Everton 0, Chelsea 1 (D, Post)
Ian Doyle Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post Nov 3 2003
AFTER this travesty of a scoreline, the last thing Everton needed was Ken Bates loitering around their dressing room door waiting to give Wayne Rooney the warmest of handshakes. Maybe the white-bearded one was sending in person his 18th birthday greetings. Possibly he was congratulating the youngster on a good performance. Or perhaps merely commiserating an undeserved defeat for the striker. Bates was probably doing all three. But, although never one to miss an opportunity, football's legendary mischief maker will have resisted the temptation to slip a whisper into Rooney's ear extolling the virtues of a sojourn to Stamford Bridge. After having seen his side steal the points at Goodison on Saturday, the Chelsea chairman would have been pushing his luck in attempting to also run off with the Blues' most prized asset. In any case, Rooney had in the matchday programme repeated his assertion - first revealed in the Daily Post - that a move to London held no interest to a player determined to return the glory days to his boyhood club. And on Saturday's evidence, there seemed little reason to pursue immediate change. Quite how Everton managed to lose was a question which no doubt preoccupied Rooney as he headed off to be serenaded by some of pop music's finest - and Atomic Kitten - for his coming of age party. The weekend's most high-profile birthday bash was for a good cause, but the charity began a few hours earlier when Everton contrived to spurn a glut of gilt-edged goalscoring opportunities to allow Claudio Ranieri's championship-chasing Chelsea to leave Goodison with the most fortunate three points they will earn this season. The Blues were rightly cheered off the pitch after producing their best performance of the campaign, a high-tempo display of desire, commitment and creativity which rekindled images of last season's escapades. The only thing missing was a goal. Never mind Paul Gregg insisting Roman Abramovich has "ruined the Premiership" - the truth is that Everton had only themselves to blame for allowing the Russian billionaire's outfit to further the gap - in terms of league position, at least - between the haves and the have-nots. Harsh? Maybe. But while the defence has tightened considerably, it has now been six hours and 38 minutes since Steve Watson netted past Leeds' Paul Robinson for the Blues' last Premiership goal. And although missing leading goalscorers Watson and Duncan Ferguson due to injury and illness respectively, the chances were still there on Saturday for Everton to end that barren run. Tomasz Radzinski wasted opportunities at the beginning of each half, Wayne Rooney came close, Thomas Gravesen tried his luck, Alex Nyarko struck the woodwork and how Francis Jeffers missed a late header from five yards only he will know. It made agonising viewing for Moyes. And his mood was darkened even further by the fact the visitors' 49th-minute winner shouldn't have even been allowed. Adrian Mutu played the ball out wide right to Geremi, and after the Cameroon international's cross had been helped on by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Mutu - who had inadvertently tripped his marker Tobias Linderoth when moving into the box - headed in at the far post via a deflection off his outstretched left arm. "I've seen the replay and he got an arm on to the ball before his head," rued Moyes. Rough justice. Yet the defeat means only two wins in their opening 11 Premiership games have seen the injury-hit Blues slip down to 16th in the table, two points off the drop zone. Nobody is seriously considering relegation, but the longer Everton fail in front of goal, the longer they will remain in the wrong half of the table and the less likely there will be of realising Moyes' belief they should be a top-five side. And with the in-form David Weir now facing an extended spell on the sidelines to destabilise the settled defence, the pressure will increase on the strikeforce to apply a finishing touch to the Blues' build-up play. This time last year, Everton were eeking out a series of 1-0 victories. However, that indefinable something - be it a flash of individual brilliance or a slice of luck - which often proves the difference has not been there.
Man-of-the-moment Rooney was the catalyst for many of those moments during that period, and after a slow start to this season the signs are his sharpness is returning. Indeed, he was an impressive performer on Saturday, particularly when playing in the more withdrawn role which some pundits believe could become his most profitable position. "He's done a lot better in his last few games, against Charlton and against Chelsea," said Moyes. "He's done better then than in any other part of this season. But maybe he was trying to do a bit too much himself." Encouraging, too, was the continued re-emergence of Alex Nyarko. Moyes kept faith in the Ghanaian after his surprise return to the first team in the Carling Cup victory over Charlton Athletic, and was rewarded with an industrious display - most notably in the first half - by the midfielder against the Chelsea duo of Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele. Whether Nyarko can repeat such a performance on a regular basis is the question he must answer in the coming weeks. Certainly, if Everton can consistently reproduce the same level of intensity as shown on Saturday then their stay in the lower reaches of the Premiership will be shortlived. From the kick-off they tore into their more illustrious opponents, and should have been two goals ahead in as many minutes. First Radzinski shot wastefully wide after being put through by Thomas Gravesen, and then a free-kick from the Dane from the left was headed over by an unmarked Kevin Kilbane from six yards out. The Blues were unfortunate not to earn a penalty after Weir appeared to be pushed by John Terry in the area, and the visitors' luck continued when Nyarko unleashed a tremendous drive from 25 yards which Carlo Cudicini could only watch smack the crossbar and bounce back into play. Rooney then curled a shot wide before lofting an effort narrowly over the bar after Cudicini's poor clearance had given the striker a sight at an empty goal, while a rare break saw Joe Cole strike across the face of goal from Mutu's pull back.
The second half started in a similar manner to the first with Gravesen again playing a ball in for Radzinski, who turned and fired a first-time shot from 12 yards which Cudicini brilliantly beat out.
Mutu's goal momentarily knocked the Blues out of their stride, and they were indebted to Nigel Martyn for keeping the score down by blocking bravely at the feet of Lampard after a Geremi pass across goal had fallen fortuitously into the midfielder's path via Gary Naysmith's heel and Martyn's chest. Naysmith was then twice involved in attack when he first barged through three challenges before losing his composure and shooting well wide, and then in the 82nd minute accepted Kilbane's clever pass to clip a cross in from the left which the unmarked Francis Jeffers - on for the tiring Radzinski - contrived to head wide from four yards out. Gravesen solicited another save from Cudicini in injury time with a low drive from 20 yards, but by then Chelsea had drawn the sting out of an increasingly demoralised Blues attack with Hasselbaink and Mutu coming close on the break.
For Ranieri's side, this result is a further sign they are genuine contenders for the championship. And for Moyes's men, there portents are good if they can continue this level of performance on a consistent basis. All they need now is a goal.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir (Stubbs 33), Yobo, Naysmith; Gravesen, Linderoth (McFadden 64), Nyarko, Kilbane; Radzinski (Jeffers 64), Rooney. Subs: Simonsen, Li Tie.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini; Melchiot, Terry, Gallas, Bridge; Geremi, Makelele, Lampard, Cole (Gudjohnsen 86); Mutu (Duff 77), Hasselbaink. Subs: Ambrioso, Johnson, Huth.
REFEREE: Jeff Winter.
Skipper another miss for the Blues
Report By Ian Doyle Daily Post Nov 3 2003
DAVID MOYES' miserable weekend was compounded yesterday by the news David Weir is facing more than a month on the sidelines. The central defender sprained medial ligaments in his knee during Everton's undeserved 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea on Saturday. The Blues skipper sustained the injury during the first half after a challenge with Adrian Mutu, who netted the Londoners' disputed winner on 49 minutes. The 33-year-old will undergo a scan in the next few days and could be sidelined for between four to six weeks if any damage is confirmed. "David Weir had a medial ligament injury in a block tackle and it has tweaked his ligaments," said David Moyes.
It was the last thing the Blues boss wanted with Steve Watson, Richard Wright, Scot Gemmill, Alessandro Pistone, Lee Carsley and Kevin Campbell already sidelined. Duncan Ferguson also missed the Chelsea defeat due to a bout of flu that has affected a number of Moyes' squad in the past few weeks. The striker reported to Goodison early on Saturday afternoon but was sent home by Moyes after revealing that he was feeling unwell. Even in the absence of top scorers Watson and Ferguson, Everton created a glut of chances on Saturday but ultimately could not convert any to extend their run without a Premiership goal to six hours and 38 minutes. "It was our finest performance of the season," conceded Moyes. "There is not much more we can do than to keep practicing and doing better and hopefully the goals will then come." Moyes continued: "We have six strikers to choose from and we have to hope that they start putting the chances in. Performances are linked to results and we need some results now. "We have to remember the level of the players we were playing. "We should be a side that is higher in the table. We have the capability to be at the top level of the table, but it's easy for me to say that. Maybe this game has shown the players that they have not been at their top level for most of the season and make them ensure they can stay at that level." Tomasz Radzinski - making his first Premiership start in a month - spurned two of the best chances but agreed with his manager's assessment the Blues should have won.
"I think we played well," said the striker. "The chances we created were genuine ones and the only thing that was missing was the finishing. "It started from me in the first minute. I thought the ball was in and I'd already started running away to celebrate but then I saw the ball didn't go in. I couldn't believe it, I couldn't understand why or how. "That set the tone for the rest of the game. We gave Chelsea a good game, we played good football. "We were unlucky to lose the goal, especially as it looks like it was handball, and the game could have turned out completely differently had that not been allowed. "At half-time we believed we were the only team who could go on and win the game. We came out and I had another great chance, but it was a good save from Cudicini, and then they scored a few minutes later." Radzinski added: "We have to produce in front of goal and I am sure we will. We cannot keep having games like this where we dominate and do not score any goals. "As long as the football is as good we showed against Chelsea then I don't think we have anything to worry about in the next few games."
Gatecrashers take fizz out of sparkling Blues
By Len Capeling, Daily Post Nov 3 2003
TWO moments of misery - one at the very beginning, one at the very end of an intriguing afternoon - summed up Everton's stirring search for salvation First, Tomasz Radzinski, set free by a slip from John Terry and a pass from Thomas Gravesen, left Chelsea keeper Carlo Cudicini rooted as he drove the ball past him - and horribly wide of a gaping goal. Then, in the dying minutes, with Chelsea grimly guarding a precious one-goal advantage, Gary Naysmith - one of the Blues best - arrowed a ball to the far post where the waiting Francis Jeffers guided it wide of Cudicini - and on into a gobsmacked Gwladys Street. On any other day both chances might have ended up in the net. And deservedly so. But it's that word 'might' which is beginning to bother the Blue brotherhood in a season when none of their five strikers looks anywhere near sharp enough. Once again the openings were there as Gravesen and prodigal son Alex Nyarko helped ensure that David Moyes' pre-match promise of a battle royal came to pass. Everton were tremenedous in the first 45 minutes and only started to falter after the restless, raving Claudio Ranieri instillled some steel in a half-time harangue. The Blues were never in control after that as Claude Makelele and the no-nonsense John Terry began to tighten their grip on midfield and defence. But still there were opportunities for Moyes' men. None better than the swivel and shot from Radzinski - fed by Gravesen - which was electrifyingly repelled by a point-blank save from Cudicini. If Radzinski's face bore the look of a man who knows he should have stayed in bed, then imagine how he felt two minutes later when one of Chelsea's finest, the elegant, elusive Adrian Mutu started and finished a sweeping move that found Everton ball-watching. From a John Terry clearance, Mutu ferried the ball out to Geremi out on the right and then, with Naysmith stumbling, arrived in a blur to head past Nigel Martyn. There were cries of handball, but with Mutu about to crash to the ground you wouldn't expect his hands to be anywhere else but protecting his face. Jeff Winter - David Moyes' least favourite referee, and that's saying something - saw it as ball to hand, and, despite all Everton's hard graft, Chelsea had the initiative and the know-how to slow things down to their pace. Martyn saved things from getting much worse by making a superb save from the lurking Mutu after the ball was cleared from the Blues' goal-line. A second goal would have been harsh in the extreme. But suddenly Chelsea were playing with some comfort and the languid Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink - a scourge in the past - drove over, Nyarko managed to get his body in the way of a Lampard volley enabling Martyn to save, Mutu fed Joe Cole who dragged his shot off target, and Hasselbaink, again, and Geremi both fired wide.
Both sides could have won it, Ranieri graciously conceded, no doubt recalling Nyarko's thunderous 30-yarder that twanged the crossbar, and Wayne Rooney's chip from distance over an empty net.
David Moyes will have had mixed emotions. Everton deserved to share the spoils having burned so brightly in the opening stages when an experimental Chelsea side couldn't get their bearings. But as at Anfield, when Chelsea began just as disjointedly, they got better as the play stretched out and ended up creating as many openings as their hosts. The difference was that Chelsea always looked capable of finding a way past the dependable Martyn, while Everton never got better than blunt ahead of Aintree's party of the year. Carlo Cudicini made a terrible blunder to hand Arsenal the three points in Chelsea's only defeat of the campaign. Here he made outstanding stops from Radzinski, and Gravesen late on, and never faltered. "He's a great keeper and a great man," said Ranieri - and you could see what he meant. These are the kind of games that truly test out your title pretensions. No team wins the championship without outstanding footballers and outstanding fighters. Slowly but surely, Chelsea are finding a balance and a blueprint. It's not there yet, as feisty Everton showed. But smash-and-grabs are just as important as five-goal walkovers. They show you what you have to do to be strong and successful. Everton played as well as they've played under the inspirational leadership of David Moyes - now as big a target of genuinely ambitious clubs as the mercurial Rooney - but ended up with just a slap round the chops. But then 12 goals for in 11 matches tells its own bleak story. Hence the worried expressions. Those worries don't extend to relegation, not if Everton continue to perform at this impressive level. But someone has got to start putting the goals away very soon or the last thing on anyone's mind will be celebration parties. At Aintree or otherwise.
I'm engaged, says party boy Rooney
By Petra Mann Daily Post Correspondent
Nov 3 2003
EVERTON Football Club's star striker Wayne Rooney celebrated his 18th birthday in style with a lavish party at Aintree race-course. The England hero was joined by 200 guests at the star-studded event. As a result of a tie-in with OK magazine, Rooney will donate his £100,000 magazine rights to Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital, where he is now a celebrity patron. And romantic Rooney, who grew up in Croxteth but now lives in West Derby, used his 18th birthday celebrations to officially announce his engagement to childhood sweetheart Coleen McLoughlin. Everton team-mates including James McFadden, Niclas Alexandersson, Gary Naysmith and Steve Watson turned out to make the party go with a swing despite the team's 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea on Saturday.
Guests were ferried to the party at the racecourse's executive suite in seven people-carriers with the words "Rooney, Street Striker" daubed in large lettering down the sides of the vehicles. Party-goers walked up a sweeping 20ft blue carpet to the Princess Royal Stand which was concealed by a large white screen with "Rooney is 18" projected in 10ft letters. Guests were able to enjoy a flutter throughout the night as 12ft x 12ft TV screens showed horse racing from around the world. Guests included stars from the world of pop and television including Atomic Kitten and cast members from Coronation Street and EastEnders as well as Rooney's favourite band, Busted. Preparations for the party on Saturday night took two days. Staff spent several hours unloading a reported 100 bottles of champagne. England players including Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes were also on the guest list, although Rooney's boss at Everton, David Moyes, was absent.
He has been anxious to keep Rooney away from the showbiz life-style and has made no secret of his desire for the party not to go ahead. David Beckham was invited to the celebration but was unable to attend as he was preparing for a Real Madrid match. Everton fan Stephen Johnson, 15, from Kirkby, who suffers from cystic fibrosis and has been treated at Alder Hey Hospital since birth, also attended the event.
* FOR exclusive coverage of the star-studded 18th birthday party, don't miss the new issue of OK! Magazine, on sale Wednesday, November 5.
By Shaun Cox Daily Post Nov 3 2003
AFTER seeing how unlucky Everton were against Chelsea, surely it is now a matter of time before the Blues give a team a good thrashing. David Moyes' side were not outclassed by any means and the one thing the manager must do is try and keep the players' confidence up at the training ground, tell them how proud he was of them and to keep up the hard work and they will be rewarded.
I am sure the ginger-haired Scotsman will do just that. Alex Nyarko again impressed, his effort in the first half would have been a contender for goal of the month, but his well-struck shot cannoned back off the bar and was not to be. The one person who frustrates me is Tomasz Radzinski, who has all the attributes to be a top striker apart from one thing, his finishing ability. He had a wonderful chance in the first minute of play and wasted it from around 10 yards out. He needs to put that right by spending extra time on the training pitch practising finishing or he will eventually be left out the side. Francis Jeffers replaced Radzinski in the second half. The on-loan striker lacks confidence and the header he missed from four yards will not do him any good. More practise for him, I feel, and a couple of months of weight training is required to build his frame up to standard. Overall, most Evertonians must be pleased with the performance on Saturday, myself included. Let's hope our luck changes when we face Blackburn next week and see the real David Moyes' Everton climb up the table.
Everton 0, Chelsea 1 (Echo)
Nov 3 2003 By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park
THE wealthy owner had darted up from London for the game and he was not disappointed. The quality of the football was top class - justifying every penny he has put into the club and all the faith he has shown in the manager. The hard work and late nights during the summer to provide the boss with extra numbers in his squad had been worth it. Because on Saturday the team proved there is now a great deal of strength in depth. And so as the owner left the ground at the final whistle to head back down to the capital he deserved to do so with a smile on his face. But he didn't. Instead, Bill Kenwright left shaking his head trying to work out how the millionaires from Chelsea had hijacked the game and robbed his side of the victory they richly deserved. A controversial handled goal from Adrian Mutu provided the visitors with all three points. Roman Abramovich has invested obscene sums of money on playing personnel in the last few months, but on this showing his spending didn't stop there. It seems the Russian billionaire also put his hand in his ridiculously deep pocket to pay out for a nice big dollop of good fortune. Because his club was second best to Everton on Saturday. It was a travesty that they left Goodison with all three points. But while Evertonians deserve to feel aggrieved about the result and the nature of the winning goal, they also deserve to feel let down by the quality of the finishing from their heroes. The Blues did not score a league goal in the month of October and now November has started in the same vein. Tomasz Radzinski twice, Kevin Kilbane, Wayne Rooney and Francis Jeffers all missed glorious opportunities. Chance after chance went begging. When you are playing a side of Chelsea's obvious quality, you almost expect to be punished for that kind of profligacy. In the 49th minute, they were. Geremi crossed from the right, the ball deflected off Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and was headed in at the back post by Mutu.
Replays revealed the striker tripped Linderoth, his marker, as he charged into the area and then headed in off his arm to score. It shouldn't have stood. But had Everton not been so poor in front of goal it would not have mattered. Shooting practice should be top of the agenda this week. Without it, all the good football in the world is not going to lead Everton into a league position befitting their quality. Before Saturday's game the Barclaycard statistics (okay, yawn if you want to) showed Everton have scored from 20% of their efforts at goal. If only that ratio had been maintained.
It is somewhat ironic that after such an outstanding performance, Everton should get nothing from the game. And yet in the last home league match against Southampton, when the football on show was horrific, they garnered a point. The wastefulness in front of goal is now in danger of sucking the club into real trouble. No goal and no victory from the last four league games already means the Blues are occupying a place in the bottom five. By the time they face Blackburn at Ewood Park a week tonight things could be even worse. And yet, as the side slips further down the table, I cannot help feeling optimistic about the future - provided they build on Saturday's display. It was some of the best football we have seen from the Blues this season. The manager warned after the Charlton victory in the Carling Cup last week that he could sense his side was coming into form. Saturday's display confirmed that assessment. The fact they are doing so despite an injury list as long as your armis refreshing. Despite the absence of Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone, Richard Wright, Kevin Campbell, Scot Gemmill, Lee Carsley and Duncan Ferguson, Everton did not look weak. Alex Nyarko bossed the centre of midfield during the opening half. After 31 months away from the action because of the infamous events at Highbury, Nyarko has returned and looks like a completely different player. He wasn't hiding from the action. He wasn't scared to get stuck in and he even went closest to scoring, sending a swerving, dipping effort from 25 yards crashing against the underside of the crossbar in the 23rd minute. In fact, he displayed the kind of quality which suggests he may yet have a decent future on Merseyside. And he did that against a World Cup winner and an England international in the formof his life. With Thomas Gravesen playing in a narrow right-sided position and Kilbane adding width and quality on the left, Everton dominated possession and, crucially, looked creative. Nyarko and Gravesen needed only 40 seconds to split open the Chelsea defence for the first time, the Danish international sending Radzinski through with a neat pass which left John Terry on his backside. It should have been a goal. Had this not been Radzinski's first start in a month it could have been. Instead, the Canadian international dragged his effort wide of the post. Little did we know at that time the miss had set the tone for the afternoon. Everton's quick tempo and slick pass and move approach caught the visitors napping. For the opening 20 minutes they were shell-shocked as the Toffees came at them time and again. Kilbane sent a header from close range narrowly over, Davie Weir should have had a penalty when he was bundled over by Terry and Rooney chipped over an unguarded goal from 30 yards after Carlo Cudicini had made a pig's ear of a clearance. They were all chances which should have led to goals. And the anxiety in front of the sticks went on to spread to players you would normally expect to be clinical. In previous weeks you could have argued that the best chances had been falling to the wrong people. Not on Saturday.
One passing move of top-notch quality between Kilbane and Gary Naysmith in the 83rd minute ended with the Scottish full-back chipping a delightful ball to the back post for Franny Jeffers.
It was the kind of chance he has been crying out for since returning to Goodison - the kind of chance he would normally bury without a second thought. Instead, his downward header from five yards skipped wide of the target with Cudicini beaten. It is a worry. So many top class strikers and still no cutting edge. Radzinski was teed up by Gravesen again 25 seconds into the second period but his powerful effort on the turn was well saved by Cudicini. Gravesen was frustrated by the Italian keeper himself deep into injury time. It was the last chance of a frustrating afternoon. But it needn't have been that way. Everton have more attacking options than most sides in the division, Chelsea included. They should be finding the target with unerring regularity. But without the experience of Kevin Campbell, a calming influence and a player whose value to the team is under-valued, the forwards don't look confident. Even Rooney, so often the hero in the big games, couldn't muster something special. The return of Campbell cannot come soon enough. Thankfully, he should be okay for the trip to Ewood Park. With the Lancastrians also desperate for points, it is sure to be a tense night. But, for once, the forwards will need to stay cool.
We'll find the money
Nov 3 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has opened the door for a January swoop for Sean Davis. Everton's hopes of acquiring the £5m-rated Fulham midfielder seemed to have been scuppered by the admission from chairman Sir Philip Carter at last Thursday's AGM that the club needed to sell to buy. But Kenwright, the club owner and vice-chairman, believes some creative accounting and spreading the payment over a number of years could land the player manager David Moyes covets most. "These days you don't have to sell a £5m player to buy a £5m player," revealed Kenwright today. "All you have to do is, in going out and getting that player, make sure you've got enough this year and the next year and the year after that, and that you don't one year build up so much future hope that you come a cropper like Leeds. "You've just got to keep on keeping it tight and keep on balancing those books and that is what David and I talk about all the time." A cruciate knee injury prevented Davis completing a £5m deal to join the Blues in August. Moyes has made no secret of his desire to resurrect a deal for the player when the transfer window re-opens, despite spending £ 2. 75m on transfer deadline day to bring four new faces to the club. Kenwright added: "I don't think anyone out there should be thinking the gates are closed at Everton Football Club because they are not.
"Forty-thousand supporters know the problem and what we need. We still need what we needed last season. We know that, so we have to find a way of making it happen. "The Chairman did say that we have to sell to buy and he is 100 per cent right but you can, as David and I have shown, be quite clever in your buying and your selling." Meanwhile, the Blues have been hit by the news that experienced defender David Weir is facing up to six weeks on the sidelines after spraining medial ligaments. The Scot was replaced by Alan Stubbs midway through the first-half of Saturday's home defeat to Chelsea after sustaining the injury. Manager David Moyes confirmed today: "Davie will be out for between four and six weeks. "It is a blow. He was just starting to get into his stride again after coming back into the team. "It is one area where we don't have a lot of strength in depth but we have Peter Clarke and hopefully Alessandro Pistone will be back in about three weeks."
Tomasz Radzinski was also in need of treatment this morning after sustaining a knock on the hip but the Canadian international is expected to resume full training later in the week. Weir's injury has rubbed salt into the wound of Saturday's defeat. But the manager is insistent that the goals will come, despite having failed to find the target in the last four league games. He added: "There is not a lot more we can do other than keep practising. "I believe in the players we have and the goals will come." Meanwhile, Everton have had to shelve plans to spend the forthcoming international break in Dubai. The club had been in negotiations with a club in the Middle East to play a friendly match to mark the opening of a new stadium. However, the match will not now take place because the ground will not be ready in time.
Rooney has Euro vision for Blues
Nov 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has set a Euro target for Everton, despite Saturday's defeat leaving the Blues languishing near the relegation zone. Rooney, who fired a blank against Chelsea, remained upbeat, saying: "I think that we can qualify for Europe. If we get our game together and play as well as we can then we're capable of beating anyone. "I want to play in Europe with Everton and hopefully we can get there in the next few years. "Going away with England has helped my game. International football is a completely different standard to club football and most of the players involved with England have played in the Champions League or in Europe with their clubs. "That's made me hungry for that experience with Everton." Rooney added: "As a team we've been disappointed with the start we've made, particularly after we played so well last season. "There's a lot more pressure on us to do well this season than there was last season, so I'm disappointed that we've only got 10 points. "We have been capable of getting more points than what we have done and I think we should be higher up the table." Manager David Moyes agreed: "We're in the wrong half of the table, but if we play like that we will not be in the bottom half for long. "I've had a chance to look at their goal again and I felt it was hand-ball, but you can make your own mind up. "We have made more chances against Chelsea than against many lesser teams. In many ways it was a top-notch performance. "But we cannot miss that many chances."
No doubting Thomas now
Nov 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHAT do the following have in common? Peter Reid, Kevin Ratcliffe, Dave Watson, Gary Lineker . . . and Thomas Gravesen. The last one's the give away, really. While the first four hold claims to be included in any vote for greatest Everton players of all-time (and Lineker wouldn't get a vote on my ballot, but that's a different story), it's Gravesen's inclusion which gives the game away. All, quite amazingly, have fallen foul of that curious creature who feels compelled to show his love for the club by singling out one individual and subjecting them to vitriolic abuse. Gravesen is the current object of the boo boys' ire. Sure, he gives pos-session away with alarming regularity, he's that suspicious breed, a badge kisser, and they're still searching for that free-kick against Southampton. But even below par and for 64 minutes playing out of position, he showed during Saturday's smash-and-grab raid by Chelsea why he is still one of Everton's most influential figures. Only the Sunday Mirror claimed he played well. Man of the Match? When the admirable Naysmith, the majestic Yobo, the careering Kil-bane and the surprisingly rejuvenated Nyarko were on the pitch? Of course he wasn't. But he kept going throughout, and when you looked for flashes of class he was usually around.
He slid the precision pass through for Radzinski to duff just 43 seconds into the match, superbly set up the same man even more quickly into the second half, and slalomed through the middle in the 91st minute to scud a shot which Cudicini just about scuttled to safety. The fact is that Gravesen offers the only hint of something different in Everton's engine room - and unless the current shop-window selection of Alex Nyarko can tempt somebody into a January bid, is their only solid saleable asset (birthday boy apart, of course). But off-loading Gravesen would only create more problems than it would solve. He cost a cut-price £2.5m, he has the versatility to switch to the problem right flank when necessary, and he wants to stay at Everton. He was genuinely miffed when I asked him pre-season about his desire to stick around at Goodison. "Which foreign player has played the most for Everton?" he barked in that curious yelping way of his. "It is me. I love it at Everton and I want to stay here. You'll see." He recently became the first foreign footballer to top 100 games for the club and even during patchy form, his commitment has been admirable, while the badge-kissing should be seen as a cry to be loved rather than phoney affection for the club. It wasn't his fault Everton faltered again on Saturday. Once again the burden of responsibility had to be borne by the forwards.
Everton created chances, and plenty of them. "Rascal chances," David Moyes called them afterwards, which means that even he - a no-frills, lower-division centre-half throughout his playing career - thought he might have buried at least two of them. The frustration for Moyes is that his side played well - certainly better than their illustrious visitors - and created opportunities which fell to the players he would have wanted them to, i.e. the strikers. But just like Kevin Campbell against Southampton and James McFadden in the same game, on Saturday Tomasz Radzinski (twice), Wayne Rooney and Francis Jeffers missed their chances. Those misses have simply cranked up the pressure for Everton's next fixture. The Blues could feasibly find themselves in the bottom three by the time they make the short trip to Blackburn a week tonight. That's the kind of must-win pressure Evertonians haven't endured for 18 months and David Moyes hasn't faced since he first stepped into the hot-seat at Goodison. But he has the players to swiftly accelerate away from that position - and Thomas Gravesen is one of them.
Kilbane fires a warning
Nov 3 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S league results from the last month don't make pretty reading. They have failed to score in their last four matches and are without a Premiership win since September. But what those statistics won't tell you is how well David Moyes' men are playing at the moment. Following the impressive midweek victory over Charlton in the Carling Cup, the Blues outclassed their mega-rich guests from Chelsea on Saturday, only to suffer a 1-0 defeat. The result was a bitter pill but, according to Kevin Kilbane, the quality of the football provided further evidence that Everton are coming into form. The Irish international knows what it is like to play in a side at the wrong end of the table. He was relegated with Sunderland last season. But he is adamant Everton have the quality to put together a run of results good enough to guide them into a far more comfortable position in the table. He would love that run to start at Ewood Park next week. "Blackburn aren't in the best of form themselves at the moment but we can't give any less than we gave against Chelsea," he insisted. "The result may not have gone our way but we have to look to build on that performance and get the right result at Blackburn. "If we can maintain that form I would like to think we can move right up the table. "You are going to get your ups and downs along the way but I have been impressed with the performances of the teamas a whole since I arrived. "We just have to get one or two more goals to push us up the table. We came in at half-time on Saturday disappointed we weren't a couple of goals up to be honest. "I missed a glorious chance to score. So afterwards we were naturally very disappointed with a defeat when we felt we should have won. "We have got some very good players here and I think people probably over-look that sometimes. It has certainly opened my eyes since I came to the club." The biggest problem for Everton at the moment is in front of goal. They have fired a blank in each of the last four matches, though the points have continued to rack up because there have been two clean sheets in those matches. Kilbane has faith in the strikers at the club to turn things around and start producing goals. "We are having one or two chances at the moment without scoring, but you start to worry when you are not creating chances. "It is an old cliche, but that is a positive we have to take from the situation at the moment.
"It is only a matter of time before they start going in the back of the net. "And we should have come off with another clean sheet against Chelsea. A lot of the lads felt it was hand ball when they scored. It was certainly a dodgy one and it was probably the only real chance they had in the whole match to be fair. "They had a bit of possession in the second half once they had gone in front, but we kept creating chances and the manner in which we lost the game is so disappointing. "The manager said we didn't deserve that result and he was right. We are playing well, looking solid and teams aren't creating many chances against us. "Each position is covered with a player of equal quality if someone is out or injured. That is what you need in this league. "We have a lot of players here who you may not necessarily have heard too much about but they have certainly impressed me." Good performances in the last two games have given fans justifiable cause to be optimistic." Now it is time for those performances to be matched by positive results.
Ex-Blues star Tony signs for Runcorn
Nov 3 2003 By David Bassett, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Tranmere and Everton defender Tony Thomas has joined Runcorn. The 32-year-old, a former Tranmere team-mate of assistant Runcorn boss Eddie Bishop, has signed for the Halton Stadium club on a non-contract basis to end a 12-month spell out of the game. Linnets player-boss Chris Lightfoot said: "Tony doesn't want to go full-time and is happy to play part-time. "We will give him 20 minutes against Burscough on Tuesday." Meanwhile, Runcorn stormed into the second round of the FA Trophy with a 7-0 demolition of Bishop Auckland at Halton Stadium on Saturday.
There were two goals each for leading scorer Steve Daly, who took his total for the season to 10, and Ged Courtney, while Adam Carden, Barry Hogan and Tom Spearitt were also on target in the club's biggest win since a 9-0 home victory over Enfield in March 1990. "We have been threatening to give someone a good hiding, but we weren't getting the rub of the green," said Light-foot. Marine 1, Bamber Bridge 0: The Mariners also made Trophy progress against UniBond First Division opponents.
Roly Howard's men made amends for their recent shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Dunston Federation Brewery as Tommy Taylor headed home the winner with 11 minutes remaining.
"We should have had three or four goals in the second half, and 1-0 flattered Bamber Bridge," said Howard. Alfreton Town 0, Prescot Cables 0: Cables pulled off one of the results of the round to bring Premier Division high-fliers Alfreton back to Valerie Park for a replay tomorrow. It was a battling performance by Tommy Lawson's First Division side. And the delighted manager said: "We defended very well and had as many chances over the 90 minutes as they did. I think it is well within us to finish the job." Cables came close to winning at the first attempt only for Steve Torpey to be denied by a keeper Lee Butler in the last minue. Southport 2, Worksop Town 3: The Sandgrounders' second straight defeat lost them further ground on the UniBond PremierDivision's leading pack. Liam Watson's men were sunk by a goal two minutes from time after twice coming back from behind.
Mark Haran gave Worksop an interval lead only for substitute Lee Mulvaney to fire Southport level with his first touch in the 65th minute. Simeon Bambrook restored the visitors' lead nine minutes from time but Peter Thomson grabbed a second equaliser for the home side. But Bambrook struck with his second goal to give Worksop the points. Bradford Park Avenue 6, Vauxhall Motors 2: Vauxhall were today hoping to end their five-week search for a new manager after conducting interviews yesterday. The Wirral club's problems on the pitch continued with a second heavy defeat in the space of four days as Bradford stormed to their first home league win of the season.
It was the Motormen's biggest defeat in their three-year UniBond career and left the Rivacre Road club with 11 goals conceded in two games and without a win in six. Andy Hayward netted twice for Bradford, with Steve Oleksewycz, Simon Collins, Ryan Crossley and Danny Walsh also on target. Kevin Lynch and Nicky Young replied for Vauxhall.
Wright's move to cure knee problem
By Richard Williamson, Daily Post Nov 4
WRIGHT is to turn to the man who has helped saved the careers of some of the world's top players in a bid to find a cure for his troublesome knee injury. The Everton goalkeeper has been sidelined by the problem which only flares up during long-range kicking and has now turned to Dr Richard Steadman in an effort to find the cause. The pair - along with the Blues head physio Mick Rathbone - will meet up in London tomorrow after the former Arsenal goalkeeper underwent scans in the capital yesterday. Knee specialist Dr Steadman helped put Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistlerooy back on the road to fitness and Wright is hoping for a similar outcome after being dogged by injury since August. Rathbone said: "The scan seems to show that the knee was functioning normally and there is nothing significantly wrong with the joint itself. "The symptoms he's getting seem to be more of an annoyance than anything seriously untoward with his knee. "We are looking forward to meeting Dr Steadman as he is one of the world's most eminent knee specialists and we're confident he'll be able to get to the bottom of the problem and Richard will be back playing as soon as possible." A scan has also confirmed that captain David Weir suffered a medial ligament strain after being injured during Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and he now faces four to six weeks out of action. The 33-year-old defender went down in a challenge with Chelsea striker Adrian Mutu during the first half of Saturday's Premiership clash at Goodison Park. And yesterday's scan in Manchester confirmed the Blues fears about the extent of the damage. It is another blow to Everton, who have gone four Premiership matches without a win and have played six hours and 38 minutes since their last goal. After slipping to 16th in the table, just two points off the bottom, they now face a crucial run of games in November against fellow bottom six rivals Blackburn (away), Wolves (home) and Bolton (away). Now they will have to do without the services of captain David Weir for that spell.
Look to youth
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 4 2003
Look to youth
THREE points from the drop zone, but still only five or six from a respectable top half of the league. Seems there are more clubs than just Everton struggling this season. I think we will come good soon, but my only gripe is: why can't Moyes try one or two of the youngsters when everybody else is firing blanks. This would surely give the so-called first-team players a kick up the backside. Why not do a Rooney and give the kids a chance for ten or 15 minutes. It is also sad that the opportunity to kick out the board has been missed again. Surely £1.5million from each would help our manager no end.
Kenny Jones, Llandudno
Best for years
LET'S stop questioning and doubting the Everton team. We all know the dead wood needs to go, but who will buy it? We've all got our own transfer targets as well but the truth is we have the best young manager in the world and he will do us all right. If you're not happy with things, just remember every season since 1991!
I Lloyd, Walton
Raiders of lost art
WHAT'S going on? Players brought in to improve the team, even Nyarko back, Rooney supposed to develop and set the place alight. All I can see is a struggling strike-force and you can't blame bad luck all the time. If we finish mid-table or worse with no cup, that's improvement is it?
Paul Creb, Wigan
Smash and grab
HIGHWAY robbery by the millionaires. Even their "goal" was a handball, which as usual half the ground could see (it was even pretty clear from my usual perch in the Upper Bullens) but not the linesman, who was also at fault for calling us offside when clean through. Lots of positives from the game. Yobo was a giant and had Hasselbaink in his pocket all afternoon. How many teams get a standing ovation after losing 0-1! Got to keep that tempo up against Blackburn. The goals will come.
Steve Jenkins, (via e-mail)
THE declaration by Paul Gregg that he favours groundsharing needs closer scrutiny. Having financial muscle is all well and good, but if that resource remains untapped, what's his objective? The time for speculation must give way to a clear message to all concerned; what is being planned by the board to help facilitate an improvement in the club's on-field fortunes and what timetable will be allowed for this? Moyes has worked wonders with the talent pool at his disposal, but there's surely a limit to his, as well as the fans' patience. Is it too much to ask for a firm announcement of direction? I think not.
Jim Rowlands, Colwyn Bay
Lack of ambition
AFTER Everton's indifferent start to the new season, it is now clear that we are paying the price for a terrible lack of ambition in the transfer market back in the summer. Although he will not say so publicly, David Moyes must be tearing his hair out at the lack of quality in the Everton midield which is proving the difference between winning and losing games. It was telling that in the recent game against Leeds United, Bill Kenwright was the only Everton board member who could be bothered to stand up and applaud hat-trick hero Steve Watson when he was substituted shortly before the end.
This shows just how indifferent the other directors at Everton are towards the team and explains the resulting lack of financial support given to the manager.
Gareth Hughes, Childwall
Don't blame big spenders
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post Nov 4 2003
FAR from ruining the Premiership, Chelsea's millionaires club have given the race for the title an extra dimension. Sure, they have been fortunate to have a rouble-rich benefactor in the shape of Roman Abramovich . But even one of the biggest spending sprees the Premiership has ever seen has not fuelled a crazy spiralling of transfer fees. These days most clubs have a ceiling to their transfer dealing. It is not just about being able to afford the transfer fee, but the whole package that goes with it, including players' wages and agents' fees. Most clubs have a limit they cannot go beyond.
That is why Paul Gregg's assertion at the Everton AGM last week that the Chelsea experience is not good for the game is wide of the mark. Having been put on the spot over his investment - or lack of it - in the club, I am sure his comments were designed to take some of the pressure off him.
Chelsea have made the title race more entertaining and are pulling the crowds where ever they go and, as they showed with a resilient win over a determined Everton side, they are genuine contenders for the top prize. More worrying for Evertonians was the statement from chairman Sir Philip Carter that they would need to sell before they can buy any more players, particularly in the light of David Moyes' continued interest in Sean Davis. Vice-chairman Bill Kenwright has since moved to reassure fans there are ways and means to finance any move for the Fulham midfielder when the transfer window re-opens in January. Which is just as well because with the present state of the transfer market it is difficult to see who the Blues could cash in - with the obvious exception of Boy Wonder. Everton fans need a lift after slipping closer to the relegation spots with the defeat to Chelsea. So they should draw encouragment from the display of the team on Saturday. Against the majority of Premiership clubs it would have ended in a comfortable win. It's important they now carry that level of performance through with them into the next phase of the season. They are hard to beat again and are still creating a lot of chances, so the portents are good but they need to start picking up points. Vital matches against Blackburn and Wolves should yield a minimum of four points as Everton will want to avoid being dragged into the mire. It is still early days and there are worse teams in the Premiership than Everton. They have quality and backbone to their side but need to find the tempo of last season again. It is no surprise they tailed off in the closing weeks of last season after overwhelming teams with their workrate for much of the campaign, but it is important they rediscover that level of performance, as they did against Chelsea. I also expect next Monday's opponents, Blackburn, to improve because, like Everton, they have some strength in depth. Everyone said West Ham were too good to go down last year, but they looked poor at the back and teams played through them in midfield. Everton and Rovers are strong in these areas, although a lack of goals is the main worry right now. And one they will want to put right quickly.
Nyarko recall hard-earned
HAVE Everton discovered a new player on their own books? Alex Nyarko made a surprise return in the Carling Cup win over Charlton and did enough to keep his place against Chelsea, where he again impressed. No-one has ever doubted his ability - just his attitude - and, while two good games do not make a season, Nyarko could still offer the Blues another alternative. You can be sure David Moyes has not handed him a starting place as an act of charity. Nyarko will have earned the right for a second chance by working hard in training and if he has won over the manager he could emerge all the stronger for the experience.
Brown on target for second spot
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post Nov 4 2003
SCOTT BROWN hit the winner as Everton under-19s extended their unbeaten run to six games as they beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0 in the FA Premier Academy League at Netherton on Saturday.
The England youth international midfielder hit the winning strike for Neil Dewsnip's side on the hour-mark, finishing with a excellent volley after a superb cross from Joey Jones. Gavin Lynch should have added a second near the end, but Brown's effort - his second of the season - was enough to give the Blues the three points and lift them to second in Group A behind leaders Manchester City.
Coach Dewsnip said: "It wasn't a great footballing spectacle, but it was a hard-earned victory. It was more about character and determination than technical excellence. The bright bit would be our back four and goal-keeper, who were very solid. "If you were to single any player out it would be Anthony Gerrard. His performance was very mature and befitting someone who is in the reserves at the moment." Everton under-17s were replaced at the top of Group A for the first time this season after a 2-2 draw at Middlesbrough. Manchester United's 3-1 win at Wolves saw them go top. James Harris opened the scoring on the half hour with his fourth goal this season. He evaded two tackles then fired in a low left-foot shot from the edge of the box. Gary Ablett's side failed to add to their advantage and two controversial decisions in a five-minute period in the second half saw the home side take the lead with a penalty and a free-kick. Mark Hughes was adjudged to have brought down the Boro forward for the spot-kick, while a quickly-taken free-kick from 35 yards caught Blues keeper Craig Gallagher off his line. Ablett's young side did manage to salvage a point from the match when Christian Seargeant hit his second goal of the season as he curled a superb shot into the top corner with 15 minutes left. Coach Ablett said: "We completely dominated the first half and played some great football - it was as good as we have played in the last month or so. "It was disappointing to have dominated a game so much and not come away with the three points, but at least we showed a bit of character to get back in the game. The two midfielders - Christian Seargeant and James Harris - did particularly well."
Everton travel to Coventry City in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox; Brown, J Jones, Wilson, Booth (Thorbinson 80); Pascucci, Lynch (M Jones 80). EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Wright; Phelan, Harris, Seargeant, Boyle; Hopkins, Fowler (Vaughan 80).
We'll back Moyes
By Richard Williamson, Daily Post
Nov 4 2003
EVERTON owner Bill Kenwright last night moved to ease fears that manager David Moyes may miss out on his top target when the transfer window reopens in January. The Goodison Park boss has made no secret of his continued interest in Fulham midfielder Sean Davis. But chairman Sir Philip Carter warned last week's annual general meeting that the Blues must sell before they can add any new faces to their squad. However, with Everton desperate to add a midfield spark to a side which has tumbled perilously close to the relegation places, Kenwright has made it clear that he will support his manager's efforts to strengthen the squad further. Moyes missed out on the £5million-rated Davis in the summer after he picked up a serious knee injury in a pre-season friendly, but he has launched his comeback with a run of outings for Fulham reserves, which have been watched by Everton scouts. The manager's last-day flurry of transfer activity, which saw the arrival of Nigel Martyn, Francis Jeffers (loan), Kevin Kilbane and James McFadden, bit into his budget, but Davis remains on the wish list to help revitalise the Blues midfield. And Kenwright has pledged the board will do all they can to make that move come true - even though the club revealed losses of £13m in the year ending May 31 at last week's AGM. "The chairman did say that we have to sell in order to buy and he's 100 per cent right. But you can, as David and I have shown, be quite clever in your buying and selling," said Kenwright. "We brought in five players last year; we've brought in four this year for relatively little. "When I say relative - as the chairman said we spent £7m this year - and that's not counting the salaries, which is also new money that is added on to the overdraft.
"I don't think anyone out there should be thinking that the gates are closed at Everton Football Club - because they're not. "David and I will look at each other every single day and say 'Okay, this is the problem'. "You know the problem; I know the problem; 40,000 supporters know the problem and what we need. We still need what we needed last season. We know that, so we have to find a way of making that happen." And Kenwright has not ruled out the Blues renewing their interest in Davis early next year. "These days you don't have to sell a £5m player to buy a £5m player," he said.
"All you have to do is, in going out and getting that player, make sure you've got enough this year and the next year and the year after - and that you don't one year build up so much future hope that you come a cropper, like Leeds. "You've just got to keep on keeping it tight and keep on balancing those books, and that's what David and I talk about all the time." But he is determined to pursue all avenues to aid Moyes' teambuilding. He said: "I was very sad the Kings Dock dream did not come to fruition. We are now discussing a bigger capacity at Goodison. This is about getting extra revenue into the club so that David Moyes can have more transfer money. "Some of the money we bring in will be used to support yesterday's problems in terms of the losses we have made, but I want to put that behind us. This is not about profits, it's about cash flow so that David Moyes can have money for transfers. "We do not want to be average but to build on the seventh place of last year but it has got to sustained growth."
Why Ryan's Black and Blue
Nov 4 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERYONE knows that Evertonians are among the most loyal football fans in the country. We are continuing our search to find the True Blue youngsters who are prepared to go that extra yard to support the club. Every month we highlight a young Evertonian nominated as our Fan of the Year. At the end of the season a panel of Everton FC and ECHO judges will pick the most worthy candidate, who will win a VIP day at Goodison. This month we feature 12-year-old Ryan Black, of Bromborough. A season-ticket holder in the Park End, he has followed the Blues for more than six years. And he has done so despite split family loyalties - mum Wendy is an Evertonian, but dad Ian and younger brother Sean are both Reds. Ryan, who plays at right-back for Christleton FC on Saturdays, also travels to some away games. He said: "I've been to Middlesbrough, West Ham, Old Trafford and Manchester City when they played at Maine Road. So far this season Everton are not doing too well, but I reckon they will finish just a little bit lower than last season. "My favourite player is Tomasz Radzinski. He can skin defenders with his pace, but needs to work on his shooting."
Ryan's favourite matches were the 6-0 and 7-1 hammerings of West Ham and Southampton respectively at Goodison in the Nineties. Another memorable moment was when he was the Blues' mascot in last season's home match with Chelsea. Ryan said: "It was great to meet all the players in the changing room. We lost the game, but it was still a great day."
* If you know of a young Ever tonian deserving the Fan of the Year title, send their details to JBlue Fan of the Year, ECHO Sport, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool, L69 3EB. Remember to include the reason why you are nominating them, their name, JBlue member-ship number and a daytime phone number to contact their parents.
Unsworth rejects Blues' offer
Nov 4 2003 Exclusive By David Prentice And Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S longest serving player could be on his way out of Goodison. David Unsworth, who has made more than 300 appearances for the club since his goalscoring debut in 1992, has turned down a new one-year contract. His present deal expires at the end of the season, which means he could negotiate with other clubs as early as January. Unsworth has been asked to accept a pay cut, but Chief Executive Michae l Dun f ord explained: "We have made David a fair offer which he has rejected for now. There will not be another offer from Everton. "It does entail a pay cut, but that policy is pretty general through-out football now. "More realism is coming into the game and unless you are a megastar, and with all due respect to David he is not in that category, that's the way the game has to go." Unsworth has not figured in David Moyes' last three squad selections, but was almost ever present last term when he claimed the club record for successful penalty kick conversions. He is the only player to have been offered a new deal so far, out of a clutch whose present contracts expire in May. Scot Gemmill, Niclas Alexandersson, Paul Ger rard, Steve Simonsen, Peter Clarke, Sean O'Hanlon and Steven Schumacher all have six months left on current deals. Meanwhile, Moyes has revealed how the club has saved a fortune on air fares to get to the bottom of Richard Wright's knee problem. The keeper was in London today with physio Mick Rathbone to visit Dr Richard Steadman, the world's leading knee specialist who has previously saved the careers of Alan Shearer, Jamie Redknapp, Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Normally based in Colorado, Steadman is currently visiting the UK. The timing is ideal for Everton, who are keen to finally cure the left knee problem which has been troubling Wright. He suffered a relapse last week and underwent a scan yesterday which revealed no major problem with the joint. Moyes said: "We probably would have sent Richard to see Dr Stead-man in Colorado, so we are lucky that he is in London at the moment." In Wright's absence, Simonsen will be in goal for the reserves tonight at Middlesbrough. Also in the team is striker Francis Jeffers, who will be looking to rediscover his scoring touch after Saturday's miss against Chelsea. He will be partnered by Nick Chadwick in a side which will also include Leon Osman, Li Tie, Peter Clarke and Niclas Alexandersson. Duncan Ferguson is not included because he is still recovering from a respiratory problem.
Kilbane man of moment
Nov 4 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES likes to have one eye on the future and one eye on the present. That is why he chose to sign both James McFadden and Kevin Kil-bane on transfer deadline day back in August. When it emerged that versatile 20-year-old McFadden had been brought in with a view to playing wide on the left, questions were asked about the wisdom of investing in Kilbane as well. Also a left-sided midfielder, the Irish international is in direct competition with the talented McFadden. But the manager is happy with that situation. In much the same way as he protected Wayne Rooney from over-exposure last season by using Tomasz Radzinski, Moyes intends to use the 26-year-old Kilbane to help nurture the young Scot. Kilbane returned to the starting line-up at McFadden's expense for Saturday's home clash with Chelsea and won the manager's nod for man of the match. "Kevin has a very important role to play for us," admitted Moyes. "James McFadden has played on the left for us as well in recent weeks but he has been brought in for the future. "Kevin is here for now. We needed him for his experience and his stature and he has done well since coming in. "He is a good footballer and he gives us balance because he is naturally left-sided. He is strong and provides us with more height and presence in midfield. "There were four or five players who had really good games against Chelsea but Kevin Kilbane was outstanding." Meanwhile, Moyes' hopes of having further cash to spend on boosting his squad in the future have been buoyed by the admission from Bill Kenwright that plans to expand the capacity of Goodison are being examined. The vice-chairman revealed: "I was very sad the Kings Dock dreamdid not come to fruition. "We are now discussing a bigger capacity at Goodison. This is about getting extra revenue in so that David Moyes can have more transfer money. "Some of the money will be used to support yesterday's problems in terms of the losses we have made, but I want to put that behind us. This is not about profits, it is about cash flow so that David can have money for transfers. "We do not want to be average but to build on the seventh place of last year. But it has to be sustained growth."
Unsworth rejects new deal
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 5 2003
DAVID UNSWORTH yesterday rejected a new contract - as Everton signalled their intent for further cost-cutting. The defender, who is the club's longest-serving player, turned down a new one-year deal which would have meant him taking a pay cut. The Blues have insisted they will not offer another contract, and with Unsworth's current deal expiring at the end of the season, the 30-year-old will be able to speak to other clubs in January. The contract offer has underlined the club's willingness to further tighten their purse strings in an attempt to finance David Moyes' rebuilding plans. And it will act as a warning to the other players at Everton whose contracts expire in the summer. Chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We have made David a fair offer which he has rejected for now. There will not be another offer from Everton. "It does entail a pay cut, but that policy is pretty general throughout football now. "More realism is coming into the game and unless you are a megastar, and with all due respect to David he is not in that category, that's the way the game has to go." Unsworth has made more than 300 appearances for the club since his goalscoring debut in 1992. He was a virtual everpresent last term but has not been involved in the last three squads named by Moyes. Scot Gemmill, Niclas Alexandersson, Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen, Peter Clarke, Sean O'Hanlon and Steven Schumacher also have only six months left on their current deals but have yet to be offered new terms by the club. Meanwhile, Richard Wright will today seek the advice of Dr Richard Steadman in a bid to get to the bottom of the knee injury which has plagued him since August. Dr Steadman is one of the world's top knee specialists and has helped nurture the likes of Ronaldo, Alan Shearer and Ruud van Nistlerooy back to fitness. Wright will meet up with the American surgeon in London along with the Blues' head physio Mick Rathbone. The England international underwent surgery on a different knee injury at the end of last season and was back on the operating table in September for an exploratory operation which found nothing untoward.
He suffered a relapse last week and underwent a scan on Monday which revealed no major problem with the joint. Moyes said: "We probably would have sent Richard to see Dr Steadman in Colorado, so we are lucky that he is in London at the moment." Francis Jeffers was in action last night for the reserves as they won 2-1 at Middlesbrough. Nick Chadwick and Leon Osman netted the goals for a line-up which also included Li Tie, Peter Clarke and Niclas Alexandersson.
* FORMER Everton star Kevin Ratcliffe will be in WH Smith's Church Street store in Liverpool tomorrow between 12.30pm and 1.30pm signing copies of his new book, My Memories of Everton. The ex-Blues skipper will also be signing copies in WH Smith's Foregate Street store in Chester on Friday between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
Dave's Shanghai surprise is a treat
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post Nov 5 2003
'YOU never know what's around the corner in football, things always crop up," Dave Watson prophetically remarked a few months ago. The former Everton centre-half and captain was talking about the direction his career might take following a year's experience of management with Tranmere Rovers. But even Watson's capacity for expecting the unexpected was confounded by the Shanghai surprise that turned up this autumn. Watson was selected for a mission as Everton's front man in China, where the Goodison club are seeking to establish their name and brand in one of the largest potential markets in world football. This week, after returning from a successful five-day visit to Shanghai, Watson quipped: "I wasn't thinking that far around the corner." China has left a strong impression on the 41-year-old Liverpudlian who did a fair amount of travelling during his 14-year playing career at Everton. And he is in no doubt that Everton's profile around Shanghai, a vast city of 22 million people, is already prominent. Satellite TV brings the English Premiership into the homes of a Chinese population becoming increasingly enthusiastic about football and Everton boast a trump card in having a Chinese player, midfielder Li Tie, in the first-team squad at Goodison.
The Everton mission also included community officers Ted Sutton and Dave Connor, whose task was to help set up soccer schools for young Chinese players, together with marketing man Andy Hosey.
Watson explained: "Professional football in China has only been up and running for about 10 years and at grass roots level they don't have a structure in place yet. 'Ted and Dave, who have worked with kids for many years at Everton, were able to give the people in Shanghai an insight into how to go about getting things started. "I did some work with the under-16s and a lot of local coaches came along to the sessions to see what we were doing. They had some input of their own and that certainly opened our eyes. "The idea is to spread the Everton brand and make as many contacts as we possibly could. We met a lot of people from the Shanghai club. They were all keen to get involved with Everton so all the meetings went well." If the Everton party had any doubts about the popularity of Li Tie they would have been dismissed within a few minutes of arriving at Shanghai.
A giant billboard on the road from the airport carried an image of the player caressing a mobile phone and wearing the shirt of Chinese electronics giants Kejian, Everton's sponsors. Watson says: "We are a step ahead of a lot of English clubs over there simply because of Li Tie. He is a legend out there, his face is on all the billboards and the Everton name is getting about because of it.
"There's a lot of knowledge and interest in the Premiership and all the kids want to be the next Li Tie." The status of the 26-year-old midfielder is phenomenally high because until recently most of the star players in Chinese football have been foreign imports. A game that only took hold among the world's largest population a decade ago has not yet had time to develop its own heroes.
Watson explained: "The facilities provided by the top Chinese clubs are up there with the best in England. They are as good as you would find at Everton and Liverpool. "What they have not had is time for young players to be brought through and developed. "Clubs have been buying in ready made players from abroad, mostly from the west. "They are very well paid and looked after.
"Paul Rideout was here for a couple of seasons before he joined Tranmere a few years ago. He said he enjoyed the experience. "But what the Chinese really need is to get a structure to bring their own kids through so they can produce their own stars. "That's why they are interested in setting up academies and of course that's where Everton have the expertise to help." Watson's eyes were opened when he took a few hours away from the training grounds to take a look at Shanghai.
"It's like London but 20 times bigger," he says. "It's a wealthy city and full of contrasts. We visited a market place full of live animals and food stalls but in the buildings all around you could see the big businesses from all over the world are moving into the city. "I'm sure there will be more things happening in China for Everton. Our first visit was fantastic and generated an awful lot of interest. I expect more will be done to establish our foothold. It's a very exciting prospect."
Middlesbrough Res 1, Everton Res 2
Nov 5 2003 Daily Post
A LATE strike by Leon Osman secured all three points for Andy Holden's side as the Blues reserves ran out 2-1 winners. It was a difficult night weather wise at Billingham Synthonia's ground but the visitors were in charge from the start. Osman went close after 10 minutes when his long-range effort went just wide of the home goal and then Nick Chadwick, back in the side after injury, forced Turn-bull to save in the Boro goal. The home side threatened on a couple of occasions but Steve Simonsen was alert for the Blues. Turnbull thought he had thwarted Chadwick on 23 minutes only for Laurence Wilson to put the ball back into the area and Chadwick made sure on the second attempt to put the Blues in front. Francis Jeffers - also returning from injury - should have made it two but first his shot went just wide and then he saw Taylor clear off the line when a goal looked certain. Middlesbrough would not lie down, however, and fought their way back into the game on 63 minutes, Gary Smith steering a unstoppable shot past Simonsen from the edge of the box.
After the goal, the home side threatened the Everton goal on more than one occasion and at times the Blues lived a charmed life. Peter Clarke was on hand to clear a dangerous shot and Simonsen had to be on his mettle to deny Liddle. Everton though made the home side pay for their missed chances when Osman fired home another valuable winner for the Blues. Daniel Graham might have levelled for Boro in the dying minutes but could not get the ball on target.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Unsworth, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Alexandersson (Brown 75), Osman, Chadwick, Jeffers, A Moogan. Subs: Turner, Pascucci, Hughes, Wynne
MIDDLESBROUGH: Turnbull, McMahon, Taylor, Close, Harrison, Brunt, Smith, Liddle, Graham, Peacock (Wheater 88), Craddock (Kennedy 75). Subs: Van Geele, Knight.
Wright must play with pain
Nov 5 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT could be forced to play the rest of his career through the pain barrier if leading knee specialist Richard Steadman fails to find a problem with the goalkeeper's suspect joint in London. The Everton goalkeeper was being examined by the world authority on the injuries this afternoon. But Blues boss David Moyes admitted club officials were so far baffled. "He has had every form of scan imaginable, including one which is taken while he is actually in the act of kicking a ball - which is when he feels the pain. "Nothing has shown up so far, and there is a possibility that he may just have to try and play on with the pain. "Obviously, we want to avoid that, which is why he visited Richard Steadman today. We will see what he has to say and then take things from there."
Osman the hero as late goal seals it
Nov 5 2003 Liverpool Echo
LEON Osman was again Everton Reserves' striking hero, grabbing a late goal to secure all three points in a 2- 1 win at Middlesbrough. In difficult weather conditions at Billingham Synthonia's ground, the visitors, who included David Unsworth, Franny Jeffers and Nick Chadwick, deserved the points. Osman went close after 10 minutes and then Chadwick, back in the side after injury, forced Turn-bull to save. The home side threatened on a couple of occasions but Steve Simonsen was alert for the Blues. Turnbull thought he had thwarted Chadwick on 23 minutes only for Laurence Wilson to put the ball back into the penalty area. The striker made sure at the second attempt to put the Blues ahead. Jeffers should have made it two but first his shot went wide and then he saw Taylor clear. Middlesbrough fought their way back into the game on 63 minutes, Gary Smith steering an unstoppable shot past Simonsen. After the equaliser the home side threatened the Everton goal on more than one occasion but the Blues made 'Boro pay for their missed chances when Leon Osman fired home. EVERTON: Simonsen, Unsworth, B Moogan, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Alexandersson (Brown75), Osman, Chadwick, Jeffers, A Moogan. Subs (unused): Turner, Pascucci, Hughes, Wynne.
Ex-Blue apprentice Alex signs in at Chester
Nov 5 2003 Liverpool Echo
CHESTER City were today expected to complete the signing of the former Port Vale and Reading midfielder Alex Smith. The 27-year-old former Everton apprentice, who has been training with City for the past month, is ineligible for Saturday's FA Cup first round tie against Gravesend and Northfleet at the Deva Stadium, but he is likely to be included in the squad who travel to Morecambe in the Conference next Tuesday. This will be Smith's second spell with City, having spent the 1998-99 season at the Deva, making 32 appearances and scoring two goals.
City chairman Stephen Vaughan said: "The management and staff have been impressed with Alex during the period he has been training with us. "So we will sign him on, and possibly talk about an extended contract towards the end of the season." Meanwhile, Chester have lost out in the race to sign the Morecambe midfielder Adriano Rigoglioso, who has decided instead to join Third Division Doncaster Rovers.
Unsworth wants to remain at Goodison
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Nov 6 2003
LOYALTY SERVANT: David Unsworth celebrated his Goodison testimonial last season
DAVID UNSWORTH hasn't ruled out staying at Everton after revealing why he turned down a new contract at Goodison. The defender declined the offer of a new one-year deal earlier this week, the terms of which would have seen a cut in the player's salary. But the 30-year-old has insisted he rejected the contract as he is seeking a long-term deal - and not because of the money involved.
"The situation is very simple," said Unsworth, who has played all but one season of his career at Everton. "The club offered me a one-year deal and having just turning 30 I turned that down. The issue has never been about the pay cut. "I thought that maybe there could be a chance of another couple of years hopefully if I get back in the team and play well, and that's how it stands at the moment. "I want to reiterate the fact that not at one point was there ever any major discussions about the financial aspects of it. "The only issue here for me, as always having played for Everton, is that I want to stay as long as I could. " Unsworth has put any talk of a new contract on the back burner at present, as he concentrates of winning back his place in the Everton first team. The defender has not made an appearance for the Blues since the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur on October 4. And Unsworth revealed: "I've been offered a year and at the moment it's been declined and that's the way it stays. "I continue to do what I'm doing, which is try and get my place back and train as hard as I can and work a bit harder to try and get that opportunity again. "I'm confident that everything can be sorted to everyone's satisfaction without a shadow of a doubt, but the biggest thing to me is getting back in the first team. "The only way that I can make the situation change is by getting back into the side and playing football well. It's the only thing I can do and it's the only thing I will do." Unsworth added: "Never at one point have I thought about moving on. These things, 99 per cent of the time, are out of your hands. I left the club once before I knew very little about it, these things happen very quickly - it certainly did for me." Moyes, meanwhile, will discover today whether Richard Wright's trip to London has shed any light on why the goalkeeper is still troubled by a knee injury. Wright visited renowned knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman yesterday for a consultation in an attempt to find out why he is in such discomfort when he kicks the ball. Wright has undergone scans and an exploratory operation during the past five months but the Blues are still no nearer determining a cause. "He has had every form of scan imaginable, including one which is taken while he is actually in the act of kicking a ball - which is when he feels the pain," said Moyes. "Nothing has shown up so far, and there is a possibility that he may just have to try and play on with the pain.
"Obviously, we want to avoid that, which is why he visited Richard Steadman today. We will see what he has to say and then take things from there."
* EVERTON have confirmed their Carling Cup fourth round tie at Middlesbrough will take place on Wednesday, December 3 with an 8pm kick-off.
Night Bob the Pole outshone Rovers return
Phil Redmond Daily PostNov 6 2003
MONDAY'S crunch game at Ewood Park brings back memories of a number of classic away trips against the Rovers since they returned to the top flight on the back of Jack Walker's money.
One of the most memorable was the Toffees' first trip to East Lancashire for a league game in 27 years, back in September 1992, when Howard Kendall's mini-marvels turned in a top-notch performance to edge out the in-form new boys. In those days Ewood had yet to be redeveloped, so the 5,000 or so travelling Blues were crammed into the old Darwen End terraces. Possibly because it was Everton's first game at Blackburn for so long, and partly down to the easy accessibility of the place, it seemed that everyone who had ever been away with Everton turned up that night, with plenty of Blues looking for spares outside and many others looking to enter the ground by 'alternative means'! All of this made for a great atmosphere on a warm September night. Howard's Blues had started the season reasonably well and had already hammered champions-elect Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford and edged out future runners-up Aston Villa at Goodison thanks a late Mo Johnston strike. However, inconsistency was the name of the game and United had outclassed the Blues on the previous Saturday, triumphing 2-0 in the Goodison return. Rovers, meantime, were flying high with new record signing Alan Shearer banging them in from all angles.
On the evening in question it was a thriller, with Everton edging home after a dazzling performance from the mercurial Pole, Robert Warzycha. With his hunched shoulders and Lech Walesa moustache, Bob the Pole was an incongruous figure, but on his day he could be electric. With genuine quality and an Olympic sprinter's pace, Warzycha should have been an Everton great, but like his colleague, Peter Beardsley, he sometimes seemed two steps ahead of his teammates, and unlike the skilful little Geordie, Bob found it difficult to maintain any consistent level of performance.
As it was he set all sorts of records by the number of times he was substituted, and never made the impact that seemed assured on his arrival. At Blackburn, though, he was mustard, and after Alan Shearer 'fell' early on and converted from the spot, Warzycha ripped the Rovers defence apart and quickly created chances for Tony Cottee and John Ebbrell, who sent the Blues in 2-1 up at the interval, albeit without Mark Ward, who had been carried off with a broken leg. In the second half Blackburn piled on the pressure and after a string of Neville Southall wonder saves it was Shearer again, this time with a typical close-range flick. Another defeat seemed inevitable. Then, with about five minutes to go, Beardsley sent Bob the Pole racing away again and just when it seemed he had run out of space he managed to square for the poacher supreme, Cottee, to slot an easy winner.
The Darwen End went mad. Performances like this gave us great hope for 92-93. Little did we know it would be early November before we won again.
Wright nears end of injury woe
Nov 6 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT could finally be nearing the end of his knee injury nightmare. The 25-year-old keeper met with Dr Richard Steadman in London yesterday. Steadman, the world's leading knee specialist, did not provide a definitive answer to explain why the keeper has been feeling pain in his left knee when he kicks the ball. But he believes he knows where the problem lies and will let Everton know how to cure the situation next Monday after further scans have been examined at his clinic in Colorado. Everton's head physio Mick Rathbone revealed: "We had an informal meeting with Dr Steadman and he has had a look at the history of the injury and the video of Richard's last operation. "It was very positive and he gave us some valuable input as to what the problem might be. "He's asked for some further scans to be sent to his colleague in the United States for evaluation and we will be speaking again on Monday." Wright has been able to do his normal goalkeeping training while awaiting the outcome of the latest series of tests on the injury but he is unable to kick the ball long distances because of the pain it causes him. Rathbone added: "As we have said in the past, it is just frustrating because he is able to complete the majority of his training, he is just unable to kick the ball." Meanwhile, contrary to reports, Everton have not received an inquiry from Nottingham Forest for David Unsworth. The 30-year-old defender, who turned down a new contract offer earlier this week, has not been involved in the Blues' last four games. Forest are desperate for a left-back and reports this morning linked Paul Hart with a bid to take Unsworth on loan.
However, Everton have received no contact from the first division club and are keen to keep hold of the experienced defender.
* Everton have been drawn away to Coventry in the third round of the FA Youth Cup.
The tie will be played at Highfield Road at a date to be set but before Saturday, December 6.
Let's not polish off the cups
Nov 6 2003 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
A CHARLTON fan, interviewed on TV this week about his hopes for the rest of the season, said he'd like his team to go on a really good cup run. Not necessarily win a piece of knockout silverware - just get a good old sniff of some. He thinks Charlton have confirmed their status in the Premiership and would now, well, like to have a bit of fun. You know, bring a bit of straightforward happiness to the whole nerve-wracking thing. Yet if you listened to the experts who measure soccer success with far less humour, you'd probably say the guy's off his head. And tell him to realise Charlton remaining in the Premier League is a mightily more important achievement with which he should satisfy himself.
Fair point. But only to a point.
Because we now live in an era when many Premiership teams simply rush to rack up 40 league points as their only target. And then blow a huge sigh of relief as they relax for a few months before the sorry race for survival begins again. So that's what it's all about then, is it? Get off on hanging in? Of course, actually winning the Premiership remains the ultimate goal for the bigger clubs. And when it happens, as most Liverpool and Everton fans till recall, it sits in a satisfaction league of its own. All of the knockout competitions have recently had their critics. Many people call the League Cup a second-rate joke, and say the FA Cup has lost its romance, with Cup Final day now a shadow of its former self. Even ex-Liverpool captain Emlyn Hughes said the UEFA Cup wasn't worth winning nowadays. So unless you win the title you can write the season off and measure your success merely through survival - or perhaps qualification for the Champions League. While the knockout knockers do state a case, they've gone too far. Liverpool fans still crave the title and expect their club to be competing for it every season. But while doing so they had the time of their lives winning the cup treble in 2001 and relived the feeling again when they turned over United in the Worthington Cup back in May. Evertonians will recall that fantastic day in 1995 when they descended on Wembley complete with plastic blue nosesto do like-wise to United. And for all the critics of the Carling Cup, Everton would this season love to get to its final, enjoy a trip to Cardiff and hopefully get their hands on a prize they are still to win. Try telling Liverpool fans that tonight's game in Romania is a pointless exercise for Europe's also-rans. Or Tranmere fans that the FA Cup is well past its sell-by date when they entertain Chesterfield in the first round on Saturday. And the best of luck explaining to Evertonians when they head up the A1 to Teesside in December to face Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup that they are simply wasting their time. Winning cups - and getting near to winning cups - actually excites football fans. And surely we're all still in it for the fun too, aren't we?
It's about time says Unsy
Nov 6 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH turned down the offer of a new contract from Everton because he wasn't happy with just a one- year extension. The 30-year-old defender who has spent just one season away from Goodison in his entire career, is in the final season of his current deal. He has been offered a one year extension and a pay-cut to stay on at the club but the defender has turned down the deal.
Unsworth insists the decision was not based on money. "The situation is very simple," he revealed.
"The club offered me a one-year deal and having just turned 30 I turned that down. The issue has never been about the pay cut. "I thought that maybe there could be a chance of another couple of years hopefully, if I get back in the team and play well, and that is how it stands at the moment.
"I want to reiterate the fact that not at one point was there ever any major discussions about the financial aspects of it. "The only issue here for me, as always having played for Everton, is that I want to stay as long as I could." In order to boost his chances of making that a reality Unsworth needs to get back into the first team. He has not been included in the squad by David Moyes since the 3-0 defeat at Tottenham on October 4. Since then he has seen his left-back berth taken by Gary Naysmith, who has been in impressive form. But with David Weir facing up to six weeks on the sidelines with a medial knee ligament injury and Joseph Yobo expected to be missing for a similar period in the New Year because of the African Nations Cup there is likely to be no shortage of opportunities for Unsy to force his way back in. He added: "I continue to do what I'm doing, which is try and get my place back and train as hard as I can and work a bit harder to try and get that opportunity again. "I am confident that everything can be sorted out to everyone's satisfaction without a shadow of a doubt, but the biggest thing to me is getting back in the first team. "The only way that I can make the situation change is by getting back into the side and playing football well. It is the only thing I can do and that is the only thing I will do. "Never at one point have I thought about moving on. "These things, 99 per cent of the time, are out of your hands. I left the club once before and I knew very little about it, these things happen very quickly - it certainly did for me."
Blues striker rushed to hospital after scare
Nov 6 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON star Duncan Ferguson was rushed to hospital after coughing up blood. The Blues' star spent Monday night at Southport and Formby general after the health scare. He was discharged on Tuesday and is resting at home. The striker was sent home from Goodison Park before Saturday's home game against Chelsea, which Everton lost 1-0, with what was later described as "respiratory problems". The player had originally been pencilled in to start the match. He felt unwell at home on Monday and after coughing up blood was taken to hospital. He was checked over and eventually given the all-clear, but is unlikely to be well enough to figure in Everton's next match at Blackburn Rovers on Monday. Ferguson has been plagued by a variety of problems since he returned to Goodison from Newcastle in August 2000. He suffered a serious calf injury on his home debut and was out for four months but soon after his comeback sustained a broken hand tackling two intruders at his Formby home. A knee problem then brought his season to a premature end, while the following season was ripped apart by first ankle, then hamstring problems. Last season he suffered an excruciating lower back complaint and had only just forced his way back into the first team again when he was stricken by a serious chest infection.
Give youth chance
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 7 2003
A GOAL apiece again in the reserves this week for Nick Chadwick and Leon Osman. Any chance of a starting place on Monday for Everton against Blackburn? I doubt it. No goals in four league games tells its own story.
Tom Roberts, Liverpool
Blues' screen test
I'M rather concerned that the Blackburn game is live on Sky, as Everton play atrociously when televised. Also, I don't like the fact that we are playing a team that's had a bad run. Unsworth is one of many Moyes can unload. All these so-called Blues saying the club should sell Rooney are obviously out to lunch. If Everton seriously want to become a top club playing European football, then selling Britain's finest young footballer isn't the way to go. Liverpool and Manchester United don't sell their young talented stars do they? Rooney gives us Blues hope for the future. Sell him and it's back to relegation dogfights year after year. Oh, how some people have short memories.
J Rogers (via e-mail)
THE worrying aspect of Everton's early season form is the remarkable inability to score goals, despite having an abundance of talent in the team. Players such as Radzinski, Rooney, Ferguson, Campbell and Jeffers - who I do not think will win himself a contract at season's end - have disappointed us.
It is well and good to applaud the team's efforts, despite a home loss, however at some point in time points have to start accumulating otherwise we will be dragged into the relegation mire.
I hope that we do not imitate Ipswich's fate when they finished sixth, Burley won manager of the year and the next year they went down and he was fired.
Ajay Timothy (via e-mail)
THE game against Chelsea was an absolutely fantastic performance by Everton. We took them apart, but the only thing that was missing from the game was the three goals we should have scored: Radzinski's one-on-one, Rooney's free shot and Jeffers' header, which was harder for him to miss than score.Because I love Everton and I am a true devoted fan, I will be going down to Blackburn to watch us play and hopefully score a goal to see us creep away from the relegation zone. This season is not going to plan.
John Itie, Bootle
IS it just coincidence or has the 'Pembridge Effect' kicked in since he signed for Everton? Our fortunes have slumped to Fulham territory. Perhaps the 'white Pele' was under-rated when he was here. At least Gravesen didn't take all the free-kicks and corners back then.
Gerry Malone (via e-mail)
Time to believe
I JUST want Everton to put teams like Charlton, Blackburn, Villa, and Southampton in the shade.
I hate seeing teams of such mediocrity rise up the table when we are staying put. Bring on the self-belief blue boys, because Everton Football Club is better than this.
Peter Dowler, Liverpool
Len's in good nick
ONCE again, another letter congratulating Len Capeling on his recent article regarding Messrs Gregg, Carter and the other faceless wonders on the Everton board. As I have said over the years, keep up the campaign against this miserable shower, who are masterminding my great club's fortunes.
I would like to ask, as I was not present at the AGM, how do these people get reelected unopposed? It baffles me.
Terry Finnegan, Maghull
* To have your views considered for publication here and in the Liverpool Echo and Daily Post, post your thoughts on the messageboard by clicking the link below.
Ferguson 'all-clear' after scare
By Chris Wright, Daily Post Nov 7 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON has returned home to ease fears over his health after being admitted to hospital with a respiratory problem earlier this week. The Everton striker felt unwell after arriving at Goodison for last Saturday's Premiership clash with Chelsea. The 31-year-old Scot was forced to pull out of the Blues squad to face the Londoners and after being examined by the club doctor he was diagnosed with a condition known as Upper Respiratory Syndrome. Ferguson was ordered to go home and rest. But his condition deteriorated over the weekend so much that he was admitted to Southport hospital on Monday for precautionary inspection. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Duncan was taken ill prior to the game with Chelsea last weekend, which obviously meant he was unable to play. He was diagnosed with Upper Respiratory Syndrome and after complaining of feeling faint was admitted to hospital on Monday in order for some tests to be carried out. "He was given the all-clear and released from hospital the day after." The Blues are hopeful Ferguson can return to light training before or over the weekend, but they will monitor the forward closely before making any decision on his availability for Monday's match at Blackburn Rovers. Meanwhile, Richard Wright is hoping to finally find out the cause of his injury woes after meeting Dr Richard Steadman. The Blues goalkeeper travelled to see the world-renowned specialist, who is based in Colorado, USA, when he was in London this week. After several inconclusive scans and tests on his knee the 26-year-old is looking to Dr Steadman to finally bring an end to his ongoing problems. Both Wright and head physio Rathbone described the meeting with Steadman as 'positive'. And Rathbone said: "We had an informal meeting with Dr Steadman and he's had a look at the history of the injury and the video of Richard's last operation. "It was very positive and he gave us some valuable input as to what the problem might be. "He's asked for some further scans to be sent to his colleague in the United States for evaluation and we will be speaking again on Monday." Wright's problem has baffled the Blues' medical team. It doesn't stop Wright from taking part in full training but it has meant he has been unable to kick the ball long distances. Rathbone added: "As we've said in the past it is just frustrating because he is able to complete the majority of his training, he is just unable to kick the ball, which is obviously a problem when you are a goalkeeper."
defeat's showing the way forward
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post Nov 7 2003
THERE'S an old saying that declares that excuses are like earholes - everyone's got them. Or something like that. Anyway, talk is cheap in football and every Saturday managers and fans with rose-tinted glasses talk about the ifs and the buts and the ones that got away, when ultimately the score that's read out on sports report is all that matters. However, with all that said, if ever a team had reason to feel hard done to it was surely David Moyes' Everton last Saturday. Granted, certain individuals get paid to stick the ball in the back of the net and failed miserably, and dazzling shots which hit the woodwork count just the same as ones that fly into Stanley Park. But, to play as we did against the zillionaires of West London, creating more chances in 90 minutes than we have all season, and to then lose thanks to a goal off Adrian Mutu's armpit, well, it just didn't feel fair.
Moyes had said earlier in the week that he can spot the signs that we're getting back on track, and in truth they're there for those who choose to see them. The players are all working hard and doing the rudimentary things that the Moyes method is built on; while that's the case then the fans just need to show a bit of patience. It's extremely disappointing to see someone like Thomas Gravesen getting such unmerciful stick from the gallery when he's creating far more openings than his illustrious opponents, the multi-million pound Joe Coles and Claude Makeleles of this world.
Yes, he makes mistakes, hits wild shots and over ambitious cross-field passes, but he never hides from the ball or passes the buck. And even if he wasn't at the heart of nearly every chance we produced, if he was truly stinking the place out, would screaming at him really make him play any better? One man who could probably tell Gravesen more than most about dealing with the unforgiving element of the Goodison faithful is David Unsworth, although the Dane better ask for his advice quickly given the defender's rejection of a one-year extension to his contract. Whatever your opinions on the hero of the 1995 FA Cup final's abilities, and whether his recent performances merit another contract, it's hard to disagree with him when he says that he would have preferred for his talks with the club to remain private. It would be a shame if he did end up leaving with a bitter taste in the mouth because of Michael Dunford's somewhat blunt and tactless statement to the press on Tuesday. Whatever the eventual outcome, Evertonians will doubtless wish him well.
Blues eager to tip the balance
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post Nov 7 2003
IN the FA Premier Academy League Group A this weekend Everton will be hoping to shift the balance of power back to Merseyside from the current top dogs from Manchester. Both Neil Dewsnip's under-19s and Gary Ablett's under-17s lie second in the table a point behind Manchester City and United respectively. The Blues under-19s take on third place Crewe at Netherton, while Ablett's side will be looking for a victory at Blackburn to try and regain the top spot they had held almost since the beginning of the season. The U19s are unbeaten is six matches and coach Dewsnip is hoping they can continue their progress. He said: "They are doing smashing and we are now second in our group which is great and it gives that feelgood factor. But we won't lose sight of the fact that the most important thing is the individual progress of the players." The U19s were without Brian Moogan, Anthony Barry and Damon Martland were all missing last week. Brian Moogan played in the reserves in midweek and will play tomorrow Ablett under-17s are still unbeaten, but with a run of away games against the top sides around them in Group A over the next month, they will be given a tough test of their title credentials. But Ablett is relishing the challenge, starting with Black-burn tomorrow. He said: "All our games between now and Christmas are against teams in our own division. Blackburn this week, Liverpool, United, City and Crewe, so the division will sort itself out a lot." Ablett has a full squad to choose from tomorrow. Everton have confimed the date for their FA Youth Cup third round tie with Coventry City at Highfield Road will be Tuesday, December 2.
Davis blow for Blues
Nov 7 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S number one transfer target Sean Davis has stunned the Blues by pledging his future to Fulham and beginning talks on a new contract. The former England Under-21 international was set to sign for David Moyes in a £5m deal in August but the deal collapsed because of the player's cruciate knee ligament injury. The Everton chief vowed to resurrect the deal when the transfer window re-opens in January and was this week backed by a pledge from Bill Kenwright that the board would find the cash. But this afternoon Davis revealed he had withdrawn his transfer request and that he now intends to sign a new deal for the Cottagers. "I think that because I had been here for a long time, I felt I needed to move or be part of another club to realise my ambitions as a player," admitted Davis. "I now think I can realise those ambitions here at Fulham." Fulham boss Chris Coleman said: "I have spoken at length with Sean and I am convinced he will give me and the squad 100 percent commitment." Davis added: "The manager has made it clear to me that not only does he see me as an important part of his plans, I also believe the club can move forward." Moyes had made no secret of his desire to add Davis to his midfield. The manager could now turn his attentions to Charlton's Scott Parker or West Brom's Jason Koumas. Meanwhile, Everton are entering a crucial stage of the season according to Blues boss Moyes. Over the next month the Blues face Blackburn, Wolves and Bolton - all sides currently in the bottom half of the table along with Everton. Having slipped to 16th in the table following last weekend's defeat at the hands of Chelsea the games have taken on increased importance. "The next group of fixtures are against sides of a level where we have a very good chance of getting good results," admitted the manager today. "But the hardest thing is to do that. We are taking nothing for granted. "We need to get seven or eight players playing well every week and at a high level." The manager believes he has seen signs in recent weeks of the kind of form from his team which will finally enable him to name a settled line-up. But Moyes points out: "There are still a lot a questions we have to ask ourselves but I would like a bit of stability. That comes from good performances. The manager must prepare for Monday night's trip to Ewood Park without a host of first team regulars. Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are still recovering from hernia operations, Lee Carsley has not yet recovered from his knee problem, Li Tie has been struck down with a throat infection and Richard Wright is awaiting the results of the latest set of tests on his troublesome knee injury. Duncan Ferguson has not been at Bellefield all week because of a respiratory problem which required hospital treat-ment on Monday. However, Kevin Campbell is expected to resume training after recovering from a foot injury and Tomasz Radzinski is no longer suffering with the bruised hip he sustained against Chelsea.
We'd stuff Moyes' boys
Nov 7 2003 By David Prentice Chief Sports Writer, Liverpool Echo
Former Blues skipper Kevin Ratcliffe lifts the FA Cup in 1984
WAYNE ROONEY is the only member of the current Everton side who would have made it into the line-up of the most successful side in the club's history. Who says so? The man who led Everton to League title triumphs, FA Cup success and the club's only European trophy. But Kevin Ratcliffe doesn't mention whose place Rooney would take! Ratcliffe, back in Liverpool yesterday to launch his new book 'My Memories of Everton' at WH Smith in Church Street, says: "Football was always better in your day, whether you are an older supporter or a retired player. Everything was better, at least in your eyes, and of course bias never comes into it. "But putting everything aside, I think it is safe to say that the Everton of my days would wipe the floor with the current team, with no disrespect to David Moyes' team. "So, who in the current side would perhaps make it into the teamI played in? "There is only one name that would make it on to the team sheet - Wayne Rooney.
"He still has a lot to prove, but he has the potential to go on to be the greatest Everton player ever. It is a big order for the youngster to emulate the likes of Dixie Dean, Alan Ball and Ray Wilson, but if he puts his mind to it and listens to those who know about the pitfalls, he can become a legend with both Everton and England. "Pity he isn't Welsh!" Beautifully designed by the young Britespot publishing company, and including many pictures from Kevin's own personal collection, 'My Memories of Everton' retails for just £14.99. One of those images shows Ratcliffe rising in a packed Goodison penalty area - wearing an unfamiliar number two jersey! It wasn't until a year or two later that he made the number four shirt almost his personal property. Kevin relates his story, from his days at Deeside Primary School to his Blues' swansong in 1992. On one or two occasions his memory is a little sketchy. "I finally broke my scoring duck, snatching the only goal against Norwich," he said. "I hit it high into the Norwich net from all of 18 yards." The distance might be just about right, but I seem to recall a slightly scuffed effort which flew into the net with all the height and pace of his other, more celebrated, goal! But memories of all Ratcliffe's great matches are included. Look out for the picture of the boys in blue being appreciated by another boy in blue - a policeman at Wembley in 1984 sneaking a look at Ratcliffe and Kevin Richardson parading the FA Cup, and failing to keep an admiring smile off his face. 'My Memories of Everton' is on sale now at all leading book stores, although it is not currently stocked by the club's megastore.
WIN a copy of new book
WE have half a dozen signed copies of Kevin's new book to give away. To go into the hat to win one, tell us: Who was Kevin Ratcliffe's famous paper boy who went on to become an Everton captain himself? Call 0901 490 1935 with the answer, your name, address and daytime telephone number.
Calls cost 50p a minute and will last less than a minute. Rates from mobile phones may vary.
Lines are open from 11am until midnight tonight. You can also enter by texting 86655. Key in LEBOOK followed by a space, then your answer and name.
Moyes eyes crucial points
Nov 7 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are entering a crucial stage of the season according to David Moyes. Over the next month the Blues face Blackburn, Wolves and Bolton - all sides currently in the bottom half of the table along with Everton. Having slipped to 16th in the table following last weekend's defeat at the hands of Chelsea the games have taken on increased importance. "The next group of fixtures are against sides of a level where we have a very good chance of getting good results," admitted the manager today. "But the hardest thing is to do that. We are taking nothing for granted. "We need to get seven or eight players playing well every week and at a high level." The manager believes he has seen signs in recent weeks of the kind of form from his team which will finally enable him to name a settled line-up. Joseph Yobo is the only player to have played in each of Everton's 11 league games and two Carling Cup matches so far this season. Twenty-six players have been used in those 13 matches. But Moyes points out: "There are still a lot a questions we have to ask ourselves but I would like a bit of stability. That comes from good performances. "We are beginning to see a little improvement but we need to be getting the results as well. "Since the Aston Villa game the performances have been getting better. Even in that match, although we didn't play well, we were more solid and the signs were there." The manager must prepare for Monday night's trip to Ewood Park without a host of first team regulars. Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are still recovering from hernia operations, Lee Carsley has not yet recovered from his knee problem, Li Tie has been struck down with a throat infection, Richard Wright is awaiting the results of the latest set of tests on his trouble-some knee injury and Duncan Ferguson has not been at Bellefield all week because of a respiratory problem which required hospital treatment on Monday. However, Kevin Campbell is expected to resume training after recovering from a foot injury and Tomasz Radzinski is no longer suffering with the bruised hip he sustained against Chelsea.
Fans face fines
Nov 7 2003 By Mark Hookham Echo Reporter
NEARLY 1,700 football fans are facing fines after zero-tolerance parking attendants cracked down on match day parking. A team of 18 attendants has issued 1,661 tickets during matches at Anfield and Goodison so far this season. The so-called enforcement officers are handing out more than 100 tickets each game. They have already issued half the total number of tickets given by a 10-man team during last season's 48 Everton and Liverpool home games. Football fans caught parking in a restricted zone face a £60 fine, which is reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days. The crack-down comes after local residents complained they were unable to park outside their homes during matches. But fans say they are the latest victims of Liverpool's zero-tolerance parking regime. Mick Gillon, a life-long Blues fan who has had a season ticket for 30 years, was fined £30 during the recent Everton home match against Leeds. Mr Gillon, 46, from Everton said: "Parking has been a problem for years but they can't just spring this on us. They need to come up with more solutions." A spokeswoman for Citilink, the company responsible for managing parking in the city, said: "The step up in patrols is because residents requested more enforcement officers in that area on match days."
Anfield Liberal Democrat councillor Kiron Reid said: "This is exactly what residents wanted. It has got worse this season because Everton are doing better and attracting bigger crowds." nParking attendants have served 147,772 tickets since parking enforcement came under council control 15 months ago. The 66-strong team of Citilink attendants handed out five times more tickets than the Merseyside Police traffic wardens who used to enforce parking. Drivers were hit hardest in May 2003 when 12,181 tickets were handed out, 435 a day.
Blues' mixed messages
Nov 7 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S chairman uttered the following words last week: "We have to sell before we buy in our current situation." Everton's owner came back with this a few days later: "I don't think anyone out there should be thinking the gates are closed at Everton Football Club because they are not."
So do Everton have any money? Or not? Does David Moyes target another free transfer or an imaginative loan deal when he uses the January transfer window to solve his problem central midfield slot? Or can he afford Sean Davis? Sorry about all the question marks in a newspaper whose job it is to inform. But the signals are mixed - and I suspect David Moyes himself may not even know the truth. Knowing what I know about the personal ities involved, and reading between the lines, I would say the club is currently skint. And Sir Philip has honestly, if bluntly, told us that.
But Bill's Blue heart will see him frantically digging down the back of the couch to see if he can find something more than an old theatre ticket and a threepenny bit. In the meantime David Moyes must wait to see which way the financial wind is blowing.
Crunch time - and Blues need goals
Nov 7 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S next three league fixtures are crucial. The Premiership does not make nice viewing at the moment from the Blues' point of view and they now enter a period when they play the clubs currently surrounding them near the bottom of the table. They certainly have the ability to get wins out of Blackburn, Wolves and Bolton. By the end of the month Everton could quite easily be sitting comfortably in mid-table. We have to remain positive. The telling factor could be that David Moyes' side is not conceding many goals, whereas the other teams near the bottom are really leaking them.
The concern for Evertonians, though, is that their team is not putting the ball in the net at the other end. That puts pressure on the defence because even a little mistake can prove so costly. Everton had opportunities to take the lead against Chelsea, but couldn't score. Without finding the back of the net, it has been difficult for the Blues to pull away from the relegation zone. There is no one club being left behind at the foot of the table and only three points separate the bottom six. In some ways this run of fixtures appears the perfect opportunity for the Blues strikers to get among the goals again. But results are never guaranteed.
No cash for more
DAVID UNSWORTH says he has rejected a renewed contract offer from Everton because it was only a one-year deal. I can understand a player wanting a more secure arrangement, but in all fairness to David he has not established himself as an automatic choice under David Moyes. There is no doubting he is on a good contract at the moment. Everton will not want to be offering a long deal and big money to a player who could be watching games from the bench. No doubt the club wants to keep Unsworth, but the length of the deal they have offered him reflects not only his performances over the last season or two, but more importantly the financial position of the club.
Don't blame Reid
PETER REID has come in for renewed criticism from his old club Sunderland. They have blamed their debts on Reidy's spending on the likes of Tore Andre Flo and Marcus Stewart when he was manager there. To me, that's deflecting the criticismfrom themselves. The club gave the go-ahead for the manager to spend that money. Reid is now having a difficult time at Leeds. They are struggling defensive ly despite having England keeper Paul Robinson. All young keepers go through spells when they make mistakes, but Robinson is not being helped by his team-mates.
Moyes is still keen on Davis
Report By Ian Doyle Daily Post Nov 8 2003
DAVID MOYES has insisted Sean Davis remains his number one target - despite the midfielder withdrawing a transfer request at Fulham. Davis surprised Everton by announcing he wanted to stay with the Cottagers at the weekend and is keen to open negotations on a new contract with the club.
The 24-year-old was poised to join the Blues in a £5.2million deal in August, only for the transfer to be scrapped at the last minute when it became apparent the player would not pass a medical.
Davis returned to Fulham to recover from a knee ligament injury, after which Moyes was expected to make a fresh move when the transfer window reopens in the new year. But the Blues boss has insisted that Davis' surprise announcement will not deter him from pursuing his first-choice midfield reinforcement. "It has made no difference to our plans," said Moyes. "But I can't do anything about it. He's not at my club, so I can't do anything about it. "We tried to bring Sean in during the summer time but it didn't materialise. "I would have done had it not been for an injury. But we just have to carry on with things now. "We have watched all his reserve games to see how's he done as he recovers from his injury. The most important thing is that Sean gets himself back fit.
"When we wanted to make the transfer, he wouldn't have passed a medical and we didn't want to take that risk with the money we were paying. I hope he does get fit because he's a terrific player and, yes, I would like him here." Although he remains determined to capture Davis, Moyes has revealed the Blues are keeping a watching brief on other potential new signings, despite the lack of substantial transfer funds at present. "We have kept our eyes on other targets, but the board has told me that there isn't any money right now," added the Scotsman. "Everton are a club which will always keep progressing and my job is to keep the club moving forward. "That can come in different ways. It can come by bringing in new players, a new stadium, the position of the club and how they are doing, lots of ways. "From my point of view, we would always look to try and strengthen the squad at every available opportunity." Davis told how his time on the sidelines recovering from injury had given him the chance to reassess his future with Fulham. The Londoners have made a good start to the season under new boss Chris Coleman, but have lost their last two home league games and were beaten 2-1 by Liverpool recently. But Davis said: "During the time I have been recovering from my injury I have had the opportunity to discuss my future with the manager. He has made it clear to me that not only does he see me as an important part of his plans but I also believe the club can move forward. "I have been involved with Fulham since I was 16 and I am grateful for all the support I have received which has helped me become the player I am today. "I think that because I had been here for a long time, I felt I needed to move or be part of another club to realise my ambitions as a player. I now think that I can realise those same ambitions here at Fulham."
Coleman had previously indicated that Davis was on his way out at Fulham.
Carsley blasts internet auction hoaxers
Nov 8 2003 By Scott Mcleod Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Lee Carsley has blasted an internet hoaxer who deprived a charity fundraiser he was involved with of over £1,000. The Irish international does a lot of work for the Birmingham Down's Syndrome Association. He held a fundraiser in the West Midlands last Saturday, making thousands of pounds for the charity by holding an auction of signed footballing memorabilia.
To boost the coffers for the event the Everton official website opened up the auction for fans in the week leading up to the charity dinner. A number of substantial bids were received for items that included a signed Wayne Rooney England shirt. Those bids were used as the reserve prices on the Saturday but two of the bids later turned out to be from a hoaxer. "It was not only disappointing for me personally to learn that some of the bids the Everton website received were not legitimate, but hugely disappointing for the Down's Syndrome Association," admitted an angry Carsley.
"They do a fantastic job helping children and families affected by Down's Syndrome, and like any charity they are desperate for whatever funds they can generate. "Genuine bidders who would have loved to have the chance to own one of the items turned up to the fundraiser on Saturday and because of the irresponsible actions they have gone home disappointed too." Carsley is now appealing for genuine bidders to table offers on the club's official website, Evertonfc.com. The auction is open until Thursday and the successful bidder or bidders will be invited to Bellefield to be presented with their lots by the midfielder.
Blunt Blues go seven unbeaten
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post
Nov 10 2003
EVERTON under-19s stretched their FA Premier Academy League unbeaten run to seven matches but had to settle for a point in a goalless draw with Crewe Alexandra at Netherton on Saturday.
The Blues were on top for much of the match but couldn't turn their domination into goals. Italian forward Patrice Pascucci and Anthony Barry both had good chances but couldn't take them. And England youth international Scott Brown and striker Gavin Lynch were denied as both had efforts cleared off the line as Neil Dewsnip's side applied the pressure late on. Coach Dewsnip was delighted the Blues kept their fourth clean sheet in the last five matches. But he said: "We just couldn't score a goal. We had numerous chances and unfortunately it was one of those days if we were still playing now we wouldn't have scored probably. "That is four out of six cleans sheets, which is obviously a terrific achievement for young footballers at any standard. It is very good and we are very pleased but the frustrating thing is that we just couldn't get that goal because in truth we had done enough to win." Gary Ablett's under-17s suf-fered their heaviest defeat of the campaign, going down 4-0 at Blackburn Rovers. The Blues relinquished their top spot in Group A after last week's draw and they fell further behind unbeaten leaders Manchester United - who beat Liverpool 1-0 - with Saturday's crushing defeat. For 70 minutes the game remained goalless, with the Blues having the better of the chances. But once the home side went in front they never looked back. Ablett said: "For the first 25 minutes we were very good and passed the ball really well. We created four or five good chances, which we obviously didn't take. But they gradually got a foothold in the game and we fell apart a bit. "It was 0-0 at half-time and could have gone either way, but the last half hour it seemed like every time they got in and around our box they scored. The goals were not glaring individual errors, so it is things we can tighten up on - like marking, not giving the ball away in silly areas. And we will work on them this week."
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox; Brown, J Jones, Barry, Booth; Pascucci, Lynch (Martland 75). Subs: M Jones, McCall, Thorbinson, B Moogan. EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Boyle; Phelan, Harris, Seargeant, Johnson (Hope 80); Hopkins (Anichebe 70), Fowler (Vaughan 70).
Struggling Blues can break duck at Ewood
Colin Harvey Daily Post Nov 10 2003
BOTH teams will be desperately hoping for an upturn in fortunes tonight. Blackburn have suffered five successive defeats to slip down the Premiership while the Blues are still searching for their first away win of the season. If they can produce a repeat of their performance against Chelsea, then there is no reason why Everton cannot break their duck at Ewood Park.
This is an area where Blackburn have had their problems and I can see there being plenty of opportunities for Everton to end their long spell without a Premiership goal. Against Leicester last week, they got in such a tangle that Gresko had actually turned his back as Muzzy Izzet's free-kick came over and Marcus Bent pounced to score. They are without Lorenzo Amoruso, although he has struggled to adjust to the pace of the game in England, but Craig Short is available again after injury.
Tomasz Radzinski showed against Chelsea how dangerous he can be slipping into the channels between defenders. In the very first minute, he was fed by Thomas Gravesen - who although he may give the ball away too easily on occasions also has the ability to deliver a telling forward pass. And in the second half Radzinski got clear away again only to be denied by a fantastic save from Carlo Cudicini.
The two teams are similarly matched in this area. Both are hard-working and will battle away all game. David Thompson is a useful player, but likes to get involved in the game and can get drawn more into the middle of the field. That will leave space for either Kevin Kilbane or James McFadden to exploit on the flanks. If the Blackburn mid-field is also worried about protecting their back four, that can then limit their options going forward so it is up to Everton to keep them stretched.
Both Brett Emerton and Barry Ferguson looked to be good signings, but it takes times for players to bed in to their new environment. Both players have not only changed clubs but also countries.
Both have also come from leagues where the teams they played for were used to dominating matters and have found them-selves, instead, in a side that is struggling at the moment.
There is always an adjustment to be made after a transfer, with clubs all doing their own training arrangements, and different types of pace to a game to be picked up. Even a World Cup winner like Roque Junior has looked completely off the pace since arriving at Leeds. No player has had to make a bigger adjustment to a change of cultures than Everton's Alex Nyarko. He always looked a good footballer but perhaps things happened too quickly for him last time. He is a quiet lad and quite introverted and not the stereotyped image of a footballer. But this time there has not been the weight of expectation, and he has been able to build up his level of performance in the reserves while settling into the structure of the club. He won't have been handed his recall as an act of charity by David Moyes. He will have earned it and will now want to prove he can deliver that creative spark on a consistent basis.
The facts tell their own story. While Everton have gone six hours 38 minutes since their last Premiership goal, Blackburn have fared little better - at four hours 34 minutes. Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole may not be the players they were, but they remain dangerous on their day. Yorke is still a threat dropping off the defence while Everton will have to be aware of those diagonal runs of Cole that take him into such good positions. You can't afford not to do your homework against them and the Everton defence will need to stay alert at all times, although David Weir's injury comes at an unfortunate time as he had just run into some good form. Blackburn definitely miss Damien Duff. You can't sell a class act like the Irishman and not miss him. He was so often their best player and match-winner.
ANDY COLE - he may not be the player he once was, but on his day he remains a threat and he has lost none of his predator's instinct for a goal.
If Everton's defence can keep their shape and discipline to keep Blackburn at bay, I am sure there will be enough goal-scoring opportunities at the other end for the Blues to get something out of this match.
COLIN HARVEY was talking to RICHARD WILLIAMSON
Yobo talks hard graft
Nov 10 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO enjoyed a whirlwind romance with Everton last season. He enamoured Blues fans very quickly with his pace, his skill and his strong tackling. And so after a short courtship David Moyes wasted no time in proposing a new relationship, turning the Nigerian international's loan from Marseille into a permanent switch. The £4.5m deal seemed a marriage made in heaven. But this season the honeymoon is over and the 23-year-old has had to come to terms with the legacy of his successful first year in England. As with all relationships, hard work is the key to success.
And Yobo admits he has had to graft this season to stay one step ahead of opposition strikers who have got wise to his style of play. The rewards are now beginning to show. In recent weeks Yobo, the club's only ever-present this season, has helped Everton notch up four clean sheets from six matches. "Every footballer wants to be involved in every game," admits the defender. "I started pre-season in the team with no injuries and I have been in the team since then. "I have been working very hard as well, even when things have not really been going down very well. I have just kept working, kept my focus and it is good that the manager has confidence in me. "When I first came to Everton I had to get used to the players and the system because it was very different from what I was used to. "I was more of a football player. I like defending but I was more of a footballer as well. "Last season I tried to show that in many of the games I played, but now teams have got to know I like to put my foot on the ball, so I have to change the way I play. "If I make any mistakes then I am the last man and it could be a goal. "It is a case of finding the balance of when to use flair and when not to. English football is different, but I am used to it now and I ammore comfortable.
"We have worked very hard with the gaffer to be solid defensively. We stick together as a team and he has always been reminding us that we did that last season and it wasn't a coincidence that we kept a lot of clean sheets. "We have been working towards that. We had three clean sheets before the Chelsea game and to concede a goal like that against them was very bad, because it was a very decisive goal and I thought it was a hand ball. "We are getting close to where we want to be as defenders and in the coming games we are working towards that and we are ready. "We want to keep clean sheets and if we do that hopefully we can win the games." The importance of maintaining their recent solid form for tonight's visit to Blackburn is not lost on Yobo. Despite the solid defensive displays of recent weeks, Everton have not won in the league since the 4-0 mauling of Leeds in September. It is a run which has seen the side drop down to the edge of the relegation zone. The Blues have not been helped by a little travel sickness. They have yet to pick up three points away from Goodison and that is undermining the bid to regain a regular place in the top half of the table. "These next three games are very important for us because they are the kind of games which can lift us up," adds Yobo. "We are focused on the Blackburn game and we want to go and win away. We haven't done that yet this season, which is something we did well last season.
"I think if we can win this match the rest of the games will be a lot easier because we will have more control and confidence. "We have played some tough games at home but we don't lose too many games at home. We know we are very strong at home. "But last season when we had the run which took us up the table it was when we were starting to win games away. If we can beat Blackburn that could be the start for us again. "We need to win this game and if we I think it will be a start for us and will get the ball rolling." At this stage last season Yobo and Everton were in the middle of a run of six consecutive league victories which pushed them from ninth in the table up to third. A 1-0 win at Ewood Park courtesy of a Kevin Campbell goal was amongst those wins. It is in contrast to the recent form. But Yobo adds: "My game is improving but we are not getting the results and think we are getting better as a team, fighting together and being together even when it is not working out.
"You could see that against Chelsea and I think that was the first time the fans could give us applause after losing a game. That was very good for us and we will keep fighting and keep going.
"Chelsea are one of the contenders for the title. That was one of our best performances of the season because they are a big team with a great squad. "Hopefully if we can play the way we did against Chelsea in our other games then we will move forward and get good results. "The big games tells a lot about a player. If you can withstand the big matches then you can play anybody. "For me, you have to be more focused against the big teams because of the players they have. And if I can keep my concentration in those matches we should be stronger against the smaller teams as well.
"We need to build on that performance and do well in these games that are coming up, beginning at Blackburn."
Flu virus blow for Blues
Nov 10 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
A FLU outbreak has wreaked havoc with Everton's preparations for tonight's Premiership clash at Ewood Park. The Blues have a number of senior players struggling because of the illness which struck down Duncan Ferguson ahead of the game against Chelsea 10 days ago. Manager David Moyes said: "There are a couple of players with sickness. There is a wee bit of flu going around."
Li Tie has been struggling with the illness over the past week, while Alan Stubbs is also a major doubt after reporting ill before training on Friday. With David Weir facing up to six weeks on the sidelines because of a knee ligament injury sustained against Chelsea, Moyes could hand a first start to the season for Peter Clarke or grant a first team return to David Unsworth. Ferguson is a definite non-starter, Moyes admitting: "He has been off this week and we just want to make sure he is alright with his breathing, so there is no point in him coming back until it's cleared up." Tomasz Radzinski will continue up-front after shaking off a knock on the hip and is expected to partner Wayne Rooney once again. Bla ckbu rn have received a boost with the news that the Turkish FA have granted them permission to play Tugay tonight. The midfielder had originally been expected to miss the match because of Turkey's preparations for their play-off against Latvia. Meanwhile, following the collapse of this week's planned trip to Dubai, Moyes will be taking his first-team squad for some warm weather training in Tenerife after tonight's match.
Cover story suprised me - Kilbane
Nov 10 2003 Liverpool Echo
IRISH winger Kevin Kilbane is convinced he is not heading for a second successive relegation campaign in the Premiership. The Republic of Ireland star went down with Sunderland last term before his £1million summer move to Everton. As the Blues head for Blackburn tonight, they are just two points off the bottom three and 19th-placed Rovers. But Kilbane insists this Everton squad is big and strong enough to quickly pull away from danger. He said: "We have got some very good players here, and I think people overlook that sometimes. "Probably every position is covered with as good a player if someone is injured, and that is what you need in the Premier League. "We have got a lot of good players here, and it has certainly opened my eyes. "Some of the players may be ones you have not necessarily heard too much about. "But they have certainly been impressing me day in, day out. "It has certainly opened my eyes since I have been at the club, the quality that is here. It is just disappointing we could not win against Chelsea last weekend." Everton were very unlucky to lose at home to the title challengers. But even so, they have won just three of their last 16 league matches, dating back to April. Kilbane is nonetheless confident things will turn around soon.
He said: "Since I have come here, I have really been impressed with the performances of the team as a whole and how solid we are looking. "But we have to get one or two more goals just to push up that table a little bit now." Kilbane is in no doubt about the top-flight pedigree of the current Blues squad. "We are playing some good stuff at the moment. We are looking solid - teams are not creating many chances against us, and that is one thing we have to be optimistic about. "The manager spoke to us after the Chelsea match and said we did not deserve to be beaten - and he was right."
Moyes calls for strikers to re-ignite Euro flame
Nov 10 2003 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
LAST SEASON saw Blackburn Rovers and Everton battle it out until the last game of the season for the final UEFA Cup spot. Rovers eventually won through to secure European football at Ewood Park while Evertonians had the satisfaction of seeing their team challenging once again in their rightful place at the business end of the Premiership table. It augured well for the forthcoming campaign, with Rovers boss Graeme Souness continuing to build a squad despite the departure of Damien Duff, and fellow Scot David Moyes determined to keep the Blues on an upward curve. Alas, things have not gone according to plan. The two sides meet tonight at Ewood Park. Again they are side by side, but unlike last season when they were shoulder-to-shoulder with the heavyweights of Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool, at present they are scrapping with the lesser likes of Leicester City, Wolves and a debt-riddled Leeds United. Defeat in the Lancashire valleys this season would send Everton further towards the drop zone. But despite this grim fact of present reality, Moyes holds on to the belief that there is still time for his players can improve on last season's revival. "You don't want to accept that it has been a difficult season," says the Blues boss. "We still feel we can achieve great things this year. "We had a big step last year, and this year it may just be a little step but we have to keep Everton moving in the right direction until we become a regular in the top six." Last season's trip to Ewood Park saw the Blues emerge with a 1-0 victory during a run of single-goal successes which proved the catalyst for their charge up the Premiership table. And given the perilous state of both club's current league position, the North West derby will take on an even greater edge. "It is a big game," admits Moyes. "It will be a hard, hard game. I've seen Blackburn a number of times this year and they've been unfortunate in several games. "I think we have been unfortunate in several games too. "They finished sixth last year and just pipped us to Europe and we finished seventh.
"We both know we are both good sides and hoping to turn things around so we can move away from where we are in the table at the moment. "I think both teams would say they are better than the table is showing at present. "I don't know about Blackburn, because all I'm interested in is helping Everton move away from the bottom end of the table. That will come, no question about that." To do that, the Blues must start converting their opportunities into the ultimate hard currency - goals. Last week at Goodison Park, they outplayed Chelsea - a side who went on to win 4-0 at Lazio in midweek, lest we forget - only to be undermined by their inability to stick the ball into the onion bag. It's now six hours and 38 minutes of Premiership playing time since Steve Watson headed home his hat-trick goal against Leeds. And with their top goalscorer sidelined until next month, Moyes has called on his strikeforce to start producing the goods. Of those available tonight, Tomasz Radzinski has scored twice this season, Wayne Rooney once. And Francis Jeffers has yet to open his account since his loan return from Arsenal. Not good enough, says Moyes. "We would all appreciate our centre forwards getting some goals," he adds. "We need the strikers to be getting their quota of goals during the season because that's what wins you things. Our forwards should be getting into double figures. "We're looking to get a few more goals. "We want to keep on defending well - we are defending well as not just a back four, but as a team - and that has improved recently. We've been looking more solid. "Alan Stubbs will come back in and he was paying well prior to picking up his injury against Tottenham and hopefully he can help the rest of the lads keep up the good defensive work. "But what we need to do is start taking our opportunities. "Goals obviously change games, and we had opportunities against Chelsea when the game could have changed completely by us putting one of our chances away. "Chelsea, who had very few opportunities, managed to take the one good chance they had and that is how games are won and lost at times."
However, the signs were there against Claudio Ranieri's side that the Blues are turning a corner and if they can continue the fine form demonstrated last week, Moyes is confident a swift climb up the table will follow. "I think that we've played much better in recent weeks," insists Moyes. "I think that there are signs that we're getting back to a better standard of performance and that's what I'm after. "I want performances. We're not putting any pressure on the players regarding winning. "What we want are performances and if we get performances, I'm sure the results will soon follow.
"If you keep performing well and you play as well as we did against Chelsea, you'll get your results.
"We got a good performance against Chelsea and we didn't too badly against Charlton and Villa before that. So there have been bits of good stuff. "We're going to Blackburn and we're going for a win.
Moyes looking for a bit of luck
Nov 10 2003 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has admitted it is time fortune favoured his Everton side when they take on Blackburn Rovers tonight. The Blues travel to Ewood Park having failed to score in more than six hours of Premiership football in a run which has seen them slip towards the wrong end of the table.
They frittered away a host of chances before succumbing to a 1-0 defeat at home to Chelsea last weekend. But the Londoners' goal came from a disputed Adrian Mutu header, with referee Jeff Winter and his assistants clearly missing a handball by the Romanian before he nodded home.
And while urging his players to make their own luck, Moyes insisted Everton are due a slice of good fortune. "I would hate to think that we would have to rely on luck," said the Blues boss. "Hopefully we do enough work and preparation on the training ground for luck not to come into it. "But we all know that we need the ball to go in the right direction and break in the right way for us and the referee to see the arm being used. That's the kind of thing you need to go with you. "I'm not saying I'm looking for something like a gust of wind to blow the ball into the net but you need things to run with you. "That will come. I've always believed you make your own luck and if you work hard enough at it you will get your rewards. "We won both games against Blackburn last year, but if I'm being honest, Blackburn were the better team. "But luck made all the difference. Performances tend to lead to results, but now and again they don't - just like we didn't against Chelsea last week."
Kevin Campbell, who netted the winner in last season's 1-0 win at Blackburn, is unlikely to be considered for tonight's game despite returning to training following a toe injury. "Kevin has had a little bit of training, but missed the majority of training last week," added Moyes. "He had his first training session on Friday so he is probably short of fitness for the game." Moyes will also be without Duncan Ferguson, who continues to recover from a respiratory problem which forced him into hospital early last week, but Tomasz Radzinski has shook off a minor hip injury sustained in the defeat to Chelsea. David Weir damaged knee ligaments last Saturday and he will be sidelined along with Steve Watson (groin), Alessandro Pistone (groin), Lee Carsley (knee), Richard Wright (knee) and Scot Gemmil (thigh). Chinese international Li Tie could also miss out after suffering from a flu bug which has affected many of the players over recent weeks.
Blackburn 2, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Nov 11 2003 Andy Hunter Reports From Ewood Park, Daily Post
IN the summer David Moyes warned everyone who'd listen this season would be tough. Never in his darkest fears, however, could he have imagined it would get as bad as this. The anticipated worry concerned dealing with great expectations if a sustained chase for Europe didn't materialise, not an immediate return to the bad old days of ineptitude and relegation battles. Everton do not rank among favourites for the dreaded drop just yet, but many more repeats of the lame first-half display that condemned them to another deserved away defeat and they will be very soon. Blackburn last night became the latest side to ease past Moyes' men as the Blues sank into the bottom three for the first time in two years and a season of half a step forwards, two steps back took another turn for the worse. And if their plight hadn't provoked enough alarm previously, last season's revival possibly immunising many people to the fact it could all happen again, then the dreadful first-half performance that rendered their eventual fightback worthless should have done the trick. Everton were a top-six team for most of last year thanks mainly to hard graft and resilience, not by sweeping anyone aside with total football, and for all the signs the team has it within them again those basics have been conspicious by their absence so far this term. They need to return, desperately. And the Blues should dwell on a few alarming facts before complacency replaces influenza as the most threatening illness inside their camp. It was Moyes (pictured above) himself who stated a league season only takes shape around the 10-game mark. Now 12 have elapsed, roughly a third of the season, and they are third from bottom with a meagre 10 points, not sixth from top with 20 as they were 12 months ago. What's more the calibre of the opposition who have beaten them too easily this season, the Middlesbroughs, Tottenhams and now the Blackburns, are themselves in the mire and exactly the opposition Everton hoped to overcome to advance. Right now they need to beat them just to stop any fear setting in. This was a Rovers' team with one win in nine matches don't forget, yet who had almost made the game safe without breaking sweat inside 12 minutes.
Wayne Rooney (right) added to Everton's goalscoring problems when struck by the Bellefield bug on the morning of the contest. He joined Duncan Ferguson, Li Tie and Alan Stubbs in the sickness bay, and it was the defender's absence which was most keenly felt as Rovers took control when they were allowed heading practice inside the visitors' area. Graeme Souness' side had already threatened from two first-minute corners before they struck with five minutes gone. Tactically it would have sickened Moyes, while the identity of the goalscorer ensured the travelling supporters shared the symptoms when on-loan Liverpool star Markus Babbel pounced in front of them. Peter Clarke was handed the chance to press his long-awaited claims in the wake of Stubbs' illness and injury to David Weir, but it proved to be a disastrous start to the England under-21 star's Premiership season. Kevin Kilbane cleared a Barry Ferguson free-kick he had conceded, but when the return was headed back in by Garry Flitcroft it glanced off the 21-year-old's scalp and presented the Rovers' centre-half with a golden opportunity he didn't miss from four yards out. It was to get worse, much worse, before it improved for Everton. Babbel was again left to his own devices when Brett Emerton's cross picked him out in the centre only this time Nigel Martyn managed to tip his header over. And with the visitors always second to react and continually missing the aerial challenges it was no surprise when they fell even further behind seven minutes later. Aussie Emerton was again the supplier, collecting a short corner and delivering another quality cross that saw Dwight Yorke ghost in between Clarke and Gary Naysmith to power home. Naysmith then hacked clear in front of his own goalline while Andy Todd should have added a third headed goal when Babbel's flick on found him lurking at the far post. Fortunately for the suffering Blues he put the chance wide, but there was otherwise little respite before half-time as the visitors failed to muster a single shot on goal. It took the latest in a never-ending catalogue of interval blasts from Moyes for the Blues to show any menace or spirit after the break, with the sure sign of trouble - the double substitution - also in order as David Unsworth and James McFadden entered the fray to positive effect. While they deserve all the criticism they get for their first-half display, with their manager openly questioning some players' attitude, Everton also take plenty of credit for their second-half response. Playing for 45 minutes though, as they should have learned by now, is 45 minutes too little. Three minutes after his arrival the impressive McFadden made his first contribution to haul his side back into the match. The Scot twisted Vratislav Gresko inside and out before chipping perfectly for Tomasz Radzinski to steer a free header beyond Rovers' keeper Friedel and end the Everton goal drought after 447 minutes. With Clarke and the rest of the Everton defence settled the visitors restricted Blackburn to long-range efforts throughout the second half, although Martyn was still severely tested as Emerton and sub Paul Gallagher went close. "They were more direct in the second half and we became nervous," said Rovers manager Souness afterwards: "But we were aggressive in everything we did and that is a must at this level." The visitors pressed frantically for an unlikely equaliser as they rediscovered some aggression of their own. Tobias Linderoth threw himself at Unsworth's deep cross only for his header to flash inches wide, then the defender missed a fabulous chance to level when he blazed over from three yards out while Franny Jeffers almost stunned Friedel with an audacious shot from 30 yards. A belated recovery was not enough to cure a sickening night for Everton though. At least the players who afterwards promised their manager they will make amends looked thoroughly hurt on the final whistle. Now they simply must back their words up with actions.
BLACKBURN (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Todd, Babbel, Gresko; Reid, Ferguson, Flitcroft, Emerton; Jansen (Baggio, 80), Yorke (Gallagher, 46). Subs: Taylor, Tugay, Enckelman.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Clarke, Naysmith (Jeffers, 83); Gravesen, Linderoth, Nyarko (Unsworth, 46), Kilbane (McFadden, 46); Radzinski, Campbell. Subs: Chadwick, Simonsen.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd
BOOKINGS: Everton's Linderoth, Campbell (fouls); Blackburn's Ferguson, Gresko, Flitcroft (fouls)
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 11 2003
DAVID MOYES admitted his players must prove their worth after Everton slipped into the bottom three following a dreadful first half display at Blackburn. The Blues were two goals down inside 12 minutes against their fellow strugglers before Tomasz Radzinski's header sparked a belated second-half fightback. Afterwards Everton's players apologised to their manager and vowed to follow his instructions to get back to the basics that propelled them into the top six last season. But as Moyes openly questioned the attitude of some of his stars, he insisted the time has come for them all to back their promises with action. "It is sore being where we are," said the Blues manager, who lost Wayne Rooney to 'flu before kick-off. "I'd rather be in the top three than the bottom three and now we've got a job to make sure we get out of it. "Winning matches would obviously help that but first we need to get back to understanding what we are best at. We were extremely hardworking last season and I don't think at any time any Evertonian in the country would ever question any of the players' effort. But they could tonight. "We played well enough against Chelsea last week and we need to get back to what we do best. The players told me they are going to do it and I am looking forward to seeing it from them. Now we have to see what they are made of." David Unsworth wasted a great chance to level the game two minutes from time as the Blues recovered after the break. But Moyes admitted: "Maybe we could have got something out of it, we had a few chances towards the end but I don't think we deserved it. At least we made a game of it in the second half which couldn't be said of the first. It is just not happening. We didn't play well enough and if we at least showed what we did in the second half throughout people wouldn't doubt us. "Fair enough, it wasn't the best even then but at least we made a go of it after the break and people can go away thinking they've had their money's worth and I would include myself in that. But in the first half we weren't at the races. "James (McFadden) made a difference when he came on. He has the talent to eliminate an opponent and make things happen." Rooney is now a major doubt for this weekend's England friendly against Denmark. The Blues manager said: "I think we could do with the break to help us get over the few injuries and illnesses we've got. If Wayne's illness follows the course of the other players who have had it then it could take him four days. "He started to feel it yesterday, so he's just at the start of it and it could be the end of the week at the earliest before he's out of bed if it develops like the rest of the play-ers. Alan Stubbs and Li Tie also have it but that is not an excuse for losing this game."
Moyes is seeking a winter warmer
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Nov 11 2003
EVERTON face a crucial few weeks after slipping into the relegation zone. Matches against Blackburn last night, Wolves and Bolton form an important group of games where the Blues need to start picking up points. Dropping into the bottom three is always a psychological blow. You have to get out as as soon as possible, otherwise you find yourself looking at other people's results and their forthcoming fixtures, fretting over where your rivals will pick up points while worrying about where your next win will come from. When you're winning it's a case of 'bring them on!' - and such is the tightness of the Premiership, a couple of wins can soon have your spirits - and league position - soaring. Leicester have shown that after bouncing back from their shock defeat to Wolves, as have Middlesbrough, and Everton will be looking to follow suit. The Blues need to match the level of performance they showed against Chelsea to banish their worries - and then start looking up the table rather than down. Their hopes of a mid-season boost with the arrival of Sean Davis have suffered a setback with the player indicating he wants to stay at Fulham. Chris Coleman's side have picked up results without him and with a new contract in the offing, Davis has been challenged to be part of the Fulham revival - and now seems to think his present club offer a better option for the future. Everton will want to prove him wrong. However defeat at Blackburn last night has only added to the pressure.
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 11 2003
THE complacency at the top in Everton FC is breathtaking. Sir Philip Carter and Paul Gregg, comforted presumably by the Rooney/Moyes factor, prepare the fans for no spending in the January transfer window. Who in their right minds would want to buy those players we would be delighted to lose? The answer is: at other than rock bottom prices - no-one. But the drop zone is not far away so now is the time to act. No point waiting for the crisis. We should seek progress before we are forced to act.
Patrick Logan, North Wales
CAN anyone tell me what is the exact function of an Everton director? Even the supposedly wealthy ones tell us that they can't assist the club financially. The club needs men of vision.
Jack Sprainger, Liverpool
Be busy for Izzy
MUZZY Izzet is a player who Everton should go for. He's a quality creative midfielder, who was valued at £8million just a few years ago. His contract is up in the summer and with Leicester's financial situation should be available on the cheap in January. We could even use players like Alexandersson, Unsworth and Gemmill in part exchange.
Ollie McAdam (via e-mail)
GREAT news for Leon Osman - Sean Davis can stay at Fulham. However we need someone in the mould of Robbie Keane, Fowler, or Smith at Leeds. Let's hope Jeffers can get a run in the side with Ossie and Clarke and any good promising youngsters.
Len Winston (via e-mail)
Unsworth worth it
I LIKE David Unsworth. He was been a good servant to Everton. Give him an improved offer. Alex Nyarko is now proving himself. Give him a good run in the team to get the very best out of him.
Bryan Melling (via e-mail)
Perform or else
SEAN DAVIS has seen the light and dropped his interest in joining Everton. And who can blame him?
Everton should go back to the strategy for last season (no performance = no place in the team) and stop continuing to select non-performers ahead of promising young talent.
John Cooper (via e-mail)
It's a sell-out
WALTER SMITH had to sell his best players - Hutchison, Barmby, Speed, Dacourt and look at Materazzi, now playing at Inter Milan. Walter didn't set the place alight, but neither did the board - and they are still there. Moyes is potentially the best manager in the club's history - if ony Sir John Moores was around to help fulfil his ambitions for Everton FC.
Liam Hatigan (via e-mail)
Blackburn 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 11 2003 Scott McLeod reports from Ewood Park, Liverpool Echo
IT seems it is not just a flu bug which is sweeping through Goodison. Add a bout of travel sickness and a horrifying attack of vertigo to the club's woes and it equates to a serious epidemic. The prognosis delivered at Blackburn last night was painfully blunt. Without a host of key players, without a win away from home all season and without a decent position in the league, things went from bad to worse at Ewood Park. Blackburn, a side that has been ailing for some weeks, looked like a team of world beaters during an opening half in which Everton were dire. This was a big match for the Blues - the wrong kind of six-pointer. Victory would have propelled the side into a position of relative respectability. Defeat meant a place in the bottom three for the first time under David Moyes . But you would not have guessed there was that much hanging on the outcome from the way the visitors started. There were only two changes from the side which played so well against Chelsea. Wayne Rooney was in his sickbed after contracting the flu bug which also kept Li Tie and, more crucially, Alan Stubbs away from the action. With David Weir missing as well, the central defensive partnership was the young combination of Joseph Yobo and Peter Clarke. They were exposed to a barrage from the home side, courtesy of some excel-lent wing play and the top-class delivery from the left of Brett Emerton. In the opening half hour Rovers, clearly pumped up after five consecutive defeats, ran riot. In that time they scored twice through close-range headers from Markus Babbel and Dwight Yorke, threatened to add a shed-load more and put the game beyond the Blues. Moyes adminstered his own unique brand of medicine at half-time and that did have some impact. But not enough. The two-goal lead always seemed likely to be enough to secure all three points against an Everton side which has been struggling to find the target this season. And there simply was not enough on offer from the Toffees in the second period fightback to warrant optimism today. Yes, there was a significant improvement. Yes, the arrival of James McFadden transformed the attacking play and provided the life-line which almost threatened to earn a point, teeing up a sweet cross from the right for Tomasz Radzinski to head home in the 49th minute. But no matter how well the side did in the second period, they could not turn back time. Everton needed to battle from the start, not the halfway stage. Under Moyes' guidance, that is exactly what we have come to expect. After the Chelsea performance, the hope of a quality display was not unreasonable.
But there was no repeat. Now the manager must spend the next few weeks working out a cure.
A doctor will help with the flu which has swept through the camp. But maybe a psychiatrist can work out why the team is lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous. A genuine cure for the side's ills is desperately needed. No short-term fix will do. Hard graft and hard luck stories are not enough anymore. When the players return from their warm weather training and take to the field against fellow strugglers Wolves a week on Saturday, victory is nothing short of essential. By then a few of the walking wounded should be back and the flu should have been eradicated. Good job. They will need all the players they can muster. They need to explode out of the blocks. That is what Blackburn did last night. In the fifth minute a free-kick from the right edge of the area was headed into the six-yard box by Garry Flitcroft. Clarke got his head on the ball but could not guide it away from the danger, allowing Babbel to nod home from close range. The German missed another great chance minutes later, denied by a stunning save from Nigel Martyn after a sweet cross from Emerton.
But the onslaught ensured another fine centre from the Australian in the 13th minute was converted. Yorke slipped between Clarke and Gary Naysmith to power another header beyond Martyn. The aerial dominance of the home side should have led to more goals, with Andy Todd guilty of a bad miss seven minutes before the break. It was no surprise that Moyes made sweeping changes at the interval, David Unsworth returning after his spell away from the first team and McFadden providing more cutting edge. Their arrival, coupled with a rollicking, provided a marked improvement. Indeed, after Radzinski netted there were a couple of great chances to level the scores. Unsworth prodded wide from close range following a Thomas Gravesen corner and Tobias Linderoth was guilty of an equally wasteful miss with his head. But while Everton were significantly better after the interval, they were still struggling to keep at bay a Blackburn side which was buoyed by the morale boost their first-half display had provided. Substitute Paul Gallagher forced a great save from Martyn early in the second period and went close again minutes later. But as the game progressed the nerves of being so close to a rare win got to the home side. After just one win in nine games, it was to be expected. Vratislav Gresko was lucky to get away with only a yellow card for a shocking challenge on McFadden in the final quarter of the match. The mis-timed lunge was a reflection of the frustration the Scot's arrival caused the home side. But while the talented 20-year-old gave the Blues an added dimension they needed as desperately as Prince Charles requires a little positive PR, he alone could not turn the game on its head. Everton may have won the second-half battle, but they lost the war. And against a side that started the evening in the bottom three and at its lowest ebb of the Graeme Souness era. So there is no point getting too excited about any pluses that could be taken from this game because the negatives outnumbered them.
BLACKBURN: Friedel; Neill, Babbel, Todd, Gresko; Emerton, Ferguson, Flitcroft, Reid; Jansen (Baggio 80), Yorke (Gallagher 46). Not used: Taylor, Tugay, Enckelman.
EVERTON: Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Clarke, Naysmith (Jeffers 82); Gravesen, Linderoth, Nyarko (McFadden 46), Kilbane (Unsworth 46); Radzinski, Campbell. Not used: Simonsen, Chadwick.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd
BOOKINGS: Ferguson, Gresko; Linderoth, Campbell
Wretched Blues must learn from Ewood debacle
Nov 11 2003 By David Prentive, Liverpool Echo
WHEN the words Middlesbrough and Tranmere are mentioned in the same sentence to an Evertonian, the words are almost always followed by an involuntary shudder. But that was the stark message texted to my mobile 'phone at half-time last night, and by a rational Blue to boot. Two of the most shocking Everton reverses in recent memory, the only name missing from the list was Manchester City. Yes, Everton's first half display at Ewood Park was that bad. Lacking in spirit, style, passion, endeavour, enthusiasm, courage and the basic ability to pass to a player in the same colour shirt, this was capitulation on a York City and Bristol Rovers scale. Matters did improve after the interval, and the Blues might even have pinched a thoroughly undeserved point. But that might have sent out misleading signals to players who clearly believe they are better than they are. This is the first time I have had to pen such sentiments during David Moyes' 20 month reign. And i f there is any consolation to be gleaned from a wretched night it is that such a performance came sufficiently early in the season for the Blues to real ise why th ey over-achieved last season. Sure, there was occasional brilliance from Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski last term, but the bedrock of Everton's achievement was hard-work, organisation and enthusiasm. This season it is as if the players believe they have done the hard work already, and that application has been absent.
Peter Reid's carefree demeanour as he joked and chatted with his pals from Everton's illustrious past showed how quickly the shrouds of managerial malcontent and frustration can lift. David Moyes' mood at present is poisonous, but that can transform as quickly as you can say Everton 1, Wolves 0.
That must be the immediate target for The Toffees - to bite, fight and scratch their way to three points in their next Premiership outing. The manager himself may have learned a few lessons from last night, too. It is to be hoped David Unsworth's refusal to sign an inferior contract to the one already placed in front of him was not the reason for his absence from the starting line-up.
If so, it was a mistake. Unsworth is currently behind only Gravesen in the terrace whipping boy lists - and his late miss from almost under the crossbar will hardly change that - but his experience would surely have helped a central defence which f or 4 5 minu tes mad e headlight-startled cats look mobile and reactive. Alex Nyarko was far from the worst offender in midfield, but his half-time hauling suggests a short-lived comeback has already ended, while up front Kevin Campbell was clearly not fit. David Moyes took his team off to Tenerife today for a 'bonding' session. Hopefully the few days away will allow a few home truths to settle and they will return with a different mindset.
Everton do not have the look of a team which will be fighting relegation. But the Premiership table does not lie. Nottingham Forest, Bla ckbu rn, Charlto n, Manchester City, Ipswich and Sunderland all thought they were too good to go down in recent seasons. They all did. Hopefully last night has convinced some of the slackers that it is an option which is not beyond the bounds of possibility at Everton either - unless they pick up their workrate - and quickly.
Treat break like a fresh pre-season
Nov 11 2003 By Andy Gray, Liverpool Echo
A TRIP to Tenerife for a spot of warm weather 'bonding' might seem an inappropriate reward for Everton's awful first half performance last night. But I believe that a change of scenery is just what David Moyes and his squad need just now. Ironically Graeme Souness did the same thing with his Blackburn squad - taking them to Gleneagles last week for a short break - and it may not be coincidence that he got the reaction we witnessed last night. Team spirit and togethertheness is seen as an old fashioned ethic, but it is just as important in modern football as it ever was. That was highlighted by the sight of Peter Reid, Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp and Ian Snodin laughing and joking in the Ewood Park stand before last night's game. They were part of an Everton squad which boasted a fierce loyalty to each other - which is still evident even 20 years later - and much of that loyalty was forged in bonding sessions away from the training pitches. Much of Everton's success last season was achieved through work-rate, enthusiasm and organisation by their manager. But the levels of those qualities have clearly dipped this season. David Moyes is admired for his motivational qualities, and he will need every ounce of those skills to repair the situation Everton have allowed themselves to get into. The next run of fixtures is tough, but hardly awesome. Wolves, Bolton, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Leicester are the type of games Everton did phenomenally well in last season. At the very least nine or ten points is now necessary to help settle jangling nerves around Goodison Park. At least the players should be able to get away from the growing pressure in Tenerife. They will be shielded from media calls, newspaper headlines and TV analyses, and hopefully focus on exactly what is going wrong. The consolation is that the season is barely a third of the way through and there is still plenty of time to turn things around. Upwardly mobile and improving Middlesbrough are still just four points ahead of Everton and within easy reach. Not even Leeds United can consider themselves to be adrift at the bottom of the table. Everton should treat this week's mini-break as a sort of belated pre-season session, and get ready to kick-off their season all over again against Wolves in 11 days' time. That really is a six pointer.
Time to clear the air - Ratcliffe
Nov 11 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN RATCLIFFE has urged Everton's players to clear the air during their warm weather training trip to Tenerife. The Blues' squad jetted to the Canaries this afternoon for a week at a specialist training camp. Club legend Ratcliffe believes the trip is ideally timed after the horror show of last night's first half display at Blackburn which led to Everton slipping to a 2-1 defeat and a place in the bottom three. He said: "The lads only see each other for a couple of hours most days and when you go away for away games you tend to stay in the hotel. "There aren't that many opportunities to bond. By going away this is a chance for people to get together and air their views. "Things can come out when you are away together on a trip like this that can help the team. It is not just the manager who can get things off his chest, the players can talk to each other and tell each other where they think the problem lies." Ratcliffe was surprised by the first half display against Blackburn which gifted the home side a two-goal lead. He said: "As a manager it must be so frustrating when you get two different performances in the same match. "When a side isn't doing well there is a Jekyll and Hyde aspect to the team. You can't seem to get 80 or 90 minute performances out of a side because their morale is so delicate. "That is something that needs to be addressed." Moyes is intent on doing that. He has revealed the players have vowed to turn things around. "The players tell me they are going to respond," he admitted. "They seem adamant they are going to show us, so I look forward to it. But it is not just the players, it is me as well. I take full responsibility. "I don't think there is an Evertonian throughout the country who would have questioned any player for their effort. But last night we could be questioned, me included."
You're never too good to go down - Jansen
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 12 2003
STRUGGLING Everton last night received a stark warning from their latest conquerors: Don't believe you are too good to go down. The Blues slumped into the bottom three on Monday night following an abysmal first half display at Blackburn that left David Moyes openly questioning some players' attitude. Following last season's revival the return to more familiar Premiership territory has taken many by surprise. But Matt Jansen believes the Blues could be in danger if complacency sets in among their squad. The Blackburn striker knows from experience how quickly a team's fortunes can slide, being part of the Rovers squad that was relegated just four years after winning the Premiership. And last night he warned Moyes' men, who have not won in five league games, not to make the same mistakes. "When I first joined the club, everyone was saying then that we were too good to go down, and just needed a couple of results," he said. "A lot of people around the place were saying 'this is a massive club, we only won the title a couple of years ago, it can't happen to us.'
"Then we would lose again, and suddenly it was a case of 'hang on a second, we're right in the thick of it.' "Panic can start to set in and you just get caught up in it. When it gets to that stage, it can be anyone who goes down. "It gets to be like a cup final every week. This game was like that to a large extent. They couldn't afford to lose again, and neither could we. "There is a danger you can think you are too good to be caught up in things at the bottom. You are just waiting for things to pick up, but it only does that if you make it. "So of course Everton have to be wary of thinking in those terms. I am not suggesting for one minute that that's what they are doing right now, but it can almost creep up on you. "But the gaffer is no mug, and neither is David Moyes, so I am certain that once the breaks start coming for them, they have the players to get out of it." Everton will have plenty of time to dwell on Monday's display at a training camp in Tenerife this week. And Jansen admits such an exercise can have a positive effect on a team in trouble. He added: "We went to Scotland for a bonding break last week and a few games of golf. It was just to get away from it all and clear our heads a bit. I'm not saying that is the reason that we won, but you look at what has happened when we have done that sort of thing before. "We went to Marbella last season and came back and had four straight wins. The two previous years we had gone to Dubai, and the same happened. The first time we went on to get promotion from the first division, and the next year we had a fantastic run as well. It just gives you a lift and refreshes everyone." Wayne Rooney's chances of playing for England this weekend, meanwhile, look slimmer after he spent yesterday in bed with 'flu. The Blues striker is showing the same symptoms as Alan Stubbs, who also missed the Blackburn defeat with the illness and has lost half-a-stone in weight in less than a week. Everton physio Mick Rathbone said: "Myself and the club doctor have visited Wayne this morning and he is feeling very unwell. "He is suffering from the exact symptoms as the other players who have been affected and we are assuming that it's the same viral condition. It is a particularly nasty bug that affects you for a period of five to six days. "We will continue to monitor his progress every day and we are liaising closely with the medical staff at the FA over his condition."
England physios check Rooney
Nov 12 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND'S physios were today visiting the bedside of Everton striker Wayne Rooney in the hope he will shake off a flu bug in time to play for his country on Sunday. The Blues' striker has been quarantined at home since pulling out of the squad which lost at Blackburn on Monday night. And Everton's medical staff have called on him every day to check out his condition. England's medical staff visited Rooney at home today to assess the extent of his illness for themselves. But, with previous victims of the virus taking five to six days to recover, Rooney's hopes of joining up with the squad to face Denmark appear slim. Eriksson lost defender Gareth Southgate yesterday to a thigh injury, having already been denied the services of Michael Owen and Sol Campbell (injured) and Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand (disciplinary reasons). And with captain David Beckham also carrying a back injury, Eriksson's first job when the squad arrive in Manchester tomorrow will be to check out exactly who is fit. Eriksson added: "We are aware that Beckham has a back problem. "He will report for us tomorrow and will be assessed by our medical staff then."
One player who is eagerly awaiting the get-together is Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner, who reacted with disbelief when told he had been called into the senior squad for the first time to replace Southgate. Gardner starred in Tottenham's narrow defeat to Arsenal on Saturday and Eriksson has rewarded the England Under-21 player with a call-up to the main squad. "I thought it was a wind-up at first," Gardner said. "My next emotion was surprise, just extreme surprise. I always look to see who is in the squad because I am an England fan first and fore-most and always want to know who is in and who is not. "But I never expected me to be in there."
Win Blues history
Daily PostNov 13 2003
TO celebrate Everton's 125th anniversary a new book is on the shelves. Written by James Corbett and published in hardback by Macmillan, Everton: The School Of Science (£17.99) is the perfect gift for Evertonians. The Daily Post has teamed up with Macmillan to offer the chance to win one of five copies of the book. With an introduction by the Golden Vision, Alex Young, this book charts Everton's history from their first league match (a 2-1 victory over Accrington) to the glorious championship team of 1938-39, from the relegation of the early fifties to the dramatic FA Cup victory of 1966, from Dixie Dean to Gary Lineker, and from John Moores to David Moyes.
The achievements of the team built by Harry Catterick are recalled alongside the glory of the 1980s and Howard Kendall's all-conquering side. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the simple question below: How many goals did Dixie Dean score in his record-breaking season of 1927-28?
We can pull out of danger
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 13 2003
NEW BLUE James McFadden insists Everton do have the spirit required to drag themselves away from the danger zone. David Moyes was among many who questioned the Blues' attitude during the dreadful first-half performance at Blackburn on Monday, where defeat sent them sliding into the bottom three. It was only after McFadden's second-half arrival that Moyes' side made their belated recovery. And despite the subsequent criticism the Scot believes Everton have the down-to-earth mentality to fight their way back up the table. McFadden said: "It's been good for me to come down here. I think it's made me a better player already. "Obviously you're a little bit naive when you come down at first, playing with the players you watched on the telly, but they are all just normal guys.
"The guys you play against are the same. They are not unbeatable. But everyone at Everton has made it easy, there are definitely no egos at this club. "It's actually a similar dressing room to Motherwell. It's the same spirit. Everyone is quite close, works hard and is up for a laugh. I'm just quite surprised and happy that I've not been the victim of any pranks since arriving." McFadden has been in and out of the Everton side since his deadline day arrival from Motherwell. But the £1.25million man, currently preparing for Scotland's Euro 2004 play-off against Holland, hopes Monday's 45-minute display has impressed both Moyes and Berti Vogts. "It was good to get a run-out with Saturday in mind, especially with the manager at the game," he added. "Hopefully I impressed him with the way I played after I came on at half-time. Confidence is a big part of my game. I know that if it's not there I'll not even have an average game... I'll have a dreadful one."
McFadden is now looking for his Premiership experience to land him a starring role in the Dutch double-header. He admitted: "When the name came out the hat I was a wee bit gutted that we got Holland, but I was happy at the same time because it's a chance to play against one of the better nations, one of the biggest. "They've not had the best of times in the last few years so I think they're there for the taking. If we're going to beat them then it's got to be now and I don't see why we should fear them. "If we fear them then we'll not win. It's as simple as that - we'll not take anything from the games." Tomasz Radzinski, meanwhile, has been called up by Canada for their friendlies against the Czech Republic and the Republic of Ireland.
Rooney to link up with England
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 13 2003
WAYNE ROONEY will team up with England today despite being laid low all week with the 'flu.
It had been feared the illness that kept Rooney out of Monday's defeat by Blackburn would cost him a place in the Old Trafford friendly against Denmark this Sunday. But his condition improved significantly yesterday, and he is expected to be at the squad's gettogether in Manchester this afternoon. FA medical officials turned up at Rooney's home yesterday to assess his condition, despite receiving regular updates from their Everton counterparts. Blues physio Mick Rathbone revealed: "We went to see him yesterday and he was quite unwell but the doctor has been to see Wayne again this morning and after 24 hours rest and a good night's sleep he is much improved.
"We have since spoken with the medical staff at the Football Association and informed them that we are happy he's improved enough to join up with the England squad." Richard Wright, meanwhile, should know by tomorrow whether he needs to go under the knife again to cure his persistent knee problem. The 26-year-old, who has made only four appearances this season, is awaiting the results of last week's meeting with renowned knee specialist Dr Richard Steadman. Despite exploratory surgery Wright is still in discomfort when he kicks the ball. Everton hope scans being studied at Steadman's Colorado base will rule out the need for another operation that could sideline the keeper for months. But surgery has not been ruled out at this stage.
Mini success marked Royle arrival
Post Past With Phil Redmond, Daily Post
Nov 13 2003
THIS WEEK, of course, heralds an international inspired break which, for those of us who have absolutely no interest in international football - and there are a lot of us, can be absolute purgatory.
No doubt the various DIY superstores and other shops will be swelled by thousands of men who would normally be at the match! Evertonians will want to see Wayne Rooney do well, but it's galling to hear the Home Counties new soccer Ingerlund-types chanting his name when he's wearing the Three Lions. Don't forget, he's ours! One international break I do remember was in November 1994 when Joe Royle had just taken over the Goodison hot-seat from the hapless Mike Walker.
The Blues were firmly anchored to the bottom of the league and in need of a miracle. Liverpool and Everton got their heads together and showed rare initiative by putting on the mini derby at Anfield, and I was one of a gate of more than 10,000 punters keen for their regular footy fix. Royle (above left), meanwhile, took the opportunity to run the rule over one or two fringe players. As I recall, Everton fielded a team of kids with only soon to be 'Dogs Of War' Ebbrell and Parkinson able to boast first team experience. Liverpool, meanwhile, turned out a team rich in experience but lacking in desire, with the likes of Jan Molby, Neil Ruddock and other out of favour players like Paul Stewart, Michael Thomas and Nigel Clough - "The new Dalglish". Partly due to the presence of the new boss and partly due to the fact that many of the Liverpool team clearly didn't want to know, the young Toffees tore the Reds apart, with Ebbrell and Parkinson dominant. The final score was 4-0 and I can remember being enthralled by the skills of Tony Grant - a sad waste of talent - and by a little fullback called Alex Smith, who was never heard of again. Anyway Big Joe was back and we were able to look forward to the next week's proper derby with a little more optimism. All Evertonians, and especially Duncan Ferguson, will never forget what happened that night.
Radzinski: I'm so proud to be Player-of-the-Year
Nov 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVER wanted to talk football with your Everton heroes or find out what they like to do away from the football pitch?
We are offering JBlue members the chance to put their questions to the Goodison stars. This month nine-year-old Amanda Brown, of Eastham, quizzes Blues striker Tomasz Radzinski.
* You scored two brilliant goals against Southampton last season. What was it like to score the winner in the 93rd minute?
It was one of the greatest feelings in my English footballing career.
* How did you feel being voted Everton's Player-of-the-Year?
It was a great achievement, especially being recognised by the Blue noses - it made me feel very proud indeed.
* Do you think you can win the Premiership with Everton in the next five years?
Winning the Premiership would be very difficult because there are some great teams playing in England. I think we can definitely qualify for Europe and play a better type of football that the supporters will enjoy.
* You have had a number of striker partners since being at Everton. Who do you think you work best with?
It depends on the game and the situation to be perfectly honest. There are a number of great strikers at Everton and it would difficult to single any one out.
* How does it feel playing alongside Wayne Rooney who has great talent at such a young age?
It is a pleasure to work with him and I think I can learn from him, but I would like to think that he can learn from me also.
* Can Everton achieve more success this season than last season?
I think so. Everyone knows the type of football we aim to to try and play.
* When you are not playing and scoring goals, how do you like to relax?
I play on my Playstation and watch comedy shows on TV.
* What do you think you will be doing after you finish playing football?
For the first year, probably not much. After that only time will tell. It still depends where my life takes me. I still don't know what country I will settle down in. If you want to quiz your Goodison heroes, send your questions to JBlue My Top Ten,
Pistone lifts Blues
Nov 13 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE has handed Everton's beleaguered defence a major boost by returning to full training. The 28-year-old Italian left-back was struck down by a hernia problem at the start of last month and had to undergo an operation in Italy on October 10. He was expected to be out for six weeks, but has returned to full training this week after a faster than expected recovery.
The defender, who acquired British citizenship last week, could now be in contention for a return to the squad for the home clash with Wolves in nine days. With Alan Stubbs also recovering after suffering a bout of the flu, David Moyes' defensive options are opening up once again. However, the severity of the bug which has swept through Goodison was underlined with news that Stubbs has lost half a stone in weight because of the illness. On Monday the manager had to call upon Peter Clarke for his first start since the FA Cup third round defeat at Shrewsbury last season because of a lack of options. But now only David Weir, who is expected to be out for another month with a medial knee ligament injury, remains on the list of injured defenders. Scot Gemmill is also back in full training after recovering from a thigh injury. The Scottish midfielder has not made a senior appearance this season because of the persistent injury, which recurred last month after a brief return to fitness. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney today reported for training with the England squad in Manchester after showing signs of recovery from the same bug which struck Stubbs.
With coach Sven Goran Eriksson selecting only three forwards in the absence of the injured Michael Owen, Rooney's rapid recovery is important ahead of Sunday's Old Trafford encounter with Denmark. FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "Wayne Rooney will join up with the England squad in Manchester. We are hopeful he will be available for the game against Denmark on Sunday."
Everton physio Mike Rathbone said: "We went to see him yesterday and he was quite unwell but the doctor has been to see Wayne again this morning and after 24 hours rest and a good night's sleep, he is much improved. "We have since spoken with the medical staff at the FA and informed them we are happy he's improved enough to join up with the England squad."
Our spirit will pull us clear - Faddy
Nov 13 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE man who almost inspired a thrilling fightback against Blackburn on Monday believes Everton have the right spirit to climb away from the relegation zone. James McFadden's performance after coming on as a half-time substitute at Ewood Park was one of the few plus points from a miserable night for the Blues. He teed up Tomasz Radzinski for Everton's 49th minute goal which gave them a lifeline and was a thorn in the side of the Blackburn defence. But he couldn't stop the team slipping to a 2-1 defeat which left them third from bottom and without a league win since September.
For the first time since David Moyes' arrival at Goodison there is concern amongst some fans about where this season could end up. There is little doubt in McFadden's mind though. The 20-year-old Scot points to the team spirit within the camp as evidence that the side will climb out of trouble.
And he is not over-awed by the quality of opposition in the Premiership who stand between the Blues and safety. He said: "Obviously you're a little bit naive when you come down at first, playing with the players you watched on the telly, but they are all just normal guys. "The guys you play against are the same. They are not unbeatable. But everyone at Everton has made it easy, there are definitely no egos at this club. "It is actually a similar dressing room to Motherwell. It is the same spirit. "Everyone is quite close, works hard and is up for a laugh. "I'm just quite surprised and happy that I've not been the victim of any pranks since arriving." Indeed, his rat's tail haircut seemed the obvious target. But since Paul Gascoigne's departure such antics are far less common. And so his distinctive locks will be on show at Hampden Park on Saturday when he lines up for Scotland against Holland in the first leg of their Euro 2004 play-off. "It was good to get a run-out with Saturday in mind, especially with the manager at the game," added McFadden. "Hopefully I impressed him with the way I played after I came on at half-time. "Confidence is a big part of my game. I know that if it's not there I won't even have an average game ... I'll have a dreadful one." Thankfully for Scotland, his nerves are not too on edge ahead of Saturday, despite the prospect of facing a talented Holland side which includes such stars as Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert and Jaap Stam. "When the name came out of the hat I was a wee bit gutted but I was happy at the same time because it is a chance to play against one of the better nations, one of the biggest. "They've not had the best of times in the last few years so I think they're there for the taking. "If we're going to beat them then it's got to be now and I don't see why we should fear them. "If we fear them then we'll not win. It's as simple as that - we'll not take anything from the games."
Still long way to go, so lay off Moyes
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 14 2003
CONGRATULATIONS to Arsenal on winning the league and Alan Curbishley's plucky Charlton on securing a place in the Champions League for next season. Liverpool must obviously be disappointed on not even making a UEFA Cup spot while Evertonians are distraught by the fact that we've been relegated. What do you mean, it's only mid-November? The season's finished and we're bound for Division One aren't we? No? Well that's the impression you get listening to some of the reactions following Monday night's first-half horror show. Admittedly it was poor - worse than White Hart Lane even - but it's surely a bit premature to break out the sackcloth and ashes and start pointing the finger at David Moyes. Quite frankly the players let him down at Ewood Park; their attitude stunk in the first 45 minutes and an extremely ropey Blackburn were handed the game on a plate in the first quarter of an hour. As a result we're in the bottom three and facing the first really sticky patch of Moyes' reign at Everton. What's most disappointing isn't our position - Moyes says we'll get out of it and he will be good to his word - but how quickly some people seem to have lost faith in the manager at the first sign of a few bumps in the road. One of the many reasons why Moyes is so respected by the vast majority of Evertonians is because he doesn't make excuses: you never hear him moaning about injuries or talking about having his hands tied behind his back, for instance.
However, you only have to look at the line-ups he has fielded so far this season, and how they differ wildly from one game to the next, to see why we're struggling compared to last time around.
Thanks to injury and now illness there has simply been no continuity in almost any area of the pitch.
For instance, neither David Weir nor Alan Stubbs has been able to stay fit for any sustained period, while Stanley Racing are apparently thinking of adding a new section to their fixed odds coupon: predict today's Everton strike partnership. For heaven's sake, Sean Davis got injured just talking to us! Again though, after Monday's match Moyes refused to shirk his responsibilities and promised more hard work, and that's all he can do. The fundamentals of the way he does things and the way he tries to get his team playing are the right ones - last season was testament to that. With five winnable games coming up the players now have the opportunity to show the same commitment and work ethic as their manager and prove that they are better than their current league position suggests.
Rooney back in training
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 14 2003
WAYNE ROONEY was back in training with England yesterday - just 48 hours after being consigned to his sick bed. Everton chiefs had feared the star would be laid low until today at the earliest with the flu bug that kept him out of Monday's defeat at Blackburn. But after a rapid recovery he was declared well enough to take part in the first England training session for Sunday's international with Denmark. The fixture may only be a worthless friendly, but Sven-Goran Eriksson will again pin his hopes and expectations on the 18-year-old sensation. Michael Owen was not even considered for the squad due to injury and now Aston Villa's Darius Vassell is a major doubt after picking up a knee problem in a club friendly in Dubai on Wednesday. FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "He has got fluid on the knee so was unable to fly today and he will now come back with Aston Villa tomorrow afternoon. "He will then be assessed by our medical staff on Saturday to see whether he is in a position to proceed from there." Eriksson overlooked James Beattie's claims to select only three strikers in his original 23-man squad. And despite calling up Leeds striker Alan Smith as cover for Vassell last night, the Swede has only Rooney and the struggling Emile Heskey to form a recognised forward line. David Beckham missed training in Manchester with a back problem but it is hoped he will take part in sessions in the next 48 hours. Taking part in training for the first time with the senior squad were Chelsea's Glen Johnson, Charlton's Scott Parker and Spurs' Anthony Gardner.
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 14 2003
IT was an awful performance by Everton on Monday night. The team was all over the place and we could hardly take any positives. But we are only four points worse off than we were last season in the corresponding fixtures. It can't be argued that we need to strengthen the team.
Kyle Potter (via e-mail)
ABSOLUTELY appalling 45 minutes against a poor Blackburn team. Our defending was a joke, the midfield non-existent and strikers starved of any service. There were various instances in the match that I couldn't understand including: Why Clarke played, why Nyarko was taken off (didn't give the ball away once) but Gravesen was kept on, why Kilbane was on the pitch, why Linderoth gets continually picked, why the referee played only one minute of injury time? We can definitely forget Europe this season and concentrate on getting into the top 10. I think its time to give Jeffers more of a chance and rest Super Kev for a while.
Shez Khan (via e-mail)
At a stretch
LET'S be fair, Everton had as many as 10 players unavailable and there were probably others playing with the 'flu. Great second half showing but the damage was done. We are not going to win many games until we get a commanding central midfield player. Gravesen improved in the second period but in the first half he was his usual wasteful self. Nyarko was a spectator and Kilbane no better than okay. Not all doom and gloom though as again we had a few outstanding performances - unfortunately one of them was Nigel Martyn.
Frank Black (via e-mail)
Tough times ahead
LOOKING at the squad pre-season I knew we would struggle this year. I believe Moyes will pull us out of this mess but it's going to be a very uncomfortable season. I'd go with Radzinski and Jeffers, with Rooney behind them, and give Campbell a break.
B Richards (via e-mail)
AFTER such a poor showing, the club take Everton's players on holiday. I can imagine the holiday my employer would offer me if I only gave him less than 50 per cent. I believe it is called unemployment!
Bill Gall (via e-mail)
NO more excuses (Boro, Spurs, Blackburn) start winning. Blackburn were very predictable but we could not cope. Gravesen right midfield? Campbell? Jeffers and McFadden on the bench? It's November and we don't have any sort of settled team.
Dave Tarbuck, Merseyside
SO the "team" (I use the word loosely) have apologised to Moyes and have promised to do better against Wolves. I should think so. How about an apology to the supporters, too, by actually getting off their backsides and delivering the performances of last season? How can the same bunch of players play Chelsea off the park one week and then turn in that performance.
Steve York (via e-mail)
THE Blues played very well against Chelsea and should have had at least a point. We were awful against Blackburn. It's very tight at the bottom and we could be back above Blackburn as they play at Man U and we are at home to Wolves next. Expect a much-improved performance after the break which has has come at a good time for us.
Sheila Jones, Liverpool
WHAT happened to the passionate players that we saw so much of last season? Where is the imaginative play, the hard graft and the basic ability of the midfield to do anything? I would give Leon Osman a run ahead of Gravesen.
Heather Bryant, Liverpool
Pistone may return
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 14 2003
ALESSANDRO PISTONE could be thrown to the Wolves after making a quicker than expected recovery from injury. Everton's Italian defender was yesterday given permission to return to full training after being sidelined since late September by a hernia operation. The surgery was the second in less than a year for Pistone, who could be back in contention for the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend if he continues to progress. Pistone will join up with the rest of the Everton first team squad on their return from Tenerife next week, as will Scot Gemmill as he bids to kick-start his stalled season. The midfielder is still a few weeks away from a Premiership return after breaking down on his initial comeback from a thigh injury. But he is in line for a reserve outing within the next fortnight, as is Lee Carsley who is still out with a medial ligament injury.
The Blues' two other main injury concerns, Steve Watson and David Weir, remain weeks away from making their comebacks as they recover from double hernia and knee ligament damage respectively.
Blues want goals
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post Nov 14 2003
WITH three home matches in their next four matches Everton under-19s will look to add to their seven-match unbeaten run in the FA Premier Academy League tomorrow. Neil Dewsnip's side face Stoke City at Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 11am) looking to continue the fine form that has taken them into second in the table. And the under-18s players in the squad will be looking to take confidence from their fine League displays when they begin their FA Youth Cup campaign against Coventry City at Highfield Road on December 6. Coach Dewsnip said: "One of the things Colin (Harvey) used to say is, 'you live and die by your front players'. There are times when you get absolutely battered, but they score you a goal and they win you the match. And other times you can dominate the game and they don't score and you can lost the game. "But the confidence is okay. Gavin Lynch and Patrice Pascucci have the right work ethic and their creativity is find. And I'm sure if they can continue to perform in the manner they are doing they will score." Brian Moogan and Lawrence Wilson were rested last week having played a number of games in the reserve and U19 level, but they should return tomorrow. Gary Ablett's under-17s will aim to get back to winning ways tomorrow after last week's heavy defeat to Blackburn. But having proved formidable opposition for most sides prior to last week's loss the Blues couldn't have picked a tougher run of games to get back on course. Ablett's side face a Merseyside derby at Kirkby tomorrow (kick-off 11am) against a Liverpool side also smarting from defeat to unbeaten league leaders Manchester United. Then it is United themselves the week after and Manchester City the week later. Ablett said: "We will probably learn more about them this week, after a result like that, than we have done in probably the last four or five months. "We have told them it is up to them how they respond, hopefully positively." Captain Mark Hughes is a doubt after picking up a groin injury. But the Blues are hopeful he will be fit enough to play tomorrow.
Scousers losing in shouting match
Nov 14 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVER since football fans first discovered a collective singing voice on the Mersey terraces of the swinging sixties, Anfield and Goodison Park were hailed as the home of the wittiest ripostes.
They even cut an LP (like a CD but bigger, for younger readers) called The Kop Choir. Obviously the decline of bank terracing and the emergence of all-seater stadia has diluted stadium atmospheres everywhere. umour, though, is still intact - but not necessarily on Merseyside.
It might irk some on Merseyside to learn that Manchester is taking over as the home of the entertaining chant. Just witness United's fans at Anfield last Sunday. Some might have been offended by the reworking of the Band Aid classic: "Feed the Scousers! Let them know it's Christmas time!" But, like the claims that "Champions League? You're having a laugh!" followed by "City above you! You're having a laugh!" it appealed to those who can appreciate gallows humour.
And I've highlighted before their tribute to goalkeeper Tim Howard, a Tourette's Syndrome sufferer: "Timmy Tourette's, He's in Our Nets . . . . F*** Off!" Even Howard was reported to have smiled.
Everton were on the receiving end, too, recently. Adrian Mutu had barely finished celebrating his Goodison match-winner when Chelsea's fans chanted: "Chim, Chiminee, Chim Chiminee, Chim Chim Cheroo. Who needs Wayne Rooney when we've got Mutu?" then: "Shall we buy you a ground?"
Before you jam my mail bag with outraged responses, just offer one example of an entertaining chant from a Mersey terrace since Liverpool played Grimsby and extolled Kenny Dogfish, Jimmy Plaice and Phil Seal.
Injury-hit Blues need a leader
Nov 14 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S position in the bottom three of the Premiership is worrying.
Drawing at home and losing away is relegation form, but I believe that with the return of several key players they can start to climb up the table. At Blackburn last Monday they lacked leader-ship on the pitch. I could not see anyone giving direction or motivation to team-mates. The absentees included David Weir, Alan Stubbs, Steve Watson, Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney. They all have a lot of presence on the field. Without them, Everton looked like a group of individuals. It was a very important game and although the Blues had good spells in the second half, Blackburn deserved the win. I recall bumping into Joe Mercer when he was Coventry boss and I was playing at Birmingham. He asked me how things were going and I said they were not bad - we were winning some and losing some. He replied: "The time to worry is when you are drawing some and losing some." That is what is happening with Everton at the moment. It means there is even more pressure on them to get a result from their next league game, at home to Wolves. It is too early to be pressing the panic button, though. David Moyes just needs these absent players back as quickly as possible. They have the character to get results. Leeds want heart more than Hart
PETER REID is the latest manager to leave Leeds United, but I still expect a queue of people for the job. They will all believe they can get the play-ers performing for them and that they c an tu rn th i n gs around. Too many top players have gone. How can the ones who are left retain any ambition when the club itself seems to have none? When he joined the club I'm surprised Reidy did not make fixing the defence his priority. Paul Hart is one of the favourites to succeed Reid and I'm sure he will see joining Leeds as a step up in his managerial career. People can point the finger at the behaviour of Mark Viduka, but when you take over a club that is leaking goals, you have to stop conceding or you have no chance. Viduka caused unnecessary problems for Reid. He is the kind of player who only performs when he wants to. That is not good enough when a club is in the position Leeds find themselves in. You never know what you will get from Viduka when you put his name on the team-sheet and that is a big problem for any manager who comes in. Sven needs stability
AFTER missing Everton's match at Blackburn on Monday because of flu, I can't see Wayne Rooney playing a full 90 minutes for England this Sunday. Then again, I can't see anyone playing 90 minutes the way Sven Goran Eriksson treats international friendlies. He could probably get more benefit out of a normal get-together than changing his whole team after just 45 minutes against Denmark.
Faddy's Scot what it takes
Nov 14 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
SCOT GEMMILL believes Everton teammate James McFadden will be the key if Scotland are to emulate their 1978 World Cup triumph over Holland at Hampden Park tomorrow.
The midfielder's father, Archie, netted one of the greatest goals of World Cup history as Ally Macleod's Scotland demolished tournament favourites Holland 3-2 in Argentina. Despite the triumph, the Tartan Army went home after being knocked out of the tournament on goal difference.
Tomorrow the Scots face the Dutch once again, this time in a crucial Euro 2004 qualifier at Hampden Park. With the second leg next week in Amsterdam, it is vital Berti Vogts' men get a decent result tomorrow. And Gemmill junior believes that in 20-year-old winger McFadden, the the Scots have a player with the skill and flair capable of matching his dad's moment of wizardry. "Everybody knew he was one of the outstanding Under-21 players who was expected to make the transition to the full squad," said Gemmill. "He has done that and I think the manager knows that the goals are hard to come by at that level. But if anyone is capable of getting one it is James. "Gary (Naysmith) and Faddy combined really well down the left against Lithuania. "Gary has gone from being a young lad coming into the team untested to one of the first names on the team sheet. "Everybody expects him to go on and play for Scotland for the next six or seven years and he will become almost a father-figure for the team."
Carsley set for return to training
Nov 14 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY has revealed he will return to full training on Monday. The Republic of Ireland international has been missing with a knee strain since the goalless draw with Southampton last month. Now having recovered from the injury, he has been working on his fitness at Bellefield this week while the rest of the first team squad enjoy a warm weather training break in Tenerife.
He revealed: "I will join in with the rest of the lads when they come back in on Monday. "The knee feels fine." His return to training, combined with the news yesterday that Alessandro Pistone has also recovered fully from last month's hernia operation, will give David Moyes' squad a lift after the disappointment of Monday night's defeat at Blackburn. However, Carsley is unlikely to be in contention for an immediate return to the first team for the visit of Wolves to Goodison next Saturday. Scot Gemmill is now edging his way back to fitness, although the midfielder has been advised to ease his way back to full training in order to avoid a second recurrence of the thigh injury which has kept him out of contention all season. As the Scottish international is in the final year of his contract he is eager to avoid another spell on the treatment table. As a result, it is expected to be a couple of weeks before he is pushing for a place in the reserves. The club's only other injury worries are Steve Watson, David Weir and Richard Wright. Weir's knee ligament injury is expected to keep him sidelined for another four weeks. Watson should be back sooner than that after undergoing a double hernia op last month. Wright was finally expected to receive news from Dr Richard Steadman's clinic in Colorado this afternoon. Steadman is the world's leading knee specialist and met with Wright in London last week. He sent scans of the goal-keeper's troublesome left knee to his colleagues in the USA and the outcome was expected today. The club are hoping Wright does not have to undergo surgery to finally cure the problem which flared up in the 2-2 draw at Charlton earlier in the season. However, that remains a distinct possibility.
All thanks to our defence - McFadden
Daily Post Nov 17 2003
SCOTLAND goalscorer James McFadden believes the credit for the win must rest with the defence despite his excellent strike. "It has been a good few months for me and it was good to get the goal today. But the credit must go to the defence. They were magnificent. "We had a few chances up front but we got the victory because of the defence," he added. The Everton forward was allowed space in the Dutch area by a brilliant back-heel from Darren Fletcher. McFadden added: "It was a magnificent touch from Darren. "He does it in training and it is no surprise he's done it here.
"It wasn't the best of finishes but it hits the back of the net and that's all we're concerned about."
But McFadden cheekily expressed sympathy for Holland defender Jaap Stam, whose booking for a foul against the ex-Motherwell man means he will now miss the second leg. McFadden smiled: "It is a wee shame. But it doesn't matter who plays for them. If we battle like that over there, there is no reason why we can't get a result."
Daily PostNov 17 2003
EVERTON'S Tomasz Radzinski scored a late consolation goal for Canada in their 5-1 friendly defeat to the Czech Republic in Teplice on Saturday. The Czechs, who have already qualified for Euro 2004, are unbeaten in 19 games and scored through Marek Jankulovski, Marek Heinz, Karel Poborsky, Libor Sionko and Rudolf Skacel. Radzinski had an early chance with a one-on-one with Jaromir Blazek but was denied by the Czech keeper. Canada next play the Republic of Ireland away tomorrow.
By Len Capeling, Daily Post Nov 17 2003
ANY Blues fan hearing - second-hand - that an Everton star dominated at Old Trafford would not miss a stride before guessing Wayne Rooney. They wouldn't be far wrong. Rooney - miraculously recovered from the flu that kept him in bed early in the week - scored one howitzer of goal for England, and was crucially involved in setting up Joe Cole as Sven's men took the lead again at 2-1.
But no, if you're looking for the real star of the Theatre of Dreams, then give the crown to the brawny Thomas Gravesen who drove on his country to a thoroughly justified 3-2 victory, after his Goodison team-mate fell victim to a muddle of England substitutes. By the time Denmark knocked in their third, the home team were so dislocated that Denmark should have made Sven-Goran Eriksson wriggle even more wildly as he watched Liverpool's Danny Murphy being forced to double as an inside forward. Too much tinkering has been the curse of the Swede's reign, and here, with close to a whole starting XI departing, he handed the initative to a clever, combative Denmark outfit who began slowly but then all but totally dominated. While Rooney was marauding alongside the effervescent Joe Cole, it looked as if England would eventually emerge unscathed . Rooney smashed home the first, no problem, via the crossbar and then, with Emile Heskey, charmed a second for Cole, who played at the sharp end of England's later abandoned diamond. On this evidence, Cole has taken to heart Eriksson's and Claudio Ranieri's urgings for him to be more tactically aware, and Paul Scholes - lacking goals at international level - will find his place under threat if the young Chelsea midfielder continues to grow into his exciting game. First half, the struggling Beckham apart, England's mid-field looked full of promise, full of threat, while the defence, with Matthew Upson in particular not always awake to imminent danger, seemed as out of control as the FA.
Much of this uncertainty was down to the probings of the burly enforcer I've previously nicknamed the Gravesen Twin, on the basis that the man who does so well for the Danes rarely exhibits the same level of consistency playing for his club. Alongside Martin Jorgensen - scorer of two of Denmark's goals, one from the spot after Upson conceded the penalty - Gravesen was every inch the complete midfielder, winning the ball and sweeping it right and left with the pace and precision of a Vieira. If David Moyes was watching in his Tenerife retreat, he must have rubbed his eyes in dis-belief and called for a double Irn Bru to clear his head. The abrasive midfielder's recent outings for Everton - particularly his passing - have been anything but convincing. Yet here he was bossing the show, and making the Beckhams of this world appear pedestrian. Rooney was probably the only one not to be intimidated. Appearing completely free of the virus that laid him low, he had Danish defenders hopping around like sides of bacon being roasted in a fire pit. Again, Moyes will want to see another serving of this Rooney recipe for Everton supporters - starting on Saturday against Wolverhampton Wanderers. Better still, maybe he and Gravesen can share the man-of-the-match award. TG shaded it here because he was outstanding for pretty well all of the 90 minutes, building Denmark a solid base from which they launched a wave of flowing attacks that had England all over the place. This was deeply disapointing given the promise of that first half when Roonaldo, Lampard and Cole all pressed their claims for continuing employment by England. With Cole and Rooney gone and too many other changes made, Sven virtually handed the match to Gravesen and Jorgensen and they eventually exerted so much pressure that even a double save from substitute keeper Paul Robinson could not prevent John Dahl Tomasson pinging in the second rebound for 3-2.
By now we had the bizarre sight of Danny Murphy - who hit the outside of the netting with his only shot - partnering the forlon James Beattie, he headed wide late on, as England's strike duo. Heskey had gone, after much hard work and a part in England's opening blasts. And Rooney's fierce shot against the post early in the second half remained a potent memory of how things might have been without the pantomime cast. He was tremendous, as ever. But, fittingly, it was Thomas Gravesen whose name led all the rest.
Eriksson salutes fantastic Rooney
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post Nov 17 2003
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON hailed Wayne Rooney's growing international stature but admitted that Joe Cole has much to learn despite showing signs of his own promise in England's 3-2 defeat by Denmark. Rooney and Cole were both on target for England at Old Trafford during an exciting opening burst only for Denmark to equalise on both occasions through Martin Jorgensen.
Rooney also struck the post before Jon Dahl Tomasson capitalised on a handling error by substitute keeper Paul Robinson to inflict England's first defeat in nine months with seven minutes left. While Eriksson was left concerned about his side's defensive susceptibility, the Everton striker was clearly England's most potent force in the absence of Michael Owen, with his third goal in six starts. The England coach declared: "Wayne Rooney's not only a big talent, he's already a fantastic player. "Of course, he can be even better and learn even more but he is already very mature for his age as a footballer. He was clever out there and his first touch was incredible. "He scored a very nice goal, set up another and hit the post. You can't ask much more than that from a boy of 18. I'm very happy that we have a striker and a talent like that in England." While Eriksson was also impressed with much of Cole's attacking adventure, he was still concerned at the midfielder's tendency to over-elaborate and lose possession in key areas. Indeed, while many of his colleagues failed to cover for him, it was the 22-year-old Chelsea midfielder who initially lost the ball before Denmark broke away for their first equaliser. Eriksson added: "There were a lot of good qualities out there and Joe Cole was one of them. He is another great talent, he is becoming better and better and his quality is incredible. "But has still to learn things about the game, the same as Glen Johnson. "I don't think you can expect young players to know everything on the pitch yet. These friendlies are good for those players as you learn more quickly. "You learn that if you make a mistake in international football against a team like Denmark, then you pay for it and that's what we did. "But it's better to pay for it in a friendly and give a chance to those young players. That's the right way to do it."
Asked if his role in the build-up to the first goal was exactly the kind of lesson that Cole needs to learn, Eriksson added: "Yes, but you learn when you are young and he's a big talent."
It was in defence that England suffered most, with Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand missing along with Jonathan Woodgate and Gareth Southgate. Indeed, not only was Jorgensen not marked for his first goal, but Matthew Upson then brought down Daniel Jensen to concede the penalty for Jorgensen's second. "Defensively, we were not as good as we've been in the past and must learn from that. But I'm sure that when we come to Portugal, we will not defend like we did today," declared Eriksson. "In international football, you have to defend properly. If you give the opponents the chance to counter-attack, then they use it very well." England lacked any cohesiveness in the final 20 minutes, although this was partly due to the rash of substitutions, with not only Johnson but also Scott Parker making his England debut. "You can't expect the team in the last 20 minutes to be that organised as they had never played together before," insisted Eriksson.
England 2, Denmark 3
Ian Doyle Reports From Old Trafford, Daily Post Nov 17 2003
EARLY START: Wayne Rooney fires England into the lead
MEMO to David Moyes: Consider changing Everton's home kit to white shirts with navy blue shorts and white socks. Why? Well, given the alternative of buying up the cream of the nation's footballing talents is currently a non-starter for the cash-strapped Blues boss, dressing Wayne Rooney in his country's colours would appear the most immediate way of harnessing the youngster's frightening talents. This season, the striker has struggled with lack of form, niggling injuries and most recently illness during a testing campaign with Everton. Yet on his appearances for Sven-Goran Eriksson's England side, the 18-year-old has proved to be the revelation we know he is. With only one club goal to his credit this season, after scoring in Macedonia and against Liechtenstein Rooney was on the mark for his country for a third time in as many months against Denmark yesterday. Of course, when playing for England, Rooney is around better players and perhaps the weight of expectation is not as great as it might be at Everton, and there is no doubt he will recover his club form soon enough. Nevertheless, given the Blues' current perilous predicament in the Premiership Moyes must have watched the game wondering how best he can coax a similar performance out of his crown jewel. It wasn't just his goal that marked Rooney out from his team-mates yesterday. Whenever he received the ball, there was a buzz around the stadium as he produced a mature, electric display all the more creditable given his recovery from a bout of flu last week. With Michael Owen sidelined, Rooney linked well with Emile Heskey in attack, the pair combining to create Joe Cole's second goal. The Everton striker also struck the post, brought a good save from Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen and was even seen tracking back to cover for his absent defensive colleagues at one point.
Good news for England, and good news for Everton in time. But while Eriksson can rest assured Rooney can handle himself at the highest level, it is further back in his side where the problems currently lie. That England suffered a first-ever defeat at Old Trafford was simply down to some shocking defending. Basic schoolboy errors were continually repeated, and with little cover from an attack-minded midfield, Denmark were able to capitalise and claim a victory to make some amends for last summer's World Cup defeat. Critics say friendlies of his type are meaningless, but on this evidence a mid-field missing the steadying presence of Steven Gerrard and a defence without at least one of Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand are to be found wanting. Eriksson will have been buoyed by the carefree exploits of Joe Cole, but he knows the lack of defensive discipline both at the back and in midfield cannot be repeated if England are to stand any chance of success at Euro 2004.
That said, such deficiencies made for an unexpectedly exciting friendly encounter. Fired up by their on-going grumbles with the FA and swept along by the tide of national pride at seeing the country's rugby union side see off France earlier in the day, England were quickly into their stride. And it was Rooney who proved the catalyst with the opening goal after four minutes. Running at the Danish defence from deep, his intended pass for Heskey was deflected back into his path as he anticipated the return ball. Without breaking stride, the Everton youngster took possession before rifling in a shot from 15 yards which thumped the underside of the bar before nestling home. Four minutes later, however, Denmark were level thanks to some of the slack England defending which constantly undermined their attackers' fine forward play. Thomas Helveg was allowed space down the England left to cross the ball which, with Gary Neville ball watching, the unmarked Martin Jorgensen cracked home. The visitors had no time to celebrate as straight from the restart England regained the lead. David Beckham's searching ball was nodded down by Heskey for Rooney, who played a delightful instant pass inside for the onrushing Joe Cole to side-foot home into the bottom corner. Still the action came, and on 13 minutes David James was slightly fortunate not to be sent off after more poor defending from England. A simple throughball sent Dennis Rommedahl clear, and the goalkeeper raced from his goal only to upend the flying winger just outside the area and earn a booking. To be fair, there was an England defender covering, but that was no consolation to Rommedahl who was forced off through an injury picked up during the collision.
Along with Cole - revelling in a rare start this season - Rooney was tormenting the Danish defence and the striker's intended cross for Heskey was almost turned into his own net by Jesper Gronkjaer.
England should have gone further ahead on 26 minutes when a foul on debutant Glen Johnson - on for the injured Gary Neville - gave Beckham the chance to whip in a free-kick from the right which the unmarked Matthew Upson headed wastefully over from eight yards. It was a bad miss, but the Birmingham defender was reponsible for a much more serious aberration 10 minutes before the interval as Denmark drew level once more. Upson's poor header clear had already put the England defence under unnecessary pressure before he compounded his error by clattering into Daniel Jensen to concede a clear spot-kick. Jorgensen stepped up to fire home his and Denmark's second goal of the game. Cole came close again before the interval, drawing a save from Sorensen after his neat flick had befuddled Per Nielsen, while at the other end a lightning break from the Danes saw Rooney forced to track back after gifting possession to Denmark, with the youngster relieved to see Kenneth Perez blaze a clear opening miles over. The second half, while littered with the inevitable barrage of substitutions, saw little change in the pattern of play with England's defence living dangerously as their forwards peppered the Danish goal. Perez was inches away from curling Denmark into the lead, while Rooney came even closer when he capitalised on some shoddy defending to crack a tremendous shot in from an acute angle which deserved better than to thump back into play off the inside of the far post. Gronkjaer was denied by substitute goalkeeper Paul Robinson when clear down the right, Rooney forced Sorensen into a smart block after dispossessing a dozy Rene Henriksen while Frank Lampard was unlucky with a shot which was eventually hacked clear after pinballing between Sorensen and Brian Priske. Liverpool's Danny Murphy almost continued his recent match-winning ways with a shot that hit the side-netting before Denmark landed the telling blow eight minutes from time. Robinson pulled off a great save to beat out Peter Lovenkrands' fierce drive, but from the same attack the Leeds goalkeeper spilled Jorgensen's speculative effort to leave Jon Dahl Tomasson the simple task of tapping in. Defeat for England capped a miserable week for both the FA and Eriksson. But with more important dates to come next summer, there's no need for much brow-beating from the Swede. Especially with a certain youngster called Wayne on his side.
ENGLAND: James (Robinson 45), Gary Neville (Johnson 16), Terry, Upson, Ashley Cole (Bridge 45), Beckham (Jenas 65), Butt (Phil Neville 45), Lampard, Joe Cole (Murphy 75), Heskey (Beattie 45), Rooney (Parker 65). Subs: Mills, Walker.
DENMARK: Sorensen, Helveg (Priske 45), Henriksen, Nielsen (Gaardsoe 70), Niclas Jensen, Gronkjaer (Lovenkrands 62), Wieghorst (Daniel Jensen 28), Gravesen, Jorgensen (Madsen 84), Rommedahl (Perez 19), Sand (Tomasson 45). Subs: Roll Larsen, Skov-Jensen.
REFEREE: V Hrinak (Slovakia).
BOOKINGS: England's James, Johnson and Denmark's Daniel Jensen.
Academy derby finishes goalless
By Chris Wright Daily Post Nov 17 2003
IN a keenly-contested FA Premier Academy League derby neither Liverpool nor Everton's under-17s could find the net and both had to settle for a point in a goalless draw. While there was lots of endeavour from both sides the lack of too many clear-cut openings meant that, although both sides will be pleased not to have lost, neither will be entirely satisfied with their overall performance at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy. The home side saw goalkeeper Paul Lancaster stretchered off after a collision with Paul Hopkins. Luckily he was able to hobble away from the Academy and may even recover in time to take his place on the bench for tomorrow's FA Youth Cup third round tie with Gillingham at Anfield. Although in his absence schoolboy keeper Dave Roberts did enough to push his claims for a place in John Owens' squad. Reds captain Lee Peltier cleared away from his line after Everton midfielder Christian Seargeant's left-wing cross wasn't dealt with properly by Lancaster. The ball rebounded towards the home goal from a combination of Andy Fowler and centre-back Jordan Holmes, but Peltier was on hand to clear. There was certainly plenty of tough tackling but not too much in the way of expressive football. Liverpool had their best chance of the match before the break but the visitors' right-back Stephen Wynne was perfectly positioned to clear Townley's header off the line after Callum Woods' right-wing cross. Lancaster was injured when he bravely came off his line to block Fowler. But he got a kick just above the knee and was replaced by Roberts.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with both sides rarely finding the elusive final ball to break the deadlock. With four minutes left a beautifully-weighted 40-yard pass by Wynne was flicked goalwards by Hopkins, but a slight deflection off Holmes meant it hit the base of post and went wide. In stoppage Danny Smith had to be alert with a fine tackle as Everton midfielder Seargeant threatened to break free.
LIVERPOOL UNDER-17s: Lancaster (D Roberts 41); Peltier (capt), Holmes, Hitchen, Danny Smith; C Woods, Francis Smith, Guthrie, Townley; Hammill, Noon. Subs: Ryan, Burns, N Platt, Threlfall.
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes (capt, Kearney, Wright; Seargeant, Wilson, Harris, Boyle (Johnson 69); Hopkins, Fowler (Phelan 74). Subs: McCall, Molyneux, Kelly.
Sven getting better Roon
Nov 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MAYBE it is being forced to hike around the country to watch England now, rather than a quick jaunt round the North Circular, but the London-based hack's words were tauntingly cruel. "I can't help feeling that Rooney looks really at home at Old Trafford," he offered in mock innocence, his words greased with oil and innuendo. Of course the jewel in Everton's slipped-crown has no intention of moving anywhere for now. Least of all the second most unpalatable switch any Evertonian could contemplate. But it's an undeniable fact at present that Wayne Rooney looks a different player in the white shirt of England than he does in Royal Blue. Rooney has scored just once for Everton this season - the stunning strike down at Charlton in August. Yesterday's Scoreboard End howitzer at Old Trafford was his third in an England jersey. And those goals have been eclipsed by the quality of his performances. It may be true to suggest that part of the reason is the improved quality of players around him in an England shirt. But the contribution from his oftcriticised strike-partner may also have a bearing. Just as he did in Macedonia, Emile Heskey offered a physical focal point to England's attack which allowed Rooney to drop deeper, pick up the ball and run at terrified defenders.
Heskey was beyond Rooney, making a run down the left channel for the opening goal, and was on the edge of the penalty box again to lay the ball back for the second. It is a position Rooney can also adopt when Owen is alongside him. Tomasz Radzinski may resemble Michael Owen physically, but stylistically they play different roles. While Michael Owen lurks on the last defender's shoulder, Radzinski likes to operate on the flanks and cut in dramatically. That places more physical demand on his strike-partner. Rooney has started just one match alongside Kevin Campbell this season and one alongside Duncan Ferguson. Everton won one and drew the other. For all its apparent benefits, a Rooney-Radzinski combination has yet to click. Yet more food for thought for David Moyes' perplexed mind.
Eriksson hails wonder Wayne
Nov 17 2003 By Mark Bradley At Old Trafford
Wayne Rooney fires England into and early lead
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON hailed Wayne Rooney's growing international stature but admitted that Joe Cole has much to learn despite showing signs of his own promise in England's 3-2 defeat by Denmark. Rooney and Cole were both on target for England at Old Trafford during an exciting opening burst only for Denmark to equalise on both occasions through Martin Jorgensen.
Rooney also struck the post before Jon Dahl Tomasson capitalised on a handling error by substitute keeper Paul Robinson to inflict England's first defeat in nine months with seven minutes left.
While Eriksson was left concerned about his side's defensive susceptibility, the Everton striker was clearly England's most potent force in the absence of Michael Owen, with his third goal in six starts.
The England coach declared: "Wayne Rooney's not only a big talent, he's already a fantastic player.
"Of course, he can be even better and learn even more but he is already very mature for his age as a footballer. He was clever out there and his first touch was incredible. "He scored a very nice goal, set up another and hit the post. You can't ask much more than that from a boy of 18. I'm very happy that we have a striker and a talent like that in England." While Eriksson was also impressed with much of Cole's attacking adventure, he was still concerned at the midfielder's tendency to over-elaborate and lose possession in key areas. Eriksson added: "There were a lot of good qualities out there and Joe Cole was one of them. He is another great talent, he is becoming better and better and his quality is incredible. "But he has still to learn things about the game, the same as Glen Johnson. "I don't think you can expect young players to know everything on the pitch yet. These friendlies are good for those players as you learn more quickly."
Nov 17 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has hailed Everton's international goalscoring heroes, predicting the exploits of Wayne Rooney and James McFadden will provide a major boost for Everton as they strive to climb out of the bottom three. Rooney netted for England in yesterday's 3-2 defeat to Denmark and McFadden was the hero for Scotland on Saturday, scoring the only goal of their first leg play-off encounter with Holland at Hampden. Moyes said: "Wayne played very well yesterday and I was delighted for him. To score the first and make the second was excellent. "The experience he is gaining is terrific for an 18-year-old. It will help him because he has been in need of a goal.
"I told him after his recent games against Charlton and Chelsea that, although he hadn't scored, they had been his best performances of the season for us. "Hopefully now he can get back to where he was for us. The goal will certainly help. "I thought all our players had a good weekend. "Faddy continues to improve. To play in a game of that level at the age of 20 is a great experience and there are signs from him there is a real player in the making. "It was a big game for him but he showed he can cope very well in those situations. "The international experience he is gaining with Scotland will certainly benefit us and help him develop further. "Everybody knew about him but it was us that decided to take the chance and I am very glad we did. "In time he will go on to be a great Everton player." The manager's praise was not just reserved for Rooney and McFadden (right) though.
He added: "It was a big game for Gary Naysmith playing against a terrific player in Van der Meyde (check). He came out on top, which says a lot for him. "And I thought Thomas Gravesen was the best player on the field at Old Trafford yesterday. By the end of the match he was the outstanding Danish player. "It shows what good young players we have here. Now we want them to recreate that formfor Everton." McFadden and Naysmith will return to training at Bellefield on Thursday after Wednesday night's second leg in Amsterdam. Gravesen and Rooney will report back tomorrow after enjoying a day off, while Kevin Kilbane and Tomasz Radzinski will return on Wednesday after playing on opposing sides in tomorrow night's friendly between Ireland and Canada. Radzinski scored the only goal of the game for Canada on Saturday as they fell to a 5-1 defeat to the Czech Republic. Meanwhile, Everton are expected to receive confirmation later this week that Richard Wright will require surgery to finally cure the knee problem which has dogged him for much of this season. There has been a delay on news from Dr Richard Steadman's clinic in Colorado but the Blues are resigned to Wright going under the surgeon's knife. However, the flu bug is no longer causing havoc with Moyes' team plans. Alan Stubbs, Li Tie and Duncan Ferguson are all back in training.
Arrogance cost Dutch - McFadden
Nov 17 2003 By Lisa Gray At Hampden Park, Liverpool Echo
JAMES MCFADDEN scored the most important goal of his career so far against Holland - then branded the Dutch arrogant for dismissing Scotland's chances before a ball had even been kicked.
The Everton forward became a national hero when he grabbed the only goal of the game to give Scotland a famous victory at Hampden Park on Saturday. McFadden's matchwinner puts the Scots in the driving seat for Wednesday night's Euro 2004 qualifying decider at the AmsterdamArenA.
He believes in-fighting in the Holland camp, coupled with a lack of respect for the Scotland team, led to the famous first-leg victory. McFadden said: "There is a wee bit of disharmony in their camp - but that isn't our problem. We have a great team spirit, and that is what's carried us through.
"You couldn't really sense the disharmony during the game, but we've read a lot in the newspapers about the mood in their camp." The former Motherwell youngster believes the Dutch paid for their imperfect preparation. "They didn't care about us and probably didn't even watch us - but that's their fault," he said. "They are an arrogant nation - sometimes that's good and sometimes it's bad. But against us it proved to be a bad thing." McFadden's winner has already prompted comparisons with Archie Gemmill's famous goal against the Dutch in the 1978 World Cup. Much of the credit must go to Manchester United's Darren Fletcher, whose cheeky back-heel set up the shot for McFadden which deflected off Frank de Boer and into the net. But the Toffees star admits the goal almost did not happen. He said: "I was going to let it run out for another corner but I thought I might as well go for it - and luckily enough it took a ricochet and into the net. "It's the highlight of the career - to score in such an important game is something else."
Stadium plan doomed
Nov 17 2003 by Mark Hookham, Liverpool Echo
PROPOSALS for a shared football stadium for Everton and Liverpool are doomed.
A second set of top-level talks between the clubs has ended in stalemate and only a total change of heart by both clubs can now resurrect the idea. The ECHO can reveal that the only deal acceptable to Everton - a stadium paid for by taxpayers' money - is not a realistic option. Insiders say both clubs have now accepted the plan will be ditched by Christmas. Officials from LFC and EFC met Liverpool council and the North West Development Agency (NWDA) to see if there was any common ground over a shared stadium for the two clubs. There was no breakthrough and while the NWDA has promised discussions will continue, no further meetings have been arranged. Everton chairman Sir Philip Carter has said the club would consider a shared stadium if the council or public sector funded and built it. But sources say city leaders have told the club they cannot bankroll a stadium with taxpayers' money. Both clubs have been told they will have to find their own funds for any shared ground. The ECHO also understands that LFC believes the business case for a shared ground is weak.
They fear the backlash from enraged fans would cost the club more than any money saved from a shared stadium. Everton and Liverpool were urged by the NWDA to consider a ground-share, with the council acting as a broker for discussions. While Everton announced it had shelved its own stadium plans for the "foreseeable future", Liverpool has pressed on with its own application for a new ground in Stanley Park. Both clubs today remained tight-lipped about the ground share negotiations. LFC chief executive Rick Parry said: "We agreed to participate in the debate and we are doing that." EFC declined to comment. Meanwhile, NWDA chief executive Steve Broomhead said: "The discussions are ongoing but there is no further news or information. "The clubs are still looking at this from a business point of view." A council spokesman said the decision on the stadium would have to be made in "weeks not months". He said: "This is a hugely complicated issue and a huge amount of work still needs to be done to examine whether any of this is possible or desirable.
"Clearly a planning application has been submitted and it's due to be considered by the planning authority in the spring."
Obstacles in the way of sharing
THE ECHO today (Monday, November 17) reveals the huge obstacles which have scuppered plans for a shared stadium. Insiders say the plan has failed because of the gulf between the two club's finances. The clubs have debated three options, all of which are now judged unworkable. Option one sees Liverpool paying £40m for its half of the stadium and £40m on behalf of Everton. The Blues would then rent the ground and pay back LFC over a set period. This has been rejected by LFC because they see they have nothing to gain financially from the deal. They also fear they could enrage Reds' fans who may boycott merchandise and rip-up season tickets. Option two is for city council and NWDA to fund and build a super-stadium and then lease it back to the two clubs, while the third option would see the public pay for half of the ground. These are Everton's preferred options. Blues chairman Sir Philip Carter recently told shareholders: "If the city council or public sector wish to spend their money and build the stadium and offer it to the club, we would be foolish not to consider it - and I underline consider it." But sources say both options have been ruled out because LFC currently needs no public money for its £80m stadium. The club is funding the ground through loans which are secured against the future sale of season tickets. City leaders and the NWDA would be unlikely to fund a stadium-only scheme if Liverpool has already proved they can raise £80m from private sources. Insiders say the government could launch an inquiry if a large amount of tax-payers money was earmarked for building a Premiership stadium. The ECHO also understands LFC executives would rule-out a shared ground even if Everton found £40m for their half of the stadium. If Everton agreed to split the costs, Liverpool would stand to save only £5m on loan repayments. But this is only 5% of the club's annual turnover. LFC bosses fear the club could lose any potential benefit because of a backlash from angry fans. The final nail in the shared-stadium coffin is the fact that LFC's Stanley Park plans are now well advanced and are currently being examined by city planners. The blueprints are expected to come before the council's planning committee in February. This means the clubs, the NWDA and the city council would have to strike a deal "within weeks" on a groundshare.
What the supporters say
BRYAN Forwood, 24, demolition operator, from Kirkdale:"I've never thought we should ground share in principle, because we've got more money than them and we'd just be giving them a ground.
"We should be spending our resources on our own stadium and not let Everton cling on."
JIM Doherty, 40, accountant, from West Derby: "I'm pleased the proposal is not going ahead. I think a shared stadium would take away the identities of the clubs. "The potential revenue of the clubs should be enough for them both to provide good facilities." JACK Bowie, 60, window cleaner, from Wavertree: "I've been going to watch Liverpool play since 1947 and we've always been our own team in our own stadium. "We should go ahead with our own stadium and forget all this talk about sharing with anybody else."
DAVE Mercer, 33, stonemason, from Netherley: "I'm disappointed. I would have had a shared stadium as it would have brought more to the city. "You could get big concerts coming to Liverpool. I've not got a problem sharing with Liverpool, I'm not a bitter Blue. "If we've got the money now we should look at getting our own stadium, but it is a question of money."
GARY Pilkington, 43, postman, from Bolton: "The clubs should have gone for it. I think it was the best chance we had of getting a new stadium. "It wouldn't have bothered me sharing a stadium, although perhaps that's because I'm not from the city. People living here probably don't feel the same."
JIM Fearns, 59, builder, from Everton: "They should have said yes because of the financial situation. It seemed to me that the council was saying that money was there only if the two clubs shared.
"I think that was our only chance. I was originally opposed to the plan, but saw the benefit in the end."
Time for the excuses to stop
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post Nov 18 2003
SLOW START: David Moyes has been left bemused by his side's poor form this season IT IS time for Everton's players to deliver. Last season's success was built on a fantastic work ethic running right through the team - and it is something they need to recapture quickly to lift themselves out of the relegation mire. Saturday's game against fellow strugglers Wolves has become a massive game after their first half collapse at Blackburn. The first 45 minutes at Ewood Park must have had David Moyes tearing his hair out. After his team performed so well against Chelsea, their first half effort against Rovers was baffling. In mitigation there were late injury and sickness problems, but for the two goals they conceded they looked all over the shop. It would seem one or two players can't sustain or repeat the level of performance from last year - when it ran right through the team. Mistakes are happening and games they might have won last year are slipping away from them. It might have seemed strange for the players to be jetting out to the Tenerife sunshine after such a disappointing start to the season, but a break away from the normal routine had worked well for Blackburn ahead of the game against the Blues. It is part and parcel of the game now - taking a break away from the training ground to help the players relax and not dwell on things going wrong. It is a chance to freshen them up and if it results in three points on Saturday it will have been well worthwhile.
But there can be no more excuses from the players. WAYNE ROONEY confirmed what we already knew with his super show for England against Denmark - that he looks comfortably at home on the international stage. With all respect to the rest of the Everton team, Rooney is playing with better players around him and that helps bring the best out of him. It wasn't just his finish for the opening goal that caught my eye. The way he conjured a powerful shot out of nothing with the minimum of backlift was magical. The ball hit the post so hard I'm surprised the goal was left standing.
And his touch for Joe Cole's goal was outstanding. After taking Emile Heskey's knockdown, Rooney was so aware of Cole's run and slipped the perfect pass to him instead of shaping up for a shot of his own. Heskey again proved himself to be a good foil for others. As a striker it is understandable when people point the finger at his disappointing goal ratio, but managers will weigh that against what he offers the side in other areas. I am sure Michael Owen and Rooney would be first choice up front for England, but Heskey on the bench offers another option and when he is in the mood to knock opposition players over he is a real handful. The problem for Liverpool is that to win the Premiership you need to be scoring goals from so many different areas. Once you take Owen's goals out of the equation, you start to wonder where they are coming from and this may count against the likes of Heskey and Vladimir Smicer in the longer run. James McFadden was another young Everton player to shine in this weekend's internationals and I am sure Evertonians would love to see him against Wolves at the weekend. He has another big game in Holland in midweek after his match-winner for Scotland in the first leg at Hampden Park and manager David Moyes will want to see how much those games have taken out of him before making his selection for Saturday.
Home and Away
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 18 2003
Look to Leon
LEON OSMAN should be given his chance. They say we have no creativity but Osman (pictured against Bologna in pre-season) would provide that. Play Osman behind Rooney and Radz and give Clarke another chance, at home this time. He is England Under-21 captain so don't be afraid.
John Platt, Liverpool
Roar into Wolves
SUPERB by Everton players in the weekend internationals. McFadden was a constant menace for the Dutch defenders while Naysmith was brilliant at the back, constantly frustrating the Dutch strikers with his interceptions and his committment to the cause. Wayne was brilliant for England again and even Radzinski scored for Canada! C'mon Blues, get right into Wolves at the weekend and get our season moving.
J Green, Knotty Ash, Liverpool
ANOTHER great strike by Boy Wonder for England. He should be in the team EVERY week.
W Brown, Dingle, Liverpool
WHY can't McFadden and Kilbane play at the same time in midfield? Maybe joined by Rooney. Radz and Jeffers up front.
Brian Florence, (via e-mail)
Gravesen in groove
SO Thomas Gravesen decided to make an effort for 90 minutes at the weekend. Shame it wasn't in the Blue of Everton. While Rooney is making all the headlines, just step back and watch Gravesen's performance. He was magnificent against the so-called superstars in England's midfield. If we got half a performance like that from him each week we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.
John Evans, Anfield, Liverpool
WHY wouldn't a (rich) member of the board want to help his ailing comrades in need of a small cash injection, allowing the chosen manager to pursue improving his squad? What other function does Paul Gregg perform? Citing that Abramovich has 'ruined it' is patronising rubbish. Given that Chelsea were weeks away from going under, the Russian has demonstrated what 'backing a manager' can do. Len Capeling's article last week was a beauty. More of the same please!
David Nolan, Sefton, Liverpool.
England's best man
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 18 2003
SHARP SHOOTER: Wayne Rooney has shot to fame for England this season
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON delivered another boost to Wayne Rooney's confidence last night when he hailed the Everton star as England's player of the year. The Swede believes Rooney has exceeded all expectations in the past 12 months despite this season's struggle for Premiership goals. Rooney admitted his confidence has suffered this term, but he has already scored three times for England in his nine caps and was again on target in his side's 3-2 defeat by Denmark at Old Trafford. And while Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham have all shone since the turn of the year for England, it is Rooney who has particularly impressed Eriksson. "He has more than exceeded my expectations of him," said Eriksson. "He has come almost from nowhere, more or less, to score three times for England and played very well against Denmark. "It is amazing to see that if someone passes the ball to him, even if it's a difficult pass, he controls it with the first touch and is ready with his second touch. He has also matured a lot." It was only in February that Rooney made his historic international debut against Australia and he has since started Euro 2004 qualifiers against Turkey (twice), Liechtenstein and Slovakia. "He is getting better and better with every game. Even if he hasn't done as well for his club as he did last season, he has always done very well for England," added Eriksson. The England coach believes his team have progressed this year, especially since the 3-1 setback against Australia, even if their 2003 campaign ended on the sour note of another defeat, against Denmark. "It has been a very good year. The Australia game was not good but there was a much better quality and individual displays against Denmark," he said. David Moyes has not often seen eye-to-eye with Eriksson over Rooney's England rise. But the Blues manager admits morale-boosting international experiences will help his team as they look to pull away from the relegation zone. Moyes said: "Tommy Gravesen ended up being the most complete midfield player in that game on the day but Wayne, I thought, played very well. "He'd been showing signs in the game against Charlton and Chelsea that he was beginning to find a little bit of his form back. This will help him because he has been in need of a goal. "McFadden and Naysmith did very well in their games as well. Those boys have gone out and shown what they can do and there's a bright future ahead.
"It shows what good young players we have here. Now we want them to recreate that form for Everton."
Blues hit back to make it eight
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post Nov 18 2003
IT was another great performance that stretched Everton under-19s unbeaten run to eight games with a 3-1 victory over Stoke City at Netherton on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip's side put in one of their best performances of the season to make it five wins and three draws from their last eight FA Premier Academy League matches. Stoke took the lead against the run of play but Everton hit back to level on the half hour. England youth international midfielder Scott Brown opened the scoring from a stunning free-kick just outside the box that he curled into the top corner for his third goal of the season. Five minutes into the second half Gavin Lynch's superb run was halted as he was brought down in the box. Brian Moogan stepped to score his fourth goal of the season with the resultant spot-kick. And Joey Jones wrapped up the points with 20 minutes left. Jones headed home Brown's cross at the far post after a superb move. It puts Dewsnip's side in buoyant mood at present, and the Blues coach said: "The performance was very good. We had lots of the ball and created lots of chances and should have scored a more goals really. "Even though we went behind against the run of play our boys showed a great reaction and never panicked and I was delighted with them." Dewsnip added: "It was probably our best overall preformance of the season. Anthony Gerrard provided us with a solid platform to play from and Anthony Barry and Scotty Brown were also very good. But everybody contributed and it was a great team performance." Gary Ablett's under-17s bounced back from last week's 4-0 defeat to Blackburn but had to settle for a point in a goalless draw with Liverpool at Kirkby. In a game of few chances Paul Hopkins came closest to breaking the deadlock twice but was denied by Reds keeper Paul Lancaster and the post.
Ablett said: "I thought the performance was poor. We dominated the majority of the game without really looking dangerous in front of goal. "After last week's results it was very pleasing defensively, but I felt we never passed the ball as well as we could. "But derbies are derbies and you are always happy not to get beat. What pleased me the most is we kept it tight at the back."
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood (Booth 45), Potter, Gerrard, Fox; Brown (M Jones 80), J Jones, B Moogan (Garside 60), Barry; Pascucci, Lynch (Martland 75).
The Evertonian - on sale now
Nov 18 2003
THIS month's issue of the Evertonian talks to the newest kid on the Goodison block, James McFadden, to find out how he's settling in 'down south' since his big move from Motherwell.
He explains why he decided to sign up for Moyes' boys ahead of the big clubs in his home-town of Glasgow, how he's handled the step-up to international level since receiving the call from Scottish boss Bertie Vogts, and his hopes and dreams of how he and the Blues can move forward together.
There's a welcome blast from the past that even relatively young Blues should be able to remember as the 1995 F.A. Cup winning-side's recent reunion at the Adelphi Hotel is featured along with game-by-game memories from the players that defied the odds and went all the way to Wembley to lift the famous trophy. Harry Catterick landed the League Championship for Everton a little over a year after taking hold of the reins, an astonishing achievement in any era, and we analyse his time at the helm by talking to three of his former charges, Gordon West, Jimmy Husband and Ray Wilson who give a fascinating insight into the great man. Also, several Blues took the opportunity to visit the National Football Museum at Preston North End's ground when the Toffees visited in pre-season. We look at the Everton connections that are featured within the superb archives on show there.
There's an insight into the other side of football super-stardom as we follow Italian stallion Alessandro Pistone down the catwalk on a fashion shoot. And how many of you knew that Ocean Colour Scene bassist Damon Minchella is a massive Evertonian? He certainly is and tells us all about his passion for all things Royal Blue. The signing of Graeme Sharp is re-visited in our 'A day in the life' feature while our 'Magnificent Seven' series continues with big centre-forward Mick Ferguson.
There's a chance to win an Everton v Bayern DVD, Brian Viner remembers a famous derby-day victory, David Moyes gives an insight into life on the touchline and there's all the important news from the recent club AGM. All this and more in your 'Evertonian', out now.
Wright off to US for new op
Nov 18 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goalkeeper Richard Wright is expected to fly out to Colorado before the end of the week to finally undergo an operation on his injured knee. The Blues have been waiting for a fortnight for the verdict on the injury from Dr Richard Stead-man's clinic in Colorado. The world renowned knee specialist met with Wright and Everton chief physio Mick Rathbone in London two weeks ago.
Steadman believed he knew what was causing the discomfort in Wright's left knee when he kicks the ball. But he sent scans of the injury to the United States for a thorough examination by his colleagues. Everton had hoped to hear last week whether or not Wright required an operation.
However, Steadman's heavy schedule has delayed things. Everton were finally expected to receive confirmation of Wright's need for an operation this morning, with the Blues eager for the surgery to take place as soon as possible. The delay has stalled Wright's hopes of a first team return. His place in the side has been taken by experienced 37-year-old Nigel Martyn, who has impressed since his arrival from Leeds on September 1. Wright has not started a match since the home draw with Newcastle on September 13, when the injury flared up for the second time this season. While the current delay is frustrating the Goodison coaching staff, they are optimistic that Steadman's treatment will finally end Wright's injury woes. Meanwhile, Everton's reserves entertain Aston Villa at Haig Avenue tonight. The squad is expected to include Leon Osman and Francis Jeffers.
However, Lee Carsley and Alessandro Pistone, who have now returned to full training after a month on the sidelines, are not set to figure.
Rooney is the top man, says Neville
Nov 18 2003 Liverpool Echo
GARY NEVILLE has been convinced about Wayne Rooney's ability to perform at the top level from the first time he pulled on an England shirt. And the Manchester United defender insists England now have plenty of creativity via, the likes of Rooney (above, scoring against Denmark) and Joe Cole, which has not always been evident in the past. Rooney produced a man-of-the-match performance despite being on the losing side in Sunday's 3-2 friendly against Denmark at Old Trafford. It was further evidence he is totally unfazed about the demands of international football despite being only a few weeks past his 18th birthday. "Wayne was sensational at times," Neville said. "He was very exciting. We have talked about him a lot and he is definitely the top player. "I believe there has been no need to talk about age being a factor with him since the moment he came in against Turkey at The Stadium Of Light. "If you can handle that kind of pressure game, then you can handle anything and he has been outstanding for England from the moment he pulled on the shirt." England boss Sven Goran Eriksson is another fan of Rooney. "Wayne Rooney's not only a big talent, he's already a fantastic player," said Eriksson. "Of course, he can be even better and learn even more, but he is already very mature for his age as a footballer. He was clever out there and his first touch was incredible. "He scored a very nice goal, set up another and hit the post. You can't ask much more than that from a boy of 18. I'm very happy that we have a striker and a talent like that in England. "He has come almost from nowhere to score three times for England. He is getting better and better with every game and has always done well for England."
Naysmith a Scottish fool, rants Dutchman
Nov 18 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DUTCH winger Andy Van der Meyde launched an astonishing attack on Everton's Gary Naysmith last night. The Inter Milan player was speaking out in an interview with Dutch TV ahead of tomorrow night's clash with Scotland in Amsterdam. Minutes later he fainted because of low blood pressure.
Despite his fall, Van Der Meyde has been given the all clear to face Naysmith once again in the second leg Euro 2004 play-off in the Amsterdam ArenA. It should be an interesting confrontation, thanks to his comments yesterday. Despite failing to score or create a goal during Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Hampden, Van der Meyde doesn't appear to rate Naysmith, the man handed the task of marking him. "It was hard for me out there when I had that Scottish fool breathing down my neck," he claimed. "The longer the game went, the more that defender became crazy. He just didn't know what to do. "That is why I played so well. He played like a blind man. He didn't play with his mind.
"He only saw one thing the whole game - me, not the ball." The Dutchman's comments should be well received by Naysmith. There is nothing more complimentary than scorn from a rival. And so the Everton defender should be pleased to know he will have the chance to thank the winger for his comments tomorrow night. Van der Meyde has been given the all-clear for the game despite banging his head on a TV lights tripod during the interview. He received attention from team doctor Gert Jan Gooudswaard, who revealed: "Waiting for the TV inter-view he was obviously standing still and the lights were on his face for a long time. "Because of the time it took, he suffered a fainting fit. It was caused by blood and oxygen not getting to his brain, as it would in a normal situation."
Dutch boss Dick Advocaat added: "Andy had lunch with the other players and I am sure he will be alright."
Everton Res 2, Aston Villa Res 2
Nov 19 2003 Daily Post
EVERTON Reserves came close to ending Aston Villa's unbeaten record in the Premier Reserve League, only to be denied by substitute Peter Hynes' equaliser. Everton were given an early shock by the league leaders when, after just 53 seconds, Luke Moore caused the Blues defence problems with his skill and when the ball eventually fell to Stephen Cooke he volleyed home past Iain Turner..
The Blues were soon level though. Francis Jeffers hassled Liam Ridgewell and forced the Villa defender to lob his own keeper. Everton went from strength to strength and were in front on 16 minutes. Jeffers latched onto Niclas Alexandersson's cross and the Blues striker held off a defender to rifle his shot home. Villa worked hard to get in the game and might have done so on 33 minutes when Luke Moore's cross just eluded his brother Stefan. Everton were continuing to cause their own problems and should have increased their lead but Anthony Gerrard's header was straight at Stefan Postma. The visitors were a real threat after the break and went close with efforts from both the Moore broth-ers and Steven Foley. Peter Hynes replaced Jamie Ward on 68 minutes and within two minutes had levelled. A corner from the left was cleared by Everton but only to Hynes, who blasted his shot past Turner. Everton responded positively and went close to regaining the lead on 72 minutes when Leon Osman shot just over from inside the box. Francis Jeffers looked odds on to score but Postma was brave to deny the Everton striker with his legs. Villa might have done better on 84 minutes when Ridgewell come close to making up for his earlier own goal, but dragged his shot wide.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Alexandersson, Osman, Chadwick (Pascucci 88), Jeffers, Moogan A, Li Tie. Subs: Gallagher, Hughes, Fox, Barry.
ASTON VILLA: Postma, Amoo, Bewers, Cahill, Ridgewell, Kinsella, Cooke, Ward (Hynes 68), Moore S, Moore L (Aaritalo 84), Foley. Subs: Balaban, Myhill, O'Connor, Cormell.
Tributes to Blues striker
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2003
EVERTON legend Brian Labone has paid tribute to former team-mate Eddie Thomas, who died last week at his home in Derby aged 70. Thomas graduated through the ranks at Goodison Park to become a prolific goalscorer for the Blues in the late 1950s, notching 41 strikes in 93 first team appearances. That record is even more impressive given the team's struggles at that time, but in February 1960 he was sold to Blackburn as part of the deal that brought the great Roy Vernon to Merseyside. Thomas, born in Newton-le-Willows, later played for Swansea, Derby and Leyton Orient although remained a regular visitor to Goodison. Labone said: "Whenever someone dies, particularly a former team-mate, you always hear people saying, 'He was a lovely fella.' "Perhaps it's become a bit overused, but it couldn't be more true in Eddie's case. "As a player, he was unbelievable. He looked so slight, but he didn't half possess a powerful shot and he was so nippy. He was a nightmare to mark! "It was so nice to meet up with Eddie and discuss old times. He was living in Derby, but used to come up for the games and I always used to enjoy seeing him then.
"My sympathies go out to his family and all of his friends - he'll be missed."
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 19 2003
DAVID MOYES has been forced to order Duncan Ferguson away from training after a furious bust-up with the Everton striker. Ferguson was sent home from Bellefield after the dispute on Monday afternoon and was still absent from training yesterday. The row is believed to have started after Moyes finally lost patience with the striker's attitude. And while Ferguson could patch up the differences today, the fall-out is the last thing Moyes and Everton require ahead of Saturday's crucial clash with fellow strugglers Wolves. Despite making the 31-year-old club captain on his arrival, the Goodison chief has struggled to get a consistent spell from his fellow countryman. Ironically, Ferguson had begun to ease doubts his injury misery would prevent him competing at the highest level again this season. But a groin injury suffered at Spurs and the Upper Respiratory Syndrome that ruled him out of the Chelsea game and put him in hospital sidelined the star once again.
With Kevin Campbell struggling with a toe injury, Ferguson was in contention for a return this weekend. But he missed last night's reserve game against Aston Villa as a result of the row, casting fresh doubt over his immediate Everton future. Goalkeeper Richard Wright, meanwhile, will fly to Colorado this week in the hope of finally resolving his persistant knee problem. Everton have still not received official confirmation of Dr Richard Steadman's verdict following an appointment in London a fortnight ago. But the respected American specialist is expected to signal surgery, even if it is exploratory, with the Blues anxious the injury is cleared as quickly as possible. Head physio Mick Rathbone revealed: "We met Dr Steadman in London and then we sent scans over for evaluation by one of the most eminent radiologists in the US and that has been the reason for the delay. "At present it is far too difficult to predict how long Richard will be out because we don't yet know the problem. "But we have ruled out everything it could be by process of elimination, so whatever it is will be something out of the ordinary." Meanwhile Manchester United defender Gary Neville is the latest member to join the Wayne Rooney fan club. The 28-year-old hailed the young Everton star's displays since being plunged in against Turkey, including his goal-scoring appearance against Denmark on Sunday. "Wayne was sensational at times," said Neville. "I believe there has been no need to talk about age being a factor with him since the moment he came in against Turkey at The Stadium Of Light. If you can handle that kind of pressure game, then you can handle anything."
Moyes won't over-react
Nov 19 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is refusing to press the panic button as he attempts to guide Everton away from the Premiership relegation zone. Last week's 2-1 defeat at Blackburn saw the Blues drop into the bottom three for the first time since Moyes' appointment as manager at Goodison. It is a result which has placed added importance on the forthcoming fixtures against fellow strugglers Wolves and Bolton. When the fixture list came out in the summer, November seemed an oasis after the tough opening to the campaign. The need for points has transformed the situation. The results over the next few weeks are now pivotal to the entire campaign. Everton are level on points with David Jones' Premiership newcomers, who come to Goodison on Saturday, while Sam Allardyce's Bolton are two points ahead. The Blues visit the Reebok in 10 days. Two victories and Everton will leap up the table into a position of relative respectability. The alternative is far less appealing. Nevertheless, Moyes insists the next two games are not six pointers. "The same number of points are available for these matches as any other," said Moyes. "Every game is winnable and these games are no different. "The international break has helped us in that one or two players who were injured have been able to make progress and those who have been suffering from flu will have recovered."
The availability of Wayne Rooney, Alan Stubbs and Li Tie, who have now recovered from flu, plus the return to training of Lee Carsley and Alessandro Pistone means Moyes' selection options have improved considerably since the trip to Ewood Park. But the international demands on Gary Naysmith and James McFadden have complicated matters. The duo will take to the field for the second time in five days for Scotland tonight in their crucial play-off decider against Holland. It means the manager is not yet certain of the side he will be able to field against Wolves on Saturday.
He explains: "We will have to wait to see how the game goes for them and see how they feel when they get back. "They are involved in a big match in Holland and they will only be back with us on Thursday afternoon. I can't make any decisions until after all the international games have been played." The break has been far less demanding for those members of the senior squad who were not called up for international duty. They enjoyed a warm weather training break in Tenerife last week. But the change in surroundings did not lead to a re-think of the training regime, despite a report in the Sunday press suggesting the manager has chosen to tone things down in recent weeks after a chat with the players. He insists: "We are doing exactly the same things (in training) as we did last year." Now it is time for the team to start reproducing the same kind of results as last year.
Missed chances costly for Blues
Nov 19 2003 Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS' effort and a Liam Ridgewell own goal looked to have inflicted Aston Villa's first defeat of the season as Everton controlled most of the reserve game at Haig Avenue. But the visitors hit back to earn a point. Jeffers looked sharp alongside Nick Chadwick, who also had chances to get on the scoresheet, but Everton were given a shock by the league leaders after just 53 seconds.
Luke Moore caused the Blues' defence problems with a jinking run and when the ball eventually fell to Stephen Cooke he volleyed home past Turner. The Blues were soon level, though, when Jeffers challenged Ridgewell, who lobbed his own keeper. They took heart from that goal and went ahead on 16 minutes - and this time Jeffers needed no help. Latching on to Niclas Alexandersson's cross, the striker held off a defender to fire home. Everton should have increased their lead, but Anthony Gerrard's header was straight at Postma. The visitors were a real threat after the break and went close with efforts from both the Moore brothers and Steven Foley. Peter Hynes replaced Jamie Ward on 68 minutes and within two minutes had levelled for Villa. A corner from the left was cleared by Everton, but only to Hynes, who blasted his shot past Turner. Everton responded positively, Leon Osman firing just over, and Postma denied Jeffers.
Everton Reserves: Turner, Wynne, Wilson, Gerrard, Clarke, Alexanderrson, Osman, Chadwick (Pascucci 88), Jeffers, A Moogan, Tie. Not used: Gallagher, Pascucci, Hughes, Fox, Barry.
Dunc bust up
Nov 19 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON faces a make-or-break 24 hours which could decide his Everton future.
The Blues' striker was sent home from training on Monday following a bust-up with David Moyes at the Bellefield training ground. He was absent yesterday, and along with the other players and staff was allowed a day off today. But the Blues will be waiting to see if he turns up tomorrow and whether he is prepared to brush the furious argument under the carpet. Blues' boss David Moyes was on his way to Cardiff for tonight's international this morning but declined to comment on the incident. Ferguson famously declines to give any interviews to the press. But I understand there has been a growing atmosphere of discontent between the player and his manager for some time.
This came to a head on Monday when Moyes met Ferguson in the corridor at Bellefield. The pair argued fiercely and the player was then told to go home. Inside Goodison there has been a growing belief that Ferguson's injury-ravaged body is no longer capable of pushing itself to the limits David Moyes demands. This was highlighted at the recent Chelsea fixture. Ferguson played the full 90 minutes against Charlton in the League Cup th e previ ou s Wednesday, and there was a belief he would be substituted during the second half. For the visit of Chelsea to Goodison Park just three days later, Moyes informed him he was to be retained in the starting line-up. However, Ferguson was hit by a chest infection which meant he was unlikely to complete another 90 minutes.
Moyes sent him home, and just 48-hours later the player was rushed to hospital after coughing up blood at his Formby home. He has since returned to training, but was not well enough to be considered for the trip to Blackburn Rovers or the 'bonding' trip to Tenerife which flew out the following morning. Ferguson's lucrative contract - he is the highest paid player at the club - still has 18 months to run and there are individuals at Goodison who believe the club would get better value by curtailing his deal. The incident could blow over very quickly, depending on Ferguson's reaction. If there is no sign of conciliation the problem could escalate.
Savage wants to extend stay at Brum
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 20 2003
ONE-TIME Everton target Robbie Savage has revealed his desire to extend his stay with Birmingham City. The Welsh international was the subject of a £3million bid from the Blues in the summer as David Moyes scoured the market for midfield reinforcement. Despite renewed speculation linking Savage with a move to Goodison Park, Everton's interest in the controversial star is believed to have cooled. And yesterday, ahead of Wales' Euro 2004 play-off with Russia in Cardiff, Savage insisted he is keen to extend his career at St Andrews with a new long-term contract. He said: "It was a fact that Everton put in a £3million bid for me and the club turned it down. I didn't ask to go and I don't want to go. "I am looking forward to a long career with Birmingham City and hopefully enjoying some success at the club. "The sooner that I can sign a new contract and commit myself for a long time to Birmingham City, the better." Savage is optimistic the Blues will bring in more new players when the transfer window reopens in January to maintain the flying start to the campaign.
He added: "The board have proved in the past that they will back the manager in the transfer market and, who knows, if we are in a good position in January there may be more new arrivals.
"That can only be good for the club. It keeps the players on their toes and it will enable Birmingham to continue the fantastic progress which has been made."
Gray days before bubble burst
Post Past By Phil Redmond Daily Post
Nov 20 2003
WHEN we played Wolves at Goodison in 1979 they had the country's record signing, a certain Andy Gray, in their line-up. He had signed for the 'Old Golds' from Villa for a then outrageous £1.5 million, especially given that only 12 months previously the record had stood at £500,000 when Joe Jordan moved from Leeds to Manchester United. In today's market it would be the equivalent of say Michael Owen moving to someone like Southampton for £84m. For years Wolves had been in the doldrums, but were now making a leap for the big time. In reality they'd added Gray and Emlyn Hughes to their squad of mediocrity and spent millions - that would later come back to haunt them - on a stand that was about three miles from the pitch. The Toffees had also splashed out in recent weeks, with Asa Hartford joining from Forest for £500,000 without kicking a ball for them, if my memory serves me right. Therefore it was only right that a season's highest gate (up until then) of around 32,000 flocked to Goodison on a fine autumnal afternoon for what proved to be a controversial thriller. Everton played their best football of the season in the first half, with Hartford looking the business against the likes of Kenny Hibbett and Willie Carr. Brian Kidd shot the Toffees ahead before the break and things looked good. Early in the second and the roof fell in as Billy Wright and Mike Lyons were at their cumbersome worst. First Gray paid back the first chunk of his massive fee before Wolves went ahead through a penalty after a Wright/ Wood misunderstading.
Everton came back, though, and George Berry, sporting a Tito Jackson-type afro, climbed all over Peter Eastoe once too often. Hughes screamed at the official in typical fashion and Trevor Ross rolled home the equaliser. From there, Eastoe missed a sitter and Kiddo hit the post with a header before yet more defensive tomfoolery allowed John Richards to fire a late winner for the Midlanders. Incredibly, former Reds captain Hughes then made himself even more unpopular with Evertonians. A dispute over a throw with Andy King right in front of me in the Paddock ended with King taking first use of the communal bath water. Anyway, that was then. Wolves found themselves, if not top of the league, then very close. Gordon Lee's boys, meanwhile, continued to struggle along in lower mid-table. The men from Molineux, featuring a bubble-permed Gray, looked like an emerging force and, indeed, won the League Cup later that season. Within six years though, Everton and Andy Gray were the best team in Europe, while Wolves were playing in front of 2,000 home gates in the old fourth division.
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 20 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON is set to mark D-Day in the dispute with David Moyes by returning to training today. The Everton striker is under pressure to stop the Bellefield bust-up escalating into an irreconcilable rift with his manager. And it is believed he will take an important step towards diffusing the row by attending training after clear-the-air talks with the Blues boss.
Ferguson has not been seen at Bellefield since being ordered home by Moyes on Monday afternoon after a furious argument over the player's attitude. Along with the rest of the Everton squad and staff he was granted a day off yesterday. The real test in the strained relationship between manager and player arrives when the first team squad and Everton's international contingent report back today. Ferguson is not facing any disciplinary action from Everton as yet and the PFA have not been called to settle the dispute, suggesting the matter is an entirely private affair that will be dealt with internally. Should the Scot aggravate the situation by staying away the Blues would not be in a position to tear up his lucrative contract which still has 18 months to run and makes him their highest paid player. But whether Moyes would consider turning to the injury-plagued forward without the hatchet buried, even for Saturday's crucial game with Wolves, is highly unlikely. Ferguson was due to gain valuable match fitness in Tuesday's reserve team game against Aston Villa after missing the Chelsea and Blackburn games, plus the team bonding trip to Tenerife, through illness. But he was not considered as a result of his fall-out with the Blues boss.
Coleman: Davis man to lead recovery
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 20 2003
CHRIS COLEMAN last night insisted Sean Davis is the man to lead Fulham's Premiership recovery - despite Everton's continued interest in the commanding midfielder. Davis came off the transfer list at Fulham earlier this month but remains top of David Moyes' wanted list when the transfer window reopens in January. Doubt surrounds how the Blues will raise the funds to prise Davis away from Loftus Road, although club officials are exploring every avenue to raise a bid following the collapse of a £5million deal in the summer. In the meantime Fulham manager Coleman believes the 23-year-old will help the Cottagers pull out of their recent blip once he returns to full fitness. The Cottagers pulled off the shock of the season to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, but then slumped to back-to-back defeats against Liverpool and Charlton. Davis marked his comeback from a three-month injury lay-off with Fulham's consolation in the 3-1 defeat at The Valley. And Coleman is confident the midfielder will soon be back on top form. "Sean needs a few games," said the Fulham boss. "He had 25 minutes against Charlton and got a goal, which will have done his confidence the world of good. "We'll see the best of him in the next couple of games - there's no doubt about that."
Davis performed a dramatic U-turn on his transfer request after discussions with Coleman, who is believed to have told the England hopeful he had to come off the list before he played again.
"It'll probably take me four or five games to get properly matchfit," Davis added. "But I don't expect to walk back into the side because the boys have been doing fantastically well."
Harris all booked up
Nov 20 2003 Scott Mcleod Talks To The Blues' 1966 Fa Cup Final Hero Brian Harris
BRIAN HARRIS' Everton career spanned 12 seasons, four managers and one league championship.
But the former winger is probably best remembered for donning a policeman's hat. The incident occurred during the 1966 FA Cup Final triumph over Sheffield Wednesday. After the Blues fought back from a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2, a one-man pitch invasion by legendary Blues fan Eddie Kavanagh led to a Keystone Cops style chase across the Wembley turf which presented Harris with the opportunity to earn the biggest laugh of the afternoon by picking up and putting on a stray hat.
That memory may not do justice to his footballing attributes, but it does fairly reflect the man's love of life. Well known as the practical joker in the squad during his time at Goodison between 1954 and 1966, Harris has worked with author Chris Westcott to pen a book which lifts the lid on life with the Blues during an exciting era in the club's history. "I was never that keen on writing a book," he concedes. "Most football books are not interesting. They tell fans what they already knew or just concentrate on the football matches and the results. "That doesn't interest me. So when I decided to do a book, I wanted to do something different." 'Brian Harris: The Authorised Biography' concentrates on the anecdotes and the camaraderie of being part of a successful Everton squad.
It includes tales of getting a monkey drunk while on holiday in Majorca and queueing at a Santa's grotto in Liverpool with teammate Johnny King masquerading as a child. Everton vice-chairman Bill Kenwright used to watch Harris from the terraces in the 60s and remembers his largerthan-life personality. He said: "He was a terrific rac-onteur and story-teller. "Brian Harris stories are legendary at Goodison Park and are best summed up by the fact that when Everton were one of the first teams to tour the United States, they were invited on the Ed Sullivan Show. "Brian was supposedly in his element in front of millions and millions of Americans in what was the toprated show of the day. He so endeared himself to the nation with his Scouse humour, that he was asked to return for another stint - sadly his duties on the field prevented him from becoming our own forerunner of Davi d Let terman or Johnny Carson!" Harris played 358 times for Everton before moving on to Cardiff and Newport. Now living in Chepstow with his wife Beryl, Harris remains a regular at Goodison. He adds: "There is something egotistical about going back to Goodison. "When you walk past the Winslow Pub and people are shouting over to you and saying hello it really is great. "It is great that people still recognise me all these years on and it makes me laugh to hear children asking: 'grandad, who is that?' "Everton is in my blood. It is true when they say 'once an Evertonian, always an Evertonian'. "The drive up can be a real drag but I wouldn't miss it. I stay with Labby (Brian Labone) and have a great time every time I come back." Harris was the only player to play first division football under Cliff Britton, Ian Buchan, John Carey and Harry Catterick during more than a decade at Goodison. One of Brian's favourite anecdotes is his tussle with Jair during the 1962 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. "We'd heard all about Jair and at Goodison he was a real gentleman. I tackled him a couple of times but if he went down he'd get up and shake hands. "When we played over in Italy he got the ball early on and I slid in and tackled him, took the ball cleanly but he dropped down and appeared out for the count. "I was wondering what on earth was going on because I hadn't touched him, I'd taken the ball. "Anyway, he got to his feet and I went over to him to shake his hand and make sure he was alright ... and he spat right in my face. "So I thought to myself, 'right, you're for it now' and with about five minutes to go he came running down the wing with the ball and I was backpeddling. "Derek Temple was close by, so I started shouting to Derek to close this fellow down. Jair was distracted and turned to look for Derek, and as soon as he looked away I went right through him and put him up into the air. "He was flat out again, and he was still down on the side of the pitch when the game restarted so as I ran past, I stood on his hand and he jumped about six feet in the air! "So he couldn't have been that badly hurt." * BRIAN Harris will be at WHSmith on Church Street on Saturday from 11.30am to sign copies of his book. He will also be at a Goodison dinner tomorrow night as part of a launch which has been supported by Roger Kenyon and Brian Snagg from Blue-nose Promotions.
Dunc told: Stay away
Nov 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON may have kicked his last ball for Everton. The player did not turn up at Bellefield today following his Monday bust-up with boss David Moyes - but it appears he was ordered to stay away. He will not be involved in Saturday's important clash with Wolves, and his future involvement may depend on him apologising unreservedly to the Blues' boss. Manager David Moyes again declined to comment on the issue today, but I believe he has informed Ferguson not to turn up at Bellefield for the forseeable future. The player has 18 months remaining on his Goodison contract, but has started just four games this season after failing to start at all last season. Ferguson, fit again after suffering from a respiratory problem which forced him to miss the games against Chelsea and Blackburn, is the best paid player at the club but he could now become an increasingly peripheral figure. The start of today's training session was delayed to allow Everton's returning internationals the opportunity for a few extra hours rest. James McFadden and Gary Naysmith were on the receiving end of a six-goal drubbing against Holland in Amsterdam last night. Tomasz Radzinski, Kevin Kilbane and Tobias Linderoth were also due to report back today after playing for their countries on Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Richard Wright travelled to Dr Richard Steadman's clinic in Colorado yesterday and is awaiting an operation to finally cure his knee injury.
Wolf pack next for in-form Blues
Academy Football With Chris Wright Daily Post
Nov 21 2003
WITH just one match left in the FA Premier Academy League before many of Everton's under-19s begin their FA Youth Cup campaign, there will be a determination to stretch their unbeaten run to nine games. Neil Dewsnip's side have won five and drawn three of their last eight matches and go into tomorrow's fixture at Netherton (kick-off 12noon, Saturday 22 Nov) with Wolverhampton Wanderers in buoyant mood. The latest win was one of their best performances of the season and with an in-service training weekend coming up another victory against Wolves would mean the Blues can go into the December 3 Cup clash at Coventry City on a roll. Dewsnip said: "Wolves are very difficult to play against, so it will be a tough game. They tend to be big and strong. So it will be a challenge to us. "But we are on a good run and we have lost one in 12, which is very pleasing and we need to keep it going against Wolves before we look ahead to the Youth Cup.” Brian Moogan and Jack Flood both picked up injuries last week. The Blues are hopeful Flood will be able to play tomorrow, while Moogan was declared fit enough to play for the reserves in midweek, so he will also be available. Wales youth international player Craig Garside made his first appearance after more than a month out last Saturday. The versatile 18-year-old will hope to continue his rehabilitation again tomorrow. Gary Ablett's side have suffered a blip since they had their impressive start halted with defeat at Blackburn. Last week's goalless draw at Liverpool means they can at least go into tomorrow's clash at the Carrington Complex with unbeaten Academy League lead-ers Manchester United in a more confident frame of mind. United will obviously prove a tough test for his side but Ablett is relishing the challenge. He added: "It is big game. We played Liverpool and now United with City, Crewe and those same clubs all over again. With the Christmas break they will be spread out over a couple of months. But you hope all the boys want to be involved in those type of games because that is why they are here. "I am quite confident going to United. It is whoever plays well or has that bit of luck."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Nov 21 2003
Class not work
"VERY hard work" is not all we have going for us: with Rooney, McFadden, Jeffers, Radzinski, Gravesen, Hibbert and Yobo we've got real quality. The trick is to get them believing in themselves and playing like they're capable of. Does anyone think Moyes' references to hard work might be draining to the players' confidence? We've got the makings of a class side and we need to get them performing as such.
Tony Smith, Liverpool
DON'T sell Rooney, have a think of how he was so effective last season and try a little of the same. Bring him on when Rads or Jeffs or whoever has done the running, give him a licence to drift where he wants, not chasing long balls into corners or back defending. The lad scores goals, it worked last season, give it a go before we slump to absolute bottom.
Bob Butchard (via e-mail)
DAVID MOYES missed the boat when he refused to loan Ferguson out to Royle at Ipswich. He would have had to play there, and he would have been off our wage bill. He seems to be really unlucky with illnesses and injuries but he must have the highest sickness pay in football.
Trev Lynes, (via e-mail)
I FEEL The Rad needs sharpening skills in how to finish one-on-one situations! And one message to Moysie, ease up on all the hard work.
John Boyd, Merseyside
WHY continue to play Campbell? Either give Chadwick a run or Jeffers. What was the point in bringing Jeffers back if he's not going to play?
Barry Benson, Chester
WAYNE ROONEY is critical to Everton's future in so many ways. He is a true Blue and a genuine world star we can all take pride in. He loves Everton and will attract attention and eventually better players to the club. We are lucky he has arrived at this time, and all I would hope is that he gives us five years. We must sign him to a five-year contract that takes us a year or two past the next World Cup.
If we aren't competing at the top by then, I think most Evertonians would wish him and his career well if he were to go to somewhere like Madrid. The £50million we would get due to him being on a contract would betoo. To sell him now would probably go down in our history as our darkest day - so to all those out there advocating a quick profit, give your heads a shake!
Stevie Renzo, via email
SOME people are suggesting we should get rid of Moyes, for such reasons as he's not starting McFadden every game - and who bought him? It's only November; we all know we're under-performing but Moyes is obviously under pressure trying to get the players going. Do you reckon the likes of Rooney, Yobo etc will hang about long if Moyes gets chucked out? You moaners can't see past the end of your noses can you?! Sorry, but reading such comments is frustrating - I hope most of them are Reds painted Blue just trying to offend us, but I fear not.
Scott Darlett, (via e-mail)
Duncan stays at home
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 21 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON will again be a notable absentee from Everton training today as David Moyes' ponders the striker's future. The Blues forward was told not to report for training yesterday and will receive the same message this morning as the depth of his rift with Moyes begins to emerge.
Ferguson had expected to take part in an afternoon session yesterday but was informed he wasn't welcome at Bellefield - three days after a blistering row with the Blues boss. His absence increases the prospect Moyes is prepared to freeze the striker out of his plans entirely unless he receives an unreserved apology. The 31-year-old's Everton career is in serious doubt after the manager lost patience with his attitude on Monday. Now Moyes must decide whether there is a way back for the former crowd favourite given his hard-line stance. With 19 months of a lucrative contract as the club's highest earner remaining, many believe Everton's best interests are served by off-loading Ferguson. However, there appears little chance of finding a taker for such a highly-paid and injury-prone star. That leaves the prospect of the striker spending the remainder of his contract in the Goodison wilderness, unless relations with Moyes improve dramatically. Whatever the long-term future holds the issue has compromised Moyes' plans for tomorrow's crucial Premiership match at home to Wolves. Second from bottom Wanderers are only below the Blues in the table on goal difference and Ferguson was in the frame to lead the line until his acrimonious fall-out.
Kevin Campbell is not fully match fit, but may be called on again to provide the aerial power alongside Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski or Francis Jeffers.
Duncan future doesn't look at all rosy
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 21 2003
IN an international week where the home nations have suffered some bitter disappointments, there have still been some notable individual performances, particularly from Everton players. At Hampden on Saturday Gary Naysmith had his hands full with party boy Andy van der Meyde but stuck to his task and defended as well as anyone to ensure the Scots travelled to Amsterdam with a clean sheet and their dream still intact. Up front for Berti Vogts' side, James McFadden added to his burgeoning reputation with a tenacious display and a thoroughly deserved goal. It's just a shame that at the crucial point the Scots and the Welsh didn't quite have the extra class necessary to get them past experienced and determined opposition. Where those games were tense and passionate, England's friendly against Denmark was a subdued and somewhat pointless affair. Once again though, Wayne Rooney proved the exception, capping another accomplished performance with a goal that suggests his stop-start season hasn't affected his confidence. And if David Moyes was watching these internationals looking for a creative midfielder then he must have been impressed with Edgar Davids and Wesley Sneijder. However, assuming he hasn't got £25million for that pair, the next best performance of the week wasn't from Scott Parker, Jason Koumas, and certainly not the comical Robbie Savage. That's right, Thomas Gravesen showed that when there's decent movement around him his one and two-touch passing game is world class. Fancy that. As we always say when there's been internationals, it's now time for the players to get back down to the bread and butter of the Premiership. It would have been nice if they could have been assisted by Duncan Ferguson (right), as bottom-of-the-table six-pointers at a packed Goodison are just the sort of games he used to thrive on, but his future at Everton obviously doesn't look that rosy following Monday's falling out with David Moyes. Just where this whole unhealthy situation will end up is unclear at this point. The immediate reaction is to say get rid of him, but we already know for a fact that nobody would entertain him given his massive wages and poor fitness record. If we're stuck with him then it would be better if we could get some use out of him, but obviously the manager has to be conscious of his effect on the dressing room. Catch 22.All in all it's been a bad week for David Moyes, what with this Ferguson situation and seeing Scotland hammered in Amsterdam, so hopefully he'll be cheered up somewhat tomorrow by a vital three points.
Why Blues need Dunc
Nov 21 2003 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
HAVING Duncan Ferguson sitting at home rather than out on the training field does the player no good at all. He has battled his way back to fitness and his leadership qualities are needed by Everton. The club is in a difficult position in the Premiership and needs players with character. Duncan is one of them. He has started to be involved more in games and has scored four goals. Two of them have been spot-kicks. He has not shirked the responsibility. That is the kind of character Everton will need against Wolves tomorrow. If it is a case of a player being in breach of club discipline, then fine him or suspend him. Nothing will be gained by him not being on the training ground. I recall Tony Cottee stepping out of line when he was at Everton. He publicly criticised his team-mates. I had to teach him a lesson somehow. I gave him a choice. I said: "You either go downstairs, apologise to the players and take them all out to lunch or you train with the kids."
Tony did the former and the whole episode was forgotten.
Victory is vital
A VICTORY against Wolves this weekend is vital, no matter how it is achieved. No doubt the fans will be looking for a similar performance to the 4-0 home win over Leeds two months ago, but even a scrappy win is acceptable given the Blues' league position. Like Leeds, Wolves are a struggling side managed by a former Everton player, but the difference now is that Everton are down there with them. At the start of the season Dave Jones' target would have been Premiership survival. The Blues' was a top six finish. Everything is going as expected for Wolves. Their objectives have not changed. On the other hand, Everton's predicament is a surprise. The match is a massive one for both clubs. What can help the Blues is the form of their strikers. Both Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski found the back of the net for their countries last weekend. Rooney has gone through a lean spell recently. He really needed a goal and scoring for England will have given him a huge lift.
Radzinski now has a few games under his belt after coming back from injury. His match sharpness should be back.
Scots need tonic
SCOTLAND'S elimination from Euro 2004 was a huge disappointment for Gary Naysmith and James McFadden. The lads will have been down after that 6-0 ham-mering in Holland, but I have no doubts their spirits will have been lifted as soon as they arrived back at Bellefield. They will be keen to pull on the blue shirt of Everton and forget about Wednesday night. I cannot see their club performances being affected. Their attitude against Wolves will be right. I have been impressed by Naysmith this season. He seems to be enjoying his football and has established himself as a regular in the first-team. He deserves to be involved against Wolves. Selection for McFadden will lift his confidence too.
Wayne misses pals
Nov 21 2003 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney has told OK! magazine how he misses hanging around street corners with his pals.
The international soccer star, who has just turned 18, is England's brightest hope and the youngest player to score for the team. But the Everton star, who earns around £10,000 a week, lamented some of the changes in his lifestyle in an interview with the magazine. He said: "I used to go out for a game of footy with my mates - I miss doing that. "I miss standing around on street corners chatting to my mates, but I'm sure all the sacrifices are worthwhile." He said the attitudes of people around him had changed since he found fame, adding: "People react differently to me." Rooney said he had no intention of forgetting his Croxteth roots, although, in the future, he may leave the area where he grew up. He recently got engaged to his girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin, after proposing when they were out for dinner in Liverpool.
Unsy back for Blues
Nov 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH is set for a return to the Everton starting line-up this weekend. The 30-year-old defender, who turned down the offer of a one year extension to his current contract earlier this month, is in line to replace Gary Naysmith at left-back against Wolves. The Scottish international picked up a hamstring strain playing against Holland in Amsterdam on Wednesday night and did not report back to Bellefield until this morning. Manager David Moyes has not ruled out Naysmith taking part in the game at Goodison but it's believed the defender's chances of recovering in time for the match are very slim. With Alessandro Pistone not fit enough for a first team return after returning to training following a hernia operation that paves the way for Unsworth to earn his first start since the 3-0 defeat at Spurs. Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson is not expected to be reporting to training at Bellefield for some time after being told to stay away by the manager. The pair had a row on Monday and it now seems the striker could have played his last game for the club. The manager has lost patience with a player who has been dogged by injuries and illness and who has rarely produced his best form since returning for his second spell at the club. Moyes preferred to focus on the players he does at have his disposal this morning. Li Tie, Wayne Rooney and Alan Stubbs have all overcome the flu bug which prevented them being involved at Blackburn. The return of Stubbs will be a boost for Moyes, who was disappointed to have his two most experienced defenders unavailable at Ewood Park. He said: "Alan Stubbs is somebody who, over the last few years, has been reliable and who shows confidence in his play. We missed him last week, particularly with David Weir also out." Lee Carsley, Pistone and Scot Gemmill are all close to a first team return but none of those players will be involved tomor row against Wolves. Moyes adds: "At the moment we are a little bit short of people who can naturally play on the right hand side. "We have played Thomas Gravesen there but it was not something that we really wanted to do. "But with Steve Watson and Lee Carsley both out and Leon Osman unfortunately picking up an injury at that time also we had few options. "Lee is the closest of the injured players to coming back because he has the advantage of having played quite a few games already this season but it is too early for tomorrow." Moyes could be tempted to play James McFadden on the right from the start tomorrow after the Scots' impressive performance as a sub in the 2-1 defeat at Blackburn.
Record-breaking jockey happy to join Blues stable
Nov 21 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE serious gamblers amongst you, and those with more money than sense, can get 1,000-1 on Everton winning the Premiership this season. But Goodison has a high profile fan who laughs in the face of odds like that. Teesside-based jockey Graham Lee rode a record-breaking 55,964-1 four-timer at Wetherby this season - and was only denied the perfect weekend when Chelsea snatched an undeserved win at Goodison Park the same day. A 27-year-old Irishman, Lee was bitten by the Blues' bug after meeting racehorse owner and Everton striker Francis Jeffers at a golf day at The Belfry, along with Jeffers' Everton-daft pal Tom Schumacher. The pair of them convinced the Galway-born 27-year-old he should start following the Blues. It wasn't a difficult conversion. A huge fan of Kevin Sheedy as a boy, he also idolised Anders Limpar - and has become a frequent visitor to Goodison this season. Racing commitments limit his appearances on Merseyside, but he plans to be at Goodison for the visit of Manchester City on Sunday, December 7 - along with pal and Grand National winner Tony Dobbin. This weekend Lee will be at Aintree on Saturday, hoping The Toffees can land him a double just up the road against Wolves. But it will be some achievement for Lee to top his feats at Wetherby earlier this month. Lee's incredible day started with a 12-1 winner on board Dream On Willie. He followed up with a shock 40-1 success aboard Ballybough Rasher, scored a hat-trick with 12-1 shot Javelin and then completed his record breaking haul with 6-1 ride Gralmano. In typical racing tradition, however, his final ride of the afternoon - Petrula - crashed to the turf two fences from home leaving Lee unsteady on his feet for a minute or so.
Moyes will be only winner
Nov 21 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN a football manager decides to take on a player, there is only ever one winner. Ask David Beckham. Ask Robbie Fowler. Ask Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside. All were forced out of clubs they loved because of clashes with the manager. That situation will not happen with Duncan Ferguson and Everton, but not because of any binding loyalty on either side. Quite simply, given his age, injury record and salary, no other club would even contemplate signing the Scot. Which leaves Everton with a player their manager clearly does not trust. That is the message which has come from David Moyes this week. His actions suggest a man intent on marginalising a player to the point where his influence on the club is negligible. And it is difficult to argue with his reasoning. Ferguson critics have labelled him many things: Arrogant, lazy, uncommitted, greedy. On very rare occasions even inspirational. But one thing he can never be called is stupid. Which is why he has called Everton's training ground every day since Monday's 'bust-up' in a bid to resume what remains of his Everton career. Moyes has so far remained unreceptive to his advances. And it appears he may be for some time yet. The pair exchanged full and frank views of each other's ability to do their jobs on Monday. But that is not the reason Ferguson has since been told to go on what amounts to a foot-balling version of 'gardening leave'. That row was merely the spark which has ignited a situation which has been simmering for some time. The Blues' boss demands a high level of fitness and an intense attitude to training. He seems to believe he is getting neither from his former captain.
He also seems to believe that such attitude, if untreated, could infect other impressionable players at the club. If so, Moyes' decision to allow the club's highest paid player to wallow on the sidelines for the next 19 months is the correct one. A former Everton manager once told me a revealing tale of Ferguson's psyche. Entranced by a video-tape highlighting the intelligent movement of Italian striker Christian Vieri, he explained: "I started to show Duncan the tape because it was wonderful to watch. But it was clear from the start he wasn't interested. "I said 'Look at this Dunc. You'll never believe . . .' before I quickly said 'Oh forget it.' "He's the only footballer I've known who doesn't actually like football." If that is the case, there are still one-and-a-half million reasons why he will put up with a job he dislikes. You sense Ferguson still craves the kind of hero worship he used to receive from the Goodison faithful, and which now seems to be the preserve of his young pretender.
But he has been a peripheral figure at best in recent years - just 34 starts in the 142 games since he returned to the club from Newcastle United, and only four in the last 18 months. As a result his influence on the team spirit Moyes is trying to forge has been minimal. The Blues' boss took his team to Tenerife last week on a 'bonding' exercise. The word "bonding" is a thinlydisguised term for players and manager enjoying a few drinks, letting their guard down and speaking openly and honestly. Is it coincidence that the day after their return Moyes clashed with Ferguson? Or had the Blues' boss heard that some of the players shared his own views about their former captain's commitment? Howard Kendall is the Everton boss who seems to have manipulated Ferguson's complex psychology most effectively. But he had to dangle a highly prestigious carrot to do so.
At Christmas 1997 he shocked many by naming the Scot as Everton captain. Ferguson responded with the only hat-trick of his Everton career and the most consistently inspired form of his Goodison career. Gareth Farrelly is usually creditted as the man who saved Everton from relegation that season, but in truth Ferguson had as much to do with saving Everton's skin as anyone. In recent seasons, though, the player has looked a shell of his former formidable self. If he is to resurrect what remains of his Everton career, one suspects he may have to show some humility, some regret and some diffidence. He has earned so much money for so long, though, that I suspect those words have long since vanished from his vocabulary - if they ever existed.
Blues will make Wolves howl
Nov 21 2003 You Bet, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES' budget may not even stretch to a vintage South African Reserve from the Tenerife duty free shop, but his home brew is more than capable of picking up three points tomorrow.
Dave Jones' Wolves are the visitors to Goodison and while their season is just one long hangover, the game will provide a useful tonic for those Evertonians still drowning their sorrows after the Blackburn defeat. After impressing against Denmark last Sunday, Wayne Rooney is in the frame to make his eighth Premiership start this season. Should he do so, the 5-1 Bet365 are offering on him opening the scoring looks a steal, but better still is the 5-1 on Wayne scoring the last goal - a far safer proposition considering he may only make the bench. Coral's 8-11 is the best price around on a home win, with Wolves 9-2 (Chandler) and the draw 5-2 (Power). But to boost your return add an Everton win to Arsenal (4-5) at Birmingham, Sunderland (6-4) at Crewe, Scunthorpe (11-10) against Cambridge and Wrexham (7-10) against Wycombe. The five-timer pays over £130 for a £5 stake with TotalBet.
Back to business for Faddy
Nov 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IN the space of four days this week James McFadden endured the drop from the greatest high of his career to the deepest low. But the 20-year-old is adamant the bitter disappointment of Scotland's humiliating 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Holland will not affect his preparations for tomorrow's Premiership encounter with Wolves. McFadden reported back at Bellefield yesterday afternoon still trying to come to terms with the events of Wednesday night. The Tartan Army travelled to Amsterdam in buoyant mood thanks to the 1-0 first leg victory earned by a cracking strike from the Everton winger. That goal confirmed his status as Scotland's latest footballing hero. Tomorrow he intends to show his form has not been adversely affected by what followed on "As soon as you get back to your club, regardless of whether you have won or lost, you need to forget about the international games and focus on what is coming up on Saturday," insisted McFadden. "It won't be any problem. I have got a bigger role here with Everton than I have with Scotland and I am looking forward to the game. "I am expecting a bit of banter, not just from the English lads but from everybody, but I have got to take it. "It helps having a few other Scottish lads around to take the burden as well." But McFadden is sure the experience will benefit him. He added: "Scoring on Saturday was one of the highlights of my career. It was certainly the most important goal I have ever scored, even though it wasn't the best finish. It was just such a shame we couldn't build on it.
"There was a good mood in the camp leading up to the game, so it makes it very hard to take losing by six goals. "I don't know what went wrong. There is no word to describe the mood in the chang-ing room. We were all gutted but we will pick ourselves up. "Maybe the early goal knocked the stuffing out of us. "It was a good atmosphere - the stadium was packed and the fans were right behind us. I don't know why it went that way, they were just the better side. "It was frustrating playing up front but I am not trying to blame anybody. Everybody was frustrated and gutted we couldn't manage to get through. "But the experience will benefit us for the World Cup qualifiers because we got further than most people thought we would. "We did well to get to the playoff and we are happy with our progress."
Leaving was wrong - Gazza
Nov 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE has revealed that leaving Everton was one of the biggest mistakes of his chequered career. The former England international is back in the Premiership 20 months after leaving Goodison in the same week David Moyes arrived as Walter Smith's replacement. He lined up for Wolves reserves against the Blues in midweek as he bids to convince Molyneux boss Dave Jones that he still has something to offer top flight football. He will have to settle for a place in the stands at Goodison tomorrow when the Blues entertain the Premiership newcomers in a league encounter for the first time since April 1984. It will give him the chance to remind himself of what he has been missing since his two year spell at the club ended. "Leaving was one of the bad moves I have made in my career," admitted Gazza. "When I heard Walter Smith was getting sacked I was so disappointed. "As a team we could have done better for him. That left the board and the fans on his case and it was a great pity when he went because he is a fantastic manager and Archie Knox was a great coach. They have won championship medals and cups. "David Moyes came in and gave me a chance to go to Burnley. I got promotion when I was with Newcastle and I wanted to try and get that same buzz again but it didn't work out like that. "In the back of my mind I think I should have tried to stay (at Everton). I regret it a little bit because I didn't give him (Moyes) a chance for us to work together. I look back and kick myself. "I let my heart rule my head because of what happened with Walter." Since his Goodison departure his unsuccessful time at Turfmoor was followed by a spell away from the game and then a much-publicised move to China. Now back in England, he received the call to go to Wolves last month after a chat with former Middlesbrough and England teammate Paul Ince. But while his trial has progressed well and he has received encouragment from Jones, the 36-year-old admits it could well be time to call an end to a remarkable career. He concedes: "It will have to come to the stage where I let my head rule my heart. I will have to make a decision in the next couple of weeks as to whether I keep on playing or not. "Sometimes when I train and things don't go well my mind tells me 'I don't know about the Premiership now, it may be a bit too quick'.
"But some days I train and I think 'yeah, I can hack this'. You see players like Teddy Sheringham who has done well and there's a few other oldies who are doing well, so I don't see why I shouldn't have another crack at it. "I'll know when the time will be right to hang up my boots." For the time being though Gazza is a Wolves player. And that will make watching tomorrow's Goodison encounter tough. He explains: "I had some great times at Everton. The fans took to us early and they have always had a rapport with me. Even when I played for Newcastle they were good. "When I joined the club everybody from the club staff to Bill Kenwright was great. "It will be a nice game to go and watch. But I don't know who I will be supporting. "Three weeks ago I would have said definitely Everton and I do want to see Everton win games but I don't know who I will be rooting for. "It is unbelievable (they are in the bottom three) because there's a lot of good players. "A lot of teams need luck. At Everton they have players who are definitely good enough to be in the top half of the table. They just need a bit of luck and I am sure it will come."
Everton 2, Wolves 0 (D, Post)
Nov 24 2003 Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
WORLD CUP winner Matt Dawson wasn't the only Evertonian to use gold-shirted foes as an inspiration to silence doubters on Saturday. It is unlikely the England scrum-half thought to catch his favourite football team's result this weekend but, given the achievement in Sydney, forgiveness is in order. If he did tune in, however, then the all-conquering Blue would have recognised the spirit and unity shown by David Moyes' team in sweeping aside David Jones' Wolves. Two weeks' painful scrutiny at Bellefield hardly compares with "37 years of hurt" - as it is now officially known - but given the controversies, questions and conspiracies flying around Everton since Nightmare at Ewood and Duncan-gate the manner in which a first league win in six was earned brought as much relief to those only concerned with this code. And for Moyes, who recognised that this result is only a start, it was an opportune afternoon of vindication. Having slated his players' attitude after that first 45 at Blackburn, then taking on one of the biggest 'stars' at his club (the biggest financial obstacle in the way of progress, more like) the Everton manager had to get a response on Saturday. So the sight of various Blue shirts throwing themselves at every clearance from the Wolves' defence, of Tomasz Radzinski (above left) scoring his first goal from outside the 18-yard box then making sliding tackles outside his own, of Wayne Rooney chasing back to the centre circle to orchestrate another attack and Thomas Gravesen opting to show Goodison Park what a player he really is must have restored faith all round. Moyes for Tottenham? You wouldn't have thought so. Without wishing to substantiate Sunday's rumours of a move to White Hart Lane the Scot did spend an hour after the game in discussions with Bill Kenwright. It is safer to assume, however, the item on the agenda was how best to handle the thorny issue of Duncan Ferguson. Should the manager opt to freeze the striker out of the club entirely for the remaining 19 months of his contract then Goodison officials have no option but to give him their total support and explore every avenue to achieve that end.
Moyes will not discuss the events of last Monday, but programme notes that read: "After being at the relegation end of the table for so long, before last season, it will need big decisions if we are to bring Everton into a new era. And if it's big decisions that are needed, you can be rest assured I will not shirk from making them" said everything. The rest of Moyes' script was full of the honesty and long-term thinking his fans have come to appreciate, and which suggests Spurs have no chance if the Goodison hierarchy respond in turn. Certainly his players could not have delivered a better reply to their manager's soul-searching than the opening 45 minutes that destroyed hungry but toothless Wolves. Whether it was the visitors' ineptitude or Everton's effort and desire that made the latter look so good is open to question, but such was the gulf between the two the Blues should have matched the score-line of their last league win, 4-0 at home to Leeds, long before the break.
Over-elaboration was perhaps the Blues' only failing on Saturday while the second half, with the game sewn up, was almost a non-event. Justified criticism stemmed from 45 minutes at Blackburn, however, so credit can be taken for delivering within the same time frame. The tension caused by recent results and events was initially obvious, with moans and groans greeting the first misplaced passes and missed tackles. But once Rooney dropped deeper to conduct more polished affairs and Gravesen began to make a mockery of Paul Ince and Alex Rae in central midfield, the Blues were soon in the mood to exploit extremely limited guests. Moyes and international call-ups do not often mix well, yet the benefits of the best two individual performances at Old Trafford last weekend were felt by Everton as England's latest hero and Denmark's midfield engine sparkled. Their composure and creativity on the ball brought the best from the likes of James McFadden, Radzinski and Kevin Kilbane, while in defence the return of Alan Stubbs signalled renewed resolution. Rooney had already tested Michael Oakes in the Wolves' goal twice before Goodison was granted its first Premiership goal since September 28. It was worth the wait, well, almost. Tobias Linderoth, doing the simple things well and enabling Gravesen to advance, cut out a poor defensive clearance and found Radzinski deep in opposition territory. With little else on the Canadian international strode forward and unleashed a swerving exocet from 20 yards that flew past Oakes to leave team-mates and supporters stunned. "That's the longest strike I've ever scored with," said Radzinski. "It must have been my lucky day." Luck had nothing to do with this result, however. Answering Moyes call for application and commitment did. Plus, there was plenty of fine football on display to show why Everton can go far higher in the table once their act is put together consistently. McFadden was a constant menace down the right, an avenue Everton exploited all game, and merited the standing ovation that greeted his substitution even if his ruthlessness in the opposition area could improve.
Two minutes after Radzinski's rocket Kilbane (above left) claimed his first goal for the club courtesy of a towering header from Rooney's expert right-wing cross and the contest was effectively over.
It could have been three goals in three minutes had Mike Riley signalled a penalty for a blatant trip on Rooney by Mark Kennedy as the striker closed in on McFadden's inviting cut-back across the area.
But with play waved on and Moyes livid on the touchline, Everton were left with the rest of the half to produce several excellent passing moves and numerous opportunities to stretch their advantage. With none taken. Linderoth arrived on the end of one such incisive move to side-foot straight at Oakes, Kilbane had another fine header pushed around the post, Radzinski rolled a lame shot at the keeper and Gravesen, McFadden and Rooney all went close. The pattern continued at the start of the second half as Gravesen scuffed a great chance wide and Kilbane skied over after Rooney had caused panic in the box. Then Wolves finally strengthened their midfield to limit any further damage, and but for one free header for Nathan Blake that Nigel Martyn stopped with his legs, they were never going to cause any to Everton either. "Apart from Fulham in my first game, this is the most important result since I've been here," was Moyes' verdict. Not enough to steal England's glory perhaps, but more than enough for Everton for now.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; McFadden (Osman 81), Linderoth, Gravesen, Kilbane; Rooney (Jeffers 81), Radzinski. Subs: Simonsen, Nyarko, Clarke.
WOLVES (4-4-2): Oakes; Irwin, Craddock, Butler, Naylor; Newton (Miller 46), Ince, Rae (Gudjonssen 64), Kennedy; Iversen (Blake 46), Camara. Subs: Clyde, Marshall.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Linderoth (foul), McFadden (ungentlemanly conduct); Wolves' Craddock, Blake (fouls).
REFEREE: Mike Riley.
Thomas proves point
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 24 2003
DAVID MOYES admitted Thomas Gravesen had proved a point after he'd challenged the Everton midfielder to bring his Danish form back into the Premiership. The Denmark international was outstanding as the Blues lifting themselves out of the bottom three with a convincing defeat of Wolves on Saturday. Gravesen had been criticised for some below-par performances in recent weeks only to shine in last week's friendly victory over England. And manag er Moyes revealed how he urged the 26-year-old to reach those same heights with Everton before Saturday's return to winning ways The Blues boss, who saw Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Kilbane strike within three first half minutes to give the Blues their first win in six league games, said: "I think Thomas wanted to show everybody what a good player he is today. "We have had to play him out of position lately because we have been short of players on the right but he has never complained about it and got on with the job. "After his international performance last week for Denmark I told him it was about time he showed the public here at Everton just how good a player he is and he responded.
"Parts of his game were exceptional against Wolves. You could see by his attitude that he knew he had a lot to prove. I think he gained a lot of confidence from the game against England and he was the outstanding midfielder today." Moyes added: "Thomas is a player with strange ideas sometimes and who needs a lot of talking to to get the message through. But he is understanding and very critical of himself. "All players, and managers, need confidence and he got that from the Denmark game, as did Wayne, Tomasz Radzinski and James McFadden, who looked very tired in training on Friday and I had doubts about playing but he did a smashing job for us. "He showed his versatility today and what a good young talent he is. Young players don't always perform week in, week out but we are pleased with the progress they are all making." After criticising his players' attitude at Ewood Park a fortnight earlier Moyes was delighted with the spirit shown. He said: "I told the players they had to show a lot more than at Blackburn. There have been very few times when I could question their attitude but I could then. "To be fair they rolled their sleeves up and gave everything they could today. We had a few tired players as well out there but they gave it everything."
Everton were without Kevin Campbell on Saturday after the centre-forward suffered a slight hamstring strain in training on Friday. Duncan Ferguson was also absent after being ordered to stay away by Moyes, who will decide today whether to sanction the striker's return to training.
Everton 2, Wolves 0 (Echo)
Nov 24 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
FORGET about absence making the heart grow fonder. Everton proved against Wolves it just helps make the team stronger. For much of the last fortnight the Goodison squad has been away from Merseyside, some on international duty and the rest in Tenerife, enjoying a bonding session with the coaching staff. Away from the day-to-day rigours of life on the Bellefield training ground the manager and his players have been able to take a step back and assess what has been going wrong this season. It worked a treat. On Saturday, they thumped Wolves. It was 2-0 but should have been more, and the game was effectively over by half time. The performance sent out a message: Confidence has been restored and the team are eager to make amends for the failings so far this season. And the two week break seems to have helped. The future looked bleak after Blackburn. But the heart-to-heart chat, followed by the break, has helped enormously. Moyes' programme notes under-lined the point. It seems the Blackburn defeat was a watershed. "After being at the relegation end of the table for so long, before last season, it will need big decisions if we are to bring Everton into a new era," he wrote. "And if it is big decisions that are needed, you can rest assured I will not shirk from making them." Duncan Ferguson. Now that was a big decision - a bold decision. A brave decision. It was made all the more significant by the timing, coming as it did when the Blues had dropped into the bottom three for the first time since he became manager. In his notes, Moyes speaks of nobody hiding, of players having to stand up and be counted. It is time for unity. Ferguson's row with the manager and his lack of repentance did not reflect that. The striker has been walking a tightrope for some time. Last week he finally lost his footing. The message could not be clearer. The manager wants everyone pulling their weight and sticking together. Those that don't are not welcome - no matter how big the profile or how meaty the pay packet. The players who took to the field on Saturday displayed that solidarity - and no doubt their international exploits helped boost their confidence. Thomas Gravesen was lifted by earning the Man of the Match award at Old Trafford for Denmark; James McFadden realised he has emerged as Scotland's brightest young hope during his international rollercoaster ride against Holland; Wayne Rooney rediscovered his scoring touch and reminded everybody what he is really capable of; and Tomasz Radzinski was the one touch of class in a Canada side that was thumped by the Czech Republic and Ireland. All those players were on form again on Saturday. Rooney, back after a bout of flu, played with intelligence alongside Radzinski, slipping into deeper positions to create space for his team-mates. He also displayed a range of passing which added to the side's armoury - most notably supplying the pinpoint cross from the right which presented Kevin Kilbane with the chance to head home his first goal for the club. That looping header which dipped over Michael Oakes into the far corner came in the 19th minute. Three minutes earlier, Radzinski had got the scoring under way. It was a first for him, too. Tobias Linderoth intercepted a stray pass from Denis Irwin and played the ball into the path of the nippy striker. He charged goal-wards before unleashing a fizzing drive from 30 yards - his first for the Blues from outside the box. That sensational start was no less than Moyes' men deserved. They started the game with a purpose. In the opening 12 minutes, Rooney had a hat-trick of chances. A free-kick was deflected over and Oakes was called into action twice to save a header and then a curling effort. With Kilbane working tirelessly on the left and McFadden going through his repertoire on the right, Wolves were stretched to breaking point. But, the most influential figure was in the heart of Everton's mid-field. The self-proclaimed Guv'nor and journeyman Alex Rae just couldn't seem to cope with the flair of Gravesen. He can be an infuriating player. Brilliant one moment, wasteful the next. But he offers something different to anything else the Blues have and on Saturday he was revelling in the space he was afforded. Such was his impact that the Gwladys Street fans even chanted his name during the second half. Gravesen seems to have a sixth sense as to the whereabouts of Radzinski. His passing, and Radzinski's supercharged runs, fit together perfectly.
It was one such moment of vision from the Dane deep inside his own penalty area which sent Radzinski down the wing in the seventh minute to tee up Rooney for that early header. A break of similar quality in the 21st minute saw McFadden square from the left for Rooney. He was pulled back by Naylor, but Mike Riley refused to award the penalty. It didn't matter. The Blues could afford to be wasteful in the last hour because the three points were already assured. Kilbane, Radzinski, McFadden and Unsworth all had good chances that were either saved or off target. But Wolves offered little in the way of threat, only forcing Nigel Martyn into action once with a second half header from substitute Nathan Blake. The Cornishman has still only been beaten once in open play at Goodison after 540 minutes of football. It helps explain why Moyes believes the 37-year-old is worthy of a place in Sven-Goran Eriksson's England squad. Now, the solidarity, togetherness and flair on display against Wolves must be transferred to the Reebok Stadiumon Saturday. Having failed to win any of the previous six away games this season that may seem a tall order. But something tells me that after the events of the last couple of weeks there has been a change at Goodison.
There is a single-mindedness which has always been present in the Everton manager, but which is now more evident than ever in the players.
Wright faces career of pain
Nov 24 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goalkeeper Richard Wright is having to face up to the prospect of playing the rest of his career in pain. Following a series of delays, the 25-year-old will finally undergo an operation on his injured knee at Dr Richard Steadman's clinic in Colorado on Wednesday, December 3. But the Goodison medical team are not optimistic that the exploratory op will provide an end to the pain which Wright feels when he kicks the ball with his left foot. Although the op should provide an answer to what has been causing the pain, there may be no way of curing the problem. Everton physio Mick Rath-bone said: "It is certainly not something that is career threatening. "But he may have to learn to live with it." There is better news for Everton's other injured players though.
Gary Naysmith is set to return to the squad for Saturday's trip to Bolton after missing the weekend win over Wolves because of a strain picked up for Scotland last week. Kevin Campbell also missed the match after tweaking his hamstring in training on Friday. The striker underwent a precautionary scan this afternoon but the injury is not believed to be serious. Steve Watson will return to full training this week after four weeks on the sidelines recovering from a hernia operation, while Alessandro Pistone, Lee Carsley and Scot Gemmill have all been earmarked for a return to action in the reserves. The trio will line-up against Wolves at Telford on Wednesday. It leaves Scottish defender David Weir as the club's only serious injury worry.
Thomas is music to Goodison ears
Nov 24 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"THOMAS takes a lot of talking to," admitted David Moyes on Saturday night. But the performance of his enigmatic Danish midfielder against woeful Wolves suggests Thomas Gravesen does actually listen to what's being said to him. There were a couple of underhit corner kicks, a handful of misplaced passes - borne more of over-ambition and a desire to make up for an earlier error than sloppiness - but generally Gravesen's display at Goodison Park was at least as good as that which proved too good for England a week earlier. And if the modern England midfield couldn't cope, a fading version from the past in the shape of Paul Ince had no chance. Wolves were dogged, but technically wretched - and if Everton had taken even a third of their chances, they would have been beaten out of sight. As it was, 2-0 was enough to soothe fraying nerves around Goodison. And Gravesen's prompting, clever passes and enthusiastic running were at the heart of a much-improved display which recaptured all the endeavour and effort their manager had demanded. "The lad in the middle ran the show," said Dave Jones. He wasn't wrong, although there was also the welcome sight of Wayne Rooney delivering thoughtful passes with a swagger, and another better than expected display from Kevin Kilbane. It's difficult to warm to a six foot left-winger, but Kilbane's extra inches enabled him to soar over Denis Irwin and claim only the third headed goal from an Evertonian in the Premiership this season. That ensured the player who scored the first - he who must not be named - was hardly mentioned. No names were used, but it was clear who the Blues' boss was referring to in his programme notes when he wrote: "After being at the relegation end of the table for so long, before last season, it will need big decisions if we are to bring Everton into a new era. "And if it's big decisions that are needed, you can rest assured I will not shirk from making them." Duncan Ferguson's whereabouts on Saturday afternoon were uncertain. But it's unlikely he will have spent the hours from three to five with a transistor radio pressed to his ear or watching Jeff Stelling delivering urbane pronounce-ments from his TV screen. Everton lost 2- 1 at Newcastle last season with two late goals from Shearer and Bellamy which were received like dagger thrusts to anyone with a blue heart. Bellefield resembled a morgue the next morning, until Ferguson strolled in, and declared: "How did we get on?" The match had been screened live on Sky TV the previous day. That kind of 'couldn't care less' attitude was noticably absent on Saturday, where there was a welcome willingness to work everywhere. Indeed, the only sign of dissent was the type Moyes will have welcomed - Rooney's furrowed brow when asked to cut short his afternoon's work by nine minutes.
It seems it is only strikers who are grumpy at Everton these days. Francis Jeffers cannot be content with another fleeting run-out from the substitutes' bench, but otherwise it's blue skies around Everton for another week. And it's been some time since we witnessed them.
We had to show we're too good for drop - strike stars
Nov 24 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI and Kevin Kilbane refused to get carried away after scoring the goals which guided Everton out of the bottom three. The duo netted in the opening 20 minutes of Saturday's encounter with Wolves at Goodison to set the Blues on the way to a straightforward 2-0 win. It was just what the doctor ordered after the horror show of the 2-1 defeat at Blackburn. But both players remained pragmatic afterwards. "I don't think we had a point to prove after Blackburn - I think we had a point to prove weeks before that," conceded Radzinsks. "We just had to go out there and do the job. We needed to answer the gaffer's questions and I think we did that. We showed him we can do it and that we don't deserve to be down there. "I think we did what we had to do. From the first minute we knew we had to win and the only thing we had in our head was to get out there and get the job done. "The two goals came at the right time and from there we didn't look back. "Hopefully next week we can get another positive result (at Bolton). We didn't give them any chances to score on Saturday and we can build on that." Kilbane (below), who scored his first goal since joining from Sunder-land on September 1, is quick to point out that it is not the home form which has been a problem for Everton. The real test will come at the Reebok Stadium this weekend. He explains: "We let ourselves down, the supporters down and the manager down at Blackburn. "The manager stressed to us before the match that we needed to give a performance which justified our status in the Premier League. "I think we did that. We worked very hard and that is what the Everton team is all about. "We had to give everybody a performance that was worth the entrance money and I think we did that. Our away performances have not been the best so we have to improve that. "Our home form has been very good. We have been playing some great stuff and scoring goals but we need to take that form into the away games." A repeat of the goalscoring exploits on show against Wolves would go down well. Radzinski was delighted with his 30-yard sizzler. The Canadian international added: "I don't think I have ever scored a goal from outside the 18-yard box, so it was really nice. "I just thought 'let's have a go' because there was nobody around me. "I decided to shoot. It doesn't happen a lot but it was my lucky day. "I will remember that goal for a very long time." It was a similar story for Kil-bane, who admitted: "It is always nice to score your first goal at your new club. "Wayne (Rooney) put a great ball into the box and I just looped it into the corner of the net. When I headed it I didn't think it would go in but thankfully it did." Those sentiments were echoed around the whole of Goodison Park.
Moyes backing Martyn
Nov 24 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES saluted his international stars Thomas Gravesen, Wayne Rooney and James McFadden after Saturday's 2-0 defeat of Wolves. But then he tipped another of his players to join them on the international stage. Nigel Martyn won the last of his 23 caps 18 months ago against Cameroon. But after another clean sheet Moyes said: "The goal-keeper has been terrific. His kicking wasn't as good as it should have been today and we've told him that, but other-wise he has been terrific. "That's six clean sheets out of nine now which isn't bad. "He has shown what an excellent goalkeeper he is and and if the England manager is watching Everton then he cannot fail to have noticed how well Nigel is playing." Moyes described the 2-0 win : "Maybe not quite as important as my first one against Fulham, but certainly important for lots of different reasons. "We had to get back and show a bit more heart and attitude after our last performance at Blackburn. "I think the players themselves felt that they had let our public down last week." Moyes also had particular praise for man of the match Thomas Gravesen. "Tommy wanted to show everybody what he could do," he added. "Bits of his play were exceptional."
Rooney called up for blackmail trial
By Andy Johnson Daily Post Correspondent Nov 25 2003
WAYNE Rooney is to be called to give evidence in a blackmail trail, a judge heard today. And the Everton footballer could miss out on part of England's vital Euro 2004 preparations after he was named as a key witness in the court case. The young striker has been told that he will have to take to the witness stand and give evidence in the blackmail trial of boxing promoter John Hyland.
Mr Hyland, of Woolton, Liverpool, has been charged with demanding money with menaces from the teenager's current agent, Paul Stretford. And the date for the trial is slap bang in the middle of an England training week - before they face Sweden in a friendly on March 31 designed to get them ready for the UEFA Championships in Portugal. Mr Hyland's solicitor Peter Quinn warned a judge at Warrington Crown Court today the date set for the trial clashed with an England call-up. He said: "There could be a problem with young Mr Rooney giving evidence due to his involvement in the European Championships. "It is my understanding that his evidence is vital to the case but he will be involved with playing for England." But District Judge David Hale told Mr Quinn football would not be allowed to get in the way. He said: "We will have to cross that bridge when we come to it but surely Mr Rooney's evidence will not require him to attend court for more than one day." Hyland has been released on bail to appear for a three-day trial, which will get under way on March 25.
United trounced by Ablett's men
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post Nov 25 2003
EVERTON under-17s ended their mini goal drought in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 victory over previously unbeaten FA Premier Academy League leaders Manchester United at the Carrington Complex on Saturday. Gary Ablett's side had failed to score in their previous two outings at Blackburn and Liverpool. And they had also fallen six points behind United having topped the table for much of the season. But on Saturday they bounced back with a vengeance with goals from skipper Mark Hughes and an own goal plus further efforts from midfielder Christian Seargeant and striker Paul Hopkins. Centre-back Hughes opened the scoring five minutes before half-time for his third goal of the season. United levelled from the penalty spot just before the break. But there was no stopping the young Blues in the second half. Christian Seargeant takes the credit for the second after his free-kick went in off a United defender six minutes after half-time. But there was no dispute about the scorer of the third as Seargeant made it 3-1 on 78 minutes. And 16-year-old Hopkins wrapped things up in the final minute with his third goal this season. Coach Ablett said: "It was our best performance for a few weeks. We did really well, we had two one-one-ones, had another goal disallowed and had other chances. So on any other given day it could have been six or seven."
It was not such good news for the Blues under-19s, who lost their eight-game unbeaten run in a 2-1 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Netherton on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip's side went behind ten minutes after the break, but looked to have put themselves on the road to victory when Italian striker Patrice Pascucci levelled just after the hour, heading home at the back post from Scott Brown's corner. But with 20 minutes left Wolves claimed the points with the winner. And despite creating numerous chances throughout the Blues slipped to only their second defeat of the season.
Dewsnip said: "It was as well as we've played in the first half. I was very pleased with that apart from the fact that we couldn't get ourselves a goal."
EVERTON UNDER-19s: Lake; Flood, Potter (Garside 75), Gerrard, Fox; Brown, Booth, Barry, Joey Jones; Pascucci, Lynch. Subs: Thorbinson, M Jones, Martland.
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Gallagher; Wynne, Hughes, Kearney, Wright; Seargeant, Wilson, Harris, Boyle; Hopkins, Phelan (Vaughan 80). Subs: Fowler, Jamie Jones, Johnson, Irving.
Star Rooney's a Kenny lad
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post Nov 25 2003
EVERTON have seized their first opportunity to jump out of the relegation places by comfortably disposing of Wolves. One or two of my Evertonian friends were concerned they did not build on their first half advantage, but they had the game wrapped up in the first 30 minutes and could have scored again if needed. They scored two good goals - which have been hard to come by - and the result will have lifted any mood of despondency at the club. From talking to David Moyes at the weekend I know he was beginning to question his own methods along with the rest of the coaching staff to see if they were missing something or they were doing something wrong. The fact that all has not gone according to plan this time merely underlines what a fantastic job he did last year.
Apart from the first half at Blackburn, Everton have been playing well and if the likes of Gravesen, Rooney and Radzinski are all fit and performing then the wins will follow. Gravesen needs to show his undoubted quality over the full 90 minutes while Rooney again showed what great vision he has in setting up Kevin Kilbane's goal with a super cross. The teenager has the ability to read what is happening - and to be able to dictate what happens - and to be able to do that on the international stage at 18 shows he is a special talent. He needs nurturing in the right way and I am sure Everton will be attending to that. I was fortunate to play with Kenny Dalglish, who was the sort of player who knew two minutes before you did what you were going to do in a game, and Rooney has many similar characteristics. Duncan episode will end in tears I WONDER whether Duncan Ferguson will sit down at the end of his career and ponder what might have been. The big Scotsman has so much to his game but the way things stand he might be left to rue that he should have achieved so much more. David Moyes showed at Preston he is not the sort of manager to shirk from anything and if he felt someone was not pulling his weight he would not hold back. He demands no slacking and if he felt someone did not want to play, then he would want them out of the way rather than becoming a hindrance. It's a great pity because Ferguson looked like he was heading back after all his injury problems. He could still do a highly effective job but there is no sign of Moyes backing down in the dispute which has seen his fellow Scot told to stay away from training for the past week. The centre forward has been unlucky with injuries, but sometimes you have to go through the pain barrier.
And everyone has to work at their game. David Beckham has been blessed with a lot of ability, but is at the top of his profession due to his determination, application and dedication. The reason people expect him to score from free-kicks is the result of hours of work on the practice ground - just like England's World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson. You have got to love the game and keep wanting to improve. I would love to think Ferguson will come back deter-mined to show what he is capable of, but I suspect it will all end in tears instead.
Simonsen keen on a new deal
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 25 2003
STEVE SIMONSEN admits he hasn't given up hope of securing a new contract at Everton. The former England international has failed to live up to the huge expectations that followed him across the Mersey from Tranmere Rovers in September 1998, when he became Britain's most expensive teenage transfer at £3.3million. Simonsen has made only 30 first-team appearances since then and is now in the final year of his existing Goodison contract. But despite making only one senior start this season - a decent display in August's 3-0 derby defeat by Liverpool - the keeper insists he will continue to fight for a new deal under David Moyes. Simonsen said: "People think I have been around for ten years or more but I am still only 24 and there is a lot of time left to go in my career.
"I'd like to be able to continue my career here at Everton but that is up to me. "I am in the last year of my contract and I have to prove to the manager and the coaching staff through hard work that I deserve a new deal." The keeper's Goodison chances took a further knock this summer when Moyes signed veteran Leeds and England keeper Nigel Martyn as cover for the injured Richard Wright.
Martyn has been in fine form in Wright's absence, consigning Simonsen to even more time on the Everton bench. And he admitted: "It has been very disappointing not being involved but it has happened to me a number of times since I have been at Everton and I am the only one who can do anything about it by keeping my head down and working hard. "I have played only once for the first team this season and despite the result I didn't think I did too badly, but the manager felt he had to bring someone else in and obviously that is his decision. "It was a big blow for me personally when Nigel came in because then I knew it would be even tougher to get into the team but competition for places is what you want at a club like Everton and it can only be good for the team." Paul Gerrard, mean-while, will be back in the Goodison shadows next week unless Sheffield United agree to extend his loan stay at Bramall Lane. Gerrard's original three-month deal with the Blades ends after this Saturday's Nationwide League first division game with Preston. But United manager Neil Warnock is exploring ways of extending his loan until the end of the season to help in the Blades' promotion fight as first-choice keeper Paddy Kenny recovers from a knee injury. Warnock said: "I have one or two options, including one that I know I can definitely have - but don't rule out Paul completely. "We can't afford his Everton wages but he has enjoyed it here and we might be able to agree to him staying until the end of the season."
Icliverpool And Daily Post Nov 25 2003
IS IT just me or are there more and more reports linking David Moyes away from our club? Is this worrying everyone as much as it is me? The reports state that Moyes is bemoaning the fact that we have no cash to spend on players and that he is not earning enough. I don't believe either of those things, but although he knew he would have limited funds this year - there will come a time soon (next 18 months) when the Everton board will need to find some cash for him. Even a miracle worker has limits.
Mike Foster, (via e-mail)
DUNCAN Ferguson should never have been brought back. The best thing Peter Johnson did was get all that money for him out of Newcastle. Then we went and gave it back.
Jimmy Blue, Runcorn
Dunc and dusted
FERGUSON must be sold come January! At £1.5million in wages per year and a handful of games per season, do I need to write any more?
Chris Kendal, Merseyside
FERGUSON has served Everton well, but he hasn't been playing much because he's always injured. Moyes tried to offload him in the summer but the player refused. I think it is now time for Ferguson, and probably Kevin Campbell who is struggling to keep up with the pace of the game in the Premiership, to leave and allow the fresh young talent coming through from the Youth Academy a chance. We also need someone who can pass the ball and control the game in midfield. Linderoth plays too many sideways passes, but the only other option is playing Li Tie as Carsley is injured. He had a great debut season, but now he can't get a game at all.
Gwyn L Jones, Mold, North Wales
Parting of ways
WITH the advantage of hindsight, it was good business selling Ferguson to Newcastle; bringing him back clearly wasn't! Despite this, he should and will be remembered as one of the Toffees' favourite sons, but history offers scant consolation with regard to future success. Thanks for the memories big fella, but if you love the club as much as I'm sure you do, let the management put your remaining contract fee towards someone who can offer the club more.
Jim Duggan, (via e-mail)
Touch of class
AT LAST, no long ball game and support for Radz and Rooney from midfield. Gravesen can do it if he is given space and we look like a Premier side when we keep possession. Good to see Osman got a bench place and a little run out. Much better balance and threat with the youngsters given a start. What we need now is consistency!
Trev Lynes, Wrexham, North Wales
DUNCAN Ferguson is a good presence on the pitch and we need a tall centre forward/target man to knock the ball on. I believe he still has a few seasons left in him and he is a great asset to the Everton side.
Sophia Symes, Liverpool
WE CAN all remember what Big Dunc did for the club when we were crying out for a hero. But if you think what we have paid for him in transfers and wages since he arrived we could have bought two or three young, consistent performers.
Will Locke, Widnes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 25 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON is due back at Bellefield today after an uneasy truce was called in his row with David Moyes. The Everton duo met yesterday for the first time since their training ground bust-up a week earlier. But while clear-the-air talks paved the way for Ferguson's return, serious doubts remain over whether he will ever play for the Blues again. Moyes was frustrated with the 31-year-old's fitness and attitude long before the tension exploded last Monday and the striker has plenty to do to convince the Everton boss of his worth to the squad. Indeed, it remains to be seen whether Ferguson will be allowed to train with his senior colleagues upon his return. Moyes has refused to comment on the situation so far but would be prepared to freeze the striker out of his first team plans entirely if he chose that route - even with Ferguson having 19 months of a lucrative contract remaining. Everton could also try to off-load the injury-plagued star in the transfer window but any takers will be hard to find given his massive salary and woeful appearance record. Yesterday's meeting has, however, broken the stand-off that had dominated events around Goodison Park for the past week. Blues keeper Richard Wright, meanwhile, will undergo an exploratory operation on his troublesome knee in Colorado tomorrow. Everton hope for a long-awaited breakthrough behind the pain in the keeper's left knee every time he kicks the ball. But if Dr Richard Steadman doesn't provide the answer, Wright will be forced to play on with the problem for the rest of his career.
The Blues have been boosted by other recent injury victims, however. Gary Naysmith and Steve Watson are both expected to return to training this week while a scan has revealed no serious damage in the ham-string strain that forced Kevin Campbell out of the Wolves' win. Alessandro Pistone, Lee Carsley and Scot Gemmill are all due to play for the reserves against Wolverhampton Wanderers in Telford tomorrow leaving David Weir as Everton's only long-term absentee.
Dunc stays away
Nov 25 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S Everton exile continued today. Reports this morning suggested manager David Moyes had reached an uneasy truce with the Scottish striker a week after the two had a row at the club's Bellefield training ground. This morning the manager would not be drawn on the issue but, although Ferguson made a brief return to Bellefield yesterday afternoon, the player did not report for training today and had not been expected to. The striker has made just four starts in the last 18 months. He has been dogged by injury problems, most recently reporting ill on the morning of the Blues' clash with Chelsea. He had been named in the side but had to be sent home complaining of a chest infection. The manager is believed to have become increasingly frustrated by Ferguson's attitude and the row last week was the final straw. PFA chief Gordon Taylor spoke out at the weekend, urging the club and the player to sort out their differences.
Nov 25 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will receive a financial bonus tomorrow when Michael Ball plays for Rangers against Stuttgart. The former Everton defender is set to make his 30th appearance for the Scottish giants, triggering an extra payment as part of the £6.5m deal which took the defender north of the border in 2001. The sum is believed to be in the region of £500,000. However, the money will not provide a boost to David Moyes' team rebuilding plans. The payment was incorporated into the club's bud g et and although it has come sooner than expected it will not be diverted into the manager's transfer kitty. The deal also included an extra payment based on the defender's international appearances.
Although he was included in Sven Goran Eriksson's first England squad, a series of knee injuries have prevented him forcing his way back into the national boss' plans. However, this season he has become a regular at Ibrox.
Be mascot on Derby day
Nov 25 2003 J Blue, Liverpool Echo
DERBY day. It's the most eagerly awaited fixture in the football calendar and we are offering one young Evertonian the chance to take centre stage. The lucky winner of our fantastic competition will be the Blues' match day mascot when they face Liverpool at Anfield on January 31. They will be the envy of their friends as the lead out the Everton stars to take on their biggest rivals. To stand a chance of winning this great prize, just answer the following question: * Which Everton striker plays international football for Canada? Send your answers to James Fell, Marketing Executive, JBlue Competition, Liverpool ECHO, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB. Please include your name, address, JBlue membership number, two JBlue competition tokens (one per week can be found on this page) and a daytime telephone number. The closing date for entries is December 5 and normal ECHO competition rules apply. The first correct answer drawn will be the winner.
* NEXT week we will feature the latest entry in our Fan of the Year competition.
If you know of a young JBlue member who goes that extra yard to support his team, get in touch.
Include their name, address, JBlue member-ship number, a daytime telephone number and your reasons for nominating them. The winner will be selected at the end of the season and will win a fabulous VIP day at Goodison.
Soccer fans rhyme up for prize chants
By Tony Barrett, Daily Post Nov 26 2003
IT IS the unofficial Merseyside derby - and poet laureate Andrew Motion has been enlisted to referee. Chants by the Anfield Kop and the Gladwys Street at Goodison Park are in the running to win a Barclaycard competition to find the country's best football song. Every football club in the country is in with a chance of winning, but Liverpool and Everton are believed to be the front runners at this early stage. Andrew Motion will pick through the lyrics of each and every ditty in search of signs of poetic craftsmanship, lyrical ability and, of course, tunefulness. But he has already marked out the offerings from Merseyside's two Premiership giants as the ones to watch. Fittingly, both songs are inspired by Beatles classics. Liverpool's song - in honour of midfield powerhouse Steven Gerrard - is one of the longest in the competition. Stevie G is sung to the tune of Let It Be and, although it is yet to take hold on the Kop, it has been heard at several away matches. After seeing the lyrics to the song, Mr Motion was struck by how well it was written and admitted it was one of the best structured football chants he had heard. He said: "What I like about this one is the fact that it is not just two or three lines endlessly repeated. "It has a clear structure of lyrics with each verse capturing the emotion of football, elements of Steven Gerrard's own game and the history of Liverpool Football Club. It is almost a complete poem." In the blue corner is a song in honour of teenage prodigy Wayne Rooney, a lifelong Evertonian whom the fans have already taken to their hearts. With the catchy tune of Just 17, it is set to take the Gwladys Street End by storm.
Mr Motion was most impressed by its links with traditional terrace culture and insisted its brevity, at just six lines long, is not a weakness. He said: "A good poem doesn't have to be long, it can consist of two lines or 100 lines, as long as it tells a story. "This particular chant is humorous and plays on the local rivalry between Liverpool and Everton. "Also, for me, the real pleasure is derived from its primitive appeal which is very typical of terrace culture." He added: "In all its many and varied forms, poetry retains an element of chant, of song. "It's an essential part of its primitive appeal and pleasure. "I'm delighted to be involved in the search to find the first Barclaycard Chant Laureate, who will chronicle key events in the football calendar in this unique way." Mr Motion will chair a panel to sift through all the chants submitted by individual candidates, with the winner receiving a £10,000 bursary to go to matches next season. Premiership sponsors Barclaycard will ask the winner, the league's "Chant Laureate", to attend games of his or her choice and compose songs for special matches. Groups of fans will not be eligible to hold the post collectively. Instead, Barclaycard is inviting individual supporters to present their chants to Mr Motion's panel, which includes two BBC disc jockeys, Chris Moyles and Comedy Dave, and Ian McMillan, the poet in residence at Barnsley FC. But, perhaps Liverpool and Everton supporters should not get too carried away with ideas of victory just yet. Andrew Motion is an Arsenal fan and could be more likely to favour a chant in honour of club favourite Patrick Vieira - sung to the tune of Volare - than our homegrown efforts.
Osman wants more
By David Prior, Daily Pos tNov 26 2003
EVERTON prospect Leon Osman is keen for more first-team action after his eight-minute cameo against Wolves on Saturday. The 22-year-old has made excellent progress in the reserves this season and came on to a great reception from the crowd in the Blues' 2-0 win at Goodison.
Now the youngster hopes to be given another chance sooner rather than later as he attempts to make the difficult final step up the ranks. He said: "I'm really pleased I always get a good reception from the crowd. "Every time I play I always give my all and hopefully that will continue and I'll get a longer run in the first team and be able to repay the crowd." The Wolves game was only Osman's third ever appearance for the first team, his first this season, and the youngster realises that he needs to put in a lot of hard work to claim a regular starting berth. "It's the first step. Of course I'd like longer in the team and hopefully in the end to start but I've got to keep proving myself and hopefully I'll get given the chance to show what I can do," he said. "Although I did come on at the weekend I only played 10 minutes at the most. I do like to play in every game and I want to get a full 90 minutes under my belt because the more games you play the sharper you get so I'm more than happy to do that." David Moyes was looking to include Osman in the Carling Cup clash against Stockport County before a rib injury put the reserve team regular out of action. "To miss out on the Stockport game was very disappointing," he said. "Looking ahead at the game I was pencilling it in as a possible game for me to start and prove that I could play at that level. But then in the reserve game leading up to it I went up for a header and got kneed under the arm, which cracked two of my ribs. "I tried to deny it and played on for a week but in the next game I couldn't breathe and I had to come off injured and the Stockport game was a week after so I was bitterly disappointed." Osman has now made a full recovery, his five goals from midfield in his last seven reserve games being testament to that.
Duncan future in balance
By David Prior, Daily Post Nov 26 2003
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S Everton future still hung in the balance last night after the terms of his uneasy truce with boss David Moyes remained unclear. The club have maintained a wall of silence on the affair since it erupted at Bellefield nine days ago and it became even more entangled yesterday when Ferguson did not make his expected return to training. Player and manager had met for clear-the-air talks on Monday and it was thought the 'agreement' subsequently broached would see Ferguson end his Blues exile. But there was still no sign of the 31-year-old yesterday - although that could now be because although a truce between both sides has indeed been negotiated, an exact date for Ferguson's return to the fold has not yet been set. The saga began when Moyes and Ferguson had a furious row at Bellefield last Monday, the exact catalyst for which is still shrouded in mystery but is believed to stem from the manager's long-held frustration at Ferguson's attitude and fitness. Meanwhile, Nigel Martyn has wished fellow goalkeeper Richard Wright a speedy recovery - as he's missing the competition. Wright has travelled to the United States and will have surgery on his troublesome knee injury next week, ruling him out until well into the new year. Former England stopper Martyn has been Wright's replacement since mid-September and in that time has kept six clean sheets in 10 starts. But he claims he would sooner have Wright fit and ready - as it would improve his own performances. "I would rather Richard was fit, for his sake. There's nothing worse than being injured," he said. "I had a spell out a few years ago when I tore a groin muscle and there's nothing worse than having an injury because it gets you down. "It's the worst being injured because we're all the same, we all enjoy training, working hard and playing games. "It is frustrating. I think the sooner he can get himself fit and back in the better it will be for the both of us really because it puts pressure on whoever's playing if there's somebody pushing all the time." Martyn, along with another deadline day signing Kevin Kilbane, has been lauded by boss Moyes for the impact he has made at Goodison. "Nigel has been absolutely oustanding," said the Scot. "Those clean sheets say a lot about how good he has been in a difficult period for us." Kilbane, who arrived from Sunderland in an £800,000 deal that raised a few eyebrows among supporters, was also singled out by his boss. "He is one of those players who people maybe have a go at - no-one enjoys seeing a 6ft 2in left-winger - everyone has an idea of seeing a tricky winger who does this and that," Moyes added. "Kevin isn't that and maybe he isn't always pleasing to the eye, but I thought his performance against Chelsea was second to none and on Saturday he got a goal and helped us with his stature. He's a terrific lad, he's honest and he goes about his job in the right way. "If I was a supporter I would maybe question one or two of his abilities but I wouldn't question his heart and what he gives to the team and we need him."
Jeffers told to just be patient
Nov 26 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has told Francis Jeffers to be patient in his search for games and goals. The England international has yet to get on the scoresheet for the Blues, starting just once and making three appearances as a substitute since returning to Goodison on a season-long loan from Arsenal. But the manager still has confidence in the 22-year-old. "Francis Jeffers' opportunity will come," said Moyes. "I have told him that the chances will come for him and that when he gets an opportunity he will have to grasp it with both hands." The extended absence from the training ground of out-offavour Duncan Ferguson has boosted Jeffers' chances of first teamaction. And the manager is quick to point out that he is not worried about dropping play-ers if the goals are not going in.
The Blues have not had a decent return from the forwards so far this season, with Steve Watson the top scorer on five goals. Ferguson has netted four, as has Tomasz Radzinski, while Wayne Rooney has yet to add to his early season strike Charlton. The manager wants to see a better return. He adds: "The rest of the team needs to see the strers getting goals. That is what a player has to do to justify his role as a striker. "Our forwards have not been getting too many goals. The boys work on their finishing every day and there is no reason for us not to be taking our chances. "Everybody is feeling much better after the weekend result and now we must try to build on it."
Fair play standards have taken big dive
Nov 26 2003 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
DIVING has become a massive problem in English football. It came back into the spotlight last weekend when a furious Micky Adams accused Paolo di Canio of cheating to win a penalty when Charlton played Leicester at the Walkers Stadium. After spectacularly tumbling into earth under a vicious tackle/no contact whatsoever from Steve Howey (depending on whether you believe di Canio's or Adams' account), six minutes before the end of Saturday's Premiership clash, the Italian picked himself up and slotted home an equal-iser from the penalty spot. It wasn't the first Premiership game to be overshadowed by diving this season and, unfortunately, it won't be the last.
You can forget all that rubbish about it being a new phenomenon brought in by those nasty foreign players. Francis Lee was an England international when he was throwing himself around the muddy fields of the Football League in the 1970s. There are plenty of Englishmen only too happy to take a tumble at the merest suggestion of a tackle and plenty of English managers prepared to encourage it, or at least turn a blind eye. Although diving has always been around, it seems more widespread than ever in this country. And it's one of the reasons there seem to be so many wrong decisions nowadays. Not only are some teams being awarded penalties they shouldn't be - as seemed to be the case with di Canio on Saturday - but others are being refused perfectly legitimately ones.
Perhaps that's why Florent Sinama Pongolle has been denied penalti es in each of Liverpool's last two games. I'm not aware of any reason why the French youngster should have got himself a reputation as a diver so early in his Premiership career, but perhaps some modern referees are more inclined to side with the defenders now there are so many attackers out to con them. More problematic still is when players 'make the most' of contact. Like at Highbury in September when Robert Pires must have nearly ruptured his cruciate ligaments, so far did he have to stretch his leg to make sure he tripped over Portsmouth's Dejan Stefanovic in the penalty area. Some players will go down under so little contact it can get quite ludicrous. Gordon Strachan was quite right to question how Bolton's Mario Jardel could face up to his friends after the portly Brazilian collapsed to the floor under the lightest of shoves from Southampton's Michael Svensson. In a Champions League game last season, Franny Jeffers threw himself to the ground in front of goal after feeling somebody touch the back of his heels - only to turn around and find out it was Freddie Ljungberg. Spurs' notorious cheat Mauricio Taricco even went as far as admitting last week: "I was brought up in a way where winning is the thing. "If you want to win a penalty you win it and hold your hands up. In Argentina we probably do it but it's a very different culture here." Players and wannabe players read the words of people like Taricco and watch the actions of Pires and di Canio and many will reason that if everyone else is at it, why not them? I'm not normally in favour of video technology, as regular readers of this column may have gathered by now, but it seems to me that the divers are becoming so sneaky that reviewing TV evidence at a later date is the only way to stamp it out. What happens in a game happens, and if the referee makes a mistake - even a mistake that swings a match - players, managers and fans just have to live with it. But if video pictures prove a player went down under no contact - or reacted in a way completely out of proportion to the contact made - the FA should name, shame and hammer the guilty men. Much has been made recently about how much better disciplined rugby union players are than their football counterparts. Those who like to hold up rugby as a paragon of virtue conveniently overlook the fact that scrums are nothing less than anything-goes brawls, but they are right to say there is next to no dissent in rugby. The reason is that the punishments work. If the referee gets any lip he moves the ball forward ten yards - and in a game like rugby that can make all the difference. If the football authorities want to stamp out diving - and I'm sure they must do - they need to come up with a punishment which will be equally hard-hitting. If the Football Association start handing out long bans for the di Canios of this world, suddenly they might think that going down in the box isn't such a good thing after all. And football will be the better for it.
Dunc back for Blues
Nov 26 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S Everton exile has ended. But as one final punishment for his angry outburst at boss David Moyes last week, he trained on his own at Bellefield today (Wednesday 26 Nov).
The player (pictured) was ordered to come back to the Blues' training ground today, while the manager and the rest of the first team squad were enjoying a day off. Boss Moyes said this morning: "Duncan has returned to training. The matter has been handled internally and is now ended. There will be no further comment on the issue and we will move on." It is believed that Ferguson has made a full apology to his manager for last week's outburst and will rejoin the sior squad. Whether he will be included in the squad to travel to Bolton at the weekend is still undecided. Ferguson has received a strong warning that any further outbursts will not be tolerated. In total the player spent eight days away from training. Moyes will be at Telford United tonight where he will watch nine players with first team experience - including a quartet of experienced midfielders - represent Everton reserves against Wolves reserves. Lee Carsley, Li Tie, Scot Gemmill and Niclas Alexandersson will be joined by Alessandro Pistone in the reserves.
Everton Res (from): Simonsen, Wynne, Pistone, Clarke, Gerrard, Carsley, Tie, Gemmill, Alexandersson, Chadwick, Osman, A Moogan, Brown, Turner, Wilson, Hughes, Barry.
Royle rebuff from Blues
November 26, 2003
Manchester Evening News
JOE Royle has failed in a new attempt to resolve his £750,000 lawsuit against Manchester City.
The ex-Blues boss, in charge of Ipswich, wanted to do a deal tying his autobiography to an out-of-court settlement, it can be revealed. Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, who are partly funding Royle's legal case, is acting as a broker and it is understood has approached City deputy chairman Bryan Bodek. But Bodek, a lawyer, has dismissed the surprise move which would have involved City officials getting the chance to "censor" the tell-all book due to be published next year.
'Nothing to fear'
Royle's life story could potentially embarrass City, along with other clubs he's managed such as Oldham and Everton, as it has chapters on why he left his various appointments and his insight on dressing room issues. Bodek refused to comment today but a club insider told M.E.N. Sport: "We have nothing at all to fear from this book. It is ridiculous for a pay-off claim, which we are contesting in any case, to be linked with a book which can, of course, be published at any time." Taylor's plan was for City to have a final say over the contents of the book and in return agree a Royle golden handshake pay-off of around £150,000 - half-a-million less than originally demanded when the writ was issued. The legal wrangle is now back to square one and is unlikely to resolved at a High Court hearing until next spring - THREE years after Royle was axed by the Blues. Taylor's approach to Bodek follows a court decision to switch the High Court case from London to Manchester for the hearing, which will cover all aspects of Royle's dismissal and replacement by current boss Kevin Keegan. It is the second time Royle has made a behind-the-scenes move for an out-of-court settlement but the Blues board have been adamant that they have a strong case and won't accept a cut-price deal. The issue to be resolved in the High Court will centre on just exactly when, by law, City were relegated after the 2000-2001 season. As he was sacked two days after the last match of the season, the City Board say he was effectively then a Division One manager and was therefore only entitled to half of £300,000 – the amount he’d be paid as per his contract for working in the First Division. However, Royle, Taylor and the PFA legal team, believe he’s entitled to a golden handshake of £750,000 – his annual wage in the Premiership and as his contract stipulated in the top league. City have already paid Royle what they think he is owed – £150,000 – and allowed him to keep his top of the range car. Royle’s lawyers, who like Bodek, have refused to comment to M.E.N. Sport, are maintaining that City were still technically in the Premiership, as the club had not “transferred its share” in the league – effectively an exchange of letters
Win book of Kevin's memories
Post Past, Daily Post Nov 27 2003
AS Everton's most successful captain Kevin Ratcliffe has certainly got a lot of great memories of his time at Goodison Park. And the former Blues defender (pictured above with the FA Cup in 1984) has captured some of his fondest in a new book, My Memories of Everton by Kevin Ratcliffe, and the Daily Post has teamed up with Britespot Publishing to offer you the chance to win one of five copies in a great competition. My Memories of Everton takes you through Ratcliffe's high and lows of his 14 years at Goodison. From making his league debut in a goalless draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford in March 1980, Ratcliffe takes a trip down memory lane to recall the favourite days and nights during his 472 appearances for the club. At one point during his early days in the late 1970s at Everton, the club Ratcliffe supported from his Queensferry home as a boy, it looked as if his future would lie away from Goodison Park. But perserverance and a little good fortune saw him secure a regular first team place and then go on to become the most successful captain the club's history.
As well as his own career Ratcliffe gives his memories of his favourite players from his time supporting, playing and of the current crop including Wayne Rooney. The book, which is a large format publication, is a must for all Blues and makes an ideal Christ-mas gift. It is available in hard-back priced at £14.99 in all good bookshops. But you have the chance of winning one of the five copies on offer for free, by simply answering the following question: Against which team did Kevin Ratcliffe make his League debut for Everton?
Latchford holds key as Blues head for Wembley
Post Past, Phil Redmond Nov 27 2003
THERE have not been that many games against the Trotters in my time, as for the most part Bolton have been in a lower division. Probably the most famous meeting between Everton and their Lancashire rivals in the past 30 years came in the League Cup semi-final in February 1977, albeit at Burnden Park, Bolton's original home. Bolton went into the match as favourites after their deserved draw at Goodison in the first leg. Everton were perceived to be a club in crisis, with new manager Gordon Lee finding his feet at Goodison and the Blues slipping close to the bottom three after a 1-2 reverse at home to Leicester on the Saturday. Wanderers, meanwhile, were standing proud at the top of the second division and looked a good bet to replace the Toffees in the top flight the following season. This was obviously the biggest game in Bolton for decades, as over 50,000 fans crammed into the old Burnden Park, with over 10,000 Blues packed into the old open Railway End, which was later bizarrely cut in half by a supermarket when the Trotters fell on hard times in the '80s. On a cold, crisp night, first division quality told as a Bolton team featuring future Everton icon Peter Reid, ex-Reds legend Peter Thompson and that poor man's George Best, Willie Morgan, froze. As a result, Everton's highly-priced but underperfoming stars such as Latchford, Dobson and McKenzie led the way to Wembley. The scoreline was 1-0, but it could, and should, have been more. The decisive goal came in the first half when Ronnie Goodlass broke clear down the left and his cross found Bob Latchford, who powered home the header which took Everton back to Wembley for the first time in nine years. With the Blues in total control deep in the second half, the game took a bizarre turn when first Duncan Mckenzie missed a penalty and then the flood-lights temporarily fused. McKenzie had attempted an elaborate dummy before placing his spot-kick at least five yards wide. Personally I was in agreement with much-maligned Blues boss Lee when he asserted that a team of Mick Lyons' was preferable to 11 Mckenzies. The flash striker may have been a hero to many, but each to their own and all that. The lights failure gave brief hope to Bolton fans that a postponement may give respite to their outclassed team; unfortunately for them and to the delight of the delirious Evertonians, the delay was only brief and the Blues were back at Wembley. For an 11-year-old like myself this was probably the best night of my life.
Euro win ranks with the best
Post Past, Daily Post Nov 27 2003
My Favourite Match By Peter Cullen
IT HAS to be Everton's European Cup Winners Cup final win over Rapid Vienna in Rotterdam. Along with my mate, who was a Liverpool fan, we had decided to go to both European finals that year, as the Reds were in the European Cup. Neither of us had a clue what we were letting ourselves in for, but we made our minds up and we were off with barely enough money just to get there. We picked up a cheap Transalpino ticket for about £50 return but had to travel on the Monday morning. We were probably two of the first Everton supporters in Rotterdam. The day of the game arrived and the city was full of Blues' supporters everywhere you went. There was even a game of football going on in the town centre with the local police. Everyone was just buzzing, waiting for the game that evening. We managed to get some tickets for the game and arrived about an hour before the kickoff. The Everton end was absolutley packed while the Austrians only had half the support. So we outsang them from the first whistle to the last. We went 2-0 up, then they got one back before Kevin Sheedy killed off any chance of a fight-back with the third. The stadium was bouncing with everybody banging on the advertising hoarding around the Everton end. The players came to the Everton end with the Cup to probably the best reception you would ever hear. On the boat home I ran to the top and found the highest point where I could stick my Everton flag. It was a lovely warm day, and we set off with the flag flying proudly. We arrived back in England and got to Euston in time to see all the Blues supporters arriving for the FA Cup final. Unfortunately we had exhausted all our funds, which meant we never got to Heysel either.
Duncan's back in as Chadwick steps out
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 27 2003
DUNCAN Ferguson breezed back into Bellefield yesterday as Nick Chadwick made an Everton exit.
David Moyes finally sanctioned the return of his controversial compatriot nine days after their training ground bust-up. But Ferguson's first day back saw him train alone as the Blues manager continued to exert his authority. Moyes broke his silence over the row yesterday to insist the matter was now consigned to the past. But whether Monday's meeting between the pair has cleared the doubts over Ferguson's future remains to be seen. Moyes said: "Duncan has returned to training. The matter has been handled internally and is now ended. "There will be no further comment on the issue and we will move on." Ferguson's return came after he made a full apology over the incident and received a stark warning as to his future conduct. He is expected to rejoin the rest of the squad this week. One of the players who could have capitalised on Ferguson's misdemeanour, meanwhile, yesterday made a temporary Goodison exit. Young striker Chadwick has joined first division Millwall on a month's loan in a bid to gain more competitive experience. Chadwick, who has scored seven goals in seven games for Everton reserves this season, enjoyed a similar spell at Derby County last season but has struggled to cement a place in Moyes' senior plans. The Everton manager was in the Midlands last night to see Alessandro Pistone, Lee Carsley and Scot Gemmill all make their comebacks in the reserves' 2-1 win against Wolves.
Wolves Res 1, Everton Res 2
Nov 27 2003
TWO GOALS from Leon Osman were enough as Everton Reserves completed the double over their Midland opponents at Telford United's Bucks Head ground. The game saw the return to action of Scot Gemmill, Lee Carsley and Alessandro Pistone although the latter only played the first 45 minutes. Paul Gascoigne was in the Wolves line-up but lasted 15 minutes less than his former team-mate Pistone. As in the Premiership on Saturday Everton burst into a two-goal lead. Leon Osman (pictured) scored them both, the first coming on 25 minutes when the Blues attacker, missing his usual strike partner Nick Chadwick, fired in a low drive from the edge of the box. Within five minutes Everton were two up and again Osman was the scorer. Li Tie was upended in the area and Osman, who made a rare first-team appearance against the same opposition at Goodison on Saturday, converted the kick. Wolves were due some credit after continuing to attack the visitors, Portuguese striker Silas went close forcing Simonsen to make the save then the same player was involved in the home side pulling a goal back before the break. Silas's cross was steered home for Dean Sturridge to finish. However Gascoigne's first game against Everton since leaving Goodison 18 months ago was to be short lived, the midfielder was replaced on 34 minutes with what looked like a groin injury. Silas was soon causing Everton problems after the break, Steve Simonsen was equal though making a good save from the Portuguese star and again from Cooper. The home side certainly had the edge in the second half but couldn't find a way past Simonsen. Kevin Andrews saw a header go wide and substitute Jones also had a couple of shots saved. Osman and Carsley had Everton's only efforts of note but they held on to earn the three points and move into the top three of the FA Premier Reserve League.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Pistone (Wilson 46), Clarke, Carsley, Gerrard, Gemmill, Alexandersson (Brown 64), Osman, A Moogan, Li Tie. Subs: Turner, Lynch, Brown, Hughes.
WOLVES: Marshall, Flynn, Talbot, Towsend, Okoronkwo, Andrews, Kachloul, Gascoigne (Walters 34), Sturridge (Jones 46), Silas, Cooper. Subs: Lowe, Clarke, Ikeme.
Unpredictable era of Everton
Nov 27 2003 Liverpool Echo
FIVE managerial changes, three switches of ownership, and the club coming as close as it has ever done to the ignominy of relegation - twice. But that's not all. A unique milestone - the first English club to celebrate 100 seasons of top flight football - a glorious FA Cup final victory over Manchester United, and then the emergence of the most exciting young English talent for a generation. Plus football matches which have ranged from the sublime to the often ridiculous. The past 10 years at Everton Football Club have been nothing if not unpredictable. The Echo's Chief Sports Writer, David Prentice, has been at the hub of the action during that turbulent decade, reporting on life inside Goodison. And those reports have now been incorporated into a new book published, appropriately enough by Bluecoat Press, and called "Ten Year Blues." The 238-page volume is a collection of match reports, interviews, comment pieces and news stories which covers Dave's debut as Echo correspondent in February 1993 up until Wayne Rooney's dramatic first Premiership goal against Arsenal. With a foreword by David Moyes - "I believe this is the first time Dave has actually worked with a manager who is younger than him so perhaps it's time he moved on. He has seen enough managers off in his time, perhaps something to do with the reports in this book!" - Ten Year Blues is available now for just £8.99. With more than 400 matches to choose from, Dave has few doubts which was the most memorable. "Obviously reporting on an FA Cup final victory was pretty special - especially as the manager, Joe Royle, was somebody I had, and still have, an awful lot of time for," he said "But probably for raw emotion the afternoon against Wimbledon will never be topped. "I was very friendly with Graham Stuart and he'd told me a few weeks earlier that he was on penalties.
"He said 'I can just see it now. We'll need to score a penalty to keep us up - and I'll be . . . well, the jargonese equivalent of terrified! "You can imagine how I felt when Everton were awarded a penalty, two goals down, and Graham stepped up to take it. "Of course he slotted confidently. That got Everton back into the match and even though they won, when the final whistle had blown I still wasn't certain that Everton had escaped. "Everyone was going wild around me but I didn't want to press the button on that night's Football Echo story until I was a hundred per cent certain it was factually correct. "The problem was that Ipswich had been expected to lose at Blackburn - but that finished 0-0. It was only when my colleague, Phil McNulty, yelled at me that Sheffield United had let slip a 2-1 lead and lost to Chelsea that I realised Everton were safe. "I think I wrote at the time 'Never again.' But sadly it was only four years before the Blues were in exactly the same position again."
Two-goal Osman continues to hound dejected Wolves
Nov 27 2003 Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN followed up his short appearance against Wolves in the Premiership on Saturday with two goals against their reserve side at Telford United's Bucks Head ground. Alessandro Pistone made his comeback to action, playing the first 45 minutes. Scot Gemmill and Lee Carsley were also back in the side. Paul Gascoigne was in the Wolves line-up but went off with a possible groin injury after just half-an-hour. As in the Premiership on Saturday, Everton took a two-goal lead. Leon Osman got his first on 25 minutes when the Blues striker, missing his usual strike partner Nick Chadwick who had earlier joined Millwall on loan, fired in a low drive from the edge of the box.
Within five minutes Everton were two up and again Osman was the scorer. Li Tie was upended in the area and Osman converted the resulting spot-kick. Wolves' Portuguese forward Silas went close, forcing Steve Simonsen to make a save, and was then involved when Wolves pulled a goal back before the break, his cross being steered home by striker Dean Sturridge. And Silas was soon causing Everton problems after the break only to be denied by Simonsen, who also made a good save from Kevin Cooper. The home side certainly had the edge in the second half but couldn't find a way past Simonsen. Keith Andrews saw a header go wide and substitute Jones also had a couple of shots saved by the Blues keeper. Osman and Lee Carsley had Everton's only efforts of note but the Blues held on to earn the three points and move into the top three of the Premier Reserve League.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Pistone (Wilson 46), Clarke, Carsley, Gerrard, Gemmill, Alexandersson (Brown 64), Osman, A Moogan, Tie. Not used: Turner, Lynch, Brown , Hughes.
Osman is 'terrific' - Moyes
Nov 27 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN has received encouragement from Everton boss David Moyes after another eye-catching performance for the club's reserves last night. The 22-year-old netted twice in the 2-1 win against Wolves, taking his tally for the season to seven. He earned his first appearance for the senior side as a substitute in last weekend's home clash with Wolves and manager Moyes admits it is proof of the player's development this season. He was handed a an extension to his Goodison contract last month, keeping him at the club until 2005, and he is in contention for a first senior start in next week's Carling Cup third round ti e at Middlesbrough. "He has been a bit unfortunate not to be involved in the 16 earlier this season," admitted Moyes. "He had a couple of broken ribs about a month back and then he picked up an ankle injury in training, which meant he missed out.
"His timing with the injuries this season has been unlucky to say the least. He is a terrific footballer, which means he can play in a number of different positions because of his ability to see things and pick things out. "We have always felt he had that potential to develop, which is why we offered him a new contract to keep him here for the next couple of years. "He is a strong little player who is physically hard. And if he can over-come his lack of height then there is no reason why he can't go on to become a good player. "Time will tell where he best fits in. He can play up front, on the left, right, behind the strikers or as a central midfielder." It is unusual for a player at the age of 22 to still be in the manager's thoughts, despite having yet to make a senior start. But Moyes explains that Osman has had to contend with a serious cruciate knee ligament injury early in his career. He adds: "He had a bad injury a year or so ago and mis sed a year because of the cruciate which set back his development a little bit. But we have been delighted with the way he is doing. The other professionals here respect him because he can handle the football and he is certainly not out of place." "He has performed well and he deserves a little bit of recognition." Meanwhile, young striker Nick Chadwick left Everton yesterday to join first division Millwall on a month's loan.
Moyes added: "Millwall have been asking for him for a little while. I have spoken to Chaddy about it and at this time it seems right for him. "I thought a good first division club would help him. He is still learning his way and with a busy period coming up it is a good time for him to get some games under his belt." Alessandro Pistone had to be withdrawn at half-time in last night's 2-1 reserve victory.
The Italian was making his return to competitive action after undergoing a hernia operation last month. He was substituted last night after feeling discomfort but it is not thought to be serious.
Duncan Fergu son rejoined the rest of the senior squad for training today, 10 days after being sent home following a row with manager David Moyes. The player is believed to have apologised for his outburst and the matter is now closed.
Striker Nick is glad to play out
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post Nov 28 2003
EVERTON striker Nick Chadwick insists his Millwall move does not signal the beginning of the end of his Goodison career. The 21-year-old, now in the final year of his Blues contract, was allowed to join the first division on a month's loan on Tuesday after making just three senior appearances this season. Chadwick fell further down the Everton pecking order this summer when Francis Jeffers arrived on a season-long loan from Arsenal. But rather than consider an Everton exit, the forward - with seven goals in seven starts for the reserves this term - believes the experience can only improve his Premiership prospects. Chadwick said: "It's a great move for me. It'll be a bit of Football League experience again after my time at Derby. "It's an opportunity to play first team football first and foremost and I'm looking forward to it. "Hopefully David Moyes will make sure that I'm watched while I'm down at Millwall. I think the last time I went on-loan was to bring my fitness on as much as any-thing but this time it's to play first team football. "I've heard it's an excellent set-up down there. I don't really know what to expect but it's first team football and it's a good setting and stage to play at and I'm looking forward to it. "That's basically what it's all about. You train week in week out but there's nothing like playing on a Saturday and working towards something in the week. "It's something that I haven't really had. I think that's something that's been lacking from my season so far and that's why I need to go there." One of the attractions of Millwall, admits Chadwick, is the prospect of learning from new Millwall manager Dennis Wise and first team coach Ray Wilkins.
He added: "Dennis Wise and Ray Wilkins were a big pull and hopefully I'll enjoy working with them.
"If you can't learn from the likes of them then you shouldn't be in the game. They've both been in the game a very long time and both been exceptional players. I'm looking forward to going down and working with them."
Good to see us playing with a swagger
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post Nov 28 2003
CRIKEY, if that's the effect that sending a player home from training has on the rest of the squad then perhaps David Moyes should consider banishing a few more in future. Surely he must be able to find a couple of likely slackers loafing around Bellefield. Admittedly Wolves were poor - possibly even worse than Leeds - but that shouldn't be allowed to detract from a refreshing display by the Toffees on Saturday. It wasn't so long ago that we resembled Dave Jones' side - a collection of ageing, one-paced players regularly outclassed by sharper, hungrier teams - so it was good to see our youngsters playing with a swagger. Wayne Rooney in particular looked full of confidence and combined well with Tomasz Radzinski, although whether that's proof enough that we can do without Kevin Campbell, he who must not be named or some other targetman is still up for debate. We dominated midfield, with Thomas Gravesen carrying on where he left off for Denmark, allowing us to play the ball into the forwards' feet. That's how we'd always like to play but it isn't always possible against the better sides in the division, against whom a physical presence who can hold the ball up is often invaluable. But, for want of many other options, it's definitely a partnership that's worth persevering with for the time being. One player who might have thought he'd benefit from the absence of the other targetmen is Nick Chadwick, but he obviously still remains well down the pecking order given Everton's decision to let him go on loan to Millwall. In terms of attitude and commitment he can never be faulted, and his scoring record for the reserves is exemplary, but the step up to the Premiership is a massive one. Realistically, he doesn't look like he'll ever become a first team regular at Everton, so if nothing else he'll gain some good experience down at the New Den and perhaps impress a few people and secure himself a permanent move. Francis Jeffers is yet another striker who is struggling to break into the starting line-up, although the manager has assured him that he will get a chance and he needs to be prepared to take it with both hands.
After all, if he's getting fed up he always has the option of going back to Highbury at the end of the season and forcing the sluggish and lacklustre Thierry Henry out of the team! It's been a much happier week for everyone - a win does that for you - but it's vitally important that we don't sit on our laurels, we need to go and get a good result at Bolton tomorrow and prove that the performance we saw last week was the real Everton.
Rooney into The Real Thing not Real Madrid
Daily Post Nov 28 2003
EVERTON and England star Wayne Rooney has been spotted in Madrid . . . but Blues fans need not panic. Rather than following in the footsteps of his England captain, Real Madrid player David Beckham, OBE, with a move to Real Madrid, he was making a start on the sponsorship and endorsement contracts which have come his way. The city was chosen to film the latest Coca-Cola TV advert and there was no meeting with Real Madrid boss Carlos Queiroz. Also on the Blues star's list of commercial deals are Nike, Mastercard, Ford, EA Sports and Pringles.
Tenerife trip has helped Blues - Stubbs
Nov 28 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS' assessment is simple: 'It is roll our sleeves up time'. The experienced defender returns to the club where he began his career tomorrow acutely aware of the need for Everton to finally grab their first away win of the season. A return of just two points from the 18 available away from home so far this season helps explain why David Moyes' men find themselves in the bottom half of the table, eager to avoid being sucked into a relegation dogfight. Last week's win over Wolves at Goodison, which coincided with Stubbs' return to the starting line-up after a bout of flu and a spell in the treatment room because of a groin strain, ended the Blues' two-week stint in the bottom three. But if the club are to steer themselves into a position of relative safety, they must build on that result tomorrow. It bodes well that the Toffees have not lost at the Reebok in any of their previous three visits to the stadium. And Stubbs, who began his career at Wanderers and played 202 games for the club between 1990 and 1996 before moving to Celtic for £3.5m, can sense a new wave of optimism and confidence sweeping through the squad at Bellefield following the win over Wolves and the week-long training camp in Tenerife. "Hopefully Saturday's win over Wolves will be a catalyst for a good run," he said. "It is difficult to get that winning mentality back when results aren't going your way. "The break inTenerife helped. We had a good time together as a squad and we enjoyed being in each other's company. "People may think that footballers are always out together but that is not the case. "The younger lads will go out with their own mates, there are lads who are just settling down in places of their own with their girlfriends and then there are the guys who are married with kids and who like going home to the family. "That is why getting away helped a lot because we don't normally have enough time to do things together away from training. It was a chance for us to socialise and we had a couple of nights together. "Now we need to get a run going. We have picked up hardly any points away from home this season, which has prevented us building up the kind of momentum we had last year. "The division is so tight now that just taking anything from the games is a big bonus. "We haven't done that away from home but it is important we change that now. This is always an important time of the year because of the number of games you play in the run-up to Christmas. "If we put a good run together now it will mean we will not be putting ourse lves under pressure." Stubbs just has to glance at the top half of the league table to see where Everton should be. Alan Curbishley's Charlton are currently in the final Champions League spot which the Blues were sitting in a little under 12 months ago. And Stubbs believes that is where Moyes' men should be now. He adds: "Charlton are a similar type of club to ours. They have got good individual talent, work hard as a team together and are always comfortably away from the relegation fight. If the going ever does get tough they roll their sleeves up and get the results they need. " We do have some very good players with plenty of flair but at the moment we need to roll our sleeves up and do it. That is a characteristic we need to show now. "I do feel that we are a lot better than the teams who are down at the bottom. "But before you know it, if things don't go right, you can be right in it and having to dig deep to get out of trouble. We certainly don't want that to happen. Now is a good time to do something about it." Stubbs has many fond memories of his time at Bolton. He enjoyed three promotions during his six years there and made a number of friends, including current chairman Phil Gartside. He has been impressed with the developments at the club in the last seven years. He adds: "Phil has done an excellent job. With the way things are going in football now there has to be restrictions on spending. You only have to look at Leeds. "But Phil has been able to balance team improvements with the need to stay in a decent financial position and the club is in a strong position, helped by Sam (Allardyce) and Phil (Brown) who was there when I was there. "They have done a very good job, fighting against all the odds. They have stayed up by the skin of their teeth a couple of times but it is testament to the character of the coaching staff and the players. It is not an easy place to go to." But Everton have always done well there - as has Stubbs. His first goal for the Blues came via a free-kick in a 2-2 draw at the Reebok in 2001. A repeat of that strike would be well received, even if it did upset a number of old friends.
Dunc's Blues career is not over - Moyes
Nov 28 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists Duncan Ferguson has not played his last game for Everton - but the striker will not be in the squad at Bolton this weekend. The Scottish striker will not be considered for the game at the Reebok Stadium on saturday after missing six days of training in the last fortnight, even though Kevin Campbell is a major doubt for the match with a hamstring strain. Ferguson only returned to training at Bellefield on Wednesday after apologising for the row with the manager which led to his exile. Having settled their differences, Moyes has now thrown down the gauntlet to the forward, urging him to prove himself worthy of a place in the side. Moyes said: "Duncan Ferguson has had a great career and he has still got more time here at Everton - he will be used, there is no question about that. "It is up to Duncan to knuckle down, do well and earn his position, just what I would expect from any other player." Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski are set to continue their partnership up front at Bolton tomorrow, with Campbell struggling to overcome his injury. Francis Jeffer s is expected to once again have to settle for a place on the bench. The match offers Moyes the chance to renew his friendly rivalry with Sam Allardyce which developed when the Everton boss was in charge at Preston, Bolton's derby rivals. He adds: "When I first joined Preston as a player Sam was a coach at the club. In fact, he watched me playing at Dunfermline and recommended me to the Preston boss, so he certainly isn't a good judge of a player! "He left to manage elsewhere and eventually arrived at Bolton. We played a number of games against each other but the most memorable is the play-off final at the Millennium Stadium. "Bolton won that game and have stayed in the Premiership. He has done a great job to keep them up and if they get through this season people will look at Bolton as Premiership regulars. "That is testament to Sam. We will go there and try to be positive to get something out of the game. But we know we will have to be tight as well because they have not really given much away. "Jay Jay Okocha is a big threat because of what he can do as an individual. But their success is based on them being a hard to beat, organised side." Meanwhile, Rooney has spoken of his determination to help find the best young footballing talent as part of an initiative by Coca-Cola. Speaking in Madrid at the launch of his new advertising deal with the soft drinks giant, he said: "I was really proud to be asked to help with youngsters as well because they are the future of football. "What has happened to me has really been a fairy-tale and I hope the dream can continue. "I couldn't have wished for anything more than to do well for Everton and then play well for my country. "I know that I'm still at the beginning of my career and my aim is to get a lot more caps and goals." Everton have been linked with a £400,000 swoop for Motherwell forward Stephen Pearson when the transfer window reopens in January.
Carsley targeting first-team return
Nov 28 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Lee Carsley is hoping to force his way back into David Moyes' plans in the coming weeks after completing 90 minutes of football against Wolves' second string on Tuesday night. Carsley has been out of action since sustaining medial ligament in the Blues' goalless draw with Southampton on October 19, but is ready to stake his claim for a first-team place after his energetic performance in the 2-1 win in Telford. "It's brilliant to be back playing," he said. "I felt good and strong thoroughout the game, so I'm just looking forward now to trying to get back in the team." Thomas Gravesen turned in a man-of-the-match performance in the 2-0 Premiership win over Wolves last weekend and with Tobias Linderoth also having turned in some commanding performances of late Carsley acknowledges that he will have a fight on his hands if he is to break back into Moyes' starting XI. "Tommy and Toby were great, and so as long as the team keeps winning, I'm prepared to wait," he said. The midfielder feels Everton can build upon their comfortable 2-0 victory against Wolves and take it into tomorrow's visit to the Reebok against Sam Allardyce's resurgent Bolton side. He added: "They're a battling side, hopefully we will be able to go there with confidence after a win against Wolves and put in a good performance."
Blues can have no grounds for complaint
Nov 28 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS are conspiracy theorists extraordinaire. But then they usually have a lot to theorise conspiracies about. And one particular bug-bear has been the number of grounds where the Blues always, but always, endure emotional hardship. White Hart Lane, Villa Park, for 51 fraught years Elland Road, you can guarantee mention of any of the above will have been accompanied by a hard luck story or three. Which is why the Blues should breath a cautious sigh of relief about their destination tomorrow (Saturday). A club should never harbour any fears about a stadium where they can concede a goal and still come away with a clean sheet! Everton were the proud visitors when Bolton's Reebok Stadium staged a Premiership match for the first time on September 1, 1997.
They even managed to concede a goal that night, but escape with a goalless draw - courtesy of an optically challenged linesman. And any doubts that Bolton was a lucky charm of a place for Everton were dispelled at the end of that turbulent season. Bolton and Everton were locked together on 40 paltry points and 41 miserly goals scored. But the Blues conceded just five less - and escaped relegation on goal difference. It took Bolton four seasons to recover from that trauma - but on their return to the top flight, Everton's Reebok fortune continued. Alan Stubbs scored his first Everton goal there. Paul Gascoigne scored his only goal in Royal Blue there - and Steve Watson bagged his first brace for years there last season. Everton's current campaign is precariously balanced. Last weekend's win over woeful Wolves could be a springboard for a charge up the table. Or it could be a short-lived respite. Tomorrow's result in what is traditionally a happy hunting ground will tell us more . . .
Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Everton
November 28, 2003
Manchester Evening News
HOMESPUN Bolton youngster Kevin Nolan will relegate World Cup superstar Youri Djorkaeff to the bench for tomorrow's Reebok date with Everton. It highlights a remarkable recovery of form after a disappointing spell last season when manager Sam Allardyce claims the scouser went "big time".
Nolan, 21, scored nine goals from midfield in Bolton's first season in the Premiership but managed only one last year. He was pushed into Djorkaeff's front-three role when the Frenchman suffered a calf injury and scored in three successive away games to force the World Cup star to settle for a substitute's job now he's fit again. Allardyce said: "Kevin has been fantastic. We moved him up front after casting our minds back to his first season in the Premiership, when he scored nine goals, even though we were very limited in creating chances. "Last year he went a bit big time, like many a young lad can do. All of a sudden, he had been scoring freely from midfield in the Premiership and was playing for England Under-20s, and he got carried away. "We sat down and identified the situation and Kevin, more than me, has done something about it. He's made himself one of the most successful young players in the Premiership. "There aren't many as young as him playing there on a regular basis. He was a nightmare when he wasn't in the team last year because it was my fault. He had lost his basic focus and perhaps I could have sussed it a bit sooner.
"But he's doing so well now that we can put Youri on the bench and wait for him to come back in.
"It gives me a nice problem because I can't leave anyone out for him, even though he's one of the best players we've ever had in the history of Bolton." Nolan said: "Youri has just come back from injury but it's my aim to stay in the team and not worry about the people behind me. "Basically, I learned in my second season in the Premiership that you can't take anything for granted. I've found it tough but I've worked hard and I'm really happy again now."
Central defender Emerson Thome returns to the squad after a hamstring injury. Allardyce, meanwhile, looked at a fixture list that pairs his side with the Premiership's big three in the space of five games and said: "That's why we've got to beat Everton tomorrow." The Reebok club are in a comfort zone by their standards but that can be undone in a hectic schedule that includes a trip to Chelsea and home games with Arsenal and United. Bolton have tomorrow's Everton game and a difficult trip to Fulham before going to Chelsea. Allardyce wants six points from the December programme but knows it's a big task and it all piles on the pressure to win tomorrow. He said: "If you don't take advantage of your opportunities in the Premiership, the opposition will take advantage of you. That's how cruel this league is.''
Bolton's six games after tomorrow are: Dec 6 Fulham (away), Dec 13 Chelsea (away), Dec 20 Arsenal (home), Dec 26 Liverpool (away), Dec 28 Leicester (home), Jan 7th United (home).
Key opponent: Wayne Rooney - Has the ability to win any game.
Last season: Bolton 1 Everton 2
Prediction: Bolton 1 Everton 1
Bolton 13/10 Draw 11/5 Everton 9/5
Bolton Wanderers 2 Everton 0
November 29, 2003
Manchester Evening News
BOLTON turned on their best display of the season to land their first Premiership win over Everton at the ninth attempt and continue their run up the table. It was a victory that was far more conclusive than the scoreline suggests against an over-run Everton side, as Bolton made it ten points out of the last twelve and claimed their fourth clean sheet in a row. Manager Sam Allardyce demanded a victory to give Bolton a mid-table cushion before a difficult schedule of December fixtures, but this display suggested that Bolton can take on anyone. They took the lead after 25 minutes when a long throw in by skipper Jay-Jay Okocha from the left was headed across goal by Everton’s Alan Stubbs.
It fell to Ivan Campo who headed it back into the six-yard box and when keeper Nigel Martyn could only get minimal weight on his attempted punch clearance, Per Frandsen headed the ball home from ten yards. Bolton’s second, which really knocked the stuffing out of Everton, came 38 seconds into the second half with the mercurial Youri Djorkaeff playing the key role. Djorkaeff, on as a substitute following his calf injury spell, hit an acrobatic shot from the edge of the box which was turned in by Kevin Nolan. From then on it was all Bolton with Djorkaeff revelling in his return and giving the Everton defence a nightmare.