Sound City has back-up plans if Everton move to Bramley Moore Dock
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Josh Parry
CEO David Pichilingi has assured fans festival will go ahead
The organisers of Liverpool Sound City have assured fans the festival won’t be cancelled if current site Bramley-Moore Dock is sold off to Everton FC. The music festival, usually held during May Bank Holiday, has been held at the site for the last two years after starting off in and around Liverpool city centre’s bars and clubs. However Mayor Joe Anderson had been dropping hints on social media that the dock could be earmarked as the site for Everton’s new stadium. In response to a fan’s question about the club moving away from Goodison Park, Mayor Joe Anderson tweeted on Monday that a new stadium for the Blues was “closer now than it was last month”, and “closer now than it’s ever been”.
When questioned further, he gave a cryptic response of “the Moore the merrier” - which hints at a location for the new stadium. Following Mayor Anderson’s tweets, Sound City’s CEO David Pichilingi has assured fans “there is a plan B and a plan C” - and that the festival will go ahead no matter what happens to land at Bramley-Moore Dock. He said: “We don’t have any rights to the land at all, it’s owned by Peel and we actually got access to it because they knew we had a reputation for doing good work.
Sound City Day Two at The Bramley Moore Dock, Liverpool on 29th May 2016 : photograph David Munn
“I don’t really read too much into this sort of thing because nothing is concrete, but we do have a plan B and a plan C in place for all of this and people needn’t worry. “If we don’t come back on this site, we will come back and we will continue to keep people interested as we have done before.
“Maybe we will go somewhere else and it will help regenerate that area.”
Plans for a new stadium on a docklands-based site, or on land at Stonebridge Cross are currently being explored after plans to develop on Walton Hall Park were abandoned earlier this year.
The dock was part of Peel’s £5.5billion ‘Liverpool Waters’ regeneration programme, which was announced in 2007. Bramley Moore dock closed in 1988 following the decline of the coal industry in south Lancashire, and has recently been used as a site for Sound City.
Sissoko and his agent disrespected Ronald Koeman say pundits
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Strong words from TV pundits on transfer deadline day
Moussa Sissoko’s agent has been accused of disrespect to Ronald Koeman – after initiating interest from the Blues, then refusing to pick up the phone to the Blues boss. Everton met Newcastle’s £30m valuation for the French international late on deadline day and agreed personal terms with the player, after being told that Sissoko was keen to move to Goodison. Everton had a private jet on standby to ferry Sissoko to Merseyside for a medical, but when Spurs matched Everton’s bid Sissoko and his representatives could not be contacted. Former Manchester City and Sunderland striker Niall Quinn said: “Everton deserve a bit of sympathy. They did really well in holding back the Enner Valencia deal, because as low as Everton fans might have felt, it was quite smart of them to hang onto that one and to announce it immediately after. “I just feel sorry for Koeman because we were led to believe he was making a phone call (to Sissoko) saying ‘well done, great to have you here, welcome to the club’ and they wouldn’t take the call. But that’s the game. It can be a dirty game.
“We heard that the agent said ‘please come and sign us, we want to come to you’ which set the ball in play but it looks as though the agent had a better deal to run to in the end. You get so wound up by it and you want to say an awful lot more but I have to be careful.”
Former Arsenal favourite Paul Merson was just as irritated.
“He’s unreal isn’t he?” he said. “He can’t even answer Ronald Koeman’s call. I mean what’s the game coming to? The word legend is used very loosely in football but this man IS a legend from what he’s done in football - and he can’t even pick the phone up and say ‘I don’t really want to sign for your side.’
“I watched Sissoko at Newcastle last year, he stayed out on the wing and didn’t do anything.
“When you’re that good you’ve got to be able to do something out of the ordinary to get your team out of it as that’s what top players do. I wouldn’t have been putting my £30m on him.
“He was playing in front of 50,000 Geordies, if you can’t get up for that, when are you ever going to get up for playing a football match.”
What would await Everton and their fans 'Down The Dock Road'?
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Paddy Shennan
The ECHO takes a tour of the area which many Blues hope will be their next home
If the rumours are right and there is substance in Mayor Joe Anderson’s teasing tweets, Everton Football Club could be looking to build a new stadium in Liverpool’s north docks. Responding to a fellow Evertonian’s query on Twitter, regarding a potential move, he wrote: “It’s closer now than it was last month and closer now than it’s ever been. All working hard to make it happen.” This was followed with a second – incredibly intriguing – tweet, which intimated the site could be Bramley-Moore Dock: “The Moore the merrier for me,” the Mayor tweeted, complete with a winking emoji.
But what awaits the club and its fans should any deal be done with landowners Peel Group?
This stretch of Regent Road, aka The Dock Road, has long been dismissed by many as a windswept and uninteresting hinterland. But the regeneration of this famous old part of Liverpool is already well underway (see The Titanic Hotel at Stanley Dock), with more development to follow (there are plans for the Tobacco Warehouse to be converted into 538 apartments). While a new stadium and associated retail and leisure developments would completely transform what, for many years, was a largely forgotten part of the city.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The north docks is a massive area, but we took as our central point the Bramley-Moore Dock, as this is the area tantalisingly signposted by Mayor Anderson. It’s about two miles from the city centre, opened in 1848 and was closed in 1988 – but in 2015 and 2016 was the home of Liverpool Sound City.
The Dock Road, itself, which takes such a terrible pounding from trucks and lorries, is hardly known for providing smooth journeys, and there is an unsettling sign for motorists: “Road liable to flooding”!
GETTING TO THE GROUND – IF IT’S EVER BUILT IN THE NORTH DOCKS
Sandhills train station.
Google Maps suggests it is an 18 minute walk from Sandhills station to Bramley-Moore Dock, but myself and ECHO photographer Jason Roberts did it in a comfortable 15 minutes. This suggests Google’s 33 minute walk from the dock to Moorfields train station is probably more like 25 minutes.
To people who don’t like walking, even the walk to Sandhills may be seen as a bit of a hike. But those travelling by train to Goodison Park face similar walking distances – for example, although it never takes me this long, Google Maps has Bank Hall to Goodison as 27 minutes and Kirkdale to Goodison as 19 minutes.
Entrance to Titanic hotel.
Travelling by road may cause more headaches – hands up if you have avoided driving near the ECHO arena whenever a big concert was about to finish. And the arena only has an 11,000 capacity.
There may be trouble – and seemingly endless traffic jams – ahead.
A CHINESE CRACKER
Tai Pan Chinese restaurant.
But there is very good news for lovers of Chinese food – the Tai Pan restaurant at the junction of Blackstone Street and Great Howard Street is only a couple of minutes walk from Bramley-Moore Dock!
MEET THE LOCALS...
TERRY BRADY, OWNER OF TERRY’S TIMBER
Terry Brady owner of Terry Timber.
True Blue Terry’s business has been going for more than 30 years, and he employs a staff of around 30 on his massive site opposite Bramley-Moore Dock. He tells us: “As an Evertonian I’d be as happy as Larry if we moved here – as long as they gave me an executive box!” More seriously, as to whether he would seek to stay where he is or find new premises, he says: “If anything does happen, I can’t say what I’d do until I heard Everton’s plans. My priority, though, will always be my business and my staff – I am 100% committed to the business and the business will carry on whatever happens.
“But I think it would provide a great boost to the area if Everton came.”
ANGELA BURNS, LICENSEE OF THE BRAMLEY MOORE
The Bramley Moore pub.
Another Evertonian, Angela Burns, who didn’t wish to be pictured, says it would be “fantastic” if Everton built a stadium across the road from her pub. “I have worked here for nearly 25 years and been licensee for 14 years. When I first came here it was a really busy area and I have seen it decline over the years. But things have improved recently. The Titanic has brought more people in and the area is seeing more regeneration. “And we have always had a good and loyal clientele, with local workers as well as people coming from further afield. It’s a traditional pub, which has two football teams – Bramley Moore and West Everton – and a darts team.”
PHILIP FLYNN, OWNER OF METRO TYRES
Philip Flynn owner of Metro tyres.
A little further north on Regent Road is Metro Tyres, owned by Liverpool fan Philip Flynn – who believes he will be in a win-win situation should Everton move in across the road.
He says: “I think they would need this side of the road as well, because they are going to need car parking facilities. If they built here and we ended up staying we should definitely get more trade, but if they had to pay me (to relocate) then I’d also be happy.”
He adds: “I think transport would be their main problem – the road system around here is a mess as it is, and down the road they are talking about making The Strand narrower. But if anything is announced it will take time for it to happen – it would probably be five years before the stadium was built.”
THAT SMELL UP THE ROAD
United Utilities Liverpool wastewater treatment works.
Such a waterfront location, which is within striking distance of the city centre, will tick many boxes for many Evertonians, but nothing is perfect in life – and if the wind is blowing in a certain direction, there would be little chance of forgetting you are walking past United Utilities’ Wastewater Treatment Works if you are heading north to, or south from, Sandhills.
That’s some pong – so if the Blues do end up heading for the waterfront, plan your journey carefully!
Fans want stadium on waterfront Vast scale of docklands site What would Everton want? Everton 'have money for stadium' Waterfront plans revived? Commonwealth bid boost? Kirkby supermarket plan Council 'won't pay'
Will it happen this time? Will Everton end up moving “Down The Dock Road”?
Mo Sissoko's move to Tottenham Hotspur should give Everton's Tom Davies a chance to shine
Young midfielder is highly thought of but could have seen chances limited
By Matt Gatward
September 1 2016 Independent
The extraordinary return of David Luiz to Chelsea was the transfer that had most chins wagging on Thursday morning but in some ways the strangest deal of deadline day was the Mo Sissoko tug of war between Tottenham and Everton. That the Frenchman chose Spurs over Goodison need not be a disaster for Ronald Koeman’s club, though, or indeed for those with the England national team’s embarrassment at the feet of Iceland still nagging away at the back of the mind. Sissoko’s White Hart Lane deal gives the Everton manager the opportunity to put his faith in the young midfielder Tom Davies, who would in all likelihood have been elbowed aside by the former Newcastle player – especially if he has just cost a cool £30m. Davies, 18, is highly regarded by many at Everton – so much so that he has just been offered and signed a five-year deal at the club. The energetic midfielder made his first-team debut in April – against Koeman’s Southampton as it goes – and also played in the 3-0 win over Norwich on the season’s final day. The nephew of Alan Whittle, who made 74 appearances and scored 21 goals for the club in the late 60s and early 70s, has gone on to impress in pre-season, too, having played as both a full-back and in midfield. He came on – albeit as a late substitute – in the club’s win over Stoke last weekend. There is rich promise. So rich that he also trained with the England first-team squad at St George’s Park last October. But that promise could have stagnated had Sissoko joined the club. Another English player squeezed out of first-team Premier League football, a worrying long-term trend that undermines the national side: See Jack Wilshere being forced to seek first-team opportunities at Bournemouth not Arsenal, Calum Chambers following suit, Joe Hart heading to Turin. The list goes on.
“Coming back from the off season and going straight back with the first team has been a good insight for me into what's required,” Davies said last month. “To play as much as I have with [the first team]…has been vital for my progression as a player.” Too true. Koeman was criticised in some quarters at Southampton for not putting his faith in the young English academy players: James Ward-Prose, Harrison Reed and Matt Targett for example. Had Sissoko signed for the Toffees it could have been history repeating. Meanwhile, at Spurs, the manager Mauricio Pochettino believes he has added the missing pieces to complete the White Hart Lane jigsaw. At the end of last season he was open in admitting he wanted another striker, some midfield grit and some power and speed to beef up the squad. This summer he has brought in the Dutch forward Vincent Janssen from AZ Alkmaar for £17m, Victor Wanyama, in from Southampton, adds the grit and now Sissoko adds the pace – Pochettino hopes. Many Newcastle watchers feel selling Sissoko - who, of course, was unable to prevent his previous side’s slide into the Championship - for £30m is great business. They see him as a Sky Sports player: he’s superb when he’s on TV. Spurs had the cash to spend, though, having actually brought in a fair amount of money this summer, too. One way they have balanced the books during this window was selling Ryan Mason to Hull for £13m. Yep, that Ryan Mason: young, English, midfielder.
Everton investor Moshiri 'says Sissoko interest ended because keeping James McCarthy was priority'
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Sky Sports presenter quotes Blues billionaire as not wanting to jeopardise place of Irish midfielder
Was James McCarthy the real reason Everton didn't sign Moussa Sissoko?
Farhad Moshiri has reportedly suggested Everton chose not to pursue a deal for Moussa Sissoko because they wanted to ensure James McCarthy's place at Goodison.
The Blues had a £30million offer for Sissoko accepted by Newcastle United before last night's transfer window closed only for the France international to eventually sign for Tottenham Hotspur.
However, Sky Sports presenter Jim White today posted on social media what appeared to be a statement from Everton investor Moshiri explaining the situation.
It read: “Sissoko is a great player. But when I bought into Everton, I made it clear I was proud to join a family.
“And we don't turn our backs on our own.
Post #DeadlineDay statement from @Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri... pic.twitter.com/P97IvbnQiO
— Jim White (@JimWhite) September 1, 2016
“Keeping James McCarthy was a priority and ultimately we could not proceed with a deal what would jeopardise his place at Everton.
“We wish Sissoko the best.”
McCarthy was subject of rumoured interest from Celtic, Newcastle, Sunderland, Leicester City and Crystal Palace during the closing weeks of the window after losing his starting role in central midfield and being employed in an unaccustomed right wing-back role. Everton boss Ronald Koeman, though, revealed last week the Republic of Ireland international is suffering a groin problem and was not for sale. The ECHO has contacted Everton to ascertain the veracity of Moshiri's comments, but the club have yet to comment.
Everton must revitalise Romelu Lukaku after summer transfer business
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Striker seemed on his way - now onus is on Koeman and co to help Belgian rediscover goalscoring form
Romelu Lukaku has now gone 13 Everton games without a goal after his latest blank against Stoke City
Romelu Lukaku no doubt anticipated the spotlight would fall upon him in the wake of transfer deadline day. However, the reason for such a glare will probably be far removed from the one he may have expected at the start of the window. Lukaku spent much of the summer doing little to quell rumours he was keen for a move away from Goodison, with Chelsea repeatedly his reported preferred destination.
Coping with the weight of a hefty transfer fee was likely on his mind.
Instead, having told Everton of his intention to stay for at least another season, Lukaku now finds himself once again carrying the weight of the Blues’ goalscoring expectation.
Striking reinforcements to ease the pressure on the Belgian had been a priority for Ronald Koeman.
Yes, Enner Valencia has come in from West Ham United on a season-long loan with a view to a permanent move. But the Ecuadorian isn’t like for like. Pace, yes, but not the physical presence of Lukaku nor, judging from his statistics, anywhere near as prolific. The failure to snare Manolo Gabbiadini from Napoli has instead left Arouna Kone as the only other recognised senior striking option.
Manolo Gabbiadini couldn't be snared from Napoli Gerard Deulofeu has been tried up front by Koeman with little success, and while Yannick Bolasie could do the job at a push, he’s more a second striker or winger. Oh, there’s also Oumar Niasse, but the less said the better. The onus, then, as it has been for nearly all of his Everton career, is on Lukaku. So it’s therefore an imperative for Koeman and his coaching staff to get the Belgian back scoring.
When Lukaku blew away Chelsea with a brace in the FA Cup quarter-final at Goodison in March, he moved on to 25 goals for the season.
He hasn’t netted for Everton since, a run of 13 games without a goal.
“Maybe he’s trying too hard,” suggested Koeman after another barren encounter, this time at home to Stoke City last Saturday. “Strikers live by scoring goals and if they don’t score after several games then they start to doubt themselves. “It’s normal for strikers. When they get a goal, confidence returns. It won’t be a problem.” Nevertheless, Lukaku’s confidence-shy showing prompted both Alan Shearer and Ruud Gullit to ponder just how the striker can rediscover his verve. Perhaps, with the transfer window now closed and speculation eased, the uncertainty that has clearly cluttered the Belgian’s mind in recent times will swiftly dissipate. Everton need to find a way to rekindle the fire in their 20-goals-a-season forward. Having won a significant battle in retaining Lukaku, the fight now is to help the Belgian to repair his bruised reputation.
Have Everton dodged a Sissoko-shaped bullet?
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Newcastle Chronicle reporter Lee Ryder on Everton's near-miss
EVERTON were gazumped for the signing of Moussa Sissoko by Tottenham Hotspur.
The French international fluttered his eyelashes at Farhad Moshiri, then when he heard the words “Champions League football”, promptly turned off his mobile phone.
But have the Toffees dodged a very expensive bullet?
The man who watched every one of his appearances for Newcastle United certainly thinks so.
Lee Ryder is the Newcastle Chronicle’s enormously respected Newcastle United reporter.
And when he learned that Toon had banked £30m for the Frenchman he gulped, then wrote this ... once he’d stitched his sides back up again. “While he did shine occasionally for the Magpies, very few fans will be sad to see him go," wrote Lee. “Most supporters in the same position as managing director Lee Charnley would have taken the huge fee for Sissoko, although many would have preferred the deal had been done earlier in the summer so that the money could be reinvested on to the field.
“Sissoko will soon be forgotten by fans if the club wins promotion this season, but let’s be honest, part of the reason United went down was due to the inconsistencies of the frustrating 27-year-old.
“He started the season poorly, failed to step up to the plate when Newcastle needed leaders and then started performing well when it was too late after a pep talk from Rafa Benitez. “The fact Newcastle will eventually net £30million for him is unbelievable, but the Magpies were right to hold out for his market value. “That’s what United have gained financially, but what have they lost on the field? “It’s worth remembering Sissoko scored just one goal last season - a poor return for a midfielder who claims to be Champions League material. “And when it’s considered that he cost United just £1.6million from Toulouse it has proved to be a good deal, Newcastle must be laughing all the way to the bank.”
Oumar Niasse included in Everton's Premier League squad
1 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Senegal striker among 25-man party submitted by Blues for domestic campaign
Everton have confirmed their squad for the Premier League – and Oumar Niasse has been included.
The Blues have submitted their list after the summer transfer window closed last night.
And while Niasse has not yet been given a squad number, the failure to move on the Senegalese striker has seen him included among those players available to Ronald Koeman.
New signing Enner Valencia, who will wear the number 19 jersey during his season-long loan from West Ham United, is also in the 25-man squad of which the rules state a maximum of 17 may not be homegrown players. However, clubs can use an unlimited number of players aged 21 or under, with an U21 player regarded as one that is under the age of 21 on January 1 in the year in which the season commences. That explains why the likes of Mason Holgate, Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell have not been included in the submitted list.
EVERTON PREMIER LEAGUE SQUAD: Baines, Barkley, Barry, Bolasie, Browning, Cleverley, Gibson, Jagielka, Lennon, Lukaku, McCarthy, Pennington, Williams, Besic, Coleman, Deulofeu, Funes Mori, Gueye, Kone, Mirallas, Niasse, Oviedo, Robles, Stekelenburg, Valencia.
Everton daily digest - transfer window analysis, Sissoko, Moshiri, Lukaku and Niasse
1 SEP 2016
BY IAN DOYLE
The day after the night before, and Evertonians are still trying to get their heads around how the transfer window ended. But probably not as much as they are attempting to fathom just what to make of comments attributed to Farhad Moshiri. The Blues investor has apparently stated the reason why Moussa Sissoko didn't come to Goodison. Everton investor Moshiri 'says Sissoko interest ended because keeping James McCarthy was priority'
Transfer window analysis
Ian Doyle has pondered what Everton will have learned from their summer dealings. And he believes the Blues were missing a major statement signing, with Moshiri discovering money alone can't attract the best players. Everton transfer analysis: Chance missed to make statement, value of early business and a new no 1Our podcast regulars haven't wasted any time in getting stuck into events over the last few months. And with the window having slammed shut, they don't think fans should be quite as disheartened as they were come 11pm last night.Everton Royal Blue podcast: What we really thought of the summer transfer windowRom for improvement
Romelu Lukaku and John Stones were the big 'will he, won't he' stories of this transfer window. In the end, Stones did leave, but Lukaku stayed put. With not many striking options, Everton need to now get the best out of the misfiring Belgian once more. Everton must revitalise Romelu Lukaku after summer transfer business The phrase says 'fail to prepare, then prepare to fail'.Swansea's website prepared for signing Enner Valencia... then produced an epic fail by announcing it this morning, despite the small matter of the Ecuadorian having already signed for Everton. Enner Valencia announced as new Swansea player - after he'd already signed for EvertonSissoko-sized bullet missed?That's what our colleagues up in the North East think.They can't believe Tottenham Hotspur have forked out £30million on a player who didn't pull up many trees at Newcastle United.Sissoko and his agent disrespected Ronald Koeman say punditsWhat now for Niasse?"If he likes playing football, then he needs to leave Everton," said Koeman of Oumar Niasse the other week.Well, the Senegal striker has stayed. What happens now though? No transfer deadline day move, no emergency loan window - what happens now with Everton outcast Oumar Niasse? An answer came later in the day with the release of Everton's Premier League squad. Everyone you'd expect to see in there has been included. Along with you-know-who...Oumar Niasse included in Everton's Premier League squadRatcliffe: Squad is hard to improve
Plenty of disappointment on deadline day, but our columnist feels it is a little misplaced.
Ratcliffe: Everton deadline day disappointment understandable but Koeman had hard task improving the squad
1 SEP 2016
BY KEVIN RATCLIFFE
With the transfer window shut, we can now assess what Everton have done this summer – and I'm pretty happy, overall. I've seen some say they wanted even more to come in but there wasn't much wrong with the set of players Ronald Koeman inherited. These aren't bad players. The problem last season was the direction they were heading in, or rather, the direction they were being told to go in.
The big thing when making transfers is bringing players into the club that are better than what you already have. That's pretty hard to do when you look at the calibre of our current crop. The main thing that needed to change happened months ago. We were going in the wrong direction with the management, we needed a change, and we've changed it. There's nothing wrong with the players, they just have to be told differently. That being said, I understand when people point at the money spent – or hasn't been spent, more like. After selling John Stones and being told about Farhad Moshiri's wealth, to actually make a profit this window is a bit disappointing, especially considering all the money from the television deal as well. But then you realise we have started putting in place a structure, a budget. We've decided what wages we'll pay, what fees we'll pay, and we won't break that in case we unsettle the camp. We were still prepared to drop £30m on deadline day, as well, with Yannick Bolasie becoming our record signing earlier in the window. Could they have done more sooner? Perhaps. But we'll see more in future windows, I'm sure. When a new manager comes in, he wants to look at the players - but without the competitive games, it's hard. You're getting fitness from pre-season games, you're not getting a true identity of what they're about. He has a good idea now after three games. It depends how things are going in January, of course. He mightn't feel the need to strengthen the squad! We have started really well, and I imagine the reaction to the deadline day would have been stronger if we hadn't managed seven points from three games, but we're yet to be tested against the bigger guys. See how you do against the Manchester clubs, Arsenal, Chelsea. Then you'll know where you need to strengthen but it won't be until you play against those teams.
Enner Valencia has joined Everton
There's been a little bit of disappointment over the loan deal to bring Enner Valencia to the club, but he is something we've been missing up front. He's got a bit of pace and it's a loan deal, so if he has a good season and scores goals, it might be a good option to look at next summer. If not, then what's the harm? He'll be coming to Goodison as cover more than anything, and it makes us a little bit stronger in terms of the squad. I know there's been a bit of a kerfuffle over Moussa Sissoko turning us down and moving on to somewhere he thinks he's better off at, but what extra would he have brought us? I'm happy with what we have in the midfield. I would have added another defender, maybe one on the right, but that's about it. Fast start because of Koeman's workrate
I played in a golf day with Ronald this week, although I didn't end up on his team. I did tee with fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg, however. I found both him and Ronald nice, very approachable and quite humble. And I'm pretty sure Ronald won! It's all different on the pitch though, isn't it? You look at Everton's strong start and there's one marked difference: workrate. Everyone who plays in the Premier League, and Everton, can control and kick a ball. What makes you stand out is hunger, desire and pressing the opposition. The Blues have that hunger now. Koeman is looking at standards, and if you drop below them, you're in trouble. What a coup he's proving to be.
Everton View from the Gwladys: Squad improved but Koeman will be frustrated at deadline day - someone must be held accountable
2 SEP 2016
BY KRISTIAN WALSH
So, the transfer window is shut. Are you happy?
David Downie (DD): In short, no, but a reflection on the summer overall looks a lot more positive than the deadline day chaos that ensued. To be clear, I don’t have a problem with Everton missing out on Moussa Sissoko. What’s disappointing is the underlying naivety plaguing the club’s transfer policy that ultimately led to the needless panic of trying to complete deals with literally minutes to spare. Deadline day has become a ridiculous part of the game that perpetuates almost everything when a club doesn’t add significantly to their ranks. But the question has to be asked as to why Everton left it so late in the day to make their play. I applaud the club for biding their time with the apparent new-found wealth, but the deadline has always been the same – is it too much to expect what appeared to be a well-oiled machine responsible for recruitment, to have some form of forward planning to ensure a situation like that doesn’t arise? I think lessons need to be learned by everyone concerned with transfers. We have it drilled into us that “Nothing will be the Same” at Everton; it appears that doesn’t include the annual, sluggish efforts during transfer windows. Ronald Koeman identified what was needed, therefore those tasked with completing the process should be held accountable. All of that being said, overall the squad has improved since the bewildering throws of last season but not to the extent that was expected or needed. I have a feeling Koeman shares that frustration.
What represents the best bit of business?
DD: Idrissa Gueye has been nothing short of a revelation so far and the nominal fee paid for him makes it even sweeter. His work ethic and energy in midfield has definitely rubbed off on those around him. Notably Gareth Barry who looks no less than 10 years younger alongside him.
Which one player would you have liked to see arrive?
DD: In regards to who we’ve brought in then regrettably it’s Enner Valencia. I hate to condemn a player to the Oumar Niasse academy without kicking a ball for the club, but West Ham seemed delighted to get rid of him and he looks every bit of a last minute alternative. I’d be absolutely delighted to be proved wrong in the coming months. Furthermore, none of our other new signings from Stekelenburg to Bolasie have looked poor thus far so I’m afraid Enner has to get a shake of the head, for now.
Which one player would you have liked to see arrive?
DD: I’m pretty fussy with goalkeepers so I would have moved heaven and earth to sign Jack Butland from Stoke. They could name their price for all I care, he’s an outstanding talent and we’d be investing in a player who could give us a minimum of 10-12 years’ service.
Everton Royal Blue podcast: What we really thought of the summer transfer window
Plenty of targets missed this summer: a cause for concern or just the new regime finding its feet DD: As I alluded to earlier, I think both of those points kind of feed each other. I think the club and its decision makers have found themselves in unchartered territory but I struggle to see how that can be the full excuse given the courage and ambition in their convictions that attracted Steve Walsh and Ronald Koeman in such an emphatic manner. The contrast in how we’ve operated in the recruitment of Walsh and Koeman to the hesitant nature of chasing players leads me to believe Mr Moshiri isn’t orchestrating both of those processes – in my opinion there’s too many familiarities with previous years’ issues for that to be the case. But I suppose it is a learning process for a club which has been shackled by financial constraints for the best part of 30 years. For certain individuals at the club it must be difficult to facilitate that transition, or so it seems. Another pertinent issue is we’re not able to offer European football or indeed look slightly more appealing to the calibre of player we want to attract due to consecutive bottom half finishes in the Premier League. I don’t think many people appreciate the state in which Roberto Martinez left the club in when he was finally sacked.
DD: That’s the thing I’m worried about. We’ve had a really positive start to life under Koeman and I’d be devastated if the transfer issues hindered our progress. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what we’re doing differently either; one of the big criticisms of Martinez and his eventual undoing was his inability to get the team carrying out the basics in all facets of our play. Koeman appears to have emphatically addressed that starting with the defence. We now look much more solid and I don’t think I can put into words the joy of seeing an Everton side see out a 1-0 win at Goodison. The great thing about it was the confidence the team had in finishing that game off. There wasn’t the usual panic or sense of inevitability that we were going to concede. It was calm, composed and effective. The work rate of players not renowned for putting a shift in has also been very pleasing. Kevin Mirallas in particular looks like he’s relishing life under Koeman and is contributing to the side by leading from the front. Mason Holgate has also flourished to the an extent that Seamus Coleman will do well to regain his right back slot. I also love Koeman’s no nonsense approach to management. Half an hour in away at West Brom and James McCarthy was hooked because the system he started with played into the opposition’s hands. Finally, the versatility of the team in regards to its shape is also very pleasing. We’ve effortlessly moved from a back three to a back four with each individual knowing their job. Everton investor Moshiri 'says Sissoko interest ended because keeping James McCarthy was priority'
DD: I’d like to emphasise that despite the obvious disappointment with the transfer window there’s still plenty of cause to be positive. I know people are fuming and I’m one of them to a point but it shouldn’t get in the way of what has been such a promising start under the new manager. I think as fans we need to change our mentality to as well. By that I mean the passing of a transfer deadline used to mean so much to our season. David Moyes used to be intent on hinging our hopes of the season on what deals we could conjure up. Momentum used to be harnessed or restricted based on how we finished a transfer window and that often dictated how the following months would play out. I don’t think Ronald Koeman sees things that way and he will demand his side continues to kick on regardless of any disappointment with transfers.
A familiar sight, Everton fans? Roberto Martinez feels the pressure during Belgium's loss
ROBERTO MARTINEZ tasted defeat in his first match as Belgium manager - and he looked pretty frustrated on the touchline.
By Jack Watts
Friday, 2nd September 2016
ROBERTO MARTINEZ tasted defeat in his first match as Belgium manager - and he looked pretty frustrated on the touchline.
The Red Devils were beaten 2-0 by Spain thanks to a David Silva double. Martinez's side put in a poor display in front of their own fans - and were booed off after the match. And the ex-Everton boss was clearly already feeling the pressure during the match. Even his new assistant Thierry Henry couldn't help spare his blushes!
Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez booed on Belgium debut
2 SEP 2016
BY DAVID PRENTICE
New job but no fresh start for Martinez
Roberto Martinez’s Belgium were booed off following a 2-0 friendly defeat by Spain in his first match as manager.The former Everton boss, who had to endure supporter protests and banners calling for his sacking during the last few weeks of his time at Goodison, discovered that a new job does not necessarily mean a fresh start.There were jeers from the crowd during his opening match match and his side was booed off by sections of the home crowd after managing just one shot on target. Martinez said: “You can’t expect major change in just three days and this result has no real meaning. “What I do want to see, though, is passion and pride in wearing the national team jersey.” Martinez selected Liverpool striker Divock Origi ahead of Romelu Lukaku, with the Blues striker replacing the Anfield man after 67 minutes. Kevin Mirallas also featured as a 77th minute substitute - but two David Silva goals secured victory for the Spanish. Spaniard Martinez, 43, was appointed on 3 August, less than three months after being sacked by Everton. He succeeded Marc Wilmots and made former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry one of his assistants.
'I never went to Everton - it was funny' says Blues' deadline day target Moussa Sissoko
2 SEP 2016
BY IAN DOYLE
Moussa Sissoko has said he “never went to Everton ” on transfer deadline day – confirming he was never interested in a move to Goodison. The France international emerged as the chief target for the Blues on Wednesday night as they attempted to bolster their squad ahead of the 11pm cut-off. Everton met Newcastle United’s £30million asking price for the 27-year-old, prompting speculation the player was on his way to Finch Farm for a medical. Everton View from the Gwladys: Squad improved but Koeman will be frustrated at deadline day - someone must be held accountable However, Sissoko has admitted he never left London as he waited for Tottenham Hotspur to match the Blues’ offer before putting pen to paper on a five-year deal at White Hart Lane.And the midfielder says he was amazed to watch television reports he was on his way north to join Ronald Koeman’s side. “I never went to Everton,” Sissoko told L’Equipe after appearing for France in their 3-1 friendly win over Italy on Thursday night. “It’s funny. I was watching TV, and I saw that a deal had been done with Everton and that I had signed for them. “But I was in London, waiting to sign my contract (with Spurs). “The main thing is that I signed for the club I wanted to join. Of course I would have liked it to have happened earlier, but now it’s done. “I hope to have a good season and I’m happy to be able to play in the Champions League. I have played at a World Cup and a Euro. “I was only missing playing for the cup with the big ears (Champions League).”
Everton one of three Premier League clubs to make summer transfer profit, says new figures
2 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Everton were one of only three Premier League clubs to make a profit in this summer's transfer window, according to figures released today. The data, which looked at the summer spending of all 20 top flight sides, found that only three clubs were in profit on their summer dealings, with Southampton and Swansea joining the Goodison outfit in the black on transfers since July.
Everton signed five players; Idrissa Gueye (£7.2m), Dominic Calvert Lewin (£1.5m), Yannick Bolasie (£25m), Ashley Williams (£12m), and Martin Stekelenburg (£850,000). The figures are based on player trading only, and do not include the money which the club spent on hiring Ronald Koeman and Director of Football Steve Walsh. They sold John Stones to Manchester City for £47m. Swansea signed Leroy Fer, Tyler Reid, George Byers, Fernando Llorente, Borja Baston, and Alfie Mawson.
Heading out of the Liberty Stadium were; Ashley Williams (12m), Eder (£3.4m), Andre Ayew (£20.5m), and Alberto Paloschi. Undisclosed. While Koeman's former club Southampton signed Nathan Redmond (£10m), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (£12.5m), Alex McCarthy,Jeremy Pied, and Sofiane Boufal (£16m). But sold Graziano Pelle to Shandong Luneng for £13m, Juanmi (£3.75m), Sadio Manel (£30m), Victor Wanyama (£11m). The figures from spread-betting company Spreadex.com also reveal that the ‘Big Six’ – of Manchester City, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs – had a net spend of £519 million on players, exactly three times as much the rest of the league (£173 million) put together.
Royal Blue podcast: What we really thought of the summer transfer window
City and United account for over 40% of the total summer transfer spending in the Premier League this summer, with the Manc rivals having a net spend of £314 million between them – and have shelled out 46% and 38% of their annual turnover respectively – on players since July 1. It also emerged that only a further four teams – Crystal Palace, Hull City, Liverpool and Sunderland – had a net transfer spend of less than 10% of revenue during this window. And £1.2 billion was spent by Premier League clubs at an average of over £19 million per day, and that the 20 clubs had an average net spend of £34 million each over the summer. The study also found that Southampton have made the largest profit from transfers this summer, with a healthy gain of just over £20 million, equating to 18% of their 2015 revenue. View from the Gwladys: Squad improved but Koeman will be frustrated at deadline day - someone must be held accountable
And Burnley are the only club in the league not to make a single penny from selling players this summer.
Enner Valencia joined Everton on loan
Connor Campbell, Financial Analyst at Spreadex said: “Despite there being a well-documented increase in revenue for clubs this summer through increased TV revenues, the continued high level of summer spending by the Manchester clubs will raise some eyebrows. "Amongst the teams outside the Big Six, there are many who are living within their means and not spending a high proportion of their revenues on summer transfers. "However, fans of West Ham and Leicester may have some cause for concern, with those clubs having spent over the equivalent of 20% of their annual revenue this summer.”
Why new Everton signing Enner Valencia has history on his side
2 SEP 2016
BY IAN DOYLE
When the dust settled on a hectic deadline day, the instant reaction from Everton supporters was primarily one of disgruntlement. That the only significant incoming before the 11pm cut-off was Enner Valencia from West Ham United on loan didn’t sit well with many fans. Everton View from the Gwladys: Squad improved but Koeman will be frustrated at deadline day - someone must be held accountable
Given the new money at Goodison, the expectation was such temporary deals were a thing of the past. Yet if there’s one club who acknowledges the value of loans, it’s Everton, as this little lot demonstrate.
Duncan Ferguson (Rangers, Oct 1994)
Mike Walker didn’t do much good during his time in charge at Goodison, but one of his last acts was to bring in two players from Scotland. One was Iain Durrant. We’ll park that there. The other, though, was Big Dunc. Duncan Ferguson scores Everton's first goal against Liverpool in the Merseyside DerbyDuncan Ferguson scores Everton's first goal against Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby in 1994
Joe Royle was in charge by the time, a month later, Ferguson won the hearts of Everton fans by scoring in the Goodison derby win over Liverpool, his move soon made permanent. Ferguson controversially left for Newcastle United in 1998 but was back with the Blues less than two years later, a beautiful relationship that endures today with the former striker now on the coaching staff.
Kevin Campbell (Trabzonspor, Mar 1999)
Walter Smith’s side were in a bit of a relegation pickle when the call came for Campbell to return to England, a switch he readily accepted having already asked to leave Turkey after Trabzonspor club president Mehmet Ali Yilmaz called him a “cannibal”. Everton's Kevin Campbell celebrates scoring against Liverpool in 1999
Campbell’s impact was instant, scoring nine goals in eight games – including a hat-trick against West Ham – to make him the Blues’ top scorer of the season, help ease fears of the drop and earn a permanent move. He later scored Everton’s most recent derby winner at Anfield and was leading scorer in the next two seasons until being eased out of the regular first-team picture following the emergence of a certain Wayne Rooney. Joseph Yobo (Marseille, Jul 2002)
Yobo became the first signing of new Everton boss David Moyes when arriving to bolster the defence. It didn’t take long for the Nigerian to prove his worth, his move made permanent less than 12 months later.
"You listening gaffer?" Joseph Yobo wants David Moyes at his May testimonial.Joseph Yobo made a noise at Everton Over the next seven seasons Yobo was a regular in the Everton defence and played in the 2009 FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea. He went on to make more than 250 appearances for the Blues, and also became the first African to skipper the senior side when taking the armband for the Europa League tie against Larissa in 2007.
Mikel Arteta (Real Sociedad, Jan 2005)
The former Barcelona youth player was seen as a bit of a gamble by Moyes despite reasonable success at Rangers earlier in his career. Fans needn’t have worried. Arteta’s initial spell saw him help the Blues to a top-four finish and earn a permanent deal for a barely-believable £2m.
He became an integral part of the Moyes era with his creativity from both central midfield and a wide berth, although injury ruled him out of the 2009 FA Cup final. Despite some discontent at his leaving for Arsenal in 2011, Arteta remains to Evertonians the best little Spaniard they know.
Tim Howard (Manchester United, May 2006)
The United States international had arrived at Old Trafford three years earlier as the cure for their goalkeeping headaches but fell out of favour. Howard moved to Goodison for a season but, with Nigel Martyn being forced to retire, he instantly became first choice and transferred for good the following February. Tim Howard of Everton shakes hands with team mates after his final match against Norwich City on May
He was a great servant to Everton, missing only seven Premier League games in his first eight seasons and earning a testimonial before returning Stateside to join Colorado Rapids this summer. Like Arteta, Pienaar arrived with a reputation of not quite having lived up to the potential of his youth. And like Arteta, the South African soon impressed in the Everton midfield with a series of eyecatching performances to earn a permanent deal and later be named the club’s player of the season in 2010. Steven Pienaar celebrates his 'snow goal' at Arsenal in 2010
He left for Tottenham in 2011 but, after an unhappy spell in London, he was back at Everton 12 months on, again initially on loan. Hampered by injuries under Roberto Martinez, he departed on a free this summer.
Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy, Jan 2010/Jan 2012)
The only player on this list not to sign for the club permanently, the American nevertheless made a huge impact during his two spells. Donovan scored twice in 13 games during his first loan with Everton keen but unable to extend the deal. Landon DonovanLandon Donovan was hugely popular with Everton supporters
He returned two years later for a further nine appearances and, over his two stays, created seven goals and remains much-loved by Evertonians. We can’t forget that miss at White Hart Lane, though.
Gareth Barry (Manchester City, Sep 2013)
Amid the usual deadline day scramble, the arrival of veteran Barry from City was largely overlooked.But he became a huge success under Roberto Martinez, a near ever-present in defensive midfield and earning plaudits from manager and team- mates before signing permanently on a free 12 months later. Gareth Barry celebrates scoring at West Bromwich Albion last month
Barry remains integral to the Ronald Koeman era, with the Dutchman recently describing the 35-year-old as one of the best players he has ever managed.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea, Sep 2013)
On the same day as Barry came Lukaku, unwanted by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho having spent the previous season on loan at West Bromwich Albion. Lukaku scored the winner on his debut at West Ham United but had to be told of his achievement having been knocked unconscious. Everton players responded to an outstanding Goodison atmosphere on Saturday.Romelu Lukaku celebrates scoring against Chelsea in the FA Cup in March At the end of a profitable season, Lukaku completed a club record £28m move from Stamford Bridge, going on to reach 20 goals in each of the next two campaigns.
And one that wasn’t so good...
Glenn Keeley (Blackburn Rovers, Nov 1982)
An autumn injury crisis prompted Howard Kendall to turn to former club Blackburn Rovers and bring in Keeley on loan, despite the player having not featured for months due to a dispute with the Lancashire club. Glenn Keeley makes the long walk after being sent-off on his Everton debutGlenn Keeley makes the long walk after being sent-off on his Everton debut
His debut was the Goodison derby. After 32 minutes, the half-fit centre-back pulled back Kenny Dalglish and was sent off. Everton went on to lose 5-0. Keeley never played for the Blues again.
Everton fitness boost as Seamus Coleman returns to training
2 SEP 2016
BY IAN DOYLE
Coleman has handed Everton a fitness boost by returning to training with the Republic of Ireland today. The Blues defender hasn’t yet featured in a competitive match under Ronald Koeman having suffered an ankle injury during pre-season. However, the right-back reported with the rest of the Irish squad named by Martin O’Neill at the weekend. And after missing Wednesday night’s 4-0 friendly win over Oman, Coleman trained ahead of Monday’s opening World Cup qualifier in Serbia. However, Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has suggested the Everton man has only an outside chance of featuring. "Seamus Coleman and John O'Shea joined in training this morning and worked well, so we'll see how they get on, especially after the flight," said Keane. "It's not ideal that Seamus has had only a couple of pre-season friendlies. But if he gets through the next few days of work, he has a chance of playing. "I think John is going to be okay, we'll see about Seamus. They'll play if they are ready." In Coleman’s absence, compatriot James McCarthy filled in for Everton at right wing-back in the first two Premier League games against Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion. McCarthy, though, missed last Saturday’s win over Stoke City with a groin problem. Having been assessed by the Irish national team medical staff, McCarthy was allowed to return to Finch Farm for continued treatment on the injury. A Football Association of Ireland statement said: “Midfielder James McCarthy returned to his club following assessment from the FAI medical staff as he recovers from a groin injury.”
Everton investor Farhad Moshiri did provide Sissoko explanation to Sky Sports' Jim White
2 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Farhad Moshiri's reported explanation of Everton's deadline day business caused confusion among Blues supporters yesterday. Some fans insisted the comments, which were posted by Sky Sports presenter Jim White on social media, had not come from the Iranian billionaire. But the ECHO understands the statement WAS given to the high-profile anchorman by Moshiri. Moshiri has suggested Everton chose not to pursue a deal for Moussa Sissoko because they wanted to ensure James McCarthy 's place at Goodison. The Blues had a £30million offer for Sissoko accepted by Newcastle United before Wednesday night's transfer window closed only for the France international to eventually sign for Tottenham Hotspur. The statement read: “Sissoko is a great player. But when I bought into Everton, I made it clear I was proud to join a family. “And we don't turn our backs on our own." McCarthy was subject of rumoured interest from Celtic, Newcastle, Sunderland, Leicester City and Crystal Palace during the closing weeks of the window after losing his starting role in central midfield and being employed in an unaccustomed right wing-back role. Everton boss Ronald Koeman, though, revealed last week the Republic of Ireland international is suffering a groin problem and was not for sale.
Everton legend Neville Southall will watch Liverpool FC game on the Kop
2 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Neville Southall is willing to watch a game on the Kop with a Liverpool fan How do you get Neville Southall on the Kop? As Everton legends go you can think of few less inclined to spend an afternoon watching the Blues rivals on their famous stand. But Big Nev is willing to do just that - in order to help fund a new coaching app for young footballers. The team behind 'Scorecher' have persuaded Southall to make the Kop trip as a VIP reward for would-be funders, along with a coaching session from Peter Reid and taking part in a game with Emile Heskey. The different rewards can be found on crowdfunding website INDIEGOGO, where the Scorecher campaign was officially launched on Tuesday night at the National Football Museum in Manchester. “Scorecher could change the lives of kids across the world,” said Southall. “It will deliver a consistent standard of coaching and advice wherever you are, whether in the UK, America, China, India or Malaysia.
“It is going to change kids lives by giving them easy access to academy-class coaching wherever they live. "Hopefully that will help them enjoy the game more and who knows – maybe the next superstar will come from a place where the best coaching available was Scorecher. “This crowdfunding campaign is a great opportunity for fans to get themselves a really memorable and unusual encounter with their favourite players or ex-players and their money is going to make a difference to kids playing the game now and in the future. “I believe in it so much I’m happy to take a place in the Kop to watch a game with a Liverpool fan. It’ll be an interesting experience, certainly. Liverpool's Alan Kennedy (second r) fires a shot at goal as Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall (l) dive “We’ve all created rewards to help Scorecher because we believe in the benefits, as a coaching programme and an education programme that will benefit young people in football and throughout their lives.” Scorecher want to develop the world’s first cloud-based football coaching and lifestyle resource. Makers claim it will deliver tailored flexible coaching programmes to coaches and players, elite level nutritional advice, fitness guidance, injury management advice and sports psychology in one place for a single, low-cost subscription. CEO of Scorecher, Russ Kavanagh said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for coaches and young football players around the world. “By developing this with top flight professionals, elite coaches like Peter Griffiths and even factoring in match official coaching with ex-Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher – we are building a comprehensive tool for football lovers across the globe to live like a pro. “With Scorecher, all you’ll need is an internet connection and you can access academy-level coaching programmes and lifestyle advice.
Everton daily digest - Moshiri and Jim White, Coleman, McCarthy, loans and Big Nev
2 SEP 2016
BY IAN DOYLE
Only one place to start today, and that's with the confirmation Farhad Moshiri DID speak with Sky Sports presenter Jim White in the wake of the transfer window closing. It's an odd one, but hey, it's what he said. Seamus Coleman hasn't played this season for Everton, but he trained with the Republic of Ireland today. He might even feature for his country in Serbia on Monday. Everton fitness boost as Seamus Coleman returns to training
McCarthy blow One Irishman who won't feature is James McCarthy. And as Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane revealed: "James McCarthy gone back to his club for an operation."
Horne on transfer dealings
Barry Horne's column well worth a read today, focusing on just how well the Blues did in the transfer market.
Moussa Sissoko spoke about his deadline day. And it turned out he wasn't really interested in Everton at all. A fair few Everton fans were in a bit of a grump over the fact the club swooped for Enner Valencia on loan on Wednesday night. But the Blues have a good record with loan deals. And you can choose your favourite. Why new Everton signing Enner Valencia has history on his side
Southall on the Kop? Yeah, you read the right. Big Nev is going to watch a game at Anfield in aid of charity. Well, prove yourself by attempting our devilishly difficult quiz from our Head of Sport, David Prentice.
Everton in the black
The Blues were one of only three Premier League clubs to make a profit in this summer's transfer window. It helps they sold John Stones for nearly £50m, like.
Everton one of three Premier League clubs to make summer transfer profit, says new figures
Did we really expect anything else?
This massive Everton fan from Sierra Leone had to dodge Ebola to watch his beloved Blues
3 SEP 2016
BY ANDREW MCFARLANE
Everton fan Amjata Bayoh has set up his own football club called Everton Sierra Leone in the West African Country. As Ronald Koeman puts the final pieces of his Everton jigsaw in place, 3,000 miles away a very different Everton squad has taken shape. After four weeks of trials, 33 young men have been selected to be the first to wear the royal blue of Everton Sierra Leone. The project - inspired by but independent from the Goodison Park club - has a social purpose to unite the community through a mutual love of the beautiful game. It’s the idea of community health advocate and citizen journalist Amjata Bayoh, who grew up in the Brookfields district of the capital, Freetown - in the shadow of the West African country’s national stadium. Amjata, who’s been a Blues fan since he started watching Mikel Arteta and Tim Cahill a decade ago, said: “I have loved Everton since I was a boy and I’m really proud to see our club here take shape.” More than 70 players took part in the trials and Amjata says it’s just the first step in a process he hopes will one day see Everton top the table - both in England and Sierra Leone. Everton fan Amjata Bayoh has set up his own football club called Everton Sierra Leone in the West African Country.
His vision is of a club both providing youths with something to rally around and encouraging them to improve their education as the nation recovers from the Ebola crisis. Some 8,704 people in Sierra Leone were diagnosed with the deadly illness, with more than 5,000 more suspected of having caught the virus. At least 3,589 of them died. The after-effects are still being felt, with young people catching up on studies missed when schools shut. Many people also had their education disrupted by the country’s 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002. But the business of setting up such a project isn’t plain sailing in a country that’s ranked the world’s eighth most deprived by the United Nations. Getting hold of kit is tricky enough for a start. Liverpool Army medic wins MBE for work to fight Ebola virus in Africa
English football is huge in Sierra Leone but the only replica kits available to most people are either second-hand or poor-quality counterfeits. And while there’s a steady flow of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and even Liverpool kits into the country, Everton jerseys have proven harder to come by. Amjata said: “I had to ask a cousin in neighbouring Guinea to source some from a dealer.” He then arranged for the Sierra Leone flag to be stitched onto the shirts. Amjata is too young to remember Dave Watson lifting the FA Cup at Wembley in 1995. The trophyless years since then haven’t been easy for a rare Toffee in a land where the banter is every bit as fierce as the UK. Everton fan Amjata Bayoh has set up his own football club called Everton Sierra Leone in the West African Country.
“It’s hard to be an Evertonian in Freetown,” he explains. “To make life easier, I used to pretend I supported Arsenal while secretly following Everton. But one day I decided that I was old and strong enough to follow my heart and declare my true love. “Since I made this decision I read more about Everton’s history and became more connected with the Everton culture.” Now on matchdays he’ll be found watching the Blues from the back row of his local Black Sugar cinema, arguing over the relative merits of his Goodison hero Leighton Baines and the opposition’s right-winger. These “cinemas” - usually clubs with rows of fold-out chairs - are Sierra Leone’s soccer hotbeds. Dozens of supporters cram in to watch on several large flatscreen TVs, often with different games on each screen. But during 2014, with West Africa still in the grip of the Ebola epidemic, public gatherings were banned under measures aimed at preventing its spread. Amjata wrote for the Huffington Post at the time: “After months of living through the crisis, I just want to get back to normal life. For me, my worst nightmare is when Everton are playing and I am not able to watch.” Since the country was declared Ebola-free in November last year, the cinemas have been back open for business. And while Amjata is looking forward to following the Ronald Koeman revolution on the small screen, he hopes his community will be enjoying live action when his own royal blue army finally gets on the march. Everton fan Amjata Bayoh has set up his own football club called Everton Sierra Leone in the West African Country. Fitness coach Salieu Jalloh giving a team talk.
Getting the side officially recognised, he knows, will not be straightforward. Sierra Leone’s football league is currently unrecognised by the government. Officialdom might also make the registration process less than straightforward.
But Amjata hopes to see the team playing in the second tier of national football before too long. There has been plenty of community backing so far, with donations enabling the club to buy equipment including balls, cones and jerseys. “The main beneficiaries will be the players,” says Amjata. “But I want everyone in the community, especially the youths, to have a role to play. This can help reduce the growing number of youth gangs which is one of the main concerns in our community. “The goal is taking this team to the Sierra Leonean National League and seeing players from this club representing their country, becoming the next [Sierra Leonean legend] Mohamed Kallon, Samuel Eto’o or Didier Drogba.”
Everton's James McCarthy defended by Roy Keane after journalist queries his Goodison future
3 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
James McCarthy, assistant manager Roy Keane and Darren Gibson during a Republic of Ireland session at Gannon Park, Malahide, Roy Keane has angrily rebuked a journalist who asked him about James McCarthy's situation at Everton. The Republic of Ireland assistant manager was in no mood to entertain the journalist's suggestion that McCarthy has fallen out of favour under Ronald Koeman at Goodison. Speculation about the 25-year-old's future was rife before the transfer deadline , reaching its peak when the Blues made a late and ultimately failed bid to sign Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko. Pressed about whether he had any advice for McCarthy during the Republic's press conference, ahead of their trip to Serbia for their opening game of the World Cup qualification campaign, Keane was uncompromising. Asked about McCarthy losing his place, Keane replied: "I don't know if that's true or not did he not start at West Brom? "Did he start against West Brom two weeks ago and was injured against Stoke? "If that's a player out out of his manager's plans then what about all the other players who started against West Brom. Everyone gets linked with stuff so do your homework. "Obviously they've kept him on and not sold him have they so maybe the manager does like him. "Nonsense." McCarthy missed Ireland's warm-up friendly against Oman on Wednesday, and was released to return to Finch Farm for continued treatment on a groin problem. Despite reports of interest from Celtic, Newcastle United, Leicester City and Crystal Palace before deadline day, Koeman stated last week he had no intention of allowing the player to depart.
Everton comment: John Stones' criticism of Roberto Martinez de-constructed
3 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Everton's John Stones listens to manager Roberto martinez (right) on the touchline during last December Let's begin with stating the obvious: Roberto Martinez wasn't perfect. The former Everton manager had his faults. Plenty of them, in fact. Indeed the Blues decision to sack him in May was justified and, if anything, should have been made earlier during the car-crash finale of his reign. But one thing he cannot really be faulted for overall was his handling of John Stones . Martinez played an integral part in the England international's development, backed him when many questioned his bold, sometimes rash, defending and kept on picking him when his form fluctuated last term. That's why Stones' comments regarding the Catalan and last season at Goodison, while not entirely inaccurate, seem unfair. Interviewed on England duty he was asked about the period when Martinez, desperate to keep Stones in the team but aware he did not justify a starting berth in central defence, picked him at right-back before also leaving him out for a run of games when Phil Jagielka and Ramiro Funes Mori were in form. “It was a tough period because I was doing everything right," he claims. “I was being professional, I was carrying myself well. I wanted to do everything right, try to get in the team, how everyone should and fight my place. John Stones speaks with Roberto Martinez after picking up an injury during the Capital One Cup Third Round match between Reading at Madejski Stadium
“I felt I was doing everything I could and deserved to play and still wasn’t. "That’s when I found it hard. It’s probably a question you should have asked him at the time because he wasn’t telling me. "Obviously things got difficult. The gaffer got sacked. It wasn’t enjoyable. We weren’t winning games. We want to go out every week and try to win, that’s our job, and when we don’t for a few games on the trot it starts to eat away, it doesn’t matter who you are. "But it was a good test for me. I learned a lot about my football, about myself, and I feel I came out stronger for it." Stones claims that the so-called silent treatment from Martinez left him desperate to leave Everton and join Manchester City this summer. Nothing, of course, to do with the mind-boggling salary on offer at the Etihad or the chance to resurrect a Goodison exit he had been keen on for a year, albeit previously to join Chelsea. Asked if felt he was getting the right advice about his defending, Stones said: “Maybe not. Maybe things weren’t just working out either. “But I definitely believe that change is good. I felt it was the right time to move on and go and further different ambitions in my career and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. “Roberto had his style of play and kind of changed that towards the end of his career at Everton. It all went badly wrong for Roberto Martinez “He changed the whole style of the team and things weren’t working out at that time, so you could say it wasn’t the best decision. “But that’s football, he is the manager and he makes tough decisions. I felt it was right to move on to work under the best manager (Guardiola) in my eyes.” Without knowing the intimate details of the defensive coaching Martinez offered to Stones, it's fair to assume the Catalan - with his blinkered, unswerving beliefs - did neglect to make him a more rounded defender. In that regard, you can't disagree with the former Barnsley graduate. Likewise it's fair enough that he's excited to work under Pep Guardiola. Which player wouldn't be? Calm Down: Everton's John Stones gestures to the crowd against Spurs.Calm Down: Everton's John Stones gestures to the crowd against Spurs.
But Stones displays a lack of grace in giving Martinez stick. The former Everton manager took plenty of that last season, a lot of it for standing by Stones when it was nervous Goodison crowds who bore the brunt of his up and down learning curve. In eulogising over his new-found belief in occasionally sending the ball into row Z, Evertonians could be forgiven a rueful chuckle. Pity he did not heed this epiphany last season, when fans and pundits made it clear he needed to be more decisive rather than making three Cruyff turns in his own area before telling an agitated Park End to "Calm Down". Stones is on his way to becoming, as has long been suggested, the best central defender in England. It's sad for Everton that he didn't stick around to become that player under the defensive guidance of Ronald Koeman. There's nothing to suggest Koeman could not have fast-tracked that transition just as well as Guardiola. Just watch Mason Holgate. In the end, his latest comments are - not unlike his new bank balance - a bit rich.
Everton target Lamine Kone might sign new long-term deal at Sunderland - Moyes
3 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Everton target Lamine Kone could yet commit his long-term future to Sunderland, according to David Moyes., The central defender was pursued all summer by the Blues after a successful five months at the Stadium of Light following his arrival in the Premier League back in January.
Kone reportedly rejected a new deal from Sunderland in an effort to force a move, but Black Cats boss Moyes was unwilling to sell unless he could find an adequate replacement. That didn't happen and now Moyes has reiterated his desire for Kone to pen fresh terms in the North East. "It's been a difficult period for us all," said Moyes. "I understand Lamine’s position, but I also understand that we as a club had to set our position. "We're looking to get things resolved and I will be delighted if Lamine signs a new contract and hopefully there will be news on that soon. "We always said that if there was a promise of a new contract made [by former manager Sam Allardyce], we would stick by our word. We will do that." Sunderland, who are 16th in the Premier League table after three games, confirmed the signing of striker Victor Anichebe on a deal until the end of the season on Friday.
Five Everton players who must improve now transfer window is shut
3 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keefe
Deadline day has been and gone - here's the Everton players who should up their game
The window is shut, the mania is over and squads across the Premier League can begin to settle.
For Aiden McGeady it's already too late, after the winger was shipped out on loan to Preston North End, but which other Everton fringe men should use the window's closure to their advantage?
We took a look at five players who can capitalise on remaining at Goodison for the time being by upping their game and impressing Ronald Koeman. By pursuing Lamine Kone all summer, Ronald Koeman hinted that Ramiro Funes Mori wasn't guaranteed first team football this term. And if you consider that Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams have started as a genuinely promising pair, Mori has a task on his hands to break into the team. But with the Kone pursuit failing, Mori at least remains right in the mix as third choice centre back. At times impressive, at others plagued by lapses in concentration, Mori is yet to really nail down any consistency at Goodison. Should injury befall Jagielka or Williams, he has another chance to make a good impression on Koeman.
Midfielders of various categories were on Koeman's radar as Deadline Day approached, but deals for Moussa Sissoko et al didn't work out. Maybe Cleverley, the quiet man of Finch Farm, can benefit from the stability to the squad by really seizing his opportunity when it comes.
Everton's Tom Cleverley
He may have a lot to do in order to convince Koeman he is not simply another relic of the Roberto Martinez era.
But his flexibility serves him well - even if he'll be keen to get a chance in midfield rather than right-back.
On one hand Koeman doesn't need any convincing about Lukaku.
He went to great lengths to persuade the Belgium international to stay this summer.
But that doesn't mean the 23-year-old should not feel the need to up his game.
He's in the middle of a barren run of form, and with the Blues unable to find an effective foil for him this summer (unless Enner Valencia is a surprise hit) a return to sharpness swiftly could be vital.
Much has been written - and rebuked - about McCarthy's Everton future.
But speculation he might leave before last Wednesday led nowhere, and the 25-year-old remains on the books.
Does he really want to fight for his place? That drive and hunger to get back in the team could be key to recapturing his peak Blues form.
And he will get a chance, with January meaning that impressive summer recruit Idrissa Gueye might be heading away to the Africa Cup of Nations - and Gareth Barry's advancing years casting doubts over whether he can play every game.
All tricky forward players linked with Goodison moves this summer. All wearing different shirts when the action resumes next weekend.
If that warning about running wasn't enough to get Geri's attention, then Everton being linked with so many wide men should have given him pause for thought.
He clearly has so much to offer, but will he find the stamina and focus to convince Koeman he can really last the course?
Everton hero Pat van Den Hauwe on coming back to the Blues - 'I’ve got my head down and behaved myself'
4 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By David Prentice
Van Den Hauwe is back working with Everton and spear-heading the club's Walking Football sessions
Pat van den Hauwe posing next to his Goodison Greats artwork in the Top Balcony at Goodison Park.
The man who famously ran half the length of the field to ignite a 20-man brawl at Loftus Road in 1984, is now the calming presence of Everton’s Walking Football programme. It’s an unlikely role for a man nicknamed Psycho, but Pat Van Den Hauwe is passionate about his new responsibility. And the man whose goal clinched Everton’s last league title in 1987 is grateful to his old club for the fresh start in life they have given him. Van den Hauwe was an elite athlete during a successful playing career which saw him win the league twice with Everton, the club’s first European trophy and an FA Cup with Tottenham.
Now 55, he’s happy to watch the Blues’ senior citizens work up a sweat during Everton in the Community’s Walking Football sessions - but occasionally finds himself joining in.
“It’s really, really good – great fun. I’d really recommend it,” said Pat.
“I’d heard of the concept and I thought to myself ‘this will be well easy’ but until you’ve actually tried it I’m telling you ...
Former Everton player Pat van den Hauwe with the European Cup Winners Cup and Canon League Trophies prior to kick off Pat van den Hauwe with the European Cup Winners Cup and Canon League Trophies prior to kick off “I join in myself sometimes. I’m 55 now and I can handle that! I tried running out on Goodison a few months ago and found out that I’d had it! “In the back of your mind you’re so used to running, especially when the ball is running away from, your instinct is to run after it.
“But if you do a free-kick is given.
“After 40 minutes you get mentally tired and when someone goes past you the instinct again is to run after them. But you can’t.
“To do that for an-hour-and-a-half takes a lot of discipline.
“There are guys in their sixties who do it and some of them keep going for two hours.
Pat van den Hauwe with his Walking Football team after their demo on the pitch against Yeovil Town at Goodison Park “They really enjoy it, they work hard and they get a good sweat on so that’s achieving something. “It can get competitive, too. “There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve had to calm things down a little. But that’s great to compete.”
Pat the peacemaker?
Time really has moved on.
But for Van Den Hauwe life is now very different after his high-profile troubles in South Africa, chronicled in his eye-popping autobiography Psycho Pat - and he credits the Everton family for helping him restore a sense of balance to his life once again.
Almost 30 years on since his goal clinched Everton’s last league title at Norwich City, he’s working for the club again and loving the experience.
Ian Rush battles for the ball with Pat Van Den Hauwe during the first all- Merseyside FA Cup Final in 1986. “I never thought 30 years on from that Norwich game I’d still be working for Everton,” he added.
“I had 20 years out of the game, over there, and had a great time.
“But things went downhill, I got married, got divorced, lost houses through other people and I found myself having to keep starting again.
“I had a real bad time over there and then I decided I’d had enough, I spoke to the PFA, who helped me tremendously, I spoke to Graeme Sharp and he put me in touch with Denise Barrett-Baxendale and she was top class. Absolutely top class.
“Since I’ve got back under the colours again I’ve got my head down and behaved myself.
“There’s no words to explain it (Everton’s hold on you). It’s something so many former players have experienced, but once they’ve played and had a bit of success and got on well with the supporters ... it’s 30-odd years ago now but the fans still walk down the street and say ‘alright Pat’. It’s endearing.
“There’s no other club for me - and that’s with a lot of respect for Tottenham, Millwall and Birmingham City.”
* Pat Van Den Hauwe’s Walking Football League launched last weekend, but there are still places available to register a team. Open to men aged over 35, Walking football is designed specifically for men aged 35-50 and is ideal for those who want to keep fit, have fun, learn new skills and socialise at the same time. Free to enter It will run on the last Sunday of every month at the Powerleague on Whittle Street, Everton. There will be opportunity to win prizes including trophies, matchday tickets and stadium tickets. Funded by Sport England, Everton in the Community’s walking football group is part of the Active Blues programme run in partnership with Edge Hill University. For further details please contact Tom Duffell via email on email@example.com or call 01695 657 214.
Minimum five players per team.
Everton fans hungry for nostalgia take note - Gwladys Street Hall of Fame is back
4 SEP 2016
BY DAVID PRENTICE
The Gwladys Street 'Hall of Fame' dinners are back It’s been 17 years since the first Gwladys Street Hall of Fame dinner – a high octane evening at the Adelphi Hotel, vividly captured for posterity in the words of then Daily Post Sports Editor Len Capeling. After that memorably nostalgic night he wrote: “If heartfelt aspirations were Premiership points Everton would be so far ahead in the title race that the rest would have given up by now. That much was clear from the intoxicating act of worship that saw 84 Goodison greats being ushered up the royal blue carpet into Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame. “More than 500 Evertonians dined on a meal of Premiership chicken from which the wishbone had been removed, followed by generous portions of pie in the sky, all washed down with jeroboams of pure adrenaline. “This is not to be cruel. It was a memorable, memorable night, with due honour being accorded to a pantheon of Goodison gods.” After a decade of orgiastic adulation, the Hall of Fame closed its doors and the final dinner was staged in 2009. But 20 years after the original concept of the Hall of Fame was launched, it will return. Conceived by philanthropist, author and Evertonian Dr David France in 1996, Gwladys Street’s Hall of Fame was set up to celebrate the men who have made significant contributions to the development, welfare and success of Everton Football Club - and raise money for a fledgling Former Players Foundation. Initial inductees were elected by a panel of former-players, journalists, shareholders and season-ticket holders. Since then, Hall of Fame inductees were elected by supporters via postal ballots and internet polls. At present, there are 129 members. They include representatives from most of the 138 years of the grand old club’s illustrious history – some playing careers stretch back to the days of St Domingo Football Club in Stanley Park. The most recent inductees were added at that final dinner in 2009. Former Everton player Graham Stuart is one of the past inductees
They included Duncan Ferguson, Tony Kay, Graham Stuart, David Unsworth and Bill Kenwright. After an eight year absence four new members will be inducted into the Hall of Fame dinner at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool on March 10, 2017 to raise much needed funds for the Everton Former-Players’ Foundation and EFC Heritage Society. David says: “It will be a smaller gathering than the Nuremberg Rallies held for 11 years at the Adelphi Hotel but, no doubt, will be equally raucous.” Many Hall of Fame members will be invited. During their respective reigns, Blues bosses Walter Smith and David Moyes attended regularly to address and connect with the match-going fans - and current manager Ronald Koeman will be invited.
Ronald Koeman will be invited
Limited to 300 tickets, availability and sale will be announced in October.
A Hall of Fame ballot will be hosted via the internet on fans’ websites ToffeeWeb and NSNO. The ballot will take place from midnight September 11, to midnight September 17 and the Hall of Fame will then have its own website EvertonHallOfFame.com.
All Everton supporters are eligible to vote – but once only - and must select four men from the following shortlist of eight candidates: John Bailey, Kevin Campbell, Martin Dobson, Tony Hibbert, Nigel Martyn, Joe Parkinson, Dave Thomas and Pat van den Hauwe. The results will be announced formally by David France at The Everton Heritage Evening to take place at the Everton School immediately before the home game with Crystal Palace on September 30. That event is organised to aid Everton in the Community.
John Bailey joined Everton from Blackburn in July 1979 for £300,000. The left-back featured in the sides that won the FA Cup in 1984 and the title 1985. Bails was a popular figure in the dressing room where there was more to him than a big hat and glasses. After losing his place to Pat van den Hauwe, he moved to Newcastle in October 1985.
Everton appearances 220 (2) goals 3.
Kevin Campbell was signed on loan from Trabzonspor in March 1999. His impact was immediate - he scored nine times in eight games and saved Everton from relegation. The striker’s transfer was made permanent in the summer of 1999 for a fee of £3 million. He has the distinction of scoring the most goals in the Premier League without earning an England cap as well as the winner in Everton’s last triumph at Anfield in 1999.
Kevin Campbell, Everton
Everton appearances 139 (25), goals 51.
Martin Dobson was the first British player to be transferred for £300,000 when signed from Burnley in 1974. The elegant midfielder - whose silky skills became an integral part of the tactics of the Everton sides in the mid-Seventies which came so close to winning silverware - returned to Burnley in 1979. He was awarded five England caps.
Everton appearances 230, goals 40.
Tony Hibbert, a local boy and Goodison favourite, was a member of the Everton youth team that captured the FA Youth Cup in 1998 and progressed to spend his entire professional career at Goodison. Despite many seasons littered with injuries, the right-back appeared in more competitive European games than any other Everton player.
Everton appearances 297 (32), goals 0.
Nigel Martyn joined Everton for a nominal fee in 2003. Signed originally as back-up to the unreliable Richard Wright, the 37-year old became first-choice after six games. A confident and commanding keeper - the best since Neville Southall - he literally saved Everton from relegation. Awarded 23 England caps, his international career would have flourished but for David Seaman.
Everton appearances 99 (1).
Joe Parkinson was signed from Bournemouth for £250,000 in December 1993. A important part of Royle’s ‘Dogs of War’, the uncompromisingly combative midfielder was a Goodison favourite and help to capture the FA Cup in 1995. Knee injuries resulted in his prolonged absence, retirement in 1999 – at age 28 - and appointment the club’s first Fan Liaison Officer.
Everton appearances 105 (2), goals 4.
Dave Thomas in action for Everton
Dave Thomas was signed from Queens Park Rangers for £200,000 in 1977. The skillful and pacey winger – who bombed down the left touchline with his socks around his ankles– was a key supply route of pin-point crosses to Bob Latchford especially during his 30-goals season. He was awarded eight England caps.
Everton appearances 84, goals 6.
Pat van den Hauwe joined Everton from Birmingham in September 1984 for £100,000. The left-back helped to win the European Cup-Winners’ Cup in 1985 and League titles in 1985 and 1987. His goal at Norwich secured the 1987 silverware. Psycho Pat moved to Tottenham in 1989 for £575,000 Born in Belgium, he was awarded 13 caps by Wales.
Everton appearances 199 (2), goals 3.
Everton rumours: Fuming Moshiri asks tough questions over transfer failures
4 SEP 2016
BY LIVERPOOL ECHO
Farhad Moshiri has been asking probing questions about Everton’s failure to land their major transfer targets in the last window, according to John Richardson in the Sunday Mirror. The Iranian billionaire was determined to make a huge statement in the frenzied transfer market, and the Mirror piece suggests he isn't happy that he coukdn't manage it. Richardson writes: 'Moshiri has insisted to those close to him that Everton will not make the same mistakes again in forthcoming transfer windows – or heads will roll. 'Although Crystal Palace’s Yannick Bolasie was secured for a club record £30million , preceded by successful moves for Swansea’s Ashley Williams, Idrissa Gueye from Aston Villa and Fulham keeper Maarten Stekelenburg, manager Ronald Koeman was left frustrated by what has been described as a scattergun last few days before the window closed.
'Questions are obviously being asked of the Merseyside club’s much heralded £1.2million director of football, Steve Walsh, as he could not force some of the deals over the line. Steve Walsh the new Director of Football at Everton shakes the hand of Team Manager Ronald Koeman at Finch Farm
'Having agreed a £30 million fee with Newcastle United for Moussa Sissoko on the last day despite the French international midfield star being on their wanted list for much of the summer they dawdled allowing Spurs to seize the initiative and persuade him to move further south. 'Not only did they miss out on Sissoko but they were left with an unhappy James McCarthy who, not believing he was wanted by Koeman, was looking to leave once a replacement was brought in. 'Moshiri in trying to cover up the embarrassment of Sissoko’s non appearance briefed that they didn’t want to stunt the progress of players like McCarthy. 'But the reality was an angry Moshiri demanded to know why Sissoko had headed to White Hart Lane rather than Merseyside.
A move for Axel Witsel fizzled out
'Similar questions have been asked about a failed chase for Belgium star Alex Witsel who has remained at Zenit St. Petersburg, about Arsenal snatching Deportivo La Coruna striker Lucas Perez from under their nose and another protracted chase, this time for Napoli hit man Manolo Gabbiadini coming to nothing.... 'It also meant that following the sale of John Stones to Manchester City for £47.5million Everton actually made a small profit of just over £1million during the last window – not the brochure that Moshiri had hoped to produce. 'He had also promised Koeman a war chest of more than £100million in luring the Dutchman away from Southampton in the summer. 'At least star striker Romelu Lukaku was kept away from the clutches of would be predators like Chelsea and a number of Italian clubs. For that Everton can thank Kenwright who made it a personal mission to retain the Belgian international with a £75million price tag. 'In the end Lukaku promised to give Everton one more season before reviewing his future again next summer'.
Everton striker Lukaku says summer exit talk isn't reason for goal drought
4 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Romelu Lukaku insists speculation over his Everton future this summer has not caused his current slump in form. The 23-year-old striker, who has not scored for the Blues since March, said injury before the start of the campaign has left him playing catch-up with fitness. But he is confident that the goals will come once again when he is back in top condition. Lukaku, who told manager Ronald Koeman he was willing to remain at Goodison for another year on the eve of the current season, said he did not agonise over his future too much during the summer. He said: "I left it all to my agent, he dealt with it. Romelu Lukaku of Everton holds his ankle before leaving the field injured during the pre-season friendly match between Everton and Espanyol
"I just went on holiday and when I came back the last game before the season started I had an injury. It kept me out for a long time. I couldn't do anything with it. "So now for me it's just my pre-season phase so I'm working really hard to be 100 per cent fit. As soon as I'm fit the goals will come for sure." Lukaku is currently away with the Belgium squad ahead of their World Cup Qualifier against Cyprus on Tuesday, where Roberto Martinez, who was sacked as Everton manager in May, will take charge of his second game as the national coach. But when it comes to his new manager at club level, Lukaku says that he had Koeman had little direct contact during the transfer window. Romelu Lukaku and Ronald Koeman during an Everton training session
"Me and him (Koeman) didn't talk too much about the situation," said Lukaku. "He was in contact with my agent throughout the period. I just focused on my football. For me personally I just want to do my best for the team." When asked if he would stay one more year at Everton, Lukaku simply replied: "Yeah." Rumours Lukaku was unhappy with Martinez taking over as Belgium head coach emerged after he was pictured animated while on the Everton substitutes bench when news of Martinez's appointment broke, but the striker - who has 49 goals for his national side - quashed the speculation. "You are on the bench you cannot focus on stuff happening outside the pitch," he added. "I don't know how people get stuff like that it's really crazy."
Former Everton striker Michael Branch on rebuilding his life after jail
4 SEP 2016
BY GREG O’KEEFFE
Michael Branch, aged 17, in action for Everton Former Everton striker Michael Branch has revealed how he rebuilt his life after being sent to prison following his retirement from football. The former Blues prodigy opened up about his rise to stardom at Goodison and subsequent troubles in an unflinchingly honest interview with this month's Everton magazine. Boyhood Evertonian Branch, now 37, made his senior debut for the club aged just 17 when he replaced Tony Grant at Old Trafford in February 1996. He went on to make 45 appearances, scoring three times, before spells at Manchester City, Birmingham City, Wolves, Reading and Hull among others. Branch speaks frankly about the pressure of breaking onto the Premier League stage at such a tender age. “I’d been referred to as the city’s next Robbie Fowler and when I’d see him scoring every week I’d think ‘oh no, I can’t live up to that,’ so looking back now I was under a lot of pressure,” Michael said. “I didn’t handle it the best but back then there was nobody to speak to whereas now the support is in place.” But it was with a wide-eyed optimism that he sprinted out onto the Old Trafford turf all those years ago. “I was sitting on the bench next to Anders Limpar and with about twenty minutes to go Joe Royle turned to Anders and said ‘shall we throw the kid on and give him a go?’" he said. "Joe was always brilliant with me and he was my best manager by a mile. I only went on loan to Manchester City later on because Joe was there.” That run-out against Manchester United came less than a year after Michael had discarded his St Margaret’s school uniform and, for a lifelong Evertonian, it was the archetypal dream come true. 28 Sep 1996: Graham Hyde (left) and Michael Williams (right), of Sheffield Wednesday, chase Michael Branch (centre) during the Premier League match between Everton and Wednesday at Goodison
“I went to the FA Cup semi-final at Elland Road against Tottenham with my dad’s mates in a tranny van and I ran on the pitch at the end of the game!” he recalled. “Then by the time the summer came around I was in the squad, training with those same players. It was very weird. “I was too young to drive then and Daniel Amokachi didn’t live too far away so I decided to knock on his door and ask him for a lift. His cleaner answered and didn’t have a clue who I was. ‘I play for Everton with Daniel’ I said.” After his cameo at the Theatre of Dreams, Michael got one more substitute appearance in the 1995/96 season and made his first start on the day Andrei Kanchelskis inspired Everton to a 5-2 thumping of Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough in the penultimate game of the campaign. His first Everton goal came against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the following December. “Big Dunc knocked the ball down inside the box and I got on the end of it,” he recalled.
“What I remember most about that day though is that my shirt was massive on me. I don’t know who it was meant for but it was too big for me! I couldn’t go out and celebrate that night though because Frank Leboeuf smashed me and I spent the night on crutches.” Although he didn’t know it then, that would be the first of several badly timed injuries. “I always suffered with my hamstrings,” he said. “I’d been out one season for a while and Howard Kendall pulled me to one side and told me I’d be starting against Man U on Boxing Day. "I was delighted and he told me he’d arranged a game at Bellefield against a Tranmere youth team to give me 45 minutes. Nine minutes into the game a young kid went over the top on me and shattered my ankle. I didn’t kick a ball for almost a year.” Michael Branch action during an under 21 international between England and Poland at Molineaux in Wolverhampton. October 1996
As with every player who had the fortune to play for Howard Kendall, Michael smiled at the recollection of the great man. “I remember Howard came to pick the family up when I signed a new contract," he said. "He took me, my mum and my dad for a meal in Lark Lane. After the food he sorted a taxi for me and my mum and kept my dad out. That didn’t end well!” Michael’s time at Everton ended after 45 games and although luck went against him on occasions he still reflects on a couple of ‘if only’ moments that could have changed the course of his career…and subsequently his life.
“In my home debut against Middlesbrough, Andy Hinchcliffe crossed one in but I couldn’t see it until late and it hit my shin and grazed the crossbar. Then in my first derby when Dave Watson was the manager for a couple of months I played well and I had a chance in the last five minutes when it was 1-1 but it just wouldn’t go in. If either of those chances had gone my confidence would have been right up and it could have been a whole new ball game…” After leaving Goodison Michael had a decent spell at Wolverhampton Wanderers before drifting around the leagues, eventually calling time on his 250-game professional career whilst at Chester City – managed by, of all people, Ian Rush. “Yes, I played under Ian Rush,” he said. “I was injured one time and the lads were telling me that Rushy had joined in training and was on fire, banging goals in left, right and centre. "He came into the physio’s room and said ‘Branchy, you should have seen me there son. The goals were flying in…it was just like playing against Everton!’ Branch plays for Wolverhampton Wanderers in Nationwide League Division One action, in January 2001“I enjoyed it but if I’m being honest, my heart wasn’t it Then one day I’d just had enough and I rang Chester to say I wouldn’t be coming in any more. The family went to Australia for two years but we had to come home after the visas ran out.” And then the problems began. “You’ve spent your life being told what to do, when to eat, when to train, when to play and then all of a sudden you can do what you want and that’s when some ex-players take a wrong route,” he said. In November 2012 when he was found guilty of possession with intent to supply drugs and was sentenced to seven years in prison. “I made a very big mistake and I paid the price,” he reflected. “I went straight from school to earning very good money. It was before the really massive money boom but it was still very good compared to my mates. When that ends it is hard to adjust. Very hard. "I’m not a bad person, I made a mistake.
Branch has fond memories of Howard Kendall
“I was ashamed of myself and I was really worried what people would think of me – Joe Royle, Howard Kendall and people like that, but…” Michael served three years of his jail term and it was during his time inside that he realised that the support mechanism that hadn’t been there during his playing career was now very much in place. In fact, it was a perfect platform for an intelligent ex-pro to rebuild his life. “I had always had an interest in numbers and when I told the PFA that I wanted to train as an accountant they were great with me and got me on a course," he said. "The PFA were different class and would come to see me to check on how I was getting on. Everton in the Community, particularly Henry Mooney, and the Everton Former Players’ Foundation have also been a big help. Henry Mooney, left with Tony Kay and an Everton in the Community participant
“I wanted to move on and do some positive stuff. It was tough to return to studying all those years after leaving school but I was determined to do it because I wanted people to be proud of me again and I wanted to feel proud of myself again.” He has now completed five of the required eleven chartered papers on his way to full qualification as an accountant and in the spare time that he manages to find, he is part of a PFA programme that is aimed at preventing current professional footballers replicating the mistakes that Michael made. “We do workshops called Taking Control and it’s about advising players who are coming to the end of their career to start to think about what they want to do next,” he explained. “We urge them to take control before they get to the ‘what do I do now’ phase. I can speak about the pitfalls because I fell into one and if I can stop one or two from doing what I did then it’s all worthwhile.” And what of the future? “I wouldn’t mind being Michael Branch the accountant, who used to play football,” he said.
Everton tactics: Gaps plugged, quicker tempo and better balance - plus don't dismiss Valencia
4 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Nic Davies
Everton tactical blogger Nic Davies' thoughts on the Ronald Koeman era so far
Koeman has already made a big difference at Everton thank to new recruits and new thinking, says Nic Davies
Positioning off the ball
Football is a simple game.
First and foremost you have to earn the right to play by at least matching the opposition for elbow grease. To this end, Idrissa Gueye has been the most significant recruit in terms of influencing our play.
A natural foot soldier, his positioning and ability to hunt the ball down in the middle third of the pitch, stubbing out opposition counter attacks whilst simultaneously launching our own, has been refreshing.
The significant change in our midfield is the brave, positional based pressing that we now adopt off the ball. By way of example, if we contrast last weekend to the equivalent Stoke home game last season, this time around we won double the amount of second balls from the middle third of the pitch.
Victor Wanyama and Idrissa Gueye battle for possession
Gueye and Barry have been well supported by wide midfielders who are now being asked to tuck in as soon as possession is turned over to form a solid midfield wall, thus closing off the gaping chasm's opponents found to slip balls through our midfield last season.
Stoke certainly found it hard going last week, registering just one shot on target, significant given the peppering our goal took in the game at Goodison just over six months ago.
Passing Tempo On the ball the passing stats compared to last season are similar, with both the volume of passes and the split between short and long passes virtually identical, albeit there has been a slight upward spike in terms of possession this season.
This isn't in any way a shock.
Despite the narrative that Martinez was in essence a clown without makeup, there are many similarities with how he and Koeman want to play the game. Namely possession based football, playing out from the back and into midfield. There are some subtle tweaks in terms of how Koeman goes about achieving this if we look closely enough.
The main one for me is how the forwards are used, with more emphasis on quick one touch play in the final third. Again, if we take a glance at the Stoke matches, despite making a similar amount of passes all four of our attacking players made a lot less touches of the ball in this season's game - combined roughly a third less - as well as having a higher % of their touches in the opposition box.
This would allude to a faster, higher passing tempo which is trying to catch opponents out before they have time to regroup. Our shots per game figures are well up on last season's figures, which would suggest this tactic is working well.
Finding the right balance
Koeman has shown himself to be flexible tactically and, more crucially, has struck a decent balance between defence and attack, the main issue which undermined his predecessors.
On the occasions when the ball has been threaded through our midfield, there has been more emphasis on clearing our lines than picking out a pass to trigger counter attack.
Again, if we look at the equivalent game against Stoke last season, we made 31 clearances in this season's game, roughly double the amount we made in the defeat at L4 last season.
By restricting Stoke to a solitary shot on target, whilst making 21 attempts on goal ourselves, it's fair to say that the equilibrium we have all craved maybe getting closer.
The myth of the 'greatest squad since the 80's' narrative was firmly laid to rest in the dying embers of last season. The way the previous regime unravelled so spectacularly taught us that the squad is carrying a lot of passengers, and this won't change overnight. Koeman himself has stated he doesn't envisage us having the ideal squad he would like perhaps until the beginning of his third season, so this transfer window was never going to remedy everything.
Moussa Sissoko turned his back on Everton move in favour of Tottenham
It appears we were a bit wet behind the ears regarding the pursuit of Sissoko, although it could be a bullet dodged judging by his attitude and capacity to go missing in matches. It's difficult to get the calibre of players needed to move up a notch as most will want to play in the Champions League, the same fly in the ointment that scuppered the Lucas Perez deal.
There wasn't exactly a wave of excitement generated by the arrival of Enner Valencia, the solitary first team arrival, on deadline day.
First the bad news.
A sideways glance at one Opta stats driven website lists the Ecuadorian's data generated weaknesses as 'passing, finishing, crossing, offside awareness and holding the ball up'.
Football metadata is, of course, completely subjective.
Is Valencia strong enough to lead the line and push Pulis-groc defences 10 yards towards their own goal? I doubt it. Can he can bag us 10 goals this season? Judging by his goal record in England, you'd have to say it's unlikely.
Maybe the last point is because he's only actually been a striker for a few years after being converted from a right wing back / midfielder. His goal record at international level is, in sharp contrast, very respectable as he showcased on the greatest stage of all in the last World Cup.
Valencia has plenty of other strengths too.
He's quick, he'll graft for the team defensively, possesses a fine leap, and can play in various positions. For me he's a decent option to get us through the season, rather than a permanent fix.
Expectations After being comprehensively beaten at Stoke at the tail end of Martinez second season, a result that left the Potters 12 points ahead of us, we were left with one eye on the relegation spots.
In a Stoke pub post match I encountered a local fan with an Alsatian tattooed on his forehead who told me 'Everton will be fine'.
It was the ultimate condescension, a nadir moment up there with some of the calamitous League Cup exits of the late 90's / early 00's - those trips to Coventry and Bristol Rovers still send a shiver down the spine. Stoke went on to finish above us that season and last, despite having a less talented squad than ours. The goal this season will surely be to get back to being more than the sum of our parts and finding a way to win against sides like them to propel us back into the top seven , which we did last week.
It's early days, but the signs are very positive.
Everton striker Lukaku coy on new Goodison deal but 'won't quarrel' with the Blues
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Greg O’Keeffe
Lukaku reflected on the summer and his future while away on international duty
Romelu Lukaku has refused to say whether he would sign a potential new contract at Everton - but insists he wants "no quarrel" with the Blues. The 23-year-old striker was asked about the possibility of penning new terms at Goodison while away on international duty with Belgium. But Lukaku - who admits it was Everton's refusal to sell him which prompted him to knuckle down on Merseyside for another season - was tight-lipped on talk of any longer-term commitment. Asked for his thoughts on a possible new deal, he said: "You'll have to ask Mino (Raiola, his agent).
"I tell Mino how I think about it, and eventually we have to make a decision that is best for me. For me football is not about the money. "I want to win prizes. But when I get into a situation where I can leave but my team will not let me, I'm not one to go absent, get fined and cultivate a negative reputation.
Lukaku's agent Mino Raiola "I try to remain calm and treat my club with respect. Hopefully they can treat me also with respect and I can leave through the main gate.
"I will not quarrel with Everton"
Lukaku says he is interested in how Ronald Koeman can develop his game, after a difficult last term under Roberto Martinez, who is now his international manager. However he admits he is still unhappy not to be plying his trade in European competition. "Yes, it stings a little, but I'm someone who believes that everything happens for a reason," he said. "Otherwise I was going to go to Juventus instead of staying at Everton. "I could have gone to Juventus" – Lukaku "But I opted for Everton and I have not done badly here. "Now we have a new coach and it is completely different than with with Mr. Martinez. But I think I can make progress under Ronald Koeman. Perhaps the last step and then look further."
Romelu Lukaku and Ronald Koeman during training Asked for his reflections on the transfer window just gone and the speculation over his future he said: "Uh....it was different. "I knew of the interest of a few clubs, but it was pretty soon clear that Everton would not let me go. "It was important to me that I remained calm and that's what I did. I did not go into conflict. I said to myself: I do my best and who is what happens in the future. "
"Another two weeks and I'll be fine" - Lukaku
Lukaku believes a return to full fitness is not far off.
"Another two weeks I think," he said. "I had a longer break than the rest. When I returned I immediately joined with all the rest of the squad but during a friendly match against Espanyol a player landed with his studs right in my Achilles tendon. "I had a deep wound, there are six or seven stitches. I could do nothing. I came back and could not play right away and that was not the best for me. I have to bite my lip for another two weeks. It will be fine."
Lukaku holds his ankle before leaving the field injured during the pre-season friendly with Espanyol
"I feel good, but I miss some sharpness. I do not burn like in my second year at Everton. Then I had to wait three or four months before I got to the right level. I do not want it to happen again. "
Lukaku provided an interesting take on training under previous Blues boss Martinez.
"Training under Martinez was based on Barkley and me" - Lukaku
He said: "In the three years we have worked together, Ross Barkley and I were the ones with whom he worked most of the training. "He asked us to stay longer because he believed in our potential. Not that we are already there or anything, but he knows perfectly where I can improve and he will also say.
"He is very direct with other players. Everything is very clear and everyone knows what to do on the pitch. I think that's positive for the rest of the team."
Lukaku was asked about the difference between Martinez as club and national coach.
"Here he has a choice of top players," he said. "In central defence he has Jan, Toby, Thomas, Vincent and others I forget. "Ditto in midfield and up front. He knows that if you do not do well, he still has someone else. You can see that the level goes straight up, because he is not afraid to take a player from the team.
"He is offensive, but that does not mean he gives you complete freedom.
"He gives clear guidelines that you have to walk. Not like Marc Wilmots, which you could do in the last thirty meters what you wanted. "Now we have certain tasks that we have to do in the last thirty meters to break through the defense. It takes a lot of time and energy to understand what the coach wants."
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku taking advice from PlayStation pal Thierry Henry
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
New Belgium assistant coach is improving Blues forward
Romelu Lukaku is being given advice by Thierry Henry while with Belgium
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku has revealed his game is being improved by advice from Thierry Henry.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry was recently pointed assistant coach at Belgium by new national team boss – and Lukaku’s former Everton manager – Roberto Martinez. And the Blues forward has told how former forward Henry is already passing on his experience – while also attempting to beat him on PlayStation. “He took us to one side,” said Lukaku, who is preparing for his country’s opening World Cup qualifier against Cyprus on Tuesday. “He corrected my manner of getting away from markers.
“We stayed for a long time in front of the screen, and he pointed out our mistakes, corrected us. We listened carefully. It took nearly two hours, but it was great.”
Lukaku also told how he addresses the new coach as “Monsieur Henry” and explained: “It’s a mark of respect. He’s really with us and isn’t distant. “Sometimes he comes to drink tea or play PlayStation with us. Thierry Henry is now part on the Belgian coaching staff “He asks a lot, but that’s what we need. He’s good at communicating and makes himself heard. “Concentration and effort are his staples. It’s a plus to have him with us. I can assure you we listen when he speaks.” Martinez began his Belgium reign last week with a 2-0 defeat at home to Spain that saw his team booed off by sections of the disgruntled crowd.
Everton left it too late with Andiy Yarmolenko bid, claim Dynamo Kiev
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Ukraine side claim Blues made another last-gasp effort to sign playmaker
Andriy Yarmolenko was the subject of deadline-day interest from Everton, according to his club Dynamo Kiev Dynamo Kiev have claimed Everton left it too late with a last-ditch bid to sign Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko on deadline day last Wednesday. The Blues are already smarting having been unable to persuade Moussa Sissoko to move to Goodison and saw both Sunderland’s Lacine Kone and Southampton’s Cuca Martino stay put. It has now emerged the Sissoko situation prompted them to make another attempt to bring playmaker Yarmolenko to the club. But Kiev have said while they were happy to accept Everton’s bid, the lack of time made it impossible to complete a deal.
“Everton submitted a bid for Yarmolenko one hour and 15 minutes prior to the deadline,” said Kiev president Ihor Surkis. “I was satisfied with the transfer price but we did not have time to even draw up a contract. “I was satisfied with the offer as long as Andriy was. Transfer bids cannot be submitted that late.” Everton failed with a similar late attempt to sign Yarmolenko 12 months ago having had an earlier offer rejected by Kiev. Yarmolenko has reportedly been keen on a move to Goodison for some time, and in February when asked whether it was better to have a guaranteed place at Everton or be a substitute at Barcelona, he said: “It is better to play at Everton. “Of course you can go to Barcelona, make a cool selfie with (Lionel) Messi, put the images on Instagram and get a million likes and be pleased with yourself. But I’m not one of those. “For me it is important to play matches.”
Everton braced for Yannick Bolasie absence in New Year
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Blues winger joins Idrissa Gueye in qualifying for African Cup of Nations
Everton's Yannick Bolasie in action against Stoke City last month
Everton are likely to be without two summer signings in January after Yannick Bolasie joined Idrissa Gueye in qualifying for the African Cup of Nations. Bolasie was part of the DR Congo side that beat Central African Republic 1-0 at the weekend to win Group B and seal a place in the finals, which will be held in Gabon in the New Year. Gueye, meanwhile, featured for Senegal in their 2-0 win over Nambia that ensured they completed Group K with an 100% record from their six qualifying matches.
The duo are almost certain to be included in their country’s respective squads for the competition, which runs from January 14 to February 5. And taking into account pre-tournament training camps, it means Everton expect Bolasie and Gueye to at minimum be absent for much of the January programme.
Everton play four Premier League games during the duration the finals in Gabon – a home game against Manchester City, trips to Crystal Palace and Stoke City and the visit of Bournemouth.
Idrissa Gueye has qualified for the African Cup of Nations with Senegal
The FA Cup fourth round and both legs of the EFL Cup semi-final are also scheduled for mid-January while, in the build-up to the African Cup of Nations, Everton are at home to Southampton on January 2 and will also feature in the FA Cup third round the following weekend.
Gueye has become an instant favourite with supporters with a series of impressive midfield performances following his £7.1million move from Aston Villa, while Bolasie arrived from Crystal Palace in a deal that could ultimately be worth a club record £30m.
Everton can benefit from Ross Barkley being overlooked by England, says Gareth Barry
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Blues veteran believes midfielder will be eager to prove Sam Allardyce wrong
Gareth Barry believes Everton can benefit from the decision of England boss Sam Allardyce to overlook Ross Barkley for the national squad. And the Blues veteran has urged the midfielder to prove he deserves a recall for the Three Lions by continuing his impressive start to the season with the Blues.
Barkley was a surprise omission from the England squad for the World Cup qualifier in Slovakia, which they won 1-0 thanks to an injury-time goal. It came after the 23-year-old was one of only two outfield players – former Everton team-mate John Stones the other – in England’s Euro 2016 squad to not play a single minute during the finals. But Barry is confident the setbacks will act as extra motivation for Barkley to build on his form under new Blues boss Ronald Koeman. “Ross can feel a little bit hard done by,” said the midfielder, speaking at Everton in the Community’s annual charity golf day. “It’s a tough job being England manager and Sam said it was a really tough decision for him but in terms of Ross now he needs to use that to help him improve and not get down about it but prove the manager wrong and get himself in the next squad. “In a selfish way for Everton that means him performing well for Everton, so that can only be good for us. “I trained with him and he didn’t seem too worried about it. He’s got that grit between his teeth that he’s going to prove the England manager wrong so hopefully he can put in good performances with Everton to do that.” The Blues have made a solid start to life under Koeman, who replaced Roberto Martinez as manager in June. Everton have taken seven points from nine in the Premier League and easily dismissed Yeovil Town in their EFL Cup second round tie. And the Barry believes the changes already made by Keoman will make them more competitive. “The manager made a point in terms of the way he wants the training to change and I could see where he was coming from,” added Barry. “He likes the hard work to be put in and that’s fair enough. The training is a bit more structured and we’re doing a lot more afternoon sessions to previous. “His standards are really high; he wants us to keep them and as soon as anybody drops them, no matter who you are, he lets you know so it’s good for all the players involved. “So seven points from nine, and through to the next round in the League Cup, it’s a great start. “The club just wants to be playing European football regularly. It’s a huge club and the fans deserve to be seeing European nights every season so there’s no reason why we can’t be targeting those places.”
Former Everton striker Victor Anichebe eyes Blues reunion
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Nigerian could line up against his old club at Stadium of Light next week
The handshakes before kick-off at the Stadium of Light on Monday will be somewhat more heartfelt than usual. For many involved, the fixture will represent a reunion, a reminder of old times.
Most of the attention, of course, will be on Sunderland boss David Moyes, facing the club where he was in charge for more than 11 years. By moving to Wearside, Moyes inherited a squad containing Jack Rodwell, a player who came through the ranks at Everton and became a record-break under the Scot.
The Sunderland boss then brought in Steven Pienaar, a trusted lieutenant during his Goodison days who was a free agent this summer having been released by the Blues. However, slipping under the radar is a man who has slid slowly from public view over the past three years. Missing the attention of many was Moyes snapping up another free agent and ex-Everton associate, Victor Anichebe. Rescued from the scrapheap, the striker made no secret of the chief reason for his arrival. “I have a lot of good friends here and everyone knows that I know the manager really well,” he said. “He brought me through as a young player and was a big factor in me coming here. “I had a few options in England and Europe but the manager was a huge pull for me. He knows me inside out and I feel like he can get the best out of me.” James McCarthy tangles with Everton old boy Victor Anichebe in February Anichebe was 17 when handed his senior debut by Moyes as a substitute in the FA Cup tie at Chelsea in 2006. He was still a teenager when he came off the bench to score against Metalist Kharkiv, Larissa, Nuremburg and Brann in the UEFA Cup in the 2007-08 season. That gained him a reputation as a supersub he never truly managed to shake off. Indeed, Anichebe holds the all-time record for the most substitute appearance by an Everton player, with 95 of his 168 appearances for the Blues coming from the bench. Anichebe was always struggling to win over the Baggies crowd after swapping Goodison for The Hawthorns in a deal worth up to £6million in the summer of 2013. It took him eight games to score his first goal and ended his first campaign with just three goals in 25 games. He doubled his tally the following campaign but injuries – another unfortunate feature of Anichebe’s career – restricted him to only 14 outings in which he failed to score before being released by Baggies boss Tony Pulis. As the Birmingham Mail reporter Paul Suart observed in May: “His uninterested demeanour and despondent body language has often been more telling than his contributions for the team this term. “Popular with his team-mates if not the fans, Anichebe leaves having scored nine goals in 63 games.”
Now aged 28, Anichebe should be coming into his prime rather than spend his summer scrapping around for a Premier League club. Should he appear next Monday, he’ll be no doubt given a warm reception by the travelling Evertonians at the Stadium of Light. But for everyone involved, there’ll be an overriding feeling of what might have been.
Everton were naive to think having money would make the transfer window easier
5 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
Our ECHO columnist assesses summer business and looks ahead to Sunderland clash
Ronald Koeman was forced to miss out on several major targets after a disappointing end to the transfer window for Everton Deadline day was a hugely frustrating one for Everton supporters.
But perhaps everyone has learned a lesson as a result of our failure to make the desired signings.
The problem, of course, is that while we had the money, we couldn't find the right targets.
I'll accept that we were played a bit in the whole Moussa Sissoko saga.
Then there's the fact the Euros impacted on our efforts to sign players, as well as the wait to appoint first Ronald Koeman and then Steve Walsh as manager and director of football respectively.
Koeman was always the board's first choice to succeed Roberto Martinez, and they deserve credit for sticking with their plan and getting their man. Ultimately, though, the reason for the disappointment among fans is that the new investment at the club has raised expectations. We'd grown used to being nervy on transfer deadline day. Would one of our best players be taken from us? Would we be able to bring in the signings we want? But this time a lot of fans were looking forward to the final few days of the transfer window. The expectation was we'd make a marquee signing and bring in a couple of other new faces to boost the good squad we already have. However, when that became delayed and delayed, the negative thoughts began to creep in. Everyone – from the club through to the supporters – were naïve in thinking because we now have money, the transfer window would be a lot easier.
It wasn't. And it won't. Not least because other clubs have even more money.
Moussa Sissoko has turned his back on Everton move in favour of Tottenham
Generally speaking, I don't understand why there are clubs who buy big on the final day of the transfer window. The last day should be about filling in the gaps, not attempting to make high-profile signings.
Managers have had the chance to assess their options during pre-season, get their main targets in early on in the summer, and then have the last day to bring in any cover for positions where they feel the squad is a bit short. But not for marquee signings. That's when you will be forced to pay a premium and you leave yourself open to being gazumped. Everton found that to their cost. We simply can't make the same mistakes again.
Enner needs confidence boost
One player Everton did manage to bring in on transfer deadline day was Enner Valencia.
I am very surprised Slaven Bilic allowed him to leave West Ham United.
Valencia was a big signing a couple of years ago but he hasn't hit the heights.
West Ham have a lengthy injury list of which many are first-team regulars, but still they let Valencia go.
That isn't a particularly good sign.
However, we're showing a bit of faith in the boy by signing him, and it may just be a case of Valencia needing a second chance to regain his confidence.
Versatility can undo Black Cats
There'll be familiar opposition at the Stadium of Light next Monday.
With David Moyes now in charge against Sunderland, we'll know what to expect.
And, of course, there are a few ex-Everton players up there who will be keen to prove a point.
Sunderland will be difficult to break down and, as during his time with Everton, he'll be working with them on making them well organised first and foremost.
We will have to be very patient. With the quality we have got at breaking teams down, we have to keep passing the ball quickly and break through the lines.
What I've liked most about our start to the season is we've played in a different way on each occasion.
Such versatility can only be a bonus.
Ross can be boss without England
I've previously said I was a bit surprised Ross Barkley was overlooked for the latest England squad.
But Gareth Barry is right to say the country's loss will be Everton's gain.
When you get into the England circle, you're normally given a bit of leeway regarding your form.
However, with the change of manager in Sam Allardyce, that starts all over again and you have to prove yourself.
Ross Barkley gives the thumbs up at Goodison
Ross looks fitter and sharper this season, and having that motivation to get back into the England squad will surely drive him on.
Being named captain against Yeovil Town last month was a clever move by Ronald Koeman, and will have given the player a confidence boost.
Barkley's absence from England will benefit Everton in the short-term in that he'll have had a short break and trained at Finch Farm.
That's better than sitting on the bench for England.
Koeman the big draw
The comments from Ashley Williams about learning under Ronald Koeman made for interesting reading.
Koeman is a manager who will attract players. He has pedigree. He has a reputation. And he's a real draw for potential targets.
That will prove useful over the coming transfer windows.
Ashley Williams is learning from Everton boss Ronald Koeman
As a player, when you reach a certain level, there isn't much to choose between potential new teams, and that's when managers come into it.
Koeman wants to be a winner. Players see that there's no messing about with him. He's straightforward and you either do your best or you're not playing.
Players respond to that.
Positive results for Everton's two international captains
5 Sep 2016
By Chris Beesley
Everton had the honour of producing two international captains on one night as Ashley Williams of Wales and the Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman both skippered their countries in World Cup qualifiers with the Blues pair both securing positive results.Goodison new boy Williams, 32, steered Wales to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Moldova as Chris Coleman's side enjoyed a triumphant homecoming in Cardiff after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 in France.Earning his 66th cap, the former Swansea City centre-back strolled through the game as goals from Sam Vokes (38) and Joe Allen (44) before a Gareth Bale double which set the Welsh on the way on their first leg of the journey to Russia in two years time.Coleman, 27, has yet to figure for Ronald Koeman's side so far this season after picking up an ankle injury in August that left his left leg in a cast.However, the right-back was passed fit to lead Martin O'Neill's side out on a wet night in Belgrade with torrential rain threatening to cause a postponement.In a topsy-turvy contest, the Irish drew 2-2 with Serbia. Jeff Hendrick gave the visitors a dream start with a third minute goal but a quickfire double from Filip Kostic (62) and Dusan Tadic (69 penalty) turned the contest on its head before a Daryl Murphy header restored parity 10 minutes from the end.
Referee who had Martinez raging gets Everton's Moyes reunion
6 Sep 2016
By Chris Beesley
Mike Jones, the referee who had the normally mild-mannered former Everton manager Roberto Martinez raging earlier this year, will take charge of the Blues latest reunion with the Catalan's predecessor David Moyes.The Chester official is the man in the middle for Ronald Koeman's side's trip to the Stadium of Light on Monday night to face Sunderland.Jones had Martinez fuming over his decision to play beyond the seventh minute of stoppage time at Chelsea in January, allowing home captain John Terry to score a 98th minute equaliser – which was also from an offside position – and secure a 3-3 draw to deny the Blues a first win at Stamford Bridge for over two decades.Martinez, whose sugar-coated superlatives often include adjectives such as “phenomenal” and “pristine” instead branded Jones' display as “diabolical”.Jones was Everton's coupon specialist last season, also presiding over the 2-2 draw at home to newly-promoted Watford on the opening day; a 0-0 draw at Tottenham in the same month and another capital stalemate at Crystal Palace in April.Indeed, the Blues are actually unbeaten in their nine matches that Jones has taken charge of, a run stretching back almost five years to the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea in October 2011.Since then he has officiated in their 2-0 home win over Chelsea in February 2012; the 4-4 draw at Manchester United in April 2012; home draws against Newcastle (2-2); Norwich (1-1) and Aston Villa (3-3) in 2012/13 before back-to-back home victories over Stoke City (1-0 in March 2013 & 4-0 in November 2013); the 2-2 draw at newly-promoted Leicester City on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign and 1-0 home win over Burnley in April 2015.Jones issued 131 bookings in 40 matches last season (an average of 3.28 yellow cards per game) and showed three red cards but he has already sent off two players in as many matches so far this term.
Everton taking almost £50m for John Stones was one of deals of summer, say experts
6 Sep 2016
By Ian Doyle
Everton pulled off one of the deals of the summer by selling John Stones to Manchester City for close to £50million. But only three players were more overvalued than new signing Yannick Bolasie during the transfer window.This is according to boffins at the CIES Football Observatory, who have been crunching the numbers on all the big moves across Europe.
Using their special algorithm, they’ve deduced the Blues made £17m on Stones moving to City, with their statistics having valued the player at £32m – making the centre-back the sixth-best sale of the recent transfer window.However, CIES have computed the Blues paid a mammoth £18.75m over the odds when snapping up Bolaise from Crystal Palace.Nevertheless, Everton’s one major sale of Stones has them ranked as the sixth-best selling club of the summer, behind Sevilla, Palace, Napoli, Marseille and Borussia Moenchengladbach.Overall, Gonzalo Higuain’s move from Napoli to Juventus is regarded the biggest overspend of the summer, with the Argentina international striker having switched for £75m.Premier League clubs, though, dominate the top 10, which includes Manchester United’s moves for Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba, new Chelsea duo David Luiz and Marcos Alonso, Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka, Leroy Sane of Manchester City.Kevin Gameiro’s transfer from Sevilla to Atletico Madrid is ranked the third-worst value for money signing.
Do Everton now have enough leaders in their squad?
6 Sep 2016
By Ian Doyle
Seamus Coleman found himself unwittingly at the epicentre of fierce debate in his homeland on Monday night. And for those in any way acquainted with football in the Republic of Ireland, there was little surprise the differing viewpoints were represented by player-turned-pundit Eamon Dunphy and national team assistant boss Roy Keane.It revolved around Everton right-back Coleman once again being handed the captain’s armband for Ireland’s opening World Cup qualifier in Serbia in which they surrendered an early lead but fought back to earn a creditable 2-2 draw. “He hasn’t looked comfortable with the responsibility of it,” claimed Dunphy. “Some guys feel it. They’re natural leaders, but I don’t think he’s a natural leader.“He’s a terrific person and everybody admires his attitude to the game but I’m not sure on the evidence of the Euros that he’s comfortable with it, and if that’s the case it’s a problem.”Keane, though, was having none of it, with Coleman having skippered Ireland against Italy and France at Euro 2016.“I think he (Coleman) leads,” he said. “Would I compare him to Denis Irwin? I don’t mean in the football sense, but the way Denis played.“Denis led by being a brilliant player and Seamus Coleman is the same type of player.“He leads by the way he plays, and that’s by being a brilliant player and a good lad. He doesn’t look like he gets too high one way and too low the other. He’s just a real Steady Eddie – and I mean that in the nicest possible way – just like Denis was.“And just the fact that I’m talking about him in the same breath as Denis Irwin tells you what I think of Seamus.”Beyond dispute, however, is Coleman being one of a growing number of captains in Everton’s squad.During the dark days towards the end of Roberto Martinez’s tenure, a chief criticism of his team was the lack of leadership, a shortage of strength of character.That, through both chance and design, is being addressed by new boss Ronald Koeman.As Coleman led by example in a soggy Serbia, Ashley Williams was skippering Wales to a straightforward World Cup qualifying win over Moldova having arrived at Goodison in the summer after a long stint as Swansea City captain.Already this campaign, Koeman has thrown the armband to Ross Barkley against Yeovil Town in the EFL Cup last month, a show of confidence in the youngster’s growing maturity that was rewarded with a goal and a fine individual performance.Then there are the leaders the Dutchman has inherited.Phil Jagielka has been club captain since 2013 and became the first Everton player to skipper England when assuming the armband for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania last October.Gareth Barry, the Blues vice-captain, also captained England during his time as a player for both Manchester City and Aston Villa, the latter for whom he was also club skipper.Leighton Baines, too, has previously captained the Blues.Koeman, then, should have no shortage of players he can rely upon whenever the going gets tough for Everton this season.
Everton new signing Calvert-Lewin on why he chose Blues over Manchester United
6 Sep 2016
By Ian Doyle
Dominic Calvert-Lewin admits it was a “no-brainer” to move to Everton given the club’s reputation of giving youth a chance in the first team. Calvert-Lewin was signed from Sheffield United in a £1.5million deal on deadline day last Wednesday and put pen to paper on a four-year deal.The 19-year-old striker, who spent last season on loan at Northampton Town, was tracked by the Blues for much of the summer.Everton saw off competition from Manchester United for Calvert-Lewin, who will join David Unsworth’s under-23 squad.And the youngster believes the breakthrough of Mason Holgate this season is proof he has made the right decision by coming to Goodison.“It was a no-brainer for me,” said Calvert-Lewin. “You only have to look at the chance that’s given to youth here and the opportunities that have been given.“The players that are in there now, you look at Mason Holgate, and that’s something that appeals to me as a 19-year-old player.“You can’t ask for more than that. Obviously, your hard work pays off and I’m just looking for a chance to impress and show what I can do.“I play more as a striker, I can play in behind the striker as well, but I like to be quite direct and in in behind the striker. I’m quite good in air so I like to head the ball.”Calvert-Lewin celebrated the move by earning a first call-up to the England under-20 side, and scored in the 2-1 defeat to Brazil on Sunday.“It’s been a whirlwind for me,” he added. “The England call-up was unexpected.”
Everton youngster Gethin Jones keen to follow in footsteps of Ashley Williams
6 Sep 2016
By Ian Doyle
Everton youngster Gethin Jones hasn’t given up hopes of following in the footsteps of Goodison team-mate Ashley Williams and leading Wales into the Euro finals. Jones is skipper of the Welsh U21 side, who are in action against Luxembourg in Bangor later today in their latest UEFA U21 European Championship qualifier.They will be aiming to bounce back from a heavy 4-0 defeat to Group Five leaders Denmark in Wrexham on Friday that dealt a serious blow to their chances of reaching the finals in Poland next year.Wales finish their campaign away to Armenia next month, and could still edge out Romania for second spot and a play-off place.And 20-year-old Everton right-back Jones: “100% we have to pick ourselves up.“We’ve talked about the Denmark game and said what needed to be said.“Everyone was very disappointed to lose 4-0 – four very disappointing goals on our part – but we need to pick ourselves up now for a very important game on Tuesday.“We know we’re a lot better than that, but we’re preparing now to bounce back.”While Wales’ final opponents Luxembourg and Armenia have yet to win a game in the group, Romania – who are four points clear in second – finish with tough away games against Denmark tonight and Bulgaria next month.“We dropped far off our very best and we were punished,” Wales U21 manager Geraint Williams said after the Denmark defeat.“But we move on. We can’t let it affect Tuesday.”
How Everton striker Arouna Kone is helping Tyias Browning back into first team
6 Sep 2016
Updated 16:01, 6 Sep 2016
By Ian Doyle
Everton defender Tyias Browning has revealed how Arouna Kone is acting as inspiration on his long road back to full fitness.Browning has been absent since undergoing surgery on a knee injury suffered during Everton under-21’s Lancashire Senior Cup tie with Blackburn Rovers last December.The 22-year-old is gradually stepping up his rehabilitation as he closes in on a return to first-team contention.And the defender has been leaning on the experience of team-mate Kone, who suffered a similar problem during his first season at Goodison back in 2013. “Arouna Kone had a similar operation so he has been helping me on the road to recovery – I use Arouna as my guide!” said Browning.“He’s always giving me little ideas on exercises to try and things like that. But the whole team have helped keep my spirits up.“I have had a lot of messages on social media from fans as well. When I go to games they always ask me when I am back. They have always been positive and I want to thank them for that.“It will be a special moment when I am back out there, and I can’t wait. I’m going to be so rusty though!”Browning made six appearances for the Blues last season before the injury, which forced him to miss out on the chance of an England under-21 cap having been called up by Gareth Southgate.And the youngster is determined not to take any chances on his fitness having been sidelined for such a long period.“I am at the stage now where I have just got to be careful,” he said. “That way I can make sure I come back in good enough shape.“The knee feels good at the minute but I am just going day-by-day. I have to make sure it is 100% for when I get back playing. “Each day, I come in and ‘activate’ it with certain specific exercises. But the physios monitor me constantly and they have helped me a lot.”Speaking to evertonfc.com, he added: “It has been nearly 10 months since the operation. I had never been injured before, even growing up as a kid, so to get hit with a nine-to-12 month injury was the worst feeling I have ever had.“At first it was mentally challenging and don’t get me wrong, it still is now. I was on crutches for two months and that was tough.”
Everton daily digest - Bolasie 'overpriced', Coleman leader debate, Browning, Koeman and snubbing Man Utd
6 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Catch up on the Liverpool ECHO's Blues content from today
The boffins have been number-crunching the summer transfer window - and there was both good and bad news for Everton. The good was the fact only five players were more overpriced than John Stones on his departure to Manchester City. The bad news is one of those five is new Blues winger Yannick Bolasie.
Koeman's defensive poser
Seamus Coleman returned to action with an appearance for the Republic of Ireland last night.
In his absence, Ronald Koeman looked at several options, all of which had their merits.
But what is the Blues boss to do now? We assessed the lay of the land.
Coleman found himself unwittingly at the centre of a row between old Irish foes Eamon Dunphy and Roy Keane. The question concerned the captaincy of his country. However, was it a further sign Everton are now gaining more on-field leaders?
'Everton a no-brainer'
So says new signing Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
"You only have to look at the chance that’s given to youth here and the opportunities that have been given," he says.
Kone the inspiration
Tyias Browning revealed an unlikely mentor as he battles back from a long-term absence after a knee injury. “Arouna Kone had a similar operation so he has been helping me on the road to recovery – I use Arouna as my guide!" says the youngster.
Best best man?
Some light relief now in the form of ex-Everton midfielder Jamie Milligan's wedding.
What are we on about? It really is worth checking out the video to find out.
Jones eyes Williams repeat
Everton don't just have the Wales captain in Ashley Williams, they also have the Wales under-21 skipper in Gethin Jones. And the youngster still has sights on a European Championship spot of his own.
Finally, news on the referee for Monday's game.
Let's just say it's just as well Roberto Martinez isn't Everton manager any more - for his own sake!
Cyprus 0-3 Belgium: Romelu Lukaku nets brace as Michy Batshuayi misses late penalty
6 Sep 2016b Dairy Mirror
By Liam Corless
Lukaku scored once in each half for the Red Devils before Yannick Carrasco made it 3-0 and Chelsea's Batshuayi spurned a chance from the spot
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku scored a brace as Belgium's World Cup qualifying campaign began with a win in Cyprus. In Roberto Martinez's first competitive match in charge of the Red Devils, Lukaku netted once in each half before Yannick Carrasco rounded off the scoring.
Each of Lukaku's goals were rather fortuitous, as he was in the right place at the right time to turn home after poor goalkeeping. Thomas Meunier's shot was parried into Lukaku's path by goalkeeper Kostas Panayi for the forward's 13th-minute opener, while a similar thing happened for his second after Carrasco's effort was turned away by the Cyprus stopper. Atletico Madrid's Carrasco made it 3-0 when Eden Hazard unselfishly squared the ball for him to turn into an empty net after Panayi had parried a Kevin De Bruyne effort. Hazard was then brought down in the box in the final minute of normal time and the referee pointed to the spot. Michy Batshuayi, Hazard's Chelsea teammate, was handed the opportunity to make it 4-0 but he was thwarted by Panayi from 12 yards. Despite their comfortable win, Belgium sit only third in Group H on goal difference. Bosnia are top after thrashing Estonia 5-0, while Greece sit second after their 4-1 reverse of Gibraltar.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman facing difficult decision over new-look defence
6 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Ian Doyle
Coleman return casts question marks over Holgate and Funes Mori ahead of Sunderland clash
Mason Holgate, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori will be competing for places in Everton's defence on Monday International break is normally a time for Premier League managers to cross fingers as they release players into the hands of their respective national teams. The past week has been no different for Ronald Koeman in that regard. However, the Blues boss received the rare fillip of a fitness boost with the sight of Seamus Coleman in action for the Republic of Ireland.
Despite having not yet played a competitive match for Everton this season due to an ankle injury, Coleman featured for the full 90 minutes as he skippered the Irish to a 2-2 draw in their opening World Cup qualifier in a soggy Serbia. And with the right-back now in contention for a Blues first-team return, Koeman faces a welcome selection headache for Monday’s visit to Sunderland.
What now for Holgate?
The most player most obviously under threat due to Coleman’s return is Mason Holgate .
Holgate impressed Koeman sufficiently during pre-season for him to name the 19-year-old on the right of a back three for the opening Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur. He kept his place for the visit to West Bromwich Albion the following week, but switched to right-back after a shift of formation before half-time helped speak a comeback victory for the Blues. Holgate stayed there for the home wins over Yeovil Town and Stoke City, with his form earning a first call-up to the England under-21 squad.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman will have much to ponder over the next week
“It’s very positive how Mason Holgate is doing, how he is developing himself and the game time he is getting,” says Koeman. “He has big quality for a young player. It looks like he’s very comfortable on the pitch. “Of course, he has the confidence of the manager and the rest of the players - but you need to perform on the pitch and he’s doing that.” Should Everton stick with a flat back four, Holgate will find himself behind Coleman in the pecking order at right-back. But in a three-man defence, that the returning Irishman is ideally suited to the wing-back role will give Holgate a greater chance to continue shining at centre-back.
Mori the merrier?
Then there’s Ramiro Funes Mori .
While the departure of John Stones may have led the Argentina international to believe his first-team opportunities could be enhanced, the arrival of Ashley Williams and emergence of Holgate mean competition for places at the heart of defence is as intense as ever. Funes Mori turned down the invitation to play for Argentina at the recent Olympics in Rio, giving himself the chance to impress the incoming Koeman during the summer. Indeed, he began the season as part of the back three and retained his place at centre-back for the EFL Cup win over Yeovil Town, but dropped to the bench in the last game against Stoke with Williams and Phil Jagielka the preferred partnership.
Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams are likely to form Everton's first-choice centre-back partnership
Funes Mori responded with an impressive performance for his country in shutting out Luis Suarez as Argentina beat Uruguay 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier over the weekend. With Koeman certain to rotate his resources, and injuries likely to bite during an arduous Premier League campaign, Funes Mori will have plenty of game time over the coming months. Whether that’s as much as the Argentine would want, though, could depend on Koeman’s tactical tweaks and his own ability to break the anticipated Williams-Jagielka partnership.
The McCarthy question
Coleman’s absence, and Koeman starting the season with three at the back, led to the unusual sight of James McCarthy starting as right wing-back. The Irishman, a defensive central midfielder by trade, gave it his usual full-blooded effort, but he never looked comfortable. Not least at The Hawthorns in the second weekend, when after an unhappy afternoon McCarthy was hooked before half-time.
It prompted speculation over his future which Koeman was compelled to conclusively reject.
In any case, a groin injury – which it later transpired requires surgery to rectify – has since sidelined McCarthy. When he returns, though, it will surely be to compete for a place in the centre of the park rather than filling in as a temporary defender.
Double from Everton's Lukaku hands Martinez a boost
6 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Chris Beesley
Brace of headers hands ex-Blues boss a first win with Belgium
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku handed his former Blues boss Roberto Martinez a boost by heading in two goals in Belgium's 3-0 win in Cyprus in their opening qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia. Martinez endured a baptism of fire against his native Spain last Thursday when he was booed by some sections of his own team's supporters in Brussels as the visitors recorded a 2-0 victory.
However, Lukaku, the striker whom Martinez initially brought to Goodison Park on loan from Chelsea in 2013 before capturing permanently in a club record £28million deal a year later, relieved the pressure on his coach with his brace handing the Belgians a welcome three points in what was a potential banana skin fixture. The 23-year-old, who has failed to find the net in his last 13 fixtures for the Blues since his double strike knocked former employers Chelsea out of last season's FA Cup on March 12, nodded Belgium ahead on 13 minutes after the ball rebounded to him off the crossbar.
He repeated the trick just after the hour mark with another close range effort after a save from the Cypriot keeper fell into his path. Lukaku, who has now netted 16 times in 51 games for his country, was replaced by Chelsea's Michy Batshuayi on 73 minutes while Yannick Carrasco added a third for Belgium seven minutes from the end. Also included in the squad was Lukaku's Goodison team-mate Kevin Mirallas although he remained on the bench. Elsewhere, Everton goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was also among the substitutes as he played understudy to PSV Eindhoven's Jeroen Zoet as the Netherlands drew 1-1 in Sweden
Everton striker Lukaku: Life at Belgium is easier with Martinez as manager
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
The 23-year-old scored two as Belgium got their World Cup qualifying campaign up-and-running
Romelu Lukaku believes international life will be easier under Roberto Martinez, after bagging a brace in the Spaniard’s first competitive game as Belgium boss. Lukaku scored the first two goals in his nation’s routine 3-0 win in Cyprus, the perfect start to their World Cup qualifying campaign. Martinez, who was appointed last month following the sacking of Marc Wilmots, deployed Lukaku as the lone striker.
The 23-year-old was criticised, along with many of his team-mates, for Belgium’s disappointing Euro 2016 campaign. Lukaku scored two goals in five games as his side bowed out at the quarter-final stage to Wales, triggering a sequence of events that led to Martinez’s appointment.
And having spent three years under Martinez at Goodison Park, Lukaku feels at ease with the change.
“I know the coach well,” he said. “I knew what he was expecting of me, which made things easier. I did what I had to do.” Lukaku also insisted the scars of their Euro 2016 failure were healing, and backed Martinez to help turn things around as they look towards World Cup 2018 in Russia. “We’ve turned the page. We know what we did wrong. The coach has shown us the mistakes we made in the past. Everyone has to be ready, because competition for places is fierce. “The coach reminds us of that every day in training. If we’re not focused on it, he’ll put someone else in. “We know what we have to do, and the quality will improve. We did some good work with Marc Wilmots, that mustn’t be forgotten.
“Now, it’s a different regime we have to adapt and try to continue to progress more.”
Lukaku is in the midst of his worst goalscoring spell at Goodison Park, having not scored since the FA Cup quarter-final at home to Chelsea in March.
Everton went for Gabbadini and Kalinic this summer, says Napoli star's agent
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Blues tried to add Serie A duo, but were left frustrated
The agent of Manolo Gabbiadini has spoken about Everton’s failed transfer bid for the Napoli striker.
The Blues had been keen to bring Gabbiadini to Goodison Park during the final days of the summer window, and were prepared to pay around £20m to get a deal done. But with Napoli unwilling to let the 24-year-old leave without first securing a replacement, the transfer dragged on until, on deadline day, Everton walked away frustrated. Having failed to land Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko, who joined Tottenham, they eventually secured the loan signing of striker Enner Valencia from West Ham, in what was an underwhelming end to the summer. But Gabbiadini’s agent, Vincenzo Morabito, has told Italian media that the Blues tried not only for the Napoli man, but for Fiorentina hitman Nikola Kalinic too.
Morabito said: “Initially, Everton showed interest in Fiorentina’s Kalinic but could not do the operation because of the will of (Fiorentina boss Paulo) Sousa who would not allow the player to leave.
“Then, Everton went on for Gabbiadini, with Napoli panicking to find a replacement. Napoli tried for Kalinic, and Everton offered an interesting figure for Kalinic.”
Kalinic, a Croatian international, enjoyed a short, unsuccessful spell in the Premier League with Blackburn between 2009 and 2011, scoring 13 goals in 53 appearances. He netted 12 times for Fiorentina in Serie A last season having joined from Dnipro, and was a member of Croatia’s Euro 2016 squad.
Everton prospect Holgate tipped to follow in John Stones' footsteps
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Young Blues star has bright future, says Barnsley youth chief
Everton prospect Mason Holgate has been tipped to follow in the footsteps of John Stones by playing for England. Barnsley academy coach Mark Burton, who oversaw the development of both players at Oakwell, believes Holgate can become a top-class centre back in the future, and says Ronald Koeman is the perfect coach to help mould him into just that. Burton told The Yorkshire Post: “Mason has a good temperament and he will need to cement his place at Everton. “But he is playing for England U21s now, so why shouldn’t he make that step up like Stones? And to see them both in the back four in two or three years would be brilliant. “He can read the game and is comfortable of stepping in and trying to play out, like Stones. It would be lovely to see them both playing at centre-half for England in the future. Mason has every chance and just has to keep grounded. “But he has a great manager in Koeman and he will know all about his development and while he will play him at right back, he will think in his own mind that he will be a centre-half in the future.”
Holgate moved from Barnsley in August 2015, but didn’t make his competitive debut for the Blues until the opening day of this season. He has started each of Everton’s four games so far, impressing as a right-sided defender – particularly in dealing with Stoke star Marko Arnautovic last time out. His form has been enough to earn him a first call up to England’s U21 squad for the recent Euro qualifier with Norway. “Mason has a really good career ahead of him,” Burton added. “He had a spell at Leeds United at 13, but we got him back here and did not pay any compensation as he wanted to come back.
“We have a philosophy of playing out from the back at the club and Mason was one of those who could drop into midfield as well. “He played at centre-half and is now starting at right-back. But he will end up as a centre-half without a shadow of a doubt.”
Former Everton midfielder Scot Gemmill named Scotland U21s coach
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Gemmill made 110 appearances for Blues between 1999 and 2004
Former Everton midfielder Scot Gemmill has been named as Scotland’s new U21s coach.
The 45-year-old made 110 appearances for the Blues between 1999 and 2004, and will now step up from his current role as U17s and U19s boss to succeed Ricky Sbragia as U21s manager.
“I am very proud to have been given the opportunity to coach the U21s,” Gemmill said.
“After working with the U17s and U19s, I feel ready for and excited by the challenge ahead.
“I believe we have a number of very talented young players coming through and I will do everything I can to support their development and prepare them for the senior squad. “Ricky Sbragia has been invaluable to my own personal development and is a driving force behind these changes, so I would like to thank him for his support. “We have less than a year to prepare for the start of the next European Championship qualifiers and the hard work will begin in October for the matches against Iceland and FYR Macedonia.” Scotland are already out of contention for a place at next summer’s UEFA U21 European Championship Finals in Poland, but Gemmill has enjoyed success with the U17s, guiding them to three successive European Championships finals, including a semi final in 2014.
In an interview the following year, the former Nottingham Forest playmaker revealed his “limitless” ambition – and discussed what he felt was an unfulfilled playing career.
“I have no agent and no great profile but I want to progress my career,” he said. “I want to take my methods into a club. “I am very confident in my footballing intelligence. I did question whether my character was suited to being a manager. The main observation from many is that introverts do not make great leaders. “I completely disagree with that now but five or six years ago I did question whether my personality was suited to it. It is only as I have developed as a coach that I realise I think I was wrong to think that. “I am not comfortable doing something unless I am confident I can do it well.
“I didn’t quite to get to play the level I wanted. I only scored five goals for Everton.
“In my first season for Forest, I scored 14 goals from central midfield. Roy Keane scored 15. It was all downhill for me after that! “But I don’t reflect on my career as successful. That really drives me on to be successful as a coach.”
Everton teenager Shayne Lavery sees Seamus Coleman as ideal role model
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
18-year-old striker dreams of following Irish star into Blues' first team squad
Teenage star Shayne Lavery is looking to emulate Seamus Coleman by making his mark with Everton’s first team. The Northern Irish striker joined the Blues from Glenavon in 2015, and has already made fleeting appearances for David Unsworth’s U21s (now U23s) side. The 17-year-old made his first appearance for Northern Ireland U21s against Macedonia on Tuesday, and he is also targeting progression at club level after a decent first year at Finch Farm. And he sees Coleman, who moved to England from Sligo Rovers as a 20-year-old before going on to establish himself for both club and country, as an ideal role model. “Last year I was in and out of the U21s and when you’re with them you sometimes play games against the first team,” Lavery said. “I was up against Coleman. He’s fast – very fast! He talks to the Irish lads and looks out for you, he’s a sound guy.” Asked about one day playing alongside the Republic of Ireland skipper for Everton, he added: “I’d love that. That would be a big dream.” Lavery’s move to Merseyside came after he caught the eye of a scout, Paul Hamilton, whilst playing for Glenavon last year. And he believes the club’s commitment to bringing through talented youngsters makes it the perfect place for him to learn.
“I came over and played a few matches and they offered me a two-year scholarship. I’m in my second year now so hopefully I can get into the U21s,” he said. “The set-up’s amazing so I found it really easy to settle when I moved over last summer, the family I’m with is great. “The way the club works, if you’re doing well for the U18s they’ll not hesitate in moving you up right away. And the U21 team and the first team are very close, so you just hope you get a chance.”
Questions for Everton boss Koeman ahead of Sunderland press conference
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Blues boss will face media on Thursday, here are some issues he might address
Everyone hates the international break, don’t they?
Managers certainly do. All that planning, all that work on the training field, and then you have to sit and wait while your squad goes off travelling round the world. Frustrating barely covers it.
Fear not, though, for football – proper football – is back this weekend. Everton have to wait a little longer than the rest, travelling to Sunderland for the Monday night fixture.
Ronald Koeman, though, will conduct his pre-match press conference at Finch Farm on Thursday afternoon (2pm start). The ECHO will be there, of course, and you can follow proceedings on our live Everton blog.
So what will be on the agenda? Here are a few questions we expect the Blues boss to be asked....
The consensus among fans is that the Blues had a bit of a nightmare, to be honest.
Yes, they got a young striker in in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and yes they nabbed Enner Valencia on loan, but given how moves for other targets – Manolo Gabbiadini and Moussa Sissoko, to name but two – failed to materialise late in the window, surely there must be an element of disappointment?
How frustrated was he by those failures, and what can Everton do to ensure no repeat – in January or beyond?
Everton signed five first-team players during the summer (plus Calvert-Lewin, who will join the U23s). Of those, four will be expecting to start against Sunderland.
Does Koeman feel the depth is there in his squad? And will he seek further moves in the January window?
Let’s be fair, that one came pretty much out of the blue. We knew Everton wanted at least one forward, but Valencia’s name had not been mentioned.
What attributes will the Ecuadorian bring to Goodison? Where does Koeman see him playing, as a partner for Romelu Lukaku or as an understudy?
What % are his players at now?
After the opening day draw with Spurs, Koeman remarked that his players were operating at 70 per cent in terms of fitness.
Since then, they’ve beaten West Brom and Stoke in the league and smashed Yeovil in the EFL Cup. So where are his players’ fitness levels now, then? And if not at 100 per cent, how long does he think it’ll be before they are? Plus, how much does the international break do to disrupt training and preparation?
Does Holgate keep out Coleman?
Mason Holgate has been one of the success stories of the season so far. He looks confident, assured and full of talent. But Seamus Coleman is fit again now, giving Koeman a dilemma.
How big is the decision? And does Coleman’s return offer the chance for a change in shape?
We also asked you guys what YOU would like to ask the manager. Here is a selection of your questions....
@LivEchoEFC what role do you see Enner Valencia playing for @EVERTON and is there a chance he making his debut against Sunderland
— Colin Webb (@curnow1878) September 7, 2016
@LivEchoEFC Dear #RK You achieved some success in the transfer market, but what areas of the team do you feel u still need to strengthen?
— NubiBlue (@NubiBlue) September 7, 2016
@LivEchoEFC Dear #RK do you have any January transfer targets & will you try and get those before deadline day?
— NubiBlue (@NubiBlue) September 7, 2016
Everton's Gareth Barry to compete with De Gea, Coutinho and De Bruyne for award
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Neil Jones
Blues midfielder shortlisted at Northwest Football Awards - and you can vote
Gareth Barry has been shortlisted for player of the year at the Northwest Football Awards.
The veteran Everton midfielder’s form over the past 12 months has been recognised by the panel. Barry will be up against Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea.
Young Blues midfielder Joe Williams, meanwhile, has been shortlisted in the ‘rising star’ category, alongside the likes of Kelechi Iheanacho, Marcus Rashford and Emre Can.
Everton Ladies duo Simone Magill and Georgina Brougham have been nominated in the female player of the year and female ‘rising star’ categories.
Now in their fifth year, the Northwest Football Awards have grown in popularity due to their “inclusive” approach to the game in the region.
Last season saw Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero pick up the player of the year gong, though Everton did pick up goal of the year courtesy of Phil Jagielka’s Merseyside derby stunner at Anfield.
The closing date for voting is Friday 21 October, with the winners revealed at the awards evening in Manchester on Monday 14 November.
Everton View from the Gwladys: Blues no longer a chore to watch and why Koeman shouldn't bow to Lukaku
7 Sep 2016 Liverpool Echo
By Kristian Walsh
This week, we speak to Rhodri Cannon of Read Everton to get his views on goings on at Goodison Park
The international break has given us all time to reflect - so how has Koeman's first month been for you?
Rhodri Cannon (RC): Very encouraging. Ronald Koeman has whipped Everton into shape and is doing his best to banish the nagging, detrimental effects of the Roberto Martinez era.
The first game of Koeman’s reign was a world away from the dross served up by the Blues in the last days of the mad Catalan. Turgid, sideways passing has been replaced with high-tempo, direct football and a strong work ethic to boot.
The emergence of Mason Holgate and the rejuvenation of Kevin Mirallas are obvious plus-points, but Idrissa Gueye’s early-season performances have made him the apple of Evertonians’ eyes. Fabulous player, by the way. There is still much to improve, but Everton - no longer a chore to sit through - are on the up. We're a week removed from the close of the transfer window but we have to ask: How do you think the squad is shaped up for the rest of the campaign?
RC: The squad is still lacking in some key areas. Maarten Stekelenburg has impressed between the sticks, but it remains to be seen if he can maintain that level of performance for the rest of the season. Koeman wanted to sign two goalkeepers during the transfer window and seemingly has - or had - some doubts over his compatriot and whether he should be the no.1.
Gueye is an excellent signing and has given Everton the aggression, industry and fighting attitude they have lacked since James McCarthy came onto the scene. The only downside is that he will be jetting off to Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal in January. The former Aston Villa midfielder is already so important to the way Everton operate, and Koeman may find it hard to adapt without the energetic enforcer.
Ashley Williams is another very smart purchase, regardless of age. The Welsh captain is an aggressive leader who loves to defend, which is again something the Blues have been missing in recent seasons.
Yannick Bolasie’s fee raised a few eyebrows, and his end product is certainly questionable, but the Congolese international could well flourish under a demanding manager who is seemingly not afraid to upset people in order to get results.
Enner Valencia is not arriving with the best reputation or billing, but the Ecuadorian forward is industrious, quick, good in the air and could benefit from a change of scenery.
Doubts over cover for Lukaku still persist, while another central midfielder and centre-back wouldn’t have gone amiss. Everton’s squad is stronger than it was at the start of the summer, but there are gaps still to be plugged.
Oumar Niasse is still knocking about Finch Farm as well. Phenomenal.
Lukaku has been talking again. A talent Everton just have to cater to, no matter his demands, or is it time Koeman showed him who's boss?
RC: Why should Everton cater to someone who has shown a total lack of respect on more than occasion?
Lukaku is a good goalscorer and Everton are certainly weaker without him in the side, but is it not telling that in the summer when football officially went mad, nobody paid silly money for him?
The Belgian was pandered to by Martinez and constantly ran his mouth off under his new international boss, but his comments about ‘leaving through the front door’ give Koeman a chance to lay down the law early on.
The Dutchman comes across as a disciplinarian and will presumably not be happy with his striker shooting his mouth off yet again. Lukaku would be better off keeping his head down and concentrating on rectifying the deficiencies in his game.
He can trap it further than I can kick it.
It's a David Moyes reunion on Monday. What's your thoughts on him?
RC: David Moyes did a good job for Everton and I have nothing but respect for the man.
He took the Blues from the doldrums of the Premier League to Europe, and while his tenure was not without its flaws - he started to go stale towards the end - the Scot improved the club substantially.
Moyes’ reign at Sunderland has not started excellently and while I’m confident that the Black Cats will comfortably stave off relegation with him in charge, the Blues should be looking to pile further misery on their old boss.
P.S: David, you should really think about letting Lamine Kone leave Wearside in January. For the good of his career and all that.
Have your expectations changed since the start of the campaign?
RC: Not at all. I still expect a marked improvement on last season, and judging by the opening quartet of fixtures, that looks like it will be achieved.
It is too early to change targets and start dreaming of the Champions League. Hull City fans won’t be targeting a European spot just because Mike Phelan has miraculously guided them to two wins from three league matches.
By the way, ‘Hull’s 13 fit senior players’ is the new ‘Leicester were 5,000-1 to win the league’. How many times has it been mentioned over the past few weeks?!
Koeman, in my opinion, should be looking at a top 7 finish and silverware in one of the cup competitions.
Any other business?
RC: It will be interesting to see who will be rewarded with new contracts over the next few months.
Koeman is keen to dish out new long-term deals to players he believes will be important going forward, and it will be eye-opening to see who he wants to keep at the club for the long haul.
Offering a new deal to Ross Barkley makes sense, but will the likes of Gerard Deulofeu, Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry be given new deals? The trio all vary in importance to Everton and are reaching the latter stages of their current contracts.