Everton Independent Research Data


Eriksson depends on Owen and Rooney
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Apr 1 2004
SVEN-GORAN ERIKSSON has confirmed Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney as his first choice strike partnership for Euro 2004 after England slipped to defeat in Sweden. Liverpool striker Owen missed the game with hamstring injury, while Everton forward Rooney was a constant threat until he was substituted in the second half. And while Jermain Defoe did well is his debut apperarance for England and Emile Heskey also made an appearance from the bench, Eriksson said neither is going to knock Owen and Rooney out of the England starting line-up just yet, however. "I should be lying if I said that I didn't miss Michael Owen. At a big tournament, he is very important to us," admitted Eriksson, who was without a whole host of first-team regulars. "Rooney is also a very good player and he showed that once again. He had two good chances and he will get better and better. Every time he has played for England, he did it well." Eriksson insisted the door to the Euro 2004 finals could still be open to Defoe, 21, who will almost certainly have to rely on injuries to team-mates if he is to force his way into the final 23-man squad for this summer's tournament. However, the 12th-minute twisted ankle which forced off Darius Vassell in Gothenburg not only gave Tottenham striker Defoe the chance to prove his rich potential but also showed how quickly fortunes can change.
For while Alan Smith was restricted to a second-half cameo display on the right flank, away from his favoured strike position, Defoe relished his centre-stage role when he replaced Vassell. He was a constant threat to the Swedish defence and, while England suffered again at the hands of Eriksson's native country in a 1-0 defeat, Defoe's display was the positive outcome of the night. Eriksson said: "I think he came on very well. You can see he's a big talent, technically very good, he wasn't nervous at all, he's quick and he knows where the goal is. "In the future, he will be even better as he will be physically stronger but I liked what I saw. "He has a chance (of making the squad), of course. I have always said that the door is still open until the start of June. I have to pick a squad on May 17, but I can change that until June 3. "I can't feel positive after this game as we lost, that was not very good.
"But some answers came out of the game for me and the main one was Defoe. "In the last friendly in Portugal, a good answer was Ledley King. This time, I thought Defoe was very good." England nevertheless still suffered their sixth defeat under Eriksson, all but one of which have come in friendlies, and it was back in 1968 - 11 encounters ago - that they last beat Sweden. While Rooney and Owen Hargreaves, who impressed on the right flank, both struck the woodwork, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the secondhalf winner in Gothenburg. As for Eriksson's other experiments, Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson was rather damned by faint praise after a largely unspectacular performance. "I thought he did okay. His left foot is very good so he did what I expected from him," said the England coach. He added: "England played well in the first half, created some good chances and maybe could have drawn the game. "But in the second half, Sweden were better and physically stronger. "They were dangerous and we suffered in that second half as they could have scored again. "I'm sorry that we lost the game but that's it."

Chadwick staying a Lion for FA Cup
By Chris Wright Daily Post Staff
Apr 1 2004
DAVID MOYES will not recall on-loan striker Nick Chadwick from Millwall - allowing the youngster to play in this weekend's FA Cup semi-final. Everton are short on options up front with both Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney, who won his 11th England cap last night in Gothenburg, suspended for Saturday's trip to Newcastle. With Kevin Campbell also a doubt after picking up a back injury, Moyes is down to two available strikers. But yesterday the Everton manager decided he would not ruin Chadwick's Cup dream, with both Tomasz Radzinski and Francis Jeffers available. "We see no real need to recall Nick," Moyes said. "We still have Tomasz Radzinski and Francis Jeffers and we have James McFadden who can play up front if necessary." Chadwick, started this season in the Everton side for the opening fixture at Arsenal, but his only other start was in the 3-0 Carling Cup victory over Stockport County in September, when he scored one of the goals. But the 21-year-old forward can now look forward to an FA Cup semi-final appearance for the Lions against Sunderland at Old Trafford on Sunday. Chadwick, who is now in his second spell at Millwall, will be keen to make the starting line-up in Dennis Wise's side. He started against Walsall last Saturday and also came off the bench to score against West Ham.
* A NUMBER of tickets for Everton's game against Newcastle United on Saturday are still available and will be on general sale at the Box Office until the weekend.

Rooney displays breadth of his unique talent
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Apr 1 2004
IT took just 60 minutes last night for Wayne Rooney to demonstrate why he remains England's perfect strike partner for Michael Owen. The pre-match focus may have centred on Steven Gerrard - leading his country out for what will be the first time of many in Gothenburg last night - but it was his good friend from across Stanley Park who excelled most. Sweden struggled to contain his movement both on and off the ball, and it was no surprise that England lost their shape and spark once the Everton striker exited proceed-ings during the second half. If the weekend's unsavoury events at his girlfriend's 18th were still playing on the youngster's mind, then Rooney certainly didn't let it show. He was unlucky to divert a Jermain Defoe shot on to the inside of a post, his direct running ruffled the Swedish backline and it was his neat piece of foot-work which earned the free-kick Owen Hargreaves rattled against the crossbar. The talk in the tabloids this morning will no doubt be of the encouraging debut of Defoe, and while the Tottenham Hotspur striker did indeed show flashes of what could be a fine career at this level, Rooney - three years his junior, don't forget - shone brightest. Gerrard, on the other hand, was a subdued presence in midfield, perhaps subconsciously extra careful not to overstep the mark on his proud night. And while it may have been the first time he has been on the losing side for England, it is better the record should be lost now rather than during a more important engagement in Portugal. What else will Sven-Goran Eriksson have learned from the evening? Well, Jamie Carragher did his cause no harm with a solid performance at left-back, and his versatility could prove a swaying factor when the squad is named.
Hargreaves' display has almost certainly booked his place in the party, while Jonathan Woodgate and John Terry gave the defence a solid look before they departed at half-time. Alas, Alan Thompson's chance passed him by, with the Celtic midfielder taking a hefty knock to the face as scant reward for his efforts. Joe Cole didn't have enough of the ball until late in the game and Alan Smith was left a frustrated figure on the right flank.

McFadden's late rally not enough for Scots
By Jon West, Daily Post
Apr 1 2004
SCOTLAND manager Berti Vogts defended his decision to leave Everton James McFadden out of his starting line-up - even though it was not until his introduction that Scotland came to life.
Scotland found themselves two goals down early in the second period of last night's friendly with Romania at Hampden Park before the arrival of McFadden, as a substitute sparked a slight revival.
But Vogts believes he was right to keep the Everton forward on the bench. The German added: "He had a bad injury and has not played a lot of matches for Everton. "He came in, scored a goal and his confidence is back and, maybe, in the next match, he will be in the starting line-up." But McFadden was disappointed at not being selected to start the game. When asked if he thought he should have started the game, he said: "Well, it is not up to me to say that. "Obviously, the manager picks the team and he put Steven Thompson and Kenny Miller up front and they did well in the first half.

"I was just happy to get some sort of action because I have not been playing that regular at Everton. But it was nice to get a goal." But McFadden was delighted with the reception he received before his introduction. He added: "It does lift you knowing the crowd are behind you."

Newcastle given a lesson by wingers
Post Past, By Phil Redmond Daily Post
Apr 1 2004
AT Christmas 1986 Everton were on a run of form that would ultimately be responsible for their second title win in three years. In the previous two home games Everton had walloped Norwich and Wimbledon with an aggregate score of 7-0 and things were looking good. However, a tough looking trip to St James' Park loomed on the horizon against a mid-table Geordie outfit who, though inconsistent, could boast the skills of Peter Beardsley and the embryonic Paul Gascoigne. A full house witnessed what was a classic mid-80s Everton performance. This was the season when Everton leaned greatly on the likes of Paul Power and Alan Harper, and it was those two who combined in a sweeping Everton break that culminated in the veteran ex-Man City man sliding home the opener. Newcastle were taught a lesson by the Blues and particularly by the skills of wide men Trevor Steven, (pictured above), and Kevin Sheedy. Steven was the perfect modern wide player, hard working yet possessing fantastic balance, dribbling ability and a deadly eye for goal. On the other flank Sheedy provided subtle skills and a booming left foot that was equally at home sweeping 50-yards balls across the field as it was driving in rocket shots from distance. On the day it was Steven who stole the show with a brace of goals and an assist. His first came from a shot on the turn after Sheedy had sent Paul Power away on the left. Adrian Heath laid on his second before Tricky repaid the compliment with a pinpoint cross that was headed home power-fully by the little striker.
St James' Park was half empty well before the end but those who stayed paid tribute to a fantastic performance by the future champions.

Sweden 1, England 0
By Mark Bradley At The Ullevi Stadium, Daily Post
Apr 1 2004
IF Sven-Goran Eriksson was hoping a return to his native Sweden would provide some respite from the unflattering headlines of the past week, he was mistaken. New contract or no new contract, Eriksson needs success on the pitch to safeguard his position and England suffered at the hands of Sweden yet again in Gothenburg. Having now failed to beat the Swedes in 11 attempts since 1968, the England coach found no home comforts in the city where he first made his name as a manager.
While a largely second-string England side hit the woodwork twice, a second-half strike by Zlatan Ibrahimovic condemned the visitors to another friendly defeat. Eriksson had insisted just a few hours before this game that "it is not life or death, that is in Portugal" and he is correct in sporting terms. There were at least some positive signs, albeit among his supporting cast, as Owen Hargreaves impressed on the right and Jermain Defoe was a livewire figure up front while Wayne Rooney again shone. But in the final game before he must pick his provisional 23-man squad for the Euro 2004 finals, it was Sweden who dominated the entire second half and could easily have increased their lead. Then again, this was the first time Eriksson had sent out a side missing David Beckham and Michael Owen, and it was hardly surprising the inspiration of his two leading lights was missed. Indeed, with a whole host of regulars absent, this was very much a shadow side, with at most five first-choice players in the starting line-up. That was hardly surprising in a friendly at this delicate stage of the domestic season and neither was the languid pace of the game. Instead, what was astonishing was to see Olof Mellberg rushing head-long into a foul on - of all people - his Aston Villa team-mate Darius Vassell. As a result, Vassell's first international start since facing Sweden at the 2002 World Cup lasted all of 11 minutes before he was replaced suffering from a twisted ankle. David O'Leary's thoughts were not hard to imagine. On went Defoe for his senior debut and if the Tottenham striker lacks anything, it is certainly not confidence. Within two minutes, he had tried his luck from long range and when the ball was turned goalwards at close range by Rooney, it struck the post and rebounded across the face of goal. Although England were not dominating possession, they were at least creating the best chances at this stage. Indeed, Hargreaves, who was wearing Beckham's number seven shirt, did a passable impersonation of the England captain as he struck a 25-yard free-kick against the cross-bar on 26 minutes. Sweden were restricted to rather less successful long-range efforts from Anders Svensson and Anders Andersson. However, Hargreaves, in an industrious display, not only headed narrowly past his own post but also weaved inside at the right end and had a shot tipped around the upright. England still lacked real width, with Alan Thompson failing to find any crossing opportunities. However, the Celtic midfielder caused enough confusion in the Swedish defence to leave Rooney with another opening that was blocked just before the break. The interval was the inevitable cue for further substitutions, with Gareth Southgate and Anthony Gardner replacing the largely effective duo of John Terry and fit-again Jonathan Woodgate. Sweden, meanwhile, made five changes - one of whom, Everton's Tobias Linderoth - promptly passed the ball to Defoe, who charged towards goal, skipped inside and unleashed a drive that was tipped over. The lively Tottenham striker then volleyed into the side netting from a tight angle, but England were soon behind amid hesitation in their makeshift defence.
Kim Kallstrom's cross was met by Ibrahimovic, who scooped one of his long legs around the static figure of Phil Neville and clipped the ball past David James. Eriksson's response was to introduce Emile Heskey up front, with Joe Cole, Jermaine Jenas and the unfortunate Alan Smith - out on the right flank - coming into the midfield with 30 minutes left. England were, however, restricted to hopeful long-range efforts from Cole, Heskey and Defoe as they laboured in search of an equaliser.
Instead, Kallstrom thundered a shot into the side netting, while Christian Wilhelmsson nutmegged Neville with embarrassing ease and was only denied by James' sprawling save. Kallstrom's volley was also held by James and when Cole was finally handed the chance to equalise in the final minute, the Chelsea midfielder volleyed wide. It was just that sort of night. Eriksson's real test will come this summer and England have always tended to raise their game for competitive fixtures. On this evidence, they will need to.
SWEDEN: Isaksson (Kihlstedt 45), Lucic, Mellberg (Hansson 45), Mjallby, Edman, Nilsson, Anders Andersson (Linderoth 45), Anders Svensson (Kallstrom 45), Wilhelmsson, Ibrahimovic (Ostlund 90), Elmander (Jonson 45). Subs: Hedman, Christoffer Andersson, Dorsin, Farnerud. BOOKING: Edman.
ENGLAND: James, Neville, Terry (Southgate 45), Woodgate (Gardner 45), Carragher, Hargreaves (Jenas 60), Gerrard (Joe Cole 60), Butt (Parker 78), Thompson (Smith 60), Vassell (Defoe 12), Rooney (Heskey 60). Subs: Robinson, Mills, Green, Walker, Samuel, Wright-Phillips. BOOKING: Neville.
REFEREE: Tom Ovrebo (Norway).
ATT: 40,464.
NEXT GAME: England v Japan, Friendly, Tuesday June 1, 8pm

Faddy stakes claim
Apr 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES MCFADDEN staked his claim for an attacking berth at Newcastle with a glittering cameo for Scotland last night. The 20-year-old, has only started one of Everton's last 13 matches, and has never played up front in any of his 19 appearances for the Blues. But he has been catapulted into contention for Saturday's trip to St James' Park by suspensions for Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson and a back injury for Kevin Campbell which makes the 34-year-old a major doubt for the game. McFadden came on as a striker in the second half of Scotland's friendly with Romania at Hampden Park last night and scored as Berti Vogts' side lost 2-1. He is in competition with Tomasz Radzinski and Francis Jeffers for a starting place at Newcastle. Assistant boss Alan Irvine said today: "Faddy has played a lot of his football as a striker and the goal he got last night demonstrated exactly what he is capable of. "He came short and attacked the centre-back, went past him with ease and scored. "It was a terrific goal and took the defender by surprise. "Faddy can work well up front and he might even claim that is his best position." Rooney was the man of the match for England last night during a 60-minute run-out in the 1-0 defeat to Sweden in Gothenburg, but his next game will be Everton's trip to Elland Road on April 13. Club team-mate Tobias Linderoth was on the winning side for the Swedes. Kevin Kilbane started the Republic of Ireland's 2-1 win over the Czech Republ ic at Lansdowne Road, while Lee Carsley was an unused substitute. Thomas Gravesen was part of the Denmark side which lost 2-0 to Spain in Gijon.
* Meanwhile, Everton fans were duped this morning by an April Fool's Day story on the club's official website, www.evertonfc.com/ A graphic of the club's new kit for next season was unveiled.
The website explained: "The Blues have taken a decision to support the City of Liverpool on their shirts for next season following their successful Capital of Culture bid for 2008. "A silhouette of the Liver bird, etched in the corporate colours of the Capital of Culture (yellow and red), will be emblazoned across the bottom left of the new shirt."
* TICKETS are still available for Saturday's trip to Newcastle. They are priced at £28 for adults, £24 for senior citizens and £15 for juniors and are available from the club Box Office.

Moved by tribute to tragic Blues fan
Apr 1 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
IT was truly moving to see David Moyes put a comforting arm around the relatives of Bernard Murphy at Goodison Park during the minute's silence last Saturday. I spoke to Bill Kenwright before the game and he was clearly full of sympathy for the family of the man killed on his way to watch the team he loved at Leicester. Kenwright had just met Bernard's family to express his condolences and was obviously shaken to hear the story of the freak accident which claimed his life. Who couldn't be?
But let's hope the sympathy of more than 36,000 Evertonians was of some comfort. Their silence spoke volumes in its respect of a true blue.

Mac special lifts gloom
Apr 1 2004 Liverpool Echo
THICK-SKINNED Scotland coach Berti Vogts insists he feels under no more pressure despite his side slumping to another defeat tonight. The 20,433 fans at Hampden Park greeted the final whistle with a chorus of boos as Romania beat Scotland 2-1. Goals from Cristian Chivu and Daniel Pancu put Romania on the way to victory, although Everton's James McFadden, who came on as substitute, replied with a great solo goal to give the fans a boost. However, Vogts, remained defiantly upbeat and insistent that the fans were with him. "No I don't feel under more pressure," snapped Vogts.
"This is the situation of international football and I know that. I don't think the fans are losing faith. The fans know we did very well, especially in the second half. "We have to learn and we have to work very hard. Judge me on the World Cup qualifying games when the players are all fit."
It took the spark of McFadden to carve out Scotland's only shot on target - and goal - but Vogts felt his team had still made big strides. "I think it was a step in the right direction," he continued. "We had nine players out and we missed them, especially Barry Ferguson in midfield. "It was a good match and a good performance. The players showed commitment, power and passion, but it was not good enough. "We played a very good side and the second goal killed us. But we came back from that with a goal from James. "I am very pleased with the boys and they gave everything - that was the important thing. "I can't understand this question about not having chances. So many players were out and Romania are ranked 27th and we are 56th, which is a big difference."

Scottish star will improve - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
DAVID MOYES believes James McFadden's sublime goal for Scotland should inspire an upturn in the 20-year-old's Premiership career. McFadden, has endured a frustrating few months at Goodison Park but came off the bench to score an immaculate consolation against Romania on Wednesday.
The £1.25million summer signing has started only one of the last 13 games for Everton after struggling to maintain his early season form. But Moyes believes McFadden's international acclaim can provide an ideal lift ahead of the Premiership finale. "The goal will do James's confidence no end of good," said the Everton manager. "James has done exactly what we thought he would.
"He made great strides when he came in and he's had a settling down period where he has found the Premiership to be much tougher than the Scottish Premier League. "But he's doing fine and I think people can see that. "If you can score goals like the one he got against Romania then you've obviously got ability and I am sure it will come out very shortly at Everton." Wednesday's goal was McFadden's first since November 15 last year - which was also for Scotland in a European Championship qualifier with Holland. The former Motherwell man is yet to open his account for Everton though he has never played in attack in 19 appearances for his new club. And Moyes admits he is still searching for the best way to accomodate the skilful talent of McFadden. Moyes added: "The goal shows he can play up front. "He played in that position a lot for Motherwell and when we bought him we weren't quite sure what his best position would be. "We are still looking at that.
"He can play wide left, wide right and he can play through the middle. He is a terrific football player with great ability, and will improve with age and experience." McFadden could get a striking chance at Newcastle tomorrow, as Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson are both suspended and Kevin Campbell is struggling with a back problem. But Francis Jeffers, however, is favourite to partner Tomasz Radzinski in attack at St James' Park.

Evertonian in US mission to take Hawks to new heights
By Louise Davies, Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
ASK anyone how they would sum up Merseyside and you could guarantee football would be pretty high on their list. But a Merseyside-born businessman has taken a step away from the beautiful game - to run major league basketball and hockey teams in the US. Dr Bernie Mullins, originally from Crosby, has been appointed president and chief executive of sports management company Atlanta Spirit to help turn the NBA Hawks and the NHL Thrashers into commercial winners.
Dr Mullins, 55, who was educated at English Martyrs Primary School, Litherland, and St Mary's College, Crosby, was head-hunted from his role as the NBA's senior vice-president of marketing and business operations to take up the role in Atlanta, Georgia. However, despite spending years on the other side of the Atlantic, Dr Mullins frequently returns to Merseyside to visit his mother, who still lives in Blundellsands, and to watch Everton play. He said: "I still have strong connections to my roots in Liverpool and try and get home a few times a year to see my family. My nephew runs Curly Music in Ranelagh Street and I meet up with him to go to games at Goodison Park. "I am a lifelong Everton fan and I have met the team several times. In fact, I am in frequent e-mail contact with Kevin Campbell as he is a fan of American sports and we exchange ideas." As a specialist in turning around the fortunes of poor performing sports teams, Dr Mullins aims to transform the Atlanta Hawks - the worst-performing basketball team in the NBA - and to help nurture the young Thrashers hockey team. He said: "This job is a dream come true for me. Growing up in Liverpool, I never dreamed I would be doing this for a living. "I am so proud to be the first Englishman to be in charge of not one but two American major league professional sports teams. "The Hawks are the worst team in the NBA League, both performance wise and in attendance, while the Thrashers are a very young team who are on the verge of being very good. "They are both very different teams with different managerial requirements, but I am really looking forward to the challenge." Dr Mullins began his sporting career playing semi-professional football for Oxford City. His three-year stint at the club encouraged him to apply for a position as a summer camp soccer counsellor in Maine.
He said: "I graduated from university in Coventry and played for Oxford City between 1969 and 1972. "I did a stint at a summer camp in the states for a couple of years and the company who owned the camp asked me if I would run the soccer camp." At this time, Dr Mullins was awarded a scholarship to do an MA in marketing at the University of Kansas where he also went on to obtain an MBA and a PhD in business. He added: "I decided to stay in the US and I became a professor in sports management at the University of Massachusetts where I stayed for nine years.
"I began my professional sports team career in 1986 as senior vice president in business for the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team who were losing £10m a year and drawing in less than 7,000 fans a match. When I left in 1991, they were making a profit and pulling in 25,000 fans a game." He soon gained a reputation for successful start-ups, and helping sports teams in distress.

Rooney must let his football do talking
Fan Scene, By Mark O'Brien Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
THE bad news for Duncan Ferguson is that he not only misses tomorrow's game at Newcastle but he stands to be punished even further after pleading guilty of violent conduct at the Walker Stadium.
Let's face it, Alan Dershowitz and Johnny Cochrane couldn't get him off this one after he was caught on camera with Steffen Freund in a pose best described as 'Homer chastises Bart'. Better news for Ferguson though is that there is enough reasonable doubt over the racial abuse allegations by Luis Boa Morte for the FA to drop their charges. If there's still any bad blood remaining between the two players perhaps they can have a straightener in Everton Park Sports Centre - they could make it a double header with Wayne Rooney Snr and Anthony McLoughlin, father of the lovely Colleen.
After all, according to one tabloid, a bout of fisticuffs to sort out a dispute is as traditional in Liverpool as red cabbage in your scouse and tripping on wonky paving stones. Some of the things being written about Rooney are scandalous - no-one, not least a teenage lad, deserves to have their mother sneered at in the national press in this manner. It seems like certain portions of the media are still bearing a grudge because they were denied unlimited access to young star when he first burst on to the England scene. As a result they seem determined to try and bracket him and his family with Jade Goody and that one from Burnley who was on Wife Swap. Rooney needs to take a leaf from David Beckham's book; the England captain has had more lurid head-lines written about him than most but he steadfastly refuses to be provoked by them, no matter how hurtful or untrue they happen to be. After all the mudslinging, Rooney must have been relieved to get away to Sweden in midweek, and although he was denied a goal by the post and the keeper's leg he once again showed he's one of England's best players. He will be missed by Everton tomorrow when they travel to St James' Park. Newcastle were hopeless away at Bolton on Sunday but they are a quite different proposition at home. They will be desperate not to let Liverpool open a gap in their battle for fourth place. In the circumstances, a point would constitute an excellent result.

England expects victory above everything else
Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
SO another strenuous week in the life of Sven-Goran Eriksson's face muscles. Saturday. Momentary tremor in the bottom lip region detected after career-endangering tabloid revelations.
Sunday. Nose forced into unforeseen twitch by an unscheduled bout of deal-brokering followed by press conference interrogation. Monday. Widespread media condemnation demands at least one added spectacleadjustment. Good grief. Come Wednesday Sven must have been relieved to get back to the real business of losing friendly internationals. Of course, this dormant exterior belies a bubbling intensity that most of us are only beginning to get a glimpse of. Dalliances with blonde weather-girls aside, for a long time most fans thought the England manager's first name was 'Unflappable'. Here was a man for whom giving a half-time rollocking meant taking his jacket off. Here was a manager more haircomb than hairdryer. But had you been a pal of Sven's in 1960's Tors-by, you would know that as well as being cool, calm and charming, he was also driven, steely, and something of a radical. A hardened socialist at school - "I thought every-thing was unfair then," he has said - his early ambition was to become a philanthropist in South America. "He wanted to buy a plantation there and be nice to the workers - to pay them well," an old friend remembers.
Hardly the stuff of Footballers Wives, is it? But once Eriksson had realised that football was for him - and then that playing football wasn't for him - he began to discover his true destiny. Management.
In charge of Benfica at the phenomenally youthful age of 34, the Portuguese giants won 26 of their first 28 games under his stewardship. A Shankly-esque simplicity, still obvious today, ensured that Benfica's dreadful away record was soon reversed. Fixing his new charges with that scholarly face, he reasoned: "The pitch is no bigger here than it is at home, the grass is the same. If you can play football at home, you must be able to play foot-ball here." Amid all the hand-wringing sermonising that ensued once pictures emerged of Eriksson meeting Chelsea's chief executive - one tabloid invited him to 'Clear Offski' - there has been the distant hum of the suggestion that in fact all that matters is whether his team wins or not. Whether Eriksson can trigger success with England like he triggered success at Benfica, Gothen-burg, Sampdoria and Lazio. So far, where Keegan dithered, Hoddle divided and Taylor turnipped, Eriksson, at least competitively, appears to know how to win.
And that, not loyalty, nationality or his emotionless face, is all that matters.

The old problem of no money
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
The old problem
DON'T blame David Moyes for having to persevere with an ageing underperforming bunch of has-beens he inherited at Everton. That includes a 32-year-old Ferguson who has abysmally squandered a great talent. And with Campbell already burnt out and Stubbs, Weir and Unsworth close behind plus a fragile Pistone, Everton need to replace half the current team in months not years but has no money to do it - that's just how dire it is.
Bill Jones, Crosby
Martyn mystery
WHAT has Nigel Martyn got to do to get into the England squad? It's an insult to him that somebody in poor form - Ian Walker - is chosen ahead of him.
Si Murray, Formby
We are dire
MOYES seems to think Ferguson is the man, so who are we to say otherwise? I would not have him in my team as I don't think he is good for the club. I think we missed the boat when Ipswich asked for him on loan. I think our present standard of football is dire, all effort and NO finesse, but then again I watched Everton when they played good football. I am disillusioned at the lack of ambition.
Trev Lynes, Liverpool
Praising Duncan
MOAN moan moan! Dunc this, Dunc that! A true Blue has been buried this week, one who gave his all for Everton FC. If some of the players on the field did the same we would not be fighting a relegation battle now but a fight for Europe. Duncan gives his all and that's why he gets injured a lot. How many of you have an EFC tattoo? Yes, he is hot-headed as am I when it comes to EFC. But that's the way it should be.
D Bergen (via e-mail)
Boa naughty
IF Duncan Ferguson is cleared of the so-called racial abuse charge, shouldn't Boa Morte now be disciplined by the FA for bringing the game into disrepute?
Bill Gard (via e-mail)
Cash or quit
SOMEONE must say to the Everton board they need to give more money to Moyes to buy better players for the team. If they don't have it, they should quit and sell the club to somebody who loves our great team.
Panta Stropolous (via e-mail)
Grave concern
WE need to sell Thomas Gravesen and buy a proper midfielder, ie one who can pass, mark and tackle, not to mention take a corner. I have had it with this follically-challenged clown - he's brutal.
Colm Greaves (via e-mail)

Dewsnip worry over final game
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 2 2004
IT is a difficult time for many of the Everton under-19s squad as they play what may their last competitive game for the club tomorrow. Neil Dewsnip's side go to Nottingham Forest tomorrow (kick-off 11am) for their final match of their FA Premier Academy League season. Everton lost any chance of ending the season as runners-up to champions Manchester City in the Group A table after last week's defeat to Sheffield United. But the pressing matter for many of the boys is their future in the game. With many going on trials at other clubs Dewsnip doesn't really know what sort of side he will put out. But whoever plays, they will be keen to at least end the season on a positive note with victory against Forest. Dewsnip said: "I have been delighted with them all year but it is just that decisions have been made and some of them are finding it difficult to deal with emotionally.
And that means you don't know what you are going to get." Scott Brown is away with England under-19s in Germany, while Anthony Gerrard should be okay despite coming off with a slight injury after 10 minutes last Saturday. The under-17s are not in action after their national play-off quarterfinal tie with Leicester City was put back to Saturday, April 17. After winning the Group A title they were keen to attempt to become national champions. But with Aston Villa and Blackburn both still involved in the FA Cup it was decided that all the last eight ties would be put back two weeks. Although coach Gary Ablett was keen to keep the momentum from their Group A title push going, he is happy with the break in fixtures to recharge batteries. He said: "Hopefully they will come back refreshed and raring to go."

Blues down to the bare bones
Apr 2 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are facing their biggest player shortage of the season. Injuries and suspensions mean David Moyes, has only 15 outfield players fit and available, with Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson the most prominent absentees. Rooney is beginning a two game suspension after picking up 10 yellow cards, while Ferguson is serving a one game ban for his red card at Leicester.
But Moyes is also without the suspended pairing of Peter Clarke and David Weir in defence.
Li Tie is a long-term absentee with a broken leg, while Alan Stubbs is also set to be ruled out by a groin strain. That injury means it is not in attack where Moyes is most concerned. He said: "Hopefully we will be able to cope with the loss of those two players (Rooney and Ferguson). But we are very short at the moment. "We don't have a great deal of extra players. We can call back Leon Osman from Derby if we need him but after this week we will be back to having a few players available. "The suspensions have left us light in defence." To make matters worse, three of Moyes' available 15 outfield players are walking wounded, with two of those players defenders.
Joseph Yobo only resumed training yesterday after playing despite the pain of a sprained ankle against Middlesbrough last weekend. And Gary Naysmith was omitted from Berti Vogts' Scotland squad to face Romania this week because he is persevering with a hernia problem. The 24-year-old needs to rest the problem regularly in order to delay the need for an opera-tion, which he is set to undergo in the summer. Kevin Campbell is also not fully fit, although he was able to resume training yesterday after a back injury and is set to be included in the squad tomorrow. Moyes is looking for a repeat of the display the Blues produced in last season's Premiership encounter at St James - even though they lost that game 2-1. Everton had to play for 70 minutes with 10 men following Joseph Yobo's early sending off. Moyes added: "A wonder goal (by Alan Shearer) broke the deadlock for them but I will be happy if we play as well as we did in that game."

Blues fans seeing me at my best - Linderoth
Apr 2 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THERE was at least one happy face on a flight back from Gothenburg on Wednesday night. But there is little chance that the spring in Tobias Linderoth's step was spotted by anyone other than Evertonians in the wake of England's 1-0 defeat to Sweden. And that is just the way the 24-year-old, likes it. He does not envy the kind of media attention that follows teammate Wayne Rooney at every turn. He may have firmly established himself alongside Thomas Gravesen in the heart of Everton's midfield and he may be a certainty to represent Sweden in this summer's European Championships, but Linderoth prefers to keep a low profile. He did not even take the opportunity to rib Rooney about England's defeat when he returned to Bellefield yesterday. It is a laid-back approach which he believes is well suited to the role he has been asked to play in Everton's engine room. "Defensive midfield is not a role that puts you in the headlines," explains Linderoth. "You are not doing the dribbles or scoring the winning goals, so maybe it is not a role that makes you look good. "But hopefully I am doing a good job for the team and that is the most important thing for me. "That is one of the best things about playing defensive midfield. I am enjoying that, but I don't want to be too recognised. "Sitting back and reading about the other players who get more headlines is good enough for me. I just want to do my job." And he has been doing his job better than ever in recent months. Linderoth has been at Everton since January 2002, when he was signed by Walter Smith for £2.5m. He has still only started 28 matches for the club, 20 of those this season.
His defensive qualities make him the ideal foil for Thomas Gravesen. The duo formed a promising combination in the last five games as the Blues have become difficult to beat again.
That transformation in fortunes make interviews inevitable for Linderoth. But he is so pleased with the way this campaign has gone for him that when he talks about the last few months his typical Swedish reserve drops slightly. "Because this is the first season in which I have played a few games in a row and I am starting to do well, I think the fans are seeing the real me now," he admits. "I am happy with the way the season has gone because I have played a lot more than last year. It has been alright for me. "I didn't realise I had played 20 games - it is more than you think. "I am a 90-minute player and I do need a few games to bed in and do well for a team. For one reason or another I had not had that chance until this season. "I think my understanding of the Premiership has got better and better. I have had different roles in the games I have been playing but I enjoy playing in defensive midfield most. "It is more natural for me to play there. I have played there a few times here now. "I think myself and Tommy (Gravesen) complement each other quite well. "He likes to get forward as much as possible and hopefully I can balance the team a little bit. "He is a very good player, so it is easy to build up an understanding with him." That understanding will really be put to the test at Newcastle tomorrow. It is by far the toughest test of Everton's blossoming unbeaten run, stretching back five matches, which has been achieved with some solid, hard -working performances. Linderoth makes no apologies for that. "When we are in the position we are in we need all the points we can get," he adds. "Unfortunately, now the performances are not as important to us as the points. We need all the points we can get and hopefully we can get some from Newcastle. "It is going to be a tough game because they need the points as well because they want the Champions League. They have been a bit up and down this season, so it is not impossible for us to get three points there. "It is difficult because they have got good players in every position really, but we have a good teamas well." It was at St James' Park last season that Linderoth's hopes of securing a regular first-team place were scuppered by a ham-string injury 25 minutes into the Worthington Cup tie with the Magpies. He is looking for a better outcome to his trip to the north east this time around, not just to boost Everton's hopes of securing their Premiership safety with plenty of games to spare, but also because he does not want to jeopardise his hopes of being involved in Portugal. "My situation has changed with the national team. It is getting better and better. I just want to get some more games here and then I will see what happens in the summer.
"We hadn't won a friendly for a while before Wednesday, so it was a good result for us. Hopefully now we can build on it. "We have got a lot of young players coming in and on Wednesday the young players did well, so it is looking good." It is not a point he will be shoving down people's throats though - it is not his style.

Hope for future as the fans unite
Apr 2 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BERNARD MURPHY, a father, son, friend and Evertonian, lost his life tragically following the football club he loved. That football club paid proper tribute to his memory last weekend, but a more lasting and fitting legacy could yet emerge. Everton Football Club printed a moving full-page tribute on page three of their matchday programme against Middlesbrough. They staged an impeccably observed minute's silence - and David Moyes attended Bernard's funeral. It was a commendable reaction, but then this was the football club Bernard supported. Last Sunday, 120 miles south in Leicester, a more spontaneous show of sympathy was displayed. And it just hinted at a more positive future for the relationship between the fans of Everton and Liverpool. Leicester supporter Bob Wood, described the moment as "one which will always bear on the minds of the people who witnessed it." He took up the story. "Most times there is to be a minute's silence before a game, the announcer has trouble making himself heard; many people never know what it is they are being asked to stay silent for. But yesterday the ground fell silent as if a hand had been drawn across it; only then did the announcer ask us to remember Bernard Murphy. "The world went into slow motion; spontaneous applause started in the north-east corner, home for the day of the other side of the City of Liverpool. "It was soon to be echoed by the City fans in the rest of the stadium, and then in the same instant the ovation calmed, the referee blew his whistle and he started to count the minute down. "Nobody minded the young man in the south stand whose disability meant that he couldn't stay silent; everybody understood, nobody remonstrated with him. We stood there and wondered - each one about our different things, but we stood and wondered. "The whistle blew again. And then it blew again and the football began. Mr Dowd and his seven bookings will soon be forgotten; the memory of Muzzy Izzet's last minute miss might last for a week or two. But for the people who were there, that minute's silence will live in the memory for ever. It was one of those moments. RIP Bernard." We shouldn't really be surprised that one set of this city's supporters should pay such a rich and moving tribute to one from the other. Except that relations have soured to such an appalling degree in recent years that it certainly couldn't be taken for granted.
The Dixie Dean statue and Hillsborough Memorial have been vandalised, while the minute's silence to commemorate the 12th anniversary of Hillsborough had to be cut short at an angry Goodison Park. Arguments about who was reponsible are superfluous. It happened and it brought no credit to the city; a city which used to glory in its ability to poke fun at each other without causing offence, a city in which the humour was wicked, but never inhumane. Everton and Liverpool fans can still joke and trade insults without resorting to verbal violence. Evidence of that has been witnessed at the football panto Snow Blue and the Seven Blue Noses which has run this week at the Royal Court.
Billed as an Everton panto, Liverpudlians have been in increasing evidence all week, and have enjoyed the experience. And in the interests of balance a Liverpool version is planned for later in the year. There is hope for the future of Everton and Liverpool relations, hope fuelled by the moving tribute from Liverpool's fans at Leicester City last Sunday. If Bernard Murphy's death could, in some small way, be a catalyst for bringing together two sets of supporters who have cleaved apart since the civic solidarity shown during Hillsborough, it will not have been in vain.

O'Brien is staying Tooned in
Apr 2 2004 Liverpool Echo
NEWCASTLE welcome Everton to St James' Park tomorrow in need of three points to get their Champions League charge back on track. Sir Bobby Robson's men have won just two Premiership away matches so far this season, and now trail Liverpool by a point in the race for fourth place.
Newcastle travel to Holland next week for the first leg of their UEFA Cup quarter-final against PSV Eindhoven. But their main priority remains the Premiership - and defender Andy O'Brien insists Newcastle will not be deflected from their task. "We're working hard to be in a position at the start of next season to be qualifying for the Champions League again with that fourth spot."

Football hooligan fined for Wales match breach
By Elwyn Roberts Daily Post
Apr 3 2004
A FOOTBALL manager and self-confessed hooligan was yesterday convicted of breaching a ban on watching a Wales international match. Holywell Football Club boss Andy Nicholls was barred last October from all of Britain's grounds and international games for two years after admitting being regularly involved in match-day violence in his book, "Scally: Confessions of a Category C Football Hooligan". Flintshire magistrates were yesterday told Nicholls travelled to Russia to see Wales play in a European qualifying match last November. The sports promoter denied breaching the order - saying he believed the ban only applied to England matches. He also claimed he had not received a letter telling him to hand over his passport and report to Wrexham police on the day of the Wales game. Nicholls was convicted yesterday and fined £450 with £300 costs. He said he would pay straight away - in cash. The 41-year-old, of Bryn y Foel, Rhosesmor, near Mold, was banned by Liverpool magistrates last October under the Football Spectator Act following the publication of his book. He was also ordered to pay £500 costs. Nicholls yesterday accepted he went to see Wales play in Russia but claimed in police interview he believed he was only banned from England matches.
Huw Evans, prosecuting, said the National Criminal Intelligence Service responsible for generating the necessary documentation for football banning orders had sent a first class letter to Nicholls at his home address. That required him to hand in his passport no later than November 10 and for him to report to Wrexham police between 12 noon and 4pm on the day of the match, November 15.
Mr Evans said it was the prosecution case he had received the letter but travelled to the match, disregarding the instructions. Nicholls told magistrates he was an England supporter and had not realised the banning order would ban him from Wales matches as well. He said Holywell Football Club organised a trip to see the Russia game and he had gone along for a holiday. He added he would have been a fool to deliberately flout the order because he was aware of the serious implications of doing so. Nicholls also argued that if he was foolish enough to deliberately break the banning order he would be more likely to try to see England, rather than Wales. Nicholls was a life-long Evertonian but had not been to any match since the ban was imposed and would not do so.
Nicholls, who claims to have sold 22,000 copies of his book, left court with a Sky film crew which is believed to making a documentary about him.

Spanish eyes highlight Blues' history
Apr 3 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS can now spread the word throughout the Spanish speaking world. This week saw the launch of a new book charting the famous history of Everton - in Spanish. The 120 page book has been produced by the Ruleteros Society, founded two years ago to develop links between supporters of Everton and the club of the same name in Chile. Entitled Cien Anos de Calidad, it is aimed to raise the Blues' profile around the world. Ruleteros Publications Officer Steve Bickerton adds: "Although the book was first intended for Chileans, it can also raise the profile of Everton in any Spanish-speaking country." Chile's Everton was founded by Anglo-Chileans in 1909, just a few weeks after the Toffees had completed an unbeaten tour of South America. The book has been well received, with Maria Valencia, a Venezuelan studying in Liverpool, saying: "I like football and this book looks good so I will be reading it with interest." The bookchronicles the club's 100 seasons in the top flight and was written by Gerry Allison, Tony Heslop and Adrian McGrath, all members of the Ruleteros and Spanish lecturers in Merseyside. The book, price £7.99, can be bought via the Society's website at www.ruleteros.com or by writing to: The Ruleteros Society, 10 Stoneycroft Close, Stoneycroft, Liverpool. L13 0AT.

Newcastle Utd 4, Everton 2 (D,Post)
Apr 5 2004 By Ian Doyle at St James' Park, Daily Post
ANOTHER game, another late goal conceded. But rather than outright annoyance, it was with a sense of simmering frustration that David Moyes departed St James' Park on Saturday. The Everton manager, had seen his side produce their finest offensive display in weeks to raise hope of only a second Premiership away victory of the season at Champions Leaguechasing Newcastle United and the extension of their five-match unbeaten run. Alas, such belief was misguided following a chronic breakdown in the very department that had provided the platform for the team's recent upturn in fortunes. Moyes had revealed before the game that Everton's recent form had left him "annoyed" because of the leaking of late goals that had turned what should have been five straight wins into just the two. Increased concentration was the key, said the manager. On Saturday's evidence, that message has yet to filter through to his players. But rather than prove decisive, Alan Shearer's last-minute strike was mere confirmation of the home side having taken full advantage of the uncharacteristic individual errors in the Everton defence which had gifted Newcastle the initiative and ultimately victory. All the more galling for Moyes is that with Wayne Rooney unavailable - the youngster joining Duncan Ferguson on the sidelines due to suspension - his players had responded positively to his challenge to prove they are more than a one-man team. For large spells of the game, the visitors were in the ascendancy and, with Thomas Gravesen enjoying himself in central midfield, they played with an inventiveness and at a tempo which has been noticeably lacking in recent outings, particularly at Goodison Park. It made for entertaining viewing and a draw would not have flattered Everton. But the encouragement taken from that was tempered by what happened at the other end of the pitch. The visitors were always chasing the game from the moment Craig Bellamy opened the scoring in the fifth minute with a goal that set the tone for an afternoon of sporadically erratic defending in the Everton backline. Neither Joseph Yobo nor David Unsworth will enjoy viewing it again. A long punt upfield from goalkeeper Shay Given saw Alan Shearer beat Yobo to a header and flick the ball into the path of Bellamy, who outmuscled the heavier frame of Unsworth before skipping around Nigel Martyn to slot home. It was a soft goal to concede, but even worse was to come in the 52nd minute. The game was delicately poised at 2-1 to Newcastle when a strong challenge from Kevin Campbell on Gary Speed on the halfway line propelled the ball back towards his own penalty area. Yobo seemed favourite to clear, but under pressure from Shearer the Nigerian fluffed his attempted clearance, allowing the Newcastle striker a free run on goal which he made the most of by placing the ball between the legs of the oncoming Martyn. "We gave them two goals," conceded Moyes afterwards. "We had to work hard for our goals but they didn't have to work for theirs." The exasperation was palpable, but it is hard to be too critical of Yobo. The Nigerian has been in fine form of late but the centre-back, perhaps, missed the steadying influence of Alan Stubbs along-side him - the former Celtic star missing with a groin strain - particularly when up against the pairing of powerhouse Shearer and the jet-heeled Bellamy. The importance of the occasion was not lost on Sir Bobby Robson, who afterwards admitted that he had told his Newcastle players anything other than a victory would most likely have extinguished any realistic hope of finishing fourth and claiming that coveted final Champions League qualification place. And the loss has left Evertonians glancing nervously once again at the league table, with the more pessimistic pointing out a win for Leicester City at Leeds United tonight would leave their side just four points clear of the relegation zone. After the early blunders which gifted Bellamy his fifth-minute opener on Saturday, Everton's misery was almost deepened moments later when first the Welshman's ball over the top was completely missed by Unsworth only for Martyn to save Shearer's effort, and then Titus Bramble failed to get a clean contact on the ball when allowed a free header from Laurent Robert's corner. Moyes's men, however, equalised on 12 minutes with a well-worked goal which exposed the frailties of Newcastle's porous defence. Gravesen won possession and passed to Kevin Kilbane, who in turn played Tomasz Radzinski down the left flank. The Canadian moved easily past Aaron Hughes and cut inside before laying the ball back into the path of the onrushing Gravesen, (right), who shot first-time into the bottom corner. Kevin Campbell was back in Everton's starting line-up for the first time since the defeat at Fulham in January, with the striker taking possession of the captain's armband with Stubbs, Ferguson and David Weir all unavailable. And he was within a whisker of giving the visitors the lead on 18 minutes when Alessandro Pistone's pass was flicked by Radzinski into the path of Tobias Linderoth, who after some neat control passed to Campbell who shot narrowly wide. Everton were on top - which was the cue for another daft New-castle goal. Some slack marking saw Kieron Dyer sweep a pass out wide right for Darren Ambrose to cross back into the area which Dyer met. The midfielder misdirected his header into the floor but watched it loop fortuitously over the outstretched hand of Martyn and into the net. The goalkeeper then saved from Ambrose and Shearer but it was Everton who enjoyed the greater possession for the remainder of the half, and moments after the interval Yobo grazed the bar with a volley after a Gary Naysmith corner had fallen to him only for his faux pas in defence to gift Newcastle a 3-1 lead minutes later.
The hosts then seemed content to coast and it allowed Everton to fashion a few opportunities, Kil-bane - booed mercilessly throughout by the home fans because of his Sunderland connections - heading wide from six yards out after a Naysmith corner and Steve Watson having a header from a Gravesen cross incorrectly chalked off for offside. A goal finally arrived nine minutes from time, with Yobo atoning slightly for his early indiscretions by outjumping Laurent Robert to head in Naysmith's deep, inswinging right-wing corner at the far post for his first goal in 50 appearances for Everton.
But it was Shearer who had the last word in the final minute to give the scoreline a misleading appearance. Dyer and Bellamy combined to give substitute Lee Bowyer a shooting chance which was blocked by defender Unsworth and fell into the path of the veteran striker who rammed home the rebound. A defeat but no disgrace for Everton. They have played worse than this in the past and won, and will do so again in the future. Friday against Tottenham would be a good time - the sooner safety is reached, the better.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Hughes, Woodgate, Bramble, Bernard; Ambrose (Bowyer 75), Dyer, Speed, Robert (Ameobi 85); Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Taylor, Viana.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Unsworth, Yobo, Naysmith; Watson, Gravesen, Linderoth (Nyarko 67), Kilbane (McFadden 67); Campbell, Radzinski. Subs: Wright, Hibbert, Carsley.
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher.
ATT: 52,155.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Tottenham, Premiership, Good Friday April 9, 8pm.

Moyes bemoans defensive mistakes
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Apr 5 2004
ShareDAVID MOYES admitted his side suffered the defeat they deserved after defensive mistakes undermined an encouraging performance at Newcastle United. The Everton manager, was left frustrated after a series of individual errors allowed Sir Bobby Robson's side to gain a 4-2 vic-tory at St James' Park on Saturday. Poor defending from both Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth was responsible for Craig Bellamy's early opener, while the Nigerian was culpable for the first of Alan Shearer's two goals early in the second half. Slack marking allowed Kieron Dyer the chance to head in Newcastle's second while Everton also conceded another last-minute goal through Shearer.
The defeat leaves Everton still only six points clear of the relegation zone, which could be cut to four points if Leicester City win at Leeds United tonight. And Moyes said: "We could have taken something from the game at Newcastle. Under the circumstances, if we'd have come here and taken a point we would have said that was a good result. "In many ways we are disappointed that we did not get that. But I don't think it was a harsh scoreline because we did not defend well enough.
"To have to come to Newcastle United and score four goals to get a draw is very, very difficult.
"We played well during the game and there were bits of play from us that were pleasing to watch."
He added: "We do not have enough points to stay in the Premiership at the moment and we know that." Moyes continued: "But I maintain that we are a good enough side to stay up."
Everton had equalised through a fine 12th-minute strike from Thomas Gravesen - only his second goal of the season and his first in the Premiership away from Goodison Park - and were given hope late on when Yobo headed in his debut goal for the club on his 50th appearance. The visitors were without the suspended Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson and the injured Francis Jeffers in attack, but Moyes refused to use that as an excuse for the defeat, insisting the problems at the weekend were further back in the team. "We have Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell who are proven strikers at Premier League level, so that was not where the problems were," said the Scot. "The problems were that we made individual mistakes in defence. "It is difficult to work on individual mistakes on the training ground, and they were the difference between the two sides.
"I did not see Jonathan Woodgate or Titus Bramble making the kind of mistakes we made out there.
"We gave them their goals very easily and we had to work hard for our goals. We let them run in on goal twice for two of their goals. "There were long spells when the defend-ers did well but then they made individual mistakes, which was frustrating." Moyes also insisted Yobo had been impeded by Shearer for Newcastle's first goal and that Steve Watson's second-half header - which would have made the score 3-2 - should not have been disallowed for offside. "I thought it might have been a foul on Joseph Yobo by Alan Shearer for the first goal, but when you come to Newcastle you do not expect to get much but the ones that we gave them I would have thought we could have defended better," he said. Meanwhile, Yobo has been given the unwanted honour of having scored an own goal in last week's 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough by the FA Premier League's dubious goals panel.

Watson keen to focus on the positives
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Apr 5 2004
STEVE WATSON rued the missed opportunities he believed cost Everton at least a point at Newcastle United on Saturday. A fine Everton display was undermined by individual mistakes in defence which ultimately gave Sir Bobby Robson's side a 4-2 victory. But Watson, insisted it could have been different had the visitors taken their chances - and his second-half header from a Gravesen cross had not been incorrectly ruled out for offside. "It was a massive disappointment to lose the game but that's as well as we have played in a long time," he said. "I thought we created as many chances as we had done home or away for a long time. Joseph (Yobo) hit the bar early in the second half, Tomasz (Radzinski) had a few offsides against him in the first and I scored a goal, which wasn't offside. "We have had a look at it on the computer from every possible angle. I was onside or if not at worst level when Tommy's crossed it. "I was inches away from another and then there were a couple of headers from Radz and Kev Kilbane, so we had a load of chances. The difference was that when they got their four chances they put them away." Watson added: "I don't think the final scoreline reflected our performance though there was one difference between the teams and it will be no surprise to hear it was Shearer. I thought that we could have come away from St James' with the points if it wasn't for Alan and though I don't want to harp on about it, some bad errors from us for their goals. "To be fair we got it back to 3-2 and I think the final goal was maybe because we had committed everybody forward, so perhaps it should have ended up like that. "But as I say we are massively disappointed after the way we played and I think we can take a lot of heart out of the performance but obviously not the result." Robson admitted he had told his Newcastle side before the game that anything other than a win would probably have signalled the end of their hopes of Champions League qualification. "We are back in fourth for 24 hours but we were lucky," he said. "I told my players that if we had not won today then we would not finish fourth. We are looking at winning four of our last seven games, and that should be enough to finish fourth." He revealed midfielder Gary Speed had emerged from his sick bed to play against his former club. "Gary Speed was enormous," he said. "He has been ill all this week and he was ill in the morning. I got a phone call at noon saying he was still unwell, but then he wanted to play and I took a chance on him and he was tremendous."

No reward for tortuous climb
View From The Stands By Miles Shackley, Daily Post
Apr 5 2004
THEY make you work hard for your football in the North East - fourteen flights of stairs and 150 steps of sheer hell, just about the most painful five minutes of the day. If they printed those details on the ticket I'd have not bothered going. Four minutes in, our defence repaid my faith by falling over and letting Craig Bellamy score. My thighs were still screaming out in pain. In fairness, Everton started well and continued to attack manfully. Thomas Gravesen's 12th-minute equaliser was no less than we deserved, and there were more chances for Everton to capitalise on a Newcastle side that was there for the taking. Kieron Dyer's nosed-in goal was therefore as deflating as it was freak.
Despite long spells of play in which Everton more than matched their opponents, final balls were lacking and chances - whenever they came - were more often than not squandered. Alan Shearer found himself clean through after Kevin Campbell won a tackle on the halfway line. That sort of luck summed up our day. The Geordie captain rammed home the third with aplomb. Even at that stage in the game you still felt Everton could possibly get something from the match. I know I'm stupid.
Newcastle were doing their best to squander their lead, but Everton played the role of hospitable guests and sportingly declined the offer. Any hope of a late comeback following Yobo's first goal for the club was ruined by further bad defending allowing Alan Shearer to wallop home Newcastle's fourth goal. I won nothing on the National either.

Newcastle Utd 4, Everton 2 (Echo)
Apr 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE artistry was admirable, but it is artisans that Everton need right now. Patience, perseverance and guile are the attributes which have served David Moyes' men well since the horror show at Birmingham put the side's failings into stark perspective back in February. The cautious, considered approach may not have stirred the soul - but it had provided a five match unbeaten run and ensured the threat of a relegation dogfight remained at arm's length. It was abandoned on Saturday after an early setback in favour of a more expansive attacking game. It paid off at one end. Everton left St James' Park having scored two goals, with another perfectly good one ruled out for offside and having also struck the crossbar. But all the flair and craft counted for nothing because they were found wanting at the back. Newcastle can boast an offensive armoury made up of the deadly Alan Shearer and the exocet Craig Bellamy. Their first shot across Everton's bows managed to breach the defence inside five minutes. Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth were both exposed, out-muscled and out-paced respectively as Bellamy found the target. It was a soft goal. Indeed, it was so bad it even earned criticism on The Premiership from Andy Townsend, that great player of his generation, who described the defending as 'schoolgirl'. Had Everton taken stock after the early setback, put their house in order at the back and frustrated the home side, they could have made amends for that lapse. They have been hard to beat recently, wearing sides down and finding goals late in games to secure points. But this time, they went at Newcastle, left the defence stretched and, crucially, the backline failed to show the resolve to silence Bellamy and Shearer. On the balance of play a draw would have been a fair result. But when the opposition have a striker who only needs one chance to score, balance of play is an irrelevance. Everton had to work twice as hard as their hosts to score because they didn't have Shearer. He drives you mad. He throws his weight around and he bullies players - and sometimes referees. But you can't help but admire him. He was the reason why Yobo endured one of his most disappointing 90 minutes of the season. David Moyes has been cautious in his praise for the Nigerian's impressive displays recently because he has insisted the young defender is still climbing a steep learning curve. Shearer was a tough test and the defender struggled.
For the striker's first goal, Newcastle's third, Yobo was tempted into an uncharacteristically wild attempt to clear the ball because Shearer was breathing down his neck. He missed it and the veteran punished him. His second goal, which wrapped the game up with 30 seconds of normal time remaining, exposed Everton's ragged marking as he smashed home after a Lee Bowyer shot had been blocked by Unsworth. That strike took his tally against the Toffees to 18, 17 of which have been scored in the league. We may have seen the back of Les Ferdinand, but Shearer is likely to be around for another season at least. He is a big reason why Yobo and Unsworth will want to forget this match in a hurry. It was a torrid afternoon for the duo. But they could also argue, with a degree of justification, that the game was so stretched by Everton's forays forward that they did not enjoy the kind of support from the midfield they have become accustomed to. And yet it is hard to criticise the side for playing in that manner because the football when they were in possession was impressive. The confidence and crispness of some of the attacking play was as good as anything we have seen away from Goodison this season. The equaliser from Thomas Gravesen in the 13th minute was a good example. The Dane won possession in midfield, fed Kevin Kilbane and charged forward to get into the penalty box. By the time he reached his destination Tomasz Radzinski had received the ball, cut into the area from the left flank and teed him up perfectly with a short pass.
Gravesen slid in ahead of Kieron Dyer to fire beyond Shay Given. There were other such flowing moves. Kevin Campbell rounded one off with a decent shot which was deflected inches wide of the target and Steve Watson ghosted into the area midway through the second half to cap another with a headed goal. That strike came with the score at 3-1. It was ruled out for offside. A glance at the replay confirmed the assistant referee was wrong. At a place like Newcastle you need to get the rub of the green. You need to get the breaks. They didn't. With the score at 1-1 Dyer scored, courtesy of a mis-timed header which he drilled into the ground from 12 yards and which looped over Nigel Martyn into the net. Minutes before Shearer netted Newcastle's third, Yobo saw a close range volley which would have levelled the scores skim the crossbar. Throughout the match Everton exposed the fragility of Newcastle's midfield, which is stocked with fleet-footed forward players but which lacks the muscle for them to have ever been genuine title challengers. Ironically, when the Blues finally did get a second goal it was from a set-piece. Gary Naysmith whipped a corner in from the left and Yobo nipped in ahead of Laurent Robert at the back post to head home his first goal for Everton. It was a lifeline. But too much had gone wrong in the opening 81 minutes to suggest there was going to be a rousing fightback. Defensively, Everton were not good enough. Going forward, they lacked the fortune or the firepower to match their hosts. You never know, had Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson not been suspended it could have been a different story. But they would have done little to prevent the soft goals going in at the wrong end. The lessons will need to be heeded to avoid any repeats in the remaining seven games. Because at this stage of the season, defensive resolve and uneventful 1-0 victories are much more welcome than the kind of entertaining, flamboyant but ultimately flawed display served up at St James' on Saturday.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Hughes, Woodgate, Bramble, Bernard; Ambrose (Bowyer 75), Dyer, Speed, Robert (Ameobi 85); Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Taylor, Viana.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Unsworth, Yobo, Naysmith; Watson, Gravesen, Linderoth (Nyarko 67), Kilbane (McFadden 67); Campbell, Radzinski. Subs: Wright, Hibbert, Carsley.
REFEREE: Dermot Gallagher.
ATT: 52,155.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Tottenham, Premiership, Good Friday April 9, 8pm.

Ferguson hit by ban
Apr 5 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON was today handed a four-match ban and a £10,000 fine by a Football Association disciplinary commission hearing. The Everton striker, was charged with violent behaviour and improper conduct for an incident involving Leicester midfielder Steffen Freund and a subsequent gesture to the crowd during the Premiership match at the Walkers Stadium on March 20. Everton were reduced to 10 men in the 40th minute when Ferguson picked up his second yellow card of the game in the space of three minutes. He was dismissed by referee Barry Knight after grabbing Freund by the neck and wrestling him to the ground. Earlier, Ferguson had picked up a yellow card for elbowing Nikos Dabizas. The Scottish forward was furious and angrily grabbed Freund. His dismissal prompted a brief flare-up between a number of players. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Ferguson automatically lost two weeks wages under club rules as his punishment for being red carded. Today's punishment is the latest in a series of ups and downs for the big Scot, who has reclaimed his place in the side after working his way back to full fitness and gone on to skipper the Blues. This season alone he has been involved in a training ground bust-up with David Moyes and been accused of making racist remarks by Fulham's Luis Boa Morte.

Pistone: Keep on attacking
Apr 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE believes Everton will end the season on a high if they can maintain the attacking form shown at Newcastle. The Blues left St James' Park empty-handed despite scoring twice. The 4-2 defeat brought to an end the Blues' longest unbeaten run of the season but Pistone, insisted today there were a lot of pluses to be taken from the performance. "We played well. We had a good performance and that is why we are a bit down," revealed the 28-year-old Italian.
"Going forward we were better than we have been during our unbeaten run. "That is the way we have to play in the remaining games. "When you play well you want to get some points. I felt the draw was on the cards because we had the chances. "The difference was that every chance they had, they scored. Two goals were our fault and the Kieron Dyer goal was lucky." But while the defender concedes the Blues only had themselves to blame for throwing away the chance to share the points, he was also infuriated by the lack of fortune in front of goal. Midway through the second half, with Everton trailing 3-1, Steve Watson netted with a close-range header but it was ruled out for offside, despite replays later revealing the player was onside. Pistone added: "We have played as well as that many times this season. But we have not had much luck this year.
"I hope in the remaining games something can change because it is time it did. "Steve Watson's goal was not offside and we also hit a post and had some other good opportunities. We had our chances, but the difference was that they took theirs."

Frustration at ruled out goal
Apr 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes has admitted his anger at the Steve Watson headed goal that was ruled out at St James' Park on Saturday. Watson's 66th-minute bullet header was harshly disallowed for offside with the Blues 3-1 down, and Moyes thinks his side have not enjoyed the best of luck recently. "It was a goal," he said. "We're fortunate enough to have been able to watch it on the laptop and it's a goal. "We're certainly due some luck, we're certainly due a wee bit of good fortune, albeit we'd been on a run of five games unbeaten. "If it hadn't been for dreadful individual mistakes - I didn't see Jonathan Woodgate or Titus Bramble make the mistakes our defenders made - we might have got something out of the game. "I thought we could have and in a lot of ways, maybe should have. But we've given it a go. We didn't give in and we have to take some things from it.
"Under the circumstances if we'd come here and taken a point we would have said that was a good result." He added: "I don't think it was a harsh scoreline because we didn't defend well enough.
"To have to come to Newcastle United and score four goals to get a draw is very, very difficult.
"We played well during the game and there were bits of play from us that were pleasing to watch.
"The problems were that we made individual mistakes in defence. "There were long spells when the defenders did well but then they made individual mistakes which was frustrating. "I thought it might have been a foul on Joseph Yobo for the first goal, but when you come to Newcastle you do not expect to get much." The defeat leaves Everton looking uncomfortably over their shoulder at the relegation dogfight, but Moyes is convinced they have enough in the locker to avoid such a scrap.
"I think we're a good enough side to get away from this region, but you have to prove it on the field," he said. "That's where it counts."

Rooney wedding rumours scotched
Apr 5 2004 Liverpool Echo
RUMOURS that Wayne Rooney has set a date to wed his sweetheart have been scotched.
The 18-year-old Everton striker was reported to have chosen June 18 next year to marry his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin. But that date would clash with the European Championships at which the wonderkid is hoping to be a star. Besotted Wayne got engaged to Coleen last October. They live together in a luxury £900,000 house in Formby. The £13,000-a-week star hit the headlines last week after a punch-up at Coleen's 18th birthday party. The bash was laid on at The Devonshire House Hotel on Edge Lane but ended in disaster when the party was ruined by the brawl.
Wayne, who had organised the lavish party, was left disgusted and distraught by the incident.
It is believed the brawl began when the bar closed and partygoers were asked to move on to the hotel bar. Hotel staff moved quickly to move Wayne and Coleen into the kitchens to safety when the fight broke out. Coleen was seen leaving the hotel in tears shortly after the disturbance.
The soccer star publicly declared his love for Coleen with a little help from the ECHO last Friday (April 2). He took out a £60 birthday notice in the ECHO to mark his girlfriend's 18th birthday. He also splashed out on a £4,000 gold bracelet for her.

Stupid Ferguson has made himself useless
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Apr 6 2004
DUNCAN FERGUSON'S four-match ban is one of the less surprising punishments handed down by the FA. I doubt the video panel who sat down to watch the tape of the big Scot strangling Steffen Freund have ever had a more straightforward job. You just couldn't defend him, and I'm sure he now regrets his actions. Particularly as his moment of madness again seems to have come at a crucial time of what's been a deeply frustrating season for Everton. Ferguson has had a spate of injuries and so the last thing Everton need is for him to be sat in the stands when fit for once.
He's a big weapon, especially so when you need people for a relegation scrap, but he's useless when he's not even on the pitch. David Moyes must have been tearing his hair out on Saturday. The final thing he must have told his players before he sent them out was to make sure Newcastle didn't get a good start - just keep them quiet for the first 20 minutes and hope the crowd start to wobble a bit.
So he must have been so frustrated to see his defence shipping the sloppy goals they did. You can't make mistakes like that anywhere, especially not at some-where like St James' Park. Everton have been playing quite well of late without picking up too many points, and I'm afraid it again goes back to the overall quality of the team. They have some quality players but not enough all round to pull them up into mid-table. If some positive can be taken out of the negatives, however, it's that the defeat came at Newcastle and not one of the teams around them. They won't have that get-out next week, though. After Tottenham at Goodison on Friday, Everton go to Elland Road and they have to take something from there. Leeds can be a handful at home but they're in their current predicament because they let in a lot of goals and get nervy very easily these days. Everton have managed just one win on the road this year - Elland Road would be a timely place for their second.

Season ends in disappointment for U19s
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 6 2004
EVERTON under-19s ended their season with a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest.
Neil Dewsnip's side dominated play, but were made to pay for an interrupted preparation. With a road accident on the way to the FA Premier Academy League fixture, Everton were held up and arrived late. They almost had to go on to the pitch on their arrival and their lack of preparation saw them concede a penalty after four minutes. Despite dominating for much of the game they missed a host of chances. Craig Garside, Scott Brown, Andrew Fowler and Carl O'Donnell were all denied by the son of former Arsenal and Leeds goalkeeper John Lukic in the Forest goal. Then just a minute into the second half Everton were 2-0 down. But despite again dominating play, the season ended in defeat. Dewsnip said: "It sounds like excuses, but we were held up in traffic due to an accident and so we got there very late. We were rushed onto the field and conceded a penalty after four minutes because we weren't really organised. But we played really well and had lots of chances but we just couldn't score. "We had the ball for something like 80% of the game and lost 2-0 so it was our own fault really." He added: "Craig Garside saw a shot from outside the box saved superbly by the goalkeeper. It was an outstanding save and he made several more." In a way, Everton's season has fizzled out at U19 level with most of the players looking to secure their futures away from the club after being told they would be let go. Dewsnip said: "It is disappointing to end the way it has. It is not exactly the same set of players that have played all year and we have lost three of the last four games. "But it is because boys have been released, players have been out on trial trying to get a second opportunity. So it has become difficult. "We were looking to end second, but apart from the Manchester United game when we played very well and won, we have obviously underachieved at the back end of the season. "The up side is the U17s play Leicester at home in the play-offs and we hope they can continue to do well."
EVERTON U19s: Lake; Wynne, Gerrard, Hughes, Fox; Fowler, Brown, Garside (Irving 75), Kearney (Martland 80); O'Donnell, Pascucci (Hopkins 45). Subs: Anichebe, Holt.

Moyes to ponder Ferguson options
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 6 2004
EVERTON will today decide whether to appeal against Duncan Ferguson's latest suspension and how to manipulate its effect on their fight for Premiership survival. The Goodison striker was banned for four matches and fined £10,000 yesterday when he was found guilty of violent conduct and improper behaviour at an FA disciplinary hearing in Birmingham. The charges related to incidents at Leicester on March 20 when Ferguson grabbed Steffen Freund's neck and gestured to the home crowd after being sent off by referee Barry Knight. But Everton, back in relegation trouble after Saturday's defeat at Newcastle, can now determine which games Ferguson is banned from.
The striker was suspended for the Newcastle game as punishment for two yellow cards at The Walkers Stadium but would have missed the game anyway with a back injury. If he is considered fit for the crucial Easter games against Tottenham and Leeds, then Everton will accept the original starting date for the ban of April 19, which means he misses the final four games of the season.
It will also allow him to face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two days before the suspension takes effect.
But if he is deemed unfit by the Goodison medical staff, David Moyes wants the ban to begin immediately - a decision that must be taken today and will free the 32-year-old for the final three games of the campaign. If Ferguson is available for the next three matches Everton could also appeal in 14 days' time if they are still in danger of relegation. A date for the hearing would then have to be set by the FA, further delaying the start of the suspension. Club secretary David Harrison, who was present at the hearing, said: "We have 14 days to consider whether or not to lodge an appeal against this decision and the club will discuss that option with Duncan as soon as possible." If Everton appeal at the last moment, the striker's suspension would carry over into next season. Chief executive Michael Dunford said: "It all depends on the medical advice. The manager and the player will discuss the situation in the next 24 hours before deciding when, or if, we appeal.
"All options will be considered, and the best interests of Everton will be at the top of the list."
Dunford continued: "But I feel that an appeal is unlikely and Duncan will be involved in the next three games before being banned for the last four matches of the season. But that is a decision for the manager." Moyes's predicament is compounded by Wayne Rooney's sus-pension against Spurs, the start of an Easter period which the Everton manager believes could leave his side safe. He said: "We had a nice little five-game unbeaten run going which we surrendered at Newcastle, so we need to pick things up and get on to the next game now. "We do not have enough points to stay in the Premiership at the moment and we know that, so we are looking forward to the games over the Easter period hoping to put that right. "We have to try to be positive because we still need to get some results, but I am not going to dwell on the negatives from the Newcastle game. The players know what they are because I have told them."

We've got real strike problems
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 6 2004
Strike problems
WE desperately need a Shearer-type player on the pitch for next season. I think we missed the boat when Southampton got Phillips. Ferguson's a joke. Jeffers can't get on the bench. Campbell's past it. We also need a leader in midfield next to Gravesen.
Andy Devey, Liverpool
Play youngsters
GOOD that Chadwick has his chance at Millwall in the FA Cup. Good effort at Newcastle with a depleted team, but again no pace in defence or real class, although Gravesen played well and put in 100%. We must blood some youngsters soon.
Trev Lynes, Wrexham
Strange game
WHAT a strange game that was. Kevin Campbell looked shakey, David Unsworth seems to have lost the assuredness that he has shown recently, Joseph Yobo was outmuscled and put off his game by Shearer and Pistone was not his his usual self. All this and we did seem to play well for much of the match with a good midfield performance. We outplayed Newcastle for several long periods. I don't remeber a game quite like this one.
Steve Jones, Leeds
Awful defending
ONCE again awful defending has cost us dear. While in previous seasons it has been our strongest part of the team, this season and especially against Newcastle it has been like schoolboy defending.
I also hope Moyes really doesn't believe it when he says he thinks we are playing better, I think most fans will agree that the football we are producing is of a dreadful standard. On the positive side, we are looking a little harder to beat I suppose.
Mark Lawson, Liverpool
Board talk
HOW refreshing that Everton have a manager in David Moyes who tells it exactly like it is. He doesn't hide behind excuses and if we play badly, he is the first to say so. This however is in complete contrast to that of our board whose attitude is the exact opposite. Paul Gregg and co. should come out and state exactly where they want to take our club because our board has led us Evertonians a merry dance for far too long now and enough is enough.
Paul Mullally, Old Swan

Duncan set to serve ban
Apr 6 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON is to begin his four game ban immediately, after failing to prove his fitness today. The striker, was hit with the suspension and a £10,000 fine yesterday, as revealed in later editions of the ECHO, for his reaction to being red-carded at Leicester last month. The ban was due to start on April 19 but the club had until midday today to decide if they wanted to start that ban straight away. The Scot, who has been struggling with a groin injury for the last 10 days, failed to prove he would be fit in time for Friday night's televised clash with Tottenham during a series of tests carried out this morning at Bellefield. As a result, Everton reluctantly took the decision to enact the suspension from today. Manager David Moyes had been keen to have the player available for the crucial Easter weekend period, particularly as Wayne Rooney is also suspended for the Spurs clash at Goodison. But Ferguson now won't be available until the last three games of the season - matches against Wolves, Bolton and Manchester City - by which time Everton hope to have secured their Premiership survival. With Francis Jeffers also a doubt for the weekend with the back injury he sustained last week, Moyes' only available recognised strikers are Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski. Ferguson will now miss trips to Leeds and Chelsea, plus a home clash with Blackburn, as well as Friday's Spurs game.

Unfit Ferguson to serve ban immediately
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 7 2004
DAVID MOYES has been forced to instigate Duncan Ferguson's four-match ban with immediate effect after the Everton striker declared himself unfit for the crucial Easter programme.
The Everton manager wanted his centre-forward to face Tottenham and Leeds over the holiday period with the option of appealing on April 19 and thus dragging the suspension out until next season. But after consultation with Everton's medical staff Moyes reluctantly opted to start the suspension yesterday - in case the 32-year-old is required for the final three games of this campaign.
Ferguson, who was found guilty of violent conduct and improper behaviour by the FA on Monday following his sending off at Leicester City recently, now misses games against Tottenham Hotspur, Leeds, Chelsea and Blackburn. And with Wayne Rooney also suspended for the Good Friday visit of Tottenham plus Francis Jeffers injured, Moyes's striking options are severely limited for the must-win contest. "Duncan can start his ban immediately," conceded Moyes. "Duncan is injured just now and we don't think he is going to be available for the games over Easter, so we feel that we are better taking care of his ban now. "To be honest we need Duncan just now because we are so short of players and I could have done with him for the games but he doesn't feel as if he will be fit.
"Therefore the best thing to do is get his ban out of the way and get him ready for the final three games of the season." Ferguson was also fined £10,000 for the dismissal that will increase Everton's desire to part with their highestearner this summer. The injury-plagued striker has 12-months left on his Goodison contract at the end of this season but whether Everton can off-load the Scot is doubtful. Alan Stubbs, meanwhile, is still struggling to face Tottenham on Friday after missing the weekend defeat of Newcastle with a groin problem. Moyes revealed: "Alan is getting better but whether he will be fit for Friday we don't know yet. "After the weekend hopefully we will be okay but it is such an important time for us I can do with as many being available as possible."

We must eradicate the errors - Yobo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 7 2004
JOSEPH YOBO has admitted Everton's defenders must eradicate the individual errors that are keeping the Goodison club ensconced in the relegation mire. David Moyes was left repeating a familiar mantra at St James' Park on Saturday after a procession of mistakes undermined a decent away display and left New-castle celebrating a 4-2 win. The Everton manager's anger was understandable. Only 24 hours earlier Moyes had spoken to the Daily Post of the late lapses that had prevented his team pulling clear of trouble, his frustration heightened by the fact individual errors could not be eradicated on the training ground. Yet within five minutes at St James' Yobo, (left), lost the first of several challenges with Alan Shearer and, incredibly, Craig Bellamy outmuscled David Unsworth to leave Everton chasing the game. Despite a promising overall performance, the pattern for a weak defensive display from which Shearer and Kieron Dyer would also profit was set, and left Moyes to reflect: "I didn't see Jonathan Woodgate or Titus Bramble making the kind of mistakes we made out there." Now Yobo, whose defensive dip took the shine off his first goalscoring display for Everton, admits the team cannot afford any repeat over an Easter campaign that will shape the rest of their season. "As defenders, I think we let the team down through our mistakes on Saturday," said the Nigerian yesterday. "Things like that hap-pen in football but we really don't need them to at the moment and we need to put things right against Tottenham on Friday. "I don't think the problem was caused by playing alongside different people because of injuries and suspensions. It's just whether players can play well on the day. "I've played with different people in the defence and we've done very well." Ironically Yobo had been in sterling form before the Newcastle game, although Moyes has always cautioned his praise of the £4.5m defender with warnings a 23-year-old centre-half is always liable to err. And the former Marseille man admits: "I think I've been doing all right. I've progressed and matured as a player, but we're struggling this season whereas last season we did brilliantly because we went on a very good run. "I'm happy with what I've achieved at the moment and I'm going to keep working hard to improve for the future. "Hopefully, we can get a couple of wins soon, so the pressure we're feeling at the moment can be lifted a little." Yobo gave his side brief hope at Newcastle when he opened his Everton account with an 81st-minute header only for Shearer to seal the home win in injury time. And the defender admits his first Everton goal is long overdue. "I would have liked to have scored for the club much earlier," he said. "It's my first goal in my second season, so it was good for me to score. But although I was happy with my goal, the final result was more important than the fact I scored." Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has decided to put club before country in an attempt to regain his first team place at Goodison. The Everton midfielder has put his 29-cap international career with the Republic of Ireland on hold after being overlooked by manager Moyes in recent weeks. The 30-year-old, who was an unused substitute in the Republic's win over the Czech Republic last week, revealed: "For the fore-seeable future I am not going to make myself available for the Republic of Ireland national team."

We must eradicate the errors - Yobo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 7 2004
JOSEPH YOBO has admitted Everton's defenders must eradicate the individual errors that are keeping the Goodison club ensconced in the relegation mire. David Moyes was left repeating a familiar mantra at St James' Park on Saturday after a procession of mistakes undermined a decent away display and left New-castle celebrating a 4-2 win. The Everton manager's anger was understandable. Only 24 hours earlier Moyes had spoken to the Daily Post of the late lapses that had prevented his team pulling clear of trouble, his frustration heightened by the fact individual errors could not be eradicated on the training ground. Yet within five minutes at St James' Yobo, lost the first of several challenges with Alan Shearer and, incredibly, Craig Bellamy outmuscled David Unsworth to leave Everton chasing the game. Despite a promising overall performance, the pattern for a weak defensive display from which Shearer and Kieron Dyer would also profit was set, and left Moyes to reflect: "I didn't see Jonathan Woodgate or Titus Bramble making the kind of mistakes we made out there." Now Yobo, whose defensive dip took the shine off his first goalscoring display for Everton, admits the team cannot afford any repeat over an Easter campaign that will shape the rest of their season. "As defenders, I think we let the team down through our mistakes on Saturday," said the Nigerian yesterday. "Things like that hap-pen in football but we really don't need them to at the moment and we need to put things right against Tottenham on Friday. "I don't think the problem was caused by playing alongside different people because of injuries and suspensions. It's just whether players can play well on the day. "I've played with different people in the defence and we've done very well." Ironically Yobo had been in sterling form before the Newcastle game, although Moyes has always cautioned his praise of the £4.5m defender with warnings a 23-year-old centre-half is always liable to err. And the former Marseille man admits: "I think I've been doing all right. I've progressed and matured as a player, but we're struggling this season whereas last season we did brilliantly because we went on a very good run. "I'm happy with what I've achieved at the moment and I'm going to keep working hard to improve for the future. "Hopefully, we can get a couple of wins soon, so the pressure we're feeling at the moment can be lifted a little." Yobo gave his side brief hope at Newcastle when he opened his Everton account with an 81st-minute header only for Shearer to seal the home win in injury time. And the defender admits his first Everton goal is long overdue. "I would have liked to have scored for the club much earlier," he said. "It's my first goal in my second season, so it was good for me to score. But although I was happy with my goal, the final result was more important than the fact I scored." Lee Carsley, meanwhile, has decided to put club before country in an attempt to regain his first team place at Goodison. The Everton midfielder has put his 29-cap international career with the Republic of Ireland on hold after being overlooked by manager Moyes in recent weeks. The 30-year-old, who was an unused substitute in the Republic's win over the Czech Republic last week, revealed: "For the fore-seeable future I am not going to make myself available for the Republic of Ireland national team."

Get to know your Everton history in Spanish
Apr 7 2004
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTONIANS are spreading the word - throughout the Spanish-speaking world. "Cien Anos de Calidad - A History of Everton FC in Spanish" was launched at Goodison Park yesterday by members of the Ruleteros Society, formed two year's ago to encourage links between the Premiership club and CD Everton of Chile. The 120-page book, which translates as "One Hundred Years of Quality", is the first complete history of the club in Spanish and is designed to raise Everton's profile across the globe. Secretary of the Ruleteros Society John Shearon explained: "On my last visit to the Chilean Everton in 2002, it was apparent that the evertonianos wanted to know more about the Everton in Liverpool." So three Ruleteros members, Gerry Allison, Tony Heslop and Adrian McGrath - all Spanish lecturers at colleges and universities in Merseyside - have chronicled the club's 100 seasons in the top flight of English football. "Although the book was first intended for Chileans, it can also raise the profile of Everton in any Spanishspeaking country," said Ruleteros publications officer Steve Bickerton. "We plan to send a copy to all the Spanish-speaking football federations in the world."
The Latin American Everton was founded by Anglo-Chileans in 1909, a few weeks after the Goodison club had completed an unbeaten tour of South America. Then in June 2002 Shearon helped form the Ruleteros Society, a title based on the Chile club's nickname of the roulette players as Vina del Mar, the town where they play, is renowned for casinos. Bickerton added: "Publishing this book in Spanish can also be seen as a contribution to the city of Liverpool being European Capital of Culture 2008. "Liverpool's slogan in securing Capital of Culture status was 'The World In One City'. The Ruleteros's slogan is 'The World In Two Evertons'." The book, which has a foreword by Howard Kendall, costs £7.99 and can be bought via the society's website www.ruleteros. com or from: The Ruleteros Society, 10 Stoney-croft Close, Stoneycroft, Liverpool, L13 0AT.

Everton looking to embrace all the community
Making a difference, Football in your community, Daily Post
Apr 7 2004
AS WELL as making positive moves on the pitch, Everton's Football in the Community team is also working hard across Merseyside. Community officer David Connor said he is often asked about the team's responsibilities, and has to correct the misconception they are just about football coaching. He said: "Obviously the lure of the football club and the pull of the Everton brand are essen-tial to what we are trying to achieve. "However the key word is 'community' but defining Everton's 'community' is far from straight forward. Is it the supporters, who are local, national and even global? Is it the local residents, whether they're blue or red? Is it local school-kids? Realistically, we embrace just about everyone. So we have to cater for just about everyone." That means they are involved in a number of initiatives, including a progressive and growing disability set-up with two full-time coaches, while they have also just finished a 12-month programme working with at-risk children. Connor added: "We have a multitude of other initiatives that are ongoing such as homeless projects, anti-bullying and so on. We work with the Princes Trust, local prisons and we're involved in national schemes such as Football Aid and the Celebrity Soccer Six tournament. "The anti-racism initiative is also obviously a major part of our strategy but whatever we're involved in we strive to be the best." He added that age was irrelevant when you're talking about community projects, as Everton welcome toddlers to the soccer camps and have also recently secured a sponsorship deal with a local care home. The club was delighted last year to be the first Premiership club to receive the prestigious Community Mark, awarded by Business in the Community, which is a national charitable organisation. The patron is Prince Charles and the members are the business leaders of the country, chairmen and chief executives from all the leading national companies. They acknowledged the community work and the club were very pleased because it is a high-profile recognition. David continued: "Football has the power to deliver just about any message. We encourage young people to exercise, we encourage disabled people to participate in sport and they listen because we are Everton Football Club. If there's anybody out there that thinks they can work alongside us then we'd love to hear from them."

Gravesen can lead - Moyes
Apr 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has tipped Thomas Gravesen to fill the void created by the loss of two of Everton's most influential figures for Friday's clash with Tottenham. Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney are suspended for the televised game at Goodison, but while their absence will disable the Blues the manager believes the form of the maturing Dane will ease the blow. "I watched him for Denmark against Spain last week and he was probably the most polished midfield player on show," said Moyes today. "His form at times has been erratic but he is a terrific player and is beginning to mature. "He still does things that drive me mad but he has got things about him which are excellent and we are continuing to improve the failings in his game." The 28-year-old, has now scored two goals in Everton's last five games since being urged by the to improve his finishing. "He is the last off the training ground everyday and he is always practising his finishing," added Moyes. "He should score more goals but they will come. "We rely on him a lot. I think Tommy has been an influential player ever since I came here and he is becoming more consistent." The midfielder is set to continue his blossoming partnership with Tobias Linderoth against Spurs. duo have started together in each of the last six matches and have been on the losing side only once in that run. Meanwhile, Alan Stubbs is in consideration for the Easter weekend despite still receiving treatment on the groin injury which kept him out of the trip to Newcastle. Striker Francis Jeffers is another major doubt with a back injury. He has been receiving treatment from a chiropractor this week but is unlikely to be fully fit in time for Friday night.

Blue focus will drive Carsley
Apr 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY is putting club before country in order to reclaim his Everton place. The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international, has not figured for the Blues since the 3-0 defeat at Birmingham in February. Despite being a squad regular, his last international appearance was in the 1-1 draw against Russia in the European Championship qualifiers last September. He has now decided to to turn his back on international football in order to focus on his future with Everton. He explains: "For the foreseeable future I am not going to make myself available for the Republic of Ireland national team. "I want to concentrate on Everton and re-establish myself here and if I am going to Ireland to play in international fixtures then I feel that I can't do that. "I came to the decision about four to six months ago and it is only my family that have said 'No, keep going'. "But I can't keep doing it and by not making myself available it will give me more time to spend at home." Carsley was a member of the 2002 World Cup squad and has earned 29 caps for Ireland. He was signed by Everton from Coventry in February 2002 for £1.9m and has started 17 games this season, scoring twice.
* Joseph Yobo has apologised to the club's fans for the mistakes which led to defeat at Newcastle last weekend. Both Yobo and defensive partner David Unsworth were guilty of errors which cost Everton goals. The Nigerian said: "As defenders, I think we let the team down through our mistakes.
"Things like that happen, but we don't need them at the moment. "We will be trying to put things right on Friday when we play Tottenham. "I've played with different people in the defence and we've done very well. It was just against Newcastle when we made mistakes, they cost us the game.
"Hopefully, we can get a couple of wins soon, so the pressure we're feeling at the moment can be lifted a little."

The Darkness to play at Goodison
Apr 7 2004 By Nick Murton Echo Reporter
SPANDEX-CLAD rockers The Darkness are to light up Liverpool's star-studded Soccer Six tournament.The chart-topping rock act are just one of the celebrity teams set to battle it out at Goodison on May 9.Around 160 celebs will show off their soccer skills during the charity tournament, which celebrates its 10th birthday this year.Darkness front-man Justin Hawkins said: "We are really looking forward to playing at Goodison and strutting our stuff. We want to prove to the world our football skills are as good as our guitar work."And everyone had better look out for our Spandex football gear."Robbie Williams, Liam Gallagher and Ant and Dec are among the celebs to have competed in recent years.And Soccer Six chief Mark Abery has predicted another star-studded line-up this year.He said: "We are delighted that The Darkness have reinforced the high quality of big-name acts that play in Soccer Six year on year."Royle Family star Ralf Little and So Solid Crew member Harvey are among the other stars set to tackle the Goodison competition.Liverpool's Soccer Six event is one of three taking place nationwide.The tournament will move on to Leeds on May 16, and Chelsea on May 23. Money raised by Soccer Six will be donated to the Prince's Trust and Give a Child a Chance.Tickets cost £10 (adults) and £6 (children under 12), and are available on 0151-256 5555. * The Darkness burst on to the UK music scene in 2003 with their number one single I Believe In A Thing Called Love.They followed their debut smash with a string of hits including Growing On Me, Don't Let The Bells End, and their latest number 5 chart entry Love Is Only A Feeling.

Benefits all round for loan arrangers
Apr 7 2004 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
THIS season the Premier League changed its rules on loan players.
So far, it's been a qualified success - but a bit of fine tuning wouldn't go amiss.
In June, Premiership clubs agreed to loan players to one another, in the way teams in Serie A and La Liga have been able to for years. Liverpool have been one of the biggest losers of the new system, loaning Jon Otsemobor, out to a club who, it later transpired, didn't really want him and then seeing Markus Babbel - one of their own players - put Milan Baros out for five months after a freak accident at Ewood Park.Everton have done rather better out of the arrangement, getting Franny Jeffers, (left), from Arsenal for a year.By and large, Jeffers has been a flop at Goodison this season, but he has had one highlight - playing his part in the goal which earned the Blues a point against Arsenal.Undoubtedly the biggest winners, though, have been Birmingham - perhaps the most keen to see the rule pushed through in the first place.They took advantage of Chelsea's short-term thinking to get Mikael Forssell for a year, and the Finnish striker has probably been the difference between the Brummies being on the verge of Europe or the verge of relegation this season.Premier League clubs were originally prevented from loaning any out-field players because, it was reasoned, they could afford to buy them. But the change makes it easier to develop the careers of top young players.The way the system now works in practice is that big clubs with big squads can send their younger players out to get experience of what it's like playing in England's top division. And smaller or poorer clubs are able to reap the rewards. But the irony is that, as well as giving youngsters their chance, it can also deny them it. Liverpool drafted in Paul Jones for two starts when Jerzy Dudek and Chris Kirkland were both injured, rather than give young reserve goalkeeper Patrice Luzi his chance - then moved off to Wolves within days. That apart, things have worked reasonably well, although the acid test is still to come.The Premier League will be hoping for no repeat of 1985, when Mick Ferguson, on loan from Birmingham, scored the winning goal that kept Coventry in the division. And sent Birminghamdown.There doesn't seem to have been any obvious attempts at manipulation, of the type some of us feared when the rule was introduced. Those clubs who have loaned players out to more than one side have either allowed all of them to play against them - as Arsenal did (with the exception of Jer-maine Pennant in the FA Cup) - or none of them - which has been Chelsea's approach.And there doesn't seem to have been any suspicious examples of people loaning a player out for a month to allow him to play against their main rivals.But these things could have happened had the clubs involved been a little less scrupulous. The Premier-ship shouldn't rely on their goodwill to avoid it.Limiting loans to a minimum of half a season should stop any sort of manipulation.And rather than leaving it to the two clubs' discretion, no-one should be able to play against their present employers. That would remove suspicion of wrong-doing or divided loyalties.The authorities could also do with looking at the rule which was meant to prevent Otsemobor playing againfor Liverpool this season after his loan deal with Bolton was cancelled.Thankfully, Liverpool appealed and common sense prevailed, after the Trotters had decided he wouldn't be getting a game for them between now and May.No loan system is ever going to be perfect - players will still be in a position to influence the loaning club's results - but a few tweaks can close some of the loopholes.And this season has shown that the system can be a good thing.When the Premiership was first formed, the top clubs could just as easily loan their kids out to Division One. But now the gulf between the top-flight and the Football League is such that farming them out is only really good for toughening them up outside of the pampered world of their academies.If just one reserve team player is able to force himself into the England squad - as players like Jeffers, Pennant and Carlton Cole have tried and failed to do this year - that will be the ultimate vindication.We haven't reached that point yet - but the signs are promising.

Leeds Res 0, Everton Res 0
Apr 8 2004
Daily Post
EVERTON fielded an inexperienced reserve side at Leeds last night but came away with a well-deserved point from a goalless draw Only Steve Simonsen, had first-team experience in the starting line-up, but a hardworking home team ensured the young Everton side were fully occupied.
Leeds enjoyed the majority of possession during the opening 45 minutes, but centrebacks Mark Hughes and Anthony Gerrard combined well to limit the home team to a couple of half chances.
The clearest cut opening of the half came on 38 minutes when Chris Jones found himself bearing down on Simonsen. The teenage striker attempted to lob the keeper from the edge of the box, but Simonsen palmed the ball over. Simonsen was quickly into the action again soon after the restart when he got down well to save Paul Keegan's menacing header. Everton finally broke free of their attacking shackles on 58th minutes with arguably the game's best opening. Steven Schumacher picked up the ball in midfield, fed Andy Fowler who then linked well with Patrizio Pascucci. However, the ball bounced awkwardly and the young Italian scuffed his chance. Fowler then went close with a first-time header, but it was Leeds who threatened to take all three points in a hectic finale. Lennon slipped past two Everton defenders to set up Keegan, who got too much air on his shot.
Fowler finished the game strongly, by losing his marker and clipping the outside of the post with a low shot.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Wynne, Fox, Hughes, Gerrard, Schumacher, Fowler, Wilson, Pascucci, Hopkins, Boyle Subs: Potter, Lake, Wright, Flood, Jones

Contract stalemate unsettling Unsworth
By David Prior, Daily Post
Apr 8 2004
DAVID UNSWORTH has revealed how the uncertainty surrounding his future at Goodison is now "preying" on his mind.The Everton defender, (right), turned down the offer of a one-year extension to his contract earlier in the season in the hope that the club would come back and offer him a longer deal.But with just seven games to play no new offer has been coming, meaning that as things stand the 30-year-old, who joined the club as a schoolboy and then returned in 1998 after a season at West Ham, will be looking for a new club next month.Everton have said they do not intend to carry out negotiations with any of their players until the end of the season, but that policy has left Unsworth unsettled.He said: "Time has gone on and I'm still in the same position. I have to say it's been a bit disappointing, but I've just tried to get on with what I do best - and that's play football."We have important games coming up, we're thinking about those games and we need to push forward and get as many points as we can."On a personal level something will be happening in the summer - whether it's here or anywhere else and quite honestly, I don't know what's going to happen."Initially, it wasn't a problem, because there seemed to be a long time to go before the end of the season, but with the season coming to a close, it's in the back of my mind."It's not a concern, but it's preying on my mind."Anyone in this situation would like to see it resolved quicker, but all I can do is come in, train and do my job as best I can." Unsworth is keen not to let his situation affect his football.And he added: "Everybody's talking about what we might be doing in pre-season and the summer and I don't know if I'll be a part of it. It's a Catch-22 situation and a strange one to be in."

Stubbs feeling strain of relegation fight
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Apr 8 2004
ALAN STUBBS believes Everton's inability to spend in the last transfer window has contributed to their continued fight against relegation. The defender, (right), has a groin strain and is doubtful ahead of tomorrow's home clash with Tottenham, adding further pressure to David Moyes' injury-hit squad.The Everton manager was unable add any fresh faces to the squad during January, and that has started to take its toll. Stubbs said: "When we wanted to bring new faces in we couldn't. The budget is tight and it all adds to the situation; if you cannot bring in new players when you want to it becomes difficult. We have not got the biggest squad at the best of times."Stubbs, however, is confident Everton will soon pull away from relegation trouble.He said: "The 40-point mark will definitely see us safe. We look at the fact that we have seven games left and if we can win our home matches we should be okay. "Last season we went on a good run of about eight games and won most of them; that did us a lot of good and that is something we have not been able to achieve this term. Continuity is crucial. "If you win one, lose one, win one, lose a couple, it makes things hard. It is no good, you must get a run going.This season we have not done that." Stubbs admits he could face an operation during the summer to cure his persistent groin problem, which has kept him out of the last two league games. He said: "It is a niggly thing and it has been there for a little bit now and it seems to have taken a bit longer to go this time. "I think the injury, which I have had on and off for a few months, is something that may be looked at in more depth in the summer. "If it is still here in the next couple of weeks then I will go and see the specialist and if it needs an operation in the summer then I will have one."Francis Jeffers is still a doubt for the Easter fixtures with a back injury, but Gary Naysmith (groin) should be ready.

Amokachi finishes 'dreamfinal' hype
Post Past By Phillip J Redmond, Daily Post
Apr 8 2004
ShareEVERTON face a vital game against Tottenham, exactly nine years to the day after the FA Cup semi-final at Elland Road when Everton blew away the media's ideas of a mythical "dream final" between Spurs and Manchester United.From the time the draw was made, I remember being supremely confident that Joe Royle's Dogs of War would account for Jurgen Klinnsman and the rest of Tottenham's skilled, but brittle, outfit.Indeed, a successful hunch punt on Royal Athlete in the previous day's Grand National only confirmed my suspicions that 1995 was going to be the year of Big Joe after Royle's arrival had transformed Mike Walker's relegation certainties into feared Cup fighters.Everton struck the first decisive blow with a tidal wave of support from three sides of Elland Road. There were the big flags (whatever happened to them?) and royal blue and white everywhere.From the off, Spurs looked intimidated against the might of Joe Parkinson and Barry Horne in midfield, while Graham Stuart worked his socks off up front and Anders Limpar caused mayhem on the wings.The first goal saw Matt Jackson glancing home a typical Andy Hinchcliffe corner. By half-time Blues' fans only concern was that we weren't already three up and out of sight.Into the second, and Paul Rideout had one chalked off for offside before Stuart rolled in the second after a dreadful Walker error. It was then that things threatened to take a turn for the worse.With Everton so far on top it seemed like game over until the ref decided to hand Tottenham a life-line with a ridiculous penalty.Next, Rideout fell under a heavy challenge and on jogged Daniel Amokachi.With Spurs piling on the pressure, full-back Stuart Nethercott drove power-fully at goal. The imperious Neville Southall blocked superbly and suddenly Limpar was streaking away. Stuart exchanged passes with Horne and then crossed to the far post to the unheralded Amo. 3-1 and Everton were in the final. Spurs fell apart; Amokachi scored a second and could have had a hat-trick.

Stubbs fears summer groin operation
Apr 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS may have to undergo an operation in the summer to finally cure a persistent groin injury. The 32-year-old, had to be substituted at half-time in the home game against Middlesbrough and missed last weekend's trip to Newcastle because of a recurrence of the niggling injury. It has been troubling him since Christmas but the experienced defender has managed to play through the pain. He said: "I think the injury, which I have had on and off for a few months, is something that may be looked at in more depth in the summer because it is a niggling one. "If it is still here in the next couple of weeks then I will go and see the scialist and if it needs an operation in the summer then I will have one. "It is a bit touch and go at the moment. I'd hope to be fit for Friday but it is a niggly thing and it's been there for a little bit now." Stubbs' injury has added to David Moyes' defensive problems. David Weir is suspened, Joseph Yobo has been playing despite an ankle problem and Gary Naysmith is not fully fit because of a groin strain related to his ongoing hernia problems. The Scottish defender will have an operation at the end of the season. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Gary is holding his own. He has been training all week and at the moment he is very active. It looks as though he will be okay for the foreseeable future."

Midfielders need to chip in with goals - Sheedy
Apr 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Kevin Sheedy believes the club's midfield needs to weigh in with more goals to support the club's climb up the Premiership table. The former Irish international was a prolific scorer during his decade with the club between 1982 and 1992. He netted 92 times in 352 appearances in the Everton midfield and is worried that the current side relies too greatly on goals from the strikers. With Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney suspended for tomorrow night's clash with Tottenham and Francis Jeffers struggling with a back injury, the attacking ranks at Goodison are depleted and in need of valuable support. It is the ideal time for the mid-field to improve its goals return, having weighed in with just 14 goals in all competitions so far this season. Sheedy said: "The midfield has got to score more goals to help keep some of the pressure off the strikers. "There are a lot of good strikers in the Everton squad but they cannot be expected to score all the goals.
"There need to be more goals from different areas. The key to doing that is getting more players into scoring positions. "Our successful side in the 80s could score goals from anywhere. I got my fair share but there was also Trevor Steven who would score regularly from midfield and the centrebacks and full-backs would get involved as well." During the title-winning season of 1985 Sheedy and Steven were second and third highest scorers behind Graeme Sharp, netting 17 and 16 goals respectively. By contrast, the Blues have found goals hard to come by this term, from the strikers as well as elsewhere. Ferguson and Rooney are joint top scorers with eight goals this season along with Tomasz Radzinski. They have scored more goals than the rest of the squad put together.
"Being able to score from anywhere is the key to being successful," adds Sheedy. "Not having two of his strikers available must be a frustrating situation for David Moyes. It has been Duncan's best period for a long time where he has been injury free and playing. "And Wayne has bounced back after a quiet spell with some very good performances and his fair share of goals. "Without them there is a greater need for goals from elsewhere, particularly when you look at the league table."
The need for goals from midfield has been stressed by David Moyes in recent weeks, with Thomas Gravesen responding by finding the target twice in the last five games - breaking his duck for the season. Moyes has also higlighted Kevin Kilbane as another valuable outlet for goals. Like Sheedy, he is a left-footed Irish international who has managed to win over the fans with his ability and commitment to the cause. Sheedy adds: "Kevin has really improved. It is all about confidence.
"He didn't have the best of times at Sunderland and his career had gone a bit stale. Coming to Everton was a great move and the fans have taken to him. "He has got pace, he can go past defenders and he has got the ability to deliver quality crosses into the box and he can score goals.
"But he has got the potential to get even more goals and to get into even more decent crossing positions." Hard work has been the top of Sheedy's agenda in the last six months. Since leaving his assistant manager's job at Hartlepool last season he has been working with business partner Tony Pau setting up a company which specialises in domestic under-floor heating, state-of-theart TVs and LED lighting for bath-rooms and kitchens. Based at 53, Piercefield Road in Formby, Prestige Comforts opens its doors to the public this week.

Failing in the great debate
Apr 8 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
WE'VE all been saying it for most of the season. Arsenal are a great side. But after blowing their hopes of FA and European Cup glory within a week, the history books will actually now record otherwise, even if they do go on to win the league. Because truly great sides not only play great football - they win the trophies their skill and team spirit deserves. And in so doing carve out glorious memories which signal the success and which live forever with the fans. Sides like the Everton team of 1985, who won the league and the European Cup Winners Cup and after the Heysel Disaster were denied the chance to achieve even more the following season. Or the Liverpool sides of 1977 and 1984, who added European Cup silverware to domestic title success. It seemed that Arsenal, unbeaten in the league and earning rave reviews almost every week, were travelling down the path to greatness this season. So who'd have thought a week ago we'd see the looks that we did on the faces of the Arsenal supporters on Tuesday night. Expressions of shock, despair and heartbroken disbelief. Well perhaps they were imagined by people like Alex Ferguson and Claudio Ranieri who sent out teams to win the physical battle first against a side, which for all it's acclaimed ability, spirit and style, we now know actually does have a little soft spot. Gerard Houllier will be determined to add his name to Ferguson's and Ranieri's by seeing Liverpool inflict a first Premiership defeat upon the Gunners tomorrow, taking advantage of their current torment. Of course, as Houllier acknowledges, Liverpool will have to beware the old wounded tiger syndrome. But after their performance against Blackburn the self-belief and collective determination which the Reds showed surely can't go missing tomorrow. The reason it's a cliche is because it's true, but when the going gets tough the really tough do get going. When United and Chelsea failed to capitulate before the Gunners' aims, but kept battling and believing deep into the contest, Arsenal's hidden weakness was suddenly exposed. It's a small, rarely-seen blemish in a side which will now undoubtedly be deemed by history to have underachieved. But it is there. And it is enough to make a difference for those brave enough and talented enough to stand up to a side which has once again blown up on the biggest stage of all.

Everton 3, Tottenham 1 (D,Post)
Apr 9 2004 By Ian Doyle At Goodison Park, Daily Post
WHEN David Moyes said he was seeking a response from his under-fire defenders, he couldn't have imagined this. The Everton manager, had lambasted his rearguard following the "schoolboy" errors which undermined a promising attacking display at Newcastle United on Saturday. But while that lesson was learned last night, it was at the other end of the field the Everton defenders gained full honours by delivering the goals which have edged the Goodison side to within touching distance of Premiership safety. First-half strikes from David Unsworth, Gary Naysmith and Joseph Yobo gave Moyes's side their first home win over Tottenham since 1997 and only their second league victory over the Londoners in 24 matches. Those facts are secondary, however, to the one the Premier-ship table shows this morning. With one half of their potentially decisive Easter programme completed, Everton are now in 12th place, ahead of last night's opponents on goal difference and more importantly a healthy nine points clear of danger. And while that will allow Moyes to rest a little easier over the remainder of the holiday period, it was the all-round performance from his side that will give the Everton manager the greatest encouragement. Granted, a disinterested Tottenham looked every inch the managerless, mid-table outfit they are. But that should not detract from a fine team display from Everton which, following on from last weekend's determined showing at St James' Park, augurs well for the remainder of the campaign. It was all the more commendable given the continued absence of the suspended Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson, who were joined on the sidelines by the ill Kevin Campbell. That lack of firepower on paper was not transferred to the pitch, though, as Everton peppered the Tottenham goal in a blistering first half which provided the foundation for a comprehensive victory. For that, James McFadden must be given a healthy slap on the back for his endeavours. Making his first Premiership start at Goodison since December 20 as strike partner to Tomasz Radzinski, the Scottish international was a constant threat, his direct running and pace proving difficult for Tottenham's leadenfooted defence - minus Ledley King - to handle. McFadden was the only change from the side which lost 4-2 at Newcastle United last weekend, and Everton appeared determined to make amends for that defeat with a bright start, with Radzinski twice threatening to open the scoring inside the first 10 minutes. First, Steve Watson swept in a low cross from the right which the Canadian, sliding in at the near post, placed narrowly wide. Good pressure on the loose ball in midfield then produced a decent break for Everton, with Watson again feeding Radzinski in down the right channel but the striker's shot was parried clear by Kasey Keller. The fleet-footed duo of Radzinski and McFadden, (above), were causing problems for a Tottenham defence happy to defend their line high up the field, and the latter's persistence led to Everton's opener on 16 minutes. It looked a lost cause when McFadden chased a long ball which appeared destined to bounce out for a Tottenham goal-kick. But the harrying presence of the Scottish forward forced Anthony Garner into conceding a corner. Once the set-piece had been worked short to Thomas Gravesen, the Dane's inswinging cross was flicked on by Watson into the path of David Unsworth who had ghosted in at the far post to volley home from eight yards.
Television replays showed the defender looked marginally offside before he struck home, but after having seen Watson have a perfectly legitimate header ruled out at Newcastle six days earlier, Everton were due a touch of fortune. McFadden again played a prominent role when Everton doubled their advantage eight minutes later. The forward's powerful run at the Tottenham defence was brought to a halt by a foul by Gary Doherty 20 yards from goal, just left of centre.
With no Rooney or Alan Stubbs to call on, up stepped Gary Naysmith to brilliantly curl a left-footed free-kick around the Tottenham wall and inside the right-hand post of a flailing Keller. Up until that point, all Tottenham had mustered in terms of a threat was a Christian Ziege shot comfortably held by Nigel Martyn. Some fancy footwork from Jer-main Defoe fashioned a chance which was struck straight at the Everton goalkeeper, but it was a token response against a determined home defence for which Unsworth and Joseph Yobo excelled. McFadden was clearly enjoying himself and he forced Keller into a resourceful stop after one mazy run. And it was nearly 3-0 on 37 min-utes when, after Keller had been forced to head clear under pres-sure from Radzinski, the loose ball was nodded goalwards by Kilbane but Doherty headed clear. It was only delaying the inevitable, however, and as the attack continued the hapless Doherty brought down Gravesen outside the area. From an almost identical position to the previous free-kick, Naysmith this time stepped over the ball for Gravesen to fire in a low shot which Keller spilled and, after waiting 50 games for his first goal in Blue, Nigerian defender Yobo gleefully tapped in from six yards for his second strike in as many matches. With the game already won, the second half was a low-key affair, the calm pierced only fleetingly by flashes of goalmouth action. McFadden struck a shot just wide soon after the interval and Radzinski pulled one effort across the face of goal from a good position. Unsurprisingly, Everton could not keep up the same high tempo shown in the opening period and it allowed Tottenham in to grab a consolation goal with 15 minutes remaining, full-back Stephen Carr cutting in from the right flank to curl a shot with his left foot around Martyn and into the net. It was to be the Irish international's last contribution, though, as two minutes later he was booked for upending the marauding McFadden. But having already been cautioned for a foul on Gravesen in the first half, the Tottenham man was already walking off the field by the time referee Rob Styles brandished a second yellow card followed by a red. Ricketts forced Martyn into a decent save late on and Keane curled a free-kick narrowly wide, but that would have been unjust on Everton. What could have been four games without a win is now just one defeat in seven, with Premiership safety in sight.
A very Good Friday indeed.
EVERTON: Martyn, Pistone, Yobo, Unsworth, Naysmith, Watson, Gravesen (Carsley 87), Linderoth, Kilbane, McFadden (Jeffers 79), Radzinski. Subs: Nyarko, Hibbert, Wright.
TOTTENHAM: Keller, Carr, Doherty, Gardner, Ziege (Kanoute 45), Davies (Ricketts 72), Brown, Redknapp (Bunjevcevic 72), Kelly, Keane, Defoe. Subs: Jackson, Hirschfeld.
BOOKINGS: Redknapp, Doherty, Carr (all fouls). SENDING-OFF: Carr (second bookable offence).
REFEREE: R Styles (Hampshire).
ATT: 38,086.
NEXT GAME: Leeds United v Everton, Premiership, Tuesday, 7.45pm.

Everton 3, Tottenham 1 (Echo)
Apr 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were found guilty of some horrific errors at Newcastle, but last night the case for the defence was compelling. The Blues' back four had a stinker at St James' Park, under-mining one of the team's best away performances of the season, bringing to an end a five-match unbeaten run and bringing the threat of a relegation battle back into focus. Boy, did they make amends last night.

David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo, the worst culprits at Newcastle, have both been repentant this week, and both proved on the pitch that their apologies were heartfelt. Each netted in a thrilling first half as the Blues romped into a three-goal lead, with the other strike coming from the sweetest of free-kicks from another defender - Gary Naysmith. The game was over by half-time. And it provided the most important three points of the league campaign so far. The all-important 40-point mark may still be three points away, but with six games in which to reach that tally, not even the most pessimistic Evertonian will be secretly checking the odds on the club dropping out of the top division now. Securing Premiership safety was not something the fans expected to be celebrating over the Easter weekend when the season got underway back in August. The expectations were somewhat higher than that after the thrills and spills of last year and this has been a hugely disappointing season. But, for the time being at least, sit back and enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday reassured by the sight of the league table and the quality of last night's performance. Spurs, a side that has been rejuvenated since the signing of Jermain Defoe in January, were swept aside with ease. This was the Newcastle performance without the fallibility. And it is very rewarding to know the Blues can still play this well when Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney are unavailable .
It is no coincidence that the recent upturn in form has been achieved at a time when the manager has been able to pick a settled midfield. Tobias Linderoth has brought the best out of the mercurial Gravesen. Kevin Kilbane will run into walls for the cause and Steve Watson has been given the chance to play his way back into form after such a long period on the sidelines. But it wasn't just in midfield where the home side had the edge. The Londoners also boast enough beanpoles to ensure they are not suspectible from set-pieces - but last night that counted for nothing. They looked capable of conceding every time Gravesen jogged forward for a corner, and it took just 16 minutes for David Unsworth to capitalise. A short corner routine caught the visitors by surprise and, when Gravesen did finally curl in a cross, Steve Watson was on hand to provide the flick-on. Unsy ghosted in at the back post to volley home. The onslaught continued. The effervescent James McFadden came into the side last night, alongside Tomasz Radzinski, because Kevin Campbell was struck down by a flu bug. The Scot, who celebrates his 21st birthday next week, is confident he will be able to prove to David Moyes in the coming months that his best position is up front. This wasn't bad for starters. His quick feet tempted Doherty into a rash challenge on the edge of the area in the 24th minute. Gravesen dummied and Naysmith struck a left-footer around the wall and inside the near post. It was an exquisite finish, which could explain why each player was in such a rush to congratulate the Scot. Or maybe the exuberant celebrations were something to do with the fact they too knew how important this game was to the club's march away from the drop zone.
It certainly wasn't lost on the crowd. For weeks the Goodison atmosphere has been quieter than a Royal visit to Liverpool. But on this occasion, it was as it should be, and there were certainly no shortage of reasons to get excited. There could have been so many more goals before Rob Styles put the whistle to his lips to signal half-time. Kilbane had a header from 25 yards cleared off the line by Doherty with Kasey Keller stranded and McFadden twice forced the American keeper into saves with efforts from 20 yards. But it was apt that it was Yobo, who just a week ago had never found the target for Everton, who added the third. Once again Doherty was guilty of diving in, this time bringing down Gravesen on the edge of the box. The Dane stepped up, opted against the dummy on this occasion and smashed the ball through the wall. Keller could only parry it and Yobo followed up for his second goal in six days. With five minutes remaining before the interval the Blues were over the hill and out of sight. The thumping of Leeds back in September may have provided the same half-time scoreline, but this match was far more significant, not because the opposition possessed far more quality but because the position the result puts the Blues in ahead of the trip to Elland Road. The flow of the game didn't alter after the interval, despite the arrival of Freddie Kanoute in place of the anonymous Christian Ziege. McFadden dazzled with his quick feet in the 51st minute but his finish lacked the quality of the build up and flashed wide of the target. Everton could and maybe should have pushed for even more goals, but just when it seemed both teams were going through the paces, sub Rohan Ricketts set up Stephen Carr for a neat goal. With 16 minutes left, it was nothing more than a consolation. And Carr's celebrations were short-lived. He was dismissed for a second bookable offence three minutes later after a bad challenge on McFadden. Victory was assured. Much of this season may have been a trial, but last night the defence ensured the final verdict will be a welcome one for Moyes and his men.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Unsworth, Yobo, Naysmith; Watson, Linderoth, Gravesen (Carsley 88), Kilbane; Radzinski, McFadden (Jeffers 79). Not used: Wright, Nyarko, Hibbert.
TOTTENHAM (4-4-2): Keller; Carr, Doherty, Gardner, Kelly; Davies (Bunjevcevic 73), Brown, Redknapp (Ricketts 73), Ziege (Kanoute 46); Keane, Defoe. Not used: Jackson, Hirschfeld. REF: Rob Styles
BOOKINGS: Redknapp, Doherty, Carr; Linderoth.

Everton have given me new lease of life
Apr 11 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE last 12 months of Nigel Martyn's Leeds United career was a nightmare. But tomorrow he returns to Elland Road for the first time since becoming an Everton player admitting that the enforced absence from competitive action has rejuvenated him. Since arriving at Goodison on September 1 last year he has become David Moyes' number one choice, earned rave reviews and even been linked with a return to the fold. But England honours no longer concern the 37-year-old Cornishman. After enduring one of the toughest year's of his professional career his priorities this season were simple - his family and playing regular first teamfootball again. Moving to Everton allowed him to fulfil the latter without jeopardising the time he spends with the former. And so when he steps onto the Elland Road turf there will be a spring in his step not seen by the Leeds faithful for almost two years. He recalls: "It was hard to come to terms with not playing, after having played virtually every season for such a long time. "Training so hard every day knowing that there was no game to look forward to was tough. With no disrespect, playing in front of 200 people at Wakefield is very different from playing in front of 40,000 in the Premiership. "I had seven years at Leeds and I still have a lot of good friends there, but you can get stale after a while. "This was a really good move for me and I have felt rejuvenated because of it. "From a personal point of view, I have thoroughly enjoyed this season and it is great to be playing regularly again." His Leeds nightmare began in the wake of the 2002 World Cup. After returning from almost two months away with Sven Goran Eriksson's squad in the Far East Martyn felt jaded. A difference of opinion with Terry Venables over Martyn's availability for Leeds' pre-season tour cost him his first team place and he was never given the opportunity to snatch it back from Paul Robinson. But the time spent on the training ground was not wasted. Indeed, it has been to Everton's benefit. He explains: "Last year was difficult but because of the enforced break I have felt completely refreshed this year.
"I don't like to set targets or say when I think I will stop. I just want to keep playing as long as I can and as long as I am wanted. "I do feel in good shape at the moment and I am enjoying myself. I feel as good as I have for a long time. "But I am not going to try and guess what will happen in the future." His age certainly doesn't concern David Moyes, who has made no secret of his delight with Martyn's form this season. He knows he will have to maintain it at Elland Road tomorrow. Leeds may be facing the very real prospect of dropping out of the top flight, but in Mark Viduka and Alan Smith they have an attacking combination to rival the Premiership's finest. Martyn adds: "They are two strikers who I know a lot about. "I faced them every day in training and I know how good they are. "They will have a big part to play for Leeds between now and the end of the season. And we know it is not going to be an easy place to go. "They have not done too badly at home recently, it is away from home where they have struggled. "Obviously, I would like Leeds to stay up. But it is more important that we get the points. "I would be happy to see them win every one of their remaining games, provided we win when we go there. "I am sure they have got enough quality to get out of trouble. "But I will worry about them once we have got enough points to make sure we are definitely safe." Martyn has every confidence in Everton's ability to do that. He adds: "It has been a funny season because there are very few clubs that have nothing to play for. There are still a lot looking over their shoulders, like us, and there are lot still in with a chance of getting into Europe. "We are playing a lot of the sides below us in the table in the next few weeks. Blackburn, Wolves, Manchester City - it will be a relief to go to Chelsea and play a team that isn't in the same situation! "I don't actually think it has been our best spell of football of the season, even though we have had some good results. "I actually think we were passing the ball around better at the start of the season. But it is the points that matter and we have been hard to beat lately. "If we hadn't conceded those late goals we would have four or five more points and would probably be safe. "But because we are playing teams around us in the table we know we can jump up quite a few positions." Securing points at Elland Road has always been a problem for the Toffees. It was Wayne Rooney who inspired the club to their first league victory at Leeds in 51 years last season. But Martyn has a different theory as to why Everton finally won in Yorkshire - and why they will win again tomorrow. He explains: "I remember there was always talk about that record. I would just like to point out I wasn't in the teamfor Leeds last season, and I was there for the previous 50 years!"

Contract talks on hold untill Blues are clear
Apr 11 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed that the future of a host of Everton players will be decided when the club is mathematically safe from relegation. A number of senior players are out of contract at the end of the season, with even more coming to the end of their Goodison deals at the end of the 2004/05 campaign. Moyes told the ECHO: "Once we are in a situation where our position in the Premiership is assured we will get round the table and look at contracts. Nothing will be discussed until then." David Unsworth is the most high-profile member of the Goodison squad out of contract in the summer and the most likely to be offered a deal to keep him with the Toffees. His representatives have held preliminary talks with Bolton and Manchester City but the 30-year-old defender would prefer to remain at Everton. He turned down a one-year contract extension on reduced terms before Christmas and no new offer has been forthcoming. But after re-inventing himself as a centre-back and becoming a first-team regular once again, Unsworth could now be in line for a fresh offer. Niclas Alexandersson and Paul Gerrard have already been allowed to leave, while Steve Simonsen will move on in the summer after rejecting a take-it-or-leave-it offer. Midfielder Scot Gemmill, who is coming to the end of a one month loan spell at Preston, is also unlikely to receive a new deal. But the biggest headache for the Goodison chief is set to centre on the players out of contract in the summer of 2005. Alan Stubbs, Steve Watson, Tomasz Radzinski, Alessandro Pistone, Nigel Martyn, Thomas Gravesen, Kevin Kilbane, Gary Nay-smith, James McFadden, David Weir, Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell all come to the end of their current deals next year. Ferguson and Campbell, the two best paid players at the club, will not be given new deals but Moyes may wish to tie down younger players like Kilbane, Gravesen, McFadden and Naysmith this summer. The Blues go to Leeds tomorrow night knowing victory will take them to the coveted 40-point mark, viewed by many as the point at which safety is assured. The return from suspension of Wayne Rooney, who scored in last season's first league victory at Elland Road in 51 years, will return after suspension. Kevin Campbell is also expected to be available again after recovering from a bout of flu.

Jeffers' Blues career is over
Apr 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS has blown his chances of restarting his career at Everton after an amazing outburst at David Moyes. But the 22-year-old striker, has not been sent back to Arsenal. He will stay with Everton until his season-long loan deal comes to an end on June 1, training at Bellefield with no hope of playing for the club. Jeffers ruined his faint hopes of securing a permanent move back to Goodison after telling Moyes in the wake of Friday night's win over Tottenham that he would not play for the club while he was the manager. He refused to retract that statement during a meeting with the manager at Bellefield on Saturday morning and he will now not figure in the club's six remaining Premiership games. Jeffers' outburst came after he was omitted from the starting line-up for Friday night's game despite the absence of the injured Kevin Campbell and the suspended Wayne Rooney and Duncan Ferguson. The player claims he was told on Thursday that he was in the starting line-up, only to discover on Friday that James McFadden had been picked to partner Tomasz Radzinski. Everton notified Arsenal of the situation yesterday and are still awaiting a response.
But the Gunners are unlikely to cut short the loan deal and take Jeffers back before June 1 because the player is ineligible to play for the champions' elect for the remainder of the season. They will be unwilling to pay the striker's full £30,000-a-week contract if he is not available for selection.
Instead, they will continue to share his wage bill with Everton until his loan deal expires.
An Everton statement said: "Following a misunderstanding with regard to team selection for the Premiership game with Tottenham, Everton can confirm that Francis Jeffers held talks with manager David Moyes on Friday night. "During the course of that meeting Francis made certain statements with regard to his future, indicating that he no longer wished to play for the manager.
"In an attempt to resolve the situation David Moyes met with Francis for a second time on Saturday morning, giving him the opportunity to retract his statement - something he chose not to do.
"Under the circumstances, Everton felt it was wholly appropriate to contact Arsenal to make them aware of the situation. "Francis Jeffers' loan spell from Arsenal will end on June 1, 2004 when he will return to High-bury. Everton will be making no further comment on this matter." Jeffers' future could now lie in Scotland, with Rangers interested in the £3m-rated striker. He is surplus to requirements at Highbury after his number nine shirt was given to £ 17. 8m record signing Jose Antonio Reyes. Birmingham are also tracking the situation, but are unlikely to step up their interest if Steve Bruce can successfully convince Chelsea into selling Mikael Forssell - currently on loan at the Midlands club - for £5m or agree another season-long loan for the Norwegian striker. Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren made enquiries for Jeffers last summer before the player moved to Everton but the Riverside boss is now believed to have switched his focus to Liverpool forward Emile Hesk ey an d Mark Viduka. Jeffers' return to Goodison has not worked out. He has scored just two goals and started only six matches after failing to break into the side ahead of Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski and Duncan Ferguson.

Sympathetic Martyn is relishing Leeds reunion
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 13 2004
NIGEL MARTYN has reason to reflect on his contrasting fortunes with Leeds this season with a sense of smug satisfaction. Except, as Elland Road will testify tonight, their relationship prevents any such bitterness. The genial goalkeeper enjoyed an illustrious career at Leeds before being frozen out by Terry Venables during his ill-fated spell at the helm of the troubled York-shire club. Despite the manner of his exit he bears no grudge towards his former employers, who now find themselves fighting for Premiership survival while the 37-year-old enjoys an Indian Summer at Goodison Park.
Leeds's loss has been Everton's gain this season, although on the whole the reverse is true when recalling how United landed the then Crystal Palace stopper while Goodison officials infamously kept him waiting for an interview at Park Foods HQ in 1996. Martyn is genuinely alarmed at their plight, anxious they avoid the drop and keen to promote Eddie Gray as the man to lead Leeds long term.
Yet, even with the Good Friday defeat of Tottenham invigorating confidence and belief at Everton, he insists his current club are in no position to offer any favours in the Premiership tonight.
"We have strung a few results together that has helped us pull a few points clear of trouble but we are not safe yet," said the Everton number one. "We still need at least one more win. If we suffer a bad result at Leeds they will be only three points behind us and then we have to go to Chelsea on Saturday, so we need to keep a run going and finish the season strong. "We produced a good pressing game on Friday and we need to keep that going at Leeds. You can't keep that up for 90 minutes and we played differently for the last 20 minutes which seemed to work as well. We had worked on closing down in numbers in certain areas in training and on the night it worked well. It was a good, all-round performance." If Everton has been a welcome escape for the former England international then the plight of the team he left behind has been the biggest headache from last August's transfer. He admits: "Personally it has just been nice to play again after missing out last year. I kept myself fit and trained hard last season so that I was available if the chance came and I was fortunate to get a chance here. "Then it is a case of being determined not to let things go wrong and, with a bit of luck as well, it has gone my way. This season has been an absolute pleasure for me.
"I have enjoyed my time at Everton and have been accepted by the supporters which is important. But at the same time I am a bit sad at what has happened across the Pennines. "They have had a lot to deal with and, despite what people think, I'm sure it has been very hard for the players to keep a focus. It is not that easy to just go out and do it given what has happened there but I'm sure they believe they can get out of it now. "They were in a similar situation last season but managed to get out of it and I think they've still got the squad to do it. They have lifted a big weight off themselves with recent results and they are playing very well again." Caretaker manager Gray has helped give Leeds a Premiership lifeline in recent weeks and tonight Everton face a team with momentum on their side. Whether it carries them to safety or not, Martyn believes his former coach has already proved his worth for a permanent post at Elland Road. He added: "Eddie has steadied things since he took over and has done a great job. It hasn't been easy, as it wasn't for Peter Reid who I also think did well. "I know it is a cliche but Eddie is Leeds through and through. When I went to the club in 1996 he was already an established part of Leeds and whatever happens this season, I think he deserves a chance to manage them next season. "If he keeps them up then he will have earned his chance, and if they go down he's the man who can build something there. He is very popular with the players, he is not always going to be your best friend as a manager, but that's what players need.
"Eddie has a vast football knowledge and the new owners were clever to appoint Peter Lorimer as well as hopefully he will see Eddie as the man for Leeds. The players want him to stay and as recent results have shown they are working for him." While Everton are guaranteed a hostile reception tonight, their goalkeeper - as he has been on many occasions this season - will be the exception.
"I've been looking forward to this game all season," he admits: "I had a lot of good times there and have kept in touch with quite a few and I saw them all again recently at John Charles's funeral.
"I hope I get a good reception. When we played Leeds at Goodison earlier in the season I was anxious to impress the Everton fans and the Leeds fans gave me a great reference. They chanted my name for 20 minutes and it was very touching." Earlier this season David Moyes was chanting Martyn's name for an England recall, although the keeper now admits: "Going to a European Championship to be on the bench would be detrimental to both Everton and me at my age."
Martyn dismisses the theory that he could be in the same Euro 2004 squad as Leeds keeper Paul Robinson, and that he has taken a personal call from England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson over his future. Martyn said: "There is a very, very slim chance of me being in the Euro 2004 squad. I am supposed to have received a phone call from the England manager, but I can assure everyone that has not been the case. "He has not rung me, but he knows where I am if he does want me."
Nevertheless, the Everton manager has not brought his plaudits for the veteran to an end just yet.
"Of all the signings Nigel has been the one who I feel has given us an important steadying influence at a time when I am trying to change the age group around. He has helped us on numerous occasions this season," said Moyes yesterday. "As David Seaman showed, keepers get better with age and Nigel has performed so well. With Richard Wright out for six months through injury we needed to make a decision about bringing someone in and I think Nigel has proved to be the right one."

Moyes happy to have striking problem
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 13 2004
DAVID MOYES has welcomed his latest striking problem as Everton search for the victory that could secure their Premiership status at Leeds tonight. The Everton manager, was bereft of forwards against Newcastle and Tottenham, and brought an end to Francis Jeffers's Goodison career after a furious row with the on-loan star this weekend. But his attacking options will improve considerably tonight when he recalls Wayne Rooney from suspension at Elland Road. And with James McFadden and Tomasz Radzinski forming a potent partnership in the Good Friday victory over Spurs, Moyes admits he is finally facing a positive selection dilemma. The Everton manager, who is still without the suspended Duncan Ferguson and the ill Kevin Campbell, said: "Wayne will come back into the squad but I won't decide if he starts until nearer the time. "The good thing is we have players who are playing well and I have a decision to make on them. It's when they are not playing well when it's bad for a manager. At times we have had a few players off form but James McFadden played well on Friday, Tomasz Radzinski is more like himself again and before his suspension Wayne had found form." A recall for Rooney - who gave Everton their first league win at Elland Road for 51 years last season - could threaten McFadden's place despite a man-of-the-match display from the Scottish international on Friday. "I still don't want to pigeonhole him," said Moyes. "He is a versatile player who has had a big season with the move from Motherwell to here. He has had a great season with Scotland and has made big strides as an international player." Moyes continued: "He is one of the biggest prospects Scotland have produced for years but has come to a club that hasn't done as well as we'd have liked this season. "But he has great ability and in time will become a terrific player. He was fantastic against Leeds earlier in the season and we know what a talent we've got. Next season, with more experience, he will be even better." Moyes is anxious his side repeat the performance that swept Spurs aside and gain the victory that will leave Everton on 40 points with five matches remaining. He said: "Leeds will have gained a lot of confidence from their recent results and feel they now have a realistic chance of getting out of trouble, but I think we are playing quite well at the moment too. "We are going there with confidence and we gained a lot of belief from Friday. The performances have been good recently and hopefully we can produce another one at Leeds.
"I think Friday's was our best all-round performance this season. Every player was interested in the team and wanted to be a team player. That is really important. "We didn't rely on anyone, we were all in it and it was hard to find any faults in the performance. That has to happen regularly to become a good Premiership team." Alan Stubbs is again sidelined tonight with a groin injury while Jeffers, who will remain at Everton until the summer but will not play for the club again, trained alone at Bellefield yesterday afternoon.

Matteo: We're building home fortress again
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Apr 13 2004
ShareDOMINIC MATTEO believes Elland Road is again becoming a place to be feared as the club fight for Barclaycard Premiership survival. The Whites were a soft touch at home earlier in the season, managing just two wins and four draws in their first 12 games spread over the first six months. But in the last eight weeks they have matched that 10-point haul with three wins and a draw in four encounters. Caretaker-manager Eddie Gray has long preached the value of the club's home form being key to United remaining in the top flight, and they again face another vital game tonight with the visit of Everton. If Leeds can continue their current unbeaten run at Elland Road to the end of the season, with Portsmouth and Charlton to follow, it will go a long way towards erasing the pain skipper Matteo has been feeling. "People can see we're trying our best, particularly at home," reflected centre-back Matteo, who has been forced to play in mid-field in the last two matches.
"Teams have been coming here and it's been too easy for them this season, but I'm glad they are now getting a tough game, and those yet to come are going to find it harder than it has been this season. "That's the one thing that has disappointed me - teams have been seeing us as an easy touch, and that hurts me and a lot of the other lads. "It affects your pride because just two years ago teams who came here, and we didn't play well, we would beat - and I'd like to get back to that."
Leeds' bid for safety, though, is being over-shadowed by the speculation surrounding who might leave in the summer as the new board have made it clear there will be sales. Given his outstanding contribution, Matteo could be on his way, particularly as he is one of the most bankable assets along with Mark Viduka, Alan Smith, Paul Robinson and James Milner. But the players are refusing to contemplate what could happen in the summer as Matteo added: "There's no talk of that.
"We've all agreed we will just battle on because we want to stay in this division. We all want to stay at Leeds. "We want to make sure we stay in the Premier League and we are going to try our best to do that. "We are trying to be positive. We know it will be difficult, but we will keep battling on.
"This season it's been hard for us all, so if we could stay up it would be fantastic."

Moyes' young strike options
Apr 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will have to disappoint one of his young starlets tonight. Wayne Rooney, returns from suspension for the trip to Leeds and is vying with James McFadden for a starting berth alongside Tomasz Radzinski. The duo were described by the Goodison chief as "two of the best prospects in the country" after Friday night's 3-1 victory over Spurs. But there is only room for one of them in the starting line-up at Elland Road. McFadden earned rich praise from Moyes for his performance alongside Radzinski in that match and the Scot, who celebrates his 21st birthday tomorrow, is the favourite to get the nod. But the return from Rooney after a two-game suspension has given the manager a welcome selection headache, with the 18-year-old eager to repeat his goalscoring feat of last season when he inspired Everton to their first league win at Elland Road in 51 years. Moyes admit ted: "Wayne will come back into the squad but I won't decide if he starts until nearer the time. "The good thing is we have players who are playing well and I have a decision to make on them. It is when they are not playing well that it is bad for a manager. "James McFadden played well on Friday, Tomasz Radzinski is more like himself again and before his suspension Wayne had found form. "Having Wayne back is important for our final weeks and these last six games."
That is why Francis Jeffers is unlikely to be missed. The striker trained alone yesterday after telling Moyes on Saturday that he no longer wanted to play for him. Jeffers will remain at Goodison until his loan deal runs out on June 1 after Arsene Wenger insisted the Gunners would not be welcoming the player back ahead of schedule. The controversy with Jeffers, coupled with the loss of the suspended Duncan Ferguson and the continued absence of Kevin Campbell with flu, leaves the Blues with just three forwards to choose from. But Moyes is confident of his side 's chances at Elland Road tonight. He said: "The players felt good about t-selves after the victory over Spurs, and rightly so. "Their performance was excellent and all I am asking is that we start against Leeds the same way. If they do that there will be no complaints from me. "It was as close to our regular performances of last season as we have managed for a long while. More than anything, it was the team ethic and how hard they all worked together. "We know it is going to be hard tonight. Now, in the position they have got themselves into, we under no illusions about just how hard it is going to be for us. "They have got two terrific centre-forwards in Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, and those two make a big, big difference to their side. "We know that if we are going to win we are going to have to defend well." The Blues are also boosted tonight by the return from suspension of David Weir.
Meanwhile, Preston boss Craig Brown has enquired about extending Scot Gemmill's loan at Deepdale into a second month.

Unsworth: We can't afford to relax
Apr 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH has warned that not even victory at Elland Road tonight will allow Everton's guard to drop in the battle to climb the table and avoid a relegation battle. The 40-point mark is generally regarded as the level at which Premiership safety is assured. Three points at Leeds will take Everton on to that total. But when you ask the 30-year-old defender about the importance of reaching that total he says two words - West Ham. He said: "The 40-point mark is seen as the safety line but West Ham thought that last season and they went down with more than that. "You never know, some teams can go on a run and that can push the points total needed up a little higher. We will just keep going. "The sooner we can get another win under our belts the sooner we can go and enjoy the rest of the season. "We want to crack on and win as many games as we can between now and May." West Ham dropped out of the top flight last season despite finishing the campaign with 42 points. Everton have six games left in which to surpass that total. They also know that a win tonight will deprive one of the club's below them of valuable points. The Blues go to Yorkshire in confident mood after losing just once in their last seven Premiership outings. That one defeat came at Newcastle on the club's last awayday. Unsworth and defensive partner Joseph Yobo were guilty of some terrible errors which cost the side goals and led to the 4-2 reverse. The Good Friday demolition of Tottenham with goals from the two defenders and left-back Gary Naysmith helped make amends for that horror show. Unsworth adds: "It was good to get on the pitch after the game at Newcastle. "It comes down to personal pride and I wasn't happy with my performance at Newcastle. That was the most disappointing game for me this season. "On the whole I have been happy back at centre-half and I have enjoyed playing there but after the Newcastle game I was suicidal. Personal pride drives you to do well in training and in every game. I wanted to put it right, as did Joe." The duo did that emphatically. Unsworth admits it helped boost their confidence ahead of tonight's game at Leeds. "To lead the team out as skipper and to win in that manner, playing the best football we have played this season was great," he adds. "It is always great to score but it doesn't matter who scores. The important thing for me and Joe the other night was going back to basics, heading the ball and clearing it first and foremost. I felt we did that. "Joe was outstanding. The closing down and the work-rate was second to none and the game was won at half-time.
"It was good to be a part of that after what happened at Newcastle." The disappointment of St James' Park also provided the realisation that a battle against relegation was still on the agenda.
The win over Tottenham was vital and Unsworth has warned Leeds that it has put the side in confident mood ahead of tonight. "That was a big win for us in terms of just calming everybody down and enjoying the rest of the season now. "It would be nice to go to Leeds and get something. Then we can enjoy the rest of the season with no fears. That is what we aim to do."

Leeds 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Apr 14 2004 By Andy Hunter At Elland Road, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES'S mission for Everton involves youthful talent evolving into a Premiership force. Yet if they only secure their place on that stage by the slenderest of margins this season then it is a 37-year-old they have to thank. Nigel Martyn was simply magnificent on his return to Elland Road last night as he singlehandedly took Everton a point closer to survival. And if this performance ultimately costs Leeds their topflight status, then they only have themselves to blame for letting him go.
The year Martyn spent in the Yorkshire wilderness perhaps explains his extraordinary vitality for Moyes's men this season, but not why he was allowed to leave Leeds on a free transfer last August; that was simply one of several cost-cutting exercises employed by the Elland Road club to avoid administration. Yet the two points he denied his former club last night could cost Leeds millions if, as is looking likely after this result, they slide into the Nationwide next season and the cruel ironies of football will have claimed another victim. Sod's law was sure to take centre stage at Elland Road, and it was either Martyn or recalled Leeds substitute Nick Barmby who would dictate its course.
Fortunately for Everton it was on their side, as they survived an hour-long onslaught by Leeds to escape with a draw but, more importantly, with the six-point gap between themselves and Eddie Gray's team still intact. Not many opposition players receive a standing ovation from all four sides of Elland Road but despite adding to Leeds's relegation fears with sublime stops from James Milner, Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, that honour befell Martyn, an outstanding servant and still outstanding keeper. Everton produced another commanding start and took a deserved lead through Wayne Rooney's ninth goal of the season on 12 minutes, but the only similarity thereafter with Tottenham was the colour of the opposition shirts as the visitors were submerged by Leeds's desperation to survive and their own failure to react. James McFadden's impressive display on Good Friday was not enough to overshadow Rooney's claims for an immediate recall following his two-game suspension. And the switch was vindicated inside 12 minutes as Everton continued in the same vein as the Spurs game and established an early lead through Rooney's fifth goal in six games. Thomas Gravesen instigated the opener after he was given a second attempt to improve on a poor corner from the left and picked out Steve Watson with his back to goal inside the area. The Everton midfielder sensed Rooney's intentions immediately and rolled the ball behind Gary Kelly for the waiting striker to unleash a shot from 20-yards that, although close to Paul Robinson, gave the Leeds keeper no chance with its searing pace. Rooney's shot found the same corner as his historic winner at Elland Road last season, and this time he added a neat little somersault to his celebrations in front of the ecstatic away end. The quality of the teenager's finish was on a par with the calibre of the visitors' attacking play, yet while that would have satisfied Moyes there was the lingering frustration his team could so easily have been three goals in front after 15 minutes and not hanging onto a slender lead as half-time approached. Everton's first move of any note took seven minutes to arrive following a determined opening by their hosts and created a glorious opportunity for Tomasz Radzinski. Sent clear inside the area by Tobias Linderoth the Canadian international was favourite to beat Robinson and though his low shot towards the far corner was clean enough, the home keeper just got a touch to turn it wide. Three minutes after the breakthrough, and from another tight angle on the other side of the area, Radzinski went even closer. This time he was played free by Gravesen, and though his shot improved to beat Robinson it struck the inside of the far post and Michael Duberry just managed to prevent Rooney prodding the ball over the line. It proved a pivotal moment. Against a Leeds side forced to deploy a makeshift central mid-field of two centre-halves, Dominic Matteo and Lucas Radebe, Everton clearly had the beating of their opponents yet as the half wore on Leeds began to dominate and Martyn soon became the game's star performer.
Led by the magnificent Smith - imagine him alongside Rooney if Everton had the money or ambition to think big - the home side began to win the aerial battles but, until Milner's 49th-minute equaliser, it appeared the cheap departure of Martyn would return to haunt them. On the half hour he produced a sublime stop to delay Milner's moment of glory. Having conceded possession to the young midfielder with a loose clearance from an awkward back pass, the 37-year-old was stranded as Milner curled a goal-bound effort towards the empty net from the touchline. The equaliser seemed certain, until a flying palm arrived from nowhere and Martyn scooped the attempt out.
Then, having dealt with a decent Smith chance as a matter of routine, he equalled his earlier save to tip over a 30-yard drive from the Leeds centre-forward that was destined for his top corner.
The half-time whistle came as a welcome reprieve for Everton, but it did not signal a cessation in the Yorkshiremen's onslaught. Martyn continued his oneman mission three minutes after the restart to foil Mark Viduka after the Australian waltzed free inside the area, but seconds later he was finally beaten as his fellow defenders again failed to match Leeds's energy or determination. The ball was returned to Viduka on the edge of the penalty box, he found Milner with a simple lay-off and with no challenge forthcoming from either Joseph Yobo or Alessandro Pistone the midfielder's 18-yard shot crept just inside the Everton keeper's post. With the traffic remaining one way thereafter Moyes made a double substitution to change half of his midfield. Yet while Everton had the invention and touch to hurt Leeds on the rare occasions they ventured forward they were continually second best in the tackle, slow to react, and continued to struggle for parity. Gravesen had produced a fine first-half display but his level dropped badly after the break and he was fortunate his goalkeeper was in such excellent form when he lost possession on 71 minutes and Smith, after a one-two with Viduka, found himself through on goal but denied by Marytn's reaction save. Everton's only second-half attempt came from substitute Alex Nyarko, who let fly from 30 yards but just too high to trouble Robinson. It was a case of hanging on throughout the second half and, thanks to their free signing from Leeds last August, that was precisely what they did, their defending improving steadily to prevent any repeat of the costly late goals that have kept Everton in the mire. Moyes's men have been deprived of many deserved points on their travels this season. Last night's was not one of them.
LEEDS (4-4-2): Robinson; Kelly, Duberry, Caldwell, Harte; Pennant, Radebe, Matteo, Milner; Viduka, Smith. Subs: Carson, Barmby, Olembe, Lennon, Johnson. BOOKINGS: Caldwell, Radebe (fouls)
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Yobo, Unsworth, Naysmith; Watson (McFadden 55), Gravesen (Carsley 79), Linderoth (Nyarko 55), Kilbane; Rooney, Radzinski. Subs: Wright, Hibbert. BOOKING: Nyarko (foul)
REFEREE: Paul Durkin
ATT: 39,835
NEXT GAME: Chelsea v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm.

Moyes' salute for inspired Martyn
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 14 2004
DAVID MOYES saluted Nigel Martyn's inspired professionalism after he produced a stunning display on his return to Elland Road last night. The 37-year-old prevented Everton slipping further into relegation trouble with a series of worldclass saves that increased Leeds's fears of the drop.
Wayne Rooney marked his return from suspension with another fine Elland Road goal as Moyes's side looked on course for a second Easter victory. But Leeds dominated the contest after Tomasz Radzinski's 15thminute shot cannoned off the inside of the post only for Martyn to deny his former club three precious points. "There was no more fitting place for Nigel to have a blinder than Elland Road," said Moyes. "He was absolutely terrific. "He has been playing in that fashion for us all season. He missed a year of football here last season but he has been fantastic for us. He is not only a good goal-keeper he is a good man and we are delighted to have him. "It was hard to pick out one save from him as there were so many they all seemed to blur into one!" James Milner, one of several Leeds players foiled by the Everton keeper, grabbed a deserved equaliser on 49 minutes as the visitors struggled to recreate the form that dispensed of Tottenham on Good Friday.
And Moyes admitted: "We made a great start and carried on the way we played against Tottenham. We were full of confidence and belief, got the goal and if the second one had gone in that might have been it. But when it didn't go in Leeds seemed to gain spirit from that and put us under increasing pressure as the game went on. "We didn't play well but we showed a lot of character to hang on in there. We have lost a lot of late goals recently but we did well to avoid that fate again. Apart from the first 20 minutes we didn't play well but we showed another side to our game.
"Yobo started to step in front of Viduka and ended up having a smashing game. Leeds's first line of attack is with their goalkeeper Robinson who clears it so far you have to defend attacks that start from their box. You need to keep the ball down and play under pressure to deal with that, which we didn't do, but there were other parts to our game that were good." The Everton manager added: "It was a good goal by Wayne but he looked tired in the second half which is down to him missing the last few weeks. Plus he was feeding on scraps the longer the game went on and he was carrying a few knocks. "He has got terrible stud marks down his back and took a knock on his foot as well. Steve Watson, Tobias Linderoth and Gary Naysmith all took knocks but I couldn't take them all off."
The draw leaves Everton six points clear of third-from-bottom Leeds but Moyes admits the relegation battle is still a long way from being resolved this season. He said: "There is still a lot of football to be played and I don't know what it will take to stay up now. But we are a point further on and four points at Easter is not a bad return. "It is another point for us. Elland Road is a really difficult place to come just now and we knew what they had to do. We knew it was going to be hard.
"We didn't play as well as we would have liked but the players deserve credit for not buckling and standing up to Viduka and Smith who are a hell of a partnership and always put you under pressure."

No time to have a tantrum, Francis
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Apr 14 2004
FRANCIS JEFFERS' choice is quite straightforward. He can go in to David Moyes' office today and apologise for his ill-advised outburst at the weekend. Or he can go back to Arsenal on the next plane. Everyone wanted Jeffers' loan move to work out. Everyone wanted him to come back to Everton, form a great partnership with Wayne Rooney and score 20 goals. But he isn't the same player anymore, and who's fault is that? Certainly not David Moyes's. The manager sees him in training week in, week out, and if he thought he could do a job for Everton, make no mistake he would play him. Jeffers got a bit upset at being left out of the Spurs game. The team then played one of their best game of the season - I'm thinking the manager got his selection about right.
Where does he go from here? My advice would be for him to go in to see David Moyes and say 'look gaffer, I got it wrong'. I'm sure Moyes would say fine, forget about it and get out there and prove to me why I should pick you. Apart from anything else, the first thing any other manager interested in picking up Jeffers this summer is going to do is ring up Moyes. What was he like, they'll ask.
Moyes will either say well, he lost his rag and took his ball back to London, or Moyes can say he's a hard worker and a fit player. Who knows, he may even get a couple of games at the end.
Time for a bit of humble pie, Francis.

Nigel has been a star all season - Kilbane
By Scott Mcleod, Daily Post
Apr 14 2004
EVERTON'S Kevin Kilbane today hailed Nigel Martyn as one of the club's heroes of the season.
The 37-year-old goalkeeper produced a string of top class saves to help Everton to a 1-1 draw at Leeds last night. It was a vital point as David Moyes' side edged ever closer to securing their Premiership status for next season. Kilbane, arrived at Goodison alongside Martyn on transfer deadline day in September and has been hugely impressed by the keeper's form. The 27-year-old Irish international said: "Nigel has been a star for us all season and last night was just a reflection of what he has done for us all year. "He has been one of the best ever goalkeepers to play for Leeds and he showed last night what a great goalkeeper he is by making four or five world class saves for us again. "His performance was so important because it was vital we didn't lose that match.
"The draw keeps that six-point gap between us and Leeds, which is what we need right now. We need that cushion going into the last five games." Manager David Moyes was equally thankful to Martyn, saying: "There is no more fitting place for Nigel to be fantastic than Elland Road. "We needed him and he's been in that form all season so it was no surprise he pulled off save after save, even though I wish he didn't have to!" Kilbane admitted it was a below par performance against Leeds. He added: "I think we have played a lot better than that and not picked up points. Leeds used their two front men very well and their deep kicks from Paul Robinson were putting us under a lot of pressure. "But David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo were tremendous and along with Nigel, the core of the team performed very well. "Four of the teams we have left to play are around and about us and scrapping for points. We have to be up for those matches. "It would be nice if we were playing teams that were safe and didn't need the points so badly, but I think we are one win away from guaranteeing our place in the Premiership next season."

Leeds 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Apr 14 2004 By Scott Mcleod at Elland Road, Liverpool Echo
THERE was a huge roar from the Leeds crowd when Nigel Martyn's name was read out before the kick-off. By the final whistle that support for the former Elland Road favourite had been reduced to a murmur. Martyn, was the reason Everton left Yorkshire with a point to show for their efforts.
Martyn is the reason Everton remain six points clear of the relegation zone. And Martyn is the reason Everton can go to Chelsea on Saturday not having to nervously keep one eye on results elsewhere. With just 15 points left to play for, a six- point advantage is hugely significant.
That is a lead that not even the Blues, with their innate ability to shoot themselves in the foot, can fail to make the most of. Without Martyn, the league table would look very different today.
He was outstanding, making a string of top quality saves to continually frustrate the side. But the fact he had to be that good says a lot about the way in which the Blues performed. The sooner are mathematically assured of their Premiership survival, the better. Wayne Rooney's 12th minute goal should have been the catalyst for the long awaited second away win of the season. Ins tead, Everton allowed Leeds to wrestle back the initiative. In doing so, they betrayed a degree of complacency in their own game. It was Leeds who showed the greater desire to win the contest and James Milner's 49th minute equaliser was the least they deserved from the game. In many ways, the Blues' display was understandable. Friday's win over Tottenham all but confirmed Premiership safety. But while the fans can rest a little easier, the players cannot fall into the same trap. Four of the remaining five league games are against sides in the wrong half of the table. If they all show the fighting spirit demonstrated by Eddie Gray's Leeds, then there can be no room for sitting back. The flip-flops will have to wait - even for Martyn. The keeper deserves a break after such a hectic evening. His first game back at Elland Road couldn't have gone much better for him. It is hard to understand why Leeds allowed Martyn to leave on a free transfer. It has to have been one of the worst pieces of Premiership business in recent years. But Leeds' loss is Everton's gain, as last night proved so eloquently. The home crowd soon realised that this old friend was not in a charitable mood, despite their desperate plight. "Nigel, Nigel give us a goal" was the chant which rang around the ground in the 38th minute after he had acrobatically tipped a 30-yard drive from Alan Smith over the crossbar.
The plea, which fell on deaf ears, followed an equally impressive moment of magic minutes earlier.
The 37-year-old sent a poor clearance straight to Milner wide on the left and then redeemed himself by sprinting back to his goal to fingertip the teenager's first-time effort around the post. But he couldn't repeat his heroics all night, although his team-mates should have made sure he didn't have to. Within four minutes of the second period getting underway, Leeds were level. Seconds after producing another fine stop to smother a Mark Viduka effort, Martyn could do nothing to prevent a drive from Milner finding the bottom right-hand corner of his net. The keeper's reaction told its own story. Normally so mild-mannered, the experienced Cornishman went ballistic with his defenders for allowing the teenager to skip unchallenged across the face of his area. Having spent the final year of his seven-year spell at Leeds on the bench he had a point to prove. He couldn't have made it any more emphatically. After that equaliser, every Leeds player grew three inches and found an extra yard of pace. Everton were pinned back inside their own half for long periods, with the firebrand Smith at the heart of much of their best play. But the Blues rearguard did not wilt and Martyn was not going to be beaten. After seeing victories snatched from their grasp at Southampton and Leicester, this was the payback. This was Everton getting a draw despite a below-par performance.
They only had themselves to blame for allowing this game to turn into such a tough proposition after the major fillip of an early goal. Back in the side after a two-game suspension, Rooney wasted no time in justifying his place in the starting line-up ahead of James McFadden. He repeated the magic of last season's cracker at Elland Road by driving a low shot into the bottom left corner of Paul Robinson's goal after a neat lay-off from Steve Watson. It was a sweet strike. And the moment of deja-vu rubbed off on Moyes' men, who turned the clock back to last season for 10 glorious minutes.
The passing was crisp, the attacking play inventive and the confidence high. Twice the elusive Tomasz Radzinski managed to escape the attention of his markers despite wearing a bright white pair of boots. First, he latched on to a Tobias Linderoth through ball only for his shot to be pushed behind by Robinson, then he received an identical pass on the right side of the area from Thomas Gravesen. Second time around he fared better, sending his shot beyond the keeper and against the inside of the far post. It seemed a certainty that Rooney would nab his second of the night and his sixth in six games but a last ditch challenge from Michael Duberry saved the day for the home side.

At the time, it seemed the defender's intervention would only delay the inevitable. But as quickly as it had arrived, the flair and panache evaporated, replaced by caution and uncertainty in the face of a Leeds side that was being motivated by desperation. With each close call, that desperation turned to determination. And by the time they equalised, it was fully deserved. But while this will not go down as one of Everton's great away days, it is also important to acknowledge that a vital point was secured. Martyn may have been the inspiration, but there was also just enough perspiration from everyone else. And for that reason, the team deserves credit.
LEEDS (4-4-2): Robinson; Kelly, Duberry, Caldwell, Harte; Pennant, Radebe, Matteo, Milner; Smith, Viduka. Not used: Carson, Barmby, Olembe, Lennon, Johnson.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Yobo, Unsworth, Naysmith; Watson (McFadden 55), Linderoth (Nyarko 55), Gravesen (Carsley 80), Kilbane; Radzinski, Rooney. Not used: Wright, Hibbert.
REFEREE: Paul Durkin.
BOOKINGS: Caldwell, Radebe; Nyarko.

JJB in 5-year Everton deal
Apr 14 2004
By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
SPORTS retail giant JJB revealed today it has signed an exclusive five-year deal with Everton to supply the club's team kit and official merchandise. Finance director David Greenwood confirmed that the Wigan-based group will buy all the Blues' merchandise from manufacturer Umbro, which is set to replace Everton's current kit maker Puma next season. He said: "Umbro will make the kit and JJB will buy everything from Umbro and then supply it to Everton, to our stores and any other retailers who stock Everton gear." The Everton deal was one of three supply and distribution agreements by JJB today, the others being with the Irish Football Association and Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club.
JJB founder and chairman David Whelan today revealed annual results for the year to January 25 that showed a fall in total sales from £934.3m to £929.8m. This included figures for Liverpoolbased discount chain TJ Hughes which it disposed of last November for almost £50m in a management buyout. Profits fell to £67.8m from £77.3mlast year. Mr Whelan said he expected tough competition in the clothing market to continue after a "disappointing" start to the year. The group, which has 448 stores, said weaker demand for items such as T-shirts, shorts and replica football kits led turnover to fall in the first 10 weeks of the financial year. And the England away kit, launched last month, experienced difficult comparatives with last year's home kit, which is generally a better seller, said Mr Whelan. But he added that he believed JJB retained an edge over competitors through its strong relationships with brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok. JJB was positive about its leisure division, with demand for member-ship at its combined health clubs and superstores "very promising". The group has 16 of these outlets and plans to open another seven and has identified another 13 sites that could lend themselves to the format.

Moyes: Wayne felt a little jaded
Apr 14 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Wayne Rooney was feeling the ill effects of two weeks on the sidelines in last night's clash with Leeds. The 18-year-old, made an immediate return to the Everton starting line-up for the trip to Elland Road after completing a two-game suspension for picking up 10 yellow cards. He netted Everton's goal in the 1-1 draw but the manager admitted afterwards his star striker was not 100 per cent fit. He said: "He scored a goal but I have to say that I thought he looked really tired. "By the end of the game he really looked as though he'd been out for several weeks. He's lost a wee bit of match practice and match fitness and that game will do him the world of good.
"He's got a couple of injuries though. He got kicked on the foot and he's got stud marks on his back."
Rooney wasn't the only player nursing a knock after last night's game. Steve Watson hobbled off early in the second half after receiving a dead leg, while Tobias Linderoth and Gary Naysmith also picked up minor injuries. All those factors led Moyes to admit he was happy to leave Elland Road with a share of the points. He added: "I was really pleased with a point because it is a difficult place to go to at the moment. "We started well but I was glad to hear the half-time whistle. We were terrific for 20 minutes and got a goal up and we were causing them all sorts of problems. "They couldn't cope with us but the turning point was our effort which hit the foot of the post. "It looked as though it had gone in from where we were in the dug-out. "From that point onwards Leeds put us under a bit of pressure and Smith and Viduka won free-kick after free-kick. I thought Joseph Yobo got better as the game went on alongside David Unsworth. "Leeds put us under intense pressure but the boys did well to stand up to it."

Blues cash in on shirt deal
Apr 14 2004 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have teamed up with sportswear giant JJB in a five-year deal to distribute club merchandise. The agreement will see new strips introduced for next season. It is understood it will be supplied by Umbro. The new-look kit is expected to be worn in the final home game of this campaign against Bolton on May 8. The Blues have yet to reveal details of the deal or how much it is worth to the club, but Evertonians will be hoping it will provide a much needed boost to David Moyes' transfer kitty. The Umbro strip replaces the current Puma range.

Everton Res 1, Bolton Res 0
Apr 15 2004
Daily Post
A GOAL after just four minutes from Patrizio Pascucci was enough to give Everton reserves all three points at Haig Avenue in the Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League (North) last night.
Daniel Fox broke and found the Italian striker, who left his marker and finished confidently past Ricketts in the visitors goal. A lively start also saw Bolton go close with an effort from Ricardo Vaz Te, although Steve Simonsen was untroubled. Everton should have taken a two-goal lead after just 19 minutes when Gavin Lynch headed Moogan's cross goalwards but Ricketts was equal to it and made the save. David Weir was back for Everton after serving a three-match ban following his sendingoff for the reserves last month, and alongside Peter Clarke he helped keep the visitors' attacks to a minimum. However, Bolton did test the Everton defence just before the break when Javi Moreno broke free of his marker, but the Blues defence reacted well to clear the danger after Simonsen had saved the Spaniard's initial shot. Bolton captain Comyn-Platt was sent off 12 minutes into the second half after a tackle on Schumacher, a decision which effectively ended the game as a contest. Weir was replaced by Anthony Gerrard shortly after with one eye on the Premiership trip to Chelsea at the weekend. Everton continued to control proceedings and Pascucci was always a danger. Ibrahim Ba might have salvaged a point near the end but his shot was wide of Simonsen's goal. It meant a return to winning ways for Andy Holden's side after a run of five games without a victory.
EVERTON RES: Simonsen, Potter, Fox, Clarke, Weir (Gerrard 61), Schumacher, Brown, B Moogan, Pascucci, Booth, Lynch. Subs: Lake, Flood, Jones, Martland.
BOLTON RES: Ricketts, Shakes, Talbot, Hill, Comyn-Platt, Kangana (Whitehead 34), Ba, O'Brien, Moreno (Moran 82), Vaz Te, Pezzarossi. Subs: Ashton, Buval.

Everton in £10m kit deal with JJB
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 15 2004
ShareEVERTON'S new merchandising deal with sportswear giant JJB will net the Goodison club at least £10million over the next five years.And the deal - described as the biggest commercial contract in the club's history - could be worth up to £20m if ambitious targets are met on and off the pitch.The Wigan-based firm have won a five-year contract to supply Everton merchandise and distribute it at their 448 retail outlets nationwide.JJB have contracted Umbro to produce the kit for the 2004-05 sea-son, and will take control of the club's merchandising operation once the current deal with Puma ends this summer.Everton will confirm the financial details of the deal next month but it is understood to guarantee the club £10m over five years - a figure that could double if sales and Premiership targets are reached.How much of the money David Moyes will see is unclear, but the contract is a timely coup for Everton given the weakening state of the football industry."This is a groundbreaking deal encompassing both manufacture and distribution of Everton merchandise," said chief executive Michael Dunford."It will greatly improve the quality and profitability of the products, while also ensuring that we have distribution in JJB stores throughout the country."The deal is one of three supply and distribution contracts announced by JJB yesterday, the others being Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club and the Irish Football Association.Finance director David Greenwood said: "Umbro will make the kit and JJB will buy everything from Umbro and then supply it to Everton, to our stores and any other retailers who stock Everton gear."Moyes, meanwhile, has several injury doubts ahead of Saturday's testing trip to Stamford Bridge.Wayne Rooney collected back and foot injuries during his goalscoring return to the team at Leeds on Tuesday, while Tobias Linderoth, Steve Watson and Gary Naysmith also suffered knocks.Naysmith has been carrying a groin injury for a few months, but it is hoped he can continue playing until the end of the season when he is likely to undergo surgery.

Martyn's keen to offer Leeds helping hand
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 15 2004
ShareNIGEL MARTYN hopes Everton can still do his former club Leeds a huge favour in their fight to avoid relegation - despite costing them two precious points on Tuesday.The Goodison goalkeeper did his utmost to deny his previous employers their third successive league victory with an inspired display in the Elland Road draw.Relegation-threatened Leeds dominated after Wayne Rooney's early opener and would have closed the gap on Everton to just three points but for the performance of the 37-year-old, who left Leeds last summer after seven successful years.However, Martyn believes his former club can still pull clear of the bottom three with a little help from Everton's remaining fixtures."Leeds did need the win and hopefully they can turn things around in the remaining games. If they play like they did against us they have got every chance," said Martyn, who still lives in the Yorkshire city."They were full of commitment, created lots of chances and on another day could have run away three or four-one winners."I was very relieved when the final whistle went - and in the minutes beforehand I was taking my time when I got the ball because it was one attack after another."They have got two tough away games at Chelsea and Arsenal which they are going to need to pick something up in but at home, if they play like that, they are going to beat most teams."It is hard because I have been relegated once before with Palace and it is not a nice feeling."But I think now they have been released from their shackles and they are playing with more spirit and Eddie Gray has got them going and I can really see them pushing it."They probably need to get something at Arsenal, even if it is a draw, but if they can win their home games it will probably be enough points."Martyn feels the key to Leeds's future lies in the hands of strikers Alan Smith and Mark Viduka, who gave Everton's defence a testing evening."We stood up well to it to be fair and I thought David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo did really well because there aren't that many better striking pairings in the Premiership than Smith and Viduka," he added. "It is really hard to play against because one pass and they're at you."And we could do Leeds a right favour with Bolton, Blackburn, Wolves and Manchester City to play so hopefully we can do something to help Leeds."You just go out play honestly and try to win every game."I'm a professional and I've got to do my job. There weren't too many people thanking me around Elland Road after the game, though the reception I got from the fans was fabulous."But the problems are starting to mount up for Leeds, who remain in the last relegation place, effectively three points from safety because of their vastly inferior goal difference.Seth Johnson has been ruled out for up to nine months with a cruciate ligament injury while fellow midfielder Eirik Bakke's thigh problem is likely to keep him out for the remainder of the season.

Strugglers revitalised by Royle's return
By Phil Redmond, Daily Post
Apr 15 2004
ShareWHEN Everton travelled to Stamford Bridge in November 1994 they were struggling badly in the bottom three.However, there was a certain air of optimism among the fans following the arrival of a double act that would transform the season into ultimate triumph.Joe Royle had arrived back at his spiritual home and on the previous Monday had transformed a squad bewildered and devastated by Mike Walker into a fearsome team of battlers who'd turned over Roy Evans' Spice Boys 2-0 at Goodison.Undoubtedly the hero that night had been an onloan striker with a troublesome reputation. Indeed, before the derby Duncan Ferguson seemed likely to drift back to Ibrox on completion of his loan spell. Ninety minutes later he was a Goodison icon.Despite the elation though, everyone knew the hard work was only just beginning and a trip to Stamford Bridge was a formidable test on a day when Chelsea officially opened their new Matthew Harding Stand. It was the Blues who were celebrating that Saturday night though after a hard fought 1-0 win.They were good value as well with the winner coming from a close range Paul Rideout header after a delicious cross from the out-side of Anders Limpar's boot.After the break Chelsea hit back hard and Neville Southall pulled off a string of wonderful saves. One in particular, from future Goodison flop John Spencer, sticks in the memory.Gradually though the Blues regained control and near the end Ferguson had one chalked off before Barry Horne missed a sitter from close range.This was Everton's day though and that night there was a real feeling that perhaps we were turning the corner and survival was possible.No one though, could have believed what would eventually happen later that season.

Moyes targets Premier cash pot
Apr 15 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set his sights on securing a greater share of the Premiership cash pot. The Blues have lost only once in their last seven league games, taking them seven points clear of the relegation zone and within touching distance of securing their top flight status. Now the Goodison chief, is determined to maintain that form in order to climb further up the table, with each position worth an extra £650,000 in winnings. Moyes said today: "There is a lot of money at stake for each position.
"We are trying to get as many points as we can to challenge the teams above us and to move up even further. "We have been doing well in recent weeks. The football in the first 20 minutes at Leeds was as good as we have played and the draw was a good result considering the situation they find themselves in. "We now are looking forward to Chelsea because it is a place where we want to go and play our football. We have been doing well away from home and have become hard to beat. But it is time we started winning more games." The added Premiership winnings would be welcome at Goodison but the club has already secured a lucrative cash injection with the announcement of a merchandising deal with sportswear giant JJB. The five-year agreement, revealed in the ECHO yesterday and which will see the club's new kit being produced by Umbro, is worth at least £10m. That figure could rise to £20m based on results on the pitch. Chief executive Michael Dunford said: "This is a groundbreaking deal encompassing both manufacture and distribution of Everton merchandise. "It will greatly improve the quality and profitability of the products." Meanwhile, Moyes revealed he is confident defender Gary Naysmith will be able to play out the season despite the pain of a persistent groin injury. Moyes said: "He is going to need a hernia operation but he has been playing through the pain and we are hopeful he can make it to the end of the season." The Scottish international has been receiving treatment after aggravating the problem at Elland Road but is set to continue at left back at Stamford Bridge.

Jeffers changes his mind
Apr 15 2004 By David Randles, icLiverpool
FRANCIS JEFFERS has staged a remarkable u-turn by saying he does want to play for Everton.
The on-loan Arsenal striker has kept alive his hopes of making a permanent move back to his boyhood club by settling his differences with Blues boss David Moyes. Following the 3-1 win over Tottenham last Friday, Jeffers was reported to have had a heated exchange with Moyes, airing his disapproval at not being selected for the starting 11 despite injuries and suspensions to Wayne Rooney, Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson. It was said that Jeffers had stated he would never play for the club under Moyes's stewardship and despite his manager offering an olive branch a day later, Jeffers refused to apologise. It was thought the striker, who has scored twice from only 6 starting appearances for the Blues this season, would be farmed back to Arsenal whom he left Goodison Park for to the tune of £8m in the summer of 2001. However, after the Premiership leaders suggested he should stay on Merseyside until his loan spell was up in June, there seemed no place left for Jeffers to turn. Now, however, it seems the 23-year-old has instigated clear-the-air talks with Moyes and has been allowed to resume training with the full senior squad.
Jeffers is now available for Everton's five remaining Premiership fixtures, starting with Saturday's trip to Stamford Bridge against Chelsea.

Gerrard & Rooney for PFA player of the year
Apr 15 2004 By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
MERSEYSIDE'S young guns are in line to scoop two of the most prestigious player of the year awards.
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard and Everton's Wayne Rooney have been shortlisted for the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards. Gerrard will compete with Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Jay-Jay Okacha, Frank Lampard and Patrick Vieira for the top prize. The 23-year-old has enjoyed his best season at Anfield and was named captain earlier in the campaign. Rooney controversially missed out on the young players award last year to Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas. But his brilliant performances for England and return to form for Everton must surely make him one of the favourites this time. He faces stiff competition from Chelsea trio John Terry, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker while Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips are also contenders.
The awards will be presented on Sun day, April 25.

Martyn votes against Euro
Apr 15 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echp
NIGEL MARTYN has ruled out a return to international football despite rave reviews for his performances with Everton this season. The 37-year-old keeper was outstanding at Leeds on Tuesday as the Blues earned a 1-1 draw. And he is a strong contender for the club's Player of the Season award. But after spending last season on the sidelines at Elland Road following his return from the World Cup in Japan, the experienced keeper has made it clear he is not interested in warming the bench in Euro 2004. "I have said before, at my age, to go there and do all the training all summer and not play is detrimental," said Martyn. "I came back from the 2002 World Cup absolutely shattered and we had a tough pre-season schedule at Leeds with trips to the Far East and Australia and I was not ready for that at that time. "On the day I came back and I said I was not going on that, I was told I would not be selected so I can't afford to do that again. "I have had a second chance with Everton and I have got to get myself ready for next season. I have got a fight on my hands because we have got Richard Wright here who wants to play as well, so I have got to give myself a chance. "In a major champion-ship, if you knew you had a chance of playing then that is something you would have to go for but I think the FA have got right behind David James and made him number one and they are supporting him. That is how it should be as it gives him confidence."
He has made his stance clear to the England coaching staff. Instead, Sven Goran Eriksson opted for youth with his selection for the last England friendly against Sweden, drafting Norwich's Robert Green into the squad for the first time to deputise for David James and Paul Robinson. Meanwhile, Scot Gemmill's hopes of extending his loan spell at Preston into a second month have been scuppered by a knee ligament injury. The 33-year-old midfielder has returned to Bellefield and is receiving treatment. Preston boss Craig Brown said: "It is quite a nasty injury and I have spoken to David Moyes. "I feel bad about it as I am sending Scot back injured." Gemmill, out of contract at the end of the season, scored once in seven appearances for the Lilywhites.

Hardly the best move of the night
Apr 15 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
WHEN footballers revolt against a manager, there is usually only one winner. And it is rarely the player. So it's hard to understand what Francis Jeffers, was thinking of as he railed at David Moyes last Friday night. Had he aired his views before kick-off, it might have been easier to fathom. Despite the loss of Rooney, Ferguson and Campbell, Moyes had left the frustrated 23-year-old out. It certainly raised an eyebrow from the Evertonian beside me in the main stand, concerned at the untried partnership of McFadden and Radzinski. But Everton blitzed Spurs with the most energetic 45 minutes of football we've seen at Goodison Park this season. Three-nil up by half-time it was Moyes, not Jeffers, who'd won any right to wear the 'I told you so' T-shirt. McFadden had more than played his part with a zestful display which eventually rendered him exhausted. Yet as delighted Evertonians ebbed home, Jeffers was preparing to put a giant nail in his own career coffin by ranting at a man hardly regarded as a jellyfish. As a result he's now probably on his way into some sort of soccer semi-obscurity. For all his steel, however, there's evidence that Moyes is a man prepared to forgive. Duncan Ferguson this season embarked on a similar rant at his boss, was duly frozen out only to be readmitted and claim the skipper's armband, showing signs of the form which made him an Everton idol. Jeffers had a chance to say sorry on Saturday morning. In refusing to climb down, he killed any remaining hope of reviving his Everton career. So he'll go back to Arsenal, where he won't get a look in, with a damaged goods label hanging around his neck. He can enjoy the financial fruits of a lucrative contract for another couple of years, but the bet has to be he'll end up dropping down and down from here. That will be a criminal waste of a genuine talent which had everything going for it. All Evertonians will hope Wayne Rooney is watching and learning from an abject lesson in how to screw up a promising career. There are other examples. A fortnight ago Markus Babbel pleaded for a chance to revive his Anfield career. But a fine player who was struck down by cruel illness, only to be given a new con-tract and every help from his manager in regaining fitness, threw his teddy out more than once. Gerard Houllier is hardly likely to rebuild the bridges Babbel burned for himself, is he? Alan Shearer may be the exception to the rule, re-instated after publicly reacting to being left out of a UEFA Cup game in Norway by Bobby Robson. The difference being that Shearer cared more about winning than whining, which all managers understand. Jeffers is just another silly young man who got too big for his football boots. And the result is he won't be wearing them again at the place he says he loves most of all.

Blues fans' murder charge
Apr 15 2004
By Thomas Martin Echo Correspondent
TWO Everton fans are accused of stabbing to death a West Ham supporter in a pub after he shouted: "I hate Scousers." It is alleged Terry Deans, 33, was attacked by Vernon Wood, 55, and Graham Johnson, 34, at his local pub in east London. Wood, 56, a cafe owner of Seven Kings Road, Ilford, and Johnson, 34, a painter, of Langdon Crescent, East Ham, deny murder. The Old Bailey heard scaffolder Mr Deans died from bleeding caused by stab wounds two days after a fight at the White Hart, Ilford. Michael Lawson QC, prosecuting, said Mr Deans loved talking about football and calling out football chants when he was drunk. He said: "He was beginning to chant and say he hated Scousers. "Mr Wood is is an Everton supporter and is from or has connections with that part of the world. He took exception to the remarks." The court was told Wood smashed a pint of beer over Mr Deans's head. Barman Terry Arnold intervened, but backed off when the landlady's 14-year-old daughter spotted a brown-handled knife tucked in Johnson's trouser pocket. Mr Lawson added: "It was a joint attack by both men, who were fed up of Mr Deans and his chanting." Mr Deans, who was three times the drink-driving alcohol limit, tried to fend off the attackers with a pool cue before running away. He collapsed bleeding in the street and was taken to hospital with a six-inch stab wound, which punctured his lung and other stab wounds and lacerations to his thigh, chest and face.
Wood told police he became upset after Mr Deans started talking about "Scouse scum" and hit him with the pint glasses because he was being attacked. He denied knowing Johnson before meeting him in the pub that evening and said he had no idea Deans had been stabbed. Johnson was arrested a month later and told police he used the knife in his job as a painter. He said he remembered being in the pub, but had a "total blackout" and could not recall pulling out the knife or stabbing the victim.

Blues back on song
Apr 15 2004 Liverpool Echo
PATRIZIO PASCUCCI scored the only goal as Everton won their first game in six in the Premier Reserve League. A reasonable crowd watched the Blues take an early lead at Southport's Haig Avenue ground, the visitors finding themselves behind after just four minutes. Daniel Fox broke and found the Italian, who left his marker and finished confidently past Rickets in the visitors' goal.
Everton should have taken a two-goal lead after just 19 minutes when Gavin Lynch headed Moogan's cross goalwards but Rickets made the save. David Weir was back for Everton after serving a three-match ban and, alongside Southport-born Peter Clarke, kept Bolton's attacks to a minimum. Bolton did test the Everton defence, however, just before the break when Javi Moreno broke free, but the Blues defence reacted well to clear the danger. Bolton skipper Comyn-Platt was sent off 12 minutes into the second half after a tackle on Schumacher. Weir was replaced by Anthony Gerrard in the second half. It was a return to winning ways for Andy Holden's side who sit mid-table in the league.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Potter, Fox, Clarke, Weir (Gerrard 61), Schumacher, Brown, B Moogan, Pascucci, Booth, Lynch.

Milner is Rooney II
Apr 15 2004 Liverpool Echo
LEEDS' caretaker ager Eddie Gray has backed James Milner to blossom into a class player. And he has compared him to Wayne Rooney. "James is only 18 and it is a difficult season for him, especially being a local boy," said Gray. "Everton have got Wayne Rooney and James is the type of player who can play out wide, up front and off the front man."

Jeffers is handed a second chance
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Apr 16 2004
FRANCIS JEFFERS has returned from the football wilderness following clear-the-air talks with Everton manager David Moyes. But the striker's climbdown is unlikely to earn the 23-year-old, a permanent return to his boyhood club once his season-long loan from Arsenal expires on June 1. Jeffers had a furious row with Moyes both before and after Everton's 3-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur on Good Friday after being left out of the starting line-up. He vowed never to play for the club again under Moyes's tutelage and was subsequently banished from the Everton first team. With Arsene Wenger refusing to sanction an early return for Jeffers to Highbury, the striker's career was facing a state of limbo, although he was still able to train at Bellefield. But it is understood Jeffers approached Moyes earlier this week and offered an apology for his outburst, which the manager accepted.
A statement released by Everton yesterday said: "After a period of reflection which followed his weekend announcement that he no longer wished to play for Everton under the managership of David Moyes, Francis Jeffers has reconsidered his position and has now settled his differences with both club and manager. "Clear-the-air talks, instigated by Francis himself, were held earlier this week and the player has now resumed normal, full-time training as part of Everton's senior squad.
"Francis is now available for the club's final five Premiership fixtures, starting with Saturday's game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Everton now regard the matter as closed." Jeffers could now be part of the squad which travels to London this afternoon in preparation for tomorrow's encounter with the European Cup semi-finalists. Moyes's striking options will be further enhanced by the imminent recovery of Kevin Campbell from the illness which ruled him out of the Easter campaign.
Wayne Rooney is almost certain to be available despite sustaining back and foot injuries in the 1-1 draw at Leeds United in midweek. But there remain doubts over Steve Watson (leg) and David Unsworth (heel), although Tobias Linderoth (knee) and Gary Nay-smith (hamstring) should be fit.
Moyes is hopeful Everton can reap the rewards by building on their current run of one defeat in
eight league games when they visit Stamford Bridge. With £650,000 in prize money for each Premiership place in the final table, a good finish to the season could give the manager extra room to manoeuvre in the transfer market during the summer. Moyes said: "There is a lot of money at stake for each position. "We are trying to get as many points as we can to challenge the teams above us and to move up even further," added the Everton manager.
* MIDFIELDER Scot Gemmill has returned from his loan spell at first division Preston North End with a knee injury and will be sidelined for two weeks.

Gerrard and Rooney in running for awards
By Alistair Grant, Daily Post
Apr 16 2004
TWO Merseyside soccer stars have been shortlisted for awards from their fellow professionals.
Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is among the six nominees for the prestgious Players' Player of the Year award at the PFA's annual awards dinner. The England international is in the frame for the award after his impressive performances this season, at the ceremony being held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, on Sunday, April 25. And Everton's Wayne Rooney has been nominated for the second year running for the Young Player of the Year Award, won last year by Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas. It promises to be a close run thing again for the Young Player title too, as Chelsea trio John Terry, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker, Arsenal's Kolo Toure and Manchester City's Shaun Wright-Phillips are all competing against Goodison's popular England international. Gerrard faces competition from Arsenal's Thierry Henry, who is again among the nominees. But last year's winner Henry faces immense competition from the other nominees Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard, Jay-Jay Okocha and Henry's Arsenal team-mate and France international Patrick Vieira.
STEVEN GERRARD (Liverpool): The PFA Young Player of the Year in 2001, Gerrard has continued to grow in stature and has been Liverpool's outstanding performer this season.
THIERRY HENRY (Arsenal): Henry has now been nominated for the fourth year in a row and deservedly so, his goals and assists more essential to Arsenal than ever.
FRANK LAMPARD (Chelsea): One of the most consistent performers in the Premiership, and one of the few players in Chelsea's star-studded squad to command a regular first team place.

JAY-JAY OKOCHA (Bolton): The Nigerian international has become a cult figure at the Reebok - especially after putting club before country before the African Nations Cup earlier this year.
ALAN SHEARER (Newcastle United): The former England skipper continues to benefit from his international retirement, as do Champions Leaguechasing Newcastle.
PATRICK VIEIRA (Arsenal): Team-mate and fellow countryman Thierry Henry may grab most of the headlines, but no-one under-estimates the contribution of skipper Vieira to Arsenal's success.
GLEN JOHNSON (Chelsea): A few eyebrows were raised when Chelsea shelled out over £6million on a teenager with such limited Premiership experience - but it could be one of the best pieces of business Claudio Ranieri has conducted.
SCOTT PARKER (Chelsea): Another promising English youngster who has earnt his place among the world stars available to Ranieri.
SHAUN WRIGHT-PHILLIPS (Manchester City): References are often made to his famous father, but they might cease as the new England cap continues to make a big name for himself.
WAYNE ROONEY (Everton): A Young Player of the Year nominee for the second year running, Rooney has lived up to the hype surrounding his dramatic rise to stardom.
JOHN TERRY (Chelsea): Continues to grow in stature both as a defender and a leader and, together with Frank Lampard, is one of the first names Ranieri writes down on his team sheet.
KOLO TOURE (Arsenal): Has really made his mark in Arsenal's side this season, developing into a top class central defender and the perfect partner for Sol Campbell.

How's about selling Rooney
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 16 2004
Selling Rooney
THERE'S no getting away from it, after Euro 2004 we're gonna have clubs beating a path to Goodison for Rooney's signature. If I were Moyes I'd say to, for example Chelsea, you've got first offer on him in the unlikely event that he goes but in return we want on loan next season - Joe Cole and another.
Or go to United and say yes we'll have Butt, Ronaldo or Bellion. Obviously no need to approach Liverpool as they've got no-one, then move on to Barca, Madrid, Italy and see who bites.
B Duncan, Everton
About time
WHERE has the performance shown against Spurs been all season? That was the type of performance shown consistently last season. It was very pleasing to see the hunger of the players to get to the ball first, as ever the fans will not complain if the players show effort. Special praise should go to the midfield two of Gravesen and Linderoth, who have improved vastly lately, and young McFaden. It's also good to see Moyes making a stand against players again. Why exactly did Jeffers think he should play after showing nothing all season?
Mark Lawson, Liverpool
Fresh faces
IT didn't work out for Jeffers second time around. He needs to play regularly but it cannot be with us. Rooney is miles better and McFadden has massive potential. We need a healthy and energetic big man up front to compliment our smaller, quicker strikers. Duncan and KC have had their moments but we need a fresh face at the club in that line-leading role.
Sheila Jones, Liverpool
A Linderoth fan?
CRITICAL four points over the weekend, hopefully we can go for it at Chelsea with extra aggression making a few of them wary of injuries before the CL semi-final. Can't wait for Gravesen to get a partner in the middle - Linderoth is slow with limited skill, never scores, has no real 'bite', is too short to win many headers and has no positional sense - a complete waste of space and money. I really hope he has a good Euro and we can get rid of him. I know some of the dead wood is about to go but unfortunately, at least another frustrating year awaits, with Campbell, Ferguson, Linderoth, Carsley, Nyarko and others clearly not really wanted by DM, but draining the club and tying our hands.
B Renzo (via e-mail)

It was a strange decision to bring back Jeffers
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Apr 16 2004
AFTER worrying about the omens before the Good Friday game - it being against Tottenham and on the telly - we finally broke those two hoodoos and, even more surprisingly, we even scored directly from a free-kick. Wonders will never cease. Four points from the two games over the Easter period a decent return, and as it turned out those points could prove vital given that quite a few of the strugglers at the wrong end of the table also won games. Spurs match, played in an electrifying - that's code for 'booze-soaked' - atmosphere, was certainly the more satisfying of the two performances. Indeed it was up there with some of the best we've witnessed David Moyes. It was a throwback to the high-octane performances of last season, when teams with too many long-haired players in their ranks were over-whelmed by the Blues' aggression, work rate and pace. One person not overly chuffed with the night's proceedings was obviously Francis Jeffers, seeing as he was left out of the starting line-up in favour of James McFadden. The Scot more than justified his selection while Jeffers, on the other hand, seems to have behaved in a manner that means few will bemoan his departure at the end of the season, which seems likely despite his apology to David Moyes yesterday. In reality it would seem that the decision to not pursue our interest in him was made a while ago and this argument with the manager has just brought the situation to a head. It was a strange decision to bring him back in the first place and since then he simply hasn't done enough to force himself into serious contention for a regular first-team place. It could be argued that he hasn't really had enough first-team opportunities to prove himself, but the management at Everton see him in training on a daily basis and, let's face it, Arsenal are hardly desperate to have him back.
There's a lot of hard work and possibly some rude awakenings ahead for Jeffers if he wants to become the great player that he seems to think he is. There's also a lot of hard work ahead for the players remaining at Everton if we're to improve on our woeful away performances this season. After all, Nigel Martyn's not going to be around forever to salvage points for us like he did at Elland Road on Tuesday.

Youngsters' shot at national title
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 16 2004
AFTER sealing the FA Premier Academy League Group A title Everton under-17s look to take become national champions, starting tomorrow. Gary Ablett's side take on Group C runners-up Leicester City at Netherton (KO 11.30am) in the quarterfinals of the play-offs. And after proving the best of the north west division, they want to end the season on a high by becoming the best in the country.
But for most of them this will be a new type of competition. Whereas in the league performances and individual development are the most important thing in the play-offs results are key to progress. With a twolegged final at the home grounds of the finalists, the chance to play at Goodison is an enticing bonus for the youngsters. Ablett said: "I am just hoping we do ourselves justice and play well. If we play well and get beat, then we will have not lost any-thing. But if we get beat through our own inabilities or inadequacies then that would be really disappointing after the season we have had. "Hopefully if they realise they are two games from possibly a game at Goodison, that will be an extra spur. If we lose Saturday that is it for the season. I wouldn't say then we have underachieved but I would be very disappointed because we have got a nucleus of players to do really well."

And on Leicester, who finished second to Aston Villa in Group C, Ablett said: "They are quite big and strong and quite direct. They have one boy who plays for England, so they'll not be a pushover."
Everton are without goalkeeper Craig Gallagher, who after a fine season will miss the play-off campaign with a knee injury. Ablett added: "It is a shame because he has been one of our best players.." Midfielder Christian Seargeant is a doubt after taking a knock on his foot.

We're in mood to stun millionaires
Apr 16 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE has warned the rest of the Premiership that the Chelski revolution is only just getting started. The Italian defender, will line up for Everton in tomorrow's Premiership clash at Stamford Bridge knowing that the Blues are major underdogs. Claudio Ranieri's expensive squad are in the last four of the Champions League, second in the Premiership and Everton's last win down there was in November 1994 when a Paul Rideout goal was enough to secure three points. But the defender believes that now is as good a time as many to bring that disappointing run to an end -because next season the Chelsea millionaires will be even stronger. "It can happen overnight sometimes, when you change many players and start to win straight away," said Pistone. "But most of the time you need to let the players work together, get to know each other and understand what the coach wants from them. It takes a couple of seasons to get to the top. "They need a little bit of time because that is normal when there are so many new players. They are doing great, second in the league and in the Champions League semi-final. But just look at Arsenal. "They have not changed their team since last season, when they only won the FA Cup. But that team has grown together and this season they have been a great team. The same can happen for Chelsea." The expectation that Chelsea will grow even stronger next season means that Pistone is surprised by the talk linking Ranieri with a summer departure from the Bridge. His fellow Italian has won many fans this season with the dignity he has shown in the face of mounting speculation and a reluctance by his employers to give him the backing he deserves. Pistone adds: "I don't really know him very well. But I do know he has done well wherever he has been, which means that he is a good coach and has done really well this season. "I don't know the truth of what is going on and whether he is going to stay after the summer. But the main thing is he has done his job. "It is hard to find players in their team who don't impress you. They have got a great team but I think John Terry and Frank Lampard have been the pick of their players. With quality players like Duff and Crespo they can change the game at any moment. "We have to pay attention for 90 minutes and hopefully we will come away with something. We have been hard to beat and we have been playing well recently, so it is a good time to be going there." Everton have picked up just two draws in their last nine visits to Stamford Bridge. Last season, David Moyes suffered his two biggest defeats as manager against Chelsea, losing 4-1 in both the Worthington Cup and the league. The fact it is one of Everton's bogey grounds does not concern Pistone though. "That means nothing. We had a bad record against Tottenham but last week we beat them very well. "Before last season we had not won at Leeds in a long time. At this stage of the season you see some surprises. "It is always enjoyable playing against teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal because you know you are going to play football. It is not just a battle, it is a good game. "We did really well at Newcastle, got a good win against Tottenham and played well in parts of the game on Tuesday. "I have said it many times this season that we have had some very good games but have not picked up all the points that we deserved. We just have to keep going and play as we know we can play. "We are not a team like Chelsea. So we will have to try and press them. But hope-fully they will have half and eye on next week's Champions League semi-final because it looks like Arsenal's league." Pistone will continue at right-back for the game. It will be his sixth consecutive start and his longest uninterrupted run in the side this season. A two month lay-off with a hernia problem before Christmas followed by a series of niggling shoulder and hamstring injuries have restricted the 28-year-old to 19 starts. He concludes: "When you are coming back from a hernia injury like the one which kept me out for so long it does take a little bit of time. "But I feel I am improving my fitness with every game. And the season is ending well for me." Victory tomorrow and it will definitely end well for the club as well.

Blues reunite for 85 dinner
Apr 16 2004 Liverpool Echo
CALLING all True Blues. A limited number of tickets have become available to ECHO readers for the 1984/85 Reunion Dinner that takes place on Thursday, April 22. Southall, Stevens, Ratcliffe, Mountfield, Sheedy, Reid, Bracewell, Sharp and Gray will all be in attendance along with manager of the day Howard Kendall, and first team coach Colin Harvey. If you're a true Blue then this is simply a night not to be missed as the squad, and the silverware, are reunited for the first time since the most successful campaign in the club's history. The once in a lifetime black tie event takes place at Liverpool's Crowne Plaza Hotel and includes a champagne reception, four-course meal, entertainment and charity auction. There will also be a question and answer session with all of the players, along with an array of speeches from some of the biggest names at the club. Price per seat is £100 or £1000 for a table of ten, but all money raised goes directly to the club's Football in the Community department. Anyone interested in attending is urged to make contact with the club as soon as possible. Call direct on 0151 330 2307 or email: community@evertonfc.com There is also a handful of advertsing opportunites available, including pages in the limited edition souvenir programme. For further details contact Michelle Billington at Star Events on 07932 732020.

Chelsea 0, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Apr 19 2004 By Andy Hunter at Stamford Bridge, Daily Post
FORGIVENESS has been the theme of the week for Everton yet it was still a surprise to hear David Moyes ask for some of his own on Saturday night. Crossing the Bridge and arriving on the shore of Premiership safety would be cause for celebration at many clubs yet the Everton manager has far loftier ambitions than that and explains why, along with Francis Jeffers, he was not alone in offering pleas for clemency this weekend. For once a bright end-of-season afternoon in west London was not the prelude for a demoralising defeat for Everton as a resolute performance earned a valuable point at the home of the Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea. With his orders followed to the letter, and the paupers taking a result from the aristocrats, Moyes could have indulged in the commitment of an ultra-defensive display that secured a second successive travelling draw.
With only four fit, and as it transpired, fine defenders available and no powerful front-line outlet to ease the pressure Everton's game-plan was all about containment, perhaps with the outside hope of catching Chelsea cold as Wayne Rooney almost did on the half hour. It was a prime example of needs must and it worked. Yet Moyes's satisfaction was loaded with the challenge that, even in the luxurious surroundings of the European Cup favourites, Everton's mantra should always be to glean maximum points, not one. And the next few months will determine whether the club can rise to their manager's level of ambition. As The Sunday Time's Rich List reminded us, Chelsea now operate in another world to their rivals and not even Everton's business failings over the past decade can be blamed for failing to keep up with the Abramoviches. But equally there has to be more to Everton than aspiring to secure Premiership safety with only a handful of games to go and shutting up shop in the face of the league's elite. "I would like us to be a better all-round footballing team," admitted Moyes afterwards. "We have some good football players but I would like us to be a better footballing side. "Players at Everton play with a lot of passion and commitment. We can instil that in them. We are now trying to add the pieces of quality and guile at the right time to fit in with that.
"With another couple of results we can finish the season on as much of a high as we can. "Things have not been as we would have liked this season and we want to make it better. "I have learned you don't enjoy managers who are in this situation every year. Prior to this season, I have been winning more than losing. This year has been different and I have not enjoyed it." But how to change that while still at Everton? "Chequebook managers are not that common unless you are very lucky enough to be at a club with money," he explained. "We don't have that. "We will continue working with players we have got but we need a new group of players, whether that be two or three, if we can. But obviously finances are hard. I will be doing everything I can to suggest what players we can bring in and hopefully we can. "I hope there will be some investment. The board here have always been supportive of any manager, they do the best they can for him and I am sure they will continue to try and do so." Here's hoping. As valuable as this point was to Everton - a fact illustrated by the response of the respective supporters to the final whistle - the game itself was an arduous non-event. Chelsea's priority appeared to be to avoid injury ahead of tomorrow night's semi-final in Monaco until it dawned on them in the final 10 minutes that, no matter how deserving Arsenal are of the title, it should not simply be handed to them. It may as well be now though as Everton emerged unnerved but undefeated from that spell too, saved by their post when Frank Lampard hit the woodwork for a second time and by some sloppy finishing from their £30million strikeforce. It would be tempting to sum up the visitors' priority in the 89th-minute shot from the half-way line from Rooney, their only attempt on goal in the second half. But that would be a disservice to an all-round stubborn and resilient performance by Everton, who were shorn of options before the game but throughout it showed a defensive quality that would have made them safe long before now. For all Chelsea's dominance of possession and the undoubted craft and class that exists within their ranks they never created one gilt-edged chance all game, a consequence of the barriers in front of them rather than any inadequacy or tinkering on their behalf. The home side saw a procession of half chances either wasted or saved in the first half, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink testing Nigel Martyn from 25-yards and Lamp-ard clipping a chip on the turn onto the crossbar. In fact it was Everton, and in particular Rooney, who could and should have made the breakthrough. The 18-year-old had already produced the visitors' first threat on 12 minutes with a dipping free-kick that forced Marco Ambrosio into a desperate save when a Thomas Gravesen set-piece fell at his feet inside the six-yard box 20 minutes later. His close-range shot was clean, perhaps too clean, and the Italian stand-in saved with his legs. A mistake by lumbering giant Robert Huth almost let the striker in on the stroke of half-time but again Ambrosio saved, this time a close-range shot from the angle.
But while Everton enjoyed a brief spell on top before the break, looking especially dangerous from set-pieces, it was firmly on the back foot thereafter although Chelsea's next chance only arrived nine minutes from time when Adrian Mutu headed Hasselbaink's inviting cross wide. The visitors' rearguard action was finally breached in the 84th minute when Lampard tried his luck from distance but saw his shot cannon off the post and beyond Hasselbaink, who then missed a glorious opportunity when Mutu returned the compliment from the right. A defeat would have been harsh on Everton given the quality of their defending, and in truth the only surprise about the draw was Jeffers's 12-minute appearance in it. But as Chelsea fly off to sunnier climes in Monaco today at least Everton are almost safe in the knowledge Goodison Park remains on their illustrious itinerary for next season.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Ambrosio; Gallas (Melchiot 25), Desailly, Huth, Bridge; Geremi, Parker (Oliveira 79), Lampard, Cole (Gronkjaer 79); Mutu, Hasselbaink. Subs: Sullivan, Terry.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith; McFadden (Carsley 57) Gravesen (Watson 86), Linderoth, Kilbane; Rooney, Radzinski (Jeffers 78). Subs: Wright, Nyarko.
REFEREE: Graham Poll
ATT: 41,169
NEXT GAME: Everton v Blackburn Rovers, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

Jeffers: I still want to play a role for Everton
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 19 2004
FRANCIS JEFFERS insists he has not given up hope of securing a move to Everton this summer after his sudden return to the fold at Chelsea. Jeffers' chances of a permanent return to Goodison Park were dealt a serious setback last weekend when he was involved in a furious row with manager David Moyes before and after the Tottenham game. But seven days after being told to return to Arsenal the 23-year-old, was a substitute for Everton as they held Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea to a draw at Stamford Bridge. Jeffers admits his outburst stemmed from sheer frustration at his lack of first team opportunities this season and his desperation to secure a move back to his boyhood club. And though those chances remain slim, the England international still hopes to convince Moyes he has an Everton future over the final few weeks of the season. The striker said: "It has been a really low point for me, it's been a hard time but obviously me and the manager have made up now. What I said to the manager was purely out of frustration and my desire to play for Everton and earn a contract here. It probably didn't come out too well but, as I say, it was only out of frustration on my part. "It has been difficult since I came back but I knew that. I wanted to earn a contract and that is why I came back and I am just going to keep on working hard until the end of the season. "It would be great to move back but we'll have to wait and see." He admitted: "It has probably been the lowest point of my career but it is all finished now. In football managers and players have disagreements all the time and it happens when everyone is wound up because everyone wants to play. "Everyone wants to win and everyone wants to do well for the club, but while I was wrong to say what I said it was because I am frustrated. "I've been here seven months and things haven't worked out for me but the lads, the gaffer and everyone at the club has been great to me." Jeffers received a mixed reception from the Everton fans at Stamford Bridge but insists his desire to play for the club remains undiminished. He added: "Of course it hurts when you are booed by your own fans, no-one wants that. But I know where they are coming from with the way the situation has been portrayed. "It wasn't a true reflection but people say things and they get blown out of all proportion. Obviously I don't want to take flak off the Everton fans. That is the last thing I want. "When I came back here I had a lot of obstacles in front of me because of what had happened here before. I could have gone to another club but I wanted this challenge and I wanted to come back here. "I still feel the same way as I did back in August and I want to play for this club. Now I have just got to carry on working hard. "I can't determine what the fans are going to say but I can reassure them that these things happen at every club. "What happened shows my hunger. I am not happy to be sitting on the bench, I want to play for Everton. "But I will carry on working hard here and see what happens."

Scot pleased as side extends 'decent' run
By Neil Silver, Daily Post
Apr 19 2004
EVERTON manager David Moyes was delighted to see his team extend their run to just one defeat in nine matches and praised his players for a week which saw them follow up the point at Leeds with another valuable point. "It is difficult to come here and get a result and we were aware that we got well beaten on our last two visits here, so we tried to stiffen things up," said Moyes. "To go to Elland Road under the lights when Leeds are fighting for survival, then to come here when Chelsea are going for second place in the league are two tough away games but we handled them both well.
"We have lost one in nine which is a decent sequence and I hope to keep that going until the end of the season. "We are not yet mathematically safe so we have to try to keep winning games. Any team at the bottom could put together a run of three wins and it will all change again." Meanwhile Chelsea's Claudio Ranieri refused to use the forthcoming Champions League semi-final against Monaco as an excuse for Chelsea's lack of spark in the goalless draw with Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday. Chelsea head to the Principality for tomorrow's first-leg tie and it was suggested to Ranieri that his players might have had one eye on that match rather than being fully committed to beating Everton. The 0-0 draw also meant Chelsea blew the chance to move six points clear of Manchester United in second place in the Barclaycard Premiership, after Sir Alex Ferguson's men were beaten at Portsmouth in the lunchtime kick-off. However, the Chelsea coach said: "My players were very focused on this match and they wanted to do every-thing right. "We wanted three important points after Manchester were defeated but it was not possible. So okay, we now look forward. "It was a strange match and sometimes you can lose these kind of matches in the end. We tried to do every-thing right, we created some good chances and hit the woodwork twice, but that's foot-ball. "Everton came here in good shape and we did well against them without scoring a goal."
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard said: "It was disappointing not to get the win." "We have to get back together. He added: "We looked stronger as a team in the build-up to the Arsenal game but we have lost that a bit and the team has changed a little bit. "We need to get back to that strength that we showed."

Stating the case for defence
View from the stand by Neil Baines, Daily Post
Apr 19 2004
THE journey back from Stamford Bridge has traditionally become one for picking over yet another sound thrashing. What a pleasant relief then that Saturday's trip north could actually be enjoyed after we'd frustrated the life out of the billionaire's millionaires. The likes of Roman Abramovich and his loose change may be just what we could do with at the moment but he could have spent another £100million on Chelsea's strikeforce and they'd not have scored on Saturday. The defence have had a fair amount of stick this season so it's time to give them praise where it's due. Joseph Yobo was a mountain alongside David Weir, with Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith snuffing out everything that Claudio could throw at them - and these days, that's quite a lot. Who cares if we were overly defensive - sometimes you've just got to look at the opposition and recognise that you're playing a better team. And even if they had half an eye on that little Champions League encounter tomorrow, Chelsea have the kind of talent and resources even David Moyes wouldn't dream about. But as he made patently clear after the game, what he does dream about is even a fraction of the kind of financial assistance Ranieri has had. It's been clear this season that while there's no denying the effort, sometimes you need a bit more guile and class in your side. And that, as everyone knows, costs money. Moyes has made it perfectly clear a few times now that he's not happy just avoiding relegation, he wants to take this side back to where it should be. I hope the board answers his plea before it's too late.

Chelsea 0, Everton 0 (Echo)
Apr 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
BUYING a Premiership club and gathering together some of the continent's finest players: £200m. Frustrating them in their own backyard: priceless. It would take more than Mastercard to help Everton bridge the financial gap between themselves and Chelsea. But this game demonstrated that sometimes a little sweat, toil and hard work can go further than even the fattest bank balance.
It is a lesson which Claudio Ranieri's men would do well to heed ahead of tomorrow night's Champions League semi-final. The Italian coach may not have fielded his strongest side against the Toffees, clearly with one eye focused on the clash with Monaco. But even without skipper John Terry, winger Damien Duff and midfielder Claude Makelele, the Chelski millionaires are still more than a match for most sides. Everton, however, were a nut they could not crack. David Weir's explanation after the game was simple: "We worked hard." For much of this season Evertonians have been scratching their heads trying to work out why things have not gone as well as last year.
Maybe the answer is graft. Over the last nine matches the Blues have not always played well. They have not always enjoyed their fair share of good fortune. But they have only lost once because the effort has been there. There seems to have been a greater willingness to put in that extra five per cent, to run that extra yard. Why that level of endeavour has not been present all season is a matter that should be addressed in the summer. Had it been, another top 10 finish would be a certainty, rather than a vain hope. David Moyes has admitted that this has been the toughest season of his managerial career. He has never before had to contend with the kind of extended run of poor form which left Everton in the bottom three for a time over Christmas. It is to his credit that he has overcome the problems and guided Everton back into calmer waters. And I suspect his ability to turn things around is helped significantly by his refusal to hold grudges. That is a trait which too few managers possess. But this season Moyes has buried the hatchet with both Duncan Ferguson and Francis Jeffers after very public falling-outs. The players may not have endeared themselves to their boss as people, but Moyes' number one priority is Everton. And after clear-the-air talks with Jeffers last week, the 23-year-old was back in the fold on Saturday. His brief 15-minute appearance at the end of the match - and the effort he put in during that run-out - underlined why Moyes is such an astute boss. Not seeing eye-to-eye with a player can sometimes be the very best kind of motivation.
Take his ability to bring the best out of players, coupled with his tactical nous, and it easy to see why the last two years have been better than they should have been for a club as bereft of financial clout as Everton. Not even a couple of broadsides from the Chelsea galleon could disturb that even keel on Saturday. Everton's defiant resistance frustrated the home side and nullified the contest, ensuring it was far from a classic spectacle. But if 'classic' matches lead to 4-1 drubbings, as happened twice last season, you can keep them. The press box at Stamford Bridge is just a few yards behind the dugouts. The view of the game may not be great, but it provides an intriguing insight into the action and instructions of the two managers. And there is no doubt on Saturday it was Ranieri getting hottest under the collar. Moyes? He may have been a little twitchy in the closing stages as the home side did everything they could to break down the fiercely resistant Everton defence. But in the main he was composed, dishing out instructions with his usual authority as he did his best to outwit the Tinkerman. It worked a treat. For all their possession, Chelsea had to settle for efforts from distance for much of the game. It was only after the arrival of substitutes Filipe Oliveira and Jesper Gronkjaer late in the game that they managed to get decent balls into the box.
But neither Adrian Mutu nor Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink could capitalise on the handful of chances that came their way. The Chelsea fans love to sing about how they don't need Wayne Rooney, because they've got Mutu. He may be a talented striker, but the Romanian has one minor flaw in his game at the moment - he can't score goals. Rooney, on the other hand, went into this match on the back of a run of six goals in six starts. It is an impressive run which has taken him to the top of the club's goalscoring charts. But, unfortunately, some of the Mutu magic rubbed off on the 18-year-old yesterday. He only had two sights of goal during the game - but they were great sights.
In the 32nd minute a free-kick from the right which curled into the crowded penalty box fell nicely for Kevin Kilbane. His turn and shot took a major deflection and fell kindly for Rooney, four yards out with only Marco Ambrosio to beat. But somehow the keeper denied him. Devon knows how he made it so cleanly - the Italian's outstretched right leg denied the quickfire snapshot from the forward. And Ambrosio frustrated Rooney again on the stroke of half-time. An innocuous through ball from Thomas Gravesen was left by Robert Huth in the belief it would roll harmlessly out for a goalkick. But the defender hadn't banked on Rooney's anticipation. Ambrosio, however, had.
As Rooney slipped behind the embarrassed defender, Ambrosio charged off his line to smother the striker's effort from a tight angle. A little more fortune and the visitors would have been two up at the break. The only threat from the home side was posed by Rooney's England international teammate Frank Lampard. His unerring ability to find the target with efforts from distance saw him hit the woodwork once in each half. After his heroics last week against Leeds, Nigel Martyn deserved a little good luck. And after losing late goals at Southampton and Leicester, the Blues deserved the good fortune they earned in the dying minutes as the Chelsea onslaught became monotonous. They were denied by the steely determination of an Everton side which is enjoying its best run of results of the season. Confidence, the motivational skills of a focused manager and a lot of hard work have been the key. Those factors have guided the club even closer to mathematical safety. Staying in the Premiership - now that really is priceless.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Ambrosio; Gallas (Melchiot 25), Desailly, Huth, Bridge; Geremi, Parker (Oliveira 79), Lampard, Cole (Gronkjaer 79); Mutu, Hasselbaink. Subs: Sullivan, Terry.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Pistone, Yobo, Weir, Naysmith; McFadden (Carsley 57) Gravesen (Watson 86), Linderoth, Kilbane; Rooney, Radzinski (Jeffers 78). Subs: Wright, Nyarko.
REFEREE: Graham Poll
ATT: 41,169
NEXT GAME: Everton v Blackburn Rovers, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

We got our just deserts - Moyes
Apr 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES celebrated some rough justice at Stamford Bridge at the weekend. "Yes, it was rough at times in the second half," said the Blues boss after his side hung on for a goalless draw, "but I like to think that perhaps it was a bit of justice for the result against them at Goodison Park earlier this season. "They only beat us that day with a handled goal from Mutu and we missed a sitter in the last minute. "We might have hung on a bit at times on Saturday, but it was a good point."
Moyes had words of praise for returning skipper David Weir, who stepped back to lead the rearguard action after three months of first team inactivity and helped blunt the goal threat of Hasselbaink and Mutu. "We needed Davie," said Moyes. "Both Tony Hibbert and Peter Clarke dropped out injured on Friday so we were up against it defensively, but he is a senior pro, very experienced - and he came in and did a good job for us." Moyes gave his first team squad a day off today, but was at his Bellefield desk thinking about his rebuilding plans this summer. "I would like us to be a better footballing side," he said. "We have some good players here, but I would say we need a little more creativity and guile. "We need to bring in some new faces and I am sure the board will try as hard as they can to make that happen. "They have always been very supportive." Moyes welcomed back Leon Osman, meanwhile, from a successful three-month loan spell at Derby County.
The midfielder signed off with another sparkling performance in Derby's 5-1 win over Preston on Saturday. Derby boss George Burley said: "I would love to bring Leon here permanently, but I know David Moyes rates him very highly also. "I'm sure we will speak about the prospect of a move in the near future." Meanwhile, on-loan Nick Chadwick scored a spectacular equaliser for Millwall, while young goalkeeper Iain Turner helped take Chester back into the Football League with a clean sheet against Scarborough.

Injection of class is much needed
Apr 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"I'M surprised there's any space left for what I've got to say," murmured David Moyes after his patient wait was finally rewarded with an audience with Her Majesty's Press, some time shortly before it went dark on Saturday. But then the Blues' boss had missed the point why Claudio Ranieri is so popular amongst the press corps. His cute little foreigner act is endearing. Mr Ranieri is also honest, engaging and will talk until the cows come home. And with a Champions League semi-final looming tomorrow night, that's manna from heaven for hacks with extra pages to fill. But Roman Abramovich is apparently still unimpressed. Jose Maureno is the latest foreign boss to be linked with a post which is still not vacant. And on Saturday the reasons became more understandable.
Chelsea have spent the thick side of £200m in little more than a year. They are unquestionably effective, but their football is still functional. Maybe that's why Claudio Ranieri is under pressure, despite guiding the Londoners to the threshold of the club game's ultimate prize. Roman Abramovich appears to have a grander vision. And perhaps officials at Goodison - and more pertinently Anfield - should take note. After the most uninspiring of goalless draws - at Stamford Bridge, not Anfield that is - Moyes was the happier manager. But even he was looking to the future.
"I hope there will be some investment," he said. "The board here have always been supportive of any manager, they do the best they can for him and I am sure they will continue to try and do so."
Cross your fingers and toes and clutch your rosary beads David. Because Everton, as they have almost since he arrived at the club, lack creativity and class. "I would like us to be a better all-round footballing team. What we are trying to do is add pieces of quality or guile." If Claudio had paused for breath, he could have told him that doesn't come cheap. Although evidence of that is even closer to home. Liverpool have had investment. And a fair chunk of it at that. Since November 2002 Liverpool have spent £118.57m on players - give or take a million depending on published transfer fees - recouping £51.085m. That's a nett spend of around £67.5 million, and still Anfield is resounding to more boos than the Dover-Calais ferry many would like to see Gerard Houllier buy a oneway ticket for. The power-brokers of Chelsea appear to be refusing to accept second best - even if it comes with the significant consolation of a Champions League final. Are Liverpool's prepared to accept fourth best with the consolation of Champio ns League qualification? The answer, at present, appears to be 'yes.'

It's looking up for Blues star
Apr 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod At Stamford Bridge, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR has set his sights on ending the toughest year of his career on a high after making his long-awaited first team return against Chelsea on Saturday. A spate of injuries and then a three game suspension, picked up after controversially being sent-off for the reserves last month, have restricted the 33-year-old, to only a handful of appearances this season. But he was drafted in alongside Joseph Yobo for only his seventh start of the season for the trip to Stamford Bridge because of injuries to Alan Stubbs and David Unsworth. With just four games remaining, Weir is intent on putting the bad times behind him and going in to the closed season with a smile on his face. He said: "This has definitely been the most frustrating season of my career. "It is good to get a full game under my belt. That is what it is all about and that is why you do the job. "I have been quite lucky throughout my career because I have always played week in, week out and have never really been troubled by injuries. "But maybe this season is my turn to suffer and now that is put to bed now. "It would be nice to play a part in the games we have left. "We are only really looking above us now. We want to climb the table and not worry about what is happening below us. "I felt fine after the game. I have been working hard in training, even though I have not been involved, because I have been fit for quite a while now and I have wanted to be ready for games like this one when the chance came along. "It has not been hard to keep myself motivated because you just want to get back playing as quickly as possible." Weir couldn't have asked for a tougher return, facing the multi-million pound strikforce of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Adrian Mutu. But alongside Yobo, Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith he managed to keep the Chelski millionaires at bay. He adds: "All the games in this league are tough. You have just got to be tuned in and do your best. "It is a difficult place to go. And when you get over that initial burst and settle down a bit it is hard work really. "Getting a draw is a fantastic result. Going to London and getting anything at all is a bonus, to be honest. Arsenal and Chelsea are the two best clubs in London, so to get a draw against one of them is welcome." The key, according to Weir, was the work ethic of the Toffees. "Everybody from the forwards right back worked hard and closed down, and that is something you have got to do against sides of that standard. "There is no big secret. It is just hard work and determination. We are working for the cause and everybody is doing that little bit extra." That mentality has taken the club to within touching distance of being mathematically assured of their Premiership status.

Moyes: I need more players
Apr 19 2004 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is trusting his board to back him in the transfer market in the summer - otherwise he fears another season struggling at the wrong end of the Premiership. After a fine start to his career as Everton boss last season, Moyes has seen his team struggle this term and they are still not mathematically safe from relegation. The Everton boss, has warned that the squad needs to be strengthened - albeit on a limited budget - in order for things to improve. "I don't want to go through another season like this," said Moyes. "The board here have always been supportive to any manager, they have always tried to do the best they can for them, and I am sure that will continue.
"We need to keep working with the players we've got but we do need a new group of players, whether that be two, three or four. "With another couple of results we can try and finish the season on as much of a high as we can. Things have not been the way we'd like them, but at this present time the players are doing everything they can to get us the results and the points which will ensure our Premiership status. "I would like us to be a better all-round football team. The players at Everton play with a lot of passion and commit-ment, so we are trying to add quality and guile which will fit in with that."

Jeffers: I only want to play for Blues
Apr 19 2004 By Paul Walker Echo Reporter
FRANCIS JEFFERS still wants a permanent deal at Goodison - despite describing the past seven days as the lowest point in his footballing career. Jeffers' Everton career looked to be over for a second time following the Good Friday victory over Tottenham, when the 23-year-old, declared he no longer wanted to play for Everton under manager David Moyes. But after training on his own earlier in the week, Jeffers was back with the rest of the squad ahead of Saturday's goalless draw with Chelsea after holding clear the air talks with the manager. Jeffers said: "It has been a real low point. I have had a hard time and obviously the manager and I have made up. "What I said probably didn't come out too well but it was purely out of frustration and my desire to play for Everton and earn a contract here. "It has been difficult since I came back, but I knew that, I wanted to earn a contract and that's why I came back. I 'm just going to carry on working hard until the end of the season and it would be great but we'll have to wait and see. It has probably been the lowest point of my career.
"It is all finished with now. I think in football, managers and players have disagreements and it is all when everyone is wound up because everyone wants to play. "Everyone wants to win, everyone wants to do well for the club and it was wrong to say what I said but once again it was out of frustration. "I have been here seven months and things haven't worked out for me but the lads have been great, the gaffer has been great and everyone at the club has." Jeffers' bizarre week continued when he was introduced as a late substitute at Stamford Bridge to a chorus of boos from the travelling Evertonians. The England international understands the supporters' bitterness but hopes he can get them back on side in the final four games of the season. "Of course it gets to you because you don't want to take flak from your own fans but I know where they are coming from with the way the situation has been publicised," he added. "It wasn't a true reflection but people say things and it is blown out of all proportion. Obviously I don't want to take flak off the Everton fans, it is the last thing I want. "When I came back here I had a lot of obstacles in front of me because of what happened when I was here before. "I could have gone to other clubs but I wanted this challenge and I wanted to come back. I still feel the same as I did back in August and I want to play for this club. "I can't have a say in what the fans are going to say but I can reassure them by saying that it happens at every club, disagreements between managers and player, and once again it was out of my frustration. "In a way it shows I'm hungry, it shows that I am not happy just to be sitting on the bench. I've not been happy on the bench, I think I have only played five games but that's not what I want. I have been working hard and I will carry on working hard."

Allow Moyes the chance to tinker
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Apr 20 2004
WHAT a great result for Everton at Chelsea on Saturday. David Moyes's men worked hard to keep the London billionaires at arm's length and reinforce their own manager's reputation as an excellent motivator and also a shrewd tactician. It is an area of Moyes's work that can be over-looked, because he is so good at getting the extra bit of effort out of players. However, even at Preston it became obvious that Moyes is a true student of the game and as football changes, so he changes with it. Don't forget this is the man who paid his own way to France 1998 to watch Scotland train and play, as well as other international teams - all to see if there was anything he could pick up and apply to his coaching. He will watch a huge amount of football because teams and players are always coming up with new ideas and new ways of playing or responding to different challenges.
All that he sees, reads about or is told about will go into the memory banks so he can use it when he needs to. Probably the most frequent opportunity for that is the half-time break, which people think is about ranting and raving or patting people on the back. Nowadays it is closer to the truth to think that managers use that time to make the subtle changes to their own team that allow them to better cope with the opposition. Saying that, every player will have been on the wrong end of a half-time hairdryer from their manager at one time or another! I am sure there is more to come from David Moyes in all aspects of management, and that is good news for Everton. Moyes has already made noises about wanting to add to his squad in the summer and it will be interesting to see just how much money he has at his disposal. Assuming he keeps all the players he wants to keep, then the area he should look to add to is central midfield. Everton need a consistent playmaker in the middle of the park who can take games by the scruff of the neck week in, week out. At the moment Thomas Gravesen does it in fits and starts and when he is on his game, Everton look a different team no matter who they are playing against. Certainly Moyes deserves the support of the board because I am sure he will make the most of what money he gets. As he has shown with signing Nigel Martyn and Kevin Kilbane, for instance, he has an eye for the right kind of player and does his home-work on any potential buy. If he can add to the quality of player at his disposal, that will give him even more tactical flexibility out on the pitch. Alright, so Claudio Ranieri is in an unrealistic position for most managers, but one thing that Chelsea's riches mean is that he can change the way his team plays each week. Be it 4-3-3, 3-5-2, the Christmas tree or whatever, he has the players to make it happen.
It is a situation that I am sure Moyes can only envy, but at Everton he now must have the support to increase the options at his disposal to somewhere between where he is now and Ranieri's position.

We dont need prima donnas
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 20 2004
No prima donnas
HAVING played semi-pro when I was in the UK, I can imagine the thrill of playing football for a living.
The thought of playing for Everton at Goodison would be one of the most unbelievable experiences I could imagine. Jeffers should be shown the door quickly as he believes he is bigger then Everton. I take my hat off to Moyesey. He will run the team as he wants it run with no prima donnas.
Steve Houston (via e-mail)
I WATCHED Arsenal on Friday (five-goal magic) then another four Premier league games at the weekend that had one goal in 360 minutes football. The four games were absolute rubbish. We are all kidding ourselves about the Premier League being the best. I can't wait for this season to end. Everton have one away win all season and having watched them at Chelsea versus their reserves, we won't get another one until next year. Abramovich has the right idea - if you don't succeed, you're out. If he owned Everton, our complete club roster would be reduced to about three on the final day of the season.
Bob Butchard (via e-mail)
Pennant flyer
HAS anyone heard who Everton are supposed to be signing this summer? Personally, I hope Moyes brings in players such as Jermaine Pennant, Riccardo Fuller, Andy Reid or Sean Davis.
DR Gray, Warrington
Splash cash
WELL done boys at Chelsea. We couldn't have asked for more than 0-0. What am I saying? We could ask for more money to go to Davie Moyes. Okay, we're skint but every time I pay £29 to sit behind a post I expect some of my money to go to the team. That's why I keep doing it. We all love Kenwright and his heart is in the club, but we need a change. Let's see our money go to the club and not the suits in the Main Stand!
E John, Liverpool
Keep Rooney
SELL Rooney? Never! We'll never become a big club by selling our best players. We aren't a Division Three outfit that needs to survive by selling great talent and Rooney is one that comes in a 100 years. We didn't sell Dixie Dean; why should we sell Rooney?
Ajay Timothy (via e-mail)

Final place spur for youngsters
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 20 2004
EVERTON under-17s may have left it late, but they still moved into the semi-finals of FA Premier Academy League play-off with a 2-0 victory over Leicester City at Netherton on Saturday.
With six minutes remaining it was still goalless but Everton's top-scorer Paul Hopkins broke the dead-lock with his 12th goal of the season and schoolboy striker Victor Anichebe secured victory in injury time. Gary Ablett's side will now face a trip to London this weekend to take on Spurs, who won 3-1 at Leeds United on Saturday, for a place in the twolegged final to be played at each club's home ground. Hopkins saw one effort go wide in the first half, but Bootle-born schoolboy goalkeeper Sean Lake pulled off two superb saves to deny the visitors early in the second half.
Andy Fowler had a couple of efforts to open the scoring and England under-16s international Scott Phelan also went close. But with six minutes left Sean Wright's determined run and pass sent Hopkins away to coolly score the opening goal. In the final minute substitute Anichebe was on hand to score from the close range to seal Everton's passage into the last four. Coach Ablett said: "The game was quite scrappy. They came and were very strong and direct and whacked everything forward to the front two and looked to play off our mistakes. "In the first half we looked very nervous and didn't really play as well as we'd like and it was quite even up to half-time. But in the second half young Sean Lake made two fantastic saves against the run of play that kept us in it.
"Then it looked as though we would be heading to extra-time. But with six minutes to go Sean Wright was allowed to run virtually to the edge of their box and he had the fore-sight to lift his head and slide Paul Hopkins in. And he slid it off the outside of his boot to give the goalkeeper no chance.
"We scored again after a scramble and obviously you have to be pleased with the result if maybe a little disappointed with the performance. But of course, the result is the important thing." EVERTON U17s: Lake; Wynne, Hughes, Wright; Wilson, Harris, Seargeant (Vaughan 80), Phelan; Hopkins (Anichebe 85), Fowler. Subs: Kearney, Molynuex, Irving.

Radz will stay a Blue
Apr 20 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI will be offered a new contract this summer. And the Everton striker will be joined on David Moyes' must-keep list by midfielder Thomas Gravesen. The Blues are sticking to their pledge not to discuss new deals until the current season has ended. But Moyes has already kicked- off his summer rebuilding plans by speaking to Radzinsk, Everton's player of the season last year, and Gravesen. Both players have indicated their desire to stay. Their current deals expire in 14 months' time and both have been the subject of transfer speculation recently. Newcastle have long been admirers of Gravesen, while Portsmouth were reported to be preparing a summer swoop for Radzinski and this weekend's Goodison visitors Blackburn have also made inquiries. Radzinski, 30, will be offered a two-year extension, while Gravesen, 28, has shaken hands with Moyes and pledged his immediate future.

Rangers eye up Unsworth
Apr 20 2004 Liverpool Echo
GLASGOW RANGERS are the latest club to cast a covetous eye at David Unsworth. A report in Scotland this morning stated that the Glasgow giants are preparing to make an offer for the defender who will become a free agent next month. Rangers have watched Unsworth, four times in the past two months, and with Henning Berg retiring, Frank de Boer expected to leave this summer and skipper Craig Moore undergoing a sixth knee operation in the close season, the Gers are seeking defensive reinforcements. Jean-Alain Boumsong has already been snapped up from Auxerre, while Trinidadian international Marvin Andrews has been signed from Livingston. But Alex McLeish is still keen to add one more defender to his squad. Unsworth still hopes Everton will offer him a new deal this summer, after he rejected outright an initial one- year extension. But he would undoubtedly be tempted by an approach from the Scottish club. The defender, who has also been linked with a summer move to Bolton Wanderers, recently celebrated his 300th appearance for the Blues and skippered the side in their recent outing against Tottenham. The Blues' reserves, meanwhile, entertain Sunderland at Haig Avenue tonight.

Everton will fight for American teenager
Apr 20 2004 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES is ready to challenge a host of Premiership rivals for the coveted signature of American teenager Danny Szetela this summer. The 17-year-old, has attracted interest from Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United since starring in the recent FIFA World Youth Championships, in which the United States reached the final. But the Everton manager, who has been tracking the creative midfielder for several months, has stolen a march on his rivals by offering Szetela a summer move to Goodison Park. Everton would have to pay a nominal fee to World Class Olympic to secure the release of the promising teenager, who has also been linked with Inter Milan. Manchester City were favourites to tempt Szetela across the Atlantic but the uncertainty surrounding their Premiership status and Kevin Keegan's future at the club has allowed Everton to step up their interest. Derby County, meanwhile, hope to persuade Moyes to allow Leon Osman to return to Pride Park when his loan deal expires this weekend. The 22-year-old has been instrumental in the Rams' recent climb away from the first division relegation zone with three goals in 16 impressive appearances for George Burley's side. Derby fans chanted for him to stay during Saturday's 5-1 victory over Preston, his final Pride Park appearance before a three-month loan expires after this weekend's game at Burnley. But while Burley wants Osman to lead Derby to safety, the Goodison Academy graduate will spend the final three games of the season pressing his claims with Everton. The Derby manager said: "I'd love to keep Leon but David Moyes has never indicated to me he'd be willing to let him go on a permanent basis."
* EVERTON have a limited number of tickets available for the grand reunion of their 1984-85 championship-winning team this Thursday. Every team member, with the exception of South Africa-based Pat van den Hauwe, will be at the black tie function at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Tickets, priced £100, can be obtained by calling Everton's Football in the Community department on 0151 330 2307.

Lewis set for grand day out at Goodison
Apr 20 2004 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
LEWIS BROWNE is guaranteed a day to remember as the Blues play their last home game of the season. After winning our latest JBlue competition, the nine-year-old will be treated to the full VIP treatment when Everton play Bolton at Goodison Park on May 8. Lewis and a parent will receive a unique behind-thescenes tour of the famous stadium when he will have the chance to grab some autographs from his favourite players. After a meal for two, he will then sit back and enjoy watching the Blues take to the Goodison pitch for the final time this season. In our competition, Lewis, from Bootle, correctly answered that Joseph Yobo plays international football for Nigeria.
* There is still time to get your top 10 questions in to Kevin Kilbane.
Send them to JBlue My Top 10, ECHO Sport, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB.

Everton Res 1, Birmingham Res 0
Apr 21 2004
By Alan Myers, Daily Post
EVERTON Reserves won their penultimate Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League (North) game thanks to a goal just before the break from young Daniel Fox against Birmingham City. Both sides fielded youthful looking teams with only the goalkeepers having had first-team experience. The visitors certainly started brighter with Dean Curtis and strike partner Mark Smyth, on trial from Liverpool, going close within the first 20 minutes. However Fox suggested he would test the City defence before the interval. On 44 minutes it proved so and after winning a free-kick, Everton took it quickly with Fox's strike taking Ian Bennett by surprise to put the Blues 1-0 up at half time.
Birmingham's young side never really had the answer to Everton's stern defending while at the other end James Vaughan was going close for the home side, first putting a header over the bar and then being denied by the legs of Bennett. Steven Schumacher was showing why he is an England international by playing well in midfield and he very nearly set up Vaughan for Everton's second, Bennett again coming to the visitors' rescue. Richard Wright dealt comfortably with a late flurry of action from the Birmingham attack, but in truth Everton's lead never really looked likely to be pegged back. Everton remain in eighth place in the Reserve League (North).
EVERTON: R Wright, Wynne, Fox, Hughes, S Wright, Schumaccher, Fowler (Harris 68), B Moogan, Vaughan, Pascucci (Anichebe 74), Booth. Subs: Lake, Hopkins, Wilson.
BIRMINGHAM CITY: Bennett, Parratt, Painter, Kilkenny, Courteny, Collins, Birly, Hall, Smythe(Hamilton 45), Curtis, Motteram. Subs: Dormand, Howland, Jama.

Goodison 'racism' claim is resolved
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 21 2004
EVERTON allegations that Joseph Yobo was racially abused by Norwich City supporters during January's FA Cup tie were based on "reliable sources", a Football Association enquiry has found.
But the first division leaders will not be punished after the FA also confirmed there was no evidence of mass racist chanting against the Nigerian defender. The two clubs have been at loggerheads since the third round FA Cup tie at Goodison Park in which Everton received complaints of racist abuse from four separate sources. Norwich complained bitterly when Everton publicised the accusations, and insisted that rather than shouting "black bastard" at Yobo their fans were calling Wayne Rooney a "fat bastard". But the FA have backed Everton's stance and rebuffed Norwich suggestions Goodison officials had conspired to tarnish their reputation. The FA stated: "The reports from reliable sources of a small pocket of racially motivated abuse towards an Everton player from within the Norwich City support following an on-field challenge came from four separate locations in the ground without opportunity for collusion. "The audio recordings are inconclusive as to whether "black" or "fat" was the first adjective used and the public response of the Everton Football Club through the website was proportionate and reasonable in the circumstances." They added: "And there is no evidence of mass racist chanting by Norwich City Football Club followers and no evidence of a failure on the part of either club to control the conduct of their respective spectators at the fixture." Ian Ross, Everton's head of PR, welcomed the FA's finding, saying: "The Football Association's conclusions serve to back up our original theory that it was a very small percentage of those Norwich City supporters in attendance at Goodison Park on January 3, 2004, who where responsible for a brief, but clearly audible, burst of racist chanting. "Indeed, the Football Association states that the reports of racially-motivated abuse towards an Everton player from within the Norwich City support came from 'reliable sources' and, we believe significantly, from four separate locations in the ground without opportunity for collusion. "Accusations that we, as a Club, had in some way suggested it was the majority of those Norwich supporters present at the FA Cup third round tie who had indulged in racist chanting were mischievous and erroneous. "We have always insisted that our response to the events of January 3 2004 was both professional and wholly reasonable; it is pleasing to note that the Football Association concurs. "We now regard the matter as closed and we very much look forward to meeting Norwich City as Premiership equals next season." Norwich, however, have continued the row by criticising the FA enquiry and insisting Everton owe them an apology regardless of its findings. Chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "I am extremely disappointed by the FA's stance on this matter. "I personally took the video tape of the incident to the BBC studios in Norwich. The tape was analysed and much of the background noise filtered out and it was concluded that the word chanted had been 'fat' and not 'black'. "I am particularly concerned, because Everton have made no apology to our supporters, our supporters will continue to feel aggrieved by their treatment by Everton and that this may be reflected should we be fortunate enough to visit Goodison Park next season." Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, has been left out of the Scotland squad for next week's friendly against Denmark to prevent further aggravation to his groin injury. The international defender is due to undergo surgery at the end of the season.

Osman to be handed big Blues chance
Apr 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today slapped a 'not for sale' tag on the Blues' young midfielder Leon Osman.
The 22-year-old, has sparkled during a three month loan spell at Derby County, and boss George Burley is eager to take him to Pride Park permanently. Osman was given a hero's farewell after the final home game of his loan in last weekend's 5-1 hammering of Preston. But the Goodison chief will turn down any approach from Derby for Osman, whose last game for the club will be Saturday's trip to Burnley. He said: "Leon has done really well for them. But we will be bringing him back after this weekend. "We would have brought him back earlier but we didn't want to stitch George Burley up, because he has been an important player for them as they have tried to avoid relegation. "He has shown he can play in the first division. It is harder to get a run of games like that in the Premiership, but if we can we will give him a few games. "He is a terrific lad and a good player, which is why we extended his contract earlier this season." Burley has been thrilled by Osman's form during his three month spell with the club, scoring three goals in 16 appearances. The crowd chanted "Leon for Derby" after last weekend's game and he has become a hero of the fans. But Burley admitted: "I'd love to keep Leon but David Moyes has never indicated to me he'd be willing to let him go on a permanent basis."

Iain eyes on Turner prize!
Apr 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IAIN TURNER is hoping to become the only member of the Everton squad to pick up silverware this season. The 20-year-old Scot, has been on loan at Chester for the last two months and helped Mark Wright's outfit secure the Conference championship with last weekend's victory over Scarborough.
He will remain at the Deva Stadium until the end of the season but his long-term future remains at Goodison, where he was handed a new three-year contract before Christmas. But he is delighted that he will be coming back to Everton with the first medal of his young career - provided he plays in this weekend's clash with Hereford. He explains: "It was a great feeling (to win the league), it has to be said. "I've not felt like that at all in my entire life. When that final whistle went - the relief and the joy I felt was brilliant. "At full-time everyone just ploughed onto the park and the celebrations started. The Chester fans have been brilliant in every game I've played in. "They've really supported the club and it was great to see the stadiumfull. "If I play on Saturday, I think I can get a medal, because I will have played in 12 games. "I'm looking to finish on a high against Hereford. "You learn a lot from every coach you work alongside and I've picked up a few tips from Mark Wright along the way. "My spell at Chester has given me more experience, I'd like to think it has made me a better keeper and next season I'm looking to progress even further. "The number one spot at Everton is still my aim and I'm going to keep working hard to achieve it." He has yet to experience defeat with the Conference side. But the modest shot-stopper insists it is not down to him. He adds: "I know that Chester haven't been beaten since I've been there, but in all honesty I've not had to do that much. "Since I started playing there, the back three in front of me of Daniel Collins, Phil Bolland and Scott Guyett have done really well. They've been solid and helped me along."

Fan travel to Wolves
Apr 21 2004 Liverpool Echo
NETWORK Rail has announced further engineering work which will affect Everton supporters travelling to Wolverhampton on May 1. The line between Stafford and Wolverhampton will be closed that weekend. Alternative road transport will be provided but will add a minimum of 90 mins on to the journey and alcohol will not be allowed to be taken on to coaches. Supporters are advised to seek alternative transport.

Heavy rotation an insult to fans
Apr 21 2004
By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
"ROTATION" has become one of the buzz words of team sport in recent years. From the England rugby union team at the World Cup to Carlisle United in the Worthington Cup, judging when and when not to rest players has become as much a part of management as swearing at linesmen or making excuses for the bad behaviour of players. Squad rotation has reached such a point that it's damn near impossible to name the preferred starting line-up of most club managers or coaches.
If you're reading this and you know what Chelsea's best 11 is, for example, you're obviously not Claudio Ranieri. But rarely in the brief history of this new-fangled tactic can it have gone as spectacularly wrong as it did for St Helens rugby league coach Ian Millward, (pictured), on Easter Monday. That was the day Millward chose to do without 11 first-team players for a trip to the home of Super League champions Bradford Bulls. It wasn't the fact his team got stuffed 54-8. Anyone who thinks Millward is going to lose any sleep over that is kidding themselves. A week after the game, though, allegations surfaced in a national newspaper that Saints players Sean Long and Martin Gleeson each gambled £1,000 on their team losing by more than nine points. It would be stupid to blame Millward for having two players who appear to have the brains of rocking horses. But it shows the risk he was taking by so publicly writing off a game. Of the 11 players who were "injured" for the Bradford game, 10 of them had miraculously recovered in time to face - and beat - Salford Reds the following Friday. The exception was Gleeson, who presumably strained a muscle when picking up his (or possibly his mate's, he hasn't said) £909 winnings after the Bulls game. If the Saints physio doesn't get a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours for services to the medical profession, something is seriously wrong. Millward did not break any rules picking the team he did against Bradford. Those rules were changed after he took the mickey out of Super League by selecting a reserve team to face Bradford in 2002. But he does stand guilty of undermining the premier competition in English club rugby league, of poor management, disrespect for his own supporters and of leaving his club wide open to the kind of innuendo which has followed it since Friday.
Squad rotation has become an acceptable part of modern sport, to the point where it is hard to argue what does and doesn't constitute a "weakened" team. Which is why it made sense for Super League to waive the £25,000 fine handed to Saints two years ago, and to change its rules so that any registered player deemed "Super League capable" can take to the field. Millward exploited that rule by handing debuts to five teenagers against Bradford. And in doing so, he stuck two fingers up to those fans who travelled across the Pennines on an Easter Monday in the hoping of seeing a contest.
If reports are to be believed, then at least Long did his bit, announcing over the microphone to everyone in Nexus nightclub in the town the previous Saturday that Saints would be fielding an under-strength side. Football managers like Gerard Houllier and Sir Alex Ferguson often use cup games to blood some of their more promising kids, but at least they are open about it, meaning fans know what they are getting when they pay for a ticket. When the teams were read out over the tannoy at Odsal the other week it must have come as quite a shock to those away fans who hadn't been out clubbing at the weekend. If there's been an apology from Millward to the fans, I haven't heard it. I must have missed it amongst all the cock and bull stories about injured players and "duty of care". I don't doubt Saints did have 11 players injured on Easter Monday. But equally, I am pretty certain that there wasn't a Super League team which took to the field at the weekend with 13 fully-fit players. Most sportsmen regularly play when carrying knocks. I find it hard to believe that most, if not all, of the Saints' absentees could have done the same against Bradford. Saints had a punishing Easter schedule. But so did every Super League team. Bradford had extra-time to prepare for the game. But only 16 hours. All Millward wanted to do was to stick two fingers up at rugby league, to make the point that his team could forfeit a game and still end the season as Grand Final champions.
Rugby league's ludicrous rules, where you don't have to finish top of Super League to win it, allow him to do that. But it sent out completely the wrong message. St Helens have already beaten Bradford on their own patch this season, in the Challenge Cup. Last season they did it in the league.
To have gone to Odsal last week and beaten Brian Noble's men would have made a statement for the rest of the season. Instead the message was: "We're cowards and we're arrogant enough to think we can get away with it." Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League without beating Arsenal on Good Friday. The Anfield hierarchy should really have written off a game at Highbury in the search for points. But if Houllier had "rested" nine of his first team to keep them fresh for Charlton on the Monday, he would be out of a job by now. So if, to cap it all off, a few of Millward's players are found to have taken advantage of Millward's selection to make a few extra quid, I won't shed any tears for him.

Quick thinking suits Fox in box
Apr 21 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON remain eighth in the Reserve League North with one game to play after they beat Birmingham City 1-0 at Haig Avenue. The goal came just before the break from Daniel Fox.
Both sides fielded youthful-looking teams with only the goalkeepers, Richard Wright and Ian Bennett, having had first-team experience. The visitors started the brighter but as the half progressed, the Blues came more and more into it. On 44 minutes their pressure paid off and after winning a free-kick, they took it quickly, Fox's strike taking Bennett by surprise to give the Blues an interval advantage. James Vaughan went close for the home side - first putting a header over the bar, then being denied by the legs of Bennett. Steven Schumacher very nearly set up Vaughan for the second, but Bennett again came to the rescue.
EVERTON: R Wright, Wynne, Fox, Hughes, Wright, Schumacher, Fowler (Harris 68), B Moogan, Vaughan, Pascucci (Anichebe 74), Booth. Not used: Lake, Hopkins, Wilson.

Everton's chance to bring Ball back
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 22 2004
EVERTON have been sounded out about a possible return to Goodison Park this summer for Michael Ball. The Rangers defender, could be sacrificed at the end of this season as Alex McLeish instigates an urgent rebuilding programme at Ibrox. And Everton are one of several Premiership clubs who have been alerted to his possible availability. Ball, who is represented by former Goodison star Trevor Steven, was sold to Rangers for £6million in 2001 as the Goodison club reduced its crippling debts. Now, ironically, McLeish is under pressure to reduce his wage bill and restructure his side after their failure to prevent Celtic coasting to the SPL title this season. Ball would relish a return to his boyhood club but whether Everton could afford to buy back the 24-year-old even on reduced terms is doubtful. And given David Moyes's experience with Francis Jeffers this season, the Everton manager may be wary of including a former player in his long-term Goodison plans. Ball has, however, established himself at Rangers this season, making 41 appearances for the Glasgow club after an injury-plagued start to his career in Scotland. And Moyes will need to reinforce his own defence this summer, especially if Rangers-target David Unsworth leaves on a free transfer. Everton, meanwhile, have announced their first pre-season friendly ahead of the 2004/05 campaign. Moyes's men will take on Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough on Tuesday, August 3, kick off 7.45pm. Tickets cost £10 adults, £5 concessions. Meanwhile, National Rail are advising Evertonians to avoid taking the train to the game at Wolves on Saturday, May 1. The company explained: "Network Rail have announced essential engineering work in the Stafford area on May 1 which will close the line between Stafford and Wolverhampton, alternative road transport will be provided. "The use of road transport will add a minimum of 90 mins on to the journey and alcohol will not be allowed to be taken on to coaches. "Everton football supporters are advised to seek alternative transport for the forth coming match against Wolverhampton Wanderers."

Osman to survive end of season clear-out
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Apr 22 2004
EVERTON manager David Moyes has confirmed young midfielder Leon Osman will not be joining Derby on a permanent basis. The Goodison Park club could be releasing more than a dozen players in the summer, but it is clear Moyes believes the future lies with bright youngsters, like Osman, and England striker Wayne Rooney. Moyes has already confirmed Everton will be negotiating a new contract for Rooney in the summer, and that senior men Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen - both with a year left on their current deals - will be offered new contracts when the season ends.
And he is also determined to keep impressive youngsters like Osman, who has become a real star at Pride Park as Derby battle for their first division survival. County boss George Burley wants to sign Osman permanently, but the 23-year-old will play his final game for Derby at Burnley on Saturday before returning to Merseyside. In his three-month spell in the east midlands, he has made 16 appearances and scored three goals. But there is no chance of the move becoming permanent, and Moyes wants Osman involved in pre-season training and pressing for a place in next term's firstteam squad. "Derby have spoken to me about Leon, but we sent him out to get experience and he has done that. He is played very well for Derby," said Moyes. "I think he is well liked there, as he is here at Everton. He is a terrific boy as well as being a good player. "He needed the experience, so it has been good for him. "He will be coming back next week after Derby's game with Burnley on Saturday. He will then be involved in our pre-season training." Osman, who also had a loan spell to Carlisle, has made just four substitute appearances for Everton's first team and has one year left on his contract. If he impresses next season, there is every chance that deal will be extended. But Moyes, who has already stated he needs "three or four new players" in the summer despite financial restraints and being told earlier in the season he would have no money to spend, will clearly be letting players leave to cut his wage bill and allow room for new faces. Veteran defender Dave Unsworth, wanted by Rangers, is still waiting to hear if the deal on the table for him will be extended from one to two seasons. If not, he could leave. Several other players with contracts up in June, will also be going. Niclas Alexandersson has already returned to Sweden and on loan Francis Jeffers - despite his pleas for a full contract after apologising to Moyes for his outburst a fortnight ago - will be allowed to return to Arsenal at season's end. Steve Simonsen, Scot Gemmill, Peter Clarke, Paul Gerrard, Michael Symes and Steven Schumacher are also expected to be going. Sean O'Hanlon has already joined Swindon. There will be more, as Moyes works on keeping the best of his current squad and the brightest young talent coming through the ranks.

Everton followers to help favourites
By Richard Williamson, Daily Post
Apr 22 2004
EVERTON fans are being asked to support the work of the Former Players Foundation this weekend.
Collectors will be out in force at the home game against Blackburn on Saturday to generate revenue for the Foundation. The fund-raising weekend, which also includes a dinner on Friday night, is crucial to under-pinning the efforts made to help ex-Everton players. Laurence Lee, chairman of the Everton Former Players Foundation, said: "We look after the interests of former players who have fallen on hard times and primarily their physical needs caused by playing through injuries which in the modern game would have seen the player ruled out for several weeks. "We also offer respite care and help to the families. We get a lot of help from the PFA and the club itself, but we need all the support we can get and I hope Evertonians will put their hand in their pockets this weekend. As well as collectors, the programme will cost a little bit more with the extra revenue going to the Foundation. "We are the only organisation raising money solely to help former players. Anyone who wants to make a donation, payable to the EFPF, can send it care of the Rev Harry Ross at St Luke's Church."

Time to say 'merci' to Mad Mick Madar
Post Past By Philip J Redmond, Daily Post
Apr 22 2004
WHEN Everton met Blackburn Rovers at Goodison in March 1998 it was the Toffees who were fighting for their survival. Rovers no longer boasted Alan Shearer in their line-up but they were still a strong outfit pushing for a European spot. Everton, on the other hand, were a shambles.
Howard Kendall had been tempted back to the club yet again but he was forced to operate with about seven pence to spend in the transfer market. He brought in a rag tag bunch of players comprised of untried kids like Gareth Farrelly, John Oster and John O'Kane to play alongside journey-men such as Carl Tiler, Mitch Ward and Tony Thomas - and we think we've got it bad today!
Indeed, John Spencer made his debut in this match, but it was another striker, Mickael Madar, who was to prove the hero of the hour. Madar was enduring yet another poor match with the unforgiving Goodison crowd on his back when he broke the deadlock against Roy Hodgson's Rovers.
A cross from O'Kane on the right tempted Tim Flowers from his goal, only for Madar's ponytailed head to beat him to the ball and send it into the back of the Gwladys Street goal. Whipping off his shirt to reveal a t-shirt emblazoned with picture of his kids, Madar did a passable Marco Tardelli impersonation as he celebrated, seemingly close to tears. The reaction of his team-mates, a polite clap as they jogged back to the halfway line, indicated that the Gallic goal-getter wasn't exactly the most popular figure in the dressing room. Despite his criticisms though, that goal, and others against Tottenham and Leicester in the following weeks, would ultimately prove as vital to the survival of Everton Football Club as Farrelly's screamer against Coventry. So, with that in mind, raise a glass to Mad Mick Madar.

Sacking by Everton FC after fight was unfair
By Chris Brown Daily Post Staff
Apr 22 2004
A KIT manager for Everton Football Club was unfairly dismissed after fighting with the team's minibus driver, a tribunal ruled yesterday. David Flanagan, kit manager for the club's training academy, explained away his scuffle with Alan Edwards by saying it took "two to tango."

The pair had an argument which had turned into a fight at The Lodge, a training ground in Netherton. Mr Flanagan, a father of three, had asked Alan Edwards to take some kits to the Bellefield training ground in West Derby to be signed by the first team for charity. He told the tribunal that Mr Edwards refused to take the shirts and there was a brief argument. After Mr Edwards left the office he went down the stairs. Mr Flanagan also went down with cones used for training. Mr Flanagan said: "Alan left my office still swearing as he went. I carried on with my work and gathered some bibs and loose cones. "As I walked down the stairs I noticed that Alan had turned around and was coming back up the stairs. "He shouted, 'Do you want to make something of it?' My hands were full of cones at the time. "Without warning he threw a punch at me which I had to stop by moving my arms. The force of the blow knocked the cones out of my hands onto the floor." Mr Flanagan said he thought the matter was over but Mr Edwards put in a written complaint saying he was hit in the back of the head with a metal stand. Although nobody had seen the fight, witnesses to the aftermath said they had not seen a metal stand but had seen the cones on the floor. One witness described the incident as "handbags." Mr Flanagan was called into Academy director Ray Hall's office to explain and claimed he told him that both people could have been to blame. When Mr Hall made a note of it later, however, it said that Mr Flanagan had accepted responsibility. After an investigation by Norman Whibley, Everton's acting head of human resources, Mr Flanagan was sacked by club secretary David Harrison. An appeal in December to chief executive Michael Dunford was also lost. Speaking of his reasons for the dismissal, Mr Harrison said: "I placed particular importance on Mr Flanagan's initial comments to Mr Hall and noted that he did not challenge the account of Mr Hall at the disciplinary meeting and positively agreed that he had made these comments when questioned by Mr Whibley during the investigation. "I also placed importance in the fact that he had left his office and followed Mr Edwards downstairs." The tribunal ruled that Mr Flanagan had been unfairly dismissed. Chairman Dawn Shotter said that the alleged confession by Mr Flanagan to Mr Hall was only noted two and a half weeks after the conversation and that it was key to his dismissal. But she said that he had made a 35% contribution to his sacking which would be taken into account in compensation. Before the tribunal made a ruling on compensation, the parties agreed on a settlement with Everton paying Mr Flanagan £8,500.

Moyes wants double take
Apr 22 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set his sights on making amends for Everton's worst performances of the season in the next fortnight. The Blues boss, believes the 2-1 reverse at Blackburn and the 2-0 defeat at Bolton in November were the lowest points of his time in charge at Goodison. Rovers come to Everton on Saturday, and Sam Allardyce's side are the final visitors of the season on May 8.
Although Everton's Premiership safety is not yet mathematical ly secure, the Blues have lost only once in their last nine games and the manager is keen to maintain that form. He said: "Two of our worst performances have been against Blackburn and Bolton and we are determined to do much better than we did in those away games when we face those sides at Goodison. "We need to keep continuing the kind of form we have been showing. I've been pleased with the more consistent performances and we are looking to win against Blackburn on Saturday although they have played well against us in our last thre e meetings. "We have had a strange season, but we are doing well now. "It would be nice for it continue a bit longer but when the end comes, it comes." "We have just got to do the job in the next four games. We are facing sides that are still in need of points, although things could be over and done with by the time we face some of the teams. "We see them as all winable games and there is still an opportunity for us to climb up quite a few places."
Meanwhile, the Blues have no intention of bringing former Everton favourite Michael Ball back to Goodison. The former England international has struggled with injuries since moving to Rangers in 2001 but has figured in 41 games for Alex McLeish's side this season. There has been speculation linking him with a return to the Premiership but Everton are not amongst the interested parties.

Aiming high - if you know your history
Apr 22 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
A REUNION of one of the finest teams this country, let alone this city, has produced takes place in Liverpool tonight - for the Everton side of the mid-1980s. No disrespect to the current incumbents, but how present day Blues fans would love to see the likes of Sou thal l, Sharp, Sheedy, Reid and Gray, back playing before them? That team of Howard Kendall's - and its unforgettable achievements which began 20 years ago next month with the FA Cup final victory over Watford - is just one reason why Everton should never settle for anything less than the club's proud motto demands. And why cheap-shot pundits who too easily lump Everton with the likes of Southampton, Tottenham and Manchester City need putting right. Three things fuel expectations in football - money, history and gates. Liverpool, of course, score very highly on all three. Anfield is host to one of Europe's richest clubs, and though there are now concerns as to how the Reds might keep up on the cash front, money to buy top play-ers has never been in short supply. Despite the turmoil of the last 18 months, home gates remain well over 40,000. And the Reds have an unparalleled history of domestic and European success. That glorious past, for all the dangers which sentiment surrounding it can bring, is one good reason why expectations are still so high at Liverpool, why the pressures on Anfield managers remain enormous and why the Kop rubbish second - let alone fourth place - as under-achievement. Younger Kopites may not have been there to experience it all for themselves. But the fire in their belly and their hunger for success is constantly stoked by vivid accounts from fathers who know their football. But there are just as many good reasons why Evertonians expect and demand so much too. When Messrs Southall and company bestrode Goodison Park, Everton were second only to Liverpool as the club which had won England's league title the most. We have seen nine championships at Goodison - a record still only eclipsed by the Reds, Manchester United and Arsenal. Newcastle and Chelsea, please dream on. There have been five FA Cup victories and Everton are one of the few clubs to have claimed a European trophy. Everton's supporters are renowned for their passionate loyalty and, in terms of gates, the Blues remain up there with the biggest. Ok, so the money is a major problem just now. But too much is made of the link between pound notes and prizes in football. Anyway, two out of three is enough for hopes of resurgence to remain as high as ever around Gwladys Street. Rest assured, approaching midnight tonight, as Evertonians at the Crowne Plaza Hotel drown themselves once again in the glory of the 80s, those legitimate ambitions will be reinforced once more. As the fans continue to say, Nil Satis. . .

Blue heroes of 1985 reunited
Apr 22 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S heroes of the triumphant double winning season of 1985 will be reunited tonight.
A tribute dinner will be held at the Crowne Plaza to raise funds for the club's Football in the Community programme and the Weston Spirit charity. Almost every member of the 1984/85 league championship and European Cup Winners Cup winning squad will be present. Graeme Sharp, a key member of the squad and now Everton's Club Liaison Officer, is the man who has gathered together the squad for the first time in 19 years. He said: "This will be the first time we have been together as a group again. "We were well known for having a fantastic team spirit and I am sure that will be on show tonight. "There will be a fantastic atmosphere. It was not too difficult a task to gather everybody together again because they have all been delighted to come along. "It will be good to see some old faces again, and not just people from the first XI. People like keeper Jim Arnold had a very important role to play for us and it will be great to have him along. "I have spoken to the lads on the phone and it will be their first chance in quite a while for people like Ian Atkins and Paul Wilkinson to come up here. "But no matter where they have been coming from, they have all wanted to be here. And that says a lot about the spirit we had back then." There will be just a handful of absentees. Pat Van den Hauwe now lives in South Africa and is unable to attend, along with Mark Higgins and Kevin Richardson. The '85 team marched to the first division title, racking up 90 points to leave second-placed Liverpool trailing 13 points behind. The title was secured with weeks to spare, but the club's exploits in Europe and the FA Cup ensured the season was far from over. The fightback from a goal down in the second leg of the Cup Winners' Cup semi-final remains one of the greatest nights Goodison has witnessed, setting the side up nicely for their first European trophy. A 3-1 victory over Rapid Vienna in Rotterdam, with goals from Andy Gray, Kevin Sheedy and Trevor Steven, secured a unique double. And only an injury-time strike from Manchester United's Norman Whiteside five days later denied Howard Kendall's aching squad the treble. Tonight will provide that squad with the first opportunity in 19 years to reminisce about the thrilling events of that unforgettable season.

Duff leaving has hurt Rovers, says Irvine
By David Prior, Daily Post
Apr 23 2004
EVERTON assistant manager Alan Irvine believes tomorrow's opponents Blackburn have been severely weakened this season by their decision to sell Damien Duff. Graeme Souness decided to cash in on the talented midfielder, last summer, with Chelsea using £17million of Roman Abramovich's money for his services. And Irvine believes the loss of Duff, who he worked alongside as a first-team and academy coach at Ewood Park, has had a large say in Rovers' poor form this season. "Having spoken to people at Blackburn, they seem to have really missed Damien Duff because I know that he won them a lot of games towards the end of last season when they went on that great run," Irvine said. "He's been a huge miss for them, he'd be a huge miss for any side. They have also missed David Dunn and Martin Taylor, but they've still got a lot of good players there, who can cause us problems." After beginning the season in the UEFA Cup, Blackburn now lie in 15th position, just five points away from the relegation zone after back-to-back wins over Fulham and Leicester. And Irvine added: "Our home form has been very good this season and we'll be looking to continue it on Saturday. We love playing at home. "They've had a tough time recently. They're obviously desperate for points, even more desperate than we are," he said. "I don't quite know what's gone wrong because Blackburn are a team of good players. So, I'm surprised to see them there, just as I'm surprised to see us there. "Obviously, it seems as though they've had problems in the camp. The manager seems to have a problem with a few players - who's right, who's wrong, I don't know, because I don't know the situation." Blackburn may be deep in a survival struggle, but Irvine still feels David Moyes's side need another win to ensure their Premiership status.
He added: "We need a win to make sure that we're definitely safe, because I wouldn't like to be on 39 points going into the last game of the season, as it would be very nervous. It may turn out to be enough, but I definitely think that we need more points." Everton are hopeful that Alan Stubbs may be fit enough to play some part at Goodison tomorrow. Stubbs has been hampered with a groin problem for the past few weeks, and missed last week's 0-0 draw at Chelsea along with David Unsworth (Achilles), Peter Clarke (ankle) and Tony Hibbert (knee). Physio Mick Rathbone said: "Alan Stubbs is back in full training now and he seems okay. Obviously, we're coming towards the end of the season, so we've tried to push him back to fitness, so that he can be involved in the last few games. "David Unsworth is also making decent progress. He's beginning full training as well on Thursday, so hopefully they'll both be there or thereabouts for the weekend's game with Blackburn."

Jeffers is an asset
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 23 2004
Jeffers an asset
WE ALL know that Jeffers is an out-and-out goal scoring forward in the same vein as Fowler and Philips. They went through a lean spell with form and injuries. Franny is 22 and should be part of the Everton youth with Osman, Rooney, McFadden, Hibbert and that young Italian kid regularly scoring in the reserves. How many prized assets did Mr Smith allow to leave? We can't have another year with the likes of Ferguson and Campbell.
Frank Simpson, Cheshire
Sack everyone
ALL the players playing right now should be sacked, Rooney inclusive. Surely this will stir the emotions, but I have been a true Blue for 20 years. If we sell the whole team we should get at least £80million. Moyes can then use the money to buy the players that he really wants. After that we can be a top-four team every year and re-enter Europe once again.
R Cambpell (via e-mail)
Waste of money
CLEAR off Jeffers!
At the end of his first season young Franny decided he wanted to be on a better contract and so handed in a transfer request. He got his contract but this was a sign of things to come. After making 40 starts and scoring 20 goals (admittedly this was good), young Franny decided that he was too good for us and handed in a transfer request. Young Franny moved to Arsenal and scored just four in two years - one against us by which he eleborately celebrated to rub our noses in it. Young Franny found he wasn't good enough to dislodge, Henry, Bergkamp etc and so came home with his tail between his legs. Young Franny only scored two (both of these in the cup) and found he wasn't good enough to dis-lodge Rooney, Ferguson etc and had a sulk and said he didn't want to play for us again. Young Franny then remembered that he wasn't that good after all and came grovelling back. Get rid Moyes, the money can be better spent!
Dave Smith, Walton Vale
Unsworth out
GOOD move for David Unsworth to sign for Rangers, as he would shine in that uncompetitive league where players at the end of their careers can make some big money. It would be great if Unsworth can persuade another 10 of his teammates to go with him, as they are lacking creativity and imagination. You could say I'm a little harsh, after all he's played more than 300 games for the club.
Big deal, I say good rid-dance, go and apply your long ball and poor defending attributes up there.
J P Dolphin (via e-mail)

Flush Chelsea spend on team, not toilets
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Apr 23 2004
CONSIDERING Roman Abramovich has got more money than everyone else in the world put together, how come the facilities for the visiting fans paying more than £40 for a ticket are so rank?
The Evertonians in attendance on Saturday were certainly more scared of the toilets in the Lower East stand than they were of Adrian Mutu's goalscoring prowess. The other thing that scares the fans of Chelsea's opponents these days is when one of their own players impresses against the West Londoners - they fear an envelope stuffed full of used roubles being proffered to their own chairman at half-time in return for the services of their star turn. If that's the case this week then we might expect to see Joseph Yobo, and Nigel Martyn joining Fernando Morientes at the Bridge next season.
Both Everton men played well in earning a creditable point at a ground where we usually struggle, more or less guaranteeing our Premiership safety. As soon as we're absolutely, mathematically safe we can start to focus on next season, although it looks like the Everton management have already made a head start by talking to both Thomas Gravesen and Tomasz Radzinski about new deals.
While the prospect of new signings or the potential of young players breaking into the side
excites us all, it's just as important that we keep hold of our most consistent performers, and at present both Radzinski and Gravesen fall into that category. As the summer looms ever closer the rumours have started to gather apace about who we're buying. This week it's Jay-Jay Okocha and the latest American wonder kid, while stories still abound about how we're getting Nicky Butt and Ole Solksjaer in part exchange for Wayne Rooney. However, the most exciting addition to the squad next season might be someone who has been under our noses for a while: Leon Osman. His time at Pride Park will have done him good and he seems to have handled the step up from reserve football to the cutthroat first division with no problems whatsoever. If he can bridge the even bigger gap to the Premiership with as much ease then he could possibly be set for big things. That's if Roman doesn't step in and snap him up first of course.

Tradition of victory is target for teenagers
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 23 2004
THERE'S something about Spurs and semi-finals that make an Evertonian's eyes light up. And tomorrow when Everton under-17s go to Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Premier Academy League National Play-off semi-final, they will be hoping for a sparkling performance to help them reach the two-legged final. Having beaten Leicester City in the quarter-finals last Saturday, Goodison awaits in a twolegged final against Blackburn, Aston Villa or Sheffield United should they get past the Londoners. Coach Gary Ablett was part of the Everton side that beat Tottenham 4-1 at Elland Road in the 1995 FA Cup semi-final on their way to victory over Manchester United at Wembley.
And the former Everton defender watched on two years ago as Wayne Rooney helped Colin Harvey's youth team get past Spurs to reach the FA Youth Cup final, with the then 16-year-old forward scoring one of the best goals of the tournament at White Hart Lane Ablett is hoping for more of the same, but he is mindful that semi-finals can be tense affairs. He said: "After the game last week they were obviously all on a high. But we said to them, 'you have won one game, you have not won anything yet.' "If they get knocked out on Saturday, all their hard work has been for nothing. No-one is going to remember losing semi-finalists at U17s. To be remembered you have got to go out and win the whole thing. I would be a liar to say I wasn't nervous in semifinals that I have played in, so God knows what these young kids are feeling like. But we have been impressing on them not to get too nervous. When I played in 1995 we played Tottenham in the semi-final, the year we got to the Youth Cup final with Wayne (Rooney), we beat Tottenham in the semi-final, so hopefully it is quite a good omen." But Tottenham will be no pushovers having won 3-1 at Leeds in the quarter-finals. And Ablett is keen to make sure his side know what they are up against. He said: "Ray (Hall, Academy director) went to watch them and he said they were okay, although Leeds were quite poor on the day. But it is a game we should go into with every confidence of winning, which we do every game. "It is in our hands, as we always say. If we turn up to play on any given day we are a match for anyone. If we don't we will struggle." Goalkeeper Craig Gallagher is out for the season, so schoolboy Sean Lake, who was impressive last Saturday against Leicester, continues in goal.
Midfielder Christian Seargeant has been carrying a slight foot injury and was taken off last week as a precaution before the end of the match, but he should continue. Defender Alan Kearney is not available as he is away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland under-16s.

I must deliver for fans - Moyes
Apr 23 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by Everton's fans.With just four games of the Premiership season remaining, the Goodison chief, (left), has started planning for next year - intent on giving the fans a side that will justify the massive backing they have given him this season.
He said: "We have had a full house at Goodison for virtually every game this season. The support we have had has been trmendous and we owe that support good performances in our last two home games."We need to give those supporters performances that will fill them with hope to make sure we fill Goodison again next year."That support has been there this season on the back of how well we did last year. When I came here I said I wanted to show signs of progress every season."This season has been largely disappointing on the pitch. The real progress has been off the pitch with the fans and that is why it is so important we capitalise on that this summer."We need to give them players that will excite them. This summer will be really important because we need to show we take the club on."It is my responsibility to give supporters something to shout about and I won't shirk away from that."Moyes has held a series of meetings with deputy chairman Bill Kenwright in recent weeks as they draw up a masterplan for the summer. The ECHO understands the club is very optimistic of securing new ctracts for key players such has Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski, Thomas Gravesen and David Unsworth.And Moyes has earmarked the players he wants to add to his squad.Moyes was a guest at last night's reunion dinner for the double wning side if 1984-5.He sites the achievements of Kendall as a blue print to be emulated.He adds: "The team Howard built took time to put together. There were very few members of that side who had come through the ranks."Obviously the transfer market is different nowadays, so spending £50,000 on a player like Trevor Steven is out of the question."But in our own way we have to try and repeat that."That is what the club and the fans deserve."The Blues will be boosted tomorrow by the return of Kevin Cabell, David Unsworth and Alan Stubbs.

Radzinski: Why would I want to leave?
Apr 23 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI has welcomed the opportunity to extend his stay at Goodison.The Canadian international, (right), still has 12 months remaining on his Everton contract.But the striker's form since David Moyes' appointment as manager two years ago has convinced the Goodison chief that, along with Thomas Gravesen, he is deserving of a new deal."It is nice to know the club want to keep me. I love the club and I like the city," said Radzinski."The first six months weren't that easy, having to settle in and also having my injuries. They were part of the reason why maybe my football wasn't so great."But lately it has been going really well and if you are happy somewhere, why move?"It is something to look forward to. I can still do a job and I hope I can do it for the next few years as well."The Polish-born striker was signed by Walter Smith from Anderlecht for £4.5m in 2001.If he puts pen to paper on a contract extension in the next few weeks, he will become the first foreign player in the history of Everton to secure a second deal.It is a reflection of the impact he has had since switching the Belgian top flight for the Premiership.He is a player who thrives on competition. Last season he won the Fans' Player of the Year award despite the emergence of Wayne Rooney.This year the rivalry for an attacking berth has been even stronger, with the arrival of Francis Jeffers on a season-long loan and Duncan Ferguson's renaissance.Once again, Radzinski has risen to the challenge and has started more Premiership games than any other forward. But while the 30-year-old has continued to be an influential figure for the Blues, scoring eight goals and proving a vital outlet for the team with his pace, he has been disappointed with how the campaign has panned out.He adds: "Last year was really spectacular for me. I never expected to be the player of the year at virtually every single supporters club in the country."It was a special feeling. But this year maybe I haven't been playing as well."It is always easier to play in a team that is in the top half of the table because there is less pressure and the football is much nicer than when your side is struggling to find its form."The key, according to Radzinski, has been the side's failure to build up a little momentum.Only in the last six weeks has the side put together a run of results impressive enough to propel the Blues up the table."There are many ways to get your season back on track," adds Radzinski."Last season it was the win against Arsenal. From that point on we had six games without a loss."That jump- started us straight away, the confidence was up and nothing could touch us."This season we have struggled to get that one vital result against a big team. It could have been against Manchester United when we came back from 3-0 down but it didn't happen because of the last minute."It hasn't been the best season. It has been a long season and the moment we are safe we will want to finish on that positive note and then go towards vacation and prepare for next season."The most important thing right now is that we are on a really good roll and have only lost once in nine games."

Blues legends roll back the years
Apr 23 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S legends of '85 rolled back the years last Thursday.Howard Kendall's League Championship and European Cup Winners Cup winning squad was reunited for the first time in 19 years for a gala dinner at the Crowne Plaza.The event was organised by Graeme Sharp, a key member of the side and now Everton's Club Liaison Officer, to raise money for the Everton Youth Academy and the Weston Spirit Charity.The highlights of the evening included a question and answer session with the squad and an impromptu sing-song which halted proceedings for 10 minutes.It was an emotional night for all the players present.Paul Bracewell said: "There were no stars or superstars in that team."If you weren't doing it, they let you know and we were relentless. People talk about needing to have a have a will to win and you could feel it when you minutes. stepped into that dressing room."Everybody could have been a captain in their own right and that is why so many of the lads have gone on to achieve so much in the game. That bond will never leave us."As a lifelong Evertonian, defender Derek Mountfield knew better than most how much it meant to be a part of that side.He said: "I was a fan on the terraces during the 70s and I was watching people like Bob Latchford, Mick Lyons and Martin Dobson - players who were fabulous footballers and my heroes. But they won nothing, and all of a sudden I was playing for the club and winning these honours and trophies."We are now known as the best ever Everton side, but there is nothing that would give us more pleasure than to be able to say we were the second or third best."That season was the start of a fantastic four years and it was so special to be a part of it. Everything we did, we did together."

House to overlook Blues star's' oasis'
Apr 23 2004 By Ian Leonard Echo Reporter
WAYNE Rooney's dream mansion is to be overshadowed by a bigger and better £3m palace next door.The property would be a dream for fans of the Everton wonderkid because windows of the towering mansion will overlook Rooney's garden.The 18-year-old striker spent £900,000 on his six-bedroom house in Formby earlier this year as the first home for him and fiancee Coleen McLoughlin. He saw it as an oasis after moving out of Liverpool.But the land next door has been purchased by a property development company which is demolishing the existing house and building a new £3m property which will go on the market next year.When finished, it will be much larger than Wayne's house and the new owners will be able to watch the teenager kicking a ball around in his back garden.The seven- bedroom house boasts three living rooms, a home cinema, an indoor swimming pool and a landscaped garden.A spokesman for Sefton council confirmed it had approved planning permission for the new property, on Victoria Road.Formby is a favourite location for Merseyside's Premiership Footballers and Wayne's neighbours include Everton teamates Duncan Ferguson and Alan Stubbs.Michael McCoomb, managing director of developers Formby Hall Investments, said: "This is the largest house to be built in Formby for 90 years.""It's an exciting development and one that will attract a lot of interest, even with a £3m price tag."The house is due to be finished next February.

Ferguson begins comeback
Apr 23 2004 Liverpool Echo
BUOYANT Blackburn midfielder Barry Ferguson declared himself "ready to go" after completing his first training session in four months, but he won't be fit in time to play Everton tomorrow.The influential Scottish star, (right), has undergone surgery on a dislocated kneecap and a lengthy rehabilitation programme but he relished his return to the training ground."It's a great relief, obviously I'm not match-fit, but just to be kicking a ball, running and getting muddy again is a big boost," he said."Meanwhile, manager Graeme Souness has offered Jonathan Douglas a four- year deal as reward for his recent performances in Black-burn's survival bid.The Irishman will play against Everton tomorrow after starring in Rovers' back-to-back wins against Fulham and Leicester.Defender Michael Gray is set to go straight into the starting line-up after recovering from injury.

Big Nev still on the ball
Apr 23 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE criminally under-rated and overlooked Everton team of the mid-1980s was back in town last night.And while most haven't kicked a ball in anger for several years, one is still regularly pulling on a football shirt, even if it stretches just a little wider around his midriff now than it did in 1985.On the last night of the recent Everton panto, Neville Southall, (right), made a guest appearance and brought the house down.He also showed his face at the post-performance party, delighting fans by signing autographs and chatting, before heading for his car - way past midnight - to begin the long drive south to his home near Dover."Why aren't you staying over?" he was asked."I can't," he said. "I play centre-half for my local Sunday League team and I don't want to let the lads down."How refreshing. In an age when many professional stars won't get out of bed for less than £20k a week, Big Nev's enthusiasm for the game means he'll still drive 300 miles and pay his subs for a Sunday morning run-out.

Everton 0, Blackburn 1 (D,Post)
Apr 26 2004 By David Prior At Goodison Park, Daily Post
THE DECISION to parade the European Cup Winners' Cup on the pitch before kick-off was probably conceived as a kind of motivational device. With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps a giant replica of the old first division trophy would have done a better job. For while the memories came flooding back as Graeme Sharp hoisted the trophy Everton won exactly 19 years ago, it may have been more effective to threaten today's men in Royal Blue with what delights life in the Nationwide League would bring. Barring an extraordinarily bad, and unlucky, end to the season, David Moyes should spend the second day of his 42nd year today still planning for another season of Premiership football. But perfomances such as Saturday's only serve to remind just how far the Everton of 2004 is from the Everton of 1985. And performances such as Saturday's perfectly encapsulate the fears voiced by Moyes on Friday, a few hours after he'd spent a night sharing stories with the reunited legends from that side. Whatever happens now this season, Everton will almost certainly finish in a position that represents a considerable deterioration from a year ago. That's the simplistic but brutal fact. What advances Everton made in Moyes' first full season - if they were indeed true advances given the absence of any building on those foundations this term - are difficult to draw solace from when games like Saturday's expose grave problems. This season has been peppered with reasons to be cheerful, from Steve Watson's early bout of scoring, to Moyes' shrewd deadline-day snaffling of Nigel Martyn, Kevin Kilbane and James McFadden, to battling performances against Arsenal and Chelsea and the continued development of Wayne Rooney. But there have been too many days when Moyes has looked utterly downcast in his press conference after a game. Think the home derby, think White Hart Lane, the Reebok Stadium and St Andrews. And think of the long afternoons when excitement has seemed short in supply, to put it mildly. Saturday was one such long afternoon - ask the journalists who switched the press box television to snooker early on in the second half.
Lorenzo Amoruso and Craig Short gave Everton barely a sniff at goal, and beyond that there was nowhere near enough wit or invention in a blue shirt to even suggest that the home side had a chance of overcoming a team that a fortnight ago were seriously in danger of relegation.
Credit to Rovers for finally taking on board the kind of grit and fight Graeme Souness has spent all season trying fruitlessly to instill in his men. But Moyes knows that wit and invention and the quality to take Everton to the next level can only come via the cheque book. Until then, there are likely to be many more days like Saturday. Buoyed on by the latest bout of optimism justifiably earned by that hard-earned point at Stamford Bridge, Moyes made just one change, dropping McFadden to the bench and bringing Watson into the right side of midfield. Craig Short had hardly been a prolific goalscorer during his days at Goodison but it was he who had the first chance of the game, connecting with a fierce header that drew a sharp tip-over from Nigel Martyn. The near-miss appeared to rouse the hosts and they immediately countered. It was Wayne Rooney who supplied a cross from the left that Steve Watson met cleanly, forcing Brad Friedel into a reflex reaction every bit as sharp as his opposite number. From the resulting corner Thomas Gravesen lofted in a ball that invited a completely unmarked Gary Naysmith to direct a header that darted through a mass of bodies but just wide of Friedel's left-hand post. Gravesen, for whom a 10th-minute moment of trickery had led to a brief two-way love-in with the crowd, did not last long, an early slip on the wet grass leading to his 23rd-minute withdrawal. The first half overall was a dismal affair, both sides seemingly happy to play for a point each, with the low-key mood only temporarily lifted when Alessandro Pistone's disastrous attempt at some fancy foot-work of his own induced laughter all round. Alex Nyarko, Gravesen's replacement, tried his luck from distance but it was only when Rooney found some time on the ball that Everton looked in any way threatening. At the other end Martyn was again in action, tipping over Stead's snap volley after Michael Gray's cross, while Thomas Linderoth has to be sharp to clear Amoruso's header off the line. The gloom briefly lifted just before half-time, when a quick throw-in released the otherwise anonymous Radzinski and his low shot was smothered around the post by the impressive Friedel. The corner provoked a goalmouth scramble, Weir's blocked header falling to Watson, who dragged a clear shot wide. The second half opened at an even more sedate pace than the first, it taking 13 minutes before Pistone's nutmeg of Andy Cole roused the crowd. The Italian fed the ball for Radzinski to chase on to, with he in turn finding Rooney whose turn and shot was blocked by Amoruso amid protestations of handball. Referee Philip Dowd was having none of it. Fuelled by his spot of showboating, Pistone went for all-out glory eight minutes later with a left-foot volley that had plenty of power but too much height, while Nyarko also had a stab from range. It was the best Everton could muster, and John Stead's glancing header 10 minutes from time completed a miserable day. There was a lack of energy out there," conceded Moyes. "Everything was a bit dead really. "I haven't looked at the table yet but I'm sure the situation has got a lot tighter." It has. Everton must hope they can finally snuff out fears of Nationwide League football - and whatever change of silverware that brings with it - at Wolves on Saturday. Perhaps then the very real long-term challenges David Moyes alluded to last week can be faced up to.
EVERTON: Martyn; Naysmith (Unsworth 63), Weir, Yobo, Pistone; Watson, Gravesen (Nyarko 23), Linderoth, Kilbane; Radzinski (McFadden 79), Rooney. Subs: Wright, Jeffers.
BLACKBURN: Neill, Amoruso, Short, Gray; Flit-croft, Tugay, Andresen (Emerton 75), Douglas; Cole (Gallagher 85), Stead. Subs: Reid, Johansson, Enckelman. BOOKINGS: Neill (foul), Andresen (foul), Tugay (foul), Douglas (foul).
ATT: 38,884
NEXT GAME: Wolves v Everton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

Weir admits Everton got what they deserved
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Apr 26 2004
DAVID WEIR admitted Everton had blown a chance to secure their Premiership status with one of their poorest home performances of the season. With a flat game against Blackburn Rovers seemingly destined to finish goalless, John Stead glanced a header beyond Nigel Martyn 10 minutes from time, and skipper Weir, conceded David Moyes's men had scarcely deserved any better. He said: "It was a bad performance and a bad result. It was one of the poorest home performances that I can remember. There have been some not so good ones but that was definitely up there. "It didn't look like there was much happening and unfortunately the one chance came to them and Stead put it away very well." The final whistle triggered a chorus of boos from the home fans, with Everton's display unrecognisable from their last game at Goodison, when they swept Tottenham aside 3-1.

Weir added: "I really don't know why we were so different to the game against Spurs; it just wasn't good enough from start to finish. We didn't play. The manager was disappointed, but he didn't tell us anything we didn't know already. He said we didn't play well enough to win it. "The fans have got a right not to be happy with a performance like that. They pay good money and they didn't see their team play well. "They've got a right to be dissatisfied with that as I think they showed. We'll now try and do as well as we can in the next game." The result leaves Everton in 15th place, and Weir agreed it was now imperative Everton secured a result at Wolves next weekend. "We still need to get points, we know that and the sooner the better," he admitted. "We've got to get something out of every game and the game at Wolves is no different. They're fighting for their lives and we've got to match them to get anything out of that."

Victory against Wolves now Moyes's aim
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Apr 26 2004
EVERTON manager David Moyes has set his sights on three points against Wolves to clinch Premeirship safety after a disappointing day at Goodison Park. The game against Blackburn was played 19 years to the day that Everton reached the European Cup Winners' Cup final and the old trophy was paraded by Graeme Sharp for delighted fans. Moyes, had seen enough of Everton's glorious past already earlier in the week at a gala dinner to honour those 1980s heroes, so seeing how far his current crop are from that wonderful team was something he could have done without.
He said: "The performance was really average and we got what we deserved. "Our creative players didn't perform and we did not have any cutting edge. All over the field we were below par.
"Just when you start thinking you are doing okay, football trips you up and hits you where it hurts.
"And it is certainly hurting me. I was proud of our home record and how we have done and we let it slip very easily. "A few players looked as if the season had become a bit too long for them. But we will need to win at Wolves next week, we need a win to get us over the 40 points." Meanwhile Blackburn defender Craig Short lavished praise on his team's matchwinner Jon Stead - and questioned why more lower-league players were not given their chance to shine in the Barclaycard Premiership. Stead joined Rovers in the January transfer window from third division Huddersfield and has scored some key goals since his arrival at the Lancashire club - none more so than Saturday's winner. His glancing header from Andy Cole's cross made it five in 10 games for Stead since his £1.25million switch to Ewood Park, and Short believes it was money well spent by Graeme Souness.
The defender, who played at the lower levels of the game with Scarborough and Notts County, said: "We needed something because we were struggling. People thought it was a gamble, but it is credit to the gaffer that he went for him. "It surprises me that more players are not bought from the lower leagues. People think there is too big a gap, but I do not think it is that big. He hasn't been overawed by every-thing, he has just taken it in his stride. "A lot of clubs looked at him and felt it was too big a gamble, too big a jump for him. "But maybe now they will start looking at a few other players knocking around in the lower divisions because they could make that transition like Jon."

Don't let it go on like this forever
View from the stands By Mike Brown, Daily Post
Apr 26 2004
THE timing of the announcement of ticket price increases for next season couldn't have been worse.
This was a dire affair which served only to emphasise Everton's problems, especially once the heartbeat of the side, Thomas Gravesen, was forced to retire so early through injury. Much will be said about the price increases (my season ticket's going up 23%) but it's just another example of the mismanagement that's blighted the club for nearly two decades now. Why haven't prices been rising steadily over a longer period of time? How have the club allowed ticket prices to fall so far behind their rivals? There are absolutely no positives to take from this game. The first half saw Nigel Martyn worked slightly harder than Brad Friedel. Nevertheless, it was a game neither side deserved to win. Short and Amoruso were only going to play well defensively if they came up against a side who were to feed them in the air. Surely we'd realise that and come up with a game-plan that would see the likes of Rooney and Radzinski running at them? I'm afraid not! Rooney tried drifting into deeper positions but it wasn't to be his day. Alessandro Pistone was culpable for the goal on 81 minutes. Instead of just standing up Andy Cole near the goal line in Everton's penalty area and giving him nowhere to go, he decided to stick in a foot in a cute attempt to win the ball. This gave Cole the space he needed to cross for the excellent Jon Stead to glance a header just out of Martyn's reach.
So we enter the climax of another season looking for others' inadequacies to keep us up. To those in charge I just ask for a sign that it's not going to be like this forever.

Everton 0, Blackburn 1 (Echo)
Apr 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is a man who prefers to look to the future. But that does not mean he is afraid to heed the lessons of the past. After attending Thursday night's reunion dinner for the Everton double-winning side of 1985 the Goodison chief allowed himself to reflect on the achievements of Howard Kendall's team. What really interested Moyes was the fact that the 84/85 side did not evolve, it was built. Only Kevin Ratcliffe came through the ranks at Goodison. The rest of that legendary team was purchased. The Blues were not paupers in the early 80s, but they could no longer be regarded as the Goodison Millionaires. And yet Kendall managed to gather together a side that would become the greatest in the club's history. It is a feat which Moyes is desperate to emulate. But the rigours of modern Premiership football mean it is tougher than ever to make an impression in the upper echelons of the table on a shoestring budget. Now a manager must have a squad capable of winning trophies, not just a starting XI that can cut the mustard. Everton's '85 side barely changed all season. Adrian Heath started each of the club's first 25 games before an injury against Sheffield Wednesday scuppered his season, allowing Gray to step in to partner Sharp.
At the back, the quartet of Stevens, Mountfield, Ratcliffe and Van den Hauwe was virtually ever-present, while in midfield Reid and Bracewell marauded away knowing exactly what to expect from Steven and Sheedy on the flanks. Saturday marked the 19th anniversary of the night that team came back from a goal down in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final to beat Bayern Munich.
Despite the side having stayed largely the same throughout a season in which they ultimately had to play more than 60 matches, there was no sign of fatigue. Nineteen years on, the Blues looked jaded and uninspiring. If players are not getting softer, then the games must be getting tougher. It is a point which Saturday's defeat to Blackburn served to illustrate. It was a poor performance - as bad as we have seen at Goodison this season. The goalless draw against Southampton may have been worse, but at least a point was taken. The punters deserved to feel let down as they trudged away.
The players who produced such a torrid, tired display, were the same ones that snatched a point at Stamford Bridge last week and which went into Saturday's game having lost only once in nine contests. The slightest drop in effort and sides in the top flight are exposed, which is why no successful team could survive with a small squad and rely on an unchanged starting XI. Having a small squad underlines precisely why the manager is spending so much time at the moment liaising with Bill Ken-wright over the club's summer plans. With no sign of a swathe of youngsters coming through the youth ranks, Moyes must build for the future on the kind of signings which helped Kendall produce his legendary XI. And he must make enough of them to give himself the kind of options available to so many of his rivals. Doing that with little money and a wage ceiling intended to avoid the club further financial upheaval will not be easy. But the alternative is unthinkable, because the Blues cannot be expected to go into next season with a squad of just 19 senior out-field players, many of whom are ageing and out of contract next summer. Maybe the players relaxed believing Premiership safety is already assured but, whatever the reason, it was not good enough.
Graeme Souness' outfit found just enough to sneak the victory. For much of the contest it seemed Nigel Martyn's acrobatics and a surprising lack of urgency from a Rovers side with relegation worries would provide a point. But nine minutes from time, Andy Cole received the ball on the left of the area, escaped the attentions of Alessandro Pistone and fired a cross which John Stead glanced home from close range. It was fitting that it was Stead who netted the goal, because he is the sort of astute signing Everton need to be making this summer. Souness took a gamble on the young striker from the Third Division. That gamble has now provided five goals in 10 games and been the key factor in the Lancashire club's climb from trouble. Moyes has shown he has an eye for a bargain. Joseph Yobo, who has been brilliant in recent weeks, Kevin Kil-bane, Nigel Martyn and James McFadden are evidence of that. Without those players, Everton's small squad could really be in trouble. With three games to go, it is inconceivable that the club could be relegated. But until the mathematics back that up, Everton cannot rest. Alex Nyarko was one of the few pluses to take from the game. Thomas Gravesen's influence in the midfield was reflected this week by the manager's admission that, along with Tomasz Radzinski, the Dane is to be offered a new contract. And so, when he hobbled from the action after 23 minutes with a twisted knee, there were more than a few worried faces around the ground. But the Ghanaian soon eased those concerns with the kind of composed, adventurous performance which we have seen so rarely from him. It was Martyn who was the star of the show, though. A great reaction stop to deny Everton old boy Craig Short in the opening half was overshadowed by an even better save in the second period which denied Cole. Not to be outdone, Brad Friedel came up with a couple of corkers to frustrate Yobo and then to brilliantly fingertip around the post a firm strike from Radzinski. Their performances were the highlight of an otherwise dour afternoon which brought into sharp focus the immense task facing a manager intent on emulating the greatest manager in the club's history.
EVERTON: Martyn; Naysmith (Unsworth 63), Weir, Yobo, Pistone; Watson, Gravesen (Nyarko 23), Linderoth, Kilbane; Radzinski (McFadden 79), Rooney. Subs: Wright, Jeffers.
BLACKBURN: Neill, Amoruso, Short, Gray; Flit-croft, Tugay, Andresen (Emerton 75), Douglas; Cole (Gallagher 85), Stead. Subs: Reid, Johansson, Enckelman. BOOKINGS: Neill (foul), Andresen (foul), Tugay (foul), Douglas (foul).
ATT: 38,884
NEXT GAME: Wolves v Everton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

Blues duo out for season
Apr 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are set to be without influential midfield duo of Kevin Kilbane and Thomas Gravesen for the rest of the season. The pair picked up injuries in Saturday's home defeat by Blackburn and manager David Moyes admitted today there is every chance neither will have recovered before the final game of the season at Manchester City on May 15. Moyes said: "Tommy doesn't look too good. He picked up a medial knee ligament injury which is likely to keep him out for the rest of the season.
"After our final substitution Kevin Kilbane pulled his hamstring and we had no choice but to let him wander about up front. He could now miss the remainder of the season." Although Gravesen is unlikely to figure again for the Blues, the injury is unlikely to jeopardise his chances of playing for Denmark in Euro 2004. He was at Bellefield this morning to receive treatment and has been pulled out of his country's international friendly against Scotland this week. To add to Everton's injury woes, Gary Naysmith is a doubt for the weekend trip to Wolves after damaging ankle ligaments.
Steve Watson has apologised to Everton's fans for the side's dismal display in Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Blackburn. It was the Blues' fifth home defeat of the season and still leaves them needing three points to be sure of securing their Premiership safety. Watson said: "We are gutted, and particularly disappointed for the supporters because it wasn't a good spectacle. "I am sure it was a terrible game to watch. It looked like two nervous teams trying desperately not to make mistakes and not being adventurous enough. "We didn't do ourselves justice and nobody is under any illusions. Nobody was sitting in the dressing room thinking we had played well. "We know we are capable of much better. There is no real excuse for it. A good result could have put us safe but now we have to go to Wolves needing to do something again." Portsmouth's victory over Leeds at Elland Road yesterday has eased the pressure on the Toffees, leaving them seven points above the relegation zone with just nine points left to play for. The odds are stacked in Everton's favour, but Watson insists that has not led to complacency amongst the players in the belief safety is already assured.
"I don't think the gaffer would allow that mentality," added Watson. "We are not the type of players who make that mistake because we have been in too many relegation battles to know you never take anything for granted." Wat so n has also revealed that Moyes' small squad is struggling with a series of minor injuries. He adds: "Kev (Kilbane) came off with an injury, Gary (Naysmith) came off with an injury and Tommy (Gravesen) came off with an injury. "We had an injury count after the game and there are still lads with bangs and knocks, so it wasn't the energetic performance you usually associate with us. "It hurt us losing Tommy early on. But now we have to pick the bones out of the squad and see what we are left with. "Nobody is kidding ourselves, it wasn't good enough and we now know we need to put it right by going to Wolves and getting a result."

Moyes: My lacklustre Blues couldn't expect anymore
Apr 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes bemoaned his team's inability to kill off any lingering relegation fears.
Defeat to Blackburn left the Blues still needing a win to guarantee their Premiership safety. Moyes was given a reminder of Everton's glorious past last week at a gala dinner to honour Howard Kendall's all-conquering side of the 1980s. And the Scot acknowledged Saturday's performance was a far cry from the standards Evertonians demand. The manager said: "The performance was really average and we got what we deserved. Our creative players didn't perform and we did not have any cutting edge. All over the field we were below par. "Just when you start thinking you are doing okay, football trips you up and hits you where it hurts. And it is certainly hurting me. I was proud of our home record and how we have done and we let it slip very easily. "A few players looked as if the season had become a bit too long for them. We will need to win at Wolves next week. We need a win to get us over the 40 points." David Weir, Everton's skipper against Blackburn, echoed his manager's thoughts after the Blues trudged off the pitch to a chorus of boos from the disgruntled home fans. The defender conceded the supporters were entitled to vent their frustrations. He said: "The fans have got a right not to be happy with a performance like that. They pay good money and they didn't see their team play well. It was one of the poorest home performances that I can remember. "It was a bad performance and a bad result. It didn't look like there was much happening and unfortunately the one chance came to them and Stead put it away very well. "I really don't know why we were so different to the game against Spurs. It just wasn't good enough from start to finish. We didn't play. The manager was disappointed, but he didn't tell us anything we didn't know already. He said we didn't play well enough to win it." We ir stressed Everton will need to turn in a mas sive ly improved performance at Wolves this coming weekend to avoid a nail-biting end to the season. He said: "We'll now try and do as well as we can in the next game. We still need to get points. The sooner the better. We have to get something out of every game and the one at Wolves is no different. They are fighting for their lives and we've got to match them to get anything out of it."

Fans hit out at price hike
Apr 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS have reacted with dismay to news of season ticket price rises next season. The lowest priced areas of the ground have rocketed by as much as 30 per cent, while the smallest increases have still seen a 14 per cent rise. And Vice-Secretary of the Everton Independent Supporters Club, Ian MacDonald, believes the fans are being short-changed. "The price rise was not unexpected, but the amount was," he said today. "The way it was presented to us in the match programme was cold and blunt. We were effectively told we have been getting football on the cheap for too long, but the football we have been watching has been cheap. "Our facilities are not comparable to other clubs - 25 per cent of the seats inside Goodison Park are obstructed views.
"If we were told the money was going directly to David Moyes to spend in the transfer market we would take it on the chin, because clearly the team needs money spending on it. "Will the directors be putting their own hands into their pockets to the tune of 25 per cent I wonder?" Season ticket prices for the Main Stand have risen from £427 to £490 (a 14.75% rise), while individual match day tickets will rise from £29 to £30. Park End season tickets have gone up from £373 to £457 (22.5%) and from £26 to £28 on a match day, while the traditional home end, the Gwladys Street, has seen the biggest increase. Prices have shot up from £302 to £393 (30 per cent) and from £21.50 to £24 on a match day. Chief Executive Michael Dunford, however, pointed out that Everton's average season ticket prices are still 30 per cent less than other clubs in the Premiership. And even in the North-West, where admission is traditionally cheaper than the rest of the country, Everton still offer best value for money. "Last season, Blackburn Rovers were top-priced at £500," explained Mr Dunford, "and other figures were Bolton (£469), Liverpool (£540), Manchester City (£460) and Manchester United (£522). Everton's highest priced ticket was £427. "Any increase is regrettable but has become a financial necessity." Renewal forms will be sent out to all current season ticket holders this week, and they will have until June 19 to reapply for their own seat. The Blues currently have 1,000 supporters on a waiting list for season tickets.

Blues pay price for bad timing
Apr 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SATURDAY was not a good day to bury bad news. The Goodison power-brokers might have targeted a home match against marginally-better-than-rock-bottom Blackburn as an ideal opportunity to announce a hike in season ticket prices. Except they lost. And they lost badly. And the manner of a grisly 1-0 defeat suggested even a hundred per cent price increase would not generate enough money to fill the gaps in this squad. Everywhere you look - with the glaring exception of goalkeeper - more quality is needed. David Moyes craves class almost as much as Victoria Beckham. But the quest looks like being just as fruitless. When Everton win well, as against Spurs in their last home game, it is because they showed greater drive, commitment and zeal than their opponents. It is most definitely not because they have classier, more creative players. But when that work-rate drops off - and it only needs to be a fractional easing - teams with a 67-year-old central defence, a striker who covers two-and-a-half kilometres less ground a game than when he was at Manchester United and a bad-tempered show pony called Garry Flitcroft can do enough to steal a victory. Neither side deserved to win a poor match. But Everton's hopes were significantly cut with the game barely a quarter old. Thomas Gravesen is Everton's great inconsistent, a midfield playmaker who causes as much frustration as he does elation. But he is comfortably their most creative midfielder. Take him out of the equation - as an apparently twisted knee did after 22 minutes - and Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski might have looked for better service at Fawlty Towers. Even a department containing his most sought-after stars needs attention. The make up of his regular strike force is just one of the issues Moyes must look at this summer. Rooney and Radzinski rarely look like a partnership, in the way Rooney and Owen do for England. Both always look more effective when the physical presence of either a Ferguson or a Campbell is alongside. But with Campbell's fine Everton career now in its death throes, and Ferguson as reliable a starter as a 1957 Ford Prefect, Moyes may have to look elsewhere. He'll soon have to start looking for defenders, too. Alan Stubbs and David Weir are still reassuringly reliable, but both are significantly the wrong side of 30 and becoming more vulnerable to injury. And just for once there are few fresh faces knocking on the first-teamdoor. After a stunning production line which has produced an array of riches in recent years, they've earned a lean season. Moyes displayed a shaft of gallows humour when asked whether he would introduce promising youngsters like Leon Osman in the games which remain.
"We're going to have to look from within," he said "and next season we will be looking at the likes of Ossie . . . and Ossie, and Ossie!" At least the boos which greeted the final whistle will shake the board from any sense of complacency. Changes are needed at Goodison Park. But Evertonians may have to endure one more season of make-do and mend before big earners like Ferguson, Campbell and Nyarko end their contracts and allow some significant spending. Until then, the only people splashing the cash will be season ticket holders.

Everton midfield duo facing season's end
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 27 2004
DAVID MOYES'S worst fears were realised last night when a scan confirmed Thomas Gravesen will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. And with Kevin Kilbane also unlikely to figure again this term, Everton must secure their Premiership status without 50% of their established midfield.
Gravesen, who has not been ruled out of Denmark's Euro 2004 campaign, suffered medial knee ligament damage in Saturday's home defeat by Blackburn and faces a minimum of three weeks on the sidelines. Likewise, winger Kilbane - who suffered a slight ham-string injury against Rovers - is out for at least a fortnight. The loss of the influential Gravesen is a serious blow to Everton, who still need three points to be mathematically safe from the drop. Moyes said: "Thomas has sprained medial ligaments, which will probably keep him out for the remainder of the season. "It is not serious enough to cause any problems for the European Championships. "It will be tight and he may possibly make the last game of the season. "But it is certainly going to keep him out for a couple of weeks." Gary Naysmith has also added to Moyes's injury worries ahead of the weekend trip to Wolves after collecting an ankle injury against Graeme Souness's side. Moyes said: "Gary has got some ankle ligament damage. It looks like he is going to be touch and go for the weekend." Everton's midfield shortage, meanwhile, could open the way for Leon Osman to press his Everton claims after he returned from a three-month loan spell at Derby County yesterday. Osman said: "It is really disappointing to see some of the lads injured but maybe that will open the door for me to get a chance. "I am hoping to play a part. With three games left it's just the right time for me to come back and hopefully I will be involved in the next couple of games. "To know that the manager has said he did not want to sell me has given me a boost. It means that he wants me in some way."

Wilson keeps cool to earn final showdown
Academy Football With Chris Wright, Daily Post
Apr 27 2004
LAURENCE WILSON'S decisive penalty put Everton under-17s into the FA Premier Academy League National play-off final after a dramatic penalty shoot-out at Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
Gary Ablett's side sealed their final place against Aston Villa - who beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in the other tie - after winning 6-5 on penalties after the semi-final at Spurs's Lodge had ended 1-1 after extra time. Ablett said: "Considering what was at stake, and the heat was unbelievable, to keep on going the way we did for two hours and penalties is an absolute credit to them. But credit also to Dave Billows, the conditioning coach, to have them in that condition to keep going. "We would have been very disappointed if we'd lost. We dominated the majority of the play." In sweltering conditions the game finished goalless after 90 minutes. Spurs took the lead with four minutes remaining of extra time, but substitute James Vaughan's last-gasp overhead kick forced penalties.
Captain Mark Hughes had missed Everton's first penalty in the shootout and with Spurs scoring four in a row, Sean Wright, Patrick Boyle and goalkeeper Sean Lake all converted to keep Ablett's side in the tie. And when Spurs missed their fifth kick and Christian Seargeant scored his, it went to sudden death. Spurs scored as did Stephen Wynne, but once the home side missed their seventh kick it was left to midfielder Wilson to win the match, which he did with a confident penalty. Everton had plenty of chances to win in normal time. Midfielder Seargeant, defenders Wynne and Boyle and top-scorer Paul Hopkins were all denied by the woodwork. It appeared Everton would be going out when Spurs scored four minutes from the end. But Ablett gambled by playing centre-back Hughes up front and after he saw one volley headed off the line and a header hit the top of the bar, it seemed all over. However, the gamble eventually paid off as Hughes was involved in a scramble from a corner that led to Vaughan's stunning overhead kick that gave Everton the chance to claim their shoot-out success. The final will be played at the respective club's home grounds. The first leg will be at Villa Park next Tuesday, May 4 with the second leg at Goodison Park the following week on Monday, May 10 (7.30pm).
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Lake; Wynne, Hughes, Wright, Boyle; Wilson, Harris (Kissock 115), Seargeant, Phelan; Hopkins (Anichebe 95), Fowler (Vaughan 95). Subs: Molynuex, Irving.

Time to back Moyes
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 27 2004
Back Moyes
WE were rubbish again on Saturday, but let's not look any further than the board at Everton.
Surely last season should have been the time to invest and back David Moyes when we finished so high up in the league, but now we are hearing that there will be limited funds for next year.
Back the manager, the club and the fans who, let's be honest, never ever let Everton down.
O Woods, Southport
Hughes deal?
I HAVE spoken to a Birmingham City player here in the sunny Midlands and the story is that Welsh international Bryan Hughes will be signing for Everton in the summer on a free. He's 27 years old and an Evertonian. How true this is I don't know but thought I would let Evertonians know.
Shez Khan, Birmingham
No blame
IF David Moyes does not get the backing of the board this summer, then I would not blame him for walking away. He is the right man for the job, but let's have a bit of ambition from the board or Bill Kenwright will be buying a ticket to watch the game like everyone else.
D Latchford, Warrington
Welcome back
WASN'T Michael Ball voted player of the season before he was sold in order to pacify the bank who were circling round at the time? If the lad thinks he has unfinished business at Everton and wants to pull on the Royal Blue shirt once more, then great. I'll pay his train fare.
Peter Roman (via e-mail)
Show money
SUMMER signings should be Michael Ball, Jermaine Pennant, Muzzy Izzet and Marcus Bent. I also hear that Cambiasso is out of contract this summer.
Dave Hughes, Merseyside

Hard work only just beginning at Goodison
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Apr 27 2004
I HAVE to admit I was surprised by Everton's defeat at home to Blackburn. After two good away points - which were earned the hard way at Leeds and Chelsea - they would have been expecting to kick on against Graeme Souness's men and take all three points. The fact that they didn't just shows the paucity of the squad at David Moyes's command - he has drawn the absolute maximum out of the players and now he needs help to take them further. That lack of quality will be exposed by the untimely loss of Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane, in my opinion. As I have said before, I remain unconvinced by the Dane, because he can look like an absolute world-beater one minute and then disappear for the rest of the game. That happened against Leeds when for the first 15 minutes he looked like he was playing by remote control because he was running the game. Then he was tackled by Lucas Radebe and we didn't see him again. Kilbane, may not be as gifted as Gravesen at his best, but I have seen a lot of him with Everton and Ireland and I can tell you that he is a great professional.
Like Danny Murphy he has bags of heart and runs himself into the ground for the team, as well as being able to play in more than one position. Given that attackminded midfielders aren't exactly in abundance around Goodison, Everton will miss the two of them against Wolves, but hey - it is Wolves. If Everton were going to Highbury or Old Trafford this week then they would be somewhat concerned, but if there's one game you want, if not Wolves at home, then it is Wolves away.
Okay, so Wolves are not bad going forward, but if you go at them then you will have plenty of chances to score. I think that even with their injuries, Everton will bring in James McFadden and look to stonewall Wolves in central midfield to go at them on the flanks. Come teatime on Saturday, Everton will be safe and then the real games begin to see what happens next for the club and David Moyes.

Dunford defends ticket price hike
Apr 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief executive Michael Dunford has defended the club's decision to increase the price of Goodison Park season tickets by up to 30 per cent. The new prices were printed in the programme for Saturday's Premiership clash with Blackburn and have led to widespread discontent amongst supporters. Dunford said: "The simple commercial fact is that we need to generate more money through what is our second highest form of income generation - gate receipts. Well over £10 million of our money each year comes from gate receipts. "We are only bringing our prices up now to just about the average price of admission in the Premiership, so it is not as if we are hiking them up above anybody else. "They are still sensible and they still bear comparison with all the other teams we are competing against. "Historically we have lagged behind our competitors but the board have always tried in recent years to peg price increases down to a minimum and that has eventually caught up with us. "Unpalatable as it unquestionably is, I know on the back of a disappointing home defeat on Saturday a lot of supporters will be concerned about the price increases but I make no excuses for it."

Moyes' praise for exhausted Kilbane
Apr 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has praised Kevin Kilbane for "running into a stone wall" for Everton this season.
The Irish international is set to miss the remainder of the Premiership campaign after picking up a hamstring injury against Blackburn on Saturday. The 27-year-old has started 22 of the club's last 23 matches and Moyes believes his committed performances have set an example to his whole squad.
He said: "I always knew Kevin was going to run into a stone wall at some stage because he has been running on empty. "He has covered a Kevin lion miles for us this season and in the last few weeks he has started to look a bit tired and maybe his hamstring injury is based on being drained physically and mentally. "He has had a terrific season for us, giving us consistent performances and chipping in with his fair share of goals. He is an honest, hard-working player and that is why people have accepted him. "He sets a good standard and along with Thomas Gravesen, he has been one of our most consistent players throughout this season." Gravesen will also miss the last three matches after sustaining a medial knee ligament injury. "There will be changes this weekend and it is a chance for players to make an impression in the midfield in the absence of Kevin and Tommy," added Moyes.

Osman's got knack of timing
Apr 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN could not have timed his Everton return better. The 22-year-old, midfielder reported back to Bellefield yesterday after three months on loan at Derby, just as manager David Moyes was learning of the injuries which will deprive him of Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane for the last three games of the season. It remains to be seen if their absence will provide Osman with an immediate opportunity to transfer the form which made him an instant hit at Derby into the Everton side. But Moyes' admission last week that he has no intention of allowing the player to switch to Pride Park permanently suggests Osman's chance will come eventually. "I'm hoping to play a part," admits Osman. "With three games left it's just the right time for me to come back and hopefully I'll be involved in the next couple of games. "It's really disappointing to see some of the lads injured but maybe that will open the door for me to get a chance. "Different leagues are slightly different but there's a similar situation at Everton as Derby. "I know what it's like to play when you're desperate for the points and hopefully I'll carry that on here. "At the minute it's taking each training session as it comes. If I'm playing then it'll be long-term but I want to be playing. "To know that the manager has said he didn't want to sell me has given me a boost. It means that he wants me in some way and hopefully we'll see that on Saturday afternoon." Osman has been thankful of the opportunity he was given at Derby, playing regularly for George Burley and helping guide the Rams away from the first division relegation zone. "I wasn't playing here and, as the gaffer said, I needed to get some experience," added Osman. "I think I've done that and learned an awful lot. There is a difference between playing for the reserves and playing in the Football League. "The crowd makes it different with the atmosphere but I wouldn't say that the standard was an awful lot different. "Physically it is tougher and with Derby at the bottom of the league it's always going to be more difficult. I think we did okay while I was there and we got a few results. "It was great to score for Derby. All the goals I scored came at really important times. "The first goal I scored was an equaliser in the 90th minute against Cardiff, then I got the winning goal against Palace and scored the first goal against Bradford which was virtually a must-win game. "They were important goals at important times, which made them a lot better." The knack of scoring key goals will stand Osman in good stead. We will have to wait and see if he has the chance to do that for Everton this season.

Everton Res 0, Sunderland Res 2
Apr 28 2004
Daily Post
EVERTON RESERVES ended their season on a disappointing note as the Wearsiders took all three points at Haig Avenue. The Blues, mid-table in the Barclaycard Premiership Reserve League (North) started brightly enough. Everton's Brian Moogan then brought Sunderland keeper Ben Alnwick into the action, smacking a 35-yard effort goalwards with the visitors' keeper saving well. With Everton well on top it was only a matter of time before a goal would arrive. It did, sadly however it was at the other end. James Potter tripped Matthew Piper and when the referee pointed to the spot, Ben Clark converted past Iain Turner. Sunderland confirmed the victory on 86 minutes when Lewis Dodd crossed and substitute Ian Graham sent a diving header past Turner for 2-0. EVERTON: Turner, Potter, Fox, Clarke, Gerrard, Schumacher, Wynne (Harris 74) B Moogan, Vaughan, Pascucci (Hughes 78) Booth. Subs: Wright, Lake, Fowler.

Dunford defends decision to increase prices
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 28 2004
EVERTON have been inundated with complaints since announcing season ticket prices will rise by 30% for the 2004-05 campaign. But yesterday chief executive Michael Dunford, defended the hike as an economic necessity following years of keeping price increases to a minimum. Main Stand prices are rising from £427 to £490, an increase of 14.75%, while the lower Gwladys Street is the subject of a staggering 30% rise from £302 to £393. Everton will still compare favourably with other Premiership clubs in the north west when the new rates commence. But with facilities at Goodison second-rate compared to those at Anfield, Ewood Park, the City of Manchester Stadium, Old Trafford and The Reebok, little investment in David Moyes's transfer budget and season ticket sales at an all-time high, many have accused the club of exploiting their hardcore support with the above-inflation hike. However, Chief executive Dunford insisted: "The fact of life is that we need to generate more money. This is only one area where we are looking to generate cash. Generate more cash and save cash - that's how any business becomes a success. "The most important item in any football club has always got to be the team that the supporters pay to watch but we have to run the business to support that. There is no question that the prices have had to increase. "Historically we have lagged behind a lot of our competitors but the board have always tried, in recent years, to peg price increases down to a minimum and that has eventually caught up with us. "In hindsight maybe we should have put five or six percent on over the last five, six, seven years but the board have always been mindful of trying to keep the prices down. "If you look at the prices of our competitors who I quoted in the matchday programme, we're behind the likes of Blackburn and Bolton.
"We feel we have to, as a business, adjust our price scale accord-ingly. Unpalatable as it unquestionably is, I know on the back of a disappointing home defeat on Saturday a lot of supporters will be concerned about the price increases but I make no excuses for it. "It's regrettable, certainly, but the economic situation in football generally, and specifically I'm only interested in Everton's financial position, means that the board have had to consider all areas of generating additional income and gate receipts is an obvious target." The focus is firmly on the Everton board to raise fresh capital this summer, with Moyes's squad in need of urgent improvement and Wayne Rooney due to negotiate a new long-term contract. But with commercial revenue lagging behind the likes of Southampton, and director Paul Gregg boasting a personal fortune of £127million yet not attending a first-team game for more than a year, club supporters fear the season ticket hike has covered for other failings. But Dunford added: "The simple commercial fact is that we need to generate more money through what is our second highest form of income generation, gate receipts.
"It's second behind the money that we receive from the Premier League but well over £10m of our money each year comes from gate receipts. "We're only bringing our prices up now to just about the average price of admission in the Premiership so it's not as if we're hiking them up above anyone else. "They are still sensible, they still bear comparison with all the other teams that we are competing against. "I think this season has been disappointing compared to last season, but for us to run the company, and it is a business, we have to look at all areas of increasing income and saving costs. "All those areas are being looked at at the moment by the board."

Blatter wants to call time on drawn games
By Alan Easel, Daily Post
Apr 28 2004
FIFA president Sepp Blatter risked the derision of the footballing world once again last night by proposing drawn matches become a relic of football's past. The world governing body's supremo made the suggestion but did not say whether he would seek to turn theory into policy. If FIFA were to go ahead with the plan, it would leave Blatter's imprint on the sport for years to come - but could equally force the FIFA president out of his current role. "Every match should have a winner," proposed Blatter. "We shouldn't go home with an undecided match. "If you play cards or boccia (a bowls game) or family games, there's always a winner and a loser. "We should also have the courage in football to pursue a positive result in each game." The 68-year-old president of FIFA suggested that matches should be decided by penalty shoot-outs if they remained level at the final whistle, rather than going into extra time. It would not be Blatter's decision to take personally, but he could make a recommendation to the International Football Association Board who would then be required to make a decision on whether to alter football's rules. The IFAB define and act as guardian to the laws of the game, and they are made up of eight members - four from FIFA and one each from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Blatter's presidency is due to expire in 2007 and he might find few friends on the IFAB. And it's unlikely Blatter will find much support in the footballing world - outside maybe America.

Ferguson may miss Molineux encounter
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 28 2004
DUNCAN FERGUSON is unlikely to be fit for Everton's crucial relegation encounter at Wolves this Saturday despite a six-week absence through suspension. Ferguson, who has played a major part in previous Everton survival campaigns, has not played for David Moyes's side since the draw at Leicester City on March 20. His dismissal for two bookable offences at the Walkers Stadium plus a subsequent punishment for violent conduct and improper behaviour has kept the 32-year-old out of Everton's last five matches. With the Goodison club still desperate for a win to automatically seal their place in the Premiership next season, the Scot had been expected to play some part at Molineux. But with doubts over his sharpness following the enforced lay-off, Ferguson is unlikely to ease the burden on Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski this weekend. Moyes could, however, include Kevin Campbell and Alan Stubbs in his plans on Saturday with the pair back in full training after recovering from illness and injury respectively. With Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane out for the rest of the season and Gary Naysmith rated only "50-50" for Wolves due to an ankle ligament problem, the Everton manager's options are severely limited for the final three games of the campaign. Tony Hibbert, whose last start came in the victory over Portsmouth on March 13, is on stand-by should Alessandro Pistone switch to left-back if Naysmith fails to recover.

Everton signs deal to offer mortgages to fans
By Laura Davis Daily Post Staff
Apr 28 2004
EVERTON Football Club has begun offering mortgages to its fans. The club, which admitted to £34m debts when announcing its results last October, has signed a deal with broker First Union to provide the loans. The company's Far East call centre will target people on Everton's supporter database with cold calls to ask if they are interested in the mortgage service. And, as an incentive, customers will be rewarded for signing up with replica shirts autographed by the team's star players.
It is thought to be the first time a Premiership club has signed up with a broker rather than with an individual bank. Everton have already received a "substantial up-front payment" for the deal and will receive a commission for each loan processed. First Union last night refused to disclose how much the club would gain from the contract, saying it was "commercially sensitive". Alistair Saverimutto, Everton FC commercial manager, said: "We have teamed up to bring an extensive and very competitive range of mortgage products to our valued Everton supporters. "First Union has committed a sizeable advanced investment to the club, with a guaranteed fixed commission for every successful mortgage applied for by our supporters. "The club and supporters can expect continued awards." If, after the initial approach, a supporter is keen to find out more about the mortgage service, they will receive a second telephone call from a First Union representative in the UK. This will be followed by a home visit when the broker matches the client with one of a number of lenders on its books. Adam Brand, First Union's sales director, said: "As a keen football supporter, I am aware of the passion shown by Everton supporters and we are delighted to be able to offer them this unique offer that not only benefits them and the club, but also gives all successful applicants a free autographed replica shirt upon completion of their mortgage -something that money can't buy." First Union is hoping its deal with Everton FC will attract other premiership clubs to sign up for similar services. Everton made a £13m bottom line annual loss in the 12 months to May 31, 2003, compared with a £1.55m profit the previous year, despite a big rise in turnover and an operating profit of £5.6m. Its debts of £34m, which include a long-term £30m deal to clear the overdraft it ran up under previous chairman Peter Johnson, have been secured for 25 years.

Duncan's campaign looks over
Apr 28 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON could join Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane on the list of Blues' stars whose season has ended early. The centre-forward, has not played since his red card and subsequent four-match ban at Leicester on March 20. But he is unlikely to return at Wolves on Saturday because of doubts over the effects of the layoff on his match fitness. And with Everton's reserve team now having completed their fixtures for the season there will be no opportunities for Ferguson to have a run-out before the last two Premiership matches against Bolton and Manchester City. Boss David Moyes said to day: "It looks unlikely that Duncan will be available for the weekend trip to Wolves. Further than that I can't say." Kevin Campbell, however, is available again and back in contention.

Faddy is charged for run-in
Apr 28 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN wants to prove he is coming of age on a football pitch. McFadden, who celebrated his 21st birthday at the weekend at a celebrity party, has featured in six of Everton's last seven games, following a spell of almost seven weeks out in the cold. But injuries to Thomas Gravesen, Kevin Kilbane and Gary Naysmith - plus the continued absence of the now suspension-free Duncan Ferguson - means he has every chance of figuring against Wolves on Saturday. Ferguson has now completed a four-match ban, but despite six weeks on the sidelines he is not thought to be sufficiently match-fit to return. McFadden, however, is itching to play at Molineux. "I know it's not been a great season for the club," he declared. But personally it's been a good season for me. "I've learned a lot this year and hopefully I will play in a few more games towards the end of the season, because it will set me up for next season. "Being in and out of the side is something I expected when I joined. It has been hard, because you can't really prepare for it, but this is a great club and I have enjoyed every single minute." Everton Reserves completed their league fixture list last night and the non-selection of Leon Osman hinted at his possible inclusion in the senior squad travelling to Wolves this weekend.

Rooney souvenir is bog standard
Apr 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
IT may not be the most glamorous of souvenirs, but that didn't stop trophy hunters from stealing Wayne Rooney's toilet seat. The seat had been thrown into a skip outside the Everton striker's former home in Croxteth. Workmen carrying out repairs on the property could not believe their eyes when they saw the toilet seat had been taken. The house is currently being gutted and fans are reportedly turning up regularly to get their hands on anything to do with the Blues scoring sensation.
One memorabilia expert believes the trophy hunters are onto a good thing if they get hold of anything to do with Rooney. Jason Cornthwaite from memorabilia firm Trax said: "This toilet seat could be valuable, if there is proof it is genuine."

Sad to see decline at Goodison
Apr 28 2004 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL'S problems and all the publicity about them has meant the situation at Goodison Park hasn't received as much attention this season. But things are far from happy on the other side of Stanley Park these days. And it's more than a bit worrying. The game against Blackburn last Saturday was dire. Everton were just so lacklustre, particularly after Gravesen went off injured. Rovers could have won by more than one goal. It was, however, a match which could have seen Everton reach safety and now - although I'm certain they will stay up - it is still not mathematically sorted yet.
I immediately looked ahead to their last game of the season - an away tie at Manchester City, who might well be fighting for their lives in that one. I just hope for Everton's sake it really doesn't matter by then. I can't see Leeds getting the points they need to survive but if they do, and the Blues slip up against Wolves and Bolton, well - it just doesn't bear thinking about. Believe it or not when I'm asked after Liverpool, which is my second club, I say Everton. I'm no different to lots of people on Merseyside who want to see the Blues doing well. We're proud to have two Premiership teams and long may it continue. Heaven forbid we end up like Sheffield. Many people remember the mid-80s when we had the two best teams in the country. Everyone on Merseyside took pride in that.
But Saturday's defeat by Blackburn starkly showed up the problems Everton have. I'm not for a moment having a go at David Moyes who has done a hell of a job. But he hasn't had the money he needs. Liverpool for all their troubles, are still in fourth place and if they get that Champions League slot it will be worth something like £15-£20m to them. Here are Everton struggling near the bottom and desperately needing to finish as high as they can, with every place up the table being worth more than half a million pounds in prize money. Finishing in the bottom six won't bring in much money to buy new players and that is clearly what Everton need. It does put things in perspective a bit and shows that Everton's problems are in reality, just as bad if not worse, than Liverpool's.

Faddy aids sporting event
Apr 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON star James McFadden supported a special event designed to help break down barriers in sport. Students of Liverpool Community College, working towards their HND in leisure management, organised the day at Greenbank Sports Centre. They organised a sporting programme aimed at gaining awareness and integrating able-bodied people and people with impairments, so that they could participate together. Sports included boccia and wheel-chair basketball and the event, partlysponsored by Merseytravel, proved a great success.

Blues end season on sad note
Apr 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Reserves ended the season in mid-table after a disappointing defeat in their final game.
With mainly youth team players on show, Andy Holden's side were beaten at Haig Avenue as two late goals gave the visitors the points. The Blues started brightly enough, but lost their ascend-ency when the game was halted for a lengthy period after a collision of heads between Steven Schumacher and Paul Thirlwell, the latter requiring hospital treatment. When the game restarted, it was the visitors who responded well, Kingsberry forcing Iain Turner into a fine save on 22 minutes.
Everton made a good start to the second half, Pascucci twice going close along with Daniel Fox before Brian Moogan troubled the Black Cats keeper with a fine effort. With Everton well on top it was only a matter of time before a goal would arrive. And it did, unfortunately at the other end.
James Potter tripped Matthew Piper and when the referee pointed to the spot, Ben Clark converted past the helpless Turner. Ian Graham confirmed the victory with a headed goal on 86 minutes.
EVERTON: Turner, Potter, Fox, Clarke, Gerrard, Schumacher, Wynne (Harris 74) B Moogan, Vaughan, Pascucci (Hughes 78) Booth.

Is football's spiritual home moving south?
By Lorraine Rogers, Daily Post
Apr 29 2004
ASK the question: Where is the home of English football? And for the last quarter of a century the answer has been the North West. The only debate has been whether the home of football is to the east or west of the M56. Of the last 25 championships 19 have been won by North West clubs, eight each for Liverpool and Manchester United, two for Everton and another by Blackburn. But could the long period of dominance by our region be coming to an end? Arsenal have just clinched their second Premiership title in three seasons. Chelsea, with greater spending power than any club has ever enjoyed, could finish second and are the only English club remaining in the Champions League.
Last weekend Manchester United and Liverpool played each other in a game that was an irrelevance to the title race. The combined points earned by Liverpool and Everton this season may only just exceed the number Arsenal achieve on their own. Look a little further down the table and you will find two smaller London clubs, Fulham and Charlton, in the top half. Meanwhile Everton, together with Blackburn and Manchester City, have been fighting to stay above the relegation zone. The heartbeat of the game and with it, its spiritual home, appear to be moving south to the capital.
If these are indications of a long-term shift in our region's dominance of football and the North West is entering a period of decline, then there are serious implications for Merseyside. Football plays an enormously important role in defining this area. Liverpool will, of course, be Capital of Culture in 2008 and we are blessed with some wonderful architecture, museums and galleries. But it's the Beatles and football that have been pulling the visitors into the city and its surroundings since the 1960s. People arrive at Anfield and Goodison (and yes, some come to Prenton Park as well) for tours of the stadium. They know the stories of the great triumphs of Liverpool and Everton and want to see where the history was made. Just imagine if Liverpool were now once again the dominant club in Europe, as they were 20 years ago. What would this do for the international profile of the city?
How many more visitors would come to the city and boost the local economy? What will happen to those visitors if Merseyside becomes part of a region of football also-rans and the heart and the home of the game is perceived to have moved to London? The football tourists might pass us by and spend more of their money in London which, for all of its many attractions, has not previously been regarded as a football city in the way Liverpool and Manchester are. Merseyside's two Premiership clubs carry the hopes of the region in their endeavours to bring new success on the football field.
And this brings me back to the argument that each of them could devote valuable extra resources to generating that success if they shared a joint stadium.

Bulykin remains Everton target
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Apr 29 2004
DAVID MOYES will not allow a limited transfer budget halt his pursuit of Dynamo Moscow striker Dimitry Bulykin. The Everton manager was in Oslo last night to watch the 24-year-old, edge closer to a summer transfer in Russia's 3-2 friendly defeat against Norway. Moyes was keen to bring the powerful forward to Goodison Park during the transfer window, when he spent a week on trial at Bellefield, only to be thwarted by Bulykin's lack of international appearances. But the striker will be eligible for a move to Britain this summer and the Everton manager remains determined to finalise a deal, as his presence in Oslo demonstrates. Bulykin will qualify for a work permit once he has appeared in 70% of Russia's matches over the past two years. Last night's 45-minute appearance against Norway has left him on the brink of that quota and Euro 2004 will take him beyond it - providing Wales fail in their attempt to have Russia thrown out of the tournament. Moyes has made no secret of his desire to strengthen Everton's midfield this summer. But with doubts surrounding Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell's ability to lead the line during the final 12 months of their Goodison contracts, he is also anxious to inject fresh and younger talent into his attack. At 24 Bulykin, who scored a hat-trick in a European Championship qualifier against Switzerland last September, fits the criteria for Moyes. But even if Dynamo agree to a £1.5million fee it remains to be seen whether Everton will hand Moyes enough money for this and other deals in the summer.
Everton have, however, moved a step closer to signing the rising young American star Danny Szetela.
The creative midfielder has attracted interest from several European clubs, including Manchester City, Tottenham and Inter Milan, following his performances at the recent World Youth Championships. But Everton moved in first with a written offer to Szetela, and the 17-year-old is due on Merseyside with his family this week to assess a possible summer move from World Class Olympic. Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, has seen his chances of facing Wolves this weekend improve.
The Scottish international remains a doubt for the trip to Molineux after suffering an ankle ligament injury during last Saturday's defeat by Blackburn. But he resumed light training at Bellefield yesterday and could yet ease Moyes's selection dilemma ahead of the crucial relegation contest.

Maestro Irvine turns on class at Molineux
Post Past By Philip J Redmond, Daily Post
Apr 29 2004
THERE haven't been too many games against Wolverhampton Wanderers in recent years, but one I do recall was actually one of my first ever away trips back in January 1982. After the failed experiment with his 'magnificent seven', Howard Kendall was having far more success with a group of raw youngsters - many of whom would form the backbone of the wonder team of the mid-1980s.
Graeme Sharp was starting to show the type of form that had first alerted Gordon Lee, and the likes of Ratcliffe, Richardson and Stevens were also beginning to feature more regularly. A couple of weeks previously, Howard had also broken the club's transfer record on a baby-faced striker from Stoke called Adrian Heath. Meanwhile, Neville Southall was looking good after replacing Jim Arnold in goal at Christmas. In contrast, Wolves were a mess. Bottom of the league with an ageing squad and mounting financial problems caused by a new stand about 50 yards from the pitch, another defeat would make relegation ever more certain, while Everton could go top five with an away win.
On the day there were only about 12,000 inside Molineux, including a decent turnout of Everton supporters. The result was a comfortable 3-0 Everton victory, with the star of the show being current first team coach, Alan Irvine. Following Kevin Richardson's 25-yard free-kick, Irvine hammered home two blinders, the second after a mazy dribble. This was all too much for a number of disgruntled Wolves fans who invaded the pitch for a centre-circle sit-down protest. For Evertonians, however, this was another glimpse of the promise that would eventually lead to untold glories.

Moyes tracks Russian star
Apr 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is continuing his pursuit of Russian striker Dimitry Bulykin. The Blues boss was in Oslo last night to watch Bulykin, play 45 minutes of Russia's 3-2 defeat to Norway. The 24-year-old Dynamo Moscow striker spent a week on trial at Bellefield in January. Everton could not sign the striker then because he had not played enough international matches to make him eligible for a work permit. He will qualify for a work permit in the summer if, as expected, he figures for Russia in Euro 2004. The forward is believed to be available for £1.5m and Moyes is monitoring the situation ahead of a possible bid in the summer. The manager has not yet been told by the board how much money he will have to spend in the summer, but it is set to be less than the £5m he was given last year. The size of his transfer budget will dictate whether or not Everton follow up their interest in Bulykin with a formal bid. Midfield remains the manager's number one priority, with Hibs' Derek Riordan the latest name to be linked with the Blues. But the tall Bulykin is seen as a possible long-term replacement for the ageing duo of Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson, who are both out of contract in 2005. Meanwhile, defender Peter Clarke fears he has played his last game for Everton.
The 22-year-old skippered the reserve side for Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat to Sunderland. With no more reserve fixtures and Clarke out of contract in the summer, the former England Under-21 international accepts his future lies away from Goodison Park. He said: "As things stand, that was my last game for Everton. "All I've ever wanted to do is play in a Blue shirt for the club. If that's not to be, all I can say is that I have given it my best shot."
* American 17-year-old Danny Szetela arrived at Goodison with his family today. The midfielder was being shown around ahead of a possible summer move from World Class Olympic. If a deal is done, he is set to join the club's senior youth academy squad.

Wenger tips Wayne to be Euro star
Apr 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
ARSENE WENGER has tipped Wayne Rooney to become the star of Euro 2004. The Arsenal boss believes Everton's 18-year-old striker, will take the Portugal tournament by storm when it kicks off in six weeks time. "Rooney is audacious and he will not be burned out because he was on the bench for Everton at the start of this season," revealed Wenger. "Don't forget that many players will go into the tournament having played 60 games. So a guy with Rooney's talent who can come in with 25 games could be unstoppable. "The hunger will be there for England to wipe out the disappointment of the World Cup two years ago. "England are the up and coming national side. They are where France were a few years ago. They have not won a major trophy for a long time but
England could be getting to a stage where they have a team capable of something. It will depend on Owen and Rooney." But while Wenger believes Rooney will be the talisman for Sven Goran Eriksson's side, his Old Trafford rival has a very different view. Sir Alex Ferguson is worried the demands of a major tournament will be too much for the Everton star. He believes Michael Owen's fitness is the most important factor if England are to succeed. Ferguson said: "Rooney won't be afraid - I just wonder if he keeps his freshness for a young lad. "Owen, you would hope, has no more injuries. If he were to get another injury before the Euro Championships he'll struggle. "It would destroy him in terms of pace and without him England have no one who can penetrate." Both managers have stopped short of tipping England to win the tournament, opting instead for reigning champions France to keep their title. Ferguson adds: "I think France will win it because there's more goals there. They can select strikers of real quality in Cisse, Henry, Trezeguet and Saha and have Wiltord and Marlet as back up. That's some selection."

Rooney's agents in name change
Apr 29 2004 Liverpool Echo
PROACTIVE Sports, the agents who represent Everton and England star Wayne Rooney, unveiled a name change and rising profits today. Chief executive Neil Rodford said they intend to change the name of the Wilmslow-based business to Formation Group. He also revealed a 33% improvement in turnover from £4.2m to £5.5m and profits of £210,000 compared with £94,000 last time, for the six months to February 29. Mr Rodford said: "We're really pleased. These results increase the visibility to the outside world of the progress we have made." He said Proactive represents 271 footballers, including former Everton target Sean Davies of Fulham, but added: "Obviously Wayne is our biggest client. He is the biggest name on the world stage," but he declined to comment on his ongoing contract negotiations with Everton. The firm has four divisions: Sports marketing, wealth management, client representation, legal and professional services. Mr Rodford said they hoped to grow the legal side of the company. Chairman John Lawrence said the broad spread was to provide a wide range of services to their increasing number of clients. "We believe that we are very much on track towards achieving our aim of creating Europe's first business to provide sports clients (both athletes and corporate organisations) with a holistic service. "Our client base has historically been predominantly football orientated. However, as our business has grown, so too has the range of our clients and we see this trend continuing," he added.
* SPORTSWEAR manufacturer Umbro, which is taking over the kit-making deal for Everton next season, announced plans to float on the stock exchange today. It said it hoped to complete the process by June but would not say how much it intends to raise from issuing shares or what its market value is expected to be. However, analysts put the group's value at approximately £200m.
Umbro said the flotation will provide an exit opportunity for private equity firm Doughty Hanson & Co which invested in the company in April 1999.

Drawn games mustn't pay the penalty
Apr 29 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
MOST of us enjoy the odd penalty shootout at the end of a drawn game. Probably more than many of us care to admit and particularly when it doesn't involve the team we support. You know, preferably one involving Cameroon versus Germany in a World Cup quarter final or something like that. For all its critics the shootout remains the fairest way of settling a cup tie. Because taking penalties does involve an element of skill and also requires old fashioned bottle - a key part of the contest too. But for Sepp Blatter, to call for penalty shootouts to be introduced across world soccer as a matter of routine is sheer madness. Not because football shouldn't consider change but because it would harm the game in so many ways. Some of the greatest football matches we have seen have been draws. Take the Everton v Liverpool cup classic of 1991 at Goodison which ended 4-4 and was one of the most dramatic derbies ever. A penalty shootout would have extended it when it had come to a natural, breathtaking conclusion that night. Even this year's goalless drawn derby at Anfield was a hell of a game and taking it to penalties just wouldn't have been fair to either side who entertained the fans superbly back in January. Spoils shared was the right setting for the mood across Merseyside that evening as the fans headed for the bars. Anyway why should sides who stage courageous comebacks suffer the risk of their efforts going unrewarded through being force-fed spot-kick deciders? David Unsworth will proudly recall his debut goal for the Blues at Spurs in 1993, the last of three which squared the match after Tottenham had led 3-0. The shootout, particularly had Everton lost it, would have tarnished his memory as well as that fine fightback.
Similarly, Liverpool's same achievement in drawing 3-3 with Manchester United after they'd gone 3-0 down in the first half at Anfield in the mid-90s deserved its reward of a point. What's more, when games are level late on, sides in league matches would inevitably protect what they've got and stop attacking with gusto. Liverpool's first 4-3 victory over Newcastle - dubbed the Premiership's game of the 90s - would probably not have seen the Reds pouring forward and Stan Collymore scoring that memorable winner if Blatter's beliefs had been order of the day. Teams would even be relegated by last-day spot-kick mistakes - or saved elsewhere by some other side's cruel fortune. Arsenal would probably not have won the league by going unbeaten this season. And what about the amateur game, particularly at youth and junior level, which would no doubt follow suit. Forget the odd character building sporting draw, someone's got to be declared a loser even in the MYA under sevens League, haven't they? No. Football, for all its need to develop as a modern spectacl e, doesn 't need a roulette wheel mentality to help sex it up.

Okocha rules out summer move to Goodison
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Apr 30 2004
BOLTON captain Jay-Jay Okocha has ruled out a summer transfer to Everton. The Nigerian international, whose contract expires at the end of the season, has been linked with a move away from The Reebok. Trotters manager Sam Allardyce is keen to hold on to the 30-year-old, despite a raft of interested parties rumoured to be chasing his signature. Those include Everton manager David Moyes, who is an admirer of the talented Okocha but is wary of the high salary the midfielder may demand. In any case, even if he does decide to depart Bolton, Okocha has insisted he will not be joining his international team-mate Joseph Yobo at Goodison Park. "I cannot leave Bolton for Everton, who have not done better than us," said Okocha. "It would not be nice to leave for Everton and I am not aware of the deal." One player who is more likely to be at Goodison next season, American sensation Danny Szetela, arrived on Merseyside yesterday. The 17-year-old midfielder was shown around Everton's facilities with his family ahead of a possible move from World Class Olympic, a deal which would be similar to the one that saw Italian Patrizio Pascucci arrive last summer. Pascucci was also 17 when he joined from Lazio, but due to his age and relative inexperience he went straight into the Everton Academy, and has since played a number of reserve games this season. Meanwhile, Peter Clarke has conceded he has almost certainly played his last game for Everton. The 22-year-old was captain for the reserves' final game of the season on Tuesday, a 2-0 defeat to Sunderland. And Clarke, who is out of contract in the summer, said: "As things stand, that was my last game for Everton. All I've ever wanted to do is play in a Blue shirt for the club. If that's not to be, all I can say is that I've given it my best shot." Gary Naysmith is losing his battle to be fit in time for tomorrow's relegation contest at Wolves. The Scottish international resumed light training on Wednesday after suffering an ankle ligament injury during last weekend's defeat to Blackburn, but is unlikely to recover sufficiently enough to be considered for selection.

Rooney kicks off Coca-Cola giveaway
Daily Post
Apr 30 2004
EVERTON forward Wayne Rooney yesterday kicked off the one million football giveaway from official Euro 2004 partner Coca-Cola by releasing thousands of footballs onto the streets of Liverpool.
Rooney, along with French striker Thierry Henry in London, joined forces to spearhead the launch of the Coca-Cola initiative - its biggest ever giveaway. Rooney helped pull the lever of a 20-ton tipper truck to release more than a thousand footballs on Liverpool's Pier Head, while Henry did the same close to Tower Bridge. The 18-year-old England striker said: "I used to love being given a new ball to kick around. In fact, I still do. Giving away a million balls is a great way to get the nation kicking in the run-up to Euro 2004." Coca-Cola is looking to get the nation kicking with a promotion of cans, bottles and multi-packs. The red Coca-Cola Euro 2004 branded footballs are suitable for all weather conditions come rain or shine and people will be able to tell instantly by looking under the ringpull or bottle cap if they're a winner.

Osman plea
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Apr 30 2004
Osman plea
WITH Gravesen and Kilbane crocked time it's time to give Osman a go - as if not now then when is the time ever going to be right?
Terry Booth, Waterloo
Negative equity?
HOW pleasing it was to see Everton announce their involvement in the mortgage industry as you will now need a mortgage to buy a season ticket.
Paul Whitehurst, Wallasey
Price to pay
ONCE again we have become a laughing stock of English football, and yet we still come back for more, week-in, week-out. Season and matchday tickets have gone up for next year! So what? I would pay any price to watch my beloved Everton! I know you all probably think I'm crazy but it's the truth. Mr Kenwright and your buddies it's time for you to show us how much our club means to you by putting your hands in your pockets and giving Moysey the cash to bring in some more players.
We've got to pay more to watch, so let him try and bring in some players that are worth watching. Do it now or say goodbye to Moyes and Rooney and say a big hello to the Nationwide!
Dave Grear, Liverpool
Money needed
AFTER Saturday's defeat to Blackburn, the message to the board is a simple one and should be crystal clear to them by now. Give Moyes money otherwise we are going to lose him and Rooney in the not-too-distant future, and to be honest, who would blame them for leaving!
Mark Lawson, Liverpool
Getting worried
I'VE thought all season we would do well to finish in the top 15! We all know we have around 10 pre-Moyes players on stupid salaries who are an embarassment, and I think we are lucky that this year there were a few teams just worse than us and that we had Wayne Rooney. However, the feeling coming from many Evertonians is one of hope-lessness... board inactivity, style of play, and even doubts about Moyes. I am still a fan of his, but his man-management, motivational skills, team selection and tactics are starting to worry me.
B Renzo (via e-mail)
Bad timing
GREAT timing announcing the increase in season ticket prices at our worst home performance of the season. I suspect even the most loyal fans will be waiting to see what transfer activity occurs during the summer. For far too long the board have taken the fans' incredible loyalty for granted. Let's be honest, we're hardly in the top echelons of the Premiership. For £15million we could revamp the midfield and buy a partner for Yobo.
Tom Roberts, Liverpool

Price rises inevitable given modern game
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Apr 30 2004
THE BIGGEST talking point amongst Evertonians this week has obviously been the announcement of the ticket prices for next season. While no one expected them to go down, the size of the rise certainly came as something of a shock to the system. While Bill Kenwright, Michael Dunford and the rest of the powers that be at Goodison have come in for some expected stick this week, they must be wondering, 'What else were we supposed to do?'. On the one hand we want to be relatively competitive in the Premiership - we want to attract new players and we certainly don't want to have to cash in on the ones we already have, especially 'you know who' - but on the other hand most of our rivals charge their fans more to watch games. It was obvious that something was going to give. That's not to suggest for a moment that the price of watching Premiership foot-ball isn't ridiculous - it quite clearly is - but unless clubs get together and resolve among themselves to stop costs being driven up by the stupid money they pay players, then there seems little hope of things getting better in the future. The only other thing that would make a difference is if fans started to vote with their feet, en masse. That seems even more unlikely than salary capping though, given that the British public seem to have an insatiable appetite for Premiership football, and a lot of them are paying far more than us Evertonians. It's the dichotomy faced by almost every modern football fan: we demand our clubs be run like businesses, but we don't like them maximising revenues by ruthlessly exploiting brand loyalty or selling off assets. Everton must be absolutely gutted that they didn't capitalise on the feel-good factor of last summer and implement the big price hike then. Mr Dunford's comment that the present grumbling is thanks to a bad result against Blackburn over-looks the fact that we've been less than inspiring all season and still face the threat of relegation with only three games remaining. Granted it's an extremely faint threat, but that's thanks mainly to Leeds United's inadequacies rather than any great confidence in the present side, minus Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane, to get anything from our remaining fixtures. Everyone could really do with a good performance at Molineux tomorrow.

Blues sure of Wayne Deal
Apr 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is confident Wayne Rooney will sign a lucrative new five year contract in the summer.
The 18-year-old striker, still has almost two years left to run on the original three year deal he signed in January last year. But the Blues are eager to secure the England international to a long-term deal which will give him financial parity with the club's senior players. They are also hopeful a new deal will bring to an end constant speculation linking Rooney with big money moves to Chelsea or Manchester United. Moyes said: "The indications are he'll sign in the summer and I am happy.
"We are building for the future here and we want to build a side around Wayne - we don't want to develop him for another club." However, negotiations are only just underway and Everton may have to wait until after Euro 2004 before seeing Rooney put pen to paper. He is set to join up with Sven Goran Eriksson's England squad a week after the end of the season ahead of the mini tournament against Iceland and Japan which will provide the squad with their final preparations ahead of the trip to Portugal. There is a concern among supporters that finalising the deal until after the finals, where Rooney is tipped to be one of the stars of the tournament, could jeopardise his future at Goodison. But Everton and Moyes remain very optimistic about Rooney's future with the club - and his impact at Euro 2004. Moyes adds: "Wayne has matured and I am sure that in the big games he will be able to handle himself well. "He is learning all the time, and wants to keep learning, which is the important thing. I have no doubts that when Euro 2004 starts, he won't look out of place."
Meanwhile, a planned pre-season trip to Australia is set to be cancelled unless the club can resolve some financial complications. The Blues had hoped to announce their participation in a mini-tournament in Perth, Australia in July. The club would have departed for Australia on July 12 and played four matches Down Under. Everton last visited Australia on a summer tour in 1964.

McFadden refuses to look too far ahead
Apr 30 2004 Exclusive By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
IF hunger is enough to earn you a regular place in a Premiership side then James McFadden would have played in every Everton game this season. The 21-year-old, is seen by many as a signing for the future, but he doesn't look at it that way. In fact, he is determined to prove he is quite the opposite, starting at Wolves tomorrow. The Scottish international is set to be handed only his ninth league start of the season because of injuries to Kevin Kilbane and Thomas Gravesen in a game which could provide Everton with the points they need to secure Premiership safety. A victory would put them out of reach of the drop zone, and also consign former Blue Dave Jones to relegation back to the first division. David Moyes has always said that he would use McFadden sparingly this season, giving him the chance to adjust to life in England. The manager has a long term plan. Signing players like McFadden, Joseph Yobo and Iain Turner fits into that plan.
But the thought of being a part of a young and blossoming Everton side a couple of years down the line is something that McFadden prefers not to think about. He explains: "I have not looked too far ahead. I want to be playing now, not then. "I have not looked at it that way, at being here for the future. I just want to get into the team to show people what I can do. "It has been frustrating this year because I haven't played as much, but I have still played in a lot of games. "It is a good thing that I have had the chance to see what it is all about but next year I will need to work harder than ever to make my mark. "I have come on and done well at times but my aim is to be making myself a regular and to do that I need to be working harder to prove I can play every week." McFadden is softly spoken. He has a relaxed demeanour which belies the intense ambition which drives him.
But every now and then he lets his guard drop. Ask him which Premiership player he would most like to emulate and his response is animated. "Players shouldn't be looking to other people, they should be looking to themselves," he insists. "If you look and say 'I want to do the same as him' that is not good enough. "I had players I liked to watch and people I wanted to be like when I was younger. "I used to like watching Paul McStay, he was my hero when I was younger, and John Collins. I loved watching Gazza and Brian Laudrup when they were at Rangers. "They were good players to watch, but I wouldn't say I model my game on anybody. "I have always just tried to do things for myself. When it came to playing professionally I wanted to prove I was better than the players in front of me. "I didn't want to know I was as good as them, I wanted to prove I was better than them. "And that is the way you have got to be. You have to be better than the next person. There is no point aspiring to be as good as somebody, when you can be better than them. "It comes down to confidence. If I am confident I can be better than the next player, even if I am not, then that belief can give you an edge. "I have always had that belief and confidence and it is a big thing."
McFadden illuminated the Scottish Premier League with his fancy footwork last season. But since leaving Motherwell for Everton in a £1m deal the Scot has found there are fewer opportunities to dribble. "It is harder to run and dribble with the ball in this league, but it is still possible," he adds.
"I just have to learn to pick the right times to do it. That will come. "There is still plenty of learning to do and it is hard to find that balance because you have got to fancy yourself to beat somebody every time you come up against a player. "There is no better way to learn than when you are making mistakes. "Alan (Irvine) is helpful, but I don't want to be stuck with this tag of being a winger. "If I am asked to play there, then I will play there and obviously Alan has been trying to help me in the last eight months. He always has a little bit of input for me everyday. "But I would like to see myself as a forward." He has earned the right to play up front for Scotland, with Berti Vogts conceding it is his best position. But he will have to be more patient at Everton, where he is up against competition from Tomasz Radzinski, Wayne Rooney, Kevin Campbell, Fran-cis Jeffers and Duncan Ferguson. If he is handed an opportunity to play at Molineux tomorrow it is likely to be on the left flank in place of Kilbane. Having struggled in his last start at Chelsea, the Scot is determined to prove he is not a homer. "My best performances have been at Goodison and I need to prove I can do it away from home as well," he adds. "That is part of the learning curve. At the moment, I don't think it matters what position I am playing. I just need to get a bit more consistency and show I can play anywhere. "I just want to end the season on a high. I want to play every game, but the main thing is we get the points required and get as high up the league as we can. "I think we are safe but you want to make it impossible mathematically. We can do that at Wolves."

Don't blame Gregg for Goodison shambles
Apr 30 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WHEN it comes to conspiracy theories, your average Evertonian can put JFK, Marilyn's suicide and even Princess Di's car-crash in the shade. So it should only be expected that someone would come up with an alternative explanation to last week's hefty season-ticket price hike. Look at this gem, plucked from the pages of our sister paper the Daily Post, just we e ks be f ore Ever to n announced their plans. "It's the time of year when clubs are starting to announce ticket prices for next season. Inflation - even in football - is in single figures, but I've heard of some clubs that are planning 20 or 30 per cent increases. How can they justify such massive increases when they can't guarantee a significant improvement in the level of quality of the football or the facilities? "Are clubs using significant increases in season ticket prices to achieve the same result as a rights issue, but without having to give up control? It seems that way - the owners have the benefit of using the supporters cash without having to dilute their own shareholding." A thought-provoking slant, but not one which came from an exasperated Evertonian. The words were written by Tranmere Rovers' chairman Lorraine Rogers. There is no suggestion that it was Everton Football Club Ms Rogers was referring to. But if not, it's certainly the footballing equivalent of a shot fired from a grassy knoll.
The point could be valid. Or the problem for the Blues board in issuing a rights share may simply be that there's noone wealthy enough to under-write the whole scheme (do you know anyone with a spare £20m-30m to spare?) Everton's board finds itself in a no-win situation. Not even the most disaffected Evertonian would argue that more money must be generated at Goodison. And if your rivals are offering much the same product, at significantly higher prices, it makes good business sense to increase your prices. But what makes the rise so difficult for Evertonians to swallow is that it a onedimensional policy. Other money-making avenues have been criminally ignored. The lack of corporate facility at Goodison has been identified by the board as being the single most costly problem. But other than a tent being erected at the Stanley Park End, nothing has been done to address the problem since the Kings Dock Arena went up in a puff of blue smoke. Kejian's shirt sponsorship ends at the end of this season, yet there is still no news of a replacement - and the club has patently failed to attract any individual with the business ability to exploit one of the biggest and most loyal fan bases in football. Other than by hiking up season ticket prices. Paul Gregg appears the latest to be cast in the role of scapegoat because he's very rich, and not interested in sinking his cash into Everton. But why should he? Would any rich Evertonian sink their cash into a venture they have no interest in? Gregg has not been seen at an Everton first-team fixture since April 19 - last year - because he was only ever interested in Everton as a vehicle for the Kings Dock Arena. That vision has long since disappeared. But as his shares are intrinsically linked with Bill Kenwright's True Blue Holdings, he and Everton are stuck with each other. At least until another rich Evertonian comes forward and offers to bale out the Blues. The whole thing is a mess - and until there are meaningful signs that the club is moving forward financially, Everton are left open to conspiracy theories and innuendo.

Moyes might have more to gain in defeat
Apr 30 2004 By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set his sights on a successful end to the season. But even if things don't go well in the next three games and the Blues limp over the finishing line it could benefit the manager. A disappointing final league position will intensify the frustration and concern of the fans. And the pressure that creates could help David's summer rebuilding plans. Premiership safety should be assured in the next couple of games. Two points is the maximum the side needs. But a final league placing just above the relegation zone is something nobody wants to see. It could, though, focus the minds of the money men, and put the manager in a stronger position when it comes to influencing the club to find the funds he needs to ensure his side is not flirting just above the relegation zone again next season. The fans will be desperate for changes and improvement. They also know the manager has yet to be given a substantial transfer kitty. Season ticket prices have risen and the fans want to see a return for that rise, particularly if the final league table makes grim reading.
No arm done!

Everton fans deny murder
Apr 30 2004 Liverpool Echo
AN EVERTON fan accused of killing a West Ham supporter for insulting Scousers kept 27,000 football programmes in his home, a court heard today. Terry Deans, 33, was attacked by Blues supporters Vernon Wood, 55, and Graham Johnson, 34, at his local pub in east London, it is claimed. The pair allegedly turned on the scaffolder after he started chanting footbal l songs and shouting offensive remarks about Liverpudlians. Wood smashed two pints of beer over Mr Deans' head before Johnson, a painter, pulled out a knife and stabbed him while he lay on the floor of the White Hart pub, it is claimed. The Old Bailey heard yesterday how Wood, who ran a local cafe with his wife, was a fanatical Everton supporter. He told police: "I have been a season ticket holder for 41 years and I have missed 39 games in 41 years home and away. "I have got 27,000 football programmes in the house." Wood and Johnson, who both live in east London, deny murder on July 11 last year.



















April 2004