Luton Town 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 1 2007
After extra time
by Dominic King at Kenilworth Road
GIVEN the scoreline, the setting and the scenario, did you honestly expect to read anything else today other than a tale about Everton’s fright night? So nearly a Nightmare on Kenilworth Road, Evertonians can breath a little easier after exorcising their League Cup demons against Luton Town. For the first time in 20 seasons, a quarter-final in a competition which has certainly regained its sheen beckons. No matter that David Moyes’ side failed to gain marks for artistic merit in Bedfordshire or the fact it needed a dramatic intervention from substitute Tim Cahill to clinch victory in extra time, the main thing to concentrate on is that Everton are through. Of course nobody at the club is getting carried away yet – take a glance at the opponents they have beaten en route – but this represents another step in the right direction under David Moyes and Everton deserve their place among a stellar last eight cast. Judged by the effort and application on show last night, it was not hard to see why Luton have a formidable record on their own turf this year and had the Toffees failed to match them, they would have gone the way that Sunderland and Charlton did in previous rounds. During an opening 45 minutes so devoid of entertainment, it was impossible not to think about wretched evenings against the likes of Bradford City and Millwall, Oxford United and York City, those miserable defeats in the early rounds of a tournament which has had many different guises. Moyes, too, has experienced enough frustration since he arrived on Merseyside five years ago and he can now start looking forward to tackling the next hurdle that will be placed in front of his team, whenever and wherever that may be. That they can do that today is down to their professionalism, determination and extra quality when it mattered but, make no mistake, a failure not to put Luton to the sword almost came back to haunt them at the death. Kevin Blackwell’s squad deserve huge praise for not buckling when Tim Cahill – inevitably – was the right man in the right place to finish Thomas Gravesen’s corner and had it not been for two crucial interventions by Joleon Lescott and Stefan Wessels, things would have been different. But that is not something to dwell on. Rarely are a team’s performances remembered from cup runs and, if Everton do happen to make it to Wembley next February, the only thing of any significance about the trip to Luton will be Cahill’s goal. Think back to Bristol City in 1995. Did it matter if the side managed by Joe Royle had been pulled from pillar to post at Ashton Gate? Not a bit. When Dave Watson was lifting the FA Cup in the air later that May, the sole memorable incident from the fourth round was Matt Jackson’s winner. As plucky as Luton were, however, it would be stretching things a great deal to say they gave Everton a chasing. High on effort and endeavour they may have been but their hopes were ultimately compromised by a lack of quality. So it was disappointing, then, that Everton played at such a staid pace in the first half and created absolutely nothing to threaten Dean Brill. After playing with style and swagger against Larissa and Derby County, it was not unreasonable to expect more even if Moyes made six changes. The lethargic start would have been understandable had they been subjected to an early flurry from a side currently 49 rungs below them in English football’s ladder, but that never materialised, either. Even the home supporters seemed apathetic. Only the elfin figures of Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman– arguably Everton’s most in-form player – looked like creating something for the visitors but, other than a shot from the former that Dean Brill comfortably collected, there was nothing. Quite simply, it was wretched and the quality of play reflected the shabby surrounds of the arena in which the tie was being played – Kenilworth Road, to put it kindly, is not a stadium you would wish to visit twice. In many ways, it was exactly like the tie in the previous round at Sheffield Wednesday. Nothing of note happened in the opening period there, but a few choice words at half-time from Moyes awoke the players from their lethargy – something similar happened here. Much better after the break – then again, they could hardly have been much worse – Everton took the game by the scruff of the neck, upped the tempo and started moving the ball around with belief. At last they had some rhythm. Granted better fortune, the game would have been wrapped up well before the final whistle. Brill showed outstanding reflexes to kick away a deflected shot from Osman. Phil Jagielka had a header cleared off the line. Joleon Lescott dragged a shot wide. The welcome introduction of James Vaughan after four months out upped the ante further and had the 19-year-old been anywhere near match fit, he would have gobbled up the glorious headed opportunity he was presented with by an inch-perfect cross from Jagielka. That led to extra time but, happily, that miss proved insignificant. Prodding and probing, it was only a matter of time before Luton’s defence cracked and so it proved when Gravesen’s left wing corner evaded all bar Cahill, who gleefully smashed the ball home. No wonder Moyes calls him “Johnny on the spot”. The Australian’s worth to this team is impossible to put into words. Every time a game needs a goal, invariably Cahill pops up to deliver and with the amount of fixtures Everton have to play between now and Christmas, his tally will no doubt swell considerably. With a bit of luck, he’ll save one for the quarter-final.
LUTON TOWN (4-4-2): Brill; Fujut, Coyne, Perry, Goodall; Edwards (McVeigh 104), Bell, Robinson, Currie (Morgan 104); Spring, Furlong (Andrew 20). Bookings: Fujut (52), Perry (108)
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wessels; Jagielka, Stubbs, Lescott, Valente; Carsley, Neville, Osman, Pienaar (Gravesen 94); McFadden (Vaughan 71), Anichebe (Cahill 78). Bookings: None
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset)
Luton Town 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Nov 1 2007
(after extra time)
BY Ian Doyle at Kenilworth Road
DAVID MOYES’S ‘Johnny on the spot’ ensured penalties weren’t required as Everton sidestepped a potential Hallowe’en horror in the Carling Cup last night. Tim Cahill was afforded the tag by the Goodison manager after announcing his comeback from long-term injury last week with a goal inside 17 minutes against Larissa. And while it took the Australian a little longer to leave his mark at Kenilworth Road after emerging from the bench in the 77th minute, it was enough to send Everton on their way to the last eight of the competition for the first time in 20 years. Cahill’s 101st minute strike came from a corner by Thomas Gravesen, the two substitutes combining to ensure Everton weren’t haunted by their ghosts of recent League Cup past. The Goodison outfit once again demonstrated their propensity of doing things the hard way, requiring extra time to see off the stubborn resistance of Coca-Cola League One minnows Luton Town . With Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur making up the remainder of an all-Premiership quarter-final line-up, Everton know they face a tough task whoever they are paried with in Saturday’s draw. But the confidence that is coursing through the veins of everyone at Goodison at present means Moyes’s men will approach the tie without any fear. Also pleasing was the sight of James Vaughan making his much-anticipated return to first-team action, emerging as a 71st-minute substitute for his first appearance since dislocating his shoulder during pre-season. The teenager was soon throwing himself about the pitch in trademark fashion, his incessant injury problems failing to dent his hunger and enthusaism. Despite a dismal first-half performance, Everton will feel they should have won the game inside 90 minutes with Phil Jagielka having an effort cleared off the line and Leon Osman twice bringing the best out of Luton goalkeeper Dean Brill. With 49 places between the teams and Luton the lowest-ranked team remaining in the competition, Everton were clear favourites to extend a record that had seen them win the three previous meetings between the teams in the League Cup, the most recent a 4-0 win at Goodison last season. But they were made to work hard by a home team that, though limited, demonstrated bucketloads of cup spirit. Luton ’s intimate Kenilworth Road ground evokes memories of a past golden age of football – or from another perspective, it’s a dump – but beyond debate was the passionate atmosphere from the home supporters, even if the attendance was short of full capacity. It has worked to Luton ’s advantage this season, with the Hatters having lost just one on 10 games on their own turf where they beat both Sunderland and Charlton Athletic earlier in the competition. Moyes made six changes from the team that won 2-0 at Derby on Sunday, including Victor Anichebe earning a start up front and Stefan Wessels replacing the benched Tim Howard in goal. An instantly forgettable first half mirrored that at Hillsborough in the last round, when a disappointing Everton struggled to get into their attacking stride while restricting the home side to long-range punts on goal. From a short free-kick 30 yards out, Luton ’s David Bell saw one such drive deflected just wide and found the visiting end again shortly afterwards with another speculative shot. Everton’s best efforts invariably centred around Osman, the midfielder firing at Luton keeper Brill in the ninth minute to culminate a flowing move involving Phil Neville, Jagielka, Lee Carsley and Steven Pienaar. Osman also hooked a volley wide and Pienaar wasted a decent opening with a hurried, wayward shot, but otherwise Everton created little going forward, strikers Anichebe and James McFadden starved of anything resembling service. Luton were forced into a reshuffle on 20 minutes when experienced striker Paul Furlong was replaced by Calvin Andrew, but the young forward caused Everton a different problem throughout with his pace and raw attitude.
Suitably unimpressed by the first 45 minutes, Moyes sent his players out early for the start of the second half, hoping they could continue their re-run of the previous round by scoring soon after the interval. But it was Luton who created the next chance, a set-piece eventually falling for the dangerous Bell to strike an angled shot that had Wessels hopefully watching flash across the face of goal. Bell and Osman were easily the game’s most effective performers, and the latter solicited a decent tip over from Brill with an explosive 20-yard shot. That was the spark for a much-improved Everton showing and, after Lee Carsley was fouled on the edge of the area, Alan Stubbs whistled a low free-kick inches past Brill’s right-hand post. A diving Brill was forced into an improvised save with his right leg after an Osman shot deflected off Luton left-back Alan Goodall. With the ball still alive, Joleon Lescott dragged his shot agonisingly wide. And the visitors came even closer still to breaking the deadlock moments later when Matthew Spring performed heroics to clear from under his own crossbar after Jagielka’s header had beaten Brill. The keeper was equal to another Jagielka nod, while at the other end Andrew was off-balance to threaten with a far-post header and then failed to connect directly in front of goal as a corner caused commotion in the Everton area. Vaughan was brought on with 20 minutes of normal time remaining, and almost scored with his first touch but didn’t get enough purchase on a free header 10 yards out following a fine Jagielka cross from the right, the ball dropping wide. Osman brought another fine block from Brill, but Everton were fortunate shortly before the end of normal time when Stubbs miscued a clearance from Bell ’s cross narrowly over his own crossbar. A subdued start to extra time was livened when Wessels slipped when shaping to clear a backpass from substitute Gravesen, but managed to regain his feet before Luton could capitalise. But Gravesen made amends in the 101st minute when his left-wing corner could only be touched by keeper Brill and Cahill forced the ball home at the far post. Luton pushed everyone forward during the closing stages and after Lescott cleared off the line from Spring, Wessels gratefully clutched the ball following a scramble in the area. But Everton held on to begin dreams of a trip to the new Wembley among those travelling north up the M1.
LUTON TOWN (4-4-2): Brill; Perry, Coyne, Fojut, Goodall; Bell , Robinson, Spring, Currie (Morgan 104); Furlong (Andrew 20), Edwards (McVeigh 104). Subs: Hutchison, Jackson.
BOOKINGS: Fojut and Perry (both fouls).
EVERTON (4-1-3-2): Wessels; Jagielka, Stubbs, Lescott, Valente; Carsley; Neville, Osman, Pienaar (Gravesen 94); Anichebe (Cahill 77), McFadden (Vaughan 71). Subs: Howard, Yakubu.
REFEREE: Steve Tanner (Somerset).
NEXT GAME: Everton v Birmingham City, Barclays Premier League, Saturday 3pm
Signs look positive on cup front - Alan Irvine
Nov 1 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALAN IRVINE hopes Everton will receive some home comfort after reaching their first Carling Cup quarter-final for 20 years. Having dispatched Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 at Hillsborough in round three, the Blues needed to work hard to get past League One battlers Luton Town at Kenilworth Road – Tim Cahill came to the rescue – to secure a place in the last eight. Everton’s record in knockout tournaments has been chequered under David Moyes, but Irvine feels this might be the season when things are turned around. Like everyone else, he would relish the chance to challenge for a semi-final place at Goodison. “I hope that this is a sign of the progress that has been made,” said Irvine. “We have had some good times in the league but clearly we have not had the same success in the cups. “It’s something we know that we have had to improve, and we have shown that this season, both domestically and in Europe.
“The league is still the top priority, but we know we must improve our record in cups.
“It would be nice if we could get a home draw. We’ve had a couple of tough trips but there are eight Premier teams in the quarter-finals and that proves how some clubs have changed their approach to the competition.” Cahill spent much of the night on the bench until manager Moyes gave him the nod on 78 minutes and Irvine had no doubts that, despite a lack of match practice, he would take the chance that presented itself in extra time. “Tim has a fantastic knack of being in the right place at the right time,” said Irvine. “Once the ball is there, he’s very composed in terms of his finishing. “He’s not fully match fit yet. That’s why we have been careful with him. We think it will be a few weeks before he is fully fit.” Though Everton were eventually worthy winners, they started off sluggish – much to the dismay of Moyes and Irvine – but the assistant boss pointed out that a place in Saturday’s draw was the only thing that mattered. “In the first half we were disappointing,” said Irvine. “We did not play well and we did not pass the ball. I don’t know why that was. “The preparation had been good but we were better in the second half and created a number of chances and should have had the game finished at that point. “We managed to get the goal, then Luton came back at us, but we knew it was going to be a tough game.
“It’s all about the result. We would take any type of victory to get through.
“Obviously, it is better if you play well and win but the job is to try and win games.”
Nov 1 2007
What did you make of last night's victory over Luton?
LAST night’s victory shows we are finally building the strength in depth we need.
With respect, last season if players like Valente, Anichebe, Wessels and McFadden had been involved I suspect we would have struggled at a place like Luton. But being able to bring on the likes of Cahill, Gravesen and Vaughan shows we have got a bigger and better pool of players and more options this season. It’s brilliant to have Cahill back. He’s just got the knack of being in the right place at the right time. It’s no coincidence that since getting all these players back we’ve had three wins on the spin. Hopefully we’ll make that four against Birmingham and then go into the UEFA Cup game in Nuremberg full of belief. Fair play to David Moyes, he was criticised in the summer for being slow off the mark but he took his time and has now built the best squad we’ve had for 20 years. No one is slagging him off now, are they? Roll on Germany next week!
Tony Scott, Walton
FOR the first time in many years, Evertonians find themselves waking up on the first day of November still in the Carling Cup! Credit is rightly due to the manager for putting together such a good squad of players but it is now vital for Moyes to find his preferred line up and stick with them. The last month has been very positive but there have been times when team selection has been a mystery. There is still a lingering view (not fully aired because of the fuss over the referee) that the manager’s choice of players (no Baines, no Carsley) was the real reason we lost the derby. The selection for the game at Metalist was a serious mistake, with disaster only averted due to the home side’s inability to finish the game off early on. These concerns aside, we now have a great chance against Birmingham on Saturday to climb further up the table and build on what is already turning out to be a very promising season.
Mike Williamson, Chester
THE return of a good-as-new Tim Cahill is obviously great news . . . but not the best news of the week. That was the appearance from the subs bench last night of James Vaughan. There’s no doubt that, but for his pre-season injury, Vaughany would have been first choice striker this season alongside Andy Johnson, and David Moyes might well have had an extra £11m to spend in the January transfer window. As it is, Yakubu will now not only have even more competition for his place, he will see what hard work, enthusiasm and energy is all about. Everton’s squad is really starting to look like it’s got depth for the first time in years – and that will be needed as the Carling Cup can now finally be classified as a long awaited cup run! Fingers crossed for a home draw in the last eight (West Ham will do nicely thank you) and a run free from injury for James Vaughan.
David Wallbank, Huyton
IT WAS a long night for Evertonians but it was worth it in the end and three straight wins have certainly shut the critics up. Luton were a potential banana skin, the sort of team that in recent years Everton would have lost to. The really pleasing aspect was the fact that Moyes made a number of changes to the squad and still had a superb bench in Cahill, Gravesen, the Yak and Vaughan. It was encouraging to see Vaughan play for 60 minutes and he was unlucky not to score. The performance improved in the second half as we attacked Luton and created chances. We could also give Cahill another 45 minutes and hopefully Arteta will be back for Saturday’s game. Looking forward to the next round, it would be really nice if Evertonians were rewarded with a home draw to save their bank balances and allow us to recuperate with all these miles we’ve been travelling. Any game at this stage will be tough but Wembley is only two rounds away.
Tim Cahill praises Blues’ spirit after Luton win
Nov 1 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL today hailed the work ethic that helped Everton clinch a place in the Carling Cup quarter-finals as he played down his own match-winning role. Up until a week ago, the Australian international had not played for Everton in seven months, but he is quickly making up for lost time and last night’s goal against Luton Town was his second in three games. His latest effort, though, could not have come at a better moment, as it broke Luton’s resistance in extra time and it means Everton are in the last eight of the League Cup for the first time since January 1988, when they beat Manchester City 2-0. Cahill, however, was quick to point out that had it not been for the efforts of unsung heroes like Leon Osman, Lee Carsley, Phil Jagielka and Alan Stubbs, he would not have had the opportunity to give the Blues their third consecutive victory. “I was just happy to get some more minutes on the pitch,” said Cahill. “It was always going to be a test against Luton but we did really well, we worked so hard and I thought it was a great team performance. It’s not about individuals. “When I walked out before the game, the stadium brought back a few memories from my days with Millwall and I would have preferred to start but I’m just delighted in the end that I was able to make a difference and get a goal. “I just made the run to the back post and made sure I hit the target. When you do that, you have always got half a chance. But it wasn’t about me. It was a great team performance and people like Ossie and Cars were absolutely sensational. They worked so hard for us. “This is where we want to be now. We want to be competing in these tournaments and we have got to make sure we are ready because we have got some important games coming up, including a quarter-final now.” Last night’s game also saw the return of James Vaughan following a four-month lay-off with a dislocated shoulder, and when Cahill was recovering from the twice broken metatarsal in his left foot, he forged a close friendship with the 19-year-old. “Before the game, we had been talking about how long it was since we had played in the same team together and I was delighted to see Vaughany get on,” said Cahill. “We spent a lot of time together when we were doing our rehab work. He deserves some good luck now and hopefully he won’t look back from here. I’m so pleased he’s back and I’m so pleased we won. “The momentum is with us. We have won three games on the trot now and I’m just disappointed that I have got three goals in that time. I should have really scored with the header at Derby on Sunday but that’s just one of those things.” Everton still have a number of seats available for Saturday’s Premier League home clash against Birmingham City. Tickets can be purchased online, by calling 0870 442 1878 or at the Park End box office.
Cahill Ignore Birmingham problems - Tim
Nov 2 2007 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Tim Cahill does not believe Birmingham's takeover saga is affecting their players. Everton, with five wins in their last seven games, face a Birmingham side at Goodison tomorrow that have won just one away game in the Premier League this term. But Cahill still expects a tough game. He said: “There is a lot going on at Birmingham off the pitch, but they had a great win last weekend against Wigan, a good comeback, so I have no doubt it will be another hard game for us.” While tomorrow's game will come too soon for Andrew Johnson, Everton expect Mikel Arteta and Joseph Yobo to come back into contention after missing the win at Luton in midweek with respective calf and toe problems. But Victor Anichebe is a serious doubt due to a hand problem.
David Prentice: Vaughan deserves a dose of luck
Nov 2 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN David Moyes likened James Vaughan to a young Andy Gray, he didn’t mean an uncanny ability to pick up an alarmingly diverse collection of injuries.
Young James already makes Everton’s original Tartan talisman look like the Duracell bunny, after suffering knee ligament damage, a severed artery and a dislocated shoulder all before his 19th birthday. But his return to fitness should send a frisson of anticipation through Evertonian imaginations. Because it’s those other Andy Gray qualities which Vaughan has in abundance. His bravery belongs on a battlefield rather than a football field, his enthusiasm is contagious (hopefully Yakubu will breath some of it in), his aerial ability surprising for someone who stands under six feet – and his shooting power precocious. Vaughan ended last season with three goals in five appearances – two of them in tough away assignments at Bolton and Chelsea – and but for his pre-season problem would undoubtedly have formed Everton’s first choice strike pairing with Andrew Johnson against Wigan on August 11. He seems to have been around so long that it’s easy to forget he only made his full debut in March.
He has only completed 90 minutes of a first team match once, but now he’s in the mood to make up for lost time. Vaughan, understandably, looked a little anxious on his return to the first team fold on Wednesday night, but with a frantic winter programme almost upon us – Everton must negotiate eight matches in 28 days from December 5 – he will get plenty of opportunities to settle down in the months ahead.
Football fans of every persuasion will be hoping that this modest as well as talented young man now gets the run of good fortune – and freedom from injury – he is due.
Just one word of warning James. When you celebrate your second goal in a game, which you will soon, I’m sure, try not to run into a goalpost. Andy Gray was living proof of the adage ‘where there’s no sense, there’s no feeling.’
James is, by all accounts, a little brighter than that.
Howard Kendall: Don’t get too carried away
Nov 2 2007 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
NOTHING lifts the spirits quite like three wins in a week but, in order to keep feet on the ground, it is worth remembering one thing – just look at the opposition.
Given the way Everton’s squad have improved since the start of the season, it was only to be expected they beat Larissa, Derby County and Luton Town, but credit to everyone involved for doing so in pleasing fashion. Confidence will be high among the players now but I’m sure David Moyes and the coaching staff will also be reminding them that there is nothing to get carried away about yet simply because of the standard of the opposition. Harsh as this may sound, Derby are possibly the worst team ever to play in the Premier League and it would have been very disappointing had Everton not beaten them at Pride Park. And provided the mind set is the same tomorrow, I’m confident the winning sequence will be stretched to a fourth match. From what I have seen of them so far, my old club, Birmingham City, are no great shakes. They came from behind to beat Wigan Athletic last weekend but I think that says more about the team they were facing than Birmingham That’s why I’d expect an on-song Everton to breeze past them. . Back-to-back shutouts against Derby and Luton will have pleased the manager, particularly as he had been frustrated by some of the defending earlier in the campaign. But, again, you have to put things into perspective. Look at the standard of the strikers who have been kept quiet in the past week – they’re not threats like Andriy Shevchenko, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney or Carlos Tevez – and consider who will be on duty tomorrow at Goodison.
Everton have a perfect opportunity to keep the momentum going and another professional performance will see the job done. Then the chance to start shouting from the rooftops will arrive in good time.
Here's to a home draw
ALAN IRVINE spoke for many on Wednesday evening when he said a home draw in the Carling Cup quarter-finals would be just the ticket – and it’s hard to disagree.
What is quite clear, though, is that Everton are going to need to work overtime if they are going to make it all the way to Wembley. The remaining teams in the competition illustrate how strong the Premier League has become. There is a huge gulf between those at the top and the rest, but Everton should not be fazed by that.
They have shown on their day they are a match for anyone and Goodison Park is crying out to stage a big cup tie again. There are names you hope to avoid – Chelsea or Arsenal away, for example – but Everton are due a slice of good fortune and my preference would be to face either West Ham or Manchester City at home.
Everton’s players will be daring to dream that Wembley is on the horizon. How nice would that be?
No surprise over Jol dismissal
THE big talking point away from Goodison has been Tottenham’s handling of their new managerial appointment, and sympathies currently lie with Martin Jol.
Nobody likes to see a manager lose his job, but I have to ask the question: Did he not expect unrest in the camp after buying so many strikers? Tottenham’s board have been criticised but they backed Jol with money and, not unfairly, expected a return for their investment.
I'll be back better than ever - Andrew Johnson
Nov 2 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDREW JOHNSON today promised to return from injury "better than ever" as he spoke for the first time about the trauma he suffered after his double penalty miss in Europe. The Everton striker was expecting to receive the green light to resume training after spending four weeks on the sidelines after surgery on an ankle problem.
Johnson revealed his determination to recapture his sparkle so he can exorcise the memory of an experience against Metalist Kharkiv he described as one of the worst in his career. “All I care about and all I want to do is play for Everton and hopefully I can now come back better than ever,” he said.
Andrew Johnson: I’ll battle to get back in
Nov 2 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALLERS are asked to endorse the strangest things during the course of a season but there was something entirely appropriate about Andrew Johnson’s extra curricular activities earlier this week. While some of his contemporaries are whisked away to exotic destinations in order to put their face to the latest soft drink, video game or clothing range, Everton’s one-time record signing spent an evening at a cold and blustery five-a-side centre in Stockport. Any complaints? No chance. As he happily eschews the goldfish bowl existence certain players inhabit, Johnson would rather use his spare time to help youngsters learning the game than to line his pockets promoting a product in which he has no interest. Five-a-side, then, could not be any better, in more ways than one. Having made rapid progress from the ankle operation he had last month, Johnson is poised to receive the green light to resume full training with Everton’s squad and he cannot wait. This latest round of surgery – it was his second procedure in six months – will hopefully eradicate the fitness problems that have dogged him on and off for the past year and enable him to recapture the sparkle of his early days on Merseyside. “I have done all my rehab with Baz (Mick Rathbone) and, thankfully, everything is coming to an end now,” he reported. “I’ve only got to start striking balls again and hopefully I can do that in the next couple of days.
“All being well, the problems with my ankle will then be over. I was gutted that it needed to be done but I supposed the timing was ideal because I have only missed a couple of games and we are about to start an important period.” Johnson is itching to be involved. Before he entered hospital, the England international opened his account for the season with a goal in the 3-2 defeat at Newcastle and ended a drought that stretched back to March. Sandwiched in between those efforts, of course, were two penalty misses against Metalist Kharkiv in the UEFA Cup and Johnson admits that traumatic episode ranked among the worst he had experienced as a professional footballer. No wonder his celebrations at St James’ Park – he ran into the dugout and jumped into the unsuspecting arms of masseuse Jimmy Comer – were more animated than usual and now he is desperate to start making up for lost time. “It was a massive relief,” he said. “I knew that I was going to score eventually and it was just a case of waiting for the chance to come and I was delighted to get it over and done with at Newcastle. “All I care about and all I want to do is play for Everton and hopefully I can now come back better than ever. I love it here and can’t wait to be back involved with the lads again. It’s such a great place to play football. “A couple of weeks before, I had said to Jimmy that as soon as I scored, I’d come over to him but when it happened at Newcastle he was looking at me as I was running towards him and he was like ‘AJ! What are you doing!’ as he had completely forget. “I just wanted to go over and say thanks to him. He is a top man around the training ground and I play head tennis with him most days. After I’d missed the penalties, he came over to me after the game, put his arm around me and said everything would be alright.
“But it took such a long time to get over – it really affected me. It was the worst I had felt in football for a long time, maybe the worst I had felt. I was so gutted for the lads and the supporters. Thankfully it didn’t cost us.” But despite his bright outlook, Johnson is well aware that he won’t stroll back into a team that is bidding for a fourth straight win when Birmingham City arrive at Goodison tomorrow. “The team have been doing tremendously. Everyone is contributing and this is an exciting time for the club and everyone wants to be a part of it. “I’m not taking anything for granted. We have got two or three players for every position and that’s how it needs to be if we are going to be successful. “If you are out of form – like I was not so long ago – you are going to find yourself out of the team and you can’t have any complaints about that. The gaffer has brought quality in and that’s what we all wanted.” Now all Johnson wants is to give Moyes a selection headache and have the angst he goes through when sitting in the stand on a match day brought to an end. The only thing that will solve the latter is a comfortable win against his old club. “I’m terrible,” he said. “I get so nervous. When you are sat in the stands, there is nothing you can do. At least when you are in the dressing room, you can kick a ball to calm yourself down. The last couple of weeks have been awful. “Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back now. A win tomorrow would take us near to the top six and that’s where we want to be. We’re top of the group in Europe and everything’s going well. I can’t wait to be involved again.” Andrew Johnson was at the Stockport Powerleague taking part in Nike’s Deadly Five – the search for the best five-a-side players in the UK. Nike Five is a five-a-side specific range of footwear and apparel. Visit www.nikefive.co.uk
Team spirit is the key to success says hero Cahill
Nov 3 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHILE some clubs focus on diet and others concentrate on rest, Tim Cahill has revealed the special ingredient that is helping Everton successfully negotiate a frantic run of fixtures – team spirit. Although Cahill has returned from a lengthy injury absence to score two important goals in the Blues’ run of three consecutive wins, he has scoffed at suggestions that his presence has made all the difference.
As someone who firmly believes that hard graft reaps rich rewards, Cahill is thriving at the minute during a hectic schedule in which Everton are set to play a game every three or four days. Birmingham City are next on the agenda for David Moyes’ squad and though there has been less than 72 hours to get over their war of attrition against Luton Town in the Carling Cup, Cahill does not expect there to be a hangover.
If anything, he says it will be quite the opposite. Having pushed themselves to the limit last season to secure a place in the UEFA Cup, Everton are relishing the extra work load and Cahill hopes it lasts as long as possible. But before attentions turn to their next trip abroad, Birmingham must be dealt with at Goodison Park and the Australian international hopes the Blues can cap a productive nine days in the best possible manner. “There are a lot of great players here and we’ve got some important lads coming back from injury,” said Cahill. “It’s not about individuals or superstars here, it’s about the team and we are all working to carry this good form on.
“It’s going to be tough against Birmingham. They are coming here on the back of a great win against Wigan, but if we play as we know we can, hopefully it will add to the great result we got against Luton in midweek. “Only time will tell how far we can go but we have got a chance to progress. “We have wanted to be playing in the top games in Europe and the Premier League and now we have to produce our top form.
“We have got to make it happen. There will always be critics who want to have a go at us but we will just aim to do our talking on the pitch. “I think the momentum is with us and we are all working so hard for the team. “You have got the likes of Ossie and Cars running themselves into the ground. They have been absolutely fantastic.
“Phil Jagielka has come in and is doing well. It’s looking good and now we can look forward to playing Birmingham.” Cahill is not the only person who has been impressed by Osman’s recent performances. Moyes nods his head in agreement when it is put him that a switch from a position out wide into the centre has helped the midfielder flourish. But he is not the only player starting to recapture the consistency that is expected. Mikel Arteta, expected to be fit after missing the win at Luton with a calf problem, is looking much better, and that has helped Everton passing become much slicker. “Ossie is playing well for us at the minute,” Moyes noted. “Ossie has done better as a central midfielder and has really helped us out in the last three games.
“There are signs that he is coming back to form, as there is from a few others.”
Yet for all the positives that are emerging in this frantic period, Moyes will not allow his players to lose sight of the fact that progress in the Premier League cannot be compromised and is demanding another good result today. Not only would it be the perfect tonic ahead of Thursday night’s UEFA Cup tussle with Nurnberg. Victory should also thrust Everton back into a position to challenge the top six. But for that to happen, results at Goodison need to improve. So far this term, Everton have only collected maximum points against Wigan and Middlesbrough in front of their own supporters and Moyes has challenged his players to add Birmingham’s name to that list , although he admits it is easier said than done. “Every game we are playing at the moment is important and it was vital that we started this week off with a win against Derby,” said Moyes. “It just set us up nicely to go to Luton after a good performance against Larissa. “Now we are looking to see if we can get ourselves another three points to go into the game against Nurnberg. “But it is not going to be easy. Birmingham are a good side and to me look as if they are well equipped to stay in the division. “I think they have got more than enough about them to stay up. They have got a mix of good young players there and Steve Bruce has done a good job. They will make things as difficult as possible. “But we want to get our home form back on track. We’ve had a lot of tough games here since the start of the season and already played Manchester United and Liverpool. They were very difficult tasks. “We have already had three wins on our travels and that has been pleasing but it would be nice to see the home form improve. “We need to hang in there at the minute. This is a big adventure for us and we must make sure we are in there when it settles down.”
Vaughan has the look of a top striker
Nov 3 2007
THREE wins on the run and things are suddenly looking a whole lot better for us.
I know we were expected to beat Derby, Larissa and Luton, but I'm not the only blue who thinks we've now got a squad which can compete on every front this season.
It's great to see James Vaughan back for us because he really does look like a top striker in the making. And with AJ getting close to full fitness, the omens are good.
Johnson will need our support once he returns because it will take him time to regain his match fitness and confidence I suspect. But at his best he has got be in in the side.
With Vaughan returning, Anichebe developing, McFadden delivering and Yakubu finishing chances as well as he obviously can, then fingers crossed we should have plenty firepower to keep us going right to the end of the season. Jeanette Gallagher,
West Derby IS it any surprise that Phil Jagielka’s best performance for Everton came when he finally played in a position he was bought to fill? Jags was right-back at Derby, looked more comfortable than at any other time this season and even created the opening goal. During his time at Sheffield United he also looked solid at centre-back, which could come in useful when Joseph Yobo goes to the African Nations Cup. But, like Phil Neville, he’s not a central midfielder.
Stuart Rimmer, Freshfield.
Hammering on the wrong door in hunt to capture Johnson
Nov 3 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ONE of the most tedious rumours in football surfaced again this week much to the bewilderment of all at Goodison. Unable to take ‘no’ for an answer, West Ham United have let it slip to certain sections of the media that they will be stepping up their efforts to sign Andrew Johnson when the transfer window opens in January.
Having become one of the most unpopular clubs around given the way they spent then behaved during the summer, it would appear that West Ham are going to maintain an approach of throwing money here, there and everywhere to improve their team.
That, of course, is their prerogative but it will do more harm than good in the long run and are they really attracting the right type of player by offering terms of ‘think of a figure and treble it’? Draw your own conclusions. Fortunately, Johnson is an astute professional and while he will know about the offer of enormous riches down in East London, he is not the type of player who will have his head turned by money. If that were the case, he would have signed for Wigan in May 2006. So while Alan Curbishley continues to covet Johnson, it is going to be another case of unrequited love and if he needs a further clue that his pursuit is doomed to failure, it came in an interview Johnson conducted with ECHO Sport earlier this week. “All I care about and all I want to do is play for Everton and hopefully I can now come back better than ever,” he said. “I love it here and can’t wait to be back involved again. It’s such a great place to play football.” This, remember, comes little more than three months after West Ham’s name was mentioned to him in another interview during Everton’s summer tour of the United States. “There is no way I’m leaving here,” he declared. “It never, ever, ever crossed my mind when I saw the stories. It was just speculation, and you can’t stop that. I suppose the speculation is good – it means you are doing your job properly.” He is right in saying speculation will continue but it should not worry Evertonians; Johnson signed a lengthy contract when he arrived from Crystal Palace and it would not be a surprise if he stays beyond the original five years of that deal.
The goals may have dried up for a while at the start of the current campaign and he also went through the ordeal of missing two penalties against Metalist Kharkiv – which had a huge effect on him – but he is primed to bounce back. All being well, his return to training next week after ankle surgery will allow him to take part in next Sunday’s Premier League clash at Chelsea and he is desperate to impress.
David Moyes spent what seemed an eternity pursuing Johnson but waited for the right moment for the deal to be completed, and there is absolutely no chance of him trading the 26-year-old in so soon after paying what was then a club record fee.
Quick, a relentless worker and a natural goalscorer, Johnson is going to have a role to play this season and for many more to come in Everton Blue, and no amount of posturing from Upton Park is going to change that. Once again, their bubble is burst.
Moyes not distracted by cup runs
Nov 3 2007 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has vowed not to compromise Everton’s Premier League ambitions by solely pursuing silverware. The Blues are flying high in the UEFA Cup and have also reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup to leave supporters dreaming that their 12-year trophy drought might soon be coming to an end. Moyes would love nothing more than to lead Everton to a major final but he is determined not to lose sight of his main ambition which is to keep his side as high up the table as he can.
“Being in the quarter-final of a competition is a good achievement but it’s not great by any means, as I’d expect a club like Everton to be doing that year after year,” said Moyes, whose side face Birmingham City at Goodison Park this afternoon.
“I don’t know why that hasn’t happened during my time here. I’ve wanted to put it right long before now but during that time we have been trying to do well in the Premier League. “We want to win a trophy if we can but we would never just go after that and forget about the Premier League. That is where you will always be judged. It is getting harder and harder to win trophies. “Outside the big four, Steve McClaren (with Middlesbrough in 2004) is the only manager to win something (in recent years), so that shows you the way things are going. “This is the best squad we have had here and while that doesn’t guarantee anything, we will do our best.” Having played three times in nine days, the Blues face another three matches before the international break - against Birmingham, Nurnberg in the UEFA Cup and Chelsea – but fixture congestion is a problem the boss is happy to deal with. “We are in a better position now than we have been and you won’t hear any complaints about the workload,” said Moyes. “As a manager, part of your job is to raise expectations and that is what we will always try to do here.”
Everton 3, Birmingham 1 (Echo)
Nov 5 2007
by Dominic King at Goodison Park
SOME things never change. While David Moyes has transformed Everton’s playing staff since the giddy campaign which ended with a fourth place finish, one thing has remained constant through that period – the ferocious will to win. Everton’s manager has spent a lot of time these past few weeks singing the praises of his playing staff and, on more than one occasion, has offered his view that this is the best squad of players with which he has worked. All very well and good but it would be meaningless if they didn’t have the same hunger and desire of their predecessors. On Saturday, proof – if it was needed – arrived in spades that this crop does not lack for bottle. True, they left it late against Birmingham but the feeling persisted all through a thoroughly entertaining game that Everton were not going to do anything other than extend their winning run. Lee Carsley’s crack of thunder in stoppage time, coupled with James Vaughan’s smart finish, enabled the Blues to secure their best run of results in 17 years and added to the growing belief Everton’s season is going somewhere. Fast. Not so long ago, we would have been dissecting a frustrating draw today, wondering how Birmingham were let off the hook. But – similar to three years ago – we are now left to ponder how far Everton can go. Victories achieved in such a breathless and dramatic manner only serves to increase the confidence currently coursing through the ranks and, in this mood, who would bet against them winning their fifth consecutive game in Nuremberg on Thursday? Yet as the euphoria dies down, Moyes will also know that Everton were fortunate to face a side of Birmingham’s calibre. A side with more quality than Steve Bruce’s men would, in all likelihood, have made them pay for not ramming home their superiority. Another infuriating lapse of concentration at the back (how many times have grievances been aired recently about switching off at corners?) so nearly proved costly but, fortunately, the Toffees dug deep. “When it went to 1-1 I thought ‘I can’t believe this’ as we should have had the game comfortably won,” said a relieved Moyes afterwards. “Maybe we got good breaks at the right time. It was a tough game but one I thought we had control of.” If anything, Everton were guilty of playing too much football. With their passing polished and precise, too often they tried to walk the ball into Birmingham’s net when a good, old fashioned thump would have done. Good job then that Moyes never issued the command he had been thinking about during the break. Irked by Carsley’s waywardness early on – he fluffed two fine chances – the manager was going to tell him to stop shooting from distance. That he didn’t enabled Carsley to atone spectacularly for his earlier misdemeanours with an absolutely magnificent strike. Rockets that are set off at Bonfire parties tonight will not travel any faster than the shot which exploded from his right boot. He will be rightly lauded as Everton’s saviour on this occasion but to concentrate on his first goal of the season and the header which sent Vaughan galloping clear seconds after would be to ignore all the outstanding work he had done before. Since Carsley returned to the side against Larissa, the game that kick started this winning spree, Everton look a much better balanced unit and that is not a coincidence. It’s been said before and it will be said again; 4-5-1 suits this team down to the ground. Carsley fills the least flashy role – the midfield gremlin whose job it is to break up opposition attacks and start the ball rolling for his own team – but few do it better. His presence in this squad is invaluable. He may have been slightly out of sorts in the early part of the season but the signs recently suggest he is coming right back to his best. Bigger tests await than Birmingham City of course but Carsley is unlikely to be found wanting. What’s more, when he is in the starting line-up, it allows free spirits like Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman scope to express themselves, while Phil Neville is allowed to play in his best position of right-back. The captain was excellent here, constantly darting up and down the flank and getting into positions to put crosses into the box. There is a theory that suggests you don’t change a winning team and this might just be Everton’s ideal blend. Pienaar, for example, might be seen in some quarters as too fragile to cope with rough and tumble that burly defenders dish out but there is nothing wrong with the size of his heart and he is clearly enjoying his football at present. Flitting from left to right, he looked the man most likely to create something for the Blues during a sparkling start to the contest and Ayegbeni Yakubu profited after Pienaar had been set racing free by Arteta. Everton’s record signing clearly enjoyed his first goal at Goodison Park and this was his most effective performance since the £11.25m deal that brought him to Merseyside from Middlesbrough. He is getting better and better. Granted better fortune, Yakubu would have had more to show for his efforts than the left foot shot which bobbled past Taylor into the Park End goal but it would appear that he has now got his eye in.
If that is the case, the Nigerian international should start scoring with the same monotonous regularity that he did for Middlesbrough and Portsmouth and he could end up making his fee look small change. There is no getting away from the fact that his start to life as an Everton player was under whelming but his work rate has improved and he has become more attuned to the style of play Moyes favours. One man for whom working hard is never a question is Vaughan and few goals will be celebrated as enthusiastically this year than the one he scored to finally end Birmingham’s challenge in the dying seconds. The trials and tribulations with injury he has been through in the past two years have been well documented but this might just been the turning point for him. Sentiments which could apply just as much to the team in general.
Everton 3, Birmingham 1 (D,Post)
Nov 5 2007
By Dominic King at Goodison Park
THEIR career paths may be markedly different and their playing styles similarly diverse. But both Yakubu and James Vaughan gave evidence on Saturday they are now heading in the right direction. The lingering doubts over the long-term future of either player at Goodison that have gradually started to disperse are fast evaporating altogether as Everton notched another significant landmark at the weekend. Eyebrows raised at Yakubu’s club record £11.25million signing from Middlesbrough refused to descend as the Nigeria international tottered unconvincingly through the first steps at his new home, the striker’s laidback manner at odds with the strong work ethic instilled in David Moyes’s side. However, throughout his career Yakubu has guaranteed that most precious football commodity – goals. And as the 24-year-old begins to grasp life at Goodison, so Everton are now understanding how to ensure the best from their latest acquisition. Yakubu’s cool finish at Derby County last weekend was followed by another clever strike on Saturday, his first in front of a Goodison faithful that is slowly being won over by the powerful forward.
It sent Everton on their way to an ultimately deserved if unnecessarily difficult three points over Birmingham City at the weekend, a fourth successive win inside nine days for Moyes’s side. Vaughan hadn’t even started school the last time Everton had achieved such a sequence of victories back in 1991, a remarkable statistic that, as Moyes pointed out after the game, perhaps explains why only one piece of silverware has made its way to the Goodison trophy room during the past 20 years.
Since becoming his club’s and the Premier League’s youngest-ever goalscorer on his debut against Crystal Palace in April 2005, Vaughan’s development has been stifled by a stream of injury problems that would be enough to finish off many a player, least of all one still a teenager. But the pace, enthusiasm and bravery that caught the eye during that first outing remain, now joined by a steely determination and character strengthened by those lengthy spells on the sidelines. Vaughan’s late cameo as substitute on Saturday, which followed his comeback from the bench in the Carling Cup win at Luton Town in midweek, was only his 19th appearance since his debut. Small wonder, then, that the voracious youngster is desperate to make up for lost time.
His injury-time goal not only secured the win for Everton, but justified the faith of everyone at the club who believe the striker has the raw materials to become a major success. “He is going to be a good player for us,” says Moyes. “It might take a month to get the rustiness off him, but if he comes on and does what he did against Birmingham it will be great. “He needs games and he is a big asset for Everton. “He won't shirk anything, he will work as hard as he can, he won't be intimidated, he will battle with the best when he has to. He will give us a different option to the other strikers. “James has been used to the injuries, unfortunately. He does get down, but he is a very conscientious boy. “But he wants it so badly. His attitude is infectious. He works hard and he has that in abundance. There are things he is missing and because he has missed a good chunk of his early development in terms of technical stuff he has work still to do, I think he is good enough to force his way and stay in. “You want to see people in this day and age so desperate to play and he is a bit of a throwback. There won't be many centre-halves who will look forward to play against James Vaughan when we get him in the condition he should be in.” Yet despite the contribution of Everton’s new and young on Saturday, it was the intervention of a Goodison veteran that wrested back the initiative of a game that was somehow slipping away from the home team following Olivier Kapo’s 80th-minute equaliser. Lee Carsley will never command the headlines of Yakubu and Vaughan, but his understated, efficient and effective performances in the centre of midfield have underpinned much of Everton’s success under Moyes, allowing his more celebrated team-mates to weave their magic. However, every so often the Republic of Ireland international sprinkles some of his own stardust on the occasion, which on Saturday arrived in the form of a 20-yard injury-time thunderbolt that flew beyond Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor after Liam Ridgewell had failed to properly clear Mikel Arteta’s right-wing corner. For good measure, it was Carsley who moments later headed the ball astutely into space behind the Birmingham defence to allow Vaughan the chance to race clear and finish clinically. Carsley had been in and out of the starting line-up during the first two months of the season but it’s telling that the midfielder has appeared in every minute of Everton’s four -game winning streak. Another intermittent starter, Phil Jagielka, emerged from the bench after only 22 minutes as a replacement for the injured Alan Stubbs and subsequently posted the best display of his Everton career to date at centre-back.
It demonstrated the strength in depth at Moyes’s disposal, a situation which will only improve once the likes of Vaughan, Tim Cahill – who will have benefited from another 90 minutes on Saturday – and Andrew Johnson reach full fitness.
Going into the game with confidence soaring after six wins from their previous eight games, Everton started brightly on Saturday and were ahead on 10 minutes when Steven Pienaar exchanged passes with Arteta on the right of the Birmingham area and fed Yakubu, who clipped the ball first time over Taylor. Kapo solicited a good save from Tim Howard shortly afterwards, but the remainder of the first half was all Everton, Cahill heading over and shooting wide, Carsley striking at Taylor and the Birmingham keeper smothering from Yakubu. After the break, Yakubu shot across the face and Carsley struck a dipping volley, but Everton started to lose their way as Birmingham stemmed the tide and began threatening an equaliser which arrived 10 minutes from time when substitute Gary McSheffrey’s right-wing corner was headed in by Kapo off the unfortunate Phil Neville. When, with six minutes, Johan Djourou blocked a goalbound Vaughan shot after another flowing move involving Yakubu and the lively Pienaar, it appeared Everton would have to settle for a point. But, in a reversal of their last league game at Goodison, Moyes’s side made the most of four minutes of injury time to extend their winning run. And like Yakubu and Vaughan, Everton continue heading in the right direction.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Stubbs (Jagielka 22), Lescott; Arteta, Carsley, Osman (Vaughan 80), Pienaar (Gravesen 85), Cahill; Yakubu. Subs: Wessels, McFadden.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-1-4-1): Taylor; Kelly, Ridgewell, Djourou, Schmitz; Nafti (McSheffrey 72); de Ridder (Forssell 70), Muamba, Larsson (O’Connor 52), Kapo; Jerome. Subs: Kington, Danns.
BOOKING: Kelly (foul).
REFEREE: Mike Riley (West Yorkshire).
NEXT GAME: Nurnberg v Everton, UEFA Cup Group A
David Moyes shocked at matching a 16-year record
Nov 5 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES admits he was taken aback to discover Everton had recorded their first run of four wins in 16 years on Saturday.
The late 3-1 triumph over Birmingham City was the Goodison outfit’s fourth win inside nine days following victories over Larissa in the UEFA Cup, Derby in the Premier League and Luton Town in the Carling Cup. Not since November 1991 have the Goodison outfit managed to string together such a sequence of wins inside the same season. And Moyes said: “It does surprise me. But the club has only won one trophy in 20 years. There are a lot of things we need to correct and put right, but we are closer with us being in a quarter-final now and the chance of a semi-final. “We are getting much closer to having an Everton who can be higher. It is a great club with a great history and we need to make some of our own now.” Everton were cruising to a 1-0 win thanks to Yakubu’s early strike before Birmingham’s Olivier Kapo equaliser 10 minutes from time, and needed injury-time efforts from Lee Carsley and James Vaughan to secure the win. And Moyes said: “In the first 20 minutes I thought we should have been more professional and killed the game off. We should have been ruthless. “I said at half-time to the players that they have made it much more difficult than it needed to be. We are trying to play better and we want to do that.” Steven Pienaar was heavily involved in the opening goal, and Moyes moved to praise the South African midfielder. “Steven Pienaar has played really well for us, he is a good footballer,” said the manager. “We have him on loan and we can have a good look at him. His workrate and commitment is excellent. “He made a lovely pass for the first goal at Derby and I thought his play was really good again. He is quite a strong boy and he is happy to mix it. We want him to get the ball down and play and use his creativity.” With Pienaar alongside Leon Osman, Mikel Arteta and Carsley in the centre of the park, Everton have one of the smallest midfields in the top flight.
At 5ft 10in, Carsley is the tallest, and Moyes admits he is hoping to bring more height to Everton’s midfield during the transfer window. “It does come into my thinking because I have to think of what other players I need to put into the team,” he added. “It can affect what I do in other areas of the field. “It is a problem and one I hope to address in January. We are short of some stature in there.”
David Moyes wants players to write new chapter
Nov 5 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has called on his Everton side to go out and make history – after shelving a 16 year old statistic on Saturday. Lee Carsley and James Vaughan’s dramatic late goals against Birmingham saw the Blues win four successive matches for the first time since 1991. And afterwards Blues boss Moyes said: “Aye, that does surprise me a bit. But people tell me that Everton have only won one trophy in 20 years so there’s a lot of things which we need to correct and change around.
“Now we’re getting closer to quarter-finals and semi-finals, we’ve qualified for the Champions League once and been in the UEFA Cup a couple of times, so we’re getting much closer to Everton being higher up more regularly. “It’s a great club with a great history and we need to try and make some of our own.” The Blues boss added that he had never given up hope of a victory, even after Birmingham had snatched a scarcely deserved 80th minute equaliser. “I hadn’t settled for one point at any time because one would have been unjust on us,” he said. “We showed great character and stuck at it and the ball was due to turn for us somewhere along the line.
“I thought we played really well in the first 20 minutes and probably should have been a couple of goals up in that period. There was a bit of a lull after that, maybe a hangover from the extra time in the Carling Cup in midweek, but I still don’t think Birmingham created anything in that period. “The second half was pretty much the same. We weren’t doing enough, but we weren’t having to do much and I expected us to see the game out. It didn’t pan out that way and with nine minutes to go we were back with a game on again. “We had a season when we scored late winners quite a bit, I think it was during my second season, and it was great. It sends the crowd away happy and makes the managers delirious at times. “But I have to say I thought we had done enough in the game to see it out until they got the goal. “It was a great strike from Cars, although I nearly said to him at half-time ‘stop shooting!’ because he had two shots in the first half that were poor. “I’m glad I didn’t and he scored a really good strike. “It just shows I would have been wrong to say that so thank goodness I didn’t!” Moyes was also delighted with the quality of the football his side produced, but admitted that at times the Blues tried to overplay it. “We should have been more professional and tried to go and kill the game off, especially after the game in midweek,” he added. “I said that to the players at half-time. They made the game much harder than it had to be. “We are trying to pass the ball better. It’s something that we want to do and that’s why we brought in players like Pienaar and Gravesen, albeit Tommy’s not quite ready to play as much as we’d want. “The first goal was a really well worked goal and it looked like we could have done that two or three times in that period. “I thought Yakubu played well today. He held the ball up better and probably had four chances, of which he scored one.” And he added: “The size of the midfield does come into my thinking because it affects what other players I have to put into my team. “They are not big in stature, and sometimes that affects what I do in other areas of the field. It has been a problem but one which I hope I can solve.”
David Prentice: Match fitness is key to Yakubu’s goals
Nov 5 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STATISTICS tumbled like defenders on the end of Jamie Carragher challenges at Goodison Park on Saturday. The Blues won four matches in a row for the first time since 1991 – a stat as alarming as it was surprising; the Blues scored twice in time added on for the first time since anyone could remember, and their remarkable home record against Birmingham City – no defeats in half a century – was dramatically extended. But it was a stat which passed almost unnoticed which could prove most significant. Aiyegbini Yakubu finally finished 90 minutes for the Blues.
That simple statistic has been a couple of months coming. That he was on the pitch at the end of an Everton match for the first time, despite taking a hefy boot to his shins midway through the second half, was testament to his courage and work-rate, as well as his ability to consistently threaten a goal. The Nigerian produced his most accomplished performance to date against Birmingham, and showed signs of coming to terms both with the move to Goodison Park and the increased expectations which accompany it. He took his goal coolly and clinically, and might have had a couple of others with a variety of strikes. When Yakubu first arrived at Goodison he was compared in playing style to that other old Birmingham bogeyman, Bob Latchford.
The comparison was made, apparently, because neither liked to expend energy unnecessarily unless there was the prospect of a goal as reward for that labour.
The comparison is incongruous as well as unfair. While Latchford was largely a penalty box predator (and a remarkable one at that), Yakubu has the ability to score a variety of goals and attempted just as many efforts from outside the box as he did from inside it on Saturday. His performance was heartening to Blues fans. But perhaps even more spirit raising was the nature of Everton’s football. It’s been a long time since an Everton manager was asked “Did your side try to overplay it a bit at times?” but that was just the accusation levelled at David Moyes, a charge he was happy to hold his hand up to. Everton did pass the ball beautifully during a one-sided first 20 minutes, but at times overdid it as they tried to walk the ball into the net.
The goal they did score was incisively cultivated. With Phil Neville required elsewhere and Phil Jagielka on the subs bench, there was a distinct lack of height and body weight about the Blues midfield. But it hardly seems to matter when they pass the ball as devastatingly as Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta did to fashion a chance for Yakubu to finish. Shuttling the ball about in swift, intricate patterns was not an isolated moment, either. Think back 10 days to Leon Osman’s gloriously finished goal against Larissa, or Yakubu’s clincher at Derby – and think of the common denominator in each one. Steven Pienaar’s influence is growing with every appearance in an Everton jersey. As a product of the Ajax academy, a high level of technical accomplishment was always a given, but the little South African has also showed a commendable willingness to mix it, working hard and tackling back with relish. With him, Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman in the same midfield, it may not be long before the ‘midget gems’ label is dusted down and trotted out again (last used, coincidentally, when Everton last won four in a row with Cottee, Beardsley, Nevin, Ward and co pulling the strings). There’s still some way to go before anybody starts whispering the S-words at Goodison again. But for nostalgic reference books, Evertonians under the age of 40 would probably never have heard the words School of Science, but there was less long-ball and infinitely more considered approach play on Saturday, which was just one of a number of plus points for David Moyes.
Lee Carsley’s under-rated influence has long been championed here, and he showed again his ability to strike a ball is just as effective as his ability to offer a defensive shield to his back-four. While Phil Jagielka’s display as an emergency centre-back showed that when he’s employed in a position which best suits his qualities, he can still be an influential figure. Just like Aiyegbini Yakubu.
I may force an inquiry into the Blues move
Nov 5 2007
by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S proposed move to a stadium in Kirkby could be taken to a public inquiry by the town’s MP. Knowsley North representative George Howarth will make the move if he is not satisfied about how potential problems with traffic, anti-social behaviour and housing will be addressed. If the Labour MP succeeds in convincing the government to hold a public inquiry, it would delay the £400m project, which includes a new stadium for the Blues – by several months. A senior minister, probably communities secretary Hazel Blears, would make the final decision on the plan. Mr Howarth said he would take that step only if his fears were not allayed as more detailed plans emerged from Everton and Tesco. Despite winning fans’ backing in a summer ballot, the club has not yet submitted a formal planning application to Knowsley council. Mr Howarth will not decide until then whether to support or oppose the scheme, which includes doubling the size of Kirkby town centre with a new Tesco and shops. He said: “Firstly, I know there are talks going on about traffic and transport arrangements, but there is no defined plan yet. “Kirkby does not have adequate public transport, and we are talking about moving 50,000 people in and out every matchday. “Secondly, I am concerned about anti-social behaviour from visiting fans. Most fans are completely orderly, but there is always a minority who are not. “The final point is the effect on people’s homes. Some will be subsumed into the site, while others are next to a green space but would be overlooked by a huge stadium. “When the planning application goes in, I have to decide whether these issues will be addressed by leaving it to the council, or whether I should ask the government to call it in on the basis that it is such a big departure from existing plans for the area and needs a public inquiry.” Dave Kelly, spokesman for campaign group Keep Everton In Our City, said: “Everton want to open this stadium in 2010, but if their plans are called in, 2010 will be a pipe dream.
James Vaughan can be a shooting star - David Moyes
Nov 5 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today insisted James Vaughan has the game to challenge Everton's more established strikers and become a frontline regular at Goodison. Vaughan scored in injury time just moments after Lee Carsley had sealed a dramatic 3-1 win against Birmingham on Saturday. With last season’s top scorer Andrew Johnson due to restart training today, record signing Yakubu, Victor Anichebe, Tim Cahill and James McFadden all competing for places the competition is tough. But Moyes said: “I think James is good enough to force his way in to the starting line up and stay there.
“They are all there to compete with each other and the ones who are doing well and hopefully scoring will be the ones who stay there. “I was a little bit concerned because he has come back without playing any football yet, and he is a boy that needs some football work. “He’s not had a reserve game, he had to miss a practice match because he had a thigh strain and we’ve had to bring him back without any football work.
“But he’s going to be a good lad for us. It might take him a month or so to get the rustiness out of his game, but when he comes on and does what he’s done today it’s great. “He is as game as anybody I’ve known and from that point of view he’s a big asset to Everton. “He won’t shirk anything. He’ll do as much work as he can. He’ll battle with everyone. He is a different type of centre forward to the others we’ve got.
“He wants it badly and in this day and age it’s something we love to see. He is so desperate to play and he’s a bit of a throwback in that respect. “He’s a very conscientious boy and because of that he’ll continue to improve. There’s technical stuff he needs to work on, because he’s missed a good part of his early development through injury, but work-rate and enthusiasm is never a problem.” Alan Stubbs was Everton’s only fresh injury worry from the weekend, limping off with a hamstring strain. The Blues will check on his fitness before flying out to Nuremburg on Wednesday for their second UEFA group stage game.
Yakubu: I can fire Everton into top six
Nov 5 2007 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
AYEGBENI YAKUBU is ready to repay his team-mates for their support by scoring the goals to take Everton back into the top six. The Blues’ record signing struck for the first time at Goodison Park since his £11.25m move from Middlesbrough during Saturday’s 3-1 win over Birmingham City and gave his best display in a blue shirt.
That has taken his total up to four for the campaign and Yakubu is confident that he can now embark on a goal spree after finding his feet on Merseyside thanks to the efforts of Everton’s squad. It had not been the easiest of periods for the Nigerian international, who had struggled for form and fitness during his opening weeks at the club, but he hopes that is all behind him now and is looking forward to a bright future.
“It is a good feeling to score your first goal in front of your own fans at home,” he said. “As a striker it gives you confidence to score more goals and every weekend you play and feel you can score. “We work for each other as a team and you have to play as a team. That is what we did and everyone is so happy now but I think they made it difficult for us. “We deserved the win. We didn’t give up and we fought to the end and got the three points we were looking for. “At the end we were so pleased. It was unbelievable. We are all together and the spirit is there. “We keep fighting for each other and that is why we got the three points. At the minute everything is good.
“We know that if we can keep playing like this we will finish in the top six.”
Everton fans have Nurnberg tickets cancelled
Nov 6 2007
by Liam Murphy, Liverpool Daily Post
MORE than a thousand Everton fans have had their tickets cancelled for Thursday's UEFA cup tie against German club Nurnberg. Football governing body UEFA classified the match as “high- risk” after it emerged Nurnberg FC had sold around 1,500 tickets direct to Everton fans. Last night, Nurnberg confirmed the tickets, which would have seen supporters from the two opposing teams seated together in stands, were cancelled following advice from UEFA. It is believed the fans will be refunded. But angry fans last night said many would still travel as they had already spent hundreds of pounds on flights and hotel rooms. It is understood Everton was disappointed with the club’s allocation of somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 tickets for the clash in Germany on Thursday. Insiders say the club could have sold five or six times that number of tickets. Last night, a spokesman for Nurnberg said UEFA had told the club it could not sell tickets directly to England, and ordered any already sold to be cancelled. “It is a risk game, according to UEFA, and you can’t buy them if you’re from England,” he said. “That is why we had to cancel them.” He said around 2,700 tickets in the 47,000-seat stadium were allocated to Everton. Everton is urging fans who did not buy a ticket through the home club not to travel. Spokesman Ian Ross said: “We would never recommend that supporters get tickets through the host club. There are concerns when they do that. There are potential pitfalls. “Those who bought them are being told now they can’t use them.” He refused to confirm how many tickets Everton had been allocated, but added: “We got the biggest allocation of tickets we possibly could, but we could have sold that five or six times over.” Last night, Everton released a statement on its website saying: “following discussions between the Bundesliga club, German authorities and UEFA, the game has now been classed as a 'risk' match, and away supporters will not be permitted in areas reserved for home supporters”. A spokesman for UEFA said they “took this decision regarding security of the supporters” but refused to comment further.
Neil Dewsnip pleased with character
Nov 6 2007
by Chris Wright, Liverpool Daily Post
JACK RODWELL’S header was enough to give Everton under-18s a share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Kirkby on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip’s side went behind to an Astrit Adjarevic strike midway through the second half, but England youth international Rodwell rose to head home Danny Redmond’s free-kick on 70 minutes. In a typically competitive Premier Academy League derby clash, clear-cut chances were at a premium and Everton started slowly after they had lost both defender Cory Sinnott and striker Kieran Agard in the warm-up through an infected toe and ankle problem respectively. Liverpool hit the woodwork twice and Michael Stewart also cleared another effort off the line, but Everton had a few chances themselves and Karl Sheppard went close to snatching a late winner, but shot wide. Dewsnip said: “We were thrown a little before the game when we lost Kieran Agard and Cory Sinnott to injury in warm-up. Consequently we started quite slowly and the game never really got going until the second half, probably once they scored. But we showed great character and resolve to come back and grab an equaliser soon after.
“Overall I would say they had the better chances, but nobody really dominated the match. And we are pleased coming out with a honourable draw.” Everton are at home to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday (kick-off 11am) and will be keen to build on their good form this season, which has seen them lose just one match. Everton hope Sinnott and Agard will have recovered from their injuries, while George Krenn may also be back this weekend following an ankle problem. Meanwhile, Everton striker Jose Baxter scored from the penalty spot as England under-16s beat Wales 2-0 at AFC Telford on Friday evening.
EVERTON UNDER-18s: Stubhaug; Stewart, McCarten, Rodwell, Barnett; McCready, Akpan, O’Kane, Redmond; Codling (Sheppard 60), Powell (Spencer 60). Sub: Jones.
Andrew Johnson signs new 5-year deal at Everton
Nov 6 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDREW JOHNSON today become the latest star name to commit his long-term future to Everton after he put pen to paper on a new five-year contract. The England international, who has now returned to full training following ankle surgery, has signed an improved deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until the summer of 2012. There had been speculation linking Johnson – who cost the Blues a then club record £8.6m when he arrived from Crystal Palace in May 2006 – with a January switch to West Ham but a move away from Merseyside has never been on the cards. It is a huge boost for manager David Moyes, as he steps up preparations for the crucial UEFA Cup Group A game in Nurnberg later this week, and the news will be particularly well received by Evertonians. Since the beginning of the year, Everton’s board have managed to tie key players such as Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Tim Howard, James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe on lengthy deals. Added to that, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ayegbeni Yakubu also signed five-year contracts when they joined Everton in the summer and securing Johnson’s services is further proof Moyes is building a squad whose best years are in the future. Johnson made an electrifying start to his Everton career with seven goals in as many games at the start of last season and he believes this latest round of surgery will enable him to return in top form.
In total, the 26-year-old has scored 12 times in 44 appearances for Everton and he said in an interview with Echo Sport: “All I want to do is play for Everton and hopefully I can now come back better than ever. I love it here.” Thursday night’s tussle at Bundesliga strugglers Nurnberg is likely to come too soon for Johnson’s return but he could be back in the squad for Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge. Similar sentiments apply to Baines – who has been sidelined since twisting his ankle in the 2-0 win at Derby nine days ago – and Alan Stubbs, who hobbled out of Saturday’s victory against Birmingham with knee trouble. Nuno Valente, though, has responded to treatment after being injured in the Carling Cup tie at Luton last Wednesday and is likely to fill in for Baines at left-back in Nurnberg.
Nigel Martyn: Henrik’s looking smiles better!
Nov 6 2007 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
IT was wonderful to see my old mate Henrik lighting up Goodison Park again with his smile at the weekend. That was my nickname for James Vaughan. Whenever he smiles he looks like Henrik Larsson – and if he was ever looking down in the dumps I’d say to him “What’s up Henrik?” That big, beaming smile would instantly light up his face, and to be fair to James he’s had plenty of reason to feel down in recent years.
He went to the USA for the career saving op on his knee at the same time as I was receiving treatment for a career-ending injury to my ankle. It was a strange comparison. There was me with more than 900 games behind me, and James with barely four or five, both facing career threatening injuries. I suppose you could say the outcome was the right one, and the old codger had to call time while James made a full recovery. I dearly hope he gets an injury free run now right through to the end of the season, so he can start to live up to that rich potential. He reminds me a lot of a young Alan Smith, with his willingness to run the channels and close down defenders.
As he gets older he will probably learn to channel that energy and exuberance differently, but for now his work-rate is refreshingly infectious. He can be a spark for the whole team. The crowd is lifted when they see him chasing down defenders and getting blocks in, the players around him think ‘maybe I should be doing that, too’ and suddenly the whole team performance is lifted. I saw it happen at Crystal Palace when Iain Dowie arrived at the age of about 32 or 33, and instantly started chasing and harrying like his life depended on it. It meant that 24-year-olds like Chris Armstrong, who had been the superstar striker at that time, was embarrassed into doing the same.
James can have exactly the same impact, although his game is not just about work-rate. He also has quality, strength, pace and the ability to finish. He showed all of those characteristics on Saturday against Birmingham and I hope he gets the chance to show it plenty more times between now and the end of the season.
All too easy to think big at times
DAVID MOYES sent out a modern version of his ‘midget gems’ on Saturday and they responded, at times, with some sparkling football. But David will know he won’t be able to afford that luxury in every match this season. Steven Pienaar, Mikel Arteta and Leon Osman are exceptional footballers. They have had to be in order to make up for their size – because in modern football managers are looking more and more for athletes who can play football and regularly send out sides withhalf-a-dozen six-footers. If you have less than that it can make you more vulnerable at set pieces, and I know David will have been furious that Everton conceded from a corner on Saturday.
He is a manager who loves to score from set plays and detests conceding from them, and that can affect the make up of his starting line-up. There are some teams you can get away with playing a more lightweight side against. If you were playing Arsenal, for example, who pass, pass, pass, you could play a more footballing side.
But against Manchester United you would have to maybe match their more physical players in midfield and alter your own line-up accordingly. Everton were helped on Saturday because Tim Cahill, despite not being particularly tall, is excellent in the air and he flits between midfield and the forward line. So while it was great to see Everton playing some excellent football against Birmingham, David Moyes knows he won’t be able to send out his pure footballers, if you like, every week.
Blues are learning fast now
EVERTON face another testing week, with a trip to Nuremburg in the UEFA Cup and an incredibly tough assignment at Chelsea two-and-a-half days later. But they are learning fast about the demands of being involved in several Competitions.
The UEFA Cup draw has been kind to Everton, both in terms of the teams they face and the trips they must make. After the horrendous trip to the Ukraine, the two trips in the Group stages are both relatively close western European jaunts. If Everton can come back from Germany still unbeaten, they’ll be just a home win away from almost guaranteed qualification for the next stage. That has to be the aim on Thursday night.
Travelling Everton fans to face ticket misery
Nov 6 2007 by Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo
THOUSANDS of Everton fans could be turned away at the turnstiles in Germany after being caught up in another Uefa ticket fiasco. FC Nuremburg sold more than 1,500 seats to Toffees fans for home sections of the ground. But the German club withdrew all tickets sold to Everton supporters when governing body Uefa classified the game as “a risk match” after talks with local police. Uefa spokesman William Gaillard, who enraged Liverpool supporters with outbursts before and after the Athens Champions League final, today said the decision had been taken “locally”.
Merseyside police today urged fans without a ticket to avoid turning up to the ground and watch the match at local venues. Senior officers condemned the club for selling tickets to Everton fans, many of whom have vowed to travel as planned with tickets readily available from touts. James Henry, 53, from Hoylake, used the German club’s hotline to buy a £22 ticket in the South end of the ground only to discover his ticket was now void. He said: “All of the sudden the game has been classed as high risk by Uefa, but we haven’t done anything wrong. “As soon as the tickets were recalled touts were flooding Everton forums offering them for sale and I am buying a ticket in the same block for 70 Euros – twice the price – it’s an absolute joke.”
Stephen Scott, 22, from Walton, used the service to pay £16 for a ticket.
He said: “By doing this the club and Uefa are basically saying they would rather thousands of fans turn up without valid tickets.” An FC Nuremburg spokesman said: “The game has been classified by order of the security authorities in the city of Nuremburg and Uefa as a risk match. “Due to safety rules and regulations we are cancelling ticket reservations.” Merseyside’s senior football coordinator Chief Superintendent Dave Lewis urged ticketless fans to “take advantage of the city and watch the game somewhere there”. He said: “The club really shouldn’t have sold tickets to Everton fans in the home ends of the ground and is not something we condone. “The bottom line is it increases the potential for disorder.”
Kirkby residents to have another say on Everton plan
Nov 6 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
THOUSANDS of residents could be questioned again on Everton’s proposed move to Kirkby. It is only five months since local authority leaders last canvassed them on their views on the £400m development. Knowsley council will start the consultation if councillors give the go-ahead to a draft “vision” for Kirkby - which includes a new stadium for the Blues, a Tesco superstore and other high street shops. Unless the document is officially rubber-stamped, the council will not be allowed to approve any planning application from Everton. Town hall officials put together the draft vision after high-profile public events over the summer where residents had their first glimpse of the Blues’ and Tesco’s proposals. Knowsley council’s draft vision says:
A new stadium, supermarket and other shopping and leisure facilities could bring an extra £34.6m a year into Knowsley. The increased number of visitors would help create jobs, boost trade for local businesses and possibly increase property prices by between 3% and 12.5%. The scheme’s developer would need to suggest solutions to concerns raised by residents, such as loss of green space, traffic, management of fans, and the impact on housing. If councillors agree to start consulting householders again at a meeting tomorrow , people will be invited to view the vision. A council spokesman said: “If councillors agree to approve the draft, then printed copies will be made available for viewing at council buildings and online. “This process will make sure Kirkby residents in particular have a further opportunity to have a say.”
JOHNSON SIGNS NEW EVERTON DEAL
6th November 2007 Daily Star
Andrew Johnson has signed a new five-year contract with Everton, the club have announced. he striker has put pen to paper on a deal which replaces the five-year contract he signed when he arrived from Crystal Palace for £8.6million in the summer of 2006. It means the England international has now committed his future to the Toffees until 2012. The deal ends speculation about Johnson's future after several months of claims that he was unhappy in the north and wanted to return to his London roots. Johnson has always publicly denied that has been an issue, but it did not stop him being linked with other clubs. Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has acted swiftly, aware of the player's valuation now he is back in the England squad.
He told the club's website, www.evertonfc.com: "We are absolutely delighted. It is fantastic news for Evertonians. "This deal further underlines our commitment to keep our best players at our club. "We continue to build for the future and Andrew Johnson is very much part of that future." Johnson, who is closing in on a return to full fitness after undergoing an ankle operation last month, has netted 13 goals for Everton since his arrival on Mersey
CECH A DOUBT FOR BLUES
7th November 2007 Daily Star
Petr Cech faces a race to be fit for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Everton after being forced out of their goalless draw with Schalke in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday. The Czech international goalkeeper injured his calf in the later stages of the first half of the Champions League clash and was replaced by Carlo Cudicini at the interval. Chelsea coach Avram Grant said: "He could not continue in the second half. How bad the injury is we need to wait and see. It is a calf injury and I asked the doctor if he could continue and he couldn't. But Carlo Cudicini came on and played well."
The stalemate against Schalke kept Chelsea top of Group B and they now only need to win one of their two remaining games against Valencia at home or away to Rosenborg to qualify for the knockout stage. Schalke twice hit the woodwork in the second half while Chelsea striker Didier Drogba wasted a hat-trick of chances to secure all three points. Had Chelsea won they would have qualified for the next phase following Rosenborg's victory over Valencia in Spain. But Grant declared: "We wanted to win but it was not easy to play Schalke at home. They needed to win because a draw was not good enough. It was not a bad result but not our best game.
"After so many good games in a short time we can have one game that is not in the high level. It is also an away game against a team who feel very good playing at home.
"The Champions League is not the league, it is another competition. You need to fight for the result and it is not easy to play away from home.
"We are in first place and everything is in our hands and I am very happy and confident about that. But we need to continue our job because it will not be easy."
Everton Res 1, Newcastle Res 1
Nov 7 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
LUCAS JUTKIEWICZ earned Everton Reserves a point with a goal in injury time and send the small crowd home happy from the Halton stadium. Everton looked to have spurned all their chances as time was running out. Andy Holden’s side had equalled everything the visitors threw at them and had the better of the goalmouth action in the first half. John Paul Kissock went very close to opening the scoring early on but shot straight at the United keeper Fraser Forster and then it was Anderson de Silva’s turn to test the visitors with a powerful shot just over. Newcastle led midway through the second half, when James Troisi was tripped in the box by Patrick Boyle and Shola Ameobi converted the penalty. Everton wouldn’t lie down and chances for Downes,Vidarsson and Jutkiewicz and looked in vain before the former Swindon Town striker hit the equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time.EVERTON RESERVES: Ruddy, Densmore, Boyle, Irving, Rodwell, Vidarsson, Van Der Meyde, de Silva, Kissock, Jutkiewicz, Downes. Subs: Morrison, Jones, Harpur, Spencer, Sinnott.
David Moyes fires out warning to Everton
Nov 7 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today warned his Everton squad about the dangers of underestimating the German strugglers who will pose their next UEFA Cup test. The Blues jetted out today for Nuremberg with their confidence high after four straight wins – their best run of results since 1991 – and there is every chance that could be stretched to a fifth game in Germany. Nuremberg qualified for the UEFA Cup after winning the German Cup last season but they have had a dreadful start to the new campaign, picking up just nine points from their first 12 games, and are third bottom of Die Bundesliga. Moyes, though, is refusing to read too much into Nuremberg’s recent results and he believes this competition might see their hosts in a different light tomorrow evening. “We have had them watched a few times but we have still got a bit more work to do on them before the game,” said the manager, whose side top Group A after opening up with a 3-1 win over Larissa two weeks ago. “They are a good side. It will be their first game in the UEFA Cup and they will be hoping – as we were two weeks ago – to get off to the best possible start. “Maybe the relief of not playing in the league will see them in a different light.” The incentive for Everton to win in Germany, however, could not be a greater as a maximum return from their first two matches could all but secure their place in the knockout stages, which begin in February. With games to come against Zenit St Petersburg and AZ Alkmaar, Moyes knows there is plenty of hard work to be done before they can start to think that far ahead but is well aware how much a win in Nuremberg could do for them. “We aren’t sure how many points we will need to qualify but we know we have got to be thinking about at least two wins to have a chance,” he said. “But we have got a lot of confidence at the minute and we are looking forward to the game. “We want to keep this run going and we know that we are going to be backed by a big support. We went to Kharkiv last month and showed we could score goals away from home and hopefully we will be able to do the same again.” Moyes will not decide on his starting line-up until Everton have trained in the easy-Credit Stadion this evening but he will definitely be without Andrew Johnson (ankle), Alan Stubbs (knee) and Leighton Baines (ankle).
Yakubu is winning over doubters
Nov 7 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Yakubu is fast coming to terms with his record-breaking move to Everton. The £11m marksman scored his fourth goal of the season against Birmingham on Saturday. After a slow start to his Goodison career when his work rate was questioned in some quarters, Moyes believes that the Nigerian is slowly winning over the doubters with his goals. “I’ve always said to him his work rate will be vitally important, but if we’d wanted a striker who would run all round the pitch we probably wouldn’t have targeted Yakubu. “We wanted a player who would get on the end of passes and score goals to elevate us up the table – and that’s three he’s scored in the Premier League now and another one in the cup, so he’s beginning to do what we wanted,” said the Blues boss. “Goals was always the priority, but of course we want hard work as well. “Yak is different to Andy Johnson and James Vaughan, but he’s buying into the work ethic. “Some players come into a new club and settle straightaway, but it does take others a little time and Yak is starting to find his feet now.” After being substituted in his first eight Everton appearances, Yakubu completed the full 90 minutes on Saturday and Moyes was delighted with his all-round display. He was also impressed with the performance of Phil Jagielka, called on to replace the injured Alan Stubbs at centre-back after only 22 minutes.
“I thought Phil did really well for us, as he did at Derby the previous weekend at right-back,” added Moyes. “I’ve said all along that his best position is across the back four, although he has come in and done a job for us in midfield when we’ve asked him to.
“His versatility was one of the reasons we were so keen to bring him in this summer, and when Joseph Yobo goes to the African Nations Cup in January he will give us good cover in that position.” Jagielka and Yakubu were both in the Blues’ squad which flew out to Nuremburg today for tomorrow’s UEFA Cup group match against the Bundesliga strugglers. Leighton Baines is making progress from his ankle injury but the game may come too quickly for him, while Stubbs is also receiving treatment for the hamstring strain which forced him off against Birmingham.
Join stars at premiere of historic Blues’ show
Nov 7 2007 by John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
ECHO Sport today offers Blues fans a chance to be present at the premiere screening of a new dvd charting the offical history of Everton Football Club. Current first team players as well as a number of Goodison legends will be there next week to view the first showing of a glorious story which began in 1878. We’ve got 25 pairs of tickets to give away to fans who would love to join them. The screening takes place at 6.00pm at the Odeon Cinema, London Road, on Wednesday, November 14. ‘Everton: The Official History DVD’ has been produced by Preston based ILC media and charts Everton’s illustrious story, starting with the club’s pioneers in the 19th century, through the move to Goodison, the Dixie Dean era, the glory of the 1960s, the unforgettable silver-lined 1980s and the Blues current resurgence. Geary, Chedgzoy, Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Labone, Young, Kendall, Harvey, Ball, Catterick, Latchford, Southall, Ratcliffe, Sharp, Watson, Arteta . . . all the big names who have contributed to the Everton story are featured. For a chance to win a pair of tickets just correctly answer the following question:Who is Everton's all time record goalscorer?
a) Tommy Lawton
b) Dixie Dean
c) Graeme Sharp
To enter: Call: 0901 657 0079 and tell us your answer, name, address and daytime or mobile phone number. Text: LECOMP56 leaving your answer, name, address and daytime or mobile phone number and send to 84080. Terms and conditions: Calls 60p, network charges may vary. Texts cost 50p, plus standard message rate. Number of entries per person is not limited. Usual competition rules apply. Winners will be selected at random and must participate in all publicity as required. The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 and over.Lines will be open from 11.00am today until 11.00am on Friday. Any calls received after this time will not be entered into the competition, although you may be charged for the call.
Bill Kenwright: Everton fans deserve compo
Nov 7 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright today demanded compensation for fans left ticketless by the latest Uefa fiasco. Some 1,500 supporters had their tickets for tomorrow’s Uefa Cup game cancelled by Nuremberg FC after buying them openly from the German club’s website. The move came after governing body Uefa classified the game as a “risk match” following talks with local police. It means thousands of Evertonians may turn up to the Frankenstadion without tickets for the hotly-anticipated Group A game. Many fans have booked plane tickets and hotels but have little hope of getting into the stadium. Mr Kenwright has now insisted those affected are repaid by Nuremberg FC, whose decision to sell tickets over the internet would have seen rival fans sitting together. Asked if they deserved to be compensated he said: “You would think so. (By) Nuremberg I would have thought. “I would have thought these boys do have the right to some sort of compensation.” Mr Kenwright claimed he sensed a problem as soon as he heard about the small number of tickets, believed to be 3,000, available to travelling fans. He said: “The bad news began weeks ago when we were given our allocation, which is very small. Evertonians will do anything to see their team, specially in Europe. “The fact that these lads, who work hard for their money, have invested money not only in the tickets but in flights and hotels – they are wondering whether they should go. “Some of them will want to be there. They have waited a long time to be in Europe. I do feel for them and I do feel they have been dealt a blow by Uefa.” Mr Kenwright also called on fans to be “great ambassadors” for Everton, despite anger at Nuremberg’s decision which was announced only on Monday. He said: “We absolutely share and accept the frustrations that the fans feel, having supposedly purchased tickets direct from the club in Germany, but sadly there is nothing we can do about the decision made by the authorities. “We can only ask our fans that wherever they watch the match, they continue to be the great ambassadors of this football club that they have always been.”
Homes battle looms if Kirkby stadium gets go-ahead
Nov 8 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
SEVENTY-ONE houses and a nursing home could be demolished to make way for the proposed Everton FC stadium in Kirkby.
The buildings will be under threat if councillors give the go-ahead for the development, which will include a new Tesco store and other shops. Residents in the four streets which lie within the area have organised a protest group in a bid to save their homes, led by grandmother Dot Reid, 57, from Spicer Grove. Confirmation that the homes could face demolition, along with the 42-room Cherryfield nursing home, came in a report presented to Knowsley council's cabinet yesterday. The report adds that residents could be offered replacement housing. Thousands of residents will also be questioned again on the move. It is only five months since local authority leaders last canvassed them on their views on the £400m plan. Knowsley council were planning to start the consultation if the go-ahead to a draft "vision" for Kirkby was given.
Ticketing beset by bureaucracy
Nov 8 2007
by Mark O'Brien, Liverpool Daily Post
REMEMBER, don’t get caught out like Gordon Jackson in the Great Escape.
If, when going through the turnstile in Nuremberg, a policeman says, “Enjoy the game,” in English, be sure to just nod and carry on walking. Obviously, the official line is always that people shouldn’t travel without tickets, and that they shouldn’t try to sit in the home end for these games, but everyone knows what happens when the likes of Everton get a European draw in an easily accessible destination. The rumour was that Nurnberg, on realising just how many Blues had tickets for the home sections, were planning to rearrange the seating and have an extended away area to accommodate the thousands of travelling Scousers.
This seemed like a sensible plan – people who have booked transport and accommodation are clearly still going to travel – but UEFA have knocked that on the head and there is now talk of a danger of hooliganism. Given Everton fans have a great reputation when going abroad, this seems a tad unfair, and the feeling is that UEFA are more worried about accountability rather than considering what is genuinely the most practical solution. It is ever thus with bureaucracies. However, everyone going over seems to be doing it with their eyes open. We all knew that we were chancing our arm in the first place, and we will continue to do so when dealing with the delighted German touts. The one consolation is that the face value for tickets in Germany are so reasonable that even the inflated prices being quoted still work out about the same as going to watch Everton at Bolton or Derby!
Meanwhile, the announcement of Andy Johnson’s new deal certainly came as a bit of a surprise. Perhaps speculation about the England striker being unsettled contributed. As ever, we will never know, but seeing a high-profile player tied down to the club can be as encouraging as a new signing. Obviously Johnson hasn’t made as much of an impact this season as last, but there’s no doubting what an important player he can be when he’s fit and on form. More good news is that he is back in training too, but he will certainly find it tough to force himself back into the first XI even when he is totally recuperated. A month or so ago, James McFadden and Victor Anichebe were putting pressure on the likes of Johnson, but in the meantime Aiyegbeni Yakubu has settled in and started to look like a serious striker. Then last week James Vaughan showed that he is back and meaning business with that terrific striker’s goal to crown the dramatic finale against Birmingham City. And if all that didn’t make team selection complicated enough, we have also had the return of Tim Cahill, another who gets goals but who seems to prosper in a five-man midfield, therefore meaning there’s one less place for the illustrious strikers mentioned above. That might change if David Moyes gets the statuesque midfielder he admits he is after – Cahill might still be able to play his normal game in a four-man midfield if he has the insurance of some sort of beast in the centre of the park, defending when he bombs forward. It’s certainly a position in which the right player would improve the present team. Right-back is a similar weak spot, and the links with Arsenal’s Justin Hoyte come as no surprise.
Mikel Arteta insists Everton can adapt to Europe
Nov 8 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
MIKEL ARTETA believes “a really British” Everton are now capable of adapting their game to deliver on the European stage. David Moyes’s side are in Germany this evening to take on Bundesliga side Nurnberg in their second UEFA Cup Group A fixture. Victory would leave the Goodison outfit on the cusp of qualification after the 3-1 defeat of Greek outfit Larissa in the opening group game a fortnight ago. That win proved the catalyst for a run of four successive victories that have pushed Everton back into the top half of the table and into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup. The sequence has coincided with the comeback of Tim Cahill and an increasing use of the 4-5-1 formation that best suits the Australian. And Arteta reckons the return of both has proven influential in the change in Everton’s fortunes and is further evidence of how they can succeed in Europe. “We are playing more football with the 4-5-1 than we might do sometimes with 4-4-2,” said the Spaniard. “The goals we are scoring have more passing movements and people running from behind, we are keeping the ball better and making us harder to deal with for the other team. “Europe is a different kind of game. We are a really British team and we know that, but we now have the players to change it around a little bit and make things more different. “Tim is a big influence in that because of his character. He has the qualities and is probably the best person to play behind the striker as he loves breaking forward from midfield.
Arteta added: “Results in Europe can have a knock-on effect in the Premier League. We know how important Europe is for us, and we’ve waited a long time to get here.” While Everton prosper, tonight’s opponents Nurnberg have struggled this season and are in the Bundesliga’s relegation zone. Hans Meyer’s team qualified for the UEFA Cup by virtue of their German Cup triumph last season, but were last week dumped out of the competition by second division strugglers Carl Zeiss Jena.
However, Arteta is anticipating a difficult encounter, and said: “We know it’s going to be hard playing away from home in Europe. But out team looks better, we are in good shape, we are winning more games and are ready for tomorrow.
“The win against Larissa in the first game gave us more confidence. We knew how important that game was to get off to a good start, we won it and won it well. “Hopefully we can play better than we did in Kharkiv. It was important to win there but we want to show a better Everton tomorrow. “We know they are struggling in their domestic league but in Europe it’s different. We know how many teams have been reaching the Champions League and UEFA Cup finals without doing very well in their own leagues. German teams are always competitive.” Moyes faces a number of selection posers before finalising his line-ups for tonight’s game.
James Vaughan (thigh) and Andrew Johnson (ankle) failed to make the trip to Germany while Alan Stubbs (knee and ankle) and Leighton Baines (ankle) are both considered extremely doubtful, with Nuno Valente on standby to fill in at left-back.
Moyes said: “Vaughany felt his thigh and hasn’t travelled and neither has Andy Johnson. We were hoping to have James Vaughan available, but he did some shooting earlier this week and just felt his thigh a little bit.” it means Yakubu is likely remain up front with Thomas Gravesen hopeful of pressing his claims for a starting role as he builds up fitness following his knee injury.
TONIGHT’S officials are from Spain, with Alberto Undiano Mallenco the referee.
Nurnberg coach Hans Meyer mightily impressed by Everton
Nov 8 2007
by Johannes Berendt, Liverpool Daily Post Correspondent
NURNBERG coach Hans Meyer has hailed Everton as a "fantastic team" but hopes his struggling outfit can make something happen when the two sides clash in the UEFA Cup tonight. Meyer will be in desperateneed of a success after crashing all the way to the Bundesliga drop zone and also bowing out of the German Cup - a competition he surprisingly won last summer. Pressure is mounting on the charismatic veteran coach, who believes Everton are "playing in a different league".
He said: "Everton have a very strong side and they are in great shape. We will not watch them too much on tape because we already have a lot of respect for them. We'll speak about their strengths as they don't have any weaknesses. "I know for a fact that we would not finish fifth or sixth in the Premier League even if we were injury-free all season long. "The financial difference is huge. They have already had a good team and then invested 25 million euros - do they already have euros in England? It's like Bayern Munich and us - there is a huge difference but that does not mean we are unable to beat them on a certain day." Meyer will again be without Greek international Angelos Charisteas, who has an ankle injury, as well as long-term injury victim Robert Vittek (knee). Javier Pinola (shin) and Lars Jacobsen (groin) will also be missing. Meyer added: "I hope we finally get a much-needed victory. If eight of 11 players don't play to their abilities we will not have a chance. "Everton are very strong - both individually and as a team. We need to raise our games to keep up with them. It will be a good experience for us."
Mikel Arteta aiming to prove Everton are the pass masters
Nov 8 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DURING a chat at the end of last season, David Moyes was asked to sum up the many talents of Mikel Arteta and did so in just four words: “Spanish technique, British mentality.” How true. While Arteta’s ability to bamboozle defenders with a drop of the shoulder or sleight of foot invariably leaves supporters spellbound, he gets just as much recognition from the terraces and his team-mates for his toughness.
It is an intoxicating blend that has enabled him to become one of the Premier League’s most exciting talents and, in a way, he believes his fortunes mirror those of Everton – always fiendishly difficult to beat, with a swagger creeping into their play in recent weeks. That, though, should not come as a surprise. Moyes, after all, has managed to marry free spirits like Arteta, Tim Cahill and Steve Pienaar, together with relentless workers such as Phil Neville and Lee Carsley, and results in the past fortnight could not have been better. On the back of four consecutive wins – a sequence started against Larissa in the UEFA Cup – Everton are aiming to continue their hot streak here in Nuremberg this evening and Arteta has high hopes they can do just that.
The Blues might be new to European competition but Arteta feels they are learning fast and, given they are such a resilient bunch, is confident the blend of silk and steel will be enough to seize the initiative in Group A. “We are playing more football,” said Arteta, the undisputed darling of the Gwladys Street. “The goals we are scoring are nice. We are getting lots of people running forward and moving the ball around better. We think we are hard to deal with. “We won’t just be kicking the ball long. We are playing against a team who have European experience, but we are going to try and pass it around them. We are a really British team. We know that. “But we can make things different. Tim plays a big part in that with his quality. He is the best person to play in that position. But we know the manager is going to have a problem when everyone is fit again. We have a good squad.” Victory for that “good squad” would keep them top of Group A and make progress to the knockout stages practically inevitable despite Everton still having games against Zenit St Petersburg and AZ Alkmaar next month. Nuremberg’s woeful start to the season – they have only picked up nine points from their first 12 matches – means Everton will start favourites in the easy-Credit Stadion but, like his manager, Arteta is not being lulled into a false sense of security. The Spanish midfielder would love nothing more than for Everton to repeat the efforts that swept Larissa aside and get a result that should allow them to put one foot in the last 32. “That would be a big step,” he agreed. “We know it is going to be hard. “ The team looks in good shape, we are winning games and we are ready for the test. Winning changes confidence. The first game was very important. We won it and won it well. “Hopefully, we can do the same again here. We need to play better than we did against Kharkiv but if we do, you will see a much better Everton. In Europe, it doesn’t matter what your form has been like in the league.
“You only have to look at teams who have reached UEFA Cup finals and Champions League finals after not doing well in their domestic league. I’m not confident at all that they will be in bad form when they play us. “We are expecting to come up against a good side who will be difficult to beat at home. German sides are always difficult to play against. We will have to be at our best if we want to win. We know that.”
What is also quite obvious is how much the Blues are enjoying the adventure of playing in Europe regularly. Having had their dreams crushed by Villarreal and Dinamo Bucharest two years ago, Arteta – like so many others – is anxious to make up for lost time. “We know how important Europe is for us,” said Arteta. “We have been waiting for a long time to play here. Everyone has a responsibility and that won’t change against Nuremberg. There is more competition and we are all ready to play.
“We are preparing for the future. We have got some great talents coming through the reserves, like Victor and Vaughany; we have got players with experience and everyone is hungry. We have got ambition to succeed. “Hopefully, I can give more than I have done in the last year. There are still many things I need to do better.
“ If I am not being picked for Spain maybe it is because I am not playing well enough. But if the team does better, then maybe that will change.”
Everton (probable): Howard; Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Valente; Arteta, Carsley, Osman, Pienaar; Cahill, Pienaar.
Nurnberg (probable): Blazek; Mnari, Wolf, Glauber, Reinhardt; Galasek, Kluge; Misimovic, Mintal, Saenko; Kennedy.
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)
We’re sorry for our fans - Bill Kenwright
Nov 8 2007 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT today expressed sympathy with Evertonians over their European ticket fiasco and claimed the actions of those responsible are “totally unreasonable.”
Everton’s chairman is bewildered t Nuremberg have withdrawn over 1,500 seats sold in the home section to Blues supporters after UEFA classed the game as a “risk match” following talks with local police. Despite extensive discussions, there is no joy for those who had bought tickets and Kenwright has urged those supporters in Germany without seats to uphold Everton’s reputation. “Everybody at Everton is hugely upset about this,” said Kenwright. “From David Moyes and myself, to the board and all the players. Everyone knows what a massively supported club Everton is. “You only had to be at Luton Town on a cold Carling Cup night last week, where Evertonians made up nearly a quarter of the gate, to realise how much their club means to them. “Some Evertonians have invested a lot of cash, not only on tickets they thought they had but also on travel arrangements.We at Everton feel it is hugely unreasonable to treat fans the way these fans have been treated, especially at this late stage. Sadly there is nothing we can do about it. “All I can say to our supporters, is wherever you watch the game, enjoy it and please continue to be the great ambassadors for this club you have always been. “We are truly sorry Evertonians have been let down like this.”
Goal king Jimmy Willis in a league of his own!
Nov 8 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE names roll quickly and easily off the tongue . . . Dean and Lawton, Rush and Dalglish, Hunt, Sharp, Young and Hodgson . . . but Willis and Finnan?
Merseyside has boasted some of the finest strikers of all time.
But none can match the achievements of a pair of Mersey marksmen who never figured in a forward line in their careers. Jimmy Willis and Steve Finnan hold a unique place in the football history books. And their unusual claim to fame only emerged this week by accident. Sky described Liverpool full-back Steve Finnan – 196 Reds appearances, one goal – as the only player to have scored in the top five divisions of English football. The Reds’ Irish international does indeed hold that unusual claim to fame, but he wasn’t the first. Scouser Jimmy Willis was a popular defender at each of his three league clubs in the early 90s – and he found the net everywhere he played. Forced to retire through injury in 1996, Jimmy lives in Woolton, hopes to break into football management, and as a result still keeps a close eye on the game – which is how he stumbled across his place in the history books.
“I was watching television when I heard the Sky News presenter say that Steve Finnan was the only player to have scored in the top five divisions of English football,” he explained. “I thought ‘I’m sure I’ve done that.’ “I’ve kept all my old my cuttings so I had a look, and it was there in black and white.” What’s more, Willis achieved his remarkable goals burst inside seven years. “I’d been rejected by Halifax and Blackburn,” he said, “but I ended up at Darlington where I scored twice in the 1989-90 season. We won promotion to the old Fourth Division, where I scored again.
“Alex Watson, Dave’s brother, was playing in the game I scored. They were good days. We won the Conference and then won the Fourth Division.” Willis’ League One goal was for Bradford, then he moved to Leicester where he scored in the Championship and the Premier League – twice in 1994-95. “I scored against Wimbledon and Chelsea,” he recalled. “My career was going great. I’d worked so hard to get from the bottom to the top, then I damaged my ankle ligaments at 27 and had to call it a day.” But why is such an unusual goalscoring distinction held by two defenders? “I don’t think many top strikers gets to play in the lower divisions,” he explained. “I think Tony Cottee is the only one I can think of – he went to play at Barnet – and the lower division strikers don’t get the opportunity to play top flight football.” Willis earned his step up to the top flight courtesy of a Wembley play-off final success over Derby in 1994, when he was also named man of the match.
Steve Finnan scored for Welling in the Conference, for Notts County in League Two, Fulham in League One and the Championship – then broke his Premier League duck against West Brom in September 2004.
Everton fans on UEFA cup trail
Nov 8 2007 Liverpool Echo
THOUSANDS of Everton fans were today landing in Germany for their big European clash. The Blues play FC Nuremberg tonight in the latest group match of their Uefa Cup campaign. The match has attracted a mass exodus from Merseyside to Germany.
Club officials said they could have sold their ticket allocation five or six times over.
More than 1,500 supporters bought tickets from the German club’s website after missing out on seats in the away end. Their tickets were cancelled after Uefa and police classified the game as a “risk match”.
Don’t miss your chance to have say on Everton stadium
Nov 8 2007 by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
RESIDENTS were today urged not to miss their chance to scrutinise the latest stage of Everton FC’s possible move to Kirkby. Community leaders and Evertonians both called on families to examine a crucial legal document which potentially clears the path for the Blues to build a new stadium in the town. Letters will soon be sent to every household in Kirkby, telling where they can see the draft “vision” for the town centre. The £400m scheme includes a new stadium for the Blues, a Tesco superstore and other high street shops on land just south of Cherryfield Drive. Unless the document is officially agreed by councillors, Knowsley council will not be allowed to approve any future planning application from Everton. Council leader Ron Round said: “We have said from day one that there will an abundance of consultation with all sections of the community. It will give us a steer on how we proceed with the development and the regeneration of Kirkby. “Everyone’s views will be taken seriously. They will be analysed and we will form an opinion from them.
“That is when a judgement and decision will be put on the table, not before.
“Much consultation is still to take place, not only by the council but Everton, Tesco and whoever else is involved.” Anti-stadium campaigners today urged people to examine the document closely. Dave Kelly, spokesman for Keep Everton In Our City, added: “We welcome public consultation, but its findings must be released to the public. “We know the vast majority of people are opposed to this development.”
Another hot shot in Neville family
Nov 8 2007 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HER famous brothers are the tough-tackling captains of Everton and Manchester United. But Tracey Neville has carved out her own sporting legacy by becoming one of England’s most decorated female sports stars. Yesterday she added a degree in nutrition and sports science from the University of Chester to her burgeoning collection of trophies and accolades. The 30-year-old lives in Leeds, where she works for Leeds Metropolitan University and plays for Super League netball team, Leeds Carnegie. She said: “I had a great time at Chester and the Sports Science department had an excellent reputation.” She is Britain’s most famous netballer, having won 81 caps for her country.
David Moyes: Everton are made for Europe
Nov 8 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Everton have the players to become European regulars as he plots a path to take them into the next phase of the UEFA Cup. The Blues face Bundesliga strugglers Nuremberg this evening knowing that a victory to add to the one against Larissa a fortnight ago would give them an outstanding chance of progressing into the last 32.
Though he is eager to point out that it will not be a formality by any means, Moyes is nevertheless confident that the team he selects for duty at the easy-Credit Stadion will give a bold show. And the manager – who saw star striker Andrew Johnson commit his future to the club earlier this week – expects this experience to provide the squad he has assembled with the incentive to keep repeating the trick and take Everton into a bright, new era. “I think all these boys together are lads who are capable of playing for most teams in European football,” Moyes said. “They want to be part of that and we have them together and that’s why it is important we all keep this group together. “All we are going to do is keep this group and add to it. I remember I said when I came in and got the job, that we might not have much money but as long as you don’t take my best players away from me we would be fine. “On one occasion that did happen and we couldn’t keep a player. But we have now done everything we can to keep our players and they are the ones we really wanted and we have kept them.” Johnson will not be involved against Nuremberg – he has had a slight set back in his bid to recover from an ankle operation – and nor will James Vaughan, who has suffered a recurrence of a thigh problem. The 19-year-old capped an impressive substitute appearance with the last goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Birmingham City but will now have to wait until the weekend for his next appearance. “We were hoping to have Vaughany available so we could use him and AJ,” said Moyes. “Vaughany did some shooting and just felt his thigh strain the other week. It’s nothing serious, it's just a shame we couldn’t get him a game.” There were no fresh problems after a light training session last night but Moyes expects tonight’s hosts to make things as difficult as possible. “From what we have seen we are capable of getting three points and if we do that we are capable of making the job a lot easier,” he said. “They may be struggling but we only had to see what Germany did at the World Cup. The Germans tend to pull out the stops when they need to.”
Nov 8 2007
Can Everton maintain their good run of form in Nuremberg?
THE new players seem to be settling in comfortably, with Leighton Baines, Steven Pienaar and Phil Jagielka all impressing to various degrees – and Yakubu beginning to justify his record transfer fee after a worryingly quiet start.Tim Cahill’s return has also been crucial and he has been instrumental in the recent run of good results.Four wins out of four is an excellent return, but before we start getting too carried away, if we analyse each of those fixtures in turn we would have expected to win every one.
A dreadful Derby side and Birmingham at home are the kind of Premier League fixtures you demand three points from, while a Carling Cup tie at Luton was a kind draw and a home tie against a little known Greek side was a comfortable way to kick off our UEFA Cup group campaign.But those wins mean we should go into tonight’s tie really confident that we will make it five from five.COLE FRASER, LitherlandTHE atmosphere over here for tonight’s game is one of confidence and there are smiles on the faces of all Evertonians in anticipation of a good performance.Recent results have reflected that confidence.After the disappointment of the derby result, the players have responded tremendously, playing with an air of authority in games that you would expect them to win.We look solid at the back and I expect David Moyes to play 4-5-1, ensuring that we stifle any threat Nuremburg may pose with a strong midfield line-up.In Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill, we have two superbly creative talents on which we can mount a decent UEFA Cup challenge this season. Cahill’s goals are priceless and while he may not be at his sharpest yet, the signs are of the Cahill of old.I expect he will play just behind a lone striker, but provide plenty of threat to the German side’s defence. Despite the ticket fiasco it looks as if all the Blues fans over here will get in – and hopefully see our team take another big step towards qualification.TONY SCOTT, WaltonOUR recent results are largely down to one man, Tim Cahill.He has made a massive impact since returning from injury and has helped us string a set of good results together.
Any team welcoming back a player of Cahill’s ability would see a huge boost in confidence and a real impact on performances. Just to have him back is good but for him to net twice in four games is fantastic.His presence in our team is invaluable and it means we have added aerial ability other than just Lescott.Our performances have also been more positive because of the inclusion of Lee Carsley. People forget how instrumental he is to our team and his goal on Saturday only emphasised this.
With the majority of our players returning to full fitness, the chances of coming away with a result tonight are good. If we can get a point in Germany we only need a home win to progress, which seems a realistic target.MICHAEL DRUMMOND, SpekeEVERYTHING seems to be coming together at the right time at the moment – let’s hope that continues tonight.The return of Tim Cahill has been an enormous boost, but it is not just what he personally can offer the side that has made a difference.When he is available, Lee Carsley and Leon Osman seem to play better too, and they have been outstanding recently.Not only that, but James Vaughan, who would almost certainly have been a first choice striker these past few months had he been fit, is looking better than ever.All those good things, though, would mean little or nothing if we don’t get the result we need tonight.We’re going into the game on the back of four straight wins so our confidence should be through the roof.What we need to make sure of is that we don’t allow results against also rans like Birmingham and Luton to make us complacent.Ultimately, I would be happy with a draw - but a win is not out of the question.DEBBIE SMAJE, Skelmersdale
Another hot shot in Neville family
Nov 8 2007 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HER famous brothers are the tough-tackling captains of Everton and Manchester United. But Tracey Neville has carved out her own sporting legacy by becoming one of England’s most decorated female sports stars. Yesterday she added a degree in nutrition and sports science from the University of Chester to her burgeoning collection of trophies and accolades. The 30-year-old lives in Leeds, where she works for Leeds Metropolitan University and plays for Super League netball team, Leeds Carnegie. She said: “I had a great time at Chester and the Sports Science department had an excellent reputation.” She is Britain’s most famous netballer, having won 81 caps for her country.
Nurnberg 0, Everton 2
Nov 9 2007
by Dominic King at the easy-Credit Stadion, Liverpool Echo
CHEERS from countless giddy supporters, tears for tormented personnel departments – Everton’s relentless European progress will send requests for annual leave next February shooting through the roof. ztting pretty at the top of UEFA Cup Group A after two wins from as many games, only a calamity will prevent them from qualifying for the next stage of this competition, and their elated fans will be going wherever the draw takes them. Undeterred by a farcical ticketing policy that cast a dark cloud over last night’s clash with FC Nuremberg, at least 5,000 Blues gained entry into the easyCredit-Stadion to see their heroes pass another tricky test with honours. Needless to say, they celebrated accordingly. Vast quantities of the local brew were supped, songs were sung in celebration and they dared each other to dream that this adventure will have the happiest of endings. A date in Manchester next May is what every Evertonian wants but, while that could remain hopelessly optimistic, one thing remains certain – the further Everton go in the UEFA Cup, the bigger their travelling contingent will become.While it would be dangerous to get carried away after victories against Larissa and Nuremberg sides that will never, ever be considered as powerhouses of European football, there is no saying how far Everton will be carried by the energy of this terrific run.The last 32 is now within touching distance and, on current form, there is no reason why Everton cannot go through as group winners. Their tussle with Zenit St Petersburg on December 5 will surely solve that particular conundrum.That, however, is something to worry about for another date. At the moment, things are ticking along nicely and David Moyes can take great satisfaction from the way his side have gone about their business on the continent.Growing in confidence with each trip they make and each point they take, Moyes had claimed in his media briefing that Everton have the players to become regular European competitors and they did nothing to scupper that view here.Feeding off the fabulous backing they received from all corners of the ground, Everton – a few brief scares aside – had far too much savvy for a side who are struggling in Die Bundesliga and ran out worthy winners.On another day, the game would have been up for the hosts at half-time, but Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta were cruelly denied.True, it might have taken an inspired substitution to hoist them over the finishing line, but there would rightly have been long faces on the journey back from Germany had Everton not made their supremacy tell.Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Instead we find ourselves discussing another thoroughly professional performance and eulogising over the vital contributions from men such as Ayegbeni Yakubu, Tim Howard and, of course, Arteta and Victor Anichebe.Anichebe, of course, will grab the headlines after a late cameo that saw him trample all over a home defence which had been stretched to breaking point by the persistent running of Yakubu and subjected to constant probing from Arteta.That said, to concentrate solely on the efforts of one man, would go against the ethos of the squad Moyes has painstakingly pieced together. Here was a victory for team work.You can see how much everyone is pulling for each other whenever a goal is scored.Everyone rushes to celebrate with the scorer, no matter how far away they are from each other on the pitch. Such camaraderie is absolutely priceless.Only time will tell how far they can go but the signs are encouraging.Inevitably, a clamour for Anichebe to become a regular starter will begin shortly and it is not hard to see why. Three goals in three European matches is a record that even oldest professional would boast about.Pleasing, then, to hear Anichebe say shortly after that he still has some distance to go before he is ready for that. For the moment, he is an exceptional impact player and a potent weapon.He showed incredible strength to win the penalty that Arteta dispatched to give Everton the lead, while Anichebe could not have taken his goal in a more confident manner.The stage was set for him, nevertheless, by Yakubu, who ploughed a lone furrow for most of the night but never shirked any hard work. This was the best he has played in an Everton shirt.Arteta, meanwhile, might have made more spectacular contributions in the past 12 months but he looked much more like his old self with his passing and movement too hot to handle.A few words, though, must also be devoted to the players who laid the foundations for this win. Lee Carsley tackled everything that moved, nor did he waste a pass; Howard was formidable between the posts, while Joleon Lescott emerged superbly from a slow start.In many ways, his team have done the same. When the UEFA Cup campaign began with that eventful home draw against Metalist Kharkiv, it would have taken a brave man to predict where Everton would be two months later.
But winning in Ukraine has been the catalyst for the season to take off and now Everton head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday chasing a sixth consecutive victory.
Nuremberg (4-2-3-1): Blazek; Mnari (Kennedy 76), Wolf, Glauber (Benko 87), Reinhardt; Galasek, Schmidt, Kluge; Misimovic, Mintal, Saenko (Pagenburg 85).
Bookings - Glauber (82)
Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Valente; Arteta, Carsley, Osman, Pienaar (Hibbert 90); Cahill (Jagielka 90), Yakubu (Anichebe 75).
Goals - Arteta (83 pen), Anichebe (88)
Bookings - Valente (63)
Attendance - 43,000
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain)
Nurnberg 0, Everton 2 (D,Post)
Nov 9 2007
by Ian Doyle at the EasyCredit-Stadion
EVERTON continued their growing penchant for late drama last night by taking a major step towards qualification to the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup. An 83rd-minute penalty from Mikel Arteta and a fine solo effort from substitute Victor Anichebe two minutes from time gave the Goodison outfit a deserved victory in their Group A clash in Nuremberg. While the two goals may not have been quite as thrilling as the brace that did for Birmingham City on Saturday, they were no less significant. Everton now stand two points clear of Zenit St Petersburg at the top of the group and are now one positive result away from ensuring further travels overseas in the New Year. Before the game, Arteta had spoken of how Everton’s improving squad were now capable of adapting their game to compete in Europe. But it was only when David Moyes introduced a striker more in the mould of the traditional British target man that the game turned decisively in their favour last night. Anichebe is fast becoming Everton’s UEFA Cup specialist. After scoring the winner in the first round win at Metalist Kharkiv, the striker was also in target in the opening group win against Greek outfit Larissa a fortnight ago. And, after replacing Yakubu with 15 minutes remaining, the 19-year-old again demonstrated how European defences struggle to cope with his raw power and direct style. It was certainly too much for Nurnberg centre-back Glauber, who grappled Anichebe to the floor inside the area to allow Arteta to stroke home from the spot a goal his own individual performance merited. But it was all Anichebe’s own work when he cut in from the right touchline, shrugged off the challenge of Jaouhar Mnari and showed a cool, composed head to tuck the ball under the body of goalkeeper Jaromir Blazek. It sent the thousands of Evertonians who descended upon Nurnberg last night into ecstasy. Yet until those final seven minutes, they might well have wondered why they bothered to make the journey, such was the paucity of entertainment on offer at a chilly EasyCredit-Stadion. While Everton were brimming with self-belief borne of their best run of wins in 16 years, last night was welcome respite for Nurnberg from a dismal domestic campaign, the Bavarian side languishing in the relegation zone with just nine points from 12 games. And although Moyes had warned it was foolish to underestimate any German opposition, Nurnberg’s performance was that of a team lacking both confidence and conviction. Therefore, anything other than three points last night would have been regarded as a missed opportunity for Everton. And while the late show should not have been necessary given an accomplished European performance, it represents a fifth successive victory. The several thousand Evertonians that travelled Germany without a ticket – including the 1,500 whose tickets were cancelled earlier this week – had seemingly all managed to gain a seat, their efforts undoubtedly helped by Nurnberg openly selling tickets in the club shop earlier in the day. With support for the visitors dotted all around the ground, it ensured a crackling atmosphere inside the near-capacity arena. Everton fans have concocted their own chant referring to the UEFA Cup final being held at Manchester City’s home ground but, in a display of trademark Teutonic efficiency, Nurnberg have gone one better by having an entire song specially commissioned to mark their appearance in the competition. The tune was enthusiastically performed by a gaggle of stereotypical straggly-haired German rockers before the game, the lyrics helpfully displayed on the huge in-stadium screens for supporters to sing along to or – as was the case last night – completely ignore. Of the two, Everton’s ditty will have the more lengthy shelf-life, although Zenit St Petersburg’s 3-2 win in Greece against Larissa earlier in the day had temporarily knocked Moyes’s side off the top of the group. The manager made the anticipated one change to the team that started the victory over Birmingham City at the weekend, Nuno Valente coming in at left-back with Joleon Lescott moving across the defence to replace the injured Alan Stubbs at centre-back. Nurnberg hadn’t won a European home game since beating Atletico Madrid in the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final in 1963, and with Everton having never lost to German opposition, it all pointed to an encouraging away day for Moyes’s men. And the visitors could have been ahead inside 19 seconds. Pouring forward from the kick-off, Arteta played a one-two with Leon Osman and fired a shot that Nurnberg goalkeeper Blazek parried into the air. The ball dropped invitingly for Tim Cahill, but Blazek recovered to divert the ball against the inside of his right-hand post before Nurnberg hacked clear. Cahill was close again on 17 minutes, sliding in vain to meet Osman’s low ball across the face of goal after initial good play by Arteta. In between, Tim Howard was alert to avert the danger after a slack pass from Lescott to Joseph Yobo gave Ivan Saenko a chance of a break, and midway through the half Peer Kluge slashed a diagonal drive wide from 20 yards after Dominik Reinhardt’s pass from the right. Reinhardt then drew a fine sprawling save from Howard from a similar position after dispossessing a dawdling Steven Pienaar as Nurnberg worked their way back into the game after Everton’s confident opening. But Moyes’s side ended the half in the commanding fashion in which they had started it, Arteta striking wide from Cahill’s chest control before whipping a corner in from the left that caused Blazek problems before the keeper gratefully dropping on the ball after Yakubu twice failed to make strong enough contact during a mad scramble inside the six-yard box. However, Howard was the next keeper to be worked after the restart, well positioned to beat out a Marek Mintal shot. Arteta, once again Everton’s most attacking threat, saw a 25-yard free-kick deflected on to the roof of the net and then hit a shot that Blazek fumbled, the keeper grateful no visiting player was on hand to capitalise on the rebound. The game then deteriorated with Everton losing their earlier rhythm and Nurnberg’s mediocrity was encapsulated when Kluge miscontrolled the ball out of play when in a threatening position inside the area. However, with the tireless Yakubu keeping the home defence occupied, Everton were rarely in danger against a Nurnberg team completely devoid of ideas. It was then left to Anichebe to make his trademark European impact and edge Moyes’s men nearer qualification. NURNBERG (4-4-1-1): Blazek; Reinhardt, Glauber (Benko 86), Wolf, Schmidt (Kennedy 77); Kluge, Galasek, Mnari, Saenko (Pagenburg 85); Misimovic; Mintal. Subs: Klewer, Beauchamp, Kristiansen, Engel-hardt.
BOOKING: Glauber (foul). EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Arteta, Carsley, Osman, Pienaar (Hibbert 90); Cahill (Jagielka 90); Yakubu (Anichebe 75). Subs: Wessels, Vidarsson, Gravesen, McFadden.
BOOKING: Valente (foul).
REFEREE: Alberto Undiano Mallenco (Spain).
NEXT GAME: Chelsea v Everton, Barclays Premier League, Sunday 2pm
Rhys Jones: Everton FC fans' tribute
Nov 9 2007 by Ben Rossington, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans paid tribute to Rhys Jones during their Uefa Cup clash with Nuremberg. Supporters in the EasyCredit-Stadion unfurled a banner dedicated to the murdered 11-year-old before the Toffees’ 2-0 victory. The banner highlighted how the tragedy has brought Liverpool and Everton together. Last night the travelling Blues were joined by the reds of Nuremberg to pay tribute to the schoolboy. Rhys, who was gunned down as he walked home from football practice, was a massive Everton fan.
'Examine Everton move paper'
Nov 9 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
COMMUNITY leaders and Everton supporters yesterday called on families in Kirkby to examine a crucial legal document which potentially clears the path for the Premiership club to build a new stadium. Letters will soon be sent to every household, telling where they can see the draft "vision" for the £400m town centre scheme, which includes the stadium, a Tesco superstore and other high street shops just south of Cherryfield Drive. Unless the document is officially agreed by councillors, Knowsley Council will not be allowed to approve any future planning application from Everton. Council leader Ron Round said: "We have said from day one that there will be an abundance of consultation with all sections of the community. "Much consultation is still to take place, not only by the council but Everton, Tesco and whoeverelse is involved." "Whatever comes out of that will benefit all our communities." John Fleming, treasurer of Kirkby residents' action group, said: "Weare in no way opposed to the regeneration of Kirkby, but we question if this is the best use of taxpayers' money." Dave Kelly, of Keep Everton In Our City, said: "We welcome public consultation, but its findings must be released to the public. "The vast majority of people are opposed to this development."
AJ’s deal about more than cash
Nov 9 2007
by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IT was good to see Andrew Johnson sign a new five-year contract this week as all speculation about him leaving can now be buried. West Ham’s interest in him has long been known but this deal shows he has no intentions of going anywhere and, in my opinion, the sooner we see him in a Blue shirt again, the better. Some, though, will find the situation strange. Why give a contract to someone who is only 18 months into a similar deal? The only answer to that can be his agents have done well for him to get a pay rise alongside Everton’s top earners. I don’t for one minute, though, think the only reason he has signed comes down simply to money. He is settled in the area, is a popular lad in the dressing room and wants to play a part in Everton’s future, which will hopefully be successful. This episode, however, brought back memories of my third spell in charge at Goodison Park as one of the first things I was told was about the vagaries of Slaven Bilic’s contract – he certainly had an agent who did the business. Slaven wanted to be Everton’s second top earner, so if someone was bought on better terms than the club’s highest paid player, he would get an automatic rise regardless of his form. I think you’ll agree that was quite some contract. Cars for concern FEW players in the Premier League deserve special attention during a game but Everton will be confronted by one on Sunday – Frank Lampard. His runs from midfield are absolutely outstanding and that has enabled him to become such a potent threat in front of goal. But Everton have the man to nullify him. Lee Carsley has returned to the team in terrific form and is more than capable of putting the shackles on Lampard. If he does that successfully, Everton can snatch something at Stamford Bridge, but it will be fascinating to see how their duel unfolds. Howard stands firm
THERE was one man who made a considerable difference to Everton in Nuremburg last night - but hasn’t really received the credit his performance deserved. I thought the Blues looked a little casual in the early stages, especially at the back, and were given a wake up call by goalkeeper Tim Howard. His attitude was first class. He was constantly shouting at and ordering his defenders around, and he also made a couple of top class saves at key moments in the match. When Alan Stubbs is not around, Everton seem to lack a real leader at the back. All the players do their own independent jobs efficiently enough, but no-one is organising. Howard took on that mantle last night and did it excellently. In the end it was a very impressive victory. Everton will undoubtedly meet more testing opposition away from home, but I think that the strength of their home form should see them enjoy a decent run in the competition, which is what all the fans crave. It was great to see their reaction to the late goals.
Yakubu our real hero - Victor Anichebe
Nov 9 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King in Nuremberg, Liverpool Echo
MATCHWINNER Victor Anichebe played down his heroics in Nurnberg today and claimed Ayegbeni Yakubu should be thanked for taking Everton's to the brink of UEFA Cup's knockout stages. Nigerian striker Anichebe was a 75th minute replacement at the easyCredit-Stadion for his compatriot last night and managed to score once and secured the penalty - scored by Mikel Arteta - that gave the Blues a 2-0 win over FC Nurnberg. Not surprisingly, Anichebe was given a hero's reception as he left the pitch but he was eager to point out that his contribution would not have been possible had Yakubu - who has been giving the youngsters plenty of tips - not worked himself to a standstill. There were questions whether Everton's record signing had the appetite for hard graft when he arrived from Middlesbrough in the summer but Anichebe believes this latest offering provides conclusive proof that he will be a success at Goodison Park. "Yak was excellent," said Anichebe. "It's tough playing up front on your own and the pitch was absolutely enormous. He covered so much ground to wear the defenders down. "He's done that a few times for me now and I've just managed to come on and picked up the pieces. He's set everything up for me. I'm learning so much from him. His game is all about strength but he has scored a lot of goals and I'm doing my best to take his advice. "He is a great player and is going to be excellent for us. He gives me so many great pointers. I feel my game has got better this season and he has definitely played a part in that. He's been there, scored a lot of goals and his record speaks for itself." Everton are now in firm control of Group A with six points from their first two matches and Anichebe - who has now scored three goals in his last three appearances -is relishing being involved in the adventure.
"I'm just enjoying everything at the moment," said Anichebe. "I had a feeling that I was going to score if I got on but that goes down as one of my favourites. I was really pleased with it. Full credit to Steven Pienaar for putting me through with such a great pass. "I don't look at European football any differently. All I try to do is come on and do my best and score if I can." Arteta, meanwhile, was thrilled to see Anichebe perform so well and believes teams are finding it difficult to cope with the 19-year-old's speed, size and strength. "Victor has been so impressive in the last two years," said Arteta. "He is so powerful. He likes it when he comes in like this because there is less pressure on him and he just tries to make a difference. He was terrific last night."
Everton's pre-Christmas trip to Old Trafford, meanwhile, will still kick off at midday on Sunday, December 23 - despite a bizarre bid by Setanta to have it switched to 8pm on Christmas Eve.
David Moyes: Fans spurred us to Euro victory
Nov 9 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S players had trouble sleeping yesterday afternoon but David Moyes believes the impromptu concert staged outside their hotel provided the spark for them to take control of Group A. The squad’s customary pre-match nap became impossible before the game against Nuremberg as hordes of supporters congregated in the town square and proceed to go through all the Gwladys Street’s greatest hits. But far from being upset about the commotion, Moyes was actually overwhelmed and he hopes the 2-0 win in the easyCredit-Stadion was an adequate pay back for those who had travelled to Germany. No wonder he is so desperate to reward them with some silverware. “This is all new to us at Everton really,” said Moyes, whose side are now on the brink of qualifying for the last 32. “You could see by the number of fans here how much they have been longing for it. “There was no motivational speech needed because it was there on the streets of Nuremberg. The fans were a big influence, they were all around the ground and were a credit to the club as well. “We are trying to give the fans success. I hope that we can get it back to like it was in the 80s when Everton were successful. We’re trying to improve the profile of the club by getting into Europe more often.” Victory was secured with goals from Mikel Arteta and Victor Anichebe and it was the latter who made all the difference, winning the penalty which the Spaniard converted and showing tremendous composure to end Nuremberg’s resistance. “He came on and made a really big impact in the game,“ said the delighted Moyes. “He has been suffering from a broken hand and that’s why I kept him off a bit longer. “We might have brought him on earlier but I was concerned about his hand and that he hadn’t trained much this week. At times he has been better coming off the bench. He is improving. We have a couple of young centre forwards we are excited about.” Anichebe, however, was not the only forward who earned praise from Moyes. Record signing Ayegbeni Yakubu was outstanding, the only irony being he never received any chances and the manager was pleased Everton’s first-half profligacy went unpunished. “Yakubu did a good job holding the ball for us,” Moyes said. “We were unfortunate not to score in the first minute and other parts of play. Nuremberg had some shots, but I thought in the main that we coped quite well with it.
“I thought we played well in the first half and we had some opportunities. They got into the game more at times in the second half, but we were pretty solid and I was always hoping the moment would come for us to get that goal.”
David Prentice: Fans the victims of new Euro farce
Nov 9 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ENGLISH authorities learned the hard way that if you treat football fans like animals, that’s how they’ll behave. It’s a lesson our old friends at UEFA are struggling to comprehend. Nuremberg had faith in the impeccable record of Evertonians abroad and offered 1,500 tickets to away fans in among their own supporters.
They were predictably snapped up. It was heart-warming affirmation of the strides football has made since English fans used to ‘hilariously’ ask German fans who’d won the war. Just three days before match day, however, when all of those supporters had booked flights, made accommodation arrangements and booked time off work, UEFA stepped in. Everton and Nuremberg was a “high risk” match apparently. Quite why was unspecified. Everton took huge numbers of fans to Kharkiv, Bucharest and Villarreal in recent seasons and received nothing but praise for their behaviour.
Nuremberg haven’t been in Europe for 20 years, but according to a website ahead of last summer’s World Cup: “FC Nuremberg is proud to have one of the most reliable fan bases in Germany.” Maybe UEFA consulted the record books. There’s history between Everton and Nuremberg, you see. Forty two years ago the clubs clashed in an Inter Cities Fairs Cup tie described as “a disgrace to football,” according to the Echo’s Michael Charters. Maybe UEFA feared a legion of angry pensioners ready to wade in with their walking sticks and seek revenge for injustices of 1965. The issue, as ever, was clouded in typical UEFA bureaucracy. According to a UEFA statement “a bug in the system enabled some English supporters to buy tickets allocated in the Nuremberg fans' sectors.” A Nuremberg-based Evertonian begs to differ. “Fans were told officially by 1FCN they were welcome to apply on line or by phone from Monday, October 29. They were even told when the ‘shops’ opened (09:30 German time = 08:30 English time).Everybody was happy until the reversal effected on November 4.”
Liverpool fans were criticised by UEFA for trying to gain illegal access to the Champions League final in Athens. By withdrawing 1,500 match tickets just 72 hours before kick-off to fans with travel arrangements already in place, did UEFA seriously think they were alleviating a similar problem? If so, they’re more incompetent than we feared here on Merseyside. And here, we don’t think they’re capable of organising an ale-up in a Nuremburg bier keller.
DAVID MOYES admitted to being ‘surprised’ when he was told Saturday’s beating of Birmingham – Everton’s fourth win in a row – was the club’s best run for 16 years.
Maybe that’s because he could vaguely recall winning six Premier League matches in succession five years ago. But, according to the stattos, desperate to dream up a line for the media, that six-match sequence didn’t count. That run, sparked by Wayne Rooney’s famous gunning down of Arsenal, was split by a League Cup win at Newcastle – which went to penalties. Bookies don’t count penalty shoot-out wins for paying out, but does that necessarily mean we shouldn’t? Jose Mourinho insists his Chelsea side was never beaten at Stamford Bridge during his tenure. So Charlton’s penalty shoot-out victory in 2005 clearly doesn’t count. But does that mean Liverpool are still searching for a first major trophy under Rafa Benitez, and their fans should only hold three fingers up at Manchester United in future? Nonsense, of course – like the implication the Blues haven’t been capable of stringing together four successive wins for 16 years.
'Blues will take fight to the Bridge' - David Moyes
Nov 10 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has promised Everton will stand up and fight to continue their winning spree as they attempt to end Chelsea’s incredible unbeaten record at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal were the last team to leave the King’s Road with maximum points back in February 2004 but Everton were desperately unlucky not to do that last May when James McFadden had a goal wrongly ruled out in stoppage time. Having won their last five matches, confidence is high amongst Everton’s players that they might be able to spring a surprise and Moyes has no worries about them being intimidated by a side that is likely to be challenging for the title come May. With John Terry and Petr Cech ruled out, Chelsea may be vulnerable and Moyes hopes Everton can sign off for the international break with a victory that would be celebrated just as much as Thursday night’s UEFA Cup success in Nuremberg. “You’d rather them not have their best players but they have a lot of players who can come in and make things look seamless,” said Moyes, who will give Leighton Baines a late fitness test before deciding on his starting line-up. “Chelsea have got really good players and I think Avram Grant has done a great job since taking over. But I thought we were unlucky when we went down there last season and maybe we should have won. That would have enabled us to finish fifth. “We need to go there and do the same again. If we want to challenge them, we are certainly not going to be intimidated by them. We will respect and we understand the qualities of their team. But if we want to push them in the future, we have to go and stand up to them. “We want to give them a game. There could be an opening to break up the top four but if that is going to happen, your team is going to have to be incredibly consistent. But we showed it could be done a couple of years ago and it would be good if someone could do it.” Blues captain Phil Neville has echoed those sentiments and, buoyed by the performance at the easyCredit-Stadion, he does not expect Everton to turn into shrinking violets at Stamford Bridge.
“Things are coming together nicely which sets us up for a mouth-watering game at Chelsea at the weekend,” said Neville. “We are really looking forward to Chelsea as it is a game we can just go there and enjoy it and really have a right good go. It has been a long time since we have been able to do that down at Stamford Bridge and we are looking forward to it.”
Why record breaker Tim Howard is man with a mission
Nov 10 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DURING a week that has included breathless victories, stunning goals, ticket issues and contract extensions, keeping up with events at Goodison Park has not been easy.
But amid all that drama, it did not go unnoticed that Tim Howard – a model of consistency between the posts for Everton – made the best start to life in the Blue half of Merseyside by a goalkeeper. Puzzled? Allow us to explain. In only allowing a header from Olivier Kapo past him against Birmingham City seven days ago, the United States international became the first keeper in Everton’s history to boast an average of conceding less than a goal every game in his opening 50 starts.
Howard’s total of 48 comfortably surpasses the previous best of 54, held by Dai Davies, while the best of the bunch, Neville Southall, had to pick the ball from his net on 58 occasions during his first half century. In the grand scheme of things, that statistic is just a satisfying little footnote but it also provided further proof that David Moyes got a bargain when he persuaded Manchester United to part with Howard.
On the back of another clean sheet - this one secured in Thursday night’s UEFA Cup win over Nuremberg - it is no surprise to find Howard in high spirits ahead of tomorrow’s test against Chelsea. But he is also a man on a mission. Rightly or wrongly, he knows every Everton keeper will be measured against the legend that is Southall and Howard understands the need to raise his standards in the next 50 matches and beyond if the Blues are to develop into a really successful side.
“There is nothing like keeping a clean sheet,” he said. “Any goalkeeper will tell you that you don’t do it alone. The boys have put their bodies on the line in front of me but when you hear that whistle go, there is really no better feeling. “I’ve heard about this record. But I am also well aware of the history the club. The name Neville Southall will go down in history as the best goalkeeper Everton have ever had and the reason that is the case is because he was so good for so long. “I’m in my infant stages here. I’ve only been around for 18 months but the one thing I aim to do is be consistent. I can’t be great every day but I try not to be horrible every day either. I just need to keep that consistency going. “We are building for the future but we want to achieve something for these supporters. Have I ever seen anything like Nuremberg? Unequivocally no. I’ve been in Europe a lot of times but that was just unbelievable.
“When we came out of the hotel and saw all the fans, it was such a buzz. We knew the supporters were going to be up for it and it makes you want to win all the more. We’re just trying our hardest for them.” Having won their last five games, Everton could not head to Stamford Bridge in any better form but, equally, they will need to surpass recent efforts if they are to become the first side since Arsenal in February 2004 to inflict a home defeat on Chelsea. “Things get a little bit easier now don’t they?,” he said, tongue drilling a hole firmly in his cheek. “A lot of teams have tried and failed to beat them there but we got a draw at Stamford Bridge last year and maybe we were unlucky not to win. “We take heart from that. But we are also well aware that they thrashed Manchester City 6-0. We know what they are capable of. There are no surprises. But we will go there with confidence and try to do the business.”
A few brief scares aside in Germany, Everton were full value for a victory against Nuremberg which takes them to the brink of the UEFA Cup’s last 32 and Howard feels they are getting back the defensive meanness which was a such characteristic last season. The aim now has to be winning Group A to secure the best possible draw in the knockout stages and Howard believes that is a realistic aim; for the time being, though, all thoughts are focused on beating Chelsea. “It was a great night and a good performance,” Howard reflected. “We have been reeling off some wins and we have always said that it starts with a good foundation at the back. But going away in Europe and getting three points like we did was fantastic. “We heard all the stories about them being in trouble but when we got out there we were like ‘hang on a second’. They didn’t surprise us because they were always going to be a good team and I think they proved that. “We’ve got to be professional about it. We want to finish on top of the group and that means we have got to keep our foot on the gas. We have got to see the job out and we want to keep this run going.”
Magic memories of the German variety
Nov 10 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THEY travelled from far and wide, via any number of destinations and by any form of transport, just to be able to say they were there. Though the week had started on the worst possible note, when FC Nuremberg cancelled 1,500 tickets Evertonians had bought for the home section in easyCredit-Stadion, it finished in the best possible manner. But we are thankful today the only things being talked about after the Blues’ midweek UEFA Cup trip was a comfortable win and the memories of a wonderfully raucous afternoon and evening in Nuremberg. But it might have been very different. Had trouble flared in the stands during Everton’s tussle with their Bundesliga opponents, we know exactly where the finger of blame would have been pointed.
With infuriating predictability, it would have been leery English football supporters who drink too much, cause trouble at the earliest opportunity and pay no respect to their hosts. One question: How could Nuremberg and UEFA cause so much of a fuss beforehand, threaten to ruin the dreams of thousands of respectable supporters, yet then turn around on the day of the game and sell seats for all areas of the ground indiscriminately? You have probably heard by now how easy it was to purchase a ticket for the game on Thursday evening but, if not, consider this. Evertonians were able to buy seats from Nuremberg’s official club shop all day Thursday. Staggering.
Having created such a hullabaloo beforehand, getting local police and European football’s governing body to declare Everton’s visit “high risk”, would it be unreasonable to expect Nuremberg to be punished for such wanton actions?
They won’t, of course. The faceless beaks at UEFA’s palatial headquarters in Nyon will play dumb and ignore yet another ticket fiasco involving an English team in one of their tournaments. It is not good enough. Fortunately, the game was played in the spirit football was intended and the atmosphere in the stadium was terrific. Both sets of supporters mingled without problem and embraced the energy from the visiting fans. Walking around the old town before kick-off, there were only bemused smiles from residents of Nuremberg as flags were draped from every possible vantage point and bars reverberated to every imaginable Everton chant. One Nuremburg supporter contacted Everton yesterday to declare: “It was very, very nice to have you guys here. It was such an amazing atmosphere in the city, loads of you folks, very, very much beer, loud singing and chanting – in one word: Great! “This atmosphere will last a long, long time, if not a lifetime, in my mind! I enjoyed every minute as I hope all of you did, too. “I don’t know why the Uefa called it a high-risk match, because the whole evening the atmosphere was pretty friendly. We got a lot of fun with you guys, singing against and with each other, drinking and laughing together, trading scarves and shirts and just having a good time. “That’s true football atmosphere!”
Make no mistake, those who made the trip from Liverpool did so simply to enjoy the game and immerse themselves in the experience of a first ‘proper’ away day for goodness knows how long. They should be grateful, however, that the people of Nuremberg were so hospitable and the only ‘idiots’ were those in charge of the ticketing policy.
Cars shifts up to top gear again
WHILE Victor Anichebe grabbed the headlines, Ayegbeni Yakubu got his share of the plaudits and Mikel Arteta showed glimpses of his wonderful best, it would be wrong to overlook the efforts of one man against Nuremberg. Not for the first time since he was recalled to the team, Lee Carsley was absolutely outstanding. Nothing flash, nothing fancy, his role will never be described as glamorous but few do the anchorman’s job as well as he. His form might have dipped a little at the beginning of the season but he could not be in better spirits at present and it is no coincidence results have improved since David Moyes restored him to the starting line-up. Expect another bold show at Chelsea tomorrow.
Red-faced over true blue moves
AND just when they thought they had something to lift the spirits… There were long faces among the German media in the stadium area where players are made available for post match interviews. Then a leery guffaw broke the silence, followed by an individual pointing excitedly up at a TV monitor. To the embarrassment of Nuremberg’s press team, football was no longer being broadcast. The late night show replacing it? Well let’s just say it was about biology. Draw your own conclusions.
Needless to say, a red-faced official scurried around frantically pushing buttons and flicking switches to ensure the only action that talked about was what had happened earlier on the pitch!
Setanta’s no Santa
SETANTA Sports made an indifferent start to covering Premier League football this season but their latest idea brings three words to mind: “scraping, barrel, bottom.”
According to a report a couple of days ago, they tried to get Manchester United to change the date of their game with Everton from Sunday 23 December by 24 hours to kick-off on Christmas Eve at – wait for it – 8pm. Not surprisingly, the idea was laughed out of town by the police and Man U.
Not even Bob Crachett worked that late on the best night of them all.
Barry Horne: Nuremberg a key point for Moyes’s men
Nov 10 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S UEFA Cup tie in Nuremberg will not linger long in the memory in terms of entertainment; but it could well be remembered in years to come as a defining moment for the club in the competition. Playing away from home at a Bundesliga side, albeit a struggling one, looked like Everton’s most difficult fixture in the group stage. But the players implemented David Moyes’s gameplan perfectly.
The Blues dominated the opening exchanges and could have been 1-0 up in the first minute but for a remarkable save from an otherwise unimpressive goalkeeper.
Everton then came through the inevitable good spell from the Germans, before turning up the power in the second half. I suspect they would have been content with a point, while looking for a win without trying to be overly-ambitious. That’s exactly what happened, with Victor Anichebe reinforcing his reputation as an impact player who can worry defenders late in matches when they are getting tired and sloppy.
All in all it was a performance of efficiency and professionalism from the Blues, which should send confidence soaring at an ideal moment . . . their first visit this season to one of the “big four” sides. It’s been a week of numerous feel-good factors at Goodison. We’ve had James Vaughan making a successful return from injury, so soon after Tim Cahill made his comeback, and Andy Johnson signalling his intention to end the persistent rumours about a transfer by committing his name to a new contract. I was very impressed with the conduct of everyone concerned regarding the new deal. The timing was perfect, with the new transfer window looming, negotiations were conducted without any leaks to the press, and they were completed swiftly and successfully. It means we can travel down to Stamford Bridge tomorrow in excellent spirits.
Fans did Blues proud
EVERTON rescued three points against Birmingham from a match which should have been won long before Olivier Kapo’s 80th minute equaliser. This Everton side must learn to maintain its urgency when leading a match and aggressively chase a second goal. One thing which struck me against Birmingham, however, was the attitude of the Everton fans throughout. All too often I’ve looked around stadia elsewhere when an away team has scored a late equaliser, and all you see are fans filing out and rows and rows of rapidly emptying seats. I looked around last Saturday when Lee Carsley fired in his 93rd minute winner, and the place was packed with celebrating supporters.
Come on UEFA, it can’t be that hard
ONCE again an organisation which employs thousands of people and takes millions of pounds out of the game shot itself in the foot over what surely must be one of its most basic of tasks, allocating match tickets. I hope not too many Everton fans missed out on what should have been a fantastic football experience because of UEFA’s cack-handed policy on allocations. Surely by now UEFA aren’t surprised at the numbers of British fans wiling and able to watch their teams perform in Europe?
It was only successful because of the behaviour of the Everton fans spread all around the easy-Credit Stadion. Well done Evertonians. Another black mark to UEFA.
Merseyside’s embarrassing hammerings
Nov 10 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE tormented Turks of Besiktas were just the latest in a long line of visitors to come to Merseyside and receive an embarrassing hiding.
Here’s our arbitrary top 10 . . .
LIVERPOOL 11 STROMSGODSET 0
1 IT’S still Liverpool’s record score – in any competition – but not everyone likes to be reminded of the night the Norwegian minnows were mauled at Anfield.
Every single outfield player got his name on the scoresheet . . . except one. “I’ve given a rocket to Brian Hall,” declared Bob Paisley with a totally deadpan delivery afterwards. Everyone thinks he was joking . . . . The next night the Echo headline read “Joje meg! Elleve-null” which roughly translated from the Norwegian reads “Goodness me! 11-0 . . . .”
EVERTON 11 DERBY COUNTY 2
2 EVERTON’S first FA Cup success (their 1887 victory over Bolton was ruled void because of an ineligible player) was also the club’s record score.
Alec Brady, Fred Geary and Alf Milward all scored hat-tricks in front of 10,000 Anfield fans (the big move was still two years away). The following Monday’s press opined: “The Derbyites were expected to make a much better show than they did and their big defeat is somewhat unaccountable.”
LIVERPOOL 10 DUNDALK 0
3 THINK modern newspaper headlines are somewhat contrived?
Look back at the Echo the night after Liverpool compiled a then record score against Irish part-timers Dundalk. “A Slight Case Of Two Over The Eight” was the 1969 sub-editor’s offering. Chris James’ words were altogether more original.
“Dundalk were hopelessly outclassed, out-paced, in fact out-everythinged. It wasn’t so much a football match as an exhibition of torture by Liverpool.”
Lawler, Smith, Lindsay and Callaghan all scored, as they did five years later against Stromsgodset.
EVERTON 8 WIMBLEDON 0
4 “IT was a tale of three men at Goodison Park,” wrote Charles Lambert “the man who got five, the man who got three, and the man who didn’t get any. You don’t need me to tell you who hogged the goalscoring, so we’ll start with the man who desperately wanted to put his number on the scoreboard before the electronics blew a fuse – Mickey Walsh.” Poor old Mickey didn’t score, which was the story of his Goodison career, but Bob Latchford (predictably) scored five and Martin Dobson grabbed a hat-trick.
LIVERPOOL 10 OULU PALLOSEURA 1
5 WHEN Liverpool beat Stromsgodset 11-0 in the 1974 European Cup Winners’ Cup, they went out in the very next round. The same happened when they beat Dundalk 10-0, and TSV Munich 8-0. But the 10-1 outclassing of Oulu Palloseura in 1980 bucked that trend. Nine months later the Reds were running round the Parc des Princes with the European Cup.
For the record, Graeme Souness scored his first Liverpool hat-trick, as did Terry McDermott.
EVERTON 8 SOUTHAMPTON 0
6 WHEN Everton walloped Wimbledon in 1978, only two men got their names on the scoresheet. When they slaughtered Southampton seven years earlier they shared the goals out just as sparsely. Joe Royle got four, David Johnson a hat-trick and Alan Ball his last Everton goal.
LIVERPOOL 8 TSV MUNICH 0
7 THREE of Liverpool’s biggest scores in European football were separated by seven years. But Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan still managed to score in all three.
The Germans of TSV Munich were on the receiving end on November 7, 1967, when Liverpool hit eight.
EVERTON 7 SOUTHAMPTON 1
8 EVERTON honoured their revered and recently departed centre-forward, Tommy Lawton, in the most fitting fashion possible in November 1996. They reproduced a scoreline which went out of fashion with centre-parts and Brylcreem.
With Duncan Ferguson on the sidelines, Gary Speed scored a hat-trick and Nick Barmby pulled the strings as future Blues keeping coach Chris Woods was cruelly exposed.
LIVERPOOL 10 FULHAM 0
9 THE Stromsgodset stroll is still Liverpool’s record score, but it might have been matched on September 23, 1986. The Reds hit 10 in a League Cup second round first leg, but Steve McMahon missed a penalty.
It only mattered to the statisticians, with McMahon still completing a hat-trick and actually outscoring Ian Rush on the night.
EVERTON 8 CARDIFF 3
10 “WHEN conditions are right, with quality football to match, as they were at Goodison Park on Saturday, it is a wrench to ring down the curtain on another season,” Horace Yates wistfully reflected as Everton ended their home campaign of 1961-62 with a landslide victory and, in the process relegated Cardiff City.
Roy Vernon scored a hat-trick, just as he would on the final day of the following season . . .
CAHILL STUNNER DENIES CHELSEA
11th November 2007 Daily Star
Everton stunned Chelsea with a late equaliser from Tim Cahill after Didier Drogba's seventh goal of the season looked to have given the Blues a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge. Drogba put Chelsea in front with a bullet header in the 71st minute but they had to settle for a point when Cahill's spectacular overhead scissor-kick beat Carlo Cudicini from six yards. Drogba's goal was his seventh of the season and the point was enough to stretch Chelsea's unbeaten home league run to 69 games.
While Chelsea had begun brightly, it was Everton who created the first clear cut chance of the game in the 15th minute when Leon Osman headed a cross from Ayegbeni Yakubu back into the path of Steven Pienaar. However, under pressure from Michael Essien, Pienaar was unable to connect with the ball as it bounced dangerously in the penalty area. Chelsea lost centre-half Ricardo Carvalho in the 26th minute when he fell awkwardly trying to head clear and he was replaced by Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim. Chelsea should have taken the lead in the 28th minute when Drogba's cross found Frank Lampard at the far post. The England international cleverly brought the ball under control before pulling it back for the lurking Shaun Wright-Phillips. But the Chelsea winger's shot was well saved by Tim Howard, who then kept Everton in the game seconds later with super stop to deny Lampard. But the deadlock was finally broken in the 70th minute when Drogba rose unchallenged to head home a corner from Salomon Kalou. However, Chelsea's hopes of claiming all three points evaporated in the closing stages when Cahill stunned the home crowd two minutes from time. Juliano Belletti failed to clear a shot from James McFadden and the Everton midfielder sent his overhead kick into the roof of the net.
Chelsea 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 12 2007
by Dominic King
FOLLOWING Everton now comes with one simple rule: never, ever leave your seat early. One of the most baffling aspects of some football supporters is their inclination to head for home ten minutes before the end of a game, just to beat the traffic. Would you leave the cinema with 10 minutes of a film remaining? Of course not. A few Blues will have had to learn the hard way this season but after yesterday’s dramatic conclusion to their tussle with Chelsea, it is unlikely they will contemplate taking an early dart again. For the fifth time this season, Everton salvaged a positive result thanks to the never-say-die attitude approach. They did something similar three years ago and we all know how that campaign ended. This is not to claim that rescuing a draw at Stamford Bridge means that Everton are now going to qualify for the Champions League again but there is no escaping the fact that the club is moving on an upward curve. Not so long ago, falling behind to a late goal would have been the signal for the team to collapse like a house of cards but this bunch are made out of stern stuff. If anything they take falling behind as a personal affront.
Bizarrely, the reward for Tim Cahill’s late, late show – a wonderfully acrobatic overhead kick – was to drop down a place in the Premier League standings but as long as Everton maintain this doughty approach, they will be mixing it in the top six before too long. Just look at what they overcame. Groans, predictably, were loud and plentiful when news filtered through that a groin problem had prevented Mikel Arteta’s involvement, as it’s difficult enough going to venues such as Stamford Bridge at the best of times. To attempt, then, to wreck Chelsea’s 68-match unbeaten home record without the man most likely to cause havoc was seen by some as a task similar to painting the Forth Bridge armed solely with a can of emulsion and one brush. There was a time when you could rightly have said that losing one key player would effectively end Everton’s hopes of getting a positive result on their travels, but Moyes has assembled a squad now to cope with such travails. True, Arteta’s absence was exacerbated by other potent threats, James Vaughan and Andrew Johnson being similarly unavailable, but, encouragingly, there was nothing defeatist about the way they started this contest. Chelsea are a talented group but they are not the best team Everton will face this season by any stretch of the imagination and, if anything, the Toffees should have taken the lead as early as the 15th minute.
How they didn’t, only Steven Pienaar will know. Ayegbeni Yakubu’s persistence down the left wing presented him with the chance to pick out Leon Osman, whose cushioned header played the South African in. Somehow, though, he kicked at fresh air. It was a miss that Everton might have been left to rue but – come half-time – they were grateful to still be all square. That they were was down to the brilliance of Tim Howard and some awful finishing by Chelsea. Let us concentrate, however, on Howard’s contribution. His stop from Frank Lampard is sure to be a contender for save of the season. Danger loomed when Juliano Belletti skipped away down the right hand side and picked out the England midfielder but he was thwarted by a quite magnificent piece of goalkeeping by Howard, who flung himself to his left to beat away a certain goal. Moyes conducted one of his shrewdest pieces of business during his time in charge when he persuaded Manchester United to part company with the American. Any side that has designs on being successful must have a man between the posts of the highest calibre who can be consistently relied upon to make vital stops at crucial points in play, and Everton undoubtedly have someone who can do just that.
If the stop from Lampard was breathtaking, the other aspects of his performance here were similarly top notch. Excellent handling, faultless positioning and smart distribution, Moyes couldn’t have asked for any more from Howard.
Sadly, he was powerless to prevent the goal that ended Everton’s resistance but – and this is the most maddening aspect of all – it was one that should have been easily prevented. Once again, falling asleep at a corner cost Everton dearly.
Salomon Kalou’s centre was precise but Drogba simply drifted off Joleon Lescott’s shoulder and in front of Lee Carsley to convert. Such a shame. Up to that point, Lescott – watched by Steve McClaren and Terry Venables – had been terrific.
Giving as good as he got against the Ivorian, Lescott flung himself into tackles and blocks and made one incredible stop to keep Everton in the game when he charged down a volley from Alex and nor should the goal detract from his efforts.
“I thought our two central defenders and the goalkeeper were the best players on the pitch,” Moyes suggested. Quite right. Along with Howard and Lescott, Joseph Yobo enjoyed another stellar afternoon. But as has been the case during this six-match unbeaten run, to concentrate on individuals would be to miss the point. Working as a team has enabled them to achieve such impressive results in these last 17 days. After nearly seven months out of the side with a twice broken left foot, Cahill will be feeling the effects of that hectic schedule but – to his great credit – he was still running strongly in the dying seconds. How he was rewarded.
Cahill has scored plenty of goals for Everton but none have been better than the effort which sped past Carlo Cudicini after fine work by James McFadden. If anyone missed it because they left ground early, they will only have themselves to blame.
And, rest assured, they won’t be making the same mistake again.
Chelsea 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Nov 12 2007
by Ian Doyle at Stamford Bridge
EVERTON are discovering that the thing about habits – they can be very hard to break. Thankfully for David Moyes, the traits his players are beginning to form are helping transform his team into a genuine Premier League force. Yet another late goal, this time from the talismanic Tim Cahill, earned a richly-deserved point at Chelsea, the 1,000th top-flight draw in the club’s history. For long periods, it appeared as though it would be a bridge too far for the Goodison Park outfit following their UEFA Cup exertions in Nurnberg on Thursday night. But a clutch of heroic defensive performances and a trademark determination gave Everton the foundation to dig in and claim another notable result on their travels. Yesterday’s fixture was the last in a season-defining sequence of seven games in 23 days, a spell from which Moyes’s side have emerged in a much stronger position. A Carling Cup quarter-final at West Ham United awaits next month, the European campaign will almost certainly be extended into the New Year and the top six is now again within touching distance.
That a run of five successive victories has been halted couldn’t disguise the delight that greeted Cahill’s spectacular 90th-minute overhead kick. The goal was the first Chelsea had conceded in the Premier League in 540 minutes. But despite his goal-scoring contribution, the Australian had to for once concede the spotlight to some sterling displays from his team-mates. With the injured John Terry in the stands, the stage was left for another England defender to produce a commanding performance at Stamford Bridge. Joleon Lescott has continued to attract plaudits for his displays at Goodison Park this season, the standard of which have deservedly broken the Everton man into the England international set-up. Last season’s debut season was often spent at left-back, but yesterday Lescott was outstanding in his preferred central role up against the considerable might of Drogba, setting the standard for a fine defensive performance in which Joseph Yobo also excelled. Even when Chelsea did find a way through, Tim Howard demonstrated why, with his clean sheet in Nurnberg in midweek, he became the first goalkeeper in Everton’s history to play his first 50 games and concede fewer than a goal a game. The United States international made a string of important saves, one in particular from Frank Lampard that will live long in the memory. It was galling, then, that a stoic backline should be breached by such a simple set-piece goal, Drogba capitalising on some slack marking from a corner to nod home in the 70th minute. Matters may have been different had Chelsea’s Michael Essien been dismissed mere minutes before the winner following a poor over-the-top tackle on Leon Osman in front of the dug-out. Moyes and the Everton bench rose in anger at the challenge, the sickening snap from which was thankfully the sound of Essien’s studs on Osman’s shinpad rather than anything more serious.
Yet that fury intensified when referee Alan Wiley subsequently brandished a yellow and not a red card to the Ghanaian midfielder.
Everton’s point was all the more distinguished given Mikel Arteta had joined Andrew Johnson and Leighton Baines on the sidelines after sustaining a groin strain against Nurnberg on Thursday evening. The Spaniard’s absence meant Moyes was forced into one change from the team that won in Germany, Tony Hibbert returning at right-back for his 150th Premier League appearance with Phil Neville pushed into a five-man midfield. Despite the best efforts of the lamentable stadium announcer to whip up the home crowd ahead of kick-off, any atmosphere was quickly subdued by a steady showing from the visitors in the first quarter. Indeed, Everton should really have been ahead on 15 minutes, a searching cross from the left by Yakubu headed down by Osman at the far post into the path of the incoming Steven Pienaar, who unfortunately completely missed his kick eight yards out while admittedly under pressure from the retreating Essien. But once Nuno Valente headed away a Frank Lampard shot, the Londoners sparked into life and laid siege on the Everton goal, seeking to improve on an unbeaten home league record that stretched back 69 games to February 2004. Shaun Wright-Phillips came close after Juliano Belletti had cut back a Drogba cross before Howard posted a contender for save of the season by thrusting out an arm to turn around a fierce first-time Lampard effort from 10 yards following more good work from Belletti down the right. The Chelsea pressure began to build and they were a whisker away on the stroke of half-time when Wayne Bridge burst down the left to find Wright-Phillips, only for Drogba to fail to properly connect with the subsequent cross as the goal gaped. With Nurnberg exertions starting to take their toll, Yakubu and Neville were replaced at half-time by James McFadden and European hero Victor Anichebe as Moyes gambled on two up top stem the growing Chelsea tide. However, Everton were almost undone within moments of the restart when Cahill was within inches of inadvertently diverting a Lampard corner into his own net. Essien slashed a shot wide, an audacious Lampard chip was clawed away by Howard and the keeper then deserved his fortune when a combination of Hibbert and Lescott cleared from the goalline after his punch fell kindly for Alex to strike goalward. But Chelsea finally found a way through 20 minutes from time when Drogba arrived ahead of Lee Carsley at the near post to power a header beyond Howard from substitute Salomon Kalou’s inswinging corner from the left. Howard held a Drogba shot following a bustling run from the striker but Chelsea eased off the gas, giving Everton renewed hope in the closing moments. And in attempting to block a speculative McFadden effort, Belletti succeeded only in teeing the ball up for Cahill to execute the perfect overhead kick from 10 yards that crashed past the otherwise underemployed Carlo Cudicini in the final minute. It was Everton’s only shot on target, but that was all they needed; yet another habit of a successful team.
CHELSEA (4-5-1): Cudicini; Belletti, Alex, Carvalho (Ben Haim 29), Bridge; Wright-Phillips (Kalou 64), Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Cole; Drogba. Subs: Hilario, Pizarro, Shevchenko.
BOOKINGS: Belletti and Essien (both fouls).
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott, Valente; Osman, Carsley (Gravesen 76), Neville (McFadden 46), Pienaar; Cahill; Yakubu (Anichebe 46). Subs: Wessels, Jagielka.
BOOKINGS: Neville (foul) and Pienaar (unsporting behaviour).
REFEREE: Alan Wiley.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Sunderland, Barclays Premier League, Saturday, November 24 3pm.
Tim Cahill: Fear factor is driving us on
Nov 12 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL believes the fear of being dropped can spur Everton's players on to great heights and ensure they do not feel the effect of a hectic fixture list.
The Blues go into the latest international break riding high after Cahill acrobatically pounced in the 90th minute of yesterday’s clash with Chelsea to secure a 1-1 draw and extend Everton’s unbeaten run into a sixth match. Given that Everton were without Mikel Arteta, Andrew Johnson and Leighton Baines in the capital, the result was all the more commendable and when that trio return, Cahill knows David Moyes will have some difficult choices to make. With Everton battling for success on a number of fronts, each member of the squad is going to have a role to play but Cahill admits that everyone is desperate to be involved and feels the display in London has given Moyes food for thought. “I saw the ball pop up and I thought there was only one thing I could do, which was to scissor kick it,” said Cahill. “Fortunately I got a great connection and when I turned around, the ball was in the net. There was a lot of relief. “Chelsea are a very good team with world class players but though we conceded a goal to them, we kept believing. We have to fight to win games and we have great unity here. We respect each other and we all play for each other. “You can see that on the pitch. You can go through the whole team and see everyone played so well. It’s great to go to Chelsea and get a draw. Not many teams go there and get results but we are quite resilient and we deserved what we got. “I’ve only been back a couple of weeks, so it’s been hard. I’m just happy to be out there and to be part of this great squad. Everyone is fighting for their places. We took our chance when it came.” Some felt Everton should have been playing against 10 men after a Michael Essien tackle on Leon Osman - which Moyes described as “not the best” - was only deemed to be worthy of a yellow card by referee Alan Wiley. The Ghanaian has history for making reckless challenges but Cahill hopes he will apologise once he has seen a replay of the incident, which left Osman writhing on the floor and needing lengthy treatment from physio Mick Rathbone. “I was behind Ossie, so I didn’t really see the tackle,” he said. “I only heard the crunch. If he’s gone over the top, he’ll apologise. He’s known for the odd dodgy tackle but Ossie is walking and that’s the main thing. As long he knows what he’s done, that’s fine.” Everton, meanwhile, hope Joseph Yobo will be able to receive some proper treatment on a toe injury that has been troubling him for the past six weeks during the international break. “Joe has been playing with a very sore toe,” said Rathbone. “He has had it scanned and x-rayed and there is a lot of inflammation of the joint. He‘s done very little training in recent weeks.”
Joleon Lescott can solve England's problem
Nov 12 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVE McCLAREN has a number of injury worries heading into his date with destiny but David Moyes believes a possible solution can be found at Goodison Park.
The under fire England coach will be without John Terry and Rio Ferdinand for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday week and his first choice defensive pairing will also miss this Friday’s friendly in Austria. McClaren, though, must have left Stamford Bridge yesterday afternoon with food for thought after watching Joleon Lescott – who he capped twice last month against Estonia and Russia – steal the show during Everton’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Moyes had no hesitation in naming him as one of the Toffees’ top performers and if McClaren is looking for central defensive options, he has no doubt that Lescott will be able to fit the bill. “I thought Lescott, Yobo and our goalkeeper were the best players on the pitch. The two centre-halves were outstanding,” said the Everton manager. “Lescott dealt with one of the best strikers in Europe. His strength, heading and tackling was outstanding. Yobo was the same. “Joleon has done really well for us since his move here. He has worked really hard and become an excellent professional. Maybe when he joins up with England, he is showing them that he is working very hard to become better.” While Lescott’s performance was one of his best for the Blues, Howard played a similarly important role in helping Everton secure a deserved point and Moyes was particularly effusive when giving his appraisal. “Howard is an excellent goalkeeper and played very well,” Moyes agreed. “His save from Lampard was top drawer. We didn’t think for a minute we’d come to Chelsea and they’d have no opportunities. You just don’t do that. It’s a good result for us.” Though Everton began with the 4-5-1 formation that served them so well during their five-game winning spree, Moyes changed things around at half-time and replaced Phil Neville and Yakubu with James McFadden and Victor Anichebe. The move was designed to put more pressure on Chelsea and while they had to ride their luck at times, Moyes felt Everton got their rewards in the dying minutes when Tim Cahill spectacularly pounced to cancel out Didier Drogba’s opener. “I thought we were always in it,” he said. “We were gritty, we hung in when we had to. Just before we scored there were one or two moments where we thought we were still in the game and that proved to be the case. “In the first half we didn’t get after them as much as I would have liked. I wanted to alter it at half-time and it was a brave decision. We have come to Chelsea and got a point. We showed a lot of determination and courage. “It was a fantastic finish from Tim. It was all about athleticism and ability. We sensed if we could get near the goal we had people who could get us a goal, but we did find it hard to get near there.”
Plan for Everton stadium on show
Nov 13 2007
by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
MORE details of Everton FC and Tesco’s proposed move to Kirkby go on show this week. The Blues and the supermarket giant will hold a joint public exhibition at Kirkby leisure centre tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. It is the first time proposals have been displayed since June when Tesco showed some images of what the shopping district earmarked for land alongside the stadium might look like. Since then Everton has also unveiled artist’s impressions of their 50,000-seater ground. A ballot of season-ticket and shareholders backed the proposed move. The exhibition, at the leisure centre in Cherryfield Drive, goes on show from tomorrow, 2.30pm-8pm; Thursday, 9am-12pm and 7pm-9pm; and Friday, 10am-6pm.
Injuries mar fine win over West Bromwich Albion
Nov 13 2007
by Chris Wright, Liverpool Daily Post
LEWIS CODLING hit a double to help Everton under-18s get back to winning ways as they beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip’s side had earned a creditable draw against Liverpool last week, but after they created numerous chances on Saturday they claimed all three points. In a goalless first half Everton were unfortunate not to go in ahead as Kieran Agard saw an effort ruled out harshly after play was brought back for an Everton free-kick. Early in the second half Everton had to make two substitutions with Agard and Jose Baxter being forced off with ankle and knee injuries respectively. But it was one of the subs Scott Spencer, who made the opening goal, setting up Codling to fire home on the hour. And five minutes later Codling crashed home his second. West Brom reduced the deficit with 18 minutes left after they broke following an Everton corner but Everton held on to stay level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier Academy League North West section. Coach Dewsnip said: “The game was played in very windy conditions which made things difficult. But there were lots of chances at both ends. “We scored two good goals in the second half, but we were disappointed with their goal which came from one of our corners. That is something we will have to sort out.” Everton are at home to Manchester United on Saturday (kick-off 11am) and will be keen to build on their good form, which has seen them lose just one match. Dewsnip said: “United are very strong Academy-wise, so we need to be on our guard. We need to work on the defensive side of the game, which we will do.” Baxter and Agard are out of this weekend’s match and there are fears both will be out for a lengthy period.
EVERTON UNDER-18s: Stubhaug; Stewart, McCarten, Sinnott, Barnett; McCready (Sheppard 85), Rodwell, O’Kane, Codling; Baxter (Powell 50), Agard (Spencer 50). Sub: McCardle.
Broken toe rules Joseph Yobo out
Nov 13 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO will sit out Nigeria's friendlies against Australia and Switzerland this weekend, after revealing he has been playing with a broken toe for the past month.
The Blues defender has forced himself through the pain barrier after picking up the injury in the UEFA Cup tie at Metalist Kharkiv. “We didn’t know the extent of the injury at the time,” said Yobo. “I have been feeling the pain since then, but I have been playing with the help of painkillers. “The morning of the Chelsea game I said I had to know how bad the injury was. So we went and did the scan and the result showed a broken toe.” Blues physio Mick Rathbone has praised Yobo’s attitude.
“He has done very little training for the past three or four weeks but he has dug deep to play,” he explained. “I am relieved he got through the game the way he was moving on Saturday.” Nigeria face Australia on Saturday at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, then travel to Zurich where they take on Switzerland next Tuesday. Victor Anichebe and Yakubu have been called up into the Super Eagles squad as replacements for injured Portsmouth duo John Utaka and Kanu. Influential Blues midfielder Mikel Arteta will receive intensive treatment on a painful groin injury over the next fortnight, after being named the inaugural winner of the Premier League’s Player of the Year at the North West Football Awards. Arteta beat off competition from Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Steven Gerrard to claim the award voted for by supporters online. Everton skipper Phil Neville picked up the accolade on behalf of Mikel at a special awards dinner at the Midland Hotel in Manchester last night.
As well as Arteta’s success, the Blues received a special commendation for their work in the community and were shortlisted for the award ‘Best non-matchday use of a football ground.’ Everton’s next UEFA Cup opponents, Zenit St. Petersburg, meanwhile, clinched the Russian league title at the weekend – their first since 1984.
Zenit won 1-0 at Saturn Ramenskoye on the final day of the Russian season to finish two points ahead of Spartak Moscow. Coach Dick Advocaat became the first foreign coach to win the Russian title in 16 seasons, but his future remains uncertain with his present contract expiring at the end of the year and an offer to coach Australia on the table. “We have played brilliant football in the second half of the season,” said Advocaat. Zenit come to Goodison Park on Wednesday, December 5.
Nigel Martyn: Tim Cahill deserves so much credit
Nov 13 2007 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have greater strength in depth among their forwards now than at any time in recent memory. Yet we still look a better unit playing 4-5-1. And that is a glowing tribute to the performances of Tim Cahill since his return from injury.
I actually think Tim has benefited from his enforced absences. He won’t think so, because he’s one of those energetic, animated types who is always on the move.
But his schedule in the past few seasons has been ridiculously hectic.
The demands of the Olympic Games, World Cups and summer international tournaments meant that Tim didn’t get any kind of break at all for more than three years, and like it or not our bodies all need some kind of rest period.
Tim might not have been away from a football environment while he was rehabilitating, but equally he was only travelling to and from the training ground every day rather than traipsing all over the world. That gave him a break - albeit enforced - and he has come back firing on all cylinders. The simple fact is, we look a better outfit with Tim in the side. I can remember the successful season we enjoyed playing 4-5-1, then the next season we bought James Beattie and the manager wondered whether we should go 4-4-2, which we did for a bit. Playing that system we never really looked like carrying greater attacking threat, but we did look more vulnerable.
With Tim in the side, he has the awareness and the tactical nous to know when to break forward and support the lone striker and when to tuck in and bolster the midfield. It’s a role which requires great energy as well as tactical awareness, but Tim has both in abundance. When he arrives late in an opposition penalty box it gives central defenders a huge headache to deal with. They don’t like leaving that area alongside each other to go out and pick up a player on the edge of the penalty box, and when they do that immediately leaves a dangerous gap for someone else to exploit.
When Andy Johnson is fit again and declares his availability, that will give David Moyes a very welcome headache to deal with. He may have spent club record sums on both Yakubu and AJ, but he’s the type of man who wouldn’t think twice about leaving either of them on the sidelines if he thought it would benefit the side. The way Tim’s performing, I think they may have to get used to the idea of rotating ahead of him, with maybe 4-4-2 coming in for certain, selected matches. One thing’s for sure, it’s a problem which shows Everton are moving in the right direction.
Howard a star man for Blues
IT’S a footballing fact of life that when a team is enjoying a successful season, the goalkeeper’s contribution often tends to be overlooked in favour of the men who are scoring all the goals. I was voted the fans’ player of the year in my first season, probably because we were struggling and I had plenty to do! The following season, when we finished fourth, I actually thought I played better, more consistent football, but Tim Cahill got the award because of the vital goals he scored which pushed us into that position. So I’m delighted to see Tim Howard get some recognition for his performance at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. He’s a quality goalkeeper. He’s got great reactions, good spring, but most importantly of all, he looks consistently reliable.
There never looks like a mistake coming from him, which helps reassure the defenders around him and results in solid performances from the likes of Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott. I am sure Tim would willingly hand over the player of the year plaudits every time if it meant Everton were enjoying some success.
But his contribution to the recent run of victories (think of the vital saves in Nuremburg, too) shouldn’t be overlooked.
No worry in giving the job to Joleon
STEVE McCLAREN has a decision to make this weekend over the men he entrusts with keeping a clean sheet in what may be a crucial qualification fixture . . . or could be a totally dead rubber. Whatever the circumstances, I would have no worries whatsoever about Joleon Lescott taking his place at the heart of the England defence.
I was pleased that both McClaren and Terry Venables were at Chelsea on Sunday to see him perform so well up against Didier Drogba. International managers will attach far more significance to a good performance in a match like that rather than, say, an outstanding display against Bolton or Middlesbrough, for example - no disrespect intended to either of those clubs. With Gary Neville on his way back to fitness there’s a possibility that Micah Richards could be pushed into a more central role, but for me Joleon would do an excellent job if called upon. I just hope its in a match which has some significance attached to it!
Rare Liverpool and Everton football memorabilia up for grabs in auction
Nov 13 2007 by Liam Murphy, Liverpool Echo
RARE match programmes from Liverpool and Everton dating back a century go on sale this week. The bound volume from 1906-7 dates from a time when the two clubs shared their match programmes. They are so rare even the British Library says programmes from 1906 are missing from its own collection – one of the best in the world. The sale in Wirral is being organised by J Kent Auctioneers and also includes other signed memorabilia including season tickets and photographs. But of most interest is likely to be the volume of programmes, numbers one to 51 from September 1906 to May 1907. It has been estimated each programme could be worth £150 and the full collection could fetch many thousands of pounds. Auctioneer Geoff Thomas said: “It just came in a box of stuff and the customer said did we think it might be of interest. So I said we’d have a look and do some research. “It was the book, the bound volume of programmes which made us realise they were of significance and then we saw the Dixie Dean items.” Other items include a first edition history of Everton Football Club 1879-1929 to mark its 50th anniversary, along with tickets to the jubilee dinner. John Litster, editor of Programme Monthly and Football Collectable magazine, said he expected the auction would attract considerable interest from collectors, dealers and fans. He said: “Items of that age are very hard to get hold of. They’ve had to survive 100 years and two world wars.” He said the paper used to print the programmes was also very poor quality, and individual ones rarely survived long because they had to be folded to fit into pockets. The auction is tomorrow at Scots Quays, East Street Wallasey, at 10am.
Everton fears over African Nations Cup loss
Nov 14 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fear they may lose a trio of influential stars for this winter's African Nations Cup tournament, after Nigeria boss Berti Vogts watched Everton twice in 72 hours last weekend. Vogts was in Nuremburg to see Victor Anichebe inspire a Blues victory and Yakubu produce a selfless performance, then also turned up at Stamford Bridge three days later to see Joseph Yobo marshal an excellent rearguard display by the Blues. Both Anichebe and Yakubu were late call-ups to the Nigerian squad for friendly matches against Australia at Craven Cottage on Saturday and in Switzerland next Tuesday. After the UEFA Cup success Vogts said: “Everton played very good football for 60 minutes. Yobo did very well, Yakubu worked hard and Anichebe was very, very good.” Vogts has complained in the past that Yakubu does not do enough for the team defensively and his international place was under threat from Getafe’s Ikechukwu Uche, who had an impressive debut for the Super Eagles against Lesotho in the final African Nations Cup qualifier. He said: “I have no problem with Yakubu. I saw the report and I don’t say I have a problem with Yakubu. But I need to see other players too. We have good players in attack and everybody has a chance. I know what Yakubu can do, but I need to see the other players.” The African Nations Cup finals run from January 20 to February 10 in Ghana and Nigeria will be strongly fancied to do well in the tournament. Everton youngster Bjarni Vidarsson, meanwhile, has been named in the full Iceland squad for the first time for their game against Denmark.
l A host of former Blues’ players and managers are expected to join local celebrities and members of the current Everton squad at the Odeon Cinema in Liverpool this evening for the premiere screening of the Blues new official history DVD.
The Blues previous official video history was released in 1988, and this update contains lots of previously unseen footage and interviews.
The updated history will be on sale to fans from today.
Joleon Lescott deserves England call-ups - Phil Neville
Nov 14 2007 Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE believes his Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott fully deserves international recognition. Lescott could be handed his chance and win his third cap in England’s friendly against Austria on Friday as John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are both absent. The match is a warm-up for the potentially crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia at Wembley next Wednesday. Lescott, 25, arrived on the international scene last month and, according to Neville, has grown in stature despite the defeat by Russia which leaves England’s qualification destiny out of their hands. “That game really opened his eyes to the fact that he can play at the top level, ” said the Everton captain, who is also in the national squad. “Hopefully a few of the younger lads will get a chance against Austria and he will be one of them. “The thing that impresses me most is that Joleon works so hard, keeps his feet on the ground and is dedicated.
“He is at a club now that is allowing him to progress as a centre-half and a left-back.”
Neville praised Lescott’s contribution to Everton’s season so far, adding: “Joleon has been outstanding and our best player by a country mile. “He is getting stronger, fitter and better in every game he plays.” Meanwhile Neville has backed Steve McClaren, claiming the national team boss is in a “no-win” situation. Neville said: “I would not wish the England manager’s job on anyone. It is a no-win situation. “If you get a victory, the players get the plaudits. If you lose the manager gets slaughtered.
“Something has to be done as it is not a nice pressure to be working under.
“Two years ago Steve McClaren was the best man for the job for me. “People were calling for an English coach and we got the best one. “Even if we do not qualify he is still the best man for the job.” Neville believes continuity is vital if England are to grow as a football nation. “Stability is the best recipe for success,” said the 30-year-old defender. “It means sticking by the manager. Arsenal have done it, Manchester United have done it and so have Everton.” Meanwhile, Micah Richards admits he will not be able to resist the temptation of watching Saturday’s crucial clash between Israel and Russia. If Israel can get a point against the Russians it gives England a chance of making the competition with a win over Croatia. “It will not be enjoyable but I will be watching the Israel-Russia game on Saturday night. I just have to,” he said.
“I get the weekend off after England fly back from Friday’s friendly with Austria – I don’t have to report back to the squad until 10pm on Sunday – so I will be watching on TV at home. There is nothing I can do except hope and pray that Israel pick up at least a point.”
Bestway gives Everton a ‘Plan B’
Nov 14 2007
CASH and carry giant Bestway today insisted it could still offer Everton a "Plan B" if their Kirkby stadium move stalls. The firm says a 55,000 seat stadium can be built on land off Scotland Road, and called for the Blues to re-evaluate the site.
It comes after Knowsley councillors gave the go-ahead to a draft "vision" for Kirkby - which includes a new stadium for the Blues, Tesco superstore and other high street shops last week. But the Kirkby development faces further hurdles before contracts can be signed between Everton, Tesco and the council, and Bestway hope Goodison officials will not rule out its offer. The Kirkby move could be taken to a public inquiry by Knowsley North MP George Howarth if he is not satisfied about how potential problems with traffic, anti-social behaviour and housing will be addressed. If the Labour MP succeeds in convincing the government to hold a public inquiry, it would be a major delay in the £400m project. Everton top brass have cast doubt on the suitability of the Scotland Road "loop site", and it emerged Liverpool FC dismissed the area as too small for their new stadium after they were asked to consider it. But the ECHO has obtained a report by leading world architects HOK which confirms the site could fit a 55,000 seat ground. Bestway’s head of property, Malcolm Carter, said: "We’ve studied the Kirkby proposal and Everton’s stated need for a 50-55 thousand seat stadium and there is no doubt that this can be comfortably accommodated on The Loop. "Notwithstanding the view taken by Liverpool FC, the report we had commissioned from leading international stadium designers HOK indicates a larger capacity facility could be accommodated here if required. "The Loop is a dominant landmark site, and would give the club huge profile and visibility. "It would be a bold statement about Everton FC, its history and association with this area. It would be a fantastic marketing emblem and would strengthen Everton’s brand and underscore how important this club is to the life of a world renowned city. "A city centre stadium at a major transport hub would also give the club much greater potential for revenue generation from corporate events, concerts and conferences." Campaign group Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) backed Bestway’s plea. Spokesman Dave Kelly said: "We commend Bestway for their continued support and patience over their Scotland Road site."
Revealed: How Everton and Tesco could look in Kirkby
Nov 14 2007
by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
MORE details of Everton FC’s possible move to Kirkby were being unveiled to residents today. They include the first images of the proposed 50,000-seater stadium and the surrounding shopping district sitting side by side. Previous artist impressions simply showed the Blues’ planned new home in isolation and some early shots of the Tesco-dominated retail park, south of Cherryfield Drive. But people were today able to view pictures of the stadium alongside shops and a car park, plus the first image of the 24-hour Tesco Extra store, earmarked for the site of All Saints Catholic high school. They are certain to crank up interest and debate in the town as Everton and Tesco prepare to submit a planning application to Knowsley council. The club and the supermarket giant want to hear more of what residents think about the scheme, now officially known as “Destination Kirkby”, before putting forward a detailed proposal. The three-day exhibition is being held at Kirkby leisure centre, next to the development site. It comes almost three months after a majority of Evertonians voted in favour of the move in a landmark ballot of 36,000 supporters. Everton’s chief executive Keith Wyness said: “As we have done all along, we fully support what we regard as a key, hugely significant initiative both for ourselves and the people of Kirkby. “Having gained a mandate from our own supporters to relocate to the area, we are now anxious to not only ascertain the views and the opinions of residents and traders, but also to begin what will be an intense programme designed to build a lasting relationship with the people of Kirkby.” The last major exhibition of the £400m project was staged in June when thousands of residents visited Knowsley council’s offices in Kirkby town centre. At that event, the exact stadium site off Valley Road was revealed along with plans for a coach park for 200 vehicles south of the ground and a multi-storey for 1,000 cars to the north. Tesco’s corporate affairs manager Tony Fletcher said: “In June the development potential of the site was outlined in a public exhibition and this consultation takes things a stage further. “We have listened to a range of opinions during this time and have been in dialogue with a number of different parties. “We are trying to establish an expanded town centre with a high-street feel and we are in ongoing negotiations with a number of fashion retailers that are attracted to Kirkby by the opportunities that a development of this size brings.” Last week Knowsley council decided to start consulting residents about a new “vision” for Kirkby, a crucial legal document which would allow councillors to approve a future planning application from Everton and Tesco.
Celtic eyeing Everton forward James McFadden
Nov 14 2007
by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
CELTIC are ready to test Everton’s resolve by making a January offer for Scotland hero James McFadden.
The Glasgow club have been long-time admirers of McFadden, whose stock has risen considerably in his home country following his exploits for the national team as they attempt to qualify for next summer’s Euro 2008 finals. The forward scored one of the most famous goals in Scottish football history when netting a spectacular winner in the 1-0 shock triumph at the Parc des Princes against France in September. However, the 24-year-old has subsequently found his first-team opportunities limited at Everton by the competition for places in attack. Tim Cahill’s availability and a return to a 4-5-1 formation has meant McFadden has started just one of the last five games, and hasn’t completed a full 90 minutes since scoring twice in the Carling Cup victory at Sheffield Wednesday seven weeks ago. And now Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, who is in the market for a striker, will attempt to lure the player back north of the border in the New Year. Everton could be persuaded to allow McFadden to leave for around £4million, but are under no pressure to sell with manager David Moyes having the final decision. But with fellow forwards Yakubu, Andrew Johnson, Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan having all signed long-term contracts this year, McFadden would appear to be the most likely to depart should Moyes decide to prune his forward line. Meanwhile, both Yakubu and Anichebe have received late call-ups to the Nigeria squad for the international friendly on Saturday with Tim Cahill’s Australia at Fulham’s Craven Cottage. The pair have replaced injured Portsmouth duo John Utaka and Kanu. However, Joseph Yobo will miss the fixture and the friendly against Switzerland next week after admitting he has played the last month with a broken toe. “We didn’t know the extent of the injury at the time,” said Yobo. “I have been feeling the pain since then but I have been playing with the help of painkillers.
“The morning of the Chelsea game I said I had to know how bad the injury was. So we went and did the scan and the result showed a broken toe.” Anichebe’s call-up has seemingly dashed once and for all Stuart Pearce’s hopes of persuading him to represent England. The 19-year-old was born in Lagos, and despite moving to England at the age of one, he has made it clear he would prefer to represent the country of his birth at international level. Anichebe was called up to the senior Nigeria squad by Berti Vogts in March but failed to feature in any games, meaning there was still a faint hope under-21 coach Pearce could persuade him to play for England. But should Anichebe feature on Saturday, then he would be tied to Nigeria for the rest of his career. Yakubu’s call-up comes after the forward had originally been left out of the squad after allegedly falling out with Vogts. Everton’s next UEFA Cup opponents Zenit St Petersburg are celebrating after winning the Russian League title for the first time since 1984. Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta has been named the inaugural winner of the Premier League Player of the Year at the North West Football Awards.Arteta was named ahead of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard and Manchester United duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to claim the award voted by fans online.
NEVILLE JOY AT LESCOTT'S PROGRESS
14th November 2007 Daily Star
Phil Neville believes his Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott fully deserves international recognition. Lescott could be handed his chance and win his third cap in England's friendly against Austria on Friday as defenders John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are both absent. "Hopefully a few of the younger lads will get a chance against Austria and he will be one of them," said Neville. "The thing that impresses me most is that Joleon works so hard, keeps his feet on the ground and is dedicated."
The match is a warm-up for the potentially crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia at Wembley next Wednesday. Lescott, 25, arrived on the scene last month and according to Neville he has grown in stature despite the defeat by Russia which leaves England's qualification destiny out of their hands. "That game really opened his eyes to the fact that he can play at the top level, " said the Everton captain, who is also in the national squad. "He is at a club now that is allowing him to progress as a centre-half and a left-back." Everton have made a good start to the Premier League season. Not only that, they have progressed in both the UEFA Cup and Carling Cup.
Neville said: "Joleon has been outstanding and our best player by a country mile.
"He is getting stronger, fitter and better in every game he plays."
James McFadden set for new Everton deal
Nov 15 2007
by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to offer James McFadden a new contract, to end any Celtic interest in the Scottish international. There was renewed speculation this week that the Glasgow club were planning a £4m January transfer swoop for the player, who has only started eight of Everton’s 19 matches this term. But McFadden’s agent, Willie McKay, and Blues’ assistant boss Alan Irvine insist the player will be staying put. “James is under contract at Everton and he is only thinking of Everton,” McKay said.
“In fact I believe David Moyes is ready to offer him a new contract to keep him at Goodison. Irvine added: “If your players are doing well, then other people will possibly look at them and hope to sign them, but we are not actually looking to sell any players. “We have been patiently building the squad that we have got and we will continue see if we can strengthen it, and we are not looking to sell players. “Obviously people will look at the number of strikers we have got and think perhaps we have got too many, but we haven’t had too many so far this season and clearly we hope that we’ve got them all to choose from. “We will sometimes play with two strikers and we’ll sometimes play with one, and it’s up to the ones who are in possession to perform well and score the goals which will keep them in the team. “There was a lot of speculation about Andy Johnson going and he signed a new contract, so that shows what the club’s intentions are as far as that was concerned. “I believe there’s a little bit of speculation about Faddy now, but again we have got no plans to sell James McFadden.” Despite his sporadic appearances, McFadden has still scored four times this season – a total bettered only by defender Joleon Lescott, and was elevated to the status of national hero north of the border for stunning strikes against France, Lithuania and Ukraine during Scotland’s Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. The increased profile as Scotland prepare for Saturday’s make or break clash with Italy does not worry him. “I’ve been a saviour for the last five years,” he said. “It is people’s jobs to sell newspapers, so it is not going to affect me. “With all the hype surrounding the game and the fact that, if we win, we are going to Austria and Switzerland, if I look back on it and I don't enjoy it, then I will regret it. “So I’ll be doing my best to enjoy the game. It’s the biggest match of my career but it’s also just a game of football.” Tim Cahill, meanwhile, may sit out Australia’s international friendly with Nigeria on Saturday with a collection of bumps and bruises. Cahill has played six games for the club since returning from a foot injury but is now nursing a couple of knocks. Everton manager David Moyes insists he won’t release Cahill if he isn’t fully fit, but Cahill has agreed join the Aussie camp for the match at Craven Cottage and re-assess the situation closer to the weekend.
Dixie Dean takes centre stage
Nov 15 2007 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THE amazing story of Merseyside sporting legend Dixie Dean is to be turned into a play. Different actors will portray Everton FC hero Dean at various stages of his life in the play, which will be performed next year. The record-breaking centre-forward became the only player to score 60 goals in a single season in 1928.
Officials from Everton and Tranmere Rovers, where Dean started his career, have given their backing to the production. The Dixie Dean story, to be directed by Gillian Beattie, will feature digital technology and music with a script written by author and broadcaster John Keith, who wrote Dean’s biography. Mrs Beattie, of Aintree-based theatre company Arts2u Ltd, said: “It’s wonderful that the story is coming live to the stage in May, midway through Liverpool’s European capital of culture year.
“It’s also the 80th anniversary of Dixie’s fantastic and so far unassailable record, so the timing could not be better. “Dixie is a very important figure for many people and generates a huge sense of pride for football fans in the city.” The play will have a three-performance run at Liverpool Olympia theatre, in West Derby Road, and sponsorship packages for the event are being offered to local businesses.
The grand premiere will be a corporate event on May 6 and the next day there will be a matinee or schools and community groups with an evening performance for the general public. The play is being produced in conjunction with Everton Shareholders Association and actors will be cast over the next few months. William Ralph Dean was born in Birkenhead in 1907 and initially played for his local club, Tranmere Rovers, before moving to his boyhood heroes Everton for a fee of £3,000 in 1925.
He immediately made an impact, scoring 32 goals in his first full season and went on to score 383 goals for Everton in 433 appearances. He was never booked or sent off throughout his career. Dixie died from heart failure in 1980 at his beloved Goodison Park while watching a derby game. Legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly once said of him: “Those of us privileged to see him play, talk of him the way people talk about Beethoven, Shakespeare or Mozart, he was that good.”
Nov 15 2007
In view of the Blues' recent run with 4-5-1, where does a fit Andrew Johnson fit in?
IT’LL be good to see AJ back, I just hope he’s recovered from that gut-wrenching, stomach-churning, jaw-dropping moment when time stood still as he blasted that second penalty over the Metalist crossbar. How far have Everton progressed? Go back to March 16, 2002 – Moyes’ first game in charge against Fulham. The team that day: Simonsen, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Gemmill, Gravesen, Carsley, Unsworth, Ferguson, Radzinski. The bench: Gerrard, Chadwick, Clarke, Blomqvist, Moore.
Now we’re spoilt for choice. For the first time in decades there’s genuine competition for places – the raw power of Anichebe, the pace of Vaughan and McFadden’s sublime touch. Yakubu may have been acquiring the tag of ‘panic buy’ but his eye for goal is changing that. nWe could still do with AJ’s lightning pace up front, although we need him scavenging for goals, rather than searching for scraps down the flanks. Come to think of it, we haven’t had many penalties lately!
Richard Knights, West Derby
ANDY JOHNSON will have to bide his time and wait for his opportunity.
He did tremendously well last season and I was delighted to see him sign a new deal, but personally, I see James Vaughan as our best striker which leaves Yakubu, Victor, McFadden and Johnson all battling for starting places. Competition for places is what every Premier League team wishes for and the majority of our strikers would walk into most teams. Playing 4-5-1, I would have Tim Cahill behind the striker, but as a 4-4-2 I would prefer Yakubu and Vaughan as a partnership with Cahill as an orthodox midfielder. Victor also seems to possess more of a threat coming off the bench as Nuremberg found out to their cost last week.
Finally, I would like to thank the German people, police and Nuremberg fans for their great hospitality. It was a memorable occasion for the Evertonians who proudly represented the club in tremendous fashion.
Tony Scott, Walton
WHAT a week for Evertonians – a terrific win in Germany and a good point at Chelsea! The win in Germany leaves us virtually assured of qualifying for the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup. The point at Chelsea was very good and what a goal from our Tim!
Andy Johnson will have his work cut out now to force his way back into the team. However, with nine games coming up in December, we need the whole squad, and a fit again AJ will be like a new signing for us!
We have certainly missed his runs and energy up front. He had his best run of goals playing in a 4-4-1-1 formation, so this won’t be a problem at all. It is so refreshing now to have five fit strikers all fighting for places. Some of the players can now have a nice break with the internationals. Enjoy your rest boys, you have certainly deserved it! Come back fit to beat Sunderland at home!
Lee Molton, St Helens
WE all remember the many false dawns down the years but even the most hardened Evertonians are beginning to believe that their team is really going somewhere and the manager and players deserve the utmost credit for the results and performances of the past few weeks. David Moyes now has to deal with the thorny problem of what to do with AJ now that he is nearing fitness. For me, there can be no argument – Johnson simply has to go back into the team. I would really like to see him play AJ in the middle, with Yakubu alongside him, leaving Osman to drop out. With Cahill playing behind, it is time for Moyes to play to the strengths of his players and take a more positive approach to winning games than in the past. That means playing your most creative players to make the chances in the first place and with that in mind it’s about time Gravesen was given an extended run.
There is a long way to go yet, but the signs are good. Go for it, you Blues!
Mike Williamson, Chester
Everton: We'll be good neighbours
Nov 15 2007
by Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC told Kirkby families it wanted to be "a good neighbour" if the club moved to the town.
Club officials met residents for the first time yesterday to discuss their controversial relocation, which would double the size of the town centre. Tesco representatives were also on hand to talk people through the latest proposals for a modern shopping district south of Cherryfield Drive. At the event, at Kirkby leisure centre, Everton said the result of the landmark summer ballot, in which fans voted in favour of the move, meant they could liaise with residents for the first time. Many concerns were raised at the last exhibition, in June, about traffic, anti-social behaviour and housing, such as the proposed demolition of homes around Spicer Grove. People from the Spicer Grove estate were the first to be shown the latest proposals, before the display was opened up to the general public . Ian Ross, the Blues’ head of communications, said: “We received some criticism over the past nine months because some people felt we were not as proactive as we might be. “But until we got a mandate from the fans, we could not commit fully. “We can now underline our commitment to the project, not just in terms of providing a new home for Everton, but regenerating Kirkby. We want to show people we will be a good neighbour and ask them to help us in terms of support. If we move to Kirkby, we are anxious to have the same grass-roots links with the community as we have in Walton.” Residents were shown a new map of the development with several small changes from the one they saw in June.
The Tesco superstore, earmarked for the All Saints Catholic school site, has moved slightly, while more shops are planned off Bewley Drive. A new access road is also suggested from Bewley Drive. If the rest of the planning process goes smoothly, Tesco bosses hope to start work towards the end of next year, although the proposal still needs the go-ahead from Knowsley council. But the Keep Everton In Our City campaign group is still hoping a rival plan will emerge to stop the Blues leaving the Liverpool boundary. Spokesman Dave Kelly, who lives in Kirkby, said: “We would urge all Kirkby residents and Evertonians to visit this exhibition. They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives.”
THE exhibition is being held at Kirkby leisure centre at Cherryfield Drive at the following times:
Today (Thursday) 7pm-9pm
Tomorrow (Friday) 10am-6pm
The history of Everton FC: 129 years of magic
Nov 15 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
HOW do you cram 129 years of rich and vibrant history into just 128 minutes of action? Entertainingly, reverentially and colourfully is the answer.
Everton released their Official Club History DVD at the city centre’s Odeon cinema last night, just a few doors down from where the Dixie Dean bar used to open its doors. And reaction from the fans invited to watch the first public screening was warmly enthusiastic. Much has happened since the release of the first club history back in 1988, not least the medium for transmitting such stories. John Motson is still the narrator, but it’s all contained on DVD now, rather than video tape.
And there’s plenty to narrate. There’s Howard Kendall’s return for a second stint as manager – and a third, the Walter Smith years and the Mike Walker months, FA Cup glory under Joe Royle and the advent and departure of heroes like Duncan Ferguson, Dave Watson and Mikel Arteta The issue of Ferguson’s controversial departure is neatly sidestepped – this is an official club product after all – but there’s plenty of goal action from the Tartan talisman, and a rare media interview. Much of the footage included in this riveting review is rare. Sinister rumours abounded when Harry Catterick made the shock decision to transfer Alan Ball to Arsenal.
It’s easy to see why, listening to Catterick ruthlessly and calculatingly dissect that decision in a Bellefield car park. “Alan wasn’t the same player. The trip to Mexico had taken a lot out of him,” he explained, before adding conspiratorially. “And there were other factors which I can’t divulge.” No wonder the imagination of supporters went into overdrive, with gambling debts proving the bookies favourite.
Of course the stories were nonsense. Catterick had just spotted an opportunity to double his money for a player he’d enjoyed six outstanding years from, but appeared – incorrectly – to be on the slide. But one of the strengths of this updated official history is the volume of original archive footage. Youtube trawlers will recognise the 1968 FA Cup success at Leicester and Howard Kendall’s sparkling volley, and maybe the introduction to Dixie Dean’s team-mates circa 1932, but not the wonderful footage of Dean going through his training routine and showing off some cunning tricks.
“No need to look for that ball, goalie! You know where it’s gone,” said the Chumley-Warner commentator in precise, clipped English tones, as Dean deliberately back-heeled the ball past him. The Dean footage is excellent, while the often overlooked Victorian pioneers of Everton’s history are also paid proper respect.
Fred Geary, Jack Southworth, Alf Milward, Edgar Chadwick and Sandy Young are all featured – and John Keith nails the myth of Everton’s first FA Cup winning goalscorer being hanged for sheep-rustling Down Under. The truth is even more colourful! Much of the footage used is olour, including a post World Cup final interview with Alan Ball when the little maestro sounds exactly as he did 40 years later, explaining his undying devotion to Everton. The references to Bally and his skipper, Brian Labone, are poignant – and Labby’s wife and daughter Pat and Rachelle were present for last night’s screening, along with legends like Dave Hickson and Gordon West, stars from yesteryear like Duncan McKenzie, Ronnie Goodlass, Derek Temple and Mick Lyons, plus current club representatives Sir Philip Carter and Alan Irvine. The closing speech on a two-hour plus DVD lovingly and impressively crafted by Everton’s Darren Griffiths comes, rousingly and emotionally, from Alan Ball. There’s only one unsettling problem surrounding the release of such a creditable piece of work. First time round, in 1988, I was only invited along to watch it. This time I’m actually in it. Time can be cruel, but it also offers wonderful, wonderful memories. They’ll all be prompted by this rich and resonant tribute.
The Official History of Everton DVD is on sale today, priced £19.99.
Victor Anichebe leaves England door open
Nov 16 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE has pulled out of the Nigerian international squad for a second time fuelling speculation the Everton striker now aims to forge an international career with England. The Blues youngster appeared to have turned his back on his England prospects when he snubbed advances by under-21 boss Stuart Pearce in order to join the Nigeria squad for an international friendly double-header against Australia and Switzerland. But reports claim Anichebe left the team hotel in London on Wednesday, citing his recent hand injury. Emeka Ezeala, a representative of Nigeria team boss Berti Vogts, was unhappy with the explanation. “Berti and I watched him play with the hand against Nuremberg in a UEFA Cup game two weeks ago,” he said.
“He also played against Chelsea with the bandage on. “So, why is he dodging to play?” Anichebe has still not played for the country of his birth, after failing to turn up for a friendly against Uganda last summer following a travel mix-up. Blues striker Yakubu is also likely to miss the friendly at Craven Cottage, complaining of a thigh strain. With Australia’s Tim Cahill also resting a number of bumps and bruises, Everton will have no representative in the match, while James Vaughan has pulled out of the England under-21 squad for their matches with Bulgaria and Portugal.
Joleon Lescott will be involved for England tonight, however. The Blues defender will win his third international cap in Austria, but his first in his preferred position of centre-back. Lescott made his international debut as a substitute against Estonia, initially coming on at centre-back but then immediately switching to left-back following an injury to Ashley Cole. He kept that position for the damaging defeat in Russia, but will finally start on centre-stage in Vienna tonight. He said: “After the Russia game I was a bit disappointed with my performance and obviously the result was not what we wanted. I just hoped I could be in the next squad and be involved again. “Playing at full-back means you can get forward a lot more but I am a centre-half. I am happy to play at left-back whenever I’m needed but I’d like to think I’d be a centre-half in the future. That’s where I see my career, playing there. “Playing left-back means I can get forward a bit more than I would do at centre-half. I like to be part of the team going forward but I have to do my duties defensively.
“With the likes of Mikel, Steven and Ossie playing, I can give them the ball and let them get on with it. I don’t have to run with the ball, which I don’t like to do that often. “But if going forward helps the team, then I’m happy to do that.”
Howard Kendall: Late goals show Blues’ self-belief
Nov 16 2007 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IF all football matches finished after 90 minutes, Everton would be three points worse off in the last week alone. And that would make a huge difference to their place in the Premier League table. But that doesn’t tell me that Everton are a fitter side than Birmingham or Chelsea, it’s more a tribute to the attitude of the players in terms of refusing to accept they are beaten or have dropped a couple of points. Liverpool used to have a reputation for scoring late goals, and when you’ve done it more than once, it increases the self belief in the players that they can do it again – as well as planting seeds of doubt in opposition minds. Everton are fast developing that kind of reputation themselves. As David Moyes recalled, there was a season recently when Everton seemed to score lots of late goals – and this season they can talk about very late goals at Bolton, Kharkiv, Newcastle, Nuremburg and Sheffield Wednesday, not to mention the home game against Larissa and those last two matches. There’s no better way to win a football match. Everyone goes home delighted – and it’s even better for the manager when a tactical change has brought about the late goal. I took great satisfaction from a switch I made at Luton Town in the FA Cup when we trailed 2-0.
I brought on Adrian Heath and asked Kevin Richardson to do two jobs down the left, because Luton weren’t playing with a right-sided player. We salvaged a draw and won the replay. But it doesn’t always work out. I also took Gary Stevens off at Wembley in the 1986 FA Cup final and that didn’t work. But the changes David Moyes is making at the moment are all paying off and that’s giving the players greater and greater self-belief.
David Prentice: Why travelling fans are forced to play it cool
Nov 16 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE assembled gathering at Liverpool’s Odeon cinema laughed out loud at the image.
It was a lone Evertonian on the front row of the Kop, celebrating a Kevin Campbell matchwinner like a cartoon character putting out a fire with his feet. He was supposed to be playing with fire literally as well as metaphorically, which is why the audience at the premiere of Everton’s official history found it so funny. But was his well-being really in any real danger? It didn’t appear so. The fan was left to celebrate.
He wasn’t punched, bombarded with missiles or dragged out by stewards after ‘outraged’ home fans had demanded his ejection. It was the same when two Grimsby Town supporters almost exploded with joy in the last minute of the most one-sided League Cup tie I’ve ever had the misfortune to witness at Goodison Park.
Grimsby won 1-0 with their first and only shot on target in the 93rd minute, and the two fans hollered “We deserved that!” The Blues fans smiled at each other, murmured “yeah, right” and trudged home. But that was then. The ‘now’ is more likely to be the experience the Liverpool fans who had the temerity to celebrate Yossi Benayoun’s JJB Stadium matchwinner this season endured. They were viciously assaulted by some of the knuckle-dragging, single brain celled pond life who watch Wigan.
But people can change. Germany is still beset by football hooliganism. But the Everton fans who travelled to Nuremburg last week only had tales of fraternal bonding to share. UEFA’s incomprehensible decision to declare the tie “high risk” was laughed at by the Evertonians and the Germans, who then laughed some more, and some more – and carried on laughing as they sank stein after stein of wonderful German lager. Which is fine while everyone is happily anticipating an important UEFA Cup tie. The true test came when Everton scored a late and, in German eyes, controversial penalty kick – and the Evertonian hordes in every section of the easyCredit-Stadion went, in terrace-parlance, just a little bit mental.
According to When Skies Are Grey website columnist Mark O’Brien: “The most serious physical threat you faced was a vigorous handshake from our Teutonic hosts.”
The reaction was no less friendly the following day. Witness the message a Bavarian cabbie offered my work colleague Paddy Shennan. “Great day for you and everyone. All friendly and no problems. We like Everton!” We do okay by away fans here on Merseyside. But it could be so much better. I hope images like the bouncing man on the Kop do not become consigned to history DVDs and ESPN classic re-runs.
Callum does a Dixie
Nov 16 2007 by Ben Turner, Liverpool Echo
TRANMERE fans are hoping their latest signing has some Dixie genes.
For its youth side has just snapped up nine-year-old Callum Hitchman – a relative of legendary striker Dixie Dean. Dixie, who played for both Tranmere and Everton, scored 60 league goals in a single season for the Toffees in 1927-28, a record never likely to be broken. And now the Prenton primary school pupil, whose great-great-grandmother was Charlotte Dean, Dixie’s sister, is hoping to carry on the family footballing tradition after successful trials with Tranmere. Callum’s proud mother Michelle said his famous great-great uncle was an inspiration. She said: “He is well aware of Dixie and has a book and pictures of him in his room and can reel off all the stats about him. “He even wears a blue Everton number 9 shirt with Dixie on his back in training. He’d like to go all the way like Dixie and has told his dad when he makes it he will buy him a Ferrari.” Callum has been playing since he was seven. He was spotted by a Tranmere Rovers scout. But it is unlikely he will get anywhere near Dixie’s scoring record as he plays in right midfield for the youth team, which play Sundays. And Michelle insists there is another trait he will definitely not copy – Dixie’s trademark Brylcreem centre parting. “No there is no way I am going to let that happen,” she added. Michelle with husband Neil and daughters Sophie, four, and Lily-Mae, three, watch his games from the touchline – often with added vocal support from his grandfather Mike Cooper. “My dad used to play for Tranmere and Everton youth teams and sometimes has to be calmed down out there,” she said.
James McFadden loving Scotland’s main his role as saviour .
Nov 17 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN James McFadden missed the team plane home from an end of season tour to Hong Kong in 2002, he was labelled a very naughty boy. Five years on, and now he’s the Messiah – McFadden’s rise from occasional Everton supersub to Scottish national hero, as surreal as any Monty Python film. While he has struggled to hold down a regular first team place at Goodison, for Scotland he will carry the weight of expectation of an entire nation into battle against Italy at tea-time tonight.
It’s not pressure he finds burdensome. “I’ve been a saviour for five years,” he shrugged at Scotland’s pre-match training base near Loch Lomond last week. “It's people's jobs to print papers and sell them but it's not going to affect me.
“I think I've got to enjoy it - it's the biggest game of my career, because of all the hype surrounding it and the fact that if we win we're going to get to the finals.” When Scotland set off on their qualification campaign last September, even the most ardent of Tartan optimists couldn’t see a way past Group B favourites France and Italy, the teams who had contested the World Cup final just months earlier. “To be honest, at the time I thought, ‘Well, I'm still 22 and I've got a chance of getting to another one after this'. You couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams that we would go into the final game still able to qualify, but we've proved over the campaign that it hasn't been a one-off,” said McFadden. “We deserve to be there. We're in with a chance and everybody is excited about it. We just have to knuckle down, get the last game out of the way and then start complaining about how many games we've had to win to get there. “At the start of the campaign even the biggest optimist wouldn't have said we were going to qualify but we're in with a chance. We believe in ourselves and, quite clearly, the whole country does, too. “There have been loads of times in the past when Scotland have experienced dramatic failures and everyone has given us a pat on the back for being gallant losers. “This time we want to be congratulated on actually achieving something. Now is the time for us to deliver.” McFadden has been delivering spectacularly for his country this season. There were stunning late goals against Lithuania and Ukraine then, of course, the feted long-range strike in Paris which saw the world cup finalists humbled in their own backyard and McFadden elevated almost to the status of Scottish sainthood. Last month, he had to sheepishly unveil a huge photograph of the goal in Hampden Park’s foyer, while the debate as to whether it was better than Archie Gemmill’s slalom past the Dutch in 1978 raged on.
“I know the importance of the (Paris) goal and the result,” he said, “but a big deal was made out of just one goal. It was good that I was down in England because I never saw much of it. “It’s crazy, it went mental. There was massive hype . . . a bit embarrassing.” Even at Everton’s training ground, however, there was no escape.
Team-mate Phil Jagielka revealed: “I think his flight was delayed after that game so he came back a little bit late. When he came into the training ground all the lads stopped their warm up and gave him a round of applause. “Hopefully this time he can pick the ball up even further out, 42 yards this time, and lash one in!” If McFadden repeats the feat against the Italians tonight, the reaction to his famous French strike will seem almost understated. “It's the biggest game of my career,” he conceded, “but it's also just a game. There's no point in building it up to the point where you start to panic or fear the game - and I'm looking forward to it. “There are times you have to be ugly in the way you play and we have that, too. That's the way Italy play sometimes.
“We know what has to happen, but if we don't qualify it's not the biggest disaster. If Italy don't qualify they're going to get slaughtered. The pressure's on them.
“But we are going into a game against the world champions believing we can beat them. “This has been the key to our success in a lot of ways. We built up our confidence, and we are playing for each other. “We believe we can qualify - and we're determined not to throw it away.”
Momo Sissoko swoop is no-go
Nov 17 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
THERE has been speculation linking Everton with Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko.
There is history between both parties. Everton slipped up in 2005 when news of their attempts to sign Sissoko became public and Liverpool nipped in to 'steal' him.
It was a loss to the Blues and Sissoko had a great first season. I suspect he can regain that form but the fact is his wages may simply be too expensive for Everton to match and also would you go back for a player who has snubbed you before?
It's difficult to see this story going any further.
David Moyes would want Victor Anichebe to pick England
Nov 17 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
IT'S been a quiet week at Everton with more than half of the first team squad away on international duty. Perhaps the most stressful time, however, will come when the African Nations Cup tournament starts in January. Everton could lose Joseph Yobo, Yakubu and Victor Anichebe, which would just about be tolerable with a 100% clean bill of health elsewhere in the squad. But if, for example, Alan Stubbs, Andy Johnson and James Vaughan were also injured, then it becomes a serious blow. During the last couple of days stories coming from the Nigerian camp suggest that Victor Anichebe is having second thoughts about his future international prospects. Playing in a friendly international would not tie him to Nigeria for the rest of his career, but taking part in the African Nations Cup undoubtedly would. I am sure David Moyes would much prefer him to go down the England road. With two key players from the spine of his team already committed, he would not want to lose a third.
UEFA Cup rivals claim the Russian league title
Nov 17 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ZENIT ST PETERSBURG come to Goodison Park early next month in the UEFA Cup, already dreaming of next season’s Champions League. And they already look like providing the Toffees’ sternest test yet. Zenit claimed the Russian league title last weekend for the first time since 1984, and boss Dick Advocaat said: “We have taken more points than anyone else and scored more goals. “We have played brilliant football in the second half of the season.” Everton, however, may have already qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Cup even before Zenit come to Merseyside. The Russians entertain Nuremburg the week before, while AZ entertain Larissa the same night (both November 29). Two home wins will ensure at least third place for the Toffees with two games still to play. The target then would be to top the group and avoid the sides which join the competition from the Champions League.
James McFadden is a maverick of a bygone age
Nov 17 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN carries the hopes of a nation into battle at Hampden Park this afternoon. In his adopted home of Merseyside, however, he merely hopes for promotion from the subs’ bench. It is a paradox he has often struggled to come to terms with; feted for his country, frustrated at his club. In his first 100 appearances for Everton, 50 have come as a substitute; he was an influential latecomer once again at Stamford Bridge last Saturday when his cross-cum-shot was deflected skywards for Tim Cahill to spectacularly bury. In 36 games for Scotland, however, McFadden has already contributed 13 goals in 36 games, a rate that puts him on course to surpass the record of 30 shared by Kenny Dalglish and Denis Law. In an interview last weekend, McFadden unwittingly pointed to the nub of the problem. “I’m not a textbook player,” he said. “Sometimes situations happen on the pitch and you try something different, you see something someone else doesn’t, but I think if you just go and be a textbook player then it’s boring.” Perhaps McFadden was simply born too late. In the Sixties and Seventies there was always space in a football team for a maverick – a player who could perform tricks other players wouldn’t consider, but who refused to fit into a regimented team formation. Players like Rodney Marsh, Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Frank Worthington and Keith Weller were largely mistrusted by international managers, but worshipped by club supporters. And Everton had more than their fair share. Alex Young won a measly two Scottish caps, but became an Everton institution; the closest Duncan McKenzie got to an England team was as part of a 50-strong get-together when Don Revie arrived as national boss with a raft of ‘revolutionary’ ideas, but Evertonians thought he was “magic.” Gary Jones, Imre Varadi and Terry Curran also enjoyed fleeting moments in the spotlight.
But ever since Peter Beagrie – memorably described as “the archetypal blue-assed fly” – buzzed off to Bradford, mavericks have been in short supply at Goodison Park.
It’s a league-wide scarcity – certainly in the top flight. Wonderfully skilful individuals like Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry, also have to be physically imposing athletes. Compared to emerging powerpacks like Victor Anichebe and James Vaughan, McFadden seems physically flimsy in comparison, a throwback to an era when technique was prized more than power and pace. Lee Trundle is still bravely flying the flag for the mavericks outside the top flight at Bristol City, but he is one of a dying breed. James McFadden has the potential to buck that trend, but it’s just a little sad that the modern pace, physique and fitness obsessed Premier League can’t find space for extravagantly talented individuals like James McFadden.
ARTETA ADMITS ATLETICO DREAM
17th November 2007 Daily Star
Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta has admitted he "would love" to play for Atletico Madrid one day. Arteta, who joined the Toffees from Real Sociedad for around £2million two years ago, has become a key figure at Goodison Park but has conceded he sees himself returning to Spain at some point. The 25-year-old, who has also played for Paris St Germain and Rangers, told The Sun: "One day I will end up at Atletico. It's a club I like and I would love to play there." He added: "In football things start and end when one least expects them. If somebody had told me at the start of my career that I would have played in four different countries, I would have thought he was crazy."
Alan Irvine set to become Preston manager
Nov 19 2007 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALAN IRVINE is on the verge of being named Preston North End's new manager.
Though the move has still to be rubber-stamped, it is understood that Irvine will end his five-and-a-half year spell as David Moyes' assistant later today and take over the job vacated by Paul Simpson. Former Burnley boss Steve Cotterill and MK Dons manager Paul Ince were thought to be in the running to replace Simpson, who was sacked after 17 months in charge last week, along with Mike Newell and Paul Jewell.
But Scot Irvine is the man who is expected to be handed the role. Irvine made 80 appearances for the Blues as a player in the mid-1980s and was director of Newcastle United's Academy before he returned to Goodison Park when Moyes arrived from Deepdale. He had previously worked with Kenny Dalglish at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle. A hugely popular figure among Everton's players, Irvine has rarely been in the spotlight but has fufilled an important role alongside Moyes in helping transform the Blues’ fortunes and - provided a deal is signed - few will miss the 49-year-old Glaswegian more at Goodison than the manager. Irvine recently outlined his ambitions to move into first team management in an interview with the club's official magazine, the Evertonian, but at the same time stressed it would be a wrench to leave the club.
Nigeria's plans rock David Moyes
Nov 19 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been rocked by the news Nigeria intend to claim their international players for a fortnight before next January's African Nations Cup tournament.
That means influential figures like Joseph Yobo, Aiyegbeni Yakubu and possibly Victor Anichebe must report for international duty on January 4 – and could be missing for up to six weeks. They would miss the FA Cup third round, as well as possibly five significant Premier League fixtures. “That is the way that things have to be and there will be no exceptions,” said Nigeria boss Berti Vogts.
“There will be a two-week training camp and all the players will be there.
“They will not be allowed to arrive later.” Vogts was speaking after Nigeria’s 1-0 defeat by Australia at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Nigeria fans in the 12,000 crowd were dismayed by the withdrawal of players like Yakubu, Portsmouth’s Nwankwo Kanu and Chelsea’s Jon Obi Mikel. “I know some people say they were not injured but that is not true,” Vogts said. “Maybe if the African Cup of Nations was played in the summer we would not have all these problems.” Everton striker Anichebe, however, must convince Vogts of his desire to represent Nigeria, after pulling out of the squad on Saturday. Vogts was in the stands when Anichebe produced a super-sub’s performance in Everton’s 2-0 UEFA Cup win in Nuremburg. But the Lagos-born striker left the Nigerian team hotel on Wednesday citing a broken hand.
“Victor Anichebe is not with us today, he has a problem with his hand,” Vogts said. “He will go back to his club and we will see what will happen in the future.
“It is not easy to play for our front-line. We have many good players like (John) Utaka, Kanu, (Obafemi) Martins and Yakubu. “It will be very difficult for Victor. You have to have a lot of quality to be picked ahead of these players.” Anichebe had been courted by England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce, but declared his intention to pursue an international career with Nigeria. Everton would much prefer Anichebe to chase the England option, but have resisted the temptation to influence any decision.
Finch Farm is why I signed my new five year deal - Andrew Johnson
Nov 19 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FINCH FARM. It sounds like a quaint holiday destination for the Famous Five; the kind of place Julian would park his bike, stride up to the resident farmer and demand fresh ham, ripe tomatoes and lashings of ginger beer. It’s actually a state of the art £14m training complex which Everton now call home. Everton players completed their final training session at Bellefield on Tuesday, October 9, watched the UEFA Cup draw on a TV screen in the old fashioned canteen, then left for the last time. There was no ceremony, no emotional farewell. The doors were locked and the next day footballers tuned in their sat navs to Halewood rather than West Derby.
The differences on arrival were instantly apparent. Where Bellefield was tucked away between two semi-detached houses in a busy West Derby street, Norman the doorman (yes really) monitoring the hordes of autograph hunters who would block the narrow drive, Finch Farm is surrounded by wide open fields, neighboured by an RSPCA centre and is entered via the kind of barrier favoured by Cold War checkpoints (blue and white naturally). The entrance foyer is undeniably modern. On your right at Bellefield a small plaque denoted the official opening of the facility in 1966. Turn right as you enter Finch Farm and there is a wall-mounted plasma TV screen, tuned in to Sky Sports News, naturally. But there are some similarities. “It’s strange to say it, but it still feels like Bellefield,” said a club insider. “Everyone’s still on top of each other so there’s a nice intimacy about the place, but it’s incredibly modern.”
It also houses, for the first time, the senior squad and the entire Academy set-up which had previously been situated in Netherton. Everton CEO Keith Wyness is justifiably proud. “We’re proud of the facility we now have at Finch Farm,” he declared.
“Bellefield was ground-breaking when it was developed in the 1960s but times have changed and, in this modern era, it was vitally important to ensure we had the very finest training complex for the first team. “To also find a site big enough to house the Academy means Finch Farm is the perfect location. “Being able to have the stars of tomorrow training at the same base as the current first team squad will help improve the development of our future players and prove a major draw for potential new signings. “Everton has always been a club intent on innovation and moving forward. Being able to now boast one of the most advanced training facilities in world football maintains that tradition and further underlines our determination to continue the great progress made on and off the field in recent seasons.” Development of the site took 150 weeks including pitch construction and landscaping. It was a massive undertaking, with 69,000 ceramic tiles, 68,000 concrete blocks, 4,376 carpet tiles, 550 tins of paint, 265 tonnes of steel and 1,400 cubic metres of concrete used on a building that boasts 6,410 square metres of space. Player reaction has been favourable, Andy Johnson even attributing the new complex as a reason for signing a new five-year contract last week. “The club is going in the right direction,” he said. “The players we have brought in go to show that and Finch Farm is a fantastic place.
“It is a top, top place and a great place to work and that is the reason I put pen-to-paper.” Don’t scoff. In the 1960s Harry Catterick only had to show potential signings around Bellefield to convince them to turn their heads away from Leeds or Liverpool and sign for the Blues. When Howard Kendall tried a similar tactic with Fabrizio Ravanelli in 1997, however, the Italian was less impressed. Everton’s current manager, David Moyes, is more than satisfied, but predictably still wants improvements before he starts to conduct guided tours of the complex.
“We have settled in quite well. There is lots still to be done. But it is functional and it looks a good facility,” he said. “It shows the signs Everton are making progress. We are determined to bring ourselves up to date with all the things the players require, and it is certainly good. “Most clubs have got the facilities so we had to get it. We aren’t doing anything anyone else hasn’t done already. We are getting to the situation where we have a facility we can be proud of and one which will, in time, become even better.” Tim Cahill actually enjoyed a sneak preview of the complex, using the weight training gym while he recuperated from a broken foot. “I spent a few weeks at Finch Farm before the lads came up, using the all facilities,” he added. “It really is different class. It’s unbelievable. I enjoy doing weights and swimming but the facilities do make a difference. Bellefield has got history and I appreciate that. “But when you go to somewhere new and try the state of the art equipment, I think it’s amazing.
“ It was a bit lonely there with just me and Matt Connery (reserve team physio) but I’m excited to train there. It just gives you an idea where Everton are going.”
I'll soldier on for Ireland vows Lee Carsley
Nov 19 2007 by Ian Parkes, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY has no regrets over his Republic of Ireland comeback, despite their failure to reach next summer’s European Championship finals. Everton midfielder Carsley retired from international football in 2003 as he chose to focus on his club and family at the time. It also came at an inauspicious time as the Republic had just been embarrassingly hammered 5-2 in Cyprus. But the 33-year-old has proven to be an invaluable member of the squad, starting every qualifying game since then.
Although a new manager is due to be appointed after the sacking of Steve Staunton last month, Carsley said: “I’ll definitely soldier on because I’m enjoying my football.
“Although it’s not been a successful campaign for us, I’ve enjoyed playing.
“I know I returned on a sour note as the team had just been beaten by Cyprus, but I feel I’ve done well since, so it’s turned out to be the right decision. “It now doesn’t matter who comes in, I’m going to keep going. “I feel it is important the senior lads stick together and we try to lead the young ones coming through.” Carsley also feels it is vital the Football Association of Ireland act quickly in finding Staunton’s replacement. The sooner we can now get a manager in and start moving forward, the better,” added Carsley following Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Wales in Ireland’s final Group D qualifier. “We’ve turned a corner, we’ve put this campaign to bed, and we can build for the future. “There are a lot of people who want the job. It’s a fantastic job, and you can see why there are top people being mentioned.” Carsley, though, concedes he and his Ireland team-mates “are glad to see the back of this campaign,” a point emphasised by midfield team-mate Andy Reid. “We can wipe the slate clean now,” said Reid. “We’ll get our heads down, work hard and then look forward to hopefully qualifying for the next World Cup.”
COLE FIRES UP FOR EVERTON
20th November 2007 Daily Star
By Ian Murtagh
ANDY Cole is ready to launch his Premier League comeback for Sunderland at Everton this weekend. The 36-year-old will play in a behind-closed-doors friendly for the Black Cats against Chesterfield today. And if he comes through that, he’s in line to face David Moyes’ side at Goodison Park. Cole hasn’t played a top-flight game since his last appearance for Portsmouth, a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Chelsea on March 3. And although he found the net for Birmingham in the Championship during a loan spell there last term and chalked up an FA Cup goal for Pompey in January, Cole is still looking for his first Premier League goal of 2007.
His last was at Bolton on December 30 last year, taking his tally to 188, second in the all-time Premier League list behind Alan Shearer. And while the now-retired Shearer is way out in front on 260, Cole is well clear in second place. Of those still playing in the Premier League, Michael Owen on 129 and his Sunderland team-mate Dwight Yorke, on 122, are closest. Cole has been plagued by injuries since linking up with his former Man-chester United team-mate Roy Keane at the Stadium of Light but, after playing in a testimonial at Falkirk last week, he is now fully fit. And Keane believes Cole’s penalty box experience is just what goal-shy Sunderland need right now. Black Cats boss Keane said: “We brought him to the club because he has what we’ve been missing – the ability to take his chances when they come along.
“I have worked with him before and know what he is all about. “We have a lot of young players and maybe I have underestimated the lack of experience we’ve got.
“We haven’t been streetwise enough and Andrew will bring that to the side.
“It’s not just what he adds in terms of quality, it’s what he can give to Kenwyne Jones and Michael Chopra.”
IRVINE SET FOR PRESTON SWITCH
20th November 2007 Daily Star
Preston have agreed a compensation package with Everton for the release of Toffees assistant manager Alan Irvine. The 49-year-old Scot will be unveiled as North End's new manager at a press conference later today after signing a three-and-a-half year deal at Deepdale to replace Paul Simpson, who was sacked last week. Preston chairman Derek Shaw said: "We are very pleased that Alan will be joining us, he's ready to have a crack at management." He added: "He's got a reputation of being a top notch coach, his work ethic is amazing, he's worked with (Everton boss) David Moyes and I know the amount of games they take in, you see them all over the country. "David Moyes and Alan Irvine have set high standards at Everton and I'm pretty sure that Alan will continue to maintain those high standards at Deepdale."
James McCarten opens way for U18s
Nov 20 2007
by Chris Wright, Liverpool Daily Post
TWO second-half goals from James McCarten and Kieran Agard helped Everton under-18s stay level on points with Manchester City at the top of the North West section of the Premier Academy League as they beat Manchester United 2-0 on Saturday. Neil Dewsnip’s side have still lost just once – to Manchester City – this season and continue in fine form. On Saturday there was little to choose between the sides before half-time although, Everton’s Norwegian keeper Lars Stubhaug produced two good saves following corners to deny United. But Everton took the lead on 55 minutes when centre-back McCarten fired home a superb 25-yard free-kick. Dewsnip’s youngsters effectively sealed the three points soon after. England youth international Jack Rodwell broke through the middle before putting Agard and London-born forward produced a typically clinical finish to make it 2-0 and secure their 10th win. Dewsnip said: “It was probably the best we have done all year. We were very, very good. It was a close game until we scored with a smashing free-kick from James McCarten – a great strike. Then we were well on top for the rest of the game. “We had chances to score more goals and up until the last five minutes when they came back at us we were very comfortable. “It was an outstanding all-round performance and I am very pleased. The lads were very determined and very mature in their efforts.” Everton are not in action this Saturday as there is an in-service weekend when Academy League coaches and staff around the country can attend training courses. Next up is a trip to Bolton on Saturday, December 1. Dewsnip said: “It is a bit of a shame not to be playing for two weeks, because when you are playing as well as we are, the games can’t come quick enough. “But it will be nice for them to catch their breath. They have worked really hard so far. It gives us a chance to assess the situation, get prepared and ready, raring to go again in a couple of weeks.” Meanwhile Everton will be start their FA Youth Cup campaign at Goodison Park when they take on Bristol City in the third round on or before Saturday, December 15.
EVERTON U18s: Stubhaug; Stewart, McCarten, Sinnott, Barnett; Redmond, McCready, Rodwell, O’Kane; Agard (Akpan 80), Codling. Subs: Powell, Spencer.
Everton hunt new deputy as Alan Irvine set to become Preston boss
Nov 20 2007
EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
BRIAN KIDD and Steve Round head the list of contenders to become Everton’s new number two as Alan Irvine was today preparing to begin life as Preston manager. After five-and-a-half years as David Moyes’ assistant, Irvine is expected to quit Goodison Park and will then be formally announced as the new man in charge at Deepdale, succeeding Paul Simpson. A popular figure among the players, Irvine had played an important role alongside Moyes during his second spell on Merseyside – he had previously enjoyed a successful stint at the club as a player – and his loss will be keenly felt. However, moves are already under way to ensure a successor will be quickly appointed, as Everton will begin another hectic run of fixtures following the latest international break – and Kidd and Round have been identified as the top targets. Kidd – who had a spell at Goodison Park during his successful playing career in 1979 – is currently working with Bryan Robson at Sheffield United and the Blades would not encourage any approach for his services. But a possible return to Merseyside could be too strong a lure for Kidd, who was responsible for helping develop players such as Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Everton captain Phil Neville during his time with Manchester United. The 58-year-old is vastly experienced and has been a manager in his own right at Preston and Blackburn Rovers. He has returned to work in fine health after having surgery for prostate cancer in 2004. Round, meanwhile, might be lesser known but has a good reputation within the game and is currently working with Sam Allardyce at Newcastle.
He started his coaching career alongside Jim Smith at Derby after a knee injury forced his premature retirement before moving to Middlesbrough with Steve McClaren in 2001. Round followed him on to the England staff. The vast majority of Everton’s squad returned to training today as preparations started for their next Premier League fixture against Sunderland this weekend, including Victor Anichebe, who missed Nigeria’s friendly with Australia last Saturday. Super Eagles head coach Berti Vogts had expressed his surprise that Anichebe pulled out of that squad but the young striker, who has been playing with a broken bone in his hand, was eager to clear the situation up. “Having felt a reaction in my hand after playing against Nuremberg and Chelsea it was clear to me and the medical team at Everton that I need to give it some time otherwise there was the potential for some long term damage,” he said. “The break for the international matches presented me with that opportunity and having talked it through I decided it would better long term if I did not make myself available for the match against Australia.”
Nigel Martyn: Moyes faces headache every manager wants
Nov 20 2007 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will soon be faced with the kind of headache all managers crave.
Provided the players who have been away on international duty return without problem, Everton’s squad should be at full strength for Saturday’s visit of Sunderland and that, inevitably, means there are going to be a few disappointed souls.
The manager won’t shy away from any decisions and if anyone wants to speak to him, his door will always be open. He’s probably bracing himself for the first queries as there are 18 lads who think they should be starting. The one good thing about that, though, is it should raise standards, which hopefully will be more than enough to see off Sunderland. From what I have seen of Sunderland so far, they should be good enough to stay up. It’s no surprise that with a manager like Roy Keane, they do not lack fighting spirit, and they are also well organised. They will make things difficult at Goodison. I remember watching Roy’s first game in charge of Sunderland against Leeds and his side were fantastic. He achieved a tremendous amount in the game and that can only be inspirational for young players in the squad and a few of the senior players, too. There is only so far a reputation goes, however, and sooner or later, he is going to have to inspire his players on the training ground. It will be interesting to see how he fares on Saturday but our only concern at the minute is making sure the good run we had before the international break continues. If I’m honest, this break came at just the right time and everyone will return fresh and ready for the next challenges that await – the fixtures between now and Christmas show there is no let up whatsoever.
A win this weekend is absolutely vital – and given the players who are straining for a chance, I’d be very surprised if it is not forthcoming.
People think footballers are too thick to write
Nov 20 2007 by Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
Paddy Shennan speaks to former Everton star Martin Dobson who’s just made another eagerly-awaited debut – this time as a novelist. HE was the elegant and cultured Everton midfielder who helped bring style and panache to the Goodison Park School of Science in the mid-to-late 1970s. But a new life has just begun, at the age of 59, for Martin Dobson, who is celebrating making a debut of a different kind – as a novelist.
Forget the ghostwritten, ten-a-penny “autobiographies” so favoured by modern-day professionals not long out of nappies, Ultimate Goals! Wembley Dream for Jake & Ricky, is a work of fiction aimed at 13-year-olds and over – and a labour of love.
Now living in Horwich, near Bolton, Blackburn-born and Rishton-raised Martin, or Dobbo to his friends and former teammates, is a breath of fresh air to interview, because he’s a breath of fresh air as an individual (not least one involved in the often cynical world of football). Cheerful, enthusiastic and optimistic, you might think he has every right not to be – despite winning five caps for England and playing 190 times for Everton between 1974 and 1978 (in between two spells at Burnley, totalling 410 games), he’s still paying off his mortgage. He’s currently holding down two jobs: as well as his scouting for Championship side Ipswich Town, which pays expenses and a small retainer, he recently began working, for 22 hours a week or more, for the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which sees him interviewing people in their own homes. Then, three years ago, he began work on his first book: “I was talking to my wife, Carole, and told her I’d like to write a novel. I’d been doing some articles for the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and the idea developed from there. “I had all sorts of ideas and Carole just said ‘Write the first 1,000 words and you’ll be on your way.’” But not everyone had as much faith in the father-of-four and grandfather-of-five. He recalls: “My daughter, Helen, and son-in-law were in a health club in Burnley when this bloke, who didn’t know who they were, said to no one in particular ‘What about Dobbo writing a book? He must have got one of those ghostwriters because all footballers are thick, aren’t they?’ “Then he said ‘If a ghostwriter hasn’t written it, then his wife would have done – because she’s got a brain!’ Then he asked why they were laughing and Helen told him who she was and said ‘I can tell you Dobbo wrote every word . . . and it took him three years’. The bloke then left, very quickly!”
Martin’s lovingly-crafted book – “Writing it was exciting, challenging and, at times, frustrating as I found myself deliberating over every single word” – follows the progress of two teenagers from different backgrounds who, by the end of the book, find themselves on opposite sides in an FA Cup Final. Along the way, there is injury and rejection, which Martin experienced, and drugs and domestic violence – which the writer researched by reading and talking to counsellors and other health professionals. “I put in a lot of graft, but it was worth it because I learned a lot,” says Martin. Will there be a sequel? There could be, says the author – but only if the first is a success. Even if it isn’t, I can’t imagine Martin being downcast for long. He’ll probably just put his heart and soul into something else – whatever the financial rewards, or lack of them. However big the mountains of money earned by today’s top footballers, Dobbo is convinced that they will all need to do SOMETHING when they retire from the game, even if it’s only for their peace of mind. He explains: “Today’s footballers might earn lots more money – and good luck to them – but they are all competitive individuals with ability who will feel they have to do something when they finish playing – doing nothing will drive them barmy. “Working is good for your soul, self-esteem and confidence, and it keeps your brain ticking over.”
As well as being in love with life, Dobbo is still in love with football. Read the following quote and ask yourself how many of today’s stars might say something similar in 30 years time . . . “I love watching football and you pick up something from every game you see. I went to Everton Reserves v Newcastle Reserves in Widnes last week and everyone made me feel so welcome. I’d not eaten all day but they had this lovely urn of vegetable soup, which was fantastic – the best I’ve ever had.”
Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the vast majority of today’s high-profile players will be waxing lyrical about reserve games – and vegetable soup – long after they’ve retired. Or not. Of his own time at Everton, and the years since, he says: “The Evertonians are so passionate about their team and they gave me fantastic support. I feel proud to have played for such a special club – and to still be appreciated and welcomed back all these years on is just wonderful.” Ultimate Goals! Wembley Dream For Jake and Ricky (SportsBooks Ltd, £6.99) is in the shops. Or buy from www.sportsbooks.ltd.uk
Alan Irvine: Leaving Everton was a 'massive wrench'
Nov 21 2007
By Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
ALAN IRVINE admits it was a "massive wrench" to leave Everton – as Steve Round and Brian Kidd emerged as leading contenders to replace the departed assistant manager. Irvine was officially unveiled as the new manager of Preston North End yesterday after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Coca-Cola Championship club. The 49-year-old spent five- and-half years at Goodison during his second spell at the club – Irvine enjoyed a successful period as a player in the 1980s – having arrived from Newcastle United in March 2002 as assistant manager to David Moyes. Everton have agreed an undisclosed compensation package with Preston after granting permission for the Deepdale outfit to hold talks with Irvine as they sought a successor to the sacked Paul Simpson. And while conceding it would have been easy to remain at Everton, Irvine explained the offer of a first crack at management was simply too good to turn down despite Preston struggling in 21st place in the Championship. "It was a very difficult decision," he said. "I’ve had a fantastic time at Everton, they are a great club. I’ve loved working the David over the years and rest of the staff and the players. It’s a club that is dear to my heart. "It’s a massive wrench to leave, but I feel as if I don’t take this opportunity to move into management then I might never do it. "In terms of the timing of leaving, it’s certainly not a good time given how well things are going at Everton right now. The easy decision for me would be to stay where I was, in what by Premier League standards was a very secure job.
"Some people might think it is a daft decision and ask why on earth I’d take such a risk coming to Preston. But I believe I can do the job in getting the team up the league and if I didn’t take this opportunity then I would regret it." A popular figure among the players, Irvine has performed a key role in helping revitalise Everton’s fortunes working with Moyes, and believes he has left a team on the up. "It’s a very exciting time at Everton, in the quarter- finals of the Carling Cup, in a great position to progress in the UEFA Cup and in a decent position in the league," said Irvine. "I think the club have made steady progress over the five years, and there is a good team at Everton now. Who knows, maybe one day I will be back at Everton again. I will find a way of getting back there to say goodbye to everyone. I would like to thank David Moyes and everyone at Everton for what they have given me over the last five years." Irvine’s coaching career started at Blackburn Rovers where he ran the academy, moving on to a similar position at Newcastle before becoming number two to Moyes at Goodison Park. And the Scot reveals he was urged to accept the challenge at Preston by Moyes, himself a former manager of the Lilywhites. "It was an opportunity that was presented to me by David," added Irvine. "He has been a massive influence in me coming here, which is a bit strange considering he was getting rid of his number two. "But that’s a mark of the man, really. David said he definitely didn’t want me to leave but that he wouldn’t stand in my way if this was the thing that I wanted. He felt it was a great opportunity for me. "He knows that it’s something that I have to do at some point, and if he’d have stopped me now he’d have probably felt quite bad about that." Moyes had warm words of praise for Irvine, and said: "I would like to thank Alan for all the hard work he has done here at Everton and for all the help he has given me during the last five years."I have enjoyed working with him very much and he goes with my blessing to Preston North End where I hope he will be successful." Moyes will now look to move quickly to replace his departed assistant, with the highly-experienced duo of Round and Kidd high on his wanted list. Round worked as England manager Steve McClaren’s number two at Middlesbrough and is now part of the coaching staff with the national team. He and stayed on at Middlesbrough when McClaren took over the England job but was axed by Gareth Southgate during a backroom reshuffle midway through last season, subsequently joining Sam Allardyce’s coaching set-up at Newcastle United in the summer. Another candidate is former Everton player Kidd, who is currently working with Bryan Robson at Sheffield United. EVERTON’S Youth Cup third round tie against Bristol City will take place on Tuesday, December 11 at Goodison Park, kick-off 7pm.
Alan Irvine: I’m leaving a truly special club
Nov 21 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HOW deep the irony. When Alan Irvine spoke last week about Everton’s management team bracing themselves to make big decisions, he could not have predicted what was around the corner. While he had been anticipating headaches caused by the return to fitness of key players such as Mikel Arteta, James Vaughan and Andrew Johnson, Irvine’s world was turned upside down last Friday evening by an approach out of the blue from Preston North End. As he had never contemplated leaving his post as David Moyes’ second in command, it is little wonder this most affable Scot endured a troubled weekend, running a number of scenarios around his mind. Should he stay or should he go? Irvine could, quite easily, have spent the remainder of his career working alongside Moyes but the chance to become a manager – eventually – proved impossible to turn down. It was, though, the biggest dilemma with which Irvine has wrestled since he hung up his boots and moved into coaching and, in the ruthless world of football management, there is no guarantee it will prove to be the right one. But given his enthusiasm, determination and meticulous attention to detail, Irvine has much in his favour as he attempts to prove able deputies can make the step up and many will be willing the 49-year-old to succeed. It will, however, take time for him to adjust. “It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave Everton and not something you do lightly,” said Irvine. In fact, I don’t suppose I could really have picked a worse time to be going, given the way the club is at the minute. “Though I’m excited, it is still a huge wrench to be leaving. It’s not something I thought would ever happen. I’ve tossed the decision around in my mind long and hard for the past few days, as Everton is a club that is so close to my heart. “I wasn’t looking to leave but this was such a great opportunity that I really couldn’t turn it down. I was asked the question of whether I’d like to be a manager a couple of weeks ago and said one day I hoped it would happen. “I never envisaged that it would come around so quickly. Basically, I thought if I turned this down, I might end up regretting it for the rest of my life. If I had turned it down, I would never have felt right. But who knows? I may end up regretting leaving Everton. “The progress being made is terrific – quarter-finals of the Carling Cup, doing well in the UEFA Cup and ticking along nicely in the league. There are certainly bitter sweet emotions now I am leaving. But, as I’ve said, this is a terrific opportunity.” Aside from his time on the coaching staff, Irvine also experienced the highs of being an Everton player in the mid 1980s, making 80 appearances before he moved to Crystal Palace and, listening to him speak, it’s clear that a big part of him will forever be Blue. “There were so many highlights,” said Irvine, who enjoyed huge popularity with players and staff alike. Qualifying for the UEFA Cup, wins over Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal, walking around the pitch at the end of a season was always a very highly charged occasion. “If I had to pick out one, though, it would undoubtedly be finishing in fourth place three years ago. Everyone knows how difficult it is to do that nowadays and what we achieved then was magnificent. “It may sound corny but there is honestly something so special about Everton. Once you have been at the club, no matter how long your stay was, it never leaves you and that is certainly how it will be for me. I loved every minute of my time.” Moyes, not surprisingly, was the first person Preston chairman Derek Shaw turned to for a reference when he inquired about Irvine and while his glowing appraisal means they now go their separate ways, they are sure to remain in regular contact. “David played a part and for that I am very thankful,” said Irvine. “He didn’t want me to go but he had told me there was approach and did not intend to stand in my way if I wanted to take it. He did not need to do that but he is a man of principle.
“He has given me countless pieces of advice and we have parted on great terms. I thanked him for everything he has done for me and he was the same. I’ve had so many messages from people at the club that it makes you feel very humbled.”
Having said his goodbyes to all at Finch Farm, Irvine ’s focus is now leading Preston away from trouble, starting against Charlton on Saturday, and fingers will be crossed that he makes the best possible start.
“They have been close to getting in to the Premier League and were top of the Championship last Christmas,” he said. “Getting results have been a problem this time around and that’s something we are going to have to put right.
“I think we are going to need another 38 points to be safe and that will be a real challenge but it’s one that I am looking forward to. Preston have a great tradition and hopefully we can have some good times here.”
New hope to keep Everton FC in Liverpool
Nov 21 2007
EXCLUSIVE by Greg, O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
HOPES rose today for the campaign to keep Everton in the city of Liverpool. The Northwest Development Agency will conduct a study into the benefits of keeping Everton FC in the city boundary. The agency, which hands out government cash to boost regeneration in the region, was asked to examine the economic benefits of Everton FC building its new stadium in Liverpool, rather than neighbouring borough Knowsley. Today council leader Warren Bradley described it as a positive step and said he wants the study to examine a number of sites for keeping Everton in the city boundary. Cllr Bradley wrote to the NWDA and Tesco, who have signed a deal with Everton and Knowsley council to build a stadium complex in Kirkby, asking them to take part. He said: "A copy of the NWDA letter has gone back to Everton and I will be speaking to the club sooner rather than later. "We've wanted to establish a line of funding on one particular site. But that dialogue has got to take place. "The bridegroom and all his family are waiting for the bride – and the bride is Everton. "This is a positive step which could have obvious economic benefits for the city of Liverpool. "There has been too much talking about this. It's about time for hard evidence to be put forward. "The council has got to be integral. We would appoint officers to oversee it because what's good for Liverpool FC is good for Everton. "The council is willing to put support into this through planning and highways." An Everton FC spokesman said: "Despite the fact that we have been in an exclusivity agreement with Knowsley council for some time, Liverpool city council has always been free to come forward and go public with what they believe to be a deliverable alternative. "In terms of a viable site with a workable business plan this has so far not happened." "We have been given a mandate by our supporters and are continuing negotiations with Knowsley and Tesco about the possibility of relocating to Kirkby." A spokesman for the Northwest Development Agency said: "We are talking with the council to identify potential sites for Everton FC within the city of Liverpool." A spokesman for campaign group Keep Everton In Our City (KEIOC) said: "We are encouraged by this news. "Despite recent reports to the contrary, the world’s leading stadia architects confirm that a stadium suitable for the future needs of Everton FC can be built on the Scotland Road Gateway site." "This or a redeveloped Goodison Park must be investigated, it is essential that Everton remain a big club in a big city."
Everton handed just 1,200 tickets for AZ Alkmaar clash
Nov 21 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans face another scramble for tickets for their final UEFA Cup group match in Holland next month, after the Blues received an allocation of just 1,200.
More than 5,000 fans were estimated to have travelled to Nuremburg earlier this month, for a match Everton received less than 3,000 tickets for. But the Blues will receive less than half that number for the match in Holland on December 20.
Everton have requested more tickets, but have been told that because of the 17,000 capacity of Alkmaar’s DSB Stadion that will not be possible. Under UEFA rules home clubs have to grant their visitors at least five per cent of their capacity. The 1,200 tickets Everton have received represent a slightly larger share of just over seven per cent. The club is issuing a ballot process for fans wishing to travel. Full details can be found on page 56.
Blues UEFA Cup tickets
Nov 21 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been allocated 1,200 tickets for their final UEFA Cup Group A match against AZ Alkmaar on December 20.
Due to the scarcity of tickets EFC will operate a ballot process based on the eligibility criteria below:
* Group 1 Season Ticket Holders who purchased tickets via EFC/ Everton Travel for Metalist AND FC Nuremberg AND 8 or more away games from 2007/08.
* Group 2 Season Ticket Holders who purchased tickets via EFC/ Everton Travel for Metalist AND FC Nuremberg AND 7 or more away games from 2007/08.
* Group 3 Season Ticket Holders who purchased tickets via EFC/ Everton Travel for Metalist AND FC Nuremberg AND 6 or more away games from 2007/08.
* Group 4 Season Ticket Holders who purchased tickets via EFC/ Everton Travel for Metalist AND FC Nuremberg AND 5 or more away games from 2007/08.
* Group 5 Season Ticket Holders who purchased tickets via EFC/ Everton Travel for Metalist AND FC Nuremberg AND 4 or more away games from 2007/08.
Supporters are invited to apply ONLY in writing via post, fax or web at evertonfc.com/alkmaar to the Box Office by 5pm on Wednesday, November 28. Tickets are priced £18. Any applications received after this time will be null and void and excluded from the ballot. In the first instance, only those supporters from Group 1 will be balloted. If tickets remain, a further ballot will be conducted on supporters from Group 2. If tickets still remain, then Group 3 etc. until all tickets are allocated. Supporters successful will be notified on December 3. All applications must be accompanied by a customer number, name, address, date of birth, daytime telephone number and if possible an email address. There is NO requirement for fans to produce travel documentation. Executive members will also be invited to enter a ballot, with all members who travelled to Metalist Kharkiv and FC Nuremberg being eligible to participate. Ballot papers will be emailed to fans where possible. Please note tickets sold to executive members will be in an area of the stadium where it is necessary to wear a collar and tie. Applications will only be accepted until 5pm on November 28 with successful applicants notified on December 3. Tickets are priced £26.
Supporters' Clubs will also receive an allocation. Supporters' Club secretaries/ treasurers should apply for an allocation of tickets on behalf of their members (under the exact same criteria as above), through the usual channels. No applications will be accepted by Everton from individual supporters' club members. Everton's new official travel partner, Thomas Cook, will have a number of GENERAL seating tickets available as part of an official day trip package. Fans should visit evertonfc.com/thomascook or contact 0870 752 0924 to make their booking and secure their ticket. The above criteria also apply for all official travel.
Thomas Cook will be running a day trip to Holland on December 20. These flights will leave Liverpool at approximately 8am and return the following morning at 1am approx. General Supporters Day Trip £249. Price includes: Return flights from Liverpool to Amsterdam with Monarch Airlines; Timings: 0815/1015 /0030/0040; All coach transportation (airport to Amsterdam city centre*, Amsterdam city centre to stadium, stadium to airport) *subject to police approval; Fixture cancellation insurance; Thomas Cook representation throughout; Match ticket
An executive day trip will also be available at £399 to executive members who are successful in the ballot and these members will contacted direct by Thomas Cook's sales team. Please note places on the executive day trip are strictly limited. Executive members are advised NOT to contact Thomas Cook direct.
All supporters are advised that if they do not meet the above criteria then they should not make an application to either the Club or Thomas Cook as this will ultimately slow the allocation process down.
Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert rewarded with new deals
Nov 22 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN and Tony Hibbert are poised to become the latest Everton players to commit their long term futures to Everton. Having wrapped up deals with Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Andrew Johnson in the last six months and given lengthy contracts to the players they have signed recently, the Blues are keen to sort out business with those whose deals are close to running out. Since making the breakthrough from Everton’s Academy, Osman and Hibbert have become important members of the squad and between them have clocked up more than 350 appearances, the majority of which have come during David Moyes’ reign. Though Osman, who has made an impressive start to this campaign, still has 18 months left on his current contract, discussions are at an advanced stage to ensure that he remains on Merseyside for the foreseeable future. Hibbert, meanwhile, could have theoretically begun looking for a new club in January as his contract runs out next June but, again, Everton have moved to ensure that they will be keeping this die-hard Blue. The deals have not been signed yet but no problems are envisaged, and they should be wrapped up in the coming weeks, completing a successful spell of business for the club. Youngsters James Vaughan, Victor Anichebe and Iain Turner were secured on lengthy contracts in May, while it is likely Joleon Lescott will also follow suit soon. With Leighton Baines, Ayegbeni Yakubu, Tim Howard and Phil Jagielka all tied down until the end of season 2012, the nucleus of the squad that has made significant progress in recent months is likely to stay together.
Ex-Blues’ success with production line of keepers
Nov 22 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton keeper John O’Toole is a victim of his own success.
An England youth international goalkeeper who under-studied the great Neville Southall, John set up his own goalkeeping school last year. But since then he has seen the youngsters who have come under his wing snapped up by the youth academies of a succession of professional clubs. Liverpool and Tranmere have both benefited from his one-to-one coaching classes, and he is now keen to attract new pupils to take the place of the boys who have moved on. “I suppose it’s a good advert for my coaching, but it means I’ve got places to fill in my classes now,” said John, who worked with David Seaman and Peter Shilton during his time with the England set-up, and was on the substitutes’ bench for the Blues on four occasions during the 1997-98 season.
“One of the first youngsters I coached, Chris Oldfield, is at Liverpool now and is the Ireland under-16 goalkeeper. Another promising youngster called Tom Quinn is now at Tranmere while another good kid, Johnny Cummings, is in Marine’s Youth Cup side. “It means I’ve got vacancies now where I can take on other youngsters.”
John offers specialist one-to-one goalkeeping coaching under the auspices of his own ‘Stoppers Goalkeeping School.’ Based in the Crosby area, John coaches nine to 18-year-olds and can be contacted on 07749-662636 or 0151-920-9587.
Nov 22 2007
How important has Alan Irvine's influence been on the Blues over the last five years?
IT REMAINS to be seen what kind of impact Alan Irvine’s departure to take his chance at Preston could have on the team.
A good solid player for us in the early 80s, and a servant who has overseen a dramatic rise in expectations at the club in his five years here as assistant manager, Irvine has said in the past that he wants to try his hand at being the number one somewhere, so there are no hard feelings whatsoever. I think he goes with the blessing of all Everton fans and staff. Brian Kidd seems to be the favourite for the job, and I think it could be a good appointment. He may have flopped in his only managerial job at Blackburn, but he knows the club and has proven himself as a very capable number two, most notably under Alex Ferguson. Whoever takes on the job, hopefully he can make a similar impact to that which Irvine did, and not rock a pretty steady boat.
DEBBIE SMAJE, Upholland
THROUGHOUT David Moyes’ time in charge at Everton, he has had one man supporting him all the way – Alan Irvine.
Being second to Moyes doesn’t make him any less instrumental to the Everton set up and he will surely be missed by not only Moyes himself, but also the players. Irvine, to me, is fantastic at man management. Whenever there is a player in need of praising or moral support, Irvine is first there and out of all the other Premier League assistant managers, I believe that Irvine is the most involved with managerial decisions. That is why he has been picked to become a manager and I wish him every success.
We cannot let Irvine’s move affect the squad in any way, so a quick replacement is a necessity. However, it is a hard decision as to who it should be and it will be difficult for Moyes to find a person who can rekindle the chemistry that he and Irvine shared. Nevertheless, I’m sure whoever it will be, he will be the right person.
MICHAEL DRUMMOND, Speke
IS ALAN IRVINE making a costly mistake?
Only time will tell on that one but it’s very rare that number twos achieve success as a manager – just ask the Bolton and Wigan fans. Alan has done a very good job at Everton and David Moyes will have a tough task in replacing him. Every successful team must include a top class right hand man. Personally I don’t think Irvine had that much of an influence on tactics and team selections but I’m sure Moyes will tell you he will be much missed. Candidates for his job include Brian Kidd, Kevin Ratcliffe, Andy King, Peter Reid and Steve Round. I’m not too sure on these myself. I wouldn’t mind Kidd, but I would rather see a continental coach come in, someone who knows the European game and could possibly attract better foreign players.
The main man – Moyes – is still at the helm and I trust him 100% to do what’s best for my team.
TONY SCOTT, Walton
IN ALAN IRVINE, we are losing an unsung hero.
He was here throughout our rise, from the lower depths of the table, and my guess is that he contributed a lot more to our improvement than he has been given credit for. I wish Alan luck in his new role at Preston. Looking forward to Saturday, I think that we should be confident when going into home games against any team outside the big three. Our newly found firepower should see us past a Sunderland side that have failed to impress this season. This week I heard something about Moyes facing a dilemma on Saturday because he has too many strikers to choose from, I think that this is nonsense. Our recent tactics have come up trumps, and I don’t think the manager should change anything, regardless of whether players are returning to fitness or not. Andy Johnson’s work ethic can be invaluable at times, but while other strikers are scoring goals they should keep their places.
COLE FRASER, Litherland
Kirkby IS right for us - Everton
Nov 22 2007
by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Tesco bosses today insisted Kirkby is the right place for the Blues’ new ground. They spoke out after Liverpool city council leader Warren Bradley claimed the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA) agreed to conduct a study into the benefits of keeping the club in Liverpool. The news yesterday raised hopes for campaigners who want Everton to remain within the city boundary. Cllr Bradley claimed the NWDA, which hands out government cash to boost regeneration in the region, was asked to examine the economic benefits of Everton FC building its new stadium in Liverpool, rather than Knowsley. But today a joint statement released by Everton and Tesco said they were “confident and convinced that Kirkby remains the ideal location for a proposed £400m development. “Whilst Liverpool city council is well within its rights to continue its public debate about the merits of Everton’s proposal to relocate in Kirkby, the three organisations have developed a strong partnership as they seek to deliver an ambitious development which will benefit not just Kirkby but the whole of Merseyside.
Everton stadium could grow to 75,000
Nov 22 2007
EXCLUSIVE by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON FC holds long-term aims to expand its proposed new stadium in Kirkby to a capacity of 75,000. The club is currently in detailed negotiations to relocate from its current home at Goodison Park to a 50,000-to-55,000-seater ground in Kirkby town centre. But, in a recent confidential meeting with Liverpool council officials, Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said the club wanted a site which was capable of expansion to 75,000 seats in the longer term if success on the pitch allows it. Mr Wyness told the meeting the desire for that expansion – albeit some years hence – was one of the reasons why an alternative site at the tunnel “Loop”, off Scotland Road, was not acceptable as a potential new home for the club.
The Loop site, owned by Bestway, was seen by Liverpool council and leader Warren Bradley as the best option to try to keep Everton within the city boundaries. Last night the club would not comment, but has always said the site was too small for their own ambitions. A spokesman for Knowsley Council said as far as the authority was concerned the Kirkby stadium would have between 50,000 and 55,000 seats and no more. There is no suggestion Everton have any imminent plans to expand the proposals, and indeed could not afford such a move currently. But Mr Wyness was criticised for “moving the goalposts” by Bestway’s head of property, Malcolm Carter. He said: “At no stage has 75,000 ever been mentioned publicly, why has he moved the goalposts? Our own work by specialists HoK shows our site could hold a 55,000-60,000 stadium which is what we were asked to work towards.
“I am frustrated and fed up. We’re passionate about the regeneration of the area around our site. We’re doing this for the right reasons but Everton have not returned my calls or agreed to meet me. By all means dismiss the site, but at least consider it.
“I have remained loyal to the project and we’re still putting money into it. The council are grateful we’re still there. But I’m reaching the point where we will look at other options for the site.” Everton also believe the need for extensive engineering work around the tunnel site, including building a plinth, would make it prohibitively expensive, though this view is not shared by Bestway. Liverpool FC already harbours ambitions to expand its proposed new 60,000 stadium on Stanley Park, which recently received planning permission, to beyond 75,000. A majority of Everton fans voted in favour of the move to Kirkby in August and extensive consultation is already under way in the Kirkby area.
Competition row over Tesco plans for new stadium
Nov 23 2007
by David Bartlett, Liverpool Daily Post
TESCO could be reported to the Competition Commission over its plans to link up with Everton FC for a £400m development in Kirkby. It comes after Development Securities, which owns much of the town centre, unveiled a rival £200m scheme to regenerate the town. Managers at the company said their plan does not incorporate a Tesco store, and could easily go ahead without Everton’s proposed new stadium. Chief executive Michael Marx accused the supermarket chain of “abusing” the planning process and that Tesco’s plans will kill off the town centre. The company also claimed that Tesco had effectively blocked its plans for the town centre by buying a leasehold in the high street on a site with consent for a smaller supermarket. Tesco bought the leasehold in Kirkby High Street in September, but Development Securities had wanted to purchase the lease. Mr Marx said: “The whole thing seems to indicate Tesco’s relentless drive to impose their view of the world on residents of the UK. “Tesco has acquired land that has existing food store consent seemingly to prevent a food store from being built and to ensure their existing scheme succeeds. “That has to be a clear trans-gression of the planning process, and, given what the Competition Commission said last month, we believe Tesco has scored an own goal in the back of Everton’s net.” Development Securities, which bought the rights to most of Kirkby town centre for £60m in April, said it wants to build a new “anchor” food store, helping revitalise shops around St Chad’s Parade. It also wants to turn Cherryfield Drive into a bustling shopping destination with a library, health centre and possibly bars and restaurants. A bowling alley and cinema could also be built east of the town centre, and a commercial quarter could be built in the west including a hotel and rebuilt council offices. The company said it is “neutral” about the prospect of Everton moving to Kirkby and has left space off Valley Road for the proposed stadium should the club press ahead with its relocation plans.
The rival plan comes just a week after Everton and Tesco held a major public consultation event as they prepare to submit a formal planning application to Knowsley council. wLast night, a spokesman for Tesco said: “We’ve been working on this project for two years with Knowsley council and Everton Football Club and have developed a strong partnership. By the time Develop- ment Securities showed an interest in Kirkby earlier this year, our pro- posals were already far progressed.”
Everton turn in ‘solid’ cash results
Nov 23 2007
EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
KEITH WYNESS today insisted Everton’s decision to invest heavily in their squad has reaped benefits as he described the annual financial results as “solid”. Though turnover dropped from £58.1m in 2006 to £51.4m, that figure reflects the decision to buy Andrew Johnson and Joleon Lescott, the impact of not playing in Europe and the outsourcing of catering and merchandising operations. The club’s wage bill and borrowings have also increased during the past 12 months but chief executive Wyness does not believe there is any cause for concern as the intention to be competitive in the transfer market has paid dividends. Johnson - a club record signing at £8.6m when he arrived from Crystal Palace in May 2006 - and Lescott both played major roles in helping Everton reclaim a place in the UEFA Cup and that should have a positive impact on next year’s figures. “We did everything to push the envelope as far as we could and, clearly, the two signings we made worked very well as we finished sixth in the Premier League and qualified for Europe as well,” Wyness explained. “We expected a drop in turnover, as the previous season we had finished 11th in the Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe. “But we also wanted to invest in the squad as much as we could. That has had an impact on the financial results but we are satisfied with them all the same. They are solid rather than spectacular.” Everton also suffered a £500,000 operating loss, compared to a £3.5m profit in 2006, but Wyness said that was “a very small amount” in Premier League terms and reflects the careful fiscal management at the club. The AGM takes place on Tuesday, December 4. Meanwhile, the Blues return to Premier League duty against Sunderland at Goodison Park tomorrow and Alan Stubbs has pinpointed Kenwyne Jones as the man most likely to wreck Everton’s six-match unbeaten run. The veteran defender is in line for a recall against his former club as Joseph Yobo is struggling with a toe injury and he has been impressed by the way Jones has made a start to life in the Premier League. “Roy Keane has bought a few players that people may have looked at but not gone for,” Stubbs said. “To be fair the ones he has brought in have come up trumps. Kenwyne Jones has done well of late. He's a big lad and has scored a few goals.”
Leighton Baines: It was hard to turn Roy Keane down
Nov 23 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ROY KEANE invariably got his own way during his playing career but he has quickly learned as a manager that nothing can stand in the way of true love. As the heartbeat of Manchester United’s side for so long, Keane became one of the greatest midfielders in the modern era with a relentless will to win and determination never to settle for second best. Countless players who tussled with him on the pitch will back up that assertion and he has carried that outlook into his new role in charge at Sunderland.
Just ask Everton left-back Leighton Baines. During the summer, when it became clear his days with Wigan were numbered, Keane mounted a relentless pursuit for Baines’ signature and did everything he could to persuade the England Under-21 international to move to the Stadium of Light. He bombarded Wigan with bid after bid and, when the opportunity arose for him to speak with Baines, Keane mounted an articulate, compelling argument as to why Baines should head to the North East.
In normal circumstances, that would have been more than enough to win the race for his signature but – as Keane suspected all along – Sunderland are not Everton and the one thing he could not offer Baines was the chance to play for his boyhood club.
Baines, of course, has since gone on to make a terrific start to his career at Goodison Park and is poised to make a return to the starting line-up tomorrow after nearly a month out with an ankle problem. But while he can’t wait to pull on an Everton shirt again, Baines is also looking forward to seeing Keane; he evidently made a lasting impression but, at the same time, the 22-year-old hopes Sunderland’s manager leaves Merseyside empty handed again. “It was really flattering,” said Baines. “They were so persistent. It started when I was away with the Under-21s. “In the end, I think they made five bids all together from where they started from. It got to the point where he (Keane) was saying ‘whatever it takes’. “I knew they were making offers but I wasn’t banging any doors down at Wigan to leave. “But when someone wants to sign you so badly and Sunderland had their last bid accepted, I owed it to Roy more than anyone to go and speak with him. “They had worked so hard to get to that point, that it would not have been right if I had not gone up there and sat in front of him. “He was very impressive and not what I expected him to be. He was very relaxed, very cool. “He carried himself in the right manner and though he was desperate to sign me, he never put any pressure on me at all. “I felt totally at ease with him and I came away thinking that, in different circumstances, I’d really love to play for him. “But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to come here. That was always in the back of my mind. “I knew there had been interest but there had never been any offers and I asked my agent to do whatever he could to make it happen. “I spoke with Paul Jewell 18 months ago and when he asked me where I thought I’d end up, I said Everton straight away. “This was always going to be the right move and when Newcastle followed Sunderland in, thankfully it set everything going here. “Newcastle had a bid accepted but I never spoke to them. When I knew I was coming here, I rang Roy and told him that I had my heart set on Everton. He accepted it and though he was disappointed, he told me he appreciated the call.” While it has taken Baines “a bit longer” to recover from the injury he sustained during the 2-0 win over Derby County on October 28, he is almost back to full speed but he is not in any way expecting an immediate recall.
Results, after all, have remained excellent in his absence and he only needs to look around the training ground to see that his team-mates are striving to stay in the starting line-up and continue their good form. “It can be painful if you go into an international break on the back of a defeat,” he said. “You get a few days off but you can’t enjoy them. But for us to get a point down at Chelsea was fantastic and it has given us a boost. We’re coming back in high spirits.” That may be true but spirits alone will not be enough to repel a Sunderland side that – in the style of their manager – will scrap and fight for everything to get the points required to lift them away from the foot of the table. This encounter will not be for the faint-hearted. “We know this is going to be a tough match,” Baines acknowledged. “Sunderland have already shown how determined they are and they never lie down. Look at the amount of late goals they have scored. “They have done well and in this league, there is never a given three points. Just look at our game with Birmingham. We were in control for large parts but just couldn’t kill them off. We were lucky to get out of jail after they scored.
“This will be a similar game. If we get into the lead, we’ve got to make sure we put the game to bed. We need to be more assertive and go after teams. “We need to know how to shut a game out. That’s what the top teams do. How often do they get pegged back?”
David Prentice: Irvine departure not a cause for concern
Nov 27 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE problem with assistant managers comes in the job description.
No-one knows exactly how much they assist and just how much they manage.
Which is why the departures of men like Alan Irvine and Pako Ayesteran have left fans on Merseyside scratching their heads. They could be dab hands at dishing out yellow bibs and arranging cones, but it’s only when they’ve gone that we get to discover whether they also had a tactical input and influence on the managers they work with. Only time and results will reveal their significance to Everton and Liverpool. Brian Clough was never as effective without Peter Taylor by his side, as he painfully discovered in just 44 days at Leeds United. Everton’s dramatic improvement in 1984 coincided with Colin Harvey’s promotion from youth team coach to Howard Kendall’s assistant. But Alex Ferguson has shifted seamlessly from Archie Knox, Steve McClaren, Brian Kidd, Walter Smith and currently Carlos Queiroz, without any disturbance to Manchester United’s trophy winning potential, and it’s easy to see why. Ferguson is a single-minded manager, almost despotic in his dominance of his football club. And reassuringly for Reds and Blues, both David Moyes and Rafa Benitez boast similar traits. Blues boss Moyes has curiously been christened ‘Davey the Ditherer’ in the past, but the decisions are always his and his alone. Reds boss Benitez, meanwhile, came into conflict with youth coach Steve Heighway because of a desire to dominate all facets of his club – including the Academy. Which is why fans of Everton and Liverpool should not fear the departures of even such highly rated number twos as Irvine and Ayesteran Both Moyes and Benitez are single-minded to the point of stubbornness. They are not double acts, like many managerial partnerships. Michael Branch once started up front in an Anfield derby in a short-lived experiment which was cut short at half-time, because Knox persuaded Smith it would work. Archie was also the man who saw David Ginola sparkle for Aston Villa reserves, and convinced his long term partner he could be worth it. It’s difficult to see either Moyes or Benitez taking even well meaning advice like that on board if it didn’t fit their own templates for success. Irvine is a decent, engaging, thoroughly charming individual, and I wish him well in his new role as Preston manager, but Everton isn’t about to self-destruct because of his departure.
Likewise, Ayesteran was a committed, dedicated coach, but his exit will not spell the end of Liverpool’s trophy-winning potential. Moyes and Benitez rule by autocracy, not committee – and Everton and Liverpool are all the stronger for that.
One way to tackle fear
EVERTON are a club with balls . . . apparently.
But not as ballsy as the man who will step inside a foam pair of testicles and parade around Goodison tomorrow. Mr Testicles will step out at half-time to, erm, raise awareness of prostate, bowel and testicular cancer. But before all you blokes start wondering when the breast cancer team are due in the north west, spare a thought for the message being conveyed. The charity was established in 2005 to highlight the growing number of men dying of testicular cancer in the prime of their lives – so check yourself for lumps, and don’t be embarrassed about talking to the doctor if you find one.
Howard Kendall: FA dare not fail again over boss
Nov 23 2007 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
SO, then, it’s farewell to Steve McClaren and the start of another search to find the man who will turn all hype surrounding England into something more substantial.
Another tournament will pass by without England playing a significant part and, given that managers stand and fall by their results, it is only right that McClaren was ousted from his post. For the Football Association to reach their decision so quickly, however, suggests they were never really happy with him from the start and it is baffling to think they would have stuck with him even if a place in Austria and Switzerland next summer had been secured. What a way to run a football team.
It’s quite clear that Luiz Felipe Scolari and Martin O’Neill were the favoured choices to succeed Sven Goran Eriksson but can they go back to these men now? Highly unlikely. The English public want a manager to whom they can relate and McClaren was never that person but I honestly don’t know who the FA will turn to now. Alan Shearer? Guus Hiddink? Your guess is as good as mine. At this moment in time, it is hard not to feel anything other than the last two years have been completely wasted and one bad decision has followed another. Things reached a nadir on Wednesday evening. It was ridiculous to pitch Scott Carson into such a big game with so little experience and the back four – with the exception of Sol Campbell - was equally raw.
No wonder Croatia profited so handsomely. Personally, I would have picked David James to be the number one as I believe he is still the best goalkeeper in the country and would not have been afraid to tell anyone what he was thinking. Did you see anyone screaming orders out at Wembley? Then there was the David Beckham situation, which was handled abysmally right from the start. He should never have been dropped in the first place and it’s clear McClaren only made that decision to show he was boss. Stupid. To recall him a year later suggested he didn’t have courage in his convictions and Beckham’s experience would have been vital against the Croatians. Look at the difference he made when he came on as a substitute.
All in all, the qualifying campaign was a complete disaster and in no way can England say they deserve a place in Euro 2008. Hopefully the situation will have changed dramatically for the better in two years. Then again, the FA dare not fail this time.
Irvine can prove to be a success at Preston
IT was sad to see Alan Irvine leave Everton this week, but I have every faith that he will make a real success of his time at Preston. He could have stayed in a job that was as secure as can be, but he is ambitious and good luck to him at Deepdale. He will find it different being the man who has to make the decisions but he’s already made arguably the most difficult of all. Who replaces him? Only time will tell. I see Brian Kidd’s name has been mentioned and that would be a first-class move. He would command instant respect from the squad and there is nothing he doesn’t know about football. If the position remained vacant until the end of the season, I think Alan Stubbs would fit the bill perfectly, but I’m sure David Moyes will take his time and move only when he is ready. And that is the only thing you can do as a manager.
TOFFEES SMASH SEVEN
24th November 2007 Daily Star
Everton recorded an emphatic 7-1 win against a woeful Sunderland to register their biggest win since 1996. The last time Everton hit seven was against Southampton 11 years ago and the Black Cats were put to the sword by a team now unbeaten in seven and on the crest of a wave in Europe and on the domestic front. Ayegbeni Yakubu and Tim Cahill grabbed two each, with Steven Pienaar, substitute Andrew Johnson and Leon Osman completed the rout. Sunderland's only bright spot was a first half injury-time goal from Dwight Yorke, but with defending as bad as this there was never much hope of a revival. The opening goal came in the 12th minute when Paul McShane allowed the ball to elude him 40 yards out and Yakubu burst away. The Nigerian's effort was firm and on target from 12 yards and although Danny Higginbotham got back to tackle the ball deflected up and over the stranded Craig Gordon.
Five minutes later Ian Harte was exposed by Mikael Arteta with a neat ball to Phil Neville and the Everton captain clipped a cross into the box for Cahill to control and fire home from six yards. Everton were three ahead after 43 minutes when Nuno Valente and Pienaar combined down the left, with the Portuguese full-back pulling the ball back for Pienaar to lift into the top corner. Sunderland still came forward and got one back in added time when Yorke fired home after determined work by the impressive Carlos Edwards and Kenwyne Jones in the box. Any hope of a revival was ended after 62 minutes when Sunderland were undone again by awful defending. Joseph Yobo's 60-yard ball down the middle of the pitch saw Cahill run in between Harte and McShane to drill the fourth past Gordon. Gordon saved well with an out-stretched leg from Osman but could do nothing about Everton's fifth in the 73rd minute. Arteta was allowed to stroll into the box before setting up Osman from 18 yards. The ball thudded into a mass of defenders and Yakubu was quickest to spin and drill the ball past Gordon. In the 78th minute Sunderland were exposed again. Neville's long ball into space saw substitute Andy Johnson comfortably out-pace McShane before lifting the ball over Gordon for the sixth. The seventh came when Osman ran through virtually unopposed to lift his effort past Gordon with six minutes remaining.
Reunion of the Euro heroes
Nov 24 2007 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S 1985 European Cup Winners Cup side enjoyed a nostalgic reunion at the Adelphi Hotel. While England were collapsing against the Croatians, Evertonians at the Bluenose Promotions show were celebrating victories over the Irish, Slovakians, Dutch, Germans and Austrians! Also celebrating were local charities who will receive a donation from the night. Pictured (from the left) are Peter Reid, Howard Kendall, Gary Stevens, Derek Mountfield, John Bailey, Dave Watson, Graeme Sharp, Ian Snodin and Kevin Sheedy, while kneeling are Neil Pointon, Adrian Heath and Paul Bracewell.
Phil Neville: It’s unfair to lay all the blame with Steve McClaren
Nov 24 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AS someone who has spent the majority of his career representing England, few are better placed to offer an opinion on the Croatia calamity than Phil Neville.
Everton’s captain won the first of his 59 caps against China in 1996 and has a raft of big game experience, so it was slightly surprising that he did not even figure amongst the substitutes at Wembley on Wednesday evening, given the stakes were so high.
Some individuals in the squad would have been only too happy to come out and dance on the recently departed Steve McClaren’s grave, but anyone expecting Neville to do the same would be totally misguided. Rather than blame the coach, Neville feels England’s squad only have to look in the mirror as to why they will not be involved when Euro 2008 takes place in Austria and Switzerland next summer. Approaching 31, some may feel that Neville’s international career is over now that McClaren has gone, but the only time he will stop playing for England is when he hangs up his boots once and for all. No wonder, then, he is desperate for a chance to ensure that his last memory of playing for England is not trudging down the tunnel at Wembley with howls of derision raining down from the stands. “We have to take collective responsibility for what has happened,” said Neville. “I have worked with Steve for the best part of nine years and he is an excellent coach. “To lay the blame on his shoulders for what has happened is unfair. “We had enough opportunities during the qualification campaign to make sure we got through to the finals next summer, but we know that we have let ourselves down. We are the ones who go out and do it on the pitch. “It is desperately disappointing that we will not be involved next summer and you only had to look around the dressing room afterwards to see how much it affected everyone. “We enjoyed working with Steve, we wanted to win for him and we let him down. “Wednesday night was an awful experience for everyone but I will never give up on playing for my country. “I’ve had some terrific times with England and I hope there are more to come.” Neville knows he has a perfect opportunity to banish his frustrations this afternoon when Everton return to Premier League action against Sunderland. The Blues secured some excellent results before the international break, reeling off five consecutive wins before signing off with a last-gasp draw at Chelsea, and many neutrals will see this as a home banker. Neville, though, does not subscribe to that theory and only has to point to the man who will be prowling the technical area adjacent to David Moyes as evidence that Sunderland will make things as difficult as possible for Everton. However, Roy Keane – a man with whom Neville shared so many successes at Manchester United – is still looking for his first away victory as a Premier League manager and the 30-year-old wants that to still be the case come 5pm.
“We were a bit fortunate to get past Kharkiv in the UEFA Cup qualifiers,” Neville said. “But since we got through, you sense there has been a massive relief around the club and that has been reflected in our play. “We don’t want to lose that momentum now. “The season has been difficult in terms of it being so stop-start. “We’ve had four international breaks already, and it’s only the middle of November, so it’s massively important we build up a head of steam now going into the Christmas period.
“We got a fantastic result at Chelsea before the break, now we want to keep up the good work. “But it is going to be very difficult against Sunderland. Every time I have watched them, they have caused problems for their opponents. “They score late goals and never stop working for each other.” Keane, not surprisingly, is someone whom Neville holds in the highest esteem and has experienced his relentless will to win at close quarters. Having already guided Sunderland to win the Championship, Keane’s managerial progress has made many sit up and take note and, for that reason, Neville does not believe the Black Cats will be in relegation trouble for too long.
“He was the best captain I ever played for and an absolutely fantastic player,” Neville adds. “I did my coaching badges with him about four years ago and you could see then how determined he was to become a manager. “I’m not in the least bit surprised by how well he has done. “The thing all great managers have is an ability to grab everyone’s attention when they walk in the room and Roy has that quality.
“He played how he trained during the week. Every training session meant something to him and, with such an attitude, that’s why I think Sunderland will certainly climb away from the relegation zone. Roy won’t have it any other way.”
David Moyes: I won’t be rushed
Nov 24 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will not be rushed into appointing a replacement for departed assistant manager Alan Irvine. Brian Kidd and Steve Round are among several options being considered by the Everton manager, who said: “I have made a decision that I am going to wait a few weeks and I’m debating who to bring in. I want to have a look at what is right for myself and for Everton. We will look to see if there is someone who can help us progress in the future.” One contractual issue that looks close to being resolved, however, are new deals for Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert, after Moyes confirmed talks with both players are now at an advanced stage. “We are going to reward them and we are close to doing that,” he said. “They have come through the Academy ranks and we are proud of our young players here. I have said many times that if they are good enough, we will put them in regardless of their age.
“They have both done well. Tony Hibbert played really well at Chelsea in his last game and Leon Osman has been consistent since the start of the season. They are adding to the competition we have for places.” Moyes will be looking for Everton to stretch their unbeaten run to a seventh game when Sunderland arrive at Goodison and this will be the first time he has pitted his wits against Roy Keane. Keane could have become an Everton player two years ago when he left Manchester United - Moyes had real hopes of signing him - but ultimately the chance to play for his first love Celtic proved decisive. “I thought we were quite close at the time,” he said. “I like Roy’s style. He is someone who wants to win but is more interested in the team and the club doing well, rather than himself. I would have liked to have worked with him, and he would have been good for us at that particular time. But he has gone on to do good things as a manager. “Maybe dropping down into the Championship to start off was just what he needed to see different games. He’s also had great backing from Niall Quinn.”
David Moyes will fill the Alan Irvine void with little fuss
Nov 24 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
ALAN IRVINE’S departure has no doubt caused much discussion and debate about the importance and influence of his role at the club. Fans are worrying about how his absence will affect the fortunes of the team, and who his replacement will be.
But those fans should be reassured that being an assistant manager is nothing like being a manager. Managers manage, while coaches coach. It’s that simple.
Some managers, however, can also coach and I think David Moyes is a manager who can do that – or maybe he is an excellent coach who can also manage. Some managers, however, need a right hand man to fulfil the coaching duties at a club.
I am thinking of managers like Steve Bruce, who I have played alongside and worked with, and who needs men like Mark Bowen and Eric Black to take on coaching duties, while he accepts the very different responsibilities of management. I worked with one of the best combinations like that in Joe Royle and WIllie Donachie. They dovetailed brilliantly. Other managers, however, see a coach as just another staff member to be managed. Alex Ferguson is the perfect example. A succession of coaches have come and gone at Old Trafford without any damage to Manchester United’s trophy winning potential. I think David Moyes is similar, in that he sees coaches as another staff member to be managed and I think that the transition from Irvine to a new assistant manager will be almost seamless. Moyes has the confidence to know he can coach as well as manage and I am sure it will be a successful transition. That’s not to say that Alan shouldn’t be congratulated for the immense work he has done in the last five years of improvement at Goodison Park. He has left with the blessing of everyone.
He is clearly a man of great integrity and passion and I am sure everyone at Everton wishes him well.
Building process goes on
Nov 24 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
THE squad rebuilding at Everton quietly rumbled on this week with the news that two young products of the Youth Academy are set to sign extended contracts. Tony Hibbert has been a consistent member of Everton’s first team squad for the past five years and has proved a fantastic servant. I have long been an admirer of Leon Osman and he fully deserves his new deal, especially given the form he has shown this season. He stands alongside the likes of Arteta, Lescott and Howard as a contender for one of the players of the season.
Bid for progress on three fronts
Nov 24 2007 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will have breathed a sigh of relief that his international contingent has returned safe and sound with nothing more serious than wounded pride for the likes of Joleon Lescott, Phil Neville and James McFadden. We are now embarking on fixtures which could have huge significance to the Blues. In the next few weeks we can cement qualification for the next stage of the UEFA Cup, progress into the later stages of a domestic trophy and move back into the European qualification frame in the Premier League. We start against Roy Keane’s Sunderland, who are showing serious signs of being a newly promoted team who might just stay up! They almost shocked Arsenal recently, and while we hope for three Everton points today, I wish Sunderland all the best.
Why criticism of Joleon Lescott was so unjustified
Nov 24 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AS he trudged towards the players’ lounge, his iPod plugged in and eyes looking straight ahead, Joleon Lescott looked as if he would rather be anywhere else than Wembley on Wednesday evening. No wonder. Having just endured one of the most traumatic experiences of his playing career, it is unlikely his thoughts were fixed on hurrying back to play for England in front of some of the most mindless supporters in the country. With Croatia destroying England’s hopes of going to Euro 2008 and getting the result that ended Steve McClaren’s harrowing reign as head coach, it was no surprise that the marks which appeared in the following morning’s papers were as low as could be. Some of the criticism of Lescott, however, was completely over the top, just as it was in Russia last month. To those of anything other than an Everton hue, this argument will be consigned as bias but nothing could be further from the truth. Not even Lescott’s staunchest supporter would say he enjoyed one of his better performances against the slick, quick Croatians but for a few to start penning the obituaries on his international career so soon is, simply, quite absurd. It is easy to get carried away in the heat of the moment but let’s consider some of the things Lescott has encountered since he made his England debut against Estonia last month and ask which players of similar experience would have fared better. First, cast your mind back to his initial start. On a frozen, plastic pitch in Moscow, out of position, in a system alien to him and partnering players whom he had little chance to get to know properly. Obviously, you couldn’t ask for a better platform from which to star.
Untested in last Friday’s pointless exercise against Austria in Vienna – the hosts are so wretchedly out of form, there has been a petition drawn in certain quarters to have them removed from Euro 2008 – then came the ultimate test against Croatia.
Played on a quagmire with the stakes as high as can be, McClaren has rightly come under fire for picking such an inexperienced team as the nerves of Scott Carson, spread through the defence, around the rest of the starting line-up and into the stands.
Not even the most gnarled professional would have flourished in such circumstances but it is laughable to try and attribute Lescott solely responsible for any of Croatia’s three goals. If anything – and this is scant consolation – he was the pick of the defence. Inevitably, however, our culture means we must find scapegoats and while McClaren will carry the can, that will not be enough for the staunchest England critics and they will demand certain players follow suit. Lescott, however, would do well to remember the actions of the majority who went through the turnstiles on Wednesday, the type of people who have made following the national team as an unpleasant an experience as you could imagine. These fountains of knowledge cheered Frank Lampard to the rafters when he took England’s penalty then turned on him after he was puzzlingly named Man-of-the-Match by sponsors. They deserve to choke on their beer. Funny also that some who criticised Lescott in print had actually lauded him 10 days earlier at Stamford Bridge after a majestic performance against Chelsea – you can bet your bottom dollar that he would have escaped such censure had he played for a London club. Happily he can return to a place this afternoon where he is wildly appreciated and back alongside the likes of Joseph Yobo or Alan Stubbs, with Tim Howard barking orders behind him, you can expect to see Lescott in a truer light.
All being well, his experiences of international football have not left too much of a mark because there is absolutely no doubt Lescott has the ability to win a lot of England caps in the future. With McClaren gone, it will be the best part of a year before England play a meaningful game and a number of friendly fixtures should allow a new coach to run the rule over his prospective charges in a pressure-free environment. What’s more, they are the ideal matches to provide players like Lescott with confidence before they tackle bigger assignments; being rounded on after the preposterous actions of a coach at this moment in time, however, is simply absurd.
That other result all Evertonians will wish for
Nov 24 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WITH the obvious exception of a victory against Sunderland, there will be one result everyone at Goodison Park will be hoping for this afternoon more than anything else.
After five-and-a-half years as David Moyes’ assistant, Alan Irvineb (below) begins life as Preston North End manager today against Charlton and, granted the opposition, there is every reason to believe victory would be all that sweeter if it comes at the first attempt. You may recall that Charlton’s obnoxious manager Alan Pardew has enraged Everton’s players on three or four occasions in the past couple of years, so there would be something apt if Irvine could plot his downfall at Deepdale. On a serious note, however, there were a lot of long faces at Finch Farm when Irvine - one of the nicest gentlemen you could ever wish to meet - decided to head for pastures new and he will be sorely missed. Moyes would be the first to acknowledge the role he has played in changing Everton’s fortunes and it will be no easy task trying to find Irvine’s replacement. When Alan next returns to Goodison, he will receive the warmest of welcomes.
Blues could just Ring for service
Nov 24 2007 Past Masters by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOMMY RING’S Goodison career lasted barely 10 months, but he left a lasting impression on Evertonians. His name has cropped up regularly in reader requests, most recently from Eric Williams, who asked for an article on “one of the most unusual players ever to grace Goodison.” Perhaps Eric recalled the dramatic transformation Ring effected on an Everton side which had just been dumped out of the FA Cup 3-0 by Third Division Bradford and had lost three league games in succession without scoring a goal. Boss Johnny Carey had tried to remedy the problem with bids for some of the finest forwards of the era. But Joe Baker, Denis Law, Maurice Setters, Bertie Auld, Roy Vernon and Frank Blunstone all rebuffed the Blues. So there was an air of relief when Scottish international left-winger Tommy Ring agreed to join from Clyde for £12,000. Ring made his debut on January 23, 1960 at home to Nottingham Forest. The scoreline was remarkable. Everton triumphed 6-1 and the local press made their minds up immediately about his acquisition.
“Everton buy a 22-carat Ring” was the Daily Post headline, while the Echo declared: “Ring signing was right on the button.” Horace Yates wrote: “Ring is the most complete outside left I have seen at Goodison Park - in an Everton jersey - since Eglington’s brightest days. “He beats an opponent so effortlessly, inside or outside, but mainly on the outside, and having done that centres the ball with an accuracy which is an open scoring invitation to forwards with any competence for their job.”
Eddie Thomas, with a hat-trick, Bobby Collins, Alex Parker and Alan Shackleton were the beneficiaries against Forest – and Everton were a team suddenly infused with confidence. They beat Preston 4-0 the following month, Chelsea 6-1 when Ring scored his first two goals for the Blues, and began to climb the First Division table.
Ring was ever-present from his signing until October 1 the following season, when tragedy struck. He had already scored at Stamford Bridge, when he was involved in a collision with goalkeeper Reg Matthews which effectively ended his Everton career.
He sustained a double fracture and never played for the Blues again. “After a quiet first half Ring had stolen the limelight,” reported the Echo. “In the 58th minute he put Everton ahead with a picture goal. “Then came the moment of tragedy. John Sillett hit the ball mistakenly into his own goalmouth. Ring found himself with only Reg Matthews to beat. Goalkeeper and outside left went down together. The ball was cleared, but Ring stayed down.” It was a tragic end to a hugely promising Everton career, but Ring was never forgotten.
Everton legend David Hickson suffers suspected heart attack
Nov 26 2007
Liverpool Daily Post
FORMER Everton player David Hickson remained in hospital last night after suffering a near-fatal suspected heart attack.
His condition “remains stable” according to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, who were not able to release any futher details. EFC fans around the globe were stunned to hear of the collapse of Hickson, which happened at Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon just ahead of the team’s impressive 7 -1 victory over Sunderland. Mr Hickson, 78, still works for the club as a tour guide and matchday host in the club’s executive lounge. Under the guidance of Dixie Dean, Mr Hickson made his Everton debut in 1951. Affectionately regarded by fans as The Cannonball Kid, he would go on to make 243 appearances for the club before moving on to play for Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers. He is the only professional footballer to have played for all three Merseyside teams.
He also played for Aston Villa and Huddersfield Town during his career, but famous- ly said he “would have died” for Everton, his spiritual home. In return, the club describe him in his heyday as: “A swashbuckling centre-forward ready to give blood for the royal blue cause – which he did, frequently. He grabbed the affection and imagination of the Everton supporters like few other players have, before or since.” Last night a spokesperson for Everton Football Club said: “His condition is much imp- roved but he is still in intens- ive care. It was touch-and-go at some points on Saturday. “He was a lot better on Sunday and we are delighted he is awake and talking.” Wellwishers sent messages of support to Mr Hickson via a number of fan websites, describing him as a “true gent”, “living legend”, and “the epitome of Everton”. It was reported he had been heartened to hear of his club’s success when told of the outcome of Saturday’s game.
Everton 7, Sunderland 1 (Echo)
Nov 26 2007
by Dominic King
WHEN the producers at Match of the Day feel compelled to hoist Everton up the schedule, it’s a clear sign they have been involved in a memorable fixture. Normally it takes a contentious refereeing decision or something just as unpalatable for the Blues to enjoy one of the prime slots in the first half of a programme that is now a national institution, but that could be all about to change.
On an afternoon that could not have got off to the worst possible start – the sad sight of that brave warrior Dave Hickson being whisked away by ambulance from Goodison Park – everyone was able to leave beaming from ear to ear.
A stylish, systematic destruction of Sunderland was just what the doctor ordered and one of the greatest strikers in the club’s history would have been nodding in approval had he witnessed a magical 90 minutes of free flowing football.
Happily, news would eventually filter through that Hickson was in good spirits in his hospital bed, cheered undoubtedly by the best result of David Moyes’ career as Everton manager. If Everton keep playing in this way, though, a wider audience will soon start to see that slowly but surely the seeds Moyes has planted are bearing fruit. Put it this way – had Arsenal achieved a similar result, pundits would be talking about the display for months. If you tried to analyse every magnificent individual performance at the weekend, we would run out of space on this page. Better, then, to detail the bare facts of Everton’s magnificent seven. Goal one: Tim Howard launched a clearance forward and an afternoon of woe for Paul McShane began as he made a hash of dealing with it. Ayegbeni Yakubu reacted instantly, driving a right-footed shot past Craig Gordon via a deflection off Danny Higginbotham. Goal two: Pick of the bunch. Steven Pienaar picked out Phil Neville, who in turn found Yakubu. His first time ball sent Mikel Arteta racing clear. He laid a pass onto Neville, whose neat cross found Cahill. The Australian did the rest with a cool right foot finish. Goal three: Lee Carsley won possession from Carlos Edwards and fed Nuno Valente, who bombed down the left. An interchange with Steven Pienaar allowed Valente to cross and Pienaar finished the move with a crisp drive past Gordon. Goal four: A Sunderland attack broke down and Howard rolled the ball out to Joseph Yobo. With plenty of time to look around, he launched an inch perfect 60-yard pass to Cahill. Brilliant control gave him a shooting opportunity and he made no mistake. Goal five: With the visitor’s defence in utter disarray, they failed to clear a corner from Neville. Arteta laid a chance for Leon Osman to shoot but a deflection carried it into the path of Yakubu. He needed no second invitation to continue the massacre.
Goal six: Was it an aimless clearance or an inspired pass? Either way, Neville’s ball forward gave Andrew Johnson the chance to join the fun. He sprinted away from McShane and pushed a smart finish past the crestfallen Gordon. Goal seven: The coup de grace. Phil Jagielka rolled a pass to Osman, who had the freedom of Goodison Park to run forward. A nonchalant drop of the shoulder carried him past Higginbotham and McShane and his left-footed drive completed the rout. In all honesty, though, seven could quite easily have been ten or maybe even 12. Two clear penalty appeals were turned down, Arteta had a drive cleared off the line and desperate defending thwarted Cahill twice. No wonder the famous old stadium was bouncing at the end as delirious supporters headed for home. “That was probably the best performance in my time here,” declared Moyes, beaming from ear to ear. “Some of our football was fantastic and our passing and movement was just outstanding. “It is how I have been hoping to get an Everton team playing and I hope we see them playing that way more often – hopefully it's the first of many. Mikel was outstanding. The things he did on the ball and the opportunities he created were just something else.” Some may try to temper things and point to the standard of opposition they were facing but that it is missing the point – to score seven goals against any Premier League side is a magnificent feat and it something for which Everton should be lauded. What’s more – and this may seem difficult to comprehend – Sunderland are not the worst team in this division by any stretch of the imagination. But Evertonians should be growing in belief that the squad Moyes has assembled can achieve big things in the future and they certainly will if they keep playing with the swagger that has illuminated this autumn. The more you see Everton play, the more it becomes obvious that Moyes’ favoured formation of a lone front man, supported by three or four attacking midfield zephyrs suits them down to the ground. When the onus is on the Toffees to attack, Carsley – who has not put a foot wrong since coming back into the side – sits deep, Pienaar, Osman and Arteta have licence to roam, while Cahill plays in the hole in front of them with Yakubu up front. Such a line-up will cause teams infinitely better than Sunderland problems but when circumstances change, five men across the middle make Everton fiendishly difficult to break down. Who said English teams can only thrive playing 4-4-2? As enjoyable as this splendid victory was, however, this should not be regarded as the zenith of achievements and it is quite possible that Everton will need a performance just as good next weekend to stretch their unbeaten run into an eighth game. Portsmouth at Fratton Park is one of the more difficult assignments a side will face during the course of a campaign and it will be intriguing to see how Everton deal with a side who will be challenging for a European place with them next May. In such irresistible form, however, it is a test Moyes and his players should believe they are capable of passing with flying colours. Maintain these lofty standards and who is to say where they will end up?
Everton 7, Sunderland 1 (D,Post)
Nov 26 2007
By Nick Smith at Goodison Park
YOU can see why David Moyes is in no hurry to appoint an assistant – on this evidence it seems he’s getting all the help he needs from his players. He’s certainly never got more from them in terms of goals, as before Saturday Everton hadn’t even managed five in a game in the Scot’s five-and-a-half years in charge. But the emphatic savaging of Sunderland isn’t just about the statistics, mightily impressive though they are. It was also about how Moyes, in a week that began with the sudden departure of his trusted number two Alan Irvine, can finish it by coaxing such an inspired, energetic and downright ruthless performance from his squad. A squad that is now ominously impressive, especially when virtually everyone is available as they were on a rare occasion on Saturday. The players that took to the field at Goodison sent out one message, the roll call of those that didn’t sends out another – of the strength in depth Moyes will need if the momentum of his club’s biggest win for 11 years is to carry them through December’s taxing nine-game schedule. Stubbs, Baines, Hibbert, Vaughan, McFadden, Gravesen. None of them were involved in this spectacular showpiece and the manager can only be encouraged by that. Not as much, however, as he will be by what those on the field delivered – namely, Roy Keane’s biggest embarrassment in a career of very few. The Sunderland manager made it clear earlier in the week that he doesn’t like egos out on the pitch which is just as well given the way his players’ were mercilessly bruised into oblivion. Keane emerged from the dressing room after an hour behind closed doors trying to come to terms with what went wrong but he really didn’t need that long. It was obvious for everyone to see – Everton were just too good for them and that goes for pretty much everyone they face at the moment at home, away or abroad. Despite his protestations that his players gifted the majority of their goals, the fact is Keane’s side were outclassed and out-passed from start to finish. A clear error sent Everton on their way but the chaos that reigned in the closing stages wasn’t of Sunderland’s own making. They were all over the place because Everton scattered them there like confetti, and there was certainly plenty to celebrate. And Keane simply can’t deny the quality of the football that shaped the destiny of the three points, as the second and third goals came as a result of effortlessly flowing moves down the flanks long before Sunderland capitulated. It was all best summed up by Steven Pienaar’s wonderful strike that made it 3-0 two minutes before half-time. He exchanged passes twice with a rejuvenated Nuno Valente and the instant flick he delivered into Craig Gordon’s top left-hand corner was a work of art far more worthy of the name than anything currently lurking down at the Albert Dock. It was the pick of the goals but there was so much to admire it’s difficult to carve the action up into individual awards. Yakubu deserves one despite the fact that his two were the least aesthetically pleasing goals on view. The first was an oddly deflected finish after 12 minutes after the hapless Paul McShane allowed Tim Howard’s clearance to bounce through to the Nigerian, who later made it 5-1 when he tucked away following a goalmouth scramble. But far more eye-catching than his current run of four goals in five games is the way he led the line with a power and presence that ensured that, in the out-of-depth stakes, McShane stayed firmly rooted to the bottom of the seabed with Steve McClaren. Tim Cahill also scored twice, showing superb technique for the second and fourth goals and taking his tally to five in seven games since his return and it’s no coincidence that Everton have won six and drawn one of them. And as the debate about too many foreigners inevitably rears it ugly head in the ugliest of weeks for the national side, at least there was some English influence on the Everton scoresheet in the shape of substitute Andrew Johnson – picking up from where he left off against North East opposition before his ankle operation – and Leon Osman, dancing his way through a shattered defence for a magnificent seventh. Even cancer awareness mascot Mr Testicles got in on the act with a half-time hat-trick, and although he was actually aiming for the crossbar on each occasion, he can be forgiven for missing considering what he was wearing on his head. Fun though it was, it surely wouldn’t have been a match for a big-screen live broadcast of Keane’s team talk during the break for entertainment value. But although the events either side of it dumped Sunderland into the bottom three, it must be pointed out that this isn’t the same bunch of weary Wearsiders that have made a mockery of their Premier League status on the past two occasions. Keane would never stand for that anyway and there was even a period on Saturday when they were still very much in the game, thanks to Dwight Yorke squeezing in a lifeline between Pienaar’s strike and the half-time whistle. Typical of his manager and former team-mate, that proved to be not only the last kick of the first half but Yorke’s last of the game, he and Dickson Etuhu spared the agony of re-emerging for the second half. But in the early stages of that period Sunderland looked lively enough to suggest that one more goal would make a game of it before Cahill finished them off – even then Michael Chopra should have cancelled that out when he stabbed wide of an open goal. All of which proved that Everton were very much in a contest, so it makes the quality of the football they maintained throughout yet more impressive. Mikel Arteta was inevitably at the centre of that, only giving greater strength to the feeling that it will be an injustice if Everton don’t wave at least one player off to Euro 2008 next summer. It would neatly sum up the complacent arrogance of the English game if it was automatically assumed that because Arteta is so majestic every week in the Premier League he should be walking into the Spanish side. The footballers ahead of him are players that we don’t see every week but it’s safe to say that Arteta has quite a mountain to climb if he is to scale the heights in Austria and Switzerland next year. However, in terms of technique and awareness coupled with mesmerising dribbling ability, he has few superiors in the English game and it’s difficult to believe he has many hidden away in his homeland. But that’s a debate for another day. On this one, Arteta simply has to be admired for the impact he has on his club and, indeed, that was all Sunderland could sit back and do throughout the afternoon. The highlight was the marvellously deft flick into Phil Neville’s path in the build-up to the second goal, perfectly teeing his captain up to stand the ball up to Cahill at the back post. But once again, not a day for individuals no matter how outstanding they were, Osman in particular. This result was perhaps the culmination of the team ethic that has glued Everton together since their last defeat, in the controversial Merseyside derby more than a month ago. And although Mark Clattenburg didn’t do Everton any favours on that day, the mood his decisions seem to have instilled in Moyes and his players indicate he’s done them a massive one in the long term. And to that end, suddenly December doesn’t look so daunting.
EVERTON: Howard; Neville, Lescott, Yobo, Valente; Carsley, Arteta, Osman, Cahill (Anichebe 74), Pienaar; Yakubu (Johnson 74). Subs: Wessels, Johnson, Anichebe, Gravesen, Jagielka.
SUNDERLAND: Gordon, Whitehead, McShane, Higginbotham, Harte, Edwards, Etuhu (Wallace 46), Yorke (Collins 46), Leadbitter, Chopra (Cole 67), Jones. Booked: McShane.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).
ATT: 38,594 NEXT: Portsmouth v Everton, Barclays Premier League, Saturday 3pm
This is why I want to sign new deal - Leon Osman
Nov 26 2007
by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN today pointed to Saturday’s stunning victory over Sunderland as a signal why he is ready to commit his long-term future to Everton. The Blues midfielder capped a magnificent individual display with the final goal in the 7-1 drubbing of the Black Cats and was adamant that it was the best team performance with which he has been involved in his time at Goodison Park.
Along with fellow Academy graduate Tony Hibbert, Osman expects to put pen to paper on a new contract in the near future and follow in the footsteps of Andrew Johnson, Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill, James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe.
David Moyes now has the nucleus of a young, ambitious squad and Osman believes Everton are capable of making further progress in the next few years with their efforts against Sunderland being a sign of things to come.
“The manager is looking to build something here,” said Osman. “All the players who have signed deals have committed themselves for the next four or five years, so the future is looking bright and things aren’t at present too bad either. Once Ayegbeni Yakubu fired Everton into an 12th minute lead, they were never in any trouble and extended their unbeaten run to a seventh game but Osman knows trying to extend that sequence to eight will be significantly more difficult at Portsmouth next Saturday. “Everything clicked into place and it was certainly the most enjoyable game I’ve played in,” said Osman. “We had the confidence to try things that we might not normally do and we worked really hard to get into good positions. “We have got the type of players who are comfortable in attacking positions and can express themselves. We all know how the game against Liverpool turned out and maybe that was the thing that pulled us together. “We haven’t looked back since then. We have such belief in ourselves and each other and we hope this can continue. I’m enjoying myself, playing in the middle with Cars and we are getting an understanding. “We want to keep this going now at Portsmouth. They’ve been on a fantastic run as well and have been playing some really good stuff. They have got a really good home record and will be looking to push for Europe. We hope we can go down there and match them.”
MOYES CHARGED BY FA
27th November 2007
Everton manager David Moyes has been charged by the Football Association following the comments he made about referee Mark Clattenburg in the wake of the derby defeat against Liverpool in October. Clattenburg sent off Everton duo Tony Hibbert and Phil Neville for conceding second-half penalties as the Reds won 2-1 at Goodison Park. But Moyes was incensed after his team were denied a late penalty when Jamie Carragher appeared to foul Joleon Lescott in the box, while Kuyt was only booked for a two-footed lunge at Neville. The Everton boss said after the game: "We deserved that penalty if not more and, if the other penalties were more blatant than that, then I am in the wrong game. "I am seemingly seeing football differently. If the referee does not see that you have got to ask why. Maybe they should not be there." He added: "It can't just be me being bitter, people asked was the referee biased and I can't comment but we got nothing at all." Moyes has been charged with two breaches of FA rule E3 in respect of comments he made immediately following the game and also comments he made in a press conference the following week.
The FA charge stated that "it is alleged that the comments made referring to referee Mark Clattenburg on each respective occasion amount to improper conduct as they call into question Mr Clattenburg's integrity and/or imply that Mr Clattenburg was motivated by bias". Moyes has until December 11 to respond to the charge.
Meanwhile, an FA regulatory commission was meeting on Tuesday to consider the claim for wrongful dismissal from Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien, who was sent off for violent conduct during Saturday's 2-0 victory at Derby.
James Vaughan scores on Everton return
Nov 29 2007
Wigan Reserves 1, Everton Reserves 5
JAMES VAUGHAN staked a strong claim for a return to the Everton squad for Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth with a goal in last night’s 5-1 Premier Reserve League Northern Section win at Wigan. The teenage striker scored in the first half and produced a solid 70-minute display, and was joined on the scoresheet by Andy van der Meyde, Bjarni Vidarsson, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Jack Rodwell at Robin Park. Within minutes of the kick-off Vaughan had produced an audacious overhead kick from the edge of the box that forced Wigan keeper Neil Postlethwait into pushing the ball over the bar. The visitors remained the most threatening, with a decent run from Lukas Jutkiewicz culminating in a shot that Postlethwaite did well to stop with his legs. At the other end Wigan were restricted to efforts from distance. A second overhead kick from Vaughan followed minutes later by a miss from close range, and on 36 minutes the teenage star opened the scoring, combining well with Jutkiewicz before slotting the ball beyond the keeper from 12 yards as he received a slide-rule pass from the former Swindon striker. The goalscorer turned provider four minutes later, sliding in van der Meyde after a flowing move through the centre, and the ex-Dutch international made no mistake with a cool right-footed finish into the far corner of the net. The Latics responded well, defender Luke Ashworth heading in from a corner to give the home fans something to cheer about seconds before the interval. Everton wasted no time restoring their two-goal cushion though, Vidarsson heading home two minutes into the second period. Jutkiewicz made it four midway through the second half – although the fact his effort made it into the net from a tight angle on the left of the box owed a great deal to a half-hearted save from Postlethwaite. Vaughan and van der Meyde had been removed from the action by the time the fifth goal went in.
A great run down the left from Ryan Harpur had the Wigan defence on the back foot, before Rodwell hit the fifth with a low, 15-yard shot into the corner of the net.
EVERTON RESERVES: Ruddy, Densmore, Boyle, Irving, Rodwell, Harpur, Downes (Morrison 68), Vidarsson, Jutkiewicz, Vaughan (Agard 70), van der Meyde. Subs: Stubhaug, McCarten.
Nov 29 2007
What does the 7-1 thrashing of Sunderland mean for the rest of Everton's season?
MANY of Everton’s younger fans won’t remember the Eighties – when Frankie Went to Hollywood and fashion sense went out of the window! However, they have no doubt heard about the glory days at Goodison, when the likes of Reid, Gray and Neville were part of an Everton team that would frequently just brush teams aside with ease. For me, the performance on Saturday was equivalent to anything that great side could have produced. It really was that good and I said in a previous column that David Moyes was putting together something special. The results are terrific but it’s the quality of the football that has really caught the eye – slick passing, great movement off the ball, intelligent tactics and all backed up by a team spirit that is clearly genuine. The individual highlights are too many to list but I would pay for a season ticket just to see Arteta play. We are not title contenders yet – but maybe my 18-year-old fanatical Blue son might just get to see his team win a trophy before he gets to his dad’s age!
Mike Williamson, Chester
LET’S not get too carried away with the 7-1 thrashing of Sunderland.
This was a defence that couldn’t deal with the ‘Route One’ long ball; even Tim Howard was credited with an assist. Paul McShane had a Wayne Bridge of a game. The team were on the same level as ‘Mr Testicles’ performance during half-time in the Cross Bar Challenge. In the second half the ‘we surrender’ sign was hung out as Leon Osman virtually walked the ball into the net.
It’ll be some time before we encounter such a generous defence, no wonder Roy Keane had a face like thunder. Portsmouth on Saturday is an altogether different prospect. Having said that it was a great performance, after years of starvation it was a feast of football. Arteta, Pienaar and Osman with their movement and speed of passing gave a great imitation of Ball, Kendall and Harvey and Joleon Lescott looks more like Brian Labone every game. Still, as Bill Shankly used to say, ‘you’re only as good as your last game’. Richard Knights, West Derby
WHAT a fantastic day Saturday was for Evertonians!
Who would have thought there would be a 7-1 thrashing and even though Sunderland are a poor side, it is still tremendous to score seven goals against any Premier League team. The most pleasing aspect though was the way some of the goals were scored, it really was going back to the School of Science. Moyes should surely be in line for the Manager of the Month now!
I would also like to pass on my best wishes to Dave Hickson for a speedy recovery and hope we see him back at Goodison very soon. He is a True Blue Legend! It is now important to get our feet back on the ground and win at Portsmouth to try and get us into the top six. With great options all over the park and with five strikers all battling it out, it is bringing the best out of the Yak!
It is also noticeable that players don’t want to come off when they pick up an injury for fear of losing their place in the team. It is a great time to be an Evertonian!
Lee Molton, St Helens
THE 7-1 drubbing of Sunderland was a fantastic day for the blue half of Merseyside. A non-stop assault on the visitors’ goal was justified by a very realistic scoreline. Not to go overboard, but Everton could have scored more in fairness.
Now this sends out a clear message to the rest of the Premier League – take Everton lightly at your peril.
Everton’s form is now clear for all to see, unbeaten in 7 games, winning 6, scoring 19 goals while conceding only 4 in the process.
Now with a fully fit squad at his disposal, David Moyes should be confident that Everton are capable of progressing much further.
Expectation levels are now at brimming point and rightly so. Everton have some exceptional players and you can see there is a true sense belief on the park. Without putting unnecessary pressure on Everton, we expect to win games now. The benchmark has been raised, David Moyes and the players are now setting their own standards.
David Wallbank, Huyton
David Moyes hails rising star Steven Pienaar
Nov 30 2007 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed the growing influence of loan star Steven Pienaar and backed him to play a major part in Everton's push for success this season.
Since being recalled for the UEFA Cup clash with Larissa on October 25, Pienaar has started every game and was hugely impressive during last weekend’s 7-1 dismantling of Sunderland when he capped his performance with a goal. Signed for an initial 12 months last July from Borussia Dortmund, Moyes has ruled out making a bid to secure his services permanently during the next transfer window but admits Pienaar is doing his case to stay on Merseyside no harm at all. Now, though, Moyes is urging Pienaar to maintain the standards he has set in tomorrow’s benchmark encounter with Portsmouth at Fratton Park, where the Blues will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run to an eighth game. “Steven has been really impressive in the last six weeks,” Moyes enthused. “He has played really well and we have been pleased with what he has contributed to the team. He is a very good footballer. “He takes the ball and creates chances but I also like the work ethic that he has too. He’s getting better and better and has helped us improve with his play. He, like the other midfielders, is right on top of his game. “We need it that way, though. When Mikel Arteta was injured at Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, we struggled a bit but hopefully everything will be okay for tomorrow. They are all good players and are helping us play a certain way.
“We have got him for the year and we hope that he can carry on as he has been doing. We won’t be doing anything soon. “We will get to the end of the year and when his loan is finished we will look at things then.” With only Alan Stubbs unavailable due to a calf strain that will keep him out for the next month, Moyes is not giving any indications as to whether he will stick with the same side that trounced Sunderland or make changes. The Blues boss has been impressed by the way Portsmouth have performed so far - they haven’t been beaten in the Premier League since September 2 - and he expects this to be one of the stiffest assignment his side face this season.
“We are in good shape at the minute,” said Moyes. “We have got a lot of confidence and we want to try and keep it that way but we know it is going to be a tough test. Portsmouth are a really good team and are similar to us in many ways. “But we have got quite a good record down there and you can always guarantee there will be a great atmosphere.”
REDKNAPP FOCUSES ON THE ACTION
30th November 2007 Daily Mirror
Harry Redknapp aims to put the trials of this week behind him as he focuses on Saturday's Barclays Premier League home match against Everton. The Portsmouth manager's house was searched in a dawn raid by anti-corruption police while only his worried wife Sandra was at home - and the former West Ham boss was returning from a spying trip to a Champions League match in Europe. "I've had a meeting with the players and all the staff and told them to ignore what they might have read about me this week," Redknapp said. Redknapp was one of five men arrested by the City of London force on Wednesday - along with club chief executive Peter Storrie, former chairman Milan Mandaric, former player Amdy Faye and agent Willie McKay - as part of their investigation into allegations of corruption in the game. But Redknapp, released on police bail until February having answered questions about a transfer deal four years ago - intends to put all his energies into building on a club record Premier League run of nine matches unbeaten. The 50-year-old admitted: "It is a massive match for us and we need to concentrate everything on it. Everton are in terrific form and just behind us in the table. "I know what has been going on and I have nothing at all to be concerned about. "I'm just bitterly disappointed that my family have been dragged into it and I'm wondering why I've been called in again for something like this. "The crux of the meeting I had with the police was nothing whatsoever to do with me. I'm not involved. "All I know is that we are playing our best football as a club for 50 years and in our best position in the league in that time. We just have to get on with it."