Everton Independent Research Data


United in self-delusion
Aug 1 2001 by Jon McEvoy, Daily Post
ME thinks Manchester United's self-styled belief as the world's most popular club is a touch misplaced, given news reaching us from the Far East. Their tour of Singapore was far from 'friendly' according to the local media who claimed they were denied access to the players. Not ones to lie down lightly at the snub, Singapore's newspaper left a blank page after being denied interviews by way of protest. The space was to have contained pictures and copy about the Old Trafford missionaries. The New Paper ran a two-page spread comparing the treatment they received from Liverpool with the closed-shop attitude of United. Liverpool, they said, had plenty of time for their fans.

Simonsen may stay with Blues - Smith
Aug 1 2001 By ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH last night claimed there could still be a future at Goodison Park for Steve Simonsen - despite renewed interest in the Blues keeper from Wigan Athletic. The former England under-21 International was in commanding form after being given a rare start in the Blues 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor. The Everton manager is keen to strengthen his goalkeeping options before the new season and has already been linked with moves for ex-Wigan stopper Roy Carroll and Coventry's Swedish International Magnus Hedman. But Smith has suggested Simonsen would figure in his plans if he stays on Merseyside. Smith said: "Steve made a couple of good saves with the few chances that Burnley had. It was good to see him get them. "As I have said before he is still young and his move from Tranmere maybe came a bit too early for him. But it was good to see him do well.
"The interest has come from other clubs, not me. I still think he has a lot to offer us but I can't stop the interest in him

Ball pay-off demand stalls Ibrox transfer
Aug 1 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL BALL'S £7m switch to Glasgow Rangers hit a hitch today. Everton accepted a bid last night. But the player arrived at Bellefield this morning for treatment on his injured knee, rather than travel North for contract talks. The sticking point is believed to be an extra payment Ball believes Everton have reneged on. He has two years remaining on his current deal and did not ask for a transfer.
But the Blues are refusing to go beyond a scheduled £100,000 signing-on fee written into the player's contract. Both parties have until midnight tomorrow to resolve the wrangle. That is the deadline for Champions League registration, and Rangers would pull out of the deal if Ball is not registered in time. The Scots take on Finnish side NK Mari-bor at Ibrox tonight, holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg. They are due to meet Turkish side Fenerbahce in next week's third qualifying round. If the impasse can be overcome, the cash boost would allow Walter Smith to pursue another transfer target - with a ball-winning midfielder a priority. But Paul Ince is not believed to be top of his hit list. Smith wants a player he is familiar with, rather than take another continental gamble, but has also been ordered to reduce Goodison's wage bill. Ince currently commands a £2m per year salary package at Middlesbrough. Tottenham's Tim Sherwood fits Smith's criteria perfectly, and the London club have enquired about Everton's unsettled goalkeeper Thomas Myhre. But equally, Spurs are adamant that Sherwood is not for sale.

Ball keen on Ibrox move
Aug 2 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
MICHAEL BALL has admitted he would relish a move to Glasgow Rangers despite a cash row delaying his £7million transfer to Ibrox. The England international was due to open talks with the Scottish giants yesterday after Everton accepted their offer for the 21-year-old on Tuesday. But the move is now on hold until Ball can resolve a dispute with the Blues over the size of the payment he is owed on his Goodison Park exit. Everton are prepared to pay the £100,000 he is due under the terms of his current contract, while Ball who has two years left on the existing deal and has not asked for a transfer believes he is entitled to nearer £750,000. But Ball has cleared one hurdle in the proposed transfer by revealing he would agree to a switch to Scotland. The Everton defender said last night: "The thought of playing in front of 50,000 fans and possibly in the Champions League is an exciting prospect. "I was due to travel up to Scotland on Wednesday morning but I am waiting for my contractual position to be clarified first." The current impasse is likely to delay Ball's move until after tonight's midnight transfer deadline for the next phase of the Champions League where Rangers will take on Fenerbahce after their 6-1 aggregate triumph over NK Maribor last night. But that would not deter Rangers in their pursuit of a player who is also attracting interest from Liverpool and Middlesbrough, and chairman David Murray last night said he expects a deal to be completed within 48 hours. Ball would be unlikely to figure against the Turks next week because of the knee injury that has disrupted his pre-season training programme, while Rangers would not make up any shortfall in the player's Goodison pay-off. But Murray confirmed: "We have agreed terms with Bill Kenwright at Everton. The deal is subject to the player tying up a few loose ends at Everton but we hope to sign him up in the next couple of days. "He is an exciting young player who represents a long-term investment by the club and I'm sure he will be a very good addition to Dick Advocaat's squad." Everton and former Rangers boss Walter Smith desperately needs funds from the Ball sale to pursue his own transfer targets, and he added: "Rangers have made an enquiry. The clubs have been in discussion and we will just have to wait and see what happens now." Balls days at Goodison have been numbered ever since he rejected the club's offer of a lucrative new contract extension last month.

Ball in waiting game over Rangers
Aug 2 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL BALL is prepared to sweat it out as his proposed £7m switch to Rangers stalled yesterday over a pay-off from Everton. Ball's representatives have asked Everton for £750,000 - as the player has two years of his remaining contract to run and has not asked for a transfer.
But Everton officials are adamant he is not entitled to anything above the signing on fee negotiated in that deal. The last player 'paid off' to leave Goodison was Duncan Ferguson in 1998, but that was under a different regime and in completely different circumstances. Ball, however, has always been reluctant to leave Goodison - and despite enthusiastic advice from teammates Paul Gascogne and Duncan Ferguson about what awaits him at Ibrox, he is ready to test Everton's resolve.
The Blues need cash desperately to reduce a crippling overdraft and fund further squad strengthening. Boss Walter Smith would like to add former Rangers defender Daniel Prodan to his squad but will first await the outcome of exhaustive medical tests before he even begins to negotiate personal terms. As long as Ball refuses to move, further Everton incomings look unlikely.
A reported Tottenham bid for goalkeeper Thomas Myhre has been dismissed. The Norwegian goalkeeper was, in fact, at Bellefield this morning preparing for a friendly match against Wrexham.
French club Monaco have also expressed interest in taking midfielder Alex Nyarko, but have not made contact with the Blues since earlier this week.

Goodison generation game continues
Aug 3 2001 By ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
DESPITE delivering a potential windfall of £18m into Goodison Park's coffers this summer Everton's Youth Academy has found itself under something of a cloud. The sale of Francis Jeffers to Arsenal, the impending departure of Michael Ball and the loss of youngster Sean Doherty to Fulham before he had even made his name at Everton means the Blues will be denied the football fruits of their Academy's labour. It is a sad truth for their fellow Evertonians that even boyhood, homegrown Blues are not guaranteed to stay and help turn the club's fortunes around, even though the cash cushion their sales have placed under Everton's overdraft may prove just as important in the long run. But raising assets bankable or playable is what Academies are all about. So with £10m for Jeffers, £7m for Ball plus sizable fees for Doherty and also Grimsby-bound Phil Jevons, Everton's can be said to be in full working order. Now it is up to the next generation to keep the production line going. Last season saw the latest batch of young talent slowly emerge onto the first-team scene through the horrendous casualty list that struck Walter Smith's squad. Kevin McLeod, Tony Hibbert and Peter Clarke all made their Premiership bows, while others like Leon Osman were selected for substitute's duty. Now the latest Academy graduates aim to maintain that momentum when the new campaign begins, and they are under no illusions over how tough it will be. As midfielder McLeod said: "At the start of last season I set out to work hard, train well and take it from there. Halfway through the season I realised that I was getting the chances so then I just wanted to see how many appearances I could make and how often I could get on the substitutes bench.
"I think it was six in the end and I was astonished when I sat down at the end of the season and realised how often I was involved and how often I'd travelled with the first-team squad. Now I've just got to go for it this year. "When I played against Arsenal and Ipswich I realised I could play in the Premiership and so now I'm working hard and going for it next season. "Obviously I will play for the reserves again next year but that's a stepping stone to getting more games under my belt and pushing myself for a regular first team place." Hibbert's Everton debut came in the crucial 2-0 win at West Ham, where he was thrown straight in by Smith and responded with a superb display that involved winning the penalty that sent the Blues on their way. But he admits: "To be honest I'm just thinking about reserve team football again at the moment, keeping my head down and doing well for them and working from there. "I didn't think I'd be involved at all last season and was just concentrating on the reserves, so to get the call-up against West Ham was a big boost for me. Now in training I'm working to experience that again. "Being involved in the first team does give you confidence, and it was great to be named in the training squad for Italy. All the lads support you and there's a great atmosphere about the squad which helps you blend in, and I would like more of that next season." At 19, defender Clarke is the youngest of the trio who were all taken by Smith to the Italian training camp this summer. Last season's England under-18s captain has already enjoyed a taste of first-team football, ironically in another vital away win for Everton last season at Coventry, but knows it is a case of waiting for an opportunity to shine again. Clarke said: "I'm not one for setting targets about where I want to be next season but I was pleased to be in there and getting my chance at the end of last season. "There is a danger you can set your targets too high at times and then get disappointed if you don't reach them, so I would prefer to keep playing, working hard and hopefully get my chances more often." He added: "I was made up last season to take the step up into Premiership football. I remember warming up at Coventry and when I saw Alec Cleland had a problem I thought I had a chance of getting on. "The only difference for me at first was the crowd, there were a few more people watching than there usually are at a reserve game, but once I settled into it I didn't notice the crowd although our fans gave me a great reception when I was playing in front of them and another when I put in a good tackle. "The injury situation helped give me my chance last season but I hope I did well enough for the gaffer to put me in again. He has signed a few defenders this summer but hopefully I'll get my chance." McLeod's emergence has not gone unnoticed outside Goodison Park and it is an indication of his promise that the Blues have rejected three approaches for his services from West Bromwich Albion this summer. It was his cross that led to Kevin Campbell's goal in the 3-1 win at Preston last Saturday and now McLeod, 21 next month, is determined to become the next Academy success story. "This is such an important season for me," he explains: "I think last year I did really well getting on the bench but this is the season where I've got to get into the team and start. "From there I think I can keep my place, because I feel confident that I can do that, so it is an important year for me. But now it s up to me to work hard. "Kevin Campbell has been giving me some advice and hopefully I can offer something because there is no-one who naturally plays in my position for Everton or even England. Idan Tal can play there but he's not an out-and-out left winger. "It was a positive sign for me when Everton told West Brom they wanted to keep me. Hopefully now I can show this year that I'm worth a new contract and deserve to stay here throughout my career."

Ball on the move
Aug 3 2001 by ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
EVERTON hope to land a cash windfall with the double departure of Michael Ball and Thomas Myhre from Goodison Park. Ball is expected to tie up his £7m transfer to Glasgow Rangers within days after backing down in the pay-off row that delayed his switch to Ibrox. And following him out of Goodison could be Myhre after Everton last night accepted an offer from Tottenham Hotspur for their Norwegian international goalkeeper. The Blues have agreed a £750,000 deal with Spurs for their former number one, who last season lost his place to Paul Gerrard and spent the final few months of the campaign on loan at FC Copenhagen. But whether Myhre is willing to move to White Hart Lane remains to be seen, as he will still effectively be a second-choice keeper behind Neil Sullivan and thus see his international chances damaged further prior to next summer's World Cup.
Ball, meanwhile, is due to finalise a move north of the border over the weekend once his financial settlement from Everton is confirmed, but it is now believed the player will accept the £100,000 he is owed from the Blues under the terms of his current contract. The Everton defender said last night: "The money thing was never going to be the big issue people were making out. It has been blown out of all proportion. I'm very angry that so much has been said about the money because it was not going to be a problem. It really is not that big an issue. "The people at Rangers were not too bothered about me missing the deadline for the Fenerbahce game. It was not a big deal to them. I hope they qualify so that there are plenty more European games to come this season."
Ball added: "I have to think of everything because this may be the biggest decision of my career. I've got to cover every angle but I know it will be a good move if it comes off." The England international will hold talks with Rangers chairman David Murray today and is a guest of the club for their Scottish Premier League game at home to Livingston tomorrow. And Murray is optimistic a deal will be concluded that will finally release funds for former Rangers boss Walter Smith to spend at Everton.
The Ibrox chief said: "Obviously we have agreed a fee with Everton. We have had an initial meeting with the players representatives and we are hopeful, but until matters with Everton are resolved it is out of our hands. "I don't like to talk about deals that have not been concluded, so obviously I cannot say too much just yet." Ball will not be eligible to play for Rangers in their Champions League third round qualifier against Fenerbahce next week after missing last night's transfer deadline and manager Dick Advocaat added: "The deal may take longer because he has to agree with Rangers Football Club." Ball also has to undergo a medical before completing his transfer and he has missed much of Everton's pre-season training with a knee injury. The sale of Ball will enable Smith to move in the transfer market, but the Blues are still awaiting the results of Daniel Prodan's medical before deciding whether to make him their third summer signing. Romanian captain Prodan was sidelined for two seasons, ironically at Rangers, with a serious knee injury and underwent a thorough examination on Merseyside this week. Blues boss Smith said: "His representatives have been here and had initial talks about a deal, but we will have to wait to see the full extent of the medical before we can go any further." Everton have been handed a £50,000 suspended fine for their disciplinary record last season. The Blues racked up 89 yellow cards and five reds during the last campaign and were the only team to twice have six players booked in a game, a breach that resulted in fines totalling £75,000. Manager Walter Smith was last week called to a FA disciplinary hearing and this latest punishment will be invoked if there is not a 'noticeable improvement' in the team's record this season.

Ball exit is no real Goodison disaster
Aug 3 2001
IT will not be a disaster for Everton if they lose Michael Ball.
It will be a disappointment that another talented young player has turned his back on Goodison Park so soon after the Francis Jeffers defection. But it will not be a disaster. The fans must not to allow themselves to be caught up in all the hype that has surrounded this affair. Evertonians have got to focus on two things. The first is how and why Michael finds himself on the brink of a £7m transfer to Glasgow Rangers. The second is the possibility of the manager strengthening in other areas as a result of this deal and the positive effect this might have on the team. It should not be overlooked that Michael's advisers demanded new contract talks with Everton, even though the standing agreement still had two years to run. When a player signs a new contract, presumably he is happy with the agreed timescale and the terms. Yet an increasing number these days are looking for more cash long before it is technically right and proper to renegotiate. Michael's representatives started the ball rolling on this and it looks as if it is going to keep rolling all the way to Ibrox. I've been disappointed that the whole thing has been hyped up so much, especially the emotional side about the Blues losing another talented young player with Everton labelled a selling club. You have to be more rational about it. Naturally, you have feelings of disappointment when you lose a bright talent. But in this instance, Michael will not come back to haunt Everton at least not in the short term.
If the money is made available to Walter and he uses it in a positive way then there should be no problem or outcry. As I said, the Ball situation has been whipped up all summer because there has been very little else to talk about. I never thought Michael would end up in a Middlesbrough shirt, but as soon as Everton refused to meet his demands, I felt there was a fee at which he could be prised from Goodison. The Francis Jeffers end game hardly came as a shock. Arsenal were linked with the unsettled striker almost from day one. We went through the motions of giving lip service to the Newcastle bid. The player still ended up at Highbury as most people knew he would.
Ironically, this appears to have been the catalyst that had Ball's agents knocking on Everton's door.There was certainly no need for the talks to become headline news with "informed" leaks about supposed interest from the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool. If there was a serious focus from either of those clubs, things would have been sorted out very quickly. We have to assume that the interest was not of a sufficiently high priority for them to conclude a deal or that the asking price did not match their valuation. Of course, Everton could have turned down the call for new contract talks. I think the Jeffers business possibly brought them to the table sooner than they would have liked. The heat was turned up when it was suggested that Michael wanted some kind of answer before his summer holidays. But what was the rush? There was no need to back anyone in a corner? There was no need for deadlines. It could and should have been done much more quietly. But that is presuming that both the player and the club had a will to sort things out. It would appear that Walter has looked at what is needed this season and feels that his priority is not in central defence or at left-back or at least that he can cope in those areas without Ball. Providing he can strengthen, it's a more than reasonable thought. Jim Smith will show Ravanelli who is boss
I'VE been watching the Fabrizio Ravanelli devlopments at Derby County with special interest, not least because I actually tried to sign the player for Everton. Jim Smith has had a long, hard chase to get the Italian who comes to the negotiating table with an array of advisers and some interesting demands. But the Derby boss is a determined customer. In some respects Ravanelli, with his sunglasses and his image, seems an unlikely catch for a club like County. But Jim has grasped the opportunity to sign a very good player and I can assure you that the manager will be the only one calling the shots. My talks with Ravanelli didn't last long. You just get a feeling sometimes that it is just not right. Jim's feeling is that it is right for Derby at this moment in time. He won't put up with any daily moans or groans from the player. It's been interesting to read quotes from the Italian in which he claims he doesn't want to be viewed as an Italian on some kind of football holiday. Clearly, Jim's methods are already getting through. But it's a fact of life that some players just can't help themselves. They are constantly knocking on your door. I never minded that. What annoyed me was when they started talking downstairs and affecting other players. Some are just natural moaners. Everton fans will remember Terry Curran as a skilful winger. I have other memories of him. One morning there was a knock on my office door. Obviously I didn't know who it was, but I just shouted: "Come in Terry!" The door opened and my prediction was spot on. Curran was standing there, looking a little bit surprised. It was just that he came to training with a catalogue of problems. That was Terry. I don't think Ravanelli will knock on Smith's door too often though. He'll soon get the message who is boss.

Young stars will leave: Ray Stubbs
Aug 3 2001 Interview by David Randles, icLiverpool
FOLLOWING the summer transfer activity at Goodison Park, BBC sports presenter, Ray Stubbs sees the departure of some of Everton's brightest young prospects as sad but inevitable.
With Francis Jeffers completing his £8m move to Arsenal in June, Everton have accepted a £7m bid from Glasgow Rangers for the services of Michael Ball. Although Ball still has two years left on his existing contract it is thought he will be sold to finance incoming signings after the player's advisors failed to agree terms with the club over an improved deal. Coupled with the sale of fellow Evertonian, Francis Jeffers, the departure of Ball would be a bitter pill to swallow for Everton's fans but TV pundit, Stubbs takes a pragmatic view of the situation: "Every player is different and it is a very personal thing when a player decides on his future. He added: "All players will weigh up whether they are better off moving on or staying put at relative stages of their careers."
The prospect of Ball teaming up with new signing and another boyhood Blue, Alan Stubbs across Everton's back-line is a mouth-watering prospect but one which may fail to be recognised as the former Celtic and Bolton player's namesake points out: "In an ideal world Michael Ball would be playing alongside Alan Stubbs helping to set up chances for Francis Jeffers. "Everyone at Everton is aware of the footballing facts of life however, and the first step to preventing their young players from moving on is to finish in the top half of the table to lay the foundations and convince everyone that even better days are ahead," he said. However, as the only time the Blues have finished in the top half of the Premiership was under Joe Royle in 1995-6, when a Joe Parkinson goal against Aston Villa on the last day of the season was not enough to secure a UEFA Cup spot, those days could be some time away. Also following Jeffers out of the exit door is promising U-17 England international, Sean Doherty who has joined Fulham for an undisclosed fee sparking fears of an exodus of the club's young talent. But Stubbs, a former Tranmere Rovers player who hails from Wallasey, sees the Jeffers affair as an example of ambition over loyalty: "When a club like Arsenal offers you the chance to play in the champions League and have a shot at the league title, as well as trying to catch the eye of the England manager in a very competitive field, who would deny him his opportunity?"
Indeed, it is common belief that a player harbouring international ambitions has a better chance of making the step up if they are playing for a top six side in the Premiership. But despite a lack of finances, Blues boss Walter Smith has acted shrewdly in the transfer market by working within his means. Joining Bosman signing, Alan Stubbs at Goodison is £4.5m striker, Tomasz Radzinski from Belgian champions Anderlecht while Romanian international defender, Daniel Prodan also seems poised to arrive on a free. "It seems that Walter Smith has been doing the job with one arm tied behind his back having broken a few mirrors and walked under several ladders," said Stubbs.
"He's had no luck at all as far as injuries are concerned. Walter knows his squad isn't the strongest and the financial clout isn't there so he's not going to attract the players on his wish list.
He added: "Basically it's a Catch 22 situation but Everton fans will look at Ipswich and demand and believe that a better showing will follow. All Evertonians will be hoping a very long corner is being turned. However, with the quality of promoted sides Blackburn and Fulham expected to maintain their Premiership status this term, the doom merchants are tipping Everton for the drop come May but Stubbs has a more optimistic outlook: "If you look at the quality of the Premiership now it is very difficult to gauge how the table will develop outside the top five or six clubs that have considerable financial clout. People may be trying to predict the outcome already but thankfully pundits get it wrong sometimes as Ipswich proved last season." If as expected, Michael Ball decides to head north of the border within the next few days, a £7m return for a player who cost Everton nothing will make sound business, if not footballing, sense. Add to this the £8m received for Jeffers and Walter Smith will have gone a long way toward appeasing the clubs overdraft which, as Stubbs points out, must come down before the Blues can move up.

Watson approach persuades Parky
Aug 3 2001 By SCOTT McLEOD, Liverpool Echo
DAVE WATSON'S impact on the Tranmere Rovers dressing room convinced Andy Parkinson to sign a new contract at the club. The 21-year-old former Liverpool forward handed in a written transfer request in May following the club s relegation to the second division. That request was turned down and he has now put pen to paper on a contract keeping him at Prenton Park until the summer of 2003. Parkinson explains: "I am delighted to sign a new contract. After saying in the summer that I wanted to leave I have now pledged the next few years to Tranmere. I have spoken to the manager and the Chairman and I have been very impressed with what they have had to say. "The new manager has impressed me a lot with his ideas, his attitude and his optimism going into the new season. "Even when I handed in my transfer request I made it clear I still loved the club and appreciated my great relationship with the fans. My only concern was dropping down into the second division. "But the new manager and his ideas have convinced me we can go straight back up." Parkinson's decision is great news for Watson, who has already persuaded defender Graham Allen to turn his back on a lucrative Bosman free-transfer this summer in favour of a new deal.
And Parkinson's decision to put pen to paper could convince Clint Hill to do likewise.
The 22-year-old defender is out of contract next summer and his representatives have been in talks with club officials since the end of last season. The club is likely to set a deadline for any deal as they do not want to see the player leaving on a free transfer next summer. Parkinson is set to celebrate his new two year deal with a place in the starting line-up against Everton at Prenton Park tomorrow.
Australian trialist Tommy Pondeljak has failed to earn a permanent deal at Tranmere and is no longer training with the club. Meanwhile, a Tranmere XI defeated Hyde United 3-1 last night with the goals coming from Jason Koumas, Alex Hay and trialist Greg Lincoln.

Simonsen aiming to be next Southall
Aug 3 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
THE majestic Neville Southall made more League appearances for Everton than anybody else in history. Steve Simonsen is still waiting to start his first. But the wannabe Blues' goalkeeper hopes that comparisons with the Goodison God are still viable in a few years' time. The former England Under-21 goalkeeper hasn't had a look in at Everton since crossing the river from Tranmere three years ago. But he is still just 22. Southall had turned 23 when he made his first team debut at Everton and was 24 when he joined Port Vale on-loan following a harrowing derby match defeat at Goodison Park. He came back from Vale Park a changed man, and dominated the goalkeeping jersey at Goodison for the next 16 seasons! "I have heard people say Big Nev didn't even start playing here until he was 23 or 24," said Simonsen "and didn't enjoy the best of seasons before that. So that gives heart to me as to what could happen. "I did work with him briefly at Tranmere for a few months and I learned a lot from him in a short space of time. But I just take it one step at a time."
Simonsen took a significant step forward at Burnley on Tuesday night, when he made a rare first team appearance and made a substantial contribution towards the Toffees' 1-0 win.
Walter Smith was fulsome in his praise afterwards, as was the large travelling support who appreciated two point-blank stops and a range of confident cross-taking and handling.
"The crowd really haven't seen anything of me, even though I've been here nearly three years now," said Simonsen. "It felt like that was almost my first game on Tuesday and it was quite nice to get a favourable crowd reaction. "For the gaffer to say I still figure in his plans was a definite boost.
"Just to get a game was nice, but to keep a clean sheet and put in a decent performance as well was heartening. "Reserve games only come along every couple of weeks and with respect, the standard is not as high as the Premiership. "I played the whole season for the reserves last season and that only amounted to about 20 games. I just feel like I need games. "I've only made reserve appearances and the odd substitute appearance for the first team in the past three years.
"It just needs a run of games to bring the best out of me." Simonsen isn't likely to get that run in the Blues' pre-season schedule. His old club Tranmere Rovers face Everton tomorrow, but the former Prenton goalkeeper expects to be on the substitutes' bench. "I played on Tuesday so it's not my turn on Saturday," he explained. But he is desperately hoping he gets the nod some time during the coming campaign. "I've read all the speculation about me going to Wigan or somewhere else, and at the end of the day all I want to do is play football. I don't want to leave Everton, but we'll just have to see what happens."

Loyal Blues fans praised
Aug 3 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Chief Executive Michael Dunford paid tribute to the club's "incredibly loyal" supporters today - as season ticket sales for 2001-02 crashed through the 20,000 barrier. Season tickets at Goodison peaked last season at 21,800, but with a fortnight still remaining before the start of the new campaign, hopes are high that The Toffees can pass that mark. "After what they have had to endure in recent times, their support is nothing short of incredible," said Mr Dunford.
"Hopefully some of the innovations we have introduced in the summer - like 99 juvenile season tickets - have contributed, but mostly it just demonstrates how loyal our hardcore following is.
"It has been a difficult summer for everybody, but 20,000 people still feel they must pledge their allegiance to the club, which is hugely appreciated. "The numbers we have taken to Preston and Burnley for pre-season friendly matches already demonstrates the quantity and quality of our following. Everyone here is very thankful for that."

Sven will sway Ball deal
Aug 3 2001 By CLAIRE GRAY, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL Ball will seek the the advice of Sven Goran Eriksson before committing himself to a £6.5m move to Glasgow Rangers. The defender looks certain to move north of the border after accepting a pay-off of £100,000 owed to him by Everton under the terms of his current contract, and is due to meet with Rangers Chairman David Murray this weekend to discuss a five year deal.
But Ball, who claims the deal is 90 to 95 percent certain of going through, is eager to sound out the England boss over the proposed move before pledging his future to the club. The 21 year-old is worried that playing in Scottish football will hinder his international prospects.
He said: "First of all I need to get things tied up at Everton and after that I want to speak to Eriksson.
"I'd just like to pick his brain and see how he feels about the transfer. Sometimes these things make a difference to the final decision and sometimes they don't." Ball has already spoken to former Gers' Paul Gascoigne and Alex Cleland about the move and have been impressed by what they have said.
Thomas Myhre could also be on his way out of Goodison, handing Everton a much-needed cash windfall, after the Blues accepted Tottenham's bid for the player's services last night. The £750,000 deal would depend upon the Norwegian's willingmess to move to White Hart Lane.
After losing his place to Paul Gerrard last season, Myhre spent the final few months of the season on loan to Danish champions FC Copenhagen. Meanwhile, Everton have been handed a £50,000 suspended fine following last week's FA disciplinary hearing. The Blues collected over £75,000 in fines last season and were the only team to twice have six players cautioned in a game. The punishment will be invoked if this season's record shows 'no noticeable improvement.'

Soccer highlights at 7pm 'for new fans'
Aug 3 2001 by MARK BRADLEY, Daily Post
PREMIER League chief executive Richard Scudamore hailed ITV's decision to return top-flight football highlights to prime-time Saturday evening viewing as the best possible boost for the Premiership.
Scudamore believes a regular 7pm slot will attract a new audience of children and women when the show, called 'The Premiership', takes over from the BBC's Match of the Day this season.
Presenter Des Lynam, who campaigned without success for the BBC to show their former highlights show earlier than its normal 10.30pm schedule, will host the new programme alongside Terry Venables and Ally McCoist. With U2 having recorded a re-mix of Beautiful Day as the theme tune, The Premiership will unashamedly try to attract a family audience in a slot normally reserved for light entertainment shows such as Blind Date. There will also be an extended, updated highlights show at about 11pm for travelling fans and late-night viewers, as well as a new Monday night programme and further highlights shows possible on other days as fixtures allow. Scudamore is delighted at the developments, which follow ITV's capture of Premiership highlights last year from the BBC in a three-year deal worth £183million. He had required the new Saturday programme, on whatever channel, to start at a regular time between 7pm and 10.30pm. "People normally give their right arm to get on prime-time television. Here we are being paid to be there which is fantastic," said Scudamore. "We want to reach the biggest audience possible and when you look at the audience profile, it peaks at about this time and it is a different audience, it has more women and more children. "It therefore hits at the heart of the nation even more." The first programme will feature games involving Liverpool and West Ham, Middlesbrough and Arsenal on August 18.
The Monday show, 'Premiership Parliament', is presented by Gabby Yorath with managers, players, journalists and fans. - one from each top-flight club - giving their views on the game, as well as showing weekend highlights. There may also be Sunday and Wednesday highlights shows as the continuation of Sky Sports' live coverage, the advent of pay-per-view and the impact of the UEFA Cup will mean less 3pm kick-offs on Saturdays this season. Lynam, who left the BBC two years ago to the day, said: "I am delighted that Premiership football has been given a prime-time slot on Saturday nights. "That was what I campaigned for without success at the BBC. Showing The Premiership at 7pm allows people to get together and watch it as a family. "Our later programme is another opportunity to catch all the action so viewers needn't miss a thing. This really is the best of both worlds and great news for football fans." Brian Barwick, ITV's controller of sport, added: "Having The Premiership in the Saturday peak-time schedule is a pioneering and ambitious move for televised football. "Our main programme is in position A and no longer a late-night preserve. The Premiership is aimed at the widest possible audience. We want our football to be a family affair."

New Ball game
Aug 3 2001 by LISA GRAY, Daily Post
FORMER Everton, Rangers and Tranmere Rovers defender Gary Stevens believes Michael Ball is the type of player who can inject some optimism back into Ibrox. Rangers have agreed a fee in the region of £6.5million for the 21-year-old Everton defender, but must wait for the England cap to negotiate a reported pay-off deal with the Premiership club before thrashing out personal terms.
The highly-rated youngsters decision to snub a lucrative new deal to stay at Goodison Park sparked a race for his signature, with a £5million bid from Middlesbrough having already been rejected.
Rangers now look favourites to sign the full-back and Stevens - who joined Rangers in the summer of 1988 - insists Ball has the potential to be a vital player for Dick Advocaat's side. "He is an excellent player, considering his age and there is no doubt that he has a good career ahead of him," said Stevens. "He is likely to be a good player for the future and I'm sure he is one that Walter won't want to lose but, when you consider Walters background, then Rangers is probably the second best place that he would want him to go to. "His enthusiasm and energy are the main things that he would bring to Rangers and his youth means that he will be able to get around the park well.
"He is a good prospect for the future, but he will also give optimism to the side just now as he is already a very good player." If Ball signs for Rangers, he will become Advocaats fourth capture of the new season, in addition to Claudio Caniggia, Christian Nerlinger and Russell Latapy.
But Stevens believes it is still too early to tell if the new acquisitions will be enough to push the squad back into contention for honours after finishing last season empty-handed. He added: "Rangers are the sort of team who never settle for what they've got, winning the league and things like that. "Only time will tell if the players they have just now will do a good job there. "A couple of years ago people were questioning the players that were brought to Celtic and a lot of them have proved to be wise buys a couple of years down the line." Advocaat's men beat Maribor 3-1 at Ibrox last night to comfortably progress to the final qualifying round of the Champions League and now face Turkish outfit Fernebahce for a place in the lucrative group stages. Stevens, though, feels that such a big European showdown coming so early in the Scottish domestic season may hamper Rangers chances. He said: "It's going to be difficult for Rangers to have a game as tough as the one against Fenerbahce when they will only have a couple of league games behind them.
"So it's also going to be a bit of a lottery going into this game."

Coventry slap £4m price tag on Hedman
Aug 6 2001
EVERTON have revived their bid to bring Swedish international goalkeeper Magnus Hedman to Goodison Park. But the Blues could be scared off by a Coventry asking price of almost £4m.
The successful completion of Michael Ball's £7m move to Glasgow Rangers, which went through today, has given Walter Smith the financial muscle to add to his squad. Coventry's highly rated keeper was high on his list of priorities, and the Blues made a firm enquiry last week.
But they have been told they must pay £3m to net Sweden's current number one, with a further £750,000 related to appearances. With Coventry now no longer a Premiership side, Everton could spread the payment over several years. Transfers between Premiership clubs must be paid up in full inside 12 months. But the Blues do not want to splash all of their Michael Ball windfall on one player. They also have three goalkeepers currently still on their books, with Thomas Myhre declining a £750,000 move to Tottenham last week. Walter Smith is anxious to attract a ball-winning midfielder to Goodison before the season kicks off inside a fortnight, but the capture of their only realistic available target, Middlesbroughs Paul Ince, would horrify many of the club s supporters.

Tranmere Rovers 1, Everton 0
Rovers derby delight
by Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Aug 6 2001
TOMASZ RADZINSKI blew the chance to turn himself into an instant Everton favourite.
Maybe it was opening night nerves but new boy Radzinski couldn't quite get his lines right despite a starring role as he fluffed a couple of first-half openings before limping off with a hamstring injury 30 minutes before the end. Blues fans turned up hoping to see Radzinski indicate he could fill the void left by Francis Jeffers' summer switch to Arsenal but were instead looking at their team's first defeat of the pre-season build-up. And it was a hard-working Tranmere, who kick-off their second division assault this week, who harried their way to a morale-boosting victory in the latest competitive round of this traditional cross-Mersey fixture. Everton made ten changes in the second half, leaving youngsters and fringe players with a hard task against what was Tranmere boss Dave Watson's strongest line-up. Radzinski could have ended the day with at least two goals to his name. But, for all the speed, strength and intelligent running off the ball he showed, he couldn't manage to crown his encouraging display by scoring. The tone for the day was set in the sixth minute when he raced on to Kevin Campbell's flick but delayed his shot too long and was denied by a spread-eagled Joe Murphy. It wasn't the last time the outstanding Murphy - sharp and assured in his handling and quick to react to and defuse danger - spoiled the Canadian international's first start for his new club.
Three minutes before the break Radzinski latched on to a trademark, precision long pass upfield by fellow summer capture Alan Stubbs and bamboozled defenders Dave Challinor and Reuben Hazell. He then tried to lob Murphy but his feeble chip was too close to the impregnable keeper.
Everton boss Walter Smith, weighing up Radzinski's contribution, noted: "It's not a worry as long as we continue to make those chances. It would be a concern if we weren't." There is no disputing the logic of that. Much will be expected of Radzinski, who was borne to Goodison as Smith's showpiece close-season signing for a £4.5million price tag after top scoring in the Belgian league for champions Anderlecht last season. With Jeffers having twisted through the revolving doors over the summer the onus is on a high goals return from Radzinski. What a difference a 20-goal-a-season marksman would make. That means Radzinski must stay fit and it is a tonic to hear his hamstring strain which curtailed his afternoon's involvement will not keep him out of the Premiership opener on August 18.
Once again the issue of injuries is crucial to Everton's season. Never mind Zidane, Lady Luck is the new smiling face most needed at Goodison after what Smith described as the worst series of injuries he has ever experienced during last season. If Everton are going to succeed not only in lifting themselves off the relegation fringes but driving themselves into a top-half finish then a full squad at Smith's disposal is a must. The squad is not strong enough in depth to accommodate a host of injuries. Look, for proof of that, at the wholesale changes made at half time - eight in all. On came Idan Tal, Thomas, Myhre, Thomas Gravesen, Alec Cleland, Niclas Alexandersson, Peter Clarke, Kevin McLeod and Danny Cadamarteri as Smith was as good as his word by giving a chance to a massive majority of his squad. Of the players he threw into the fray, by subsequently replacing Radzinski with 18-year-old Nick Chadwick Ð on his first-team bow - and Alessandro Pistone with Tony Hibbert, he paraded a number of 'squad players' rather than the frontline performers needed week-in week-out if the Blues are harbouring serious thoughts of launching a serious bid for a European place.
In between Radzinski's two first-half misses, Tranmere had the ball in the net themselves through Everton old boy Stuart Barlow. Now 33 and in the autumn of his career, the little striker scored the winner in last week's 1-0 friendly win over Manchester City but this time his 'goal' was ruled out. Micky Mellon crossed from the right after Everton struggled to clear his corner and Clint Hill played the ball back across goal. Barlow nipped in at the far post but referee Dean had blown for a push by Hill. Everton dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes but could find no way of making it count. David Unsworth shot wide following a smart one-two with Campbell and Mark Pembridge, playing his first pre season game, had Murphy scrambling with a deflected long-range free-kick six minutes before the break.
Livewire Barlow was again at the hub of a swift Tranmere break three minutes later, sweeping forward before unloading to Andy Parkinson on an overlapping run down the right. His miscued cross was poked back into Barlow's path by Seyni N'Diaye but he couldn't round off the move he started with a goal as Steve Simonsen, relishing a rare opportunity to press his claims in goal, foiled the drive. Sean Flynn, below par along with Parkinson, shot over in the last meaningful action of the half. Everton were still settling into their reshuffled formation when Tranmere exploited their disarray at the back to take a 50th-minute lead. Challinor provided the missile with a typical long throw. Everton managed to half clear the danger and midfielder Nick Henry capitalised by rifling home from just inside the box. The Blues couldn't get into their stride in the second half, although substitute Kevin McLeod provided an eye-catching cameo. The youngster gave them width on the left, was happy running at the opposition and whipped in a few teasing crosses. Everton could still find no way through as the in-form Murphy pulled off saves from Cadamarteri and a brilliant reflex stop to thwart Hibbert's point-blank header. Both sides carved out a few shots on goal but Everton were finally denied a draw by Gareth Roberts' outstretched leg on the line in the last minute. David Weir, the only Blues player to complete the full 90 minutes, saw his downward header hacked to safety by the relieved Welsh international. So what of Tranmere's prospects for the coming season, starting at home to Bury on Saturday? They stood up well to what on paper was their toughest examination of a long pre-season programme and a top six finish and an immediate return to the first division is on the cards. But for both teams the real fare is yet to start.
TRANMERE ROVERS: Murphy, Hazell, Roberts, Henry, Challinor, Hill, Parkinson, Mellon, Flynn (Hume 83), N'Diaye (Rideout 77), Barlow.
EVERTON: (first half): Simonsen, Watson, Pistone, Weir, Unsworth, Gemmill, Ridzinski, Campbell, Moore, Pembridge; (second half): Myhre, Tal, Gravesen, Cleland, Alexandersson, Clarke, McLeod, Cadamarteri, Pistone (Hibbert 77), Weir, Radzinski (Chadwick 63).
ATT: 11,329.

Delight for Watson
by Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Aug 6 2001
MANAGER Dave Watson is seeing evidence Tranmere are developing the defensive mean streak that will have to be an essential component of a promotion push in the forthcoming second division campaign. Watson drew deep satisfaction from a 1-0 victory over his former club Everton at Prenton Park on Saturday to follow a similar result against Manchester City a week earlier.
He said: "To keep clean sheets against Everton and City is very encouraging. I have to emphasise to the players how important it is to shut out the opposition because I always think we are going to score a goal. Defensively we should take as much pleasure from keeping a clean sheet as we do when we score. "I would like to think it will take a good side to beat us at Prenton Park if we are about our game." Watson has made it a priority to plug the leaks that cost Tranmere 70 goals in their relegation from Division One last season. Rovers conceded five goals in eight senior pre-season games this summer but the real test starts in next Saturday's opening Division Two home encounter with Bury. Watson's first competitive line-up may not differ a great deal from the side he selected against Everton although goalkeeper John Achterberg and defender Steve Yates, nursing slight injuries on Saturday, should be fit enough to challenge for a starting place. Watson added: "The pre season programme has gone well. The fitness level of the players is good. Everton made eight changes at half-time but we were able to keep up with their fresh legs in the second half and handled the situation well." The performance of goalkeeper Joe Murphy drew special praise from Watson. He said: "Joe made some magnificent saves and has done well right through the pre-season programme. So too has John Achterberg. "John could have played at a push against Everton but he's only 80 per cent fit after picking up a thigh strain last week. It would have been pointless to risk aggravating that injury." Tranmere hope that the injured list will include only long-term casualties Graham Allen and James Olsen by next weekend. Full back Olsen has returned from Belfast to undergo further tests on the neck injury he sustained in a training accident on Tranmere's recent tour of Northern Ireland. The 20-year-old damaged bones in his neck and was fitted with a special brace to make the flight back to Liverpool at the weekend. Rovers cannot say how long Olsen will be out of action, but physio Les Parry is confident the injury is not career-threatening.

Gascoigne in new battle
Aug 6 2001 by Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
PAUL GASCOIGNE faces a fresh fight to save his career in top flight football.
The controversial Everton star missed out again as the Blues slumped to their first pre-season defeat at Tranmere on Saturday as he continues to struggle with injuries and off-field problems.
Gascoigne was limited to 10 league starts last season by a thigh injury which is still dogging him and has played only 12 minutes of football, against Preston last week, in the build-up to the new campaign. Everton boss Walter Smith gave Gascoigne an ultimatum to seek help for his addictions at the start of the summer and the 34-year-old followed the order by checking into an Arizona clinic for more than a month's treatment. And, while Smith will not force the midfielder out of Goodison before his contract expires in 12 months, Gascoigne's future in Premiership football remains on a knife-edge. As well as his on-field fitness setbacks, he is suffering another bout of severe depression as relations with his wife Sheryl have once more developed into a source of tension. But Smith, who became a father figure to Gascoigne during the player's time at Glasgow Rangers, discounted reports that the club is on the verge of tearing up the player's contract, saying: "As usual the speculation about Paul Gascoigne is over the top. "The player has had a difficult summer and has encountered one or two injury problems on his way back. "We hope that his injuries clear and that he will be able to play for Everton again." Smith rescued Gascoigne's career by signing him from Middlesbrough and giving him one last chance in the Premiership with Everton. The Goodison club insisted on special clauses in the former England international's contract to protect them if he went off the rails and failed to deliver. But the onus will be placed on Gascoigne to shrug off his troubles and regain match fitness, or he could be forced to sit down and call an end to his colourful career. American club Miami Fusion, coached by fellow Geordie and former Newcastle United player Rocky Hudson, are interested in taking Gascoigne on while a number of Australian clubs have also shown an interest. Meanwhile, Smith played down injury fears surrounding new signing Tomasz Radzinski after the striker was substituted in the 1-0 defeat at Prenton Park. He confirmed: "Tomasz only has a slight hamstring strain. It's a wee bit early for him to play against Wigan on Tuesday."
Nick Henry scored Tranmere's winner as Smith used 20 players as he continues to rotate his squad ahead of the Premiership curtain-raiser against Charlton on August 18. Smith added: "It was a good game. Both this and the Burnley game have been good workouts, and we are just about ready for the season." Duncan Ferguson, who missed Saturday's clash, is expected to return for tomorrow's friendly against Wigan after throwing off a groin strain.

Tranmere Rovers 1, Everton 0
Rovers display Waggy spirit (L.Echo)
Aug 6 2001
ARCHIE'S infamous baseball bat wasn't the only motivational tool in evidence at Everton last season.
Dave Watson is a man footballers would equally fear to cross - and he has taken that respect and ability to inspire across the river. Tranmere struggled for long spells of Saturday's pre-season friendly to retain possession from their Premiership visitors. But they won 1-0, thanks to a zeal for honest endavour which bordered on the extreme. Stuart Barlow's fourth minute challenge on David Weir set the tone. Dashing 20-yards to prevent the Blues' defender bringing the ball out of defence, he launched into a flying tackle which suggested he was trying to save a goal rather than halt a harmless pass. Both players were injured in the ensuing collision, but that approach ensured Everton were handed their sharpest pre-season work-out yet. Everton should have won, but their finishing skills have not yet been honed to Day One Premiership standard. Tranmere kick-off their campaign on Saturday, and this second successive Prenton Park triumph over esteemed opposition was the perfect set-me-up. Everton have a handful of fixtures still remaining - and will be hoping for greater sharpness from trips to Wigan and Hereford and a final dress rehearsal against Espanyol.
On Saturday the influence of Andy Holden was clear to see. Last season coach to Everton's Reserve League champions, now elevated to first team duties following Watson's departure, he watched attentively from the sidelines as proteges Kevin McLeod, Nick Chadwick and Tony Hibbert all enjoyed second half run-outs. McLeod offered some much-needed natural width, and the ability to vary his left wing delivery effectively. A cunning, low cross was cut out a split second before Cadamarteri could connect, then a looping ball did find its intended target but Cadamarteri crashed into the side-netting. McLeod instantly hooked another left-footer back into the six yard box from Gravesen’s overhit cross from the opposite flank, and this time Murphy had to make the save of the match to beat away Cadamarteri's touch. Then, completing the full range of his repertoire, McLeod turned back onto his right foot to create an opening before delivering an inch perfect effort onto Hibbert's head. Again Murphy was forced into an outstanding point-blank save. Everton are trying to keep young Chadwick a secret. But the youngster's precocious natural confidence may make that increasingly difficult. After scoring a cartload for Everton's Youth Academy Under-19s last season (21 in 27 starts), he was promoted to the reserves - and added another seven in eight starts.
Raw and with plenty to learn, he is willing and has the physical attributes to handle senior football - as well as that vital self-assurance. One attempted shot from the far touchline sailed harmlessly wide of Tranmere's goal, but the fact it was even attempted suggests Everton have a young striker who will not be fazed by Premiership football. That moment may still be several years down the line. For now, Everton are pinning their hopes on £4.5m summer signing Tomasz Radzinski, whose first start in an Everton shirt was not as disappointing as some Sunday newspapers would have had you believe. Far from fluffing two simple chances, the Polish-Canadian's pace helped create those openings from very little - and while his acceleration may have been Lamborghini, the finishing wasn't exactly Lada-like either. Just five minutes had elapsed when Radzinski sprinted onto Campbell's headed flick-on, turning a yard deficit into a three-yard head-start. He tried to clip the ball over the advancing Joe Murphy, who spread himself well to block. Another opportunity, five minutes before the break, saw him conjure a chance out of Alan Stubbs' sweeping 40-yard pass out of defence. Hemmed in on the left touchline he cleverly evaded Hazell and Hill before, finding his options closed down once more and support non-existent, he attempted a cute chip which Murphy plucked out of the air. Tranmere's first half chances were restricted to Stuart Barlow's disallowed 28th minute strike, after Clint Hill had climbed on Pistone's back to head the ball back to him.
While Everton were settling to eight half-time substitutions, Tranmere struck from a reliable source.
Dave Challinor's long throw-in was not effectively dealt with and Nick Henry juggled himself into a shooting position 20 yards out before dispatching a shot which was deflected past the helpless Myhre. Everton created plenty of other chances of their own, but were kept out by Rovers' defensive zeal. Weir's header flashed narrowly wide, Murphy fell easily onto Cadamarteri's 20-yarder while Gareth Roberts was perfectly stationed to hack Peter Clarke's goalbound header off the line in injury-time. Seyni N'Diaye went closest to increasing Tranmere's lead with a breakaway chip which sailed narrowly over Myhre's crossbar. Afterwards both managers seemed satisfied.
Pre-season friendlies are the only vehicle which allow a defeated manager to express this attitude.
But Walter Smith will want to witness greater sharpness from his side in the 13 days which remain.
TRANMERE ROVERS (4-4-2): Murphy; Hazell, Challinor, Hill, Roberts; Parkinson, Mellon, Henry, Flynn (Hume 82 mins); N’Diaye (Rideout 76), Barlow.
EVERTON (3-5-2): Simonsen (Myhre 45); Weir, Stubbs (Clarke 45), Pistone (Hibbert 76); Watson (Cleland 45) Gemmill (McLeod 45), Pembridge (Gravesen 45), Moore (Alexandersson 45), Unsworth (Tal 45); Campbell (Cadamarteri 45), Radzinski (Chadwick 61).
Referee: Mike Dean.
Attendance: 11,239.
GOAL: Henry (50 minutes) 1-0.

Prodan deal collapses
Aug 7 2001 by ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
DANIEL PRODAN'S proposed transfer to Everton has collapsed after the Romanian captain failed to agree personal terms with the Blues. The defender was due to complete a free transfer from Rocur Bucharest after spending a week on trial with Walter Smith's squad in Italy recently. Prodan arrived on Merseyside with his agents last week to tie up the deal and underwent a thorough medical after missing two seasons at Glasgow Rangers with serious knee problems. But neither side could come to an agreement over the player's contract and Everton have now decided to shelve the deal. Manager Walter Smith is anxious to bolster his squad before the start of the new season in less than a fortnight's time, but is still waiting on Michael Ball's £7million move to Rangers before he can swoop again. Ball has not yet put pen to paper on his proposed transfer to the Scottish giants as expected yesterday, but the player's representative Trevor Steven insists the deal will be concluded within "the next 48 hours". Former Goodison and Ibrox favourite Steven maintains there is no threat to the transfer it is merely a case of Rangers waiting for the outcome of Ball's medical before finally committing to the deal. "There is a hold-up but it is more to do with the player having a medical before the whole thing is concluded," said Steven. "But the move is not in jeopardy it is just a case of due diligence. "He is undergoing medical tests which will be concluded tomorrow and we will get to a resolution after that. The deal is delayed to within 48 hours it is just the club showing due diligence, that s all. But we are still confident that the deal will go through." Smith's bid for Coventry goalkeeper Magnus Hedman, meanwhile, is in doubt after the Sky Blues demanded a fee rising to £3.75m for their Swedish international.

Wilkinson backing Ball
Aug 7 2001 by IAN RODGERS, Daily Post
FORMER England under-21 manager Howard Wilkinson believes that defender Michael Ball will thrive without the spectre of relegation at Rangers. The 21-year-old is poised to join the Light Blues in a £7million deal once he has passed his Ibrox medical. However, during Ball's time at Goodison Park, Everton have rarely been out of relegation danger. Now Wilkinson, who has watched the youngster progress since he turned professional, reckons that the intensity of life near the top of the table will allow Ball to improve his game. "I think that the context and the nature of the games is going to be slightly different to most of the games he has played up to now at professional level," said Wilkinson. "It is up to him to exploit the extra freedom that he might get and turn it to his advantage. "Michael is physically very gifted - a good athlete with a good left foot. "He is also good in the air and has been an outstanding prospect since he was a schoolboy. "He has played Premiership football regularly now for three years which is lot of football for one so young and a lot of it has been playing under pressure. "Never once, during that time, have Everton really been comfortable in the Premier League. They have always been struggling to put results together.
"I think Michael will probably benefit from playing in games which they are expected to win and will win as opposed to games where they have been struggling to get results all the time because of his age. "I would think, after the last three years, he would be quite happy to be looking at games where the expectation is to win rather than the question can we get a result?" But Wilkinson also believes that the lure of Champions League football, providing Rangers can dispose of Fenerbahce, will enhance the potential of the England international. He added: " "Everton will be disappointed for him to move but, as it has turned out, from his personal point of view - in the short term - he will benefit from the change." Wilkinson has rated Ball highly since the defender came to his attention but his debut under the former Leeds United boss had another moment to remember - for very different reasons. "My first contact with him was with the under-18s when he played against Yugoslavia at Rotherham. The under-18s drew 1-1 and Michael Owen got sent off," said Wilkinson.
"I had been aware of him as a youngster but I first saw him when he was 17 and I brought him into the under-18s. But he has played for all of the teams."

Rooney rescues Blues
Aug 7 2001 by CHRIS WRIGHT, Daily Post
A LATE Wayne Rooney goal saw Everton under-18s claim a fortunate 2-1 victory over Tranmere Rovers youth side in a pre-season friendly on Saturday. The England U17 striker had scored the Blues first but Tranmere were the better side overall and deserved some reward for their efforts.
Everton coach Colin Harvey was unhappy with his side's performance, even though it is only their second pre-season fixture. He said: "It was a poor performance and we were fortunate to win.
"Tranmere were the better side throughout and should have won by a couple of goals to be honest. And had they done we would have had no complaints whatsoever. "We scored in the last minute and it was a very unjust result. They deserved to win." Although pre-season is all about gaining fitness and the real action in the FA Premier Academy League will not start until August 25, when the U19s travel to Chelsea and Alan Harper's U17s go to Birmingham, Harvey wants more from his side.
He added: "You have look at the performance as well as the fitness thing, which I am doing. It was a poor football performance. But it is pre-season and there's a long way to go. It's part of the build-up but it was very disappointing in most aspects throughout the game." Harvey will hope for an improvement this Saturday when his team travel to Manchester City for another friendly fixture (kick-off 11am).

Tears as Ball leaves
Aug 7 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL BALL bade a tearful farewell to Everton today - as he waited for Glasgow Rangers to tie up his £7m move from Merseyside. The young defender agreed personal terms at Ibrox over the weekend and is awaiting the results of a medical - expected inside 24 hours. But he returned to Bellefield yesterday to say goodbye to his Everton team-mates - and admits he had to choke back the tears. "I went to the training ground to say my goodbyes but I had to leave because I was getting too emotional," he explained. "It was a sad moment for me as I'd been at the club since I was 14 and never expected to leave. "The tears were on their way and I didn't want my friends to see me like that so I cut my goodbyes short and got in my car." Ball turned down an Everton contract offer claimed to be worth £21,000 a week. He explained: "I have always said I would stay as long as Everton wanted me, but when they accepted the bid from Rangers so quickly I realised I was no longer wanted. "I was hurt that they wanted to let me go and surprised I didn't get a call from Walter Smith or Bill Kenwright about it. "I was being linked with a lot of clubs but I wanted to see the squad numbers for this season to see what plans they had for me. "When I was handed the number 12 shirt again that gave me an idea, but I don't blame the club for selling me.
"They've got a decent fee and can now buy players they need to reinforce other areas"
The Blues will not be using that money to sign Daniel Prodan. They have shelved their interest in the Romanian defender, but insist that the breakdown was not a financial issue. "There were one or two clauses he wanted in his contract that we couldn't agree to," said manager Walter Smith. "It was nothing to do with money." Prodan, currently at Rocur Bucharest, is now expected to join Hadjuk Split. Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, is available again for tonight's friendly match at Wigan Athletic (7.45pm) after being rested for Saturday s match at Tranmere. Tomasz Radzinski will rest a hamstring strain but is expected to be fit for the weekend. Paul Gerrard has also shaken off a back injury and is expected to start in Everton's first ever visit to the JJB Stadium.

Weir winging in on new system
Aug 7 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR'S remarkable appearance record doesn't just extend to Premiership football.
Everton's dependable defender also has an ever-present record in pre-season friendlies to date.
And his participation in all three of Everton's fixtures so far means he has been able to examine Walter Smith's wing-back formation more closely than most. It's a system he finds to his liking.
"It's been a change for some of the lads," he explained, "but I've played in a system like that before for Hearts and it's the most natural formation for Alan Stubbs to play in. "Alessandro Pistone also has the attributes to shine in that position, David Unsworth feels it's his best position, so hopefully it's a system that will work well for us. "It gives us more opportunity to try to play football from the back, but it's been a bit unrealistic so far. "We won't get as much time on the ball as we have in pre-season once the real thing starts, but there's definitely more opportunity to try to be constructive, which I think everyone appreciates." The defensive formation has not been the only change at Goodison this summer. Kevin Campbell has led the Blues out in all three pre-season games to date - and looks set to inherit the captain's job permanently from the departed Richard Gough.
Weir captained the Blues for four months last term until a calf injury sidelined him for two games, and he also ended the campaign in possession of the captain's armband. But while he has been proud to skipper the side, he would also accept a switch . . . albeit reluctantly. "It looks like Kevin's going to get the job, but that's nothing to do with me," he smiled. "If that's the manager's decision so be it."

Keep tax off testimonials
Aug 7 2001
FOR every Ryan Giggs Testimonial, there are scores of lower league versions.
While the Manchester United star banked another million pounds last week on the back of his benefit match against Celtic, a handful of equally deserving footballers collected a fraction of that.
Curtis Fleming's testimonial match attracted 9,000 fans. Mickey Heathcote's at Plymouth brought six to seven thousand, while Brian Flynn and Kevin Reeves had a joint-benefit which was watched by 7,000 spectators. Which is why it would be very wrong for the government to slap a 40 per cent tax hike on testimonials, as suggested recently. If the government sees testimonials like the ones enjoyed by Sir Alex Ferguson and Ryan Giggs as potential money-making avenues, they could be sorely disappointed. At the very top level, footballers spending 10 years at a single club is rare.
If a footballer does show such loyalty to a club he deserves reward. It would be an understatement to say that Giggs has been very well rewarded during his time at United. But equally, he could have earned much more by moving clubs once or twice throughout his career. But it's not really the top level stars who benefit so much from testimonials. For lower league players the promise of a testimonial is an absolutely vital nest-egg to set themselves up for a whole new career change at the relatively young age of 34 or 35. Just look at Everton next week. The Toffees entertain Espanyol in Alex Young's Testimonial match, with the Everton Former Players' Foundation receiving half the proceeds. The Foundation is a registered charity which does invaluable work for players who never received anything like the rewards on offer in today's game. Alex Young, meanwhile, was one of the most idolised footballers of his or any other generation but Evertonians were never given the opportunity to say a proper farewell to him. He will benefit emotionally and financially next week and it is wrong for the government to even think about taking a chunk of those proceeds.
Walter passes on loose Ball
MICHAEL BALL'S move to Glasgow Rangers was the best possible outcome for all parties concerned.
Everton received a considerable sum of money for a player who clearly was not central to Walter Smith's team plans for the coming season. Rangers have got a highly promising young defender with a big future ahead of him. And Ball was spared the possible dilemma of having to consider a move to Liverpool! There sems little doubt that The Reds were interested in taking Ball to Anfield.
But after the furore which surrounded Nick Barmby's switch across the park last summer a player who admitted he had been a childhood Liverpudlian just think of the reaction to a boyhood Blue making the same move! Gazza gamble will pay off for Blues
EVEN if Paul Gascoigne has kicked his last ball for Everton and that is still far from certain the decision to bring him to Goodison was a gamble worth taking. I am sure Gazza was brought in on a low salary, high appearance money package, so he has hardly been a financial burden on the club.
And even in his dozen appearances at the start of last season he showed enough to suggest he was worth that investment. He was brought in originally by Walter Smith as a supersub, a keen footballing brain capable of coming on and influencing the latter stages of a match when other players' concentration was lapsing. He can still perform that role. I am told that part of Paul Gascoigne's problem at present is his insatiable enthusiasm for football. He is so desperate to become involved he finds it difficult to take it easy when he is told to. That is the kind of infectious attitude which rubs off on other players and is probably worth his wages alone.

Wigan hit for six by Blues
Aug 8 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
RAZOR-SHARP Kevin Campbell hit a hat-trick after second division Wigan had the cheek to snatch an early lead in last night's clash at the JJB Stadium. Campbell, last season's top scorer at Goodison Park, looked suspiciously offside for his first on 45 minutes after racing on to Scot Gemmill's through-ball to fire in under Derek Stillie as the Wigan keeper raced off his line. Number two after 51 minutes was an absolute gift following a disastrous mistake at the back. Kevin Sharp attempted to head back to his keeper and Campbell nipped smartly in to walk the ball into the empty net. Ex-Celtic defender Alan Stubbs headed in Everton's third after 77 minutes before Campbell completed his hat-trick, following up after Stillie had failed to hang on to his initial shot. Duncan Ferguson and Niclas Alexandersson then added to WiganÕs agony with the visitors' final three goals coming in the space of five minutes. The Premiership side had struggled in the first half after job-hunting Hungarian midfielder Gabor Bukran - offered a trial by Paul Jewell after his released by Walsall - shot Wigan in front after nine minutes. Wigan had other chances to add to that goal early on but Andy Liddell failed to cash in on a sloppy back pass by Mark Pembridge and fired into the side-netting.
The Wigan striker also just missed with a curling shot which Paul Gerrard failed to reach.
Meanwhile, Thomas Myhre has revealed that his insistence of guaranteed first-team football was the reason for him turning down a move to Tottenham Hotspur. The Blues keeper rejected a chance to double his money with a move to White Hart Lane. But Myhre said: "I had a long and positive talk with Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle, who told me I would compete with Neil Sullivan on their terms, but I can't take the chance and become their second-choice keeper. "My decision is based entirely on football. I need to go to a club where I am assured of first-team football."

Strikers can only get better
Aug 8 2001 by Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH watched Everton put six goals past Wigan last night - and then insisted his strikers can only get better. A Kevin Campbell hat-trick and singles from Alan Stubbs, Duncan Ferguson and Niclas Alexandersson wrapped up a 6-1 win in the friendly. But Smith said: "I think they (the strikers) still have a bit more to come. A couple of the goals were soft ones. "It is hard for a striker to get sharpness during pre-season and they will improve." Gabor Bukran fired Wigan into an eighth-minute lead but Everton hit back to grab victory by a comfortable margin. Smith added: "Wigan are a decent side and they gave us a good game. "We had a couple of good finishes from Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson and Niclas Alexandersson in the end but they made us work hard."

Managers can forget cold truth
Aug 8 2001 by Len Capeling, Daily Post
SUDDENLY, the new Premier League season looms up like an iceberg. And, like an iceberg, it will eventually send its share of Titanics to destruction. No-one wants to know that now, of course, least of all the managers. Not on a sun-kissed day when all your players look like supermen and the thought of failure is as far away as a bleak, rude awakening in chilly December. No, for the moment, even the most doleful Premiership boss can afford to delude himself that his miserable mix of misfits, mediocrities and makeweights will be the surprise packets of a league where the bookies cannot see beyond the obvious charms of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Leeds, and, if you're completely cockeyed, Chelsea. Daydreaming costs nothing at this time of year, even if the only resemblance between your star import and David Beckham is that they both wear a football boot on each foot. From this distance, even Derby County can look a million dollars; Southampton can be made to appear half-decent; West Ham can seem to be London's best bet for honours after the Gunners. Sheltered from the cold winds of winter, Jim Smith and Glenn Roeder gazed at blue skies and see nothing resembling a squall line. They don't suddenly look up and see the summer sky clouded by referees pointing to the spot or the dressing room. They don't see their lumbering centre-half, who had looked so good in August, suddenly folding up like an abandoned deckchair at the first sign of a forward with half a yard of pace. They don't see all those perfectly legitimate goals ruled out for no good reason. They don't see their already slender thread of survival being severed by a linesman, whose flag-waving would get him shot in the Royal Corps of Signals.
Most of all, they don't see the breaks that all seem to go against them and not against the nation's elite teams. Having fantasised about how different it's all going to be, something nasty hits the fan and the have-nots find something they didn't want. None of this ever changes; it is a given that managers - or at least those managers who live on the brink - try to pretend that this time things will turn out for the best. They rarely do, despite the dreams of August, when even the most un-gifted player gives the impression of a modicum of ability. There is confidence because that most fragile of team strengths is yet to be tested. Among the better teams confidence comes with high skill levels and is built into the brickwork. It's the kind of confidence which ensures that United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds remain in the leading positions and, perhaps, that another Ipswich will emerge from the chasing pack. Among the less talented the confidence of a balmy pre-season will soon disintegrate as the serious business begins. For that reason they will enjoy their days in the sun - before they start putting their minds to thinking up unconvincing responses to uncomfortable questions about the R-word. JUST six days to go before Everton's premier warm-up game.
I refer, of course, to the Alex Young testimonial taking place at Goodison Park on Monday next when Everton face Spanish side Espanyol (KO 7.30pm). Much has been written and said about the devaluing of benefit matches, particularly when their attached to multi-millionaire soccer stars.
Monday's match is different on two key counts. Firstly, Alex Young entranced Evertonians in the days when the best-paid Goodison players were lucky to see £40-a-week. Secondly, unlike some recent rip-off games, the Goodison thank you to Alex is priced at a reasonable £10 for adults and £5 for youngsters. Supporting it is not compulsory, but any Everton follower who has seen or heard of the Golden Vision, a true artist who painted in royal blue, will make sure he is at Goodison on Monday evening to pay tribute to a living legend. Corporate and VIP seat enquiries to Steven Milne on 0151 525 0836.
DID this really happen?
A burly Blue recently sailed into the Everton Megastore in search of a replica shirt. Apparently, there were a couple of problems. One, they'd run out of XL tops, and, two, they'd juzt uzed up their lazt S.
If he'd wanted the name Campbell or Weir, no problem, but his request for Radzinski was going to be an important letter short. Exit stout party minus his intended purchase.
Coming in a week when Manchester United announced that David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Juan Sebastian Veron had moved 100,000 shirts between them it makes you wonder what the Goodison marketing team is up to. Hopefully, S's arrived before Walter Zmith and Niklaz Alexanderzzon came ztorming in. On a similar subject, Sunderland's latest acquisition will need to be some player if he is to prevent home and opposition crowds playing fast and loose with his name. Step forward the Stadium of Light's new signing from Zurich Grasshoppers, Bernt Haas. Titter ye not. THE cardinal rules for golf caddies are turn up, keep up and shut up. Miles Byrne will be regretting that he failed to heed the first of these commandments as he contemplates life on the dole. Byrne made his first boob by allowing Ian Woosnam 15 clubs at Lytham. That blunder cost the Welsh ace £360,000 and automatic selection for the Ryder Cup on Sunday, Miles was snoozing again failing to hear two alarm clocks and leaving Woosie to break into a clubhouse locker and lug his own golf clubs. After his Open error, Byrne found himself referred to as The Count. After events in Sweden, Miles Behind might be more appropriate.
QUOTE of the Week? It has to be Sir Bobby Charlton wryly reflecting on his infamous "wrap-over" hairstyle, which I once suggested involved the Manchester United player combing strands from his armpits over his naked pate. Bald and proud of it, Bobby now says, "Looking back, I think it was very silly." Others, please note.

Campbell backs the Bruise Brothers
Aug 8 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN CAMPBELL has vowed that his 'Bruise Brothers' partnership with Duncan Ferguson can fire Everton to a much improved campaign. The strike duo shared four of the Blues' six goals at Wigan last night, with skipper Campbell grabbing a hat-trick. And he said: "We could be a very dangerous partnership if we are used properly. "To get a hat-trick was great for myself, but it was good to see Duncan score as well because he has been playing well in pre-season. "I find it great playing alongside Fergie. It's certainly easier for me to play off a big man. "I don't get buffeted around as much and I can make the kind of runs Franny Jeffers was doing. "We are gelling quite well now. Duncan is a colossus up there, which is great for me because it takes defenders away from me."
Manager Walter Smith, however, still wants more from the front two. "Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell still have a bit to do," he said. "A couple of goals last night were fortunate from our point of view, but the striking positions are the hardest to get back into in pre-season. "It's the hardest position to get your sharpness back and ours still have a bit to do." Tomasz Radzinski sat out last night's match with a hamstring strain but should be fit for the final pre-season friendly against Espanyol next Monday. Campbell added: "There are going to be times when we will need to change it around. "There will be times when I won't be playing, Dunc won't be playing and| Tomasz| may| have to miss out. But it's all about a squad mentality and as long as we perform to the best of our ability we shouldn't have any problems this season." The Blues must wait a further 24 hours before Michael Ball's £6.5m switch to Glasgow Rangers is confirmed. Rangers want to speak to the specialist who has treated Ball's recent knee injury before completing a medical.

Miami lure for Gascoigne
Aug 8 2001 Liverpool Echo
MIAMI FUSION boss Ray Hudson is offering Paul Gascoigne the chance to extend his career - even though Everton insist he is still fit enough to play in the Premiership. Geordie Hudson said: "I have put calls in to Walter Smith, but haven't heard anything back. "It is something that I want to put to Everton and Paul himself. "It would be the perfect move for him. If he wants to enjoy his football and his lifetsyle, there is nowhere better. I know because I'm a Newcastle lad and made a similar move towards the end of my career." Walter Smith is unlikely to encourage any official approach.

Campbell stakes claim with Ferguson
Aug 9 2001 by JONATHAN McEVOY, Daily Post
KEVIN CAMPBELL has dropped a broad hint that he wants to start the new season in tandem with Duncan Ferguson. Campbell fired a hat-trick in Everton's 6-1 win over Wigan on Tuesday night, as new signing Tomasz Radzinski missed the friendly through injury. Radzinski was signed over the summer in a £4.5million switch from Anderlecht but Campbell hopes boss Walter Smith will stick with his striking double act with Ferguson when the Premiership kicks off on August 18.
Campbell, 31, said: "We could be a very dangerous partnership if we are used properly. To get a hat-trick was great for myself, but it was good to see Duncan score as well because he has been playing well in pre-season." Ferguson found the target as the Blues came from behind, with Alan Stubbs and Niclas Alexandersson also scoring. "I find it great playing alongside Fergie," added Campbell. "It's certainly easier for me to play off a big man. I don't get buffered around so much and I can make the kind of runs Franny Jeffers was making. "We are gelling quite well now. Duncan is a colossus up there, which is great for me because it can take defenders away from me." Radzinski is pencilled in for a return in Everton's final pre-season warm-up fixture, the Alex Young testimonial against Spanish side Espanyol at Goodison on Monday. And Campbell added: "There are going to be times when we will need to change it around. "There will be times when I won't be playing, Dunc won't be playing and Tomasz may have to miss out. But it's all about a squad mentality and as long as we perform to our best we shouldn't have any problems." Meanwhile, Michael Ball was expected at Ibrox last night to watch Rangers take on Fenerbahce of Turkey in a Champions League qualifier prior to signing for the Scottish club. The Everton defender will leave Goodison Park in a 7m deal once all the loose ends have been tied up.

Ball £7m transfer stunner!
Aug 9 2001 by SCOTT McLEOD, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S transfer plans were thrown into turmoil today when Michael Ball's £7m move to Rangers was put on hold. The Scottish giants are unwilling to complete the deal until they are satisfied that Ball has overcome a knee injury which he sustained towards the end of last season.
The decision by Rangers Chairman David Murray to delay the completion of the move for "seven to 10 days" has scuppered Walter Smith's hopes of bringing in more new faces before the start of the Premiership season. The Rangers Chairman said: "Perhaps we have endeavoured to push this transfer fore a variety of reasons. "But taking all the relevant details into consideration, including several past situations, I must be 100 per cent satisfied of the player's ability to sign and make an impact in playing which I believe will be the case. "I appreciate Bill Kenwright and Everton's co-operation in this matter." Ball's agent Trevor Steven said: "Obviously Michael is not thrilled but all parties are in agreement that this is the best way to proceed." Ball will remain in Glasgow while medical examinations continue. Smith was hoping to use money generated from the Ball transfer to add Coventry goalkeeper Magnus Hedman to his squad. The Blues boss was also eager to add a midfielder to his ranks, but both options must now be shelved until the Ball saga unfolds with a positive outcome. The Blues had hoped that the Ball deal would finance a move for Hedman.
The Swedish international Hedman is boss Walter Smith's top target. Hedman is valued at £3.75m by Coventry boss Gordon Strachan. The Sky Blues want a £3m payment followed by £750,000 related to appearances. The fee could prove a sticking point, with the Blues refusing to pay over the odds. However, a statement issued by Coventry suggests they have already started their search for a replacement for Hedman as they prepare to bid farewell to the international goalkeeper.
A spokesman for the Midlands club admitted: "Nothing can happen (over a replacement) until the situation with Magnus Hedman has been resolved." Hedman is eager to return to the Premiership after a frustrating 12 months at Highfield Road, where he has dropped behind promising youngster Chris Kirkland in the battle for the goalkeeping jersey. The Sky Blues may also be eager to complete the move at a reduced price after West Brom forced them to agree a deal that sees the £5m fee for striker Lee Hughes being handed over in double-quick time. Hedman is not Everton's only transfer target, however. Walter Smith wants to add a tough-tackling midfielder to his squad but Paul Ince seems the only realistic target. The Middlesbrough man is eager to move to a club closer to his Wirral home. Boro boss Steve McClaren is unhappy with Ince's commuting to the North East for training every day. But the Riverside club are believed to value the 33-year-old midfielder at £1m.
Everton did express an interest in Ince during negotiations over Ball's possible switch to Middlesbrough but the asking price coupled with the player's high wages make any deal unlikely.
Paul Gascoigne has been pencilled in for a return to action on Saturday in a friendly fixture at Hereford. Smith revealed: "Paul should play some part against Hereford on Saturday.
"We will wait and see. He came back late to pre-season training but everyone seems to have forgotten that. People will have to be patient. "At times I have to remember he is behind the other lads, who have been back from day one."

Golden Vision had Kenwright hooked
Aug 9 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has already pledged £5,000 to the Alex Young Testimonial pot - after pledging his heart to the Golden Vision 40 years ago. Dave Hickson is widely recognised as the Everton owner's all-time Goodison idol. But Young also made a dramatic impact on the Blues' deputy chairman.
He set the ball rolling for Monday's testimonial match by buying £5,000 worth of tickets for the match - then immediately offered to give them away to senior fans who shared the same passion for the Golden Vision. With tickets for the Everton v Espanyol match priced £10 adults/£5 OAPs and juveniles, that could mean 1,000 free tickets for the clash. Kenwright said: "What does Alex Young mean to me? "If I said I never missed an Everton match that he played in, or that he was one of only two players I ever made the effort to go and watch AFTER they had left Goodison, it might give you some small inkling. "When you think about Everton legends - in particular our magnificent number nines - there is never any doubt who is the greatest. "Dixie Dean is unquestionably Everton's most celebrated footballer. "But just behind him in the pecking order would be Alex Young - and strangely he was a completely different number nine altogether. "He was a centre forward of matchless grace and subtlety, with a sense of balance that was almost balletic in its execution. "At his peak, which was for much of the Sixties, he was adored by Evertonians. "It wasn't an instant love affair.
"An injury he had when he signed meant that he didn't play for several weeks - and it was months before he scored his first goal. "But when he did start to play, it was the catalyst for pure unadulterated passion from the terraces. "You can never say never in football.
"But when I think we can say with as much certainty as possible that no-one will ever match Dixie's 60 league goals in a season, then equally we can say we will never see the likes of Alex Young again.
"The great sadness for me is that so many supporters inside Goodison Park for Monday night's match will not have seen first hand evidence of his majesty." Bill's giving 1,000 free tickets to OAPs
BILL Kenwright has bought 5,000 worth of tickets for Everton v Espanyol, which will be given away to senior fans who witnessed the Golden Vision at his majestic peak, many of whom might not have been able to afford a passport to watch the modern Everton. The first 1,000 senior citizens who turn up in person at the Goodison Road Box Office, with proof of age (bus pass, pension book or even birth certificate!) will receive a free ticket for the match. Tickets are only for the Family Enclosure and Upper Gwladys Street End. Tickets will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Kenwright said: "Most clubs had a golden boy. We had a Golden Vision and it will be nice for some of our senior fans to return to Goodison to salute him."
A TESTIMONIAL match usually has one, deserving, beneficiary. Next Monday's match between Everton and Espanyol at Goodison Park could have hundreds. That is the aim of the Everton Former Players' Foundation, who will share the proceeds from the night with Alex Young.
Thousands of the fans who attend Monday's game will never have seen Young glide a ball across the Goodison turf (apparently Alex Young never 'kicked' a ball in the accepted sense!)
But they will all know his name, in much the same way that every Evertonian is aware of Dixie Dean's deeds. When Dean eventually had a testimonial match - 25 years after he last kicked a ball for the Blues - 36,870 turned up to watch an exhibition between Everton and Liverpool's combined squad of 1964, divided into Englishmen and Scots. The Everton Former Players' Foundation hopes Young can inspire similar devotion on Monday. We begin our three-part build-up to the showpiece occasion tonight.

Young: ' 66 heroes were up for a laugh
Aug 9 2001 by Dave Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE PHRASE 'got out of jail' perfectly summed up Everton's dramatic 1966 FA Cup success.
Trailing 2-0 to Sheffield Wednesday with half an hour to go, the Blues battled back to triumph 3-2.
But as Alex Young later revealed, those words also aptly assessed the off-field behaviour of that talented squad. Now based in his native Edinburgh, Young recalled: "There were some great characters in that team, like Roy Vernon, Tony Kay and Jimmy Gabriel - and there was a great team spirit. We used to get up to some antics, but nothing compared the Cup winning side of 1966.
"That Cup side had the best spirit I've ever known and also the greatest comedian of them all - Brian Harris. "I'm sure Candid Camera got most of their stunts from him because they were just the sort of things he'd do. "I can remember him standing outside Lime Street Station putting on a foreign accent and asking passers-by how to get to the station. "We'd stand watching and used to howl when people couldn't tell him. "But the biggest joke of all was when four or five players would get in a car with Gordon West in the back. They'd pretend to be a squad car full of detectives trying to take a dangerous criminal, Westy, to Walton Jail. "They'd stop and Brian would get out and ask a passer-by the way. Next thing they'd stage a mock escape for Westy, a supposed dangerous criminal, and wait for the stranger's reaction. "Sometimes there was a tremendous scramble as the passers-by had a go trying to apprehend the runaway." Modern have-a-go heroes would probably think twice before tackling Gordon West today - a giant man with a personality to match. But that exuberant character hides the pain of a wrecked knee joint sustained flinging himself around the Goodison goalmouth. West has already undergone one knee operation at the Everton Former Players' Foundation expense, and is due to have his entire knee joint replaced later this year.
Next Monday's match will hopefully allow other Everton legends to benefit in similar fashion.
Everton v Espanyol, next Monday (8pm). Adults £10, OAPs and juveniles £5.

Race against time for Ball
Aug 10 2001 Daily Post
MICHAEL BALL has ten days to seal his £7million move to Glasgow Rangers after the Scottish giants put his transfer on hold yesterday. The Ibrox club refused to rubber-stamp the deal that would finally allow Everton boss Walter Smith to delve into the transfer market again due to fears over the knee injury that has curtailed the England defenders pre-season training with the Blues. Rangers have suffered in the past from big-money signings quickly turning sour with such problems, such as Chilean striker Sebastian Rozenthal and recent Everton target Daniel Prodan, but last night all parties remained optimistic Ball's transfer will eventually take place. The 21-year-old stayed in Scotland despite the hitch and will spend the next week in training with Rangers in a bid to convince them of his fitness. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We understand that any football club would wish to have total assurance in the fitness of players, particularly in this big-money day and age. "We will give Rangers every assistance, the sort we would expect if we were faced with a similar set of circumstances." Balls agent, former Everton and Rangers midfielder Trevor Steven added: "Obviously Michael is not delighted but all parties agree this is the best way to proceed."
Both Middlesbrough and Liverpool were linked with a move for Ball before the Ibrox club agreed a fee with the Blues, and Steve McClaren may move again for the international if the switch to Scotland breaks down permanently. Ball faces the prospect of a season in Everton's reserves if a deal cannot be reached, but Rangers chairman David Murray is also confident the transfer will go through. Murray commented: "I must be 100 per cent satisfied with the players ability to sign and make an impact in playing for Rangers, which I believe will be the case."

Expectations fall to Radzinski
Aug 10 2001 by MARK O'BRIEN
In the words of Carly Simon, it's coming around again.
Only one week to 'the big kick off' as it has become known among the people who offer us glossy supplements with all the season's fixtures in, and the question for Evertonians is are we any better to deal with the rigours of the Premiership than we were last season? The comings and goings in the summer have been less numerous than this time last year but no less significant. Through the out door has gone Francis Jeffers and, although there does seem to be some delay, Michael Ball seems set to follow close behind. Rumours of their departure have surrounded them ever since they broke into the first team, what with them being our most valuable assets and us being so desperate for cash, and now finally it has happened. We'll never know the full truth about why they left. Where they desperate to get away and earn more money and win more medals elsewhere? Or was the club simply eager to dispose of them and pull in some funds to appease the bank? Throw rumours of bust-ups and grudges into the pot and it all becomes pretty murky. The top and bottom of the matter is that two excellent young players have gone; how much they will be missed in the short term depends solely on the form of the two men brought in as their direct replacements. Alan Stubbs, linked to us more times than Dean Saunders and Nathan Blake put together, has finally found his way 'home' and has looked promising in pre-season. While not the quickest we look like we'll struggle for pace at the back again this year he is certainly more physically imposing than Ball, and his long range passing looks Platini-esque at times. Coming as he did on a Bosman we can't really go far wrong with him. The man who comes with the great weight of expectation on his shoulders is Tomasz Radzinski. The Canadian striker must replace Francis Jeffers, one of the most naturally gifted players ever to come through the ranks at Everton, and the player who many of us hoped to see future success built around. Due to Radzinski's protracted transfer negotiations and a couple of injuries let's hope he's just getting them out of the way now we've only had a couple of brief glimpses of him in the summer's friendly ties. In half an hour at Burnley he showed a neat touch and good movement, but most significantly he seems to have genuine, frightening pace, something that Everton have lacked since Andrei Kanchelskis left and Danny Cadamarteri decided he wanted to switch codes to rugby union. If he can stay fit and we utilise his pace correctly, not have him simply chasing flick-ons and aimless long balls, then he could make a big difference to our form, especially away from home. Walter Smith is apparently desperate for an imposing midfielder, and when you look at the various combinations deployed in the summer's games you can see why.
Of all the permutations of Gravesen, Gemmill, Alexandersson and Pembridge forget about Gascoigne none of them looks particularly inspiring. It remains to be seen though whether Smith will make a move for the terminally unpopular Paul Ince, with his irritating strut and massive wages, or look elsewhere. We were linked with Tim Sherwood for a little while, an experienced player who could probably do a good job for us. There also remains the goalkeeping 'question', with Magnus Hedman apparently poised to join whenever we can raise the funds by offloading any one of the three keepers we already have. With these extra changes still in the pipeline it is difficult to tell whether we will fare any better than we did during last season's often painful campaign. However, with only Alex Young's testimonial on Monday night remaining before all the nerve shredding starts again in earnest. These summers are far too short.

Harvey looks for upturn in Blues form
Aug 10 2001 by CHRIS WRIGHT, Daily Post
COLIN HARVEY will be hoping his Everton youth side can put their disappointing performance against Tranmere last Saturday behind them when they travel to Manchester City tomorrow for their third pre-season fixture (kick-off 11am). Despite Wayne Rooney's two goals giving the Blues victory Harvey was unhappy with the overall performance and knows his side can do better.
He said: "There's got to be an improvement there because it couldn't be any worse to be honest. And it will be a good test because Manchester City always have a good side. "We'll have to improve a great deal, not necessarily to win the game, because that is not what I'm looking at. I'm looking at the level of performance to be much better than last week against Tranmere." The Blues youngsters have been working hard to rectify the problems from the Tranmere game and will want to show what they can do as they build towards the start of a new season in two weeks' time. And Harvey added: "We are working on a lot of things, obviously after last Saturday because there are a lot of things to be worked on. "We will keep doing that and work hard all week and hopefully we'll see a bit of improvement on Saturday." Wayne Rooney and Michael Symes will be looking to increase their goal tally. Rooney has hit three goals in two pre-season matches while Symes has scored seven times in three matches. Everton have been holding the first ever Academy Football Festival this week at the Netherton Training Complex. Since Wednesday, 12 clubs from all over the country have at age groups ranging from under-9s to under-15s have been playing against each other.
The festival continues until Monday and more than 30 matches are being played in the eight-a-side competition, with five teams playing in each age group hoping to reach Monday's final.
The clubs competing are Arsenal, Blackpool, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City, Derby County, Everton, Fulham, Leeds United, Leicester City, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest and Swindon.
Arsenal (U11), Charlton (U13), Fulham (U14), Leeds (U15), Leicester (U12) and Forest (U15) have sent just one team, with only Everton and Blackpool represented at every age group.

Campbell to lead Blues
Aug 10 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
Blues boss Walter Smith announced today that the clubs leading scorer for the last three seasons will succeed Richard Gough. David Weir will be vice-captain. "Kevin is very popular amongst the other players and has the respect of everybody here," said Smith. "He has a positive effect on those around him and I am sure will do a good job." Campbell led the Blues out for the first time last season, and spoke afterwards of his pride at becoming the first black skipper of Everton.
Now he has inherited the job permanently. Home bird Paul Ince, meanwhile, is under pressure to buy a house on Teesside, after Middlesbrough manager Steve McClaren insisted all his backroom staff relocate to the North-East. This includes coach Steve Harrison who has just bought a home in The Midlands. Ince commutes every day from his home on the Wirral, but McClaren's stance is unlikely to prompt a bid from the Blues. The freeze on Michael Balls move to Glasgow Rangers means Everton cannot afford to bring in another new face. The delay in the £6.5m switch has been caused by a holiday taken by the knee specialist who treated Balls injury last season.
Rangers, hit recently by injuries to signings like Daniel Prodan and Seb Rozenthal, want to speak to the doctor before completing the transfer. But the surgeon is on holiday in America for a further 10 days and cannot be contacted. Everton cannot commit any further cash to transfers until the Ball deal is completed.
A Blues XI will travel to Hereford tomorrow, meanwhile, before completing their pre-season schedule against Espanyol at Goodison Park on Monday night. Everton have received a further allocation of tickets from Charlton Atheltic for the opening day of the season, after the original allocation sold out inside 48 hours. The Valley is undergoing structural work and initially a small allocation was made available to the Blues. This has now been increased and tickets are available at £25 adults, £20 OAPs and £15 juniors. Some restricted view seats are also available at £23.
Tickets are on sale now from the Goodison Road Box Office on production of voucher number 28, together with 12 away match ticket stubs from season 2000-01. The Park End Box Office will re-open on Monday.

Nyarko set for loan deal
Aug 13 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON'S hopes of offloading Alex Nyarko from the Goodison payroll have been boosted by Monaco's interest in taking the AWOL midfielder back to France for a full season. The Blues have resigned themselves to loaning out the £4.5m flop rather than recouping part of his transfer fee with a permanent deal and Monaco this week hope to reach an agreement with Nyarko after reviving their interest in the Ghanaian international last week. But rather than just take the former Lens man on loan until December as they wanted in their first approach to Everton last month, Monaco now want him all season which will improve Nyarko's chances of finding a new club. The 27-year-old has not returned to Merseyside since the end of last season when he vowed never to play for the club again after his run-in with an Evertonian at Highbury. He has since been fined around £60,000 for failing to report for training. Manager Walter Smith, meanwhile, will have three players away on international duty this week, just days before the first Premiership game of the season at Charlton Athletic. Niclas Alexandersson, Idan Tal and Thomas Gravesen are all in action. Smith's preparations for the new campaign will get their final tuning tonight when the Blues take on Spanish club Espanyol at Goodison Park in a testimonial for legendary striker Alex Young (KO 7.30pm). New £4.5m striker Tomasz Radzinski will not play due to a hamstring strain which may also keep him out at The Valley, while Paul Gascoigne could take some part in the match.

Poise, skill and true modesty
Aug 13 2001 by Jon McEvoy, Daily Post
ALEX YOUNG, the Golden Vision, Alexander the Greatest, to a generation the finest player ever to pull on the royal blue jersey of Everton. Graceful, his every touch angelic, Young kindled a love affair with the Goodison Park crowd as he scored 87 goals and laid on many more in 271 appearances during the gilt-edged 1960s. Tonight, Everton honour their living legend when Spanish side Espanyol play the Blues in the Alex Young Testimonial. And ahead of the Goodison match, speaks to Young about his memories of the past and his expectations for the modern day Everton. BELIEVE it or not, Alex Young still has dreams about the mistakes he made during his Everton career. By now a number of you who witnessed his balletic poise and football artistry during the eight years he spent as Merseyside's soccer icon are no doubt scratching your heads. A bad game? Who are you kidding?
But Young, 64, and living just outside Edinburgh, is modesty itself. The Golden Vision - as the fair-haired centre-forward was called during his Goodison heyday - wears his fame and celebrity lightly.
He's as graceful in his comments on the Everton side of today as he was as a player, despite his successors' current inability to get within kicking distance of the famous Goodison teams he played in. He won the championship in 1963 and the Cup in 1966 but he nevertheless remains optimistic about the players Walter Smith has at his disposal and about the future of the cash-strapped club in the post-John Moores era. "Playing for Everton on Merseyside was the highlight of my life," he smiled, willingly setting aside his time to speak with me as he took a break at his upholstery business on the edge of the Scottish capital. "I enjoyed my time at Hearts before I was transferred - but this was entering a bigger pond. "You remember the things that went well but you also remember the things that weren't that good. I didn't play well every game. I had some rotten games. "In your dreams you think: 'If only I had done this or done that." But you can't change what's been."
Who would want to? Between 1960-8 the Scottish centre-forward, with his deft touch, his gravity-defying ability to hang in the air, gliding along the Goodison turf, feinting and swerving, was the man who could do no wrong in the eyes of his adoring fans. Young still visits Merseyside three or four times a year and catches up with old pals from his playing days while he keeps a watching brief on the current team from his armchair. "I see as much of Everton on TV as possible," he added. "The last few seasons have been a struggle to avoid relegation. It's been nerve-jangling.
"There were so many injuries last season and no team can do well when you have players out for half the season. But they came away and avoided relegation. "What they need now is a two or three years to settle down and cement a place in the middle of the table - and then go for a big push. They should be up there, near the top. "There have been financial problems but they are trying to correct them now. "It needs the fans to hang on in there. Everton have tremendous potential support and the club is selling one or two players to make some money - so the problems will be sorted out and that's when they can go for the top. "They're moving to a new home and that's good. I'm partial to Goodison, it has a great atmosphere, but the new ground can be used for other events and that means an opportunity to make money." Young does not subscribe to any notion that the Blues are destined for another year of fighting to keep out of the relegation quagmire, despite seeing the club's financial squeeze curtail their spending in the transfer market. Only defender Alan Stubbs and striker Tomasz Radzinski, a £4.5m signing from Anderlecht, have come through the in-door over the close-season. But the Golden Vision is upbeat, saying: "To me, they'll have a better team this season than last. Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell are good strikers and now they have Radzinski as well. Campbell has just about everything. "Alan Stubbs did well with Celtic and could be just the man they are looking for. "I thought Niclas Alexandersson was excellent at Sheffield Wednesday but he's not shown that fully yet. He's one who could come good." "I know Walter Smith a bit. He's a nice man and has a terrific track record. He was a good manager at Rangers and he's been in England three years. Whereas he didn't know as much about the Premiership then, he now knows the scene and the players better, and that helps." When Young, for all his status as a folk hero, walked away from Goodison in 1968 he was taking home £55 a week with a £4 win bonus. It was a footballers' lot in those distant days and, although he estimates it amounted to double a normal man's working wage, it is still a far cry from the big bucks earned by the players of today. He regrets leaving England to set up business in his native Scotland but there is no trace of bitterness about still having to earn his crust while the PremiershipÕs stars earn huge riches that guarantee them a five-star existence for life. "We work hard and do okay," he said. "You have to put your nose to the grindstone and you make a living." And the furore over Manchester United's Ryan Giggs being honoured with a testimonial, despite having a bank balance counted in noughts, is side-stepped with the adroit skill Young once deployed to give the opposition full-back the slip. "I don't want to say anything controversial, you understand. It's not my style," he answered diplomatically.
The Ryan Giggs testimonial is a matter between him and United. He's a terrific player, though.
"The Premiership is a fantastic league. I watch it on TV and for the players it is good because of the money. "New managers and new ideas from abroad have improved it but it is important that young players in Scotland and England still get a chance. "There are some great players - the Manchester United midfield, for example, Beckham and Giggs. There are some great defenders but when I think of great players I always think in terms of strikers and midfielders. "For a time there was an emphasis on defending, on stifling creativity but that's changed now. Teams are pushing forward more, not sticking five or six at the back. You must attack, it's more exciting. Fans want to see goals and so do the players. "I think the situation in the game is better now. Footballers were under the thumb in the past. Not paid properly. It's the opposite way now. I'm quite happy with that and I like to see what is going on." After a brief spell as player-manager at Irish side Glentoran and a 23-game swansong at Stockport County, Young hung up his boots - but the memories remain sharp.
He finished: "When I played at Goodison, not every time but in the majority of games, I did well. The crowd sparked me off. That's how I felt - and I'm sure Duncan Ferguson feels the same today. The way they spark you off makes you want to play well to please them. "As the years go and you think about what it was like and you ask: 'Did I really do that?' You see yourself buzzing about and when you get older you wonder if it was a dream." If he concentrates hard enough, he might just be able to pick out somewhere in the stands, thousands of his fans, craning their necks to catch a glimpse of their hero in action. And many more not lucky enough, or young enough, to see him at the time.
Proceeds from tonight's Alex Young Testimonial game at Goodison (KO 7.30pm) will be shared between Young and the Everton Former Players' Foundation. Adults £10, OAPS and children £5.

Time is now insists new skipper
Aug 13 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AFTER 423 appearances and 13 full seasons in top flight football, not to mention a character-hardening stint in Turkey, Kevin Campbell is a little long in the tooth to be embracing new ideas.
But Everton's new club captain admits he must change this season. While he hopes that change will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, he believes that the transformation can benefit both club and individual. "I am fiercely proud to have finished top scorer at Everton in each of the last three seasons, but now I am captain my priorities must change a little," he explained, as he prepared for tonight's match with Espanyol. "It has to be the team above everything. "I've always said in the past that I wouldn't mind missing out on the top scorer kudos if the team does well, but sometimes you would say that tongue in cheek because you want both. "But now, if I don't get the goals but I help the team to the next level, Kevin Campbell will be happy because that is the captain's job.
"The captain has to think of everybody as opposed to himself. "So if I can get my goals - and I'll definitely be looking for them - that will be great, but to be able to get the team to the next level is more important than Kevin Campbell." Captaining an Everton side is not a whole new experience for Campbell. He led the side out at Coventry last January - and celebrated with a goal and a significant 3-1 away win. But Richard Gough's temporary return to fitness ensured it was a short-lived experience. Now Campbell will have the honour for an entire season, at least, and he added: "You've heard all the cliches, but it isn't a cliche. It means a hell of a lot to me to be held in that esteem and offered the captaincy. "I thought long and hard about it because I have a lot of respect for Davie Weir and he had been the captain towards the end of last season. "But as long as I could keep Davie close I knew it was something I didn't want to turn down. "Davie will still have a big part to play on the pitch, as will Alan Stubbs, as will Scot Gemmill and all the other older members of the squad. "We need them all to set a good example because we have quite a few younger lads coming through and as long as we can get that part right we will be OK. "But I am looking forward to leading Everton out next season." The significant spin-off of being made club captain, of course, is that Campbell seems to be in pole position when the fight for starting places in the first team begins.
Campbell, Duncan Ferguson and Tomasz Radzinski will all have claims, but unless Walter Smith has a complete overhaul of his tactical thinking, only two will play. "I have proved I can play with Dunc and I know I can play with Tomasz Radzinski because he is a bit like Franny in the way he plays," said Campbell. "Obviously you are made captain because the boss thinks you can bring something to the players around you - and hopefully that means I will be playing most games. "But we have a decent squad and there will be occasions when I won't be playing, times when Duncan will be left out and occasions when Tomasz will be missing. "But there could also be times when all three of us are included together! "Who knows? That would be exciting and I'm sure the three of us would give teams a hell of a lot of problems if we played together. "You don't know what's in the manager's mind at the moment. "We know how we want to play. The| players are all fit and plenty have given up large parts of their summer to get right and come back fit. "With five days to go before the start of the season we have virtually a fully fit squad and hopefully we can surprise a few people."
Campbell also believes Everton could have an ace up their sleeve with the summer signing of Alan Stubbs. A central defender with a penchant for unleashing laser guided passes from the back, Stubbs has the potential to turn defence into attack with one strike - and offer an alternative supply route for the strikers. Campbell is relishing the prospect of racing onto some of those passes.
"Stubbsy has been a great signing and all credit to the manager for going out and getting him," he said. "I think he can add another dimension to our game because his distribution of the ball is so good. "He can spray it with both feet, left to right, and stick it on a sixpence. "It gives us more of a threat, especially if we are camped in our own half and looking for the quick break. "Myself, Duncan and Tomasz Radzinski will be looking for those long, raking balls over the top." A new skipper, new optimism and a new threat from the back. Things aren't all necessarily gloomy down Goodison way.

Radzinski struggling to make big kick-off
Aug 13 2001 icLiverpool
TOMASZ RADZINSKI is losing his battle to be fit for Saturday's Premiership kick-off - after ruling himself out of tonight's Alex Young Testimonial match against Espanyol (7.30pm).
Everton's new £4.5m striker is struggling to overcome a tweaked hamstring and said: "I definitely won't be fit for Monday and I don't want to take any risks because I feel this is not something you can play with. "I have never had a problem with my hamstring, ever, so I can't really imagine how long this is going to take or what I have to do to make it better. "I didn't pull anything, which is a good thing they say. It won't be three or four weeks. Maybe one, possibly two but that's max."
already been stretched. Only Radzinski, Paul Gascoigne (thigh) and Abel Xavier (virus) will miss tonight's match through injury. But with Niclas Alexandersson, Thomas Gravesen and Idan Tal claimed by this week's ill-conceived international matches, the Blues' squad will contain a number of youngsters. "We'll start the game with the basis of the side which will face Charlton on Saturday," said boss Walter Smith "but we'll make changes for the second half and give a few youngsters a run."
Espanyol arrive at Goodison Park seeking a third successive victory of a short English tour.
After wins against Fulham last week and Southampton on Saturday, where the Spaniards were 4-0 up at half-time, they arrive on Merseyside brimming with confidence. Tonight's match is preceded by an old-boys exhibition which kicks off at 6.15pm. Derek Mountfield will lead names like Barry Horne, Alan Irvine, Neil Pointon, Mike Pejic, Jim Pearson, Mickey Thomas and Neville Southall in a light-hearted curtain raiser to the main event. Entrance tonight is £10 adults and £5 juveniles and OAPs. All proceeds will be split between Alex Young and the Everton Former Players' Foundation, a registered charity which alleviates hardship and suffering endured by ex-Blues' stars. The testimonial match will kick-off at 7.30pm, not 8pm as advertised last week.

Moore lifts Blues for Premiership opener
Aug 14 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON were handed a boost in their final warm-up game before the Premiership opening day as they saw off skilful La Liga side Espanyol 1-0 at Goodison Park. A Joe-Max Moore header last night ensured they will go into Saturday's clash at Charlton with some confidence. In truth the game had a decidedly leisurely feel to it - even allowing for a number of off-the-ball confrontations that guaranteed it was a friendly only in name. The second half even saw the referee insist on the substitution of a Duncan Ferguson - and the fact that the Blues' bench complied perhaps indicated the importance they placed on the fixture. Still, boss Walter Smith can take heart from the sure-footed presence of Alan Stubbs at centre-back - making his Goodison debut - and the Kevin Campbell and Ferguson partnership will certainly be one the Scot will hope to have for the bulk of the campaign. Barely 90 seconds into the match - a belated testimonial for Goodison 1960s hero Alex Young - Walter Smith's men should have established an advantage. An innocuous-looking challenge from Alberto Lopo on Campbell was deemed serious enough to warrant a penalty. The visitors seemed stunned by the decision - but they were let off the hook as David Unsworth smacked the right post and the ball ricocheted to safety. Espanyol's best chances came in the first half and sprang from some sleepy defending from the Blues. In the eighth minute Everton should have been punished when Raul Tamudo found himself unmarked after an incisive Francisco Figueroa centre but he managed to side-foot wide of Paul Gerrard's posts from six yards. Midway through the first half Everton opened the scoring through Joe-Max Moore, who had moments earlier squandered a superb chance when teed up by Campbell. The American made no mistake with his second chance of the night however, flicking on a header after a good ball from Mark Pembridge on the right.
The second period took on an experimental nature as both managers employed their full quota of substitutes - and 45 minutes of disjointed and fairly uninspired football followed. The Spaniards did however have a seemingly justified claim for a penalty on 55 minutes - only for the official to locate the offence as outside the box. Oscar Garcia blasted over the resultant free-kick.

Harvey happy with Blues form
Aug 14 2001 Academy football by Chris Wright, Daily Post
EVERTON'S youth team continued their winning pre-season form with a 2-1 victory at Manchester City on Saturday with a solid all-round performance. It was an identical result to the week previous, when they beat Tranmere Rovers, but it was not a similar performance. This time coach Colin Harvey was pleased with his side's display. Goals from England youth internationals Steven Beck and Steven Schumacher sealed the match and Harvey said: "It was a better performance all-round, but of course there wouldn't have had to be much improvement for that to happen. "But this week the attitude was right. We competed better and the passing was improved. There was not one area where we played well just an improvement in the general all-round play. "There is still a bit more needed as it was far from the finished article in terms of performance, but it was a big improvement.
"I wasn't too bothered about the result just the fact that we worked much harder and better than we did against Tranmere." Everton were due for to play another friendly at Stoke City tomorrow but the match has had to be cancelled so the next pre-season game will be next Monday, August 20 at Wrexham. This is the last warm-up game before the FA Premier Academy League starts a week on Saturday with the under-19s travelling to Chelsea and Alan Harper's under-17s making the journey to Birmingham City. The Everton Academy have been holding a youth festival over the last five days which finished yesterday. It has been a big success with Blues sides in all age groups from U10s to U15s all competing against 12 clubs from around the country. Everton U10s and U14s sides both won their respective tournaments and also had the top scorer in each group. Jose Baxter came out as leading marksmen for the U10s while Stephen Anderson finished with most goals in the U14s.
The U10s beat Derby County 3-0 in their final, while the U14s recorded a similar scoreline against Coventry City in their final with Anderson scoring twice and John Cass also finding the net.
Everton and Arsenal shared the U11s trophy after every member of each side scored from the spot in the penalty shoot-out which followed the goalless final. Both teams decided it was best to be joint winners rather than continue. Newcastle United won the U12s section, beating Derby 1-0 in the final.

Ball told to play for a move
Aug 14 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL BALL has been ordered to train through the pain barrier in a bid to complete his £6.5m move to Glasgow Rangers. Rangers have insisted that the young defender takes part in every training session until Friday, before making a final decision on his fitness. Ball's agent, Trevor Steven, said: "He was training today. That goes for tomorrow as well and through the rest of the week.
"Then the tests will be made. He's just mixing in with the rest of the Rangers' lads. "That's the arrangement between Bill Kenwright and Rangers' chairman David Murray. "It's quite unusual but that's the kind of relationship the clubs have. Obviously it's not an ideal situation for Michael, but Rangers must be keen on him to go to these lengths. "Michael is still hoping for a positive conclusion to it all come Friday." Everton's hands are tied in the transfer market until the deal is finalised - and last night's friendly match against Espanyol underlined the lack of strength currently available to Walter Smith. With Niclas Alexandersson, Idan Tal and Thomas Gravesen on international duty - and Radzinski, Xavier, Gascoigne, Naysmith, Cadamarteri and McLeod nursing minor niggles - the Blues were left with four rookie youngsters on the subs' bench plus Alec Cleland.
One of those youngsters, Nick Chadwick, was introduced after local referee George Cain ordered the substitution of Duncan Ferguson. "Things were getting a bit lively out there and the referee suggested we take Duncan off," said boss Walter Smith "he was quite right to ask for the change."
Joe-Max Moore limped off at half-time with a minor ankle injury. He should be fit for Saturday's opening day trip to Charlton. The London side, meanwhile, will lock up to 1,800 of their own season ticket holders out of Saturday's match because ground upgrade work has not been completed in time.

Dunc is Young's vision of future
Aug 14 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE cynic who suggested last night's minute's silence was in respect of the season Evertonians were about to endure, was wide of the mark. With no other explanation forthcoming, mind, it had seemed a reasonable assumption to make. But Everton ended their pre-season programme with a morale boosting 1-0 win over Espanyol, the Spanish side which brushed Fulham aside 3-0 and romped into a 4-0 lead by half-time at Southampton on Saturday. And even more significantly, only Joe-Max Moore ended the match on the treatment table. Given the dwindling size of Walter Smith's current senior squad, that was almost as important a statistic as the 18,395 gate which saluted Alex Young. It wasn't a match in the image of the Golden Vision, far too scruffy and niggling, but in a symbolic moment Young embraced Duncan Ferguson as he left the pitch. It was like a crowd idol of yesteryear passing on his mantle to a modern counterpart. Ferguson did his best to rouse the crowd, sadly in the way he knows best. Local referee George Cain was the model of self-restraint, when a more excitable official could easily have brandished a handful of red cards. He ordered the substitution of Ferguson after 67 minutes, when the Scot's patience finally snapped following a series of Spanish niggles. He turned Francisco Figeuroa into a human pinball, then completed the 'strike' by turning to a bewildered Spaniard's team-mate with palms upraised and gesturing 'Give me 10.' It raised a laugh from everybody else in the stadium, apart from the referee who raced into the Everton dug-out - hands revolving furiously. That wasn't the only favour the official did for Everton.
A second minute penalty kick awarded for the faintest of tugs on Kevin Campbell's jersey was harsh in the extreme. Justice was done when David Unsworth sent Mora the wrong way from the spot, but the ball cannoned back into play off the inside of a post. After missing one in the last season, too, Unsworth will be hoping bad luck doesn't run in threes. So, too, will Evertonians, with 12-yard deputies not exactly queuing up following Jeffers' defection and Ball's imminent exit.
Just two minutes after that, Mora made a point blank stop to deny Stubbs, but at the other end Everton showed worrying signs of a lack of concentration. In a carbon copy of the goal they conceded at Preston, the Blues dozed at a quick free-kick. Fortunately Raul Tamudo's finishing was equally dozy. The only goal of the game came from another swiftly taken free-kick.
Pembridge clipped the ball in and Joe-Max Moore darted across his marker to head his first Goodison goal since April 2000. The American has enjoyed a profitable pre-season in a new midfield role, but failed to reappear after the interval. Victim of a late tackle, the match descended into a series of petty flare-ups. Davie Weir brought down Tamudo on the edge of the box - in a Premiership match he might have been red-carded - Figueroa clipped Ferguson from behind and Unsworth angrily shoved aside Oscar Garcia. With three players on international duty and three injured, options were in short supply for Walter Smith. He was forced to finish the match with an 18-year-old striker up front on his own. Unless Everton avoid the ill-fortune which dogged them last season, youngsters like Nick Chadwick will be seen more and more this term. But for now, Everton have a senior squad to select from.
EVERTON (3-5-2): Gerrard, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Watson (Hibbert 74), Moore (Cleland 45), Gemmill, Pembridge, Unsworth, Ferguson (Chadwick 67), Campbell (Clarke 80).
ESPANYOL (4-4-2): Mora, Figueroa (Navas 74), David Garcia, Lopo, Rotchen, Soldevilla (Fernandez 58), Velamazan (De Lucas 71), Roger Garcia (Munteanu 45), Tamudo (Posse 58), Oscar Garcia (Giverel 74), Palencia.
Referee: George Cain.
Attendance: 18,395.
GOAL: Moore (23 mins) 1-0.
Missed penalty: Unsworth 2 mins.

Blues sweat on Nyarko loan bid
Aug 15 2001 by ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
EVERTON officials will be praying Alex Nyarko takes the first positive steps towards a Goodison Park exit today as a potential £3.5m rides on his proposed move to Monaco. The Ghanaian international is due to open talks with the French club over a two-month loan deal that, if successful, will then become a permanent transfer to the principality. In the meantime Everton will hold negotiations with Monaco officials over a transfer that carries a £3.5m fee. Nyarko would have to prove his worth to the French side before such a deal is concluded but it would represent an incredible piece of business by the Blues if they were to receive that figure for a player who only four months ago vowed never to play football again. The 27-year-old later changed that pledge to never playing for Everton again and has stuck to his word by twice going AWOL from the club. Nyarko's ability to handle the pressures of the game were questioned after he walked off the Highbury pitch following a run-in with a fan during Everton's 4-1 defeat by Arsenal last season. In France, however, he still enjoys a healthy reputation after a successful spell with Lens, who sold him to the Blues a year ago for £4.5m. Monaco, under new coach Didier Deschamps, are desperate for reinforcements after making a terrible start to the season which currently sees them bottom of the league. Ironically it is his former club Lens, under ex-Liverpool coach Patrice Bergues, who top the table. Walter Smith could finally have some transfer funds available this week if Michael Ball completes his delayed move to Glasgow Rangers on Friday. The Everton defender has been training with the Scottish giants all week in a bid to prove the knee injury that has so far held up his £7m switch is not serious.
One Smith transfer target who will not be coming to Goodison Park is ex-Everton midfielder Graham Stuart, who yesterday signed a new three year contract with Charlton Athletic. The Blues travel to The Valley this Saturday for their Premiership opener against Alan Curbishley's side, who will be without striker Matthias Svensson. The Swedish international suffered knee ligament damage in last Friday's friendly defeat to Dutch side Roda JC and will miss the first three months of the season.

Blues sweat on Nyarko loan bid
Aug 15 2001 by ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
EVERTON officials will be praying Alex Nyarko takes the first positive steps towards a Goodison Park exit today as a potential £3.5m rides on his proposed move to Monaco. The Ghanaian international is due to open talks with the French club over a two-month loan deal that, if successful, will then become a permanent transfer to the principality. In the meantime Everton will hold negotiations with Monaco officials over a transfer that carries a £3.5m fee. Nyarko would have to prove his worth to the French side before such a deal is concluded but it would represent an incredible piece of business by the Blues if they were to receive that figure for a player who only four months ago vowed never to play football again. The 27-year-old later changed that pledge to never playing for Everton again and has stuck to his word by twice going AWOL from the club. Nyarko's ability to handle the pressures of the game were questioned after he walked off the Highbury pitch following a run-in with a fan during Everton's 4-1 defeat by Arsenal last season. In France, however, he still enjoys a healthy reputation after a successful spell with Lens, who sold him to the Blues a year ago for £4.5m. Monaco, under new coach Didier Deschamps, are desperate for reinforcements after making a terrible start to the season which currently sees them bottom of the league. Ironically it is his former club Lens, under ex-Liverpool coach Patrice Bergues, who top the table. Walter Smith could finally have some transfer funds available this week if Michael Ball completes his delayed move to Glasgow Rangers on Friday. The Everton defender has been training with the Scottish giants all week in a bid to prove the knee injury that has so far held up his £7m switch is not serious.
One Smith transfer target who will not be coming to Goodison Park is ex-Everton midfielder Graham Stuart, who yesterday signed a new three year contract with Charlton Athletic. The Blues travel to The Valley this Saturday for their Premiership opener against Alan Curbishley's side, who will be without striker Matthias Svensson. The Swedish international suffered knee ligament damage in last Friday's friendly defeat to Dutch side Roda JC and will miss the first three months of the season.

Treatment room grows for Blues
Aug 15 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have extended their physiotherapy department at Bellefield - following the worst season for injuries in the club's history. Former FA guru Rob Ryles has been appointed head of physiotherapy, while the medical facilities at Bellefield have also been extended. The shake-up comes after a campaign which was described as the worst for injuries the club had ever endured, with 12 players on the treatment table at one stage and long term problems sustained by Alessandro Pistone, Richard Gough, Duncan Ferguson, Niclas Alexandersson, Francis Jeffers and Paul Gascoigne.
"Rob's appointment is part of a general extension of our physiotherapy department," explained chief executive Michael Dunford. "We conducted a review at the end of last season and decided to make changes. "Modern footballers are thoroughbred athletes and not having them available on the football pitch can be very costly. "Rob is a highly qualified and highly regarded physio and he will have overall responsibility for the professional squad and the Youth Academy footballers."
Previously employed at Stoke City, Ryles' most recent position was with the FA. The Blues' bid to find a buyer for AWOL midfielder Alex Nyarko, meanwhile, has moved on. French side AS Monaco, coached by former Chelsea star Didier Deschamps, have agreed to take the Ghanaian on loan until the end of the season. The loan deal is with a view to a permanent £3.5m switch. That transfer is dependent on Nyarko's form and fitness throughout the campaign, but the Blues will save on the player's salary and also have him permanently in the shop window.

Who's for top - and the drop
Aug 15 2001
LEN CAPELING delivers his verdict on high-flyers and Premiership fallers.....
EVERTON (500/1)
IF all the unanswered prayers of all the Everton fans were bundled together they would fill Goodison Park and the Kings Dock Hippodrome and still leave enough over to supply a thousand shrines from Houston to Helsinki and Huyton. Nothing changes for the royal blues, not the casualty lists, not Gazza's latest attempt at dryness, not the side-bets on how many games Big Dunc will play before he limps off clutching another part of his surgeon's-dream anatomy. As ever, much will rely on the resourcefulness of Walter Smith and Archie Knox, whose transfer funds for the season wouldn't cover David Beckham's new boot contract with Adidas. Rather foolishly, Bill Kenwright has let it be known that he takes no responsibility for what happens on the pitch - words he will live to regret, particularly if the team rolls out another cheerless campaign like the last. This will certainly be a season when the fans will expect to see signs of progress, rather than continued decline. Otherwise their patience will be shredded long before Santa blocks the chimney. Most attention will be focused on Alan Stubbs, the Bluest of Blues, and Anderlecht's Tomasz Radzinski, Smith's only signings to date following the loss of the massively influential Richard Gough and the promising Francis Jeffers. Both need to have outstanding seasons if Everton are to avoid becoming embroiled in another relegation battle. Bookies William Hill, as previously noted, list Everton as sixth favourites to go down, which is why the opening games - against Charlton (a), Tottenham (h) and Middlesbrough (h) must yield a minimum seven points. The 10 days following offer Manchester United (a), Liverpool (h) and Leeds (a). Everton supporters will travel hopefully despite the fact that their own board of directors now appear to deem mediocrity as acceptable. They've all heard the story of the Everton suit, who, sifting through a shoal of bitter letters, remarked, 'I don't know what they're complaining about. We stayed up, didn't we'? No real Evertonian would want that engraved on his heart, or his tombstone. It's an attitude of mind within Goodison that will eventually drive Walter Smith away. But not the fans. Not yet, anyway. For being a Blue is in the blood - along with the sweat and the tears. The struggle goes on.
LET me introduce the two words which Gerard Houllier should ban this season. Never to be heard within the precincts of Melwood and Anfield, except on the following days, November 3 and April 1.
They're the dates on which Liverpool play Manchester United, so the forbidden words become unavoidable. But otherwise I suggest that Liverpool stop constantly measuring themselves - usually unfavourably - with the champions. There is sound argument for this new approach. For what Liverpool do this season is not dependent on Sir Alex Ferguson's team. If Liverpool are as hungry as their massively demanding manager wants them to be, then they are capable of anything. Even winning the championship, provided they show the kind of character and commitment that brought them their treble of Worthington, FA and UEFA Cups. Houllier believes there's much more to come from his young side. The first 30 minutes against United on Sunday would be near to what he's looking for - and yet that dominance was achieved by a team denied the power and passion of Steven Gerrard and the polish and precision of Patrik Berger. The introduction of John Arne Riise, a defender who loves to get forward, demonstrates Houllier's desire to wring more creativity from the left-back area. The same can be said of midfield, where players who get beyond Liverpool's front two are like gold dust. Thus far, the French coach will compliment himself on ridding Liverpool of their delinquent habits, particularly in defensive situations. But now, despite the 125 goals last term, Houllier will look for the kind of killer touch needed to extinguish the Premiership's lesser lights.
Houllier bemoaned 10 points that got away in matches where Liverpool were in the ascendancy. They turned out to be hugely significant with United finishing 11 points clear of his team.
That cannot be allowed to happen again. In fact, I'm pretty sure it won't. The priority is the Premiership. Split it into three sections of just short of 13 games. Get the same return achieved in last season's final fantastic third and Team X and their departing manager will surely start to sweat.
Runners-up spot is the first target, but the title itself can come to Anfield, with the Champions League, FA Cup and Worthington Cup possibly sacrificed for the holy grail. Like Team X, Liverpool are able to turn out two Premiership teams. If both can be kept happy - and crucially that includes the unhappy Robbie Fowler - Gerard Houllier can go on to add the fifth and most significant trophy to his early haul of silverware.
ARSENE WENGER'S early Double act for Arsenal has piled enormous pressure on the French coach to deliver again. Finishing second and losing the FA Cup final was regarded as little better than failure by disgruntled Gunners supporters, hence the £28m summer outlay that brought in Sol Campbell, Francis Jeffers, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Richard Wright and Juinichi Inamoto. Wenger, himself, has been unfairly pilloried for failing to shatter the supremacy of Manchester United, so this season has to be one where the Big Three - Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds United - prevent themselves being cast adrift. Arsenal are a very good team whose away form needs a touch of George Graham-like pragmatism applied to it. Expect Wenger's warriors to start getting things right, which means a fight with his old friend Gerard Houllier for the right to wear the English crown. A French first and second is a real prospect.
IS THERE a duller side on God's earth than John Gregory's automotons. Doubtful. Colourful manager, colourless team. They'll grab their usual top eight spot without exciting one opposition fan. That still won't be good enough for Deadly Doug Ellis or the sulky David Ginola, so expect ructions and a possible job opportunity for George Graham, Terry Venables or Kenny Dalglish.
GRAEME SOUNESS has unhappy memories of the English top-flight and his heart is likely to get little rest during a season which has to be all about consolidation. If Blackburn and fellow promotion winners Fulham do even moderately well, the pressure on regular relegation suspects such as Derby County and Everton will become immense. The volcanic Scot's reputation for putting the frighteners on players may end in Rovers clinging to safety.
DO the odds tell you something? Yes, that Bolton are about to make their usual lift-shaft plunge back to their traditional home, the first division. Cry team spirit, cry 10 men back behind the ball. Neither will save Sam Allardyce's cashless collection.
CHARLTON (500/1)
ALAN CURBISHLEY managed to keep his team out of trouble last time around and they finished a creditable ninth. Since then he's spent nearly £11m on new recruits - memo to Bill Kenwright - and that should enable Charlton to survive a second season in the Premiership.
CHELSEA (11/1)
OH YES, they're the great pretenders. Sir Alex fancies them to do well, on what evidence I cannot discover. I would be more confident if Claudio Ranieri spoke English, which would give him a chance with his players. Frank Lampard, Emmanuel Petit, Boudewijn Zenden and William Gallas have been drafted in at a cost of £32m, but can the squad overcome the travel sickness that has disabled them in recent times? Finishing fifth - very likely - will not be good enough.
DERBY COUNTY (1,000/1)
JIM SMITH will pray for Fabrizio Ravanelli's goals to keep his strugglers out of the squishy stuff. But even for someone as experienced as the Bald Eagle the flight to freedom from relegation worries won't be easy. Could fall, but Jim is such an entertainer at post-match Press conferences I hope not.
FULHAM (80/1)
GOOD odds for new boys and a reflection of how highly Jean Tigana and Mohamed Fayed are rated as a partnership. Tigana has spent nearly £16m on new players, including Holland goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar at £7m. If my manager wants £10m more I will give it him, says Fayed. A footballing side, they may surprise a few teams, and the bookies fancy them to finish mid-table. That will spell danger for others.
IPSWICH (125/1)
THE tractor boys ploughed up a few reputations last season, which probably means they're likely to be found out in the months to come.
Gone is the surprise element, but that won't worry the unflappable George Burley too much.
A well-run club, who've spent little, they will find things tougher but should still end up in the top 10.
ONE of the Premiership's thoroughbred sides who simply must not allow Manchester United to set the pace in the Premiership. Olivier Dacourt has threatened to kill himself if the Elland Road side let United take a stranglehold on the domestic title for the fourth time in succession. The astute David O'Leary has enough good players to fancy his team's chances in every competition and no-one is likely to buy his 'we're just kids line' again. I expect big things of David's goliaths. Second place to Liverpool is not beyond them.
DON'T mention the England coaching job.
Peter Taylor isn't a happy man and may become distinctly tetchy if his unexciting Leicester outfit do as worryingly as last season. I can't see things getting much better for a selling team that will be happy to avoid the drop.
WHAT do you give a manager who's got everything? Simple, says David Beckham, you give him a Premiership season without even one defeat. The champions suffered only three reverses in 1999/2000 when they finished 22 points clear of second-placed Arsenal, so perfection will take some doing. I have a sneaking suspicion that Sir Alex would like to take his second Champions League trophy with him into retirement, with the Premiership title a little way behind that in importance.
Juan Sebastian Veron and Ruud van Nistelrooy will make United better in an attacking sense, but the Charity Shield highlighted defensive deficiencies and only Jaap Stam looked the part, if we're talking great teams. United wanted two full-backs in the close season. They may need to buy again if Beckham's dream for the gaffer is to be realised. I see them finishing off the top - which means the next sound you hear will be the approach of men in white coats.
TWO scenarios suggest themselves here. One finds new boss Steve McClaren suffering the same fate as another of Fergie's little helpers, Brian Kidd, and finding management a torment. The other has sensible Steve, an England coach after all, blending in new signings Jonathan Greening and Mark Wilson and outpacing Everton, with whom they're paired in some bets for a mid-table slot. Should be safe, but a nagging worry persists.
DON'T mention the pension. Bobby Robson has enough problems without fretting over his unused bus pass. He needs the talismanic Alan Shearer back and some real cash to spend. He and Walter Smith have a lot to talk about on the subject of monetary promises not kept. But rely on Wor Bobby to ensure that Newcastle don't trouble the relegation scorers. Seventh might be the height of their ambition.
GOODBYE to the Dell, and, coincidentally, goodbye to Southampton, Bill Shankly's famous ale-house team. You wouldn't wish the fatal fall on new manager Stuart Gray, but with no cash available after scraping £4m together for new signings, it's time to say farewell. Unless, of course, I've given too much credit to Derby and Everton.
WHO can tell which Sunderland we'll see? Last season Kevin Phillips had a torrid time and as a result the Stadium of Light suffered a power cut. That said, they still managed to finish seventh and, with the restless Peter Reid on their case, they will be looking to secure a European spot.
THE great test of Glenn Hoddle's reputation, to put his beloved Spurs back among the elite. Sol Campbell has departed to be replaced by Red Star Belgrade's Goran Bunjevcevic. If Teddy Sheringham can help spark an attack that only scored 47 goals last term, who knows. Everton fans get an early chance to assess the mix next Monday night at Goodison. Top ten, Glenn. Okay?
WEST HAM (350/1)
GLENN ROEDER may feel the chill winds as early as Saturday afternoon when he brings his team to what hopefully will be fortress Anfield. Liverpool will fancy a first-day fiver to open their goals account in style while new manager Roeder wrestles with the wreckage. Joe Cole and Michael Carrick remain big hopes for the Hammers, but their learning curve is still too steep to keep the East London club off the trapdoor, where they'll join Bolton and Southampton.
REFEREES (£60,000/1)
THAT's their yearly wage as professionals, not the odds on any measurable improvement.
If the performance of Andy D'Urso in Cardiff is any yardstick we're in for confrontations galore, beginning soon after 3pm on Saturday. Honest they all may be, but do they have an ounce of commonsense between them? Twenty-four allegedly elite officials on parade, but not one of them will have his match fee withheld no matter how poorly he performs. Discuss.

Blues looking to beat injuries
Aug 16 2001 By JONATHAN McEvoy, Daily Post
INJURY-PLAGUED Everton have strengthened their medical staff by appointing former FA guru Rob Ryles as their new head of physiotherapy. The Goodison club, rocked by a record 178 separate injuries last season, have also extended the medical facilities at their Bellefield training ground.
The revamp comes in the wake of what manager Walter Smith described as the worst injury crisis of his career which saw 19 players crocked on one day in April at the peak of last term's problems.
Blues chief executive Michael Dunford confirmed: "Rob's appointment is part of a general extension of our physiotherapy department after a review at the end of last season." Francis Jeffers, Paul Gascoigne, Alessandro Pistone, Richard Gough and Duncan Ferguson were all long-term casualties as Everton struggled to cut free from relegation danger. "Modern footballers are thoroughbred athletes and not having them available on the football pitch can be very costly," added Dunford.
"Rob is a highly-qualified and highly-regarded physio and he will have overall responsibility for the professional squad and the Youth Academy footballers." Meanwhile, Smith believes a close-season of stability can lay the foundation for a period of on-field improvement. The Goodison boss has pointed to the massive player turnover at the club since he took over three years ago as a reason for the clubs recent stagnation. In all, there have been 71 player transfers in and out of Goodison and a near £100million turnover during Smiths reign. He said: "We haven't made a great deal of progress, but that's because we have had so many transfers in and out and that badly affects any club.
"You need some stability if you are going to go forward, and we have never had that. "We are better placed this time because we have a reasonably stable squad from last season and I hope that will show up on the field." Everton's perilous financial state has meant only Alan Stubbs and Tomasz Radzinski have joined the club over the summer. Smith said: "We have not had the huge turnover of staff this time around that we've had in the previous seasons since I arrived. "There have only been a few movements and in lots of ways that's a good thing for continuity. "We can do with a couple more players in and we will be doing that over the next couple of months, but I'm happy with this squad and the way they have come together. "The financial side is frustrating for me, but it's the same for everyone here, from the directors down. We are working hard to solve the problems and get ourselves into a situation where we can sign some players. "We can't allow that frustration to affect us because its not something we can do much about. This season there are positive things to look forward to. Everton remain confident of banking a £10.5m windfall when rebel duo Michael Ball and Alex Nyarko complete moves out of Goodison. Ball is expected to finally put pen to paper on a £7m switch to Glasgow Rangers once he recieves all the clear from medical reports and he has already started training with his potential new team-mates. Midfielder Nyarko is set to join French club AS Monaco on a two-month loan with a view to a £3.5m permanent transfer.

Jeffers: Arsenal move will improve me
Aug 16 2001 By Mike Sinclair, Daily Post
FRANCIS JEFFERS is hoping his £10million move to Arsenal during the summer will propel him up the final step of the ladder to the full England team. Jeffers, who helped England Under-21s destroy Holland 4-0 last night, maintains his switch from Everton to Highbury was purely a career move.
"Everton offered me a great contract but it was all down to the football," said the 20-year-old.
"Everyone in the Arsenal squad is an international. They are all world class players which, with all due respect to Everton, they weren't there. "All the players here are going to help me improve. My dream has always been to play for England," he said. The prospect of Champions League football was another major factor in his decision but Jeffers accepts he may not start in Europe with Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord all chasing places up front. His initial chances are more likely to come in the Premiership with boss Arsene Wenger predicting: "I expect him to make an impact very quickly. He has the strength that he can score goals. He has that sharpness of mind."
Jeffers accepts he will not be an automatic choice as Wenger shuffles his striking pack, but says: "Any footballer wants to play as many games as he can but with so many world-class strikers you are not going to play every time. "But if I'm doing well in the Premiership and scoring goals, hopefully he will give me a run in Europe. I'm looking forward to playing against the best players in Europe and the world. Wenger has expressed his hopes that Jeffers can become his "new Ian Wright" but the youngster said: "I'm not sure I'm quite the same but if I can be half as good as Wright I'll be very pleased." He is confident the Gunners can mount a serious challenge to Manchester United.
But the first result he will look for after he troops off the Highbury pitch will be that of Everton, the club he supported as a boy. "I had a season ticket for 12 years until I signed as an apprentice professional," he said. "It's unfair to judge them on last season. Okay, they just survived relegation but they had so many injuries, with 16 players out at one stage. They are a good set of lads who stuck together and I wish them all the best." Jeffers is particularly grateful to the help he received from Everton striking partner Kevin Campbell, himself a former Arsenal player. "He has been a big influence on my career. He was always talking to me and telling me how to play against defenders," he said. Jeffers is already taking further lessons from his new Arsenal team-mates, saying: "You only have to watch them in training to learn things from them. They're all world class players."
Jeffers insists the reputed £10million transfer fee places no pressure on him. "The fee was nothing to do with me," he said. But he expects to feel the weight of expectation a little more when he makes his Arsenal debut than he did in his first senior game for Everton. "I was only 16 and a lot of it went over my head so, yes, there is a bit more pressure," he added.

Smith sweats over internationals
Aug 16 2001 By CLAIRE GRAY, Liverpool Echo
WALTER Smith was sweating on the safe return of his midfield international trio today with Saturday's opener at Charlton looming. Niclas Alexandersson, Idan Tal and Thomas Gravesen were all involved in friendlies with their country last night, only three days before the season kicks off.
All three missed Monday night's 1-0 victory over Espanyol and their absence served to expose the the lack of numbers the Blues' boss has to play around with in the centre of the park.
Alec Cleland was forced into a midfield role that night after the withdrawal of Joe-Max Moore at half time through injury. Moore should be fit to make the trip to the capital but Paul Gascoigne's rehabilitation is continuing at a cautious pace and youngster Kevin McLeod has also been carrying a knock. Alexandersson and Tal both finished on the winning side last night with the Blues' recent trialist Shimon Gershon on target for the Israeli's in their 3-0 win in Lithuania. Sweden were 3-0 victors over South Africa. Denmark, however, were beaten 1-0 by world champions France with Arsenal's Robert Pires scoring the only goal. Alex Nyarko, meanwhile, is expected to tie up a loan deal with Monaco today which will see him through til the end of the season. The Blues are hopeful that a permanent deal can be struck in the future in the region of £3m although any such details are yet to be discussed. Tomasz Radzinski is almost certain to be made to wait for his Premiership debut. Radzinski played the full 90 minutes in the Blues' only pre-season defeat at Tranmere following a brief substitute appearance at Burnley a few days before, but has since been confined to the treatment room with a hamstring problem. Gary Naysmith's warm-up has followed a similar path with the Scot almost certainly ruled out of the weekend's clash.

Where are the goals going to come from?
Aug 17 2001
WHERE are the goals coming from this season that will enable Everton to survive and prosper?
As a manager, you approach every season with a target in your mind. You ask yourself: "Can I see a decent return in the team?" If you can only see a total points tally in the region of 40, you know instinctively that you are going to struggle. To win the title or qualify for Europe, the target must be at least 70. Manchester City went down with 41. Coventry and Bradford had no chance with 36 and 30 respectively. Everton edged clear with 45. Walter Smith will be looking at the recent records of his players. You don't suddenly increase your annual tally dramatically and so he will be able to work out approximate returns and set targets. He will be looking for 15 goals each from his two main strikers. Last season, Kevin Campbell top scored with just nine league goals. Injuries clouded the picture with the others. Duncan Ferguson grabbed just six, as did the now departed Francis Jeffers.
Even if your strikers achieve their 30 goal joint tally, you are still searching around for another 20 goals from other areas to have even a half decent season. This total provided Charlton with mid-table peace of mind and a reasonable platform to push on. It's crucially important you get a good bonus return from your midfield. Again, the input was minimal last season with Niclas Alexandersson, a player who can find the net, missing for long periods. He scored only twice, as did Thomas Gravesen and Scot Gemmill. I would say a player like Alexandersson should be set a target of at least eight goals and he must achieve it. Your defenders might net a few from set pieces. However, the statistics are not encouraging. David Weir got just one in 2000-01. There will always be a penalty bonus and David Unsworth scored four, with just one goal in open play. To be honest, despite the signing of Tomasz Radzinski, I can't see where 45 to 50 goals are going to come from at the moment. And that's even if we assume that the two main attackers, whoever they might be, manage that absolutely crucial 30-goal joint target, which would be debateable if you take last season as a guide. I'm certainly not acting like a prophet of doom before a ball is kicked.
What I am saying is that key players must recognise the importance of achieving their goals this season if Everton are to show an improvement on the last campaign. And looking at it in the most recent friendly against Espanyol, I did not see a lot of goals, which worried me. I know it will be totally different in the Premiership and I'm sure Walter will be throwing down the challenge to his potential goalscorers. It's up to them to pick it up and give the Blues the most positive of starts to boost confidence all round. My case for the defence I'M always interested in tactics, formations and the different slant managers have on things. I was looking at the Everton defence in the Alex Young testimonial. Alan Stubbs looks a very good signing, but I wonder if he is possibly more confident on the right hand side of David Weir. It was only a little observation. Defensively, Everton looked reasonably well organised. They certainly lack a bit of pace, but they have the experience to know when to squeeze and when to drop. I also thought Alessandro Pistone looked as if he was unsure about his role. He came as a possible wing back and looks more comfortable to me as an attacking player. But it looked as if he was told to concentrate more on defence, with David Unsworth in front of him. Unsworth is more comfortable as a defender and I would personally switch them round and see if the balance improves. You can't let stars take the Mickey
THE Robbie Fowler situation is fascinating fans on both sides of the park. Clearly, Gerard Houllier is not frightened to make bold decisions. You have got to show your authority at key moments.
I look back on the Mickey Thomas affair at Goodison. He came to us from Manchester United, but had been injured. I brought in Paul Lodge at Coventry in the Cup and he was man of the match.
Mickey then declared himself fit, but I wanted him to prove his fitness in the reserves at Newcastle. He refused to travel, telling me that he had signed to play in the first team. I told him: "You signed to play for Everton Football Club in whatever side I want to select you in." It was vital I set the right example. I knew Brighton were interested and I sold the player within days. There was another incident which I could liken to Dave Watson's experience at Tranmere last Saturday when the silly dismissal of Seyni N'Diaye cost Rovers dearly on day one and angered the new manager.
When I went to Blackburn as player/manager, I also had a player sent off in the first league game of the season Mickey Rathbone. It cost us the points. I told him after the game I would not select him after his suspension and it ended up a month before he got back. It might have seemed harsh, especially to the lad, but if someone lets you down and you are weak, it will spread throughout the club. I don't know the ins and outs of the Fowler situation so I can't comment, but the message to all players must be that they toe the line and that the manager's word is final. It's not easy for bosses in the modern game with player power rife, but Houllier has once again proved he can hold a tough line when he believes it is right.

Radzinski: I'm no new Jeffers
Aug 17 2001 By ANDY HUNTER, Daily Post
TOMASZ Radzinski has all the makings of an Everton star. Unfortunately the first evidence of that is the speed with which he found the Bellefield treatment table. A hamstring injury aggravated against Tranmere means the Blues' showpiece summer capture will spend tomorrow rebuilding his fitness rather than making his Premiership bow at Charlton. But the frustrations the Polish-born, ex-Canadian international is now experiencing, which the entire Everton squad and its supporters shared last season, means his determination to make his mark on Goodison Park is raging beyond the normal level of the new boy in the crowd. Radzinski is desperate to prove to the Goodison faithful that he is not Francis Jeffers' replacement but a quality act in his own right. His immediate aim is to adapt to the workings of the team he opted to join instead of leading Anderlecht's fight for another league title and a further shot at the Champions League. And though the 27-year-old has missed more of pre-season than he or Walter Smith would have wanted, Radzinski has been encouraged by the early, overall signs. He explained: "I know the Everton guys are hungry for success because it has been a long time since the club won something. It would be nice to get back to the brink of success again with this team and maybe along the way win a trophy and get European football. "It is too early to know exactly what will happen but I think the group that we have is a quality one with good players. Importantly, they are a good group and they are friends off the field. If that happens it helps you on the field. That's what we have here. "If you are relaxed together as a group of friends then you will fight harder for each other in a game, so who knows what can happen? "The talent of this squad is comparable with the one I left at Anderlecht. Every squad has the skilful players, the strong players, the fast players etc. It is using those to the optimum that is important whether its at Anderlecht or Everton. "I think the teams are very similar but Anderlecht have more experience through playing in European competition. That gives you more confidence in yourself and as a team. "The only big difference I've noticed so far is that the training sessions are much longer here. It's something I'm not used to. "In Belgium it was one session of about an hour and a half whereas we have two sessions three times a week at Everton lasting longer. But these are just the little differences you have to get used to at any new club. "Except for the injury everything is all right," he added. "I'm still in a hotel. I'm still trying to get an apartment and get a car sorted and live like a normal person but the most important thing is the football part and at the moment I'm very disappointed about my injury. "In pre-season you try to see your new team-mates and the style of football that they play but I can't control any of that at the moment and they can't see what I can do because of the injury." Playing Premiership football was one of Radzinski's main motivations for leaving Champions League football behind in Belgium. Whether his delayed start comes in the Goodison opener against Tottenham on Monday currently hangs in the balance, but he is convinced that when it does his decision to switch leagues will be instantly justified. Radzinski said: "It's very disappointing not to be fit for the start of the Premiership. You can never compare it with the Belgian League. "Week in, week out here you are playing tough games that are often decided by one small mistake whereas in Belgium there are only three or four games of the same calibre all season." "Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are among the top teams in Europe so I am not going to miss the Champions League. I will miss the excitement and the atmosphere that surrounds it but Im not going to miss out on the quality of football because we will face it ten or 15 times a season. "It s going to be exciting but first I have to get this injury out of the way. At the moment everythings on hold." Apart from banishing the Everton injury jinx as soon as possible, Radzinski also has to fill the striking void left by Jeffers' £10m departure to Arsenal this summer. But he admits the pressures of being the club's biggest acquisition of the close season or taking on Jeffers' mantle will not affect his game. "I'm really not thinking about being the club's big signing this summer," Radzinski confirms. "If you win games you win as a team and you lose as a team also. "It's my job to help the team win and score the goals to do that or at least give an assist to one of the players. Individual success is not so important for me. "I don't want to take over Francis Jeffers place among the fans because he was a local Evertonian and that is how it will stay. "My frustration is that when you come to a new club you want to show the fans what you can do for them straight away.
"But I'm not going to cry about it. I just have to show what I can do as soon as I get my chance."

Time to restore supporters' confidence
Aug 17 2001 By MARK O'BRIEN, Daily Post
INTO the Valley, as the Skids sang.
It all starts again tomorrow down in the Smoke with a bit of a crunch game. It sounds crazy to call the opener vital but when you look at what the fixture list has given us in the first couple of months, then you see how at least a point off Alan Curbishley's men could prove crucial if we're to make a decent start. The Addicks are a hardworking side who play some good football and have a good go at any team on their own turf. They're a good example of how a club relatively low on resources can still compete in the Premiership if they use a bit of nous. After Saturday we've then got home games against two of this year's unknown quantities. Spurs always seem to do well at Goodison and in Gus Poyet and Edward Sheringham, Glenn Hoddle has added a couple of excellent players to his talented but temperamental squad. Although he has some unusual personal views, Hoddle has been a good coach at club level and Tottenham could be a good outside bet for a European place. Middlesbrough are the perennial underachievers and it will remain to be seen just how good Steve McLaren is as a manager. As Blackburn supporters will testify, just because you've been assistant at Manchester United doesn't necessarily make you the new Alex Ferguson. We really need to have at least five or six points after these first three games as after them we've got the Derby sandwiched between trips to Elland Road and Old Trafford. Three points is the most we can realistically expect from them.
We are going to have to show a lot more than we did against Espanyol on Monday night.
It was a nice occasion as over 18,000 turned up to salute an Everton great, but the standard of football on show from the Blues bore no resemblance to the School of Science that the Golden Vision attended, although we did actually win the game. For us to make any progress from last year - and let's face it the bar hasn't exactly been set that high - we really do need to keep hold of the ball a lot more and use it more intelligently. The phoney war is over now and it's time for Walter and his boys to help restore some of the club's pride and the supporters' confidence, which both took a hell of a beating last season. Let's just hope we're talking about six points in the bag this time next week.

Everton youth in Dragons tester
Aug 17 2001 by CHRIS WRIGHT, Daily Post
EVERTON'S Academy side travel to Wrexham on Monday for their final pre-season fixture before the start of the FA Premier Academy League campaign next Saturday. The Blues are unbeaten in their friendly fixtures so far and will hope to continue that against the Dragons' youngsters.
Under-19s coach Colin Harvey is hoping his side step-up on last week's win at Manchester City.
Everton are almost at full-strength going into the new season, although with just 14 players at Harvey's disposal at U19s level they need to stay that way. There are also a number of U19s players who have already made the breakthrough and become regulars in the reserves. Striker Nick Chadwick, who made his first-team debut in the friendly at Tranmere and in Alex Young's testimonial against Espanyol, and defender Sean O'Hanlon are just two who will be only used in Harvey's team if they are in need of an outing for match practice. Harvey though has only one main injury worry, he said: "Craig Penman is the only long-term injury. He missed a large part of last season and had to have an operation. Unfortunately he has had to have another small operation and will be out for about four more weeks. "Other than that there are a few niggles but nothing major to worry about."

Unsworth's spot on attitude
Aug 17 2001 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IN a cruel rebuke for a player who has bucked the trend in recent years by showing nothing but unswerving loyalty to the Everton cause, David Unsworth was told earlier this year: "We have not started contract talks, nor do we have any plans to do so." His response was typically phlegmatic.
Aggravated but undaunted, he buckled down to some serious hard work and converted a couple of the highest pressure penalty kicks of Everton s recent history. Which is why the latest blip on the Unsworth career chart hardly raises an eyebrow in this steeliest of defenders. With plans for a contract extension now at an advanced stage, a trifle like missing his last two penalty kicks registers somewhere below piffling in the grand scheme of things. After an impressive run of 18 spot kick successes from 19 attempts, Unsworth failed in the last match of last season against Sunderland, then saw a firmly-driven strike rebound back off a goalpost in Monday nights friendly with Espanyol.
"Maybe I need the pressure on before I can respond," he joked this week, "There was nothing really at stake against Sunderland, and against Espanyol I probably struck the ball too well. "But I'm keen to carry on. Taking penalties is something that's never bothered me. I missed the other night against Espanyol, but it s not a problem. "I'll carry on taking them until whenever. "There's normally two or three players queuing up to take the job off me. Michael Ball and Franny Jeffers were in the frame last season but no-one has said anything to me yet and that's fine by me." It was a similar attitude which won over board, manager and supporters last season when it appeared that Unsworth's Goodison career was nearing an end. "I've never made any secret of how much I love Everton," he said "and I d be lying if I said it didnt bother me when it seemed I was surplus to requirements.
"But we weren't going through the best of times and I didn't want to rock the boat so I just got on with it and tried to to do my best." That included some nerveless performances in a variety of defensive positions, a spectacular volleyed goal at Aston Villa with even more sensational celebrations and two high-pressure penalties against West Ham and Liverpool which suggested he has liquid nitrogen coursing through his veins. As a result new contract talks were opened, and Unsworth is now looking optimistically to the season which kicks-off tomorrow. "We have had a good pre-season. We all feel sharp and fit and if we can steer clear of injuries I don t think well struggle at all," he explained. "Everybody else seems to be suggesting that will be the case, but they haven t taken into account the horrendous injury problems we have had over the past 12 months.
"Any club, barring the top three or four, who had been through a similar spate of injuries would have suffered as well. "We started off this pre-season knocking the ball around well. We haven't conceded much and we have created a lot of chances. I think that if you don t look like you're creating chances pre-season then you think maybe you might struggle. "But that hasn't been the case with us. The lads are feeling good and I think the biggest thing with us is keeping everyone fit."
Last seasons injury crisis meant Unsworth's versatility was vital to Everton's cause, but this term he fancies a permanent role in an unusual position. "I spoke to the gaffer pre-season and told him I enjoyed my run-out in midfield at the end of last season," he explained. "But I think he sees me as either left wing-back or between Sandro (Alessandro Pistone) and myself for left of a three.
"But with our squad being so thin at the moment, versatility is a real bonus and I don't mind where I play as long as I do." Like the words of the song, "He gets knocked down, he gets back up again . .

Charlton athletic 1 Everton 2
Weir adds final touch
The Observer, Sunday 19 August 2001
Everton's supporters are usually ringing the Samaritans by September, but they had several reasons to be cheerful on the first day of this season. The first was, of course, three points gained away thanks to a penalty from Duncan Ferguson and a winning goal from Davie Weir after Jonathan Johansson had put Charlton ahead early in the second half. But there were signs enough that Everton may have something more than their seemingly perennial struggle against relegation to look forward to, even in the absence of the questionable talents of Paul Gascoigne and big summer signing Tomas Radzinski. The former Anderlecht striker was injured, but must have been impressed with the way his side created enough chances to have won comfortably had it not been for the outstanding Dean Kiely in the Charlton goal. Half-an-hour into the new season, one disgruntled home supporter remarked: 'It's not as good as last year, is it?' Charlton managed only one effort on target during a barren first half, and although Everton's all-round play was generally much better, they were denied the half-time lead they deserved by the excellence of Kiely in the Charlton goal.
The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper made fine saves to deny Thomas Gravesen, Niclas Alexandersson and Ferguson, although one of the big Scotsman's efforts was ruled illegal because of a push.
But there was nothing wrong with the point-blank header which Kiely did well to claw away as the ball looped towards the top corner of his goal right on half-time. Just two minutes earlier Kiely had done well to reach and parry a rafting free-kick from Gravesen, who also had a low shot saved by the same keeper. Having equalised, Everton grabbed the all-important winner in the 77th minute when Weir controlled a corner from Gravesen and had the time and space to send a shot into the roof of the Charlton net. Despite a late flurry of activity, the home side could not respond.
Charlton: Kiely; Young, Fish, Brown, Powell; Stuart, Parker (Peacock 46), Euell, Salako (Fortune 46); Johansson, Bartlett (Lisbie 72).
Subs not used: Ilic, Konchesky.
Everton: Gerrard; Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Watson, Alexandersson (Unsworth 82), Gravesen, Gemmill, Pembridge; Campbell, Ferguson. Subs not used: Simonsen, Chadwick, Tal, Moore.
Referee: Neale Barry.

Smith seeks home comforts
Aug 20 2001 by ANDY HUNTER, Daily post
WALTER SMITH has called for a dramatic improvement in Everton's home form as they bid to build on their excellent start to the new season against Tottenham tonight. The Blues open their Goodison programme just 48 hours after their morale-boosting 2-1 win at Charlton due to the demands of Sky TV with Smith who admitted the game is ill-timed demanding his side rediscover the home dominance of two seasons ago. Everton won just six of 19 games at Goodison last season, in stark contrast to the 1999-2000 campaign when they went 13 league matches unbeaten.
And the Blues manager is now looking for a maximum return from tonight s clash with Glenn Hoddles side and Middlesbrough this Saturday for proof his team can make genuine progress this season. Smith, who will give late fitness checks to new ?4.5million signing Tomasz Radzinski and Gary Naysmith, said: "Weve made a good start and thoroughly deserved the win against Charlton.
"But we ve got two home games now and this season we have to do far better at home than we did last season. We have to make sure we get back on track at home. "If we are to make progress we have to re-establish the record of two years ago when we were unbeaten at Goodison for most of the season. "We've got great support at home which should help us, and also away. We always sell out our ticket allocation for away games. "Evertonians stand by their club and are very passionate about their club. That's what has kept them going through a very difficult period." As for tonights game, Smith said: "Tottenham have made a few changes for this season which always need time to settle so we won't really know what to expect from them. The timing of this game is not the best but we just have to put up with it. We could have done without it to be honest but on the other hand it gives us more of a break before Saturdays game." A second-half penalty from Duncan Ferguson and a David Weir strike gave Everton victory on Saturday after the Scottish defenders error had gifted Charlton a 57th-minute lead against the run of play. And Smith admitted his threadbare squad has the capacity to improve providing it can steer clear of injuries, although Steve Watson is already a doubt for the Spurs game with a hip injury. He added: "We would struggle badly if we were struck by the same injury list as last season because we have a smaller squad but we are due a break there.
"It s been a really difficult three years and has been hard to take at times but I'm pleased to be working with the group we've got now. "It may have its faults but they are a good group to work with and if we can keep that togetherness we will achieve more than we have in the past.
"Its a good start and it will help our team spirit even further. We have a good group who are all keen to play for Everton and as long as we make it tough for teams we can always score with the three strikers we have. They will be a big factor in our season." Smith, meanwhile, believes Premiership referees are being influenced by Everton s 'bad boys reputation when they handle Blues' games.
Neale Barry booked three Everton players at the Valley - Ferguson, Alessandro Pistone and Thomas Gravesen - and no Charlton players as the Blues made an inauspicious disciplinary start to a season that has a 50,000 suspended fine hanging over it. The Blues boss explained: "At the end of last season we were up before a FA disciplinary committee for the number of red and yellow cards we had collected. For the life of me I couldn't see why Duncan was picked out for a booking. "The referee said he had committed four fouls and yet Duncan s markers fouled him at least four times each and were never even spoken to. Then we had a situation for the penalty where Kevin is brought down by the last man and he doesn't get sent off. "This happened in both my first and third season at the club where we don t seem to get the same treatment. Everton seem to be treated differently from other clubs for some reason. "We are not an overly aggressive team and I get frustrated with the amount of yellow cards we get compared to the oppositition."

Hedman keen - but fee could scupper deal
Aug 20 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
COVENTRY goalkeeper Magnus Hedman has spoken of his dream move to Everton, but current Blues' shot-stopper Thomas Myhre is desperate to end his Goodison nightmare. Hedman has been tracked by the Blues for a month and played in Coventry's 1-0 defeat by Wolves yesterday. He said: "I've got the Wolves game out of the way, now hopefully I'll sign for Everton. "The only thing that could stop me moving is that Coventry put too high a price tag on me. "I won't breathe easily until I have put pen to paper, but of course I'm happy with the news that the Michael Ball deal is now completed." Hedman's optimism may be misplaced, however. Walter Smith is likely to receive only a small fragment of the £6.5m Rangers' fee to spend on new players, and Coventry want £4m for the Swedish international. Everton are reported to have offered £1m, plus £50,000 per appearance until the fee reaches £3.5m. While Hedman is keen to move to Merseyside, however, Norwegian number one Thomas Myhre is anxious to get away. Myhre turned down a £750,000 switch to Spurs earlier this month and said: "Even if all our goalkeepers were injured at the same time I probably wouldn't get a game. "They would rather get another goalkeeper in on-loan than using me. "At the moment I believe I'm sixth or seventh choice in the Everton goal. "The club didn't like that I turned down the offer from Spurs and I believe my stay at Goodison Park will be very unpleasant in the months to come. "They refuse to loan me out to another club since I'm in the last year of my contract, and will probably just let me train with the Under-16s or Under-17s unless they get an offer for me very soon. "It's tough to be at a club where they don't want your services any more, but I hope to find a new club soon." Myhre will not even be on the bench tonight, as Walter Smith waits on the fitness of Steve Watson for the televised visit of Tottenham (8pm). Watson injured a hip during Saturday's win at Charlton, and if he misses out Pistone may have to be employed as an emergency right-back.
Alec Cleland sustained a calf strain in the friendly at Hereford recently, while Tomasz Radzinski and Gary Naysmith are both not fit enough for a recall.

Sheer Ell
Aug 21 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH slammed controversial referee David Elleray's performance last night despite seeing his Everton team top the Premiership for the first time in eight years. The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw by Tottenham Hotspur in an incident-packed match at Goodison Park where Duncan Ferguson's second successful penalty of the season cancelled out Darren Anderton's opener.
But it was amateur referee Elleray who dominated proceedings with a series of poor decisions that culminated in Spurs having both Gary Doherty and Gustavo Poyet sent off - decisions Glenn Hoddle is to appeal against. Both managers were united in their condemnation of the Harrow official, with Blues boss Smith furious at his failure to dismiss Mauricio Taricco for a dreadful foul on Thomas Gravesen that saw the in-form midfielder taken to hospital with an injury that will sideline him for up to five weeks. And Smith was also livid over a decision to rule out a seemingly legitimate goal by Niclas Alexandersson on the stroke of half-time. "How the referee sent Poyet off after allowing Tarrico to stay on Ill never know," said Smith. "He should have been sent off. It was the worst challenge of the night but the referee missed it. "Thomas suffered a bad cut to his leg and we think he ll be out for four or five weeks," added Smith, who also confirmed new £4.5million signing Tomasz Radzinski is unlikely to be fit until the trip to Manchester United on September 8.
"I feel aggrieved because there were two vital decisions in a couple of minutes and he missed them both," continued the Blues manager. "Niclas scored a perfectly good goal. Kevin Campbell was pushed as the cross came over, he was the man fouled and yet he awarded a free-kick to Tottenham. "It was a remarkable decision to give a foul but then he was full of remarkable decisions all night." Both sides goals were also surrounded in controversy, with Steffen Iversen offside in the build-up to Anderton's goal and Everton awarded a debatable penalty in the 62nd-minute that led to Doherty's dismissal for a professional foul. But Smith admitted: "Their goal was a bit scrappy. There was an offside offside but we should have cleared the ball beforehand so we have to take responsibility for that though not for the other refereeing decisons. "Our penalty was debatable. Having had the benefit of a TV replay it shows the lad caught Kevin's feet so technically it was a penalty though whether Kevin would have been able to turn and get a shot in is debatable.
"A similar thing happened at Charlton and nothing happened to the defender in that instant so there seems to be no consistency there." Despite playing the final 25 minutes against only nine men the Blues failed to seriously threaten Tottenham keeper Neil Sullivan in the closing stages, as their bright opening to the contest disappeared. Smith said: "I'm disappointed that when they were down to nine men we didn't create a great deal. We created more and played better when they still had 11.
"Games are always difficult when the opposition sit tight on the edge of their own area but we just played the ball into the box and not very effectively. "But despite being disappointed we didn't go on to win the game I've been delighted with the way we have started the season. We have shown good spirit and determination and created good opportunities."

Academy: Blues too good for Dragons
Aug 21 2001 by Chris Wright
EVERTON'S youth side completed their pre-season programme with a 2-0 win at Wrexham yesterday afternoon. The Blues fielded an under-18s side, as they have done throughout their unbeaten pre-season campaign, and defeated their Welsh counterparts with goals in each half. Striker Michael Symes was again on target, as he headed home from a corner by Damien Martland in the first half. And early in the second period Scot Brown's wind-assisted cross-shot flew past the Dragons' keeper to seal the Blues victory. Everton were happy with their final workout before the new FA Premier Academy League starts this Saturday, when Colin Harvey's U19s make the trip to London to take on Chelsea and Alan Harper's U17s travel to Birminghan City. Academy director Ray Hall said: "We have built up our performances as the pre-season has gone along, although I would imagine that Wrexham were one of the weakest of the teams we've faced. "Again we had a young line-up with three U17s and one U16s in the starting line-up and ended up with three U16s on the pitch at the end. "So we have got to be patient with the boys as they have a lot of physical catching up to do."
Both Nick (Chadwick) and Sean (O'Hanlon) are eligible to play in our U19s this season but they have already moved on. So most of the players this year will be U18s and U17s, with some U16s players as well. "And these boys will be playing against mostly full-time players so it could be tough for them at times. Last season we had something like five or six U19s in the U19 team, but we haven't got any this season." But Everton can take confidence from their pre-season games and will be hoping for a good start this weekend.

Refs may tempt players to cheat
Aug 22 2001 by Howard Kendall
REFEREES must think long and hard before they get carried away with the latest edict about being tough early in games and cutting out shirt pulling. The principle seems to be that if an official comes down hard from the start, then his job will become easier as the match unfolds. The trouble is, players might actually exploit this and it may even encourage some to cheat if they realise that a referee is making decisions for the slightest contact. Often, when you view the replays, there has been no contact at all. Players go down at the merest touch, confident that referees will be mentally tuned to react. Ugo Ehiogu was a victim in my book when Ashley Cole came in on his blind side in the recent Middlesbrough v Arsenal game. The end product was a penalty. It was harsh. For me, no contact was made. The trouble with our referees is that we take things to the letter when a new instruction comes out. We become militant, while foreign referees are not quite so reactive.
It's not as if this latest tightening up is to do with ruthless tackling. Refs have got to ensure that by being tough, as they see it, they are not setting themselves up to be conned. It's human nature that some players will get away with as much as they can. I was reading an article by Mark Lawrenson this week in which he said that the introduction of professional referees will do nothing to improve standards. Mark claimed that regardless of how much officials are paid - and at present it is £33,000 for those in the top flight - players will still see the man in black as someone who knows very little about the game. In some respects the players themselves have the answer. Perhaps more ex-pros should take up the whistle, particularly those from the lower leagues who would see the salary presently on offer as a reasonable one. I would like to see the Professional Footballers Association encouraging more members to take their refereeing badge while they are still playing. It could be as important, for instance, as taking a coaching badge. Certainly, it would help the long term career structure of many players and help to deal with the widely held view that referees are inconsistent because they simply do not understand what makes players tick. Of course, there is one thought. What happens if we get ex-players out in the middle and they are accused of bias? Can you imagine Roy Keane reffing a Liverpool v United game? I don't think too many, if any, top flight players would take on the challenge because most finish their careers well placed financially. But it is a challenge and an opportunity for those lower down. If it happens and we are still decrying the man in the middle then we will just have to accept that referee baiting is just a national pastime.
Are United getting too confident
ARE Manchester United suddenly too confident for their own good? I previously said that the only problem they might have is if they get carried away with their rotational policy. I wonder now if overconfidence is another danger. Sir Alex Ferguson made a double substitution against Blackburn the other night when Yorke came on for Scholes and Cole replaced van Nistelrooy. They didn't seem to have the enthusiasm that was so evident when Cole was first choice and Yorke arrived at the club full of ambition. United still close down better than any other side in the top flight.
Evertonians will agree that Peter Reid and Paul Bracewell were the best two we ever had when it came to hunting in packs. Veron and Keane echo that style. But you look at that and the ridiculous antics of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who must be believing his own publicity hand-outs about being the best in the world. Suddenly there are one or two chinks for opponents to exploit and Blackburn came close to causing a real upset.
But United remain the team to beat.
EVERTON fans were frustrated that the Blues could not break down nine man Spurs on Monday. But it's amazing how many times 10 men beat 11 or nine get stirred up and organised to frustrate their opponents. Players who are not normally defensive- minded weigh in with a contribution. They key is to be patient in these situations, even when the crowd are naturally urging you to get it forward.
You must keep it and try to break into wide crossing positions as close to the goalline as possible rather than going route one. At the same time, you must not fall victim to the sucker punch.
I remember Malcolm Allison putting on a coaching session at Lilleshall when he was at his peak with Manchester City. He was always experimenting and looking for something new. He played 11 against seven, claiming he would always be able to organise defensively to deal with such a situation! He was right and so it puts things in perspective. THE number of bookings and dismissals we have seen early in the season once again throws up the thought that a sin bin situation might be the answer. Of course, players should still get a red card for violent conduct, ruthless tackles o r anything that denies a goal. But for minor offences like shirt pulling which can lead to a couple of yellow cards and then a dismissal, I think the sin bin would be more relevant. An individual could be punished with 10 minutes off the field and that would be enough. As it stands now, we are getting too many dismissals and too many suspensions which cannot be good for a sport which is also supposed to be an entertainment.

Gravesen: Tell me you're sorry
Aug 22 2001 by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
THOMAS GRAVESEN is seeking an apology from Tottenham's Mauricio Taricco for the horror tackle that put the Everton midfielder in hospital and fearing he'd broken his leg. The Argentinian escaped any punishment for his deliberate lunge at the Danish international during Monday's 1-1 draw at Goodison Park though the FA could still step in and punish the Spurs defender if referee David Elleray insists. Gravesen was stretchered off and spent the night in hospital where he had an operation to insert over 20 stitches into a gaping wound in the front of his leg. The 25-year-old is expected to be missing for up to four weeks after becoming the first major injury blow of Everton's season, though Goodison officials have not given up hope the Dane could return for the trip to Manchester United on September 8. And Gravesen, who was in commanding form prior to the blow, last night said: "I hope he will apologise to me. "I don't know how I feel about him. He has been injured himself so I cannot understand how the player has made such a bad foul.
"After the tackle I looked down and saw a hole in my sock and I could see a hole in my leg as well. I looked away after that. I didn't scream but I was very worried about what was happening."
The tackle was condemned by both Everton boss Walter Smith and Spurs chief Glenn Hoddle, who revealed he had blasted his own player for the incident during the half-time interval.
Hoddle said: "I told Taricco that I was unhappy with his challenge and a lot of people in football would also have been unhappy with it. There was no excuse for it." And the popular Goodison midfielder admitted the ill-timed injury could have been far worse. Gravesen added: "If he had hit me further up the leg it could have been broken. "I've seen replays of the incident on TV and I've been lucky. "Glenn Hoddle said it was a bad tackle even though he is from the opposing team. He has been a real gentleman about it." Referee Elleray didn't even penalise Taricco but has agreed to look again at the match video to re-consider the two red cards for Spurs pair Gary Doherty and Gustavo Poyet. If he views the Gravesen incident again there is still a possibility that the FA could be asked to also scrutinise the TV evidence, which showed Taricco slashing Gravesen's leg on the side of his shin. And if the extended loss of Gravesen isn't tough enough for Blues boss Smith, it has also emerged that he is likely to get very little of the £7million transfer fee for Michael Ball from Rangers to spend on new players. Smith, who also sold Francis Jeffers for £10m this summer, will be expected to sell the likes of Steve Simonsen, Thomas Myhre or Abel Xavier to raise cash for further purchases. Initially Smith wanted the Ball cash up front from his former club so he could progress with several transfer options, including Coventry keeper Magnus Hedman who is still waiting for a Goodison deal to progress. But because of the knee injury that Ball is suffering from, the cash payments in the deal have been restructured with Rangers believed to be paying in instalments.
With Coventry's asking price for their Swedish star at around £3.5m Everton initially only wanted to pay £2m the chances of a deal happening quickly look slim. Smith, meanwhile, has denied reports linking him with a move for Hearts' midfielder Colin Cameron.

Blues hit the lofty heights to defy odds
Aug 22 2001 by Len Capeling
AND SO, for the first time in eight years Everton are top of the league, though memory reminds me that that was the season of Wimbledon and the great escape. Twenty-four hours at the summit ain't bad, particularly after a summer of gloomy predictions. My take on the opening games was that Everton needed seven points from a possible nine, with a wall of fire stretching across the horizon.
Victory against Middlesbrough on Saturday will take the Blues to that target, and help erase a few frowns. Of course, it could have been so much better, particularly as Spurs were down to nine men after a couple of bizarre decisions by David Elleray. The dominance of a fit Duncan Ferguson in the air is always going to be a massive plus for Everton, but only if quality ball is delivered.
Too often against Tottenham, the Blues were drawn into trying to find Dunc even when a better option was on. That said, Everton had enough chances to claim all three points, but still need more adventure from a midfield which rarely gets beyond the front two except at set plays.
There are improvements to be made, but given the lack of financial support for Walter Smith, he's again managed to create a compact-looking team that should stay out of trouble although the dreaded injuries are already beginning to bite. A HEART-FELT thank-you to the 18,395 true Blues who turned out to salute Alex Young. The 'Golden Vision' was clearly moved by the love that flowed from a crowd who wanted him to know how the game's true legends are worshipped.
Alex will now get what I hope will be a generous (and richly deserved) pay-out. But what will stick most in the memory for him, his wife Nancy, and his family will be the tremendous adoration which the Goodison faithful reserve for their greatest sons. FIRST week of professsional referees and nothing changes. Jeff Winter is still a poor decision-maker, as evidenced by his patchy performance at Anfield on Saturday. It wasn't just the dubious penalty decision against Stephane Henchoz, but the general fussiness of a man who clearly believes he's the star performer. Andy D'Urso, fresh (if that's the right word) from his near total misreading of the advantage rule at the Millennium Stadium, continued his destruction of that particular law at Stamford Bridge. Worst of all was Graham Barber's dismissal of Ugo Ehiogu when the Middlesbrough defender clearly made no decisive contact with Arsenal's stumbling Ashley Cole. Then Tony Adams gets away with an horrendous tackle, after already being booked. And that was before David Elleray's remarkable Goodison Park display in failing to see anything wrong in Taricco's ugly lunge that drew blood from Thomas Gravesen's leg and then sending off two Tottenham players for far more mild misdemeanours. Those of us who warned that paying referees large sums of money would not improve a general lack of ability have been proved right, in worrying fashion, on the opening days of the new season. With 10 months of tetchiness still to come, and the signals already stuck on red, there is real cause for concern. BOOK me a front-row seat for Ginola versus Gregory, whether it's at the Hague or the City Varieties. Imagine the moment when Mr Justice Cocklecarrot leans creakily forward, peers over his pince-nez. and enquires with simulated weariness: "And who, pray, is David Ginola?" Judges love to play the naively uninitiated when it comes to famous pop stars and frothy celebrities, though I exempt my good friends John Morgan and Tony Ensor from such censure. They will probably be as fascinated as I am by the bizarre revelation that the boy David (bouncy locks, sexy grin, allegedly thickening waistline) has hired the fragrant Cherie Blair to defend his human rights against attack by the Aston Villa manager. I know it's absurd, but in a week when Robbie Fowler said too little and Jaap Stam said too much, it needed David Ginola to make us all realise that being accused of fatness was indeed a crime against footballing humanity. It helps that I have no sympathy for Ginola or for Gregory who, after all, bought the French winger when the ultra-professional George Graham hardly gave him a game. As the evidence shows that Ginola has now upset Gerard Houllier, when he was manager of France, George Graham and John Gregory, I suspect the case for the defence is pretty well rock-solid.
Pies, anyone?
I CAN'T recall the last time the Football League did anything remotely sensible, so I found myself overdosing on smelling salts after two enlightened judgments in a week. First, they refused Wimbledon permission to inflict themselves on poor old Milton Keynes and then karate-chopped the Nationwide Conference for attempting to turn their chanpionship - and with it admittance to the League - into a bun-fight. Their harebrained idea would have forced the legitimate winners of the Conference into a series of play-offs for the right to be called champions. A rare clinking of glasses, then, to the Football League.

Tackle puts Gravesen out for month
Aug 22 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN needed 30 stitches in his calf muscle in an operation which lasted 20 minutes after Monday night's horror tackle by Mauricio Taricco - and now faces a month's lay-off.
The Danish midfielder became the first major injury blow of Everton's season. He is still in hospital and Gravesen's fiance, Gitte Pedersen, explained: "Thomas has a gash on his calf muscle.
"They opened up his leg to check the bone was okay. Now he is being kept in for a few days' observation. "I talked to him on the way to hospital and he was thinking of the international matches he will miss. It means so much for him to play in the Danish national side."
Argentinian defender Taricco escaped punishment on the night, but could still be charged by the FA, who were waiting to receive referee David Elleray's report this morning. Gary Naysmith and Paul Gascoigne, meanwhile, are fit and back in full training again, but both need some competitive action under their belts before they can be considered for a senior recall. They could figure for the reserves in next Tuesday's game against Aston Villa. Alec Cleland is also fit again, but neither Tomasz Radzinski nor Danny Cadamarteri has recovered sufficiently to be included for Saturday's visit of Middlesbrough to Goodison Park. Bundesliga side Energie Cottbus, meanwhile, are the latest club to offer former Everton target Daniel Prodan a trial.

Nev back on Euro trail with Rhyl
Aug 22 2001 By SCOTT McLEOD, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Neville Southall has returned to his Welsh roots eager to earn a European football swansong. The 42-year-old goalkeeper has signed on with League of Wales side Rhyl.
It is a long way from Goodison Park and the glamour of one of the finest domestic leagues in the world. But that doesn't bother the down-to-earth Southall, who believes the North Wales club is capable of pushing Barry Town all the way for the league championship. The League of Wales crown would provide the men from North Wales with a place in the Champions League.
And that would give Southall his first taste of European football since Everton's 1985 triumph in the European Cup Winners Cup. Southall has never been a player pre-occupied with the prestige of the professional game, but he would savour the thrill of playing for a Welsh team in club footballs premier competition. "The only thing I have ever been worried about is enjoying myself on the football pitch," explains the eccentric keeper. Big crowds, TV cameras and all the attention the players received was never important to me when I was at Everton. "How could I say that all those things were my priority when there are thousands of people out there who would give anything for just one chance to play in the Premiership? "I would have played for nothing because I love the thrill of playing football. "The crowds may be smaller with Rhyl, but I am getting the same buzz.
"We have a good bunch of lads here and the incentive of getting into European football is a big one. Barry Town are a good side and will be tough to beat but we have started the season with the title in our sights, that is the only way to think." But even if European football eludes Southall, he is thrilled at being back in the League of Wales. The opportunity to return to his roots was something the big man could not turn down, having started his footballing career with Llandudno Swifts as a 12-year-old. "It is nice to be able to go back and play in the League of Wales," he adds. "I would like to go back into English football in some capacity at some stage, but this is where I started out and this is my home league. "It has been nice to see the steps that have been made since I was playing for Llandudno as a kid. "When I was playing back then we were getting changed in sheds and having to bathe in tin baths. Now the pitches are looking good, there are proper changing rooms and the the clubs are run much more professionally. "There are a lot of teams prepared to spend a bit more money because there is the route into Europe. "Barry Town benefited this season because they managed to get past the first round and earn a plum draw against Porto. If the teams that get into Europe continue to make progress that is going to be great for the game in Wales. All the grounds are being developed at the moment and it is a good league to be involved in." Southall made his debut for Rhyl last weekend, producing a Man of the Match display in his team s 2-1 defeat to Afan Lido. He continues to give his all on the football field and he refuses to accept that the time to hang up his boots is looming on the horizon. He adds: "There is nothing physically wrong with me and I want to play as long as possible. "There is nothing better than getting on the pitch and being able to have a laugh in a game. That is what I have always done and I want to be able to do that for a while yet. "It was terrible news about Les Sealey earlier this week but that just shows that you should keep doing what you want to do as long as possible because you never know what is around the corner. I feel fantastic and I am enjoying myself." But Southall is having to fit his spell at Rhyl between his coaching commitments. He may have missed out on the job of Welsh national coach, but he remains heavily involved with the Wales FA. He is employed as the coach of the Under 19s and is currently in Estonia with the squad taking part in a tournament, which means he will miss Saturdays crunch clash between Rhyl and Bangor. But he will back in time for the third game of the season with another target on the horizon. He concludes: "I played more than 1,000 games as a professional and now I want to go past the 300 mark in League of Wales."

Gascoigne on the way back
Aug 23 2001 by JONATHAN McEVOY, Daily Post
WALTER SMITH will hand Paul Gascoigne a chance to resurrect his Everton career next week.
Gascoigne is in line to play for the reserves against Aston Villa on Tuesday as the controversial midfielder aims to put his injury and off-field problems behind him. Gascoigne's return is the latest step in the tough battle to revitalise his stalled career after making only 10 starts last season and playing just 12 minutes during pre-season. The 34-year-old star, who has been hampered by a thigh injury, is then expected to step up his comeback in behind-closed-doors matches during Everton's two-week break from Premiership action. Boss Smith said: "We only have a small squad of players and when we play games quickly we can get injuries. "But the fortnight will give us the opportunity to get Abel Xavier, Paul Gascoigne and Tomasz Radzinski back fit again for what is going to be a hard spell of games as soon as we start again after the internationals." After Saturday's home clash against Middlesbrough, Everton's next match comes on September 8 against champions Manchester United. The Merseyside derby at Goodison and a visit to Leeds United follow. Meanwhile, Everton have rubbished reports Thomas Gravesen faces eight weeks on the sidelines. The midfielder received more than 20 stitches in his leg after he was hacked down by Mauricio Taricco in Monday's Goodison draw against Tottenham and is expected to return in a month's time. However, Smith is not ruling out the possibility of Gravesen, 25, making a swift recovery in time to play against United.
Gravesen has been included in Denmark's crucial World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria despite his injury. National team coach Morten Olsen has still selected him in a squad of 25 even though he will miss the Danes games. Full-back Gary Naysmith has joined Gascoigne in full training while Alec Cleland is fit again but neither Tomasz Radzinski nor Danny Cadmarteri will recover in time for the weekend's Goodison Park encounter.

Blues set to blood young hopefuls
Aug 23 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may be forced to turn to a teenage subs bench on Saturday - with just a handful of knocks wreaking havoc with the Blues threadbare squad. Defenders Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are the men causing concern as they aim to shake off respective hip and foot injuries in time for the visit of Middlesbrough. David Unsworth and Gary Naysmith are ready to step in, even though Naysmith has played little competitive football pre-season, but that would leave the Blues with a very inexperienced substitutes bench. Manager Walter Smith said: "Monday night's injury to Thomas Gravesen and ongoing problems with Tomas Radzinski, Abel Xavier and Danny Cadamarteri have left us a little short. "But Tony Hibbert, Nick Chadwick and Peter Clarke are all promising boys and they can do a job for us." Xavier's ongoing absence is particularly frustrating to the Blues boss.
The Portuguese international underwent a blood test last season which revealed a viral condition, and while he is back in training he has still not completely thrown off the virus. Radzinski should be fit to return after the looming international break, while Cadamarteri is also close to a return.
Paul Gascoigne is back in full training and could get a run-out when the Reserve team programme kicks-off next Tuesday. The problems highlight the lightweight nature of the Blues squad and the importance of avoiding the kind of injury crisis which blighted last season. Former FA fitness guru Rob Ryles has recently been appointed head of an extended physiotherapy department at Bellefield.

Just let refs get on with it
Aug 23 2001
SO now we know. Referees have been given an instruction to be tough in the opening phases of Premier League games to psychologically warn players that they won't get away with anything.
I can remember the days when, as a defender, you could commit murder in the opening stages and get a mild ticking off by the referee who accepted your plea that you were just getting your timing right. The worm has turned, but is it for the better? Refs are not just stirring up fans, but infuriating players to the point at which their early warning strategy is actually causing trouble, not preventing it. I saw the officious David Elleray at his irritating best at Everton on Monday. Then I witnessed Jeff Winter in action at Highbury. He pulled back Arsenal's Patrick Vieira, despite the Frenchman's brilliance in evading three lunging challenges from Leeds players in a powerful break that was screaming for the advantage. So who was Winter being tough on? The crowd were incensed. Vieira was furious. The official was being pedantic to make his early point. It didn't calm the players. It wound them up. Why must referees be brainwashed with edicts from above every new season? Just let them get on with it. The greatest officials are only seen posing with the captain and the mascot before the kick-off. Elleray, for one, got more mentions in one report than some players get in an entire season. IF you are an Evertonian, the irony of Tomasz Radzinski's injury will not be lost on you. The Blues invested in the services of the pacy striker because the chances of Messrs Ferguson and Campbell lining up together in more than two games on the trot appeared to be as remote as Alex Nyarko booking his next holidays in Walton or Wavertree. And yet big Dunc and skipper Kev are toiling at the coal face while the unfortunate Tomasz is the odd man out in the treatment room. The Aussie's frustration must have been compounded on Monday when the fans greeted the team announcements in tried and trusted fashion. A solid salute for most players. Thunderous applause when the Bruise Brothers were announced. Welcome to the land of centre-forward icons, Tomasz. The challenge is doubled edged. Get fit and aim to become one of them.

Everton 2 Middlesbrough 0
Boro Register Unwanted Hat-Trick
IT is now three defeats and no goals in 270 minutes for Middlesbrough as for the second time in a week they were beaten by a side which went to the top of the Premier League... IT is now three defeats and no goals in 270 minutes for Middlesbrough as for the second time in a week they were beaten by a side which went to the top of the Premier League. A disappointing result and another performance which lacked a cutting edge - just one direct effort which needed the intervention of Everton 'keeper Paul Gerrard - saw Boro go down 2-0 at Goodison Park. Steve McClaren recalled Steve Vickers to the starting line-up for this afternoon's game. Alen Boksic failed a late fitness test, so the Boro manager was forced to reshuffle his formation, playing with a 5-3-2 line-up for the first time this season. The team news was better for Everton as Duncan Ferguson passed a late test on a thigh strain, while David Unsworth was recalled to replace Dane Thomas Gravesen, who needed 30 stitches in a calf wound inflicted by Mauricio Taricco of Tottenham on Monday night. Bright sunshine, a gentle breeze and very warm temperatures greeted the teams as they took the field to the theme of the old TV series Z-Cars. After keeping possession for the opening couple of minutes, Boro came under threat when Ferguson barged his way past Vickers to pick out captain Kevin Campbell. A ball out wide found Niclas Alexandersson but a poor cross from the Swede drifted well over Mark Schwarzer's crossbar. Neat footwork from Jonathan Greening created time and space for the ex-Manchester United player to attack the Everton midfield, but a promising move faded out when Boro reached the edge of the home side's penalty area. Paul Okon handed the Toffeemen a golden opportunity to open the scoring with only 12 minutes played when, from the D on the edge of his own penalty area, he inexplicably picked out Campbell. Fortunately the striker seemed surprised to have the ball at his feet and close control let him down. Three minutes later it looked as though Everton has taken the lead. A fine ball over the top of Boro's defence from Steve Watson picked out Campbell. He held possession well inside Boro's box before swinging over a cross for Ferguson who climbed above Schwarzer, heading inches wide of the Boro 'keeper's right-hand post.
But the home side didn't have long to wait. With 17 minutes played Mark Pembridge swung over a right-wing corner and Campbell rose high to beat Schwarzer to the ball just inside the 6-yard box.
Boro settled to secure enough possession to fashion a half chance midway through the opening 45 minutes. A long ball forward from just inside the Everton half from Hamilton Ricard was flicked on neatly by Curtis Fleming five yards up from the edge of the Everton box. Joseph Job latched onto the possibility of a strike but Gerrard came quickly off his line to cover. Excellent work from Vickers on the halfway line saw him get the better of Ferguson to prevent another direct threat on Boro's goal, but the home side still held the upper hand, although by no means were they a potent force.
With just under half an hour played Welsh international Pembridge was replaced by Israeli Idan Tal.
A combination of Gareth Southgate and Colin Cooper was needed to thwart Everton when next they pressed; the Boro physio needed minutes later after Schwarzer felt the full, fair, force of a Ferguson challenge. McClaren appeared on the touchline, notepaper in hand, ten minutes from the break, imploring more movement from his strikers. It was Everton who almost added to their tally minutes later as Ferguson flicked on to Campbell who in turn picked out Alexandersson. The midfielder was left with a clear shot on target but only found Schwarzer; Cooper intercepting a pass intended for Campbell from Alexandersson who had picked up the rebound. Entering first-half injury time Boro won a free-kick just up from the left-hand edge of the Everton box, but a high, hanging delivery from Paul Ince was palmed away by Gerrard. As Everton cleared attention was drawn to a altercation between Watson and Ricard with the Boro striker shown the yellow card and given a long lecture after retaliating to what he saw was a rash challenge from the former Villa and Newcastle man.
McClaren made a change at half-time replacing Ricard with Szilard Nemeth, who scored two goals for the reserves against Carlisle in midweek. It was the Slovakian's Boro debut following his summer signing from Inter Bratislava. But it was Fleming who figured prominently in the early exchanges, a brave header conceding a corner but preventing a direct effort on goal. There was nothing anyone could do as Everton doubled their advantage in spectacular style with six minutes of the second half played. A diving header cleared the danger from a corner but Scot Gemmill volleyed an unstoppable 25-yard volley into Schwarzer's bottom right-hand corner. It took a while for Boro to get back into the game and with distribution patchy and the final ball poor Boro's travelling fans had little to keep them in top voice. A splendid tackle from Southgate prevented Campbell from having a clear strike on goal as the home side pressed, but by then two more Boro subs were getting stripped ready for action - as McClaren attempted to get back into the game. With 62 minutes played Robbie Mustoe and Dean Windass replaced Vickers and Okon with Boro reverting to a 4-4-2 formation.
Boro looked more comfortable, but still created little inside the penalty box, although they forced two corners in quick succession as the game entered the final quarter. Both were cleared and Everton attempted to regain momentum lost through Boro's changes. But, determined, the visitors kept going. Job was a little unlucky not to win a free-kick when caught by Alessandro Pistone. The Cameroon international attempted to keep his feet at he approached the goal line between Gerrard's left-hand post and the corner flag - but ultimately failed to keep the ball in play.
It was Job who had Boro's first - and only - effort on goal, skipping past three defenders to bring a spreading save out of Gerrard with a low drive to the near post with 77 minutes played.
Entering injury time Job attempted another effort from just inside the right-hand edge of the penalty area but his effort, which flew well wide, seemed to sum up Boro's day.
Campbell 17
Gemmill 62
Everton: Gerrard, Watson, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson (Naysmith 88), Campbell (Capt.), Ferguson, Pembridge (Tal 28), Gemmill. Unused subs: Simonsen (gk), Moore, Chadwick.
Middlesbrough: Schwarzer; Fleming, Cooper, Southgate, Ehiogu, Vickers (Windass 62), Okon (Mustoe 62), Greening, Ricard (Nemeth 46), Job, Ince (Capt.).
Unused subs: Crossley(gk), Stockdale.
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie (Sheffield)
Everton: Unsworth 71 (foul on Ince), Pistone 84 (handball)
Middlesbrough: Ricard 45 (foul)

Young Blues are playing catch up
Aug 29 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Youth Academy teams will be playing catch up this season.
After a hugely successful 2000-01 campaign - when the Under-19s captured the North West title and the reserves claimed their crown - the Blues have accepted a new influx of talent. But for this season the club's Youth Academy sides will effectively field teams a year below the age limit.
"We have a very young side in the Under-19s this season, but it will be a good learning experience playing against older boys week in week out," explained coach Colin Harvey. "The experience they gain is more important than any actual achievement. "There isn't a great deal between 18-yearold and 19-year-old players, although at that stage of their development the older boys can be a little more physically mature, but it's all part of the learning curve for them." This season's U19 team kicked off their campaign with a creditable 0-0 draw at Chelsea on Saturday. The Londoners' England international goalkeeper Lenny Pidgeley was the difference between the sides, beating out efforts by Martin Crowder, Dave Carney and Michael Symes. Academy director Ray Hall said: "With a little more quality and control we might have won it." The year's age gap showed more decisively at U17 level, where Alan Harper's young side went down 4-1 to Birmingham. The Blues, depleted by international call-ups and injuries, had several triallists playing. Highly rated young England striker Wayne Rooney - still just 15 - scored Everton's goal.

Spurs ace Taricco says sorry
Aug 29 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Thomas Gravesen has received a written apology from Spurs' defender Maurico Taricco after the horror tackle a week ago which left the Dane needing 30 stitches in his leg.
And the Argentine has said he will shake Gravesen's hand when the Blues go to White Hart Lane in January. But the belated apology looks unlikely to save Taricco from a ban. The FA's video panel is studying the tackle and could recommend a suspension if they come to the same conclusion as the millions of Sky viewers who witnessed the challenge. Gary Doherty, however, has already had his red card from the game at Goodison rescinded. An FA spokesman said: "The sending off will be expunged from the record of the player after David Elleray advised that he had been harsh to dismiss Gary Doherty. "But the referee has not recommended anything in his report of the Poyet sending off. Tottenham have appealed against it, however, and so it will go before the video panel."
Doherty's foul on Kevin Campbell resulted in the Blues winning a penalty from which Duncan Ferguson equalised in the 1-1 draw. Gustavo Poyet was later dismissed for a lunge on Steve Watson, which left Spurs having to play the last 20 minutes with nine men. Everton boss Walter Smith believes the FA should alter their rules governing suspensions. He believes it would be fairer to ban Taricco, if he is found guilty, from the next Spurs v Everton fixture. "On the night Everton were the team punished by Taricco's tackle," he explained. "We lost our most influential player on the night, possibly for a few more games, too, while Taricco stayed on the pitch. "If he is banned that will not redress the balance in Everton's favour, while one of our rivals in the Premiership could benefit by playing Spurs when Taricco is suspended. "It would be a fairer option to suspend Taricco the next time Spurs and Everton meet."

Gazza targets United game
Aug 29 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE completed his first full 90 minutes for almost a year last night - and immediately set his sights high. After returning in Everton Reserves' 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, he targeted a senior return against Champions Manchester United in 10 days time. "I enjoyed getting back out playing again," he said. "It's been a long time but I felt fine and got better as the game went on.
"I just want to get another game in against Sheffield Wednesday Reserves next week and then wait and see what happens against Manchester United." The best Gascoigne could hope for at Old Trafford is a place on the substitutes' bench, but with midfielders Thomas Gravesen and Mark Pembridge both recovering from injury, Gazza's return to fitness has come at an apt moment.
Portuguese international Abel Xavier also completed his first 90 minutes of the season last night and will hope for another run-out next Tuesday. The Blues, meanwhile, have announced the same sweeping Worthington Cup price cuts which proved so successful last season. Everton entertain Crystal Palace on Wednesday, September 12 and will repeat the pricing experiment which attracted 25,654 to watch last season's second round match against Bristol Rovers. Adults will be admitted for £10, children and OAPs for £5. "It is a way of saying thank you to our supporters," said Chief Executive Michael Dunford. "It is not cheap to watch football these days and it is better to play in front of as large a crowd as possible." The contract of Youth Academy scout Mick Doherty, meanwhile, has been terminated. The move comes just a month after Doherty's son, Sean - a promising England international winger - rejected a new Goodison deal and signed for Fulham.

A sight to cheer every Blues fan
Aug 29 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE gave Everton a huge boost by completing his first full game for 11 months.
The Blues midfielder hasn't played a full 90 minutes since injuring his thigh against Aston Villa, and ironically it was the Midlanders who provided the opposition last night. The former England man played just 20 minutes at Sunderland Reserves near the end of last season but looked fit and well during the 1-1 draw at the AutoQuest Stadium. It was the visitors, however, who opened the brightest as Everton started the defence of their FA Premier Reserve League title.
Richard Walker tried a speculative lob after just nine minutes, which went just wide of Steve Simonsen's goal. Gascoigne nearly made a dream return on 21 minutes when a good run by the impressive McLeod put Gascoigne in but his shot went just wide. McLeod was put in again by Gascoigne on 42 minutes but the youngster couldn't keep his shot down. Gascoigne was again involved just after the break when Nick Chadwick chested down for the Geordie to volley straight at the keeper. Everton eventually found the breakthrough on 62 minutes when McLeod again showed tremendous pace down the left to cross for Danny Cadamarteri to rifle in a superb strike past Henderson. The home side should have increased their lead when Gascoigne played a nice one-two with Matt McKay and then nutmegged two defenders to curl a shot round the keeper, who just managed to turn it around the post. Villa forced an equaliser on 75 minutes when an Everton attack broke down and Stephen Moore went oneonone with Simonsen. The Blues keeper saved the first effort but was hopeless to prevent Richard Walker from rolling home the loose ball. Everton: Simonsen, Hibbert, Pilkington, Xavier, Clarke, Cleland, Cadamarteri, Gascoigne, Chadwick, McKay, McLeod. Subs unused:Curran, Pettinger, Kearney, Eaton.

Blues expect a crowd
Aug 30 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will be aiming to top an all-time attendance record when Crystal Palace visit Goodison Park for this season's Worthington Cup second round. Slashed admission prices yielded a shock gate of almost 26,000 for last season's corresponding fixture with Bristol Rovers. That was the highest attendance Everton had ever attracted for that stage of the League Cup competition, and they are hoping another adventurous price policy will see that figure eclipsed on Wednesday, September 12.
Adults will be admitted for £10, and juniors and OAPs for £5. Chief Executive Michael Dunford said today: "We don't want to make any predictions, but ideally we would like to see even more here for the visit of Palace than watched last season's game with Bristol Rovers. "Palace are a division higher - and this season's tie will be sudden death v with the game decided on the night. " We would be delighted by any gate over 20,000 at such an early stage of the competition, but it would be nice if we could top last season's mark." Blues boss Walter Smith will be praying Celtic defender Tommy Boyd shakes off a knee strain in time to take his place in Scotland's lineup for Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia. Gary Naysmith is in line to replace Boyd, after just two minutes senior action all season. That fleeting appearance came against Middlesbrough last Saturday. He also played in a specially arranged match against Scotland's Under-18 team at Hampden Park on Tuesday to build his fitness levels.

Blue view from downunder
Aug 31 2001 by Brian Miller
Can Everton maintain their excellent start to this current campaign? Will Kevin Campbell realise his European dream? What is the difference for Walter Smith and Everton this season? Just some of the questions on everyone's lips down at goodison park and beyond. Subject to Everton not having the injury crisis that they suffered last season, as well as not losing anymore players to other clubs, then they will most certainly improve on last season. The inclusions of both Alan Stubbs and Thomasz Radzinski will turn out to be master strokes for Walter Smith, as Stubbs has already proved his class to everyone and how he is a more than a competent central defender. His ability to pass a ball is well known and will certainly add to Everton's building of attacks. Radzinski, whilst being out injured at the moment, shall offer Walter the option of three quality front line strikers, and with his speed and vision, should score a number of goals for Everton. It is common knowledge how Everton have amassed a large bank overdraft of which needs rectifying, and as such Walter hasn't got the money to throw around on replacing key players. Looking at the players that have left via the Goodison exit door in the close season, I feel that the only true losses were Jeffers, Ball and Doherty. Gough has been replaced already, although another competent central defender is still required. Jeffers has been replaced , but the future stars of Goodison (Kings Dock) are to be retained, as it will then prevent Everton on having to go out and purchase players all of the time.
Losing the likes of Stephen Hughes was certainly no loss as I couldn't understand what Walter saw in him in the first place, and hopefully Monaco will want to keep Nyarko on a permanent basis.
As far as the incoming players are concerned I am somewhat vague with the likes of P.Ince, M.Hedman and G.Stuart being the most spoken about players. I can't believe the crap about the supporters being somewhat annoyed at the fact of Everton showing an interest in Ince, as he is a quality player of whom is also versatile, and can be used as a stopper if required. His fighting spirit is just what Everton needs at the moment, and the fact that he would be free is another bonus factor.
The interest in Hedman is very promising, as Everton have struggled in the area of goalkeepers now for some time. To improve this area is a definite must. Having a keeper with the ability of Hedman would lift any defender's game, as it is very noticable how the lack of confidence in Gerrard has adjusted the defender's games somewhat. As for Kevin Campbell's dream of Europe is concerned, it will take a massive effort by the Goodison boys, and by furthering their efforts in the two domestic cups, then maybe they do have an outside chance, but only through the cup competitions.
I don't feel that they can compete with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds, Arsenal, Chelsea, Ipswich, Tottenham and Sunderland as yet, all of whom will hold onto the top eight spots, with Fulham being the dark horses. It would be a dream, and most certainly lift the spirits of every true blue Evertonian if we were to get into Europe, or to even do well in the league and cup competitions, but it would take 100% concentration and hard work before we could realise this desire. Instead of putting any undue pressure on the likes of Walter Smith and his backroom boys, let's just concentrate on holding onto our Premier league status and sorting out the overdraft problem first. Once these have been taken care of, then the sky's the limit as to how far the Blues can go. My only tip to Walter would be for him to hold onto his youth players, and to look at building a better youth system than we already have. I would also suggest to Walter to have a close look at the likes of M.Upson, A.Niemi, J.Terry, M.Forssell, M.Lockwood, C.Roussell, M.Solis, S.McPhail, J.Burns, J.Newby, S.Wright, N.Rizzo, S.Wright-Phillips, L.Chadwick, J.McClen, W.Korsten, L.King, J.Cole, M.Keller, S.Bywater, M.Carrick and G.McCann, as all of these players are going to turn out to be household names in the coming years - some of them already are.
BRIAN MILLER - Australia

Hedman transfer twist
Aug 31 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MAGNUS HEDMAN'S dream move to Goodison has been dashed - by Liverpool's swoop for team-mate Chris Kirkland, and a transfer freeze at Goodison. Hedman will now be thrust permanently into the first team frame at Coventry. Sky Blues' Chairman Bryan Richardson said: "Magnus has a four year contract and is earning very good wages. "Players like to play in the first team and if they are doing that they are happy." But Everton's on-going financial worries, however, meant that any incoming transfer remained remote. The sale of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball has been used to reduce the club's crippling overdraft. But the Blues' wage bill is still above bank guidelines.
Only the sale of other stars like Thomas Myhre or Abel Xavier would allow Walter Smith the flexibility to add to his squad. Bill Kenwright was prepared to bankroll a bid to bring Steve Lomas to Goodison last season out of his own pocket. But now it seems that the Blues have been finally forced into controlling an overdraft which has raced out of control for five years.

Don't be scared of United
Aug 31 2001
PEOPLE have been saying that Everton's great start will shortly come tumbling down around their ears with games looming against Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds. I don't see it that way and fans should not take the negative view that the Blues are about to head from their dizzy heights to what has been more familiar Premiership territory. Let's put it this way. United have not exactly made the storming start that everyone predicted and Liverpool lost at Bolton - the other surprise team at the summit of the division. These are encouraging signs as you go into what looks like potentially difficult fixtures. I believe United have taken a couple of risky decisions, one at the front at the other at the back. The first is the decision to play Paul Scholes with Ruud Van Nistlerooy.
Scholes was contributing before from a deeper role. By moving him forward, United lose the more natural input that would come from the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke or Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
It is a hell of a risk to take, and as a manager, I know who I'd rather be up against. Then there is the decision to part with Jaap Stam, who has been a rock in defence. I come back to a simple question. Is there an over-confidence at Old Trafford? It gives a glimmer of hope to those who might otherwise face United with a certain amount of trepidation. It also gives a boost to the teams who genuinely believe they can match the Manchester giants in this year's Championship race.
Everton are next in line for Fergie's men. Don't write off the Blues' chances.


















August 2001