Fulham 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Craven Cottage, Daily Post
May 2 2005
0Share THE nightmare scenario for Everton is a step closer, and the TV executives, FA, Liverpool and UEFA shoulder no responsibility whatsoever. The debate over who rightfully deserves England's final place in next season's Champions League has become so intense you would think fourth place and the European Cup reside around Stanley Park already. Far, far from it. Chelsea and AC Milan are two major obstacles in the way of a Liverpool triumph in Istanbul next month. But on the evidence of what was served up at Craven Cottage on Saturday they are no more formidable than the peaks Everton must climb to secure their own Champions League destiny in the final three games of the season. The doomsday plot for Everton is not falling victim to the FA's dilemma should their rivals clinch Europe's greatest prize. It is presenting the FA with no dilemma at all. Regardless of the result at Anfield tomorrow night, and their closest rivals' failure to remove the gap once again on Saturday, that dangerous prospect could creep up on Everton if their Manchester United performance is the exception and not the rule of their run-in. Too pessimistic with a three-point lead, a game in hand and no serious threat to their hold on fourth? Given this team's extraordinary powers of recovery, perhaps. But David Moyes has called for more final pushes than a midwife recently and still there is no sign of an extra special delivery. The Everton manager has done all he can to protect his players from Champions League expectations during eight months hard labour. But Moyes will have to close their ears to new distractions should Liverpool win tomorrow's semi-final. Hysteria and diversions will multiply if Rafael Benitez's side beat Chelsea whether the FA rule in Everton's favour or not. Yet the debate will remain irrelevant until the European Cup final is decided - ten days after the end of the Premiership season, so they cannot waver from the path they have travelled for so long now.
"In the Friday team meeting the gaffer said that we have run the mile, we just need to go the final few yards over the finishing line. That is often the hardest part of all and we couldn't do it on Saturday," admitted Marcus Bent. We cannot worry about anything else, we just have to concentrate on our jobs now and despite this result the confidence is still there. This was a slip not a blip and now we have to do the job against Newcastle. It is not a case of the pressure getting to us because the pressure has been there all season. We had a big lead over Liverpool at one stage and even though that has reduced they haven't been able to catch us up. We hope it doesn't go down to the wire, we want it tied up as quickly as possible, but Newcastle, Arsenal and Bolton are all going to be tough and we need to play better than we did at Fulham. We weren't at the races."
Everton were out of the blocks quickly, however, and for the opening ten minutes it appeared Moyes's call to forget their UEFA Cup prize and concentrate on the bigger reward had paid dividends. Kevin Kilbane was inches away from providing the perfect start, and heightening the tension on a Fulham side still not mathematically safe following a run of one win in ten, when he turned in David Weir's downward header from a free-kick by Mikel Arteta in the opening minute. Only an eagle-eyed linesman spoilt the party with a flag for off-side. The mass away support provided a fitting backdrop for the potential celebrations, and visibly terrified the Fulham fans with their tumultuous response to the news of Middlesbrough's early goal at Anfield. Alas, it was the only one they celebrated all afternoon. Seconds after Kilbane's near-miss Tim Cahill sprinted clear onto a first time pass by Steve Watson but, blinded to the first of many tireless bursts from Duncan Ferguson inside, shot first time and wide. Cahill has attracted many deserved plaudits for a fantastic first season in the Premier League and it spoke volumes about his impact that Everton's afternoon deteriorated the moment he collapsed in the seventh minute with a back injury sustained in a tussle with man mountain Papa Bouba Diop. The Australian midfielder provides the tenacity and concentration so crucial to Everton's end of season objective. Tactically, his departure sent the visitors veering off course too. With Steve Watson called upon to fill the right-back void left by Tony Hibbert, struck down by ill-ness on the eve of the game, Lee Carsley was moved to the flank to offer added protection against Fulham's potent left side of Luis Boa Morte and impressive young defender Liam Rosenior. Two minutes after Cahill eventually departed, with Carsley back in the centre, the home side exploited weak defending and scored with their first attack of the game. Tomasz Radzinski snatched at Rosenior's left wing cross, the ball cannoned off Weir to Collins John, and a straightforward finish suddenly left Everton consumed by tension. Six minutes before the break and from another left wing cross, this time from Boa Morte in acres of space, former Everton loan shark Brian McBride rose above the static Alessandro Pistone and sent a towering header into the top corner. Victory was Fulham's, and they hadn't even worked for it. If the first half was bad the second was even worse, despite the fact Everton did manage to take the game to their comfortable hosts and dominated possession. The more they had of the ball the fewer ideas they had, and with careless crossing and dreadful control wasting every promising position created the afternoon developed into a lowlights package of the season Moyes's men even had the glorious 47th minute chance obligatory of any unlikely comeback. But with Carsley volleying Ferguson's intelligent lay-off well wide from 12 yards it petered out to a lame hope even when Bouba Diop, who dominated midfield alongside Lee Clark, was sent off with 15 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence.
The display against Birmingham could be excused after the monumental effort that beat United and strengthened Everton's Champions League claim. But there was no excuse on Saturday.
"I don't know if the United performance has taken something out of us," mused Bent.. "If anything it should have helped us in terms of confidence and morale. But we didn't get what we wanted from Birmingham or Fulham and we need to rediscover that sort of form at home to Newcastle."
Liverpool dropped two points on Saturday but the one they collected could prove invaluable in the final reckoning on account of their vastly superior goal difference. Forget Anfield or even Istanbul, as far as Everton are concerned Goodison Park stages their own version of a Champions League final this Saturday.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Van Der Sar; Volz, Knight, Goma, Rosenior; Radzinski (Jensen 62), Clark, Bouba Diop, Boa Morte; John (Cole 61), McBride. Subs: Crossley, Bocanegra, Pem-bridge.
SENDING-OFF: Fulham's Bouba Diop (two bookable offences).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Watson, Yobo, Weir, Pistone; Carsley, Arteta (McFadden 64), Cahill (Osman 12), Kilbane; Bent (Beattie 64), Ferguson. Subs: Wright, Plessis.
BOOKINGS: Pistone (time-wasting), Arteta (foul), McFadden (dissent).
REFEREE: Steve Bennett
NEXT GAME: Everton v Newcastle, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm
It will be a disaster if we miss out on fourth
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 2 2005
0ShareMARCUS BENT insists Everton will ignore the furore over Champions League qualification but conceded it would be "a disaster" if they threw away fourth place now. David Moyes's team had a golden chance to effectively secure their place among the European elite on Saturday when both Liverpool and Bolton dropped yet more points in the pursuit of fourth. But they squandered the opportunity in a miserable 2-0 defeat at struggling Fulham and may need four points from their final three games to present the FA with a major dilemma should their Merseyside rivals win the European Cup. The FA are due to announce who will get England's fourth qualifying place after tomorrow's semi-final between Liverpool and Chelsea. But Bent insists the uncertainty had no bearing on Everton's poor display at Craven Cottage and admits their only concern should be delivering fourth place. "We heard about a possible problem months ago so it is not something that has suddenly crept up on us or bothers us," said the striker. "All we can do is get fourth, that is all we need to do. "We have already achieved something by getting in the UEFA Cup but we have been fourth for so long we want what comes with it. "You could hear all the Evertonians singing about the Champions League during the game. We have been there all season, we deserve to be here and to throw it away now would be a disaster. "We will give everything to get there and if it is not enough then we will just have to accept it." Everton's Champions League credentials were open to question on Saturday but Bent believes Moyes's men must seize the chance to prove the doubters once again in their final three games. He added: "No disrespect to any of the lads but there are no world class stars in this team. They got me for 400 grand, Tim from the first division and there are players like Leon Osman who hasn't played at this level for long and is just establishing himself. Players like Duncan have done it, and there is a real mixture about us and a determination to prove people wrong. "That drives us on, as does the passion of the club. Getting fourth place and into the Champions League would be a big part of my career and it is the same for everyone else. "We'd love to be in the Champions League and turning over Barcelona and Real Madrid! If we get there people will start writing us off again. That's alright, but we just need to make sure we are in there.
"There is no point worrying about anything else, we just have to concentrate on fourth. We cannot do anything about Liverpool winning the Champions League so why worry about that? "It would bring a lot of money into Everton if we were to finish fourth. That would mean players, a higher status and would take the club to another level even though the club is massive already. The Champions League means a lot to everybody at Everton, but first we have to get there." Collins John and former Everton loan striker Brian McBride scored the first half goals that deflated Everton and secured Fulham's Premiership survival. And Bent believes the turning point was the 12th minute departure of Tim Cahill with a back injury that leaves the influential midfielder an early doubt for Saturday's visit of Newcastle. He said: "We started off really well, had a goal ruled just offside from Kevin Kilbane and I had a half chance when maybe I should have hit the target. We looked sharp and had settled well, then it all started to change when Tim went off. "It's not all about Tim and what he does, but he is a big part of our team and it disrupted us. That is not an excuse, we should have been more composed, we should have coped with it better, we should have been sharper and we should have gone on from there. But we didn't. It did disrupt us, but we didn't concentrate as well as we should have done. "To be fair to Fulham they played very well, they deserved the win and Boa Morte was excellent. But we are 20 points above them in the table and we should have done much better."
Coup de grace is difficult to find
May 2 2005
View from the stands by Conor Francis Everton supporter, Daily Post
YET again Everton throw away a golden chance to put some distance between themselves and Liverpool. Saturday's morale-sapping result brought everyone back down to earth after the euphoria of the Manchester United victory and Duncan's late equaliser against Birmingham City. Cahill's withdrawal from the fray on Saturday only served to highlight just how much the Blues midfield relies on the Australian. Without him on the field Everton did not look like scoring. Arteta's running and passing probed the Fulham defence, and Duncan Ferguson was again superb in leading the line and his team. But far too many others had an off-day. Bent looked blunt and unthreatening, with Fulham able to contain the striker far too easily. Kilbane and Osman were peripheral figures, while Carsley's inability to finish in front of goal cost Everton dear. The Newcastle game at Goodison now takes on incredible importance. It's a game the Blues simply must win if they really are to claim fourth spot and a Champions League place. Unfortunately, Everton have found must-win games the most difficult this season. Blackburn and Birmingham should have been dispatched, and Saturday's Fulham match should have been the coup de grace that the fans so desperately crave. Moyes, and the players, have done a superb job to be in such a situation at this stage. But we may never have such an opportunity to qualify for the Champions League again. Everton could still so easily throw away a season's hard graft. David Moyes must get his men back in the winning habit quickly.
Moyes baffled by European conundrum
By Bill Pierce Daily Post Correspondent
May 2 2005
EVERTON manager David Moyes revealed his exasperation at the ongoing uncertainty over whether fourth place will be good enough for his side to qualify for the Champions League. The Goodison side were beaten by goals from Collins John and former player Brian McBride at Craven Cottage on Saturday but are still three points clear of Liverpool in fourth. However, the Reds could now qualify instead of Everton for next season's competition by winning it, with the FA deciding to delay a ruling on which team would take the fourth Champions League berth until after Liverpool's semi-final second leg against Chelsea tomorrow. Moyes cannot believe such ambiguity can exist, and said: "Both situations seem strange to me. "The first four places should take the Champions League spots. Yet a team winning the European Cup doesn't get the right to defend it? Who makes these rules?" Moyes was also unhappy with the performance of referee Steve Bennett yesterday and could be in trouble with the FA after he said that the official "just isn't very good". On the positive side, a place in the UEFA Cup is now secure and the Scottish manager added: "For now we are delighted to have got the club back into Europe. "I've always wanted to be a manager in European competition and the players have done that for me. We've had some good performances but it was not one of them at Fulham. They are a strong side and it wasn't our day but we've done well this season, beaten Manchester United recently and have our fate in our own hands." Moyes, however, is concerned about the fitness of goalscoring midfielder Tim Cahill, an inspired signing from Mill-wall, who was injured in the early minutes following a challenge by Fulham skipper Lee Clark. "He's got a knock in his back," said Moyes. "He's walking but he's sore. Unfortunately I think the injury was a turning point. We never really settled after that." For Fulham manager Chris Coleman, Premiership survival is now assured but he believes his side should aspire to match the high-flying achievements of Everton and Bolton next season. McBride's brilliant 39th-minute header added to John's 15th-minute opportunist strike and sustained Fulham through a second half in which they lost midfield powerhouse Papa Bouba Diop to a second yellow card 15 minutes from the end. Coleman knows he faces tight budgetary constraints next season and said: "We are not going to spend £15-20 million on new players, that's for sure. But I was delighted with our performance against Everton, especially the back four."
Fulham 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
May 2 2005 By Scott McLeod at Craven Cottage
NOBODY said it was going to be easy. And yet it would have been had Everton performed to anywhere near their full potential in the last nine days. Two below par performances have provided just one point. But the Blues have still edged inexorably towards the holy grail - Champions League qualification. That is down to the failure of both Bolton and Liverpool to capitalise. Everton can take significant consolation from that as they prepare for their final home game of the season on Saturday. The nerves have set in for all three sides, as Saturday's results illustrated so dramatically. But having had to fight all season to keep hold of fourth place, it would be wrong to assume it will just be gifted to Everton now. They simply have to up their game for the final three matches.
Four points will guarantee fourth spot now. Three is likely to be enough. But maybe having such a distinctive, achievable goal isn't such a good thing. It certainly didn't seem to be on Saturday. What a time to produce a performance on a par with some of the worst on the road this season. If the victory over Manchester United was everything that has gone right this term encapsulated into 90 minutes of football, than Fulham was the precise opposite. And the home side's gusto ensured it was a performance which would be punished. The form book coupled with their dismal league position earmarks Fulham as a fairweather side. Sadly for Everton, the weather was ridiculously fair on Saturday. They relished the summer conditions, stroking the ball around with ease in their sun drenched surroundings. The cornerstone of Everton's success this season has been the ability of the side to back each other up. On Saturday, such camaraderie was far less prevalent because so many of the players were tied up trying to regain a foothold in the personal battles that were going Fulham's way. It speaks volumes for what has been achieved this year that seeing them so fragmented was such a shock to the system. By half-time the home side had clocked up a two goal lead and Everton were reeling, with top scorer Tim Cahill sidelined after just eight minutes by a crunching challenge from man-mountain Papa Bouba Diop. The Senegalese midfielder is one of a host of players believed to be on the Blues' wanted list for the summer. He may not be the most cultured of footballers. But he is hugely effective at what he does. And that is marauding his way through the centre of the park like Gulliver at a Lilliputians garden party. If David Moyes wasn't an admirer before, this display could have turned his head. It was after he was harshly dismissed for a second caution by the woeful Steve Bennett 15 minutes from time that the Blues were finally able to produce some territorial pressure. But even then Edwin Van der Sar was not tested. Marcus Bent conceded afterwards that the early loss of Cahill hit Everton hard. They had started brightly, putting the home side on the back foot but were then forced into a reshuffle which disrupted the rhythm. It never really returned. Ironically, it was the Evertonian old boys who did the first half damage in front of goal which ensured there was always going to be too much for the visitors to do. The opener came in the 15th minute when a miss-hit from Tomasz Radzinski cannoned off David Weir and to the feet of Collins John. He thundered the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards. It got worse for the Blues six minutes from half-time when an early cross from the left by Luis Boa Morte picked out Brian McBride. The American striker held off a challenge from Alessandro Pistone to power a cracking header into the top corner of the net from 10 yards. It fuelled the party atmosphere inside Craven Cottage, with the prospect of three points finally ridding the club of the threat of relegation.
Twelve months ago Everton were in a similar position. A year on and the club has something far more impressive to play for than merely their top flight status. The gravitas of their position was weighing on their shoulders. There is no doubt it would have been a different story if Kevin Kilbane's goal inside the opening minute had stood. He nipped in at the back post to tap in after David Weir had nodded on a Mikel Arteta centre. But, rightly, the effort was ruled out for offside. The next best sight of goal came equally early in the second half. But Carsley's effort, which was dragged wide of the target from 10 yards, reflected the anxiety which was present throughout the team by that point. Against United and in the second half of the Birmingham match the sheer presence of Duncan Ferguson had inspired a focused, brave cohesion to Everton's play. As a result, the talisman was preferred to James Beattie from the start at Craven Cottage despite the energy-sapping conditions.
And he did everything that was asked of him, regularly winning aerial challenges despite being up against the lanky Zat Knight. He even forced Van der Sar into a fine save with a close range header midway through the opening half. But on this occasion he wasn't a catalyst for the team.
And for that, Fulham deserve credit. They didn't allow the visitors an opportunity to take control in the middle of the park. As a result Ferguson was isolated alongside Bent. Bent himself only had a couple of chances - both teed up by his strike partner. The first flashed wide of the target and the second was parried by the keeper from a tight angle. To beat a keeper of Van der Sar's quality the forwards needed more than the slim pickings they were given. The arrival of James McFadden and Beattie late in the game did little to change things. It is the Everton way to ensure nothing is straightforward. It adds to the romance of the club. Which is why it would not be a shock if this thrilling campaign and the race for the Champions League went down to the very last day. But who doesn't like to be pleasantly surprised from time to time? And Goodison would be a fitting venue to wrap it up.
Bent: We don't want a disaster
May 2 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT believes Everton's lack of Champions League experience will benefit them in the race for fourth spot. Unlike the squads at Liverpool and Bolton, very few Everton players have played in Europe's top competition. But the Blues' striker,, who admits it would be a 'disaster' if they missed out now, insists that gives David Moyes' men a greater hunger. Everton need four points from their remaining three matches to guarantee Champions League football at the end of what has been a remarkable season. Bent said: "We have heard the fans from virtually every club singing that song about the Champions League. Everybody knows the words. It is something we have had to hear all season because we have been up there all season. "But they can sing what they want, we deserve to be here and to throw it away now would be a disaster. "The lads know I am not being dis-respectful when I say we are not world class players. If you look at the squad I only cost £450,000, Tim Cahill has come from the first division, Leon Osman is playing his first season in the Premiership - a lot of us are in a position we are not used to. "But we do have experienced play-ers like Duncan Ferguson and we have a good mix. It may be the first time up there for a lot of us but we are coping with it well and we have continuously proved people wrong. "We are fourth, we have been for a long time and we are hungry for it. "Personally, if we can achieve fourth place it would be a huge thing in my career and it would be the same for the other lads. "But nobody is going to give it to us. We have got to get over that finishing line ourselves."
UEFA chief opens door
May 2 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
UEFA president Lennart Johansson has paved the way for both Everton and Liverpool to compete in the Champions League. Johansson claims "the door is open" for Liverpool should they win the European Cup in May but finish outside the top four in the Premiership. UEFA has previously insisted their rules are clear, that only four teams from any one country can go forward to play in the Champions League. With Everton set to clinch the coveted fourth spot, and with Liverpool still in with a chance of lifting the Champions League trophy, UEFA have told the Football Association to decide who should join Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United in next season's tournament. A precedent was set five years ago when Real Madrid won the Champions League, but only finished fifth in the Primera Liga, resulting in the Spanish football authorities opting for the 'Galacticos' ahead of Real Zaragoza, who had finished fourth. Remarkably, Johansson could not recall that incident, but insists England could have five teams in next season's Champions League if UEFA's executive committee allow Liverpool to defend the trophy should they win it, but finish outside the top four.
"This is a very demanding case, but it doesn't mean it cannot be discussed," said Johansson
"Liverpool are welcome with their point of view. They can make any proposal and we will deal with it and we will give them a quick answer. "The door is always open. We are there to serve football and not just dictate, so they are welcome to make a request if the situation occurs. "If there is a possibility to make an exception for the winner of the Champions League then there could be an additional place. "It is for the committee to decide and anything can be granted if they decide to go to the associations and ask for a change in the regulations. "But it would be unfair on Everton who have played the whole season and qualified via fourth place to then exclude them."
Footballing big wigs to blame for city's cloud of anxiety!
May 2 2005 By John Thompson Sports Editor Liverpool Echo
IT'S sport - but not as we know it. Everton are heading towards fourth place in the Premiership, while Liverpool are just two wins away from success in the Champions League. Yet amid all the anticipation and excitement of the fans, there is a darkening cloud of worry and uncertainty in the air above Merseyside. Both clubs have been hurled onto the horns of a needless dilemma which could see one of them punished outrageously for potential success. It seems a decision on how this theoretical but stupid mess is cleared up will be made after tomorrow night's clincher between Liverpool and Chelsea. But the moral facts are already clear. If Everton finish fourth in the Premiership there is absolutely no question they must be allowed to compete in Europe's elite competition next season. If Liverpool land the European Cup for a fifth time in Istanbul, they must equally be allowed to defend it as holders - just as they did in 1978/9 after they had won it at Wembley, but had been pipped to the title by Nottingham Forest. And supporters from both sides of Stanley Park, desperate as they are to fight their own cause, should not fall for it and start throwing unseemly arguments at each other. It's enough of a debacle as it stands without allowing the bungling of UEFA and the FA to cause ill-feeling and controversy in a great footballing city. The Champions League is their tournament and between them foot-ball's authorities have screwed it up. If UEFA don't insist on their trophy holders being allowed to defend their prize then, ridiculous as it seems, that's perhaps their decision. Trouble is, they've not made that decision - just passed a red hot selection poser onto the various European FAs. So what does the English FA do with it? Er, nothing, except dither. Before a ball was kicked in this year's tournament the FA here should have at least declared its policy and said that either its fourth placed side was going in or, in the event of this current scenario, they would favour the hold-ers above the fourth- placed team. But the heads have been in the sand for several seasons now. William Gaillard, UEFA director of communications, said the other day the rules were clear, in which case it could be Liverpool or Everton who are entered - but not both. And, he stressed, the initial choice belongs to the FA, though UEFA would make the ultimate call. Thank heavens his boss, Lennart Johansson, yesterday appeared to overrule him, suggesting there may yet be room for both Everton and Liverpool to take part if necessary.
His words at last offer some encouragement that commonsense may yet prevail. But the fact that, as it stands, there is such an impossible decision to be made at this stage of affairs says it all. We simply shouldn't be here because one of our two Merseyside clubs will suffer a gross and sudden sporting injustice unless closed minds are changed. It seems the world's biggest club football tournament can have multi-million pound sponsorship deals in place, complex advertising and marketing contracts and TV rights agreements penned in detail by the best lawyers around. Yet its basic competiton entry rules are left open to interpretation, confusion and debate. There should be no 'decision' to be made. Everton, Liverpool and every other team in Europe should have known where it stood long before the first fanfare sounded last summer. UEFA and the FA both have a hand in this farce and both must share the blame. And neither the Reds nor Blues should pay the price for that. Football ' s administrators, whether in Soho Square or Switzerland, must indeed bend their patently flexible 'rules' a bit further and let both Liverpool and Everton into the Champions League should the hypothesis become reality. Let UEFA and the FA sort out just how they do it - it's their mess. But rest assured, if they've got the will, they'll find the way. Credit to Johansson for stepping in yesterday and admitting as much. For the sake of sportsmanship, they must now come up with the solution - rather than allow one of Merseyside ' s proud clubs to be punished for potentially excellent achievements.
Moyes hits out at Euro qualification rules
May 2 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES revealed his exasperation at the ongoing uncertainty over whether fourth place will be good enough for his side to qualify for the Champions League. The Toffees were beaten by goals from Collins John and former player Brian McBride at Craven Cottage but are still three points clear of Liverpool in fourth. However, the Reds could now qualify instead of Everton for next season's competition by winning it this season, with the Football Association deciding to delay a ruling on which team would take the fourth Champions League berth until after Liverpool's semi-final second leg against Chelsea tomorrow night. Moyes cannot believe such ambiguity can exist, and said: "Both situations seem strange to me. "The first four places should take the Champions League spots. Yet a team winning the European Cup doesn't get the right to defend it? Who makes these rules?" Moyes was also unhappy with the performance of referee Steve Bennett and could be in trouble with the FA after saying the official "just isn't very good". On the positive side, a place in the UEFA Cup is now secure and the Scottish boss added: "For now we are delighted to have got the club back into Europe. "I've always wanted to be a manager in European competition and the players have done that for me. "We've had some good performances but it was not one of them at Fulham. They are a strong side and it wasn't our day." Moyes is concerned about the fitness of goalscoring midfielder Tim Cahill, an inspired signing from Millwall, who was injured in the early minutes following a challenge by Fulham skipper Lee Clark. "He's got a knock in his back," said Moyes. "He's walking but he's sore. Unfortunately I think the injury was a turning point. We never really settled after that." For Fulham manager Chris Coleman, Premiership survival is now assured but he believes his side should aspire to match the high-flying achievements of Everton and Bolton next season. Coleman said: "It is a great result against Everton, one of the teams that give us hope. If we can do what they have done this season or what Bolton have achieved that's a bonus, but staying up is what it's all about."
We want to home in on fourth - Bent
May 2 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON want to clinch fourth place in front of the Goodison faithful, according to Marcus Bent.
Saturday's 2-0 defeat at Fulham means the Blues still need four points from their remaining three matches to guarantee Champions League qualification. But a victory against Newcastle on Saturday in the final home game of the season would be enough if Liverpool fail to beat Arsenal at Highbury on the same day. Securing the final Champions League berth is something the Blues' striker wants to do as quickly as possible. "We are giving it our all but it didn't go the way we wanted at Fulham," said Bent.. "Now we have got Newcastle this weekend. The confidence is still there and it is still in our hands. "The pressure has been on all season and we have proved we can deal with it. It might still go down to the last game and if it does we will keep fighting all the way. "But we want to get it tied up as quickly as possible. We are not worried. We know what we have to do. "The Newcastle game is a big chance to box it off in our last home game. "We are looking to get three points from each of our remaining games and we are not scared of anybody. "You cannot say the three sides we have still to play have less than us to play for. Newcastle want to finish as high up the table as possible, Arsenal are fighting to keep second place and Bolton want exactly the same as us.
"The gaffer was saying on Friday we have run a marathon and now we just have that sprint to the finish line. "We have proved we can stand up to anybody. We gave our all on Saturday, we just weren't at the races." Bent has pin-pointed Tim Cahill's early departure with a back injury for disrupting Everton ' s rhythm against Fulham. The Australian international hobbled off inside the opening 10 minutes following a crunching challenge from Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop.
Within five minutes of the midfielder's departure Collins John had given the home side a lead they never looked like relinquishing. Bent added: "We started well, had some chances and Kev (Kilbane) even put the ball in the net. But it was ruled out and when Tim went off we should have kept with it. We should have kept our composure and our shape. "Our gameplan doesn't revolve around Tim. Everybody is important for us. But Tim is a big part of our team and when he went off it did disrupt us."
We won't give up on fourth, says Weir
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
May 3 2005
DAVID WEIR has delivered a defiant message to those who feel Everton are cracking under the pressure of going for Champions League qualification insisting "we won't give up fourth place".
The pressure is greatest from their neighbours Liverpool as the two Mersey giants - plus Bolton - battle for fourth spot. Everton have been in the top four since September but have dropped 27 out of a possible 45 points since the turn of the year, compounded by Saturday's defeat at Fulham. It leaves Everton needing four points from their last three games, the last two tough ones away at Arsenal and Bolton after Saturday's final Goodison Park game of the term against Newcastle. It could go to the wire, but Weir blasts: "We are not going to concede anything. We don't care about Liverpool, we don't care how long we have been there in the top four. "All that matters is where we are at the end of the season. We are not going to give up." Both Liverpool and Bolton failed to take full advantage of Everton's defeat at Craven Cottage, their fourth reverse in six league games. And Weir said: "We will take it on the chin, we will take the criticism and we will go out next week and try and address it. "We haven't eased up because we are already in the UEFA Cup, we are professional football players and we have a big prize at stake. "With us having a chance to get in the Champions League there is no problem with relaxing. We are not just happy settling with the UEFA Cup.
"I am sure Everton fans who have been watching us all season will not be judging us on the performance at Fulham, they will judge us over the course of the season. "But we are not going to start shouting what we are going to do. All that matters is performances, Saturday's was not good enough and we will look at next weekend's game and be judged after that."
Charlton Ladies 1, Everton Ladies 0
May 3 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON'S brave bid for FA Women's Cup final success ended in disappointment at Upton Park, where they were narrowly beaten by the pre-match favourites Charlton Athletic. A second-half goal from Eniola Aluko was enough to win the cup for the Londoners, who had lost the previous two finals. Rachel Unitt should have given Everton an early advantage but she headed wide of the target from just six yards and on 22 minutes Charlton midfielder Ann-Marie Heatherson was unfortunate to see her shot hit the post. Charlton enjoyed the better of the exchanges during the first half and the Everton goalkeeper Danielle Hill had to be alert to make a fine double save on the half-hour to deny Heatherson and Aluko. Aluko was a constant threat every time she received the ball and when she outpaced the Everton defence again just before the break she would have expected Heatherson to do better than head wide from just three yards. As the half progressed, Everton began to look more composed and when a Jody Handley cross just before the break eluded the Charlton keeper Pauline Cope, there was just too many defenders to prevent an Everton player forcing the loose ball over the line. A couple of minutes into the second period, the luckless Heatherson hit the post again - this time with a sharp header from eight yards. However, the opening strike wasn't long coming and it was, perhaps predictably, the increasingly dangerous Aluko who scored. The England striker sprinted through on goal in the 58th minute and prodded the ball past Hill to give Charlton a lead they thoroughly deserved. The advantage was almost wiped out immediately when Chantelle Parry ran strongly at the Addicks defence before being eventually out-numbered in the box. The Charlton goal prompted a great response from Everton and they finally began to cause their opponents some worrying moments at the back. Kelly McDougall fired straight at Cope, as did Sammy Britton and Jody Hanley, and Everton forced a succession of corners but sadly there was just no way through.
Fara Williams struck a tremendous late free-kick that Cope needed to touch over the bar and Charlton held on to banish the disappointment of losing the previous two finals.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Cope, Stoney, Coss, Hills, Murphy, Broadhurst, Aluko, Heatherson (Clarke 68), Smith, Williams, Sinclair-Chambers. Subs: Hunn, Cabey-Gooden, Reidy, Snare.
EVERTON: Hill, Easton, Unitt, Williams, Britton, Johnson, Handley, Duffy (Evans 65), Parry, McDougall, Kane (J. Jones), Subs: Eadie, C. Jones, Byrne. ATT: 8,567.
Moyes handed Cahill injury boost
May 3 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL today provided Everton with a timely boost ahead of Saturday's final home game of the season. David Moyes had resigned himself to being without the Australian midfielder for the remainder of the season after he suffered a back injury eight minutes into Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Fulham. However, Cahill has responded so well to treatment that Moyes has now not ruled out the possibility of the 26-year-old figuring against Newcastle at Goodison this weekend. Moyes told the ECHO: "Tim went for a scan after the game and he was very sore. "At that stage it looked as if he would be out for the rest of the season. But we are more optimistic now. "He has pulled some ligaments at the base of his back but it is not quite as bad as we first feared. "We are hoping it will clear up quickly. There are only three games to go so if we have to we may ask people to take risks if they are not 100 per cent. "But we won't ask Tim to do that because he has played so much football in the last 12 months. "It is unlikely for the weekend but things are looking much better now than they were on Saturday." Cahill is on course to be named He was signed from Millwall for £1.7m last summer, replacing the departing Tomasz Radzinski. He made his debut in the 0-0 draw at Old Traf-ford in August and has netted 10 goals from 34 starts and is the club's top scorer.
Stubbs' sympathy for Reds
May 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper Alan Stubbs admits he would sympathise with Liverpool if they go on to win the Champions League but miss out on the chance to defend the trophy. However he insists Everton must be allowed into next season's competition if they finish fourth in the Premiership. David Moyes' side currently lead the battle for fourth place by three points from their neighbours, despite their 2-0 loss at Fulham on Saturday. They also have a game in hand over the team who face Chelsea tonight in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final, and Stubbs is optimistic that Everton will not relinquish their grip in the closing stages of the season. He said: "I feel that it's great for the city that one of its teams is doing so well in the Champions League, but if we finish fourth then we deserve to be in it next year. "It's as simple as that. If Liverpool do win it and don't get back in, I would have sympathy for them. "But for us just to qualify for the Champions League would be as big an achievement as what that Everton team achieved in Europe 20 years ago."
Quality missing admits boss Mo
May 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Ladies manager Mo Marley claimed that she was more disappointed with her team's performance than the result. Marley was more hurt by the "lack of quality" on show from her players. "We had a lot of people here to watch us and they just didn't see the real Everton," she claimed. "We didn't show enough quality to win the game and that's what disappoints me even more than the actual defeat. Ironically, Everton's best spell in the match came in the immediate period following Eniola Aluko's winning goal in the second half. "We showed some sort of reaction," admitted Marley, "but we shouldn't need to concede a goal before we start to perform. The Blues boss conceded that her team had done her and the whole club proud by reaching the final. "When I discovered that the final was going to be in London I knew that the FA were expecting a Charlton v Arsenal final and I used that as a motivational tool ahead of the Arsenal semi-final. "We've done ourselves proud to get this far and after being relegation candidates 18 months ago, we've reached the FA Cup final. "But we've got a young squad, keen to learn and we are determined to put things right."
Everton Res 0, Bolton Res 0
May 4 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON RESERVES brought the curtain down on their FA Premier Reserve League North season with a drab goalless draw against Bolton Wanderers at Haig Avenue. With the first team squad low on numbers there was very little experience on show. Everton almost drew first blood when Victor Anichebe glanced a header just wide. Anichebe was again unlucky not to score when Chris Howarth saved his vicious left foot drive. Ricardo Vaz Te had a couple of efforts for the visitors but on both occasions his finishing didn't come up to scratch. Paul Hopkins then put the Bolton keeper Howarth under pressure with a header which went just wide and then the same player tested the visitors goal again with a low shot. Christian Seargeant looked to have won the game in the last two minutes but again Howarth was equal to it and a draw was probably the fairest outcome. Everton remain seventh in the table with a couple of clubs below them still to complete their matches.
EVERTON RESERVES: Lake, Wright, Wilson, Bosnar, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Plessis, Anichebe, Hopkins, Vidarsson (Boyle 58). Subs: Gallagher, Irving, Kearney, Kissock
Spirit can carry us to fourth - Martyn
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 4 2005
NIGEL MARTYN is confident the fierce team spirit that has underpinned Everton's Champions League pursuit this season will carry them over the finishing line into fourth. The 38-year-old goalkeeper (left) was beaten twice at Fulham on Saturday as Everton wasted the chance to effectively secure their place among the European elite next term. David Moyes's men have three testing fixtures to confirm their hold on the top four spot they have held since September, starting with this weekend's crucial final home game against Newcastle. And despite defying all expectations this season Martyn insists Everton will fight until the last day to qualify for the Champions League. "I think we have exceeded everyone else's expectations this season," said the former England international. "Internally you are always hopeful that you are going to achieve something and that is what we set out to do and that is what we have done. "There is a great team spirit and a group of players who want to work hard for each other and make it so we are a hard team to beat. That is where we are at the moment and hopefully it will carry us through until the end of the season and fourth place." Martyn has conceded only 28 goals in 31 Premiership appearances to earn himself a one-year contract extension at Goodison Park. He added: "I've certainly enjoyed this season and my form has been good." Moyes, meanwhile, has revealed he is prepared to rest Tim Cahill against Newcastle if it spares the influential midfielder for the trips to Arsenal and Bolton. The Australian international hobbled out of the Craven Cottage defeat after injuring his lower back in a collision with Papa Bouba Diop in the seventh minute. And though the 26-year-old has made a rapid recovery and the Everton manager wants players to play through the pain barrier in the run-in, he is prepared to make an exception in Cahill's case. Moyes said: "Tim went for a scan and was very sore. It looked as if he would be out for the rest of the season. But we are more optimistic now. "We are hoping it will clear up quickly. There are only three games to go so if we have to we may ask people to take risks if they are not 100%. "But we won't ask Tim to do that because he has played so much football in the last 12 months. "It is unlikely for the weekend but things are looking much better now than they were on Saturday." Meanwhile Everton starlets James Vaughan and Scott Phelan featured in England's 4-0 victory against Belarus in their opening Group A game in the UEFA European U17s Champion-ships in Italy yesterday.
Stubbs calls for reinforcements
May 4 2005
By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper Alan Stubbs believes the Blues need to bolster their squad by six men for next season's European adventure. David Moyes' men have already qualified for the UEFA Cup but are the odds-on favourites to keep hold of the Champions League berth they have occupied uninterrupted since September. But that success is despite Moyes having the smallest squad of senior professionals in the Premiership. Stubbs, who is still recovering from a ruptured shoulder ligament sustained against Crystal Palace last month, admits there are currently not enough numbers in the ranks to deal with the demands of the Premiership and Europe. Moyes (pictured inset) is believed to have a £12m kitty at his disposal to add to his ranks this summer. But with seven members of the current squad also out of contract in the summer and yet to agree new deals - Stubbs included - it is set to be a hectic summer of activity. Stubbs said: "People keep saying there is going to be more money available, but things seem to have gone really quiet behind the scenes with investment. "The club has got to invest in the team if we're going to do ourselves justice in Europe. "I think they have got to bring in six players, and that is hoping that out-of-contract players sign as well. It is going to be an interesting summer, another massive transitional period." This season's success has highlighted attention on the spirit which has been forged within the Everton squad.
It has been cited time and again as the catalyst for the club's change in fortunes, having finished last season in 17th place. Stubbs explains that the events of last season led to a lot of soul-searching. And the skipper was at the heart of the talks which helped transform the mood. He ad "It is still tough, don't get me wrong, but last season there was no release valve. Some frank things were said between me and the manager about training, about the way we approached games, about individuals. But it was amicable and professional, and then we went to America for pre-season and that lifted the gloom." Stubbs has not yet ruled out the prospect of playing a part for the Blues before the end of the season. But, as one of the players yet to agree a new deal, it could prove to be a Goodison swansong if he chooses not to accept the one-year extension on offer. Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has confirmed his interest in taking Stubbs back to Bolton.
FA set to back Everton
May 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are favourites to receive the FA's backing and claim a place ahead of Liverpool in next season's Champions League - even if the Reds win the European Cup later this month. But the FA is lobbying UEFA to permit five English clubs in next season's competition and allow Rafael Benitez's side to defend their title should they triumph in the final in Istanbul on May 25. The FA's professional game board committee will meet tomorrow and the ECHO understands the members will back the team that finishes in fourth place in the Premiership, which is most likely to be Everton.
Meanwhile, a formal request has been submitted to UEFA pressing for an additional place should Liverpool win this year's competition but finish outside the top four on the domestic front.
An FA spokesman said: "We have made our request for an additional place should the situation arise. It is UEFA's competition and we are awaiting their response."
Fans say both clubs should be in Europe
May 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Liverpool fans today insisted both clubs should have the chance to compete in the Champions League next season. Liverpool's win in the semi-final of the competition last night increased the debate over who should get a place if Everton beat the Reds to fourth spot in the Premiership and Liverpool win the Champions League. European football governing body Uefa have previously said only four teams from the Premiership can play in the competition next season. Richie Pedder, chairman of the Liverpool independent supporters' club, said: "We're not as worried about fourth spot after last night anyway - but if it happens both sides should go in. Uefa have hinted they'd find a place for both teams if they had to, so I hope they're good for their word." Everton season-ticket holder Phil Stevens, 24, from Childwall, agreed Uefa should take a stand. He added: "Liverpool have got a 50/50 chance of winning the Champions League now. "If they can pull it off but we beat them to fourth we've got to go in too - anything else would be a travesty." Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross added: "The situation is still hypothetical. The league isn't over and Liverpool have not won the Champions League. "We will have something to say when the issue is cut and dry."
Marine 0, Everton 1
May 5 2005 Daily Post
IT was an end of an era at Rossett Park last night as Marine played their final game with Roly Howard in charge. The Liverpool Senior Cup final was Howard's 1,975th game as manager covering 33 years. Also retiring are assistant manager Roger Patience (after 29 years) and physio John Bradshaw (19 years) in a quite remarkable record of achievement and loyalty. Sadly, it was not a fairy-tale ending as a young, determined and well-organised Everton team ran out victors.
After a cagey opening Dean Thurston had the first chance when on 16 minutes he hooked a shot just wide. A minute later Darren Brookfield tested Everton keeper Sean Lake from long range.
Everton's first chance came when Michael Stuart misjudged a James Connolly header but his blushes were spared when Victor Anichibe was penalised following a tussle. Two minutes later Everton nearly broke through but a last-ditch tackle by Chris Fitzsimmons denied Christian Seargeant.
On 39 minutes Marine were lucky to escape following a goalmouth scramble but the visitors didn't have to wait long to take the lead. On 42 minutes a free-kick was flicked on by Anichibe and Mark Hughes headed in. Marine dominated the second half but failed to capitalise on a number of chances they created. On 67 minutes Thurston set Anthony Mee up following a good run but the latter shot wide. Three minutes later McNally set up Thurston with a deft header but Thurston also shot wide when well placed. Everton nearly extended their lead with 15 minutes to go when again Stuart misjudged the ball leaving Anichibe to lob him but Gary Randles cleared off the line.
Deep into injury time Thurston got clear but a combination of Hughes and Laurence Wilson cleared the ball off Everton's line. So the cup went to Everton. Marine will look back at chances created and missed. But that has been the story of their season.
MARINE: Stuart, Murphy, Fitzsimmons, Ellison, Connolly, Randles, Black, Brookfield, Kay, McNally, Thurston. Subs: Cain, Mee, Elias, Proctor, Crookes.
EVERTON: Lake, Wright, Wilson, Boyle, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Vidarsson, Hopkins, Anichibe, Fowler. Subs: Kearney, Gallagher, Irving, Kissock, Molyneux.
REFEREE: Chris Foy (St Helens)
Blues fear Cahill loss for vital Toon clash
May 5 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fear they could go into Saturday's Champions League shoot-out with Newcastle - without the firepower of top scorer Tim Cahill. The Blues' ten-goal midfielder limped off just minutes into last weekend's clash at Fulham, and while the back injury has settled down, boss David Moyes now fears it won't be quick enough for Cahill to figure in the must-win match. "We won't know until Saturday, but it looks doubtful," said Moyes. "Tim is the sort of lad who will pull through for you if he can, but he is still in pain and if he doesn't make it we have other options." Moyes knows that a win over the injury-ravaged Magpies would leave Everton on the brink of mathematically guaranteeing a Champions League qualifier in August. But he is keeping his selection possibilities to himself. He admits that the events at Anfield on Tuesday, however, had not given his players any further motivation in their own Champions League quest. "The only thing I am concerned about at the moment is trying to beat Newcastle," he declared.. "If that then leads onto something greater, then terrific. But I am not looking any further than Saturday. After that we will look at what might be." Everton's youngsters claimed silverware for the club in the shape of the Liverpool Senior Cup last night, Mark Hughes' header earning a young Blues' team a 1-0 win at Marine. Newcastle ended a run of seven Premiership games without a win with a 3-1 success at Fulham. Graeme Souness said: "I'm very happy with the result and for once I'm not going to wake up miserable."
FA decision delivers a blow for Reds
May 5 2005
By Dave MacBryde, icLiverpool
It has been confirmed by The Football Association that the Premiership's top four will compete in next season's Champions League. The decision was made following a meeting at Soho Square on Thursday and will come as a huge blow to Liverpool, who could now miss out on qualification, even if they do beat AC Milan in this sason's final in Istanbul later this month. The news means that should Everton pip their Merseyside rivals and Sam Allardyce's Bolton to fourth place in the Premiership, they would be present in next season's Champions League, regardless of Liverpool's fortunes in Istanbul. UEFA rules state that only four teams can represent any one country in the Champions League, although they do plan to review this ruling in the near future. However, The Football Association have stated that they will lobby UEFA if Rafa Benitez's Liverpool do win the Champions League on May 25th.
FA ready to award Euro place to fourth
May 5 2005 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
FA CHIEFS are today expected to decide that the top four in the Premiership should qualify for the Champions League - no matter what happens to Liverpool at next month's final in Istanbul.
Liverpool will then have to rely solely on a change of rules by UEFA should they win the final but finish out of the top four in the Premiership. Everton are currently favourites to claim the fourth qualifying place and will want a swift decision from the FA should this weekend's results all go in their favour. David Moyes's men could secure fourth place if they beat Newcastle on Saturday and Liverpool fail to win at Arsenal on Sunday. The FA's professional game board are meeting today to decide their position if Rafael Benitez's side are crowned European champions. It is understood the majority of the six-man board favour awarding qualification to the side who finish fourth in the league - even if it means the Champions League holders not qualifying for Europe's elite club competition next season. The Premier League will resist any attempt to remove the Champions League reward from the side that finishes fourth and most of the six chairmen are believed to hold similar views. They are Dave Richards (Premier League), David Dein (Arsenal vice-chairman), Rupert Lowe (Southampton), Phil Gartside (Bolton), David Sheepshanks (Ipswich) and Peter Heard (Colchester). Their decision will then need to be approved by the full FA board but, given that the six are also members of that body, that will merely be a rubberstamping exercise. Meanwhile, the FA will continue to lobby UEFA for a fifth place for English clubs. The position of European football's governing body has shifted slightly but importantly in favour of Liverpool this week following an intervention from president Lennart Johansson. Although their regulations stipulate that a maximum of four sides from any one country can take part, Johansson has made it clear UEFA's executive committee do have the power to overrule and enforce any changes. However, they will not take any action until after the final itself and should Liverpool win that, a decision would be made at the next executive committee meeting on June 17.
Football shirt company helps remake Blues' history
May 5 2005 Liverpool Echo
A FOOTBALL shirt manufacturer is breaking with tradition to help Everton celebrate an historic milestone. The Old Fashioned Football Shirt Company (Toffs) specialises in making 1,200 different cotton replica shirts, from historic club strips to the famous red shirt England wore when they won the world cup in 1966. Founder Alan Finch said old fashioned cotton shirts are popular with fans because they represent football history, "from the days before sponsorship and polyester made us uncomfortable". But Gateshead-based Toffs has produced its very first polyester shirt for Everton's 20th anniversary of winning the European cup winners' cup in Rotterdam. Mr Finch said: "We have always resisted polyester but we have moved on a bit, and 1985 was so many years away we felt justified to do this for Everton." He said Toffs made the polyester kit because it had to be an exact copy of the shirt the Blues wore to defeat Rapid Vienna to claim their first European trophy. Everton retail buyer Ian Caswell said: "We wanted this to be exactly as it was." The club has also reproduced the programme of the final and a range of new strips, made by Toffs, including the 1986 "Lineker bib" shirt, the 1966 FA cup final shirt, a 1920s Dixie Dean shirt and one of the club's very first strips from 1880 with a Liver Bird on the chest.
Era of success
EVERTON'S 1985 "Hafnia" shirt heralded one of the most successful eras in the club's history. The Blues won the 1984-85 first division championship followed by the European cup winners' cup in May 1985. They narrowly missed out on a glorious trophy treble three days later when fatigue from their European final took its toll and they went down gallantly to a late Norman Whiteside goal in the FA cup final against Manchester United at Wembley.
May 5 2005 Liverpool Echo
To gain entry to the Champions League would be the icing on the cake - James Tyrrell
THE Newcastle match is the most crucial of the season in terms of qualifying for the Champions League. Last Saturday, we should have claimed fourth place, but I think every Evertonian was predicting a blast from the past to score - and, unfortunately, that was McBride. It's the final home game and I'm sure the fans will be expecting a performance similar to the United game. This season has been magnificent and it has been pleasing watching the team putting in a lot of effort to prove the critics wrong. The true praise has to go to David Moyes and the backroom staff. Moyes has got the best out of the team, creating a formation that has suited each individual. At the beginning of the season he was the favourite to be sacked. Now, he is a firm favourite for Manager of the Season.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
OUR destiny is now in our own hands.
We need four points from nine and, with two tough away games to come, we've got to win our last home game on Saturday to increase the pressure on other teams. Getting into the UEFA Cup is a major achievement for Moyes and his team, but to gain entry to the Champions League would be the icing on the cake. Some people say that if we get fourth it will come too early for us, but Liverpool have proved the underdogs can do well. I have every faith that Moyes will buy the players who will fit into our hard working team and improve the quality. If we can improve the defence - one of the best - lower the average age of the team and add more goals, I'm sure we can stay in the top half next season and do well in Europe.
JAMES TYRRELL, Woolton
To gain entry to the Champions League would be the icing on the cake - James Tyrrell
IT'S now or never for Everton on Saturday. If we win, it's more or less all over, and we need Arsenal to beat Liverpool. All this talk of who will be allowed in the Champions League is far too premature. The season isn't over. All we have to do is keep trying and if the situation arises, the FA should go with Everton as they state the top four clubs are guaranteed Champions League football. Newcastle haven't had the best of seasons but they are still a very strong side and can beat anyone. Every year, we have something to worry about, whether it's relegation or fighting for Europe. This is the most nervous I have ever been. We knew we were too good to go down. Are we good enough for Champions League? The players need to look at Saturday's game as a cup final. GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
I'VE just witnessed our nearest and dearest getting to Istanbul. The season twists agonisingly on, but what we are achieving in the Premier League echoes what Liverpool are achieving in Europe. There are clear parallels. After a stuttering start, no-one fancied them, but despite apparent shortcomings, they've more than held their own and continue to surprise people. So, if you follow this comparison, next season's Champions League is there for the winning. Last year Porto. This year Liverpool. Next year? Why not another underdog? A couple more performances like the Fulham game, and we won't be in the Champions League. But if we managed to scrape into it, we could go and win it!
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
FA move Everton nearer a 'dream'
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
May 6 2005
LEE CARSLEY last night admitted it would be a "dream" to play in the Champions League after it was confirmed Everton would definitely qualify for next season's competition should they finish fourth this season. The Football Association's decision was met with cautious relief by the Goodison club, who are currently occupy fourth place in the Premiership with a game in hand over rivals Liverpool.
But midfielder Carsley conceded that while the players were focused on tomorrow's home clash against Newcastle United, the whole side were excited by the prize they were now certain to be striving for. He said: "It's a fantastic stage to play on and among all the players it's their dream to play in the Champions League so hopefully we can achieve that. "It's (Newcastle) a tough game and they had a good result the other night against Fulham and we know they're going to be wanting to have a good end to their season, so that's what we're worried about." Goodison chief executive Keith Wyness added: "While we welcome the announcement from the FA regarding clarification on the fourth place qualification issue, we are still operating in a hypothetical situation with regards to Everton's position." However Wyness believes Liverpool should be handed a place in next year's competition should they claim the trophy. "Despite what is a most intense local rivalry, we do believe that if Liverpool FC were to win this year's tournament they should be invited to return as holders," he said. "There are still crucial games left to play and we are fully aware that we have not yet claimed that important qualifying position."
Goodison duo may be fit for Newcastle
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 6 2005
ALAN STUBBS is in line for a surprise return to face Newcastle tomorrow - as teammate Tim Cahill continues his race to be fit for the crucial Goodison clash. The Goodison skipper's season had been widely thought to be over after injuring his shoulder when falling awkwardly against Crystal Palace last month. However, Stubbs has progressed well and will be monitored closely today with a final decision being taken as close to the game as possible. Stubbs said: "I am hoping that I will be available on Saturday. I am training and hope-fully if things go well, I will be involved against Newcastle. We will have to wait and see." Cahill is remaining positive as he attempts to shake off a back injury, although manager David Moyes cast doubt on the chances of the influential Australian helping out in Everton's push for fourth place. Cahill has shown steady signs of improvement in the past few days after receiving the knock in the small of his back at Craven Cottage last Saturday, but Moyes claimed: "We won't know until Saturday, but it looks doubtful. "Tim is the sort of lad who will pull through for you if he can, but he is still in pain and if he doesn't make it we have other options." Cahill though is staying hopeful. "It's a bit sore but the most positive thing is that I am improving every day," he said. "I just have to be really positive ahead of the weekend and hope-fully I can be back in contention for selection. It is one of the biggest games of the season, though every game we play in is massive but this one could determine whether we get into the Champions League. "I am desperate to be available for selection and if I am fit then hopefully I will get a chance to play." Meanwhile, James McFadden anticipates Goodison Park will be a cauldron of noise on Saturday for the last home league game with the supporters pushing Everton ever closer to that famous Champions League place. McFadden said: "It would be perfect if we could get a win on Saturday as 40,000 fans would go mad. "Getting into the Champions League would be a massive thing for us. The last few years have seen a lot of bad times and it would show people that Everton are still a big club. "It has been a special season, beyond every-one's wildest dreams and expectations. "Going into Europe (Everton are assured of a UEFA Cup place) is massive achievement especially after last season." McFadden is anxious to return to the starting line-up after recovering from a hamstring injury that slowed down his progress earlier this year. "People will remember the game if a Champions League spot is clinched so it would be nice to be involved," said the 22-year-old Scotland winger. "I am as in as good shape as I can be for training, all I need is matches to get my fitness up. "I just want to get in the team. Obviously I have got a lot to learn. "There are players who are 30 and they are still learning. "Everton have three matches left and there are two games for Scotland coming up. I want to be involved as much as possible." Newcastle ended a barren run on Wednesday by defeating Fulham at Craven Cottage but McFadden is confident of getting the victory Everton crave. "You look at their side and they have a lot of top quality players," he said.
"But we have come up against sides like that all season and have beaten them."
Injury rules Henry and Ljungberg out of Mersey clashes
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 6 2005
LIVERPOOL and Everton will not have to face Thierry Henry or Freddie Ljungberg at Highbury on Sunday as they continue to press for fourth place an assure Champions League qualifi-cation for next season. Rafael Benitez's side play Arsenal knowing that anything less than a victory would realistically end their hopes of overhauling Everton. However, both Henry and Ljungberg will also miss the Goodison side's visit to the capital four days later as the pair face a race to prove their fitness for the FA Cup final. Henry has not featured since the win at Middlesbrough on April 9 because of a groin injury, and along with midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who has a hip problem, now faces a fight to return in time for the showdown with Manchester United in Cardiff on May 21. While Gunners boss Arsene Wenger did not declare whether he would consider the pair for the cup final if they had not featured against Birmingham a week on Sunday, the French coach reflected a warm-up would be "ideal". "Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg will both be out for the next two games," said Wenger. "It is difficult to say (when they will be back)." Wenger added: "Ideally you would want them to be available before and at least play a game, but we have to be cautious. It just depends who is available on the day." Wenger accepts the need to finish second ahead of United to avoid the final qualifying round of the Champions League. "It's very important for us to finish second," stressed Wenger.
We don't need to be told to make a noise
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 6 2005
WHICHEVER well-meaning soul at the club decided that we needed some forced fun on Saturday, encouraging everyone to wear blue and get their face painted to try and help the team, really need not have bothered. The best parties are never the ones where you're moaned at for taking your paper hat off or where you're chastised and called boring because you won't sit on the floor for 'Oops Upside Your Head'. We didn't need cheerleaders at the Manchester United game and the atmosphere for that was absolutely incredible. Likewise, everyone is fully aware of the implications of this encounter with Newcastle - in theory the weakest of the three sides we're left to face - so no-one need worry about the Everton players getting our backing, especially if they show the same levels of commitment as they did against Alex Ferguson's men. In some ways, the highlycharged atmosphere might not be entirely positive. The worry is that the play-ers let the occasion get to them and blow themselves out in the opening period. Cool heads are what are needed; we need to be calm and keep the ball, not try to simply overpower the Magpies in the first 15 minutes.
Luckily on Wednesday night Graeme Souness' side won at Craven Cottage, the scene of one of Everton's most disappointing performances of the season last weekend. The last thing we wanted was for the Geordies to bring an eight-game losing streak to Goodison. Another thing to bear in mind is that an awful lot of people seem to be assuming that Liverpool will be beaten at Highbury on the Sunday. That's dangerous, as no-one expected us to beat United the other week or for the Reds to reach the final of the Champions' League for that matter. Thankfully, our chances of qualifying for that competition won't be affected if Liverpool go on to beat Milan in the final. A lot has been made of the way the Reds have played to reach Istanbul, but it would be churlish of us to knock it, as it hasn't been vastly different from the style that we have employed in order to propel us to fourth place. The fact that a side as ordinary as this Liverpool one can go so far in 'Europe's premier club competition' should be seen as heartening in some ways for the Blues as it shows that perhaps next season we won't have quite as much to fear from some of these supposed European superpowers as many of our detractors suggest.
Clarke's goal return not to be sniffed at
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 6 2005
FOR THE last time a league game between Everton and Newcastle carried so much significance, you have to go back to Easter Monday 1987, when an Everton victory all but sealed the title.
This was the season when Howard Kendall's injury-hit squad pulled together to grab an unlikely title as Liverpool uncharacteristically fell apart at the seams after an unlucky League Cup final defeat to Arsenal. This was the game when the old record of Liverpool never losing when Ian Rush scored was blown out of the water by champagne Charlie Nicholas. The Blues, meanwhile, had struggled without the likes of Southall, Stevens, Van Den Hauwe, Mount-field, Reid, Sharp and Sheedy for large chunks of the season, and it was the efforts of the likes of Langley, Adams, Power, Harper and Wilkinson that proved just as important as the more established names. Newcastle came to Goodison with a big following in the crowd of over 43,000 after hitting a run of form inspired by Peter Beardsley and a young Paul Gascoigne. However they were beaten by a hat-trick by a player who, despite boasting a very healthy scoring record for the Blues, never seems to get the credit his efforts deserved. Wayne Clarke had arrived around transfer deadline day from Birmingham City and had already scored a couple of goals in the Toffees' run-in. Tall and lean just like his older brother Alan, the cool Midlander was equally deadly in front of goal and only lacked maybe a yard of pace at the top level. As it was, he did well for the Blues and never better than that blustery spring day.
After a tight first half, it took only a few minutes for 'Young Sniffer' to break the deadlock. Adrian Heath set up his second in the closing stages with Clarke grabbing the match-ball with a far-post header as news of Liverpool's defeat to Manchester United came through.
Our fans will top Kop
May 6 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has called on Everton's own army of supporters to top the Kop tomorrow - and roar the Blues towards the Champions League. Jose Mourinho claimed Liverpool's frenetic fans influenced the outcome of Tuesday's Champions League semi-final at Anfield. But Blues' boss Moyes believes Everton's fans can be just as influential - and he hopes they will show that against Newcastle tomorrow. "If ever we needed a repeat of the crowd which was at the famous Bayern Munich game, the crowd which was there against Manchester United the other night and the crowd which roared us on to the derby win in December - it is now,," he said.. "You hear people like Alex Ferguson talking about how intimidating the crowd were when we beat Manchester United, and you could see how much our crowd affected the United players. "From my point of view that's what I'd love to see again at Goodison tomorrow. "It's our last chance in front of our home supporters and it's the last chance for our home support to show their appreciation to the players for this season. "My first game against Fulham was my first experience of how influential the Everton fans can be. "They were fantastic towards me and I was very taken by their response, obviously having just come out of a smaller club. "From that day I have found them great towards me, but terrific in the way they get behind the team." And Moyes believes that the Blues' followers deserve just as much recognition for the noise they generate as their red neighbours. "I have never doubted there is a tremendous atmosphere at Anfield with the Kop," he added, "but from what I have seen here we have as good and as intimidating a crowd at Goodison and I think that was very relevant the other week against United. "We don't mind if people don't give them recognition, though. What really matters is the people inside - the players and supporters"
Faddy wants to be part of Goodison folklore
May 6 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IF all goes according to plan, then at some point in the next nine days one member of David Moyes' squad will pop up with the crucial goal which seals Everton's place in next season's Champions League. That player - and that goal - will instantly enter Goodison folklore. And it would certainly overshadow everything that has gone before this season - even the magnificent highs against Liverpool and Manchester United at Goodison. James McFadden wants to be a part of that experience. And he wants to play a vital role in ensuring Everton secure the fourth place they deserve, having occupied a Champions League qualifying place uniterrupted since September. It would also provide an upbeat finale to a campaign which, from a personal level, has been frustrating for the Scottish international. He admits: "It would be a great feeling to do something significant for the club in the next three games - something which helps the club achieve something special. "With the run in we have got, if we can perform the way we have shown we can then it would be great to be involved in it. "People will remember the game in which it was clinched more than any of the other games that have gone before. They will look back in years to come and say 'what a day that was'. "It would be nice to be involved in that and be a part of that if we can get the results we need. "From a personal perspective, I just want to get into the team. "I am in as good a shape as I can be through training. I have been loving it since I came back from injury because it is so frustrating when you are just having to watch everybody training. "When people talk about team spirit, the most important place to be a part of that is on the training pitch, where you can have a laugh and do your hard work as well. "When you are injured, you don't feel a part of things and it is so frustrating. But since I came back I have been happy with the way it has been going in training and I just hope I can get a few games before the end. "Because of the size of the squad I have probably got back and involved quicker than maybe would normally be the case and that is great because the end of the season is coming too quickly for me. "I just want it to keep going because this season has been a difficult one." McFadden, along with the likes of Joseph Yobo, Duncan Ferguson and Steve Watson had to settle for a long stint on the substitutes' bench before Christmas, thanks to the form and consistency of the settled line-up Moyes hit upon. But since Christmas the combination of injuries, suspensions and blips in form have led to more opportunities for those players who had waited patiently for their chance. The great irony for McFadden is that, having finally pushed his way into the reckoning for a regular starting berth courtesy of his goals against Tottenham, Plymouth and Sunder-land in January, he soon found himself sidelined once again - this time by injury.
As a result, he has started just 11 matches this season, his second on Merseyside.
The nature of the hamstring problem meant he was out longer than anticipated - and is only now back to full fitness. He explains: "It was a tear in my hamstring which none of the physios or specialists had ever seen before. They didn't really know how to deal with it. "It was a long thin tear down the length of the hamstring and usually tears are across the hamstring. "There was not a lot of bleeding as a result, which is why I wasn't feeling as much pain. Had it been a normal tear I probably would have been back quicker because that is something they know exactly how to deal with.
"Some days it was feeling good and I was able to do certain things maybe I shouldn't have been doing because it was an unusual tear. "We had to be cautious and I am glad we were because I could have come back too soon and my season would have been finished." Now, having figured as a late substitute in last weekend's game at Fulham, McFadden is keen to play a more prominent role.
His perfect scenario would be to do that against Newcastle tomorrow - and to secure the victory which could prove enough to seal fourth place with two games to spare. "Newcastle have not had many good results lately but if you look at their side they have a lot of top quality players in it," he continued. "But we have come up against sides like that all season and beaten them, so there is no reason why we can't do it again this weekend. "And securing fourth place at Goodison would be perfect because there will be 40,000 fans there and they would go mad. Just to finish above Liverpool would be great for them. But to be in the Champions League as well would make it an even greater day. It would be great to do it with the fans. "We are in the position where it is in our hands and it is not down to anybody else so it would be disappointing if we didn't make it. "I would rather achieve it on Saturday because then we could relax and enjoy the spectacle of playing at Highbury next week. We could go there and have a go at them. "Reaching the Champions League would be a massive thing for the club, not just because we would be able to attract top players but to remind people of how big a club Everton is. "In the last few years there have been bad times for the club but hopefully this will be the start of the good times." McFadden would love to be the player who signals the onset of those good times - preferably by shooting down the Magpies tomorrow. Tim Cahill's back injury could create a first team opportunity in Goodison's final Premiership match of the season for a midfielder with an eye for goal. But even if McFadden doesn't force his way in from the start - he will be waiting eagerly on the substitutes' bench.
Wyness backing Reds' UEFA appeal
May 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are backing Liverpool's bid for a Champions League place next season should their rivals go on to win this year's competiton. The gesture of support came just hours after the FA confirmed the Blues would go forward as their nomination for the tournament next year should they finish fourth.
The generous public backing from Goodison will boost Liverpool's hopes of competing in the competition should they win the trophy on May 25. The FA are already urging UEFA to make an exception for the Reds and have lodged a formal appeal for Liverpool to be allowed an extra 'fifth' British place should they lift the European Cup in Istanbul. How that appeal will be dealt with by UEFA remains unclear. UEFA Communications Director William Gaillard has suggested it might not be granted, stressing rules cannot be changed. However UEFA President Leonart Johansson insisted any appeal on behalf of the Reds might be granted. It's understood a decision will be made at UEFA's next executive commitee meeting on June 17. The FA's Professional Game Board yesterday maintained they would continue to press for a fifth place to be allocated if necessary stating: "The top four teams in the Premiership at the end of the season will enter next season's Champions League. "However, the FA also believes that if Liverpool win in Istanbul and do not finish in the top four, an extra place should be allocated to them in the Champions League next season. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: "While we welcome the announcement from the FA regarding clarification on the fourth place issue, we are still in a hypothetical situation with regards to Everton's position. And he added: "Despite what is a most intense local rivalry, we do believe that if Liverpool FC were to win this year's tournament they should be invited to return as holders."
Blues' action replay - 30 years on
May 6 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHY should we expect UEFA to have learned the lessons from only five years ago and ensured the fourth place fight which embroiled Real Madrid and Real Zaragoza was not repeated? Something similar happened 30 years ago and once again it was left until the last minute before it was resolved.
For those with less grey hair than myself, Everton were one of the parties involved. Billy Bingham's Blues had battled to a fourth place finish, having tossed away a title-winning position only three weeks earlier, but fifth placed Stoke demanded the last UEFA Cup slot. Their reasoning may seem quaint now, but at the time it was backed by the Football League. They claimed that only one club per city should be allowed into European competition - and the authorities in this country agreed.
The Football League actually submitted Stoke's name, along with runners-up Liverpool and third placed Ipswich. But UEFA pointed out they did not recognise the 'one club per city' rule and that "clubs should be chosen by their national associations on merit." It wasn't until the Football League AGM - on June 6 - that the issue was finally resolved. "Everton are in - but what a row" read the Echo's back page - a headline which could have been repeated 30 years hence. Raging Stoke boss Tony Waddington said: "We have been stabbed in the back. In my view, Everton should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute. They should have stepped down. "It seems that although they are rich enough they are not big enough. "The club, the spectators and everyone at Stoke has been let down." League secretary Alan Hardaker reluctantly conceded: "There is no other choice for us." League president Lord Westwood added: "UEFA have stated that it must be done on merit placings and we must accept it or come out of Europe." A relieved Everton secretary, Chris Hassell, said: "All we ask is that the rules are observed." As they are again, 30 years later, but this time hoping for a decision before June 6 - and just a little more support from the national football authorities.
Blues welcome FA decision
May 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have welcomed the confirmation by the FA that the top four teams in the Barclays Premiership will enter the Champions League next season. The FA have ruled out handing the final Champions League spot to Liverpool, regardless of who finishes in fourth place, should Rafael Benitez's side beat AC Milan in Istanbul later this month. They have said, however, that they will lobby UEFA for a fifth place for the Reds in the event of a Liverpool win. The news was greeted with cautious relief by Everton chief executive Keith Wyness. He said: "While we welcome the announcement from the FA, we are still operating in a hypothetical situation with regards to our position." UEFA leave the allocation of each country's Champions League places in the hands of national associations. In 2000, the Spanish FA selected fifth-placed Real Madrid over fourth-placed Real Zaragoza after the former won the Champions League. However, with the Premier League likely to have resisted any attempt to remove the reward from the team finishing fourth, the board decided to leave Liverpool's fate in UEFA's hands. UEFA will not take any action until after the final itself. The Anfield side will have an ally in Everton, with Wyness adding: "Despite what is a most intense local rivalry, we do believe that if Liverpool were to win this year's tournament they should be invited to return as holders."
Everton 2, Newcastle 0 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
May 9 2005
THE tears that welled in his eyes said more than Bill Kenwright's words ever could. For once, Goodison's most famed orator didn't have to delve into his theatrical lexicon, as a simple action succinctly expressed the emotions that have been growing among the blue half of Merseyside for much of the season that on Saturday were finally given the opportunity for release. There was no silverware to be paraded, as at Stamford Bridge. There was no cup final to look forward to, as at Anfield, Old Trafford and Highbury. And at that point there wasn't even the mathematical certainty of Champions League football next season, although that was being celebrated yesterday following Liverpool's failure to beat Arsenal. What Everton had managed was in giving to their supporters something that no trophy or financial gain can ever wholly represent - their pride.. It was evident on every beaming Blue face as the Goodison collective cheered their players around a richly-deserved lap of honour, for once celebrating true achievement and not the hollow victory of another nail-biting scrape clear of the drop. The Gwladys Street even saw fit to bow down and hail the man whose almost messianic mentoring has transformed a group of players rendered relegation fodder at the start of the campaign into leading the club to their first European Cup qualification in 35 years. When David Moyes breezed into Goodison a little more than three years ago, he spoke of a return to former glories, lifting Everton back to their rightful place among the elite of English football and issued the famous soundbite of him joining the 'people's club'. It sounded great. With the team at that time once again flirting with relegation, few took it all that seriously. They do now. Moyes steered Everton to initial safety, then followed that up with a fine first full season in charge with his team only slipping out of the European places in the final weeks. A 17th-placed finish the following campaign led critics to believe the earlier achievements were a oneoff, but the Everton manager always insisted last season was the real blip. Now he has been proven gloriously right. With 18 wins from 36 league games, the Goodison side have already equalled their highest-ever points tally in a Premiership era which has seen their supporters more accustomed to on-field relegation scraps and off-field boardroom shenanigans than any genuine league success. That Everton have done it following the departure of the boyhood Blue at the start of the campaign and their player of the season during the January transfer window is testament to the determination, talent and sheer belief that has shone so brightly through both the players and coaching staff.
Moyes would be the first to admit mistakes have been made along the way, and the form since reaching the 40-point mark on Boxing Day has been patchy to say the least. But then with such a threadbare squad and little obvious money available for reinforcements, both manager and his players have had no option but to dig deep and dredge every last effort from within to sustain their league campaign. How many points have been gained through late goals? And unlike the two previous seasons, in which they have fallen away so badly in the closing weeks, Moyes's men have regrouped and reinvigorated themselves and, one or two wobbles aside, largely held their nerve.
Never has the value of perseverance and sheer hard work been more personified than this Everton season. After gatecrashing the top four with victory over Middlesbrough in September, they have maintained their place among the Premiership upper echelons despite the attentions of the chasing pack. Graft can only take you so far, however, and too many pundits begrudging in their praise are reticent to give credit for the application and talent so often on display by Everton. And yes, while it might not always be pretty, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and now Newcastle United are among those that can vouch that free-flowing, attacking, effective football is not the sole domain of the chosen few. In many respects, the two goal-scorers in Saturday's ultimately comfortable defeat of Newcastle United personified the make-up of this present Everton vintage. David Weir, the veteran in the twilight of his career still unsure of his future, headed the home side in front on 42 minutes with his first goal in more than three years before Tim Cahill, surely the bargain of the season after his summer £1.5million move from Millwall, wrapped up the points after the interval. "It is more or less the same bunch of players as last season but things have clicked for us and we've had a bit more luck and determination this time," said Weir. "The team spirit has been great and the pre-season was good and it went from there. "We have worked really hard as a team. We do not have super-stars as such and it is more of a collective effort with us. We have got five or six players of the season. We could look at each month and it would be a different player who has done the best."
Few have done more than Cahill. Since Thomas Gravesen's winter exit, the Australian has stepped up to the plate in outstanding fashion, his goals from midfield making him the club's top scorer and emphatically justifying the gamble Moyes took on elevating him from the Football League.
"A lot of managers are looking for bargains in Europe but there are players in the lower leagues good enough and Tim Cahill has proven that this season," said Kevin Kilbane, himself a successful Moyes acquisition from out-side the top flight. "He can get goals and is a good passer of the ball and has an excellent all-round game. His attitude has impressed me the most and you can see it in his eyes that he wants to win." Cahill has found an ideal foil in the centre of midfield in the form of Mikel Arteta. The on-loan Real Sociedad has been a success with his distribution, vision and acceptance to mix it when required, and it was he who first delivered the free-kick for Weir to ghost in at the far post unmarked and head Everton ahead, and then shot straight into the path of Cahill on 54 minutes before the Australian steadied himself and struck past Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given.
No matter what else he does during the summer, Moyes must persuade the Spaniard to make permanent his move. Given the instant bond that has been forged between player and an appreciative Goodison crowd, that shouldn't be too difficult. Saturday's win wasn't without its worries. Clearly nervous, Everton were poor in the first half although Cahill might have done better with a free header. Newcastle were the better team, with Darren Ambrose, Patrick Kluivert and James Milner all coming close as Shola Ameobi caused problems down the Everton right.
However, moments after the interval the Newcastle forward lost his cool after a foul by Cahill and slapped the Everton man across the head, resulting in an instant red card from referee Barrie Knight and the end of the game as a contest. Of course, the hard work is only just beginning now for Moyes. Seven players are out of contract at the end of the summer and it's likely a number of them will have waved goodbye to Good-ison for the final time. With those departures must come a clutch of arrivals, and of the quality and personality to help realise Moyes's long-term aspirations.
Once he has dabbed his eyes and steadied his proudly beating heart, Kenwright must now match the success on the field with sufficient financial backing. The Fortress Sports Fund is fast becoming the Loch Ness monster of investment - people in the know believe it is there, but nobody has actually seen it - and if that fails to materialise, replacement funds must be found quickly. It would be criminal for boardroom dithering to waste Everton's finest opportunity in a generation to build a foundation on which success can be built. That, however, is for another day. Now is the time for Evertonians to celebrate. They - the players,, the coaching staff and above all the supporters - thoroughly deserve it.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Watson; Carsley, Cahill (Stubbs 89), Arteta, Kil-bane; Ferguson (Beattie 63), Bent (McFadden 73). Subs: Wright, Pistone.
BOOKINGS: Carsley (foul), Arteta (ungentlemany conduct).
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-3-3): Given; Carr (Ramage 46), Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro; Jenas, Ambrose, N'Zogbia; Milner (Shearer 83), Kluivert, Ameobi. Subs: Harper, O'Brien, Robert.
BOOKING: Kluivert (ungentlemany conduct).
SENDING-OFF: Ameobi (violent conduct).
REFEREE: B Knight (Kent)
NEXT GAME: Arsenal v Everton, Barclays Premiership, Wednesday, 8pm, live on PremPlus
Moyes: We're the best team in this city now
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 9 2005
DELIGHTED David Moyes last night hailed his Everton side as "the best in the city" after they clinched a Champions League place. The Goodison side are guaranteed fourth place and their first appearance in the European Cup since the 1970-71 season after nearest rivals Liverpool were beaten 3-1 at Arsenal yesterday. Everton had seen off Newcastle United 2-0 the previous day to move within touching distance of a place among Europe's footballing elite. And once the result from Highbury had confirmed their top-four finish, Moyes said: "It feels great. It has been a long haul but it has been terrific that we have got there and we are really delighted. "There was all this confidence coming out of the Liverpool camp saying that they were the best team in the city.
"I never said we were the best in the city or anything like that, but to actually go out and finish fourth is a dream come true for us. It is a massive achievement. "I hope Liverpool will go on to win the Champions League but there's no denying Everton are the best team in the city this season."
Moyes also insisted it would have been a "disgrace" had the Football Association opted to take the final Champions League qualification place away from the fourth-placed team in the event of Rafael Benitez's side lifting the European Cup later this month but finishing outside the Premier-ship top four. However, he added Liverpool should be given a place in next season's competition should they lift the trophy in Istanbul on May 25. "I didn't have any fears because I have trust in the people at the FA, I had a lot of belief in the system," said the Everton manager. "The team who wins the Champions League should have the opportunity to contest it if they don't get through the following season. That isn't necessarily the rules of this country. If that had happened and Liverpool had got ahead of Everton there would have been an uproar, it would have been a disgrace and could have caused problems in our city." With two games still to play, Everton have equalled their best-ever points tally in the Premiership and recorded their highest top-flight finish since Colin Harvey's side finished fourth in 1988. And Moyes admitted he was confident his side's fine showing in the first half of the season - they had earned 40 points by Boxing Day and have remained in the top four since September - would ultimately prove the difference. "When we were in fourth back in September, I obviously wanted us to stay there but I knew that Liverpool and Bolton would be pushing us hard," he said. "We lost Thomas Gravesen in January, who was massively important to us and we had to find another way of playing and that took us a while but we settled down in the end.
"We have kept at it and we've never said we were the best. We've kept our talking in the dressing room, had a lot of belief and we've delivered the goods." Moyes conceded that it had taken a summer of introspection after last season's 17th-placed finish to help engender the change needed to propel Everton back up the table this campaign. "Not too many would have believed where we are now," he added.. "I didn't think we were as bad as the table said last year, as we were safe and then we lost the last five games of the season. "We ended with a 5-1 defeat at Manchester City and that meant it was the longest close season in living history for me. I had to have a long hard look at myself and have a bit of a reality check. "I tweaked one or two things and asked the play-ers to give the best they could. No-one has let me down; they have been immaculate." Moyes reserved praise for top scorer Tim Cahill - a bargain £1.5million from Millwall last summer - and the backing he has received from the Goodison board. "I did not expect Tim to do as well as he has," admitted Moyes. "He has had an exceptional season, and has been among the best players in the Premiership this season. "We had to balance the books over summer and do different things, but a lot of credit has to go to Bill Ken-wright and the board. It was a difficult summer for us. "I remember saying when we bought Cahill and Bent that we had to go and shop at Marks and Spencers. "It became a bit of a joke with them calling each other Mark and Spencer, but it is a bit more Dolce and Gabbana now!"
Weir: I want to stay for Europe
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 9 2005
DAVID WEIR wants to remain at Goodison and play his part in Everton's Champions League adventure next season. The Scottish international (right) was on target for the first time since January 2002 to set David Moyes's side on their way to a 2-0 win over Newcastle on Saturday.
Weir is one of seven Everton players - Leon Osman, Alan Stubbs, Alessandro Pistone, Gary Naysmith, Duncan Ferguson and Steve Watson being the others - out of contract at the end of the season, while Mikel Arteta's loan period is also due to expire. Moyes has reiterated no decision will be taken on the future of any player until the season is over. But Weir said: "I would like to be here next season. I am always hopeful of being here. It is every player's dream to play in the Champions League. It is the top level and the top competition in Europe. "It would have been easy for players to switch off as they might be out of contract at the end of the season, but they have responded in the right way."
One step at a time as Moyes plots for future
May 9 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
AMBITIOUS David Moyes has said securing Champions League football is just the latest step in his plan to revitalise Everton. The Goodison side clinched fourth spot in the Premiership and a place in the final qualifying round of next season's European Cup in August after beating Newcastle United at the weekend and then seeing nearest rivals Liverpool lose at Arsenal. It gave Everton their best-ever Premiership finish and came after they had finished last season with their worst points total in more than a century. And Moyes believes there is much more to come from his players as he relishes the challenge of pitting his wits against Europe's finest coaches next season. "I came to Everton because I wanted to be at a place that was going to compete at the top level where I could compete against the top managers. "I think my record here is not bad. But it is not just success this season. It is going to be a long haul. I relish the challenge and the lads do as well." After last season's poor finale - in which Everton slumped to 17th place after securing their Premiership safety - and a pre-season of minimal squad reinforcement, Moyes admitted his squad had exceeded all his expectations. "The best I thought we would go for was to finish more mid-table than last season," he said. "I was very wary of the run-in this season after what happened last season when we fell away so badly, but the players have held their nerve and I could not ask for any more. "I think that even to qualify for the UEFA Cup is an immense achievement. We did not plan for this. It is through determination from the group of players that we have achieved what we have this season. "The players have wanted that fourth place so much and they have been the ones that have been giving me encouragement. They have been so focused that you just knew they would get it. "We have been fourth since September and to stay there and have people say we are not good enough because the squad is not big enough, then that shows it is a big achievement." Moyes saluted the part the Everton supporters have played this season, and added: "I think the supporters have been with us all season. They have galvanized us. In the last three or four games here they have been nothing short of fantastic."
The Everton manager revealed that the 3-1 away win at Aston Villa on the last weekend of February gave him the first hint that his players could hang on to that cherished fourth place.
"I think probably after our performance against Villa away, I thought there was a real chance we could do it," said Moyes.. Moyes has also saluted the humility of his players after insisting the criticism that Everton's season has attracted no longer bothers him. "I used to worry about that a couple of months ago but I don't any longer," he said. "We proved months ago that we were not going to be relegated, we were a good side and for me the pleasing thing is that we are extremely humble in our success. "It is a tremendous achievement for Everton Football Club. To reach the Champions League with the funds that are available is an incredible achievement."
Champions League spot is just reward, insists Cahill
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 9 2005
TIM CAHILL insisted Everton deserve their place in next season's Champions League. David Moyes's side clinched fourth place at the weekend and qualification to the European Cup after beating Newcastle United on Saturday and nearest rivals Liverpool lost at Arsenal yesterday. Cahill said: "We have been fourth since September and it is what we deserve. Some people forget that. It is not just about this weekend, it is about everything this season. "It is satisfying because it means so much. Every time we have been asked to make a step up we have, regardless of the criticism we have had from other managers, players and football clubs. We don't care what others say about us." Cahill has proven a revelation at Goodison since arriving from Millwall for £1.5million last summer and is on his way to becoming Everton's top scorer this season. He took his tally to 11 with the second goal of the 2-0 win over Newcastle at a buoyant Goodison on Saturday. And the midfielder admitted: "The only thing I imagined when I arrived here was that I would be given a chance and I think I have taken it. "To be where we are is absolutely amazing especially when you consider where Everton were last season. "First and foremost I want to be part of Everton and I want to do well in Europe. The pinnacle for me was playing here in the Premiership but playing in Europe and the Champions League is a whole different story." Cahill also praised the outstanding support Everton have received this season, adding: "The fans reaction week in, week out has been fantastic. It just doesn't get any better. The best thing about these fans is as long as you work hard, even if you have a bad game, it means a lot to them and it means a lot to us from fans to understand football. "It is special just playing at a club like this who can, and have, achieved so much. We play to win and it is rare a manager gets a group of lads who will run through brick walls regardless of the situation. "There are a lot of the boys out of contract and playing for their futures. But they have produced and everyone is looking to next season."
Kilbane warns European clubs of '12th man'
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 9 2005
KEVIN KILBANE has warned Europe's top clubs that they will have to overcome the might of Everton's "12th man" in the Champions League next season. The Irish international was in jubilant mood after David Moyes's side beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Saturday, a result that helped them seal fourth place after Liverpool were beaten 3-1 at Arsenal yesterday. Everton will now take their place in the final qualifying round for next season's Champions League. And Kilbane believes the fantastic Goodison support can help the team make an impact on their return to the European Cup after a 35-year absence. "We have been mocked by fans all over the country with shouts of 'Champions League, you're having a laugh'," said the midfielder. "Well, we've had our fans singing for us in the last couple of weeks and they've turned the song around. "We have proved many people wrong this season. "Teams from Europe are not going to enjoy coming here to Goodison, especially as we'll be playing them at night. Teams will not like coming up against our 12th man - the supporters.. "We have always found that the night games are always special here. People kept telling me that when I joined here, and that's what I have found." Kilbane has suggested the relaxed atmosphere among the squad and their never-say-die attitude has helped propel Everton to their best-ever Premiership finish. "Last season we were looking for points and I did not feel as nervous this season," he added. "We have just concentrated on ourselves this time. We have been relaxed and we have been all season, to be honest. "People say that Everton don't do things the easy way and we have done that a bit this season, losing games when we could have opened up a bigger gap, but we have come through it and kept going on." Everton skipper Alan Stubbs added: "Everyone who has been involved in our pursuit of the Champions League deserves a massive pat on the back.
"It is a marvellous achievement, considering where we were last season."
Evertonians deservedly have the last laugh
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
May 9 2005
CHAMPIONS League - who's having a laugh now? When the fixtures came out at the start of the season the instant reaction was to check who we were playing at the end, in case we were faced with a relegation scrap. Bolton Wanderers away was noone's idea of the sort of game you wanted with Premiership survival on the line, so who could have possibly guessed that by the time it came around Everton would have sealed Champions League, not Premiership, football with a couple of games to spare? Everton, Bolton and Liverpool all knew what was required of them going into this penultimate weekend, but it was only the Blues who stepped up and seized their opportunity. That said, they made hard work of it at times. Newcastle United's young team played like a side with little pressure on them, knocking the ball around nicely while the sense of occasion and the anxiety of the crowd seemed to affect the Everton players, especially in the first half. Luckily Everton can still rely on the outstanding Nigel Martyn, and his interventions, particularly to deny Darren Ambrose and James Milner, gave them the platform to go on and win the game. The set-piece deliveries of Mikel Arteta are fairly reliable too and it was no surprise that David Weir's opener came as a result of an excellent free-kick from the Spaniard. We've not had anyone who can strike a dead ball with such accuracy and pace since the mid-90s, in the days when an Andy Hinchcliffe corner felt almost as good as a penalty. There's more to Arteta's game than that though, and his arrival, in the wake of Thomas Gravesen's departure, has been one of the key factors in keeping us on track for fourth place. It was an inspired loan-signing; hopefully next season he will still be around but on a more permanent footing. For David Moyes, sorting out Arteta's future is just one of a bewildering array of situations he needs to attend to before the start of next season. In many ways the hard work is only just starting for the man who looked like he was going to burst with pride as he joined the players for their customary end-of-season lap of honour on Saturday. There's certainly no other manager you would rather trust the club's immediate future to though. No doubt José Mourinho, the self-publicising bore, will be named the Premiership's Manager of the Year, but does his achievement in spending a fortune in order to win the league and the Carling Cup really outshine the miracle that Moyes has worked at Goodison Park? Just look at the money spent by some of the clubs who have finished below Everton in the league; Liverpool and Middlesbrough for instance. While they were signing their Alonsos, Cisses and Vidukas, the Blues were losing Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski. Later they were to see Gravesen move to Madrid, too. And yet still they occupied a place in the top three or four for most of the season, much to the chagrin of their sour and envious detractors - those people who are now reduced to telling Evertonians that their club will struggle in Europe and represent an embarrassment to English football. If these European superpowers are so good though - and they're going to notch up cricket scores against the Blues by all accounts - how come Liverpool, currently six points adrift of Everton in the Premiership table, are in the final of this season's Champions League? What David Moyes and his players have done this season should prove an inspiration to every other club and set of supporters in the country. They have defied expectations and shown that, contrary to what the likes of Graeme Souness and David O'Leary might have you believe, it is possible to gatecrash the supposed closed shop at the top of the league without spending countless millions of pounds on players. Everton and Evertonians thoroughly deserve this.
Thanks and here's to more of same
View from the stands by Paul Coooper Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 9 2005
THE after match scenes will live long in the memory; not since our last title have we been able to show our appreciation for a season's effort with quite the same enthusiasm. Although, the job was not quite done at that time, every Blue recognises the massive strides that have been made this season. Let's hope we've more of the same to look forward to in the seasons ahead. The match started slowly and to be honest, Newcastle looked the better side in the first half, with Ameobi and Kluivert looking quite dangerous. James Milner missed a gilt-edged chance and somehow we started to feel it was going to be our day. It looked as though a set-piece was going to be our best chance of scoring and so it proved. Boumsong had committed the 'foul' which provided the free-kick from which we scored. He was understandably upset at the award, which looked a 50-50 to me, to be honest. But concentration was therefore lacking, when Arteta stroked another dangerous ball into the box and it cost them. Arteta is proving to be more than useful from set-pieces and seems to be developing a good partnership with Tim Cahill. Although Cahill was not 100% fit, he again was the life and soul of the team and most good things we did started from him - player of the season by a country mile. We were comfortable after his goal and could have scored again. Graeme Souness provided the expected bad loser speech afterwards. Apparently, Everton have had all the luck going this season and Newcastle have had none. We may have been fortunate to be ahead at half-time in this game, but nobody gets 60 plus points by luck.
Art students enter Blue period
By Liam Christopher Daily Post Correspondent
May 9 2005
EVERTON FC and Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) have joined forces to stage an art competition. Art students from JMU are being asked to come up with new works which reflect the Club's illustrious past and dreams for the future. Keith Wyness, Everton's Chief Executive, came up with the idea to organise The Art of Football Competition; the winning entries will be displayed at Goodison Park. The Art of Football Competition is open to all current students of LJMU's School of Art and Design as well as those who graduated from the Art School in 2004. First prize will be two season tickets with a second prize of match day hospitality for four. In order to win, entrants have to produce contemporary artworks that reflect Everton's position as the People's Club. While reflecting Everton's long-standing roots in the community, the artworks should not be historical in nature. Instead they should present the club as forward-thinking, positive and planning for the future. Mr Wyness said: "As a city, Liverpool represents a multi-cultural panorama, one which draws students from all corners of the world. "The city's student community is a vibrant melting-pot of talent, ideas and enthusiasm and we feel certain that this innovative competition will not only prove popular but will yield some exciting and original exhibits." He added: "Everton, the People's Club, is not only one of world football's oldest clubs but it is forward-thinking, pioneering and hugely ambitious. "It will be interesting to see how the students reflect this in their work." Entrants can choose any media - painting,, multi-media, textiles, sculpture, illustration, graphic design. Entries will be judged by a panel, chaired by JMU's Mike O'Shaughnessy, who is a graphic designer and illustrator, and consisting of JMU art experts, Keith Wyness and other club representatives. Mr O'Shaughnessy said: "We hope that this competition captures the imagination of all our art students, not just the Evertonians. "Regardless of who you support, this is a fantastic competition for art students as it will help raise their profile at the start of their artistic careers." Shortlisted entries will be displayed in a public exhibition at JMU's 68 Hope Street in July. The winners will be announced at the start of the 2005-2006 Premiership season in August. The competition officially starts today.
All entries must be submitted to the Liverpool School of Art and Design by June 24 2005.
Everton 2, Newcastle 0 (Echo)
May 9 2005 Scott McLeod at Goodison Park
'CHAMPIONS League, we're having a laugh.' For 90 minutes on Saturday there was a cacophony of sound inside Goodison. But it was never louder than when each and every fan of Blue persuasion began bellowing out that chant in the wake of Everton's second goal. It was a hair on the back of the neck moment made all the more satisfying by the irony of the words. All season Evertonians have had to endure catcalls and mocking chants from rival supporters. All season long the players have had to listen as their chances of maintaining a grip on a Champions League berth have been written off. So it was hugely satisfying to hear the Goodison faithful responding with such gusto. Football fans in the modern era shell out thousands of pounds every season on tickets, travel, club merchandise and SKY subscriptions. Days like Saturday make such relentless outlay worthwhile - and some. These are the days which live with you forever. The elation, the camaraderie and, without doubt, the relief. The sight of Goodison bouncing, of blue flags being waved all across the Gwladys Street as David Moyes and his players did a lap of honour, was one to behold. Merseyside football has enjoyed a remarkable week. But what happened across Stanley Park a few days ago should not be allowed to over-shadow what has been achieved at Everton this season. Saturday was all the more satisfying because it was about celebrating seeing Everton where they should be. For too long Evertonians have had to content themselves with the club's grand history. Throughout the Premiership era the club has been perceived outside Merseyside as being amongst the also-rans.
Moyes has now taken the first giant step towards leading the club back to where it belongs - vying amongst the Premiership's elite. It is an astounding achievement which even outweighs anything Jose Mourinho has done this season. Anybody who dares to doubt that claim just needs to look back to last July. The club was in turmoil behind the scenes, financially bereft of cash to boost the ranks and on the verge of selling the finest talent it has ever produced. Everton have never started a Premiership campaign in such a precarious position. Which is why what Moyes and his players have done in the last nine months is tantamount to alchemy. Every match has been a battle. Every game has taken 110 per cent concentration and effort. Clubs with deeper pockets and who started the campaign with realistic ambitions of being where Everton are now may scoff that they are more deserving, that they have richer talent and a greater chance of success in Europe's top competition.
But they overlook one crucial point. They haven't produced the goods. Every week, Everton's players have given their all. Every week they have followed their manager's instructions to the letter.
And that is why they have outpointed all those sides - Newcastle included. Saturday's game was the perfect illustration of why Everton have done what they have done. Newcastle were in the luxurious position of being able to leave Alan Shearer on the bench for this game and yet still used a 4-3-3 system. They started brightly, playing with flair and causing the home side significant problems, with Shola Ameobi the biggest thorn in the side before a rush of blood to his head led to his sending off for taking a swipe at Tim Cahill 12 minutes into the second half. But even with Ameobi causing problems down Everton's right - and a right-sided midfield man must surely be the top priority in the summer - Newcastle struggled to find a way through the resolute defence, with a couple of outstanding blocks from Steve Watson and Joseph Yobo underlining the attitude in the camp.
But even when Newcastle did get their shots through, Nigel Martyn proved why he remains the best English keeper in the Premiership. And throughout that bright opening 30 minutes for the visitors there was one player at the heart of Everton's midfield providing a display which hinted at what was to follow. Tim Cahill is a pure footballer. He would be as committed and wholehearted playing for a Sunday league side. He was playing in this game despite having not trained all week because of a back injury which would have ruled lesser individuals out for the remainder of the season. And yet he was the driving force in the centre of the park, putting Newcastle's expensive hotshots to shame.
He epitomises what this side is all about. He was pushing forward to panic defenders, he was winning possession simply by thinking faster than his rivals in the midfield and he was on hand to baton down the hatches at the back. Alongside Mikel Arteta, and with Lee Carsley on hand to add even more muscle, Everton have a formidable engine room. Much has been made of Thomas Gravesen's January departure. The fact this was only the fourth victory in 13 attempts since his move to Real Madrid suggests he has been missed. But had Arteta arrived from Real Sociedad on transfer deadline day 100 per cent fit, rather than carrying a knee injury, then I suspect very little fuss would have been made about the Dane's absence. Gravesen was a great player for the Blues. And he played a huge role in the opening half of the season. But in the last month we have seen what a fully fit Arteta is capable of. And, in my humble opinion, he has the edge over Gravesen. Not least because he is not as mercurial. He is hugely economical with his distribution, he is not afraid to get stuck in and he can produce inch perfect passes, as Marcus Bent and James Beattie were both able to testify during the second half here. The sight of him winning the ball deep inside his own half and then setting off on a 25 yard run leading three Newcastle players a merry-dance was magnificent.
And that is before we get on to the two goals which sealed the three points. It was his delightful delivery from a free-kick wide on the left minutes before the interval which picked out the head of the unmarked David Weir at the back post. It was the defender's first goal since January 2002; his first for David Moyes. Lets hope he is at Goodison next season to add more. The crucial second goal - the goal which allowed Everton to play some 'Ole' football in the final half hour - was netted by the ubiquitous Cahill. But he was teed up by Arteta with what was either a hideously miscued shot, or a brilliantly disguised reverse pass. The fact the Spanish playmaker had previously seemed incapable of a stray pass should give you a clue. Having received the ball unmarked inside the Newcastle area, Cahill dropped his shoulder, sent Shay Given the wrong way and smashed the ball into the top corner. It was the kind of finish which would fit well amongst the elite of the Champions League.
Which is why, finally, Evertonians are the ones who can laugh.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Watson; Carsley, Cahill (Stubbs 89), Arteta, Kil-bane; Ferguson (Beattie 63), Bent (McFadden 73). Subs: Wright, Pistone.
BOOKINGS: Carsley (foul), Arteta (ungentlemany conduct).
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-3-3): Given; Carr (Ramage 46), Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro; Jenas, Ambrose, N'Zogbia; Milner (Shearer 83), Kluivert, Ameobi. Subs: Harper, O'Brien, Robert.
BOOKING: Kluivert (ungentlemany conduct).
SENDING-OFF: Ameobi (violent conduct).
REFEREE: B Knight (Kent)
We did it!
May 9 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S qualification for next season's Champions League was today described as 'one of the most pivotal moments in the club's history.' The Blues will play in Europe's top club competition for the first time since 1971 next season after Liverpool's defeat at Highbury yesterday guaranteed Everton fourth place in this season's Premiership. Chief executive Keith Wyness, who celebrated the achievement last night with manager David Moyes, has hailed it as a glorious opportunity which could lead to the club competing regularly with Europe's elite. He told the ECHO: "If you look at the 128 years of Everton history you can point to certain pivotal moments that have made things happen. This is one of those points. "This is a huge opportunity. But it is up to us as a group to capitalise on that. This is a chance for us to springboard forward. But that is all it is at this stage, an opportunity. "It doesn't mean guaranteed financial riches. The most important thing is to keep this in perspective." Everton will have to overcome a qualifying round before entering the lucrative group stage of the competition, which could recoup the club up to £8m. The first leg of that qualifier will mark the start of Everton's 2005/06 campaign, coming four days before the start of the new Premier-ship season on August 13. Wyness said: "You have got to get past the first group stage to make it worth something significant. "Just by qualifying for the qualifying round we have not reached the level of the financial elite. But it is a glorious chance for us. "It has been a dramatic first season for me. When I first arrived I had an EGM to attend and now we have come to what is VE Day." Wyness paid tribute to the achievement of manager David Moyes, transforming the club's fortunes after last season's 17th place finish and a summer of financial uncertainty. Wyness added: "The manager and players have worked very hard but there has also been a lot of work behind the scenes. "David Moyes has taken the club to a different level. In any business, the best managers are judged by what they can do with limited resources. "That is why I strongly believe David should be the manager of the season. He has brought a strong sense of team work and a team ethic which is present through the whole club."
Kenwright has earned a place in blue heaven
May 9 2005 By John Thompson Sports Editor Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT looked almost lost for words at six o'clock on Saturday night as he stood on the royal blue carpet stretched across the staircase of Everton's main stand. And anyone familiar with the Goodison chairman will tell you that this doesn't happen to him very often. In fact only once in a blue moon. And this was a gloriously rich, velvety moon - one which left even the effusive theatre impresario barely able to speak. Instead he shook his head, took his forefinger and his thumb and squeezed the skin on the back of his other hand. Like every other Evertonian in the land, he was pinching himself. At that stage there was still a mathematical possibility Liverpool might catch Everton. But David Moyes and his team were racing flat out for the line now. And the brilliant young manager had quite rightly led his troops on a fantastically happy victory march at the end of Saturday's match. It was never to be misinterpreted as premature celebration - rather an outpouring of joy, renewed self-belief and a chance to share a moment of undeniable triumph with those magnificent, loyal fans. But if it was undeniable, it was even more unbelievable. Last summer this great football club was ripping itself to shreds, its two senior directors Ken-wright and Paul Gregg at public loggerheads; its players wounded by criticism for finishing their previous campaign with just 39 points; its manager with barely a penny to spend. And to cap it all its local evening newspaper demanding to know what the hell was going on at a once proud giant of British football whose supporters deserved far better, and demanding fundamental change behind the scenes. So for Everton to be back among Europe's elite is genuinely staggering. Had the club finished fourth after an untroubled close season, it would have been a monumental achievement. To get there immediately after an internal civil war suggests something very different must be going on at Goodison. Of course, the lion's share of the credit must go to Moyes and his players. The team spirit which they somehow cultivated upon the scarred battlefield of last summer lies at the core of this resurgence. But do not doubt for a second the abilities of the players or a boss who has had to learn so much so fast. Remember, Moyes has not only dealt with the boardroom turmoil with dignity, he has lost Wayne Rooney and Thomas Gravesen, yet kept the Goodison train on track. But there's someone else here who deserves recognition for getting Everton where they are today. Bill Kenwright. He listened, reeled, then delivered. He did what needed doing, saying thank you and goodbye to certain loyal directors and club servants. He also, finally, landed a go-ahead chief executive in Keith Wyness, who has started the modernisation programme Goodison so badly needed. Moyes is of course the master of this incredible campaign. But let's not forget it was Kenwright who, much as it pained him, said farewell to Walter Smith and brought in the young Scot.
Evertonians who understand what Bill Kenwright brings to their club also understand that was the key move of all. So, while Kenwright pinches himself, every other true blue and fair-minded critic should be patting him on the back.
20 years of waiting end
May 9 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
JUBILANT Everton fans were today celebrating the club's return to Europe's elite. The Toffees secured a fourth place finish in the Premiership after Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal yesterday, and clinched a Champions League place for next season. It will be the first time Everton have played in the European Cup since 1971. The 1985 championship winning team was barred from the competition after the Heysel stadium disaster, which saw all English clubs excluded from European football for five years. The financial rewards from the Champions League are tremendous. Prize money, TV rights, global exposure of the brand, experts say it could generate as much as £10m for the Goodison Park side. Liverpool's place in the final, against AC Milan on May 25, is said to have guaranteed a further £15m into Anfield. Today Everton supporters called for the club's board to provide manager David Moyes with cash to strengthen the squad in preparation for the relentless number of games the team will face next year. They have also called for Moyes to be recognised a true Everton great alongside the likes of Howard Kendall and Harry Catterick. Ian McDonald, of the Everton Independent Supporters club, said: "Everton has been in pole position for this Champions League place since September. "This confirmation of a place is a shot in the arm for David Moyes and the team, it shows what can be achieved with limited finances. "Everton has the smallest squad in the Premiership. We are going to need to add that squad if were are going to progress through Europe. "We need at least seven hungry, quality players that will fight for the blue shirt not for the wage. "The board are going to have to release the funds to make that happen." Fan Stephen Weston, from Dingle, said: "In terms of money it is a quantum leap for Everton. "We are now going to share some of the riches which have for too long been swallowed up by the so-called Big Three. I'm made up for David Moyes, the team and the supporters. It's well deserved and we have waited far too long." Jack Carlisle, who has been watching Everton for 60 years, said: "David Moyes has proven that he is a great manager who deserves to take his place alongside Howard Kendall and Harry Catterick." The club can now look forward to the multi-million pound financial rewards which European football brings. As well as the prize money and the income from TV rights, the club can expect a massive increase in merchandising thanks to the the Champions League competition.
But the hard truth is that they will need that money sooner rather than later. With seven players out of contract, Moyes will need a side capable of performing in two top flight games a week. England's most successful clubs can afford two first teams, and Everton fans were today demanding the Goodison Park board do likewise. After yesterday's match, Moyes said: "I have been told we wouldn't do it - couldn't do it and all credit to the players for sticking at it and proving that they are good players." He added: "It feels great. It's been a long, hard season but it's been terrific getting there and I'm delighted. "We never said we had the best players. It's a massive achievement for Everton Football Club. At the start of the season I said we were shopping in Marks & Spencer. It's a bit more Dolce & Gabbana now."
Cahill: We deserved fourth place finish
May 9 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Scott McLeod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL celebrated yesterday's confirmation of a place in next season's Champions League by insisting 'we deserve it more than anybody'. The Blues have held off a concerted challenge from Liverpool and Bolton to book a place alongside Europe's elite next season. It is the first time the club has qualified for the Champions League - and the first time since 1971 that they have had a chance to play in Europe's top club competition. Cahill, the club's top scorer and the hot favourite to be named player of the year, insists: "We have been fourth since September and it is what we deserve. Some people forget that. "It is not just about this weekend, it is about everything this season. "It is satisfying because it means so much. Every time we have been asked to make a step up we have, regardless of the criticism we have had from other managers, players and football clubs. "We don't care what others say about us." It was apt that Cahill put the finishing touches to the victory which has sealed fourth place for the Blues. He netted the second goal of Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle - a goal which sparked a carnival atmosphere inside Goodison for the final home game of the season. He has netted 11 goals from midfield this season. He admits his success has excelled every expectation he had when he arrived from Millwall in a £1.7m deal last summer. He added: "The only thing I imagined when I arrived here was that I would be given a chance and I think I have taken it. "To be where we are is absolutely amazing especially when you consider where Everton were last season. "First and foremost, I want to be part of Everton and I want to do well in Europe. The pinnacle for me was playing here in the Premiership but playing in Europe and the Champions League is a whole different story." Cahill has also paid tribute to the supporters, adding: "The fans reaction week in, week out has been fantastic. It just doesn't get any better. "The best thing about these fans is as long as you work hard, even if you have a bad game, it means a lot to them and it means a lot for us for fans to understand football. "It is special just playing at a club like this who can, and have, achieved so much. We play to win and it is rare a manager gets a group of lads who will run through brick walls regardless of the situation. "There are a lot of the boys out of contract and playing for their futures. But they have produced and everyone is looking to next season." Meanwhile, Kevin Kilbane revelled in the Everton fans' take on the chant which has been used to mock them all season. The Blues' fans boomed "Champions League! We're having a laugh!" after Saturday's victory. We have been mocked around the country," he smiled. "We've always had the chant 'Champions League, you're having a laugh' against every team we've played against, but we've proved that we have got good players here and we've got the talent within the squad to go on. "The way our fans have turned that chant around at Goodison in the last couple of weeks has been nice. We've probably proved a lot of people wrong this season and that's down to us all really." nd he also pointed out that Goodison could be the Blues secret weapon in Europe next season. The atmosphere here is going to be key for us. I don't think people will enjoy coming to Goodison for the night matches especially," he added. "I think our record at night has been fantastic. Whoever comes here to Goodison won't enjoy it and I think our fans will be like a twelfth man. I personally didn't feel as nervous as I did last season. This season we have just concentrated on ourselves rather than teams around us. We have been very relaxed. "People tell me Everton don't do things the easy way and that's been the case. There's been a lot of times this season we have needed a win to go so many points clear and we haven't done it. But we've always felt that we can go into the next game and win it."
Written off - but this squad have become Goodison legends
May 9 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ON May 15, 2004, a group of Everton players were responsible for posting the lowest points total in the club's history. Just 53 weeks later, with two fixtures still remaining, that same group of footballers - minus three of their most infuential stars - has equalled the club's highest in the Premier-ship era. What has gone on in the 12 months in between is little short of a modern football miracle. One that everybody inside Goodison Park should take credit for. Harsh words were written after that Manchester City nadir, none crueller than in this column. And it is of no source of personal pleasure that they are still remembered at Everton. But they are. In Saturday's match day programme, Steve Watson said: "The last game of the season at City was as embarrassed as I've ever felt after a football match. We were shattered after that game and we got some stick in the local press for going away as a group as soon as the season finished "The way the criticism of the lads was worded was scandalous because we knew that there wasn't a group of players that cared more about their football or were more genuine than we were. The stick we took hurt us." I hated having to pen such sentiments about Everton footballers. But the evidence was overwhelming. Actually, the stick wasn't for going away as a group. It was for pulling on their flip flops before they flew out to Mar-bella - about five matches earlier, to be accurate - for casually frittering away the last 15 points. And not all the individuals involved deserved that level of criticism - Watson certainly didn't. But I hope he under-stands why I felt the need to be so critical. And I hope the following words are remembered for much, much longer. This current group of Everton players - without exception - has given Goodison back its pride. The Everton squad of 2004/ 05 has been responsible for the biggest turn-around in Everton's fortunes since Dixie Dean led the Blues out of the old Second Division to top flight glory in 1932. And that is halcyon company indeed. Names like Watson, Ferguson, Carsley and Hibbert spoken of in the same breath as Dean, Cresswell, Critchley and Sagar? You're having a laugh. No, not really. Perhaps the most praiseworthy aspect of Everton's phoenix-like transformation is not that those players have spectacularly reversed the fortunes of last season. But because they have done so despite the doubts which cloud many of their futures. Watson doesn't know whether he has a future at Everton. Yet he was launching himself into ferocious, injury-inducing challenges within seconds of Saturday's kick-off. Neither does Gary Naysmith. But against Crystal Palace two weeks ago, he forced himself through the pain barrier so effectively that he hasn't figured since. David Weir and Alan Stubbs don't know where they will be playing their football next season. But they have been the rock, the foundation stone on which this stunning season has been constructed. Leon Osman has not reached agreement on a new deal. Yet he has contributed six priceless goals and a series of selfless performances. Duncan Ferguson is one of the fortunate few. He has been offered a pay-as-you-play extension. But he deserves it. If it hadn't been for the outstanding performances of Everton's undoubted player of the season, Tim Cahill, he could arguably claim to have been Goodison's most influential individual. Then there's Mikel Arteta. On loan until the end of the season, but surely deserving of a more permanent future, Alessandro Pistone, Nigel Martyn . . . . The list goes on. The squad which paraded around Goodison after Saturday's 2-0 victory over Newcastle United underlined how small the Blues' resources are,, which is why Everton can't afford to dispense with the services of so many professionals so quickly.
Those players have been responsible for creating the team spirit which has carried the Blues through to so many successes this season. And they deserve the opportunity to show that they are not one-season wonders. Twelve months ago Everton jetted out to Marbella for a wind-down. The next time they fly out to Europe as a group it will be for Champions League football. And that's not a wind-up.
This time they would be forgiven if their performance levels in the remaining two fixtures dipped just a little. But somehow, you don't think they will. Champions League? We're having a laugh! And those who laugh last, laugh loudest. If Everton's wounded stars wanted to prove the words of a year ago wrong they have done so. Their reward will be inclusion in the record books as architects behind the most amazing transformation in modern Everton history. And no harsh words can ever take that away. Picture: MARTIN BIRCHALL
'We've had a great time on cloud nine. Now we've moved to cloud 10. And we love the view . . .'
May 9 2005 By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
PADDY SHENNAN on the greatest day for Evertonians since 1987 CHAMPIONS' League? We're having the loudest and longest laugh of our lives. How are your Europe-sized hangovers today, fellow Evertonians? Or are you still drinking? Tastes sweet, doesn't it? Fourth in the table. The Champions' League.. Finishing ahead of a team which has made it into this year's final. Worst case scenario come early next season? Another previously out-of-reach European adventure in the Uefa Cup, if the Champions' League goes pear-shaped. The amazing thing is we're not dreaming - or hallucinating. This is actually happening to us . This is reality. And it is difficult, perhaps impossible, to overestimate the scale of the achievement of manager David Moyes and his, even now, underrated squad of players. You can't overplay what has taken place this season. Because it is phenomenal. It is astonishing. And yes, it probably is miraculous. Money can't buy you fourth . We may be noted for our pessimism but, in the dark days of last summer, Evertonians were feeling way beyond blue. We were manic. We were depressive. We were without hope. We were almost suicidal. Today? We've got a lust for life and several springs in our step. We're not over the moon, we're walking on it. We had an enjoyable time on cloud nine, but we've now moved onto cloud 10. And we love the view. We will finish the 2004/05 season as the fourth best team in England. And the top three teams are in a different league - look at the points column - so we're actually top of the next league. The best of the rest. The old adage 'First is first and second is nowhere' may still mean something to Arsenal and Manchester United, who have spent their recent histories slugging it out at the pinnacle of the Premiership, but, for a club like Everton, distinguished in recent decades by chaotic performances both on and off the pitch, it means sweet FA. Second is nowhere? Even 17th would have been somewhere sweet and worth cherishing for many last August - and not just the long-suffering fans. "If you were to offer me fourth from bottom now, I'd take it," then Everton striker Kevin Campbell told the ECHO, in the aftermath of our opening day drubbing at home to Arsenal. How many pundits said we were doomed? I read the pre-season predictions of 14 sportswriters in various national newspapers - 12 said we'd finish in the bottom three. I didn't disagree. I had us down for 19th. So why did I renew my season-ticket when so many of my fellow Blues didn't? After all, I'd given it up once before - as a one season protest against the spirit-sapping, miserable mediocrity served up by Walter Smith. But this season, I thought, would be unmissable - if only because I thought it might be my last chance to see the Blues in the top flight for several years. The doom, gloom and lack of belief was easily explained. The statistics said that the 2003/4 season was Everton's worst in 116 years. And this was followed by the summer of hate, as chairman Bill Kenwright and director Paul Gregg fought out a depressing and damaging battle for power, leaving themselves open to accusations that they were fiddling while Goodison burned. A new chief executive, Trevor Birch, had been so impressed with the club's affairs that he walked out after six weeks, while Wayne "Once a Blue always a Blue" Rooney - hailed as the gleaming future of the club he apparently loved so much (ooh, you little liar) - was lured to the dark side with promises of, ahem, Champions' League football.
You having a laugh today, Wayne?
I wasn't laughing when Campbell talked of his hopes for 17th, but I was when club captain Alan Stubbs said the team was aiming for a top 10 finish. He was having a laugh, wasn't he? So what happened? What happened after that dreadful end to last season? Basically, a new spirit emerged - one so powerful that it propelled Everton up the table and kept them there from September to May.
The ECHO's excellent chief sports writer David Prentice, laughably lambasted by some players for writing the truth about their dismal capitulation at the end of 2003/4, was spot on again in September, when he wrote of the new, emerging Everton: "It has been a change of mindset, of attitude - something intangible which was present two years ago, but inexplicably went missing last season." David Moyes - he's got red hair but, really, we don't care - and his players dug deep and refused to let the b******s grind them down. They refused to accept that there was nothing down for them, other than going down. Mr Motivator Moyes got his tactics, his selections and his formations spot on - and he used the pennies that Mr Kenwright found behind the sofa extremely wisely. Marcus Bent? A snip at £450,000. Tim "Perpetual motion, load-sagoals" Cahill at £1.7m? The transfer deal of the season. Of any season. And the rest of the players were pretty damn good, too.
So good that, yesterday, their proud manager could sit back with a glass of champagne - but where was the fat cigar? - and tell Sky Sports viewers: "I hope Liverpool go on and win the Champions' League, but there's no denying that Everton are the best team in the city this season." Of course there isn't. The league table doesn't lie. And the players were so good that the editorial in the latest issue of the When Skies Are Grey fanzine included the following wise words: "Everton, a club in apparent freefall last summer, have shown a defiance and a refusal to conform to the expectations of the petty and the envious that makes you feel more proud than you thought was possible in this cynical day and age. "All season we've heard and read how the lack of star names and the style of football we play means that we will eventually deservedly fall away from the European places and allow more moneyed types to take over from us. It hasn't happened that way, though, and an awful lot of smart-a***s have been made to eat their words. And that, friends, is what Everton are all about." And this sensational, unbelievable Everton story is not just a wonderful shot in the arm for the club, but for English football, itself. It proves that it doesn't always have to be about money. It doesn't always have to be about cherry-picking the best players and most successful managers European football has to offer. You always need skill, but you'll get nowhere unless it's allied to hard graft and gutsy performances. And so to Europe - back to Europe, after too long an absence. As "Amateur Man" wrote on an Everton fans' web-site last night, when suggesting the wording for a new banner: '1985 and 1987 Qualifiers - Sorry We're Late. Circumstances Beyond Our Control.'
We'll never forget the Bayern Munich glory game at Goodison. And we'll never forget the Rapid Vienna walkover in Rotterdam which brought us the Cup Winners' Cup.. But now there's the chance to write a new chapter in our European history. It may well go pear-shaped next season but, today, I'm not worried about that. It feels like we've won something just by being handed our passports back. Anything else, in the short term at least, will be a bonus. But as more than one Liverpudlian has told me: "If we can get to the Champions' League final, you must be favourites to win it next season without breaking sweat." Whatever happens in 2005/6, this year will live long in the memory. Thanks to David Moyes and thanks to his play-ers, it feels great to be a Blue.
What a result. What an absolutely fantastic, incredible, reality-defying result.
December 11, 2004: Everton 1 Liverpool 0
The Lee Carsley goal. The three points that sent us SECOND. And the pile-up of celebratory players, with Tim Cahill on the top saluting the crowd - the picture David Moyes had copied, framed and presented to each of his players. This is how it feels!
January 4, 2005: Everton 2 Portsmouth 1
Leon Osman's injury time winner. Never-say-die!
February 26: Aston Villa 1 Everton 3
But we never beat Villa away.
April 20: Everton 1 Manchester United 0
It had everything: Big Duncan's goal and celebration. The Rooney chants. Two Red Devils sent off --and one booked for a comedy dive.
May 7: Everton 2 Newcastle 0
Was the roar which greeted the second goal - by Tim Cahill - louder than those at the Liverpool and Man U games? Yes!
Weir Blue mood was born in the USA
May 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goal hero David Weir believes the Blues' astonishing turn-around this season was born in the USA. The seeds of the stunning 2004-05 campaign were sown during a pre-season trip to Texas. Speaking after Saturday's 2-0 victory equalled the club's best ever points haul in the Premiership era, Weir said: " What was the secret? That's the million dollar question. It's the same bunch of players really with a few additions. "Things have just clicked for us and we've had a little bit of luck. We also have a bit of togetherness and a bit of determination and it's amazing how far that can go. "Team spirit has played a big part in it. We had a good pre-season when we all got together and that boded well for us. "We always have lots of chats, when things are going well and when they're not going well. But for me personally, I think the trip to the USA got us together and bonded us. "We work hard as a team and we don't have any stars or superstars. We realise it's a collective effort that has got us what we've got and everyone has shown that throughout the season. "You could go through the season and pick five or six players of the season. In different months different play-ers have done particularly well and that's the strength of us - the fact that everybody is contributing, the fact that everybody realises that the team's more important than themselves." Weir's own future is still undecided, but he hopes to still be around to play a part in the prize his performances helped secure. "I'm hopeful I'll be here next season," he said. "I've been here six years and enjoyed every minute of it, so obviously that will come to an end sometime and it won't be my decision. "It's every player's dream to play in the Champions League. It's the top level, the top European competition , but now is not the time to talk about that. We should talk about what we've done this season."
Pride the driving force, not new contracts
May 9 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S senior players have revealed that pride rather than new contracts have been the driving force behind this season's Premiership success. Almost half of David Moyes' senior squad are in the final year of their current Goodison deals. The Blues' boss has put all talk of new deals on hold until the season is over. But the players insist the biggest incentive for them this season has been putting right what went wrong last season. Steve Watson explains: "The gaffer has obviously put all talk of contracts on the back burner. He might find he has a dozen of us knocking on his door now.
"But we have not just been playing for that. I know it sounds corny, but after last season when we got ourselves into a terrible situation we were determined not to let that happen again this season.
"We started well and once we got up there - and we have been in the top four since September - we have started to believe a bit more with every month that has gone by. "It is a phenomenal change around from last season. "I know the question has been asked a lot and I am not too clear myself. But I do know that winning games breeds confidence and we didn't have much last season. "Maybe we just needed the kick up the backside that the last five or six games of last season gave us. "The game against City typified last season and it was an embarrassing situation coming off the pitch knowing that we had let everybody down. From day one in pre-season, everybody was determined not to let that happen again. "It shows the character of everybody in the club that we weren't going to let that happen again." They are sentiments echoed by David Weir, the scorer of Saturday's opening goal against Newcastle and, along with Watson, a player who has yet to agree a new deal.
He added: "It is all about the players. Things have clicked for us this season and there is a lot of togetherness. "Team spirit has been a big part of it. The pre-season was a big help because we had some good trips, that brought us together and it has worked well for us. "There are no superstars. You can go through the season and easily pick five or six different players of the season. "Everybody realises the team is more important than yourself. I have been here six years and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so I am hopeful of still being here next season. "Obviously, I will have to leave at some point and that probably won't be my decision, but that is football. "The most important thing has always been the football and this season that is where our focus has been. Talk of everything else can wait."
The place was just rocking with 20,000 Evertonians
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
May 10 2005
EVERTON'S return to the European stage could not be more timely. Twenty years ago this month Everton lifted the first and only European trophy in their history. Howard Kendall's 1984-85 team swept to the domestic league title and despatched Cup Winners' Cup final opponents Rapid Vienna in such imperious fashion that no-one in the game doubted their potential to become a major force in European football. The Heysel disaster two weeks later and the ban on English clubs competing in Europe that followed it, meant Kendall's Everton would never have the chance to test themselves against the best on the Continent. But the manner in which the team made the transition from European novices who almost tripped up at the first hurdle to European team of the year nine months later was little short of breathtaking. Kevin Ratcliffe, the Wales international centre-back who skippered the team, recalls: "We did not have many big-name players in the side at the start of that season. But by the end of it the team was full of big-name players and full of internationals.
"A lot of players turned a corner in their careers during that campaign, people like Trevor Steven, Gary Stevens, Graeme Sharp, Kevin Sheedy and Peter Reid." Many fans reckon the double winners of 85 were the best-ever Everton team. They were undeniably the most successful. Ratcliffe remembers: "We were a very confident bunch of players, confident in our own ability and in each other. "I always had faith in the other 10 players to produce if I wasn't on form and each individual felt exactly the same way. "We could handle any situation and play all types of football. We could mix it with the roughest if we had to. If anyone wanted a pitch battle we had some serious hard cases. "But we could also play and match the likes of Liverpool for good football. It was a great blend." Even so, Ratcliffe reckons Everton were given an education in the first round encounter with the part-timers of University College Dublin. After a goalless draw in Ireland, Everton found that a victory in the return at Goodison was not the easy formality they expected it to be. Says Ratcliffe: "We got a goal but only the one. With a couple of minutes to go the Irish got a breakaway and really should have equalised. That would have been us out on the away goals rule. "It was the first time in Europe for most of the side and an eye-opener for the way the away goals rule worked. "It was valuable because it taught us that you don't necessarily have to be the best team in European competition. As long as you are well organised and are able to nick a goal at the right time it is possible to get through." Everton left nothing to chance in emphatic aggregate victories over Inter Bratislava from Czechoslovakia and For-tuna Sittard from the Netherlands in subsequent rounds. If progress that far supported Ratcliffe's view that you were liable to "play teams you had never heard of" in the Cup Winners Cup, the semi-final pitched Everton against a West German club with a fine European pedigree in Bayern Munich. A goalless draw in front of 78,000 people in Munich's Olympic Stadium left Everton vulnerable to the dangers of an away goal in the return at Goodison. Dieter Houness duly scored one just before half-time and Ratcliffe says: "It was the worst thing they could have done." The Germans found themselves caught up in a cauldron of emotion during the second half as Everton, driven on by a deafening din from all parts of a packed Goodison Park, swept into the final with goals from Sharp, Gray and Steven. Ratcliffe says: "It was like we won a battle that night. When I watch a recording of the game these days I wonder how it finished with 11 players on each side. A game like that under current refereeing conditions would have produced about 10 bookings and four or five red cards. The spectators were amazing. There were hardly any Bayern supporters there at all, just 48,000 Evertonians roaring us on. "Everyone in the ground joined in the singing: the Glwadys Street, the Park End, the Bullens Road and the Main Stand. I was told they were even chanting in the directors' box.. "I had sensed it was going to be a special night when we arrived for the game and found the streets around the ground jam packed with people queuing to get in. We could no let those supporters down." Those same words sprang into Ratcliffe's mind when he walked onto the pitch at Rotterdam 90 minutes before the start of the final. "The place was rocking with 20,000 Evertonians," Ratcliffe recalls. One stand looked like it was sagging in the middle as they bounced up and down." Rapid, Ratcliffe knew, were not as good a side as Bayern. The skipper did not share Kendall's concerns about the danger of complacency, which the manager kept to himself at the time. But after Everton dominated the first half without gaining any tangible reward, Ratcliffe admits a few anxious thoughts began to cross his mind. Ratcliffe says: "It wasn't until a few weeks ago that Howard (Kendall) mentioned at a dinner that his one concern that night was we might become too complacent. "He had seen Rapid play and knew how bad they were. "He did not want his players to think the same thing although one or two of us had seen them play in the semi-final against Celtic at Old Trafford. I don't think Howard needed to worry about over-confidence. We were some sort of team by then. We were never complacent. "But after hammering them for 45 minutes and not putting any of our chances away I began to think: they can't be as bad as this again in the second half and perhaps we can't be as good. Maybe they will nick a goal." But soon after the restart strikes from Andy Gray and Steven put Everton in command. When Hans Krankl pulled a goal back for the Austrians from a position Ratcliffe claims to this day was offside Everton's response was immediate: a third goal from Sheedy. Ratcliffe says: "When they scored we put ourselves into a higher gear straight away. "We were like a 1,500 metre runner who suddenly puts in a burst of speed that the rest of the pack cannot answer and leaves them trailing behind. "I remember turning my head towards a team-mate for a second, then turning it back as Kevin put the ball in the back of the net. It was as quick as that. "Then we just settled back into the lower gear again and cruised home." Even so, the zip had gone out of Everton's legs when they wearily contested a drab FA Cup final against Manchester United a few days later and lost in extra-time to a goal by Norman Whiteside. However a setback of greater significance was about to over-take Everton.
Everton's instant European reward
By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff
May 10 2005
TRIUMPHANT Everton FC will reap the rewards of its success with an immediate £10m boost and at least half again at the start of next season. The club secured a fourth place finish in the Premiership and has made it through to the qualifiers of the Champions League. The lucrative competition will see them pull in an extra £15m guaranteed if they win through their qualifier in July. The money comes from a central pot of advertising and television and is split between the clubs. A loss would still see them up their revenue by around £5m as they would drop into the UEFA Cup. Businessmen Tom Cannon (pictured above), a leading expert on football finances and an Everton fan, said: "Getting to fourth place is worth about £10m to Everton straight away. "They will have budgeted to have finished in 14th place but each place up is worth £650,000. "On top of that there is the additional television revenues, worth about £2m, plus the extra merchandising and tickets sales. "Next season's Champions League is potentially worth £30m if they win but even if they failed at the qualifiers and only had a reasonable season in UEFA they would still make about £5m." The place in the Champions League will also see the Everton brand become stronger across Europe, giving the club extra kudos and helping them secure better advertising deals. Rogan Taylor, director of the football research unit at the University of Liverpool, said: "Everton have done brilliantly, they have shown genuine consistency, and if they win the qualifiers it will be financially very significant. It is a great platform on which to help build their brand. There will be commercial spin-offs, like producing a European shirt. Goodison will be full and they can charge premium prices on the gate." It is the first time the Toffees have played in the European Cup since 1971. But the club has been urged to learn the lessons of Newcastle United and Leeds United who were left struggling financially after reaching the qualifiers. The club could come out £10m on top or a similar figure behind, according to Mr Cannon's calculations. He said: "The problem is that they don't have a particularly young squad and there are a number of players coming out of contract. They will have to buy three to five players. "Assuming they risk £15m-20m on new players, plus they could have to pay more for some of their existing players, and they get knocked out, they will end up about £10m down. One of the problems of coming fourth is that it is the toughest place in football to hang on to. "The top three have massive squads and massive spending powers, so its unlikely they will go up and there are a lot of teams behind fighting for the place." Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross said: "It's not just about finance but that is equally as important. Our position now helps negotiations with sponsors and dramatically raises our profile."
Everton's instant European reward
By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff
May 10 2005
TRIUMPHANT Everton FC will reap the rewards of its success with an immediate £10m boost and at least half again at the start of next season. The club secured a fourth place finish in the Premiership and has made it through to the qualifiers of the Champions League. The lucrative competition will see them pull in an extra £15m guaranteed if they win through their qualifier in July. The money comes from a central pot of advertising and television and is split between the clubs. A loss would still see them up their revenue by around £5m as they would drop into the UEFA Cup. Businessmen Tom Cannon (pictured above), a leading expert on football finances and an Everton fan, said: "Getting to fourth place is worth about £10m to Everton straight away. "They will have budgeted to have finished in 14th place but each place up is worth £650,000. "On top of that there is the additional television revenues, worth about £2m, plus the extra merchandising and tickets sales.
"Next season's Champions League is potentially worth £30m if they win but even if they failed at the qualifiers and only had a reasonable season in UEFA they would still make about £5m." The place in the Champions League will also see the Everton brand become stronger across Europe, giving the club extra kudos and helping them secure better advertising deals. Rogan Taylor, director of the football research unit at the University of Liverpool, said: "Everton have done brilliantly, they have shown genuine consistency, and if they win the qualifiers it will be financially very significant. It is a great platform on which to help build their brand. There will be commercial spin-offs, like producing a European shirt. Goodison will be full and they can charge premium prices on the gate." It is the first time the Toffees have played in the European Cup since 1971. But the club has been urged to learn the lessons of Newcastle United and Leeds United who were left struggling financially after reaching the qualifiers. The club could come out £10m on top or a similar figure behind, according to Mr Cannon's calculations. He said: "The problem is that they don't have a particularly young squad and there are a number of players coming out of contract. They will have to buy three to five players. "Assuming they risk £15m-20m on new players, plus they could have to pay more for some of their existing players, and they get knocked out, they will end up about £10m down. One of the problems of coming fourth is that it is the toughest place in football to hang on to. "The top three have massive squads and massive spending powers, so its unlikely they will go up and there are a lot of teams behind fighting for the place." Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross said: "It's not just about finance but that is equally as important. Our position now helps negotiations with sponsors and dramatically raises our profile."
Everton's route to Champions League
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 10 2005
EVERTON proved the doubters wrong by seeing off the challenge of rivals Liverpool to win a place in next season's Champions League. Here, we look at the key moments in Everton's triumphant season.
July: Everton saw 16 players leave in the summer but signed Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent for £2.4million in total. August 15: After a summer of financial crisis, Everton were humiliated 4-1 at home to champions Arsenal on the first day of the season. Quickly written off as relegation fodder.
August 21: This away clash with Crystal Palace was being labelled a 'relegation' showdown. Everton won 3-1.
August 31: Wayne Rooney finally leaves for Manchester United for £27m, the day after Everton had drawn 0-0 at Old Trafford, the first signs that this could be a special season. September 19: Everton go third after beating Middlesbrough 1-0, part of a run of just one defeat in 10 league games. November 12: David Moyes signs a three-year extension to his contract, keeping him at the club until 2009. December 11: Victory over Liverpool at Goodison, Lee Carsley scoring the winner, a crucial point in Everton's season and their first home victory over their bitter local rivals since October 1997. December 28: Defeat at Charlton ended a seven-match unbeaten run and dropped Everton to fourth, a position they were to hold until the end of the season.
January 5: Everton break their transfer record by signing James Beattie for £6m from Southampton. January 14: Midfield talisman Thomas Gravesen moves to Real Madrid for £2.6m. January 31: Mikel Arteta joins on loan until the end of the season from Real Sociedad. February 12: Beattie sent off in home 1-0 loss to Chelsea. February 19: Home FA Cup defeat by Manchester United in the fifth round, losing 2-0.
February 26: Best display of the season by far in winning 3-1 at Aston Villa, Everton back on track and the game Moyes claims was the turning point in his belief that Champions League football was possible.
March 20: Defeated 2-1 at Liverpool, a game considered crucial to both sides' hopes of winning fourth spot.
April 20: Stunning 1-0 home win over Manchester United in the league, marked by Moyes 'Scottish banter' with Sir Alex Ferguson.
May 7: A 2-0 victory over Newcastle in last home game of the season keeps the pressure on Liverpool.
May 8: Liverpool lose at Arsenal and Everton are in the Champions League.
Folklore and legend beckon, says Moyes
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 10 2005
DAVID MOYES is relishing the challenge of meeting the heightened expectations created by Everton's excellent Premiership campaign. The Goodison side travel to Arsenal tomorrow night safe in the knowledge they have already assured Champions League football for next season. And Moyes believes since his arrival at the club his role has been to raise the targets at Everton - and now must keep on increasing them. "I don't mind if people expect a lot from us," said the Everton manager.. "Not one bit. That has always been one of my objectives - to raise expectations here. "This season we had no expectation but I wouldn't want that to be the norm. "I want people, the fans, whoever to expect Everton to be challenging for things. Otherwise, I am not doing my job. "It was difficult to come out and say we were going to do this and that because there was so much turmoil at the club.
"We kept our heads down kept working and to finish fourth with only Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United above us is brilliant." He added: "I came here as a young, hungry manager from the lower leagues looking to earn my stripes. "I feel I still have to do that and improve myself. I will only do that by helping Everton into a position like this for several years." Everton have spent much of the Premiership era struggling in the lower reaches of the table. And Moyes is of the opinion that the sight of a traditional football force returning to prominence can only be good for the English game, providing an inspiration for others to follow. "Even before I came here, I regarded Everton as one of the biggest clubs in English football and nothing I have learnt about the place in the three years since leaving Preston has altered my view," he added.. "English football is undoubtedly better for having a strong Everton and if we can become a force again it will be good for this country.
"We have achieved a lot this season against the odds and it should inspire other clubs to have a go and try and do a similar thing. I think Everton's performance gives hope to a lot of other teams that the so-called established order can be broken." Everton's securing of fourth place means they will finish above neighbours Liverpool in the league for the first time since 1987 and only the sixth time in the 42 seasons since the Anfield side were promoted back to the top flight in 1962. And Moyes said: "I named Everton the People's Club and the people in the streets of Liverpool are happy.
"There is no doubt that Liverpool are still the bigger club in the city in terms of finance and so to overhaul them has been a massive ask." The Everton manager again praised his players, who he believes have now gone down into Goodison folklore. "I cannot praise the players highly enough," said Moyes. "They have done this. They have been written off and dismissed, but they can sit back and take a lot of pride. "There have been a lot of great Everton teams down the years and a lot of great players, but this group will go down in the fans' memories. They will be remembered by supporters in 10 years' time.
Well done Blues
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
May 10 2005
Well done Blues
WELL, we have done it. Well done to all the Everton players and staff. What a great atmosphere on Saturday, loved every minute of it. Now it's just up to the board to get the neccesary funds together so we can move forward next season.
S Latt, Liverpool
THE support at Goodison was fantastic throughout. I'm lucky to be old enough to have seen us be successful before but I'm so pleased that my son and other young Evertonians have seen the greatest team in the world achieve something they can be proud of. We, as supporters, deserve success as we have kept the faith for a long time. Good things come to those that wait.
M Garry (via e-mail)
AS an Everton supporter of over 50 years I approached the start of the season with dread and expected a season of nailbiting finishes to see if we could just avoid relegation. So congratulations to David Moyes, his management team and all the players for qualifying for the Champion League. Most of all, the credit should go to Moyes. His strategy of playing Marcus Bent up front and Lee Carsley in a defensive midfield role were the masterstrokes that got us off to a good start and his signings of Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta proved very shrewd. Bent, Carsley, Alan Stubbs and Tony Hibbert have all played to a consistently high standard. I guess it just goes to prove what can be achieved with good team spirit and hard work.
Peter Dolan (via e-mail)
EVERTON for Europe - doesn't it sound great? I hope we can show how the Blue side of the city can play. Come on lads win the last two games of the season and finish on a high note. Repay Arsenal for the hammering on the first day of the season. Mr Moyes, buy wisely during the summer and supplement the undoubted talents which already exist in the side. If only we could acquire S Wright-Phillips from Man City.
B Roger (via e-mail)
WHAT a fantastic performance by Everton against Newcastle. Now we are home and dry for Europe, we have to build and develop the team around Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill. If the defence can be sealed up and we can start scoring goals regularly then Everton will be a team to be scared of next season. Use funds wisely and borrow if we have to in order to develop a team which is strong, quick and skilful. I am sure that with a good supply James Beattie will score many goals in future. All he needs is to start scoring and gain confidence. We also have the best substitute in the Premiership - big Duncan.
S Bye (via e-mail)
WHY the hell is David Weir talking to Leeds? Why hasn't he been handed a new contract? He has been the most consistent Everton player since he signed, cost next-to-nothing and deserves at least another year. He is by far the best defender at the club and would walk into most other Premiership sides, outside the top three.
Mike Bond (via e-mail)
Moyes to reward Blues heroes
May 10 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will reward the heroes who have taken Everton to the Champions League. The Blues boss will not ask for a boost in his transfer kitty for next season's Champions League assault as he plans a summer of evolution rather than revolution. The club have allocated £30m towards the manager's summer rebuilding plans. But a significant chunk of that money is set to be utilised for new deals for the club's seven senior out-of-contract players as the Goodison chief aims to keep the core of his high-flying Premiership squad together. Moyes is expected to have up to £15m available for transfers. Moyes told the ECHO: "Reaching the Champions League will be good for us and good for the club because it has raised Everton's profile across Europe. "It means we can attract better players who will be interested by what we are doing now. But it has to be gradual progress if we want to build something lasting. "We can't get carried away, we have to take small steps to make sure we don't trip up. "I wouldn't put the club in jeopardy (by over-spending). We have to remember that last summer we had nothing, so we certainly won't be going out and spending like a kid in a sweet shop. "The players who have been here have done great - we want them all to stay and we will be speaking to them in due course. There certainly will not be a massive turnaround. "But, having said that, we do know now we have got a great chance to make another step in the right direction. "I came to Everton to win trophies and that is what we are building towards. But as always the bread and butter will be the Premier League. "We will be trying to put together a team this summer which is capable of doing well in the Premier League again next season. That is our first objective. "It will be a busy summer for us. We will work on bringing a few players in and trying to take this club forward. "The process is about progression. We will start drawing up a list of targets who we are interested in bringing into the club." Moyes is working on a shortlist of targets which is expected to include Chelsea's Scott Parker along with Tottenham's duo of Simon Davies and Robbie Keane. Everton agreed an option on a deal worth up to £2.6m with Real Sociedad for Arteta when he was signed on loan in January. The Blues are expected to take up that option.
Players can build on pivotal season
May 10 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES is ready to back the players who have propelled Everton into the Champions League as he targets bringing silverware back to Goodison. The Everton manager (left) has started planning for next season after leading the club to their first European Cup campaign since 1970-71. The Goodison club secured their highest-ever Premiership finish of fourth and a place in the Champions League, an achievement chief executive Keith Wyness has called "one of the most pivotal moments in the club's history". And Moyes is prepared to keep faith in his current players while warning the squad needs strengthening if Everton are to continue their progression. That will mean offering new contracts to the seven players whose deals expire at the end of the season - David Weir,, Alessandro Pistone, Steve Watson, Duncan Ferugson, Leon Osman, Gary Naysmith and Alan Stubbs - and agreeing to pay the £1.85million to make permanent Mikel Arteta's loan move from Real Sociedad. "We do need to add to the squad, there is no doubting that," said Moyes, who continues to monitor Scott Parker's position at Chelsea. "It will be a busy summer for us. We will work on bringing a few players in and trying to take this club forward. "The process is about progression. We need to get the pre-season sorted and we know that we have a Champions League qualifier to play, so we need to fit in our work around that. "We will start drawing up a list of targets who we are interested in bringing into the club. "However, the players who have been here have done great - we want them all to stay and we'll be speaking to them in due course." Moyes believes it is crucial Everton make the right decisions in the transfer market if they are to capitalise on their success of this season and the impending Champions League challenge. And he has admitted the next step will be to break the Goodison trophy drought that has seen the club without silverware since the 1995 FA Cup final win over Manchester United. "We will be careful with who we bring in, you have to be a certain type of player to play for Everton Football Club," said Moyes. "It will be small steps, but we are moving in the right direction. "I want us to make progress now, but we are not going to suddenly be challenging the Chelseas, Arsenals and Man Uniteds. "It takes many years of Champions League football and winning trophies for that to happen. That's a big ask. "But I would like to win some silverware obviously. I always set myself goals and I want to achieve success for the fans. This hopefully can just be the start. "I would hope we are an attractive proposition for players and that people would relish a move to Everton." Moyes will be further encouraged by the news Everton are almost certain to be seeded for the Champions League final qualifying round in August, the draw for which takes place on July 29 in Nyon, Switzerland. Victory in the two-legged tie would unlock the riches of the Champions League group stage, estimated to be worth at least £8m-£10m. A UEFA spokesman said: "Because they are from England, Everton should be seeded for the third qualifying round. It does depend on who else qualifies, but that is likely to be the case." Chief executive Wyness, meanwhile, has said the club cannot afford to pass up the opportunity provided by this season's excellent Premiership showing. "If you look at Everton's history, you can point to certain pivotal moments that have made things happen," he said. "This is one of those points. "This is a huge opportunity. But it is up to us as a group to capitalise on that. This is a chance for us to springboard forward. But that is all it is at this stage, an opportunity. "It doesn't mean guaranteed financial riches. The most important thing is to keep this in perspective."
Looking to the future
May 10 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVEN with a place in next season's Champions League in the bag and surrounded by revellers and well-wishers, Sunday night found Everton boss David Moyes mulling over where he can take the club next. The Goodison chief joined his players and backroom staff for an impromptu get-together at the Albert Dock after Liverpool's defeat at Arsenal confirmed Everton could not be budged from the fourth place berth they have had a grip on virtually all season. It was a special night and one which Evertonians have been longing for since the club was barred from Europe's top club competition by the ban on English clubs in 1985. But for Moyes, speaking after reporting back to Bellefield for his first working day as a Champions League qualifier, Sunday evening underlined what he already knew - the job has only just begun. He told the ECHO: "To be honest, I feel a bit of fraud for celebrating fourth position. "I was brought up to celebrate first, which is why I am a little bit unsure how to deal with that. "Celebrating fourth doesn't lie well with me, but I do know that to finish fourth in the English Premier League is a big ask for any club. "But that is especially so because of where Everton was not so long ago. This was a season where we hoped we would get through, we would be safe and we would put a turbulent year behind us. "We have done far greater than that. It has been a dramatic turnaround but I don't feel as if we have really got started yet. "There is so much that needs to be done to build on this. We need to get started on the new training site and we need to move on because we have been left behind in too many ways. "We can't expect to upset the odds like we have this season every year because that doesn't happen that often. "We have got to get more and better young players coming through and we need the new training ground because we have to have the facilities to attract players. "Too often in the past Everton has tried to build on sand but we have to do more than that. We have to make sure there is a foundation there for the future generations. "We are now in a situation where the team is doing well and I have got to try to push through things which will back up what is happening on the pitch. "I have to say that Keith Wyness and Bill Kenwright have been incredibly supportive of what we are trying to do. And we are now in a great position to try and get in among the big boys regularly." So, while many Evertonians are still coming to terms with Everton's position at the top of the table, rubbing shoulders with Manchester United and Arsenal and looking down on the likes of Liverpool, Middlesbrough and Newcastle, Moyes is already plotting. He has a busy summer ahead of him as he seeks to lay down those foundations. That his side has achieved this season has given him a great opportunity to transform Everton's fortunes for many years to come. But he insists that he will not do that by splashing the cash in a vain attempt to achieve success in next season's Champions League. Moyes is planning a summer of evolution, rather than revolution. And at the centre of that is his intention to secure the club's seven remaining out of contract senior stars to new deals. That is good news for David Weir, Alessandro Pistone, Duncan Ferguson, Steve Watson, Leon Osman, Alan Stubbs and Gary Naysmith. "We do need to add to the squad, there is no doubting that," admits Moyes. "It will be a busy summer for us. We will work on bringing a few players in and trying to take this club forward. "The process is about progression. We will start drawing up a list of targets who we are interested in bringing into the club. "The players who have been here have done great - we want them all to stay and we will be speaking to them in due course." The Blues are pressing ahead with those talks this week, with the club eager to finalise any deals before the end of the month. And any new arrivals will have to fit snugly into the strong team ethic which has been forged in the last nine months. He adds: "We will be careful with who we bring in. You have to be a certain type of player to play for Everton Football Club. It will be small steps, but we are moving in the right direction. "I want us to make progress now, but we are not going to suddenly be challenging the Chelseas, Arsenals and Manchester Uniteds. It takes many years of Champions League football and winning trophies for that to happen. That's a big ask." But Moyes has already proved he can answer the big questions.
Moyes better than Jose says Bill
May 10 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright insists he would not swop David Moyes for any manager in Europe. The Goodison supremo is still pinching himself after the Blues' booked their place in next season's Champions League over the weekend. It is a dramatic turnaround after finishing last season in 17th place. And Kenwright has paid special praise to the manager who has made it possible.
He said: "What David and the players have done is they have given Everton supporters their pride back. "It is the best feeling in the world. Evertonians have a smile on their faces and spring back in their step. They will be going to work shouting, 'We are the Blues'. "That is so important. You cannot measure that. The next thing is silverware and, believe me, we have the manager who will win trophies for this club again." Kenwright's stood steadfastly by his manager despite pressure from inside the board-room, it is claimed most notably from director Paul Gregg, to address the managerial position. As a result, the strong relationship between the manager and chairman has been reinforced even more. His faith in Moyes is based on an unflinching belief. Kenwright continues: "I have always thought David is destined to be one of the best managers in the country and Europe. Jose Mourinho has won the Premiership and done it in style. "All credit to Chelsea, but I wouldn't swop David for anyone. To do what he has done with probably the smallest squad in the top flight is unbelievable. "I cannot envisage Everton without David Moyes. He has turned negatives into positives and that is a great skill. He is a force of positivity. "To me, that is a sign of greatness."
Arteta makes his mark to step into Gravesen's shoes
May 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA has played his way into David Moyes' long-term plans since arriving on loan from Real Sociedad. The Everton boss has been delighted with the impact of the former Rangers midfielder, whose loan from Real Sociedad is set to be turned into a £2.6m permanent deal. Moyes believes the Spanish midfielder has filled the void left by Thomas Gravesen's January departure to Real Madrid. He said: "It was the Aston Villa away game when we realised how good and influential a player Mikel Arteta could be. That was the game where people saw we had found somebody who could do a similar job to Tommy, somebody who would help us play and we were in need of that. It was getting tough for us at that point and the players were tiring a little. "They were needing somebody to come in to give them a boost and seeing Mikel doing so well did that. Mikel showed he was able to go into the midfield, control the ball and pass it very well. "His play steadied us down at that period. But he has not surprised me because I knew how good he had been in Scotland. "But what attracts me about him is the fact he is still young - he is only 23. He will get better and he has come to a club that is going well and moving in the right direction. "Tommy was a big player for us. We knew he was a bit inconsistent and a bit indisciplined at times in his play but he was also a match winner. "He could see a pass, he could play people in and he had a great ability to keep hold of the ball. "Mikel has come in and done a similar job but in his own way. He is not the same as Tommy, but he has come in and done very well. "When he arrived he hadn't played a lot of football but he has shown us it was the right decision to bring him in. "We would have liked to have signed more players along with Mikel in January. But the others we would have wanted were not available at that time."
Quality 'has not been recognised'
May 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today insisted his Everton squad has not received the credit they deserve for the quality of the football this season. Much has been said about the team spirit and camaraderie which has helped transform the club's fortunes so dramatically after finishing 17th last season. But the Blues' boss believes his players deserve more praise for their technical ability. He said: "This season has been more than just about the mentality and the team spirit, which everybody has said a lot about. I think the quality of our players and the quality of our football has been under-rated this year. "Some of our players really have been exceptional this season. Some people have said that maybe Everton aren't the best team or have the best style, but we have had to find a style which suited the players we have had available and we have done that. "For a long part of the season we played in a way which has brought us very good results. "In the second half of the season we had to change things a little because we were needing to find other ways of playing, and that was probably the hardest part because we felt very settled in the first half of the season. "But when some results went against us we had to look for different solutions and went back to two up front at certain times. "It has been hard because tactically we have had to keep on our toes all the time. But the players have always been able to adapt and they are very intelligent. They deserve great credit."
Boss hoping for United atmosphere
May 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes last month's famous victory over Manchester United may have provided a glimpse of the atmosphere inside Goodison when European nights return for the first time in a decade next season. He said: "I hope that Manchester United game was a glimpse of what we can expect for our night games in Europe next season. "But I am not getting carried away. For us to have got where we have got is a big achievement. "We have just got to enjoy it right now and we have to be careful because we have still got a qualifier to play. "We are not actually in the Champions League, we have just qualified to play in a knock-out round to get there. That is a big opportunity for the club. "But we have got to be careful. It would be great if we could get through."
Moyes won't squander funds on short-term fix
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 11 2005
DAVID MOYES insists he will not jeopardise Everton's long-term stability by spending millions on an immediate shot at the Champions League. Moyes believes Everton must use its unexpected European windfall to build foundations that will sustain the club's re-emergence rather than follow the route that ruined Leeds United. The Goodison manager will get around £30m to spend this summer, a sum that includes wages and contract offers to the seven potential Bosman departures.
But Moyes intends to be prudent during a hectic pre-season as he uses Champions League qualification to gradually improve fortunes at Goodison Park. "Everton do have money to spend, but we won't be spending to make us into a Champions League team," said the Scot,, who takes his fourth place team to Arsenal tonight. "We need additions, not only because of the extra games but because of the numbers in our squad. "But you have to remember it was only last summer that we were in a terrible condition, so suddenly we cannot go and spend a fortune when you consider we were nearly down and out. "It will need prudent business. I am the manager and I should be saying I want millions and millions and millions to spend. "I will get good funds, but I want the club to be run correctly. The football club will be here long after I have gone and it has to be in a good financial order. "I would never put the football club in jeopardy for a short-term fix. "What we have achieved is a chance to get the club in order. We cannot be built on sand, we must have proper foundations in place. A club the size of Everton, and with Everton's stature, has a chance to rebuild and redevelop."
Moyes views new training facilities and a new stadium or revamped Goodison as essential to Everton's progress. He added: "Progress has been made because we have finished seventh and now fourth in two of the last three seasons, but we have to keep it going. We cannot be left behind otherwise it will be too far to go. "I am looking for the new training ground to be built and for there to be a decision on the ground. Are we staying at Goodison? If so, great, let's make it as comfortable as possible. We cannot be left behind now or else we will have too far to go. "It is my job to try and take Everton forward, not just for now, but for the future." The Everton manager believes too much instability has obstructed progress at Goodison in recent years. And even with a place among the European elite secure Moyes admits changes will continue apace this summer. "We have had a lot of cuts in the last year, maybe too many," he said. "There has been too much change for my liking. It should be a more gradual thing and I would like to get it back on even keel if I could, but it will take time." "Ideally you would like to be in a situation where it is two or three in each summer and two or three out. "We are not in that situation yet, there is still a revolving door at Everton and that is not good for the stability of a club. "The first task will always be to keep Everton in the Premiership. After that, it will be to make Everton a side which finishes more in the middle-half to top of the table rather than middle half to the bottom. We won't be expected to suddenly break into the top three next season. "Inside me that is what I would like but I don't think that is a realistic possibility. "We have to become a side which can compete more often with the likes of Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham Hot-spur, Aston Villa." Everton have doubts over Leon Osman (knee), Tony Hibbert (knee) and Tim Cahill (back) ahead of tonight's trip to Highbury, but the Premiership's youngest scorer James Vaughan is in the squad following his return from the European Under-17 Championships.
Moyes is hailed as the miracle man
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 11 2005
ARSENE WENGER believes David Moyes should be crowned manager of the season for the "miracle" of guiding Everton into the Champions League. The Arsenal manager, who entertains his European Cup colleagues at Highbury tonight, declared Moyes' achievement is the equal of Jose Mourinho winning the Premiership and Carling Cup double with Chelsea this season. Wenger feared the worst for the Goodison club when his defending champions trounced Everton 4-1 on the opening day of the season. But 35 games later the pair meet at Highbury with thoughts already turning to their respective Champions League campaigns next season. And the Arsenal manager admits: "For me what Everton have done is a miracle." Wenger revealed: "After the first game of the season, I thought they would go down and I felt sorry for them. "But then they got on a run that has been incredible. I think David Moyes deserves a lot of credit with his staff, and the players as well. Every point they have earned has been through hard work. "When they sold Rooney, you thought they would struggle not to go down as they had sold their best player and then, in January, they sold Thomas Gravesen as well." Asked if Moyes was his manager of the year, Wenger replied: "Certainly, yes. It must be Mourinho and Moyes. "It just shows how strange and good football can be. Moyes was the bet to be one of the first managers sacked in the league. "Then, at the end of the season, he is maybe the guy who deserves more reward than anyone else. It shows that you can be rewarded if you keep faith in your manager. "It also shows how quickly opinions about you can change." Everton have turned full circle since that galling August day. And despite relishing the task of proving the doubters wrong all season Moyes admits the sceptics were right to write off Everton when it began.
"Finishing fourth wasn't in our thoughts back then," said the Everton manager. "Going back to that game I didn't think we played that badly, it was just that Arsenal were so good. "They had annihilated Manchester United in the Community Shield the week before and were still in the midst of their unbeaten run. But obviously when you lose 4-1 on the opening day of the season people think 'Here we go'. "We never thought for a minute that we would be competing with them. They are in a league with Chelsea and United and we have probably finished top of the next league. "I suppose in a lot of ways, people were right in what they were saying at that time. If you back a horse, you look at the form and our form wasn't good. We had lost players and brought in two lads (Bent and Cahill) from the Championship. "We just wanted to make sure we weren't a laughing stock and we did that pretty quickly." After the previous season's collapse towards relegation and the events of a dreadful summer that opening day defeat could easily have sent Everton on a downward spiral. But their instant recovery offered the first glimpse of the character that would underpin their unheralded rise thereafter. "The players have been brilliant with their attitude, they really have," said Moyes. "I think you can even look at things like Duncan's training in pre-season as the epitome of the right attitude. Duncan was leading the line and we worked him really hard. That is one thing you could pick out. "They all trained really hard and it gave me hope. I thought if Duncan is doing it like that then maybe that will be an example to others and to be fair they all worked hard." Predecessor Walter Smith and England rugby star Matt Dawson were among the first to call with congratulations after Arsenal's victory over Liverpool assured Everton of fourth on Sunday. In the end the twists and turns of a remarkable season never dislodged Everton from the Champions League qualifying zone they had called home since September. And with away trips at Arsenal and Bolton now free of tension and importance Moyes intends to savour the final few days of an outstanding campaign. We have had to handle a lot of pressure all year being chased by clubs to hang onto fourth, so the pressure is off now and we can enjoy the last couple of games," he admitted. "There were a few times that I felt it would not be possible to stay in the Champions League places because we lost a few games when I felt we should have done better. "But other teams lost games and that always kept the gap. Nobody every went above us, not at any time from when we went into fourth. Not one club, ever. "It was maybe down to a point, but nobody ever really got close. That gave us hope, we were always clinging on saying 'can we hang on for one more week'. In the end the weeks have run out for the other clubs." Liverpool constantly claimed they were the better team in the race for fourth place and had several chances to take advantage of Everton slips, but always blew them. Moyes added: "I said a few weeks ago that we had to go stride for stride with the other clubs, and that is what we did. It was terrific form in terms of being consistent, but then there wasn't another club able to be consistent. We didn't have to do any more. And if we win our two remaining games we might end up being seven, eight, nine or even 10 points ahead of fifth place. That would make it look easy when in reality it was not."
Now, however, "The job has been done." And Moyes admits: "I think it has sunk in now. We have tried to take it all. For a long time I have been hoping we would get to a day like this. I really have. I have hoped for months and months we would have the feeling that we have done the job. "I don't know the implications of the next bit yet, but we will now more in the next couple of weeks."
Champions League could rebuild Goodison empire
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
May 11 2005
KEVIN RATCLIFFE believes Everton's achievement in securing a Champions League berth against the odds marks them down as the team of the season. Not even Chelsea's imperious march to the Premiership title is enough to sway the former Goodison Park captain that his old club deserve the highest of plaudits. And Ratcliffe hopes the crucial fourth place, signals the start of a period of sustained progress for David Moyes's side. Ratcliffe says: "It's great Everton have clinched the European Champions League spot because it puts them back in the competition where they belong.
"The financial benefits could transform the club, reduce the overdraft and give Everton a more secure future." Ratcliffe believes Everton's dis-play in confounding the pre-campaign odds makes them the team of the season, irrespective of Chelsea winning the title for the first time in 50 years.
Says Ratcliffe: "It's been a remarkable effort when you consider the players David Moyes has available. They have dug very deep. "Everton would be my team of the year because everyone expected Chelsea to do what they are doing. Everton were supposed to be in the bottom six.
"For me, real success is when you pull something out of the hat that you have not got. That is what David Moyes has done." Ironically it is now 20 years since Everton's most spectacular night in European football when they lifted the Cup Winners Cup. The heroes of 1985 were convinced they had just taken the first steps that could lead them to a place along with the European football elite.
By winning the League title in emphatic style, Howard Kendall's team booked their ticket into the European Cup. They carried with them the conviction, reinforced by their passage to the Rotterdam triumph over Rapid Vienna that they could match the Continental thoroughbreds in the champion's competition the following season. Skipper Kevin Ratcliffe remembers those fleeting two weeks of optimism that followed Everton's first European success with a mixture of affection and frustration.
"We could not wait to get out there and compete with the best," Ratcliffe recalls. "We felt we were good enough to win the European Cup. There wasn't too much around at the time to worry us.
"We believed we were as good if not better than Liverpool and we wanted that same experience Liverpool were having in the European Cup every year." Then, on the terrible night of May 29 Everton's European ambitions evaporated in the violence, mayhem and tragedy of Heysel.
UEFA imposed a ban on English clubs competing in Europe that would last for five years.
Ratcliffe believes the ban's effects are still being felt at Goodison. He argues it may well have prevented Everton from developing into a more powerful, wealth-ier and stronger club than the one we know today. He said: "Everton would have been a very different club if they had been able to compete in the 1985/86 European Cup. "To begin with we may well have won it. Everton could have gone from being a big club at the time to a massive club on the strength of becoming one of the top teams in Europe. "We could have grown in the way Liverpool and Manchester United expanded on the basis of European success, generating greater revenue and extending the supporter base.
"Those two clubs dominated English football during the 80s and 90s. Everton could have been in the same bracket. "The players in that team were every bit as good as the super stars of today.
"The likes of Graeme Sharp, Trevor Steven, Paul Bracewell, Kevin Sheedy, Gary Stevens, Peter Reid, Neville Southall and myself did well enough for ourselves as it was. "But I still wonder what it would have been like if we had won the European Cup. "The club would have had a very different history because they may have avoided all of the financial problems and changes of ownership that have been such a big feature of the past two decades."
Returning Henry is on course to make FA Cup line-up
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 11 2005
ARSENE WENGER revealed Arsenal could be back to full-strength for the FA Cup final as Thierry Henry prepared to make his long-awaited return from injury against Everton tonight. Henry may not start tonight's league clash at Highbury, but he is set to make his first appearance for five weeks after a groin injury. And as long as he can come through that test, followed by Sunday's game at Birmingham, he will line up against Manchester United in Cardiff on May 21. Sol Campbell and Freddie Ljungberg could now be there too, with the England centre-back destined to return after injury against either Everton or Birmingham. However, given that Wenger had rated Henry as having just a "30-70" chance of facing United just a fortnight ago, his return is the biggest boost of all for Arsenal. "Thierry is back in the squad and it's very good news. I'm very surprised but we still have to see how he reacts to playing and training regularly," revealed Wenger. "I expected his season to be over, and so did he, but he has worked very hard in training and he has improved tremendously in the past week. "If there was the slightest risk, I would not take it in the cup final but his body is a one-off. "He needed a break physically. The body is always the first alarm that you need a breather. That's why I have aches everywhere! "He wants always to play but maybe he will have to be a little more cautious with him. It depends all on the pre-season he will have. We are not completely over this injury yet."
Asia Cup exploits
May 11 2005
EVERTON will play two games in Bangkok this summer after confirming their place in the Premier League Asia Cup. David Moyes's side travel to the Thai capital in July for the four-team tournament involving Manchester City and two other Premiership sides, possibly Newcastle and Birmingham.
The games - on Wednesday, July 20 and Saturday, July 23 - will provide the centre-piece of Everton's pre-season preparations before the Champions League qualifiers begin on August 9-10.
Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "It is a reminder of our ever-broadening appeal and ever-rising profile that we have been invited to play in such a prestigious tournament as the highest-ranked team." Ticket and official travel package details will be released in the near future.
We don't want big heads at our club
May 11 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
UNSUNG Everton hero Lee Carsley is ready to welcome new faces at Goodison this summer - but he warned "Big heads need not apply." The midfielder has backed David Moyes to take Everton to even greater heights in the wake of the club's qualification for the Champions League. The Blues travel to Arsenal tonight for their penultimate Premiership game knowing a place in next season's Champions League is assured. But the focus has already turned to next season, with Carsley insisting Moyes will spend his £15m summer transfer kitty wisely by pinpointing players who will enhance the squad's strong team spirit. He told the ECHO: "It is so important to maintain the spirit of this squad into next season. "Obviously, the gaffer has got to add and bring people in, but he needs to get the right people. "If he brings in anyone who is going to be a big head then that is not going to go down well here at all because the lads will not accept that. The biggest thing we have got is our team spirit and we have got to keep that. "A lot of people say the gaffer takes his time over signings but it is crucial you know you are bringing the right people in and not just getting anyone because they are available. The manager doesn't work like that. "He has got it spot on with the players he has brought in this season. They have all fitted in and enhanced the dressing room."
I'm unhappy with Blues offer - Weir
May 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR'S first goal of the season last Saturday could well be his last for Everton. The defensive stalwart is unhappy with the terms of a new Goodison deal and is wanted by Leeds. "I think there were about seven of us whose contracts run out at the end of this season," said Weir. "Nigel Martyn is the only one to have signed a new deal. The others, I believe, are in the same boat as myself. "I can't speak for them, but I can for myself. I'm not happy with what they've offered, to be honest. I think I deserve better. Throughout my career, including my time at Everton, I've always turned up, ready to play, ready to do everything I can. "More than anything, including the money, there's a principle to be considered here. Making that kind of offer is questioning your entire motivation. It's saying, 'We're not sure about your commitment', and that's not reasonable, considering all that's gone before." Leeds United are believed to be willing to offer a two-year contract - Everton's offer is only one, with much more favourable basic terms. Weir added: "I know through an intermediary that Leeds will give me two years, which is an obvious attraction. I'm 35, but I feel as good as ever. I know that's a cliche among ageing play-ers, but it's absolutely true, because I know on the pitch that nothing has changed. "The only signs you get are the night after a game and the next morning, when you're a little more tired, a little stiffer, than before."
The man who awoke two sleeping giants
May 11 2005 By Alan Weston, Daily Post
IN the first of a two-day special, Alan Weston tracks the career of David Moyes, the player, to fledgling manager, to the Goodison hotseat. NEARLY all new managers arrive as a breath of fresh air to the club which has hired them. There is normally a brief honeymoon period, as players fight for their futures and the fans get behind the new regime. But in all but a few exceptional cases, the succeeding weeks and months become a process of disillusionment. David Moyes is one of those exceptions. When he took over from fellow Glaswegian Walter Smith at Goodison Park in March 2002, his arrival had an immediate electrifying effect on the fans, the players, and their expectations of the club. From being the poor relations of their richer, more high-profile neighbours at Anfield, Everton are now, a little over three years later, in the position of qualifying for the most prestigious club competition of all - the Champions League. This from a side which many football pundits confidently predicted would be struggling to avoid relegation at the end of this season, following a series of protracted and highly public boardroom wrangles, and the departure of "wunderkind" Wayne Rooney to Manchester United. So who is this man who has effected such a remarkable transformation? Born in the Blythswood area of Glasgow on April 25, 1963, Moyes began his playing career as a youth for Celtic. There then followed stints with Cambridge United (1983), Bristol City (1985), Shrewsbury Town (1987), Dunfermline (1990), and Hamilton Academicals (1993). His last club, Preston North End, was also where he took his first steps on the managerial ladder, taking over in 1998. At the Lancashire club, he won the former second division championship and reached the promotion play-offs twice, having spent only £3.5m. This made him the most coveted coach in the league, helped by the fact that the ambitious young Scot never made any secret of his desire to manage at the highest level. Moyes may not have had the CV wanted by those Evertonians who could recall the heady days when the club belonged to football's so-called Big Five. But his experiences at Preston went some way to proving that the appointment of a high-profile manager is not always the key to guaranteeing high-quality football. Sir Bobby Charlton, Brian Kidd and Nobby Stiles - all European Cup winners - had tried and failed at Preston, whereas Moyes transformed the proud old club, saving them from relegation to the old third division in his first season. This gave him the training in reviving once great footballing institutions that had fallen on hard times which proved so invaluable at Everton. Among those whose attention was caught by Moyes during his four-year spell at Preston was none other than Sir Alex Ferguson. This may come as a surprise to those who saw their touchline bust-up during Everton's recent 1-0 victory over Manchester United, the second of two turbulent Goodison meetings between the clubs this year (the first was the infamous Saturday evening FA Cup tie which marked Rooney's first return to the club since his controversial departure to Old Trafford). Sir Alex had once considered making Moyes his assistant at Old Trafford, only to opt for Steve McClaren instead. However, it was not difficult to see why Ferguson's research pointed him in the direction of Moyes. Quietly and effectively, Moyes had developed a reputation as one of the most progressive thinkers in the game. He read voraciously and digested the thoughts of those who had preceded him in management. He endeavoured to scrutinise the most successful, like Sir Alex, in their own workplace, the training ground. And he listened avidly to them, too. Over the years since he decided that he wasn't going to make it as a top player - although he declared it with a modesty which defied the fact he played in Europe and won a championship medal with Celtic - Moyes gradually formulated his own philosophies. He qualified as a coach in Scotland at 22 and when he moved south to Cambridge United, in the early 1980s, he completed his English coaching badge. Tactics were always his passion as he continued on a lower-league tour that took him to Bristol City, Shrewsbury, back to Dunfermline, then, fortuitously, to Preston North End, where he was granted his opportunity to excel in management. It was while he was first at Deepdale that he wrote to Bobby Robson, then coach of Barcelona. "I asked him if I could go and watch his squad training. He sent me a full-page hand-written letter on Barcelona headed notepaper in reply. I thought that was fantastic, that he would spend the time to send that to a guy he probably didn't even know much about, maybe not at all. "There was a humility to it. As it was, I couldn't get out there before he left, but I've kept the letter." As part of this process of self-education, he used his own money to travel to the 1998 World Cup in France, visiting the various training camps and spending a week with the Scotland squad. His ability to bring the best out of his players, operating on a tight budget, transformed Preston from long-ball merchants to a neat passing team, and was noticed in boardrooms the length of the country. But, far from believing he had taken Preston as far as he could, Moyes's famed thoroughness in his professional duties shined through in assessing his time at Deepdale, and in a manner that was at odds with the perception of the then 39-year-old as a man who had an aching desire for a shot at the big-time. Moyes said of his departure from Preston: "Everton is a great job, I love it, but I started an important one at Deepdale and I've left it not quite as completed as I would have liked. But when good oppor- tunities come around in life you have to take them and I think if I hadn't come to Everton when the offer came my ambition would have been questioned." Ironically, Moyes counted Walter Smith as one of his closest friends and like the sacked Everton manager, came with a reputation as a strict disciplinarian, fining players who gave interviews without his permission and, according to one Preston journalist, "generally being a right so and so: what he says usually goes". Despite all the knock-backs it was always a question of when, rather than if, Moyes got a chance with a Premiership club. He was reported as saying: "I want to be involved with clubs that win championships, are involved in Europe, and maybe even a national team. I want to get to the very top." With Everton, it seems he is well on the way to achieving all his goals.
The football-mad 20-year-old with a thirst to succeed
AS A 20-year-old, David Moyes packed his bags and headed for Cambridge following his £15,000 signing from Celtic. He went into digs with Andy Chapman and his wife Sharon and he stayed with them for his three years at the Abbey Stadium. Chapman remembers: "You couldn't hope to meet a nicer bloke. He was football-mad." The two were the same age and quickly became friends. Chapman started accompanying the young Scot to games regularly. He said: "Given the chance, David would go anywhere to watch a game. During pre-season we'd go to Norwich one day, to Tottenham the next. He'd want to go to non-League matches." Moyes also demonstrated an early interest in coaching. Chapman said: "He got his coaching badges at a very early age. "If a local team ever phoned Cambridge United to ask if a player could go and coach a session David would always jump at the chance. I used to go along with him and take part." But Moyes's sporting talent was not restricted to football, Chapman revealed: "We bunked on to a local golf course once and David managed to get a hole in one!" Moyes was not homesick: "He was always in contact with his family up in Scotland. "He was family-centred. Occasionally he would fly up for the weekend after matches."
Player with five million good reasons to be grateful
JON Macken is just one of many top players who owe a debt of thanks to David Moyes. The Mancunian was signed by Gary Peters for Preston North End for £250,000 at the age of 19. After four years under David Moyes' guidance, Macken left North End to sign for his boyhood heroes Manchester City for £5m. Moyes had still been a player when Macken first arrived. "He was still determined to do well but he was coming to the end of his career and was playing fewer and fewer games," Macken recalls. The 24-year-old adds: "When David Moyes took the job it was initially on a temporary basis, but he did very, very well. "As soon as he took over it was clear to us all that he was ambitious and he was desperate to succeed." Moyes set about transforming a historically great club languishing in the second division: "He was like a captain. We got very organised. We all knew what we should be doing. We were fighting for each other and he got us wanting to win for each other. "We were all happy to do extra training. He helped me for a good few hours after training. He did that for me and I appreciate it tremendously." Macken finds it hard to describe Moyes' style: "Most managers do have a go at the players. David was new to management but if he felt that people weren't doing their job he'd certainly let them know. "There were also times when we just weren't playing well and the quieter side of him would come out and he knew exactly how to encourage us. "David was at the centre of the progress the club made. He was orchestrating it all and pulling the strings. He never stopped." Macken was not at all surprised with the Scot's Premiership move to Goodison Park. He said: "As soon as I got to Manchester City I told all of the other players that he was a great manager."
Who could the Blues face in Europe?
May 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will pray for the luck of the draw when the Champions League qualifying round is drawn this summer. Giants of the European game like Inter Milan, Ajax and both last season's finalists Porto and Monaco, are likely to be joined by minnows like Hafnarfjördur of Iceland, Sheriff of Moldova and Total Network Solutions from Wales in the competition's qualifying rounds. There are three qualifying stages, with England's representatives Manchester United and Everton only asked to enter the third and final round. While United are seeded, however, Everton, currently, are not. But that could change. A UEFA spokesman said today: "Because they are from England, Everton should be seeded for the third qualifying round. It does depend on who else qualifies but that is likely to be the case." With clubs like Inter and Ajax lurking, seeding could be vital for the Blues. With many European leagues still several weeks away from completing their programmes, the final list of qualifiers will not be known for some time. The draw for the third qualifying round will be made on Friday, July 29 and the qualifiers themselves will be played on August 9/10 and August 23/24.
As of last Friday, the clubs in the frame to qualify for the qualifying stages this summer were:
QUALIFYING ROUND 1
1 Anorthosis (Cyprus)
2 Gorica (Slovakia)
3 Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia)
4 Haka (Finland)
5 Hafnarfjördur (Iceland)
6 Shelbourne (Ireland)
7 Zrinjski (Bosnia)
8 Skonto (Latvia)
9 Sheriff (Moldova)
10 Kaunas (Lithuania)
11 Rabotnicki (Macedonia)
12 Dinamo Minsk (Belarussia)
13 Sliema (Malta)
14 Pyunik (Armenia)
15 Tirana (Albania)
16 Lev. Tallinn (Estonia)
17 Glentoran (N. Ireland)
18 TNS (Wales)
19 Dudelange (Luxembourg)
20 Karabakh (Azerbaijan)
21 HB (Faroe Islands)
22 Kairat (Kazakstan)
QUALIFYING ROUND 2
1 Galatasaray (Turkey)
2 Anderlecht (Belgium)
3 Rangers (Scotland)
4 Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
5 Lokomotiv Moskva (Russia)
6 Partizan (Serbia)
7 M. Haifa (Israel)
8 Steaua (Romania)
9 Brøndby (Den)
10 Rapid Wien (Aus)
11 CSKA Sofia (Bul)
12 Debrecen (Hun)
13 Vålerenga (Norway)
14 Hajduk Split (Croatia)
15 Thun (Swi)
16 Malmö (Swe)
17 Artmedia (Svk)
18 Anorthosis (Cyprus)
19 Gorica (Slo)
20 Dinamo Tbilisi (Geo)
21 Haka (Fin)
22 Hafnarfjördur (Iceland)
23 Shelbourne (Ireland)
24 Zrinjski (Bosnia)
25 Skonto (Latvia)
26 Sheriff (Moldova)
27 Kaunas (Lithuania)
28 Rabotnicki (Macedonia)
QUALIFYING ROUND 3
1 Man United (Eng)
2 Internazionale (Ita)
3 Porto (Portugal)
4 Celtic (Scotland)
5 Villarreal (Spain)
6 Stuttgart (Germany)
7 Monaco (France)
8 Ajax (Netherlands)
9 Galatasaray (Turkey)
10 Club Brugge (Belgium)
11 AEK Athens (Greece)
12 Anderlecht (Belgium)
13 Rangers (Scotland)
14 Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine)
15 Lokomotiv Moscow (Russia)
16 Rosenborg (Norway)
17 Sevilla (Spain)
18 Slavia Prague (Czech)
19 Basel (Switz)
20 Wisla (Poland)
21 Udinese (Italy)
22 Partizan (Serbia)
23 Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
24 Maccabi Haifa (Israel)
25 Everton (England)
26 Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
27 Brøndby (Denmark)
28 Rapid Wien (Austria)
29 CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)
30 Debrecen (Hungary)
31 Vålerenga (Norway)
32 Hajduk Split (Croatia)
Goodison legends toast new heroes
May 11 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON couldn't have timed it better. So soon after the club's current side booked a place in the Champions League to cap a remarkable season, Goodison played host to the last group of players to achieve the feat. To mark the 20th anniversary of the club's league title success of 1985 and their European Cup Winners Cup triumph the entire squad gathered for a celebratory dinner. And, not surprisingly, the most talked about subject of the evening was the success David Moyes and his players have achieved this season. Unlike Howard Kendall's allconquering heroes from 1985, Moyes' team will not be blocked from competing in the competition by a UEFA ban. Here some of the stars from '85 talk about this season's achievement and the side's prospects next year. Boss has upset odds on small budget ADRIAN HEATH has forged a successful career as one of the country's top coaches since hanging up his boots. That's why the diminutive striker - Everton's club-record signing at £800,000 when Howard Kendall signed him from Stoke in 1982 - is perfectly placed to gauge David Moyes' achievement this season. He said: "You could have named the top three at the start of the season, so Everton have won the league within the league. "Everybody knows the resources of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea put them ahead of everybody else. "But Moysey has upset the odds by winning the next league with a budget a fraction of the size of the likes of Newcastle and Liverpool. "The manager deserves every bit of praise he receives. Before the season you would have more bets that Everton would go down than end up where they have. "It is remarkable because of the size of the squad he has. The Premiership squads these days tend to be big, which gives managers the chance to ensure they always have fresh legs and plenty of options. "This season Everton have taken more points than all of those sides with so few players. "But now the summer should be all about numbers. The manager cannot expect to compete in the Premiership and Europe with that size of squad. "The extra revenue will be pumped back into the team and he will need that. I can't tell you how pleased I am for the manager and now people can start talking about Everton once again in the right context. "I know I am bias, but it is a magnificent club and it deserves to be up there with the best."
Great boost for the fans
'TRICKY' TREVOR Steven has backed David Moyes to bring the glory days back to Goodison. The scorer of the crucial third goal in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final triumph over Bayern Munich at Goodison knows all about being a hero of the fans. But he wants to pass on the baton to a new generation. He explained: "It is great for people to be able to reminisce about the great achievements of the past. "But it is always a bit sad in many ways that you have to celebrate the feats of the past. It is a timely that this anniversary coincides with what has happened this season and that has given the fans something current to celebrate, which is what we all want to see.
"I heard Derek Mountfield saying before that he wants to be remembered as playing for the second best Everton side in history. It is a good point. "I come to plenty of games at Goodison, although I am still based in Glasgow, and the key this season has been belief." Reds' success is big incentive
KEVIN RATCLIFFE, the skip-per of the greatest Everton team in history, points to Liverpool's Champions League success this season as proof the Blues should not be written off. He said: "We thought it was going to be too big an ask for Liverpool in the Champions League this season after they sneaked into fourth. But they have taken people by surprise this season; they have frustrated teams. "They have not won games with relative ease but they haven't conceded goals. When you do that and you are capable of nicking one then anything can happen. "If you are looking at the current team in terms of players, you can't really compare. But if you are looking at team spirit there are a lot of similarities. "The big thing for David Moyes is to go out and get quality to add to the side in the summer. "There is a nucleus there, but if he can bring in players to make it even better that is so important. "If they can show the same kind of defensive resolve in Europe as they have in the Premiership then they could surprise a lot of people. "Lee Carsley has played in virtually every game and he has done such a good job of protecting the defence."
Euro nights will be so special
EVERTON'S FA Cup success from 1995 provided an oasis of European football in an otherwise barren 20-year run for the club. That lack of regular European competition has led Paul Bracewell to conclude the famous Goodison roar will be Everton's secret weapon for next season's big European nights. He said: "Most supporters from 20 years ago will remember the Bayern Munich night as the highlight and that is the kind of thing the side have got to look forward to next season. "Players will tell you the supporters play a massive part today and it was no different in our day. That is why we have such an affinity with the place. "That Bayern night was special. We were 1-0 down at half time in the second leg, but in the second half those fans sucked the ball in. Nights like that are special and hopefully next season there will be a few more. "People of that era will no doubt remember what an experience it was. And David Moyes and his play-ers will be able to look back in 20 years' time and reflect on similar experiences. "They were fantastic times and playing in Europe is a great experience which I am sure all the staff and players are looking forward to. "With any successful team you need that team spirit which we had and which you can see in the current team. "I have been to a couple of games this season and been impressed with them. And I have spoken to a few people who were at Goodison on Saturday and they said it was like a throwback to the old days.
Blues lounge prices rocket
May 11 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
PRICES for lounge memberships at Everton FC will rocket next season. The club has unveiled a £750,000 renovation of the 10 corporate and fan suites at Goodison Park. Everton's chief executive Keith Wyness today told the ECHO he had reorganised the lounges to attract wealthier corporate customers and earn more for David Moyes to spend on players. But it means the cost of some memberships will rise by 300% and fans are unhappy with the increase. John Roberts, from Prenton, previously paid £900 for his season ticket and membership of the Alex Young suite. He was stunned to receive a letter from the club saying it will cost almost £2,500 next season. He said: "I know we desperately need to expand the team, but this is ridiculous. "I couldn't believe it when I opened the letter. It is no way to treat loyal fans, who have supported Everton for many years." Mr Wyness said existing fans should still be able to find something to suit their pocket. He said: "Since I came to Good-ison, I have worked very hard to streamline the business and ensure that every available penny goes to the manager. "We have had to trim a lot of fat from various sections of the club.
"Goodison is a very old stadium with a limited number of opportunities to make money, so we have got to make what facilities we already have work harder." The refurbishment will start in the next few weeks, organised by hospitality firm Sodexho. Among the changes, the Alex Young suite becomes an all-dining facility, the Joe Mercer suite will become a bar only and Legends will be renamed The People's Club. Mr Wyness added: "No doubt some of the fans will be shocked at the very high price increases. "But we have tried to balance that with offering them an alternative, which is better value for money and helps the club put more money into the squad."
What it will cost in 2005/06
Dixie Dean platinum suite - 5,405
Executive boxes - £4,465
Blues 100 - £3,760
Vice presidents' suite - 3,760
The 1878 suite - £3,525
Alex Young suite - £2,468
The Marquee - £1,939
Joe Mercer suite - £1,910
The Captain's Table - £1,763
The People's Club - £1,058
Kenwright support a key factor
May 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists Everton's success this season would not have been possible without the unflinching support of chairman Bill Kenwright. The Blues go to Highbury tonight already assured of a place in next season's Champions League. It is an astounding run of form which led Kenwright to proclaim that he would not swop his manager for any in Europe, including Chelsea's Jose Mourinho. Moyes' response was: "He may not want to swop me for Mourinho, but I might swop him for Abramovich!" But the Goodison boss was also eager to pay special thanks to the man who brought him to Everton from Preston and who supported him through the darkest days of last summer. "It is great to have a chairman who is so vocally appreciative of me," Moyes said. "Bill is the man who makes the decisions, who appoints the managers and who gives the money to bring the players in. "He has to take credit for what has happened because he is the man in charge of the club. He deserves so much praise. "He deserves credit for not panicking and for always being very level and steady. "We had to make hard decisions in the summer but all his decisions have been vindicated. "Everybody knows what a big supporter of the club he is and now he is getting a team around him which he feels will help Everton progress off the field."
'It's time to relax and enjoy it'
May 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has told his Everton heroes 'just go out and enjoy it now'. The Blues travel to Highbury tonight having already secured fourth place in the Premiership and a place in August's Champions League qualifiers. It means that Moyes and his players can savour the moment and play against Arsene Wenger's men freed from the intense pressure of achieving that goal. "For a long time we have been under an awful lot of pressure to remain in fourth place," Moyes told the ECHO. "It has been a good pressure compared with what we had to put up with last year but nevertheless our professional pride meant we were putting pressure on ourselves to stay up in fourth. "Now we can relax and enjoy it. We have earned that by the way we have played in the Premiership this season. "We will just go out and do the best we can. The players have given us everything they can so if they can give us a bit tonight and a bit on Sunday that would be great." Moyes has done his utmost in the last three months to try and ease the weight of expectation that was growing on the shoulders of his side as they maintained a grip on a top four berth they first occupied last September. But he admits now that the most intense pressure was coming from inside Goodison. He said: "I don't know how many times I did interviews and said I didn't want to talk about the Champions League because I felt it was better to say nothing. "But the players have seen it through and we were always striving for that goal, even if we weren't talking about it." "At no stage since September has one club ever gone above us into the top four. There were occasions when it went close, but that gave us hope. "Now, if we win our final two games, we could actually end up being seven or eight points ahead of the next team. That would make it look easy, but it has not been." Moyes will take his entire squad to Highbury tonight, but both Tim Cahill (back strain) and Tony Hibbert (knee) are set to miss out. However, 16-year-old striker James Vaughan is back in the squad after England's Under-17s were knocked out of the European Championships.
Wenger's Moyes tribute
May 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
LAST season's Manager of the Year entertains the boss he believes should inherit his mantle tonight.
Arsene Wenger, who guided Arsenal through a whole Premiership season unbeaten, believes David Moyes has pulled off an equally astonishing feat at Everton this season. "For me, what Everton have done is a miracle," he said. "After the first game of the season I thought they would go down and I felt sorry for them. "David Moyes is maybe the guy who deserves more reward than anyone else. You can be rewarded if you keep faith in the manager."
Statue may be next for legend 'Sir David'
May 11 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID going at it with the Goliaths of European Football . . . and we all know what happened then.
We've waited a long time for this moment and it was worth it. David Moyes is an absolute legend. Maintain this form and somebody had better build a statue of 'Sir David' next to Dixie. To the rest of the squad, we thank you for an incredible season. Hope to see the guys again next season wearing the royal blue and hungrier and more determined to show that this season is only a fraction of what is to come. Goliath, David and Co are back, so be afraid. Be very afraid.
Jack Davidson, Merseyside
A BIG thank you to David and the boys. You have made us all proud to be Blue again. Once a Blue always a Blue.
Paul Roberts, Liverpool
MAGNIFICENT achievement. Give the manager a knighthood. Everyone involved with the Goodison gladiators deserves great credit and they can look forward to a great adventure. Do we now get to miss the early rounds of the FA Cup and League Cup to ease the pressure on what could be a very big season. There will be a bigger squad available, but I am hoping that Davie Weir and Big Dunc are part of it. I have enjoyed every minute of the celebrations and can't wait for the start of the new campaign.
Phil Murphy, Merseyside
I'M on that much of a high, I'm nipping down to the beach to wrestle a shark or two. I'm in my 60th year as an Everton supporter. From the day Moyes took over, I had a gut feeling he was the man.
If Moyes can achieve this, the mind boggles at what he will do later.
Bill Fletcher, Australia
EVERTON'S transformation this season owes nothing to luck, but everything to good management and unrelenting effort from a squad of players who are better than many have given them credit for.
Andrew Hill, Birmingham
THANKS to all the players and staff at Everton.
A big shout needs to go out to everyone who gave their all from the stands. Not only the best side in the city, but also the best supporters in the land. Onwards and upwards for ever, Blues.
Garry Peters, Wigan
THANKS to Liverpool for generously allowing Everton to claim fourth place, according to Chris Bascombe. After the Carling Cup final defeat by Chelsea, I thought he took sour grapes to a new level and so it is comforting to know that he is equally as irritated by Everton's success this season. It is hard for Liverpudlians to accept that we have finished above them this season after promising to "reel us in " a couple of months ago.. They can make all the justifications they want, but it is a fact and the fair-minded will recognise Everton's achievement. As for Mr Bascombe, I look forward to a further dose of under-ripe Chardonnay on May 26.
Paul Bargery, Merseyside
What David Moyes has accomplished in one season - going from 17th place to fourth is bigger than going from fourth to Champions League winners. The board need to open the purse strings now. The team need at least £40m to strengthen and rebuild. Let's learn the lessons of the late Eighties when failure to rebuild that championship team led to declines that we are still faced with.
Alan Timothy, New York
WHAT a team. The way the players have reacted says all about the spirit of the club. Well done, Blues, not just for finishing fourth, but for showing the determination to prove so many wrong.
Brian Wardle, Southport
THIS is the close of a very wonderful season, more so than others because, apart from the true Blues, everyone wrote us off last August. I'm proud to be a member of the People's Club.
Don Jameson, Northampton
Gunners our dream date
May 11 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY says Everton could not have picked more suitable opposition for their first game since guaranteeing Champions League qualification. David Moyes' men travel to Arsenal for tonight's penultimate Premiership outing knowing they are guaranteed fourth, regardless of the outcome. But the mood around Goodison was dramatically different the last time the sides met in the league. That was on the opening day of the season, when a 4-1 drubbing by the Gunners was seen by many as confirmation that this was going to be a season of struggle for Everton. "It is ironic that it is Arsenal we are playing in our first game since guaranteeing fourth place," concedes the former Irish international. "When we were walking off the pitch on the opening day having been drummed 4-1 I wouldn't have thought we would have gone on to do this. "But we have done it, we deserve it and we have earned the pats on the back. "When people ask what was the crucial point of the season I always look back to that Crystal Palace game in August a week after the Arsenal defeat. We had been well beaten in the opening game and we were 1-0 down in that match at Selhurst Park. "Stubbsy had to clear off the line and then, before you know it, we are 3-1 up. It all went from there. "It feels good to have done it. We have been up there for so long but we have constantly been hearing people saying that we couldn't keep it up. "And so sometimes you start to question yourself, especially when you don't get a good result. "I am just glad now that it is in the bag and that we have got that fourth place. "Even though finishing fifth or sixth would have been a great achievement it would have been seen as us failing because we have been in the top four since September. "To know that we can go to Arsenal of all places without needing a result makes it special. It is a relief to know we have done it - and we did it at Goodison." It is of particular delight to Carsley, who has endured a number of seasons battling at the other end of the Premiership table in the last decade with both Blackburn and Coventry. He continues: "It means so much to me. I have experienced two relegations so obviously, this is my personal highlight, it is fantastic. I will be making sure people like Ossie and Tim (Cahill), who are both in their first season in the Premier League, know that it doesn't get much better than this, other than actually winning something. This is a big thing we have done." Carsley was at his home near Birmingham when he heard the result from Highbury. It was relayed to him by his son because the midfielder was simply too nervous to watch it for himself. Within a couple of hours he was back in Liverpool to join an impromptu gathering at, appropriately, Baby Blue on the Albert Dock. It was a night which illustrated everything that has made this season such a success. He explains: "It was a great night. Every single player was there and every member of staff. That typifies the spirit through the whole season - it has been about everybody, everybody has played a part. Even the lads who have not played many games have done their bit because it all started on the training ground. "We train like we play, we don't have any easy days, we train hard all the time. It only takes one or two of the lads to be sulking and it would spoil the atmosphere but we haven't got anybody like that in the club. "Now we have to maintain the spirit and momentum we have built because we haven't got any stars in this team. We haven't got one player who is going to score 25 goals and be head and shoulders above the rest of us, but what we have got is that great spirit. "That is what has got us where we are. It is not down to any one person. "I have heard people talk about me as the unsung hero, but the fact is the system we have played has suited us as a team and suited me. "It is a compliment to the gaffer that probably about 70% of the Premier League have actually started playing the same way as we do. Even Chelsea use some of the style - although they have got stars all through their team. They still play four at the back, having Makele sitting in and the rest get on with it. "It says a lot about the gaffer that he thought through what we could do with what we had and it has paid off very well." Now the players must deal with the demands of Europe as well as the Premiership. But Carsley has faith in Everton's unique approach paying dividends. "If a foreign team is going to come to Goodison we will set about them the way we have done in the league and they won't know what has hit them," he insists. "Right now our confidence is very high and I can't see why we won't be going into the new season with the same attitude. "Obviously we have got to enjoy this moment but we have one eye on next season as well." The other eye is on tonight's contest at Highbury. And regardless of the outcome this time around, Everton have made their point.
Arsenal 7, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Highbury, Daily Post
May 12 2005
FOUR days after leading Everton on a lap of honour that finally meant something and three since stamping the unlikeliest ticket into the Champions League David Moyes forced his players into a public apology at Arsenal last night. Only at Everton. A mere 80 hours on from confirming their first participation in the European Cup for 35 years the same group of players slumped to the heaviest margin of defeat for 56 years. Only at Everton. It needed something extraordinary to bring Moyes's men back down to earth so soon after qualifying for the unchartered waters of the Champions League. Again, only Everton could cover themselves in ignominy this quickly. A season that began with annihilation by Arsenal back on August 15 saw the penultimate game finish in the same fashion.
Thank heavens the campaign turned full circle in between. Even the chants of "Champions League, we're having a laugh" that Evertonians have embraced as their own since Saturday's defeat of Newcastle fell silent last night as rampant Arsenal embarrassed and destroyed their socalled European Cup cousins. Moyes, so proud of his team's remarkable achievement throughout this campaign, looked a broken man as he made the briefest but most revealing of press conferences at Highbury. A few terse words, but an episode never to be forgotten. Before kick-off Arsene Wenger admitted he felt nothing but sympathy for Everton after the opening game of the season. He has a funny way of showing it. Even the beach balls and cardboard European Cups that coloured the away end in the first half were flat and torn by the end. "When we played them in the first game I thought they were real candidates to go down. I spoke to David Moyes afterwards and I offered to help them by giving them a player on loan if they needed one," revealed the Arsenal manager. How they have transformed is fantastic, a great achievement. They lost Wayne Rooney and then Thomas Gravesen but every time you make them bleed they resurrect themselves." They bled last night all right. And this time there was no resurrection. With mission accomplished and the pressure of an extraordinary campaign finally off Everton, for once, could enjoy an endof-season fixture with nothing at stake. Well, that was the plan at least. There has been an end-of-term air around Bellefield since fourth place was secured on Sunday and with some justification. But even professional pride should have been enough to combat an out-come as embarrassing as this.
The feeling that this was the first friendly of the summer was reflected in Moyes's line-up, where James Beattie was recalled as a lone striker, James McFadden started for the first time since February and Richard Wright replaced the absent Nigel Martyn against his former club. Moyes's biggest luxury was giving the outstanding but bruised Tim Cahill a well-earned break. Not only did his niggling back injury get the night off, but with a Confederations Cup still to come for the Australian this summer Cahill needs all the rest he can get before next season. His goals and tenacity are crucial to Everton, as last night served to illustrate in his absence. Despite Wenger's earlier sympathy for Everton and automatic entry into the Champions League via second place secure there was no such let-up from Arsenal. The only showpiece aspect of their display came from Dennis Bergkamp, who may well have played his last game at Highbury due to contractual problems with the Arsenal hierarchy. Regardless of his dispute, and perhaps because of it, the Dutch artist delivered a masterful performance in the Arsenal attack, linking and instigating every flowing move and picking holes in the visiting rearguard without appearing to look. So commanding was the veteran striker, the result was a formality after only 11 minutes. In the eighth minute, and after Mikel Arteta had side-footed the first real chance of the game straight at Jens Lehmann, Edu seized on a loose ball by Steve Watson and gave Bergkamp the opportunity to run at a terrified defence. Using Edu as a decoy he threaded the ball between centrehalves David Weir and Joseph Yobo and Robin Van Persie ghosted into space to beat Wright with ease. A trademark Arsenal goal, but alas not the last. Three minutes later Bergkamp released Jose Antonio Reyes down the left with a sublime pass. The Everton defence appeared to escape when the Spaniard's cross rolled behind them all, but only to Robert Pires who forced a fine stop from Wright from 18 yards and then reacted quickest to the rebound to beat the stranded keeper with a header off the underside of the bar. Van Persie and Patrick Vieira both went close as the exhibition continued, before a stunning one-touch move in the 36th minute dissected Everton yet again. Bergkamp inevitably started the move, Edu took over, found Van Persie, who found Bergkamp who in turn put Vieira with a delicate touch. An exquisite chip over Wright provided the appropriate finish. Back in August Moyes found solace in the Arsenal annihilation by reasoning that no team could live with the then reigning and unbeaten champions on the form they showed at Goodison. He was able to present a similar case last night. Against Liverpool on Sunday the Gunners ensured Everton of fourth place with an awesome first half display. Their benevolence towards Moyes's men ended there. Arsenal may lack the consistency that swept Chelsea to the title but there is no doubt that, on this form, they remain the finest footballing side in the land. Five minutes after the restart they added a fourth. Lauren and Bergkamp combined and with the aid of a deflection off Lee Carsley and Alessandro Pistone's decision to keep everyone onside, Thierry Henry released Pires for a simple finish. Four down, and still 40 minutes to play. Nothing can detract or deflate Everton's sense of achievement in deservedly finishing above the moneyed elite this season, but this was a gruelling exercise in torture nevertheless. In the 70th minute Henry, given a cup final warm-up, played for and won a penalty for Arsenal's fifth when he deliberately chipped the ball onto Carsley's arm and referee Alan Wiley answered his intentions by pointing to the spot. Edu, on his last Highbury outing, converted. Everton by now were completely demoralised, as Arsenal's sixth showed. Reyes managed to beat Yobo in an aerial challenge and though Weir deflected Bergkamp's touch skywards towards his own area the striker was left to his own devices to convert through the legs of Wright. More ball-watching added to the embarrassment in the 85th minute when Reyes turned Henry's cross back into an admiring Everton area and substitute Mathieu Flamini slid in among the statues to convert the seventh.
The irony of the scoreline means that another defeat at Bolton on Sunday will see Moyes's side qualify for the Champions League with a minus goal difference. Only at Everton.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehmann; Lauren, Senderos, Campbell, Cole; Van Persie (Henry 46), Edu, Vieira (Flamini 46), Pires (Fabregas 64); Bergkamp, Reyes. Subs: Almunia, Toure.
BOOKINGS: Flamini, Campbell (fouls)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone; McFadden, Watson, Carsley, Arteta (Ferguson 74), Kilbane; Beattie (Bent 46). Subs: Stubbs, Plessis, Turner.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
NEXT GAME: Bolton v Everton, Premiership, Sunday 3pm
Moyes 'embarrassed' by heaviest loss in 56 years
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 12 2005
SHELL-SHOCKED David Moyes was left "totally embarrassed" last night as Everton's Champions League party came to an abrupt and excruciating end at Arsenal. Three days after celebrating entry into the Champions League Everton slumped to their heaviest defeat in 56 years as they were torn apart at Highbury. Manager Moyes ordered his players to issue a public apology for their abject performance to the sold-out away section on the final whistle. And though he refused to criticise his players on account of their remarkable achievement in clinching fourth place this season the Goodison manager could barely conceal his disgust in the post-match press conference. Moyes was visibly shaking as he walked into the Highbury press room 30 minutes after the heaviest defeat of his managerial reign. And with a trembling voice he said: "I am embarrassed by tonight's performance. It has been a great week for Everton Football Club and I have no criticism of the players. "But tonight as a manager I am totally embarrassed by what has happened. That is all I can say lads. Thank you." With that the Everton manager then left the room. Arsenal were three goals up by half time as Robin Van Persie, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira capped an electric home performance.
Moyes, who made several changes to his starting XI with fourth place safe, replaced James Beattie with Marcus Bent at the interval but looked on in horror as Arsenal strolled to the biggest Premiership victory since February 1999 and the largest win of Arsene Wenger's reign. Pires scored his second before Edu, man of the match Dennis Bergkamp and Mathieu Flamini completed a dreadful night for the Goodison club. Everton's record defeat stands at the 10-4 loss suffered at Tottenham in October 1958. But last night's defeat was their first by a seven-goal margin since Portsmouth inflicted a similar scoreline on them in September 1949. Meanwhile Dennis Bergkamp reiterated his desire to stay at Arsenal. The Dutchman said: "It was a special night. I've spent a long part of my career here and it is always on your mind so hopefully we can sort something out.
"We would like to sort it out as soon as possible. It is not the first time this has happened."
Asked if Bergkamp would be staying at High-bury, Wenger admitted: "Yes - if there is a referendum!
"I've made my decision. I'm under big pressure tonight but he's done extremely well. "We'll sit down before the end of the season - but I feel it will come out then. You have to be special to play at 36 at this level and he's super special. "He had a hand in the first three goals and created a few other chances. You don't meet a Dennis Bergkamp on the corner of every street. "We'll sit down together and come to a decision. Don't forget that he's 36 and you can't base your entire season around him as you can't say he will play 50 games," he said.
Everton defender insists he 'deserves better' deal
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 12 2005
VETERAN defender David Weir claims he "deserves better" than the new contract Everton have offered him. The Scotland international, 35, is one of seven players at Goodison Park who are out of contract in the summer and Weir believes his new contract should reflect his commitment. He said: "Nigel Martyn is the only one to have signed a new deal. The others, I believe, are in the same boat as myself. "I cannot speak for them, but I can for myself. I am not happy with what they have offered, to be honest. I think I deserve better. Throughout my career I have always turned up, ready to play, ready to do everything I can. "More than anything, including the money, there is a principle to be considered here. Making that kind of offer is questioning your entire motivation. It's saying, 'We are not sure about your commitment', and that is not reasonable, considering all that has gone before." "The manager has said he is keen to keep the majority of the boys. So we will see what happens. But I can't wait forever. I have to know what I am going to be doing next season, what kind of living I am going to be making. "I know through an intermediary Leeds will give me two years, which is an obvious attraction. I am 35 but feel as good as ever. I know that is a cliche among ageing players, but its absolutely true, because on the pitch nothing has changed." Moyes said: "The players who have been here have done great, we want them all to stay and we will be speaking to them in due course. There will not be a massive turnaround."
Everton ticket prices shock as fees rise 300%
By Deborah James Daily Post Staff
fans last night said they would be forced to give up their season ticket membership after it emerged lounge membership fees will rocket next season. The club has unveiled a £750,000 renovation of the 10 corporate and fan suites at Goodison Park. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said he had reorganised the lounges to attract wealthier corporate customers and earn more for David Moyes to spend on players. But it means the cost of some memberships will rise by 300% and fans are unhappy with the increase - despite the offer of a free glass of champagne and three course meal at each game in some suites. One fan who paid £983 for his season ticket and membership at the Alex Young suite - which has risen to £2,468 - said:: "I don't want a three-course meal at every game.
"The price doesn't even include the cost of European games or cup games from quarter finals onwards. It's ridiculous - they've had a whiff of success and they've sold out." John Roberts, from Prenton, said: "I know we desperately need to expand the team, but this is ridiculous. I couldn't believe it when I opened the letter. It is no way to treat loyal fans." The club's season tickets were also increased by around 7% to £529 for a main stand ticket, but Mr Wyness said the clubs 24,000 existing season ticket holders should still be able to find something to suit their pocket. He said: "Since I came to Goodison, I have worked very hard to streamline the business and ensure that every available penny goes to the manager. "We have had to trim a lot of fat from various sections of the club. "Goodison is a very old stadium with a limited number of opportunities to make money, so we have got to make what facilities we already have work harder." The refurbishment will start in the next few weeks, organised by hospitality firm Sodexho. Among the changes, the Alex Young Suite becomes an all-dining facility, the Joe Mercer Suite will become a bar only and Legends will be renamed The People's Club. Mr Wyness said: "No doubt some of the fans will be shocked at the very high price increases. But we have tried to balance that with offering them an alternative, which is better value for money and helps the club put more money into the squad." A spokesman added that the club had received no complaints.
Costs for 2005/06
Dixie Dean Platinum Suite £5,405
Executive boxes £4,465
Blues 100 £3,760
Vice presidents' Suite £3,760
The 1878 Suite £3,525
Alex Young Suite £2,468
The Marquee £1,939
Joe Mercer Suite £1,910
The Captain's Table £1,763
The People's Club £1,058
We feel betrayed, say fans forced to give up their seats HEALTH consultant Gill Jacklin and husband Bill, an insurance broker, have held seats in Everton's Alex Young Suite for the last fifteen years.
But the couple, both 54, last night said they are being forced to give up their seats because they cannot afford the £1,485 price hike. Mrs Jacklin, who runs her own business from home in Grassendale, south Liverpool, paid £983 last year but is now being asked to pay £2,468 - £4,936 for two. She said: "We feel completely betrayed by the club. We have supported it through thick and thin over the years, then they have one good season and look what happens - they are going after the big bucks. "They don't care about the bread and butter fans any more, they are doing this to get the corporate fans in and they are only interested while the club is doing well." Mrs Jacklin described the atmosphere in her box last Saturday as "like a funeral". She said: "It should have been a day for popping champagne corks. Instead everyone was saying it was nice to have known you, but we probably won't see you again. No-one can afford these prices. It's ridiculous."
Was Moyes's song rebirth of the Blues?
May 12 2005
In the final part of our two-day special, Alan Weston reports on how David Moyes has already earned his place in the Goodison record books WHEN the definitive account of Everton's astonishing 2004/5 season is written, one episode above all others might come to be seen as the turning point.
It was on a pre-season tour of America last year that some sing-song team-building took place which - in the light of the club's subsequent success and qualification for the Champions League - has now assumed legendary status. Manager David Moyes would not reveal what he sang in front of his players, other than to say "it might have been Irish". But, as well as singing, Moyes gave people the chance to speak. It had followed a disappointing, if not disastrous season, in which the team seemed to be returning to the bad old days of nail-biting relegation battles. He asked his backroom staff to tell him, plainly, what they thought had gone wrong. This, together with the team-building exercise, seemed to work wonders and the effect on Everton's performance and results this season has been dramatic. Mark O'Brien, Daily Post columnist and editor of the website whenskiesaregrey.com, said: "Moyes took a long, hard look at himself last summer. "The previous season was a learning experience for him. There had been problems with some of the players and there was also the circus surrounding Wayne Rooney. This season has been a lot happier. "I would have been reasonably happy just with staying up, although I never believed Everton would go down, as some pundits predicted. "But qualifying for the Champions League has exceeded our wildest expectations. "Everyone predicted we would drop away after such a strong start to the season. Although there were a few blips in the second half, no-one was good enough to catch us up." Moyes succeeded Walter Smith in March, 2002, with the express aim of halting the side's seemingly unstoppable slide towards relegation. O'Brien said: "When Moyes took over, we looked doomed. Then they beat Fulham in their very first game under his charge, and the difference was there for all to see. Everything just seemed a lot simpler, everyone knew what they were doing and worked hard to stay on the ball, and that kept us up. "After that, he had everyone behind him." The steady improvement continued in the next season - Everton's 100th in the top flight - with the team only just missing out on a UEFA Cup place. According to Mark: "You could see the Moyes effect and he had started to make his own mark on the team by then. They had moved on from survival football." A certain 16-year-old, Wayne Rooney, was also showing the kind of precocious talent that would soon make him a household name for his skills on the pitch, long before he was to become even more famous for his antics away from it. But all the progress made by the team under Moyes's direction was thrown into question during his second full season in charge. He had a number of run-ins with players over his attempts to instill discipline, professionalism and work ethic into a squad many considered to be over-paid and under-performing. Moyes seemed to be too driven, focused and ambitious for the comfort of many in the squad and the club. Last season's disharmony spilled into a summer of turmoil. Ten potential first-team players departed, with the board publicly and embarrassingly split between the chairman Bill Kenwright and the director Paul Gregg. The newly appointed chief executive Trevor Birch was exasperated by the squabbling and resigned. Wayne Rooney's acrimonious departure to Manchester United suggested that, after half a century of top-flight football, Everton's time might soon be up. In retrospect, the summer may have provided a necessary blood-letting. One of the players, Alan Stubbs, said: "There were a couple of meetings in pre-season and we cleared the air. "People weren't standing up and pointing fingers - we've got too much respect for each other for that - but everyone said where we thought things hadn't gone right, and the manager told us where he thought we were going wrong. "There was no shouting. It was a civilised conversation. "It made us think. We worked our socks off on pre-season in America and Austria, had some good nights out together, and it snowballed from there. Wayne's situation also made things a lot clearer. Bringing £27m into the club puts other decisions in a better light because, if you know you've got that money coming in, it's easier to take the club forward." Moyes added: "It was a coming together of a squad of players who were miserable about the way they'd performed last season. "As the manager, I was probably even more down. The team had to be more important than any one individual. It was about hard work, pulling together, and the confidence and self-belief followed. "What happened last year was a blip, not what we are achieving now." Former Everton title-winning midfielder Ian Snodin said: "If I'd had to put money on it, I'd have thought they were more likely to be playing in the Championship than in Europe next year, but I think the lads realised that this time could be make or break for quite a few of them." This season, Moyes appeared to relax his iron-fist style of management and decided to take a different approach. Although the departure of Rooney might have seemed a setback at the time, it was almost possible to detect a sense of relief in Everton's football that the boy wonder was no longer around. Mark O'Brien summed up: "The team is unrecognisably fitter, more organised and better prepared now. "From top to bottom, everyone knows what they should be doing. Even the ball boys are drilled to return the ball to the Everton players really quick." This season has been the one in which David Moyes appears to have rediscovered his inner idealism. He has demonstrated to the super-rich clubs around the Premiership that astute coaching and man management can take a club a long way after all. The renaissance of Everton is not only good news for its long-suffering fans - it is an encouragement to all clubs who have been in seemingly irreversible decline.
The player destined to be a manager PACKIE BONNER, the ex-Republic of Ireland keeper, played in goal for Celtic when David Moyes was trying to break into The Hoops' first team in the early 1980s.
Even then, Bonner says, Moyes stood out as a thoughtful footballer who looked destined to be a coach. "He was a scholar," said Bonner, who, with 80 Ireland appearances has won more international caps than any other Celtic player. "Young though he was, he was thoughtful about the game, and wasn't shy about voicing his opinions." Bonner said that coming up through the Celtic ranks instilled priceless habits in Moyes. He said: "You had to be a winner, and to think like a winner, to get the jersey. "As a young player, you learned that to be a Celtic player, you had to give it 120% on the field, and Davie certainly did that. "He also learned about the importance of discipline. The reserve coach then was a man named Frank Connor, and he was very much a man to insist on doing the right things on and off the pitch." Bonner, who was a part of the Republic of Ireland coaching set-up at the last World Cup, said that Everton's Lee Carsley was full of admiration for the way Moyes had brought a sense of purpose to the club. Bonner said: "I know from talking to Lee Carsley that the discipline is much greater. "There is fun, which is important, but with a purpose." Bonner said that Moyes's family was an important influence on his football education. His dad was a major figure in youth football in Glasgow. Bonner said: "From an early age he was influenced by his father, who was a youth coach, and he absorbed the importance of good coaching from him." The manager in Moyes's early days, legendary Celtic centre-half Billy McNeill, admired Moyes's whole-hearted approach to the game, but the tall defender never quite made the grade at Parkhead. Bonner said: "Davie was really a centre-half, but Billy played him out of position at right-back. I think Billy's thinking was that he had played at full-back himself before moving into the middle, and it had helped him. "One night we played away to Juventus (in September 1981) and Davie played right-back. They were some opposition, and it was some place to play if you didn't feel comfortable in your right position. But it was typical of Davie that he did OK." Celtic lost 2-0 against a Juventus team featuring five of the players who helped Italy win the World Cup the following summer. Bonner said: "I had seen enough of Davie to think that he could go on to be a very good manager one day. I'm glad to have been right."
Holiday wander was snow joke for Blues
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 12 2005
ONE of the most bizarre games I've ever attended was way back on New Year's Day 1979, when the title-chasing Blues visited Bolton's old ground Burnden Park. Everton had started the season with a 22-game unbeaten run. Unfortunately this was the season that Liverpool broke all sorts of records with their classic Dalglish and Souness-inspired outfit that broke all sorts of records. At this point though the Blues were neck-and-neck at the top and their season only started to unravel after the intervention of one of the coldest winters on record, leaving them with a hefty fixture backlog.
Wanderers had been promoted the previous summer and while they'd generally struggled, they boasted two of the league's leading goalscorers in Alan Gowling and the flamboyant Frank Worthington. In truth this game should never have even been considered as the snow continued to fall on a pitch already two or three inches deep in snow, however the ref thought otherwise and the only concession to the conditions was an orange ball and Bolton in their changed red strip. The 45 minutes that the beleagured public witnessed was in fact incident-packed with Bolton taking an early lead after Worthington capitalised on a Colin Todd slip. Bolton were soon reduced to 10 men when Peter Reid suffered a career-threatening injury after sliding into George Wood while chasing another through ball. At times the action was farcical as the ball wouldn't run truly and on occasions resembled a giant snowball. However the Blues did manage to put together one decent move before the break with Andy King releasing Trevor Ross for the equaliser. At the break, the official finally saw sense and brought proceedings to a halt, a decision that few could argue with though it meant that fans were unable to claim a refund on their wasted tickets.
Arsenal 7, Everton 0 (Echo)
May 12 2005 By Scott McLeod at Highbury
SO this is the price you pay for securing a top four finish with two games of the season remaining - suffering the club's heaviest defeat in 56 years. Last weekend was one of the finest Evertonians have experienced for a decade. When you are on such a remarkable high, it is a long way to fall. Last night Everton managed it - and then some. In the short term it is a result which has tarnished the club's remarkable feat of qualifying for the Champions League. But when the dust has settled, this result should be viewed in perspective. Everton went into this game having booked a place in the Champions League with two games to spare at the end of a season in which everybody had expected them to be involved in a relegation battle. But it doesn't make last night any less embarrassing - or any less difficult to come to terms with. The Blues eased off the gas after securing fourth spot. That was inevitable. But they did so against a group of players still battling for places in an FA Cup final line-up; against a team of players as good as anything in Europe. The result was hard to watch. This was car-crash football. What a way to bring four days of revelry to a close. The Blues were subjected to an attacking masterclass by Arsene Wenger's flamboyant outfit. Inevitably, there will be those who will use this result as evidence that Everton will be out of their depth when they enter Europe's elite competition in August. But such an argument is tosh. This was a Premiership contest minus the blood and the thunder which having something quantifiable to play for provides. What remained was an open, free-flowing contest. That is tantamount to suicide against a side as skilful and adept as Arsenal. And this morning those Everton players on the receiving end will have been nursing bad heads to compare with those they had 72 hours earlier. It was a result which brought obvious comparisons with the opening day drubbing at Goodison. This was as one-sided as that day. And yet, in so many other ways, this was a million miles from that game. The opening day was a hammer blow for an Everton side searching for the proof the relegation talk was, as they themselves believed, a long way wide of the mark. Wenger himself was so worried about Everton's Premiership fortunes after that game he offered Moyes the chance to take one of his hugely talented youngsters on loan. If they had played in the other 35 games as they have played against the Gunners, then his concern would have been wholly vindicated. So it is apt "Everton's season is the miracle of the season," said Arsene Wenger. "They lost Wayne Rooney before the start of the season and then Thomas Gravesen in January, but it looks like every time you make them bleed they resurrect themselves." It is an apt analogy. Moyes and his players have provided the kiss of life to one of English football's greatest clubs in the last nine months. This was akin to receiving a broken nose after stepping out of intensive care. But the most important result from Highbury actually came on Sunday afternoon - not last night.. Moyes' marathon men crossed the finishing line on their mammoth journey when the final whistle blew on Liverpool's defeat to Arsenal. Having finally been given a chance to stop for a breather, it was a big ask to expect the Blues' exhausted squad to don their running shoes with the same gusto for last night's short sprint. Of course, they should have done. And Arsenal were simply unforgiving when it came to dishing out the punishment. In the opening half the Blues enjoyed long periods of possession and were far more of an attacking threat than in their other two meetings against the Gunners this season combined. The recalled James McFadden performed admirably down the right and Steve Watson was displaying the kind of gusto which underlines why he deserves a contract extension. And yet Everton found themselves three down at the break. And it was deserved. The difference was the finishing. James Beattie, who was hauled off at half-time, and Mikel Arteta were presented with chances every bit as tantalising as those Arsenal produced. But they squandered them. By contrast, Arsenal were magnificent in the final third. Dennis Bergkamp was pulling the strings, first teeing up Robin Van Persie on seven minutes, then sending Jose Reyes scampering down the left three minutes later to square for Robert Pires to net at the second time of asking before producing a deft touch in the 37th minute to present Patrick Vieira with a straightforward finish. Richard Wright was not at fault for any of them. Indeed, in his first start since Nigel Martyn's return from injury at the start of February, he produced a number of acrobatic blocks and saves. And he was hugely unlucky not to deny Edu from the penalty spot 20 minutes from time, getting a hand to the effort but not enough weight behind it to push it around the post. It was a double blow for the Blues after the soft decision for the penalty - Lee Carsley punished for handling the ball after it was fired at him by Thierry Henry from pointblank range. Edu's was the fifth of the night, coming 20 minutes after Pires had added a second, and eight minutes before Bergkamp added a gut-wrenching sixth. It got even worse when former Everton target Mathieu Flamini netted a late seventh after the Gunners had exposed the Blues' statuesque defence. As each goal flew in the Blues looked increasingly incredulous. It was painful to watch. It was oh so cruel. All the more so because this was not the same Everton that has made a mockery of all those pre-season predictions. It has been a hell of a journey since the last league meeting against Arsenal. This result should not be allowed to overshadow how far the club has travelled on that journey.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Lehmann; Lauren, Campbell, Senderos, Cole; Pires (Fabregas 64), Edu, Vieira (Flamini 46), Reyes; Bergkamp, Van Persie (Henry 46). Not used: Almunia, Toure.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Pistone; McFadden, Watson, Carsley, Arteta (Ferguson 75), Kilbane; Beattie (Bent 46). Not used: Turner, Stubbs, Plessis.
REF: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Flamini, Campbell.
May 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Goodison star Tony Cottee urged upset Evertonians not to be too hard on their team - after the club's biggest defeat for 56 years at Highbury last night. Everton's one-time recordsigning - he turned down Arsenal in favour of the Blues in 1988 - was at Highbury last night as a summariser for Sky TV. And today Cottee said: "Sure, everyone is hurting this morning and rightly so. But I honestly didn't think Everton were that bad. I just thought Arsenal were absolutely fantastic. They were unreal. "Everton started well and probably had the better of the opening 10 minutes - then Arsenal scored and it was party-time. "I think there are ways of losing 7-0, and I have been involved with teams where absolutely everything has gone wrong and some players are perhaps not giving absolutely everything. But I don't think last night was that type of performance. "They didn't play very well, but the players worked hard, they gave 100 per cent, but Arsenal were just too good.
"But do me a favour, Everton are still in the Champions League next season! Would you rather go to Highbury, win 3-0 and finish mid-table? I don't think so." Cottee also had words of praise for the Blues fans who made the long midweek trip to the capital. "Everton's fans were magnificent," he added. "They got behind their team and about 200 of them stayed behind at the end to applaud Arsenal on their farewell lap which I thought showed real class."
Unhappy Moyes left red faced at shocker
May 12 2005 Liverpool Echo
AN emotional David Moyes spoke of his acute embarrassment after Everton's 7-0 hammering at Arsenal. It was the biggest victory by any side in the Premiership since 1997 and Everton's heaviest defeat since losing by the same margin at Portsmouth in 1949. It was enough to restrict the devastated Goodison chief to just a few words during his brief appearance in the post-match press conference. "I am embarrassed by tonight's performance," he admitted. "It has been a great week for Everton Football Club and I have no criticism of the players. "But tonight, as a manager, I am totally embarrassed by what has happened. This is all I can say lads. Thank you." Moyes must now pick his players up for Sunday's final game of the season at Bolton. The Blues are already guaranteed fourth place in the table, ironically thanks to Arsenal's 3-1 victory over Liverpool last weekend. Moyes gave a rare start to second choice goalkeeper Richard Wright last night, as well as winger James McFadden and £6m striker James Beattie. The former Southampton striker missed a chance to net his third goal for the Blues during the opening half and was replaced by Marcus Bent at half-time.
Sorry night that should be put into perspective
May 12 2005 ANALYSIS by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"GOOD season or not, that was an DISGRACE!" That was the first text message filed by a Blue who had walked out at half-time. "4 F*** SAKE" came another, then another, and another. For half an hour my mobile phone sounded like a Tesco supermarket checkout on Christmas Eve. Then silence. Which, I suspect, is the way most Evertonians will react to last night's High-bury horror. Immediate disgust, then a disappointed shrug and a sense of perspective No-one tried to compare the 7-0 slaying with the Blues' Manchester May blitz of 12 months ago, which was only right. While last night's result may have eclipsed the Manchester City mauling in its statistical scale, in truth it wasn't quite as bad. The City shambles came at the end of a tame, lack-lustre, unacceptable season - a campaign when the play-ers posted the lowest points total in the club's history, and seemed content to do so. The Arsenal annihilation came three days after every player had been out, quite right-ly, celebrating an heroic campaign - a season when they have equalled their highest points total in Premiership history, and ran their hearts out to do so. Of more appropriate contrast is the 4-1 beating the greatest squad of players Everton has ever boasted, suffered at relegation-threatened Coventry in 1985. It was quickly forgotten. The biggest regret is that the scoreline gives the snipers and the critics room to say 'told you so.' But told us what? That Everton have over-achieved this season? Rubbish. A win and a draw over Manchester United, the narrowest of defeats to Chelsea and a memorable Goodison victory over Liverpool suggests otherwise. It was Everton's misfortune that they ran into an Arsenal side at the top of their game and when when they were most vulnerable. It was their biggest defeat for 56 years, but a point at Bolton will represent their biggest points tally since 1988 - a happier statistic to take into the summer.
May 12 2005 Liverpool Echo
The fat lady has well and truly sung - the Blues are in the Champions League qualifiers - Ken Stewart
LAST night is best forgotten. I'm sure David Moyes' pride won't let them play the same way against Bolton. It was a huge thrill to be singing with 40,000 other Evertonians last Saturday. oping for a Champions League place has been at the forefront of everyone's mind for months and it was fantastic to finally seal fourth spot with two games left. But I still don't think it will really sink in until I hear the Champions League anthem played at Goodison! I was pleased to see Moyes say that he doesn't want any of the current squad to leave. And I hope contracts can be sorted soon for players like David Weir and Alan Stubbs, who deserve the opportunity to play in Europe after the effort they have put in this season. But it seems unfair to pick out individuals as the whole squad deserves praise.
HANNAH BARGERY, Widnes
EVERTON took their foot off the pedal last night, but looking at the bigger picture the result didn't really matter. She has bellowed out the opening verses and is well on her way. The fat lady has well and truly sung. We're in the Champions League qualifiers, NOT the Champions League. But just to have the chance is brilliant. Everton have been beautiful this season. You pinch yourself to make sure you are not dreaming but you always know you are not when you see a Kopite's face. Memories like the Liverpool, United and Villa games and Saturday's win will live long in the memory and, unlike two years ago, we have a reward and I can't wait. Moyes has done what every Evertonian has wanted for at least 15 years, got our pride back. Whatever else we get is just the icing on the cake.
KEN STEWART, St Helens
DESPITE the result at Arsenal last night, we have earned our place in the Champions League based on what we have achieved in the previous 36 games. All the Blues out there love every minute of it. I pray we can make it through the qualifying round and into the group stage. I would love to be able to go to the San Siro or the Nou Camp and watch Everton take on some of Europe's finest.
David Moyes should walk away with manager of the season - it would be a gross injustice if he doesn't. Anyone can win the league with unlimited funding - just ask Blackburn - but to take an already limited squad, lose players like Rooney and Gravesen and then finish fourth in the Premiership the season after finishing 17th is a major achievement. Finally a thank you to David Moyes and his team for restoring our pride.
STE DALEY, Speke
WHILE it was an embarrassing result at Highbury, it should not detract from what has been a season beyond our wildest dreams. Evertonians have become so attuned to the philosophy that if things can go wrong they probably will. That is why it was only when Fabregas scored Arsenal's third on Sunday that I finally accepted Goodison would host Champions League football next season. It is testament to David Moyes' achievement that next season's expectations will be for similar success rather than the relegation battle most expected this year. Liverpool's difficulties in consistently playing two games in a week should be a lesson in the value of having a squad deep in numbers and quality.
The manager must have the resources made available to guarantee any European success does not come at the expense of progress domestically.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Winger Van's the man for Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 13 2005
DAVID MOYES made his first transfer move of the summer last night when he held talks with Inter Milan over their Dutch international midfielder Andy van der Meyde. The Everton manager stepped up efforts to reinforce his Champions League squad by flying to Italy within hours of the 7-0 mauling by Arsenal. And, in a clear sign of his intent to land players before pre-season training begins in July, Moyes met Inter's technical director Gabriele Orali to discuss the signing of the former Ajax winger.
Van der Meyde is likely to cost around £4million if Everton follow up their interest in the 25-year-old, who had been linked with a move to Middlesbrough until Moyes stepped in with the lure of Champions League football. Everton had a £5m offer for van der Meyde rebuffed 12 months ago but are confident their first European campaign in a decade will sway the player now. Chelsea's Scott Parker, Tottenham's Simon Davies and three Italian-based midfielders - van der Meyde, his Inter team-mate Emre Belozoglu and Stephan Appiah of Juventus - have all been linked with summer switches to Goodison Park. Though Moyes's interest in Appiah is believed to have cooled he is a keen admirer of the Inter duo and former Galatasaray star and Turkish international Emre is sure to have also been discussed in Italy yesterday. Van der Meyde moved to the San Siro for £7m in 2003 but has struggled to hold down a regular place under coach Roberto Mancini, making 18 Serie A and six Champions League appearances this season. His agent admits the Dutchman, who can play on the left of mid-field or in attack, would welcome a move to the Premiership although personal terms are still to be finalised. Prior to Moyes's meeting in Milan agent Cheil Dekker said: "Everton were interested in Andy but I have heard nothing new yet. They would be attractive now they are in the Champions League but Andy would consider every club whether it be Everton, Spurs or Middlesbrough. "I think if Andy were to leave Italy he would like to go to England as the game would suit him as he has shown when he had played in the Champions League against English teams.
"There is interest in Andy but the problem is where do you go after Inter? And then there is the salary and contract." Moyes has around £30m to spend this summer, although that sum includes wages and contracts for the seven players able to leave Goodison Park on a free at the end of this season. The Everton manager will discuss the latest round of offers to the potential Bosman departures with the Goodison hierarchy after the season ends at Bolton on Sunday. And with Emre's representative Frank Schreider insisting he has had "extensive discussions" with Everton it is clear Moyes wants to move in the transfer market far quicker than in recent close seasons.
New blood needed
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
May 13 2005
New blood needed
EVERTON are "best of the rest" due to David Moyes and his team, full stop. To make the step up to challenge the top three Everton need five top players. Arsenal were brilliant on Wednesday and Everton appalling. The defeat could be a blessing in disguise as David will have learnt more about his team than from any previous victory. Let's get some real quality in during the close season. We will have money to spend.
Phil Harris, Northwich
YES it was an embarrassment but Arsenal were excellent and more to the point everything they tried came off (with a bit of luck they could have been six up by half-time against Liverpool last Sunday).
We could have been two-up in the first 15 minutes which would have put a different complexion on things. One bad game is not a disaster - remember the other 36 which have got us into the Champions League. Bolton on Sunday is a good time to restore the pride.
Y John (via e-mail)
EVERYBODY calm down and look at what really happened. An under-strength Everton went into the game with nothing to play for and expecting to find Arsenal with their minds on the FA Cup final.
Instead they stumbled into a meatgrinder. They found Arsenal players determined to play for their Cup final places, determined to draw some attention away from Chelsea and for some reason set on humiliating us, which they duly did. If that happened in a game with meaning I would be truly worried. But it happened in a game with symbolic meaning for only one side. The proper response is to turn it on against Bolton and a determination to avenge this defeat next season.
Peter Fearon, Liverpool
SO Moyes was embarrassed? Well I am really angry. Even though nothing to play for (contracts, pride?) it was still not good enough. Arsenal were really up for it, a number with something to prove, playing for contracts, a Cup final place. Arsenal are awesome. Not many would have lived with them. But, some Everton players, despite past service, are now too slow.
We need quicker ones.
Anne Grey, Liverpool
FOURTH place secured, so what did we expect playing an Arsenal side in their last home game? The worrying thing is that it could have been worse, but for some fine saves. We desperately need some cash, well about £20million, to build on our foundations, but not on another Beattie. If we don't get massive amounts of money Wednesday night could be the first of many embarrassing moments that we could suffer in the Champions League.
A Jay (via e-mail)
Thrashing shouldn't overshadow success
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 13 2005
THE worst thing about Wednesday night, apart from the seven goals, obviously, is that it detracts somewhat from an otherwise great week. Clinching fourth place in the Premiership, and therefore a crack at the Champions League, is a remarkable feat, especially with two games to spare. The Evertonians who travelled down to Highbury went for a bit of carnival atmosphere and a chance to show their appreciation for what has been achieved during this remarkable season. Arsenal are looking back to their best, so nobody really expected a great result from the Blues, but the manner and the severity of the thrashing that was administered went a bit beyond a joke. With nothing at stake in terms of league positions, the game was played like an exhibition. It surely came as little surprise to anyone that the Gunners had far more to exhibit. Asking Everton to play without hustling, harrying and giving 100% is like asking Arsene Wenger's team to play without passing and moving - it's a fundamental part of their game and the basis of this season's success. Some will say that it was a taste of what we have to expect in Europe next season, but for a start Everton will be taking those games far more seriously than this one. Another thing to bear in mind is that even on the Continent there are few sides who play with the same bewildering pace and fluidity of the Gunners. At times it looked like Everton's players were trying to mark the Red Arrows. Disappointing as Wednesday was though, or even embarrassing, to use David Moyes's own words, it shouldn't be allowed to overshadow the achievements of this season. Even ignoring the financial problems and other difficult situations that Moyes has had to overcome throughout the campaign, a top-four finish is fantastic. There are some youngsters who have never seen the Blues finish this high in the league before. A bit of a more dignified and professional approach to Sunday's game at the Reebok would still be a nice way to sign off though. Bolton are decent, but they're no Arsenal, and it would be satisfying for the fans, a little shell-shocked by Wednesday, to go there and see their team show just why they finished above the Trotters, and the majority of the top flight clubs, this season.
Blues boss out to land Inter pair
May 13 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has turned his focus towards bolstering his Everton ranks for the Champions League - flying to Milan to discuss the prospect of bringing Inter's Andy Van der Meyde and Emre to Merseyside. Both players have been long-term targets of the Blues, with Moyes earmarking Dutch winger Van der Meyde as a target before last summer's Euro 2004 finals. The Goodison chief had a £5m offer for the Inter winger turned down last summer. But with up to £15m now available to him for transfers, Moyes has renewed his interest. Left-sided Van der Meyde, 25, was signed from Ajax for £7m two years ago but has failed to earn a regular place in Roberto Mancini's side at the San Siro, making just 18 Serie A appearances this season. Turkish international Emre, 24, has also caught the manager's eye - with the player's agent admitting earlier this season that he had held "extensive discussions" with Everton. Both players have Champions League experience and would bolster Moyes' midfield options. He is believed to have met with Inter technical director Gabriele Orali to discuss Van der Meyde yesterday. Moyes has a shortlist of players which is believed to include long-term targets Scott Parker, Simon Davies and Juventus' Steven Appiah. Van der Meyde's agent Cheil Dekker said: "Everton were interested in Andy but I have had heard nothing new yet. "They would be attractive now they are in the Champions League but Andy would consider every club, whether it be Everton, Spurs or Middlesbrough. "I think if Andy were to leave Italy he would like to go to England as the game would suit him, as he has shown when he has played in the Champions League against English teams. "There is interest in Andy but the problem is where do you go after Inter? And then there is the salary and contract."
Blues fan is killed on his happiest day
May 13 2005 By Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIAN Michael Blake spent a dream night celebrating with his footballing heroes - then was killed in a car crash on his way home. The lifelong Blues fan was with play-ers in a Liverpool city centre bar after the win which clinched a European Champions League place. The 28-year-old chatted, danced and sang with the team as they marked their victory against Newcastle.
Six hours later, he was killed instantly in an horrific road crash. His devastated family and friends said he died on the happiest day of his life. Father Michael, 54, said: "Being with the players on his last day on earth was very fitting. He went out on a high. "We are all devastated. He will be so missed."
Mr Blake and his fellow Blues friends cheered themselves hoarse as they watched Everton play themselves into the top four. He was so confident Everton would finish there, he bet on it and won £200. A delighted Mr Blake and group of friends, including his childhood pal Martin Taverick, went for a few drinks in Liverpool city centre before ending up at Baby Cream at Albert Dock where they joined in with the team's after-match celebration party. They chatted with manager David Moyes, striker James Beattie and midfielder Steve Watson, danced with the team and join in a singsong.
Mr Blake called his sister Jenna then handed the phone over to Beattie for the pair to have a chat.
Mr Taverick, 23, of Kirkby, said: "We were on cloud nine when we saw the players. It was the best night ever. "I can't believe Michael is gone." Mr Blake reluctantly headed home to Newcastle about 2.30am on Sunday. His friend, who had not been drinking, drove but at 4.50am the car ploughed into the back of a lorry just 40 minutes away from their destination. Mr Blake was killed, his friend escaping with minor injuries. Mr Blake worked as a manager for a telecommunications company and lived in Newcastle, but was a regular visitor to his family home in Kirkby. He drove for hours to get to as many Everton games as he could. He would stand outside Goodison Park for hours before a match selling club scratchcards, which would entitle him and his sister Jenna, 21, to see the game.
Lifelong friend Tracy Fabiani, of Kirkby, said: "He lived for his team and he went out on a high."
David Moyes was devastated to hear about the tragedy. A club spokesman said: "Everton will do all we can to help Michael's family." It is hoped Mr Blake's funeral can be next Friday at St Joseph the Worker RC church, Southdene, Kirkby. Mourners will be invited to wear Everton scarves and their Blues kit as a tribute to Mr Blake. Everton FC have provided a signed football shirt and team photograph signed by all the players to be buried with Mr Blake.
Defiant Cahill beats the pain barrier
May 13 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE pain at Highbury on Wednesday night was entirely mental. But Tim Cahill has been pushing back the physical boundaries of the pain barrier this season to establish himself as Everton's undoubted player of the season. A debilitating knee problem - acquired courtesy of Jamie Redknapp's reckless lunge - ensured that Cahill limped through the season's opening months.
But he only missed one match, the Carling Cup tie against Preston when he still made it onto the pitch as a last minute substitute. Then with the season reaching a climax, another crude challenge - this time by Fulham's Papa Bouba Diop - saw the durable Aussie sustain an equally painful back injury. There were serious fears that he may not play again that season. But he went on an intensive short-term rehabilitation campaign that allowed manager David Moyes to name him in his side for the game against Newcastle United. Predictably, he scored. And just as predictably he preferred to focus on the pleasure he enjoyed that afternoon rather than the pain. "I can't describe what you go through when you score in the Premiership," he said. "There are pain barriers and you have to play through them because you don't want to miss games like that. "That is what playing at this level is all about and you want to play in the games. To be honest you forget the pain in your back as soon as you start playing." That attitude explains why Cahill is likely to be back in the Blues' starting line-up for Sunday's final match of the season at Bolton. "You know what kind of lad Tim is," said physio Mick Rathbone today. "I'm sure he'll want to be involved at Bolton." Cahill was rested by Moyes for Wednesday's game at Arsenal. Such has been his selflessness and his impact in his first Premier-ship season that perhaps it is just that he wasn't associated with such a humbling scoreline.
That points-clinching strike against Newcastle was his 10th of the season in the Premiership, just two short of Frank Lampard's haul for the champions. And he admitted that his 10th goal celebration for Everton wasn't far away from being a repeat of his first! Sent-off at Manchester City by the unforgiving Steve Bennett for briefly raising his shirt over his face, he subsequently won support from various footballing figures around the globe and the rule was then clarified to being that you would only be punished if you removed your shirt. But the excitement was so much for Cahill on Saturday, he said: "I can't describe what you go through when you score in the Premiership - I was on a yellow card against Newcastle and I even thought about taking my top off." Fortunately he resisted the temptation, and David Moyes will surely not resist the temptation to play him at the Reebok Stadium tomorrow. Lining up on the opposite side is likely to be Nigerian playmaker, Jay Jay Okocha - and while he looked on with a sense of awe on Wednesday as Arsenal demolished Everton 7-0 - he fears his own side may suffer the consequences. "It was a festival of football for a neutral fan," said Okocha, "but it might be a bad result for us because they won't like that to happen again.
" We just have to stay focused on our own game and try to give the fans something to cheer about.
"We are going into the game without any pressure. We just want to go and round off the season in a good way." The same goes for Everton, but whatever happens to Tim Cahill - he can already look back with pride on an outstanding first full season of Premiership football.
Arteta keen to finish on a high
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 14 2005
BLACK WEDNESDAY did not destroy or dismantle what Everton have achieved this season but it did force David Moyes to relive a nightmare Champions League qualification should have allowed him to forget. The Everton manager was rendered almost speechless at Highbury by the heaviest defeat of his managerial reign and the club's first seven-goal loss since 1949. Struggling to suppress his fury Moyes had been transported back 12 months to the City of Manchester Stadium, where a 5-1 capitulation on the final day presented a suitably inglorious end to an inglorious campaign. Comparisons with Manchester were inevitable at Arsenal but, given what had preceded it and what was at stake, completely futile. Unlike last season Everton have a second chance to prevent their manager brooding over an appalling result all summer. Moyes's men travel to Bolton tomorrow decimated by injuries but, as Mikel Arteta promises, squad size is the only aspect of this trip where they will be weaker than Wednesday. "We want a good result and a much better performance," insisted the Spanish midfielder. "We don't want to end the season with a bad taste in our mouths. We can't allow that. We can't go on our holidays thinking the last two games have been very poor. Arsenal played exceptionally well but we didn't give the level you need to give against a team as good as them. "We started well for 20 minutes. I had a chance and 'Beats' had a chance, but we didn't take them and then we conceded two easy goals. After their first three chances they were three goals up and that is the difference. If you let them play they will kill you and that is what they did to us." Arteta admits the Highbury humiliation highlighted how Everton have played to their strengths throughout their rise from 17th to fourth this season - and what can happen when they don't. He confesses: "I have been very angry since that game. We are not using any excuses, we are professionals and we should be doing our best in every game. Even if you are playing for nothing there is the honour of pulling on the shirt. "I couldn't believe what happened on Wednesday. We know that if we are not at 100% and not working hard for each other we are a normal team. But when we do our things properly we are a good team. That is the difference. "You can lose your image after only one game like that. I want to make amends for the manager and all the fans who were in London. We respect them and it must have been very hard for them to see the club lose like that. We need to do make amends for ourselves and the team but also for them. We need to forget about what happened on Wednesday and get it out of our minds by playing well at Bolton." The midweek embarrassment ensured talk of how Everton will struggle in the Champions League next season began before this one has even finished. Any judgement based on events at Arsenal, insists Arteta, is fundamentally flawed. "It has been a great achievement to qualify for the Champions League this season and we deserve it," he added.. "We have been in the top four all season and now we just need to get past the qualifying round. "We want that badly because the Champions League is an unbelievable competition to play in. Every week you play at the highest level against the best teams and that is what we want." Moyes shares the opinion that Everton have nothing to prove after their Champions League party was brought to a painful end. His team have fought long and hard for the right to take their place among the European elite next season and one defeat, no matter how awful, will not change the fact they deserve it. "It's not important to prove why we are in fourth place, because that has already been proved. It's as simple as that," said the Everton manager. "Football is full of twists and turns and just when you think you are getting quite good at it something like Wednesday happens. "I don't think we were coasting because the job was done but, let's be honest, the job was done. "One really poor game does not get in the way of the fact that we have had a great season. One really bad game isn't going to change my views and how we feel, so we move on to the next match." Everton face Bolton with serious doubts over record signing James Beattie, who has suffered a recurrence of the medial knee ligament injury that has blighted the end of his season. Scottish defender Gary Nay-smith had an ankle operation this week, while Leon Osman is still suffering from a knee problem. Arteta, also injured at Highbury, expects to recover from an ankle problem. Moyes is determined to move on from events at Highbury, although he admits to having trouble doing so. Only victory at The Reebok, you suspect, would lift the cloud. "No, I've not got over it," he said. "But we move on. At the start of the season we wanted to stay in the Premiership, we achieved that by Christmas. Then we wanted Champions League football and we have achieved that. "Arsenal played very well, they are a top side but I am interested only in Everton, not Arsenal. "I have learned plenty from my team all season, so one bad night isn't going to make all the good things we have done this season seem wrong. "We will regroup, get on and put it away. It has happened now, it's done. I don't know how the players have reacted, I have not seen them yet. "You don't like getting beaten like that, if it had been the first or the last game of the season it makes no difference. "It has still been a great end of season for us, who could ask for any more from these players? What they have had to do, how much they have given and how hard they have worked to be in the position they are in. "I am sure everybody was a bit more relaxed at the Arsenal game than we would normally have been, but nevertheless it shows how hard the players at Everton have worked to get the level of success they have had this season. "We are just happy we can finish the season off now knowing that whatever the outcome of the game, it doesn't alter our position in the table." He added: "The players have already signed off with something good, regardless, they couldn't have done much more than the home win over Newcastle last weekend. They signed off there, did their job and qualified for the Champions League. "Anything else we get from the players will be great, they have achieved all that has been asked of them this season.
"As for the Arsenal game, that's football for you, just when you think you are getting good at it, things happen that shows you to treat every game the same. Whatever match it is, reserve team or first team, they mean something. "It brings you back down to earth very quickly, but if people have watched us all season they will already have seen the real Everton. "It's still been a brilliant season for Everton, terrific. The best I have had for many a long year." An opinion shared by everyone at Goodison Park.
Arteta: I want to remain at Everton
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 14 2005
MIKEL ARTETA has told Everton he is prepared to reject Spanish advances and play a permanent part in next season's assault on the Champions League. The on-loan midfielder was instrumental in Everton's hold on fourth place following the loss of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid in January.
His polished performances have attracted interest from several clubs in recent months, with Espanyol keen to take the 23-year-old back to La Liga. Arteta, however, admits he has settled better than he imagined possible at Goodison Park. And now he hopes to figure alongside Inter Milan duo Andy van der Meyde and Emre in David Moyes's rebuilding plans this summer by clinching a £2.8m move to Merseyside. Arteta, who expects to recover from an ankle injury in time to face Bolton tomorrow, said; "I don't want to think about other teams. I am still at Everton and my priority is to stay with Everton if they want me. I don't know what is happening for sure yet but I do want to stay.
"It can be very difficult to settle in at a new club when you arrive in January. The lads have played together all season and they know each other much better than they know you. But once I felt better from my injury I started playing better and it has gone well ever since then. "That helps a lot and now the Champions League is a big motivation to stay as well." Everton paid £1m to sign the former Barcelona and Glasgow Rangers midfielder on a six-month contract from Real Sociedad in January. As part of that initial deal they have an option to secure his services for an extra £1.8m.
And though there are several issues to be resolved Arteta has made his position clear ahead of end-of-season talks with the Goodison hierarchy. "I haven't spoken with the manager yet and first of all I want to know what he thinks," he added.. "We will speak soon and I will say I want to stay. I am very happy at Everton, I feel comfortable with the people, the club and my teammates and I cannot find a reason not to stay. "In football though you don't always get what you want, I know that. I still have a very long contract in Spain and I am not sure how that will sort itself out. "I have three more years with Real Sociedad with the option of another two, a pretty long time! "So there are a lot of things to be resolved, it doesn't just depend on me. Everton have to say that they want to keep me and they have to agree a fee with Sociedad. "I have heard they might have a date to agree a date by, but I am not sure."
Bolton 3, Everton 2 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at The Reebok Stadium, Daily Post
May 16 2005
SO the bubble has finally burst. But it is always safer to peter out with nowhere left to fall. For nine months Everton have been expected to succumb to the lame defeats and worrying collapses that would cost them a ticket to Europe or, to use the language of the spoiled elite, put them in their place. The fact two arrived in the final week may have caused David Moyes more concern than he thought possible as he sipped champagne in his Val Doonican cardigan last Sunday, but the fact they made no difference whatsoever to Everton's position illustrates the miracle they have delivered this season. The champagne was still flowing at Everton last night, even after losing to 10-man Bolton in an end-of-season encounter more blood and thunder than tea and biscuits. It was a defeat that will have raised more doubts for the Everton hierarchy, particularly over the contract offers to the 'Bosman seven' and the team's ability to withstand pressure from teams who will be even more desperate to beat them next season. But Everton needed a reaction to events at Arsenal more than they required three points at The Reebok and in that respect they did salvage their reputations, for all the anger of an avoidable defeat. The Highbury humiliation tarnished what should have been a momentous week for Everton, and perhaps explained why there were a few empty seats dotted around the sold-out away section. The spirited response, if not result, ensured the finale can be swiftly forgotten and the celebrations resumed in earnest. With European competition assured for both clubs, the only sense of occasion came from Fernando Hierro, the Real Madrid legend who was making the final professional appearance of a glorious career at The Reebok. But this was no timid farewell to the campaign as Everton initially refused to bow to Bolton's robust approach. It was a route the home side took too literally as the game progressed. After a season in which he has encapsulated Everton's ability to exceed all expectations, Tim Cahill delivered a fitting finale, taking his tally for the season to 12 and showing the will to win that was conspicuous by his absence at Arsenal. Only eight minutes had elapsed when the visitors produced the start their season may not have required, but the club's morale did. Lee Carsley, Tony Hibbert and James McFadden combined down the right with the former eventually sending a looping cross towards Duncan Ferguson and Cahill on the edge of the six-yard box. Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen looked to have the danger covered when he emerged between the pair but he careered into Cahill, palmed the cross straight into the air and looked on aghast as the Australian midfielder reacted superbly to send the ball into the empty net with an overhead kick. From his first day as an Everton player, Cahill's attitude has shone through, and this was a deserved reward for a player who had pleaded with his manager to play after missing the midweek mauling with a back injury. Cahill wasn't the only one to show his true colours, however. El-Hadji Diouf was booked after only 16 minutes for dissent.
Everton's player of the season was also at the heart of the game's second key moment when, seconds before the interval, he received a punch in the back of the head from Bruno N'Gotty.
Any previous contact between the pair was minimal, certainly not enough to justify the centrehalf's outburst, but with play down the opposite end perhaps he thought he could lash out undetected. Not quite. The assistant's flag went up immediately and, after a quick word, referee Neale Barry promptly issued a red card. There was also a yellow for Cahill and a free-kick to Bolton, although why, no-one knows. Bolton were livid with the match official who, though weak throughout, had no choice but to dismiss N'Gotty for violent conduct. Indeed, Bolton were fortunate it wasn't their second dismissal of the match. Human battering ram Kevin Davies was booked in the 31st minute for a strong if not particularly vicious challenge on Kevin Kilbane. The reaction of several Everton players swayed the referee, and Stelios Giannakopoulos appeared to take retribution on Kilbane with an elbow from the subsequent free-kick. Yet there was no excuse for Davies seconds later when he clattered into the back of David Weir and escaped without even a word from the referee.
Inevitably the burly striker was a constant menace to the Everton defence thereafter, his aerial presence creating two decent openings for Diouf and one for Stelios before the break with Richard Wright equal to all three. Despite the regular bombardment into their box, the visitors coped admirably with Bolton's pressure in the first half. Which is why their second-half collapse against 10 men was so difficult for Moyes to fathom afterwards. Seven minutes after the restart, Hierro sent an inviting free-kick from the left towards the back post and Radhi Jaidi rose above the static Joseph Yobo and the floundering Wright to equalise. Eight minutes later, and from another left-wing cross, Stelios held off Weir on the penalty spot and teed up Davies for a weak shot from 12 yards that rolled into the bottom corner courtesy of a cruel deflection off the Scottish defender. The goal-rush was now in full flow and Everton, despite showing little threat until the belated arrival of James Vaughan, were level 60 seconds later. Substitute Leon Osman, who replaced the injured Cahill, showed good footwork on the edge of the area to open up space for a shot. Though his effort was scuffed, and Ferguson's even worse six yards out, the ball landed perfectly for Carsley to power the ball beyond Jaaskelainen. Carsley's strike brought a neat symmetry to Everton's season, having scored the first and last of their campaign, but sadly the midfielder finished his finest Goodison campaign on a stretcher after collapsing in agony with only four minutes remaining. By then Everton had also suffered the misery of conceding a third and ultimately fatal goal. Gary Speed threw himself at a Diouf corner to force a goalline block out of Wright, but with the Everton defence standing back and admiring Stelios reacted first to bundle the ball home from three yards. Bolton increased the tempo and aggression after the break but Everton failed to respond until it was too late. Despite facing 10 men for 45 minutes, a second striker only arrived to aid Ferguson with 11 to go. The improved finale brought some consolation for the travelling faithful, but it is the league table that provides the greatest comfort of all. Two away defeats and a goal difference of minus one is a poor climax to an extraordinary season, but the fact remains Everton are worthy of the final Champions League place. They are the fourth best team in the land this season and no excuses, theories or sniping from outside can alter that fact. Had the fears of last summer developed into a horrible reality then Everton would be spending this close season saddled with an additional £20million debt and staring into the abyss. Instead, they only have to worry about where their millions will go this summer and how to evade security at the San Siro if Inter Milan crop up in the Champions League qualifier. Enjoy the summer.
BOLTON (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Ben Haim, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Gardner; Okocha, Hierro (Candela 67), Speed; Giannakopoulos (Nolan 67), Davies, Diouf (O'Brien 82). Subs: Poole, Vaz Te.
BOOKINGS: Diouf (dissent) and Davies (foul).
SENDING-OFF: N'Gotty (violent conduct).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Wright; Hibbert (Vaughan 79), Yobo, Weir, Watson; Carsley; McFadden, Cahill (58), Arteta (Stubbs 71), Kilbane; Ferguson. Subs: Pistone, Martyn.
BOOKINGS: Cahill (ungentlemanly conduct).
REFEREE: Neale Barry
Allardyce salutes retiring Hierro
By Ken Gaunt, Daily Post
May 16 2005
BOLTON manager Sam Allardyce last night paid tribute to Fernando Hierro as the veteran secured a winning finale to a glittering career. Hierro, the former Spain and Real Madrid star, had a hand in the goal that sparked a marvellous fightback and prompted a 3-2 victory against Everton. In extraordinary scenes, Hierro, 37, was embraced by his teammates and given a rousing reception by the supporters, when he came off at the Reebok Stadium in the second half. Allardyce names his retained list this week but has failed in an attempt to keep the defender. Allardyce said: "I wish Fernando all the best in the future. "He has been immense in the back half of the season and even at 37 he is still one of the best in the world at what he has done. "Very few can match him and I am disappointed he has decided not to carry on." Bolton fought back after being a man down and a goal down at half-time. Defender Bruno N'Gotty was sent off by referee Neale Barry after clipping the back of the head of Tim Cahill, who had opened the scoring for Everton. While Allardyce had no quarrel about the decision to dismiss the Frenchman, he was angered Cahill had stayed on the pitch.
Instead he was handed a yellow card and the Bolton manager said: "He should have been sent down the tunnel as he threw the first one. "The only disappointing part of the day was that Bruno was sent off. "The rest of it was just what I wanted - a victory on the final day of the season."
Building blocks for the future
View from the stands by Mark Mckenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 16 2005
IS IT only Everton who could give its fans elation at claiming a Champions League place and yet still leave them with a flat feeling at the end of the season? In a carnival atmosphere similar to Goodison last Saturday, yesterday's defeat at 10-man Bolton was entirely deserved against a team who beat us at our own game with superior energy and work-rate. Has any other team finished fourth with a minus goal difference? The two dismal and lacklustre defeats of the campaign will leave the Southern press building us up as a major failure in Europe next term. It will be Moyes's job to encourage the players to confound the critics in a similar manner to this season, only at a higher level. To put it into context, the last two games have been akin to winning the lottery and then being whacked with two hefty parking fines within a week... it's still sickening but it does no real damage. While this season has been memorable for us all, for 2004-05 to have a monumental place in Everton history we need to use our qualification for the Champions League as a building block to sustained success, not simply as a one-off reward for a successful league campaign. By this, I'm not making the assertion that Everton should finish in the top four again next season. If Everton finish sixth next term, but with a larger, younger and better quality squad, then in a perverse way we'll be in a better situation than we are now. We've been blessed with many players such as Carsley, Weir, Stubbs, Kilbane, Bent etc giving us the best seasons of their careers. Will this be the rebirth of The People's Club or a false dawn? Only time will tell.
Blues brothers in Chilean get-together
By Graham Davies Daily Post Staff
May 16 2005
IT IS a tale of two Evertons. Fans of the Merseyside club travelled to Chile to meet supporters of their South American namesakes, CD Everton. Now they are trying to bring the two teams face to face in a tournament in time for Capital of Culture year. The trip to the Chilean resort of Vina del Mar was organised by the Ruleteros society, formed in Liverpool to forge links between the clubs.
Chairman Tony Heslop said: "We went over to cement links with the supporters, with whom we already had a good cyber relationship on our website. "We went to matches and got on famously with the fans. We also sent over 200 football shirts we had collected from fans in this country and gave them to the Chilean children to use in their junior league matches. "They couldn't have been more hospitable and welcoming, and the trip really whetted their appetites for coming over to England." The society attended several CD Everton matches and a Chilean international game. Members took part in an on-pitch presentation of an Everton shirt to Alvaro Ormeno, CD Everton's player of the year. They also presented a signed picture of Goodison Park, a gift from Everton's directors to the president of the Chilean club. Mr Heslop, a lecturer in Spanish at Southport College, said the next step was to set up a match between the two clubs. He added: "We have talked to both clubs, and we think it would be great for them to play each other in 2008 when the Capital of Culture celebrations are going on. "Alternatively, it is CD Everton's centenary year in 2009, and we've been told we would be very welcome to go over there for that." The Ruleteros society was founded by John Shearon in 2003. He had first come across the Chilean team in the 1970s while researching for his South American Studies degree. He was fascinated that the team had taken its name in homage to Everton, after the Merseyside club toured South America in 1909. The society now has 150 members and has produced a translated history of Everton, available on its website for fans of the club living in Spanish-speaking countries. The name Ruleteros, Spanish for roulette wheel, was used because of Vina del Mar's reputation as a gambling resort. Mr Heslop said: "I would say, because of the society, most Evertonians here now know about and are interested in the Chilean team."
* FOR more information on the society, visit www.ruleteros.com/
Everton lift top award after club's year of progress
Women's Football, Daily Post
May 16 2005
EVERTON LADIES have won the Nationwide Club of the Year Award 2005 at a ceremony at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London. The awards are the equivalent to the men's PFA awards and come after the club was beaten 1-0 by Charlton in the ladies FA Cup final a fortnight ago.
Everton Ladies manager Mo Marley said: "I think we have been awarded this because of the huge progress the club has made over the last 12 months. "From relegation situations in previous seasons, this year we have more than competed with the fashionable clubs, both on and off the field.
"The continuity of coaching staff and the continued development work at the Centre of Excellence has prepared our younger talented players for this big stage. "These youngsters, along with the quality of the international players we signed close-season, have displayed quality attacking football for the majority of the season. "The appointment of a women and girls' football development officer confirms the club's long-term commitments to women's and girls' football and the appointments of marketing and PR officers for the FA Cup final epitomises the standards that we have now set.
"We are now getting positive recognition for the good work we have done over the last few years, and this award is the icing on the cake," she added.
Ex-player on drugs charges
May 16 2005
A FORMER Everton FC player is due to reappear in court on Thursday after police seized millions of pounds worth of Class A drugs from his home. Mark Ward, 42, was arrested after a police raid recovered cocaine and crack cocaine with an estimated street value of £2.5m. Police also recovered drug making equipment from the player's Prescot home. The find came after a search warrant was exercised under the Misuse of Drugs Act last Thursday. Police seized 2.5kg of crack cocaine, 5kg of cocaine and 27kg of the mixing agent Benzocaine along with drugs paraphernalia including equipment to vacuum-pack quantities of substances. Ward faces two allegations of possessing cocaine and crack cocaine. In addition, he faces a further charge of being involved in the production of Class A drugs. He appeared before St Helens magistrates on Saturday and was remanded in custody to reappear before Knowsley magistrates on May 19. Ward started his professional football career with Everton as a teenage apprentice and rejoined the club during Howard Kendall's second spell in charge, playing 89 times. He won semi-professional honours for England as a rising name in the football world. During his career he also played for West Ham, Manchester City, Birmingham, Huddersfield and Wigan before retiring in 1997.
Bolton 3, Everton 2 (Echo)
May 16 2005 By Scott McLeod at The Reebok Stadium
THE encore may not have gone according to plan - but the main show was such a crowd pleaser that it barely matters. Everton's most successful Premiership season ended without the fireworks the Blues' travelling fans had hoped for at the Reebok yesterday. But they still stayed in their thousands to applaud David Moyes' battle-weary troops after an energy-sapping, blood and thunder final outing rounded off an energy-sapping, blood and thunder campaign. Yesterday was ferocious. There were a host of bookings, a glut of tasty challenges, one sending off and another player stretchered straight into the doctor's treatment room. Imagine what it would have been like had there been something significant riding on the outcome. Thankfully, the Blues' reward had already been earned. Because the last two games have been a battle too far for the Blues. They are games which have served to underline precisely what a magnificent achievement qualifying for the Champions League has been. Moyes has had to field walking wounded in virtually every match for the last six weeks, so thin are the Goodison ranks. Yesterday it was the turn of Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill to claw their way off the treatment table. Bolton won this game by virtue of extra stamina and fitness.
But that is because Everton's players have run themselves into the ground in recent weeks to attain what many believed what was the unattainable. Having secured fourth place with two games to go, the last seven days should have provided an opportunity for Evertonians to savour the achievement - and finishing above Liverpool. Instead, Wednesday's hammering served as a painful reminder of exactly how cruel football can be if you are not on top of your game. Yesterday the Blues set out to make amends. But they encountered a stubborn Bolton team unwilling to lie down. So what should have been a tepid, end-of-season encounter was anything but. Everton were the quickest out of the blocks, earning an early lead through Cahill. It was a great strike which set the tone for the day. An appetiser for a match befitting a season of faultless endeavour. If only the result had been equally satisfying. It was apt that the Aussie, who later aggravated his back injury, found the target.
He has been Everton's star of the season, he is the top scorer and he is the personification of Moyes' astute eye for a player (although the jury is still out on his most expensive acquisition to date).
Cahill's strike was an acrobatic overhead kick into the empty net after Jussi Jaaskelainen had dropped Lee Carsley's cross from the right. That came on eight minutes. It lit the fuse for what was to prove a fiery, engrossing encounter. These two sides deserve great credit for the way in which they have defied the odds by booking places in Europe. But it would be unfair to suggest they have both achieved their success by approaching games in the same manner. Yes, both teams are whole-hearted and boast a ravenous will to win. But Bolton seem far more willing to stretch the rules of the game to the very limit to achieve their goal. This kind of football is not what Moyes and his Everton side are about. Which is why they had to quickly come to terms with Bolton's 'robust' approach. The home side didn't take kindly to falling behind. And they made sure Everton's players received the bumps and bruises to prove it. If it was an approach intended to knock Everton out of their free-flowing stride, then to a certain extent it worked. The explosive incident which led to an hour of fireworks came on 31 minutes. Kevin Davies felled Kevin Kilbane with a raking challenge from behind deep inside Bolton's half. It sparked an angry response from a host of Everton players - and a booking for Davies. The animosity was inflamed by interference from Stelios, who seemed intent on winding Everton's players up. The message: beware of Greeks creating rifts.
In the five minutes that followed Kilbane was felled by a combined effort from Jaaskelainen and Stelios in the area, Davies blatantly shoved David Weir to the ground and also left a lasting impression on James McFadden. But referee Neale Barry opted not to take any action. Had he done so, he would have nipped in the bud the increasing over-exuberance from the home side. Instead, it spilled over a minute before the interval when Bruno N'Gotty was red-carded for cuffing Cahill over the back of the head. Being reduced to 10 men should have stemmed the flow of chances for the Trotters, who had been denied an equaliser three times at the end of the half by fine stops from Richard Wright. Instead, a wave of pressure from Bolton at the start of the second period resulted in a leveller and then a second. First Radhi Jaidi powered a header in from a Fernando Hierro centre on 52 minutes. And then on the hour they fluked the lead when a weak Davies effort took a wicked deflection off Weir and left Wright stranded. The Blues displayed the spirit which has been present all season when they restored the balance within two minutes, sub Leon Osman drilling a pass into the feet of Duncan Ferguson deep inside the Bolton area. His deft lay-off teed up Lee Carsley who thumped the ball high into the roof of the net. On so many occasions this season Everton have out-run their rivals, snatching late goals with their non-stop approach. Here, they were running on empty. And so when Stelios blasted home from close range after Tony Hibbert had produced a block on the line to deny Davies in the 66th minute, there was nothing left with which to come back for a second time. As a result, a campaign of highs ended on a low. But the real blow was not the score-line. It was the sight of Carsley being stretchered off six minutes from time with a serious knee injury. Nobody has earned a summer of rest and relaxation more than the tough-tackling midfielder.
Instead, he is facing a summer of recuperation. He doesn't deserve that. But Moyes will be counting his blessings that such an influential player was felled by injury minutes from the end of the final game and not at a more telling point of the campaign. That is the knife-edge Everton have been treading all season. One serious injury to a key player - the likes of Carsley, Cahill or Bent - and this season could have been very different. It has been remarkable. Far from undermining the achievement, the last week has served to enhance it.
BOLTON (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Ben Haim, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Gardner; Okocha, Hierro (Candela 67), Speed; Giannakopoulos (Nolan 67), Davies, Diouf (O'Brien 82). Subs: Poole, Vaz Te.
BOOKINGS: Diouf (dissent) and Davies (foul).
SENDING-OFF: N'Gotty (violent conduct).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Wright; Hibbert (Vaughan 79), Yobo, Weir, Watson; Carsley; McFadden, Cahill (58), Arteta (Stubbs 71), Kilbane; Ferguson. Subs: Pistone, Martyn.
BOOKINGS: Cahill (ungentlemanly conduct).
REFEREE: Neale Barry
Carsley in knee injury scare
May 16 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
FEARS Lee Carsley suffered a long-term cruciate knee injury in yesterday's final game of the season were today set to be allayed. But the 31-year-old midfielder is still facing six weeks of recuperation in order to be fit in time for the return to pre-season training in July after suffering a painful medial ligament injury. The former Irish international was stretchered off six minutes from the end of yesterday's 3-2 defeat at Bolton after twisting his knee. Club doctors were initially concerned the former Irish international had suffered a possible cruciate injury which could have sidelined beyond the start of the season and the club's Champions League qualifiers. But head physio Mick Rathbone today revealed the medical team are much more optimistic, with a scan this afternoon set to confirm the diagnosis. Rathbone told the ECHO: "It looked pretty serious at the time. He was in a lot of pain. "But we were able to reassess him late last night when he was more comfortable and we are now hopeful it is not as serious as first thought. "Our initial feeling is that he has sprained his medial ligaments. It is relatively serious but it is fortunate it is the last game of the season and he should have recovered for the start of pre-season." Carsley netted Everton's second goal in the 3-2 defeat to Bolton. The Blues ended the season in fourth place, securing a place in next season's Champions League qualifiers in August.
* THE League Managers' Association present their Manager of the Year award tonight, with David Moyes the favourite to receive the accolade. The award is voted for by the LMA's members from throughout the league.
We have won back our pride - Moyes
May 16 2005 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES insisted Everton could celebrate Champions League qualification with pride last night despite ending their remarkable campaign with a second successive defeat at Bolton. The Everton manager admitted he was satisfied with the response of his players to the midweek mauling at Arsenal. But that was not enough to prevent 10-man Bolton recovering from Tim Cahill's early opener and the dismissal of Bruno N'Gotty to inflict another defeat on his side at The Reebok.
Moyes, however, insists nothing can detract from Everton's ascent into fourth place this season or the achievement of their stunning transformation. "It was a good recovery from midweek, we got the response we wanted," he said. "Duncan Ferguson was ill before kick-off and we didn't know if he was going to be able to start even after the warm-up, then Tim Cahill picked up an injury almost straight away. "We were falling to bits but the lads carried on until the end. "It has been a brilliant season. I am sat here on the final day talking about being in the Champions League. It is a dream for me. It is a dream to take Everton into the Champions League and it should be for all of the players too. "What they have done this season is miraculous. We have got there with a very small squad and people questioned whether we had the quality to stay there, but the players have shown it in abundance this season. "It is difficult to give any more credit to the players but they deserve all they get. "We would have liked to have finished with a win, we should have done, but we won't dwell on it. We will have some champagne tonight and sing a few songs, and we might even sing that one about the Champions League!" Cahill gave Everton the lead with his 12th goal of the season and was involved in the 45th-minute incident that saw N'Gotty dismissed for striking the Australian international. "I don't have a problem with Bruno going but I do have a problem with Cahill not following him because he threw the first one. They both should have gone down the tunnel," said Bolton manager Sam Allardyce. Everton failed to take advantage of the extra man, however, and second-half goals from Radhi Jaidi, Kevin Davies and Stelios brought Bolton victory. Moyes explained: "We won plenty of headers in the first half but lost too many in the second. But I thought it was a good game. "We won 3-2 at Goodison, they beat us 3-2 here. It was a cracking game for the neutral with plenty of incident and ideal for the final game. "We didn't have to pick up anything at Arsenal or Bolton and I am pleased with the way the boys have performed over the season." Lee Carsley brought Everton level in the 62nd minute but left the stadium in agony after collapsing with a knee injury four minutes from time. "It seems Lee has got a bad medial knee ligament injury," said Moyes. "It doesn't look great but hopefully it doesn't appear to be a cruciate injury either."
Players and fans can be so proud
May 16 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
TWO defeats in four days have not tarnished the 'unbelievable feat' of qualifying for the Champions League. That was the message from Everton defender David Weir after the Blues completed their most successful league campaign for 17 years with a 3-2 defeat at Bolton. He said: "We are disappointed to have lost the game but I think we have to look at how we have performed over the whole season. We are fourth in the league and have qualified for the Champions League. We have got to be proud of that. "We have got a lot to be proud of as a group. We have been limited in numbers, were written off at the start of the season and nobody fancied us, but we have proved our critics wrong. "It is as good anything. We have won our league, that is the way you have got to look at it. "The top three teams are on a different level but we have finished above clubs like Liverpool, Newcastle and Middlesbrough - clubs with vast resources, big squads and quality players.
"That is an unbelievable feat. The players and the staff should be proud of it and I hope they get the recognition they deserve. "The fans should be proud of themselves as well. They have given us great backing all season. "Now we can sit back for a couple of weeks, look back at what we have achieved and enjoy that." Everton finished the season with 61 points, putting them three points ahead of Liverpool and Bolton. Weir was talking in the wake of a blood and thunder encounter at the Reebok which saw Bruno N'Gotty dismissed for violent conduct and Lee Carsley stretchered off with a knee ligament injury. It may have been unexpected from two sides with nothing but pride to play for.
But Weir points out that such competitiveness was inevitable from two teams that have defied the odds this term. He added: "It is always going to be competitive because there is always something at stake. As professionals you have got to give your all and over the course of the season we have done that. "I think there is an element of having peaked for last weekend. The job was done.
"And of course ideally we would rather have put the icing on the cake. But having said that, it gives us something to start afresh from. "Until they scored we were controlling the game. But goals change games, and the sending off seemed to be a better thing for them than it was for us. It spurred them on."
Moyes puts two-week deadline on new deals
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 17 2005
EVERTON have given their potential Bosman departures two weeks to decide their Goodison futures after releasing four more players from their first-team pool yesterday. With the league campaign over and qualification for next season's Champions League assured Everton have made final contract offers to Leon Osman, Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone, Duncan Ferguson, Gary Naysmith, Alan Stubbs and David Weir. While some players have been offered improved terms others are believed to have been offered the same deals they rejected earlier this season. But all have been asked for a final decision on their Everton careers by early June as David Moyes plans ahead for next season's European campaign. The Everton manager is keen for every contract dispute to be resolved as quickly as possible so that he can finalise transfer plans ahead of pre-season training. Goodison officials are confident most of the seven will accept the terms and a shot at the Champions League, with Duncan Ferguson expected to sign a one-year pay-asyou-play deal. Alessandro Pistone, however, may have played his last game for the club after being offered a contract Everton are unlikely to match by Serie A side Lecce. Steve Watson was the only player out of contract this summer not to have been offered a new deal during the last league campaign. But last night chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed: "Negoti-ations are continuing with those players whose contracts expire during the close season. "Offers have now been made to all of them and we hope to have a resolution on the matters shortly." Everton have earned a minimum £12,295,000 on the back of this season's ascent, with £8,075,000 acquired for fourth place and £4,220,000 raised through appearances on Sky TV. Moyes, who has also been linked with Reading's Steve Sidwell, is keen to bring Dutch midfielder Andy van der Meyde to Goodison Park from Inter Milan. But, contrary to weekend reports, he is not pursuing AC Milan defender Dario Simic or Lens striker Olivier Thomert. The Everton manager, meanwhile, has decided not to offer extended contracts to four first team professionals next season. Eddy Bosnar, signed on a free transfer from Sturm Graz last summer, will not be retained after failing to make a Premiership squad this season while Guillaume Plessis, signed on a short-term deal from Lens in January, has also been released. Two Youth Academy graduates who have appeared on the bench for Everton this season - Anthony Gerrard and Daniel Fox - have also failed to make Moyes's retained list.
Gravesen glad old mates are in Europe
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 17 2005
THOMAS GRAVESEN has congratulated Everton on their Champions League qualification as his former midfield partner Lee Carsley faced up to a summer of injury anguish. The former Goodison favourite, who quit Everton for Spanish giants Real Madrid in January, was delighted to see David Moyes's men land a top-four finish. They will go into the Champions League third qualifying round in August, with a place in the lucrative group stages only a victory away. Everton's season ended disappointingly with a 3-2 loss at Bolton, a game which Carsley finished on crutches. He will need six weeks of rehabilitation before returning for the pre-season build-up after a scan confirmed medial knee ligamant damage. Carsley was injured six minutes from the end of Everton's season, soon after scoring his fourth goal of the campaign, but should be fit for European duty in three months' time..
Madrid are also heading for the Champions League as the second-placed team in Spain, and Gravesen is delighted to have played a part in both clubs' seasons. Of Everton's success, Gravesen said: "I am so happy that they have qualified for the Champions League. "What I experienced at Everton I will never forget. I had a really good relationship with everyone there. "When the transfer came up there were arguments and David Moyes made it clear he wanted me to stay but they accepted that a chance like this comes once in a lifetime. "The manager was reasonably fair to me and I played with open cards; it was quite gentle-manly." Gravesen was quick to praise the team spirit and togetherness which inspired Everton to their best league finish since 1988. This season was also the first in which they had finished above Liverpool since 1987, when Everton last won the old First Division title. Gravesen added: "The secret of Everton's success is time. "They are skilful committed players and they really know each other, they have been together for years. "If you get a golf club and hit the ball a million times, in the end you will hit it far better than in the beginning. If you are together for five years, you will be better in the end than in the beginning. "I don't know if Everton had the patience or they just didn't have money. Perhaps that was a lucky omen, they didn't change things and now look." The Madrid midfielder, a key part of Real's belated improvement in La Liga since January, also reserved special praise for the supporters he left behind on Merseyside and insisted he could not play for another English club. "The Everton fans are a special breed who have a really strong relationship with the club," admitted Gravesen.. "That is why I prefer to play for one club in each country, because there's so much rivalry. I think it is more appropriate to move away from the country entirely, so you're not in their faces. "Everton fans are amazing, they used to roar my name. For a foreign player, that is special. "We went to Anderlecht once (for a friendly) and you should have seen how many travelled. I am delighted they are now in the Champions League."
Moyes's generation backed by past masters
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 17 2005
MOYES has finally bridged the gap between the Everton heroes who were robbed of European combat and the new generation who have put the club back among the elite. Two decades ago Everton were champions but were denied the chance to compete in the European Cup because of the ban that followed the Heysel tragedy. Players were left unful-filled and manager Howard Kendall eventually quit to manage in Spain. It has taken Everton 20 years to overcome that blow to the club's future. Now the Kendall and defender Dave Watson - the last man to skipper Everton in European action 10 years ago - have hailed the new regime of Moyes. Kendall is Everton's most successful manager and he says of the triumph: "David went through a nightmare season last term and people where talking about Everton possibly being relegated. But he survived that, he has come through it and has learned. Everton have reaped the rewards since then. "It was all doom and gloom before the season started. But it has been a magnificent season." Watson was the last man to skipper Everton in Europe in the 1995-96 Cup Winners' Cup campaign and he also hailed the new brigade. He said: "David (Moyes) and the players deserve all the credit in the world. It is a phenomenal achievement to qualify for the Champions League 12 months after finishing fourth bottom. "He has done an unbelievable job. He has had the smallest squad in the Premiership and has got such a lot out of them. "They never lost focus and they responded to the knocks in the best possible way. The manager deserves all the praise he gets." He added: "There is so much to look forward to now. The prospect of playing the likes of Real Madrid at Goodison is great for the fans and I just hope they give a good account of ourselves."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
May 17 2005
I WOULD prefer to see more 'reliable and predictable' players arrive at the Goodison - Parker, Davies and Keane are always going to give you 100%. We've been burnt too many times in the past with talented but unmotivated, selfish players. The fact that we've done so well based purely on the spirit and work ethic of the playing group means we need to be very careful about who comes in.
Tom Griffiths (via e-mail)
Go for Emre
I THINK Emre would be a good signing. He has good vision, touch and that volatility that top players need (like Gerrard, Bergkamp, Zidane, Rivaldo). You can't push him around and not expect to get something back: be it a whack or a world-beating goal.
P Ark, Liverpool
Lucky so far
ONCE again a result shows how lucky Everton have been to gain fourth place, for we have only a very limited number of players with sufficient skill and pace to grace the Premiership. If David Moyes fails to recruit the right calibre of player before the commencement of the next season we could see tears. Regarding Europe, getting through the qualifying round will be a mountain to climb.
B Roger (via e-mail)
GREAT season - well done to everyone but it's now time to change seven or eight players if we are to be competitive in the Premiership never mind the Champions League. We know who they are and David Moyes will too. I'm sure he knows he can't possibly turn water into wine for another season. He's going to busy this summer!
Ian Kingston (via e-mail)
Moyes named coach of year
May 17 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today dedicated his Manager of the Year award to the players, staff and fans of Everton. The Goodison boss picked up the prestigious League Managers' Association award in Nottingham last night to become the first manager to win it twice, having received the same prize in 2003 following his first full season at Everton. But today he was eager to share the plaudits, telling the ECHO: "I have won this award but it is an award which should go to everybody at Everton.
"From where we started the season there were concerns about what may happen but I have to praise the players for how well they have performed, my back-room staff for their efforts and all the supporters who have been fantastic throughout the season. "Even last night people were talking to me about Everton's supporters and about how great it is to see Goodison reminiscent of years gone by." The LMA award can go to a manager from any division who is "deemed to have achieved the most - taking into consideration the resources available to him." Moyes has admitted he was surprised when the announcement came at last night's dinner. He added: "I thought Jose Mourinho was going to win it. So to get this award from my fellow managers is terrific. "I have a great appreciation of how difficult all football management jobs are and I think my fellow managers realised how difficult the Everton job looked last summer. "People were telling me last night what an incredible feat it is for Everton to be in the Champions League. They realised that there have been some teams who have finished below us who may have better players and better squads. "It has been a tough season. We were under a lot of pressure from March onwards when the gap between us and the sides below us was closing. We had to try and keep our nerve. "But I have just been doing my job. I don't feel I have done anything extraordinary. I am paid to get the best out of every player and to try and achieve the best results for the club. "I have a great staff around me. Alan Irvine is a terrific coach and a terrific teacher of football. "His passion is to try and improve players and we are both students of the game. We will always have good football discussions and we enjoy being in that environment. "Then I have Jimmy Lumsden, who is a football nut. I have known him for years and I trust both him and Alan explicitly. "We also have Andy Holden, who is not afraid to tell us if we are not getting it right. He gives us a realistic view of things, a balanced view." Meanwhile, Mourinho was today named as the Premiership's Manager of the Year, while former Everton striker Mike Newell was handed the LMA's award for League One after leading Luton to promotion.
He is our inspiration
May 17 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT paid tribute today to the boss he has already labelled his "miracle man."
The Blues' chairman, who brought Moyes to Goodison in March 2002, said: "Nobody is more thrilled than I am. I have always said and believed that David should be Manager of the Year. "He is extraordinarily committed, extraordinarily focused, extraordinarily driven and extraordinarily talented - all attributes that make up a great manager. "He is also a close friend and I couldn't be more proud of him and for him today. "He has turned negatives into positives and already written his own place in Everton's folklore. "He has been with us three seasons now. In his first season he almost got us into Europe, now he has taken us into the Champions League qualifiers - I always believed his second season was simply a blip." Moyes has turned a season where the Blues finished fourth from bottom of the Premiership, into a campaign which culminated in Champions League qualification - despite losing two of his most influential stars along the way. "We use words like 'unbelievable' and 'miraculous' about our past season," added Kenwright, "but then have to admit to ourselves that nothing is ever quite unbelievable when you have a manager with the talent, dedication, and determination of David Moyes. ”A real miracle man if ever there was one. He has consistently throughout the season turned negatives into positives. A small squad has become one of the closest units that Evertonians have ever seen pull on the beloved blue shirts. " They have responded to David's inspirational leadership and, to a man, have all ensured themselves a place in Everton's folklore. "There's little I can say about David Moyes that I haven't said before. He has been one of our greatest ever signings, and will, I believe, become one of the game's greatest managers.
"He is already that to Evertonians, but his own quest for perfection will only drive him on to greater achievements. "The man is the most extraordinary manager and man. He's a psychologist, a psychiatrist, he leaves no stone unturned. "He even told us how many points we would need to finish fourth weeks ago - and he was right! "Everything at the club has moved forward under him and it has been inspirational. "He and his players have given us the opportunity not only to challenge for European football's biggest honour but also once more to walk with a spring in our step and a smile on our faces."
Award is a sign of respect says Kendall
May 17 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
HOWARD Kendall says the LMA award shows the respect other managers have for David Moyes and his Everton side. Kendall was the last Blues boss to be named Manager of the Year before Moyes, collecting the Division One league honour in 1985 and 1987. "It's a respect David has certainly deserved from other managers," he said. "They appreciate the job he has done. It's a tremendous honour." LMA member Kendall confessed he voted for the Premiership-winning Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho ahead of Moyes, with Ipswich's Joe Royle as his third choice. However, he is delighted the Everton boss's achievements have been recognised by his peers. "The vote takes into account resources as well as results," added Kendall. "That's possibly why he has edged out Mourinho, who has had a vast amount of money to spend. "For him to edge out the Championship winner, whose team romped away with the title, is a tremendous achievement." Kendall praised the way Moyes turned Everton's fortunes around after the club flirted with relegation last season and endured a summer of upheaval. "There has been a tremendous spirit in the camp this season," he said. "There has not been one particularly outstanding player, they have all worked hard together. That is full credit to the manager and his backroom staff to get them all pulling together. "David will not have enjoyed last year, but he will certainly have enjoyed this season."
'LMA honour means most'
May 17 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Keith Wyness believes David Moyes' Manager of the Year award reflects his standing among his peers. Unlike the Premiership Manager of the Year title won by Jose Mourinho, the LMA award is voted for by the country's top bosses. Wyness told the ECHO: "Whenever an award comes from your peer group it means a lot more. "David will be thrilled that he has been recognised in this way. I am sure it was a surprise for him. "I spoke to the manager yesterday morning and he had no inkling it was going to happen. "This is the most valuable managerial award because it is voted for by your peers. They are best placed to judge what kind of job a manager has done because they understand it better than anyone else can. "It is nice to see that this award is confirming what we already knew at Everton - that David Moyes has had a fantastic season. It is fully deserved."
Weir: Out-of-contract stars all desperate to stay
May 17 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR insists all of Everton's out-of-contract players are eager to stay at Goodison. Representatives for the club's 'Bosman seven' are in negotiations with chief executive Keith Wyness this week over new contracts. Manager David Moyes has imposed a two week deadline to have the negotiations resolved as he is keen to press ahead with his summer building plans ahead of next season's Champions League adventure. But with no deals yet finalised, a host of clubs are waiting in the wings to swoop. The senior players out of contract are Alessandro Pistone, Alan Stubbs, Gary Naysmith, Duncan Ferguson, Steve Watson, Leon Osman and Weir. Weir told the ECHO: "If you asked any of the lads they would say they all want to stay. There is no secret about that. "All things being equal, we want to stay and nobody would contradict that. "I have really enjoyed my time here and hopefully everything can be sorted out, but if it isn't then we can leave with our heads held high.
"In an ideal world it would have been sorted out months ago but that is just the way football is nowadays. I will take it as it comes but I am more than happy to stay." All seven have been offered new terms but the stumbling block is believed to be the length of deals and, for some of the players, the fact they are being offered reduced terms. Moyes has already set about the task of earmarking his summer transfer targets. Players believed to be on the club's wanted list include Chelsea's Scott Parker, the Tottenham duo of Robbie Keane and Simon Davies and Inter's Emre and Andy Van der Meyde. Everton are also expected to turn Mikel Arteta's loan into a permanent deal from Real Sociedad for £2.6m. The club have released French midfielder Guillaume Plessis, who was signed on a six month trial in January, and Australian defender Eddy Bosnar. Teenagers Anthony Gerrard and Daniel Fox have also been told their contracts will not be renewed after one year as professionals with the club. Of the seven out-of-contract players offered new terms, Gary Naysmith and David Weir have attracted interest from Leeds, Alan Stubbs has been earmarked by Bolton boss Sam Allardyce, Portsmouth have been linked with Leon Osman, who turns 24 today, Alessandro Pistone is believed to have been offered a lucrative deal by Lecce to return to Italy and Wigan have a reported interest in Steve Watson. Duncan Ferguson is also in negotiations over a new deal and it is believed that a one year extension heavily weighted towards appearance and goal related bonuses will tempt the Scot.
I feared the drop, admits manager
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 18 2005
DAVID MOYES has admitted he feared Everton would be condemned to another relegation battle by the turbulent events of last summer. Everton's transformation from relegation candidates to Champions League qualifiers was capped on Monday night when Moyes was named the League Managers' Association Manager of the Year. It is the second time Moyes has collected the award having won the LMA vote at the end of his debut Premiership season in 2003. But Moyes, who beat title-winning Jose Mourinho to the honour and is the first coach to net the prize twice, confessed he was among those who saw the spectre of relegation over Goodison when the campaign began.
"At the start of the season I was thinking to myself, 'How can we avoid relegation?'" said Moyes.
"Then we lost our best player when Wayne Rooney left for Manchester United. A year ago, I was just relieved to have escaped relegation, so it's amazing how football can turn-around. "Last year I came to the (LMA) dinner when we had just avoided relegation thinking 'Thank goodness'. It was a great feeling avoiding relegation, it was hard. We've been very fortunate but whatever the reasons, we got there together." Moyes was quick to share the award with all those involved in Everton's remarkable ascent. He added: "I have won this award but it is an award which should go to everybody at Everton. "From where we started the season there were concerns about what may happen but I have to praise the players for how well they have performed, my back-room staff for their efforts and all the supporters who have been fantastic throughout the season."
Mourinho was consoled yesterday by the Barclay's Premiership Manager of the Year award although the LMA title, which can be bestowed on a manager from any division, is the only one voted for by coaches. "I thought Jose Mourinho was going to win it," admitted Moyes. "So to get this award from my fellow managers is terrific. I have a great appreciation of how difficult all football management jobs are and I think my fellow managers realised how difficult the Everton job looked last summer.
"But I have just been doing my job. I don't feel I have done anything extraordinary. I am paid to get the best out of every player and to try and achieve the best results for the club. "I have a great staff around me. Alan Irvine is a terrific coach and a terrific teacher of football. Then I have Jimmy Lumsden, who is a football nut. I have known him for years and I trust both him and Alan implicitly.
"We also have Andy Holden, who is not afraid to tell us if we are not getting it right. He gives us a realistic view of things, a balanced view." Anthony Gerrard, meanwhile, is in talks with Walsall after being released by Everton this week.
Kenwright praise for his 'extraordinary' manager
May 18 2005
BILL KENWRIGHT insists that manager David Moyes has already written himself into the club's folklore and is destined to become one of the game's managerial luminaries. Moyes has claimed the League Managers' Association Manager of the Year award for the second time in three seasons after taking Everton into the Champions League on a shoestring budget. Now chairman Kenwright claims that Moyes "has been one of our greatest ever signings and will become one of the game's greatest managers". Kenwright said: "David and his players have given us the opportunity not only to challenge for European football's biggest honour but also once more to walk with a spring in our step and a smile on our faces. "His own quest for perfection will only drive him on to greater achievements. The man is the most extraordinary manager and man. He is a real miracle man if ever there was one."
I wanted to make Evertonians smile again
May 18 2005
Lew Baxter discovers that Bill Kenwright never set out to become chairman of Everton Football Club
NO-ONE can begrudge Bill Kenwright his fortune or fame, as he seems slightly bemused that it's happened. "Luck plays a huge part," he insists but his other passion in life, Everton, was not a risk. It is his religion, his very life force. Even when obliged to fall among football Philistines it isn't long before Kenwright is swept into an ecstatic reverie about the team he has followed since a lad, when first he huddled in the boys' pen in the Gwladys Street end of Goodison Park and gazed wide eyed at the acrobatic antics of his idols. So, while cautiously probing about why there are some individuals who question his commitment, a glowering glance suggests that such critics have greatly under-estimated the man's steely determination for his club. "Look, I've mortgaged my home and this bloody office for Everton, that's how much it means to me - it's my whole life," says Bill, his eyes narrowing as he peers through his specs to check if this is a mickey-take or not. This football talk is serious business and not to be taken lightly, as the great Bill Shankly also warned. Bill Kenwright nods that he is fine to clear up a few issues, if that's what it takes. "The criticism does hurt a bit. Why would you risk every single b--------- thing you possess on a football club? The first game I went to was Everton Reserves versus Chesterfield Reserves. It was horrible, freezing cold with about a thousand people watching, and I loved it. I think about football probably every third second of my life," he says pointing around his office and stopping at the football memorabilia. "That side is probably about 99.9999% of my existence," he declares with the fervour of a zealot. Surely the theatre is big in your life, Bill? All the hits and spectacular successes that have made stars out of many actors and showcased the works of terrific writers like Willy Russell and Alan Bleasdale, among an eclectic bunch of scribes? "No, not really. I need the theatre world and I need the hits to pay the bills, and of course I love the theatre but football is what fires me. "I never had an ambition to be chairman of the club - or to be on Broadway for that matter - but it's happened. When I was a kid in the boys' pen I never even dreamed of being able to afford a season ticket in the stands. And I've only had one ambition since becoming involved with Everton at this level; and that is to make my family of Evertonians smile again. It might seem trite but that is it." They probably are smiling now. On the day we met, London was overcast with a dribble of drizzle but Bill was most definitely on a natural high. Everton were back in Europe after decades in the doldrums. As the soccer world knows, Everton will play in Europe's top club competition - the Champions League - next season for the first time since 1971 after securing fourth place in this season's UK Premiership. The financial rewards are great: prize money, TV rights, global exposure of the Everton brand and other bits and bobs that could be worth as much as £10m for the Toffees. It's the biggest high the club has reached since Kenwright was invited to join the board in the early 1990s, rising to deputy chairman when he launched his successful £20m bid to buy the majority 68% share of the club from Peter Johnson in 1999. He rose to chairman last year but, Champion's League aside, the last 12 months have been eventful with his strained relationship with Everton director Paul Gregg. Kenwright's on a roll so maybe it's worth pitching in a - tremulous - query about Gregg.. Their spat that has been hotly debated in the media and among the fans with both men seemingly at odds on the path Everton must take to secure the next generation of financial backers, along with other projects. The wrangle has been endlessly thrashed out in the news and sports pages of newspapers and he becomes subdued at the mention of Gregg's name and shrugs. "I can show you today a sack-load of letters and emails saying how fantastic it all is that Everton has achieved this. But there will always be a small vocal majority in football that will sound off, because football is all about opinions. "That's why we go every Saturday or whenever to support the team, no matter what kind of week you've had personally. Apart from my family I love my team more than anything else in the world. I just truly, totally, love them," he says.. Surely the stress levels of running a football club - especially now it's got to prove the point in Europe - along with the demands of his theatrical endeavours can be a tad overwhelming? "Look, I never wanted to run the football club. You need a good chief executive and I think we've got a terrific one in Keith Wyness. And we've got David Moyes, who I always thought was destined to be one of the greatest managers in the world and he's proving himself to be just that. So, we've got a club that is well run on and off the field. "My job as chairman - and people forget it's only been this last season - is to motivate the motivators. "Its not a lot different running a football club to staging a musical. You have visions but other people have to do the work and I would never, ever get involved in the day-to-day operation of Everton. I don't go into the dressing room, I wouldn't dream of it. I think I've only ever been in once and that was by invitation. "This is the road back for Everton as I see it. But I'm not a clairvoyant; I don't know what the future holds. Who does? What I do is to support the people who run the football club. "Yeh, sure I know there's been some controversy over the Fortress organisation (an overseas syndicate considering investing in Everton) and funding but it's all about raising money for a football club. That's what it's all about and nothing else. And either they or someone else will come on board. But again, that's for Keith to deal with as chief executive. I wouldn't make those decisions anyway. His role is to run the business and mine is to engage with the manager. I think it's worked very well so far." The fabled Chinese leader Chairman Mao (Zedong) once said that women hold up half the sky. In football - and Liverpudlian terms - that kind of poetic polemic can apply to the determined fans of Everton whose loyalty has now been rewarded. Chairman Bill is feeling a mite grungy as we exchange pleasantries in the cream coloured, if anonymous, office block that he owns close to the lovely Little Venice canal area of London; a short sprint to the bright lights of the West End, scene of so many of his theatrical triumphs. Although he looks fresh-eyed and breezy he complains about suffering from the debilitating effects of a gruelling flight from St Tropez earlier in the week. He'd cut short one of his infrequent family holidays in the south of France for the opening night of Elmina's Kitchen by Kwame Kwei-Armah at the Garrick Theatre. It's the first play - which Bill produced - by a British black writer to hit the West End followed last week by Big Life, the first black musical in London, a show he reckons will be a monster hit. And under par or not, as we talked there was no gainsaying Bill's euphoria about Everton's change in fortunes this past season. The flight was a nightmare with the plane stuck on the tarmac at Marseilles for two hours because the rest of France was fogbound. "You can imagine what was going through my mind - terrorists.. We were all going to die. I've always had this fear of flying. I hate it. Hate it. Hate it." Bill agrees, though, that this is rather inconvenient considering what he does to earn a loaf. And he never, ever flies alone. "I always drag someone along with me. I don't care what else they have to do." Mind you, it didn't stop him and Jenny jetting over to the thousand-quid-a-night Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat between Nice and Monaco at the weekend to join three hundred other guests celebrating the £4m party thrown by Bill's pal Philip Green - the richest man in British retailing - to celebrate his son Brandon's bar mitzvah. Naturally, Bill flew back for Everton's last game of the season on Sunday. They lost 3-2 to Bolton and it seems churlish to beard him about it. We are on firmer ground, so to speak, chattering about the theatre and snippets of Kenwright folklore from his youth that tell how he once wrote to Hughie Green begging for a spot on Opportunity Knocks. "No, no, no it was Double Your Money and it was my mum. She wrote and said I should be on it because I was an expert on films even though I was only 18. And I did get on, " he says laughing delightedly, reporting that he and his mum, Hope - whom he dotes on - still gossip about these things. He is in almost daily contact with his mother, now 87, and when he first mooted the idea of becoming involved with Everton she advised him he was far too busy. "She still asks me every week when I'm going to give it up," he confides with a hearty chuckle.
What about Double Your Money? "I lost. Questions like which film musical the song On The Street Where You Live comes from were easy - My Fair Lady." Bill reckoned he was romping it. Then Hughie dropped in a clanger: 'from what movie did the song Another Girl come?' "I wracked my brain. Nope. It was the bloody Beatles film Help. I was destroyed." He chortles that if ever he writes his life story it will, intriguingly, be called Rain Clouds Over Harrow. Before we get a chance to knock these notions into shape, his charmingly efficient PA, Emma, reminds him that he's got an appointment with an osteopath. "My bloody neck is so stiff after the stress of that terrible flight," he explains and we wander down the winding stairs passing walls enlivened with framed posters of many of his shows. His finger taps lightly on every one: "Loser, winner, winner, loser, ah, Dancing at Lughnasa, a darling," he murmurs contentedly, and we part after two hours of merely scraping the cellophane off the package that contains the real Bill Kenwright.
Everton may meet Rangers
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 18 2005
EVERTON could face an all-British tussle against Rangers in the final qualifying round of next season's Champions League. Should Rangers finish runners-up to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League, which going into the final weekend looks the likely outcome, then Alex McLeish's side would go into the second qualifying round of Europe's elite competition. With Everton entering in the third and final round, and due to be seeded because of England's high co-efficient ranking, a Rang-ers win in their first tie could see them paired with Everton. While Rangers would be seeded in the second round of qualifying, they seem unlikely to earn similar recognition in the third round, and as such they could have to face Everton, or Manchester United.
Highbury humbling was a warm welcome to the Champions League
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
May 18 2005
MY colleague Andy Hunter put it perfectly: Only at Everton. He was reporting on the Highbury humbling, but it's safe to assume that his mood was in no way lightened by further ropiness at the Reebok. Being dismantled by an enchanting Arsenal is one thing, surrendering a 1-0 lead to the 10 men of Bolton quite another. David Moyes - the manager's manager - put on his smiley face presumably because conceding 10 goals in the space of five days helped concentrate his mind on Everton's retained list. Hard to believe, as his team cracked apart, that some of the participants were allegedly attempting to convince him that new, improved contracts were the least he owed them. Thankfully, a precious Champions League qualifier had been locked away before Arsene Wenger's wizards demonstrated that the gap between second and fourth is well nigh unbridgeable.
Indeed, there were moments during the 90 minutes when Arsenal appeared to be playing a completely different game to Everton - one they didn't understand. In the end, 7-0 represented a respite. It could have been six in the first half alone and 10 goals would not have a flattered a side who, under Wenger's masterly management, play the purest football in the Premiership. That's Everton's introduction to the Champions League, crowed one smarty, totally forgetting that Arsenal themselves have yet to make a significant impact on a competition they ought to have dominated.
The attraction of Arsenal is that they are a Premiership one-off. Lacking height up front, they seldom cross the ball - except at set-pieces - and their quick-fire passing styles requires them to employ play-ers of the finest technical quality. They would be the uncommitted fans' choice of the team to watch, especially for those, like me, who detest the current obsession with the darker shores of 4-5-1. The sad thing for Arsene Wenger is that if his exhilarating side succumb to Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup final, certain critics will cast them as failures. Far from the truth, but it makes for an eye-catching headline.
* WAYNE ROONEY'S grandma has advised me to bet on her famous relative scoring the winner in Cardiff. Not true, but I still see wondrous Wayne as the main reason why my hopes for Arsenal could prove counterfeit. Arsenal are in dazzling form at the moment, as they were when they met Liverpool - and we all know what that outstanding performance got them, nothing except heartbreak. The loss of Thierry is a blow for the Londoners and United will see that as a good sign.
Even so, I'll stick with Arsene Wenger, while appreciating that Wayne Rooney is capable of the sacred as well as the profane.
I almost quit Goodison, admits Yobo
May 18 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO has revealed he considered quitting Everton earlier this season. The Nigerian international (left) was frustrated by a lack of first team opportunities in the first half of the campaign as Alan Stubbs and David Weir forged an impressive central defensive partnership.
After losing his place through injury in August, Yobo had to wait 17 league matches before returning to the starting lineup. And a return to regular action as the club has pushed its way to a Champions League qualifying place has convinced Yobo he was right to stay loyal to the Blues. He has revealed: "The group of players that are here have a good team spirit, so whoever plays you have got to support them. "It has been disappointing not to play more. When the season started I expected to give my very best and unfortunately for me, it happens in football, I got injured and someone came in and took my place. "They did very well and made it difficult for me to get back into the team. I was on the bench for about three months and I got frustrated because I wanted to play. "There were different things going on in my head at that moment but I have to support the team as well because I knew the direction we were going in. "Now we have achieved that and I am back in the team, so I am happy. I didn't want to create any negative influence on the team when I wasn't playing and people were suggesting it was time for me to leave. "It did cross my mind to be honest. I thought about it but because of the way I have been treated here I thought this was the best place for me. I am just happy to be here and I am looking forward to next season. "That is what I have always wanted, to play in the Champions League is my dream." Meanwhile, Gary Naysmith has been told he will be ready to return to pre-season training in July after a successful operation on a troublesome foot injury last week. The left-back will miss Scotland's forthcoming World Cup qualifying games because of the injury. His representatives are continuing negotiations with Everton over a new deal for the out-of-contract defender who has been targetted by Leeds.
Royle praise for 'fantastic' Moyes
May 18 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES' achievement of winning the Manager of the Year award twice in three years has been praised by the last Everton boss to lead the club into Europe. It is 10 years since Joe Royle led the club into the European Cup Winners Cup following the 1995 FA Cup triumph over Manchester United. At the start of the season nobody expected this would be the year that wait would come to an end. Which is why Moyes' feat of leading the Blues to fourth place this season and a place in August's Champions League qualifiers led to the top award from the League Managers Association on Monday night. And Royle, who is now in charge at promotion chasing Ipswich, cannot praise Moyes enough. He said: "They've done fantastic this season and David has done exceptionally well.
"For the most part, it has been the same group of players who struggled last season and almost got relegated so it has been a complete turnaround. "It will be a big test for him next year to improve on what he has achieved there over the last 12 months." Moyes' managerial approach has been praised by the coach who works closest with him - assistant Alan Irvine. The former Everton winger has forged a strong relationship with Moyes, who admitted yesterday he trusts his second in command "explicitly". But Irvine himself insists Moyes and the players deserve the focus of the praise. He said: "The players and the manager are the ones who have played the major part in what has happened this season. "The manager is the one at the end of the day who makes all the decisions. The players are the ones who have to put what he wants into practice, so they deserve enormous credit for that."
Win the Goodison goalposts
May 18 2005 Liverpool Echo
THERE have been many wonderful goals scored at Goodison during the past two decades, all of which will live long in the memories of true Blues. Many Everton fans will have re-created those stunning strikes in the local park and dreamed of finding the back of those famous nets while wearing a royal blue shirt. This summer, supporters are being given the opportunity to do just that in an incredible competition. After more than 20 years' service on Goodison's hallowed turf, the club are moving the goalposts. Literally. As part of a complete reconstruction of the playing area, the Blues will be installing a new set of posts for the 2005/06 season and the club are giving away the historic posts via an amazing giveaway in their official magazine - The Evertonian. So which goal would you relive if you could put up those posts in your own back yard? How about the goals scored by Graeme Sharp, Andy Gray and Trevor Steven which stunned Bayern Munich in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final on what is widely regarded as Goodison's greatest night. Maybe David Unsworth's goal which ushered in the David Moyes era takes your fancy or Tim Cahill's strike which all but booked the Blues' return to European competition? Full details of how to enter the fantastic competition will be revealed in issue 129 of The Evertonian which goes on sale on Monday. Head groundsman Bob Lennon added: "These posts have been here for more than 20 years. "We always have two sets in case there are any breakages to a post or crossbar during the game. We will give the second set to a boys club or a non-league club but we wanted these to go to a true Evertonian. "It's a great competition and it will be interesting to see where the posts end up!"
Blues need to focus on Premiership
May 18 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was well deserving of the manager of the season award. He has done wonders for Everton and I hope we go on to achieve bigger and better things with him as part of our team.
Alex Groves, Bebington
THE GIANT step we have made is akin to the explosion of progress Ipswich made a few years back.
So while we have more resources than the Tractor Boys, we are losing a lot of players too.
It looks like we are going to have virtually a whole new team next year. We have to make a good start in the league, and then build on that. So let's not get carried away with the big names - I for one would be happy with 10 more Cahills.
Pete Brown, Liverpool
WE'VE had a fantastic season, especially compared to the way things were this time last year.
Yes, the last two results were poor but they provided a timely reminder that the squad is ageing, threadbare and thin on talent. We need to go more for the likes of Cahill and Arteta - players like Norwich's Robert Green, West Brom's Jason Koumas and Millwall's Paul Ifill.
Brian Williams, Formby
WHAT a season! The lads have done fantastically well for themselves and the fans. We need to bring in some reinforcements over the summer and I would love to see us go for Robbie Keane, Scott Parker, John O'Shea, Andy van der Meyde and maybe another winger. We also need to sign up Arteta as soon as possible, and get Beat-tie playing better than he has been.
John Itie, Walton
LET'S not get carried away. We need to concentrate on the Premiership again next year, not the Champions' League. We need players but if we go signing every big name we can get hold of then we are going to over-stretch ourselves and end up struggling in the Premier again. We have to sign players with the league in mind, or we will end up in the bottom half again. Other teams are going to strengthen for the league, so we should be cautious and make our main aim to finish fourth again next year.
Pete Johnston, Liverpool
Moyes in contract offer to key duo
May 19 2005 By David Prior Daily Post Staff
EVERTON have sought to tie down two stars of their season by offering contract extensions to Tony Hibbert and Lee Carsley. Manager David Moyes last night revealed the pair had been made offers that would prolong their existing deals, which were both due to expire at the end of next season.
The deals currently on the table would extend right-back Hibbert's contract by a further two years, and Carsley's by a further one. The new contracts for Hibbert and Carsley are just reward for two players who played a leading role in Everton's qualification for the Champions League. Moyes is expecting to receive decisions by next week from the seven players - Duncan Ferguson, Steve Watson, David Weir, Alessandro Pistone, Leon Osman, Alan Stubbs and Gary Naysmith - who are out of contract this summer. All have been made final offers. Moyes said: "I've spoken with all of them, and also with a few players who are still under contract who we have offered new deals to as well.
"We've had no decisions yet from the seven who are out of contract in the summer but I think we'll have a much better idea at the beginning of next week. "I'm optimistic with a few, I think one or two will probably be hoping to get something better in terms of contract, and I under-stand that fully, but we have to do what is right for the business side of Everton." He added: "I hope they all stay. They are good lads and we have a terrific squad, a good group. I want them to be here, but if not Everton will move on and we will thank them for their efforts. "Most of them had already been offered contracts during the season anyway. The only one who hadn't was Steve Watson, because he'd had some injuries around January. But he too has been talked to now. They are aware of the situation and by next week we will start to get answers from them." Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo has admitted he considered leaving Goodison earlier this season. The central-defensive partnership of Alan Stubbs and David Weir meant the Nigerian international's chances were limited during the first half of the season. After injury forced him out of the side in August, Yobo had to wait 17 league games for another chance And he said: "It has been disappointing not to play more. When the season started I expected to give my very best and unfortunately for me, it happens in football, I got injured and someone came in and took my place. "They did very well and made it difficult for me to get back into the team. I was on the bench for about three months and I got frustrated because I wanted to play. "There were different things going on in my head at that moment but I have to support the team as well because I knew the direction we were going in. "Now we have achieved that and I am back in the team, so I am happy." Meanwhile, Gary Naysmith will be ready to return to pre-season training in July after a successful operation on a troublesome foot injury last week.
Profitable season for Merseyside duo
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 19 2005
MERSEYSIDE'S lucrative season of football was confirmed last night when it was revealed that both Liverpool and Everton had recorded almost 50% leaps in their earnings. Liverpool and Everton were two of only 10 Premiership clubs not to experience a year-on-year fall in the table of earnings from TV cash and prize money over the season just finished. The Anfield club's exploits in the Champions League this year have helped increase their income - not including gate receipts or merchandise income - by 48%% to £47.4million, leapfrogging them into third place above Manchester United. Should Liverpool win next week's Champions League final against AC Milan in Istanbul, they will net an additional £2m bonus and overtake Arsenal into second place in the table, assuming the Gunners do not themselves claim a £1m prize for overcoming United in Saturday's FA Cup final. Liverpool's total earnings, up from £32.1m in the 2003-04 campaign, were made up of £28.9m from the Premiership and £18.2m - so far - from the Champions League, with just £300,000 earned from their journey to the final of the Carling Cup. Everton's excellent season was also reflected by the earnings table, with their total also having jumped by 48% from £19.1m to £28.3m. Finishing fourth in the Premership, and so qualifying them for a share of next season's Champions League cake, earned David Moyes's side £27.7m while their limited exploits in the FA and Carling Cups added £600,000.
Chief executive Keith Wyness last night welcomed the figures but warned against any suggestion Everton's qualification for Europe's elite cup competition would automatically ensure further progress next season. He said: "Obviously we've enjoyed healthy growth over the last year and our challenge is now to susain it and show we're moving forward. The Champions League is nothing more than an opportunity for us and it's important to sound a note of caution before we get carried away." As well as Liverpool, Chelsea (£50.8m) and Arsenal (£48.7m) all earned more than United (£44.4m) who have paid the price for a poor season in the Champions League and finishing third in the Premier-ship for the second year running. American tycoon Malcolm Glazer, who has now assumed full control of United, will be concerned to see that the club earned £6m less than Chelsea and perhaps more importantly almost £13m less (25% down) than in the 2003-04 season. United's Champions League earnings of £10.06m are their worst for six years due to a combination of finishing third in the domestic league in the 2003/4 season, which affects their slice of Champions League TV money, and failing to reach the quarter-finals. Under UEFA's formula, the domestic champions get 40% of the 'market pool' of TV money, the runners-up 30% and third and fourth places 15% each. Although the difference in TV and prize money income between the champions Chelsea (£30.3m) and the bottom club Southampton is huge, even the lowest earners in the Premiership earn vast sums compared to the leading clubs in the Football League. All sides in the Championship receive a £700,000 central payment from the Football League from TV and sponsor-ship income plus £60,000 for a live home televised game (£10,000 televised away game).
* IN the following table, Premier League earnings contain prize money (max £9.5m, min £475,000), TV cash (£8.8m per club plus £340,000 or £250,000 for each live Sky game, depending on timing and whether PPV game) and over-seas TV, sponsorship and licensing money (£6.6m per club). European earnings are either Champions League earnings (TV money and performance bonuses) or UEFA Cup (sums estimated as clubs sell own TV and sponsorship rights). FA Cup income shows prize money (£40,000 for third round win rising to £1million final win) and TV money (£150,00 to £265,000 per live match), while Carling Cup is £100,000 for clubs in a live televised match. The figures do not include gate receipts or merchandise income.
Ferguson epitomised the Everton ethos, says Moyes
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
May 19 2005
DAVID MOYES has hailed Duncan Ferguson's giant contribution to Everton's qualification for the Champions League - as he revealed he wants to add around six new players in time for next season.
Manager of the Year Moyes cited the Scottish striker as the example for the future and would be delighted if the 33-year-old, whom Moyes fell out with last year, agreed to sign the new deal offered to him and extend his career at the club he joined first in 1994. Moyes said: "He is here and as long as he remains strong and fit he will be considered with everybody else. "Does he epitomise Everton? Yes, in a lot of ways. We are more than just a side that fights but he is very committed and wants to do well. "There is a loyalty to the club, when you come here it is something who grabs hold of you. It makes you want to do as best you can and if you do that the public here accept you." Moyes paid tribute to his compatriot's contribution in a season many thought would be the Scot's last at Goodison. Ferguson scored seven vital goals during a season that was largely confined to second-half substitute appearances. And Moyes added: "Duncan became very important to us. He played much of the season as a substitute, and a very effective one. "Duncan had a lot of problems with injuries, but he has been free of those and his training has been better. He has been able to get more work in and it went okay for us. He was an excellent person to come off the bench and that suited us. "He has started several games recently, the Manchester United one comes to mind when on the night he was the Duncan Ferguson of old and the one we all knew. "We will continue to use him in that way, we hope to keep him next season and it will be for similar purposes."
Moyes is believed to be interested in Tottenham pair Simon Davies and Robbie Keane, plus Inter Milan's Andy van der Meyde, but he dismisses suggestions he is also keen on Reading's Steve Sidwell. He claims the club are in a healthy financial position now to allow him to raid the transfer market. "We now have the chance to bring some players in, so it is becoming really exciting," he said. "There is a bit more money to spend, there's some of the Wayne Rooney money as well as the money from Thomas Gravesen's move to Real Madrid. So we are in a healthy state at the moment. But the job is now difficult because we must attract players of a better quality, players who will enhance the squad but they must come here and fit in with the way we do things at Everton. "They must be determined and winners. They must want to progress and show ambition. "They must have the same ambitions as I have got, if they do not have that then I really don't want them." He added: "We picked up Tim Cahill from the Championship and he has been a tremendous acquisition. We are still looking in that division, but you find that the good ones are all being priced at £4million, and you don't take a punt on a player for that sort of money. "For that money you want someone who has been there and done it. We paid £1.5m for Tim, and everybody would look at that as an acceptable risk. "Paying £4million for Championship players is not the market we would be going into."
But Moyes is convinced he will be making plenty of reinforcements for the Champions League, and revealed the moment this week when the magnitude of what Everton have done really hit him.
He said: "I have been in the office for the last few days and my secretary came in and said we had just had a big file through from UEFA telling us about the rules for the Champions League, when the draw was and when people are coming to check the ground out to see how suitable it is. "I just sat back and said 'gee whizz, this is just awesome'. The hairs on the back of my neck just stood up at the thought of it, that's the exciting part."
Moyes: We won't pay over odds
May 19 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned Championship clubs they are pricing their best players out of possible moves to the Premiership. The Goodison chief has been delighted with the impact Tim Cahill has had this season following his £1.6m switch from Millwall. But the Blues boss insists paying anything beyond £2m for players outside the top flight is too big a gamble as he seeks to bolster his ranks for next season's double-assault on the Premiership and the Champions League. The Blues boss wants to add six new faces to his squad this summer, having completed the remarkable feat of leading Everton to fourth place with a squad of just 17 senior outfield players this term. He explained: "We picked up Tim from the Champion-ship and he has been a tremendous acquisition. "We are still looking in that division, but you find that the good ones are all being priced at £4m, and you don't take a punt on a player for that sort of money. "For that sort of money you want a player who has been there and done it. We paid £1.6m for Tim and everybody would look at that as an acceptable risk. "Paying £4m for Championship players is not the market we would be going into." Reading midfielder Steve Sidwell (pictured above) and Sheffield United defender Phil Jagielka are two Championship players who have both been linked with the Toffees. But the Goodison chief is clearly eager to get value for money. That is likely to mean casting his net further afield. Moyes has a transfer kitty of up to £15m at his disposal. The Blues chief is also expecting resolutions to the contract negotiations with his seven out of contract players early next week. Moyes has discussed new deals with Alessandro Pistone, Gary Naysmith, David Weir, Alan Stubbs, Leon Osman, Steve Watson and Duncan Ferguson. Talks are also underway with Mikel Arteta's representatives over personal terms for the Spanish midfielder, who is available from Real Sociedad for £2.6m. Moyes said: "We'll have a much better idea at the start of next week. "I'm optimistic with a few, I think one or two will probably be hoping to get something better in terms of contracts, and I understand that fully, but we have to do what is right for the business side of Everton. "I hope they all stay. They are good lads and we have a terrific squad, a good group. I want them to be here, but if not, Everton will move on and we will thank them for their efforts." The Blues are also ready to offer new deals to Tony Hibbert and Lee Carsley, who are both entering the final year of their current contracts. Chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed: "Both Tony and Lee have one year left to run on their current deals and we will be opening talks in the hope of agreeing extensions."
Moyes is backing old boys for glory
May 19 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is backing former club Preston to finish the job he started - and gain promotion to the Premiership via the play-offs. The Everton boss took the Lilywhites to within one game of the top flight in 2001, losing out in a tight play-off final in Cardiff to Sam Allardyce's Bolton. Four years on and Preston are back in the play-offs, with Billy Davies' side 2-0 up going into the second leg of their semi-final against Derby at Pride Park tonight. Moyes has backed his former employers to over-come the challenge posed by Derby and West Ham, who are waiting in the final. He said: "I think they can get into the Premier League. They are a good team with a better than average chance of getting up. "They have to get through tonight's second leg against Derby, but the experience they have got from having been there before, with seven or eight players having been in that position in the past, will help them. "If they do get through to the final they know they will be playing against a big club and it will be hard for them. But their football is the equal of West Ham's." Like Wigan, who have come up automatically, Preston are likely to become hot favourites for the drop next season if they do gain promotion. But Moyes points to the lessons of the past as proof that is not such a foregone conclusion. He explains: "If they do get into the Premier League it will be a hard shout and it will be difficult for them. But when we got to the play-off final four years ago, the teams who did come up were Fulham as champions, Blackburn as runners-up and Bolton who came through the play-offs. "Those three teams have never been out of the Premiership since they came up. At that time I felt quite aggrieved we didn't make it and if I look at the teams that were below us - the likes of Birmingham, West Brom and Norwich. They have all had a dip in the Premier League. "Preston haven't had that chance yet. So it wouldn't be out of place for Preston to be in this division. "There are a lot of good players who have been at the club for a long time. "But the biggest thrill for me would be to see Sir Tom (Finney) given the chance to see his club back at the top level again."
May 19 2005 Liverpool Echo
'Moyes and the players have brought pride back to our great club and a smile as wide as the Mersey' - Stephen Stone WELL the season finally comes to an end, it officially ended before the Arsenal game if you ask me, and what a season it was, finishing fourth and getting into the Champions League. Moyes, his backroom staff and the players must take all the credit; they worked so hard during the season and at times played beautiful football. Next season we have to try and build on our achievement and I'm sure we'll buy wisely in the summer. I fully trust Moyes to bring in some exciting prospects as well as a few internationals with experience of European football, and some more bargains like Cahill would be great. I'd also like to see some of our players re-sign.
Next season will be hard with the extra games to play so we need a bigger squad, I expect us to consolidate our position in the top half of the league as well as making inroads in the cups and in Europe.
JAMES TYRRELL, Woolton
LOOKING back over the season, it's difficult to put into words how amazing it has been. Moyes and the players have brought pride back to our great club and a smile as wide as the Mersey to all Evertonians. Quite rightly he is the LMA Manager of the Year. This summer is going to be a big test for the manager and the board. We have a great opportunity to move the club forward.
It's encouraging all players out of contract have been offered new deals. After all, they have put the club in that position so they should get the chance to reap the rewards. It is fantastic being an Evertonian - dust off your passports and get ready for Champions League football.
STEPHEN SHONE, Wallasey
'Moyes and the players have brought pride back to our great club and a smile as wide as the Mersey' - Stephen Stone
PYUNIC YEREVAN here we come! Who fancies Sliema Wanderers? I've got a funny feeling about Rabotnicki Skopje. Yes, I'm sure like myself you've done nothing but trawl through the UEFA list of the exotic minnows that have already reached the qualifying stages of the Champions League.
Obviously you're keeping the end of August free for a joyful jaunt to Armenia, Malta or Macedonia!
Now that we can finally relax and take a long, calm look back at the season, there has to be a massive thank you to David Moyes. We were fourth from bottom; we lost two of the best players in Europe; we finished fourth from top! Wow! Twelve months ago the only minnows I anticipated Everton would face in August were the likes of Hull and Hartlepool. Now, with a bit of luck, we're on our way to Skonto Riga!
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
AT last the season came to an end and even though we lost two games, it still didn't take away the smile across my face for ensuring Champions League football. This season has been the best I've ever seen. This is the first time I've seen Everton qualify for Europe through the league, even better it was the Champions League. It's also the first time I've seen Everton finish above Liverpool. I think I speak for every Evertonian when I say Moyes is one of the best things to happen to the club. His hard work and determination have shone through the team and now he is reaping the rewards with the justified Manager of the Season award. It will be interesting to see how the squad develops over the next year and try to maintain what we have begun. We have shown that success is about keeping a consistent squad of players who will give 100% every week.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
Everton move to secure Spaniard
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 20 2005
EVERTON are close to making Mikel Arteta their first signing of the summer. Goodison officials, who are in the midst of contract negotiations with seven would-be Bosman departures and have offered new deals to Tony Hibbert and Lee Carsley, have also stepped up moves to land the Spanish playmaker on a permanent basis this week. A £2.8million fee has been agreed with Real Sociedad, who gave Everton first option on the 23-year-old as part of the loan deal that brought him from San Sebastian in January. Now David Moyes has told Sociedad he wants to secure the midfielder's services - and only personal terms stand in the way of Arteta becoming an Everton fixture.
Espanyol and several Spanish clubs have been alerted to the former Barcelona and Rangers player since he overcame a disappointing spell with his hometown club in 13 appearances for Everton. But Everton officials - who have already spent £1m of the £2.8m fee to acquire Arteta on loan - have commenced talks with the player's representatives over a permanent move to Merseyside. And they hope the Spaniard's public desire to remain at Goodison Park will help conclude a deal within the next few days. "We are in talks with a few clubs about players," revealed Moyes. "Nothing is done and dusted but we are getting closer. We are trying to do things quicker this summer. We have got the targets we want in mind and we are moving along with them right now." Everton, meanwhile, have completed contract negotiations with the "Bosman seven" and are expecting answers on their final offers to arrive in the next week.
Legend sells 1966 World Cup medal for record price
May 20 2005
EVERTON legend Alan Ball has sold his 1966 World Cup medal for a record £164,800 at auction.
The medal was bought by the same anonymous bidder who paid £478,400 for the oldest surviving FA Cup - a world record for any piece of football memorabilia. The cup, made in 1896 as a replacement for the stolen original, was bought over the telephone after furious bidding at Christie's in central London, yesterday. The price, which included the buyer's premium, beat the previous record set in 1997 when a copy of the Jules Rimet World Cup sold for £254,500. Ball decided to sell his medal after his priorities changed when his wife, Lesley, died from cancer. He initially expected to get up to £120,000, and has pledged to split the proceeds between his three children and three grandchildren. The player's winning medal made £164,800, which includes buyer's premium, a world record for a football medal. It beats the previous record held by England goalkeeper Gordon Banks's World Cup medal, which sold for £124,750. Ball's cap made £43,200, the highest price paid for a footballer's cap, surpassing Geoff Hurst's World Cup cap which was bought for £37,600.
Goodison on top
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
May 20 2005
Goodison on top
IT'S about time all these Liverpool fans realised they are not as good as they think. The league doesn't lie. A lucky win against Chelsea doesn't make you European champions. Everton are the best team on Merseyside.
Keith Houghton, Liverpool
I HAVE to laugh when I read the letters from the folks from the red side of Stanley Park, spilling bile on Everton's achievements this year. It has always puzzled me how so much hate can exude from so many of the Reds concerning any inkling of success that Everton gain. Liverpool have had phenomenal success in the past; a point their fans keep ramming down the throats of those who are foolish enough to read their sycophantic banners. Evertonians have not only had to stomach all their winning years but also to ponder on what might have been if they had not missed out on two chances to challenge for the European Cup in the 80s. As a result of this, the gravy train failed stop at Kirkdale station.
Andrew Jones (via e-mail)
EVERTON have to spend wisely. I believe that four quality buys and a couple of squad men similiar to the standard of the other lot will do us fine. There is no point in breaking the bank and I'm sure David Moyes won't do that. Expectations need to be low; we cannot expect to get to the quarter-finals etc because we ain't good enough and we also cannot assume a fourth-place finish next time. However, I would expect a top-half finish next year and to give the likes of Barcelona and Juventus a damn good game.
Matt Roberts, Southport
Spirit pays off
LIVERPOOL fans should change the record: Fact: Injuries are part and parcel of football. Fact: Liverpool have spent far more money than Everton on buying players to cover those that got injured. Fact: As a result Liverpool has got a far bigger squad than Everton. Fact: We are fourth and Liverpool are not. It goes without saying that teams will struggle, whoever they are, when key players are injured. Also supposedly lesser teams will also find life just as difficult when two of their best decide to leave (Rooney and Gravesen). The difference is our team has pulled together, worked hard, showed passion and played with great spirit.
Phil Murphy (via e-mail)
I AM an Evertonian, who feels he should apologise to all the Liverpool fans out there for Everton's disgraceful behaviour this season. David Moyes and his players clearly didn't read the script, when we lost to Arsenal in the first game, we should have gone on a 10-game losing streak, gradually easing our way to 17th place, while sitting back and watching Liverpool majestically stride to fourth place. But 18 wins and seven draws later, we find ourselves in fourth place and in the Champions League. Shame on you David Moyes for finishing lowly Everton above mighty Liverpool.
Stephen Day (via e-mail)
WE all want the best for the mighty Blues - but we do not want to bankrupt the club. We need baby steps not giant steps. There are a lot of players in the lower division who can do a job for us. There's more than one Cahill waiting to be discovered.
F Sydney (via e-mail)
Everyone can be very proud of their efforts
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
May 20 2005
SURVIVAL Sunday was certainly a treat for broadcasters - "Quick, get some shots of crying people with mad wigs" - but thankfully Everton's Herculean efforts this season meant that while the facepaint was smudged from the Hawthorns to St Mary's and Delia did her annoying little dance at Craven Cottage, they were instead involved in a pretty mean-ingless Reebok Fun Day instead.
Sendings-off, erratic goalkeeping and overhead kicks in the sunshine are what these last-day encounters should be all about, as everyone winds down and looks forward to strange summer sports and ludicrous transfer speculation. Have you heard that Michael Owen is going to Newcastle United? He must be dying to play alongside the likes of Titus Bramble and Charles N'Zogbia.
While it's unlikely that Everton shall be seeking to hijack that particular big money move, the grapevine is already abuzz with gossip, and it makes a change from the last few years that some players now seem very keen to ply their trade in blue and white. Andy van der Meyde, who looks like Boudewijn Zenden's gormless cousin and once described Gary Naysmith as a Scottish madman, turned his nose up at us last summer, but he's now said to be a lot more receptive seeing as European football is now on the menu chez Goodison. With that sort of encouragement, perhaps we should chance our arm and go back in for Paul Dickov too. Even given the Champions League carrot that he has to dangle in front of possible new recruits, it's certainly going to be a challenging summer for David Moyes. He needs to consolidate the squad that's performed so well this time out, tying down the players he wants to keep, as well as fleshing out the numbers and also adding some genuine quality and pace. Attitude is everything too, as proved by Bolton and ourselves outperforming many of last summer's big spend-ers, so the manager needs to identify and recruit play-ers who can bring more than just added skills to the side. In short, a few more like Tim Cahill.
Hopefully, together as a club we will continue what's been started and rise to the occasion again next season, domestically and in Europe. Until then though, everyone deserves to kick back, bask in the sun and reflect on an amazing season where a once beaten-looking club fought back and made its fans so very proud again.
Vaughan wants to buy into Everton
May 20 2005 EXCLUSIVE by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CHESTER City chairman Stephen Vaughan wants to buy a major stake in Everton Football Club.
The Liverpool boxing promoter is believed to have held talks with representatives of Blues' director Paul Gregg - and is keen to buy his entire shareholding, giving him a 23.2 per cent stake in the club.
Bill Kenwright, the majority shareholder, possesses 25 per cent of the club's shares. Spokesman for Vaughan, Lee Maloney, said: "I am not at liberty to discuss any specific discussions with existing shareholders. However, it has long been Stephen's dream to play a part in the club he has supported all his life. "Without giving specific details it is something which he will endeavour to pursue with immediate effect." Blues chief executive Keith Wyness said: "We are always happy to hear from any potential source of funding, but we have not had any formal approach from Stephen Vaughan nor his representatives. "Sales of shares, however, are a private matter and entirely up to the individuals concerned." Gregg, who was unavailable for comment, mounted a public campaign to oust Bill Kenwright last summer, when he claimed to have a £15m investment package available, backed by Lord Grantchester. That investment never materialised, Grantchester released a state-ment saying he only supported a dissolution of True Blue Holdings, and Kenwright survived when he presented his own plans for investment via the Fortress Sports Fund. True Blue was duly dissolved in December last year, originally to enable new investment to be attracted, but it has also left the club vulnerable to takeover. With the dissolution of True Blue, the individual holdings of their 22,031,351 shares were assumed to convert directly to Everton shares, leaving the bulk of the Blues' shares split between four parties - Bill Kenwright, the Gregg family, Jon Woods and Lord Grantchester.
The biggest single shareholder is Kenwright, with 8,754 shares (25 per cent), but Gregg, wife Anita and their son are only just behind with 8,146 distributed between them. Lord Grantchester owns 2,773, but the Moores family has historically held a significant shareholding in the club and he is unlikely to sell in the near future. That leaves Woods' 6,623 shares as crucial to the control of the club. He is a firm Kenwright ally. Everton boss David Moyes, meanwhile, has made his first signing of the summer - one he prepared earlier in the year. Young goalkeeper John Ruddy has joined the Blues from Cambridge United for £250,000 on a four-year deal. A transfer was struck between the clubs back in February with Ruddy, who only made his league debut at the end of last season, staying with Cambridge until the end of the current campaign. The 18-year-old attracted attention from a number of top clubs, including Celtic, Arsenal and Manchester United. His fee could increase, depending upon first team appearances. An England under-19 international, Ruddy has been training at Bellefield twice a week and will meet up with his Everton team-mates on a permanent basis at the start of pre-season training in July.
Blues must capitalise to show who's boss
May 20 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON put on their best cardies, sipped the best bubbly and pulled on their battered flip flops as soon as Champions League qualification was assured. And no-one could possibly have begrudged them otherwise. But, and when Everton are concerned there is usually a but, the really hard work starts now. The Highbury horrow show and subsequent defeat by 10-man Bolton simply proved how much Everton have relied on endeavour and intensity to overcome their lack of quality this season.
That attitude was truly outstanding. But when that workrate dipped just a notch, the Blues didn't have much else to offer. And David Moyes will have to work hard to change that this summer. In finishing above their bigger spending, bigger thinking rivals Liverpool, they over-turned 18 years of domestic subservience. But if the Blues really want to make this a pivotal moment in the club's fortunes, they must do it again. And again. And again. It is a stunning statistic that Everton haven't finished above their nearest rivals in successive seasons since Cilla was a Cavern coatroom attendant - and Liverpool were back in the Second Division then. Such was the Reds' dominance of domestic football in the three decades that followed, Everton had to win the title to finish above their neighbours in 1970, 1985 and 1987. But, with Liverpool currently in transition - and Goodison awash with unexpected transfer funds - the Blues will never have a better time to strike a blow for domestic supremacy. Another top six finish next season would show that last season was the blip, not this. And finishing above Liverpool usually means a place in Europe at the very least. Everton will celebrate for a little longer yet. But then the hard work will really begin in earnest.
Two fantastic souvenir guides - don't miss them
May 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
BLOOD RED or Royal Blue, don't miss our superb specials charting memorable seasons for Liverpool and Everton. 'Back in Europe', which celebrates Everton's entry into next season's Champions League, is out tomorrow and looks back at Goodison's European adventures down the decades.
It also marks the 20th anniversary this month of the Blues historic Cup Winners Cup Triumph in Rotterdam. 'This One's for Keeps' is a must for all Reds fans as Liverpool prepare for next week's European Cup Final in Istanbul. It's packed with great interviews, articles and recollections of the Reds' past triumphs. And it's in shops now.
Vaughan confirms Everton bid talks
EXCLUSIVE by Neil Turner and Debbie James, Daily Post
May 21 2005
CHESTER City chairman Stephen Vaughan last night confirmed he is in talks to buy a major shareholding in Everton Football Club. Speaking exclusively to the Daily Post, Mr Vaughan said he was negotiating to buy millionaire Everton director Paul Gregg's 23.2% shareholding in the club.
But in a bizarre twist last night, Mr Gregg said his discussions with Mr Vaughan were about his buying Mr Kenwright and fellow director Jon Woods's shares, not his own. He added that Mr Vaughan had confirmed to him he had £20m available for making a dramatic takeover move.
Mr Vaughan would need to raise just £7m-£8m to buy out Mr Gregg, whose family has more than 8,000 shares in the Champions League qualifiers. Mr Gregg had a major public split with majority shareholder and chairman Bill Kenwright last summer. Mr Vaughan said last night: "I spoke to Paul Gregg at length today, and we discussed the role of two men who have been brokering the sale of the shareholding." The Merseyside-based businessman continued: "Quite rightly, Mr Gregg has asked me to provide proof of funding about our ability to purchase his shares. I shall be only too pleased to pass this on to him. "We are football people and, if the opportunity to become involved in a Premier League club arose, it would be extremely interesting. "My investors and myself have a number of ideas to take the club forward. These include many commercial ideas which would bring the club up to date, and bring it into modern times and commercial methods. This would generate much-needed revenues for the club." Mr Vaughan would no longer be able to retain his shareholding in Chester City, the club he saved from extinction four years ago. "Currently I am the major shareholder and creditor of Chester City, and if the negotiations progressed sufficiently for me to take a stake in Everton, then my interests would be passed into the capable hands of my chief executive, David Burford. Chester will not be disadvantaged at all if I am successful." He added that negotiations to buy into Everton were at a very early stage. "There are still a number of ifs and buts if a deal is to be concluded. However, discussions will continue." But Mr Vaughan's views were last night apparently at odds with those of Paul Gregg who said their discussions were not concerned with his own shares but those of Mr Kenwright. He said: "Mr Vaughan is seeking control of Everton Football Club because he believes the current leadership has not provided the professional and commercial competence to seize the opportunity achieved by David Moyes and his team.
"Everton needs fresh capital, fresh ideas and fresh ambition. "Mr Vaughan approached me earlier today to enquire whether Mr Kenwright and Mr Woods would sell their shares. "He expressed an interest in gaining control of the club and I asked him if he had sufficient funds to buy Mr Kenwright and Mr Woods out. He has confirmed he has up to £20m available. "He is a passionate Evertonian who is ambitious for Everton's future success." Mr Gregg tried to oust Mr Kenwright, the majority shareholder with 25% of the shares, from the club last summer. He claimed to have a £15m investment package available, backed by Littlewoods heir and Everton shareholder Lord Grantchester. However, this never materialised. True Blue Holdings, made up of Mr Kenwright, Mr Gregg and fellow shareholder Jon Woods, was dissolved in December last year after a new consortium, the Sports Fortress Fund, was established to invest in the club but this too has yet to be delivered. With the dissolution of True Blue, the individual holdings of their shares were assumed to convert directly to Everton shares, leaving the bulk of the Blues' shares split between Bill Kenwright, the Gregg family, Jon Woods and Lord Grantchester. The biggest single shareholder is Kenwright, with 8,754 shares (25%), but Gregg, wife Anita and their son are only just behind with 8,146 distributed between them. Lord Grantchester owns 2,773 but the Moores family has historically held a significant shareholding in the club and he is unlikely to sell in the near future. That leaves Jon Woods' 6,623 shares as crucial to the control of the club. He is a firm Kenwright ally. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: "We are always happy to hear from any potential source of funding but we have not had any formal approach from Stephen Vaughan nor his representatives."
Everton agree £3.5m deal for Spurs' Davies
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 21 2005
DAVID MOYES'S pursuit of Simon Davies is drawing to a close after Everton agreed a £3.5million deal with Tottenham for the Welsh winger last night. Davies has been on the Everton manager's wanted list all season and would have moved to Goodison Park in January but for a dispute over his transfer fee. Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to sell for under £5m during the last transfer window. But five months later he has accepted a £3.5m offer from Everton, a fee that will rise to £4.5m on appearances and achievements. The Wales international was omitted from Tottenham's end-of-season tour game in Mauritius yesterday and is due on Mersey-side shortly to discuss personal terms. Tottenham sporting director Frank Arnesen said: "Simon has given this club great service but he was ready for a new challenge and we wish him all the best." Davies moved to White Hart Lane from Peterborough for £700,000 in 1999 and has made 147 appearances for Spurs, scoring 18 goals.
The 25-year-old was a regular under Martin Jol towards the end of last season having suffered a debilitating virus earlier in the campaign. But with Tottenham poised to sign fellow right-winger Wayne Routledge from Crystal Palace they can afford to allow Davies to leave. The right midfielder's arrival at Goodison Park could end Moyes's interest in Andy van der Meyde. The Everton manager met representatives of the Inter Milan winger in Italy last week and was quoted £4m for the 25-year-old, but would be unlikely to pursue both the Dutchman and Davies. Duncan Ferguson, David Weir and Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, are expected to sign contract extensions at Goodison Park next week. Ferguson has been offered a pay-as-you-play deal for next season while Weir, who was originally asked to take a 50% pay cut, is believed to have accepted improved terms. Naysmith had been expected to leave Goodison in the summer but has now indicated a willingness to stay. However, Alan Stubbs, Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson are all likely to leave while Leon Osman's future remains undecided. One player who has put pen to paper at Everton is 18-year-old goalkeeper John Ruddy, who agreed a £250,000 move from Cambridge in February. The teenager only made his professional debut last season but attracted interest from Celtic, Manchester United and Arsenal. However, the chance to work with established English talent at Everton swayed Ruddy towards Goodison Park. He explained: "One of the main aspects of why I chose Everton was because of the keepers they already have at the club. "There's the likes of former internationals Richard Wright and Nigel Martyn, plus you've got Iain Turner, who's a Scotland under-21 international, and then to top it all off there's Chris Woods, who's the goalkeeping coach and another former England international. "If you want to learn off the best then you can't go far wrong with those four."
Moyes in appeal for boardroom unity
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 23 2005
DAVID MOYES insists Everton can only build on their Champions League success if there is unity in the Goodison boardroom - as Paul Gregg threatens to reopen his bitter feud with Bill Kenwright.
The Everton manager, who has revealed a rival Premiership club approached him last summer, is anxious to avoid a repeat of the directorial split that damaged the club only 12 months ago.
Just a week after celebrating qualification for the Champions League Everton's second largest shareholder Gregg - who is negotiating his 23.2% shareholding with Chester City chairman Stephen Vaughan - has already renewed his attacks on chairman Kenwright's reign. But Moyes has appealed for unity as he attempts to turn Everton's unexpected Champions League qualification into a sustained revival. "From my point of view I want the other side of the club to run smoothly as well as the football side," said Moyes,, whose future at Goodison Park was questioned by Gregg last summer. "The two go hand in hand at a successful football club. You can't have the board working well and not the football team or vice versa if you want to have success. You need the two working together. "It does look as though things have stabilised now and that we have the right funding and the business plan to take things forward." Chairman Kenwright saw off Gregg's promised revolt last year by unveiling plans for the Fortress Sports Fund to purchase an initial 29.9% stake in Everton.
And though that has not materialised Moyes believes the investment could be in place during this close season. He added: "I have been led to believe the Fortress Sports Fund money is there. Everton are now an attractive proposition to investors, although the Fortress Sports Fund were interested in investing 12 months ago. "I can only go by what people say to me and I have been led to believe it will happen. Hopefully a decision will be taken quite quickly." Moyes, meanwhile, has revealed he could have left Everton last summer after being approached by an unnamed Premiership rival. The Goodison manager, who hopes to tie up Simon Davies's £3.5m move from Tottenham in the next few days, said: "I could have left last summer and joined another club if I'd wanted to, but I felt as if I had something to prove here. "Another Premiership club, and I'm not saying which one or even in which country, did ask me to be their manager so I could have left if I'd wanted to. "However, I still felt I was right for the Everton job. In fact, all the criticism just made me more determined to be a success." Meanwhile it has been reported last night that Moyes and chief scout Rick Cook were in Denmark making inquiries about Brondby striker Johan Elmander, centre-back Daniel Agger and midfielder Thomas Kahlenberg.
Parker in talk with Blues
May 23 2005 EXCLUSIVE by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are poised to make Scott Parker their second big signing of the summer. The Blues are close to agreement with Chelsea over a proposed £6m transfer. The player himself is keen to come to Goodison Park and the only sticking point could be negotiating his salary. Parker was believed to have tripled his wages when he left Charlton Athletic for Stamford Bridge in January 2004. David Moyes is keen to abolish the mega bucks pay deals which have crippled the club in recent years, but he is a huge admirer of the England midfielder and will seek to push a deal through this week.
Moyes was in Denmark last night casting his eye over a Brondby match, but was back in England today looking to add to last week's £3.5m capture of Simon Davies from Spurs. The Blues remain confident of landing Parker and do not intend to stop their spending just yet. Meanwhile, Davies was expected on Merseyside today to undergo a medical.
Everton ready to seal deal for Davies
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 24 2005
EVERTON are hopeful of rubber-stamping their move for Simon Davies within the next 24 hours.
The Tottenham Hotspur winger will arrive on Merseyside to undergo a medical as David Moyes closes in on his first major signing of what promises to be a hectic summer of transfer activity.
Should no problems be diagnosed, agreement on personal terms is expected to be a formality with the Welsh international keen to sign up to play a part in next season's Champions League.
Everton have already agreed a £3.5million deal with Tottenham for the 25-year-old, which will rise to £4.5m on appearances and achievements. And if Davies passes his medical he will become Moyes's second signing of the close season following the arrival of Cambridge United goalkeeper John Ruddy. Both deals will officially go through when the transfer window reopens next Wednesday as Moyes begins to reinforce his squad ahead of the fresh challenge of European football next campaign. The Everton manager will step up his efforts to bring Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker to Goodison. Moyes is a long-term admirer of the former Charlton Athletic player, who has struggled to secure regular first-team football during an injury-hit campaign at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea are prepared to sell and a fee of £6-7m is within Everton's reach, although unless the player takes a substantial pay-cut - Parker is reputedly earning £40,000 a week - any deal is unlikely.
Parker deal not done yet, insist Blues
May 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS must wait to see if the club can add England international Scott Parker to their summer signings. The Chelsea midfielder is a prime transfer target as David Moyes looks to build on a hugely successful season and prepare for the club's first Champions League campaign.
Although a £6 million fee has been proposed, the capture of Parker (pictured) is by no means a done deal. "We have been in discus-sions," said Everton chief executive Keith Wyness, although the Blues are still some way off landing the 24-year-old. Money is thought to be a potential stumbling block. The player would have to agree to a substantial pay cut if he was to leave Stamford Bridge, but a move to Goodison would offer him regular Premiership and European football. Parker has made just 28 appearances for star-studded Chelsea and he slipped down the pecking order after he broke a bone in his foot back in December. Meanwhile, Wales international Simon Davies is expected to tie up his move from Spurs to Everton this week in a £3.5m deal that will increase by a further £1m depending on appearances and achievements. The 25-year-old has yet to undergo a medical, but bar any last minute problems he will officially become a Blues player when the transfer window reopens next Wednesday, as will goal-keeper John Ruddy from Cambridge United. The fate of the Everton first-teamers out of contract this summer should be known by the end of the week. Alan Stubbs and Steve Watson are expected to move on, while Alessandro Pistone is being linked with a return home to Italy. David Weir, Duncan Ferguson, Gary Naysmith and Leon Osman are thought to be ready to accept new offers from the club.
Everton talks with Parker face a delay
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 25 2005
EVERTON last night stepped up their chase for Scott Parker by making a first approach to Chelsea - but face fierce competition from Newcastle for the midfielder's signature. The Goodison club had opening talks with the 24-year-old's employers but further progress is unlikely to be made until the Londoners' chief executive Peter Kenyon returns after tonight's Champions League final in Istanbul.
Everton are ready to make a £6million offer for the England international, whose season at Chelsea was wrecked by a broken foot. Although Parker could remain at Stamford Bridge, it is understood the play-er's desire for first-team football will spark his departure - he has made just 28 appearances since joining from Charlton in a £10m switch in January 2004. Newcastle are the only other Premiership club to have made contact with Chelsea regarding Parker, although Aston Villa, Birmingham and Tottenham are also thought to be prepared to table a bid. Meanwhile, Everton could seal the £4m signing of Tottenham Hotspur's Welsh international Simon Davies today.
The 25-year-old winger will complete a medical this morning and, assuming that is successful, will then begin talks over personal terms. Davies' medical will however not be a formality as he has had his fair share of injuries so far in his career. His 2003/04 season was blighted by a hip injury and then shin problems required surgery at the start of last season.
Gregg: I'm not trying to quit Everton
May 25 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GREGG insists he is not looking to sell his interest in Everton. The ECHO revealed on Friday that Chester City chairman Stephen Vaughan is seeking to buy into the Blues. Reports elsewhere have claimed the pair are in negotiations, but Gregg emphatically denies this. He is angry he is being seen as the instigator of the current off-the-field events and insisted the first he knew of Vaughan's interest was when he was contacted by the ECHO for a comment on Friday morning, though he has since spoken to Vaughan. Gregg, the club's second largest shareholder, also claimed that Vaughan has approached other directors with a view to wrestling control of Everton from chairman Bill Kenwright. "He has not approached me exclusively," said Gregg. When asked if he was willing to sell his stake, Gregg added: "At this moment, no. "Contrary to everyone's belief, the long-term success of Everton Football Club is still my ambition, however that is achieved." The bulk of Everton shares is split between four parties - Kenwright, Gregg and his family, director Jon Woods and Lord Grantchester. Kenwright is the biggest single shareholder with a 25 per cent holding. Last summer Gregg tried to oust Kenwright, but his own investment package failed to materialise. Kenwright pressed ahead with his own proposal via the Fortress Sports Fund, but this has yet to be delivered.
Davies looks poised to complete Blues move
May 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
WALES international Simon Davies was at Everton today undergoing a medical ahead of his proposed move from Tottenham. The 25-year-old was also due to sit down with Blues manager David Moyes and chief executive Keith Wyness to agree personal terms. The two clubs have already agreed a £4m fee for the winger, who Moyes tried to sign in the January transfer window. Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed their approach to Chelsea for midfielder Scott Parker as Moyes looks to beef up his squad ahead of the club's first Champions League campaign. Wyness said: "We have made an enquiry regarding the availability of Scott Parker." The Premiership champions are willing to sell, but there is still some way to go if the proposed £6m transfer comes off. Key will be agreeing personal terms with a player who is believed to be on a wage of around £40,000 a week at Stamford Bridge - a figure Everton are unwilling to meet. Newcastle United have also entered the race for Parker's signature, while Spurs and Aston Villa are also believed to be interested. The Blues have also been linked with Brondby pair Daniel Agger and Thomas Kahlenberg after Moyes travelled to watch the Danish side at the weekend. Denmark international Kahlenberg, 22, was on target in the 4-0 win over Esbjerg, while 20-year-old defender Agger is also being tracked by Werder Bremen and Feyenoord. Elsewhere, offers remain on the table for the seven first team players out of contract this summer. Duncan Ferguson, David Weir, Gary Naysmith and Leon Osman are the most likely to accept new terms, while Alessandro Pistone, Alan Stubbs and Steve Watson are thought to be ready to move on.
Season ticket deadline day
May 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON season ticket holders are reminded that renewals must be made by Saturday, June 18.
Those who would like to join the waiting list can do so by registering their name on the official club website - evertonfc.com/ boxoffice/waitinglist. The club have also released an 'Everton in Europe' wristband in their new range of Destination Europe merchandise and are available to purchase from all official club stores. There is also a final clearance sale on all replica kits, with junior shirts priced £5 and adult shirts £10. All Everton enquiries are now being directed through one simple phone number - 0870 442 1878.
Cahill's twin reward for a memorable first season
May 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
HE has already earned the plaudits of the manager, now his teammates and the Goodison faithful have paid tribute to Everton's Wizard of Oz, Tim Cahill. The Australian midfielder's storming first campaign in a Blues shirt has earned him a brace of honours at the club's End of Season Awards.
The 25-year-old was crowned Players' Player of the Year and Fans' Player of the Year after finishing leading scorer. Cahill hit 11 league goals, with David Moyes even going as far as to claim they were the difference in securing a place in next term's Champions League qualifiers. "In the second half of the season his goals have probably been the single-handed thing that got us into the position we're in," admitted the manager. In what was surely the deal of the year, Everton used the money received from the sale of Tomasz Radzinski to pay Millwall £1.7m to bring the 25-year-old to Merseyside last July. Cahill responded by scoring match-winning goals against Manchester City and Portsmouth, as well as claiming important strikes against Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Newcastle that helped steer the Blues to fourth place. Moyes had been tracking the Sydney-born midfielder for several years, but confessed it was still something of a risk bringing him to Everton. Despite having scored more than 50 goals for First Division Millwall in 250 games, including an FA Cup final appearance last year, he still faced questions about whether he could make the step up to the Premiership. The manager said: "It was just a case of seeing if he could make that transition and, let's be fair, he's taken to it like a duck to water. "Tim's performances have been excellent, but the team performances have given him an opportunity to score the goals." Cahill arrived in the wake of a dreadful season that saw the Blues finish one place above the relegation zone, but the Australian international was instantly smitten with the fans. He said: "This is my dream move. When you are low the fans support you and when you are high they will be there too. To have that support week in, week out is enough to drive any team forward."
Vaughan keeps up interest in Goodison Park shares
By Neil Turner, Daily Post
May 26 2005
CHESTER CITY chairman Stephen Vaughan appears to be still extremely keen on pursuing his interest in purchasing a substantial shareholding in Everton, despite reports yesterday saying club director Paul Gregg was not willing to sell his 23.2% shareholding at the moment. Vaughan held discussions with Gregg at the weekend, when he was asked to provide "proof of funding", but this latest statement from Gregg indicates that he is prepared to sit tight at the moment. Over 75% of Everton's shareholding is owned by Gregg, Bill Kenwright, Jon Woods, and Lord Grantchester, leaving approximately 24% of the issued shares held by smaller investors. Vaughan's business associate Lee Maloney said last night: "David Moyes has expressed a wish for peace in matters off the field and at boardroom level and as lifelong Evertonians we agree with those sentiments. "However, Stephen is talking to other shareholders which could prove to be interesting, but we do not wish to conduct our business dealings in the media. Until there are positive developments from our discussions, we won't be commenting publicly again in the near future."
Mourinho admits he may let Parker go
By Peter Guy, Daily Post
May 26 2005
EVERTON'S hopes of securing midfielder Scott Parker moved a step closer last night when Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho admitted he would allow the England international to leave Stamford Bridge. Parker, 24, has long been admired by Everton manager David Moyes, with the Goodison Park side reportedly willing to pay £6million for his services. Moyes hopes that Champions League football will tempt Parker with Everton chief executive Keith Wyness yesterday claiming the two clubs are now 'in discussions' about a possible deal. Last night, Mourinho declared he would like to see the tenacious playmaker remain in West London but understands Parker's ambition to regain his place in the England set-up and a lack of first team football may see him leave. "The only thing I can say is the conversation I had with him," said Mourinho. "Like always he's a top boy and I always had a very open relationship with him. "The last one was about the future and the conversation was about the qualities he has, no doubts, the ambition he has because he's not one of the players who enjoys not to be a first choice, and the third point of the conversation was something that we both agree - that we have in Makelele an unbeatable player. "So it's a situation that you have to analyse and we have to communicate and we have to decide." Parker signed for Chelsea in a £10million deal from Charlton Athletic in January 2004 but has had limited opportunties for the Barclays Premiership Champions making just 28 appearances. But Everton will face stiff competition for the highly-rated midfielder, including Birmingham City, Aston Villa and Newcastle. Mourinho added: "A young player like him with ambition that he has, it's normal that he wants to play regular. He wants to be in the national team. He can only be in the national team if he plays regularly." "I want to keep him but I under-stand players, we understand players." Meanwhile Simon Davies is still on Merseyside discussing personal terms and completing a medical after the Blues agreed a £4m fee with Spurs. Davies arrived on Tuesday to start the formalites of the medical examination but that' not expected to be completed for at least another 24 hours. The 25-year-old winger is currently discussing personal terms with Moyes and chief executive Keith Wyness. Wyness said: "Simon has travelled up to the club with the out-come of a medical and personal terms still to be resolved." Meanwhile Everton manager David Moyes has backed Player of the Year Tim Cahill to continue his tremendous form next season. The Australian international was named as both the Player's Player and Fans' Player of the Season earlier this week to cap a remarkable first campaign in the top flight. Cahill, signed from Millwall for £1.7m last August, was top scorer last season with 12 goals and Moyes has been delighted with the impact of the 26-year-old. "His goals have been invaluable to us this season," said Moyes.. "It has been a really good first season in the Premiership for him and these awards reflect that. It means that all eyes will be on him next season. But he is a good boy with a good temperament. He is tough physically and mentally."
'Cahill will stay on top of his game'
May 26 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is confident that Everton's Player of the Season Tim Cahill will prove just as big a hit next season. The manager has been delighted with the form of the midfielder since signing him from Millwall in a £1.7m deal last summer. Yet following a superb campaign that saw the Blues earn a top four finish and Champions League qualification, expectations will be high next term.
Yet Moyes believes that Cahill has the strength of character to cope with the increased pressure.
"It has been a really good first season in the Premiership for him and these awards reflect that," said the Goodison boss. "It means that all eyes will be on him next season, but he is a good boy with a good temperament. He is tough physically and mentally." The 26-year-old made 38 appearances for the Blues in the 2004/05 campaign and hit 12 goals. "His goals have been invaluable to us this season," added Moyes. Cahill was also named the Oceanic Player of the Year for 2004 and is set to be included in the Australia squad for next month's Confederations Cup in Germany. The Socceroos go into the tournament as Oceania champions and could face World champions Brazil, Euro 2004 winners Greece, Olympic gold medallists Argentina, African Cup of Nations holders Tunisia, Asia champions Japan or Gold Cup winners Mexico. Meanwhile, Simon Davies remained at Everton today undergoing a comprehensive medical ahead of his proposed £4m move from Spurs. The Blues are taking no chances after the midfielder's White Hart Lane career was disrupted by injury and illness. A hip injury, a shin problem and a viral infection combined to seriously limit the 25-year-old's appearances in the last two seasons. Davies has still to agree personal terms with Everton, but if everything goes smoothly he is likely to put pen to paper before the weekend.
Moyes puts £4m striker Forssell on his summer shopping wish list
May 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes has placed Mikkel Forssell next on his summer hit list. With Simon Davies in the bag and talks ongoing with Scott Parker the Blues boss now wants Chelsea forward Forssell to bolster his attacking options. The Finnish International spent last season on loan at Birmingham, but was plagued by injury. However, the Blues believe they can lure him to Goodison for a fee in the region of £4m. They have made contact with Chelsea and are confident a deal can be done. However, they may yet have to fend off competition from both Birmingham and German side FC Schalke, who have declared an interest in the talented striker. Birmingham manager Steve Bruce ten days ago denied a deal had been done to capture him permanently at St Andrews but admitted he wished it had, and said several premiership clubs would be interested in Forssell. Said Bruce: "Two years ago nobody really knew him. "But because of his exploits with us, it has alerted a lot of clubs." With the prospect of Champions League football at Goodison next season, Moyes is keen to improve all areas of his squad. If he can land Forssell and Parker that would take his summer spending to £14m, and he does not intend to stop there. With Alan Stubbs and David Weir still not having given their decision on new contract offers, he is also on the lookout for central defensive cover.
Forssell next after Davies capture
By Peter Guy Daily Post Staff
May 27 2005
MIKKEL FORSSELL is poised to become David Moyes's second major signing of the summer. With Simon Davies completing his transfer to Everton yesterday and talks ongoing with Chelsea's Scott Parker, Moyes is believed to be closing in on the £4million-rated Finnish international. Although several clubs are believed to be interested in the Chelsea striker, reports suggest Forssell could arrive on Merseyside as early as next week to undergo a medical. Birmingham, Portsmouth and Tottenham have declared an interest in the forward, with German side Schalke 04 tabling a bid earlier this week. However, Everton will meet with Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon in the next few days to discuss both the Forssell and Parker deals. Forssell, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Birmingham, is one of a number of players Everton are chasing as they look to strengthen their squad ahead of their Champions League campaign next season. Ten days ago, Birmingham manager Steve Bruce denied a deal had been done to capture him on a permanent deal but admitted he wished it had. Two years ago nobody really knew him. But because of his exploits with us, it has alerted a lot of clubs." If Forssell and Parker were to sign it would take Moyes's summer spending to £14m but the Everton manager does not intend to stop there. With Alan Stubbs, David Weir and Leon Osman yet to give their decision on new contract offers Moyes is sure to further bolster his squad as the club prepares for what chief executive Keith Wyness describes as the 'most exciting and hectic pre-season for years'. Commenting on Everton's busy summer ahead, Wyness added: "There will obviously be the usual business of securing new contracts and negotiating deals as well as the football side of the business in terms of transfers, arranging a series of pre-season friendlies and, of course, finalising the plans in place for our debut in the Champions League. "It is an exciting time to be an Everton fan."
European status lures Davies to Moyes's side
By Peter Guy Daily Post Staff
May 27 2005
SIMON DAVIES is convinced he has joined a 'club on the up' after becoming Everton's first major signing of the summer. David Moyes completed his swoop for Davies yesterday, Everton paying an initial £3.5million to Tottenham for the versatile midfielder, with a further £500,000 depending on performance bonuses. He becomes David Moyes's first addition of the summer following the club's qualification for next season's Champions League. But the 25-year-old Wales international believes the achievements of the last nine months are merely the precursor to a new era of success at Goodison. "When you look around the training ground you can see all the pictures of trophies the club has won and it is exciting," he said.. "This club has a good history of winning things and it is a club on the up." A fourth-placed finish in the Premier-ship has earned Everton a place in the Champions League qualifiers next season. "My first ambition is to help the club get into the group stage of the Champions League," he declared.. "And because we finished fourth this season the fans will be hoping to get into Europe again via the league." Davies added: "Everybody is very ambitious and after the good season they have just had it has given them the opportunity to try and strengthen everywhere. "It is an honour for me just to be here and to be a part of that. "It is good to be a part of it and there is a realistic chance we will be able to play in Europe for the next couple of years. "It is a massive club with a big fan-base. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to come and play for a club in this position." The 25-year-old had been an Everton target in the January transfer window, and the former Peterborough player, a Barry Fry protege, was delighted to finally seal his move north. "As soon as they came back in for me at the end of the season I knew it was a great opportunity for me," he explained. "It was a new challenge which excited me. "I had been at Tottenham for five years and this is a chance for me to try and take my football to another level."
Everton have not revealed the length of contract which Davies has signed, describing it only as a 'long-term' deal. However it is clear Moyes sees Davies as a key component in the side he is building for Everton's future. Moyes is now seeking to add more new faces to his squad, and Chelsea's Scott Parker is a confirmed target. The arrival of Davies before the end of May provides early cheer for Moyes. "We have looked at him for a while," said Moyes. "We know that he's a bright character, he can play in central midfield, he can play wide right so that gives me some alternatives." Capped 22 times by Wales, Davies famously scored in the Millennium Stadium victory over Italy in October 2002. Moyes feels Davies will offer Everton a fresh dimension, with his pace on the right an aspect of the midfielder's game they will look to explore. "He is the kind of player we think we've been missing - a natural player on the right-hand side of midfield," said Moyes. "He's someone who we've chased for a while. We hoped to get him in January but it didn't quite happen then. "He's also a good passer and a good player. Hopefully he'll make us better with the ball. "His willingness to work hard fits in exactly with what we've got so far. "We look at players for a long time and assess them at great length before we make a move and that's been the same with Simon. "He's got a terrific energy and work-rate. That is required if you're going to come and play for Everton."
Moyes's ability and team ethic behind outstanding year
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
May 27 2005
ONE of the myths that needs demolishing before it grows legs is the notion that Everton's outstanding season owed everything to the departure of Wayne Rooney. Lazy sportswriters and lazier broadcasters - Radio Five Live was a repeat offender - chose to see Wayne's withdrawal as the defining moment of a campaign that ended with David Moyes deservedly being named top manager by his appreciative peers. The whole Rooney pitch is a misrepresentation, of course. Apart from anything else, it's an insult to David Moyes, his backroom boys, and the players left behind when the wonder boy opted for a starring role at the socalled theatre of dreams. It's tantamount to saying that David Moyes was incapable of integrating one of the nation's greatest young footballers into the 4-5-1 formation that gave Everton the backbone they needed to surprise their critics. Now I'm not privy to Moyes's inner thoughts on this subject, but I'll hazard a guess that the obsessive Scot would have seen his squad doing just as well, and possibly better, with Wayne still in royal blue.
But that wouldn't have made them a one-man team: simply a team making the best use of valuable assets. As they did without Rooney. The fact that so many people opted to ride on the Rooney line is easily explained. It seemed to fit together. When it didn't at all. For one thing, Moyes was always against selling the club's premier player at any price. Evidence that the manager saw Wayne as a plus, not a minus. Finishing fourth has blinded too many supporters to the fact that Everton, despite the heights reached, would be a more potent outfit with the PFA Young Player on the Goodison strength. Don't get me wrong, they did exceptionally well without him and maybe some day the millions from his sale will find their way into David Moyes's so-far meagre transfer kitty. But never let it be said that Moyes and coach Alan Irvine weren't clever enough to incorporate such a glittering talent into their strategy, even if it meant the 4-5-1 becoming a more fluid 4-4-1-1. The fact that they didn't have that luxury doesn't mean to say they wouldn't have been overjoyed to keep Roonaldo on board. In the event, they did wonder-fully without him and again turned the clock back to make Everton the Premiership's awkward squad - a team dificult to beat, a team that hunted down the opposition's space like leopards closing in for the kill. They were not out to please the connoissuers, but that didn't bother Bluenoses. After last season's shockwaves they just wanted a winning side and if the methods produced a lot of workaday football, then the end surely justified the means.
There were occasional flourishes, a full-blooded battle with Bolton Wanderers at Goodison Park, an annihilation of Aston Villa on their own ground, a heady first derby scalp for a proud manager, a winning six-pointer against Manchester United, and a walkover when Crystal Palace led with the glass jaw that got them relegated. (You add in your own favourite memories). The first half of the crusade was better - results--wise. Excellent away form catapulted Everton into an unthinkable third spot - a high plateau they defended for five wonderful weeks until Manchester United rolled down to Rio. Significantly, Everton held on to fourth place like a greedy agent to a million-pound sweetener. Noone moved them or even threatened to, such was the mediocrity all around. Thomas Gravesen left, blinded by the Bernabeu and there was an instant stutter, which certain critics saw as the signal for a slide show. But not a bit of it. Tim Cahill's glut of goals ultimately proved priceless in keeping Everton ahead of the weary chasing pack, and, with Lee Carsley and Tony Hibbert and the ever-willing Marcus Bent, became one of the players of a staggering season. I say staggering because so many alleged experts put the noose around Everton's neck long before hostilities began. Cue the Guardian, who, by a margin of six to two, had Everton relegated. They were horrendously wrong, and yet it was so easy to get it right. As this column did. A good starting point is faith in the manager.
Is he up to the job? Does he have the gift, and the gab, to change hearts and minds? Does he have the tactical nous that will enable him to outmanoeuvre the opposition? If you answer a resounding yes to all three, then proceed to stage two, which - in this case - involves placing Everton above those Premiership sides you expect to do worse than them. Start at the foot of the table with the three promoted teams and work upwards. Okay, West Brom didn't play ball, but the rest did.
I did this exercise early in August when memories of Everton' s previous nightmare were fresh as a newly-dug grave in the memory. I came up with around 12 teams likely do worse than Everton, four others on a par with the club, and three untouchables. On that basis I predicted Everton would finish in the Top 10 and followed that up in September with a strong buy recommendation on Coral odds of 12-1 for Everton to finish in the top six. How some sportswriters laughed. One legendary former player - not from Goodison - advised me to lay off my bet with other punters so as to cover my losses. And no. I didn't think Everton would finish fourth. But then nor did David Moyes. So we're quits. It's a marvellous achievement. Especially when you remember the desperate summer suffered by the gallant Moyes. Three chief executives in the space of five panic-stricken months.
Two long-serving directors - including the club's most successful chairman - culled as scapegoats were sought. Fisticuffs - well,, almost - between Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg over who could boast the biggest ego. And all the while, a manager, worshipped by the fans, waited and wondered whether either of the brawlers would remember their was a team needing to be saved. Given the dispiriting circumstances, Moyes showed remarkable patience and resolve. If he's ever permitted to write his memoirs, they'll make explosive reading. And every supporter will want a copy. For the moment he has Europe to contemplate, some unhappy players to placate, and a promised £10million to spend on recruitment. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta are the start of a new emerging midfield in the post-Gravesen area. But it's wide men that Moyes needs as a priority, plus possibly another enforcer and central defender. Provided the enigmatic James Beattie gets his act together, that would signify progress. These are exciting times for Everton, but only because of Moyes the miracle-worker. Off the field, much remains to be done if the slickness of the manager's department is to find an echo elsewhere.
Blues aim to bring new faces in quickly
May 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON aim to adopt a rapid-fire policy in the transfer market this summer. The Blues have already clinched the signing of Spurs winger Simon Davies - and they want Chelsea pair Scott Parker and Mikael Forssell to quickly follow. Discussions are much further advanced with Parker, with a view to a £6m signing - while preliminary negotiations have also begun regarding the £4m transfer of Forssell. Newcastle forward Craig Bellamy has also been discussed, but no approach has been made for his signature. David Moyes wants players on-board before the Blues restart pre-season training in early July. And chief executive Keith Wyness insists Everton will be committed to concluding transfer deals as quickly as possible during the close season. "Doing a deal in the space of a week is relatively quick these days. I think that was all about the commitment to us getting this done to support David and to show that we are going to strengthen the squad," he said. "We are moving as fast as we can on several fronts. We are not always in control of the timing of certain issues but we are certainly doing everything we can at our end to make sure it goes as quickly as it can." Wyness also revealed his relief that Simon Davies had committed to become the first signing. "We are relieved because we've had a big interest to sign him and tried in January. We are pleased now that he is finally here," he added. "Speaking to Simon again this morning I know he is really excited about what is happening at Everton and the way the club is moving forward and he wants to be a part of that. "He knows that David's shown a very strong interest in him and he wants to be part of that and make that success go forward." The Blues are still waiting for replies from their Bosman seven, but hope to have positive news next week.
Simon's arrival is just Champion
May 27 2005 Liverpool Echo
SIMON DAVIES admits the pull of Champions League football next season helped lure him to Goodison Park. But he believes he can help the Blues make European football a seasonal occurence.
The £3.5m transfer of the Welsh international winger from Tottenham was completed yesterday and Davies immediately said: "This is a club going places. "It is good to be a part of it and there is a realistic chance we will be able to play in Europe for the next few years. "When you look around the training ground you can see all the pictures of trophies the club has won and it is exciting. "This club has a good history of winning things and it is a club on the up. "Everybody is very ambitious and after the good season they have just had it has given them the opportunity to try and strengthen everywhere. It is an honour for me just to be here and to be a part of that. "It is a massive club with a big fanbase. I don't know anyone who wouldn't want to come and play for a club in this position."
Davies has been a long-term target for David Moyes. The Goodison chief made his first attempt to secure the winger during the January transfer window. The club's persistence impressed Davies, who needed little persuading to make the move north once he heard a fee had been agreed with Spurs last Friday. He added: "The manager didn't need to do much to sell the club to me. Once I knew the clubs were talking, my mind was made up. "It was a new challenge which excited me. I had been at Tottenham for five years and this is a chance for me to try and take my football to another level." Davies began his career as a youngster at Peterborough before being snappd up by Tottenham in a deal worth £700,000 on the eve of the Millennium. He made 154 appearances in five years at White Hart Lane, netting 24 goals. He has earned 22 caps for Wales, scoring four times.
Blues boss Moyes believes Davies will give Everton an added dimension next season. Davies can play right midfield or in the centre, and Moyes said: "He is the kind of player we think we've been missing - a natural player on the right-hand side of midfield. " It will give us more competition for places than what we've had there before. "He's a Welsh international, he's a good age and I think it's a good move for the boy and a good move for Everton." Moyes added: " He ' s someone who we've chased for a while. We hoped to get him in January but it didn't quite happen then. "He's got a terrific energy and work rate. That is required if you're going to come and play for Everton.
"He's also a good passer and a good player. Hopefully he'll make us better with the ball. His willingness to work hard fits in exactly with what we've got so far. "We look at players for a long time and assess them a great length before we make a move and that's been the same with Simon.
"We know that he's a bright character. We know he can play in central midfield, he can play wide right so that gives me some alternatives." Davies will report for pre-season training with his new teammates at the start of July.
Everton may face financial setback
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
May 28 2005
EVERTON will lose around £1million should Liverpool be granted a place in next season's Champions League. The English clubs all get a share of TV money from Europe's elite club competition with £20m distributed according to where each side finished in the Premiership the previous season and a further £20m according to how many games each side played in the Champions League. The current regulations - for a maximum four sides without Liverpool - would split the first £20m with domestic champions Chelsea receiving 40%, Premiership runners-up Arsenal 30% and 15% to Manchester United and Everton. The rules state if the European champions qualify - next season Liverpool of course - they get 30%, the domestic champions (Chelsea) 30%, the domestic runners-up (Arsenal) 25% and the third-placed side (Man Utd) 15%. Although Everton's percentage in that scenario is still unclear, they would in all likeli-hood see their share reduced to around 10% - which would equate to a loss of £1m. Meanwhile, chief executive Keith Wyness has revealed that Everton will continue to move fast in the transfer market this summer. Having already signed Simon Davies from Spurs, the Goodison club are already setting their sights on other targets. And Wyness said: "We are moving as fast as we can on several fronts. We are doing everything we can at our end to make sure it goes as quickly as it can."
Hibbert's form worthy of a call-up - Stubbs
May 30 2005 By David Prentice, Daily Post
ENGLAND pulled off a 2-1 triumph in Chicago on Saturday night with a squad of fringe players.
But Everton skipper Alan Stubbs believes that team-mate and Goodison defensive partner Tony Hibbert should have been in the USA, too, alongside international newcomers like Luke Young, Zat Knight and Peter Crouch. Hibbert has been one of the unsung heroes of Everton's astonishingly successful season, but has rarely attracted the atttention of Sven-Goran Eriksson's scouts.
But Stubbs believes it is time that changed. "Hibbo's one of these players who goes about his job and you barely realise that he's there. To me, that's the sign of a top notch defender," he said..
"The only other person I could liken him to is Denis Irwin - an unsung hero, but he had the total respect of everyone at the club because he just went out, did his job and you always knew that the job would be done to the highest standard. "I think this season Hibbo's probably been right up there as one of the most consistent play-ers we've had. That speaks volumes for him. "He's a great lad off the pitch as well as on the pitch and if you can mix those two together then you've got a recipe for success." Hibbert was almost ever present for the Blues throughout a campaign which culminated in Champions League qualification. "I think the biggest thing is that his performances have matured and that's where he's got his consistency from," Stubbs continued. "Last season, I thought that at times his injuries got in the way and probably his honesty, too. "He's one of those lads who will try to play through the pain barrier and I think last season he didn't do himself any favours really because maybe he should have had a rest to try and put it right. "That's Hibbo for you. He'll run through a brick wall. He's a vital member of the squad and we've seen that this season. I think he's got to keep doing what he's doing," he said. "Different managers have different perspectives on what they want of a player and it all depends on whether the people who are in charge of England value the way Hibbo plays. "Managers look for different things in players and I see no reason why he shouldn't get international recognition. He's done as well as anyone at full back this season. "I still think Gary Neville is the best right-back in the country, but I think Hibbo's not that far behind him now.
"He just needs to keep doing what he's doing and he won't be far away."
Everton near new deal for Kilbane
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
May 30 2005
EVERTON will this week hope to agree a new long-term contract with winger Kevin Kilbane.
The Republic of Ireland international, who moved to Goodison in a £750,000 switch from Sunder-land in September 2003, has a one-year option on his current deal that will be activated this summer. Everton are hopeful, however, that they can tie the 29-year-old to a longer-term deal with negotiations potentially being concluded within the next 48 hours. Kilbane stalled on a similar extension earlier in the season but is now relishing the prospect of Champions League football at the club next season. Although he scored just just one goal during his second season at the club, manager David Moyes is keen to reward Kilbane who has been a consistent and influential member of the revived Everton squad this term. The club will also look to progress talks with Chelsea over a £10million swoop for Scott Parker and Mikael Forssell. Also in the hunt for the pair are Birmingham, although their lack of European football next season put them at an obvious dis-advantage to Everton.
Forssell deal not far off - Wyness
May 30 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MIKAEL FORSSELL is close to becoming Everton's second major signing of the summer - but reports claiming an imminent move for Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini have been dismissed. Blues' chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed last night that they were close to reaching agreement with Chelsea over a fee for Finnish striker Forssell. We haven't reached agreement yet, but we are not far apart now," he said. A fee in the region of £3 million is believed to have been agreed on, but the player can't fly to Merseyside to discuss personal terms or undergo a medical until he has completed international obligations with Finland later this week. Negotiations regarding a £6 million switch of Scott Parker from Chelsea to Goodison are also ongoing, but goalkeeper Cudicini will not become the Blues' third Stamford Bridge target. "There is no truth in that story," added Wyness, who also dismissed speculation linking Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann with the Blues. The Goodison club will make a joint announcement on the decisions of seven out-of-contract players later this week, but Wyness added that none had rejected contract offers out of hand yet. The Blues hopes of being seeded in the July 29 draw for the third qualifying round of the Champions League, meanwhile, appear to be receding. Despite a statement of UEFA spokesman soon after Everton qualified suggesting they would be seeded, Everton are still some way down the co-efficient ranking system UEFA uses. Unless UEFA significantly change their rules the Blues will be in the pot of unseeded teams on July 29 and could face European giants like Inter, Monaco or Ajax.
Everton looking to complete Forssell switch
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 31 2005
EVERTON will look to close out a move for Chelsea striker Mikael Forssell within the next 48 hours.
Chief executive Keith Wyness revealed yesterday that officials from both clubs have held talks about the player. "We haven't reached agreement yet, but we are not far apart now," he said. Although they do face competition for the 24-year-old Finn from Birmingham, Everton are confident their Champions League qualifi-cation will make them a more appealing prospect. Should a deal be struck between the clubs Forssell would be expected to arrive on Merseyside to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical as soon as possible after completing international duty with Finland. Defender Joseph Yobo is set to see his plans for a summer of rest after the demands of Everton's Premiership campaign wrecked by international commitments with Nigeria. The Everton defender will have little opportunity for vital recuperation due to important World Cup qualifying matches against Rwanda on June 5 and then almost a fortnight later against Angola. That schedule will give Yobo less than two weeks to recover before he is due back on Merseyside to begin preparations for the new season with his club. And the player admits he will seek a meeting with David Moyes to discuss the situation. He said: "I'm very busy with Nigeria over the close season so I'm trying to see how I'm going to fit it in my schedule. "It's very difficult for me. It's going to be a very tough summer for me. I'm going to speak to the national team and the gaffer here. I'm just looking forward to next season."
Moyes set to make fresh start
May 31 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes is facing a total rebuild of last season's Champions League qualifying squad. Skipper Alan Stubbs, Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson have still to agree to new terms put before them - and it is looking increasingly likely that all three may quit the club.
That would leave Moyes chasing reinforcements in addition to the trio of players he had already targeted, Mikael Forssell, Scott Parker and Simon Davies who completed his move from Spurs last week. Of the other out of contract play-ers, Duncan Ferguson was the first to commit to an extension to his Goodison playing career, while David Weir, Leon Osman and Gary Naysmith are still in negotiations. The Blues have now agreed a fee with Chelsea for the £3m transfer of striker Forssell, but must now wait until the player has completed his international commitments with Finland later this week before talking personal terms and organising a medical. The Scott Parker move is nowhere near as advanced, but extensive discussions have taken place with the player's agent and despite considerable interest in his services should Chelsea decide to sell, he is believed to prefer Goodison as his chosen destination. It all adds up to a busy summer for boss David Moyes - and central defender Joseph Yobo who has voiced fears at the lack of time he will have to prepare for next season. The Blues defender is needed by his country for games away against Rwanda on June 5 and then almost a fortnight later he is due to play at home against Angola. That would give Yobo less than two weeks to recover before he is due back for pre-season training. "I'm very busy with Nigeria over the close season so I'm trying to see how I'm going to fit in my schedule," he said.
"It's very difficult for me. It's going to be a very tough summer. I'm going to speak to the national team and the gaffer here. I'm just looking forward to next season."