross, Everton's head of communications, today said: "Talks are continuing with Li Tie's representatives. The current deal does not expire until next month so there is still room for manoeuvre." Meanwhile, Everton's search for a goal-scoring midfielder continues, but they will not be submitting a bid for Sheffield United's Michael Brown. Moyes was monitoring the midfielder last season, but the South York-shire club will have to drastically lower their £3.5 valuation to rekindle the Blues' interest. Brown, who missed a penalty in United's Division One play-off final defeat against Wolves last Monday, has expressed a desire to play in the Premiership, but Everton are thought to rate the 26-year-old at around £2m. The Blues' chase for Blackburn Rovers' midfielder David Dunn remained on hold today. With Moyes and Everton chief executive Michael Dunford both away and the player himself on holiday, no bid has yet been made.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
May 28 2003
Blessing in disguise
I THINK not ending up in Europe for next season is a blessing in disguise I really do. Macca and Berger rumours are flying everywhere but I think both are bad moves for several reasons. It's against Moyes' policy of buying young lads. New ground plans merely highlight the fact that the developers are just greedy and intend on squeezing maximum cash out the club - £500million is a load of rubbish - how come it only cost Southampton £28m to build their own stadium then?
B Tarbuck, Liverpool
Be realistic Blues
AM I the only one getting really bored with the 'let's buy Aimar and Davids' rubbish? Where have you people been this last decade? We haven't got that sort of money. If you're going down that road let's sign Zidane, Vieira, Henry and van Nistelrooy. Even if we could afford the fees and wages etc these people are mercenaries who wouldn't give a monkey's for the blue shirt. Let's be realistic, someone a bit creative like Koumas would be a plus. Other than that I can't see us signing much more until we get rid of some high earners. Also, I hope Chadwick and Osman get their chance next season
B Weaver, Holyhead
Don't be shirty
LI TIE isn't a bad midfielder, but as for this "foot in the Asian market" does anyone realise what the Chinese economy is like? Ninety-nine per cent of the people can't afford food, let alone £45 for a shirt (and if they did buy one it would be one of the hundreds of fakes for sale throught the country for pennies). He is only worth signing if his football is of Premiership standard. To be honest, I am 100 per cent behind Dave Moyes and whatever he chooses to do this summer will, I am sure, be fantastic for Everton. My money is on a few decent loan signings again.
Dave Savidon, Liverpool
AM I alone in thinking that it is time for Duncan Ferguson to pay Everton and its supporters back? He has become a millstone and I think he should either agree to lower his salary or agree to leave us on reduced terms. Maybe a pay-per-play deal? His wages are crippling the club, his on-field behaviour and general lack of fitness are bringing him into disrepute with the supporters and threatening his popularity. Do the decent thing Dunc, prove that you're a Blue.
Marcus Johnson, Liverpool
Dunn waits over Blues move
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 28 2003
DAVID DUNN is waiting to see if Everton can come up with the deal to hand him a fresh start in the Premiership. The Blues saw Blackburn Rovers yesterday turn down a bid from Birmingham City for the England under-21 international, who has rejected the offer of a contract extension to stay at Ewood Park. Now David Moyes must decide if he is willing to spend his entire transfer kitty on capturing the 23-year-old. Blackburn dismissed Birmingham's club record £5.5million bid yesterday as they were unhappy with the Midlanders' proposal to pay just £3m up front. "The remainder was dependent upon their Premiership survival over the next two seasons," said a Rovers statement.
"Clearly, the prospect of being financially penalised by another club's failure did not appeal to the Ewood management." Rovers' stance underlined that Moyes will be forced to splash out to bring his primary transfer target to Goodison Park, spending most if not all of his summer budget in the process. And with Birmingham boss Steve Bruce clearly keen to steal a march on potential transfer rivals, the Blues boss may be forced to decide quickly on whether to make a firm move. Dunn was transfer listed by Graeme Souness earlier this year following a well-publicised dispute over the player's lifestyle. And although the Rovers boss later reversed his decision, it is no secret the pair have since failed to see eye-to-eye and a parting of the ways has been inevitable. Chelsea and Aston Villa are also reported to be interested, but a move to Everton is believed to have most appeal to Dunn. The midfielder is away on a family holiday at present and is unlikely to be hurried into any decision on a future destination. "There's been speculation all season about myself leaving the club," said Dunn. At the minute I'm on holiday with my family and my girlfriend and I'm just enjoying myself." Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, is continuing his rehabilitation from the medial knee ligament injury which ruled him out of England's friendly in South Africa last week. The 17-year-old stepped up his training at the national side's La Manga retreat in Spain yesterday, and will report back to Everton on Friday for more treatment. FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "Wayne Rooney worked further on his rehabilitation with physio Gary Lewin at the training ground, while the rest of the squad took part in a full session without any problems. "All players carrying injuries are set to report back later this week to their clubs, who will continue to closely monitor and look after them with their own medical teams." Rooney is unlikely to be ready for next Tuesday's friendly with Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester, and has instead targeted the Euro 2004 qualifier in Middlesbrough against Slovakia the following Wednesday, June 11.
The Victorian Gary Lineker!
May 28 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JACK SOUTHWORTH was an early Everton sharp-shooter christened the "Prince of Dribblers."
A more modern description, however, might have been the Victorian Gary Lineker. Like the England sharp-shooter of the 1980s, he served Everton for just one full season, finished that campaign as the top division's top scorer, but still left the club empty handed. But while Lineker left Goodison voluntarily, Southworth's departure in October 1894 was forced on him by injury.
It was an awful blow for the Blues, who had invested the considerable sum of £400 on Southworth's signature 18 months previously. But with a haul of 27 league goals in 22 appearances in his first full season Everton recouped immediate dividends for their outlay. That haul was boosted by an astonishing scoring spree either side of Christmas - a blitz which created a club record which stands to this day. On December 30, 1893, Southworth became the first - and so far the only Evertonian to celebrate a double hat-trick . . . a week after he had scored four goals in an 8-1 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday. The double hat-trick came in a 7-1 defeat of West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park. "Southworth scores 6 out of 7 goals" was the Football Echo headline that day, although Evertonians were fortunate to witness the momentous feat. With three other First Division games abandoned through fog, Everton's was completed despite a gloomy mist shrouding Goodison Park. The gate at kick-off of 12,000 was described as "enormous" by that day's Echo. When the second half commenced the attendance had increased to "some 18,000" and before the finish had swollen to "about 25,000." Maybe the extra numbers had been attracted by rumours of Southworth's goal-getting feats. "Southworth gave one of his wonderfully good displays," reported the Football Echo.
"There is not the slightest doubt but that the whole of the Everton successes just now are traceable to the skilful manipulation of the ball by Southworth, who displays a masterly control of it. The rest of the team apparently recognises Southworth's grand form and unselfishly afford him every opportunity for displaying it." Sadly for Everton that form lasted only a further 10 months.
After finishing the League's top scorer at the end of the 1893-94 season, he kicked off the following campaign like he intended to repeat the feat. He scored nine goals in nine games, before an injury ended his career. It brought to a close a career which ended with the incredible record of 139 appearances for Blackburn Olympic, Blackburn Rovers and Everton - scoring 139 goals. He was also capped three times by England, and predictably registered three goals. After his enforced retirement Southworth proved his talents didn't just extend to his shooting boots. A gifted musician, he played with the Halle Orchestra in Manchester. The musical accompaniment to his prematurely ended career might well have been titled Unfinished Symphony. At least he enjoyed the honour of becoming the first Evertonian to finish as the Football League's leading scorer.
Moyes is model
May 28 2003 By Andy Tilley, Liverpool Echo
PREMIERSHIP newcomers Wolves should follow the David Moyes blueprint and aim for European glory, according to former Molineux striker Mel Eves. And Eves, who was at the Millennium Stadium to see Monday's 3-0 Division One play-off final victory over Sheffield United, says the Blues have shown his former club how it should be done. "The benchmarks are what David Moyes has achieved at Everton and what Sir Bobby Robson has achieved at Newcastle," said Eves, top scorer when Wolves were last promoted to the top flight in the 1982-83 season. "Wolves are a massive club with a huge tradition and it's been a case of having to live up to that tradition and those expectations. "But they've done it and I think it's marvellous. "Now I think there'll be a steely determination to make sure Premier-ship football is not a short-lived thing and that the club builds on this to get back to where Wolves supporters believe they should be - and that's not just in the Premiership, but in the upper echelons of the Premiership. "People are realistic enough to realise that won't happen overnight and Wolves won't immediately be competing with Manchester and Arsenal on a regular basis. "But we've got to be positive so why not say we want to be in contention for Europe as soon as we possibly can? "Again, though, we've got to realise it's not going to happen next year, but I know Sir Jack Hayward will be as ambitious as anyone, he'll want to be in cup finals and aiming to finish as high as possible in the Premiership." And Eves, who saw Wolves survive just one season in the top flight before relegation to the old Division Two, believes owner Sir Jack Hayward's generosity will match his ambition. He said: "When we came up in 1982-83, we had a great guy as manager who coul d 've achieved big things, but we all knew Graham Hawkins needed to go out and get perhaps two, three or four players who we needed to add to the squad if we were going to stay up." Local rivals West Bromwich Albion took a more c au ti ou s approach in their first season of Premiership football, but Eves says that does not mean Dave Jones' men should have to do the same. "As a football club, you have to cut your cloth according to your means and no-one can criticise West Bromwich Albion for not bankrupting their club to have a go at the Premiership.
"But Wolverhampton Wanderers is a different animal - basically, they've got Sir Jack. "This is the right time to spend on players because it's a buyers' market. "This is the ideal time for Wolves to get the players who will make sure they stay in the Premiership and then go on to higher things." nCedric Roussel is hoping to leave Wolves despite their promotion. The 24-year-old Belgian, who is currently on loan at Jupiler League club Mons, is joint-top scorer this season, along with Genk striker Wesley Sonck, on 22 goals. He joined Wolves from Coventry in February 2001 for £1.5million, but struggled to hold down a first-team place at Molineux. But despite his return to the scoring charts in Belgium, Roussel does not think he has a future with the West Midlands club. "Because they (Wolves) have been promoted, my wages would have to double," said Roussel. "I don't think they will pay me more if I don't even play there."
The goal kings
May 28 2003 By David Prentice
GET IN: Everton's legendary goal machine Dixie Dean scores again EVERTON Football Club has boasted more top scorers in English football than any other team. The club which has played more seasons of top flight football, played matches, scored more goals (the only club currently to top 6,000) - and still idolises a player known as the Golden Vision - Everton has also celebrated more golden boots than any other. Of course a Golden Boot only became a prize for the country's lead-ing scorer in more modern times. But Everton strikers have topped the charts 12 times since the Football League began in 1888, with Dixie Dean and Tommy Lawton achieving the feat twice.
Only Tottenham and Sunderland, with nine golden boots apiece, can come close to challenging Everton's total. It is an achievement The Echo celebrates in the coming weeks by profiling the Everton individuals who have been England's top marksmen. Goodison's first, appropriately, was a dashing centre-forward. Football still wore a walrus moustache, and shorts which met their socks, when Jack Southworth became the League's leading scorer in 1893-94. Mullets and shorts which barely covered a backside were all the rage 92 years later when Gary Lineker became the last Evertonian to accomplish the feat. In between, some of the most brated marksmen of their time also topped the national charts. Jimmy Settle needed just 18 goals to do so in 1902, while Alex 'Sandy' Young netted 28 five years later to mimic his achievement. Bert Freeman, a man who later scored an FA Cup Final winner for Burnley against Liverpool - pushed the boundaries to 38 just two years later, and set a League scoring record in the process. Bobby Parker struck 35 goals in the title winning campaign of 1914-15, before the onset of the Great War prevented him from showing it was not a flash in the pan. Wilf Chadwick was an inside-forward who scored more than any other player in 1923-24, but his 28 goal tally paled into insignificance when the young Bill Dean established a benchmark all strikers still aspire to. Dean (left) scored his record-breaking 60 goals in 1927-28 - and four years later was top of the charts again with another enormous haul of 44. His successor, Tommy Lawton, threatened to be almost as prolific in the golden age of Everton strikers.
He was the First Division's top scorer in 1937-38 with 38 goals and celebrated back-to-back golden boots with 35 more in the following season's title triumph. How many more he might have enjoyed will never be known, with the Second World War wiping seven full seasons from his competitive record. Despite boasting goalscoring idols like Roy Vernon, Alex Young and Joe Royle during the swinging sixties, it was 1977-78 before an Everton striker next topped the nation's charts. Bob Latchford also grabbed a £10,000 prize from a national newspaper for doing so, when he became the first marksman for seven years to reach the 30-League goal standard. That was a figure matched by Gary Lineker during his solitary season at Goodison, to become the last Blue to finish England's top scorer. That was the 12th time an Evertonian had topped the scorers' charts - a feat followed by Sunderland and Tottenham (nine), Aston Villa and Derby County (eight), Blackburn Rovers (seven) and Arsenal (six). Tottenham's tally is perhaps the most remarkable. Up until 1958 no Spurs player had ever won a golden boot. Bobby Smith broke their duck, then Jimmy Greaves closely followed with no fewer than five top scorer's trophies. Liverpool strikers have topped the charts on five occasions - Sam Raybould, Jack Parkinson, Ian Rush, John Aldridge and Michael Owen all savouring the experience. Today we start a special series highlighting Everton's Golden Boys.
Still long way to go for Mersey giants
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 29 2003
GERARD HOULLIER has often said he is not one for such emotion, but even he must have felt a pang of regret on watching Milan claim the European Cup last night. Less than 14 months ago, his Liverpool side were within minutes of winning through to the last four of the Continent's premier club competition. Following their UEFA Cup triumph of 2001, it was supposed to be further confirmation of the Reds' return to the top table of the European game, with another crack at the Champions League to come. Alas, we all know what happened next. Now Houllier finds his side back in the UEFA Cup - a competition which is losing value with every passing season. On recent form, Liverpool have struggled to compete with Chelsea and Newcastle United, let alone last night's protagonists. So maybe, as Houllier himself would say, it is a blessing in disguise that he can deliver some much-needed team tinkering away from the spotlight of the Champions League. The dreadful extra-time period aside, last night's game only underlined how far the Anfield side must progress if they are take up a permanent residency in the top echelons of the European game. The occasion was also a lesson for the city of Liverpool. A triumph for Manchester, it gave added reason to cast envious glances down the other end of the East Lancs Road. While Everton still have no idea where life after Goodison may lie - should it ever - and Liverpool's impending ground move continues to be shrouded in much secrecy, Manchester have put their heads down and got on with the task of transforming themselves into a sporting city of some repute. Old Trafford is rightly considered one of the finest venues in Europe, and even the most one-eyed Red or Blue must admit that, when the atmosphere is as spine-tingingly electric as it was last night, Manchester United's so-called Theatre of Dreams goes close to living up to that self-styled tag. That's usually when United aren't playing there, of course. And who can forget the resounding success of last summer's Commonwealth Games, an event which exceeded all expectations thanks in no small part to the organisation and enthusiasm of the local people and authorities. Manchester City FC will take permanent residency at the City of Manchester stadium from August as part of the deal to bring the Games to the region.
How Evertonians must dream of taking advantage of similar goodwill and good planning. Liverpool can justifiably lay claim to having a greater sporting tradition than their North West bretheren. And with the city finally demonstrating much-needed initiative with their Capital of Culture bid, they could do worse than follow the example that has been set by Manchester. Alas, the only thing Liverpool had to offer to last night's proceedings was a mercifully brief pre-match performance from the legendary Atomic Kitten. When it comes to anodyne, annoying pop pap, at least the city still has something to be proud of. Except maybe Jemini. But it was the pride of Italy at stake last night down by the Lowry. Milan and Juventus are the equivalent of Liverpool and Manchester United back in their homeland and solicit similarly vociferous support, lending to the surreal sight of Milan fans on the Stretford End signing their version of You'll Never Walk Alone. Such an outstanding occasion demanded a similarly memorable game, and both sides did their best to deliver during an absorbing opening period. The game followed the same pattern as the Italian league season, in which Milan were quickest out of the blocks only to be dragged back by a relentless Juve outfit. Andriy Shevchenko thought he had given the Rossoneri an early advantage only for Filipo Inzaghi - the man who makes Nicolas Anelka a leading line - to be adjudged offside. Inzaghi's header then forced the world's most expensive goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon into a superb sprawling save, and Rui Costa fired narrowly wide from just outside the area. It soon became obvious the story of the game was that of Milan's adventurous attack being repelled by the determined defence of Juventus, one which had seen off Real Madrid no less. Juve - shorn of their most creative influence in the suspended Pavel Nedved - knew they had to improve in the second half, and moments after the interval substitute Antonio Conte rattled the bar with a diving header. Much is made of the technical deficiencies of the Premiership's players in comparison to their rivals on the Continent, and on witnessing Europe's finest do battle it's easy to see why. Edgar Davids excelled in the Juventus midfield until injury curtailed his evening, but it was for Milan that the stars shone brightest. Gennaro Gattuso, Alessandro Nesta and Rui Costa impressed but it was Shevchenko who caught the eye most, even if most of his good work and positional play was scuppered by the infuriating Inzaghi. Inevitably, with nerves beginning to fray, the game degenerated swiftly and penalties appeared the obvious conclusion long before the end of a completely forgettable extra-time period. With it being the first European Cup final between two Italian teams, we shouldn't really have been surprised. In keeping with the second half of the game, what followed was one of the worst shoot-outs ever until fittingly Shevchenko brought an end to the farce by slotting home the decisive spot-kick. Milan had, in a roundabout way, been deservedly rewarded for their greater adventure early on. Something else that Houllier, as he plans for next season, will no doubt have noted.
Shape up Wayne, warns Clough
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 29 2003
LEGENDARY boss Brian Clough has turned his famous Northern wit on Wayne Rooney - showering the prodigious teenager with praise but warning him to keep off sausages! Clough, who won the league title and European Cup as manager of Nottingham Forest, believes Rooney can stay at the top for a long time. And in his inimitable fashion the 68-year-old offered the powerful 17-year-old some handy nutritional advice. He said: "Wayne is the talk of the town and he was terrific against the Turks. "But there is a long way to go from the age of 17 to 25, when he should be close to the finished product. "He should stop eating all those sausages, eggs and chips meals for a start! "It is good, working-class food as I know from personal experience, but no good when you are as solidly built as this lad." And, referring to Rooney's well-documented appearance when picking up his BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award last December, added: "He'll have to work hard to stay in shape. That's much more than remembering to spit out your chewing gum and do up your tie when picking up your latest award!" Clough backed Blues boss David Moyes' stance in shielding Rooney from the public eye at such a tender age. He said: "It's not the boy's fault he's over-exposed but he'll find that growing up painfully in the public eye is the price to be paid. "He appears to be tough and he'll need to be. Everybody who cares about the lad has to protect him and nurture him. Our game needs heroes like him."
Rooney back in frame for England
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 29 2003
WAYNE ROONEY is on course to play a part in England' s friendly against Serbia and Montenegro next week after returning to full training with the rest of the squad. Rooney's participation in the training match was undoubtedly the biggest boost for Eriksson ahead of the friendly at Leicester City's Walkers Stadium next Tuesday night, with Chelsea defender John Terry also coming through a 60-minute training session at the squad's la manga training base. The Everton teenager has been troubled by a knee injury since the Blues' final-day defeat against Manchester United game of the domestic season, forcing him out of the trip to South Africa last week. He joined up with the rest of the England squad last Friday but, before yesterday morning, had only been put through his paces by physio Gary Lewin in solo sessions. Football Association spokesman Adrian Bevington nevertheless revealed: "Wayne Rooney and John Terry have both taken part in a full training session today along with the rest of the squad." As long as Rooney suffers no reaction to his injury problems when he returns to England today and is given further treatment by the Everton medical staff, he will return to training with the national squad when they join up again on Sunday. Eriksson would then be expected to select Rooney, at least on the bench, against Serbia and Montenegro as he looks to fine-tune his options for the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on June 11. Meanwhile Blackburn have admitted they would be "reluctant sellers" of prime Blues target David Dunn. Rovers this week turned down a bid of £5.5million - dependent in part on City's Premiership survival - from Birmingham for the midfielder, who publicly fell out with Ewood Park boss Graeme Souness last season. But Blackburn still admit Dunn may be on his way this summer. Chief executive John Williams said: "We have already said we would be reluctant sellers when it comes to David Dunn - but right now I think that's what we are. "We have already had a bid from Birmingham rejected and, as yet, there are no other bids on the table. "But I would not be surprised if other clubs are looking because David is a gifted, young English midfielder." Should a successful move for Dunn fail to materialise, Everton may turn their attention to former Tranmere midfielder Jason Koumas.
The West Brom star has confessed he is contemplating his future after the Baggies' relegation to Division One. He said: "I've enjoyed the Premiership and hopefully I'll be back there sooner rather than later. "That is where everyone wants to play. You need to be playing Premiership football to play for your country and I want to get into the Wales team. To do that, I need to play at the highest level." Everton youngster Peter Clarke has been named in England's under-21 squad for the matches with Serbia and Montenegro at Hull on June 2 and Slovakia at the Stadium Of Light on June 10.
Moyes: Next season will be tough
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 29 2003
DAVID MOYES admits it will be tough for Everton to match last season's rapid progress as he struggles with a limited budget for new players. Everton surged from 14th the previous season to seventh in the Premiership, just failing to qualify for Europe, with boss Moyes working on a shoestring. Now he knows the tough job is to repeat the trick, again with limited funds to significantly boost his squad. "It will be difficult now to match what we have done last season," warned Moyes. "Most people will think it's a tough thing to do. We accept that, but will try to improve again. "We have moved from 14th to seventh, there's no-one in the Premiership who has improved as much as that in one season. "But the job now is to try to get that bit higher. If we do that it will be marvellous." Moyes admits he'll be working with the vast majority of the current squad next term. But he is confident in their abilities to once again defy their critics. "There's no reason why the players can't do exactly what they have done again, they did it once and we are expecting that of them again," he said. What it will take is for the players to do exactly what they did last season. Most people maybe felt they were not capable of finishing seventh. "But for the majority of the season we were fourth, fifth or sixth. The job is to try to keep them doing that."
None of Everton's senior squad are out of contract, so unless Moyes can move on a few in a difficult transfer market, he knows the majority will still be around next term. He also has to decide how he spends the £5million transfer budget he has reportedly been given by the board. Moyes is currently abroad looking at pre-season training camp facilities, and when he returns at the weekend he must decide whether he wants to blow all of his budget on one talented, attacking midfielder, or operate like he did last summer with a similar amount, using the majority to fund loans. "We would like to bring in one or two new faces but I will work with the funds that are available," he said. "We don't want to get into a situation like, for example, Leeds where you are at a club where you have to sell all your best players. "I don't want to do that. I said when I arrived that I wanted to be at a club that didn't have to sell it's best. "If that means not buying anybody, so be it. But I'm not going to break up anything which is in place, and this board have kept their word about that."
Blues' bid for Essien rejected
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 29 2003
EVERTON have had a bid for highly-rated Bastia midfielder Mickael Essien turned down. The 20-year-old, considered to be one of the best young players in the French league Le Championnat, has been watched closely by Blues boss David Moyes in recent months. Moyes followed up his interest in the Ghanaian by lodging a bid of around £3million plus outcast Alex Nyarko. Bastia, however, are not prepared to let their prized asset leave for such a fee and Everton will have to increase their initial offer if they want to land one of their top summer targets. The player's agent Fabien Piveteau said: "Everton are the only club to have made a real offer. I understand that they proposed about £3m and Nyarko, but Bastia did not agree to this. "There are no more offers, there is serious interest from Lyon and Paris (St Germain). I think Lyon will make an offer next week and so we will see what happens. "Liverpool have also seen Mickael and have talked about him, but they were really keeping an eye on their own player (Gregory) Vignal." Piveteau admitted though that playing in the Premiership was an ambition for Essien. He said: "He wants to play in England, that is for sure. He is now back in Ghana and will be playing for the national side in their African Cup games, but he knows what is going on. "He knows about Everton and has seen how well they have done in The Premiership and he would be happy going there. "The Liverpool situation is different, as he knows what players they have, and so we will have to see."
Rooney heads back
May 29 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY is to return to Everton this weekend to have his knee injury assessed ahead of England's friendly with Serbia & Montenegro. Medical staff at the club's Bellefield training ground will now determine whether the 17-year-old is fit to play in next Tuesday's international at Leicester's Walkers Stadium. The move comes after the recent rift between David Moyes and England boss Sven Goran Eriksson over Rooney's fitness. Moyes insisted the teenager was not fit to join England because of ligament damage sustained in the last game of the season against Manchester United. And he opposed him going on the long haul trip to play a friendly in South Africa. Rooney was withdrawn from the squad after Moyes accompanied him when England doctors examined his knee in London ahead of the flight to Durban. The striker has now responded well to treatment at England's La Manga training camp and has now started ball work. The FA say that all the players who are carrying injuries will have to return to their clubs this weekend. Adrian Bevington, FA spokesman, said: "Wayne Rooney worked further on his rehabilitation with physio Gary Lewin at the training ground, while the rest of the squad took part in a full session, without any problems. "All players carrying injuries are set to report back to their clubs later this week. The clubs will continue to closely monitor and look after them with their own medical teams." If Rooney is ruled out of the Serbia Montenegro meeting, he is expected to be fit for the crucial Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia at the Riverside Stadium on June 11. Meanwhile, Everton today insisted they have not made a bid for Mickael Essien, one of the most promising young players in French football.
But the Blues admit they are interested in the 20-year-old Bastia star, who has also been linked with Liverpool, Marseille and Paris Saint Germain. Essien (left) is one of a number of midfield targets being monitored by David Moyes but his agent Fabien Piveteau was quoted today saying that Everton had seen an offer of £3m - plus Blues outcast Alex Nyarko - rejected by Bastia. However Ian Ross, the club's head of communications, confirmed: "Interest has been registered, but no bid has been made." Essien is back in his native Ghana preparing for the African Cup. Piveteau said: "I understand they proposed about £3m and Nyarko, but Bastia did not agree to this. "There are no more offers, but there is serious interest from Lyon and Paris. "He wants to play in England, that is for sure. "He knows about Everton and David Moyes and how well they have done in the Premiership and he would be happy going there."
Expert dismisses Clough's weighty claims
May 29 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
BRIAN CLOUGH'S dietary advice to Wayne Rooney should be taken with a pinch of salt, say sports nutrionists. While praising the skills of the teenage sensation, the ex-Nottingham Forest manager advised him to "stop eating all those sausages, eggs and chips". The outspoken 68-year-old added: "It's good working class food, but no good when you are as solidly built as this lad. He will have to work hard to stay in shape. That's much more important than remembering to spit out your chewing gum and do up your tie when picking up your latest award." But Cloughie's remarks have been played down by dietary experts. Don McLaren, Professor of Sports Nutrition at Liverpool John Moores University, said: "With the advice he is getting from both the Everton and England coaches, you would expect he will be eating the right type of food. "Anyone who is a full-time athlete needs to be careful what they are eating. They must make sure they have enough carbohydrates and water. For a young lad who is still growing, he also needs good quality protein. Sausage, eggs and chips in moderation is not a problem." Clough was more generous in his praise of Rooney's on-pitch ability. He said: "Wayne is the talk of the town and he was terrific against the Turks, but there is a long way to go from the age of 17 to 25, when he should be close to the finished product. "It is not the boy's fault he is over-exposed, but he will find that growing up in the public eye is the price to be paid. He appears to be tough and he will need to be. Our game needs heroes like him."
Gregg goes it alone at Dock
By Mark Hookham And Andy Kelly, Daily Post
May 30 2003
EVERTON'S richest board member is set to press ahead with plans to develop the Kings Dock - but without any involvement from the football club. Multi-millionaire entertainment guru Paul Gregg has put together a new plan for an arena and conference development on the prestigious Liverpool site. The Daily Post understands Mr Gregg is one of a number of potential investors expressing an interest in developing the site, and is pushing to present his plans to regeneration group Liverpool Vision. Everton co-owner Mr Gregg last night refused to comment, saying it was "inappropriate at this time" to be linked with the 8,000-12,000 seat development being put together by the public sector. His involvement in the new Kings Dock project is likely to come as a major surprise to his fellow Everton board members and the club's supporters. No private sector partners have yet been short-listed, but another familiar name seems to be in the frame. Former Everton FC director Desmond Pitcher, whose own consortium were beaten to the original Kings Dock site by Everton, is also one of those regarded as a potential partner. Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey, a member of the Liverpool Vision board, said: "I would be surprised if Mr Pitcher was one of the people who would be interested, as well as Paul Gregg and the Clear Channel group. "Timetable wise, we're aiming for an opening at the end of 2005, although it may run into 2006." The Clear Channel Group, which bought SFX - the international entertainment company of which Mr Gregg was once a director - last night refused to comment. Fellow Liverpool Vision member Joe Anderson, leader of the Liverpool Labour group, is less optimistic about the timescale. Coun Anderson said: "I think we are probably going to be looking at 2007/8 before we have an arena ready to open on that site now. "It's disappointing that we wasted three years going through a process with Everton without a Plan B in place. "I understand there are a couple of irons in the fire and they are inviting different people to put in their proposals. "I believe Desmond Pitcher has got a group together."
Liverpool Vision last night refused to discuss the potential short-list of Kings Dock developers.
A spokesman said: "A full business appraisal is being undertaken which is examining the various options for an arena and any accompanying development." After the embarrassing saga surrounding Everton's abandoned stadium plan, Liverpool city council's chief executive, David Henshaw, is exceptionally keen that the new concert arena and conference centre should stay on schedule. An action group of senior council officers has been formed to steer the progress of the project through a strict timetable. Coun Storey added: "Things are proceeding at quite a pace, really. Obviously, all the public sector money is already in place and we are looking for a private sector partner to get involved in building and running the arena." It looks like we will have an arena linked to a conference centre. The conference facilities are vitally important." A spokesman for Everton FC said: "Our interest with Kings Dock is over and that is the end of the matter for us.
"Anyone else intending to push forward is a private matter for them and nothing to do with the club."
Welcome to Goodison II
By Haydn Preece, Southport Visiter
May 30 2003
PROSPECTS of Premiership Everton returning to Haig Avenue next season, to play their reserve matches, came closer this week. Last Friday Everton officials inspected Haig Avenue and were suitably impressed. David Moyes and his staff were particularly happy with the Haig Avenue playing surface. Everton reserves played at the Halton Stadium last season but that is primarily a rugby ground. Haig Avenue offers a ground on which Premiership players can express themselves after injury or suspension. With the Goodison club on the threshold of a new era, and the possible star attraction of teenage sensation Wayne Rooney, attendances for these fixtures would be high.
An Everton spokesman told the Visiter: "I can confirm that we have expressed a desire to play our reserve matches at Southport FC in the 2003/4 season. "We have informed the Premier League that it is our intewntion to switch our second team fixtures to Haig Avenue but I must stress that, as yet, no formal agreement has been finalised between the two clubs.
* Right back/wing back Chris Lane has signed for Jim Harvey's Morecambe after coming out of contract at Haig Avenue.
* Southport Ladies FC are holding trials for all age groups at Haig Avenue next Saturday, June 7, at 11.30am. The team had a magnificent run in the FA Cup last season and the development from under-10s through to the under-16s bodes well for the future.
Rooney eyes England return
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 30 2003
WAYNE ROONEY will report back to Everton today as he targets a come-back with England next week. The striker is set to meet with medical staff at Bellefield, who will assess the rate of his recovery after he suffered a medial knee ligament injury against Manchester United early this month. Rooney returned to full training with the England squad in La Manga this week, but the Blues are likely to insist the 17-year-old remains sidelined unless 100 per cent fit. Rooney has an outside chance of being available for next Tuesday's friendly against Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester. But he may not be risked with the crucial Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia coming up on June 11. Meanwhile, the Blues have distanced themselves from claims they have had a bid turned down for Bastia midfielder Mickael Essien. The player's agent Fabien Piveteau had said that Everton had seen an offer of £3million plus Alex Nyarko rejected by the French club. But while Essien remains on Moyes' summer wish-list, Blues officials insist that no move has yet been made for the 20-year-old Ghanaian. Ian Ross, the club's head of communications, said: "Interest has been registered, but no bid has been made." Joseph Yobo has officially become Everton's first signing of the close season after finally putting pen-to-paper on a new long-term contract. It ends months of constant speculation as to whether or not the Nigerian international would commit his future to the club. The fee of £3.5m had previously been agreed with Marseille and the only stumbling block was a severance payment owed by the French Club to the player. A Blues official said: "The deal is done - Joseph has signed all the paperwork and is very happy that all the uncertainty is finally at an end.
"The new season simply cannot come quickly enough for Joseph. "He enjoyed his first season at Everton and is now looking forward to establishing himself as a key player in the years ahead."
icLiverpool And Daily Post
May 30 2003
I THINK David Moyes should move for Jason Koumas. He is now a proven performer in the Premiership. The young midfielde would surely improve under Moyes and would be a valuable addition at reasonable price! Go get him.
Peter Sydney (via e-mail)
We need Alpay
FIRST of all about Steve McManaman signing for the Blues - have you seen his wages! We could not afford him, so how about getting him on a loan deal? Thanks to all the players - they gave us a great season, great games, great results. If someone told me Everton would finish seventh I would have laughed. Game of the season was the 2-1 victory over Southampton at Goodison where Radzinski played a major part! I was gutted when we did not get in Europe though. Another buy for us could be Aston Villa defender and Turkish Alpay. I see he is not happy at Villa and is not getting picked. If I was Kenwright I would buy; Kevin Phillips, Kleberson, Mart Poom, David Dunn, Alpay, Colin Healy, McManaman and Steven Reid.
Brian Timms (via e-mail)
I THINK we do need a new midfield. Maybe we could get some world class in this position for once! Brazillian superstar Kleberson would be a great buy, along with Michael Carrick, and the way Kevin McLeod played in the play-offs for QPR was pretty impressive. He could be a superb left winger if Moyes gave him a chance. Top of my list is Kevin Phillips, he'd link up with Rooney amazingly!
For a goalie maybe Mart Poom. I know we've had trouble with him to sign for us in the past but now would be a perfect time to get him.
Paul McComb, Liverpool
Price is ugly
I'M sure we do need a new stadium still, but does it have to be hideously ugly and cost £500million when St Mary's was just £28m? I know location, location, location means the site is more but this price is ridiculous. Why can't we use Southampton as a blueprint and possibly improve on the size but save around £400m. Plus, owning it is the ONLY option! We as a club are being taken for muppets and I can't fathom the whole thing for a minute. Can some one tell me why ugliness should cost £472m more?
D Arlett, Dublin
Same again, please
IT LOOKS like Moyes is going to get the same £5million that he had last term. If he can do some top quality wheeler-dealing as last year then I will be happy. Last year he got an England keeper, top quality defender and China's finest. Rodrigo might well have been a star but for his injury.
If Moyes can do similar loan-for-a-year deals with the option of buying (maybe Kleberson) while also getting the likes of Healy in for free, we could look forward to another good season. I like the fact that we are linked with Dunn, Cole, Carrick, Koumas and football-wise Bowyer but I just can't see where the money is coming from.
Danny Bradley, Liverpool
My first game
By Hilton, Daily Post
May 30 2003
DO you remember the first time you passed through the turnstiles to cheer on your footballing heroes? This week, Post Sport begins a new series looking at the first games of Merseysiders past and present. Some will be the debuts of the heroes themselves, but we also want your experiences too of that special day. We'll dig out the original match report and photos from our archives. Our Tranmere correspondent Nick Hilton will get the ball rolling with his account of his first game, 39 years ago.
WHO: Nick Hilton
DATE: August 29 1964
GROUND: Goodison Park
GAME: Everton 4 Tottenham 1
WHEN I reached the age of 10 my father decided I was old enough to be taken to my first big football match. I was no stranger to watching football but up to then it had meant bunking into the Tower Grounds with my young brother Rob to watch New Brighton play in the Cheshire League.
What passed for atmosphere in the wide-open expanse of the Tower Grounds was created by about 20 boys. We lined up behind the goal chanting the team's nickname "Rakers" while beating our fists on a faded advertising boarding for some local builder's merchant. The only other source of vocal encouragement for the team came from an elderly gent in a dirty beige mac who stood alone under an old stand roof shouting what I thought was "corner" every few minutes. This used to puzzle me. "How come he shouts 'corner' when it's obviously a throw-in," I would ask. Then one day someone explained the man was a newspaper seller from down Victoria Road. The chap called out "Eeyrrrrow-w" every 30 seconds during the afternoons from behind a pile of Echoes on his stand. His way of shouting "come on" just happened to sound like "corner". I have to say I wasn't entirely convinced.
New Brighton did not boast anyone who could remotely be described as a high-profile player. Most of them were getting on in years although the balding centre-half, Lofty Lawrenson, later became a coach at Tranmere Rovers. Dad judged we could probably stand a little more excite-ment than this. So on Saturday August 29, 1964, he took us to Goodison Park to see Everton play Tottenham Hotspur. He issued us with a couple of beer crates from his local pub, the Perch Rock, and we drove through the Mersey Tunnel in a maroon Austin Cambridge Estate belonging to a craggy Scotsman called Bill Heggie. He was a former Glasgow Rangers full-back who played for New Brighton in the 50s and by then was our coalman. We soon understood why we needed the beer crates. We were taken to the front of the enclosure at Goodison in the shadow of the Main Stand. The terrace dropped several feet below pitch level and only by standing on the beer crates could we see clearly over the wal l at the front. To my 10-year-old eyes, the stands looked as tall as skyscrapers and as the ground filled up and became packed with people in the afternoon sunshine, Goodison seemed to expand in size by the minute. The enclosure was an enormous terrace, sweeping back into the darkness under the roof of the Main Stand. I had never seen so many people together in one place before and was thrilled just to be part of such a vast buzzing throng. Then when the teams ran out from a glass canopy to our left, the roar hit me like a slap in the face. I was awestruck and the match hadn't even kicked off. When the action started I quickly understood the drawback of watching the game from the front of the terrace. My eyes were barely above the players' boot level and because of the camber of the pitch, you could not see the feet of the players on the opposite side. Their legs ended halfway up their shins. Everton played two wingers that day, Alex Scott and Derek Temple, and I recall they usually stayed tight to the touch-line. When they ran to the corners or the byline, the crowd on the terraces would ripple forward like tilting dominoes as they strained to see what was happening, then totter backwards as the ball was crossed into the centre. When these surges occurred behind us, I held onto the wall as tight as I could. The football I witnessed looked like a completely different game to the scrambles I watched once a fortnight at New Brighton. It was swift and neat and powerful. All the moves were joined up. Everton beat Spurs 4-1. Fred Pickering, a brawny centreforward with a big quiff of dark hair, scored a hat-trick but Bill Heggie told us on the way home that the real geniuses on the Everton team were the inside forwards Roy Vernon and Alex Young. Dad said he liked to go to games with Bill because he knew his football. Everton's formation that day was 3-2-5. Alex Parker and Sandy Brown were the fullbacks and Brian Labone the centre-half. The wing-halves were Brian Harris and Dennis Stevens and the five forwards Scott, Vernon, Pickering, Young and Temple. Tottenham, as far as I can recall, played an equally attacking style, with Jimmy Greaves among their side. But they hardly registered with me because my mind was so overwhelmed by being part of the gigantic theatre of a First Division football match. I was hooked and would spend the next 10 years feeding my addiction. But I did not become an Evertonian, largely because of my dad's decision to take a part-time barman's job at his local. It was agreed with the landlord, George, a committed Blue, that on the Saturdays when Everton were at home my dad would work at the pub while the boss took his sons to Goodison. On the Saturdays when Everton were away dad would be free to take his own boys to the football - at Liverpool. This apparent change of allegiance attracted some criticism from schoolmates who accused me of being a turncoat. But I argued that I did not have a lot of choice about whose games I was taken to. Besides, Liverpool had become the more successful of the two Merseyside teams by then. So I painted the word champions in red and white on my schoolbag. By the time I was considered old enough to go to games of my own, I had fallen under the spell of Bill Shankly.
* We want to hear about YOUR first game. Be it 1999 or 1909, send us your memories of the first time you saw Liverpool, Everton or Tranmere. Email us on email@example.com, or write to Daily Post Sport, Old Hall Street, PO Box 48, Liverpool L69 3EB Or share your first game memories on the messageboards by clicking the link below.
Take a look at Koumas
May 30 2003 By Howard Kendall
EVERTONIANS will be waiting to see what will happen to the Blues' midfield this summer. David Moyes knows he has to strengthen that area of the team, in particular the wider positions.
There has been interest in Blackburn's David Dunn, but a fee of around £5m is a lot of money.
Everton may find the valuation will go down before the start of next season as there are not that many clubs with money to spend. Jason Koumas has made comments recently about not being happy at relegated West Brom. Everton had the opportunity to move for him last summer when he was at Tranmere. Maybe back then he was considered too much of a risk moving up from the second division, but clubs have now had the opportunity to see him in the Premiership. There is likely to be a lot more interest this summer. I wouldn't have thought his value will have changed much from the £2.5m West Brom paid for him, although the Baggies will want to keep him to get them straight back up again.
Be patient, Blues
PATIENCE seems to have vanished from football these days, but Evertonians will have to show plenty to David Moyes next season. He deserves all the credit he has been given, but the level of expectation on his team come August will be huge. That's an unfair load for the manager to shoulder. In days gone by a boss would have three years to improve a side, now he is expected to do it immediately. No one expected Everton to have such a successful season as the last campaign. The aim now is to get back into Europe. Let the manager get on with it. Don't let your expectations heap more pressure on him and his players.
Family game for stars
May 30 2003 Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND'S Merseyside contingent had their families with them when they flew into Luton from their Spanish training camp. Liverpool's Michael Owen, right, was first down the steps of the team's plane from Spain. He carried the bags as girlfriend Louise Bonsall looked after their baby, Gemma Rose - already a seasoned traveller. Owen's Liverpool strike partner Emile Heskey, left, had his hands full with his three young children skipping down the steps, accompanied by their mum.
But Everton's Wayne Rooney, above, looked without a care in the world. The 17-year-old striker joked with girlfriend Colleen McLoughlin. The Blues youngster is a major injury doubt for England's summer programme of matches with a knee strain. He spent much of his time at La Manga training receiving treatment.
Blues' search for goal ace
May 30 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
GOALS are the commodity David Moyes will be looking to add to his Everton midfield next season.
Moyes enjoyed a successful first full season in charge at Goodison, bringing the best out of the players at his disposal and guiding the Blues to the brink of European qualification. And he did that despite a shot-shy midfield which provided only a handful of goals. Li Tie failed to find the target in 31 starts, Lee Carlsey mustered three goals from 27 games and Thomas Gravesen struck once from 35 matches. Scot Gemmill, Mark Pembridge and Gary Naysmith found the target three times between them during the season. Only Steve Watson managed a reasonable return, netting six times from just 18 matches. With £5m to spend in the transfer market this summer, it is little surprise that Moyes is seeking to add a midfielder to his ranks capable of improving on that goalscoring return. But who will be the man to fill that role? Four names have been linked with Goodison in the last few days. Each player fits the photo-fit of a free-scoring midfield playmaker.
The latest name is that of Mickael Essien, a Ghanaian who was Bastia's star in Le Championnat last season. The 20-year-old scored six goals in 29 games, as well as picking up 10 yellow cards and one red. His agent claims the Blues have already tabled a £3m bid which included Alex Nyarko as part exchange. Everton have not, but they have expressed an interest in a player who is also being chased by Paris St Germain, Lyon and Marseille. Flabia Piveteau said: "He knows about Everton and has seen how well they have done in the Premiership. He would be happy going there." Bastia, it seems, have other ideas. But if Essien does not make the switch to Goodison there is no shortage of other candidates. David Dunn is the most high- profile target, and Blackburn are willing to listen to offers for the England international. But their decision to turn down a £5.5m offer from Birmingham underlines the fact the player will not be available on the cheap. The Birmingham offer was declined because only £3m of the fee was guaranteed. The remaining £2.5m was dependent on Birmingham staying in the Premiership for two seasons. Everton could put together a deal which would provide more money up front. But with only £5m in his kitty, landing the player would eat up the vast majority of Moyes' cash. The two other names in the frame are with first division clubs and so would be cheaper than Dunn. Sheffield United's Michael Brown and West Brom's Jason Koumas fit the bill in terms of age and potential. Neither would cost more than £3.5m. Brown, 26, scored 22 goals last season. He has stalled on talks to extend his contract at Bramall Lane beyond next year.
Following the Blades' failure in the Division One playoff final at the weekend, Neil Warnock may have no choice but to sell Brown now to avoid losing him for nothing next year. The stumbling block would appear to be the valuation of the player, with Everton unlikely to be willing to go beyond £2m. Koumas, a player who interested Everton when he was at Tranmere, has now proved his Premiership credentials and is eager to leave the Hawthorns following their relegation.
He said: "I've enjoyed the Premiership and hopefully I'll be back there sooner rather than later.
"You need to be playing Premiership football to play for your country and I want to get into the Wales team."
'Wayne can be Sven's star'
May 30 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes today declared: "I want Wayne Rooney to play for England on Tuesday."
Teenage sensation Rooney was back at Bellefield today to allow the club to run the rule over the knee injury that ruled him out of England's trip to South Africa. The 17-year-old's absence in Durban sparked a rift between the club and the national side. After examining Rooney, the Blues' medical staff will meet with England physio Gary Lewin to determine whether he is fit to play in the friendly with Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester's Walker's Stadium on Tuesday. Moyes today said: "I will be pleased if he does. "I have no problems with him playing if he is fit. Obviously, we would not want him to play if there was any doubt at all. "The physios from Everton and England will get together to decide if he is fit. Hopefully he will be okay." Even if he is ruled out of Tuesday's game, Rooney is expected to be ready for the crucial Euro 2004 qualifier with Slovakia at the Riverside Stadium on June 11. Moyes' backing appears to have signalled the end of the recent rift between Everton and England coach Sven Goran Eriksson which developed when Rooney pulled out of the trip to South Africa after suffering medial knee ligament damage in the Blues' final game of the season. Moyes is very protective towards his 17-year-old star and had insisted that the young striker was not up to the long-haul flight to Durban for last week's friendly with South Africa. Eriksson demanded that the player's fitness was assessed by England, and Rooney was only with drawn after Moyes accompanied him to London to enable England's doctors to examine his knee.
Rooney later joined up with the squad at their La Manga training camp in Spain. Working with physio Lewin he has responded well to treatment and was able to step up his recovery to include ball work.