Dropped Bent still in Moyes' thinking
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 1 2005
0ShareDAVID MOYES has moved to reassure Marcus Bent his Everton future is not under threat.
The striker surprisingly failed to make even the substitutes' bench at Birmingham City at the weekend as the Goodison outfit recorded a 1-0 victory to move off the foot of the Premiership table.
It was the first time Bent has not been involved in an Everton squad this season, with Moyes confirming the striker had not been suffering from injury. However, the Everton manager insists the 27-year-old's absence was merely a sign of the increased options available to him in attack now James Beat-tie and Andy van der Meyde have returned to fitness. "We are beginning to get a bigger squad here and the decisions are going to get tighter and your performances are the thing you will be judged by," said Moyes. "Marcus h Moyes's decision to opt for an adventurous line-up at St Andrews has drawn praise from Phil Neville. Everton began the game with two forwards and four attack-minded midfielders, a move that paid dividends as Simon Davies struck the game's only goal. And Neville said: "Last Sunday and on Saturday the manager has made two really brave team selections. "Against Chelsea he went 4-4-2 and said 'let's get at them', which surprised a few who probably thought we were going to sit back. Then at Birmingham he's picked Andy van der Meyde who hasn't had a lot of football, but it signalled that intent that we were going to be positive and going to go for it." Meanwhile, Alessandro Pistone has started his rehabilitation programme after successfully undergoing knee surgery.
Spirit is back
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 1 2005
GREAT SPIRIT on Saturday. Looks like we are starting to get a balance in the team. If we can continue to use the experience and class of Neville and van der Meyde on the left. With Arteta and Hibbert getting to understand each other we might just start to move up the table. And come January if we can just get two pacy forwards and another centre midfielder we will have a squad that would be capable of all good cup runs and competition for all places. Terry Smith, Liverpool Bleak future WOW, a lucky home draw and a win (via a mistake) against a poor team and all the fans celebrate. Get real, fools. Wake up and smell the coffee. The future's bleak. The future's not royal blue. The fact is anyone who thinks we should be challenging for honours is simply misguided. We are lucky to be in the same league as many of our counterparts. Jimmy Keith (via e-mail)
Return to form
SUPERB win over the weekend. It looked like the lads could be returning to last year's form. Also it should shut up the people who know nothing about the game. Looking forward to the match on Sunday.
Claire Frey (via e-mail)
SATURDAY'S game showed great selection and game plan from David Moyes. Andy van der Meyde and Phil Neville gave us pure quality on the left for the first time for years. Simon Davies looked quality in his proper position and Tim Cahill and James Beattie both look back on form. The man was Joseph Yobo, though - quality.
Matt Leeds (via e-mail)
GREAT result and a superb gesture by David Moyes getting the players to throw the shirts to our loyal supporters at the end of the match. The support Moyes and the boys recieved against Chelsea and at St Andrews was a true reflection of what Blues fans really think.
Barry Woolrich, Toxteth
Pistone begins road to recovery
Nov 1 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE has undergone the operation to save his career but is unlikely to play for Everton again this season. The Italian defender visited specialist Dr Richard Stead-man in Colorado last week and surgery to reconstruct the ligament in the knee he damaged during August's 1-0 win at Bolton was hugely successful. However, Steadman - who has helped players such as Jamie Redknapp and Patrik Berger return from serious injury - has devised a strict six-month rehabilitation programme which he insists his patients adhere to. That would take Pistone up to April and would only give him a matter of weeks before the season ends. Pistone underwent the surgery at Steadman's medical centre in Colorado last week. Everton physio Matt Connery made the trip to America with Pistone. Connery said: "It was a succesful trip. It was the second operation he has undergone. The operation went according to plan and very smoothly. "Dr Steadman is world renowned. He sees a number of footballers every year specifically because he is one of the best in the world at knee surgery." Pistone has remained in America to begin his rehabilitation under the guidance of Dr Steadman. Added Connery: "Every player heals differently but it is a fairly predictable period of rehabilitation because you are using a tendon to replace the ligament and do the job of the ligament. "As a result, the tendon has to change from a biological point of view and you cannot rush that kind of injury." Meanwhile, Nuno Valente's hamstring injury is likely to keep him on the sidelines for another fortnight. But Matteo Ferrari could come into contention against Middlesbrough on Sunday after recovering from an ankle sprain. Joseph Yobo - outstanding in the victory at Birmingham on Saturday - will also continue at the heart of defence despite picking up a hefty blow to his shin in the Carling Cup defeat to Boro last week and aggravating it at St Andrews.
* Everton's Reserves are in action tonight at home to Aston Villa but head coach Andy Holden expects to name a young team.
Late show keeps Blues in the hunt
Nov 1 2005 Women's Football by Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES were held to an entertaining 3-3 draw in a top of the table clash against Arsenal at Marine FC on Sunday. Arsenal capitalised on a sluggish start by Everton by taking the lead on 12 minutes. Kelly Smith scuffed her shot but winger Rachel Yankey stole the ball in front Blues keeper Rachel Brown to slot home. Kelly Smith then added to Everton's woes before half-time. Leanne Sanderson latched onto a weak Fern Whelan back pass and squared for Smith who rounded Brown and stoked the ball in. The second half saw a much improved performance from Everton. Rachel Unitt got the home side back into the game tapping in from six yards after Gunners keeper Emma Byrne spilled Fara Williams' direct free-kick. Just three minutes later Williams equalised with a diving header from a Michelle Evans cross. The joy didn't last for long as Smith grabbed her second of the game with a powerful left foot finish to put the Gunners 3-2 up. But the Blues levelled again six minutes before full-time. Evans flicked a Unitt throw into the path of Handley, who slid the ball under the Arsenal keeper. "I sincerely hope that a large proportion of the crowd will come back after today's performance," said Everton Manager Mo Marley. Liverpool are setting the pace in the Northern Division as they beat Manchester City 3-0. Reds striker Louise Hastie opened the scoring with a stooping near post header just after half-time. She then added a second, showing neat control and a tidy right foot finish. Youngster Claire Jenkins completed the scoring with a delightful curling effort from the edge of the box. Tranmere's home game with Curzon Ashton was postponed.
Saints win to land Goodison trip
Nov 1 2005 Liverpool Echo
A MONTH of anti-racism activities led by Everton FC ended with a six-a-side tournament at the club's academy. The campaign involved coaches and officials from the club visiting 14 primary schools.
"Along with coaching we were basically presenting anti-racism workshops and promoting the Kick Racism Out of Football video," said project leader Allan Johnson. "In the video there are a host of football stars who give their total support to the campaign. "The winners of the tournament, St Margaret Mary's PS, will be our guests at Goodison Park for the Premiership game against Middlesbrough. "We also talked to the boys and girls about bullying. This month is just part of Everton's all year round anti-racism and bul-lying programme."
Don't put pressure on Dutch winger
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 2 2005
EVERTON supporters have been urged not to place a weight of expectation on Andy van der Meyde.
The Holland international made an encour-aging first start for the club during Saturday's 1-0 victory at Birmingham City. Van der Meyde arrived at Goodison in August in a £1.9million move from Inter Milan, but was forced to wait for his bow as he recovered from a groin injury. And Everton assistant manager Alan Irvine believes the 26-year-old can make a huge impact at Goodison - once he grows accustomed to life in the Premiership. "Andy has played very little football," said Irvine. "He has still not had a full game of football for a long time and you would never expect people to come back and go straight into competitive football. "What we are asking Andy to do is do a crash course in pre-season training to be ready to play in the Premiership, which is much faster than any league he has ever played in before. "It will take time, but the early signs are very encouraging." Irvine reckons van der Meyde's schooling in Holland will help make him an invaluable presence in the Everton line-up.
"I believe the Dutch wingers are the best in terms of their move-ment," he added. "They know how to create some space for themselves and it is something we will have to work on here with the other players because they are going to have to understand the type of movement Andy is going to bring to the team. "And Andy is going to have to understand that with the pace of the game in this country players don't have quite enough time to get their heads up. He is going to have to adjust his game a little bit as well." Meanwhile, Matteo Ferrari is expected to return for Sunday's Premiership clash with Middlesbrough after missing the trip to Birmingham due to an ankle problem. Nuno Valente, out with a hamstring injury, has pencilled in the visit to West Bromwich Albion on November 19 for a return.
Davies backed to go up a level
Nov 2 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed Simon Davies' resurgence in form - then immediately challenged the in-form midfielder to raise his game to the next level. Having shrugged off a niggling shin problem which plagued him during the opening weeks of the season, Everton's £3.5m summer signing has blossomed in the past month and looks in much better shape. A goal on international duty for Wales against Northern Ireland in October proved to be the catalyst and last Saturday he registered his first in Everton colours, a priceless winner against Birmingham. Moyes, though, is a tough task master. He believes the bubbly Davies still has plenty more to offer and wants to see a player he tracked for more than 12 months come up trumps on a regular basis. "We feel that Simon is getting his feet under the table here," Moyes observed. "The goal will have helped him but I really feel the goal will have helped him out. "He is feeling more settled at the club now. It's not easy for any player to switch clubs, whether it be boys from abroad or within our own countries. But, no, he is doing fine. "I'm now looking for him to have bigger impacts on the game. Saturday, for me, was one of the first games that he has had that kind of impact because he scored the goal. "When he got that, it changed the flow of the game. I want him to do that more often now. I have told him that. He has been steady but I am always looking for more from them." Andy van der Meyde's return to fitness has given Moyes more options in his engine room and Davies benefited against Birmingham, as he flourished in the centre alongside Tim Cahill, with Mikel Arteta out wide on the right.
That flexibility will prove invaluable in the weeks ahead, but Moyes is not surprised that Davies performed so well following his switch into the middle, as he has filled such a role on numerous occasions for his country. "He has done well," said Moyes. "He can play either out wide or in the centre. He is a composed player, he is good on the ball and I knew he could get goals before he came. "He and Mikel have changed roles a little bit. "We may keep chopping and changing them in the future because it keeps us unpredictable."
Upturn in fortune needs goal return
Nov 2 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
EVERY team needs a bit of luck and Everton had some on Saturday. They deserved their win and let us hope they start a run of successes. Van Der Meyde looked good and will prove to be a prudent acquisition. Phil Neville played well at left-back and I wonder whether that should be his permanent position. Up front Duncan and Beattie could make a formidable duo, but we have to get quality balls to them. If we can rely upon our defence to be sound I am confident that the side will start climbing the league. Andy Johnson from Crystal Palace should be top of the shopping list for the January window.
Roger Lancer, Crosby
I MET the lads at the team hotel before Saturday's game and they did look quite relaxed. There was a spirit of togetherness which I hope we can build on. Now is a great time to play Boro after their mauling of a poor United side and they will have UEFA Cup exploits on Thursday.
Harvey Cullen, Fazakerley
I HAVE been constantly saying no more 4-5-1 rubbish. Moyes played a 4-4-2 formation and, although the goal had an element of luck, we looked far better going forward. Yes, the last two league games have been better, but we're still in the bottom three and hopefully these last two results will be the start of some sort of a run of form.
Tim Baines, Aigburth
WE'VE snapped our bad run of form so it is time to start climbing the table. There is not that much between a lot of teams currently. Two or three straight wins would get us back into Europe.
A. Timothy, Huyton
Everton Res 0, Aston Villa Res 2
Nov 2 2005
0ShareEVERTON Reserves suffered their fourth defeat in five Barlcays Premiership Reserve League Northern Section games as they lost 2-0 to Aston Villa at Haig Avenue. Coach Andy Holden fielded an inexperienced team against high-flying Aston Villa, who boasted Eric Djemba-Djemba and Lee Hendrie in their lineup and the difference showed. A pretty lively first half saw Everton create the best goalmouth action with Victor Anichebe and Mark Hughes both testing Robert Olejnik in the visitors' goal.. James Harris then went close, while the best chance of the first 45 minutes fell to Bjarni Vidarsson, but his header was cleared off the line by Olejnik. The second period was a different story however. Only three minutes had gone when Villa took the lead. Lee Hendrie crossed and Sam Williams was in the right place to steer the ball home from close range.Within five minutes it was two and again Williams was the scorer.Kabeya was the provider with a delicately chipped pass and the young striker raced goalwards to fire past the helpless Iain Turner.Everton did respond well and went close to getting back in the game with Anichebe and Laurence Wilson both having chances saved by the Villa keeper.Despite their effort the Blues could not break down the Villa reargaurd and the visitors held on to make it three wins on the trot.EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Boyle, Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Vidarsson (Wilson 71), Anichebe, Hopkins (Downes 60), Kissock (Phelan 60). Subs: Jones, Kearney.ASTON VILLA: Olejnik, De La Cruz,Ward, Green, O'Halloran, Djemba-Djemba, Hendrie, Kabeya(Osbourne 75), Williams, Paul (Bridges 84) Gardner. Subs: Lund, Henderson, Lowry.
Blues lose out to Villa
Nov 2 2005 Liverpool Echo
TWO GOALS by Aston Villa's Sam Williams were enough to consign Everton Reserves to their fourth defeat in five games as the Blues went down 2-0 at Haig Avenue. Manager Andy Holden fielded an inexperienced team against high-flying Villa, who had Eric Djemba Djemba and Lee Hendrie in their line up. A lively first half saw Everton create the better chances, with Victor Anichebe and Mark Hughes both testing Robert Olejnik in the visitors' goal. James Harris also went close while the best chance of the opening 45 minutes fell to Bjarni Viddarrsson whose header was cleared off the line.
The second half was a different story and only three minutes had gone when Villa took the lead.
Hendrie crossed and Williams was in the right place to convert from close range. Within five minutes it was 2-0. Kabeya was the provider with a delicately chipped pass and Williams fired past Iain Turner. Everton went close late on with Anichebe and Laurence Wilson thwarted by the keeper.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Boyle, Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Viddarrsson (Wilson 71), Anichebe, Hopkins (Downes 60), Kissock (Phelan 60). Subs unused: Jones, Kearney.
Vaughan striking boost for Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 3 2005
JAMES VAUGHAN has further bolstered David Moyes's striking options by returning to full training.
The 17-year-old has recovered from the knee surgery that sidelined him for six weeks after sustaining the injury while on international duty with England under-19s in September.
Vaughan has targeted the reserve clash with West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday for a comeback.
And it is a further fillip to Moyes, who has already seen his attacking alternatives boosted by the return to fitness of James Beattie and Andy van der Meyde in recent weeks. "James had part of his cartilage removed six weeks ago," said head physio Mick Rath-bone. "He has come along on schedule, he has worked hard and he is back in full training now. "At 17 the players heal quicker, but by the same degree James is so eager to play and he is such a physically strong, determined and aggressive player that I have had to put the reins on him and slow him down a bit. "He got the final go-ahead from the consultant last Saturday which was bang on six weeks after the op and he needs a week's training but I expect he will be involved with the reserves next week." Vaughan, who became Everton's youngest player and youngest goalscorer in the Premiership clash with Crystal Palace last April, last appeared as a substitute against Fulham in August. Moyes, meanwhile, has hinted Simon Davies could continue his new role in the centre of Everton's midfield.
The Wales international has moved in off the flank in recent games with Mikel Arteta deployed on the right flank, a switch that paid off handsomely on Saturday as Davies netted the winner at Birmingham City. And of the 26-year-old's form, Moyes said: "He has done well. He can play either out wide or in the centre of midfield. He is a composed football player, he is good on the ball and I knew he could get goals before he came. "Him and Mikel Arteta have changed roles a little bit. We may keep chopping and changing them in the future because it keeps us unpredictable and gives us something a bit different."
Biggest profit in Everton history
Nov 3 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today announced the greatest financial results in the club's 127 year history. As manager David Moyes has ensured progress on the pitch, behind the scenes chief executive Keith Wyness and his team have conjured up a similarly remarkable performance. Wyness promised shareholders at last year's AGM that he would strive to turn things around and has been good to his word, streamlining key areas and making sure the club is more professionally run. But he has worked to such an extent that turnover has risen by an enormous 34 per cent, from £44.7m last year to a record high of £60m this time around. Such phenomenal progress should also ensure Everton have a place for the first time in the renowned Deloitte and Touche top 20 that defines the richest clubs in the world by turnover as last year Aston Villa came 20th with a figure of £55m. Shareholders will be told officially at the club's AGM on Thursday, November 24. The results they have been sent, however, will make particularly pleasant reading as they show the club has never been in better shape financially. Profits before player trading this year stand at £0.1m, which may not seem a great amount but it is only when a comparison with 12 months ago - when there was a loss of £17m - that it shows how much progress has been made. From being technically insolvent, they are now operating in the black. Finishing fourth in the Premiership brought a greater slice of prize money, while there was greater revenue from live televised games. But the club is also selling more goods in its superstore and the corporate entertainment has provided a significant fillip, too. The profit after player trading shows a staggering turnaround of £38.9m, from a loss of £15.4m to a profit of £23.5m. Of course, that figure includes the transfers of both Wayne Rooney and Thomas Gravesen, to Manchester United and Real Madrid respectively, but chairman Bill Kenwright has been true to his word and handed every penny over to Moyes to invest in strengthening his squad. Another massive turnaround, meanwhile, comes in the area of bank borrowing. The running debt which stood at £47m last year has been slashed to £28m. As delighted, though, as Wyness will be with the performance, he will be desperate to ensure the results are bettered next year.
We're on the way back to our best
Nov 3 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AS THE feel-good factor floods back through the ranks, Phil Neville believes Everton are showing clear signs of rediscovering the secrets of their success. Though it will take more than a victory at troubled Birmingham to suggest that David Moyes' men are out of the woods, there is no doubt that significant steps have been taken in recent weeks. With confidence given a huge lift with the draw against Chelsea, the resilience which was so evident during last year's march to a fourth place finish was certainly evident at St Andrew's. But, ironically, Neville points to last week's Carling Cup defeat against Middlesbrough for proof that the Blues are on their way back. Prodding and probing in search of an equaliser, Everton were never out of the tie until the final whistle. That sort of attitude is something Neville has always equated with Everton teams down the years and, provided the current crop continue in such a committed vein, he feels trouble will be averted. "I sensed that the other night, even against Middlesbrough," said Neville. "We were still in the game right up until the last few minutes. "That has been the strength of this club ever since I've been playing professional football, that right up until the last minute Everton can score one or two goals. It was like the Alamo the other night and that's what we need to maintain. "I think maybe putting the two strikers in there now has put us into that positive frame of mind. It means you can get up the pitch and create a lot more. We are still in a relegation battle, but hopefully now there is light at the end of the tunnel. There's a lot of hard work to do, don't get me wrong. "We're not going to take our foot off the pedal now. We're hoping this is just the start of things to come. The new players are settling in and there seems to be a better feel among the team. "In his pre-match talk the manager asked for everyone to take responsibility. You look round sometimes for other people to lead the way, and against Birmingham it was all about all 11 players and not one individual." So, now that the bar has been raised, the task is to maintain the consistency - but Neville knows Everton will only achieve that when they correct one serious statistic. Having only taken one point from four Premiership home matches this season, it is time to turn Goodison Park back into a fortress - and Neville can see no better place to start than against Middlesbrough this Sunday. "That's what we are aiming for," he said. "When teams come to Goodison Park, they expect to get battered. That's how I felt when I was with Manchester United. "You expected to get battered and can't disappoint the supporters now. We have let ourselves down in a few games and we need to get back to having teams being afraid of coming here. "We have had a disappointing start but there have been many reasons. "There have been new players coming in, injuries, the early start for the Champions League. "Once everything settles down and we get a few more victories, the players come back from injuries and the new players are settled, I'm sure you'll see more consistency in our play."
Vision that Moyes will lead recovery
Nov 3 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ONE of Goodison Park's most revered sons has thrown his full support behind David Moyes to lead Everton away from the Premiership's danger zone. Alex Young, affectionately remembered by Evertonians as The Golden Vision, returned to Merseyside for a reunion dinner with the Blues' 1966 FA Cup-winning team. Scorer of 84 goals in 258 appearances, Young shares a passion for the club similar to the fans who idolised him, but has been worried about Everton's plight. But now that results have picked up, Young is sure the club is heading in the right direction - and is in no doubt that Moyes is the right man to lead the Blues out of trouble. "I was very concerned about things, but after the Chelsea and Birmingham results I feel better, as I'm sure everyone else does," said Young, who also won the League title as well as the FA Cup during his eight-year stint on Merseyside.
"What we want now is three or four wins on the trot and hopefully we will get that. David is working hard and he has proved that he is a fantastic manager. "Everybody should stick by him. He is a hard, gruff Scotsman. That's the way he is. He just wants to get on with it and he'll sort it out. "There was a similar sort of manager when I was playing across the park. Bill Shankly was exactly the same. We want him to get it going and get us right back up in the middle of the table." On a night filled with nostalgia at the Adelphi Hotel, Young caught up with all his old team-mates and rekindled memories of that famous 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley 39 years ago. Mike Trebilcock - scorer of two goals that May Day - made a 12,000 mile journey from Australia to be at the dinner, while Jimmy Gabriel travelled from Seattle. "I had a lovely time here," said Young. "The Liverpool people were fantastic to me and I feel the same about them. I love coming here and am so pleased about them being City of Culture. "It's great to see everyone, especially Mike and Jimmy, who have come such a long way, because it rekindles so many memories of the day." Gabriel added: "It was a tremendous day and it is great to see everyone again now. People say I played well in the Cup Final but the most important thing was that we brought Cup home."
Nov 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
Should David Moyes stick with an attacking line-up? THE likes of West Ham have shown that an attacking team selection can bear fruit, and it was pleasing to see David Moyes name a side at St Andrews obviously set up to win the game. The use of players with the crossing ability of Mikel Arteta and Andy van der Meyde serving two forwards suits the current strike force and makes sense, as neither Beattie nor Ferguson had previously looked comfortable in a 4-5-1 formation. This system should be retained for the foreseeable future as, with the sole exception of Chelsea, the Premiership is nowhere near as good as those selling it would like us to believe. The Goodison crowd has always responded positively to high tempo, aggressive football, as the Chelsea game showed, and there is no reason why the Middlesbrough game should be any different.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
LAST weekend it was great to finally see an Everton team attack. This was the first game where we actually deserved to win and looked good. We are now beginning to see the emergence of our strongest side. It is a side comfortable with playing 4-4-2, players who want to run at the opposition and players who can take people on and shoot from distance. The way we played on Saturday was very positive. Andy van der Meyde is a breath of fresh air. You can see the quality he has and the quality that an Everton side has been missing. Tim Cahill is finally looking like the player we had last season and Simon Davies looks a better central midfielder than right sided player. We must enter the Boro game as we did the Birmingham one.
GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
WE'VE finally woken up from our early season hangover and have decided to start playing football.
It's no coincidence that our last two league results have been good because we've been attacking a lot more in a 4-4-2 system. A lot of teams this season are wise to 4-5-1 and play it themselves so it's hard to break them down unless you have that quality final ball and quality striker. That's why we've not done well. But with Duncan Ferguson and James Beattie up front we can cause a lot of teams problems and get a lot of knock-downs for the midfield runners. And if either gets injured or tired they can be replaced with more willing legs of James McFadden or Marcus Bent. Andy van der Meyde is the winger we've been waiting for and with him and Mikel Arteta throwing in plenty of crosses I can only see us winning more games.
JAMES TYRRELL, Woolton
I'VE been deceived, surely. Are we really off the bottom of the table? So what can this upturn in fortunes be down to? Formation? Maybe, the now popular 4-4-2 has popped up again like a Cliff Richard comeback tour and it seems to have worked in the two most recent games, but I don't believe it's just down to tactics. Maybe the players have woken up to the fact that we might actually be relegated this season and that they had better start doing something about it. David Moyes has to take his share of the blame for the poor start to the season. He has made mistakes and admits to them but it seemed a few players thought they only had to turn up to win. While we'd all like to think that 4-4-2 will be the future, I just hope the commitment and pride shown in the last two league games is repeated.
KEN STEWART, St Helens
Falling giants are no longer United
Nov 3 2005 Sports View with Echo Sports Editor John Thompson
IF LIVERPOOL and Everton have each been through a socalled crisis this season, then what do you call what is going on at Manchester United? Rather funny, might come the reply from many Scouse football fans. You can certainly bet not too many around these parts are shedding tears over the turmoil at Old Trafford. Crisis is an increasingly over-used word in football, one more rooted in hype than in reality. But it's entirely possible that United actually are in a genuine, self-destructing crisis.
Firstly, they undoubtedly have problems on the pitch. Too many of the rocks upon which Sir Alex Ferguson built his team are crumbling. They are either gone, going or ageing fast. And a certain young lad from Croxteth apart, they do not seem to be replacing them with play-ers fit to lace the boots of those who actually started living up to the club's billing in the 90s. Off it, too, the vital signs are all on a state of alert. Not only have United's new American owners heaped a massive debt on the club, United has at its helm a manager over whom there are now real concerns. Foremost among those worries must be Ferguson's willingness to face the music. The Scot is the one manager who, after a match, refuses to enter the press room to meet print journalists. He does his talking on TV and that's usually about it. That's his choice. But after the humiliation at Middlesbrough on Saturday night, he avoided the TV spotlight and sent his number two out to pick up the pieces.
That was, at best, a blundering PR move. At worst, it looked cowardly. I recall speaking last year to one Premiership assistant manager who was talking privately about how he enjoyed working with his boss. This No 2 impressed upon me that the manager would never send him to meet the media when the team had been beaten. This particular boss insisted it was his duty to face and take the flak, not the responsibility of his under-study. Ferguson did not do that at the Riverside Stadium, putting Carlos Queiroz on the platform and sending surely the biggest signal yet he is now struggling to cope with the decline of his empire. Add to this the fact that Ferguson's captain, Roy Keane, has been openly berating the new players Ferguson has bought, getting himself gagged for it, and it tells us all one thing: If supporters at either Liverpool or Everton think this season has been troubled, then things could be much, much worse. For all the rivalry between Merseyside and Manchester, it's hard not to ackowledge Ferguson as a man who, after all the barren years of the 70s and 80s, put some significant silverware back into the Old Trafford trophy cabinet. As a top manager and a football man to the core, Ferguson can hold his head up high. However, it's a pity he can't hold it up in front of the media when his team have been trounced.
Everton power struggle resumes
Nov 4 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Andy Kelly, Daily Post
BILL KENWRIGHT has launched a bid to buy out his main shareholding rival at Everton, Paul Gregg.
The Goodison chairman is desperate to find the funds to facilitate the departure of his boardroom rival from the club. Sources close to Mr Kenwright last night told the Daily Post that he had already made an offer to buy Gregg's 30% stake in the club. The source said: "Five months ago, Bill put an offer on the table which was basically around £5m up front, with the rest of the £7m coming within 12 months. "But because we were then fourth in the Premiership and qualifiers for the Champions League, Mr Gregg felt that it was not enough. "He said he wanted a return on his investment and sums in the region of £10m were mentioned but Bill couldn't raise it and frankly it wasn't worth that money." Mr Kenwright's camp now believe that Everton's poor start to the season has made Mr Gregg prepared to accept an offer which merely returns the £7m stake he took in the club through the now-dissolved True Blue Holdings. The club is already out of the money-spinning Champions League, the UEFA Cup and the Carling Cup Ironically, though, that poor start to the season is also impeding Mr Kenwright as he attempts to raise the cash to add to his 33% stake in his beloved Everton. The source said: "Basically the money which was on the table at the end of the season is no longer there. "People are not so keen to lend money to invest in the club because of the poor start and being knocked out of the Champions League and the other competitions. "So now, at the very time when Gregg is ready to sell his shares, Bill is struggling to come up with the cash." Oxford-based entertainment magnate Gregg, whose family fortune is estimated at around £127m by the Sunday Times Rich List, was involved in a bitter power battle with Mr Kenwright at Goodison in the summer of 2004. Mr Gregg was unavailable to comment last night.
Fans' warning after record results
By Richard Williamson, Daily Post
Nov 4 2005
EVERTON'S charge up the Premiership table that earned them a place in the Champions League has been reflected in the club's best set of financial results. Fourth place in the league last season brought with it extra financial rewards in terms of prize money, TV revenues and an off-field sales bonanza. That resulted in the club being able to report a substantial rise in turnover of 34%, up from £44.7million last year to a record high of £60m. The growth in turnover was mostly accounted for by an increase in broadcasting revenues, which were £29.5m, compared £20.7m in 2004. Gate money was 18.7m, which compares to £15.6m for the previous year, sponsorship raised £4.2m - up from £2.5m - while replica kit sales and merchandising generated £5.4m, up from £3.4m the previous year. The club appears to have eliminated its long-standing overdraft, with the accounts showing the club to be in the black to the tune of £8.7m. It had £3.6m cash last year. And the club's annual wage bill has fallen from £33.2m to £30.8m over the year, a sizeable reduction as a proportion of turnover from 74% to 51%. Chief executive Keith Wyness had pledged that he would improve the running of the club to ensure more money was available to help the team on the pitch. A shake-up of the retail side of the club played its part in a set of figures that will be presented to shareholders at the AGM on November 24 and will show a £17m deficit 12 months previously being turned into a £100,000 profit. The profit after transfers shows a leap from a loss of £15.4m to a plus of £23.5m. This includes revenue from the sales of Wayne Rooney and Thomas Gravesen. The club has also made a major reduction in its debt levels - down from £47m to £28m. Nick Williams, a member of the Everton Shareholders Association, welcomed the turnaround in fortunes, but warned that the club now needed to sustain the improvement. "These are a good set of results but need to be tempered by the money spent in the summer, the fact that we fell out of two European competitions so quickly and that it does not look like we will repeat our fourth place of last year," he said.. "Supporters will be pleased that the debt, for example, has been reduced but will want to know whether there is money left to be spent in the January transfer window, which can be used to help the team in the second half of the season. "If we need to bring in one or two players will that push is back into the position we were before? The accounts have been precarious in the past but supporters will be hoping the improvement is sustainable, and not just the result of one successful season in the league. "It is good for the club that the team created the wealth by doing well on the pitch, but a worry that if they do not do as well this year we will see an impact in the next set of accounts. A couple of games, a couple of bad decisions, a couple of injuries can make such a difference. "Everton still need investment but that should be from the fans, either through a share issue or fans trust, rather than some mysterious body of European investors. "There are still issues to be addressed by the club like the stadium, ticketing distribution and the fights fiasco. You hope the lessons will have been learnt." Meanwhile chairman Bill Kenwright has used the club's annual report to reiterate his support for manager David Moyes. Kenwright said: "David has been fully supported by his board of directors - and that unswerving support will continue because if we are to build something of substance and meaning upon the foundations he and his players have now laid in place, it is imperative that he enjoys the unqualified backing of not only the team on the pitch but also the one away from it."
Victory over Boro would smell sweet
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 4 2005
EVERTON'S recent form guide was displaying more capital Ls than the British School of Motoring until the last fortnight or so, and then all of a sudden we took an unexpected point off Chelsea and then - wonders will never cease - all three from Birmingham City. The players decided to reward the fans for their support by throwing their shirts into the crowd at St Andrews, but there was really no need. A spirited performance is all the supporters ever ask for, and that along with the win meant far more than any amount of sweaty, silver, man-made fabric. Obviously Simon Davies won the game for the Toffees, but it was Andy van der Meyde who caught the eye. Even the little we've seen so far of this Dutchman indicates that he should make a bigger impact at Goodison than the last of his countrymen we signed - the one and only Ray Atteveld. Van der Meyde is still obviously some way of short of match fitness, so it might be a while before we see him at his dynamic best, but even so, just his basic ability to find space and control and pass the ball mean that the Everton midfield looks far better with him included. We shouldn't get too carried away though, because as delighted as we all are with the win, Birmingham are far from the toughest opponents we will face this season. Indeed, Middlesbrough, our conquerors in the Carling Cup last week, will certainly pose a sterner test on Sunday. The 'Smoggies' are gloriously inconsistent though, and it wouldn't be at all out of character for them to turn up at Goodison and stink the place out in the wake of that famous mauling they handed to Manchester United in front of a chortling nation last Sunday. Everton, for their part, need to do against Boro what they did against United at the start of this year, when they surrendered somewhat meekly at home in the FA Cup and then steamrollered them at Goodison in the league return. A few weeks ago that just didn't look possible, as the team looked set to drift towards oblivion without a struggle, but whatever was said during the recent clear-the-air talks seems to be doing the trick, for the time being at least. Only Marcus Bent seems to have not liked what was said, judging by his axing from the squad for the Birmingham game. Hopefully, along with the rest of the squad, he will prove his doubters wrong.
Nov 4 2005
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
SOME good news behind the scenes for a change at Everton! Well done Keith Wyness! Reducing the debt from £47million to £28m is incredible. Credit where credit is due. Keep it up, and push on with things like the stadium and training facilities and we will stay in the Deloitte and Touche 20 clubs in the world year on year. I am delighted with the news. Gary Blewitt (via e-mail)
Keen on Keane
WE HAVE all seen the news from Tottenham saying a player clear-out is on the way. Fingers crossed for Robbie Keane for Goodison.
Harry King (via e-mail)
LET'S get behind the team and manager David Moyes. The tide is turning. Moyes has bought well to a squad that was in dire need of some good, young additions. Tim Cahill has yet to hit top form but he will, together with James Beattie.
Mike Threlfall (via e-mail)
Change of luck
I HAVE been disappointed with the way Everton have been playing, but with the injuries they have suffered David Moyes and his troops have suffered like the rest of us. Even though we did not play that well against Birmingham we found some luck, for a change. Now that the squad is starting to put some good things together, we can only hope for better performances. Let's not forget that we did not do a great deal towards the latter end of last season and were lucky that the sides chasing us were not much better. Moyes has bought as wisely as he could and with a couple of wins under our belts we could soon be mixing it with teams higher up the table.
Gary Griffiths (via e-mail)
Out of luck
GREAT three points at Birmingham, but another awful performance. Don't get me wrong, the result has lifted me but bad goalkeeping and bad luck on their part kept them out of the points.
Barry Roberts (via e-mail)
JAMES Vaughan coming back to fitness - what excellent news. I hope he is fit for a return to the Premiership soon. I believe he would pair well with either James Beattie or Duncan Ferguson.
Phil Neville should captain the side from left-back, Per Kroldrup should come into the middle instead of David Weir, while Cahill, Davies, Arteta and VDM make up the midfield.
It has the makings of a good side.
Roger Evans, North Wales
Arteta given a licence to roam
Nov 4 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has stepped up his preparations for Everton's weekend clash with Middlesbrough - and hinted he will give Mikael Arteta the licence to roam. The Blues midfielder has been a revelation since being switched to the right side of midfield, his quality of crosses being gratefully received by frontmen James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson. Supporters may have been surprised with the way Arteta has filled that role but Moyes had no doubt the Spaniard was capable of filling a number of positions in the engine room. However, the Blues boss believes Arteta may revel further by drifting in and out of positions to wreak havoc in the opposition ranks. "I may chop and change," Moyes said today. "I may play Mikael on the left as well. "Sometimes I am happy to play him as a midfielder that drifts out wide because of the quality of his delivery. "The biggest thing with Mikael is that he has only 23 and we know that there is great potential there." Arteta has been one of the shining lights in Everton's season and Moyes is keeping his fingers crossed that he will maintain the lofty standards he set himself against Boro on Sunday. Moyes added: "He will go up and down because he is a young player and still relatively new to the Premier League. "He is one of the positive things we have been able to take from this run. We know he is creative on the ball and he has one or two strings to his bow. "we will keep using him wherever we feel it is best."
* Everton today officially joined forces with the Ontario Soccer Association to launch an exciting initiative, 'Play Soccer', that will not only generate new income but also aid the club in the search for fresh young talent. Chief executive Keith Wyness is currently in Canada, where he has been finalising formal links with the OSA that will boost Everton as a global brand.
Scared of Yakubu? he should be scared of me!
Nov 4 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Domimic King, Liverpool Echo
THE prospect of an impending tussle with one of the Premiership's in-form strikers would be enough to ensure sleepless nights for certain central defenders. Not Joseph Yobo. Fresh from his man-of-the-match performance in last Saturday's victory at Birmingham, Everton's Nigerian international defender will be asked to keep the shackles on friend and compatriot Ayegbeni Yakubu when Middlesbrough travel to Goodison Park on Sunday. With seven goals in his last 11 appearances, including one in Boro's UEFA Cup win over Dnipro last night, Yakubu has made an immediate impact at the Riverside following his summer move from Portsmouth. Strong, quick and with a shooting ability that suggests he has dynamite in his boots, he represents a huge threat to Everton's ambitions of taking three points at home for the first time this season. Having spent countless hours chasing him around the training pitches at international get togethers, Yobo needs no reminding of the rabbits the purposeful, powerful Yakubu is adept at pulling out of his hat from nothing.
But is he worrying? No chance. While he knows Boro's £7.5m man will be out to give him a torrid time, Yobo - with a mischievous glint in his eye - believes Yakubu will be sweating just as much, if not more, going into the contest. "He's a good player and he's a handful," said Yobo. "But if you ask him, he knows what I'm all about. He knows what he's coming up against! I won't be speaking to him until just before the game and I'm looking forward to seeing him. "But this is very serious and there will be no messing about. He's my mate in the national team but I'm going to give it my all to get three points. "He's a good player. He's strong and quick. But I know how to play him and he won't fancy it!" If David Moyes' men are to continue their recent revival, Yobo - not to mention the rest of his team-mates - will have to maintain the standards they set for themselves during that confidence boosting win at St Andrews. Slowly but surely, Everton can see light at the end of the tunnel now key play-ers have returned to full fitness and the squad has a much healthier look about it. There is, however, still plenty of work to be done. That said, the mood at Bellefield has lifted considerably in the past few days, the psychological boost of not being at the bottom of the Premiership pile spreading infectiously through the ranks. "We got a result against Chelsea and then another one against Birmingham, which was a very difficult game away from home," added Yobo. "The mood is very good and we have a lot of confidence now. "Now we are just hoping to go on a little run and we are all looking forward to the next game. It wasn't just a few players performing in those games. It was everyone. Now we have got two good results and we need to build on that. "It's a big relief to be off the bottom of the table. Everton is a big football club and we have got good players. We shouldn't really be in the position that we are in at the minute. We need to put it right. "But we are off the bottom and we are moving in the right direction. When I looked at the table, and all my family and friends did, we all felt the same - very frustrated. I'm happy now that we have improved."
The improvement, though, cannot stop. Indeed, Everton may have to comfortably surpass their display at Birmingham if they are to beat a Boro side that has scored seven times in two matches and already boasts a Carling Cup verdict over the Blues. It represents impressive form and Yobo is respectful with regards to the credentials of Steve McLaren's men but with the talent that Moyes has at his disposal, the former Marseille man is confident Everton will prove formidable opposition.
"I saw the table a few times and matched it up with the players that we have got here and it just didn't seem right," said Yobo. "But that's football and anything can happen. We all believed we wouldn't be there for a long time. "But we are still in the relegation zone and we need to get a few wins to get away. We have got lots of good players. Some are coming back from injury now and we are looking at the games coming up in a better frame of mind. "We know that if we can squeeze out a few good results it will lift us. Then we can hopefully start looking towards the middle of the table.
"We are just working very hard and taking each game as it comes. "Every game is a lot bigger now and we have got to make sure that we give it our all. The last game against Middlesbrough was a Cup tie and that will not have any bearing on this one. "We now have to show how good we are. It is going to be a tough game. We know that. But we have got an advantage because we are playing at home. We will give our all and hopefully that will be enough to give us the three points."
New Canadian link-up can widen Everton profile
Nov 5 2005
EVERTON'S quest to widen the profile of the club around the world has seen a new link-up announced in Canada. The Premiership club has officially joined forces with the Ontario Soccer Association and will be providing its coaching expertise to the organisation, which will both help raise revenues and identify potential future players. Chief executive Keith Wyness is in Canada finalising the initiative, which is called 'Play Soccer', and is hoping that the idea could be extended to other countries. Wyness said: "Everton was selected from a number of top clubs and we are delighted to be involved. We will be looking at a commercial agreement whereby we tie in with the Ontario Soccer Association allowing us both to profit from new revenue streams. "We will also be working on another commercial programme to train their coaches, which will be the first step in our bigger plan of commercialising the academy set-up at the club. "There is the option of working alongside them to try and identify new young talent. We recently hosted one young hopeful at our Netherton training complex." There are more than 438,000 players in the province, 30,000 coaches and 14,000 volunteers with the 'Play Soccer' project aimed at increasing these figures. Wyness added: "We plan to send our younger teams out to Canada. There is also the possibility of bringing out the first to Canada in the future."
Moyes keen for a return to home comforts of the past
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 5 2005
DAVID MOYES is hoping charity can begin at home for Everton this weekend. Their Premiership success last season was forged on a formidable record at Goodison, with Manchester United and Liverpool among many to be vanquished. This campaign, however, things have been somewhat different. United avenged their previous defeat with an opening-day success, but it was the sight of both Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic leaving with three points that gave greater cause for concern.
Everton have not recorded a league victory on Merseyside since May, although the home draw with Chelsea a fortnight ago was a hugely encouraging step forward. Now Moyes has called on his players to start rebuilding Fortress Goodison - starting with the visit of Middlesbrough tomorrow afternoon. "Goodison has always been really productive for us," says the Everton manager. "It's always been a hard place for other teams to come to, and there have been games this season - such as Chelsea, Dinamo Bucharest and even Villarreal and Manchester United - where the support has helped us.. "In the Premiership, the home record is always vital. If you are ever going to be successful, you need to win your home games. We need to get our home form sorted." It is a viewpoint echoed by Simon Davies, who watched admirably from afar as a Tottenham Hotspur player last season as teams visibly cowered on visiting Goodison. "We have got a home game against Middlesbrough next and we have to maintain our form," says the Welshman. "I wasn't here last season but was very impressed by the amount of home points Everton picked up in that campaign. Not many people went to Goodison and got anything. Now we have got to get back to that kind of form and be strong at home and we want to start this Sunday." As is so often the case in football, the margin between success and failure has been slight for Everton at home this season. And while loathe to lament his team's fortune, Moyes insists the rub of the green has been against them at home this season. "I've tried not to use the word luck, but you do require it and you have to make sure you go about earning it," he says. "At Goodison we've relied on being powerful and making it difficult for teams to come to. We did that against Chelsea, and I think there have been a few other home games this season where if we had that little bit of luck we'd have done the same. "I'm thinking about Portsmouth and Wigan, both games where we lost 1-0 but we easily could have finished the game talking about an Everton 1-0 win. But that hasn't been the case and we have to make sure that we get back to being more convincing at home." Tomorrow's opponents Middlesbrough have already won at Good-ison this season, having triumphed through Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's strike in the Carling Cup last month. Fresh from subsequent victories over Manchester United in the Premiership and Dnipro in the UEFA Cup, the Teessiders come into the game in their best form of the season. And Moyes admits: "I thought that Middlesbrough played well against us the other week. I was disappointed that we didn't get through, but they did quite well and are coming in to a bit of form. It's a tough game. "They've changed the way they have played in recent weeks, playing three at the back and using wing-backs. They have people who are now scoring goals and they are a threat. We had a lot of the play that night but they still created their own chances and have a good balance to their side." Everton, too, have altered their style of play in recent weeks, as evidenced in last weekend's win at Birmingham City where the line-up bristled with attacking intent. Moyes is likely to keep faith in that team, with the long-term absence of Lee Carsley encouraging the Scot to experiment with more offensive tactics. "We've probably played most of the games with two up front this season," says Moyes,, with James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson set to continue in attack. "We've played a different system than last season, where we played 4-5-1 but this season we've done things differently." The belated emergence of Andy van der Meyde has boosted Moyes's forward options. The Dutch international made his delayed debut as a substitute in the Carling Cup defeat to Middlesbrough 10 days ago, and followed up with an impressive first start at St Andrews last Saturday. His wing play has brought a genuine alternative to the Goodison squad, a point that has not been lost on his manager - or his team--mates. "Van der Meyde is a pure wing-er," says Moyes.. "We can use him on the right and the left depending on where we see fit, but at the moment he has given us something new. The players can see there is a talent there. "My biggest concern now is to build up his fitness. It was only his first start last week and they can be played on adrenalin, but now we need to make sure he can do that regularly. It might take us another month to get him right but he's done well enough in the games he's played in already. "He is happy to be out wide. A lot of wide players these days want to be central midfielders or centre forwards, but all Andy wants to be is a winger and take people on and get crosses in. Hope-fully that can give us width. In the last game we had something like 35 crosses, so it is helping us in that respect and hopefully we can get a few more goals from it." Moyes adds: "We were cautious with his injury and made sure we took time to get him right. He's beginning to get better now and I've seen signs he is getting sharper and fitter. "The injury was a concern, but for his price and his age, I thought he was good value. It can take time for players to settle in, but he has settled in quickly and is a great character to have around the place. He has been likened a bit to Tommy Gravesen, so people can make their own mind up about what that means! "I just hope that we don't build him up too soon so that too much is expected of him. But he has made a good start."
Beattie: I'll repay fan faith
Nov 7 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MATCHWINNER James Beattie today dedicated his goal against Middlesbrough to his Everton team-mates and supporters for sticking by him through troubled times. The former England international was one of the Blues' top performers at Goodison Park yesterday and has now scored twice in his last three games following his return from an injury lay-off. Since joining Everton for a club record £6m in January, Beattie has endured a well documented catalogue of woes and some fans have taken a sceptical view about him. Beattie, though, has responded to his critics admirably in recent weeks, but knows the only way he will keep the detractors at bay is by recapturing the form he showed consistently for Southampton. "I feel I owe the supporters something because they have shown me so much tremendous support, as has everyone at the club," said Beattie, Everton's leading scorer this season. "The lads, the gaffer, I owe everyone and hopefully this goal can go some way to paying them back. A couple of fans ask me if I could get a goal for them and my celebration was saying 'is that okay?'" While Beattie hopes he can now go on a lengthy scoring run, he believes Everton can now start to put together a run of results that will haul them away from the drop zone once and for all. The victory was also Everton's first at home in the Premiership this season, stretching their unbeaten run to three games, and the 27-year-old feels it is important to make Goodison the fortress it has been in previous years. We have been working hard in training and saying that we need to get back to what we were doing last season," he added. "That is working hard for each other, going back to basics really and that is what we did against Middlesbrough. We closed them down and made it hard for them to play against us. "We needed to put on a show for the home fans and maintain the momentum we have gathered in the last couple of weeks. I thought everyone did that well. "It was a great result to carry on our recent form and to do it in front of our fans is tremendous because no-one likes to lose or play badly at home. "We need to make this place a fortress. "We did not want to lose any more and just gave it one more massive effort to try and get on a winning streak. "Losing can become a habit, a terrible habit, but so too can winning and hopefully we have found the winning habit again."
Everton 1, Middlesbrough 0 (D,Post)
Nov 7 2005 By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
GOODISON. One-nil. Job done. Normal service has at last been resumed for Everton. Their long wait for a home Premiership victory was brought to an end in characteristic fashion as David Moyes's side edged ahead, dug deep and eventually prevailed against Middlesbrough yesterday. In the corresponding fixture last September, victory propelled Everton into a Champions League place they would go on to retain for the remainder of the season. Goodison ambition may not be quite so lofty at present, but yesterday's three points were no less welcome as Moyes's side moved out of the relegation zone and avenged Carling Cup defeat to the Teessiders 11 days earlier. That's seven points out of nine now for Everton, having garnered just three from a possible opening 24, and lifts them clear of the relegation zone into comparative safety. Crisis, what crisis? Not that anyone is saying Moyes's men are out of danger just yet, of course. But having responded to their manager's call not to waste the momentum gathered by the encouraging home draw with Chelsea and last week-end's valuable triumph at struggling Birmingham City, Everton are now showing genuine signs of a revival. Central to that is the resurrection of James Beattie. The striker has been, by his own admission, a disappointment since his record-breaking £6million arrival from Southampton in January, injuries, suspension and a loss of form blighting his attempts to forge a successful Everton career. His penalty against Chelsea a fortnight ago has proven a much-needed catalyst, as evidenced by his performance yesterday. Involved from first to last, he made a nuisance of himself in attack, chased back in defence, harassed, harangued and was rewarded with one goal and could have had at least another. This is why Moyes bought Beattie. The challenge now is for the player to replicate such form on a consistent basis. The emergence of Andy van der Meyde could well be key to the striker's continued renaissance. Everton were forced to wait an age for the winger to make his bow as he recovered from a groin injury; now he seems intent on making up for lost time. Instrumental at St Andrews, van der Meyde was no less impressive yesterday on his first Goodison start, his dangerous deliveries from either flank causing consternation among the Middlesbrough defence and giving both Beattie and Duncan Ferguson the ideal service and Everton's midfield the type of creativity they have so obviously lacked in recent times. It was from one such sublime cross that Beattie headed the home side's winner, van der Meyde's delivery laced with a pace and precision that cried out for the striker to apply the finishing touch past Middlesbrough goal-keeper Mark Schwarzer at the near post. The manner in which the Dutchman faded in the second half suggests it will understandably be some time before he regains full match fitness. But if he continues this encouraging start to his Goodison career, it will be difficult for Moyes to keep a lid on the bubbling expectation among supporters. The relief among those fans at the final whistle was tangible as Middlesbrough rallied in the final moments, and it is fair to say Everton have played better and lost this season. Graft as much as craft secured this win. Middlesbrough dominated possession for long periods but a combination of a poor final ball, feisty home tackling and excellent defending meant Everton recorded successive clean sheets for the first time in almost seven months. Joseph Yobo again impressed in shackling fellow Nigerian Yakubu and such determination and resolve was present throughout the team, from the bustling Beattie in attack right through to evergreen Nigel Martyn in goal. Mikel Arteta continues to flourish down the right - his pace a surprisingly effective asset - although the pairing of Tim Cahill and Simon Davies in central midfield was broken up prematurely with the latter forced off with a hamstring injury in the second half that will keep him out of Wales's friendly international with Cyprus next week. Middlesbrough had lost only once in their seven previous games on their travels, and while Steve McClaren claimed the best team had been beaten, Everton's indomitable spirit earned a deserved triumph. Moyes unsurprisingly opted to keep faith in the side that won at Birmingham last week, with the only change seeing Marcus Bent replace Leon Osman on the substitutes' bench.. Middlesbrough sported three changes from the side that defeated Everton last midweek. Buoyed by last weekend's demolition of Manchester United and a midweek UEFA Cup triumph, the visitors started brightly and fashioned the first chance in the second minute when Gaizka Mendieta dragged a shot into the side-netting from inside the area after Phil Neville miscued an attempted clearance.In an expansive opening from both sides, signs of Beattie's burgeoning confidence were evident when he attempted a spectacular effort from 35 yards that was deflected wide for a corner. And on 16 minutes, the striker went one better with a goal that showcased why Moyes was keen to take a gamble on van der Meyde and how Beattie can thrive on proper service.A short corner routine on the left between the Dutchman and Neville saw the winger whip a fantastic cross in to the near post where Beattie thundered a towering header past Schwarzer.It may have been slightly against the run of play, but there was no doubting the quality of the goal or the quality of the delivery.Middlesbrough, neat and tidy, enjoyed plenty of possession around the Everton area but their only real threat came on 27 minutes when Mendieta's incisive pass gave Yakubu a run on goal only for Nigel Martyn to save bravely at the Nigerian's feet.Tony Hibbert had earned himself an earful from his manager on the touchline after some sloppy distribution, and it brought an immediate response from the right-back as he crossed from the right for Beattie to head just over.Having failed to capitalise on their territorial advantage, Middlesbrough were sent out early for the second half by McClaren. The pattern of the match, however, remained unchanged, with Everton confidently containing the visiting attack and looking to break at every opportunity while making the most of set-pieces.Arteta saw his dangerous cross scrambled clear by a combination of Ugo Ehiogu and Schwarzer at the near post before the subdued Ferguson sprung into life with a header that was held by the Middlesbrough goalkeeper.Such was Everton's strangle-hold on proceedings that, for all their probing, Middlesbrough were reduced to firing speculative shots from range at Martyn.Moyes reverted to the trusty 4-5-1 formation for the final quarter of an hour and the game should have been safe on 81 minutes when a sweeping move between substitutes Marcus Bent and James McFadden gave Beattie a clear shooting chance that he rattled against the crossbar.Everton, though, were grateful for the woodwork in the final minute when, during a frantic final hurrah from the visitors, Franck Queudrue stuck the bar with a header from Mendieta's corner. A few weeks ago, that effort might well have hit the woodwork and bounced in. Fortune, however, seems to have now turned in favour of Moyes's side.Now Everton can start thinking about looking up the table rather than down.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; Arteta, Cahill, Davies (Kilbane 56), van der Meyde (McFadden 69); Ferguson (Bent 76), Beattie. Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
BOOKINGS: Neville, van der Meyde (both fouls).
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Parnaby, Ehiogu, Riggott, Queudrue; Mendieta, Rochemback (Morrison 76), Boateng, Pogatetz; Yakubu (Viduka 55), Hasselbaink. Subs: Jones, Bates, Doriva.
BOOKING: Rochemback (foul).
REFEREE: Mike Riley
NEXT GAME: West Bromwich Albion v Everton, Premiership, Saturday, November 19, 3pm
Everton 1, Middlesbrough 0 (Echo)
By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Nov 7 2005
0Share ANOTHER win, another clean sheet and out of the relegation zone, Everton's autumnal renaissance continues to gather pace. Having endured what can only be described as a farcical opening to a campaign which promised so much, finally David Moyes' men have rediscovered the recipe for success that served them so well last season. Out of the darkness comes light. Defensively solid, each player giving their all and clinically taking the one chance that came their way, Everton are growing in confidence. A few more displays like this in the coming weeks will ensure talk of relegation is banished for good. True, this latest victory against Middlesbrough was not one for the purists but that won't matter a jot to Moyes, who will head into the international break in a much better frame of mind. But perhaps it is no surprise that the Blues' revival has coincided with the return to full fitness after a groin injury of the impish Andy van der Meyde, the Holland international giving a lift to teammates and supporters alike. Shortly after van der Meyde arrived at Goodison Park in the summer, following a wretched spell with Inter Milan, he was asked what everyone could expect from him. "A lot of nice crosses and hopefully some goals," came the confident reply. It is proving to be no empty promise. He may be waiting to open his scoring account but he can now claim to have two assists in two matches, outstanding the only way to describe his cross for James Beattie's winning goal yesterday. Whipped in at the perfect height with plenty of pace, it was the kind of ball that has forwards drooling and leaves defenders despairing. If he keeps providing such service, Beattie and Duncan Ferguson could be in for a profitable time. Wisely, Moyes has warned not to expect too much, too soon from van der Meyde, given he is still short of peak condition and learning about the rat-a-tat-tat pace of the Premiership. It is clear to see, however, that he harbours an immense talent. All of a sudden, Everton have a player capable of producing something out of the ordinary, the spark of magic that can change the tide of a game. It happened yesterday and is likely to happen on numerous occasions in the future. When he was replaced by James McFadden on 68 minutes, fatigue having nullified his threat, van der Meyde left the pitch to a standing ovation. Goodison Park seems to have found its new darling. Beattie's goal certainly came at the right time. Lacking the energy and urgency so evident in the recent performances against Chelsea and Birmingham, the Blues were lethargic in the opening exchanges and afforded Middlesbrough too much respect. With the outstanding Gaizka Mendieta oozing class and cunning, this gifted Spaniard dictating the tempo of play, Boro enjoyed plenty of time and space in dangerous positions. Everton were hemmed in. Standing in his technical area, frantically gesticulating at his defence and midfield to 'get forward', the scowl on Moyes' face showed he was anything but happy with the way his team had started. Thankful-ly, it soon changed. It needed to. Although Middlesbrough enjoyed their share of possession, they were guilty of over-elaboration and Everton's tackling had a bite to it. Mendieta and Ayegbeni Yakubu both felt the force of hefty challenges from Tim Cahill and Joseph Yobo respectively. It was that type of game. Moments of genuine skill were all too brief as defences dominated. Other than the goal, there wasn't a great deal for the home supporters to get excited about and the atmosphere was unsurprisingly flat. They came to life towards the end, though, as Everton tried to kill the game with a second goal. Beattie came close to sealing the deal but was left frustrated as he struck the bar after being picked out by McFadden. That was the move of the match, Everton zipping the ball at pace through Middlesbrough's statuesque midfield, Mikel Arteta, Cahill and Bent all involved at some point or another. Cahill then went close with a vicious drive from distance before nerves were stretched to the limit when Franck Queudrue rattled Nigel Martyn's crossbar with a booming header. He may have had his detractors in recent months, as injury left him nothing but a helpless spectator, but Beattie deserves significant praise for his efforts. His confidence rising by the week, this was much more like it. The former England international had nothing left to give at the final whistle. So long as he keeps running himself to a standstill while wearing the Blue shirt, he won't go far wrong. Two goals in three games has been the perfect way to silence his detractors. Similar sentiments apply to Everton. Now they have won at home for the first time this season, they can start to think about making significant progress up the table and getting themselves out of the traffic jam at the bottom. Given that Wigan and West Ham - two clubs who were tipped to go straight back down after winning promotion - have done so well, it looks very much like a 'big' club will get relegated next May. On current form, though, Everton will have no worries and a glance at the fixture list shows that there is an opportunity to put real distance between themselves and the stragglers in the coming weeks.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; Arteta, Cahill, Davies (Kilbane 56), van der Meyde (McFadden 69); Ferguson (Bent 76), Beattie. Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
BOOKINGS: Neville, van der Meyde (both fouls).
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Parnaby, Ehiogu, Riggott, Queudrue; Mendieta, Rochemback (Morrison 76), Boateng, Pogatetz; Yakubu (Viduka 55), Hasselbaink. Subs: Jones, Bates, Doriva.
BOOKING: Rochemback (foul).
REFEREE: Mike Riley
Andy the sparkler to light up Blues
Nov 7 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES hailed the work ethic of his Everton players as they ran themselves into the ground to secure a first Premiership home win of the season against Middlesbrough. In the build-up to yesterday's game, the Everton manager had made it clear he wanted a return to the ethos of last season and urged his squad to show the same levels of commitment that helped secure a top four finish. He got the response he had been looking for, as James Beattie's first half header was enough to give the Blues maximum points, with the result ensuring Everton no longer occupy a place in the relegation zone. "We were pleased with the result and the way the game went," he said. "Middlesbrough are in good form at the moment and we must not take that away from them. Maybe the midweek game they had caught up with them a little bit. I would never encourage a team of individuals. I want to encourage a good team spirit, a good work ethic about the place. I think we need to get back to that. That would be the first stepping stone to get ourselves out of the position we are in. "I want the team to work hard for each other and I thought we had that in abundance against Middlesbrough. Players covered for each other when someone mis-timed a tackle or got caught out of position." While Moyes was thrilled with the endeavour and application shown by his team, he was equally pleased with the impact of Andy van der Meyde, who showed more than enough glimpses of class during his time on the pitch. Though he was substituted midway through the second half, after running out of gas, the Holland international created Beattie's winning goal with a marvellous cross and looks well on the way to becoming a crowd favourite.
"I wouldn't have cared who scored, so long as we did," said Moyes. "The win was important, the goal was needed and maybe at the end, when we had weathered a good part of the storm, maybe we should have got that second goal. Getting those results at home this season has been difficult. We didn't start at a great tempo but once we had the goal, we had something we could hang on to.
"But Andy did some sparkling things. He put the ball in for the goal and sometimes that is the difference. He put in two or three crosses that were a real threat. But he was blown after 60 minutes and couldn't give anymore." Having managed to string together a run of three unbeaten games, keeping two clean sheets in the process, Moyes is hopeful that Everton are well on the way to banishing memories of a catastrophic start to the campaign. The Blues boss, however, will not be taking his foot off the pedal for a second, as he knows that it only takes one slight mistake to see all the good work unravel, hence the reason he will not comment on suggestions Everton have 'turned the corner'. "I'd like to think we have but I wouldn't be daft enough to come out and say it," he continued. "I would like us to win more games. I had hoped that we wouldn't be in this position in the first place, but we are. "But we have taken seven points out of nine and that is good mileage. We are going to have to do a lot more seven from nines in the coming weeks. There were times, though, when I was frustrated with some of our play." "I was looking for it to be better, but we won a few games in a similar style last season." Moyes will now reluctantly lose a number of his squad to international commitments, but one man who will remain at Bellefield is Simon Davies. The midfielder damaged his hamstring yesterday, ruling him out of Wales' friendly with Cyprus.
West Brom Res 1, Everton Res 3
Nov 8 2005
0ShareEVERTON'S RESERVES brought their five match wait for a victory to an end in emphatic fashion at Aggborough. Andy Holden called upon first-team players Leon Osman and Per Kroldrup for the match against West Brom and both netted. For Kroldrup, it was his first goal in an Everton jersey as he continues to work his way back to full fitness. With young striker Paul Hopkins adding the third early in the second half, it proved a hugely successful night for the Blues who could have had even more goals. By contrast, a more experienced Albion side that included the likes of Darren Moore, Robert Earnshaw and Ricci Scimeca had to settle for a late consolation from former Birmingham midfielder Darren Carter. Holden's men got off to a dream start, taking a two-goal lead within the opening 22 minutes. Kroldrup netted the opener on 14 minutes. A corner from Christian Seargeant found its way to Kroldrup whose first touch looped the ball away from Russell Hoult and his second prodded the ball into the net from an acute angle. Eight minutes later Osman was on hand to beat Hoult, diving in at the back post to guide a header into the net. Everton didn't have to wait long for number three. It came five minutes after the restart, with Hopkins smashing the ball in from close range after connecting with an intelligent low cross from the right by Stephen Wynne. Albion grabbed a consolation when Darren Carter's free-kick evaded the unsighted Iain Turner.
EVERTON: Turner; Wynne, Hughes, Kroldrup, Boyle; Seargeant, Harris, Osman, Wilson; Hopkins, Anichebe. Not used: Jones, Wright, Kissock, Phelan, Vidarsson.
WBA: Hoult; Hodgkiss, Moore (Forsyth 68), Gaardsoe, Baker; Scimeca; R Davies (Smikle 62), Chaplow; Carter; Elvins, Earnshaw (S Nicholson 68). Not used: Daniels, Sissoko.
Carsley sets sights on festive return
Nov 8 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is keeping his fingers crossed that Lee Carsley will be back in contention for a first team place in time for the start of Everton's busy Christmas period. The influential midfielder, such a driving force in the club's surge to fourth place last season, has not played this year after damaging knee ligaments in a friendly against Fenerbahce in August. Carsley had hoped to be fit to return at some point last month but met with a setback and was forced to have surgery at the end of September. Though the Republic of Ireland international has made pleasing progress in recent weeks, he is still some way off being ready and Christmas - when Everton face four games in eight days - looks his most likely comeback date. Carsley has been undergoing rehabilitation work with another long-term absentee in Gary Naysmith but the Scotland international is a good deal further off than his team-mate. Moyes said today: "They are nowhere near ready. Cars has started some light jogging but the way things are, I would think it would be another four to six weeks before he is available. "Gary has been told not to start jogging for at least another two weeks after he saw the specialist. "All he is doing at the minute is cycling and swimming. He must wait before he can start jogging." For Carsley, having to sit and suffer during the opening months of the season has been an "absolute nightmare", but he is happy to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. "It's been one of the most difficult times of my career," he said. "I played 36 games last season to help us get into the Champions League. "But then I missed both of the Champions League games we played. I may now never play in the Champions League in my career. It's been really frustrating."
Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari, meanwhile, are slightly closer to returning from respective hamstring and ankle problems. Valente - who had just looked as if he was getting to grips with the Premiership - has been absent since limping out of Everton's 1-1 draw with Chelsea, while Ferrari was injured during the Carling Cup defeat against Middlesbrough. The Portuguese left-back could be back in contention for the trip to West Brom on November 19 but it is not known when the on-loan Italian defender will be ready again. Moyes added: "Valente is still the best part of another fortnight away and Ferrari has a wee bit of ligament damage in his ankle, so that will be another two to three weeks."
I'm not at my best yet, claims 'happy' winger
Nov 8 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE is confident he can prosper in England and cement his status as new fans' favourite at Goodison. The Holland international has enjoyed an encouraging opening to his Everton career after a groin injury forced him to wait two months for his debut following his arrival from Inter Milan. Van der Meyde made an instant impact on his first home start at the weekend by providing an inch-perfect cross for James Beattie to head home Everton's 16th-minute winner against Middlesbrough. The victory moved the Goodison outfit out of the relegation zone, as van der Meyde's performance endeared him further to an appreciative home crowd having laid on Simon Davies's winning goal at Birmingham the previous week. And the 26-year-old is determined to repay the faith shown in him by supporters who have waited patiently for him to demonstrate his talents. "I think the fans pick up on my personality," said the winger. "But I am a normal person who wants to work hard for the team, be important for the club and give something extra for the supporters. "I am happy they treat me like this and in every game I want to give more for them."
Of Sunday's goal, van der Meyde added: "It was a good cross and a good goal from Beattie so I am happy and I hope we will have more moments like that. "When you play on the left and you cross with your right foot it is difficult for defenders and for the goalkeeper. They don't know what to do or how to deal with it. When the defenders don't know what to do it is good for the strikers. "As a winger that is what I have to do, put the crosses in for the strikers. I want to put more in for people like Beattie and Ferguson and Bent. We have good strikers here who can make the most of them.
"The team is more attacking now. I just think about getting forward towards the goal to put in important crosses and also to get some goals myself. "We have six points from those games. I am a more attacking player than usual but I can also defend and I think that is a good balance." Van der Meyde insists his style of play is ideally suited to the English game, and added: "The Premiership is a lot faster and there is more contact than Italy or Holland. I am happy I can get in there now and as I get stronger I will be better and better. "I think the Premiership suits my game because of the pace of the matches. My style in terms of my technique and crosses is good in England and I think England is good for me. "I always thought it would be good to play in England and now I have played in two games and I have done okay. But I am not yet at my best." Everton manager Moyes has pleaded with supporters not to put unrealistic expectation on van der Meyde as he attempts to regain full fitness having first suffered the injury in April while in Italy. The winger played 28 minutes as a substitute in the Carling Cup defeat to Middlesbrough a fortnight ago, then lasted 70 minutes at Birmingham City and 69 minutes on Sunday before being replaced. "You could see after 65 minutes I was getting tired," said van der Meyde. "That is normal when you have had three months out doing nothing. "That is something I still have to work on but every game I play I get stronger. "My fitness is getting better but I am not yet at that point where I can play a full game. I have started two games now and that is good - I am very happy." Meanwhile, Thomas Gravesen's agent has reiterated the player's desire to remain at Real Madrid. Everton manager Moyes admitted over the weekend that he wants to resign Gravesen, who moved to the Bernabeu in a £2.5million deal in January. But Gravesen's agent Sivebaek said: "He has got three years left on his contract and has heard nothing from Madrid about these rumours. "The problem is that Thomas is not playing at the moment, but Real have lots of games and I'm sure he will. "It's too soon for us to be talking about moving. It is in Madrid's hands at the moment."
Winger Andy adds a new dimension
Nov 8 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING been forced to take a softly, softly approach during the first two months of his Everton career, David Moyes is relishing the prospect of seeing a fully fit Andy van der Meyde terrorising Premiership defences. Two assists and two victories from as many appearances back suggestions that the winger is quickly developing into a crowd favourite - and something of a lucky charm.
The standing ovation van der Meyde received following his cameo against Middlesbrough underlined how the fans have taken to him. Though the Holland international looked heavy legged late on, Moyes was not surprised to see fatigue have such an impact. His £1.2m signing from Internazionale arrived on Merseyside during the summer nursing a problematic groin injury.
But numerous hours spent in working away inside Bellefield's gymnasium, added to the efforts of the club's medical staff, have finally paid off, as van der Meyde has been able to feature in each of Everton's last three games. Once he is fully acclimatised to the non-stop pace of the Premiership, Moyes - as loathe as he is to put too much pressure on the 26-year-old's shoulders - has no doubts that the former Ajax man will flourish in a Blue shirt. "Sometimes we use him on the right, sometimes we use him on the left," said Moyes. "At the moment, he has given us something new and the players can see there is a talent there. "My biggest concern is getting him as fit as I possibly can. Your first full game is usually played on adrenalin, so it might take us another month or so to get him right there. "He is someone who can play out wide and is happy to be there as wide players now want to be midfielders or centre forwards. "Andy wants to be out wide, take players on and get crosses in when he can. Hopefully, that will give us something a little bit different." During Everton's wretched run of six consecutive league defeats, there may have been a temptation to pitch van der Meyde into battle, but the manager and player remained patient. "We've been cautious and we didn't rush him back," said Moyes. "I've spoken with him and he is beginning to feel better. We see him every day and he looks better. "I can see signs that he is getting sharper, a bit fitter. For the price and for his age, I thought it wasn't a great deal to pay for a player of his quality. "He has settled in well and he is a great character. He has been likened a bit to Tommy Gravesen, so you can make your mind up about where that puts him." For the bubbly van der Meyde, the warm welcome he has received on Merseyside has helped restore a smile to his face following an infuriating spell at the San Siro. His happy-go-lucky nature has ensured no problems fitting into the dressing room, but he is quick to point out that behind the smile lurks a fiercely ambitious footballer. "People always say that I am a joker, but I am just a happy guy," he said. "I get paid to play football. I'm determined to show people I can become an important part for Everton. "I know I have made a good decision. It's perfect for me. It feels like home already. I want to feel tired after games - that satisfying tiredness. I haven't felt it for two years."
Beattie: The supporters deserved a goal from me
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
Nov 8 2005
JAMES BEATTIE hopes he is on the way towards repaying the fans who have not been convinced about Everton's £6million striker. The former Southampton frontman has been battling against injury and toiling to gain a level of fitness that would impress manager David Moyes, one of the hardest taskmasters in the Premier League. Achieving those aims has not been helped by Everton's terrible start to a season they believed would see them make major inroads in Europe. But Beattie's contribution to a mini-revival of three unbeaten games - and two goals in that spell - has not been lost on the Everton faithful. His winner against a strangely disjointed Middlesbrough was his third of the campaign and he is clearly improving with every game. So too are Everton, lifted out of the bottom three with a return to the spirit and fire that took them to fourth place last term. Beattie summed up the feeling, claiming: "We just said to ourselves that we didn't want to lose any more. We were intent on one massive effort to try to get a winning streak. We were determined to show people what we are about. "Losing can become a habit, it's a terrible habit to have. But winning can become a habit too, so let's hope we have got ourselves into a winning habit now and we can carry on with this form." Beattie admitted it has all become a little personal, with fans on his back and demanding a better output. After scoring his 16th-minute header, Beattie was clearly making the point that he had heard the disquiet from the fans. He said: "I was pointing to my ear because I wanted the fans to know I'd heard them. "Some of the fans have been having a bit of a go, saying 'come on Beats, get us a goal' so I have tried my best and I was just saying to them that I had heard the comments, and was that goal all right for them. "It was a great ball in from Andy (van der Meyde) and with that sort of delivery all I have to do is get my head onto the ball. It was a tremendous team performance, that is what Everton can do." It was his second goal since forcing his way back into the team, the first being the penalty that stunned Chelsea and forced the draw that has been the catalyst to Everton's recovery. Moyes revealed he is happy with Beat-tie's contribution, saying: "People were fighting for each other, supporting their mates. James once chased back from their box where he had lost the ball to get in a tackle in our area. One thing you cannot doubt is his industry and effort. "He was getting tired at the end but was still racing back to help, and we are beginning to see that he might get back to scoring some goals, which was the reason we bought him." He added: "The team ethic and work was there too. But that is what we are built on and that's the first thing I expect from my team. I would like to think we have turned the corner. "I hoped we wouldn't have been in this position in the first place. But we have now taken seven points from the last nine and that is good in our current situation. "I want to encourage a good team spirit. I think we need to make sure we get back to that first. That would be the first stepping stone to getting out of the position we are in. "The team needed to work hard for each other and that happened in abundance. That is the first step to getting us up the league." Everton, along with the rest of the top flight, have a two-week international break. Moyes is frustrated by that, saying: "We are on a roll at the moment, but now we have a break for a fortnight. Players will be travelling all over, but I am more concerned about Tim Cahill than anyone else. "That's my biggest concern. He has to fly around the world for two games for Australia, but we know this is part and parcel of football. When you sign an Australian you know he is going to be doing a lot of travelling.
"It is important for any club that their players do play for their country, and World Cup matches are to be expected. But it's fair to say that managers generally do not like the friendlies. "We even have Wales playing a game in Cyprus. What is that all about? But Simon Davies has picked up a hamstring injury and he won't be going on that." For Boro manager Steve McClaren this was a hangover from last week's UEFA Cup win. He said: "I told the players we had let ourselves down because this was an opportunity to get another win against a side below us in the table. "We didn't have the cutting edge, ruthlessness. After a European game we were not quite at our best. It was very frustrating."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 8 2005
IT JUST goes to show that with quality balls from both sides, James Beattie looks good and will only get better. Simon Davies looks better in the centre and was quality alongside Tim Cahill on Sunday, but we didn't look the same without him or Andy van Der Meyde. The Dutchman is pure class and as he has only played about 100 minutes of football since June, he can only get better.
Gary Jenkins (via e-mail)
I DISAGREE with Steve McClaren that Middlesbrough ran the whole match - just sour grapes methinks! Seven points out of nine is much better for Everton. Mikel Arteta was brilliant as was van der Meyde. Davies looks better in central midfield than out wide. The defence was strong and we are getting back to being like last season. David Moyes has said he would like Thomas Gravesen back. While I don't think he was great for the whole of the four years he was with us, he would be a welcome addition to competition in midfield. James Beattie scored a good goal, played a lot better.
Brian Nesbitt (via e-mail)
Cracker of a run
I can't see why Everton cannot go on a run between now and Christmas, get into the top half of the table and look to push on through spring. A European place is not out of the question but is a long way off. We would need a new midifielder, Lee Carsley back from injury or Benni McCarthy.
Mark MacDougall (via e-mail)
Everton's new team spirits
Nov 8 2005 By Jessica Shaughnessy Daily Post Staff
EVERTON Football Club has refuted claims that a medium who has consulted the spirit world on Cherie Blair's behalf was called in to help turn around the team's fortunes. A report suggested Sylvia Caplin, the mother of Mrs Blair's friend Carole Caplin, was secretly hired by chairman Bill Kenwright after the club found itself at the bottom of the Premier league. Last night, sources at the club described the article as "farcical", and insisted Mr Kenwright gave the story no credence. It was claimed that Mrs Caplin, 71, watched some of Everton's matches before making contact with "angels". It was reported that she told Mr Kenwright she was informed by what she called "The Light", that Everton's players were suffering from a negative team spirit after the club sold striker Wayne Rooney and midfielder Thomas Gravesen last season. A source was quoted saying Mrs Caplin had been planning to light three candles when Everton next played, and said Mr Kenwright was arranging for her to meet the players. It was claimed Mrs Caplin reported her findings to Mr Kenwright two weeks ago, just days before the club chalked up its first league win in more than two months, beating Birmingham 1-0. The club, who had earlier drawn with top of the table Chelsea, subsequently beat Middlesbrough 1-0, lifting it clear of the relegation zone. Had the report been backed up by the club, it would have risked the sort of ridicule that dogged former England manager Glenn Hoddle when he used faith healer Eileen Drewery to try to "cure" his players. Mr Kenwright declined to make an official response to the claims, but the club's spokesman told the newspaper: "We have also enlisted the help of the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Loch Ness Monster."
The article claimed Mr Kenwright, who made his fortune as a West End theatre producer, became friendly with Mrs Caplin through her daughter Carole, who is a friend of his wife, actress Jenny Seagrove. In September, the same newspaper claimed Mr Kenwright had supplanted the Blairs as Carole Caplin's new best friend. Mrs Caplin is said to have "next to nil" knowledge about football and the report claimed she had waived her usual £100 fee, saying she regarded her work with Everton as a favour for a friend. Last night, the club said it did not intend to issue a formal statement regarding the claims, but insisted Mrs Caplin had not been to visit the players. Sources said club officials thought the report was ridiculous and "laughable" and said the publication in question had made itself a laughing stock, particularly by printing the club spokesman's sarcastic response.
Asian players are not given chance - Barnes
Nov 8 2005 By Homa Khaleeli Daily Post Staff
ASIAN footballers are being held back by racist stereotypes according to Liverpool footballing legend John Barnes. The former England player, who was himself the subject of racist abuse on the pitch, said Asian players in the UK were experiencing the same difficulties as black players in the 1970s.
His comments came on the day anti-racist charity Kick It Out held a conference to address the lack of Asian players in the UK. The Wirral-based footballer said: "Black players in the 70s were not getting the opportunities and now 35 years later we have them playing for the top teams. "Football clubs don't have a responsibility to the Asian community or any ethnic community, but they have a responsibility to find and develop the best players for their team. "I don't think Asian kids are any worse than anyone else it's just a misconception that the footballing fraternity has." Jas Bains, of the Asians in Football Forum said clubs were losing out on an important source of talent and revenue.
He said: "Within the Asian footballing community there is a feeling that the FA as a governing body have failed successive generations of young talented footballers of Asian background. "Football has discriminated us out of the game through stereotyping and a lack of action to address this issue." But Everton and Liverpool say they are working hard to ensure their academies and clubs are open to everyone talented enough to make it in a competitive field. Both teams work closely with AsiaEurope Football who have run championships in the city and have an academy to promote careers in football such as managing and coaching. lan Johnson Everton's race and diversity officer said: "There are very few boys of Asian heritage registered in any of the academies. "It's quite alarming considering the level of interest in the community is massive. It's definitely an area we need to tap into." Owen Brown, community officer at Liverpool FC, said the Asian community in Liverpool was better integrated than in other areas of the country. He said: "We have had Asian boys coming through our academies, but none who have been good enough to progress." Ex-Evertonian Earl Barrett said he was surprised there were not more Asian players: "There are one or two coming through, but you would have thought it would be a bit more. It's a real shame." Former Liverpool player John Aldridge said he believed Liverpool Football Club would soon have its first Asian player.
He said: "It will happen. There are one or two footballers in the Premiership now. I think the Asian population in Liverpool were brought up to be more cricket-orientated although in the last five or 10 years it has started to creep in." Mr Bains said: "We are not asking for special treatment but business opportunities are being missed."
Kroldrup's time will come - Moyes
Nov 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today urged Per Kroldrup to keep the faith as he continues to wait patiently to make his Everton debut. Having arrived with a reputation to match his huge frame, Kroldrup's first couple of months on Merseyside have seen him enjoy few minutes on the pitch for the first team - hernia surgery decimating his hopes of making a big impression. The Denmark international, however, has made a complete recovery from surgery and spent the last few weeks gaining much-needed match practice. But the outstanding form of David Weir and Joseph Yobo has meant there has been no window of opportunity for Kroldrup - much to his obvious frustration - to showcase his talents in the Premiership. Aware the giant central defender is straining at the leash to be included, Moyes has assured the man for whom he paid Udinese £5m in July that he has every faith in his ability and told him to remain focused as opportunity can knock at any time. "One of the biggest things is to get used to playing in the Premiership and for a young centre-half that can take time," said the manager. "It's a completely different style of football to what he has been used to. "Per has played a few reserve games and he is getting used to it. We have been watching him and his time will come. There is no doubt that there will be an opportunity for him soon. "He will need to be ready to take that when it does arise. He plays for Denmark and he has played a couple of hundred games in Serie A, so we know that he has talent but the Premiership can be different. "What he needs to do is get used to the pace and the tempo, as well as the ferocity of what can be required from a centre half at Everton. There will be a lot of games where he will be under a lot of pressure." Moyes, meanwhile, saw the remainder of his international contingent leave Bellefield this morning and admitted he will be able to relax this weekend thanks to Everton's three game unbeaten run, which culminated with Sunday's 1-0 defeat of Middlesbrough. Given the Blues headed into the two previous breaks on the back of respective defeats to Fulham and Manchester City, it is not surprising the atmosphere in the camp is a buoyant one. The trick now, as Moyes says, is to keep the winning habit "It's the first time this season that we have really had the chance to enjoy the week's break with a good result at the end of it," he reflected. "We want to do it more often if we can. We need to be doing this regularly.
"Everyone worked really hard and we have asked that of the players. We needed to start somewhere. Our football was OK but hopefully we will make it better as we go along as well in the future."
Q: What spurs Beattie on? A: Abuse from Reds fans
Nov 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
Chief feature writer Paddy Shennan watches Blues striker James Beattie put in a performance with a difference - helping youngsters score in the job market SHARPSHOOTER James Beattie had all the answers when he found himself in the hot seat during a question time with a difference.
The revelations came thick and fast:
* He was going to be a surgeon.
* He was the second-best swimmer in the country in his age group, when he was 13
* He loves it when Liverpool fans heap abuse on him.
* He CAN understand his Scottish strike partner, Duncan Ferguson.
Everton's six million pound man put in a priceless performance at Goodison Park - one that, for very different reasons, was every bit as important as his winning goal in Sunday's home game with Middlesbrough. The questions were being fired by 10 16-25-year-olds from Merseyside, all of whom are on The Prince's Trust's Blues-backed, 12-week Team programme, which is designed to improve their skills, confidence and employment prospects. Single mum-of-two Aneeka Oakes, 21, from Speke, certainly got a lot out of the Q&A: "I had butterflies this morning thinking about asking my questions, but I really enjoyed it - and I had loads more questions I wanted to ask!" Aneeka brought the house down by telling Beattie: "When you hit the post on Sunday I knocked over two pints of lager and a Diet Coke - any chance of a refund?" The striker laughed and made as if to reach into his pocket for the cash, before admitting: "Yeah, I should have scored that!" This meeting with one of her True Blue heroes represented the icing on the cake for Aneeka, who told me: "The Prince's Trust programme has changed my life. I wasn't doing anything before - just slobbing around the house.
"I was very young when I had my children and I've since found out that getting back into work can be quite difficult. "But I've now worked on different community projects and I'd like to end up getting a job as a youth worker. I now feel much more confident and optimistic about my future."
Meanwhile, father-of-two Karl Marais, 23, from Anfield, said: "It didn't look like I had much of a future. I'd go to the Job Centre but all the jobs required some form of qualifications, which I didn't have." But then he found out about the Prince's Trust: "It really has been a bit of a life-saver for me. I've been involved with a variety of community projects and I've also had two weeks of work experience with the Merseyside fire and rescue service, who I'd like to try and get a job with eventually." Karl asked Beattie about Everton's Dutch winger, Andy van der Meyde, and was told: "He's absolutely crazy, but he's always smiling and his character is infectious. And he's a world-class player." And James had plenty more to tell the group. . . . What would you have been if not a footballer? At school I was really interested in medicine and wanted to be a doctor or surgeon. I did well in my GCSEs and I'd always thought I'd go on to sixth form and then university - then on to do a doctorate. "But I had the chance to join Blackburn Rovers, the club I'd supported all my life, and so me and my dad sat down and had a lengthy discussion. It was a two-year deal, so I decided on that - knowing I could go back to school if it didn't work out. "And when I was 13 I was the second-best swimmer in the country for my age group. I'd swim 40 miles a week. I got up at 4.30am and did two hours training - and I'd do two hours after school. But then I got a shoulder injury and that's when I started playing more football." Can you understand Duncan Ferguson? I can understand Duncan perfectly when he is shouting at me - if I didn't I'd probably be in trouble!"
What do you think of the Everton fans?
"They are very passionate about their club and have helped me tremendously and stuck by me. They have come up to me and said 'Come on James, we know you're going to do it. We have faith in you.' The fans who go to away games are crazy - they sing all the way through the games and it's like having 12 men on the pitch.' How does getting stick from the Kopites affect you? "During the Anfield derby I played they were absolutely slating everyone. But it's good. If you're getting slated by the opposition's fans you know you're doing something right and that they must be worried - it's their way of trying to make you feel worried." Beattie first became involved in The Prince's Trust about four years ago when he attended a prize-giving ceremony while at Southampton. He then became an ambassador for the organisation and has since attended many other functions.
He said: "The Prince's Trust helps so many young people - it's great to see what it has done for them when they come out the other side. "For me, to be able to put something back into the community is a wonderful position to be in. It's great to be able to put a smile on people's faces and know you can make a difference." Everton is one of 63 professional football clubs in the UK working with the Trust - Liverpool FC is also involved - and providing behind-the-scenes tours, motivational talks, signed merchandise and player appearances. Darren Bowles, the Trust's football development manager for the north, said: "Days like today are so important. The young people here will always remember this and it will have given them so much confidence and motivation." And I don't think James Beattie, who looked to be enjoying every minute of his grilling (and the game of table football afterwards), will forget it in a hurry, either.
Blues ticket news
Nov 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
WEST BROMWICH ALBION v EVERTON in the Premiership on Saturday, November 19 (Kick-off 5.15pm) STAND tickets are priced £29 (adults), £16 (over 65s) and £13 (juniors - under 16 only) and are currently available on general sale from the Park End box office during normal office hours.
Please note that for concessionary tickets, identification will be required on entry to the stadium.
EVERTON v NEWCASTLE UNITED in the Premiership on Sunday, November 27 (Kick-off 1.30pm)
EVERTONIA members sales continue from the Park End box office during normal office hours. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence on Monday, November 14 from the Park End box office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture.
BLACKBURN ROVERS v EVERTON in the Premiership on Saturday, December 3 (Kick-off 3pm)
STAND tickets priced £32 (adults), £20 (over 65s) and £15 (juniors - under 16 only) will be available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no 39 together with three away match ticket stubs (different games) from this season 2005/2006 and properly affixed to their official away match saving sheet from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club should present voucher 39 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher 8 from their season ticket books. Please note that any concessionary ticket buyers must have identification on entry to the stadium. Supporters should note that applications will not be accepted unless stubs are attached to the official away match saving sheet.
Happier with the 4-4-2 formation
Nov 9 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
I AM happy that David Moyes has finally listened to the fans and played with two up front.
From now on there is only one way for us and that is up. We need three players in January now to complete a fantastic team. I'd go for Lucio, Seedorf and Keane.
Paul Bush, Eastham
WITH the 4-5-1 formation we managed one win and seven losses. Using the 4-4-2 formation we've accummulated two wins and one draw. So let's keep this formation going. Andy van der Meyde had an outstanding game against Middlesbrough. I can't wait to see what he will do when he is at 100% fit.
Gary Freeman, Anfield
FANS who have no faith in our team should go and support the Russian-funded Chelski.
We are different in that we can't win everything at the moment but we are building to something special. I think we can win the FA Cup this season and go on to better things next year.
Andrew Coull, Southport
SEVEN points out of nine is a fantastic haul considering we are a half baked, over hyped team.
I admire the optimism of some supporters but I was there on Sunday and I truly feel we are still awful to watch. I'd take 1-0 wins and this style of football forever but the fact is that if we play like that every week we won't win many games. Boro, after two hard games, had more to offer than we did and we were at home. I still think we'll get dragged back down, even though I am more optimistic than I was.
Bob Woolston, Formby
Beattie won't give up on World Cup dream
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 9 2005
JAMES BEATTIE has not given up on his dream of making England's World Cup squad next summer.
The Everton striker's hopes of making the Germany-based tournament had appeared forlorn as his early months at Goodison were dogged by form and injury problems. But the 27-year-old has now grabbed three goals since returning to full fitness last month, and admits he still harbours a strong desire to make Sven-Goran Eriksson's final squad. He said: "There's always time, I haven't given up hope as regards playing for England. I'm pretty confident in myself and what I can do, and hopefully if the team keeps on winning and the goals keep coming, then who knows? All I can do is keep trying." Fans will have to wait a little longer to see Everton's on-loan Brazilian midfielder Anderson Silva, meanwhile, who will now stay with Malaga until the end of the season. The 23-year-old, who signed a five-year deal in the summer after moving on a free transfer from Racing Santander, was loaned to the Spaniards to enable him to qualify for a Spanish passport. The loan was originally meant to expire on December 31, but that has now been extended until next June as the passport is unlikely to be granted before next March or April. Da Silva will be on a non-contract basis until that time, but as Everton have ownership of his rights they will have control over him. Silva's agent Paul Hodges said: "Ander-son is happy in Malaga while Everton want him to be playing matches with next season in mind." Silva is still looking forward to his switch to Merseyside. He said: "I have a contract with Everton and I want to make sure I am prepared for that adventure."
Influential Neville can do job for England
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 9 2005
DAVID MOYES has hailed the "big influence" of Phil Neville since his arrival at Goodison - and believes the utility man should be rewarded with a place in England's side to face Argentina this weekend. Neville is finally tasting success on Merseyside after coinciding his summer arrival from Manchester United with the run of results that saw Everton briefly prop up the Premiership.
Seven points from three games has reversed that slide, however, and Moyes credits the 28-year-old's character and versatility as a key factor. Neville will today join up with the rest of the England squad ahead of Saturday's friendly against Argentina in Geneva, and Moyes revealed: "I actually said to him at training this morning I hoped he would get a game for England. "He's been terrific for Everton this season and is the sort of player every squad needs. He has played in both full-back positions this season and midfield and Phil Neville will always give you his best. You can be sure of that. He is in good form and good condition and mentally he is a winner. You cannot get enough of those type of players. He's had a big influence on the lads at Everton." Neville has now admitted that Everton's dwindling fortunes earlier this season led he and fellow new arrival Simon Davies to question their impact on the side after last season's fourth-place finish. But the former Manchester United man said the manager had been instrumental in ensuring morale remained high during the low times. He said: "I was talking to Simon only the other day and we were discussing how we were starting to take it all a bit personally because last season Everton had done so fantastically and then we came in and we don't win a game! "But the gaffer has been great. He's kept working us hard, and kept instilling in us that we are a good team. That perseverance and encouragement has worked a treat.
"The manager even took me aside the other week to assure me that even though things weren't going well at the time, all the things he had said to me when he signed me about the club were still true. "I told him that even in the bad times I was still enjoying every minute at the club. As they say, form is temporary and class is permanent. Hopefully that will be the case because we certainly have the players to turn it around." Neville pinpointed the return to fitness of James Beattie and Andy van der Meyde had been vital to Everton's recent turnaround. He added: "Probably the biggest change has been James Beattie's return to fitness and the fact that we are now playing 4-4-2.
"Also Andy van der Meyde has given us an extra option. He looks a class player. He joined the club on transfer deadline but, because he joined the club with an injury, we've had to really put him to the back of our mind. "The frightening thing about him, though, is that there is definitely much more to come. He's only just got himself fit and is still settling into English football so he's looking like he's going to be a tremendous asset for us. "Having him and James Beattie there is a real lift. The manager has asked us to get back to simple football so we've been getting plenty of crosses into the box and that's starting to pay dividends."
Giant help to get Everton on their bike
Nov 9 2005
EVERTON'S Academy have received four brand new bikes to help with their training. The bikes, worth £500 each, have been provided by cycle manufacturer Giant and will be used to help rehabilitate injured players and improve all-round fitness. Everton Academy physio Steve Hardwick said that the bikes, which are on loan and will be replaced every year, would prove very useful. "We use them a lot, obviously we have got exercise bikes that we use in the gym but it's nice to get out, when the weather is good, especially when you have got guys in the gym who are out for five months maybe more," he said.. "If you are in there everyday it gets boring so we try to vary it and get them outside on the cycle paths, up the canal path that sort of thing, just as a break. The bikes are good because there's no stress so you can use bikes as much as you want." And Hardwick said the quality of the bikes and the nature of the deal with Giant was important. He said: "They are going to last longer, we have had bikes in the past and it's been good, but with these every year they are going to be changed, to be serviced, and going to be reliable." Giant UK's marketing manager Collette Clensy said they were happy to help out a club of Everton's stature.
Xavier to fight to save career
By Damian Spellman Daily Post Correspondent
Nov 9 2005
FORMER Everton defender Abel Xavier is stepping up his campaign to save his career after discovering his drugs test failure has been confirmed. The 32-year-old former Portugal international has pleaded his innocence since learning the sample he gave after Boro's 0-0 UEFA Cup draw with Skoda Xanthi on September 29 had tested positive for a banned substance. UEFA confirmed that Xavier's B sample has also proved positive and that his case will be heard by their control and disciplinary board later his month. "The sample B is positive, it's confirmed," said a UEFA spokesman. "The control and disciplinary board of UEFA will judge his case at a hearing which has been provisionally set for November 17." UEFA have not revealed the identity of the substance, but reports have claimed it is the anabolic steroid Dianabol. Boro were not commenting, and there was no word from the Xavier camp, although it is understood he will continue to deny any intentional wrongdoing after building up evidence to support his claim.
Our faith in Beattie - Weir
Nov 10 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper David Weir today hailed James Beattie's return to form and backed him the rejuvenated striker to embark on a scoring spree. Having scored two goals in his last three appearances, Beattie has shown signs of recapturing the sparkle that convinced manager David Moyes to splash a club record £6m on him last January. Slowly but surely, Beattie is working his way into supporters affections but Weir insists that his team-mates have never doubted him for a minute. And now Beattie has got his confidence back following an injury-plagued start to the season, Weir believes the 27-year-old will show his true colours. "We have never doubted him for one minute," declared Weir. "First and foremost, the thing with Beats is that everyone loves him as a lad. He has come here and settled in well and all the lads really like him. "We knew he'd do well. We know what he is capable of. It has been a tough start for him, mainly down to the injuries and the bad luck that he has had. "As a professional, you want a continuous run of game. He's not really had that. But hopefully now he is in the team and he is starting games and scoring goals he will continue to do that."
Beattie has repaid faith
Nov 10 2005 ECLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IF James Beattie needed any further proof that his Everton career has finally taken-off, the words of David Weir will come as sweet music to his ears. A succession of niggling injuries following his £6m move from Southampton last January not only prevented Beattie showing his true colours, it left some wondering whether he had the attitude and application to match his reputation. The doubters, however, were conspicuous by their absence in Everton's dressing room. Judging by the way his recent goals against Chelsea and Middlesbrough were celebrated by his team-mates, it is clear to see that Beattie is a popular member of the squad. That, though, has nothing to do with goals. As Weir points out, to be accepted in the ranks, new signings must be willing to show they have the desire and determination to run themselves ragged before anything else. From the moment he set foot inside Bellefield, Beattie has shown he has never been afraid of hard work and that - in the captain's book - was good enough to ensure the one time England striker had plenty of support during the tough times. But now he is up and running again, Weir is adamant that Beat-tie will continue to flourish and score the goals to ensure that Everton's autumnal revival shows no sign of losing momentum. "We have never doubted him for one minute," declared Weir. "First and foremost, the thing with Beats is that everyone loves him as a lad. He has come here and settled in well and all the lads really like him. "We knew he'd do well. We know what he is capable of. It has been a tough start for him, mainly down to the injuries and the bad luck that he has had. As a professional, you want a bit of stability and you want to get a continuous run of games. "He's not really had that. But hopefully now he is in the team and he is starting games and scoring goals he will continue to do that. All the ability is there and once he gets that bit of confidence, he will go from strength to strength. "The players respond to that work rate. Beats has always done that regardless of whether he has been scoring or not. That's the minimum requirement to get into our team. When you do get in, you have got to give us that. "From the first minute he has done that and the players have warmed to that. "If we get 11 players doing that and working as hard as he has done, then I don't really think we'll be far away." Certainly the teams that manager David Moyes has selected for the last three Premiership matches have shown those qualities in abundance, as they have dug deep to haul Everton off the foot of the table and away from the relegation zone. True, it may take a few more weeks before the players are able to say they are out of the woods completely but Weir is thrilled with the progress and was able to join up with the Scotland squad breathing a little more easy. "We have had a few good results apart from the Carling Cup," said the Blues skipper, who has been in excellent form. "That's the way we want to try and be. We want to get on a little run and get a bit of momentum by picking up points every game. "There is plenty to be positive about but we have always been positive, if we are honest. Obviously there have been a few negative things written about us but we as a group realise we are not that far away. "We just needed to get in front in games and take it from there and we have done that. We have got the rewards for that. The last few games we have been getting in front reasonably early and that has given us something to hang on to."
Nov 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
When injuries ease should Neville return to midfield? PHIL NEVILLE performed magnificently in midfield, but only once. He has never quite matched that early display against Villarreal. His quality is apparent and I'm sure he will prove a great acquisition. The problem, as I see it, has been his passing. In fact, both full-backs against Middlesbrough failed to distribute the ball with accuracy.
So, for this slightly negative reason, I think we're better off with Neville as left-back. Both Valente and Ferrari have so far failed to set the place alight and, when one of them finally gets fit, I would rather see Hibbert replaced. The long term solution will be to get our two baldies back in the team, with Phil Neville at left-back and the better of the new continentals at right-back. Then we can do last season all over again. Only, this time, the other way round; bad start, good ending.
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
ONE philosophy in football is never change a winning team. With defenders coming back from injury it will be tempting to move Neville back into midfield. However, out of all the players who have played left-back this season, he has played that position the best. Valente just hasn't impressed, while Ferrari is a decent centre-back but at left-back he doesn't seem comfortable, allowing teams to exploit. I'm not bothered where the 'people's captain' plays. He drives the team forward with his leadership skills, showing a great amount of experience and determination. Since playing in defence, Everton have kept two clean sheets which is a great improvement on our earlier form.
With the new 4-4-2 formation, Neville won't be able to play the holding role, which has seen him perform as one of our best players, but I see no reason for changing it.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
IF Phil Neville thought his move to Goodison would help him lose his 'jack of all trades' tag then he was in for a nasty surprise. However, his commitment to the cause and undoubted extra quality has ensured the fans warmly appreciate him. A return to fitness for Valente, Ferrari and Naysmith will not necessarily see any of them return to the first eleven. Neville's distribution may not have been at its best on Sunday but his influence on the team demands he should be given a place somewhere on the park. The 4-4-2 formation, that most fans hope Moyes sticks with, limits Neville's chances of inclusion in the middle. However, if he were to take a central position, Tim Cahill would be released from his defensive duties. David Moyes originally considered Neville to be a holding midfielder, but until any of the injured left-backs show anything like the form that will endear them to the Goodison crowd, Phil Neville should remain at left-back.
JON SELLICK, Crosby
WITH the points Everton have picked up over the last few weeks you would hope we have finally turned the corner. One of the positive things so far is the versatility of some of our players, this none more so than Phil Neville. At present you would have to keep the 4-4-2 and with the same personnel. However, moving Neville up into the midfield while there is more creativity on the wings may suit him better. It would allow him to concentrate on the physical side of his game rather than trying be a creative force in a five-man midfield. Hopefully our play will continue to improve and with the international break giving the injured players more time to get fit, competition for places will be greater. I'm sure Moyes would rather have the problem of trying to pick his players from a full squad rather than asking players like Neville to fill in the gaps.
STEPHEN SHONE, Wallasey
Everton star in reunion with US coach
Nov 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
UNITED STATES head coach Bruce Arena will catch up on a long-term acquaintance in Scotland defender David Weir when the Americans visit Hampden Park on Saturday. The 35-year-old Everton player took an unorthodox route into football, studying in the USA for four years before eventually signing for his home town team Falkirk in 1992. And it was while Weir was playing college football in America that he caught the eye of Arena, who has been following the veteran defender's career since. He said: "I know Weir from playing college soccer, of all things, in the United States and I've followed him since. "I actually remember the last college game I saw him in, it was in 1990 when his side lost in the NCAA Championships. "I saw him again when I visited Everton to see two of my players, Brian McBride and Joe-Max Moore. "I'm not familiar with many of the other Scottish players but I will look at some of their past games on tape." * Wigan striker Lee McCulloch has been forced to withdraw from the Scotland squad. The 27-year-old picked up a knock in the 2-0 win at Portsmouth at the weekend.
Midfield's versatility can aid push up table
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 10 2005
MIKEL ARTETA believes Everton's versatile midfield can propel the club's belated charge up the Premiership table. Arteta has been one of the Goodison club's main positives of the season so far and his performance against Middlesbrough on Sunday - during which he occupied several different positions - saw the Spaniard named man of the match. With Andy van der Meyde and Simon Davies also capable of switching positions across the midfield, David Moyes now has an increased amount of options with which to confront opponents. And Arteta said: "We changed positions five or six times (against Middlesbrough) because the gaffer wanted to change the way that we were playing.
"I think it is good for a team, and for our development, for myself because I never really play on the right. I have a new position and that makes you try and put your standard higher, and say 'Okay here I need to do my best,' and that is better for the team." Everton's increased confidence has meant they are finally converting chances after a distinctly shot-shy start to the campaign, Arteta added.
He said: "Now it looks like we are more able to score the goals and then it's easier to win the games, but the spirit is still there, and it has been there all the time. "The difference is maybe that when we create the chances now we will score at least one so that is very important for us. I think the standard now is higher (in our play). We have recovered some players from injuries, everybody has more confidence, everybody is doing better, and the team is more confident. "For us it is really important if we can get results at home, and then build from there. "The gaffer was asking that we try and get all the points we can at home, away is a different game, but at home we need to be really strong and build on that and try not to lose many points." Meanwhile, reserve goalkeeper Iain Turner has gone out on loan to Wycombe for a month.
The Scotland Under-21 player, who moved to Goodison from Stirling Albion in January 2003, should stay at the Causeway until 10 December. Turner had a successful loan spell at Chester last season, during which he helped the Deva Stadium side win promotion back into the Football League, earning himself a long-term deal at Goodison.
Criticism of United laughed off by Neville
By Simon Stone, Daily Post Correspondent
Nov 10 2005
PHIL NEVILLE has described the criticism levelled at Manchester United over the past fortnight as 'laughable'. After playing a starring role in Everton's defeat of Middlesbrough at Goodison Park on Sunday, Neville got home in time to watch the final 20 minutes of his old club's victory over Premiership leaders Chelsea. United's 1-0 triumph surprised most pundits, who felt Sir Alex Ferguson's side would be beaten by the champions at the end of a week which saw them defeated at Middlesbrough and Lille, either side of an attack on his own teammates by skipper Roy Keane.
But Neville, veteran of 386 appearances for United before his summer switch to Everton, was not in the least bit shocked. He was at Old Trafford long enough to know the stick Ferguson's team were getting would only create the famous siege mentality from which so many of the club's triumphs have emerged. "When you have been involved at United like I have, some of the criticism makes you laugh," Neville said yesterday. "How many times over the years has Sir Alex Ferguson pulled out a performance like that when it has really been needed? "You just knew that after the defeat in Europe they would come back strongly. "Losing to Lille almost worked for them in the sense that it increased the criticism which will have only fired them up more for the Chelsea game. "In the dressing room before the game there would have definitely been a siege mentality, an 'us against the rest of the world' type thing and that is when United are at their best. "The ability to bounce back from adversity is part of the make up of the club. It always has been."
Neville met up with a few of his old mates when he reported for England duty ahead of Saturday's friendly with Argentina. And he took special time out to praise Alan Smith, who despite being criticised by Keane over his performances in central midfield, earned man-of-the-match honours against Jose Mourinho's side. "Alan typified the United performance but he has been playing really well anyway," added Neville. "Sunday's game may have highlighted his form a little more because of the profile of the game. "He is developing into a fine midfielder at the moment and playing in games like that can only benefit him."
Why are Wales games less important than an England match Moyes?
By Mickey Thomas, Daily Post
Nov 10 2005
WALES boss John Toshack names his squad today for next Wednesday's friendly international against Cyprus, knowing in advance that Everton midfielder Simon Davies has been withdrawn because of injury. Davies came off with a ham-string strain during the Goodison Park clash with Middlesbrough on Sunday and, given his injury-hit start to the season, I can under-stand that Everton manager David Moyes is reluctant to release him. But I thought it was a bit over the top for Moyes to slate Wales for arranging what he described as a meaningless fixture, even though it is being played in the designated Fifa international window. Surely he understands that national get-togethers are few and far between. He must understand that every country is going to take advantage of the opportunity to work with their players whenever they are able to. In Toshack's case, he's looking towards the start of the next European Championship campaign, which gets under way in 10 months time, and in what is a period of transition for Wales he needs every minute available to prepare his squad. New ideas and new personnel don't click into place overnight and it's precisely in games such as this that the spadework has to be done. Whether Moyes likes it or not, Davies is an established international - as he was before moving to Everton in the summer and Tosh would be well within his rights to demand his attendance and have his fitness checked out by the Welsh medical team. I don't think for a minute that will be the case, simply because the absence of Davies will give the Wales boss an opportunity to look at other options. But I can't help thinking Moyes shot himself in the foot when I read in yesterday's Daily Post that he has championed a recall by England for Phil Neville in their friendly against Argentina in Switzerland at the weekend. Obviously, unconcerned that the defender might pick up an injury, he was quoted as saying: "I actually said to him (Neville) in training this morning I hoped he would get a game for England."
That sounds to me as though Moyes has contradicted himself, unless he genuinely believes that a Wales friendly in Cyprus is less important than England's. The only difference between the Phil Neville and Simon Davies' call-ups are the timings of their respective games. * MICKEY THOMAS does not receive a fee for this column. A donation has been shared between the Wrexham FC Revival Fund and Hope House Hospice. I don't think for a minute that will be the case, simply because the absence of Davies will give the Wales boss an opportunity to look at other options. But I can't help thinking Moyes shot himself in the foot when I read in yesterday's Daily Post that he has championed a recall by England for Phil Neville in their friendly against Argentina in Switzerland at the weekend. Obviously, unconcerned that the defender might pick up an injury, he was quoted as saying: "I actually said to him (Neville) in training this morning I hoped he would get a game for England." That sounds to me as though Moyes has contradicted himself, unless he genuinely believes that a Wales friendly in Cyprus is less important than England's. The only difference between the Phil Neville and Simon Davies' call-ups are the timings of their respective games.
* MICKEY THOMAS does not receive a fee for this column. A donation has been shared between the Wrexham FC Revival Fund and Hope House Hospice.
Johnston gets Metrostars post
Nov 10 2005
FORMER Everton and Scotland striker Mo Johnston has been appointed coach of Major League Soccer club MetroStars on a permanent basis. Johnston, 40, served as the team's interim coach for the final three games of the regular season and two play-off contests after Bob Bradley was fired on October 4. President and general manager Alexi Lalas evidently liked the job the Scot was doing.
"Maurice has been a revelation, on and off the field," Lalas said. "The fact that he's a fellow redhead only made my decision easier."
I can't wait to make Blues impact
Nov 11 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP has thanked Evertonians for their support and admitted he cannot wait to show them what they have been missing when he finally gets his first team chance. Though the Denmark international is now fully fit following a hernia operation, the continued excellent form of Joseph Yobo and David Weir means he is still awaiting his first team debut. It is a scenario that Kroldrup could not have envisaged when he made his £5m switch from Udinese in July with great expectations - the last couple of months, in particular, have been some of the most difficult of his career. He has been in regular conversation with Everton boss David Moyes, who has assured the 26-year-old that he has a part to play in the future and urged the giant central defender to keep his spirits up. But until then, a frustrated Kroldrup, who scored for the Blues reserves at Aston Villa on Monday night, knows his only option is be patient. "It was fun to get a goal. I feel the power is getting back to the legs, and I definitely feel stronger," said Kroldrup, an unused substitute in five of Everton's last six games. "The back four are doing well and that is good for everybody. It's important we get some points and some wins so I'm waiting for my chance. "Of course, I'd rather get into the team because it is a frustrating sitting it out when you are used to playing every week. "But that is just how the situation is now and I will have to be patient. "The fans have been great to everybody in the difficult situations and that's incredible. "Everybody told me it would be this way, but it really has surprised me how it is completely different from Italy and Denmark as well. It is just great."
Barring injury or loss of form, however, it could be that Kroldrup may have to wait until Yobo heads out to join Nigeria's squad for the African Nations Cup in the New Year for the chance to establish himself.
Why Blues success drives Tim to target World Cup glory
Nov 11 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A JOURNEY which began by kicking a ball around in the suburbs of Sydney will be complete for Tim Cahill if Australia can shake off their tag of world football's nearly men in the next week. Having played a such pivotal role in helping propel Everton to a fourth place finish last season, this weekend Cahill bids to help Australia clinch a place at the World Cup finals for the first time since 1974.
The Socceroos have come tantalisingly close to qualifying in recent years only to fail at the final hurdle, losing in playoffs to Iran in 1997 and Uruguay four years ago. This time, though, there is an infectious feeling in the camp that Australia's time has come. Few believe it more than Cahill. The one omission from a CV which includes appearances at the Olympics, the Confederations Cup and an FA Cup Final, is the World Cup, and the 26-year-old is hell bent on rectifying that statistic. Once again, Uruguay stand in the way and are many people's favourites to clinch a place in Germany, given the way they put Australia to the sword in Montevideo in 2001 when they ran out 3-0 winners.
Cahill, however, is determined to rub shoulders with the best players on the planet and has warned those questioning Australia's credentials to under-estimate them at their peril. "We have a massive chance of qualifying for the World Cup," said Cahill, the current Oceania Player of the Year. "It is so difficult the way we have to go through things, but I have the same feeling as when I signed for Everton. "I wanted to get to the Premiership, have a crack at it and make my mark, and what better way to follow it up than by playing in a World Cup and setting yourself a standard on the world stage. "It's very difficult but the thing is we have got one of the strongest squads we have ever had, we have got 12 Premier-ship players playing here for Australia, and all over the Championship and all over Europe - Italy, Holland and places like Germany, so it's a great squad and a great team."
Clearly, the fleeting appearances Everton made in European battle earlier this season - against Villarreal and Dinamo Bucharest - has made a lasting impression on a man, who shot to national prominence after scoring an FA Cup semi-final winner for Mill-wall in April 2004. "Playing in the Champions League and UEFA Cup was a great experience," said Cahill. "It is another piece of my life that I look back on and I am proud of. Though people questioned whether we were ready for it, we had a go, had a real crack at it." Certainly, Cahill headed off to Australia's preparatory training camp in Buenos Aires earlier this week in high spirits following Everton's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough last Sunday. A performance that epitomised the never-say-die attitude which was so evident last year, it also showed that a number of David Moyes' squad are close to recapturing their best form.
Following last season's goal return - he was Everton's leading scorer with 12 - some have questioned Cahill's contribution during the opening months of the campaign. But having more pressure on his shoulders is something this feisty character relishes and Everton will certainly reap the benefit in the long term if he shoots Australia to the World Cup. "There is definitely a feeling we have taken steps forward," said Cahill. "The draw with Chelsea gave everyone a lot of confidence. "I think the lads in the dressing room saw it as the result to revive our season and build a platform from there. Then, getting a win away at Birmingham only made us stronger. "It is all about character now and what we are going to do. We don't need to worry about anyone else, if we pick up our points like last season that is going to be the biggest thing for us. "Every month I have been here, I have learnt something new. It has been difficult at times, but it is how you deal with it and how you come out of the other end that shapes you as a footballer. "The way I came into football I have had no choice but to like a challenge. "I understand that the hard work has to be done first. Playing in the lower leagues has helped me become physically and mentally stronger. Last year, I was playing really well, floating, scoring goals and it felt like I could do what I wanted in games. "This season, it hasn't been like that. If I go off and try to do my own thing I am leaving holes. There is more room to have a go at you. It is about going back to basics. "But now, it's all about doing it in these two games and we can worry then about the World Cup next summer. We did play Uruguay in the playoff last time and we lost, but we are ready. "It is something that has been a long time coming for myself so let's try and get in a World Cup."
Wing and a prayer to Goodison's faithful
Nov 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON striking legend Graeme Sharp developed a bald patch during the 1990s. It miraculously cleared up when he left Goodison - and the cure was clear. He was no longer forced to tear his hair out waiting for crosses from Peter Beagrie. Possessing an array of tricks capable of beating any full-back, then beating him again - and again, and, oh alright, once more for good luck, Beagrie only belatedly understood that centreforwards liked a cross whipped in early, directly and with lots of pace. Andy Van Der Meyde understands the principle perfectly. Which is why a still unfit Dutchman has been celebrated like a latter-day Messiah by Evertonians, and why James Beattie is suddenly setting 20 goal a season targets. A good winger is worth his weight in goals to a centre-forward willing to get across his marker. And nowhere do they appreciate that more than at Goodison Park.
Every celebrated Goodison striker had his winger. The greatest of them all, Dixie Dean, enthused about the part little Alec Troup played in his success. "I think we had a perfect understanding and I think I have to thank him more than anyone else for the part he played in scoring the goals I did," he once explained. "I'd rate him one of the best wingers there's ever been." Tommy Lawton fed voraciously on a diet of Wally Boyes and Torry Gillick, while Dave Hickson had much to thank Tommy Eglington for. Bob Latchford scored consistently, but steadily, until Dave Thomas was signed in the summer of 1977 - when he suddenly became the first top flight marksman for five years to score 30 league goals. Sharp and Gray fired bullets loaded by Steven and Sheedy, the RAF, Rideout and Ferguson, took off thanks to Andy Hinchcliffe and Anders Limpar. And now Ferguson and Beattie are hoping to reap the rewards from the kind of delivery Andy Van Der Meyde supplied against Middlesbrough. The Dutchman didn't do anything outrageous. He simply took a pass from Phil Neville - and delivered an instant and effective cross. And it was lapped up as much by the Goodison faithful as it was by Beattie. The Blues' striker is never going to turn on the shoulder of the last defender, sprint clear of the defence and slot past a goal-keeper, but he has regularly thrown his powerful frame into a packed six yard box to get his head to a football first. It stands to reason that the more balls fired into the penalty area, the greater success he can achieve. And a successful Beattie will mean a more successful Everton . . . and less chance of David Moyes developing premature baldness.
Thierry and Tiger are a class apart
Nov 11 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
THIS week Evertonia catches up with Irish international Kevin Kilbane in the second of our regular series profiling Goodison's Premiership stars. Here he provides an insight into his likes and dislikes.
First car: An old Vauxhall Astra when I was 18. It broke down on me two or three times. It was Everton blue I don't really have a dream car to be honest. I am just happy with what I have got now, which is an Audi. Favourite band: Oasis have always been my top band. Their latest album, Don't Believe The Truth, is very good but I have liked all of their stuff. They have been my favourite band since their first album, Definitely Maybe. Favourite thing to do on a day off: Relaxing with my family.
Pre-match superstitions: I don't have any superstitions before a game. I am not aware of any the other lads might have either, but I am sure there are habits they have in their pre-match routine.
Best player you have played against: Thierry Henry. He is outstanding, world class. And not just as a striker, he is a world class all-round player. Favourite sportsman from another sport: Tiger Woods. I watched him this week again and he seems to go close in every tournament he plays in, even if he is not winning. Even when he is not playing well, which has been the case at times in the last couple of years, he is still up there challenging in tournaments. When you have played golf you can appreciate that level of consistency. Roommate on away games: Lee Carsley. He is a good roommate, he is always early to bed. Favourite player as a youngster: Chris Waddle. I loved watching him at Spurs, Marseille and at Sheffield Wednesday. Evertonia is an exclusive members club for fans of the Blues. If you are under the age of 16 and have not already joined, then if you do so before Monday we guarantee your membership card will come through in time for you to purchase your ticket for the Goodison derby before the tickets go on general sale. All Evertonia members have a two week priority on home match tickets. Membership costs £9.99 for juniors and £19.99 for adults.
Toshack rejects Moyes's Wales jibe
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Nov 11 2005
JOHN TOSHACK has hit back at David Moyes after the Everton manager derided Wales's friendly next week against Cyprus. And the former Liverpool striker believes British managers moan more about releasing players for internationals than their European counterparts. Wales manager Toshack named his squad for next Wednesday's game in Limassol having lost Simon Davies and Ryan Giggs before the names were even released, and immediately had Cardiff wanting to withdraw Jason Koumas and Joe Ledley from the party. He has even had Everton manager Moyes asking "what is the point of the match?" Toshack amusingly took the sting out of any confrontation by joking: "In my time with Liverpool I was brought up never to pay attention to anything an Everton manager says, and I'm not going to make an exception now!" But, more seriously, he added: "This game is not meaningless to me. "We now do not have another game until March, so if we hadn't decided to play in Cyprus it would have been almost six months between matches for us. "I will now have the chance to look at maybe 26 or so play-ers in two matches in Cyprus. "I do understand how club managers feel - I was one myself once - but I am an international manager now and these games are important." Davies has a hamstring problem and Toshack continued: "I have spoken to Simon and he is due to have a scan, he is in some discomfort. "But in the eight months I have been in charge, Simon has played seven matches and at times we have had to nurse him through a number of training sessions. "There is nobody more behind our cause than Simon, so we do not have any worries on that score from him. These games may be meaningless to David Moyes, but they are vital to me. I want to take every opportunity I can for us to get together, although I can understand club managers being concerned when their players are away." But Toshack reveals his surprise at the constant carping from British managers over players called up for international duty. He said: "I have worked in six different countries, and sometimes I have had 15 players away at one time. "But I have never known anywhere like this where managers complain so much. "In Spain in a couple of weeks, Real Madrid play Barcelona and probably 80% of players from both sides will be away on international duty beforehand. "It makes preparation hopeless until the Friday before the match, but it is generally accepted more there than it is here. People abroad just get on with it." Meanwhile, Everton goalkeeper John Ruddy has joined League Two side Rushden & Diamonds on a one-month loan deal.
Welcome back Gravesen
Nov 11 2005 Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
THOMAS Gravesen back at Goodison in January? Yes or no? I say, yes. Not only will that hopefully focus the minds of Tim Cahill and Simon Davies leading up to Christmas, but it will give the midfield some much needed support and competition for places, something that just doesn't exist. Frankly, there are few weaker second XIs in the Premiership. Also, he was a real captain - fought for every ball and kept the team together. Yes, I'm only going on half a season, but what a half of a season that was.
Eddie Jones (via e-mail)
WHY do we always try and get back players we have sold or released? Please be firmer. We should look for other better players. Torres, Makaay, Lucio, Solari, Guti, Pires, W Bridge, Saha, Dyer, Bowyer, Keane... all are available so why worry?
Gary Ravenscroft (via e-mail)
WHEN we signed Per Kroldrup it was claimed that he is the best centre back in Europe - and then we put him in the fridge. We kicked Alessandro Pistone out and then in a real panic when nobody wanted to join us we resigned him. When we were qualified for Europe we signed play-ers that were rejected by other clubs and then missed out on the later stages of the competition. We never got near top players like Nesta, Totti or Ballack and we still say that we are one of the best. Sigh...
Don Andrews (via e-mail)
Play it again
IT'S GREAT to see Everton get some points but talk of a revival is premature.
When Andrei Kanchelskis left the club 10 years ago he said Everton lacked ambition and seemed to be content to play long balls for the centre forward to head towards goal. Nothing I can see has changed, ambition or style of play.
Peter Pridgeon (via e-mail)
I AM concerned about our goal-scoring record, but I'm not sure why our guys are not finishing off the chances effectively. I do believe we need a nippy player to pick off the balls that drop into space in front of goal. I wonder how Mikel Arteta would do alongside James Beattie in that role.
Extremely impressed that Everton's bonding session in the Lake District seems to have worked.
Ken Withers (via e-mail)
WITH Everton still being linked to Robbie Keane, am I right in thinking that young James Vaughan is nearly back to fitness? Also why not give Paul Hopkins a go. As for Tommy G coming back, half a good season does not warrant screwing up what is now starting to look like a very good mid-field foursome. John Gosling (via e-mail)
YES, Len Capeling, a linesman made a mistake in disallowing a Spurs goal in their defeat at Bolton. But it is just something we will have to live with it. I watch both codes of rugby and every try goes to the video referee. Very irritating; it slows the game down. The introduction of similar technology in football will be detrimental. It will be the thin end of the wedge and will eventually apply to every decision, foul throw, offside, foul etc. Those that call loudest for its introduction seem to remain silent when such decisions go in their favour.
Trevor Smith, Liverpool
LEN Capeling does not seem able to understand that lots of constructive and engaged criticism of David Moyes has been voiced in the last few months. Being able to debate our shortcomings honestly is probably something that Moyes would respect.
Len Norbury (via e-mail)
There's a party going on at Goodison Park
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 11 2005
AS KOOL and the Gang said: Celebrate good times, come on! The Blues are out of the bottom three, they're ready to announce record trading figures, and there could even be a return of that mirthful midfield maestro Thomas Gravesen. Starting with our league form, who in the darkest days of September would have predicted us taking seven points from nine against Chelsea, Birmingham and Middlesbrough? It was widely believed that we would remain on three points until we possibly got a draw at the Stadium of Light on New Year's Eve. And while the win against Boro was hardly vintage School of Science stuff, it was still good to see the Blues' new,, more positive approach once again paying off. It was also pleasing that James Beattie found the back of the net again, taking him streaking ahead in the Goodison goal charts, although he wants to knock that cupped ear goal celebration on the head. Whatever his post match explanation for it was, it looked as if he was having a swipe at critics in the crowd. He needs to bear in mind that they're actually on his side and want nothing more than to see him score every week. As for the club's financial results, if they didn't want to provoke cynicism amongst the fans, they might have been advised not to mention entry into Deloitte and Touche's list of top 20 clubs. Everyone knows that those figures were inflated by the sale of Wayne Rooney; they would have been better therefore to focus more on the numbers minus player-trading. Those figures showed a slight profit - not a multi-million pound one, granted - but a profit all the same,, and that makes a pleasant change. Finally, Gravesen. There are reports, obviously, that he is happy in Madrid, that he wants to leave but only to return to Germany, and also that any return to Goodison would be stymied by wages of upwards of £80,000 per week. He would certainly add a dash of extra quality to the Everton midfield, where the wide positions now look good with Andy van der Meyde getting fitter and Mikel Arteta producing Beckham-esque displays down the right. If Everton do make a serious offer to Real Madrid, there will undoubtedly be people who'll say: 'You should never go back'. Which makes you think, isn't it a shame that those people weren't around to have a word in Ian Rush's ear when he was getting fed up at Juventus?
New Goodison group formed as fans' voice
Exclusive By Andy Kelly Chief Reporter, Daily Post
Nov 12 2005
A NEW group of shareholders in Everton Football Club has been formed to try to create fresh lines of communication with the directors and management of the club. The group - to be known as Everton Shareholders 2005 - met for the first time on Thursday night at the vice president's suite at Goodison Park. Among those involved are well known club figures such as solicitor Laurence Lee, chairman of the Everton Former Players Association, economist Professor Tom Cannon, and Rev Harry Ross, the club chaplain. The majority of the group are professional people who are determined to deliver effective representation between private shareholders and the Everton directors. With private shareholders owing around 25% of the club, they believe they can develop a strong voice at Goodison - but are determined to do it in a more supportive and constructive way than they believe is currently happening. Many were members of the current Everton Shareholders Association until resigning after changes at the top of that organisation in 2002. The Shareholders 2005 Group have already met with club chief executive Keith Wyness and honorary president Sir Philip Carter, while chairman Bill Kenwright is fully aware of developments. All have given the move their full support.
The new group has already signed up 70 individual shareholders, without any publicity, and expect that to rise to 100 by the time of their official inaugural meeting in January which will be held at Goodison Park. Rodney Street dentist Richard Lewis, a long standing Everton shareholder, has been made acting chairman of Shareholders 2005. Last night he said: "It is crucially important during difficult times for our football club that there is a route for private shareholders to communicate through to the board and senior management of the club. The Everton Shareholders 2005 Group will fill the void. "We started this about two years ago though we were curtailed by the summer of discontent at the club in the summer of 2004. "During the early part of this year I tried to bridge the gap with the current group but to no avail so we decided to go ahead with a new group. "By the end of next year we expect to number around 250. The crucial thing is having a communication line with the football club. "At our meeting with Keith Wyness and Sir Philip Carter they indicated they would give us full recognition. They have already requested a quarterly meeting with us." Street added: "It is so important because at the moment there is almost a wall at the club - there is no group they can use as a sounding board and that is one of the reasons they are pleased we are forming. "This is a group of people capable of giving them proper advice." Peter Healey, chairman of the Blue Coat Foundation in Liverpool, has been instrumental in setting up the new group. He said: "I resigned from the former group in 2002 and have been discussing with Richard (Lewis) for some time the possibility of setting up an alternative group. We are very keen to provide whatever positive support we can to the club." Shareholder Freddy Peacock said the new group would not be a puppet to the club and wanted answers to some serious issues. He said: "As life-long Evertonians, there was a lot of concern about how the club's finances were going over the last two years. Of course the club's saviour was selling Wayne Rooney. "We will not be paying lip service - there are questions we want answered. "We are privileged as shareholders and we feel we represent the ordinary Evertonians in the street. The questions will include what has happened to the Fortress Sports Fund, what is happening with the ground and the academy, and what happened with (former chief executive) Trevor Birch." Bert Dowell, 97, from Maghull, is thought to be Everton's oldest surviving shareholder and is expected to become life-chairman of the new group, a position he formerly held with the other Everton Shareholders Association. He said: "I've supported the club for 92 years and I've been a shareholder since 1960. I was here the day Dixie Dean scored his 60th goal of the season. The other group was very good up to the last two years. "This new group comprises the best of the old association. The club reached the bottom but is on the way back again." Everton was one of the first football clubs in the old football league to have a Shareholders Association, which started in 1938.
No-one from the current Shareholders Association was available for comment last night.
Collina explains reasons for disallowing Ferguson goal
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 12 2005
PIERLUIGI COLLINA has at last explained why he controversially disallowed Duncan Ferguson's 'goal' to deny Everton the chance of a place in this season's Champions League. The Italian official infuriated and bewildered the Goodison outfit when he ruled out the striker's 80th-minute effort in Everton's Champions League third qualifying round second leg in Villarreal. Had the goal stood, it would have levelled the aggregate at 3-3 and given David Moyes's side a fantastic chance of going on to progress to the group stages having fought back from going behind on the night. But Collina - who has now retired from officiating - has gone down in Goodison infamy for his decision to award a free-kick to Villarreal instead of a goal to Everton. And now the referee, asked about the decision during his attendance at a charity function at Leeds United's Elland Road ground, has confirmed he disallowed the goal for a foul not by Ferguson but strike parter Marcus Bent. "It was because I've seen a foul made by another player - Bent," revealed Collina. "Away from the ball, during a free-kick or corner kick, in the penalty box, there are several couples of players. The referee cannot follow all of them but your attention is on some of the players. "Sometimes you can see things happen at other times you cannot see. If you're looking at another couple of players, you're not able to see the other part of the box. At that time, I was looking at those players - Bent and his Spanish opponent, and I've seen something that probably television didn't show. Clearly, Duncan Ferguson didn't make any foul but I didn't punish him for a foul. I punished Bent's foul."
* EVERTON'S home clash with Arsenal on Saturday, January 21 will now kick-off at 12.45pm.
Moyes stands up for defence
Nov 14 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today urged Everton's defenders to maintain their miserly ways as he plots the next stage of the Blues' mini-revival. Captain David Weir, Joseph Yobo and Nigel Martyn have been in excellent form recently, playing key roles in helping Everton keep successive clean sheets against Birmingham and Middlesbrough. Blues boss Moyes is well aware the onus has been on that trio to come up trumps, given his side have struggled so desperately for goals since the start of the season.
But he hopes recent performances indicate a return to the stubborn levels of last year, when a rearguard action contributed to Everton finishing fourth in the table. "The performances especially of Joseph, Davie Weir and Nigel have been really good. They have been so consistent," said Moyes..
" What they have needed is people to get goals for them because when they have made mistakes, they have been punished. "In the last couple of games we have kept clean sheets and that is something that we had quite regularly last year. We have had a few 1-0 defeats this year and we need to reverse that. "They know each other well enough and hope-fully they will continue to improve. We have needed the experience of Davie and Nigel and Joseph is certainly maturing."
As pleased as he has been with Yobo, Moyes is quick to point out the influence his skipper has had in helping the Nigerian international progress. "Davie has got to help all the younger players develop," he added. "As a defender, the older you get, the more experience in the role you get and he has helped Joseph a great deal."
Smith pleased with dropped McFadden's response
Nov 14 2005
By Chris Roberts, Daily Post
SCOTLAND manager Walter Smith maintained James McFadden had nothing to prove to him in the friendly draw with the United States. The Everton striker expressed his disappointment at being dropped from the starting line-up at the expense of Neil McCann after his wonder goal in Slovenia.
The 22-year-old reacted by impressing after coming on as a second-half substitute at Hampden Park.
Smith said: "I don't know about him not being happy. We had only two call-offs in the squad for this game which shows just how much the players want to play. "We want to keep bringing the players along and I want the opportunity to have a look at all the boys. You've got to be fair to everybody coming into the squad. "All the players are disappointed if they don't play but it doesn't mean they have got to prove anything. When he came on it wasn't a matter of proving something to me or anything like that. "I am well aware of what McFadden can do having seen him progress but I was pleased that he came on to stir the game up a bit." Smith has only one more friendly - against Switzerland in March - confirmed before the start of next year's European Championship qualifiers.
But he failed to learn too much against the Americans after starting with his more experienced players while his promising youngsters stayed on the bench. He added: "Obviously I want to look at the youngsters but you have to look at the balance of the team. "You can't fill a team with 22-year-olds - it's all about gradual progress."
England 3, Argentina 2
Nov 14 2005
By Mark Bradley At Stade De Geneve, Daily Post
HAVING spent years attempting to match the efficiency of Germany, England were inspired to victory against Argentina by another potential manual for success in next summer's World Cup finals - copying Brazil. It may be an imperfect remix of a familiar tune, lacking the unbridled technical class of the South Americans, and it would be a dangerous route to follow for an entire tournament.
However, while England proved against Argentina that they have a defence as porous as Brazil's, they also served notice they possess some of the most vibrant attacking talent in the world.
Namely, in Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, they have an attacking partnership which would frighten any back four in next summer's World Cup finals. Rooney oozed class with his movement, surging runs and finishing during the first half, equal-ising Hernan Crespo's strike before Walter Samuel's header restored Argentina's advantage after the break. Having hit the post early on, Rooney almost conjured an incredible equaliser with a lob that forced goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri into one of several fine saves. Instead, it was left to Owen, who was a relative sleepwalker for most of a vibrant game before bursting into life with three late chances - two of which he headed home to secure a dramatic last-gasp comeback. With David Beckham back to his best form, and Frank Lamp-ard offering a driving force from midfield, Eriksson knows his team's attacking powers stand comparison with any other team - including Brazil. "There are a lot of good strikers in the world. France aren't bad either when they have Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet," he noted.. "But I'm very happy with what we have and performances like this give us confidence that makes us better. "Michael and Wayne play very well together and they're both top-class players. I just hope they are fit and in decent shape for the World Cup. "They are both young. Michael Owen is 25 and been in the game for seven or eight years. "Wayne Rooney has just become 20 and he's got 28 caps. I don't know any other players at the age of 20 who've done that in the world - ever.. "It seems our squad is much more mature every time it comes together. If we don't have injuries, it's the best squad I have ever had. I hope we can bring everyone to the World Cup."
So much for the positives, with Paul Robinson also excelling in goal, while Joe Cole performed an impressive cameo role as substitute and Steven Gerrard proved his versatility in three different positions during the game. However, the negatives were plain for all to see. Despite boasting some of the world's leading centre-backs, England remain as worryingly vulnerable in defence as ever, missing the calming influence of Gary Neville and the dashing figure of Ashley Cole. Wayne Bridge was, thankfully, short of match fitness. Otherwise, he would have had no excuse for a performance of such limitations that Argentina tormented him down England's left flank. The Chelsea defender was beaten with alarming ease by Maxi Rodriguez as Argentina counter-attacked - just as Brazil did against England at the 2002 World Cup - at pace before crossing for Crespo to sidefoot home their first goal. Having been taken off at the break, his replacement - Paul Konchesky - fared little better, with Samuel escaping into space in the left channel to head home a free-kick to restore their advantage. To compound England's defensive woes, Tottenham's Ledley King's understandable limitations as a holding midfielder were painfully exposed by a player of true international class, Juan Riquelme. "I think Ledley did a good job but it was difficult for him because they played with two sitting midfielders, their wide play-ers came into the centre, Carlos Tevez dropped back and Riquelme was all over," insisted Eriksson. In truth, King - an admirable defender - was left dizzy by Riquelme's movement, proving the need for a midfielder in such a vital role. The only realistic solution is to ask Gerrard to sacrifice himself for his team - Brazil,, after all, often field two holding midfielders to cover for Ronaldo, Kaka and Ronaldinho - but do not hold your breath. Whether Eriksson recalls Sol Campbell for his defensive solidity also remains to be seen, although there are few other teams - apart from Brazil - who will cause such attacking problems. England are, however, one of them. That much was proved in their late surge of attacking power, with Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard and Rooney all going close before Owen's dramatic finale evoked memories of his 1998 wonder goal against the same team. Firstly, the Newcastle forward stole in at the back post to head home Gerrard's searching deep cross, before Cole picked out the striker's head in the final few seconds. England, the new Brazil? Eriksson can only hope his team continue to learn all the right lessons from the South Americans - but forget all the wrong ones. Eriksson's side clearly have the attack to win the World Cup, but as Denmark and Northern Ireland have already proved, also the defensive vulnerability to lose it.
ENGLAND: Robinson, Young (Crouch 80), Terry, Ferdinand, Bridge (Konchesky 46), Lampard, King (Cole 58), Beckham, Gerrard, Rooney, Owen. Subs: James, Campbell, Wright-Phillips, Defoe, Neville, Smith, Green, Carrick, Jenas. BOOKINGS: Young, Lampard, Cole.
ARGENTINA: Abbondanzieri, Ayala (Coloccini 74), Sorin, Zanetti, Demichelis, Samuel, Riquelme (Gonzalez 84), Rodriguez, Cambiasso, Tevez (Cruz 80), Crespo (Saviola 70). Subs: Franco, Placente, Milito, Battaglia. BOOKINGS: Samuel, Rodriguez.
REFEREE: Philippe Leuba (Switzerland).
NEXT GAME: TBC, International Friendly, Wednesday March 1
Rooney's a magician, says strike partner
Nov 14 2005 By John Curtis In Geneva, Daily Post
MICHAEL OWEN tipped Wayne Rooney to lead England to World Cup glory and hailed him as a player who can "pull a rabbit out of the hat" to overcome any class of opposition. Rooney sent a message out to the footballing world ahead of next summer's finals in Germany with a stunning performance in England's dramatic 3-2 win over Argentina in Geneva. The Manchester United star caused panic in the Argentinian defence every time he ran at them in a repeat of the kind of display which illuminated Euro 2004. It is purely conjecture as to whether England would have gone on to win that tournament had Rooney not limped out of the quarter-final against Portugal in Lisbon early in the game. But on his current form he will be the lynchpin of England's assault on their first trophy in 40 years and, importantly, his part-nership with Owen is looking increasingly formidable. Owen said: "Wayne is the sort of player where it doesn't matter whom he plays against to be honest. I'd like to think most of the players in our teams are the same. If anything, you rise to those big occasions. He is definitely a big-game player. "That's what you need in the World Cup finals. You don't just need a player to score a hat-trick against the smaller nation but also against the 'proper' teams and to pull out performances like the one he showed against Argentina. "Even if he has a quiet first 10-15 minutes in a game, you know he is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat somewhere along the line and make a difference because he is just so confident about himself." Owen took his goal tally for England to 35 with two late headers to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and he is relishing playing alongside Rooney, even though he admits the pair have totally different qualities.
He said: "The partnership is developing but even from minute one I was thinking 'who couldn't play with him?' We dove--tail with each other really well. Every one of his strengths is totally opposite to my strengths. "We showed that in Euro 2004. I had a slow start to the tournament but then started picking up. Wayne was on fire from minute one but in general we are opposites - and when you are opposites you seem to gel quite quickly. "My game is not Wayne Rooney's. My strengths aren't coming off people and linking play up. My strength is seeing opportunities, knowing where a ball is going to go, sniffing out a chance, and when I get that chance, obviously scoring. "No-one in the starting 11 today is like me but other players have different strengths. I am always on my toes for the 90 minutes. "Wayne plays differently to anyone else. He has got virtually everything and it is important that other players understand his strengths so we don't knock long balls to him. "I try to understand his strengths and I try to clear out of the way for him. He is better than me in that hole so why do I want to drag defenders in there? We have all got to understand different players' strengths. "People have got to understand mine, and I'll never lose that knack of finishing, and that is what you get with playing with and against each other all season." Skipper David Beckham admitted: "Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen firing in the World Cup could be the key to our success. If we can get balls into those players, crosses and passes through, then they will score goals. "Wayne was on fire in Euro 2004 and they were both on fire against Argentina and, when they are like that, they are an unstoppable force." Owen believes he is starting to gain full sharpness after his switch from Real Madrid to Newcastle and that a lack of European involvement may actually help in being fresh for the World Cup. He said: "I am feeling good about my game. I am feeling quite sharp and am playing well and Newcastle are not overburdened with Europe. "I can recover between games, prepare, keep myself in good shape and play on a regular basis for Newcastle but not too regularly. Hopefully that benefits Newcastle and the big one (the World Cup) at the end of the season."
Hands off our Moyes insist Blues
Nov 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Keith Wyness today told Glasgow Rangers they can forget about plotting to lure David Moyes to Ibrox Park. Morning speculation suggested that the Scottish giants have Moyes on a shortlist to take over as manager if the axe falls on under-fire Alex McLeish in the next few days.
However, Wyness made it quite clear that Rangers, who are struggling in both the SPL and the Champions League, will be given short shrift if they even think about making an approach for the Blues boss. "There has been no contact whatsoever from Glasgow Rang-ers nor would we welcome any," declared Wyness. "David Moyes is under contract for the next four years and after the progress that has been made since his arrival, everyone here hopes he sees that out." Moyes - who also quickly dismissed the speculation - has been in charge at Goodison Park since March 2002 and the club have enjoyed a resurgence since he replaced Walter Smith. The former Preston manager saved the Blues from relegation during his initial few months at the helm then in his first full season led the club to a seventh-placed finish. Though Everton's fortunes dipped the following year, Moyes quickly rectified things last year as he guided the club to a fourth place finish in the Premiership, which secured a place in the Champions League qualifiers. His efforts were rewarded as he signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2009. Moyes was today with the rest of Everton's squad at the club's Belle-field training complex, his focus solely on building on the back-to-back wins before the international break. "We need to be winning five or six games in a row if we can," he said. "That's the way we want to be going about things. "We have won two in a row and we now want to make it three. I'm only looking at the next game but I am thinking about us getting that run of wins. We need to make it three before we think about anything else."
Gravesen happy at Bernabeu
Nov 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
REAL MADRID midfielder Thomas Gravesen insists he has no intention of leaving the club despite reports linking him with a move back to the Premiership. The Danish international has lost his place in the Madrid starting line-up to Pablo Garcia, prompting media speculation the club could be prepared to sell him when the transfer window reopens in January. Both Manchester United and his former club Everton are said to be interested in the 29-year-old, but Gravesen is paying no heed to the rumours. "I am not saying anything about any change, because I am happy here," he told a press conference at Madrid's new Valdebebas training ground. "I am happy at Real Madrid and I will never talk about things written about me."
Blues' latest ticket news
Nov 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
WEST BROMWICH ALBION v EVERTON in the Premiership on Saturday, November 19 (kick-off 5.15pm) STAND tickets for this match are priced £29 (adults), £16 (over 65s) and £13 (under 16s) are currently available on general sale from the Park End box office during normal office hours.
Please note that identification will be required upon entry into the stadium for those with concessionary tickets.
EVERTON v NEWCASTLE UNITED in the Premiership on Sunday, November 27 (kick-off 1.30pm)
GENERAL sale continues from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture.
BLACKBURN ROVERS v EVERTON in the Premiership on Saturday, December 3 (kick-off 3pm)
STAND tickets priced £32 (adults), £20 (over 65s) and £15 (under 16s) will be available to season ticket holders upon sole production of voucher no 39 from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 39 from their season ticket books. All other Executive members need to present cup priority voucher 8 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required upon entry into the stadium for those with concessionary tickets.
EVERTON v WEST HAM UNITED in the Premiership on Wednesday, Dec 14 (kick-off 8pm)
Evertonia members only sales continue from the Park End box office during normal office hours. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence Monday, November 28 from the Park End box office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture.
MANCHESTER UNITED v EVERTON in the Premiership on Sunday, December 11 (Kick-off 4pm)
STAND tickets for this match are priced £39/£32/£31 (adults), and £19.50/£16/£15.50 for under 16s and over 65s. Tickets will be available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no 40 together with six away match ticket stubs (different games) from this season 2005/2006 and properly affixed to their official away match saving sheet from the Park End box office on Monday, November 14 from 9.30am. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 40 from their Season Ticket books. All other Executive members need to present cup priority voucher 9 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required upon entry into the stadium for those with concessionary tickets. Supporters should note that applications will not be accepted unless stubs are attached to the official away match saving sheet.
Robson cautions against great expectations
Nov 15 2005
By John Curtis, Daily Post
BRYAN ROBSON has called for West Brom fans to be patient and keep a lid on their expectations ahead of Saturday's vital Premier-ship clash with Everton at the Hawthorns. Albion have slipped into the bottom three, in stark contrast to the hopes of the supporters buoyed by last season's escape act and a cluster of summer signings. But Robson knows the likes of Curtis Davies, Nathan Ellington and Darren Carter will need time to adjust to the demands of playing regular top-flight football.
The Baggies manager said: "We lost a couple of home games and the fans were getting unsettled. That's because we picked up 24 points from the last 19 games of last season. "Now they're looking at us, with the same squad of players, and saying that we can get 48 points. Then they've seen new players come in and think that we have a chance of Europe! "The expectation levels have definitely gone up - but it takes time to build that kind of side. "Curtis Davies will make mistakes to start with, Darren Carter is improving, Richard Chaplow needs games and Nathan Ellington may need a while to settle in. "Our main aim now is to make sure we're in the Premiership again." Former WBA, Man United and England player Robson knows the importance of everyone pulling together and he has a healthy working relationship with chairman Jeremy Peace. He said: "The chairman, the board, the players, the staff and the fans all need to be heading in the same direction. "If there are areas where people are stabbing each other in the back, it's not often you'll get success that way. The good thing about this club last season is that everyone started pulling together."
Rumour a Joey
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 15 2005
Rumour a Joey
JOSEPH YOBO is a good player. He's made one or two mistakes but is still young and still learning, and when on top of his game is one of the better defenders in the Premiership (better than Rio!).
Hopefully Joey will learn more from David Weir, who'll then make way for Pers Kroldrup to form a formidable defence. The difference between Newcastle, who Yobo has been linked with, and Everton is a goalscorer (which hopefully will be rectified in January or by James Beattie scoring more) named Michael Owen. But I can't see much difference between the two come end of season position wise, so see no reason why Yobo would make that move.
T Thomas (via e-mail)
THE debate over Lee Trundle for Everton is a nonstarter. The Swansea striker is 29. However I want my Saturdays back. I hope we do beat West Brom, but to all the optimists I have one question - if we lose Beattie (and that's not out of question) then where else are goals coming from?
Gary Blewitt (via e-mail)
THE times and days games are played is just getting stupid. I long for a Saturday 3pm. It's all for the benefit of television, not the fans. Why can't Sky show games at 3pm on a Saturday.
Simon Turner (via e-mail)
Keen on Keane
PEOPLE are talking about Lee Trundle for Everton. It's all well and good going for a player who has a real desire to play for the club, but ask yourself if he will really lift us up the table. Sure he has a great shot, but in the lower leagues you get all the time in the world to measure your shot. In the Premiership you hardlly get any time. I'd much rather pay the extra and get Robbie Keane.
Gravesen would 'consider' Real exit
Nov 15 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
THOMAS GRAVESEN has thrown his future at Real Madrid into more confusion by admitting he would consider leaving the Bernabeu if he found his chances further limited. Everton manager David Moyes admitted last week that he would welcome the Dane back to Goodison Park, Gravesen having departed for Spain for £2.5million in the January transfer window. The midfielder's agent John Sivebaek then sought to rule out any such return, however, despite Gravesen having played only a handful of games so far this term. But the 29-year-old himself does not seem to be so certain of his future, saying: "As long as the club want to invest and work with me, I will stay. "But if I do get the impression the club want to give others a chance, I will obviously consider my future." Everton do have first option to buy back the Dane for the same fee as they received should the Spanish giants decide to sell. And last week Moyes said: "I would love to bring Thomas back to Everton if it is possible because he was a very important player for us. "We have a deal which means we have first option to buy at the price Real Madrid paid for him. "We will have to wait and see what happens, but it would be great to see Thomas back in an Everton shirt." Tim Cahill, meanwhile, could be recalled to the starting line-up for Australia's do-or-die World Cup showdown with Uruguay tomorrow. The Goodison midfielder was left on the bench for Saturday's play-off first leg in South America, which the Socceroos lost 1-0. And although coach Guus Hiddink is unlikely to name his side until just before kick-off, he has made it clear he wants to strengthen his attack as his side seek the goals that will end a 31-year absence from the World Cup finals. Long-term injury victim Li Tie could also play a part for his international side this week - and that's good news for David Moyes. The midfielder completed 90 minutes of China's 2-0 defeat to Serbia and Montenegro on Saturday and he is expected to figure in tomorrow night's friendly with Bulgaria. Li Tie is back to fitness after a nightmare 18-month spell out with shin problems, and while Moyes admits he still has some way to go to get back in the Goodison side, his games for China can only help. He said: "He is much fitter now but I still feel he is lacking the sharpness necessary. He's played games for the reserves but it has been a tough time for him. That injury was a bad one and it has been a really hard time for the boy. "It's good for Tie to be playing international football. We know how important he is for China but he is also important for Everton. A couple of seasons ago he played very well but that injury has stopped him. "If he plays for China that will be great because it will give him the chance get more fitness and I will keep my eye on him to see how he does." The 28-year-old said: "This is the first time I have played in my homeland since my leg was broken 20 months ago. I am a little bit nervous, but I am very confident to play for my country in my homeland. "I am still waiting for my chance to come at Everton - I know I have to be patient. "As my manager says I still need more competitive matches to get my fitness.
"For that reason I think the national match is really important for me, that will be benefit me at club level."
Girls spurred on by Toffee ladies
Nov 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
YOUNG female football fans were coached by members of the Everton Ladies squad after turning up at the Everton Community Soccer Camp day. The club held the day at Liverpool Soccer Centre to encourage youngsters, aged between six and 16, to get involved in the sport. About 40 turned up and were treated to some coaching by the Blues stars, who only 24 hours previously had drawn 3-3 with Arsenal in the Women's Premier League. Everton boss Mo Marley told Junior Xsport: "I thought it was very good. Even at the end when the kids were free to go, they wanted to stay and hang around with the players. "Most of the players were surprised by the quality of some of the youngsters' play. "I heard some of them saying, 'I couldn't do that at their age.' "I think it helps them appreciate the coaching that is going on. For me they are all the next generation of coaches.
"I would hope to hold more camps in the future. My ambition is to organise an all girls soccer camp, and I hope it will happen soon."
Rangers told: Hands off Moyes
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 16 2005
EVERTON have dismissed reports linking their manager David Moyes with a move to Rangers.
Ibrox manager Alex McLeish is expected to be replaced unless he can produce results against Celtic on Saturday and against Porto in the Champions League the following Wednesday and Moyes has been touted as a replacement. Although the Everton manager, who is a former Celtic player, is struggling to replicate the form which took the Goodison Park side into the top four of the Premiership last season, chief executive Keith Wyness ruled out his chances of succeeding McLeish.
"There has been no contact whatsoever from Glasgow Rangers, nor would we welcome any," said Wyness. "David Moyes is under contract here at Goodison Park for the next four years and after the progress that has been made since his arrival everyone here at the club hopes he sees that out."
Charlton's Alan Curbishley is also thought to be a top target for the Scottish giants. But Everton spokesman Ian Ross affirmed: "We have not had any contact from Rangers nor would we welcome any." Moyes signed a new five-year contract at Everton only last season.
American Wolff let loose on Bellefield
Nov 16 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AMERICAN international striker Josh Wolff will train with Everton for the next few days. But the Blues are not planning a swoop for the Kansas City Wiz star. The 28-year-old, who scored against Scotland last Saturday, has been at Bellefield since the weekend. The MLS season has now ended and a number of the USA's international stars are looking to work on their fitness during the winter, ahead of next summer's World Cup finals. The MLS season runs from April to November.
The Blues have signed American international strikers in the recent past, with Brian McBride and Joe Max Moore both making valuable contributions to the club. But there is little likeli-hood of Wolff following that trend. Chinese midfielder Li Tie, meanwhile, is set to play his second international of the week tonight against Bulgaria. And he hopes the double-header can push his claims for a recall to the Everton first team squad. Tie has struggled to regain his form after spending more than a year out of the game with a broken leg suffered on international duty. But he played against Serbia and Montenegro at the weekend and is set to line up against Bulgaria tonight. "I was called by the national team manager, Mr Zhu Guang Hu, four weeks ago to play the friendly with Germany," he explained. "I played 90 minutes of that match and I felt really happy and also got a lot of benefits from that match. Now I desperately want to play as much as I can. "As a footballer the whole thing is about playing the match. I am still waiting for my chance to come at Everton - I know I have to be patient. "As my manager says I still need more competitive matches to get my fitness. For that reason I think the national match is really important for me. "It has been really tough for me since I was injured, but I never gave up. It was the biggest challenge of my career and I am going to fight for it. "I feel there are still plenty of opportunities for me. I want to take them all, but it relies on what I am going to do, I will give everything I can to get my best performance." Blues boss David Moyes added: "He is much fitter now but I still feel he is lacking the sharpness necessary. He's played games for the reserves but it has been a tough time for the player. That injury was a bad one and it has been a really hard time for the boy. "He has played a lot of reserve games and he is training but because he has been out for so long you can see he is still not himself and back up to full fitness. Yes he is fit, but I still feel he needs more games before we really consider him to play for the first team.
Everton Res 2, Manchester City Res 2
Nov 16 2005
0ShareAN equaliser two minutes from time from Bjarni Vidarsson was enough to earn Everton Reserves a draw against Manchester City in the Barclays Premiership Reserve North at Haig Avenue.
Everton had keeper Richard Wright as the only player with first team experience in their line-up and started brightly against a City side which included Ben Thatcher and Bradley Wright-Phillips. John Paul Kissock nearly opened the scoring after just a minute but could only find keeper Geert De Vlieger when he headed Patrick O'Boyle's cross goalwards. Slowly though City began to take control of the game and it was no surprise when they took the lead just on the half hour. Ishmael Miller sent in a dangerous low cross and youngster Daniel Sturridge poked home the ball from close range. A quiet start to the second half changed 11 minutes in, as Everton's failure to deal with Kelvin Etuhu's hopeful ball bounced through to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who drove the ball home left-footed from 12-yards out.Andy Holden's team however refused to believe they were beaten and on 81 minutes Victor Anichebe raced onto a through ball from Vidarsson and buried his shot past De Vlieger and into the net to halve the deficit. City were now under pressure after looking comfortable most of the evening, Everton continued to press and with just a couple of minutes on the clock Bjarni Vidarsson capitalised on some poor defending in the City box to force the ball home and level the scores. Wright showed his class in the dying seconds saving from Miller and despite a late effort from Wright-Phillips Everton held firm to get a point from what looked like a lost cause.
EVERTON RES: R Wright; Wynne, Boyle, S Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Vidarsson, Wilson, Anichebe, Kissock (Molyneaux 46). Subs: Morrison, Jones, Harper, Holt.
MANCHESTER CITY RES: De Vlieger; Logan, Thatcher, Ward, Collins; Etuhu, Laird, Bermingham, Miller; Sturridge (Johnson 80), Wright-Phillips. Subs: Grimes, Schmeichel, Williamson, Marshall.
Aussies on top of the world
Nov 16 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL and Harry Kewell were on top of the world today - after they helped fire Australia to their first World Cup finals for 31 years. The Aussies beat Uruguay 1-0 in Sydney this morning to level the World Cup play-off second leg score, then held their nerve to win a penalty shoot-out 4-2.
And Merseyside's wizards of Oz both played significant parts. Everton midfielder Cahill played the full two hours against the South Americans, while Harry Kewell was brought on as a first-half substitute by boss Gus Hiddink in a decisive tactical switch - and then slotted the opening penalty in the shoot-out. Marco Bresciano's 35th-minute goal levelled the tie following Uruguay's first-leg victory, which set up the shoot-out heroics. The victory sealed Australia's first World Cup finals appearance since 1974.
Gravesen will stay with Real insists Moyes
Nov 16 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today moved to quash speculation once and for all regarding the possibility of Thomas Gravesen making an imminent return to Everton. While Moyes remains a firm admirer of the Denmark international, he knows the chances of Gravesen coming back to Goodison Park in January are remote. That is why Moyes has grown particularly irritated in the past couple of weeks to see his name linked with a move for the midfielder almost on a daily basis and is eager to set the record straight. "I had a conversation recently when I said we would love to have him back," said Moyes. "But what wasn't mentioned at the time was that I said I know Tommy Gravesen is happy at Real Madrid. "I also know that no player in their right mind wants to leave Real Madrid in a hurry.
"Unless at any time in the future Tommy felt that he wasn't getting enough football - at the moment, I think he is happy with what is happening out there - I wouldn't see there being anything possible. "But if ever Tommy felt he wasn't playing enough at Real Madrid, then we would be delighted to have him back and it would be great to see him in an Everton shirt." Gravesen left Everton for the Bernabeu Stadium last January in a £2.5m deal but the Blues insisted that they were given first option of re-signing him if he ever decides to move on. Gravesen, who is currently earning £95,000 a week after tax, may have only played in five of Real's 11 La Liga matches this season. But he has never indicated that he wishes to leave and told a press conference on Monday that he was "not saying anything about change because I'm very happy in Madrid". Moyes, meanwhile, has dismissed suggestions that he has already decided to leave Tim Cahill out of Everton's line-up at West Brom on Saturday. Cahill is not expected back at Bellefield until Friday having played for Australia in their World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in Sydney. Moyes said: "We hope he has got a chance of playing. Tim will be in contention and will be part of the squad."
Too much unfinished business to walk out
Nov 16 2005 icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES to Rangers? Don't make me laugh.
I know Moyes has had to put up with a lot at Everton but he seems to have weathered that storm so far and has great backing from Bill Kenwright who has provided him with some money to spend.
Moyes will take Everton to higher places and I think he knows that. If he left he'd be leaving with unfinished business, and for what? To go to the Scottish league in a non-competitive environment.
He'll make a bigger name for himself taking Everton onwards and upwards and winning trophies in England.
Steve Niven, Wirral
APPARENTLY Rangers will target David Moyes as their next manager if Alex McLeish goes and Alan Curbishley doesn't want the job. I'm amazed. Who do Rangers think they are? Why on earth would he leave for a rubbish league, rubbish players and only four decent games a year. Moyes is on the verge of something good at Everton. I really don't think we have anything to worry about. If he has a brain, he'll stay.
Dan Warburton, West Derby
REGARDING the link in the press between Rangers and David Moyes, I'd be happy to see him go.
The guy has to go down as the worst manager in knock-out football, and we could be back in the drop zone after the weekend if we are beaten by West Brom. I am getting fed up with so-called fans praising a manager who has never won anything. And furthermore, he tries to brainwash fans into thinking his team are better than they are. I have followed Everton all my life and don't need to be told what to think about my team. It's the young gullible Blues I feel for who may believe people who tout Moyes as a messiah. I'm sure we won't win anything this year either and I, for one, am not happy with the losing mentality we have at Goodison.
Bill Gilmartin, Liverpool
WHAT I have seen from Andy van der Meyde so far suggests to me he could be the most talented player we have had at Goodison in a long time. He has great pace and can deliver a quality cross with either foot. I am certain he will score within the next three matches.
Jim Dexter, Liverpool
Holden salutes his young Blues
Nov 16 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDY HOLDEN paid tribute to his battling Blues after they staged a magnificent fight-back to grab a point against Manchester City Reserves last night. Late goals from Victor Anichebe and Bjarni Vidarsson ensured Everton left a wind-swept Haig Avenue with a share of the spoils - an out-come that for much of an entertaining game seemed improbable. City had taken the lead midway through the first half when Sean Sturridge converted an Ishmael Miller cross and Bradley Wright-Phillips looked to have put the game out of Everton's reach with a second on 55 minutes.
But not for the first time this season, Everton's reserves dug deep to summon the energy for one last push and when Anichebe tossed them a lifeline with time running out, there was a certain inevitability when Vidarsson levelled at the death. "I have said before that they are great kids, a great bunch to work with and that attitude got us back in the game," Holden said. "I was disappointed with the way we gave the ball away so often early on but with an attitude like that, they won't go far wrong, no matter what walk of life they take, be it football or anything else. I thought Mark Hughes was a colossus." Aside from Hughes' towering display - he made two superb blocks towards the end of the game - Everton boss David Moyes and his assistant Alan Irvine will have left with plenty of positives to discuss. Anichebe took his goal superbly - a left foot drive that gave City's Geert de Vlieger no chance - and made a nuisance of himself, confirming the impression that he has come on in leaps and bounds this year. Laurence Wilson was a threat down the left, Richard Wright produced an assured performance between the posts, then there was pint-sized John Paul Kissock, whose dancing feet caused numerous problems. A cracked knuckle restricted the 15-year-old's involvement to 45 minutes but Holden had seen enough to be suitably impressed.
"JP's a good little footballer and it is all ahead of him."
Mark ward tells of drug case stigma
Nov 16 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAILED former Everton star Mark Ward has spoken for the first time about his fall from grace.
Speaking from Walton Prison where he is serving eight years for drug offences, the 43-year-old said: "I feel gutted at what I have done." Ward pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply.
He was arrested last May in a raid on a house in Prescot rented by him and used by a drugs gang; police found raw and refined cocaine worth up to £2.5m. He said: "May 12 is a day I will never forget . . . it seemed like half of Merseyside police in the road. "When the copper put the cuffs on me the surprise on his face was something that I'll never forget. "I felt my world had turned upside down." He also has to face a "proceeds of crime" hearing in January where the Crown will try to strip away any remaining assets. He added: "I did something that was against all my principles. It is a part of my life that is unimaginable."
Merseyside united as Australia seal World Cup place
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 17 2005
TIM CAHILL believes Australia are finally acquiring respect after the Everton midfielder helped them to a long-awaited place in next summer's World Cup finals. The 25-year-old played all 120 minutes of a tense playoff second leg against Uruguay in Sydney, the Socceroos eventually prevailing 4-2 on penalties having levelled the tie with a 1-0 win inside normal time. Cahill was brought back into the side after being an unused substitute for the first leg in Uruguay, but played a key role yesterday as Guus Hiddink's men secured a place in the finals for the first time since 1974. And Cahill said: "We've made a bit of a name for ourselves and we're starting to get a bit of respect now. It doesn't just affect us, it affects the whole nation - it's an amazing atmosphere and great to be part of it."
Liverpool's Harry Kewell was also party to the jubilant scenes at the Telstra Stadium having emerged as a 32nd-minute subsitute. And the winger revealed how singing the national anthem prior to the match had inspired him. He said: "It felt like the whole country was singing, which is what every player loves to hear." * Everton's Simon Davies and Matteo Ferrari will visit the club's new Chester Megastore between 4 and 5pm today.
Why baking a living is the main goal for Higgins now
By Andrew Collomosse, Daily Post
Nov 17 2005
IF PUSH came to shove, Mark Higgins could rustle up a very acceptable Bakewell Apple Tart - although at this time of year one of his luxury mince pies with brandy might be more appropriate.
Generally speaking, however, the former Everton skipper is more at home in the sales department of his family's bakery business than sweating over the proverbial hot stove. Higgins has been involved with Buxton Spa Bakeries since retiring as a player in the early 90s and is ready to turn his hand to anything. "That's how it has to be in a family business," he says. "The bakery has been established in Buxton for over 50 years. My grandmother worked here until she was 94 and my uncle still starts at 1am every morning. "Like so many players, I had no real idea what I was going to do when I left football and obviously this was very different from anything I'd done before. Basically, I've had to learn a new trade." Just over 20 years ago, Higgins was cooking up a treat for Everton fans as Howard Kendall prepared a recipe that would fill the Goodison Park trophy cabinet in the 1980s.
And it might so easily have been central defender Higgins leading the side to two league titles, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup in a four-year spell which also saw them finish runners-up in the FA Cup and League Cup. Instead, Higgins was on the out-side looking in and seeking to rebuild his career away from Merseyside as Kevin Ratcliffe wrote his name into Goodison folklore as Everton's 'Captain Fantastic.' For in 1984, as his Everton teammates embarked on Kendall's golden age, Higgins was told by specialists he would never play again because of a serious pelvic injury.
He refused to take no for an answer however, and after under-going the last of five operations in 18 months, returned to Goodison and told Kendall he was ready to try again. "Everton weren't convinced," recalls Higgins, 48, an England youth and schoolboy international who played over 180 games before the injury. "And I don't hold that against them. They'd seen the reports and it would have been a huge gamble. But I knew deep down that I would be okay and asked Ron Atkinson to give me a chance at Manchester United." Atkinson agreed to a three-month trial and Higgins' career was back on course with nine games for United before Atkinson was sacked in November 1986.
"Alex Ferguson came in and, after a while, he decided I was surplus to requirements," added Higgins, still a regular at Everton's home matches. "But I'd proved my point and Martin Dobson, an old Everton team-mate who was manager at Bury, gave me the chance I was looking for." Higgins played in 84 games for the Shakers before moving on to Stoke, where he wound up his career in 1990 after making another 40 senior appearances. Not bad going for a man written off six years earlier. "The years with United, Bury and Stoke were very special because I didn't expect to play again," says Higgins,, whose father John was Bolton's centre-half in their 1958 FA Cup final victory over Manchester United. "I'd been on the brink of so much with Everton and I'd just been called into the England squad when I was injured. "Within a few months Everton reached the League Cup final and won the FA Cup and I should have been part of it all. Instead I was wondering whether I would ever play again. "Why did I keep going? Why was I so determined to prove people wrong? I suppose it was just my love of the game. "Football had always been in my blood and I wasn't prepared to give it up without a real battle. I've no idea what would have happened if I hadn't come back."
Cahill's my World Cup wonder
Nov 17 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid tribute to his returning hero Tim Cahill and backed Everton to reap the benefits from Australia's qualification for the World Cup finals. Cahill is due back at Bellefield from Sydney tomorrow, after playing his part in helping the Socceroos see off the challenge of Uruguay to book their ticket to Germany next summer. The 25-year-old was one of Australia's top performers in their shoot-out defeat of Uruguay and confirmed the impression he is getting close to recapturing the sparkling levels of form he showed so often last year. Having worked so hard to make a name for himself in the Premiership, Moyes is thrilled that Cahill - who signed a new deal at Goodison Park in August - now has a chance to pit his wits against the best in the world. But given he will return to Merseyside in tremendous spirits, the Everton manager feels Cahill could now be ready to blossom further and will do everything he can to help his £1.5m make the next step up. "Tim has had a tremendous start to his Everton career and he is now achieving great things, such as going to the World Cup with Australia," said Moyes today. "Hopefully it will all help Everton in the future. We are delighted with Tim and the way he has responded since he has come here. "We will try and manage him right and make sure we get the best from him and hopefully Australia will do also. "I have watched Tim for many years, long before I came to Everton. I knew a lot about him. I used to keep an eye out for him a lot. "But I think his first year in the Premiership was greater than we could ever have hoped for. "If we are being fair, I think he has found this one a bit tougher because the second one usually is. "But there have been signs in recent weeks that he is beginning to come back, even though he has played an awful lot of football. "We have to be careful that we don't wear him out. But he is a good boy and a great lad." Though he has been away from the Everton camp for the past 11 days, Cahill will be in contention to start against West Brom on Saturday night when the Blues will be looking to build on their back-to-back victories against Birmingham and Middlesbrough.
Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari, however, will not be available for the televised clash at The Hawthorns, as they have failed to recover from respective hamstring and ankle problems.
But Simon Davies and Duncan Ferguson do have better prospects of facing West Brom. Davies has responded to treatment on a ham-string strain, while Ferguson trained normally today after being laid low with a bug earlier in the week.
The forgotten man of Goodison
Nov 17 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
COVERED from head to toe in mud, his kit soaked through from having stood in a downpour for 90 minutes, Richard Wright is oblivious to the elements as he heads to the sanctuary of a warm dressing room. Try as he might, the Everton keeper has had little to smile about in the past few months as the continued excellence of Nigel Martyn has restricted his involvement with the Blues' first team to nothing other than frustrated spectator. But at Southport's Haig Avenue home on Tuesday night, Wright had a chance to show David Moyes his well-being, as Everton's reserves took on Manchester City, and a couple of smart saves did just that. One stop, in particular, was crucial to his side salvaging a 2-2 draw and Wright was able to head home feeling he had made a telling contribution to the final outcome. Under-standably, though, his emotions yo-yoed between satisfaction and frustration. Not long ago, the 28-year-old was being tipped to make England's number one jersey his own, particularly after his £6m move from Ipswich to Arsenal in summer 2001. Things did not turn out as he might have hoped at Highbury, with similar sentiments applying to the three years he has spent on Merseyside. But anybody who expects Wright to be sitting around feeling sorry for himself is mistaken. Of course, 16 league and cup appearances in the past two seasons is hardly a satisfactory return but Wright - twice capped by his country - is determined to put on a brave face and knuckle down to the onerous task of trying to dislodge Martyn. "I'll just have to keep working hard and keep plugging away but it has been so frustrating," said Wright. "There have been times recently when I thought I might get a game here and there and when you don't, it is disappointing. "It can be disheartening, but you have just got to keep doing your best, working hard in training and hopefully the chance may come. It's frustrating for me, obviously, but you can't fault Nigel's performances from the start of the season. "We get on really well together, play pranks on each other and stitch each other up, and there is a great spirit between us but we are both going for the same thing and that is the number one jersey. "We are both trying very hard but Nigel is playing very well. I just have to see if an opportunity comes along and if it does, then it's up to me to make sure that I don't let it go. "But for the time being it is difficult. You work hard all week but then you find out there is no exam on the Saturday. It is so frustrating because you don't get that 'Saturday night' feeling when you haven't been involved. "When you have played, you come off the pitch and get into the dressing room on a high and when you go home with your family, you have a real sense of achievement but at the moment I haven't got it." Perhaps the biggest disappointment Wright has been forced to deal with this season was not being selected for the Carling Cup tie against Middlesbrough, but given it came just days after the heroic effort against Chelsea, there was no complaint. He is well aware that ranting and raving to the manager will do no good and the only way he can hope to make progress is by applying himself in training. That said, Wright is finding it difficult living without the big match buzz. "I prepared for the Carling Cup game as I would any other, thinking I'm going to play," he said. "In years gone by, I have played in them, so it was a frustration that I didn't. "But the manager didn't make any changes apart from injuries, so I had no argument. "But I am not going to give up. The only thing I can do is keep working hard. Goalkeepers tend to mature at a later date but at the time being I really want to be playing first team football.
"You need to play that kind of football to be on top of your game. "Hopefully, if I get an opportunity, I will be able to get the run between the sticks I need. "Until then, the only thing I can keep doing is working hard as hard as I can."
Blues take advantage of unusual break
Nov 17 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have taken advantage of an international break with a difference in the last two weeks.
Unlike previous breaks for international fixtures, the Blues squad has remained largely intact, with only Tim Cahill, Li Tie, James McFadden, Phil Neville and David Weir have been required by their nations. Three reported back to Bellefield on Monday, with only Cahill and Li Tie required for midweek international fixtures. As a result, the Goodison coaching staff have been able to focus more intently on this weekend's iPremiership clash with West Bromwich Albion. Everton assistant boss Alan Irvine told Evertonia: "We have been working with better numbers so we have been able to do more meaningful work as a result and keep the training interesting. "We have also been able to work towards the game as opposed to when everybody is away and you can only really start thinking about the next game on the Thursday afternoon or Friday morning." Nevertheless, the break has led to some frustration. Irvine explains: "We are delighted with the recent results when you bear in mind one of those games was against Chelsea as well. "It is just a shame we have not been able to play since then. We obviously understand international games have to be played, but it doesn't really help us when you want to maintain the momentum. "It is something we will have to live with. You speak to coaches at other clubs and nobody really knows the best way to deal with it - do you give lads more time off or do more work? We have to do what we think is right for our players."
Derby ticket countdown
EVERTONIA is an exclusive members club for fans of the Blues. One of the great benefits to becoming an Evertonia member is priority on tickets for home Premiership games. Evertonia members can buy tickets two weeks before they go on general sale - very handy with the Goodison derby looming next month. Non-members have just a few more days to join to ensure you can purchase your tickets for the derby. For details ring 0870 442 0202 or visit www.evertonfc.com/
Win Blackburn tickets
EVERTONIA has 24 pairs of tickets to give away for the Premiership fixture with Blackburn at Ewood Park on December 3. To stand a chance of winning tickets for the game simply answer the following question: What was the score of the corresponding fixture against Blackburn at Ewood Park last season? Send answers on a postcard to: Sarah McMahon, Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, Merseyside. L4 4EL. Make sure to include your Evertonia membership number as well as your name and daytime contact number on your entry.
Nov 17 2005 Liverpool Echo
Is Andy van der Meyde the key to solving the Blues' goalscoring problems? WHILE his return to fitness and his appearances in the team have had an obvious impact it would be unfair to label Andy van der Meyde as the answer to our goalscoring problems. Van der Meyde has undoubted talent, pace and quality but we cannot place that sort of responsibility on one player's shoulders. His crossing ability should create numerous opportunities for the strikers but it is obvious we still need a good quality striker. In January David Moyes (providing he hasn't headed north for an easy life at Rangers) will need to bring in a proven goalscorer and only then will we start to find the net more often. Having said that, while it's easy to put all the blame at the feet of the strikers for our lack of goals the rest of the team also needs to be chipping in to ease the pressure on the two up front.
STE DALEY, Speke
UP TO now, van der Meyde has looked quite promising. He has a fair bit of skill and pace but most importantly he looks full of confidence. With him on the left and Arteta on the right, our midfield looks stronger and provides more of an aerial threat with better crosses coming in. However, I think it's uncertain whether van der Meyde will solve our goalscoring problem or create a new one. Against Boro we played well with van der Meyde and Arteta on the flanks, although this does create the new problem of who should play in the centre. Davies isn't the sort of player to run the midfield and may have difficulties when we play more powerful sides. I don't think van der Meyde on his own will give us enough of a goalscoring threat and Moyes will still have to make a couple of signings in January.
HANNAH BARGERY, Widnes
THERE is no doubt that the arrival of Andy van der Meyde has given both the team and the fans a much needed lift in the two league matches in which he has appeared. This is purely because the midfield has been boosted with an injection of some much needed quality. It is a midfield which beforehand started to look like it was running out of ideas. Van der Meyde is an out and out winger who will, when presented with the ball, look to bring it forward at every opportunity, playing intelligent through-balls, making great crosses and winning corners. With two assists to his name already when he still isn't fully fit, I am sure he will go on to create many more goals and in time, begin to hit the back of the net regularly himself. Still, come January, we must sign at least two new strikers who can successfully feed off Van der Meyde.
GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
ALTHOUGH it is a pairing that has caused problems for defences in recent weeks, noone could accuse James Beat-tie or Duncan Ferguson of being blessed with pace. The threat they provide therefore relies on a high quality of service from the wings, and the arrival of Andy van der Meyde has provided a fresh alternative. Although clearly not at peak fitness, his quality is evident and promises much for the remainder of the season. The versatility that both he and Mikel Arteta possess in terms of being able to play on either flank will provide useful options for making tactical changes during the course of a game, and the presence of a genuine winger will allow us to carry the game to opponents. Such an approach should ensure we win more games than we lose, and enable us to start worrying about what those in the top half are doing.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Where's the sense in it?
Nov 17 2005 Sports View with Echo Sports Editor John Thompson
EVERYBODY uses the media. Agents do it. Managers do it. Players do it. Ex-players do it. And yes, the media do it too. But for too many these days, a rumour needs only the barest grain of half-truth about it to become big headlines. No quotes, no sources, just headlines and unqualified 'understandings'. Some sports hacks are renowned for it, particularly within their own circles. And these days, with the worldwide web casting itself everywhere within minutes, the rumour spreads like digital wildfire. Before you know it that rumour evolves a life of its own and can even morph into a real issue. Mission accomplished for the mischief makers, the thin-day sports writers, and the poachers who will make an illegal approach via the cloak of the printed page. Quite how everyone is supposed to make sense of it all, sorting the speculation from the substance, is a constant challenge for those of us who still believe supporters prefer fact to fiction. It's often a bigger challenge for those players and managers who can unwittingly find themselves being suddenly asked to react to something which has come like a bolt from the blue. Like Rangers allegedly lining up a bid to prise David Moyes out of Goodison and into Ibrox. Or Thomas Gravesen being told he's on his way back to Goodison, isn't he? When you're trying to sort the wheat from the chaff you can't help but put the headlines to those involved. Not to try to give them credibility, but to offer a chance for a response if it's welcomed or felt needed. No one can blame David Moyes for saying nothing whatsoever to dignify the Rangers speculation this week. But you can equally understand club chief executive Keith Wyness issuing a 'Moyes is going nowhere' comment by way of immediate, firm rebuff. Both positions have their inevitable 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' drawbacks. Say nothing and fans may feel there's no smoke without fire. Issue a hands off warning and they think you doth protest too much. In Gravesen's case, his response to the TV cameras was hugely impressive for its honesty, passion, professionalism and sheer frustration. The Dane insisted he would not be drawn into commenting every time someone decided to speculate about him. "As long as Real Madrid want to invest in me and work with me, I will stay," he said with feeling. Madrid were a very big club and he accepted he would always have to fight for his place. He added: "Since last season the squad has become stronger. New players have come in and I am ready to play at my best, like the rest of the players. "We all have to be strong and if I have to sit on the bench and wait then that is fine.
"But if I do get the impression the club want to give others a chance, I will obviously consider my future." Oooooh.
Now there's a story, eh?
Watson: Bold play will bag us a win
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 18 2005
STEVE WATSON believes there is "not much to choose" between West Brom and his old club Everton - and has called for a return to the bold play that saw the Baggies sink Arsenal last month.
The 31-year-old full-back, who made 135 appearance for the Goodison club, faces his former employers for the first time since moving to the Hawthorns over the summer. Watson has been a regular for Bryan Robson's men and despite Albion occupying a relegation place after picking up just eight points from 12 games so far this season, he believes they have enough quality to prick Everton's recent revival. "They haven't started as well as they wanted and we need to start winning, so it will be a close game," said the Newcastle-born Watson. "I was good mates with all the lads up there and they have a similar dressing room up there to the one we have here. "They have a good work ethic and that helped them to fourth place last season yet I don't think there's much between the sides. "They did spend more on players than we have but we have a decent-sized squad and the one thing we have got is togetherness and that will help us this season. "We have a lot of quality here. Okay so we haven't spent £6million on a players like James Beattie or £5m on a centreback like Per Kroldrup but we have a good bunch of lads here and I don't think there's much to choose between us. "We have got a good squad of players who had a good second half to last season and I really don't think there is much to choose between the two." West Brom's standout performance of the campaign thus far was their 2-1 win over Arsenal, but they have otherwise struggled at home, losing to Birmingham, Wigan, Charlton and Newcastle. And Watson has urged his side to return to the attacking play on show against Arsene Wenger's men that day if they want to claim maximum points tomorrow. He added: "Our home form has been poor and most teams get success in the league from their home form. "We showed against Arsenal, when we won 2-1 that we can beat anyone at home and we need to show that attitude again because we've lost far too many at home. That day against Arsenal we went for it and I think we need to start doing more of that - I think the fans would prefer us to go for it too. "Our game play isn't to be cautious - we don't aim to be cautious and we don't train to be cautious but for some reason when things haven't been going well in games we've slipped into that anxious mentality. We know Saturday's game is one we need to win." Tomorrow's trip to the Midlands is set to come too soon for Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari. The defensive pair, who are suffering from hamstring and ankle problems respectively, are still not ready to return to full training. Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, has set himself the target of making Spain's squad for next summer's World Cup in Germany. The Spaniards this week completed the formality of their playoff second leg, drawing 1-1 in Slovakia to seal a 6-2 win on aggregate. Midfielder Arteta, 23, has played for his country's under-21 team but has yet to figure at senior level. But he believes a good season with Everton can see him realise that dream. He said: "Hopefully I will get that chance. I want to see Spain in the World Cup and it was nice to see them winning so well the other night because people were worried after the qualification group because we did so badly. But now we look like we are doing better. "I have played in the Under-21s for my country but I have never played for the main side. That would be a dream for me. "One of my dreams is to play for Spain. That has been my dream since I was young."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 18 2005
ANYONE who thinks David Moyes should go needs to think about who would replace him. No successful manager is going to take on the job. The finance is just not in place for them to do their job properly. It is a similar sitution to Michael Schumacher in Formula One. When he had the right tools to do the job he was unbeatable. Put him in a slower car and he can't compete. Why on earth would a top manager put himself in that position? So that leaves average managers and inexperienced managers to fill the job. Where is the advantage in that? We must do as Manchester United and Arsenal have done and give a manager time to build, year on year. It's no coincidence that the two most successful teams in the Premiership in the last 10 years or so have long-term managers. I honestly believe that within five years we will be regarded as one of the top four clubs in the Premier-ship if David Moyes is given the chance to do it.
Trevor Wainwright (via e-mail)
ALAN IRVINE should take over if Moyes does leave; he knows Moyes's way of management and knows the team already, plus he's a former Everton player so he would be the perfect replacement.
Moyes won't leave for a long time yet anyway. As for the Crouch/Beattie nonsense, it's true that Beattie is on better form, but Bambi-on-ice gives England a different option up front. Anyway, I know which one I'd rather have in a blue shirt.
David Ellis, Wrexham
EVERTON are in massively better shape since Moyes took over, both financially and in terms of the size and quality of the squad. He is an astute manager and coach who has learnt a lot and is still learning. If he stays with us, we will be a top club again within the next few years.
He has made mistakes but other, higher profile managers have made much bigger and more expensive mistakes.
Paul Burnside (via e-mail)
Victory can distract from crazy rumours
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 18 2005
FIRSTLY, a big round of applause to celebrate England winning the World Cup last Saturday. Go Sven and the boys! It's back to the bread and butter of the Premiership now though, thankfully, and the Blues will be hoping to extend their run of form at the Hawthorns tomorrow. Last season's defeat there was a real sickener, especially on the back of two defeats including the Anfield derby, and at that point it looked like we were about to blow our European chances. As it was, we saved that until this season, but hope-fully we can come away from the Midlands in a more positive frame of mind this time around. If we've learned anything it's we can't afford to take any team lightly and although the Baggies are struggling, it needs to be remembered that it was only recently that they beat Arsenal. If we're to believe some national newspaper reports though, David Moyes need not worry about the result too much, because there's apparently a new job waiting for him at Ibrox. That is of course as long as Alex McLeish doesn't bring about a turnaround in fortunes and if Alan Curbishley doesn't fancy it. We can probably breath easy for the time being then - those of us who still rate Moyes that is. Would he be interested in taking over at somewhere like Rangers though? A while ago it seemed improbable, but given the recent pressure Moyes has been under and the raised expectations at Goodison, he must look around and at least consider keeping his options open. On the other hand, the days when Graeme Souness and David Murray used to tempt top players from England and the Continent are well and truly behind them now. In fact their financial problems appear to be at least as bad as Everton's, if not worse, and the fans' expectations even more unrealistic. Getting into Europe is more or less guaranteed every year, but making an impact is another matter, as Everton found out only too painfully this season. All things being equal then, Moyes would be mad to even consider it, if indeed he is actually wanted in Glasgow. A win tomorrow though would be good, obviously to put more distance between ourselves and relegation, and also to put further distance between our manager and crazy talk of him leaving to go anywhere.
Moyes calls on festive spirit
Nov 18 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes his upwardly mobile Everton players will need every bit of fighting spirit to get through the most difficult part of the season unscathed. The Blues travel to West Brom tomorrow for the start of a run that will see them play nine Premiership matches up to and through the Christmas period, with five of them away from home. After a wretched start to the campaign, Everton have showed signs of recovery in recent weeks with consecutive wins against Birmingham and Middlesbrough lifting them out of trouble. However, Moyes knows there is no margin for error at The Hawthorns, as a West Brom victory would see them swop places with Everton in the table.
But Moyes is confident his squad are showing signs of recapturing the sparkle that served them so well last season and is expecting a bold show in the Midlands. "The next period is difficult for us," said the manager. "Three of our next four games are away from home. We've had a terrible run with the way games have fallen. "Our extra games are in December and there are so many games then that you hardly benefit from them. We have not had a decent run. "But that's the way it comes and we know it will be tough but we are feeling good at the moment and we are making progress. That's what we want to do. "We want to keep the progress going. West Brom did tremendously at the end of last season and they have had some great results this time around. "So I know exactly how difficult it is going to be. But I have not found an easy Premier League game yet and don't expect this to be any easier. "If the players keep progressing as they have over the last three weeks, then hopefully we are getting back to the form we know we can produce." Moyes, meanwhile, will look forward to seeing one of his former foot soldiers tomorrow in the guise of Steve Watson, who left Goodison Park for The Hawthorns during the summer. Though he was unable to offer the kind of deal that Watson wanted to stay on Merseyside, Moyes was quick to point out that he never had a moment's trouble with the versatile Geordie. "Steve was great for us, so was Kevin Campbell," Moyes said. "I would have liked to have kept Steve and we felt that a one-year offer was right at the time. "But he wanted more and we couldn't give him that. I'm pleased that he is playing and doing well at West Brom. He is a great lad and was a great character around the club. "I was disappointed to lose him but we have now moved on. Kevin Campbell was a great lad here and never a minute's problem. "He was really good the year we had success with him and Tomasz Radzinski up front and I am thankful to Kevin for all his efforts while I was here."
Watson's top mission is simply elementary
Nov 18 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING taken the surprise decision to turn his back on a Champions League adventure in the summer, Steve Watson will be out to show he has no regrets when Everton tackle West Brom.
A player whose versatility and tenacity made him a crowd favourite during five seasons at Goodison Park, Watson chose to seek pastures new when he was offered the chance to extend his stay on Merseyside by a further 12 months. Seeking the security of a long-term deal, however, after much deliberation Watson decided against the opportunity to pit his wits against Europe's finest with a club for whom he made 137 appearances to instead take his chances at The Hawthorns. It will come as no surprise to learn that Watson - despite his new club's wretched start to the campaign - has made a bright start to life in the Black Country, fitting in seamlessly in a number of different positions across defence and midfield. When he left Goodison, one of the first things he did was mark on a calendar when the Blues were scheduled to visit and has been looking forward to renewing old acquaintances. But given West Brom's perilous position, this affable Geordie will have no trouble casting sentiment to one side as he strives to get one over his pals. "I had five good years there and made a lot of good friends," said Watson, who cost £2.5m when he joined Everton from Aston Villa in 2000 and was urged to move to Goodison by none other than Paul Gascoigne.
"It was a really happy five years as well and it will be nice to see everyone. But this is a game we need points from and I'll worry about catching up with them afterwards. We've got a month of games now where we think we can get some points. "We're not scoring goals at the moment and we're conceding bad goals but the performances are definitely improving. "We're creating good goalscoring chances that we should be putting away to take the pressure off the defence."
The Hawthorns has hardly been a happy hunting ground for Everton down the years, as the Blues have only won three of their last 18 visits to this particular part of the Midlands. David Moyes' side do, though, make the relatively short trip down the M6 this time in good form and confidence in the camp is high following a run of three unbeaten Premiership games. Similar sentiments, however, applied last April when Everton last faced the Baggies only to receive a rude awakening. Watson was a member of Moyes' team that was beaten 1-0 that day and recalls leaving the ground feeling despondent. But now he wants to repeat the trick. "In the Everton dressing room we definitely thought it was a game we could win," he said. "We were fourth in the table and at the time only needed a couple of points to secure fourth spot. "But we didn't deserve to win and West Brom were the better team. They out-battled us and worked hard all over the pitch. We have to go about the game the same as we did last year. "Everton have not started as well as they wanted and we're exactly the same. It's going to be a tight game." Everton's poor start to affairs has certainly taken Watson by surprise, especially so considering the spending spree on which Moyes embarked during the close season to improve quality in the ranks. That said, the one thing money can't buy is team spirit and the 31-year-old knows from experience how being such a close-knit unit will serve Everton well in the remainder of the season. But he is confident, nevertheless, that his new employers will give his old ones a run for their money. "They've got a really good dressing room like us, a genuine set of lads," Watson, a player with the knack of scoring vital goals, said. "They're very similar to us - they have a good work ethic and work hard for each other. "That, more than anything, got them to fourth place last season. They've been able to spend more money than us but we have a decent size squad and, if we keep everyone fit, we have good quality. "The one thing we have got is togetherness and we need that to see us through again. We're not able to spend £6m on a player like Everton have done on James Beattie and Van der Meyde, plus £5m on Kroldrup. But that's no guarantee that they are better players. "We have a squad of players who had a great second half of the season last term, had a good pre-season and are a fit bunch of lads. So, I don't think there will be a great deal to choose between the two sides on the day."
International break cost us momentum
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 19 2005
ALAN IRVINE admits the international break could have broken the momentum that saw Everton claim seven points from their last three games. The Goodison club resume their bid to move clear of Premiership trouble with what the assistant manager calls a "massive game" against West Brom at The Hawthorns this evening. Tim Cahill is the main casualty of the break, having picked up a slight groin strain helping Australia come through their World Cup play-off against Uruguay this week, not to mention the delibilating side-effects of the travelling involved. But Irvine is just as concerned that Everton can maintain the form that saw David Moyes's men end their miserable start to the season with a draw against Chelsea and then wins over Birmingham and Middlesbrough. "The international break is not something we would have wanted, obviously," he said. "But it's a fact of life unfortunately. We appreciate that the international managers want to take advantage of these times. But it doesn't help us at club level. "You speak to a lot of managers and coaches and we're all trying to figure out the best way of dealing with these breaks. Certainly it's a disruptive thing, you'd rather be playing on a regular basis week in, week out." Everton will give Cahill a late fitness test today, but he is surely unlikely to play a substantial role having only arrived back on Merseyside yesterday. They also have worries over Simon Davies's hamstring while Duncan Ferguson only returned to training yesterday after a stomach upset. The key to victory against Bryan Robson's men, believes Irvine, is the sort of start they have displayed in recent weeks. He added: "It's a massive game for both clubs, we know that we can build on what's been a good last few games. And it's a huge game for them in terms of how close we are in the league. "I think our confidence is coming back and it's been helped by the fact that we've got the first goal in each of those games.
"We saw last year how vital that was and you see time after time just how important that is. I'm not saying you can't come back but it certainly gives you a much better chance." Meanwhile, Everton are not thought to be interested in making any move for Roy Keane after the Irishman's shock departure from Manchester United yesterday.
Irvine satisfied at striker's decisive choice of career
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 19 2005
EARLIER this year there was many an Evertonian who wished that James Beattie had followed his father's wishes and become a surgeon. At least then a lack of incisiveness would have brought due reprimand. Now though, with three goals from five starts offering delayed evidence of his £6million-worth of talent, the numbers still wishing he was pulling on a green tunic rather than a royal blue jersey are rapidly dwindling by the hour. And one of the more impassioned sighs of relief at the former Southampton man's emergence from a troublesome first few months on Merseyside can be heard coming from the direction of Alan Irvine. The Goodison assistant manager has an association with Beat-tie that goes back over 12 years, having coached him as a pupil at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Blackburn, a role that led on to the youth team coach's job at Ewood Park.
At the time Irvine was still on Blackburn's books and, having recently acquired a coaching badge, found the 500-year-old school only too happy to let him put some of his skills into practice.
One of the 14-year-olds under his charge was academically gifted and an international-level swimmer, but it was on the football pitch that James Beattie's true talent came to the fore.
"He looked like a young Alan Shearer at the time," says Irvine.. "I'm not saying he's identical to Alan Shearer by any means, but he always scored goals, he was very powerful, he was particularly powerful going down the right-hand side, and I always described him as scoring 10 candidates for goal of the season. He's done that since he was a kid. "He had a lot of things going for him - he was something like the second best swimmer in the country as a kid and actually only came into football after suffering a shoulder injury." He added: "I started doing coaching at the school and I started doing coaching at the Centre of Excellence at Blackburn as it was then, and it just so happened that James was one of the players there. The head of sports actually said you need to have a look at this lad. "There was another lad called Dan Leeming who was at Everton at the time, and they were the two best players by a long way. "We got them on trial as an under-15 schoolboys, and we then talked them into leaving school. When we first talked to his dad about it, his dad said he was going to be a surgeon. That was the level of James' academic ability." Thankfully for Southampton and now Everton, the football pitch provided a stronger lure than the operating table. And it was the bonds formed during those early days in east Lancashire that proved invaluable when the hefty strain of that price-tag, not to mention the injuries and the suspension, left Beattie unable to escape the starting blocks when he joined in January. Given Irvine's nature, of course, that morale-maintaining was done subtly. "It's always difficult dealing with lads who are a bit low because you don't want to add to it by continually having big long chats," the Scot said.. "But you try and keep their spirits up as best you can without making it look as though you're having a meeting with them. You don't want to exaggerate anything, you just want to make sure that you're there for them as and when they need you." Irvine is certain that the Beat-tie that stood up to take the penalty against Chelsea last month and the Beattie who saw off Middlesbrough with that opportunistic header is the Beattie that, barring injury, is here to stay. "We feel that if we can get him on the pitch enough times he will continue to score goals," he continued. "The return he has got for us has been good but unfortunately the number of games that he's played for us hasn't been good. The thing is he was never injured as a kid. And he's not an old man so it's not as if he's beginning to suffer from years and years of knocks and so on. "He came with an injury to start with and then was always battling with injury, one thing after another, and the supsension after the sending-off against Chelsea, all the time. He's had his injury problems and if he can get through all of that by training and playing on a regular basis we'll see that he will score goals for us, I am certain of that.
"James is one of these lads that whatever sport he picks up he seems to do well. He's a bright lad, he's a good-looking lad, he's got a lot of things going for him. And of course he's confident.
"He's always scored goals and he's continued to do that as a professional player. I think now he's starting to get his power back, which I felt was probably missing after all the breaks due to injuries, and that was one of the things he always had. "He always had a fantastic shot with his right foot and he was a great leaper - and he's shown signs of that in recent weeks. Three in five starts is a terrific return and iIf we can get him on the pitch he will score goals."
A soft shoe shuffle to revival
View From The Stands by Miles Shackley Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2005
ON MY way into work on the Friday before the Chelsea game, I spotted a single black shoe casually discarded in the middle of a West End street in the bustling metropolis of London Town. "I wonder how that got there." I thought to myself. "Surely the owner would have noticed?" As someone who can relate everything that happens in my personal life directly to how Everton are performing, the thought suddenly took on a more sombre note when, on arrival at work, I looked at the league table and saw our chaps taking root in the table's foundations. I had visions of May 2006, us at the bottom of the pile with a record low number of points, thinking to myself: "I wonder how we got there? Surely someone should have noticed?" Seven points from three games later and things look a little healthier, although taking stock of where we are now compared to what we were looking forward to six short months ago still hurts. But after a dismal start to the season, it appears that the players have realised that now is not the time for collective wound licking and appear to have recaptured some of the battling spirit that saw us annoy our way to fourth spot last year. As is the Everton way, the momentum of our recent upturn in form runs the risk of grinding to a halt thanks to circumstances beyond our control. I don't care how good a game it was, international friendlies are nothing short of a nuisance when they disrupt the makings of a half decent run. So. On to our opponents. I know it's trite to say 'we should win, we're better than them', but it's true. They're down there for a reason. Granted, so are we, but we've also raised our own bar for acceptable levels of results and performances over David Moyes's tenure as a whole. West Brom will always provide standard, ugly fare and should be dispatched accordingly.
Bent: The players are to blame
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 21 2005
MARCUS BENT believes Everton owe the club's supporters after their weekend humiliation for which he admitted the players have only themselves to blame. David Moyes's side slipped back into the relegation zone after they were leapfrogged by West Bromwich Albion, who thrashed the Goodison outfit 4-0 at The Hawthorns. Nathan Ellington set the Baggies on their way with a disputed penalty on the stroke of half-time before scoring again in the second half as Nwankwo Kanu and Robert Earnshaw completed the rout. It was Everton's heaviest league defeat of the season and brought their three-game unbeaten Premiership run to an end. And with Moyes's men still having scored just four goals in 12 Premiership games this season, Bent conceded the fault for Saturday's defeat must lie with the players. "Everton are all about going out and every player working 120%, not just grinding results out but sometimes playing good football and always working for each other," he said. "But on Saturday it didn't happen for whatever reason. "We didn't play well as a unit and maybe if we'd done that we'd have got a result. "We are big men in the dressing room and we blame ourselves, so we will go in next week and try to put things right. We can do that by doing the same things we always have, sticking together, working hard, grinding out results be it 1-0 or 2-0, even a 1-1 we'd have got a result and we'd be moving on." Everton entertain Newcastle United in their next game on Sunday, and Bent added: "We owe the fans a good performance next week, and we owe ourselves one too. We didn't do as well as we could. "We'd won a few games but that isn't the end of the season. "We need to do what we did last season, get back to winning ways. We may not have won games last season by lots of goals, but we ground out wins and that gave the fans the voice to get behind the side. "When the fans see stuff like at the weekend, then you can't blame them for booing or shouting one or two things. They've paid their money and come a long way to support us." Moyes kept the players in the dressing room for an hour at The Hawthorns on Saturday after their eighth league defeat of the season - only Sunderland have lost more.
And Bent revealed: "The manager had words with us after the game. No matter who the manager was, Sven-Goran Eriksson or whoever, they would have a shout after that result. The gaffer is still with us though. He sticks together with us, we work together and he is Everton through and through." Of Saturday's setback, he added: "This was a missed opportunity for us. No disrespect to West Brom, who did well and had a lot of good performances, we expected to go there and get a win. "In the first half we thought we started off well passing the ball without creating a lot of chances, but then just before half-time they got the penalty. Whether it was one or not I'm not sure, the tackle was outside the box but Tony's arm hit him when he was inside. "Coming out in the second half, we had to show a bit more determination and a bit more hunger to want to get back into the game and get the three points. But that wasn't 100% in every department and I think that showed with the score. "We don't want to be down where we are for much longer, we want to be in the top end of the table come the New Year, and I'm sure we will be because we are a confident bunch."
Angry Moyes 'embarrassed' by beating
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 21 2005
DAVID MOYES pulled no punches about Everton's second-half capitulation at West Bromwich Albion.
The Goodison side conceded more than two goals in a Premiership game for the first time this season as they slipped to a 4-0 defeat. And Moyes said: "I am embarrassed for myself and for the team with the way we played at West Brom. "It was not very good. We've had some good performances in recent weeks but the improvement we've had in those games was not there.
"I don't think enough people won their individual battles. Only a couple of players did that. I spoke to the players after the game but no more than you would expect from a manager whose team have lost 4-0. "We have got to think about the three games before Saturday against Chelsea, Birmingham and Middlesbrough. We have to try and look at it that way and try and be ready for the next one.
"I want to see an Everton team with more steel and determination than the one you saw at West Brom. For me you can play poorly. That is acceptable. Everyone has that at times. "But you shouldn't be found wanting when it comes to winning battles, being determined and committed.
"I didn't think we had enough of that. You always lose games but I was not happy with the manner we lost on Saturday." Everton skipper David Weir admitted everyone inside the Everton dressing room felt 'embarrassed' by Saturday night's heavy defeat. "What can you say?" he said.. "It is not good enough. We realise that a lot of people have travelled here, paid their money and we have given them nothing. "We can only apologise for the performance and say to the fans that we must improve because we realise they cannot be happy with that. "I don't know what went wrong.
"We just didn't seem to win any of the battles, they were first to the ball and seemed to be that little bit sharper than us, but there are no excuses for the performance." Of West Brom's opening goal from the penalty spot, Weir added: "The foul was outside the box and little things like that turn games but we have to respond to that. You can't just accept it and say it is not going to be our day.
"You have to come out, be positive and try and do something about the situation. "The lads are disappointed with it; they are embarrassed by the result." West Brom manager Bryan Robson saluted the performance of Nathan Ellington. Robson said: "I'm really pleased for Nathan. His fitness levels were down when he first arrived here and he has to build on that. "But now he is 100% fit and he showed against Everton what he is capable of."
Pride needed to restore fortunes
View From The Stands by Miles Shackley Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 21 2005
BEING bitten on the backside by cold, hard reality is never pleasant. On Friday, I dismissed West Brom as standard, ugly fare. That description could be more applied to Everton at present. Saturday's result can be filed under 'Shrewsbury Experiences'. In terms of performance, it's arguably the worst I have seen in 20-odd years of saying "worst I've ever seen". "It wasn't a penalty!" "The keeper handled it out of the area!" Get over it. We were awful. No amount of isolated incidents will hide the fact that we were skating on very thin ice long before we went a goal down. Here's the rub. Professionals get annoyed at fans who accuse them of a lack of effort. As a fan, I'm prepared to accept that if they can answer one or two straightforward questions. If you spend the best part of your life training and practising and running around and kicking a ball in preparation for one 90-minute event a week, why is it so very difficult to do something as straightforward as kicking it to someone you know? When did controlling a ball become such an issue? Or keeping it amongst yourselves to take the pressure off when you're struggling? If you can play the way you did against Chelsea three weeks ago, then how can you play the way you did on Saturday? Most of us have been watching football longer than the present crop have been playing. You are breaking our collective hearts at the moment. We are Everton Football Club. It means something. Pride, please.
Blues legend returns to Wales for book launch
By Tom Bodden, Daily Post
Nov 21 2005
NORTH Wales holds a special place in Everton legend Colin Harvey's heart. He met local girl and future wife Maureen in Prestatyn while holidaying by the seaside in 1967. And years later, while staying in his Aunty Peggy's caravan, he received the message that led to his appointment as manager of the club he had supported since a boy. A member of the Blues' "Holy Trinity" midfield - along with Howard Kendall and Alan Ball - Harvey returns to the North Wales coast this week to promote a book detailing his 40-year love affair with Everton. "It was Thursday, June 18, 1987 and we'd gone out for the day," he recalled. "When we got back we found a note pushed under the door, apparently by a contact of one of the Everton directors who knew where we were staying.
"It was still the era before mobile phones and the note asked me to ring the chairman, Philip Carter."
An Everton supporter since a boy he was set to replace Howard Kendall as manager at the age of 42.
Harvey, now 61, charts his career in Everton Secrets with writer and broadcaster John Keith ( Sport Media £17.99). It is an inside story that spans the successful reign of enigmatic manager Harry Catterick in the 1960s and early 70s to Howard Kendall's European adventure in the 1980s, the discovery of Wayne Rooney and to present day boss David Moyes. Harvey, nicknamed the "White Pele" by fans, made his senior debut as a teenager in front of 70,000 spectators in the San Siro stadium against Inter Milan in the European Cup. But his favourite memory was scoring in a 2-0 Goodison Park defeat of West Bromwich Albion to lift the league championship trophy in 1970. "I had gone from being a fan watching Everton win the champion-ship from the terraces to lifting the trophy myself in just seven years. "Playing for the club was a dream for me," he added.
The low point was being sacked as manager after three seasons which saw the side finish fourth, eighth and sixth in the old First Division and make an appearance in an FA Cup Final.
"We had had a poor start to the season and then, like now, as a manager you couldn't afford a bad season. "When I look back it wasn't a bad record but the fact that we didn't win anything has grated with me because I had always been a winner as a player." As a coach with then manager Kendall the Blues enjoyed their most successful era in the 1980s winning the championship, FA Cups and European Cup Winners Cup. As youth coach at Everton Harvey was responsible for nurturing Wayne Rooney's rare talent. He promoted the schoolboy to the Blues' under-19 side at the age of just 14 after seeing him score a wonder goal from 30 yards. "The only person who could stop Wayne doing anything he wants in the game is himself. "He is a phenomenon," he added.. Harvey, who still scouts for North West players for former team-mate Joe Royle's Ipswich, is certain that despite the current Everton's side's troubled start to the season winning ways can return to Goodison Park. "I watch a lot of football matches and I didn't believe that they would struggle for long. I fully expect them to start climbing the table again."
* Colin Harvey launches "Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets" at the Rhyl branch of WH Smith at 12.30pm on Friday, November 25
* Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets is published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media at £17.99. Copies can be ordered (including free postage and packaging) by phoning 0845 143 0001
Williams' brace secures cup win
Nov 21 2005
ENGLAND midfielder Fara Williams scored twice as Everton Ladies secured a place in the semi-finals of the FA Nationwide Women's Premier League Cup with a 3-1 win over Sunderland Ladies. Everton will now meet Arsenal in the last four on December 11, with Doncaster Rovers facing Charlton in the other semi-final. Sunderland had taken the lead when Mel Carr headed home after 28 minutes, but Williams equalised seven minutes before the break with a penalty. Midfielder Kelly McDougall edged the visitors in front two minutes into first-half stoppage time before Williams sealed the win after a second penalty of the afternoon She followed up after Helen Alderson's spot-kick had been parried to fire home. Everton now have a chance to avenge last season's FA Cup final defeat by Charlton if they get over the next hurdle. And manager Mo Marley said: "We're capable of doing it again. It's going to be tough, but we'll go into the game with every confidence."
Nov 21 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FURIOUS David Moyes is demanding an immediate response from his Everton players after admitting the horror show against West Brom left him as deflated as he has been all season.
Having watched all the good work of the three previous games unravel so spectacularly at The Hawthorns, the Blues boss was not looking to make any excuses after the 4-0 defeat.
But with his side now back in the relegation zone, Moyes is well aware that next Sunday's home clash with Newcastle has taken on a huge significance and has made it clear he will not tolerate any more sub-standard displays. "Nearly every player lost their individual battles," he said.
"You can't lose battles because if you do, you won't win the game. You have to be competing as much as the opposition. "I have been disappointed many times unfortunately this season. This wasn't like the teams that I would want to put out. They won too many battles, we didn't win enough. "I just can't accept the performance to be the way it was and I won't accept it. I hope we don't think we've got 11 players who just think they can do it. "It's always difficult when you lose, especially when you lose in the manner that we did. But we have to try and regroup and I hope the next time you see Everton, you will see a much better, much tougher side than the one at West Brom." Though he felt there were a couple of decisions which went against Everton - notably the penalty that was awarded against Tony Hibbert - Moyes pointed to too many individual errors as being the ultimate difference between the sides. "It wasn't good," said Moyes. "It was a poor performance. There were factors which led to it like the penalty kick being given for being a yard outside the box before half-time. "But we should have dealt with it because it was ridiculous that we gave the ball away and didn't deal with it and ended up with a penalty kick. "At half-time we have to re-jig and try and come back. Not that we had played well in the first half but we were looking to get in at nothing each and try and do something about it. "Then five minutes into the second half we concede one from a corner kick. I wish we could score one from our corner kicks. "We had one or two opportunities, we had bits of play and possession but we never did anything with it. We have played well in the last couple of games but we can't take anything from this."
West Brom 4, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Nov 21 2005 By Ian Doyle at The Hawthorns, Daily Post
WHEN David Moyes insisted a fortnight ago it would be daft for Everton to say they had turned the corner, he probably wasn't expecting his players to prove him so emphatically right at the next available opportunity. The optimism that had been building since victory over Middlesbrough made it seven points from nine and lifted the Goodison side out of the relegation zone will be conspicuously absent when the squad reconvenes at Bellefield today to sift through the wreckage of a truly abject display. Far from edging further clear of danger, Everton now find themselves once again floundering in the bottom three. And while defeat to West Bromwich Albion will hurt, it was the manner in which the Midlanders outplayed and - yes - outfought his team that will truly stick in the craw of Moyes. No wonder he was cautious not to go overboard after the mini-revival earlier this month. He's seen enough of his team to know what they are capable of, the rough that accompanies the smooth of this Everton vintage. There's been far too much of the former in this anti-climatic campaign. When asked if he was particularly disappointed with Saturday's result, Moyes responded pointedly: "I have been disappointed many times recently, unfortunately." How true. Yet none of the disappointments can rank alongside the shambolic, shameful display that left disheartened, disgruntled Evertonians trudging away from The Hawthorns long before Robert Earnshaw applied the final insult on an evening of torment. Even the defeat at Dinamo Bucharest, where the capitulation was constricted to only the second half, was better than this. From practically first whistle to last, Everton were found wanting in almost every department. Not by a Chelsea or an Arsenal. Not even a Tottenham or a Bolton. But West Brom. No-one genuinely saw this result coming, yet how many are surprised? David Weir was man enough to admit afterwards the display "was not good enough", but he has been forced to say that far too many times this season already. One look at the league table confirms just how good Everton currently are. There is no point in them raising their game against the champions if they are to fail so dismally against their nearest rivals. Everton's success last season was built on a strong team ethic and complete commitment. Take one of those foundations away and performances begin to wobble; remove both and it leads to the catastrophic collapse witnessed at the weekend. Where was the desire? Where was the hunger? Where was the cohesion? Where was the striking threat? These are issues Moyes must swiftly address if Everton are to avoid a long season of toil in the Premier-ship nether regions. Goals, though, remain the chief concern. West Brom had not kept a clean sheet since the opening day of the season, and subsequently conceded 22 goals in their next 11 games. Yet the only time goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak came close to being beaten on Saturday was by wayward clearances from his own players. Fingers will no doubt point at the strikers - Everton have still scored just four league goals this season - as they will at the defenders for handing the home side their biggest-ever win in the Premiership, but it is in midfield where the battle was lost. The formation that started the game, with Mikel Arteta reverting to a central role while Andy van der Meyde switched flanks to the right, struggled to gain any foothold in proceedings. At least Moyes attempted to change things at the break, but with Tim Cahill joining Lee Carsley on the sidelines and Phil Neville deployed elsewhere as an emergency left-back, none of the combinations available could provide the necessary grit and guile to trouble West Brom, leaving the defenders exposed and the strikers isolated - with inevitable consequences. Did somebody mention Roy Keane? Another defeat - the eighth in 12 league games - again raises the nagging suspicion that Everton may have been found out. The distinct lack of variety in tactics has without doubt made matters easier for the opposition, who know what to expect and are becoming increasingly aware that scoring the first goal has proven decisive against Moyes's men this campaign. That is a mental block his players have clearly yet to overcome, but looking around his squad, it is difficult to see how the Goodison manager can change things greatly. A striker remains a priority come January, but perhaps the goalscoring problems are more deep-rooted than merely the identity of the man who is asked to apply the finishing touch. For now, however, Everton need to work this result out of their system as quickly as possible. rtainly, trying to find positives from the game would be entirely pointless: there weren't any. A few honourable exceptions aside - Neville,, Tony Hibbert and Joseph Yobo worked hard while Duncan Ferguson at least gave the West Brom defence something to think about following his second-half arrival - the majority of Everton's players let themselves down badly. Yes, the visitors were on the receiving end of a poor decision to hand the home side a penalty when Hibbert's foul on Nathan Ellington was patently outside the area. And yes, West Brom keeper Kuszczak was hugely fortunate to escape any censure after handling outside his area. But the rot had already set in long before Ellington stroked home that first goal from the spot in the final minute of the first half, with Everton surviving an earlier strong penalty appeal for handball after Geoff Horsfield's cross struck Neville.
Despite demonstrating early signs of nerves having lost their previous three Premiership games, West Brom were allowed to play themselves into the game due to a surprisingly subdued opening from the visitors. Trickery from Diomansy Kamara on the left gave him a shooting chance that was blocked by Yobo, and then, with the Everton defender lying prone on the edge of the area after an awkward fall, Junichi Inamoto fed Ellington who swivelled and shot at Nigel Martyn. At the other end, Marcus Bent floated a header wide while van der Meyde might have done better when nodding over Arteta's clipped ball into the area. But that was about as good as it got for Everton as they fell away spectacularly in the second half. Nwankwo Kanu won a corner from the left on 51 minutes, and Kamara's delivery into the box found Neil Clement at the far post who, after losing the attentions of marker Beattie far too easily, headed home. Victory was assured for West Brom 18 minutes later when Kanu found Ellington and the striker skipped around Kevin Kil-bane and curled a brilliant left-footed effort into Martyn's bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards. Everton's best hope of a regis-tering a goal came from the West Brom players, with Clement, Inamoto and Curtis Davies each almost inadvertently putting through their own goal. Ferguson warmed Kuszczak's palms with a late free-kick and then somehow bundled the ball over from six yards after the keeper could only parry James McFadden's long-ranger, before a dreadful pass back to Weir by Kil-bane instead put Earnshaw in the clear in the final minute and he slotted past the helpless Martyn. A long week of toil now awaits Everton's players ahead of next Sunday's home encounter with Newcastle United, a fixture which assumes an even greater importance. So too the club's AGM on Thursday. There remains plenty of hard work to be done at Goodison.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Watson, Davies, Clement, Albrechtsen; Greening, Wallwork, Inamoto, Kamara (Carter 63); Horsfield (Kanu 36), Ellington (Earnshaw 85). Subs: Hoult, Moore.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; van der Meyde (McFadden 74), Davies, Arteta (Osman 77), Kilbane; Bent, Beattie (Ferguson 64). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Oxfordshire)
NEXT GAME: Everton v Newcastle United, Premiership, Sunday 1.30pm
We only have ourselves to blame - Bent
Nov 21 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A REFRESHINGLY honest Marcus Bent admitted that Everton's players would not make any excuses after their wretched season slipped to a new low at the Hawthorns. Having staged a mini-revival in recent weeks, David Moyes' side had their bubble burst in comprehensive fashion as West Brom beat them 4-0 and swopped places with Everton in the Premiership table. It was by some way the Blues' worst performance of the campaign and an ashen-faced Moyes left his players in no doubt how he felt when he locked them in the dressing room, conducting a 45 minute inquest after the final whistle. Apart from a tongue-lashing from the manager, Everton's travelling supporters also made the players aware of their feelings at the final whistle. Injuries to certain individuals may have left Moyes unable to choose his first choice starting line-up but Bent made it clear those on duty were more than capable of putting on a match-winning performance and was disgusted they let standards slip. "You can say there were a few players left out, you can say we didn't play well but we lost and didn't get three points," said Bent. "You could blame the two week break but we are big men in there. We look at ourselves and we blame ourselves. "We will go in to training now and try to put that right. We will do it the same as we always have. We will stick together, work hard and grind out results. Whether it be a 1-0, 2-0 or even if it's a 1-1. At least it's a result and we'll move on.
"We don't want to be down there at Christmas, we want to be at the top end of the table by the New Year and I am sure we will be because we are a confident bunch. We didn't achieve what we did last year to come in the bottom half this year. "No disrespect to West Brom but we expected to come here - and the fans did probably - to get a win. But we didn't do that. Now we have got to go and put that right. The manager had a few words to say. "He's had his go. But he is one of the boys, he's one of the lads, he's Everton through and through. He'll stick with us and we will work on putting things right. We owe the fans a lot. We owe them from the start of the season."
The most dispiriting aspect of the performance, however, was the fact Everton looked a pale shadow of the side who had worked so diligently to correct things against Middlesbrough, Birmingham and Chelsea. Bent was at a loss to explain why Everton folded so tamely and spectacularly in the Black Country and knows it is vital they return to basics to get themselves out of the mire before it's too late. What's more, he refused to apportion any blame on the shoulders of referee Dermot Gallagher, who awarded a penalty to Nathan Ellington after a challenge from Tony Hibbert outside the box that ultimately changed the game. "We felt we started off well and we were passing the ball," said Bent. "We didn't create a lot of chances but we had sights of goal. "A couple of minutes before half-time, they got a penalty. Whether it was a penalty or not, I'm not sure. Hibbo tackled him outside the box but I think his arm hit him inside the box, so that's why the penalty was given.
"But coming out in the second half, we have got to show a bit more determination and a bit more hunger. We didn't show that. We weren't 100 per cent in every department. "I am not taking anything away from West Brom because they did really well and scored a wonderful four goals. But we are Everton and we should be going out and giving 120 per cent. "We don't just grind results out. Sometimes we play good football. We work well for each other. Everyone was out there giving there all but sometimes it just doesn't happen for you," said Bent.
Keane is worth a gamble
Nov 21 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S miserable mauling at West Bromwich Albion was their biggest Premiership defeat of the season . . . but it wasn't the first time the Blues have rolled over this campaign. They were happy to sneak out of Highbury with only a 2-0 defeat, went down far too easily to Wigan and capitulated catastrophically in Bucharest. Which begs the question, would they accept defeat quite as easily with Roy Keane in their ranks? The Irishman carries more baggage than Phineas Fogg, but he's also an on-field motivator. Everton have discussed his possible arrival at the highest level. His presence at Goodison Park would be a gamble, but on Saturday's dire evidence, it could be one worth taking.
West Brom 4, Everton 0 (Echo)
Nov 21 2005 By Dominic King
FOR those of a sensitive disposition, it is suggested you stop reading now. Those who are prepared to sift through the wreckage of Everton's Hawthorns debacle, however, brace yourselves for what is about to follow. During a season that began with such lofty expectations but has proved so horribly anti-climatic, there have been a number of bad Everton performances. Portsmouth at home and Manchester City and Tottenham away being particularly miserable. But this latest, shambolic horror show outstrips them all. Yes, even the calamity that was the first leg of the UEFA Cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest. It is doubtful West Brom will out-play, out-think and out-fight another team so comprehensively this year. It would be easy to point to referee Dermot Gallagher's absurd decision to award Nathan Ellington a penalty for an offence that happened outside the box as being the moment that changed the game. But it would be both cowardly and wrong. In the 44 minutes that preceded the moment when Tony Hibbert barely made contact with the West Brom striker a yard outside Everton's penalty area, David Moyes' men had been well off the pace in a game they should have dominated. High on endeavour but lacking genuine star quality, there is no escaping the fact that West Brom are one of the Premiership's poor relations, the height of their ambitions being to avoid relegation. Yet somehow, bafflingly, Everton made them look world beaters. Was complacency an issue? It better not have been. Having won two and drawn one of their previous three games, hinting at a mini-revival, Everton had every right to travel to the Black Country feeling confident about maintaining the sequence. Showing signs they were recapturing the tenacity and determination which served them so successfully last season, if the application and endeavour had been right Everton would have had little to worry about against West Brom. Instead, one tentative step forward has been followed by two blundering steps backwards. Slipping into the relegation zone once again, it is barely believable that this is the same team who were fourth best in the country not long ago. Perhaps it is time for a change of tactics because with each match Everton have lost this season, the more the suspicion has grown that Premiership opposition have well and truly worked out the key to success against them - get the opening goal. The biggest worry for Moyes - who will have spent the weekend seething - and everyone else connected with the club is once Everton fall behind, they don't look like they have the creative spark to conjure something up to get themselves back into games. Statistics back this up. It is almost a year since Everton last came from behind to win a game (against Bolton last December at Goodison Park) while Southampton in February was the most recent occasion they have salvaged a draw after trailing. Moyes may well be looking to sign a couple of strikers during the transfer window and it is not difficult to see why. Four goals in 12 Premier-ship matches is an abysmal, alarming return. It must change but is up front the only area that needs improvement? Hardly. If Everton really have become one trick ponies, as some of their wretched displays during this instantly forgettable campaign have suggested, the onus is on Moyes to make the necessary tinkering in January. How much will he have in his kitty? The club have just announced their best ever financial results, so will this give the manager a substantial kitty? The AGM on Thursday night promises to be highly-informative. Going out and spending, nevertheless, is all very well and good but will players of necessary quality and flair see Everton as an attractive destination if they are still shuffling around in the relegation zone? The nine Premiership games between now and January 2 have taken on an importance that few could have imagined. It is time for the big name players to produce the big games performances that are expected of them.
As it was this shambles was down to much more than the strikers' inability to find the back of the net. Unable to get a foot on the ball, the midfield was swamped and the defence bore no similarity to the well-oiled unit we have come to expect. Combine those three elements and fail to show the necessary steel, determination and spirit that are a prerequisite in the Premiership then you have a recipe for disaster. West Brom could barely believe their luck. Once Ellington had converted from the spot, there was a sad inevitability of what would follow on a calamitous evening. Only when Duncan Ferguson arrived did Everton look remotely like scoring - and his first touch came when it was all too late at 3-0. While the first goal was contentious, nobody picked Neil Clement's run up when the defender put West Brom two up on 50 minutes, ramming Diomansy Kamara's corner home with a firm header. Even then there was still a feeling that if Everton had sorted themselves out, there was a chance for them to get back into it. It probably went, though, when the myopic Gallagher failed to see Baggies keeper Tomasz Kuszczak handle outside his area. Ellington - who had not scored in the Premiership since his summer move from Wigan - doubled his tally with a well placed effort shortly after but was given far too much time and space to pick his spot after being played in by Kanu. Salt was rubbed into gaping wounds in injury time when Kevin Kilbane sold David Weir short with a back pass that allowed Robert Earnshaw to gallop through and gobble up the simplest of opportunities. No wonder phone-ins and websites were cluttered with furious Evertonians afterwards, venting their spleens and turning the airwaves Blue. These loyal supporters, who will continue to follow their beloved club through thick and thin, can tolerate defeat. If they have seen 11 Everton play-ers run themselves into the ground, battle and scrap for every loose ball but still come up short at the final reckoning, that is fair enough. What they won't put up with, though, are any more farces such as this. Priding themselves on the motto that nothing but the best is good enough, this offering to the supporters was nothing like the best, not even a pale imitation of it. Everton's players have some serious making up to do.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Watson, Davies, Clement, Albrechtsen; Greening, Wallwork, Inamoto, Kamara (Carter 63); Horsfield (Kanu 36), Ellington (Earnshaw 85). Subs: Hoult, Moore.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; van der Meyde (McFadden 74), Davies, Arteta (Osman 77), Kilbane; Bent, Beattie (Ferguson 64). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Oxfordshire)
Left-back hands Moyes a welcome fillip
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 22 2005
DAVID MOYES has been handed a welcome injury boost with the news Nuno Valente has returned to full training. The Portugal international has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea on October 23. Valente rejoined his Everton team-mates yesterday and suffered no immediate reaction, and is now in contention for a starting role against Newcastle United at Goodison on Sunday. With Matteo Ferrari also ruled out through injury and Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith long-term absentees, Phil Neville has been deployed as an emergency left-back in Everton's last three games. Everton head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Nuno joined in training on Monday and fingers crossed he should be okay. I have spoken to him and he has said he was completely okay afterwards which is good news." Ferrari, meanwhile, could recover in time to stake his claim for the trip to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday week. The Italian was forced off early during the Carling Cup defeat against Middlesbrough in October with an ankle injury. Rathbone added: "Matteo Ferrari has been running hard and I would say he is maybe 10 days away so we are very pleased with him as well." Joseph Yobo sat out training yesterday due to a back injury he sustained on Saturday in the 4-0 defeat at West Bromwich Albion, although the Nigerian is expected to resume later this week. Moyes is anticipating a strong response from his players on the training ground this week after that Hawthorns humbling. "I just can't accept the performance to be the way it was and I won't accept it," he said.. "I hope we don't think we've got 11 players who just think they can do it. "We have to show that we care about the performance. Our supporters have been terrific and we can never thank them enough. Next Sunday we have got to put things right against Newcastle. We have to try and regroup and I hope the next time you see Everton, you will see a much better, much tougher side than the one at West Brom."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Nov 22 2005
I'VE supported Everton since 1955 and what's happening now is breaking my heart. I'm not one of the 'Moyes out' brigade because he's done absolute wonders with some very average players.
But in my opinion the situation has become very serious and I believe the unthinkable is likely to happen - we are in grave danger of losing our 50-year status in the top league. If this does happen, Mr Moyes please take us down playing with some passion and dignity and not with a whimper like at The Hawthorns.
Sign 'white boy'
SIGN Chris Birchall from Port Vale - the soon-to-be world famous 'White boy of Trinidad & Tobago'.
He's a real 110%er, can go past players out wide, crosses the ball really well and can play through the middle. Also he scores plenty from long-range during open play. He'll become the star of this summer's World Cup Finals so get in before his price goes up.
No football brain
HASN'T anyone got onto the fact that since the signing of Phil Neville we have gone rubbish? Coincidence? I think not. The lad is great for effort, but for a footballing brain he leaves a lot to be desired. Go on Phil hoof it - as far you can..
DAVID MOYES'S best quality is being a motivator. He is a great manager and will pull us out of this mess, starting with victory over Newcastle. However, his job as motivator ends as soon as the players step onto the pitch and this is where David Weir should take over. But he doesn't and the team has not got one leader.
HOW on earth can anyone defend Everton after yet another shambolic display? Moyes's signings have flopped big time. At least Simon Davies is consistent - consistently poor in whatever position he has played.
Blackburn Reserves 1, Everton Reserves 2
Nov 22 2005
EVERTON Reserves braved awful conditions at Christie Park to come from behind against Blackburn and take all three points in a 2-1 victory in the FA Premier Reserve League North. The game was played in thick fog at Morecambe but the young Everton side showed fight and determination to turn the game around in the second half. Everton suffered an early setback after just 10 minutes when the home side took the lead through England striker Joe Garner. Rovers won a corner which the Everton defence failed to clear and the young forward pounced from close range.
The visitors responded quickly and went close to levelling through Scott Phelan but Peter Enckelman in the Rovers goal saved comfortably. Paul Hopkins might have scored for the visitors on 36 minutes but could only put his effort wide of the post, while at the other end Keith Barker forced a good save from Richard Wright. With just two minutes to go to the break Everton thought they were back on terms, Laurence Wilson sent in a shot only for defender Eddie Nolan to handle in the box.
The penalty was taken by Christian Seargeant and superbly saved by Enckleman, Patrick Boyle hit the rebound straight at the Rovers keeper and the chance was gone. Nolan was sent off for the handling offence, giving Everton hope in numbers for the second half. Rather than become disheartened by the missed penalty Everton rallied and within 10 minutes of the second period were rewarded with the equaliser. Bjarni Vidarsson turned well in the box to hit a snap shot past the former Aston Villa keeper and level. Paul Hopkins completed a good night for stand-in manager Jimmy Lumsden by scoring the winner on 70 minutes with a low drive into the corner of the net and although the fog threatened the game's remaining minutes Everton held on to the victory.
EVERTON RESERVES: Wright, Wynne, Boyle, S Wright, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Phelan, Hopkins, Vidarsson, Wilson. Subs: Kissock, Jones, Holt.
BLACKBURN ROVERS RESERVES: Enckelman, Kane, Barr, Nolan, Taylor, Welch, Hodge, Woods, Peter, Garner, Barker. Subs: Treacy, Drench, De Vita, King, Pezzoni.
Valente boosts Moyes' options
Nov 22 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NUNO VALENTE is preparing for an instant recall as Everton's squad continue to work on banishing the memory of the Hawthorns debacle. Having been out of action since damaging a hamstring in the draw against Chelsea on October 23, the Portugal international handed David Moyes a boost by returning to training yesterday. With Moyes expected to ring the changes against Newcastle next Sunday following the 4-0 defeat against West Brom, Valente will take his place on the left of defence provided he suffers no reaction. It has been a frustrating time for the 31-year-old, who cost the Blues £1.4m when he joined from Porto in August, as he had just started to look like he was coming to terms with the pace of the Premiership after a slow start. He has, though, spent his time on the sidelines looking for pointers to help improve his game and is confident that Evertonians will finally see the best of him when he eventually returns. "It was not good because I felt better and more confident in terms of fitness and I felt that I was getting used to playing at the English pace, so the injury was not good for me," said Valente. "As a player, you want to be out on the pitch but while I have been out, I have tried to watch and learn the moves of players in my position and the opponents as well. There was nothing I could do but wait, which was not the best situation but I am much happier now because my family is with me and we are trying to settle into the English lifestyle." Moyes, meanwhile, is eager to draw a line under a defeat he described as unacceptable and left Everton's players aware of his feelings following a meeting at Bellefield yesterday. The manager believes, though, that he will get the positive reaction he craves when Everton next take to the pitch and is confident the Blues will show pride in their shirt. "I'm looking for a big response and I'm sure that we will get it," said the manager. "We will look at the performance and we will start to work on things again. "We won't let it go away but we will have to move on. We have got to show that we care about the performance and the next chance we have got to do that is against Newcastle. "I felt that we let our supporters down badly on Saturday and we will do everything to make it up to them when we play next Sunday. We have got to try and put things right. "We have had two or three decent results but it's not enough. We shouldn't have gone to West Brom and lost in the manner we did. We have made the players aware of what we want."
Legends reunited for a jungle derby
Nov 22 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE "I'm A Celebrity" contestants have got it easy. They only have to eat insects and let rats crawl all over them. Mersey football legends Neville Southall and Alan Kennedy fly out to Borneo next summer for a jungle challenge which is genuinely gruelling. The Everton and Liverpool old boys will join ex-players Brian Kilcline, Arthur Albiston and Simon Garner in a challenge aimed at raising more than £100,000 for the Children Today charity. And the Borneo Challenge is appropriately named.
The players must complete a:
* Five hour, 32 kilometre mountain bike ride down tough hills and gravel roads.
* White-water raft down seven kilometres of the fast-flowing Kiulu River.
* Camp out in the jungle before a full-day trek through rain-forest, crossing rivers either on hanging bridges or by wading.
* Abseil down a mountain-side before building a raft - and racing it..
* Finally, climb Mount Kinablu in time to witness a breathtaking sunrise from the peak at 6.30am - before a six hour descent..
Always regarded as a maverick throughout his playing career, Southall is thrilled by the prospect.
"It's the chance of a lifetime to go and see a part of the world you would never normally visit. Where else could you get a paid adventure?" he declared.. "We were never allowed to do things like this when I was a footballer.
"It's for a genuinely good cause, and it's also a great chance to see orangutans up close - and sadly that chance may not be there for much longer the way things are going. "It's going to be a great laugh, but I'm also sure it will be quite competitive. Alan's team will be all Liverpudlians and mine will be all Evertonians, so we'll certainly be trying to win." Both Southall and Kennedy are seeking adventurous Scousers to join their teams for the Borneo Challenge next May. "I think I speak for all the captains when I say this is going to be an amazing experience," said Kennedy.. "If you are the adventurous type and think you have what it takes to complete this unique challenge, while raising masses of money for Children Today, then get in touch!" Each participant must raise a minimum of £3,500 in sponsorship to take part, with a £500 deposit required to secure a place. Kennedy added: "Unlike the world of football it's vital that I get my team confirmed for Borneo as soon as possible. It's time to kick- start the training programme. "Anyone wanting to challenge their bodies and push themselves the extra mile should get in touch. I'm sure we're going to have a fantastic time and come home with the greatest sense of achievement, and hopefully the trophy too!" The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) has chosen Children Today as the beneficiary for The PFA Borneo Cup 2006, a charity which provides equipment for children and young people with sickness or disability.
Want to be on Neville or Alan's team? Call Kate Jones or Alicia Duffey on 0161 929 8700 for more information. Donations can be made by calling Children Today on 01244 335622.
Williams' double sets up semi showdown with Gunners
Nov 22 2005 By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES beat Sunderland 3-1 on Sunday to book their place in the semi-finals of the Premier League Cup. It took three weeks and two postponements for the match to take place, but Mo Marley's side now face Arsenal on December 11. Everton had the better of the chances in the first half with Fara Williams and Jody Handley firing narrowly over the bar. But it was Sunderland who began to take control on a poor pitch, and they took the lead through Melanie Carr's header just before the half hour mark. Ten minutes later Everton were awarded a penalty when Williams was brought down in the box by Black Cats midfielder Jill Scott. Williams brushed herself down and duly equalised from the spot. It was her second successful spot-kick in a week, after she netted the winner for England against Holland. The Blues were back in contention, and started to pass the ball around well. It wasn't long before their second goal arrived. Williams fed a fine through ball for Kelly McDougall who executed a perfect lob over keeper Helen Alderson. Everton started the second half brightly, with Channy Parry shooting wide and then making the keeper save another effort shortly after. The game was put out of Sunderland's reach seven minutes from time after the referee awarded Everton another penalty following Alderson's challenge on Handley. Williams saw her effort saved, but she was quickest to the rebound and slammed the ball home. Everton manager Mo Marley was delighted to see her side make it through. "I don't think we started the best," said Marley. "The pitch conditions suited them rather than us and we didn't get any free flowing football going, although we did have a few chances. "The best thing which happened to us was conceding a goal because it woke us up. But the longer the game went on, the better we became. "We're happy to be in the semi-finals and if we play well against Arsenal, who knows?" Everton travel to Fulham this weekend, while Liverpool and Tranmere have home games against Stockport County (Heswall FC) and Newcastle (Poulton Victoria FC) respectively.
Everton face wait over Cahill fitness
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 23 2005
EVERTON are sweating over the fitness of Tim Cahill ahead of the weekend clash with Newcastle United. The Australian missed the 4-0 thrashing at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday after suffering a groin strain. The 25-year-old midfielder returned from Sydney on Friday with the injury following his country's penalty shoot-out victory over Uruguay in their World Cup play-off.
Cahill sat out training on Monday and his fitness will be assessed throughout the week ahead of Sunday's Goodison encounter with Graeme Souness's side. "Tim has got a bit of a groin strain," said Everton head of physio Mick Rathbone. "He didn't train on Monday and we will review him towards the end of the week but we have got our fingers crossed for him." Everton manager David Moyes will be desperate for the combative midfielder to be available as he team aim to bounce back from their weekend mauling. Cahill's absence at The Hawthorns was his first in the Premiership this season, with the only other game he has missed - the Carling Cup clash with Middlesbrough - also ending in defeat. Meanwhile, Nuno Valente is vying for an instant recall against Newcastle after recovering from a hamstring injury and has admitted his injury could not have come at a worse time. "It was not good because I felt better and more confident in terms of fitness and I felt that I was getting used to playing at the English pace, so the injury was not good for me," said the Portuguese.
"As a player, you want to be out on the pitch but while I have been out, I have tried to watch and learn the moves of players in my position and the opponents as well. "But I am much happier now because my family is with me and we are trying to settle into the English life-style."
Break did us no good - Neville
Nov 23 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE has called on Everton's under-performing players to go full throttle for the rest of the season. The Blues defender admitted that some players took their foot off the pedal following the recent international break - resulting in the 4-0 hiding at West Bromwich Albion. He explained that only a consistent show of the kind of effort and intensity which held Chelsea would be acceptable in future. "Since Chelsea we thought we had turned our season around," he explained "but maybe the international break came at the wrong time for us. "A few players went away on international duty and maybe we took our foot off the pedal a little bit. "We can't afford to do that, even though we had won a couple of games and drawn one. We are still down there near the bottom and we are in the bottom three now. It will take a good couple of performances to get us out of there. "We have said all along that we are too good to be down at the bottom of the table but it is the results and the performances on the field that determine that." Neville added: "All the players on Saturday took full responsibility for the performance, there were no excuses. Going out on to that pitch we were well prepared and we just didn't perform. "We held our hands up afterwards and said it was all our fault and as a group of players we aim to put that right on Sunday against Newcastle. We are going to work hard all week and hopefully that will pay off on Sunday." Everton's Scottish Under-21 international goalkeeper Iain Turner, meanwhile, has fired a warning to Nigel Martyn. Currently on-loan at Wycombe, the youngster helped John Gorman's team climb to the summit of League Two at the weekend and said: "I want to be number one at Everton. Hopefully if I get a chance I can take it.
"You need to be playing first team football to get noticed and I've got the chance to play for Wycombe. "Hopefully we'll keep this run going and a few good performances from me will put me in the eye of my gaffer at Everton. "First team football anywhere has more of an edge than reserve team football."
Sick of hearing Blues' excuses
Nov 23 2005 Icliverpool And Liverpool Echo
ALL season players have been coming out saying sorry for poor performances and admitting it's not good enough. But it's time they did something about it because we want results, not excuses. If they worked on a building site they wouldn't earn a penny for effort like that. There was no heart, no pride and, most worrying of all, no talent. Disgraceful. Kev Jones, Birkenhead
THE defeat to West Brom was a disgrace and Roy Keane has got to be worth sounding out.
He doesn't need the money, but he's got three years left in him. Keane wouldn't have to move house and his presence on the pitch is the equivalent of two players. And we should already be talking to strikers for January. Having said all that I still have 110% faith in David Moyes.
Rob Byrne, Norris Green
IF I turned up at work and performed like the Everton players did on Saturday then I would be sacked. Footballers moan about training too hard and playing at Christmas - my heart bleeds for them. They should try working for a living and forking out hard earned cash to watch garbage.
Chris Codd, Everton
I STILL have faith in Moyes, but Weir, McFadden, Bent and Kilbane are not good enough. I hope he clears out those players in January and gets in the strikers and midfielder that we need. I just hope he now realises that being too thrifty does not work. If we have to spend big on a top striker then we should do so. After all, the implications of going down are not even worth thinking about.
Mark Smith, Burnley
I SPEND a lot of money watching Everton and I do not think it is worth it. The product is awful - no goals and no entertainment. I'm angry and unhappy. Am I alone in this view?
B King, Waterloo
MOYES raised the bar after last season's heroics, and now everyone expects him to perform miracles every week. I believe that he is still the right man for Everton but unfortunately I don't feel the same about some of the players. Now should be the chance for Kroldrup to step up and show why Moyes paid £5m for him. Jack Bell, Halewood
Moyes backing defender Valente
Nov 24 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is backing Nuno Valente to show his true colours when he is given the green light to resume his Everton career. The Portugal international returned to full training on Monday after spending much of the past month working with the club's medical staff on the hamstring he damaged against Chelsea. Provided he suffers no reaction in the next couple of days, Valente will be in contention for a place in the starting line-up for Sunday's crucial home clash with Newcastle.
And Moyes is looking forward to seeing the man for whom he paid Porto £1.4m back in action, especially as Valente becomes more accustomed to life on Merseyside with each passing day.
"We will need to wait to see how he is," said Moyes. "He has been out for a few weeks but he resumed training on Monday. "Like any other players who come in, it's not always easy to settle, especially in a new culture and with a new country's football, but he was just starting to get there when his hamstring went. "But hopefully he will have had a little bit more of a chance to settle now and having his family here will help him settle down a bit more. He has moved into a house, so he is much happier." The Everton manager, however, will only share similar emotions once his players have banished the memory of last Saturday's 4-0 defeat at West Brom. He is satisfied, though, that the squad is moving in the right direction again but Moyes has made it clear he expects much more when they lock horns with Newcastle. "It is just a normal week now of training and preparing and hopefully getting ready for a much better performance against Newcastle," said Moyes. "The players always train well here but we are looking for more than that. We are looking for it to be shown on the pitch on Sunday." Meanwhile, Kansas City Wizards manager Curt Johnson has quashed speculation that American international Josh Wolff is on the verge of a move to Everton.
Wolff, 28, has been training with the Blues for the past seven days in preparation for next summer's World Cup but both Moyes and Johnson have insisted there is nothing more sinister than that.
"Training with Everton has been something he came to me and asked to do," Johnson said. "The bottom line is he has stated his intent to stay here and contractually we have him for three more seasons. I don't think there is anything unusual in that regard."
Blues' progress on road to recovery
Nov 24 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
CHIEF executive Keith Wyness will tell Everton shareholders at tonight's annual meeting that the club's best ever financial results are just a small step towards the big test ahead. Wyness will present a set of figures to shareholders that show a £17m deficit has been turned into a £100,000 profit. While the sale of Wayne Rooney, the club's fourth place finish in the Premiership and an increase in television revenue made a significant contribution to the results, off-the-field factors such as streamlining key areas and ensuring the club has been more professionally run will be taken into account. Wyness is determined to show the figures are not a flash in the pan and that there is still more work to be done, as consistency holds the key to a successful future. He said: "This is just one small step towards creating foundations. We must look at this success and towards improving the club's financial situation long term, ensuring we are going down the right road." Shareholders, however, are likely to seek answers to questions regarding new training facilities for the club, the youth academy, the increase in price of tickets for lounges and the contentious issue of stadium redevelopment. Everton have previously stated they will not make any decision over a possible move from their home of the past 113 years until the debate over Liverpool's projected ground move has been resolved. It is expected that some shareholders will express their frustrations at results on the field since the start of the season, particularly the early exit from both the Champions League and UEFA Cup, but it is not likely that manager David Moyes will be the target of any criticism. One member of the Shareholders' Association said: "We will always be behind the team on the pitch and will always support any profitable ideas the board may have that will benefit the long term future of the club." The meeting takes place at 7.00pm in the Alex Young Suite at Goodison.
Meeting promises to be lively affair
Nov 24 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WITH typical Goodison timing, Everton waited until the eve of the 126th annual general meeting to deliver their worst performance of the season. And as a result, that 90 minute maelstrom at West Brom has turned what was likely to be a run-of-the-mill meeting into a bunfight. Another 1-0 win, even a streaky draw - would have allowed Everton's boardroom movers and shakers to approach tonight's agm with a 'boys are back on track' mentality. Saturday's shambles, however, has exploded all that. So this can't be the comfortable, complacent, self-congratulatory meeting it might have been. Fans will want answers to some searching questions. Like: Who messed up the Villarreal ticket arrangements? Was it just bad luck that the Bucharest flight went bust on the day of the game?
Why was the directors' box empty during the home leg against the Romanians? Who is Per Kroldrup? Will David Moyes have money to spend in January to find a desperately needed striker?
Was the Fortress Sports Fund just a figment of our imagination? Have new stadium plans been shelved for good? And, perhaps most importantly, where are Everton going to find another 30 points from this season? As always, events on the pitch drive the emotions off it - which is why tonight's agm promises to be a lively affair. And perhaps that isn't such a bad thing.
Chance to relive FA Cup glory
Nov 24 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIA is giving away ten copies of Everton's 1995 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham on DVD to ensure the memories of that famous day never fade. It was an inspired performance by Joe Royle's men, attacking from the outset and going two goals up through Matt Jackson and Graham Stuart. Spurs hit back before the real turning point of the match. Neville Southall made a great save before the Blues countered and a flowing move led to Daniel Amokachi finishing at the far post. There was still time for Amokachi to grab a second in the 90th minute. The match propelled Royle's men into the final against Man United when Paul Rideout emerged as the match-winner.
He told Evertonia: "The day went so quickly. People tell you to savour it but the excitement overtakes you. "I didn't realise I'd scored until the crowd made a noise. It's kind of weird - the silence and then all of a sudden you realise what you've done. "When I look back it's a lot clearer than actually on the day, when you realise the magnitude of the match and what the win means to the fans. "A lot of Everton fans still come up to me and say: 'you made my day'. "It doesn't bother me if that's what people remember me for." Now coaching in America, Rideout still keeps a close eye on the Blues. "We get three or four Premiership games on a Saturday plus the live games on a Sunday and Monday," he adds. "It's a shame Everton haven't won anything since 1995, but the achievement last season was unbelievable." To stand a chance of winning one of the DVDs answer the following question: Who was the skipper of Everton for the 1995 FA Cup final?
Send your answers to: DVD competition, Sarah McMahon, Everton FC, Goodison Park, Liverpool, L4 4EL. Include your name, contact details and your Evertonia membership number.
* Evertonia is the ideal Christmas present. Make sure you join in time to get your pack delivered for Christmas. Call 0870 442 0202 or visit
Nov 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
What should be David Moyes' reaction after the loss at West Brom? THERE can be no excuses for the disgraceful performance on Saturday. It is totally unacceptable to perform like that in the Premiership, and somehow Moyes needs to change things around. I believe that Weir needs to be dropped and stand down as captain. Although he has been a great player in the past, Weir's best days are behind him and he doesn't appear to be a leader on the pitch. Now is a good time to give Per Kroldrup a chance to prove himself in the Premiership. The main problems in the team are the lack of creativity and goals. We still continue to play the long ball which restricts the midfield.
As for goals, the strikers we have now are an embarrassment. Bent lacks desire, Ferguson just isn't the same player, McFadden isn't a Premiership player and Beattie is one of the worst strikers I've seen in a blue shirt.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
WEST BROM was a disgraceful performance in a game I thought we'd comfortably win. We were second to every ball and I can't even remember us creating a chance worthy of mention. Moyes has to shake things up now and drop certain players, with three springing to mind - Kilbane, Bent and Weir. Kevin Kilbane has done nothing in the last year. I don't know what he brings to the team apart from workrate. Weir has been a great servant but is looking his age. I think Yobo has carried him at times this year. He completely missed the header for West Brom's second goal and he's played every game this season for us and Scotland. We have a £5million defender sitting on the bench, waiting for a chance. Bent just doesn't look likely to ever score again. Beattie and Ferguson should carry our hopes until we buy at least two strikers in January.
JAMES TYRRELL, Woolton
JUST when you think the players have finally pulled their collective finger out, they decide to let us down yet again. Saturday was horrible. No other words can describe it and the typical Everton performance of no passion, fight or pride was there for all to see. It's been a regular occurrence this season. While some fans are starting to doubt Moyes, I believe the blame is with the players.
They may get instructions from the manager but does the manager tell the team not to fight for every ball or show a bit of pride? Chief spokesman Marcus Bent came out after the defeat on Saturday and said how the players have let the fans and manager down, but that speech is getting boring. A lot of players have a lot to answer for on Sunday. The fans have asked all season long for pride. We're not worried about 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. We just want our pride back.
KEN STEWART, St Helens
OPTIONS are limited at Everton for changing things, but don't despair. Here is my advice for the powers that be at the club: Shout at them. Motivate them. Listen to them. Sack them. Put a comforting arm around them. Cajole them. Threaten them. Drop them. Shout at them again. Get in a psychologist. Get in a psychiatrist (for the fans). Shout at them again. Put them in the reserves. Promote reserves. Sign Roy Keane. Sign Robbie Keane. Sign anyone called Keane. Sign anyone who is keen! Wait until they're all fit. Restore confidence. Shout at them again. Sign Lee Trundle. Sack the board. Back the manager. Sack the manager. Don't talk of crisis. Wait with baited breath for the triumphal return of Nuno Valente. Talk of crisis. Just do something to save us from the memory of that display. In fact, just drop James Beattie.
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
Everton shareholders looking for sustained improvement
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 24 2005
EVERTON'S shareholders will tonight seek reassurances that the club's best-ever financial results do not become a one-off. The club's 126th AGM takes place at Goodison Park this evening when chief executive Keith Wyness will present a set of figures that Everton hope illustrate the improvements being made off the field. But shareholders fear the impressive results - which will show a £17million deficit 12 months previously being turned into a £100,000 profit - are largely due to a series of exceptional circumstances, including the sale of Wayne Rooney last year. The Everton board will also be asked to provide updates on the proposed new youth academy and shed further light on the future plans for Goodison Park. Richard Lewis, acting chairman of the recentlyformed Everton Shareholders 2005, said: "The annual results are among the best ever seen at the club, but the stark reality is that this is because of three events; the sale of Wayne Rooney, the increase in revenue in prize money after finishing fourth, and an increase in broadcasting revenue. The financial results are good but the worry from the shareholders is whether this is repeatable on a regular basis. We are dubious whether it is. "I wouldn't say Everton are in crisis at all, but the shareholders are more than aware that we'd like the club to be doing better financially." The fate of Goodison remains a primary concern for shareholders, although Everton have previously stated they will not make any decision over any possible move away from their 113-year-old home until the debate over Liverpool's projected ground move has been resolved. "The most pertinent things that we want to know are what is happening with the youth academy and what is happening with the development of Goodison or whether there will be a new ground," added Lewis. "Both are relevant to the future revenue streams at the club. "Goodison is a very poor revenue area in terms of how it is being utilised as a facility, and we need to know what is happening with it.
"The club has done well on the catering front, which was one of Keith Wyness's stated aims at the last AGM. But there are feelings among some of the long-standing supporters who use the lounge facilities that value isn't being achieved from them."
Despite the club's poor results on the field this season, Lewis does not expect manager David Moyes to be the target of any genuine criticism tonight. "The general feeling is that David Moyes retains the fans' support, so I can't see there being any criticism of the manager," he said. The creation of the Everton Shareholders 2005 group was revealed earlier this month in the Daily Post, with group saying it wanted to improve the lines of communication between the club and its shareholders.
Lewis added: "We've had good feedback since the announcement of our formation. Our first meeting will be in January followed by regular meetings with the club."
Xavier career hangs in balance
By Damian Spellman Daily Post Correspondent
Nov 24 2005
MIDDLESBROUGH defender Abel Xavier was last night facing the sack if his appeal against an 18-month drugs ban fails. The Teessiders will discuss the implications of the hearing in Nyon yesterday at which the 32-year-old Portuguese international became the first Barclays Premiership player to be convicted of using performance-enhancing, rather than recreational, drugs. However, with manager Steve McClaren admitting there is no place for the practice in the game, the former Everton and Liverpool full-back is facing a bleak future. "There isn't, for whatever reason," said McClaren as he prepared for his side's training session at the Alkmaarder Hout stadium ahead of their UEFA Cup clash with AZ Alkmaar tonight. "We will always condemn that. In this situation, it's just unfortu-nate that our club, Middlesbrough, is involved." McClaren will join chairman Steve Gibson, chief executive Keith Lamb and Xavier's representatives - who have indicated he will contest the decision after protesting his innocence all along - to decide the way forward. But with the player having signed only a 12-month contract in August, his Boro career appears to be over. Xavier was banned after testing positive for the banned substance methandienone, also known as dianabol, following his side's UEFA Cup trip to Skoda Xanthi on September 29. The player has been suspended since his test failure was confirmed, and insisted he had never knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs, but could not prove his innocence at yesterday's hearing, which he attended. "I have never had this intention (of doping myself)," Xavier has declared.
New striker is at top of Moyes's priorities
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 25 2005
DAVID MOYES last night sought to allay worried supporters by insisting the club would look to bring in a new striker in January. The Goodison manager, speaking at the club's 126th annual general meeting, admitted the club's awful goalscoring record so far this season had made the signing of a new frontman a priority when the transfer window reopens. Despite spending a club record £6million to bring in James Beat-tie just 11 months ago, Everton possess the worst attacking record in the Premiership with just four goals scored, form that has seen them sink to 18th place in the table. And Moyes admitted: "The priority is to bring in another forward player if possible. "The goalscoring is not good enough, and the situation will be strengthened if possible in January. "Our defence has not been too bad, before the weekend it was the 10th best in the division, but the goalscoring is the worst. It shows what parts of the team have been doing okay and where the problem is." Moyes's hopes appeared to win backing from Bill Kenwright during last night's two-and-a-half hour meeting, with the chairman adding: "We will know by January what needs to be done and we will make it happen." Everton were able to officially announce a record turnover of £60m - 34%% up on last term - and the best set of financial results in the club's history. But Moyes claimed his team's current form on the pitch, particularly in the wake of Saturday's 4-0 drubbing at West Brom, meant the club still had much to do.
"My biggest aim is to give you a team to be proud of but I can't stand here today and say that's how it feels," said Moyes. "There's nobody more disappointed and surprised to be in this position today but we're just off the back of our best season. "But winning doesn't come in a straight line. It doesn't happen. The club is progressing, we're moving on," he added. And in perhaps an attempt to draw a line under the recent speculation surrounding his future at Goodison, Moyes added: "I feel at home at Everton. Times are difficult at the moment, but if you look at the bigger picture, I feel we're going in the right direction. "I will always take responsibility for results, I will never hide. But I have felt at home here ever since I arrived and I still feel that, this club is for me." Chief executive Keith Wyness, who came under fire for increases in prices generally at the club, revealed work has finally started in the club's new academy and it is hoped that it will come into operation by the end of next season, with the first team players also moving from Bellefield to the new training HQ.
Search for investment goes on as Fortress fails
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 25 2005
BILL KENWRIGHT insists he is still searching for investment "24 hours a day" - after admitting for the first time that any hopes of the Fortress Sports Fund becoming involved at Everton are now dead.
The Goodison chairman was finally able to shed some light on the lengthy and frustrating saga that cast a cloud over the club for much of last season. The Fund, led by Swiss-based financier Chris Samuelson, had been due to buy almost a third share in the club but despite repeated assurances - Samuelson even appeared at last year's AGM in an attempt to convince sceptical supporters - no deal materialised. And speaking at last night's AGM, Kenwright finally expained the reasons behind what one questioner suggested represented a "charade". Kenwright said: "(Samuelson) was someone who I believed could have come up with the money, he had his credentials and thought he could come up with a deal that was good for the club. "So I brought him to you (to last year's AGM). But he didn't, like many many other people, come up with the goods. I didn't lie, and I don't think Jon (Woods), Paul (Gregg) or Keith (Wyness) did." He added: "I am spending 24 hours a day trying to raise finance for this club. I had a meeting today, three yesterday, all involving money that would dilute my shareholding - but I'm not interested in that." Chief executive Keith Wyness also denied claims that Samuelson had at any stage been paid money by the club. "He (Samuelson) was never paid one penny," he insisted. A lively meeting saw Wyness also attempting to clarify several other issues that attracted heated questioning from last night's attendees. Among them were: V Villarreal ticketing: Wyness blamed "an exceptional situation" for the shambolic way tickets were distributed ahead of Everton's long-awaited Champions League debut back in August, claiming the club were left with only six days to sell their allocation. The cancelled flight to Bucharest: Wyness said the cancelled charter flight ahead of Everton's UEFA Cup tie in Bucharest in August, when more than 200 fans were left stranded at John Lennon Airport after an airline went bust, was down to "unavoidable" circumstances. However Wyness did admit the club were still attempting to resolve issues regarding the handling of fans at the airport. Stadium plans: There was little news regarding the stadium plans, with Wyness claiming every option was still open to the club. He did however blame "central and local government", adding: "No doubt they want to shoehorn us into a shared stadium." Liverpool's decision on their stadium was imminent, he added, and that would finally bring the situation to a head. The new academy: Work has finally started on the club's new state-of-the-art academy at Halewood, and it is hoped it will come into operation by the end of next season, with the first-team players also moving from Bellefield to the new training HQ. Season ticket-holder seats: Wyness admitted the club "could have done better" with the way they handled the movement of some season ticket-holders' seats to make way for hospitality boxes over the summer. But Wyness added: "I completely understand, but if we don't make some change we won't move forward and we can't support David (Moyes) how we want on the football budget."
Corporate lounges: Wyness came under fire over the rocketing price of lounge memberships at Goodison. Everton were also able to formally announce the club's best set of financial results in their history. The growth in turnover - up 34% to £60million - was mostly accounted for by an increase in broadcasting revenues, which were £29.5m compared to £20.7m in 2004. Gate money was £18.7m, which compares to £15.6m for the previous year, sponsor-ship raised £4.2m - up from £2.5m - and replica kit sales and merchandising generated £5.4m, up from £3.4m the previous year.
The club appears to have eliminated its long-standing overdraft, with the accounts showing the club to be in the black to the tune of £8.7m. It had £3.6m cash last year. The club's 'running debt' has also been cut from £47m to £28m, with player trading now showing a profit of £28m compared to a deficit of £15.4m last year.
Moyes: Not Wright man for goalkeeping job
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 25 2005
DAVID MOYES has admitted he is losing faith in Richard Wright as a replacement for Nigel Martyn.
The Everton manager admitted at last night's AGM that he is already on the look-out for a new goalkeeper to replace Martyn, and is hoping to bring one in before the end of this season. Martyn has been outstanding since moving to Merseyside from Leeds two years ago, but the former England goal-keeper turns 40 next summer and is not a long-term option. Wright was a £3.5million capture from Arsenal three years ago but has barely had a look-in over the past two seasons due to injury and Martyn's form. The 28-year-old is yet to figure since he conceding 10 goals during Everton's final two games of last season. Moyes admitted: "Richard Wright has played and has not done as well as he should have and has been told that by me. "Nigel has been terrific and is still oustanding, but it is becoming an issue. Richard will get another opportunity somewhere, but we will be looking to bring in a new goalkeeper by the end of the season." As well as Martyn, the Everton manager praised the performances this season of Mikel Arteta and Joseph Yobo, and was fierce in his defence of underfire club captain David Weir, claiming that the side's shift from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-4-2 formation earlier this season had made the defender's job considerably harder. Moyes also defended his success in the transfer market over the summer, candidly admitting: "I knew we couldn't finish fourth again. If you look at the players we brought in, we brought them in with the intention to improve us."
Keep the faith
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 25 2005
Keep the faith
ARE Everton a good or bad side? Results-wise, the answer is bad, but performance-wise, we are good. Look at the players that David Moyes has bought so far, especially James Beattie, Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Simon Davis, Kevin Kilbane, Nuno Valente, Matteo Ferrari, Phil Neville, Per Kroldrup, Nigel Martyn, Andy van der Meyde . . . all are top class players. If we can draw with Chelsea, then we can match the top clubs. Smile and have faith.
Richard Fairweather (via e-mail)
DAVID Moyes wasted the best chance we'll ever have to propel us forward by wasting what money he had in the summer and not buying a striker.
Benni Edwards (via e-mail)
A TOP-FLIGHT manager's job looks to be one of the hardest. Okay, the money is good and for me to be involved with the team I love in any way would be a sheer joy. We supporters love our club through good and bad, but how could it have gone so wrong so quickly at Everton?
But unless people can come up with a realistic alternative who would even come to Everton we have to back Moyes and keep faith, blind faith even. George Burley anyone?
Larry Jones, New Ferry, Wirral
WHY not 5-3-1? That way whenever the opponents attack we will drown them with defenders. Let the three midfielders and striker do the attacking. Tim Cahill must be the holding midfielder.
John King (via e-mail)
THERE IS a lack of depth in the Everton squad and there is a lack of a British core. Why not buy some up and coming hungry British lads. Get Jeffers, Trundle and Nugent! Raid Spurs and get the likes of Andy Reid and Sean Davies. Get Sidwell in from Reading, Etuhu from Preston, Webster from Hearts. That lot combined would be in the single figure millions. It would send the right message to the existing players that they cannot take their places for granted.
Gary Blewitt, Liverpool
Time to change
BEING successful means acting decisively when things are going horribly wrong - like now. Everton couldn't attract the likes of Curbishley or Allardyce or afford the likes of Raneiri, so my shortlist would be: Burley, available and at least his teams play football; Warnock has yet to sign a new contract and offers bags of passion and commitment; or even Peter Taylor, Steve Coppell or Dario Grady.
Sam Rogers (via e-mail)
EVERTON fans seem divided on whether we need a couple of top-notch players to lift morale or half a dozen young, hungry players to give competition to a small squad. Maybe we can do both. We obviously need a striker with some pace. Maybe a big buy in the form of Dirk Kuyt or Roy Keane will be the ticket. Perhaps then we can give our midfield some competition with the likes of Etuhu, Davies and Sid-well.
Mark Burns (via e-mail)
Defeat shows lessons have gone unheeded
By Mark O'Brien, Everton Supporter
Nov 25 2005
NO-ONE expected Everton's unbeaten run to continue forever, but by the same token the fans had, not unreasonably, assumed that the sort of second-half performance witnessed at the Hawthorns had been consigned to history. What happened to the battling, aggressive Everton? The one that proved that points could be taken off Chelsea and then rained on Middlesbrough's parade following their thrashing of Manchester United. If the Blues had lost narrowly, perhaps to the nonsensical penalty awarded by Dermot Gallagher, then perhaps we might have just bemoaned our luck and the absence of Tim Cahill and Duncan Ferguson from the starting line-up. However, when, with 20 minutes remaining, West Brom are recreating the old Leeds v Southampton passing display, complete with 'olés' from the crowd and the likes of Ronnie Wallwork and Diomansy Kamara in the roles of Billy Bremner and Peter Lorimer, you know something is seriously amiss. And while the players no doubt feel sincere when making their statements following these defeats, it's really starting to wear a bit thin. Let's face it, they were meant to have learnt their lesson in Bucharest, yet here we are again being humiliated by a team who were extremely lucky to stay in the Premiership last season and whose league placing prior to slotting four goals past Nigel Martyn suggested that they haven't improved in the slightest. So, we're now back in the bottom three, with a far from straightforward game on Sunday against Newcastle followed by the unappetising prospect of two away games against the uncompromising Blackburn Rovers and then Wayne Rooney and co. at Old Trafford. What's most worrying is that some of the worst performers in the team are among the newest arrivals, with Simon Davies and James Beattie springing immediately to mind, so the prospect of them being replaced in January seems unlikely. We keep hearing rumours about all sorts of new players to bolster the squad, but if things carry on as they are then you have to wonder whether David Moyes will actually still being in charge when the transfer window reopens. The vast majority of Evertonians still believe his record proves just what a good manager he is, but as we get deeper into this season it is unfortunately becoming increasingly difficult to defend him against his critics
Moyes: We must shackle Owen
Nov 25 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has warned his Everton players to beware the threat of Michael Owen - as he stepped up his bid to sign a new striker. Having recovered from a groin strain, the former Liverpool striker will make a first competitive return to Merseyside since leaving for Real Madrid when Newcastle visit Goodison Park. Moyes is a huge admirer of Owen, so much so that he made an audacious bid to sign the England international when it became clear his time in Spain was coming to an end and spoke about a deal to him on a couple of occasions. "Michael is a top player and a top goalscorer," Moyes said. "We know the threat he will cause us and any side would love to have him. "We know we are going to have to defend very well against the forward players that Newcastle have got to get a result. "Newcastle have got a very good team just now and for us to get a result, we are going to have to be at our best. But we are at home and will try to make that count." Given his side have scored just four goals since the start of the season, Moyes knows he needs to recruit new striking talent during the transfer window but ECHO Sport understands that he will have to wheel and deal to sign any targets. "We've the worst scoring record in the Premiership," said the manager. "Defensively we have been okay but goalscoring isn't good enough. It's an area we need to improve and I will try to strengthen that in January." "We want to put right the performance we gave last Saturday," said Moyes. "Sunday is the first chance we have got to do that and I will be looking for a big response from the players. "I will have a look at things and see what happens. We are not quite there yet, so we will see what we are doing. Most of the people in the squad are okay. Tim has not trained, so we will have to see how he goes on. I would expect the rest to be fine."
Pressure on - but we are moving in the right direction insists Moyes
Nov 25 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING delivered an informative presentation and spoken eloquently and honestly to shareholders intent on picking his brain, there could have been few complaints had David Moyes walked away from last night's AGM sporting a satisfied smile. The Everton manager, nevertheless, could not help but dwell on a remark made by one member of a feisty audience, a few words that hammered home to Moyes the fact he will be unable to say "mission accomplished" until he delivers silverware to his public. "I go to the games with my sons but they've never seen us win a trophy," the shareholder informed Moyes without a hint of malice or mischief. Just a matter-of-fact statement that many members of a certain generation will relate to. There may have been a lusty ovation from the crowd at the end of proceedings, not to mention the whole-hearted backing of chairman Bill Kenwright, but Moyes - twice manager of the year during his time at the helm - headed home plotting his next move. Appreciating the frustrations of supporters that the current predicament - three wins, four goals and eight defeats from 12 Premiership games - is far from ideal, Moyes knows the pressure is on him to deliver. But using a visually impressive array of slides and graphs that were projected to the audience on large monitors in the Alex Young Suite, Moyes made it clear that Everton are still very much a work in progress - and he won't stop until complete. "I believe we have made great progress and the expectations of Everton have risen," said Moyes. "With the exception of season 1995-1996, we have been 13th, 16th, 14th, 17th and so on. In my time at the club, expectation has grown. "My biggest aim, though, is to give you a team to be proud of. I can't stand here at the minute and say that's how it feels. But we have made great progress compared to some clubs around us. It's been fantastic and the board have been terrific. "Every penny they have had, they have given it to me, as I'm sure they have to every other manager who has been here before me. I thank them for that. "We have tried to improve the squad and nearly everyone we have brought in is an international." Critics will argue that Moyes was too hasty to dispense with the services of trusted foot soldiers such as Alan Stubbs, Steve Watson and Kevin Campbell, but the manager points out that over-hauling the squad regularly has been a necessity. Now the average age of players on Everton's books has reduced considerably, the manager is relatively happy with his squad - but anticipates having to tinker again in the future. A striker, possibly even two, is the most immediate concern to bolster a side that have scored just four times in the Premiership thus far, and there could also be a new goalkeeper to challenge Nigel Martyn. Reflecting on his work, Moyes said: "We have changed. We didn't think that side (in 2002-03) would be good enough to keep us seventh and we had to make changes. The team was too old, we were deteriorating and we decided to make changes. "We then had a disappointing season but knew where we had to go. We knew what direction we wanted to go in. We still knew that we had to make progress and you only have to look at what happened last season. "Two of the last three seasons have been as good as Everton have had for a long time. There have definitely been big improvements. I hope that is noticeable.
But there is nobody more disappointed or surprised as to where we are than me. "There could be reasons for our position. We had an early European adventure in the Champions League. We tried to get the players to peak as soon as we could but we have had to make changes again to try to find the goals." So while he has spent £23.6m to bring eight new players to Goodison Park since the beginning of January, Moyes knows his every move will be scrutinised while Everton continue to hover around the relegation zone. With patience and belief, however, he feels the good times will return - and this fiercely ambitious individual would love nothing more than to repay the faith bestowed on him with a glittering trophy. "There are going to be many more changes at this club because winning doesn't come in a straight line," said Moyes. "We are going in the right direction but I will always take responsibility for results. "I will never hide. I'll never take Evertonians' support for granted nor will I take that of the board. The support I have had has been excellent. I feel at home at Everton. Since the moment I first arrived, it's always felt like the club for me. "Times are difficult at the moment and it doesn't look particularly great. But if you look at the bigger picture, I feel we are moving in the right direction."
Plenty of ups and downs on the Moyes rollercoaster
Nov 25 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TO pinch and paraphrase a statement from The Life of Brian . . . He's either the Moyesiah, or he's a very naughty boy. And Evertonians are currently divided as to which. The majority still believe in David Moyes. They point to two Manager of the Year trophies in three seasons, the highest ever Premiership placing in the club's history and an appearance in Europe for the first time in a decade.
The critics - and they are growing - point to the brevity of that European foray, four Premiership goals in 12 games, an alarming inconsistency of performance (7th-17th-4th and currently 18th) plus expensive mistakes in the transfer market (when will Per Kroldrup ever be considered for selection?)
The catalyst for this latest round of soul-searching was Saturday's shocking defeat at West Brom.
Some sensitive souls on the playing staff at Goodison apparently thought it unfair to plaster that defeat on page one of Monday's ECHO - which makes you wonder just how bad they think their performances have to be before they warrant page one treatment. Most fans are concerned by a 4-0 hiding by a poor Premiership team, and the Moyes critics believe it is a growing trend. A 7-0 trouncing at Arsenal and a 5-1 flaying in Bucharest all came in the last dozen fixtures. But then, so too, did the thoroughly deserved draw against a then rampant Chelsea. So what are we to make of Everton under Moyes? Even a glance at the statistics doesn't offer much illumination. Saturday's defeat at The Hawthorns was Moyes' 156th match in charge. Of those, he has supervised 59 victories, 33 draws and 64 defeats. It's a much better record than Walter Smith (168 games, 53 wins, 50 draws, 65 defeats) but, given the 'disappointing' way in which his reign is remembered, that's perhaps not such a telling comparison. It's also better than Howard Kendall's third spell and Mike Walker's ill-fated reign, but then it had to be, but not as good as Joe Royle's record (119 games, 47 wins, 37 draws and 35 defeats). So how about analysing those 59 wins? Of Moyes' successes, a surprisingly large proportion - 41 - have been by the margin of just one goal. But, as some of those wins have included some of the most memorable moments in Goodison's recent history (Arsenal 2-1, Manchester United 1-0, away at Leeds 1-0, Liverpool 1-0) perhaps that isn't so significant, either.
Increasingly, it looks like Moyes is a manager who it is impossible to pigeon hole. His first full season was one of the most heartening for years, followed by another which ended in the most gutless fashion imaginable. The next produced a truly phenomenal achievement of finishing fourth, after losing the club's best two players, followed by another in which goals are a scarcer commodity than snowballs in the Sahara. So we have to rely on gut instinct - and mine is that Moyes is still very much the right man to guide Everton FC. His passion and his intensity can sometimes be counter-productive, but that also shows that he cares about the club as much as any supporter. His transfer failures - Wright, McFadden - can be balanced by outstanding successes - Cahill, Bent (yes, really), while the jury is still out on Beattie, Davies and Kroldrup. And his team selections are still imaginative and adventurous: Did anyone really expect Beattie, Ferguson, Van Der Meyde, Arteta, Davies and Cahill to ALL start at Birmingham? Happily, his chairman feels the same way. Pressure can force a football club chairman to make disastrous decisions - witness Peter Johnson's decision to mutually consent Joe Royle in the spring of 1997. Royle still boasts the best record of any Everton manager of the past 15 years - and it's still my heartfelt belief that his hastily engineered departure put Everton back almost a decade. But Bill Kenwright is adamant he will not make the same mistake.
I don't think he is making a mistake, either.
Kroldrup in frame soon
Nov 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
BLUES' boss David Moyes admitted that fans would finally see his £5m defender Per Kroldrup "very shortly." The Danish centre-half has still to make his first team debut after arriving from Udinese in the summer. But Moyes said: "You will see him very shortly. "He was injured to begin with and then defensively we have not been doing too badly this season. Before West Brom we had the 10th best defensive record in the Premiership. "Joseph Yobo nneds to go away in January to the African Nations Cup and Per is now available, but if we do as bad as we did on Saturday you will see him sooner."
Moving to new complex in the summer
Nov 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON plan to move into their new Finch Farm training complex at the end of next season. Chief executive Keith Wyness said finance for the project was close to completion and the club would switch from its historical base at Bellefield in the summer of 2007. "Work started at Finch Farm in July with the laying of pitches," said Wyness. "After eight years of deadlock we have finally got that going. "We are close to reaching financial agreement to start in February, with occupancy planned at the end of next season (2006-07 season)."
Blues ticket news
Nov 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
Everton v Newcastle United in the Premiership on Sunday, November 27 (1.30pm) General sale continues from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture. Blackburn Rovers v Everton in the Premiership on Saturday, December 3 (3pm) Stand tickets for this fixture are priced £32 (adults), £20 (over 65s) and £15 (under 16s) and are currently on general sale from the Park End box office during normal office hours.Identification will be required on entry into the stadium for concessionary ticket holders.
Summer wish-list returns to haunt Everton manager
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 26 2005
DAVID MOYES could be forgiven for glancing at the Newcastle United teamsheet and wondering what might have been. Had things worked out as the Everton manager intended during the summer, Scott Parker and Emre would be lining up at Goodison in blue rather than the distinctive black and white of Graeme Souness's side. Michael Owen had also been a Moyes target until the financial clout of the Magpies made St James' Park the only realistic destination for the England international. Yet while that trio enhance their reputations in the north east, the Everton manager must rouse a squad still shaken by the 4-0 thrashing at West Bromwich Albion that represented the lowest point of an anti-climactic campaign. Certainly, the contrast to the last meeting with Newcastle in May could barely be greater. Then, Everton welcomed the Magpies knowing victory would effectively secure fourth spot in the Premiership and a place in the final qualifying round of the Champions League. Fast forward six months, and much has changed. Now a win tomorrow may not even guarantee the Goodison side move out of the relegation zone after their desperate start to the season. "We needed a result in May, it was vital for us and we got it," says Moyes. "In different ways and for different reasons, Sunday is just as important a game as well. "It is a challenge for us. Newcastle have put together a fantastic set of players and we know we will have to play very well to get a result. They have good attacking players and some good all-round footballers." Moyes held talks with both Parker and Emre only to lose out to tomorrow's opponents in his attempts to sign the midfielders, but it was his interest in Owen that caused the greatest stir. The Everton manager is a huge admirer of the former Liverpool forward and admits his team will have to be on their guard against the England international and strike partner Alan Shearer. "We hoped to attract players of the calibre of Parker and Emre and it's well documented that I did speak to both of them, but they decided not to come for different reasons," says Moyes.. "They are both very good players and Newcastle are fortunate to have them." Of former target Owen, he adds: "Michael is a top player and a top goalscorer. We know the threat he will cause us and any side would love to have him. We know we are going to have to defend very well against the forward players Newcastle have got to get a result. The way Michael played against Argentina showed his goalscoring is as good as anybody's. You know you are always on edge when there is somebody like Michael Owen playing against you. He can always score a goal, he is lively and he is a threat." Goals, of course, have been in short supply at Everton this season with only four having been scored in 12 league games this season, the lowest total in the Premiership. It led Moyes to confirm at Thursday's AGM that a striker remains his top priority when the transfer window reopens in January, although he yesterday conceded he is not anticipating substantial funds to facilitate such a move. "We're certainly a lot short of the amount of goals I'd want to score at this point in the season," he says. "I hope that the strikers that I have score five or six goals each between now and January and I don't need to buy one. "I wouldn't imagine there is a big pot for me in January (to spend on players) but we didn't have a big pot last year and we had a good season. "That said, I wouldn't put the lack of goals down to just the strikers. We haven't been creating enough opportunities so maybe we have to look at that as well." Moyes is expecting a response tomorrow from his players after their Hawthorns humiliation. In particular, he is seeking a greater resolve than has been shown this season with Everton having lost every game in which they have fallen behind. "In the past seasons we have been fantastic at coming back from a goal down and not being beaten, but it has been disappointing this season whenever we have gone behind," says the manager.. "It's probably more to do with not having scored enough goals we lack the self-belief that we can come back from going behind.
"We have to change that and to do that we have to start scoring more goals." Last season's top goalscorer Tim Cahill is expected to return to the starting line-up tomorrow and the Australian insists the prospect of playing in the World Cup finals will not distract him from the job of helping haul Everton out of the Premiership relegation zone. The midfielder was a key performer as his country booked their place in the finals for the first time since 1974 with a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over Uruguay in the play-offs. But Cahill insists: "People might think your head is in the clouds about the World Cup but this is where I get paid and this is where the football is. "Not for one minute did I think that I would look any further than Everton Football Club. "It always has been Everton. If I don't play well for Everton then I won't get picked for Australia so the biggest thing for me is to do well here and keep in the selection books of the Australian coach." Cahill admits that the sooner Everton can move away from the drop zone, the sooner they can set their sights on improvement for the next campaign. "It's not all bad because we can put everything right by moving to mid-table and thinking about next season," he says. "At the minute it is all about Newcastle and if we take it a game at a time like we did last season then everything should fix itself." Of tomorrow's opponents, Cahill adds: "Newcastle have spent big money on strikers like Owen and he has produced for them. "Goals at the minute are running quite low for us but everyone in the whole team is working hard and trying to get goals."
Moyes salutes return of the 'real' Everton
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 28 2005
DELIGHTED David Moyes hailed the spirit of his battling Everton team after they moved out of the Premiership relegation zone yesterday. Joseph Yobo's 46th-minute header gave the Goodison side a deserved 1-0 home win over Newcastle United to record their third win in four league games and move them up to 16th in the table. It was the perfect response from Everton's players after their 4-0 thrashing at West Bromwich Albion the previous week. And Moyes praised the reaction of his team.
"This was a complete contrast to how we played last week," he said. "You saw a lot of determined players out there. "Our fans saw a proper Everton side out there, not the one that turned up at West Brom. We've won three of our last four league games now, so we are on a decent run. This is more like the consistency that we are looking for. "I always thought I had a squad that was up for a fight, although last week's defeat made me think twice, but they showed they are good lads who will battle for each other. "I felt that our boys were determined. We needed to play better and I wanted them to compete for everything, and we did that really well. "It was important to bounce back, not because of just the result but the performance last week as much as anything. The players have known how I felt all week, and to be fair they knew themselves that they had to perform. "There were no positives last week but this week I can say 'well done' to them." Newcastle were furious with referee Howard Webb's decision not to penalise James McFadden for a blatant hand-ball on the line to clear Shola Ameobi's shot five minutes before the break with the score goalless. But while conceding the penalty should have been awarded, Moyes believes the bad luck that dogged Everton at the Hawthorns last week was merely balancing itself out. "We had a few scares in the first half and we got away with the handball, but that was the luck we did not get last week when you think about the penalty that was outside the area," he said.. "That's football for you sometimes. "Today was a good oldfashioned game and I thought that we deserved the points in the end." Moyes also played down the first-half incident between Tim Cahill and Celestine Babayaro, in which both players raised their arms at each other but referee Webb chose not to produce even a yellow card. Said the Everton manager: "I have had a wee look and I think that they were both at it. It looks as though Babayaro has blocked Tim to start it, but there was not enough for anyone to warrant a booking or anything. "In the second half I thought we did much better and got the goal early on. I was just disappointed that we did not get the second goal. "We looked better as a team, kept the ball better and were more of a threat. We caused their centre-backs more problems than we have been doing this season. "I thought that James Beattie's performance was good. His miss was disappointing, but today we can talk about misses because in recent games we have not been able to do that. "And if we can get Mikel Arteta on the ball more then he can create and make goals. He was disappointed with his performance last week, but today he was more effective, as all the players were. "Looking at our games in November, I hoped to take seven points and we got six, and while that wasn't quite what I wanted it was still not a bad return."
Everton 1, Newcastle 0 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Nov 28 2005
0Share IN these uncertain times at Goodison, it is reassuring to know one old adage still holds true: when Everton score first, they do not lose. So it proved again yesterday as David Moyes's side produced the ideal response to last weekend's humiliation at The Hawthorns to register a third league win in four games and move out of the relegation zone. A surprisingly feisty encounter against a disappointing Newcastle United will have given the Everton manager enough encouragement to expect his players to ensure they remain clear of those Premiership nether regions for the remainder of the campaign. Certainly, everything that was missing from their Midlands mauling re-emerged at Goodison yesterday. The hunger, desire and application Moyes had questioned were back in abundance, Everton harassing and haranguing Graeme Souness's side into an eventual submission that was aided by some welcome good fortune. Where Moyes had bemoaned the ill luck that proved the catalyst to that 4-0 setback, yesterday Everton were indebted to referee Howard Webb and his assistants for failing to spot a blatant hand-ball on the goalline by James McFadden five minutes before the interval. Had the penalty been given, the Scotland international would surely have been sent off and Newcastle, then in the ascendancy, would have been awarded the perfect opportunity to forge ahead. Instead, it was McFadden's shot that won the corner from which Joseph Yobo headed the winner 54 seconds into the second half as the visitors fell away and Everton's determination and will clinched the victory. As against Bolton Wanderers, Birmingham City and Middlesbrough - and as was so often the case last season - that first goal was decisive as Moyes's men rarely looked like relinquishing their advantage. The mental resolve is clearly there; the next challenge is to harness it when they fall behind. This was precisely the response Moyes had sought after tearing into his players for close to an hour following last week's inept display. Yesterday it was the turn of Souness to deliver a half-hour dressing-room dressing down to his players, yet while Newcastle were admittedly insipid after the break it should not detract from Everton's dis-play. By no means magnificent, this was still a vast improvement. Their fight, which coursed throughout the team with even Mikel Arteta going toe-to-toe with Scott Parker, was never more illustrated than in the contretemps between Tim Cahill and Babayaro towards the end of an increasingly fractious first half. Blows were exchanged and both could easily have been sent off by another referee; privately, Moyes must have loved it. Cahill may be an irascible presence at times but it is that tempestuous attitude that endears him to the home supporters and gives Everton the fire in their belly. The Australian made a telling difference to the home midfield yesterday - dominating former Moyes targets Emre and Parker in the second half - with those around him feeding off his allaction presence and lifting their games accordingly. With Moyes switching tactics this season in favour of a traditional 4-4-2, Cahill has been forced to alter his game from goal-poaching midfielder to chief enforcer in the centre of the park, a change which, with Australia's World Cup qualification safely assured, the 25-year-old can now embellish. Perhaps that tactical tweak has contributed to Everton's lack of goals this season. That said, yesterday Moyes's side were at their most creative and incisive since Newcastle's last visit to Goodison in May. That result effectively clinched Champions League qualification; victory yesterday may not be as immediately rewarding but the Goodison side now have the opportunity to guarantee the knock-on effects can resonate beyond the weekend. McFadden partnered James Beattie in attack at the expense of Marcus Bent, and justified his selection with a lively and productive outing, frustrating at times but bringing enough to the team to suggest his is an attacking option worth persisting with. Arteta, restored to the right flank after a brief central sojourn last week, played his part with a series of fine set-piece deliveries that inevitably proved the source for Yobo's towering winner. That only the centre-back could convert an opportunity will nag with Moyes, but at least the chances were there to be missed - a prerequisite against a defence as porous as Newcastle's. At the other end, the Nigerian formed part of a defence that has now kept three clean sheets in their last four games and, last week's embarrassment apart, has regained much of the meanness that was the foundation for last season's success. Their cause was certainly aided by the absence of Michael Owen through a groin injury, although Alan Shearer, so often the scourge of Everton, was fit to return following his hernia operation. Everton deserve credit for the handling of their tribute to George Best before the game, with supporters of both sides enhancing their reputations by joining in an impeccably observed minute's applause to mark the memory of the late, truly great football legend. Alas, the standard of play was a less fitting acknowledgment during a first half in which Everton started the brighter but were soon on the back foot. They fashioned the first chance when McFadden's curling left-foot free-kick from the edge of the area was parried clear by Shay Given, but Newcastle gradually worked their way into the game with Shola Ameobi shooting tamely at Nigel Martyn from a good position before the home side needed two goalline clearances to maintain parity on the half-hour. First Tony Hibbert blocked an Ameobi shot following a scramble from a corner, and then Titus Bramble sent Shearer in the clear with only Martyn to beat and, having been forced wide by the goalkeeper, the Newcastle man saw his effort cleared off the line by the retreating Beattie. Arteta flashed an improvised volley narrowly off target from Andy van der Meyde's free-kick before fortune smiled on Everton five minutes before the interval when Ameobi's goalbound shot was blocked on the line by McFadden's left arm, an incident seen by almost everyone inside Goodison except the officials. Martyn saved with his leg after an Emre header fell for an unmarked Shearer to swivel and fire at goal, and both Cahill and Babayaro were lucky to escape any censure when their simmering rivalry finally boiled over into full-blown fracas as they waited for an Everton free-kick to be delivered. McFadden then spurned two chances either side of the interval to give Everton the lead. First Cahill found van der Meyde and, after the Dutchman's scuffed shot was beaten out by Given, McFadden shot wastefully over from a central position. The Scot did much better moments after half-time, though, to draw a good save from the Newcastle keeper with a fierce drive. The breakthrough came seconds later, Yobo rising above Peter Ramage from the resultant corner to powerfully head home Arteta's precise delivery from the right. It was the Nigerian's second goal of the season and only Everton's fifth in 13 Premiership games. Shearer was fortunate not to at least be booked when he caught David Weir with a flailing arm, but the more attacking players Newcastle introduced from the bench, the less likely they looked like equalising as Everton wrested the initiative. Beattie should have made the game safe 12 minutes from time, but after McFadden and Simon Davies had carved through the Newcastle defence, the striker opted for power ahead of place-ment and ballooned his shot embarrassingly over the bar from 10 yards. Newcastle substitute Albert Luque came closest for the visitors late on with a near-post effort that ruffled the side-netting before Given made a triple save to first deny McFadden and then, even more remarkably, Cahill twice from close range.No matter. Once again, one goal was enough for Everton.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; Arteta (Osman 80), Davies, Cahill, van der Meyde (Kilbane 76); McFadden, Beattie (Bent 85). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
BOOKING: Beattie (foul).
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Ramage, Boumsoung, Bramble, Babayaro (Luque 51); Solano (Bowyer 61), Parker, Emre, N'Zogbia; Shearer, Ameobi. Subs: Harper, Faye, Clark.
BOOKINGS: Babayaro, N'Zogbia, Bramble, Parker and Ramage (all fouls).
REFEREE: Howard Webb
NEXT GAME: Blackburn v Everton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm
Scot says it was ball to hand
Nov 28 2005
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
JAMES McFADDEN last night pleaded his innocence after his red-card escape helped Everton earn victory over Newcastle United. The scoresheet was blank when the Scotland international handled Shola Ameobi's goalbound effort on the line. Newcastle's players screamed for referee Howard Webb to award the penalty - which would have led to McFadden's dismissal - but the referee waved play on. And the Everton forward believes it was the correct decision. "It would have been easy to give the penalty but in my opinion it was ball to hand," said McFadden. "I didn't know much about it. It definitely struck my hand, but it was not intentional." The win was sealed by Joseph Yobo's 46th-minute header and was the perfect response to last week's 4-0 hammering at West Bromwich Albion. "Last week we were disappointed with the result and the performance, we had a lot to prove and we have done that," said McFadden. "Last season we were very dangerous with set-pieces and today was reminiscent of some of our performances from last season. "Possibly there is still some anxiety over goalscoring but we made a lot of chances and maybe we were unlucky not to score two or three more. The big thing is that we were in the position to make those chances. "It's been difficult this season to be stuck in the bottom three so hopefully we can now continue this momentum and move up." McFadden performed well on his first Premiership start since October 15, adding: "I was pleased with how it went for me. It's been a couple of weeks since I have been in the team so hopefully I can keep going." Yobo, meanwhile, insists Everton's clean sheet - their third in four games - gave him as much satisfaction as his winning goal. The Nigerian said: "I saw the ball coming and thought 'this is it'. It is good for me to get on the scoresheet but I was more happy with the defensive play."
Toffees' knack of escaping sticky situations
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 28 2005
WHEN the Toffees have experienced a week like the one that's just past, it's traditional to ask for the real Everton to stand up. Granted, the performance against Newcastle wasn't exactly Kendall, Harvey and Ball, but nonetheless it was light years away from the utter disaster at the Hawthorns last Saturday. But then again maybe we shouldn't be so surprised, as another longstanding tradition seems to be for Everton to pull a vital win out of the bag at Goodison when the chips are down for them at the wrong end of the table. Graeme Souness's side are, in theory at least, a more daunting proposition than Bryan Robson's West Bromwich Albion, but apart from an attacking flurry just before half time, when the home side were grateful for a James Beattie clearance and a James McFadden handball, the expensively assembled outfit from the north east posed less threat than any other side to visit Goodison this season. Whether that was down to the absence of Michael Owen from the visitors' team or the return of the combative Tim Cahill to the Everton line-up is unclear, but Everton's mid-field certainly looked a lot stronger than it did last weekend in the Midlands, thanks mainly to the presence of the Australian international. Cahill, along with pretty much everyone else in the team, has come in for a fair amount of deserved criticism this season, but even though he isn't finding the net like he did last time out, his work rate and his downright spitefulness - as displayed in an elbow flailing encounter with Celes-tine Babayaro - are certainly missed when he's playing his football on the other side of the world. Joseph Yobo is another who it has become almost fashionable to criticise, but he's still consistently one of Everton's better players, and capped another good performance, where he certainly outshone his expensive opposite number in black and white, Jean-Alain Boumsong, with a priceless goal. In some ways it was difficult to know what to make of some of the visitors' other highly-priced players, particularly former Everton targets such as Scott Parker and Emre. The midfield pairing were distinctly unimpressive - in fact the Turkish international was only noticeable because he was wrapped up like Scott of the Antarctic - a fact that could be cited as further proof of David Moyes's poor judgement in the transfer market, given his attempts to lure them both to Goodison in the summer. And in all honesty, if the Magpies had equalised with the corner that they forced in injury time, then that would have been the verdict, but seeing as we secured the points that hauled us clear of the bottom three we can probably afford to be slightly magnanimous. Therefore we'll agree that the reason the Geordie duo didn't shine was because they were outfought by the tigerish Cahill and Simon Davies. It's games like this one, with the supporters right behind Everton - apart from the cowards who booed Kevin Kilbane's introduction and then shut up rather sheepishly when confronted by the rest of the crowd - that make you feel that no matter how bad things get, Everton will always pull clear of relegation.
Obviously one doesn't want to tempt fate with statements like that, but history has shown that even following the most humiliating defeats - and the infamous Coventry game with Howard Kendall fighting with his own players on the pitch springs immediately to mind - everyone tends to pull together, players and fans, to force a result at Goodison Park. It would be nice if it didn't always come down to such nail-biting encounters, but it seems an awful long time since Everton cruised to a straightforward victory against anyone. And the way this season has gone so far it seems unlikely that the Toffees will take any easy points off anyone in the immediate future either, especially given that the next two games are away to Blackburn and Manchester United. Most Evertonians are pretty much resigned to a very tough season now though, and fully expect to go into the next home game, against West Ham, needing another big performance to move clear of the relegation zone.
That's merely the reality of the situation - there's no point getting too excited by a win, because we know that the next walloping might only be around the corner - but the bit of character shown against Newcastle, and even the odd spell of decent football, especially in the second half, certainly lifted Evertonians' spirits following that humiliation at the hands of Nathan Ellington and co.
At least for another week, anyway.
Positive reply is new benchmark
Nov 28 2005
View From The Stands by Steve Milne Everton supporter, Daily Post
WELL, the first wish on every Evertonian's Christmas list was granted yesterday with three points.
The fact that St Lukes Church next door to the ground was open early for prayers to the Big Fella, may have had something to do with it. The 1-0 kings are back in action and today we are out of the bottom three, thanks largely in the first half to Nigel Martyn and his outstanding prowess between the sticks and Tony Hibbert for throwing himself in front of the Everton goalline on the half hour mark. On the attacking side, Arteta showed skill, particularly from his free kick early in the first half and again half an hour later when he nipped in between the defenders to clip the ball with the outside of his boot just past the post. To go in at half time 0-0 was fair. Straight from the kick off virtually, the boys in blue came out with an attacking frame of mind. Arteta's corner found Yobo in space for his second goal of the season. The Everton onslaught continued throughout the second 45 minutes. James Beattie, however, had the entire Everton contingent holding their heads in their hands when, with the ball at his feet with just Shay Given to beat, he blasted the ball over from 12 yards out. However the performance was from a much improved Everton side from that of last week. We should not lose sight of the fact that if the season ran January to January, this year alone we have played 31 games and only amassed 34 points, which would subsequently mean we would be relegation fodder. We need to keep this positive momentum.
Everton 1, Newcastle 0 (Echo)
Nov 28 2005 By Dominic King
SOME say it with chocolate, others do it with flowers but at Goodison Park yesterday Everton's players found redemption with their finest performance of an increasingly topsy-turvy campaign.
Having spent the seven days prior to Newcastle United's visit smarting over the calamity that was The Hawthorns, manager David Moyes had made it clear he expected nothing than a positive response from his squad. Supporters felt exactly the same. Stung by the criticism that followed the now infamous 4-0 drubbing against West Brom, Everton did that and more as they served up a breathless, fiery performance to ensure they took a fully deserved three points from a rumbustious encounter. Though the scoreline suggests Everton only shaded the verdict, the opposite is true. Joseph Yobo's powerful header early in the second half was scant reward for the effort Moyes' men put in. There could have been few complaints had they scored three or four. Running themselves into the ground, hunting for loose balls in packs and refusing to buckle under pressure, this was Everton at their best. The sight of each player clad in Blue leaving the field at the final whistle heaving for air warmed the heart. As they deserved the flak that came their way in the aftermath of West Brom, so too do they deserve the plaudits for this offering. Three wins in the last four games is the perfect way go about banishing the early season doom and gloom. This, without question, was the best display out of all those contests and the second half in particular was up there with anything they have produced since clinching their fourth spot in the Premiership against the same opposition last May. Watertight and impregnable are not words that immediately spring to mind when referring to Newcastle's defence and it was obvious from an early stage that if Everton applied themselves correctly, they would reap the rewards. James Beattie, bristling with aggression and menace, caused the accident waiting to happen, also known as Titus Bramble, enough alarm in the first 15 minutes for Jean Alain Boumsong to take over responsibility of chaperoning the Blues' record signing. He fared little better. Linking up smartly with his midfielders, winning practically every ball in the air which came his way, the £6m man is slowly but surely settling into life on Merseyside.
In his post-match Press briefing, Moyes suggested this was Beattie's best performance for Everton since his move from Southampton. While he will want to forget about blazing over in the dying seconds, it was certainly much more like it. Alongside Beattie, the sprightly James McFadden began with plenty of purpose, twisting this way and that in search of an opening. He also went close with a free-kick which was fizzing into the bottom corner until Shay Given intervened. McFadden may have some detractors in the stands but if he keeps playing like this, they will soon disappear. The only thing missing against Newcastle was a goal and that was only because Given had an inspired afternoon between the posts. Frustratingly, though, Everton could not make their early ascendancy tell and were forced on to the back foot as Newcastle responded and the Everton goal led a charmed life on a couple of occasions. Alan Shearer has scored 16 times against Everton during his remarkable career and he almost made it 17 when he sprang the offside trap on the half hour mark, only to see Beattie make a dramatic clearance off the line. Luck was also be on Everton's side as referee Howard Webb failed to spot McFadden stop a goal-bound shot from Shola Ameobi with the kind of parry of which Nigel Martyn would have been proud. But after what happened at West Brom, who is complaining? The game having suddenly burst into life, tempers rose accordingly. Tim Cahill and Celestine Babayaro traded left-hooks shortly before the interval. Mikel Arteta and Scott Parker likewise after the break. Shearer pole-axed the colossal David Weir with a flaying elbow. Amazingly no red cards were shown. Fortunately, Everton kept their cool as Newcastle began to lose theirs. Blasting out of the traps at the beginning of the second half, the Blues deservedly took the lead 54 seconds after leaving the dressing room. Picked out by Arteta, McFadden unleashed a pile-driver that Given turned around for a corner. It mattered not. The Spanish midfielder's set-piece was angled perfectly onto the head of Yobo, who applied the finish the ball demanded.
It was fitting Arteta and Yobo were the men involved in the game's defining moment. The more Arteta sees of the ball, the better he looks. His displays have not gone unnoticed. There is little doubt he is currently one of Goodison's favourite sons. Yobo, meanwhile, is vying with Phil Neville for the title of Mr Consistent. He has not put a foot wrong since a mistake against Tottenham Hotspur on October 15 and deserved to head home clutching two bottles of man-ofthe-match bubbly. The goal clearly having lifted everyone's confidence in the ground - bar those clad in Black and White - Everton set about putting a gloss on the final scoreline. With a bit more composure and good fortune, they would have done. Andy van der Meyde should have done better with two presentable opportunities. McFadden twice saw Given beat away fierce drives. Cahill was also denied by the Republic of Ireland international, while Beattie wastefully went for power rather than placement when teed up by Simon Davies. No matter. So while there is still a long way to go before Everton can say they are out of the woods, if they continue to play as they did in the second half against Newcastle, it will only be a matter of time before everyone is breathing much easier - and apologising for inept displays will become a thing of the past.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; Arteta (Osman 80), Davies, Cahill, van der Meyde (Kilbane 76); McFadden, Beattie (Bent 85). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
BOOKING: Beattie (foul).
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Ramage, Boumsoung, Bramble, Babayaro (Luque 51); Solano (Bowyer 61), Parker, Emre, N'Zogbia; Shearer, Ameobi. Subs: Harper, Faye, Clark.
BOOKINGS: Babayaro, N'Zogbia, Bramble, Parker and Ramage (all fouls).
REFEREE: Howard Webb
I can get even better
Nov 28 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MATCHWINNER Joseph Yobo today vowed the best is yet to come after scoring the goal to put Everton's season back on track. The Nigerian international has been one of the Blues' top performers so far this year but scaled new heights during yesterday's 1-0 victory over Newcastle. It was a performance that ensured Yobo left Goodison Park clutching two bottles of Man-of-the-Match champagne and praise from manager David Moyes ringing in his ears. But as pleased as he was with his contribution, Yobo is adamant he can raise the bar further and believes he owes it to Moyes and his team-mates to improve his imperious form. "The goal was a bonus," said Yobo. "I saw the ball coming and knew that this was it. It was good for me to get on the scoresheet but I was more happy with the defensive play. "Sometimes football is about ups and downs. What I needed was consistency and I realised that. The manager has been talking a lot to me and I have still got a lot to come. "I know what I can do. I have got a lot of qualities but sometimes it doesn't really happen. But when I see Everton struggle I know it is time to step up. This is a big morale boost. "Last week we conceded a harsh penalty and our heads went down. But when we got the goal, everyone realised this was it. We played with more character and confidence." While the victory lifted Everton out of the drop zone, Yobo has made it clear the hard work is still in front for Moyes' men. "The result last week was poor, we realised that, and the only way we could put that right was by showing a lot of character," said Yobo. Our record is now three wins out of four. We all went out there, gave it our all and we are all happy that we won the game. Every game is important now because we know the situation we are in could be really bad. We have realised that but we are playing and fighting as a team and we are picking up points. We don't want to let anything slip. Thanks to the crowd as well because they've been tremendous."
Best yet, as Moyes salutes record buy
Nov 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has told James Beattie to forget about his glaring miss at Goodison yesterday - and enjoy the most accomplished performance of his Blues' career. Everton's record signing missed the chance to cap an excellent display with a goal when he fired over the Gwladys Street crossbar with the Blues leading 1-0. But a relieved Moyes said afterwards: "I thought his performance was as good as he has played for us. His heading, the way he was taking balls on his chest and laying things off was excellent. "Yes, his miss was disappointing, but today we can talk about misses and not worry - and it wasn't only James. Van der Meyde had two I would have fancied him to do better with. "But it was a good, old fashioned game in many ways, and I felt we deserved it in the end." After relying on a couple of sharp Nigel Martyn saves - and a goalline clearance from Beattie -Everton won the match with a Joseph Yobo header. They also survived a handball claim against James McFadden. But Moyes explained: "We had a few scares in the first half and needed the goalkeeper to make a few saves. We got away with the handball like we didn't get away with the penalty last week which was outside the box, or the handball by the goalkeeper. "But in the second half we got the goal early and that gave us the confidence to go and try to get a second. "It was important to bounce back, not so much from the defeat last week but from the performance. "The players have known how I felt all week. But they knew it themselves as well, to be fair. "I thought we were simple in our play. The two centre-forwards did very well, we kept the ball better and were a threat. We caused their centre-halfs problems which we have not done an awful lot this season. "We have won three out of four now, which is the kind of consistency I have been looking for. Now we have three games in December and I will be looking for points from all of those fixtures as well. "There were no plusses last week. This week I have been able to say to all of the players 'well done'." Six players were booked, five of them from Newcastle, while Alan Shearer, Tim Cahill and Celestine Babayaro were all fortunate to escape further punishment in a spiky confrontation. "You saw the Shearer incident, you write about it," said Moyes, after Shearer had clearly elbowed David Weir - after a quick glance to ascertain the defender's presence. "I just felt our boys were determined. "They knew they had to play better, fight more and compete for everything. We did that really well. In the end I felt we deserved it."
Beattie blazes trail to inspire comeback
Nov 28 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON paid their own personal tribute to George Best yesterday. "I like to go missing," George memorably quipped once upon a time. "Miss World, Miss USA, Miss Sweden . . . " came the colourful punchline. Everton, however, took the great man literally. After surviving a shaky first 45 minutes against Newcastle, they missed chance after chance after chance to seal a comfortable win. But at least they won. Those misses simply confirmed another memorable quote. A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. Alright, it was Russian foreign policy that Winston Churchill memorably coined his famous phrase to describe. But a true Blue, at least politically, his description stands equally well for the modern Everton. How else can we describe Sunday's startling transformation?
Skulking hush puppies at The Hawthorns, Everton were snarling, snapping terriers yesterday and fully deserved a hugely significant success over Newcastle. James Beattie was the man who seemed to sum up that transformation. Anonymous in the Midlands eight days ago, all that was missing from his bristling performance against Newcastle was a goal. At least his horrible 78th minute miss should keep his feet firmly on the ground. That freeze-frame moment probably wasn't what Beattie had in mind when he arrived at Goodison and declared he intended to become a typical Everton centre-forward. Images of swashbuckling number nines bulleting headers past flailing goalkeepers into the Gwladys Street net were surely uppermost in his thoughts. Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Young, Latch-ford, Sharp and Gray would be his role models. Instead, his late howler was probably more typical of modern Everton. The Millennium Blues love to make a crisis out of a drama. Why do things the easy way, when they can make it much more nerve-shredding and anxious instead? Everton won 1-0 for the fifth time this season, to add to the nine from last term. And David Moyes has now managed to extend his record of single goal successes as Blues' boss to 42. Quite how his hair is still red, not grey, is just as inexplicable as how Everton can transform their performances so spectacularly. But they did - and deserved to. And if Beattie had buried the gaping chance he received 12 minutes from time it might have given a fairer reflection of a game Everton turned on its head. Careers can turn on pivotal moments and the Blues striker can be grateful his howler wasn't costly. Charging unmarked onto Simon Davies' pass 12 yards from goal, he fluffed the chance. The miss seemed to sum up his flash reputation. Rather than take a touch and scuff one pa Just like against Middlesbrough in his previous home outing, however, the ball soared into the stand. But this was a solitary abberation from the striker, for there was much to admire about his performance. Beattie was full of enthusiastic running, sharp lay-offs and precisely directed headers and was an effective target man. He was ably aided and abetted by James McFadden, too, who became more and more influential as the match wore on and was only denied a goal himself by two Given saves. He also proved decisively influential in his own six yard box, cunningly disguising a left-arm block of Alan Shearer's goal-bound shot. Perhaps they were encouraged by the Newcastle teamsheet . . . not by the the absence of Michael Owen's name, but rather the presence of two others. Titus Bramble and Jean Alain Boumsong are accidents waiting to happen, and while neither was obviously to blame for Joseph Yobo's matchwinner Given could be forgiven for asking exactly who was attempting to cover the big Nigerian. That gave Everton a lead 52 seconds after half-time, and from that point on they never looked back. The quality of Andy Van Der Meyde's delivery from the left flank was often outstanding, but no-one in the Everton forward line took a chance on getting in front of defenders every time he collected possession. Sadly, his quality wasn't quite as convincing in front of goal, especially with a 45th minute strike driven at a nice height for Given to parry. By that stage, three players had already been cautioned and three more followed in a spiky, committed confrontation. The majority of the six yellow cards awarded were deserved, while Shearer surely only escaped another for thrusting his elbow into David Weir's face, by virtue of his reputation. Tim Cahill and Celestine Babayaro were also fortunate after trading a couple of wild swings. But that underlined the difference from last week. No-one was booked at The Hawthorns, not even for dissent after one of the most wretched penalty decisions of the season. Yesterday everyone was up for it. Will it be the same next week at Blackburn? Only time will tell. Don't go missing again, Everton.
Big Dunc pays tribute to brave Kayley
Nov 28 2005 Liverpool Echo
HEART LUNG transplant girl Kayley Keir's footballing hero has paid tribute to her bravery. Blues legend Duncan Ferguson travelled to the 10-year-old Evertonian's house on the way back from training. The giant striker chatted to Kayley, her mum Jackie and her sister Remi at their home in Kirkdale, on Thursday. He gave her one of his shirts and a goodie bag from the club. And he invited her to come and watch the Blues train in the future. Kayley survived an eight-hour heart and lung transplant at London's Great Ormond Street hospital, stunning doctors with her incredible progress. Since she has been back in Liverpool, Kayley has led the ECHO's campaign to save Alder Hey after benefiting from treatment there all her life. A spokesman for the club said: "The original plan was to bring Kayley to Bellefield, but with one thing and another we couldn't find a suitable date - so Duncan suggested that we visit her at home. "We've kept in touch with Kayley's mum and her strength and bravery have impressed everyone at the club. "She was delighted when Big Dunc knocked on her front door and as soon as she is up to it, we will be bringing her to the training ground to meet the rest of the lads."
Victory showed fans that we care
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 29 2005
0SharePHIL NEVILLE believes Sunday's win over Newcastle showed that the Everton players "cared" after their dismal defeat at West Brom.The Goodison midfielder has revealed how desperate the play-ers were to atone for their 4-0 drubbing at The Hawthorns. And after Joseph Yobo's goal against Graeme Souness' men saw them claim a third win in four games, Neville hopes Everton can now keep to the "simple" approach that had briefly deserted them in the Midlands. He said: "It was exactly the response that the manager and the fans were looking for. "The manager spoke to us a couple of days after West Brom and made it plain that we owed the supporters a performance. He wanted us to show that we cared and we did that today. "In terms of the number of chances we created, it was probably our best display of the season. "The disappointment last week was the way we conceded four goals. There weren't really four goals in the game, but the score-line suggested a mauling. It was the way we lay down towards the end of the second half really. "Of course you're going to lose games, but as long as you have given your all, you can't complain. In that one, all the work we'd done in midweek wasn't reproduced in the game." He added: "We spent all week working on similar things, and it's paid off with a third win in four games, so we've got a nice little run going. "The previous two, and the draw against Chelsea, were built on the simple things. They went out of the window at West Brom, but we got back to them." Neville singled out the continuing excellence of matchwinner Joseph Yobo, adding: "At times Joseph has produced some top class displays in the big games, when it has mattered. That's maybe his third man of the match performance of the season, so it shows the levels that he can play to. I think that everyone at the club realises what a good centre half we have in Joseph. He's only 25 and at that age you will make mistakes. He's no different, but certainly from what I have seen, he's a great centre back."Him and David Weir have a really good partnership, and he's a joy to play alongside."He is so laid back, a typical Nigerian, African character."He's always smiling and it's a pleasure to have him in the dressing room - he's one of the most popular players there. "But it wasn't just about him - all 11 who played at West Brom had a point to prove because we had all been disappointed with our performance." Former Manchester United midfielder Neville admitted he had been moved by the tribute handed out by Goodison to deceased Old Traf-ford legend George Best. "The death of George Best has gripped the whole nation, not just supporters of Manchester United, and some unbelievable tributes have been paid from some of the most famous people in the world, not only football," Neville said. "I thought the chanting and the applause in the minute's tribute was very special and very moving. "I think rather than mourning him, it was right to celebrate what he did and it was a special moment. "I was lucky enough to meet him and speak to him. "That will go down as one of the most special experiences of my life. "As a United fan and player, you grew up with tales of Law, Best and Charlton, and without doubt George was the best player they ever produced. "Speaking with him was very special. "My dad had told me all about him and every United fan idolised him."
It had been tough... we didn't dare lose again
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Nov 29 2005
0ShareMATCH-WINNER Joseph Yobo believes Everton's humbled stars proved a major point to angry manager David Moyes by grinding out a 1-0 victory over Newcastle. The 25-year-old defender scored only his fourth goal for the club to secure the critical victory at Goodison and lift Everton above West Brom and Portsmouth in the table. Now Yobo insists they must not let their standards drop as badly as they did at West Brom the previous weekend - a 4--0 defeat that had boss David Moyes threatening transfer window changes if things did not improve quickly. Yobo said: "It had been a tough week, the manager let us know he was upset and we had to take the blame. "It had been tough in training, we had to accept that we were poor and we had to accept what the critics were saying and what the manager had said to us. "But we had worked hard all week and we were ready for it, we knew we could not dare play as badly again. "This result did a lot for our confidence, a huge win after what happened. We conceded four goals last week which was dreadful, so to keep a clean sheet was very important to me and the rest of the defence. "We know it was important that we got ourselves back on track, getting out of the relegation bottom three is so important and we know we have to stay out. We had to stop conceding goals, stop the mistakes and make sure we did everything we could to get out of the danger zone." Moyes revealed his delight with Yobo's display, and the way he countered the threat of Alan Shearer. Moyes said: "Joseph has had an outstanding season, and he did very well against Shearer. He has made one or two mistakes but that happens. "He will get better with age and this performance was excellent. All in all he is getting much better and we are really pleased." Yobo was relieved and vindicated after the win against Newcastle, saying: "I don't get many goals, my job is to defend, but when I got the chance to help out up front I was delighted. "Alan Shearer is a great player, a tough man to play against, but I thought I did okay against him and we were motivated by how poorly we had played the week before at West Brom."We had to put that right and make sure we played well next time out, and we did that against Newcastle."He added: "We have a better team than last season with better players, so there is no excuse for what has happened recently."Individually and collectively we did very well against Newcastle, they are a good side with fine players and we knew it was a game we could not afford to mess up in."The manager had demanded that we responded quickly, and we did. And for me to get the goal that made it possible is very pleasing."It has taken a while for our new players to settle in, particularly if they come from abroad. But we gave ourselves something to build on with that draw with Chelsea and the two wins that followed. That is why what happened at West Brom was unacceptable."Now we can't rest on this. If we lose our next one we could be back in the bottom three, that has to be avoided at all costs. We do not want that to happen to us again so we must continue to show character and produce the standard that we set for ourselves last season."Now we must take this attitude into next Saturday's game at Blackburn."They are very physical but we know we must continue to pick up points and not allow ourselves to drop back."For Newcastle, it was another step backwards coming after the defeat at Chelsea which followed three successive victories. Goalkeeper Shay Given said: "Obviously that was not good enough."We knew Everton were dangerous from set pieces and we worked hard on stopping them in training last week, so it was very disappointing to concede the only goal from a set piece.
Magic memories of Latchford's 30-goal season
Nov 29 2005
But in the 1977/78 season that is what happened to Bob Latchford.The centre forward also netted a £10,000 bonus as a result of a prize offered by a national newspaper.Now a new book re-lives the drama of a season in a pictorial journey detailing each and every goal scored.With extracts of match reports, plus a unique insight on the strikes from the man who Evertonians thought could walk on water, the book - not surprisingly entitled 30 - will interest supporters around the world.All proceeds of the book will be going towards the Everton Former Players' Foundation.And for just £30 the Foundation is offering supporters the chance to become part of the 30-goal legend by having your name in the hardback edition, which will be personally signed by Latchford. 30 will be released in April 2006.Subscribers can either have the book delivered to their home address or can be personally presented with a copy from the man himself on a choice of four different dates.Anyone who orders before March 1, 2006, will be entered into a draw to have lunch with Latchford on the weekend of the launch. Plus, 10 more lucky subscribers will receive a signed, framed photograph of one of his goals from that memorable season.Also fans' own special memories could be included in the book. Send in your memories of Latchford from the 1977/78 season to: firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and address.
To place your order: Send a cheque payable for £30 (please add £3 if you require P&P) to: The Everton Former Players' Foundation PO Box 354, Liverpool, L69 4QS Alternatively, you can call the Foundation's Credit Card Hotline on 0151 520 2362 or email: email@example.com
When you order, please include the subscriber's name (the name that you want to appear in the book), as well as the buyer's name, address and contact number.
Magic memories of Latchford's 30-goal season
Nov 29 2005
WHAT Everton wouldn't give now for a forward who can score 30 goals in the season!
But in the 1977/78 season that is what happened to Bob Latchford.The centre forward also netted a £10,000 bonus as a result of a prize offered by a national newspaper. Now a new book re-lives the drama of a season in a pictorial journey detailing each and every goal scored. With extracts of match reports, plus a unique insight on the strikes from the man who Evertonians thought could walk on water, the book - not surprisingly entitled 30 - will interest supporters around the world.All proceeds of the book will be going towards the Everton Former Players' Foundation.And for just £30 the Foundation is offering supporters the chance to become part of the 30-goal legend by having your name in the hardback edition, which will be personally signed by Latchford. 30 will be released in April 2006.Subscribers can either have the book delivered to their home address or can be personally presented with a copy from the man himself on a choice of four different dates. Anyone who orders before March 1, 2006, will be entered into a draw to have lunch with Latchford on the weekend of the launch. Plus, 10 more lucky subscribers will receive a signed, framed photograph of one of his goals from that memorable season.Also fans' own special memories could be included in the book. Send in your memories of Latchford from the 1977/78 season to: firstname.lastname@example.org, including your name and address.
To place your order: Send a cheque payable for £30 (please add £3 if you require P&P) to: The Everton Former Players' Foundation PO Box 354, Liverpool, L69 4QS Alternatively, you can call the Foundation's Credit Card Hotline on 0151 520 2362 or email: email@example.com
When you order, please include the subscriber's name (the name that you want to appear in the book), as well as the buyer's name, address and contact number.
McFadden: I can save you cash
Nov 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN is desperate for the chance to save David Moyes some money by becoming the answer to Everton's goalscoring conundrum. The Blues boss has made no secret of his intentions to sign a new striker when the transfer window open, but in the meantime has thrown down the gauntlet to the forwards already at Goodison Park. It is a challenge McFadden intends rising to. One of the stars of the show as Everton saw off Newcastle United on Sunday, only Shay Given's heroics stopped him getting on the scoresheet. But while he was satisfied with his contribution at the weekend, McFadden knows he has no option but to improve a tally of just one Premiership goal in 56 appearances. "I know the manager has stated that he is going to buy a striker in January but January is eight games away from now," said McFadden. "There is a long time to perform well and prove myself at this level until then. If the manager brings a striker in, that's good because it brings competition. "If that's what we need, then that's what we need. It's up to the manager, it's not up to the players. We need to be creating chances. "I came in after the game and said I couldn't believe how well Given had played. He did ever so well to get to one of my shots and he made a couple of great saves from Tim Cahill, too." Having caught the eye in training recently, McFadden thrived alongside James Beattie at the head of Everton's attack and hopes to have done enough to continue at Blackburn next Saturday. Though some view him as a left winger, the 22-year-old is much more suited to a central role, especially in the system Moyes tends to use. "I was pleased with how things went on a personal level and I was up for the game," he added. "I had missed a couple of games and I was just delighted to get back in. Hopefully that can continue. "I have been feeling good. I just needed to prove that I was ready and we played in a way that makes our players thrive. I've said for a while that I love to play as a striker and I enjoy it." The onus is now on Everton to build on the Newcastle win when they travel to Ewood Park. Another spiky display would go a long way to suggesting the corner has been turned. "It was a massive match and we got the right result but the performance was back to what we are and what we know we can do," McFadden added. "We had let a lot of people down and it wasn't a performance we want to remember. We had a point to prove and we went out and put things right. We applied ourselves in the right way. "We have won three of the last four matches and by anyone's standards that is good. We want to continue you it into next week because we don't want to let ourselves down again."
Blues jaunt lifts Davies
Nov 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SIMON DAVIES is hoping his Everton career is ready for lift-off after a watershed last month.
The first of David Moyes' summer signings when he swopped White Hart Lane for Goodison Park in May, Davies was brought to add guile, pace and power to Everton's midfield. Things, however, did not go according to plan as a shin problem compromised the impact he could make on the pitch and lack of peak condition saw him frequently substituted. But since scoring the winning goal against Birmingham on October 29, the Wales international has not looked back and was seen to particularly good effect during the weekend win over Newcastle. Looking fitter and stronger, Davies covered plenty of ground to ensure the Blues hung onto their one-goal lead and would have had an assist to his name had James Beattie shown a bit more composure in front of goal. Feeling much more settled in the area and familiar with the day-to-day running of the club, Davies is ready to crank his performances up another notch - and attributes the improvement to a trip to the Lake District.
"Since the trip to the Lakes, things have been great," Davies reflected. "We had a great few days and really enjoyed it. I think every team needs to have these kind of bonding sessions." The trip consisted of a particularly memorable karaoke session. Davies had the onerous task of performing Live Forever by Oasis for his team-mates. "It is proper socialising outside the game and it is different from coming to the training ground every day to work," he continued. "There is banter at the training ground and everyone gets on well but it is different when you are out socially. That was the case in the Lakes. "There have been a lot of new players in the last few months, so it is a bit different from last season, I would imagine. But we are getting a new blend and everyone is settling well. "Everyone told me when I met the manager that we had great lads here. I'm a slow settler but the lads have definitely made things easier for me." So, too, has the goal at St Andrews. Everton have taken nine points out of 12 since that day in the Midlands and slowly but surely have started to creep up the table. Of course, the sobering defeat against West Brom showed plenty more hard work must be put in before anyone at the club can safely say they are out of the woods.
But Davies is confident that as long as Everton's players keep running and working as they have been doing, the rewards will follow. "Birmingham was a big game," he said. "It was in that match the team spirit really came through. We had to really dig deep in the last 20 minutes when they battered us. "That was a big turning point. We had to give everything for each other to get that result. We were under pressure and people were talking about us being bottom. "When you are being talked about, you want to prove yourself. That was my outlook and it was the same for the team."
Meanwhile, one man whose maverick personality has ensured he has fitted straight into Goodison life is delighted to be playing football with a smile on his face again. Andy van der Meyde - quick to seal a place in the hearts of the Gwladys Street - is thriving at present, but feels the fitter he gets, the better he will become. "I'm not quite ready yet," said the Holland international. "After one hour in the game, you can see that I have no strength left. "But my touch is coming back and my power is returning. I just want to be the player I was when I left Ajax and when all of my fitness is back, I can do a lot of things for Everton."
McCann claims last-gasp winner as Blues enjoy capital success
Nov 29 2005 Women's Football By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
A LATE debut goal from striker Amy McCann gave Everton Ladies all three points as they beat Fulham 3-2 on Sunday. The Londoners provided a tough test for the Blues and they took the lead through Dunia Susi's near post header after just five minutes. Amy Kane netted the equaliser ten minutes later, grabbing her first goal of the season when she blasted the ball into the net after the keeper had palmed away Kelly McDougall's shot. Although not playing to the best of their ability, the visitors still created chances with McDougall, Jody Handley and Fara Williams all going close to giving Everton the lead. After the break Fulham started brightly and their captain Jess Wright was left unmarked to drill the ball home from the edge of the box. At 2-1 down Everton knew they were in a battle, but they stepped up a gear and Handley scored the goal that her performance deserved. She tapped in from five yards with just three minutes left after Channy Parry's header had been parried. Deep into stoppage time Everton claimed victory when substitute McCann headed the ball over the line. The scrappy win for Mo Marley's girls keeps them within touching distance of pace setters Charlton. In the Northern Division, Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Blackburn Rovers with their 4-2 win over Stockport County. Winger Jo Edwards opened the scoring for the Reds but County levelled through Louise Hastie's own goal. Young striker Claire Jenkins restored the Reds' advantage in the second half but Suzanne Hunt levelled matters once more. With just 12 minutes to play Cheryl Foster made it 3-2 and an own goal by Andrea Worrell gave Keith Cliffe's side all three points. Tranmere Rovers rescued a point at home to Newcastle. A goal from Vicky Abbott two minutes from time cancelled out Lindsay McCubbin's strike.
* Sunday sees Everton host Bristol Academy in the league (Marine FC, 12.30pm) and there's also an FA Cup derby clash between Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers (Heswall FC, 1pm).
Cahill faces three-match ban
Nov 30 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL is facing a three-match ban after being charged by the Football Association with violent conduct. It follows an incident between the Everton midfielder and Celestine Babayaro during Sunday's 1-0 win over Newcastle United. Television cameras caught the pair scuffling late in the first half. Everton's Head of Communications Ian Ross said: "We have been informed of the charge by the Football Association and we are now considering our options."
Babayaro has also been charged by officials from Soho square after they, along with referee Howard Webb, reviewed footage of the game. Cahill has until 6pm today to answer the charge and his case will be heard tomorrow. If found guilty, the Australian international's ban starts immediately, meaning he will miss games against Blackburn Rovers, Manchester United and West Ham United. Alan Shearer, however, will not be facing any disciplinary action even though he was seen to lead with his elbow in a challenge with David Weir that left the Everton defender pole-axed. An FA Spokesman confirmed: "We can only take retrospective action if a referee admits that he did not see an incident take place. "In this instance, referee Howard Webb took action against Shearer during the game but admitted had he seen the incident between Cahill and Babayaro then he would have sent both players off."
Fighting spirit delights Moyes
Nov 30 2005 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today paid tribute to Everton's fighting spirit - then urged his players to keep up the good work as they continue their climb up the table. Having let his squad know exactly how dismayed he was by their attitude in the 4-0 drubbing at West Brom, Blues boss Moyes was thrilled with the way Everton bounced back against Newcastle on Sunday. Everton have now won three of their last four games and slowly but surely are creeping away from the danger zone and will be looking to give themselves even more breathing space at Blackburn Rovers this Saturday.
"The players knew what was required," Moyes reflected. "It was severely lacking the week before. Only when you look at that performance compared to West Brom do you realise how below par we were at West Brom. "Fair play to the players because they made sure they put it right by doing the right things. I said to them that they had to come away by the end of the game and make sure it was noticeable they were hurting. "All our supporters will have gone away saying that they had seen the players fight for everything and were desperate to compete. That's something that we have always got to have in our game. "We want to improve our football and we are desperate to make that better. It should never mean that you drop your level of commitment but you could see against Newcastle that they were right back at it." Apart from the resilience they showed last Sunday, Moyes was especially pleased with the quality of Everton's football, particularly in the second half when they fashioned a handful of chances. That they didn't take them, though, was an obvious concern - as it has been all season - but the manager feels that if they keep applying themselves in the same manner in the weeks ahead, the rewards will come. "The players gave themselves a base to play from," Moyes added. "They worked hard to earn those opportunities. We got in behind them, we probably made more chances against Newcastle than we have all season, though we didn't take them. "It could have been 3-2. We needed Nigel to make a couple of great saves in the first half and then in the second half, Shay Given makes a couple of great saves, too. In the main, we were pleased with the way the game went. It was a hard game." Moyes, meanwhile, was monitoring the fitness of Nuno Valente (hamstring), Mikel Arteta (knee) and Duncan Ferguson (illness) after his squad assembled for training at Bellefield this morning.
Shearer escapes FA action over clash
Nov 30 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
ALAN SHEARER has escaped any punishment following his clash with David Weir on Sunday.
The Newcastle United captain was seen to catch the centre-back with his elbow as the pair jumped for a high ball during Everton's hot-tempered 1-0 win at Goodison. However, the Football Association yesterday confirmed they cannot take the matter further after match referee Howard Webb confirmed he had seen the incident and dealt with it by awarding a free-kick to Everton, although Shearer was not even booked. "Howard Webb has confirmed to us that he saw the incident at the time," said the FA's director of communications, Adrian Bevington. "Therefore, that prevents us from taking any other action under FIFA regulations. The matter is now closed."
Meanwhile, James McFadden has put himself forward as the answer to Everton's goalscoring problems - saving David Moyes money in the process. The Scotland international was an impressive performance at the weekend in a forward role alongside James Beattie. Everton manager Moyes has already stated he is keen to sign a striker when the transfer window opens in January to bolster the firepower of a team that has scored just five goals in 13 Premiership games. But McFadden said: "I know the manager has stated he is going to buy a striker in January but January is eight games away so it is a long time to try and perform well and try and prove myself at this level until then.
"If the manager brings a striker in then it's more competition and if that's what we need then that's what we need but that's up to the manager, not the players. "I think I have said for a while that I prefer to play as a striker and any chance I get to play up there is great. I enjoyed it (on Sunday) and I thought me and Beats did well together and worked hard together. Hopefully that can continue."
Wanted: A striker who can actually strike
Nov 30 2005 By Len Capeling, Daily Post
GRANTED, it wasn't a difficult call, but when I suggested Everton would prosper against Newcastle in the air, I wasn't thinking about Joseph Yobo. Good for Joseph and Everton, but as David Moyes indicated at the Goodison AGM he desperately needs to bring in a striker who can strike. James Beattie didn't have to miss another sitter to persuade his manager that Everton's fate in the second half of the season depends on more chances being converted. One-nil victories gave Everton the edge over a lot of other wannabes last term, but when your defence is prone to inattention, a single goal advantage does lasting damage to the heart muscles. Blackburn next, who will test nerves, sinews, ankles knees and everything else. Their goals tally is two to one at home, and, like Everton, they're better than their present placing in suggests. When Chris Samuelson - he of the missing millions - breezed into a previous Everton AGM, Bill Kenwright hailed him as the club's saviour. Others, less gullible, smelled something different. In particular, one perky shareholder mischievously launched into a series of questions at Samuelson such as Everton down the ages that the Swizz - sorry, Swiss - financier found unanswerable. As he sweated on stage, Kenwright raced to his rescue, claiming the questions were unfair. year on, with Samuelson and his millions posted missing, that particular shareholder - please contact me - is a winner while Kenwright is red-faced. And that's certainly not the colour of choice for Bluebloods.
Blues heading in the right direction
Nov 30 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S performance against Newcastle was a huge improvement on the game at West Brom.
David Weir and Joseph Yobo looked water-tight, but they always do against teams with no pace.
Maybe I'm being ultra critical but it is becoming blindingly obvious that David Moyes is not convinced by Per Kroldrup. It can't be a fitness issue, because he has played several reserve games and been in full training for several weeks. All in all though, the team is heading in the right direction, but this level of commitment and performance must be sustained.
Tony Wright, Liverpool
WELL done lads. Pride restored. Sure, we've had a bad start to the season and the performance at West Brom was a disgrace, but people need to look at the bigger picture. In the last five games we've picked up 10 points. That's the same amount as Chelsea have. David Moyes has taken us further and raised expectations more than any manager since Howard Kendall.
Jay McDonald, Aintree
DAVID MOYES is the best manager we have had since Joe Royle and we have our best squad of players for ten years. I guess the people calling for Moyes' head have only supported the Blues since he took charge as they obviously have no frame of reference to years gone by.
Paul Powell, Formby
THE game against Newcastle was a vast improvement on the West Brom farce. Passes were actually going to blue shirts. I was very impressed with James McFadden. It made a real difference to see someone actually taking on players. Alan Shearer was an absolute disgrace. If that elbow had got David Weir in the throat it could have caused him real damage.
Brian Hunt, Litherland
PHIL NEVILLE was right when he said the players owed the fans a performance against Newcastle.
But why didn't they put on a good show the previous week at West Brom?
Sarah White, Liverpool
THANKS Everton for giving me a good night's sleep for once. The performance against Newcastle was worthy of the shirt - unlike the game at West Brom. I would dearly wish to see Per Kroldrup play though. Maybe a back line of five players would make us even more solid.
John Johnson, Huyton
I'M very relieved to grab three points against a poor Newcastle side. I am still not convinced by David Moyes though. He has us playing the kick-and-rush style of a Championship team. Bring back Big Joe if you ask me.
Darren Dreves, Huyton
I'M not going to say we are back on track as Everton must hold the record for dashing dreams so many times in one season. Hopefully, we have turned a corner but I'm not holding my breath.
Jim Duffy, Moreton