Wayne's world is here with us
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 1 2002
DAVID MOYES insists there is little chance Wayne Rooney will slip through Everton's fingers despite the delay over his first professional contract. The Blues manager was given a rousing reception as he addressed his first Everton AGM last night. And as he set out his vision for achieving success through a young, committed side Moyes confirmed the 17-year-old sensation was central to his long-term plans. Fears that Rooney could follow fellow boyhood Blue Francis Jeffers out of the Goodison exit grew when it was revealed a dispute between the striker's existing and new agents would leave his contract unsigned until December. But Moyes said: "I've got no reason to suspect that will happen. He is very young and very much a part of all our plans. "I don't think one member of the board would allow that to happen anyway. He is very much part of things here and we want more like him coming through. "We've got to look after him, and that includes every Evertonian. If you see him out on the street send him home. I remember Sir Alex Ferguson used to offer £100 to anyone who'd tell him where his young stars were and I'm thinking of doing the same. "It's important we all look after him. Before he came on at West Ham I could see a bit of tension on his face and thought all the speculation might be getting to him. He was fine when he went out though.
"The Sky TV reporter got it from me afterwards and maybe I have to learn not to show my emotions so much straight after the final whistle. "I was delighted with the win but not with how they had treated one of my players before the game." However, Moyes admitted he under-stood why the likes of Jeffers had left Goodison during the recent seasons spent fighting relegation. He added: "The only way to keep your best players is to have a successful team. I can understand why good young players have left here in the past and so I have to get things done quickly and start moving in the right direction to keep and attract good young players. "The Youth Academy is very important to me and hopefully we will be moving to a new set-up where the youth and senior players are together. "We've had a great conveyor belt of talent in the past. I hope that continues and they want to stay with us because we are successful. "But there is no quick fix. I think the club has progressed over the last six months and I would like to thank the players for that. "From the opening 25 seconds of my first game in charge, when I thought something changed about the club, the players and the fans have been wonderful. They have regained their self-belief." As for his own Everton future, Moyes admitted he wants to emulate the achievements of legendary boss Howard Kendall. Moyes said: "The opportunity to manage a club like Everton Football Club was one I'd always dreamed of. It's correct that I arrived as a relatively unknown manager but it's not always the best players that make the best managers. "I spoke to Walter Smith before I accepted it and he advised me to take it, which says a lot about the man. "My perception of Everton before I arrived was that it was financially unsure, known for having injuries and for avoiding relegation. I had to decide whether it could be fixed. Many better managers had tried before me. "I decided I had to set out a strategy for this club. If the job is to be done right I told the board I had to be allowed to manage it as I wanted. And I wanted committed, young players who would be here for the long term. "I asked for the facilities to be improved for the players. If you treat them well they will give us something back in terms of loyalty and giving more on the field. He added: "I've had great support from the board and it makes a big difference when you feel the people are behind you.
"From day one the fans have given me great support and while I may have been an unknown manager when I arrived, I hope I become as famous and successful as some of the great managers of the past like Howard Kendall."
Crozier quits over points of principle
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Nov 1 2002
FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION chief executive Adam Crozier resigned last night after refusing to compromise on his opposition to plans by the Premier League to take more control of the game.
Crozier failed to receive any public backing from FA chairman Geoff Thompson as he tried to stand in the way of top-flight proposals to set up a 'professional game board'. The Premier League insist the changes are needed to protect their commercial interests and to ensure the game is properly run.
There was also growing opposition to what was perceived as Crozier's autocratic style of management in that board members felt they were not being properly consulted by him over major decisions. Crozier believed the Premier League plans would relegate the FA to little more than an overseer's role in charge of the England side, FA Cup and discipline - with payment for players on international duty now a possibility. It is clear he went unwillingly, declaring "it will be difficult for me to leave a job I have enjoyed so much and which has given me so much satisfaction". Thompson shed more light on the situation as he revealed: "It is with great regret and sadness that I have accepted Adam Crozier's resignation. His decision is based on two key principles. "The three-year change programme which he initiated in January 2000 is coming to a natural end - and there has been a difference of opinion over how the game should be run and regulated in the future, within the FA. "It is on this second issue that Adam does not feel he can compromise, and I fully respect his point of view. "As this is essentially a professional difference of opinion, there are therefore no personal issues whatsoever on either side. "I would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Adam for his tremendous vision and drive. He leaves the FA in a very strong position financially, structurally and in a football sense." Thompson, seeking re-election next year, could have stood up for his chief executive publicly but chose not to do so in the face of Premier League pressure.
Crozier, who was not asked to resign but is still expected to receive a negotiated pay-off despite a rolling contract, concluded his position was untenable after 48 hours of deliberations. Crozier will stay on at the FA for another couple of months while a replacement is found, almost certainly taking him past the FA's full council meeting on December 4 and probably into the new year. He joined the FA in January 2000 - following the enforced resignation of his predecessor Graham Kelly - from advertising firm Saatchi and Saatchi. He has not only appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson - who valued their close working relationship - but modernised the governing body's outdated structure, hauled the long-delayed Wembley saga back into life and re-energised the FA's commercial arm.
But with some board members claiming there was more style than substance to him, he was left with too few supporters at FA headquarters and too many critics within the professional game.
Crozier told the FA's website, www.thefa.com: "It has been a privilege to have combined my love of football with my career. "I will, however, leave the FA with a sense of pride in our achievements and satisfaction with the progress we have made. "I wish everyone at the FA considerable success for the future."
Blues chasing Marco money
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 1 2002
EVERTON are still owed £500,000 from Marco Materazzi's move to Perugia in 1999 - despite the Italians selling him to Inter Milan for £7million last year! World football's governing body FIFA are now investigating the transfer after Everton threatened to start legal proceedings against the Serie A club. Shareholders at last night's 123rd AGM were told chief executive Michael Dunford had planned to fly to Italy next week in an attempt to resolve the matter. But FIFA's intervention has eased Everton fears and Goodison officials hope to receive the final payment next week, three years after Materazzi returned to Perugia in a £2.5m deal. Materazzi was one of former manager Walter Smith's first signings when he joined Everton in a £2.2m deal in 1998. The colourful defender enjoyed a mixed campaign in England but blossomed on his return to Italy, earning a lucrative move to Inter and winning a place in Italy's World Cup squad this summer. David Moyes, meanwhile, is set to recall Peter Clarke and Keith Southern from Black-pool when their loan deals expire this weekend. The young Blues duo have been a big success with Steve McMahon's second division side after Moyes sent them out on loan to gain valuable league experience. But speaking at the AGM the Blues boss said: "I intend to bring them both back when their loan deals run out. I want to give our young players more experience, as we have done in letting Leon Osman go to Carlisle.
"I've been to see Peter and Keith at Blackpool and unless anything dramatic happens they will be coming back to Everton."
We haven't got the money we need yet
By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Nov 1 2002
EVERTON FC shareholders were told last night that the club had not yet secured the money it needed to pay for its move to a new stadium at Kings Dock. It also emerged that the club would offer fans a fresh referendum before adopting new proposals that could see Everton being replaced as a shareholder in the waterfront project. A packed annual general meeting, attended by hundreds of Blues shareholders, heard confirmation that coowner Paul Gregg had presented a new plan to the club's board earlier in the day. Although details of Mr Gregg's plans were not revealed, it is under-stood that he proposes that new investors take control of what was originally meant to be Everton's 50pc stake in the 55,000-seat combined stadium and arena planned for Liverpool's Kings Dock.
Everton would have the right to buy the stadium back from the new investors over what might be ten years. The need for the new plan has arisen because the club has failed to raise the £30m it needs from conventional sources such as banks. Club chairman Sir Philip Carter said the board had decided to continue looking at Mr Gregg's new plan and it was still committed to the Kings Dock project. In a prepared statement Sir Philip said: "The board of directors has continued its discussions about Kings Waterfront. Proposals for an alternative source of funding were tendered. We agreed in principle that we would continue, subject to further discussions by the board, to look at it. "We are still fully committed to this particular project." However, in what were at times heated exchanges, one shareholder described the statement as "bland". In response to further questions demanding to know who would be investing, Sir Philip added: "We have not reached that position. We don't know who they will be. We are not at that stage." Another shareholder asked: "What in principle have you agreed to then?" Sir Philip replied: "We have agreed to examine the proposal for the Kings Dock which also embraces private investors as opposed to 100pc investment by the club. "We have agreed to further consideration of what would be the rent, what would be the length of the agree-ment, what will be the percentage of our actual control of the Kings Dock. We have not identified the individuals or the organisations that will be involved." The club chairman said he hoped the issues would be resolved in time for a planning application to be submitted by March. Another shareholder attacked Mr Gregg for claiming that without Kings Dock, the club would die. The shareholder was applauded when he said: "I don't need to be told about commercial reality by you Mr Gregg. "This club will not die without Kings Dock. This club has managed for 120 years without Kings Dock. This club does not exist to serve the developers of Kings Dock, but Kings Dock exists to support Everton. "It's not about one or two people on the board. The Kings Dock is about helping us to be great, not helping a property development on the waterfront."
Others suggested that the club should remain at Goodison Park rather than take part in a stadium scheme it could not afford to own. Club deputy chairman Bill Ken-wright pointed out that any ground option Everton chose to follow, including staying at Goodison, would cost money.
"We will have an option to get the stadium back. Paul's feeling is it will take 10 years; it may be shorter. "Paul put this to me three months ago. We have always said it has to be transparent."
Sir Philip offered assurances that Everton fans would be given the chance to vote again on the ground move if the new plan meant Everton would not own the stadium. He said: "The simple answer is yes. We came to you before and you gave us a strong mandate, and it's only fair that we come back to you if things have changed."
Team spirit has helped me settle at Blues
Nov 1 2002 By Scott Mcleod Football Reporter, Liverpool Echo
CHINESE international Li Tie believes the team spirit that is developing within David Moyes' Everton squad has been the key to his impressive start to life in English football. The 25-year-old midfielder has been an ever-present for the Blues in the Premiership this season following his summer arrival from Liaoning Bodao in China. And he believes his quick acclimatisation to the English game, which has even surprised manager David Moyes, has been helped by the bond he has forged with his teammates and his progress with the language. "I'm feeling very, very good and I am enjoying it a lot more than when I first arrived," he revealed. "I am enjoying it even more at the moment because the team spirit is fantastic now, especially after the win at West Ham. I would like to thank David Moyes and all my team-mates who have helped me settle in. They trust me and they have helped me a lot. Every professional team needs the kind of spirit that we have if they are to do well. Everyone here is very friendly and it is great to be a part of thing." The manager has been surprised by the impact Tie has had, both on and off the pitch. The player has settled in well with his teammates, worked intensively to improve his English and become the second most popular name on the back of fans' shirts after Wayne Rooney. David Moyes admitted: "He has surprised me. I saw him as more of a squad player when he first arrived, but I always hoped he would pick it up quickly.
"He is a really determined boy and he has done a lot of gym work to improve his strength. He is adjusting to the pace now, is getting stronger and has done really well. "He is picking up the language as well, which is important too, because communication was a problem at first."
Those communication skills will have to be at their best on Sunday when the Blues take to the field at Elland Road aiming to defy the record books by notching up a league victory at Leeds for the first time since 1951. The team are going there more confident than for many years. The key, according to Li Tie, is the manager's approach to every game and his determination to be fair to every player.
It has impressed the Chinese international, who has found that his hard work has been rewarded by a regular starting berth. "In the past two months I have given my best and I think that I have played well, so I am very happy," he added. "It is extremely different to playing football in China - but I feel that I have improved a lot since I arrived. "The manager only picks the best players so I think that everyone gets in the team on merit. "Everyone here is working very hard to be in the team and to be involved. Every game is a new beginning for me. "After every game the slate is wiped clean and we have to start working hard again. I have to keep working hard to stay in the team."
Every player in blue will have to work hard on Sunday to break a legacy of disappointment at Elland Road. But after ending Arsenal's recordbreaking run without defeat a couple of weeks ago and following that with a deserved win at Upton Park it would be foolish to bet against Li Tie and co leaving Yorkshire empty handed.
Radzinski fighting fit and ready for Leeds
Nov 1 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI is set to keep his place in the Everton side against Leeds on Sunday after training through the pain barrier this week. The Canadian international is so eager to avoid losing his place in the side to emerging young star Wayne Rooney that he has avoided a spell on the treatment table for a hip injury picked up at West Ham last weekend. The former Anderlecht striker had to hobble off an hour into the Blues' 1-0 win at Upton Park with injury. His determination to avoid missing Sunday's game at Elland Road has impressed manager David Moyes, who has also revealed Thomas Gravesen is in line for a return after resuming training yesterday. He said: "Tomasz has trained all week despite getting a bad knock last weekend. He has wanted to train and that is the way I want my players to be. "I want them to be keen to keep hold of their place if they feel there are players out of the team pushing to get in. We also had Thomas Gravesen back doing a bit of light training yesterday. We will have to see if there is any reaction to his knee injury but with the Leeds game being on Sunday it gives us that little extra time to get him back and available." The form of Radzinski and Kevin Campbell has meant the Everton boss has been able to ease Rooney into the first team picture by regularly giving him a run out as a substitute. But his continuing impressive performances from the substitute's bench have put increasing pressure on Radzinski's place in the side. The manager is determined to be patient with Rooney and admitted at last night's Everton AGM that everybody at the club..TEXT: On the prospect of Rooney being sold he insisted: "He is a very young player and part of all our plans for the future of this club. There is not one director who would let that happen and we hope we get plenty more Wayne Rooneys coming through." Moyes also suggested that he is considering taking a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson's book when it comes to protecting young stars. He joked: "I know Alex Ferguson used to pay people £100 to tell stories about his young players being out and I am thinking of doing the same!" Meanwhile, Everton chairman Sir Phillip Carter has revealed that the club have sought FIFA's help in an attempt to recoup the £500,000 still owed to them from Perugia for Marco Materazzi. The club are still owed the money from the player's £2.5m sale to the Serie A side in 1999, despite the Italian international having since been transfered to Inter Milan for £7m. The shortfall was highlighted in the club's financial report for the year. Sir Phillip said: "FIFA are looking after it now and hopefully we will have some news on Monday or Tuesday next week." The Blues are also set to recall defender Peter Clarke and midfielder Keith Southern from their loan spells at Blackpool. The loan deals run out next week.
Leeds United 0, Everton 1 (D, Post)
By Andy Hunter At Elland Road, Daily Post
Nov 4 2002
RECORDS mean nothing to teenagers. A sad fact of life in this CD, MP3 age but the past doesn't have to be embraced by Everton now they have a future. Tommy Lawton's 65-year honour, "unbeatable" Arsenal and now a winless streak at Elland Road that has hung around Everton's neck like a lead weight for 51 years; all vanquished with disdain by the golden right boot of Wayne Rooney, whose proud parents weren't even born the last time the Blues won a league game here. When the 17-year-old turned Erik Bakke inside out from 35 yards with yesterday's first piece of magic, you immediately sensed there was more to follow. How many players can inspire that feeling within four minutes of coming on? Hopefully, the shot that finally broke the inspired Paul Robinson's defences will be symbolic of his time in a Blue shirt, as there is so much more to come from a lad already adored at Goodison Park. For too long Everton have dwelled on the past because the future has been too bleak. Now they have every reason to look ahead with confidence, on the pitch at least.
At Thursday's AGM David Moyes was told Everton would erect a statue of him next to William Ralph Dean if he shattered the curse of Leeds. Before they use up all their bronze on the Scot, however, the sculptors should save some for another stocky striker in case he lives up to his frightening potential for Everton. Try as he might, Moyes has a more difficult job than John Leslie's agent if he hopes to keep Rooney out of the limelight. The Goodison hero is writing his own incredible scripts all the time. In all honesty the Blues manager won't care about Rooney headlines if they continue to be for wonderful match-winning goals, just as he'll pay little attention to the clamour to play his prodigy from the start. With a team also deserving of the highest praise and their lofty Premiership position and a forward line busting a gut to keep their place in the team, Moyes has sound footings on which to use Rooney as a devastating substitute. As at West Ham, the Blues combined resilience with a menacing edge, and after Tomasz Radzinski had brought four fine saves out of Robinson and shattered the home defence with his tireless energy, Rooney stepped into the fray to inflict a deserving punishment. Picking up possession in harmless territory, the striker spun Bakke inside out, twisting the experienced Lucas Radebe one way then another before drilling a blistering low drive into the far corner. In some ways it was a better goal than his breakthrough against Arsenal, certainly one which proves the Kenny Dalglish analogies to be true. More importantly, it was the goal that confirmed Everton's rise to sixth place after three consecutive victories is no flash in the pan after a fully-merited defeat of Terry Venables' side. This was also a contest for Richard Wright and Robinson to show why they should be England's next goalkeeper, and on this evidence it is undoubtedly the Leeds' man - only because Wright didn't have a serious save to make all afternoon.
Leeds had more possession and a degree of control on the first half yet all the best chances fell the way of the Blues. Tough and resilient in the early exchanges, a policy they worked so effectively at West Ham the previous Sunday, Moyes' men should have capped a fine away display with the breakaway goal that would have turned the home fans against their side in an instant. And they had more than enough chances to do so. From as early as the second minute Robinson was in the thick of the action, arching back to tip Mark Pembridge's vicious free-kick over his own bar. Li Tie (right) dallied on the ball and allowed Alan Smith to dispossess him after Tobias Linderoth, retaining his place after Thomas Gravesen failed to recover from a knee injury in time, lofted a delightful chip into his path inside the area. From the following corner Radzinski forced a fine save from Robinson at his near post, who then went one better to stop the Canadian international blasting the Blues in front. Li Tie was a dominant figure for the visitors, mopping up all round him and displaying the range of passing Everton need from their midfield. One measured pass sent Radzinski racing through for the first time in the game, and while Jonathan Woodgate's excellent recovery may have distracted the striker, he still got in a powerful shot the Leeds keeper blocked with his knees. A number of promising breaks also fell by the wayside for Everton as they contained the Leeds threat, and when Radzinski turned provider in the 36th minute they should have found themselves in front.
The striker latched on to Kevin Campbell's flick to pick out Lee Carsley lurking in the same area where he arrived for the winner at West Ham. The midfielder's control was neat, his strike clean enough, but aiming for the near post instead of the more exposed far corner he made it easier for Robinson to save. The clearer chances were Everton's, but it was by no means a comfortable afternoon in Yorkshire, painful in fact given the incredible leeway afforded Lee Bowyer by referee Neale Barry. Carsley, David Unsworth, Li Tie and Alan Stubbs, who'd kept skipper David Weir out, were all on the receiving end of late Bowyer challanges, each one witnessed by the referee and unpunished. Aggravation was evened out by the official when he failed to give Leeds the penalty they'd demanded when Smith was felled by a slight trip inside the Everton box, then turned a moment of potential despair for the visiting fans into one of unbridled glee at Nick Barmby's expense. Even with the change of shirt and the fact that Everton, with hindsight, got the better of the deal that took him so acrimoniously to Liverpool, the bitterness remains undiluted. When he bore down on those fans and Wright in the 32nd minute Everton feared the worst, but having nudged the ball beyond the Blues keeper he then tumbled over his prone body to earn a yellow card for diving. In the second half Barmby failed to seize on Mark Viduka's through ball as Wright raced from goal, while Tony Hibbert hooked off the line from Woodgate after Harry Kewell's shot had deflected just wide. Otherwise, the flow remained the same. Twice in two minutes Radzinski was denied by his Leeds nemesis, once with his legs and the second at his near post after the striker seized on Li Tie's threaded pass. Then the familiar pattern to Everton's season arrived. The substitution board read 8-18, Rooney trundled on and wrote another piece of Goodison history. Easy.
LEEDS UNITED (4-3-3): Robinson; Mills, Woodgate, Radebe, Lucic (Harte 46); Bowyer, Bakke, Barmby; Smith, Viduka (Bridges 68), Kewell. Subs: Martyn, Kelly, McMaster.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Linderoth, Li Tie (Naysmith 81), Pembridge; Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 74). Subs: Gerrard, Watson, Weir.
BOOKINGS: Leeds' Lucic (foul), Barmby (diving) and Bowyer (foul) and Everton's Unsworth, Campbell (foul) and Wright (time-wasting).
REFEREE: Mr N Barry.
I won't gamble on Wayne - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 4 2002
DAVID MOYES will not risk burning out Wayne Rooney despite another wonder goal from the 17-year-old to earn Everton their first league win at Leeds for 51 years yesterday. The Goodison sensation struck a fabulous solo strike 11 minutes from time to take the Blues to sixth in the Premiership with their third straight win. Rooney had only been on the pitch four minutes when he followed up his memorable match-winner against Arsenal with a second superb league goal for his boyhood club. And while admitting the young star is ready to play from the start, manager Moyes insists his Rooney protection policy applies on and off the pitch as he nurtures the striker's dramatic rise. "Wayne is going to grab the headlines and he'll continue to do that throughout his career," said Moyes. "But Tomasz Radzinski's performance was excellent today, he forced at least three excellent saves out of their keeper, and it would be unfair on him to say I should have Wayne on from the start. "There is a lot of talk about young players being over-used and over-run and that is something we have to keep in mind. I can keep him out the spotlight no problem, but I'll try to do what is best for him all the time. "To put him out there in front of everyone every week may not be the right thing to do now but it helps that the whole team is playing so well. The players are brimming with confidence now. They have been wonderful." Moyes added: "Tomasz ran their defence ragged and left them open for Wayne to capitalise in the closing minutes. "It was a different type of centre-forward's goal but it was a really good one that the team deserved because their performance earned it." Tommy Eglington was the last player to score a league winner for Everton at Elland Road way back in 1951 - before even Rooney's parents Wayne senior and Jeanette were born. Moyes said: "It feels great to win here. It's a big job to come to Leeds and get a result but we deserved it. We had to play well to get it and I thought everyone one of my players was outstanding. We deserved to win. "We are doing so well at the moment. I was told this week we hadn't won here for 51 years and I hope this brings back a few nice memories for everyone who was around then!" But while Moyes celebrated the pressure grew on Leeds boss Terry Venables after his side's fourth home defeat of the season. The former England coach said: "Everton are on a high, they work very hard and are very difficult to break down. "I thought it was a penalty when Alan Smith was tripped and I cannot understand why he penalised Nick Barmby when he went down."
Leeds United 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Elland Road, Liverpool Echo
Nov 4 2002
MAYBE Bill Kenwright had it right way back in the summer. When he declared, with typically theatrical bombast, "How can you keep quiet about the greatest thing since sliced bread?" eyebrows were raised. But if Warburton's or Mother's Pride tried to sue now, they wouldn't have a leg to stand on. To paraphrase Monty Python ever so slightly - and after 51 years of unsuccessful League visits to Elland Road, yesterday's victory bore an almost surreal quality -'He's not the Messiah, but he's a very saucy boy.' With the memory of his wonder strike which wrecked Arsenal's unbeaten record still crisp in the memory banks, Wayne Rooney scored an even better one - to dash another record which had stood since his grandad was a bright young thing. Rooney is a reckless young rapscallion for whom records have no meaning. Arsenal, 30 games without defeat? He'll try a shot from 25 yards. Elland Road, an Everton graveyard for more than half-a-century? He'll wait three minutes then beat a couple of players and crash one in through a defender's legs. And if it wasn't quite every Evertonian's greatest Elland Road moment - an FA Cup semi-final seven years ago surely holds that honour - it wasn't far behind. But while Rooney deservedly claimed the lion's share of the headlines again this morning, his manager is forging a reputation on one half of Merseyside which is bordering on almost religious fanaticism. Just look at the list of Everton managers who have come to Elland Road in League games and failed to beat that bogey: Johnny Carey, Harry Catterick, Howard Kendall (although he did manage an FA Cup success here), Joe Royle...
David Moyes has shaken Everton up so dramatically that when the Blues' ticket office decided to claim the entire 3,000 allocation of away tickets for yesterday's fixture, they didn't need to worry that they'd lose money. People want to watch his vibrant, energetic side. The Blues are playing at such a sharp, crisp tempo that they will chisel out chances to win games everywhere they go.
Few fancied the 100-30 odds offered on an away win yesterday, but if Everton were ever going to end that long running jinx, yesterday was as good a time as any. Leeds manager Terry Venables played a flowery, adventurous 4-3-3 formation which created chances for the home team, but let in Everton at the other end, too. And with Tomasz Radzinski chasing once again like his first team place depends on it - and let's face it, it does - the Blues took advantage. If Richard Wright needs to know exactly what is required to re-establish his credentials as the man most likely to replace David Seaman, he had only to glance at the opposite goalmouth. In the first half especially, when Everton made regular inroads into the Leeds' penalty box Paul Robinson showed that, as a shot-stopper at least, there are few young 'keepers his equal. An afternoon of outstanding athleticism began as early as two minutes past three, when he tipped Pembridge's wickedly swerving free-kick over the crossbar. In the 24th minute he pounced to his left to catch Radzinski's rising left footed drive, spread himself obstinately to thwart Radzinski again two minutes later, plunged to his left nine minutes after that when Carsley found space in the same kind of position which had brought him a goal at Upton Park last week, then denied Radzinski twice more in 60 second- half seconds.
Each time the pacy Canadian had been played through, first by Camp-bell's carefully weighted outside of the foot pass, then by Li Tie's more piercing pass. Both efforts were firm and on-target, but Robinson was inspired on each occasion. In response all Leeds offered was a Harry Kewell drive which was still dipping when it arced an inch or two over the crossbar, a Woodgate header which bulletted straight at Wright - and a good opening for Barmby which Wright dashed from his line to parry. Lee Bowyer also curled a vicious free-kick narrowly over the crossbar. Anti bloodsport campaigners should be thankful Liverpool's summer bid to lure Bowyer to Anfield was unsuccessful.
Not because their rivals failed to land an undoutbedly influential midfielder, but because derby matches would have ended in riots. Three times during a first 50 minutes pointedly lacking in spite or ill-temper, Bowyer left a leading foot or fist dangerously into a challenge. In the eighth minute a sliding lunge left Lee Carsley in considerable pain and needing treatment. Five minutes later he clipped Unsworth's heels, again after the ball had gone, then seconds into the second half he charged like a prop forward into Alan Stubbs and left the Blues' defender flat out. All three incidents occurred under the nose of the hapless Neale Barry, but then a minor earth tremor measuring anything up to seven on the Richter scale could take place in Barry's back garden and he wouldn't pause from reading his copy of Bifocal Weekly. He did notice Nick Barmby's attempt to win a penalty by running crudely into Richard Wright's sprawling body. Fortunately it was in front of the massed bank of away fans and howls of derision and a yellow card were always the more likely outcome than a spot kick. But the noise levels which greeted that decision were dwarved when Wayne Rooney claimed his latest wonder-goal down at the away end. Just three minutes after trotting on he collected the ball 30 yards from goal and wheeled deftly to sidestep his way past Bakke. He then ran at Radebe, danced past the giant South African and whipped in an angled drive which took the defender by surprise. The ball speared through his legs and buried itself just inside the far corner of the net. While Wayne Rooney celebrated, across the Irish Sea an elderly Evertonian breathed a sigh of relief. At regular intervals for the past 20 years, Tommy Eglington has been receiving 'phone calls asking what it was like to score a winning goal for Everton at Leeds.
Now there's someone with years still ahead of him who can answer that question.
LEEDS UNITED (4-3-3): Robinson, Mills, Radebe, Woodgate, Lucic (Harte 45 mins), Bowyer, Bakke, Barmby, Kewell, Viduka (Bridges 68 mins), Smith. Unused substitutes: Martyn, Kelly, McMaster.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Stubbs, Yobo, Unsworth, Carsley, Tie (Naysmith 81 mins), Linderoth, Pembridge, Radzinski (Rooney 75 mins), Campbell. Unused substitutes: Gerrard, Watson, Weir.
REFEREE: Neale Barry.
BOOKINGS: Barmby (31 mins) diving, Lucic (42 mins) foul, Unsworth (58 mins) foul, Campbell (65 mins) foul, Wright (88 mins) time-wasting, Bowyer (90 mins) foul.
GOAL: Rooney (79 mins) 0-1.
Everton goal fest as Moyes looks on
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 5 2002
IT was a goal feast at Everton's Academy as the club's two youth sides smashed a perfect 10 between them against Crewe Alexandra at the weekend Alan Harper's under-17s led the way, hitting Crewe for six without reply in the FA Premier Academy League at Netherton on Saturday.
Colin Harvey's under-19s, meanwhile, bounced back from going a goal behind to to score and emphatic 4-1 win, also against the Railwaymen at Netherton. Harper's side returned to action after two weeks without a match. And they put behind them the defeat to Manchester United in emphatic fashion. Anthony Barry led the way with a double. Both times he was put through by excellent passes from Joey Jones to take his tally to four for the season. Barry's double was his first goals for the U17s since the second match of the season at West Ham as he has featured in Harvey's U19s in recent weeks. Jones had a hand in three cther goals from set-piece deliveries (two corners and a free-kick). Anthony Gerrard, Jay Ellis, and Christian Sargeant all scored their first goals and Gavin Lynch grabbed his fourth goal of the season as the Blues recorded their biggest win this term.
Coach Harper said: "The lads worked hard and played really well scoring some good goals.
"It could have been at least 10 because we had other good chances, but it was pleasing to score from the set-pieces. "Joey Jones probably made five of the goals and had a steady game but it was a great team performance. It was the quality of the passing that pleased me most. "You expect Crewe to be a good side because they have a fine reputation, so it was a great win." With the first team not in action until the Sunday, Blues boss' David Moyes was in attendance to run the rule over the U19s. And he must have been pleased with what he saw as Harvey's side came back in style after going behind to an early Crewe goal. Alan Moogan, back after injury, led the way with a double. There were further strikes from fellow midfielder Stephen Beck, his third this season, and a header from Scott Brown. Harvey said: "We went 1-0 down, which we shouldn't have really. But I always thought we'd get back into it because we created so many chances. Harvey takes charge of an U18s squad to face Liverpool in the Liverpool Senior Cup final today at Liverpool County FA ground on Walton Hall Avenue (2pm).The final has been held over since last season and admission is free.
* EVERTON goalkeeper Sean Lake kept a clean sheet on his debut for England under-16s as a goal from Millwall's Moses Ashikodi gave John McDermott's side a 1-0 win against Wales at Barry Town on Friday night in the Victory Shield. Defender Steven Schumacher was an unused substitute as England opened their UEFA European U19s Championship qualifier with a comfortable 3-0 win over Macedonia at Kidderminster Harriers. Schumacher will hope to play some part today when England continue in the tournament against Moldova, at Rushden and Diamonds, and Romania on Thursday, at Sixfields.
Humble Radebe marvels at goal
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Nov 5 2002
LEEDS skipper Lucas Radebe has labelled his side's recently lamentable form as "embarrassing" and accused his teammates of a lack of effort. The normally affable Radebe, wearing the captain's armband due to Dominic Matteo's prolonged absence from recent knee surgery, was almost lost for words following Leeds' 1-0 defeat at home to Everton on Sunday. With only two draws in their last six matches, Leeds are now just four points above the relegation zone and such is the dramatic slump, the boos and jeers which echoed around Elland Road at the final whistle were louder than at any time this season. South African international centre-back Radebe, looking bemused - even emotional - certainly pulled no punches in his condemnation of Sunday's performance. "I can headbutt a wall, but I don't know how he scored that goal," said Radebe, at a loss to understand just how Rooney had scored his fourth of the season. "I thought I had him. I don't know how it went through, but give him credit for the goal." "In the past couple of weeks we deserved to get results, but this wasn't good. I don't know what happened in this game," reflected Radebe. "It was very disappointing. It hurts and it's embarrassing. I don't know what to say. We really feel bad, embarrassed and very, very disappointed. We didn't deserve anything."
Moyes quashes Rooney England reports
Nov 5 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON instantly stamped on speculation today that Wayne Rooney was ready to be fast-tracked into the full England set-up. Reports claimed that Sven Goran Eriksson was keen to include the 17-year-old in a get-together to be held in a fortnight, and that FA officials had already contacted David Moyes to seek his blessing. But the Blues' boss bristled at the suggestions today. "No-one has spoken to me about that," he said. "I don't want to comment on my reaction if that request is made, but there has been no contact from anybody at the FA." There have been precedents in the recent past. In April 1999 both Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball joined Kevin Keegan's full squad for a friendly match in Hungary. But the Blues' fiercely protective attitude towards Rooney could lead to a different response this time. Moyes showed today that he is not worried about taking on national FAs. Birmingham believe they have uncovered a loophole allowing Robbie Savage to play for them on November 17, ignoring Wales' insistence on invoking FIFA's four-day rule ahead of their Euro qualifier against Azerbaijan. Birmingham believe that because the date of the international is actually set aside for friendly matches, the four-day rule cannot be invoked. Everton face Blackburn on November 17, and Moyes said: "If that is the case then Mark Pem-bridge will play for Everton on that date. "I disagree with the player joining Wales before our match. I have spoken to Mark Hughes and under-stand his position, but I will fight tooth and nail to keep Mark Pembridge for the Blackburn game. "If it happens for Birmingham, it will happen for us." FIFA, however, claim Wales are within their rights. A spokesman said: "The issue is not the date of the game, but the status."
Peter Clarke and Keith Southern, meanwhile, have returned to Goodison from three-month loan spells at Blackpool. The Seasiders wanted to extend the loan until the end of the season, but because Everton could not have an instant recall the deal has foundered. Southern may move to Bloomfield Road permanently, but Blackpool and the Blues cannot agree on a fee for Clarke.
"We never wanted Peter to move permanently in any case," explained Moyes. "But with the arrival of Feng and Yobo in the summer it was the perfect opportunity for him to gain some experience - and he has done well."
Blues press for success
Nov 5 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has been offering four letter words to anyone who wants to know the secret behind his transformation of Everton's playing fortunes. Two of them. Hard and Work. People think that managers are being flippant when they offer such a simple explanation for impressive results like Everton are currently achieving, but it's amazing how often such a simple quality is taken for granted. It needs a manager with excellent motivational skills to get every single member of a football team working absolutely to their limit in every match, but when you do the effect can be excellent. The easiest way to gauge a side's willingness to work is to watch their strikers. The masters of pressing high up the pitch were Rush and Dalglish. They were undoubtedly class strikers, but they never lost sight of the fact that it was their job to hassle, chase down and make life as uncomfortable as possible for opposing defenders and goalkeepers. The modern Liverpool are a little different in that they like to press further down the pitch, allowing teams to come on to them so they can hit them with their outstanding pace up front. They don't like people to say this, but it's an art nonetheless. Other sides prefer to press higher up the pitch, and Everton are clearly in this category. If you watch the Blues at present, that's exactly what Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski are doing. And if the front play-ers are working hard it's easy for the message to be relayed throughout the rest of the team. Even more importantly the message will be getting relayed out-side Goodison Park. Other players will be looking at Everton as a place they would like to play, while those already there will be desperate to convince the manager they should be a part of things. It's a very healthy working environment, brought about by a couple of four letter words!
We must keep Yobo
WAYNE ROONEY made all the headlines again at the weekend, but for me an unsung hero for Everton again was defender Joseph Yobo. I haven't seen a centre-half as good as him for years.
He is quick, composed and classy and his capture has proved a real coup for the Blues.
It is just as important now that they tie him up for several seasons to come, and give David Moyes a real foundation to work on.
Leave team well alone
AFTER such a tough match at Leeds on Sunday - and with a winnable Premiership match against Charlton looming on Saturday, the temptation for Everton will be to squad rotate tomorrow at Newcastle. Players like Scot Gemmill, Li Wei Feng, Alessandro Pistone and Niclas Alexandersson have not been involved in recent weeks and will be itching to show what they can do. But I think David Moyes will prefer to keep the current momentum going by leaving well alone. Players don't get tired when they are winning. Their opponents, Newcastle, have only had 48 hours to prepare for tomorrow's tie and I think Everton can take it as read that they won't be facing the same XI which beat Middlesbrough last night. With a similar side the Blues have every chance of securing another notable victory.
Blackpool track Blues youngster
Nov 5 2002 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
EVERTON youngster Peter Clarke has ruled out a move to Blackpool - but Keith Southern could be set to make a permanent switch to Bloomfield Road. The Blues duo arrived back at Goodison Park this week after reaching the end of their three-month loan spell at the second division club. Tangerines boss Steve McMahon was keen to extend their stay until the end of the season, but Everton counterpart David Moyes refused to sanction such a deal because the Blues would be unable to recall either player during the loan period. Blackpool instead turned their attentions to purchasing both players. And while a deal for Clarke seems unlikely, it has emerged Southern may be ready to depart. "There are a number of issues with Clarke," revealed McMahon. "One is the fee that Everton want. Two is his wage packet and three is the fact that although he loves the club and he wants to play we're in the second division. "That is a problem for him. I understand that. We're resigned to losing him now. "Keith is a different kettle of fish. There could be a deal. We're trying our best." Both Clarke and Southern have said they would have preferred to have stayed at Blackpool for the remainder of the season. "I've enjoyed every minute of my time at Blackpool and to be honest I'm disappointed that I have to go back," said Clarke, who was made skipper for Blackpool's defeat at Brentford at the weekend. "It wasn't necessarily going to be my decision to make (about staying) and ultimately that's how it proved." Everton reserve team captain Southern said: "I'd love to stay at Blackpool. I've really enjoyed my time there. "I'm very disappointed. I thought something would have been sorted out by now but it hasn't so I've just got to keep my fingers crossed that Blackpool can come to some sort of agreement. "Hopefully, something will be sorted out in the next week but I can't hold my breath." Meanwhile, Blues officials have still not given up hope of Mark Pembridge being available for the trip to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, November 17.
Confusion surrounds whether or not Wales' Euro 2004 qualifier with Azerbaijan on November 20 falls within a recognised senior international week, because if not, then the four-day rule does not apply. "We are still lobbying both the Football Association of Wales and FIFA in the hope of having Mark Pembridge available," said Blues chief executive Michael Dunford yesterday.
'We are here to support Wayne'
Nov 5 2002 By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
LEE CARSLEY believes the sky is the limit for rising young Everton star Wayne Rooney after the 17-year-old again stole the show at the weekend. The prodigious talent refuses to stay out of the spotlight. Just 15 days after his sumptuous strike brought an end to Arsenal's long unbeaten Premiership run, Rooney proved it was no fluke against Leeds. Rooney needed only five minutes to stamp his authority on the game after coming on for Tomasz Radzinski with a quarter- of- an- hour remaining, ultimately giving Everton their first league victory at Elland Road for 51 years. After leaving Eirik Bakke trailing in his wake, Rooney ended a 35-yard run with a shot through the legs of covering defender Lucas Radebe and beyond the grasp of the outstanding Paul Robinson. Rooney-mania then took hold as the Everton supporters celebrated wildly, mob-bing their hero and leaving Leeds boss Terry Venables to proclaim: "There's no doubt about it, he's not a good prospect, he's a good player." Under the protective wing of manager David Moyes, Rooney would appear to be in safe hands as the Scot is determined the Croxteth- born striker does not suffer burn-out. Midfielder Carsley reckons there is no stopping Rooney as he said: "I can't say I've been surprised at just how quickly he has developed. He is naturally very gifted, a great talent, a great prospect and he is doing everything the right way. That's because he is being handled really well. "He's obviously got the gaffer guiding him, and all the players are there for him too if he needs a bit of advice. "We've a lot of experienced players at the club, and although we're not the type to go up to him and give him advice, if he wants to know anything then he has always got someone he can bounce an idea off.
"But he is a willing learner. He tries a lot of things in training, and when it comes down to working hard, he does it. "If he keeps working as hard as he can then there's no boundaries as to what he can do." Moyes has vowed to nurture Rooney as he sees fit, resisting the clamour for the youngster to start Premier League matches, meaning he will have to get used to his substitute's role for now.
But then, when you have a player of Rooney's burgeoning calibre coming off the bench, that can only be an asset to the team. Carsley proclaimed: "He is coming on and changing games for us.
"It's good to know that we've a player in Wayne who can come on, just as he did against Leeds with the game deadlocked, and help us win matches." Everton's third successive league victory, the first time they have achieved such a feat for two years, has propelled the club up to sixth in the table.
With the club continually developing and improving under Moyes, there is the chance Everton could yet be in Europe next season, although Carsley emphasised caution. "We're playing with a lot of confidence and going into matches believing we can get something out of them, and when you're doing that, you've always got a chance," stated Carsley. "At the start of the season we didn't really set ourselves any targets apart from working hard and trying to win every game. "At the minute I don't think we should set targets, we should just keep doing what we're doing. But when you go up the league I suppose you've always got one eye on Europe, but we're not getting too carried away."
FIFA's u-turn setback for Hughes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 6 2002
THE club-v-country saga with Wales took another twist last night when FIFA made a dramatic U-turn over their controversial four-day rule. International quintet Mark Pembridge, Ryan Giggs, Robbie Savage, Andy Melville and John Hartson are free to play for their clubs on November 17 after Birmingham City exposed a loop-hole in the ruling. FIFA had said Wales boss Mark Hughes was within his rights to call up his squad on the Saturday evening prior to his country's vital European Championship qualifier in Azerbaijan on Wednesday, November 20, ruling the five out of league games for Everton, Manchester United, Birmingham, Fulham and Celtic respectively. However, a spokesman for the world game's governing body yesterday confirmed an amendment had been incorporated into existing statutes, declaring that on 'non-competitive' match-days players could only be called to duty 48 hours in advance. And, because this month's international date has been designated for friendlies, even though the game in Baku is a qualifier, Wales cannot invoke the rule.
The news represents a major set-back for Hughes, who has transformed his nation's fortunes in recent times to put Wales on course to reach their first major finals tournament since 1958.
But it is a boost for clubs who believe the Welsh FA should have taken into consideration the implications of next Thursday's Uefa Cup ties before agreeing to play Azerbaijan that day.
Uefa Cup games have forced competing clubs to play on Sundays for a number of years now, an overlap that sparked this long-running dispute. A FIFA spokesman confirmed: "Four days is the general rule but as this is only a day for friendly internationals, it becomes 48 hours. "We issued a letter to Birmingham on Monday to clarify the situation and apologise for any confusion which has arisen over the issue." Hughes had thought he was within his rights to take a hard-line stance because the game is 'competitive'. The Welsh boss wanted his players to meet in Cardiff on Saturday evening, the day before Giggs was due to turn out for United at West Ham, Pembridge plays for Everton at Blackburn and Birmingham's Savage and Fulham's Melville come face to face at St Andrews. In addition, Hartson would also have been ruled out of the Hoops' SPL clash with Glasgow rivals Partick, which has been put back 24 hours because of his club's UEFA Cup commitments the previous week. Both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes had already expressed their frustration, insisting "it wouldn't help Wales" in the long term if players lost their first team place as a result, while Birmingham owner David Sullivan was even more outspoken, claiming Savage would be forced to play for the Blues anyway. Everton manager Moyes said yesterday: "If Robbie Savage is free to play for Birmingham then I will be withdrawing Mark Pembridge from the four-day ruling as well. "I've spoken to Mark Hughes and while I appreciate his argument I'll do everything I possibly can to keep Mark Pembridge here with us and play him at Blackburn. "Mark wants to play for Everton at Blackburn as well, so if there is any light for Birmingham I will do the same."
And Birmingham chairman David Gold, who has pursued the matter for weeks, said: "I'm absolutely thrilled. "It is great that common-sense has prevailed. Let's make it clear; we want to help Wales all we can and I hope that they get to the Euro finals and we will help anyway that is possible. "But this is about there being a relation-ship between clubs and country, not a war. We will do all we can to assist but wanted them to show a bit of leeway as well."
Geordies' show of strength
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
Nov 6 2002
EVERTON will still face a formidable Newcastle line-up at St James' Park tonight despite Sir Bobby Robson being forced to ring the changes for the Worthington Cup clash. Portuguese international Hugo Viana is set to return to the starting line-up as Robson comes to terms with a hectic programme in which Newcastle have become victims of their own success. Viana, an £8.5m signing from Sporting Lisbon during the summer, has had limited opportunities to date but with tough trips to Arsenal in the Premiership and Feyenoord in the Champions League looming, he seems certain to be one of the beneficiaries of Robson's shake-up. But despite admitting he will make changes from the side which beat Middlesbrough 2-0 on Monday night - fit-again Kieron Dyer and Lomana LuaLua may return to the starting lineup, as could Nikos Dabizas, who has completed his suspension - Robson insists a place in the fourth round is a key priority. "We can't moan about it, we just have to play it," said Robson: "And we'll put out the best side we can. "I have to think about legs, I have to think about rest, but we'll put out a very good side. "I respect the competition. You can say Viana will play, and so will Dyer. Clarence Acuna is ready, LuaLua is fresh and Dabizas is ready." Skipper Alan Shearer has barely missed a game when fit since Robson took over in September 1999, but even he may have to bow to the manager as he looks ahead to the games at Highbury and the De Kuip Stadium.
Jewel in the crown
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 6 2002
SIR BOBBY ROBSON hailed Wayne Rooney "a jewel in the crown" as he backed David Moyes' bid to keep the wonderkid out of the spotlight. Robson, who handled a young Ronaldo at PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona and Paul Gascoigne with England, believes Rooney must be nurtured carefully to allow him to handle the weight of expectation now on his shoulders. Two sensational goals against Arsenal and Leeds have catapulted the 17-year-old into the nation's glare with calls already being made for him to be fast-tracked into the England set-up. And as he admitted to being excited by the prospect of facing Rooney in the Worthington Cup tonight, the veteran Newcastle coach insisted it is far too early to be heralding the Everton striker as a new Premiership superstar. Robson, 52 years Rooney's senior, said: "I think David Moyes is handling things well, as I would with a young player. There is already so muck talk about a lad who's only just turned 17. "He's scored two marvellous goals against Leeds and Arsenal, special goals, goals that only special players score, so obviously his potential is enormous. "I think he's a jewel in the crown and David Moyes will want to simmer it down and keep his feet on the ground. "The chances are that he will give him a game here from the start, and that will excite our crowd." Rooney is already being compared with the young Gascoigne, a player whose rich talent Robson developed in his time as England manager, but he said: "He hasn't played enough football yet. "What he's done, he's come on in difficult games and scored two marvellous goals, but obviously he's one for the future. Everton will want to sedate things and keep the boy calm." Both Robson and Moyes are set to make changes for the third round tie at St James' although the Everton boss is still likely to field a strong side as he looks for a fourth consecutive win.
But the Blues boss, who has doubts over Thomas Gravesen, Scot Gemmill and Niclas Alexandersson, wants every player to seize their chance to stay in the team when it comes. Moyes said: "I may make a few changes but at the end of the day it's still going to be first team players involved. Everyone involved is part of the first team squad. "From our point of view we want to win every game. I will always put out a strong side that I think can win the game but I have to have a look at what is best for my players. "That doesn't necessarily mean resting them because at the same time it's important we keep the winning run going as well. I've got to think about that. "The good thing is all the players on the fringes are right behind the ones who are playing and very supportive.
"No-one is an automatic choice, although those rules will have to be broken at times, but everyone has to be ready to come in and seize their chance. "In the end it is always my decision but the players know how the land lies. "The attitude of the lads who aren't in the first team has been really good and they have to be ready at all times. "We've got a very busy period coming up around Christmas and the worst thing you can do is not be ready when your chance comes. "When it does, they've got to show me and the fans they are worth a place." "It is not just 11 players and me. It is the backroom staff and extra players around the first team who all have a major part to play."
The Everton manager added: "What Newcastle may do doesn't alter our approach. "They've got a busy schedule but have won a few games on the run now and will be feeling confident. "But I know how difficult it is to get players going regularly every two or three days and with the big games they've got on the horizon they do have a decision to make." Moyes, who confirmed Blackpool are interested in signing Keith Southern - now recalled from his loan spell along with Peter Clarke, revealed Gravesen has now had tests on the knee injury that has forced him out of the last two games. "Thomas has had some fluid removed from his knee and now we are having it tested for any problems," he said. "It stemmed from a heavy knock he took against Manchester United and now we'll have to wait and see."
Owen: My advice for rookie Blues sensation Wayne
Nov 6 2002
WAYNE ROONEY has been given advice on how to handle life at the very top of English football - by Michael Owen. The Liverpool superstar knows exactly what his Goodison counterpart is now going through after making a similar explosion on to the scene for the Reds when he was 17. And, as he saluted Rooney's Premiership rise, which included breaking Owen's record as the division's youngest goalscorer with that goal against Arsenal, the Anfield ace warned Rooney it is tougher to stay at the top than to get there. Owen has coped remarkably with the adulation and spotlight to go from stength to strength with Liverpool, becoming the European Footballer of the Year for 2001, playing in two World Cups and captaining England. "Wayne is certainly a great player," said Owen. "I wouldn't say it is easy getting to the top. It's a one in a million thing for players like Wayne Rooney.
"You can imagine the amount of young Everton supporters who want to be in his shoes. I would say that for him to stay there is even harder than it is to get there in the first place."
The secret for success
By Lee Rowcroft, Daily Post
Nov 6 2002
DAVID MOYES is refusing to get carried away by Everton's revival and insists: "We haven't won anything yet." The Everton manager's rapidly improving team have won four of their last five Premiership games to push them up into sixth place in the table. Now they aim to make it three away victories in succession when they face Newcastle in the Worthington Cup third round tonight.
Wonderboy Wayne Rooney (pictured) has been grabbing all the headlines but Moyes is quick to point out that the whole team have been performing well while acknowledging there is still plenty more to do. The Blues boss said: "We've got a lot of confidence about the place at the moment but I don't think I've had any success yet. "We've won some games and we've given people reason for optimism but we need to keep working hard. "The players have done everything we have asked of them so far as they got us away from the threat of relegation last season and they've kicked on again and we are doing well. "If there are bigger expectations now it's a good thing. We should want to be talked about in the same way as Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool and the only way to do that is to be playing well on the field." Moyes also insists that the attention surrounding 17-year-old Rooney has not affected the need for teamwork, which he continues to instil into his side. "All the players know how well they are playing at the moment. "Wayne has scored some good goals but he is part of a team, he knows that, and if he didn't he wouldn't be here," he added. The 39-year-old Scot also admitted the Football Association have not yet been in contact over Rooney over reports he could be fast-tracked through the England setup by Sven-Goran Eriksson. Rooney may have to settle for a place on the bench again tonight while defender David Weir is hoping for a recall after being an unused substitute in the 1-0 win at Elland Road on Sunday. However, Moyes remains confident that whatever team he selects will be capable of securing victory despite Newcastle's rich vein of form over the last fortnight. He added: "Newcastle have done really well recently and they will also be wanting to get some silverware. "They maybe have bigger engagements in the coming days than Everton and I feel sorry for them that they have had to play on Monday and Wednesday.
"It seems that if you are successful in this country it often works against you."
Owen on Rooney
Nov 6 2002 By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
IF Wayne Rooney needs some neighbourly advice on life as the new wonderkid on the block, he need only look next door. Liverpool's Michael Owen can relate to Rooney-mania. It was not so long ago Owen was the fresh-faced teenager in need of a protective arm from his manager after being pursued by paparazzi and over-intrusive TV cameras. Having watched Rooney burst onto the scene, he is no doubt the Goodison rival can follow his path to Premiership and international success. But he is also well qualified to warn Rooney of the pitfalls of having every piece of your life scrutinised and served for regular public consumption. "He is certainly a great player," says Owen, of the player tipped to usurp him as Merseyside's hottest striking talent. "Everyone around Merseyside has heard of Wayne Rooney for the last six months to a year and he is now starting to get a lot of recognition nationally. "The next step is to get it around the world, but you only do that when you have played for your country. Wayne Rooney is happy to be a local hero and I think things are only going to get better for him." Aside from being brilliant footballers, the comparisons between the two Merseyside idols are obvious. Their fans were well aware of them long before they made their first appearance or scored their first goal. Both provoked the longest whispering campaign in Merseyside history, with coaches tantalisingly predicting greatness on the one hand, while pleading for caution and not overdoing the hype on the other. Just like Owen, those nearest to Rooney knew what was in store long before the Johnny-come-lately's burst onto the scene wanting a piece of someone who a few months ago they had no interest in. And, like Owen, Rooney is also carrying the burden of expectation with a maturity which defies his age. When the Liverpool striker was 17, he played and conducted himself like a veteran. Already, Rooney gives the impression he has 10 years more experience than some of those he's playing against. "Reputation-wise I can see similarities," says Owen. "But I don't see similarities as play-ers. He is probably more mature physically than I am now. He's probably got more hair on his chest and I'm 22." If there is any advice from Owen for the man who could be his next English strike partner, however, it's be prepared to handle the dips in the same way as the highs. "You feel for young players, especially those who are English," says Owen. "When I came onto the scene as a professional footballer and I was training with the English squad as a 17-year-old, people warned me of certain things. But it's never quite the same until you witness it for yourself. "I've seen what people do and I know how to get over it. They'll give him a chance, but as soon as he doesn't play well or something . . .
"I wouldn't say it's easy getting to the top. It's a one-in-a-million thing for players like Wayne Rooney. You can imagine the amount of young Everton supporters who want to be in his shoes.
"I would say for him to stay there is even harder than it is to get there in the first place."
Injury permitting, shrewd judges are certain Rooney will belt in the goals consistently and eventually play at England senior level. A few are even tipping him to beat Owen's record for being the youngest international this century. He's already made one impression by rewriting Owen's statistics for being the Premiership's youngest scorer. Said Owen: "I'm glad it's been taken by a local lad but, to be honest, until someone told me he'd broken my record I hadn't even known I had it originally. "I could have guessed I was one of the youngest scorers in the Premier League because it hasn't been going for too long. But I'm not that bothered." Only time will tell if the predictions of Rooney being as good as, or better, than Owen come true. Perhaps claiming one is or will be better than the other is lame. Rooney and Owen should be celebrated for what they are. Uniquely gifted and a credit to the clubs that spotted them and nurtured them. Both ensuring the eyes of the rest of the country, and the world, will remain fixated on Merseyside for the foreseeable future.
Stubbs keen to prove a point
Nov 6 2002 Liverpool Echo
ALAN Stubbs is delighted to have been back in the Everton starting line-up for the last two games - and has no intention of giving up his place without a fight. The 31-year-old has been at the heart of the defence alongside Nigerian star Joseph Yobo for the 1-0 victories over West Ham and Leeds, and he hopes to be given the nod again for the Worthington Cup tie at Newcastle tonight. Stubbs only got his chance at Upton Park as David Weir was serving a one-match suspension for his dismissal against Manchester United at Old Trafford, and Stubbs admits he was surprised to keep his place against Terry Venables' side last Sunday. Weir was an unused substitute at Elland Road and Stubbs said: "I thought Davie would have come back in but the gaffer stuck to his guns and we got a result.
"It's good because if you come in and do well, the last thing you need is to be out of the team again.
"Everyone here will get a chance somewhere along the line through injury or suspension and it's just a case of taking the opportunity." The former Celtic defender and boyhood Evertonian is thrilled to be part of the current set-up at Goodison, with David Moyes' side having surged up to sixth place in the Premiership after winning their last three games. Stubbs does not believe Moyes has introduced any secret formula to bring about the transformation at a club who have been threatened by relegation on numerous occasions over the last 10 years, but thinks hard work has been the most important ingredient. "He has got everyone working hard and when 11 players are working together you will get more breaks than not and we are obviously getting a little bit of luck now and then. "It also helps when you've got a young lad on the bench who's not bad," Stubbs added. Wayne Rooney is the man in question after his breathtaking goals against Arsenal and Leeds in recent weeks and the 17-year-old must wait to see if he starts against the Magpies.
I can't wait to get back toToon - Irvine
Nov 6 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SOUTHERN COMFORT: Alan Irvine moved down from Newcastle to assist David Moyes at Everton
THE wild unpredictability of the Worthington Cup means there will be only two certainties at St James' Park tonight. The name Wayne Rooney will be mentioned at the post-match press conference. And the name Gary Speed will be roundly booed by the visiting supporters. Alan Irvine knows all about both - but Everton's assistant-manager goes back to Newcastle hoping for a sporting reception for both boyhood Blues. Speed is desperate to play against The Toffees and if, as expected, Alan Shearer is rested, could captain The Magpies against his former club. "I think he's a great player and I think he's a great lad," said Irvine - who was a coach at Newcastle when Speed made his controversial £6m switch from Goodison. "He's one of the best pros that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. He's terrific in training, great on the pitch, great off it and he's someone who is captain material without any doubt. "I couldn't speak highly enough about Speedo.
"I have seen the other side when he has got stick from the Evertonians, but the fact is he has given the best he possibly can for every club he has played for." At 33, Speed is nearing the end of his playing career, but at the opposite end of the age scale are two teenage prospects who could also figure tonight. Wayne Rooney has already written headlines galore this season, while in Michael Chopra, Newcastle hope they have an outstanding young prospect of their own. "There is talk that Michael Chopra could make his debut which would be fantastic from one point of view," said Irvine, "but while I would like him to do well, I would rather he waited a game or two. "He's a very good prospect. I was asked to do an interview comparing him to Wayne and I hate comparing players.
"It's not fair and the fact is that they are both very good, young play-ers and you just hope they maximise their potential." Irvine added: "I'm obviously looking forward to going back. I had a great time there and the people were great to me." But the Blues' coach doesn't think he will be able to offer any special insight into Newcastle's game-plan. "There aren't that many secrets anyway," he said "and no-one knows what kind of team Bobby Robson will select. "They have some very hard games coming up, Arsenal on Saturday, the Champions League game next week and Middlesbrough being a tough one to start with. "Newcastle will view our match as an important game, but in the circumstances they probably can't play the same team in the four games I've just mentioned.
"There has been talk of Alan Shearer being rested, which would delight me. "Alan's a terrific player. Obviously I've known him a long time because he was at Blackburn when I was there, too. I've so much respect for him as a player and a person. I have used him and Gary Speed as role models for the young lads coming through at Newcastle. "But I'll be delighted if Alan doesn't play because he is a very, very important player for Newcastle."
Blues after record run
Nov 6 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has yet another enduring record in his sights tonight. After wrecking Arsenal's 30 match unbeaten run, then ending a 51-year barren spell at Elland Road - the Blues boss has now targetted another statistic which has haunted Goodison for more than a decade. It is, astonishingly, 11 years since an Everton side has won four successive matches. That shameful statistic has endured since 1991, when Howard Kendall's team defeated Wolves in the Rumbelows Cup and followed up with League victories over Luton, Wimbledon and Notts County. But victory over Newcastle at St James Park tonight (7.45pm) would add another impressive achievement to Moyes' record as Blues' boss. "I didn't know it had been that long," said Moyes "but we want to win every game we go into and that will be the case tonight." The current run of three successive wins was last achieved two years ago, when Walter Smith's side defeated Bradford, Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premiership. The Blues' boss has cofnirmed that he will make some changes from the team which won at Leeds on Sunday, but will still send out a strong line-up. "There is a temptation to rest players," he explained, "but I also want to keep the winning run going. I am not going to name my team, but there's a chance one or two players may come in." That could mean appearances for former Magpies Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone, but not involved will be injury victims Niclas Alexandersson (knee) and Scot Gemmill (back). Thomas Gravesen will have a late fitness test. "Tommy has had some fluid removed from his knee," said Moyes. "We'll assess him to see how he is, but he wasn't that far away from playing on Sunday." Having played only 48 hours ago against Middlesbrough, Newcastle are expected to make several changes, but Evertonian defender Andy Griffin is anxious to keep his place. "I supported Everton as a kid and I'd love to play against them."
Extra time and penalties will decide tonight's match if the scores are level.
Newcastle 2, Everton 2 (2-3 pens) (D, Post)
By Andy Hunter at St James' Park
Nov 7 2002
ANCIENT RECORDS are tumbling and now age-old jinxes are disappearing too. At this rate David Moyes will soon win £30million on the lottery and donate it the Everton Kings Dock appeal. There are few other problems that have plagued the Blues in recent years that their new leader has yet to solve. The League Cup in all its guises has never been kind to Everton, important penalty shoot-outs even worse. But even the awful combination of the two could not derail Everton's remarkable progress under Moyes last night as memories were erased of Sunderland, Bristol Rovers and Crystal Palace, to name but three, at the finger-tips of Richard Wright and the resolve of the new Blues.
Twice they were heading for the exit, three times if you include the first round of the spot-kicks, and on each occasion they turned things around to reach the fourth round and secure a fourth consecutive win for the first time in 11 years. No wonder hundreds of delirious Everton fans hung around long after the final whistle to applaud every player onto the coach and hail Moyes as their new messiah. Sir Bobby Robson was in disbelief at his side's exit. The fact Everton were not speaks volumes for their progress, even after suffering a calamitous own goal in extra-time and seeing David Unsworth miss the first penalty of the shoot-out. Success from Steve Watson, Wayne Rooney and Kevin Campbell, however, enabled the visitors to grind out victory in the deafening cauldron of St James' Park after Wright saved from Hugo Viana, saw Michael Chopra blaze over and tipped away Laurent Robert's final kick in superb style. This was not Everton's best performance of their recent revival by any means, but another huge step towards fully restoring the confidence now soaring throughout the club. Despite four changes it was a positive sign that Moyes could still field a strong line-up, though the impact of the Champions League on a club's finances was illustrated by Robson making eight switches from Monday night's derby with Middlesbrough and saying the same.
With Kieron Dyer, £8.5million Viana and Lomana Lualua in their side Newcastle had enough skill and movement to give Wright a hectic night. But three changes in their defence meant unfamiliarity and uncertainty at the back and it didn't take long for Everton to capitalise on United's main weakness.
The Blues should have been in front after only 43 seconds when David Unsworth's free-kick found Campbell ghosting in behind Steven Caldwell but heading over the bar from only six yards out.
Ten minutes later Everton's leading scorer made no mistake. Again the set-piece delivery was perfect, this time from Lee Carsley's corner, again the big striker peeled away from his marker but now Campbell kept his header low and punished Newcastle once more. Campbell, who opened the scoring in the second round at Wrexham, must love this ground, having never lost when he's struck. Preserving that proud record was never going to be easy though without the commanding presence of Joseph Yobo. His pace alone gives Everton a valuable get-out clause that has shored up a defence that was leaking goals when he was out injured. Without it the Blues have to sit further back, inviting the opposition midfield forward much more often. Viana was clearly desperate to make the most of that space and press his claims for a first team recall. Twice he tested Wright at full-stretch from 20 yards with one powerful low drive and one dangerous curling strike. Both times the Everton keeper was equal to the task. At the opposite end Rooney's regular flashes of magic were too deep for even he to seriously worry Steve Harper in the United goal, but six minutes before the break he conjured something out of nothing to nearly double Everton's lead. Campbell's flick-on sent his young strike partner scurrying down the right and as Steven Caldwell came across Rooney lifted the ball over the defender's head, burst inside and unleashed a powerful half volley Harper parried at his near post.
Purposeful Everton attacks were too few and far between to look comfortable on their slender lead but more worrying was the loss of Tobias Linderoth to a serious hamstring injury in the 38th minute.
The Swede pulled up immediately after volleying a clearance upfield, his distress obvious not just from the pain but the realisation his successful fight to get back in the side was now back at square one. Watson came on with Carsley moving into the middle, but that change and the second half introduction of Radzinski for Li Tie as Moyes went for an adventurous three-pronged attack to alleviate the pressure at the back failed to reduce the home side's possession. Newcastle increased the tempo after the interval, their control measured by three Everton bookings in as many minutes.
Oddly the Blues were creating the clearer chances even as they scrapped for survival. Viana twice went close from long range while in response Naysmith forced a brilliant point-blank save from Harper after connecting with a low ball across goal by Radzinski, who then scuffed an equally good chance straight at the keeper after a neat one-two with Campbell. Those chances came and went inside a minute. Everton's interest in the Worthington Cup was almost also gone in 60 seconds too as Newcastle's pressure finally paid off. United's own wonderkid Michael Chopra was robbed by Unsworth in front of open goal after Laurent Robert cut the ball back when clean through but it was a short-lived reprieve. A wonderful threaded pass by Viani sliced the Everton defence in the 76th minute, Naysmith slipped, as did Wright, and Dyer pounced to simply poke the ball under the Blues keeper. Within a minute Newcastle had transformed the tie thanks a fabulous second from the same player, as met Cort's lay-off with an unstoppable drive that flew into the top corner from 20 yards. Everton were down but with Rooney around they can never be out and yet again he inspired another late flourish. The 17-year-old, as he did when winning the corner for the opener, muscled Nikos Dabizas off the ball with five minutes left, stormed to the by-line and cut the ball back perfectly for Watson to slot home against his boyhood club. And there was so nearly an astonishing ending from the boy wonder. In injury time Rooney beat two defenders to a header, retrieved the ball and danced away from two more to set himself up for a blistering drive from the edge of the box that flew over by millimetres. There was still time for Chopra to force a great close-range save out of Wright and tee up Robert for a goalbound drive blocked by Pistone. But when the Italian next intervened in extra time, it was with disastrous results. Just as Campbell relishes St James', so Dyer must have something against the Blues. He rampaged down the right in the 99th minute to lead a Newcastle breakaway and looked up to see Robert storming down the opposite flank unmarked.
Dyer's cross was falling to the Frenchman but Pistone just intercepted. Instead of glancing the ball on, however, for some reason he tried to head the ball back, completely wrong-footing Wright and looking on in horror as it sailed into his own net. To his credit Pistone managed to make amends, though how much he knew about it when his shot cannonned into Campbell's path in the 110th minute only he knows. The striker skipped past Harper and would have scored but for Caldwell punching the ball clear, and even though Rooney tucked in the rebound referee Riley had already blown to expose one of the game's daft laws. Instead of allowing the goal to stand he had to give a penalty and dismiss the defender, thus giving Caldwell the chance of profiting from his professional foul. Thankfully there was no such fear as Unsworth shrugged Rooney aside and convincingly sent Harper the wrong way. It was just the start of Everton's memorable night as far as penalties were concerned ...
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Harper; Griffin, Caldwell, Dabizas, Elliott; Dyer, Acuna (Robert, 67 mins), Viana, Bernard (Robert, 67 mins); Cort, Lualua (Chopra, 67 mins). Subs: Given, Hughes.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Li Tie (Radzinski, 56 mins), Linderoth (Watson, 38 mins), Naysmith; Rooney, Campbell. Subs: Simonsen,
REFEREE: Mike Riley
BOOKINGS: Everton's Weir, Watson, Pistone, Carsley (fouls), Rooney (dissent); Newcastle's Viana (dissent)
SENDING-OFF: Newcastle's Caldwell (professional foul)
PENALTIES: Dyer 1-0, Unsworth 1-0; Solano 2-0, Watson 2-1; Viana 2-1, Rooney 2-2; Chopra 2-2, Campbell 2-3; Robert 2-3.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Wayne Rooney. Too deep to threaten until the impressive Tomasz Radzinski entered the fray, but simply a joy to behold, a privilege to watch.
Newcastle 3, Everton 3 (2-3 pens) (Echo)
Nov 7 2002 By David Prentice At Goodison Park
MAYBE they should call him The Moyesiah. Ending the champions' 30-game unbeaten run, wrecking a 51-year-old Elland Road jinx and giving a grand old club its pride back is nothing compared to last night's latest record breaker. Everton won a penalty shoot-out. Six simple words, which wipe away three decades of spot-kick misery. David Moyes may not have been aware of the fact, but Everton's record in 12-yard nerve-shredders coming into this Worthington Cup third round tie was abysmal. Until last night's Worthington Cup denouement at Newcastle, that is. The last time Everton had won one was in the European Cup - which should say it all. Bobby Robson was still a veteran player when Borussia Moen-changladbach were outwitted at Goodison Park. The number of shoot-out failures in the 30 years since has been truly mind-numbing. There was Crystal Palace, Bristol Rovers and Sunderland in this competition alone. Charlton in the Full Members Cup. A British Championship clash out in Dubai with Rangers and countless pre-season friendlies. They did win one - at Wembley, of all places - but that hardly counts, given that it came at the end of a 20-minute each-way canter against Wolves in the Football League's Centenary celebrations. Last night's undoubtedly did matter. It extended an impressive unbeaten run, kept the growing Goodison momentum rolling - and put Everton into the next round of a competition they now seriously harbour hopes of winning. And with Newcastle United joining clubs like Arsenal, Leeds United, Tottenham and Middlesbrough in the Worthington Cup rubbish can, a favourable draw on Saturday could see them take another significant stride in that direction. For a long time now, Evertonians haven't seriously considered winning a raffle. But such has been the massive jolt of confidence Moyes has injected into the club, their fans travelled to the daunting arena of St James' Park last night anticipating a celebration. They got one - but only after the most enthralling, topsy-turvy tie of the round. Everton led for more than an hour, then their hopes seemed to have gone in 60 seconds, two Kieron Dyer strikes turning the match on its head. They equalised six minutes from the end of normal time - Geordie old-boy Steve Watson scoring - before another former Magpie, Alessandro Pistone, also scored . . . but this time past his own goalkeeper. That was in first half extra time. In the second period Wayne Rooney seemed to have written another dramatic headline - but referee Mike Riley had obviously been listening to David Moyes' recent pleas to protect the prodigy. He ruled out his 'goal' and gave a penalty - which David Unsworth converted. Even the penalty shoot-out was a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Unsworth took Everton's first - and uncharacteristically saw his shot saved. When Dyer and Solano converted either side of that miss, the out-come looked a familiar one. But the Blues turned things around. Birthday boy Richard Wright (pictured right) saved from Hugo Viana, teenage debutant Michael Chopra cruelly missed - and when Watson, Rooney and Kevin Campbell all converted their efforts, Lauren Robert had to score to keep The Magpies alive. His strike was good, but Wright's save was stunning - and another longstanding record fell to the young Blues boss. "What next?" asked exhausted assistant boss Alan Irvine afterwards. Well, Everton have never won this competition - and the way they are performing at the moment, who knows what is possible? The Newcastle side they defeated was barely recognisable from the one which had defeated Middlesbrough 48 hours earlier, but it was still a significant scalp.
Only Griffin, Caldwell and Bernard survived from Monday night's starting line-up - with no Speed, Shearer or Jenas. Having played their last match a dayand-a-half earlier, Moyes was more circumspect with his switches. Alessandro Pistone came in for his first start of the season, handing Tony Hibbert a well-earned rest, David Weir replaced Joseph Yobo - and reclaimed the captain's armband, Gary Naysmith swapped with Mark Pembridge, and Wayne Rooney replaced Tomasz Radzinski about 75 minutes earlier than usual. The reshuffle hardly weakened the Blues. Deprived of the majestic Yobo's pace at the back they defended deeper, but Weir and Stubbs proved obstinate obstacles. Further forward Rooney simply showed that he can do for 120 minutes what he has been doing for 15 recently. His performance was exceptional - and only bad luck prevented him adding another goal to his growing tally. Campbell did add one to his on his favourite stamping ground. He missed an excellent opening after 43 seconds, but 10 minutes later Nay-smith swung over a corner and he rose unchallenged again to guide a header past the disgusted Harper.
It was his fifth St James' Park strike in three years. Newcastle recovered from the shock to trouble the Everton defence regular-ly, but while the Blues' reshuffled rear-guard didn't quite have the tank-trap efficiency it boasts with the majestic Yobo at its heart, it still coped well enough. Everton's most worrying first-half moment came when Tobias Linderoth volleyed clear from the edge of his penalty area and pulled his hamstring. He trudged off immediately to be replaced by Watson, Carsley (left) moving to the middle. For long periods Everton were pinned back after that, but Moyes' solution was typical. He took off Li Tie and threw on an extra forward. Radzinski's impact was significant. He darted down the left and crossed for Naysmith to volley what seemed to be the clincher, only for Harper to produce a stunning reflex save. Two minutes later Everton trailed. Dyer raced onto Viana's pass to poke past Wright, then a minute later smote a majestic strike into the top corner of the Blues' goal. Both sides went for broke and the chances piled up. Radzinski shot into the turf and straight at Harper, Chopra lost the ball between his legs faced by an open goal - and six minutes from time Rooney arrowed down the right before pulling the ball back from the byline for Watson to hook in the equaliser. Rooney almost claimed a winner himself in time added on. His penetrating run across the Newcastle box ended with a blistering shot which whistled inches over. In extra time Everton looked the more likely side to score next - and they did - but Pistone's stretching header (left) was gruesomely guided past his own 'keeper. That gave Everton 22 minutes to save the game again - and they did, with 10 minutes to spare. Campbell dragged the ball round Harper, shot at the empty net and saw Newcastle defender Stephen Caldwell desperately palm the ball across the goal. Rooney raced in and tapped the ball over the line, but Riley had already blown. He disallowed the 'goal,' showed Caldwell a red card and Unsworth brushed aside Rooney's attempts to claim the penalty kick and stepped up to cooly send Harper the wrong way from the spot. Rooney's attempts to claim the responsibility simply showed the character and swagger he possesses.
It's a swagger which is shared by the squad - and it's spreading.
All hail the Moyesiah!
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Harper; Griffin, Caldwell, Dabizas, Elliott; Dyer, Acuna (Solano 66 mins), Viana, Bernard (Robert 66); Lua Lua (Chopra 66), Cort. Unused: Given, Hughes.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Tie (Radzinski 55), Linderoth (Watson 38), Naysmith; Campbell, Rooney. Unused: Feng, McLeod, Simonsen.
Referee: Mike Riley. Bookings: Weir (51 mins) foul, Watson (52 mins) dangerous play, Pistone (53 mins) foul, Carsley (88 mins) foul, Rooney (93 mins) dissent, Viana (118 mins) dissent.
Sending-off: Caldwell (110 mins) deliberate handball.
GOALS: Campbell (10 mins) 0-1; Dyer (76 mins) 1-1, Dyer (77 mins) 2-1, Watson (84 mins) 2-2, Pistone own goal (98 mins) 3-2, Unsworth penalty (110 mins) 3-3.
Score at 90 minutes: 2-2. Score after extra-time: 3-3.
PENALTY SHOOT-OUT: Dyer (scored) 1-0; Unsworth (saved) 1-0; Solano (scored) 2-0; Watson (scored) 2-1; Viana (saved) 2-1; Rooney (scored) 2-2; Chopra (missed) 2-2; Campbell (scored) 2-3; Robert (saved) 2-3.
Irvine praises ice-cool Rooney
Nov 7 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY'S big time temperament was saluted today - after the teenager kept an icy nerve to slot in a crucial penalty shoot-out strike. Then assistant boss Alan Irvine revealed he'd missed two in a training session earlier in the day. Rooney stepped forward after Everton and Newcastle had shared six goals in a thrilling Worthington Cup tie at St James' Park. He joined Steve Watson and Kevin Campbell to score from the spot, and Irvine explained: "We practised penalties on the morning of the game and we were awful - and the biggest culprit was Wayne Rooney. "He missed two in training, then walked up and rolled one in when it really mattered. The ones in training went over the bar and I thought that's where his one was going. But it shows what amazing self-belief he has, what lack of fear he's got which has carried him through. "He was outstanding." Irvine also praised the youngster's stamina. I was very concerned about him going on for so long," he added. "I keep a note of what training the lads have done and what matches they have played and I made David aware that Wayne hasn't played very much and trained as much as he would need to complete 120 minutes, but then he goes out and performs like that for all that time. "There were senior play-ers getting cramp out there and he was still going, making long runs into their half." The 3-2 spot-kick success, sealed by Richard Wright's stunning save from Laurent Robert - on the goalkeeper's birthday - was Everton's first in a competitive match since 1971. Irvine said: "We seem to be breaking a few records at this moment. "I am absolutely shatt ered. It was a roller-coaster.
"We were leading for an hour, then suddenly found ourselves 2-1 down. We got back into it again, but the manner in which we conceded the third goal made you think 'that's it. That's the hammer blow.' "But the lads showed unbelievable character, mental strength and self-confidence to get back and that's not the first time this season they have showed that character. "Richard has got a terrific record on penalties going back to his Ipswich days and even when we missed our first penalty I thought there was a fair chance he would save one. "It was his birthday and it was Mick Rathbone's birthday as well, but I think the lads will have been too tired to celebrate much."
After a clutch of Premiership clubs bowed out last night, Irvine now believes the Blues can go all the way. He said: "There is a great opportunity to win the competition now. "I certainly hope we can go on and win it." The only black mark for the Blues was a hamstring injury for midfielder Tobias Linderoth, which saw him limp off after 38 minutes.
Nov 7 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON were told they have every chance of winning the Worthington Cup after pulling off an incredible penalty shoot-out win at Newcastle last night. The Blues recorded their fourth successive triumph for the first time in 11 years after Richard Wright secured a place in the fourth round with a fabulous final stop from Laurent Robert. And after a night of cup shocks that has opened the field for the Blues, assistant manager Alan Irvine insisted there was no reason why Everton, having reached the last 16, cannot now go all the way. Irvine said: "Even before tonight a few big clubs had gone out, while others have been making noises about having to concentrate on other things.
"So there is a great opportunity to win the competition now. I certainly hope we can go on and win it! This was always going to be a very tough draw and we have come through it." The Scot saluted youngster Wayne Rooney, who not only produced another superb performance but lasted the full 120 minutes and brought Everton back into the penalty contest with a cool finish. "Wayne was fabulous tonight," added Irvine. "He has fantastic ability and on top of that he's got incredible mental strength. "He has no fear and was absolutely awesome. He missed two penalties in training this morning and yet walked up in front of all those Newcastle fans and all that noise and simply rolled it in. "I was also amazed by his stamina. Wayne has been kept back in terms of reserve games so I am amazed he lasted so long, let alone perform at the level he did." Kevin Campbell headed Everton in front after only 11 minutes but it took an 85th-minute leveller from Steve Watson after Kieron Dyer struck twice in 60 seconds to take the tie into extra-time. Irvine said: "Watto did really well. He played in three different positions tonight and not one of them was at right-back.
"That's his first appearance because of injury this season, so he did extremely well to come through for as long as he did." Everton also trailed in extra-time after an Alessandro Pistone own goal, only to equalise from the penalty spot after Steven Caldwell had been sent off for deliberate handball. David Unsworth scored, but then missed the first kick of the shoot-out. "We've showed tremendous character all season," added David Moyes' assistant. "When I first came here I was told when we went behind we didn't come back, but that has not been my experience at all. "I'm not sure how many games we have turned around this season but the fact we came from behind three times tonight showed the players have fantastic character and deserve so much credit. "We had to show amazing mental strength and self-belief to win this game. "We didn't play as well as we have done recently but we still managed to create a number of clear chances." The only negative point for Everton was a serious hamstring injury to Tobias Linderoth that looks set to keep the Swede sidelined for a month. Irvine confirmed: "It's not a full tear but I'm told it's a grade one so that could mean he's out for three or four weeks. "It is a real shame for Toby because he's just got back in the team and there are a lot of players itching for the chance to play." Meanwhile Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson hailed Everton's teenage sensation Rooney after seeing him help dump his side out of the Worthington Cup. "He's awesome," admitted the former England manager. He's a terrific player. At 17, he's as good a player as I've seen. "He's got everything. He's got strength, he's got pace, he can turn on the ball. He was composed for the second goal. "A lot of players wouldn't have given the ball he gave. He kept calm on the byline and pulled his pass back, and Watson did the rest.
"He played like a 27-year-old rather than a 17-year-old. He was immense and gave a great performance. They have in him a fantastic talent - England have." Viana, 18-year-old Michael Chopra and Laurent Robert, who minutes earlier suffered a suspected fractured a cheekbone in a clash with David Weir, all failed to beat Wright in the shoot-out, leaving Robson to admit: "I'm very disappointed to be honest. It was a tough way to go out. We had it won twice and basically weren't good enough to go on and win it when we should have. "Everyone remembers the second half and the change of fortunes, but when a fella called Campbell puts a free ball in the net from a corner - and I've been here three years and I'm sick of telling people how to mark - it just gets me brassed off. We didn't defend resolutely all the time." Unlike Rooney, Robson's penalty-takers were in good form in training, but were found wanting when it came to the crunch. "I was disappointed with the penalties," he said. "I never blame anyone for penalties, but we practised penalties yesterday and we put them in like rockets. "But the difference between the training ground and a pressure point is different, and they have to learn that."
Prime Minister leads tributes to Everton
By Tariq Tahir, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
FLYING higher than usual in the league and with the hottest young talent in English football banging them in, Everton have finally got something to smile about these days. Now politicians from the Prime Minister down are lining up to pay tribute to the club achieving a special landmark - 100 seasons of continuous league football. An early-day motion has been tabled in the House of Commons congratulating the club on their record. The motion says the "unique loyalty of generations of Everton supporters has provided the foundation for this great achievement" and calls for the British media to recognise this. Although early-day motions are not usually debated, they allow MPs to sign the motion and show their support for a particular issue. MPs - incidentally all Evertonians - expect "the People's Club to forge ever stronger links with its supporters and to maintain a record in the 21st century consistent with that of the 20th century." Three of the four Labour MPs who have signed the motion - Peter Kilfoyle, Joe Benton and Bob Wareing - are Merseysiders while the fourth, Andy Burnham, is a Scouser exiled to Manchester as a child and now representing Leigh. In "Who's Who" Mr Wareing lists his hobbies as, among others, soccer and ballet, an art form not readily associated with Goodison Park. Season ticket holder and Gwladys Street ender Mr Burnham saw his first game in the mid-70s (he is only 32) and names Bob Latch-ford as an early idol. "I had his shirt with the number 9 on the back." On life as an Evertonian, he says: "I think we're balanced people. We've seen the highs and lows - both sides of the game. One of the things that marks us out is a unique loyalty. "We're not fickle in any sense and I think we've got some of the most knowledgeable fans in the game. We're there for the long haul." Mr Burnham said it was time the rest of Britain took heed of the club's achievements. In his letter, the Tony Blair, said: "From its beginning as a church team, to being a founder member of the Football League in 1888 and to being a member of the Premier League in 1992, Everton FC have been at the forefront of English football." A club spokesman said congratulations had come in from over the world and "it was nice to see the people who run our country recognising our achievement."..
Vandals in attacks on Rooney family car
By Mark Hookham, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
VANDALS have damaged the new family car of Everton's teenage sensation Wayne Rooney
The Croxteth family's people carrier has been attacked twice in a fortnight by vandals using nails to puncture its tyres. The 17-year-old striker's father, Wayne senior, has been forced to spend more than £140 on replacement tyres after discovering they had been damaged as it sat outside the family home. The navy blue Ford Galaxy is used by Wayne senior to drive his son to and from training sessions and Goodison Park. The family have declined to report the damage to the police or to make any comment on the attacks. Neighbours said they are shocked at the vandalism and believe the offenders have travelled to Croxteth from another area of the city. Doreen Driscoll, 71, who lives nearby, said: "It's horrible and I can't believe anyone would do it. "He is a lovely young fellow and everyone loves him round here, especially the kids. It's probably people from elsewhere doing this." Another neighbour said: "There are brainless people who would do that kind of thing. "Maybe it's because Liverpool are top dogs and he is an Evertonian." Everton bosses have this week been discussing the possibility of moving the Rooney family to a new home in West Derby after they rejected houses in Formby and Southport. The house is believed to be a £250,000 detached house on an exclusive housing estate. It is not believed the family's move is linked to the attacks, as talks were already under way before the incidents occurred. Rooney is believed to want to stay near his Croxteth friends and family - he has been seen playing football in the street and cycling with mates after first team performances. Rooney is expected to sign a professional contract with Everton in December which will make him the highest paid 17-year-old in Premiership history.
Blues reveal truth in victory
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
WHAT A week. It feels like that bit in the Truman Show when Jim Carrey discovers that his life is actually a reality TV show and that everything he believes in is fake. Except in a good way. In four short days Everton have won a league game at Elland Road and then a penalty shoot-out at St James' Park. Elland Road? Penalty shoot-outs? What happened to the Everton who could always be relied on to shoot themselves in the foot or at least gallantly fail when faced with such obstacles? It's getting to the point where the fans are expecting us to win games. It's not normal. Much has been made of Rooneymania, and everyone has been at pains to point out that our upturn in fortunes has been a team effort. However, his performances this week have underlined just how special he really is. The goal against Leeds was fabulous. What was on for him when he dropped deep and called for the ball off Tony Hibbert? Nothing, yet he leaves Erik Bakke flailing like a cartoon character who has only just realised that he's gone off the edge of a cliff before beating Radebe and Robinson with a superb finish. Forget about his age, how many Everton players have you seen who could have scored that goal and the one against Arsenal? Peter Beardsley perhaps. His performance at St James Park, although he was wrongly denied a goal from open play, was astonishing. When he got on the ball everyone in the ground expected something to happen - the defenders were petrified.
He's simply got it all, and it's pointless comparing him to anyone else, be it failed starlets of yesteryear or the chap across the park. Rooney has no fears about lacking the physique for the Premiership, say like Michael Branch, or a good enough football brain, Danny Cadamarteri, and quite frankly who cares about Michael Owen? You won't catch Evertonians streaking on the pitch with his name written on their back. It's just a joy to watch Everton at present, and the games simply can't come around quick enough. The team really believe they can beat anyone, and the fans do too.
Even when Alessandro Pistone scored his crazy own goal and we went behind in the penalty shoot-out they didn't crumble. This team under David Moyes has that never-saydie attitude that the great sides of the mid-80s had, and that we saw briefly in Joe Royle's dogs of war, but has been missing for so long since. Long may it continue.
Forest test for confident Blues
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
EVERTON'S Academy sides aim to build on last week's two high-scoring victories when they travel to Nottingham Forest tomorrow in the FA Premier Academy League. And they will look to put behind them the Senior Cup defeat to Liverpool, when an under-18s side lost 2-0 on Tuesday. Alan Harper's under-17s have scored 10 goals in their last three League matches, including last week's superb six-goal victory over Crewe. With the likes of Anthony Barry, Gavin Lynch and Andy Fowler starting to find the net regularly, the Blues seem to have plenty of options in front of goal. Lynch and Barry have forced their way into Colin Harvey's plans at under-19s level, and 16-year-old forward Barry may step up again tomorrow. The team has changed from week to week with injuries and call-ups biting hard, and long-term casualties Franklyn Colbeck, Craig Garside and Michael Symes are still out injured. But the youngsters who have come in, such as Barry, Paul Hopkins, Damon Martland and goal-keeper Sean Lake, have all taken their opportunities well. Meanwhile defender Steven Schumacher has been away on England duty in the UEFA European U19s Championships qualifiers. Schumacher was on the bench in the 3-0 win over Macedonia, but he came on at half-time in the 9-0 rout of Moldova on Tuesday and scored from the penalty spot to make it 6-0. Two other Everton youngsters have been named in forthcoming England squads. Goalkeeper Sean Lake is in John McDermott's U16s squad for the friendly international tournament next week, while midfielder Scott Brown is in Dick Bate's U18s squad for the friendly international away in Tunisia next Thursday.
Blues and Reds home in on Youth Cup
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
MERSEYSIDE'S big two clubs were both handed home ties in the third round of the FA Youth Cup yesterday afternoon. Last year's beaten finalists Everton will take on Port Vale at Goodison Park, while Liverpool will face Barnsley at Anfield. No date has yet been finalised for the Blues' tie with the Potteries outfit, but a provisional date of Wednesday, November 20 has been pencilled in for the Reds' clash with the Yorkshire side. The Youth Cup is the perfect stage for the young hopefuls to showcase their talents at the country's top stadiums. In past seasons the competition has thrown up many future stars including Michael Owen, Francis Jeffers, and Rio Ferdinand. Last season saw the emergence of Everton's teenage prodigy Wayne Rooney. The 17-year-old's eight goals catapulted the youngster into the limelight as the Blues reached the final for the seventh time in their history, only to lose 4-2 over two legs to Aston Villa. Half of Colin Harvey's side from last year are no longer eligible for the competition but Rooney is. Although with his incredible success in David Moyes' first team since making his debut in August, he is unlikely to figure. Liverpool fell at the first hurdle at Elland Road last year, as Leeds triumphed 1-0 after extra-time. John Owens, who took over coaching duties from Hugh McAuley in the summer, will take charge of his side for the first time in the competition against Barnsley. And he will be hoping the Reds can have an extended run in the competition this year. The year before last Liverpool's youth side, captained by the Reds' latest full debutant Jon Otsemobor, reached the semi-finals, only to lose on penalties to Blackburn at Ewood Park, after both legs had ended in 1-1 draws. All ties must be played on or before Saturday, December 7.
Not Wright reunion for Dyer
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
KIERON DYER was left to curse one of his closest friends after Newcastle were dumped out of the Worthington Cup by Everton. The 23-year-old England international thought he had fired his side to victory with a stunning double strike within a minute, but former Magpie Steve Watson equalised five minutes from the end of normal time and David Unsworth did the same in extra-time to set up a dramatic penalty shoot-out. Dyer made no mistake to beat former Ipswich team-mate Richard Wright (pictured) with the opening attempt from the spot, but the keeper pulled off fine saves from Hugo Viana and Frenchman Laurent Robert as the Toffees squeezed through. With the Premiership and the Champions League both firmly on Newcastle's agenda, the Worthington Cup may not have represented the greatest priority, but skipper-for-the night Dyer's disappointment illustrated just how seriously they were taking the competition. "I'm absolutely gutted that we're not in the next round of the Worthington Cup," he said. But the luck we had against Dynamo Kiev and Middlesbrough deserted us on the night. What is disappointing is that Everton have gone home winners, and it's not as thought they ripped us apart. "But we conceded three shocking goals, and you just cannot do that as it cost us dearly in the end. "To be fair, we started off well enough, but their first goal stopped our momentum and I thought we finished the first half quite poorly - that is apart from Hugo Viana, who was outstanding in the first half. "We bombarded them in the second half and when we got our noses in front, I thought we would do it." Dyer could have sealed victory in extra-time when he dragged a shot inches wide of Wright's post, but the fact he beat his old friend three times on the night, including his spot-kick, was some consolation. "I know I could have scored a hat-trick in extra-time, but at least I put my penalty away against Richard Wright," he said. "He's a big pal, but that did not stop him trying to put me off. He asked me where I was going to put my penalty and I told him - right into the back of the net."
By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
TOBIAS LINDEROTH'S Everton renaissance has been cut short by a leg injury that will confine the midfielder to the sidelines for up to four weeks. The Sweden international strained his hamstring in the Blues' dramatic Worthington Cup win over Newcastle United on Wednesday night, limping off after 39 minutes of the St James' Park tie. The timing of Linderoth's setback comes as the 27-year-old was beginning to win over David Moyes after initially finding himself on the fringes under the new Goodison boss. Linderoth had started to establish himself as a regular in the starting line-up and produced impressive performances during Everton's run of back-to-back victories against Arsenal, West Ham and Leeds. Now Moyes is resigned to reshuffling his squad ahead of tomorrow's Premier-ship clash against Charlton. He confirmed: "Tobias certainly won't be fit for Saturday.
"He's got a hamstring injury, which is a shame because he's been playing really well." Linderoth's strain leaves the way open for Steve Watson or Gary Naysmith to stake a claim for a regular first-team place. Danish star Thomas Gravesen, meanwhile, is still rated doubtful for tomorrow's home match as he fights a knee injury. The Goodison chief added: "Gravesen has had the fluid on his knee drained. We don't want it coming back, so we'll look at him over the next day or so and assess it."
Rooney's a beacon for young guns
By Frank Malley, Daily Post
Nov 8 2002
CARLTON COLE revealed the inspiring ripple effect Wayne Rooney's Premiership splash has created among England's footballing teenagers. The 19-year-old striker returned from injury to score both goals in a stunning performance in Chelsea's 2-1 victory against Gillingham in the Worthington Cup to prove that the blue half of London possesses a goalscorer with the potential to rival the exploits of the 17-year-old from the blue half of Liverpool. Indeed, if it hadn't been for a hair-line fracture to the fibula in his left leg Cole, who scored a brilliant goal after coming on as a substitute in the first game of the season against Charlton, might well have been creating the sort of headlines Rooney has enjoyed this past month. He suffered the injury when he fell awkwardly in training in August, aggravated it playing in the reserves, and has been on the treatment table ever since. "It was frustrating because I scored a goal and then I came on against Manchester United which I was really chuffed about and then I got injured," said Cole, who has so impressed Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri that he calls him 'Lion'. "At the time I thought don't worry about it, I'll be back in a couple of weeks but it turned into a couple of months. I felt bad about it because I was doing really well and then Wayne Rooney came along and took all the headlines. "I just thought I'm going to have to do even better when I come back. He's done really well and it's always good to see youngsters coming through. "He's one of the best. It gives me inspiration because I'm a youngster myself and it's hard to come through at a club like Chelsea." Cole is one of that rare breed in west London - a home-grown player. Hailing from Brentford, he was a Chelsea fan as a child and has been living his dream ever since he was spotted by the club as a 14-year-old playing for Sunday league Walpole Wanderers. He began as a midfield player but was pressed into the striker's role when he turned 16 and for a man of 6ft 3ins his ball control on the ground and in the air is impressive as he demonstrated with his two goals against Gillingham, the first coolly talking the ball round the goalkeeper, the second a powerfully directed header. Not that you would get the refreshingly modest Cole to agree. "I'm not a natural goal scorer," he said. "Someone like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is a natural goal scorer. I used to play in centre midfield so I've had to adapt. "It gives you inspiration just looking at the players here. You have to better yourself and try to be as good as them. I'm learning off all the strikers. They're giving me tips all the time." Ranieri's pledge to incorporate more home players in Chelsea's famous foreign legion has also helped Cole's confidence. "When I got the injury he kept on checking up on me - how long the injury was going to take, whether I could train," said Cole, who could keep his place alongside Gianfranco Zola for a first Premiership start of the season against Birmingham tomorrow.
Daily Post & Icliverpool
Nov 8 2002
I'D JUST like to say well done to Kevin Campbell for stepping up to take the penalty at Newcastle. He got a lot of stick for missing penalties in previous cup competitions, but still took his chance well.
Colin Barnston, Crosby
Spirit of victory
GREAT game last night! The team spirit is immense.
I do worry about Alan Stubbs and David Weir together though! Joseph Yobo is the key to Everton at the moment, as is Tony Hibbert. I also worry about the team's ability to break down sides creatively at home
i.e. Charlton, West Brom.
Joe W, L4
Yobo the key
WAYNE ROONEY is great and deserves all the plaudits he's getting, but I have to say I think Joseph Yobo is the real reason for the recent success. David Moyes has the confidence to match his ability and with these three factors in place and the backing that Moyes deserves, we will no longer be singing the blues. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum
Bob Hedbord, Runcorn
McLeod next up
WAYNE ROONEY is obviously someone Evertonians have been waiting for, but I think they have a similar prospect in Kevin McLeod, whom Rooney is used to playing with and more-so is a natural left footer, which is scarce these days
Eddie Farrell, Liscard
Respect is due
THANKS to David Moyes, Everton are now appreciated as a good footballing side. May Wayne's World continue and the Blues blitz the Kopites on December 22 2002. Soon we will have Nick Chadwick in the first team as well. Everything is now looking rosy at last, all we need now is the Kings Dock! See you all at Charlton
Phil Shutt, Lower Gwladys
Reward for Stubbs
AS A proud Evertonian it was great to be at Elland Road on Sunday. The team and the fans were top class and it was great to see David Moyes stick with Alan Stubbs - he was brilliant, as was the team. Keep up the good work. Come on you Blueboys.
Neil Evans, Stoke-on-Trent
I AM a resident at the Liverpool waterfront and neither my neighbours or myself have been consulted about the stadium. The council are pushing it through without the feelings of those living in the area.
David Moyden, Liverpool
Moyes is real hero of Blues revival
Nov 8 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
TAKE IT FROM ME: Howard Kendall and David Moyes exchange some words of wisdom at Bellefield
THERE has been a lot of talk about Everton securing Wayne Rooney on as long a contract as possible.
I hope the club is doing the same with David Moyes. If he is not already one of the highest paid managers in the Premiership, then Everton should make him one. Everyone is delighted with the way things are going. He is doing a magnificent job and there is no doubt that his name will be linked with any big job that becomes available in football. Remember, it was not that long ago that Sir Alex Ferguson tried to get him as his number two at Old Trafford. Everton have to protect their interests and make sure David is secured long-term. The club could consider a massive compensation clause in his contract, but that would not necessarily deter the big clubs, just as it did not stop Everton signing him from Preston. I'm sure David is happy at Goodison at the present time, but the way things are going I think he would get a shout on the Manchester United job when it becomes available.
Toon win on the Wright lines
IT WAS an important win at Newcastle, particularly when you look at the number of Premier-ship clubs who have gone out. It was not the easiest of Worthington Cup draws, but Everton met the Magpies at the right time. Bobby Robson's men had a tough game with Middlesbrough just two days before they met the Blues. All the focus has been on Wayne Rooney, but to keep a clean sheet in each of their last two away games and then to win at St James' Park shows the contribution being made in other areas. Richard Wright is settling in now at Everton. He came good in the penalty shoot-out. He must be very confident now. He is just quietly getting on with his game. You don't want your goalkeeper making the headlines because that shows the team is under pressure.
I'm always a believer that a good cup run really boosts a team's confidence. It's about time Everton enjoyed one.
Watson throws down gauntlet
Nov 8 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON believes Everton are now fit enough to face anything the Premiership can throw at them. Boss David Moyes has claimed all season that his training techniques have produced a fitter, more energetic side. Worthington Cup hero Watson believes Wednesday's penalty shoot-out success at Newcastle provided the proof. "We went up there at the end of last season," he explained "and the only difference was the last 20 minutes. "They had so much pace and energy in the end that they steam rollered us. But if anything, on Wednesday we had the edge in extra time."
Watson came on in the 38th minute for the injured Tobias Linderoth to make his first appearance of the season. And he ended up playing almost a full 90 minutes. "My worry when I came on was that I'd played at Newcastle last season straight after injury when I wasn't fully fit and the game went terribly for me," he explained. "The worry was that I was in a similar situation this time, with a lot longer ahead of me than I was expecting. "But it was the opposite. I felt really fit. I have done a lot of fitness work with Baz the physio and even though I have missed the majority of games I have still been able to get a lot of fitness work in, so I felt really fresh. "Pre-season was excellent. I only got through three-quarters of it but I still feel fitter, so the lads who have done it all are fitter again.
"You only have to look at people like Kev and Radz and the work they are putting into games.
"The lads are sharper and you also find that extra yard when you are confident - and the wins we have pulled off at places like West Ham, Leeds and Newcastle are great ones. "But we must not rest on our laurels. We've got what could have been a terrible October out of the way but we must build on that now." An ankle injury meant that Watson has watched Everton's improvement from the out-side, but Linderoth's unfortunate injury handed him his opportunity at his old St James' Park stamping ground. "What I needed to do was just come in and give the gaffer something to think about and hopefully I have done that." he said. "I'm desperate to get back in this side, wherever it may be. "I don't know what he's going to do for Saturday but I've done myself no harm. "I've only played one reserve game before that so the extra half-an-hour probably helped me. "It was probably a great game to watch. Sky must have been kicking themselves that they didn't get that one. "I have said before that I wouldn't be surprised if my games this season were further forward and when Toby got the injury I was the most-likely midfield player on the bench. "I started on the right then in the second half we switched to a three and I found I was able to get forward and get into the box which I love doing. "That's how I got my goal. The way we are playing now we are really attacking teams and that should suit me." It is suiting everyone who is watching them, too.
There's no place like home
Nov 8 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans will turn up in their droves this weekend to welcome David Moyes' heroes back to Goodison Park after an astonishing three weeks. Wayne Rooney's late wonder goal against Arsenal three weeks ago has proved the spur for a run of four consecutive victories. That run of wins is the club's best since 1991. But tomorrow is the first opportunity for the Goodison faithful to show their heroes their vocal support for the fine run of form. A win against Charlton could take Everton as high as third in the Premiership if Manchester United lose the Manchester derby at Maine Road.
Everton spokesman Ian Ross confirmed the success of Moyes' team has brought about an astonishing response. He revealed: "We are expecting between 36 and 37,000 for tomorrow's game, which is about five or six thousand up on a normal attendance for a league game against Charlton. "We are only expecting 500 travelling fans and if we were getting the normal average of about 2,000 for away fans we would be looking at a full house. "The demand for tickets this week for our forthcoming away games has been phenomenal. "People have been queueing around the block for Blackburn tickets. We have already sold our allocation of 4,700 and we could sell another 1,000. It is very rare for a club to fill the away end at Ewood Park but we are going to do that."
The Blues must overcome a Charlton side which defeated them 3-0 at Goodison Park last season if they are to take their run of wins to five matches. They must also do so without the midfielder pair of Tobias Linderoth and Thomas Gravesen. Swedish star Linderoth could be ruled out for up to a month after straining his hamstring in the Worthington Cup win over Newcastle. The 23-year-old limped off at St James' Park and boss David Moyes said: "Tobias certainly won't be fit for tomorrow. He's got a hamstring injury, which is a shame because he's been playing really well."
Ferguson is fan of Blues
Nov 8 2002 By Dave Byrne, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes Everton are more likely than Chelsea to win this year's Premiership. Ferguson insists the Blues are still the best side United have met this season. And while Caludio Ranieri's multi million pound side are tipped as dark horses for the title, the United boss thinks David Moyes' revival makes Everton a better bet for silverware. "The best performance by a team against us this season without any doubt was from Everton," said Ferguson.
"We won 3-0, but it was an unbalanced scoreline because it was tight until the end. You look at the teams who have a chance of winning the league and I would put Everton above Chelsea because maybe they have more about them. "Maybe not in terms of natural ability but in the energy, structure of their team and enthusiasm." Ferguson acknowledges Liverpool and Arsenal are still the most potent title challengers, but he has warned Gerard Houllier his unbeaten team is bound to slip up eventually. He said: "It will be silly to think Liverpool will not have a blip and if they do we will be on their coat tails. We have had ours, with two defeats, and we have to recover from that.
"We do not have as strong a pool as Arsenal or Liverpool, particularly on the physical side.
"Both have built big, athletic squads. I'm not talking about ability, but sheer physical power and speed. Liverpool's main intent is to have a powerful squad, particularly when you look at their midfield."
Everton 1, Charlton 0 (D, Post)
By Jonathan McEvoy At Goodison Park, Daily Post
Nov 11 2002
LAZARUS picked up his bed and walked. David Moyes picked up the pieces of an ailing Everton team and made it work. Fourth place in the Premiership was the stuff of hallucinations when Moyes walked into a Goodison Park consumed by haunting dread eight months ago. Then, the spectre of relegation loomed large. But a mixture of Moyes' hard-headed realism, organisational efficiency and an uncompromising sense of direction has transformed Everton's fortunes - and, yes, you did read that correctly, the Blues went fourth. Tomasz Radzinski's 30th-minute winner against a tidy, yet ultimately toothless, Charlton sealed Everton's fourth consecutive league win - indicatively their best sequence since the Premiership's conception. The run began with that unforgettable Wayne Rooney-inspired win over champions Arsenal and reveals Everton's new-found resilience and shows how Moyes' no-nonsense approach has mindfully overcome the obstacles strewn in his path.
From the moment he succeeded Walter Smith, who bravely shepherded the Blues through some dark days, Moyes sent out all the right vibes. Talk of injuries was banned. He knew the financial constraints placed on him when he arrived, so determined not to whinge or make excuses. He said he liked to take his wife out to dinner on Saturday, having won. He came across to players and fans alike as a man driven. Good at what he does and a winner by all legal means. Negativity was banned. And he imbued the club with this creed. Those in football - Sir Alex Ferguson among them - marked him out as a star of the future and Everton's board, so often derided, made a forward-looking appointment by enrolling the Preston boss, as then untried at the top level. Credit to them for that.
A measure of his impact is that all but three players - the imposing Joseph Yobo, the periodically precarious Richard Wright and Li Tie - in Saturday's starting 11 were at Smith's disposal. The difference is that they are now full of confidence and playing to their potential. Add to the mix, the emergence of Master Rooney and you can see why Moyes is riding a crest of wave. Everton's standing in the table, courtesy of landmark wins over the Gunners and Leeds, thus burying a 51-year Elland Road hoodoo, leaves them in a Champions League place and with realistic European ambitions. How fortunes change. Radzinski is in his richest vein of form since arriving on Merseyside from Anderlecht last summer but he should have scored at least another goal against Alan Curbishley's struggling visitors. His first, though, was a moment of incisive class in contrast with the hum-drum of most of the rest of the game. Thomas Gravesen (right) supplied the pass, lacing the ball right into Radzinski's path and the Canadian international coolly scored from just inside the box.
Radzinski suddenly looks worth the £4million spent on him. His pace and pirouetteing always impressed but he now seems to have found greater belief - even if he should really have capped the afternoon with a hat-trick. How often can you have said that? Everton deserved their lead, although neither side had the quality in their final ball to trouble the respective defences often enough. Referee Rob Styles took the brunt of the home supporters' anger for turning down three Everton penalties - but, in truth, the most persuasive case was for the visitors when Tony Hibbert - maturing into an accomplished right-back with every passing game - seemed to have caught Claus Jensen in the first-half. Gravesen was pulling the strings at the heart of the home midfield, and he twice shot wide in the opening 45 minutes while Robbie Mustoe should have scored at the opposite end with only Wright to beat. Everton started the second-half as they began the first, in command. And Radzinski's first clear chance to double his tally came on 58 minutes. He beat Mark Fish and Richard Rufus but, having done the hard work, conspired to blast over from close-range. The Blues escaped four minutes later. Amid pin-ball in the area, Hibbert was left to clear off the line as Fish's header threatened to thread its way into the Everton goal. Radzinski had a second opportunity to add to his tally. Captain Kevin Campbell teed up his strike partner but the little forward blazed over as Everton again struggled to establish a breathing space. Everton have certainly played better. They even played better and lost at Southampton earlier in the season. But their spirit is indomitable at present, and it is a sign of their development that they can hang on to win where previously they might have wilted in the face of a late onslaught. Look at last year's 3-0 Goodison defeat to Charlton for an indication of their previous brittleness. The exertions of last Wednesday's Worthington Cup penalty shoot-out win at Newcastle evidently took their toll. Everton were paying the price of success but there was to be no denying them. Rooney came on in the closing moments but entered Styles' notebook for a reckless challenge - signs that his hunger still needs some channelling by Moyes. But it made no odds. With Liverpool losing and Manchester United collapsing at Maine Road, the Blues leap-frog the Old Trafford aristocrats and sit seven points off their near-neighbours at the summit. Everton fans may have their heads in the clouds this morning, with good reason, but you can be sure David Moyes will have his feet on the ground.
EVERTON: Wright, Stubbs (Weir 69), Unsworth, Radzinski (Rooney 73) Campbell, Pembridge, Tie (Naysmith 73), Gravesen, Yobo, Carsley, Hibbert. Subs: Watson, Gerrard.
CHARLTON: Kiely, Kishishev (Johansson 75), Powell, Rufus, Fish, Parker, Euell (Bartlett 75), Jensen, Lisbie, Fortune, Mustoe (Konchesky 55). Subs: Young, Roberts.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gravesen and Rooney; Charlton's Rufus and Fish.
REFEREE: R Styles.
Give me more
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Nov 11 2002
DAVID MOYES is calling on Tomasz Radzinski to take the pressure off Wayne Rooney by scoring more goals. Radzinski was the difference on Saturday as Everton registered a 1-0 win over Charlton to move up to fourth in the table. And Goodison boss Moyes wants the Canadian striker, who struck his fourth goal of the season, to add to his goals tally. "To be fair, he should have had a hat-trick," reflected Moyes. "But if you are a centre forward and you're not getting chances or attempts at goal, then you've got a problem. "At Leeds last week he had three great attempts which the goalkeeper was forced to save. When you are getting as many openings as he does then that's good.
"He keeps telling me he feels good, and I think he has great confidence. "He is playing with much more confidence than when I first came to the club, and with a lot of belief in his own ability. "His work-rate, if nothing else, has been exceptional. Against Charlton it was the way he got in front of things and closed people down. "They tell me he wasn't doing that a while ago, but that's a big, big part of his game now, and when you've got that pace it makes a big difference. But I think he's only scratching the surface with what he can do. I think he's more goals in him." Moyes added: "The thing about it is, if he keeps getting those chances then he will get the goals. "He is getting a decent turn and he is scoring, keeping going. He allows me not to play Rooney any more than I have to. He is making the job a lot easier because of his form." Moyes has transformed Everton's fortunes but the former Preston man is keen to play down his own role. He said: "I'm quite humble. I just feel that it is my job to make the club more successful by winning games. I am not the sort of person who can perform miracles. I think people just want to see the players perform on the field." Moyes is determined to protect Rooney, 17, who came on as a second-half substitute on Saturday. He said: "Wayne is a talent that will always come through, but we are not in any rush to play him. Tomasz and Kevin have done a great job for us. Tomasz has done better than I expected this season. He has applied himself to the point where he has become a threat to the opposition every week. He wants to stay behind and practise." He added: "Wins and good performances breed confidence. I am not thinking about how far I can take the team, but for the first third of the season I suppose we would get decent marks off the headmaster. "If the supporters are now getting a greater degree of expectancy, then there is nothing we can do about it. But I'm trying to put a level head on it. The important thing is that people must think we are moving in the right direction." Radzinski, who scored the 31st-minute winner, said: "It was a magnificent goal and a magnificent performance but for the last 10 minutes, and I should have scored at least one more goal, maybe even two. We are fourth. We think we can win every game after the condfidence boost of beating Arsenal."
Worthington Cup draw
Nov 11 2002
BURNLEY were rewarded for their Worthington Cup heroics with a plum fourth-round home tie against Manchester United. Stan Ternent's Division One outfit dumped Barclaycard Premiership high-fliers Tottenham out 2-1 at Turf Moor in the last round. Holders Blackburn face Rotherham at Ewood Park, while Preston - who beat Birmingham in the last round - travel to five-time winners Aston Villa. Wigan have been handed another shot at a top-flight side, as Fulham head to the JJB Stadium, where Manchester City came unstuck in round three. Ipswich face a trip to Anfield against Premiership leaders Liverpool, while there will be an all-Premiership tie at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea host Everton. The matches will be played on December 3 or December 4
DRAW: Aston Villa v Preston North End; Burnley v Manchester United; Liverpool v Ipswich; Blackburn v Rotherham; Wigan v Fulham; Sheffield United v Sunderland; Crystal Palace v Oldham; Chelsea v Everton
Everton 1, Charlton 0 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Nov 11 2002
IT was somewhat ironic, after the record breaking exploits of recent weeks, that a streaky one goal win over Charlton should present the most compelling evidence yet that David Moyes is fashioning a real revival at Goodison Park. Compelling not because Alan Curbishley's one win in seven side is a significant scalp, but because these are exactly the kind of games that Everton traditionally flounder in. Evertonians are all too used to expectations being raised, then dashed by the unlikeliest of opponents. And after the two-hour exertions of Wednesday night, and a clear week for Charlton to prepare in, this had all the potential for an upset. But Everton displayed the enthusiasm and energy which has become their trademark under Moyes, took one of the several clear chances they created - and celebrated Saturday night in their highest League placing at this stage of a season for 13 years.
Graham Stuart was part of an Everton team which actually ended a season in the nosebleed territory of sixth. Now recovering from cruciate ligament damage he offered an interesting insight into the young manager's methods. "He's different class with the players. You can see that from the outside looking in," he explained. "Everything he did with his players on the pitch before the game was positive. "Then when Radzinski was substituted you could see he was a little disappointed, so Moyes made a point of struggling past three or four players to congratulate him personally on his performance. "It really means something to a player when the manager thinks you've done well - and little things like that realy help." Moyes wrapped an arm around matchwinner Radzinski's shoulders. It could easily have been his neck. The Canadian international showed dash, vigour and movement to cause Charlton countless problems. But after slickly converting his first opening of the afternoon, he wasted two easier opportunities and should really have left Goodison clutching a matchball. But the Goodison gallery are in forgiving mood these days, and when he made his now customary exit 20 minutes from time he received a rousing ovation. He had undoubtedly earned it. The match-winning goal was an exemplary piece of front-running. Thomas Gravesen mugged Robbie Mustoe and instantly sent the little striker scampering towards goal. It was the sort of chance Radzinski often manages to turn into a solid save, but this time he flashed an outstanding finish low past Dean Kiely's despairing right hand. He was clearly pulled back when he tried to break through again on the stroke of half-time, but referee Rob Styles was wearing blinkers for most of the afternoon and that was one of a glut of offences he missed. Radzinski's misses came three minutes either side of the hour mark. He fashioned out the first chance for himself with an intelligent and incisive run inside from the byline, before firing over from six yards. Then Kevin Campbell presented another chance only slightly further out, which he lifted over the same portion of the Gwladys Street goal. They might have proved costly. Everton's willingness to pour forward and be positive leaves openings at the other end, and Charlton had their chances. Claus Jensen was denied a decent penalty claim when Tony Hibbert, perhaps unconsciously, clipped his heels. Mustoe shot over from inside the area just four minutes before Everton scored, Carsley and Hibbert were both forced to head off the line in the same frantic goalmouth scramble -while Fortune and Parker both watched wickedly swerving 20 yard drives flash inches away from the target. But this shouldn't give the impression that Everton were fortunate. They created by far the better chances, boasted the game's outstanding defender in the imperious Joseph Yobo - and have now gone more than five-and-a-half hours of Premiership football without conceding a goal. And they didn't need Wayne Rooney!
He was introduced for another 18 minutes' education - and will hope-fully have learned more from this experience than he did in 120 minutes on Wednesday night. He reacted vengefully when referee Styles ignored a crude foul committed on him by Scott Parker, and deserved the yellow card he received for exacting angry retribution. The youngster must learn that Premiership referees do not aspire to the same high standards he does - and must not make defenders aware he can be wound up. But that apart, David Moyes' only post-match problem will be keeping a sense of perspective around Goodison Park. Radzinski's fourth goal of the season had given the Blues their fourth successive league victory and fired them to fourth in the Premiership. The last time Everton enjoyed such elevated status after Bonfire Night was in 1989, when Colin Harvey took his team to Villa Park with the chance of going top of the league. Maybe Moyes should show a video of what happened next. The Sky cameras captured a 6-2 slaughter. The way Everton are performing right now, however, you sense somebody else could be on the receiving end.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs (Weir 68 mins), Unsworth, Carsley, Gravesen, Tie (Naysmith 72), Pembridge, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 72). Unused substitutes: Gerrard, Watson.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC (4-4-2): Kiely, Kishishev (Johansson 74 mins), Rufus, Fish, Powell, Parker, Mustoe (Konchesky 54), Jensen, Fortune, Lisbie, Euell (Bartlett 74). Unused substitutes: Young, Roberts. Referee: Rob Styles.
Bookings: Fortune (71 mins) foul, Gravesen (77) foul, Rooney (81) foul, Fish (90) handball, Rufus (91) foul.
Goal: Radzinski (30 mins) 1-0.
Yobo has shades of Hansen
Nov 11 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
ALAN HANSEN was the complete player.
Few would argue that during a distinguished Anfield career he was one of the most elegant central defenders the game has ever produced. Joseph Yobo reminds me of the former Reds star - and the classy Everton defender certainly has the ability to make a big name for himself at Goodison.
Yobo gave an outstanding performance in the hard earned victory over Charlton. He was head and shoulders above everyone else on the pitch and certainly displayed that unruffled composure one always associated with Hansen displays. My early impression of Yobo was not particularly good, looking a bit panicky in the early games, but perhaps that was just part of his settling in period.
But in almost every game he has grown in stature, a dominant force at the heart of David Moyes' defence. Yobo, currently on loan, seems to have all the necessary attributes to be a key figure for the Blues in the years to come. He is good in the air, totally unflustered, hard in the tackle and very quick. He appeared to stroll through the game, but I have to say that Alan Stubbs was also impressive alongside him, while Tony Hibbert is an excellent player, too. The youngster did extremely well when Charlton threatened to get back in the game. He showed he can overlap to good effect, had one terrific effort at goal, and made some vital clearances. The Blues have been impressive in recent games, but found Charlton quite a handful at times. Moyes' men made a good start, but then seemed to fall away, although the key moment came on the half hour when Thomas Gravesen created the chance for Tomasz Radzinski to score a simple goal. Everton looked fully in charge at the stage and should have wrapped it up in the second half. Radzinski had two great opportunities but couldn't convert them. Both sides gave the ball away too much and with Charlton pushing for an equaliser the Blues had to be alert. They dug in and earned the points in what was a great weekend for Everton. They are unbeaten now in five games, including four successive Premiership wins, United were beaten and Liverpool also went down. You can sense a different atmosphere at Goodison these days - one of expectation. Every player received a tremendous cheer when their names were announced, not surprisingly the biggest was reserved for one of the substitutes - Wayne Rooney! But boss Moyes deserves praise for the way he has turned things round. There is no doubt the team have improved enormously from last season. The Reds may have lost, but they are still tops and, with the Blues flying high now, it's a case of Merseyside Rules OK!
Yobo happy to stay with Blues
Nov 11 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO produced another majestic performance at the heart of Everton's defence on Saturday - then delivered the message all Evertonians wanted to hear: "I'll be happy to stay. I'm having a wonderful time here." Yobo is on loan at Everton for a year, with a view to a permanent signing after that. Anxious supporters believe he should be snapped up on a long-term deal as quickly as possible, but Yobo eased their fears. "When I was injured at the start of the season the fans were really behind me, and that helped me settle down very quickly and I was really thankful for that. "They were behind me when I was not playing. No-one had even seen me play and they were behind me, which is wonderful. "I feel at home. I am happy with everyone, I am used to everything and I am very happy. Of course I will be happy to stay." The Nigerian international praised manager David Moyes for his role in bringing him to Goodison after the World Cup Finals.
"I knew when I spoke to the manager before I came that we wouldn't struggle against relegation this season," he added. "We didn't have a bad team anyway and with a manager like that I knew we would do much better than the previous season. "I was a little confused after the World Cup about where I should go. I am a young player but David Moyes helped me make my mind up. He gave me the response I wanted. He wanted to make me a better player. He wanted to teach me things.
"I am learning from him. It has been fantastic working with him and the other stars here. I am just happy because I am learning and the team is playing well." Chants of "Yobo! Yobo!" rang out at regular intervals during the Blues' 1-0 win over Charlton - their third successive clean sheet in the Premiership - and the central defender even found time for a little showboating. He produced one pull back inside his own penalty area which left the ground buzzing - and a first half trick, flicking the ball between his own legs, which most forwards would have been happy to pull off. "Each time I play now the fans seem happy to see me," he explained. "I love them because they love me, they are just wonderful. "I am more or less settled now. I am used to everybody and used to the game and it was time for me to show my quality and my confidence. "The team is also playing well which makes me feel more relaxed playing. "I tried a few tricks which you can do when the team is playing well and I enjoyed it."
Why League Cup is vital to survival
Nov 11 2002 By Peter Sharkey, Liverpool Echo
READERS old enough to remember will recall the start of the 1981/82 football season. For those who cannot, August 1981 may be summarised thus. Aston Villa were the reigning champions and Liverpool began the season as champions of Europe for the third time in five years. It was the first season that three points were awarded for a win and, historically, the first time a domestic football competition had been sponsored. The Milk Marketing Board renamed the League Cup the Milk Cup and became the first of what are, to date, five separate sponsors of the competition. Current sponsors Worthington are in their fifth and final year. During their tenure, the stature of the competition initially waned, but its importance is now such that clubs outside of the Premiership recognise it as an integral part of their financial planning. John Nagle, head of communications at the Football League, said: "Quite simply, the Worthington Cup underpins the whole financial structure of the Football League. It is the most important form of wealth distribution remaining in the professional game and without it professional football at many of our clubs would be unsustainable." Because the Worthington Cup is owned by the Football League's members, it provides a lifeline to many clubs from the sale of sponsorship and broadcast rights as well as additional revenue from gate receipts. Worthington's sponsorship, worth over £4m a year, combined with the revenue from television and radio, generates £17m while gate receipts, including those from the final, produce a further £17m. Other revenues account for an additional £6m, bringing the total to £40m. One club chairman last week said: "Given the current financial climate, its place in the football calendar is more important than ever, not only because it provides the opportunity for a cup run, but also because it provides guaranteed monthly income upon which we can budget." The last non-Premiership side to play in the final was Birmingham City two years ago but the furthest a Football League side got last year was the semi-final when Sheffield Wednesday fell to eventual winners, Blackburn. Yet the financial importance of the Worthington Cup to Football League clubs continues even after they're knocked out. In addition to sponsorship and broadcast revenue, as the competition progresses clubs receive 10% of gate receipts, even if a match is contested between two Premiership sides. At a time when such an enormous financial divide exists between the Premier League and Football League, it is important that the few remaining means of redistributing wealth from one to the other are encouraged. The League Cup, whoever the next sponsors may be, is crucial to the survival of perhaps a dozen professional football clubs. Retaining the competition's commercial attractiveness to Premiership sides is, ironically, essential to the Football League. League Cup sponsors to date: Milk Cup from 81/ 82; Littlewoods Cup from 86/87; Rumbelows Cup from 90/91; Coca Cola Cup from 92/93; Worthington Cup from 98/99.
Wayne in the wings
Nov 11 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has won the latest battle in his bid to protect Wayne Rooney. Everton's young star has been omitted from Sven-Goran Eriksson's England get together on November 18 - and will figure in the Under-21 version instead. Recent reports had claimed that Rooney would be fast-tracked into the full squad, but now he will join David Platt's party for the first time, along with team-mate Tony Hibbert. "This is the right development for him," said Moyes. "He still has a bit to do and it will be good for him to mix with players of that age group and see how he does. "We pulled him out of the under-19 squad recently because we wanted him for matches against Leeds and Newcastle - and our results -plus England's results (they won 9-0 and 4-0) showed it was the right decision.
"I spoke to David Platt about Wayne and I'm pleased with the FA's decision." Moyes admitted, though, that he has concerns over Rooney's recent disciplinary record. The youngster was booked for the fourth time this season on Saturday - in just 518 minutes of action. Moyes said: "It's something I've already spoken to him about and something I will do again. "But we are certainly not going to take that natural aggression away from him. I just want to make him more aware of certain situations. These are lessons he will learn." The Blues' first team pool were starting a couple of days off today - after securing their fourth Premiership win in succession on Saturday. Moyes added: "We are a third of the way through the season and it has been a good third. We need to keep it up now and there's no reason why we shouldn't do that. "If our performances had been up and down I would have said we were not likely to do that, but we have been reasonably consistent for most of the campaign so far." Everton's reserve game against Bolton has been switched to a home fixture.
The match will now take place tonight at the Halton Stadium (kick-off 7pm).
Police checking soccer yob book
Nov 11 2002 Liverpool Echo
AN EVERTON football thug could face criminal charges over the content of his book on soccer violence. Convicted hooligan Andy Nicholls is set to make around £25,000 from sales of his book, Scally - Confessions Of A Category C Football Hooligan. In it, the 39-year-old brags of being involved in two decades of football violence both in Britain and abroad. Everton FC have already banned Nicholls for life, preventing him from ever watching first team football at Goodison Park.
Now Merseyside police lawyers are scrutinising the content of the book. If they find evidence of criminality, a file will be passed to the police force where Nicholls now lives. It could then be considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. A police spokeswoman added: "Our solicitors are looking at the book at the moment. "If they feel it is necessary, a file of their findings will be given to the police force where the author lives." Nicholls's book has been branded a disgrace by Everton FC and supporters groups, and several local MPs wanted it It has sold around 4,000 copies, with the remaining 2,000 from the first print expected to be sold in the coming months. A further 10,000 books are being printed, after shops reported that it was in high demand. Nicholls revels in his notoriety as a tough soccer hooligan and claims he is one of an elite band of people to appear on the front and back pages of newspapers. In his book he claims Goodison Park was once the worst ground in the country for "slashings" as rival fans were cut with knives outside the stadium.
He also reveals details of being part of a huge mob of Everton thugs who rampaged through the streets of Brussels during a pre-season friendly. Nicholls has been arrested 19 times for soccer violence-related incidents, and has served one prison sentence.
Eriksson holds fire on Rooney selection
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 12 2002
SVEN-GORAN Eriksson is ready to bide his time before selecting Everton wonderkid Wayne Rooney for England. The Blues striker was rumoured to be close to a call-up for the national side's get-together next week. But the 17-year-old will instead join team-mates Peter Clarke and Tony Hibbert in the under-21 party for their training session on November 18-20. And Eriksson revealed that while Rooney is a "brilliant talent", the youngster would be best served continuing his development away from the full squad. "I had seen him only once live and then on television," said Eriksson. "He is a brilliant talent, but it might be a little bit too early. Who knows for February? I shall see him a couple of times before that. "I think he must play at least one under-21s game before he is picked for the senior team." After discussions between the FA and Blues manager David Moyes, it was decided it would be best for Rooney to take the next logical step in an international career which has already seen him represent his country at under-16, under-17 and under-19 level. "This is the right development for him," said Moyes. Hibbert's selection for the under-21s is recognition for the form which has seen him claim a regular right-back role and help Everton charge up the Premier-ship table. Meanwhile, Moyes has admitted he has spoken to Rooney over his disciplinary record.
The 17-year-old was booked for the fourth time this season on Saturday against Charlton - and is now just one yellow card away from the a one-game suspension. Moyes said: "We are certainly not going to take that natural aggression away from him. I just want to make him more aware of certain situations. These are lessons he will learn."
* EVERTON'S Worthington Cup fourth round tie at Chelsea will be shown like on Sky on Wednesday, December 4 (kickoff 7.45pm).
Booth's opener wins it for Blues
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 12 2002
ROBERT Booth's first goal of the season gave Everton under-17s a well-earned 1-0 victory against Nottingham Forest at Netherton. The 16-year-old striker has already scored for Colin Harvey's under-19s this season, but he was back in his age group to give Alan Harper's team another win in the FA Premier Academy League. Just after the half-hour mark a move down the left saw Andrew Fowler set up Booth to rifle home into the top corner from the left-hand edge of the box. The Blues had further chances, with Anthony Gerrard, Fowler and Booth all going close. And despite a late rally from Forest, the Blues held on for another excellent win - their third in the last four matches.
Coach Harper said: "We had other chances and could have scored more. In the last couple of games the lads have created a lot of chances. It worked against Crewe - they got six and they could easily have got six again. "It was just a good team performance. All their shots were 20 yards out so they didn't created a chance. We defended well and I am pleased with the clean sheet, especially as we let a few goals in last year." Everton's under-19s drew 1-1 at Nottingham Forest, who scored first, but Australian midfielder David Carney grabbed the Blues' equaliser with his second goal of the season. EVERTON have yet to finalise a date for the FA Youth Cup third round tie with Port Vale at Goodison Park, but it is likely to be played on either Tuesday, December 3 or Wednesday, December 4.
Unsworth the penalty king
Nov 12 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
CONGRATULATIONS to David Unsworth on claiming the latest record to tumble at Goodison Park.
For those who missed it, David became the Blues' most successful post-war penalty taker at Newcastle last week. His successful strike was the 20th he has tucked away from 23 attempts - one better than Trevor Steven's 19 from 21. To be honest I was surprised to hear that Trevor had scored that many. Not because I ever doubted his ability from 12 yards, but because we had so many people around in the 80s who liked to take them. Trevor was very accomplished, Kevin Sheedy had a very good record, so did Graeme Sharp, Adrian Heath took them and Andy Gray always said he would have a go - provided he could take them with his head! It was strange that despite us boasting so many confident penalty takers, we still struggled whenever it came to penalty shoot-outs. I wasn't the slightest bit surprised to hear that the successful shoot-out at Newcastle was our first for donkeys years, because I remember losing in that fashion to the likes of Charlton in the Full Members Cup and Glasgow Rangers in a British Championship match. That was an era when they were making new competitions up every other season - and despite the extra practice we still seemed to struggle whenever it came to a 12- yard shoot-out. It was definitely a psychological thing. I remember one pre-season friendly ending in a shoot-out and Kevin Richardson refusing to take one - and that was a meaningless friendly match! Unsy's record brings home to you how important it is to have a reliable penalty taker. But I've always been a little surprised why more strikers don't fancy the responsibility. It was good to hear that Wayne Rooney was trying to wrestle the ball away from Unsy on Wednesday - and that he also converted the one he did take in the shoot-out. Alan Shearer has always taken them, Ruud Van Nistelrooy takes them - and so does Michael Owen, even though he's missed more than his fair share. It's a way of helping you along to that magic 20 goals a season mark. David Unsworth might not agree, but it's good to see a confident young striker desperate to add to his goals tally.
Blues may feel a pinch with Yobo
SIGNING players on year-long loan deals can be a double edged sword - and Everton have witnessed both sides already this season. The unfortunate injury suffered by Rodrigo shows how clubs can benefit from the arrangement. Everton might have splashed out £4 or £5m on a player who may never be the same again. As it is they will be able to gauge his recovery and progress before committing themselves to a long-term deal. But on the other hand there is Joseph Yobo. The Nigerian defender has been a revelation already and Everton probably wish they could tie him down to a five year contract now. Instead they must wait until the end of the season - and must hope that no continental giants jump in waving huge pay cheques before then.
Rooney warned by Moyes
Nov 12 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has been ordered to curb his temper - with a place in his first Mersey derby under threat. Everton's outstanding young striker has been booked four times already this season. One more caution would trigger a one-game ban. If that caution came in any of Everton's looming games at Newcastle (November 30), Chelsea in the Worthington Cup or the Londoners' Premiership visit to Goodison three days later, he would sit out the derby. "I've had a word with Wayne and I'll be doing so again," said boss David Moyes "but I don't want him to lose that natural aggression."
First, Rooney will join an England under-21 get together - with national coach Sven Goran Eriksson hinting that a full call-up could follow next year. "I've seen him only once live and then on television," he explained. "He is a brilliant talent, but it may be a little bit too early. Who knows for February? I shall see him a couple of times before that. He must play at least one Under-21 game before he is picked for the senior team." Eriksson was present for Rooney's 17 minute cameo at Manchester United, while assistant Tord Grip has seen him only twice, but neither were there for his performances against Arsenal or Leeds.
The Blues' trip to Chelsea on December 4, meanwhile, will be screened live by Sky TV (kick-off 7.45pm).
Moyes joins Howard tribute
Nov 12 2002 Liverpool Echo
THE Four Tops! David Moyes has just led Everton to four successive Premiership victories.
The last Blues' boss to achieve that feat was Howard Kendall - and the pair met up last night to chat about the Goodison revival. The venue was the Adelphi Hotel, at a special tribute dinner to celebrate Kendall's status as the most successful manager in Everton's history. Many of the players who made up that famous team were present to pay their own personal tribute . . . amongst them Andy Gray, Graeme Sharp, Neville Southall, Peter Reid, Adrian Heath, Alan Irvine and John Bailey.
Everton's current boss presented a trophy to the Blues' Manager of the Millennium - as a packed house paid tribute to the man who brought two League titles, an FA Cup and the first European trophy to Goodison.
Reserves miss out
November 12, 2002
Manchester Evening News
Everton Res 2 Bolton Res 1
BOLTON threw away a Premier Reserve League point at Widnes last night (Monday) after Matt Tubbs had equalised two minutes from time. They played the last 30 minutes with ten men after Bulent Akin, their Turkish Under-21 international, was sent off for retaliating to a late challenge by Nick Chadwick. Chadwick put Everton ahead after 24 minutes but Danish duo Henrik Pedersen and Stig Tofting missed good chances before Tubbs hit back with a fine diving header. But Everton raced back to grab a last-minute winner through Alan Moogan
Moyes' recipe for success
By Ken Gaunt, Daily Post
Nov 13 2002
DAVID MOYES believes Everton's hopes of a bright new dawn rest with keeping and attracting top young players. A club synonomous in recent years with battling against relegation lie fourth in the Barclaycard Premiership. Moyes replaced Walter Smith as manager in March, and the first phase of his job was completed successfully. Eight months down the road the revolution is beginning to take shape, much to the delight of Everton supporters. Moyes' philosopy is one he feels can see Everton challenge the top clubs in the country. "The only way to keep your best players here is to have a successful team," he said. "I can understand why good young players have left here in the past.
"So I have to get things done quickly and start moving in the right direction to keep and attract good young players. "The youth academy is very important to me, and I hope we will be moving to a new set-up where the youth and senior players are together. "We've had a great conveyor belt of talent in the past. I hope that continues and they want to stay with us in the future because we are successful. "But there is no quick fix. I think the club has progressed over the last few months and I would like to thank the players for that." Moyes added: "My perception of Everton before I arrived was that it was financially unsure, known for having injuries and for avoiding relegation. I had to decide whether it could be fixed. "Many better managers had tried before me. "I decided I had to set out a strategy for this club. "If the job is to be done right I told the board I had to be allowed to manage it as I wanted. "I wanted committed young players who would be here for the long term.
"I asked for the facilities to be improved for the players. If you treat them well they will give us something back in terms of loyalty and giving more on the field."
Success is down to each other - Stubbs
Nov 13 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are seeking to make it four Premiership clean sheets in a row by shutting out Blackburn on Sunday. The run has coincided with the return of Alan Stubbs to the centre of the Blues defence.
The former Celtic man is vying with David Weir for a place alongside the impressive Nigerian Joseph Yobo in the starting line-up. Everton have notched up three 1-0 wins on the trot against West Ham, Leeds and Charlton, to propel them into fourth spot. Stubbs is keen to share the praise with his team-mates. He said: "A lot of it is down to the team. We are playing well. We are attacking quite a bit more. It's different to last year when we were defending more than anything. This time round it's very different. "Confidence is high. I'm happy with the way things are going for me at the moment. I have to keep it at that level because there are players knocking on the door trying to get into the team. "Competition for places is good at the moment. Everyone is looking over their shoulders because they know if they do have a couple of indifferent performances there's a good chance someone else will come in. "Everyone in the team is helping everyone else. If someone loses the ball there is someone there to help them. People are working for each other. That's the way we have been training during the week." Stubbs also paid tribute to Yobo's excellent start to his first season in the Premiership. He said: "He has done really well. He was a bit unfortunate early on with a couple of setbacks to his ankle. He now seems to be over them. "He has come on leaps and bounds, is a confident player who is quick, athletic and strong. He has all the attributes to be a top class centre-half. A lot of people have been impressed by his performances for Everton."
Stubbs revealed the Blues' lofty league position has surprised few at the club. He said: "To be honest, we don't really look at league tables, we just look at results. We have been getting them and that has pushed us up the league. That's the way we will carry on doing it. If the spirit is not good now then it never will be. We are doing well at the moment. Things cannot really get any better.
"We are not going to rest on our laurels. We know it's going to be twice as hard staying there. That's what we have to aim to do."
Gemmill ready to fight
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 14 2002
SCOT GEMMILL is ready to fight to stay at Goodison Park. The Scotland midfielder had been linked with a loan move to Nationwide League first division side Stoke City, but David Moyes moved to dismiss the reports as speculation. And after a frustrating spell on the sidelines, Moyes' actions in denying any move to the Potteries have encouraged Gemmill that his future still lies with Everton.
The former Nottingham Forest player is keen to battle to win back a place in the Blues first team after regaining his fitness. He said: "I certainly don't want to go. I want to play for Everton. If it's up to me, I won't be going anywhere. "I'm glad the manager has rubbished the reports and until he tells me that he wants me to go then I won't even consider leaving." Gemmill has overcome a recurring back problem that has troubled him since the start of the season and is looking to force his way into the manager's plans. The 31-year-old has yet to figure in the first team but he caught the eye with an impressive display for the reserves on Monday night. But Gemmill is under no illusions that he faces a fight to regain his place, with the in-form Blues currently riding high in the Premiership. He added: "There's plenty of competition for a central midfield spot. "It wouldn't be unfair to say that I lost my place due to injury, but that's the way football goes and the players who have come in have done well. I'm just going to have to be patient to get my chance. "I need to train hard, take the reserve games very seriously and be a good professional." But Gemmill is finding life tough in the reserves. He said: "It's hard to get motivated to play on a Monday night in Widnes in front of less than a thousand people. "But that rainy night is the only chance you get to show that you should be playing. You need to do it for yourself and stay fit."
Blues ride crest of wave
Nov 14 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are riding a wave of optimism even greater than that generated by the club's march to FA Cup glory in 1995. That is the verdict of Goodison chief executive Michael Dunford, who has been at the club since switching from Derby County during the heady days of the 1994/95 season. Joe Royle's side was the last from Everton to get their hands on silverware, defeating Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup final courtesy of a second half strike from Paul Rideout. The following season, on the back of that triumph, the Blues finished sixth in the Premiership. But Dunford says the feel-good factor currently sweeping through Everton is better than anything he has experienced in his time there. He said: "I think the fans sense that there is something exciting happening here. "I've been here eight years now and the nearest I feel we came to this previously was immediately after we won the FA Cup in 1995 and the following year when we were signing players like Andrei Kanchelskis. "There was a feel-good factor around the club - but this is probably better even than that period." Everton's run of five consecutive victories is the best the club has enjoyed since 1991.
It has resulted in attendances at Goodison rising significantly. Dunford is quick to acknowledge the fans' role in Everton's recent rise to fourth in the Premiership table. He said: "The supporters have responded to what has happened on the pitch. It's a real team effort. The players respond to the supporters and the supporters respond to the players. "In the last couple of months there has been an upturn in interest both home and away - the gate we had against Charlton, 37,000, was quite remarkable."
Blues boss backs his Great Dane
Nov 14 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes paid tribute to Thomas Gravesen today - and revealed a weight-loss programme has helped create the Danish midfielder's new streamlined look. Gravesen has been an Everton inspiration this season, after his Goodison career reached a crisis point last Christmas. The Blues' boss has put the turnaround down to a rigorous fitness regime the player has put himself through. "He admitted to me he needed to lose some body weight and he has done that. His body fat is lower and he looks in real good shape right now," said Moyes. "That's down to him rather than the training here. People talk about us being a fitter side, but it's a fallacy to say that we run them hard every day. Everything's done with a ball and the intention is to produce good football players, not athletes." Gravesen was substituted at Blackburn last season, a decision which angered the travelling Evertonians who directed their disappointment towards Walter Smith for the first time. He goes back there this season as one of the first names on David Moyes' team-sheet.
"Thomas is a very good player," he explained. "He gives us a little bit of individuality in the middle of the park which is why he came straight back in for Tobias last Saturday. "I heard about the breakdown in communication, shall we say, last Christmas, but since I have been here he has never given me a problem. "His teamwork is improving and that's what I want here, good team players, but he also gives something a little different. "I remember him when Everton came to Preston for a pre-season friendly a couple of seasons ago and he and Alex Nyarko were outstanding. I thought then that Everton were sure to go on and enjoy a good season." While Gravesen is a certain starter on Sunday, Alan Stubbs is hoping to join him after coming off last weekend with a groin strain.
Blues' City test - Academy
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 15 2002
NBEATEN FA Premier Academy League leaders Manchester City provide a stern test for an improving Everton under-17s at Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 11am). Alan Harper's side have won three of their last four matches, scoring 11 goals and conceding two in the process. But they will get probably their sternest test so far this season against City's youngsters. Last week's 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest was the latest in the Blues excellent run and a similar level of performance is hoped for.
Harper said: "It is always a tough game against Man City. There is always that rivalry between Manchester and Merseyside. They are generally quite physical games. I hope it isn't, but it helps the boys improve by playing in different types of game." Academy director Ray Hall said: "It will be a tough match against Manchester City. They have only been beaten once and are running away with the league. "It was encouraging last Saturday the number of younger players who played in the U17s. Because of injuries and so on, a number of boys have moved up into Colin's team, so that has cleared the way for other boys to come in. And they have all done very well." Colin Harvey's under-19s will also face Manchester City at Netherton (KO 11am) and they too will be hoping to continue their good run of form. Last week's draw at Nottingham Forest made it just two defeats in the last nine matches. Harvey said: "It is always a good game against City and they always have a strong side." But he is confident his young side can keep up their good form. He added: "It doesn't matter what age the lads are. They have come in and done the job. They have done themselves a lot of good by staying in the side. Like James Potter, who has played a lot of the season at centre-back and done a good job." Fellow centre-back Robert Southern broke his nose on Saturday but the Blues are hopeful he will be fit to play tomorrow. There are still a number of long-term injury casualties. Striker Michael Symes is still out with his groin problem, as is Wales youth international Craig Garside, with a knee injury. Daniel Fox had on operation to cure a groin/hernia problem and will also be out for some time. Winger Damon Martland has damaged cruciate ligaments in his knee and is also out. Colin Thorbinson is out as well with an injury to his left ankle. Goalkeeper Sean Lake is unavailable as he is away on international duty. He was an unused substitute for John McDermott's England U16s side, who lost 1-0 to Spain on Tuesday in a four-team international friendly tournament. And he will be action tonight against Holland at Gateshead and against Germany on Monday at Sunderland's Stadium of Light. Midfielder Scott Brown was part of the England U18s squad who triumphed 4-0 in Tunisia last night, so Everton will check on his fitness on his return today. l EVERTON have confirmed the date of their FA Youth Cup third round clash with Port Vale. The tie will take place on Wednesday, November 27 at Goodison Park, kick-off 7pm.
Winds of change blowing for Blues
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 15 2002
WE'RE fourth in the Premiership halfway through November, a couple of points ahead of Manchester United and only behind Chelsea on goal difference. It's incredible, but no more than we deserve by any stretch. The new-found confidence within the club was reflected in the fans' reaction to the Worthington Cup draw. There aren't many places tougher to visit than Stamford Bridge but the feeling is that if anyone's capable of turning Claudio Ranieri's side over, it's us. It's certainly a tall order, especially the way Gianfranco Zola's playing, but our recent run of form has shown that teams take us lightly at their peril. Alan Curbishley, who presided over a 3-0 win at Goodison last season, was quick to acknowledge the massive turnaround after the match. Everton played Charlton off the park for almost an hour before Claus Jensen and the superb Scott Parker got a grip on midfield and threatened to grab a point. But inspired by the remarkable Joseph Yobo the Blues stood firm, whereas in recent years they would have surely crumbled. If it weren't for the interest surrounding Wayne Rooney the young Nigerian defender would be the one making all the headlines. He's not afraid to lash the ball clear when he has to but a couple of Cruyff turns and an amazing overhead pass showed that there's a lot more to his game than simply his strength and speed. It's no surprise that Manchester United are reportedly interested in him after paying such a ridiculous sum for the infinitely inferior Rio Ferdinand. For once Rooney was reduced to a bit-part player, even being brought down to earth somewhat with a warning from David Moyes about the way he is picking up bookings. He is so wholehearted that he looks like he will always get into trouble, although hopefully with experience he will learn to curb the more extreme moments of madness like the lunge at Chris Powell. We need the likes of the youngster available for selection, especially as expectations begin to rise and the supporters start to expect us to win matches like the tough one we face at Ewood Park on Sunday. Blackburn are not a bad side at all, especially with David Thompson and Brad Friedel - a dead ringer for Eddie off the Iron Maiden covers - playing out of their skins at present. We will need to be on top of our game if our winning streak is to continue.
Here we are, firmly in the European places, looking forward to watching the likes of Yobo, Rooney and Radzinski when only 12 months ago we were hoping that maybe Paul Gascoigne would be able to turn a few games and help us stay in the Premiership. He's now hoping to get a game with Morpeth. How times change.
The secret formula
Nov 15 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE seeds for Everton's autumn revival were sown last summer. A leaner, fitter Everton has charged up the Premiership this season - and David Unsworth believes that a new holiday fitness programme devised by David Moyes is partly responsible. The common perception of a football-er's summer is that as soon as the final whistle blows on the season, they put their feet up for two months, until the gruelling pre-season sessions start again July. That was certainly the case for Everton's non-internationals - until the arrival of Moyes. Before the Blues swapped their boots for flip flops last summer, they were handed a pre, pre-season schedule to follow while they were away from Bellefield. Unsworth explained: "The lads were fit before they even came back. We were all given individual fitness programmes to follow when last season ended. "We were told to use them during the summer and the lads all followed them to the letter, because you can't be seen to be lagging behind in pre-season. "For two weeks we were told to do nothing, just to recharge the batteries, then after that we were running every other day and built up on that towards the start of pre-season. "That was something I had never had before, and to check that we had been following them closely we then went for fitness tests in Lyon before we started pre-season training. "Even pre-season was different. In Austria we were doing three sessions a day which was also new to me, but very enjoyable, and since then it has been more football orientated. "It's probably one of the key reasons why we are doing so well. it may also be the reason why we haven't struggled as much with injuries this season. "You don't dare miss a match now because you know someone will come in and take your place. We've seen that already this year when Alan Stubbs came in and Tobias Linderoth and both did well." Unsworth likens the current mood of optimism around Goodison to the spell when Joe Royle took charge of the club - and guided them to FA Cup success inside six months. "The mood around the place now is very, very similar to when we won the Cup in 1995 and everyone was buzzing," he added. "The difference is that we found ourselves struggling in the League back then, battling and scrapping for points to get us away from the bottom, whereas now we are playing for points to take us higher and higher. "We are joint third now, but we want to be second, whereas then we were just trying to keep our heads above water. But otherwise it is very similar to '95. The gaffer has come in and had a big result in his first game, just like Joe did. We didn't have many injuries at the time, which is the same now and the training routines are similar with double sessions - and no-one is complaining about that! "Footballers are notorious whingers, but none of the lads have whinged about having afternoon sessions - and quite rightly so because it is all positive stuff. "You drive into work now and can't wait to get in - and that's what it was like in '95-96." Everton's new-found fitness levels, coupled with last night's intense UEFA Cup tie at Ewood Park, means that Everton should go to Blackburn on Sunday with a physical edge on their opponents.
Unsworth said: "After our midweek game at Newcastle we faded in the last 20 minutes against Charlton. "But this time we have had all week to recharge our batteries. Blackburn's minds won't be on our match until Friday, Saturday, whereas our minds have been on it since Monday morning so hopefully that focus will help us. "I'm looking forward to the game - and I'm hoping to see Craig Short beforehand. I have watched Blackburn a few times this season, and every time Shortie has been their best player. "It will be good to see him on Sunday, but this time I hope he has a nightmare!"
Irish job attracts some top names
Nov 15 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
THERE are quite a few interesting names being linked with the Republic of Ireland manager's job.
Peter Reid and Niall Quinn are two of the names that have surfaced. I think they would make a fantastic partnership. Reidy introduced Quinny to the coaching side of things at Sunderland earlier this season. That's a good start. John Aldridge is also someone whose name is in the hat. I think he would also be a good choice. I have a lot of time for John. I'm sure Quinny would be a great ambassador for Irish football. I signed him for Manchester City from Arsenal and he was a great player to work with. The Irish public will respond to both him and Reidy. The question is whether the Irish FA can afford them. They are not the wealthiest of football associations. If both men are clear of any contractual problems leaving Sunderland, then perhaps neither will be seeking fortunes and realise it is a tremendous job to take. What could be on offer is a big bonus for qualifying for a major tournament rather than a large basic salary.
THE dinner in my honour last Monday night was a fantastic occasion. The turn-out was fabulous and it was great to be reunited with a lot of the former players. Even Neville Southall came up from Dover. The whole event was very touching. I had a photo taken with Alan Ball and Colin Harvey. We also got Brian Labone on the picture because he has always taken the mickey out of the three of us after winning the 1969/70 championship. Alan, Colin and myself got all the publicity in that title winning side and Brian has always reminded us that we were the only three-man team to win a championship.
Duff threat won't worry Tony - Carsley
Nov 15 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TONY HIBBERT will face his toughest test of the season on Sunday. But team-mate Lee Carsley is backing the young full-back to claim another high profile scalp. Everton defender Hibbert has already emerged creditably from right-flank duels with Ryan Giggs, Harry Kewell and Freddie Ljungberg this season - and been rewarded with a call-up to England's Under-21 squad. But Carsley reckons he faces his most searching examination yet on Sunday against his own Republic of Ireland team-mate, Damien Duff. "Damien is one of the best players in the Premier League," he declared, "especially the way he is playing at the minute. It will be tough for Tony, but he has done well against Ryan Giggs already this season so it won't be anything he isn't used to. "I've only faced Damien in training sessions before but he is a fantastic talent. He's class and deserves all the attention he is getting at the moment. "He was close to moving from Blackburn in the summer, but didn't let that affect him. "But Tony has had a great season so far, and hopefully I'll be there in front of him to help out if necessary!" Manager David Moyes confirmed this morning that the only changes he was likely to make for the trip to Ewood Park would be enforced. Alan Stubbs is still receiving treatment for a groin strain and Moyes said: "He trained yesterday so we'll just hope there is no reaction. "When the lads are playing with as much confidence as they are at the moment you don't want to make too many changes, so we'll have to wait and see." On last night's disappointing defeat for Blackburn by Celtic, Moyes added: "I thought the first goal changed the game and allowed Celtic to play the way they wanted to. "Blackburn are still a strong side and it will be a difficult test for us." The game kicks off at 3pm on Sunday, with more than 5,000 Evertonians making the short trip to Lancashire.
Seeing red over Blue's Academy
Nov 15 2002 By Ian Fannon Echo Reporter, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S £9m dream to build a football academy on greenbelt land in Halewood will face opposition from residents. Nearly 400 people have written objecting and many are calling for the scheme to be called in by the Secretary of State. A lobby group, which successfully fought off a huge industrial development on the same greenbelt land off Finch Lane two years ago, has re-formed to oppose the new plan. Help Halewood has mounted a leaflet and internet campaign, claiming the complex of 13 football pitches, practice areas, pavilion, groundsman's store and security lodge will eat into protected green space. The strength of feeling was shown at a heated public meeting in Halewood last night. More than 100 people packed Hollies Hall, but opinion was split for and against the scheme. Mark Smith, spokesman for Help Hale-wood, claims the proposals are no more acceptable than the 600-acre industrial park stopped two years ago. Mr Smith, 39, from Lower Close, said: "We are worried this is the tip of the iceberg. If this goes ahead, you can bet there will be no greenbelt left in Halewood in five years time." But other residents last night backed the academy. Lindsay Moorhead-Taylor, 24, from Torrington Drive, said: "Sooner or later, this land will be developed. I'd rather it was a football academy than a factory." The plans are recommended for approval by Knowsley council's planning committee next Thursday. Planning officers agree with the club that the scheme's merits outweigh harm to the greenbelt. Everton's head of corporate affairs, Ian Ross, said the "special circumstances" of the scheme meant it should go ahead. "We are acutely aware this is greenbelt land and the plans have been as sympathetic as possible. "People will always be suspicious and angry, but we're not building a concrete jungle. "The buildings will be low-level, replacing existing buildings. People probably won't even notice we're there." Everton intends to buy the land from Cheshire county council and compensate the tenant farmer who lives there. It hopes to start work next year, opening in 2004. It would mark the end of more than 40 years training at Bellefield in West Derby, which the club hopes to sell with its Netherton academy site, to help fund the project.
Stubbs winning fitness battle
Nov 15 2002 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
ALAN STUBBS is winning his battle to be fit for Everton's trip to Blackburn Rovers on Sunday. It was originally feared the defender would be unavailable for the Ewood Park clash after a groin strain forced him off during last weekend's victory over Charlton Athletic. But Stubbs training yesterday and is being given every chance to continue a centre-back partnership with Joseph Yobo which is aiming to keep a fourth consecutive Premiership clean sheet on Sunday. "Alan was back training with us this morning and we will monitor his situation over the course of the next day or two," confirmed David Moyes. A final decision will be taken tomorrow morning, with David Weir on standby to replace Stubbs for what would be a first Premiership start since his sending-off against Manchester United last month. Meanwhile, Moyes has revealed how a weight-loss programme is helping Thomas Gravesen rediscover his form. The Danish international stepped back into the starting line-up on Saturday after missing the previous three games through injury, and produced a man-of-the-match performance in the 1-0 win against Charlton, which pushed the Blues up to fourth in the table. And Moyes said: "He admitted to me that he needed to lose some body weight and he has done that. "His body fat is lower and he looks in real good shape right now. "That's down to him rather than the training here. People talk about us being a fitter side, but it's a fallacy to say that we run them hard every day. "Everything's done with a ball and the intention is to produce good footballers, not athletes." The Blues boss added: "Thomas is a very good player. "He gives us a little bit of individuality in the middle of the park which is why he came straight back in for Tobias Linderoth last Saturday. "His teamwork is improving - and that's what I want here, good team players, but he also gives something different." Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has spoken to Moyes over the possibility of taking a player on loan to the Britannia Stadium. "I know Moyesey well and spoke to him about a few players," said Pulis, whose side are currently ensconced at the wrong end of the first division table. We need maybe one or two more defenders and some quality throughout." Peter Clarke is one such player who could be allowed to go on loan, although Moyes yesterday ruled out Scot Gemmill making a temporary switch to the Potteries. Everton's trip to Tottenham Hot-spur has been put back 24 hours due to pay-per-view television coverage and will now be played on Sunday, January 12 (kick-off 2pm). The visit to Newcastle on Sunday, December 1 will now kick-off at 2.15pm, and not 2pm as originally stated. l THE funeral of the popular Harry Scott, who worked for Everton FC for more than 30 years takes place today.
Scott, who was employed at the club's Bellefield training ground, died at the weekend after a long illness. The funeral takes place at St Teresa's Church, Norris Green at noon.
Blackburn Rovers 0, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Andy Hunter reports from Ewood Park
Nov 18 2002
JUST OVER 18 months ago an Evertonian tried to wrestle the shirt off Alex Nyarko as his alleged lack of commitment sparked an open revolt at Highbury. Yesterday travelling Blues were again scrambling for another African's Everton jersey, yet the contrast could not have been more stark or as revealing. Now the clamour was to own a piece of the treasured Joseph Yobo, a man who provides another neat symbol of the transformation the Goodison club has undergone since those depressing days spent in the familiar throws of a relegation struggle. While Wayne Rooney has stirred the imagination and the attentions of a nation the inspirational 22-year-old defender has quickly given Evertonians another hero to worship. And at Ewood Park, where an astonishing defensive display helped the Blues hold on to a fifth straight league win for the first time since the title win of 1987, his reverence was cemented. Pushed forward to take the applause of a sold-out away support by the man whose goal secured the win and Everton's place in the Premiership top four, Kevin Campbell, Yobo overcame his initial reluctance to sprint into their embrace and throw them his shirt. Usually that means a farewell. In Yobo's case, with his long-term future resting on his own feelings about Everton and the Goodison board's ambition, it just could be the start of a beautiful friendship. More displays like this will attract European heavyweights like flies. But if Everton continue heading in this direction and the rapport flourishes between the player and fans, whose racist tag had worried Yobo before he swapped Marseille for Merseyside, then who knows what will happen? After a fourth consecutive 1-0 victory for David Moyes' men, who have now gone over seven hours without conceding a goal, Everton no longer have to fear the worst. The belief now surging throughout the club saw thousands make the short journey to Lancashire, the mass of Everton shirts outside the ground lending the pre-match atmosphere a cup final air. Confidence is now a fixture of Blues' matches. Another feature is the amount of chances Everton carve out even under the most immense pressure away from home, and that proved decisive on a day when Blackburn stretched their resolve to the limit. And after an end-to-end first half and numerous openings, it was hard to understand why there was only one goal on the scoreboard by half-time. It should have been lit up following the first attack from Everton when Tomasz Radzinski, again brimming with intent, pace and menace but lacking the final touch to match, started and should have finished a swift third-minute break. Having fed Lee Carsley down the right and pulled off his marker in the area the Canadian looked certain to score when the midfielder's cross sailed over ex-Evertonian Craig Short, but at full stretch the striker could only glance the ball harmlessly at Brad Friedel. A neat one-two between Radzinski and Campbell allowed the more diminutive of the Everton forward partnership to burst through the Blackburn rearguard five minutes later. His lightning speed turned a half chance into a great one, though again Friedel was equal to the task with a low save. Yet whilst carving out holes in the Rovers' defence was no problem for visitors, with their obvious ploy of using Carsley at every opportunity working perfectly, the defence had to survive a few scares to take their impressive run without conceding a goal past the six-hour mark.
Slips by Li Tie and Thomas Gravesen in midfield were almost punished when David Dunn's piercing pass through the middle sent Andy Cole racing through on goal. Richard Wright is improving with every game he plays in an Everton shirt, however, and he stood his ground to make a solid block from the Blackburn striker. With Damien Duff showing exactly why he remains high on Liverpool's wanted list by flourishing in the space just in front of the Blues defence, Souness' side always had the capacity to trouble their visitors. Their defensive prowess is a different matter altogther though, and Everton took full advantage thanks to Campbell's awareness and accuracy on 19 minutes. His control and strength on the ball are back up to standard thanks to the clean bill of health denied the striker for all of last season, Campbell displayed both to sweep the Blues in front with his sixth Premiership goal of the season. First he met Wright's long clearance with a prodigious leap and glanced the ball out wide to Carsley. An intelligent run into the area and a neat return pass from the Republic of Ireland star combined to carve out a great opening; one touch and one sweeping finish later, Friedel was finally beaten. Round two of this personal duel went to the big American though when, just four minutes before the break, Campbell thought he had given his side a commanding lead. From a corner by Gary Naysmith, in for the injured Mark Pembridge, the Everton striker peeled away to divert a glancing header wide of the Blackburn stopper. But despite falling the other way Friedel showed why he's being touted as the Premiership's most in-form keeper, even with a knee operation due, by scooping the ball off the line with his finger-tips.
That, ominously for Evertonian nerves, was that as far as visiting chances were concerned as for the rest of the afternoon their defensive fortitude was brought to the fore. And it had to be. The Blues were under the cosh from the 46th minute to the 94th, give or take an increasingly rare break and the late flourishes from you-know-who, and both Alan Stubbs and Joseph Yobo were outstanding to repel raid upon Rovers' raid. Stubbs has seized the chance that fell his way when David Weir was suspended, but it was the Nigerian who stole the show with a quite phenomenal performance. Yobo was everywhere. Whether Blackburn were trying to work their way into the area or delivering dangerous crosses from the by-line, nothing would get past the Everton number 20. For all their dominance and determination to make amends for their disappointing UEFA Cup defeat by Celtic three days' earlier, Blackburn never created a clear-cut opportunity until injury time. Nils-Eric Johansson was booked for trying to win a penalty with a desperate dive over Steve Watson's challenge, while Egil Ostenstad followed him after catching Stubbs with a clumsy rather than malicious elbow, although to some referees it would have been a red-card offence regardless.
When Lucas Neill escaped with a handball inside his own area the brows on the Everton bench sunk even deeper. But thanks to the resilience his side showed all game, Moyes was left toasting the incredible achievement of five league wins. A poor punch by Wright diverted Duff's deep cross to the feet of David Thompson in the 91st minute, but with an equaliser for the boyhood Evertonian looming David Unsworth threw himself at the ball to turn the shot wide. Friedel again denied Campbell with the visitors' only second-half shot before, with the final kick of the game, Wright redeemed himself by parrying Cole's effort at point-blank range. The entire defensive unit, Moyes admitted, were heroes. But not all heroes are equal, as Yobo proved.
BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Short, Johansson, Curtis (Yorke 69); Thompson, Tugay, Dunn, Duff; Cole, Ostenstad. Subs: Todd, Jansen, Grabbi, Robinson.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Gravesen, Li Tie (Watson 57), Naysmith (Rooney 81); Radzinski (Weir 89), Campbell. Subs: Pistone, Simonsen.
REFEREE: Graham Poll
BOOKINGS: Everton's Li Tie (foul); Blackburn's Short (foul), Johansson (diving), Ostenstad (foul).
MAN OF THE MATCH: Joseph Yobo. Absolutely immense. The fact the matchwinner dragged him forward to take the acclaim of the away fans says it all. Get him signed, and Everton will have turned another corner.
Nov 18 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES hailed his defensive heroes yesterday after resilient Everton recorded a fifth straight league win for the first time since the 1987 title-winning season. Kevin Campbell's sixth Premiership goal of the season was enough to beat Blackburn at Ewood Park and strengthen the Blues' grip on a top four spot. But it was the resolute rearguard action that paved the way for a fourth 1-0 win in a row as the Blues withstood relentless Rovers pressure in the second half. Everton have now gone almost seven-and-a-half hours without conceding a goal in the Premiership, the last being Freddie Ljungberg's eighth-minute opener for Arsenal last month. And a delighted Moyes said: "Winning is becoming a good habit now and we are all enjoying it. You could see how much we enjoy this winning run by how hard the players fought to keep hold of their lead. “We are enjoying this winning feeling immensely. "Today was a different kind of performance. The defenders were the heroes but you will get the same outcome if you show that level of commitment. "The defenders had to stand up and be counted, and combined with some outstanding attacking play at times we did well. "Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell looked very sharp. We could have got another goal which would have helped ease the pressure a bit more but you've got to give Blackburn credit.
"They wanted to get over the defeat by Celtic and with their attacking players you are always going to be under the cosh at times. Not many teams will come here and win. "I thought Wayne Rooney was fantastic when he came on and helped change the game. They were throwing the kitchen sink at us at the end but his runs gave us an important outlet." Richard Wright denied Andy Cole with the final kick of the game while Joseph Yobo produced a fabulous performance to keep Blackburn at bay. "He is producing what we expected of him," said Moyes. "I was concerned with how long it would take him to settle, coming over as a young lad from Africa to a new continent, albeit after a spell in Marseille, and a different culture. "Being a centre-half, where you can be punished very easily for any mistake you make, also makes it harder to settle but Joseph has coped with everything very well and he will get even better. "He's enjoying himself more and more now and beginning to stamp his personality on the squad and joining in the banter more and more." Yobo threw his shirt to adoring supporters afterwards and Moyes hopes it is a further sign he will extend his Everton stay next summer. The Blues boss added: "I don't think he will need influencing. He's where he wants to be but he'll have to pay for another shirt now!" And after the latest 1-0 triumph Moyes admitted: "They'll be chanting "Boring, Boring Everton" soon!" He said: "To be honest I can't see that happening as we will always try to entertain. "I've got a strategy and an idea of where I want to take Everton given the chance. At the moment the team is taking us where we want to go but as I say it is early days. "We will keep ourselves in check but why shouldn't Everton be up there?
"We want to do better than third. I'm delighted with where we are but we are only 14 games in. If we are third after another 14 then we will start thinking we are doing OK. "The first priority, as it is for most teams, is to stay in the Premiership." Mark Pembridge, meanwhile, has been forced out of Wales' trip to Azerbeijan afterall following a recurrence of the calf problems that blighted last season. And Moyes said: "It is a blow as he's a good player for us and for Wales." The Blues boss has allowed Paul Gerrard to join Joe Royle at Ipswich Town on a month's loan. The Goodison goalkeeper played in the 2-0 win at Watford yesterday and could make a permanent switch if the loan spell proves a success.
Blackburn Rovers 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Ewood Park, Liverpool Echo
Nov 18 2002
EVERTON unveiled a new strip at Ewood Park yesterday. But it was the same story for the Men in Black as it had been for the Boys in Blue - and an increasingly familiar scoreline . . . 1-0 to the Everton. David Moyes' men celebrated that result for the fourth successive match in the Premiership. If they carry on like this they will soon have the side which made the score-line famous in their sights. That is the slightly startling situation Everton now find themselves in. Yesterday's win was their fifth straight Premiership success. Not since the League Championship trophy was last paraded around Goodison Park has an Everton side enjoyed such a run of wins. It's a shameful statistic that their fans have had to wait 15 years to revisit such a run, but there is a growing self-assurance and swagger about the club these days - and there is no doubt who the supporters believe is responsible. He's got red hair, but they don't care - and David Moyes is cultivating an atmosphere in keeping with the proud traditions of this club. Even when Everton need to depend on the quality of their defenders and their goalkeeper rather than the vibrancy of their forwards - as they did yesterday - they have enough in reserve to come to tricky places like Blackburn and win. And it's a long time since they've been able to say that. Richard Wright's performance was a match-winning one, while Joseph Yobo produced another imperious display - and Blues' fans should not worry unduly about him kissing the badge on his jersey and tossing his shirt into the crowd at the end.
Usually perceived as the gesture of a man who doesn't have long left with a club, it was more a sign that Everton are unlikely to use their all-black kit again this season. At least this one will be remembered fondly. The scoreline may have been narrow, but everything about Everton's attitude was expansive. They took the game to Blackburn and were rewarded by Kevin Campbell's superb first half strike. Then, clinging grimly on with time ticking away, David Moyes brought on an extra forward and went 4-3-3. That saw chances carved out at either end, but both goalkeepers made stops which ensured another impressive following bounced out of an away ground happy.
There was little evidence of Blackburn suffering from a UEFA Cup hangover as they started brightly.
For 10 tumultuous minutes Rovers ran riotously at Everton, as if eager to save face following Thursday night's Anglo- Scottish embarassment. They forced a corner inside 14 seconds, then Cole streaked clear, from a suspiciously offside position, but was denied by the sprawling presence of Richard Wright - not for the first time all afternoon. But their fire extinguished dramatically as Everton suffocated their strikeforce. Even during that Rovers' rally, though, Everton could have led.
Radzinski played a one-two with Carsley before darting into the penalty area to side-foot a stretching volley straight at Friedel. That was in the second minute, then six minutes later he raced onto a Campbell pass and was just about to pull the trigger when Short slid in with a saving tackle.
The goal they did claim, in the 18th minute, was a classic. Carsley clipped in a cross from the right, Campbell ushered it across onto his shooting foot with his thigh, swivelled and crashed a decisive shot low past Friedel's right hand. Campbell might have gone home with the matchball. Five minutes before the break he span intelligently off the near post to head Naysmith's corner goalwards, but was denied by Friedel's instinctive flap, then two minutes into time added on crashed another effort goalwards from Gravesen's breakaway, but was denied by the American keeper again.
For almost the entire second half Everton were pressed back remorselessly by Graeme Souness's side. But despite the pressure, Wright had remarkably little to do until the fourth official's illuminated scoreboard was raised. After missing a punch and watching Unsworth throw himself courageously at Thompson's challenge, he made a crucial stop to thwart Cole with the very last kick of the game. It ensured the afternoon finished perfectly for the visitors. Well almost . . . Li Tie has produced some highly effective performances in his introductory season to the English Premiership, but this was not one of them. He even managed to get himself booked for the first time in the Premiership before being substituted, thus losing the curious claim to fame which saw him celebrated as the player who had committed more fouls without a card than any other player - 28 before kick- off yesterday. But that statistic will not trouble David Moyes dramatically. There was another, more impressive one to consider. 1-0 to the Everton is beginning to catch on!
BLACKBURN ROVERS (4-4-2): Friedel, Neill, Short, Johansson, Curtis (Yorke 68 mins), Thompson, Dunn, Tugay, Duff, Ostenstad, Cole. Not used: Todd, Jansen, Grabbi, Robinson.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley, Tie (Watson 56 mins), Gravesen, Naysmith (Rooney 80 mins), Campbell, Radzinski (Weir 89 mins). Not used: Pistone, Simonsen.
REFEREE: Graham Poll.
BOOKINGS: Tie (35 mins) foul, Short (63 mins) dissent, Johnansson (71 mins) diving, Ostenstad (76 mins) dangerous play. GOAL: Campbell (18 mins) 0-1.
Yobo wants to stay a Blue
Nov 18 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Joseph Yobo has already made up his mind to commit his long term future to Everton. The Blues' boss believes there is even better to come from the outstanding Nigerian defender, who is currently on loan from Marseille. Moyes will make a decision on a permanent deal at the end of the season, but there is little doubt Everton will be desperate to retain his services.
During Yobo's absence through injury earlier this season, Everton conceded 11 goals in seven games. In the eight matches he has played since then, however, the Blues have kept six clean sheets.
Moyes said: "I don't think Joseph needs any influencing to stay. I think he knows what he wants to do. "His form has been pretty much what I expected. I was more concerned that a young African player coming over to a different continent might take a little time to settle, especially with him being a centre-half. "A centre-half can be punished for mistakes or bad marking or bad positioning, but Joseph has coped with all of them very well - and he will get better. "Twenty-one-year old centre-halfs are prone to lapses now and again, but he's enjoying himself. He's beginning to show his personality as well. "When you first come to a new club from a different country I'm sure it isn't easy, but he is very much part of the joking and the hilarity around the club now, which is good."
Yobo was one of Everton's heroes at Ewood Park yesterday, on a day when the Blues had to rely heavily on their defensive stars to claim a fourth successive 1-0 win in the Premiership. "Today was a different type of performance to recent ones," he explained. "Nevertheless, what you get is the same outcome if you are fully committed. "Today was a day when the defenders had to stand up and be the best players, coupled with some outstanding forward play at different times when we had the opportunity. "You have to give Blackburn credit. When you have the attacking players they have got you are always going to be under the cosh. Very few teams will come to Blackburn and get results." The 1-0 success leaves Everton joint third in the table, and Moyes added: "I am going to try and do better than third. Obviously, we are delighted with where we are. "That's only 14 games in, though. If after another 14 games we are still joint third then we can maybe start thinking that we are doing okay. "That's our fourth 1-0 in a row. Someone's going to start chanting "Boring, boring Everton" in the dresing room soon, but I hope we do try and entertain, although today was a different type of performance. "Blackburn were determined to put their midweek result behind them and we had to defend. "Obviously, I have a strategy and an idea where I want to take Everton. It's early days and I don't want to say something I will regret saying."
Fergie sings the Blues
Nov 18 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S shock chase for a Champions League place this season today received surprise backing - from one of their closest rivals. The Toffees' fifth successive Premiership win at Blackburn yesterday moved them three points clear of Manchester United. And United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: "Everton are the best team we have played by far this season, the only ones who've come and had a go at us all the time. "The rest have left us with the ball." United, of course, have still to face Arsenal and Liverpool - while Ferguson could be employing some of his famed psychology, in a bid to tempt teams to come out and attack his side at Old Trafford. But the tribute comes after Everton won a fifth successive top flight match for the first time since 1987-88, when they were reigning League champions. Following Everton's cruel defeat at Old Trafford last month, when they conceded three very late goals., Ferguson declared United had faced the best Everton side he had seen for many years. However he has now gone even further - and proclaimed the Blues as the best opposition United have met in 14 Premier League games. Following the 1-0 win at Blackburn, David Moyes tried to play down his side's chances of maintaining their lofty position in the Premiership.
"We are joint-third at present, but I am going to try and do better than third," he explained.
"Obviously we are delighted with where we are, but that's only 14 games in. If after another 14 games we are still joint-third then we can maybe start thinking we are doing okay." Moyes now has a clear week to prepare for next week's visit of West Bromwich Albion. Mark Pembridge has been withdrawn from the Wales' squad which flies to Azerbaijan this week, after feeling his calf tighten up in training last week. Pembridge missed yesterday's win at Ewood Park. His replacement, Gary Nay-smith, is in the Scotland squad which travels to Portugal for a midweek friendly - but Scot Gemmill is missing with a back strain. Niclas Alexandersson is also struggling with a knee injury, while Tobias Linderoth is making steady progress from a hamstring strain. Paul Gerrard, meanwhile, on-loan at Ipswich Town for a month, made his debut yesterday and celebrated with a clean sheet in the 2-0 win at Watford.
Blues not at the races in sorry loss
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 19 2002
TWO defeats to Manchester City made it a miserable weekend for Everton's Academy sides. Unbeaten FA Premier Academy League leaders, Manchester City proved too strong for Alan Harper's under-17s at Netherton on Saturday. Despite recent excellent performances Harper's side produced a lacklustre display and went behind five minutes before the break. City were on top for much of the match but Gavin Lynch equalised on the hour. The 17-year-old forward flicked over the City keeper from eight yards after a scramble in the box to record his fifth strike of the season.
But the visitors hit back to score their second five minutes from the end to claim the three points.
Harper said: "We didn't play at all. We weren't at the races at the start of the game. "We didn't pass or create anything, we didn't get involved and we didn't make tackles. It was the worst performance we have put in this year. "It surprised me really because of how we have been playing. But maybe it was a little bit of over-confidence. "It was probably a fair result in the end." On a day of few outstanding performances from the Blues lineup, Anthony Barry and schoolboy Sean Wright did earn their coach's praise. Harper added: "Anthony Barry was probably our best player in midfield and up front. And you have to give a bit of credit to Sean Wright. He did okay at centre-back. "He normally plays at left-back, but he was at centre-back and came out with a lot of credit for his performance." Colin Harvey's side had an equally disappointing result, going down 2-0 to Manchester City at Netherton. The Blues were unbeaten in their three previous matches, but a lack of any real threat in front of goal proved costly as City ran out comfortable 2-0 winners. Harvey said: "It was a poor game for both teams in the first half and once they scored they were well on top and deserved to win. "We didn't make the keeper work. Only really Alan Moogan and David Carney tried to get things going for us in the first half and Alan Moogan in the second, but defensively we were all over the place. "It was just a poor performance all round. I wouldn't say I don't mind getting beat but sometimes you can get beat and take something out of the game - but not a performance like that."
We'll keep Yobo - Kenwright
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2002
BILL KENWRIGHT last night insisted Everton would keep Europe's heavyweights at bay and sign Joseph Yobo on a permanent deal next summer. The Nigerian international defender has been a revelation for the resurgent Blues since overcoming the ankle problems that delayed his start in English football. Yobo had been linked with a move to Juventus before David Moyes swooped in the summer and his starring role in Everton's climb into the top four has alerted widespread interest. But deputy chairman Kenwright moved to reassure Evertonians about the player's long-term future as he backed Moyes' belief that the 22-year-old will stay at Goodison. Moyes landed Yobo on an initial 12-month deal costing £1million from Marseille after the World Cup, securing first option to extend his contract by four years for an extra £4m at the end of this season. Potential stumbling blocks include Everton raising that finance, Marseille hiking up the fee and the defender himself not wanting to stay. But last night Kenwright said: "The terms of Joseph Yobo's transfer were agreed prior to him joining us at the start of the season. "Nothing has changed that and I can't see anything stopping Joseph Yobo joining Everton permanently by the time we have to take up his option in May." The terms of the deal are believed to include the Blues having a guaranteed first option on the player and a fixed-fee with the French club should they take it up. That is a certainty following Yobo's role in elevating Everton up into the Champions League qualification zone. Money for the deal could be raised if Paris St Germain decide to sign Alex Nyarko on a £3.5m deal in January. And with the Ghanaian playing regularly for a PSG team riding high in the French league, Goodison hopes are high. That would leave the final decision with Yobo who, as events at Ewood Park on Sunday showed, is revelling in his cult status at Goodison Park. The defender threw his shirt to the travelling supporters after a colossal dis-play in the 1-0 defeat of Blackburn and has struck up an instant rapport with fans and team-mates. Moyes said: "I don ' t think Joseph needs any influencing to stay. I think he knows what he wants to do." Everton, meanwhile, will want £750,000 for reserve keeper Paul Gerrard if former manager Joe Royle wants to make his loan move to Ipswich permanent.
Moyes aims to protect Li Tie
Nov 19 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will carry on substituting Li Tie - in a bid to prevent Everton's Chinese international from suffering burn-out. The midfielder has started every one of Everton's 16 matches this season, but on Sunday at Blackburn was replaced for the tenth time. But Moyes explained that the early switches were a precaution to keep Tie fresh. "I thought Sunday was probably Tie's poorest performance for a long time," he said "but I am having to be careful with him because of the amount of football he has played in the last 12 months. "He played the Chinese League season, went to the World Cup, went straight back to carry on with the Chinese League and then came over here.
"He hasn't had a significant break for a long time and with some of our games being tight you need a stamina to play in them week in, week out. "Tie has done really well for us, but we are just trying to take care of him by not over-playing him." Li Tie still has some way to go, however, before he matches the record of Polish international winger Robert Warzycha. In his first full season after arriving at Everton from Gornik Zabrze he was substituted 20 times. "I am sure Tie will be disappointed himself he has been taken off so many times," added Moyes "but I hope the results show that those decisions have been the correct ones. "Strangely the games he has finished he has come on stronger near the end. It is around the three-quarter period of games where he needs to show some improvement." Mark Pembridge, meanwhile, will see a specialist this week after pulling out of the Wales squad to travel to Azerbaijan with a calf strain. The midfielder has been plagued by calf problems throughout his recent career. Steve Watson has also reported a slight calf strain, while Duncan Ferguson has stepped up his rehabilitation and has begun light jogging.
Everton Reserves face Sunderland tonight at the Autoquest Stadium in Widnes (kick- off 7.00pm).
Fans should be happy with top 10
Nov 19 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is understandably reluctant to offer predictions on where he thinks his resurgent side might finish this season - so I'll set a realistic target for him. A top 10 finish next May will be significant progress for the Blues. Before fans start howling that that seems a little unambitious, given the club's current lofty position, I would suggest it's simply being realistic. Over-expectation can be a dangerous thing at any club, particularly Everton. Just look at Joe Royle's experience after winning the FA Cup six months after taking over and finishing sixth the season after that. I would love to see Everton maintain their current form and finish high enough up the table to claim a place in Europe next season. But after what the club has been through almost every season since 1996, it would be unrealistic to expect that. Everton have been fortunate with injuries so far. With Duncan Ferguson struggling, it is imperative that Kevin Campbell remains fit and healthy, for example.
But if they do get the rub of the green with injuries who knows what they can achieve? I just don't want too many fans starting to expect success, and feeling deflated when the Blues suffer the odd hiccup along the way. Howard Kendall's side enjoyed an eighth-place finish and two successive top seven slots before conquering Europe in the mid-1980s. David Moyes hasn't even been at Goodison a year yet. He is doing a marvellous job, but let's not get carried away with over expectations just yet!
Rooney helped by subs ruling
WATCHING another wonderful cameo from Wayne Rooney at the weekend made me realise just how beneficial the number of substitutes you are allowed to choose from these days is for the development of young players. It wasn't that long ago that managers were restricted to only three substitutes on the bench, one of which had to be a goalkeeper. If that rule was still in place today, young Wayne would almost certainly have been given far fewer opportunities to sparkle. Rule changes are often criticised, but there's no doubt that this one has been very much for the better.
I'VE played in some weird and wonderful Everton kits before, but I have to say I liked the new kit the boys wore at Blackburn. I'm always asked why the kit we wore during the glory years of the mid-80s was so tight. But it was actually quite baggy at the start of the season, and most of the photographs you see from that era are from the end of the season when we were parading trophies . . . with shorts disappearing up our backsides and shirts stretched tight across our chests! It would have been nice to be able to do a Joseph Yobo and toss a few into the crowd after games. But there were so few available it would have been impossible . . . unfortunately!
England's Wright choice
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 20 2002
DAVID MOYES believes Richard Wright's return to form should have been rewarded with an England recall. The 25-year-old has kept six clean sheets in his last nine games as he edges back to the international class that won two England caps before his £3.5million move to Everton this summer.
Wright was instrumental in the Blues' fifth straight league win at Blackburn on Sunday, his brave block at the feet of Andy Cole in the final seconds ensuring it is now almost seven-and-a-half hours since he last conceded a Premiership goal. But such form has not been good enough to earn Wright a call-up for Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad bonding session this week, much to the surprise of a mystified Moyes. Eriksson selected veteran David Seaman, David James and Paul Robinson for the get-together at a £1,050-a-night health farm in Hertfordshire. And last night the Blues boss insisted it is only a matter of time before the former Ipswich and Arsenal keeper joins their company.
"I think Richard should have been called up for the England squad's get-together this week," said Moyes. "That said, I am not desperately unhappy about that because when I do hand him over to England I want to make sure they are getting a keeper who is as good as anything there is in the country. "Richard is going to get even better. The number of clean sheets he's kept recently are a fantastic achievement for him. "He's on his way back now from a period at Arsenal where, while he did gain valuable experience, he lost a bit of self-confidence and self-belief." Moyes added: "There are three young keepers in England who I feel are the ones competing to be the next England keeper, Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland and Richard Wright. "David Seaman is still the number one, then you've got Nigel Martyn and David James, but those are the three vying to be the future England keeper. "A year or so ago Richard Wright was the best young keeper around, and don't forget he's already got a wealth of experience from his Ipswich days that included Premiership experience." Wright made a inauspicious start to his Goodison career fresh off the back of a disappointing season with the Gunners. But Moyes believes his number one is beginning to flourish on Merseyside, and can ultimately use the harsh lessons of Highbury to his advantage. The Blues boss explained: "It is never easy for new players to settle in straight away, that's why when people say you need to make signings to improve it is not always the answer. Often they don't make a difference right away but maybe in time, when they get used to the place and the new training methods, they will. "That's what we are seeing now with Richard and Joseph Yobo. It was good that we were able to bring Richard in just before the start of the season in the end but it still took a few weeks for him to settle in. "I don't think he'll under-stand everything that happened to him at Arsenal just yet but I hope he will be able to look back in a year or two's time. "They are a winning team, they were used to winning and expecting to win every week, and hope-fully he'll understand that and pass on that experience to Everton if we get into that situation."
Everton Res 0, Sunderland Res 0
Nov 20 2002
EVERTON Reserves were unable to break down a resolute Sunder-land defence in a goalless draw at the Halton Stadium last night. The Blues fielded a strong side which included the likes of David Weir, making his first reserve outing, Alessandro Pistone, Scot Gemmill and Joe Max Moore. Everton's only first-half effort was a weak David Carney shot while the visitors tested Steve Simonsen on 45 minutes when he held Ryan's free-kick. The second period wasn't much better as Weir and Pistone went close for the Blues but it was Simonsen who saved the home side's blushes, denying Thirlwell in the last few seconds.
EVERTON: Simonsen, O'Hanlon (Potter 45), Pistone, Gemmill, Weir, Weifeng, Carney, Chadwick, Moore, Moogan A, McLeod. Subs: Crow-der, Cole, Southern, Brown.
Pembs' injury puzzle
Nov 20 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARK PEMBRIDGE visited a specialist today in a bid to get to the bottom of the mystery behind his on-going calf problems. The Everton midfielder was sent to the specialist by David Moyes to dis-cover the extent of the latest calf injury, which flared up last week. The 31-year-old has a history of similar problems which have recurred consistently during his three seasons at Goodison. This latest setback forced him to miss Sunday's trip to Blackburn and has ruled him out of Wales' Euro 2004 qualifier in Azerbaijan tonight. He is facing a race to be fit in time for Saturday's home encounter with West Bromwich Albion. Moyes is hopeful that the specialist will speed the player's recovery and provide a long term answer to the problem. "Mark will visit a specialist today," said Moyes.
"We need to check whether or not his calf problem is in any way connected with dietary supplements." Pembridge had thought he had put the persistent problems behind him after changing his diet at the end of last season. Speaking earlier this month, he revealed: "Hopefully the calf problems are behind me but I've still got to keep doing what the doctors have told me to do.
"That's basically eating right and keeping to the diet they've given me. That's what seems to have done the trick. "I've got to cut out the red meat, the white flour, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. The doctor didn't say I had to cut them all out, but I do have to cut them down." Everton physio Mick Rathbone explained: "Over the last couple of years Mark has had numerous problems and there is a suggestion it could be something to do with a lack of nutrition in his diet." There are some dietary supplements taken by footballers that can cause side effects such as problems with calf muscles, most notably creatine, a supplement that can cause muscular problems. However, Pembridge does not take creatine. Meanwhile, the Everton boss has expressed his shock at Richard Wright's omission from this week's England squad. The Everton keeper has not conceded a goal for seven-and-a-half hours in action for the Blues. It is form which Moyes believes should have earned the 25-year-old an England recall. He said: "I think Richard should have been called up for the England squad's get-together this week. "That said, I am not desperately unhappy about that because when I do hand him over to England I want to make sure they are getting a keeper who is as good as anything there is in the country. "Richard is going to get even better. The number of clean sheets he's kept recently are a fantastic achievement for him. "There are three young keepers in England who I feel are the ones competing to be the next England keeper; Paul Robinson, Chris Kirkland and Richard Wright."
Meanwhile, Everton hot-shot Wayne Rooney has been shortlisted for the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
Dailly wants Weir back
Nov 20 2002 By Jon West In Braga
SCOTLAND utility man Christian Dailly has revealed he tried to talk David Weir out of international retirement. But his pleas were unsuccessful and, while Dailly is looking forward to winning his 40th cap in Portugal tonight, his former defensive partner is preparing for Everton's weekend clash with West Bromwich Albion. Both players had been publicly criticised by Scotland manager Berti Vogts following September's 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands. The German later claimed he had been misquoted, but a letter from Weir outlining his international retirement was soon arriving on Vogts' door-mat at Hampden Park. West Ham's Dailly, who has been shifted into a midfield holding role since last month's win in Iceland, said: "I'm really disappointed David is not here. "He's a great player and has done a great job for Scotland. I know it wasn't just the Faroes game. I think that was just the final one of a few personal things in his life. "Although I tried to talk him out of it, I respect his decision. "He is one of those types of people that when he says something, he means it. He is doing it because he knows he is right. "But, from a team point of view, we need as many top players as we can in the squad. But I doubt if he will come back. "I don't know exactly what was going on inside his head but he is a strong character." Dailly shrugged off the criticism he had received for his performance against the Faroes, when the Scots found themselves 2-0 down after just 12 minutes. He said: "I don't know if I was wounded. You have got to accept that if you don't do as well as you are expected to. You just take it on the chin."
Hard graft pays off for Hibbert
Andy Hunter Reports, Daily Post
Nov 21 2002
COMPARED to Wayne Rooney's somersault off the end of the Everton Academy production line amid fireworks and fanfare, Tony Hibbert has arrived on the scene in almost funereal silence.
The operative word here, however, is arrived. And in making the Goodison right-back role his own from the first day of this resurgent season for Everton, the 21-year-old has given Evertonians another homegrown talent to savour. To be fair, most emerging Premiership stars would struggle to compete with the acclaim bestowed on a striker as unique as Rooney. But with 20 more Premiership starts to his name than the prodigious 17-year-old, Hibbert's own rise has not gone unrecognised outside Goodison Park. At four years Rooney's senior, Hibbert has every right to have claimed more senior starts, and arguably much more than the modest tally of 24 he's now got.
A member of Everton's 1998 FA Youth Cup winning side, Hibbert, then a tenacious central midfielder, had to bide his time as team-mates Michael Ball, Francis Jeffers, Richard Dunne and Phil Jevons all received their Premiership calling while others dropped down a level in search of regular first-team football. When the senior summons finally arrived at West Ham in March 2001 a fine debut that included winning a crucial penalty in the 2-0 victory heralded another youth team breakthrough. Not quite. Only two more appearances came that season before two serious ankle injuries hampered any dramatic improvement last term. For someone still fresh to the Premiership to have overcome so many trials speaks volumes for Hibbert's character. Now, with David Moyes establishing an emerging team built around youth and commitment, he more than meets the criteria of a manager who, in many respects, had another free signing at his disposal this summer. "Tony Hibbert is developing into a really accomplished full-back," Moyes said yesterday. "He's still got lots of work to do and I'm looking forward to having time with him to work more on his game and make him better. "His use of the ball still needs to improve but he's a tenacious little defender. For the role I want him to play, getting up and down more and putting over crosses as often as he can, he's got to have bags of energy as well. "But he's got a great attitude and he's a tremendous player to work with. He's a very steady boy. "He's quite quiet in the way he goes about his work with a good personality and a willingness to learn. The good thing is he wants to improve and he knows that he needs to keep doing well. Having about a dozen decent games is a good start but it's not enough. He's got to do it all the time." No manager would have stopped Rooney entering the Premiership fray this season so the real evidence of Moyes' strategy for Everton, and the example for other youngsters to follow, can be found in Hibbert's emergence. The Blues boss added: "I thought he would start at right-back for us in the summer. Sometimes young players need three or four games on the run before they settle in. As a manager, I don't think you can give a young player one game or just half a game to make a case for himself. "In Tony's case he's been given the chance to establish himself in the team and when a player gets his opportunity then it's up to them to take it. "To be fair to Tony that's exactly what he's done and I hope there will be opportunities for other young lads to come through but as a Premiership manager I cannot guarantee that. "But in training, and in reserve team games, there is always a chance to push yourself forward if you perform."
Moyes concern over Pembridge calf blow
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 21 2002
DAVID MOYES admits Mark Pembridge is an unsung Everton hero who will be sorely missed if his latest calf strain proves serious. The Blues midfielder missed Sunday's win at Blackburn and Wales' victory over Azerbaijan last night with a calf complaint having seemingly put two years of such problems behind him. Pembridge, who radically changed his diet in an attempt to cure the injuries, is now awaiting test results after visiting a specialist yesterday. The 31-year-old is almost certainly out of Saturday's clash with West Bromwich Albion but could be fit for the following week's trip to Newcastle if he gets the all-clear. But manager Moyes is not prepared to take any risks with a player he believes has made a major contribution to Everton's success this season. "He's done really well for us," said the Blues boss. "I think Mark's a bit unsung in a lot of the things he does for the team. He's been there for us most weeks and we need him. "He's comfortable in the role we want him to play plus he can play in the middle. His versatility and experience have been vital and he covers a fantastic amount of ground in the games he plays." Moyes added: "It is a worry because he's had injuries there in the past. Mark was worried about it as well. "He hasn't pulled the calf and it could even be down to something he's eaten. But we are not taking any chances and that's why he went to see the specialist about it. "It's hard to say how long he'll be out. Obviously we don't want him to do any damage but then again it could all be nothing." Moyes, meanwhile, has also praised Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski for their part in the Blackburn victory. The form of both strikers has helped ease the tremendous pressure this season on Wayne Rooney, who has now been shortlisted for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award. And Moyes said: "I didn't think we were that strong in the middle of the park on Sunday but we defended well and when we got the ball to Kevin and Tomasz they were very good. They worried Blackburn and worked well together. At the moment they are full of belief and they are thriving. The good thing is they are both working hard to do even better."
* EVERTON'S home game with Southampton next February has been changed for a second time. Sky TV had switched the game to Sunday, February 23 with a 4.05pm kick-off but have now reverted back to the original date of Saturday, February 22 but with a 12.30pm kick-off.
Wright hits top form
Nov 21 2002 Exclusive By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAZZ and Lottie are two lesser known beneficiaries of the Everton revival. hroughout Richard Wright's frustrating spell at Arsenal, the family dogs frequently ran for cover when their master arrived home. Now when they greet him they're more likely to act like your average Evertonian, bouncing around like dogs with two tails! "I'm very happy at the moment," Richard admitted, "but when I'm not playing I take it home with me. I'm not very good like that. The dogs get it, and if it's not the dogs then it's the wife. "Your every day life is a lot easier when you're playing football - and I'm really happy when I'm playing regularly." Wright is not just playing regularly at present, he's playing well, too. The Blues' goalkeeper has kept six clean sheets in his last nine outings - and even when he did concede, in the Worthington Cup draw at Newcastle, he emerged as the hero with two saves in a decisive penalty shoot-out. David Moyes has said he believes Wright should have been rewarded with a call-up to England's get together this week. But in keeping with Moyes' all-for-one philosophy, however, he is keen to distribute the credit evenly. "As a goalkeeper you take immense pride in clean sheets," he declared, "but it's not just down to me, there's no doubt about that.
"There have been some fantastic performances from front to back. Against Charlton I made a couple of errors but the team defended from the front and balls were getting cleared from everywhere."Joseph Yobo has come in and proved what a very, very good player he is, but I think the difference has been more that everybody is beginning to gel as a team. "We've had a reasonably settled spell in defence and that obviously helps. I think Joseph would tell you that as well; it's about how the whole team works together. "Early on people were settling in and getting to know the team - people like myself and Li Tie - everyone was trying to find their feet, but now we've got the organisation right at set pieces and things and it's coming together. "But we're only 14 games into the season and we're not getting carried away. We've set our standards high now and we don't want to let it slip. We must keep on working hard. "The manager's got everyone believing in themselves and got everyone believing in Everton as a team as well. Even in the games where we've had our backs against the wall we've shown a great spirit and determination and it's helped us get some impressive results. "But we have to maintain that." Following Sunday's triumph at Blackburn - and Liverpool's failure to break down Sunderland's massed defence at Anfield - Everton are now the Premiership's form team. Since what promised to be a bleak October started they have won five successive Premiership games. Arsenal's rampant run which promised to last an entire season was dramatically halted at Goodison Park. A 51-year-old record of failure at Leeds was ended, there were triumphs at difficult venues like Upton and Ewood Park, and a home win over Charlton just days after the 120 minute Worthington Cup marathon at Newcastle. It has been a dramatic transformation since the patchy form of the first six weeks. The turnaround neatly coincides with Wright's return to action after a four match absence with a hand injury. "Obviously I didn't play well in my first against Tottenham. I got through the Sunderland game and then I picked up the hand injury which was so frustrating," he added. "Fortunately when I got fit again the manager put me straight back into the team. "I was so grateful when the manager showed that faith in me, because he has showed with other players that if you get in because of injury or suspension - like Lee Carsley and Alan Stubbs - and do well, then you will keep your place. "If I had been left out I would have accepted that because Paul Gerrard had played well, but I was very grateful and very pleased to get straight back in. "Since then, touch wood, things have gone well.
"We've won our last four league games 1-0, but I would take a 1-0 win every week! "We've got to make sure we keep our standards high and work just as hard even when we're playing sides below us. "The way we train is high tempo, the manager's always there taking training and coaching sessions and if we're not doing things the way he wants he lets us know. There's no beating around the bush! "I'm really enjoying life here - and the fans have helped me enormously. "I've said before that when I was driving home after the Tottenham game I was spotted by hundreds of fans and I didn't know whether to wave or duck. "But they were great with me. I felt as if it had been a Man of the Match display. "People were getting out of their cars and saying, 'Don't worry about today'. "I can't speak highly enough of the fans. They have been outstanding and I knew as soon as I got here I had made the right decision." For that, Jazz and Lottie are still wagging their tails excitedly.
Sven can call on Kev - Moyes
Nov 21 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BLUES boss David Moyes today said he believes Kevin Campbell is playing well enough to earn an England call-up. But while he accepts Campbell's age will probably preclude a call from Sven Goran Eriksson, he has hailed the number nine as one of the key figures of the club's current revival.
"Kevin is very important to us right now," he said. "We don't have another forward of his type fit at the club. He is really important to us. He has played every game for us and when I have asked him if he wants a breather he has said, 'No way!' "He wants to play every game and he is always first at the training ground every day. His attitude has been excellent." Campbell, 32, came close to an England call-up under former boss Kevin Keegan. But since then players like Michael Ricketts of Bolton and Aston Villa's Darius Vassell, well below Campbell in the Premiership scoring charts, have been selected. The Blues striker is the Premiership's in-form English forward but Moyes is happy for him to carry on reproducing that form at club level. Campbell has scored eight times this season, six in the Premiership and his manager added: "He is playing like a number nine at the moment and on current form he is up there with the best. "When other managers and other scouts speak to me they highlight Kevin as the player they are most concerned about facing." Campbell will lead the Everton forward line against West Brom on Saturday - a fixture fast heading for a sell-out. Mark Pembridge will continue to sit out the match with a frustrating calf problem. A specialist report has revealed no muscular damage, but Blues physio Mick Rathbone believes the problem could be caused by a dietary supplement that the player has recently stopped taking. He explained: "It's a possibility that we are looking into. "There is no apparent damage to the calf but Mark will not play on Saturday. His rehabilitation is going well, but unless we can sort out the cause of the problem he will continue to be affected."
Gregan respect for Blue Moyes
Nov 21 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WEST BROM'S Sean Gregan is not surprised by Everton's transformation under David Moyes.
The tough-tackling midfielder, who will be facing the Blues at Goodison this weekend, worked under Moyes at Preston. Gregan, Moyes' skipper at Deepdale, admits that he expected his former gaffer to work wonders at Goodison after succeeding fellow Scot Walter Smith in March. "I worked with David Moyes for nearly five years when I was at Preston and they were really good times," he added.
"When he came to Deepdale we were struggling, we were stuck right at the bottom of the Second Division and then we just went off and had lots of success, promotions and near misses in the play offs. "They were good years and it was really enjoyable to work with him. "He was pretty good at every aspect of things to be honest. He was very effective from every angle and I probably didn't appreciate just how good he was until he moved on. He got things moving really quickly because he came in and put a lot of emphasis on hard work, on getting us organised, and I'd guess that's probably what he's gone and done at Everton. They've got a lot of really good players at Everton but they've under achieved for a lot of years now. "It's taken somebody like him to get things sorted out and point them in the right direction." Gregan can see similarities between Moyes and Baggies boss Gary Megson, himself a former Everton man. The 28-year-old, who moved from Preston to the Hawthorns in the summer, adds: "They are both young managers and they both get out on the training field and try to put their stamp on the way the team plays. "They're big on organisation and that's one of the basics that you have got to have. "Every player knows what they're supposed to do and they all have to put the effort in." Megson will have his work cut out this weekend as he tries to inspire his struggling Premiership newcomers to success against an Everton side in the midst of its best run of league form since 1987. The Blues have now gone almost seven-and-a-half hours without conceding a goal in the Premiership - the last being Freddie Ljungberg's eighth-minute opener for Arsenal last month. And Gregan is under no illusions about the task facing the league's bottom club, who will be attempting to succeed where the likes of Arsenal, Middlesbrough and Fulham have failed. He concluded: "The way Everton have got their season going is a big encouragement for us because it's only a month ago that they were looking like they'd struggle. "Now they have strung five wins together and they're in the top four. "They have recorded a few clean sheets which I know my old gaffer will love as an ex-defender, and he always liked to build from the back by being very solid. "They're suddenly looking at the European positions now so it'll be a tough game for us."
Chorus of approval for Moyes marvels
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 22 2002
A STRANGE thing happened on the M6 on Sunday evening. The traffic was, predictably, at a standstill, and many of the stationary vehicles were packed with Evertonians returning from Ewood Park. On Five Live came commentary from Upton Park where Manchester United were defending a one-goal lead against struggling West Ham. When the Londoners equalised late on a small chorus of car horns started beeping in celebration as it meant Everton had moved three points clear of Alex Ferguson's men. West Ham's point and Bolton's incredible 4-2 win at Elland Road were hardly given a second thought. Another week, another win. Years of disappointment have some of us expecting the bubble to burst at any point but Moyes' team just seem relentless. The performance at Blackburn was far from pretty but it was certainly effective. Graeme Souness' side had shown against Celtic that they can pass the ball to death but that time seems to be catching up with the likes of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. We were completely over-run in midfield but, just as against Charlton, when it came to holding firm at the back and weathering the storm the Toffees did so with some assurance. One of the features of our play is the way players funnel back as a team and plug the gaps, making it hard for the opposition to find any space in dangerous areas. Whenever Blackburn did fashion an opportunity, the likes of Joseph Yobo and Richard Wright showed their individual ability to thwart them. At the other end chances were scarce but Kevin Campbell's touch of class was enough to separate the teams. He is absolutely irreplaceable and is playing as well as he ever has done for us, even including the spell when he first arrived from Turkey. It's amazing to think that earlier in the season he had more than his fair share of critics. Now hearts are in mouths whenever he is on the floor receiving treatment - which seems to occur about eight times per game.
David Moyes' great strength has been to organise the side, get them fit and working hard for each other. Luckily, as well as getting the best out of some of the more ordinary players in the side, he has also managed to coax more out of the quality players; the likes of Campbell, Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen. That's the reason why we're doing so well at the moment while tomorrow's opponents West Brom, despite having a similar honest, hardworking approach, are propping up the table. It promises to be a hard-fought game but if we match the Baggies for endeavour then that extra quality we have in important positions should see us through comfortably. And if Chelsea and United, our immediate rivals, slip up again then cue more car horns!
Coaches targeting better way to travel
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 22 2002
COLIN HARVEY and Alan Harper are looking for improved performances when Everton's Academy sides travel to take on Birmingham City. Both the under-19s and under-17s look to bounce back from last Saturday's defeats to Manchester City in the FA Premier Academy League tomorrow.
After a run of good results and performances by both sides, last week's defeats were disappointing for the Blues coaches and players. Harvey said: "It was a poor performance last week. But you have just got to keep on working." Harvey is likely to have the same line-up as last week, alhough goalkeeper Sean Lake is back from his week away with England under-16s. The youngster may feature in either the U19s or the U17s. A number of the team were also in action once again on Tuesday night in the reserves' 0-0 draw with Sunderland. Midfielders Alan Moogan and David Carney played the full 90 minutes, while 17-year-old defender from Bootle, James Potter, came on at half-time. Harper was similarly disappointed with his side last week and will be hoping for a marked improvement in the Midlands tomorrow. Harper said: "There are things we have worked on from last week. Defensively we were poor and we probably gave them a bit too much respect. We didn't really close them down, but they are things that can be worked on so it is not too bad in that respect."
Gregan's Moyes memories
Report By Alex Murphy, Daily Post
Nov 22 2002
WEST Bromwich Albion midfielder Sean Gregan has revealed a side of Everton boss David Moyes that has so far been kept hidden at Goodison Park. Gregan, 28, played under Moyes in his early days as Preston North End manager, when the players saw the fire that lurks within the cool Glaswegian. "He was a ranter and a raver in his early days," admitted Gregan, who joined West Brom for £1.5million in the summer after making more than 250 appearances for North End.
But Gregan confessed that Moyes calmed down once he had settled into management. He said: "Obviously experience has helped, and he's not one for throwing teacups around now. He gets his point over and tries to instil discipline." The 6ft 2in Teessider is fortunate to have played for two of the top-rated young coaches in British football - his old boss, Moyes, and his current manager at The Hawthorns, ex-Everton midfielder Gary Megson. The experienced Gregan rates them both highly as man-managers. "David Moyes seems to get the best out of players," said Gregan, who has scored once in 14 Premiership games this season. "When he took over at Preston we were 17th in Division Two and he got us to within 90 minutes of the Premier League. "He's not really added to the squad at Everton, he's pretty much like our gaffer, Gary Megson - he likes the work ethic. "His biggest strength is getting the best out of players," he added. "He's doing well at Everton and it's nothing more than I expected. Everton have struggled over the last few years. "They've spent a lot more money than us but they've turned things around. Hopefully we can do the same."
Moyes targets Healy transfer
By Jonathan McEvoy And Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 22 2002
EVERTON boss David Moyes is lining up an end-of-season swoop for Celtic's unsettled midfielder Colin Healy. The 22-year-old is destined to leave Parkhead after turning down a two-year contract extension, with Moyes preparing to sign Healy as a free agent in the summer when his current deal expires. Cork-born Healy is desperate for first-team football to maximise his Republic of Ireland chances and is prepared to move south of the border to pursue his ambitions. The Celtic man, who played alongside Everton's Lee Carsley in Ireland's 0-0 draw in Greece on Wednesday night, can play on the right of midfield but his preferred position is in the centre. Healy had a spell on loan at Coventry City last season and was unlucky not to be part of Ireland's World Cup plans after catching the attention of several English clubs during his spell at Highfield Road. He was on the brink of joining Mick McCarthy's Republic squad in the wake of Roy Keane's controversial exit only for red tape to prevent his 11th-hour inclusion. Healy has made no secret of his desire to quit Celtic, saying: "I knocked back the contract offer simply because I'm not getting enough first-team football.
"I'm just looking forward to moving on, and I'm excited about what might happen now. "I'm not getting a big head but I think I can go and do a good job somewhere." Moyes has worked on a shoestring budget since arriving at Goodison in March and is likely to bide his time until the close season, rather than move for Healy when the transfer window opens in January. The Blues boss has made securing Nigerian defender Joseph Yobo on a permanent basis his number one priority - and any cash he is handed in the next few months is sure to be earmarked for this purpose. Yobo has been a revelation since joining last summer from Marseille on a 12-month loan. The 22-year-old cost £1million after the World Cup and the resurgent Blues have first option on extending his contract by four years for an additional £4m. Funds will be raised if Paris St Germain take troublesome midfielder Alex Nyarko on a £3.5m permanent switch while Everton want £750,000 for keeper Paul Gerrard, currently on loan at Joe Royle's Ipswich Town. Mark Pembridge, meanwhile, will miss tomorrow's match against West Brom. The Wales international's latest calf problem will sideline him for the sell-out clash. A specialist has informed Pembridge, 31, there is no muscular damage but Everton physio Mick Rath-bone believes the complaint could be a result of a dietary supplement.
Everton training academy go-ahead
Nov 22 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S bid to build a £9m training academy in Halewood has been approved by planners.
Campaigners against the plans will turn to Secretary of State John Prescott after the scheme was voted through at Knowsley council's planning committee. The 13 football pitches and three buildings would be in 55 acres of farmland off Finch Lane designated as green belt, which means Mr Prescott can choose to call in the plan and hold a public inquiry. Six councillors declared an interest due to their support for, or links with, Everton and Liverpool football clubs. Two councillors left the meeting, one of them Cllr Graham Morgan, who had earlier insisted that holding an Everton season ticket would not sway his judgment. Head of planning services, Jill Wilson, outlined the details of the plans, concluding that although the buildings were "un-acceptable" development, she recommended they be approved due to "very special circumstances". Both Liberal Democrat members of the committee and one Labour member claimed those circumstances were not sufficiently special when weighed against the loss of green space. All other Labour members voted in favour of the scheme, bar one abstention. Lib Dem leader Cllr Ian Smith said: "I am concerned about the openness of the site and the damage posed by floodlighting. It is a particularly sensitive site and the impact on the area would be dramatic." Brian Brandreth, spokesman for residents action group Help Halewood, said: "That's what we expected and that's why we have been lobbying the Secretary of State for the last three weeks to call it in." Everton hope to start work next year, opening the facility in 2004, ending more than 40 years of training at Bellefield in West Derby.
Every man counts
Nov 22 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IF THEY shut out West Brom, Everton will notch up their fifth consecutive clean sheet in the league.
Neville Southall used to come off the pitch and say he was bored after we had not conceded a goal, but it was never boring watching it as a manger. Everton's current impressive run has been a collective achievement. A lot of credit has to go to the players not just in front of Richard Wright, but those who are in front of the back four. Ideally, you have to start defending from the front.
There was no one better at that than Ian Rush. Adrian Heath did a great job for us in the 80s, stopping defenders coming through the middle and causing problems. At Blackburn last Sunday, the home side were very intricate in the last third of the pitch, but over-elaborated and tried to walk the ball into the net. That played into Everton's hands. The Blues had so many players around the man with the ball that they could read the one-twos and snuff them out. When Blackburn did get crosses in from the flanks, Joseph Yobo was a magnet for the ball. He read every situation. There are comparisons between him and John Hurst, who was part of the 1970 championship winning side. We used to call him 'the magnet'. He was always in the right place at the right time to deal with the crosses. l AFTER an excellent start, Li Tie appears to be struggling a little bit. Maybe the pace of games is taking its toll on him. Perhaps the time has come to give him a little rest. David Moyes substituted him at Blackburn, putting Steve Watson on the right with Lee Carsley in the middle. He also brought on Wayne Rooney for Gary Nay-smith on the left. They were two excellent substitutions at a vital time. Everton were very much under pressure, but the changes relieved things at the back and gave the Blues extra pace to counter attack and cause the home side problems. When players come into the team they have done extremely well. Everton need that if a they are to progress this season.
Megson will be fired up
EVERTON'S match with West Brom tomorrow sees Gary Megson return to Goodison. He played for Everton and was also linked with the manager's job along with David Moyes. I know he will be fired up for this one. His managerial principles are similar to those of Moyes, so West Brom will be difficult to break down. His priority has been to get the defensive side of the team right in the belief that they can always get a goal. They have the pacy Jason Roberts up front who is always capable of getting a goal. West Brom will be defensive at Goodison and look to get something on the counter attack. Everton will find them difficult to break down.
Yobo: Why I'm getting shirty
Nov 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is planning another Goodison giveaway this weekend, if he can help Everton celebrate a sixth successive Premiership victory. The Blues' in-form defender tossed his shirt into the crowd after another immaculate performance at Blackburn last weekend. It was Everton's fourth clean sheet in a row - and if the Blues can shut out bottom of the table West Bromwich Albion in tomorrow's sell-out game, he could be tempted to repeat the celebration. Yobo explained his shirt-tossing antics today. "It was difficult for us at Blackburn and we had to hang on in the last 20 minutes," he said. "But during that time the fans got right behind us - and they've always been behind me - so I just wanted to join in the celebration with them. We have kept clean sheets because the whole team is working hard. We are working well together and I think we can definitely achieve a European place this season." And Yobo reiterated his desire to prolong his spell at Goodison beyond the intial 12-month loan agreed with Marseille. "I want to be here a long, long time," he explained. "Other clubs may show interest in me if we carry on doing well, that happens, but I am committed to Everton. "I am happy here. I have just come in, just settled down and everything is working out. I am very happy." Manager David Moyes may be tempted to hand Wayne Rooney his first Goodison start since the start of the season. West Brom will come to Merseyside and employ a suffocating 3 -5 -2 formation. When the Blues have faced a wing-back system previously this season Moyes has started with three strikers. "That's something I will be considering," he said today. "West Brom have a good defensive record so we must be patient."
The Blues have now new injury problems to report. On speculation linking him with a swoop for Celtic midfielder Colin Healy, he added: "I don't know anything about it."
Weir good together
Nov 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AFTER winning Player-of-the-Year trophies for two seasons running, David Weir is not one to question the judgement of the average Evertonian. But the Scottish defender does believe the greater Goodison public have got one thing wrong. A recent poll conducted by a prominent Everton website overwhelmingly claimed that Weir should be the man to partner Joseph Yobo at the heart of the Blues' defence. With 818 votes cast, 75 per cent supported the man on the sidelines. Weir appreciates the support, but responded: "I don't agree with that to be honest. I enjoyed playing with Stubbsy last season and I think he is a top notch player, I really mean that. "I think Joseph is as well, so maybe we should look at it and think that the club is fortunate in having three players for the two positions and there's always going to be one disappointed. "Right now it's my turn, so it's up to me to get back in." Weir's form has never dipped below the immaculate standards he set when he arrived as a £250,000 bargain from Hearts three years ago. His problem was getting suspended for a last minute red card at Old Trafford a month ago. Alan Stubbs stepped in at West Ham - and hasn't put a foot wrong since. Weir is stoically realistic about the situation. "It's the longest unenforced break I've ever had from first team football and frustrating as it is, I just have to try and take something positive from it," he explained. "I can't have any complaints. The team has been playing really well, not been giving away goals so I can't expect to play. That's just the way it works out after getting sent off. "The last game I played we beat Arsenal, and I played in the Worthington Cup game at Newcastle when we won, so I have to be positive about the good things that have happened rather than moping about not being in the team. "If you are a hundred per cent honest you do feel a little bit distanced from things, but you have to work at it. You have to work at being a part of it, trying to stay involved, try and be happy for the lads and just be positive about it because at the end of the day the most important thing is the club. "The gaffer's had a little word, but he doesn't need to say anything. I am big enough to realise that if the team's winning and not conceding goals he's not going to change the team. It's common sense. "I never thought being lucky enough to be the skipper would ever guarantee me a place. I hoped my performances would do that, which is the way a football club should be run. "Everyone should have to fight for their place and if somebody comes in and does well, he deserves to stay in the team."
Weir's biggest problem has been maintaining a level of match sharpness, with reserve games at Everton few and far between.
Ironically he might have been facing World Footballer of the Year Luis Figo on Wednesday night, but for his decision to turn his back on international football for the foreseeable future. Instead he played in front of 773 fans at the Autoquest Stadium in Widnes, as Everton Reserves ground out a goalless draw with their Sunderland counterparts. "Yes, I could have played against Portugal on Wednesday rather than the reserves, but I can't look at it like that," he said. "I made the right decision for the right reasons at that time and I have got to live and die by that. "I still stand by the reasons why I did it. I know I did it for the right thing, so for me to change my mind it would make light of my initial decision, which was a massive decision for me." David Moyes also made a massive decision when he decided to leave the Blues' most consistently reliable defender on the sidelines.
But as four successive shutouts in the Premiership have proved, it's been the right decision.
"Yes, we're going well," said Weir "but it's still early and we have to put it into perspective, which the manager is very good at. "We don't want to be shouting from the rooftops but we've got to be happy with the way it's gone." In Weir's case, almost happy.
Eaton makes his mark
November 25, 2002
Manchester Evening News
DAVID Eaton and Wayne Rooney have been heading in different directions since their days as strike partners in Everton reserves last season. While 17-year-old Rooney was becoming the hottest young property in the Premiership, Eaton was scrapping it out for a pittance at the sharp end of the third division with Macclesfield Town. But after sparking the Silkmen's stunning comeback from 3-0 down after just ten minutes to draw 3-3 with promotion hopefuls Torquay on Saturday, the light at the end of Eaton's tunnel is becoming distinctly brighter. Eaton came to Moss Rose on trial in the summer after being released by the Toffees, and initially signed on a non-contract basis - which meant he was only receiving expenses from the club. But after impressing manager Dave Moss, he was awarded a short-term contract in October. And now the 21-year-old's exploits in the Torquay game have helped to make up Moss's mind. "He is on a three-month contract but we will have to do something about that," said the boss, who was relieved at his side's fightback from an opening ten minutes which he described as 'a complete and utter fiasco'. "David had a sparkling impact, got the first goal and evened everything up," said Moss. "He is getting fitter and stronger, and looks lively and dangerous on the ball. "He runs at players - and his scoring record at the moment is three goals from three starts, which is excellent."
Everton 1, West Brom 0 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison, Daily Post
Nov 25 2002
ANY suspicion the Everton revival is built on false foundations evaporated at Goodison Park on Saturday. There you could listen to, as well as witness, the transformation now taking place.
Out on the pitch it was one-nil to the not so boring, boring Everton for a fifth game on the trot. No surprises there then. Around the ground, however, the mood of the new dawn was clearly impacting on supporters whose relegation rust has eroded since David Moyes took charge eight short months. but another era, ago. There are no prizes for guessing the reaction from a sell-out crowd when the giant Goodison TV screens flashed the news Liverpool were trailing at Fulham during the half-time interval. It was exactly what it would have been had Everton headed into the Premiership's bottom, rather than top, three. For real signs of change we had to wait for the second half. During a spell of Everton wastefulness at one end and resilience at the other, the scoreboards announced how Arsenal's early lead was being eaten away at on the south coast.
Not so long ago the Gunners' failure to open up a four-point gap on Liverpool would have met with groans from Goodison. Not now, their glee was just as palpable. Ever since Arsene Wenger's unbeaten record crumbled at the golden boot of Wayne Rooney, who just six weeks' ago was a precocious 16-year-old but who now is so wizened he stands still with his foot on the ball just to waste time - a la Alan Ball in his prime, Everton have started looking upwards. And upwards and upwards and... Now Goodison believes any slip-up, whether it's by Arsenal, Liverpool or Chelsea, is a genuine cause for celebration because they are all gifts from THEIR Premiership rivals. For such heavyweight company to be sustained Everton will have to produce much better, clinical displays than the one that saw off West Brom and recorded the club's sixth successive league victory on Saturday. But after so long in the doldrums it is churlish to puncture the moment. The fact Everton can hold such dreams and aspirations once again is good enough for now. For another reason to believe their resurgence can last, look and listen to the one person maintaining a sense of realism throughout the jubilation, David Moyes. Heading for his first Premiership manager of the month award he might be - after just one third of his inaugural season at this level - but there is no chance the Scot will get carried away now. "I've not thought too much about our position," he said. "More about each performance and each result. "We are still trying to be in the top half of the Premiership and keeping out of trouble at the bottom. I'm very wary about saying too much because we could still find ourselves at the wrong end of the table. It's happened before. "We've got a tough December and Christmas period coming up and where we come out after that will give us a clearer insight into where we will end up at the end of the year. "Now we are having to deal with a different sort of pressure. There's a pressure that comes from winning. You hear the top managers over the years always putting pressure on one another and it's whether you can handle it. "That's what you have to do - keep the ball and try and grab a second goal if you can. Previously at this place it was the pressure of being around the bottom. Now it's the pressure of knowing you have to keep winning to stay where you are, now you see who can handle it." The 'sold-out' signs are going up but one consequence of expectation is that it replaces patience as a virtue as the first half hour of Saturday's encounter proved. Unrecognisable Everton may be but they are not in a position to swat away opponents with ease, as the obvious frustration at mis-placed passes and the lack of chances that fell in an awkward opening spell showed. As all the wealthy elite of the Premiership prove, that doesn't happen anymore. Against a dogged, resolute but ultimately predictable West Brom side the Blues were never at their best but proved they are a hard to beat team that will always create clear-cut chances. Taking them is a problem - the only reason why all their successes of late have been by the only goal - but with Tomasz Radzinski encapsulating the Goodison transformation they have a predatory striker earning every standing ovation he gets when he inevitably makes way for Rooney. Credit for Saturday's matchwinner, an almost carbon-copy of the Charlton clincher, should be shared with Li Tie though. Exhausted at Blackburn, he was everywhere against the Baggies and pierced their defence with an immaculate pass in the 35th minute. Radzinski raced through and seized the invitation to smack the ball beyond the impressive Russell Hoult at his near post, after the keeper had earlier snatched his 25-yard screamer, and even then the result appeared secure. West Brom striker Jason Roberts should have levelled matters when, suspiciously offside, he raced clear on goal seven minutes after the restart only to stab the ball horribly wide. Tony Hibbert also came to the rescue when he threw himself at Neil Clement's 81st-minute drive but otherwise Richard Wright didn't have a serious save to make all day. Which is just as well as he needed pain-killing injections before the game after injuring his back in the pre-match warm-up. "That typifies the spirit we have here," added Moyes. "Richard didn't want to drop out despite his injury. He took a couple of pain killers and went on and played. If he had have been injured we wouldn't have made a fuss, but just got on with it. That's the way we are. The people who are out of the team know what they'll have to do." Again no-nonsense. And Everton should have no fuss about their latest victory long before the annoying Jeff Winter eventually did. Alan Stubbs had a goal-bound header stopped on the West Brom line in the first half by Kevin Campbell, who ought to have wrapped things up when Thomas Gravesen teed him up perfectly following a blistering run into the box on the hour. But with the goal at his mercy the striker stumbled over the ball. Sean Gregan nearly presented his former Preston boss with a gift of an own goal while Radzinski and Li Tie both failed to capitalise on late breakaways as the Baggies rallied to no avail. All that was left was for the Goodison TV screen to confirm matters elsewhere. Thankfully it didn't display the league table. If it had done, 40,000 Evertonians would still be staring wide-eyed at it today.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Gravesen, Li Tie, Naysmith (Pistone 84); Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 87). Subs: Watson, Weir, Simonsen.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (3-5-2): Hoult; Sigurdsson, Moore, Gregan; Balis (Koumas 71), McInnes, Wallwork, Johnson, Clement; Roberts, Dobie (Hughes 5). Subs: Dichio, Chambers, Murphy.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gravesen (diving), Li Tie (foul); West Brom's Koumas, Clement (fouls)
REFEREE: Jeff Winter.
We've only just begun
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 25 2002
TOMASZ RADZINSKI insisted Everton's place among the Premiership big boys is no surprise as he warned: "The hard work starts now." The revitalised Canadian striker scored his fifth goal of the season on Saturday as the Blues beat West Brom to go third in the table. Everton's sixth successive league win took them to within three points of the Premiership summit after both Liverpool and Arsenal lost. But as Radzinski declared the Blues won't fear the pressures of life at the top, the in-form star acknowledged David Moyes' men must double their efforts to maintain their remarkable transformation. "Reaching third place is a magnificent achievement," said Radzinski. "But the hardest part is always trying to improve something you have already done. "We have got Newcastle coming up, followed by Chelsea, so that should remind us that all the hard work is ahead of us. If we want to stay where we are, or go even higher, we are going to have to put in at least the same effort. "People will be looking at us now, and we have got to be able to live with that pressure. We should be okay on that score because there is a great atmosphere among the players. It has built up in training and spilled over into matches. We are just really made up with how well we have done and where we are. We looked at third place after Saturday's win and just thought 'wow'.
"It is not that much of a surprise to us really, though, because there is a great belief among us and a conviction about our play. Okay, we have had a few 1-0s, but they have hardly been boring or scrappy, where we have been hanging on to an undeserved lead. We have been creating chances and playing really well, and no-one can deny we are good value for third place." Radzinski struck his second successive Goodison match-winner in the 35th minute while the Blues missed a number of second-half chances to have killed off Gary Megson's battling side. He added: "We could have had three or four goals, and though we made it difficult for ourselves, we get great satisfaction out of playing so positively. It is a bit too early to say we belong at this level. This is our first season up near the top. If we can maintain it and repeat it next season, then we can say we deserve to be rubbing shoulders with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United. "We have still got that to do. We are trying hard to make it look like we fit in with the big boys. I have been up at the top of the Belgian League with Anderlecht, so it does not feel strange for me. In fact, there is no fear or apprehension among any of the boys. "We are elated to be so high in the table. But no-one has lost sight of the need to keep it going. There is no sitting back. The manager would not allow that. One thing he drums into us is the importance of maintaining our progress." But while delighted with Everton's rise and his own blossoming form, Radzinski believes he would have more goals if he didn't make way for Wayne Rooney every week. He explained: "Having Wayne Rooney on the bench, pushing for a place, is helping me. It keeps me on my toes because he plays the same role as me and is an exceptional talent. It is not easy for me to cope with being the one to give way every week but I understand the manager's position. "He has to give Wayne time on the pitch, and, of course, it is much simpler to make it a straight swop. Him for me. The main thing is that I am in the starting line-up and playing well, so I won't make a fuss. But no-one likes being substituted, and it does irritate me. "It is nice to play the full 90 minutes, especially as the last five or 10 minutes is when defenders get a bit tired and strikers with my pace have the chance to cash in. My only target is to keep my place and beat last season's tally of six goals."
Everton 1, West Brom 0 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Nov 25 2002
THERE'S something unmistakeably retro about the current Premiership table. Everton and Liverpool jostling for position at the summit, Manchester United struggling to catch up, Chelsea half-heartedly threatening - and West Brom brave, but rooted to the bottom. All that's missing is the sight of Big Ron in a long leather coat. It's all very 1980s - and Everton joined in with the nostalgia trip on Saturday. The last time a man in a white suit led Evertonians in some old fashioned community singing, they were about to kick off a Cup Final against their city rivals. That was at the end of the 80s - a decade dominated by Merseypride. Only twice in 10 years did the title leave the region, and one or the other was usually at Wembley for the FA Cup Final . . . 1984, '85, '86 - a blip in '87 while they slugged it out for the title, then '88 and 89 again, when Vince Miller last cleared his throat for a Mersey audience. He was back in front of Evertonians on Saturday and watched Everton deservedly record their sixth successive League victory. The last time The Toffees did that they were champions. Squad size and a lack of in-depth quality may prevent The Toffees chasing for that prize this time, but remember what happened to Ipswich Town two years ago? That season's surprise package by Christmas, the pundits sat back and smugly waited for the burn-out and fall. It never came. Well organised and efficient, they finished fifth, qualified for Europe and George Burley was named Manager of the Year. Given reasonable luck with injuries, there's no reason Everton can't replicate that achievement. Despite the narrowness of the scoreline on Saturday, the Blues didn't need any luck to register another wholly merited victory. Tomasz Radzinski's finishing flourish earned yet another 1-0 win. That made it five in a row, and we can't say we hadn't been warned.
Last season West Brom won an astonishing 15 matches 1-0. They've only won three so far this season, but every one has been by their favourite scoreline. Everton had won five in a row before Saturday's visit of The Baggies, their last four by the same 1-0 margin. Cue the most predictable result of the day (7/1 at most bookies!) But even that represents tangible progress by the Blues.
It's been a long time since punters felt confident enough to stake money on them winning a match, even against a bottom of the table side at Goodison. But there's a real sense of businesslike purpose about David Moyes' side, a team built in their manager's image and growing in assurance every week. All that was missing on Saturday was more ruthless finishing to allow their dug-out a less nervy last quarter. But, given the suffocating defending of Yobo and Stubbs, the usual crescendo of anguished whistles wasn't necessary this time. The home fans are beginning to trust their team again. J-Yo, yet again, was a classy contributor, but alongside him Alan Stubbs is growing in stature. His defending was its usual resolute self, but he has also rediscovered the range of passing skills he showed when he first arrived from Celtic. Coupled with Yobo's accurate distribution, it meant Everton rarely wasted time in mounting attacks after squeezing the life out of all too infrequent Baggies' breaks. In fact, Scott Dobie half-troubled Richard Wright with a first minute shot after Gregan had robbed Li Tie, but after that the Everton keeper didn't have another shot to face until Jason Roberts broke through, looking suspiciously offside, six minutes after the interval.
By then Everton were deservedly ahead. Radzinski (right) chested a long clearance back to Li Tie, peeled clear and then veered onto the Chinese international's beautifully delivered return pass. A shot across goal looked favourite, but Radzinski stunned everyone with an explosive finish high at the near post. West Brom refused to let anything like ambition get in the way of an equalising goal and they rarely threatend. Roberts was gifted one glorious opportunity by a dozing linesman, but when he raced clear the forward clipped an awful finish well wide. At least he managed to get a shot off. Ten minutes later, Gravesen darted into the Baggies' box, pulled back a pass for Kevin Campbell, but the Blues' skipper missed his kick completely. It's a sign of the forgiving nature of the Goodison crowd these days - and the form Super Kev is currently in - that within seconds the Gwladys Street broke into a chorus of "Super Kevin Campbell." Gregan almost sliced Naysmith's cross past his own keeper four minutes later, but Hoult reacted superbly. Then Radzinski tried to catch the keeper out with a low, left-footed drive, but the Baggies' number one is a promising shot-stopper. Wright is more than promising, but he was thankful for the combined attentions of Hibbert and Yobo nine minutes from time to block Clement's fierce drive. But in time added on Li Tie almost found the net. Wayne Rooney was only needed for a three minute cameo, but that was all he needed to charge menacingly at the West Brom defence twice and display the swagger which seems to be sweeping through the Blues' squad. Using his pace and strength to break clear down the left, he realised the cavalry was struggling to catch up. So he stopped, placed his hands on his hips - and waited for defence and support alike to catch up - while the home spectators roared their appreciation. Goodison's a good place to be at present. At little like it used to be back in the 80s.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Stubbs, Yobo, Unsworth, Carsley, Tie, Gravesen, Naysmith (Pistone 84 mins), Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 87 mins). Unused subs: Watson, Weir, Simonsen.
WEST BROM (3-5-2): Hoult, Moore, Gregan, Sigurdsson, Balis (Koumas 71 mins), Wallwork, McInnes, Johnson, Roberts, Dobie (Hughes 50 mins). Unused substitutes: Dichio, Chambers, Murphy.
REFEREE: Jeff Winter.
BOOKINGS: Gravesen (18 minutes) diving, Tie (79 mins) persistent misconduct, Clement (82 mins) foul, Koumas (85 mins) foul.
GOAL: Radzinski (34 mins) 1-0.
Tight Wright goes to seven
Nov 25 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT is revelling in his reputation as the Premiership's most miserly goalkeeper.
Everton's number one celebrated his seventh shut-out in just 11 Premiership appearances this season after Saturday's 1-0 win over West Brom. But afterwards he adopted his manager's all-for-one, one-for-all philosophy when he said: "As far as I am concerned a clean sheet is fantastic, but the whole team takes the credit because we defend as a team and we attack as a team. "Three points is the only priority, as simple as that. If we play well and score six, great, but the main thing is to keep winning. We are perhaps not just getting that second goal we deserve to settle things near the end of matches at the moment. "But we are working very hard in training and the manager is making sure we are doing that in matches, too." Everton were thoroughly deserving of the single-goal success which took them to outright third in the Premiership table and just two points of Liverpool.
But the Blues had to be patient against a disciplined West Bromwich Albion side. "I think it proved on Saturday how well we are doing by the way they came and just shut up shop, but we did fantastic, created chances and Tomasz scored a great goal. "I can't take too much credit, even though the clean sheets look good next to my stats. It's about the whole team. Everyone deserves recognition. "If we keep giving the fans what they want to see we will have great days here again, I'm sure." Everton are being described as the season's surprise package, but for Wright it's a familiar sensation. He was in goal for Ipswich Town when they finished fifth in 2000-01, immediately after winning promotion from Division One. "It's down to us," he said. "When I was at Ipswich we started really well then had a little bit of a lull before we came on strong again. "We have to make sure we carry on working hard in training, but I'm sure the manager won't allow any let up there, and keep making sure we put in performances like that week in, week out. "People sometimes get tired towards the end of a season, but we won't be. "We're looking forward to every single game and it's nice for Evertonians to be cheering us at the top end of the table rather than worrying about relegation. But we are not getting carried away. We have set our standards now and it us up to us to ensure we maintain those high standards. "Saturday's was a great performance by the lads. "Playing attractive football is not always possible but today we performed very well and the players in front of me were outstanding."
Royle hoping to sign on-loan Gerrard
Nov 25 2002 Liverpool Echo
JOE ROYLE has revealed his desire to make Paul Gerrard's stay at Ipswich a permanent one if Town can release cash to prise the keeper from Everton. On-loan Gerrard, 29, pulled off two breathtaking saves to earn Ipswich a valuable success over Coventry at Portman Road on Saturday. Royle has earmarked Gerrard as the man to stop Ipswich shipping goals. Regular number one Andy Marshall now faces life on the bench with Royle today telling of his plan to first extend Gerrard's loan from one month to three and then thrash out a permanent deal. Asked if he wanted to sign Gerrard permanently, Royle said: "We'd love to, when the time comes. "But I'm not going to say anything more than that as, at the moment, we quite honestly couldn't afford him. "He's here for an initial month and then we'll go from there. The next month and then hopefully two more are a long time.
"As it stands, he's on an instant recall to Everton if they have a goalkeeping problem. But David Moyes is a great friend of mine and Bill Kenwright's very close to our chairman as well as myself."
Rooney has fired me up
Nov 25 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GOODISON goal hero Tomasz Radzinski admits the presence of Wayne Rooney is forcing him to maintain the best form of his Everton career. The Polish-born Canadian international, produced another outstanding display and the cracking winner which put Everton into third place in the Barclaycard Premiership and just two points behind Liverpool. Radzinski's pace, running and team play has been instrumental as Everton have won their last six matches - their best run since the title-winning season of 1986-87. Champing at the bit on the sidelines is 17-year-old Rooney, already being hailed as the future saviour of his beloved Everton. But the form of Radzinski and fellow striker Campbell, who have scored 13 goals between them this term, is making it easy for boss David Moyes to ease the youngster's career along rather than dropping him into the cauldron from a great height. Said Radzinski: "It's our job - myself and Kevin - to be in the side and score the goals and we are doing the job well at the moment. "Wayne is trying to make his way into the first team. But we will make it difficult for him, but whenever he grabs his chance he will be brilliant. "I have to be on my very best form, 100 per cent, to stay in the team. I know that." Rooney had a few minutes at the end of the 1-0 defeat of West Brom, but at the moment Radzinski more than deserves his place and praise. Moyes said: "It was a great performance from Tomasz, he worked his socks off. He's getting his goals and he's so much now a team player when in the past my understanding was that he wasn't. "He's got himself into a situation where he's one of the players in the team we are looking for to give us inspiration." Radzinski said: "I was really delighted with the goal as much as I was with the performance of our defenders at the back because they were really outstanding. "It's easier for the strikers to score and shine, but the credit must go to the defenders. "It was a really great pass from Li Tie and the stadium exploded. But that's what the game is all about, making people happy - including us." His confidence and desire sums up Everton. He added: "How can you not be confident winning six in a row? It's been going well for us, and it's another great day. "Winning adds to confidence, but teams like Albion are all about muscling us and trying to overpower us, it's not easy playing against teams like that. But we scored early on and kept ahead. "I keep being told it's boring winning 1-0, but we create enough chances and play enough football, so the 1-0 is great and I really don't care what the score is as long as we win." Third they may be, but Everton are very aware that from now to the New Year will be the crunch for their ambitions. They have Newcastle, Chelsea twice, Blackburn and Liverpool coming up. Radzinski said: "We are now going into a very, very heavy period of tough matches. We must prepare ourselves again to face those battles. "It's a big bonus to have worked our way to where we are, and I hope we are not going to throw it away."
Moyes following footsteps of greatness
Nov 25 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
IN the late Fifties a Scotsman joined Liverpool Football Club and changed the fortunes at Anfield so dramatically that they became one of the greatest teams in Europe. Earlier this year, a Scotsman joined Everton Football Club - and they haven't looked back! Whether David Moyes can emulate the success of the charismatic and legendary Bill Shankly only time will tell. But few could argue that Moyes' impact at Goodison has been dramatic - and third place in the Premiership table for a team who have been associated more with relegation fights in recent years is absolutely exceptional.
He has done what Shanks did when he first arrived on Merseyside - taken the team by the scruff of the neck, made one or two subtle changes, and has got everyone playing well. Like Shanks did so many years ago, he has got the play-ers believing in themselves, and they know exactly what it is he wants of them at Everton. More to the point, Moyes has a vision of where he is taking the club and what he wants to achieve. Again, just like Shanks. The Blues should have won far more convincingly on Saturday in recording their sixth league win on the trot - there's consistency for you! But such is the authority of Everton's defence, marshalled so well by Joseph Yobo and Alan Stubbs, that one goal seems quite sufficient these days. I don't think the fans would generally agree with that, but they must be delighted at the upturn in fortunes and, if they can maintain their current form, who's to say they cannot clinch a European spot. Certainly the Blues have to be the 'Team of the Season' so far. Moyes is getting a little big extra from every player. The Chinese player, Le Tie, may have been considered just an addition to the squad when the sponsorship deal was completed with him as part of it, but the lad from the Far East has surprised many and enjoyed a fine game against West Brom.
Blues bounce back to grab point
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 26 2002
EVERTON under-19s grabbed a hard-earned point at Birmingham City in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday. The Blues bounced back from last week's home defeat to Manchester City with a solid display in the Midlands. And although only five of Saturday's line-up are eligible for the FA Youth Cup, they will go into tomorrow's third round clash with Port Vale at Goodison Park in a positive frame of mind. Harvey's side went a goal down but Robert Southern headed home after David Carney had flicked on a corner. The Blues had further opportunities but had to settle for just a point. Harvey said: "It was a decent performance. We went 1-0 down but got an equaliser and possibly could have won it in the second half. But a draw was probably just about right. "After last week they showed a bit of spirit and character to bounce back. "They went about the job properly and they deserved something from the game. "It was a good all-round team performance, but Robert Southern at the back gave a decent display." Alan Harper's under-17s crashed to a 4-1 defeat at Birmingham City on Saturday, as the Midlanders completed a League double over the Blues. After last week's home defeat to unbeaten league leaders Manchester City, Harper's side were looking to bounce back. But as in the first league meeting at Netherton, when Everton lost 2-0, the Midland Blues proved too strong. Birmingham opened the scoring but Robert Booth grabbed an equaliser half-way through the first half as he cut in from the left to fire home his third goal of the season. But two goals either side of half-time gave Birmingham an advantage they didn't let slip.
The Blues were not over-whelmed and the late fourth goal flattered Birmingham somewhat. Had Booth, Andy Fowler, Anthony Gerrard or Gavin Lynch put away one of several good openings it may have been a different story. Coach Harper was still pleased with his side's efforts. He said: "The scoreline wasn't a true reflection on the game really. "We had a few chances other than our goal. In the end they probably deserved to win but not by 4-1. "I wasn't disappointed but the scoreline looks awful but it wasn't really a 4-1. We played a lot better than we did last week when we only got beat 2-1. "They put their chances away and we never. They were quite big and strong but we have done all right really." Many of Harper's side will be involved in tomorrow's Youth Cup tie and he said: "They are playing at Goodison so that is a great experience for them. Playing at big grounds it great for anyone, but especially for the younger ones." There are no Academy League fixtures for the U19s or the U17s this weekend as there is an in-service weekend where staff at the Academies all over country are on training courses. Goalkeeper Sean Lake and defender Sean Wright are both in the England under-16s squad for the match with Scotland in the Victory Shield on Friday night at Huddersfield (kick-off 8pm). John McDermott's side only need a point to win the Victory Shield after beating Northern Ireland 1-0 and Wales 3-0 last month.
Moyes set for boss accolade
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 26 2002
DAVID MOYES is expected to reap the rewards of the Everton revival later this week by winning his first ever Barclaycard Manager-of-the-Month award, writes Andy Hunter. The Blues boss is clear favourite for November's honour after leading the Goodison club on a six-game winning run in the Premiership that has taken them third in the table. Moyes has won 14 of his 26 games in charge so far, 15 if the penalty shoot-out success over Newcastle in the Worthington Cup is included, to equal the best ever start made by an Everton manager. Legendary boss Harry Catterick shares the honour, while Moyes is looking to record another notable acheivement at Newcastle's expense this Sunday.
Everton are currently just one point short of the 30-point total Moyes inherited when he replaced Walter Smith last season - and that was in mid-March. The Blues manager, who is expected to be confirmed as November's winner in succession to Gerard Houllier later this week, will have Richard Wright available at St James' Park despite the Goodison keeper suffering a back spasm before Saturday's win over West Brom. Moyes is also set to give a number of senior stars a run-out in tonight's reserve team game at Aston Villa. David Weir, Scot Gemmill, Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson have all been selected for the game at Walsall's Bescot Stadium
Perfect time for Moyes to sign players
Nov 26 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
IT'S been a long held, but successful, football philosophy that you always build from a position of strength. Which is why the Everton board should beg, steal and borrow to give David Moyes the spending power to add one or two new faces when the transfer window re-opens. Fans may ask, do we need to bring in any fresh blood given the wonderful run of results which have just been achieved? But when you are buzzing is the perfect time to bring in new players. The addition of a new body helps keep everybody in the squad on their toes. Players don't start taking their first team place for granted - and the work ethic which has helped Everton achieve what they have this season is maintained. Look what kind of impact the arrival of Wayne Rooney has had on Tomasz Radzinski's form this season! Howard Kendall always had a happy knack of bringing in new players at the right time - and more often than not the additions were not with first team football in mind. They were added to keep the squad bubbling and keep players performing to their limit. In 1984-85 Ian Atkins and Paul Wilkinson were brought in, and while they didn't play all that often they played their part in keeping the momentum rolling. The following season Neil Pointon came in, the season after that it was Ian Snodin and Wayne Clarke. Injuries meant that those two played a hugely significant part in clinching the title, likewise Paul Power who was signed in the summer of '86 - and played 40 consecutive games of the title winning campaign. Of all of those players I have mentioned, only Snods cost a big transfer fee. It's common knowledge that David Moyes does not have much cash to play with, but even a loan signing for a month or two can have the desired affect.
Don't ditch Dock
THE Sunday papers were full of well meaning columnists advocating the merits of Bill Kenwright ditching the Kings Dock Stadium project and diverting the money towards squad rebuilding instead.
I'm not so sure. While David Moyes is doing such a splendid job on the pitch, the time is surely right to push ambitious schemes off it. The time to think about grand new stadia is when you have a team capable of filling it. Obviously you can never predict what is going to happen at any football club, but with the wave of optimism currently sweeping Goodison now is not the time to shelve the Kings Dock project.
Fans patience is key
BLUES fans are rapidly rediscovering long-forgotten feelings . . . elation, confidence, enthusiasm, but they may have to relearn another if this current run continues . . . patience. West Brom's attitude on Saturday gave us a foretaste of the kind of tactics more and more teams will adopt at Goodison this season. They consistently got nine and ten men behind the ball, even when trailing 1-0, and other sides are sure to adopt similar systems when they come. It's a compliment to how well Everton are playing at present.
Marco can help the Blues
Nov 26 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON old boy Marco Materazzi will go head to head with the Premiership's latest centurion tomorrow night. And the Blues' current stars will hope their former team-mate can soften up Alan Shearer ahead of Sunday's St James' Park showdown. Shearer slammed his hundredth Premiership goal for Newcastle at Old Trafford on Saturday - he already had a hundred for Blackburn Rovers to his name - and will be aiming to add to his tally against Everton this weekend. But first he has a Champions League assignment against Materazzi's Inter. The pair have collided before. Materazzi was in a ragged Royal Blue rearguard which conceded four to Shearer and co. in an FA Cup quarter-final in 1999. The Italian saw enough that day to say: "His performances are the result of a combination of ability and the hard work he has done in training - and that's the mark of a champion. "He won't be easy to play against, but I've had some preparation for it. "At Inter and in the national team in the last year I've marked some pretty good strikers in training - Ronaldo, Vieri, Del Piero, Totti, Crespo, Montella and Inzaghi." Materazzi had only played 14 times in Serie A before his move to Everton as Walter Smith's first Goodison signing. His stay on Merseyside was a lively one - three red cards, a couple of sparkling goals and some mixed defensive displays.
But he claimed his biggest problem on Merseyside was getting used to living in a big house!
"I'm not joking," he said. "Both my wife and I had only ever lived in flats. Suddenly we were in a big house in the countryside in a foreign land. We couldn't find any suitable flats in Liverpool. "But I love English grounds and crowds. "Playing in England was a very different experience for me, but it was something I really wanted."
Kendall backs Moyes to win Premier award
Nov 26 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S most successful manager Howard Kendall believes there is no one to touch David Moyes for November's Manager of the Month Award. The Goodison boss is the favourite to win the prestigious award, which will be announced next week. The Blues have won all their league games in November without conceding a goal - four straight Premiership victories against Leeds, Charlton, Blackburn and West Brom. Kendall, who won two championship titles, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup during his Good-ison reign, said: "David Moyes fully deserves the Manager of the Month Award. I can't think of anyone else to touch him. "Everyone is aware of the excellent job he has done since coming in. He has the respect of the players. That's obvious from the way they are playing. He has got the best out of each one of them. "With limited resources he has strengthened the middle of the team with the signings of Richard Wright, Jospeh Yobo and Li Tie."
Meanwhile, Moyes has revealed Mark Pembridge could make a return to action at Newcastle on Sunday. The Welsh international has been a key performer this season, but has missed the last two games with a calf strain. The Everton backroom staff believe the problem is linked to the player's dietary supplements. Moyes said: "He has done some light jogging and feels much better. We have done some checks on his blood and there are a couple of things we would look to alter. "He will do some more running later this week in the build up with the hope of maybe being fit for the weekend." In-form keeper Richard Wright will be fit for the trip to Newcastle despite a back injury scare he suffered before last Saturday's match with West Brom. David Weir is among several players likely to be given a run-out in the Blues' reserve team clash with Aston Villa tonight. Steve Watson, Scott Gemmill and Alessandro Pistone are expected to figure in the game at Walsall's Bescot Stadium.
Aston Villa Res 4, Everton Res 0
Nov 27 2002
DESPITE fielding a very strong side Everton Reserves were beaten heavily by Aston Villa at Walsall's Bescot stadium. Stephen Cooke opened the scoring on 29 minutes after Peter Crouch had headed against the crossbar, the Villa youngster finished the rebound with a composed strike. Then the Blues were hit with quick double from first Hassan Kachloul after hesitant defending and then Stefan Moore hit a penalty to make it 3-0 at the break. Mustapha Hadji completed the scoring on a dismal night for the visitors who had only a Joe Max Moore effort which hit the bar to console themselves with.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Clarke, Pistone, Gem-mill, Weir, Feng, O'Hanlon (Carney 74), Watson, Chadwick, Moore, McLeod. Subs: Crowder, Cole, Southern, Beck, Colbeck
ASTON VILLA: Postma, Amoo, Whittingham, Bewers, Ridgewell, de la Cruz, Cooke, Crouch (Davis 55), S Moore (L Moore 46), Hadji (Brazil 76), Kachloul. Subs: Henderson, Cormell
REFEREE: Mr K Woolmer
Nov 27 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has been warned to cut out the showboating, by a player on the receiving end of the youngster's celebratory showmanship on Saturday. Rooney cheekily stood with his hands on his hips near the end of Everton's win over win over West Brom - waiting for defenders to catch up with him. The Goodison gallery roared their appreciation, but Baggies defender Darren Moore was less impressed. Writing in his Wolverhampton Express and Star diary he said: "Everton are up to third, but I honestly couldn't see a great deal of difference between the two sides. As for the boy wonder Wayne Rooney, he's a terrific talent. "But if I can pass one piece of advice to the 17-year-old, I'd tell him to wipe out the arrogant side of his game. "He was caught by the TV cameras trying to be a bit too clever for his boots. "I wouldn't advise him to do it again otherwise he'll learn the hard way." At 15st 8lbs, the words are an ominous warning from the Jamaican international. On-loan midfielder Alex Nyarko, meanwhile, scored the opener for Paris St Germain in their 2-1 first-leg UEFA Cup win over Boavista.
Harvey's new crop on show
Nov 27 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
COLIN HARVEY'S answer could almost have come from the mouth of a Gwladys Street supporter.
Asked if any more emerging Wayne Rooneys would be on show at Goodison Park tonight, he murmured: "There's only one Wayne Rooney." A barrage of goals from the young striker fired Everton to the final of last season's Youth Cup competition. Another crop of teenagers pick up the baton this evening when the Blues open their 2002 campaign against Port Vale (kick-off 7.00pm).
"We're a very young side this time," said coach Harvey, "but the competition is very important because of the experience it gives youngsters of playing on Premiership stages like Goodison Park.
"Even the reserves don't get that opportunity these days so it is an important part of their development. "You never know how far they are going to go in the tournament, because so much depends on how they react to playing at places like this. I never expected last season's team to go so far, so you never know." Only Craig Garside, Brian Moogan and Scott Brown - scorer of the goal which won the second leg of last season's final at Villa Park - remain from last season's squad.
Rooney, of course, is still eligible for another couple of tournaments, but his sights are focused elsewhere. The age limit for the FA Youth Cup is 18, but the Blues will largely be fielding under-17 Youth Academy players. They will include Paul Hopkins, a bright forward who was only 15 when he came on for the final few minutes of last season's final. He has already scored three times in Under-19 Academy football this season. Everton's Academy Director, Ray Hall, added: "The FA Youth Cup is undoubtedly a prestigious tournament, but the perception that success in the FA Youth Cup is an indication of a thriving youth academy is incorrect. "The job primarily is to bring players through the ranks and I certainly don't see winning the FA Youth Cup as the be all and end all. I've got a picture on my desk of the 1998 winning side and there's only Tony Hibbert and Kevin McLeod still at the club, although some of the others have been sold on and are still doing well in the game. "I watched Port Vale defeat Chesterfield in the last round and they won comfortably. It will be a good test for us." The draw has already been made for round four, and the bait for the Blues is another home tie, this time against the winners of the Grimsby Town versus Chelsea clash.
Pembridge has food for thought
Nov 27 2002 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
MARK PEMBRIDGE could make an instant return to the Everton first team on Sunday - at the expense of a change in diet! The midfielder missed the Blues' latest victories over Blackburn Rovers and West Bromwich Albion, along with Wales' win in Azerbaijan, after suffering a calf strain. A visit to a specialist last week confirmed there was no muscular damage, and later tests have revealed the problem is connected to an intake of supplements. As a result, Pembridge is likely to need to make some slight adjustments to his diet - and is in contention for a place in the squad for Sunday's trip to Newcastle United. "We have done some checks on his blood and there are a couple of things we would look to alter," revealed Everton boss David Moyes yesterday. "But he has done some light jogging today and he feels much better. "He will do some more running later this week in the build up with the hope of maybe being fit for the weekend, but it is very early in the week to tell."
Moyes also welcomed Richard Wright back to training after the goalkeeper suffered a slight back injury during the warm-up before Saturday's win over West Brom. "Richard came in for treatment on Sunday morning and felt fine," added the Blues boss. "He trained this morning and lucky for us it wasn't a serious injury and he will be okay." David Weir, Alessandro Pistone, Scot Gemmill and Steve Watson were all in action last night as a strong Blues reserves side crashed 4-0 at Aston Villa.
Meanwhile, Everton have again been linked with a move for Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland.
The tall centre-back has attracted the interest of a host of clubs after some impressive performances in the UEFA Cup for homeland club Viking Stavanger, in which he helped eliminate Chelsea.
Any move to be bring new players into Goodison must be preceded by the departure of a current squad member as Moyes works within the confines of a restricted budget. However, any monies raised have been prioritised to finance Joseph Yobo's £4million permanent move from Marseille.
This makes any immediate transfer dealings unlikely, although Celtic midfielder Colin Healy is still an end-of-season target as he would be out of contract and would therefore not command a fee.
Everton Yth 0, Port Vale Yth 1
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 28 2002
AFTER the highs of last year's FA Youth Cup run Everton's latest crop of youngsters were dealt a low blow as they fell at the first hurdle against Port Vale at Goodison Park last night. A Wayne Rooney-inspired Everton youth team battled their way to the final last season only to lose out to Aston Villa over two legs. But any hopes of a similar run this year were dashed as a goal from Vale defender Edward Booth after 36 minutes was enough to give the Potteries side victory in the third round and a date with Grimsby or Chelsea. With only four survivors from last year's side - Craig Garside, Scott Brown, Brian Moogan and Paul Hopkins - Everton's youngsters were hoping to write their own names in the Blues' roll of honour at Youth level. The Toffees' Youth side have appeared in the final of the prestigious trophy seven times, winning on three occasions. And in the last five years they have won the trophy once, been beaten finalists on another occasion and semi-finalists as well.
But for most of this side they will have to wait another year for the chance to emulate those successes. Despite dominating for much of last night's match Colin Harvey's side could not turn their superiority into goals. Sixteen- year- old striker Hopkins, who played an excellent cameo role as a late substitute in the second leg of the Youth Cup final at Villa Park in May, was the first to threaten. But his shot after 28 minutes was saved by Vale keeper Joe Molloy. Booth then headed the opening goal after 36 minutes as the visitors exerted their only real pressure of the tie.
After the break it was all Everton, as Brian Moogan saw three long-range shots fail to find the target while England youth international Scott Brown saw his free- kick deflected just wide. Hopkins also saw a header similarly off the mark as the Blues poured forward. Everton goalkeeper Alex Cole was a virtual spectator for most of the evening but he saved well from Mark Orpe. With time running out Brown volleyed straight at Molloy and with that the Blues' hopes of forcing at least extra-time faded. Coach Harvey was disappointed with both the result and the performance. He said: "We were negative throughout the first half and got what we deserved. "At half-time I told the lads that we couldn't do any worse and we were much better in the second half." But Harvey is hoping his side can bounce back when they return to FA Premier Academy League action a week on Saturday. The under-19s and Alan Harper's under-17s both face Sheffield United at home on December 7.
Harvey added: "They must work hard, be ambitious and even apply themselves away from the club and do extra work. "If our lot want to play in the Premiership then they have to put themselves out and this has been a wake-up call for some of them."
EVERTON YOUTH: Cole, Flood, Wilson, Potter, Moogan, Gerrard, R Booth, S Brown, Garside, Hopkins (Lynch 75), Jones. Subs: Lake, Barry, Jones, Hughes.
Radzinski reveals Goodison torment
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 28 2002
TOMASZ RADZINSKI revealed the full extent of his Everton transformation last night as he admitted last season's torment shattered his confidence in front of goal. The Blues striker scored his fifth goal of the season on Saturday as David Moyes' men beat West Bromwich Albion to go third in the table. Radzinski has been a revelation for Everton this term, his goals and all-round play helping ease the pressure on Goodison sensation Wayne Rooney. But he admits it was a totally different story last year, as injuries and missing out on pre-season contrived to wreck his debut season in the Premiership. "I am delighted with my form and goals," Radzinski said. "It is so much better than last season, and the one big difference is preparation. "You need a really good pre-season where you are free from injury and able to take part in absolutely everything. I missed out last year, but not this time. I feel really fit, strong and sharp, and that is why I am producing my best form. "I am able to run at a high energy level for 90 minutes, and that is making life more difficult for opposing defenders. "People say that perhaps I was not consistent enough in front of goal last season, but it was more down to not playing consistently. That was what held me back. It was very difficult to get any rhythm going. "I actually felt nervous if the ball fell to me near goal, whereas now I am brimming with confidence because I feel on top of my game in every respect." Meanwhile, West Brom defender Darren Moore has told Wayne Rooney to "wipe out the arrogant side of his game" after he was the victim in a moment of showboating from the Everton starlet last weekend. The 17-year-old striker has earned rave reviews after coming off the bench to score his first goals in Premiership football in recent weeks - but he annoyed Moore during the Blues' 1-0 win on Saturday.
Moore was shadowing Rooney on the touchline when the teenager, with the ball at his feet, stopped in his tracks and put his hands on his hips as if to tease his opponent. The Albion player said: "As for boy wonder Wayne Rooney, I think he's a terrific talent. But if I can pass one piece of advice to the 17-year-old I'd tell him to wipe out the arrogant side of his game. "He was caught by the TV cameras trying to be a bit too clever for his boots. I wouldn't advise him to do it again - otherwise he'll learn the hard way."
Speed maintains vow of silence
Nov 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARY SPEED is, indeed, built like a brick outhouse. But that's not what Evertonians - still seething at his swift and controversial departure from Goodison - have in mind when his name is routinely jeered during Newcastle-Everton confrontations. Speed joined the club he had always supported in the summer of 1996. But when the manager who signed him, Joe Royle, departed inside a year, Speed's dream move quickly became a nightmare. He, too, followed Royle out of the Everton exit door - and this week came as close as he has ever come to explaining the reasons behind his switch from Merseyside to Tyneside in February 1998. "When I left Everton I had to sign a confidentiality clause. That says it all doesn't it?" he declared. "I still take stick from Everton fans because I have never been able to reveal the reasons for me leaving. Even if I hadn't signed that clause I wouldn't have said anything because I am still an Evertonian, looking out for their scores. "As for Howard Kendall, I've met him a couple of times since. As a bloke, he's great but, as I say, there are things I can't go into." Speed joined Newcastle in a £6m switch after refusing to travel with the Blues' first team squad to West Ham. At the time he mysteriously suggested: "If I came out and said why I handed in a transfer request it would tarnish the good name of Everton Football Club - and that is something I would never do." Ironically the only match Speed has missed for Newcastle this season was Everton's Worthington Cup trip to St James' Park earlier this month. But his boss, Sir Bobby Robson, took that decision more to protect the 33-year-old's limbs than spare him another tongue lashing. Speed - always the model pro, however - wasn't a hundred per cent certain that he needed the break. "I know we were playing three games in six days but I was up for it and wanted to play," he said. "I don't like missing any games, whether it be Worthington Cup, Premiership or Champions League. I'm definitely becoming a bit sad in my old age. "I'm rapidly turning into a fitness fanatic. I'm obsessed with training and keeping myself in shape." Following last night's Champions League clash against Inter, Speed is relishing the visit of Everton on Sunday - and this time hopes to be involved. "As far as my old team is concerned, David Moyes has done a great job since he went to Goodison and it is a long time since they have been so high in the Premiership table," he added.
Blues youth in shock Cup exit
Nov 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON crashed out of the FA Youth Cup at the first hurdle last night. But coach Colin Harvey hopes the 1-0 defeat by Port Vale will act as a wakeup call to some of his youngsters. The Blues were beaten finalists in last season's competition, but a 36th minute header by Edward Booth at Goodison Park ended this season's interest almost immediately. "The boys need to show a reaction between now and the end of the season," said Harvey. "They must work hard, be ambitious and apply themselves away from the club and do extra work. "If our lot want to play in the Premiership then they have to put themselves out and this has been a wake-up call for some of them." Everton enjoyed large periods of possession, but never looked like producing the penetration necessary to pull back Booth's early strike. Paul Hopkins' shot in the 28th minute was saved, Craig Garside chipped just too high and Brian Moogan tried his luck three times from distance - the best effort just clearing the crossbar. "We were negative throughout the first half and got what we deserved," added Harvey. "At half-time I told the lads that we couldn't play any worse. We were much better in the second half and, I suppose, unlucky not to score and take it into extra-time." Port Vale now go on to meet the winners of the Grimsby Town versus Chelsea tie in round four.
EVERTON: Cole, Flood, Wilson, Potter, Gerrard, Moogan, Booth, Brown, Garside, Hopkins (Lynch 75), Jones. Unused subs: Lake, Barry, Jones, Hughes.
Yobo to sign
Nov 28 2002 By David Randles, icNorthwest
JOSEPH YOBO is poised to sign on as an Everton player. The Blues have confirmed that a deal has finally been agreed with the defender's former club Olympique Marseille to make Yobo's loan deal permanent. Talking to the club's official website, Blues boss David Moyes said: "The two clubs have agreed a deal over Joseph Yobo. We have been working hard to try and finalise the deal and the Board at Everton have been fantastic in putting the finances in place. "There are still one or two matters to be sorted out with Joseph and his advisors but we hope to conclude the deal in the next couple of days." However, due to new regulations imposed on Premier League clubs at the start of this season, Yobo will not be able to sign officially until January when the transfer window opens again. Marseille's president, Cristophe Bouchet has suggested that the fee for Yobo will be between £4.3m - £4.8 saying "this is a great deal for both clubs". Everton have already paid £1m as part of the loan deal to secure the defender's services. The 22-year-old Nigerian international joined Everton on loan after impressing for his country at this summer's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Despite a delayed start to his Everton career through injury, Yobo has now cemented his place at the heart of the Blues' defence. By helping Everton rise to third place in the Premiership, securing five consecutive clean sheets in the process, Yobo has become an instant hit with the Goodison faithful who will be delighted at the capture of his signature.
Speed maintains vow of silence
Nov 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARY SPEED is, indeed, built like a brick outhouse. But that's not what Evertonians - still seething at his swift and controversial departure from Goodison - have in mind when his name is routinely jeered during Newcastle-Everton confrontations. Speed joined the club he had always supported in the summer of 1996. But when the manager who signed him, Joe Royle, departed inside a year, Speed's dream move quickly became a nightmare. He, too, followed Royle out of the Everton exit door - and this week came as close as he has ever come to explaining the reasons behind his switch from Merseyside to Tyneside in February 1998. "When I left Everton I had to sign a confidentiality clause. That says it all doesn't it?" he declared. "I still take stick from Everton fans because I have never been able to reveal the reasons for me leaving. Even if I hadn't signed that clause I wouldn't have said anything because I am still an Evertonian, looking out for their scores. "As for Howard Kendall, I've met him a couple of times since. As a bloke, he's great but, as I say, there are things I can't go into." Speed joined Newcastle in a £6m switch after refusing to travel with the Blues' first team squad to West Ham. At the time he mysteriously suggested: "If I came out and said why I handed in a transfer request it would tarnish the good name of Everton Football Club - and that is something I would never do." Ironically the only match Speed has missed for Newcastle this season was Everton's Worthington Cup trip to St James' Park earlier this month. But his boss, Sir Bobby Robson, took that decision more to protect the 33-year-old's limbs than spare him another tongue lashing. Speed - always the model pro, however - wasn't a hundred per cent certain that he needed the break. "I know we were playing three games in six days but I was up for it and wanted to play," he said. "I don't like missing any games, whether it be Worthington Cup, Premiership or Champions League. "I'm definitely becoming a bit sad in my old age. "I'm rapidly turning into a fitness fanatic. I'm obsessed with training and keeping myself in shape." Following last night's Champions League clash against Inter, Speed is relishing the visit of Everton on Sunday - and this time hopes to be involved. "As far as my old team is concerned, David Moyes has done a great job since he went to Goodison and it is a long time since they have been so high in the Premiership table," he added.
Blues youth in shock Cup exit
Nov 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON crashed out of the FA Youth Cup at the first hurdle last night. But coach Colin Harvey hopes the 1-0 defeat by Port Vale will act as a wakeup call to some of his youngsters. The Blues were beaten finalists in last season's competition, but a 36th minute header by Edward Booth at Goodison Park ended this season's interest almost immediately. "The boys need to show a reaction between now and the end of the season," said Harvey. "They must work hard, be ambitious and apply themselves away from the club and do extra work. "If our lot want to play in the Premiership then they have to put themselves out and this has been a wake-up call for some of them." Everton enjoyed large periods of possession, but never looked like producing the penetration necessary to pull back Booth's early strike. Paul Hopkins' shot in the 28th minute was saved, Craig Garside chipped just too high and Brian Moogan tried his luck three times from distance - the best effort just clearing the crossbar. "We were negative throughout the first half and got what we deserved," added Harvey. "At half-time I told the lads that we couldn't play any worse. We were much better in the second half and, I suppose, unlucky not to score and take it into extra-time." Port Vale now go on to meet the winners of the Grimsby Town versus Chelsea tie in round four. EVERTON: Cole, Flood, Wilson, Potter, Gerrard, Moogan, Booth, Brown, Garside, Hopkins (Lynch 75), Jones. Unused subs: Lake, Barry, Jones, Hughes.
Yobo to sign
Nov 28 2002 By David Randles, icNorthwest
JOSEPH YOBO is poised to sign on as an Everton player. The Blues have confirmed that a deal has finally been agreed with the defender's former club Olympique Marseille to make Yobo's loan deal permanent. Talking to the club's official website, Blues boss David Moyes said: "The two clubs have agreed a deal over Joseph Yobo. "We have been working hard to try and finalise the deal and the Board at Everton have been fantastic in putting the finances in place. "There are still one or two matters to be sorted out with Joseph and his advisors but we hope to conclude the deal in the next couple of days." However, due to new regulations imposed on Premier League clubs at the start of this season, Yobo will not be able to sign officially until January when the transfer window opens again. Marseille's president, Cristophe Bouchet has suggested that the fee for Yobo will be between £4.3m - £4.8 saying "this is a great deal for both clubs". Everton have already paid £1m as part of the loan deal to secure the defender's services. The 22-year-old Nigerian international joined Everton on loan after impressing for his country at this summer's World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Despite a delayed start to his Everton career through injury, Yobo has now cemented his place at the heart of the Blues' defence. By helping Everton rise to third place in the Premiership, securing five consecutive clean sheets in the process, Yobo has become an instant hit with the Goodison faithful who will be delighted at the capture of his signature.
Blues star Yobo set for permanent deal
By Andy Hunter And Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 29 2002
JOSEPH YOBO will pledge his long-term future to Everton in the next few days. The Blues board are backing boss David Moyes' request to secure the Nigerian's signature as quickly as possible after his magnificent start in English football. And as the player and deputy chairman Bill Kenwright confirmed in the Daily Post last week, the club are on course to complete a five-year deal for the 22-year-old in the New Year. Everton have raised the extra £3.5million needed to make the centre-back's one-year loan move to Goodison Park a permanent one. The deal will be finalised and agreed early next week, but Yobo - who has already stated his desire to stay at the club - is expected to reach agreement on his personal demands within the next few days. "We have signed a deal with Marseille and we are now tweaking part of the deal with Joseph," confirmed Kenwright. "I expect him to sign any day." The switch will be formally completed and ratified when the transfer window opens in January - as had been agreed in the summer with Marseille - after Moyes wanted assurances from the board that the funds would be made available. Everton, who expect Wayne Rooney to sign his first professional contract with the club in a fortnight, moved instantly to bank-roll the Yobo deal and ensure Moyes can build on his side's fantastic start to the Premiership season.
"I am delighted that the board has been as good as its word," said Moyes. "The board has shown its ambition and come up with the funds when it has been required. I've always been confident a permanent agreement would be reached, just as I was with Wayne Rooney." By putting together a package that nets them one of the Premier-ship's success stories of the current campaign, Everton have showed their determination to maintain their position towards the top of the table. The deal - which constitutes the extra £3.5m to go with the £1m already paid to Marseille in transfer fees, as well as the player's salary - represents one of the biggest transfers in England this season. It was thought any move would depend on Paris St Ger-main finalising their £3.5m purchase of Alex Nyarko, but it is believed Kenwright himself made a personal visit to the club bankers to secure the funds for the deal. "We have had to continue to be creative," said the Blues' deputy chairman. "It was always a question of when rather than if we were going to agree a transfer with Marseille."
Getting better by the week
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 29 2002
IT JUST seems to get better every week. All the other top teams - boy that feels good - slip up while the Super Toffees wrap up a straightforward win to go within three points of the Premiership summit. And if that wasn't exciting enough we also have the news that the club are on the brink of securing a permanent deal for Joseph Yobo. Even the press attention given to Darren Moore's On the Buses-style 'I'm going to get you Butler!' warning to Wayne Rooney couldn't take the shine off this. The big defender, famed for, well, being big really, also echoed his manager's sentiments that there wasn't much between the two teams. A cursory glance at the table would reveal to 'Big Dave' that just about the whole of the Premiership is between them. While most Evertonians accept that it would be a remarkable feat for us to remain in the European places for the rest of the season, there can be no denying that we currently occupy third place on merit. The table does not lie and no one racks up six straight league wins because they're lucky. Supporters of other clubs seem to think that we are overachieving and that our players are performing above themselves. This is understandable given that before David Moyes arrived these very same players were the ones battling with relegation. However, Evertonians can see that it's not a case of over-achieving, but more a case of these players finally being given the chance to fulfil their potential. Players like Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen, for instance, are now showing the form that persuaded Everton to part with substantial sums of money for them. That's the crucial difference between ourselves and the other hardworking teams we traditionally compete with at the wrong end of the table. Unfortunately our next few games are against tougher sides than the Baggies. Newcastle, despite conceding nine goals in their last two games, will be a different proposition from what they were in the Worthington Cup, thanks to the return of Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy - if the Welshman's stopped crying by Sunday. If we are to get something from the game we need to be more ruthless at the other end than we were on Saturday. The likes of the hopeless Nikos Dabizas will ensure we get chances; we need to take them. The same applies to the cup game at Chelsea. If the Londoners put out a full-strength side, which seems likely given their departure from Europe, then we face a difficult task given the quality of their forwards. However, if you're going to win anything you have to beat the good teams at some stage so we might a well have Chelsea now while we're playing well. Let's just hope we've got yet another great week in store.
Time's up for Kings Dock
Exclusive By Bill Gleeson And Andy Hunter Daily Post Staff
Nov 29 2002
REGENERATION company Liverpool Vision has set a deadline of the close of business today for Everton FC to prove it can pay for its share of the proposed Kings Dock stadium. It has asked The Blues to provide credible evidence that the club can finance its share of the cost of the 55,000-seat stadium and concert arena. Liverpool Vision, which is in charge of the development of Kings Dock, wants Everton to show how it can pay £30m for its 50pc share in the new stadium. In addition, the club, as the lead private sector developer for the scheme, has been asked to show that housebuilders, who are meant to build 1,000 flats next to the stadium, have been lined up.
The housebuilders are a vital part of the whole scheme as £40m of the profit from the sale of the flats has been earmarked to meet part of the stadium's construction costs. The board of Liverpool Vision will then spend next week considering Everton's response and it is expected that a final decision will be made at a board meeting scheduled for Friday. Everton has had 18 months to find its cash. The club itself has failed to raise the £30m. Instead, Everton's co-owner, multi-millionaire Paul Gregg, is proposing that he and other wealthy individuals invest in the stadium in place of the club. It is understood that some members of Everton's board oppose Mr Gregg's plan because it would mean the club would not own its own ground. If Liverpool Vision's board is not satisfied with the answers given by Everton, it will then set about drawing up a new plan for the waterfront site.
Everton yesterday said they were concluding their own separate review of the viability of the project. Club directors will spend this weekend considering the results of a risk assessment report drawn up by consultants hired by Everton. Everton deputy chairman Bill Ken-wright said: "We continue to be very positive and we are 100pc behind the Kings Dock project." Everton's risk assessment report will list the pros and cons of the Kings Dock scheme. The report's conclusions will be discussed at a board meeting on Thursday.
Pistone seeks redemption
Nov 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE is anxious to put himself back in the firing line on Sunday. Everton's former Newcastle defender raised the roof at St James' Park three weeks ago, when he headed an own goal.
The Blues are back on Tyneside this weekend - and despite the ribbing he is sure to receive from the Geordie following, the Italian wants the opportunity to put the record straight. "The own goal can happen to anybody, unless you're not playing," he explained. "I would prefer to play and take that risk every time. "Of course at the time I was very disappointed. But we got the result on the night, I thought I played quite well and it was my first match of the season I managed to play the full 90 minutes and two periods of extra time - so I was happy. "I got a little cramp, but at the end I was happy." The own goal is indicative of Pistone's entire season. After the arrival of David Moyes last March, he was almost ever-present - scoring his first Everton goal in the process, a searing right-footed volley in a must-win match against Bolton. But after picking up a hamstring injury during the pre-season programme, his only senior start to date was that Worthington Cup trip to Tyneside.
He managed another six minutes at the end of Saturday's victory over West Bromwich Albion, and is patiently hoping for another outing soon. "I am fully fit now and it is up to the gaffer," he said "but while the team keeps winning you can't argue with his selections! "Everybody is playing well and we are doing it every Saturday so at the end of the day you can't say anything. "You have to keep going, wait - and I am sure my moment will arrive. "The only thing I can do is work hard, keep my head and stay focussed." The Blues take the most impressive run of form in the Premiership up to Newcastle - and Pistone believes they can extend that record even further. But he warned his team-mates not to read too much into Newcastle's 4-1 flaying by Inter, another of his old clubs, on Wednesday night. "We will be looking for a positive result up there," he added. "We don't seem to be scoring many goals at the moment, but we are not conceding them either so if we go up there and play the way we have been, why not? "I watched the match on Wednesday night but you can't really judge Newcastle in a game like that. "It was not a typical game. After 10 minutes they found themselves down to 10-men and it was a very different game to how it would have been."
Moyes warns against Toon backlash
Nov 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned his Everton side to beware of the "wounded animal" of Newcastle United.
The Magpies have conceded nine goals in their last two matches - including a 4-1 humbling in front of their own fans by Inter Milan on Wednesday night. But despite six successive victories from his own side, the Blues boss (pictured) is concerned about a backlash from Bobby Robson's men in Sunday's televised clash (2.15pm kick-off). "They are a good side and a dangerous animal at the moment after the midweek result," explained Moyes. "They will probably feel that they were a little bit hard done to in one of the biggest games in their history. "That makes them a dangerous animal to face. "It's a hard enough game going up there at the best of times, never mind when they are feeling a little bit wounded like now." Moyes is not expected to make any changes to the team which has put together the club's best run of victories for 15 years. Mark Pembridge trained again today but will not expect an instant recall. Steve Watson, a goal-scoring hero on the Blues' last trip to Tyneside in the Worthington Cup, missed training yesterday with a calf strain but joined in again this morning.
Pistone seeks redemption
Nov 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE is anxious to put himself back in the firing line on Sunday. Everton's former Newcastle defender raised the roof at St James' Park three weeks ago, when he headed an own goal.
The Blues are back on Tyneside this weekend - and despite the rib-bing he is sure to receive from the Geordie following, the Italian wants the opportunity to put the record straight. "The own goal can happen to anybody, unless you're not playing," he explained. "I would prefer to play and take that risk every time. "Of course at the time I was very disappointed. But we got the result on the night, I thought I played quite well and it was my first match of the season I managed to play the full 90 minutes and two periods of extra time - so I was happy. "I got a little cramp, but at the end I was happy." The own goal is indicative of Pistone's entire season. After the arrival of David Moyes last March, he was almost ever-present - scoring his first Everton goal in the process, a searing right-footed volley in a must-win match against Bolton. But after picking up a hamstring injury during the pre-season programme, his only senior start to date was that Worthington Cup trip to Tyneside.
He managed another six minutes at the end of Saturday's victory over West Bromwich Albion, and is patiently hoping for another outing soon. I am fully fit now and it is up to the gaffer," he said "but while the team keeps winning you can't argue with his selections! "Everybody is playing well and we are doing it every Saturday so at the end of the day you can't say anything. "You have to keep going, wait - and I am sure my moment will arrive. "The only thing I can do is work hard, keep my head and stay focussed." The Blues take the most impressive run of form in the Premiership up to Newcastle - and Pistone believes they can extend that record even further. But he warned his team-mates not to read too much into Newcastle's 4-1 flaying by Inter, another of his old clubs, on Wednesday night. "We will be looking for a positive result up there," he added. "We don't seem to be scoring many goals at the moment, but we are not conceding them either so if we go up there and play the way we have been, why not? "I watched the match on Wednesday night but you can't really judge Newcastle in a game like that. "It was not a typical game. After 10 minutes they found themselves down to 10-men and it was a very different game to how it would have been."
Moyes warns against Toon backlash
Nov 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned his Everton side to beware of the "wounded animal" of Newcastle United.
The Magpies have conceded nine goals in their last two matches - including a 4-1 humbling in front of their own fans by Inter Milan on Wednesday night. But despite six successive victories from his own side, the Blues boss is concerned about a backlash from Bobby Robson's men in Sunday's televised clash (2.15pm kick-off). "They are a good side and a dangerous animal at the moment after the midweek result," explained Moyes. They will probably feel that they were a little bit hard done to in one of the biggest games in their history. "That makes them a dangerous animal to face. "It's a hard enough game going up there at the best of times, never mind when they are feeling a little bit wounded like now." Moyes is not expected to make any changes to the team which has put together the club's best run of victories for 15 years. Mark Pembridge trained again today but will not expect an instant recall. Steve Watson, a goal-scoring hero on the Blues' last trip to Tyneside in the Worthington Cup, missed training yesterday with a calf strain but joined in again this morning.
Merseyside has a new Governor
Nov 29 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have snapped up the man dubbed 'The Governor.'
But before Blues' fans immediately besiege Goodison with complaints and returned season tickets, the player concerned is not Paul Ince. Former Nigerian international Kingsley Onye has bestowed the nickname upon Joseph Yobo. Now based in London, Onye sends regular updates on exiled Nigerians back to Africa, via a column in the Vanguard newspaper. In his latest report, he declared: "Austin Okocha has improved tremendously, but the man of the moment is Joseph Yobo. You can call him the Governor. "He plays well for Everton and his qualities are now being recognised by many clubs. Leeds want him, Tottenham and Liverpool are talking about moving for him - but Everton are laying flowers for him to stay. "He has managed their defence in a way that you can liken him to a governor. Yes, he governs the defence. "In the past three weeks, Yobo has been rated among the best 11 players. This rating is done weekly. "You can therefore conclude that for now, they rate him the best defender in the Premiership. "Everton have remained unbeaten in their last six matches. They have not even conceded a goal and the greater credit goes to Yobo. The boy is good and I am happy he is a Nigerian. Nigeria should be proud of this young man." Yobo, the Governor? Anyone think it will catch on?
Good time to go to Toon
Nov 29 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON look like they will be meeting Newcastle United at just the right time. The players had to put in a lot of effort against Inter Milan on Wednesday night after Craig Bellamy was sent off so early on. The Magpies were playing with 10 men for most of the game. At least Bellamy will be fresh for Everton's visit on Sunday. He was stupid to lash out and get sent off and he should be disciplined by the club. Bobby Robson should take action against Alan Shearer as well after he also appeared to strike out at an Italian player. If he had been spotted by an official, he would have been off too and Newcastle would have been down to nine men. It appears UEFA have managed to spot the incident though. Newcastle look dangerous at set-pieces, but they are vulnerable at the back. They shipped four in midweek, whereas the Blues are not conceding any. David Moyes must be going into league games happier than any of the managers in the top six at the moment because his team are not conceding goals. The way Everton are playing, if they can close down the midfield and win the battle there, they can really go at Newcastle's back-four.
Weir must bide time
THE contribution of Alan Stubbs to Everton's recent form has been superb. He came in for criticism earlier in the season after making some errors, but you have to give him credit for the way he has come back. He and David Weir find themselves vying for a position alongside Joseph Yobo. I don't think either are best suited to that left centre-half slot, but maybe Stubbs has acclimatised better.
Weir can feel a little unlucky not to be in the side at the moment, especially given the way he has performed for the club since he signed from Hearts. But Everton are doing so well with Stubbs in there that Weir will just have to be patient and wait for his chance.
Yobo is all Blues need
EVERTONIANS are getting very excited that Joseph Yobo is poised to sign a permanent contract.
I don't want to cast a dark cloud on things, but they should wait until he actually puts pen to paper. Then everyone can celebrate a great signing for the club. If a permanent deal for Yobo means there is no more money available for transfers this season, I don't think the fans will mind too much.
With the way Everton are playing and the position they have reached in the league, they may say the club doesn't need any more signings. There is a self-belief in the team, so why shouldn't they still be near the top at the end of the season?
Fans fear repeat of St James' Park fiasco
Nov 29 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans have voiced fears that they will be the victims of heavy handed policing at Newcastle on Sunday. Recent games at St James' Park have been marred by complaints about the treatment dished out to Evertonians inside the ground by police and stewards. Travelling Blues claim they have been ejected from the stadium for chanting at the home supporters. When the two sides met in the Worthington Cup on Tyne-side on November 6, some supporters were held in police cells until 3am the following morning then released with no means of returning to Merseyside. Ian McDonald, of the Everton Independent Supporters Group, fears there will be a repetition when the two sides meet in the Premiership this Sunday. He said: "It's the only place where I have experienced zero tolerance from a police force. We are sick and tired of going to a football match which is policed as if it was an opera. "People have been forcibly dragged out of the ground. They were not even asked to leave. When the police have ejected fans, they keep them in cells until there is no transport available for them to get home. "All the fans have been doing is the usual banter you get at football matches. The Worthington Cup was a rollercoaster of emotion for us. Supporters were jumping up and gesticulating to the opposition. It's tolerated at every other ground, but at Newcastle they drag you out if you show the sort of exuberance associated with football."
McDonald said recent experiences had put off many Evertonians from travelling to the North East.
He added: "It's worst at Newcastle, but it also happens at Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Why is it that when we go up there, there are problems? Anywhere else and we are fine. "If Everton fans were replicating it around the country, we would have a worse reputation than Cardiff and Millwall, but we don't. It has to be down to the zero tolerance of the police in the North East. We are fed up of it." Northumbria police are adamant they will make no changes to the way they treat Newcastle-Everton matches. Chief Inspector Dave Jackson, of Newcastle Central Area Command, said: "We will be policing the game to exactly the same standards we do for any match. We are mindful of the complaints from a small number of Everton supporters last time, but we would remind them that foul language, abuse and drunken behaviour will be dealt with firmly but fairly."
Yobo in line for fans' award
Nov 29 2002 By David Randles, icNorthwest
JOSEPH YOBO is in line to receive the PFA's Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award for November and YOU could be presenting him with the prize at Goodison Park in the next few weeks. In the online voting poll found exclusively on the icNetwork the length and breadth of the country, the 22-year-old defender is currently leading the way for the prize which will be announced early next week. With Blues boss, David Moyes also tipped to pick up the Premiership's Manager-of-the-Month award after lifting the Toffeemen to third in the table on the back of four straight wins, a fantastic November could end in double celebration for the club. Such has been Everton's all round form in their resurgence towards the top of the Premiership that 17-year-old striking sensation, Wayne Rooney also finds himself in the top five players nominated for the monthly award. Although Rooney - currently fourth in the rankings - has turned more than a few heads with his matchwinning goals against Arsenal and Leeds, it is Yobo who has made the biggest impact in November with a string of fine performances at the heart of the Blues' defence, helping Everton notch up four consecutive Premiership clean sheets this month. Coming hot on the heels of this week's announcement that Everton are on the verge of signing the Nigerian international on a five-year contract, the news that Evertonians have voted in droves for Yobo as the Premiership's best performer this month underlines the impact he has made since arriving on loan from Marseille in the summer. Despite a delayed start to his Everton career due to an injury picked up in pre-season, Yobo's pace and composure alongside either David Weir or Alan stubbs has more than made up for lost time.
As the awards for September and October both went to Birmingham City players, Robbie Savage and Aliou Cisse respectively, Yobo will be the first player to break the Midlander's stranglehold on the awards this season should he collect the prize. Voting for November's PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award closes at 12:00am (GMT) on Sunday (1 December) so it's not too late to reinforce Yobo's position at the top of the Premiership charts. The PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Awards take place throughout the season and each month one lucky fan is chosen to present the winning player with their prize at a VIP day out at a selected home game. To have a chance of presenting the award however, you must first vote for the winning player. The player with the most votes at the end of the season will receive the PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Year award.
Current Rankings for November:
1 Joseph Yobo - Everton
2 John Robinson - Charlton
3 Nico Vaesen - Birmingham
4 Wayne Rooney - Everton
5 Fabrice Fernandes – Southampton