Blues have a hoot at Wednesday
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 1 2002
A COMPREHENSIVE 4-0 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday continued Everton under-19s' upturn in fortunes in the FA Premier Academy League. After three defeats in their opening three fixtures, Colin Harvey's team are now unbeaten in three, with two wins and a draw. This latest victory was arguably their best performance of the season. Defender Steven Schumacher opened the scoring with a header; then England youth international midfielder Scott Brown grabbed his second goal of the campaign with a long-range strike. Brian Moogan saw his shot deflected in and winger Damon Martland, following on from his winning strike last week against Middlesbrough, completed the scoring. It was an excellent win for Harvey's side, despite being without five players through injury - Michael Symes (groin), Alan Moogan (eye), Steven Beck (calf strain), Craig Garside (knee) and Franklyn Colbeck (hamstring). Harvey said: "It was a decent performance. We went about it the right way and the work-rate was excellent. We scored four well-taken goals and could easily have had more. "All the lads who came in from Alan's (Harper) team did well. Hoppy (Paul Hopkins), Anthony Barry, Damon Martland all got their chance and they have taken it." Alan Harper's under-17s were beaten 1-0 at Manchester United. But there were a number of positives to take from the match against one of the strongest sides in the Academy League. Last season the Blues were crushed 6-0 by United, but this time the match was much more even. United took the lead after 12 minutes, but for their work-rate and effort the Blues deserved something from the match. Harper said: "They were the better side to be fair. They took the lead after 12 minutes but we had a lot of the game after that."
* WAYNE ROONEY will be part of the England under-19s squad for the international friendly against Yugoslavia on October 10 at Kidderminster. The Blues striker was left out of the last squad due to his exertions with the first team. The 16-year-old forward, who celebrates his 17th birthday at the end of this month, will be a key figure in England's bid to qualify for the UEFA U19s European Championships. And the match with Yugoslavia is the final friendly before the qualifiers against Romania, Moldova and Macedonia in November.
Moyes warns of Dragons
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 1 2002
DAVID MOYES has warned Everton not to underestimate Wrexham as the Blues aim to bury their Worthington Cup hoodoo tonight. Lower league opposition Bristol Rovers, Oxford United, York City, Millwall and Crystal Palace have all claimed Everton's scalp in recent years in a competition they have never won. But Moyes is confident his class of 2002 can side-step Denis Smith's high-flying Division Three side at the Racecourse Ground - and keep open this route into Europe. Moyes said: "I'm not going to dwell on Everton's record in this competition. I'll just assure you that I take absolutely every game at this club seriously. "We have a big squad here and I consider each one of them to be first-team players." Everton have fallen at the first hurdle in each of the last three years, most recently being beaten 5-4 on penalties after drawing 1-1 with Crystal Palace 12 months ago.
And Moyes is aware Wrexham present a real threat, with hot-shot Andy Morrell leading the national goalscoring charts. He has scored 13 goals for the North Wales club in a prolific start to the season.
"Wrexham have done well recently. We've had them watched a couple of times and they are unbeaten in the last six," said Moyes. Morrell, a late starter in professional football after being signed from Newcastle Blue Star by former Wrexham boss Brian Flynn, has also impressed Blues' assistant manager Alan Irvine. He said: "He was a handful against Exeter when I watched him and has been a handful for other teams to cope with. "He's not a big lad but he has a good spring and times his jump well. "This game is very important for us. Ask any team who have won the Cup whether they are happy or not, and they'll tell you that they're delighted." Everton expect to name the same squad from the one that beat Fulham on Saturday, although Mark Pembridge missed training yesterday with an eye infection. Boss Moyes will still be without injured trio Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone and Juliano Rodrigo but will stick with in-form frontman Kevin Campbell.
The 32-year-old scored his fifth goal of the campaign in the 2-0 win over Fulham and has played the full 90 minutes of every match this season. But Moyes will resist resting Campbell tonight. He said: "There could be a temptation to give him a break but on the other hand he will want to keep going right now with the goals going in for him." Everton youngster Wayne Rooney is also in contention to start as he seeks his first senior goal.
Wright finds true worth of cup
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 1 2002
AT Arsenal, Richard Wright no doubt discovered that the Worthington Cup was something of a sideshow that only lesser mortals took seriously. But now Wright, Everton's new £3.5million goalkeeper, will see that this year's tournament takes on a wholly different significance. The England international will discover how important the tournament is to the Blues who do not have the distractions of title runs and the Champions League when he steps out at the Racecourse Ground to face Division Three promotion chasers Wrexham in what looks a tasty second round clash.
The ground will be virtually full, close to Wrexham's 15,000 capacity, and Everton will take it deadly seriously. The Worthington Cup gives an easier route into Europe. Arsenal got to the quarter-finals last term before being dumped out by eventual winners Blackburn, and they probably weren't that bothered as the double loomed. However, Wright knows it is a different matter at Goodison Park. "Everton go out to win every game, so did Arsenal too, but they maybe fielded a weakened team at times in the Worthington Cup," said Wright. "At Everton every competition we are in we want to do well, and that means the Worthington Cup. "You always want to win silverware, but you also must realise what is at stake for clubs like ours in the Worthington Cup. It has got Blackburn into Europe and it can do the same for us." He added: "There is no reason Everton can't do that. But we know it will be tough at Wrexham because there will probably be a full house screaming their heads off.
"We played there in a pre-season friendly and although we won 2-0, they looked a decent side and I'm not surprised with how well they have started in their league programme. "We are also fully aware of their history of cup upsets down the years, so we know we are going to have to be on top of our game and can't afford any mistakes." Wright has settled back into the Everton line-up after shaky form and then a hand injury this season. He said: "The first few games didn't go the way I'd have liked, and then picking up the hand injury just made things worse. You want everything to be plain sailing, but that doesn't always happen in football and you have to get your head down and work hard to maintain your form."
Whitfield ready for Blues baptism of fire
By Mark Currie, Daily Post
Oct 1 2002
WREXHAM goalkeeper Andy Dibble has given understudy Paul Whitfield a vote of confidence ahead of the youngster's anticipated baptism of fire against Everton this evening. The 20-year-old, who has been put on alert for his first competitive senior start in the sell-out Worthington Cup clash at the Racecourse because Dibble suffered a knee injury in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bury, yesterday confessed to a few butterflies. But he said: "Andy has already had a word with me, pointing out that we are the underdogs and that's there is no pressure on us because we're not expected to win the match. "The gaffer has not said much other than to be prepared to play tomorrow and, while I'm nervous, I'm also looking forward to it. With what Andy has said, hopefully I can go out there and enjoy it." St Asaph-born Whitfield, who was yesterday named along with team-mate Shaun Pejic in the Wales under-21 squad to meet Italy at Ninian Park in a fortnight, looks set to face Premiership strikers, Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski, behind a reshuffled defence. Racecourse boss Denis Smith admitted that central defenders Dan Bennett and Steve Roberts join Dibble as extremely doubtful starters and he has also ruled wing-back Paul Edwards out his plans. But he said: "I'm just hoping that 24 hours will make all the difference but, at the moment, I would have to say that all four players will miss the game. "The Bury match was one too many games for both Dan and Paul and the injuries to Dibbs and Steve Roberts haven't helped. We are down to the bare bones and it would have been tough enough facing Everton with a fullstrength side. "They probably have a couple of players who earn in a week what my lads earn in a year but it's a great game for us. I just wish it had come when we didn't have so many injuries." Smith watched Everton's Premiership match at Aston Villa and, although he was impressed by their workrate, he initially felt he had detected a few weaknesses. "Perhaps they weren't the quickest at the back but then they bring in Joseph Yobo and he looks awesome," he added. Up front, too, they are beginning to click with Campbell and Radzinski looking in good form so it's going to be difficult. But I won't treat it any differently, because I expect my players to enjoy their football every time they play. They know it's going to be competitive and that they will have to work hard. "They should all aspire to play at the top level and wherever sport is played there is the possibility of an upset. You always get the odd result that does not reflect the true situation because of that element called luck but I don't think Everton will be complacent because they played us in a pre-season friendly and know what we are capable of." Dragons' midfielder Jim Whitley, one of the few Wrexham players with higher level experience from his time at Manchester City, described tonight's match as a welcome distraction.
"The games are coming thick and fast at the moment but there is no pressure on us and we can enjoy it," he said. "Our main focus this season is the third division so the Everton game is a bonus. We've got a bit of momentum going with a run of decent results and we are looking more like a team. He added: "Everton have to be slightly worried because you never know what's going to happen in the cup and hopefully the majority of the fans in a big crowd will be backing us. "If we go out and enjoy the occasion anything is possible and our main hope must be that we don't pick up any more injuries ahead of the weekend trip to Cambridge United." WREXHAM (from): Whitfield, Pejic, Carey, Lawrence, C Edwards, Whitley, Ferguson, Barrett, Holmes, Sam, Morrell, Rogers, Morgan, Trundle, Thomas, Campbell, Evans, Dibble, Bennett, Roberts.
Why Blues will be up for the cup
Oct 1 2002 By Paul Walker, Liverpool Echo
AT Arsenal, Richard Wright no doubt discovered that the Worthington Cup was something of a sideshow that only lesser mortals took seriously. But now Wright, Everton's new £3.5million goalkeeper, will see that this year's tournament takes on a wholly different significance.
The England international will discover how important the tournament is to the rank-and-file Barclaycard Premiership clubs who do not have the distractions of title runs and the Champions League when he steps out at the Racecourse Ground to face Division Three promotion chasers Wrexham in what looks a tasty The ground will be virtually full, close to Wrexham's 15,000 capacity, and Everton will take it deadly seriously. They cannot win the title like Wright's former club Arsenal, the FA Cup is unlikely, but the Worthington Cup gives a shorter, quicker, route into Europe.
Arsenal got to the quarterfinals last term before being dumped out by eventual winners Blackburn, and they probably weren't that bothered as the double loomed. However, Wright knows it is a different matter at Goodison Park. "Everton go out to win every game, so did Arsenal too, but they maybe fielded a weakened team at times in the Worthington Cup," said Wright. At Everton every competition we are in we want to do well, and that means the Worthington Cup. "You always want to win silverware, but you also must realise what is at stake for clubs like ours in the Worthington Cup. It has got Blackburn into Europe and it can do the same for us." He added: "There is no reason Everton can't do that. But we know it will be tough at Wrexham because there will probably be a full house screaming their heads off. We played there in a preseason friendly and although we won 2-0, they looked a decent side and I'm not surprised with how well they have started in their league programme. "We are also fully aware of their history of cup upsets down the years, so we know we are going to have to be on top of our game and can't afford any mistakes." Wright has settled back into the Everton line-up after shaky form and then a hand injury this season after the move north from Highbury. He said: "The first few games didn't go the way I'd have liked, and then picking up the hand injury just made things worse, particularly because I could do most things in training physically but I couldn't catch the ball, which for a keeper is pretty important. "You want everything to be plain sailing, but that doesn't always happen in football and you have to get your head down and work hard to maintain your form." Everton expect to name the same squad from the one that beat Fulham on Saturday, although Mark Pembridge missed training on Monday with an eye infection. Boss David Moyes will still be without injured trio Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone and Juliano Rodrigo.
Weir quits Scots
Oct 1 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR has told the Scottish Football Association he no longer wants to be selected for the national team. The Everton defender is believed to have been unhappy at being criticised in the German press - along with Christian Dailly - by manager Berti Vogts following the embarrassing draw against the Faroe Islands last month. He was quoted as saying: "Dailly and Weir disappointed me. They were to blame for the goals we conceded, not the youngsters." Although Vogts claims he was misquoted, Weir, who has 37 caps, has opted to drop the bombshell less than 48 hours before the German is set to name his squad for their Euro 2004 qualifier against Iceland. Weir becomes the first player since his Everton teammate, Duncan Ferguson, to walk out on the national team.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney and Andy Morrell have goalscoring records in their sights tonight.
The pair could be on opposite sides as Wrexham entertain Everton in the Worthington Cup, with more than just a place in the third round at stake. Wrexham's young striker is on the brink of equalling a club record of scoring in nine successive matches. His brace against Bury at the weekend was his 13th of the season. Rooney, however, knows that any goal he scores before February will make him the youngest marksman in Everton's long history - and he will be eager to reclaim a starting place .
Talent held in reserve
Oct 1 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
TO any observers of Everton's reserve team this season, Joseph Yobo's dazzling debut on Saturday will not have come as any great surprise. I watch the Blues' second string regularly, but it was after a match against Manchester United reserves earlier this season that I walked away absolutely in awe of what I'd witnessed. Joseph Yobo was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch that night - and let's not forget that United had players like Gary Neville, David May and Diego Forlan in action. He was unbelievable and having played regular international football there was never really any concern that he would be able to transfer that form to a Premiership stage. I spoke to somebody who watched the next reserve game against Manchester City, just in case I'd been getting carried away - but they shared my views. He is a defender who actually sets the crowd alight with some of his football, which is rare. But watching the reserves regularly isn't all good news.
There was a match recently where bright young things like Kevin McLeod and Leon Osman were both sat on the substitutes' bench. That's not going to help their career and if Everton can't accomodate them regularly in their reserve team, they might be better off following Peter Clarke and Keith Southern's lead and moving on-loan somewhere.
THE value of set pieces to a side's armoury can never be under- estimated. Any Evertonian who watched Kevin Sheedy in the 80s, or Andy Hinchcliffe in the 90s, will be aware of that. So it's heartening to witness the quality being delivered by Mark Pembridge and Thomas Gravesen at present. It's not just the accuracy of their corner kicks and free-kicks which is important - but the pace. When a ball is whipped into the six yard box at the kind of speeds those two deliver it, it only needs a glancing blow --from forwards or a defender --to produce a goal. It's paid off in Everton's last three games now - and long may it continue.
IT'S Worthington Cup time again tonight - and Evertonians will be finally hoping to put that ridiculous Second Round jinx behind them. It won't be easy --Wrexham are a good side who are right inform at present - but the benefits of a run in the competition are obvious.
Look at Blackburn Rovers' experience last year. They had only been promoted a few months earlier, but suddenly found themselves in Europe with all the extra revenue that can generate.
Realistically, Everton have little chance of getting into Europe via the-League places this season - but there's no reason why they can't emulate Blackburn Rovers. And if you can win the Worthington Cup it can then be just a small step to challenging for further honours. A European run adds revenue to the coffers, if that is used to bring in the right players suddenly the whole place can be transformed.
We did it at Everton in 1984. We got through to Wembley in what was the old Milk Cup competition, and the confidence gained from that was used as a platform to get us back to Wembley in the FA Cup. When players taste success they want more and more and it can become a highly effective motivational tool. Get past Wrexham, though, and avoid the big names in the Third Round draw and who knows? It's happened before!
Rooney on his way
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 2 2002
WONDERKID Wayne Rooney became the youngest goalscorer in Everton history last night as he smashed two goals and buried the Blues' Worthington Cup curse at Wrexham. Everton reached the third round for the first time in four years thanks to victory at the Racecourse Ground, but it was Rooney who took centre stage as he wrote his way into the history books. The striker, 23 days short of his 17th birthday, sealed victory over the third division pacesetters with two goals in seven minutes after coming on as a 64th-minute substitute. His feat breaks the 65-year record set by the legendary Tommy Lawton in 1937. Manager David Moyes, who saw Kevin Campbell open the scoring with his sixth goal of the season, said: "Wayne is delighted to have got his goals. "He's been a bit anxious over not scoring so far but you expect that of a 16-year-old. He took his goals well, showed what he is capable of and hopefully there is a lot more to come in the future." The Blues boss added: "We know what a talent we've got here and we will keep using him carefully until he's ready to play regularly." Moyes' was also delighted to give Duncan Ferguson his first senior runout of the season but admitted Everton's overall display could have been better. The Everton boss paired Joseph Yobo with Li Weifeng for the first time, after resting David Weir - who yesterday announced he would not play for Scotland under Berti Vogts again - with a slight hamstring injury.
Moyes added: "I was pleased with all our strikers tonight. It was cute finish by Kevin who waited for their keeper to go down after a wonderful pass by Li Tie, Tomasz Radzinski worked hard and of course it's was great to have Duncan Ferguson coming off the bench. Now we have got to build up his fitness and stamina. "We didn't play as well as we could have done tonight but the main thing, as I said to the lads before the game, was to get the job done and get through. "I wanted to see if Weifeng could handle it and obviously there was going to be some communication problems with Joseph, and there will be until they are embedded into the club. "That's why I think we defended too deeply early on but full credit to Wrexham, they played very well and passed the ball around nicely." Weir, meanwhile, has confirmed his decision to quit the international scene following Vogts' public attack on him in the wake of the European Championship qualifier with the Faroe Islands. The Blues defender, who has 37 international caps to his credit, said: "I have decided not to make myself available for selection for the Scottish national team for the foreseeable future. My reasons for making this decision have been fully explained in a letter I have written to the SFA.
"However, I will, of course, continue to wish the team all the very best for the future."
Wrexham 0, Everton 3 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From The Racecourse, Daily Post
Oct 2 2002
HISTORY IN THE MAKING: Wayne Rooney is congratulated by his teammates ROLL ON October 24, the 17th birthday Evertonians will celebrate as if it's their own. In 22 days' time Wayne Rooney will sign the first professional contract of his career and pledge his future to the boyhood club whose fans are counting the days until their long-awaited hero is safely under wraps. The incredible talent finally at Everton's disposal has already come of age this season and last night marked another significant date in the Rooney story as he took his place in the club's record books. It was an "I was there" moment for the visiting fans as their great 16-year-old hope smashed Everton's Worthington Cup jinx at Wrexham and Tommy Lawton's 65-year goalscoring record with his first senior goal for the Blues, 18 minutes after emerging from the substitutes bench. Seven minutes later he doubled his tally with a finish that explained the comparisions with Kenny Dalglish and Alan Shearer. After the final whistle the teenager was the last man off the pitch, staying to milk the applause but also commiserate with each of his shell-shocked opponents. His commitment and love of Everton means there is little chance of this gem escaping Goodison clutches. Even so, the club should assign a 24-hour watch to make sure. Rooney is Everton's crown jewel. Lawton was 17 years, 130 days old when he struck his debut Blues goal in 1937. Rooney has beaten the legend's record by 153 days and many more will fall before he's finished. Maybe he could even be among the first Everton players to win the Worthington Cup. Or is that pushing it too much? David Moyes vowed there would be no repeat of the weakened sides that have contributed to Everton's abysmal record of second round exits in this competition in recent years, but the Blues boss took the opportunity to rest three of his regulars at The Racecourse. Ever-presents David Weir and Thomas Gravesen were joined in the stands by Mark Pembridge as Gary Naysmith returned to the starting line-up, Li Weifeng made only his second appearance of the season and Scot Gemmill his first. Wrexham were also hit by changes, all enforced thanks to four defensive injuries that forced Denis Smith to give rookie keeper Paul Whitfield his senior debut. But you would have never guessed at their frailty or the gulf that exists between the sides as the Dragons made the stronger start. Fears of the League Cup curse afflicting Everton yet again bubbled under the surface from the off as the Blues struggled to string a pass together, let alone test the nerves of Whitfield who, according to his boss, was "like jelly" before kick-off. With Weifeng and Joseph Yobo forming a new and cosmopolitan centre-half pairing there were always going to be problems with communication at the back, and they survived a few close calls before the Blues finally settled into a rhythm. Just nine minutes had elapsed when Wrexham skipper Darren Ferguson foxed Li Tie and Lee Carsley in midfield before whipping over a cross Everton's other Chinese import, Weifeng, failed to clear. Hector Sam seized on the defender's weak header to set up Andy Morrell for what should have been his 14th goal in 13 games this season. But with his back to Richard Wright and obviously unawares of the space available, the Wrexham striker sent a lame flick-on into the relieved arms of the Everton keeper. It took the visitors 19 minutes to produce a move worthy of their Premiership status and trouble Whitfield, and raise the question why it had taken them so long as they cut through the Welsh defence. Gemmill saw his header crash off the bar from Tony Hibbert's cross. And Kevin Campbell just failed to connect with the rebound, but with Evertonian voices finally lifted the in-form striker increased the volume when he made no mistake with his side's next chance six minutes later. Wrexham gave Li Tie far too much time on the ball in midfield but there were no complaints about the quality of the pass that sent Campbell scurrying clear inside the area. A few months ago such a chance from a narrow angle would have been snapped up by the then troubled number nine. Now, however, there is confidence running through Campbell again as he proved with the return of one of his nonchalant chips over the advancing keeper. Apart from the centre-forward's goals a key feature of Everton's play this season is, of course, the quality of their deliveries and a superb one from Hibbert on the half hour should have led to a second. Unfortunately Gary Naysmith's free header at the back post was not of the same standard. Everton were always the more likely in attack, but were never allowed a stranglehold on the game as Wrexham snapped at their heels throughout, with poor passing from midfield adding to the workload for Yobo and Weifeng. Even with the home side creating very little the suspicion Everton would need a second to make the game safe grew by the minute. And that should have arrived in the 69th when Campbell cut the ball back for Naysmith, whose low cross found Lee Carsley completely unmarked at the back post. In turn the Republic of Ireland international should have found the back of the net, but he somehow scuffed a shot horribly back across goal. In an attempt to rest legs and freshen others Moyes swapped his strike-force with Rooney and Duncan Ferguson. For Ferguson, his first appearance of the season marked the start of his long fight to relaunch his Goodison career. But it was almost a terrible start as his first touch, a bad pass to Morrell, nearly let Wrexham back into the game as the Dragons' leading scorer teed up Carlos Edwards and Wright had to be alert to smother the danger. The Blues keeper was beaten, however, in the 80th minute when substitute Lee Trundle cut in from the right and unleashed a blistering drive that cannoned off the crossbar. Everton and more particularly Rooney - significantly in a 4-4-2 formation for the first time - made the most of their reprieve. The moment Evertonians have waited all summer for arrived in the 82nd minute when Ferguson's towering flick-on sent the 16-year-old clear. His first touch to bring the ball under control was perfect, as was the second that tucked the ball under Whitfield. His arms-out, Sam Torrance-style celebration may mark the first of many. Following a crowd invasion when referee Kaye toyed with the idea of taking the players off the field, Rooney sent the visitors into raptures with a marvellous second. Carsley caught Wrexham on the break and put the striker clear deep inside the home half. Rooney still had Brian Carey to beat, but ghosted past the defender with ease before slotting another rightfoot finish into the far corner. His perfect impact in a rampant finale was nearly completed with a hat-trick only for Whitfield to save well. His hattrick day can wait. In the meantime get St George's Hall booked for his 17th.
WREXHAM: Whitfield; Pejic, Carey, Lawrence; C Edwards, Whitley (Thomas 81), Darren Ferguson, Barrett, P Edwards (Holmes 79); Sam (Trundle, 46), Morrell. Subs: Rogers, Morgan.
EVERTON: Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Wei Feng, Unsworth; Carsley, Gemmill, Li Tie (Stubbs, 83), Naysmith; Radzinski (Rooney 64), Campbell (Duncan Ferguson 74). Subs: Simonsen, McLeod.
BOOKINGS: Wrexham's Ferguson and Trundle; Everton's Hibbert
REFEREE: Alan Kaye (Wakefield)
Wrexham 0, Everton 3 (Echo)
By David Prentice at The Racecourse Ground, Liverpool Echo
Oct 2 2002
IT'S been so long since this happened that you may need reminding of the details. Marco Materazzi and Olivier Dacourt were the goalscorers when Everton sneaked past Huddersfield to actually get beyond the second round of the League Cup competition. But that was only yesterday compared to the real story of the night. Footballers were still wearing centre-parts and Brylcreem when Tommy Lawton scored on his debut for Everton, aged just 17 years 130 days. Wayne Rooney blitzed that club record at Wrexham last night, scoring before he has even celebrated his 17th birthday. He then added another for good measure, might even have snatched a hat-trick --and was only on the pitch for the final 27 minutes. David Moyes has earnestly attempted to diffuse the growing weight of expectation surrounding the prodigiously talented teenager. But after last night's recordbreaking deeds he may need to treble his efforts. Wrexham's desperately disappointed manager, Denis Smith, ungallantly tried to play down Rooney's goals. "My missus would have put them away," he quipped, which begs the question, why isn't Mrs Smith leading The Robins' attack? Everton's was led spiritedly once again by Kevin Campbell, and he created the platform for the 3-0 triumph with a tidily dispatched 25th minute goal. But the moment Evertonians had waited all season for arrived eight minutes from time. Richard Wright's huge clearance flicked off a combination of substitute Duncan Ferguson and defender Brian Carey. That allowed Rooney to show all his pace and bull-like aggression to charge past the covering defender, compose himself then crash a firm, right-footed drive under goalkeeper Whitfield. Three minutes later a mini-pitch invasion held up the proceedings, with several of the invading supporters stopping to hurl insults at the young goalscorer.
Rooney's reply was typical. After the over-panicky referee had finally restarted play following an unecessary two minute delay, he charged thrillingly onto Carsley's pass, dribbled past Carey, drew the goalkeeper again and slotted precisely and powerfully into the far corner. If Rooney had been over-anxious in his desire to get off the mark, he was even more threatening with those goals behind him. He sent a flying header well wide, then wriggled, squeezed and tricked his way past two defenders and crashed in a shot which would have given him the matchball, but for Whitfield's plunging save. That all ensured the highly unusual sight of a comfortable passage through the opening round of the Worthington Cup for Everton. Everton's horrific record in this competition had given Wrexham --renowned giant-killers themselves - all the encouragment they needed to try to undermine the visitors' confidence in the opening quarter. For 15 minutes the Blues, with Scot Gemmill making his first appearance of the season and Li Wei Feng and Gary Naysmith also recalled, struggled to contain a sharp and persistent home side. They weren't helped by Li Wei Feng's overhasty eighth minute interception either, with Wright waiting to collect. The ball was flicked back at goal by Hector Sam and if the in-form Morrell had been facing the target rather than the action, he would surely have directed his six-yard header beyond the exposed goalkeeper rather than straight at him. It took Everton some time to exert any kind of authority on the game, but when they did Scot Gemmill came desperately close to marking his long awaited return to the first team with a goal. He met Tony Hibbert's cross with a flying header but the ball slapped across the face of the crossbar and Kevin Campbell's close range follow-up was smothered. Campbell's appetite for goals, however, is voracious at present and in the 25th minute he struck for the fourth successive match. His previous three strikes had all been instinctive glancing headers, but this time he had to think about his finish as he raced onto Li Tie's defence piercing pass. The end result was the same as he clipped a left-footed finish beyond Wrexham's debutant 'keeper. Everton were solid and professional after that, with Joseph Yobo building on the rich promise he displayed at the weekend. A Darren Ferguson free-kick curled narrowly wide and Lee Trundle crashed a fierce 25-yarder against the crossbar, but apart from a sharp Carlos Edwards shot which was parried, Richard Wright had few direct shots to deal with. The stage was perfectly set for the arrival of the young hero, and he duly obliged with his record breaking contribution.
WREXHAM (3-5-2): Whitfield, Lawrence, Carey, Pejic, Edwards (Holmes 79), Whitley (Thomas 81), Ferguson, Barrett, Sam ( Trundle 45), Morrell. Unused substitutes: Rogers, Morgan.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Li Wei Feng, Yobo, Naysmith, Carsley, Gemmill, Li Tie (Stubbs 83), Unsworth, Campbell ( Ferguson 73), Radzinski (Rooney 63). Unused substitutes: Simonsen, McLeod.
REFEREE: Mr A Kaye.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert (15 mins), Darren Ferguson (30 mins), Trundle (81).
GOALS: Campbell (25 mins) 0-1, Rooney (82 mins) 0-2, Rooney (88 mins) 0-3.
STAR MAN: JOSEPH YOBO
Weir quits Scots after jibes
Report By Jon West, Daily Post
Oct 2 2002
EVERTON hero Graeme Sharp has blasted Scotland boss Berti Vogts for David Weir's decision to quit international football. Former Scotland striker Sharp said: "Berti Vogts has bitten off more than he can chew on this occasion." Vogts' calamitous career as Scotland manager has hit a new low ahead of today's squad announcement for the Euro 2004 qualifier in Iceland. The German appears to have scored a spectacular own goal ahead of the October 12 tie as derogatory comments attributed to him have led to Weir writing to Hampden Park making it clear he no longer wants to play for his country. One of Vogts' first acts as Scotland manager was to try to persuade two high-profile former internationals - Duncan Ferguson and Gary McAllister - to come out of their own self-imposed international exiles. He failed in both quests and now the exasperated Weir, who carried the can along with defensive partner Christian Dailly for the failure to win in the Faroe Islands last month, has joined them. Sharp said: "He has made a mistake because he's lost a very influential player and he's going into an important qualifier without him. "It's a massive blow for Scotland. David has been an outstanding performer for them over the years - irrespective of what people thought or wrote. "If Berti had something to say about David Weir, Christian Dailly or even the whole side - as it was the whole team's fault for the result against the Faroes -then he should have done it behind closed doors. "The way it's happened is awful and Berti will lose an awful lot of respect for that. He needs the likes of David Weir and Christian Dailly at this difficult time and I'm afraid that he's shot himself in the foot by openly criticising the players and only time will tell whether it will be his downfall." Weir, who was one of the most experienced players Vogts could have called upon, was angered by comments made about him and Dailly to a German journalist following the 2-2 draw in Toftir, a game in which a primary school teacher managed to score twice against them in the first 12 minutes. Vogts denied he had specifically named the duo, but it seems crystal-clear the Everton man was unwilling to accept his manager's version of events. And Blues boss David Moyes was quick to defend his player once the comments first surfaced. Sharp added: "It's good news for Everton because he can now fully concentrate on his career with the club and put the whole incident to the back of his mind."
Seven Everton fans arrested
Oct 2 2002 By Jenny Watson, Liverpool Echo
SEVEN Everton fans have been charged after invading the pitch as the Blues thrashed Wrexham 3-0 in the third round of the Worthington Cup last night. Around 15 fans piled onto the pitch after Wayne Rooney's second goal at Wrexham's Racecourse ground. A total of seven Merseyside men were charged with offences on the pitch and after the match, including four for pitch invasion.
The trouble came in the 89th minute when Everton's 16-year-old star scored his second goal in seven munutes after coming on as a substitute after the break. A 19-year-old from Wallasey, and three Huyton men aged 18, 21 and 24 were charged with pitch invasion but have now been released from police custody. Two 23-year-old men from Walton and Kirkdale were charged with public order offences for their behaviour towards police officers immediately after the match.
A 30-year-old from Maghull was still being held in police custody in Wrexham this morning after being arrested for being drunk and disorderly outside the ground. The men will be appearing before Wrexham magistrates on October 7. The Blues fans who invaded the pitch were sitting in the Wrexham end of the ground and ran onto the pitch after the goal was scored. A custody officer for North Wales police said: "The Racecourse saw a 13,000 crowd last night which is considerably larger than it's usual 1,000 crowd. I wouldn't say the trouble was of a very serious level. No-one was arrested for assault." A spokeswoman for North Wales police said: "The police helicopter had been on patrol but was called back to the match to monitor what was happening on the ground.
"There was some trouble before the game which involved fans from opposing teams goading each other in the Mold Street area. "Officers were used to keep the fans apart before the match and to make sure there was no trouble afterwards." A spokesman for Everton said: "Obviously we must wait until the legal process is completed but the club views fans who are convicted for football-related disorder very seriously and there is always the possibility of a lifetime ban from the ground.
"The club's preliminary investigation would suggest those fans involved had stupidly bought tickets for the Wrexham end of the ground just before kick-off. Those supporters in the visiting end seem to have behaved themselves."
Now that was a great jblue game
Oct 2 2002 Liverpool Echo
WELL, that wasn't a bad first Jblue game on Saturday, was it!! We hope everyone who used their discount voucher to come to the Fulham match at the weekend enjoyed seeing the Blues notch another home win. The next JBlue game will be against West Brom on November 23: this will also be the first of our special games celebrating our 100 years of top flight football. But in the meantime, as JBlue grows and grows faster every week, we thought it would be a good idea to find out a bit more about our members. So if you want to be featured in a future Jblue column in the ECHO, send us a picture of yourself, and tell us a little bit about yourself: who's your favourite player, what's the best Everton match you have been to see, what's your best memory of being an Evertonian, or maybe the funniest thing you have ever seen at Goodison? Write in to Gillian Flatley, JBlue co-ordinator, Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, LIVERPOOL L4 4EL with your entries, and we will try and use as many of them as possible over coming months. And don't forget to include your picture, and your JBlue number. We are also getting lots of entries for our "best picture" competition, so if you would like to win a full home kit, write to Gillian with a picture of yourself in your Everton kit. We are looking for the craziest, wackiest picture of our members in their Everton shirt.
United role for record breaker
Oct 2 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S record breaking goalscorer is ready to step back out of the spotlight after his historic achievement at The Racecourse last night. Wayne Rooney became the youngest goalscorer in the club's history when he came off the bench to score twice in the Worthington Cup against Wrexham. But he expects to be back on bench-warming duty at Manchester United on Monday.
"We know what we have got here," explained manager David Moyes, "and we will keep using him that way until we think he is ready to do it regularly. "Wayne will be pleased that he has got off the mark. He has been a little but anxious in some games, but you expect that from a 16-year-old. Hopefully there's a lot more to come from him." Tommy Lawton was 17 years 130 days old when he scored on his Everton debut at Wolves in February 1937. Rooney eclisped that mark by 153 days last night, becoming the first 16-year-old to score for the Blues. He does not celebrate his 17th birthday until later this month. The youngster was not allowed to talk to the press, as part of the protective arm the club is throwing around Rooney, and Moyes preferred to highlight the contribution of all of his strikers. Kevin Campbell scored for the fourth successive match and Duncan Ferguson made his first appearance of the season as a substitute. "Kevin too his goal well," said Moyes. "He is very cute at that, waiting for the keeper to go dow. "But first of all it was a wonderful pass from Li Tie for the opportunity. "And it is great when you have got Duncan Ferguson coming off the bench.
"I thought he covered the ground well, albeit for 20 minutes, and we need to get him fitter now and build up his stamina."
Blues: Do it our Way
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 3 2002
EVERTON plan to resist any attempt by England to fast-track Wayne Rooney on to the international stage. The under-21s boss David Platt announces his squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifier with Slovakia this Sunday with the Blues' striking protege hotly tipped for a call-up. But while Blues officials accept the 16-year-old is more than capable of starring at that level, they want England to adopt the same protective policy as David Moyes and nurture him through the ranks. Manager Moyes was quick to insist Rooney will continue to be handled with care after the Croxteth-born star wrote his way into the record books at Wrexham on Tuesday.
Rooney broke the 65-year record set by Tommy Lawton by 153 days to become the youngest goalscorer in Everton history, but is set to return to the bench when the Blues take on Manchester United on Monday. And Everton will ask that the striker, England's top scorer in the U17s European Championship this summer, plays for the U19s against Yugoslavia on October 10 rather than shoulder the extra pressure of a quick-fire promotion under Platt. Rooney received the backing of former Blues boss Walter Smith following his brace at the Racecourse, who insisted he'll go all the way in the game so long as those around the striker keep him focused on football. Smith had wanted to promote the Goodison star from the Academy to the first team during his final months in charge but was prevented by FA rules that prevent schoolboys - as Rooney then was - playing in the league. And the ex-manager said: "I'm sure the people at Everton will keep his feet on the ground and if they do so they've got a real player there. "He has real potential. "Wayne has real ability and like all young players as long as he can keep his feet on the ground and continue with his career, he'll go all the way. "Part of his game contains a little bit of aggression as well. He's not short in most aspects - a lot of kids come in and have ability but just lack a little something. That's not the case with Wayne. "Most importantly he can score, he can link up and he can make goals as well as take them. He possesses the ability to beat a man as we saw against Wrexham, and his pace can carry him to get into good situations. "The lad will go far - I don't think there's any doubt about that."
Smith added: "The temptation for every manager is to try to protect a young player and give him time. "But when you watch him play over a period of time, and I've watched him play for the youth team, you've got to say, let him go and play. "He's in the first team on merit and you can't praise him highly enough." Meanwhile Albion Rovers goalkeeper Scott Shearer is currently having a week's training with Everton. The highly-rated 21-year-old has attracted interest from a number of clubs this season but his stay on Merseyside is not being considered as a trial ahead of a move to Goodison Park.
No hard feelings
By Jon West, Daily Post
Oct 3 2002
SCOTLAND manager Berti Vogts insists there are no hard feelings between him and David Weir following the Everton defender's self-imposed international exile. Weir sent a letter to the Scottish Football Association earlier in the week making it clear he did not want to be part of the squad for the Euro 2004 qualifier in Iceland a week on Saturday or the Edinburgh friendly with Canada that follows three days later. Weir was understood to be angered by comments attributed to Vogts in the German press criticising his performance in last month's 2-2 draw with parttimers the Faroe Islands. Everton manager David Moyes had already fired off a letter backing his player, leading to talks with Weir by both Vogts and SFA chief executive David Taylor, with the German already having denied making the alleged remarks. Vogts insisted: "I phoned him two days ago and it was a nice talk from both sides. "I have a good relationship with David. "He has played all the games with me for Scotland and now I have to look forward. "Maybe there is another sensation in the squad now."
Wrexham fear action over Blues fans
Report By Mark Currie, Daily Post
Oct 3 2002
WREXHAM face the prospect of a hefty punishment from the footballing authorities after a group of fans invaded the pitch and caused play to be temporarily suspended near the end of Tuesday's Worthington Cup clash against Everton at the Racecourse. The incident, which flared up immediately following Wayne Rooney's 83rdminute goal that put the visitors 2-0 ahead, involved a dozen or so Everton fans, who emerged from the Wrexham end of the ground and tried to make their way to the opposite end of the pitch where the bulk of visiting supporters were situated.
The Goodison Park club, which has launched its own investigation into the stoppage, has admitted that its supporters were involved. Spokesman Ian Ross claimed that seven Everton fans, and two from Wrexham, had been arrested and he disassociated the Premiership club from their actions.
"A preliminary investigation into last night's events would suggest that a small group of our supporters rather stupidly bought tickets for the Wrexham end of the ground shortly before kickoff," said Ross. It would seem that after we had scored our second goal there was some form of scuffle involving supporters of both clubs and that several of our fans attempted to get away from the heart of the trouble by coming over the perimeter wall and onto the pitch-side track area. "Unfortunately a number of our fans then opted to run the length of the pitch, which is unforgiveable. "Our policy for dealing with supporters who misbehave is quite clear - we never condone this sort of behaviour and we simply will not tolerate it. "If any supporter of the club is convicted of a football-related offence the matter will go before the Everton board for consideration. As always, there is then the possibility of a lifetime ban from Goodison Park.
"We take pride in our right-thinking fans - we will always seek to isolate those who let the club down." The third division club, which was severely censured following trouble involving Millwall fans at the Racecourse two seasons ago, is conducting its own investigation. Managing director David Rhodes said reports from referee Alan Kaye and a representative of the Football Licensing Authority, who was at the match, would be forward to the Football Association of Wales. "There will be an inquiry and the likelihood of charges being brought by the FAW," he added. "Wrexham police have yet to issue details of those arrested as a result of this incident and we will have to wait and see what happens. "But it was a very unfortunate incident and we are still carrying out our own internal investigation at the moment."
A piece of Everton history
Oct 3 2002 Liverpool Echo
ON Tuesday night (October 1) Wayne Rooney created Everton history. In an historic season, he scored an historic goal - becoming the youngest goalscorer in the club's long history.
The Liverpool Echo and Everton have teamed up to bring you a special souvenir of the record breaking moment. For just £10 a glossy 12 x 8 inch print of Rooney's first Everton goals can be yours. To order your copy, simply fill in the form below, print it out and send it with a cheque, made payable to Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, to: Rooney Picture Offer, Photo Sales Dept., Liverpool Echo, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
* You can also order a copy through the sports pages of today's Liverpool Echo.
Wonder Wayne may miss England cap
Oct 3 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY'S record-breaking goals could cost him an England cap.
The 16-year-old striker has been selected by England under-19s to face Yugoslavia next Thursday, but his involvement will be determined by his contribution for Everton at Manchester United on Monday. Rooney's two goals at Wrexham, which made him the youngest goalscorer in Everton's history, could see him involved at Old Trafford. Manager David Moyes explained: "I have spoken to Stuart Baxter, the England coach, and we have come to an agreement over Wayne. "He will go down and join the squad after Monday night's match at Manchester United, but whether he plays any part against Yugoslavia will depend on whether he is involved for us first." Moyes denied reports that David Platt had asked to elevate the teenager into his England Under-21 squad.
That he has made the move of contacting Stuart Baxter, though, suggests that Moyes is considering using Rooney on Monday, when he would face the most expensive defender in the country, Rio Ferdinand. Scotland coach, Berti Vogts, meanwhile, has claimed that David Weir's withdrawal from international duty is not because of the public criticism he levelled at the player. Vogts said: "I will tell you later. The matter is not between David and the SFA or with David and the coach.
"It is with other things and this is not the right time to discuss them. Maybe I can say after the game with Iceland. "He is a good player and I still think he can play for his country. The door is always open for him. "If he hadn't withdrawn I would have selected him for the match with Iceland. I didn't try to persuade him to change his mind." Despite the German's statement, Weir seems certain to rule himself out of future internationals while Vogts is still in charge.
Blues are ready to chase off Wolves
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 4 2002
AFTER an upturn in fortunes, Everton under-19s look to continue their recent good form against Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow (kick-off 11am) in the FA Premier Academy League at Netherton. Two wins and a draw have given the under-19s a lift after they opened the season with three straight defeats. And despite missing five regulars, last Saturday's 4-0 win was arguably their best performance of the season and Colin Harvey's side are looking to carry on in the same vein tomorrow. They may be boosted by the return of some of those injured players. Midfielder Alan Moogan is still definitely out with his eye problem. He has seen a specialist this week and is awaiting the results of tests. But all the other casualties are close to a return to action. Michael Symes (groin), Steven Beck (calf strain), Franklyn Colbeck ( hamstring) and Craig Garside (knee) have all been missed, but one or two of them could make the squad tomorrow. Academy director Ray Hall said: "They are being monitored this week. Most of them have been out a numbers of weeks now but they are very close to a return." But even if they do not make their comebacks this week Hall believes their misfortune has handed an opportunity to the younger members of the side, and they have taken it well. He said: "It has given the younger players a chance to push through. And it is good to see them taking their chance. "You are hoping that the same will apply if there are injuries in the reserve squad, we will get some of our U19 players pushing through." Coach Harvey added: "All the lads have come in and done very well. If they show the right attitude and put in a good shift that's all you can ask." Alan Harper's side will look to bounce back from two narrow defeats when they also face Wolves at Netherton tomorrow (KO 11am). Last Saturday's defeat to Manchester United was their third of the season but with better luck they could easily have got some reward for their efforts in each match. Academy director Ray Hall added: "Both results last week were very pleasing and it seems both teams are working hard and moving in the right direction. "It shows the progress. We have had two young sides out at U17 and U19. We only started the game with three or four U19s players, the rest would have been U18s or U17s and also one U16. "The last three games for the U19s are two wins and a draw so it shows things are picking up. If you are scoring at one end and not conceding at the other that is healthy."
Rodrigo eyeing Blues return
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 4 2002
EVERTON'S stricken Brazilian star Rodrigo plans to return to first team duty in February - just five months after suffering a career-threatening knee injury. The £1.5million summer signing ruptured his cruciate ligament on Friday, September 13, without making a senior start for the Blues, who initially landed the 26-year-old on a 12-month contract. Rodrigo returned to Brazil for surgery amid fears his season, and possibly his Everton future, was in ruins. But reports from Brazil indicate the operation has been a success and Rodrigo is planning a return to senior football within five months.
Such a speedy recovery is not unheard of - Arsenal's Robert Pires recovered within six months although has not been rushed back by Arsene Wenger. And a similar scenario for Rodrigo would give him a chance of extending his Everton contract by a further four years. Meanwhile, injured defender Steve Watson believes Tony Hibbert's outstanding form will block his path to a recall at right-back - but insists he can do a job in midfield. Watson has been sidelined all season by hamstring trouble and a recent reserve set-back has delayed his return by at least another fortnight.
But when he does finally regain full fitness, the former Newcastle star accepts he faces a major task to dislodge Hibbert. "Hibbo's been outstanding," said Watson. "He's probably been in the top three most consistent players of the season so far, so it's going to be difficult for me to get my place back.
"But I wouldn't be surprised if I played the majority of my games this season further forward. I scored four goals in six months at right-back last season, so I think if I was given an extended run further forward, I could double that tally."
* LEON OSMAN is set to join third division Carlisle United on a one-month loan deal.
Two moments of history
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 4 2002
WELL, you can tell your grandkids you were there when history was made. That's right - you actually saw Joseph Yobo in the Everton first team. Oh, and Wayne Rooney become the club's youngest ever goalscorer of course. After the disgrace at Villa Park the fans demanded better from the side and they did not disappoint with two excellent results in the space of four days. Fulham came as one of the Premiership's form sides but Jean Tigana's men don't seem to have grasped the concept that you have to compete before you can play your football. The Blues, with Lee Carsley a revelation in an unfamiliar wide berth, outfought the Londoners and then played them off the park.
It was as complete a performance as we've seen since David Moyes took over and it bore all the hallmarks of his much-admired Preston side with plenty of graft coupled with attractive, attacking football. There was a danger that after such a convincing win in the Premiership we would take Wrexham too lightly, but despite a number of changes in personnel the win ended up reasonably straightforward. Kevin Campbell was awesome in the first half and scored a fine goal, but obviously the night belonged to Rooney. His talent is there for all to see, especially his finishing which was first class at a crucial stage of the game. To top a great week we even had Duncan Ferguson making a cameo appearance and playing a big part in Rooney's second goal. With Campbell and Radzinski looking like one of the best partnerships in the Premiership at present, and Nick Chadwick still to return, competition for places up front looks set to be fierce - which can only be a good thing for Everton. However in recent weeks most problems have been at the back, but with Yobo recovering from his various ailmentsthings could be looking up in that department as well. The Nigerian international is very quick and strong - Fulham's Steve Marlet hardly got a kick all game - and he plays like a midfielder when he's on the ball. Admittedly he's not the greatest in the air, and some of his clearances look a bit unconventional, but considering he's new to the unique demands of English football he looks like he could prove a superb acquisition. We'll get a better idea of his defensive capabilities on Monday night when the whole team face a stern test against Manchester United, but we are certainly better equipped to give them a game than we have been for a long time.
Rooney gets off the mark
Oct 4 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
He will be pleased that he has got off the mark at last.
Never mind that they were against a lower division side. You still have to be in the right place at the right time to put the ball in the back of the net whoever you are playing against. The young lad showed his scoring instincts, but let's not go overboard just yet. Let's see him scoring in the Premiership first. That's the next step for him. I still think it is between him and Tomasz Radzinski to partner Kevin Campbell up front at this stage. The general play of the Canadian has been very pleasing lately. He is looking sharper and more direct. If he and Campbell are not reaping the rewards in a game, bringing on the young lad is a great alternative for Everton. I don't think Rooney has had many minutes partnering just Campbell in attack. We will see the best of him when that happens on a regular basis. At Wrexham he scored two doing just that.
*EVERYONE was talking about Joseph Yobo adding some much needed pace to the back four.
He had excellent debut against Fulham and he showed there is much more to his game than pace.
He is very useful in the air and is comfortable with the ball on the ground. He looked very confident and seemed to have most of the things you would look for in a centre back. However, he will be put to the test on Monday night against the quality of Manchester United's strikers. These days more teams seem to be able to go to Old Trafford and get something out of the game. Just look at Bolton in the last two seasons. People have realised United are not invincible at home any more. They are still very difficult to beat, but the belief is that you can go there and really have a go at them.
I wanted Carsley
DAVID Moyes elected to play 4-4-2 against Fulham last weekend, a system which I have always favoured. It meant Lee Carsley could be brought into the midfield. I tried to buy Carsley about five years ago. His club Derby wanted Craig Short, but they didn't have the money. I suggested an exchange deal with Carsley, but he was playing well at the time and had just broken into the Republic of Ireland team. Understandably, Derby were reluctant. I thought he was a hard working player who put his foot in and won tackles - the type of player you need when you are struggling.
He reminds me of John Ebbrell - one of those individuals that team-mates appreciate but who would not get the headlines or perhaps be a fans' favourite.
*IT WAS a deserved win against Fulham. David Moyes would have had to change his half-time team talk when two goals went in just before the interval. I never used to write my team talk down. I would mentally switch off about five minutes before the break and prepare what I was going to say to the players in the dressing room. The events last Saturday would have forced a dramatic change. Instead of trying to gee up the players or even thinking of making substitutions, you'd be "saying keep it going lads". However, I don't think David Moyes was too concerned about changing his team talk after his side had just knocked in two goals.
Wonder Wayne's secret routine
Oct 4 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed how his record-breaking forward Wayne Rooney hones his striking skills after hours. While most Premiership stars go home to relax or play golf, the 16-year-old spends hours kicking a ball around the streets of Croxteth. The Blues' boss explained today: "Someone came in to see me at Bellefield and told me they had some bad news about Wayne. "After he'd played in a first team game at Goodison this season, they told me they had seen him playing 'wallie' with his mates - booting a ball repeatedly against a wall in the street. "They thought I would be mad, but in fact it was exactly the opposite. "He's a young boy and that's what boys do. People forget how young he is and I'm pleased he's behaving like that." Rooney will be involved on Monday night at Old Trafford, when Everton take on Manchester United. And the teenager could line up against the world's most expensive defender, Rio Ferdinand. "We're taking things bit by bit with Wayne but he will be there on Monday and could be involved," added Moyes. Another Goodison youngster, meanwhile, midfielder Leon Osman who played in the 1998 FA Youth Cup winning team, has joined Carlisle United on a month's loan. "Leon has played well for us in the reserves," explained Moyes "and this is just an opportunity for him to get some League experience."
'New boy' Lee so happy to be back
Oct 4 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY never, ever considered himself an endangered species at Everton.
But with marginally more sightings in the last six months than his lesser-spotted team-mate Duncan Ferguson, he was on the at-risk list. The Irish international had made just one, six-minute, substitute appearance before last weekend's visit of Fulham. And worse, he had only figured on the substitutes' bench on one other occasion. Sky News' coverage of Tuesday night's win at Wrexham seemed to confirm how long he had been out of the spotlight. After slinging a beautifully weighted pass inside a defender for Wayne Rooney to score, Carsley-heard the commentator drool ". . . from an excellent pass by Thomas Gravesen." The 28-year-old didn't mind. He has waited all season for the chance to impress David Moyes - and he only hopes the Blues' boss was taking notice.
"When I signed for the club it was in a changing state," he explained. "I was only here four or five weeks before Walter Smith went. "I was devastated, to be honest with you. In football if one boss goes, another can come in with the opinion that he doesn't really fancy you that much and then you can be on your way, too. "I need stability in my career now. I have moved around a lot in the last three years so I am going to enjoy my time at Everton." Carsley was Smith's final signing on February 8. The manager was sacked little more than a month later. Even worse, Carsley picked up an injury in only David Moyes' second match in charge and figured just twice more before the season ended.
"It has been a frustrating time," he said, " because all through my career I have always played in the first team, ever since my debut at 19. "It's been difficult, but I've tried to take as many positives out of it as I can. It's given me the opportunity to do more training, get into my weights and make sure that when I got my chance - because I knew I would get a chance - that I took it."
He certainly appeared raring to go against Fulham last Saturday, chasing down lost causes which almost produced a goal for him, when his challenge forced Van Der Sar to spill a 70-30 pass in his favour. "I enjoyed it against Fulham and Wrexham, although the results were the most important thing," he added. "We have had a spell where we have been playing okay, but we haven't been winning games and it was important to win. "I'm not getting too carried away, though. I was looking at the programme before the Fulham game and I haven't even played 10 games for Everton yet. My Everton career is still in its early stages." Next up is one of the most daunting games of the season, but also the stage where all players relish performing - and Carsley's record at Manchester United is more than respectable. "I have been quite lucky in the past at Old Trafford and I have a good record there," he said. "It's games like those you need to be really up for, and if I'm involved I certainly will be." Live on Sky, hopefully Carsley will get the credit he deserves on the night, too.
Preview: Man Utd v Everton
October 04, 2002
Manchester Evening News
SIR Alex Ferguson will be hoping for a quiet weekend as his injury crisis begins to rescind ahead of the live Monday night clash against Everton. Quinton Fortune came through United's reserve game with City at Moss Lane without any ill effects as he recovers from the Achilles injury picked up while on World Cup duty with South Africa. Now the 25-year-old is champing at the bit in his desire to get back into the first team. "I think it's around eight weeks I've been out, and my Achilles feels very good now," he told MUTV. "The training has been good and I feel I'm getting sharper every time I train. It's just a matter of days before I start playing again." And despite the lack of first team action - exacerbated by injuries - Fortune has been boosted by news that he has been given a new work permit. "I believe it's for four more years so that's very good," he said. "I was a bit worried at the beginning but the club and the manager have been right behind me."
United will be hoping Ruud van Nistelrooy recovers from his hamstring pull in time for the match, after Sir Alex rested him in the 4-0 rout of Olympiakos. Having overcome his early season goal drought, the Dutchman is on a red hot scoring streak, and Sir Alex admitted it was down to confidence. "Ruud's whole psyche is built round scoring goals and he gets very down if he goes through a spell when the goals dry up," Fergie told the Man Utd website. "I try to explain to him that even when he is not scoring, he is contributing to our attacking play in a very positive way."
Should he, as expected, be cleared then United will be able to face the Toffees with a relatively full strength side, hoping to build on their midweek Champions League performance.
LAST SEASON: Man United 4 Everton 1
KEY OPPONENT: Everton's 16-year-old wunderkind Wayne Rooney is rapidly carving a reputation for himself, particularly after bagging a double in their Worthington Cup victory over Wrexham to become the side's youngest-ever scorer. Fast, sharp and growing in confidence, he could prove to be the Toffee's secret weapon.
PREDICTION: United 3 Everton 1
KEY FACTS: Juan Sebastian Veron netted his first Premership goal for United in the corresponding fixture last season. Should Ryan Giggs be named in the starting eleven - as he has for every match this season - it will be his 450th start for the Reds. United have secured home and away victories against Everton on six occasions, including the last two Premiership seasons. Everton won their first Premiership match at Old Trafford 3-0 back in August 1992. They haven't won since at Old Trafford.
KEY CLASH: Juan Sebastian Veron v Li Tie
Two men feted as heroes in their homeland, and a sign of just how international the Premiership's reach has become. Veron's form this season has started to reflect the huge transfer fee he attracted, with almost universal acclaim for his wonder strike against Olympiakos in the Champions League. ith the absence of Roy Keane, Veron seems to be coming more and more into his own as the midfield visionary around which much of Argentina's play is built. Meanwhile Li Tie became one of the most sought after midfielders in China after his international form and his World Cup performances. Voted the most valuable player in the C-League in 2001 he has a hotheaded reputation but the skill to back it up, and is as intelligent a holding midfielder as any in the Premiership. Whoever gains dominance between these two will prove to be the lynchpin on which this match will turn.
Burns: Weir should have stood up to Vogts
By Jon West, Daily Post
Oct 7 2002
DAVID WEIR goes into tonight's clash determined to brush off the latest jibes aimed at him by Tommy Burns. Scotland's assistant manager says Weir should have been big enough to stand up to recent criticism. The Everton defender came under fire after the country's embarrassing 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands which prompted him to ask to be left out for the forthcoming Euro 2004 qualifier with Iceland. Burns does not expect the former Hearts favourite to return and admits that is a big loss for the nation. "The players received a lot of criticism after the game," Burns said.
"When that happens and you get a result like in the Faroes then maybe one or two of the guys who were involved in the losing of the goals get severely criticised. "That's all part and parcel of it. You have to dust yourself down and get on with it again. "So from that point of view it's disappointing that David has decided he doesn't want to play for the country any more because we are all in the same boat and everybody gets criticism. "That type of thing isn't going to go away because that's the world we live in. "I don't think David's missed a game under Berti so it's disappointing that he has made that decision because we have a lot of young players that need older players to be alongside them. "David is a good role model and first-class professional and has done well in the English Premiership. "That type of player is invaluable. I'm sorry to see him come to that decision."
Manager Berti Vogts also came under fire after their last result with many baying for his blood.
But Burns insists that the German's hunger to succeed will not diminish and has called for the nation to get behind him. He said: "He has taken over Scotland, who have basically been struggling over the last few years with the quality you need for international football, and he's put them against some of the top nations. "It's given the players some fantastic experience, but also a wake up call to see the kind of level we have got to get to and it's going to take a long time to do that. "Everybody in this country has got to get behind not only the manager, but the players we have got. "Ideally we would love the players we had 25 years ago, but they are not there any more and we have to encourage the guys we've got as opposed to bemoaning the players that we don't have. "We didn't qualify for the World Cup so why should we set our expectation levels so high. "People are prepared to look for blood, looking for a head and a sacrifice and unfortunately that's the world we're living in and Berti knows that. That will not change his focus at all. "He has a long-term strategy agreed by the people in the Association and this country needs stability. "If you go along the club lines, which have become farcical now in football management where some just get two months in the job, if we go along them lines then what do we do? If we sack Berti Vogts who do they go and get? "He's not going to come in and get better players that's for sure, because the manager has looked at every candidate available for Scotland and there is no magic wand I'm afraid. "It's a question of everyone biting the bullet and just live through the lean times and hopefully we can come out the other end of it a much better nation and football team." Meanwhile, Rangers manager Alex McLeish gave Vogts a huge scare after revealing that skipper Barry Ferguson is doubtful for the vital Euro 2004 qualifier in Iceland.
Fergie counts cost of Rio loss
By Simon Stone, Daily Post
Oct 7 2002
SIR ALEX FERGUSON will spend the next 24 hours assessing his options following the shock news that Rio Ferdinand is out for at least three weeks. Just a day after appearing at the opening of his club's new Dublin megastore, where he talked enthusiastically about facing Everton in the Premiership today, Ferdinand enters hospital for exploratory knee surgery. The decision was taken late on Saturday afternoon, with United officials informing England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson immediately after West Ham's home defeat to Birmingham, which the Swede had attended. Ironically, it came just hours after Eriksson had declared there were no injury concerns for the Euro 2004 qualifying double-header against Slovakia and Macedonia, other than long-term casualty Robbie Fowler. With his usual impeccable timing, Ferguson has ensured Ferdinand's absence has caused minimal disruption to his own team. Apart from the televised clash with Everton, Ferdinand is also likely to sit out the trip to Fulham on October 19, possibly the visit of Aston Villa the following weekend and, at the very worst, a home game against Southampton on November 2. All are winnable even without the £30million summer signing from Leeds, who is also now likely to be excused the draining Champions League visits to Olympiakos and Maccabi Haifa, which have taken on drastically reduced importance given United's perfect start to the competition. And, happily, for the first time this season, Ferguson has a choice to make over who to bring in. Gary Neville's timely return from his broken foot is one alternative, with brother Phil being asked to slot in at right-back, while the more likely option is another outing for impressive young Irishman John O'Shea as Laurent Blanc's partner. That will be of no consolation to Eriksson of course, who finds himself robbed of his most cultured defender for the opening two European Championship qualifiers, which also coincide with Ferdinand's spell on the sidelines. Ferguson, though, insists there was no way of putting off the surgery. "The lad's welfare is the prime concern," said the Scot. "The knee has been bothering him for some time so it was decided to have it cleaned up so that he will be available for as much of the season as possible." O'Shea has been a regular starter for United this season after developing his physique during the summer to the delight of his manager. "Last year he was a big beanpole, but he has grown and developed his strength," said Ferguson. "He looks like a centre-half." Long term, the 21-year-old Waterford-born player is seen as the favourite to partner Ferdinand at the heart of United's defence, although Wes Brown will pose a significant threat to that pairing should the England international ever enjoy a decent injury-free run. Brown is two weeks away from a return to training after breaking an ankle against Zalaegerszeg in August, while skipper Roy Keane is hoping for a comeback at roughly the same time following hip surgery. With Ruud van Nistelrooy struggling to overcome a tight hamstring, United's squad depth continues to be tested, although with Neville, Paul Scholes and Quinton Fortune available again after their own problems, Ferguson is not too concerned. "The strength of our player pool has always been very important to us," said the United boss. "Because of injuries, we have come through a period of seven games in 20 days by virtually relying on the same bunch of lads. "They have done fantastically well but there is going to be a time when you need to freshen up and we don't want to go to the days when we were bringing young lads in for big games and asking them to play in different positions." Tuesday's 4-0 triumph over Olympiakos was United's fifth successive win, a sequence which they will hope to extend against an Everton side who have not beaten Ferguson's team in 14 attempts since the 1995 FA Cup Final. "Five straight wins is not particularly special for us," said Ferguson. "For our club it is what you would call normal but nonetheless it means the disappointment of losing to Bolton and Leeds when we were clearly the better side is forgotten. There is no question that you need to win games in this league and we have responded well." While few of the current Everton squad have tasted victory over the Red Devils, Canadian striker Tomasz Radzinski has caused them a few problems in days gone by. Radzinski grabbed two goals for Anderlecht in a 2-1 triumph over Ferguson's side in the Champions League two years ago, and the United manager is aware of the threat. "He is very quick," he admitted. "Tomasz Radzinski has caused us problems once and we have to be aware of that threat ."
Hibbert wins first England call-up
Oct 7 2002
EVERTON youngster Tony Hibbert has been rewarded for his impressive form with a first call-up for the England under-21 squad. Hibbert receives the nod from David Platt for their European Championship double-header with Slovakia and Macedonia. The full-back made his Everton debut against West Ham in March 2001 and, after being given 10 Premiership appearances last season, has played in every match of the current campaign. Hibbert was a member of the Everton 1998 FA Youth Cup-winning team which also produced the likes of Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball and Richard Dunne. West Ham midfielder Joe Cole is back in the U21 squad for the first time in 14 months.
Cole last played for Platt's side when he scored in the 2-1 success over Germany in Freiburg in August 2001. Since then Cole has figured totally in the senior squad and was part of the 23 which went to the World Cup finals this summer. But now he is surprisingly again with the U21s - along with his Hammers midfield team-mate Michael Carrick.
Moyes on mission to leave a gentle reminder
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 7 2002
DAVID MOYES aims to show exactly why Sir Alex Ferguson was on the verge of making him his assistant by masterminding a rare Everton win at Old Trafford tonight. The Blues boss a side to Manchester United for the first time having been in the frame to replace Brian Kidd as Ferguson's right-hand man four years ago. United's legendary boss sounded out Moyes during his time transforming Preston's fortunes before eventually plumping for Steve McClaren. Now the Blues chief wants to demonstrate his credentials to Ferguson at close quarters. "If a man of Sir Alex Ferguson's calibre wants you to be part of his staff then it's a big compliment," said Moyes: "It is flattering. "This will be my first time at Old Trafford as a manager and I hope to go there many more times. That means that while I'm still a relatively young manager I have to be successful if I want to keep going back." Moyes' plans have been hampered by illness, with four players - top scorer Kevin Campbell, Richard Wright, Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth - all laid low this week.
Campbell and Wright are expected to recover in time as Everton look to stem a flow of heavy defeats at Old Trafford. But Moyes said: "It's difficult going to Old Trafford at any time. Whether you're on the back of six wins or six defeats makes no difference. But there is definitely an air of confidence around the place and the players at the moment. "That's what we want. We want the players to feel good about themselves and about the way they are playing. "There isn't a harder test than this one, but you've got to go there some time. "Manchester United are a team that will have blips but who are always liable to go on a 20-game unbeaten run. It's not just the team - the club has become an insitution now and they are a club everyone should aspire to." And the Blues boss, whose side have drawn Newcastle in the third round of the Worthington Cup, added: "From the supporters-I've spoken to I sense they are much happier with how things are progressing. "I still feel there is a realism about the place though. They understand the players are giving their all and understand that Old Trafford will always be a difficult place to go even if expectations have risen.
"Even in the mid-80s when Everton were top of the pile it was a tough place to get a result but I'm pleased expectations have risen. That tells me people are thinking more positively about this club but it is still just the start. We are only eight games into the new season. "We are big enough to take the pressure."
Tough trip for Blues
Oct 7 2002
EVERTON have been handed a testing away trip to Newcastle in the draw for the third round of the Worthington Cup. The Blues' tie is one of three all-Premiership clashes, including Liverpol's home game against Southampton. Arsenal face a repeat of yesterday's league game against Sunderland.
David Moyes' side reached the third round after beating Wrexham 3-0 - with striker Wayne Rooney becoming the youngest player to score in Everton's history. Bobby Robson's men have won their last three league games, despite losing all their Champions League matches.
Blackburn v Walsall; West Ham v Oldham; Newcastle v Everton; Wigan v Man City; Sheff Utd v Leeds; Crystal Palace v Coventry; Ipswich v Middlesbrough; Birmingham v Preston; Arsenal v Sunderland; Burnley v Tottenham; Liverpool v S'thampton; Wimbledon v Rotherham; Man Utd v Leicester; Oxford Utd v Aston Villa; Chelsea v Gillingham; Fulham v Bury.
* Ties to be played week commencing November 4.
Rise to it, lads
Oct 7 2002 By Tommy Smith
FACING Manchester United at Old Trafford can often be a daunting experience. Everton are in action there tonight in the Premiership, hoping that recent good performances will give them the confidence to earn a result. One thing the Blues have in abundance is fighting spirit and that's what you need against United. David Moyes has instilled a new belief and they can certainly cause their hosts problems. Bolton recently proved that United are vulnerable at home, and the Everton boss, I'm sure, will be hoping his side rise to the occasion.
Moyes: There's no fear factor
Oct 7 2002 By David Prentice
EVERTON boss David Moyes has already taken one significant stride forward ahead of tonight's daunting trip to Old Trafford. Despite an appalling record of 16 defeats, two draws and only two wins against Manchester United since the Premiership began, Moyes has taken the fear factor out of his side's visit there. "We will be going there without fear or trepidation," declared the Blues' boss. Everton's last League victory over United was more than seven years ago - and they haven't won at Old Trafford since securing a first ever Premiership win there in 1992. But since Moyes' arrival the Blues can also point to more impressive statistics. In 18 matches under his command they have failed to score in a game just twice, and with United missing Rio Ferdinand at their heart of their defence tonight they will be looking to add to that record. "Going to Old Trafford is a difficult task and we all know how hard it is going to be," said Moyes. "But while our record might not be particularly good, it will have to change one day, so with a bit of luck and a lot of belief it could happen tonight. "We went to Highbury last season and while we did not win, we scored three goals and had a real go. "You can only have a go if you have the ball and United are very good at keeping the ball, so we will have to be solid. "United look like they are just clicking into gear and there are worries that they could give us a right hard night, but we have a lot of confidence about us at the moment." Everton's virus victims Kevin Campbell and Richard Wright both trained yesterday, while Mark Pembridge, who missed the Worthington Cup win at Wrexham with an eye infection, is fit.
I'm not scared of Van Nistelrooy - Yobo
Oct 7 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO has a proud record to defend at Old Trafford tonight. The classy Nigerian defender has played one Premiership match, one Worthington Cup tie and two reserve team games in the Royal Blue of Everton - and has celebrated a clean sheet every time. But the acid test arrives this evening, in the shape of Manchester United and a world class predator who has just started to find his scoring range again. Ruud Van Nistelrooy is reported to be recovered from the hamstring strain which saw him introduced from the substitutes' bench in United's last Premiership match at Charlton. The Dutchman still scored - but Yobo has a positive attitude towards facing one of football's most feared frontmen. "I just have to be cool. Keep my calmness and concentrate on my game," he declared. "There are 11 players out there, but if Ruud Van Nistelrooy comes my way I will just have to concentrate and play against him. I'm not scared of individual players and I'm ready to give my best." Yobo's attitude is understandable. He quelled the considerable Michael Owen menace during the World Cup in Japan, just days after facing Gabriel Batistuta. But he admits the sternest test of his English career so far has come from an unexpected quarter. "I've had to adjust to two very different games so far," he explained. "The game against Fulham for me was a little bit easier and not that difficult for me, but the game against Wrexham was tougher. It was a knockout competition and they gave everything. They were fighting, running and very physical and they did very well, but we kept a clean sheet which was good." Yobo craves clean sheets the same way top marksmen chase goals. "When your side doesn't concede a goal a centre-half knows he has done a good job," he said. "I try to keep clean sheets even in training. That makes my job easier for me. I have done that in my two games so far and that makes me happier. That's my job and I try to give my best in every game." Keeping clean sheets is Yobo's way of repaying the warm welcome he has received from the Everton fans, who have rapidly taken to his sharp, pacy style of defending.
"The fans have been wonderful to me here," he went on. "They were behind me as soon as I arrived and even when I got injured. When I was back playing for the reserves the support was extraordinary. There were so many at the matches and they were right behind me.
"They gave me a big surprise and I am very happy with the fans. I will pay them back by giving my best in every game. Everything is wonderful at Everton. I have settled down so quickly. I had a frustrating start when I was injured, but everyone was behind me . . . the club and the fans helped me settle down quicker. "It was really frustrating to be injured for so long just after I had arrived. But that's football. You have to understand that injuries will come and accept it. "I was happy with the way everyone supported me. The officials of the club, the coaches, the players and the fans made me feel at home. I didn't even feel like I was injured. "When I was playing for the reserves the fans got right behind me and they made me push even harder to try and get fit and get into the first team." Now that Yobo has made that leap, he aims to stay there, but United's adventurous attacking policy should hand him his most difficult assignment in English football so far.
"I am looking forward to that game. It should be a good game. They are one of the best teams in the world. It will be difficult, but while I a expecting a tough game I am ready for it. Football is not just about one player, it is about 11 players and if all 11 of us give their best on Monday we can have a positive result. "It's a great opportunity for me to play against teams like this. That is why I wanted to come to the Premiership and hopefully I will enjoy the experience."
Oct 7 2002 Liverpool Echo
SIR Alex Ferguson has predicted a bright future for Everton's David Moyes - but his fellow Scot cannot count on any presents at Old Trafford tonight. The Toffeemen must overcome a dismal recent record against Ferguson's Manchester United, having failed to record a single victory in 14 attempts since Paul Rideout grabbed the winner in the 1995 FA Cup final. Such poor form has contributed to a decade of under- achievement at Goodison Park, with Ferguson's close friend Walter Smith the latest to pay the price with his dismissal as manager last season. Moyes' introduction after an impressive spell at Preston appears to have brought some stability to the Blues, although they will travel east along the M62 still sitting in the bottom half of the table. Ferguson though has seen enough to be wary about defending United's current five-match winning streak.
"David is one of the most promising managers in the game," said the longserving Red Devils chief.
"He did a fabulous job at Preston and I expect him to do well at Everton. They have started well and their home form has been particularly impressive. "We have a good record against them over the last few years, our confidence is returning and we are starting to create chances. "If we can continue that I'm sure we will be okay but we will have to work." United's Rio Ferdinand will be out for at least three weeks, with the possibility of a lengthy period on the sidelines looming large if exploratory surgery uncovers further damage. Having lost Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Fabien Barthez and Wes Brown for a bulk of the season so far and with Ruud van Nistelrooy struggling to overcome a hamstring injury, Ferguson has been battling against a lengthy injury list for almost the entire campaign. However, despite some concerns at his squad depth earlier in the season, Ferguson is now confident he has the numbers to cope. "The strength of our player pool has always been very important to us," said the United boss. "Because of injuries, we have come through a period of seven games in 20 days by virtually relying on the same bunch of lads. "They have done fantastically well but there is going to be a time when you need to freshen up." The return of Scholes has coincided with handsome wins over Charlton and Olympiakos on the Red Devils' last two outings.
Veron's stunning strike against Olympiakos was a reminder of the class which persuaded United to part with £28.1million.
Man Utd 3 Everton 0
October 07, 2002
Manchester Evening News
PAUL Scholes' 25-yard rocket put the seal on United's thrilling finale as the Reds made amends for 85 minutes of profligacy with a stunning late show against Everton. The England midfielder crashed home a shot of awesome power deep into injury time to cap a fine personal display that had also seen him fire the all-important first goal. But United were again guilty of missing a raft of chances, with Ruud van Nistelrooy particularly culpable, though he did make late amends by firing home from the penalty spot after David Weir had been dismissed for a foul on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. With Everton setting their stall out to defend behing an obdurate midfield, United's first chance came on 18 minutes when van Nistelrooy broke free down the left, but the Dutchman fired wide from a tight angle.
Raised the tempo
Everton, offering only a sporadic threat to United's goal, carved out an opening on 38 minutes when Kevin Campbell found space from Tomasz Radzinski's flick and fired wide from 14 yards. After a quiet first half, United started brightly in the second period and went close in the 49th minute. Gary Neville made an excellent burst up the right wing and pulled the ball back only for the chance to go begging as van Nistelrooy and Nicky Butt got in each other's way. And with Everton looking to attack more and creating chances for Radzinski and Campbell, the game became increasingly stretched.
Van Nistelrooy went close again on 64 minutes, cutting inside Weir, but shooting weakly and moments later Solskjaer missed his kick with the goal gaping from David Beckham's low cross.
Incredibly, a third chance in as many minutes was missed when van Nistelrooy chested the ball down brilliantly before firing over from eight yards. Scholes went close with a 25 yard drive and Beckham hit the bar with a subtle chip, but as the game wore on it seemd that another two points would be ceded to Arsenal.
The Scholes show
Scholes, though, had other ideas and with five minutes left he fired home left footed from Ryan Giggs' deflected cut-back. Two minutes later, van Nistelrooy played in Solskjaer and then fired home from the spot after the Norwegian had been fouled in the box. And with virtually the last kick of the game, Scholes let fly with a 25-yard party-piece
Manchester United 3 Everton 0
October 08, 2002
Manchester Evening News
RUUD: On target
THE sorcerer came close to being forced to eat his words by the apprentice at Old Trafford.
It's not normally Sir Alex Ferguson's style to go OTT during the season making bold statements about Manchester United preferring not to feed the frenzied hype by blowing the Reds' trumpet. Maybe it was the fact that the numbers joining in the fanfares for the feats of Arsenal has reached Brighouse and Rastrick brass band proportions in size that Fergie felt he had to pipe up for his own side's revival. He opened up his programme notes last night with the proclamation that 'We're back in business!' Everton boss David Moyes won't have recognised that as the normally cagey Fergie he's judged by many to be a clone of. However, a five match victorious sequence and 15 goals to boot Fergie had every reason to advertise the Reds' renaissance. Nevertheless young Goodison coach Moyes, who only lost out on experience to Steve McClaren in 1999 when Fergie chose his successor to Brian Kidd as his right hand man, would have been surprised to see the United boss making such brash claims. What an addition to a fast-growing CV, that some believe will impress United's board in future years, it would have been if Moyes could have forced Fergie's words to come back to haunt him. Fergie did counter his unreserved announcement with the warning that a banana skin could always be around the corner. Moyes unpeeled it, almost sent his mentor a cropper but in the end was probably forced to acknowledge that United are indeed back in business. You have to believe the Reds' boss is right in his assessment when you see his side overcome 86 minutes of frustration banging their heads against an Everton brick wall, then to produce a devastating finale that crushed the Merseysider's spirit. The United of a few weeks ago, when confidence was dangerously low, probably would have been relatively content to take the point against the stubborn Scousers.
But that never-say-die spirit has returned. United had found Everton a different kettle of fish to the side they've swept aside since the Toffees golden era in the 80s. Everton came with the burden of a dismal record against the Reds in Fergie's time. Moyes, we were told, had re-fashioned Everton into a highly organised and more adventurous force than the side that had so often crumbled in the face of United's power. The injection of a new attacking thrust was hard to judge as United flew at the visitors with their passing game re-vitalised. They did though find in the Scottish-Nigerian alliance of David Weir and Joseph Yobo that praise for the Merseysider's new solid look was justified.
Tough nuts Old Trafford seemed to guess that the Reds were going to need some extra assistance to crack this nut and gave a full throated backing that produced one of the most crackling Premiership atmospheres in the stadium for a long while. David Beckham responded more than most in the first half and then Ruud van Nistelrooy, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer all upped the pressure in the second with efforts on goal. But full blooded drives, delicate chips and glancing headers all failed to break Everton's resistance. United had entered this match as the only side in the top 12 with a single figure in the 'goals for' column in the league. For a side that has gone close to a century of Premiership goals in recent years it was a stat that stuck out like a sore thumb. As the chances missed grew in number it looked like United's goal revival was going to grind to a halt in frustration, Arsenal would open up a formidable eight-point title gap and Fergie would end up with egg on his face. Everton seemed to suspect that a few hints of anxiety could be exploited and Moyes took a leaf out of Fergie's book and went for a bold potential match-winning substitution. He brought on the feisty, effervescent and seemingly nerveless 16-year-old prodigy Wayne Rooney. It was soon easy to see why the youngster is causing so much excitement at Goodison. But his introduction actually backfired because it seemed to shake United out of a potentially fatal dip as the unease crept in. A Scholes-Solskjaer link up and a Beckham chip onto the bar was United's response to Rooney's lively wake up call. But the kid hit back with a devastating run that cut through United leaving Silvestre, Scholes and Giggs floundering before he ran out of steam and hit a weak shot that was comfortably and gratefully gathered by Barthez. That shock jumped started a sensational United finale and before you could blink a 0-0 stalemate was turned into a scoreline that will unjustly look like another drubbing on Everton's record against the Reds. Beckham clipped in a cross for Giggs to take superbly in his stride in the 86th minute. The Welshman cut the ball back and Chinese midfielder Li Tie's header only reached Scholes who drilled in the loose ball for the opener. Then Solskjaer's pace forced the previously controlled Scotsman Weir into some desperate tugging and pulling to stop the Norwegian. A harsh red card, a penalty and a typical ferocious spot kick blast from Van Nistelrooy was then soon followed by a vicious crack from Scholes' right boot that completed the Reds' late flurry. Those who were on Sir Matt Busby Way by the time all this happened won't make the same mistake again now that the Reds have got the bit between their teeth once more. William Hill have cut Man Utd from 7/2 to 100/30 to win the Premiership title but they remain third favourites behind 8/15 shots Arsenal and Liverpool at 3/1. Hills also offer 33/1on Newcastle, 40/1 Chelsea and Leeds, while Middlesbrough are quoted at 66/1. Everton are 6/1 to be relegated with Hills.
Man Utd 3, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Old Trafford, Daily Post
Oct 8 2002
LONG-AWAITED change and progress is finally blowing through Everton, so much so that Sir Alex Ferguson believes David Moyes' team are the best in Blue for years. Yet, while cruelty and bad luck exists in football - and they always will - the Blues still haven't discovered the knack of avoiding both.
The regularity with which title-chasing teams pinch points at the death, Liverpool at Chelsea's expense on Sunday, Manchester United at everyone's expense for years, means it is not good fortune but good commitment why so many other sides suffer in their march to the top. Yet few teams can have subjected themselves to such peculiar punishment as Everton have in the past, and last night another deep wound was inflicted across their back. Three minutes from the brink of a well-earned, hard-fought draw, Paul Scholes' 87th-minute strike would have been harsh on any visiting side who had produced such a composed display at Old Trafford. But not Everton. Moyes (left) is ushering in a new era at Goodison Park but the old sense of foreboding and doom has not been vanquished yet and now he knows why; by the final whistle they were not only a man down but three goals down. Three! No wonder the Blues manager looked as if he could have Sir Alex Ferguson running scared afterwards following the most unjust scoreline of the season. This was Everton's first major test of this campaign and for 87 minutes they passed it with flying colours until Scholes' brace, Ruud van Nistelrooy's penalty and the dimissal of David Weir contrived to leave them with an all-too familiar feeling of failure at this ground. In many respects they should take solace from comfortably containing United before their incredible collapse, and it speaks volumes for the sense of belief at Goodison Park that Moyes admitted he came here expecting to win. That will be of absolutely no consolation to Moyes' men this morning though, only disbelief prevailed. Clearly the Old Trafford bookmakers haven't heard of Everton's improvement, offering bets on a 7-0 win for United before kick-off at 80-1, the same odds as they gave for a 3-1 Blues' win. But the 7-1 they had for a 3-0 victory looked equally scandalous before the roof caved in on Everton's night. Moyes had insisted there would be no fear factor among his charges as they aimed to rectify an atrocious recent record against Ferguson's men - just two wins since the Premiership began - and so it proved.
Despite giving possession away too cheaply at times and failing to truly hurt United with the final ball the Blues battled valiantly from the off, producing a few moments of attacking promise but in the main defending as if their lives depended on it. Joseph Yobo was again immense at the heart of the Blues rearguard, regularly finding the all-important though often unorthodox final touch.
Moyes began with the same side that started against Fulham, the style of wide men Lee Carsley and Mark Pembridge in complete contrast to the familiar flair provided by David Beckham and Ryan Giggs but nevertheless vital in trying to unsettle United's rhythm. Both sides had a half chance to break the deadlock in an even opening, Thomas Gravesen driving a 22-yard free-kick over and Beckham firing wide after shaking off Carsley's attentions far too easily. By the 20th minute Everton had at least eight outfield players encamped on the edge of their own box. Unlike recent painful performances at Old Trafford though, the expectations of the home crowd were ultimately subdued by an Everton side that was comfortably holding its own. Richard Wright was never forced into a serious save before the interval but was thankful to see van Nistelrooy's shot blaze over after his defence had retreated too far as the Dutchman latched onto Giggs' flick-on. In fact, the only serious worry for Moyes was the ludicrous amount of protection given Beckham by referee Mike Riley, making a strong play to be invited to Romeo's christening perhaps. Twice he cautioned Everton players for having the audacity to approach Goldenballs, David Unsworth for the first minor foul of the game and Thomas Gravesen when he clearly won the ball from the United midfielder. Encouragingly for the Blues boss his side were ready to take the game to their hosts whenever they could keep hold of the ball, which transpired to be a fair amount as the contest wore on. Kevin Campbell shot wide after a flowing move the length of the pitch on 39 minutes, while Tomasz Radzinski forced the first real save out of either keeper when Fabien Barthez parried his angled drive just after the break. That effort signalled the start of another sustained spell of pressure by United, bolstered by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's arrival yet still kept out by desperate Everton defending. Van Nistelrooy breezed past Weir to carve out the first of two excellent chances inside two minutes, but rolled a shot tamely into the arms of Wright. Solksjaer and the £19million striker both failed to captalise on Beckham's teasing low cross through the Everton area, before van Nistelrooy was denied a certain goal when Unsworth managed to deflect his free volley from 10 yards over the bar.
All this had arrived in a blistering three-minute spell but the Blues survived, with Moyes illustrating his intent by bringing Wayne Rooney into the fray with 17 minutes left. The youngster didn't take long to make an impression, threading a needle pass into the United area for Campbell who was denied by Barthez's brave block, then almost producing a goal worthy of the so-called Theatre of Dreams. Picking up a Campbell clearance just over the half-way line Rooney turned John O'Shea inside out, set off on a mazy crossfield run and skipped past Mikael Silvestre only to shoot straight at Barthez. United always looked the more likely scorers, however, even if many of their fickle admirers had begun the long journey home way before Scholes struck. Beckham sent a deft lob onto the top of Wright's bar following a header from Solksjaer, but just when it seemed frustration would get the better of United, Everton collapsed in Devon Loch-like fashion. Twice they were caught out from long balls down the inside right channel. The first put Giggs in the clear, but he seemed to overrun the danger before chipping back for van Nistelrooy, whose control fell right into the path of Scholes and he drilled an open invitation under Wright. Everton sank to their knees in despair but, more annoyingly, they never got up. When van Nistelrooy put Solksjaer clean through, the slightest tug of the shirt from Weir put him off his stride and was enough for Riley to instantly dismiss the Everton defender. The creator added insult to injury with the most emphatic penalty into the top corner. Worse was still to come for the shellshocked Blues. Campbell was denied a spot-kick of his own after being shoved by O'Shea, and with the final kick of the game and the freedom of Old Trafford, Scholes smashed a superb 25-yard shot in off the underside of the bar. From being on the brink of a deserved draw Everton finished up on the end of a thumping scoreline with a costly suspension thrown in to boot. So much can change, yet so much remains the same.
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Barthez; G Neville, O'Shea, Blanc, Silvestre; Beckham, Butt (Forlan 84), Veron, Giggs; Scholes, van Nistelrooy (P Neville 89). Subs: Ricardo, Solksjaer, Fortune.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Unsworth; Carsley, Li Tie, Gravesen, Pembridge; Radzinski (Rooney 73), Campbell. Subs: Gerrard, Naysmith, Weifeng, Ferguson.
REFEREE: Mike Riley
BOOKINGS: Everton's Unsworth, Gravesen (fouls)
Sharp: Reid is victim of success
By Richard Gibson, Daily Post
Oct 8 2002
GRAEME SHARP has leapt to the defence of former Everton team-mate Peter Reid, who was sacked as Sunderland manager last night. Reid paid the price for the Wearsiders' disappointing start to the Premiership campaign. His dismissal makes him the first top-flight managerial casualty of the season and ends his seven-year stint at Sunderland. Reid twice won the Division One title - in 1996 and 1999 - and Sharp believes his fellow Goodison Park legend was a victim of his own success.
Sharp said: "He will be very disappointed. He has received a lot of criticism, which has been pretty harsh because he has done a fantastic job at Sunderland. "He is leaving them in a far healthier state than when he arrived because it looked as though they were going to get relegated to the second division. "Peter Reid has nothing to be ashamed of. The treatment he has received from some fans has been atrocious. But it comes to every manager. When you take a job you know you are going to get the sack. "The fans could only dream of being in this situation three or four years ago but, once you have a bit of success, the expectations get a lot higher. "Peter struggled last year, struggled at the beginning of this year. It is hard and unjust but that's what happens." Sunderland have failed to score in five of their nine league games thus far, although they did manage to fire seven past Cambridge United in the Worthington Cup last week. Reid's last game in charge of the club was the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday.
Southern comfort for in-form Everton
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 8 2002
EVERTON under-19s made it four games unbeaten with a hard-working 1-0 victory over Wolves in the FA Premier Academy League at Netherton on Saturday. A second-half header from centraldefender Robert Southern sealed the points. It was Southern's first goal for the U19s this season, making it three wins and a draw for Colin Harvey's side in their last four matches.
Midfielder Alan Moogan, who made a welcome return after his eye injury, shot wide in a goalless first half. And fellow midfielder, Australian David Carney, also had three chances to open the scoring, but twice the Wolves keeper saved superbly and his third effort was just off target. The winning strike came from an Anthony Barry corner, Southern powering home an excellent header after it had been flicked on at the near post. Harvey said: "We have stopped conceding goals, which is the most important thing. We have conceded one in the last four games. "We have tightened up that way and we have started creating more chances at the other end. So if you start doing that, you are giving yourself a good chance of doing well. "The first half was quite tight - there wasn't a lot in it. But once we got the goal, we were on top and their goalkeeper made three or four good saves.
But having said that, when it was 1-0 Alex Cole made a very good save down to his right-hand side."
Academy director Ray Hall added: "The under-19s are really up and running now after a slow start to the season. "They got the win and if it hadn't been for some outstanding saves by their goalkeeper, it would have been a lot more convincing. "At least half the team were below the U19 age group, so they are taking their chance." Alan Harper's under-17s shared the points in a 1-1 draw with Wolves at Netherton on Saturday. Gavin Lynch equalised with his second goal of the season after the Midlanders had taken an early lead. Hall said: "Although results are not the be-all and end-all this was a very encouraging scoreline. It was creditable draw against a side (Wolves) that had only lost one game and that was to Manchester City, who themselves are unbeaten. So the signs are quite promising there." Wayne Rooney, along with Steven Schumacher, will join up today with the England U19s squad for their friendly international against Yugoslavia at Kidderminster on Thursday.
The Blues have asked England coach Stuart Baxter to monitor the fitness of the striker after his involvement in last night's first-team match at Old Trafford. So the 16-year-old's international debut at U19 level may put put on hold until next month's UEFA European Championship qualifiers to protect the youngster from over-exertion.
Stamp of approval
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 8 2002
SIR ALEX FERGUSON gave his seal of approval to the Everton revival last night but it proved no consolation for David Moyes as his side slumped to a dramatic defeat against Manchester United.
Everton looked set to take their first point from Old Trafford for six years until Paul Scholes pounced in the 87th minute to spark a three-goal flurry. David Weir was also sent off in the incredible finale to compound Moyes' misery. And despite Ferguson's insisting: "That was the best Everton side that has come here for many years," the Blues boss was left shell-shocked by the outcome. "I am somewhere between disappointed and gutted," said Moyes. "I cannot believe it. "That's what happens in football sometimes. You get highs and lows and this is definitely a low. "I expected us to get something out of the game. I expected us to win. That's what we hope to achieve here in the future. "There were positives from the game. The players are playing at a high standard and I told them that in the dressing room, but we didn't get a result and that's what I wanted. "The team will get better in time if the opportunity is allowed. But we are sick, as you would be losing a goal with just three minutes to go, never mind three goals. "When they got the first I hoped to make a few changes to get us back into it but before I could even get the subs on the game was over. I am very disappointed to be leaving Old Trafford without a point." The Blues boss added: "We had a chance just before they scored when Wayne Rooney burst through. He used so much strength to get into that position and in two years' time he'll have the strength to finish those off." Scholes rounded off United's win with a 25-yard strike in injury time, but it was Ruud van Nistelrooy's penalty that sandwiched the England midfielder's brace that added insult to injury for Moyes. Weir was penalised for pulling back Ole Gunnar Solksjaer as he raced clear, and was shown a straight red card by referee Mike Riley. And Moyes fumed: "You hope for a decision or two but we never got anything all night. That perhaps is the first lesson to learn from Old Trafford. We didn't get enough decisions tonight. I thought Davie tugged him outside the box then got goal side of Solksjaer before he was able to strike the ball. In fact I don't think Solskjaer was going to get a shot in. "David Weir didn't give away a free-kick all game and yet is sent off for his only infringement of the night.
"I think the referee should look at it again. I'm not going to ask him to. He should look at it, but I didn't think it was a sending off."
Soccer fans in court over cup arrests
Oct 8 2002
SEVEN fans who were arrested on the night of Wrexham's Worthington Cup home game against Everton were dealt with by magistrates yesterday. Anthony Williams, 35, a bricklayer, of Maes Meillion, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, admitted using threatening or insulting behaviour. Wrexham magistrates heard he was arrested after a detective saw him at the head of a group of Wrexham supporters taunting Everton fans in Regent Street half an hour before the kick-off. He was ordered to pay £160 in a fine and costs and banned from all football matches for three years. Neil Edwards, 19, of Boxwood Close, Huyton, Liverpool; Thomas Harrison, 25, of Kipling Avenue, Huyton; and Brian James McElhinney, 22, of Cowper Way, Huyton, denied invading the playing area at the Racecourse football ground. Their cases were adjourned by magistrates until November 4. Warrants were issued for John Charles Egerton, 25, of Ruskin Street, Kirkdale; Liam Thomas Frost, 23, of Andrew Street, Walton; and Philip Steven Wilkinson, 19, of Lowrey Bank, Wallasey, after they failed to appear on charges of pitch invasion.
Moyes left with stars in his eyes
Oct 8 2002 by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
YOU could just imagine Matthew Kelly on the half-way line prior to kick-off, smiling inanely as he turned to David Moyes and asked: "So David, who are you going to be for us tonight?"
The response from the wily Scot? "Tonight, Matthew, I am going to be Walter Smith."
And so it turned out. Having established in the last six months a team that plays in a more attack-minded, adventurous style than that of his predecessor, the Everton boss managed to "out-Walter" Walter last night. In curbing the creative urges he has spent the last six months nurturing in his players, in order to play a more cautious game against the money men of Manchester, Moyes demonstrated he has the tactical nous that many believe was lacking from Smith's management.
His men frustrated Alex Ferguson's side for 86 minutes by hustling their opponents, closing down the space when United pushed forward and getting men behind the ball. And all this against a United team desperate for victory and playing to the best of their ability. And so the outcome was cruel. Not even a consoling arm and a few smarmy words from Matthew Kelly would have eased the pain for the Everton boss. His side were left with stars in their eyes simply because they hit a few bum notes in the dying minutes. Ironically, Walter Smith, who established an Everton side built on the principles of resolute defence and solidity, never enjoyed such a rewarding performance at Old Trafford. And that against a United side which genuinely was the strongest available to the manager. The key to Everton's performance was Moyes' solid 4-4-2 formation, which was far more rigid than people have come to expect from him. It was designed to deny United the space they crave and it worked well for long periods. Nobody would have argued had Everton taken a point.
Only when the defence which had performed so admirably allowed their concentration to slip, did United finally breakthrough. If they hustle their hosts this effectively for the full 90 minutes on their next visit to United, Moyes could achieve something Smith never did, a decent result at Old Trafford.
In the meantime, Evertonians can take solace from the fact Moyes' cover version of a Walter Smith classic was a big improvement on the original.
Moyes disputes weir red card
Oct 8 2002 by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes believes referee Mike Riley should overturn the red card decision which could cost David Weir a spell on the sidelines. The Scottish defender was shown a straight red in the 90th minute of the 3-0 defeat at Old Trafford last night after tugging back Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer as the striker charged through on goal in injury time. The foul presented Manchester United with the chance to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot. If Riley does not review the dismissal Weir will be suspended for the trip to West Ham on October 26. "I think David tugged him outside the box and then got goalside before Solsjkaer was going to strike the ball," said Moyes. "I don't think David gave away a free-kick all night but he was sent off for his first foul of the game. "I don't think we should have to appeal. I think the referee should look at it and make his own mind up. "The initial contact was outside the area and I don't think Solsjkaer was going to get his shot away anyway." But Moyes was not surprised to see the referee reach for his pocket, having already punished the Blues by awarding the spot kick. When asked what he thought of referee Riley's performance he responded: "You always hope for a decision or two but I have learned my first lesson of coming to Old Trafford."
Conceding three goals in the last four minutes added to Moyes' frustration. The look on his face minutes after the final whistle told the whole story. Glazed and bewildered, he looked like a man who had just had the winning lottery ticket ripped from his grasp and torn to shreds. He admitted: "I am somewhere between gutted and disappointed." His tone betrayed a certain degree of anger as he continued: "That is the way football is sometimes. There are highs and lows in the game and this is a real low. "I expected to come here and win and that is what we hope to achieve in the future.
'There are positives from the game - the players are performing to a high standard and I told them that in the dressing room after the match." Sir Alex Ferguson was gracious in victory, saying: "That was the best Everton side that has come here for many years." But whilst Moyes took pleasure in that assessment from a man he holds in high esteem, it provided scant consolation. "It is nice to get plaudits but I really wanted to go there and get a result," he added. "The team will get better in time if the opportunity is allowed. That chance just before they scored the first was well made by Wayne (Rooney). But he used up a lot of strength to get into that position in the first place after beating two or three players. "In a year or two he will have the strength to finish those kind of chances."
Striker Tomasz could add to Vogts' woes
Oct 9 2002 By David prentice, Everton Correspondent
TOMASZ RADZINSKI could help accelerate David Weir's return to the Scotland international fold next week. The Everton forward has been named in Canada's squad to face the Scots at Easter Road next Tuesday, with Berti Vogts under intensifying pressure as Scotland coach. Weir has withdrawn from this weekend's European Championship qualifier against Iceland following public criticism by Vogts.
He will not consider making himself available again until Vogts has gone. But failure to beat world minnows Iceland and Canada could accelerate that moment. Radzinski scored twice on his last international appearance, when Canada defeated Switzerland 3-1 in May. The majority of Everton's senior squad is away on international duty this week. Wayne Rooney has joined up with England under-19s to face Yugoslavia tomorrow, Tony Hibbert hopes to win his first England under-21 cap the following night, while Gary Naysmith, Scot Gemmill, Thomas Gravesen, Mark Pembridge, Niclas Alexanderson, Tobias Linderoth and Lee Carsley are all on senior duty. Everton's forthcoming fixtures at Leeds and Blackburn, meanwhile, have both been put back 24 hours because of both clubs' involvement in the UEFA Cup. The switches mean Everton will have only one Saturday match in a month. The Leeds fixture will now be played on Sunday, November 3 (3pm), while the trip to Blackburn will be on Sunday, November 17 (3pm). The Blues have also confirmed that their Worthington Cup third round trip to Newcastle will take place on Wednesday, November 6 (7.45pm). The date of the Blues' AGM, meanwhile, has been set for Thursday, October 31.
Weir to miss Hammers trip
Oct 9 2002 Report by Ian Doyle
EVERTON boss David Moyes yesterday admitted he holds out little hope at having David Weir's Old Trafford sending-off overturned. The Blues defender will miss the trip to West Ham United on October 26 after being red-carded a minute before time during Monday night's undeserved 3-0 defeat against Manchester United. Referee Mike Riley adjudged Weir to have committed a professional foul on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inside the Ruud van Nistelrooy converted the spot-kick to sandwich two late Paul Scholes goals as the Blues slumped to an improbable defeat.
But while Moyes is hopeful the referee will re-evaluate his decision to send off Weir, he has resigned himself to being without the Scottish defender for the Upton Park showdown later this month.
"I have had a look at the sending off and there is no question that Davie has a pull at him just outside the box," said Moyes. "But I don't think Davie has had another foul in the game but yet he gets sent off right at the end. "I would hope that the referee would maybe have another look at it but knowing referees he probably won't." Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed their Worthington Cup third round tie at Newcastle United will take place on Wednesday, November 6, kick-off 7.45pm.
The Blues have also confirmed that next month's Premiership visits to Leeds United and Blackburn Rovers will now take place 24 hours later than scheduled due to both teams' involvement in the UEFA Cup. The game at Elland Road, scheduled for Saturday, November 2, will now take place the following day, while the clash at Ewood Park, originally set for Saturday, November 16, will be played on Sunday, November 17. Both matches will kick-off at 3pm.
Injury-hit Blues duo remain on sidelines
Report By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 10 2002
STEVE WATSON and Alessandro Pistone's chances of stepping up their bids for first-team recalls have been scuppered by injury. The defensive duo are both ruled out of tonight's FA Premier Reserve League fixture at Leeds. Watson, who missed almost all of the pre-season preparations and has yet to figure in David Moyes' first team this season, has played three reserve matches and was hoping to further his claims at Wakefield's Belle Vue ground. But the 28-year-old injured his groin in the 1-0 reserve victory win over Manchester City last week and has not fully recovered. Italian full-back Pistone last played for the first team on the final day of last season and is still struggling with a hamstring strain he picked up in Austria during pre-season. He played in the friendly at Shrewsbury, but his injury problems persisted and the 27-year-old has been sidelined ever since.
Both players have been in light training, but neither is likely to figure tonight. Fellow defender Alan Stubbs is also out of the match after missing Monday's defeat against Manchester United with a bad back. He is still sore and will not feature in an otherwise strong line-up, which includes Joe-Max Moore, who has been out with a knee injury. The USA international striker hopes to play the full 90 minutes. Meanwhile, after consideration, Goodison Park officials will not lodge a formal appeal against David Weir's second-half sending-off against Manchester United. Manager Moyes was unhappy about the referee's decision, but the Blues will not appeal meaning Weir will miss the trip to West Ham United on November 2. A club spokesman said: "David Moyes, along with club officials, have looked again at the incident involving David Weir and have decided not to lodge a formal appeal. "However, if the referee was to take another look at the video himself, then that would be a different matter."
* EVERTON have urged supporters to buy tickets for the Blues Premiership match with Arsenal at Goodison Park as soon as possible. A club spokesman said: "Tickets are going fast and we don't want any our fans to be disappointed, so we are urging them to purchase a ticket as soon as possible. "The indications at this time are that the game will sell out."
Fergie in injury puzzle
Oct 10 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DUNCAN FERGUSON was at the centre of yet another injury mystery today. The big striker is believed to need another operation - this time to free a trapped sciatic nerve - and Everton are using the break in the Premiership fixture list to allow him to undergo surgery. No- one at Goodison would confirm or deny the story today, but significantly Ferguson is not involved in tonight's reserve team match at Leeds United. Officially the club says the player is suffering from "sickness," but rumours are circulating that the problem is more serious. He made a brief substitute appearance at Wrexham last week - his first competitive runout of the season - and was all set to come on again at Old Trafford on Monday until Ruud Van Nistelrooy's 89th minute goal ended the match.
Ferguson has been troubled with a lower back complaint since the end of last season, and also sustained an ankle injury playing for the reserves last month. Sciatic nerve surgery is not considered career threatening, but could keep the player sidelined for several weeks. Young defender Tony Hibbert has also received an injury setback. The full-back picked up a muscle strain during Monday's defeat at Old Trafford and has had to pull out of his first England under-21 squad.
Blues officials, meanwhile, have warned fans that tickets for the forthcoming visit of Arsenal have almost sold out. Head of Corporate Affairs and PR, Ian Ross, said: "More than 35,000 tickets have already been sold and we fully anticipate a sell-out. " This is a measure of Everton's progress under David Moyes, and Arsenal's standing as the most attractive side in Europe at present." Former Everton boss Walter Smith, meanwhile, has not applied for the managerial vacancy at Exeter City, as reported in some newspapers today.
Fergie in injury puzzle
Oct 10 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DUNCAN FERGUSON was at the centre of yet another injury mystery today. The big striker is believed to need another operation - this time to free a trapped sciatic nerve - and Everton are using the break in the Premiership fixture list to allow him to undergo surgery. No- one at Goodison would confirm or deny the story today, but significantly Ferguson is not involved in tonight's reserve team match at Leeds United. Officially the club says the player is suffering from "sickness," but rumours are circulating that the problem is more serious. He made a brief substitute appearance at Wrexham last week - his first competitive runout of the season - and was all set to come on again at Old Trafford on Monday until Ruud Van Nistelrooy's 89th minute goal ended the match.
Ferguson has been troubled with a lower back complaint since the end of last season, and also sustained an ankle injury playing for the reserves last month. Sciatic nerve surgery is not considered career threatening, but could keep the player sidelined for several weeks. Young defender Tony Hibbert has also received an injury setback. The full-back picked up a muscle strain during Monday's defeat at Old Trafford and has had to pull out of his first England under-21 squad. Blues officials, meanwhile, have warned fans that tickets for the forthcoming visit of Arsenal have almost sold out.
Head of Corporate Affairs and PR, Ian Ross, said: "More than 35,000 tickets have already been sold and we fully anticipate a sell-out. " This is a measure of Everton's progress under David Moyes, and Arsenal's standing as the most attractive side in Europe at present." Former Everton boss Walter Smith, meanwhile, has not applied for the managerial vacancy at Exeter City, as reported in some newspapers today.
Ferguson's fresh blow
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 11 2002
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S injury-blighted season suffered another setback last night with the news he is almost certain to be out until December. The Blues skipper visited a specialist yesterday in an attempt to find the cause of his persistent back problems. And Everton's worst fears were confirmed by the news the striker requires an operation to free a trapped nerve in his back which will sideline the 30-year-old for up to six weeks. It is a sickening blow for Ferguson - who has made just one fleeting appearance for the Blues this season - but it is hoped the surgery will eradicate his niggling injury worries. "We have tried various measures and it is not really settling down and he is still struggling with it," said Blues' head physio Mick Rathbone. "He is having an exploratory operation to try and free up a nerve where we think the problem is coming from. "I think it is worth making the point that he has been trying to play on in discomfort. He's been giving it everything he's got and it is fair to say he has been struggling. "He is only 30 years of age and we want to give him every opportunity and, if that means keeping him out for six weeks, then we have to because the most important thing from our point of view is to get him 100 per cent fit." Everton have taken advantage of this weekend's Premiership break and given Ferguson - who has also suffered an ankle injury this season - the green light to go under the knife once again during his Goodison career.
His only appearance this season came at Wrexham last Tuesday when he came on as substitute for 16 minutes in the 3-0 Worthington Cup win. But the morning after he complained of severe soreness and it was then that a decision was taken to explore the possibility of further surgery. Rathbone added: "He is a very tough guy with a very high pain threshold but there is only so much a guy can take. "He has been in full training for the last couple of weeks though there is no doubt about it that he is in discomfort all the time. "As you know he has had this problem for a year now and after the Wrexham game when he came on as sub he was really sore. "He was experiencing major discomfort and we then decided to try and do something about it because it was unfair to expect him to play on in that state." Tony Hibbert, meanwhile, has pulled out of the England under-21 squad after sustaining a muscle strain during Monday's defeat at Manchester United.
* WAYNE ROONEY made his England under-19s debut last night in a 2-2 draw with Yugoslavia in a friendly at Kidderminster. The 16-year-old striker played 45 minutes before being replaced at half-time, while Everton colleague Steven Schumacher came on as a second-half substitute.
Everton ready to build on results
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 11 2002
WHATEVER level you play at a derby match will always be just that bit more than an ordinary game.
And with Everton's two Academy teams taking on their Liverpool counterparts at the Reds' Kirkby Academy there is no doubt two keenly-contested matches will take place. Colin Harvey's under-19s go into the match in a rich vein of form with three wins and a draw, the latest victory coming at home to Wolves last week. And they have leapfrogged their neighbours into fourth spot in the Academy table, although only goal difference separates the two sides. But the Blues will just be hoping to continue that good form. Harvey said: "Local derbies are always good games to play in at any level. We want to carry on and do well. But basically it is not about runs. You just want to see them trying to bring to fruition the things you work on in training. "If they are working hard and applying themselves properly, and you can see that, then you are happy with them. "The lads will be keyed up but it shouldn't be any different from any other game in that sense." Alan Moogan returned back from his eye injury last week and he could be joined in the squad by midfielder Scott Brown. Damon Martland limped off last Saturday after a heavy knock halfway through the first half but the Blues are hopeful that the winger will be fit for tomorrow. Craig Garside is still a week or two away from full fitness, as is Franklyn Colbeck. Harvey said: "The lads who have come in have done very well and taken their chances and they'll be staying in the side." Alan Harper's under-17s also take on Dave Shannon's Liverpool side and after halting a run of two defeats with an excellent draw against Wolves last week, they will look to build on that. The two Merseyside clubs lie sixth and seventh in the league with the Blues two points behind the Reds, but with a game in hand.
Academy director Ray Hall said: "Everybody knows each other and many of them have grown up together so they look forward to the matches. "Whatever anybody says it is Liverpool and Everton and the youngsters are always keyed up. "Again nobody wants to make it out into anything that it shouldn't be but it will be competitive and everybody, staff and players, look forward to it.
"The job of the Academies is to develop players and to do that you need to play good football."
Leeds United Res 1, Everton Res 1
Oct 11 2002
EVERTON Reserves earned a valuable point against Leeds United at the home of Wakefield Trinity.
A young Blues side took the lead on 40 minutes thanks to a strike from Alan Moogan. The youngster fired home from a David Carney cross to put the Blues ahead against the run of play. Paul Gerrard was kept busy in the Everton goal but coped well and made good stops from the Leeds' front two of Bridges and McMaster. Gerrard was left helpless though with 10 minutes left when United substitute Caleb Folan hammered home an unstoppable 25-yard effort to earn the home side a point. EVERTON RESERVES: Gerrard, Pilkington, Feng, Southern, Crowder, O'Hanlon, Moogan, Moore, Carney, McLeod, Chadwick. Subs: Simonsen, Colbeck, Flood, Garside.
Li boys say no to China
Oct 11 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON duo Li Tie and Li Wei Feng have called a year-long halt to their international careers - in a bid to prove themselves in the Premiership. Blues' boss David Moyes has revealed that both men will not play for their country for a year - with the blessing of their FA - as they try to build on promising starts to careers in England. The Chinese breakaway has delighted him. "The distances involved in representing their country are so great that it was a worry," said Moyes. "I have spoken to both of them and they have told me thay will not play for China for a year, which is good for us."
Both Tie and Wei Feng were stars of China's World Cup campaign in the summer, before joining Everton as part of the sponsorship deal with Kejian. Li Tie has been an ever-present for the Blues this season, and in the club's Megastore requests for shirts with his name on are outsold only by Wayne Rooney's. " He has surprised me,"admitted Moyes."I saw him as more of a squad player when he first arrived, but I always hoped he would pick it up quickly. "He is a really determined boy and he has done a lot of gym work to improve his strength. He is adjusting to the pace now, is getting stronger and has done really well. "Both players are also picking up the language as well, which is important too, because communication was a problem at first." The Blues, meanwhile, have confirmed yesterday's report that Duncan Ferguson needs an operation to free a trapped nerve in his back. He will be out of action for six weeks. Physio Mick Rathbone explained: "He is having an exploratory op to try and free up a nerve where we think the problem is coming from. "I think it is worth making the point that he hs been trying to play on in some discomfort. He's been giving it everything he's got and it is fair to say he has been struggling. "He is a very tough guy with a very high pain threshold but there is only so much a guy can take." Rathbone added: "He is only 30 years of age and we want to give him every opportunity and if that means keeping him out for six weeks then we have to, because the most important thing from our point of view is to get him 100 per cent fit."
Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, played 45 minutes for England under-19s last night.
Liverpool U19's 4, Everton U19's 2
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 14 2002
LIVERPOOL under-19 s scored a deserved victory over Everton U19s in the FA Academy Premier League at the Academy on Saturday. Goals from Adam Flynn, David Raven, Mark Smyth and Darren Potter gave John Owens' side their third win in the last four matches, but it put an end to a similar run by Colin Harvey's Everton. The Blues started the brighter but Steven Beck shot wide from the edge of the box and Craig Garside had another effort blocked by Liverpool captain Zak Whitbread.
Liverpool's first real chance fell to winger Mark Peers. Playing on the left instead of his more familiar right-hand role, he cut inside but fired just over from 20 yards. The game was fairly even but Liverpool began to fashion more chances. And after 17 minutes Reds defender Stephen McNulty saw his header cleared off the line superbly by Beck after Smyth's corner was only half-cleared.
Just before the half-hour mark Reds midfielder Adam Flynn linked superbly with Steven Gillespie to almost break the deadlock. After cutting in from the right and swapping passes with the U19s' top scorer, Flynn's fierce shot from 20 yards cracked the underside of the bar before rebounding to safety. The visitors were always lively on the break and were themselves denied by the woodwork after 36 minutes. Brian Moogan's 20-yard free-kick was pushed aside by Republic of Ireland youth international Tim Dittmer in the Liverpool goal and David Carney thumped the rebound against the outside of the post from an acute angle. Just as it appeared the half would end goalless, the Reds opened the scoring. With four minutes to go before the break midfielder Ian Dawes broke into the box, but after both he and Mark Smyth had seen scuffed efforts cleared, Flynn left Cole in the Everton goal with little chance as he lashed home from 12 yards. The Blues came out after the break determined to get back into the match and almost profited a minute into the half, when Martin Crowder's cross just evaded 16-year-old substitute Paul Hopkins, but the ball almost rebounded in off Flynn. Dittmer, though, was down well to save. Almost immediately, however, Liverpool doubled their advantage. A raking crossfield ball by Potter found Raven, playing at right-back, ghosting in at the back. The England youth international slammed his low shot across goal into the bottom corner to make it 2-0. It looked to be game over for the Blues. As well as being two goals down, they had had to reshuffle with injuries to defender Robert Southern, Craig Garside and midfielder Alan Moogan. But Hopkins gave them hope after 57 minutes when his smart turn just inside the box was matched by an equally adept finish, low under Dittmer's body to claw a goal back. The Blues needed no encouragement to go in search of an equaliser but the luck was against them once more just before the hour when Carney saw his excellent header from Barry's cross rebound back off the underside of the bar and Flynn blocked Hopkins' follow-up. There was hardly time to draw breath before the Blues grabbed the equaliser. Substitute Robert Booth's header from Carney's right-wing corner appeared to cross the line anyway before a combination of Hopkins and Barry made certain.
But the Blues' stunning comeback was in vain as within 30 seconds of the restart the Reds were back in front as Smyth powered a header past Cole from Peers' left-wing cross to make it 3-2.
The goal deflated the Blues and it appeared there would be only one winner. Peers saw his fierce shot beaten out by Cole on 68 minutes and Smyth and Dawes both had efforts to increase the home side's lead before Potter eventually did. The Liverpool midfielder, who was let go by the Goodison club as a schoolboy, relished his goal. He knew from the minute it left his boot he had registered with his low 20-yard effort. And it gave Liverpool the derby honours.
LIVERPOOL U19s: Dittmer; Raven, Butler, Whitbread, McNulty; Flynn, Dawes (Vaughan 83), Potter, Peers; Smyth, Gillespie (Massie 30). Subs Harrison. EVERTON U19s: Cole, Potter, Crowder, Schumacher, Southern (Hopkins 46); Carney, B Moogan, A Moogan (Booth 48); Garside (Colbeck 46), Barry. BOOKINGS: Everton's Alan Moogan and Hopkins.
* ALAN HARPER'S Everton under-17s scored an excellent 3-0 over Liverpool U17s at the Kirkby Academy on Saturday. Goals from Joey Jones, Andy Fowler and Gavin Lynch sealed the derby victory. Dave Shannon's home side had Scottish winger Robbie Foy sent off for two bookable offences.
Wayne on watch to see another Rooney special
Oct 14 2002 By Tim Johnson
LIVERPOOL Schoolboy manager Dylan Williams was disconcerted to be greeted by grins and laughter when he met his lads in the Players' Lounge at the Soccer Centre on Saturday before the English Trophy tie against Kirkby Knowsley. "I started talking and it caused great amusement. I couldn't work it out, they are usually very focused before games and it wasn't until I spotted Wayne Rooney sitting with a big smile on his face among them that I realised what was happening," he said.
"He had come in to wish the lads good luck and have a chat and I had just burst in and started organising without noticing him. "I couldn't believe it; it was really funny, and I thought I'd made a new signing! Williams went on: "But seriously, he is really welcome any time. It's good of him to give up his spare time. It gave the team a real boost." "Some of the lads who watch Wayne at Goodison had a quiet smile at the thought of him paying £1 admission to return the compliment, which also entitled him to a free go in the raffle." The Everton striker, who became the youngest goalscorer in Blues history almost a fortnight ago in the Worthington Cup win at Wrexham, was there to support his brother, Graham. And he did not let his more famous brother down, scoring a fantastic goal in a game which finished 1-1. "Maybe in the future I'll let Wayne do the talking and just keep quiet," Williams added. Wayne is a product of the Everton Academy and opted not to play for the under-15 city team. But he was no stranger to scoring goals at junior level. In 1996-97, he smashed the under -11 city team scoring record, previously held by Stephen Redmond, rattling in 72 goals. Not surprisingly, the record still stands. His former Under-11 manager Tim O'Keeffe, a deputy head at St Paschal Baylon JS, has fond memories of his brilliant striker. He said: "He had similar attributes that he has today, only they have been much enhanced and refined. I wish I had known he was at the game. I would have loved to say hello."
Pembridge has staying power
Oct 14 2002 By Paul Walker, Echo Correspondent
MARK Pembridge has pledged to keep on running to power Wales to great things ahead of their tough Euro 2004 qualifier against Italy this week. Wales boss Mark Hughes relies on his former Everton teammate's energy at both ends of the field and Pembridge is more than willing to do the hard running his country needs. Pembridge said: "I have a more defensive role for Wales, more central and designed to protect the back four. For Everton I'm wide on the left, but both roles are all about high energy and tackling. "My job is to run. But to play midfield these days, as opposed to 10 years ago, you must do a hell of a lot more running now. "The game is quicker. But I do enjoy the running, I've always seemed to be able to do that." Pembridge took time to overcome a recent injury and impress new boss David Moyes at Goodison Park, but is now as much a fixture there as he is after 10 years with Wales. He said: "Wales have been doing well and it's helped that Everton are starting to play some decent stuff as well, it's gone hand in hand with the improvement with Wales.
"At Everton we are determined now to try to get the ball on the floor and to pass it better. That seems to be working." Pembridge knows Welsh fans are expecting the might of Italy to be given a fright in the Millennium Stadium. He said: "Everybody is expecting a lot from us now after the good results we've had. And we are confident and believe in what we do. "And it's all down to us being so much better organised. Everybody knows their job, knows where they should be at any given time in a game and it is paying off and that's because of Mark Hughes. "I'm sure he will finalise his contract soon, and all the players want to see him around for as long as he wants the job. He's enjoying this recent success as much as we are."
Dalglish signs up Rooney
Oct 14 2002 By Chris Bascombe, Echo Reporter
EVERTON starlet Wayne Rooney has been signed by the Liverpool legend he's tipped to emulate - Kenny Dalglish. Anfield hero Dalglish has played a pivotal role in recruiting Rooney to the highly respected Proactive Sports Management agency. The 16-year-old is to sign one of the most lucrative contracts ever for a teenager with the Paul Stretford lead organisation before the end of the year.
Dalglish is a director of football for the firm and was instrumental in luring the Goodison wonderkid to one of England's most powerful agents. The youngster had his choice of representatives since establishing himself as of Europe's hottest teenage talents, but meetings with Dalglish helped tip the balance. The decision will also have been influenced by an already powerful stable of Everton players signed with Proactive. They incude Kevin Campbell, Alan Stubbs, Steve Watson, Thomas Gravesen, Scot Gemmill and Joe-Max Moore. Rooney has been represented by Merseyside agents Dave Lockwood and Peter Macintosh, but the speed of the player's rise to fame made a move to a bigger agency inevitable. Rooney's father, Wayne senior, confirmed he would not be renewing the contract with his current agents when it expires in December. It is from then he will be represented by Proactive. The True Blue, who took Wayne to his first Everton game when he was about six-months-old, is well aware of Dalglish's connection with the company, but laughed off any suggestion that his son would feel uncomfortable being linked to the Liverpool legend. He said: "I don't think there's any problem as far as Wayne or the family are concerned!" The striker will sign his first professional contract at Goodison on October 24. The three-year deal will be the most profitable first time contract in football history. Proactive also represent the likes of Andy Cole and Peter Schmeichel.
Naysmith sights on Goodison team run
Oct 14 2002 Report by JON WEST
GARY NAYSMITH has targeted a return to the Everton first team after helping fire Berti Vogts to his first victory as Scotland manager. The Blues defender scored in his country's 2-0 victory in Iceland on Saturday - and then revealed it was a double first. For not only was it his debut goal for the Scots, it was also the first time in his career he had found the net using his right foot.
Naysmith's Scotland career has been dogged by injury and the 23-year-old has missed out on twice as many internationals than the eight he has played in so far. And once again fitness fears are troubling a player who was once bizarrely hurt falling down a manhole while preparing to take a throw-in during a Scotland under-21 international. Naysmith was hurt in the first half when he became a victim of an uneven pitch. He was stretchered off for treatment on a twisted knee but returned to score that memorable goal. He said: "I felt something twist and luckily it was nothing major. I have got a bit of swelling behind the knee. "I just hope it is not too serious so I can get a run in the Everton team. "I can't expect to keep being picked for Scotland if I'm not playing for Everton." Of his goal in Reykjavik, he added: "It's the first goal I've scored with my right foot as a professional and it couldn't have come at a better time really. "It was just a spur of the moment thing. I just stuck my leg out to control it and I think I caught the goalkeeper unawares. The last goal I scored was 18 months ago." The win puts Scotland top of their group, and Naysmith added: "Berti stuck by the players and this is great for him. "It has taken a little bit of pressure off. There is a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel I suppose."
Blues treble secures Derby win
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 15 2002
A JOEY JONES and a Fowler struck to help Everton under-17s on the way to 3-0 victory in Saturday's FA Premier Academy League derby at Kirkby. Two names synonymous with across the park, plus Gavin Lynch's third goal of the season, gave the Blues an excellent win - their second victory of the campaign. Jones gave Alan Harper's side the lead as his well-struck shot flew in via a deflection in the first 90 seconds. Fowler - in this case Andy not Robbie - added a second on the hour. And Liverpool were down to 10 men when Lynch sealed the win. Harper was obviously delighted with both the result and performance of his team. He said: "The lads have gone about it the right way. It was a very physical game, which is always the way with derby games. "They kept their discipline and did the right things and they have got their reward in the end. They are pleased and I am quite pleased how they went about it. "The first one was a good strike by Joey Jones. It took a bit of a deflection, but it was going on target. The other two were a bit scrappy but you take them.
"It is basically the same squad as last season but when there are injuries with Colin's (Harvey) side they go up to the U19s and the U16s come up into the U17s and it is good for them because they are playing in good quality games. "Mark Hughes is a schoolboy and I must say he played very well at centrehalf. Goalkeeper Craig Gallagher is an U15 and Jay Harrison came on after about 15 or 20 minutes and did very well. Andy Fowler, who scored, is also an U16s player, so I was pleased with all of the younger lads. "It has given them a big boost. You always like winning games like that - it doesn't matter what level it is at they like winning games against Liverpool. "There were a lot of positives." Colin Harvey was disappointed by his side's 4-2 defeat against Liverpool on Saturday. Goals from substitutes Paul Hopkins and Robert Booth helped the Blues come back from two goals down but the Reds still went on to win. Harvey said: "I thought they deserved to win. The game was even until they got the two goals. "Generally speaking I didn't think there was a lot in it until the first goal. I didn't think either side was playing particularly well. But the first goal settled them. "We come back well but we needed more time to sit on the draw, particularly with all the readjustments, but they got the third goal and after that they were always in control and deservedly ran out winners. The Blues lost three influential players - Alan Moogan, Craig Garside and Robert Southern - to injury, but Harvey felt they still should have coped better. He added: "We got no excuses. Things like injuries happen and you've got to adjust, and we didn't."
Pembridge praise for Goodison revolution
Report By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Oct 15 2002
EVERTON'S Mark Pembridge believes David Moyes' brand of passing football is yielding tangible rewards. The Blues midfielder, preparing for Wales' Euro 2004 qualifier against Italy tomorrow, reckons Everton have stepped up a level since Moyes took charge eight months ago.
The 31-year-old said: "Wales have been doing well and it's helped that Everton are starting to play some decent stuff as well. It's gone hand in hand with the improvement with Wales.
"At Everton we are determined now to try to get the ball on the floor and to pass it better. That seems to be working." Pembridge took time to overcome a recent injury and impress new manager Moyes, but is now a fixture at Goodison Park. And his words of praise echo those of Sir Alex Ferguson. The Manchester United boss said the Blues team that cruelly lost at Old Trafford last week was the best Everton side he had seen for years. Moyes, meanwhile, has been handed a triple injury boost ahead of Saturday's Premiership clash against Arsenal. The Blues welcome back defenders Alessandro Pistone, Steve Watson and Alan Stubbs for the reserves' home game against Blackburn Rovers tonight. Watson is desperate to put an end to his injury worries, having missed most of the pre-season programme and been prevented from playing in the first team this campaign.
The 28-year-old's frustrating start to the season was compounded when he jarred his groin in the reserves' 1-0 win over Manchester City three weeks ago. This latest setback denied Watson the chance to step up his comeback in the second string's 1-1 draw with Leeds United last week, but he has been given the all-clear for tonight. Pistone, 27, is also aiming to draw a line under his injuryplagued Blues career after he aggravated a hamstring injury in the pre-season win over Shrewsbury Town.
Radzinski warning to Scots
Report By Chris Roberts, Daily Post
Oct 15 2002
EVERTON striker Tomasz Radzinski believes Canada can bring Scotland back to down to earth tonight, following Berti Vogts' side's impressive 2-0 win against Iceland on Saturday.
The Canadian hitman will lead the line against the Scots in the Easter Road friendly encounter.
The 28-year-old Goodison Park star admits he does not have great knowledge about the Scottish game, but he believes tonight's match is an important step in Canada's 2006 World Cup preparations. He said: "I'm looking forward-to this game and how we are going to do because we have a young team and we want to try and get to the World Cup in 2006. "We are trying to build it up and the Scotland game will be a very good test for us. "I don't really have many views on the Scottish game because it is not an interest of mine. "But I know we came here to try and get a good result. The players and fans will be really going for it. "I think if we survive the first 20 minutes then we have a good chance of getting a result." Radzinski is finding his form at Everton this season after the Toffees paid £4.5million to Anderlecht for him last year, which gives the Polish-born front man the distinction of being Canada's most expensive player ever. He is set to earn his 15th cap, which could have been a lot more had he not had a disagreement with the Canada coach which saw him exiled from international football for several years. I hadn't played for a few years for Canada but I've been trying to establish myself in the national team again and be part of it," he said.
"I had a little bit of a problem with the manager, but he convinced me to come back.
"He showed me his ideas and it was something that was in the same direction as my ideas.
"That's why, more or less, I decided to come back. "Hopefully, we can eventually go to the World Cup in Germany. We have to take it step by step."
'New boy' Pistone out to impress Moyes
Oct 15 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
DAVID MOYES will run the rule over a new Everton fullback tonight - a player who has been at the club for two years! Alessandro Pistone makes his first competitive appearance since April in the reserves' home game against Blackburn, with Moyes warning he has a fight on his hands to reclaim a first team place. "I have seen Alessandro in training this season but not a lot more," said Moyes.
"He played in a practice match behind closed doors the Tuesday before the season started, then we trained at Goodison Park on the Thursday. We were just about to finish when Alessandro pulled his hamstring, otherwise he would have been in contention for a place on the first day of the season.
"I want modern players who are robust. Injuries are part and parcel of football, but I want players who really want to get out there and be involved. This is Alessandro's chance. What he needs is to get games in. "But the boys who have played there have done well and he will have a job to get back in the team - like the other players who are out at the moment. "There is competition for places and they will all have to work really hard and when they get their chance be in the right kind of condition to take it." Gary Naysmith, who is competing with Pistone for the left-back berth at Goodison, is hoping to shake off a knee strain to take his place in Scotland's friendly against Canada tonight. "Gary Naysmith played in the first four games of the season so he has had an opportunity to show me what he can do," added Moyes. "He went out with injury at Manchester City so I am quite glad he is with Scotland, to keep his fitness levels up." After scoring his first international goal for the Scots on Saturday in Iceland, Naysmith is bracing himself for an unusual reception . . . a hero's welcome for a former Hearts man at the home of fierce rivals Hibernian! Telford United's 19-year-old midfielder Jordan King, meanwhile, is expected to play in tonight's game at the Autoquest Stadium (7pm).
Blues aiming to ruffle Wenger
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Oct 16 2002
YES, YES, YES!! Is that the sound we'll hear spilling out of Goodison on Saturday evening after the visit of the League's Invincibles? Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made his side a hostage to fortune by suggesting his Double-winners can sail through the Premier-ship's shoals without sustaining the slightest structural damage. And if that doesn't give Everton the incentive to pull off an upset, after the travails of Old Trafford, nothing will. Manager David Moyes knows all about Invincibles, having come from Deepdale where Preston North End's team of the 1890s survived a whole season undefeated, admittedly in a first division which stretched only to 20-odd games. A large plaque paying tribute to the only Invincibles was proudly pointed out to me by the then newly-knighted Sir Tom Finney, who himself graced some outstanding Preston teams, none of whom went on to repeat the so far unrepeatable. Everton possess the midfield structure to snag the free-flowing Arsenal style and the Blues are scoring goals, even if the defence keeps playing collapso at the most inappropriate moments. Richard Wright will have something to prove and will probably get plenty of opportunity to show Wenger that the Frenchman does make mistakes - if not very often. Ditto for Kevin Campbell, who was a George Graham man. A sell-out crowd guarantees an electric atmosphere inside the stadium and I suspect the game will match it for intensity. Everton must win the midfield battles against Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva if they're to flourish, while Joseph Yobo and David Weir must ensure that whoever plays up front for the Gunners - and Thierry Henry is clearly the main threat along with Freddie Ljungberg - don't find the room to work in.
Arsenal's struggles against West Ham and Bolton show that the Premiership leaders sometimes sag against less sophisticated sides. That should encourage the new Dogs of War to snap and snarl their way to victory.
Everton Res 2, Blackburn Res 2
Oct 16 2002
A LATE Blackburn equaliser denied Everton Reserves a deserved victory at the Halton Stadium as the Blues could only draw 2-2. Alan Stubbs and Alessandro Pistone were both in the Everton line-up as the home side took the lead through a Nick Chadwick penalty. However the visitors were level soon after the break when the returning Matt Jansen cracked home a 30-yard stunner. Everton were back in front though on 76 minutes when David Carney fired a left-foot shot from the edge of the area. The Blues looked like earning another victory until Neil Danns made no mistake from 10 yards out to give Rovers a share of the points.
EVERTON RESERVES: Simonsen, O'Hanlon Pistone, Stubbs, Pilkington, King, Carney, Schumacher, Moore, Chadwick, McLeod. Subs: Cole, Crowder, Colbeck, A Moogan.
Five Blues for England
Oct 16 2002
WITH five players from Everton's Academy set-up called up at international level for England at various age groups the Blues are gaining a wider audience for their impressive efforts in youth football. Peter Clarke and Tony Hibbert are now part of David Platt's under-21 squad, Wayne Rooney and Steven Schumacher were involved at under-19 level last week and the latest youngster who is set to represent his country is schoolboy defender Sean Wright. Wright is part of the England under-16s squad for the annual Victory Shield as they face Northern Ireland in Ballymena on Friday, October 18. Wright is following in some famous footsteps of those Everton youngsters who have represented England at schoolboy level, not least two of the latest in Clarke and Rooney.
Academy director Ray Hall said: "It is good to see the number of representatives we have got at the moment with England - Peter Clarke and Tony Hibbert in the U21s, Wayne Rooney and Steven Schumacher with the U19s and Sean Wright with the U16s. "Speaking to Sean's parents they are obviously delighted and full of praise for our Academy programme which has helped them to develop to this stage." Although Hall cautioned about getting carried away, he feels international football is another part of any promising youngster's development. "Nobody gets carried away with the call-up. Sometimes it has a lot to do with age ranges. "We have got one or two talented U16s who, because they were born prior to Christmas, are in an international year with players who are a year above them. "But no-one is taking away the fact that it is a great complement to our programme and to the work Sean and his family have put in."
The long and winding road
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 16 2002
PLAYING for England is every schoolboy's dream. But if that dream happens while still a schoolboy it doesn't always mean a glittering career at the top of the game follows. The drop-out rate for England schoolboy internationals is very high and for every Michael Owen, who continued his progress at every level, there is a player like Chris O'Brien, who after captaining the national side and joining Liverpool now plies his trade in the Nationwide Conference with Chester City.
And while at 19 he has every chance of making a decent career in the game, there are no certainties that players who reach England level in youth football will develop into full internationals.
Everton's Peter Clarke partnered O'Brien in the centre of defence at international level and has already made the breakthrough at club level, playing 11 times for his boyhood favourites at Goodison. He is now at Blackpool on loan trying to make a point and return to Goodison a stronger player. His recent elevation to David Platt's England under-21s means he is at least on the right lines.
And despite the failure of many players at junior international level to go on to play in World Cups like Michael Owen, Clarke says it is not the pressure to succeed that causes the problems.
He said: "There are probably more players from the schoolboys or those that have played different levels for England that are not in the game anymore than the boys that actually come through and are still playing and making a living. "But I don't feel any added pressure. Every time I play for England it is brilliant - I love every minute of it and it is real honour. "Whether it is for England, Blackpool, Everton, whoever it is for I just go out to enjoy and play to win." At Blackpool he is playing under another player who followed a similar route into the game. Assistant to manager Steve McMahon, Mark Seagraves captained the England schoolboys in the early 1980s.
And the centre-half made his Liverpool debut in 1985 in an FA Cup tie at York City. Soon after he also played in a League Cup semi-final at Loftus Road against QPR. Despite the formidable presence of Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Gary Gillespie ahead of him at Anfield, it seemed that he had a genuine chance to make the breakthrough. But no further chances came his way and he had to move away. He had a solid professional career at Manchester City, Bolton and Swindon Town but he says it can be hard to make the adjustment from schoolboy star to professional The 35-year-old said: "At the time when I was there (at Liverpool) everyone was a full international, so I was a little fish - a very little fish - at the club and big fish at international level. "It is difficult at big clubs because the players are all full internationals so you have got to be out of the ordinary really to break into the first teams. "I played a couple of games but I obviously wasn't good enough to get in at Liverpool on a regular basis. So I decided to move on. "And it is similar now. It's difficult because if you are playing in the Premier League you've got to be a top player because of all the foreigners, and in a way that is what happened with me. didn't have a really great career but I had a good one. I played in a cup final at Wembley, I played at Wembley six times in fact and had a lot of good times.
"But I also had the downs like having to leave Liverpool, not being picked and injured and so on. And having to pack in at 32 through injury." So despite the obvious opportunities being a schoolboy star brings, it is no guarantee of further success. John Owens was the England school-boys' manager from 1994-1997 and he was in charge when the television documentary World at their feet was filmed, capturing some stars at an early age who have gone on to grace the Premiership like Arsenal and former Everton striker Francis Jeffers, Leeds and full England international Alan Smith and Charlton midfielder Scott Parker. Owens is now the under-19s coach at Liverpool's Academy in Kirkby but he is well placed to know why so few players come through to continue their development from being a schoolboy international. He feels it is only natural that only a select few can truly make it big. He said: "It is bound to be inbuilt into any system where, as I did, you choose a small squad of 16 players at the age of 15 - only to find that five years later things have changed. It is not a surprise really. "Obviously you would like some to still be in the frame. Michael Owen was and still is and so is Joe Cole from my time. But it would actually be quite rare to find that all 16 were.
"There will be certain ones who are showing well at that age and that's why they've been selected. They have got potential, but things can happen. They can dip but also other players can develop faster. "Sometimes it can be that at a certain club they don't get on with the coach. It might not have been right for them and it just hasn't worked out." But with all the money and added pressure to succeed in the game, it can be daunting for youngsters. Even so Owens feels the players can usually cope. He said: "I don't think the pressure gets to them. Sure they get nervous when they are playing at Wembley against Germany or somebody. That is a huge game. But it's only what you would expect from a 15-year-old boy. I don't think they bottle out. "There can be a lot of factors as to why it doesn't work out for them. It might be they meet up with the kind of life they can lead when they get paid a bit more money. Partying, booze, girls - who knows." One of those elements is physical development. Many of the smaller, skilful players like Owen, Cole and Smith have thrived because their skill made up for any disadvantage they may have had physically. But muscular teenage defenders sometimes find they no longer have a physical advantage as they get older and it becomes harder for them to dominate matches. David Raven is another defender at Liverpool who captained the England schoolboy side, and is continuing to thrive in the Reds' U19s side.
But despite playing alongside Everton's Wayne Rooney for England, he is likely to have to wait to get his chance at first-team level, unlike his younger and smaller team-mate. Owens said: "Raven is a centre-back and it may well be that there are other guys who haven't been picked ahead of him at this stage, who may have a big growth spurt. And they might end up being much taller than him at 22. "And they might be picked ahead of him just for the kind of position he plays in. Because a lot of the game at that level is dealing with headers, for example. "He has shown the capability at this age to go on and play for England against foreign opposition and that is no mean feat. And obviously that gives him an edge at the moment. What he wants to do is keep that edge for years to come. Because the crucial bit will be what is he like when he is 21." Whether Clarke or Raven or either of the two latest schoolboy internationals (Sean Wright at Everton or Danny Guthrie at Liverpool) can do what Sea-graves missed out on - be a success on Merseyside - remains to be seen. But it would seem that youngsters should just enjoy their chance of international football, because sadly it could be one of the few opportunities they get to play for their country.
Watson hit by new woe
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 16 2002
STEVE WATSON'S injury misery has deepened even further after the Everton defender damaged knee ligaments in training. The Blues star was set to return from a groin strain in last night's reserve clash with Blackburn Rovers only to suffer a third injury setback of the season. Watson, 28, has not made a single appearance for the first team this term after pulling a hamstring in pre-season and then straining his groin in a reserve comeback against Manchester City three weeks ago.
The former Newcastle and Aston Villa man admitted he has been left to challenge for a mid-field role in David Moyes' side by the emergence of Tony Hibbert at right-back this season.
But now even those hopes are on hold, possibly for up to a month, as a result of this latest injury setback. Hibbert, meanwhile, is on course to face Arsenal this Saturday despite suffering a slight hamstring strain in the harsh defeat at Manchester United last week. The Blues youngster was forced to pull out of his first England under-21 call-up at the weekend with the problem but is responding to treatment ahead of the Double winners' visit. Alessandro Pistone, Alan Stubbs and Nick Chadwick all stepped up their fitness bids in last night's reserve draw with Blackburn, but Scotland hero Gary Naysmith - who missed the friendly against Canada - is doubtful for the Arsenal clash with a knee injury. Duncan Ferguson is set to return to action at the end of the year as expected after initial reports declared his latest operation a success. The injury-plagued striker is recovering from having a trapped sciatic nerve in his back freed last week and Everton's medical team are confident surgery will cure Ferguson of the problem that has dogged him all year.
Blues boss Moyes could have to contend with Chinese call-ups after all despite last week's declaration that both Li Tie and Li Weifeng have ruled themselves out of international duty for the next 12 months. Moyes hopes to have his Chinese duo available all season after discussing travel problems with the World Cup pair. But both Tie and Weifeng have now insisted they will play for the country if selected. However, that is believed to apply only to next year's Asian Games qualifiers and not any friendly fixtures. Midfielder Li Tie, an ever-present for the Blues this season, said: "There is no doubting my commitment to my country. "I am sure there has been a misunderstanding and I will use my actions to prove it. The Asian Games qualifying is the only major event next year and the full international team will go quiet for the next 12 months. The need to represent our country will be few and far between. But, if China are playing Brazil, do you think I will return or not?"
Defender Li Weifeng, who has made two senior starts since his summer arrival, added: "Li Tie and I have been closely watching what is happening back home. "The nation has taken the time to make me the player I am and in many respects, I am the product of their great care and patience.
"I know David Moyes wants both of us to stay for a year without any interruptions but, if the need arises, both of us will speak to him to seek some sort of compromise." Club officials are urging supporters to snap up tickets for the Arsenal game before Saturday. The Goodison clash is heading for a sell-out with only 2,000 tickets now remaining.
Hibbert looks set to make Arsenal return
Oct 16 2002 By Rob Brady Echo Reporter
BLUES defender Tony Hibbert looks set to shake off injury to face Double winners Arsenal on Saturday. The Everton backroom staff are pleased with the progress the young right back is making after a niggling hamstring injury forced him to pull out of the England under- 21 squad last week.
Hibbert, 21, has now been able to start light training and, bar any adverse reaction, should be available for the visit of the Gunners. Fellow defenders Alessandro Pistone and Alan Stubbs both came through the full 90 minutes of last night's reserve match with Blackburn with no reported problems. It was Pistone's first competitive match since April. But hapless Steve Watson's injury curse continues after he damaged knee ligaments during training. It is the third setback the defender has suffered this season. Watson has not featured for the Blues first team this campaign following groin and hamstring problems. And Gary Naysmith is in doubt for the Arsenal game after suffering a knee injury during Scot-land's 2-0 win over Iceland last weekend. Naysmith, who scored his first goal for Scotland in that match, said: "I felt something twist and luckily it was nothing major. I have swelling behind the knee."
Jeffers has Blues in his sights
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 17 2002
FRANCIS JEFFERS has former club Everton fixed in his sights after announcing his return to form in spectacular style this week. The injury-plagued Arsenal striker put his Highbury frustrations behind him with a clinical hat-trick for England's Under-21s on Tuesday. Now, as he ruled out quitting the Double winners in search of regular first-team football, the 21-year-old wants to cap a morale-boosting few days with a first team comeback at Goodison Park this weekend. Jeffers is in line for his first appearance at Everton since joining Arsene Wenger's side in a £10million deal 15 months ago. The boyhood Blue would be sure of a frosty reception from his former fans if he plays, but after a nightmare ordeal with ankle injuries that have seen him fall behind Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord in Wenger's pecking order, Jeffers is desperate to make up for lost time. The striker gave a rare glimpse of his massive potential in the 3-1 European Championship qualifier success against Macedonia in midweek, and also fired a brace in Friday's 4-0 victory in Slovakia. Jeffers now averages a goal a game from his 12 Under-21 appearances, but it is Wenger - not David Platt - he now has to convince. "It would be very nice to go back to my old club on Saturday and play," said Jeffers, linked with several moves in the summer; "But I have to wait and see. "Scoring five goals in two games is a great achievement, so I'm very happy at the moment. But, at the end of the day, the priority is to get into Arsenal's team. "It gets difficult for any footballer once you've been injured for three or four weeks. You start to get bored and think what you could be doing if you were playing. "Now I'll work hard and wait as long as it takes. I don't know when I'll get my chance, if ever, but hopefully I will and I'll take it. "Our strikers are all world-class, so I know I'll have to bide my time. "I'm confident in my own ability - and confident I'll break into the team.
Arsene's a clever manager and will know the time to put me in." Jeffers has made just two substitute appearances for the Gunners this season as he recovers from a serious ankle problem that has required two major operations. But he added: "The boss has told me not to worry about anything else apart from getting my ankle right - and things will start fitting into place from there.
"The lads have kept me going and Thierry, Dennis and Sylvain are always giving me encouragement, telling me to be patient and that my time will come. "It's nice to hear that coming from world-class strikers and I've learned a lot on the training pitch from them. I even went to watch them training when I was injured, to see what they were doing and to pick things up from them.
"I was made up for the lads to win the championship and the FA Cup. There's a buzz at the club and you want to be get involved. The way Arsenal are playing at the moment, wherever you go from there is a step down." Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, is winning his fight for fitness ahead of Saturday's Premiership clash. The Blues defender missed Scotland's midweek win over Canada with a swollen knee but is expected to recover in time for Arsenal's visit. Alan Stubbs is also back in the reckoning after recovering from the back injury that kept him out of the Manchester United defeat.
Alessandro Pistone reported no reaction to his hamstring injury after his reserve team comeback against Blackburn on Tuesday but is unlikely to be rushed back for first team duty this weekend.
* Members of North Korea's 1966 World Cup side revisit the scene of their Goodison Park epic with Portugal this Saturday. The team are in Britain to film a documentary about their 1966 exploits, when they stunned football to reach the quarter-finals of the competition - where they lost 5-3 to a Eusebio-inspired Portugal, and will be paraded at half-time as guests of the Blues.
Weir to face Gunners
Oct 17 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR will defy a FIFA ruling to face Arsenal at Goodison Park on Saturday. World football's governing body recently ordered that players sent off in a match must immediately miss their club's next fixture. Weir was dismissed in the closing minutes of Everton's last match at Manchester United. But the FA is ready to challenge FIFA's decision and stick with their current system of a suspension beginning 14 days after the date of the offence. The FA's website today said Weir was eligible for the visit of The Gunners and would miss the trip to West Ham a week on Sunday. David Moyes is preparing for Saturday's visit of the Champions with Weir in his plans. Everton's Chinese duo of Li Tie and Li Wei Feng, meanwhile, have denied they have agreed to withdraw from international football for a year. But the pair also explained that China have few international commitments between now and the end of the current season anyway. "The full international team will go quiet for the next 12 months and the need to represent our country will be few and far between," explained Li Tie "but if China are playing Brazil do you think I will return or not?
"I believe what was said was a misunderstanding. There is no doubting my commitment to my country." Li Wei Feng added: "Li Tie and I have been closely watching what is happening back home. The nation has taken the time to make me the player I am and in many respects I am the product of their great care and patience. "What I have today belongs to the country and the nation's need outweighs everything else. If the country calls me up I will not hesitate to return. "I think David Moyes wants both of us to stay for a year without any interruption, but if the need arises both of us will speak to him and seek some sort of compromise." Steve Watson, meanwhile, who tweaked knee ligaments in training this week, has shaken off the problem and is expected to be fit to play in Monday night's reserve match at West Bromwich Albion. Tony Hibbert's fitness was described as "85 per cent" this morning and he should be fit to continue against the Champions on Saturday.
Derby win spurs on Blues
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 18 2002
AFTER their excellent 3-0 derby win last week Alan Harper's Everton under-17s will hope to come through another tough test with flying colours tomorrow. Manchester United are the visitors to Netherton tomorrow in the FA Premier Academy League. Last week's derby win will have boosted Harper's young side's confidence and they are looking to claim a notable double. But United will be smarting after losing their own derby last week 2-1 to unbeaten league leaders Manchester City. That was only their second defeat of the season and they beat Harper side 1-0 at the end of last month at the Carrington Complex. But Everton were unlucky not to claim a point that day and will look to continue their improvement. But Harper is really looking for signs of development with results just a bonus. He said: "Even if we get beat as long as they go about it in the right way you are happy. "You just get on with it. It is not about results. Obviously it was good winning last Saturday, but we just take each games as it comes. And if they can carry on in the same way I will be happy."
With injuries at under-19 level one or two of Colin Harvey's side are likely to move up, but it will again give the promising schoolboys a chance to impress. The likes of goalkeeper Craig Gallagher, defender Mark Hughes, Jay Harrison and Andy Fowler, who all did so well in last Saturday's derby victory, should again get another opportunity to impress. One player who will not figure is Sean Wright. The defender is part of the England under-16s squad and will hope to play a part in tonight's Victory Shield match with Northern Ireland at the Ballymena Showgrounds. Harvey's under-19s will look to bounce back from Saturday's derby defeat when they also entertain Manchester United at Bellefield tomorrow. The defeat was more costly than just points and pride, as three of the team were taken off injured. Craig Garside's season took another bad turn. The Welsh youth international had only recently returned back after several weeks out with a knee injury, and he suffered a similar problem last weekend and had to be taken off. He is likely to be out for around a month, but the Blues are hopeful that Robert Southern, who had four stitches in a head wound, will play. Alan Moogan, who suffered a bad cut on his foot in last week's derby, will miss the match, along with long-term injury victim striker Michael Symes. Harvey said: "Craig has damaged medial ligaments in a knee. We don't know how long he will be out but he was out recently for four or five weeks with something similar so he is looking at something like that again. Robert had four stitches in his head, but should be okay to play, but Alan is likely to be missing."
No easy ride for Arsenal superstars
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 18 2002
After a break for internationals there's nothing like a game against the Woolwich Arsenal to ease you gently back into the swing of things. Obviously we're not fancied at all against Arsene Wenger's superb side but then we weren't expected to give Manchester United much of a run for their money either. Before we concede defeat we should also bear in mind that it took an outrageously lucky goal from Sylvain Wiltord for the Gunners to beat us at Goodison last year as they marched towards the title. The superstars from North London will be aware that they will have to take us seriously if they're to preserve this unbeaten record that goes back to around the time of the fall of Saigon.
The game could see the Everton prodigies of past and present on the same pitch at some point. Wayne Rooney will be keen to go up against the best again after his impressive cameo at Old Trafford while Francis Jeffers, fresh from his hat-trick for the England under-21s, could play some part for the visitors. It's always nice to see returning players get a warm reception from the crowd but sadly this Everton tradition seems to be dying out. Following the acrimonious parting of the ways between Jeffers and his boyhood club, and his reaction after scoring at Highbury last season, it would seem likely that he is yet another who won't be welcomed back with open arms.
No doubt Thierry Henry will get the pantomime villain treatment as well after his Bob Beaman style leap at David Weir last time he was at Goodison. All things considered it promises to be an intense atmosphere. While this last week saw one left-back, Gary Naysmith, scoring his first international goal and getting injured in Iceland, another, Alessandro Pistone, was making his return to competitive football at the considerably colder Halton Stadium. Those who risked losing their extremities to frostbite were rewarded with two of the best goals they'll ever witness, from Matt Jansen and Everton youngster David Carney, and the sight of our Italian left-back looking pretty sharp considering the amount of football he has missed through injury. If he can stay fit for a change Pistone could prove invaluable for us with his pace and unquestionable ability. On the few occasions that we've seen him on form for the Blues he has looked easily the best full-back at the club.
If David Moyes can get the best out of him - as he has with some of our other players - then, as the old cliché goes, it could be like signing a new player.
Rodrigo eyes happy new year
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 18 2002
INJURY-STRICKEN Everton star Rodrigo has confirmed he is on course to revive his Goodison career early next year. The £1.5million forward is currently back home in Brazil recuperating from the ruptured knee ligament injury that devastated his debut season in English football. Rodrigo has just 12 months to convince the Blues to extend his contract by a further four years under the terms of his summer move from Botafogo. And the 26-year-old, who made only three substitute appearances before breaking down in training, is confident he'll be back to press his claims in February - six months after sustaining the career-threatening blow. Rodrigo returned to Brazil to have his operation performed by their Football Federation's leading surgeon and insists he is on schedule to make a rapid recovery. The Brazilian said: "The operation went very well. My recuperation so far has been very good and fast. "I have just started a strong physiotherapy programme to improve my muscle strengths. I have been working with the physiotherapist for over four hours every day.
"I had a visit from one of the Everton physios, Matt Connery, last week and he confirmed that everything went well and I am working hard to be back at Bellefield as soon as the doctors allow me to do so. "The doctors also believe that I will be back playing at Everton sooner than everyone thought at first." Rodrigo has just been named Botafogo's Player of the Year for 2001 in a Brazilian magazine poll but now wants to repay the Everton support he has received since his setback.
He added: "I would like to say thank you to all my supporters and everyone that is wishing me a prompt recovery. "Also the support that I received from David Moyes and all the team has given me the strength that I need to be able to return. Blues boss David Moyes, meanwhile, received a clean bill of health from his international contingent on their return to Merseyside. And the Blues boss also welcomed Tony Hibbert back to full training, boosting the full-back's chances of facing Arsenal tomorrow following the hamstring strain that forced him out of England U21 duty.
Blues must be on their guard
Oct 18 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
IT is vitally important that Everton defend effectively from corners and set-pieces when they face Arsenal tomorrow. That may sound like stating the obvious, but the corners and setpieces I am referring to are Everton's, not Arsenal's. Against a side as fearsome on the counterattack as the Gunners, you are at your most susceptible when you are pressing forward. Inevitably, then, corners can be a real problem. The pace with which the likes of Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord can break following a successfully defended corner means Arsenal are capable of turning defence into attack in the blink of an eye. The key to preventing them doing just that lies in the placement of players. It is essential David Moyes' men do a good job of defending the Arsenal penalty area when they are attacking from a corner. It is a trick I learned during my time in Spain with Athletic Bilbao.
When I arrived in La Liga my preferred placement for corners was to have two players on the edge of the area, two attacking the front post, two attacking the centre of the goal, one man at the back post and two defenders on the halfway line. I quickly realised that against the nippy forwards in Spain that was not good enough. To prevent being hit on the break you have to cut a counter-attack out at its source. That means defending the perimeter of the penalty area by sacrificing a couple of your attacking players. I quickly realised in Spain that I needed to have four players on the edge of the box, ready to pounce if a corner was half cleared or ready to close down a forward if the opposition emerged with the ball. Arsenal are masters at using an early Seaman throw out to release Wiltord or Henry. It was a ploy Alan Ball used with great effect during his days with Everton.
If the striker receives the ball and he has a couple of forwards supporting him, then the two players on the halfway line are quickly outnumbered. Everton must avoid that by patrolling the edge of the area and denying Wiltord and Henry any chances. Of course, the form of Kevin Campbell and the predatory instincts of Tomas Radzinski means that Everton can afford to lose a couple of play-ers in the attacking positions from a set-piece and still pose a significant goalscoring threat.
Older keepers are no spring chickens
THERE is no substitute for experience when it comes to goalkeepers. But whilst age can be a great benefit to a keeper, it can also be his worst nightmare. If a keeper stays fit and sharp, he can remain at the top of his game until he is 40. But one thing a goal-keeper cannot keep hold of with hard work and training is his elasticity. Young keepers are more agile. David Seaman proved that this week. Not for the first time, the England number one failed to reach a high ball into the area and paid the price. He cost England a goal against Macedonia and gifted Brazil the winner in the World Cup quarter-final. Neville Southall was the best goalkeeper in the world during his days with Everton. But as he neared the end of his career he too showed that he had lost some of that legendary agility.
Seaman is not the player he was. But Sven Goran Eriksson has shown enough faith in him to suggest he believes the Arsenal man is still the best available to him. I certainly have serious doubts about David James. But in Paul Robinson and Everton's own Richard Wright Eriksson has two good young goalkeepers.
100 years of being Blue!
THE Liverpool Echo celebrates Everton's historic 100 seasons at the top, with a special publication available at all good newsagents now! "Everton Football Club - 100 seasons in top flight football," costs only £1 (plus postage) and contains all you need to know about the glory years of the Toffeemen. This historic publication includes features on: The club's 100 greatest players, ranked from 1 to 100. The stories behind each of Everton's nine title winning seasons. The men who have managed EFC and the grounds the Toffees have made home This is all backed up by rare archive photographs, some being seen for the first time in a century. "Everton FC - 100 seasons in top flight football" is a must for all true Blues! It's in the shops now, or you can order a copy online by using the special print-and-post order form on the next page.
Franny still a Blue
Oct 18 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS returns to his spiritual home, keen to convince Evertonians he is still one of them.
The Arsenal striker devastated Blues' fans with his decision 16 months ago to swap Goodison for Highbury, but that was nothing compared to the backlash to his exuberant goal celebrations on the final day of last season. Jeffers swung his shirt provocatively around his head at the travelling fans after snatching The Gunners' fourth goal in typically predatory fashion. But he insists today it was not a calculated snub. "I wasn't directing it at the Everton fans. No way," he declared.
"It was the whole day really . . . playing against my old club, the only club I have supported all my life and always will. "All the family were down and it was just one of those days. I got a little bit het up and a bit carried away. "I would never do anything against Everton Football Club or their fans.
"They gave me the chance to make it in the Premier League and I will never forget that. "I wouldn't have taken my shirt off against any other club. All week I had had people phoning me up, my mates saying 'you'd better not score against us,' and it just got to me." Evertonians who watched Jeffers blossom into one of the most exciting young striking prospects in the Premiership at Goodison would have recognised the spontaneous gesture. His brief, but blistering Everton career contained plenty of them . . . a red card in an Anfield derby, a hastily submitted transfer request on the eve of a new season and his decision to subsequently withdraw it. He added a further 13 goals to his Goodison tally after that bust-up - ruthlessly and efficiently - before a £10m move to Arsenal.
"It was a really difficult decision to leave Everton," added Jeffers in an interview with Sky News' Alan Myers. "I still look out for their results every week and I love going back there. But at the time it was the right move for me and something I just had to do. "It's great going back and seeing all the kids wearing blue shirts on the streets, because I remember being one of them, too. But Arsenal were pushing for major honours at the time and it was too big a challenge to turn down. "I will be patient at Arsenal and wait for my opportunity. The gaffer says it will come and I have to believe that. I have never ever contemplated leaving here." What Jeffers has seen of the club he left behind, he has been impressed by. "I have only seen Everton a couple of times on television," he went on "but they all seem to be working really hard for David Moyes. "He has got them together as a team and they look like they are fighting for each other. "Saturday will be one of the toughest away games of the season for Arsenal, I can definitely say that. "Last year when we went there we could have easily lost, but had a bit of luck with the goal." Since then, of course, Evertonians have discovered a new teenage striker to idolise - and Jeffers understands the hero worship. "When I go back all I hear people talk about is Wayne Rooney," he said. "There's a real buzz about him and I can see why. He has everything. He is strong and aggressive, and he will score goals in the Premier League, there's nothing more certain than that. "I have watched him for a while and I have always known he was a bit special. I am aware that the club is looking after him. It's something a young lad needs, as I know."
Blues can be record breakers
Oct 18 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will urge his Everton team to go out and become record breakers at Goodison Park tomorrow. The Blues boss believes that someone, somewhere will beat Arsene Wenger's vibrant young team this season - and thinks that Goodison Park can become the graveyard of one of the most astonishingly consistent runs since football began. Visitors Arsenal have set benchmarks galore in the past 12 months. They are unbeaten in 30 top flight games - a Premiership record - and have scored in their last 48, a record which predates even the Premier League. But Moyes said today: "I would be surprised if Arsenal went through the entire season without losing a match. It was only a few weeks ago that they found themselves two goals down at West Ham. "Hopefully it will be Everton who end that run." Strangely, Merseyside has proved the final resting place of three previous long-playing records. In August 1969 Don Revie's Leeds had gone 34 First Division matches without defeat before losing a Goodison Park thriller 3-2. In December 1978 Nottingham Forest had set a 42 match unbeaten run, spanning two seasons, when they were halted 2-0 at Anfield, then in March 1988 Liverpool came to grief in a Merseyside derby. Needing to avoid defeat in one more match to establish the longest unbeaten run from the start of a season, they went down to Wayne Clarke's Goodison Park winner. Moyes' modern Everton has taken heart from their promising performance at Manchester United 11 days ago. "I don't think we will change much tomorrow," he explained. "There will be games this season when we will need to change our tactics and our approach, but whatever formation you play Arsenal can hurt you so we will just focus on doing the things we think we are better at and see how that works." Moyes has the benefit of a near fully fit squad to choose from. Gary Nay-smith and Steve Watson trained this morning, which means only Duncan Ferguson and long-term victim Rodrigo are unavailable for selection. "We went to Highbury last season and gave a good account of ourselves," added Moyes. "We will try to do the same again tomorrow and hope it is enough."
Who's in and who's out?
Oct 18 2002 Daily Post & icLiverpool
Clarke will stay
I REALLY think that Moyes will keep Peter Clarke. He said he wanted to get the youngsters out there playing week in week out on loan. He'll pull him out of there quite soon.... Moyes is pretty sussed and he knows that his defence is the weakest link. Look out for the transfer window when Alexandersson, Joe-Max Moore, and maybe Linderoth will be shown the door. (if we can get half a quid for them.) Oh, and by the way, Duncan critics should look out because the big 'un will be back in there.
Peter, London (via e-mail)
I DON'T like the noise that seems to be coming from Peter Clarke about how he would like to stay where he is now. I'm sure it's just talk so as to wake up David Moyes to the fact that his career is ready to start on a full-time basis. It sure would be a shame to lose another England under-21 player.
Alan Stubbs, it hurts me to say it, is past his best and lacks pace and David Weir has been showing us that he won't be able to keep his previously sky-high standards up - so I hope Clarke sticks about for when his big chance comes in the Premiership.
D, Darlett, Dublin
I HAVE just watched recorded highlights of the Man United-Everton game and I was very impressed with the Blues team, albeit with several passes going astray during the last half hour.
I do feel those errors certainly made United look better. I enjoyed the work-rate of the Everton players, and Thomas Graveson's constant running amazed me. I believe Yobo is very exciting, and quick. Encourage Duncan you guys over there, I really do believe he will come through despite all the knockers. Do I have to say it again you fellow supporters over there, yell encouragement to the team. After all they are really trying to do their best and I really believe they will succeed. Go you Blues. Forever Everton.
A Kiwi, New Zealand (via e-mail)
Yobo shows class
DAVID MOYES must stick with Joseph Yobo at the heart of the defence. Davie Weir seems to relish playing with the Nigerian international as he injects some pace into the back line which is what we've been lacking for some years now. We may have been apprehensive awaiting his debut following a couple of training ground knocks, but the form Yobo has shown since Alan Stubbs' suspension has definitely been worth the wait.
Brian Henshaw, Liverpool
Everton 2, Arsenal 1 (D, Post)
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 21 2002
ARSENAL may have come in search of records but it was Wayne Rooney who produced one for the annals. Amid all the unfulfilled talk of Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' extending their unbeaten Premiership sequence to 31 games, Rooney's wonderful 30-yard winner in the last throes of an epic match makes him the youngest scorer in Premiership history. But the only statistic Evertonians need concern themselves with is the date Thursday, October 24, 2002. That's when Rooney turns 17 and is legally allowed to put pen to paper on a five-year professional contract which, fear not, has already been thrashed out. Even now it looks the best bit of business the club has ever done.
Bill Kenwright has hailed Rooney as the finest player he has seen but sadly the club's deputy chairman missed the teenager's goal on Saturday after being forced to leave Goodison early for his next appointment. But he won't let his most prized asset escape, however many it's and t's Rooney's agents insist on dotting and crossing in the coming days. All that glisters is not gold - but in Rooney, David Moyes knows he surely has the footballer of kaleidoscopic skills he can make the cornerstone of his Everton rebuilding project. And with that hope comes Moyes biggest challenge in management. How well can he guide Rooney from the myriad temptations that lie in wait? The answer, perhaps, holds the key to the Blues' future success. The early signs certainly augur well. Moyes has shielded the Croxteth youngster from all media exposure. He has tried not to over-hype Rooney, if indeed it is possible to overstate his promise. Just as Sir Alex Ferguson wrapped a young Ryan Giggs in cotton wool, Moyes is trying to relieve Rooney, so far he can, from a burden of expectation no boy of 16 deserves to carry. If, as Moyes admits, Rooney can be mentally immature on and off the pitch and has much to learn then no fan can argue with the manager's policy of rationing his starting appearances as he acclimatises to the Premiership and its accompanying demands. Certainly Rooney can't quibble. "If he does I'd kick him out of the door," Moyes half-joked. "I'd tell him he has to play in the under-17s!" His strike on Saturday, a swerving, dipping shot that rocketed past David Seaman's outstretched hand and thundered into the goal off the underside of the crossbar, accentuate the urge to start him regularly. But patience is Moyes' watchword, and the early indications after eight months in charge are that his firm hand and sense of direction are taking Everton in the right direction. Victory over the free-scoring champions represents the high watermark of his tenure. His team worked hard and merited Everton's second win over Arsenal at Graveyard Goodison in 11 Premiership games. Yes, Arsenal were below-par and missed chances to win the game - but when else does anyone beat them these days? You can say Everton's final ball sometimes left quality to be desired, but carping like that completely misses the point.
The Blues only went down to late goals at Manchester United after a battling performance two weeks ago and won praise from Ferguson, who rated them best Everton team to play at Old Trafford for several years. Of course, the United boss is more charitable in victory than defeat, but his sentiment was as correct as it was heartfelt. There is more steel to Moyes' team now. They all worked hard and, apart from Li Tie whose efforts couldn't mask the fact the game passed him by, played as if they actually believed they could win. And credit to Moyes for instilling that faith and imparting his transparent drive and desire, where so many have wilted, slump-shouldered and resigned to their fate at the prospect of facing Highbury's own school of science. His tactics matched his rhetoric, as Everton imposed their harrying tempo on the game, thus throwing Arsenal off their swaggering stride. It had all looked so bleak and predictable when Freddie Ljungberg delivered the inevitable Gunners goal by preying on Everton's defensive frailties to take to 49 the number of consecutive games Wenger's men have now scored in. David Weir slipped as he tried to defuse Thierry Henry's deep cross and the ball squirted around the area before falling invitingly to Ljungberg, who swept home from six yards. But this Everton class refuse to lie down to their fate, and their reward duly arrived 21 minutes into the match. Thomas Gravesen, perpetual motion throughout, fed Lee Carsley, who was unlucky to see his well-hit shot cannon off the post and Tomasz Radzinski collected the ball on the edge of the area, jinked into the box before rifling home a fine finish from 16 yards. Neither side created many chances in the first half. Richard Wright, anointed as a successor to the ailing pony-tailed Seaman's England shirt, pushed an Henry effort round the post on the half-hour mark but was otherwise largely untroubled. Radzinski saw his penalty claim turned down just before the interval when he went down under Ashley Cole's challenge but TV replays indicated contact was made outside the box. One occasion, then, when Uriah Rennie got it right. The second half saw Arsenal create more but their finishing was wayward, and Everton never let their visitors establish a rhythm. Seaman, not to blame for either goal, was impressively resilient under a barrage of high balls after his fallibility was so cruelly exposed in England's draw against Macedonia last week, and saved well from Gravesen on 62 minutes.
And so the stage was set for Rooney. The touch with which he brought down Gravesen's lofted pass from the sky was sublime; the kind of mastery that had it been brought off by a Brazilian would have been eulogised for even longer than this will. Rooney might have added another chapter to the story with an outragous piece of skill, teasing the ball towards goal off the outside of his boot in the dying moments. Some encore it would have been, but Seaman was spared more egg on his face as it drifted just over the bar. How fortunes were polarised for the two boyhood Blue strikers on show. Francis Jeffers was received back to Goodison with an ear-splitting chorus of boos and whistles after quitting Goodison acrimoniously in search of London's streets paved in gold, and he did little more than kick his heels in 18 minutes as an Arsenal substitute. Just as he struggles for openings at Arsenal, the sea is parting for Rooney. His goal eclipsed the Premiership record held by Michael Owen. Liverpool may have the European Footballer of the Year but Everton, at last, have their own player of endless possibilities. And everyone at Goodison on Saturday was priviliged to be in attendance on the day Rooney delivered his calling card.
EVERTON: Wright, Weir, Unsworth, Radzinski (Rooney 80), Campbell, Pembridge, Tie (Linderoth 55), Gravesen, Yobo, Carsley (Stubbs 90), Hibbert. Subs: Alexandersson, Gerrard.
ARSENAL: Seaman, Cole, Vieira, Ljungberg (Edu 84), Lauren, Henry, Cygan, Gilberto, Campbell, Kanu (Jeffers 72), Toure (Wiltord 64). Subs: Luzhny, Shaaban.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Weir, Pembridge, Linderoth; Arsenal's Edu.
REFEREE: U Rennie.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tomasz Radzinski.
So many candidates to chose from, but Radzinski was a constant threat to Arsenal with his pace and menace. Ironically, he made way for match-winner Rooney, but by then had levelled with a fine goal of his own.
Bewitching tale of two boy Blues
Oct 21 2002 By Len Capeling, Daily Post
THIS was the tale of two young goalscorers , both born Blue, both good enough to live the dream of playing for their boyhood idols. One of them, Wayne Rooney, a young giant with a millionaire's future waiting to be unlocked, could have strode out of Goodison on Saturday evening and found a procession of supporters willing to carry him shoulder high to the family home in Croxteth. Pausing en route to refresh their under-age hero with foaming pints of Irn Bru or Tizer Four X or fan his brow with Stanley Park's finest palm fronds. Rooney's first Premiership score, thunderously lashed home by a right foot that will shortly earn him a bullion dealer's salary, instantly invested him with iconic status as Double-winners Arsenal were brought to heel. It was the kind of lacerating finish that launches crowds off their seats, as if energised by a couple of thousand volts. The effect was more intense in this case because barely seconds remained of what would have been a pridefully-fought 1-1 draw for these born-again signatories to the Moyes Convention. Hardly the worst result in the world for Everton, but clearly one which didn't accord with the aspirations of Goodison's brightest hope since Joe Royle thundered out like a young ox all those years ago. Hooking the ball out of a darkening sky, he turned away from one defender into enough space to unleash a drive that left a shocked David Seaman making contact with the woodwork but little else as the ball billowed the net.
The ferocity of the contact and its heady conclusion brought case-hardened Pressmen to their feet, and ignited the kind of intoxicating revelries usually associated with Cup finals at old Wembley.
Ever seen a crowd levitate? They did here. Any moment you expected to see the festive faithful link hands and drift upwards to form a flying circus of celebrants above the happy band of players engulfing Wayne the wonderboy. Half a pitch away, sunk in gloom, like his stunned Arsenal teammates, the other born Blue, Francis Jeffers, the covetous cuckoo who flew the nest, would have wished to be anywhere other than the place where he worshipped as a boy. Greeted - not the right word - by an ear-splitting volume of hatred unheard in times, not even by Peter Johnson, the nervous Jeffers must have felt like an international tyrant delivered into the camp of his sworn enemies. You could understand the Goodison reaction. Jeffers made the mistake of overdoing the delight when he scored against Everton at Highbury in the final game of last season. Added to his abrupt walkout, it put him beyond redemption. Still, it was sad. Not only for the lad himself, but for any members of his family brave enough to face the arrival of the Gunners number nine.
But if Jeffers the departed represents a bitter chapter now closed - except for those with an over-active bile duct - then Wayne Rooney surely symbolises a new beginning under the phlegmatic David Moyes, a new beginning that no matter how cashless may still deliver more highs than lows.
Moyes is rightly being very protective of a young star, who, in his words, still has much to learn. Not about scoring goals - that looks as natural as his inyour-face aggression - but about being a team player, about looking after yourself, about being willing to learn, about being focused. Rooney and his advisors will heed the clarion call of Joe Royle who, as manager, summed up Duncan Ferguson as a man who became a legend before he became a player. Moyes won't let that happen. Which is why he wants Rooney to continue his education at Bellefield rather than with David Platt's under-21s, and why he will fret that comments like Arsene Wenger's - describing the teenager as the best young player he's seen since arriving on these shores seven years ago - may go to Wayne's head.
In that regard, David Moyes used a brilliant bit of psychology of his own when he let it be known that Rooney had frustrated them all week in training with his greediness in trying to score from impossible angles and distances. But tell that to David Seaman, who came to Goodison Park, played very well - he had to - and then found his day destroyed by a 16-year-old. Arsenal had their chances, and were a shade unlucky not to add to Freddie Ljungberg's early goal after Everton's defence characteristically fell apart. Substitute Sylvain Wiltord struck a post, Ljungberg would not have been flattered by a hat-trick, Gilberto put a glancing header a whisker wide, while Thierry Henry - on fire before this match - lamely swatted a sitter into the advertising boards. But take nothing away from this bright Everton side. Durable, dynamic, dashing even, they disrupted Arsenal's midfield to such an extent that neither Patrick Vieira nor Gilberto looked comfortable. Thomas Gravesen deserves special mention (on a day when his central partner Li Tie found the pace far too hot for him) while the busy Mark Pembridge showed great endeavour after his lung-bursting efforts for Wales against Italy.Just as prominent were the excellent Tony Hibbert and the revived David Unsworth who both ensured that David Moyes' plan to get at the defensively suspect Ashley Cole and Lauren worked all afternoon. Everton looked good, the gracious Wenger admitting as much even as he rued missed opportunities that signalled an end to his forecast invincibility. Balancing those Arsenal misses were two raking shots from Gravesen that showed why Seaman is not a lost soul. There were also enough near-things around the Gunners' goal - where Tomasz Radzinski was a constant threat with his pace and his control - to suggest that Liverpool and Manchester United can stilll think seriously about the title. That wasn't on Rooney's mind, of course, nor in the minds of a 39,000 crowd sent into raptures by the happiest of endings. As an encore, Rooney almost repeated the dose, sending Seaman scrambling. But this will do to be going on with: Youngest player to score a Premiership goal, easing out Michael Owen, a man he may eventually partner in the England team. Following on from being the youngest Everton player to score a first-team goal, a feat he achieved against Wrexham two weeks ago. Days don't come much sweeter than these for boyhood Blues. Unless you're a Blue in a red shirt.
Wenger: Rooney is better than Owen
Oct 21 2002 Daily Post
ARSENE WENGER hailed Wayne Rooney as a better all-round player than Michael Owen.
The Everton wonderkid beat Owen's record as the Premiership's youngest scorer with the Blues' sensational last-gasp winner against Arsenal. And defeated Gunners chief Wenger declared: "I think he is somthing special. He can score, put people in, dribble - and I like a striker who can dribble.
"You could play four-v-four on the beach and see how good he is, see that he is a complete player. He won't just score goals but he could play as a forward, play in midfield or on the wing.
"Michael Owen is a complete striker but Rooney is more of a complete football player." Wenger, who likened Rooney to a young Paul Gascoigne, added: "He is the biggest England talent I've seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here. "We were beaten by a special goal from a very special talent. I've seen a bit of him in recent months, his couple of goals on TV in the Worthington Cup, and when he came on to do so well at Manchester United recently. But you do not need to be a connoisseur to see that he is a special talent, very special. Rooney has every attribute you want from someone playing up front." Moyes, though, has put a protective screen around Rooney and vowed to continue to protect him. He said: "I think if you asked the fans they would say we are handling Rooney in the right way. I'd be surprised if they didn't. "I think in time he will be a tremendous player but he has a lot to learn. "Physically, he is strong enough but mentally he can be immature on the field and off it. I want to keep him right and bring him on." Moyes added: "Wayne's an Everton supporter. He was brought up here and after the game he was probably having a kickaround and showing his pals how he scored that goal." Rooney's brilliant 30-yard winner sealed victory after Tomasz Radzinski cancelled out Freddie Ljungberg's eighth-minute opener. Defeated Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: "I can congratulate Everton. They wanted to win the game with power and strength more than technique. They made it hard for us. "In Rooney, we were beaten by a special talent."
He added: "All good things come to an end. But it is just one defeat in seven months. My team deserve to be congratulated publicly. "We are down but we are winners. We will still go far. Our target is still to do better than before."
Wait for it, says Wayne
Oct 21 2002 By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
NEW Goodison sensation Wayne Rooney is unlikely to sign a professional contract with the Blues on his 17th birthday. But Everton insist there is no cause for concern and will issue a statement today to clarify the situation, which centres on the player's change of agents. Rooney became the youngest goalscorer in Premiership history with a stunning winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory over champions Arsenal, ending the Highbury side's 30-match unbeaten league record. And Everton were expecting to tie wonder kid Rooney to the club with one of the most lucrative deals ever offered to a teenager. The boyhood Blue was due to put pen to paper on a three-year deal with a two-year extension when he turns 17 on Thursday, but the signing could now be delayed after the player switched agents. Rooney has been recruited by Proactive Sports Management, the powerful firm led by Paul Stretford, and the organisation wants to run the rule over the contract before any paperwork is signed. But Everton insist the deal has been thrashed out and any potential hold-up will in no way throw Rooney's future into doubt. Rooney is rated one of Europe's top young talents and Blues boss David Moyes is adamant the striker will remain central to his plans to revitalise fortunes at Goodison Park. The manager could be prepared to walk away from the job rather than see Rooney follow the likes of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball out of Everton. Moyes is determined not to let Everton turn back into a selling club, saying: "I knew the financial position when I came. I was delighted to come. This is a fantastic club and I want to build foundations here that won't be knocked away. "It has happened in the past for various reasons but the board will support me no matter what. Why shouldn't we compete with Manchester United and Arsenal?" Rooney was with Merseyside agents Dave Lockwood and Peter Macintosh but his rise to prominence made a move to a larger firm inevitable. Moyes, though, has put a protective screen around Rooney and vowed to protect him. He said: "I think if you asked the fans they would say we are handling Rooney in the right way. I'd be surprised if they didn't. "I think in time he will be a tremendous player but he has a lot to learn. "Physically, he is strong enough but mentally he can be immature on the field and off it. I want to keep him right and bring him on." Moyes added: "Wayne's an Everton supporter. He was brought up here and after the game he was probably having a kickaround and showing his pals how he scored that goal." Rooney's brilliant 30-yard winner sealed victory after Tomasz Radzinski cancelled out Freddie Ljungberg's eighth-minute opener. Defeated Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: "I can cangratulate Everton. They wanted to win the game with power and strength more than technique. They made it hard for us. "In Rooney, we were beaten by a special talent."
He added: "All good things come to an end. But it is just one defeat in seven months, my team deserve to be congratulated publicly. "We are down but we are winners, we will still go far. Our target is still to do better than before."
Everton 2, Arsenal 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Oct 21 2002
IN the not too distant past, Goodison Park was a place only the truly obsessed wanted to spend any length of time in . . . especially at tea-time on a Saturday. The place would empty long before the referee cleared his lungs to blow the final whistle. Only a loyal few would hang around to lustily boo another reverse, or politely applaud a scrambled success. But Saturday witnessed a phenomenon, a pivotal point maybe in Everton's developing fortunes. No-one wanted to go home. More than 30,000 stayed behind after the players had left the pitch, for quarter-of-an-hour. They joined in with yet another rendition of "It's a grand old team . . ;" they waited for an encore, they beamed inanely at each other. Maybe they were waiting for the enormity of what they'd just witnessed to sink in.
Such is the hype which has surrounded Wayne Rooney's blossoming talent, he was never going to break his Premier-ship duck with a scruffy fourth goal in a one-sided rout of West Brom.
He was always going to choose the grand stage. He almost did it at the Theatre of Dreams a fortnight ago, against Manchester United. But this boy has been made at Everton, and Goodison Park was always going to be the most appropriate venue to deliver his first League goal.
Not even the most wildly optimistic Evertonian, however, could have dreamed of an ice-breaker like this one. It was his last chance to score in the Premiership as a 16-year-old, against the England goalkeeper, and an Arsenal team which hadn't lost a match for a record-breaking 30 Premiership games. Oh, and the 89th minute was almost up. As if that wasn't enough, the strike was one of breathtaking brilliance. It deserves recording in freeze-frame detail. Thomas Gravesen hoisted a long ball forwards from the halfway line, which Rooney instantly plucked from the sky with one sure touch of his right instep. Such was the quality of that first touch he was able to turn immediately inside, glance upwards at the distant target -then explode a wickedly curving shot -from 25 yards - over Seaman and off the underside of the Park End crossbar. It was a reverberating moment - one which Goodison has not witnessed for years. There have been a handful of great memories in recent years, the Boxing Day battering of Sunderland, Kevin Campbell's arrival in a 6-0 slaying of West Ham and the 4-4 draw with Leeds, but none of those quite matched the drama or the historical significance of this one. Possibly the last occasion like it was when Duncan Ferguson opened his goal-scoring account for Everton, in the biggest derby upset for decades. And that was eight years ago. The manager that night, Joe Royle, memorably claimed that Ferguson had become a legend before he had become a player. The same statement cannot be levelled at Wayne Rooney. His legendary status seems assured, but he is clearly a very, very good player already. And he will get better and better. Obstacles lie ahead, of that there is no doubt. He must mature mentally, (al-though physically he already possesses a man's frame), there will be injuries, loss of form - and something only Evertonians know as the Cadamarteri-factor. But the raw talent is obvious for all to see. Arsene Wenger said afterwards that the 16-year-old was the reason his side lost their proud 30-match unbeaten run. But that does a grave injustice to the quality of Rooney's team-mates.
There were big, big performances throughout the Everton team. Both fullbacks, Tony Hibbert and David Unsworth, performed heroically, Kevin Campbell led the line magnificently throughout, while alongside him Tomasz Radzinski produced the most sustained and accomplished display of his Everton career. Arsenal's brilliance this season has not lain in their defending, but in their ability to tear teams apart - and Everton needed giants in every department to halt them. Freddie Ljungberg took decisive advantage of some indecisive Everton defending to cleverly lift a shot over Wright and open the scoring - the 49th successive League match in which The Gunners had scored.
Everton seemed obssessed with trying to heap further embarrassment on David Seaman by forcing a succession of corners and whipping them in under the England 'keeper's bar. But it needs a little more variety than that to undermine a team of Arsenal's quality and midway through the half Everton began to produce it. The equaliser came from a powerful and positive run by Gravesen which took him across the edge of the Arsenal penalty area. He looked to have run out of runway when he looked up and slipped a pass to Carsley. His drive cannoned back of the post but was collected by Radzinski on the edge of the area and he drifted inside before clipping a rising shot into the Gwladys Street net. Just like at Old Trafford a fortnight earlier, Everton tried to take on the championship challengers at their own game - and the end-product was an end to end game.
Henry's 20-yard shot was pushed away by Wright, Seaman pushed over Gravesen's rising drive then Ljungberg sneaked in and lobbed the ball over Wright but a foot wide of the post. Penalty appeals were waved by Uriah Rennie on the stroke of half-time, after Radzinski's heels were accidentally clipped, but but the second half was just as absorbing. Henry scuffed a good chance wide in the 59th minute, two minutes later Safe Hands sprang to his right to deny Gravesen, then substitute Wiltord blazed an excellent opening against the same Everton post Carsley had rattled earlier.
Ljungberg repeated his miss of the first half, lobbing over Wright but wide -then Rooney entered the fray. We should have guessed what was coming next. Twice before teams had brought long, record-breaking runs to Goodison Park -and seen them shattered. In August 1969, Don Revie's Leeds saw a 34 game run end in a 3-2 defeat, then 20 years later Liverpool's bid to beat Leeds' record also came to grief. Once Rooney stepped on The Gunners must have feared the worst - and it might even have been worse than they eventually endured. Five minutes after his wonder-goal -Rennie added five-and-a-half minutes onto the allotted 90 - Rooney cut inside on the opposite flank and lifted the deft-est of chips with the outside of his boot onto the roof of the net. If that had gone in they might still be inside Goodison Park now.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Unsworth, Carsley (Stubbs 91 mins), Tie (Linderoth 55), Gravesen, Pembridge, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 80). Unused substitutes: Alexandersson, Gerrard.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, Cole, Toure (Wiltord 63), Gilberto, Vieira, Ljungberg (Edu 84), Henry, Kanu (Jeffers 70). Unused substitutes: Luzhny, Shaaban.
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie.
BOOKINGS: Weir (38 mins) obstruction, Pembridge (45) dissent, Linderoth (88) foul, Edu (93) dissent.
GOALS: Ljungberg (7 mins) 0-1, Radzinski (21 mins) 1-1, Rooney (89 mins) 2-1.
What a week for Pembo
Oct 21 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MARK PEMBRIDGE celebrated the perfect end to a perfect week on Saturday. Just three days after he was an influential part of the Wales team which secured a famous win over Italy, he helped steer Everton to a record-busting defeat of champions Arsenal. The Gunners came to Goodison with 30 games unbeaten in the Premiership behind them, but Pembridge claimed the Blues always had the self-belief that they could end that run. "If you look over the past couple of years when we have played Arsenal here, we have always done well," he explained. "Last year we lost to a lucky goal, and the year before we beat them 2-0 with a team which was down to the bare bones because of injuries. "We always feel like we can do something against Arsenal and the way we have been playing recently, the way we have been passing the ball, the belief has been growing that we can do things against the better teams in the Premiership. "There was a belief that we could win it today.
"It's been a great week personally, beating Italy on Wednesday and then getting three points today against Arsenal. I am very, very tired . . . but it was worth it. "We kept ourselves in the game and it was important we scored soon after they did. They had a few chances in the second half, but they are a good team with good players and we dug in and got the result in the end." The goal which secured the victory was a sensational one, and Pembridge paid tribute to Wayne Rooney's wonder-goal. "It was a great strike and I am so pleased for him because he has worked hard," he said. "He has been doing so well and working so hard on his game. "He is learning every day in training. He likes to have a go from everywhere because he is a striker, but he has tremendous confidence in his ability." But Pembridge added a note of caution for his team-mates. "We can't allow ourselves to get too carried away, because we have to go to places like West Ham next week and Leeds after that." He added. "We must keep playing the way we are, keep trying to pass it and keep trying to play football; not only that but we must work hard off the ball as well, like we are, and if we do, we can get a few more results like this one and start to climb up the league."
World soccer eyes up Rooney
Oct 21 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ROONEY-MANIA swept the world today, as Everton's 16-year-old wonderkid made headlines around the planet. The youngster's last minute strike which ended Arsenal's 30- match unbeaten run caused shockwaves worldwide.
* Liverpool landed in Russia - to be greeted by Moscow Times headlines hailing "Everton Kid Ends Arsenal Unbeaten Run!" The Reds' match with Spartak Moscow was a secondary story.
* Italian news agencies claimed that Milan had already offered Everton Brazilian defender Roque Junior, just for first refusal on any future transfer.
* And influential Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport carried a major feature on the youngster.
But beaming Blues' boss David Moyes reiterated today that Rooney will remain at Goodison.
"I don't know anything about any Milan interest in Wayne. But he has been an Everton supporter all his life. He was brought up here and this is where he is staying," he said. "When I arrived here I told the board I wanted to build a younger team. Now we have Wayne, Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Richard Wright and Li Tie all doing well and I don't want players like that leaving.
"Wayne's contract is done and dusted. He will sign a three-year deal with a two-year option.
"But he is not particularly mature yet on or off the pitch. We need to protect him and I hope our fans understand that." Rooney celebrates his 17th birthday on Thursday, but he will not sign his first professional contract until later in the year. This is purely down to the player switching agents and Everton intend to issue a statement later today to reassure supporters. Moyes added that despite Rooney's stunning strike, all of his players deserved credit for ending Arsenal's run. "We were in the dressing room 15 minutes after the match and we could hear supporters singing in the streets. It was a great experience." Tomasz Radzinski, the striker Rooney replaced, added: "I've been waiting my entire career to score a goal like that and he scores it at the age of 16 to become a record breaker! It's amazing!"
Everton's Reserves, meanwhile, take on West Browmich Albion reserves a t Halesowen Town tonight. Alessandro Pistone, Steve Watson, Scot Gemmill, Joe-Max Moore, Nick Chadwick and Kevin McLeod will all be involved.
Oct 21 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
ARSENAL were struck by a bolt from the blue on Saturday - and the young lad who provided it could prove in the years to come to be Everton's answer to Michael Owen. Make no mistake, if he can keep producing what we witnessed against the Gunners, Wayne Rooney can become a legend at Goodison Park. It is inevitable that, despite his 16 years, Wonder Wayne is going to receive plenty of publicity on the back of his super strike that ended Arsenal's winning sequence - and also toppled them from their high perch in the Premiership table - and rightly so. Even at his tender age he has a predatory instinct that seems destined to mark out a great future. David Moyes has been right to create a protective shield around him. The Everton manager has done the right thing. Rooney was a pre-season star, banging in goals for fun but, rather than drop him in at the deep end, Moyes has eased him through the early part of the season, picking him for the odd game and then naming him among the substitutes and giving him a flavour of first team action for short spells.
A bit like Saturday, really, when he came on late in the second half as replacement for Tomasz Radzinski, who had himself done exceptionally well against the Gunners' defence. No-one, not even young Rooney, could have anticipated the dramatic climax to an entertaining match which the Blues totally deserved to win. It had the makings of a draw when the youngster brilliantly brought down a high ball, turned and took aim. It wasn't just the execution of a curling shot, but the power from distance that left David Seaman hopelessly beaten as it struck the underside of the bar and rebounded into the net. No wonder the Everton fans went wild. There is no better way of winning a game than with a stunning goal - and there have not been many better than that this season.
I suppose it has to be described as a "shock win," given Arsenal's performances this season, but in truth Moyes has got this Everton side believing in themselves and going out in the knowledge they can win matches whoever they are playing. If they can play like that every week they can become a really good side. They did not lose concentration once against Arsenal as they had done against Manchester United, and they were outstanding. Thomas Gravesen caught the eye with a fine display, as did Radzinski, while Joseph Yobo looked polished in defence alongside David Weir.
Arsenal's first half performance reminded me of our training sessions many years ago. If you put together 20 passes you won a point, and that was how they seemed to be playing. At times, it bordered on exhibition stuff, but they later became frustrated by the Blues, and ultimately they lost because the home side seemed hungrier for the victory. Make no mistake. This win was no fluke. Now the Blues have to show they can take it from there.
Boy wonder keeps his feet on ground
By Frank Malley, Daily Post
Oct 22 2002
THE torrent of plaudits emanated from the highest level and arrived with all the froth and force of a mountain stream. Arsene Wenger described him as "a special talent". Sir Alex Ferguson called him "mature and strong". Gary Neville predicted he would soon play for England. Everton manager David Moyes insisted he was "the best 16-year-old I've seen" and the morning headlines proclaimed 'Boy Wonder'. The only one it seemed who wasn't talking was the man, or rather lad, of the moment - Wayne Rooney. Understandably, Moyes wants to keep his young striker under wraps after his talents were unveiled to millions at the weekend with that exceptional long-range goal that ended Arsenal's unbeaten run and poured more misery on the shoulders of David Seaman.
It might be easier said than done if Rooney continues to produce such sublime performances when he signs his first senior contract on turning 17 this Thursday. Such players come around once every other generation, if that, which is why it is hardly surprising even embryonic signs of genius are pounced on and attract huge levels of expectation from media and public alike. The low centre of gravity. The chunky build. The instant control. The perfect balance. The ability and strength to dribble in the most congested yet potentially most rewarding area of the pitch. The cheeky, inspired chip which almost caught Seaman off his line. And that mischievous wide smile. Remind you of anyone? The physical comparison with the precocious Paul Gascoigne is irresistible and yet that very similarity might just help Rooney to avoid the pitfalls which befell arguably the most naturally talented player in English football history. Protection and some control over the inevitable hype is one thing. It would be a mistake, however, for Moyes to exclude the wider world totally from access to Rooney's success story. Much better for everyone, player included, that Rooney is introduced in controlled, common-sense access over the next few months as his reputation builds.
That is the view of yet another of his high-profile admirers – former England captain Ray Wilkins, who himself was thrown into the pressures of top-flight football as the 18-year-old captain of Chelsea back in the 1970s. "I was talking to Bryan Robson recently who said Paul Gascoigne was the best player he had ever played with in his life," said Wilkins. "But this guy can be even better.
"With youngsters you always worry will he have the physical presence? Well, Wayne is like a bull in build, a very powerful young man. "He seems to have so much confidence even in an Everton side who are not playing great football. "On Saturday his goal was wonderful but his attempted chip over David Seaman moments later was even better. You don't see composure like that too often. That showed he was using his brain."
Houllier's praise for Blues' prospect
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 22 2002
GERARD Houllier has heaped praise on Wayne Rooney, the teenage sensation whose winning goal against Arsenal enabled Liverpool to stay top of the Premier-ship. The Anfield chief, who is preparing Liverpool for tonight's Champions League showdown with Spartak Moscow, still had time to reflect on Rooney's impact at the weekend. Houllier is well aware that 16-year-old Rooney - an Everton fan with a family of Goodison Park season ticket holders behind him - wouldn't have wanted his wonder winner against the Gunners to keep the Reds on top of the Premiership. But Liverpool boss Houllier was grateful all the same, and he had words of praise, too, for Everton boss David Moyes' handling of such a precocious young talent. Houllier said: "I know Everton did us a favour, and young Rooney doesn't seem to be phased by anything. I feel David Moyes is handling him the right way. "He hasn't burned him out immediately. He looks a very good prospect to say the least."
Houllier admitted that a vanquished Arsene Wenger had rung him after Everton's 2-1 win on Saturday to heap praise on youngster who had ended the Gunners' 30-match unbeaten record.
Houllier said: "Arsene repeated to me that he's the best young talent he's seen for a very long time.
"I don't think he was comparing him to Michael Owen when he said that Rooney was the best young English talent he had seen but, when there's a player of that quality at that age showing such talent and scoring a goal like that, then you must take notice of that talent. "I know the lad isn't a Liverpool fan but we're aware that his goal has put us on top of the table. "That's what is good about English football. It's exciting, there is good rivalry between clubs and it's honest."
Rooney contract delay is 'nothing to worry about'
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 22 2002
EVERTON last night moved to allay fears about striking sensation Wayne Rooney's Goodison future.
The shock news that Rooney won't put pen to paper on his first professional contract when he turns 17 on Thursday was revealed in Post Sport yesterday. And deputy chairman Bill Kenwright confirmed that the Blues starlet will now sign the new three-year deal in December because he has switched agents. But Kenwright insists Rooney's change of representatives - he is joining Proactive Sports Management - in no way jeopardises the lucrative deal. "Because he is moving agents I don't think he will be signing until December, but the deal has been agreed," said Kenwright.
Asked if he was worried about the deal not being finalised, Kenwright replied: "I'm not worried because he is a Blue through and through. "His family are all Blues and if he hadn't been on the pitch scoring that goal he would have been among the fans." And Proactive's Paul Stretford echoed Kenwright's words, claiming Blues fans have "nothing to worry about" despite the delay, which comes after the youngster scored a stunning winner against Arsenal at the weekend.
Stretford said: "It's all been made clear by Mr Kenwright that until discussions are completed with his change of management the deal won't be signed. "I don't know when it will happen but it should be in the very near future. We would hope so. "Certainly there is nothing for anyone to worry about - we just have the best interests of the boy at heart." Following his match-winning display in the 2-1 win on Saturday, Rooney was hailed as England's brightest prospect by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
Blues boss David Moyes has vowed to quit Goodison if the club decide to cash in on the youngster, who has attracted interest from European super-powers including Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester United. But Moyes is confident the Croxteth star will seal the three-year contract, which has the option of a two-year extension, saying: "It's already sorted."
Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball have been sold on in recent seasons to offset the club's debts, but Moyes has told the board he won't stay on Merseyside if Rooney is allowed to follow them through the exit door. With the delay until December, Rooney is resigned to lose out on thousands of pounds in wages yet remains determined to sign professional terms with the club he supports.
Rooney strike lifts Blues
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 22 2002
WAYNE ROONEY'S wonder strike for Everton against Arsenal on Saturday lifted the spirits at the club's Academy after two defeats. The 16-year-old, who is still eligible for both Academy sides gave his former colleagues a huge boost with his match-winning performance at Goodison, after Colin Harvey's under-19s and Alan Harper's under-17s had both been beaten 2-1 by Manchester United earlier in the day. After the previous week's FA Premier Academy League derby victory, Harper's U17s were hoping to claim another prized scalp. And with Rooney and Everton boss David Moyes watching from the sidelines at Netherton, the Blues started well and took the lead after 23 minutes. Andy Fowler grabbed his second goal of the week after his strike against Liverpool seven days earlier. But United, who have only lost once this season, to unbeaten leaders Manchester City, hit back with a quick equaliser. Then the Old Trafford youngsters grabbed all three points with a second-half winner. Academy director Ray Hall said: "A draw would have been a fair result."
But Hall was pleased that yet another Everton Academy graduate was making a name for himself at Premiership level. He added: "Wayne should have been playing in the U17 game. "His performances for the first team have given all the lads at the Academy a tremendous boost - both the staff and the players. "What was pleasing was that at the final whistle, we had four players on the pitch who had graduated from this Academy in Tony Hibbert, David Unsworth, Francis Jeffers and, of course, Wayne." Harvey's U19s also lost 2-1 to United at Bellefield. Australian midfielder David Carney claimed his first Academy goal of the season, but his second in a week after his superb strike for the Reserves against Blackburn in midweek. But the goal proved no more than a consolation as United grabbed two goals to inflict on the Blues their second defeat in a week. Harvey said: "We took the lead and we played well in the first half. But in the second half they got on top and ran out deserved winners."
* EVERTON defender Sean Wright was part of the England under-16s squad last Friday night as John McDermott's side opened their Victory Shield campaign with a 2-0 win against Northern Ireland in Ballymena. Derby's Lee Holmes and Arsenal defender Tom Moncur scored the goals to put England top of the table.
West Brom res 2, Everton res 2
Oct 22 2002
KEVIN McLeod's headed strike eight minutes from time earned Everton a point in this Barclaycard Premier Reserve League clash at Halesowen. The Blues, with Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone and Scot Gemmill in their side, went ahead a minute before half-time when Nick Chadwick struck from 25 yards. The Baggies equalised 12 minutes after the break, Everton twice failing to clear their lines and allowing Scotland international Scot Dobie to beat Paul Gerrard. Dobie made it 2-1 nine minutes later when he was left with a free header inside the box. Everton piled on the pressure, with Pistone and Chadwick going close. Finally McLeod made the breakthrough when he connected with David Carney's cross from the right. Chadwick almost scored a late winner, only for Baggies keeper Brian Jensen to make a fine save.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Watson, Pistone, Feng, Pilkington, Schumacher, Carney, Gemmill, Chadwicvk, Moore, McLeod. Subs: Lake, B Moogan, Southern, Brown, Potter.
Wayne's world turns on that wonder goal
By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Oct 22 2002
EVERTON Football Club has made a sharp about turn in the club's policy of protecting teenage prodigy Wayne Rooney from too much publicity. Until now, the club has care-fully protected Rooney from media exposure, but it emerged yesterday the Blues plan to fully exploit the new merchandising opportunities following last Saturday's stunning last-minute winner that brought Arsenal's 30-match unbeaten run to a spectacular halt. The strike made him the youngest goalscorer in Premiership history and left him negotiating a lucrative contract. Yesterday, club marketing manager Tracy Weston said nine out of ten shirts are printed with Rooney's name and number.
Ms Weston said: "There is no doubt that Saturday's result combined with the school's half-term has sparked a flurry of activity in the megastore. The store has been busy all day with people queuing to have Wayne's name printed on their shirts. "Some customers who have already purchased their shirts were bringing them back to have Rooney's name inscribed on the back. "Evertonians have been longing for a new hero and there is no doubt that Saturday's result and Rooney's performance have renewed enthusiasm for the team and all associated merchandise. "The club has tried to carefully protect Wayne from the media. During this time, Everton has made a conscious decision not to capitalise on his popularity and jeopardise his development. "However, fans will expect to obtain Rooney merchandise and will expect official merchandise through the club." New Rooney merchandise will include a video of last Saturday's 30-yard strike. Rooney's popularity has knocked Duncan Ferguson from the top slot of most wanted name for shirts sold at the club shop. The next most popular name is Chinese signing Li Tie.
Young star prepared for burst into spotlight
Oct 22 2002
FOOTBALL experts have been preparing Everton star Wayne Rooney for the limelight for two years, it was revealed last night. The 16-year-old from Croxteth was told by coaches at Everton's youth academy in Netherton to expect a spectacular break into Premiership football and to "keep his feet on the ground." FA football science advisor Prof Tom Reilly said Everton coaches have carefully nurtured their young star. He said: "Rooney's mentors will have been saying to him that this will happen over the last 24 months. "You can talk young talented people through the future and give them a clear picture about the exposure they will receive so they know what to expect when it happens." Prof Reilly, who is based at Liverpool John Moors University, has published research on why some talented young players break into top flight football and others fail. He said: "Physical and genetic factors are very important in explaining why Rooney has such talent but the key factor is the tuition he has received." Former Everton manager Howard Kendall, who nurtured Everton's last wonder kid Francis Jeffers, said Rooney's coaches will try and treat him like any other player.
Former cup-winning Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe, said: "When I played there wasn't the massive exposure and you could probably go down south and not be recognised. "Now clubs do try and limit access to their young players. As part of their scholarship I am sure they learn how to do TV inter-views. We used to learn how to perform in interviews from the older players in the team."
Football scout Bob Pendleton recommended Wayne to Everton when the striker was a nine-year-old playing for Copplehouse under 10s in the Walton and Kirkdale Junior Football League.
Mr Pendleton, 63, from West Derby, watched Wayne's goal from the Main Stand on Saturday.
He said: "Wayne has set the city on fire There is so much more to come from him - he was born to score goals." Wayne Rooney's father says he hopes his son will go on to score many more goals for Everton. Wayne Rooney senior last night said: "Saturday was the proudest day of my life. I am a lifelong Everton fan and to see my son score for my team was out of this world."
Tomasz can't stop smiling
Oct 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI was still smiling today - despite being the man who made way for Wayne Rooney on Saturday. Everton's Canadian international forward gave one of the best performances of his Everton career, before coming off 10 minutes from the end. But even though his own expertly struck goal was completely over-shadowed by Rooney's wonder strike, he was still on a high at the Blues' Bellefield training ground. "I think it's going to be a couple of days before the smile is wiped off my face, because this has been one of the most incredible weekends of my life," he declared.
"I was a little tired when I came off, but the happiness of winning makes me feel so much better.
"I think the goal Wayne scored was fantastic. I've been waiting my entire career to score a goal like that and he scores it at the age of 16 against Arsenal to become a record breaker! It's amazing!"
But Radzinski was keen to deflect the praise onto the entire squad. "We put in a very good performance and although we had a little bit of luck, we were on top of them and we looked equal to them," he went on. "With all the work we'd put in the week before the game and the effort we'd put in during the 90 minutes, I think we deserved it."
Rooney Effect is rubbing off on Radzinski
Oct 22 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
THE Wayne Rooney effect is rubbing off on everyone at Everton, it seems. Last season Tomasz Radzinski flattered to deceive. He looked impressive in some games, disinterested in others.
But this season his form has been consistently good - and there can only be a couple of reasons for the dramatic improvement. Sometimes it can take a player a season to adjust to a new league and a new group of players. Sometimes a change of manager can help. But I think of even more significance is that Radzinski realises if he drops out of Everton's first team for any reason he won't get back in again. Everton have treated Rooney with kid gloves so far, and have shown impeccable judgement in his handling. But the temptation to use him more and more in matches must be growing. I fully expect him to be left on the substitutes' bench at West Ham again next weekend. After a strike like that against Arsenal, everyone who runs out knows that if they are not producing 100 per cent and more David Moyes will be itching to get Rooney on. My Shrewsbury team were in action against Kidderminster on Saturday, so I had only heard that Rooney had scored the winner against Arsenal. I sat back to watch The Premiership later in the evening expecting a close range tap-in from a corner. I was as stunned as David Seaman when I witnessed the quality of the strike.
It was a truly exceptional goal, from the sublime first touch all the way through to the calculated finish. Everton's only problem is that it will catapult Rooney onto a higher level of exposure to that which he has been subjected to already. Michael Owen suffered from the same glare of publicity when he burst onto the scene at a similar age, but had the escape route of a home in Mold.
I was a few years older than both Michael and Wayne when I started playing for Everton - and the interest I generated was nothing like that duo - but I still found it a relief to be able to escape to North Wales myself. People in Liverpool are so passionate and focused about their football that they wanted to discuss it with you every minute of every day. Wayne lives in Croxteth so he is going to find it difficult to escape that goldfish bowl. But Everton are doing everything right so far with their protective arm around his shoulder, and it is paying off - both for him and those around him.
Kenwright's goal miss proves costly
Oct 22 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT finally saw Everton's goal of the season last night, 48 hours late --and at a personal cost of almost a thousand pounds. The Blues' owner and deputy Chairman had to endure a Basil Fawlty style chase around Europe before he finally witnessed Wayne Rooney's historic strike at 20 past seven last night. And when he eventually saw the goal which sank The Gunners, he didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Kenwright had interrupted a holiday in the south of France to attend Saturday's game at Goodison. But he had to leave two minutes before time to catch a train to London. "I never, ever leave before the end of a game," he explained. "But I'd interrupted my family holiday to be there and had to leave in order to see to a show I'm producing in London.
"I was halfway between the Winslow and the Blue House when the roar went up. Every Evertonian can imagine how I felt. "I was ecstatic that we'd scored, but frustrated I hadn't been there."
But that was only the start of the theatre impresario's frustration. "It was the small hours of the morning when I finally got back to the house on Sunday morning," he explained. "The Premiership had long since finished, and I'd left Jenny out in France so no-one could tape it for me.
"I was flying back out first thing on Sunday morning so I thought I'd see it on Sky when I got back over there. "But there were violent storms all along the south of France, so there was no cable.
"I was getting desperate now so I 'phoned our Tom and asked him to get on the next plane out with a video of the match. "I went to pick him up at the airport and we dashed back to the apartment - only to find that the tape was on the wrong speed! So we drove to the nearest video store, which was 20 miles away, and explained the predicament. "The shopkeeper told me something about needing four heads on my machine - and the only way round it was to buy a new video player.
"It cost me £250, and when I finally saw how wonderful it was I felt even more frustrated. We worked out I'd missed it by 31 seconds! Kenwright confirmed that Rooney would be around to score plenty more goals for Everton like his stunning first Premiership strike. "He won't sign his contract until December because he is moving agents," he explained "but I'm not worried because he is Blue through and through." Rooney's new agent, Paul Stretford, echoed Kenwright's sentiments.
"There is nothing for anyone to worry about. We just have the best interests of the boy at heart. I don't know when the contract will be signed but it should be in the very near future."
Chadwick makes a point to Blues
Oct 22 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
STRIKER Nick Chadwick pressed for a return to first team action after scoring in Everton reserves' 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion at Hale-sowen last night. But it took a marvellous header from Kevin McLeod eight minutes from time to earn a point. Everton included Steve Watson, Alessandro Pistone and skipper Scot Gemmill in the starting line-up. The Blues took the lead a minute before the break thanks to Chadwick's 25-yard drive. The Blues allowed their hosts back into the game on 57 minutes, when the defence failed to clear, allowing Scottish international Scot Dobie to pounce and slam the ball home. The Baggies striker then claimed a second 11 minutes later, again through poor marking in the box. Dobie was allowed enough space to head past Paul Gerrard. It proved a wake-up call for the Blues, who then made all the running as they pressed for an equaliser. Pistone was inches wide with a low drive and Chadwick went close with another shot. The breakthrough came on 82 minutes when McLeod rose superbly in the box to head home David Carney's cross from the right. In the last few minutes Chadwick almost proved the match winner, running through on goal only to be denied by keeper Brian Jensen's excellent save. David Moyes was handed a boost as Watson and Pistone both successfully completed the full 90 minutes.
Everton: Gerrard, Watson, Pistone, Feng, Pilkington, Schumacher, Carney, Gemmill, Chadwick, Moore, McLeod. Subs (not used): Lake, B Moogan, Southern, Brown, Potter Goalscorers: Chadwick 44, McLeod 82
Blues show off quality of their heritage
Oct 22 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON unveiled their first 'True Blue Heritage Plaque' at the weekend as part of the club's ongoing 100 Seasons of Top Flight Football celebrations. The Sandon Hotel, which stands on the corner of Oakfield Road and Houlding Street, was the chosen site. The Sandon was used by early Everton sides as changing rooms, before making the short trip to Stanley Park to play their matches.
It quickly became the club's unofficial headquarters - and the landlord was John Houlding. He was the man who forced the split which saw Everton FC become Everton and Liverpool in 1892.
The plaque reads "In 1884 The Sandon Hotel was the first headquarters for Everton Football Club."
The Sandon's significance in Everton's affairs dwindled after that, but in the 1980s decorators knocked down a wall there and discovered a mosaic of one of the club's most celebrated early stars -Alex 'Sandy' Young -who scored the winner in the 1906 FA Cup Final. The image was transported to Goodison Park where it now adorns a wall on the staircase leading to the Alex Young Suite (the sixties version!) The heritage plaque is the first of a dozen which will be installed in and around Merseyside during the next few months, to celebrate the club's unique status of 100 Seasons of Top Flight football. "It's so important to commemorate this important place in Everton's history," said Fans' Liaison Officer Graeme Sharp. "This is a place where part of the foundations for our club were laid and it's good to give it some deserved recognition." Blues' legend Brian Labone added: "We've got a marvellous history and it's great to celebrate it."
Irvine: We must keep our feet on the ground
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 23 2002
ALAN IRVINE has warned Everton they must not let their stunning win over champions Arsenal go to their heads. The assistant manager has brought the Blues down to earth by calling on David Moyes' squad to back up Saturday's 2-1 victory by beating fourth-from-bottom West Ham on Sunday.
Teenage sensation Wayne Rooney, 17 tomorrow, won the game with a long-distance winner in the dying moments to lift Everton to ninth place in the Premiership ahead of the weekend visit to Upton Park. Irvine said: "We all really enjoyed Saturday for various reasons. It was a fantastic performance by all the players. "The whole situation around here is very, very exciting at the moment, but we have to understand that it is only three points and we have to get back and get started again to work hard towards the West Ham game. "It's important that we build on what we've achieved from the Fulham, Manchester United and Arsenal performances." Irvine, who joined Moyes' coaching staff from Newcastle United in the summer, added: "That was really special on Saturday and we hope there's going to be an awful lot more afternoons like that. "I actually commented afterwards that you'd have thought we'd just won the league - never mind three points!" Meanwhile, Everton reserves coach Andy Holden praised Scot Gemmill after Monday night's 2-2 draw with West Brom at Halesowen. "Scot led by example," said Holden. "He kept running, kept probing and he was always available to receive the ball. "His work-rate was excellent. It always is."
Blues take blame for Gunners Euro loss
Oct 23 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were blamed for Arsenal's second defeat in a week last night - even though the blue shirts inside Highbury belonged to Auxerre. Arsene Wenger reacted to a surprise Champions League reverse by suggesting his side was still in shock after their experience at Goodison Park on Saturday.
But Blues' boss David Moyes wants his side to build on that result, and says first team places are still up for grabs despite the result against the Champions. Tobias Linderoth was an impressive second half substitute for Everton on Saturday, reinforcing the mid-field at a time when the Gunners looked like wresting control of the game. He has had to wait patiently for his opportunity and Moyes explained: "Tobias did very, very well when he came on and I told him so afterwards.
"It was a period of the game when Arsenal had started getting the upper hand and he stiffened things up. "You have to remember that it was Li Tie's 12th match in a row and it was a big game for him against probably the best two midfielders in the world. "Tobias was unfortunate not to start the season in the first team, but when you look at Li Tie's performances in those games you have to say it was the correct decision. "But Scot Gemmill also performed very well for the reserves the other night so there is competition building in every department now. "Lee Carsley had to wait for his chance, but when he came in he has done well and it is up to other play-ers in the squad to keep themselves right so that when they get their chance they can take it." Recent speculation linking Everton with a variety of targets from German striker Carsten Jancker to Blackburn winger Keith Gillespie has been dismissed by Moyes.
PFA back Moyes on Rooney
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Oct 24 2002
DAVID MOYES has won the backing of the Professional Footballers Assocation for his watchful handling of Everton starlet Wayne Rooney. The PFA said the club's careful management of striker Rooney, who turns 17 today, has left them with a "phe-nomenon" on their hands.
And the PFA believe the protective blanket which boss Moyes has thrown around Rooney - who scored a stunning winner against Arsenal on Saturday - will help the teenager fulfil his potential where other young Premier-ship talents have failed. The PFA's deputy chief executive Mick McGuire said: "Wayne Rooney is a phenomenon who has come through so quickly that he still has a year of his scholarship to go. "Wayne can clearly cope physically with the game because he has outstanding ability but as well as strength you need an all-round ability to cope with the demands of the Premier League. "What is absolutely vital for players like Wayne is that they are brought up well, that they complete their scholar-ship programme and that they are used sparingly by the manager.
"David Moyes fully understands the need to keep Wayne's feet on the ground. "The game is full of players who came in at 18 and were out of the game by 20 - they were thrown in too quickly and didn't have the right support base." The PFA say the three-year scholarship programmes which they fund at every club, and the example set by Moyes, has minimised the chance of future young stars being led astray. McGuire pointed to previous examples of how to handle football prodigies.
He added: "You look at the number of Manchester United players who came through that youth team, who were nurtured well and who are great successes and a credit to the game right now.
"We give the scholarship programmes all the support they need because we totally believe in their value. "It is testimony to their success when you see those players like Beckham, Butt, Scholes and the Nevilles."
Super Kev rewarded with captain's role
Oct 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN CAMPBELL is set to reclaim the prized captain's armband at Everton, as reward for his outstanding start to the season. The Blues' top scorer spoke of his pride at becoming the club's first black captain under Walter Smith. But he lost the honour when David Moyes arrived and installed Duncan Ferguson as skipper. During Ferguson's absence through injury this season David Weir has deputised, but the defender is suspended for Sunday's trip to Upton Park. Blues' boss David Moyes confirmed yesterday that Campbell would be restored as skipper, after his most consistent spell of form for more than a year. He has missed only 17 minutes of action this season - when he was rested at the end of the Worthington Cup tie at Wrexham - and has responded with six goals.
Only the Arsenal duo of Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord and Chelsea's Gianfranco Zola have scored more times in the Premiership this season.
Joseph tackles racism
Oct 24 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S new Nigerian international star Joseph Yobo has thrown his support behind a new football tournament aimed at tackling racism. More than 200 players took part in the inaugural competition held at Toxteth sports centre, organised by Liverpool-based Integration By Sport to coincide with the national Let's Kick Racism Out of Football campaign. Integration By Sport was set up by city youth workers Richard Braithwaite and Jama Warsame to promote racial harmony among the young which they aim to turn into an annual event. Jama said: "The tournament shows that without effort people from different cultures can get together without any bias. The event will be one of many to highlight the fact that racism in sport should not be tolerated or swept under the carpet." More than a dozen different ethnic groups were represented by teams from across Mersey-side, with Joseph Yobo presenting the winning trophy to Toxteth-based team Scouse Eagles.
Richard said: "The response to this event has been all positive. We have had great support from Everton and Liverpool, as well as Piara Power of the Let's Kick Racism Out of Football Foundation.
"We intend to speak to him to develop this tournament. Next year we will definitely be doing something similar, possibly bigger."
'Reborn' Radzinski proving his point
Oct 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY wasn't the only striker to claim his third goal of the season on Saturday.
But while Rooney's rocket still dominates the nation's sports pages, Blues' boss David Moyes is keen to ensure the contribution of his side's other Gunners' goalscorer is not overlooked. Tomasz Radzinski (left) has been a striker reborn this season. More familiar with the rigours of the Premiership after a season's adjustment, more settled under a new manager - and maybe even more motivated with Rooney breathing fiercely down his neck - his form all season has been the best of his Blues' career. It has not gone unnoticed. "When we introduced Wayne on Saturday I think the ovation he got was partly for Tommy Radzinski, because of the way he had played as well," said manager David Moyes. "He is not overlooked by me, the players or anybody on the staff here and I think the contribution he is making to the team is excellent. "He has played really well from the start of the season and I think, more importantly, everybody will notice the difference in his work-rate.
"His work and the way he is playing is certainly not going unnoticed by me and I don't think it is going unnoticed by the Evertonians either. "He said that he could get goals and I have to say that in the early part of pre-season he was so sharp, his finishing was excellent and I think he should get more goals." There is also brighter news regarding Everton's other strikers. Nick Chadwick, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Saturday, is fit again and has scored in his last two reserve outings.
Joe-Max Moore has also shaken off a serious knee problem and is now turning out regularly for the Blues reserves, while Duncan Ferguson has taken the next step forward in his own rehabilitation.
"Duncan has now had his operation and is well into his rehabilitation," explained Moyes.
"We are just making sure the wound is healing properly and there is no infection. "We are happy with the way things are going and he should start working in the swimming pool in the next day or two and that should see him on his way back to fitness."
Double joy as Rooney earns call-up
Oct 24 2002 By David Randles, icLiverpool
WAYNE ROONEY had double cause for celebration today as he marked his 17th birthday with a call-up to the England U-19 squad. The Everton starlet (right), who confirmed his place in Premiership folklore by becoming the league's youngest ever goalscorer with his memorable winner against Arsenal on Saturday, has been called into Stuart Baxter's squad for the second time.
Rooney made his debut for the U-19s earlier this month against Yugoslavia but was withdrawn at half-time as part of an agreement between Baxter and Blues' boss David Moyes as Everton continue to nurture the youngster's development. Rooney will take part in a mini-tournament for the U-19s involving Macedonia, Moldova and Romania. The first game is against Moldova at Kidderminster on November 3.
Wayne makes it worthwhile
Oct 25 2002 Fanscene By Mark O'Brien,
A GOOD friend who is awaiting the imminent arrival of his first child was asked on Saturday morning whether he would be bringing him to the match at the first opportunity or whether he would be sparing him the lifetime of misery and disappointment that is the football fan's lot. Because the beautiful game isn't always that beautiful. As everyone knows, it's expensive, ridiculously time-consuming and for a great deal of the time it's completely disheartening. However, every now and then the football supporter gets a reward that those whose lives haven't been completely immersed in the fortunes of one club can never comprehend. Even taken out of context Wayne Rooney's instinctively executed goal was a thing of brutal beauty. However, for it to be scored in the last minute, against the seemingly unstoppable Arsenal, and by the Premiership's youngestever goalscorer, elevated it into something almost mystical. The Manchester earth tremors were nothing compared to the one that shook Goodison last Saturday. Goals like that are few and far between, and as previously stated they are only truly historical when the setting for them is perfect.
If young Wayne's strike had been a consolation goal at 3-0 down then the moment would not have had the same impact. Credit therefore must once again go to David Moyes and every single one of his players for all that came before. Moyes sent his side out against Arsene Wenger's brilliant team and they refused to respect reputations and reproduced another tenacious, lung-bursting performance. Even without Rooney's wonder goal, the team performance would have sent the fans home extremely happy. From the frighteningly accomplished Joseph Yobo at the back, through the combination of artistry and industry displayed by the rejuvenated Thomas Gravesen and right up to the deadly duo of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski, the Blues were phenomenal.
Special mention must also go to Tobias Linderoth who, with hardly any first-team football under his belt this season, stepped into the middle of a game like that and brought a vital measure of control and composure at a time when the champions were threatening to overrun us. Let's hope that this really was the pivotal moment that it felt like and that thrilling, joyous Everton performances are par for the course by the time my friend's little lad first hears Z Cars.
Rooney spells out intent
Oct 25 2002 By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
TRUE Blue Wayne Rooney last night pledged his future to Everton, and vowed: "Fame won't change me." The teenage sensation dismissed fears he could be lured away from Goodison by making the 17th birthday wish all Evertonians wanted to hear - by insisting he will sign his first professional contract for the Blues. Rooney shrugged off the delay in his putting pen to paper on a lucrative five-year deal, saying: "I will sign my contract with Everton as soon as possible." Rooney was originally due to sign yesterday but will now seal the deal in December after a change of agents held up the contract. The striker said: "There will be a delay, which is unfortunate. The problem is that my current agent has not agreed to terminate our agreement even though it does run out in December.
"I do want any negotiations regarding my contract to be handled by the people at Proactive, the management company I have chosen to represent me." Rooney shot to fame with a stunning winner against Arsenal on Saturday and has attracted interest from a host of European suitors, including Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich. But the Croxteth-born youngster, who has also attracted interest from North West rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, is determined to fulfil his promise at Goodison. "I am really enjoying my football at the moment and I love training with the rest of the lads," said Rooney. Rooney continued: "Even so, I do manage to keep in touch with all my old mates from the Youth side. I am a pretty down-to-earth sort of a lad so I don't think I am going to change too much. "The most important thing is that I continue to listen to the manager, the coaches and to my team-mates. I must try and improve as a player each and every day."
He added: "I honestly cannot find the words to describe the feeling I get when I run out at Goodison Park wearing that famous blue shirt. "I think everyone knows that me and my family are Everton-mad. For as long as I can remember, I have dreamed of playing for the club and to have actually appeared in the first team before my 17th birthday is just fantastic. "Scoring my first Premiership goal against Arsenal last Saturday was absolutely wonderful - a moment I will never, ever forget.
"Although I was some distance from the goal, I knew that time was running out. I thought it was worth me having a go. I saw a gap in the top corner of the goal and just aimed for it.
"When the ball went in, I just couldn't contain myself. After the game, I met up with my mum, dad and brothers. If anything they seemed to be even more over-come with emotion than I was!"
Rooney marked his birthday with a call-up to the England under-19s squad to face Macedonia, Moldova and Romania in the UEFA U19s Championship qualifying tournament next month. But Everton will ask the FA to release the forward because they are due to play Leeds in the Premiership and Newcastle in the Worthington Cup at the same time.
Rooney all set for the high life
Oct 25 2002 By Paul Walker, Daily Post
WAYNE ROONEY may have only turned 17 yesterday, but he has already been tipped for greatness.
Rooney does not look like your average teenager. He is strong, muscular and hard to knock off the ball, having what people in the game describe as a low centre of gravity. It is what Alan Shearer has - and Diego Maradona had. After watching the youngster beat beleaguered England stopper David Seaman with a stunning strike which ended Arsenal's record unbeaten Premiership run at Goodison last weekend, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger claimed Rooney was "the best English youngster I've seen since I arrived in this country". Everton manager David Moyes - whose words on Rooney have to be squeezed from him one at a time, so concerned is he about over-exposing him - simply added: "I'd agree with that." Yesterday was a big day for Rooney. He will be able to buy a car - although he will need to learn to drive first - and he will be old enough to become a full-time professional, although he will not now put pen to paper until December. The youngster has so far only completed 90 minutes twice for Everton and played in just 11 games, but the impact has been devastating.
Saturday's goal made him the youngest-ever Premier-ship scorer, snatching the record from Michael Owen. Everton have been aware when Rooney turned 17 he could, if he was so inclined, sign for another club. A string of top sides here and in Europe have made enquiries. But Everton, in truth, have had this deal sorted out for months. They were never really going to lose a youngster who has an Everton flag in the window of his bedroom in his parents' modest council house in Croxteth.
Dad Wayne senior, 39, mother Jeanette, 35, brothers Graham, 14, and John, 11, are Everton season-ticket holders. Who else would he sign for? And he is now represented by one of the country's top agents, Wilmslow-based Paul Stretford, who has Kenny Dalglish working with him. And it was Liverpool legend Dalglish who courted the youngster and organised the contract with his new advisors. The deal is worth around £10,000 a week, but nobody is thinking of slapping that sort of pay cheque in his hand every week. Everton recall what happened to Danny Cadamarteri when he was given a similar deal under Howard Kendall. Flash cars, houses, partying, and a brush with the law. He never fulfilled his potential and is now at Bradford wondering, no doubt, where it all went wrong. Nobody intends letting that happen to Rooney. Speculation is that he will get 'pocket money' but it could be as much as £1,000 a week. The rest will be invested. Mind you, the four-year deal which will come into operation in December is likely to be renegotiated in a couple of years to make him the best-paid teenager in British football history. And as he progresses, there are written-in pay boosts along the way. Everton have been very careful with the striker they know carries their hopes for the future. Moyes is even believed to have claimed he would quit if the board decided to cash in on Rooney, who scored eight goals last season in taking Everton to the FA Youth Cup final. Cash problems forced Everton to sell Michael Ball and Francis Jeffers. Moyes wants to see Rooney stay. Everton are trying hard to keep the wraps on him, but his name already adorns thousands of shirts. Last season only a select few who witnessed Rooney take Everton to the FA Youth Cup final will have known much about him. Nobody can say that now, and with that new contract ready to be signed Everton will be able to relax and reap the benefits of a genuine talent who could just change their fortunes.
Blues aim to hit back
Oct 25 2002 Academy By Chris Wright
COLIN HARVEY'S Everton under-19s look to bounce back from back-to-back defeats at Stoke City tomorrow in the FA Premier Academy League. After an unbeaten run of three wins and a draw, in the last two weeks the Blues have lost 4-2 and 2-1 to rivals Liverpool and Manchester United respectively. Colin Harvey said: "We have still got a few injuries but the lads who have come in have done okay." Craig Garside is still out with a knee injury as is long-term injury victim, striker Michael Symes. Alan Moogan is again doubtful with a cut foot, so there should be little change from last Saturday's side. A number of the U19s squad have played in the reserves this season with David Carney and Steven Schumacher again featuring in the 2-2 draw with West Brom Reserves on Monday night. Carney continued his good form by setting up Kevin McLeod's late equaliser. Goalkeeper Sean Lake, defenders Brian Moogan and Robert Southern, as well as midfielders Scott Brown and James Potter, were all unused substitutes. Alan Harper's under-17s have no game this weekend in the Academy League.
At 17 you can give Blueblood
Oct 25 2002 By Jamie Gardner, Daily Post
EVERTON striker Wayne Rooney yesterday turned 17, and judging by his stunning goal against Arsenal and his club's eagerness to sign him up to his first professional contract, he has the world at his feet. Here, we looks at what Rooney is legally permitted to do now he has reached 17.
1 - DRIVE A CAR, SMALL VEHICLE OR TRACTOR: Rooney is set to sign a lucrative contract with Everton so he may shun the old banger usually purchased by newly-licensed drivers in favour of something a little more sleek and sporty. Of course, he has got to pass his test first!
If he finds driving a little too pedestrian for his tastes, he could always look into option two.
2 - GET A PRIVATE PILOT'S LICENCE: Private jets are still the reserve of the super-rich, but Rooney is soon going to have enough cash for all manner of expensive boy's toys. Why make paper aeroplanes when you can fly a real one?
3 - GIVE BLOOD WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT: Provided he is not too squeamish, Rooney can now take himself down to his nearest donor clinic and give a few pints of blood. 4 - JOIN THE NAVY: He can go to sea as an officer as of today, but a career in the Royal Air Force would have to wait another six months, and an extra three months to become a member of the ground troop.
5 - BE INTERVIEWED BY POLICE WITHOUT AN APPROPRIATE ADULT PRESENT: Rooney will hope that this is one legal right he does not need to exercise!
6 - BUY OR HIRE A FIREARM AND AMMUNITION OR CROSSBOW: Most football pros prefer a round of golf, but perhaps a striker like Rooney will favour marksmanship of a different kind.
Everton in Kings Dock bombshell
Exclusive By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Oct 25 2002
A RIFT between the two most powerful men in Everton's boardroom is set to cause the imminent collapse of the club's Kings Dock stadium dream. The club's co-owners, Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg, are at loggerheads about how to finance the construction of the planned 55,000 seat football stadium and entertainments arena on the Liverpool waterfront. Mr Gregg, who made £150m from the sale of his theatre business three years ago, has decided to look for other wealthy investors to replace Everton as part-owners of the £155m project. His proposal to introduce new investors follows Everton's failure to raise its £30m share of the building costs. As well as wealthy individuals, Mr Gregg may also approach venture capital firms. Under Mr Gregg's proposals, Everton would not own their own ground. Instead, the club would simply pay rent as a tenant. But the multi-millionaire is under pressure to finalise his plans quickly as Everton intend to make a final decision on Kings Dock within the next three weeks. Everton's deputy chairman, theatre impressario Bill Ken-wright, is strongly against the proposals because they could leave the club homeless in future years.
A source at the club said: "There is no way Bill Kenwright would accept these terms. He has always made it quite clear to the fans that Everton would have at least a 50pc stake in their new ground.
"There is no mandate from the fans to give up Goodison Park to become a tenant.
"He and pretty much everyone else on the board would prefer to stay at Goodison Park or find somewhere else to move to." Two months ago Mr Gregg was asked by Liverpool Vision, the body overseeing the regeneration of Kings Dock, to guarantee the club's stake in the stadium.
Mr Gregg now appears reluctant to do this and instead wants to take a direct investment himself.
The rift now threatens the whole scheme. Without Mr Gregg's involvement, Everton's board would need to find new investors to raise the money to pay for the club's stake. It is understood that Mr Kenwright has begun the search for new partners. One possibility is Lord Grantchester, who used to be a member of Everton's board. As a member of the Moores family, Lord Grantchester is in line for a multi-million pound windfall following the recent agreement to sell stores group Littlewoods for £750m. Doubts had already begun to emerge about the £155m scheme on Wednesday when Mr Gregg pulled out of a public debate on the stadium plans organised by the Merseyside Civic Society.
And the club has still not submitted a planning application for the stadium to Liverpool City Council.
Last night, a spokesman for Everton would only say: "Negotiations with all parties still continue and we intend to submit a planning application before the end of the year."
Moss lesson for rolling Rooney
October 25, 2002
Manchester Evening News
HOT PROSPECT: Wayne Rooney
IMAGINE, for a moment, that you are the Everton manager David Moyes. You've got as kid on the books at Goodison Park by the name of Wayne Rooney who the whole world is raving about. In soccer terms he is still a baby. In fact, it was his 17 birthday yesterday (Friday). You've got socks older than that. And yet everyone is telling him that he's a superstar after just a handful of games.
How do you keep a youngster's feet on the ground and his head out of the clouds when he is reading those sort of headlines about himself on a daily basis?
How do you convince him that he's not in the Maradona class yet, and that there's a long slog ahead, full of pitfalls, before he can even rate himself as a fully-fledged professional footballer - let alone the greatest English player ever to draw breath? know what I would do if I was David Moyes. I would sit Rooney down in a quiet room and I would tell him the tale of Alfie Moss. Alfie Moss? I can picture you scratching your head. Alfie Moss? Never heard of him. Don't worry, you are not alone. Very few people have heard of Alfie Moss. But I've heard of him because I played alongside him at Manchester City in the mid-1960s. Alfie's story is a graphic illustration of the dangers of building up a young footballer into a superstar before he's actually achieved anything on a soccer pitch. In his own circles, Alfie was already a star when he arrived at Maine Road. He was the hottest schoolboy prospect in England. Centre-forward for Essex Schoolboys and England Schoolboys, and the scorer of goals at an unbelievable ratio. Our first-team coach Malcolm Allison raved about him and persuaded Alfie to leave school a year early, as you could do in those days. Alfie was only 15 when he arrived at Maine Road and I could see straight off why Malcolm was so keen to have him on board.
Big and powerful
For his age, Alfie was big and powerful. He was already a man in everything but birth certificate. Virtually from day one he was playing in our Central League side. Today that doesn't seem much of a big deal, but let me tell you that, 35 years ago, a 15-year-old kid playing in the Central League was almost unheard of. If I point out that Manchester United in that period fielded a full team of internationals in a reserve team fixture, it will give you some idea about the standard of the Central League at that time. But Alfie, at 15, was the real McCoy. He had the soccer world at his feet. A future superstar, as sure as Tuesday follows Monday. Around three years later, when he should have been signing his first contract as a senior professional, City showed Alfie Moss the door. The club had no choice. The kid who had looked a world-beater at 15 wouldn't have got into a pub team at 18. He disappeared out of sight. What went wrong with Alfie Moss? I can only guess. Perhaps he discovered that girls were more fun than soccer. Perhaps he preferred lager to training. I don't know. I never asked and no-one on the coaching staff at Maine Road volunteered the information. Take nothing for granted
But there is a message for Wayne Rooney and every other promising young footballer behind the Alfie Moss story. You haven't made it until you've made it. Wayne, lad, when you've written the headlines consistently over a period of time at the highest level, then you can start believing them. Until then, keep your head down and concentrate on learning your trade. Soccer down the years has been full of Alfie Moss stories. Don't let your's be the next one.
Full credit to Tomasz
Oct 25 2002 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
NATURALLY, most of the attention is on Wayne Rooney, but Tomasz Radzinski looks a different player from last season. He has found extra pace and is scoring goals. He seems to have a spring in his step. But I don't think it is the extra competition from Rooney that is the main reason for this transformation. I feel it is more down to the atmosphere within the club and the team spirit in the dressing room. That is showing on the field during match days. It is a complement to the manager and his coaching staff. If you have happy players during training in the week, they will work for each other on the pitch. Radzinski has the ability to turn defenders, which every team needs. That was the problem with Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson when they played up front together. They were not doing that. Radzinski's running makes life easier for the Everton midfielders. It makes their minds up when they are looking to deliver a ball. If the front men are static, there is little option for the midfielders.
Centre of attention
WAYNE Rooney is getting all the attention at the moment. I experienced something similar in 1964 when I became the youngest player to feature in an FA Cup final at just 17. The hype started after the final between my team Preston and West Ham. I got sackfuls of mail. In those days the teams were taken away to a training headquarters in London ahead of the final. In a way that was good for me because I was protected from the spotlight. But after the game, which we lost, the attention was unbelievable. With Rooney, he has to forget everything else going on around him and really push to become a first team regular. With Campbell and Radzinski doing so well, it has helped David Moyes to only introduce Rooney into games when he feels it is right. If the other two strikers had not been scoring, the manager would have had little choice but to put him in, even if he had not wanted to.
UPTON Park has always been a difficult place to go to and get a result and just as Everton visit there on Sunday, West Ham now look to have found their form. The Hammers beat Fulham in midweek, but will face an Everton team full of confidence. The Blues' win over Fulham three weeks ago gave everyone a lift and even after the Manchester United defeat, there was no criticism of the way Everton performed. For me, the most disappointing match against West Ham, apart from that 1964 final, was also in the FA Cup in 1991. We had just knocked out Liverpool after two replays, including that 4-4 draw. Perhaps everyone thought our name was on the cup, but we then came up against West Ham and Stuart Slater ran us ragged.
Wayne makes Blues pledge
Oct 25 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY did not celebrate his 17th birthday by signing his first professional contract with Everton. But the Blues' starlet did the next best thing. Rooney pledged his immediate future to the club, and in his first official interview - published on the club's website - promised he would sign the deal as soon as was humanly possible. Rooney must wait until his existing deal with local agent Peter MacIntosh expires before he can conclude a new contract. He explained: "I will sign my contract with Everton as soon as is possible. There will be a delay, which is unfortunate. "The problem is that my current agent has not agreed to terminate our agreement even though it does run out in December. "I want any negotiations regarding my contract to be handled by the people at Proactive, the management company I have chosen to represent me." Rooney also spoke about his dramatic impact on the Premiership this season. "I am really enjoying my football at the moment and I love training with the rest of the lads," he said. "Even so, I do manage to keep in touch with all my old mates from the Youth side. I am a pretty down to earth sort of a lad so I don't think I am going to change too much. "The most important thing is that I continue to listen to the manager, the coaches and to my team -mates. I must try and improve as a player each and every day."
On last Saturday's stunning strike which installed him as the young-est goalscorer in Premier-ship history, he added: "I honestly cannot find the words to describe the feeling I get when I run out at Goodison Park wearing that famous blue shirt. "I think everyone knows that me and my family are Everton-mad. "For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of playing for the club and to have actually appeared in the first team before my 17th birthday is just fantastic. "Scoring my first Premiership goal against Arsenal last Saturday was absolutely wonderful - a moment I will never, ever forget. Although I was some distance from the goal, I knew that time was running out; I thought it was worth me having a go. I saw a gap in the top corner of the goal and just aimed for it.
"When the ball went in I just couldn't contain myself. After the game I met up with my mum, dad and brothers . . . if anything they seemed to be even more overcome with emotion than I was!"
Rooney gives Moyes striker headache
Oct 25 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has given David Moyes the kind of selection headache the Everton manager relishes. The Blues boss admits he is seriously considering including Rooney in the starting line-up for Sunday's televised Premiership clash at West Ham. The striker, who celebrated his 17th birthday yesterday, staked his claim for a starting berth after netting the spectacular winner against Arsenal at Goodison last weekend after coming on as a late substitute. But the good form of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski, who have remained the manager's first choice part-nership for much of the season, means he must disappoint one of his forwards. Having confirmed that Kevin Campbell is to be given the captaincy at Upton Park in place of the suspended David Weir it seems Moyes is faced with a straight choice between Radzinski and Rooney. He admits: "They are giving me a headache. Wayne (Rooney) scored last weekend but Tomasz Radzinski scored also. "It is great that we have got competition for places and I want to see even more competition from within the squad.
"Both Tomasz and Kevin have played well this season and been scoring goals. But Wayne has also been doing well, both when he has come on as a substitute and when he has started matches.
"All of them are in consideration for Sunday. Wayne is obviously a player who will always be considered if he is fit." Radzinski has missed a couple of days of training this week with a minor thigh strain and although he has now recovered from the problem, that could prove to be the decisive factor in the manager's team selection. He is not likely to make his decision until Sunday. Whichever side the manager selects, he is confident Everton can build on last weekend's 2-1 success against the rejuvenated Hammers. Indeed, he believes there was a rise in confidence amongst his squad even before Rooney struck to defeat the Gunners and become the youngest scorer in Premiership history.
He added: "The players are confident but I felt we were alive before that goal. We have been bubbling since before the game at Manchester United and our results in the last few weeks reflect that. "We have set a standard for ourselves now and we now have to try and play to that same level and commitment in every game and work on improving our game further. "We know West Ham have won their last couple of games and are picking up after regaining a bit of confidence but we can only concentrate on our own game. We are feeling confident and are looking forward to the match."
Kings Dock 'move is on'
Oct 25 2002 By Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
THE BLUES' KINGS DOCK DREAM IS SET TO BECOME REALITY
EVERTON'S Kings Dock dream is alive and well, millionaire director Paul Gregg pledged today.
Mr Gregg broke months of silence to reveal that he HAS raised the £30m needed to cover Everton's share of the £300m project to build a 55,000-seat arena. And he insisted that he and deputy chairman Bill wright are in complete ment over the deal and will submit a detailed planning application next February. The "reverse mortgage" package brokered by Mr Gregg should end the cial crisis which has rounded the project in recent months. Everton will begin as tenants in the new stadium, progressively buying back its 50% equity stake in the arena over the coming years.
The deal is to be put to Everton's full board ahead of the club's annual general meeting next Thursday, but Mr Gregg today said he was confident that it would meet approval.
Mr Gregg said: "Bill Kenwright and I have put together a five-year plan to put Everton into its new stadium. "Our number one priority is to see Everton competing with Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool at the top of the premiership. "Having made the change from Walter Smith to David Moyes, we believe we have one of the best coaches in the country. We need to support him with a new training academy to build on the youth of Everton. "We have been juggling our assets to move into Kings Arena which is a fantastic opportunity. We have to generate £30m of private sector funding, and that has been done from other sources than Everton FC. "Everton will move into the stadium where the receipts will be such that they will then buy back their ownership of the stadium.
"That will enable the club to compete at the top of the premiership and be at the Kings Waterfront. Our third ambition is to maximise the brand name. "Bill and I have known each other 30 years. We have never exchanged a piece of paper other than when we formed True Blue Holdings and bought Everton FC. "We have achieved so much in trying to stabilise the club. "The situation is that the funding is now in place. We are currently agreeing an acceptable formula with the public sector over that. "We have committed a further £2m on completing our planning application. I believe the public sector will do the same and the detailed planning application will be made in February.
"If this scheme doesn't happen the whole regeneration of Liverpool won't take place in the way people see it. "We are putting together a £300m project which takes time for both the public and private sector, but everyone has been working diligently to put it together. It is a massive scheme.
"We will have resolved by Tuesday the formula with which we will go ahead with the public sector.
"We want to maximise the value of Goodison Park, and ensure that its memory and history are protected there. We have a fantastic site for our new academy in Halewood. "All our current assets, Good-ison, Bellefield, and our academy ground, have to be dealt with individually to get the maximum value for them. "All these things are enormous in the time and effort that they need.
"Side by side, Bill Kenwright and I are working on all aspects of Everton FC. I will continue to be a director of Everton FC. "The club has had an incredibly tough time and had to fight to stay in the premiership and fight for money. Bill and I have tried to bring some sense to the finances.
"We have a target to see us competing head on with Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds. "My belief is that everything we are doing will get this back on track and get a planning application in there in February, so that we can get on and market the Kings Dock as the most important development in Europe."
TV stars of future
Oct 25 2002 Daily Post & Icliverpool
ONLY a few seasons ago BSkyB and Granada TV ploughed millions into Premier-ship clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds, Arsenal and Newcastle. Everton, a poor orphan club, begged for TV investment but were shown the door. The emergence of wonder boy Wayne Rooney and the likes of Tony Hibbert, Nick Chadwick, Leon Osman and Peter Clarke will capture the appetite of viewers around the world, and now the TV companies should be made to pay for their error.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Academy staff for the fantastic job they are doing.
Kenny Jones, Liverpool
IF you are like me, you can't help but be worried that Wayne Rooney hasn't signed his contract with Everton. If the deal was arranged three months ago, why does he need a new agent? Who decides that for him as he's only just 17? My concern is that with all the recent accolades, any agent sniffing around is going to try to get hold of Rooney's ear. So who does he listen to? David Moyes? His parents... who do they listen to? If we lost him now - and it could happen - it would be a travesty.
All 11 players deserve credit for Saturday's success, but Rooney is the future. The exposure he will bring to the club will be priceless in attracting quality players. He is the way forward. If we lose him the future of the club is in jeopardy! Come on, get his signature on that contract!
Chris Terry, Liverpool
DAVID MOYES is brilliant. I have so much trust in him with his tactics and team selections.
I always believed that there was a problem with the training methods at Everton. Players were picking up injuries left, right and centre. They looked laboured in their style and some were passionless. Moyes seems to have got the passion, needed at a club like ours, back into the players' hearts and now the potential in those players is starting to be fulfilled.
Tom McGhana, Ireland
Sign him now
IS IT me or is anyone else a little concerned about the delay in Wayne Rooney's contract signing?
It has been put back to December and all the 'don't panic' messages coming out of Goodison don't fill me with confidence. We've heard it too many times now. But I wonder are the club going to be held to ransom by the greedy middle men. I hope not, but how many other boyhood Blues have left with the promise of greener pastures....
C Muir, Liverpool
WAYNE ROONEY, from a lifelong Evertonian, I wish you all the best for your 17th. And for a long, happy and successful career - all of it in the Royal Blue jersey! The good times are coming back.
Mike O'Neill, Barcelona
West Ham 0, Everton 1 (D, Post)
By Andy Hunter At Upton Park, Daily Post
Oct 28 2002
ANOTHER LONDON scalp, another superb winning goal. Will pictures of Lee Carsley's bedroom window now be broadcast around the globe? In terms of his potential to the English game and a new sensational storyline perhaps not; the Republic of Ireland international's life story is safe and secret for another week. In Goodison eyes, however, yesterday's matchwinner at West Ham could prove of momumental importance. The proof of an Everton revival under David Moyes was always going to come after the Lord Mayor's Show that was Arsenal and Wayne Rooney ' s elevation to national prominence. Everton have pulled the odd spectacular result out of the hat even during the darkest seasons only to puncture optimism before it had time to take root. So, while the week at the forefront of Premiership acclaim has done no harm to the club's image as it basked in the reflective glory of a 17-year-old, Upton Park offered the real test of whether THAT goal marked a watershed in Everton fortunes. Now they can all bask in the glory of the club's best ever Premiership start, the answer has to be yes. The standard of Everton's performance unquestionably dropped at West Ham and they had to ride their luck in the final, nervous 10 minutes.
But results are everything and, at a ground that has yet to witness a home victory this season, the Blues still had enough in reserve to deserve their win and end their own sorry sequence of four straight away defeats. Added to that more encouraging signs from Rooney, Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo and the commanding Richard Wright, and Everton's week of breaking records and birthdays ended with cause for even more celebration. Not that manager Moyes was too jovial afterwards, the attention on his young prodigy proving too much of a distraction for his liking. But with his side eighth in the table this morning and the supporters' mood at its highest level for years, the Blues boss has every reason to smile after his players finally carved out the away win their performance merited. A knee injury sustained in training on Saturday deprived Moyes the midfield influence of Thomas Graves-en, resulting in Tobias Linderoth being asked to build on his impressive substitute display against Arsenal with his first start of the season. The importance of the Dane's creative, attacking energy to Everton's play was graphically illustrated in his absence as both sides contrived to serve up a sterile first half. With four central midfielders by trade forming the Blues midriff and Linderoth and Tie more defensive in their approach, Moyes' men were lacking in the adventure that ended Arsenal's unbeaten record the week before. Any temptation to unleash Rooney in front of a televised audience was stifled by the lack of service that often forced Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell down blind alleys in search of scraps for the opening half hour. The use of the long ball had its merits in a swirling wind that kept defenders on their toes throughout, but an over-relience on the route by both teams soon lent proceedings a tedious air. West Ham were initially more potent as the Blues made a decidedly shaky start with Yobo guilty of two uncharacteristic slips that forced the excellent Hibbert and Wright into evasive action to deny Jermain Defoe and Trevor Sinclair respectively. Hibbert's chip into the area saw West Ham stop for an offside decision against Radzinski that never came as Li Tie raced through. A half chance turned into a great Hibbert has grown in confidence and stature with every passing game in the Premiership this season and was rightly rewarded with a first call-up to the England under-21s three weeks ago although that honour was curtailed by a muscle strain. His intelligent reading of the game and the danger posed by the Hammers' neat link-up play was vital in Everton riding out the early pressure, denying Joe Cole with a perfect penalty box tackle and cutting out a pass to the same player by Paolo Di Canio. Scott Minto and Defoe both forced decent saves out of Wright before the break but by then the Blues had begun to turn the tide. With Carsley bristling with purpose down the right, Linderoth pressing further forward and Campbell leading the line with increasing effect, Everton gradually took the sting out of the home side to become the more threatening force. Their first forward pass of genuine quality nearly delivered the breakthough, when Carsley released Campbell inside the area only for David James to display his England credentials with a fine block. On the stroke of half-time, however, the rushes of blood that have hindered his international claims ought to have gifted the Blues the lead.
one as James completely missed the ball but from the narrowest of angles the Chinese midfielder shot agonisingly across the face of goal. The momentum was clearly with Everton before and after the interval. Mark Pembridge had a goalbound effort deflected wide by Tomas Repka and Campbell bravely headed a Carsley free-kick over, collecting a heavy blow from James for his troubles.
With a striker of Rooney's magical ability to throw into the fray Moyes always has a winning hand to play. The wonderkid arrived on 64 minutes and immediately unsettled the Hammers' vulnerable rearguard, latching on to Campbell's fine pass with pace and power only to shoot over as he bore down on James' goal. "I expect him to finish those!" said his manager. Two minutes later the miss was forgotten as Everton showed they can win matches without their most prominent and precocious player. David Unsworth exchanged passes with Pembridge and swung over a trademark cross to the back post where Carsley stormed in front of Minto to bullet a header beyond the startled James. A quality goal, worthy of the exuberant celebrations that followed and which greeted the final whistle after Everton at last survived a storm to take all three points. Just like Old Trafford they faced a desperate finale, only this time fortune and poor finishing was on their side, while Wright proved a formidable barrier. The Blues keeper denied Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and in the final minute sub Edouard Cisse from pinching a point, while Di Canio and Trevor Sinclair fired wastefully over in the same spell. So a week that started with England's next great striking talent ended with their young keeper pressing his international claims.
From front to back Everton showed they have the youth and talent to advance. The revival is on.
WEST HAM UNITED (4-4-2): James; Dailly, Repka, Pearce, Minto (Camara 81); Sinclair, Lomas (Cisse 74), Carrick, Cole; Di Canio, Defoe. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Breen, Winterburn.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley, Linderoth, Li Tie (Pistone 89), Pembridge; Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 64). Subs: Gerrard, Alexandersson, Wei Feng.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
Car has the street cred
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 28 2002
DAVID MOYES believes Everton are back in fashion after Lee Carsley capped a memorable week for the Blues by elevating them to eighth in the Premiership. The Republic of Ireland midfielder's flying header brought the Blues a second successive victory as they followed up their conquest of champions Arsenal with a worthy win at West Ham. Carsley's first goal of the season ended a run of four away defeats for Everton, who have now recorded their best-ever start to a Premiership season after 11 games. And as he saluted the 28-year-old's bravery in claiming the winner, manager Moyes hoped the win will strengthen claims Everton are now emerging out of the wilderness.
The Blues boss said: "I told the lads there would be more eyes on them than usual after last week and it's great for a footballer when he is being patted on the back and people are saying we are a good team to watch. Maybe in the past Everton haven't been seen as a fashionable team but we are trying to change that." Moyes continued: "More people were watching us today and we were up for it. It has been a good week for Everton and we wanted to make sure we ended it by continuing our climb up the table. "Throughout this season we have been consistent away from home. We lost at Southampton, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Old Trafford and we should have taken points from all of them. "So we are pleased to come here and get the right result. We didn't play as well as we have done in the past today but we got the points that are all-important. "We took control of the game at the right times and got the goal we deserved at an important time. "The weather perhaps played a part at the start but as it died down the game got better." He added: "Lee has done extremely well since he came into the side. He's taken his chance and looked dangerous. He hit the post against Arsenal last week before we equalised and I've been very pleased with him in the last few games. "It was a fantastic, text-book header at the back post. "Lee fought for it and was brave to get it, coupled with a great cross. But it was a very good goal in its own right." Everton withstood a late onslaught by the Hammers to claim their second 1-0 away win of the season with Tony Hibbert and Richard Wright resilient in a defence missing the suspended David Weir. "Tony is developing into a very good player," said Moyes. "It was unfortunate he couldn't play for the Under-21s because of injury because he deserved that. "If you give people an opportunity it is up to them to take it and stay in the team and that's exactly what he and Lee Carsley have done. "Richard made a big move to go from Arsenal to Everton and it was always going to take time to come to terms with it. He didn't have the best of starts but now he is beginning to look like a really good keeper. "It was only 18 months ago he was being touted as England's next keeper and you don't become a bad one overnight. Now he's showing he's one of the best in the country again." Despite welcoming a return to the spotlight for Everton, Moyes is unhappy with the attention on Goodison sensation Wayne Rooney. The Blues manager stated: "There is a team out there doing well for Everton now and Wayne is a great talent for the future and a part of that team. It's about time people gave him a bit of breathing space. "He has handled the past week really well but he looked nervous before he came on and that worried me. When he was out there on the pitch though he looked good."
Moyes added: "We are not getting carried away on the back of two games. We just want to progress this season. "It's hard to say what we can achieve this season. What is success for Everton?
"For the last few years it has been avoiding relegation but I don't want to say we are aiming for mid-table and we can't win the league. "So we have to show we are making improvements, playing good football and developing young players for the future. Hopefully the board will let me do that."
Roeder on Blues ace
Oct 28 2002
WEST HAM manager Glenn Roeder hailed teenage strike sensation Wayne Rooney as "a breath of fresh air" after seeing his side lose 1-0 to Everton at Upton Park. "It is hard for me to say this after just being beaten, but Rooney does look an exciting young player," said Roeder. "It is very exciting for Everton and for English football - he had us fully stretched two or three times and he has just turned 17. "You wonder how good he is going to be in a couple of years' time. He plays with no fear in his body whatsoever, and nothing bad has ever happened to him in football. "He comes as a breath of fresh air - it's handbrake down and then let his natural talent take over." Roeder refused to blame Rooney's presence as the reason for the goal, which left West Ham still looking for their first home win of the season. "I won't have that as an excuse," he said. "The ball travelled a long way and we were beaten at the back post by a powerful header - the defender concerned knows he has to do better." Rooney might have scored just moments after coming on for Tomasz Radzinski, but he scooped an effort over the bar when under pressure from three defenders.
West Ham 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice at Upton Park
Oct 28 2002
ACCORDING to folklore, the dustcart is supposed to follow the Lord Mayor's show. Everton's wind-damaged win at Upton Park yesterday was far from a classic, but it was also another impressive away win whose significance outweighed the way it was achieved. After the drama, the excitement and the theatrical timing of the defeat of the champions, this was a win which was ground out.
Everton won at Upton Park, as they often do, and just as Charlton, West Brom and Birmingham had done before them. But coming on top of the famous win over Arsenal it showed a growing consistency and competitiveness about David Moyes' emerging team. Despite the defeat of the Gunners and the promise of the performance at Old Trafford, the fact remained that Everton went to Upton Park boasting an identical record to the same stage of last season - 14 points from 10 games. The three points Lee Carsley's goal gave them yesterday pushed them ahead of schedule - and there is plenty of promise that there is more to come. But if it was significant that the matchwinner arrived just five minutes after Wayne Rooney's introduction, David Moyes was having none of it. "I thought Wayne looked nervous before he came on, which worried me," declared the Blues' boss in a spiky address about media intrusion into the youngster's life since last week's wonder goal. "No, he didn't look nervous when he skinned Tomas Repka," he added. "But I expect him to finish those." But there was little doubt that West Ham's retreating defenders had half an eye on the young substitute when Unsworth's searching cross picked out Carsley at the far post to head home the matchwinner. And Rooney undoubtedly gave the Blues some attacking impetus at a period when the game was there to be won by either side. Before his arrival the game had been scrappy. The first half was so dull the supporters left stranded at Lime Street by the suspension of the Liverpool-London train service might have thanked the awful weather rather than bemoaned it.
The Barclaycard Premiership produces an informative weekly bulletin handed out to the press - invaluable during first halves as uninspiring as this one. It offers you eye-opening facts, such as the information that Everton have forced more corner kicks than anyone else in the Premiership, and share the league leadership for striking the woodwork. They never looked like adding to either tally in a first 45 minutes when a hopeful long ball forward was their only attacking tactic.
Thomas Gravesen's absence with a knee injury sustained in training on Thursday was probably culpable. Li Tie and Tobias Linderoth are both competent midfield shields, but showed an almost agoraphobic aversion to the opposition penalty box. Their reluctance to get beyond the West Ham line left Campbell and Radzinski largely foraging alone. Everton's only clear cut opening came in the 27th minute, when Carsley's carefully weighted pass cut out Pearce and gave Campbell the opportunity to volley goalwards. The Blues' skipper connected cleanly, but James had spread himself well to block the shot. Ten minutes later Hibbert (right) almost caught James by surprise with a 20 yard drive which the big keeper gathered at the second attempt. Almost two years have passed since Hibbert gave a debut performance full of promise at Upton Park. Since then the young defender has smoothed off some rough edges and developed into a full-back of some substance.
Only two minutes in he showed impressive acceleration to thwart Defoe after Yobo had misjudged a header in the strong winds. With half-time nearing, his cross into the West Ham penalty area almost gave Everton the chance to break the deadlock. David James had enjoyed a faultless afternoon, until he hopelessly misjudged Hibbert's ball and left Li Tie facing an unguarded goal. The angle was prohibitive, but Tie did well to clip it left footed across the face of goal and only inches wide of the far post. Wright, on the other hand, displayed a growing reassurance. He pushed away Sinclair's hooked volley in the third minute and five minutes before the break swooped dramatically to block Defoe's near post drive. If David Moyes' interval instructions were for his midfield to show more ambition they followed his edict instantly. Only 14 seconds had elapsed when Pembridge angled a left-footed drive goalwards which bounced off Repka's shins and behind for a corner.
Both teams showed a greater sense of urgency - but by the 64th minute Moyes conceded defeat in his bid to keep the lid on this week's rampant Rooney-mania and introduced the now 17-year-old substitute. He almost entered this match as he had left the last one, by firing past a England goalkeeper. Just two minutes after he had raced on, Campbell's pass gave him the sniff of an opening. It was all he needed. His strength jostled him ahead of Dailly, his pace kept him there and all it needed for another classic goal was a shot a foot lower. But while that effort flew over, Rooney had given the visitors an attacking impetus and in the 69th minute they grabbed the matchwinner. Pembridge and Unsworth exchanged passes on the left touchline, the former Hammers' man whipped over a beautifully searching cross and Carsley raced in at the far post to butt a decisive header into the corner of the net. It was just reward for a series of positive performances by the Irishman since he forced his way into the starting line-up a month ago.
Rooney almost dug out another goal 11 minutes from time, but that was the signal for West Ham to blow the bugles. For 10 minutes a Hammers' cavalry charge pinned back the Blues, but - aided by a little good fortune - they held out. It might have lacked the drama of the win eight days earlier, but it was every bit as important.
West Ham United (4-4-2): James, Dailly, Repka, Pearce, Minto (Camara 82 mins), Sinclair, Carrick, Cole, Lomas (Cisse 73 mins), Di Canio, Defoe. Unused substitutes: Van Der Gouw, Breen, Winterburn.
Everton (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley, Linderoth, Tie (Pistone 89 mins), Pembridge, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 64 mins). Unused substitutes: Gerrard, Alexandersson, Feng.
Referee: Alan Wiley.
GOAL: Carsley (69 mins) 0-1.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Tony Hibbert: A close call between the young full-back and Joseph Yobo, but Hibbert edged it.
Nobody gets star billing at Goodison
Oct 28 2002 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Everton's march up the Premier-ship table is his side's reward for the strong team ethic which has developed in the squad. In the last week the emergence of Wayne Rooney has dominated the coverage of Everton. But the Goodison boss insists the key to the club's impressive form, which continued with a 1-0 victory over West Ham yesterday, is that no one player is given star billing in his squad. "If you want to have a successful side you need players who are willing to give everything for one another. I am not interested in individuals who want to be the star of the show and we don't have players like that here. "We want players who play to a team structure. Yesterday the players who weren't in the squad came in to pat the lads on the back. That is the kind of atmosphere I want. "It is something I have tried to encourage but at the end of the day it is the players who have to create that bond. I have just tried to lead them to the water."
Lee Carsley, the scorer of the winning goal at Upton Park, is one of Everton's unsung heroes.
Moyes added: "People like Lee Carsley and Mark Pem-bridge have been instrumental in what has been happening this season. There has been a lot of talk about other players but everybody deserves praise, even those players who don't really grab the headlines." Carsley has revealed the Blues are brimming with confidence as a result of recent performances. He said: "We were coming off the back of a great result and the confidence is high at the moment. We go into each game thinking we can win. "We haven't set ourselves any targets - the way we are playing at the moment who knows what could happen?" According to midfielder Carsley, the strong bond within the squad has helped Rooney come to terms with the press frenzy which followed his winning goal against Arsenal.
"I don't think it has been a difficult week for Wayne because it hasn't got through to him that much. He is just taking it all in his stride, and has been doing really well," he said. "Wayne is a good lad. He is not loud, he is not big- headed, and you wouldn't know he was there. " Carsley's assessment was echoed by David Unsworth, who provided the cross which produced the goal. "Wayne is fine but he has been brought back down to earth by all the lads. We won't let him get too big-headed," said the former Hammers defender. "He doesn't need us anyway because he is a very level-headed lad."
Carsley blown away by winner
Oct 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY celebrated a 69th minute matchwinner for Everton yesterday, just when he expected to be on his way back home. Everton's Irish international headed the only goal of a wind-affected match at West Ham, but said afterwards: "When I looked out of my hotel window on Sunday morning and saw that trees had blown over I expected the match to be postponed.
"But having said that the stadium is fantastic and it kept a lot of the wind out. The conditions were poor but I was glad it went ahead. "The manager's been telling me he wants me to get into the opposition penalty area more often and that's what I tried to do." Moyes had words of praise for Carsley's contribution. "Lee has done very well since he came into the side," he said.
"It's so important when you get your chance that you take it and stay there and Lee has done that. He has shown great energy and he was unlucky when he hit the post for our first goal last week. I have been pleased with him." Moyes was satisfied with his whole side's performance, but refused to set unrealistic targets. "We are progressing, the fans seem to like what we are doing and that's what I want us to continue doing," he added. "I can't say I want us to aspire only to mid-table, and I can't realistically say we want to challenge for the championship. I just want Everton to progress.
"I think we have produced good, solid performances for most of the season. We have been pretty consistent, although maybe today we didn't play as well as we have done. "But we took control at the right periods of the match and our goal came from some great work by Lee Carsley to get in front of a defender coupled with a great delivery." Moyes prickled at suggestions that West Ham's defenders might have taken their eye off the Irishman with Wayne Rooney having just been introduced. "I wouldn't have thought that was the case," he said. "I said earlier that this was a good team performance and it's important that you people give Wayne a little bit of breathing space."
Blues back to their best
Academy By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Oct 29 2002
On-loan striker's reminder bid EVERTON under-19s bounced back from two defeats in a row to record a comfortable 2-0 victory at Stoke City in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday.
Colin Harvey's side got back to winning ways when 16-year-old striker Paul Hopkins opened the scoring with his third goal of the season. Left-winger David Carney floated a free-kick into the box which Hopkins applied the finishing touch to after 75 minutes. Then in the final minutes midfielder Steven Beck sealed the points with his second strike of the campaign.The victory was all the more pleasing as it was played in some difficult conditions. Harvey said: "It was a decent all-round performance. It wasn't a great game but we well deserved the win. "But our young keeper, Sean Lake, made a very good save when it was still 0-0 with probably their only chance of the match. The lad broke through the middle and he saved it well to keep us in it. It was probably vital in us winning the match. "We never deserved to be behind and we rightfully went on to win the game."
Alan Harper's under-17s resume their Academy League programme this Saturday against Crewe Alexandra at Netherton.
EVERTON U19s: Lake, B Moogan, Crow-der, Southern, Schumacher, Potter, Brown, Carney, Beck, Booth (Lynch), Hopkins (Barry).
Blues in the black thanks to transfers
By Bill Gleeson, Daily Post
Oct 29 2002
EVERTON Football Club has moved back into profit for the first time in four years. The club's report and accounts, due to be published at this week's annual general meeting, show Everton made a pre-tax profit of £1.6m for the 2001/2 season. The figure compares with the previous season's pre-tax loss of £3.6m. The accounts also show that Walter Smith and Archie Knox received pay-offs totalling £2.2m after the pair were sacked following last season's FA Cup quarter final defeat by Middlesbrough. While the profit figure is welcomed by club chairman Sir Philip Carter as the first "in a number of years", it was only achieved by the sale of home-grown stars Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball. Sir Philip said: "We have for the first time in a number of years, made a pre-tax profit of £1.6m. "It is becoming critical for us to continue this trend as we strive to keep the club on a solid financial footing. Much of the pre-tax profit was directly attributable to the sale of home-grown players, ie Michael Ball and Francis Jeffers." The sales of Jeffers to Arsenal and Ball to Glasgow Rang-ers, for a combined headline figure of £16m, subsidised what would otherwise have been a £10.3m trading loss. Everton saw turnover rise 16pc to £38.2m, up from £32.8m in the previous season. The increase was entirely due to a sharp rise in Everton's share of the Premier League's broadcasting deal with BSkyB. The TV rights deal made Everton £18.8m, compared to £12.8m the season before. For the first time, TV receipts were higher than gate money. Gate receipts and programme sales accounted for £13.3m of turnover, compared with £12.9m in 2000/01.
Professional costs, mainly player and management wages, came in at £23.3m, slightly up on the £23.1m spent a year earlier. Sponsorship and advertising revenues were £2.9m, down £600,000 on 2000/01. Further disappointment came from the merchandising sales, which were down almost £200,000 at just over £1.9m. On the balance sheet, the most significant event was the £30m loan arranged with US investment bank Bear Stearns. The 25-year loan is secured against season ticket sales. The new loan was mostly used to pay-off the £20m over-draft owed to the Co-operative Bank. The new loan will cost Everton fixed payments of £2.8m a year over its term and helped boost the year end cash balance to £8m. Sir Philip also uses the report to refer to Everton's difficulties finding the £30m needed to pay for its share of the construction costs of the proposed new stadium at Kings Dock. He said: "We certainly do have challenges ahead of us at the club, no more so than the club confirming its ability to find its £30m equity investment in the proposed new stadium project." The Daily Post revealed last week that Everton co-owner Paul Gregg is trying to get backing for a deal that will see him and a group of private investors replace Everton as a 50pc shareholder in the Kings Dock scheme. Mr Gregg's move follows Everton's failure to raise its own money, but it is understood that most other members of the board are against his proposals. Mr Gregg's plan will go before the club's board on Thursday, ahead of the AGM scheduled for the same evening.
Everton fight to keep Pembridge
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 29 2002
MARK PEMBRIDGE could be forced to miss Everton's forthcoming clash with Blackburn if a club-versus-country row with Wales is unresolved. The Welsh FA have invoked the four-day FIFA rule before their European Championship qualifier in Azerbaijan on November 20. They have made it clear all their players have to report for international duty on the night of Saturday, November 16 - 24 hours before the Blues travel to Ewood Park in a rearranged Premiership clash. Blackburn's involvement in a Uefa Cup tie with Celtic the previous Thursday forced the Everton game to be put back 24 hours. But that could leave David Moyes without a key member of his side if the FAW insist on enforcing the FIFA ruling. Birmingham are another side affected and have offered to fly Robbie Savage to Cardiff straight after their game against Fulham. But the FAW are taking a hardline stance and last night a spokesman said: "There is no talking to be done. We have a duty to the Welsh public to have all these players with us. "This is our best chance to qualify for a tournament since 1958 and we have the full backing of Mark Hughes." Blues boss Moyes would be loathe to lose Pembridge, whom he yesterday described as one of the unsung heroes of Everton's climb up the table. "People like Lee Carsley and Mark Pem-bridge have been instrumental in what has been happening this season," said Moyes. "There has been a lot of talk about other players but everybody deserves praise, even those players who don't really grab the headlines."
Everton hope a compromise can be reached with the FAW as Birmingham boss Steve Bruce led an appeal for common sense to prevail. Bruce is calling for some leeway to allow Savage to face Jean Tigana's side as Wales are not scheduled to fly out for the Euro clash until Monday morning.
Birmingham are already in negotiations with Fulham - who have Welsh defender Andy Melville in their side - about the possibility of bringing the kick-off time forward to noon. Savage would then be flown by helicopter down to Cardiff, although it is understood even that compromise is not being viewed with the greatest sympathy by the national team bosses. Bruce said: "We haven't heard anything yet, but what we need is a bit of dialogue and common sense with the whole situation.
"We can get Robbie to the hotel, and the reason that we've had to change the game to the Sunday is because Fulham are playing in the UEFA Cup on the previous Thursday. "We need a bit of common sense from both parties. But it's ludicrous to take Robbie off us when we can get him to the hotel and I do believe that Wales are not flying out until the Monday morning." Bruce has already had to take a stance with Wales this season, insisting Hughes' number two, Mark Bowen, concentrate 100 per cent on his first-team coaching duties with Birmingham.
We want Yobo for keeps
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Oct 29 2002
EVERTON want to secure Joseph Yobo on a long-term contract before the end of the season following his superb start in English football. The Nigerian international arrived in a £5million-rated deal consisting of a 12-month loan spell with the option of a four-year extension on top.
In just five games the 22-year-old has justified the hype that surrounded his summer move from Marseille, shoring up a defence that had conceded on average 1.57 goals per game before his return from injury to 0.8 goals per game since. Manager David Moyes is well aware Yobo's impressive emergence will alert a host of Premiership predators to his availability at the end of the season.
And the Blues boss hopes to ward off interest by tying the centre-half to an extended deal before his initial Goodison spell expires. Moyes said: "It is not something we are overly concerned about just now but we have something agreed for the end of the season when that comes around. We've got first option." He added: "His performances have been very good and he's going to get better.
"You can't be the best centre-half around at 21 but you might be at 25 or 26 and even at 30 you can improve because by then you under-stand and can read the game more. "He's got a lot of learning still to do but he has settled in well and has made a very good start." Both Everton and Yobo have to agree on any extension and while negotiations are not imminent the club plan to open talks early next year. Yobo and injured Brazilian star Rodrigo were signed under similar terms so that Moyes could spread his £5m transfer kitty as wide as possible. Explaining the deals in the summer deputy chairman Bill Kenwright said: "We can sign them at any time between now and the end of the season. "It's pretty straightforward. We've got a clause on Alex Nyarko where we have to know by the end of January (from Paris Saint Germain) and yet with Yobo we have to know by the end of June. "I can guarantee you that football is going to become more of a negotiations game, that's why there isn't so much transfer activity this summer and we have arranged these deals. It is vital clubs start being creative in their transfer dealings and that is what we have done." Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, is expected to return to light training today following a recent operation to release a trapped sciatic nerve in his back. Thomas Gravesen, who missed Sunday's win at West Ham with a knee injury, is still undergoing treatment in a bid to be fit for the weekend trip to Leeds.
* YESTERDAY'S Everton match report should have included the man-of-the-match award, which was given to Tony Hibbert.
Yobo will stay Blue
Oct 29 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have revealed they intend to turn Joseph Yobo's year-long loan into a permanent deal before the end of the season. The Nigerian international has earned rave reviews since coming into the Everton team at the end of September. Now David Moyes is keen to tie the 22-year-old to the five year contract which was specified as an option when the player moved to Goodison from Marseille on a season-long loan loan following the World Cup. Any deal will cost Everton £5m but the defender's impressive form in his five games for the club have led to speculation that the Blues could struggle to keep hold of him at the end of this season. But manager David Moyes is confident Yobo will remain an Everton man for years to come. He said: "It is not something we are overly concerned about just now but we have something agreed for the end of the season when that comes around. We've got first option. "His performances have been very good and he is going to get better. "You can't be the best centre-half around at 21 but you might be at 25 or 26 and even at 30 you can improve because by then you understand and can read the game more. "He has got a lot of learning still to do but he has settled in well and has made a good start." The player can be signed at any time this season by the Blues as part of the unusual deal which was brokered by Moyes in the summer in a bid to make his £5m transfer kitty stretch as far as possible. A similar deal brought Brazilian Rodrigo to Goodison but the wide-man's knee ligament injury has made any permanent deal for his services unlikely.
Victory for hard work
Oct 29 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY may be the name on everybody's lips at the moment, but players like Lee Carsley are equally important to David Moyes' rebuilding plans at Everton. The Blues boss has put together a solid, compact team that has a nice balance of grace and guile. All of those qualities were on show at Upton Park on Sunday. And so it is fitting that Sunday's winner came from a player who has probably had fewer column inches devoted to him in his whole career than Rooney has had in just one week. Lee Carsley is the kind of player who is appreciated much more by his teammates than the fans. I played with Lee when he was a youngster emerging through the ranks at Derby.
He is a solid, hardworking player with more ability than he is given credit for. In fact, he and Mark Pembridge are very similar in that respect. Reliable players are always appreciated by managers.
And it is the solid, team players who have as much to do with the Blues' current run of fine form as somebody like Rooney, who will certainly become one of this country's top talents.
The teenager has endured a week of intense media scrutiny. Despite that, he produced an impressive performance as a second half substitute yesterday. But had he powered that header to win the game the pressure on him would have cranked up another notch. There will be plenty more goals to come from Rooney. But maybe it was apt that it was Carsley who scored the winner on Sunday. He provided a welcome reminder as to why Everton are in the position they are in at the moment - hard work.
IN post-match press conferences it does not take much for a manager to lose his cool.
Silly questions can tend to annoy you. But if the same silly question pops up week in, week out it can lead to a boss losing his head. David Moyes is fiercely protective of Wayne Rooney. After Sunday's match against West Ham he made sure the press and the TV men knew he wasn't best pleased with the overkill regarding the striker's coverage. His response may have shocked a few people. But every manager understood how he felt.
Good time to play Leeds
A FEW weeks ago a fixture at Elland Road would have had Evertonians reaching for the panic alarm.
But after defeating Arsenal and winning at Upton Park there is a real sense of optimism about the Blues. And that is no mean feat when you are preparing to face Leeds in a league fixture that has not been won by Everton since 1951. Terry Venables' side are struggling for form at the moment, while Everton are playing with confidence and class. I suspect the bookies will have big odds on an Everton away win. It is worth a flutter. Because if they play as they did at West Ham, where the winning margin could well have been greater, a win will be well within their grasp.
Swede ace growing impatient with Blues
Oct 29 2002 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
NICLAS ALEXANDERSSON has revealed he is growing impatient at his lack of first team opportunities for Everton. The Swedish midfielder is eager to reclaim his place in the starting line-up after being dropped for the Blues' last four Premiership matches. Lee Carsley has been preferred on the right of midfield by manager David Moyes and the Irishman's impressive display at Upton Park on Sunday, which was capped by his well taken winning goal, has ensured there is little chance of Alexandersson making a return to the team at Elland Road this weekend The 30-year-old former Sheffield Wednesday player said: "I have been in England for five years and until this season, I have always been a regular starter. "This situation is entirely new to me and I don't really know how I will react if this continues." Alexandersson admits that he is concerned about his place in the Swedish national side, adding: "I feel that I should play and that I am good enough. "But different managers are using different playing systems and like different types of player. "In the long run I will not be able to keep my place in the national team. "My career is coming towards the end, it would have been different if I was five years younger. Then I could not have accepted this situation as long as I can now."
Alexandersson was signed by Walter Smith from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer of 2000 for £2.5m. He has made more than 50 Premiership appearances for the Blues and was a regular in the side last term, appearing 28 times. But his last run out for the side this term was at the end of September in the 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park. Now he is eager to force his way back into David Moyes' plans. He added: "You never feel really good unless you get to play and it's only a matter of fighting until you get the chance and then take it."
Scouse heart of the Blues
Oct 29 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is eager to ensure his Everton side is built around a Scouse heart.
The Blues boss has placed great importance on developing a side with a significant local presence.
He has already drafted Huyton's Tony Hibbert and Croxteth's Wayne Rooney into the first team squad this season and he has been pleased with the impact they have had. "It is vitally important that you do get boys from the area into the team," he said. "It is good for the side and helps the other players understand what the club means for people brought up in Liverpool. "Both Tony and Wayne are very competitive and strong and they reflect that local passion for the clubs in the city.
"They know what the expectation levels are like from the city's fans because they have been brought up with that and that is something that can certainly benefit the team. "In cities where there are intense rivalries it is even more important for players in your side to have that local understanding.
"Manchester United have benefited from bringing a host of good local lads through together and Liverpool and Everton have always been very good at doing that. If we have players good enough I will bring them into the team. "Inner-cities like Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow have always been a breeding ground for young players and, although that is changing slightly in the modern game, it is important we continue to tap into that and have that local pressence." Hibbert has been an ever-present at right-back this season, making the position his own in the absence of the injured Steve Watson. Moyes has been pleased with the player ' s progress, adding: "Tony has done well. I was impressed with him when I first took the job earlier this year. "It was a question of whether he would be able to continue his progress and move on to the next level. He has done that but he still has a lot to do, which he knows." With defender Alan Stubbs adding to the local contingent in the team and with 17-year-old Wayne Rooney certain to lay claim to a regular starting berth soon Moyes' side is assured of a significant Scouse pressence. The manager also has a number of good young local players on the fringes of the first team, including Peter Clarke, who is currently on loan at Blackpool, and winger Kevin McLeod. Meanwhile, the Everton boss intends to talk to Wales boss Mark Hughes about the impending club-versus-country row over midfielder Mark Pembridge.
The Welsh FA are eager to impose UEFA's four day rule for their next Euro 2004 qualifier against Azerbaijan on November 20. That would mean Pem-bridge being unable to play in Everton's rear-ranged Premiership clash a t Ewood Park on November 17. Moyes is keen to avoid a row and intends to negotiate a compromise. He revealed: "I have tried to get in touch with Mark Hughes but without success so far. "I know other clubs have brought forward their kick off times to ensure their players can play and we will have to see what we can do to sort the situation out.
"I have spoken to Mark (Pembridge) about it and he wants to play for Everton against Blackburn."
Duncan Ferguson's recovery from an operation to release a trapped sciatic nerve has taken a major step forward today, with the striker beginning light training and rehabilitation work.
It is expected to be six to eight weeks before the Scot is available for first team selection.
Thomas Gravesen is still undergoing treat-ment on a knee injury in the hope he will be fit to face Leeds on Sunday. Meanwhile, Moyes has scotched reports linking Everton with a swoop for Dundee United's Stephen Thompson in the New Year.
Everton lose as Hughes digs heels in
Oct 30 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON are resigned to losing Mark Pembridge at Blackburn next week after former Blues striker Mark Hughes stood firm in the club-versus-country row with Wales. Welsh manager Hughes is insisting on invoking the four-day release rule ahead of their crucial European Championship qualifier in Azerbaijan next month. Goodison chief executive Michael Dunford has contacted the Football Assocation of Wales in search of a compromise while manager David Moyes has tried to speak with Hughes. Both attempts have been without success so far, and despite Pembridge insisting he wants to play at Ewood Park on Sunday, November 17, it seems likely he will have to report at Hughes' Cardiff training camp by 3pm that day instead. Dunford said: "Although we are in talks with the Welsh FA about this match they are perfectly within their rights, under current FIFA legislation, to call Mark Pembridge up on that day. "We will continue to talk with the FAW but we could well be without him for the game." Hughes, however, last night appeared to dash any remaining hopes for a host of Premiership clubs. As well as Pembridge Manchester United must release Ryan Giggs from their 4pm kick-off at West Ham while Birmingham, Fulham and Celtic have to allow Robbie Savage, Andy Melville and John Hartson to join the squad and miss matches.
But despite the uproar caused by the FAW's instruction, Hughes is standing firm. He said: "The rule is in place to help international managers to prepare their team. "Instead of having players arriving late on the Sunday, unable to then train on the Monday and then only having one training session prior to the game, the four-day rule allows me to have a training session on the Sunday and another on the Monday morning before we fly out. "We have got four players you would consider first choice all supposedly playing on the Sunday. "I know it's difficult. I haven't taken this decision lightly. I have given it a lot of thought. In the past for friendly games we have been able to help clubs but this is how it has got to be. "I understand the difficulties the clubs have but in this situation I feel it is the only option open to me. "It's never easy but all I'm trying to do is the job to the best of my ability and this is the best way to go."
Meanwhile Everton midfielder Tobias Linderoth hopes he has finally played his way into Moyes' starting plans. The Swedish international had been largely overlooked by the Blues' boss since he replaced Walter Smith in March but has played a key role in Everton's last two, impressive victories.
Linderoth said: "It's been a little frustrating at times but you have to keep your game up, try as hard as you can and impress when you can. I've been happy with the way I've played. "There's good competition for everyone at the moment because we have six international midfield players at the club and only four places. "It helps you develop as a player when you have that type of competition.
"I've been able to get in the team when we've been playing well which has made it easier for me, and it's nice to play in a team like this. "It was important to win those two games and whenever I play I will try to do my best for the team. "We have a good team here and I think we will end up in the top half of the table." But while Linderoth is warming to his Goodison task compatriot Niclas Alexandersson had admitted he's frustrated at being left in the cold. The winger has been left out in favour of Lee Carsley for the last four Premiership games. He said: "This situation is entirely new to me and I don't really know how I will react if this continues. "I feel that I should play and that I am good enough. "You never feel really good unless you get to play and it's only a matter of fighting on until you get the chance and then take it."
Self-belief returns to Goodison
Oct 30 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES believes Everton have rediscovered a winning mentality as a result of their Premiership elevation. The Blues manager has employed a psychologist this season in an attempt to rebuild confidence after recent brushes with relegation. But he believes the recent wins over Arsenal and West Ham that have taken Everton up to eighth in the table can have a profound effect on his side's self-belief. "We're certainly not getting carried away with ourselves after a couple of victories," said Moyes. "But we're feeling much better and the players are leaving the field feeling like winners because they're getting the points, but also believing that they also truly deserve to win them - and that's important. "We're really pleased with the way the players are performing just now. They're given us everything and doing all that's asked." That winning mentality will face a severe test on Sunday at Leeds, where Everton have not recorded a victory for an incredible 51 years. And Moyes added: "I don't know what it was like 12 months ago and I certainly wouldn't want to criticise anything that has happened here in the past, but the players who are here have shown they're capable of doing it. "Obviously you need a winning mentality throughout the squad. We have positive players here and they have a lot of belief in themselves. "We're asking them to be brave and bold in the decisions they make on the field and at the moment it's working. But there will be blips and I'm sure people understand that." Striker Joe-Max Moore, meanwhile, is set to return to the USA and Major League Soccer side New England Revolution before the end of the year. The US international's work permit and Everton contract both expire in December and he is ready to return to his former club having not featured under Moyes this season.
D-Day for dock deal
Oct 30 2002 Liverpool Echo
THE fate of Everton Football Club's Kings Dock dream could be sealed tomorrow.
The club's six-man board will debate a deal brokered by millionaire director Paul Gregg which would provide the money Everton needs. The club needs to raise £30m, a huge sum given Everton's financial problems, but a bargain for a 50% share of a £155m state-of-the-art arena.
But the money inevitably comes with a price tag, and the directors have to decide if it is a price worth paying. Mr Gregg and club owner Bill Ken-wright have spent months trying to raise the money the club needs, and Mr Gregg has found a deal that he believes to be the best way forward.
A venture capital organisation has agreed to put together the funding from a variety of investors, in what Mr Gregg describes as a "reverse mortgage" deal. The ECHO understands that both Mr Gregg and Mr Kenwright would be among the backers investing in the deal. The backers group would hold the equity in the arena, but Everton would be able to buy it progressively back over a number of years. This is the most controversial element, and the one which may yet see the deal rejected.
Critics say it would mean Everton giving up their Goodison Park home and becoming tenants at Kings Dock. Mr Gregg should have the support of Mr Kenwright, although even he is understood to be uneasy about the prospect of the club becoming a "ten-ant" in its new home, albeit temporarily.
The other four directors are chairman Sir Philip Carter, solicitor Keith Tamlin, publishing and computer software entrepreneur Jon Woods and building contractor Arthur Abercrombie.
Sir Philip, Mr Tamlin and Mr Woods refused to reveal their voting intentions to the ECHO and Mr Abercrombie was not available. One club insider said the most likely supporter of the package was Mr Woods, with the other three far from happy with the proposal. An abstention from Mr Kenwright could see the deal fall three votes to two. If he votes in favour, it could create a three-all draw, with Sir Philip called on to use his casting vote to decide. In the past the chairman has always backed Mr Kenwright's wishes in such situations, but in this case it would mean he would have to reverse his initial vote and vote against his own strong feelings. All this could change of course, if Mr Gregg can win over at least one more supporter to the attractions of his plan. The bottom line is that tomorrow's voting is too close to call. Some predict that the board may even put off their decision. This would allow breathing space for further negotiations and give the board a convenient escape from some potentially probing questions from shareholders at the annual general meeting which follows tomorrow's talks. But delay is a risky strategy, with the club's public sector partners anxious to make progress on the project. Key city figures are confident that a bid for £35m of Objective One funding for the project will be successful. Everton's £30m would be topped up by £30m from the public sector partners, Liverpool council, English Part-nerships and the North West Development Agency. The remaining £60m would come from a £20m commercial mortgage and £40m from the profits made by the developers of the additional leisure, retail and residential elements of the project. Insiders at the club say they still have time, with a target of applying for planning permission in February and starting building in 2004. But one senior council source warned: "Everything is in place, and we are all just waiting for Everton - but we can't wait forever."
Blues' cash boost over Dock deal
Oct 30 2002
MILLIONAIRE Paul Gregg says he is "very optimistic" that Everton's board will back his £30m Kings Dock deal tomorrow. He says the club will have a built-in guarantee that it can buy back its equity stake in the arena from the new backers - and the prospect of a £10m-a-year income boost to pay for it. He told the ECHO: "In the last seven years there was no agenda to move the club forward. It has all been hand to mouth. "Now there is a five-year plan to support David Moyes in building the team, build a new academy and training base and move the club to a new arena.
"Everton does not have the £30m to spend at the moment, but the Kings Waterfront represents the best value for money imaginable. It offers Everton the best site in Europe for any football club to develop. "Where else could you get access to a stadium of this kind for £30m? "It is central to this deal that Everton will have the right to purchase the equity back. "Quite simply, the deal doesn't work unless Everton agrees that it will buy it back. The investors will be looking for an exit and the only exit is Everton FC. "This deal means the club can support David Moyes now, build the new training academy, and go on backing the team and football club until completion of the stadium.
"When the club moves into the arena, it will be generating pre-tax profits estimated at £10m a year.
"It will then be up to the club to decide how much of that money to spend each year on play-ers, and how much to spend on buying back the equity stake. "I am very optimistic that the board will support this plan tomorrow. There is no realistic alternative, and we will never have a golden opportunity like this again."
Blues wait on Rooney availability
Oct 30 2002 By Rob Brady
EVERTON are still waiting on the FA to confirm whether Wayne Rooney will be available for Sunday's Premiership clash with Leeds United. The 17-year-old sensation has been called up to the England Under-19 squad, who face Macedonia in a UEFA qualifier at Kidderminster on the same day.
The Blues have asked for Rooney to be released from international duty, allowing him to be available for their trip to Elland Road. They also want him for the Worthington Cup tie at Newcastle on November 6, 24 hours after the Under-19s play host to Moldova. Manager David Moyes said: "We are still waiting for news from the FA on this." Moyes has also made a plea to the Welsh FA for Mark Pembridge to be released from international duty to allow him to play at Blackburn on November 17. But Welsh coach Mark Hughes insists he needs the in-form midfielder for his country's vital European Championship qualifier against Azerbaijan. Moyes said: "We have requested to speak to Mark Hughes, but we have so far had no contact from him or the Welsh FA." Meanwhile Midfielder Thomas Gravesen is facing a race against time to be fit for the Elland Road clash after suffering a knee injury in training last week. Club skipper Duncan Ferguson has returned to training and could make a comeback within six to eight weeks. The Scot is recovering from an operation to release a trapped nerve in his back.
Everton AGM - key questions
Oct 31 2002
What are the names of the new investors? Which members of Everton's board are joining the new investor syndicate? The new investors will make a profit from the deal, a situation that creates a conflict of interest for any board member who joins Mr Gregg's new group, as the deal could mean they will personally earn considerable amounts of money from Everton. If board members are part of the group, did they abstain from the boardroom vote that will have taken place this afternoon?
What is the mechanism by which Everton can buy back its stake? Will Everton have a right to make Mr Gregg and his new investors sell their Kings Dock shares to the club at a time of the club's choosing? Or will Mr Gregg's syndicate have the power to retain the shares for themselves? Does the right to buy back expire at any point in the future? If the option does have an expiry date, can Mr Gregg's new investors then sell to a third party? What price will Everton pay for the equity? The new investors in this deal are there to make money, so the buyback option will be more expensive for the club than the cost of the initial £30m investment. How is the buyback price calculated? Mr Gregg has used the phrase "reverse mort-gage" to describe the deal. Is this phrase technically correct? A reverse mortgage does not require repayment of the capital or interest until the mortgage term expires. Instead the cost of paying back the capital rises at an agreed compound rate of interest and is paid back at the end of the mortgage in a lump sum. Therefore fans need to know will an agreed rate of interest be charged? If so, what is that rate of interest? This is crucial.
At a rate of 7pc per annum, for example, £30m will grow to a £60m price tag after ten years.
If "reverse mortgage" is not a technically correct description of the deal, and no rate of interest is to be charged, how is the equity stake to be valued when Everton come to buy it back?
Mr Gregg has said that even as tenants Everton will make a lot more money by playing at Kings
Dock and this extra cash will enable the club to afford to pay for the equity. Mr Gregg told newspapers that Everton's pretax profit would rise to £10m a-year as a result of the move. But Everton made just £1.6m pre-tax profit last season, and that was only after taking account of the sales of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball. At the operating level, which doesn't take account of transfers, the club made a loss of £11m. So Everton need to improve their operating profit performance by £21m if Mr Gregg's estimate of pre-tax profit of £10m is to be achieved without players being sold. So shareholders should ask how will a pre-tax profit of £10m be achieved? Having a new ground with a higher capacity might cause an initial rise in attendances but to pay for the stadium any improvement in attendances must be sustained over many seasons. The club will only earn enough money from higher gate receipts if it is successful on the pitch year after year.
Does the club guarantee it will not sell its rising stars in order to pay off the syndicate? A justification for moving to the Kings Dock has always been that the football club could earn profits from hiring the stadium as a concert venue. If the club doesn't own the stadium, then it won't earn profit from the enter-tainments-related revenues, will it? The deal is a gamble. If Everton move to the Kings Dock and are consistently successful on the pitch, then, in years to come, the venture will be seen to have worked and the club could rejoin football's elite. If, however, the club remains in the doldrums and attendances don't rise, the Blues may never be able to afford to buy back the stadium equity and could find themselves as permanent tenants of Mr Gregg and his syndicate, who, in their turn, could end up making a great deal of money from a property asset built mostly with taxpayers' money.
Momentous night on the cards at Goodison AGM
By Bill Gleeson Daily Post Business Editor
Oct 31 2002
EVERTON'S annual meeting at Goodison Park tonight is likely to be momentous. The AGM follows a crucial board meeting this afternoon at which club co-owner Paul Gregg is expected to put forward a proposal that he and a group of wealthy individuals replace Everton as part owners of the planned Kings Dock stadium. The proposal that Mr Gregg and his coinvestors acquire ownership of the stadium has emerged because the club has been unable to raise the £30m needed to pay for what was meant to be its 50pc stake in the project. Mr Gregg's solution is controversial because it would mean the Blues selling their freehold Goodison Park home to become rent-paying tenants.
On the positive side, Mr Gregg's proposal gives Everton the opportunity to buy back their ownership of the stadium in the future. The arrangement has put club deputy chairman Bill Kenwright and other directors between a rock and a hard place. If the board is keen to move to Kings Dock at all costs, then the board has no option but to accept Mr Gregg's proposal. However, the plan has the potential to create huge financial uncertainty and insecurity for the club. The only alternative is for Everton to stay put at Goodison for a few more years while it concentrates its thin financial resources on the squad, improving match results and trying again to raise its own money for a less grand stadium. Mr Kenwright has said that if Everton is not to own its own ground, he will go back to the fans for a vote on the new plan. Shareholders Association spokesman Kevin Nolan said: "The supporters voted to go to the King's Dock as owners. There was, and is, no other option.
"They voted to go there on the basis that we would own the stadium, even just 51pc.
"We want a share of proceeds when Madonna or Bruce Springsteen or whoever, plays the King's Dock. If we don't own it we don't get that income. And if we don't get that income there's no point in moving there. We might as well develop Goodison Park or look for another site for a stadium."
Before any vote, fans need more details about Mr Gregg's proposal.
Is it the right time for Richard
Oct 31 2002 Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes believes Richard Wright is starting to show the form that will see him succeed David Seaman as England's number one. But the Goodison boss insists the veteran Arsenal keeper is still too good to step aside just yet. Moyes is convinced Wright's recent impressive performances for Everton will not have gone unnoticed by Sven- Goran Eriksson. He said: "I would be surprised if they are not already looking at all the possibilities for the England goalkeeping position.
"At the moment, the performances of David Seaman, including the one at Everton, suggest he will play for England for some time. "I think Richard will be right up there among the keepers able to step in when David Seaman does retire. "He has gone about his job quietly and I always said he would take time to settle in here at Everton. He is only 24. You wonder what he will be like when he is 27." Wright has started to put together a string of impressive displays for the Blues. The blunders that marred the beginning of his Goodison career are now a fading memory. A hand injury hindered Wright's early season progress, but his return to the first team against Aston Villa on September 22 has coincided with four victories out of six. With Seaman turning 39 last month, West Ham ' s David James has emerged as the leading candidate to replace him. The former Liverpool keeper shared the spotlight with Wright during Everton's 1-0 win at West Ham last weekend. But while James produced an erratic performance in front of the live TV cameras, Wright was reassuringly solid.
The £3.5m summer signing has played in seven league matches and one cup tie this season since his arrival from Arsenal and has kept four clean sheets.
Wales dig in heels over Pembridge
Oct 31 2002 Liverpool Echo
WALES boss Mark Hughes has stoked the flames in an escalating club versus country row with Everton over Mark Pembridge. The former Blues striker has invoked UEFA's four day rule for his country's next European 2004 qualifier, denying Everton the opportunity to include the in-form Pembridge for a rearranged Premiership clash at Blackburn on Sunday, November 17.
Earlier in the week Goodison boss David Moyes had hoped a compromise could be reached with the Welsh FA. But Hughes is standing firm over his decision to deny all of his international players the opportunity to play for their clubs the Sunday before the clash with Azerbaijan on Wednesday, November 20. Hughes said: "The rule is in place to help international managers prepare their team.
"We have got five players you would consider first choice all supposedly playing on the Sunday. I know it's difficult. "I haven't taken this decision lightly, I have given it a lot of thought.
"It is never easy but all I am trying to do is the job to the best of my ability and this is the best way to go." Everton are now resigned to losing Pembridge for the game because Wales have UEFA on their side. The other players affected are Manchester Unit-ed's Ryan Giggs, Celtic's John Hartson, Fulham's Andy Melville and Birmingham's Robbie Savage. Each player in the squad has been ordered to report at the Welsh FA's headquarters by 3pm on the Sunday afternoon.
The Blues have received some good news today regarding Wayne Rooney's international call up however. The striker has been allowed to drop out of a forthcoming England Under 19 s mini-tournament after discussions between Everton and the FA
Rooney gets all clear for Everton
Oct 31 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
WAYNE ROONEY has been given the green light to put club before country after an Everton appeal to keep hold of their young star. The 17-year-old sensation's rapid Premiership emergence was last week rewarded with a call-up for the England under-19s forthcoming mini-tournament.
England are due to face Macedonia, Moldova and Romania next week but that would have forced Rooney out of the Blues' league clash at Leeds on Sunday and next Wednesday's Worthington Cup tie at Newcastle. Manager David Moyes was anxious the striker would remain on club duty and last night was told he'd got his way following a request to the FA. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "The FA have listened to our case sympathetically and we are pleased that common sense has prevailed." Moyes is unlikely to achieve similar success in his attempts to release Mark Pembridge from Wales' four-day rule ahead of their European Championship qualifier with Azerbaijan. The Blues boss is yet to hear from Welsh manager Mark Hughes and is now increasingly resigned to losing his influential midfielder at Blackburn next Sunday. Thomas Gravesen is still doubtful for the trip to Elland Road after missing the West Ham win through injury.
The Danish international has a build-up of fluid on his knee and faces a race against time to prove his fitness by the weekend. Everton's Kings Dock plans, meanwhile, face a critical test today when the board meet to discuss Paul Gregg's 'reverse mortgage' proposals ahead of tonight's AGM. Manager Moyes has backed plans to move to the waterfront site, saying: "I think it would be important for the club to move. We could get more people in than we do now at Goodison Park. "We can see that a lot of clubs are building bigger stadiums because they need more revenue to compete at the top level. "But I believe it is all in good hands. Bill Kenwright and the board are the people who will do right by the club."