Moyes to pull Cahill out of Australia duty
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Oct 1 2005
DAVID MOYES will risk the wrath of the Football Federation of Australia by demanding that Tim Cahill is withdrawn from the Socceroos' planned training camp in Holland next week. The Everton manager has grown exasperated by the midfielder's international commitments, believing the long-haul journeys involved have contributed to the tiredness that has so far seen Cahill struggling to live up to the heights he hit last season. Australia have called a 10-day training camp for next week, during which they will play a friendly against Jamaica in London on October 9, but Moyes views the break as the ideal opportunity for Cahill to recharge his batteries. The Scot said: "My plans are that he won't go away with Australia next week. We would like to give him a rest and I will be telling the Football Federation of Australia that we will be keeping him here. "We need to give him a break. I think that it will be best for us and Australia in the long term." Moyes's demand could get a frosty reception from the Australian authorities, who see Cahill as one of their key performers ahead of next month's World Cup qualifying play-offs. Cahill's goal against Dinamo Bucharest on Thursday hinted at a return to form of sorts, and Moyes added: "It was Tim's type of goal and I hope it proves to be a springboard for him. We look for Tim's goals an awful lot. Maybe more than we should."
Cahill himself was delighted to finally end his goal drought this season, and he hoped that would give the players confidence to gain a result at Manchester City tomorrow. "'It was nice to score. I've said loads of times it doesn't matter who scores, but it was nice for me because I've been under a lot of pressure. "It was just beyond us in the end, but there were a lot of positives to take out of the game," he said. "It's not only for us, it's for the fans as well. We put everything into it and it's a good win to build on. "There's some momentum going into the game at Man City and we really needed to put in a good performance for ourselves because we realistically thought we had a chance to narrow the gap. "It was not to be, but there's definitely something to take into Sunday. We want to get off the bottom but the main thing is just winning. "We're not too bothered about what is happening because it's still early days. But if we get three points that will mean a lot to the team."
Relief as Arteta given all-clear after horrifying UEFA Cup incident
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 1 2005
MIKEL ARTETA was discharged from hospital yesterday after tests confirmed he suffered no lasting damage in the horrifying incident that overshadowed Thursday night's UEFA Cup exit. The Spaniard was given the all-clear after undertaking a CT scan, but he will sit out tomorrow's game at the City of Manchester Stadium. The news will come as a huge relief to both club and player after the dreadful challenge from Dinamo Bucharest's Mihaita Plesan that sent the midfielder into convulsions near the end of Everton's 1-0 win. He was concussed in the incident, but unlike in rugby union for instance, the Football Association stipulate no minimum term that Arteta must remain on the sidelines. He will however have to be cleared by a specialist neurological expert before he can return to action.
Speaking about the incident, Phil Neville said: "There were concerns that Mikel had swallowed his tongue and he took a real battering."
Neville slams Romanians after Arteta's 'battering'
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 1 2005
WHEN Mikel Arteta woke up in his hospital bed yesterday morning, it was to be hoped that Mihaita Plesan's disgraceful barge had successfully erased most of the previous night's events from the Spaniard's memory. Not the waves of exciting offensive play that saw Everton recover the dignity they surrendered in the first leg, nor the intense and fearless performance that gave genuine support to the hope that their league slide will soon be reversed. Rather, Arteta will hopefully have forgotten those events that turned Thursday night at Goodison into a wholly distasteful affair. Aside from the wrestling move that saw Arteta crash head-first into the turf, triggering off a fit that sent a shiver of cold fear through everyone still in the stadium, there were also the allegations of spitting - backed up by televisual evidence - against Dinamo defender Gabriel Tamas, with James McFadden and Duncan Ferguson the intended targets. Add into that the welter of fierce and occasionally dubious tackles dealt out from both sides and the pitiful time-wasting that further tarnished the Romanians' reputation, and it was a night, a European exit, that not just Arteta will want to forget in a hurry. Not that Phil Neville, that wizened veteran of 68 European games, had expected anything else. "To be honest it didn't surprise us, playing a team from that part of the world," said the midfielder, who was made captain for the night with David Weir dropped to the bench.
"We knew they would go down at every opportunity and we also knew they would put their foot in. But we know the most important thing is that we won and we kept our dignity. They didn't. "In that part of Europe they do anything - spitting, challenges like that. You go to their grounds and they leave the grass long and keep it dry in training the night before. "Then you get to the stadium for the match and it's wet through and the grass is short. That's part of their culture - win at all costs.
"They will do anything to win, and to be fair they were put under a lot of pressure. They fought their corner and you have to give them full credit for that." Arteta was able to leave hospital yesterday after a precautionary CT scan showed no serious damage. The incident, though, was of real concern for Neville. "There were concerns that Mikel had swallowed his tongue and he took a real battering," added the former Manchester United player. "But he was sitting up in the dressing room later with his family with him and he was okay. It looks bad on television and it is really disappointing because it was in the last minute and we were never going to get back into the game then."
Everton, themselves, were not blameless and Ferguson, though turning in his best performance of the season, was fortunate to stay on the pitch for an alleged elbow on Gabriel Tamas. Ferguson received a yellow card for one incident spotted by a linesman and not French referee Laurent Duhamel, who dished out six yellow cards - one of which being the meagre penalty handed out to Plesan for his challenge on Arteta. McFadden was earlier seen complaining to Duhamel over the spitting and he explained: "There was an incident in the first half when their number 4 (Tamas) had a spit at me, that's really disappointing. He also did the same thing to Duncan. "The spit didn't connect but you could see what he was trying to do. I had a word with the referee but nothing was done about it. I can't recall that ever happening to me before, it's just not nice. "And the tackle on Mikel was reckless and pretty stupid considering there was only a few minutes to go. "You can't accept that, we were hardly touching them and they were down and rolling about but that's the way it is in such games. "The same player did a bad tackle on me, he went straight over the ball. The referee was in a good position so I don't know how he can then say to me that it was 50-50, I've got a lump on my shin." Fewer lumps can be expected after tomorrow's game at the City of Manchester Stadium, particularly with Joey Barton a doubt for the clash. Everton will try to halt a run of four successive league defeats, and as Neville insisted, Thursday's performance should be the "benchmark" to follow.. He added: "Now we have set a benchmark. I wouldn't say we played totally at our best, but I'd say it was 60- or 70% better than we have done in the last three or four games.
"If we fall below that now, the manager can rightly have a go and so can the supporters." Given his Old Trafford roots, the game holds extra significance for the 28-year-old, even if the ridiculous 11.15am start may not give players enough time to get all their competitive juices flowing. "Manchester City will be a great game and a great atmosphere," he said. "I just hope the kick-off time does not spoil the atmosphere. "Some people - some players - are still in bed at that time. But it's a great stadium, very hostile, and we need to pick up the points more than anything. "It will be a similar atmosphere to Arsenal, with me being an ex-Manchester United player. I've not got Gary to deflect it or defend me now. But to be honest, I'd rather have Duncan Ferguson defending me!"
Man City 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Nick Hilton at City of Manchester Stadium, Daily Post
Oct 3 2005
A MIDDLE aged Manchester City supporter made his protest about the 11.15am kick-off time by arriving at the City of Manchester Stadium in pyjamas. The rest of the 42,681 spectators would have been better off staying in their beds for all the excitement this sleepy contest generated before the afternoon sun broke through. Everton looked comfortable and on course for a welcome point as long as the game remained in snooze control. But from the moment Manchester City full-back Danny Mills struck with a bolt out of the pale blue sky in the 72nd minute, David Moyes's bottom-of-the-table team were plunged back into the nightmare of a wretched start to the season from which there appears to be no easy escape. Mills's venomous shot hurtled into the top corner of the Everton net from 35 yards. Goalkeeper Nigel Martyn, who had not had a goal attempt worthy of the name to deal with beforehand, didn't have a chance of stopping it. No one could have seen it coming. The goal was Mills first since December 2002. The blow, spectacular as it was cruel, left Everton needing to score to save themselves from a sixth defeat in seven Premiership games. And there lay the heart of the problem. Everton can barely find a goal from anywhere, having scored only once in more than 101/2 hours of Premiership football. The points are slipping through their fingers as a consequence. They responded with enough urgency and bluster to pose a couple of threats in the final quarter hour yesterday. But in pushing forward in search of an equaliser, Everton inevitably opened up the game and allowed City opportunities on the counter attack. Darius Vassell duly accepted one such chance in the third minute of injury time and Everton's frustration was complete. The margin of victory flattered City and sent the home fans home to Sunday lunch in good heart. Their mood was on the cranky side of subdued for the most part however. Early Sunday mornings do not lend themselves naturally to big match football. It's a time for lie-ins to absorb the Sunday papers or to nurse a hangover and for active devotees to take in a game of Sunday league football in the local park. The 11.15am kick-off was hastily arranged after Everton's UEFA Cup commitments in midweek force the game to be moved from its original Saturday slot. Two Premiership fixtures were already in place on the schedule so this one became the hors d'oeuvres - and an insubstantial one at that - in a three course menu offered by satellite television to those who could make the journey from their bed to the armchair. The inconvenience to the paying customers of Manchester City and Everton was reflected in the knots of empty seats all around the impressively appointed stadium.
Many were left vacant by people who simply could not or would not make it to the ground on time.
The man in the pyjamas sat through it all without audible complaint but a fan nearby yelled during one of the many quiet periods in the first half: "It has cost me 70 pounds to be dragged out of my bed to watch this!" No doubt the executives who run the Premiership their TV paymasters could not hear him. At 11.15am most mornings professional footballers are training and this game often looked like nothing more than a training ground exercise. Everton, their spirits lifted slightly by the European victory over Dynamo Bucharest if not progress on Thursday, did little to fire the excitement of the travelling supporters, yet nor did they cause them any serious anxiety.
The visitors defended with calm discipline and solid organisation. They soaked up the best City could throw at them with barely an alarm. Centre-backs David Weir and Joseph Yobo were unfazed by the variety of attackers who supported City's main striker Andy Cole. On the few occasions City opened up opportunities, their shooting posed a greater threat to those dozing off in a row X than to Martyn's goal. The prospect of a strike at the other end was just as remote. Everton did have the ball in the net on 30 minutes but Tim Cahill hill was a yard offside when he collected a flick from Marcus Bent and fired a shot past goal-keeper David James on the first bounce. The pattern changed little after the interval. Vassell would have found himself with a clear shooting opportunity from 15 yards if he had been able to control a flick from Joey Barton in the 54th minute but basic technique let him down. Barton won loud cheers from the home crowd and a booking for a late and heavy tackle on Phil Neville, whose long-standing association with Manchester United made him a predictable target for the boo-boys throughout. Cole found a rare hole in the Everton defence in the 67th minute when he ran through the inside right channel, finishing with a shot driven high into the side netting. But there had been no serious alarm in the Everton defence when, five minutes later, Mills, striding forward onto a pass from substitute will Lee Croft, changed the game with one swing of his right foot. Everton created their best chance of the match soon afterwards when Kevin Kilbane, feeding of a flick from substitute Duncan Ferguson, forced his way past the home defender and into the box. But the winger's shot was beaten out by goalkeeper David James. A near miss on 88 minutes signalled the end of Everton's hopes. Centre-back Weir, forward in support of the attack, charged through a challenge on the right and drove the ball into the goalmouth where City defender Sylvain Distin hacked it off the line before substitute James Beattie could get a touch. By that stage Everton had started leaving gaps at the other end for City to exploit. And Martin had to make a resourceful close-range stop from Antoine Sibierski on 83 minutes. But there was nothing the former England goalkeeper could do when Vassell ran clear onto a pass from Barton to knock the second goal home seconds before the final whistle.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne, Jordan, Distin; Sibierski, Barton, Musampa (Croft 63) Ireland; Cole (Sun 90) Vassell. Subs: Sommeil, Onuocha, DeVlieger.
BOOKING: Barton (foul).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Ferrari, Yobo, Weir, Valente; Osman (Davies 75), Cahill, Neville, Kilbane, Bent (Beattie 63), McFadden (Ferguson 69). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
NEXT GAME: Tottenham Hotspur v Everton, Premiership, Saturday, October 15, 3pm
Moyes wants a united response
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Oct 3 2005
DAVID MOYES last night called on his players to find a response to the mounting pressure as Everton slipped deeper into trouble at the foot of the Premiership. The 2-0 defeat at Manchester City, the sixth in seven Premier-ship games, left Everton two points adrift at the bottom of the table behind Sunderland, West Brom and Fulham. But Moyes declared: "You should be able to find out more about people in adversity, but I have been saying that for three to four weeks now. "We will find out who can handle it, the ones who will have enough to take the ball under pressure, who can carry on playing and doing the right thing and we are beginning to see the ones who can't." Everton did many things right, particularly from a defensive point of view, until City full-back Danny Mills broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute with a stunning goal from 35 yards. With only one goal notched in the Premier-ship all season, Everton could not find a way back and were finished off by a Darius Vassell strike in injury time. Moyes insisted he has not lost faith in the ability of his players. But he said: "I do feel we have all got to do much better and that includes me as a manager, the staff and the players. The talent in the side is there. If you have telent it always rekindles." Everton face the prospect of spending the next fortnight, at least, on the floor of the table. Their next Premiership fixture is at Tottenham - hardly a happy hunting ground - on October 15 and that is followed by a visit from leaders Chelsea on October 23. Moyes was hoping to take a positive bounce from a 1-0 success over Dinamo Bucharest, which could not save Everon's UEFA Cup campaign but did produce a more vibrant and heartening performance. He said:"We got a confidence lift from midweek and in the first half I was happy that we looked solid and hard to beat. I was hoping we would use that as a base and pick it up in the second half but it did not happen that way. "It took a wonder strike to change the game because it did not look as if either side was going to score. But it is difficult chasing games when you are not scoring. It did not look as if either side would score today. Their full-back scored from 35 yards and we could not bundle one in from four yards. That said it all. It is difficult when you are not scoring. I can't say 'keep playing because the goal will come' because they are not.
"We played 4-4-2 the last two or three weeks. People thought the problem was the system. Now we are trying to find the combination that is going to get us some goals. "Scoring goals is the responsibility of the whole team. We're looking for everyone to chip in with goals whether it's full backs, centre backs midfielders or the strikers."
Moyes can get team up table - Pearce
By Nick Hilton Daily Post Staff
Oct 3 2005
MANCHESTER City manager Stuart Pearce added to Everton's misery at the foot of the Barclays Premiership table yesterday then predicted: "They won't be in that position come Christmas."
City's 2-0 win condemned Everton to their sixth defeat in seven Premiership games but Pearce is convinced his Goodison counterpart David Moyes is the right man to turn the situation around, saying: "They have a fantastic manager." Pearce added: "Everton won't be in this position for too long. The manager is too good, the coaches are too good and they have too many good players in the squad." Meanwhile Manchester City full-back Danny Mills is convinced his club are moving in the right direction under manager Pearce. The Blues ended a run of three defeats with a 2-0 victory over Everton yesterday, with Mills scoring a cracker from 25 yards for his first goal since December 2002 and his only one so far as a City player. Darius Vassell added the second late on, by which time Mills was happier with the points than with his spectacular goal. "It was nice to score - but more importantly the team's won," said the former England right-back. "We needed to get back to winning ways and we were disappointed to lose the last three games. "We played exceptionally well against Bolton and couldn't score... and then we've lost to Doncaster and Newcastle. But we've been working hard and doing the right things. We are going in the right direction and we bounced back today. This is all about the team today." Pearce was particularly pleased with Mills' all-round contribution. Mills won Pearce over with his determination in pre-season and now looks to have secured an extended run in the side. "Whether you are in the team or not, I have told all my players they will get a fair chance," said Pearce, who also saw debutant Stephen Ireland pick up man of the match honours. "Danny did extremely well in pre-season and I had no choice other than to pick him on those performances. "He can certainly hit a ball and while you have to give him credit for the goal, his overall performance was one of the best he has produced since he has been here." Young midfielder Ireland had an excellent game for City and said: "I was very nervous to start with - but once I got my first touch I was happy. "All the players have encouraged me, and I'm very happy to get into the first team. "If you're playing (well) Stuart Pearce will definitely give you a chance."
Mills added: "Stevie has shown some fantastic touches. He opened them up a few times and picked them off."
Question of time before tide turns
View from the sands by Steve Milne Everton supporter, Daily Post
Oct 3 2005
NEARLY every-bleary eyed Evertonian in the away stand yesterday was of the same sentiment - that whoever at Sky TV is in charge of the schedules, wants shooting. For a professional footballer, however, I wouldn't have thought the early start made too much difference, apart from the pre-match routine, as they start training at 10am anyway. We are bottom of the league. Some fans, disgruntled as they may be, still have hope. I for one, after only six league games in, feel it is only a question of time before the tide turns. Marcus Bent, who had just over an hour of play yesterday, did well and James Beattie's 25 minutes of action after being out injured with various niggles is a bonus for David Moyes. He is finally getting some of his injured troops back into action. We will, at some time, score goals and this may come with the pairing of Bent and Beattie. New boys Matteo Ferrari and Nuno Valente looked comfortable in their positions. However, the game was dull and lifeless and nobody really stood out. Tim Cahill did have the ball in the back of the net, but it was ruled out for offside. Moyes's boys struggled in the second half, in fact City overpowered us. Due to the lack of performance and pace, it was looking as though it may end 0-0 and we could have stolen a point. However, on 72 minutes a wonder strike from Danny Mills separated the boys from the men and the subsequent shot from Darius Vassell finished us off. It had many Blues supporters heading home before the final whistle. We now have two weeks before Spurs away (and we haven't won there since 1986, by the way). I don't know whether this is a blessing in order for Moyes to finally get his squad fully fit and ready to start the season properly.
Man City 2, Everton 0 (Echo)
By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Oct 3 2005
THERE is a scene in a classic episode of 'Only Fools and Horses' when, not for the first time, Del Boy and Rodney find themselves in an uncompromising position. Trying desperately to put into words how they have landed in a spot of bother, Del Boy turns to his younger brother and delivers a line that hits the nail right on the head. "Well Rodders," he muses. "It's just like deja vu - all over again."
Following the latest defeat in a season that is threatening to spiral out of control, Evertonians will understand the sentiments as once again the Blues were undone by familiar, exasperating failings.
Since beating Bolton on August 21 at the Reebok Stadium, David Moyes' side have not scored a Premiership goal. No matter what permutation the manager has used up front, the Blues have rarely threatened to add to that solitary Marcus Bent strike. Trying to understand why brings the same old arguments flooding out. The midfield lacks someone with ability to pick holes in opposition defences, while the strikers are failing miserably to live off the scraps that come their way.
Round and around in circles we go. For the shortcomings against a well-drilled Manchester City, look back at the games against Fulham, Portsmouth, Arsenal and Wigan and you will understand what went wrong. Worryingly for Moyes on this occasion, however, was the fact that his players were unable to exert any kind of pressure against City, who also went into the match in troublesome run of form. Perhaps the efforts of Thursday night against Dinamo Bucharest, rather than the absurd kick-off time of 11.15am, had something to do with the sluggish start. But, alarmingly, when City upped the tempo, Everton were unable to match their hosts. The sight of a City supporter walking around in pyjamas hammered home the ridiculous nature of the kick-off time. He, like the vast majority inside the stadium, must have wished he'd stayed in bed following the first humdrum 45 minutes. You know things are bad when the chatter between players and the referee can be heard the from stands. Draw your own conclusions from that on four occasions Mark Halsey could be heard barking "come here" at certain individuals. In fact, to refer to the game as being humdrum is being kind. It was that bad. No chances, no bookings, no atmosphere, nothing. Thankfully, the sound of Halsey's whistle to signal the break turned snores into sighs of relief. It was worse after the break. Without Mikel Arteta, it was always going to be a case of Everton grinding out a performance but few could have envisaged just how much the impish little Spaniard would be missed.
How Everton could have done with someone like City's Stephen Ireland to dictate the tempo of the game. The 19-year-old was making his first Premiership start but made things tick like an old pro.
Threading cute balls down the channels for Andy Cole and Darius Vassell to scamper onto, he caused plenty of problems for an Everton defence which was again troubled by sheer pace, as it had been by Henri Camara and Jason Roberts against Wigan. The bitter irony, then, is that it took a miracle goal from Danny Mills to break the deadlock, his 30-yard blast leaving Nigel Martyn with no chance as it arrowed into the top corner on 71 minutes. From that point, there never looked like being a way back into the game for Everton, even though David James saved smartly from Kevin Kilbane and David Weir saw an effort hacked off the line by Sylvain Distin. Insult was added to injury in time added on, when Ireland and Joey Barton combined to send Vassell streaking through, the former England international finishing with style as Nigel Martyn tried in vain to cut out the danger.
So if the Premiership table made grim reading before this match, it has even more chilling look about it as the break for the autumn round of World Cup qualifiers begins. Yes, there are positives for manager Moyes to cling onto. He is starting to get numbers back - Per Kroldrup was on the bench, James Beattie got another run out under his belt and Andy van der Meyde is making good progress.
In Phil Neville, he has a midfielder right at the top of his game, a player to rely on when the going gets tougher, the evenings draw in and the need for points intensifies. Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo continues in good form and Matteo Ferrari - solid enough against City - will get better as he continues to acclimatise to the demands of English football. But at present, there are many more negatives and the worried look on Moyes' face as he left the City of Manchester Stadium suggests he knows it may take more than an international break to remedy the current ills. It may even be a case of battling through to January and then going into the transfer market to acquire the players for the positions in which the Blues are short. Until then, it is up to those currently at Goodison to stop the rot - and quickly.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne, Jordan, Distin; Sibierski, Barton, Musampa (Croft 63) Ireland; Cole (Sun 90) Vassell. Subs: Sommeil, Onuocha, DeVlieger.
BOOKING: Barton (foul).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Ferrari, Yobo, Weir, Valente; Osman (Davies 75), Cahill, Neville, Kilbane, Bent (Beattie 63), McFadden (Ferguson 69). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
REFEREE: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)
Things have got to get better - Yobo
Oct 3 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO believes one win will transform Everton's nightmare start to the season.
Following yesterday's 2-0 defeat against Manchester City - the ninth in 11 competitive games - the Blues remain bottom of the Premiership with just three points and one goal to their name.
Such a desperate situation has led to talk of a woefully out-of-form Everton being embroiled in a relegation battle already but Yobo will not entertain such thoughts. The fixture list for the rest of the month shows there is little sign of respite for the Blues, however a defiant Yobo insists his club can upset the odds and get a result that will get them up and running. "A win is going to help us a lot," said Yobo. "Our next home game is against Chelsea and we have to believe that we can get something out of that. "But before that we have to get something at Tottenham. A draw would be very good but if we can win, it will be all the better. We need to stop losing games and get some postive results. "It's not clicking for us. We have got good forward players but it's not just down to them. We have got to attack as a team and defend as a team. We are all very disappointed. "Things have got to get better from now. All we need to do is start picking up points. A draw or a win will turn it all around. If we can do it against one of the big teams, so much the better." While Everton didn't hit the heights they achieved against Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Cup last week, Yobo still felt they were unfortunate to head home without anything to show for their efforts, pointing to Danny Mills' wonder strike as being the defining moment. "Things are hard for us," he said. "After Thursday, we thought we could go to City and get a result. I thought we did okay in the first half but then they scored a very good goal and it became difficult. "It was a good strike and you have to give credit to him but it is hard luck on us because we fought very hard and we could have got something in the first half. "A draw would have been a fair result. Once they scored, we had to push forward and they got the second in the last minute. Once they got their goal, they had more confidence."
Yobo's performance, meanwhile, was one of the few plus points to emerge from the game and he continues in good form. But he admitted he would sacrifice personal plaudits for the good of the team. "At the begining of the season I made a silly mistake against Manchester United and I had to raise my head," said the Nigerian international. "The manager and everyone has been behind me because they know what I can add to the team. But personal performances aren't important.
"I just want the team to start getting good results so we can move away from the bottom. That is the most important thing. "The new players are settling down gradually and we are giving them support. Matteo and Nuno have shown they are very good players. Once we win a few games, it will help their confidence."
Why has it all gone wrong?
Oct 3 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOR six months now, Everton fans have been assailled by renditions of one of football's more wearisome chants - "Champions League, you're having a laugh." On Sunday a more sinister version was aired for the first time. "Premier League, you're having a laugh," assaulted Evertonian ears.
It won't be the last time either, because make no mistake Everton are now involved in a relegation fight. Yes, it's only October. Yes, only seven matches have been played. And yes, such is the compact nature of the Premiership that one win would elevate Everton eight places up the table. But to win a game Everton have to score a goal. And that is a skill which looks completely beyond them at present. The Blues slumped to a fifth consecutive Premiership defeat at Manchester City yesterday, and it was a result which was always on the cards because even when they controlled the game Everton never, ever looked like scoring a goal. David Moyes sent his team out to play 4-4-2. James Beattie and Duncan Ferguson provided back-up on the bench, Cahill, Osman and Kilbane are all midfielders with better than respectable scoring records. But it made no difference whatsoever. David James had a single solitary shot to save all afternoon - and that came a minute after City had effectively ensured where all three points were going by scoring a goal themselves. Stuart Pearce suggested afterwards it was a similar match to last season's fixture, which Everton pinched by the only goal. Except it wasn't. Pearce was only being kind. Everton bombarded David James' goal last season and only a wonderful performance by a goalkeeper who had just tossed his England career away prevented them leading long before Tim Cahill's sending-off prompted a brave rearguard action.
So where has it all gone wrong? The reasons are complex.
* The only consistently proven goalscorer on the club's books has been injured all season - and David Moyes failed to land another before the transfer deadline.
* Last season's goalscoring talisman, Tim Cahill, has seen consecutive summers of international football finally take their toll.
* A challenging first five fixtures prevented Everton developing the momentum that early games against Crystal Palace, West Brom and Manchester City gave them last season.
* And maybe, just maybe, Everton Football Club started to believe their own publicity during the summer and stopped doing the things which made them successful.
Manchester City's wonderful San Siroesque stadium has proved strangely symbolic for Everton in recent seasons. Last term's courageous backs-to-the-wall effort was an example of everything the Blues were about in 2004-05. The 5-1 collapse the season before simply summed up the mood of players who had put their summer flip-flops on a month earlier. It is to be hoped yesterday's display at Eastlands does not prove typical this time round because, offensively at any rate, Everton simply weren't good enough. Marcus Bent has lost that driving edge which made him look like one of the buys of last season. James McFadden has only looked like a Premiership player on fleeting occasions - and they formed Everton's strike-force. Behind them Tim Cahill was anonymous, Leon Osman lightweight, Kevin Kilbane is ploughing willingly but unsuccessfully through the worst run of form of his Goodison career. Only the relentless Phil Neville impressed. Everton's best performers were all defenders. Joseph Yobo was excellent, Matteo Ferrari very good, but when the side is incapable of scoring a goal, the pressure placed upon them to maintain a clean sheet becomes intolerable.
Duncan Ferguson looked comfortably Everton's most dangerous striker, but after his outstanding efforts just 48 hours earlier he wasn't fit enough to start. Both he and James Beattie will become crucial to Everton's hopes of turning their season around. But worryingly things may get worse before they get better. Anybody who knows anything about Everton knows that they simply don't win at Tottenham Hotspur - even when leading 2-0 - and that is their next port of call.
Then after that Chelsea come to Goodison Park. The start to this season has been so wretched that even the dreaded words "Mike Walker" are being uttered between gloomy Evertonians.
His Everton team collected eight points from 14 fixtures in 1994 before he was finally put out of his misery. At this corresponding stage of the season Walker's Blues had managed only three draws.
But the class of '94 can only be compared statistically to this current crop of Blues. Tactically, technically and mentally they are an infinitely better team. But that counts for nothing when you look at the league table. I am convinced Everton can and will get out of this position - but to do so will need a collectively colossal effort. Phil Neville was one of the few Blues to walk all the way across to the handful of travelling supporters still left in the stadium at the final whistle. He applauded them, they applauded him - then he snatched at the club crest on his shirt and defiantly held it upwards. Everton Football Club will need that kind of defiance from now until January - when David Moyes must have a goalscorer on his January sales shopping list.
Blues too good to be bottom says Pearce
Oct 3 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes insisted yesterday it was far too early to talk about his bottom of the table team being involved in a relegation battle. And Manchester City counterpart Stuart Pearce was adamant the Blues will not be in the basement by Christmas. The Toffees lost 2-0 at Eastlands, their fifth successive Premiership defeat - and have a trip to Tottenham and a visit from Chelsea looming after a fortnight's international break. But City boss Pearce declared: "Everton have a fantastic manager and I don't think they will be in that position by Christmas - that's for sure. "They have too many good players in their ranks, especially Duncan Ferguson. "He only came on as a sub today, but I watched him on Thursday against Dinamo Bucharest and he was the best player on the pitch.
"In fact it was a bit of a lift for us when he didn't start. "They have one or two injuries at the moment as well - Arteta and Hibbert didn't play today - but the manager is too good to be down there, the coaches are too good and the players are too good to be where they are." Moyes said afterwards: "It's too early to talk about it being a relegation battle, but we want to get away from the position we are in and we need to get points on the board as quickly as possible. "I feel that everyone, not just me, but everyone at Everton Football Club has to do much better. That includes myself, the staff, the players." A 72nd minute screamer from Danny Mills effectively settled the match, with Darius Vassell adding a second with the last kick of the match. "It wasn't a particularly good game and it probably needed a wonder-strike to change it, " added Moyes. "We don't look as if we can score too many goals, that's for sure. "Their full-back scores from 35 yards and we can't bundle one in at the end from three or four yards. "I was reasonably happy with the first half display. We kept things solid, looked hard to beat and contained Manchester City, while doing a few little bits ourselves. "I was hoping we would pick it up in the second half. That was the idea. We wanted to use that as a platform but we didn't go on." The Blues' boss admitted that his players are beginning to suffer from a crisis of confidence. "Yes, a lack of self-belief can happen," he said. "The players feel that they can't score a goal. We have played 4-4-2 for the past few weeks, but we are still trying to find a combination which will get us some goals. "But we need the whole team to score goals. We are looking for everyone to chip in, full-backs, centrebacks from corners, everyone. I think the boys are lacking confidence and if results go the way they are, you get wonder goals like today going against you." But he refused to accept that the Blues' current predicament represented the toughest test of his managerial career. "I have had lots of tests as a manager and I will have lots in the future as well," he went on. "It's one thing I have to deal with and try to get the right result.
"We will find out now who are the ones who can handle things - the players who will take the ball under pressure, the ones who can perform in this situation and the ones who can't. "If we can get a win it could get us up and running, give us a bit of confidence and a bit of self-belief. "We have not got off to a good start to the season but the talent is there, and talent always rebounds. We have to hope that talent rebounds quickly and the players start to show."
Order of the boot
Oct 3 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
POLICE have cleared more than 100 of the region's most hardened football hooligans from the terraces. Figures obtained by the ECHO today reveal that officers had won court orders banning 116 yobs from attending games since new laws came into force. Many of those under banning orders are also forced to stay away from the city centre on match days. Twelve more suspected hooligans are before the courts facing a bar from all games. In total, 31 orders have been made in connection with hooligans among Everton supporters, 47 against those following Liverpool, and 38 against Tranmere Rovers. Constable Lee Lomax of the football intelligence unit said: "Merseyside police are committed to working with all football clubs to ensure that football matches remain an event for everyone to enjoy. "Occasionally a minority, who claim to be football fans, target Merseyside's clubs intent on causing violence and disorder. "These hooligans must not be confused with the thousands of genuine supporters who behave impeccably throughout the year. " These offenders are not genuine supporters and the number of orders brought is no reflection on the club or its true fans.
"Sophisticated intelligence gathering and a determined effort to bring these offenders before the courts has resulted in more than 100 being banned from football games. "We plan to continue bringing these cases before the court because we are determined to eradicate violence from Merseyside football." As well as being banned from professional football games, many of the orders ban hooligans from from travelling to England games. If necessary, the courts can ban recipients from using public transport on match days, and from pubs and bars during risk periods.
Breach of a banning order is a criminal offence which carries a penalty of up to six months' imprisonment and/or a £5,000 fine.
'Worst soccer violence ever seen'
THIS year has not been good for those trying to rid football of its hooligan image. February's game between Everton and Manchester United ended with the socalled "Battle of Everton Valley".
Hooligans with links to both the city's clubs were involved in clashes. Scenes were described by police as the worst football violence ever seen in Merseyside. Six officers were injured and more than 30 fans were arrested after the FA Cup clash, which marked the return of Wayne Rooney to Goodison Park. Officers are still trying to track down dozens of yobs. A month later, at the Anfield Merseyside derby, 33 arrests were made following fighting outside the Blue House pub near Goodison Park. Later that month, nine Tranmere fans were jailed for planning a mass brawl with Wrexham fans in Rock Ferry in September, 2003. The Tranmere hooligans then travelled to Chester, where a pitched battle took place in the city centre between 60 hooligans.
More woe as Carsley out for six weeks
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 4 2005
EVERTON were last night dealt another blow when Lee Carsley was ruled out for another six weeks.
The midfielder has had further surgery on the injured right knee that has prevented him from playing a competitive game for David Moyes's struggling side this season. Carsley sustained medial ligament damage in Everton's final game of last season at Bolton Wanderers and, after recovering from an initial operation, aggravated the injury in a pre-season friendly in Turkey against Fenerbahce in July. The 31-year-old had targeted last Thursday's UEFA Cup tie against Dinamo Bucharest for a return, but a series of tests revealed the injury was not healing properly and the decision was taken for Carsley to go under the knife again to finally cure the problem. Now the Republic of Ireland international is not expected be in first-team contention until late November at the earliest. It is a major setback for Moyes, who sees his team stranded at the bottom of the Premiership table and have only won two games all season in Carsley's absence. Explaining the injury, Everton head physio Mick Rathbone said: "For some reason the ligament had been repeatedly strained. It was healing; it wasn't re-attaching itself back to the bone. "So the surgeons literally pinned it back to the bone, sutured it and hopefully that is the end of it." He added: "We gave it time beyond the realms of reasonableness. We gave it so many opportunities but it wasn't going to heal. "We found that he was getting as close to finishing his rehabilitation as is possible. But in terms of kicking long, he couldn't do it. "They are now talking six weeks and the surgeons are the experts. He is keen to get back but we can't hurry the guy." Moyes received one piece of positive news yesterday, with confirmation Phil Neville will not be called before the Football Association. The midfielder appeared to lash out with his boot at Manchester City midfielder Lee Croft during Sunday's 2-0 defeat - an incident which went unseen by referee Mark Halsey. However, the FA have decided to take no action against Neville.
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 4 2005
TEN games played and Everton's season is over. What have we to look forward to? Playing negative 4-5-1 at home is taking us nowhere. Moyes had an opportunity to build on last season and blew it. Bobby Robson is available so maybe Moyes needs a mentor to bring in some fresh thinking.
Dave Johns (via e-mail)
On the up
THANK God we have got David Moyes in charge. This Everton side is the best we have had for years and one win will see us fly up the league. We are four points off a poor Liverpool side with a game in hand on them. I see no reason why we can't finish above them again.
Bobby Collins, Liverpool
Fans a credit
TO all the Everton fans at Manchester City on Sunday - you are a credit to your club. Helen Turner, who was an icon at City, was remembered by her family on the pitch before kick-off and I watched as your fans clapped along with all us City fans and you didn't even know her. Thank you as you are true football fans like us. I hope your season improves, you deserve it.
Steve Ball, Manchester
MARCUS Bent was awful on Sunday. He seems to think he doesn't have to chase defenders when they've got the ball. Beattie is starting to have a go but he's done in when it comes to us attacking.
Bent needs to be lashed, Beattie needs a break in the reserves to get his fitness back, and the team are going to need a miracle if we don't start scoring soon.
Tony Smith, Kirkdale
OUR position is not a good one but not desperate at this stage as there are a number of teams only two points ahead of us having played a game more. With 31 games left, it is not panic stations. I saw enough on Sunday to make me realise that City are the sort of team we will be beating soon and it will just take a little break and possibly a bit of luck to get us going again. We'll be the team that ends Chelsea's unbeaten run when we play them in a few weeks.
Jon Williams (via e-mail)
Moyes in plea for Tim
Oct 4 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has made a personal plea to Australian coach Guus Hiddink: Give Tim Cahill a break!
The Blues' boss has ordered Everton's exhausted midfielder to take a week's holiday - and pulled him out of a training camp in Holland ahead of this weekend's friendly international in London against Jamaica. But FIFA rules allow countries to call up players 48 hours before friendly internationals, so Cahill could still be asked to join his national squad on Friday and play in the weekend clash. "I've spoken to Guus Hiddink and I think we've made our feelings known," said Moyes. "Everton will benefit from Tim having a break at this stage of the season and the Australian national team will benefit in the long run, too. "We hope they respect our wishes." Hiddink, however, said last week: "This is our last chance to get together ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in November so the time together and the match will be crucial to us." Australia face the fifth-placed team in the South American World Cup group in a two-legged play-off in November. Blues boss Moyes, meanwhile, had a heart-to-heart with his players yesterday, when they raked over the ashes of Sunday's fifth successive Premiership defeat. "We are trying to be upbeat, but we also have to be realistic," he said. "The players have had to be told and shown what I am not happy with. "We are not going to bury our heads in the sand because the fact is we have to do better. "Certainly in the second half at Manchester City I saw things I wasn't happy with. "Perhaps it was a reaction to putting so much into the Bucharest game, but there were things I wasn't happy with." Midfielder Lee Carsley, meanwhile, will be sidelined for another six weeks after undergoing surgery again on his troublesome knee.
"The ligament in Lee's knee has been stapled back on because it wasn't reattaching itself," added Moyes. "Hopefully that will solve the problem."
Defiant McFadden staying positive
Oct 4 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THE current situation at Everton may be bleak but James McFadden believes the only way the Blues will haul themselves off the floor is by staying positive. With international football taking centre stage this weekend, David Moyes and his staff will have plenty of time to conduct post-mortems on the Blues' dramatic slump before Premiership business resumes at White Hart Lane on October 15.
Few could have envisaged a side that started the season in the Champions League would by early autumn be bottom of the Premiership, out of two European competitions and struggling for goals.
That, however, is the grim reality and it has understandably led to confidence taking a bashing in the ranks. But, as McFadden points out, now is certainly not the time for the Blues to start feeling sorry for themselves because a huge challenge lies in store. Tottenham, champions-elect Chelsea and Birmingham are the next three opponents for Everton and McFadden is well aware of the need for everyone in the ranks to stick together. "We need to believe that we are going to win every game," said McFadden, his words exploding with defiance. "We need to go into games with belief, especially so when we are on this kind of run. "The next game is the best one to make things right and we will be trying our best to do that. We know that things have been disappointing. "If we start bemoaning our luck all the time and say that everything is against us, that wouldn't be right. You can get yourselves in a rut and really believe things are against you." On a personal note, things are going well for McFadden at present. Having started the last five games, the high point being a man-of-the-match dis-play against Wigan, it is the longest run he has had in the side since he arrived from Motherwell two years ago. But as satisfied as he is with the way his situation is, results have obviously tempered things a great deal and he feels the pressure is on to keep improving. "This is the most games I have played in a row for this club and hopefully I can carry on and build from here," continued the Scotland international. "I need to try and sustain a regular place in the team. I like playing as a striker but I just like playing full stop. "It's a funny thing. When you are not playing, it is less enjoyable than when you are. You are in a good mood and you are happy. As long as you are enjoying your football everything is good." Significant, then, that his manager gives an approving nod when asked to sum up McFadden ' s recent contribution. "He has done well in the games that he has started this season," Moyes said. "He did well out on the left and then he has also played well up front. But it's what we expected. "I didn't expect anything else. He's a young lad, he's improving. He holds the ball up very well and does a lot of running, so that is encouraging." McFadden, meanwhile, will join up with the Scotland squad later this week, hoping to play a part in his country's World Cup renaissance. Having drawn with Italy and beaten Norway last month, victories against Belarus and Slovenia would give Scotland an outside chance of making it to Germany and he knows that a positive international impact could rub off on his domestic form. "We would have taken four points from those two games, no doubt about it," McFadden said. "Walter has come in and settled things a bit and brought confidence to the side. "It was great to be involved against Norway and Italy and hopefully we can win the next two games and give ourselves a shot at the play-offs."
Ex-Everton player jailed for eight years
Oct 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton star Mark Ward was jailed for eight years this afternoon for drug trafficking.
The ex-Blues midfielder, aged 42, had four kilos of cocaine and drug-dealing items in his rented home when police raided it, Liverpool crown court heard. Ward, who pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to had "fallen on hard times" after retiring from the professional game. But a judge told him it was his choice to become involved in the drugs trade. Ward, of Fazakerley Road, Prescot, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the court police raided a house in McVinnie Road, Prescot, on May 12, which Ward had rented.
As well as the cocaine, there were packs of chemicals commonly used to cut drugs when sold on the streets. When the former midfielder drove up during the police search, he turned round his MG car and sped away. But he later admitted he knew drug dealers had recruited him to rent the house.
The street value of the drugs was up to £645,000 and Ward played an active role in the dilution and distribution of the drugs. Nicholas Johnson, defending, told the court: "The arrival at the police at 11, McVinnie Road in Prescot marks the beginning of the descent of Mark Ward from sporting hero to convicted drug trafficker." The court heard Ward has always denied being the owner of the cocaine. He said that after starting as an apprentice for Everton at the age of 16, he went to play for Oldham Athletic FC and then on to Manchester City and West Ham before returning to Everton in 1991, where he earned £1200 per week. Mr Johnson told the court Ward retired in 1996 and found it hard to earn money. At one point he was living on state benefits. Shortly before becoming involved in drugs, Ward went to Australia to coach soccer, and his mother had to pay for his airfare and buy him suitcase. Mr Johnson added: "He had no job, no money and no home of his own and it was in that situation he got involved in the offence. "This is a spectacular fall from grace and he knows he has to be punished." Sentencing Ward to eight years, Judge John Phipps told the ex-soccer star, who bowed his head throughout the hearing: "It is indeed regrettable to find a professional footballer reduced to this. "You had very much fallen on hard times, but you got yourself involved in drugs."
Blues ticket details
Oct 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR v EVERTON on Saturday, October 15 (3pm)
Stand tickets for Upper Tier (£35 adults, £17 over 65s/juniors (under 16 only)) and Lower Tier (£31 adults, £15 over 65s/juniors) are currently available to season ticket holders upon sole production of voucher no 36 from the Park End box office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 36 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher 5 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required upon entry to the stadium for concessionary ticket holders.
EVERTON v CHELSEA on Sunday, October 23 (4.05pm)
Evertonia members only sales are underway from the Park End box office. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence Monday, October 10. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 3837866 will also be in operation for this fixture.
Football treated dad like a slave
Oct 4 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE slave trade was formally abolished in 1833. The General Assembly of the United Nations belatedly adopted the principle in 1949. But the concept of slavery remained alive and well in professional football for another two decades. The treatment of professional footballers in this country prior to Jimmy Hill and the abolition of the maximum wage is poignantly and shockingly exposed in Gary Imlach's wonderful book "My Father and Other Working Class Football Heroes."
The face of Channel 4's Tour de France broadcasts, Gary Imlach was also the front-man for their successful American Football screenings, and the eldest son of former Everton trainer and Scottish international winger Stewart Imlach. But exposure of malpractice in his dad's workplace was the last thing on his mind when he formed the idea for his recently published book. "After my dad died it was the classic motivation," he explained. "I don't know how many sons feel it when their fathers go, but I started to ask myself 'Why didn't I ask him that, why didn't I know more?' It was borne of that, really. "But as I dug into his career I began to get more and more angry. "Obviously I knew about the maximum wage, it wasn't so much that. What was a revelation to me was the retain and transfer system. "I had a vague idea the contract was loaded one way, but to discover the contract was a lifelong commitment from the player, but a 12 month commitment from the club who could do anything they liked at the end of it - halve the player's wages, kick him out of the club house . . . I could feel indignation rising. I wanted to write a letter to the ECHO. "Retrospectively I felt so helpless. But it was the SFA which made my blood really boil."
The tale of his father's cap is a classic case of intransigent bureaucracy.
Stewart Imlach played for Scotland in the 1958 World Cup finals - but was never awarded a cap.
An archaic SFA rule decreed that only players who figured against the home countries were allowed international caps. It persisted until the 1970s, with even Bob Wilson denied a cap. Or so Gary Imlach believed. "I discovered that Bob Wilson had, retrospectively, been awarded one," he snapped. "Initially I was sympathetic to my dad, but I thought the rules were the rules, but then the discovery that the SFA had broken the rules was disgraceful. "The regime in control now is not the regime in control then, but the least they could have done when I presented them with the evidence was to mount an investigation, but they didn't. "On the recommendation of Craig Brown I got right up to the president, John Macbeth. But they wouldn't budge." Stewart eventually received a beautifully crafted hand-made cap from supporters in Nottingham, which he cherished. He died without official recognition from his country, however. It is one of several startling stories contained in "My Father . . ." - including the day a wound up Bernie Wright clubbed Stewart Imlach to the ground at Bellefield. "My dad joined Everton when I was nine and we felt really privileged," explained Gary. "With that privilege came a great degree of responsibility, though. We were held personally responsible in school if things went wrong. "I hope if David Moyes or Jimmy Lumsden have children they have the same access because it was a magical time for us."
Shocking world is exposed
FIRST, a confession. Stewart Imlach's son, Michael, is a friend.
So it was with a sense of duty that I picked up his brother's book: "My Father and other Working Class Football Heroes" - and an admiration for the 'Father' of the title already in place. Don't let the crusty, slightly unwieldy title put you off. This ranks alongside "All Played Out" and "Full Time - The Secret Life of Tony Cascarino" as the best football book I've ever read. The underlying theme is not promising - a son's decision to trawl the archives of his recently deceased father's career, borne of the wish to have known him better. But while that quest is poignantly explained, Gary Imlach's search uncovers a shocking world of football that now seems unimaginable. An age when footballers were serfs, owned by their clubs, bought and sold like slaves - an age that persisted from Stewart Imlach's heyday of the late 1950s, right through to the 1970s when he was sacked by Everton. This is a man who Stanley Matthews picked out as man of the match in the 1959 FA Cup final - then was told at the celebratory banquet he had to go to Sheffield United. And a man who, when he was sold to Luton a year later, read of the decision in his local paper. Gary Imlach's search has uncovered a world which any fan under the age of 50 would find hard to believe ever existed.
This book should be pressed into the hands of every millionaire Premiership footballer - or read to them, like a child's bedtime story.
My Father and other Working Class Football Heroes £15.99. Yellow Jersey Press.
Australia critical of Moyes over Cahill
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 5 2005
MOYES has been criticised by Australia for his protective stance over Tim Cahill. The Everton manager has refused to release the midfielder for the Socceroos' training camp in Holland this week ahead of their friendly with Jamaica at Craven Cottage on Sunday. Australia have now been forced to invoke a FIFA ruling that allows countries to call up players 48 hours before friendly internationals, with Cahill now meeting up with his countrymen in London on Saturday. Moyes had pleaded with Australia coach Guus Hiddink to allow Cahill an extended break after having been an ever-present for Everton this season and played almost non-stop football for two years. But Hiddink has ignored the wishes of Moyes, with Australia assistant coach Graham Arnold expressed his displeasure at the attitude of the Goodison manager. "It is quite disappointing," said Arnold. "I feel the Socceroos are copping the backlash for Everton's poor form this year. "Every other club has been fantastic. Everton are sticking to the FIFA ruling about not releasing players for a friendly until 48 hours before the match and he (Cahill) will now come into camp in London on Saturday." Arnold added: "Guus spoke to Moyes and told him Tim would not be subjected to heavy training and that the camp was more for tactical analysis and structure for the South American games. "We understand the situation and would not put players through anything exhausting at this stage."
Moyes had said yesterday: "I've spoken to Guus Hiddink and I think we've made our feelings known. Everton will benefit from Tim having a break at this stage of the season and the Australian national team will long-term. We hope they respect our wishes." Moyes could face a further fall-out with Australian next month, with Cahill certain to be selected for his country's crucial twolegged World Cup playoff against South American opposition. The Everton manager has told of a heart-to-heart meeting with his players on Monday following the 2-0 weekend defeat at Manchester City that kept the Goodison outfit bottom of the Premiership. "We are trying to be upbeat, but we also have to be realistic," said Moyes. "The players have had to be told and shown what I am not happy with.
"We are not going to bury our heads in the sand because the fact is we have to do better. Certainly in the second half at Manchester City I saw things I wasn't happy with." Per Kroldrup, who was an unused substitute at Eastlands, is poised to make his return from a groin injury in tomorrow's reserve match against Manchester United.
Ex-Everton star gets eight years for drug dealing
By Sarah Chapman Daily Post Staff
Oct 5 2005
FORMER Everton FC star Mark Ward was yesterday jailed for eight years for dealing drugs.
Ward was described at Liverpool Crown Court as having "fallen on hard times" after retiring from the professional game. Ward, of Fazakerley Road, Prescot, pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply. Henry Riding, prosecuting, told the court police raided a house in McVinnie Road, Prescot, on May 12, and officers discovered four kilos of cocaine, plus drug-dealing paraphernalia in the house, which Ward had rented. There were packs of chemicals commonly used to cut drugs when they were sold on the streets. When the ex-Blues midfielder drove up to the house during the police search, he turned his MG car round and drove off at speed. He later admitted he knew drug dealers had recruited him to rent the house. Mr Riding told the court the street value of the drugs could be up to £645,000 and that Ward played an active role in the dilution and distribution of the drugs. The court heard Ward had always denied being the owner of the cocaine. Nicholas Johnson, defending, said that, after starting as an apprentice for Everton at 16, he went on to play for Oldham Athletic FC and then on to Manchester City and West Ham before returning to Everton in 1991, where he earned £1,200 per week. He said Ward retired in 1996 and found it hard to earn money and, at one point, he was living on state benefits. Shortly before becoming involved in drugs, Ward went to Australia to coach, but his mother had to pay for his air fare and buy him suitcase.
Mr Johnson said: "He had no job, no money and no home of his own and it was in that situation he got involved in the offence." Sentencing him to eight years, Judge John Phipps told Ward, who bowed his head throughout the hearing: "It is indeed regrettable to find a professional footballer reduced to this. You had very much fallen on hard times, but you got yourself involved in drugs."
Mersey doom and gloom
Oct 5 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DISGRACEFUL and humiliating. Words to describe not just Everton's performance since the start of the season, but the effect they have had on this famous club's continually battered but loyal supporters. The Grand Old Duke of York had nothing on Ken-wright, Moyes and Co who led thousands of followers up the hill only to end up with their hopes dashed to smithereens, down at the bottom again. The first half of last season has proven to be a blip and reality has laid bare a collection of some very useful footballers who play without guidance, creativity or passion. But, most of all, it is the apparent absence of pride. They play like a team of losers. Mr Kenwright and Mr Moyes it is over to you because Everton is looking more every day like a reflection of Leeds United.
Rob Molyneux, Liverpool
I HAVE been going to watch Everton since the early 1960s and have witnessed some bad Everton sides and players, but what I witnessed last Sunday against Manchester City was pathetic. What has happened to the team spirit? Not one Everton player wanted to show he cared for the club.
Even the manager has failed to show any motivation.
Geoff Bryant, Walton
LET'S face it. We're knackered. We need points before Christmas, not just once we've bought the (as yet unnamed) striker. If Moyes gets points from the next two games then he's safe but how long do we have to wait before the slow realisation occurs? We need a new man for the job. He rode his luck until pre-season but no one who can score wants to play for him. Moyes is the problem. He isn't the messiah, he's a young manager who got lucky before learning his trade.
Gareth West, Walton
I READ that David Weir is quoted as saying that morale is so low in the camp that he prefers to play for Scotland. My advice to him is to go and find a new club in January and that goes for the other so called players whose morale is also so low.
Alex Chivers, Runcorn
WHY is it that Everton is a club run like a pantomine instead of a business? Why do we continue to hope against hope that the Good Fairy will turn Marcus Bent into Gary Lineker and David Moyes into Herbert Chapman? The problem is the players' lack of belief and the only way to change that is to find a manager more than capable of transforming them. The clock is ticking with all of our dreams in ruins and our illustrious club left with nothing to play for except survival.
Alan Turnbull, Dingle
EVERTON'S demise has been going on since January - not just in the last couple of months.
Why does anyone think that Simon Davies will be less injury prone than he was at Spurs, that Beattie will be anything else than lazy, or that McFadden will suddenly remember where the goal is?
It makes no sense to sack anyone at this stage, but the buck stops with Bill Kenwright and David Moyes.
Graeme McDonagh, Crosby
Moyes looks to Beattie for goals
Oct 5 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is keeping his fingers crossed that James Beattie will emerge from his injury nightmare as the man who will end Everton's goalscoring crisis. The Blues record signing has made only one Premiership start this season - on the opening day against Manchester United - because of a troublesome toe injury. Having suffered a couple of set-backs in the time since, Beattie gets the chance to banish his frustrations tomorrow when he lines up for Everton's reserves against United at Altrincham. Since he joined the club from Southampton in January, a catalouge of problems have prevented Beattie showing his best form but Moyes believes that his £6m man is ready to start making up for lost time. " Beats obviously started against Manchester United at the start of the season but hasn't featured much since," said Moyes. "The reserve game will be a continuation of his training during the week. "We hope this is the one but we have still got to get him in the right condition. He's not going to be right after just one reserve game - it's going to be a few weeks. "But it is certainly going to put him in contention because we are short of strikers at the minute. He's doing a lot of training and this week there is a chance to get a bit of work in him. Hopefully he will come back into the fold next week." Though he is still some way short of peak condition, Beattie has come on as a substitute in both of Everton's most recent games against Dinamo Bucharest and Manchester City. While he hasn't had any chances to add to his only goal of the campaign against Villarreal, the 27-year-old has shown a willingness to snap in to tackles and harry defenders. It is an attitude to which Blues supporters have responded and now his manager is urging Beattie to carry on in the same vein so he can win over any terrace doubters. "I say to anybody who comes to Everton that that is the type of attitude the supporters want to see," said Moyes. "There is a lot of things that people can put up with but more importantly they want to see people who give their best. "They don't want to see people duck out of anything and they responded to that against Bucharest. James has now got to get himself up and running. We need to get him very close to where he should be in terms of fitness." * Due to Middlesbrough's involvement in the UEFA Cup, Everton's game originally scheduled for November 5 will now take place on Sunday, November 6 (2pm kick-off, subject to police approval).
Ward tried to dodge cops
Oct 5 2005 By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton FC star Mark Ward tried to sneak away from police after spotting officers raiding the home he was renting out as a drugs factory. Yesterday the retired footballer was jailed for eight years after admitting possessing cocaine he planned to sell in Merseyside. Today police revealed how Ward, 42, tried to do a runner after he turned up at his drugs den in Prescot in the middle of a raid. Officers acting on a tip-off raided the house that Ward was renting in McVinnie Road on May 12 and found evidence of a large-scale drug production line. Every room of the two-bedroom house contained traces of cocaine, while discarded kitchen utensils such as mixing bowls were caked with the drugs. As the eight-hour search of the address continued, the former midfielder pulled up outside the house in his MG sports car and when he noticed police out-side he sped off. But the footballer had been spotted and recognised by officers at the address and when they followed him they found his abandoned car nearby and Ward attempting to look casual, walking along the road taking on his mobile phone. Ward, of Fazakerley Road, Prescot, was arrested and later charged with possession of a Class A drug with intent to supply. The home in McVinnie Road had been rented by Ward for four months before the raid and although police do not know how long it was being used as a drug factory, officers are certain several kilograms of Class A substances were mixed at the site.
DI Chris Green, of Merseyside police, said: "Ward fell from grace as a professional footballer and engaged in this criminal activity to fund a lifestyle he had been accustomed to. "Class A drugs cause misery across the community, not just to the users. "This case shows that if you get engaged in this kind of activity we will come looking for you. We will turn the misery back onto you - eight years in prison is not a nice thing to experience."
Moyes hopes for Beattie boost
By Chris Wright Daily Post Staff
Oct 6 2005
0ShareJAMES BEATTIE looks to kick-start his season tonight - and Everton manager David Moyes is hoping he can be the answer to his side's goalscoring problems. The former England international steps up his rehabilitation from a toe injury for Everton Reserves against Manchester United at Altrincham tonight. Beattie has been troubled by the problem since he made his only start on the opening day of the season against United. Since then he has suffered further setbacks in his bid to return. It is the latest in a number of problems that the 27-year-old has suffered since his £6million record transfer from Southampton in January. But tonight his manager Moyes hopes Beattie, who has featured as a substitute in Everton's last two matches against Dinamo Bucharest and Manchester City, can continue to improve his fitness. The Scot said: "Beats obviously started against Manchester United at the start of the season but hasn't featured much since. "The reserve game will be a continuation of his training during the week. "We hope this is the one but we have still got to get him in the right condition. He's not going to be right after just one reserve game - it's going to be a few weeks. "But it is certainly going to put him in contention because we are short of strikers at the minute. "He's doing a lot of training and this week there is a chance to get a bit of work in him. Hopefully he will come back into the fold next week."
Fans can only do so much
Oct 6 2005 Sports View with Echo Sports Editor John Thompson, Daily Post
THESE have been testing days for every football fan on Merseyside. At Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere there are at least murmurings of discontent, if not worse. The Blues have seen last season's dream finish become a nightmare start, goal shy Liverpool took a hammering at home to Chelsea on Sunday, while Rovers just can't get going with that much-fancied promotion push.
One radio pundit this week even described it as being a 'Merseyside soccer crisis' to try and spark debate. So how should loyal fans paying their money and feeling the pinch as well as the pain, react? Can they really help make a difference by continuing to scream their support and belief, or should they be forgiven for venting their spleen when it's all going wrong? Without overstating it, there is plenty of evidence that supporters can help their sides out of a sticky patch. And much of it emanates from these parts. The Kop are of course world renowned for their backing. Bill Shankly spoke in the sixties of them being worth a goal start to his men, while their rendition of the club's anthem in Istanbul genuinely did seem to have an effect on the players who were so resurgent against AC Milan in that second half. Those 21,000 Evertonians who turned up a week ago for Mission Impossible against Dinamo Bucharest raised the roof in support. The old lady may have been barely half-full, but the players clearly took heart at that backing from Goodison's diehards.
At Anfield on Sunday, Rafael Benitez was impressed at seeing the Kop singing You'll Never Walk Alone after Chelsea had scored their fourth and inflicted the biggest home defeat on Liverpool since 1969. For him, it showed they understood their team was not actually that bad and that individual howl-ers were largely responsible for their downfall. It's certain he will want such loyal support to continue on, just as Moyes will hope true Blues will play their part in helping to try and restore confidence to his side. No doubt both clubs will find the fans sticking with them. Because all genuine supporters know they can make a difference and want to help their team when it struggles. But the truth is they can only do so much. The Kop never actually did suck the ball into the net. Supporters can make a difference. But, ultimately, they can never make the difference. The one between success or failure in the long term. Promotion is reward for King's devotion LIVERPOOL boxing development officer Paul King is one of the finest ambassadors for sport this city has produced.
Therefore his elevation to chief executive of the English ABA is thoroughly well deserved. Inevitably, there is a fear that the boxing scene here will suffer while the national game benefits. But King has already stressed he's not moving down South and won't for one minute contemplate allowing a drop in the standards which he has set so superbly in Liverpool. It's that passion and pride, as well as his talent and devotion to detail, which has brought the country calling. And it's why no one need worry that boxing, so valuable and educational to so many youngsters in this city, will thankfully not be the worse for Paul King moving on.
'Great to have Per back'
Oct 6 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP makes his long-awaited return from injury tonight and Everton boss David Moyes cannot wait to pitch him into Premiership battle. The Danish international was Everton's most expensive summer signing when he joined for £5m from Udinese but has yet to kick a competitive ball in anger because of a hernia problem. Kroldrup, though, has delighted the club's medical staff with the progress he has made in recent weeks and was able to take his place on the bench for last Sunday's defeat at Manchester City. It is now a question of getting plenty of conditioning work into Kroldrup and he will take a significant step when he plays for the reserves against Manchester United - a game in which James Beattie will step up his rehabilitation. But once he has obtained sufficient levels of fitness, Moyes will have no hesitation about handing Kroldrup his debut in the top flight and is backing the 26-year-old to become a success. "Per is in good shape," said Moyes, who will be an interested observer at Altrincham's Moss Rose ground tonight. "For him now it is just a case of getting used to the Premier League. "He faces a period in which to adapt, getting used to the play and knowing the tempo of the Premier League. It happens, especially with boys from abroad.
"The physical side is very important but he has got the attributes to cope with that because of his size and his stature. "We brought him here to give us competition for Davie Weir and Joseph Yobo. When Per went down, we brought Matteo Ferrari in as well, so we are actually close to getting some competition at the back." Moyes, meanwhile, believes another of his summer signings, Simon Davies, is returning to form. The Wales international has been troubled by a shin problem for much of the season, while an ankle injury prevented him from starting against either Dinamo Bucharest or City. Nevertheless, Moyes has been pleased with Davies' contribution, but is in no doubt that he will get better. "I thought Simon played well in his last start against Wigan," Moyes added. "He was excellent and I have told him that. He hasn't let us down and we're very pleased with him."
Watch Blues' sparklers take on Boro
Oct 6 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
THE BLUES go head-to-head with Middlesbrough for the second time in 12 days on bonfire weekend on November 6 and we want as many Toffees inside Goodison to see what we hope will be fireworks. David Moyes' men will be looking to repeat last season's 1-0 success and we are offering all junior Evertonia members a £5 discount on their match ticket. Tickets for the game go on sale on Monday, October 10 to members only from the box office with a combined adult and child ticket for just £30, but Junior Evertonia members can qualify for a further £5 discount by presenting their £5 off voucher at the Park End box office. Contact the box office on 0870 442 1878 for more details or visit evertonfc.com.
* Everton v Middlesbrough at Goodison in the Carling Cup on October 26 (kick-off 8pm) has tickets priced £10 Adults, £5 Children. Cash will be taken at the turn-stiles. To guarantee a seat on the night get your ticket in advance. For more information contact the Goodison Park Box Office on 0870 442 1878 or visit evertonfc.com.
* LAST month we ran a competition for Junior Evertonia members to win the brand new third kit that is available in the Everton Meagstore now or online at evertonfc.com. We asked who scored the winning goal against Bolton earlier this season? The answer was, of course, Marcus Bent and from the thousands of entries we received, the luck winner is ADAM McBREEN from Aigburth.
Congratulations, your kit is on its way!
Oct 6 2005 Liverpool Echo
How can Moyes haul the Blues out of their slump? IT WILL be a real test of character and it's not only Moyes who has to turn this around. The players have not performed well in any league game this season. There hasn't been one game we deserved to win and one goal in seven matches is a disgrace. Moyes knew we needed a striker and yet he signed a player in every other position. That's what I blame Moyes for. I also blame Moyes for wasting £6m on Beattie when he clearly hasn't fitted in. We could have signed Darren Bent or Dean Ashton for a more reasonable price and we would not have been in this situation. The biggest problem is the midfield. I am concerned and frustrated by the apparent inability to create anything in the final third of the pitch, and win any second balls in dead ball situations. I still think Moyes can turn things around but I also think that he's battling against the clock.
GARETH SCOTT, West Derby
IF ANYONE can change the current fortunes of Everton then it's David Moyes - I have no doubt about that. But he's facing the biggest challenge of his managerial career trying to motivate a bunch of overpaid footballers who can't be bothered. Moyes says he's "looking for leaders to step forward" and there are leaders in the side but there are also lazy and overrated players too. I don't envy his job. The same pattern of two years ago has emerged, with players thinking they only have to turn up to win. He has to get the winning mentality back into the side because having no confidence just makes matters worse. He won't have changed his style so much that the players haven't got a clue what to do. I want to see a bit of commitment to the cause. All we fans ask for is a bit of pride from the players and I'm certain that's all Moyes asks for too.
KEN STEWART, St Helens
DAVID MOYES has to get us out of this desperate slump with the resources currently available. So remember we have to stay positive. Last Saturday, in the midst of all this gloom, I witnessed a strong and quick Everton centre forward make fools out of Liverpool defenders and, crucially, score goals. No, I wasn't dreaming, I was at Liverpool's Kirkby Academy watching our under-16s easily overcome the young Reds. The key to the performance was our Thailand connection. You might recall the three players who won an apprenticeship at Everton as part of a television talent competition. Well, they all impressed on Saturday, and our number nine was outstanding.
Remember, times are desperate and I am attempting to be positive. Mind you, it does seem mildly ridiculous for Everton to pin their hopes on a 16-year-old striker!
GEOFF HARRISON, West Derby
RARELY can an international break have been so welcome at Goodison. A free weekend will allow those sidelined by injury to move closer to fitness, and let the rest clear their heads after another insipid display. Getting out of the current predicament will be testing, but Moyes could make one or two positive decisions to aid the process. The first is to decide on his best side and, barring injury, stick with it for the foreseeable future. Kroldrup and Van der Meyde will hopefully be available at White Hart Lane and should be given the chance to change our fortunes. The second would be to start with Duncan Ferguson. At present he is only being introduced when we are chasing the game. Although it might mean being more direct, we could hardly look less potent. If Arteta produces the service like he did against Bucharest, then chances will arrive.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Football's big cock-up!
Oct 6 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THIRTY-NINE years on, and Kenneth Wolstenholme still has a lot to answer for. "They think it's all over . . ." has become a national institution, the first words which spring to mind when the 1966 World Cup final is mentioned. But just a month earlier, Wolstenholme was also reponsible for an Everton hero having his name changed for the rest of his life! Mike Trebilcock (that's cock, as in cockerel, not Coe, as in Sebastian) is back on Merseyside on November 2 for a reunion of Everton's 1966 FA Cup winning team. Every surviving member of the team will be present at the Adelphi Hotel, with Alex Scott represented by his son, while there will also be four members of the defeated Sheffield Wednesday team present in Peter Eustace, Don Ford, Don Megson and John Fantham - plus the FA Cup itself! Trebilcock will receive a special presentation - and he hopes that this time his name is finally pronounced correctly. "I think back in the 1960s the BBC wouldn't allow the word 'cock' to be spoken on television," he explained today from his home in Darwen, Australia.
"So I became Mike Tre-bil-coe! It's stuck ever since. I was down at Surfer's Paradise last week coaching a group of under-15 footballers and one of their coaches said 'I know you. You scored in the 1966 FA Cup final and they called you Trebil-coe!' " The tale of Trebilcock's call-up to Everton's cup final team has now passed into folklore. A young Cornishman who had made only five first-team appearances before the semi-final, fears over Fred Pickering's fitness saw him pressed into emergency striking duties. "It was a different sport back then," explained Trebilcock. "Fred Pickering was a hero to us. I was away playing with the reserves when I heard he had been injured and we were shattered. All we could think about was 'we've got Manchester United in the semi-final. Who's going to replace Fred?' "In the end it was me, then when Fred came back, Harry Catterick didn't think he would get through the final. It was the days before substitutes were allowed so I got the nod." Of course, it became one of the most famous selection gambles in Everton history. The move looked to have backfired when Everton trailed 2-0 early in the second half, then Trebilcock scored twice and the Blues came back to win 3-2. "The club took us to Turkey, Israel and Greece after the cup final," Trebil-cock recalled, "and I was soon put back in my place. "Brian Labone and Gordon West were always together and I was sitting in a cafe with some of the other youngsters when they walked past. "I whispered 'There they go, Laurel and Hardy!' but Labby heard me. He sneaked up behind me and tipped a can of coke over my head! He said 'You might have scored two in the cup final but you're not a big star yet!' "It was all good-natured, though. I speak to Labby quite regularly still and he's still the skipper. If he speaks you listen." Trebilcock will arrive in England with wife Pam (a Bootle girl) on October 27. He is relishing the Adelphi Hotel get together. "When I was invited to come over I was thrilled," he said. "My wife, Pam drove to work with the invitation and she was crying. I said 'What's the matter?' and she told me 'Have a look at this.' It was unbelievable and we can't wait. "The last time there was a '66 reunion I couldn't get over so Graeme Sharp stood in for me. "I can't wait to see everyone this time. I was one of the younger members of the squad so players like Colin Harvey, Tommy Wright, John Hurst, Roger Kenyon, Andy Rankin and Geoff Barnett were my pals - although Aidan Maher was my closest friend. "But I'm looking forward to getting over there and maybe watching a match at Goodison." Tickets for the gala evening are available from Roger Kenyon (07747 011015), Brian Snagg ( 07747 011014) or credit card payments to Tommy Birch (07747 011013) priced £65 each or a table of 10 for £600. A giant screen will show the route '66 to Wembley, and the cup final, while Howard Kendall will present specially struck medals to the players on the night. While the night will be unashamedly nostalgic, Trebilcock admits he still keeps a close eye on modern day events at Goodison - which has been made even easier since the arrival of Tim Cahill. "I read a magazine article down here only last week," he said "which told us to forget Harry Kewell and forget Mark Viduka, Tim Cahill is Australia's new main man. "The only problem is the Australian manager who keeps playing him on the left wing. When you've got a player as dangerous as Tim is coming from deep, it's madness to play him out there. But that's Australian football for you. "Lots of new ideas, systems and formations - but nothing ever changes."
At least Cahill gets his name pronounced correctly . . .
Unlucky Beattie's hit by new injury scare
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 7 2005
JAMES BEATTIE'S nightmare season continued last night to hand struggling Everton yet another injury scare. The 27-year-old was forced off with a suspected calf injury on 22 minutes of the reserve team's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United, having earlier scored with a deflected 25-yard free-kick. Everton manager David Moyes was present at Hyde United's Ewen Fields ground to witness the latest blow for Beattie, who was taking the latest step in his comeback from a toe injury. Beattie has played just 77 minutes of first-team football since suffering the initial problem during the opening-day Premiership defeat to Manchester United in August. Moyes had been hopeful Beattie's return could help kick-start Everton's poor start to the season, with the Goodison outfit having scored only one goal in seven league games. Now the Everton manager will be sweating on the results of tests at Bellefield today to determine the severity of the injury. Better news came with Per Kroldrup making his long-awaited return following a hernia operation by playing the full 90 minutes against United's second string. Meanwhile, an angry Moyes has hit back at Australia coach Guus Hiddink as the row over Tim Cahill rumbles on. The Goodison manager has lambasted as "incredible" and "inap-propriate" the claim by Hiddink that Everton's poor start to the season is the reason for Moyes wanting Cahill to miss his country's friendly with Jamaica. Moyes's plea to allow the midfielder a break fell on deaf ears with Australia calling the 25-year-old up for Sunday's match at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground. However, with FIFA rules stating clubs need only release players 48 hours before an international friendly, Moyes opted to withdraw Cahill from Australia's training camp in Holland this week. It led both Hiddink and his assistant Graham Arnold to slam Everton's stance over the player, with the former saying "with Everton bottom of the English Premier League, they are obviously looking for reasons to keep him at home". Such comments have drawn a stinging response from Moyes, who said yesterday: "I find it quite incredible that someone would have the audacity to suggest that they are suffering because of Everton's current position. "I believe the comments were inappropriate and for someone who is also a club manager, they should have known better. "For the last two years, Tim has had non-stop football and it looks as though Everton are the only ones interested in looking after him and ensuring he doesn't burn himself out."
With Cahill expected to play in the World Cup play-off against a team from South America next month, Moyes feels it is only common sense to allow him a break now. He added: "This was the best chance to give him the break he deserves and has nothing to do with our league position. "Tim was given the week off and this was done to benefit him, Everton and Australia. "We would never refuse Tim permission to play for Australia. "We have good relations with all international managers and their respective FAs but my main concern is Everton Football Club and the well-being of my players.
"I am staggered they would come out and say the things they did regarding Everton." Everton's home game with Middlesbrough has been put back a day to Sunday, November 6 (2pm) due to Boro's UEFA Cup tie.
* EDDIE WAINWRIGHT, who played for Everton in the 1940s and 50s, has died at the age of 81.
Neville asks nation to get behind Eriksson and England
Oct 7 2005 By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
PHIL NEVILLE urged the nation to unite behind Sven-Goran Eriksson as he insisted there is no better candidate to lead the England team to the World Cup finals. Neville revealed the squad had rallied together since their defeat in Northern Ireland, adopting a "siege mentality" following widespread criticism of their coach and tactics. He declared: "After a defeat, some people get on our back and start to question the manager and put him under intense pressure. "As players, we are lucky we have got a manager who doesn't get affected by that. You look around and I can't see anybody else as good as Sven for the job. "Why don't we back the manager, back the England team and go and win this World Cup? The only way we can do that is if everybody pulls in the same direction.
"Each top team has a blip every now again, even Brazil and Argentina have lost matches in qualification for this World Cup. For us it's now a case of getting the points and getting to the World Cup. "Sometimes you can react to defeat and become a better team. When we develop that type of siege mentality, that's when we're at our best. "It has got to the point where there is some stick flying around, the manager and players are being criticised so the players are sticking together and hoping to prove a few people wrong." While Neville is set to miss out on a place in the starting line-up in the final group ties against Austria and Poland, he firmly believes England will still reach the World Cup finals. "These are two of the biggest games that England have played for a long time, especially considering what has happened in the last three matches," he said. "Now it's up to us to put in two top-class performances, as that's what we need in order to qualify for the World Cup. It feels like these two games are going to be like two cup finals. "Both matches are at Old Trafford and, when it comes to the crunch, I think the players in the England squad will produce. "The players were angry and disappointed after the Northern Ireland defeat and I'm sure you'll see a positive reaction. We all desperately want to qualify for the World Cup. "We are under no illusions, we need to get six points from these two games, but if we do that, we qualify for the World Cup and Northern Ireland will then be forgotten about."
Give us time
Oct 7 2005 Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Give us time
EVERTON in crisis? Are you having a laugh. This season is not so different from last - the difference is, is that last season we were winning games by the odd goal and this season - with the exception of the sad second half in Bucharest - we have lost by the odd goal. The pressure and expectation on what Moyes and the lads delivered last year is unrealistic from the majority of fans, especially when you consider the injuries and the majority of new faces in the squad. When Carsley, van der Meyde, Neville, Kroldrup, Valente, Beattie, Davies, Arteta and co have had time to bed in and get truly match fit then Everton have the makings of a top six side.
Peter Nelson, Ormskirk
Tough on Tim
WHILE I agree that Cahill probably needs a break, it seems odd that Moyes wants Australia to rest him, but he isn't prepared to rest the player himself. How many of the 10 league and European matches has Cahill played? Unless my memory is playing tricks, I think he's played them all.
You can hardly blame the Aussies if they're a bit cynical. I couldn't see the point of bringing all the European-based players back to play the two World Cup matches against the Soloman Islands, but then I realised that I was wrong. They don't have many opportunities to get the squad together, and they will have to beat South American opposition - probably Uruguay - to get to the World Cup finals. They could have picked a third-string local squad to beat the Solomon Islands, but they obviously need to get their strongest side together as often as they can. It's tough on Tim, and Everton, but it's not the Aussies' fault..
Jeff Jones (via email)
Look out wide
IF Everton can get Ferguson starting at least every other game and have Arteta out wide crossing those great balls in, Big Dunc will have a field day. We have been crying out for a wide man since
Kanchelskis left. Hopefully when van der Meyde recovers, he too will bring further assistance from the wing, then the big man will really could start pummelling defences like he used to.
Mark Jacobs, Kirkby
EVERTON and Moyes need our support and backing through this difficult time. I am certain Moyes is the man to get us out of this mess and I can't think of a better man available. One change I would make is to name Phil Neville as permanent captain.
Holly James, Ormskirk
Galvanising spirit of old key to recovery
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Oct 7 2005
0ShareINTERNATIONAL weeks are normally such a drag, with no real football to watch and the papers full of the usual agonising over the most trivial team selection issues of the national side. Do you care whether Sol or Rio gets the nod? For Evertonians though, this particular break from the domestic campaign comes as something of a relief as it lets everyone go back to speculating on Sven's future for a bit and takes the spotlight off David Moyes. The Everton manager apparently held crisis talks with his players following yet another limp display - this time against a poor Manchester City - and told them that he wasn't happy. In truth though, you would like to think that they would have already worked that out for themselves by now. When we're turning to the likes of James McFadden, James Beattie and now possibly even Li Tie and hoping they can turn our fortunes around, then it's pretty clear we're in big trouble. There are obviously issues surrounding the lack of goals, and indeed lack of chances, but the roots of those problems go deeper than just team formation or the lack of a new striker. For the record, the likes of Baros, Bellamy and Forsell are yet to set the league ablaze this season. All over the pitch the players lack the aggression and the relentlessness that helped elevate them above all but the big three and pushed them into Europe last time out. And the famous karaoke session that helped build team spirit during last summer's pre-season tour of the States certainly seems a long time ago now. David Weir's comments about enjoying getting away with Scotland for some light relief, Moyes' feud with the Australian FA and the sight of Marcus Bent almost tripping over his face after he was subbed on Sunday morning are hardly indicators of a happy camp. It goes without saying the responsibility for lifting the mood lies with the manager. Whether that means taking the squad paintballing, ten-pin bowling or for a trip to Speke Hall is up to him, but something has to happen otherwise we're not liable to win a game before Mark Ward gets parole. The one consolation we do have is that despite our truly appalling start we can actually move off the bottom and out of the drop zone by winning the game in hand that we have on the team immediately above us. At the moment, though, that would seem a lot easier said than done.
Beattie's injury prayer
Oct 7 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
FRUSTRATED James Beattie is praying his season won't be jinxed by bad luck following his latest injury setback. Everton's £6m record signing marked his return to action last night with a goal but hobbled out of the reserves' 3-1 defeat against Manchester United with a calf strain after just 22 minutes. It is the latest in a list of problems to have beset Beattie since his move from Southampton and it is touch and go whether he will be fit for next week's clash against Tottenham. "I wanted to play,"said Beattie, who damaged a toe on the opening day of the season against Manchester United.
"It started off well for me with the goal and I felt good, but then I just felt my calf tighten up. I can only put it down to bad luck. "It was more of a cautionary measure than anything."
Beattie limps off in new injury setback
Oct 7 2005 By Dominic King at Ewen Fields, Hyde, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE'S joy at making a goalscoring return to action proved shortlived as he hobbled out of Everton Reserves' 3-1 defeat to Manchester United with a calf problem. The England international was joined on the comeback trail by summer signing Per Kroldrup, but it turned out to be a night to forget for both men at Hyde United's Ewen Fields home. Having been restricted to just two brief substitute appearance since damaging his toe on the opening day of the season, ironically against United, the luckless Beattie was desperate to get a run-out to boost David Moyes' attacking options..
It all started so postively, too, for the Blues' record signing when he opened the scoring after just two minutes with a deflected free-kick from 30-yards that looped into the top corner of the net, giving United keeper Tommy Lee no chance. That goal visibly lifted Beattie's confidence and he was soon snapping into tackles, harrying defenders and making a nuisance of himself before disaster struck once again for the £6m man. He crumpled to the floor after challenging United defender Gerard Pique and immediately signalled to the bench that all was not well before hobbling off on 22 minutes. Given Everton have been chronically short of goals this season, it was the last thing that Moyes - an anxious observer in the stands - needed to see and Beattie is keeping his fingers crossed the damage is not serious. "I Just felt my calf tighten up," said a bitterly frustrated Beattie. "Hopefully it's just a question of getting some physio and resting. "My foot feels good. It's going to be sore for a long time and it's just one of those things that you have got to put up with. It's going to be sore because you don't stop using it. "But that felt pretty good around the toe joint. Hopefully I can put that behind me now, shake this off and start playing football. "I've just got to put it down to bad luck. There's nothing else I can do. "I wanted to play. It started off well for me with the goal and I felt good but then I just felt my calf tighten up. "It was more of cautionary measure than anything because I don't want to be out for another three or four weeks with a calf strain."
Kroldrup, meanwhile, showed understandable signs of rustiness on his return from a two-month absence following a hernia operation. And he was caught out as United equalised through Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. The Danish international, who cost the Blues £5m when he signed from Udinese in July, was also adjudged to have handled the ball by referee Christopher Sarginson, a decision that afforded Giuseppe Rossi the chance to put United 2-1 ahead shortly before half-time. Though Kroldrup improved after the break, he was powerless to prevent United extending their lead late on when Darron Gibson thrashed home a 20-yard drive to seal the victory.
EVERTON: Wright, Wynne, Wilson, Kroldrup, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Phelan, Beattie (Hopkins 23), Anichebe, Kearney. Unused subs: Jones, S Wright, Holt, Irving.
Moyes defends Cahill break
Oct 7 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES last night hit back at Australia coach Guus Hiddink as the row over Tim Cahill rumbled on. The Goodison manager has lambasted as "incredible" and "inappropriate" claims by Hiddink that Everton's poor start to the season is the reason for wanting Cahill to miss his country's friendly with Jamaica. Moyes's plea to allow the midfielder a break fell on deaf ears, with Australia calling the 25-year-old up for Sunday's match at Fulham's Craven Cottage ground. However, with FIFA rules stating clubs need only release players 48 hours before an international friendly, Moyes opted to withdraw Cahill from Australia's training camp in Holland. It led Hiddink to slam Everton's stance over the player, saying: "With Everton bottom of the English Premier League, they are obviously looking for reasons to keep him at home". The comments have drawn a stinging response from Moyes, who said: "I find it quite incredible that someone would have the audacity to suggest that they are suffering because of Everton's current position. The comments were inappropriate.
"For the last two years, Tim has had non-stop football and it looks as though Everton are the only ones interested in looking after him and ensuring he doesn't burn himself out." And Moyes added: "Only weeks ago Tim was involved in games in the Soloman Islands and Australia and soon he could be off to play in the play-off in South America and then back to Australia. "This was the best chance to give him the break he deserves and has nothing to whatsoever to do with our league position. Tim was given the week off to recover and this was done purely to benefit him and subsequently Everton and Australia."
Young Blues keeper would be happy with loan deal
Oct 7 2005 Liverpool Echo
SCOTLAND Under-21 goalkeeper Iain Turner has admitted he would be willing to go on loan to get regular first team football. The 20-year-old, who is expected to start for the Scots against Belarus at Broadwood tonight, is currently Everton's third choice goalkeeper behind England internationals Nigel Martyn and Richard Wright. However, although he feels that he can only learn from being at such a big club, he also appreciates that he needs to be playing games to fully realise his potential.
He has played first team football in the past two seasons with loan spells at Chester and Doncaster, but still lacks experience, moving south after only a handful of first team games in the Scottish Third Division with Stirling Albion. "I played 13 or 14 games and I got the move down south. I was surprised by how quickly it happened. I had a few trials with Charlton and with Everton and then it suddenly developed," Turner said. "You need to be training at a high level but, equally, you need to be playing as well so it's about getting a balance. "I would not mind going out on loan because everyone needs regular football. "Both Nigel and Richard are fit so I would probably have to go on loan to get that experience that I need."
Blues pay tribute to late great Wainwright
Oct 7 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS have said a final farewell to their brilliant post-war inside-forward, Eddie Wainwright.
Born in Southport in 1924, Wainwright passed away last weekend at the age of 81. Described in contemporary reports as being "built on frail lines, but with the heart of a lion and a shot in either foot," Wainwright made 228 first team appearances for the Toffees, scoring 77 goals. He was instrumental in the FA Cup runs which took Everton to the semi-finals in 1950 and 1953, and was a member of the last Everton side to clinch promotion to the top flight in 1953-54. Spotted playing for a local amateur side in Southport at the age of 15, Wainwright signed amateur forms at Goodison before being loaned out to Fleetwood "for development." That development was so rapid that he made his pro debut in 1944, with Tommy Lawton remarking "Wain-wright is one of the country's best inside-forward prospects," while club secretary Theo Kelly forecast "he will be the Charlie Buchan of 1947." In 1946, Echo correspondent Stork wrote: "A discussion arose as to the merits of Wainwright and Fielding (Wally), Everton's two brilliant inside forwards. Who will get his cap first? That was one of the questions which arose, and the general opinion was that Wainwright would have the honour. Well, Eddie is almost halfway there, for he has already played in Army representative games, one of the first steps to the big honour." Wainwright never did get that full cap, but he did tour Canada with the England team in 1950 and and was chosen for the England 'shadow' team to face the Irish League in Belfast on April 26, 1950. An horrendously broken leg, however, sustained against Derby County on December 9, 1950 - saw Wainwright sidelined for more than two years. With medical science not as advanced as today, it was December 13, 1952 before Wainwright finally returned at Bury. He gave several more years' sterling service, before his Everton career ended when future Toffees' boss Harry Catterick took him to Rochdale in 1956. He retired three years later to become a licensee.
Bonding session will allow Blues to rectify faults
Oct 7 2005 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES revealed he has held clear-theair talks with his players in a bid to improve Everton's fortunes. It is good to get feedback and to make your feelings known. When results are not going for you that is the time when you need to bond as a team. You must remind everyone that you are all in it together. I recall Harry Catterick's methods when I first arrived at Goodison. When we were successful he trained us so hard that some players were physically sick, yet when we were going through a tough time he used to take us to Southport for a walk along the beach and a spot of lunch.
As David looks to spark the Blues' season he will be analysing just what is his best team and what system suits them best. I'm convinced he knows the answer already. You have to believe that your team and your methods will pull the club through this difficult time. It is good news for the club that defender Per Kroldrup successfully came through last night's reserves match following his hernia operation, but it was a blow to see James Beattie suffer another injury. The question is whether they will both be ready for the trip to Tottenham. The manager will want to field his best team for that particular game and given they are his biggest signings, they should be in David's plans. They will be bursting to get the shirt on and get out there and prove they are back. The pair can give the Blues a huge lift at White Hart Lane.
Blues know the score . . . 44 more goals needed!
Oct 7 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHAT have Everton got left to look forward to this season? Another 44 goals, that's what. Sure, Everton look like they couldn't score in the Playboy mansion at present, but the situation will improve. It's a nailed-on statistical certainty that the Blues will score another 44 goals this season. Because while Everton's league position has lurched like a particularly scary rollercoaster over the past four seasons, their goals output has remained consistent.
In four of the last five seasons, Everton have scored exactly 45 goals. Whether they finished fourth or 17th, their goals output has been identical. They've scored 45 goals in bad seasons, 45 goals in the best season for a decade. The season they bucked the trend - 2002-03 - they went mad and scored 48. So anxious Evertonians out there can rest easy. In the 31 games they have left they can expect 1.4 goals a game. The much more worrying statistic is that Everton are in the grip of a malaise which extends through the working life of the Premiership. Since 1992-93, Everton have consistently finished in the bottom half of the table. Since the day when football became trendy, sexy and the place to be once again, (copyright, Sky) Everton have been mundane, dull and well, ordinary.
Perhaps the statistics which show football is falling out of favour with the masses will herald a return to top-half football again of one of the game's oldest, most traditional, respected, and yes, still most successful clubs (nine titles, five FA Cups and a European trophy is something Chelsea can only dream of). Or perhaps we can use the stats to suggest something even more positive. Everton have achieved what could be considered 'successful' league placings in only three of the last 13 seasons.
Two out of three have come in the last three years . . . under the guidance of David Moyes.
Hopping mad over those animal antics WHILE Everton worry about where their next goal is coming from, Real Madrid are more concerned about how they intend to celebrate the goals they will score.
The Bernabeu's Brazilian players have taken to imitating animals when they score - a cockcroach,, a frog and a horse have been the representations so far. But not everyone thinks it is funny. Real defender Ivan Helguera said he had given Roberto Carlos a kick after one of the animal impressions during the Mallorca game last Sunday. "I think goals should be celebrated in a group and by the team," he snapped. "I prefer a group celebration because it's not just Roberto or Ronaldo who win but the whole team." Alaves president Dmitry Piterman called Ronaldo, Robinho and Roberto Carlos "clowns" and "spoilt kids" for wiggling their arms and legs while lying on their backs like cockroaches during Madrid's 3-0 win against his side. Which all begs the question if, and when, Everton do finally score next, what animals could they impersonate? A donkey? A tree sloth? A stubborn mule?
What's that you say? Haven't Everton's strikers been doing that all season already?
England facing 'two cup finals' - Neville
Oct 7 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STUNG by critcism following three wretched performances, England's players tomorrow begin the process of redeeming their battered reputation by aiming to secure World Cup qualification.
Though he was barely involved in the games against Denmark, Wales and Northern Ireland, as a member of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad, Everton star Phil Neville knows he was not exempt from the flak that has come the way of the national team in recent weeks. But those who have witnessed training this week have seen a determination amongst the players to put things right again, and Neville is certain England can start to atone with a victory against Austria that would go a long way to securing their ticket to Germany next summer. For Neville, it will be an emotional first return to Old Trafford for the Group 6 doubleheader against Austria and Poland since his summer move to Everton and he is sure England will put on a show to ensure the memories of Copenhagen, Cardiff and Belfast are banished. "These are two of the biggest games England have played for a long time, especially considering what happened in the last three matches," said Neville, capped 52 times by his country. " Denmark was disappointing, against Wales we got a victory without playing as well as we hoped and then with Northern Ireland we lost the game which everyone was disappointed about. "Now it's up to us to put in two top class performances, as that's what we need in order to qualify for the World Cup. These two games will be like Cup Finals." If England are to ensure they are showered with bouquets and not brickbats tomorrow evening, the performance against an Austrian side with little to play for will have to be a vast improvement on the calamity that was Windsor Park. Out-fought and out-thought by a Northern Ireland side some way below them in the world rankings, Neville appreciates why the media and public turned on England but insists the criticism has pulled Eriksson's squad closer together. "The players were angry and disappointed and I'm sure you'll see a positive reaction in the Austria and Poland games," Neville continued. "The game was a major disappointment for everyone, not just the 11 that played but also the management, the staff and the subs because we are all in this together. It ' s everybody. "When we develop that type of siege mentality, that's when we are at our best. At the moment there is some stick flying around and now we have to prove people wrong." Although Charlton's Luke Young is favourite to continue at right-back, there is still a chance that Neville will come back into the starting line-up on the other flank if Eriksson choose Liverpool's Jamie Carragher to deputise for Gary Neville.
The 28-year-old has been in outstanding form since his £3.5m switch to Everton and his club manager David Moyes believes he would be the perfect choice. "He has given us another dimension," added Moyes. "Every club is looking for leaders happy to take responsibility and he is one of them."
Man United Res 3, Everton Res 1
Daily Post Oct 7 2005
JAMES BEATTIE experienced mixed fortunes as he made an appearance for Everton Reserves in their 3-1 Barclays Premiership Reserve League Northern Section defeat at Manchester United.
The Goodison front man scored but then left the field after just 22 minutes after picking up what looked like a calf injury to leave the watching David Moyes concerned about yet another possible layoff for the former England striker. The Everton manager was also running the rule over defender Per Kroldrup, who was making his return following a hernia operation. Beattie had put Everton into an early lead with a deflected free-kick from 25 yards out with just three minutes on the clock, the striker's shot hitting a United defender in the wall before looping over Lee in the home goal.
United responded quickly though and were level after 17 minutes when Sylvain Ebanks-Blake fired past Richard Wright after being put through by the impressive Guiseppe Rossi. Soon after, Beattie cut a sorry figure leaving the field cursing his luck as he was checked over by the Everton medical team. Young Rossi was involved in the goal which gave United the lead for the first time in the game. With six minutes to go to the break, the ball was hit into the Everton box and Kroldrup handled to concede a penalty which Rossi converted with ease. Everton's night got worse on 83 minutes when United increased their lead, Darren Gibson drilling a low drive past Wright to complete a comfortable victory. Kroldrup endured a miserable game, making a number of mistakes while Everton fans will be waiting anxiously for news of Beattie's latest setback.
EVERTON: R Wright, Wynn, Wilson, Kroldrup, Hughes, Harris Seargeant, Phelan, Beattie (Hopkins 22), Anichebe, Kearney. Subs: Jones, S Wright, Holt, Irving.
MAN UTD: Lee, Bardsley (Shawcross 68), A Eckersley, Pique, J Evans, Fox, Neumayr (Marsh 82), Gibson, Ebanks-Blake (Cooper 76), Rossi, Martin. Subs: Zieler, Mullan.
Anxious Moyes prays for injury-free break
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 8 2005
DAVID MOYES has admitted he would sooner his players were risking injury for club rather than country - as he received encouraging news on James Beattie. The Everton manager faces a nervous next five days hoping his squad members involved in World Cup qualifiers return to Bellefield unscathed ahead of next Saturday's visit to Tottenham Hotspur. With a clutch of Goodison players currently sidelined and selection options limited, Moyes is desperate to avoid any further injury setbacks. Last month's international break resulted in James Vaughan requiring an operation after sustaining knee cartilage damage while on England under-19 duty. Moyes has already been involved in a terse war of words with Australia over the release of Tim Cahill, who will today meet up with his countrymen ahead of tomorrow's friendly with Jamaica at Craven Cottage after he was barred from joining up for a training camp in Holland this week. And the Goodison manager would be happier if his players were instead battling to help Everton climb off the bottom of the Premiership table. "I want to get some more points on the board, so I would have rather have been playing the games," said Moyes.. "We have two or three little injuries that we've been nursing, and I wouldn't want anyone else to get injured while on international duty. "We lost James Vaughan last time when he went away with the England U19 team. James would have probably had a game in the first team by now if he had been fit. "I simply can't afford to have anyone else coming back injured from international games." Moyes was relieved yesterday to discover Beattie is not facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines. Fears were raised after the £6million striker hobbled off after 22 minutes of the reserve team's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United on Thursday with a calf injury, but tests yesterday have discovered the damage is considered only minor. "James felt his calf tighten up after 15 minutes and he tried to run it off," said Everton's head physio Mick Rath-bone. "But he was still feeling some discomfort so he was sensible enough to come off the pitch. "It looks like a relatively minor calf strain though it is too early to say whether he will be available for Spurs."
Beattie was stepping up his recovery from a troublesome toe injury, and has vowed to over-come his latest setback despite conceding it will be some time before he will be able to play pain-free.
"Hopefully I can put it all behind me now, shake this little one off and start playing foot-ball," said the 27--yearold. "I've just got to put it down to bad luck. There's nothing else I can do.
"I felt my calf tighten up. Hopefully it's just a question of getting some physio and resting.
"It was quite a sensible decision to come off and let's hope that I can get back as soon as possible. We'll just have to see what it's like next week." He added: "My foot feels good. It's going to be sore for a long time and it's just one of those things that you have got to put up with."
* EVERTON have announced ticket details for the Carling Cup third round tie with Middlesbrough at Goodison on Wednesday, October 26 (kickoff 8pm).
Season ticket holders can purchase discounted tickets at £10 for adults and £5 for children, while for non-season ticket holders the prices are £15 for adults and £10 for children.
Australia have last word on Cahill
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 10 2005
THE feud between David Moyes and Guus Hiddink ended in farce yesterday when Tim Cahill made an 11-minute appearance for Australia. The Everton manager had been at loggerheads with the Socceroos over their treatment of Cahill, having expressed a wish for the midfielder to be rested from yesterday's friendly against Jamaica at Craven Cottage. Australia coach Hiddink hit back at Moyes as the pair became embroiled in an unseemly war of words, with Everton refusing to release Cahill for his country's training camp in Holland last week. FIFA rules meant Everton only had to release the player 48 hours before yesterday's game and Cahill eventually met up with his compatriots in London on Saturday. But having insisted on the 25-year-old's selection, Hiddink chose only to introduce Cahill as a 79th-minute substitute as Australia romped to a 5-0 victory.
It brought an unsatisfactory end to a saga that has irked Moyes, who was adamant both Everton and Australia would be best served by giving Cahill a rest. Meanwhile, Everton are hopeful Andy van der Meyde will step up his recovery from his groin injury by taking part in a full training session today.
Weir will not turn back on Scotland
By Ronnie Esplin, Daily Post
Oct 10 2005
SCOTLAND defender David Weir is adamant he will not retreat into retirement after hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were finally quashed. The 1-0 defeat to Belarus at Hampden Park, coupled to Norway's win at home against Moldova, ended Scotland's slender chances of reaching the finals in Germany next summer. Weir, 35, quit international football in 2002 after a falling out with former manager Berti Vogts in the wake of Scotland's 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands. However, when the German was removed at the end of last year, Walter Smith was able to tempt him back.
Smith had managed Weir at Everton, where the veteran defender still plays. Despite his age, and Scot-land's failure to qualify for another major tournament, Weir will not step aside again. He said: "I would never say that. I will just look to the next game and hopefully try and get picked for that.
"We need to rebound from that result against Belarus. It's not sunk in yet. We are disappointed about the performance as well as the score." In front of a sell-out crowd at Hampden, Vitaly Kutuzov fired Belarus into a surprise lead after only six minutes and the impressive visitors held on against a disjointed Scottish side who never got going until the second half. "The fans came out in their numbers looking for a win and it wasn't until the second half that we gave them what they wanted to see," said Weir. "The early goal set us back, it shook us and it took time to recover. We had a go after the interval but it never happened for us. But we can't get down about it. We can still go out on a high against Slovenia on Wednesday." The disappointment surrounding Scotland's failure to qualify was heightened in light of the optimism which had gripped the country before the game. After collecting four points from their previous two matches against Italy and Norway, there was a feeling that the Scots could get the two victories needed to give themselves a chance of making the play-offs. That belief increased when the visitors arrived minus key players through suspension and injury. But Weir reacted brusquely to the notion that the visitors were taken too lightly. He said: "Overconfidence wasn't a problem."
Davies hopes goal can kick-start Blues career
Oct 10 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SIMON DAVIES is ready to give his Everton career lift-off after rediscovering the winning feeling with Wales. Since joining the Blues from Tottenham Hotspur in a £3.5m move, Davies has played nine games - and lost every single one. It had been a similar story at international level, too, as the Wales midfielder had been a part of the squad that had gone 14 matches without a win, the last five being goalless. However, Davies played an instrumental role in helping Wales end that depressing run at the weekend, scoring the first goal as John Toshack's men beat Northern Ireland 3-2 in Belfast. Wales end their World Cup qualifying campaign against Azerbaijan on Wednesday evening and Davies is looking for another good display to take back to Goodison Park - which would set him up nicely for Saturday's return to White Hart Lane. "Hopefully I can take this performance back with me," said Davies. "Obviously we are in desperate need of goals - and wins - but I'd like to think I'd be able to get some decent form together for Everton now. "We'd forgotten what it was like to win and win well," said Davies. "We played well and in the dressing room afterwards, there was a real buzz.
"We've now got to take this on to the Azerbaijan game and make sure we finish the campaign with two wins then let it roll over to the qualifying campaign next year." Meanwhile, Everton skipper David Weir has scotched any suggestions that he is ready to retire from international football after Scotland saw their World Cup dream ended by Bela-rus. The 35-year-old has already targeted playing a role in helping Walter Smith's men qualify for the 2008 European Championships and will continue to make himself available for selection. "I would never say that," stressed Weir, when asked if he was ready to hang up his international boots. "I will just look to the next game and hope-fully try and get picked for that. "We need to rebound from that result against Belarus. We were disappointed with the performance as well as the result on Saturday but we can still go out on a high against Slovenia." Dutch international Andy van der Meyde, meanwhile, rejoined training today for the first time following his groin injury - although it will be some weeks before he can be considered for senior duty.
Joy for Davies as skipper leads way
Oct 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
THE growing responsibility of leading Wales' new breed has brought the very best out of Ryan Giggs, now playing at his peak for his country. On a wet and difficult Windsor Park surface, the Manchester United star guided his young charges to a victory which England could not manage in Belfast recently. Giggs rose above all the long ball bombardment to produce a stunning display and mastermind his country's first, belated victory in their World Cup Group Six qualifiers. Striker John Hartson summed it up, saying: "He gives us something special, sheer quality." Giggs helped create two goals - one with a stunning run and cross from the left to beat young Irish full-back Michael Duff - before hitting the winner with a free-kick that conned Maik Taylor into moving one way before seeing the ball flash in the opposite direction. Boss John Toshack knows he is lucky to have Giggs in this mood. He said: "Ryan is not like some captains, he leads by example. While he is willing and able to perform like this we will certainly not have any complaints. "I always felt if we got the ball to Ryan's feet he could take their back four on and cause them problems. And that's what he did."
The 31-year-old has had to withstand doubts about his commitment to his country but, in the autumn of a wonderful career for his club, he still has the desire to lead from the front. Giggs said: "There is an added responsibility for me now as captain. I am one of only a few Premiership play-ers left in the squad and it has given me a different perspective. "I have enjoyed it and it is important to accept the responsibility and help the younger lads and I have been pleased with my form for my country. I have been playing well for Wales and I have been enjoying being captain and I am confident now about the future." Giggs started the move for the first Wales goal, continued well by Carl Fletcher and Sam Ricketts before Everton's Simon Davies drove home the cross. Duff was then left floundering by a glorious Giggs nutmeg before the fierce cross was driven home on the run by Carl Robinson for his first goal for his country. The Irish bravely hit back with quick-fire goals from Keith Gillespie and Steve Davis within five minutes of the second half starting, before Giggs' winning free-kick. Giggs said: "We had a dream start and even after they got back at us we responded well and deserved our win. "We always felt that if we could get the ball down and play our passing game we would be too good for them. Now we need to go on a roll and continue it on Wednesday against Azerbaijan." He added: "We were slow out of the blocks at the beginning of both halves. And if you let them do it they will be direct and pen you in your half. It's a hard style to counter and you have to concentrate and work hard at the back. "But I always felt we had the ability to create more chances. With a bit more composure and not slipping off-side we could have had even more. "I'd had one free-kick saved, but felt for the second one I would go for power. It can be hard to get the ball up over the wall and down again to hit the target from that range, so when I spotted a gap I just blasted it through it. "To get this win now is a release, even relief, so if we can do it again on Wednesday we will have got something from a group that has been disappointing. Two wins now and then a year to get things prepared with friendlies for the next qualifiers is what we are aiming for."
Davies: Only a change can stop dreadful run
Oct 11 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
SIMON DAVIES has admitted "something must change soon" if Everton's start to the season is not to grow even more desperate. David Moyes's side are rock bottom of the Premiership having won only one game, with Marcus Bent's winner at Bolton Wanderers in August their sole goal in seven league games this season. On Saturday they travel to resurgent Tottenham Hotspur - having not won a league game at White Hart Lane for more than 20 years - before entertaining champions and runaway leaders Chelsea the following weekend. And while Davies has backed the unity of the squad to help drag Everton away from the relegation zone, he concedes that will only happen when the team rediscover their goalscoring form. "It has been difficult and we know something must change soon," said Davies, who has been on the losing side in all nine appearances for Everton since his £3.5million summer move from Tottenham. "We have had a difficult start and it's not going to get much easier in the next games at Spurs and home to Chelsea. "But even though we have created a lot of chances, it has snowballed into a problem because we have won only once in the league all season and the goals won't come. "We know we are in a difficult situation, but the only way out of it is to stick together and work hard as a group." Davies, who is with the Wales squad preparing for their final World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Cardiff on Wednesday, scored his first goal in two years for his country during Saturday's 3-2 win over Northern Ireland. And the 25-year-old is hopeful the strike can kickstart his Everton career, and end a goal drought at club level that has seen him fail to score since February 2004. "From my point of view I hope the goal I scored for Wales will be a turning point for me, but I don't want to tempt fate," added Davies. "It would be nice to do something like this for Everton now. "You go through dips in form so hopefully this will put some confidence back into my game and I can go on to produce my best form for Everton. "It is going to turn for us because we have the players in the squad who are good enough to make it happen for us.
"I have missed scoring goals, certainly for Wales. I know it had been a long time since the last one. So it's about time I got one for Everton now, we certainly need some from anyone." Fitness permitting, Davies will return to Tottenham on Saturday for the first time since his transfer to Goodison earlier this year. And the winger has warned his new team-mates of the threat his old club pose. "When I went to Spurs I loved the first two or three years but injuries - one on top of the other - really knocked me back and it was very frustrating at the end," he said.. "Now Everton desperately need something from the game but a lot has changed at Spurs since I left. "There has been a huge change-round and it's amazing to see how much money they have spent. They are really looking for success and they seem to be going the right way about it. "The manager Martin Jol is doing a really good job for them at the moment."
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 11 2005
I FIRST went to Goodison in the days of Dave Hickson, and Wally Fielding. Ever heard of them? Everton FC has been my first love in sport ever since. Living in Australia I like to see Australia do well, but I'm an England supporter first. My opinion on the Tim Cahill situation is objective, and I want to see him playing well for Everton, and if he needs a rest Everton is in the best position to give that rest.
Jeff Jones (via e-mail)
I THINK David Moyes should consider signing Kenny Miller, at least he's put a few goals in the back of the net. Looking forward to seeing Van der Meyde get the all clear, now that's a player with talent.
E Tom, Liverpool
SO Moyes won the argument and Tim only played 11 minutes. Makes you wonder, why all the fuss?
Bottom line for me is that the club not country pays their wages, so it's their priorities that are paramount.
B Letts, Waterloo
IT IS time for us all to stick together and see this crisis through. We have been in worse situations than this! Do not panic but when we do see it through then that is the time to look around, recognise mistakes and make sure they do not happen again.
F Lamer (via e-mail)
Race against time for Beattie
Oct 11 2005 By Dominic King and David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE is running out of time in his bid to make his Everton comeback at Tottenham on Saturday. The injured striker will not figure in tonight's reserve match against Birmingham City, and has only a few days to convince boss David Moyes he is fit enough for contention at White Hart Lane. "James is still working with the physio," said Moyes "and there is no way I can consider him for Saturday unless he has some training under his belt. "He is a naturally fit lad, but he needs some match practice and without training the best we could hope for is a place on the subs' bench again at the weekend." The Blues' record signing hobbled out of a reserve game with Manchester United on Thursday night after feeling a twinge in his calf, leaving Moyes fretting on the severity of the problem. However, fears that Beattie would face another lengthy lay-off were quickly allayed by the club's medical staff. "Beats had actually hurt his calf a little bit in training," said Moyes. "That's where he had done it initially on the Wednesday before the reserve game against United. "We knew there was a chance that something might happen because we had been doing a bit of running and he felt it. "We knew, but we wanted to get him a game. I spoke to him again on Friday and he said that it wasn't any worse then. Hopefully it's been a minor thing." Having already spent most of the season battling a toe problem, the last thing Beattie and Moyes need is for the England international to face another spell on the sidelines. But even though the Everton manager is desperate to bolster his strike force - the Blues have only scored once in the Premiership - he will not jeopardise Beattie by hurrying him back into games if he is not ready. "We will see how he is," said Moyes, who welcomed back Andy van der Meyde to full training yesterday. "He needs to get a couple of reserve games under his belt and he knows he has got to get to that level as well." Van der Meyde will not be ready to figure against Birmingham - next week's away trip to Sunderland looks his most likely starting point -but one man certain to play is Per Kroldrup. The Danish international returned to action against Manchester United reserves, but is desperately in need of more matches, both for fitness and experience reasons. Midfielder Li Tie is in line for his first appearance with the Chinese national side for almost two years tomorrow. Tie, who broke his leg on international duty, is likely to face Germany in a friendly.
Faddy: Weir must fight for Euro '08
Oct 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES MCFADDEN says Scotland's European Championships qualifying campaign starts now and urged veterans David Weir and Jackie McNamara to stay and fight on. They complete their failed World Cup Group Five campaign in Slovenia tomorrow but the Everton frontman maintains it is still important for Walter Smith and his squad. But it could be the end of the road for elder statesmen Weir and McNamara, although McFadden believes they still have big roles to play. "This is the start of the qualifying for the European Championships," he said. "The team is quite settled and it doesn't matter what's at stake, we want to win. We have a match and we are in a transition period and we need some stability. "We had a spell where we brought in many young players and we got slaughtered but I think other players like big David Weir and Jackie McNamara should stay because of the camaraderie we have built up and it is easier to bring young players through."
Hot shot Kelly seals it
Oct 11 2005 By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Ladies beat Blackburn 2-0 for a place in the Premier League Cup third round. Jody Handley spawned the best chance of the first half, when Blackburn keeper Kay Hawke saved following her turn and shot. The Blues went ahead in the second half when Hawke made a hash of a Chantelle Parry cross for the opening goal. Handley who had another effort tipped wide shortly after and Emily Westwood saw her sweet shot narrowly miss the angle. Then Everton sealed their place in the next round, when Kelly McDougall found herself in space to drill the second from the edge of the box, following a Fara Williams pass. "The girls were very professional," said manager Mo Marley. "The passing and movement was very good for large periods of the game and it took us a while to break them down. "It was about getting through to the next round and we have done exactly that." Tranmere Ladies will join the Blues in the draw thanks to their 7-0 thrashing of Middlesbrough. Sue Kenwright and Vicky Abbott put Rovers ahead, and in the last 20 minutes Kelly Jones bagged five goals. A trip to Newcastle saw Liverpool take all three points in a 1-0 league victory. Youngster Shelley James gave Reds manager Keith Cliffe a third win in three games.
This weekend Everton travel to Charlton Athletic, Liverpool host Middlesbrough and Tranmere entertain Stockport.
Moyes in call for return of 'desire'
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Oct 12 2005
DAVID MOYES has called on his players to reproduce the "desire" they showed when attempting to prolong their UEFA Cup campaign last month. Everton turned in their best performance of the season when faced with the almost insurmountable task of overturning a 5-1 deficit in the first-round second-leg against Dinamo Bucharest. Despite eventually only claiming a 1-0 win at Goodison, Everton's attacking play was a breath of fresh air and their chances deserved more reward. And as his side look to halt their worrying league slump at Tottenham on Saturday, Moyes has called for a return to that level of performance at White Hart Lane. "We don't want to be bottom, and I'm confident that we won't be there come the end of the season," said the Scot. "But the players have to show the kind of display they had against Bucharest. "There was a real desire against Bucharest. We weren't very happy that they were celebrating at the end of the first leg as if they had already gone through. "That helped us. The players were determined to put things right and they managed to do that in the first 45 minutes, and to be honest Bucharest did really well in the second half to stop us scoring that second goal. "We need to show that level every week now. That's the way things will have to be at Everton to get us up the table." Moyes has also reacted to the amount of criticism that has accompanied Everton's slide from the heights of last season's qualifi-cation for the Champions League. The manager insisted his side, who currently prop up the Premiership by two points and have lost six of seven league clashes this campaign, have nothing to prove. He added: "We've had a bit of criticism this season, but I don't take it personally. It must be something that is generally a thing against Everton. I don't think it's against me. People tell me about the history of it through the years. "We don't have any point to prove. We proved to everyone last season what a good team we are and what a great club this is, so I feel as though that point has been proved." Meanwhile, a bout of sickness deprived Per Kroldrup of the chance for some valuable match practice in last night's reserves defeat to Birmingham. The Danish defender, yet to make his first-team debut after his £5million summer move from Udinese, was expected to be involved after overcoming a groin problem and playing in last week's 3-1 reserves' defeat to Manchester United.
There are however some hopes that James Beattie will at least start on the bench at White Hart Lane. The striker, who injured his calf for the second-string against United last week, was kept out of the last night's game against the Midlanders as a precaution. And Moyes said: "He is a naturally fit lad, but he needs some match practice and without training the best we could hope for is a place on the subs' bench again at the weekend."
Kilbane keen to redress balance against Swiss
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Oct 12 2005
KEVIN KILBANE insists the Republic of Ireland have a score to settle with Switzerland as the memories of the battle in Basel have not been forgotten. Two years ago to the day, the Republic headed into their final European Champion-ship qualifying match needing a victory on Swiss soil to clinch a play-off place. It is fair to say Kerr's players produced one of the worst performances of his tenure, losing 2-0 in a game overshadowed by bad blood and needle that arose during and after the match. The worst culprit was Swiss star Alexander Frei who taunted the Ireland bench after he had scored his side's second goal, prompting an angry response from Mark Kinsella who threw a water bottle at the 26-year-old striker. There were also accusations made by Clinton Morrison of racial abuse from Frei, albeit strenuously denied, but with the Crystal Palace striker last year spelling out his determination to get his revenge. The Swiss also gloated after the game about a win which took them to the finals, the tannoy boomed out 'Congratulations', while 30,000 Swiss fans sang 'Happy Birthday' to coach Kobi Kuhn, 60 the following day. Ahead of tonight's return at Lansdowne Road and a game Ireland have to win to clinch a play-off place, the Irish believe the Swiss could have been more gracious. Everton midfielder Kilbane said: "It was a disappointing night, although a great one for them as they won the match. But what happened that night, it's all in our thoughts - manager, players, coaching staff. Now we've got to try and rectify the situation."
Everton Res 0, Birmingham Res 2
Daily Post Oct 12 2005
EVERTON RESERVES were felled by two second-half goals in last night's Barclays Premiership Reserve League North clash with Birmingham City. From the start torrential rain battered Haig Avenue but it didn't dampen the resolve of a young Everton side, who started the game brightly and were unlucky not to be ahead at the interval. However, second-half goals from City's Neil Kilkenny and Sam Alsop ensured it was the visitors who left with all three points. That outcome had seemed unlikely at the interval, with the conditions encouraging Andy Holden's young charges to produce some brave sliding challenges as they snapped at the heels of their visitors. This was despite missing Per Kroldrup, who was expected to have figured in this game but had to be withdrawn due to flu. It meant goalkeeper Richard Wright was the only senior first-team player in the Everton line-up. But what Holden's side may lack in experience they certainly make up for in terms of commitment.
It was an approach that led to an early caution for right-back Stephen Wynne. But Everton were full-blooded rather than dirty. And it was that attitude that ensured the side enjoyed the better of an eye-catching first-half that only lacked goals. John Paul Kissock, in his first reserve team outing, forced keeper Colin Doyle into action with an under-hit effort following good work from Victor Anichebe in the 10th minute. Doyle was further tested by efforts from distance by Christian Seargeant and Alan Kearney as the home side probed for the opening goal. But it was Doyle's great parry from a Seargeant effort in the 43rd minute that really earned the admiration of a decent home crowd. David Dunn was included in the Birmingham side after a long absence through injury and the one-time England hopeful showed flashes of his quality and came closest for the visitors during the opening half, seeing a free-kick from 20 yards deflected wide of the upright in the 18th minute.
But his presence in midfield did not overawe a young midfield quartet that was passing the ball around neatly during the opening period. Dunn didn't appear for the second half, having been replaced by Sone Aluko. The flow of the game changed in the second period, with City stepping up their efforts. Neil Kilkenny provided the opener on 73 minutes, with a perfectly-placed left-foot shot from 20 yards that found the bottom left-hand corner of Wright's goal. Kilkenny turned provider five minutes later, his shot from 12 yards parried by Wright only as far as Sam Alsop, who had an easy tap-in from close range. But it wasn't all one-way traffic, with under-18s star Anichebe denied by an unfortunate deflection and Mark Hughes unlucky to see his glancing near-post header sail narrowly wide of Birmingham's far post.
Dutch ace Andy sets date for debut
Oct 12 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE is in line to make his first start for Everton in next week's reserve game at Sunderland. The Holland international joined the Blues from Internazionale on transfer deadline day for £2m but a long-term groin problem has meant David Moyes has been unable to call on his services. Van der Meyde, however, took a significant step on the comeback trail earlier this week when he was able to join in full training with the first team squad for the first time. Should everything go according to plan, it would then be a case of van der Meyde boosting his match fitness before making his Premiership debut - and the trip to Sunderland fits in perfectly with his schedule.
"My plans are to try and give Andy a period where we can get a couple of reserve games into him and get him started," the manager revealed. Given Everton have struggled for goals this season - one in seven Premiership games is a damning statistic - they have been crying out for a player of van der Meyde's creative ilk. It has been particularly frustrating for Moyes that the 25-year-old has not been able to play any role while his team has struggled, but he knows it could prove detrimental if the final stages of his recovery are rushed. "When we brought Andy, we knew the situation with his groin," said Moyes. We will break him in with the first team lads gently now, but need to be patient with him." Having impressed the medical staff with the way he has knuckled down to get back in condition, van der Meyde is straining to be let off the leash. Moyes, though, believes he now faces the most difficult part of his rehabilitation and that is why he is so desperate to get the former Ajax star up and running in the reserves. "We have to try and get him ready," Moyes added. "His fitness levels are improving but we now need to make sure that happens through the football work that he does from now on."
Dalglish plans '86 final reunion
Oct 12 2005 EXCLUSIVE by John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
THE first ever all Merseyside FA Cup final is to be replayed in a historic charity match in Liverpool.
The game is the brainchild of Kop legend Kenny Dalglish and will take place on May 1 next year - a Bank Holiday Monday. Liverpool Football Club have agreed to host the game at Anfield, with Dalglish taking charge of the Liverpool old boys and Howard Kendall managing the Everton side - just as the two did in 1986 when their sides met at Wembley. Proceeds from the reunion game will go towards the Marina Dalglish Charity which is planning to build a specialist cancer care unit at Fazakerley Hospital. It is hoped as many of the players who played in the original match - if not all of them - will take part. Blues midfielder Peter Reid - who put his boots on again last weekend to star in Sky's 'The Match' in Newcastle - has already agreed to play, as have the likes of Liverpool's Bruce Grobbelaar, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen. It is hoped the game will also attract television coverage, as was the Tsunami charity game at Anfield this year which also attracted a near capacity crowd.
Everton's '86 team will be out to avenge the 3-1 defeat to the Reds, though Dalglish says right now the result isn't something that matters. He said today: "This is about celebrating and reliving one of the greatest FA Cup finals ever played. "What matters now is about us all getting together again, enjoying the day and raising more money for Marina's charity. "I've spoken to Howard and he has agreed to take charge of the Everton team, while I'll run the Liverpool side. "I'll be getting myself fit to play as well. "I hope as many of the original lineups will be there. I've spoken to lots of the lads on both sides already and they are up for it. Reidy certainly is." Added Dalglish: "The original final was a fantastic occasion for both sets of fans and the way they behaved and conducted themselves made the occasion. "It was brilliant to see people travelling to Wembley together, some wearing red and some dressed in blue. It was Merseyside united and a magnificent advert for the city. Hopefully, this game will be Merseyside reunited for charity. "We are hoping as many people as possible will come along and enjoy the reunion game, but it is obviously going to be a long while before there are any ticket selling details. "We've still got a lot of work to do to get it organised. But one thing's for sure - it is going to happen and I'm enormously grateful to Liverpool FC for allowing us to use the stadium and the facilities." The players who took part in the original 1986 match were:
Everton: Bobby Mimms, Gary Stevens, Pat van Den Hauwe, Kevin Ratcliffe, Derek Mountfield, Peter Reid, Trevor Steven, Gary Lineker, Graeme Sharp, Paul Bracewell, Kevin Sheedy and Adrian Heath.
Liverpool: Bruce Grobbelaar, Mark Lawrenson, Jim Beglin, Steve Nicol, Ronnie Whelan, Alan Hansen, Craig Johnston, Ian Rush, Jan Molby and Kevin McDonald.
I never thought about quitting. Goodison was my dream job
Oct 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MUTUAL CONSENT. They are the words usually trotted out to save a sacked boss' blushes, or cover up an irretrievable breakdown in a manager/ chairman relationship. Except Joe Royle's departure from Everton in 1997 was a genuine case of mutual consent - and the last Blues' boss to bring silverware to the Goodison boardroom is still shaking his head in bewilderment at the turn of events.
Royle, one of only six Goodison giants to score a century of league goals for the club, was handed his dream job in October 1995 . . . with the Blues heading for relegation. Mike Walker's men had collected only eight points from 11 games - with Liverpool, Chelsea and Leeds next on the fixture list.
Royle not only guided the club away from the drop zone, he won the FA Cup, took the team to sixth the following season - and by December of 1996, after an away win at Derby County, saw his team talked of as "dark horses for the Premiership title". An injury crisis then gripped the club. Results suffered and three months later Royle was the ex-manager of Everton. It was an astonishing about-turn, and one Royle explains frankly and honestly for the first time in "Joe Royle The Autobiography", published by BBC Books. Royle admits: "To this day I am not sure whether or not the sale of (Andrei) Kanchelskis and the failure to sign (Mark) Schwarzer and (Tore Andre) Flo were indications of the serious cash problems that have so bedevilled the club ever since. "Certainly Peter Johnson never indicated anything of the sort to me, though I am left to ponder the possibility. "So, on deadline day, knowing it was to be a fruitless one and much on my mind, I made an appointment to see the chairman at his Park Food HQ. "In spite of all my concerns at the recent setbacks, the injuries, the poor results and my problems with the Press, I swear that I only felt a sense of disappointment, not despair, as I drove through the Birkenhead tunnel, unaware that I was making my last official visit to the chairman of Everton Football Club. "We were in a slump, there were issues to be discussed and I honestly thought this was to be a clear-the-air meeting. I admit I was confused and I just wanted the chairman to level with me about what was on his mind. "I was hoping we would agree that we were going through a bad time, but that together we could see it through and come out the other side in good shape. "The greeting I received as I entered Peter's office was friendly enough and we exchanged the usual pleasantries. So I was completely unprepared for the remark that followed. The chairman told me 'I have just had lunch with Des Pitcher, who told me you might be coming over to resign'. "Desmond Pitcher was a director at Goodison and he and I had not spoken to each other during the days leading up to that meeting. "I was thrown totally off guard by Johnson's words. As he delivered them, the chairman laughed rather whimsically, as was his way, but on this occasion I found his laughter extremely disconcerting. "Momentarily, I was tongue-tied. That wasn't surprising, for I certainly had not gone there to tender my resignation. To do such a thing simply had not crossed my mind. "I wasn't sticking my head in the sand and pretending I didn't have problems, but I did believe in my ability - and that of the players, when all fit - to see us through, regroup and mount another challenge the following season, albeit with some new blood to give the squad a fresh lease of life. "For several seconds I struggled to formulate my response, before asking him 'Is that the way you want to go?' Again, even more disturbingly, he didn't hit me with any straight-talking. Instead he sort of put the ball back in my court, saying 'Well what are you thinking of doing?' "This simply wasn't what I wanted to hear. To me, resignation wasn't an issue in the first place. "I had had a tough time with injuries at the club and the attitude of the Press. But despite all of that, it hadn't become a nightmare for me. Managing Everton was my dream job and I was thinking only of continuing in the role and getting the job done. "Now, as the seconds ticked by, I realised that it all appeared to be slipping away from me." Within hours of entering Johnson's office as the under-pressure Blues boss, Royle bizarrely found himself leaving it as a former Goodison manager. He went on: ". . . I expressed my disappointment over the Schwarzer and Flo transfer flops. A deal to bring Barry Horne back as reserve team coach in place of Jimmy Gabriel was not done. All of these matters were on my mind as the chairman and I engaged in a conversation that, increasingly, was going nowhere. "I mentioned my concern that perhaps he had been influenced by the propaganda in the local Press, but all he said in response was, 'Well, Desmond thinks you have come over here to resign'. "An hour later I walked out into the chill Merseyside air as the ex-manager of Everton. I was a saddened and confused man. I was a victim of the sacking that never was and the resignation that never was. "People didn't believe me at the time - and they still don't - when I confirmed the club's official statement that I had parted company with Everton by mutual consent." If that afternoon on the Wirral was the lowest point of Royle's Everton career, there were numerous highlights - most notably his first match as Blues boss when rock-bottom Everton overcame Liverpool in one of the great derby upsets. Royle keenly recalls a turning point in that clash. He said: "It was sparked unintentionally by Liverpool's steam-roller of a centre-back, Neil Ruddock, whose tackle from behind transformed Duncan Ferguson from gentle giant into the Incredible Hulk. "When Razor hit you, it was with the force of a charging rhino and he hammered into Duncan 10 minutes into the second period. As Razor ran back into position he probably thought he had done his job well and that he wouldn't get another peep out of Duncan who, to be honest, hadn't done much to suggest he would be a threat, anyway. "How wrong can you be? The foul tackle had an amazing effect on Duncan. You could almost see the lad turning green. "From the moment he picked himself off the floor and shook his head clear, he became unplayable, causing chaos in Liverpool's defence. And he scored his first goal in two months on loan to the club, soaring to meet Andy Hinchcliffe's delivery. "It was a fantastic goal from a man who had been breathalysed by the police the night before! "The whole of Goodison was in ecstasy. I looked around the stadium and allowed myself a moment or two to drink in the scenes of undiluted joy. "But there is one particular sight that will live with me forever. It is of Duncan Ferguson walking off the pitch, punching the air with kids trailing him and hanging off him, like some footballing Pied Piper. He became a Goodison legend before he became a player on the evidence of that fantastic evening."
'Lady Luck has got to give us a break sooner or later'
Oct 12 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is the best manager we have had in years and we simply need to give him more time.
I can't wait for the next game - it might be Tottenham away but Lady Luck has got to give us a break soon and this one might just be it. Plus, that lot from across the park are missing Gerrard - their only player - so this could be a good chance to drag ourselves nearer to them in the league.
Dave Newhouse, Toxteth
WE NEED a lot of luck to win at Tottenham this weekend but we have to break the curse sometime and this might just be the time! With Chelsea at home the following week, we could desperately do with a win.
Ian Hickman, Garston
WILL Evertonians take their rose-tinted glasses off and wake up and realise David Moyes is not the man for this once massive club. Look at the facts. He has lost more games than he has won; he has not won any trophies; he did not get the quality players in when it mattered; Everton FC is too big a club for him and he cannot meet the fans' expectations; he is undeniably poor in recruiting possible transfers. He put us on cloud nine with the chance of Champions League football - and then took that dream away; he has not worsened nor bettered our club; he is the only one who rates McFadden, Osman, Kilbane, Wright and Pistone. It's time for Moyes to go so our next manager can dig us out of the hole.
David Frederickson, Huyton
HOWEVER bad things get at Everton, we can at least console ourselves with the knowledge that we don't support Scotland. No, things are not well at Everton and I'm as unhappy as the next person but we are not playing badly. We don't create many chances and, when we do, there is some reluctance to shoot. I'm still undecided on Beat-tie but injuries have played a major role so far.
Tony Brown, Kensington
MYSTERIES of the world!
Does the Loch Ness monster exist? Is Osama bin Laden alive? Who did shoot JFK? Or the biggest one - how did Mikael Forssell fail his medical and James Beattie pass his? Baffling!
Joe Jones, Huyton
THE WORRYING thing about our form at the moment is that we're just not creating chances.
Whoever it is up front, they always end up dropping too far out in order to get a touch. Robbie Keane would give us a bit of craft up but I don't think he'll come to us now, plus he does miss a few now and again.
This is all conjecture though, because we don't create.
Jake Lloyd, Walton
Kroldrup absent as reserves go down
Oct 12 2005 Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP was a surprise absentee last night as Everton Reserves slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Birmingham City at Haig Avenue. Blues boss David Moyes had hoped that the Danish international would be able to get some much-needed match practice following his return from hernia surgery.
However, Kroldrup was forced to cry off after coming down with flu and now has little chance of figuring in Saturday's Premiership clash with Tottenham Hotspur. With James Beattie, still struggling with a calf problem, also not considered, reserves head coach Andy Holden was forced to field a young side, with goal-keeper Richard Wright the only member of the team boasting top flight experience. But that did not stop Everton causing Birmingham, who included David Dunn in their line-up, problems in the first 45 minutes. Debutant John Paul Kissock forced Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle into action early on after being teed up by the impressive Victor Anichebe, but his shot lacked power. Doyle was further tested by efforts from distance by Christian Seargeant (twice) and Alan Kearney, as the home side probed for the opening goal. Everton, though, could not maintain the tempo in the second half, yet it wasn't until late on that their resistance cracked, as Neil Kilkenny drilled a left-footed shot in from 20 yards. Kilkenny - sent off on his Premiership debut against Liverpool last month - turned provider moments later when Wright was only able to parry his shot into the path of Sam Alsop, leaving the striker a simple opportunity. Everton have now lost their last three reserve matches, but Holden should be able to call upon Kroldrup and Andy van der Meyde at Sunderland next Wednesday.
Winger edging closer to debut
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 13 2005
EVERTON manager David Moyes insists he will take a softly-softly approach with new signing Andy Van der Meyde despite his side's plight at the foot of the Premiership. The Dutch winger was able to join in his first full training session at Bellefield this week following his summer arrival from Inter Milan on transfer deadline day. A groin problem put his first appearance in an Everton shirt on hold, with a reserve appearance at Sunder-land now pencilled in for next week. However Moyes believes Van der Meyde's long spell on the sidelines means the 25-year-old must not be rushed back into action. Moyes said last night: "He has got a long way to go before he will be ready to play. Tuesday was his first day training with a group of players since June. He has been out for a long time so we need to make sure we bring him back right. "We have got a programme to get him back as quickly as we can but it depends how Andy goes along."
Wembley rivals re-united to help Dalglish appeal
Oct 13 2005
By Mark Garrod, Daily Post
THE PLAYERS involved in the first all-Merseyside FA Cup Final are to pit their wits against each other again in the aid of charity. Former Liverpool star Kenny Dalglish is the man behind the match, which will take place on May 1 next year at Anfield. Proceeds from the game will go to the Marina Dalglish Charity, which is rasing money for a specialist cancer care unit at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool.
Dalglish will take charge of the Liverpool old boys with Howard Kendall managing the Everton side - just as the two did in 1986 when their sides met at Wembley. Now Dalglish is hoping to persuade as many of the original players to pull on their boots again with Peter Reid, Bruce Grobbelaar, Ian Rush and Alan Hansen already indicating they will take part. Dalglish, whose side won the 1986 meeting 3-1, said: "This is about celebrating and reliving one of the greatest FA Cup finals ever played.
"What matters now is about us all getting together again, enjoying the day and raising more money for Marina's charity. The original final was a fantastic occasion for both sets of fans and the way they behaved and conducted themselves made the occasion. "It was brilliant to see people travelling to Wembley together, some wearing red and some dressed in blue. It was Merseyside united and a magnificent advert for the city. "Hopefully this game will be Merseyside reunited for charity. "We are hoping as many people as possible will come along and enjoy the reunion game."
McFadden helps Scots sign off in style in Slovenia
Oct 13 2005
WALTER SMITH admitted Scotland's 3-0 victory in Slovenia had exceeded his expectations.
The Scots picked themselves up from defeat to Belarus at Hampden Park - and failure to go to the World Cup finals in Germany next summer - in some style. The Scots finished their qualifying campaign with glorious strikes from Darren Fletcher, James McFadden and Paul Hartley, securing third spot in Group Five. But the display took Smith by surprise after a gloomy couple of days training. Smith said: "I would think in terms of over-coming disappointments maybe it was better than I would have hoped for. The games before the weekend we had played to that level in terms of commitment. But you are not going to score goals like that every time you play. "In the training sessions on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday there was an air of disappointment, even despondency, among everybody. But the performance was far better than I could ever have imagined if you consider all those aspects." McFadden capped his return from suspension with a breathtaking strike and Smith added: "I hope he will build on that and score more goals for Scotland. "He can do it and he's our top scorer. Maybe he is a little bit frustrating at times but he always acquits himself really well."
Moyes is staying positive
Oct 13 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today stepped up his preparations for the weekend trip to Tottenham and urged Everton's players to keep faith in their ability to turn things around. Having only had a small pool to work with for the past 10 days, the Everton manager was expecting a full complement for training this afternoon as his internationals arrived back at Bellefield. Everton may have gone into the break stranded at the bottom of the table owing to a wretched run of six defeats in seven Premiership games but Moyes has spent the period working on the positives. Though Moyes knows the fixture list shows no sign of relenting - champions Chelsea follow Spurs - he is certain his squad will dig deep in the face of adversity to get their stuttering season up and running. That is why he will tell every member of his first team pool to remember what they achieved against the odds last season and show the doubters that Everton is not a club engulfed in crisis. "I have not even thought that way," said Moyes. "We have had a tough opening to the season. Look at some of the games we have had. Apart from Villarreal and Dinamo Bucharest, Manchester United and Arsenal have been in that group. "So we have got to view that and say it was tough but we know there have been a couple of games where we could, probably should, have done better. We know there have been times where we have left ourselves down on the day. "We do not want to be where we are but we are not getting the feeling that we are in a crisis. Don't forget we are only a couple of months away from being the side that finished fourth in the Premier League. "We are using that as a motivation and looking forward rather than back to regain that type of form. But we are going into another tough period and there is certainly no respite for us." James Beattie (calf) doubtful to be involved at White Hart Lane, but Mikel Arteta comes back into the reckoning after making a full recovery from a neck injury.
McFadden hails his scorcher for Scots
Oct 13 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN hailed last night's wonder strike as his best for Scotland - but still believes he can play better. The Everton star bagged a glorious second-half goal as Walter Smith's side bounced back from Saturday's miserable defeat to Belarus in some style. "I couldn't have finished any better," said McFadden. "It was the best goal I've ever scored for Scotland, but I could still play better." McFadden is convinced the Scots will rise again on the back of their win in Slovenia to qualify for the next European Championships. They responded to their weekend defeat to Belarus at Hampden Park with their biggest victory since beating Estonia by the same score in May 1993.
Glorious strikes from Darren Fletcher, McFadden and Paul Hartley suggested that good times lie ahead for the Scots, who have not been seen on a major stage since the 1998 World Cup.
McFadden backs those claims but he also had a word of caution for anybody getting carried away with their night's work in the Petrol Arena. "Everybody is happy but we can't get carried away," he said. "We have to build on this. This campaign is finished but now we have to build on this for the European Championships next year. "We were disappointed with Saturday so it was important to get the win but the way we went about it was great. "It's just what happens. We play well away from home and our away form has been excellent. This shows we can get to the finals. "There was so much disappointment not to be in the play-offs, but when you look back we've only had one bad game in seven. "It gives us time and we will get stronger for the next campaign. Saturday is out of the window now and we are looking ahead." McFadden claims pride has been restored after the weekend defeat. "It was not a nothing game," said the playmaker. "There was a lot of pride at stake and a lot of scores to be settled." The former Motherwell man was relieved to score in order to save his face after missing a glorious first-half chance. McFadden also had high praise for fellow goalscorer Fletcher. "He was tremendous and he has unbelievable energy," he concluded.
Sport stars back anti-racism campaign
Oct 13 2005 By Adrian Butler, Liverpool Echo
MERSEYSIDE'S four biggest clubs united today to fight racism. Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere Rovers football clubs joined St Helens rugby league club in support of 10 days of anti-racism events.
Senior figures from the clubs and Merseyside's top policeman are backing the largest ever "Kick it Out" campaign.. It comes in a year that has seen a small minority of fans on Merseyside investigated for racist chanting. Members of the England team were also racially abused at the Bernabeu in Madrid. Reds star Djibril Cisse, who suffered racist abuse when the club played against CSK Sofia in Bulgaria, today urged supporters to give the same support to the campaign as they had the Reds in Istanbul. He said: "We will do all that we can locally to prevent racism from impacting on people's enjoyment of life and in particular sport." Everton midfielder Tim Cahill said fighting racism was one of the most important tasks facing society. He said: "We are acutely aware of foot-ball's unique power. That can and must be used to educate future generations." Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere will join the UK's other 89 professional clubs by holding an anti-racism day at a home game over the two weekends. Meanwhile, police will visit schools to talk about racism. Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe, a Sheffield Wednesday fan who plays football regularly, said: "The FA recognises that there has been a problem with racism in sport, which is reflective of society in general, and commendably they are trying to do something about it. "We are working with the professional clubs and the county FA to encourage anyone who is a victim, or who witnesses a racist incident, to contact us."
Police have received more than 2,000 entries for anti-racism poster and poetry competitions.
* KICK it Out runs from Thursday, October 13 until Tuesday, October 25
* Full details of the Kick it Out campaign are available on www.kickitout.org/
* If you would like more information on reporting a hate crime, go to www.reportit.org.uk/
* You can also ring the Racial Harrassment Unit on 0800 138 1688 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in confidence
Break can help to revive us - Moyes
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 14 2005
DAVID MOYES believes this week's international break could help revitalise Everton's spluttering season. The Goodison manager had initially been unhappy at his squad being broken up immediately after the defeat at Manchester City a fortnight ago, a result that ensured Everton remained anchored to the foot of the Premiership. But having seen both Simon Davies and James McFadden find the target for their countries this week, Moyes accepts the temporary change of scenery may ultimately be of benefit to his team. Davies was on the mark for Wales in their 3-2 victory against Northern Ireland on Saturday, while McFadden on target for Scotland in a 3-0 win in Slovenia in midweek. Neither has scored for Everton this season, with the Goodison side having scored just once in seven league games so far this campaign. And Moyes admitted: "The period away could help them, being in a different environment and with a change of voice for 10 days.
"We need one or two to spark us, and if the likes of Simon Davies and James McFadden can do that then all the better." The goal was Davies's first of any kind since February 2004, and he returns to Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow for the first time since his £3.5million move from White Hart Lane this summer. And despite the opening months of his Everton career being hampered by a series of niggling injuries, the midfielder has impressed his manager. "I think Simon has done well for us," said Moyes. "He's had a little bit of an injury which we've had to manage with missing training here and there, which has meant he hasn't been able to get up to speed. He's also come into a side that has been struggling, but I think he's done well. "He's had a problem with his shin and went over on his ankle in training the other week which meant he missed a few days, but in the main he has been available for us." Moyes added: "I'm sure he'll be looking forward to going back to Tottenham, but I don't think he has anything to prove. If anything, he wants to prove how good a player he is to Everton." The international break was not without a negative, however, with David Weir reporting back suffering from an ankle injury. The Everton skipper played the full 90 minutes for Scotland in Slovenia on Wednesday but was unable to train yesterday and is doubtful for tomorrow.
Moyes is almost certain to be without Mikel Arteta as the Spaniard continues to recover from being knocked unconscious during the UEFA Cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest. The midfielder should be back for the home clash with Chelsea on Sunday week. Injury-dogged James Beattie resumed training yesterday but has only an outside chance of making the bench, while Per Kroldrup has been laid low with flu and is also unlikely to play. Tony Hibbert should be available. Meanwhile, Tim Cahill is facing a trip to South America in November after Uruguay secured their place in a World Cup play-off against Australia.
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 14 2005
I AM really happy with the way David Moyes is running team affairs. I think that he is looking to the future and in January he will bring in the right sort of players to hopefully bounce straight back into the Premiership. He's done well managing a Championship side before so I think we'll definitely need him next year.
S Sayer, Liverpool
ALL you guys saying David Moyes will be gone after the next two games are living in dreamland. Even if we lose both there is no way Bill Kenwright will get rid of him. He loves the guy. Besides, all you Moyesout folk can't come up with a suitable replacement (Bobby Robson, I ask you) and that's because there isn't a suitable replacement who would come to us that is any better than what we've already got. I can't believe all the negativity on this side towards Moyes when he's the best manager we've had in years. Granted, there isn't a lot to be positive about right now but you have to stay positive. That's what real supporters do.
B Marks (via e-mail)
I TOTALLY agree with the views regarding Alan Stubbs, we miss his presence, it's a shame he's gone. And regarding Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane, I believe neither would get into any other Premiership team. But really, you have lost the plot big time, if you think we'll draw with Spurs and beat Chelsea - you're dreaming. After the next two defeats David Moyes will be history.
B Botts (via e-mail)
SO, James McFadden is currently Scotland's leading goalscorer. I did not realise that the situation was so dire for them. A few goals, of any sort - miskicked,, deflections - would be a considerable bonus for us.
B True, Waterloo
Awaiting sighting of oh-so elusive signings
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Oct 14 2005
IF A tree falls down in the woods and there's no one there to hear it, do Per Kroldrup and Andy van der Meyde really exist? The fans are starting to wonder, with the Sasquatch, Nessie and even Eddie Bosnar being sighted more often than our big name signings. And where Harry Catterick had the Holy Trinity of Kendall, Harvey and Ball, David Moyes could perhaps christen the Dane, the Dutchman and former England international James Beat-tie the 'Bellefield Triangle'. The beleaguered - he is officially 'beleaguered' now isn't he, or is he still only 'under-fire'? - Everton boss really could do with some of these players fit and ready to play, or at least creating competition for places and helping to fill the bench, given our league placing and the daunting run of fixtures coming up.
White Hart Lane is a tough place to go for Everton at the best of times. Even when we were doing well last season, and with Thomas Gravesen still at the club, we managed to get utterly walloped there, 5-2. It's hardly the ideal destination then when we're rock bottom and Spurs, having bought loads more players from that bottomless money pit they seem to have, are up to third place in the table. Despite our desperation for points from every game now, most Blues would probably be pretty happy with a draw tomorrow - anything to break that losing streak which stretches back to August and the second game of the season at the Reebok. Another heavy defeat on the other hand will only provoke further questions about Moyes's future. And with only the prospect of Chelsea's visit next weekend the pressure would be nearly intolerable. Boro and Birmingham are rarely pushovers either, making West Brom away the next really winnable-looking match we have, and we actually lost at the Hawthorns last season! Even the most optimistic Blues are getting concerned, as it's difficult to see where the spark is going to come from that will produce the turnaround in form that is desperately required. For all we know, van der Meyde might be the sort of player to provide that sort of lift, but the fear is that by the time he takes to the field in a first team game it might already be too late to save our season. For the time being then, we just have to cross our fingers and hope that the players who have muddled along thus far can pull together and take us all by surprise in the coming weeks.
Moyes resists Arteta gamble
Oct 14 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will be without Mikel Arteta as they bid to bring an end to their depressing form against Tottenham Hotspur. Though the influential Spanish midfielder has been training without problem for the past 10 days, David Moyes will err on the side of caution following the sickening injury Arteta sustained against Dinamo Bucharest. Because Arteta was left with concussion following Mihitia Plesan's horror challenge, Everton's medical staff have advised Moyes to follow the example of horse racing and rugby where head injuries require a mandatory three week absence.
And in another blow for the embattled manager, he is likely to have to do without David Weir after the club captain picked up an ankle knock while away on international duty with Scotland.
"Mikel won't play because he has got to have a little bit longer," confirmed Moyes. "James Beattie hasn't trained this week so he is also a doubt. "Per Kroldrup has got some flu-like symptoms and David Weir picked up a little bit of an ankle injury playing for Scotland that we will have to assess.
"Mikel feels okay but the surgeons have told him he shouldn't play. I would like to do it and so would Mikel but it is the medical people taking the utmost precaution in the situation." One man, however, who is fit to do himself justice is Simon Davies, now he has shaken off the an ankle and shin problems that have niggled at him during the opening weeks of the season. "Wigan was one of the my better games since I have been here so it was frustrating to go over on my ankle and then miss Bucharest," said Davies, who will be locking horns with his former employers tomorrow.
"I'm desperate to do well. My shins have been feeling better than they have done for a long time, I've been training every day and I feel on the up." Moyes, meanwhile, is hoping that three points at White Hart Lane will provide the boost to morale in the squad that has been sorely missing in the past six weeks. "Confidence is something that nobody has the answer to," said Moyes. "I have been a manager and a motivator and been to many courses and listened to many people speak on the subject. "I have my own ideas about it and my own ideas about how you regain it. Hopefully the players will pick up those vibes and we will be able to practise them."
Moyes seeking a positive response
Oct 14 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AFTER all the pain and frustration which has accompanied Everton's wretched start to the season, manager David Moyes believes tomorrow's trip to Tottenham can prove to be a defining moment in the campaign. Rooted to the foot of the table and without a Premiership goal since August 21, few will give Everton much chance of getting themselves up and running again by breaking a White Hart Lane hoodoo that stretches back to 1986. Perhaps, though, it is just the sort of challenge Everton need. As they proved so often last year, the Blues are at their most dangerous when the odds are stacked against them and it would be typical of Everton to win at the least expected moment.
Winning, nevertheless, is a habit Everton need to rediscover if they do not wish to become stranded among the stragglers and the manager recognises the importance of picking up three points sooner rather than later. So it is significant that Moyes has made it clear that the only way he and his players will haul themselves out of trouble is by looking to the future and making a fresh start at one of their not so happy hunting grounds. "I think we are past all that," said Moyes. "We have got to stop thinking about where and when and what has happened before. We are in a situation where we have got to try and break all sorts of records. Let's see if we can start now. "Everything is behind us now. We can talk as much as we like but how long are we going to talk about Villarreal? How long are we going to talk about the opening game of the season? "For me, there is no more talking to be done. We start a new tomorrow and we must make sure that is where it is. We need a level of performance, a level of commitment and we need to start producing the type of performances that can get us three points. "I've never doubted the players. We just need one or two of them to take chances and be brave on the ball. Confidence is a big thing with that. But once one gets it back, it will be like the flu - everyone will catch it." Victory at Tottenham would no doubt trigger an epidemic of belief spreading through the ranks but if Everton are to do that, they will have to be at their very best against a side who are dark horses to qualify for the Champions League. "Spurs have done really well," Moyes agreed. "They have got a really good squad of players and you would hardly be able to pick their team because they have got so many options. We know it's going to be a tough game." Moyes spent much of the international break reflecting on the way things have gone so horribly wrong when there was so much to play for. In particular, the way the club finds itself out of two European competitions already. Before a number of the squad went away to join up with their respective countries, a session of clear the air talks were held and some home truths pointed out to those who have not hit the heights they did last year. Interesting, then, to gauge the mood at the Blues' Bellefield HQ. There were no long faces, no heads dropped. The body language of the squad suggests they are ready to make up for lost time and Moyes has been given all the right signals.
"We have to do better than we have done," acknowledged Moyes, who will give a late check on record signing James Beattie's fitness before deciding whether to involve him against Spurs.
"The players know that. We had a chat with them after the Manchester City game and they feel the same way as me. They are a great bunch of lads and they work really hard together. "They are hurting as much as I am at the minute but we are now looking to put it right. Our early season performances were good, but we have not reached the standards that we should do or know that we can produce. "But I'm confident that they will come back. I've had a chance to go over a couple of the performances and we all know that we are desperately missing a goal. If we get a goal, who knows the difference it might make to everything. "If we can't do that, we have got to make sure we are good enough not to concede. We could do much better in all areas. "We know we have got to get back to the levels here and come away saying: That's us going in the right direction."
White hot centre of attention
Oct 14 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON won't win at White Hart Lane tomorrow because they never do. Even when they lead 2-0 at a minute before half-time, or 2-1 with eight minutes remaining - Everton have a capacity to self-destruct in north east London. But while the result is clearly important tomorrow - more so is the performance, and the body language from the Blues' players. If they lose, Evertonians will want to know whether they battled, ran for 90 minutes, created chances, or whether their heads dropped at the first sign of trouble. The answer will show whether Everton are cut-out for a relegation scrap this winter - and provide the answer to David Moyes' query in Manchester two weeks ago.
"We will find out now who are the ones who can handle things," he said, "the players who will take the ball under pressure, the ones who can perform in this situation and the ones who cannot."
Too few, and Everton will be in serious trouble.
Not out of this world
SOME of us smirked when Sven-Goran Eriksson claimed England had 10 of the world's top 50 footballers. Others publicly scoffed, trying to imagine Gary Neville and Joe Cole as world class.
Then we sat down and started to make a list. The top 10 fly off the pen, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Robinho, Adriano (ever wonder why Brazil are World Cup favourites?), Rooney, Zidane, Ballack, Eto'o, Alex . . . Figo maybe. The next 10 also come easily. You start to slow down between 20 and 30 and, by the time you reach 45, you wonder whether Mark Van Bommel, Gabriel Heinze and Wes Sneijder are among the best 50 players. You know what? Sven may have had a point.
* EVER wondered why most Scousers see an England international of little more significance than an excuse for a Wednesday night down the pub?
The chorus of boos which greeted Peter Crouch's appearance at Old Trafford - in only his third international - should provide the answer.
Tight decisions over captain's armband
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Oct 14 2005
WHEN Michael Owen handed over the captain's armband to John Terry on Wednesday night, a nation nodded in agreement. Terry fits the bill, you see, as what many believe a skipper should be - he is inspirational, tough, fair, leads by example, a good talker . . . and he's a centre-half.
Most believe that defenders make the best captains, because they can see the game unfolding in front of them. But does that mean David Beckham is the wrong choice as captain of his country? And that Michael Owen is even less suited to the role of vice-captain? I think not. Both men enjoy the respect of their peers because of their achievements on a football field, both have wide-reaching experience and most, crucially, are automatic selections when fit. You also have to question the benefit of damaging either player's morale by relieving him of his duties in the run-up to the biggest tournament in the world? It makes no sense, which is why Sven will stick with Beckham and Owen until after the World Cup finals - when the coach is more likely to move on. The captaincy of a football team can be a delicate matter. I recall Howard Kendall's decision to relieve Dave Watson of the Everton captaincy just minutes before the start of a new season, and offer it to Gary Speed instead. And I know why he did it. A master psychologist, Kendall was hoping for the same kind of impact he received from Duncan Ferguson when he was made Blues' skipper. Ferguson proved so inspired by a band on his bicep he scored his only Everton hat-trick to date. Kendall also knew he could rely on Watson's strength of character not to let the decison affect his performance.
Afterwards. all Watson muttered was: "Let's just say the timing could have been better."
On this occasion, sadly, the tactic didn't work. Crystal Palace won 2-1. Further attempts to elicit match-winning performances from players sporting the captain's armband also failed.
Slaven Bilic was made skipper for a goalless draw at home to Newcastle. Nick Barmby wore the armband three times, including a 2-1 defeat at Southampton and a 4-1 humbling at home to Aston Villa. Which leads us to the present. Everton's current captain is David Weir - a man who clearly doesn't need an arm-band to inspire a little extra from his performances. But many Blues would say that Phil Neville is a more obvious choice, especially given his commanding, cajoling display in that role against Dinamo Bucharest. But would Everton benefit from the dent to Weir's confidence a change would bring? Probably not. Across the park, the situation is more clear cut. Steven Gerrard is the right man to lead his side out, while Jamie Carragher is the equally obvious choice to step in tomorrow, in Gerrard's absence. But, strangely, neither Gerrard nor Carragher are mentioned when the captaincy of their country is discussed It all underlines what a precarious role the captaincy of a team can be . . . and why Beckham will continue unchallenged until at least after next summer.
* EVER wondered why most Scousers see an England international of little more significance than an excuse for a Wednesday night down the pub?
The chorus of boos which greeted Peter Crouch's appearance at Old Trafford - in only his third international - should provide the answer.
Moyes admits to feeling pressure
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 15 2005
DAVID MOYES has admitted to feeling the pressure as he attempts to guide Everton away from the bottom of the Premiership. The Goodison outfit aim to divert the course of history when they travel to Tottenham Hotspur this afternoon to face Martin Jol's third-placed side. Everton have not triumphed in the league at White Hart Lane since Gary Lineker's winner gave them a 1-0 success on August 26 1985, with their last three visits seeing them ship a total of 12 goals. They have won just one of their last 18 games in the capital, and will be aiming to end a goal drought that has seen them score just once this Premier-ship campaign. Moyes believes Everton's current predicament has been an eyeopener personally, but maintains his faith in the methods that earned his team a top-four finish last season. "Any football manager feels pressure when they aren't winning," said the Scot. "But that is the job. I am learning more about myself now, and if you want to be a manager for a long time you will certainly have spells where things aren't the way you want them. "I won't know what I've learned about myself until we come out of this situation. Sometimes you are too immersed in things and can't really say. "But this week has given me the chance to stand back and look at what things that can be done differently and what we can try to change. "They aren't major things because all the things I did last season helped us to fourth, so they weren't wrong." After today's testing encounter, Everton host champions and runaway leaders Chelsea next weekend. And Moyes accepts his team will have to improve on their last outing against Manchester City if they are to garner any reward from their next two fixtures. "It's not always ideal getting players back from international duty on a Thursday or Friday ahead of an away Premiership game on a Saturday, but we have to try and move things in the right direction," said Moyes. "Winning either of the next two games would give us a major boost. "Maybe the pressure isn't the same as there isn't the same expectation. These are tough games coming up and we are not kidding anyone on about that. "We need to go to Tottenham and play with a lot of heart, and I am looking for a marked improvement after the City game."
Davies has no regrets on leaving the Lane
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 15 2005
WHEN Simon Davies finally cut his links with Tottenham in the summer he believed he was heading for Champions League football and a new challenge at Everton. Now the Wales winger has discovered the challenge is a relegation battle with his new club bottom of the Premiership. But for Davies, there are no regrets. Merely anticipation at meeting one of the greatest demands of his career. "It's strange for me to have left Spurs and now be at a club that is having a difficult time," says the Welshman. "But I don't regret the move and I am enjoying being at Everton, it is a great new challenge for me and the players and fans are brilliant. "Injuries really ruined it for me at Tottenham, I had to move on. I really loved my first three years there but then I got one injury on top of another and it really knocked me back." With a rejuvenated Tottenham third in the table, Davies admits he will not recognise most of the much-changed squad when he makes his first return to White Hart Lane this afternoon. Martin Jol has spent more than £20million on new names since Davies's departure, which has amazed the Haverfordwest-born midfielder. "What Spurs have done these past few months is phenomenal, they really have pushed the boat out and they want to get back as one of the top three or four clubs in England," he says.. "But they have now spent the money and the pressure is on them to do it, but they have a lot a great talent there and I am sure they will gel together." Davies, who scored his first senior goal for 18 months in Wales's 3-2 win against Northern Ireland last weekend, now has his mind on reversing Everton's fortunes. He says: "I'm looking forward to going back to Spurs, it will be nice for me to see old friends and I did enjoy my time there. "But it's not about me, we desperately need a win or something from the game, that is so important. "We have had a difficult start and it's not going to get much easier in the next games at Spurs and home to Chelsea. "We have created a lot of chances but it has snowballed into a problem because the goals won't come. We know we are in a difficult situation, but the only way out of it is to stick together and work hard as a group. "But it is going to turn for us because we have the players in the squad who are good enough to make it turn for us." Davies adds: "It has been difficult this season, we haven't had any breaks at all. Couple that with injuries and the fact that we haven't got results it has all snowballed into a difficult situation. "We are more than confident we can get out of it but we really have to turn in some good performances now. "We desperately need a result of some kind at Spurs, I know I am going back to White Hart Lane but I am only thinking about getting something there for Everton." For Moyes, today's match represents a fresh start after an international break that has proven welcome respite for many of his players after a demoralising start to the season. The Everton manager has been worried the talk surrounding their controversial Champions League exit to Villarreal has meant his team has lost some focus. And Moyes admits: "I am hoping that this is a new start. We can draw a line in the sand and everything that has gone on before is in the past. "We've spent too long talking about the Villarreal game or why things are going wrong, but my view is that has all gone now. Maybe in three months time when things are in a much better condition we can look back and analyse what happened, but at the moment it is dominating conversation still and I want instead to concentrate on what's coming up. "We had started the season playing well, and the only thing that was missing were the results to go with it. We have to get back to that. The players haven't been moping about it, but there have been lots of question about our European games and whether we have suffered a hangover over what happened in Villar-real. "We've he certainly, Everton are intent on avoiding a repeat of the clear-theair talks that followed the dismal second-half showing during their last Premiership game at Manchester City a fortnight ago. "I wasn't happy with the second-half performance against Manchester City," recalls Moyes. "That was the most annoyed I have been in some time. We didn't get close to the standards we expect. "I have to be fair and say maybe the players were affected by their efforts against Bucharest the Thursday before, but I don't like making excuses and that is not what people want to hear. I won't give the players the opportunity to use it as an excuse."
Moyes has taken heart from the pain his players have felt at Everton's misfortunes this campaign, and the new resolve that was evident in training before the Dinamo Bucharest return leg has been strengthened since the squad reconvened after the international break. "I won't put up with how we are doing at the moment, and I can't put up with it," adds the Everton manager. "We have to do better than we have done and the players know that. "I actually think the group of players I have now are a group of brilliant players. They are hurting as much as anyone else is, and from my point of view that gives me real hope. They feel that bad, and I do know in time that they will put that right. They don't want to go home to their families after having not won and their manager's voice ringing in their ears, they want to go home feeling good about themselves." One player who should be feeling better about himself is Tim Cahill who, after an unseemly war of words between Everton and Australia, has enjoyed a well-earned rest this past week. "We gave Tim as much time off as we possibly could," says Moyes. "I hope that he will benefit from it. I've given him the best part of a week to be with his family and recuperate a bit. "Now we can stop talking about Tim Cahill being tired and talk about Tim Cahill putting in good performances."
Tottenham 2, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at White Hart Lane, Daily Post
Oct 17 2005
NEW beginning, same old ending. A chance to start afresh degenerated into a depressingly familiar tale for Everton and David Moyes on Saturday. Like a clairvoyant, the Goodison manager had seen it coming. The anguished features of the beleaguered Scot foretold imminent danger as Joseph Yobo, attempting a speculative cross-field pass out of defence, managed to scuff possession straight to the feet of a grateful Edgar Davids. Fifteen seconds later and the ball was nestling in the back of Nigel Martyn's goal and the visitors were heading for a recordequalling sixth successive league defeat.
Given this worrying propensity for shooting themselves in the foot, no wonder Everton are taking such leaden steps in the Premiership this season. But such is life for basement stragglers, where every miniscule mis-take seemingly mushrooms into terminal error and confidence saps alarmingly at the concession of every goal. And the runt of the top-flight litter is what Everton will remain until Moyes can rectify the shortcomings that have already shattered any dreams of European success and are now threatening the club's Premiership existence. The Goodison manager does not need reminding of those failings; everybody knows what is wrong with Everton. The question now is whether Moyes can find the solutions before this increasingly tense drama spills over into full-blown crisis. Over-reaction? No. Despite an improved first-half showing against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, Everton produced little evidence to suggest they are any nearer to scoring a goal and thus elevate themselves away from a relegation zone in which they are now firmly ensconced. There, it is said. The dreaded 'r' word,, ranked alongside 'vote of confidence' and 'too good to go down' in the football lexicon as phrases with which no individual or team wants to be associated. Mind you, the latter has already reared its ugly head. Having seen his team swat aside Moyes's men a fortnight ago with considerable ease, Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce declared the quality within the Goodison camp would be more than enough to avert any danger of future Championship football.
Try telling that to the likes of Leeds United, West Ham United and Ipswich Town. All made poor starts to a season. All were regarded to have the players to avoid the drop zone. All were relegated.
Last season proved Everton do have fine collective talent but it has lay dormant for the majority of this season as Moyes struggles to find the combination to unlock the potential that propelled his team to a top-four finish and European football last time around. There were flashes, hints of promise, during the formative weeks when Villarreal and Manchester United could have been slain. But all that seems a very long time ago. Save 45 minutes at home to Dinamo Bucharest, sub-sequent encouragement has been thin on the ground for Evertonians whose disappointment has been made only greater by the heightened expectation of only a few months previous. The bare statistics are frightening for Everton. No league goal in 578 minutes. One win in eight games, and even that was a smash and grab raid at Bolton Wanderers. 18 defeats in their last 25 games. Bottom of the league. In fact, when Everton went six league games without a goal in 1950-51, they were relegated. Permission to shudder now is granted. Moyes had been hopeful the international break and a change of scenery would be of benefit to his players, and in the opening period on Saturday they fought toe-to-toe with a Tottenham Hotspur side replicating Everton's high-flying form of early last season. James McFadden buzzed with intent, Kevin Kilbane and Simon Davies scurried in midfield while Joseph Yobo shackled the tricky Jer-main Defoe, but it was comfort at the expense of adventure. And once Tottenham forged ahead, Everton collapsed in such an alarming fashion it rendered that first-half optimism a mere distant memory, false hope amid a sea of Blue despair.
Moyes put on a brave face afterwards. He has to, for this is the greatest challenge of his managerial career. Yes, Everton finished 17th two seasons ago but that was only as a result of a monumental late slump that, while of great concern, was never in danger of consigning them to the drop zone.
White Hart Lane has never been the happiest hunting ground for Everton - nor London itself,, where the Goodison side have now won just once in 19 league visits - but they did not help themselves with some slack play in the build-up to both Tottenham goals. The first, on 58 minutes, was preventable at source and once again before execution. Yobo's ambitious pass was mishit to Davids, and the Dutchman swiftly found Paul Stalteri on the right who laid off for Jermaine Jenas to sweep in a first-time cross that Mido rose to head home. Five minutes later the game was over when Everton again failed to deal with an aerial delivery into the box. A speculative ball forward was flicked on by Mido to Defoe on the left wing who, having been given time to move possession on to his preferred right foot, floated an inch-perfect cross for the unmarked Jenas to score. "We have got to stick to the small things," said Moyes. "If we cannot pull off the hard things then we should not bother with them until we can do the basics." Back to basics? Presumably that would mean scoring a goal, a feat that has proved beyond Everton in the league since August 21. Substitute Duncan Ferguson came closest on Saturday with a towering header that brought the best out of Paul Robinson and McFadden also tested the keeper after a jinking run saw him skip past Michael Carrick and Salteri. But even during that positive first half for the visitors, it was Tottenham who created the better opportunities. Martyn produced a fine save to beat out a Michael Dawson header after the excellent Aaron Lennon had tricked his way to the by-line, Lee Young-Pyo claimed a penalty following a Matteo Ferrari challenge and Nuno Valente cleared another Dawson effort off the line.
Although Ferguson and James Beattie joined Marcus Bent in a three-pronged attack in the final quarter, what Everton gained in forward numbers they still lacked in cohesion and genuine quality to trouble a Tottenham defence that demanded a much sterner examination. With confidence brittle, Everton shoulders sagged once they fell behind and their fate was sealed. Each 'Ole' that reverberated around the old stadium as Tottenham toyed with his demoralised team in the closing minutes would have felt like a dagger to the heart for Moyes. Matters must improve quickly, but with champions and runaway leaders Chelsea appearing on the horizon next Sunday, that new start may have to be postponed for another week.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (3-5-2): Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King; Lennon (Reid 72), Jenas, Carrick, Davids, Young-Pyo; Mido, Defoe (Keane 79). Subs: Cerny, Kelly, Naybet.
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Martyn; Ferrari (Ferguson 65), Yobo, Weir, Valente; Neville; Davies, Cahill (Beattie 75), Kilbane, McFadden (Osman 80); Bent. Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
BOOKING: Cahill (unsporting behaviour) and McFadden (foul).
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher (Banbury)
NEXT MATCH: Everton v Chelsea, Premiership, Sunday 4.05pm
We won't become another Ipswich
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 17 2005
DAVID MOYES concedes there is no "magic formula" to solve Everton's desperate start to the season as he promised his team would not become another Ipswich Town. The Goodison side remain rock bottom of the Premiership after falling to their seventh defeat in eight league games with a 2-0 setback at Tottenham Hot-spur on Saturday. It was a club record sixth successive top-flight loss, and their 10th in 12 competitive games this campaign. They have also failed to score in that period, equalling their longest ever period without a league goal. Beleaguered Moyes has attempted to remain upbeat and revealed he will shake things up at Bellefield this week in preparation for next Sunday's visit of champions Chelsea. "This week we'll do something different, and I've had it planned for a short while now," said Moyes. "We are looking to try and make subtle changes to get us out of this situation. But there is no magic formula. "You name it, we have tried it. But we are not going over the top. "There are talented players in the group who I think are looking at each other for a bit of a lift, a bit of a spark. "Their attitude for the game was superb. They were prepared, and mentally they were ready to put things right and that give me hope. But we need to find a way of getting a goal from somewhere." The Everton manager added: "It's not easy going in to training after a defeat and sometimes you have to wear a stick-on smile. "We remain confident and positive, and it was only two months ago that these players were being applauded for everything. "The players can't forget that, but they must move on and show strength to get out of this situation.
"But we have strong characters in the dressing room such as Phil Neville, and on Saturday I saw seven or eight of them on the field trying to take the lead." Some observers have likened Everton's season with that of Ipswich Town in 2001-02. George Burley had led the Tractor Boys to Europe the season before and claimed the Manager of the Year award, only for his players to be distracted by the UEFA Cup, fall behind in the league and ultimately be relegated. However Moyes, who is the reigning Manager of the Year and also won the award in 2003, insisted: "People are drawing a comparisons with Ipswich Town but I think that is unfair. "Everton are a bigger football club, and what Ipswich did was terrific but we aren't thinking about what eventually happened to them.
"Two years ago we were struggling, but people then were saying 'it's strange David Moyes has a team down there' and that is what a lot of people are saying at the moment. It's strange to me as well because in the main I've been at the other end of the table. "But every manager has to learn from periods like this. There was a disappointment when we finished 17th after finishing seventh. We had to make a few changes, and last season we had to make more changes and ended up fourth.
"We've had to make more changes again this time around, and maybe it will be another season of rebuilding to get ourselves regularly among the top teams."
Neville: Going behind must not be the end
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
NEVILLE admits Everton must rediscover their fighting spirit or risk extending their nightmare start to the season. David Moyes's side produced an encour-aging first-half performance at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday before collapsing once Mido had put the Londoners ahead on 58 minutes.
And Neville said: "At the moment as soon as teams score against us it feels like the end of the world and it is something we have to get out of. "At 1-0 down over the years Everton have still been at their best and always been in the game but it is something we are not doing at the moment.
"We need to be in the game until the last minute." Neville added: "The crowd were starting to get a little bit edgy but we had a lapse of concentration and they scored. "Their second goal killed us and though we had a couple of chances it was out of our reach. At 1-0 they would have been a little bit jittery but it is just disappointing." Moyes admitted Everton were again below par in attack, and that his team are not making the most of Duncan Ferguson's aerial prowess. The big Scot made a second-half substitute appearance and drew a fine save from Paul Robinson in the Tottenham goal with a header, but was given little support. "Duncan is a threat and when he came on he won almost every aerial challenge, but what we must do is play off the bits that come from him," said Moyes. "Last year, when we tended to throw Duncan on it was when the scores were goalless and we were trying to nick the game. Now though w "We have played lots of combinations up front including Duncan and two up front, but I thought it was best to come to Tottenham and be hard to beat and give the players a base to build from and get a bit of confidence the longer the game went on." The Everton manager was reluctant to point the finger at Joseph Yobo after the Nigerian defender's aberration led to Mido's game-changing goal on 58 minutes, with Jer-maine Jenas adding a second five minutes later. "The last thing I want to do is single out players, and Joseph Yobo was great with the exception of that one pass and has been excellent all season," said Moyes. "We were doing okay until we had to come out and start chasing the game. We are trying to find results from somewhere, and if we'd have earned a draw we'd have taken that. "The longer the game went on, the more opportunities I thought we would get. But as soon as the first goal went in, it was very difficult for us."
Six of the worst.. and now Chelsea
View from the stands by Barry Peebles Everton supporter, Daily Post
Oct 17 2005
THERE are three certainties in life - death, taxes and us losing at White Hart Lane. But that doesn't make Saturday's defeat any easier to take. And given the dismal situation it leaves us in, death and taxes currently seem a much preferable option. That's going on? Has a team ever suffered such a monumental slide from the brink of greatness? Does anyone know when this particular rollercoaster of despair actually stops? Saturday was straight out of the drawer marked 'Classic Everton Defeat, Season 2005-06'. In other words, we match them for large parts of the game, fail to take our chances, concede a silly goal and then pack up and go home. Singling out individuals is pretty pointless, because to a lesser or greater extent all those who helped take us to fourth last season are playing at a lower level. But it's fair to say in all my years of watching the Blues, I've never less confident in our goalscoring ability. Even if Neighbours' Paul Robinson had been in the Tottenham goal on Saturday, I doubt we'd have got on the scoresheet. Quite where we go from here I don't know. What seems pretty certain is that come this time next week, we'll be reflecting on a seventh straight Premiership defeat. Usually I fancy our chances when we come up against the big boys - take Manchester United and Big Dunc last season, for instance - but I just can't see anything but another defeat next Sunday. There's lots of talk about the manager at the moment, as you'd expect. But I'd like to go on record and say he still has my - and without doubt, the majority of fans' - support. No-one ever got through crises by deserting the leader, and this is no time to start.
We've got to wake up now!
Oct 17 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today admitted Everton must urgently buck up their ideas or face the harsh reality of becoming embroiled in a relegation battle. Having lost their last six Premiership games without scoring a goal, Everton are rooted to the bottom of the table with just three points, and they face unbeaten Chelsea next Sunday at Goodison Park. Though there is plenty of time on Everton's side to get out of the current mess, Neville pointed to the history books and warned that reputation alone has not been enough to save some clubs from the drop. "We have seen it over the years when teams have said they are too good to go down," said Neville with a refreshing honesty. "But they get sucked into a bit of a battle at the bottom and before you know it, you are in trouble. "We have got to make sure we keep in contact with the teams above us. Not just the ones directly above us, you have now got to start looking five or six places higher because at the end of the season, you don't want to be in that battle. "We believe that we are too good to be in that battle. But you don't always have it your own way. Sometimes if you don't perform, then you are at the bottom of the table for a reason. "But the confidence and the spirit in the dressing room is no different to when I joined the club in the summer. The thing we have got to realise is that we are in a battle.
"People will give us no hope against Chelsea whatsoever and we will go into the game with no pressure because everyone will be writing us off. You never know. It might do us good. No pressure, no expectation and we can just give it a right good go." Make any of the mistakes they did against Tottenham, however, and Neville accepted that Everton will stand little chance of ending their malaise when Jose Mourinho brings the champions to town. But rather than spend too much time dwelling on the negatives, Neville felt the Blues could take something out of their White Hart Lane performance. He was, nevertheless, surprised by the way Everton folded so tamely when they went behind. The manager said it was a fresh start for us, the start of our season and for 60 minutes, we played better," said Neville. "We improved, we were getting to the ball and to be honest it was quite an even game, bar a couple of set pieces that they had. "Then there was a lapse in concentration and they went and scored. At the moment, when the opposition score it feels like the end of the world. That's something we have got to get out of. "Over the years, Everton have always been at their best when they are 1-0 down because they are still in their fighting. "Something we are not doing at the minute is staying in the game until the last minute. The second goal killed us."
Keep your heads up, insists Moyes
Oct 17 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES began the task of lifting spirits today after Everton's 2-0 weekend defeat against Tottenham Hotspur saw them equal an unwanted club record in the Premiership. The Blues have now lost their last six league games - just as Joe Royle's side did between December 1996 and January 1997 - and they remain anchored to the foot of the table with just three points from eight matches. It all makes for grim reading but Moyes believes he saw flickering signs of a revival at White Hart Lane and will urge his players to focus on the positives, particularly their display in an encouraging first 45 minutes. "We have to be positive and try to keep upbeat," said Moyes. "We went there and we wanted to be hard to beat and in the main we did that. In the first half we kept a good discipline to our play and a good shape to our game. "I hoped that we'd do the same in the second half but we let a goal in and we had to start chasing the game. That can happen when you feel comfortable. The opposition can hurt you. "The attitude of the players was excellent. They were really ready for the game and I could tell inside the dressing room that they were really ready to give a good performance. "We knew coming to Tottenham would be hard and we know that Chelsea next week is going to be hard. We've not had a great record at Tottenham but for a lot of the game, we did well enough to stay in the game." Not for the first time this season, however, the Everton manager was left to rue an individual error - namely Joseph Yobo's catastrophic pass to Edgar Davids in the build-up to Spurs' opening goal - as the reason Everton again headed home empty-handed.
"From our point of view, it was a really poor goal considering what we had set out to do," Moyes grumbled. "I was really disappointed. If you can't pull off the hard things, you should not bother trying until you can do the basic. "Sometimes those things work for you but that one led to a goal. We can't afford to do these things. We are in a bit of a run and we have got to try and get out of it fast. At the minute we need a goal." Concurring with Moyes, Phil Neville accepted that Yobo's lapse had proven so costly and it crucially came at a time when Everton looked ready to build on what had been an encouraging 45 minutes. It has led to suggestions that Everton are suffering from a crisis of confidence but Neville - again one of his side's top performers - dismissed those claims and backed the fighting spirit in the club to lift the Blues off the bottom. "We came in at half-time when Nigel had made a good save and Nuno had done well to clear one off the line and you start to think that our luck is about to change. We haven't had much luck since the start of the season," said Neville.
"I know you can't rely on that all the time but sometimes you need a little bit of luck. We were pleased at half-time. We knew that we had to come out second half and keep going forward but lapses in concentration are just killing us at the moment. "We have got to eradicate them sooner rather than later. There is no doubt about us sticking together. There is an unbelievable self-belief and confidence in that dressing room. The thing we have got to realise is that we are in a battle."
Xavier set to reveal all about failed drugs test
By Carl Markham, Daily Post
Oct 18 2005
FORMER Everton and Liverpool defender Abel Xavier is expected to fill in some of the blanks which punctuated news of the drugs test he failed after last month's UEFA Cup game in Xanthi. The 32-year-old Portuguese international, now at Middlesbrough, is likely to issue a statement this morning, when he may answer the most pertinent question - namely, what banned substance has he tested positive for. That was unanswered last night, and until the results of his 'B' test are made public, the football authorities have stressed it will remain private. FIFA have, however, suspended Xavier with immediate effect, pending what Boro described as "the outcome of a disciplinary investigation". Xavier may choose to reveal further details of the position in which he finds himself, and it is one which could threaten his career if he stands accused of using a performance-enhancing product. Middlesbrough issued a brief statement to confirm Xavier produced a urine sample which returned a positive result after the September 29 second leg of Boro's first-round UEFA Cup match against their Greek opponents. The test was taken in Greece following that match and although Xavier has played for Boro since, he was not involved at the weekend in the 1-1 draw with Portsmouth. Xavier signed for Boro on transfer deadline day, August 31, following a successful trial. He spent over two years at Goodison after joining in a £1.5million move from PSV Eindhoven back in 1999, before moving to Anfield for £800,000 in January 2002. He agreed a one-year deal at the Riverside, having been brought in to replace Michael Reiziger, who moved on a free transfer to Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven. Boro refused to comment further than outlining Xavier's position, and it remains unknown whether the substance detected in Xavier's 'A' sample is considered performance-enhancing or recreational. Middlesbrough drew 0-0 in Xanthi, a result which took them through to the UEFA Cup group stage 2-0 on aggregate.
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 18 2005
THERE isn't a leader in the Everton team who inspires all the others. This is why virtually the same team is now at the opposite end of the table. Last year we had Thomas Gravesen. The others seemed to follow his lead, his passion and drive. This year I thought it would be Tim Cahill but it hasn't happened. We need one or more of our 'stars' to pick up the mantle that Gravesen left in January and inspire the others to a much needed win. I'm probably living in dream-land but imagine what a win against Chelsea would do. A turning point of all turning points!
Out of picture
DAVID MOYES, take a picture of the goal and show it to the lads in the dressing room - simple, tell them the more they shoot at it, the more there's a chance it will go in. Can anybody remember our last shot on goal?
KEVIN Phillips for £750,000. Andy Cole for free. Why weren't Everton in for these players? We can't buy a goal now.
LETTING Alan Stubbs go was a big mistake - he wasn't the quickest but could head a ball and was excellent at organising the defence. He also used to encourage players like Tony Hibbert, who this season has lost all of his confidence. Although I think David Moyes should be given a bit longer (no other alternatives) I feel this decision may come back to haunt him.
Go for Venables
STUCK for a replacement for David Moyes? How about Terry Venables? At least we'll have a manager who has some positive creativity. I'm not a Moyes bagger but time is running out and with Venables in charge hopefully we can attract a decent striker in the transfer window.
And perhaps the time has come for Bill Kenwright to hand over to someone who has the resources to take the club to another level.
Gravesen return is ruled out
Oct 18 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN is set to be released by Real Madrid in the next transfer window. But a return to Everton is unlikely. The Blues inserted a buy-back clause in the Danish midfielder's contract when he moved to the Bernabeu nine months ago. But the 29-year-old is reported to be earning £95,000 per week in Spain - tax free, and would have to take a significant cut if a return to Merseyside was to come about. The Blues are monitoring Gravesen's position, but have not made any formal enquiries yet. The Dane has been an increasingly infrequent starter for the Galacticos this season - was substituted at half-time in the Madrid derby and accepted afterwards that Wanderley Luxemburgo's decision was the right one. Blues boss David Moyes, meanwhile, has taken his players to an Outward Bound centre in the Lake District this week - as they prepare for the mountain they must climb this weekend. The Everton players have been fell-walking, riding mountain bikes and canoeing down-stream. Moyes hopes that the team-bonding trip will help his side prepare for the daunting visit of Premiership leaders Chelsea on Sunday - who boast a 100 per cent record and have conceded only two league goals this season.
Now's the time to stop the rot
Oct 18 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AS the gravity of the current plight continues to sink in, Kevin Kilbane believes Everton's players are fighting battles on two fronts. First and foremost, top of the list of priorities is bringing an end to a catastrophic run of form that has left the Blues anchored to the bottom of the Premiership. No wins and no goals in six games has put Everton in freefall. Aside from that, though, Kilbane is well aware that each defeat is tarnishing the reputation of a squad which had worked so tirelessly and successfully last year to prove they could bring success to the club. There is no doubt this wretched run of form has had a crushing effect on confidence and with Chelsea the next visitors to Good-ison Park, few can see Everton turning things around against a side that appears unbeatable. But there is no defeatist talk from Kilbane, just a realisation that it is time to get back to basics against the champions. Kilbane knows it is up to him and his colleagues to provide a lift for supporters on Sunday. Given the situation is bleak, there can be no place in David Moyes' starting line-up for shrinking violets. "There have been too many disappointments and we can't let it continue," said Kilbane. "We need to change it, we need to get results. "If this (run) gets any worse, the gap could be seven or eight points and then two wins won't be good enough. Then you would have to start thinking about getting on a great run of five, six or seven games unbeaten to get yourself back out of it. "We can't let that happen. We have got to start to think about kicking on now.
You can probably start getting sucked into believing the hype. You can get sucked into believing that we are better than relegation candidates. "But all of a sudden it comes upon you very quickly. I believe we are better than that but we have got to battle hard, especially when teams come to Goodison. When we go away from home, we have got to win the dogfight. "We have got to learn to win ugly. We have got to show that team spirit to the new lads who have come in. They haven't had much joy since they have been here and they don't know about success with us on a regular basis.
"When Goodison is rocking and the fans are up for games, there is no better place to be and that's what everyone wants the atmosphere to be like again." Perhaps the most alarming aspect of this wretched run has been the uncharacteristic way Everton have folded once they have fallen behind in games. It was especially apparent against Tottenham on Saturday. The cause is not being helped, however, by silly lapses of concentration and the Republic of Ireland international acknowledges there is plenty of work to be done over the next few days. "When I came back in off international duty, everyone looked so positive. But we have got to be stronger," Kilbane continued.. "It will be no easy task against Chelsea but we have got to do our best. You look at the moment and think that two wins will get you out of trouble, but we can't let it get any worse. "Last season when we conceded, we seemed to get stronger, certainly in the early part of the season. We knew we would get ourselves back in it. "We would keep ourselves in the game but now we have conceded a second goal and that ultimately kills the game. We are throwing games away and letting games slip away from us. We need to put an end to it next week."
Pistone eyeing a March return
Oct 18 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
ALESSANDRO PISTONE is desperate to beat expectations and help out Everton's ailing season.
The Italian's cruciate knee ligament injury, which he suffered at Bolton in August, had been thought to rule the 30-year-old out for the rest of this campaign. Pistone, however, is hoping to return by March in time to play in the last eight games of the season. He said: "I am hoping to be back and ready by March. It is good to have a goal and a target. I recovered from my left knee after five months and with this one I want to be back a little bit sooner, so four-and-a-half would be a good achievement for me." Pistone's injury is being dealt with by Dr Richard Steadman, the world's top knee specialist based in Colorado. The former Newcastle defender, who signed a surprise two-year deal in the summer having initially been released by the Goodison club, under-went a preliminary operation last month to save his cartilage and is set to undergo a second and final op next week to reconstruct his knee ligaments. He added: "There is a program you can follow but your body dictates the pace. "You can't really force it."
Impressive Blues hit by blunder
Oct 18 2005 By Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Ladies manager Mo Marley has prasied the efforts of her side after they lost their first match of the season in a controversial 1-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic. Although the scoreline was the same as last season's FA Cup final, it was a much improved performance from the Blues.
It was a bright start for the Blues, as England international Rachel Unitt saw her volley from six yards go straight into the hands Charlton keeper Pauline Cope. Chantelle Parry wriggled free of the Addicks defence on 12 minutes, but she dragged her shot wide of the far post. In the second half, Everton's Kelly McDougall had a powerful shot parried wide just before the hour. Then after 84 minutes the goal that decided the game arrived, when Charlton captain Casey Stoney headed home at the far post following a Jo Potter free-kick. The free-kick was given for a handball by an Everton player on the edge of the box, when it seemed a Charlton player had handled. Marley said: "As a coach there is not much more I could have asked for the players to do other than to score a goal to win the game." Liverpool ladies continued their recent good form as they beat Middlesbrough 2-1 in the Northern Division. The Reds went behind to the side bottom of the table, after Louise Wright put the ball into her own net after 22 minutes. Louise Hastie who got her side back on level terms, and then Gill Hart grabbed the winner late on. Tranmere are unbeaten in seven games following their 2-0 win at Stockport. Shirley Waring's side took the lead through an own goal from Andrea Worrall, and Vicky Abbott scored early in the second half to put Rovers into fifth in the table.
Next Sunday Everton host Fulham, Liverpool entertain Aston Villa and Tranmere are away to Nottingham Forest.
Kilbane: We're not too good for drop
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 19 2005
KEVIN KILBANE believes Everton must not make the mistake of thinking they are too good to go down. The Goodison club stand two points adrift at the foot of the Premiership after a dismal start to the season that has seen them lose their last six games. A run of decent results, however, could quickly lift Everton away from trouble and Irishman Kilbane insists David Moyes' men must make that their urgent target. "There have been too many disappointments and we can't let it continue," he admits. "We need to change it, we need to get results. "If this (run) gets any worse, the gap could be seven or eight points and then two wins won't be good enough. Then you would have to start thinking about getting on a great run of five, six or seven games unbeaten to get yourself back out of it. "We can't let that happen. We have got to start to think about kicking on now." The midfielder added: "You can probably start getting sucked into believing the hype. You can get sucked into believing that we are better than relegation candidates. "But all of a sudden it comes upon you very quickly. I believe we are better than that but we have got to battle hard, especially when teams come to Goodison."
Blues boss reserves his hopes
Oct 19 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will be keeping a keen eye on Everton's reserve clash with Sunderland this evening as a trio of his big signings take another step back on the road to full fitness. Andy van der Meyde, Per Kroldrup and James Beattie should all play some part as they look to give Moyes a selection dilemma ahead of this Sunday's home clash with unbeaten Chelsea. Providing Moyes and reserve boss Andy Holden give him the green light to face the Black Cats' second string, it will be a significant moment for van der Meyde, a £2m deadline day signing from Inter Milan. The Holland international has yet to make his first appearance in a Blue shirt because of a groin problem that has required intensive treatment to remedy. He has, though, come on in leaps and bounds in the past couple of weeks and now it is just a question of getting his match fitness up before he will be considered for Premiership duty. Kroldrup and Beattie, on the other hand, are that bit further on. Both were on the bench for the defeat at Spurs on Saturday, having recovered from flu and a calf problem respectively.
However, they - like van der Meyde - need games to get back to the levels that will allow them to be competitive in the Premiership. Moyes, meanwhile, took some positives out of the latest reverse at White Hart Lane but believes Everton's spluttering season will take a turn for the better if they receive a rub of the green. Little has gone right for the Blues during the opening months - notably the decision of Pierluigi Collina to disallow a Duncan Ferguson 'goal' in the Champions League tie at Villarreal - and the manager reckons his side are due a change of fortune. "I don't like asking for luck but it's fair to say that we could do with something going for us," said Moyes. "The sooner that comes the better. "The players feel the same way as me. They are a great bunch of lads. They work hard, they are hurting as much as we are and they are looking to put it right. "We have not reached the standards that we should have done but I'm confident they will come back and show that.
"We haven't had enough shots at goal and maybe we haven't been setting ourselves up in the right way to do that. That's not just down to the forwards - it's down to everyone."
When will we score again?
Oct 19 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
THE lack of goals in the 'for' column has massively affected the confidence of the whole Everton team. They are playing like they will never score and let's face it, who knows where the next goal is coming from? The pattern for every game is the same. We seem content with holding the opposition for so long but as soon as we concede, the heads go straight down. There is clearly no belief or spirit at the club and no light at the end of the tunnel. The only saving grace could be Andy van der Meyde.
Dan James, Bootle
HOW can a management team, from the chief executive down, pretend the club is in a false position. For seasons now - and that includes the one just gone - the plan has been to defend with every player in their own half, get a breakaway goal, defend again and hope for the best.
This club has the most negative playing policy I have ever seen. It is heartbreaking when its history is filled with some of the greatest strikers that England has ever produced.
Bob Butchard, Merseyside
PHIL NEVILLE says we've got to wake up and quick. It's nearly the end of October. What happened to waking up in August or September? We don't get any men in the box, so it's no wonder we don't score. This will continue with David Moyes' tactics of getting everyone behind the ball.
Bob Davies, Kirkby
APPARENTLY David Moyes is after another centre-back in Eriend Hanstveit of Norway. Well, I hope he can score 25 goals a season. Wake up Moyes. The problem is our lack of strikers.
Paul Cooper, Crosby
I AM not prepared to pay good money to watch Everton fail to score, and give up when the opposition score. I will not go to the 'reserve' game against Middlesbrough in the League Cup, even if the prices are reduced again. And I don't need all those muppets telling me that because I feel this way that I am in some way a lesser fan than them. Perhaps if more felt and acted like I do there would be change. A goalless football team is simply not worth watching.
Mike Roper, Widnes WHEN I go to Goodison I wear my best suit and tie because, to me, it is a special occasion. Why then does David Moyes turn up for Premiership games in a tracksuit? Is it not a special occasion for him? When he enters the dressing room before the match does he not wish to convey an image which instantly expresses the importance of the event - an image which declares: "Okay, boys, this is the big one. I am ready for it. Are you?" A slipshod, ill-prepared manager will produce a team of the same ilk, and that is exactly what we are witnessing. You are entering the dressing room looking like a loser, Mr Moyes. Shape up, sharpen up and give the lads the leadership they need.
Harold Thomas, Hoylake
Too early to start panicking WHEN Andy van der Meyde, Mikel Arteta and James Beattie are all playing, and we're still not scoring goals, I'll concede that we will probably go down. Confidence ebbs in such a run of bad results, but it can soon return with a couple of wins. And it will happen.
Everton have some really good footballers on their books and when we can field our best team we should see things turn around.
Jeff Jones, Merseyside
WHY are more socalled Everton fans jumping on the bandwagon and wanting David Moyes to leave the club? Some fans have short memories and forget where we were before he came. We were deep in a relegation dogfight and he got us out of it. Moyes would walk into most managers' jobs in the Premier-ship. There are 90 points to play for yet. We have a manager who has won Manager of the Year twice. Not many clubs could say that, can they?
Anthony Scott, Walton
Sunderland Res 1, Everton Res 1
Daily Post Oct 20 2005
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE, James Beattie and Per Kroldrup gave manager David Moyes a timely boost ahead of this week's visit of champions Chelsea to Goodison Park as all three came through the Reserves draw at Sunderland. Van der Meyde and Beattie (right) both played just under 70 minutes while Dane Kroldrup played the full 90. It was former Inter Milan winger Van De Meyde's first appearance in a blue shirt and one which will give Moyes hope for the future as he showed some good touches alongside Beattie in attack. Everton goalkeeper Ian Turner kept the home side at bay in an exciting first half with Jon Stead having Sunderland's best effort while Black Cats' keeper
Ben Alnwick denied first Alan Kearney and then watched Paul Hopkins head over the bar. Beattie was also busy in the first half testing Alnwick on a few occasions. Early in the second half Sunderland took the lead as Daryl Murphy struck. Stead, who caused problems all night, threaded a good ball to the youngster who drilled it past Turner. Stead very nearly doubled their lead on 64 minutes with a shot which just scraped past Turner's post. Everton continued to fight hard as coach Andy Holden made a double change on 68 minutes with Beattie and van der Meyde being replaced by John-Paul Kissock and Aidan Downs. Kearney hit a post as Everton pushed forward and substitute Kissock was unlucky in a goal mouth scramble, However Everton did get their reward on the night as James Harris prodded home after more good work from Kissock deep into injury time. All in all a deserved point for Everton but more importantly good news for Moyes and the first team challenge this weekend.
EVERTON RES: Turner,Wynne, Hughes, Kroldrup,Wilson, van der Meyde (Kissock 68), Li Tie (Boyle 70) Harris, Kearney, Beattie (Downs 68) Hopkins. Subs: Wright, Jones
SUNDERLAND RES: Alnwick,Taylor, Christensen, Collins, Smith, McFarlane (Graham 70), Woods (Allen 84), Robinson (Richardson 84), Davison, D Murphy, Stead Subs: Hartley, J Murphy
Winger's fitness boost for Everton
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Oct 20 2005
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE could be in line for his Everton debut this weekend after coming through a reserve run-out last night. The Dutch winger has been sidelined by a groin injury since joining for £2million from Inter Milan in the summer, but played over an hour of the reserves' 1-1 draw at Sunderland. Given the paucity of his current attacking options, manager David Moyes may now hand the 26-year-old a place on the bench for the visit of leaders Chelsea on Sunday, although there is still a question mark over van der Meyde's match fitness. There was other encouraging news for the Goodison club with Danish defender Per Kroldrup playing the full 90 minutes and striker James Beattie coming through more than an hour's action. Both were on the bench for the defeat at Tottenham last weekend, and Moyes may now consider the time is right to hand at least one of them a start against Jose Mourinho's men. A last-minute goal from James Harris gave the reserves a 1-1 draw, with the northeasterners having taken the lead six minutes into the second half through Daryl Murphy.
Holding his head high amid the storm
Oct 20 2005
From fourth to bottom in eight games. Paul Walker gives his verdict on Everton's rapid slide.
IN THE end David Moyes handled it very well as he stepped forward to collect an award for taking Everton into Europe. It could have been hugely embarrassing for all concerned, and there was an audible intake of breath from the gathering in Manchester at the weekend for the northern football writers' annual awards. Moyes may well have taken Everton into Europe - in two competitions as it has turned out - but they are out of both and languishing at the foot of the Barclays Premiership with just three points and one goal all season. The team who finished above European champions Liverpool last season, forcing their neighbours into prequalifying for this season's Champions League, are floundering around at the bottom of the table desperately in need of some sort of lift. It is surely not about to happen with Chelsea next up at Goodison Park on Sunday, and all this must have been rushing through Moyes' head as he stepped up to collect his trophy. He could easily have feigned illness and sent an underling to the presentation ceremony. Rafael Benitez even dispatched Ron Yeats to receive his award. But Moyes showed the strength of character so desperately needed amongst his team by turning up, speaking proudly of what Everton achieved against all the odds last season and promising they would battle their way out of this mess. The applause was as supportive as it was sympathetic from the assembled gathering, which included Sven-Goran Eriksson, Mick McCarthy, Sam Allardyce and Paul Jewell. Then Moyes returned to his Bellefield bunker to plot Everton's route away from relegation, having spent £23million since January to bring a hard-running, workmanlike squad up to European standard. Or so he thought. The manager of the year knows it has not worked. James Beattie, the £6million record signing and the first to arrive in January, has showed little return on Everton's investment. Moyes insists he is trying everything. The squad were taken to the Lake District this week for a spot of outward bound activity. Fell walking, messing about in canoes and some abseiling. Cue joke about another mountain to climb. The spirit is weaker at Goodison than it has been in months, but it is still there. New signing Phil Neville talks of "maintaining concentration and believing in ourselves." He looks at the daunting arrival of unbeaten Chelsea with the fierce competitiveness ingrained in him from his Manchester United days, insisting: "People will give us no hope whatsoever and we will go into the game with no pressure because everyone will be writing us off. "You never know. It might do us good. No pressure, no expectation and we can just go out there and give it a right good go." And that has been the real problem for Everton this season, what Neville wants and saw from afar last term is something Everton have just not been doing. They have lost that fire, the allconsuming desire, physical fitness and sheer willpower that saw them run all over teams in the final minutes of many a match. Since those days, Moyes has tried to buy better quality and if he was really honest, attempted to rid Everton of their long-ball label. The problem is that at the first sign things are going wrong, on comes Duncan Ferguson and the aerial barrage begins. But there are other differences. Players who were producing displays far above expectations last term, are back to being ordinary. Tony Hibbert, once talked of as an England player, has been a shadow of the player he was last season. Veteran David Weir is struggling against pace and in the air while Joseph Yobo makes far too many mistakes.
In midfield Lee Carsley has been missing all season through injury. And badly missed, because he played a major part in last term's miracle of fourth place. It has meant there is no defensive screen to protect Weir and co, which allowed Tim Cahill to maraud forward last term. Cahill looks worn out after three solid years of action, and even Australia could not bear to give him a break last week - they insisted he joined up with their squad for the friendly against Jamaica and played him for 11 minutes. Up front Everton cannot buy a goal. Marcus Bent, disturbed in pre-season by transfer talk, is struggling to rediscover his promising early form. After the Chelsea match, Everton have two games with Middlesbrough in league and Carling Cup, a trip to fellow strugglers Birmingham and then an away match at West Brom. If Moyes goes into December with Everton still in this state, the alarm bells will be clanging deafeningly loud.
Game still in rudest of health, insists Barwick
Oct 20 2005 Daily Post
Football is not ailing, the FA's Liverpool-born chief executive tells Richard Williamson IT TOOK an unexpected upsurge in national euphoria over the reclaiming of a small urn full of ashes to sweep the start of the Premier League season off the back pages. The exploits of Michael Vaughan and his England cricket team in ending 18 years of heartbreak in the Ashes series against Australia became submerged amid an avalanche of ticker tape, enthusiastic crowds and bleary eyes that dominated the headlines. But once Freddie Flintoff's hangover had cleared, football regained its position as the country's dominant sporting force. Not that it necessarily made happy reading for the football authorities. A national team lambasted for its pale performances along an ultimately successful World Cup qualifying campaign, a Premier League product in danger of becoming stale and empty spaces in the stands that had chairman reaching for the phones to organise an emergency get together to discuss their concerns. Signs, then, that recently installed chief executive of the Football Association, Liverpool-born Brian Bar-wick, is presiding over an ailing patient. Far from it, according to Barwick, who insists that football is still in the rudest of health with plenty of initiatives to keep it that way. And 10 months into one of foot-ball's toughest jobs, Barwick, the TV executive turned football administrator, is determined that football will be making headlines for the right reasons. "The first thing that struck me about the job is the width and range of our football," he said.. "It is not just about a winning England team, it is about getting people to enjoy playing at all levels and we have a duty to look after everyone for the good of the game. "It's not just about one league or one set of clubs. "There are some 37,000 clubs in this country, 430,000 volunteers and around 12 million people a year get involved in football. "The FA's role is to recognise that football is for everyone - young and old, supporters, administrators and volunteers." But empty seats at Premier League grounds - against a back-cloth of the football served up being branded as boring - have prompted the club chairman to launch a working party into the public's apparent disaffection with the national game. Barwick, however, believes it is far too early to be giving the game the last rites. "I do not think there is too much wrong in English football and I think it is very difficult at this stage of the season to be making comparisons," he said.. "Perhaps April is a better time to look at possible trends. "But the Premier League is being proactive in putting together an action group. We always have to be concerned about the product. "Football enjoys unparalled enthusiasm and loyalty. It is the national game and it is at the core of so many peoples' passions. "The health of the game is paramount, but it is only the early weeks of the season so we have to be sensible about things."
The success of the England cricket team brought out a glut of commentators comparing the two sports - with football coming off worse - but Barwick believes the critics are being harsh. "We were all absolutely thrilled for the English cricket team," he said. "It was a fantastic Ashes victory and we sent a good luck message from Sven and the team before the final match and our congratulations afterwards. "The parade in London was special, but I don't know if they are comparative sports." Barwick says the game deserves at least some credit for trying to put its house in order, revealing that the FA, Premier League, the players union - the PFA and the manager's organisation got together before the season to discuss how to improve behaviour. Top of their list was cutting down on mass confrontations of the referee on the pitch and treating the officials with more respect. A poster campaign - entitled Let your feet do the talking - has been launched to encourage good behaviour. High-profile spats involving play-ers like Wayne Rooney have not helped their cause, but Barwick insists: "We got together as a football forum to discuss improving behaviour in areas like mass confrontations and abuse in the face of officials and there has been a drastic improvement this season." The wealth of televised football has also been held up for a reason in the game's apparent decline, but again it is a notion Barwick, a former Match Of The Day editor, is eager to kick into touch. "It's an old chestnut," he said. "It is a fact that when England play they still provide the biggest TV audiences and when people watch the national team we hope they are inspired to play the game. "TV is a fantastic showcase for the sport and the game at all levels enjoys the benefits."
Beattie struck by new injury fear
Oct 20 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was today checking on the fitness of James Beattie after the striker came off during last night's reserve clash at Sunderland with yet another injury scare. The Blues' record £6m signing was substituted after 67 minutes having picked up a dead leg in the first half, and Moyes was today unsure whether the injury would be enough to keep Beattie out of Sunday's Goodison Park clash with Chelsea. Beattie has suffered wretched luck since his move from Southampton last January and has only started two of the Blues' 12 competitive fixtures this season owing to a combination of toe and calf problems. In better news for the Everton manager, however, Andy van der Meyde came through his first appearance in a Blues shirt with flying colours on his return from a long term groin problem. The Dutch international came off at the same time as Beattie but that was only a precautionary measure because he has played so little football in recent months. He will not be considered for the Chelsea game, though. Per Kroldrup, meanwhile, was another member of Moyes' first team pool to play for the reserves in the 1-1 draw at Durham, but again the Blues boss would like to see him play more practice games before pitching him into the Premiership battle.
"Beats had a problem with his dead leg so that was the reason he came off," said Moyes. "I hope he will be okay but we will see. "We planned that Andy would just get over 60 minutes and for the first 45 minutes he looked lively. He looks like he still needs match practice. "Per needed the game also, but he got through it well." Everton were again linked with a move for Tottenham's Robbie Keane after it emerged that Martin Jol is struggling to give the Republic of Ireland international enough first team opportunities. Keane, linked strongly with a deadline day switch to Goodison, is stalling on a new deal and could be available for £4m when the transfer window reopens.
Goal drought? Just take on the juniors
Oct 20 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S current goal drought is nothing new. One of the most talented group of players ever to represent the club endured a similar experience. And one of the stars who helped break that duck admits there is no magic formula to ending the sequence. Just 18 months after they had been crowned one of the most exciting, entertaining and free-scoring champions in English football history, Everton kicked off a campaign where they couldn't buy a goal. Everton ended the first three games of the 1971-72 season without a goal to their name. Colin Harvey broke that duck with a double against, ironically, Chelsea - before Everton endured another three games with only one goal to show for their efforts. After eight matches, the Blues had managed just two wins and four goals - and even after they had spec-tacularly ended that drought with an 8-0 slaughter of Southampton - they reverted to shot-shy type and finished a miserable campaign in 15th place with 37 goals.
Harvey remembers it well. "I remember the main problem being the number of injuries we endured throughout the season," he explained. "I was beginning to get what I thought was a groin injury, but which turned out to be the hip problems which plagued me. We had relied on Joe Royle for much of our goals and he had a back injury and one or two players suffered a serious loss of form. "I also think teams had finally begun to work us out. "From 1966 through to 1970 we had been flying. People talk about Chelsea's system now, but we were similar in that Big Joe played down the middle, Jimmy Husband and Johnny Morrissey cut in from the wings while Bally, Howard and myself formed a tight three in the middle. "We played some great football, but back then the game was a lot more physical and it was possible for teams to be more physical and try to intimidate you a lot more.
"That was happening a lot more, but it was still a shock and very frustrating when things started to fall apart -which they did that season. "I don't think you can draw parallels with the current team, but there's a couple of things they could try to get out of the rut they are in. "I always remember the team Joe Royle sent out against Liverpool after the club had made its worst start to a season in history under Mike Walker. "It was a team designed not to lose, but also one in which they tried to take advantage of every set-piece opportunity imaginable. "Andy Hinchcliffe's delivery and Duncan Ferguson and Paul Rideout's presence in the penalty area became a potent weapon - but that night against Liverpool it was quite new. "A corner or a free-kick is a guaranteed ball into the box and can be a useful weapon." Harvey also highlighted a technique the most successful manager in the club's history used on occasions to end a worrying goal drought. "I used to read in World Soccer about a tactic the Hungarians used," he added. "They would play a training game against a junior team or a poor amateur side and win about 14 or 15-0! It sounds silly but it just gets players into the habit of having shots, getting into the penalty area and actually scoring goals again! "Howard did it - only on a few occasions - and it never did any harm. "If anything it just breaks up the routine, which is what David Moyes has done this week by taking the squad up to the Lake District for a change.
"Hopefully it will make a difference against Chelsea on Sunday."
Goodison barren spells
* In 1950-51 J McIntosh and Harry Potts spearheaded a forward line which went the whole month of March - six successive matches - without a goal. They only managed three in April and May, too, and became the last Everton team to endure the ignominy of relegation.
* In 1993-94 managerless Everton went six successive games without a goal. They ended the sequence on January 3 .... against Chelsea.
* In 1998-99 Walter Smith's Everton played seven goalless draws at Goodison by January. Four of the first seven games ended 0-0.
* In 1958-59 Everton lost their opening six matches - but did score four goals.
* In 1948-49 Everton drew their opening match 3-3 - before losing 0-4, 0-1, 0-5 and 0-5 in their next four games. They beat Stoke 2-1, then lost 6-0 at Chelsea!
* With Dixie Dean injured, Everton lost seven of their first eight matches in 1926-27, before breaking their duck in the Goodison derby.
Late Harris strike saves Blues' bacon
Oct 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
JAMES HARRIS rescued a point for Everton reserves last night in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland.
The hosts had gone ahead in the first half through Daryl Murphy, but Harris' injury time equaliser ensured Andy Holden's side remained 10th in the Reserve League North table. Andy van der Meyde gave David Moyes a welcome boost by coming through the game unscathed in his first appearance in a blue shirt but James Beattie suffered a dead leg and was substituted in the 68th minute.
Goalkeeper Ian Turner kept the home side at bay during an exciting first half with Jon Stead having their best effort, while Ben Alnwick in the Sunderland goal denied Kearney and then watched Paul Hopkins head just over the bar. Beattie was also busy in the first half testing Aln-wick on a few occasions. Early in the second half though Sunderland took the lead as Daryl Murphy struck. Stead, who caused problems all night, threaded a good ball to the youngster, who drilled it past Turner in the Everton goal. Stead very nearly doubled their lead on 64 minutes with a shot which just scraped past Turner's post. Everton continued to fight hard as Andy Holden made a double change on 68 minutes with Beattie and van der Meyde being replaced by JP Kissock and Downs.
Alan Kearney hit a post as Everton pushed for the equaliser and substitute Kissock was unlucky in a goal mouth scramble, but Harris prodded home after more good work from Kissock.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner,Wynne, Hughes, Kroldrup,Wilson, van der Meyde (Kissock 68), Li Tie(Boyle 70) Harris, Kearney, Beattie (Downs 68) Hopkins. Not used: Wright, Jones.
Oct 20 2005 Liverpool Echo
'One thing I ask for is a show of pride. We can handle defeat if we see pride in the shirt' SO what now for Everton? A game against Chelsea, champions, unbeaten with a 100% record. Easy enough!
I don't know what Everton will have to do to beat Chelsea. No manager in the country seems to know, so what chance do I have, let alone David Moyes and his bunch of overpaid layabouts.
One thing I ask for is a show of pride. We can handle defeat if we see pride in the shirt. However, it seems like it's a full turn around this year, with certain players thinking all they have to do is turn up and the game should and will be won. The players have badly let down the fans many times this season with performances so woeful I've begun to pity the players rather than be angry with them.
If anything, I'm losing a lot of care for the team. Maybe I'm accepting defeat before we've even kicked a ball.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
'OUR season starts here' and 'too good to go down' - comments I have read repeatedly in the newspapers and programmes since the beginning of the season. It's time for the team and backroom staff to take responsibility for this awful start. You just have to look at a team like Nottingham Forest and look what happened to them when people thought they were too good to go down.
Confidence is really low and performances really poor. The most worrying part of this run is the problem of scoring goals. We lack creativity in midfield and we don't have a striker who can finish. It truly is an embarrassment. Will I be there on Sunday? Yes. Do I believe that we can get a result? Yes. Why? Because I'm an Evertonian who in his blue heart has belief that we can fight our way out of this mess.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
DO the management and scouts not watch the championship or under-21s? If fans can see good players just by watching TV, how can football men not see it, too? In the last year we've mentioned the names of Dawson, Reid, Reo-Coker, Ashton, Lennon, Bent, Konchesky and more in this column - young, hungry players with points to prove and full of pace in the positions we need. And they've gone on to prove it. We give old crocks new contracts and sign injured players. I don't understand it.
I don't like having a go at the manager but when I hear him say we need to score more goals, I laugh. He's got no-one to blame for not signing a striker. Bent is never going to score more than 10 goals and Duncs is in his last season, so he should have signed at least two strikers. There are teams worse than us, but we need to start showing it.
James Tyrrell, WOOLTON
A COMPREHENSIVE 3-1 victory over Manchester United to leave us fourth in the league. If only the senior squad was able to match the under-18s achievements! Saturday's visit to White Hart Lane produced a script as tired and predictable as a BBC1 sitcom, with a solid start undone by a soft goal that eroded all confidence and hope of taking anything positive home. Sunday's encounter offers the players and staff a stark choice: They can either sit and try and contain Chelsea, inevitably leading to a narrow defeat, or they can play an aggressive, high-tempo game and try and upset the opposition.
Even if the result is the same, the crowd needs to believe that the players are prepared to battle, because certain players do not appear to have the stomach for a fight.
DAVID SPOWART, Wavertree
Meyde made to wait for maiden Everton date
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 21 2005
ANDY VAN DER MEYDE will have to wait a little longer for his Everton debut. Hopes had been raised the Dutch winger could make the bench for Sunday's visit of Chelsea after he played 68 minutes for the reserves against Sunderland on Wednesday night. But Goodison manager David Moyes has revealed the 26-year-old will not be considered in any capacity this weekend as he strives to regain match fitness. "With regards to Andy, we are pleased he got just over 60 minutes on Wednesday," said Moyes. "But he still looks like he needs more match practice and won't be on the bench on Sunday." Van der Meyde, who has been sidelined by a groin injury since joining for £1.9million from Inter Milan, will now target the Carling Cup third round tie with Middlesbrough on Wednesday for a first-team appearance. "We have Midlesbrough on Wednesday when perhaps I can play a little bit," he said. "I've come a long way and I've done a lot of work but I still have to be careful with it. I just need to get some rhythm back into my game but I am happy that I have at least taken the first step."
Everton should be able to call on James Beattie on Sunday, despite the striker being substituted for the reserve team after suffering a dead leg during the first half. "James had been fine in the first half but picked up a dead leg," said Moyes. "After that it just began to stiffen up and hopefully he will be okay for Chelsea." Per Kroldrup played the full 90 minutes in 1-1 draw at Sunderland, but has admitted he remains some way from regaining full fitness having under-gone a hernia operation earlier in the campaign. "I'm getting there now, I just need to do some more training and play some more games and I am fairly comfortable that I will soon be in the team," said the Denmark international. "It has been a frustrating start for me as I haven't played in the first team yet. But I need to look ahead and look at the next game and I'm hoping to play and everyone else is hoping to play and do well. "I haven't set any targets, will just do my best in training and get in some reserve games and I just hope that as soon as possible I will be playing in the first team."
Everton are bolstered by the return of Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard sat out the last two games having been knocked unconscious in the UEFA Cup tie with Dinamo Bucharest last month. But, Tony Hibbert is still struggling to shake off a knee problem. Meanwhile, Everton are thought to be monitoring Icelandic striker Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson. The Halmstads forward, 23, is the Swedish league's top scorer, netting 16 goals in 16 games, despite playing for a team in the bottom half of the table and primarily as a lone striker. It has been reported Goodison scouts travelled to Sweden yesterday to watch Thorvaldsson play against Hertha Berlin in the UEFA Cup. Halmstads lost 1-0.
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 21 2005
EVERTON should bring in an old head to take a bit of the pressure off David Moyes. Sir Bobby Robson would be perfect. Loads of experience, knowledge and wisdom and also with great contacts, home and abroad. I think he would make a great partnership with Moyes.
Brian Angus (via e-mail)
ANDY Van der Meyde is worth a place on the bench. He has class, which will shine through no matter how fit he is. Just look at Thierry Henry's display for Arsenal the other night.
Bernard Smith (via e-mail)
Keep the faith
I WISH all fellow (true) blues would stop moaning and panicking. There are still 30-odd games left to play. If we can climb to a decent position by Christmas and get one or two new players in (Thomas Gravesen and Robbie Keane?) I still think we'll make it into the Uefa cup next season. Let's be honest, apart from Chelsea there's not much difference between the rest of us.
Harry Oakes (via e-mail)
Keen on Keane
ROBBIE Keane would be a great signing for Everton. You just have to look at his record for Spurs and the Republic of Ireland to see that.
Tony Ellison (via e-mail)
Time to recover
ALL Evertonians knew we had a poor, threadbare squad in danger of running out of gas, which it has. Even though we had a mediocre side last year, we were getting goals. Not prolific, but enough.
I still believe we can do so again, especially now we have a moderately better squad, half of whom we have not seen - either fully fit or at all. So I believe Andy van der Meyde, Per Kroldrup plus the return of Arteta, Carsley, and possibly a bigger role for Vaughan, are positives.
Also the likes of Cahill, Yobo and Co will find their form again.
Don Peters (via e-mail)
Defiant display will fire up Goodison
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Oct 21 2005
USUALLY when the champions come to town there is an expectant atmosphere and an attitude of 'let's give it a go and see what we can achieve with Goodison heaving.' Everton's present predicament, though, has meant that there is little more than a sense of foreboding ahead of the visit of José Mourinho, his elaborate hairstyle and his excellent team. No-one gives us a chance, and quite frankly, why should they? Despite what some envious Liverpudlians would have had you believe in the wake of their historic goalless draw with the West Londoners the other week, Chelsea are superb in every department. They're defensively immaculate, with a mid-field that's possibly even better, and despite the presence of the erratic Didier Drogba, their forward line always looks like scoring. Pretty much the polar opposite of this present Everton side. Another passive display by the Blues at White Hart Lane, where they frustrated a less than impressive Tottenham for an hour or so but never looked like taking a grip on the game, only added to the frustration. If their side is going to get beaten, the supporters would rather see them go down with all guns blazing. Therefore the time has come to do what we always do when times are tough: turn to Duncan Ferguson to get us out of the mire. Obviously everyone wanted to think that we had moved beyond the crude tactic of using the big chap to try and bludgeon our way through teams, but recent performances have proved beyond any doubt that we haven't. And let's be honest, if Moyes does get the push - and unfortunately it can't be that far away now unless something dramatic happens - the first thing a new manager will do, tasked with keeping us up at all costs, is throw Ferguson into the mix, so why wait? If James Beattie is fit, we should play him alongside Ferguson, too. He has been a big disappointment so far, but he has a point to prove and is more likely to bundle home a goal than either James McFadden or Marcus Bent. The crowd are going to be crucial in the coming months, when results at Goodison could ultimately decide the club's Premiership fate, so it's up to the manager and the players to at least give them some encouragement; something to get behind.
An aggressive, defiant performance against the odds on Sunday would do for a start.
We must not fear Chelsea
Oct 21 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will urge his players not to be intimidated by reputation as Everton bid to end Chelsea's perfect start to the Premiership season. Jose Mourinho's men have won all nine domestic matches so far, conceding just three goals, and have not tasted defeat in the top flight since October 16, 2004 when Nicolas Anelka's penalty was enough to earn Manchester City a 1-0 victory.
Such an incredible record has helped the champions cultivate an aura of invincibility and some bookmakers have already paid out on them retaining their title. The Blues boss, however, has shut himself off from listening to outside opinion. Rather than listen to the prophets of doom and gloom, he has been busy geeing his players up for Sunday's test and knows a good result and performance will kick start their season. "We will just treat it just like we would treat any normal game but we do know that Chelsea have got tremendous quality at the minute," Moyes said today. "They are playing very well and they are scoring goals. It will be hard but I am looking forward to the challenge.
"I expect us to win every game we play. I don't care whether it is Chelsea or whoever. It doesn't change for me and I will be looking for the players to do exactly the same. "We need to try and get a result but it will be a hard game. We know that if we are going to get a result in this game, we are going to have to play very, very well." Though he will tell his squad to pay no attention to Chelsea's status, Moyes has huge respect for the way Mourinho has fashioned them into arguably the most ruthlessly efficient side in Europe. Chelsea's style of play - as well as their star quality - does not allow the opposition any margin for error and the Blues boss knows Everton will have to pass the ball better than they have thus far before they can contemplate anything ambitious.
"Chelsea are good at controlling the tempo of the game and playing it the way they want to. That is one of their biggest things, their ball retention and if they do that, there is little you can do about it," said Moyes, who should have dead leg victim James Beattie available for selection. "Jose has got a powerful squad and you don't really know what side he will pick. You can tell there will be a bulk that he picks but there are three or four that he could alter. "They are in a busy period, so he might see this as a chance to play some of the other members of his squad. We will see."
Blues have belief to spoil champs' party
Oct 21 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA scratches his head, scrunches up his face and thinks long and hard when he is asked the question currently on everybody's lips in football: how on earth do you beat Chelsea?
During a record-breaking, swashbuckling start to the season, the Premiership champions have resembled an unstoppable juggernaut, crushing everything in their way. Nine teams have tried to stop Jose Mourinho's men. All have been beaten. The only blemish on an otherwise perfect record is a goalless draw against Liverpool in the Champions League. Next stop, of course, on their relentless march to the title is a trip to Goodison Park on Sunday and given Everton's current plight, few observers will expect anything but a convincing Chelsea win. Not Arteta. While he accepts Everton face a particularly onerous task, the Spanish midfielder offers a compelling argument behind the Blues' chances of getting something out of the game. Determined to pay supporters back for the misery of the past couple of months, Everton can go into the game free from pressure and may be able to express themselves a bit more. True, effort and endeavour will not be enough, but if the crowd gets behind the team like they can then perhaps - just perhaps - there may be a possibility of an upset. But having watched Chelsea rip Real Betis apart in the Champions League in midweek, Arteta recognises that Everton will have to get close to delivering a performance of perfection.
"I watched the game against Real Betis and Chelsea look very strong, full of confidence," Arteta noted. "Every time Betis made a mistake or lost the ball in the middle of the park, they suffered.
"Betis are not the type of team that misses many chances. We need to play a perfect game if we are going to have any chance on Sunday. "After 60 minutes, they had everything wrapped up, so we have got to really think about the best way to play against them. We know it's going to be really, really difficult. "But if we can take something from it, it will be a huge boost for the team. If we lose, many people will see it as normal because Chelsea are winning all the time. "We need to really think and have belief that we can take something from the game and get the fans right behind us. That's the only way." While manager David Moyes tries to work out a way to nullify Chelsea, much will depend on how Arteta, Tim Cahill and Phil Neville fare against the vaunted Frank Lampard, Claude Makelele and Michael Essien. Regardless of the result, Everton's trio will certainly earn their match fee. "They are brilliant," Arteta gushes. "They are all different and they share out all parts of the game very well between them. They know who needs to do what defensively or offensively.
"They know who needs to go forward, who needs to have most time on the ball, everything. At the moment, it is difficult to find three players like that anywhere in Europe. They're the best."
There is no chance, though, of Arteta and his colleagues being intimidated by reputation. Indeed, the 23-year-old is straining at the leash to get back to action following an injury lay-off.
Certainly, Everton have missed Arteta's guile and creativity since he was pole-axed by Mihitia Plesan's horror tackle during the UEFA Cup tie against Dinamo Bucharest last month. "I have been waiting for three weeks with the internationals and the time that the doctor said I had to wait to play, so it has been frustrating," said Arteta. "It has been a long time and when you don't win, it is even longer. You want to play as soon as you can but now I'm really focused for the game on Sunday." So, too, are the rest of the squad. A couple of days spent at an outward bound centre in the Lake District has raised morale and brought this tightly knit bunch closer together. The chips may be down after a run of six Premiership games without a goal, but Arteta insists that the play-ers have the stomach to get themselves out of trouble sooner rather than later. Mountain biking and whitewater rafting may have helped, but if Everton's players really need a confidence boost, one thing would help more than anything else - a win against Chelsea. "The staff here are prepared to do anything if they believe it will help the team, improve the atmosphere or boost our psychological state," said Arteta, a £2.5m summer signing from Real Sociedad following a successful loan spell at Goodison last season. "We really work for each other. There is nothing different from last year, just the points. Sometimes we have made mistakes and we haven't scored enough goals. "That has been the difference between winning and losing. But the team is still very strong and the atmosphere is still brilliant, so that says so much about this team. "But the best way to improve everything would be to get a good result against Chelsea. That is what we really have to believe in to make sure we get out of the situation we are in."
Time to unleash bruise brothers on Chelsea
Oct 21 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have an unwanted record to avoid this weekend. Never in the club's 127 year history has a team gone SEVEN league matches without scoring. Even the most shot-shy sides in the club's history have avoided that shameful statistic. Not even Bernie and Belfitt, Brett and Barlow, Spencer and Mad Mick went seven games without a goal. And despite their current league position, this current XI is not a bad team - but they still make goalscoring look fiendishly difficult, and it's not difficult to understand why. Strikers are the players who generally score goals. And Everton rarely play with more than one in their starting line-up. The Blues have been seduced by the success last season of their 4-5-1 formation. But it worked only as long as Marcus Bent was prepared to chase lost causes like his life depended on it. Take away that vital ingredient, add a handful of off-form midfielders, and the system instantly becomes ineffective. Even last season, when it was working, it relied heavily on the heroic efforts of its defenders. Throughout the whole of 2004-05, no club mustered less shots on target than Everton. No team struck the woodwork on fewer occasions. Only three teams were caught offside on fewer occasions. Only Middlesbrough, Spurs and Bolton were awarded less penalties. All are stats which point to a team lacking ambition in the attacking third of the field.
And it is a lack of adventure which has persisted this season. David Moyes correctly points out he has used a 4-4-2 system on several occasions this term. But only twice have Everton used what you would genuinely call two out-and-out strikers. And in one of those games, in Villarreal with Bent and Duncan Ferguson in tandem, Everton looked as threatening as they have at any time this season.
Everton nominally played 4-4-2 against Wigan. But neither James McFadden nor Leon Osman are what you would call proper forwards. At Manchester City, winger McFadden was Bent's partner, while at Spurs it was back to a solitary striker again. Admittedly, Moyes' hands have been tied in many respects. James Beattie has been injured all season - after scoring in the only game he started - James Vaughan has also been on the treatment table all season, while Duncan Ferguson is a supersub these days, even if he has still looked the club's most potent striking weapon. But Ferguson has now rested for a fortnight, and Beattie is - fingers and toes crossed - available again, so why not throw the Bruise Brothers at Chelsea? Everton might not win, they probably won't draw - but they could avoid becoming the most goal-shy team in the club's history. For those looking for straws to clutch at, I offer you the following statistic. The last time a Blues team went six games without scoring, they ended that barren run against . . . Chelsea.
Mind you, they still lost 4-2.
Battle of football brains fascinates Nevin
Oct 21 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Chelsea and Everton star Pat Nevin believes David Moyes' tactical acumen will make Sunday's clash with Chelsea far less predictable than the form guide may suggest. The Blues go into the Premiership encounter at Goodison having lost their last six league outings. By contrast, Jose Mourinho's side go into the game still boasting a 100 per cent record and already well ahead at the top of the table. As a result, the odds are stacked in favour of the visitors. But Nevin, now a renowned football pundit for five and BBC Scotland, has faith in the Everton boss - a former teammate as a teenager at Celtic Boys Club - to ensure Chelsea are presented with a daunting task.
He told Evertonia: "I went to see last season's game between the sides at Stamford Bridge and it was the most interesting tactical battle I have seen in years. "The approach from both managers was fantastic - it was like a game of chess. I was almost as interested watching the managers on
the touchline with the way they were altering their systems and utilising their substitutions.
"It was a great game to watch technically and tactically. There was very little to choose between the two sides, although Chelsea won 1-0 simply because Mourinho had more cards to play. David did very well and it provided a great example of why Everton did so well last season. "I expect it to be as interesting this weekend, although Everton will have the same problem. Chelsea just have so many players you need to keep an eye on and be aware of. They seem to have this unerring ability of stepping things up a gear if they need to, as they did against Bolton last weekend. Nevin, who was at Goodison between 1988 and 1992, added: "Myself and David were both at Celtic Boys Club together. He was a little older than me and even at that age he looked like a manager. "He definitely had that about him and he has shown how well suited to the job he is. "What has happened this season is a surprise but if they get that one slice of luck the results will turn around."
Blues soccer camp
Oct 21 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Football in the Community charity is running a three-day soccer camp at St Edwards College in West Derby. The soccer camps have proved hugely popular in recent months, with the FITC coaches offering top quality coaching for boys and girls between the ages of five and 12. The three-day course costs £40 per child and will take place between October 24 and 26. There are discounts available for groups of two or more children. To book places at the soccer camp ring the club's Community Office on 0870 442 1878 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Everton 1, Chelsea 1 (D, Post)
Ian Doyle At Goodison Park, Daily Post
Oct 24 2005
HOW typical that it should take a visit from the finest team in the Premiership to finally rouse Everton into life. The home support descended upon Goodison yesterday fearing the worst as Chelsea's invincibles arrived ready to condemn David Moyes's side as officially the worst in the club's history. But trepidation made way for elation as, instead of witnessing a record seventh successive league defeat, the fans left filled with renewed confidence and the belief their team has finally turned the corner following their desperate start to the season. This was the Everton of last year. Gritty, determined, filled with character and minimal respect for reputation, the qualities that propelled them to fourth place and European qualification were evident as Chelsea's 100% opening came to a thoroughly deserved halt in a hugely entertaining encounter. Yes, Everton may still be bottom of the table this morning, but if they can marry consistency to this level of performance then it is surely only a matter of time before they begin to move towards safety and ease the pressure on the beleaguered Moyes and make redundant any further impassioned interventions from chairman Bill Kenwright. That is the challenge now facing the Goodison side. In becoming the first team to stop the Stamford Bridge juggernaut they have raised the bar; now those same players must meet their own expectations, their own heightened standards. Indeed, one point could so easily have been three yesterday had referee Mark Clattenberg not waved away strong appeals for a penalty after John Terry appeared to handle when attempting to block a Marcus Bent shot. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had his own quibbles after a Didier Drogba strike was chalked off due to a loitering Eidur Gud-johnsen standing in an offside position, but it was Everton who could feel the most aggrieved. The penalty they did get ended a spell of 10 hours and 15 minutes without a Premiership goal and hinted James Beattie is ready to emerge from his personal nightmare. Beattie can never be accused of lacking confidence, but even he would admit he has struggled under the weight of his £6million price tag since arriving from Southampton in January. Dogged by injury and loss of form, he hardly endeared himself to the Goodison hordes with the stupid sending-off for headbutting William Gallas only moments into the last home meeting with Chelsea in February. That self-belief remains undimmed, however, as evidenced by his berating of Duncan Ferguson during one first-half exchange. So it was in keeping with his persona that Beattie should assume responsibility when Tim Cahill was upended by Shaun Wright-Phillips on 37 minutes. And while it would be stretching things to suggest the striker has now repaid part of that mammoth transfer fee, his goal has at least began to justify Moyes's unshakeable faith in his player. Beattie - a risky inclusion given his lack of match practice - was partnered by Ferguson in attack as Moyes dispensed with his usual five-man blanket mid-field with a good old 4-4-2. Given Chelsea had scored nine goals in their previous two games it was a brave decision, but it paid dividends particularly during a first half when the home side gave the champions a stringent examination. Tactics will always be dictated by the opposition and available personnel, but if 4-4-2 can prove effective for Everton against the best defence in the Premiership, then it can be a success against any side. On an afternoon of positives, another encouraging aspect for Moyes will be the way in which his players responded to Frank Lampard's spectacular equaliser only five minutes after the interval. Too often this season Everton have wilted alarmingly after conceding; yesterday, they dug deep and, in the face of some strong Chelsea pressure and with Joseph Yobo in commanding form, held firm. Moyes had demanded greater mental strength from his squad, and they delivered. Lampard had drawn the first save of the game with a 20-yard effort that Nigel Martyn tipped around his right-hand post, but it was a fired-up Everton who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges. And they could have been ahead on the quarter-hour, when Drogba left David Weir completely unmarked in the penalty area to meet Mikel Arteta's corner unchallenged only for the Scot to direct his header straight at Petr Cech to punch clear. In fairness, Weir was stretching slightly to reach the ball, but it was still a clear opening.
Despite some crisp passing by the home side and healthy possession - the dual strikeforce giving them far more forward options than of late, with a bludgeoning Beattie leaving his physical mark on both Terry and Claude Makelele - it was Chelsea who looked the more threatening when on the ball.
Joe Cole turned away from Phil Neville and struck a shot that deflected off Weir and flew narrowly wide, Wright-Phillips met a delightful crossfield Lampard pass to cut inside Valente and flash an effort past Martyn's other post while Lampard himself warmed the goalkeeper's palms from the edge of the area. Everton, though, forged ahead eight minutes before the interval to end a drought that went back to the Reebok Stadium on August 21. It was a goal that was part tenacity, part nerve.
Wright-Phillips dithered when bringing the ball out down the Chelsea right and Tim Cahill was quick to pounce, seizing possession before heading goalward. Eager to amend for his mistake, Wright-Phillips gave chase but succeeded only in making matters worse for his team by crudely hacking down Cahill on the edge of the penalty area, with referee Mark Clattenberg instantly - and correctly - pointing to the spot. Given Everton had not earned a penalty in the Premiership at Goodison since Duncan Ferguson converted against Newcastle United in September 2003, there was a brief debate over who would take it. Bravely, Beattie placed the ball on the spot and, without even glancing at Cech in the Chelsea goal, turned and then sidefooted home, heartstoppingly off the underside of the crossbar. With the usually unflappable Mourinho starting to twitch on the touchline, Chelsea responded with a spurt of pressure late in the half as Asier Del Horno saw his goalbound effort charged down by Yobo. However, they had to wait until only five minutes after the restart to restore parity with a goal that was both fortunate and brilliant. Makelele's attempts to control Del Horno's suspect throw-in were hampered by the referee's positioning and the loose ball ran on to Lampard, who raced forward into space and unleashed a magnificent dipping strike from 25 yards that was destined to nestle into the back of the net from the moment it left his right foot. Martyn had no chance. Everton had an escape just past the hour mark when Drogba fired home from Lampard's neat pass, only for the referee's assistant to raise his flag with substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen - on for the hapless Wright-Phillips - standing in a clear offside position in front of goal. Mourinho was apoplectic afterwards, but the decision was the right one. Chelsea proceeded to prod and probe at the Everton defence without fashioning any openings of note, although Robert Huth came close with a brace of headers. Terry then survived a penalty claim when charging down Bent's shot with arms outstretched, while Lampard forced a save out of Martyn with another long-range drive and Arjen Robben curled over. Everton, though, held firm heroically to earn a result that they must now ensure does not prove to be a mere false dawn.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Valente (Ferrari 45); Arteta, Neville, Cahill (Davies 70), Kilbane; Ferguson (Bent 79), Beattie. Subs: Wright, McFadden. BOOKINGS: Arteta, Ferrari (both fouls).
CHELSEA (4-5-1): Cech; Gallas, Huth, Terry, Del Horno; Wright-Phillips (Gudjohnsen 58), Lamp-ard, Makelele, Essien, Cole (Robben 67); Drogba (Crespo 71). Subs: Cudicini, Ferreira. BOOKINGS: Drogba, Huth (both fouls).
REFEREE: Mark Clattenberg. ATT: 36,042.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Middlesbrough, Carling Cup third round, Wednesday 8pm
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Visit the messageboards at www.icliverpool.co.uk to give your verdict
Pride restored as team spirit makes welcome return
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 24 2005
TWO very different penalty kicks are the talk of this weekend's Premiership football. The first was an embarrassing piece of showmanship gone wrong at Highbury, while the other was the goal that ended two runs of results - Everton's losing one, Chelsea's winning - and just might mark the turnaround in fortunes for the Blues of L4. The bookies, at least, had no doubt about the outcome of this encounter between top and bottom at Goodison, but still the attitude of the Everton supporters around the ground prior to kick-off was surprisingly upbeat. In fact, it seemed as if almost everyone you spoke to, even the sort of people who only ever have a flutter on Grand National day, had enough faith in the Blues to take advantage of the very generous odds being offered against a home win. Unfortunately, Frank Lampard's belter of a strike early in the second half meant that none of them collected, but still very few people were complaining at the final whistle. Because while the champions were often the more composed team - as well they might be with the vast array of talent they paraded on the pitch and on their substitutes' bench - the Toffees at least got back to demonstrating the characteristics that made them such tough opponents last season. They were abrasive, determined and aggressive; a far cry from the side that has rolled over so feebly so many times in the last couple of months. And while they only took a solitary point from the game, they also took a great deal of hope - bear in mind they were up against the team that recently smashed a total of nine goals past the famously stingy Bolton and Liverpool. The Everton supporters were given hope; they were shown that their team has the stomach for the battles that lie ahead, something that they were seriously starting to doubt after listless, inhibited performances against Tottenham and Manchester City. The most pleased man in the stadium must have been James Beattie. The burly striker has almost become synonymous with Everton's decline in form since January, but along with his strike partner Duncan Ferguson he ran himself ragged and was the one with the bottle to step up and leather the penalty past Petr Cech and in off the crossbar.
Another inch higher and the ball would have rebounded away to safety, and Beattie might as well have clocked off and asked for his cards there and then, but perhaps seasons and careers can change on the back of such small things going in your favour. Other men with chequered form this season also seemed to flourish in the highly charged atmosphere. Nuno Valente was enjoying undoubtedly his best game since arriving from Porto until he further reinforced comparisons between himself and the man he's replacing, Alessandro Pistone, by going and getting himself injured. The enigmatic Joseph Yobo, guilty of some terrible errors, notably against Manchester United and Spurs, was also back to his best as the Blues' rearguard stood firm under severe pressure after the Chelsea equaliser.
Everton certainly deserved their point though, and Jose Mourinho's complaints about their disallowed goal were utter nonsense. After a handball by John Terry, Marcus Bent's penalty appeals - again waved away by Mark Clattenburg, the ruddy-faced Geordie whose arm waving would put John McCrirrick to shame - were far more convincing than the Special One's claims that Eidur Gudjohnsen wasn't interfering with play as Didier Drogba stuck the ball in the net. Despite such a morale-boosting result though, there's still a lot of work to be done; Everton are still bottom of the league after all. But that performance has restored a great deal of pride to the club, and crucially this morning they are one point closer to the sides above them than most observers expected them to be.
Moyes: We cannot fall below this level now
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Oct 24 2005
PROUD David Moyes yesterday urged Everton to build on the performance that ended leaders Chelsea's 100% start to the season. The Goodison club became the first team to stop Jose Mourinho's side when they drew 1-1 to avert a club record seventh successive league defeat.
James Beattie scored Everton's first Premiership goal in 615 minutes by putting the home team ahead on 37 minutes from the penalty spot, and they held firm after Frank Lampard equalised for the visitors five minutes after the restart. Although Everton remain bottom of the table, Moyes said: "I am really pleased with the performance. We wanted to have a go at them, and that was the right thing to do. "At present, Chelsea are the best team in Europe. They have fantastic players and I have to give a lot of credit to our players for making a game of it. "We were looking for something that we could build on. The play-ers came into the dressing room after the game and were saying that was the level they can play at and they do not want to fall below it. "It may not have been three points and only one, but it was important to us because it was Chelsea. "Hopefully we will have a lot of confidence and self-belief after this performance, because the players have raised the bar.
"We cannot hide from the fact that we are bottom of the league but this result can give us a lift to start winning games again." Moyes believed Everton were denied a second penalty in the closing stages when John Terry appeared to use the top of his arm to deflect Marcus Bent's cross clear.
"I thought it struck John Terry's arm," said the Everton manager. "At the time I thought it was a penalty by the shape of his body. "I have seen it briefly on television and haven't seen anything to make me change my mind. It was his arm and not his chest." Beattie's goal was only his fourth for Everton since his £6million move from Southampton, and he was making his first start since being forced off against Manchester United with a toe injury on the opening day of the season on August 13. The striker made several abortive attempts at a comeback, and was substituted in midweek for the reserves having suffered a dead leg. But Moyes said: "I thought by the end, his effort and work rate was everything we had hoped he would give us when we signed him. What we want him to do now is to get more goals. He wanted the penalty and he was brave enough to take it and he stuck it away. "I still think he has a bit to go in terms of fitness, but he was the one player out there who at 90 minutes was happy to be running about on empty." Beattie was partnered up front by Duncan Ferguson as Moyes elected to play a 4-4-2 formation with Mikel Arteta on the right wing.
And the Everton manager said: "We played two up front against Manchester City, Portsmouth and Wigan, so we have done it a few times already this season. "And Mikel Arteta played very well. He has played well on the right a couple of times already for us." The Everton manager had a minor quibble over Lampard's equaliser, which came from an Asier Del Horno throw-in that appeared to be taken illegally. "I think Del Horno's throw-ins were a bit suspect all day, but I was more concerned that we did not have any midfielders closing down on the ball before Lampard got the shot away," said Moyes. "But overall our defence was really good today. Joseph Yobo is a really good player and if he can cut out one or two errors then he would be a great player. He did very well for us today.
"The atmosphere at Goodison played as big a part as any player, so I say thank you to all of them.
"The supporters know we are doing the right things, and they have always been supportive of me. I do not have to defend my record for the last four years here. "But I don't like to look back, I want to look forward."
* THOMAS GRAVESEN was last night sent off as Real Madrid lost 2-1 to Valencia at the Bernabeu in the Spanish League. The former Everton midfielder was given a straight red card for serious foul play with eight minutes to go. England captain David Beckham was also red-carded, having been given a yellow card for dissent and then sent off by the referee because of his reaction to being cautioned with two minutes of normal time remaining. Zinedine Zidane missed a penalty before Valencia took the lead through a Ruben Baraja free-kick before half-time. Raul levelled for Madrid but the visitors were awarded a penalty for hand-ball and David Villa converted from the spot.
Heads held high at Goodison
Fanscene By Mark Mckenna, Daily Post
Oct 24 2005
AS a sign of how the teams have fared this season, the main ambition of many fans going into this was to avoid embarrassment. The fragile confidence of the players and the breaking point patience of the fans surely couldn't have handled a mauling at the hands of the cockney wide-boys. We asked the players to show some pride .and they responded superbly by producing a performance with possibly more passion and energy than the previous eight games put together. The feeling of walking out of Goodison with head still held high was something not felt since last season.
With the exception of the Dinamo home game, this was the first time this term you could sense the unity between players, manager and fans. This is what the success was built on last season, and what we need to now show consistently. Although it still wasn't from open play, an Everton goal at home was something we could only witness on DVD so far this seasonbut beggars can't be choosers, so good on James Beattie for giving us something to cheer about. Fair enough, the vast majority of possession and quality of play belonged to Chelsea, but they were ruffled. While Mourinho can buy whatever player he wants, the one thing he can't buy is fans. Mourinho is in awe of the atmosphere created at Goodison. After his first-half theatrics, Del Horno won't be in a rush to play in front of the Paddock again . . .may not speak a word of English/ Scouse, but he knew to stay well clear. Should we face defeat at Birmingham next week, then this display is worth nothing. Does season 2005/06 start here? I'm quietly confident it does.
Mourinho in outburst over Drogba 'goal'
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 24 2005
JOSE MOURINHO was fuming that Didier Drogba's second-half goal was disallowed for off-side, while Everton manager David Moyes was insistent his side should have been awarded a late penalty when John Terry looked to handle in the box. That was how close this showdown of top against bottom became, with desperate Everton claiming a 1-1 draw to end Chelsea's 100% record at the top of the Barclays Premier-ship. The Chelsea chief was angry referee Mark Clattenburg ruled Eidur Gudjohnsen offside in the Everton area when the Ivory Coast hitman - from an onside position - rifled home what he thought was a second goal for the West Londoners. The official declined to discuss the two issues after the match, but Mourinho said: "I felt we got three points because we scored two great goals, Frank Lampard's was an outstanding shot and the second by Drogba was at the end of an outstanding move. "It was a fantastic display by my play-ers, we dominated the game against a team of fighters who fought to the last second. "But we dominated clearly and scored two goals. It was a clear goal, the linesman doubted it but he must give a clear advantage to the attacking team, the instructions are to wait until the last moment but his flag went up like a rocket.
"For Drogba's goal to be disallowed was a big mistake. But managers, referees and linesman all make mistakes. But it leaves a taste in the mouth. "I was ready for a draw, it is part of the game. But the referee should apologise and I am not happy. "We scored two fantastic goals, they should have changed the game. But the team was very strong mentally to come out after the break losing. We played well, pressed and pushed up, the reaction of the team was fantastic." Moyes centred his after-match complaints at Terry's block of Marcus Bent's shot that looked to strike him on the top of the arm. Moyes said: "It may well have been three points if we'd had a second penalty. They may well have a few shouts but we need everything we can get at the moment. "The first one was a penalty, the tackle was in the area, and the second one could have been. Terry definitely leans into it and I felt it struck his arm. It was the way he leaned into it. "But Chelsea were terrific, Lampard was stunning. Not just his goal but every time he picked the ball up. "But we knew all this before and we tried to work at it. You can't plug all the gaps, but you can try your best." Everton had taken the lead in the first half when James Beattie converted from the penalty spot following Shaun Wright-Phillips' foul on Tim Cahill but Lampard levelled the scored after the break with a long-range shot.
Everton 1, Chelsea 1 (Echo)
Oct 24 2005 David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
SO this is not the most goal-shy team in Everton Football Club's 127-year history. But to excited Evertonians, James Beattie's 36th minute strike meant much, much more than the avoidance of an unwanted historical statistic. It deprived Chelsea of their 100% record, it ended one of the most miserable run of reverses any youngish Evertonian could recall, it earned a thoroughly deserved point - and it offered hope for a fresh start.. It was no coincidence that such a purposeful performance came when David Moyes finally had an selection of bodies to choose from.
Perhaps, too, it had something to do with the conventional 4-4-2 formation which Everton rigidly employed for almost the entire 90 minutes. But most significantly of all the team spirit which coursed through Goodison like adrenalin last season was back once again. Everton didn't just hold Chelsea. They took the game to them, and while they rode their luck at times - but for a dreadful non-penalty award by Mark Clattenburg they might even have been celebrating a truly memorable victory. As it was the home fans still celebrated the 1-1 draw like a victory of sorts. They became the first team to prevent Chelsea from winning this season and they proved that the fire, the fight and the team spirit which caried them to a Champions League place last season has not been extinguished. The point prised from Chelsea's grasp can provide a platform for the rest of Everton's season - and it can also provide a springboard for James Beattie's Everton career. Not everything he tried yesterday came off. But his attitude was absolutely exemplary and the sight of him charging relentlessly into the right-back position in time added on to close down another Chelsea raid was just the kind of commitment Evertonians wanted to see. So too, was the manner in which he converted his penalty kick, even if his top corner strike was almost too precise. In cold statistical terms, that finish merely ensured that this current Everton team did not collect one of the most unwanted records in the club's history - the first side to go seven league matches without a goal.
But in the heat and passion of a rocking Goodison Park, it meant so much more. Everton started with a passion and a sense of purpose which underscore their belief that they really could pull off the unlikeliest of successes. In the opening minutes Duncan Ferguson's willingness to chase a wayward pass down the left flank and turn a hopeful clearance into an Everton attack was reminiscent of his ball-chasing heroics which unsettled Manchester United last season.
More crosses arrowed into Petr Cech's penalty area in the opening 15 minutes than the Blues had managed in the past month, and damaging, dangerous crosses at that. From one of them, David Weir found himself totally unmarked but couldn't get his body-shape right to anything more than direct the ball straight at a relieved Cech, who palmed clear. With an extra man in midfield, Chelsea were enjoying sizeable spells of possession, but the presence of two recognised front-men in the Blues' attack - and giant strikers at that, meant that even Huth and Terry found life uncomfortable.
When James Beattie was infamously red-carded during last season's corresponding fixture for head-butting William Gallas, David Moyes complained that a player like John Terry might not have reacted so dramatically. He was proved totally correct in the 22nd minute when Beattie, this time accidentally, saw the back of his head connect with Terry's nose. The Chelsea skipper blinked, wiped the trail of blood away and carried on regardless. Afterwards he bumped into Beattie in the tunnel, grinned and muttered: "You always catch me, Beatts!" Chelsea must have wished it was Terry covering Tim Cahill's admirably persistent foraging on the edge of the Chelsea box 10 minutes before the interval, rather than Shaun Wright-Phillips. Cahill's adventure was excellent, but Wright-Phillips' challenge reckless and referee Clattenburg was perfectly placed to point to the spot. It was the first time any ref had done so in a Premiership fixture at Goodison Park for two years. On the last occasion a referee had pointed to the spot in a Premiership match here, Duncan Ferguson calmly clipped the ball high into the Newcastle net. This time James Beattie exacted a form of redemption for last season's misery by crashing the ball into the same spot. Goodison rocked, but Chelsea rolled with the blow and four minutes after the interval hit back with a stunning strike of their own.
Frank Lampard drifted hopefully in from the left onto Del Horno's throw-in, but there was nothing hopeful about the high-class shot he unleashed which fizzed and dipped past Martyn's despairingly outstretched left hand. But if the nation sat back anticipating a Bolton-style collapse, it never came.
Sure, Didier Drogba's 62nd minute 'goal' was incorrectly ruled out for offside. But so, too, was John Terry's blatant handball seven minutes from time, to block Marcus Bent's shot and deny a second penalty kick of the afternoon. What is it with referees, Chelsea and non-penalty awards on Merseyside? William Gallas escaped a blatant hand-ball at Anfield this season, while Petr Cech would have been proud of the block John Terry produced to parry Bent's 83rd minute effort.
But that was only a minor moan on an afternoon Everton rekindled some fire and passion amongst their supporters. It has been a long time coming, but Evertonians can finally start believing their season has started. They must ensure that on Saturday at St Andrews it is not a false start.
Man of the match
Not his most accomplished performance by any stretch of the imagination, but his work-rate, attitude and spirit was exemplary. Not to mention a perfectly placed penalty kick.
Beattie happy with Blues 'unique' striking threat
Oct 24 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE today revealed the not-so-secret formula which he hopes will kick-start Everton's season. The Blues' hit-man partnered Duncan Ferguson against Chelsea in a Bruise Brothers strike-force which pummelled Chelsea into finally conceding their 100 per cent record for the season.
And afterwards goalscorer Beattie said: "We are a pretty powerful pairing and pretty unique in that respect. On Sunday Chelsea changed their team to cope with it and that says a lot in itself. It gives credit to our team and Dunc himself. "It's strange playing off a target man but it does give you a greater amount of opportunities during a game. I like it. Obviously Duncan gives us physical presence and puts himself about, which I like doing as well. "Dunc wins 90% of the headers he goes up for. It is just up for me to start reading them if we are who the gaffer picks and we can start creating more chances and scoring more goals." Beattie smashed home a 36th minute penalty-kick to help earn a 1-1 draw and finally halt the Chelsea steamroller. Then he declared the Blues must use the draw as a starting point for their season. "We have to build on that and I have no doubt we will," he declared. "The spirit we showed today to bounce back from the disappointment at Tottenham last week, when we played well for 60 minutes but suffered from one or two mistakes, was tremendous.
"We just thought it was a great opportunity for the team to put a stop to Chelsea's run and, more importantly, turn us around - which I've no doubt we will do now we are getting all our players fit."
For Beattie, his goal was the perfect way to erase memories of last season's red card against Chelsea. "I'd pretty much forgotten about last year and put it to the back of my mind," admitted Beattie "but the gaffer pointed out it was pretty ironic that Chelsea was going to be my first game back. "When we got the penalty a few of their players were trying to put me off, but you're going to get that aren't you? It's just a bit of gamesman-ship. It's accepted, you just have to try and go somewhere else and concentrate on what you are doing. "I wasn't worried. I know it was right under the bar but I knew where I wanted to put it. I can go either side, it doesn't matter. I made my mind up early. "You could say I had the perfect penalty mentor down at Southampton in Matt Le Tissier. He has a different style. He used to put it wherever he wanted after the keeper had moved.
"I can't do that! I use my own technique and it has worked so far."
'We've raised bar to a new standard'
Oct 24 2005 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes yesterday's morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Chelsea will give his players the belief to climb away from the Premiership drop zone. The Blues halted a run of six straight Premiership defeats with a gutsy display to end the champions' 100% start to the season. James Beattie's penalty broke Everton's goal drought before the break but Frank Lampard equalised with a stunning 30-yard strike early in the second half. He said: "We were looking for something we can build from and we got that today. "Chelsea are the best team in Europe right now. They have fantastic players and I've got to give my players a lot of credit. "We had a real go at Chelsea and made a game of it. "The players have come in and said they don't want to drop below that and we have to stay at that level now. "We didn't get the three points but the one point was in a lot of ways very important for us. Not only in terms of confidence and self belief but because we have done it against Chelsea. "The players have raised the bar to a new standard with this performance but they have to kick on and get more points." Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was fuming over Didier Drogba's disallowed goal but Moyes insisted that Everton should have been handed a second penalty when John Terry handled in the box late on. "I thought it should have been a penalty," he said. "He (Terry) definitely leans and I thought it struck his arm. At the time I thought it was a penalty because of the shape of his body and the way he lent towards it. "I know they had a couple of claims but I think Eidur Gudjohnsen was in a position which would affect the play. "He was standing in the middle of the box so he had to be flagged offside." Beattie marked his return to the side with a goal and Moyes was also impressed by the defensive exploits of Joseph Yobo. "I still think Beattie's got a bit still to go in terms of fitness but his effort and work rate was what everyone hoped James Beattie would be. If you're going to get to that level then your work rate will never be questioned.
"All we want now is for him to get his goals. He wanted the penalty today and was brave enough to stick it away. " He was running on empty towards the end but he kept running and was happy to do so. "Our defence also looked really good today. I've been saying for a long time that Joseph Yobo is a really top player. All he has to do is cut out one or two silly mistakes." Mourinho insisted his side should have claimed maximum points but paid tribute to Everton's fighting spirit. "Maybe I look stupid but I go home thinking we got three points," he said. "We scored two goals and when you score two and only concede one you usually win. "If the linesman has doubts about Drogba's goal then he has to give advantage to the attacking team but like a rocket he put the flag up. "We dominated the second half but it was not easy because they are a team of fighters. "They fought until the last second and they were exhausted because they fought for this point. "The crowd was amazing, in this game they had about 30,000 referees. There was a big contribution from the public. It was amazing support for a team who are not doing well. "I hope they start from here and get enough points to be out of the dungeon. Everton is a big club and they have to stay in the Premiership."
Upbeat Beattie keen to build on Chelsea display
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 25 2005
JAMES BEATTIE has admitted the poor start to his Everton career left him "really down" as he urged his teammates to make a habit of Sunday's encouraging display against Chelsea. Beattie's goalscoring contribution against the champions suggested he is finally ready to emerge from an underwhelming first few months on Merseyside dogged by poor form, suspension and injury.
And the 27-year-old striker hopes the feeling gained from forcing Chelsea's first dropped points of the Premiership can act as the springboard for the revival needed to pull Everton away from the relegation zone. He said: "There were times I felt really down, but you always hang onto times like this. Obviously the feeling we have now, after stopping the champions and potentially turning our season around, is far better than coming in after a defeat. "I have said to the lads 'hang onto this now and turn it into a habit,' whereas before it was becoming a bit of a habit coming in feeling bad."
Beattie's start against Jose Mourinho's men was his first since the opening-day defeat to Manchester United, and the £6million frontman is hopeful he may now at last be allowed a sustained run in the side. "I have pretty decent natural fitness and have been working hard," he said. "I played 65 minutes in the reserves in midweek and felt good. It's just trying to keep your level of fitness up, and that's difficult without games. "What I need now is matches and I will be running like that at the end of every game. "I've started three games now and think my injuries are behind me now, I'm confident of that. I think it can only get better for me from here." The result proved particularly satisfying for Beattie having been red-carded in the same fixture last term, which the Londoners won 1-0. He added: "I have pretty much forgotten about last year and put it to the back of my mind. But the gaffer did say it was pretty ironic that my first game back was this, and I suppose it was.
"But it was a great opportunity for the whole team and club to put a stop to Chelsea's run and, more importantly, turn us around. We know that after today, this result will do that, especially when we get all the players fit." And Beattie revealed he had to overcome attempts from the Chelsea players to put him off before he confidently despatched his first-half penalty. "A few of their players tried to put me off before the kick, but we all get that," he added. "It's all gamesmanship isn't it, and accepted. You just have to concentrate on what you're doing and ignore the rest." Beattie added: "I have a routine for penalties and thus far it's worked well. I can go either way, but made my mind up early and knew where I wanted to put it. "You could say that I've had the perfect mentor at Southampton in Tiss (Matthew le Tissier), although he had a different style. "He could go either way and just put it wherever he wanted when the keeper moved, but I can't do that. But it's gone in alright in the end, even though it was off the bar. It was a good strike. "I think our whole team, but in particular the defenders, were tremendous. Chelsea had a lot of possession and were piling on the pressure in the second half, and we didn't really see the ball up front. The lads need a lot of credit for how they played. "They were pushing and probing. But I think this proves that any side on the day are not unbeatable."
Beattie will come good, claims Moyes
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 25 2005
DAVID MOYES believes misfit striker James Beattie will "deliver the goods" to pull Everton away from the relegation zone. And after the £6million striker's penalty had ended Chelsea's 100% Premier League record this term, the former England man pleaded to be allowed to form a partnership up front with Duncan Ferguson. Everton's manager claims the pair gave the Premier-ship champions a stern test during the 1-1 draw at Good-ison Park, although the hosts remain at the bottom of the table. Moyes said: "The front two gave them problems, Duncan with his aerial ability and James because of his persistent hard work. He was immense. "It took him a while to get up to the speed of things in his first game back after injury, but once he did he put in plenty of effort. That is something you can never hold against him, the effort is always there. "Then he was brave enough to want to take the penalty. We want people who want the ball and want to stick it in the net and hope-fully now James will deliver the goods when we get him as fit as we possibly can. "The only thing that matters is we keep going in the right direction and try to get results, and under the circumstances it was a good one." Everton had lost six league games on the trot before Sunday's showdown with the champions. Now Beattie wants to forge a lasting pairing with Ferguson following a difficult nine months of injury and loss of form since he moved from the south coast. Beattie said: "We are a powerful pairing and somewhat unique. Chelsea changed their team to cope with us and that said a lot in itself. "It gives credit to the team and to Duncan. It is strange playing off a target man but it does give you more opportunities. "Duncan gives us physical presence and puts himself about, which I like doing as well. He wins 90% of the headers he goes for so it is up to me to read them."
Season starts now
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Oct 25 2005
Season starts now
OUR season starts now. I would prefer a more attacking line-up, a positive mental attitude, especially when we are at home. Start scoring goals now, before it becomes too late. It is easier said than done. Last season, Cahill was doing the job for us, this season, nobody. That's the reason we are down there.
Peter Lowe (via e-mail)
IT was great to see such a battling, committed, courageous performance but I still wasn't impressed by Beattie. Apart from taking the penalty, which he almost missed, his contribution and his threat was limited and he looked way out of condition. This player has been significantly over-valued and it will take more than a penalty and some bluster to overcome that.
B Masters, Liverpool
DON'T get me wrong I am chuffed with the result but, ask yourself this question. We have 29 games to go and we have four points. Working on the basis of 37 points is safe, can you see us winning 11 of 29 for example? I hope I am wrong.
Paul Stafford (via e-mail)
I THINK a lot of people are getting over excited. Yes it was a better Everton performance, but not great.
Ken Brougham, Liverpool
I NOTICE all the ones who we're saying we'd lose on Sunday have shut up. It was a great performance and only goes to prove that we have got an amazing squad. Although it was a draw, to us it's like gold.
Danny Knowles, Wirral
Nuno is struck by injury curse
Oct 25 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NUNO VALENTE is the latest player to fall victim to Everton's left-back curse. The Portuguese international could be missing for a month, after pulling his hamstring during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Valente joins left-backs Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith on the injured list, while Duncan Ferguson and Tim Cahill are also doubts for tomorrow's Carling Cup third round tie against Middlesbrough. Ferguson suffered a dead leg during Sunday's draw with Chelsea, while Tim Cahill didn't train yesterday but has not yet been ruled out. Blues boss David Moyes was forced into the market before the last transfer deadline after Alessandro Pistone damaged knee ligaments barely weeks after signing a new contract and Gary Naysmith sustained a long term knee injury. He brought in Valente and Matteo Ferrari, who is likely to deputise tomorrow, but is now the only fit left-back with first team experience on the club's books.
More goals on the way - Beattie
Oct 25 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE is begging Blues' boss David Moyes for the chance to build on Sunday's goalscoring comeback in tomorrow's Carling Cup tie. Beattie started his first match for more than two months against Chelsea and was still going strong in time added on. Now he is keen to continue against Middlesbrough tomorrow night. "There are plenty more goals in me and hopefully we can get some more on Wednesday," he declared. "I'm certainly okay for Wednesday. I was pretty tired towards the end on Sunday, but I was still running. "It couldn't have been affecting me that much, unless I was just running on pure adrenalin! "But I want to play every game. "I've started three and scored in two of them, but 20 minutes into the United match it was another injury. "But they're behind me now. I'm quite confident about that. I just hope to get better from here. "I have pretty decent natural fitness and I have been working hard. Trying to maintain a high level of fitness without games is difficult and obviously you can be fit off the pitch but match fitness is a totally different thing. "What I need now is matches and I will be running like that all game." Beattie admitted that Sunday's result gave him a huge boost after the foot and calf problems which stalled his season before it had even started. "It's been a bad time," he admitted, "but you just try and hang onto times like this. "If we could have hung on to win against Chelsea it would have been even better, but this feeling we had in the dressing room from stopping the champions and potentially turning our season around is far better than coming in having had any kind of defeat. I said to the lads, try to hang onto this feeling and try to turn it into a habit whereas before it was a bit of a habit coming in feeling terrible."
Perfect warm-up as Blues hit five
Oct 25 2005 Women's Football by Paul Garrity, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON LADIES warmed up for their top of the table clash with Arsenal next week with a 5-2 thrashing of Fulham. After a bright opening by Fulham, Everton got into their stride and Jody Handley raced onto a Kelly McDougall pass to open the scoring on 23 minutes. Handley got her second of the game four minutes later before Justine Lorton got one back from the penalty spot for Fulham. Just before the break, McDougall's deflected effort made it 3-1. The Toffees were out of the blocks quicker after half-time with winger Michelle Evans grabbing her first goal of the season, tapping in Handley's cross-shot at the far post. Fulham pegged another back through Dunia Susi before Evans scored her second on 66 minutes. Her left-footed shot from the edge of the box flew into the top corner, sealing an important three points for Mo Marley's team. Marley said: "Today was good. It was about getting the three points and making sure the game next week is important. Had we lost this one, then the Arsenal game would be irrelevant." In the Northern Division, Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2-0 to stay top of the table. Two goals just before half-time from Jade Thomas gave her side all three points. Tranmere beat Nottingham Forest 3-2 after a goal from Kelly Jones and two efforts from Vicky Abbott. Rovers are now unbeaten in eight matches and lie fourth in the league. This Sunday sees Everton play title holders Arsenal at Marine FC (12.30pm). Liverpool are away to Man City and Tran-mere host Curzon Ashton at Poulton Victoria FC (2pm).
Moyes sets sights on long cup run
Oct 26 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is hoping to start rectifying the one glaring omission from his Goodison CV tonight - a lengthy cup run. The Blues boss has twice been named Manager of the Year, engineered a relegation escape within weeks of taking over at Goodison and took the club into Europe for the first time in a decade. But the Blues haven't been past the last 16 of a cup competition since the FA Cup quarter-final at Middlesbrough three-and-a-half years ago which sealed Walter Smith's sacking. Moyes will try to plot a path past the same opponents in tonight's Carling Cup third round (kick-off 8pm) and admitted: "I'd love to take Everton to a final, but you have to earn that by getting through difficult games and rounds and Middlesbrough will certainly be a tough task. "Boro are a good side and they've had a few good seasons and are now doing well in the UEFA Cup. "So this is a difficult game for us when you would really admit to wanting to play someone a bit lower down the divisions at this stage. "Cup draws have been a little unkind to us, even if you think of who we have had to play in Europe this season. But maybe the Carling Cup will be the one that gives us good results." Moyes is taking the competition seriously and will not consider rotating his squad. Nuno Valente, Duncan Ferguson and Tim Cahill will be enforced changes through injury, but Blues' fans may have to wait a little longer before catching their first glimpse of summer signings Per Kroldrup and Andy Van Der Meyde. Both are in the Blues' squad tonight, but unlikely to start. Fans can pay at the turnstiles for tonight's match. Admission is £15 adults £10 concessions.
'Vital we have good cup run'
Oct 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES hopes the Carling Cup can produce a quick-fix silver lining for the Merseysiders. Moyes has experienced plenty of cup heartache in his time at Goodison Park, from an FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury to a Carling Cup defeat on penalties to Middlesbrough two years ago, and now seeing this season's European adventure turn sour against Villarreal and Dinamo Bucharest. The Goodison chief said: "We would take any silverware at the moment. It's vital for us to have a cup run. "The Premier League is always the most important and we have to move forward and get some points. "But we must do as well as we can in the cups, we need a good run. Middlesbrough reached the final of this competition recently and they will know how good that felt and it is something we would like to achieve here." Moyes sees the Carling tournament as one that can secure a place in Europe, and a third-round home tie with Middlesbrough is vital, he claims, to changing the club's fortunes. He said: "With the limited amount of competitions to win in this country, you really must have a go at anything that comes along. "Chelsea and Manchester United use lesser players in early rounds but that is because they have the squads to do that. "But for Everton, the way we are at the moment, we need to win any game we are involved in."
Winger itching for some action
Oct 26 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans may have to wait a little longer to get their first glimpse of Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde. But Blues' boss David Moyes says it will be worth the wait. Van der Meyde is in the squad for the first time tonight, but unlikely to start the Carling Cup third round tie against Middlesbrough. Moyes said: "He's a good character. If I said to you he was a bit like Thomas Gravesen it would give you an idea. "He's got a lot of similarities to Tommy. There's a mad streak in there. He's a bit of a character and in a lot of ways he's made quite a lot of us laugh. He's been very good round the place." Van der Meyde has been just as impressed by his new team-mates, despite the dreadful start to the season. "I know this team is a good team," he said "otherwise I wouldn't have come to play for Everton.This side is very strong.When I started training I saw them going for every ball and I think this is normal in England."They are nice guys, the spirit is good and I think everything will start to get better now. "The boys played very well (against Chelsea). It was a good result for us and we can be more clear in the head now, look forward and not think about losing games." A groin strain means Van der Meyde has been forced to wait for his Everton debut - but he is eagerly awaiting the moment. "I cannot wait to play for Everton - I wish it was today! I want to play good games for Everton and leave this all behind (the injury) and start now with the team," he added. "When I am playing I am always looking for the goal. I am always looking to go forward and towards the goal, not back. That is how I am used to playing and so I hope I can score some goals and give some assists to the strikers. "I hope I can excite the fans. I think I can do that and it would be nice to do that on Wednesday. "I have been to watch a lot of games this season but I want to be on the pitch now. I hope to make a good impression for the supporters. "I'd rather be on the pitch than in the stands, but it has not been possible. But when I was sitting there (in the stand), it's more difficult than being on the pitch, I am more nervous. The pitch is where I am happiest." Van der Meyde admits he found the training regimen at Bellefield like going back to his Ajax roots. After several years in Italy with Inter Milan, he said: "In Italy everything is focused on the game. The training during the week is easy, they take everything easy all week. "But training with Amsterdam was more like Everton, it was hard training. That is nice, that is how I like it and I am used to it so I am very happy I am here at Everton now and I hope to be important for Everton. "I think training so hard is good for every player but it does suit me. In Italy, if you are not playing then you just do nothing - you have to train for yourself. "Here, if you didn't play you have to train even harder. I think this is good for the team. I think it is very important to have this type of training."
'If Rooney stayed he would have become Everton's greatest player'
Oct 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
COLIN HARVEY'S Everton career spanned 40 years - and covered almost every conceivable role at the club. From teenage playing prodigy to youth team coach, from influential first-team coach to manager - then back again to coaching duties with the club's up and coming youngsters, Harvey has seen and done it all. He has now collected his thoughts and reminiscences with local journalist John Keith and produced the definitive Everton autobiography "Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets." Chief sports writer DAVID PRENTICE reports ... COLIN HARVEY had a privileged insight into the development of the remarkable talent that is Wayne Rooney. And he devotes an entire chapter of his autobiography into the way he watched Rooney develop from a precocious 11-year-old schoolboy into the youngest goalscorer in Premiership history at 16. "Wayne's the best young player I've ever seen, the best Everton have produced and he can become one of the greatest English players of all time," wrote Harvey. "Until Wayne came along, the best youngster I'd ever seen was Alan Ball. I later teamed up with Bally at Goodison and he did it all for Everton, winning 72 caps, the World Cup and championship medals. He was the best Everton player in my opinion and my experience. "But I felt that if Wayne had stayed at Everton he had all the qualities to become the greatest Everton player in living memory. He has fantastic ability. I rate him so highly and, like all Evertonians, I was desperately disappointed when he moved to Manchester United in August 2004." Harvey recalled his first sighting of Rooney some seven years earlier - and the memory will live with him forever. "I was in charge of the Under-19s and Under-18s," he explained, "but I used to go to the club's youth training complex at Netherton every Sunday morning to take in a couple of games including the Under-16, 15 and 14 sides just to keep tabs on the next batch of players who were coming through. "Wayne, who attended Our Lady and St Swithin's Primary School, was nine years old when he was signed for Everton by the club's youth director Ray Hall in 1994 and went on to score 99 goals in a season for the Under-10 team. "I'd even met Wayne's mother Jeanette before I'd seen or met Wayne. Sid Benson, one of the club's scouts, introduced me to her and she left me almost speechless by exclaiming 'I used to have so and so pictures of you all over my so and so bedroom wall!' Sid himself told me enthusiastically that this kid had scored hundreds of goals and that he was the best thing since sliced bread and all that. "Experience teaches you to treat such talk with great caution. But I was there at Nether-ton as usual one Sunday in August 1997 when there was a break in the Under-16s game because of an injury. "I happened to glance over to where the under-11s were playing. As I looked, this kid got the ball on the halfway line, went past four opponents and lashed it into the net! That was my first sight of him - he was still a couple of months away from his 12th birthday. "Any thoughts that what I'd seen was merely a freak were soon dispelled. Wayne did remarkable things on a regular basis. "He was stronger than the rest of the kids and I did wonder whether he would develop and whether the the others would catch him up physically. I've seen it happen so often. But not with Wayne. "He developed and maintained his strength. I just looked at him and thought 'Blinkin' heck . . . if he carries on like this he's going to be a world beater.' "So I kept my eye on him. "After a while I decided I'd include Wayne in the squad for a couple of Under-19 games in the FA Academy League. "At the start of the 2000-01 season, when Wayne was still only 14, his uncle took him on holiday and he got back in the early hours of Saturday, the day of our first Under-19 match that year. I'd wanted him to come with us but as we were going overnight to play Chelsea in London I couldn't take him. "Instead Alan Harper played him in the Under-17s home game against Birmingham. "When I spoke to Alan after the matches he told me: 'We got beaten 4-1 but Wayne scored an absolute blinder. He stood out from everyone on the field.' That was it. I said to Alan 'Right, I'll definitely take him next week for our match down at Leicester.' I named Wayne as one of the substitutes. We were losing 2-0 with about 20 minutes to go so I said 'Wayne get warmed up and we'll send you on.' "Nick Chadwick was up front and at that level he scored goals for fun. He'd rattle in 30 a season, but he was having one of those games when nothing was going right for him. So I took off Nick and put Wayne on. "Well, within a minute he'd made three chances and a couple of openings for other people. "The next minute he got the ball on the left some 30 yards out, worked it onto his right foot and bent a shot into the top corner of the net. "Everyone just stopped. Our lads had heard about him but they were stunned. He was still 14, remember and he was up against lads of 19, some going on 20. "He trained with us on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, which he was allowed to do by his De La Salle School. "They were brilliant about it. I think the fact that Wayne was a conscientious pupil was a big factor in the school's attitude towards his football and his parents brought him up the right way. "He comes from a down to earth family. Even in training Wayne would light up the place. He'd produce something magical and Alan and I would exclaim to each other 'Goodness me . . . never seen him do that before!' "I realised what a fantastic talent we had on our hands and I often used to give him a lift to his home in Croxteth or to his grand-mother's, after we'd got back from games. "I'd have a little word in his ear and give him some little bits of advice about whom he was knocking around with. I'd remind him to keep his feet on the ground and that he must continue to work hard at school. "Wayne was very receptive to things like that. He'd listen and take it all on board. He wasn't an introvert, but very much a quiet, self-contained lad. That was until he stepped onto the field. That was - and is - his playground. "Once he got on there he knew exactly how good he was. I also told him I'd pay to watch him play! "Wayne very kindly and publicly said that I'd helped make him a better player. Well I take no credit for that. I agree with one of the sayings of Bill Shankly, that it's not coaches who make players - but mothers and fathers. It's an inborn talent. All coaching can do is bring out skills and help their natural expression. "Walter Smith wanted to include him but there were problems because Wayne was still at school and special dispensation was required. So it was left to David Moyes to hand him his promotion to the senior stage." * Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets is published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media at £17.99. It is available in all good book shops. Copies can also be purchased with FREE postage and packaging by ringing the Sport Media Customer Services line on: 0845 1430001 (Between 9am and 5pm).
His progress is bitter pill to swallow
Oct 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
LIKE all Evertonians, Colin Harvey wishes Wayne Rooney had stayed at Goodison for longer.
He also believes that both the player and the Blues would have benefited if he had delayed his departure. "The great thing for Manchester United and England is that he will get even better," wrote Harvey. "It sounds frightening but he's by no means the finished product and every upward curve his career takes will make it that much harder for Evertonians to swallow. "After all, on the day that Wayne was born his father bought him an Everton jersey. "He grew up steeped in the club and many Goodison fans feel betrayed that he left, especially over the timing of his departure. "I felt it would have been more beneficial for Wayne and Everton if he stayed and developed. But circumstances conspired against such a scenario. "His fantastic European Championship made him the hottest young footballer in the world and Newcastle's apparent move forced United's hand, when it was understood they were planning to wait for another year. "Sir Alex Ferguson revealed: 'As soon as Wayne became available I knew we had to sign him. I spoke to David Moyes several times. I said 'If he ever becomes available don't let me down.' "The word came back to me when he was 14 that there was a boy at Everton. We could have got him then but he wouldn't leave and he wouldn't leave at 16 either. I can understand that. He is a local boy. But the European Championship changed his mind. Once they decided to sell him we couldn't afford not to get him.' "The fact that United and other clubs moved in for Wayne when he was only 14, because even then his talent was raising eyebrows throughout football, I don't think has been fully appreciated. "But Wayne's boyhood Goodison allegiance and his family's dyed in the wool commitment to the club ensured that he rejected all their overtures and signed for Everton."
Blues' pride returns
Oct 26 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
WELL DONE to David Moyes and the boys who played with a lot more pride against Chelsea. I know it wasn't pretty football, but I can live with that, as we have done what no other team has done so far in the league in taking a point off Jose Mourinho's side. Hopefully Moyes and the lads will take heart and build on the result. Give Moyes the time and respect he deserves and he will turn us around. A nice cup run should see happier times come back to Goodison.
Dave Newhouse, Liverpool
WELL DONE to the players and the crowd on Sunday. The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic. Chelsea were the dominant team but we restricted them to very few chances and it took something special from Lampard for them to nick a point. Once again, well done to Everton and the fans - fantastic!
Warren Bates, Kirkby
IT was a good display against Chelsea but why do we only play with total commitment against the top teams in high profile games? Are the players phoneys who raise their game when it suits them?The benchmark is the game against Birmingham. Let's see if the players maintain the high standard they've now set.
Mike Dolan, Melling
I'VE got to say what a good performance it was on Sunday.We don't have the money or players the champions have but that hasn't stopped Everton in the past and it didn't against Chelsea.On Sunday the team showed everything we'd asked of them so far this season, so well done to David Moyes and the team for not rolling over like some teams have.Let's see if we can gain some momentum from this and turn it round - starting at Birmingham.
Ronnie Evans, Bootle
I WATCHED the Chelsea game on TV and salute the Blues for an all out, big hearted effort.We could have earned more than a draw if a second penalty had been given, or if the referee had not unwittingly intervenedto allow Frank Lampard to get his crucial strike in on goal.
Bill Waite, Anfield
WE are surely on the up now. Chelsea were extremely fortuntate to get a point.Our movement, passes, tackles and tactics were spot on. I haven't stopped smiling since the match.
Brad Wright, Runcorn
WE can't all get too carried away with the point against Chelsea.We are still bottom, and I am sure that I am not the only one who is concerned that we only get positive results when we have no pressure on us.Unfortunatley we now have games coming up where we are expected to win.
Bob Moore, Tower Hill
Winger ready for Carling Cup bow
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Oct 26 2005
ANDY van der Meyde should make his long-awaited debut in an Everton shirt tonight - with manager David Moyes claiming he has the "mad streak" of Thomas Gravesen. The Holland international has been sidelined by a longstanding groin injury since moving to Goodison from Inter Milan in a £1.9million move back in August. But, despite having played just 68 minutes' football for the reserves, Moyes is prepared to end the 26-year-old's wait for first-team action in the Carling Cup third-round tie against Middlesbrough. Although Moyes will make a late decision on exactly what part the winger plays, it is expected that van der Meyde will start on the bench and come on.
Moyes said: "I'm not sure whether he'll start or be on the bench, but he'll be involved in the 16.
"He's done okay but the point of the matter is he's only done 60 minutes of a reserve game. We don't have a reserve game this week because of the Carling Cup game, so I will try and involve him."
Van der Meyde is relishing the chance to finally get involved after so long on the sidelines. He said: "I cannot wait. I want to play good games for Everton and leave this all behind (the injury) and start now with the team. "I have been to watch a lot of games this season but I want to be on the pitch now. I hope to make a good impression for the supporters and I hope for a good result and that we play a good game. I hope I can excite the fans. I think I can do that and it would be nice to do that on Wednesday." Moyes warned fans not to expect too much from the Dutchman at first, as it could take up until at least December for him to achieve full match fintess. However the Scot admitted he had been impressed by van der Meyde's form in training. Moyes added: "He's looked as if he's got a bit of pace about him, although I still think it's going to take him six to eight weeks to get back to where I hope he will be. "He certainly can score, he's a tremendous crosser of the ball, so I'm hoping those things will add to us when we get him fully fit. At the moment in time it might be an opportunity to include him and see what we can get from him. "He's not been frustrated, and I think we've been quite cautious with him as well. We've made sure his groin has been well strengthened and he's been well rehabbed. "He's done a lot of training and a lot of running work, but it's not the same as match practice and that's the thing we need to try and get him." Moyes said van der Meyde had, in terms of his personality at least, filled to some extent the hole left by popular midfielder Thomas Gravesen. "He's a good character," he added.. "If I said to you he was a bit like Tommy Gravesen it would give you an idea. He's got a lot of similarities to Tommy, there's a mad streak in there. "He's added in and around the club, he's a bit of a character, and in a lot of ways he's made quite a lot of us laugh. He's been very good round the place." Moyes hoped van der Meyde would now be afforded an injury-free run in the team to chase his own personal goal - a place in Holland's World Cup squad. Although van der Meyde's return is a boost for the Goodison men, Moyes has had to contend with another round of injury setbacks in the wake of Sunday's encouraging draw against leaders Chelsea. Portugal defender Nuno Valente is likely to be out for four weeks with the hamstring injury he picked up. Matteo Ferrari or Kevin Kilbane will deputise. And Tim Cahill (ankle) and Duncan Ferguson (back) are both doubts due to injuries picked up against the champions. Danish defender Per Kroldrup, who has recovered from a hernia operation, is also in the squad, while striker James Vaughan is a week away from a return for the reserves.
Brighter Bellefield finally has something to build on
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 26 2005
FOR those not forming an increasingly lengthy queue outside Mick Rathbone's Bellefield treatment room, there was an undeniable spring in the players' step when they reconvened for training on Monday. While the points column may only have swelled by one and the league position remains as it was at 4pm on Sunday, the dose of confidence and boost in morale received by the performance that unquestionably rocked the champions can be measured in altogether more hefty quantities.
"They're a much brighter group of players," admitted David Moyes yesterday. "A lot of them feel much better, and deservedly so, their performance merited them feeling better because they did very well against a very good team. "It has given everyone a big lift, it was only a point but against a team such as Chelsea who are the best in Europe at the moment, it was something that has given us the feeling of 'that was more like it', and the way we would want to play. "We can't say after one result that everything is hunky-dory, but we needed a start, something to build on, and hopefully that is what we can now do. "The atmosphere around the players in training this week has been much better because of the way they played against Chelsea, probably a better feeling than in a long time. They were also confronted with a manager who wanted to praise them when they got back into the dressing room rather than a manager who is unhappy with them." One player with perhaps the most reason to feel some added suspension in their stride was a player who, whether through ill luck or bad form, had spent the majority of his career at Goodison Park up until Sunday dragging his feet. Sweeping statements are probably inadvisable given how James Beattie has already had at least two false dawns in the nine months since he moved from Southampton. But there was something about his energy, fitness, determination and ultimately his strength of character in first taking responsibility and then dispatching that penalty in such a nerve-jarringly confident manner that suggested the 27-year-old is planning on sticking around for far longer than some had envisaged. "I thought his energy levels were terrific, right to the end," added Moyes. "People have questioned his fitness, but you'd have to say that if there was one person who ran right to the last minute of the game it was James Beattie. That theory about maybe he's not fit enough, hopefully that one's put to bed. "And the next one he'll put to bed very quickly is that he'll score goals and become a very good Everton player. It showed his character because him and Duncan both wanted it. They're both capable of taking penalty kicks and scoring. "Give him credit, he wants to show that he can be a big Everton player, and wants to take responsibility for it." A sign of character it may have been, but grabbing the ball off Duncan Ferguson could also be interpreted as a sign of the utmost folly. Imagine the 'chat' between the pair had Beattie's spot-kick pinged off the crossbar.
Thankfully, luck for once crossed Everton's path this term and enabled Ferguson to join his strike partner in raucous celebration instead. Moyes hopes the whole episode can act as a watershed between Beattie the injury-dogged disappointment and Beattie the international-class goalscorer.
"We won't know until he's got a run of 10 and 15 games but at the moment let's get the next one done and see how that is," he cautioned. "You're always looking to do well in your career at all times, and there'll be bits where it's up and bits where it's down, but James has probably had a difficult six to 10 months, and I think he'll probably be trying to put that right. "It's early days for James, but I'm hopeful he'll come through. "He's been good, he's been determined, he's probably been wanting to play a couple of weeks before now. "He's had to get a couple of reserve games under his belt, and again he's had very little match practice, so we know that there will be dips, but hopefully we can get a consistent run from him." While Moyes could probably have done with another league game in which to take the momentum from Sunday, he instead has to refocus his play-ers' minds on the visit of Middlesbrough for tonight's Carling Cup third round clash. Having said that, given the way this season has progressed so far, one of the two remaining, realistic pathways to Europe is not something to be taken lightly. Particularly when, should Everton lose tonight, they would in effect chalk up three competition exits before the end of October. And Moyes added: "If they keep playing as well as they did against Chelsea, we will pick up more victories in the cup and league. "We need to build on the result against Chelsea, and I am sure that is what is in the minds of the players as they approach this cup tie. "Boro are a good side and they've had a few good seasons.
"So this is a difficult game for us when you would really admit to wanting to play someone a bit lower down the divisions at this stage. "But we'll set out to try and win the game like we have done in any other competition we've played in this year."
McClaren left with plenty to ponder
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
Oct 26 2005
STEVE McCLAREN is short on left-wing options as Middlesbrough visit Barclays Premiership bottom side Everton tonight. Boro travel to Goodison Park for the Carling Cup third round tie trying to find some consistency in their pattern and performances. The departure of Bolo Zenden to Liverpool and the long-term knee injury to Stewart Downing have effectively wiped out McClaren's left flank. Despite having used five different players on the left, McClaren is yet to find the answer. "We have lost only two games in the last eight, but we have not yet achieved the consistency we are looking for," said McClaren. "We have struggled to find the right shape for the team since Stewart Downing was hurt. "We've tried a few play-ers there, including 18-year-old Adam Johnson, who is one for the future. "We are fortunate that we signed Emanuel Pogatetz in the summer because he has dropped in at left-back and we have been able to push Franck Queudrue forward on to the left of midfield.
"He has been one of our best options because he is strong in the position. But everything has not yet fallen into shape, and the game at Everton gives us another chance to get it right." Queudrue is favourite to play in the role tonight, though Brazilian newcomer Fabio Rochemback played there at West Ham on Sunday, when Boro lost 2-1. They lost as a result of a controversial 'own goal' by Chris Riggott when TV replays showed the ball had not crossed the line. This led to McClaren calling for technology to be introduced to solve future arguments. The Boro manager added: "The incident left the players fuming in the dressing room after the game. "They knew they had not lost because we scored one goal and West Ham scored one goal. "But we've had two excellent days in training and now we are ready to get back into action again. "The one thing I want to see tomorrow is our normal enthusiasm channelled into the right direction. "We need to play well as a team and stop doing the things which are alien to us. We must be patient, we must play to a plan, and we must do it all together." Boro have been beaten just twice away from home in all competitions this season, including the Upton Park reverse, and going to Goodison should hold no fears. But McClaren, who expects a hard game after Everton's 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea on Sunday, said: "Everton have been struggling this season, but it takes only one result to get things into gear, and maybe that has happened for them against Chelsea."
Top US specialist seeks to cure Pistone's knee ligament problem
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 26 2005
ALESSANDRO PISTONE will today undergo a final operation on his injured knee as he continues his quest to return to the Everton squad by March. The Italian defender, who sustained a cruciate knee ligament injury at Bolton in August, is back in Colorado at the home of world-famous specialist Dr Richard Steadman. Pistone, 30, underwent a successful operation last month to save his cartilage. Today's procedure will reconstruct his ligament, and he will remain in America for a further three weeks to begin an intensive rehabilitation programme. "I am absolutely delighted that the time has arrived (for the operation) because I can't wait any more," he said. "The operation on Wednesday is the moment I have been waiting for a long time. We have decided that I am going to stay there for a while, probably three weeks, under the supervision of the surgeon. I can start the rehabilitation while I'm there, which I think is a good idea. "It's going to be cold in Colorado at this time of year and I'm going to be alone. I am taking my family this week, but they are only staying for a week because they are back to school and then I am going to stay by myself - even the physio is coming back - but I am happy about it because I just want to do everything and come back as I was before. "I think if everything goes all right I can make it back by mid-February and be ready to play after two, three, four weeks."
Everton 0, Middlesbrough 1 (D,Post)
By David Prior at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Oct 27 2005
ALTHOUGH it lasted longer than the sixyear-old who attempted to tackle Franck Queudrue in the penalty area last night, Everton's much-heralded revival is nevertheless over as quickly as it had arrived. Three days since they stared Jose Mourinho and Co out of Goodison Park, David Moyes' men reverted back to the style that has accompanied their spectacular slide this term, rolling out the red carpet for their opponents and dutifully spurning what opportunities came their way. Make no mistake, this was a serious setback. Although the Carling Cup is perennially derided, it presented Everton this term with their most obvious route back to the Continental challenge they so fleetingly dallied with a month or so ago. It also promised to act as a welcome diversion from what is evidently destined to be a long and thoroughly sapping battle for Premiership existence. Instead, Everton can now boast a hat-trick of competition exits before October is even out. For Moyes, the task of raising his troops must begin again. Sunday's performance against Chelsea had billowed optimism to such an extent because, although it garnered only a solitary point, it had displayed a timely reminder of the qualities that propelled Everton's charge up the league last year. The qualities - of stubbornness, unfailing grit and sheer determination - that had been rarely in place up until that point, but which saw the brakes slammed on Chelsea's rampaging juggernaut. The task now was to build on them, to carry the momentum forward and to assemble the sort of run that would finally put their season back on its rightful track. How deflating then that Everton are instead reflecting on a fourth home defeat in five this season with a display that again accentuated just why this campaign will prove such a struggle. Of course, there were the mitigating factors again last night. Another batch of injuries - this time Duncan Ferguson, Tim Cahill and Nuno Valente - forced to wear a suit in the stand, cramming last night's directors' box with almost as many regulars off the pitch as there were on it. A further injury, to Matteo Ferrari, means Everton now have four left-backs out of commission, and the fact so many players were out of position last night explained why at times they looked so unbalanced. Until, that is, Andy van der Meyde finally arrived. It may have taken an age for the Dutchman to emerge from the treat-ment room, but judging by his 27-minute cameo last night he will be worth the wait. In that time, he sent in at least half-a-dozen crosses of high quality and he gave a clear suggestion that he could be the winger of substance Everton have been crying out for. In the injured trio's absence, James McFadden, Ferrari and Simon Davies were drafted in, but if there was an inevitable lessening of the Sunday's cacophonous atmosphere, there was no obvious decrease in Everton's early tempo, at least to start with. Most of the early openings derived from the right boot of Arteta, who on his day is proving to be as potent a crosser of the ball as there is in the Premiership. Mainly it was his lofted inswinger that caused the most difficulties for the Boro backline, but it was a dinky, low number he sent in after just six minutes that almost saw Stuart Parnaby putting through his own net. If only the Spaniard's delivery could have been replicated on the other flank. Instead, Kevin Kil-bane needed three goes to finally send in a half-decent cross - even then, it was too deep and could not really be credited with the chance that eventually fell nicely for Arteta, the midfielder seeing his 12-yard shot blocked for a corner.
Everton weren't alone in pursuing a fairly open game-plan in the early exchanges, however. Steve McClaren's side had good reason to believe they should have reached the half-hour stage with at least one goal to their credit. Their best early chance came the way of Mark Viduka, the Australian afforded space on the edge of the penalty and it required an alert save from Nigel Martyn, and then an even more vital Arteta intervention after James Morrison's follow-up shot, to keep the scores level. Gradually as the half progressed, the visitors were gaining in possession and confidence and first Emanuel Pogatetz, with a low shot that was smartly blocked by Martyn, and Viduka, firing an effort across the face of goal, was testament to that. But it was still something of a surprise when they took the lead seven minutes before half-time. Another errant Tony Hibbert pass - this one demanding too much its target, James Beattie - sparked a swift Boro counter-attack. Viduka found Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who held off Joseph Yobo with a low shot that crept under Martyn's body.
The veteran goalkeeper would have been disappointed to concede such a seemingly innocuous shot, particularly having kept out more difficult chances earlier in the game. Further injury was soon dealt to that insult. Ferrari, who had hobbled out of a challenge moments before the goal, felt unable to continue and Marcus Bent was brought on, Kilbane dropping back to fill the left-back role - a role that appears to have been cursed this campaign. At least the half ended on a relative high, Hibbert's cross spilling to the unmarked James McFadden, whose drilled shot had to be tipped away by Mark Scharzer. The second period saw Middlesbrough increasingly happy to protect their lead, an approach that drew more errors from the hosts and consequently more frustration on the terraces.
Without Tim Cahill, even the somewhat inferior model of this campaign, Everton lacked a driving force from midfield, while the sooner Lee Carsley's steadying influence can be returned the better.
With the game becoming more pedestrian by the minute, Moyes decided it was time to bring on a new face - and this time he truly could call on a new face. Van der Meyde, finally ending his delayed Goodison career in the 63rd minute and slotting in on the left wing, was given a reception that could only be described as rapturous. The fans have high hopes, and he quickly got down to the business of justifying their expectation. Before that, however, the Dutchman's huge reception almost gave way to an immediate silence as Boro enjoyed their best chance since Hasselbaink's goal. Viduka's foray through the Everton penalty area ended with a shot that Martyn blocked but Hasselbaink pounced on the rebound in a flash, somehow cracking the ball against the crossbar from point-blank range. The near-miss sparked a late rally from Everton, with van der Meyde taking an increasingly effective role in proceedings - virtually every ball he put over threatened the Boro defence.
The best of the lot, with six minutes left, beat the visiting defence but was just too strong for Beattie to test Schwarzer. Arteta was still the most likely source of a goal, though. It was his 74th-minute volley that saw the Australian goalkeeper beating the ball away at full stretch, while the diminutive Spaniard was desperately unlucky to crack the crossbar with a fizzing 25-yard set-piece later on.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Ferrari (Bent 41); Arteta, Davies (Osman 77), Neville, Kilbane; Beattie, McFadden (van der Meyde 63). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Parnaby, Riggott, Ehiogu, Queudrue; Morrison, Doriva, Rochemback, Pogatetz; Hasselbaink (Nemeth 67), Viduka (Yakubu 78). Subs: Jones, Bates, Kennedy.
BOOKINGS: Rochemback, Viduka (both fouls)
REFEREE: Mr P Walton
NEXT GAME: Birmingham v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm
Sluggish start leaves Everton paying price
By David Prior, Daily Post
Oct 27 2005
DAVID MOYES' criticised Everton's poor tempo for their exit from the Carling Cup last night as he absolved Nigel Martyn for any blame in Middlesbrough's winner. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's first-half goal proved enough to end the Goodison side's participation in a competition for the third time already this season, following their exits from the Champions League and UEFA Cup. Everton had been hoping to build on Sunday's encouraging display against runaway leaders Chelsea, but they seldom matched those heights on a disappointing night. "I'm disappointed we didn't get through," said Moyes.. "We hoped for a better start and a better tempo, a better one than we had. "I thought we got hold of the ball but didn't get on the end of enough opportunities. In the second half we upped the tempo a bit better but we couldn't get that elusive goal. "But I wanted us to start with the tempo that we finished with. If you don't get a good tempo you don't get the opportunities. We got the ball in nice areas but we just need to get on the end of something." Martyn, who otherwise had a good night in the Everton goal, saw Hasselbaink's shot squirm under his body but the Everton manager said: "We won't blame him. It was one of those things. We should not have allowed the ball to get to him in the first place." The one ray of light to emerge from the night was the long-awaited first appearance of Andy van der Meyde. The winger came on as a 63rd-minute substitute and looked impressive in what was his first senior action for months. And Moyes said: "He's needed football, he's been out for quite a while but what you saw tonight we've been seeing all the time in training." Moyes must now attempt to raise his players again in time for their crucial Premiership clash at Birmingham on Saturday. He added: "All games are important. We can't do anything about tonight now, we must look to the next one and we'll work towards getting that right." There was yet more bad news on the injury front however, with Matteo Ferrari limping off in the first half with an ankle problem and the defender must be considered a doubt for the trip to St Andrews. Meanwhile Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren praised his side for withstanding Everton's late barrage to secure a place in the last 16 of the Carling Cup. McClaren said: "I asked them for character after what happened on Sunday at West Ham, and that's what I got." Middlesbrough are still fuming over the Hammers' second--half winner that TV replays have shown didn't cross the line. "That result was such a disappointment and we came away determined to win this one and we achieved our aims," added McClaren. "Our attitude was spot on and we had plenty of determination. We broke well, made loads of chances and dominated in midfield. "We have learned to defend well to keep leads, like we did last week in Europe against Grasshoppers. "We haven't lost two games in succession yet this season and these two cup wins now give us a platform for the future, and certainly confidence going into Saturday's game with Manchester United. "We came here to win and we are delighted with the outcome. The performance had everything, good and bad. Some of our football was very good and we created excellent chances that we should have tucked away. "We had plenty of chances to get a second that would have killed the game, but Everton had us under a lot of pressure for the last 20 minutes or so, and they got plenty of crosses into the box," he added. "That's why we went with three centre-halves out there and they all defended the box superbly when we were under pressure."
Everton legend tells some of his secrets
Oct 27 2005
GOODISON PARK legend and Daily Post columnist Colin Harvey, with writer John Keith at the launch of the former Everton manager's book, Everton Secrets, at the club shop in Liverpool city centre yesterday.
Everton 0, Middlesbrough 1 (Echo)
Oct 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TO the list of sad and sorry statistics Everton have already amassed this season - they can now add one more unwanted record: surely the youngest football hooligan in history. The pint-sized pitch invader who slid two-footed at Frank Queudrue a minute from time - police later revealed he was six years old - brought some much needed light relief to proceedings. Supporters roared with laughter - fleetingly - because they were already worrying themselves sick about more serious records.
Everton are bottom of the Premiership and now out of three cup competitions before Halloween - and there was nothing last night to suggest that the feelgood factor from Sunday's draw with the champions could be built on. In fact the thoroughly deserved Carling Cup exit to a pacy and penetrative Middlesbrough side followed Everton's entire season in microcosm. There was a bright, inventive start - but precious little penetration - followed by the loss of a goal which saw self-doubt suddenly washing over the team like a particularly virulent disease. And during that period of low self-esteem, Everton were very, very bad. They finally rallied to strike the crossbar from a sublime Mikel Arteta free-kick and see James Beattie bullet a fierce header inches over the crossbar. But Middlesbrough should have been four goals up and coasting by that time. A sign of Evertonian desperation for something tangible to cling to could be gauged by the reaction to Andy Van der Meyde's arrival in the 61st minute. A cult seems to have sprung up around the Dutch winger even before he had kicked a ball in a Royal Blue shirt. Already the subject of several urban myths, the anticipation after he was named on the substitutes' bench for the first time was palpable - and the roar which greeted his eventual arrival just after the hour was extraordinary. Perhaps it underlines the desperation of Evertonians for a ray of optimism. Maybe they're all readers of Gazetta Della Sport and know something we don't - because nothing in Van der Meyde's past points to such a level of expectation. Of course, we shouldn't forget that he is Dutch. But then so was Raymond Atteveld.
And he has played for Inter Milan - but so, too, does Marco Materazzi. Whatever the twisted logic, he is a crowd favourite in the making because he offers the promise of something different - and on last night's evidence Everton can't have enough players like that. Kevin Kilbane is a man desperately in need of a break right now, but while he endured a stinker of a night, there were plenty of team-mates who were also well below-par. Arteta stood out like a beacon simply because he possessed the rare ability to find a blue shirt with a pass or a cross. He is a photofit of the kind of midfielder older Evertonians used to think was their club's birthright - full of clever shimmies, precise passes and thoughtful movement - but he was pretty much alone. He even got back on to his own goalline to block James Morrison's goalbound shot in the ninth minute when Middlesbrough were simply threatening to take control. During that early period Arteta saw a shot blocked and Kilbane sliced a right-footed opening well wide, but Nigel Martyn had to valiantly block much better openings from Pogatetz and Viduka. Viduka also flashed a shot across the face of goal before Everton gave the ball away cheaply, Viduka sent Hasselbaink racing clear of the offside trap and the forward memorably tagged "just a fat Eddie Murphy" by one set of inventive away fans crashed the ball through Nigel Martyn's legs. It was undeniably a goalkeeping mistake, but as they are generally about as rare as an Everton goal these days perhaps we shouldn't worry unnecessarily. Within minutes Everton suffered another left-back blow, Matteo Ferrari limping off to become the fourth player in that position currently on the treatment table. At least his departure forced Kilbane into the left-back berth and further away from the crossing opportunities he had regularly overhit all evening. Commendably willing despite his wretched form, he did crash one long range shot narrowly wide. But Boro's Morrison went even closer from the left channel, Viduka shot at Martyn from close range, Hasselbaink hit the crossbar and the same player sliced a couple of yards wide. Van der Meyde's arrival was responsible for a revival of sorts, with Arteta's long range drive pushed away by Schwarzer and Beattie flicking the ball on for Bent, only for the substitute to be dispossessed before he could shoot. Arteta's late free-kick gave the Blues false hope - but it is to be hoped that the battling, passionate performance against Chelsea last weekend doesn't come under the same category. But for a six-year-old Artful Dodger, this would have been one of those instantly forgettable Cup exits. As it is, Everton have to learn from it and bounce back quickly.
An early Carling Cup exit, Evertonians can just about live with. But defeat at Birmingham City this weekend really would set alarm bells clanging loudly.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn, Hibbert (Osman 77), Yobo, Weir, Ferrari (Bent 41), Davies, Arteta, Neville, Kilbane, McFadden (Van der Meyde 62), Beattie. Unused substitutes: Wright, Kroldrup.
MIDDLESBROUGH (4-4-2): Schwarzer, Parnaby, Ehiogu (Bates 45), Riggott, Queudrue, Rochemback, Doriva, Pogatetz, Morrison, Viduka (Yakubu 78), Hasselbaink (Nemeth 67). Unused substitutes: Jones, Kennedy.
Referee: Philip Walton
Bookings: Rochemback (28 mins) foul, Viduka (43 mins) foul, Arteta (69 mins) foul
New boy's delight at Blues welcome
Oct 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S newest cult hero, Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde, is eager to repay the fans who gave him such a warm welcome at Goodison Park. The Blues' summer signing was introduced for the last 30 minutes of the Carling Cup defeat by Middlesbrough - and was rapturously received. He admits he doesn't understand why the supporters have taken to him so quickly, but is keen to respond to the goodwill by helping to end the Blues' miserable run. "It's very good for me that the fans trust me already," he said. "For me as a player it's very important that the people are behind the players. I am very happy that they have taken me in like this. "I don't know why that is, but I have been around a few years already in the highest leagues so I have experience and I am a player who wants to make crosses and do things." After arriving with a groin strain which kept him out of the opening two months of the season, Van der Meyde's fitness is improving all the time. "I feel good," he added. "It is difficult to come on as a sub because the game is so fast, but after two or three minutes my legs felt good. "If you start a game it's easier than coming on after an hour, but I don't know if I'm ready for that yet. I don't want to push it too hard. "It's the groin and you have to be careful with it. I am just happy to have played 30 minutes and I hope on Saturday maybe I can play the second half, but it's up to the gaffer." The Dutch star went on: "I thought we played well tonight. It was a bit of a strange game because they had a lot of chances and we had a lot of chances. "Our problem is not scoring but if we keep playing like this it will come." There was reassuring news on injured full-back Matteo Ferrari, meanwhile. The Italian limped off with an ankle sprain which will rule him out of Saturday's visit to Birmingham - but the injury is only short term.
'It took us too long to get going'
Oct 27 2005 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was left to rue Everton's slow start after seeing his hopes of an extended run in the Carling Cup dashed. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made Middlesbrough's first half pressure count and his strike was enough to secure the visitors' passage to the last 16. The Blues hit back in the second half but their late push for an equal-iser proved in vain. Boss Moyes said: "I was disappointed with the first half. We hoped for a better start to the game - we hoped for a better tempo. "We had lots of the ball and I thought we got into some good areas and got a few crosses in, but we didn't get on the end of enough opportunities. "If you don't get a good tempo then you just hope you don't give them opportunities. "In the second half we improved the tempo but unfortunately we couldn't get that elusive goal. "We had chances late on and I just wish we had started the game the way we finished it - putting them under heavy pressure. "We cannot do anything about what happened now and we can only do something about the match coming up. We will work towards getting things right at Birmingham on Saturday." Hasselbaink's winner flew between Nigel Martyn's legs but Moyes absolved his keeper of any blame. "I think it's just one of those things and we shouldn't have allowed the boy to get in there in the first place," he added. "We had one or two opportunities ourselves but there's no blame labelled anywhere tonight and I'm just disappointed we didn't get through." One positive for the Everton boss was the performance of debutant Andy van der Meyde, who made an impression after coming off the bench just after the hour mark. Moyes said: "What you saw tonight is what we're seeing regularly in training and we know he will help to create opportunities for us. But he's going to need a few more games under his belt to get himself up to match speed because he's been out for quite a while." Boro boss Steve McClaren claimed a tactical victory after seeing his decision to switch to playing three at the back pay dividends. "We came here to win and it worked very well," he said. "The way Everton play they get plenty of crosses in and get the ball forward quickly. We felt three centre halves would be able to cope with that and it worked perfectly."
I was at my auntie Peggy's caravan in Prestatyn when Blues call came
Oct 27 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
COLIN HARVEY was offered the Everton manager's job twice . . . in a corridor at Watford and a caravan in North Wales. But only once did he accept and become Blues' boss, in the summer of 1987. Harvey reveals the unusual circumstances in which he became manager of Everton - and how he had also been offered the job 12 months earlier - in his recently published autobiography. "Even before Everton had completed an agonising season of finishing second to Liverpool in League and FA Cup in 1986 it seemed that Kendall was on his way out. "In the closing weeks of the campaign Barcelona rang him with the news that Terry Venables was leaving the Nou Camp and that they wanted Kendall to take over. Kendall, excited, flattered and keenly interested in a reign in Spain, informed his chairman Philip Carter of Barcelona's overtures and kept him updated on developments. Carter accepted that if there were no unforseen problems, Kendall would be leaving. "A top level Barcelona delegation, including club president Jose Luis Nunez, met Kendall in London and the Everton manager signed a provisional contract to take over at the Nou Camp when, as expected, Venables left that summer. "Carter's response was to tell Colin Harvey that Everton wanted him to succeed Kendall and to prepare for an impending handover of managerial power. "A few months earlier, in April, we had a League game at Watford when our chairman Philip Carter stopped me in the corridor and said he wanted a word with me. We went into the Watford boot-room and he said 'I presume you're aware that it looks like Howard will be leaving us.' "I told him that Howard had made me aware of the situation. The chairman then told me: 'If Howard goes we want you to become the new manager.' I said I'd be delighted to accept. "Howard had asked me to go with him to Barcelona but my instinct was to stay at Everton and by the time the new season came round the issue had gone away, anyway.' "A few weeks later Venables announced he was staying at Barcelona, who lost to Steaua Bucharest on penalties after a mind-numbing goalless draw in the European Cup final in Seville. "Kendall's provisional contract with Barcelona - which he still has 'to remind me of what might have been' - was now null and void. But what we didn't know then was that his departure and Harvey's succession was merely delayed for a year until another Spanish club came knocking." That club was Athletic Bilbao - and this time Kendall did leave. Once again, the Blues turned to Kendall's right-hand man to become boss, although the circumstances in which he accepted the post were unconventional to say the least. "When I came back from tour I went on a family holiday to North Wales still uncertain about what was happening. Maureen, our youngest daughter Emma and I, were staying at my Auntie Peggy's caravan in Prestatyn. Our eldest girls, Joanne and Melanie, stayed at home with my dad because of their exams. "It was Thursday, June 18, and we'd gone out for the day. When we got back we found a note which had been pushed under the door, apparently by a contact of one of the Everton directors who knew where we were staying. It was still the era before mobile phones and the note asked me to ring the chairman Philip Carter, on a stated number. "I found the nearest phone box and rang him. He told me that Howard was definitely leaving the club and would be attending a press conference the following day. "He said: 'We're offering you the manager's job. Will you accept?' 'Yes please,' I gulped. "We came home and I went to see the chairman at his Wirral house to tie up all the details prior to a press conference at Goodison on Sunday, June 21, to formally announce my appointment on a four-year contract. "From supporting Everton since boyhood I was now manager at the age of 42." * Colin Harvey's Everton Secrets is published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media at £17.99. It is available in all good book shops. Copies can also be purchased with FREE postage and packaging by ringing the Sport Media Customer Services line on: 0845 1430001 (9am - 5pm)
I tried to lure Lineker back
Oct 27 2005 Liverpool Echo
GARY LINEKER spent one memorable season at Goodison Park - when he scored 40 goals, but finished the season empty-handed. Harvey revealed that he tried to bring England's prolific marksman back to Merseyside after his spell at Barcelona. "In common with most managers I didn't land all the players I targetted and certainly not everyone I was linked with," explained Harvey. "I was interested when the news broke that Gary Lineker was leaving Barcelona. I made inquiries, but it was no surprise when he rejoined Terry Venables at Tottenham for £1.2m. "I was also keen to sign Norwich midfielder Mike Phelan. I had talks with him, we agreed on everything and he seemed happy. Then he rang to tell me he'd decided to accept Alex Ferguson's offer to join Manchester United. "As United had also signed Neil Webb, I asked Alex if he'd be prepared to sell Bryan Robson. His answer was negative. "The tables were turned with Martin Keown. Alex was confident of signing him from Aston Villa, even going public. But he signed for us for £750,000."
Psycho Pat was a class act
Oct 27 2005 Liverpool Echo
PAT VAN DEN HAUWE, the full-back christened Psycho Pat, was a hard-man who the Gwladys Street took to their hearts. Colin Harvey had a soft spot for him, too, although he admits that working with the uncompromising defender was often colourful. On one occasion, an experienced ECHO journalist caught a glimpse of what Harvey had to endure on a daily basis at Bellefield. "We had to send Pat van Den Hauwe home from pre-season with an ankle problem," revealed Harvey. "He also contracted a virus that ruled him out of action until January.
"Journalist Ian Hargraves, who'd been covering some of our games for the Liverpool ECHO, was also flying home so Howard and I asked him to keep an eye on Pat. Ian had a journey to remember, including an argument between Pat and customs officials at Manchester Airport. "Apparently they asked Pat to open his case for inspection, which he did. Then he demanded that as they'd put him to that trouble they should re-pack his case and close it for him! I think he came close to being arrested. "Ian, an educated and amiable man, was totally embarrassed and, reflecting on his Van Den Hauwe experience, memorably remarked: 'It was like guiding a rabid dog home.' "Pat subsequently had a few more problems in his life, some of them splashed across Sunday tabloids, but I understand he's now fit and well living in South Africa. "I always had a lot of time for Pat. I got on with him. Above all, he was a very good player and in my view it's a pity he opted for Wales instead of England when he had the choice of which British country to play for. "He was certainly England calibre and highly talented at left and centre-back."
Blues starring for england
Oct 27 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have more players than any other club in the England Ladies squad for today's World Cup qualifier in Hungary. Seven of Mo Marley's senior side are included in the England squad for the game in Tapolca. It is a reflection of the standing of Everton in the ladies game and further evidence that under Marley's management the team are growing into one of English football's most formidable sides. The women's game may not get nearly as much media coverage as the men's, but there is a great deal of interest in the Ladies' team from Evertonia's members. And justifiably so when you gauge the side's recent form.
Marley's side are currently top of the league table, two points ahead of Charlton - the side that defeated the Blues in last season's Women's FA Cup final. So it is no surprise England boss Hope Powell has called up so many of Everton's stars. The magnificent seven from Everton's top of the table side are: Rachel Brown, Lindsay Johnson, Rachel Unitt, Emily Westwood, Fara Williams, Kelly McDougall and Jody Handley. Unitt is one of England's most capped players, with the fullback set to make her 49th appearance for her country in today's match. She is eager to build on last month's winning start to the campaign against Austria with another three points. The 23-year-old told Evertonia: "It has been six weeks since our last fixture (against Austria). We did look a bit rusty even though we were the better team. So it would be nice to see everybody sharper in this game. "The strength and depth of the squad at the minute is great. In every position we have got two quality players. Competition at the moment is good and healthy. "It is going to be a tough game. Hungary lost 3-0 to Austria, so I think if we can play like we can, we should get a result. "These are the games we need to finish our chances and score a few." With prolific Everton striker Jody Handley in the ranks to help, England are sure to achieve the three points they crave.
* Everton Ladies face Arsenal on Sunday at Marine's ground. The game will kick-off at 12.30pm and entry is free to Evertonia members.
* EVERTON face Middlesbrough for the second time in two weeks and tickets are now on sale from the Park End Box Office at Goodison Park.
There is a special offer on tickets, with supporters given the chance to buy a combined adult and child ticket for £30.
However, Junior Evertonia members can present their £5 discount voucher for this game and claim a further £5 off.
For details on how to join the exclusive Evertonia supporters club visit evertonfc.com.
Naysmith was close to ending career
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Oct 28 2005
GARY NAYSMITH has revealed how his career came close to being finished last month - as David Moyes was handed a fresh headache by Everton's left-back injury jinx. Naysmith has not played since April following a series of setbacks in his attempts to recover from an ankle injury that has blighted his year. The 26-year-old was originally expected to return in mid-September, but that comeback was put on hold after he developed a serious infection after undergoing a second operation the previous month. That surgery, after his initial surgery back in May, was to remove a small piece of bone with the subsequent career-threatening problem fortunately being caught early by the Goodison club. Now Naysmith believes he is approaching an end to his personal nightmare but admits it will still be some time before he can make a full recovery. "It was a potential career-threatening infection, so although I have been extremely frustrated at least I know now that I will be back," said the 26-year-old. "Had the infection gone into my joint then there would have been no guarantee that I would have recovered from it sufficiently to continue playing. "I know that I have still got a long road in front of me. I need, effectively, to do another pre-season once I'm able to. Then I'll need some reserve games so there is a long battle ahead." Naysmith's last appearance for Everton came in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on April 10, when he played 73 minutes while not fully fit and ended up aggravating the ankle injury to such an extent it eventually needed surgery.
"I had the first operation and they told me it would be an eight or nine-week recovery period," said Naysmith. "But I was getting pain and they (surgeons) took another look and discovered that I had some soft-tissue that was pinching inside my ankle. "I went home after this op but my foot just didn't feel right and it was decided that the ankle had become infected and it needed opening up yet again to be cleaned out. "Eventually I got the green light to start my rehabilitation and went away, but after a couple of days in Tenerife, my ankle went bright red and I sent a picture back to Baz, via my mobile phone. "Unbelievably, I had to come back home again because they weren't happy with what they saw. I got picked up at Manchester Airport at 1am and was taken straight to see the consultant." Naysmith added: "I was kept in hospital and needed to have some fluid drained from the ankle. They drained it and it's about 90% better than it was in Tenerife but I still can't do any exercise until the redness has gone completely. "It's not been easy for my wife (Gillian). It's been like looking after four children." Naysmith added: "All things considered, it's been a difficult time for the whole family. "Although the end isn't in sight just yet, I hope I am on the road to recovery."
With no date set for Naysmith's return and Alessandro Pistone already having been ruled out until March following surgery on a cruciate knee ligament injury, the left-back position has proven a problem for Moyes this season. Nuno Valente picked up a hamstring injury against Chelsea at the weekend, and now the Everton manager could also be without Matteo Ferrari for tomorrow's trip to Birmingham City. The Italian centre-back filled the left-back breach against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup on Wednesday, but was forced off with an ankle injury after just 41 minutes. And the 25-year-old is considered unlikely to be available for the Premier-ship clash at St Andrews, handing Moyes another defensive headache. "I think he will be a big doubt for the weekend," said head of physio Mick Rathbone. "He has gone over on his ankle and simply sprained it. "It is Thursday now and with a game coming up on Saturday afternoon you would have to say that at this stage he is rated doubtful."
Dutchman an instant hit with Goodison fans
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Oct 28 2005
EVERTON fans have not had much to cheer about this term after a dismal start to the campaign but they have already taken Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde to their hearts. Losing to a goal from another Dutchman, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, against Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup, the Goodison Park fans reserved the biggest cheer of the night for van der Meyde's belated introduction to the side as a 61st-minute substitute. Moyes was just happy to see his £1.9million import from Inter Milan on transfer deadline day finally make it on to the pitch and the 26-year-old admits he was overwhelmed by the welcome. "It is very good for me that the fans trust me already," said van der Meyde.. "For me as a player it's very important that the people are behind the players. I am very happy that they have taken me in like this." It took van der Meyde two medicals to finally get clearance to move to Merseyside, and since then he has spent two months recovering from a groin injury. His arrival has been too late to help avoid Everton's double European elimination, but Moyes sees quality just waiting to be exploited. He said: "Andy did well when he came on, he gave us the sort of quality we are seeing regularly from him in training. But we know we have to build up his fitness and we want him to improve. He has only had 60 minutes in the reserves and 30 minutes in the Boro game, so there is a lot of work to do for him. But this short spell will help him get into things. His crosses were excellent and hopefully he will help us in the future." Everton may be out of Europe and now the Carling Cup before October is completed, but Moyes was at least relieved to see his new man in a blue shirt at last as the relegation battle hots up. Moyes added: "Andy needs match fitness because he has been out for a while. But what everyone saw in just a few minutes was what we are seeing every day in training. "He will help create opportunities and make chances, but he needs more training and a few more matches yet to get him to his best." The Arnhem-born star is already hoping to be involved at Birmingham tomorrow. "I feel good, although it was also difficult to come on because the game is so fast," said van der Meyde.. "But after two or three minutes my legs felt good. "If you start a game it is easier than coming on after an hour, but I do not know if I am ready for that yet. I don't want to push it too hard. I don't want to be injured again. "My groin is the problem and you have to be careful with it. I am just happy to have played 30 minutes and I hope on Saturday maybe I can play the second half, but it's up to the gaffer. If he wants me to play from the first minute I will do it, no problem." Everton fans were more than impressed with the string of quality crosses that van der Meyde sent into the box in a final barrage to salvage the tie. He said: "I have been around a few years already in the highest leagues so I have experience and I am a player who wants to make crosses and do things and I think people like those things here. "They expect that from me and I like making crosses so it is good when you have strikers like James Beattie, Duncan Ferguson and Marcus Bent to provide for."
Only against the best are we good enough
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Oct 28 2005
IT'S been a mixed old week to say the least. Corners looked to have been turned and platforms were there to be built upon following the draw against Chelsea. It was only a point, not enough to lift us off the foot of the table, but the result was meant to represent renewed hope for Everton. Unfortunately our new dawn faded a mere three days later. It seems as though we are only capable of putting in a good, scuffling performance against the decent sides. Indeed the games from which we have taken most credit this season have all been against the better teams: Manchester United, Villarreal and then Chelsea. It's what is commonly known as the Earl Barrett Syndrome. The very limited ex-Oldham and Villa full-back always looked at his best in derby games. That was because all the crowd expected him to do was volley Steve McManaman up in the air and leather the ball into touch, and he could cope with that. However, when we played a team who we were expected to produce more football against, he struggled, and his lack of ability was cruelly exposed. Likewise this Everton team. Against Portsmouth, Wigan and Boro at Goodison, with the pace a little more sedate, Everton were expected to take the initiative, but they came up short.
Apart from Mikel Arteta, no-one seems to have a clue. Phil Neville is committed but ultimately he's a full-back who should win the ball and give it to more gifted players, but sadly they seem to be in short supply. Simon Davies, for one, has been embarrassingly bad and looks a worse buy than James Beattie. Granted, our record signing is putting the effort in, but his all-round play isn't that of a Premiership striker. And the less said about the shell-shocked looking Kevin Kilbane, James McFadden and Marcus Bent the better. An indication of how desperate the fans are for some inspiration was the ovation for Andy van der Meyde. He delivered some decent crosses for the hapless strikers against Boro and at least looked competent. It won't be surprising to see him play a bigger part at St Andrews on Saturday in a game of huge significance. It will take vast improvement by the whole team if they're to take anything from Birmingham - a side who ominously have not won a league game at home yet this season.
Heskey and Forssell gear up for Moyes's men
By John Curtis, Daily Post
Oct 28 2005
BIRMINGHAM striker Emile Heskey has spelt out his determination to be fit for tomorrow's bottom-three Barclays Premiership clash with Everton at St Andrews. Heskey had to be withdrawn because of a groin problem at half-time during Wednesday's Carling Cup triumph over Norwich. City manager Steve Bruce rates Heskey as "a major doubt" for the visit of David Moyes's side but Heskey has a reputation for being a quick healer. And he is desperate to be available for a game against Everton that City must win to bolster their hopes of survival. Heskey said: "My groin started to get a bit tight against Norwich and then just got worse and worse. But it was just a precaution that brought me off and we will see how it settles down in the next couple of days. Saturday is a massive game for us."
Meanwhile, Mikael Forssell has insisted he will recapture his form of two seasons ago and claimed his belief had not been shaken by his penalty miss in the Carling Cup clash with Norwich. The Birmingham striker will go into tomorrow's clash with Everton - the club who wanted to sign him in the summer - still searching for his first Premiership goal of the campaign. Forssell had a chance to bolster his confidence in the third-round match against the Canaries, which Birmingham won 2-1, but sent his first half spot-kick several yards wide of Robert Green's goal. But Steve Bruce's £3million summer capture from Chelsea is adamant he will eventually turn back the clock and demonstrate the finishing which brought him 19 goals when on loan during the 2003-2004 campaign. Forssell said: "A penalty miss is horrible for any player - but I know I am a big player and I will bounce back. My general play is getting better. I am starting to feel sharper and quicker." Forssell admitted he would gain extra satisfaction from scoring against Everton. Forssell insisted: "I did not fail a medical at Everton. It's not true. They were very interested in signing me, I had talks with them and I decided to come to Blues which was a great move. "But I have no grudge against Everton or anyone. I'm playing now so that is in the past."
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Oct 28 2005
EVEN the most ardent fans are disgusted with the way this season has gone. If something positive does not happen soon even the greatest fans in the world will be saying Everton are not worth watching. Everton have been complete failures in every competition up to now and only a miracle will save them from relegation this time.
I AM less bothered about exiting Carling Cup than with the way we exited. We never even looked like scoring. I have supported Moyes so far but we now don't look capable of winning. We do have half decent players so I believe it's motivation and tactics and thats down to Moyes. If we don't get decent results against Birmingham, Boro and West Brom then it's time up. What about Bobby Robson as a stop gap if Hearts don't nab him first.
I CANNOT hide my disappointment at us being knocked out of the Carling Cup. Mickey Mouse Cup my backside - I would have been very happy to win it. Perhaps Everton think that
it is a financial loss maker. The fans think winning is more important. We need a goalscorer. This is not hindsight as it is something the all Evertonians have been crying out for for many years.
Sorry David Moyes but I have always defended Everton managers but cannot do so on your transfer dealings. They have been very poor, and it breaks my heart to say so.
Come on Blues we are desparate to be proud of you.
IT'S obvious what we have to do to win games - score. I've been watching last season's success on DVD and virtually all of our goals came from crosses. The answer therefore as to why we haven't scored much this season, isn't hard to point out - it is simply because we don't cross to the strikers.
We looked at our best when Andy van der Meyde came on.
Why? because he delivered some wicked crosses. Come on Moyes I'm 16 and I'm definitely no manager but even I can see that with our players we have to cross to scored goal because we are probably the second worst footballing side in the Premiership - with just Pompey behind us.
We should start with Beattie and Ferguson up front and whip in a ton of crosses with van der Meyde on the right and McFadden on the left.
IF every Everton fan stayed in the comfort of his own armchair, what sort of support would Everton have as a football club steeped in history and tradition. I was there on Wednesday because I love the club, not Moyes or the players, Everton Football Club. I went to support them - win, lose or draw. Even perish the thought that we go down, I will still renew my season ticket and go and support the club. Everton is like that, it gets under your skin.
Bemused Moyes in system dilemma
Oct 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES must decide whether to unleash his bruise brothers on Birmingham again tomorrow - but insists too much is being made of his formations and systems this season. Duncan Ferguson and James Beattie gave Chelsea's defence their most uncomfortable afternoon of the season last Sunday, and Ferguson has now recovered from the dead-leg which kept him out of the midweek Carling Cup defeat by Middlesbrough. Moyes must decide whether to play him alongside Beattie, or reintroduce the 4-5-1 formation which helped Everton grind a 1-0 win at Birmingham last season.
The Blues boss said: "We have played two up front in probably five or six of the games this season.
"It's strange; you do it against Chelsea and there is a lot of attention drawn towards it but nobody drew attention to it when we played games with it and lost. "But I understand there's a lot of coverage of teams playing one up front. We played it last year and finished fourth in the Premier League. "Charlton are doing marvellously playing in a similar fashion, but you have to play with the players you have available to you and what you think is right. "I think there is a little bit too much made of it. "Chelsea have their 4-3-3, Manchester United the same, so teams play what they think is right for their club and what their managers choose to do. "We played two up against Chelsea. Now we will decide how we go in the games we have next." Tim Cahill and Ferguson should both return at St Andrews, but left-backs Nuno Valente and Matteo Ferrari are both ruled out. Birmingham are almost in as much trouble as Everton, without a home win in the league all season and serious pressure mounting on boss Steve Bruce. David Moyes will try and increase that pressure and bounce back from the defeat to Middlesbrough in midweek. "We must pick ourselves up now for the Birmingham game," he said. "We will be working towards getting that right because there were a lot of positives to come out of the cup defeat."
Martyn: Time to get mean streak back
Oct 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GOODISON PARK was witness to a footballing rarity on Wednesday night... a Nigel Martyn mistake.
Comfortably Everton's most consistent performer ever since he arrived from Leeds two years ago, the shot from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink which speared through his legs was the exception rather than the rule. Given the extra burden of responsibility he has carried this season during the most goal-shy spell in recent Everton history, perhaps an error was inevitable. But a mortified Martyn insists that it must be a one-off - and a revival must be built on the back of defensive solidity.
"From our point of view we need clean sheets," he declared. "That is what we achieved last season and that is what we aim to achieve again this season. "Not many teams have really run over the top of us and we haven't really let in bucket loads of goals. Our goals against column is worse than it should be, but not as bad as it could have been. We are trying to remain as solid as possible and the result against Chelsea can only be a good thing in that department. "The defence did very well that day. The whole back four, including Matteo Ferrari when he came on for Nuno Valente, played their parts as well. They got most of the plaudits and it was pleasing for them. "I was especially pleased for Joe (Yobo) given the stick he had taken for the Tottenham game. He came back with a really solid display and it was good for him and his confidence. "Given our season so far, it felt like a win on Sunday when you consider they had had a hundred per cent start to the season and we hadn't exactly been doing too well. It was a great performance and a good result. "The talk before the match was to produce a performance, but you can never guarantee the result, you can only guarantee the performance - and that was there which was good to see." But the manner in which Everton's confidence collapsed on Wednesday as soon as Middlesbrough scored underlined the importance of keeping clean sheets. And it also underscored just how crucial Everton's trip to Birmingham tomorrow will be. Steve Bruce's side lie just two places and two points above Everton, having played a game more. A victory for the Mersey Blues would lift them over their Brum counterparts - and transfer the media spotlight onto the Midland Blues. Martyn is aware of the interest the clash is already provoking. "I saw them on TV talking it up as a big relegation battle," he added "which I thought was a bit early for talk like that. But it is an important game and we do need to start picking up points and it's a good place to start for us. "It is a very tough place to go. I think it was 1-0 last season with Thomas Gravesen grabbing the penalty. It was tough but we have got to go out with the same sort of mentality and see if we can grind out another one. "That's what we are looking to do, go on a little run of games undefeated and start pushing ourselves up the league and taking the pressure off ourselves a little. "But all we can guarantee is a performance and if we give good performances then hopefully we can pick up the points." Martyn is one of the bubbliest characters in the Goodison dressing room, but he admits the poor start to the season has tested even his positive outlook. "Usually I do try and play with a smile on my face and I train that way," he added. "Being bottom of the table does take the gloss off that and you are not as smiley as you usually are. "But the hard work is being put in by everybody here and the quicker we move up the table the more you will see us smile again. "The manager wouldn't let the confidence waver anyway. He's made us work hard at the right times and when we have had the gruelling schedules with lots of games in a short space of time, he has given us the odd day off and lighter sessions to try and freshen us up. "He's done everything he can to prepare us in the right way and we have got to go out there and start getting the results. "The togetherness has always been there. It is one thing that has remained constant. "Whichever XI goes out onto the pitch fights for each other and there's another 11 or 12 guys itching to get in the team and they are supporting as well and that is important."
Blues Hawthorns tickets info
Oct 28 2005 Liverpool Echo
West Bromwich Albion v Everton in the Premiership on Saturday, November 19 (Kick-off 5.15pm)
STAND tickets for this match are priced £29 (adults), £16 (Over 65s) and £13 (juniors - under 16 only) and will be available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no 38 together with not less than eight away match ticket stubs (different games) from season 2004/ 2005 and properly affixed to their official away match saving sheet from the Park End Box Office during normal office hours. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 38 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher 7 from their season ticket books. Identification will be required for concessionary tickets. Supporters should note that applications will not be accepted unless stubs are attached to the official away match saving sheet.
Blues saved bookies' skin
Oct 28 2005 You Bet With Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON saved bookmakers a million pound payout by holding champions Chelsea at Goodison Park. A pre-season plunge on Jose Mourinho's men winning every league game this season meant that the industry held a seven-figure liability as it was backed down from 500-1 to just 25-1. However, the Londoners are still available at 9-2 (Hills) to remain unbeaten in the Premiership this term and 7-4 (Hills) to finish with 100 points or more. Roman Abramovich's claim that Chelsea will dominate for 100 years has also caused a stir, with Hills offering them as 100-1 favourites to land the Premiership crown in 2105-06!
I did Pires penalty first - and did it properly, says legend Trebilcock
Oct 28 2005 Liverpool Echo
MIKE TREBILCOCK is back in Britain next week - to tell Robert Pires and Thierry Henry just how it should be done. The Arsenal duo became a laughing stock this week after their penalty blunder against Manchester City. Penalty taker Pires tried to touch the ball forward for team-mate Henry to rap into the net - but messed it up. But it was far from the first time the ploy had been attempted.
Everton's 1966 FA Cup hero, Mike Trebilcock - now living Down Under in Darwin, Australia - tried the same thing on November 21, 1964, but he got it right. "Yes, I was the Thierry Henry of my day," he joked. "I was playing for Plymouth Argyle at the time and Big Malcolm Allison was the manager. It was one of his mad ideas. "Our captain, John Newman, was the man to run forward and touch the ball, while I was assigned to follow up and knock it into the net. "We'd practised it a few times during training and, coincidentally, it was a match against Manchester City when we got the chance to try it out for real. "We won the game 3-2, but I think it was 0-0 at the time when we did it. "Big Mal was just like that. He was always trying out something different." Trebilcock is back in Liverpool next Wednesday for a reunion of the 1966 FA Cup winning side at the Adelphi Hotel.
Forssell getting back to his best
Oct 28 2005 Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
MIKAEL FORSSELL believes he is finally getting back to his best as the Birmingham striker prepares to face Everton - the club he nearly joined in the summer - in tomorrow's vital Premiership clash at St Andrews. Forssell attracted interest from Everton boss David Moyes when it became clear he needed to leave Chelsea to further his career after his lengthy lay-off following knee surgery.
But he opted instead to sign permanently for Birmingham, for whom he had scored 19 goals when on loan during the 2003-2004 campaign. It has been a testing time in recent months for the Finland international, but he is confident his former sharpness is slowly but surely returning. "I have to say it hasn't been easy," said Forssell. "I was out for almost a year and, when coming back from that, the old things don't come back into place in a month or so. "But I have been working very hard and actually feeling better and better all of the time. I am increasing my training levels and am feeling sharper." Forssell admitted: "The season I had at Birmingham two years ago was a big influence on my decision to come back. There was interest from Everton and we had some talks with them but I decided to come to Birmingham. I felt it was the right move at this stage of my career."
Chelsea rebuke Beattie's 'kids' jibe
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post Oct 29 2005
JOSE MOURINHO yesterday hit back at James Beattie after the Everton striker claimed to have found the way to stop Chelsea. Beattie believes teams can outmuscle the reigning Premier-ship champions after they were held 1-1 at Goodison on Sunday. But Mourinho has made it abundantly clear that other teams should not treat his side as 'little kids afraid of a fight'. "I think what James Beattie said is not true," said the Portuguese. "James Beattie had one touch of the ball in 90 minutes. He scored from the penalty spot - a beautiful penalty. There was no chance for the 'keeper so it was an important shot. But he didn't touch the ball in the rest of the game. "So John Terry was afraid of James Beattie or Robert Huth was afraid of Duncan Ferguson - I don't think so. "I think we are ready for everything. We played against Everton, we didn't win but we had no problems. We played against Bolton, a very physical and strong team, with no problems. We played twice against Liverpool, who are a very physical team with no problems. "If they think we are little kids afraid of the fight, they are very very wrong."
Birmingham 0, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Nick Hilton At St Andrews, Daily Post
Oct 31 2005
THE post-match remarks of Birmingham City manager Steve Bruce took no account of the sensitivities of his goalkeeper. "Everton's season might have turned on a horrible mistake by Maik Taylor today," Bruce said of the shot by Simon Davies, assisted by Taylor's misjudgment, that decided the battle of the down-at-heel Blues at St Andrews. While Taylor probably winced when he heard the line, there was no doubt that Bruce had hit upon the potential impact of the goal on Everton's season. More than simply taking Everton off the bottom of the Premier-ship and leapfrogging them over Birmingham and Sunderland, the victory changes the way David Moyes and his team can look at the rest of the campaign. Everton are no longer a team searching desperately for a victory to break the suffocating grip of a losing habit that had been with them for the best part of two months. Within minutes of the final whistle, Moyes was talking about a run of victories together and not looking at the Premiership table until Everton are closer to the middle of it than the bottom. New impetus, new optimism and a new agenda. If Everton set themselves a standard to aspire to in holding runaway leaders Chelsea to a 1-1 draw the previous weekend, the midweek Carling Cup defeat at home to Middlesbrough quickly demonstrated the consequences of falling short. So it was important Everton were able to crank the performance level back up a few notches on Saturday. And while no-one would pretend their efforts represented a strident return to the form of a year ago, they were at least solid value for the points from a tight contest.
The visitors played the more cohesive and creative football in an untidy first half and Davies's goal on 43 minutes was just reward for their enterprise on an occasion when caution would have been understandable. Everton defended the advantage after the interval without too many alarms while failing to cash in on a couple of opportunities on the counter-attack to settle the outcome with a second goal. Even so, Everton would not have been successful without two important breaks going their way. The first was the goal. It was well constructed with Dutchman Andy van der Meyde marking his Premiership debut with a dash down the touchline that pulled Birmingham's defenders across to the left, leaving acres of room through the middle. That earned van der Meyde the option of a pass inside to the unmarked Davies, who could have taken the ball on rather than shooting early from close to 35 yards range. The midfielder's effort had plenty of pace and was well directed towards the bottom left-hand corner of the target. The crucial factor in defeating Taylor was the bounce. It landed a couple of feet in front of the goal-keeper, and took off like one of those good length deliveries from Freddie Flintoff that rears up from a good length. Taylor, having failed to put anything but a flailing hand behind the ball, could not stop its momentum as it flew up and over him into the net. A second stroke of fortune protected Everton's lead from the best effort Birmingham could muster in search of an equaliser. Substitute Neil Kilkenny thought he had levelled the contest on 64 minutes when his free-kick from 25 yards range had the beating of the Everton defensive wall and the despairing fingertips of goalkeeper Nigel Martyn. But the ball thudded against the inside of the right-hand post, rebounded across the goalmouth and was spirited to safety before another Birmingham attacker could capitalise. Bruce picked out Kilkenny's hour-long contribution as a replacement for concussion victim Nicky Butt as the most positive aspect of Birmingham's performance. The 19-year-old was given his chance because half-a-dozen senior players are sitting on the sidelines with long-term injuries. The casualty list is the principal reason for Birmingham's struggles so far this season, which are most acute at home where they have lost five out of six Premiership games. "It's like Groundhog Day with the same things happening to us," Bruce said.. "The players are all thoroughly fed up with the whole situation, which they should be. But with all the problems we have, I can't change it by bringing in new players until January. "Kilkenny was the one spark for us. If anything was going to happen, it was going to come from him. He played with no fear. He came on and showed other players with international caps and lots of Premiership appearances behind them what it's all about. Maybe I will have to look to the young boys."
Everton dropped a number of hints towards the end of last week that their own line-up might also be seriously depleted by injuries. As it turned out, the concerns over van der Meyde, Joseph Yobo, Tim Cahill and Duncan Ferguson evaporated. Everton went into the contest with a line-up weighted heavily with attacking and creative players. The selection enabled them to make the most of Birmingham's timidity and take the initiative. The neat and creative Mikel Arteta and Cahill played crucial roles in helping Everton seize control of the midfield and threaten to score more often than the home side in the first half. Ferguson might have done more with the half-chance created by Arteta's ball in from the right that the Scot clipped wide of the near post in the 17th minute.
Cahill had Taylor scrambling across his line to push out a diving header from Tony Hibbert's 28th-minute cross and a minute later Arteta claimed for a penalty in vain after falling under a heavy challenge from Jiri Jarosik. When Cahill did well to sweep in a cross from the byline on the left in the 34th minute, James Beattie, jumping well at the far post, put plenty of power on a header that just cleared the bar. Birmingham's response to the goal could have been almost instantaneous with Jarosik firing a 20-yard shot that forced Martyn into an athletic parry. The home side found their best patch of form in the 10 minutes following the interval. Martyn had to push out a first time shot by Emile Heskey and stopped another effort by Jermaine Pennant. Damien Johnson claimed for a penalty in vain following a push by Davies and Jarosik struck a deflected shot that made the save easy for Martyn. Birmingham were not able to sustain the pressure and a flurry of counter-attacks around the half-hour mark gave Everton the chance to make the game safe. When Ferguson flicked on a long clearance from Martyn, Beattie wriggled in front of the last defender to poke the ball goalwards, only for Taylor to make a sharp reaction save. Beattie returned the compliment to his striking partner only to see Ferguson curiously check out of a first time shot from 12 yards.
Everton's defensive work wasn't composed enough to spare themselves a couple of anxious moments in the final 20 minutes. Jarosik fired wide of the target from the edge of the box and when Heskey directed the ball towards Walter Pandiani at the far post, the substitute blazed the half chance high over the top.
MAN OF THE MATCH Mikel Arteta
Neat and busy contribution, kept Everton ticking
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Maik Taylor; Martin Taylor, Clapham, Cunningham (Pandiani 73), Upson; Pennant, Butt (Kilkenny 35), Jarosik, Johnson; Heskey, Forssell. Subs: Vaesen, Painter, Tebily.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; van der Meyde (Kilbane 70), Cahill, Davies, Arteta; Beattie (Osman 82), Ferguson. Subs: Wright, Kroldrup, McFadden. BOOKING: Arteta (foul).
REFEREE: Rob Styles (Hampshire).
NEXT GAME: Everton v Middlesbrough, Premiership, Sunday 2pm
Birmingham 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
David Prentice At St Andrews, Liverpool Echo
Oct 31 2005
THE ball-juggling Alan Biley look-a-like, resplendent in peroxide and pink, who minced across the St Andrews turf before kick-off - plus an Everton team-sheet which looked like it had been crafted on a playstation, pointed to an afternoon of riotous entertainment at Birmingham City. A day for mavericks, an expression of silky soccer skills, an occasion when David Moyes' gung-ho bravado would be rewarded with an avalanche of goals. In the end, it didn't quite go that way. But ask the Evertonians packed into the away end of St Andrews on Saturday if they enjoyed it any less, and the answer would be a resounding 'no'. Because there was certainly plenty to be going on with.
The scoreline might have been a dour 1-0 away win, but the way Everton were set up was anything but. Two out-and-out strikers, two recognised wingers, two central midfielders who love to attack... this was as far removed from the 4-5-1 formation which ground out an identical result here last season as it was possible to achieve. Perhaps it was the knowledge Birmingham hadn't won a home match in the Premiership all season, maybe it was the necessity to ask Phil Neville to fill the latest left-back void - or maybe he'd just had enough of his team carrying the potency of eunuchs, but the Blues' boss named an adventurous line-up. And if fortune really does favour the brave, David Moyes was amply rewarded when Neil Kilkenny's 65th minute free-kick struck the inside of Nigel Martyn's goalpost and rolled along the goalline... to safety. But in truth, that was the only moment Birmingham remotely threatened a goal, whereas Everton should have been two or three goals to the good before Simon Davies decided to try his luck from 30 yards out. The selection of Andy van Der Meyde was the big surprise. Duncan Ferguson and Tim Cahill - described as "serious doubts" the night before - were clearly part of some pre-match psychology by Moyes on his under-pressure Birmingham counterpart, as they both lined up looking fresh and full of vitality. But with only 60 minutes' reserve team football and half-an-hour as a substitute in a Carling Cup tie to his name, the call-up from the start of Dutch winger Van Der Meyde was more of a gamble. It paid off. Just 45 seconds in, he skinned the ageing Kenny Cunningham with a quicksilver turn, raced down the flank and saw a cross blocked. It was a positive statement of intent. Having been injured since the start of the season, he showed none of the shattered confidence, none of the self-doubt which had begun to pull his team-mates down - and his positivity proved infectious. Arteta crossed from the right - the little Spaniard looks even more influential down the flanks than he does when employed in the middle - and Ferguson hooked a shot a yard wide; Ferguson touched on for Beattie, who was was closed down in the act of shooting; Cahill smashed a shot well wide; Arteta crossed again and this time Cahill's stooping header was scrambled away by goalkeeper Taylor; Cahill played a one-two with Van Der Meyde and crossed for Beattie to power a header over and then Everton scored.
And all the time Birmingham's only threat was a ridiculous penalty claim when Jarosik lost his footing on the slippy surface with Arteta standing off the pitch, two yards away. The goal Everton deserved came three minutes before the interval, when Van Der Meyde loped confidently down the left again, then rolled the ball back inside for Davies. We've seen him do it for Wales, but this time Davies was wearing the curious grey and black of an Everton away strip when he let fly from 30 yards. The shot was firm, well placed, but the little dip off the surface it took just before it reached Maik Taylor was the crucial factor in the ball flying into the Birmingham net. That, and the fact that a fortnight ago perhaps nobody would have tried a shot from that distance. The home team predictably rallied, but Kilkenny's free-kick was the only time Martyn was even remotely threatened. Joseph Yobo was excellent, David Weir not far behind - and Phil Neville even managed to escape the curse of the left-back... despite a couple of worrying moments when first Forssell and then Pennant left him limping.
Everton had openings of their own. Beattie poked a shot which Taylor parried wide and then Ferguson almost got on the end of a poor clearance and was denied again by the Birmingham keeper. The celebrations at the final whistle underlined how much of a relief this result was - either that or the players don't fancy playing in grey-and-black (sorry, silver) - as they tossed their jerseys into the crowd. Of course, this will only prove a turning point if the players build on the result in the winnable matches they have to come. But it's safe to say 4-5-1 won't be seen around Goodison for a while. If Middlesbrough perform next Sunday like they did on Saturday night, it could be quite an afternoon at Goodison Park. Man of the match
Organised and covered superbly, especially after the break, but had stern competition from the busy Simon Davies
Confident Moyes ignoring league table
By Nick Hilton Daily Post Staff
Oct 31 2005
MANAGER David Moyes is so confident Everton will pull away from the Premiership danger zone that he won't look at the league table until they are clear of trouble. Everton moved off the bottom, where they have spent most of the campaign, with a 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Birmingham City on Saturday. Simon Davies's 43rd-minute strike at St Andrews secured Everton's second win in 10 Premiership games and the first since August, taking them above Sunderland and Birmingham into 18th spot. And Moyes said: "I have not looked at the table and I don't need to. I know where we are. I won't look at it tomorrow either because my expectations are that we will end up much higher. "Once I start thinking we are winning enough games and get close enough to where we should be, then I will start having a glance." Moyes admits, however, that it might be some weeks before he can allow himself a peek at that table. "I'm not going to be able to say for a long time that we are out of this situation," he conceded. "We have to win a lot of games. We need to get half-a-dozen wins under our belt very quickly and see what happens from there." Moyes believes Everton's season of struggle hit a pivotal point eight days ago when they became the first side to take a point off runaway lead-ers Chelsea. While that 1-1 draw at Good-ison was quickly followed by a Carling Cup defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough, the victory over Birmingham demonstrates to Moyes that his team have at last found some momentum. "I do think that things are turning for us," he said.. "I have seen signs around the club. You notice small things which maybe you did not realise had been missing. For instance, I think I can hear the players' voices much more often now. "The players were needing something to hang on to and I think the Chelsea game gave us that. But football is such a fine line. We scored the goal (on Saturday) and were able to protect that goal. In most of our games, we have been chasing the goal. "In a lot of ways there wasn't an awful lot of difference between that performance and some of the games we have lost. "The differences were very small." Davies' first goal since his summer move from Tottenham Hotspur was aided by a misjudgement by Birmingham goalkeeper Maik Taylor, who was deceived by the bounce of the 35-yard shot when it landed just in front of him. Birmingham manager Steve Bruce described it as a 'horrible' mistake as his team,, without a win since August, lost for the fifth time in the Premiership at St Andrews. Moyes admitted Birmingham's performance had a familiar look to it. He said: "Birmingham kept coming at us, which we knew would happen. In a lot of ways they reminded me of how we have been at home, needing things to break for them, needing things to go a little better. "But I think we deserved the win in the end. "Both teams knew the importance of the game and we set out our stall to get the points. I don't think we could have put out a more attacking team if we tried. "We had Andy van der Meyde on one side and Mikel Arteta on the other and two midfield players who are essentially attacking players in Tim Cahill and Simon Davies plus Duncan Ferguson and James Beattie up front." It was van der Meyde's first Premiership start following his move from Inter Milan and the Dutchman made a positive impact with his pace and ability to run at opponents. Moyes said: "Andy has not played a lot of football and we were concerned about his fitness. But he helped us, helped make the goal and always looked as if he was liable to do something. "He came in partly because we have injuries as well. "I just thought it was the right choice. We wanted to try and score some goals." Moyes added: "I always think we have been positive. We found a system of play last season that won us nine games 1-0. I don't think we were negative, we had players in the right positions. But I am having to find another solution at the present time."
Davies happy to get shirty for away fans
By Nick Hilton Daily Post Staff
Oct 31 2005
MATCHWINNER Simon Davies revealed manager David Moyes instructed his Everton players to throw their shirts to the travelling supporters after Saturday's 1-0 success at Birmingham City. "Throwing the shirts to the crowd was a thank-you to the supporters because they have been fantastic," explained Davies whose 43rd-minute strike lifted Everton off the bottom of the Premiership. "We have been frustrating at times but those fans have always cheered us on and they have got to know that makes a difference to us." Davies believes hard work has been the key element in helping Everton halt a losing streak with a draw against Chelsea eight days ago followed by the victory at St Andrews. He said: "The only reason we have got anything from the last two games is the effort we put in. "The Premiership is a difficult place to work when you are not winning games no matter how hard the manager tries to pick everyone up. "But the confidence you need to try and get a run going has improved in the last week since the Chelsea game." Meanwhile, Phil Neville believes Everton have rediscovered that knack of being hard to beat with the kind of gritty performance at St Andrews that was their trademark last season. He said: "Results had improved a little bit but still we needed to pick up a victory and the game at Birmingham was massive for us. The boss left us in no uncertain terms about what we needed to do. "Sometimes you have to show a bit of bottle and there were a lot of determined players out there. Sometimes when you are in the form we are in, it's not pretty at times. "But we kept a clean sheet and the players were willing to put their head in where it hurts and tackle all over the pitch and that aggression helped us in putting Birmingham on the back foot for large parts of the game. "It was definitely a must-win game for us. It would have opened up a little bit of a gap at the bottom if Birmingham had beaten us but we still believe we are too good to be down there. "Now we are off the bottom and hopefully Saturday proves to be a bit of a turning point for us." Neville added: "We had a meeting before we went away for the last batch of internationals and we said 'enough is enough' and since then our performances have improved. "Every now and again in football you need to air your views. We had just lost quite badly at Manchester City with a performance that was not up to standard. "The players opened up, the manager opened up and everyone was left in a positive frame of mind."
Attack-minded line-up paid off
By Colin Hincks, Daily Post
Oct 31 2005
SO the definite signs of revival, in the league at least, continue. Even before a ball was kicked on Saturday I was cautiously optimistic that we could get the three points from the game at St Andrews. We named an attack-minded line-up that made the best of the personnel that's currently available for the manager to choose from. It was good to see Moyes give Andy van der Meyde his first start in a royal blue shirt. From the very first whistle the boys were very bright and positive. The midfield quartet of Arteta, Cahill, Davies and our new left-wing wizard linked particularly well. Throughout the opening half the whole team to a man showed the endeavour and work ethic that typified us the whole of last season. However, this was mixed with some good inter-passing and attacking football.
This is surely another sign that some confidence is slowly starting to creep back into the players. By the end of the half we could have been out of sight, had we converted the chances created. Cahill, Ferguson and Beattie all had good chances - the one that found the net coming from Davies' 25-yard shot, that the keeper should've got. However, this might be the bit of luck that the Welsh-man needs to kick-start his Everton career. He indeed continued to enjoy his best game for the club so far. The second half was more of a defensive dis-play, as Birmingham tried to get themselves back in the game, though there looked no serious threat. The defence looked solid, with Yobo again enjoying an excellent afternoon at the heart of defence. All in all we appear to becoming back to form and optimism is the order of the day. Come on boys start climbing that league.
Neville hails brave Moyes
Oct 31 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today saluted the "bravery" of boss David Moyes which earned Everton victory in their "must-win match" at Birmingham on Saturday. Manager Moyes selected an adventurous line-up of two strikers and four attacking midfielders - and left-back Neville believed the switch inspired Everton to the win which lifted them off the bottom of the Premiership. "Last Sunday and on Saturday the manager has made two really brave team selections," he explained.. "Against Chelsea he went 4-4-2 and said 'let's get at them', which surprised a few who probably thought we were going to sit back. "Then at Birmingham he's picked Andy van der Meyde who hasn't had a lot of football, but it signalled that intent that we were going to be positive and going to go for it.
"When you have wingers like Arteta and Van der Meyde then we are going to start creating chances for the forwards - and when you have Beattie and Ferguson up there, or Bent and Osman, they thrive on crosses and these wingers will provide that." Neville added: "It was definitely a must-win game for us. It would have opened up a little bit of a gap at the bottom if Birmingham had beaten us, but we still believe that we're too good to be down there. "Hopefully now we're off the bottom this is a little bit of turning point for us." Neville also pointed out the significance of the team meeting before the trip to Tottenham, which he suggests created a positive attitude amongst the players which they carried into the Premier-ship games against Chelsea and Birmingham.
"We had a meeting before we went to Spurs when we said 'enough was enough'," added Neville.
"Every now and again in football you need to air your views. We were playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday and after a defeat you have to pick yourself up for the Wednesday game.
"But we had a 10 day international break and we had just been beaten quite badly at Manchester City where our performance was not up to standard, so the boss got us in for a meeting. "It was one of those meetings every football club has. I have had them many times during my career and I have always felt the benefit of those meetings. "Players opened up, the manager opened up and everyone was left in a positive frame of mind. "It wasn't a negative meeting at all and since then our fortunes and our mood has changed. "Our performances have improved since then, and while the results did a little bit we still needed to pick up a victory which we did. "We played well against Chelsea last week, we played okay against Middlesbrough but again that was a defeat, so today was a massive game for us."
Moyes: 'Chelsea draw gave us some momentum'
Oct 31 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES admitted the sterling draw with Chelsea has provided the spark needed to revive Everton's season as Simon Davies' first-half goal at Birmingham moved them off the bottom of the Premiership. The Toffees became the first side to take points off Chelsea this season last weekend - and Moyes believes it has put the belief back into his side and a spring in the step of the whole club.
A blunder by Blues goalkeeper Maik Taylor gifted Davies the goal which helped Everton leapfrog Birmingham. Moyes said: "We knew the importance of the game to both teams and we set our stall out to get the points. "I don't think we could have put out a more attacking side if we had tried.
"We had Andy van der Meyde on one wing, Mikel Arteta on the other, two attacking midfielders in Tim Cahill and Simon Davies with Duncan Ferguson and James Beattie up front. We came here to try to win the game. "I have sensed the confidence coming back after the Chelsea game.
"You notice small things that maybe you didn't realise had been missing. I can hear their voices much more often around the place. "Even the groundsman is brushing the leaves off the pitch now! Maybe we didn't see that before. "The chef baked us a cake the other day - small things which are required that you don't see when you are in the eye of the storm. "The players were needing a result, something to hang on to at the moment. I think the Chelsea game gave us that. Football has such a fine dividing line. "We scored the goal against Birmingham and were able to hang on to that. In every other game this season we've been chasing the goal. "It is a very fine line between losing and winning. Birmingham have a really good team and kept coming at us which we knew would happen. "I just felt they reminded me a lot of the way we have been at home, probably needing for things to break for them. "This was our day and we deserved it."
'Shirt gesture was for fans' support'
Oct 31 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON match-winner Simon Davies led an impromptu striptease at St Andrews on Saturday - as a thank you to the supporters who have continued to back them throughout their stumbling start to the season. Goalscorer Davies and his Blues team-mates tossed their shirts into the away section after a vital 1-0 win lifted them off the bottom of the Premiership. And afterwards he revealed it was a reward for the backing the fans have given them. "The supporters have been fantastic," he explained. "We have all been frustrated at times, especially at home, with the points we should have been picking up. But they came along today, were shoved into that small corner but we definitely heard them and they definitely cheered us on. "They have to know that makes a difference.
"The manager told us to go and chuck the shirts in, so we did as a thank-you." Davies scored the only goal of the game from fully 30 yards, and explained afterwards that the play-ers had been buoyed into having a go at Birmingham by the manager's team selection. "He named the team today and we all went 'phew, he obviously wants us to get forward and have a go at them' " added Davies. "And that's the best way. We need to get forward, get chances and score goals and to be fair we all defended well, too. We dug in in the second half under a lot of pressure from them and kept a clean sheet. "For the goal, I thought it had a chance as soon as I had hit it. I think the keeper just got blocked by a defender. It also skidded off the pitch. It was quite slippy and when you catch them balls sometimes they move all over the place and it was difficult the way it bounced in front of him.
"You have to take a chance sometimes and fortunately for me and the team it went in.
"It was such a relief. It feels like we have turned a corner now, but it is still early days, we have only got here by working hard and we can't forget that. "Going home on the team bus after a defeat is not a nice place to be, and it carries on through training during the week. The manager tries to pick everyone up but it can be a difficult place to work. "Since last week there has definitely been a feeling of everyone being on the up again and it was vital that we built on it today. "The manager has told us that we have only got something from the last two games through the effort we have put in. The lads have given everything and that's what we need to carry on doing if we are going to win Premier League games. "Last season we picked up so many points at Goodison - not many teams went there and got something - and that's what we've got to start doing again." Davies was used in a central mid-field role again and enjoyed one of his most effective games for the club. He said afterwards it is a position he is more than happy to continue in. "I have primarily played on the right throughout my career," he said "but I have always had spells in the middle for Tottenham and Wales and I enjoy it. "You get more of the ball I suppose and in the first half particularly today I saw plenty of it. I really enjoyed it, but it doesn't really matter. "After the shin problem I just need games and hopefully I can get a run of games now and just keep building. It was great to get the confidence from scoring today and it's important now that myself and the team push on."