Everton 5, West Ham United 0
The high fives banish blues (D.Post)
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 1 2001
LET'S be honest, this was not the bunch of fives people had in mind when they arrived at Goodison Park on Saturday. Recrimination was in the air and the prospect of fifth straight defeat against the awkward West Ham would have been the cue for open revolt. But what a difference a simple 5-0 hammering and Everton's biggest win in 21 months makes. A week previous there were calls for the manager's head. Now, amidst the standing ovation inside Goodison Park, an Evertonian was overheard laughing: "If that's not a championship winning team I don't know what is!" A deliberate overstatement, but one that sums up the continual rollercoaster that is the team he loves.
That was clearly on Walter Smith's mind afterwards, as he resisted what must have been a strong urge to give his detractors the obvious salute to agonise over why his team had not shown the same ruthlessness against Blackburn Rovers. If just two of Saturday's five finishes had been reserved for Ewood Park, Everton would have spent Saturday night fourth in the Premiership behind the might of Arsenal, Manchester United and Leeds - not bad for a manager and team under so much pressure, financial and otherwise. The signs were there at Blackburn, though not the goals, and having overcome a difficult start that could have destroyed the hopes of a lesser team - with the loss of the influential Paul Gascoigne - Everton delivered when it mattered against the sorry Hammers.
The long-awaited full debut of Tomasz Radzinski brought pace and movement to a recently static front line. Thanks to the £4.5million striker's intelligence, on and off the ball, those players around him - fair targets for criticism in recent weeks - blossomed with the Blues' football refreshingly centred on the floor. Kevin Campbell was tireless and creative, as the new strike duo delivered promising signs of a productive partnership. Niclas Alexandersson skipped past markers and offered a final ball to match his undoubted skill until tiring in the second half, while Thomas Gravesen was simply a man possessed. To be fair to Gravesen, he often is, but with his aggression and energy more controlled than usual he symbolised Everton's dramatic transformation, dominating the midfield with admirable support from Mark Pembridge. Pembridge, nowhere near match-fit, was thrown into the fray as Everton suffered the start Smith must have dreaded as both his striker's missed half chances and then his team's most polished performer exited in forlorn circumstances. And all inside three minutes. Gascoigne jarred his knee, after a clumsy challenge on Frederic Kanoute saw him catch the man and the pitch and there was an audible gulp around Goodison as the midfielder refused to accept his undeserved fate. Thankfully, comparisons with his infamous FA Cup Final tackle of 10 years ago do not extend to the length of his absence, though his obvious distress was understandable, given the effort he has given to return to the Premiership stage. The Blues were naturally subdued by Gascoigne's loss and with their defence making a nervous start before excelling themselves - in particular the awesome Abel Xavier who seems to thrive on added responsibility - there were few signs of what was to come. Paolo Di Canio could have changed the course of the contest when he put Sebastian Schemmel's low cross wide of Paul Gerrard's goal, while Kanoute volleyed just over. But with Radzinski and Campbell combining positively and Pembridge peppering the visitors' goal with either longrange shots or precision corners, Everton were lively and adventurous in attack. And it was their more thoughtful use of the ball that engineered the lead on the stroke of half-time. Radzinski's first cross from out wide was headed clear, but rather than wait for a corner he returned a neat pass into the area for Gravesen to tee up Alexandersson.
The Swede's cross was immaculate and Campbell stole in ahead of the weak centre-half pairing of Rigobert Song and Christian Dailly to head home his fourth of the season. Gravesen and Pembridge were at the heart of almost every Everton move and had a hand in four of the Blues' five goals, although it was another Blues' midfielder - a former one - who produced the second eight minutes after the interval. Kanoute headed against the crossbar as West Ham offered some resistance before eventually being swamped by devastating Everton finishing that saw three goals in 11 minutes. The third was the pick of the afternoon and just reward for Gravesen who, after being released by Pembridge's fierce tackle on the centre spot, strode forward, let Radzinski and Campbell pull the defenders away and drilled an immaculate finish into the far corner. Ten minutes later the partypieces were out and Gravesen almost doubled his tally for the season with a 30-yard volley that brought the best out of Hislop. Steve Watson was next up with his first league strike for the Blues when Campbell sent him chasing to the by-line. The wing-back's driven cross was only parried by the Hammers' keeper, who could not stop Gary Naysmith nudging the ball out of his grasp and back to Watson who slotted home. All that was missing from the Goodison party was a debut goal for the tireless Radzinski, who had put wide at the start of the second half after reading Campbell's flickon perfectly. But his moment arrived with 10 minutes remaining and once again thanks to unsung graft of Pembridge in midfield. The Welshman rode two challenges before playing the ball forward, Radzinski seized on Dailly's dallying and rounded Hislop only to make the angle too acute for an accurate shot. Or so we thought. The striker didn't even check where the goal was but turned to flick a wonderful finish past a despairing defender. After the bitterness of last week, the Blues deservedly revelled in the five-star salute they received from the satisfied Goodison crowd.
The Everton manager should have joined in too, though his relief and personal pride were enough reward.
Gascoigne faces scan
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 1 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE will have a scan this week to determine the extent of the knee injury that forced him out of Everton's 5-0 demolition of West Ham. The Blues midfielder broke down after only three minutes of Saturday's game after a tackle on Frederic Kanoute. But despite fears the ex-England star could be in for yet another lengthy spell on the sidelines the initial medical verdict is that he will be absent for just three weeks, meaning he will miss only the Blues trip to Ipswich on October 13.
Manager Walter Smith said: "It looks as though Paul has strained a knee ligament. Usually they take two to three weeks to heal so it is touch and go whether he'll be available for our next game."
Rival manager Glenn Roeder has been a close friend of Gascoigne since their time at Newcastle together, and lived with the 34-year-old following his move to Italy with Lazio. And the Hammers boss said: "This is the last thing Gazza needed. It is cruel after everything he has put in. I told him not to let this deflect him from the work he's done over the last three months. "I tried to pick him up at half time, he was very upset. But by the end of the game he was the one picking me up."
Blues strike back
Oct 1 2001
TOMASZ RADZINSKI believes Everton delivered the perfect riposte to their critics with Saturday's 5-0 mauling of West Ham United. The Blues' £4.5m summer signing scored in an impressive full debut against the Hammers which brought their four-match losing streak to a spectacular end at Goodison Park. And the former Anderlecht striker admitted the Blues were fired up by the criticism manager Walter Smith had faced at the end of the previous week's defeat at Blackburn Rovers. Radzinski revealed: "We all know what happened at Blackburn. "We played well that day and the only thing missing were the goals. We knew the performance wasn't disappointing and the lads took everything that happened afterwards to heart and were really up for West Ham. "We did to them what we should have done to Blackburn." Radzinski completed the Goodison rout with a quality fifth goal and admitted making his debut for the Blues was more important than his first goal after a recent injury setback. The 27-year-old said: "It has been over four months since I last started an official game so it was a big relief for me to get out there against West "It has been so frustrating coming to a new club and being injured so I'm just delighted to have played almost a full game at last. "I still need a few more games to get match fit, I know there is more to come, but it was great to be part of such a good team performance. "I wasn't worried that I wasn't on the scoresheet when the goals were going in but it's good for me that I did score, it does take a bit of the pressure off." Strike partner Kevin Campbell opened the scoring before half time, then Don Hutchison put through his own net, while Thomas Gravesen and Steve Watson also scored prior to Radzinski's 79th-minute effort. And the striker added: "We never looked back after Kevin's header went in. It came at a good time and West Ham went down mentally because of it. "We began the second half with a lot more enthusiasm and scored excellent goals." Man of the match Gravesen admitted he was surprised by West Ham's performance, but believes the Blues can kick-start their season on the back of Saturday's win. Gravesen said: "We've got to use this 5-0 as positively as we can.
"We were wary of West Ham at the beginning after their result against Newcastle last week and were looking to see what they could do but I don't know what happened to them. "They didn't create a lot and we opened the scoring at an important time. Against Blackburn we missed a lot of chances but against West Ham they flew in from every angle. We lived up to expectations."
And the midfielder was also impressed by the Blues' new-look forward line of Radzinski and Campbell. "It's important to have a number of good strikers at the club because they all give different options," added the Danish international. "When you have two big strikers like Kevin and Duncan it can be a very big advantage, but without them we showed we can do it as well. Tomasz gives us something different and his movement was very good." Meanwhile, manager Smith, who dropped defenders Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth from the side, was delighted with the manner of his team's triumph. The Blues boss said: "This was an important game for us and we thoroughly deserved the win. "We had to go for the win and I'm really pleased that we did it so emphatically. I thought it could have been an awkward game for us but apart from a wee spell in the first half we played very well throughout."
Everton 5, West Ham United 0
Blues look West for a timely lift (L.Echo)
Oct 1 2001
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON now know the identity of the team they can turn to in a crisis. It's West Ham. When trouble bubbles and storm clouds gather over Goodison, the easy going East Londoners have always been the team anxious Evertonians can turn to for assistance. Only nine times in more than a century of League appearances against Everton have they celebrated success. Even Mike Walker managed to beat them . . . twice. While Walter Smith, the so-called master of the massed defence, has now seen Everton teams smash six, four and five past the Hammers. Maybe it's payback for inflicting Danny Williamson, Slaven Bilic and David Burrows on us . . . Smith should receive the credit for restyling his side so dramatically on Saturday. But such is the contrary nature of the average Evertonian he'll probably still receive stick, for not making those changes sooner. Strangely the switch to 4-4-2, the axeing of Alan Stubbs and the long awaited introduction of Tomasz Radzinski produced a display that wasn't as overwhelmingly dominant as last week's at Blackburn.
But the variety of Everton's approach was crucial this time, as was the ruthlessness they showed in front of goal. The Campbell and Radzinski partnership up front demanded a more thoughtful approach - and the players entrusted with providing that service seemed to revel in the responsibility. There are some talented footballers in the Everton squad who enjoy the challenge of trying to do something different than looking up and chipping the ball 60 yards at a stationary target.
Niclas Alexandersson was finally handed the right-flank role he was signed to fill, and beat his full-back more times in one afternoon than he has all season - and the central midfielders constantly swept forward to support their strikers. The attack-minded line-up looked more vulnerable to the counter, and West Ham missed the best chance of the day with the scores still goalless, but it also created a glut of opportunities and five different goalscorers registered their names on the scoresheet. The first was Kevin Campbell, who still attracts criticism from some quarters. But Campbell has now scored four Premiership goals this season - three of them the vital opener in games - won three penalties and showed the intelligence to adjust his style to complement two very different strike partners. He often dropped deep on Saturday to offer Radzinski space to burst into, but he was in the box when it mattered on the stroke of half-time to dart ahead of Song and glance a classic centreforward's header past Hislop. That opened the floodgates for a Goodison goal glut. But this is Everton, of course, so there had to be at least one downer. It came very early on Saturday when Paul Gascoigne's recent renaissance ground to an untimely end. He slashed at the ball just five minutes in, connected with turf and left the field in tears after straining knee ligaments.
That brought Mark Pembridge into the fray, who seems to have spent the last three weeks taking Andy Hinchcliffe tablets. When a substitute is substituted, it means he has usually endured a stinker.
Pembridge, however, was handed a breather for the last seven minutes as reward for an influential 75 minute show when he worked selflessly, passed efficiently and even managed shots on target and clipped in a succession of wickedly swerving corners. It was a Pembridge free-kick which elicited an own goal seven minutes after the interval, Don Hutchison drawn into the error by less than positive goalkeeping - and three minutes later the game was settled. Pembridge's challenge again earned Everton possession, but Thomas Gravesen still had plenty to do when he collected the ball in the centre-circle, a yard inside his own half. A clever shimmy threw off Hutchison, a positive run took him to the edge of the penalty area, then a sideways shuttle and a precise cross-shot produced the best goal of the day. It was exhibition stuff after that. Gravesen, Xavier and Campbell all came close before Steve Watson celebrated his first Premiership goal for Everton. Danny Cadamarteri snatched a goal from the full-back in last season's corresponding clash, deflecting a goalbound header into the Gwladys Street net. This time there was no stealing the credit as he romped into the box to set up the chance, then finish from close range. That wasn't the goal most Evertonians wanted, though. That came 12 minutes from time, when Tomasz Radzinski sealed his long awaited full debut with a clinically taken forward's finish. Radzinski was very Tony Cottee, both physically and in the way he took his goal - and while Cottee was never an Everton legend, the prospect of a striker who could at least guarantee 15 to 20 goals every season is a mouth-watering one for Evertonians. While Everton soared up the Premiership on the back of this result, in truth, it changed little. With reasonable numbers to choose from, the side is still better than relegation scufflers.
But even with a full strength squad they're nowhere near capable of matching the Manchester Uniteds, Arsenals and Liverpools of the Premiership over a full season.
A few more results like Saturday's, however, will make that reality easier to bear.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard, Watson, Xavier, Weir, Pistone, Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gascoigne ( Pembridge 8 mins, Hibbert 83), Naysmith, Campbell, Radzinski (Moore 83). Unused substitutes: Stubbs, Simonsen.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-4-2): Hislop, Schemmel, Song, Dailly, Winterburn (Soma 62), Sinclair, Carrick, Hutchison, Courtois (Byrne 76), Di Canio, Kanoute ( Kitson 79). Unused substitutes: Foxe, Forrest.
Referee: Paul Durkin.
Gazza injury proves costly
Oct 1 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE'S latest injury setback has hit the Everton star where it hurts --in his pocket.
Gazza sustained a minor medial ligament strain in his knee on Saturday and will be missing for three weeks. With Saturday's international break that means he will miss the Blues' trip to Ipswich Town on October 13. He has started just three games this season, but a safeguard Everton introduced into Gazza's contract means he will suffer financially from another injury lay-off. Gascoigne came to Goodison from Middlesbrough on a free transfer, but with an injury prone track record.
The Blues protected themselves by offering Gazza an appearance related pay- scheme, whereby he receives a bonus for playing, but a modest monthly salary. Even when playing regularly Gascoigne's salary only brought him into the mid-range of earners at Everton. He was given the opportunity to renegotiate if he made 30 appearances in his first season, but never came close to reaching that figure. After signing Gascoigne cashed in for three months, where his displays in 12 successive matches made him an increasingly influential figure But a thigh injury sustained on Bonfire Night last year ruled him out for the rest of the season. So far this season Gazza has featured in the Blues' last four games - - voted Man of the Match in three of them - before Saturday ' s latest setback.
Ironically he will look to make another comeback on October 20 against Aston Villa, the fixture where his Everton injury problems began. Gazza has been barred from speaking to the press, but is keen to reassure Evertonians that he intends to be fit for the Villa game and will continue to work as hard as possible in training. David Unsworth, meanwhile, left out of Saturday's squad just days after signing a new three-year contract, will play for the reserves tonight at Newcastle. He is joined in the reserve side by Tony Hibbert. Beaten UEFA Cup finalists Alaves, meanwhile, are the latest club linked with a move for Everton's Norwegian goalkeeper Thomas Myhre.
Gravesen salutes Blues' debut boy
Oct 1 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN collected the Man of the Match plaudits for his performance in Saturday's 5-0 rout of West Ham at Goodison Park. But afterwards he deflected the praise in the direction of another Tomasz - goalscoring debutant Tomasz Radzinski. The Canadian international finally made his full debut in place of the injured Duncan Ferguson, and scored the fifth goal of the game.
Gravesen, who also scored, said: "Tomasz did really well. The movement from the front two was good all game. "They are a little different to Kevin and Duncan together, but it's good to have more than two strikers at the club. "You can see the benefit of that at other clubs if you look around. You can't rely on just two strikers, because one can get injured so easily. "Today was very good. All our performance lacked at Blackburn was goals, but today they came from every angle. "It's always nice to score, but for mine everyone was running with their men. Kevin's marker was running with him and Tomasz's marker was sticking with him, so I tried my luck and got my first goal of the season."
Gravesen had to adjust to a new midfield partner just five minutes into the match, after Paul Gascoigne strained knee ligaments and had to limp off. But the Dane was full of praise for the way the Blues coped. "It was disappointing to lose Gaz so quickly and we all hope he makes a speedy recovery," he said. "The team this season is more settled than last time and that's why we can change one or two faces - like Duncan and Gazza - without disrupting it too much. "When you are leading three or four nil everything goes well, the tricks, the shooting, the passing so we tried everything today and it came off. "We had a terrible result at Blackburn when we should have won, but we gave something back to the fans today."
Gascoigne aims for Villa return
By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Oct 2 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE is lining up a return to action against Aston Villa - the fixture where his Everton injury troubles started. The Blues midfielder faces three weeks on the sidelines with a minor medial ligament strain from Saturday's 5-0 thumping of West Ham. Gascoigne's latest injury problem means he is expected to miss only one game, Everton's trip to Ipswich Town on October 13, as fears he was set for another long spell on the treatment table have been dispelled. The former England star, 34, saw his first season on Merseyside curtailed by a thigh injury sustained against Villa at Goodison Park last November. Now it is against John Gregory's visitors on October 20 that Gascoigne is pencilling in a comeback after an impressive personal start to the current campaign.
But Gascoigne will pay a high price for his present lay-off as a result of the contract he signed on his arrival from Middlesbrough. The player came on a free transfer in the summer of 2000 but the Blues protected themselves by negotiating an appearance-related pay-scheme for Gascoigne, whose career has been plagued by a series of cruel injuries. He receives a bonus for playing to supplement a modest monthly salary. Meanwhile, midfielder Thomas Gravesen believes Everton are in a stronger position to climb the table than a year ago. Gravesen, man of the match in the Blues' morale-boosting win on Saturday, said: "The team this season is more settled than last time and that's why we can change one or two faces - like Duncan Ferguson and Gazza - without disrupting it too much."
Academy: Blues' goal famine goes on
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 2 2001
EVERTON Under-19s' goal and win search continues as they recorded their fourth goalless draw of the FA Premier Academy League season - at home to Sunderland at Bellefield on Saturday.
Colin Harvey's side have only scored one goal this season and are yet to win - although they have drawn four of their six matches. Wayne Rooney is the only player to have scored and he will feature for England U17s tomorrow, along with midfield team-mate Scot Brown in a friendly at Bristol City's Ashton Gate. While concerned at the lack of goals, coach Harvey believes hard work will eventually bring its own reward. He said: "It is a concern but then the best teams can go four or five games without scoring a goal. The lads have just got to adjust and learn." Alan Harper's U17s, meanwhile, lost 2-1 at the Academy's Netherton base to Sunderland. The Blues' young side led 1-0 at the break. Anthony Barry was perfectly positioned to pounce on a loose ball and force it home after the Sunderland goalkeeper had fumbled the initial shot. Despite creating a few more chances, the Blues could not increase their lead and the visitors made them pay as two strikes in the last 20 minutes saw Sunderland claim the three points, which, on the balance of play, they probably just deserved.
Midfielder Craig Garside is once again in the Wales squad for the UEFA European U17 Championship qualifying tournament. Garside impressed last week in Wales' friendly double-header against Scotland, although he couldn't prevent his country going down to two defeats. Peter Nicholas' side are involved in a three-team round robin tournament in Frauenfeld in Switzerland.
Rad-ical partnership makes a difference
Oct 2 2001
FOR seven days we were forced to read story after story focusing on Everton's fans' reaction to defeat at Blackburn. But for me, the most reassuring aspect of Saturday's stroll against West Ham was the players' reaction. I know how it can feel to play well in a match and still lose.
That can sometimes have a more damaging effect on morale than losing a game when you've deserved to. But in losing a player of Paul Gascoigne's influence inside five minutes - and still producing such a dominant display, Everton showed that they possess players with character.
That was a quality they clearly had more of than West Ham on Saturday, and something which will stand them in good stead as the season progresses. Even more interesting, however, was the way Everton performed without Duncan Ferguson in their line-up. I'm a Ferguson fan and he has shown numerous times already this season how he can influence a match significantly. But there is no doubt that Everton adapt their approach when he is not available, and that approach has often proved successful. The Kevin Campbell-Francis Jeffers partnership was one of the most productive the club has boasted in recent years - and relied very much on movement off the ball.
That appears to be the case with Campbell and Radzinski. Whenever arguments about Everton playing to one man's strengths are raised, invariably people talk about the Gary Lineker season when he scored 40 goals, but we won nothing. But that's unfair on Gary. When you have a player with the pace he possessed you could still mix your game up. It wasn't always balls over the top for Gary to chase, although that was often a successful option. Defenders, however, would be so aware of Gary's pace that they would drop off him at times which would allow us to play the ball into Gary's feet and he could bring midfielders into attacking focus. With two big guys up front that fear in defenders isn't there - and players become tempted to lob the ball up from deeper areas than they would do normally. I can see Tomasz Radzinski forming dangerous partnerships with either Kevin Campbell or Duncan Ferguson, but there will only be certain teams that Duncan and Kevin together will enjoy success against. It's horses for courses - and on Saturday Everton got the mix just right. currently paying. That's exactly the same as Second and Third Division players contribute, and I am sure Premiership stars wouldn't begrudge for a second paying a little bit more. Many of them have already nailed their colours to the Union mast, but whether that support will extend to strike action remains to be seen. It's still early days in the dispute - but so far players at Shrewsbury aren't losing too much sleep about it. Premier stars should put money where mouth is NO-ONE knows how far the current dispute between the PFA and the Premier League will go - but at present it isn't making too many waves in Division Three. I respect Gordon Taylor for taking the stance he has, and I appreciate that the union supports a great number of players at this level. But I also think there would be even more sympathy for his cause if players in the Premiership contributed more than just the £75 per year that they are
Unsworth cracker in Blues' draw
Oct 2 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S draw specialists came within 10 minutes of clinching their first Premier Reserve League victory of the season at Newcastle last night. But, for the fourth time in four matches, the Goodison second string were forced to settle for a share of the points in a 1-1 draw as the Magpies hit back with a late equaliser. David Unsworth gave the Merseysiders a first half lead but they were unable to hang on to the advantage as Newcastle turned the screw after the break. Everton fielded an inexperienced line-up, with only Unsworth and Danny Cadamarteri among the challengers for a place in Walter Smith's Premiership plans. They were lucky to survive early on when Lomana Lua Lua fed a clever ball through to Jamie Coppinger, but the striker shot just wide from a tight angle.
Everton had another narrow escape on the half hour as Jamie McClen blasted a shot into the side netting. However, they went ahead on 31 minutes when Unsworth blasted a 30-yard free-kick which beat goalkeeper John Karelse and found the net via a post. Karelse saved comfortably soon after from Cadamarteri while, at the other end, Lua Lua fired wide from just inside the penalty box.
The Blues went close to adding to their lead on 41 minutes, but George Pilkington's header came back off the crossbar. Nick Chadwick, too, was denied by Karelse on the stroke of half time and Sylvain Distin cleared Cadamarteri's follow up effort off the line. Distin, a recent acquisition from France, tried his luck 10 minutes into the second half but the Frenchman's shot was deflected behind by Thomas Kearney. Steve Simonsen saved well from Lua Lua four minutes later -the home side's first shot on target - and shortly afterwards Kearney cleared off the line from Olivier Bernard.
With 10 minutes remaining, the Blues finally cracked when substitute Pedro Dimas bundled home a cross from Mark Boyd.
EVERTON: Simonson, Hibbert, Unsworth, Pilkington, McCleod, Curran, Kearney, McKay, Eaton, Chadwick, Cademarteri.
Oct 2 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH watched David Unsworth convert a 30-yard freekick last night - then braced himself for another broadside from the defender today. Unsworth will seek talks with the Everton manager after being omitted entirely from Saturday's senior squad. The player signed a new three-year deal only days ago and turned up at the v Blues' Bellefield training ground yesterday for talks. However, Unsworth was told that the manager was in Scotland - and he was playing in the reserve team match at Newcastle last night. Unsworth was devastated not to make even the substitutes' bench last Saturday for the first time since he was a teenager. He left the ground early after learning he had been axed. Unsworth's last appearance was the Goodison derby, when he was substituted at half time and dropped to the bench for the following week's game at Blackburn. Unsworth was joined in the reserve team by striker Danny Cadamarteri who was watched by Stoke director of football John Rudge. The second Division club is considering an approach for the forward who has been told he can leave Goodison. With a number of players away on international duty and several others receiving treatment there was a skeleton squad training at Bellefield today. The Blues are still awaiting the results of a scan on Paul Gascoigne's injured knee but the player is moving freely and harbours outside hopes of being fit for the trip to Ipswich in a fortnight.
Unsworth seeks showdown
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 3 2001
DAVID UNSWORTH is to seek showdown talks with Everton manager Walter Smith over the next few days. Unsworth was unhappy after being axed from the Blues' squad for Saturday's 5-0 win over West Ham and stormed away from Goodison early. The 28-year-old defender - who scored a 30-yard free-kick in Everton Reserves' 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Monday night - has only just signed a new three-year contract but he will be looking for assurances over his future role at the club.
Smith was away in Scotland yesterday but as soon as he returns Unsworth will look to clarify his position at Goodison. Another member of Monday's reserve team, Danny Cadamarteri, is thought to be interesting Stoke City. The striker was watched by the second division's side's director of football John Rudge at Newcastle. And after being told he had no future at the club the 21-year-old forward could be tempted by a move to the Potteries. Meanwhile, Everton's injury problems appear to be easing. Full-back Gary Naysmith will be fit to play for Scotland in their final World Cup qualifier with Latvia this weekend. The 22-year-old defender picked up a slight hamstring strain on Saturday but the problem does not appear too serious. Everton and Scotland medical staff will continue to monitor his progress in the lead-up to the match, but after undergoing some light treatment on Monday he should be fit to resume training with Craig Brown's squad today. Two other Scottish stars Scot Gemmill and Duncan Ferguson are also making steady progress. Midfielder Gemmill was left out of the Scotland squad due to a back injury, and along with Duncan Ferguson, could be fit to return against Ipswich Town a week on Saturday. The 29-year-old striker missed the win over the Hammers with a hamstring pull but he will resume training later this week. Boss Smith said: "Duncan's coming along well and should miss maybe another couple of days training, but he should be fit for the trip to Ipswich a week on Saturday." Smith also confirmed that Paul Gascoigne looks set to make his comeback against Aston Villa on October 20. The 34-year-old midfielder suffered a slight medial ligament strain against West Ham and despite initial fears of a lengthy lay-off he may only miss one match. Smith said: "As was diagnosed after the game he has a slight ligament strain in his knee and will be missing for 2-3 weeks. "He may miss the Ipswich game but should be fit for the game with Aston Villa, so from our own point of view and the player's point of view that is good news."
Kev's all smiles
Oct 3 2001
WAS it my imagination, or did Kevin Campbell look happier on Saturday? Freed from the need to battle for possession with opposing defenders and Duncan Ferguson, he looked more contented, even more mobile. The first goal was a classic example of the centre-forward's art, ghosting away from his marker - the out-of-tune Rigobert Song - and bulleting the ball home to give Shaka Hislop no chance to stop it. On another day he would have had to toss a coin with Big Dunc for the right to connect with Niclas Alexandersson's inviting first-half cross. The Blues' skipper was not the only one to move up through the gears in the West Ham free for all on Saturday. The midfield, hitherto unsure whether to chase the high ball in or stay out to combat the consequent counter-attack, found the non-aerial approach much more to their liking. And even allowing for West Ham s wretchedness, this was the Blues best 90 minutes' work of the new season. That should be some slight comfort Walter Smith who has been left hanging by too many of his players and the club's dithering directors in several of the matches so far.
Unsworth vows to fight back
Oct 4 2001
OUT-OF-FAVOUR defender David Unsworth has vowed to fight for his place after clear-the-air talks with Everton boss Walter Smith. The defender was disappointed to be left out of the Blues' squad for last Saturday's 5-0 drubbing of West Ham. But after a showdown meeting with Smith at the club's Bellefield training ground, Unsworth is determined to put his frustration behind him and prise his way back into the reckoning. The 28-year-old said: "I was devastatedat not being involved at all against West Ham. "The gaffer has explained his reasons to me, I've accepted them and it's up to me now to work hard and try to win a place back. "We had a very friendly meeting and I just want to get on with things now." Unsworth was axed just days after signing a new three-year Goodison deal.
He scored with a long-range freekick in the reserves' 1-1 draw at Newcastle on Monday night.
Boss Smith now faces an anxious wait as eight members of his threadbare squad are away on international duty this week. Niclas Alexandersson is with the Swedish squad, who have already qualified for the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea next summer. Abel Xavier has joined up with Portugal, David Weir and Gary Naysmith are in the Scotland squad, Joe-Max Moore is included for the USA. Bruce Arena's squad face Jamaica in a match they need to win. Smith will also hope midfielders Thomas Gravesen (Denmark) and Idan Tal (Israel) return without injuries. Thomas Myhre is expected to play for Norway. The Norwegian has been frozen out at Everton, with Paul Gerrard now the established number one at the club. Myhre is still Norway's firstchoice, however, and will play against Armenia, a meaningless match in terms of World Cup qualification.
Myhre plea to Norway boss
Oct 4 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS MYHRE cannot get a match of any description at Everton. Now the Norwegian goalkeeper is pleading with his international boss to pick him for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday - to give him some rare match practice. Norway face Armenia in a meaningless clash at the weekend, but it could represent an opportunity for Myhre to play only his second match of the season. His first was also in Norway colours. "I asked to play a match at Everton not so "Espen Baardsen has played well for Watford and there is tough competition, but it is important for me to play." Since he expressed a desire to leave Goodison, Myhre has been frozen out completely. He made eight appearances last season when Paul Gerrard sustained a knee injury, but after an unconvincing FA Cup performance against Tranmere was dropped again as soon as Gerrard regained fitness. "They want to sell me, to have By DAVID PRENTICE money for me, and I have no problems with that decision," explained Myhre. "Now I have three months left before I can write a pre-contract. "If I'm in the same situation in March, I will not hunt down national boss Nils Johan Semb with a fire axe if he does not pick me in his squad." Myhre is one of five current Evertonians whose contract expires at the end of the season. Danny Cadamarteri, Alec Cleland, Abel Xavier and Paul Gascoigne are the others - and none has been approached about the possibility of an extension. The results of Gascoigne's knee scan, meanwhile, confirmed that the player has sustained a minor medial knee ligament strain.
He has not been definitely ruled out of the trip to Ipswich on October 13. Bradford City and Millwall have joined Stoke City in showing interest in the available Cadamarteri.
Gazza should Reid and learn
Oct 5 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE has been around the game for a long time. He has played in the World Cup. He has stepped out at Wembley in a Cup Final. He has played in massive games and thrilled crowds with his skill. But Gazza has still not learned the first lesson of football, which is about protecting yourself, notably when you are constantly living with a potential injury nightmare. His problems started 10 years ago, a year after he was a real international hero at Italia 90, when he went into the FA Cup Final against Nottingham Forest all fired up and determined to make a major impact.
He kicked into a challenge with Gary Charles and would have been sent off if he had not been carried off after snapping his cruciate knee ligaments - a truly horrendous injury. Unfortunately, it was self inflicted. Those images came back into my mind as I watched Gazza do himself again in Everton's game against West Ham. Again he kicked into a totally unnecessary challenge, this time on Frederik Kanoute. Again he damaged his knee and while, thankfully, it was his medial ligaments this time and not as serious, people were still casting major doubts about his future. Of course, Gazza is determined to return as soon as possible. We all desperately want to see him back out there. But he must take stock of the problems he has had and learn to protect himself. He must not be reckless in the challenge, especially when there is no need. For instance, why go launching yourself into something on the halfway line? When I signed Peter Reid for Everton from Bolton, he arrived with a history of knee trouble. In fact, he had played only a few games for Wanderers after his operation. To a certain extent, I was taking a chance with the deal. When Peter first arrived at Bellefield he had knee ligament problems, just like Gazza. But he quickly learned how to overcome the potential dangers. Ultimately he would win Championship, FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup honours with us as well as starring for England. Reid was known as a tough character, but it was not a case of going into crunching tackles. He didn't need to. He learned to close people down and block or nick the ball away without too much physical contact. Even in 50-50 situations he would tempt the other person to make the first move. Peter would read it and come out with the ball. He fully understood the risk of the knee going again and he cleverly protected himself. It's not as if Gazza needs to be in the middle of a tackling frenzy. His strength is his creative ability. We want to see him out there dictating games with his quality in the way he did for a half against Liverpool and for the 90 minutes against Blackburn. Gazza must not blow it after fighting so hard to get fit. Everton needs his influence right now. He doesn't need to be overeager to win the ball, especially in the middle of the field where you can simply hold people up. There is certainly no need for the last ditch tackle or a win the ball at all costs approach. Wise up, Gazza. We all want to see you out on the park, oozing class. If you do that in the right manner, the whole country will be talking about you again. We'll pass Greek test
Duo eye Danny swoop
Oct 5 2001 by CHRIS WRIGHT, Daily Post
DANNY CADAMARTERI'S Everton career could soon be over after two Nationwide League clubs declared an interest in signing the striker. Bradford City and Stoke City have both enquired about the 21-year-old but the Blues have not received a formal bid as yet. Everton have told the Bradford-born frontman he has no future at the club and they are prepared to listen to offers for a player who is able to leave for nothing at the end of the season when his contract runs out. But if the Blues can seal any deal the former England under-21 international would be allowed to leave Goodison immediately. Cadamarteri said recently: "I accept that I am now looking forward to a challenge of playing for another ambitious club who can give me a platform and a chance to fill my potential."
Whether his hometown club or Stoke are what Cadamarteri feels are ambitious clubs remains to be seen, but an early conclusion to his departure would be best for all parties. But Bradford boss Jim Jefferies has denied Cadamarteri is on his way to Valley Parade in the next few days. He said: "We've noted him down as being a player who is available but we haven't made any move. A wide player is still our priority." Another player heading for a Goodison exit, goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, is hoping he can re-ignite his stalling career in Armenia tomorrow. The Norwegian international has been frozen out at Goodison and is yet to feature in a match at any level for the Blues this season. The only game he has played this season has been for his country But he is looking to his country's Norway's World Cup qualifying match in Armenia to give him the chance to show what he can do despite the fact there is little to play for as neither side can qualify for next year's finals in Japan and South Korea. Myhre said: "I asked to play a match not so long ago, but got no as an answer. They want to sell me, to have money for me, and I have no problems with that decision. Now I have three months left before I can write a pre-contract. After the Armenia match on Saturday he will discuss the situation with his agent, although there has been little interest from any clubs of late.
And with Norway looking ahead to the qualification stages of Euro 2004 the 27-year-old knows any more inaction could see him lose favour with Norway coach Nils Johan Semb. He added: "If I'm in the same situation in March, I will not hunt down national boss Nils Johan Semb with a fire axe if he does not pick me in his squad. "Espen Baardsen has played well for Watford, and there is tough competition. But it's important for me to play."
The shape of things to come
Oct 5 2001 by MARK O'BRIEN
THEY SAY a good team is greater than the sum of its parts. You only have to look at the trophy haul of Manchester United's Neville brothers to realise that there's a lot of truth in that. If you want further corroboration you could do worse than look at Everton's performance against West Ham on Saturday. It was reminiscent of Highfield Road last season, when faced with a decimated squad we were forced to play 4-4-2 - the preferred formation of around thirty odd thousand Evertonians - and produced possibly our best footballing performance of the year. Why Walter Smith relented and played that formation on Saturday is a mystery. Whatever the reason, it was a welcome change to see players know instinctively what they're meant to be doing: whether it be the full-backs overlapping or even just pressing the ball together and supporting each other. They finally looked like a team. It's all we've ever asked for. Much was made of Paul Gascoigne's self-inflicted wound but in truth his replacement, Mark Pembridge, was as influential on proceedings, albeit in a more low-key manner, as Gazza would have been. Pembridge is never a winger or even worse, a wing-back, but put him in the centre of midfield and there's no-one better at the club at shielding the defence, breaking up opposition attacks and keeping it simple. He also takes a mean corner and free-kick. He'll never be Roy Keane, but he does a good job for us in that position and definitely makes it easier for the likes of Thomas Gravesen to get forward and hurt the opposition in and around their box. It's all about the right blend, as an ex-chairman once said. The blend was definitely improved up front by the addition of a new ingredient in Tomasz Radzinski. Even disregarding his extremely well-taken goal he had an excellent game. His movement is good, he works hard and he seems to exude confidence. He also seems very tough for a little bloke and doesn't shirk a challenge. He'll do for us - let's just hope we can keep hold of this one for a change. No doubt following such a display minus Duncan Ferguson we'll get some of the old 'you can't play football with him in the side' arguments resurfacing. To be fair to Duncan he's an excellent footballer with the ball on the ground and until we see him playing in a 4-4-2 it is unfair to jump to that conclusion. No doubt he would have preferred to be attacking some of Niclas Alexandersson's right wing crosses on Saturday, rather than heading on the endless punts he normally has to deal with. We've got three good strikers competing for two attacking positions now; that's a reason to be cheerful, not an excuse to get on someone's back. Maybe it was only West Ham, but we've struggled against worse teams this season. We really need to stick with this formation though. It's not the answer to all our problems obviously, but it's certainly a start.
Wage trimming leaves squad wafer thin
Oct 5 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON has trimmed its squad to wafer thin levels as the wage demands of top players go through the roof. In 1999-00 the club spent 79% of its turnover, a staggering £ 22,327,000, on wages.
That season premiership wages went up by 20%, astonishingly the lowest annual increase since the Premier League was established. In 1995-6 Everton's wage bill was £10,065,000. Paul Gascoigne's contract - said to involve a relatively modest basic wage bolstered by appearance money because of his injury problems - sums up the cautious approach the club is trying to take. Next summer players like Thomas Myhre, Abel Xavier, and the disgraced Danny Cadamateri are out of contract, and insiders suggest it is unlikely that any of them will be kept on. But if Everton are to stay in the top flight, it is difficult to see how the first team squad can be cut back any further.
Blues wage Goodison cash war
Oct 5 2001 By Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC are aiming to wipe out their crippling overdraft by the time they move to the Kings Dock in 2005. Today the ECHO can reveal that the debt that threatened to sink the club has been cut to under £20m. But only a fraction of the £16m raised by the sale of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball this summer has so far been received by the club. That money has been spent before it comes in, on the purchase of striker Tomasz Radzinski and wiping out the impact of a summer 2000 spending spree in anticipation of a massive media deal that collapsed at the eleventh hour. Technology giants NTL withdrew from the deal, which would have wiped Everton's debts out at a stroke, two hours before it was due to be signed last October. Insiders say the club has fought back to put itself on its best financial footing for years. But it is being run on a tight rein, fighting to cut its wage bill, with no money in the budget for new signings even on a free transfer basis. If no new income stream is found in the meantime, Kings Arena is now the key element in the club's long term financial strategy.
Everton and its partners now have little chance of completing the details of the £300m Kings Waterfront plan by the original December 31 deadline. It could now be as late as May next year by the time the scheme is finalised, with transport to and from the 55,000 seat multi-purpose arena still one of the major issues to be resolved. The dilemma for owner Bill Kenwright and his fellow directors now is how to keep the team in the Premiership and its increasingly impatient fans on board until the arena is built.
Blues can kick the debt
Oct 5 2001 By Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
IT is a balmy Saturday afternoon in August, 2005, and it's a great day to be an Evertonian.
The fans are streaming off buses, trains, trams and ferries, strolling in shirtsleeves along the Mersey waterfront towards their brand new seats in the spectacular 55,000 seat Kings Dock stadium that is the club's future home. In the directors' lounge, Everton owner Bill Kenwright allows himself a quiet smile of satisfaction. It has been a long road back from the edge of the financial precipice, but the £20m debt he inherited when he bought the club from Peter Johnson for £22m five and a half years ago has finally been wiped out. Canny team management and a shrewd youth policy have helped preserve the club's Premier League status despite a lack of big money signings. Now, with the books in the black and the prospect of a huge new income stream as the prawn sandwich brigade enjoy the finest corporate entertainment facilities in football, the club can build on the status afforded by its glamorous new home, and put itself back up there among Europe's soccer elite. That is the dream scenario, the target towards which Bill Kenwright and his backroom team are working. And it IS achievable. But it will require patience, perseverance, and a commodity that has been in short supply at Everton in recent years --good luck. Next month Everton will reveal its financial accounts for 2000-01. The ECHO understands that the debt is now down below £20m, and two thirds of that figure has been secured against future earnings with a new lender, cutting the expensive overdraft to the Cooperative Bank to a much more manageable £6m. It means that the club is on the best financial footing it has enjoyed in years, no longer paying a hefty £1.5m a year to the bank in overdraft interest. That m e a n s income can make bigger inroads into core debts.
By MARK THOMAS
best, and the one every fan craves, is success. Finish top of the league and you immediately get £8m more in prize money than if you finish 16th. Liverpool's treble success means they stand to earn £30m more than Everton this season. That amount would wipe out Everton's debts and buy a couple of world class players into the bargain. Everton could make the ultimate gamble. There are high profile premiership outfits now who are risking everything on success. The buzz word in soccer finance today is securitisation - borrowing today on your income next year and in some cases for many years to come. One club is said to have raised £60m for players by offering its season ticket income for the next TWENTY years as security. That kind of high risk strategy works only if the players you buy bring you immediate success, domestic trophies, a place in Europe and the boost in TV and sponsorship income that comes with it. Your future income increases, more than replacing the income you have signed away. Fail, and you go bust. It is that simple. It will happen to a Premiership club one day, and when it does, it will send a shockwave through football.
Bill Kenwright is an Evertonian. He wants to see the club win more than anything, but could not bear to be remembered as the man who broke the club. A source close to him said: "The dilemma is do you take a gamble in September in the hope that you have it back by May. Bill cannot bankrupt the club. He just won't take that chance." So the "quick fix" is ruled out - a tough call when fans are impatient for success, especially with Liverpool's resurgence. But what are the alternatives? There is no mega-rich benefactor waiting in the wings to transform Everton's fortunes. If there was, sources close to Kenwright say he would be the last to stand in the way. Kenwright's own business fortunes have not been helped by the recent terror attacks on New York, which have had a calamitous impact on the theatre industry. For the same reason, the economic climate could not be worse for attempting to raise funds through a fans' share flotation. That may be an option for the future, but not for now. Income for Everton, like all other Premiership clubs, has been hugely boosted this season by the new TV package deal. But in 1999-2000 Everton made a pre-tax loss of £11.2m - the sixth worst losses in the country. With better luck in an away match in which Everton outplayed Blackburn Rovers and lost 1-0 last month, Everton would be fourth in the premier league now.
Yet that match sparked an angry and well-publicised reaction from the club's devoted band of away supporters against manager Walter Smith. A 5-0 home win against West Ham and suddenly the world doesn't look so gloomy, but if every downturn in a potential roller-coaster season leads to unrest, the club could be in for a long and rocky ride. Accountants Deloitte and Touche warn in their influential annual report on football finance that the kind of losses currently being made by some of the country's biggest clubs are "extremely unlikely to be sustainable in the long run". They warn clubs: "There is one over-riding business imperative for the next few years - on wages, and on transfer activity, spend what you can afford!" It is a warning Everton is trying to heed. Its fans, who still enjoy some of the cheapest tickets in the league, need to get the message too. John Moores is long gone, and Everton are not the Mersey Millionaires any more. A miracle might happen. A mega-bucks media deal might arrive tomorrow, or a billionaire Everton fan might emerge out of the ether.
The club might even avoid further injury set backs and grab itself a money-spinning European place.
But it would be reckless for the whole future of the club to gamble its fate on any of these events.
To quote the final words of the Deloitte and Touche report: "There is no immutable law that says the board must put more money into the club. "So those fans who bleat about 'the plc', the lack of signings, the board, the loss of the star player because the board wouldn't accede to his wage demands, have a choice: "Help your board and management control the situation, do without what your club can't afford or . . . prepare to pay up!"
The deal that got away - by two hours
Oct 5 2001 Liverpool Echo
THE COLLAPSE of an Everton " media deal" two hours before contracts were to be signed set the club's financial recovery plans back by years. Bill Kenwright and his team spent over four months last year negotiating with American internet company NTL on the deal. They were following in the footsteps of ten other English clubs, including Liverpool, who signed media deals between September 1999 and September 2000. Between them the ten clubs shared a cash injection of over £235m. Everton's proposed deal with NTL was as complex as it was colossal. The contract looked like a telephone directory. It would have instantly wiped out the club's debts, bringing its long term plans forward by several years. That summer Everton went into the red on transfers. The controversial sale of Nick Barmby to Liverpool was the major factor in over £13m worth of outgoing sales, but Kenwright was so confident of the NTL deal going through that he authorised spending of around £19m. The Duncan Ferguson deal was basically one purchase too many, though it is hard to imagine any Evertonian in Kenwright's position who would have done things any differently at the time. Then, in October 2000, NTL appeared to cool on football. The company pulled out of a major pay per view deal with the Premier League and then, two hours before the contract was due to be signed, they backed out of the Everton deal. Suddenly the overdraft that should have been obliterated was up to £25m, edging up to £26.5m with interest, and the bank manager was not happy. T h e p r o g r e s s made since in easing that figure down to below £20m is a testimony to the careful housekeeping that has become the watchword of the current administration.
The big prize behind the big money media deals was rights to the internet, with corporations positioning themselves for the day when we will be able to watch matches on the screens on our mobile phones. The collapse of the dot.com industry rocked confidence in the whole sector, but the good news for Everton is that it now retains those rights. The club may have missed out forever on its chance to cash in on a technological dream that never becomes reality. But it is more likely that, in one form or another, this kind of technology will come back to the forefront. Everton could then cash in with a deal immeasurably better than those already signed and sealed by other clubs.
Where did Ball and Jeffers money go?
Oct 5 2001
SO WHAT did happen to the millions of pounds generated by the sale of two of Everton's brightest young talents this summer? The sale of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball should eventually realise the club around £16m. But those who hoped that this money was already in the club's coffers ready to be splashed out on new talent will be disappointed. Like most transfer deals, Arsenal will pay for Jeffers and Glasgow Rangers for Ball on an instalment plan. So far the club has received only £4m for Jeffers, and a fraction of that sum for Ball. The instalments will be significantly boosted by appearances if the pair stay injury-free and prove successful at their new clubs, but there are no guarantees. By contrast, Everton's summer signing from Anderlecht, £4.5m striker Tomasz Radzinski, has been paid for in full. Cash up front was the sweetener that eventually persuaded the Belgian outfit to part with the unsettled star for well below its asking price. The reality is that when the rest of the Jeffers and Ball money comes in, it is already accounted for on the balance sheets to pay for Radzinski and the overdraft incurred in the wake of the NTL media deal collapse.
Walter Smith is one of only three current Premiership managers who are in the black on transfers, topping a recent chart by showing a profit of £5m on his deals overall. That is good housekeeping, but not the stuff of soccer triumph. Selling clubs rarely win trophies. Evertonians who watched what Manchester United's £28m summer signing Juan Sebastian Veron did to them at Old Trafford last month saw for themselves the awesome on-field gap that has developed between soccer's haves and have nots.
Moore the merrier
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 8 2001
A DOUBLE strike from Joe-Max Moore fired United States into the World Cup finals last night.
The Everton striker was on target as his country beat Jamaica 2-1 to seal a fourth successive finals place. Moore struck after three minutes and with an 81st-minute penalty to sandwich a Jamie Lawrence strike as the USA's performance, combined with other results, assures them of finishing among the top three nations in the North and Central American and Caribbean region.
In other games, Mexico played out a 0-0 draw in Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago scored a surprise 1-0 win in Honduras. With Costa Rica already through, the final spot is between Mexico and Honduras. The Mexicans hold a marginal advantage in goal difference and need only a draw with Honduras on 11 November in the Azteca Stadium to advance. Moore's Goodison team-mate Thomas Gravesen was also a two-goal hero in helpinghis country reach the finals at the weekend.
The midfielder netted twice inside six minutes as Denmark battered Iceland 6-0 in Copenhagen to clinch their place in the finals. Defender David Weir was another Blue on target, but despite him scoring the 53rdminute winner for Scotland against Latvia the result was academic as Croatia's defeat of Belgium saw the Scots crash out. Elsewhere, China qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time in their history after sealing a 1-0 victory over Oman in their Asian qualifying group.
The result was exactly what the 50,000 spectators and several hundred million TV viewers wanted, with the final whistle setting off mass celebrations in capital Beijing. Brazil, meanwhile, had Barcelona star Rivaldo on target twice as they moved closer to sealing their place in the finals with a 2-0 win over Chile in the South American qualifying group. Ecuador require just a point to join the already-qualified Argentina after a comprehensive 5-1 win in Bolivia. Paraguay currently hold the other automatic qualification berth, with Uruguay poised for a play-off with Australia.
Smith - Ignore Scotland rumours
Oct 8 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH has brushed aside speculation linking him with two high profile jobs North of the border. Weekend reports put the Blues' boss in the frame for the vacant Scotland national team post, while another story suggested his old Glasgow Rangers employers wanted him to replace under-pressure Dick Advocaat. Smith refused to comment publicly on either report, but spoke to Blues' owner Bill Kenwright yesterday to confirm his commitment to Goodison. Smith has two years remaining on his present Everton contract, and has honoured every contract he has signed in
He has no interest in succeeding Craig Brown as Scotland coach. He still remains a close friend of Rangers' Chairman David Murray, but would be wary of returning to Ibrox and trying to recreate an era when he enjoyed unprecedented success for the club. Smith will be at Bellefield tomorrow, to welome back a trio of international marksmen. Joe-Max Moore scored twice against Jamaica last night to secure World Cup qualification for the USA, while Thomas Gravesen's two goals helped guarantee Denmark's place in Japan next summer, too. The Danes beat Iceland 6-0.
David Weir also celebrated a rare goal as Scotland defeated Latvia 2-1. Blues' coach Archie Knox, Craig Brown's deputy in the international set-up, could be asked to take temporary charge for a friendly international next month. His long-term future with the international side, however, will depend on who is asked to succeed Brown.
Gravesen blasts Denmark to finals
Oct 8 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Thomas Gravesen scored twice to help Denmark book their place in next year's World Cup finals with a 6-0 win over Iceland in Copenhagen. Ebbe Sand also scored twice in the Group Three match. Italy are also going to the World Cup - thanks to Alessandro del Piero.
The Juventus striker struck just before halftime in Parma to give the Italians a 1-0 win against Hungary in Group Eight. The Italians, who lost to France in the Euro 2000 final, believe they will be strong contenders at the World Cup. Captain Paolo Maldini, who will quit international football after next summer, said: " The squad we have now is very strong. Players have matured and others have grown older so there is a good mix." Russia also secured their place in next summer's tournament in Japan and South Korea by thrashing Switzerland 4-0. Holders France, plus Poland, Sweden and Spain were already assured of their places. Eight of the nine playoff spots have also been confirmed.
The Ukraine will face Germany in a two-legged play- off next month while Belgium play the Czechs and Romania face Slovenia. Turkey will play either Austria or Israel, who play next month, while the Republic of Ireland face an asyetundecided Asian qualifier. It was a sombre affair in Arnhem, as Holland won 4-0 against Andorra. They became the biggest European casualty last month when their defeat by Ireland and Portugal's subsequent win over Andorra then confirmed their exit.
Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice for them, but they - along with the likes of Norway and Yugoslavia - will be missing next May.
Blues on target in defeat
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 9 2001
EVERTON under-19s finally hit the goal trail after just one strike in their last six matches. But despite taking the lead twice they went down 4-2 to Crewe Alexandra at Bellefield in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday. Striker Nick Chadwick returned to Colin Harvey's U19 line-up for the first time this season and he had an immediate impact, crossing for Michael Symes, whose goal from a diving header was just 48 seconds into the match. Symes had another good chance to score but blazed over the bar before Crewe equalised. The Blues hit back on 38 minutes when Chadwick pounced on a mix-up in the Crewe defence and after he had headed over a defender he lobbed the ball over the advancing keeper to put the Blues back into the lead. Crewe equalised again just before the break and further breakaway strikes after 66 and 75 minutes left the Blues still looking for their first win of the campaign. And to add to their woes Nick Chadwick, who only played for match practice because there are no reserves fixtures this week, limped off with a hamstring injury. Although the Blues took him off straight away and are hopeful it is only minor. Colin Harvey said: "It was disappointing because we scored a couple of good goals and deserved to get something from the game." Alan Harper's under-17s also lost 1-0 to Crewe at Netherton on Saturday. With a strong wind any flowing football was hard to play but the young Blues had chances in a goalless first half.
Anthony Gerrard brought out a superb save from the visiting keeper with a header from a corner. While right-winger Damian Martland saw a shot from distance well held by the keeper.
But it was Alex Cole, the Blues shotstopper who was the busier and he made some fine saves throughout. He was powerless to prevent the visitors scoring the only goal of the match on the hour mark when Crewe's Clark headed home after a corner. Alan Harper said: "I was disappointed with the result but again you can't fault the work-rate. "But we just didn't pass the ball very well. We worked hard but we just haven't got the passing going very well yet."
U19s team: Pettinger, Penman (Garside 70), A Moogan, Schumacher, O'Hanlon, Carney, Crowder, Brown, Chadwick (Rooney68), Symes, Beck (B Moogan 70). Subs: None.
U17s team: Cole, Flood, Fox, Potter, Gerrard, Thorbinson, M Jones (Seargeant 60), J Jones, Lynch, Barry, Martland. Subs: Cain, Hughes.
Danish strikes fire up Thomas
Oct 9 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN trebled his goal tally for the season with two spectacular strikes for Denmark on Saturday. And the goals gave both the player - and his club boss - a huge confidence boost.
After an inconsistent first season at Everton, Gravesen has looked bright so far this term and Walter Smith hopes his recent strikes are a sign that the player has now acclimatised to the Premiership.
"Thomas' natural ability is excellent," said Smith. "He sometimes has a tendency to drift in matches, but he started this season well, was unlucky to collect a bad injury, but has come back and played just as well. "It can take foreign players a season to adjust to the Premiership, but hopefully the signs are that Thomas has done that now and we will see the form he has shown recently on a regular basis. "His goals against Iceland at the weekend were outstanding - and after his outstanding goal against West Ham in our last match his confidence should be high." With Paul Gascoigne and Scott Gemmill having only outside chances of recovering from knee and back injuries in time to face Ipswich, there will be greater responsibility on the shoulders of Gravesen and Mark Pembridge at the weekend. Gascoigne is making steady progress from his knee ligament strain, but the trip to Portman Road may be just too early for him. Gemmill's back strain is still sore. Duncan Ferguson is still receiving treatment for a minor hamstring strain, but he should be fit for the weekend - giving Smith the luxury of selecting from three strikers for only the second time this season.
Players left behind suffer
Oct 9 2001
WALTER SMITH will spend this week trying to restore a regular routine at Bellefield following weekend of frantic international activity. But strangely, it's not the players who have been away who the Blues' boss will be most concerned about. When international breaks come around it's only natural for a Premiership boss to worry about injuries his internationals may pick up. Everton have suffered in recent years with Niclas Alexandersson, Francis Jeffers and Thomas Myhre all sustaining serious problems while away on international duty. But if you can avoid that misfortune, the players will come back to you having had a full week's training, 90 minutes of action, and refreshed from a welcome change of scenery. The players who have been left behind, such as David Unsworth, Alan Stubbs and Steve Watson, are the ones who suffer. Such is the international nature of Premiership squads today, that even under-achievers like Everton can have the vast majority of their senior squad away from the training ground during international week. In Everton's case that meant just six senior players were left behind at Bellefield last week. It can be very difficult to keep players focused and motivated in situations like that - and equally as difficult to organise meaningful training sessions. In a bid to try to make things more interesting Walter staged a behind closed doors friendly against Preston towards the end of the week, before giving his players the weekend off.
They will return tomorrow, along with the majority of the international players, and then start to get back to normal with a difficult trip at the weekend to negotiate at Portman Road. It's typical of Everton's luck that after such a morale boosting victory over West Ham, they then had to kick their heels for a fortnight waiting for an opportunity to build on it. The same thing happened earlier in the season, when a win over Middlesbrough took them to the top of the table, and they then had to take an enforced break. Hopefully their form on their return this time will be much improved from the last international break, when they instantly lost three in a row! .Smith link to top jobs is flattering .
WALTER SMITH was linked with two attractive jobs north of the border last weekend, and while some Evertonians will be disappointed that links with the Scotland job and the Glasgow Rangers' post were dismissed as speculation, I think supporters should be relieved he remains committed to Goodison. Despite the gloom and the boos earlier in the season, Everton are firmly midtable, and but for some wretched luck against Blackburn and Tottenham could have found themselves rubbing shoulders in the table with Arsenal and Manchester United. Everton don't have the resources to maintain those kind of ambitions, but with a fully fit squad there's no reason they can't look to the upper mid-table slots. Given the circumstances he has had to operate under at Goodison that would represent some achievement. It's a job that has clearly been recognised north of the border.
* I was saddened to read of the death of former Blues' coach Stewart Imlach last week, whose funeral took place today in Southport. Our paths didn't quite cross at Everton, although I remember his son Michael being an apprentice at the same time as I'd just signed pro forms there.
The backroom staff at Bellefield all spoke highly of Stewart and I'd like to pass on my sincere condolences to his family.
Smith's fitness boost
Oct 9 2001 By ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH could have the rare luxury of choosing from a fully-fit squad for the weekend trip to Ipswich Town. The Everton manager's plans have been boosted by Duncan Ferguson and Scot Gemmill's return to fitness, leaving Paul Gascoigne as the only serious doubt for the Portman Road clash. Gascoigne is nursing a medial knee ligament strain suffered in the 5-0 win over West Ham United but still has an outside chance of playing this weekend. However, given the 34-yearold's-injury record Smith may be tempted to leave the midfielder out until the Goodison game with Aston Villa on October 20. Gascoigne's loss would be tempered by Gemmill's recovery from a back injury he suffered just prior to the Blues' Worthington Cup exit to Crystal Palace, while Duncan Ferguson is expected to shake off the hamstring strain that ruled him out of the Hammers' conquest.
Ferguson's return would leave Smith selecting from his first choice strike force for only the second time this season, but the Blues boss will monitor the trio's progress this week before finalising his squad. Smith, who was again linked with the vacant Scotland job at the weekend - a position he has privately indicated he does not want, said: "Hopefully we should have everybody fit for the Ipswich game. "I'm hoping everybody will be available to train later in the week."
Moore seeks improvement
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 10 2001
JOE-MAX MOORE hopes his World Cup heroics will stop him becoming Everton's forgotten striker.
The American struck both goals in his country's crucial 2-1 win over Jamaica on Sunday to ensure the USA qualified for their fourth successive finals. It was Moore's cool late penalty that assured the Americans of a trip to Japan and South Korea next summer courtesy of Honduras' shock defeat against Trinidad and Tobago. And after suffering a prolonged scoring drought at club level, Moore is hoping his international form delivers a timely reminder to Walter Smith as the Blues boss prepares to pick from a fully-fit squad for this Saturday's trip to Ipswich. Moore, whose early Goodison career saw him score six in six games, has not registered for Everton since the 4-2 win over Watford on April 1 last year. But now he is anxious to build on his USA exploits and challenge Tomasz Radzinski, Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson for an Everton striking role. Moore said: "It has been a long, hard year and I haven't been in great goalscoring form but I hope this changes that. Those goals meant a lot to me. "Not a lot of chances have been coming my way but hopefully that will change.
"I've got some confidence back and hopefully I can get back on the scoring sheet with Everton as well." Meanwhile, former Everton captain Richard Gough has been forced to put his planned comeback on hold due to a calf injury. The former Scotland and Rangers star was scheduled to come out of retirement last weekend to play his first game for Australian side Northern Spirit, but has delayed his return to competitive action until he makes a full recovery.
Rising Sun won't set on Blues
Oct 10 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are among a number of clubs tracking Chinese international defender Sun Jihai.
But the probability of the 24-year-old joining the Blues is remote. Jihai, currently playing for Dalian Shide in China, enjoyed a spell at Crystal Palace last season and his club's vicechairman, Lin Lefeng, said: "I can confirm that Milan and Torino are interested in Sun. Everton and Crystal Palace have also been looking. "No full discussions can take place, however, until after the World Cup games are played." China still have two qualifiers remaining, after beating Oman 1-0 last weekend.
Blues' boss Walter Smith said: "Steve Bruce contacted me in the summer to ask if we were interested in the player, but given the amount of time he has to spend out of the country with international commitments we declined. There has been no contact since." Everton are not in a position to add to their squad at present, but could ease their wage bill by offloading Danny Cadamarteri to Stoke City today. The player was made available after a court convicted him of assault recently, but any potential transfer has been put on hold while Cadamarteri switches agents.
The Blues are resigned to being without Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill for this weekend's trip to Ipswich, but otherwise Smith should have a full squad to choose from. The boss watched Ipswich win at Crewe Alexandra last night, where George Burley rested five first choice players.
Michael Ball, meanwhile, made his Glasgow Rangers' debut last night in a 3-0 victory over Airdrie in the CIS Insurance Cup.
Grant's on his way
October 11, 2001
Manchester Evening News
TONY Grant is on his way to Turf Moor, but Glen Little will not be making the reverse journey. Clarets boss Stan Ternent has been sweet for some time on the engine-room skills of 26-year-old Grant and he agreed terms with Manchester City counterpart Kevin Keegan yesterday ( Wednesday ). The player was due at Turf Moor to finalise the details of the deal this morning but neither side was expecting a hitch. Midfielder Grant’s move to East Lancashire will disappoint West Bromwich Albion, who had also been after his services. The player spent a period on loan at the Hawthorns last season. Grant was watched by Burnley in last week’s mini-derby where he played a starring role in City Reserves’ 5-0 win over Manchester United Reserves. Ternent has paid in the region of £250,000 for the former Everton schemer, who was brought to Maine Road by Joe Royle almost two years ago. Criticised by the former manager for a perceived lack of fitness, Grant managed only 11 league and three cup starts for the Blues from December 1999. Like everyone else he was given an opportunity by the new boss and he had started three times under Keegan - ironically, two of those outings were against Burnley and WBA. But the arrival of Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic, plus the emergence of Dickson Etuhu, has pushed Grant down the queue and finally out of the door. Any thoughts Keegan might have had of negotiating a swap deal involving other fringe players and Clarets’ star asset Little were scuppered by Turf Moor chairman Barry Kilby. He backed Ternent by declaring that his winger is not for sale. ‘‘We have not received any offers for any of our players,’’ said Kilby. ‘‘You can never say never in football and I would have to admit that every player has his price, but we are trying to build a squad and Glen is a very important part of it. ‘‘If we sold a player like Glen Little, how much would it cost us to replace him? I believe, as does the manager, that we have a very good squad here.’’
Smith won't take chances
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 11 2001
WALTER SMITH will refuse to gamble on the fitness of two key midfielders on Saturday as his hopes of having a fully-fit squad available at Ipswich fade. The Everton manager will give both Scot Gemmill and Paul Gascoigne until later this week to prove they have recovered from respective back and knee injuries. But the duo are losing the race to play at Portman Road and Smith believes the Aston Villa game on October 20 is a more realistic target for their return. Duncan Ferguson is fit to face Ipswich, who Smith saw edge past Crewe in the Worthington Cup on Tuesday night, but the big striker may have to contend with a place on the substitutes' bench as Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell look to continue the form they displayed in the 5-0 victory over West Ham. Smith said: "Duncan is fit but Scot's injury is taking longer than expected to heal. We will have to be careful with his progress. "He is improving but it is touch and go for Saturday and it may be the Aston Villa game before he's fit again. "It looks as though Gazza will miss out at Ipswich. With a bit of luck he could make it but at this stage it doesn't look likely although he will be available against Villa."
Former Blues midfielder Tony Grant, meanwhile, has moved to Burnley from first division rivals Manchester City. The Clarets - currently second in Division One - had a bid believed to be in the region of £400,000 accepted for the 26-year-old yesterday. Grant is due to travel to Turf Moor to finalise personal terms today.
icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 11 2001
One that got away
I AM an Everton fan and have been for 40 years. I will probably upset some of my friends and Everton supporters, but I must write concerning poor Robbie Fowler. How this boy has put up with the hardship he has endured over the years is a credit to his loyalty to this city. This is the boy who stood by the Liverpool dockers, the same boy who has a lot of time for Alder Hey and also other local charities. He is a Blue boy from young, but don't others realise that Everton lost out on this fantastic talent just like others. Joe Royle summed it up when he asked: how did he get away?
Robbie Fowler is an icon on Merseyside and a local boy come good. I can't understand why my fellow Blue supporters have a go at him. Other players have claimed to be blue through and through, but where are they now? Fowler has never rejected Everton, they rejected him.
Iain Waring, Knowsley Village.
AS THE Premiership resumes business on Saturday, Walter Smith has got to stick with the side that beat West Ham so emphatically. As soon as he reverts back to a 4-4-2, the team shows what we are capable of. Anyone can see that we just don't have the players to pull off a wingback-system effectively. Pistone and Watson are not going to get up and down the wing and nor should they. Playing as we did against the Hammers, the Blues had more shape and consolidated well when under pressure. Surely Walter will stick with a winning formula. After all, if it's not broke then why fix it?
S. Woods, Fazakerley
Floor our rivals
WHETHER Duncan Ferguson is fit or not for the trip to Ipswich on Saturday, Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell should spearhead the attack. Against West Ham we played the best football I have seen at Goodison for a long time and it was all down to keeping the ball on the ground.
Although Ferguson has been a good loyal servant to us, his presence undermines what we are trying to achieve as so often, the ball is simply lobbed up towards him in a hit and hope fashion.
Radzinski's pace and vision offered us a new dimension and he seemed to link-up well with Campbell. A few more games together and the new pairing could really start to tell.
Neil Sullivan, Old Swan
Jevons sent on a quest
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 11 2001
THE leaving of Liverpool for Phil Jevons was bitter and painful. His return will live with him for the rest of his life. Grimsby's young striker went back to Merseyside with something to prove, and how he achieved it. During the summer, the 22-year-old was rejected by Everton, his only professional club, and the Scouse lad had to make the decision to leave home and try to rebuild his fledgling career somewhere else. And it was little Grimsby Town who came to his rescue. Jevons has now written himself in Grimsby's folklore, giving them the greatest moment in their history.
He said: "I'm delighted for them and the fans. They rescued me, gave me the chance again. For me leaving Merseyside and all my family was harder than leaving Everton. "But it's fair to say that goal means an awful lot to me after what happened in the summer." On Tuesday Jevons was back with a thunderous 35-yard goal in the dying seconds of extra-time in the Worthington Cup tie at Liverpool and amazingly he had put out the holders. The twist is that Liverpool also rejected him when he was 13, the club he and his family had always supported. That meant a move as a schoolboy across Stanley Park to join Everton's youth scheme. But when Goodison Park chief Walter Smith made it clear he did not think Jevons - top scorer in the reserves for three years - was going to make it in the big time, it was a heartbreaking moment and changed young Jevons' life. Jevons reckons he didn't really get a chance to prove himself at Everton, just nine senior games - six as substitute - before he began to realise that Smith was making plans without him. Jevons had starred in Everton's 1998 Youth Cup winning side. He'd been Francis Jeffers' strike partner and part of a team that Everton fans expected their future to be built around. Jevons said: "Leaving the area and my family was probably harder than leaving the club, although I'm very passionate about Everton.
"But I looked at the situation and saw lads I had been playing with since I was a boy going off to better things while I was stuck in the reserves." Jevons jumped at a £150,000 move to Blundell Park - a fee that will eventually rise to £250,000 on appearances. Liverpool will no doubt wish their local rivals Everton had kept Jevons in the reserves. It would have stopped his homecoming bristling with intent as he grabbed away the very first part of Liverpool's historic treble at the very first defence. He said: "I was stuck in the reserves and that had been the case for three years. "The manager sold my mate Francis Jeffers but he was saying that he was still going out to buy another striker, Tomasz Radzinski in the end, so I knew I was going to be fifth in line or something like that. "It was no good for me at this stage of my career." Jevons had his devoted parents, Barbara and Dave, watching him make history at Anfield. As all parents of all footballing sons, they had trailed him around through schools and youth football being as supportive as they could. So it was no surprise that there were tears and kisses in the players' lounge after his Anfield wonder strike. He said: "It was unbelievable, the stuff dreams are made of. It still hasn't sunk in really. My parents just couldn't stop hugging and kissing me. "It means a lot, as everyone knows I left Everton and went down a division, but I still hope I can go back up to the Premier League and for it to be a stepping stone back one day. "The goal means a lot to my family, to my dad, especially because it was against Liverpool." Jevons' family were all Liverpool fans, so was he. Dad Dave acquired a soft spot for Everton because of his son's new club and no doubt relished the irony of his lad's best-ever night.
Oct 11 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON head for one of last season's red card crime scenes on Saturday - hoping to add to their image as the Premiership's most improved offenders! The Blues were hit with a £50,000 suspended sentence by the FA this summer, after a disciplinary record last term which saw them amass 89 yellow and five red cards. They were also the only team to have six players booked in a game on two separate occasions, accruing individual fines of £75,000. But as they head to Ipswich this weekend, the current campaign has seen a dramatic improvement in the Blues' discipline. They currently lie third in the Premiership's Fairplay Table with 227 points, having collected just 11 yellow cards in their seven League matches so far. Points are awarded not only for the lack of red and yellow cards, but also positive play, respect towards opponents and officials and behaviour of club officials.
Manager Walter Smith said: "There has been no dramatic change in our approach. I was at a loss to explain why we amassed so many cards last season, given the players we had, and the same goes for the improvement this season. "We suffered at times from frustration last term, but we didn't have - and still don't have - many overly aggressive players.
More midfield worries for Blues
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 12 2001
WALTER SMITH faces a midfield shortage for tomorrow's trip to Ipswich Town after Everton's injury jinx struck again. Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill were yesterday ruled out of the Portman Road clash after succumbing to knee and back injuries respectively. And the Blues boss has admitted that Thomas Gravesen could also be sidelined after struggling to recover from a rib injury sustained on international duty last weekend. "Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill will miss the game and Thomas Gravesen is doubtful," confirmed-Smith. "Gascoigne will be available next week and Gemmill should be okay then as well. "But losing Thomas Gravesen would be a blow because all three are midfielders, which leaves us short in that department. "I hope that he will make it but he is doubtful at present. "He has been in goalscoring form in internationals but I just wish he had kept some for us!" Gravesen netted twice for Denmark as they booked their place in next summer's World Cup finals in the Far East with a 6-0 thrashing of opponents Iceland. It followed his sensational individual goal against West Ham the week previous in which Everton finally found their goalscoring form with a resounding 5-0 victory. And Smith admits the in-form Gravesen would be a big loss for the Blues, as they seek to capitalise on their defeat of the Hammers and score their second away victory of the campaign against Craig Burley's side. "Thomas's natural ability is excellent," said Walter. "He sometimes has a tendency to drift in matches, but he started the season well, was unlucky to collect a bad injury, but has come back and played just as well. "It can take foreign players a season to adjust to the Premiership, but hopefully the signs are that Thomas has done that now and we will see the form he has shown recently on a regular basis. "His goals against Iceland at the weekend were outstanding - and after his outstanding goal against West Ham in our last match his confidence should be high." The trio's absence would leave Mark Pembridge as the Blues' only fit central midfielder, with Abel Xavier or David Unsworth likely to be asked to fill the void.
Academy: Blues must hit top form
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 12 2001
EVERTON under-19s are still searching for their first win of the season and need to be on top form to earn it at Manchester United tomorrow at the Carrington Complex. Colin Harvey's side addressed a goalscoring problem last week with two goals against Crewe. But after being solid in defence they leaked four goals. Harvey said: "Although we haven't been scoring we have been fairly safe at the other end." United ended Coventry City's perfect start to the season last week in a 3-1 win. And with United unbeaten in five matches the Blues will face a tough test. Striker Nick Chadwick had to be replaced after he picked up a hamstring strain in his first U19s start of the season. But the Blues are hopeful the problem is not serious. Harvey said: "Chaddy tweaked his hamstring after 60 minutes. I took him off as soon as it happened so it's not a major problem." The under-17s face Manchester United as well at the Carrington Complex (KO 11am) and they will be looking to bounce back after last Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Crewe. Although they are performing well as a team, coach Alan Harper feels they are lacking that little spark to turn draws and narrow defeats into victories.
He said: "There is no-one standing out for us at present. If there was we would be creating more chances. "All the lads are working their socks off, but they need that extra bit of the puzzle - which is the passing - to slot in for us to help us to start winning games. But we will get there."
Everton will have to have that defensive solidity against a United side who have hit 22 goals in five matches and have been beaten just once against Sunderland. Harper added: "It's Man United away! It's a big test because they are supposed to have the best. So we will see how we get on against them because that's the standard the players are trying to get up to. "They will be strong because of their money and everyone wants to go there so they can usually pick the best. But we've always done quite well against them. "We drew at home last year and we were narrowly beaten away, when we shouldn't have been. "We drew at home. We should have won the one away from home. But it will be different sides with the new intake." Harper should have a full squad to choose from.
Move ''upstairs''can be wrong step
Oct 12 2001
I ALWAYS wonder what the real motive is when a club suddenly announces that it is making a managerial change which involves the previous boss going upstairs as "Director Of Football".
What does that title really mean? Clearly it didn't mean much to my old mate Jim Smith who declined Derby County's offer of a new role this week to enable his assistant, Colin Todd, to take control of team affairs at Pride Park. For the life of me I can't think what a Director Of Football would do with his day if he wasn't involved in the day to day activity at the training ground.
Kenny Dalglish was one of the first high profile Directors Of Football when he was at Blackburn. In Kenny's case, I recall that he was the one who wanted to spend less time in the front line after achieving a memorable Championship success at But does it work? When Blackburn failed to build on their title success, people were asking where Kenny was or what impact he was having as Director Of Football. The suggestion was that he was often on the golf course. It doesn't matter if that was fair or not. The fans were simply questioning the role while suggesting the man who had brought them such outstanding success on the field should be exerting a much greater influence on team affairs. Kenny, having handed over the reins at the time to Ray Harford, would have seen a more hands on role as interfering with the new man in the job. But again, you wonder about the Director of Football job description. Equally, David Pleat is Director Of Football at Spurs. Those people who assumed he had a close working relationship with former team manager George Graham were shocked when Pleat chose to back ex-chairman Alan Sugar against Graham in a high profile court case. Again, it posed questions about the role of a Director Of Football and how he fits in with the team manager. I recall my old Everton manager Harry Catterick talking candidly to me about his move "upstairs" in 1973 as General Manager. Harry had been ill and the club had made up its mind to replace him and bring in Billy Bingham. Naturally, Billy didn't want Harry down at the training ground where "The Cat" had been such a power broker and an influence over the previous decade, winning two Championships and the FA Cup. Harry occupied himself with some scouting duties but he was not happy. He could not walk away because he did not feel financially sound. He told me that the club was refusing to pay him off. His actual words were: "They are waiting for me to die." Whether that was said tongue in cheek or whether Harry was just being bitter at his new and fairly meaningless role is caught up in the passage of time. We are talking about an era nearly 30 years ago. It should also be remembered that Everton eventually gave Harry a testimonial game.
But it sums up the fact that General Manager or Director Of Football might sound like a grand title. More likely it can leave the man who was once the leader of the pack in a rut and feeling worthless.
Jim Smith is a very strong character. He would not put himself in that position. I wish Colin Todd well, a former Everton player, but at the same time I hope that Jim finds a new and worthwhile role as one of the game's great characters. And that's NOT as a "Director Of Football". PFA must give insight into finances to stop strike jibes WE keep reading that the players are edging ever closer to a strike. I heard Players Union chief Gordon Taylor on the radio this week, spelling out the fact that top Premier League officials overlook or fail to mention the role the PFA plays in the general welfare of players at all levels of the game. Gordon was talking particularly about those whose careers are over and who are in need of operations and medical care as a direct result of their football involvement.
He mentioned Fifties hero John Charles and how he has been helped. I've been getting letters to the Midweek Match from fans who are bitter that the top players, who earn fortunes from football, might be considering strike action. Clearly, the PFA message has not been rammed home. I suggest they go public and give everyone an insight into their finances and where the money goes. Chelsea chairman Ken Bates - on the other side - was stating that the PFA could not be short of money because they bought a valuable Lowry painting as a long term investment. This gives the impression that the PFA is rolling in money and that its needs are not immediate or even relevant. The union must show what it does with its money by waging a major media campaign. The fans will get right behind them if they show the public what they have achieved as an organisation
Hot-shot Rad is hungry for more
Oct 12 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT was typical of Tomasz Radzinski's fortunes at Everton that when he finally kicked-off his stalled career - with a win and a goal - he had to endure yet another break. This time the lay-off was enforced, and after a frustrating fortnight's inactivity due to international matches Radzinski is raring to go. A hamstring strain sidelined the striker for the opening five matches of the campaign, then after half-a-game against Liverpool a groin injury picked up in the final Friday training session before Blackburn saw him sit out that match, too. He finally ran out at Goodison Park against West Ham - and after celebrating a 5-0 victory, and his first goal, he then saw many of his new team-mates disappear on international duty. "It was just a real relief to play," said Radzinski. "It had been fouranda-half months since I played an official game. I was an Anderlecht player in Belgium the last time I started a match and so to play almost a full game was very nice. "But I hope there is more to come from me. Four-and-a-half months on the sidelines is not an ideal situation. I hope that once my match fitness and conditioning comes I will be able to pick up my game a litle more and bring it to a slightly higher level. "Hopefully I will feel sharper. I did feel tired towards the end of the match and hopefully my stamina will come. "I wouldn't say being out of the side at the start of the season helped me settle in and have a long look at the Premiership, but you try to put everything to your advantage and I did learn a little. "But it's not a great feeling being sat in the treatment room when you want to play football!" Radzinski's impact on his debut had already been considerable before the 78th minute, when he clipped a precisely angled shot back across Shaka Hislop's body and into the corner of the Gwladys Street net. He enjoyed the goal, but admitted the prospect of a goalless debut for himself hadn't bothered him. "To be honest I wasn't worried that I hadn't scored. I was just satisfied we had produced such a good team performance," he said. "I was just as happy for the lads at the back keeping a clean sheet as I was for myself getting my first goal. "Obviously it will take a little pressure off me personally, but I wasn't thinking 'That's three or four nil now it's my turn to score'. I was just pleased by the overall performance. "It was a tight angle because I touched the ball a little too firmly past the goalkeeper but I was lucky to get it on target." That strike set the seal on a famous 5-0 win, and Radzinski added: "We played well, scored a great header from Kevin and from that moment on we never looked back. "It came at a good time too, just before half-time, and we started the second half with lots of enthusiasm and scored some great goals. "You don't expect five different names on the scoresheet but that's what we did and that should give us heart for the future. "It wasn't just Kevin and myself on the scoresheet, the goals were spread through the team, even the defence, and that makes everyone's job so much easier and gives everyone so much confidence. "We got stronger and stronger as the match went on and we deserved the scoreline."
The supporters also appreciated the style of play the side produced. "A team will always adjust its tactics to whoever is available," Tomasz explained, "and if Duncan is playing, he is such a big, strong boy and such a good header, you are going to play the ball over the top and try and get the knock-ons. "With me and Kevin together it is a little bit different and obviously I am not going to win so many headers because the defenders are so strong and powerful and I am small - but that is not necessarily a disadvantage. "I am fairly quick off the start and that is my advantage when the ball is played on the ground. "But the fact we can change styles and tactics to suit different opposition should work in our favour."
Joe-Max wants to leave, claim
Oct 12 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S lightweight squad could soon be depleted yet further, if comments attributed to Joe-Max Moore's international team-mate are accurate. Nuremburg midfielder Tony Sanneh, who played alongside Moore in last weekend's World Cup victory over Jamaica, has claimed: "Joe-Max is very interested in returning to Nuremburg. "He is no longer happy at Everton. He seldom starts games for them and wants to leave as soon as possible --with Nuremburg his preferred destination."
Moore has been a regular squad member at Everton this season, but his only start came against Crystal Palace in the Worthington Cup. He started only eight games last season - and his last senior goal came against Watford on April 2000. Moore played for Nuremburg in the mid-90s and his wife, Martha, still visits friends in the Bavarian city. Everton's financial position means that every squad member is available at a price, but the Blues have had no official contact from Nuremburg.
The American is in Everton's travelling squad for tomorrow's trip to Ipswich and could be handed a midfield role if Thomas Gravesen continues to be troubled by a back injury. More likely, though, is a restoration of the 3-5-2 formation with David Unsworth drafted into midfield. "Everything hinges on Thomas Gravesen's fitness," said boss Walter Smith. "We wanted to leave things alone after the West Ham performance, but it's unfortunate that the only three players we have injured a t present are all midfielders." Scot Gemmill and Paul Gascoigne will not travel. Danny Cadamarteri is also excluded from the squad as he attempts to negotiate a move away from Goodison. The player's wages - in the region of £9,000 a week - are proving a sticking point in his efforts to secure a move. Clubs outside the Premiership cannot afford to match that level of salary, which Cadamarteri can collect at Everton until the end of the season. Idan Tal, meanwhile, will miss Everton's Premiership match with Newcastle United on October 27. Israel's postponed World Cup qualifier with Austria has been rescheduled for that date.
Ipswich 0 Everton 0
By David Randles, icLiverpool
Oct 12 2001
EVERTON remain in tenth spot in the Premiership following a goalless draw at Ipswich.
But after the disappointment of last season as the then, Premiership new-boys fired five past the Blues without reply, Walter Smith will look on today's result as a measure of his side's improvement this term. As Ipswich could only muster one real effort on goal in the first half, Everton will rue their inability to take advantage of a host of chances before the break. In a game of two halves, the Tractor Boys emerged resurgent after the interval but the Blues again had their fair share of chances before holding out for the draw at the end. Despite a lively start as Marcus Stewart went close following a good ball from Reuser, Ipswich's next real effort came just before halftime.
Again it was Stewart who was thwarted in the 40th minute, but as Paul Gerrard failed to hold his header, Armstrong could only steer his low drive across the face of goal in what was a let off for the Blues. With Everton resolute enough to smother the play in midfield, Stewart found himself chasing too many long balls as the Tractor Boys appeared lost for options. Everton, on the other hand, saw a host of chances go begging as Kevin Campbell failed to add to his tally of four Premiership goals this season. The Toffees had to wait until the 16th minute for their first real chance however, but Steve Watson(pictured) could only watch as his header sailed over the bar. Three minutes later it was Tomasz Radzinski who slid Campbell in, only for the busy Sereni to emerge quickly from the Ipswich goal to save at his feet. With Duncan Ferguson fit again, much of the pre-match talk was whether Radzinski would figure in this one. But in only his second start for the Blues, the Canadian impressed with a lively performance on the right while underlining the new dimension he has brought to Everton's frontline. Indeed, Radzinski's sharpness and vision saw him as the first-half orchestrator of most things good for the Blues before the Ipswich defence got wise to his threat after the break.
After Reuser had come close for the home side, Alexandersson was unlucky to see his goal-bound effort deflected away for a corner on 21 minutes, but by the half hour mark the home fans' frustration began to tell. Much of this was attributed to the effectiveness of Everton's persistence in harrying the Ipswich midfield which led the Tractor Boys to assume a route one system which was in contrast to the usual customary slick passing instilled by George Burley. Before the break, Steve Watson, who was later replaced by Alan Stubbs after picking up a hip injury, was unklucky to drag a shot across goal, whereas David Weir was equally as fortunate to see his deflection go wide at the other end. However, the best chance fell to Kevin Campell on the stroke of halftime. After some good work by Watson to send the cross in, the Blues' captain somehow managed to shoot wide from 3 yards out. Walter Smith will have pointed out the fact that George Burley's men have failed to keep a clean sheet so far this term, but for all their effort, the half-time break drew a blank.
Goalmouth opportunities were not exactly plentiful, but like at Blackburn three weeks ago, there was concern that Everton would be punished for not taking advantage of their attacks.
And so it appeared as a rejuvenated Ipswich emerged from the break all guns blazing.
In a 15 minute spell of relentless pressure, the Tractor Boys tried in vain to establish themselves as front-runners for maximum points. On 49 minutes, former Southampton midfielder, Jim Magilton came close with a rasping drive which shaved the post. And a minute later Reuser found Stewart inside the box before Gerrard produced a fine diving save. Fabian Wilnis confirmed this spell of domination on 53 minutes forcing Xavier(pictured) into a last ditch clearance as Ipswich conjured more in eight minutes than they had in the previous 45. Alun Armstrong was next up but could only find the side-netting before the tide turned in Everton's favour. Linking well with Radzinski as he had against West Ham a fortnight ago, Campbell came close on 61 minutes. But his best chance two minutes later was again to no avail as, clear through on goal, he failed once more to beat an inspired Sereni. Next it was Radzinski's turn to be thwarted by the former Sampdoria stopper as Everton began turning the screw, but for all their artistry, three points just weren't to be.
The introduction of Nigerian international Finidi George with 15 minutes to go gave the Everton defence food for thought, and with his first touch he teed up Stewart to find Armstrong before his shot deflected for the corner. With four minutes left, there was time enough for Campbell to hit the side-netting on what was a frustrating afternoon for the Blues skipper, but with a draw looking imminent, Everton held firm to secure another important point. Blues boss, Walter Smith will reflect on a second consecutive clean sheet safe in the knowledge that, for now at least, Everton appear to have stopped the rot which was cause for concern on the back of four straight defeats prior to the 5-0 demolition of West Ham a fortnight ago .
IPSWICH: Sereni, Makin, McGreal, Hreidarsson, Venus, Holland, Magilton, Stewart, Armstrong, Reuser, Wright. Subs: Branagan, Wilnis, George, Counago, Naylor.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Watson, Pistone, Weir, Alexandersson, Radzinski, Campbell, Ferguson, Pembridge, Naysmith, Xavier. Subs: Stubbs, Unsworth, Simsonsen, Tal, Moore.
Referee: Mr C Wilkes
Everton 0, Ipswich Town 0
Blues miss out on Suffolk punch
by Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 15 2001
FORGIVE me if you've read the following sentence somewhere before. Everton dominated possession, had the better chances, looked the better team, yet still failed to come away with the victory. For Walter Smith, it is an unwelcome phrase that is starting to typify his side's season. And those Blues supporters who made the journey to Suffolk on Saturday will either be nodding their heads in agreement or slowly shaking them in frustrated acknowledgement of the above sentiment.
As against Tottenham in August and at Blackburn last month, this was a game Everton should easily have won. And when the squad gather to watch a video of this game, you can be certain one player in particular will be viewing the screen through the gaps between his fingers. That the Blues were a touch unfortunate not to leave Portman Road with three points will be a fact not lost on Kevin Campbell, because it was down largely to his aberrations in front of goal that Everton were not celebrating their second away win of the season. A little harsh? Perhaps. But for all his hard work and neat build-up play, the truth is that, when it came to finishing, the Blues skipper simply couldn't deliver the telling blow. A nightmare. An off-day. Trying too hard. Call it what you will. Campbell just had one of those days where nothing would go right. Three times he was played through with only Ipswich goalkeeper Matteo Sereni to beat; three times he failed to complete the task of putting the ball into the back of the net. Missing another gilt-edged chance in the dying moments merely completed the striker's miserable afternoon. "If you miss chances like that, you can't expect to win," mused Smith afterwards. Without doubt, Campbell has been one of the few Everton success stories of recent years since joining from Turkey. But with the introduction of Tomasz Radzinski, the re-emergence of Joe-Max Moore and a fit-again Duncan Ferguson to contend with, the skipper can ill afford many more days like Saturday. It is ironic, then, that a lack of numbers elsewhere in the team meant the three main striking protagonists were all selected for the game at Portman Road. Smith was without his midfield G-force of Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill and the in-form Thomas Gravesen, and instead of opting to bolster the midfield, chose to play both Ferguson and Radzinski alongside Campbell. A bold move - and for the most part it worked. Switching from a solid 5-2-3 to a 3-4-3 when attacking, the onus was on the wing-back duo of Steve Watson and Gary Naysmith to provide some width for the front trio and cover for the three centre-backs. This required a lot of work from the midfield and despite allowing Ipswich the space to pepper their penalty area with crosses - "Someone told me we had 51 crosses in the game," revealed Town boss George Burley afterwards - the Blues defence, with Alessandro Pistone impressive, coped with some ease. And, with the three forwards loitering around the half-way line at all times, the visitors were a constant danger on the counter-attack with both the aerial threat of Ferguson and the pace of Radzinski utilised in equal measure. It did, however, lead to some interesting tactical sights, particularly in the second half when both Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth were introduced from the bench. At one point, Ferguson was playing as a left-winger before the Blues settled on an intriguing 6-1-3 formation for the final ten minutes with Niclas Alexandersson taking on the Ipswich midfield single-handedly.
But despite Smith having to make do and mend in such bizarre fashion, Everton were - save a 20-minute spell at the beginning of the second half - the better side, their confidence undoubtedly buoyed by the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham a fortnight previous. It was more than the home side could handle, and on recent evidence the Ipswich fairytale is well and truly over. Finishing fifth last season and being in contention for a Champions League place right up to the final day was some achievement, but a glance at the Premiership table - bottom five placing, only one win in eight - gives a truer reflection of their talents. With the exception of Italian goalkeeper Sereni, the same outfield side which took Ipswich to such heights last season took to the field on Saturday. Yet it was the unfamiliar line-up of Everton which started the stronger and took the game to their hosts.
A Pembridge free-kick from the right on 17 minutes was wastefully headed over by the unmarked Watson, and two minutes later came the first of Campbell's chances, a Radzinski pass putting the skipper through on goal but Sereni was out quickly to block the effort before Campbell could pull the trigger. Moments later the keeper pulled off a fine full-length save to push wide Alexandersson's deflected shot and with Radzinski's pace causing Ipswich concern, the visitors were in the ascendancy. It was totally against the run of play, then, when the home side nearly took the lead on 41 minutes. The previously unemployed Paul Gerrard spilled a Marcus Stewart header straight into the path of Alun Armstrong who pulled his shot-cum-cross across the face of goal. This seemed to awaken the hosts, who started the second half in determined fashion. Jim Magilton struck a 25-yarder just wide, Gerrard produced a fine low save to beat out Matt Holland's close-range effort and the Blues keeper was again called on to get enough of a touch on Fabian Wilnis' deep cross to force Reuser to head over instead of into the unguarded net. Ipswich were enjoying the greater possession but Everton defended well and always carried a threat on the counter, and will today be rueing the fact they could not convert at least one of the three breakaway chances they created inside four minutes. First, Radzinski seized a slack pass from Venus, sped forward and sent Campbell clear, only for the striker to slide his shot past the post as Sereni advanced. Moments later, Ferguson and Radzinski combined to put Campbell away again, but instead of going directly for goal, the Blues skipper moved wide, allowing Sereni the chance to come out, narrow the angle and block the shot. Then Sereni's legs came to the rescue after Radzinski bore down on the keeper with the Ipswich defence nowhere. With Everton's midfield now almost non-existent, the game was moving end to end. Ipswich responded with Jermaine Wright shooting at Gerrard while Armstrong's shot was deflected into the side-netting. The final say, however, went to Campbell three minutes from time. Naysmith outfoxed John McGreal on the left-hand side of the area and cut back to the near post for Campbell, who beat Sereni to the ball but put it narrowly the wrong side of the post to ensure the first goalless draw between the two sides at Portman Road in more than 30 years. Smith would probably have settled for that beforehand, given his injury problems. The Blues boss can now take his side into the home double-header with Aston Villa and Newcastle United on the back of a mini-unbeaten run and a strengthened squad. But will he be playing three forwards again? It's unlikely. Still, it was fun while it lasted.
Smith happy as gamble pays off
Oct 15 2001 by IAN DOYLE, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH declared himself satisfied after watching his Everton side earn a point at Portman Road. The Blues battled to a goalless draw with Ipswich Town despite being without the central midfield trio of Paul Gascoigne, Thomas Gravesen and Scot Gemmill. And with a lack of cover in the centre of the field, Smith gambled on playing a forward trio of Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell. Smith explained: "With Gemmill, Gascoigne and Gravesen all missing, it was just getting the balance of the side and my best players out on to the pitch. It was obviously a formation that would allow the opposition to play a little bit more. We don't normally do that for away games. "We've had a few games where we have played well and lost, so it is a plus for us to get a draw. For instance, we played a lot better in our last away game at Blackburn and lost 1-0.
"I don't think we played all that well over the full game, and losing the midfield is a relevant reason for that, but to get a draw at a place where it is not easy to come is a bonus." Both sides had their chances and Everton could have clinched the three points if skipper Kevin Campbell could have converted one of four good chances that came his way. "I thought the game was fairly even," Smith added. "The first half was even while in the second half Ipswich started the better and put us under a lot of pressure for the first 15 minutes or so and they had one or two chances. "Then we came into the game for the remainder of the half and had three really good chances to score which we missed. I don't think there was much in the game so a draw was the fair result. "We were missing three midfielders, so we are satisfied with the result. But we had enough opportunities to have closed the game. Both sides missed chances, so we couldn't complain with a draw." Better news for the Blues was the news that Gascoigne, Gemmill and Gravesen will almost certainly be back for Saturday's home clash with Aston Villa. Ipswich midfielder Jim Magilton has pledged that he and his teammates will continue working hard until they reach the heights of last year. Last term, newly-promoted Town were the sensation of the season, storming to a fifth-place Premiership finish with 66 points and booking a UEFA Cup berth. The Tractor Boys have been unable to advance towards a similar harvest of points this time round, with just half a dozen in the bag after eight league games.
George Burley's side were short on attacking ideas against Everton at Portman Road on Sunday, and were it not for Kevin Campbell's extraordinary profligacy in front of goal, Magilton & co would be opening an inquest into a home stuffing. The home side did have several scoring opportunities, but Toffees skipper Campbell spurned four great chances himself. Former Southampton and Sheffield Wednesday man Magilton, 32, said: "We haven't been able to pick up the same tempo as last year. Our work ethic is exactly the same and we do the same things day in, day out. "We're trying every day to get better and better and maintain our standard. It should come good. A 0-0 draw isn't a bad result."
Everton 0, Ipswich Town 0
Blues hold firm to prove point (L.Echo)
Oct 15 2001
IT WAS half past one. Having spotted myself and an unnamed radio pundit placing a small wager on the first goalscorer, Bill Kenwright approached to cast his eye over our bets and suggested I make noises in the direction of Tomasz Radzinksi. I'll be trying to reclaim my stake from him at a later date. As it was, the Canadian didn't have the best of games, but his reasoning was obvious.
The appearance of all three of Walter Smith's principal strikers in the starting line-up wasn't predicted by many, but Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell and Radzinski all lined up. Smith's explanation for his bold, attacking formation was that he wanted his best 11 fit players out on the pitch. They failed to score on the day, but the benefits of this new three-pronged attack will take time to show themselves - if, indeed, Smith opts to use it again. The trio are not used to being fit at the same time, let alone playing in the same team. The jury was out on this occasion. Perhaps the real story at Portman Road was that Everton had claimed their first goalless draw away from home in nearly 22 months. Not since Valley Parade in December 1999 had they got back on the team bus knowing that they would have the smallest of small parts on Match of the Day. The Blues managed just one draw I duly obliged. on their travels last season, away to Leicester City. They lost thirteen. It is a trend Smith is keen to reverse and a point in East Anglia is as good a way to start as any.
In the same fixture last year, Smith saw his side lose 2-0 and Alex Nyarko dismissed as Ipswich completed a double in a campaign that, for them, was to end in European qualification. Neither squad has changed much since then but, on the basis of Saturday's showing Everton can add the name of Ipswich to those they expect to see languishing below them come May. At least half the Premiership are singing from the same songsheet at the moment and within that group they are holding the notes better than most. The hard facts are that away from the clashes with the big boys they are capable of holding their own and securing a victory as much as the next man. Like Charlton, Tottenham, Middlesbrough, Blackburn and West Ham before them, Ipswich proved themselves to be inferior opponents. The greater share of possession was theirs but percentages mean nothing if they are not backed up by goals. Everton know that only too well. This time they were asked to keep the opposition at bay without the influence of the rapidly improving Thomas Gravesen, who joined fellow midfielders Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill on the sidelines. And they did that. As opposition a fortnight ago, West Ham were dismal. Ipswich weren't as bad, but the mumblings of disapproval circling around the ground after the game indicated what their loyal support thought.
That said, they could have snatched victory in this one had they possessed anything in front of goal. According to the statistics, they ploughed in 50 crosses during the match. It is a poor reflection of their game at the moment, then, that they failed to convert even one. Marcus Stewart's finishing was poor and his striking partner Alun Armstrong's was not much better - to the frustration of their best source of amunition, Martijn Reuser, whose advances from the left were continually spurned.
On the flip side of the coin, Kevin Campbell could have had a hat-trick. The fact that Matteo Sereni left Portman Road clutching a bottle of champagne for being voted Man of the Match largely explained that one. Twice Ipswich's £5m capture from Sampdoria thwarted the Everton skipper's attempts to break the deadlock. And twice Campbell appeared to be wondering how. Radzinski's chipped pass into his skipper's path was beautiful and had the roles been reversed, the Canadian's pace, you would imagine, would have beaten Sereni to the ball. Instead, Campbell was left rueing the Italian's quick reactions. The next was more direct. Gerrard pumped the ball forwards, Radzinski deftly flicked a Ferguson knock down in front of Campbell's path with the outside of his left foot but, having done the hard work in rounding John McGreal, he made it easy for Sereni to smother his diagonal shot. Three minutes from time his final chance came and went. Substitutes Idan Tal and David Unsworth combined to send Gary Naysmith free on the left. The Scot chipped in to the near post but Campbell, only two yards out, had little time or space to react with the required accuracy and he missed the target. He had had other chances, as had Radzinski, Steve Watson and Niclas Alexandersson, who was only prevented his first goal of the season by the tips of Sereni's fingertips.
The fact that no-one complained about a draw was testament to a game that at times promised much but in reality delivered little. As goalless draws go, it wasn't boring, but it hardly fell into the entertainment category, either. Given the quality of the chances Everton had, the scoreline will have been more pleasing to George Burley, whose side could claim to have kept a clean sheet in the league for the first time this season. Everton already have an uncanny knack of being the side everyone seems to break their goalscoring ducks against. They don't want to start adding other strings to that bow. Yet, it's another point and another shut-out - and away from home at that. Aston Villa are up next - another team in that minileague in which Everton find themselves.
Any predictions, Mr Kenwright?
IPSWICH TOWN: (4-4-2) Sereni, Makin (Wilnis 45), McGreal, Hreidarsson, Venus, Holland, Magilton, Stewart, Armstrong, Reuser, Wright (George 76).
EVERTON: (3-4-3) Gerrard, Watson (Stubbs 55), Pistone, Weir, Naysmith, Alexandersson, Radzinski, Campbell, Ferguson ( Tal 83), Pembridge (Unsworth 68).
Referee: Mr Clive Wilkes Attendance: 22,820
Bookings: Xavier (professional foul), Pistone (professional foul)
Win a signed Alex Young print!
Oct 15 2001 By David MacBryde, icLiverpool
icLiverpool in association with bigbluetube.com are proud to announce the lucky winner of a limited edition signed copy of Blues' legend Alex Young in action for Everton. Congratulations to David Hankin of Liverpool 13, who correctly answered that Alex Young was also known as 'The Golden Vision'. A signed limited edition print is now on its way to bigbluetube produce a number of limited edition prints - all signed by the relevant sportsman. There are only 500 copies of each print. When all have been sold, no further copies are issued. Every print is embossed with bigbluetube's distinctive logo and arrives beautifully packaged, with a certificate of authenticity.
Three's not a crowd says Campbell
Oct 15 2001 By Claire Gray, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN CAMPBELL was left wondering what happened to Lady Luck as a host of chances went begging at Portman Road. By his own admission, the Everton striker could have had at least three, but left East Anglia with his goal tally stuck at four. He had a couple of near misses, and was also denied by fine saves from home keeper Matteo Sereni. "I could have had a hat-trick today but it was going the wrong side of the post, or the keeper was getting a hand or foot to it," he said. "The keeper made two saves with his feet which I can't believe even now. "We created the better chances but it was just one of those days for both teams. Of the two of us, I think we would have been happier with the point if you had given it to us before the game." An injury to Thomas Gravesen meant Campbell found himself with two striking companions as Blues boss Walter Smith opted to play Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski from the start as well. The trio failed to find the net, but Campbell believes that with an injury-free run and a bit of hard work it's a formation that can work well.
"It is a matter of getting balance," he declared. "It is the first time we have played together and, to be honest, we hadn't really worked at it because we were not sure whether Thomas Gravesen was going to be fit. But he couldn't play so we had to change the team around. "That was the first time all three of us had played together like that and I think if we can work at it and get it going that would be great. But obviously we need our strongest side out there to really make it happen and we just haven't got that at the moment." Everton were once again without the injured midfield duo of Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill, but earned themselves a valuable point which leaves them tenth in the Premiership table. "I think it could have finished three each or four each," declared Campbell. "It was pretty even. "It was a tough game. We weren't at our best and with the chances we had we could have won it. But they had chances, too. "The most important thing is that we have taken on Manchester United and Liverpool. They are a bit above us at the moment, whereas your Ipswich's and West Ham's are in our bracket. "So, if we can pick up points away to the likes of Ipswich and beat West Ham at home, then we should be in for a pretty good season."
Academy: United late show robs Blues
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 16 2001
TWO late goals denied Everton under-19s victory over Manchester United at the Carrington Complex on Saturday in the FA Premier Academy League. The Blues deserved more after a fine performance but in the end they went down 3-2. United led at the break but two well-taken goals from Michael Symes - one a header and the other a shot from 20 yards - looked to have given Colin Harvey's side their first win of the campaign. But the home side battled back and, after getting on level terms in the last 10 minutes, another strike at the death sealed the points. Academy director Ray Hall said: "It was hard on the boys to lose the match. "We were a goal down midway through the first half but there was nothing in the game and, in fact, half-way through the second half we went 2-1 ahead through good goals from Michael Symes. And at that stage we were looking quite comfortable.
"But in terms of age, physique and strength, we probably started to lose it a little bit towards the end. "It was just the manner of the defeat - they equalised very late and then scored the winner in injury-time. "The players have played against good opposition and proved they are a match for them, despite being a year or two behind most of their players. "The unfortunate thing is, clubs were finding it difficult to score against us but now defensively we've let a few in. "Again, at the end of it, you are looking for development and progress and there is that with the boys and there were one of two good performances." Alan Harper's U17s were on the wrong end of a 6-0 defeat, also at Manchester United. Although United were the better side for almost an hour, the Blues were just a goal down and with better luck with their finishing could have been on level terms by the break. But after two quick goals, Everton's young side - including four U15 players - tired and their full-time counterparts added three more strikes in the final 10 minutes. Ray Hall said: "On the face of it the score would suggest it's been a real drubbing. The result wasn't harsh - they were clearly the better side - but the scoreline was. "We gave a goal away in the first few minutes but for the rest of the half and the first five or 10 minutes of the second half it was quite even. There were chances at both ends. "Two quick goals and our confidence went and theirs was geed up and the other three goals came in the last 10 minutes when their fitness, physique and confidence took over. "But what you are looking for are signs of development and progress and, although on the face of it perhaps it doesn't look it, on the evidence of the first 60 minutes we've made a lot of progress. "We've actually finished the game off with four U15 boys, who aren't just a year below Manchester United - they're two and a half years. "They are young lads and they are fresh. Everybody loves winning but if one of those players plays in our first team in four or five years time who's going to remember this result."
Dacourt tribute to Blues faithful
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 16 2001
FORMER Everton favourite Olivier Dacourt has paid a glowing tribute to the Goodison faithful after accusing the Blues of a lack of ambition. The French international was back on Merseyside at the weekend to produce a man-ofthematch display for Leeds against Liverpool at Anfield.
Dacourt was one of Walter Smith's first signings as Everton manager when he paid Strasbourg £3.8million for the 27-year-old. And, having signed for David O'Leary's team for £7.2m a year after leaving Everton for Lens in a £6.5m deal, the midfield star believes the Yorkshire club are reaping the reward for matching their ambition with the financial support that was missing at Goodison Park.
"It is better for me now because I am in a better team and I don't get so many yellow cards," said Dacourt, who was plagued by disciplinary problems during his one season with the Blues.
"Although we are not in the Champions League this year everybody knows us, big clubs know us.
"It is totally different from Everton because while they had some good that it's very difficult to win things. "The chairman at Leeds has given the manager the key - he buys the players he wants to.
"At Everton Walter Smith could not do what he wanted to do. Three months after I joined they sold Duncan Ferguson - the talisman! Straight away you can see they don't want to win things. Straight away you know you will leave. "When I signed here they said they would buy Rio Ferdinand. And they did. "It's a big statement. That's why Everton fans are unbelievable - they're already playing to avoid relegation and every week they have a full house."
Top flight pressures brought on by media
Oct 16 2001
LIKE everybody else I was shocked to hear about Gerard Houllier on Saturday. Naturally, it has prompted discussions about the stresses of the job. But there is pressure in every job, not just in football management. Doctors and teachers are subject to as much, if not more, pressure than the Alex Fergusons and Arsene Wengers of this world. That said, these days managing a football team can be a very stressful job and nowhere more so than at the top. And to my mind the media play a
When you are a Premiership boss though you are constantly in demand. Everyone wants a part of you. It is just not just the local press anymore but the interest in football is such that you are dealing with numerous television stations, as well as the radio and national newspapers each week.
It is that side of things so prominent in the Premiership, and everything connected to it that creates the pressure rather than the job itself. That sort of intense media attention that surrounds the big boys doesn't happen lower down the leagues. Yes we have to deal with the press but, for example, at Shrewsbury we are largely dealing with the local papers which consist of a daily paper and one weekly one. Even then we are not always guaranteed to make it onto the back. That is not to say we lower league managers don't care as much or are not as passionate about the game, because we are as much as the next man. Whatever level you are playing at, as a manager it is difficult not to get involved because when it comes down to it the buck stops with you. How this will affect Gerard and Liverpool Football Club is something that will transpire in time but for now he is in good hands and I am sure when he recovers he will adhere to the advice of the specialist before making any decision on his future. The most important thing now is that he returns to full health. Regardless of footballing allegiances, I am sure everybody wishes him a speedy recovery. Blues need to find some rhythm
CONSISTENCY. It's the watchword that is wheeled out by managers time and time again, season after season. In that respect, while Walter Smith might have hoped to have seen his strikers find the back of the net at Ipswich I am sure he will be happy with a point. By all accounts on Saturday, Everton had a host of chances. Kevin Campbell might have been guilty of a couple of misses but it's when you aren't creating chances that you've got to worry. If you are creating it is only a matter of time before those chances start going in. Everton have had a mixed bag of results on the road this season so they'll be happy to have kept a clean sheet and come away with a point from somewhere like Ipswich. Indeed, it is often the case that goalless draws can give you a bit of confidence.
If you want to gain a bit more consistency then you have got to be able to go away from home and grind out a boring goalless draw every now and again. That is part and parcel of football although it doesn't happen as much in the game these days. HAPPY: Smith Extra striking options giving Smith some food for thought
WALTER SMITH had the rare luxury of having his three main strikers fit and available on Saturday - and he maybe surprised a few by using all three of them from the start. If you employ a formation like that away from home you are more vulnerable to attack from the opposition but it's a tactic that can work if it's done properly and everybody works hard. Walter was forced into it to a certain extent by the injury to Thomas Gravesen and I have heard mixed reports about how well it worked.
It is something that can work a treat if your full backs get involved, although it is not necessarily going to happen for you straight away. Walter is in a difficult situation now with all three strikers available, although I'm sure he won't be complaining about that. But it is unlikely that he'll opt to play all three of them from the start too often. Walter will know his prefered strike force. He is the one that watches them in training day in, day out and when he has a fit squad to choose from we'll no doubt discover that. I haven't seen that much of Tomasz Radzinski but by all accounts he's got great pace. That's a rare luxury in the game these days and when you ally that with a big strong lad then you've got yourself a partnership. A mixture like that always seems to work.
Smith full of optimism
Oct 16 2001 By Clare Gray
WALTER SMITH hopes the visit of Aston Villa this Saturday will mark the end of his side's need for positional group therapy. Having spent long periods without key players in his strike force and defence last season, Smith has been forced to watch his midfield plans fall apart in recent weeks.
All three of his main strikers were available at Ipswich for only the second time this season, but the Blues boss had to reshuffle his side because of injuries to his midfield trio of Thomas Gravesen, Paul Gascoigne and Scot Gemmill. Smith should have both Gravesen and Gascoigne back for the weekend, but must continue to monitor Gemmill's progress with a back injury. "There is a certain amount of frustration about injuries hitting positional groups," he said. "First it was our strikers, then we had injury problems in defence and now suddenly the midfield has a problem.
"That is particuarly frustrating because I felt we were beginning to gel there." The Blues boss is already resigned to being without midfielder Idan Tal for the home clash with Newcastle United the week after. The Israeli will be with his country as they look to take a step closer to their first ever World Cup finals when they play their postponed Group Seven tie with Austria in Tel Aviv.
Joe-Max Moore has re-affirmed his wish to stay at the club and fight for his place after reports from his American international team-mate said he was looking to leave. The 30 year-old, however, has dismissed the reports as ' absolute nonsense'. Leeds midfielder Olivier Dacourt, meanwhile, has accused Everton of lacking ambition - and praised the club's supporters for sticking by them.
"The chairman at Leeds has given the manager the key - he buys the players he wants to.
"At Everton, Walter Smith could not do what he wanted to do. "That's why Everton fans are unbelievable - they're already playing to avoid relegation and every week they have a full house."
Moore: I plan to stay at Goodison
Oct 16 2001 By Jonathan McEvoy
JOE-MAX MOORE last night hit out at speculation linking him with a Goodison Park exit, insisting he wants to see out his career at Everton. The American striker vowed to fight for a place in Walter Smith's plans, despite having made just four substitute appearances this season. Moore branded as "nonsense" reports he is poised for a return to German club FC Nuremberg, where he played before joining Major League Soccer in the United States. He insisted: "I am definitely happy here at Everton. "I am a little disappointed at some of the press that has come out recently and what hurts me is the fans out there don't know what is really happening. "I love it here. I would like to stay here until I end my career because my wife's happy, I'm happy, we like the city and we have settled down pretty well. "The fact all this has come up is so disheartening." Goals at Premiership level have proved elusive for the 30-year-old since his move to Merseyside from New England Revolution-in December 1999. After a run of six goals in six games early in his Blues career, Moore has not scored for the club since the 4-2 win over Watford on April 1 last year. But the player is determined not to become the forgotten forward at Goodison - although he was an unused substitute in the weekend's 0-0 draw against Ipswich. Smith instead fielded his three other strikers - Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski. Moore added: "I do have an international team-mate that plays at Nuremberg, Tony Sanneh, and the fact he has gone on record as saying that I am trying to leave Everton as soon as possible is complete nonsense. "He has made a comment that I am not starting games enough here, and I think any player from time to time gets frustrated with a lack of playing time. If a player tells you differently then they are not being honest. "I would like to be getting more time but that is not the case and I am going to continue to fight for my position like anybody else with a good attitude would do." Moore was America's World Cup hero after scoring both goals in the vital 2-1 win over Jamaica nine days ago, a result which secures their place in the finals in Japan and South Korea next summer. He now intends to use his exploits with the US national team to kick-start his Everton career. Moore said: "I had a decent game and I am proud to have helped my country to the World Cup. "But I am back at Everton and I am hoping to help them pick up some points." Winger Idan Tal, meanwhile, will miss the Blues' home clash with Newcastle United on October 27 because of international commitments. The 26-year-old is set to play in Israel's World Cup qualifier against Austria on the same day.
Campbell's treble chance
Oct 17 2001
KEVIN CAMPBELL insists Everton's striking trio could have a future together. Walter Smith unleashed captain Campbell in unison with Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinksi against Ipswich at the weekend. The three strikers failed to find the target in the 0-0 draw at Portman Road but Campbell is confident that given time the attacking formation would gel. He said: "It's a matter of getting the balance. "It was the first time we had played together and, to be honest, we hadn't really worked at it because we were not sure whether Thomas Gravesen was going to be fit. "But he couldn't play so we had to change the team around. That was the first time that all three of us had played together like that and I think that if we can work at it and get it going that would be great. "But obviously we need to get our strongest side out there to really make it happen and we just haven't got that at the moment." Although Everton spurned a host of chances, Campbell is upbeat after last Saturday's draw. He added: "I think we could have finished three or four each. "It was a tough game. We weren't at our best and with the chances we had we could have won it. But they had chances, too.
"The most important thing is that we have taken on Manchester United and Liverpool. They are a bit above us at the moment, whereas Ipswich and West Ham are in our bracket. "So, if we can pick up some points away to the likes of Ipswich and beat West Ham at home, then we should be in for a pretty good season." Boss Smith, meanwhile, hopes to have midfield duo Gravesen and Paul Gascoigne back to take on Aston Villa at Goodison Park on Saturday. Scot Gemmill, nursing a back injury, remains doubtful for the Premiership clash against John Gregory's side.
Gemmill doubt, but Gazza's back
Oct 17 2001 By Claire Gray
SCOTT Gemmill faces an uphill battle to be fit for this weekend's clash with Aston Villa. Everton boss Walter Smith will be boosted by the return of his midfield pairing of Thomas Gravesen and Paul Gascoigne for the visit of John Gregory's side, but appears resigned to being without Gemmill for the sixth successive game. The Scottish international has been troubled by a back injury picked up in training early in September. He has been responding to treatment but his recovery has been slower than first hoped. Said Smith: "Scot's injury is taking a little bit longer than expected to heal. He is the one we have to be careful with. "With a bit of luck he could make the weekend but it doesn't look like that will be the case at this stage." The Blues boss, meanwhile, has dismissed Swedish reports linking them with Helsinborg wing-back Christoffer Andersson. 'Do you mean Hans Christian Andersson?" remarked Smith this morning. Smith has praised the attitude of Joe-Max Moore, who yesterday re-affirmed his commitment to the club despite rumours circulated to the contrary by his international team-mate Tony Sanneh. "Joe is a very committed lad and he's never at any stage said he was unhappy at Everton," Smith said. "I am delighted that after a little bit of press from one of his international colleagues he has said that there is no truth in him wanting to leave Everton."
Everton reserves are at Middlesbrough tonight where Idan Tal will get a run out. The Blues' second string have drawn all four of their games so far.
Gascoigne ready for Blues
Oct 18 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE will make his comeback on Saturday against Aston Villa - the team against which his Blues injury woes began almost a year ago. Gascoigne returns to the Everton fold after recovering from a knee ligament injury sustained in the 5-0 thrashing of West Ham United over a fortnight ago. It was thought the former England international would be out of action for a length of time, but the injury was less serious than first feared and forced to miss only the game at Ipswich last weekend. Ironically, it was against John Gregory's Villa side last November that Gascoigne suffered a major knee injury which has restricted him to just two Premierships starts since.
Thomas Gravesen should also return after missing the goalless draw at Portman Road with a rib injury, but Scot Gemmill is struggling to shake off a troublesome back complaint picked up in training last month. "Scot's injury is taking a little longer than expected to heal," confirmed boss Walter Smith. "He is the one we have to be careful with. "With a bit of luck he could make the weekend but it doesn't look like that will be the case at this stage." Smith admitted he was frustrated by injuries hitting certain positions. "First it was our strikers, then we had injury problems in defence and now suddenly the midfield is a problem," he added. "It's particularly frustrating because I felt we were beginning to gel as a team." Smith, meanwhile, has praised Joe-Max Moore after the striker insisted he was staying at Goodison Park despite comments from fellow American international Tony Sanneh that he was angling for a move back to former club Nuremberg.
"Joe is a very committed lad and he's never at any stage said he was unhappy at Everton," said Smith. "I am delighted that after a little bit of press from one of his international colleagues he has said there is no truth in him wanting to leave Everton."
Blues reserves lose to late strike
Oct 18 2001
EVERTON reserves ended a long sequence of FA Premier Reserve league draws on Teeside last night but not the way they would have hoped. After creating enough chances to have won, they lost to a solitary strike 11 minutes from time. Before that Danny Cadamarteri went close on three occasions and perhaps ought to have done better, especially when left with just goalkeeper Sam Russell to beat with only 27 minutes played, but he pulled a low angles shot at wide. Idan Tal was inches wide shortly before the break while Kevin McLeod should have done better when sent clear on the edge of Boro's box but, like Cadamarteri before him, pulled the shot wide. Boro also created numerous chances and scored from a brilliantly executed free-kick. Stewart Downing, one of eight teenagers in the side, bent down as if to place the ball but placed a low pass to Shaun Kilgannon instead, his shot was saved but Mark Hudson tapped home the rebound from close range.
MIDDLESBROUGH: Russell, Parnaby, Gordon, Close, (Gilroy 74) Gulliver, Murphy, (Hampson76) Wilkshire, Hudson, Dove (Cade 17) Downing, Kilgannon. Subs: Brackstone, Agbatar, Turnbull (GK)
EVERTON: Simonsen, Cleland, Valentine, Clarke, Pilkington, McKay (Eaton 85) Hibbert, Tal, Cadamarteri, Curran, McLeod. Subs: Kierney, O'Hanlon.
Blues' reserves lose unbeaten run
Oct 18 2001
EVERTON Reserves lost their fivematch unbeaten record last night, going down to a solitary goal against a Middlesbrough side which fielded eight teenagers. Everton created enough chances to have put an entertaining FA Premier Reserve League game out of reach, although Middlesbrough should have scored several more themselves. Danny Cadamarteri almost opened the scoring after 20 minutes, turning well to fire a 25-yard volley which forced goalkeeper Sam Russell to move smartly to smother. Minutes later Cadamarteri was sent through with just Russell to beat but pulled a low shot wide, while the Boro keeper made a fine save from the same player midway through the half. Israeli international Idan Tal also tested the Boro rearguard, latching onto a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area but just missing Russell's right-hand post. Stewart Downing brought a smart save from Steve Simonsen on the stroke of half time, before setting up Sean Kilgannon soon after the restart to force another Simonsen save. Cadamarteri released Kevin McLeod with a clever flick and the midfielder should have done better than to pull a low shot well wide from the edge of the area. Simonsen was at full stretch to tip over a 30-yard drive from Belfast-born Brian Close as the game entered the final quarter, while the visitors threatened to break the deadlock when Damien Curran pounced onto a neat through ball before driving just wide from the edge of the area.
Alec Cleland was the only Everton player booked, but he could have little cause for complaint after kicking the ball away after conceding the free kick which lead to the only goal of the game.
With 11 minutes left a perfectlyexecuted set piece proved the undoing of a side which had worked hard enough to impress watching first team manager Walter Smith. Even he must have been impressed as Downing and Kilgannon combined to create a chance which was turned in on the rebound by 20-year-old Mark Hudson. Everton came close to equalising within a minute, but a header from George Pilkington was grabbed under the crossbar by Russell.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Cleland, Valentine, Clarke, Pilkington, McKay (Eaton 85), Hibbert, Tal, Cadamarteri, Curran, McLeod. Not used: Kierney O'Hanlon
* Tickets yesterday went on sale for England Under-21s' European Championship play-off second leg tie with Holland at Pride Park on November 13. The first leg is in Utrecht on November 9.
Smith's case for defence
Oct 18 2001 by Claire Gray, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH hopes his side to play Aston Villa at their own game when they take to the field this weekend. Last Saturday's goalless draw at Ipswich notched up Everton's second clean sheet in as many games. But they still have some way to go to match their opponents. Villa, along with table-topping Leeds, have conceded just three goals so far this season. It is that sort of form that Smith hopes his squad can emulate in the weeks to come. "We are defending well enough at the moment and that goes as a team. "I am pleased for my defence that we have kept two clean sheets and it would be nice to do that against Villa on Saturday. "Their defence has played a major part so far and that has been where they have based their start to the season." Everton have conceded 10 goals this season, but their defence has looked solid in recent games. They failed to score at Ipswich last weekend, but Smith is pleased by the number of chances his side are currently creating.
"It was good to see we created a lot of opportunities at Ipswich. If you take the last two away games then I don't think anyone would deny that. That is a big plus for us. "Last season, we never really had a recognised front line through injuries, so we were unable to pose as much threat in that area."
Smith looks set to welcome both Paul Gascoigne and Thomas Gravesen back to his squad, although Scott Gemmill is facing a race against time to be fit for the clash.
Young Blues out to douse Dragons
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 19 2001
EVERTON under-19s will probably have their best chance of regisitering their first victory of the season when they entertain Wrexham at Bellefield tomorrow. Wrexham are only in their second season in the FA Premier Academy League and are probably the weakest team in the North West section. Last week they lost 11-1 at Blackburn, although the Blues will be taking nothing for granted as they look to bounce back from last Saturday's cruel 3-2 defeat at Manchester United.
Academy director Ray Hall said: "I don't know whether they are weak or not because teams change from one week to the next." He believes Wrexham's defeat last week may have been more to do with their lack of players due to international commitments. He added: "Players are not available for whatever reason and maybe it was no coincidence that in Wrexham's team they would have been short of a number of players through international duty because Wales U17s, which would include a number of their youth or Academy players, have been away on UEFA cup action."
But the Blues are looking to their own performance to claim their first win. And if they can get the solidity in defence that they had earlier in the season, allied to their improved efforts in front of goal, that elusive victory should be forthcoming. Hall said: "Again at the end of it, it is the performance both individually and as a team that you are looking at and if we get that right and work hard at it the results will start to come." Franklyn Colbeck and Robert Southern are still out injured and will be for some time. Last week the U19s had to do without goalkeeper Andrew Pettinger due to a hamstring injury and Scot Brown also missed out with a groin strain. Both have been having treatment but the Blues are hopeful they can return tomorrow. Craig Garside should return after being with the Welsh squad for their UEFA U17s matches against Switzerland and the Faroe Islands.
Meanwhile Alan Harper's U17s will also be looking for a positive result against Wrexham at Netherton tomorrow (KO 11.30am) after their 6-0 defeat to Manchester United. Although United were the better side Harper was not too downhearted about the result and hopes there will be lasting effect to his players' confidence. He said: "The result was not unfair but the scoreline was against a side who have been performing well this season. We just have to make sure we bounce back against Wrexham on Saturday." Wrexham went down 2-1 last week to Blackburn.
Taricco gets away with it
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 19 2001
TOTTENHAM full-back Mauricio Taricco will not be punished for the tackle that injured Everton's Thomas Gravesen and infuriated the Blues in a Premiership clash at Goodison Park in August.
Taricco has finally been cleared of facing any misconduct charge after the Football Association confirmed that match referee David Elleray had told them he saw the incident at the time and did not consider it worthy of punishment. It was reported that Denmark star Gravesen, who did not play again for nearly a month, had needed multiple stitches in an ankle wound after Taricco's challenge, and when the incident was replayed on television there was a major outcry.
But FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "The referee, when asked if he wanted to reconsider the incident, said that he didn't because he had actually seen it. "In those circumstances, there is no basis for the FA, or even its video advisory panel, on which to instigate any charge." There have already been repercussions from the match in which referee Elleray sent off two Tottenham players, Gary Doherty and Gustavo Poyet, but later admitted he was wrong to dismiss Doherty who was consequentlyspared a suspension. Now Taricco, an ever-present for Spurs this season after missing all last term with an abdominal injury that had threatened to end his career, will be relieved to see the matter dropped as his club feared he could be suspended for up to three matches. Spurs spokesman John Fennelly said: "The FA informed us this week there would be no action taken against the player." Scot Gemmill, meanwhile, is sweating on his fitness ahead of the Blues home clash with Aston Villa tomorrow. The Scotland international faces a race against time to join fellow midfielders Gravesen and Paul Gascoigne in Walter Smith's squad. Gemmill trained yesterday and boss Smith is delaying a decision on the player's fitness as he aims to overcome a back injury with the help of intensive treatment. Smith said: "We obviously hope they come through okay but you are always wary with the first training session that there may be a recurrence of the injury."
Gascoigne and Gravesen, who along with Gemmill missed last weekend's 0-0 draw at Ipswich Town, are considered likely to return in for the visit of John Gregory's side.
* FORMER Everton star Michael Ball scored for Rangers last night in their 3-1 UEFA Cup win over Dinamo Moscow.
Everton in tribute to supporters stalwart
Report By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 19 2001
EVERTONIANS are mourning Jimmy King, secretary of the Official Supporters Club for almost 20 years, who has died aged 70. Mr King, who served on the Supporters Club committee since its inception in 1958, collapsed as he returned from a trip to Blackpool with his wife. Ian Macdonald, spokesman for the Independent Supporters Association, paid tribute to Mr King, saying he would be "genuinely and sadly missed" by all Blues fans. Macdonald added: "My reaction is one of sadness. There are Evertonians and there are great Evertonians - and Jimmy King was a great Evertonian.
"He did everything for the love of Everton. Some people would say he had a thankless task. He never sat on the fence and always represented Everton with great dignity. "By organising coaches he helped fans travel to watch games all around the country and his input through the highs and lows at Everton will be sadly missed." Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We are greatly saddened by the news. Jimmy was a staunch Evertonian who supported the club through thick and thin. "Most recently he was a member of our Supporters' Focus Group and his support in all areas of the club will be missed. "Our thoughts are with his family-at this sad time." Mr King was formerly a compositor with the Daily Post and Echo. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.
Oct 19 2001
IN RECENT weeks many Evertonians have been calling for the head of Walter Smith. Surely the blame lies elsewhere. Walter has done a decent job with little financial backing.
Bill Kenwright was heralded as the new blue messiah to lead us to the promised land with his Ntl deal and showbusiness contacts. Everton will not survive in the Premiership without serious financial backing. The club needs a modern investor.
I G Davies, Llangefni, Anglesey.
A TYPICAL Everton performance against Ipswich. It was dull, but workmanlike. We need some inspiration up front and to be honest Kevin Campbell just does not have the class to cut it in the Premiership. How many chances did he waste against the Tractor Boys. It was a point and that is the way to look at it, but if we have any aspirations of success these are the sort of matches that we should be winning. It is just not the kind of football you spend a small fortune on your season ticket to come to watch, but I suppose it will ensure survival come next May.
Tom Harte, St Helens
SATURDAY'S draw at Portman Road proved two things at least: firstly, Kevin Campbell lacks pace and the ability to finish clinically, like real top quality strikers. Despite getting into some good positions, Campbell wasted chance after chance. That said, at the other end, two consecutive clean sheets indicate that Walter Smith is getting it right at the back. A 3-4-3 formation sees us push teams back more and look more dangerous on the counter attack. All we need now is someone to convert those chances!
John Harris, Wavertree, Liverpool
Wide of the mark
WHY IS it that our most potent weapon - Duncan Ferguson - appeared to be playing on the left wing on Saturday? Although Walter Smith looked to be employing a 3-4-3 formation, Ferguson was constantly dragged wide and rendered ineffective. Surely as a target man, Ferguson should have been in a more central role, ready to meet the crosses provided by a natural winger such as Idan Tal?
Kevin Thornley, Heswall, Wirral
Money game piles pressure on managers
Oct 19 2001
THE words managers and pressure have been going hand in hand this week following the shock news about Gerard Houllier. There is no doubt that the job should now come with a government health warning, but it's important to understand why. It's now a fact that the word patience has been banished from the football dictionary with 16 managers sacked already this season - a ludicrous situation. But clearly it's not just the struggling managers who feel the heat.
At the highest level, many chairmen and fans demand instant success. This forces managers to do many things that they would not even think about given a less volatile situation. For instance, every boss has transfer targets, players he would love to sign. But what happens when the man at the top of your list is unavailable (as he usually is). Clubs are naturally reluctant to part with the best.
Do you begin to move down the list to pacify those people who are demanding change?
Of course you do. You can't sit back in modern football. But it sometimes means you settle for second best. Yes, you make an improvement which is all important. But because clubs know your need, you might still get screwed on the transfer fee. And if the man you bring in does not set the world alight, it can be catastrophic for a modern manager as chairmen weigh-up the money spent against the progress made. There was a time when bosses could make mistakes. I can hold my hands up on that score. I sold Mike Newell to Blackburn and brought in Maurice Johnston from Rangers. It turned out to be the biggest mistake I had made and a costly one at the time at £1.2m.
But compare that to the investment in modern players. Aston Villa, who come to Goodison Park on Saturday, signed South American Juan Pablo Angel for £12m. This was a real gamble on John Gregory's part. I've watched Angel on a number of occasions and I'm not convinced. I would never invest at that level in a South American because very few of them have been able to make an impact in our game. Even Brazilian Juninho, who looked as if he could cope with the physical side when he was at Middlesbrough, moved on to Athletico Madrid and they were subsequently relegated.
The only way to be sure when you are signing a South American for the English League is to invest in a proven world star and we all know how much that costs. Take a bow £28m Juan Sebastian Veron at Manchester United. But if you gamble in the £8 to £10m area, you are asking for trouble.
Back to Johnston. That did not seem to be a risk at the time. He was keeping Ally McCoist out of the Rangers team. He was a proven international and the goalscoring credentials were there.
The £1.2m loss was bad enough, but you can't compare it to the modern investment in players with no genuine pedigree. And you see them on an increasing basis. They come on the recommendation of agents. Of course, they only send you the videos in which they are outstanding. Maybe you go to watch them in person and on the day they have a blinder. Because of the shortage of stars available in this country and because your top targets are simply not available, you take a chance. But you can find yourself taking on expensive flops and the pressure does not land at the player's door, but that of the manager. I've mentioned Angel who has scored a few goals for Villa, but does not look to me as if he will set the Premier League alight. Then there is Sergei Rebrov at Tottenham who cost a club record £11m when signed from Dynamo Kiev, the team Liverpool beat in Europe this week.
I put the Eastern players in the same category as the South Americans. Evertonian's won't forget Slaven Bilic in a hurry who was a tremendous drain on Goodison resources. There was a time when you made one big mistake as a manager and you were out. The ball game has changed. You are out now as clubs predict problems ahead, even at this early stage in the season. Of course, there are those bosses who make terrible mistakes that cost their clubs millions and are still in a job. It's a strange business. But a manager's position is very difficult. You have to try to keep improving, even if it's only marginal. But I've mentioned the potential for paying over the odds. The real problem when this happens is that because of the player's contract, it can be almost impossible to move him on. This is the vicious circle of the modern game and this is a real cause of stress for bosses.
I SPOKE to Gerard Houllier's wife Isobel earlier this week to wish the LIverpool manager all the very best with his recovery. It was tremendous to see Liverpool getting that excellent midweek Euro result in Kiev which will have been a real boost for Gerard. I'm sure Phil Thompson did not have to say too much when making his first team talk as acting manager. Everyone knew how important it was and the players responded. That says everything about what Gerard Houllier is trying to build.
And it suggests Thompson can come through this difficult challenge with Gerard's dream still intact.
Italian out for a treble
Oct 19 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS are only just starting to get to know Alessandro Pistone. Thanks to a freak knee injury picked up in training, the Italian started just six Premiership games last season. Nine weeks into this one, he has already equalled that and is feeling fit and confident about the months ahead. Not just on an individual level but on a collective one as well. Absent for the defeats by Liverpool and Blackburn, Pistone has returned to a side that, he believes, is showing signs of improvement all over the pitch. In his first game back against West Ham, not only did he and his team-mates hit five past Shaka Hislop, but they kept the Hammers' attack quiet for most of the 90 minutes. That clean sheet, only their second of the season, was quickly followed up by another down at Ipswich. Two shut-outs, says Pistone, will hopefully become three by Saturday night. But he knows the visit of Aston Villa won't be easy. "It will be a tough game tomorrow," declared the 26-yearold. "Villa haven't lost any games so far this season and they have conceded hardly any goals either. And there are reasons for that. "They are playing well, especially in defence, so it will be hard but we are at home, and when we are at home we have to win. We have to be the best team, create the better chances and try and win every game." Disappointingly, another yellow card, or worse, tomorrow will initiate a brief suspension for Pistone. For now, he is concentrating on helping his team build upon a competent enough start to the latest campaign. Having distanced himself from the treatment room, Pistone appears happy and relaxed. And it's starting to show in his play. "After such a big injury it took time to get my confidence back, I was not one hundred per cent straight away. But I am happy now and a lot of that is to do with the fact that the team is playing well. "When you get a result, it breeds confidence. "We are doing well and I think that is the main thing, when the team is playing well everybody is playing well. "We had a bad patch for three games but now we are starting to get back on track again. We have got two games at home now, which we want to win."
With all three strikers having returned to full fitness, the chances of that happening have vastly increased. The combination of Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski may have failed to hit the target seven days ago but Pistone believes the fact that chances are being created is as good an omen as any. "Kevin is in great condition, Duncan and Tomasz are playing well so we have a lot of choice up front," he said. "We have got the men and I think that if we create chances on Saturday, we can get a goal."
Spy in the camp
Oct 19 2001 Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ Radzinski will use inside information to try and shatter Aston Villa's unbeaten record in the Premiership. The striker will call upon Thomas Gravesen's knowledge of Peter Schmeichel before tomorrow's match at Goodison in a bid to steer Everton toward their third home win of the season.
The two have played together in the Danish national team and Radzinski hopes to use that link to his advantage. He said: "I am going to ask fro some pointers from Thomas Gravesen because he knows the keeper pretty well. So I can maybe learn from that. "As a striker you want to score week in week out but if it is going to be against Aston Villa and Schmeichel and at home then for me it is going to be even better. "Scoring at home is always much better, those goals are always more special." Radzinski scored on his full debut at Goodison a fortnight ago, hitting the fifth in a comprehensive 5-0 win over West Ham. The Canadian international accepts his task against Villa tomorrow will be more difficult. John Gregory's side have conceded just three goals in seven Premiership games putting their defensive record on a par with league leaders Leeds. But Radzinski is confident that home advantage can see the Blues to victory. He said: "It is going to be a very difficult game. But when we play at home if the crowd is behind us from the beginning like they were against West Ham then maybe we can get more than one goal. "It depends on the day. If we get a good start then there is no reason why we can't perform as well as we did against West Ham. "But a win is a win and if you are winning 5-0 or 1-0 it is not much different, you just want the three points. As long as we have got them at the end then it is going to be a fantastic party! "I think our keeper and our defence are going to be on a high right now because obviously if a defender keeps a clean sheet his confidence is going to be boosted in the same way as a striker's is when he scores two or three times in a row." Walter Smith looks set to be boosted by the return of Scot Gemmill. Paul Gascoigne and Thomas Gravesen are also set to return. Said Smith today: "Scot trained yesterday along with Paul Gascoigne and Thomas Gravesen and as long as they show no reaction in training they will be available for selection for tomorrow's game." The Blues boss may be forced to reshuffle his defence with Abel Xavier having been sent home with flu yesterday. His fitness will be checked later today.
* George Boateng believes Aston Villa's early exit from the UEFA Cup could be a blessing in disguise in helping the club towards their ultimate target of a Champions League spot. He said: "When you go out onto the field you want to win every game because you are a professional footballer and getting knocked out of the cup was painful. "But the day after the game the feeling was 'it's gone now, we can't change it'. I miss European games but at this moment it is in a way acceptable to be out of Europe. "By that I mean we still need two or three more signings if we are to challenge on many fronts to get the squad strength up."
Everton 3 Aston Villa 2 (icLiverpool)
By David Randles, icLiverpool
Oct 19 2001
THOMASZ RADZINSKI repaid Walter Smith's faith in him with a fine goalscoring performance as Everton strode to a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa at Goodison Park. Smith's decision to leave cult figure, Duncan Ferguson on the bench while dropping the three-pronged strike-force which failed to score at Ipswich last week, proved a shrewd calculation as Radzinski was allowed the freedom of movement to terrorise the visitors' defence. A diving header from Steve Watson against his old club before the break saw the Blues go in with a slender lead. But thereafter, goals from Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen saw Everton treble their lead before Hadji pulled one back and, bizarrely, Villa keeper, Peter Schmeichel set up an exciting finale at the death. Although the final scoreline suggests a tight affair, Schmeichel's late goal should not deter from the reality that Villa simply failed to survive in the face of a fine Everton performance. John Gregory's side were clear favourites going into this one as, riding high in fourth spot, they looked to preserve an unbeaten start to their league campaign. Only Chelsea and Leeds can equal this statistic, and with five straight wins leading up to this encounter, Villa looked good for the money. However, if stats never lie then neither do score-lines and the fact that the Midlanders had only conceded three league goals before the trip to Goodison Park, simply serves to highlight the poignancy of Everton's new found finesse in their attacking play. And this buoyancy going forward can be attributed to one man - Thomasz Radzinski.
The mobility, pace and movement of the Canadian international, in only his third full game for the Blues since his £4.5m switch from Anderlecht in the summer, suggests that it won't be long before he repays both his transfer fee and the confidence shown in him by his manager After a bright start by Villa the pre-match predictions looked to be confirmed, but the visitor's pressure was short-lived as Everton came back into the game. With Vassell looking dangerous from the outset, it was Lee Hendrie who threatened first with a shot which went safely to Paul Gerrard in the Everton goal.
However, as Villa spelled out their artificial intent, it was the busy Thomas Gravesen who threatened at the other end two minutes later. Picking the ball up 35 yards out, the Great Dane took two strides before unleashing a fierce drive which Peter Schmeichel made look a lot easier than it was.
The next 20 minutes saw a tight affair with both sides looking wary of the other's attacking threat, but on a day when the pundits looked to the visitors for inspiration, it was the boys in Blue who eventually took the initiative. After Schmeichel saved well from an Alexandersson effort following a neat pass from Campbell on 24 minutes, the inspirational Gravesen was the architect in Everton's best move of the half. Playing a sweeping ball across field to Radzinski, Villa's defence was carved open as Naysmith ran onto the knock down only to see his right footed shot from 15 yards smothered by Schmeichel. Where Gravesen was tenacious, Naysmith proved readily available as he continued to make space on the left. With Alessandro Pistone looking a seasoned pro at left back following his injury nightmare of last season, Naysmith is growing in stature in his new found role in midfield. And so it proved on the half hour mark as his pinpoint cross from Gravesen's freekick found the head of the diving Watson to make it 1-0 at the interval. However, despite a wild freekick from the out-of-sorts Angel shortly after the goal, it was Campbell who missed the chance to add the goals on the stroke of halftime. After Gemmill had picked out Radzinski with a splendid pass, the Canadian's pullback was somehow steered wide by the Blues captain from 6 yards out. If Villa started the brighter in the first half, it was Everton who emerged the more dominant after the break. In a ten minute spell of relentless Everton pressure, it was Gravesen who first went close on 49 minutes. Emulating the goal he got against West Ham, the Dane unleashed a fierce drive from 25 yards only for his countryman to tip over the bar. Next it was Radzinski who hit a shot wide from 12 yards out, but just as you wondered whether Everton would pay for their missed opportunities, the new Blues' hero calmed any nerves. Again it was Naysmith who got to the by-line to deliver a cross after Alpay's catastrophic error let him in, which Radzinski powered home from 6 yards out.
And two minutes later Everton were coasting as Gravesen also got his just reward for a fine display. After referee, Rob Styles had mysteriously awarded an indirect freekick for a trip by Delaney on Naysmith inside the box, Gemmill slid it short for Gravesen to fire past the helpless Schmeichel.
With Dion Dublin on for Angel, Villa had more presence up front and on 67 minutes his pass out wide to Wright led to the cross which saw Hadji head past Gerrard as Everton suffered a rare lapse in concentration. With Radzinski receiving a standing ovation when replaced by Ferguson on 76 minutes, Gravesen got the same treatment four minutes later as Paul Gascoigne entered the fray.
As Villa threw David Ginola on, their late attempts proved as vain as the man himself until, in injury time, Schmeichel strode forth in a last ditch attempt to salvage something from the game.
However, as the veteran keepers late goal set up a nail-biting finale, Everton got their just reward to make it three games unbeaten which moves them up to eighth spot in the Premiership.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Watson, Pistone, Weir, Alexandersson, Radzinski, Campbell, Pembridge, Naysmith, Gravesen, Xavier. Subs: Unsworth, Ferguson, Simonsen, Gemmill, Gascoigne.
ASTON VILLA: Schmeichel, Delaney, Wright, Ozalan, Boateng, Taylor, Angel, Staunton, Hendrie, Hadji, Bassell. Subs: Dublin, Enckelman, Ginola, Barry, Samuel.
Referee: Mr R Styles
Everton 3, Aston Villa 2
Only one great Dane deserves plaudits (Post)
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 22 2001
THERE WAS no surprise when the nation's football fraternity - alright, the few who tune into see Des Lynam drool incessently over Manchester United on The Premiership - were alerted to the return of the Great Dane at Goodison Park on Saturday. It was just a pity they picked the wrong one.
After one memorable goal and an awesome all-round display it was only right that a Danish international took the headlines out of excellent Everton's comprehensive ending of Aston Villa's unbeaten Premiership run. But it was Thomas Gravesen, not Peter Schmeichel, who deserved the plaudits that should have stretched beyond the standing ovation he received as he left the Goodison pitch at the weekend. After missing the draw at Ipswich through injury Gravesen - and Everton - continued where they left off against West Ham three week's ago to illustrate perfectly that with a fit and finely-tuned squad at Walter Smith's disposal, the Blues will make much-needed strides this season. ITV's preoccupation with all things United (exactly how often do we need to be told that one of the league's 20 teams are "coming up" by the silver fox?) meant it was their old boy Schmeichel who was the talk of the television studio after Saturday's game. But the fact is that despite his continuing excellence and the 10th goal of his career, the Villa keeper was part of a side that suffered a far more emphatic defeat than the scoreline suggests. John Gregory's men could have gone joint top of the table with victory over the Blues and, certainly in the opening exchanges, suggested their undoubted superior talent would take them there. However, not only did Everton survive constant early pressure without their own goalkeeper having a serious save to make, they showed just what a fine footballing force they can be when the likes of Tomasz Radzinski, Gravesen, Alessandro Pistone and others are on song. Once they wrestled back control of the contest midway through the opening half, with electrifying breaks that are usually the preserve of a quality away team, Everton established a lead and a platform for a quite magnificent second half display. Well, it was magnificent for 35 minutes of it anyway. With Radzinski in the side the Blues have been transformed from the predictable unit that continually gives way to the temptation to "lump it" when Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell are the strike-force, as they did again when the diminutive dynamo departed with a slight injury on Saturday, into a more considered and effective football team. And no-one is benefiting more from the movement and pace in front of him now than the rapidly-improving Gravesen. For the majority of last season the £2.5million man struggled to come to terms with the demands of the Premiership, promising much but delivering little. Now, with a far more intelligent and composed approach, he is delivering plenty. The midfielder had already stung the palms of his international colleague twice, the second with an ingenious moment of skill and vision to volley from 22-yards out, when he drove Everton into a three-goal lead that should have arrived much sooner than the 62nd minute. As both he and Pistone argued over who should take a free-kick that Smith later insisted should have been a penalty when Mark Delaney brought Scot Gemmill down with a high boot inside the box, Gravesen appealed to the Everton dug-out for instructions. Archie Knox pointed to the midfielder, who pushed Pistone out of the way and emphatically edged Everton into an unassailable (just) lead that they thoroughly deserved for an enterprising performance from all departments. Besides Radzinski's and Gravesen's outstanding contributions, the Blues built their dominance on Niclas Alexandersson's relentless work-rate, Abel Xavier and David Weir's polished partnership in defence and latterly Paul Gerrard's accomplished handling. Once they had subdued the visitors' initial promise it was fitting that an Everton defender should put his team in front, with the added bonus that it came from Villa old boy Steve Watson.
Inevitably Gravesen was central to the breakthrough, winning and taking a quick free-kick that Campbell spilled to Alexandersson, whose cross was headed down by the impressive Gary Naysmith and converted by Watson's diving frame for his second Goodison goal in succession. It was a lead that should have arrived four minutes earlier when, following a flowing move involving Xavier, Campbell and Radzinski, Naysmith was played through in front of goal only to shoot woefully straight at Schmeichel. Smith's pre-match hope for a more clinical finish to his team's many chances took a further knock when Campbell, who linked well - with one Veron-like back-heel pirouette a highlight - but could do little right inside the area, skied another inviting Radzinski cross over with the goal gaping on the stroke of half-time. The manager's mood would take a while to improve as Schmeichel saved from both Gravesen and Radzinski, who volleyed wide moments later, as the Blues began the second half in imperious fashion. Thankfully their rewards would eventually arrive with two in three minutes. First the alert Naysmith capitalised on Alpay's dreadful clearance and Delaney's slip to race to the by-line and set up Radzinski for a simple second goal for the club.
Then Gravesen's moment arrived, providing the cue for more amusingly awful goal celebrations from the new Goodison cult hero. Three goals up against one of the Premiership's in-form teams would normally be enough for the last 20 minutes to be played out in a carnival atmosphere. But doing things 'normally' never applies to Everton. Their best display and finest win of the season so far would not be without a totally unnecessary late scare as Moustapha Hadji punctured the party with a towering leap over Naysmith and impressive header into the bottom corner of the Gwladys Street net. In an instant, Goodison eyes turned to the clock. Dion Dublin headed inches wide as Everton somehow allowed panic to set in and when Schmeichel raced up for a 92nd minute corner it was, as Smith admitted afterwards, "Sod's Law" that the keeper would strike his first Premiership goal with a powerful finish at the back post. Seconds later the Blues conceded another corner but as Everton teetered on the brink of a travesty, Gerrard stormed off his line to win the final battle of the keepers. It has been a long time coming but Everton are now finally showing a healthy lack of respect for Premiership reputations with a win that was a fitting tribute to their Supporters Club stalwart Jim King, who died in the week. At this rate Everton could one day find themselves star-billing on terrestrial television. And that day will be December 26 - when United come to town.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard; Watson, Xavier, Weir, Pistone; Alexandersson, Gravesen (Gascoigne 80), Pembridge (Gemmill 42), Naysmith; Radzinski (Ferguson77), Campbell. Subs: Unsworth, Simonsen.
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Delaney, Alpay (Samuel 62), Staunton, Wright; Hadji, Taylor, Boateng, Hendrie (Ginola 77); Angel (Dublin 62), Vassell. Subs: Enckelman, Barry.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Naysmith (foul) and Villa's Dublin (foul).
REFEREE: Mr R Styles. ATT: 33,352.
In-form Gravesen backed by Tyson!
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 22 2001
THOMAS GRAVESEN received heavyweight support for his impressive display against Aston Villa on Saturday - from former world boxing champion Mike Tyson! The Everton midfielder produced another Goodison man-of-the-match display as the Blues destroyed Villa's unbeaten Premiership record in a convincing 3-2 victory. And the Danish international confessed his growing reputation caught the imagination of the boxing great in the build-up to last weekend's sixth-round defeat of Brian Neilsen in Copenhagen. Gravesen explained: "Mike Tyson was at the national stadium before his fight with Brian Neilsen and was watching our World Cup game against Iceland. "I'd scored two goals and had thrown in a few good tackles when I got involved in a bit of a scuffle with a few of their players. "It was nothing serious but I defended myself as usual and pushed a few of them away and Tyson liked what he saw and wanted my shirt afterwards." Gravesen added: "It was all a bit silly really but it's nice to have Mike Tyson as a fan I suppose!" Gravesen bolstered his fan club further on Saturday, scoring his fourth goal in three games to help give Everton an impressive win over the Midlanders. Gravesen fired Everton into a deserved three-goal lead from a free-kick he had to stop Alessandro Pistone taking. Gravesen said: "We'd been practising free-kicks in the week and it was on my side but we both wanted it. Archie told me to take it and I was delighted with it and also with their terrible wall! "It is a very good win but even though we still have a lot of work to do you can see that we have a good, strong side that can play football as we showed in the second half.
"The Premiership is the hardest league in Europe in that each team can beat each other, like West Ham did to Newcastle before they came here. That shows we've got to always be on our toes and keep improving, but with the crowd behind us we've shown we can do well." The midfielder admitted: "To be honest we were expecting the worst because Villa hadn't lost in the league this season and had only conceded three goals. But we are developing nicely now, we are getting better. The manager said before the game it was the first time this season he'd had a full squad to pick from and it was an important game for us, we had to perform. "We are starting to play much better and I think that is because we are a much more settled team now. We are still in a developing period though and we have to keep improving and I think we will." Despite racing into a three goal lead the Blues had to survive a nervous finale as Moustapha Hadji and then goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel scored in injury time. And Gravesen, Schmeichel's international team-mate, added: "Peter was excellent and he kept Villa in it. "Not only did he score himself but he saved a number of good chances from us when I think we should really have scored three more. He saved from me and Kevin Campbell, Tomasz Radzinski and Gary Naysmith all had good chances to score. "He has a reputation for going up front in situations like that but I must admit I've never seen a goalkeeper score before. But it wasn't just that, he's a great keeper." Manager Walter Smith was forced to withdraw Gravesen, Radzinski and Mark Pembridge with slight strains during the game but is confident the trio will be available for this weekend's Goodison clash with Newcastle United.
Late Dane can't keep out Blues (Echo)
Oct 22, 2001
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PETER SCHMEICHEL'S flash but fruitless finale did have some significance. It kept Walter Smith's side out of the top seven on goal difference. For a team led by a man who was told just a month ago he didn't know what he was doing, that marks an astonishing recovery. Everton have often expressed their ability to overcome teams in and around the mid-table mediocrity they currently crave residence of. But victories over the more successful, big spending sides are rare. Villa just about fit that bill - and this was a result to cherish. After stemming a first 15 minute flourish when Aston Villa lived up to their pre-match billing of an unbeaten team with only three goals against to their name, Everton strolled to victory. And they did it in style. Their football was brighter, more inventive - and played the way Evertonians like to see their football, along the floor. A 3-0 lead should have been four or five, and two late Villa goals gave the scoreline a closeness Everton's display did not deserve.
But for some, the cup is always half empty. Such is the undercurrent of disaffection with Walter Smith there were barely stifled moans and groans when the side's two best performers were substituted late on to protect niggling strains. Tomasz Radzinski even saw fit to look up at the Main Stand and gesture to his hamstring, as if to explain his manager's decision. But you don't really need to be an optimist to recognise that with a large proportion of their squad finally fit and available to select from, Smith has fashioned a side capable of fine football from threadbare resources.
In patches, Everton played some of the best football seen by a side in Royal Blue since Sunderland were demolished on a vibrant Boxing Day nearly two years ago. Fluffed chances from Gary Naysmith, Tomasz Radzinski and, quite horribly, Kevin Campbell, might have seen Everton enjoy a second successive landslide success at Goodison Park. That they didn't was the only possible reason for not leaving Goodison Park with beaming smiles glued to your face on Saturday. The Campbell conundrum is particularly perplexing. It wouldn't be overly harsh to suggest that his eye for goal is watering at present. He missed the kind of glorious chance Peter Schmeichel relishes on the stroke of half-time, and miscontrolled another which inadvertently led to the opening goal. But he looks a more natural partner for the excellent Tomasz Radzinski. The pair dovetail intelligently and Campbell cleverly manipulates space for his pacy partner to exploit. Duncan Ferguson with a point to prove is arguably one of the Premiership's most threatening substitutes. But as soon as he came on Everton abandoned any pretext of passing and asked him to win a series of high balls again. Fortunately, by that stage Everton had opened up a match-winning margin - and the two Toms were largely responsible. Gravesen has been roundly criticised on these pages before. His talent is clear, his willingness to dig in with the dirty work less so. But on Saturday he was faultless. With midfield partners prepared to sit in and let him romp forward, first Pembridge and then Scot Gemmill, he produced a positive performance full of purposeful running, passing and shooting. He warmed Peter Schmeichel's hands with an early piledriver, produced a glorious pass to Radzinski in a move which ended with Naysmith passing tamely to the Villa goalkeeper, then cleverly took the quick free-kick which opened up Villa's vaunted rearguard. Alexandersson clipped the ball into Naysmith, he rose bravely to head down to Steve Watson who beautifully guided a diving header into the corner of the Gwladys Street net. If that was a classic centre-forward's finish, the real number nine produced a finish a fullback would have been ashamed of on the stroke of half-time. A glorious, sweeping Everton move ended with Radzinski's pass across goal cutting out Schmeichel completely. Campbell was sliding in to volley a bouncing ball, but his shot into the extremes of row W was woeful.
Worries that Everton would rue the miss were waved away in a wonderful 20 minute spell after the interval. Schmeichel superbly tipped over Gravesen's 20-yard blockbuster, Radzinski miskicked an excellent opening wide, then Gary Naysmith pinched the ball off the dawdling Alpay to set up a tap-in for Radzinski. Four minutes later, Alpay's challenge on Scot Gemmill might have earned a penalty kick. Referee Styles preferred an indirect freekick for dangerous play, but it mattered little as Gravesen crashed a firm drive through an awful wall. In one of the more curious tributes of recent years, Iron Mike Tyson watched Gravesen's display for Denmark recently, and grunted: "Uh. That guy is really doing the thing!" Gravesen is still doing it. His departure from the fray 10 minutes from time didn't change the game. Dion Dublin's introduction gave Villa the impetus to hit back.
The visitors had already pulled a goal back through Mustapha Hadji when Dublin missed a better chance, then with two of the added three minutes played, Peter Schmeichel was left criminally unmarked at a corner. His reputation in such circumstances meant he should have been picked up. He crashed Staunton's corner past Gerrard to inspire apoplexy around Goodison before Villa won another corner with the final kick of the match. Paul Gerrard confidently claimed that one to seal a thoroughly deserved 3-2 victory. Another strange statistic was that Schmeichel's late goal levelled up the historical record between these two old clubs, exactly. After more than a century of League meetings, these two founder members of the Football League have now won 66 times against each other, drawn 41 and scored 269 goals apiece. The overall health of each club suggests Villa are better placed to ease ahead in the early years of the millennium. But if the injury jinx stays away from Goodison Park, hope springs eternal. There are plenty of reasons to be cheerful for Evertonians right now, if they care to look for them.
MATCH FACTS EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard, Watson, Xavier, Weir, Pistone, Alexandersson, Gravesen ( Gascoigne 80 mins), Pembridge (Gemmill 41 mins), Naysmith, Campbell, Radzinski (Ferguson 76 mins). Unused substitutes: Unsworth, Simonsen.
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Schmeichel, Delaney, Alpay (Samuel 63 mins), Staunton, Wright, Hadji, Boateng, Taylor, Hendrie (Ginola 76 mins), Angel (Dublin 63 mins), Vassell. Unused substitutes: Barry, Enckelman.
Referee: Rob Styles. Bookings: Naysmith (55 mins) foul, Dublin (67 mins) foul Attendance: 33,352.
MAN OF THE MATCH TOMASZ RADZINSKI Scored one goal and laid another couple of outstanding opportunities on a plate for Naysmith and Campbell with his intelligent movement.
Knox knocks. Who's there? It's Gravesen
Oct 22 2001
THOMAS GRAVESEN fired his second successive Goodison goal on Saturday - thanks to a little touchline coaching from Archie Knox! The Dane smashed a 62nd minute free-kick past international team-mate Peter Schmeichel to give Everton a decisive 3-0 lead, but he almost had the opportunity snatched away from him. Alessandro Pistone had tried his luck in the first half and argued that he should shoulder the responsibility again, until Gravesen turned to the bench for support.
"We had both been practising them all week," explained Gravesen "but that one was my side and I definitely wanted it. "Sandro fancied it as well, but Archie shouted across that I should take it - Thank God!" Two late Villa goals ensured a nervous final few minutes, but Gravesen was delighted by both his and his team's performance. "We created a lot of chances and should have scored more goals, but we showed we have a good, strong side who can play football, like we did in the first half-hour of the second half. " Aston Villa hadn't been beaten this season and had only conceded three goals, but we scored three in an hour. "It was as well as we have played as a team all season, but we are still developing and can get better and better and better. "This is the first time we have had anything like a full squad to choose from, and I am so glad we have won this game. "It was a very important game for us, I can't say how important, but we look more settled now. "Last year we had a lot of injuries and a lot of changes, but now we know each other. "We didn't know where we were out on the pitch, but now Scotty or Mark Pembridge or Gazza know my voice now and know where to find me. "It is very important that we settled down and it took a year to do that. But we feel we can get better now." Everton have another home match coming up on Saturday against Newcastle, but Gravesen warned that his team-mates should not get carried away by the Villa victory.
" The Premiership is the strongest place in the world to be," he said. "We have Newcastle next who have just beaten Manchester United, and we played West Ham last time who had just beaten Newcastle. "We still have lots of work to do, but when the crowd is supporting us, which we need, we can beat almost anybody."
Smith happy to hear from unhappy stars
Oct 22 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH hopes to have a queue of unhappy stars knocking on his office door this week - after enjoying the rare luxury of a near fully fit squad on Saturday. After a spell which has seen Everton's substitutes' bench occasionally made up entirely of youngsters, the Blues' boss was able to indulge himself against Aston Villa. Duncan Ferguson, Scot Gemmill, Paul Gascoigne and David Unsworth formed an experienced stand-by squad, while new signing Alan Stubbs and international stars Joe-Max Moore and Idan Tal didn't figure at all. "I'm expecting a few visits this week," he smiled "but I'm not unhappy about that. "I want players to be unhappy at not being involved and the more players we have like that the more it says about our squad strength." Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski were selected to start up front, with Duncan Ferguson left on the sidelines, but Smith added: "It's not about preferences, anybody who has observed us over the last year would appreciate the need for depth of cover, especially in our forward positions. "Just now we have got Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski and Joe-Max Moore, while at times last season we didn't have anybody. "People talk about preferences, but I'm just pleased to finally have options.
"Those options will allow us to play different players when it suits us." Mark Pembridge was the only new injury blow from the weekend. The Welsh international came off with yet another calf injury, the extent of which will be diagnosed early this week. Tomasz Radzinski reported slight soreness in his hamstring, but will be okay for this weekend's visit of Newcastle, while Thomas Gravesen had a slight knock but was fit to train today.
Table shows how far Blues have come
Oct 22 2001 Tommy Smith
EVERTON sit comfortably in eighth in the Premiership table today - just three points behind Manchester United after nine games. For me, that's a fascinating statistic. It means that, at last, the Blues are making progress. Real progress. For the first time in a while they had all their players available for selection on Saturday. The injury jinx that dogged them last season suddenly appears to be a thing of the past. The end product was a crucial and well deserved victory over Aston Villa who found themselves on the receiving end of their first defeat of the season. At the start of the present campaign there were calls by many for Walter Smith's head. It's just a few weeks since the club's vastly experienced Scottish manager was the target of abuse and booing from a section of supporters at Blackburn. Smith has had to put up with a lot. You could say that it goes with the territory. You could argue that he gets well paid and that you reap what you sow with team selections and tactics. But while I was among those at Goodison who appreciated the drive and aggression of Thomas Gravesen on the day, the more varied attacking options presented by Tomasz Radzinski and the 110 per cent effort of a host of players who helped knock Villa out of their stride, I also felt it was time for the manager to get a pat on the back. Does Walter Smith feel appreciated for what he has tried to achieve in the most difficult of situations? Only he can answer that one.
But what you can say is that he deserves a break, or three or four! And now that he has got almost a full complement to select from him, we can finally look at Everton in a more constructive way. And yes, we can begin to judge if Smith has got the makings of a squad that can finally lay to rest the bogey of constant relegation fears while beginning to look at wider ambitions in the future.
Of course, you can't go overboard. I mentioned that Manchester United statistic. The truth is that it hides the simple fact that United and Everton are still light years away from each other in terms of true star quality and strength in depth. The Blues can be inconsistent - as they were in the space of 90 minutes against Villa. But they can also be a difficult team to handle and the most important thing right now is that they've finally got options. What a lovely word that is for Smith to contemplate. Options! You just had to look at the substitutes bench. Duncan Ferguson, Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill and David Unsworth. It meant that if things didn't go well then Smith could easily change the flow of the game. In the first 15 minutes it looked as if he might have to. Everton were giving the ball away far too much and it enabled Villa to settle in quickly. The visitors must have thought they were in for an easy afternoon. It didn't work out that way. The game swung because the Blues put more effort in than their opponents who must understand that neat football is not the only thing that wins you a football match. Steve Watson's close range header secured a well deserved interval lead. Alpay's total lack of concentration led to a fine cross from Gary Naysmith and a comfortable finish from Radzinski to make it 2-0 early in the second half. When Gravesen rifled home the third against countryman Peter Schmeichel the Blues looked in total control. But almost as if to tantalise their delighted fans, they showed the other side to their game by allowing Mustapha Hadji to rein one back. When an opposing goalkeeper goes storming up into the opposing box in the closing moments of a game, it spells only one thing. Desperation. In the case of Peter Schmeichel, it's almost a party piece. His superb volley was a lesson in finishing to the likes of Dion Dublin, but it couldn't alter the result. Yes, it was a a nervous finale for Everton, but they will look back on a string of great opportunities. In fact, Kevin Campbell at the end of the first half and Radzinski at the start of the second missed gilt-edged chances that were among the misses of the season. What I found interesting was the way the focus of Everton's game changed when they replaced Radzinski with Ferguson. Combined with the fact that they were beginning to sit a little bit too deep to defend their lead, they tended to concede possession with the long ball. Even second substitute Gazza couldn't get hold of it to any degree at this stage and the finale was frantic. But the victory and the points were well deserved in a game of talking points, not least the size and length of the giant Ferguson's shorts which resembled those of a heavyweight boxer. What it highlighted was that Everton had more of everything on the day compared to Villa, certainly more effort and determination. This is what finally won them the match.
Tributes flood in for 'King' of Blues' fans
Oct 22 2001 Liverpool Echo
TRIBUTES have been pouring in for the Secretary of Everton's Official Supporters Club, Jim King, who died suddenly last week. Jim, who had been heavily involved with the Everton Supporters Club for over 40 years, was formerly a compositor with the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo. Howard Kendall was amongst those with first hand knowledge of Jim's Everton passion. He said: "Over the years you tend to know your True Blues. There was never any doubting that Jim was up there with the best.
"It was the way he went about it and conducted himself that made him stand out. He had this dignified manner. He ran the Supporters Club for years and spoke up passionately for the club he loved." Everton deputy chairman Bill Kenwright said: "Jim was what you would want every supporter to be - fanatical for his club but understanding and constructive. He will be missed at Goodison Park." Everton's Chief Executive Michael Dunford added: "We are greatly saddened by the news. Jim was a staunch Evertonian who supported the club through thick and thin."
Bob Maylor of Jim's own Everton Supporters ( Goodison) Club said: " The committee and members are greatly saddened by the death of Jim. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his wife Joyce and family at this sad time. "Jim was a founder member of the club when it was formed in 1958 and served on the committee for almost 30 years. The special relationship the Supporters Club has with Everton and the media is very much down to Jim who would always make himself available to comment on behalf of the supporters. Jim was very well respected and his views and advice were often sought. "Just recently Charles Lambert contacted Jim as he was producing a TV programme called ' Goodison Heroes, Nine Great No 9s.' "If there was a poll for the greatest Evertonian of all time, Jim would be there at the top." Ian Macdonald of the Independent Supporters Club echoed those sentiments: " Jim will be remembered by all Evertonians for his hard work and commitment to the long and winding road that is Everton, through the highs and the lows. "He was a figure head who every Evertonian could come and talk to." Bobby Evans, chairman of Everton Bluewatch Supporters club added: " He worked at it morning, noon and night but he was never a person to blow his own trumpet."
Boss sounds cautious optimism
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 23 2001
WALTER SMITH has been at Goodison Park long enough to appreciate the brittle nature of Everton confidence. So it is with an understandable grimace that the Blues boss reacts to a fate-tempting question about whether his side are edging closer to the consistency that has eluded them for too many years. However, with a quarter of the season gone and the Blues savouring a three-game unbeaten run that boasts two outstanding home results against West Ham and Aston Villa, the time has come for an early assessment of a campaign many entered fearing the worst. Smith's reluctance to accept everything in the Goodison garden is rosy is acceptable given that a month ago fans were calling for his head after a third successive league defeat at Blackburn Rovers. And while the latest squad he's built has the quality to inflict a first Premiership defeat of the season on a team of Villa's quality, it is still too small to survive another catalogue of injuries. But the signs, the Everton boss admits, are encouraging. "It is too early to say we've found the bit of consistency we've been looking for but overall I've got to say I'm pleased with how we've started," said Smith. "Except for the Manchester United and Liverpool games. "It was not just the fact we lost those two matches that was disappointing but the way we played, we never acquitted ourselves well in either game and have played much better in other matches. "As I say it's still early days but there has been an early indication that we can have a more consistent season. That is the challenge everyone at the club has to take on now. "We've got to show that it is the case, that we can be consistent, and keep it going.
"We have shown some good football in a lot of the games this season and if we had a few more points on the board I don't think anyone could begrudge us that. "In our last two away games at Blackburn and Ipswich we missed enough opportunities to have won both games. "It was not just the one chance that we missed, but several, although a lot of teams will be looking at the table and thinking they should be higher up. "It has been an encouraging start but every single Premiership game is a challenge for us." Newcastle provide the Blues next test at Goodison on Saturday when a third consecutive home win would present further evidence the team is capable of making sustained progress. For Smith, however, the proof will only be found at the season's close in May.
"The first part of the season has now gone and I would say we've been reasonable in terms of consistency but we've got to keep it going now," he added. "The Premiership has a long history of teams starting well and then going a long spell without winning a game but we've got to keep this going and take each game as a new challenge. "I know that's a cliche and what managers always say but that's the only way we can approach it because we haven't got a track record of being in Europe or finishing in the top half of the table each season. "That is consistency and what we want to achieve." Meanwhile, Newcastle United defender Andy O'Brien is convinced his side can bounce back at Goodison on Saturday after slipping to a 2-0 home defeat to Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend. "It was a new system but after the first 20 minutes, I don't think there was a lot between the teams and on another day, our chances might have gone in and we might have been back in the game," O'Brien said. "It's disappointing because we know that we could have gone joint third. As it is, Tottenham have climbed to the same points that we're on. But there's a heck of a long way to go. We have had disappointments already this season and we've bounced back superbly. That's what we intend to do from now on."
Blues' strength in reserve
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 23 2001
ALAN STUBBS attempts to force his way back into Walter Smith's first-team plans start tonight - with a reserveteam appearance at the AutoQuest Stadium. The summer signing from Celtic is just one of a number of regular senior stars selected by Smith for reserve team duty against Blackburn Rovers.
Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill and David Unsworth are also involved as the trio look to increase their match fitness ahead of Saturday's Premiership date with Newcastle-but Stubbs will be looking to impress after a disappointing few weeks. The defender was dropped to the substitutes' bench for the 5-0 drubbing of West Ham and the goalless draw at Ipswich, but did not even figure in the squad for Saturday's excellent win over Aston Villa. Both Gascoigne and Gemmill are in line for a starting role against Bobby Robson's team after fellow midfielder Mark Pembridge was ruled out of the Goodison clash with a calf injury. Smith said: "Mark has suffered another slight calf injury, but it is not the same one that has troubled him in recent months, in fact it's not the same leg.
"He will not make the Newcastle game but hopefully we've caught it early and he won't be out for long." Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen also picked up slight knocks in the win over Villa that forced their substitutionsbut Smith is confident-the in-form duo will be available on Saturday.
"Tomasz was feeling slight discomfort in his hamstring," explained Smith. "He didn't train today but hopefully with a few days' rest he'll be okay. "Thomas had missed about ten days' training due to the back injury he picked up on international duty and was feeling the effects at the end of the Villa game. "He should be fine for the Newcastle game on Saturday though."
Rooney triggers Everton revival
Oct 23 2001 By Chris Wright
FOUR Wayne Rooney goals fired Everton under-19s to their first win of the FA Premier Academy League season as they beat Wrexham 5-0 at Bellefield. Colin Harvey's team had been playing well without winning but they bounced back superbly from their 3-2 defeat by Manchester United the week before with a superb victory. Rooney, who celebrates his 16th birthday this week, opened the scoring after 25 minutes as he headed in a Steven Beck cross at the far post. And within three minutes the England U17 international striker had scored twice more - one a header and the other a shot - to complete his hat-trick. His fourth goal came on the hour before Michael Symes added a late penalty to seal a convincing win for the Blues Academy director Ray Hall said: "In the second half it was one-way traffic and the boys deserved the result because they went about the job very professionally." After finding goals hard to come by for much of season, they have started to flow, with the Blues netting nine in their last three matches. And with both strikers scoring, it could be the lift they needed. Alan Harper's under-17s were a little unfortunate not to claim all three points as they drew 1-1 with Wrexham at Netherton. The Blues were disappointed to go into the break 1-0 down after playing well as Wrexham took the lead on the stroke of half-time. But they equalised on the hour mark with a well-taken goal by Anthony Barry. Everton fielded a full team of under-16 players and Ray Hall added: "The boys would have been a little disappointed that they have not won the game. Unlike last week, we are satisfied with the performance but maybe not the result as they could have won."
Blues could cash in on born-again Nyarko
Oct 23 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S hopes of off-loading Alex Nyarko permanently rose today - when the unhappy midfielder spoke of his "rebirth" at Monaco. The former Ghanaian international quit Goodison last April after an altercation with a fan on the pitch. He is currently on-loan until the end of the season at Didier Deschamps' Monaco. Still reluctant to talk about Everton, he said: "I am living a kind of rebirth.
"For me, football didn't count any more. I didn't want to play any more. "My family didn't agree with me, but I wanted to assume this decision all alone and I didn't want to change my mind.
"It's incredible what happened to me. "My heart guided me to Monaco, but without God I would not be here today." Monaco made a dreadful start to the French League season, but have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes recently, with Nyarko on the scoresheet during a 3-0 defeat of league leaders Lens. The French club currently pays Nyarko's wages - and Everton are hoping to negotiate a permanent transfer at the end of the season. Still only 27, Nyarko retired from international football earlier this season. The decision was reportedly due to embarrassment felt at Ghana's failure to qualify for the World Cup Finals, although Nyarko declined to make his exact reasons public.
He informed FIFA of his decision to avoid conflict with his country. Nyarko has vowed never to play for the Blues again, but a clutch of experienced stars are all in action tonight for the reserves at the Autoquest Stadium in Widnes. Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill, Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth are all pencilled in to face Blackburn Rovers (7pm). Mark Pembridge, meanwhile, has suffered a new calf strain and has already been ruled out of Saturday's visit of Newcastle United. "It is not the same calf that has troubled him in recent months," said boss Walter Smith "but hopefully we've caught it early enough and he won't be out for long." Tomasz Radzinski also missed training yesterday but should be fit for the weekend.
Super Kev not worried by a few misses
Oct 23 2001 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN CAMPBELL has scored four goals in his last eight outings - the ratio every successful striker aims for. But because he could have had a few more he's taken stick in some quarters. Kevin missed a handful of acceptable opportunities at Ipswich Town, then by all accounts wasted one that I might have put away on Saturday (note I said 'might'). But I think all Kevin will be worried about is that he is still getting goalscoring chances. When a striker finds he hasn't had a chance to score for half-a-dozen matches he is justified in worrying. Nobody goes from being a good striker to a bad one overnight. I remember Adrian Heath going through a spell without a goal at Everton, which the media made a lot of at the time. But no-one at Goodison was concerned because we appreciated what Adrian was doing for the team - and I'm sure that's what Walter Smith will be thinking.
Kevin Campbell didn't score on Saturday, but other players did, and as long as chances are being created and converted by someone everyone will be happy at Everton. Kevin's all round approach play seems to be generally good, and the way he has forged a swift partnership with Canadian striker Tomasz Radzinski speaks volumes for him. A winning goal against Newcastle on Saturday and that miss against Villa will be swiftly forgotten. Solid formation is a tribute to Abel IS it coincidence that Everton's recent glut of goalscoring has come with the restoration of the 4-4-2 formation most fans favour? I certainly wouldn't be dismissive of a wing-back system. Everton's displays earlier in the season against Charlton, Spurs and Middlesbrough were achieved using that pattern of play.
But having said that I am not a great believer in it, always preferring to go for a 4-4-2 whenever possible. To use three at the back effectively you have to have specialist wing-backs which Everton don't. It's very easy for players unaccustomed to playing the role to get pinned back in their own half, denying their own team an outlet and allowing the opposition to push you back.
In many respects I think Walter's hand has been forced by the players he has had available.
It's noticeable that when Walter had a good class centre-half available to him like Richard Gough, he played 4-4-2 exclusively. It was only when he was injured last season that he reverted back to the wing-back formation. It's a tribute really to how highly he thinks of Xavier that he has returned to four at the back. I think all the talk of systems and formations though, hides the fact that Everton are playing with more confidence right now, which counts for a huge amount. The 5-0 rout of West Ham obviously contributed to that, but another game which probably added just as much was the 0-0 draw at Ipswich. The more clean sheets a side keeps the more comfortable everyone in a side becomes. Big Dunc first victim as Walter enjoys squad rotation luxury
DUNCAN FERGUSON will no doubt be bristling he was left on the substitutes' bench on Saturday.
But that's an aspect of modern football Everton have not had the luxury of enjoying in recent seasons. Throughout the whole of last term there wasn't a single occasion when Walter Smith had Ferguson, Campbell and Francis Jeffers to choose from. This season Radzinski has replaced Jeffers, but opportunities to perm two from three have still been sorely limited. Walter was finally given options on Saturday, and Duncan was the one to miss out. But I'm sure that won't be the case throughout the season. It was actually reassuring to see names like Ferguson, Gascoigne, Gemmill and Unsworth on Everton's substitutes' bench. It's only a month since inexperienced kids like Nick Chadwick, Tony Hibbert and Peter Clarke were all on a bench together. Across the park Liverpool have the luxury of trying to accomodate international class players like Fowler, Litmanen, Barmby and McAllister every week. Manchester United regularly leave out stars who walk into every other starting line-up in the Premiership. It's a squad game nowadays and I'm sure the forwards at Everton will quickly appreciate that.
Reserves get off mark
Oct 24 2001
Everton Reserves 3 Blackburn Reserves 0
EVERTON Reserves recorded their first victory of the season thanks to a comfortable win over Graeme Souness's second string. A star-studded Everton line-up took the lead on 17 minutes when Joe-Max Moore's through ball found Nick Chadwick who sent a right-foot shot past Alan Kelly.
Just after the half-hour mark the Blues made it 2-0 when Danny Cadamarteri's cross from the right eluded Chadwick but Kevin McLeod was on hand to fire home at the far post. The home side confirmed their superiority on 66 minutes when Tony Hibbert sent a ball in to Cadamarteri and the Everton striker beat Gordon Greer and fired the ball past Kelly. Paul Gascoigne played 82 minutes and looked fit enough to be in line for a place against Newcastle on Saturday.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Hibbert, Cleland, Stubbs, Unsworth, Gemmill (Clarke 72), Cadamarteri, Gascoingne (Pilkington 82), Chadwick (Curren 57), Moore, McLeod. Subs: Valentine, Eaton.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Kelly, Curtis (Mc-Namee 66), Howson, Hignett, Greer, Kenna, Mahon, Dunning, Ostenstad, Bent, O'Brien (Taylor 66). Subs: Robinson, Corbet, Murray.
REFEREE: Mr G Atkins.
Tomasz's international rescue
Oct 25 2001
EVERTON striker Tomasz Radzinski's recent good form and fitness could see him return from the international wilderness. The 27-year-old is likely to be named in a 16-man squad by Canada manager Holger Osieck for the international friendly against Malta in Valletta on November 14.
A source at the Canadian Soccer Association admitted that Osieck spoke with Radzinski last week, paving the way for the forward to make his first international appearance for Canada in two years. Coach Osieck was unhappy with Radzinski for not reporting for Concacaf Gold Cup qualifying matches in September 1999 after the striker decided to stay at his Belgian club, Anderlecht.
Canada's German boss said at the time that he would not consider Radzinski for international duty again. But after Canada's recent lack of goals - they have only scored twice in their last 12 matches - it seems he has reconsidered. The striker has finally started to repay the £4.5million transfer fee the Blues paid Anderlecht with two goals in his last three starts after his initial injury problems.
Radzinski has 13 caps for Canada and the news should provide him with a boost ahead of Saturday's home match with Newcastle United. The Blues themselves were buoyed by the performances of Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill, Alan Stubbs, David Unsworth and Joe-Max Moore in Tuesday's reserve win against Blackburn. And apart from Mark Pembridge, who has already been ruled out of the Newcastle match, Walter Smith should have a full squad to choose from.
* FORMER Everton striker Ibrahima Bakayoko has criticised his Marseille coach Tomislav Ivic over his negative approach to matches. Bakayoko was fuming after being substituted at half-time at the weekend. And he said: "I am a winner. I am not just here to pick up my wages at the end of the month."
Blue skies never grey for 'King of Everton'
Oct 25 2001
WHAT is a football fan? I think I would find it easier defining the meaning of life.
You see, it has become a complicated business following the team of your dreams. What used to be a joy has become a serious business and I just wonder if some people actually enjoy the big match experience anymore? Certainly the pressure cooker environment that is modern football is not restricted to the boardroom, the manager's office (17 sacking casualties already this season) and the dressing room. I know supporters who live for football, but who cannot seem to view the great game with a smile. For these fans, every day is a crisis. Every club initiative inspires a conspiracy theory. Every director is a complete waste of space. In this world of negativity, the manager is a constant target for abuse and the players are reviled. You meet these people, and they have the weight of the world on their shoulders. You find yourself asking a simple question. Why do they actually go to the match? What sadistic pleasure do they get out of it? Having a shout and a moan is as much a part of the match experience as a pie and a pint. Yes, we blast players we love to hate, argue with the guy next to us and often dispute the sanity of the manager because of his tactics and selections. This is the game of opinions we know and love. But it has now gone further than that. If we accept that football is no longer a sport, but a cut-throat business in which the rich get massively richer and the poor struggle to survive, then possibly it should come as no surprise that the fans themselves have become cynical in many situations. But does it need to be like that? Do we whip ourselves up into a state of unrealistic expectation when the sad truth is that very few clubs have the resource to win the Championship, let alone the Champions League. When I was a kid, football was a colour, not a business. You were red or blue (or white if you lived across the river). You supported your team through good times and bad and while you cursed a costly defeat, you stood up for your club in every situation. This was the mark of a true football fan. It is the very reason why Evertonians, for instance, can hold their heads up high for the way in which they have supported the Blues through one of the most testing periods in the club's history. If Everton Football Club can ever get back to the eminent position it held in the game for a substantial part of the last century and which reached its peak in the glorious Eighties under Howard Kendall and Sir Philip Carter then, yes, I will salute the players behind that long overdue revival. But more significantly, I will give a personal standing ovation to those special Goodison Park supporters whose resolve has never been shaken and who deserve a silver lining in the nottoodistant future. Sadly, the funeral was taking place of one of these special individuals today - Supporters Club stalwart Jim King. I had a special affinity with this most respected of Evertonians. Jim was a printer, a skilled compositor, who spent most of his adult life working for the Echo. He was everything a football fan should aspire to be.
It wasn't just that he was incredibly knowledegable about his club - rightly dubbed the King of Evertonians by his True Blue family. It was more to do with the way he handled himself when questioned on Everton matters. Jim spoke powerfully, but always in a constructive and reasonable manner. Yes, he was passionate about major club issues, but never attempted to undermine his club in any way. When Jim spoke, you listened and you gave his views credence because you knew that he was always considering the wider picture. Some people hammer their own club in the name of free speech and opinion. Cynicism is rife in football. Jim King had honest and frank views, but all of his life he remained an Everton ambassador, respected enough to be a key member of the panel that voted the ten initial Everton Giants who form the club's official Hall Of Fame and who were recently supplemented by latest member Alan Ball. I started this column by asking: "What is a football fan?"
I suggested the answer was complicated, but on reflection this is not the case. If you ever want to know how to enjoy your football club, give it unrivalled support, be opinionated and even critical, but retain the respect of chairmen, managers, players and fellow fans alike then learn the lesson of Jim King. For him, blue skies were never grey!
Stunned by our style
by Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 26 2001
WHO are that team in the blue? The ones knocking the ball about on the deck and scoring with alarming regularity. Well knock me down with a feather if it isn't the Toffees. Saturday's win over Aston Villa was even more satisfying than the 5-0 drubbing - I do believe that's now the EC's official label for a 5-0 win - of West Ham. The Hammers showed themselves up even worse at Ewood Park but Villa are without doubt a more than useful side. We all expected the usual 90-minute grind that these encounters normally produce but both managers seem to have abandoned their defender fetishes and instead we had a veritable feast of football. Special mention must go to Abel Xavier who is playing out of his skin at present. It was a bold move by Walter Smith to drop Alan Stubbs so soon after his much heralded signing but the big Portuguese looks as good a centre-half as there is in England at the moment. Xavier and Weir seem to give us that right combination at the back, much as Pembridge and Gravesen do in the midfield. Alessandro Pistone also had a great game - probably his best in an Everton shirt - but to be honest, all the players look a lot more comfortable in the 'new' system and looked keen to get on the ball and get involved. It's all we've ever asked for. If Walter Smith plays that formation every week and doesn't try and shuffle the side just to accommodate certain individuals then you'll not hear many more calls for his head. If better teams than us beat us then fair enough, we'll accept that, but at least now they're going to have to work for a result. After Saturday's game the number of people who said 'I really enjoyed that' in a sort of disbelieving but ever so contented way was incredible. Long may that feeling continue, especially-against Bobby Robson's unpredictable-Newcastle side tomorrow. The Geordies are undoubtedly the most irritating, self-aggrandising fans in the country, bar none (although Villa's hilarious Afghan songs saw them rise sharply up the table), so any result over this lot of shirtless zanies is always satisfying.
* LAST week, Jim King, head of the Official Everton Supporters Club sadly passed away. I didn't know him personally so I would like to be so bold as to quote a few bits from Ian MacDonald's tribute to him. "With his help, travel was made easier for many Evertonians who would be otherwise making journeys alone. I often say Evertonians are one big family and the likes of Jim made the bringing together of that large family easier. "Jim could always be found to book travel and a helpful listening ear on matchdays; he was an elder statesman amongst us. There will be no finer tribute to the man to say he will be missed but not forgotten amongst Evertonians near and far."
Gemmill set for starting berth
Oct 26 2001
SCOT GEMMILL is ready to put his injury frustrations behind him by making his first Premiership start since early-September against Newcastle United tomorrow. The midfielder played 71 minutes for the reserves in the 3-0 win over Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday. Gemmill, who came on as a substitute in last Saturday's win over Aston Villa after five weeks out with a back injury, is expected to replace the injured Mark Pembridge against Newcastle. The Scotland international said: "I don't know if I will be playing at Goodison on Saturday but if I get the chance then I will be aiming to try to get back to the level I felt I was playing at before I got injured. "I have worked hard to try to get in the team, keep my place in the team and now the team is starting to do well, then you want to be part of it." He added: "It's been a long five weeks and because it has been my back I haven't been able to do anything. It meant I have lost a bit of fitness so it was a bit of a shock to the system to get on against Villa. "I trained last Thursday and Friday and I made it into the squad. I knew I wouldn't be playing, but I was obviously pleased to be a sub. I didn't see Pembo get injured so, suffice to say, I didn't have time to warm-up before I was on. "In a way that is best because you just get straight back with next to no time to think about what is happening." Steve Watson, meanwhile, has issued a reminder of former Newcastle-star Duncan Ferguson's talents-although the Blues are likely to start with Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski. He said: "We have different options available to us now. Tomasz is totally different from Kev and Dunc. He is more mobile and goes into the corners and makes a lot of runs, whereas Kev and Duncan are great for aiming for. "But having said that I think we forget how good Duncan is on the floor."
Academy: Blues chase more goals
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 26 2001
AFTER their first win of the season Everton under-19s will be hoping to get back to the form that saw them take the North West regional title in the FA Premier Academy League last season.
Colin Harvey's side visit Stoke City tomorrow (kick-off 11am) and they will be looking for a quick second victory. Goals had been hard to come earlier in the season but nine in the last three matches shows they do have the firepower. Strikers Wayne Rooney and Michael Symes shared all five goals against Wrexham last Saturday and both have been finding the net recently. Academy director Ray Hall said: "Last week's win will give us a bit of confidence and a platform to build on for the rest of the season. "We've got to just carry on from here. We didn't get carried away with the result that went against us the week before against Manchester United and we won't carried away with this result." Andrew Pettinger was again absent in the Blues' goal against Wrexham but he should be fit for the match tomorrow while another casualty Robert Southern is nearing full fitness after his injury. Alan Harper's under-17s entertain Sheffield Wednesday at Netherton tomorrow (kick-off 12noon). Last season Everton recorded a stunning 8-3 victory against Wednesday. Hall said: "Again comparisons are difficult because players move up or down, so you don't know what teams come out. "But things are starting to come together again and starting to happen." Hall added: "It's all money in the bank. They are playing at a level and it's stretching them. "The only concern we have is that if results keep going against them they don't become disillusioned."
Money well spent
Oct 26 2001 By Howard Kendall
THE successful introduction of Tomasz Radzinski into an Everton team beginning to make some encouraging progress might appear to be a tribute to the scout who recommended the Canadian striker to the Blues. The truth is, it is full credit to Walter Smith that he not only decided the player had the potential to make an impact in the Premiership, but also refused to give up when the negotiations became protracted and frustrating. Signing players from the Continent can be a tricky business. Sometimes there is a temptation to try and persuade the selling club to allow the player to come across for a few days and let key individuals see him close up. I was never very keen on this unless I had previously seen the player in a realistic match situation. You can't judge someone in a practice game on the training ground or even a reserves match. Unfortunately, a manager tracking a foreign star just does not have time to take in game after game to make sure they are not making a costly mistake. You can't trust video footage and you worry about making a hasty decision.
The selling club does everything it can to put you under pressure. Ironically, Saturday's Goodison visitors Newcastle were suddenly linked with Radzinski when negotiations seemed to be floundering.
I don't think there was anything in it, but it's amazing how such misinformation suddenly appears in the media. I'm sure it had nothing to do with Newcastle. It was probably fed from another source as Anderlecht tried to up the stakes. Evertonians began to wonder if the Blues would ever sign the Canadian. Some wanted the club to increase the bid, others became increasingly worried about the player's true quality, simply because no other club appeared to seriously rival the Blues for his signature. But there were also work permit difficulties to overcome and in the end Walter Smith's persistence and his obvious belief in the player paid dividends. I think you can judge Radzinski's early impact by the fact that no-one is talking about the £4.5m fee. People only do that when a big signing struggles. Hopefully the striker can maintain the form he has shown and grab a few more important goals. During his frustrating injury lay-off the fans began to focus on the potential of Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson playing together and bombarding opponents. In the few games they played it did not look as if it could work. Both were going for the same ball, no-one was going in behind. Full credit to Radzinski that the big question now appears which of the big two will partner him. It will be interesting to compare him tomorrow with Newcastle's pacy front man Craig Bellamy, who is also very lively. It's a big game for Everton and if they can secure three points the league table could look quite interesting on Saturday night. Second's chance is full of risk CLUBS who have jumped in after sacking a manager and appointed the second in command are beginning to realise the error of their ways. I'm not suggesting there are not some very good coaches out there who can make the step up. It's just full-time management is totally different from full-time coaching.
When there is a change at the top there is often a short period in which results improve as players look at themselves and raise their game. The man holding the fort benefits from this and chairmen are sometimes tempted to make the situation permanent. But as Southampton found out with Stuart Gray, the honeymoon can quickly turn sour. Gray is suddenly out and the more experienced Gordon Strachan has been brought in. The next club in line is Birmingham City, who have sacked Trevor Francis. Mick Mills and Jim Barron are doing a good job and results have improved.
It would be easy for the chairman to think he has suddenly found the answer, but he must be absolutely certain. West Ham manager Glen Roeder was another appointed from within who has just come through a vital week considering the way chairmen have been jumping from one conclusion to another. Two home wins for Roeder have settled things down but the pressure would have been on him if he had not picked up those victories. I think it's different when you are appointing the second in command at a successful club. Liverpool appointed from within throughout the seventies and eighties and the success continued. But in pressure situations, there is a lot more to management than meets they eye, as chairmen very quickly realise.
Watson calls for home hat-trick
Oct 26 2001 By David Prentice
MAYBE it's something in the half-time tea at Goodison . . . but Blues' defender Steve Watson is banking on another second half blitz tomorrow, as Everton aim for a third successive home win for the first time in more than two years. Not since Southampton, Wimbledon and West Ham were dispatched at the opening of the 1999-2000 season have Evertonians celebrated a home hat-trick.
Newcastle provide the bar to emulating that achievement tomorrow, but Watson hopes the Blues can build on a barrage of second-half strikes recently. Almost half of Everton's 15 Premiership goals this season have come in the 20-minute spell after half-time. Against Aston Villa and West Ham, the Blues had the games won by the time the hour mark was reached, and Watson said:
"This season we do seem to have been a lot better in making a good start to the second half.
"Last season we lost the lead a couple of times which was disappointing, but the last couple of games have been really good. "When we have had the intiative and gone a goal ahead, we have gone on to try and score more goals. "The lads seem to be playing with a lot more confidence and it is allowing me to get forward a little bit more. "It is starting to click and it is no coincidence that we have got the majority of the players fit now." Watson himself has benefited from that new-found confidence, with back to back goals in recent home games. But he plays down his achievement. "I wouldn't get carried away," he said. "Against Villa it wasn't a goal that many people would have missed. It was just a case of being there. "My goalscoring record hasn't been prolific in recent seasons, but it is hard to judge because I spent the majority of time at Newcastle in midfield and I even spent a season playing up front alongside Andy Cole. "I was into double figures in those days, but my last three seasons haven't been great. It has been a fullback's record really and you don't see many fullbacks in a back four scoring many goals. "I am not up for set pieces at the moment so that restricts my chances anyway. It is a cliche but whoever knocks the ball in is good news for us.
"You've got the triple threat of Dunc, Kevin and Tomasz now. They are all goalscorers, but apart from that Davy Weir scored in the first game of the season, Gary Naysmith will get a goal at some point because he is doing a lot of attacking, Niclas is a goalscorer, Thomas Gravesen has been superb lately so it is looking good. I think Abel is on penalties as well so he has got a chance too." The message from Goodison seems to be, don't be late back in your seat after the half-time break . . . you might miss something.
Everton 1 Newcastle United 3
By David Randles, icLiverpool
Oct 26 2001
EVERTON'S three game unbeaten run was brought to an abrupt end at home to Newcastle United today. David Weir's immediate response to Nolberto Solano's header after the Peruvian added to Craig Bellamy's first half opener three minutes after the break, was not enough as the Blues tried to claw back the deficit in vain before Clarence Acuna settled it with seven minutes to go.
Everton's failure to get the ball wide and execute crosses of any worth was the telling factor of this defeat and was highlighted by the visitor's ability to do just that as the Magpies' killer goals came from routine byline play. Despite the halftime deficit, Everton started the brighter with an early display of the slick passing movement which saw off Aston Villa last week. After two minutes it was Thomas Gravesen(pictured) who sent in a trademark effort which Given did well to tip away.
And after former Blues player, Gary Speed saw his effort fly over the bar at the other end, it was Gravesen again to trouble the Newcastle keeper following some neat link-up play between Naysmith and Radzinski. From the resulting corner, Alexandersson was unlucky to see his effort hit the side-netting as the Toffees showed all the early initiative. On six minutes however, Xavier put Gerrard under some undue pressure. With Bellamy breathing down his neck, his short backpass finally ricocheted off the Welsh international as Gerrard was unable to pick it up. How poignant the breakdown of communication between keeper and defender would be some 10 minutes later.
After Alexandersson had gone close following a driving run and unselfish lay-off from Gravesen on 9 minutes, Radzinski's and then Bellamy's pace had both defences running for cover at either end of the pitch. However, where Radzinski was off target, Bellamy made no mistake on 17 minutes. He didn't have to as Gerrard and Xavier had a comedy of errors wrapped up to let him in for his 8th goal of the season following his summer move from Coventry. After Campbell lost out to Solano too easily in the middle of the park, the hopeful ball forward should never have troubled the Blues defence. But with Xavier stalling and Gerrard lacking the initiative to takeover, a freak collision - which saw Xavier stretchered off - allowed Bellamy to put the visitor's 1-0 up to break the deadlock in what had settled into a tight affair. After a lengthy delay, Stubbs replaced the stricken defender, before Radzinski(pictured) and then Unsworth went close from a freekick. On the half-hour mark, it was Given who prevented Radzinski in a one-on-one after Alexandersson had sent the Canadian international clear. Two minutes later, the former Anderlecht man turned orchestrator to set Gemmill up, but the Scot couldn't dig the ball out from under his feet and eventually shot wide.
Next up was Stubbs who, after three weeks on the bench, reminded the home fans of one of his cherished qualities as he unleashed a fierce drive from 35 yards only for the inspired Given to tip away. Where Everton pressed forward in search of the equaliser, the experience of Shearer and pace of Bellamy led to an imminent threat on the counter. And so it was as Newcastle enjoyed a purple patch before the break. On 39 minutes Elliott found Hughes as the Irishman played it wide to Acuna who accordingly found Bellamy. Not for the first time, the Welshman's pace was simply too much for Unsworth but his cross was read well by Stubbs with Shearer lurking inside the box.
Following a quiet start to the game, the Magpies' Frenchman, Laurent Robert decided to participate in injury time but his persistence to win the corner on the stroke of halftime was not duly rewarded by Shearer's header.
Halftime: Everton 0 Newcastle 1
With fans still returning to their seats, Newcastle doubled their lead three minutes in
as Solano showed courage with a stooping header from Speed's cross to leave the unprotected Gerrard with no chance. However, just as the Blues seemed dead and buried, up stepped David Weir with the perfect response 2 minutes later. Alexandersson's high corner was met superbly by the Scottish international at the back post to give Everton a fighting chance of getting something from the game. And four minutes later in a carbon copy move, the Blues' goal-scorer could only watch in angst as his header went the wrong side of the post. Bouyed by the goal, Everton grew in stature but their self-belief failed to find its reward as Naysmith put his effort over the bar on 57 minutes. Five minutes later, Everton captain, Kevin Campbell saw another disappointing afternoon brought to an abrupt end. Another futile performance in front of goal saw him limp out of the action after a collision with Dabizas. With Duncan Ferguson on in his wake, the big Scot let his presence be known against his former club. With Radzinski as lively as ever, it would be no surprise to see Campbell on the bench for the Blues next encounter while he waits to discover the form which saw him as the club's top scorer last term. Bellamy forced a good save from Gerrard on 65 minutes before Naysmith failed to connect with Alexandersson's cross a minute later as the game opened up towards the end. The next real effort fell the way of Alan Shearer but, in his twilight years now, failed to find the target after Bellamy had dragged Stubbs wide to deliver a pinpoint cross. Again it was Shearer to miss after Gerrard tipped his header over on 77 minutes, but the former England captain was on hand to thwart Alexandersson at the other end shortly after.
As Paul Gascoigne(pictured) replaced Unsworth with 10 minutes left, the standing ovation from both sets of fans was a testament to the midfield maestro's contribution to the sport, but his arrival was too late to change the course of the game. Indeed, things went from bad to worse for the Blues on 83 minutes as Acuna put the tie beyond them. In a classic counter-attack, Pistone lost out after a freekick rebounded away from the Newcastle goal. Breaking with Robert, the winger squared unselfishly to Acuna who, evading the offside trap, was on hand to coolly slot past Gerrard to make sure of the points. As the last few weeks have seen Everton frustrated in front of goal, Walter Smith's main gripe here, despite a catalogue of misses again, will be the complacency shown in conceding easy goals as Everton failed to defend from crosses. No doubt Monday morning's training session will start with a heavy induction in how to counteract routine set-pieces.
Everton: Gerrard, Pistone, Weir, Unsworth, Naysmith, Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Xavier, Radzinski, Campbell. Subs: Stubbs, Ferguson, Simonsen, Gascoigne, Hibbert.
Newcastle United: Given, Elliott, O'Brien, Dabizas, Hughes, Solano, Acuna, Speed, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Bassedas, Harper, Lua-Lua, Ameobi, Distin.
Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)
Everton 1, Newcastle United 3
Costly errors keep Blues in place (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 29 2001
IN a league in which a team as indifferent as Aston Villa can sit proudly on top of the table with a quarter of the season gone, nothing should ever come as a surprise to Premiership followers.
But anyone who left Goodison Park on Saturday after watching Everton slip to their fourth defeat of the season will have been asking themselves: "How on earth did that happen?" Despite creating countless opportunities, enjoying the greater possession and outplaying their visitors, the Blues somehow contrived to lose a game - and the top six place victory would have brought - which was there for the taking. Even Newcastle boss Bobby Robson was in agreement. "It's a massive win for us, but a slightly flattering scoreline. They certainly played better than a 3-1 defeat," said the magnanimous Robson. Too true, and that the Toon Army did emerge triumphant was down to one overriding factor. In essence, this game was a tale of two keepers. At one end, Newcastle's Shay Given repelled almost everything the home side could throw at him with an outstanding display.
It the other end, alas, it was a somewhat different story. Blues keeper Paul Gerrard was down too late to save Nolberto Solano's stooping 48th-minute header and slipped to allow Clarence Acuna an easy tap in for Newcastle's third five minutes from time, but it was his farcical blunder on 18 minutes that set the tone for an afternoon he'd sooner forget. An innocuous ball over the top of the Everton defence from Solano looked to have been dealt with by Abel Xavier until Gerrard ill-advisedly chose to take control of proceedings. Racing from his line, the keeper clattered into his teammate in a sickening clash of heads to leave both pole-axed. Craig Bellamy, barely believing his luck, nipped in to walk the ball home while Xavier was stretchered from the field unconscious and whisked off to hospital. Mistakes can be prevented and tactics can be practised, but no amount of work on the training ground can stop incidents like that from happening. Worse still was that up until that point, the visitors had failed to make any impression on the game. But buoyed by their unexpected advantage, it gave Newcastle something to cling on to which their admittedly impressive counterattacking style demands. Despite his undoubted shotstopping prowess and general sound handling, Gerrard has never really managed to convince supporters that he should be the number one. And while it is harsh to call for his demotion on the strength of one blunder, it does bring to light a weakness in the Blues squad. Thanks to the lessening injury list, there is now an increased
competition for places in Everton's starting line-up. This is not the case between the sticks, however.
With Steve Simonsen clearly not fancied by Smith and Thomas Myhre out of the picture altogether, Gerrard is firmly ensconced as first- choice keeper. Competition would undoubtedly push Gerrard into upping his game - hopefully the hardup board's reluctance to push the boat out to capture Coventry's Magnus Hedman over the summer will not return to haunt them. Not that the rest of the side should be absolved of blame. Such little reward from almost total domination suggests Everton's recent fatal flaw - the lack of a killer instinct - is something that will take time to eradicate.
Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Ipswich Town and now Newcastle United. All teams Everton have outplayed; all games that should have been won instead of a return of just two points from a possible 12. Defensively, Newcastle were abject. And to think they beat Manchester United!
With former Newcastle man Steve Watson failing a late fitness test, David Unsworth was recalled to the starting line-up, and with the incentive of a third successive home win Everton came storming out of the blocks. Thomas Gravesen, impressive again, had a shot palmed wide by the outstretched Given, while Niclas Alexandersson fired across the face of goal. Only a last-ditch block from Aaron Hughes denied Gary Naysmith when Alessandro Pistone's throw dropped to the Everton man's feet six yards out. Even after Gerrard's faux pas, the Blues continued to create chances. Kevin Campbell intercepted the ball in midfield and gave Tomasz Radzinski a shooting opportunity which the Canadian international striker hit into the side-netting, and Unsworth saw a curling freekick tipped over by Given. Moments later, an Alexandersson pass sent Radzinski sprinting clear on goal but the striker's effort was thwarted by the legs of Given. Scot Gemmill shot wide and both Unsworth and David Weir made the Newcastle keeper work with decent efforts. It seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser came, but three minutes after the interval Newcastle extended their lead.
A break out of defence found Alan Shearer on the right-hand edge of the penalty area, and he curled his cross on to the head of Solano who, despite being the smallest player on the pitch, nodded into the bottom corner with Gerrard slow to react. Sixty seconds later Everton got the goal their play deserved when Weir headed home unmarked from Alexandersson's corner, and moments later the Scot almost repeated the trick but put his effort narrowly over. With Gravesen pulling the strings in midfield, the home side continued to cut through the Newcastle defence with alarming ease.
The Dane and Campbell combined to give Radzinski an opportunity which, stretching to reach, he volleyed over and, after one trademark slaloming run from Gravesen, Naysmith sent over a teasing cross which no-one was on hand to convert. By now Duncan Ferguson had entered the fray - replacing Campbell, who disappointingly again was the target for much of the home fans' frustrations - and he too found Given in sparkling form. The visitors had sounded further warning of their capabilities on the break with efforts from Shearer and Bellamy which were both saved by Gerrard, and with Everton committing players forward the home side were increasingly vulnerable to the counter attack. So it proved on 85 minutes. Bellamy beat Pistone to the ball just inside his own half and charged down the right wing unopposed. He crossed to the previously anonymous Laurent Robert who, aided by Gerrard's untimely slip, laid the ball into the path of Acuna who sidefooted home. Game over. In the nottoodistant past, this result would have been greeted with an outcry from Blues' supporters and the fear of a slide down the table towards the relegation zone.
But the Everton today are more resilient and it will be a test of their new-found character when they visit revitalised Bolton next weekend. And if they leave the Reebok Stadium with three points, should anyone be surprised?
EVERTON: (4-4-2): Gerrard, Pistone, Weir, Xavier (Stubbs 22), Unsworth (Gascoigne 81), Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith; Campbell ( Ferguson 68), Radzinski. Subs: Simonsen, Hibbert.
NEWCASTLE: (4-4-2): Given; Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Elliott, Solano, Speed, Acuna, Robert ( Lualua 88), Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Bassedas, Distin, Ameobi.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gemmill and Newcastle's Acuna and Shearer.
REFEREE: Mr J Winter.
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Oct 29 2001
Share on print MORE incredible than a knees-up in a Christian Science Reading Room, more astonishing than Sir Philip Carter hustling Big Issues on Bold Street, more preposterous than Gordon Strachan being named Manchester United's new manager, this genuinely was the most unbelievable - and unjust - of scorelines even in a sport that prides itself on its shock value. Newcastle were chewed up, chomped over, largely spat out, and yet somehow emerged on the other side, heavily toothmarked, but clutching a 3-1 win that defied comprehension and left the greater part of Goodison positively groggy. Pre-match, hearts were high. Confidence was the currency. This was a day for home rule. Everton-coloured skies promised nothing less. How wrong we were. The day's revellers, as it transpired, were clad in zebra stripes not royal blue, though how they got the chance to celebrate will remain one of the mysteries of the FIFA universe. One of those soccer conundrums endlessly debated as if searching for the meaning of life. Football abounds with no-luck stories. But even allowing for Clive Tyldesley's clichØ about goals winning games, this was a defeat that, in racing circles, would have demanded a stewards' inquiry. By my count, Everton had 18 goal chances, many of them clear-cut. It may even have been 20 or more, it was difficult to keep count. Hardly ever have I seen an opposition team - whether at Goodison, Anfield or elsewhere - survive such a conclusive hammering to escape with a scoreline that suggests a comfortable away victory. For the foreseeable future the amiable Bobby Robson may wish to donate his old age pension to the Sisters of Mercy, having been afforded a year's good fortune in the space of 93 minutes. No wonder the Geordie grandad wore a smile as wide as Alan Shearer's wallet after a smash-and-grab raid. Walter Smith will struggle to extract from his vast memory of matches a more one-sided encounter. Being a cold-eyed realist, he won't use Newcastle goalkeeper Shay Given as a convenient alibi. For well as Given played, as keeper and sweeper, it was a general lack of a sharp edge which eventually sliced away at Everton's confidence. Recent feasts against West Ham and Aston Villa have not quite disguised the fact that Everton lack a natural goalscorer, with none of the the zillion prayers offered up at nearby St Lineker's being answered. Tomasz Radzinski had an enviable record at Anderlecht. But, alongside him, Kevin Campbell continues to labour and Duncan Ferguson has never exactly been able to make a football yell goal with any frequency. The Everton manager won't, if he's wise, seek consolation from the ancient adage about worrying when we don't create chances. The gap between the better teams may not always be great, but all the chosen ones have strikers who boast ratios of five goals or better to every 10 chances created. On Saturday, Everton were eventually sunk because their average capsized to nearly one in 20. Contrast that with Newcastle, who turned four shots on target into three goals. Plus the superb Alan Shearer - one minute defending, the next minute creating - also went close with two other opportunities. The darkest dejection descends when the memory rewinds to the Toon team's opener, which saw Paul Gerrard and Abel Xavier remind us of the recent antics of Fabien Barthez and Wes Brown. Panicked by the acceleration of Craig Bellamy through the inside right channel, Gerrard - the main culprit - and Xavier collided like pantomime drunks.
Bellamy, unlike Paolo di Canio - the Good Samaritan - ignored the crumpled heap to score a walk-in goal, the sort that 37,000 of those watching would have been confident of converting.
At that stage, with 71 minutes remaining, it still looked a 4-1 or 5-1 for Everton. Pre-match, I'd imagined 5-2, with two fellow hacks suggesting 3-3 and 2-1 to the Blues. But what happened next, turned out to be an advertisement for pacemakers rather than a sales pitch for icing on any cake this side of the Tyne. Given denied Gravesen twice, Radzinkski, twice Naysmith, Unsworth, Ferguson - on for Campbell - while Gemmill missed a sitter. The only time he was beaten, David Weir's precise header sailed into the net from a Niclas Alexandersson corner. Unfortunately, Weir's nod-in came after Newcastle had scored a brilliant second after half-time, Shearer's cross from the right producing a diving header past Gerrard from Nolberto Solano. Two-one still looked fragile, although Gravesen, after dominating, was now doing one of his famous drifts and Newcastle's frail back-line continued to be helped by crossing - particularly from the right - which would have been dire even in the third division. Nothing is more infuriating than seeing a supposed winger hitting the first defender time after time. On an afternooon when Everton players piled in to rip more holes into one of the leakiest defences in the division, lack of quality on the flanks cranked up the onsternation by another notch or two. And when the Bellamy again unnerved Everton, Laurent Robert fed Clarence Acuna to make sure the getaway car wasn't going to be caught.
Everton 1, Newcastle United 3
The blast chance saloon (Echo)
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Oct 29 2001
THE sign of a good side, apparently, is the ability to play badly but still squeeze victories out of matches. So where does that leave Everton, a team which has comprehensively outplayed Spurs, Blackburn and now Newcastle this season, but claimed a single niggardly point from all three?
The answer is below two of the three in a bizarre looking Premiership. And the reason is a lack of quality in key areas. Walter Smith has worked wonders to fashion a better than competent team, and still show a profit to an ever anxious bank manager. But the extra dash of class which can turn good performances into winning ones is absent, because top class goalkeepers and regularly ruthless forwards cost big bucks. Deficiencies in both departments on Saturday cost Everton a win which would have elevated them to sixth position. Such heady heights would not flatter them, looking at the flotsam which surrounds them in the self-proclaimed best League in Europe, not to mention the sight of Aston Villa lording it at the summit. But a match-swinging howler by goalkeeper Gerrard, coupled with more bad misses than Henry VIII claimed to have had, has left Everton in intensely frustrating mid-table territory. If summer attempts to lure Magnus Hedman to Merseyside were anything to go by, Smith had already identified the need to increase his goalkeeping options.
Tomasz Radzinski was as much as he could afford further forward, and while the £4.5m Canadian has added some much needed pace and movement to the forward line, clinical finishing comes as an optional extra - like another £6m worth. That is why sides like Tottenham (£12m Sergei Rebrov), Blackburn (£7m Corrado Grabbi) and a spectacularly ordinary Newcastle United (alarmingly Craig Bellamy cost more than Everton 's record transfer fee) - can perform poorly but still pinch points from the Blues. Such was the level of Everton's dominance on Saturday, however, that until Acuna finally snatched a breakaway goal in the 85th minute to make it 3-1, there was still a real belief that Everton could not just claim a point, but still win the game. And that, despite a Doh! moment of Homer Simpson proportions in the 18th minute. Up to that point the Blues had started with the same zest and verve which blew away the League leaders a week ago. Thomas Gravesen continued where he left off with a series of long range piledrivers which had Shay Given flinging himself around his goalmouth, and with Niclas Alexandersson twice fizzing shots narrowly wide and Given flinging himself on a frantic sixyard box scramble an Everton goal seemed inevitable. Instead a goal came, undeservingly and exasperatingly at the other end. Paul Gerrard's uneccessary sprint from his line could have far reaching implications for Everton. Walter Smith explained in his programme notes the importance of Abel Xavier to employing a flat back-four. But Gerrard's headless chicken dash not only missed the ball and handed Bellamy a simple tap-in, it crashed into the luckless Xavier, pole-axed him and ensured a likely three week lay-off. The temptation will clearly be there to revert to the suspiciously regarded wingback system again. But Saturday's evidence showed that still may not be necessary. Alan Stubbs may not be blessed with searing pace, but he and Weir still defended solidly enough after that. It was poor play at the other end which cost Everton dear. David Unsworth's curling free-kick elicited a top drawer save from Given, but when Radzinski was given the benefit of a dubious offside decision 10 minutes later he should have left Given for dead. Instead he slotted the ball against the Irishman's feet and an outstanding opportunity went begging.
It wasn't the only one. A minute later Scot Gemmill toe-poked wide after some excellent interplay on the edge of the box, Radzinski volleyed a sharp six yard chance high over the bar, Unsworth's shot was charged down brilliantly by Dabizas and Given performed superbly to push over shots by Ferguson and Stubbs. In total Everton saw 18 goalscoring opportunities either saved or fly wide.
That's either abysmally awful luck, or wastefulness on a grand scale to take just one. That came when David Weir planted a downwards header from Alexandersson's corner past Given.
Unfortunately Solano had just glided an even better header past Gerrard from Alan Shearer's cunning cross. Shearer produced his usual display of official-baiting, but in Craig Bellamy Newcastle seem to have unearthed an even bigger whinger. His legs can shoot off as fast as his mouth, however, and with Everton's second half pressure reaching a crescendo he sprinted away from Gascoigne's poorly placed free-kick to create a match-clinching third. Clarence Acuna was the goalscorer - and six months ago he wouldn't even have been on the pitch. Jeff Winter, the Premiership's king of pomposity, was back at the scene of his derby match crimes, but now seems to have discovered restraint. It was a relief to see him try hard to keep his cards in his pocket, including the moment when Acuna decked Unsworth with a flying elbow after already collecting one yellow card. This time, though, Winter was consistent in his decision making - and the match was all the better for it. Sadly, Everton remained consistent, too. Just like they have done all season, they missed chance after chance after chance. And until Campbell, Radzinski, Ferguson and co. collect a confidence injection from somewhere, Blues' fans must just grin and bear it.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Gerrard, Pistone, Xavier (Stubbs 22 mins), Weir, Unsworth (Gascoigne 81), Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith, Campbell (Ferguson 67), Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Hibbert, Simonsen.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given, Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Elliott, Solano (Lua Lua 88), Speed, Acuna, Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. Unused substitutes: Bassedas, Ameobi, Distin, Harper.
Referee: Jeff Winter. Bookings: Acuna (34) foul, Shearer (67) dissent, Gemmill (75) handball, Solano (84) dissent.
GOALS: Bellamy (18 mins) 0-1, Solano (48) 0-2, Weir (50) 1-2, Acuna (85) 1-3.
Defender still shell-shocked
Oct 29 2001 By David Prentice
DAVID UNSWORTH shook his head in disbelief after Saturday's great Goodison robbery.
Newcastle survived a battering by Everton to snatch an undeserved 3-1 win, and afterwards Unsworth emerged from a perplexed home dressing room to declare: "I don't think I've ever played in a game before where we've created so many chances. I can't believe we've lost. "We can perhaps take some consolation from the fact that we played well and created chances again, but it is very, very frustrating to come away with nothing. "The gaffer came in at half-time and full-time and said we played really well. "Our movement was good, our passing was okay and we can't allow our confidence to drop too much with a game we know we can win coming up next week." After an excellent opening, a mistake by goalkeeper Gerrard cost Everton the first goal and from that moment on they were constantly chasing the game. "We conceded a freak goal," added Unsworth, "but showed the character to come back and create numerous chances after that. The second goal was sloppy and the third came right at the end when we were really going for it. But it was a strange, old game." Newcastle keeper Shay Given had sympathy for his opposite number for the nightmare collision that sent Abel Xavier to hospital unconscious. Given said: "We had a bit of luck with that first goal, a mix-up between two of their lads and I felt a bit sorry for Paul Gerrard. He had made his mind up to come for the ball and it bounced awkwardly before the collision with Xavier which left Craig with an easy tap in." Everton had won their previous two at home and had high hopes of mounting a serious challenge for a top eight position. But all they had to show for that
effort was Weir's header. Weir said: "We played pretty well but still conceded three goals at home, which meant we were always up against it. "Their first was a freak goal. But after a bad start, we recovered from that and went on to make a lot of chances and just couldn't score. They then got another one straight after the break and by then we were really in trouble, despite having so much of the ball and so many chances." He added: "Their goalkeeper was outstanding, he made some great saves to keep them in the game. "I don't think the score really reflected how well we played. We mustn't get too down about it because we know we played pretty well." Everton boss Walter Smith added: "We have made and wasted so many chances, which has been happening too frequently for us. If we had taken half those chances we would be in the top six."
Oct 29 2001 By David Prentice
EVERTON defender Abel Xavier will endure an extended spell on the sidelines - despite being discharged from hospital last night. The Blues' Portuguese star spent Saturday night under observation after being knocked unconscious by goalkeeper Paul Gerrard during Saturday's defeat by Newcastle. Manager Walter Smith visited him yesterday, shortly before Xavier was told he could go home. FA regulations, however, state that any player knocked out during a match must not play again for three weeks. That means Xavier will sit out Saturday's trip to Bolton, but will be available for the visit of Chelsea following another international break. "Abel was in reasonable enough spirits," said Smith. "He was suffering from concussion, but Xrays revealed no fractures."
Xavier wasn't the only injury problem from the weekend. Captain Kevin Campbell also came off with a back injury and will miss training during the early part of this week. Steve Watson, however, should be available again after a knee injury. Everton's Reserves are in action tonight at Elland Road, where they take on Leeds United. Paul Gascoigne is included in the Blues' squad.
Thin Blues line
Oct 29 2001 By Tommy Smith
THE difference between the winners and the nearly men is often not very much. Liverpool recognised this by changing their goalkeeper at the start of the season. Sander Westerveld had played his part in the winning of five trophies, but Gerard Houllier recognised that a change still had to be made to enable his side to take the important next step. While the Reds boss was negotiating for Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland, Walter Smith was signalling his intentions by looking at the possibility of signing Coventry's Magnus Hedman. The irony was that Kirkland's move to Anfield from Highfield Road was one of the reasons why the Hedman deal fell through. Everton have still shown a marked improvement this season, but the frustration manager Smith must be feeling after Saturday's 3-1 defeat against Newcastle United must be enormous. The result took the Geordies into sixth place, just one point behind Manchester United and four behind new leaders Aston Villa.
The Blues should be sitting in that heady position today. They created a dozen chances, possibly more, against the Geordies. But the game swung to a degree on the opening goal, which gave the visitors a lead they did not deserve. If Everton's Paul Gerrard (pictured) has a weakness it is his judgment when coming out of goal. He's a good shotstopper, but sometimes he stays when he should come and occasionally this uncertainty can affect his timing. When Gerrard's first testing moment came Everton had already seen three good chances go begging. Opposite number Shay Given had twice denied the hard-working Thomas Gravesen and watched a Niclas Alexandersson cross-shot go narrowly wide. But when a long ball towards the Everton area threatened danger, Gerrard suddenly found himself in no man's land. The ball went over his head and the only thing the keeper made contact with was the unfortunate Abel Xavier, who was carried off with concussion.
I'm not blaming Gerrard for this defeat. That would be ridiculous when you consider the opportunities the Blues had to put this game beyond Newcastle. But it doesn't take much to swing a game. The goal raised the stakes for Newcastle and forced Everton into a defensive shuffle.
Everton had gone straight at Newcastle and carved out a string of chances. How they went in one down at the interval defies logic. The visitors could not get out of their own half. If the fans thought their luck couldn't get any worse in the second half, they were in for a rude awakening. Newcastle increased their lead with their first break and a cross from the right that was headed home by Nolberto Solano. The goalkeeper and the defenders didn't seem to react. It was a scrambling, almost irritating effort that found the corner of the net. I wondered if Gerrard could have done better. The only plus at this stage was that Everton refused to lie down and Alexandersson's well-flighted cross was headed home solidly by David Weir to put the Blues back in the game at 1-2. It was one of the few accurate corners of the afternoon and this is something the players will have to work on. The one thing that didn't change was the number of chances Everton continued to create. You get the feeling sometimes that, even if you sell your soul, you still won't score. Many of the players will look back at what might have been, none more so than Tomasz Radzinski. He found himself clean through after 35 minutes with a tremendous opportunity to wipe out that shock Newcastle opener. He had the space and the pace to go round the keeper on either side. Instead he tried a snap shot and got no lift on it. Again, Given made an important save for Newcastle. You don't just win games with your attacking prowess. Smith's switch to 4-4-2 seems to have given the Blues a variety of attacking options, but on those days when the goals just don't come, you have to be alert, tight and controlled at the other end. Sixth place was there for the taking. The fans must simply take heart from the fact that, on another day, this would have been a romp like the West Ham victory.
Surely more encouraging days are round the corner.
Xavier faces injury lay-off
Oct 29 2001 By Ian Doyle
EVERTON will be without Abel Xavier for three weeks following his horror injury in the home defeat to Newcastle United on Saturday. The Portuguese international suffered concussion after a sickening clash of heads with goalkeeper Paul Gerrard in the 18th minute, which allowed Craig Bellamy to put the visitors on their way to a 3-1 victory. Xavier lay unconscious on the Goodison turf for several minutes before being stretchered off and taken to hospital, where he was kept overnight for observation. FA rules state that any player suffering-from concussion is automaticallyruled out for three weeks, meaning the defender will miss Everton's clash at Bolton Wanderers next week.
"Abel was caught on the side of the temple and was unconscious on the pitch when the physio got to him but came around soon after," revealed Blues boss Walter Smith. "He was kept overnight in hospital for observation. But after being unconscious he will be out for a few weeks and miss the Bolton game and be ready for the following one against Chelsea." The injury capped a miserable afternoon for the home side who, despite enjoying most of the play and creating numerous chances, slipped to their second home defeat of the season. "We shouldn't have lost but we have to hold our hands up and say the first and third goals were bad ones to lose, the first especially," said Smith.
"It gave Newcastle a lift when we were clearly the better side. As a team, when you get a goal like that it gives you something to hang on to, and when you lose one like that after playing so well it makes it difficult to get over." And Smith added: "Paul (Gerrard) has apologised to his team-mates. It was an obvious misjudgement." Nolberto Solano scored Newcastle's second just after the break before David Weir gave Everton hope with a header moments later, only for Clarence Acuna to tap home the visitors' third five minutes from time. "The opportunities came throughout the game and, apart from David Weir's header, we contrived to miss them all," bemoaned Smith. "It's really disappointing to lose, especially after playing so well. "The players are disappointed because they deserved better for their efforts. "There have been quite a number of games this season where we've created opportunities and had good performances but not managed to capitalise on them.
"We could find ourselves in the top six rather than stuck where we are." Goalscorer Weir echoed his manager's statements. "I think 3-1 is slightly flattering as I thought we played pretty well, but if you lose three goals at home then you are always going to be up against it," said Weir. "It was a bit of a freak goal because of the collision between two players and then Bellamy had an easy tap-in.
"I thought we would win because we were creating chances and credit to their keeper because he made a few good saves."
Simonsen poised for full debut
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 30 2001
STEVE SIMONSEN could finally be handed his full Premiership debut this Saturday - three years after being touted Britain's most expensive goalkeeper after his move across the Mersey. Everton manager Walter Smith is considering dropping Paul Gerrard in the wake of his performance against Newcastle on Saturday, when his first-half howler gifted Craig Bellamy the crucial opener and put Abel Xavier out of action for three weeks. And with Norwegian international Thomas Myhre firmly out of the picture at Goodison Park having failed to dislodge Gerrard last season, Smith is now tempted to hand the 22-year-old his first Everton start at Bolton on Saturday. Simonsen, impressive in a few pre-season friendlies, made a much-publicised switch from Tranmere in 1998 reported to be worth £3.3million to the cash-strapped Prenton Park outfit. However, Everton have paid only a fraction of that fee with Simonsen's senior career so far limited to a substitutes' display and a Worthington Cup outing. Smith, meanwhile, has added his voice to the growing discontent amongst managers at this season's sacking tally, which reached 20 yesterday when Stockport parted company with Andy Kilner. The Blues boss, who expects both Steve Watson and Kevin Campbell to be fit for the trip to the Reebok, said: "I feel managers are being sacked too quickly. I think financial circumstances placed upon directors means some are getting panicked into changing their managers too quickly. "It means clubs never get the stability which I believe is so vital to them. Managers' jobs are being affected by finance and also the Bosman ruling. "Bosman, and the fact managers may have to think about selling players before the end of their contract, means some managers are managing from one season to the next. If you like I could almost say I'm onto my fourth Everton side now."
New boy rocks Blues
Oct 30 2001
Leeds United Res 1 Everton Res 0
A SETH Johnson strike on his Leeds United debut secured all three points as Everton reserves went down at Elland Road. The £7m acquisition from Derby County decided the game on 36 minutes after he headed in a Jason Wilcox cross from close range. The Blues worked hard to find the equaliser and went close with a Paul Gascoigne free-kick and Danny Cadamarteri shot, which went inches wide.
Gascoigne continued his comeback from injury with a steady performance in midfield and played the full 90 minutes. Leeds keeper Paul Robinson blocked a gilt-edged Cadermarteri chance seven minutes-from time, while Simonsen denied Smith at the other end.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Hibbert, Pilkington, Clarke (O'Hanlon 60), Valentine, Cleland, Curren, Gascoigne, Cadamarteri, Eaton, McLeod. Subs not used: Pettinger, Kearney, Symes.
LEEDS UNITED: Robinson, Kelly, Newey, McPhail, Duberry, Woodgate, Johnson, Burns, Smith, Batty, Wilcox. Subs not used: Milosevic, McMaster, Kilgallon, Johnson.
REFEREE: Mr R Booth
Ladies derby cup clash Football
Oct 30 2001
THE Red and Blue of Merseyside will battle it out in the second round of the League Cup, but it won't be Michael Owen and Kevin Campbell on show. Everton Ladies have drawn their Liverpool counterparts in the FA AXA Women's Premier League Cup second round and both clubs are calling upon fans to give them support. The derby clash is on Wednesday, November 7, with a 7.30pm kick-off, and will be played at the prestigious Liverpool Soccer Centre, Walton Hall Park, a short distance from both Anfield and Goodison. Admission is only £1 for adults (accompanied children get in free), and just 50p for unaccompanied children, OAP's, Everton and Liverpool season ticket holders, and it is guaranteed a good night out. Everton, currently third in the Women's Premier League National Division, will be hoping to overcome their local rivals, and edge closer to lifting their first major piece of silverware since being crowned league champions in 1998. Manager Keith Marley has groomed his side into a team with plenty of potential. Kelly McDougall and Amanda Barr, who are currently studying on a football scholarship at the FA International Player Development Centre at Loughborough, will no doubt figure in England Coach Hope Powell's long-term plans as England aspire to be right up there with the best. Liverpool, who play a league below their rivals in the FA AXA Northern Division, are currently undergoing a renaissance under new manager John Williams since their relegation from the top flight last season.
Blues in spot of bother over losing Xavier
Oct 30 2001 By David Prentice
ABEL XAVIER'S freak head injury has left Everton with a twin search on their hands. The Blues must find a central defensive stand-in for Saturday's trip to Bolton --and a new penalty taker. The Portuguese international claimed the spot-kick responsibility after Duncan Ferguson's miss at Blackburn. He confidently converted a Worthington Cup shoot-out strike against Crystal Palace earlier this season, and was keen to claim his first Premiership goal for the Blues. FA regulations, however, mean he must endure a three week spell on the sidelines after being knocked out cold during Saturday's defeat by Newcastle. David Unsworth is keen to reclaim his old role, after missing his last two penalties - against Sunderland on the last day of last season and during a pre-season friendly against Espanyol. Those misses followed a run of eight successful conversions.
Alessandro Pistone is also willing to step forward. A decision will not be taken until later in the week, when the Blues know who they may have available for the trip to The Reebok Stadium.
Paul Gascoigne enjoyed another 90 minute run-out for the reserves at Elland Road last night against a Leeds team containing seven full internationals. New £7m signing Seth Johnson scored the only goal for a Leeds side containing Alan Smith, David Batty, Gary Kelly and Jonathan Woodgate.
Off the mark - but goals will flow again
Oct 30 2001
THREE times in the space of two games my Shrewsbury side have suffered the frustration of seeing goals not given when a ball has clearly crossed the line. It happened twice at Torquay on Saturday, just days after a similar incident against Rushden and Diamonds. The timing was quite apt, really, given that Everton go to Bolton on Saturday - the scene of arguably the second most celebrated case of that kind in English history. The technology never existed in 1966 to clear up Geoff Hurst's disputed World Cup Final goal. But it did in 1997, when Bolton were eventually relegated as a result of a goal not being given in a match against Everton. Generally, I'm against unnecessary interference in the running of matches. But this area is one that can be easily and quickly ruled upon - and can prevent miscarriages of justice. IT WILL come as absolutely no consolation to frustrated Evertonians, but the fact that the Blues are creating hatfuls of chances means they will, eventually, one day take somebody apart. The frustrating part, of course, is that it should have been Saturday.
Newcastle were completely outplayed at Goodison Park. But, like Ipswich, Blackburn and Tottenham before them, escaped with a result they scarcely deserved. The reassuring factor is that Everton are currently doing the hard part. The biggest problem for a manager is solving a side's inability to carve out chances, but Everton are doing that quite regularly at present - and goals will come soon, I'm sure. There isn't a great deal Walter Smith can do in training sessions to sharpen up his side's finishing. It isn't as if one man has been responsible for all the missed chances recently. At Blackburn, it was Duncan Ferguson, at Ipswich, Kevin Campbell, while last Saturday Tomasz Radzinski squandered the best two openings. A manager can order as many extra finishing sessions as he likes in training, but it's a completely different story when you're firing at a goal net at Bellefield, compared to one with 10,000 fans behind it all screaming "Man On!" on match days. I don't think there's too much for the Blues to worry about at present. They will bury a hatful of chances one day. It's just frustrating waiting for that day to come . Robbed . . . of the 'goals' not given
THREE times in the space of two games my Shrewsbury side have suffered the frustration of seeing goals not given when a ball has clearly crossed the line. It happened twice at Torquay on Saturday, just days after a similar incident against Rushden and Diamonds. The timing was quite apt, really, given that Everton go to Bolton on Saturday - the scene of arguably the second most celebrated case of that kind in English history. The technology never existed in 1966 to clear up Geoff Hurst's disputed World Cup Final goal. But it did in 1997, when Bolton were eventually relegated as a result of a goal not being given in a match against Everton. Generally, I'm against unnecessary interference in the running of matches. But this area is one that can be easily and quickly ruled upon - and can prevent miscarriages of justice.
Big Nev has been hard act to follow
THE experience endured by Paul Gerrard on Saturday simply underlined - yet again - the problems Everton have had in replacing Neville Southall. It's four years now since Big Nev left Goodison, and the Blues are still struggling to find someone as reliable. Even as he approached the end of his magnificent career, when his agility and reflexes were no longer as stunning as they had been at his peak, glaring errors were few and far between. Big Nev was an incredibly hard act to follow, as the Blues are still finding out.
Oct 30 2001 icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN Ferguson has become a liability at Everton. It breaks my heart to say it because I, like many Evertonians, I idolised the man when in his first spell at the club when he gave us a hero to rally around. He epitomised everything we expect from an Everton forward. This season I cant even remember the big man getting into a goalscoring position. When he came on against Villa I thought he would have a point to prove but he seemed uninterested. £35k per week is money we can't afford for an underachieving star. It's time to say goodbye to a former hero.
John McQuade, Liverpool.
AFTER the debacle which led to Villa's first goal on Saturday, I would like to question the constant selection of Abel Xavier in the side. Although some may point towards Paul Gerrard for not commanding his goal area, I really feel that Xavier was more at fault. The fact he decided to chase a dead loss must surely have confused the keeper and led to a total breakdown of communication.
Alan Stubb's, who stepped in for Abel once he was stretchered off, proved a worthy replacement. Were accusations of being a mercenary may lie at Xavier's door, Stubbs is a True Blue and wears his heart on his sleeve.
Dave Keehan, Old Swan.
WHY oh why does Walter Smith persevere with Kevin Campbell? I know he has been made captain, but anyone can see the player is lacking confidence in front of goal. He has been guilty of a catalogue of misses since he last scored against West Ham a month ago. Yes, a month ago! Once Ferguson came on we looked a different proposition against Newcastle. Radzinski is a certain starter as he is hungry, but Walter should rest Campbell until he rediscovers the desire.
Ferguson poised for recall
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 31 2001
DUNCAN Ferguson is in line for an Everton recall this Saturday as the Blues look to return to winning ways at Bolton Wanderers. Blues skipper and leading scorer Kevin Campbell could miss his first game of the season at The Reebok as he struggles with the back injury that forced his substitution from the weekend defeat by Newcastle. Campbell has been unable to train so far this week and is rated doubtful by anxious Goodison chief Walter Smith. That could open the door for the 29-year-old striker, who has been left on the substitutes' bench for Everton's last two home games as summer signing Tomasz Radzinski has forged a productive partnership with the former Arsenal man.
Ferguson has looked impressive after being handed cameo roles against Villa and Newcastle and will be keen to press his claims for a regular starting role. Meanwhile, youngster Peter Clarke has been included in the England under-20 squad for a friendly with Portugal next month. The Blues defender, an England U18 regular, has been making excellent progress at international level and this latest call-up takes him another step closer to getting the nod for David Platt's U21s. Les Reed has named a 23-man squad for the game, at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium on Wednesday, November 21.
Blues can't find that killer instinct
Oct 31 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AFTER a rocky start to the season, Everton's Under-19s have now gone two games unbeaten.
And, like their first team seniors, better finishing would have seen them celebrating back to back victories. The Blues followed up a 5-0 drubbing of Wrexham with a 1-1 draw at home to Stoke City last Saturday. Steven Beck sidefooted Carney's cross past The Potters' 'keeper to give the Blues a half-time lead - and they should have built on it. "It was a respectable performance from us and we had some good chances in the first half," said coach Colin Harvey. "We didn't take them, then after they equalised we had a few half-chances too, but overall it was a reasonable display." Pick of the side was Wayne Rooney, just 16 but who showed some superb touches. The Under-17s, meanwhile, fell apart after a controversial penalty award cancelled out a hard-fought lead. After conceding a first minute goal to Sheffield Wednesday, the Blues battled back to lead through David Pennell and Joseph Jones strikes. They held that lead for all but the final 10 minutes, when a disputed penalty was awarded to the visitors. "If I said it was dubious then I'm being polite," said Academy Director Ray Hall. "Our lad was shepherding the ball out of play when their forward bumped into him. No-one even appealed." Wednesday converted the gift and with the Blues reeling added two more in the dying minutes to win 4-2.
Line-ups: Under 19s v Stoke: Pettinger, Penman, Crowder, Schumacher, O'Hanlon, Southern, Beck (Brown), Garside (B. Moogan), Symes, Rooney, Carney.
Under17s v Sheff Wed: Cole, Flood, Fox, Potter, Gerrard, Thorbinson, J Jones, Pennell (Seargeant), Martland (Hughes), Barry, M Jones (Hopkins).
Goals: Pennell, Jones.
Farrelly targets a Blue reunion
Oct 31 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARETH FARRELLY, the man who famously signed for Bolton after scoring the goal which got them relegated, hopes to revive his Reebok career on Saturday against the side he saved!
Farrelly struck only two goals during a frustrating 29-match Everton spell, but the last kept the Blues in the Premiership. After that dramatic volley against Coventry, Farrelly joined Bolton in December 1999, but first team appearances have been restricted through injury. He started only his second match of the season at another former club, Aston Villa, last weekend and hopes to retain his place for the Blues' visit. "These are two massive games for me," said Farrelly. "It's a nightmare to think I have been involved in just two games, but hopefully that's all behind me. I just want to concentrate on getting fit and getting my season going again." On the opposite side of the fence, Alan Stubbs will be hoping to stay in the Blues' team for an emotional return to Bolton. Walter Smith has a number of options to replace the injured Abel Xavier. Stubbs replaced him on Saturday, but with Steve Watson likely to recover and return, either he, Alessandro Pistone or David Unsworth could all partner David Weir.