Everton Independent Research Data


Fenerbahce 5, Everton 0 (D, Post)
Ian Doyle At The Ataturk Stadium, Daily Post
Aug 1 2005
THE new away kit was about the only silver lining for Everton in Istanbul on Saturday. A journey intended by David Moyes to give his players a taste of forthcoming European combat resulted instead in a morale-sapping thrashing to Turkish champions Fenerbahce. As the manager later admitted, it made clear - not that it was really required - the exalted company his squad are now keeping and the standard of opposition they are striving to face in this season's Champions League.
The question now is just how long they can remain at that top table of European football. Certainly, any repeat of this meek surrender when Villarreal come visiting in the final qualifying round first leg next week will ensure their stay remains a short one. As a wake-up call, it was akin to being roused by someone standing by the side of the bed piping thrash metal down a mega-phone. The message was loud and clear. Now Moyes must hope his players have shook off their pre-season lethargy after being startled by a setback that was every bit as one-sided as the scoreline suggests. Searching for positives from this defeat would be a futile exercise. As a collective, Everton were dismal against an admit-tedly excellent Fenerbahce team, while few players did their individual cause any good.
Okay, it was only a friendly and, thankfully, some bruised reputations aside, no permanent damage has been done. But the message it sends out only fuels the fire among those doubters who insist Everton's current squad is punching above its weight by targeting the group stages of the Champions League. To ensure that progression, there must be a vast improvement on a shocking performance that continued the underwhelming summer form of the Goodison outfit. Official friendly matches have yet to yield a victory - earlier games had seen draws against Motherwell, a Thailand Under-23 side and Manchester City - and even from an early stage on Saturday, a resounding loss looked depress-ingly inevitable. The visitors lacked sharpness, guile and were off the pace throughout, and while Fenerbahce are further ahead in their preparations for a Turkish season that begins next week, it's clear an extra seven days on the training field wouldn't bridge the vast chasm that was exposed between the teams. But what must not be forgotten is that the Premiership remains Everton's priority. Yes, European sojourns are exciting and deserved reward for the supporters, but rather than become overly affected by Saturday's defeat Everton must accept they have simply witnessed first-hand the benchmark they are ultimately aiming toward. After all, last season showed domestic opposition holds no fear to Moyes's side. Udinese's trip to Goodison on Wednesday offers Everton an instant chance to exorcise a few demons before their Champions League bow, and Moyes is well aware his squad must hit the ground running for what is in essence his club's most important game in a decade. Yet the weekend thumping has handed the Goodison manager more questions than answers. With the expection of Richard Wright in goal, Saturday's line-up could easily pass for a first-choice team - worringly,, they were found wanting in a number of fundamental areas. James Beattie does not appear at ease in a lone striking role, any creativity from midfield was desperately lacking - how it must have pained Moyes to see former transfer target Stephen Appiah bossing the centre of the park alongside Marco Aurelio - and the reticence of Simon Davies to track back down the right flank left Tony Hibbert constantly exposed to the marauding Ozat Umit and Sanli Tuncay. But the greatest immediate concern for Moyes will be the recurrence of Lee Carsley's knee injury. The defensive midfielder has only just returned to fitness after spending much of summer in the treatment room, but an early challenge left him hobbling off on the half-hour. Carsley is an integral cog in Moyes's midfield engine, and as if to demonstrate that fact it was following his enforced departure that a game Everton had fought gamely to keep within their grasp slipped inexorably towards the home side. And with no obvious like-for-like replacement and that Villar-real fixture moving into view, it heightens an already pressing need for Moyes to move in the transfer market within the next week. Squad reinforcement has now become a necessity. Saturday was a sobering experience, with the euphoria of May's fourth-place finish a long, long way away. But credit must be given to Fenerbahce. Even without Nicolas Anelka - officially suffering a minor injury, but in reality being wrapped in cotton wool ahead of a likely departure - they look a tasty proposition and will give any side a decent test in the coming Champions League. Three of their five goals came from set-pieces and while Moyes was happy to excuse this due to a lack of any specific training ground work on that particular area, it still didn't make for pretty viewing. That said, the goal that set Fenerbahce on their way in the 25th minute was laced with fortune. A deep cross from the right by Turaci Onder was missed by the challenging Joseph Yobo and Marcio Nobre and fell at the feet of Tuncay, who thrashed in a shot that struck Hibbert's arm and flew in past the unlucky Wright. However, the goalkeeper was at fault for the second goal 10 minutes later, when a debatable free-kick on the right was swung in by Alex for Nobre to steal in behind Hibbert and beat Wright to the ball and head home. Moyes will also have been disappointed with the way the custodian was fooled by Yozgatli Mehmet's speculative long-range effort on 56 minutes for the home side's third. Of course, the last time a Merseyside club visited the large, but unloved Ataturk Stadium, it was at this point in proceedings that things began to get turn in their favour. For the hardy few Evertonians who made the journey to Istanbul, however, there was to be no such joy. While never truly intimidatory, Fenerbahce's famed frenzied support ensured a lively atmosphere throughout, particularly during a half-time that was livened up by continual pitch invasions that had fretting stewards racing around to comic effect. The home fan who shot a fellow supporter in the foot during a first-half argument was probably taking matters a touch too far, though. The fourth goal came on 62 minutes, although this time no blame could be attached as the impressive Alex stepped up to curl a free-kick into the top corner from fully 25 yards. Such was Fenerbahce's dominance, Villarreal's observers would have garnered scant knowledge of any Everton attacking intentions. Beattie was an increasingly forlorn figure during the first half, dropping further and further back in a vain attempt to gain some possession, while Duncan Ferguson fared little better after the break. With Fenerbahce easing off the gas late on, it was only when James McFadden was pushed forward as a second striker that Everton at last caused Demirel Volkan in the home goal some minor alarm. Cahill and Ferguson both headed off target while McFadden was unlucky to see a lob float the wrong side of the post after being found by Mikel Arteta. But that was about it. Just to rub salt into an already gaping wound, Fenerbahce completed a nap hand in the final minute of the match when Onder headed in after more sloppy defending from Mehmet's right-hand corner. It capped a result to forget for Everton. But it is a lesson they will be wise to remember.
FENERBAHCE (4-4-2): Volkan; Onder, Luciano (Can 74), Deniz (Mehmet 46), Umit (Mahmut Hanefi 74); Serkan (Kerim 89), Aurelio (Kemal 74), Appiah (Selguk 58), Tuncay (Gurhan 74); Alex (Olcan 74), Nobre (Semih 74). Sub: Recep. BOOKING: Luciano (foul).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Wright; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo (Kroldrup 46), Pistone (Vaughan 78); Carsley (Osman 30); Davies (McFadden 46), Cahill (Li Tie 78), Arteta, Kilbane; Beattie (Ferguson 46). Sub: Martyn. BOOKING: Arteta, McFadden (both fouls).
REFEREE: Kamil Biricik.
ATT: 38,000.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Udinese, Friendly, Wednesday 8pm

Carsley in race to be fit for Villarreal clash
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 1 2005
0ShareLEE CARSLEY faces a race against time to be fit for Everton's Champions League qualifier against Villarreal. The midfielder is a major doubt for next week's third qualifying round first leg tie after jarring his right knee during the 5-0 friendly defeat to Fenerbahce on Saturday. Carsley was forced off after just half an hour after aggravating a long-standing knee problem, and will undergo intensive treatment this week at Bellefield. But the 31-year-old is considered highly unlikely to be fit for the Goodison clash against the Spanish side and could also miss the Premiership opener against Manchester United on August 13. Carsley spent much of the summer recuperating after the injury flared up during the final game of last season at Bolton Wanderers, only making his comeback in Everton's previous friendly against Manchester City last Saturday. "He has jarred his knee again," said manager David Moyes. "He has had a problem with his knee all summer, and we wanted to try and give him a game to get him ready, but he's injured it again." Carsley's setback only heightens Moyes's quest for midfield reinforcements, with reports yesterday linking Everton with a £2million move for Newcastle United's Nicky Butt. Moyes also retains an interest in Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson, although the Selhurst Park side would have to lower their asking price of £10m.
Meanwhile, Moyes attempted to remain upbeat after Saturday's demoralising friendly defeat in Istanbul, which extended Everton's winless pre-season run. Goals from Sanli Tuncay, Marcio Nobre, Yozgatli Mehmet, Alex and Turcai Onder gave Turkish champions Fenerbahce an easy victory.
But Moyes maintained the trip to Turkey was still worthwhile, with his players being made aware of what is required to claim a place in the group stages of the Champions League. "We're disappointed with the result but we knew we were coming here to play a very good side, the champions of Turkey for the last two years," Moyes said. "They are a little bit more ready than we are as their season starts next week. "The game was played exactly the way we wanted it to be. "But we didn't want the result to be the way it was. "We came here for a certain reason, and in many ways it showed exactly what we have to do if we are to have any form of success in trying to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. "It's the first game we have lost this pre-season, and we didn't come here expecting an easy ride. "If I wanted to make sure we won every game in pre-season, I'd have picked easier games than away at Fenerbahce." Moyes was unhappy about how Everton conceded the goals, particularly from set pieces. But the Everton manager conceded Fenerbahce were too good on the night. He added: "Fenerbahce played very well. Tuncay, Aurelio, Luciano and Alex were all players who impressed me in particular. "But we lost three goals from set-pieces and we should have done better. "But that is something we haven't worked on much yet, so maybe we have a little excuse for that, but it is only a little one."

Everton search for players for disabled teams starts at Mossley Hill tonight
Aug 1 2005 Daily Post
EVERTON'S disabled teams are holding trials to unearth new talent to represent the club.
The trials will take place at Liverpool College playing fields, Mossley Hill tonight between 6pm and 8pm. The trials are open to players of any age and sex, provided you register your interest with the club's Football in the Community department by ringing 0151 330 2307. Gillian Morley, fundraising and communications manager at Football in the Community, said: "If you think you have the skills and enthusiasm to join one of the ambulant disabled teams, then come along to Liverpool College playing field on Monday. "On the night you will need trainers, Astro shoes, training Kit, shin pads, suitable clothing and water. "Depending on your impairment and ability level you could gain entry into one of the Everton teams and compete in the league, or you may play in competitions at least once each month, within the North West. "If, however, you do not get into one of the Everton teams we will point you in the direction of other ambulant disabled teams."

Fenerbahce 5, Everton 0 (Echo)
Rob Brady at The Ataturk Stadium, Istanbul
Aug 1 2005
WITH a Champions League debut just over a week away, we can only hope this result serves as a wake-up call for the Blues. Fenerbahce showed the standard required if Everton are to mix it with Europe's best. On this evidence they threaten to fall well short of the mark. Admittedly the Turks were ahead in their pre-season preparations, but only by a week. At Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium on Saturday night it looked more like three or four weeks. Results in friendlies count for very little, of course, but performances do and this lacklustre display leaves Evertonians with cause for concern as the season fast approaches. The Merseysiders were simply outclassed. They had no answer to the cut and thrust of their opponents' play. Fenerbahce begin their defence of the Turkish title this coming weekend and they looked ready for it. From start to finish, they were a yard ahead of the Blues in every department. Quicker, sharper, hungrier, they made the visitors look like they were only just beginning their pre-season. The departure of holding midfielder Lee Carsley with a jarred knee after only half an hour did nothing to help the Blues' cause, but by then they were already trailing. Right back Turaci Onder's cross was too high for central defenders David Weir and Joseph Yobo and the ball fell to forward Sanli Tuncay. Tony Hibbert was covering but crucially lost his footing as his opponent cut inside on to his right foot. Tuncay's shot deflected off Hibbert's trailing arm, deceiving keeper Richard Wright and giving the Turks a 25th minute lead. Without Carsley the back four received little protection from marauding forwards Tuncay and Marcio Nobre, while Brazilian Alex ruthlessly exploited the hole between Everton ' s defence and midfield. Coach Christoph Daum fielded his strongest side bar the injured Nicolas Anelka and they cut through the ranks of silver shirts almost at will. They found particular joy down the flanks, with Tuncay and Alex pushing out wide and giving Hibbert and Alessandro Pistone a torrid evening. Under the cosh as they were, the Blues did not help themselves by conceding too many set pieces in dangerous positions. Such a foul out on the right hand touch line allowed Fenerbahce to double their lead on 35 minutes. Alex's delivery was missed by Hibbert at the near post and Nobre beat Wright to the ball and headed home from close range. At the other end Everton offered very little threat. Playing as the lone striker, James Beattie was unable to hold up the ball to enable the likes of Tim Cahill and sub Leon Osman to join the attack. Their only real chance of the opening half came just before the break and it was a golden one. Kevin Kilbane whipped in a low ball from the left flank which was met by Beattie arriving at the near post. Close marking by Baris Deniz, however, meant his shot was deflected wide.
Moyes shuffled his pack at the start of the second half, strengthening the forward line with Duncan Ferguson and James McFadden. By the time the pieces began to click into place, though, the Blues had found themselves 4-0 down. After gaining possession on the visitors' left flank Fenerbahce sub Yozgatli Mehmet punished Wright for leaving his near post unguarded in the 56th minute.
The keeper assumed a cross was about to be flashed across his six yard box and fatally took a step to his right in anticipation. The cunning Mehmet took full advantage and drove the ball in at the near post. It got even worse six minutes later when Per Kroldrup, a replacement for Yobo, was ruled to have halted Alex's promising run by illegal means. The tricky Brazilian picked himself up and from 25 yards curled a left footer beyond Wright and into the top far corner. The Turks understandably eased up from then on, allowing Everton a belated spell of possession. With two up front they carried more threat, but still found a goal elusive. McFadden turned provider for the only time Fenerbahce number one Demirel Volkan was seriously tested. Ferguson out-muscled marker Onder to reach the cross, but the keeper produced a fine stretch to tip the ball around his left hand upright. That was as close as Everton got. Ironically, the fifth goal came somewhat against the run of play in the dying minutes. Following a foul by McFadden out on the right flank Mehmet's free kick was met by Onder arriving late and unchallenged and the big centre half headed powerfully past Wright.
Hopefully this stuffing in Turkey will prove a jolt to the system.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo (Kroldrup 46), Weir, Pistone (Li Tie 78), Davies (McFadden 46), Arteta, Carsley (Osman 30), Cahill (Vaughan 78), Kilbane, Beattie (Ferguson 46). Not used: Martyn.

Blues to take up Spanish lessons
Aug 1 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
ASSISTANT boss Alan Irvine insists Everton will be ready for the Champions League clash with Villarreal, while striker James Beattie promises lessons will be learned from the Fenerbahce drubbing. The Blues, soundly beaten 5-0 in Istanbul on Saturday, play host to the La Liga outfit next week in the first leg of the third round qualifier. The backroom staff will embark on a spying mission to Spain to ensure they are fully prepared. Irvine (above) said: "There is no way we can go into it blind. We have plenty on them back at the training ground and we will find out even more about them. "They play Albacete this week and we will make sure we are heavily represented there. Then we will be able to inform the players about who they are up against and the shape of their team."
Villarreal are daunting opponents after finishing third in La Liga last term, yet Irvine maintains the Spaniards will not relish facing the fourth placed Blues. He added: "They are a very good side, finished third in the Spanish league and a lot of people say they were the next best team to Barcelona. They gave Middlesbrough a hard time last year in the UEFA Cup. "But it is a very tough game for them as well. I am sure they will be wishing they hadn't drawn us." Everton were today assessing the injury picked up by Lee Carsley against Fenerbahce at the weekend. The influential midfielder received a blow to the same knee at the end of last season. After rehabilitation this summer he has only played an hour of pre-season football, raising concerns that he will not be match fit for the Champions league clash with Villarreal next week. The Blues were again linked with Crystal Palace striker Andy Johnson over the weekend, although the Championship side insist he remains part of their plans. Nicky Butt has also been linked as David Moyes seeks to strengthen his squad, with reports in the North East suggesting the Newcastle midfielder is available for £2m.

We knew Fenerbahce test would be tough - Moyes
Aug 1 2005 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES admitted he knew his side would be in for a tough time against the Turkish champions even before the match kicked off. The manager said the fixture was planned as a thorough pre-season test for his players against European opposition. Fenerbahce, who qualified automatically for the group stage of the Champions League, were viewed as a barometer to determine Everton's chances against third round opponents Villarreal. After the game the manager said: "It was a game exactly as we wanted it to be, but we didn't want the result to be the way it was. It showed exactly what we have to do if we are to have any success in trying to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League. "It's the first game we have lost in pre-season. We didn't come here expecting an easy ride. If I wanted to make sure I won all the games in pre-season I would have picked easier games than coming to Fenerbahce. "We are disappointed in the result. We knew we were coming here to play a very good side, the champions of Turkey for the last two years. They are a little more ready than we are. Their season starts next week. "They played very well. We lost three goals to set pieces from which we should have done better, but that is something we haven't worked on yet."
The Blues saw midfielder Lee Carsley limp off injured after just 30 minutes. The Republic of Ireland star was sidelined for most of the summer after suffering knee ligament damage at the end of last season and received a knock on the same knee in Saturday's game. Carsley later reported no serious reaction, but remains a doubt for the final friendly with Udinese on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Fenerbahce coach Christoph Daum tipped the Blues to reach the Champions League group stage.
"I'm convinced they will qualify," said the German. "Villarreal are a very strong team, but last year at Old Trafford I saw Everton versus Manchester United. "It was a draw, but technically they played fantastic. They have a good team and when they are prepared they will produce a fantastic performance."

Moyes eyes Baros for Stanley Park switch
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 2 2005
EVERTON are considering an attempt to lure Milan Baros across Stanley Park to Goodison. David Moyes has earmarked the shock transfer as he strives to solve his team's striking shortcomings ahead of next week's Champions League qualifier against Villarreal. Everton have scored just once from open play in four pre-season encounters and netted only 45 goals in 38 Premiership games last season. And now Moyes has turned his attentions to Baros, who has been deemed surplus to requirements by Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez following the arrival of Peter Crouch. German Bundesliga outfit Schalke yesterday withdrew from the race to sign the Czech striker after admitting they were unable to meet Liverpool's £7million asking price. "The club (Liverpool) only wants to sell," said Schalke general manager Rudi Assauer. "Eight to 10million euros is impossible so Milan Baros will not be moving to Schalke." Aston Villa have also so far failed to meet Liverpool's valuation while West Ham United and Deportivo La Coruna, though having declared an interest in Baros, have yet to make a formal bid. That has paved the way for Everton to make a possible move for the 23-year-old, with Moyes having been handed sufficient funds to finance a bid. Baros's agent Pavel Paska has claimed two clubs have matched Liverpool's asking price, and said: "Liverpool will have the final say, though I do expect that Milan's transfer will be finalised soon." Everton must complete any new signings before midnight on Thursday to ensure they are eligible for the crucial Champions League third qualifying round clash against Villarreal. Moyes, who is expected to bolster his squad with a number of arrivals this week, has been desperate to bring in extra firepower over the summer only to be continually frustrated. A move for Mikel Forssell collapsed on medical grounds, former target Craig Bellamy joined Blackburn Rovers while Crystal Palace continue to price Andy Johnson out of the market with an unrealistic £10m valuation, with a press conference at Selhurst Park this morning expected to reveal the striker's future plans. Ironically, Baros was sent off in the last Merseyside derby in March following a dreadful challenge on then Goodison captain Alan Stubbs.
The last player to move from Liverpool to Everton was Gary Ablett, who made the switch in January 1992 for £750,000. Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed that the first leg of the Villarreal tie will be played at Goodison on Tuesday, August 9 with an 8.05pm kick-off. The date for the second leg in Spain has yet to be determined, but will be either Tuesday, August 23 or Wednesday, August 24.

Forlan focused on Everton clash
Daily Post
Aug 2 2005
DIEGO FORLAN is focused on Villarreal's Champions League clash with Everton but admits the possibility of scoring against Manchester United later in the competition whets his appetite.
Forlan, 26, moved to Villarreal from Old Trafford last summer and enjoyed an explosive season, finishing joint top goalscorer in Europe alongside Thierry Henry - he managed 25 Primera Liga goals.
He said: "The only thing that we have thought about is eliminating Everton. Whatever else happens this year we will have to see."

Blues must recruit now
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Dialy Post
Aug 2 2005
IN a previous letter, I have raised the problem which befalls Everton - they seem unable to recruit players, players that the team badly need. They are not a high-scoring side and the present forward line gives little hope, we basically have the same team as last season. We had a need for a striker of Bellamy's class and of course we must not forget Forssell, Johnson and players like Scott Parker, Sissoko, now we are reputed to be bidding for Eirik Bakke of Leeds, hardly the quality for Premier and European matches. Soon the transfer season will end. While Liverpool across the park continue to recruit, Everton appear to sit and watch and do nothing constructive. The fans deserve better, even Cahill is proving hard to keep.
Mr PJ Foley, Coventry
EVERTON were diabolical on Saturday. Not close enough to opposition players all over the pitch, trotting around aimlessly and giving the ball away cheaply all over the pitch as usual. We haven't got a decent full-back at the club and the midfield is short of guile and pace. No wonder the forwards are struggling. The team are a shambles but what do you expect when you resign Pistone and give long contracts to Hibbert and Naysmith?
I Woods, Liverpool
Are they for real?
I'VE heard that Everton have asked for 2,000 tickets for the away leg and got knocked back. Villarreal only want to give us 800. I know Villarreal's ground isn't the biggest but 800 tickets is a joke, especially when you consider how many Evertonians are planning on going over there.
Adam Smith, Knotty Ash
Wright off
THE minute I heard Richard Wright would be in goal was the moment I decided not to pay £8 to watch it on Setanta. Good move or what. I do not think we will beat Villarreal over two games. Might not even go. Feel so despondent.
J Jones, Waterloo
Southall return
I'VE said it before, get rid of the goalkeeping coach we are going backwards. Chris Woods is a yes man. Get Big Neville Southall in who will speak his mind.
J Williams, Liverpool
No joke
WE are a joke at present. Dithering Davie and bungling Bill need to get their fingers out. Sign Robbie Keane or Andy Johnson and a class midfielder or forget it. Don't play Wright even in friendlies - he embarrasses us, he's got to be worse than even Gerrard was.
Ron Byrne, Liverpool

Baros a target, admit Blues
Aug 2 2005 By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today revealed Milan Baros is one of their transfer options as David Moyes looks to bring a new striker to Goodison Park. The Blues boss has put together a list of potential targets, with Liverpool striker Baros one of the names on it. The Czech international is in limbo at Anfield after Rafa Benitez decided he would be happy to allow him to leave. Aston Villa and West Ham have both expressed an interest in Baros, but with Liverpool holding out for £7m for the player, neither club has been able to agree a fee. Everton's interest in Baros comes as long term target Andy Johnson ruled himself out of a potential move to Goodison by signing a new five-year contract with Crystal Palace. No player has joined Everton from Liverpool since Gary Ablett in 1992 but the Blues are considering taking Baros across Stanley Park. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness told the ECHO today: "We are looking at a number of different striking options and we are currently reviewing them all. "Baros is one of the names on the list." German club Schalke have pulled out of the race to sign Baros after Liverpool rebuffed their bid to take him on loan. Meanwhile, Tony Hibbert has backed summer arrival Per Kroldrup to prove a hit in the Premiership. Everton take on Kroldrup's former club Udinese tomorrow in the Blues final pre-season friendly before the new season gets underway next week. And Hibbert is confident the Everton fans will not be disappointed with the £5m signing. He said: "I thought that with coming over from Italy it may take Per a bit longer to get used to our pace and how we played but he hasn't looked out of place at all - he has been different class. "When I read about him in the papers I thought he sounded like a typical Italian style player, being really laid back. But that doesn't mean he has not fitted in. "He has been top class and I have enjoyed playing with him."

Blues must step up gear - Kroldrup
Aug 2 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP has had little trouble settling in to life at Everton. The Blues seem to have much in common with his previous club Udinese. Both proved the surprise package in their respective leagues last term, finishing fourth and booking their places in the third qualifying round of the Champions League. The key to that success, according to the defender, was a shared emphasis on team work. Just weeks after Kroldrup's £5m transfer from Italy to Merseyside, the two sides meet tomorrow night in Everton's final game of the pre-season campaign. Naturally the 26-year-old is relishing coming face to face with his old team. He said: "I'm very much looking towards my first game at Goodison Park. Udinese are a strong team - with the emphasis on team. "They play for each other. That's what we did for the last three years and got some good results playing like that. "They have changed a little for this season with a new coach and some new players, but the basics are the same and the team spirit is still there." The Denmark international spent four seasons with the Serie A club. He racked up more than 90 appearances and was pivotal in their success last term, a season that was almost a mirror image of Everton's Premiership campaign. "It was," he admitted. "No one expected that we would end the season in fourth, but just like Everton we did. "It's obviously a sign of a good team where everyone works hard and knows what they have to do. It has been pretty easy to settle in here. The English mentality is somewhat similar to the Danish and Scandinavian mentality, so it hasn't been difficult." The Dane believes the match with Udinese will offer a good test ahead of next week's Champions League qualifier with Spanish high flyers Villarreal. "I played against Villarreal about four years ago in a friendly, but many things have changed since then," he said. "Udinese do not play like Villarreal, but both have technically good players. They have some good individuals and are a team that like to play the ball. With the new coach they try to play more direct football. "It's a good test for Everton and it will be a good game. "I played in the UEFA Cup with Udinese. It was very exciting and gave a different aspect to the season. It's important to play in these games." Strong in the air and tidy on the floor, Kroldrup looks a good buy. He has impressed for most of pre-season, although the 5-0 drubbing by Fenerbahce on Saturday was one game all the Blues players will want to put behind them. "You always have to learn from the games you play," he said. "Fenerbahce was not a pleasant experience for us. "We faced a very good team who were a bit ahead of us. You could see they were sharper than we were. "We have to step up a gear. I don't think anything else would do. "After a game like the one on Saturday everyone wants to show it was a single mistake. "I expect the team to perform very well on Wednesday evening."

I feel sorry for Everton - Xabi
Aug 2 2005 Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL'S Xabi Alonso has admitted he "feels sorry" for Everton after the Blues were drawn against Villarreal in the Champions League qualifiers. Alonso says the Spanish club are one of the best sides in La Liga and will provide Everton with a stern test as they look to reach the group stages of the Champions League for the first time. He said: "I actually feel sorry for Everton in drawing Villarreal. "It is going to be very difficult for them to go through now because they are a very strong Spanish team, with a lot of experience. "I know that Villarreal's players are very confident that they will do great work in the Champions League this season. "The best team will prevail in that tie, but from Everton's point of view I think they need to take close care of Juan Roman Riquelme.
"If he is allowed to play with freedom, Villarreal will create many opportunities to score.
"And with players like Diego Forlan and Jose Mari in their side, you can't afford to give them chances. Stopping Riquelme is going to be the key to success for Everton." Meanwhile, Alonso admits he and his Liverpool team-mates are confident of beating Lithuanian champions FC Kaunas at Anfield tonight. He added: "From the start we must take the match seriously and take control of things and if we play to our potential, I'm confident we will win."

Blues ticket details
Aug 2 2005 Liverpool Echo
ENTRANCE to tomorrow night's clash with Udinese is on the gate only, with net profits going to the Everton Former Play-ers' Foundation. Prices are as follows: £10 for adults, juniors and over-65s in all areas of the ground. All areas of the ground (except executive areas) will be unreserved seating and the Top Balcony Stand will remain closed. Entrance is pay on the gate only. Tickets for the Premiership game with Manchester United on August 13 (kick-off 12.45pm) are on sale to Evertonia members only, from the Park End Box Office, until Monday August 8. All members will need to produce a valid membership card, and Evertonia membership only entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale begins August 8.

Stubbs' experience will be crucial - McCarthy
Aug 2 2005 Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton skipper Alan Stubbs has become Sunderland's seventh signing of the summer after agreeing a 12-month deal with the option of an extra year at the Stadium of Light. The 33-year-old left the Blues at the end of last season after his request for a new two-year contract was turned down and Mick McCarthy has moved to add experience to his defence on the club's return to the Premier-ship. "Alan is a vastly experienced centre back who played nearly 40 games in the top flight last season for a team that qualified for the Champions League," said McCarthy. "A player of his proven quality will be a great asset to us. He has leadership skills and being an older head, will have that calming influence on the younger squad members that's so important. "You need characters like that around the place and I'm thrilled that we've been able to bring him here." Stubbs added: "I've been impressed with everything about the club. "The training ground is brilliant and I've played at the Stadium of Light before, it's a fantastic venue. "I'm very happy to have signed for Sunderland and am looking forward to the season and the challenge ahead. "I know Sunderland have some good players but they have a young squad and hopefully my experience will help them."

Goodison record needed for Baros
Aug 3 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
EVERTON must break their transfer record if they are to sign Milan Baros. Liverpool are refusing to lower their £7million asking price for the Czech striker, with the Goodison club having yesterday confirmed their interest in the 23-year-old. And David Moyes will have to surpass the record £6.5m spent on purchasing James Beattie from Southampton in January if he is to persuade Liverpool into selling to their Merseyside neighbours. Everton must complete a deal within the next 48 hours to ensure Baros is available for next Tuesday's Champions League third qualifying round tie at home to Villarreal. The deadline to register any new signings for the game is midnight tomorrow with Moyes believed to be closing in on other transfer targets. Inter Milan midfielder Andy van der Meyde remains on the wanted list, with the Dutch international available for £1.8m. But it is the capture of Baros that would represent a major coup for Moyes, with Everton encouraged by the fact the player is keeping an open mind over a possible transfer. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed yesterday: "We are looking at a number of different striking options and we are currently reviewing them all. Baros is one of the names on the list." Beattie would welcome the arrival of Baros, despite the subsequent added competition for a first-team place. "He's a top striker, a Czech international who did very well in the European Championship," said the 27-year-old. "The only problem I would see is probably because he's coming over Stanley Park but it wouldn't be a problem to us. "He'd be welcomed if the manager signed him. We'll see what happens." Moyes has been frustrated in his efforts to bring in striking reinforcements so far this summer, with another slipping away yesterday when Andy Johnson signed a new five-year contract at Crystal Palace. Meanwhile, Everton play their final pre-season game this evening when they entertain Italian side Udinese (kick-off 8pm).
Per Kroldrup, who left the Italian side for Goodison in a £5m move this summer, is expected to make his home debut. And the Danish centre-back is hoping Everton can make amends for Saturday's 5-0 friendly thrashing against Fenerbahce by finding their form ahead of next week's Champions league bow. "You always have to learn from the games you play," said Kroldrup. "Fenerbahce was not a pleasant experience for us. We faced a very good team who were a bit ahead of us. You could see they were sharper than we were. "We have to step up a gear. I don't think anything else would do. After a game like the one on Saturday everyone wants to show it was a single mistake. "I'm very much looking towards my first game at Goodison Park. Udinese are a strong team - with the emphasis on team. They play for each other. That's what we did for the last three years and got some good results playing like that." Former Everton skip-per Alan Stubbs has signed a one-year deal with Premiership newcomers Sunderland.
* FANS will be able to pay on the gate for tonight's friendly, with tickets costing £10 each.
Executive seating tickets are still available at the cost of £30 by calling 0151 520 2362.
All proceeds from the game will go to the Everton Former Players Foundation.

Everton fans' fury at ticket 'shambles'
By Alan Weston Daily Post Staff
Aug 3 2005
EVERTON fans reacted with fury last night over the way tickets were distributed for their long-awaited debut in the Champions League next Tuesday. Tickets for the qualifying match with Spanish club Villarreal went on general sale without warning yesterday morning, sparking a mad rush to Goodison by fans desperate not to miss out on the club's most important home match in years.
The sale was announced on the club's official website but season ticket holders were left fuming after the club failed to give them priority over other supporters and they were left to join the general scramble for seats. But following an avalanche of criticism from fans, Everton embarked on a hasty damage limitation exercise last night and said they would now give season ticket holders an exclusive 48-hour window to buy tickets for the match. So far, Everton say more than 12,000 tickets have been sold, out of an allocation of around 40,000, though season ticket holder Robert Jones last night said he had been told by Ticketmaster that all tickets had gone. He said: "It's a typical shambles. "Ticketmaster have said all the tickets are gone, so who's right?" Chief executive Keith Wyness said the decision to put tickets on general sale yesterday was made after consultations with both UEFA and the club's safety and security advisors. But disgruntled fans said the club could easily have put in place a contingency plan for the four possible days on which the match would be held, thereby avoiding yesterday's fiasco. Season ticket holder Geoff Gorst said: "I feel that Keith Wyness's explanation that UEFA had not given the club sufficient notice is a complete joke. "I have paid almost £1,000 this year for my daughter and myself and feel that I have been shabbily treated by my club." Everton moved swiftly to apologise to season ticket holders. Mr Wyness told the club's website, evertonfc.com: "We may not always get everything right to everyone's satisfaction, but what we always do at this football club is listen to our supporters. "What we now propose to do is have a period of exclusivity, a window, which will provide season ticket holders with the opportunity to buy tickets." Despite the two-day window, from 9.30am today ,until 7pm tomorrow, the club stressed that season ticket holders should buy tickets as early as possible. The game against Villareal represents Everton's return to competitive European football after an absence of 10 years.

Clock ticking on Blues' move for Baros
Aug 3 2005 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are running out of time to make a move for Milan Baros ahead of tomorrow's Champions League transfer deadline. The club revealed that the Liverpool striker is one of their "options", but David Moyes has to decide whether he is prepared to break the Goodison transfer record to land the Czech striker. Liverpool are unwilling to budge from their £7m asking price - a fee no club appears prepared to meet. The Euro 2004 Golden Boot winner is also reported to be looking for a wage increase when he leaves Anfield, which could price him out of a move across Stanley Park. Baros, also a £6m Aston Villa target, is said to be concerned about the reaction of Reds fans should he join their biggest rivals. Everton have confirmed their interest in the striker, but today would not comment on what further progress has been made. Signings must be completed by tomorrow evening's deadline if they are to be eligible for the first leg of the Champions League third round qualifier against Villarreal next week. Everton play their final pre-season warm-up against Udinese at Goodison tonight (kick-off 8.00pm). Defender Per Kroldrup is expected to make his home debut after arriving from the Italian side this summer. Moyes will treat the fixture as a dress rehearsal for next week's clash with Villarreal. Kroldrup believes the Blues' team-work can triumph over Spanish flair in the Champions League and said: "It's definitely going to be tough. It will take the whole team to work for each other. "Villarreal are a great team, but I have no doubt we can accomplish our aim.
"Spanish teams are all good at keeping the ball. We just have to let them play and try to counter attack and take our opportunities."

'Udinese fixture ideal preparation'
Aug 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON go into tonight's friendly against Udinese with one eye on their forthcoming Champions League qualifier. The Italians provide the final pre-season opposition for the Blues ahead of the first leg of the third round qualifier with Spanish outfit Villarreal on Tuesday. Udinese are also in European action next week and Goodison assistant manager Alan Irvine expects there to be an added competitive edge to the meeting at Goodison tonight. Both sides finished fourth in their respective leagues last season. "Normally we are looking at it being an exciting curtain raiser, but on this occasion we are looking at it as practice for facing European competition," he said. "They are at the same level as we are right now. It will be a very competitive game as a result. We are slightly ahead of them in our preparation because our season starts a bit earlier. "Having said that, they are obviously preparing for a qualifying game as well next week." Although there are obvious differences between Italian and Spanish teams, Irvine believes the match will provide Everton with useful European experience ahead of the Villar-real fixture. "This is the right kind of quality of opposition," he said. "It is not a team with a low profile. It is a good Italian team. "It is different to playing a Premier League game, but I would not expect the Italians to play in the same was the Spaniards would play. "The Spanish sides are a bit more attack minded and flamboyant in the way they play as a nation. Italian sides have for years been difficult to break down and concentrate more on the defensive side of the game. "An Italian team at home should give us a different experience from the Premiership."

Everton in u-turn over cup tickets
Aug 3 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON last night backed down in a row over ticket sales for their European Cup clash with Spanish club Villarreal. The club introduced a 48-hour window for season ticket holders to get their tickets after supporters were unaware that the tickets for the home leg on August 9 were being put on sale at 9am yesterday. It is believed the anouncement was made on the club's website at around 11pm on Monday. As word spread, thousands of fans raced to the ground with queues stretching along Goodison Road. And to add insult to injury, season tickets holders were not given priority status.
Around 12,000 tickets have already been sold and it has now been agreed that from 9.30am today until 7pm tomorrow, only season ticket holders can buy the cup tickets. But it was too late for many of the people who queued up yesterday. Council worker Jason Fahy, from Kirkdale, arrived at the ground shortly after 10.30am. He said: "I got a call from a friend while I was at work to say the tickets were on sale. Luckily I have a sympathetic boss who let me come straight over. "But my heart sank when I saw the queue." Sally Wright, from Wavertree, a season ticket holder at Bullens Road, added: "My son was looking for ticket information on the website only yesterday. The announcement must have been made very late in the day. "The club must have done it that way deliberately but for the life of me I can't think why because it is just causing difficulty for loyal supporters." Prices for season tickets and lounge memberships have increased this year by between 15% and 300%. Box office hours: Today: 9.30am - 7pm, tomorrow: 9.30am - 7pm, Friday 9.30am - 7pm, Saturday 9.30am - 4.30pm, Monday 9.30am - 7pm
What the club says...
THE club says there has been unprecedented demand for a game marking the Blues' long-awaited return to Europe. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness told the club website: "We may not always get everything right to everyone's satisfaction but what we always do at this football club is listen to our supporters. "Throughout the course of the day we were contacted by many season ticket holders who were concerned that they might not be able to purchase a ticket. "What we now propose to do is have a period of exclusivity." He added: "Our only concern has been for the safety of supporters on the night of this game. "We were determined to avoid is a scenario where several thousand supporters were gathering outside Goodison Park to pick up tickets in the hours leading up to kick-off."

Owen: I've spoken to three or four clubs
Aug 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL OWEN today confirmed he has held "brief dialogue with three or four Premiership clubs" about the possibility of returning to the Premiership. The England striker joined Real Madrid last autumn from Liverpool but knows he is facing even stiffer competition for a starting role next season following the summer signings of

Blues should swoop for Owen - or bid for Baros
Aug 3 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
SIGNING Owen would be a boost not only to our forward line but the whole squad. Beattie will never show his real worth without a quality partner and signing Owen could easily get us into the Champions League group stage and put another £20m in the budget.
Jonathan Gilfoyle, Formby
MICHAEL OWEN would be a brilliant Everton acquisition, and, let's face it, not many clubs are going to want to pay him £80k a week so he may well drop his wage demands to return to England.
Much rather him than Baros.
Sean Smith, Wavertree
I WOULD implore Kenwright to use all his resources to bring Michael Owen home. He would restore our credibility at a stroke. Owen is a franchise player and still only 25! To hell with the wage cap. Ask him if he wants to come, and make the boyhood blue captain. These people are very special because, in a tight Premiership, they spell so many 1-0 and 2-1 wins instead of negative results. If the Fortress money really exists, we must use it to buy Owen.
Brian Lawton, Croxteth
NOW IS the time for Kenwright and the board to deliver on Baros and Andy van der Meyde.
Talk is cheap but if we can get these two in then I would be more than happy
Bill Kirby, Fazakerley
BAROS might well be a good acquisition. He is a proven goalscorer and has been playing in the top flight for some time. He is somewhat greedy but should be a good partner for Beattie or Duncan. My only reservation is our ability or otherwise to supply the forwards with good balls.
Roger Thomas, Llanfairfechan
A BIG obstacle in signing Owen would be his wages. We should be realistic - what about Mark Viduka or Robbie Keane?
Tim Jameson, Toxteth
ONCE again the Everton board have lost the golden opportunity to make the breakthrough.
Our policies are totally out of line with the rest of the Premier League, and as so we will not and cannot sign the quality players we so badly need. Despite never being out of the Premier League we still have to cry poverty. How much longer must the Everton fans suffer this closed season circus of so called bids for players they have no intention of signing? There needs to be a total rethink at top level. We have all had quite enough of this.
Fred Smith, Bootle

Everton 1, Udinese 0 (D,Post)
By David Prior at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Aug 4 2005
IT'S SAFE to assume the Villareal scout won't be going back to Spain today with a bulging note-pad full of Everton's attacking quality, but at least he now knows all about the classic Goodison 1-0.
Six days before the two sides meet in their Champions League third-round qualifier, the Spaniards last night sent their assistant coach, Ruben Cousillas, to run the rule over their Merseyside opponents. Two goals from four pre-season games going into last night - if you exclude that 9-0 romp against an Austrian junior side - had probably failed to send a shiver down the Spaniards' spine when they checked their opponents' form--guide immediately after last Friday's draw. And last night's scouting mission will have presented Mr Cousillas with little first-hand evidence to send him back to the El Madrigal Stadium with much of a frown on his face. What he'll know, however, is that Everton are as hard to break down as they were for the majority of last season. The Spaniards, third in last season's La Liga, will also know they're as cheeky as they ever were when it comes to the single-goal victory. Most importantly, however, last night's late win will give Everton some confidence to take into Tuesday's first leg after a frankly miserable pre-season campaign characterized by the complete lack of an attacking edge. Moyes's travails in the transfer market this summer have been documented at length, but for all his ill-fortune, it's the lack of resources he has available in the striking department that Everton will quite probably feel most keenly. Last night, the two James', Beattie and McFadden, were given a good hour together by Moyes but, as in Turkey, they failed to make much of an impression. Beattie, for all his willingness to rebuild his reputation following a disappointing first six months at Goodison, is still lacking in confidence and largely devoid of sharpness. Two golden opportunities to rediscover both qualities last night were spurned wastefully, the first an opening-half header after Tony Hibbert's excellent cross that should have been despatched goalwards but was instead almost missed entirely by the £6million man.
The second came five minutes after the break when he was released clear down the left side; this time Beattie's shot was easily parried by goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis. "We've not scored enough goals in the pre-season, that's for sure," admitted assistant manager Alan Irvine after the game.
"Having said that, we weren't exactly prolific all through last season. We won a lot of games 1-0, and if we can make sure we're solid at the back, we'll take a lot of other 1-0 victories. "Obviously it's a lot easier for us sitting on the side if we're 3-0 up, but that doesn't seem to be the way that we've been doing things." On Beattie and McFadden last night, Irvine added: "I thought they started quite well, but we probably lost our way a little bit in terms of just keeping posession. "The problem you've got when you play against a lot of these teams is that they keep the ball for such a long time that when you get it you tend to be in a bit of a rush to get through them and you give it back to them very cheaply. "I thought we were reasonably patient when we got back in the first half but without really going anywhere, and we probably neede to have more of a cutting edge."
Everton's striking woes were perhaps understandable to an extent given how the night was essentially dominated by two tight defences. That was, of course, hardly unexpected given the home side's Turkey roasting and also the fact Udinese's sudden rise to fourth in last season's Serie A had been founded largely on their miserly defence, then of course marshalled by Per Kroldrup.
The hardy souls who had made the trip to Turkey last weekend had seen brutal evidence of the task facing Everton on European shores this season. Even those who'd forked out a few quid for satellite TV must have wished they hadn't - the uncomfortably straightforward way in which Fenerbahce, an accomplished but unspectacular bunch, were able to pick apart Moyes's men is not good for the health this close to the new campaign. They had the chance to make quick amends, though, given that all but three of the side that began in Istanbul started last night, with Lee Carsley injured and David Weir and Richard Wright left on the bench. Everton began brightly, with Davies heading over after Kevin Kilbane's pin-point cross from the left after just five minutes, while at the other end Nigel Martyn was called into sharp action to palm David Di Michele's shot away from his top corner.
And the hosts assumed a fairly firm hold on the game, which failed to sustain its early promise, but they were almost undone when Stefano Mauri and skipper Vincenzo Iaquinta combined following a mix-up at the back. Joseph Yobo, impressive at centre-back, recovered the situation well though and Iaquinta was denied from point-blank range. Indeed the defensive performance was the main fillip to take out of the night, particularly after last Saturday's porous showing. Yobo and Kroldrup worked effectively as a partnership, and Irvine said: "We've used three centre-half partnerships throughout the pre-season and to be fair they've all looked like good partnerships, like the lads last night, so it's going to be quite difficult choosing the best pairing come the game on Tuesday." The second half was a largely turgid affair in which the visitors asserted themselves more and more as the game progressed. Substitute Sulley Ali Muntrai enjoyed two excellent chances for the Italians just after the hour, which both required sharp saves from Martyn. But the game appeared destined to remain goalless until Davies's intervention. McFadden crossed from the left, substitute Duncan Ferguson headed back from the far post and Welshman Davies converted from six yards.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo (Vaughan 75), Kroldrup, Pistone; Davies, Arteta (Ferguson 36), Cahill, Kilbane (Li Tie 64); McFadden, Beattie (Weir 64). Subs: Wright, Weir, Hughes, Seargeant, Wilson.
UDINESE (3-5-2): De Sanctis; Natali, Bertotto, Dal Belo; Zenoni, Vidigal (Ali Muntrai 45), Obodo (Pazienza 71), Mauri, Candela (Pieri 71); Iaquinta, Di Michele. Subs: Paoletti, Juarez, Motta, Lazzari, Di Natale.
REFEREE: Mr U Rennie
ATT: 22,097
NEXT GAME: Everton v Villarreal, UEFA Champions League third qualifying round first leg, Tuesday 7.45pm

Cancer battle helped me cope with Everton exit
By Rob Stewart Daily Post Correspondent
Aug 4 2005
ALAN STUBBS last night admitted that his courageous battle against cancer had helped him cope with the anguish and disappointment caused by his departure from Everton. The former Goodison Park skipper has embarked on a new chapter in his career with Premiership newcomers Sunderland after being released by Everton but confessed he had been hurt by the circumstances surrounding the end of a four-year spell on Merseyside. "Cancer changed me as a person because it made me look at life in a different way to as it would have been five, 10 years ago," Stubbs said.. "Football is more than a job but family is the most important thing and football comes second. "You live and die for football and that's the fans as well. But when you get something like I did you realise football comes second. It certainly put me in great stead for when I left Everton, although I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt." Nevertheless, Stubbs remains profoundly attached to the club he has supported since boyhood. "I'm back to being a fan of Everton," he smiled.. "I'm not a player and fan, I'm back to being a fan again now. Whenever I'm off I will go and watch them. It's disappointing things never worked out. It's gone now and I'm a Sunderland player. I want to achieve as a Sunderland player.
"All my family are blue and I was brought up an Everton fan as well and so it was very difficult to leave the club," Stubbs said. "A lot of fans told me not to leave and told me to sign a year because I would get another after that. "But it was more a personal thing really. A couple of things in my contract were not acceptable to me and it was not about money. That wasn't an issue and I have to state that because some people think that. I wanted two years, Everton wanted to give me a year. I said I would consider a year option. "I felt with the four years I had given to Everton that I deserved more than what they were offering. I have that here. I have a year and I have an option of a further year, which gives me something to aim for. The 33-year-old Stubbs is also hoping his new team can take a leaf out of Everton's book by proving the doubters wrong in a similar way to last season when he helped David Moyes's side secure fourth place in the Premiership. "It's a completely different challenge for me here at Sunderland," Stubbs added. "At Everton it would have been staying in the top six, which is going to be a big challenge. At Sunderland we will be one of the favourites to go down. But that's up to me and the rest of the lads to prove a lot of people wrong. Everyone here is younger than me which is a good thing. There's a great incentive to stay up. The incentive to prove people wrong should be the biggest of them all. To stay up in the first season would be fantastic and we have to try to stabilise the club and move it forward," he added.. "Last season at Everton we were fifth favourites to go down and ironically we finished in a Champions League spot. If that's not an incentive to spur people here on then there's not a lot you can look at. It's as simple as that.
"There's no rocket science. At Everton it was a similar squad, although a little more experienced. There were no so-called stars there. We worked hard and we got results. There's no reason why we can't do that at Sunderland." Kirkby-born Stubbs said he was confident of finding a new club despite the uncertainty caused by being shown the door at Goodison. "Being out-of-contract has been a little unsettling. When you are unattached there's always apprehension about what might go on. But I have always been a believer in my ability and I knew something would happen. "It happened slower than I thought but if you look at a lot of the clubs a lot of the transfer activity has been done over the past couple of weeks. Managers realise they need new play-ers in. Over the next seven or eight days there will be more. "Over the past couple of years I have been at the fittest I have been in my career. I feel over the past couple of years I have been very fortunate with injuries. I have had nothing major apart from the cancer illness. I have been very fortunate apart from that."

Everton eyeing Neville as Baros move doubtful
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 4 2005
EVERTON are considering a bid for Manchester United midfielder Phil Neville as hopes for Milan Baros's arrival at Goodison diminish. Representatives from both Everton and the Old Trafford club have been in negotiations regarding the availability of out-of-favour Neville, who would cost around £3.5million. The England international, 28, signed a five-year deal at United only a year ago but his chances of first-team football appear slim over the coming season. One problem could well be his wages - Neville is currently on about £50,000 a week - and Everton would require him to drop his wage demands considerably for a deal to go through. Manager David Moyes has been keen on filling the hole left by Thomas Gravesen'a departure to Real Madrid last season, and the tough-tackling Mancunian would fit the bill, however. Liverpool's £7m demand for Baros, meanwhile, has made a move to Goodison unlikely for the Czech striker. Everton finally secured their first serious win of the pre-season last night when Simon Davies's 87th-minute goal gave them a 1-0 win over Serie A side Udinese. Moyes' men showed some improvement from their disappointing display in Istanbul at the weekend, when they lost 5-0 to Fenerbahce, and assistant manager Alan Irvine admitted that result had been "a wake-up call" for the side. "Sometimes a bad result like that is a bit of a wake-up call, it helps to focus the mind," said the Scot. "There was a marked improvement from the Fenerbahce game. We lost three goals there through set-pieces, which is obviously disappointing although it was under-standable as we hadn't done anything on set-plays prior to the game.
"Fenerbahce was always going to be a very tough game, we knew that and it was chosen for that reason. I was pleased it was a very intimidating place and I was pleased it was a difficult game.
"Obviously I wasn't pleased that we lost five goals but it served a purpose. Udinese are a good side, they've qualified for the Champions League as well and they finished fourth in Serie A, and for us to get a win was very nice." Mikel Arteta will today discover the extent of an ankle knock that required his replacement after just 36 minutes last night, but Irvine claimed he should be fit for next Tuesday's Champions League third-round first-leg against Villareal. "We took him off as a precaution," added Irvine. Marcus Bent didn't make the squad at all last night after injuring his Achilles in training on Tuesdayk, but he should also be fit for next week. Despite the win, Irvine admitted Everton were still currently well short of their best. He added: "We're not at our peak by any means, and obviously it's difficult to be there because of the nature of pre-season training.
"So they're not quite where we wanted them to be but they're not that far away from where we though they might be. "In an ideal world we would have brought them back in the middle of June and had another two or three games, but that would then have created problems for later in the season."

Everton 1, Udinese 0 (Echo)
By Rob Brady at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Aug 4 2005
THAT'S pre-season done and dusted, so are Everton ready for the Champions League? On last night's evidence they will need to come up against a Villarreal side in generous mood if they are to progress to the group stage. A late Simon Davies strike gave supporters a morale boosting win over Serie A opposition, but it could not mask the fact that the Blues are finding goals hard to come by.
Three in their last five friendlies does not bode well for next Tuesday's third round qualifier, when David Moyes' men need to establish some kind of advantage to take into the second leg in Spain.
They did create chances against Udinese, but wasteful finishing meant they only had Davies' 88th minute goal to show for their efforts. It was the Welshman's first for the club and was a predatory strike more befitting a centre forward than a winger. Still it is good to see him popping up in dangerous positions and he appears to have the knack of arriving undetected, Cahill-style, in enemy territory. James McFadden swung in a deep cross from the left and Duncan Ferguson nodded down at the far post. Davies was there inside the six yard box to prod past keeper Morgan De Sanctis.
This was a far better performance from Everton than their last outing, which ended in a 5- 0 hammering by Fenerbahce, although they still look far from the finished article. On home turf they at least showed more initiative, although it has to be said that Udinese were nowhere near as fluid or aggressive as the Turks. The Blues' movement and passing was easy on the eye without ever really penetrating the visitors' defence. Moyes selected a 4-4-2 formation from the outset, which demonstrated how much more suited James Beattie is to the system. Initially he was partnered by McFadden, but when Mikel Arteta limped off with an ankle injury Ferguson came off the bench.
Bar Davies' goal, Beattie had the best chances of the match. A little firmer contact between forehead and ball would have seen him plant a Tony Hibbert cross firmly in the back of the net in the first half, then after the interval he burst into the opposition box but saw his drive smothered by De Sanctis.
Earlier Davies had steered a free header over the bar, while right at the death he capped a fine run from midfield with a vicious low drive that needed to be tipped away by the keeper. If the Blues' wastefulness is a concern, at least their defence looks in good form. Full of concentration and eager to make amends for the drubbing in Istanbul, they gave hope they can keep a clean sheet against Villarreal next week. Per Kroldrup looked assured against his former club, although he was never really tested, while Hibbert was his usual tigerish self at right back. Only the occasional wayward pass going forward let him down. However, it was Joseph Yobo who caught the eye. His defending was superb. Time and again his reading of the game and his perfectly timed tackles prevented the Udinese strikers bearing down on Nigel Martyn's goal. When they did find a way through, the Italians found an unflappable keeper in their way. However, a tight defence alone is unlikely to see Everton through into the group stage. The remaining six days need to be spent on target practice.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo (Vaughan 76), Kroldrup, Pistone, Davies, Arteta (Ferguson 36), Cahill, Kilbane (Li Tie 64), McFadden, Beattie (Weir 64). Not used: Wright, Hughes, Seargeant, Wilson.
UDINESE (4-4-2): De Sanctis, Bertotto, Felipe, Candela (Pieri 70), Natali, Zenoni, Obodo (Pazienza 70), Vidigal (Di Natale 46), Mauri (Muntrai 46), Iaquinta, Di Michele (Rossini 84). Not used: Paoletti, Juarez, Motta, Lazzari.
REFEREE: Uriah Rennie

Moyes lands £3.5m Neville
Aug 4 2005 By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today described new signing Phil Neville as a "professional's professional" as the England man prepared to complete a £ 3.5m move to Everton. The Blues boss believes Neville's ability to play in a number of different roles makes him a valuable addition to the Everton squad.
The 28-year-old utility player is set to complete a move from Manchester United, subject to a medical, after agreeing a five-year deal and Moyes is delighted to have got his man. "Phil is a quality footballer who will, I feel certain, improve and enhance the squad we are putting together," he said..
"He is very much a professional's professional and I am very happy to have signed him. "Primarily I see Phil as a holding midfield player but he is so versatile that he gives us not only much-needed cover but also several additional options. " As everyone knows he is perfectly comfortable playing in the holding role or at either right or left back. "We have staved off a great deal of competition to get him but from the first minute I spoke to him he only wanted to come and join Everton. "His attitude throughout the entire negotiation process has been first class." Neville only signed a five-year deal with United in the summer of 2004 but his slim chances of first-team football have persuaded him to move on. Moyes will now step up his efforts to bring in a centre forward, although a move for Milan Baros now seems unlikely as Liverpool continue to hold out for £7m for the Czech. Meanwhile, Everton have held another round of talks with Tim Cahill and his representatives over the possibility of him extending his stay at Goodison Park. Cahill rebuffed the club's first offer last week but discussions are now taking place with a view to the Australian signing a new five-year contract. Chief executive Keith Wyness is confident agreement will be reached and said today: "Further negotiations have taken place between the club and Tim's representatives. "These talks will continue and we remain very optimistic about the possible outcome."

Knee fear for injured Carsley
Aug 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fear Lee Carsley could miss the opening games of both their domestic and European campaigns. The influential midfielder took a knock on his knee against Fenerbahce at the weekend - the same knee in which he suffered medial ligament damage at the end of the 04/05 campaign and which kept him sidelined for most of the summer. The Republic of Ireland international is a doubt for the first leg of the Champions League qualifier against Villarreal next Tuesday and the opening fixture of the new Premier League campaign against Manchester United. Everton head physio Mick Rathbone said: "He tweaked the inside of the knee. We will give it a few days' rest. Unfortunately with the type of injury Lee had over the summer we were always at risk of doing that. It's settling down already and hopefully he won't be out for much longer." Gary Naysmith remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

Martyn: We can catch them cold
Aug 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON return to European competition for the first time in a decade next Tuesday when they take on Villarreal at Goodison in the first leg of the Champions League third round qualifier. Goalkeeper Nigel Martyn is the most experienced member of David Moyes' squad and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2001. He believes the fact the Blues are further along in their pre-season preparations than the Spaniards will work in the home side's favour. Martyn told Evertonia: "Hopefully they won't be in as good a shape as us because their season starts later than ours. Up until last week they were in the Far East and if they are a couple of weeks behind it could be an opportunity to catch them cold. "I know there has been a lot of talk amongst the fans about these Champions League games. "In many ways it is the same with the players, but that is because it is our next game and that is always where our focus is. "After the first leg is the opening league game and we will be looking for a result before the second leg." Martyn added: "Tactically we'll have to alter things as European teams play differently to English teams."

Chance to be derby mascot
Aug 4 2005 Liverpool Echo
TODAY we announce the launch of the new Evertonian column, which will appear every Thursday in your ECHO. Evertonia, the new members scheme for all Evertonians, has joined forces with the ECHO to regularly provide inside news from Goodison and competitions exclusive to Evertonia members. Evertonia replaces Everton's former members clubs, JBlue and ABlue. It is open to fans of all ages and offers a more comprehensive service to supporters. To mark the launch we are offering one lucky fan the chance to be mascot for the Merseyside derby at Goodison in December.
This unique prize is open only to under-16 members of Evertonia. Don't panic if you are not already a member, fans who join before the end of August will still be eligible to enter. The winners will be announced in the Evertonia column next month. To enter, answer the question: Who scored the winning goal in last season's derby at Goodison? Send your answers to: Evertonia Mascot Competition, Scott McLeod, Everton FC, Goodison Park, Goodison Road, Liverpool, L4 4EL. Include your name, age and membership number.

Moyes meeting made up my mind
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 5 2005
NEW Everton signing Phil Neville last night told how meeting David Moyes had convinced him to move to Goodison. The 28-year-old utility player completed a £3.5million transfer from Manchester United after snubbing offers from Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Wigan Athletic. And Neville is expected to be plunged straight into the first team for next Tuesday's Champions League third qualifying round tie against Villarreal after Lee Carsley was yesterday ruled out for two months.
The midfielder's worst fears were realised when it emerged he suffered a recurrence of medial ligament damage after jarring his knee during the friendly defeat at Fenerbahce on Saturday.
Carsley's setback has increased the urgency to attract midfield reinforcements, with Moyes also monitoring Preston North End's Dixon Etuhu. And Neville, who has agreed to a substantial pay-cut by penning a five-year deal, revealed Goodison was his only destination once he had decided to end an 18-year spell at Old Trafford. "I spoke to Alex Ferguson and it was made clear that I wasn't going to get enough football next season," said Neville, who has been capped 52 times by England.
"I was frustrated last season; he knew that and we came to an agreement that it would be best if he gave me permission to talk for other clubs. "David Moyes was the first manager that contacted my father and from day one this was the move that interested me most. "Leaving United has been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. But I have come to the decision to sign for Everton and it was an easy decision as they desperately wanted me to sign." He added: "I am excited about joining Everton and am relishing my next challenge in football - it is one of the biggest in my career.
"The lure of playing in Champions League and European football is a big factor. I watched Everton last season and having spoken to the manager I admire the work ethic of the team and it fits in with my own. "I have got Champions League experience but these players won't need any help on Tuesday against Villarreal. The fans will give us a great help and I have been told it is the biggest game in years. "I've spent 18 years of my life at United and I would like to thank Sir Alex Ferguson, all the players and the fans for their great support. "I am now going to give the same commitment to Everton, David Moyes and the Everton fans. I can't wait for the new season to get started."
Moyes - who was in Spain last night to watch Villarreal play a friendly at Albacete - could bolster his squad numbers further by following up an interest in £750,000-rated Preston midfielder Dixon Etuhu. Moyes bought the Nigerian from Manchester City while in charge at Deepdale in January 2002, and current Preston manager Billy Davies said: "I can't rule anybody going out or coming in before the August 31 deadline." Moyes, meanwhile, believes Neville's experience will be key assets to Everton as they prepare for their Champions League bow next week. "I felt we needed to add a bit more experience to our squad and Phil will do that," said the Everton manager. "He has a terrific attitude, a great pedigree, he is a winner and his versatility will be hugely important for us. "There was a lot of competition for his signature, but as soon as we spoke he said he thought Everton was the right club for him. I took that as a compliment and I must say he and his family have been brilliant to deal with."

Cahill to commit future to Everton
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 5 2005
TIM CAHILL will commit his long-term future to Everton after agreeing a new contract. The Australian has reached a compromise deal after rejecting an improved offer from Goodison officials last month. Cahill was advised by his representatives to turn down Everton's approach - which would have increased his wage by 60% - believing the player was worthy of a greater salary after his impressive form following a £1.5million move from Millwall last summer. But any fears the 25-year-old was manufacturing a move away from the club have been banished, with the midfielder poised to sign a new five-year deal worth an estimated £27,000 a week. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed yesterday: "Further negotiations have taken place between the club and Tim's representatives. We remain very optimistic about the possible outcome." And Cahill has slammed critics who called him greedy for rejecting Everton's initial offer. "The club put a gesture forward and it didn't seem right to be adding on years to a contract where I wasn't absolutely comfortable," he said.. "If I was greedy then I would put in a transfer request and ask for a move, but it is not the case at all. "Different people are saying things against me but it is just small-minded people who don't understand foot-ball." Cahill isn't the only Goodison player ready to put pen to paper.
James Vaughan is set to sign his first professional contract with the club after reaching his 17th birthday last month following his meteoric rise from Academy side to first-team record-breaker.
The striker became Everton's youngest player and youngest goalscorer when he netted as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Crystal Palace in April. Vaughan's strike also made him the youngest scorer in Premiership history.

Davies: European quest sets tone
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
Aug 5 2005
EVERTON'S new signing Simon Davies believes his side's Champions League clash next week could make or break their season before a ball has been kicked in the Premiership. The Wales international snatched his first goal for the club in Wednesday's 1-0 friendly win over Udinese, Everton's last match before they face Villarreal in the Champions League third qualifying round first leg on Tuesday at Goodison Park. The 26-year-old is looking forward to the clash with the Spanish side, who finished third in La Liga last season. In terms of revenue and status, the tie is crucial to Everton's progress with a potential £20million awaiting the winners when they reach the group stages. Davies said: "It could be a fantastic season playing in the Champions League group stages or we could be in the UEFA Cup. "This is a massive week coming up for Everton, every minute of pre-season has been gearing up for this one Champions League game, it means so much to the club and to me personally." Davies has arrived on Merseyside from Tottenham after two campaigns ruined by injury, and now he is now anticipating the challenge of playing at the highest level and bringing an end to his fitness troubles. He said: "For me the target is an injury-free season, I had two badly disrupted seasons at Spurs through injury and all I want is a good run of games and to enjoy my football. "The Udinese game was only my second 90 minutes of pre-season, so I hope it will stand me in good stead for next week because Udinese were a good side, and they are in the same qualifying round for Europe as us. "We'll be ready for Villar-real and we know that the crowd will lift the roof off next week, that's something we are all looking forward to. "I have enjoyed every minute of things since joining the club. It's been a fresh start for me and I'm delighted to be here. "I think it will be difficult to emulate what Everton managed last season, fourth place was an unbelievable achievement. But anywhere up around that position will be a good season for us and it could all hinge on next week." He added: "The Villarreal match will be totally different to pre-season. In friend-lies nobody is flying into tackles and you could see that against Udinese because nobody wants silly injuries before next week. "But the Champions League qualifier will be a totally different ball game, it will be a lot quicker and we intend to impose ourselves on Villar-real which I am sure we will be able to do with the crowd behind us. "We have a style and we will want to impose ourselves on Villarreal and keep the tempo high, certainly in the home match. "They will be top quality, third in La Liga was an amazing achievement for them so we will need to finish the first leg with a good result to defend when we go to Spain. "I hope I can add some goals to the set-up. I always like to think I can score a few goals and play well. Tim Cahill showed with 12 goals last season what can be done. "That was am amazing achievement for a midfielder but it is up to all of us to be able to do that to help the strikers."

Ticket woe
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Aug 5 2005
Ticket woe
EVERTON made a mockery of the sale of the Champions League tickets. Everton have known for over two months the dates on which these games would be played, therefore could have had a policy in place on how these tickets would be distributed. These are arguably the two biggest games in the history of Everton FC and not to give season ticket holders priorty on these match tickets is a disgrace.
S McAllister, Norris Green
Where's loyalty?
AS A long-standing and loyal Evertonian and regular season ticket holder I need to register my disgust at the treatment of season ticket holders following the decision to bypass this loyal fan base when allocating tickets for the home match with Villarreal next Tuesday. The ticket allocation went on general sale at midday and I was unable to get there without any notice due to work commitments. I feel that being a season ticket holder entitles me to at least the opportunity to a ticket. I have paid almost £1,000 this year for my daughter and myself and feel that I have been shabbily treated by my club.
Geoff Gorst, Liverpool
Go for Owen
SO United don't want Michael Owen, nor do Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool. What about the other team in Europe (at least for a month anyway)? Is it really too fanciful for Everton to go for Michael Owen? We know we've got the money for the fee and unite Michael with his first love.
Roger Egerton, Hightown
Neville knows
PHIL NEVILLE has played in one of the most successful European teams in Europe, been picked by the last four England managers, played in World Cups, European Championships and many Champion League games, how many of our current squad can claim that?
A Michaels, Walton
PHIL NEVILLE is a seriously under-rated player. You don't get picked for England for nothing. The fact that he is a Manc is besides the point. Not that many get past him. His brother is also seriously under-rated. Remember no-one wanted Paul Power or Psycho Pat at the time.
Brian True, via e-mail
Carsley cover
THE Neville deal will help us with the cover needed for Carsley. He can also play in either of the fullback positions. Only thing is so could Steve Watson. At least Phil has experience in the Champions League.
Sean Thornton, via e-mail

All go at Goodison Park and season hasn't started yet
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Aug 5 2005
STREWTH, if there's this much going on at Goodison now, what's it going to be like when the season actually starts? Firstly, the game over in Turkey was a shocker, while the one against Udinese saw an improvement and, finally, a win, there still wasn't a lot on display to worry any scouts over from Villarreal. However, Everton's abrasive style of play never really lends itself to these half-paced friendly matches, and so it's safe to say that the Spanish can probably expect to be put under considerably more pressure than Per Kroldrup's former team-mates. And speaking of new signings, Phil Neville was one that certainly came out of the blue. It's become almost fashionable to mock the versatile England full-back, but his medals and his international caps tell their own story. Given the size of Everton's squad, a latterday Alan Harper who can play on either side of the defence and also in central midfield, could prove invaluable. The biggest worry though is that a player who has been at Old Trafford for so long will no longer have the sort of drive and commitment needed to be a success elsewhere. In short, hopefully his attitude is better than Nicky Butt's. If it is, and he wants to impress the England manager with the World Cup approaching, then Davd Moyes might have made an extremely shrewd signing. Less shrewd though was the organising of the ticket distribution for the first leg of the European qualifier against Villarreal. The club's been in existence for over a century, so they've had plenty of experience of big games, but yet there is still this almost grim inevitability that there will be chaos over tickets for anything other than a run of the mill league fixture. The decision to put tickets on general sale in the first instance was bizarre enough, but it was the lack of notice that caused all the panic. It's to the club's credit that they admitted the mistake and made moves to rectify it the next day, but a bit of fore-thought and consideration would surely have avoided what amounted to something of a customer relations disaster.
The mind boggles at the prospect of trying to get hold of tickets for the second leg out in Spain.

Anti-racism project in memory of victim
Daily Post
Aug 5 2005
AN ANTI-racism programme supported by Liverpool and Everton football clubs will be launched in the city in memory of Anthony Walker. Leaders of the 18-year-old's former basketball team are preparing to run a scheme to stamp out racism in Liverpool in Anthony's name. Less than a week after his death, a host of organisations and clubs, including the city's two Premiership sides and Liverpool and Knowsley councils, have rallied round to support the programme, which will target schoolchildren through sport. Sport England and the English Basketball Association are also on board. Organiser Van Gaffney, a sports development officer for L8 Sports Forum, said Anthony would become a role model for other youngsters. "Everybody who knew Anthony liked him. He was so gentle and kind. He had such a huge impact on everybody here. He will not and must not be forgotten. "He was very talented, not just in basketball but in everything he did. He had everything going for him. Children both black and white should aspire to be like him. "There are other anti-racist schemes in Liverpool, at Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs, which are really good, but we want to be an extension of that. We want to take the anti-racist message beyond the stadiums into schools and take it to kids playing football and basketball on the street." A-level student Anthony, who dreamed of becoming a lawyer, trained with Toxteth Tigers at summer camps. But he decided to turn down the chance of a basketball career with Liverpool Basketball Club to concentrate on his studies and his church commitments. The new scheme is being set up by Liverpool 8 Sports Forum, an umbrella organisation for the Toxteth Tigers, Kingsley United FC, L8 Positive Futures and the Baby Father Project. Mr Gaffney aims to recruit top Premier League players, black and white, to host football workshops. He is also organising a national basketball tournament, named after Anthony, that will be held in Liverpool on August 14, and will become an annual event. Toxteth Tigers have recently received a grant of more than £84,000 from Children In Need, which will be used to appoint basketball coaches and mentors, who will visit schools where they will coach the sport and also talk about racial issues.

Neville swayed by Roon talk
Aug 5 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE has revealed how former Blues star Wayne Rooney convinced him to sign for Everton.
Neville completed his £3.5m transfer from Manchester United to Everton yesterday despite receiving offers from five other clubs, including Aston Villa, Middlesborough and Wigan Athletic.
And the 28-year-old utility player says the combination of what Rooney told him about the club and the desire shown by manager David Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright to sign him meant he was only ever going to join Everton. In his first interview since becoming an Everton player, Neville told the ECHO: "Obviously, while I was a Manchester United player I talked to Wayne a lot and he only ever had good things to say about this club. "That was one of the things that stuck in my mind when Sir Alex Ferguson told me I probably wouldn't get that many games at United and I decided to move on. "As soon as David Moyes contacted my father and told him he wanted to bring me to Everton and then the opportunity arose to do so it was an easy decision to make." Neville, who has 52 England caps, first heard of Everton's interest in him on Sunday and he was confirmed as a Blues player just 72 hours later. He says the speed of the move came down to the fact that Moyes and Kenwright made joining Everton an easy decision to make. "I spoke to the manager and the chairman and they offered me exactly what I was looking for in terms of football," he said. "There were five other clubs in for me but once Mr Kenwright and Mr Moyes had shown as much enthusiasm to sign me as they did I knew that the only club I wanted to join was Everton. "In one respect it was a tough decision to leave Manchester United because I had been there for 18 years of my life but in another it wasn't so difficult because I knew I was coming to another great club in Everton." Moyes has earmarked his new signing for a midfield holding role, but Neville says he does not mind where he plays after spending so long on the periphary of United's first team. He said: "I can play in midfield and I can play in defence - it's up to the manager where he wants me to play and I'm confident I can do a job for him wherever I'm picked. "It is a squad game these days and Everton haven't got the biggest of squads so I'll be prepared to play anywhere. "To be honest, I'm just delighted to be an Everton player and now I'm looking forward to getting my first game under my belt."

New boy will take us higher
Aug 5 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright believes new signing Phil Neville can help elevate the whole club to a higher level. The 28-year-old has moved to Goodison Park for a fee of around £3.5m after spending years with Manchester United. After agreeing terms with Neville and his father, who acts as the player's representative, Ken-wright could not hide his admiration for the model professional.
Kenwright said: "It has been a real pleasure, and indeed a breath of fresh air, dealing with the Neville family. "I have an instinct that we have signed a terrific ambassador for Everton both on and off the field." Neville, who is now set to face United on the opening day of the Premiership season, leaves with Ferguson's abiding admiration for his professionalism over the years. "This was not a decision we wanted to make, but every time I picked the team and Phil's name was not on the teamsheet, it was very difficult for me," said the United boss. "You couldn't meet a better professional and he leaves with the gratitude of everyone at the the club for his service to United. "I wish all the best to Phil and his family." Meanwhile, Everton are "very optimistic" that midfielder Tim Cahill will sign a new long-term deal. Talks have resumed between the club and the player's representatives.

Neville the man for all seasons
Aug 5 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAD things worked out differently in the summer of 1993, Phil Neville would more than likely have been in Ashes combat this weekend rather than getting ready to embark on a new career with Everton. Having just sat his final GCSE exam, Neville - in keeping with a rich family tradition - had decided that life as a professional sportsman beckoned and he was faced with a difficult decision.
Given he was an exceptional footballer who had played for both Bury and Greater Manchester school-boys, Manchester United were desperate for his signature. But he was an equally talented cricketer and Lancashire had made a beeline for him. While it was obvious Neville was going to end up at Old Trafford and become a hit, the question soon became which Old Trafford? And for quite some time it appeared that he was destined for the Red Rose and not the Red Devils. In the end the lure of joining up with elder brother Gary to work under the watchful eye of Alex Ferguson proved impossible to resist. But not even in his wildest dreams could he have envisaged the success that would follow. After captaining United's youth side to FA Youth Cup success in 1995, Neville - whose twin sister Tracey plays netball for England - went on to win six Premiership titles, three FA Cups, not to mention the Champions League in 1999. Amazing to think, then, that many observers outside Old Trafford viewed him as being nothing more than a utility man - a bit-part player who only got his chance when the star names were injured or suspended. That could not be further from the truth. Dedicated to his job and never one to court the limelight, Neville is without question the professional's professional - as Everton boss David Moyes described him - and has the respect of his peers. It is why Ferguson was loathe to let him go and why a number of clubs, including Newcastle and Birmingham, were battling with the Blues to sign a man who has won 52 caps for England since making his debut against China in May 1996. For £3.5m Moyes has signed a man with a wealth of experience - he made 389 appearances for United, 78 of which came in Europe - and someone who will not be intimidated by reputations. Perhaps his best performance for United came in December 2002 when Arsenal visited Old Trafford. Most observers expected Patrick Vieira to boss the midfield and send Arsene Wenger's men on their way to victory. In the first few minutes, though, Neville - playing in place of the more heralded Roy Keane - won a bone-juddering tackle in the midfield, marked Vieira out of the game and led United to a decisive 2-0 victory. Maybe his ability to play in a number of positions - he is equally at home in midfield as he is at full-back - was the ultimate reason the 28-year-old could never nail down a regular starting place for United. As much as Ferguson was a fan, he could not promise a player who has been to two European Championships with England the necessary amount of football to keep him satisfied. Had he so desired, Neville could have sat back and collected his money for the rest of the lucrative five-year deal he signed last year. But he is not that type of person and has shown a refreshing attitude by taking a pay cut to accept Moyes' challenge. There is no question that Neville has the ability and experience to become an instrumental figure in Everton's team. And if he is half as reliable as he was at United then he could prove to be Moyes' most crucial summer sig

Striker with a midas touch
Aug 5 2005 By Tony Barrett, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL OWEN is one of the few strikers in world football who comes complete with a cast-iron guarantee to score goals. No matter which country he plies his trade in or what level he plays at, the former Liverpool star has a happy knack of finding the back of the net - often when it matters most.
Available on the open market for a fee of around £11m, the big clubs in the Premiership and further afield might be expected to be falling over themselves to sign him. So far, only Newcastle boss Graeme Souness has declared he would like to dip into club coffers to prise Owen away from the Bernabeu. But a move to the trophy-free zone that is St James' Park would hardly represent an inspired career move for a player used to the rarefied atmosphere provided only at Europe's top clubs. Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger have both publicly insisted they do not wish to sign him and reported interest from Manchester United is still to materialise in the form of a formal bid. Everton are in the market for a top striker, but Owen's fee and ongoing affection for Liverpool would probably prove prohibitive to an unlikely move to Goodison. So why is England's top forward finding it so difficult to secure a move away from Real Madrid, where he currently finds himself well down the pecking order, despite scoring 14 goals in his first season in Spain? Roy Evans, the man who gave Owen his Liverpool debut as a 17-year-old, is baffled that no-one is willing to give his protege a platform on which to perform his almost unique goalscoring talents. He said: "We know that Liverpool had an option on him, but it seems obvious that they won't take that up, so where else is there for him to go? "If you are a top player you will only really go to a top club, and that would seem to point towards Manchester United. "As a Liverpudlian of course you'd be a bit disappointed to see that, but at the same time he has to make a living and wants to get a game."
Despite the situation Owen currently finds himself in - seemingly in need of a move to a club which can guarantee him games in the lead up to next year's World Cup in Germany - Evans insists he should not regret joining Real Madrid. "Whatever people may say, he hasn't been unsuccessful there in terms of what he has achieved personally. I think he went to a team that was on the wane a little, but being on the bench so much just takes away what he wants to achieve. "Yes, the World Cup is at the end of the season, but that is a long while off. It will be a case of moving now for his own sanity."
Whether Owen gets his move is another matter. It is believed that privately he would like nothing better than a transfer back to Liverpool, but, unless Benitez performs a u-turn, that looks slim.
Many Liverpool fans would like to see Owen back at Anfield, despite his decision to quit the club last year. But Benitez's insistence that he already has enough strikers seems to scupper such hopes.
If Owen is forced to remain at Real Madrid it could be the solution that suits no-one. The England man will remain fifth choice at a club where his talents will continue to be wasted. Owen needs to leave Spain and, taking everything into account, the Premiership needs Owen. And, bearing in mind Milan Baros' impending departure, what better place could there be for him to come back to than Anfield?

Neville warns new team-mates of Forlan threat
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 6 2005
PHIL NEVILLE has warned his new Everton team-mates to beware Diego Forlan. The £3.5million arrival from Manchester United underwent his first training session at Bellefield yesterday in preparation for a debut in Tuesday's Champions League qualifier at home to Villarreal. And Neville has highlighted former Old Trafford colleague Forlan as the prime threat to Everton's progress to the lucrative group stages. The Uruguayan forward was the top scorer in the Spanish league last season after netting 25 goals in 37 appearances and shared the European Golden Boot award with Arsenal's Thierry Henry. It was in sharp contrast to his spell in England, where Forlan struggled for form and was eventually shipped out to Villarreal in 2004 following a meagre return of 17 goals in 98 games.
And Neville said: "Diego is probably going to be the one player we need to watch more than any other on Tuesday night. "He is quick, he can shoot with both feet, he doesn't stay in the central areas, he goes out wide and drops off the front man. We'll have to watch him. "To be the leading goalscorer in Spain, you have to be some player and he really had a fantastic season. "I've been surprised by how well he has done in Spain. He struggled a bit when he was in England. We all knew he has fantastic shooting ability and is a goalscorer, but he probably struggled from a physical point of view. Neville added: "I'm pleased he has been a success in Spain. He was a fantastic teammate and was well liked." Neville, meanwhile, has already hinted he would be happy to play out the remainder of his career at Goodison. The 28-year-old, who has signed a five-year deal, added: "I hope to see out my career at Everton. Loyalty has been a big thing in my life, and continuity, and I would not like to go through another transfer. "For the next five years I am committed to Everton and hope-fully beyond that." Everton, meanwhile, have taken Brazilian defensive midfielder Anderson Silva Da Franca on trial. The 22-year-old is out of contract after having spent the last two years in Spain with Racing Santander. Silva scored two goals in 30 league appearances last season, and had been linked with moves to Deportivo La Coruna and Celta Vigo.

Neville's in tune with Evertonians
Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 6 2005
HIS brother may, according to the song, hate Scousers, but Phil Neville has only good words for the people of Merseyside. Well, the blue half at least. Any new signing from Manchester United to these parts is acutely aware of the unique hurdles they must overcome on heading west down the M62. Indeed, they were enough for Everton manager David Moyes to ask Neville whether he could handle what he may be letting himself in for. But rather than be intimidated by his new surroundings, the £3.5million arrival is confident his Old Trafford links will not prevent him from being accepted by Evertonians. "I don't think there'll be a problem with me coming from Manchester," insists Neville.. "David Moyes asked me whether I was worried about being accepted by the fans, but my response was that I am not worried at all. "My signing here in itself has shown my commitment to the club, and the reaction of supporters since I have been on Merseyside over the last few days has been better than I could have imagined. "Fans have been stopping me in my car and one fan even stopped to show me the way to the training ground from the motorway this morning. The reaction has been fantastic. I couldn't have been more well received." Neville adds: "I'm sure United's fans will still sing their song about Gary, but they never sung that about me. I've signed a five-year deal. Now I have to win the supporters over on the pitch. "The passion of the fans stands out a million miles. Goodison is not an easy place to come to, because of the fans, the tightness of the pitch and because of the players. "I had interest of a number of different clubs, but as soon as I spoke to David Moyes there was only ever going to be one club I would join."
In leaving Manchester United, he ended an 18-year association with the club and broke up a sibling partnership with Gary that ranked among the most successful in the English game. The Nevilles are in line for a swift reunion next Saturday when Everton and United kick-off the Premiership season at Goodison. But while the 28-year-old admits he has no problems facing his brother, the encounter may prove a difficult one for his parents. "In a way I'm glad it is the first game of the season, because from a personal point of view I'll be glad to get it out of the way," he says.. "Obviously, it's going to be a difficult game against Manchester United in itself, never mind the sideshow of me playing my first Premiership game for Everton against my former club. "We kicked off last season with a defeat against Arsenal, so hopefully we can make a better start and get the same kind of result we got against United last season at Goodison. "I've never played against Gary before. It will be interesting. We won't be in direct competition on the field, and it'll probably be more difficult for my mum and dad more than what it will for me and my brother. "From the age of eight, I've always played in the same team as Gary and always been in the same dressing room. In fact, it was probably harder leaving that situation than it was leaving Manchester United." Neville dismisses the notion he left Old Trafford simply to improve his own chances of making a possible England World Cup squad, saying the prospect of regular first-team football at Everton was just too good to turn down.
"In the past, talk of me leaving has been just paper talk," he says.. "But last season I didn't play enough football and Sir Alex Ferguson and myself both knew that. At 28 years of age, I need to be playing regularly and there always comes a time when you have to move on. That was the case this summer. Once Everton were in for me, that was my only destination. "The fact it is a World Cup year had nothing to do with me leaving. The main challenge for me is to be accepted by my team-mates and the fans and to have a successful season from a personal and team point of view."
Neville has been handed the number 18 shirt formerly owned by Wayne Rooney - "I'm sure he'll have something to say about it!" - and will make his debut in Tuesday's Champions League third qualifying round tie at home to Villarreal. And he hopes his vast European pedigree - Neville has played 65 games in Europe and won the Champions League in 1999 - can aid Everton's quest to qualify for the group stages. "I hope I can pass on my experience, but I've always thought it's been about form and playing well as an individual and as a team," says Neville. "Experience doesn't necessarily mean you are going to play well in a big European game. "But we have a small squad here and we need everything in our power to pull through. "I spoke to David Moyes for the first time on Monday, and I was made aware that the deadline was Thursday for the Villarreal game. There was never any doubt in my mind from that point on that I wanted to sign and I wanted to sign before Thursday so I could play in that game next Tuesday. "I can't think of a better way of making your debut than in a massive game like that. It's going to be a great occasion."

We can prove critics wrong again - Moyes
Aug 8 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
DAVID MOYES believes proving the critics wrong once again will be a motivation for his Everton players this season. The Goodison outfit confounded many pundits last season by finishing fourth in the Premiership and clinching a Champions League berth. Everton begin their European adventure tomorrow when they entertain Villarreal in the third qualifying round first leg before playing host to Manchester United in their first league game on Saturday. And Moyes is confident his squad can rekindle the ethos of the previous campaign ahead of their crucial opening to the new season.
"I am optimistic for the new season and I am looking forward to it," said the Everton manager.. "We need to show again what we showed last season and I think we can do. "It will be a little bit harder because of the integration of the new players and the time it takes. That is my one worry, especially with a lot of big games coming up so soon. But proving the critics of last season wrong will be a motivation." Everton have shown indifferent form going into tomorrow's game, with last week's 1-0 win over Udinese their only serious victory of a pre-season that included a 5-0 hammering at the hands of Fenerbahce. But Moyes believes his players have been buoyed by the feelgood factor engendered by last season's outstanding Premiership performance. "The squad came back for training thinking they are Champions League players. And they are," said Moyes. "You cannot take that away from the players and they will be given the opportunity to show that again this season."
However, Juan Roman Riquelme believes Villarreal's experience of knock-out European football could be a significant advantage. Villarreal have been semi-finalists and quarter-finalists in the UEFA Cup over the past two seasons, with Everton having only competed once in Europe since 1985. "That has really helped us take on this tie," said play-maker Riquelme. "Although we know it is not the same playing in the Champions League as it is in the UEFA Cup, we still have to knock Everton out.
"Nobody needs to tell us what is at stake, everyone knows how important it is and we are all very motivated." Villarreal finished an impressive third in the Primera Liga last season, behind champions Barcelona and Real Madrid. "I don't know what Everton are going to do because I never pay much attention to our opponents," said Riquelme. "What I worry about is that we play as we know how to.
"If we can play football like last season and the team believes it can do that, then I think we have a really good chance. "We'll see if Everton are the hardest side we could have got or not at the end of the tie. At first glance that could seem to be the case, but we will find out for sure on the pitch."
* MORE than 30,000 tickets have already been sold for tomorrow's game, but a number are still on sale from the Box Office at Goodison. "Although we do have tickets still available for the game they are selling quickly and we would urge all supporters to book as early as is possible," said Everton's Head of Communications Ian Ross. The Box Office is open between 9.30am and 4.30pm today.

Kendall seethes at Liverpool in Europe
By Paul Walker Daily Post Correspondent
Aug 8 2005
FORMER Everton manager Howard Kendall has launched an astonishing attack on the decision to allow Liverpool to defend their Champions League crown. As Everton prepare to make their first appearance in the European Cup for 34 years, Kendall has once again revealed the deep bitterness that remains over the way the Goodison side were treated by UEFA when England's clubs were banned from Europe. Kendall's team were not allowed to compete in the European Cup after winning the championship in 1985 and 1987 following Liverpool's part in the Heysel disaster.
And Kendall insists Everton should have been given a wild card by UEFA - just as Champions League holders Liverpool have been this term - when English sides were eventually allowed back into the European Cup in 1990. "Liverpool have finished fifth but have been given a wild card even though the ruling was that the top four qualified. But there was no wild card for Everton when English clubs were re-admitted to Europe. Instead Liverpool were the first club back in. "Everton should have been given a place then after being denied as champions. It would not have benefited me at the time - I had left the club by then." Manchester United and Aston Villa were the first teams to be re-admitted when UEFA lifted the ban on English clubs, with Liverpool barred until the 1991-92 season. Everton's only appearance in Europe since then was in the 1995-96 Cup Winners' Cup.
Kendall has chosen to reopen old wounds in the week that the Merseyside neighbours are both playing third qualifying round ties, with Everton at home to Villarreal tomorrow and Liverpool away to CSKA Sofia the following night. Kendall said: "I do not agree with Liverpool being in the Champions League now even though they won it. The rules should not have been changed just like that." Kendall believes UEFA officials were banking on a Liverpool defeat by AC Milan in last season's Istanbul final so they would effectively have had no decision to make as Rafael Benitez's side finished fifth in the Premiership - outside the qualification places. "If they had wanted to change the rules for next season as a result of that, fair enough but I believe UEFA kept delaying a decision when Liverpool reached the final in the hope they would lose," he said.. "If that had happened they would not have a decision to make. "I am not bitter at being denied the chance to take Everton into the European Cup. How can I be when people lost their lives at Heysel? "That puts everything into perspective but I was envious when they were the first team back in when the ban was lifted. "Everton should have fought harder at the time because they should have been the first in Europe from England after the ban. They should have changed the rules for Everton as they did in the summer for Liverpool." Everton now face a very tough tie with Spain's third-best club.

Dunc to make Euro bow
Aug 8 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to unload their most secret weapon on Villarreal tomorrow night. An injury to Marcus Bent means that Duncan Ferguson could have a significant role to play in the Champions League qualifier - and despite their extensive European experience, the Spaniards are unlikely to have faced the kind of challenge the big Scot provides very often. "Marcus has an Achilles problem, while Leon Osman has patella tendonitis," said boss David Moyes today. "They both could go right to the wire before we can make a decision, so yes, we may need to call on Duncan at some stage. "It's probably fair to say Villarreal won't have faced too many strikers like him." Duncan Ferguson is the only remaining survivor from Everton's last European campaign a decade ago - but the Scottish striker missed the games against KR Reykjavik through injury and Feyenoord because he was in jail.
And Argentine dangerman Juan Roman Riquelme believes that greater European experience will carry them through the two-legged clash. "That has really helped us take on this tie," he said. "We know it is not the same playing in the Champions League as it is the UEFA Cup, and that is why we have to knock Everton out. If we play like we did last season, and we are sure we can, then we have a very strong chance of beating Everton. "They play a very direct style of football and we shouldn't get drawn into playing like them. In fact, we should do the opposite. "Everton are very strong rivals but, if we want to go further in the Champions League, we will have to keep playing teams of their standard. "Nobody needs to tell us what is at stake. Everyone knows how important it is and we are all very motivated." Villarreal are virtually at full strength. Argentine goalkeeper Mariano Barabosa has replaced Pepe Reina following his move to Anfield, while Ecuador's Luis Valencia and the experienced Italian Alessio Tacchinardi have come in to add depth to the mid-field and Dutch international Jan Kromkamp has been signed to bolster the defence. Only player missing for the Spanish is striker Jose Mari - with Diego Forlan and Argentine international Luciano Figueroa ready to lead the chase for what could be a crucial away goal.

Spanish yellow submarine which Moyes' men are so keen to sink!
Aug 8 2005 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
IT'S appropriate that Villarreal get their first taste of Champions League football on Merseyside - their nickname is the Yellow Submarine. Until a club song about their yellow shirts was specially written in 2001, the side's anthem was the Beatles number. The Spanish outfit have made remarkable progress in recent years. They only reached the top flight in Spain for the first time in 1998. Relegation immediately followed but they returned in 2000 and in 2003/4 reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals. During their run they eliminated Roma, Galatasary and Celtic before losing to local rivals Valencia. Villarreal were the surprise package in La Liga last season. They qualified for the Champions League by claiming third place - the highest finish in their history - behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. They also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup. Striker Diego Forlan (above) may have failed to shine at Manchester United but he scored 25 goals for Villarreal last season and shared the European Golden Boot with Arsenal's Thierry Henry. The Uruguayan has set his sights on proving against Everton that he can compete on the English stage. "I enjoyed my time with Manchester United, but I felt I did not get enough opportunity to show what I could do," he said.
"It was difficult for me because I did not play often, and that made it harder when I did come into the side. "I am looking forward to going back. I had a successful season with Villarreal, things could not have gone better for me, and I am confident I can score goals. "Everton are a good team, and I know it will be difficult, but we are a good team too." Forlan's striking partner is Argentinian Luciano Figueroa, who failed to command a regular place at Birmingham City. Argentine midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme is their playmaker and he has signed permanently this summer after two years on loan from Barcelona. Villarreal are managed by Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, who was previously in charge of River Plate. Pellegrini has boosted his ranks over the close season with the signing of Dutch international defender Jan Kromkamp, Italian midfielder Alessio Tacchinardi, Argen-tine goalkeeper Mariano Barbosa and Ecuador midfielder Antonio Valencia. Right-back Kromkamp arrived last week from AZ Alkmaar in a £5m move and signed a five-year deal. Tacchinardi, who began his career at Atalanta, joins Villarreal after 11 years at Juventus, where he won five league championships, one Italian Cup and the European Super Cup. The 30-year-old did not play in the final when Juventus won the Champions League in 1996, but was involved in their defeats in the 1997, 1998 and 2003 finals. The club lost keeper Pepe Reina to Liverpool this summer and went to Argentina to sign Barbosa as a replacement. Their men at the back are experienced Argentinians Gonzalo Rodriguez and Rodolfo Arruabarrena. After the draw for the third qualifying round in Nyon, Switzerland, Villarreal president Fernando Roig said: "Everton were one of the hardest teams we could have faced, but we will get through."

Goodison can intimidate Spaniards, say legends
Aug 8 2005 By Dominic King , Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legends Trevor Steven and Graeme Sharp are backing the Goodison Park crowd to play a defining role in tomorrow night's Champions League qualifier with Villarreal. Given they were part of Howard Kendall's all-conquering side from the mid-1980s, Steven and Sharp know full well the difference a capacity Goodison crowd can make on a European night. One night, of course, stands out above the rest and that was the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final clash with Bayern Munich in 1985, when 49,792 crammed into Goodison to roar Kendall's men into their first and only European final. The stakes will be similarly high tomorrow with the winners of Everton and Villarreal's tie standing to gain entry to the Champions League group stages and a guaranteed £15m jackpot. And while Steven accepts that David Moyes side may not have Villarreal's recent European pedigree, he points out that a raucous Goodison welcome could scare the life out of the Spaniards.
"They are not going to out-football Villarreal because the Spaniards are such a great footballing side," said Steven. "But, of course, Everton have their own Spaniard in Mikael Arteta and I'm sure that he will have been passing on useful information to David Moyes. "I think what Everton have got to do is go and battle and make sure that they take an advantage across to Spain. The role of the crowd will certainly be crucial. "They have got to go there and be able to defend a lead. That's the only thing that I can see happening but I am optimistic about it." Similarly, Sharp believes qualification depends on being able to secure a first leg lead and if Everton were able to do that, the former Scotland international would be confident the Blues could hold out in the return match later this month. "I think it is going to be tough but it is very interesting," said Sharp. "The first leg is going to be crucial and we have got to be able to take a lead over to Spain. "If we can do that, who knows? It is going to be very difficult but it is something that we must look forward to." Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has been counting the days since the draw was made in Nyon last month and has the feeling that something special could happen. "We have got to go into this and accept it as the opportunity for what it is - and that is to get into the group stage of the Champions League," said Kenwright. "Part of you feels we belong in this draw, and part of you feels it's a miracle by a miracle manager and Evertonians feel great about that."

Sing up and drive us on to join elite
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 9 2005
DAVID MOYES has called on Everton's supporters to roar their team towards the Champions League group stages this evening. A 10-year absence from European competition ends when Goodison plays host to Villarreal in the third qualifying round first leg. Moyes believes his team are underdogs to win through against the Spanish side, who finished third in La Liga last season behind only Barcelona and Real Madrid. But the Everton manager has called on the home fans to recreate the European nights of the past and help frighten Villarreal out of their stride. "People in this country know Goodison is an intimidating place to come," said Moyes,, who has injury concerns over Marcus Bent, Per Kroldrup and Leon Osman. "This is one of the old stadiums. People have their pie and bovril and let the opposition know what they think about them and get right behind own team.
"The fans can drive us on, intimidate officials and intimidate opponents. They will have to play as big a part on Tuesday as they did last season. "We need to make it an intimidating ground and claim for everything, because we know the Spanish team will come here and try and slow things down and not allow us to get any tempo. We need the supporters to be right behind us." Moyes, who is confident Everton can reproduce the form that saw them finish fourth in the Premiership last season, has revealed the desire of his players to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. And the Everton manager believes tonight's match is further evidence of the progress the club has made in recent years. "We know that we are the underdogs but we have a lot of character and we will be out there scratching and fighting for everything," said Moyes.. "This is something we desperately want. "We showed last season our resilience by not giving in when people said we would not finish fourth and not qualify for the Champions League. "The opening of this season is exactly what any manager would want. I could only have dreamt when I took over three years ago that my opening game would be Villarreal in the Champions League and then the first Premier-ship game is against Manchester United at home. It shows we have come a decent distance. "We know that it will be a tough game but we have seen recently that games can turn around very quickly and nothing is guaranteed. We have as good a chance of winning through as Villarreal have. "We realise the financial implications are great for the club if we get into the group stage. And if we get through, we will have earned it with the tie we have got." He added: "This is a terrific reward for the fans. They have missed out in Europe because of other situations. Everton were at the top of British football when they missed out. "We cannot know what damage that has done to the club but it is in the history books. Now we can make history ourselves." Moyes is waiting on the fitness of Bent, Kroldrup and Osman, with Duncan Ferguson ready to come in should Bent be sidelined. "Duncan can give them a problem that they are not used to," said the manager. "He is capable of causing any team problems, whether they are from Spain or England." New £3.5million signing Phil Neville will make his debut in place of Lee Carsley, who is out for at least the next month with a knee injury. Gary Naysmith is also unavailable, while Li Tie has been named in the senior squad for the first time in 18 months.
* THERE are a limited number of tickets still available for tonight's game.
They can be purchased from the Goodison Box Office from 9.30am until kick-off.

Cahill delight at long-term contract
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 9 2005
TIM CAHILL hailed "another dream come true" after committing his long-term future to Everton yesterday. The Australian midfielder has signed an improved five-year deal that ties him to the club until 2010. There had been fears that Cahill, who was top scorer at Everton last season, was unhappy at Goodison and could depart after rejecting an initial contract offer last month.
But the 25-year-old said signing the new deal - believed to be worth in the region of £27,000 a week - had always been his priority. "All the talk that has been going on hasn't helped but we knew we would come to a resolution," said Cahill.. Cahill added: "It was just a matter of sitting down with the gaffer and club properly. "It is done now and I am happy and all I can say it is another dream come true "Another five years at the club I love and at the one that gave me my chance." Cahill's decision was a perfect fillip for manager David Moyes ahead of this evening's Champions League third qualifying round first leg against Villarreal. "We are pleased because it became a little bit more messy than we expected it to be," said Moyes. "Tim was going to be here for the long term anyway but we wanted to make sure he was secured. "He showed throughout last season his value to us and we are just happy we have now got him on a longer term deal."

Victory at home is vital, says confident Kilbane
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 9 2005
CHRISTMAS may have come early for David Moyes, but Kevin Kilbane has warned Everton not to think about opening their presents just yet. The moment that has been the main topic of discussion among Evertonians since May 8 finally arrives this evening when European Cup football returns to Goodison for the first time in more than 34 years. A two-legged tie against Spanish side Villarreal is all that stands in the way of Everton and the vast riches of the Champions League group stages, where a treasure chest of £15m is waiting to be unlocked. And the level of excitement and anticipation is such that even the usually calm, considered Moyes has let slip an almost child-like enthusiasm ahead of his club's biggest game in a decade. "It feels like Christmas Eve," he says. "I can't wait. It's like being a kid again, it's like I am going to open my toys now. This game is something we have been waiting for for a long time. "It is the players who have taken us into the Champions League, not the manager. They have done the hard work. Now I hope we can give the supporters something to shout about. You can sense when big games are near. The players don't need much telling and just focus on the work they have to do." Admittedly, the instant euphoria of that fourth-placed finish has been dampened slightly by Everton's patchy pre-season form and the tough third qualifying round task that was meted out by UEFA last month. And midfielder Kilbane has noted that the players must remain aware they still have to make that one final step before they reach their Champions League goal. "Everyone is up for this game," says the Irishman.. "But what has to be put into the minds of everyone is that we aren't quite there yet. We have got to make these two games count and make sure we do get there. "We have to grasp this opportunity. I want to be part of the Champions League and I think that's why we need to take that step back and realise we aren't there yet. We can't go into the game thinking we've done it. We must stay focused. "We are all confident in our ability. A lot of the players have performed at a good level in international football but have not quite played at this level. We now have to prove we are capable of matching the company we are going to come up against." Moyes points to his team's burgeoning reputation, which marked them out as one to avoid in the draw, as reason for encouragement. "There is a sense of realisation now what the Champions League means," he says.. "We were not cursing the draw. We were delighted to be in it. If you would have said in December that we would be playing Villarreal in the Champions League in August then I would have kissed you. "With the exception of Inter Milan, we could not have had a harder draw. It was a tough draw but I think that Villarreal will be saying the same thing. "I don't think they would have wanted to play a big team from the Premier League." Kilbane concedes that while playing such an important game before the league season has even started presents a set of unique challenges for the play-ers, the same applies to both sides. "It is usually two or three Premier League games before you are really at full fitness, so for this match we will have to go that extra bit," he says.. "We may not be quite there yet but we have to push ourselves to a level we would normally be looking to get to a few weeks into the season. "This is a big chance for us. We are saying we may not be ready, but Villarreal are in the same boat. Their season starts a couple of weeks after ours and they have not been back as long as us." For Moyes, the tie represents the latest advance in the long haul of transforming Everton from perennial relegation strugglers back to trophy contenders. "This is an important step forward for the club," he says.. "But if you look at teams like Leeds, it improved the stature of the club but has ended up working against them. "This tie is not boom or bust for Everton. It is a rebuilding job and it is going to take longer than just two games in the Champions League. "But I don't want this to be like an adventure. I want this to continue season after season, but so do all the clubs. A lot of clubs have spent big to try and get where we are, and that shows how hard it is to get into the Champions League. It is getting harder every year." Kilbane believes it is imperative that Everton have a lead to defend when they travel to Spain for the return leg a fortnight tomorrow. "I think we have to win the home leg," he says.. "I would take any kind of lead to Villarreal, because the players are confident we can go there and get a result. What we cannot do is start at a really high tempo and then get tired. It normally takes three or four Premiership games before you get up to full fitness, so we're going into this game not at full fitness, but neither will they." Everton go into the game having scored just three goals in five friendlies, and Kilbane admits that is a trend that must be bucked. "We are not scoring goals and that has been a disappointment," adds the 28-year-old. "We got a lot of 1-0 wins last season and we have never been a team that scores three or four in a game. We have players who can score, but we are not gelling yet as a team to score those goals. If ever there is a game where we would want it to all come together, it's this one." Winning through to the group stages would allow Kilbane to join a select group of his Republic of Ireland team-mates to have played in the Champions League. "With Ireland, the likes of Roy Keane, Damien Duff, Shay Given and John O'Shea have played in the Champions League, and you want to be part of it," he says.. "I want to be among those with my head held high. "It's my biggest game since I played for Ireland against Spain in the last World Cup. I missed a penalty in the shoot-out and I missed a chance in normal time, so the game didn't go too well for me personally but we matched them throughout. "Looking back, if we play with that same intensity here at Everton, we are more than capable of getting a result."
But while tonight will be the first taste of Champions League football for many of his players, Moyes himself has a special affinity with the European Cup. It was in this competition that he made his Celtic debut against Juventus in Turin, and he understands the unique atmosphere a European tie can generate. "They had a great team in those days, and although Paolo Rossi was suspended they had the likes of Roberto Bettega and Liam Brady was also playing," says Moyes. "I was playing at right-back and we lost the game 2-0 after we'd won the first leg 1-0 at home. I also played against an Ajax team which had Johan Cruyff, Jan Molby and Jesper Olsen playing for them and Marco van Basten was on the bench, and we managed to beat them over two legs. "Unless you have played in a European night, especially one like at Celtic, you don't realise just how good the atmosphere is. It really is completely different from normal. "That is the atmosphere I think we'll have at Goodison against Villarreal."
Everton v Spanish Opposition
Overall Record
P2 W1 D0 L1
Previous Meetings
1966-67 Real Zaragoza H 1-0 A 0-2 (European Cup Winners' Cup)
Best Betting Odds
H 6-4 (BlueSquare, bet365, SportingOdds, Sportingbet)
A 15-8 (William Hill, PremierBet)
D 9-4 (Stan James, bet365, totalbet, ukbetting)

Villarreal coach warns of Everton threat
By Cindy Garcia-Bennett, Daily Post
Aug 9 2005
VILLARREAL coach Manuel Pellegrini has warned his players about the dangers Everton will pose to them at Goodison Park. Villarreal play the first leg of their Champions League qualifier on Merseyside tonight aiming to capitalise on their third-place finish in the Primera Liga and make their first ever appearance in the group stage of the competition. The Spanish outfit may not be the biggest name in the Primera Liga, but successive appearances in the semi-finals and quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup show they are a team to be taken seriously. However, Pellegrini admits Everton will provide a serious challenge to their ambitions and is worried their aerial power could prove to be his side's undoing. "Everton are a side that have huge physical strength, they are commanding in the air and are very strong at home," he said. "They are difficult opponents, but as you improve then your opponents are going to get harder all of the time. We respect them, but we do not fear them. They can't have been very happy with the draw either." Pellegrini also stressed the importance of scoring an away goal in tonight's game. "If we don't do that, then it gets really hard if we concede a goal at home ourselves," said the Villarreal coach, who has finally included midfielder Josico in his 19-man squad after he shook off an ankle injury picked up last week in a friendly against Albacete.
However, he hinted that new signing Alessio Tacchinardi would get the nod to start the game.
"He controls the position of defensive midfielder well and it is a position where we are slightly lacking," he admitted. Villarreal will, however, be without pacy forward Jose Mari and defender Santi Cazorla, while Armando Sa has been left out for tactical reasons. Meanwhile, midfielder Juan Roman Riquelme is adopting a 'wait and see' attitude to Everton's potential. "I don't know what Everton are going to do because I never pay much attention to our opponents, what I worry about is that we play as we know how to," said Riquelme, whose partner-ship with former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan was so fruitful last season. Several Villarreal players have said they consider Everton to be the most difficult side they could have been drawn up against, but the Argentinian is not convinced. He added: "We'll see if they are the hardest side we could have got or not at the end of the tie."

Kendall wrong
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Aug 9 2005
Kendall wrong
FROM a personal point of view I want to state that I do not agree with what Howard Kendall said.
While I didn't agree totally with Liverpool's qualification, it is now a fact and we should move on.
D Evans (via e-mail)
Our 12th man
I AM going to the match quite confident that we can get a result with our 12th man at Goodison Park. I also think Phil Neville will have a great debut and prove his critics wrong. There still remains one question, where is our prolific goalscorer? Beattie will prove his worth this season but we still need another striker that can grab 15-20 goals a season.
James Hicks (via e-mail)
Be positive
I WISH everyone would forget all the negatives just for one night and get behind the team. I for one will be losing my voice by the end of the night. I agree with everyone who goes on about the board and their lack of ambition and true support for the manager, but this is probably one of the biggest nights in the club's history and we need to be supporting the club big time.
Colin Burns (via e-mail)
HOWARD Kendall is an embarrassment, just as the club are on the eve of their biggest game in Europe for years, along comes the dinosaur and opens up a can of worms. The past is past.
Now isn't the time to bring it up again. It's the "now" that bothers most fans, not what happened 20 years ago.
B Boyd, Wirral
Kendall's right
HOWARD KENDALL is quite right that Everton should have been back in Europe after the Heysel ban was lifted. I am not in favour of Liverpool being in now but let's face it, they lobbied all and sundry, called in past favours whereas Everton didn't seem to do that years ago. Pity, but it's all water under the bridge.
Bill Gard (via e-mail)
Why Neville?
I HAVE to join the many others who are dismayed by Phil Neville's signing. If we only needed to 'top-up' the squad, he'd be good man to add (like Alan Harper, for example). However, we need much more urgent surgery in other key areas. We already have a holding player in Carsley, so where does Neville fit in? Once again we are far too soft accepting other people's offloads. Gravesen to Real Madrid for £2.5 and we pay £3.5m for a very ordinary and not very clever player.
David Booth (via e-mail)

Tim can hit the heights with us
Aug 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DELIGHTED David Moyes is challenging Tim Cahill to take his game onto the next level - starting in tonight's crucial Champions League clash with Villarreal. The Everton boss received a huge fillip ahead of his club's most important fixture in almost a decade when Cahill ended all uncertainty about his future by signing an improved five-year deal. Voted Player of the Season after scoring 12 goals in 38 appearances following his £1.5m move from Millwall last summer, Cahill was instrumental in helping Everton defy the odds to secure a place in Europe's premier club competition. Moyes, however, is adamant that the Australian international midfielder will get even better during his stay at Goodison Park and has the perfect stage this evening to showcase his talent.
"To be fair it was never really a problem because Tim was under contract," said Moyes. "But we just wanted to make sure that we did right. It just became a bit messier than we expected. "We brought him here from Millwall and we wanted to reward him for the season that he had last year. "Scoring 12 goals was a terrific return and we always knew that he had a chance of stepping up to Premiership level but he had to prove it himself. "Now he can step up again and reach greater heights with us. "He has done that and we want to make sure that we tied him down and that he stays an Everton player for a while to come. We want to keep our best players and we have done that." Cahill admitted that he had been frustrated that initial contract discussions had stalled, but now everything has been sorted out is determined to repay the faith that has been bestowed in him.
The 26-year-old said: "It is done now, I am happy and all I can say that it is a dream come true, another five years at the club that I love and the one that gave me my chance." Though there were fitness doubts over Marcus Bent and Per Kroldrup yesterday, Moyes anticipates a full strength squad to choose from on what is sure to be an historic occasion.

Duncan wins his number
Aug 9 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON has been handed a major boost ahead of tonight's curtain raiser to the new season - he will wear the number nine shirt in what could be his final season at the club.
The talismanic striker has made no secret of his desire to claim the prestigious jersey - and he has won the battle with James Beattie to wear nine, with his strike partner continuing to wear number eight. It will be the first time Ferguson has worn the number nine since his first spell at the club ended seven years ago. Many of the squad numbers remain unchanged, although new signing Per Kroldrup has been handed his favoured number two shirt, while Gary Nay-smith and Joseph Yobo have been elevated to three and four respectively.
* Full squad list: 1 Richard Wright 2 Per Kroldrup 3 Gary Naysmith 4 Joseph Yobo 5 David Weir 6 Mikel Arteta 7 Marcus Bent 8 James Beattie 9 Duncan Ferguson 10 Simon Davies 11 James McFadden 12 Li Tie 13 Iain Turner 14 Kevin Kilbane 15 Vacant 16 Lee Carsley 17 Tim Cahill 18 Phil Neville 19 Vacant 20 Vacant 21 Leon Osman 22 Tony Hibbert 23 Alessandro Pistone 24 Vacant 25 Nigel Martyn 26 Vacant 27 Vacant 28 Vacant 29 James Vaughan.

Biggest game of our lives
Aug 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN KILBANE is ready to take inspiration from one of the most intimidating experiences in his career to help lead Everton's Champions League charge this evening. While he maybe getting ready to make his European debut for the Blues, it should not be forgotten that Kilbane has a wealth of experience playing at the highest level for the Republic of Ireland. The 28-year-old has been capped on 60 occasions and played in every minute of Ireland's four games at the 2002 World Cup when they were involved with memorable tussles against Cameroon and Spain. However, Kilbane describes tonight's Goodison Park clash against Villarreal as being equivalent to Ireland's make-or-break clash with Iran in November 2001 when the final spot in Japan and South Korea was up for grabs. Nothing could have prepared Ireland for the welcome that awaited them in Tehran. Considering the game kicked off at 5pm, the gates opened at the 120,000-capacity Azadi Stadium at 6am. The ground was full three hours later. It was an episode that Kilbane will never forget and was made all the sweeter as Ireland came through 2-1 on aggregate. Now he is hoping for a repeat as David Moyes' men finally get the chance to rub shoulders with Europe's elite. "I have been to some intimidating places playing for Ireland," said Kilbane. "We played against Turkey in a World Cup qualifier and that was very, very intense. "We had a special game against Cameroon in the group stages and then there was another good game against Spain in the second round. But the actual qualifying game against Iran over two legs was mad, especially the away match. "Hopefully over these next two matches, those type of games will stand me in good stead and I'll be able to put the experience to use. Last season was very special for everyone at this club and it was wonderful to be part of." As Kilbane will have a key role to play this evening, so too will new signing Phil Neville, a Champions League winner with Manchester United in 1999 and a veteran of almost 80 European games. If Everton are to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the group stages, their midfield will need to set a tempo that will bustle the elegant Spaniards up and Kilbane knows cool heads will be required. "Phil has come in and he is very experienced," Kilbane acknowledged. "You'll see him in certain situations in the game - maybe in the last 10 minutes - trying to slow things down and some of the other lads will rely heavily on him. "These are very exciting times but we just need to keep our feet on the ground. We have got a job to do. It is hard because this is going to be the biggest game of my career and the same applies to a lot of the lads." Blues boss Moyes last night described his feelings going into the game as being similar to waiting for Christmas Day to come around and they are emotions with which Kil-bane agrees. The task now facing Everton is to grasp the golden opportunity in front of them. "Everyone is looking forward to it," said Kilbane. "There are a few nerves but we have got to be right and make sure that we are up for this game. "Over two legs we have got to be confident that we can win it. We have got to nail it on now that we have qualified for the Champions League. "We will be ready for it. There will be that little bit extra intensity and we will approach it a bit like a Premiership match and hopefully intimidate Villarreal. We can't let them settle or get into a momentum."

We're back
Aug 9 2005 By Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans are counting down the hours today before their team's first match in European football's elite competition for 35 years. Excitement levels in the blue half of Merseyside are at fever pitch as the Blues prepare to take on Spanish side Villareal in the Champions League qualifier at Goodison Park. Success in both legs of the tie would see the Blues go into the money-spinning group stages of the competition. And fans - many of whom weren't born when Everton last played in Europe's biggest club competition against Panathanaikos - were loving it.. Ian MacDonald, of the Independent Blues, said: "This time last season I was contemplating booking a trip to Burnley in Division One. Now I'm making plans for sunny Spain and Champions League footy. "I can't wait to hear that special Champions League theme tune coming out of the loud speakers at Goodison tonight. It's going to be special." The match will be the first time Blue noses have seen any European football since Everton lost to Feyenoord in the Cup Winners Cup in 1995. Hundreds of Spanish fans have also travelled to Merseyside to watch their side. Villareal took the Spanish league by surprise last season by finishing third. Supporter Luis Sanchis, 23, manager of La Vina restaurant on North John Street, says the team, nick-named the Yellow Submarine after their yellow strip, will be a tough prospect. "The people from Castillon which is where we play are not many but they love Villareal.
"They are passionate about their team and last season the players gave them much to sing about.
"Villareal have some excellent players like Riquelme and Forlan and they play eye-catching football. Both sets of fans are in for great evening. "Working in Liverpool I understand how passionate the Everton fans are also." Mark O'Brien, 33, who runs the When Skies Are Grey website, added: "The game is important. If we get through to the group stages we will attract a lot more players and have more to spend. "But we've come a long way under Davie Moyes in a short time. I'm optimistic about tonight but I'm realistic. Villareal's players are used to European football and it won't be easy.
"It will be harsh to label Everton's season a failure if we don't make it through. Let's just hope we get at them from the start like we did against Manchester United last season."

Villarreal boss wary of Blues' physical style
Aug 9 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
VILLARREAL boss Manuel Pellegrini believes his side will have to weather an early Everton storm to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Since last month's draw in Nyon pitted the third best team in Spain against the Blues, Pellegrini has spent hours sat in front of a television screen studying Everton's style of play. And while he has been impressed with the way David Moyes' men can pass the ball, Pellegrini reckons that Everton will try to be as physical as possible in the opening stages to gain the upper hand. "I have watched the last six games Everton played last season plus the two matches that they played in their recent tour of Thailand," said Pellegrini. "I know that they are a physical side and they play the ball in the air. They also like to get it out wide. They like to get crosses in and that is what I expect will happen. "It will be an tough game and they will try to press us. But I hope that you will see the Villarreal you saw last season. I am confident but I know that it will not be easy for us." Pellegrini is especially wary of the threat that Duncan Ferguson will pose whenever he is called into action but made it clear that he sees Everton as much more than a one-man band.
"Ferguson is an important player but I think it is not just about him," the Chilean added. "We know that Everton have many quality players but Ferguson has had a long career and can bring a lot of influence to the game." Villarreal are expected to be at full strength this evening with former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan leading the line. Pellegrini, however, does not feel that he has a point to prove on his return to England. "When Diego was here he did not have many opportunities," he said. "He was at a club with big names and it was difficult for him. But he has had a long run in our side and I think that is where his confidence comes from."

Goodison crowd can help create another Euro glory night - Moyes
Aug 9 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is urging Everton supporters to relive one of Goodison's greatest nights against Spanish side Villarreal tonight. Players and fans still talk about the part the crowd played when Bayern Munich were beaten in the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-final 20 years ago. And Moyes wants tonight's supporters to have just as significant an influence. "I think that the crowd could be something which we will heavily rely on," he said. "We will need the crowd to be partisan. We know that Villarreal will come and try to make the game slow and delay things. "So it is important that our crowd is really up for the game, that they will cheer the players on all the time and contest every decision. "We need to make it an intimidating ground and claim for everything. This is one of the old stadiums. People have their pie and bovril and let the opposition know what they think about them and get right behind their own team. "The fans can drive us on, intimidate officials and opponents. They will have to play as big a part tonight as they did last season. "We will do our bit to try and get a good tempo to our play, but the fans can help that. "We know that if we can give them something, they will give it back, but there will be times in the game that we will need them. We want to try and work together and get the result." It has been 10 years since Goodison last witnessed European football, a Cup Winners' Cup campaign ended by Feyenoord in 1995, but Moyes has had experience of big European nights as a player at Celtic. He was in a Celtic side which faced Juventus when he was a youngster, and he recalled: "They had a great team in those days, and although Paolo Rossi was suspended they had the likes of Roberto Bettega and Liam Brady was also playing. "I was playing at right-back and we lost the game 2-0 after we'd won the first leg 1-0 at home. "I also played against an Ajax team which had Johan Cruyff, Jan Molby and Jesper Olsen playing for them, while Marco van Basten was on the bench - and we managed to beat them over two legs. "Unless you have played in a European night, especially one like at Celtic, you don't realise just how good the atmosphere is. It really is completely different to the normal. "That is the atmosphere I think we'll have at Goodison against Villarreal." DANGER MAN: Diego Forlan, top scorer in Spain last season, during a training session at Goodison

Pepe's Euro bias
Aug 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL goalkeeper Pepe Reina says he will be cheering on his former employers Villarreal in tonight's Champions League clash with Everton. The Spanish side face the Blues at Goodison in the first leg of the third round qualifier, and Reina believes his old side will have too much quality for David Moyes' men. Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta had revealed he would be seeking advice from his fellow Spaniard before the game, but Reina turned down that invitation. He said: "Mikel Arteta is a friend but I'd never help Everton. Villarreal are the worst team Everton could have faced. They are very solid defensively and dangerous offensively, too. "Personally, I hope Villareal get through. It was my home for three years and my heart will always be there. "And if they knock out our local rivals, that will just make me doubly happy."

Everton 1, Villarreal 2 (D, Post)
Aug 10 2005 Ian Doyle At Goodison Park, Daily Post
CHRISTMAS may have come early for David Moyes but it was Villarreal who left Goodison clutching the present of victory last night. The raw passion and emotion from a partisan crowd was not enough as Everton were betrayed by a lack of European experience on their return to European Cup football after a 34-year absence. Defeat with honour was not the reward Moyes was anticipating when he revealed his festive feeling ahead of this Champions League third qualifying round tie, the club's most eagerly-awaited fixture in more than a decade. Now Everton must call upon every ounce of the resilience, determination and character that formed the bedrock of their Premiership success last season if they are to make that final step into the promised land of the Champions League group stages and unlock its vast riches. Villarreal withstood a whirlwind Everton opening and a second-half siege to emerge triumphant, their European nous gleaned from recent lengthy runs in the UEFA Cup proving decisive. Following the friendly mauling against Fenerbahce, this clinical display from the La Liga side was further evidence of the exalted company Everton now face a fight to remain among.
That said, they needn't feel completely downhearted. This setback was a little harsh on the home side - a draw would have been a fair result - and they produced a fine performance that belied that patchy pre-season form, only to be let down by the worrying lack of final ball evident during those preparatory outings. Ultimately, the extra class that Moyes had feared within the Villarreal ranks told - Juan Riquelme in particular the game's outstanding performer - as the Spaniards left Everton needing to score two away goals in a fortnight to progress. Former Birmingham City misfit Luciano Figueroa struck in the 27th minute before Josico's diving header on the stroke of half-time dealt a potentially decisive blow to an Everton side who had drawn deservedly level through James Beattie.
No-one at Everton was under any illusions as to the size of the task they faced in overcoming a team that had finished below only Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga last season. But while Villarreal justified their favourites tag with an impressive, controlled display, there is sufficient reason for Everton encouragement ahead of the return leg in a fortnight. As Moyes insisted afterwards, this tie is still very much alive. Mariano Barbosa in the Villarreal goal fails to convince, the defence last night showed a clear aversion to dealing with the aerial ball and Everton's hard-work ethic constantly hurried the visitors out of their stride. There were other positives. Phil Neville excelled in a central mid-field role on debut following his £3.5million move from Manchester United, his vast European experience proving an invaluable asset to an Everton side largely untested at this level of club football. And Moyes was right to laud Simon Davies, another debutant to impress whose willingness to work hard and flashes of flair will endear him to the knowledgeable home faithful.
The Everton manager had called on those supporters to turn Goodison into the cauldron which had so frightened Manchester United in that pivotal Premiership encounter last season, and the packed stands - save the sparsely populated Villarreal section - were in full voice before kick-off, the roar deafening when the teams took to the field. There was no let up throughout the 90 minutes. Every tackle was cheered, every pass applauded and every adverse refereeing decision abused as the crowd immersed themselves in the spectacle to become the 12th man Moyes had been seeking.
It certainly affected Villarreal. Their rise to prominence has been swift and as such they are still relative European novices as a football club; it's unlikely they have experienced an atmosphere quite like last night. Feeding off the crowd frenzy, Everton started much the brighter as the visitors were taken aback by the characterstic high-pressure game from Moyes's side. Everton created the first chance when a powerful forward run from left-back by Alessandro Pistone saw the Italian exchange passes with Kevin Kilbane then lift in a dangerous cross that agonisingly missed everyone before Beattie's improvised effort found the grateful arms of Barbosa. However, the visiting keeper looked less comfortable dealing with Mikel Arteta's corner moments later, misjudging the flight of the ball and fortunate Tim Cahill wasn't quite able to direct his snap header goalward. Everton's lively approach play was lacking only the final ball, and Cahill gave demonstration of their absolute commitment when he was involved in a heavy collision with Barbosa that left the keeper needing treatment. That challenge introduced a niggly edge to the game that was never quite eradicated by whistle-happy Norwegian referee Tom Ovrebo. Diego Forlan was booked for a nasty tackle on former teammate Neville on 26 minutes before more serious damage was inflicted by Villarreal a minute later when Everton fell behind to a clincally-executed counter-attack. Marcos Senna played a one-two with Forlan on the half-way line before slipping a pass through to Figueroa, who had moved goalside of Weir down the inside right channel and despatched a fine shot across Nigel Martyn into the bottom corner. The goal gave Villarreal a visible lift and temporarily silenced the crowd. Figueroa then showed an unseemly side to his character when he was cautioned for diving before Everton rediscovered their composure in search of parity. They didn't have to wait too long. Cahill had already again exposed an aeriel weakness in the Spanish defence when he headed narrowly over from Arteta's left-wing cross when another high ball brought the home side level on 42 minutes. Beattie and Cahill challenged each other for Neville's deep right-wing cross, and after bouncing off his head, Beattie showed a true striking instinct by reacting quickest to the loose ball and prodding home past Barbosa. Cue bedlam. But the make-up of Moyes's interval team-talk changed dramatically on the stroke of half-time when Villarreal regained the lead with another well-crafted strike. Aneat passing move in the Everton half ended with Juan Riquelme laying off for fellow Argentine Juan Sorin to sweep a cross in from the right that midfielder Josico, despite the close attentions of Beattie, nodded past Martyn with a fine diving header from 15 yards. As if to demonstrate their hunger, Everton were out a full three minutes before their Spanish visitors for the restart and the second half began in much the same manner as the first, the home side enjoying the greater possession without seriously threatening the Villarreal goal. Moyes brought on Duncan Ferguson and Marcus Bent for Kilbane and Beattie. Bent came close minutes after his introduction but dithered in his attempt to turn in a loose ball in the area that was eventually pounced on by Barbosa. Villarreal had settled for the scoreline and were content to close out the game, but one Forlan effort that zipped narrowly over was a warning they remained a threat in attack. For all their huffing and puffing, however, Everton, could not muster another worthwhile opportunity and they now have it all to do in Spain in two weeks' time.
Made the most of his European experience with a fine debut display
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone (McFadden 80), Cahill, Arteta, Neville, Davies, Kilbane (Ferguson 62), Beattie (Bent 63). Subs: Wright, Kroldrup, Li Tie, Osman. BOOKINGS: Hibbert.
VILLARREAL: Barbosa, Rodriguez, Quique Alvarez, Javi Venta, Arruabarrena, Riquelme, Josico, Senna, Sorin (Pena 89), Forlan (Guayre 85), Figueroa (Tacchinardi 65). Subs: Lopez Vallejo, Hector Font, Kromkamp, Valencia. BOOKINGS: Forlan, Figueroa, Rodriguez, Riquelme.
REFEREE: Tom Ovrebo (Norway). ATT: 37,685.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Manchester United, Premiership, Saturday 12.45pm

We can win through, insists defiant Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 10 2005
DAVID MOYES last night insisted Everton still have every chance of winning through to the group stages of the Champions League. The Goodison side's return to European football after a 10-year absence ended in a 2-1 defeat at home to Villarreal in their third qualifying round first leg tie.
After Luciano Figueroa's 27th-minute strike put the Spaniards ahead, James Beattie equalised on 42 minutes only for the visitors to regain the lead of the stroke of half-time through a Josico diving header. It means Everton must score at least two away goals in the return leg at the Estadio El Madrigal in a fortnight to stand any chance of progressing. But Moyes was encouraged by his team's performance, and has cited Liverpool's Champions League triumph last season as evidence it is possible to overturn a deficit in Europe. "The game is still alive," he said. "There are still 90 minutes to go, and we have seen not too long ago that anything can happen in a game of football. "We have to believe we can go there and score two goals like they did against us tonight. "It will be a big effort to go there and get a result, but it is not beyond us. We know there are ways we can score goals against them and maybe we will get the rub of the green and the ball will bounce kindly for us."
The Everton manager praised the support from the Goodison crowd, who were witnessing the team's first European Cup game in more than 34 years. "The atmosphere was magnificent and the fans were great," added Moyes. "I am sorry we could not give them a better result. "The fact they clapped the players off at the end showed they knew that the players had given their all.
"It was a fantastic effort from our players. We tried to play direct and powerful football and on another night we might have scored more. They scored from two of the few chances they had. "Their second goal knocked the wind out of our sails. If anything, we had looked like we could nick a second before the break but then the boy scores a second with a header from 16 yards." Of Villarreal, Moyes said: "There were no surprises from them. I don't think we could have watched them any more than we did, we saw lots of videos so we knew exactly what to expect. "At half-time I said to the play-ers to go out and do the same things, play with the same tempo and in the main I thought that we stuck to it well." Moyes reserved special praise for Phil Neville, who delivered a man-of-the-match preformance in his first game since signing for £3.5million from Manchester United last week. "I thought Phil Neville had an outstanding debut and you also can see even from the game that Simon Davies will add something to our team," said the Everton manager. "The effort that the players gave tonight was exceptional. "The truth of the matter is that we have not even thought about the Manchester United game this Saturday. We have been completely focused on this game." Goodison captain David Weir echoed his manager's sentiments that Everton can travel to Spain and secure the desired result. "We gave it a massive effort, all fairness to the boys - we gave it all in the second half," said Weir.. "We're never happy losing, but we put up a good fight.
"We're still in the tie and we'll give it everything we've got. "They're a clever team, they've done it before and this is our first time in Europe." Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini was delighted with his sides's victory but he also praised Everton. He said: "Everton are tough rivals who will fight all the way but I was pleased with our performance against a very tough team. "It went according to plan as far as we are concerned. "We knew they would be powerful in the air and put us under pressure, but I thought we coped well."

Everton 1, Villarreal 2 (Echo)
Dominic King At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Aug 10 2005
FEELINGS of despondency and frustration may have been commonplace among supporters leaving Goodison Park last night - but today the hordes should be gripped by one over-riding emotion... optimism. Defeat, of course, is never easy to take, especially when it comes in such hugely important games. Evertonians had waited 34 years for a crack at the European Cup, so the angst that Villarreal's 2-1 win caused was understandable. But in 90 enthralling minutes last night, David Moyes' men showed there is much to look forward to this season - and there is certainly no need for them to travel to the El Madrigal Stadium later this month fearing the worst. Villarreal may pass the ball at a bewitching pace and boast more recent European experience than Everton. They are not, however, unbeatable. And in contrast to the majority of fans, the demeanour of Everton's players and coaches was notably upbeat. "We will put up a good fight over there," insisted captain David Weir. "I certainly don't think the best team won and this tie is still alive." His manager agreed, adding: "You never know what might happen in football, as we saw a couple of months ago. The second leg could still be very good for us." Winning by two goals in Spain would arguably be the greatest feat of Moyes' managerial reign on Merseyside, but it can be done. What's more, he has big game players on whom he can now rely to make something 'special' happen. Take debutantes Phil Neville and Simon Davies. Former Manchester United man Neville was outstanding in the centre of midfield, diligently shielding the back four and offering support to the attack whenever the chance arose. His reputation as a jack-ofall-trades will no doubt mean that he occupies a variety of roles during the season, but he truly excels in the holding position at the heart of the engine room, coaxing and cajoling the best out of his teammates. What's more, the experience and knowledge he has acquired during his years at Old Trafford will make this England international invaluable during Everton's European adventure. Expect another towering performance from him in Spain. Davies, meanwhile, showed more than enough on his first competitive outing to suggest his scampering forays down the wing will create plenty of opportunities for Everton's strikers. Fittingly, another man to emerge with great credit was James Beattie, who scrapped and battled for everything with a Villarreal defence that looked at times as if it might crack should it be subjected to constant pressure. Following his £6m move from Southampton, Beattie made an inauspicious start to life at Goodison Park, but this was much more like it. He deserved both his goal and the standing ovation which accompanied his second- half substitution. When you add players such as Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and alike to the mix, then there is no reason why Everton cannot confound the sceptics once again and qualify for the lucrative group stages of the Champions League. That said, it was impossible not to be taken by Villarreal. They possess a number of match-winners in their ranks and Everton must learn lessons from both goals they conceded. Luciano Figueroa, once of Birmingham City, took his opening goal magnificently in the 27th minute. But Everton were effectively undone by a long, straight ball down the middle that could and should have been dealt with quicker. Again, the finish from Josico for the second - a 16-yard diving header - took the breath away and capped a wonderful move fashioned by Juan Riquelme. Having just equalised via Beattie, however, Everton should have been running the clock down in first half injury time. It could not have come at a worse time and effectively knocked the wind out of the Blues' sails for the second period. With one cruel sucker punch, a raucous crowd had been flattened. As for the outstanding Riquelme, he showed why he had been the focus of much pre-match hype, never wasting a pass, always probing for openings while a late booking showed him to be both silk and steel. So, given that they finished third to Barcelona and Real Madrid in La Liga last season, it is no surprise that Villarreal are long odds-on for Champions League progression, which would leave Everton to chance their arm in the UEFA Cup.
But too much work has gone on at Goodison and Bellefield over the past 12 months to get within touching distance of Europe's elite again for that scenario to be accepted without a fight - and on the back of one home defeat. This tie isn't over yet.
Man of the match: Phil Neville:
Tidy and inventive in possession, he also played the destructive anchor-man role to perfection.
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone (McFadden 80), Cahill, Arteta, Neville, Davies, Kilbane (Ferguson 62), Beattie (Bent 62). Not used: Wright, Kroldrup, Tie, Osman.
VILLARREAL: Barbosa, Rodriguez, Quique Alvarez, Javi Venta, Arruabarrena, Riquelme, Josico, Senna, Sorin (Pena 89), Forlan (Guayre 85), Figueroa (Tacchinardi 65). Not used: Lopez, Vallejo, Hector Font, Kromkamp, Valencia.
REFEREE: Tom Henning Ovrebo (Norway).
BOOKINGS: Forlan (25) foul, Figueroa (32) diving, Hibbert (39) foul, Rodriguez (64) foul, Riquelme (83) time-wasting.
GOALS: Figueroa (26) 0-1, Beattie (41) 1-1, Josico (46) 1-2.

Beattie in goal pledge to Blues fans
Aug 10 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE hopes last night's Champions League goal will spark a scoring spree which can repay the faith that has been shown in him. The England international has struggled for form and fitness since he signed for Everton in January, but got his season off to the best possible start with a goal against Villarreal last night. It could not prevent the Blues slipping to a 2-1 defeat in their Champions League qualifier at Goodison, but Beattie looked sharp and was given a generous ovation when he was substituted in the second half. "I have always said that when I get fit I will produce some great performances and I will score goals," Beattie declared. " Unfortunately, it wasn't enough last night, but I felt really good. I felt fit and I tried my best to get the team going after we had conceded the second goal at half-time. "I don't think for one minute that the tie is over. We created chances and we'll try and implement that in the second leg. "I'm never short of confidence but it is always nice to score goals. The fans have stood by me and I promise to pay them back, not just this season but for a good few years to come." As happy as he was with his own contribution, Beattie felt the scoreline overshadowed Everton's Champions League debut, particularly the way they conceded in the dying seconds of first half injury time. "We are obviously disappointed to lose the game but we have played pretty well in the face of very good opposition," said Beattie. "After getting ourselves back in the game, to concede like we did was a bit of a killer blow really. "We are disappointed, but there are plenty of characters in the dressing room like the gaffer and Alan (Irvine) who will raise the lads. We will now get ourselves ready for Manchester United on Saturday."

We're not dead and buried yet - Moyes
Aug 10 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Everton must take a leaf out of their closest rival's book of great European escapes if their Champions League dream is to remain intact. Clearly referring to Liverpool's Champions League final comeback in Istanbul, the Blues' boss said: "We have seen what can happen in games not too long ago, so we have to believe we can go there and score two goals against them.
"It will need a big effort, but we have seen how games can turn around very quickly and I do think there's a chance of that happening. It's not beyond us. We know there are ways we can score goals against them." Everton went down 2-1 to the slick and pacy La Liga side and Moyes added: "Villarreal didn't surprise me. I don't think we could have watched them any more and I thought it was a fantastic effort from our players, a great effort to try and win the game. "We tried to play direct and powerfully and on another night we might have got a couple and they might not have scored what were two gloriously taken goals. "The second one, coming when it did, took the wind out of our sails a little. We looked as if we were the team more likely to get a second before half-time, then their boy scores a header from about 16 yards." But Moyes paid tribute to another stirring Goodison Park atmosphere and the displays of his two debutants, Phil Neville and Simon Davies. "I thought the atmosphere was magnificent. The people here were great," he said..
"I am just sorry we couldn't give them something to celebrate. "But I think that every one of them clapped all of the players off the park. They gave everything and I don't think they could ask for any more than that. "I thought Phil Neville gave an outstanding debut and him and Simon Davies I think we can definitely say will add something to the team."

Brave Blues battle on
Aug 10 2005 By Nick Coligan, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fan Nick Coligan reflects on the match he has waited 20 years to see DEAR UEFA - thanks for the invitation. Sorry we were late - circumstances beyond our control. But next time, can you arrange for the party to last a bit longer? You could draw us against someone a bit easier, maybe. Perhaps some Hungarians who raise the white flag within seven minutes. Or some committed but limited Welshmen who know they aren't supposed to win. Not a team of slick, spring-heeled Spaniards with divine touch and a lethal eye for goal given the slightest sniff of a chance. Like many Evertonians this morning, through the hangover and sore throat I am left wondering what might have been. What might have happened if that 25-minute spell at the start of the match, when a startled Villar-real were pummelled in a corner, had produced a goal. What might have happened if the Spanish hadn't clawed their way back in front seconds before half-time. But I am also left with memories of a quite astonishing night at Goodison, when 20 years of frustration were exorcised to the sound of an ear-splitting roar. Squashed into the very back of Lower Bullens, I was far from the relative comfort of my usual spot in the Main Stand thanks to the club's, erm, eccentric ticket policy for the game fans have waited two decades to see. Only Everton would reward season-ticket holders for years of more or less abject misery by putting tickets on general sale and sparking mad panic.
Bullens Road is the type of claustrophobic stand that would never be built nowadays. Watching games from the back of the lower tier is like peering through a letter box, so low is the roof.
But as the players emerged from the tunnel, I could think of few more atmospheric places to be.
Perhaps it was magnified by the tight surroundings of Bullens Road, but never before had I heard such a wall of sound raining down from Goodison's four stands. All around me were fans who were probably there in 1971, when Everton last played in the European Cup. They were probably there when Howard Kendall's allconquering side clinched the title in 1985, only to lose their place in Europe's top competition when English clubs were banned. They were probably there through the darkest days of the 1990s, when only an FA Cup triumph lifted the gloom of two not-so-great escapes. And they were there last night, to see a brave, battling performance against a team with technical superiority and the confidence that comes from regular European football. There were some solid performances from the likes of Neville, Davies and even the much-maligned Beattie.
But as Yobo's header sailed past the far post deep into injury time, it was clear that it wasn't our night. A two-goal victory in Spain is now required. And I find myself drawing inspiration from a certain match in Istanbul which I spent all summer trying to forget. If they could score three goals in 45 minutes, surely two in 90 is not too much to ask for?

The party's over . . . but roll on the fiesta
Aug 10 2005 Nick Coligan
GREG O'KEEFFE watched the match in the Winslow pub FOR three glorious hours it was party time around Goodison Park. Everton fans have waited long enough to watch their team compete at the top level of European football again and they celebrated their return with style last night.
The atmosphere before Everton's Champions League clash with Villarreal was electric despite the grim sucker-punch scoreline. From 5pm the streets around Goodison were a sea of Royal Blue as fans in their new strips milled outside over-flowing pubs waiting for kick-off. In the Winslow pub - where they had been arriving since tea-time - it was standing room only. Phil Thirlway, 21, from London, had never seen anything like it. The record-company worker and life-long Toffee travelled with a coach full of other Blues from the capital. He said: "I hope the game lives up to this. I'm really buzzing - it's like a reward for all the disappointments we've to put up with over the last 10 years."
By half-time the euphoria had been replaced with discontent. Chris Roberts, 23, from Anfield, said: "Everton came out all guns blazing and gave them a fright, but it only took two pieces of slick play from them to have us on the back-foot." At the final whistle, despite shifting 15 barrels of ale and 150 cases of bottles, Winslow landlord Brian Oliver wasn't smiling. Brian, 48, a Goodison season-ticket holder and ex-professional footballer who was on Everton's books, said: "I'm gutted the night didn't end differently. It had the hall-marks of a classic but now we've got a mountain to climb over in Spain. "We'll all be over there though. It's never boring being a Blue and it'd be just like us to go and pull something off in Villarreal." The party was over - but the fiesta is still to come.

Fan shooting leads to ban
Aug 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
FENERBAHCE will be forced to play one game behind closed doors - after a supporter was shot during their recent friendly match against Everton. The Turkish FA ruled that their champions must play one game behind closed doors, as punishment for a fan being shot in the leg during their 5-0 victory over the Blues on July 30. Turkey has been trying to clamp down on the firing of guns used in goal celebrations. The source of the bullet, discharged at the Ataturk Stadium -venue for last season's Champions League final - was never found.

Villarreal return sparks safety worries
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 11 2005
SERIOUS concerns are growing over the safety of Everton supporters for the Champions League journey to Villarreal. A Football Association report has revealed the 23,000-capacity Estadio El Madrigal may not be suitable for their third qualifying round second leg, to be played a week on Wednesday. Goodison officials went to inspect facilities at the stadium last week accompanied by an FA crowd adviser, whose subsequent findings contain definite concerns over safety and security at the venue. Everton fans, who have been handed an allocation of just 1,600 due to building work at the stadium, will be penned into a small corner segment that the report suggests has real potential for congestion. There is a fear that fans could be crushed as there are inadequate exit points in an away section the report describes as constrictive, with an 10ft-high heavy steel fence on one side and a 10ft-high concrete wall on the other, both of which restrict views of the pitch.
Segregation issues have also been highlighted. When Middlesbrough played at Villarreal last season, away supporters were issued tickets that gave them access to five different areas of the ground.
No turnstiles were in operation at the stadium, with fans being ushered single-file through a cordon of stewards. There was also a breakdown in police co-operation, and there are worries of a repeat given the large number of counterfeit tickets available on the black market for the game.
UEFA's own routine inspection found no real problems and a safety certificate was awarded to Villarreal, although they must reapply as a matter of course should they reach the Champions League group stages. Everton have made no public comment on the findings, but are thought to share the concerns noted in the report. The club are still finalising ticket arrangements for the game, but thousands of ticketless supporters are expected to travel for the game, with Villarreal leading 2-1 after Tuesday's first leg. Meanwhile, new Everton centre-back Per Kroldrup may need surgery to clear up a groin injury. The £5million summer signing from Udinese was considered only fit enough for the bench in Tuesday's defeat to Villarreal. The Denmark international will be in the squad for Saturday's Premiership opener at home to Manchester United, but could yet go under the knife.
Everton manager David Moyes said: "Per has a bit of a groin strain that might require surgery.
"We are not sure but we have a squad now and not everyone can be selected. I can only select 11 and you pick what you think is right at the time."

Everton can reign in Spain insists playmaker
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 11 2005
DEFIANCE rather than disappointment was the overriding emotion eminating from the Everton dressing-room on Tuesday night. The latter feeling would have been understandable after the Goodison outfit's European return ended in a 2-1 home defeat to Villarreal in their Champions League third qualifying round first leg tie. But, like manager David Moyes, Everton's players maintain the belief the result has not delivered a terminal blow to their hopes of progressing to the group stages. And Mikel Arteta is confident there was enough evidence to suggest another Everton glory night could be in the offing come the second leg at the Estadio El Madrigal a week on Wednesday.
"There is a definite sense among the players that we can still do it," said the midfielder. "In Spain everyone was saying how much better they were than us. "They thought they would just come here, pass the ball around us and it would be easy. But we made life difficult for them and we can do that again. "The best thing we have is that we believe in ourselves, and will work for each other as hard as we can. We know we need two goals, and we know that won't be easy - but we are confident we can do it. "No-one expects us to do it, just like no-one expected us to win the first leg. But I think we handled the pressure of the first game well, so it doesn't matter whether we're under any or not over there. "They are the third best team in a very tough Spanish league, and have beaten sides like Real Madrid and Barcelona, so we all know how good they are," he said. "Give them a chance and they will score - so we have to make sure that we do not give them any chances in the second leg. "And one thing we have that is better than anyone is a great team spirit. That's why I was going into all those tackles. Everyone pushes each other, you don't want to let anyone down. That is a part of my game I had to improve, I still do. "Now we will just set our game out to go and get those two goals, and although the fans realise how tough it will be, I would tell them to be confident like us, because we can do it." James Beattie has vowed to repay the faith shown in him by Everton supporters by shooting the Goodison side into the Champions League group stages.
Beattie was on target in Tuesday's defeat following his pre-season vow to start producing the form which persuaded Moyes to spend £6million to sign him from Southampton in January. The striker said: "I'm never short on confidence. The staff will tell you that. But it's always nice to score goals, the fans have stuck by me and I intend to pay them back. "I've always said when I get fit I'll produce some great performances but unfortunately on Tuesday it wasn't enough. I felt really good, I felt fit and I was trying my best. I don't think for one minute the tie is over. I think we showed a lot of potential." Everton begin their Premiership season on Saturday at home to Manchester United with Beattie keen to continue his goalscoring run. "We've got a nice easy game on Saturday to look forward to," he joked. "We'll pick ourselves up and we'll be right at it again on Saturday." "We're disappointed but there are characters in the dressing room, we've got a few days to get ourselves ready for one of the best teams in Europe. "But we are professionals and that is what we are paid to do, to put that one behind us and get it out again when we go to Spain in two weeks."

Stam blunder leaves Smith veterans smiling
By Philip J Redmond Everton Supporter, Daily Post
Aug 11 2005
THE last time Everton met Manchester United on the opening day was in 1999, when a battling performance from Walter Smith's men brought a well-earned point against Alex Ferguson's all-conquering treble winners. Everton had finished the previous season on a high after Kevin Campbell's late flurry, coupled with the emergence of boy wonder Francis Jeffers gave promise of a brighter future. However the summer proved frustrating as Smith's transfer war chest was empty and the only arrival, bar a permanent deal for Super Kev, was Smith's ancient ex-Rangers skipper Richard Gough. Outgoing were two of Walter's expensive buys as Marco Matterazzi and Olivier Dacourt headed off to their native countries. The squad looked thin and the fans were restless, then came another blow, when bright young thing Jeffers slapped in an illtimed transfer request.
As a result few gave the Toffees a prayer when United arrived, particularly when Smith revealed he would be starting with a centre-back pairing of Gough and veteran Dave Watson. Between them they had a combined age of 75 and the cheetah-like pairing of Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole broke through on three occasions early on, the third time leading to Yorke firing United ahead. It all looked like it could get very messy. But the Blues fought back and with United debutant keeper Mark Bosnich looking dodgy, confidence rose. United carved out chances regularly, but the old men were growing in stature and Don Hutchison headed against a post. The second half saw Gary Neville foil Campbell with a spectacular goal line clearance. But with minutes left, Nick Barmby headed David Unsworth's centre across goal and the seemingly impregnable Jaap Stam bulleted a header into his own net to give Everton a deserved point.

Li Tie lifts Goodison gloom as Wolves grab win
Daily Post
Aug 11 2005
Everton Res 0, Wolves 1: WHILE the fans of a red persuasion were focused on Eastern Europe, the Blues were buoyed last night by a red dawn of their own. Chinese midfielder Li Tie underlined his return to fitness with a 90-minute runout for Everton's reserves but he couldn't stop the side falling to a 1-0 defeat in the club's opening Premier Reserve League game against Wolves. An 89th-minute header from defender Martin Riley was the hammer blow on a night when the side's performance merited at least a share of the spoils. But the sight of Li Tie coming through unscathed was more than merely a silver lining. At 27, Li Tie was by far the most senior player in Andy Holden's young side and his experience and quality was clear. Two delightful passes teed up James Vaughan but the striker was denied on both occasions by the impressive goalkeeping of Carl Ikeme. Indeed, had Everton's youngest ever senior goalscorer had greater fortune this game would have ended with a resounding victory. But it was the sight of Li Tie coming through the match which will have most satisfied the watching David Moyes. Li Tie has been back in training throughout pre-season and just needs regular matches to allow a return to first team action. As for the contest, Wolves scored late and against the run of play, Martin Riley heading in at the back post thanks to Mark Davies's header across goal.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Wilson, Wright, Hughes, Harris, Hopkins, Li Tie, Anichebe, Vaughan, Seargeant. Subs: Holt, Lake, Vidarsson, Kearney, Phelan.

Injury blow for Kroldrup
Aug 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
PER KROLDRUP is booked in to see a specialist today to determine the severity of the groin problem that kept him out of Everton's Champions League qualifier with Villarreal. Boss David Moyes hinted after the 2-1 defeat on Tuesday night that surgery could be the only option for Kroldrup, whom he signed for £5m from Udinese, and it now appears that the Denmark international is set for a spell on the sidelines. "Per has got a wee bit of a problem with his groin and he will see a specialist but I would think there is a chance it is bad," Moyes confirmed. "He might need a hernia operation but I am not sure yet. It would be a blow to him and he missed a few days' training with it last week. "We could maybe cope with it for a few weeks more but we will see what the specialist says before we make a final decision." Apart from Kroldrup, Moyes has worries over the fitness of Mikael Arteta, Tim Cahill and Duncan Ferguson, who all picked up knocks against Villarreal but it is too early to determine whether they will miss Saturday's Premiership opener with Manchester United.
On a brighter note, the Everton boss has been delighted with the way new signings Phil Neville and Simon Davies have settled in. Neville, a £3.5m signing from Manchester United, and Davies - who arrived from Spurs for the same fee - both enjoyed outstanding competitive debuts against Villarreal on Tuesday. "I thought Phil and Simon were nothing short of outstanding," enthused Moyes. "Their workrate and the effort they put in was tremendous. Obviously it was a difficult game for them all but hopefully they will be good signings for us. "I thought Phil handled himself really well in the game and apart from that he was pushing and pulling people about and he is someone who can lead. "He gave us a little bit more than that. He has got the capabilities of a captain but I think for the meantime he will just want to get himself settled in here."

Li Tie can't save young Blues from Wolves bite
Aug 11 2005 Liverpool Echo
LI TIE completed his first competitive 90 minutes of football in 2005 last night, but couldn't prevent Everton Reserves going down to a last minute defeat in their opening game of the season against Wolves Reserves. The Chinese international has endured a nightmare 18 months because of a broken shin sustained on international duty in February 2004. But he has been fit throughout pre-season, starting the friendlies against Motherwell and Thailand. At Haig Avenue last night, he managed his first 90 minute run out of the summer, coming less than 24 hours after he was an unused substitute against Villarreal. But while the midfielder underlined his quality alongside a side made up predominantly of Academy players and first year professionals, the game did not pass without incident for the 27-year-old. A crunching challenge early in the second half by Kevin O'Connor earned the Wolves defender a yellow card and left Li Tie on the deck writhing in pain.
It will have concerned the watching David Moyes, but he recovered to produce a couple of telling passes for striker James Vaughan, who is currently in negotiations with the club over his first professional deal following his 17th birthday last month. The striker was guilty of squandering a host of openings, and then conceded the free-kick which presented Martin Riley with the chance to head the winner two minutes from time. Reserve boss Andy Holden was disappointed by his side's generosity, saying: "We were giving too many soft free-kicks away. If you give too many away you will be punished at some stage, especially if you are missing chances at the other end. That's what I am most disappointed about."

Wyness: "Ticketless supporters not to travel"
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 12 2005
CHIEF executive Keith Wyness has expressed his disappointment at an allocation of just 1,600 tickets for Everton's Champions League return leg in Villarreal - but warned those unable to get a ticket not to travel. Renovation work at the Spaniards' El Madrigal ground has reduced capacity to 21,000, limiting the number of travelling supporters hoping to catch the club's first European Cup away leg for 34 years. Everton's allocation for the August 24 third-round second-leg tie, which go on sale today, are also believed to be poorly located. Wyness said: "Bearing in mind the size of our fan-base, it is, of course, disappointing that we have only been allocated 1,600 tickets for the return leg.
"However, I must point out that, initially, we were told that we would only be receiving 1,200 tickets, an allocation which Villarreal agreed to increase after we had stressed that demand would comfortably outstrip supply. "In an ideal world, we would dearly love to be able to provide each and every supporter who wishes to watch David Moyes's team play in Spain with a ticket; unfortunately, we cannot." Despite the limited supply, Wyness is urging those fans unable to get a ticket to stay at home rather than travel to Villarreal, who hold a 2-1 lead after Tuesday's first leg at Goodison.
He added: "Self-evidently many of those who had set their hearts on travelling out to Villarreal to support their team will not now be able to do so. "Whilst we fully understand their sense of disappointment our message to them is simple - please do NOT travel to Spain unless you have an authenticated ticket for this game. "It is absolutely imperative that this game passes off without incident and that the reputation of Everton supporters as genuine football-lovers of impeccable character is further enhanced rather than in some way tarnished." Meanwhile Preston manager Billy Davies last night confirmed his club had received an enquiry from Everton about £750,000-rated midfielder Dixon Etuhu.
* STAND tickets priced £35 and £52 will be on sale from this morning at 10am to season ticket holders from the Park End Box Office. Tickets will only be available upon production of voucher no 62 together with not less than 20 away match ticket stubs (different games) from season 2004-05 properly affixed to the official away match saving sheet. All supporters must also note that tickets will be allocated on a one qualifying application, one ticket basis. A small number of tickets will be held for immediate postal applications to the Box Office, from supporters who meet the above criteria. For further details on the two official travel packages being run by the club, see www.evertonfc.com. A number of tickets will be available to supporters wishing to travel independently. These fans will need to produce their passport together with a copy of their confirmed booking details for travel and any accommodation (if applicable) at the time of purchase.
A further announcement will be made regarding remaining tickets at the Manchester United fixture tomorrow. Meanwhile, Everton manager David Moyes was at Belle Vue last night to see Rhyl lose 1-0 to Viking Stavanger in the UEFA Cup second qualifying round first leg.

Time for perspective for Goodison heroes
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 12 2005
ALTHOUGH no-one ever enjoys losing, the Goodison crowd's reaction following Tuesday's defeat by Villarreal was an indication of what a good game they had witnessed. The Park End and the Paddock are never shy about letting their feelings be known when a performance hasn't been up to scratch, but the applause for David Moyes's players at the end of what is commonly referred to as 'a pulsating contest', was heartfelt and genuine from every side of the ground. When teams come up into the Premiership, the first thing that their managers always say is that they feel like they get away with less in the higher division - every mistake seems to get punished. That's how it looked for the Blues as they stepped up another level to face an excellent Villarreal side whose style of play was very similar to that of Arsenal. Everton pushed them to their limits but just a couple of lapses allowed the Spaniards to nick the two goals that mean that a superhuman effort is now required in the second leg if we want to continue our European campaign in the Champions League.
The players are making all the right noises, about how the tie is far from over, but even they must realise that Diego Forlan and co are going to be even better at home and a quick entry into the UEFA Cup looks likely. And while everyone longs for the riches and glory associated with the group stages of Champions League, we need to put things into perspective and realise just how far we've come in such a short space of time when we can look on the UEFA Cup as a consolation prize.
Let's not forget how gutted we were on the two occasions in the last 10 years when we narrowly missed out on entry into that very competition. There were definitely more positives than negatives, not least Phil Neville's performance. It looked as if the ex-United man commanded the immediate respect of his teammates and seemed to grow with the extra responsibility that came with being the only Everton player with any real European experience. His attitude looked spot on and the crowd took to him immediately, with many people already predicting that he will be captain sooner rather than later. And with all this European excitement, it seems as if everybody has forgotten about you-know-who returning tomorrow, so he's bound to score, just you wait and see.

A rare glimpse of the Everton FC treasures
By Jessica Shaughnessy Daily Post Staff
Aug 12 2005
LEDGERS documenting the birth of Goodison Park and the discovery of legendary Everton striker Dixie Dean were unveiled exclusively to the Daily Post last night. The priceless artefacts were among many taken out of a high security vault for one day to showcase one of the world's most valuable football memorabilia collections, compiled by ex-oil merchant and lifelong Evertonian Dr David France. The club has launched a fundraising campaign to buy the collection and restore it permanently to Merseyside for the discounted price of £800,000. Dr France, who emigrated to Texas where he ran an oil company for 14 years, has resisted multi-million pound offers from around the world so the collection can be returned to its rightful home. The 56-year-old, who grew up in Widnes, said: "Money doesn't buy happiness and I always wanted this collection to be returned to Merseyside. Everton fans are one big family and all of its members should be able to see how their club has evolved." Dr France, who founded the Everton Former Players Foundation, began his collection soon after he emigrated in the '70s. Back home, his mother had cleared out her attic and air-mailed his treasured Everton match-programmes collected in his childhood. Dr France, now an American citizen with homes in Texas and Washington, said: "I couldn't believe that the club didn't have its own collection, so I thought I would start one myself. "I wanted to get the complete collection of home and away programmes and set about doing it. I didn't just do it as a hobby. I drew out a business plan and worked it all out." Over the next 25 years, Dr France developed a network of contacts, specialising in finding Everton memorabilia and soon his collection expanded from just programmes to ledgers, international caps, medals and cards. Among his collection is a ledger which contains the scout records from when Dixie Dean was discovered and the minutes from meetings where the acrimonious move of the club from its original home at Anfield was discussed. The collection traces Everton's heritage back to its inception as a football club in 1878. Dr France said: "I found things in so many different ways. I discovered one ledger in a junk shop and bought it for £150. But then I bought 10 more off a collector for £78,000." The collection has been valued at £1.2m, but would fetch considerably more if it was broken up and sold separately. But as Dr France was passionate that it should remain in its entirety and be restored to Merseyside, he offered it to Evertonians for £800,000. He has agreed to hand over the collection on the condition it will be preserved with the right technology, built upon and made accessible to the public. The Everton Collection Charitable Trust has been established to raise the funds and bring the artefacts back to the "People's Club". It is intended that the collection will be housed in the Liverpool Record Office where it will be available for public research. The collection would be on loan in order to ensure greater public access.
Collection's worth £1.2m – Christies
AUCTION company Christies says the Everton collection is the most comprehensive of its kind in the world and has valued it at £1.2m. But experts say the collection would be worth much more if the artefacts were to be sold separately. The Everton Collection Charitable Trust aims to raise £800k to buy the collection. Launched last month, the campaign was given a £250k boost by the club and a further £100k by Lord Grantchester, an Everton Trustee.
* YOU can donate: Online at evertonfc.com/ evertoncollection; the donation hotline on 0871 789 6089; an envelope available on allocated match days; a donations form found in special programmes or a cheque or postal order to FREEPOST, The Everton Collection Appeal.
And if you know your history...
WITH 10,000 items painstakingly collected over the past 25 years, Dr David France says it is impossible to choose his favourite in his collection. But he chose some artefacts he thinks will be of paramount interest to his fellow Everton fans.
* Two volumes that deal with the ground row in 1892. They document the acrimonious departure from Anfield.
* An itinerary of the club's first overseas tour in 1905 to Austria, the first overseas game played by any club. The journey took three weeks by sea, train and horse and cart.
* The first League Championship Medal, which Everton themselves introduced.
* The oldest player's professional contract from 1890, including pay details - £8 during the playing season and £6 in the summer break.

Roar us on
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Aug 12 2005
0ShareRoar us on
AN atmosphere like Tuesday is what is needed against Manchester United on Saturday. The lads ran their socks off on Tuesday so they will need that support from the fans to spur them on to victory. Hopefully Phil Neville will stop his ex-colleagues in their tracks and we'll have two up front to score some goals and not leave the midfield so crowded. Come on you Blues - a win would be a massive confidence boost.
David Saint, Croxteth
Essential win
A WIN on Saturday is a must.
Last season we beat Manchester United to remain fourth - it was an essential win - but this year is even more crucial to continue last season's momentum and give us the perfect confidence boost for the season ahead. We must show the same determination this Saturday to maintain a top-five finish once again.
Mark Seddon, Crosby
Super Nev
WHAT a game Phil Neville had on Tuesday - not bad for a player most people were criticising last week. His experience offers so much to Everton and if he plays like that all season his name will be emblazoned on the back on many a Blue shirt.
John Grimes, Skem
No long balls
THE best formation that suits Everton is 4-5-1. However, it needs to be played the right way, the ball must come out to the wide men and not revert to route-one tactics to the lone forward. The tactics were right against Villarreal but they were simply too good. I think if we use the same tactics as last year, but uti-lise our good midfield, we could equal our success from last season. Good luck boys.
Mal Murrey, Wirral
Counting cost
AM I alone in thinking the prices for the return leg are a tad extortionate? £35 and £52 for seats that Keith Wyness admits are obstructed views plus the travel and accomodation costs. It all seems a bit much to me.
J Hanson,
Nugent dream
WE'VE been linked with Dickson Etuhu, not for the first time during David Moyes's tenure.
He'd be a good addition to the squad. However it's the lad David Nugent we really need to buy.
The boy is a a self-confessed Blue who looks capable of making the leap into the Premiership. His dream is to play alongside big Dunc. Let's make the boy's dream come true.
Johnny Abrams, Wirral
Strengthen side
WE were beaten by a team who used spot on tactics. Great effort was given by Everton but why is Pistone back? Weir and Ferguson are both too slow and Bent is just not good enough. I still have a huge question mark on Yobo too. We need two solid defenders, a midfielder with some skill and are desperate for a striker with some pace. But where to get them from is beyond me.
L Holmes, Birkenhead
Short supply
APART from the now departed Ryan Taylor, supply to the forwards was very sparse last season. Where will it come from this season? Jason can't run everywhere at his age, he needs some creative help. Top-10 finish at best, as the squad wasn't good enough last season. Prove me wrong Rovers.
Paul McDonnell, Oxton

Can anyone stop Roman's legions?
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Aug 12 2005
LEN CAPELING gives his view on the new Premiership campaign...and what Everton and Liverpool fans can expect
The alarming gaps exploited by a savvy Villarreal, plus an impoverished pre-season, have made Goodison fans twitchy. The bookies are keeping the faith, making Everton a prohibitive 9-4 to finish in the top six, which compares starkly with last season's opening odds of 12-1 - rapidly chopped to 3-1. As the only pundit to predict a gloss finish for Everton - six Guardian sportswriters forecast relegation - I remain confident that Everton will stay in the top half of the table, even if they don't push on from the high ground they captured so resolutely in May. The Premiership has not improved in quality - the top three apart - so David Moyes's scrappers will stay out of trouble. Their 4-5-1 is uncompromisingly swoon-free, built to repel boarders rather than dazzle beholders. Everton don't have the players for an expansive game, and, aside from Tim Cahill, they lack goals. They finished the season with a negative goal difference compared with Chelsea's +57. Lack of substantial funds has once again been a source of frustration for the impatient Moyes. The bulk of his major targets went elsewhere as odd valuations and odder wages kept Scott Parker and others away. Everton remain a tough, generally compact side, possessed of a good work ethic that stems from Moyes's own upbringing. But on the back of a marvellous season, they needed someone to gamble, say, £6m more, to back the manager's vision. Moyes will aim to succeed without that injection of financial ambition, but when your squad is thin, cover for key positions not great, and Plan B means Duncan Ferguson and Duncan Ferguson, you do wonder about the future.
Defensive stability - not shown against Villarreal - remains the watchword, with much depending on Marcus Bent's stamina and Ferguson's aerial threat unless James Beattie become more than a goal-every-five-games striker. There's too much dross around for Everton to go down, so be of good cheer and prepare to welcome Wayne Rooney - a £20m earner for the club - with open arms. Got that?
Premiership title odds: 150-1 for the title, 25-1 to be relegated
"I must be the best manager in Europe, because I won the Champions League." The words of Rafael Benitez? Not a chance. The self-effacing Spaniard leaves that exercise in hyperbole to the man he removed from European contention last season. Instead, this deep-thinker concentrates on achieving what Gerard Houllier did not so long ago, make Liverpool less fragile away from their spiritual home. Eleven defeats on opponents' grounds effectively sent Liverpool's Premiership hopes spinning into a ditch and made doubters of us all. That incredible triumph in Istanbul - where Liverpool were worthy winners - changed many minds, especially as it also ensured another title, and a highly-prized one at that. Champions of Liverpool the city. Barely 12 weeks on, the courtly Benitez spends long hours planning a strategy that will take Liverpool to an unlikely league crown. No-one fancies them, except for the die-hards and perhaps Benitez himself, whose record in recent years is as good as any in Europe. The only obstacle between him another another fabulous end to the season is defensive dopiness away from Anfield, something that never bothered his team on more foreign fields. Solve these problems and who knows what this side are capable of achieving.
One solution could be to accommodate both Dietmar Hamann and newcomer Momo Sissoko in a central five for away games, with Steven Gerrard on the right, in a mid-field of Gerrard, Hamann, Alonso, Sissoko and Zenden. With four at the back and, say, Cisse, or eventually Crouch up front, it would give Liverpool a more solid spine, with the likes of Garcia, Morientes, Warnock and Traore available to change things if necessary. We know Benitez wants another centre-half before the August 31 deadline, which indicates, after the signing of Pepe Reina, that tightening up is still a priority for the coach. Reservations remain about Liverpool's strikeforce - despite a pre-season glut of goals. Like Chelsea, Benitez favours a single big target man supported by goalscoring midfielders. Hence his coolness over Michael Owen when chairman David Moores and others continue to say "yes please". Final thought: Benitez surprised us magnificently last time around. Why not an encore, with the Premiership as the glittering prize? Middlesbrough tomorrow will answer a few questions. Hope-fuly with the right answers. Odds: 16-1 - and a good dark-horse wager - 1--16 for top six finish
A month ago, Arsene Wenger spoke of a new approach from his runners-up, built around two world-class recruits in Aleksandr Hleb and Julio Baptista. So what now? Baptista chose Real Madrid plus Spanish citizenship, and making matters even more uncertain, Patrick Vieira departed for Juventus. Wenger's undoubted genius means many of us still back him to produce the Premiership's purest footballing side, but a lot of responsibility rests on the silkiness of Cesc Fabregas and Gilberto. I'd feel more confident about Arsenal's chances of Premiership glory were it not the sight of Jens Lehmann waiting to engineer the next accident.
Odds: 3-1 joint second favourites, 1-250 top six
You can get tempting odds on vapid Villa to go down rather than anything else. Deadly Doug Ellis's serious illness hasn't exactly helped an increasingy desperate David O Leary. Lacking goals, the veteran Kevin Phillips is seen as the answer, the question being will Juan Pablo Angel ever fly? Odds: 400-1 to win the title, 16-1 to fall off the Premiership merry-go-round
Oustanding player, pity about his management skills. Harsh perhaps, but when will Steve Bruce produce a half-decent side? Last season was a disaster for the Geordie from start to finish. He turned down Newcastle - so things could have been worse - but then found himself getting absolutely no response from his tiresome team. Beating Everton to Mikael Fors-sell may help address Emile Heskey's bluntness.
Odds: 500-1 but just 4-1 to follow hated neighbours Villa down
Own up, who called them Blackeye Rovers? The most booked team - and not for comedy nights - last season. Mark Hughes succeeded in turning Souness's softies into raw-meat roughnecks and impressively whipped them out of danger. They're unlikely to be any more congenial, not with Robbie Savage let loose. Should stay clear of the trapdoor.
Odds: 750-1, and a worrying 7-1 for the drop
Sam Allardyce's departing words as he left Goodison last week were: "We'll batter you!" It was Sam's smiling response to an Everton joker, rather than a general statement of Premiership intent. As with David Moyes, Sam's found it tough to beg, borrow or steal new players this close season, so the side that finished a creditable sixth last time around may have to suffice. Tough nuts, and given the capture of El Hadji Diouf, there's no reason why they shouldn't be within spitting distance of seventh spot. Bryan Robson rates Mexico striker Jared Borgetti - a late arrival - as the best signing of the summer. Odds: 300-1, top six 10-3
When Marcus Bent went from Ipswich to Everton, cynics claimed David Moyes had got the wrong Bent. The right one, allegedly, was Darren. Alan Curbishley's main summer signing, he's been bought to address Charlton's chronic lack of goals. All Curbishley needs now is a magic wand to wave over the second half of the season, when Charlton traditionally fade to black despair. Top 10 finish. Odds: 750-1 and 6-1 to go down
Have we time to add a rider to a supposedly one-horse race? Yes, we do. It is this: if Chelsea had prised Andriy Shevchenko away from AC Milan then we certainly would be saying "who's going to be second?". As it is, the arrival of Michael Essien - still likely - and the arrival of Asier Del Horno and Shaun Wright-Phillips appears to make the champions even more formidable. But can Frank Lamp-ard continue to be the team's leading scorer, and are Didier Drogba and Hernan Crespo capable of becoming 25-a-season men? On this may rest the eventual out-come, though an injury-free Arjen Robben could prove Chelsea's most potent attacker. Champions again.
Odds: 8-11, with the odds of only a top-six finish a remarkable 1-500
The gloss appears to have gone from Chris Coleman and his side are even now among the favourites for the drop. Selling Andy Cole and Edwin van der Sar may turn out to be the worst business of the summer - weakening a previously undistinguished team. You fear for them.
Odds: 1,000-1 and - gulp!! - 11--4 to go down
Stuart Pearce inspired a team dismissed as slackers to within a heartbeat of Europe. After Kevin Keegan's meanderings, it came as blessed relief to the inmates at the theatre of nightmares. Can Pearce do it again? First, though, they must learn to live without Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Odds: 400-1
Roy Keane is unhappy. Rio Ferdinand asks fans to forgive him his trespasses, Wayne Rooney wants to play as second striker to Ruud van Nistelrooy. All this while a fidgety Sir Alex Ferguson awaits a large cheque from Malcolm Glazer so Michael Owen can be tempted. Doesn't sound the happiest of families so near to a season that is likely to define United's and their manager's future. A great manager, Fergie nonetheless faces an unenviable task in patching up a denuded midfield and convincing the Premership's best striker that it's time he put his troubles behind him. At their best, United are special, but two seasons of relative failure must not be repeated. Cue Goodison, and a noon pointer to United's hopes of fighting back. Did I mention Wayne Rooney?
Odds: 3-1
Liverpool apart, no side suffered so grievously from injury last season. So seventh place represented high achievement. Will that save Steve McClaren - supposedly England's manager in waiting - from abuse if Boro don't make further progress? Do bears sit in the woods? McClaren needs to fashion a top-four finish and, with a wealth of strikers to choose from, including new-boy Aiyegbeni Yakubu, they ought to do better than last term, when they managed only a measly 52 goals. Odds: 250-1 and 5-2 top six
Forget a quiet life if your name is Graeme Souness. Already he's fallen out with another player - Jermaine Jenas - and taken another early bath in Europe. It was never like this when he ruled the Liverpool midfield. Now, well, the fans don't like what they're seeing and the bookmakers make the Tartan Tomahawk one of their favourites to lose his job. That hasn't stopped him spending a lot of money during the summer and threatening to spend a heap more. Scott Parker and Emre, both major Everton targets, look shrewd signings, but defensively and offensively - no,, not Lee Bowyer - they appear vulnerable.. Alan Shearer will get to his goals record for Newcastle, but how long can the warrior-hero singlehanded keep the Toon afloat? They need a top-five finish, but may lose Souness in finishing, say, 11th. Odds: 125-1, 7-4 for the top six
Can Milan Mandaric cease his fatal habit of meddling? No, of course he can't, which spells trouble for manager Alain 'Reggie' Perrin, who may do a disappearing trick before the snow is on the ground. Lauren Robert will help foster good relations among his new team-mates, as he did so splendidly at Newcastle. They will do well to escape.
Odds: 1,250-1 and 2-1 for relegation
Mick McCarthy talks a brilliant game in unmistakeable, God's own country tones. He won't want to be reminded of his last visit to the Premiership with the unlucky Black Cats. Played nine, lost nine, for two, against 19. The experienced Alan Stubbs will help, but they don't inspire confidence even at this remove. Going straight back to the wilderness, unless the club's famous fans can sing them to survival.
Odds: 1,500-1 and 4-6 for the short goodbye
Their frenzied friends in the south see Spurs as plausible gatecrashers at the Premiership feast. Martin Jol turned them into the most attractive side outside the top three last time, and he has since pruned some dead wood. The gifted Michael Carrick has become a real player at last and Wayne Routledge and Edgar Davids should provide even more help for the Tottenham youngsters. What they don't need is some early sulks from Davids, or the injuries they largely dodged while charming the neutrals among us. Odds: 125-1 and 6-4 for top six
Bryan Robson defied the Christmas curse to keep West Brom in the Premiership. Now he has to play Santa Claus all over again. Scoring goals will be the Baggies' biggest problem. Their return last term was the lowest in the Premiership. Robson wants Wigan's Nathan Ellington and doesn't want Robert Earnshaw. One thing's for sure, Liverpool's on-loan keeper Chris Kirkland will get plenty of opportunity to damage something or other. Another great escape... perhaps.
Odds: 1,500-1. Evens to do a Steve McQueen
Admit it, we've missed that unlovely chant of Come On You 'Ammers . Not to mention the plaintive sound of I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles . Alan Pardew has previously suffered unhappy times at Upton Park and you can't see it getting much better unless they do a West Brom.
Odds: 1,500-1 for the champion-ship, 4/6 for the Championship
Don't mention pies or rugby league. But do mention the tremendous backing of multi-millionaire Dave Whelan. Even that hasn't persuaded too many glittering names to throw their lot in with Wigan. I don't see them surviving despite Paul Jewell's best efforts, unless Stephane Henchoz is still a miracle-worker. A win against Chelsea would send all the right signals.
Odds: 1,500-1 and 1-3 to exit the scene

Moyes relishing Blues' difficult start to season
Aug 12 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES puts the final touches on Everton's preparations for the new season today relishing the chance of leading his side back into the big time. While he acknowledges that the Blues could not have been given a more demanding start to their Premiership campaign, Moyes insists the opportunity should be grasped with both hands. Having guided Everton into the Champions League last season against all the odds, Moyes is determined to prove there was nothing fortuitous about that achievement. nd with Manchester United the next visitors to Goodison Park tomorrow following Villarreal, Moyes feels there could be no better way to get the ball rolling. It's an incredible start to the season," said Moyes. "As a manager, to have a Champions League game at home to start things off, then another with Manchester United is great. "On the down side, it probably couldn't get much tougher. From the footballing side, though, it is great to get going against good teams. It's what we want here. We want to be playing against the top teams. I just hope we can give everyone something to shout about. The situation is that you play everyone twice, home and away. I think you would always like to be away from home in the first game or have what would be looked at as an easier game at home. "We've got neither of those but we never had it last year either because we had Arsenal first game of the season. We just take it as it comes really. "It was the players who took us into the Champions League. The manager's job is an easy one, really. It is something that we are really looking forward to and it is an exciting time." As Moyes cannot wait to get started again, neither can Phil Neville, who comes up against his old employers for the first time since his £3.5m move from Old Trafford. But while the England international will always hold a special place in his heart for United, he will have no trouble casting sentiment to one side to ensure that Everton get off to a flying start. "It's fate that my first league game will be at home to United, but it's the best-case scenario to get that one out of the way straight away for me personally," said Neville.. "In terms of the start for Everton it is a tough one. Last season Everton played Arsenal on the first day and didn't get the right start. Hopefully now we can get the right result against United. "Everton beat United here last season when I was on the receiving end. Now I hope Everton can beat them again at Goodison. No team likes coming to Goodison. "I know that from an opposing player point of view. Everton have to make it difficult and the bigger picture is now Everton beating Manchester United and nothing about Phil Neville. "My aim now, and the manager's aim as well, is to move on from that. Not to stand still, not to take a backwards step. "Now we still hope we can qualify for the Champions League group stages and then continue with the progression in terms of Premiership positions."

Up-Beat for massive test
Aug 12 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THERE are few more demanding ways to start the season than a home fixture with Manchester United - but James Beattie would not have it any other way. When the England international became Everton's £6m man in January, he pointed to the number of big games the Blues are involved in each season as being one of the defining factors in his decision. Few grounds can match the buzz of a packed Goodison, especially in matches when the stakes are high, and Beattie was left in no doubt that he had made the right choice when he sampled that unique atmosphere for the first time. Things, however, have not gone to plan for the 27-year-old since that transfer from Southampton. He only scored twice in 13 games as Everton qualified for the Champions League and did himself no favours with a needless sending-off against Chelsea. Given he also suffered fitness problems it was little wonder that manager David Moyes at one point questioned, tongue half- in-cheek, as to whether Beattie had been practicing witchcraft, so wretched was his luck. But Beattie returned to pre-season training with a fresh outlook, looking sharp and determined to repay the faith that Moyes, chairman Bill Kenwright and Everton's supporters have placed in him. A goal against Villarreal and a dis-play full of industry ensured that the striker left the pitch to a standing ovation when he was substituted and now he is desperate to kick things off in the Premiership with another towering performance. It will, of course, be difficult. But the former Blackburn striker insists there will be no European hangover as Everton look to get their domestic campaign off to a winning start for the first time since 2001. "We've got a nice easy game on Saturday to look forward to!" Beattie quipped. "But I'm sure we will pick ourselves up and we will be right at it again from the off against Manchester United. "Villarreal are one of the best teams in Europe. But we will put that behind us because we are professionals and that's what we are paid to do. We'll do that when we go to Spain in a couple of weeks and I don't for one minute think the tie is over. "Unfortunately my goal the other night wasn't enough but I feel good. I'm never short on confidence. Anyone around the club and the stadium will tell you that. When I get fit, I will produce some great performances and score goals. "It is a massive test. They are all massive tests, though. This is arguably the best league in the world and Manchester United are one of the better teams in it. But they are not just one of the best teams in the Premiership, they are one of the best in Europe, so we know how difficult it will be." As Beattie will have a key role to play as Moyes looks to engineer another victory over Sir Alex Ferguson, so too will Phil Neville, a man who spent 12 years on the books at Old Traf-ford and played a part in United's dominance in the late 1990s. His inside knowledge of the way United play will be crucial, though not as important as his ability to stamp Everton's authority on the midfield. Beattie has certainly been impressed with the way Neville has settled into life at Goodison. "Phil had an excellent debut," Beattie agreed. "He is a very good holding midfielder, very busy in that role and he is very talkative, always giving out information to the lads whenever he can. "That is very helpful at any time. He put a great cross in for my goal and put some other good passes, too. "Hopefully he will have a key role to play in the season. He's got a lot of experience at Champions League level and let's hope we will be able to call on that." Moyes, meanwhile, is in no doubt that Beattie's opportunist strike against Villarreal will have done wonders for his self-belief and was delighted that he got a reward for his endeavour. "I thought James had a good game," said Moyes. "He deserved a goal for his workrate and his effort. Strikers need goals and I think he also needs the crowd to be behind him. But the crowd were great all night against Villarreal and not just behind James Beattie. "That goal will help him and I am glad for him. There is nobody at the club more determined to do well at this present time than James. We didn't want to let the tempo drop and that was the only aim of him being substituted."

Everton set to step in for Preston star
Aug 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will test Preston's resolve to keep hold of midfield dynamo Dickson Etuhu. The Blues made an enquiry for the 23-year-old last week, but boss Billy Davies firmly rebuffed the approach. But David Moyes may make another approach, after assistant-boss Jimmy Lumsden watched Etuhu star in Preston's Monday night draw against Derby. Davies is keen to keep hold of the midfielder, but with North End haemorrhaging £20,000 a week, chairman Derek Shaw may be forced to cash in. An offer in the region of £1m could convince Preston to part with the player - and the Blues are also monitoring striker David Nugent's position at Deepdale.

So many positives for defeated Blues
Aug 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT looked like a man who had lost a tenner and found a pound - which is exactly what Everton's looming Champions League exit equates to. The Blues made brave noises after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Villarreal. But unless there is an Istanbul-esque turnaround, it will be the UEFA Cup Everton are looking forward to this season rather than the Champions League. And the £10m windfall the group stages of Europe's premier competition yield, will be replaced by a £1m pot generated by involvement in the UEFA Cup. But while the bean counters may fret, there is no need for fans to do so. There was enough evidence on Tuesday for Evertonians to look forward to the new campaign. Because in their brave defeat to a very, very good Villarreal, the Blues showed enough to tell us they are in infinitely better shape for a new football season than they were 12 months ago.
Everton are just as aggressive, just as committed and just as prepared to work inexhaustibly as they were last season. James Beattie's work-rate was admirable, despite being forced into a role he is clearly unsuited for, Simon Davies was a bright debutant, while in Phil Neville the Blues have found a man who can do more than just simply fill the chasm left by Thomas Gravesen's departure last Christmas. In only 90 minutes he already looks tailor-made for the captain's armband at Goodison.
So blue skies ahead? Maybe. But it wouldn't be Everton without one or two worries. Worry one is how the fans will react to the Blues' tough start to the season. Magnificent on Tuesday, how will they respond if Everton are still seeking their first win of the season come September? - quite feasible given the cruel trick the FA's fixture computer has played on the club. While last term the Blues were eased into a potentially calamitous campaign with winnable games against relegation strugglers Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion, sandwiched between the big guns of Arsenal and Manchester United, this time belligerent, bloody Bolton provide the filling between United and a fixture which is fast becoming the new Elland Road . . . Fulham away. Worry two is what happens to Tim Cahill if Everton land the new striker they clearly need. With two up front, Everton would be forced into a more traditional 4-4-2 system - and would you leave Phil Neville or Mikel Arteta out on Tuesday night's form? But that's for the future. Last August, Evertonians entered the football season full of trepidation and fear. This time they can be positive, hopeful and optimistic - even if it's UEFA Cup football rather than the Champions League they have to look forward to.
Dominance is unhealthy
THE League championship used to be the league where anyone could beat anybody else. Even when Liverpool were at their dominant best in 78-79, they lost four times - while Howard Kendall's 90-point gathering greats of 84-85 lost eight times. In recent years the average number of defeats for the champions has been four or five, but that has changed dramatically in the last two seasons.
Arsenal achieved a feat deemed impossible by going an entire campaign unbeaten, then Chelsea lost just once last season. The rich are getting richer - and they are also getting stronger. And it is not healthy for the future of the game.

Security blitz at Goodison
Aug 12 2005 Liverpool Echo
A TIGHT security operation will be mounted at Goodison Park tomorrow for the kick-off of the football season. New safety guidelines will be followed for the lunchtime fixture against Manchester United. Fans can expect increased bag searches, delays getting into the ground and are urged to arrive up to 30 minutes earlier than normal. All Premiership clubs have reviewed security since the bombings in London last month. Fans are being asked, where possible, to leave bags at home.
A spokesman for Everton FC said: "The priority is the safety of our customers." Inspector Lindsay Veitch, Everton Football Club liaison officer, said: "Bags and property will be searched and this will ensure all are inside in time for kick-off."

Bid to buy collection needs fan support
Aug 12 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

MANCHESTER UNITED may have claimed Everton's future when they signed Wayne Rooney last season, but the Blues own a significant slice of United's past. The Everton Collection - a unique accumulation of football artefacts - includes the earliest known Manchester United programme from the 1888-89 season, when United were still known as Newton Heath. United collectors have made many attempts to buy the priceless issue, but owner Dr David France has resisted. Now he is hoping the entire collection will be owned by the supporters of Everton - a Charitable Trust set up last month is striving to raise the funds to acquire the collection. A massive collection will be held at tomorrow's match between Everton and United - while Everton have already donated £250,000 towards the appeal and former director Lord Grantchester a further £150,000. The Everton Collection is a unique collection of artefacts, letters, medals and other ephemera surrounding the history of Everton Football Club. The Collection is not only of importance to Evertonians and Merseyside people in general, but also of significance nationally. The appeal is imploring all Evertonians to use the donation envelopes, which will be issued to all fans before the United game and support this worthy cause. The Collection includes approximately 6,065 programmes covering the club's participation in league, cup competitions, friendly games and reserve team fixtures between 1886-2001. A unique bound volume of 27 programmes in pristine condition from the 1888-1889 season includes the programme for Everton's first game against Newton Heath, the team now known as Manchester United. Formed in 1878, Manchester United masqueraded as Newton Heath until 1902. Incredibly, the Collection boasts the programme for the Everton versus Newton Heath clash at Everton's former home Anfield on April 15 1889. Newton Heath memorabilia is incredibly rare and this publication is thought to be the oldest known programme involving the Red Devils. The Collection also includes the oldest away edition for Manchester United versus Everton played at Monsall Road on November 9 1907. Despite the worldwide demand for United memorabilia, the Collection features 150 other examples from all of the eight senior competitions in which the clubs have met. The only known programme missing from the Collection is for the friendly with United scheduled for February 15 1955. This game was postponed and never rescheduled. Even though the Old Trafford secretary instructed the printers to destroy all copies, one or two survived. The Collection includes many other United items including FA Cup tickets and an amazing set of correspondence with a Mr Hardman, an amateur footballer who had to be invited to play every week. Hardman then went on to become chairman of United for 25 years. These artefacts would be priceless to United's museum but as a Blue, the Collection's owner David France is passionate that it should remain in its entirety and has offered it to Evertonians.
* For more information and to donate to the appeal visit evertonfc.com/evertoncollection, call 0871 789 6089, or send a cheque to freepost the Everton Collection Appeal.

Champs' odds offer no value
Aug 12 2005 You Bet With Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
THE Premiership champions "will come from a small group of one", according to naive Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon. And who in their right mind would disagree? Not content with last season's runaway title triumph, Jose Mourinho has again opened the cheque book to sign Shaun Wright-Phillips and full-back Asier Del Horno. Lyon midfielder Michael Essien is almost certain to join before the transfer window closes. The added strength in depth should thwart the challenge of Arsenal and Manchester United, both of whom have failed to make any notable additions to their squad. But with title odds no longer than 8-11 (Premier Bet), the prospect of a meagre return will make it tough for punters to back Chelsea. Instead, look for them to pick up two pieces of domestic silverware at a more affluent 3-1 (Gamebookers). On Merseyside, Liverpool - revelling in their status as European champions - look far more equipped to challenge for runners-up spot, while Everton are over-priced at 11-4 (Bet Direct) to secure a top six finish. Bragging rights should this time go to the Reds who are 1-25 (Ladbrokes) to finish above their neighbours (7-1 vice-versa), while Rafa Benitez's men are also 3-1 (Ladbrokes) to do the double over the Blues, who are 8-1. Lower down the leagues, Sheffield Unit-ed's (8-1 Sky Bet) early form should be taken as a serious indicator to their Championship credentials, while in League One, Bristol City (10-1 Stan James) should snatch the honours in another close title race. In League Two, the table is already taking shape with leaders Leyton Orient (16-1 Sky Bet) likely to hold onto their top billing. By lumping all three into a treble with Sky Bet, a £10 wager offers a potential return of £13, 770. Drogba is better bet PUNTERS have reacted favourably to Hernan Crespo's return to Stamford Bridge, with bookmakers reporting a big money gamble on the Argentine striker finishing top of the Premiership goals chart. But it will be team-mate Didier Drogba (12-1 Stan James) who will go closest to ending Thierry Henry's reign as the league's most prolific striker. The Ivory Coast international was in scintillating form during the Community Shield victory over Arsenal. His two goals offered a glimpse of the improvement we should expect in him this season. Wayne Rooney is the 5-2 favourite (Paddy Power) to finish as the Premiership's top English goalscorer, but Tottenham's Jermaine Defoe (11-4) should come out on top with Everton striker James Beattie a useful outside choice at 8-1. Top Premiership goalscorer (Stan James): 9-4 Henry; 5-1 Van Nistelrooy; 8-1 Rooney; 12-1 Owen, Drogba, Crespo; 18-1 Defoe, Morientes; 20-1 Cisse; 25-1 Shearer, Reyes, Yakubu; 33-1 bar. Rovers to claim first win TRANMERE'S wait for their first win of the season should come to an end tonight when they host League One pacesetters Oldham. Despite taking just one point from their opening two games, Brian Little's men look good enough to once again challenge for automatic promotion. And with an industry-best price of evens (Sporting Odds), a Rovers victory will be the perfect way to gather some momentum for this week-end's accumulator. By adding home wins for Leicester (5-4); Bradford (5-6); Macclesfield (4-5) and Chester (11-10), the five-timer will pay almost £150 for a £5 stake with Sporting Odds. WINNERS: Chelsea are big favourites

Everton 0, Man United 2 (D, Post)
David Prior At Goodison Park, Daily Post
Aug 15 2005
AS WAS so conclusively proved last season, the reassuring thing about these opening-day defeats is that as barometers for the campaign to come, they're completely hopeless. Last time it was a swaggering Arsenal who punctured all the early optimism Goodison could muster, dismantling their hosts with a nonchalant ease that seem-ingly verified the doom-laden forecasts predicting Everton's impending demise. This time it's Manchester United with the reality check. How comforting to consider, then, that if the 4-1 defeat to Arsene Wenger's men could trig-ger an ascent into the undreamed of territory it did, surely Saturday's defeat means David Moyes's stated pursuit of a third-place finish come next May is now firmly on course. Ambitious, sure, but there's an element of seriousness in that flippant connection. For so long as this contest was a live one - until Joseph Yobo's assist, in other words - then there was enough to suggest rumours of Everton being a one-season wonder may indeed have been somewhat exaggerated. Make no mistake about it, this was a good performance. James Beattie's early injury may have been the latest dose of misfortune to befall the £6million striker, but it was the best thing that could have happened to Everton. With Marcus Bent injecting all the pace, power and incisiveness absent from Beattie's 21 minutes of action, Everton were a renewed and rejuvenated force. By Ruud van Nistelrooy's sucker-punch goal, they should have been at least a goal to the good - the only real concern to come out of the game is that they weren't. But more on the positives. With Simon Davies providing added width on the right, Everton's midfield looks an improved and balanced unit. Phil Neville has brought poise and purpose to the holding position just in front of the back four, Tim Cahill has lost none of his allaction penetration, while Mikel Arteta's set-piece delivery is an increasingly potent weapon. It's safe to assume there won't be too many better visitors to Goodison this year, and yet during the first half in particular United's midfield were outplayed. Roy Keane was a subdued presence, Wayne Rooney largely contained and Park Ji-Sung, praised to the skies by Sir Alex Ferguson for his debut Champions League cameo in midweek, looked lightweight. Had another summer Old Traf-ford arrival, Edwin van der Sar, not supplied an early candidate for save of the season from Cahill's point-blank first-half header, Everton would have been well on the way to reproducing the kind of occasion Duncan Ferguson's winner ensured back in April. Certainly, Everton's opening-half football on Saturday at least equalled their performance on that memorable night. Alas, the similarities between the two games are meaningless given how the difference is ultimately three points in Everton's column, so it was understandable to see Moyes's optimism tempered after Saturday's game. I think I've seen signs in the two games we've played (against United and Villarreal)," he said.. "We played quite well and the introduction of some of the new players has made a difference, but we've got to try and keep clean sheets. We are not disappointed with the performance, but we are with the results. "Phil Neville has come here totally committed to do well for Everton. Everybody's been pleased with the way he's played and his attitude. We played slightly different to try and make it slightly difficult for them. We tried to fill as many gaps as possible. "The midfield competed well with theirs, and we've clearly got a good blend of midfielders here." The first half truly was a tale of what might have been. The game had flitted in and out before Beat-tie limped off after coming off worse in a challenge with Rio Ferdinand. Perhaps the most promising opening from a home perspective up until then had involved the former Southampton man, but his ham-fisted hoof out of play in the eighth minute after Cahill had dispossessed Darren Fletcher sadly remained the lasting impression from his brief appearance. Beattie needs a change of luck, undeniably, but he needs a change of form too. United enjoyed the better of the early chances, first via van Nistelrooy's second-minute free-kick that sizzled over Nigel Martyn's bar and then, eight minutes later, a Wayne Rooney shot that was dragged wide after Gary Neville's centre. Van Nistelrooy threatened again on the quarter-hour when Tony Hibbert was left trailing by Ji-Sung and his subsequent ball to Paul Scholes led to the Dutchman being teed up for a shot that just evaded Martyn's right-hand post. Bent's introduction provided just the change in pace that Everton needed. With almost his first touch, the striker galvanised the crowd with a surge forward and although he was stopped, the ball spilled to Arteta. From there, the Spaniard spread a pass wide to Davies on the right who lofted an inch-perfect cross for Cahill.
A goal seemed inevitable, but although the Australian met the ball with power and some direction, van der Sar reacted instinctively and tipped over. It was a stunning save for the United goalkeeper on his league debut; had Roy Carroll still been inhabiting the visitors' gloves, Everton would almost certainly have been ahead. Two minutes later, Bent was back in the thick of things, setting up Leon Osman's glancing header that evaded the far post, although the assistant referee had flagged anyway. Bent, meanwhile, had switched to defence, clearing from Scholes's corner. Just after the half-hour arrived another moment that with the benefit of hindsight ultimately proved crucial. Phil Neville, warmly appreciated by the visiting support throughout, sent in a cross that incontrovertibly caught the arm of Mikael Silvestre. Graham Poll disagreed. Everton, and particularly Bent, were undeterred however and a minute later the striker cracked the crossbar with a deflected shot after Arteta's corner. The home side were by now rampant and before he became the villain, Yobo very nearly established himself as the afternoon's hero, almost converting Arteta's cross at the far post.
Their superiority deserved a goal but, ominously, none had arrived. "You're not going to get nine chances in a game like this," Moyes said. "We have to get more clinical." The manager was right: two minutes before half-time United, who had enjoyed fewer clear chances than Everton, took the lead when van Nistelrooy pounced on John O'Shea's centre. The disbelief over the half-time scoreline had barely abated before it was two. Indeed just 28 seconds had elapsed since the restart before Yobo, criminally and needlessly, played a square pass behind David Weir to gift Rooney the easiest goal he'd ever scored at Goodison. Granted the luxury of a two-goal cushion, United essentially retained control from then on. Alessandro Pistone, meeting another good Arteta free-kick, almost pulled one back while Phil Neville launched the kind of left-footed missile his eight goals in 390 United appearances had not exactly suggested he was capable of, but Everton's steam had gone. "I think the Evertonians are very realistic about this season," Moyes reflected. "I think they hope again that it'll be as good as last year, but I've always said I don't think I can change things here right away. "Hopefully you can see signs are there that we are moving in the right direction, but I don't think anyone's going to get carried away with things." The Scot's cautionary words were understandable. After a performance like this, though, there's no need to write Everton off just yet, either.
Provided all the impetus and drive missing from James Beattie's game
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn: Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone; Davies (Kilbane 75), Neville, Cahill, Arteta, Osman (Ferguson 64), Davies (Kilbane 75); Beattie (Bent 21). Subs: Wright McFadden. BOOKINGS: Neville, Arteta, Pistone (all fouls).
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea; Fletcher (Heinze 72), Keane, Scholes (Smith 80), Ji-Sung (Richardson 85); Rooney, van Nistelrooy. Subs: Howard, Rossi. BOOKING: Scholes (foul).
REFEREE: Graham Poll.
ATT: 38,610.
NEXT GAME: Bolton Wanderers v Everton, Premiership, Sunday 1.30pm

Yobo can recover from his goal gift
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Aug 15 2005
0ShareDAVID WEIR has backed Joseph Yobo to recover from the disastrous blunder that killed off Everton's hopes against Manchester United on Saturday. The Nigerian defender's careless pass moments into the second half gifted Wayne Rooney a first goal against his former club and effectively snuffed out what chance the Merseysiders had of overturning their first-half deficit.
His club captain and defensive partner Weir, however, is confident Yobo has the mentality to recover from the error - and insisted no-one within the Goodison dressing-room was blaming him.
He said: "It happens to anybody, it could be anyone who makes a mistake like that.
"It's how you react to them - mistakes happen. Joe is an experienced lad and he'll learn from that. It's not persecution time, we take it as a team and learn as a team." Weir believes there was little difference between the sides, at least in the first half, and had Everton converted one of several opportunities, the scoreline could well have been very different. The Scot added: "Goals change games and they went into the half-time one up instead of 0-0. The level of work was good, it's just a fine line between winning and losing. The midfield played well and we created a few chances, but it just wasn't to be. "I think our performances so far this season have been good, we've bought in three or four new play-ers who I think will help us and make us stronger this year. We have got the experience from last year and I think that will help us." Rooney, who claimed his first goal against Everton since moving to Old Trafford 12 months ago, was himself sympathetic towards his former team-mate. He said: "It was a lucky goal in a way because I have played with Joseph and he is a great defender - you certainly don't expect that from him. "I was just trying to close down David Weir and the ball fell nicely for me." Manager David Moyes, meanwhile, has insisted he is prepared to make more additions to his squad before the transfer deadline should the right players become available. "There's money available, and the board are great, but it's the availability of the right players that matters," said Moyes. "I think the squad I've got is flexible and I'm quite comfortable with who we've got to play with. "If there's anybody out there who's available and would add something, I'll go out and try and get him. The only money we've spent is money we earned through transfers and our league position. We are not going to the bank and asking for more money. I've never asked how much money I've got available. "But every time I've asked the board, they've given it to me." James Beattie will have an X-ray today to determine whether he suffered a broken bone in the foot injury that forced his early withdrawal on Saturday.

Kroldrup ruled out for up to six weeks
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 15 2005
DAVID MOYES'S central defensive options will be at a premium for the next four weeks at least after it was confirmed last night that Per Kroldrup will need groin surgery. It had been thought Everton's £5million summer arrival from Udinese could delay an operation, but the club have now decided he will have hernia repair surgery tomorrow to eradicate a niggling groin problem. Head of Physio Mick Rathbone is now estimating that Kroldrup, who is yet to make his competitive debut for Everton, will be missing for the next four to six weeks. He said: "Per is getting his operation on Tuesday afternoon - it is the usual footballers' groin injury and it would have been hard for him to carry on playing at this stage of the season when you have just kicked off. "We sat down and discussed it and agreed the best thing is to get it done." That will leave Moyes with just David Weir and Joseph Yobo to call on as first-choice centre-backs.

Frustrated Bent looks on positives
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Aug 15 2005
MARCUS BENT was delighted to take advantage of the unexpected opportunity afforded by James Beattie's foot injury on Saturday. The Everton striker played 70 minutes of the defeat against United, making such an impact that he was named the man of the match. Bent, 27, almost scored at least twice to show he is now back after a recent Achilles injury. He said: "I felt sharp. There is still a little bit of fitness to work on but I thought it was quite promising. I want to build on that performance. "I felt good because I have been injured for a few weeks with an Achilles problem. It is still sore a little bit so for me to come in and play a lot of the game was good." He added: "Last year we were thumped by Arsenal but this year in the first game we did well against a quality side like Manchester United. The result was a frustrating one but there were promising signs. "But this year we have got to be a bit more clinical. We started really well, Beats got injured and I came on. I felt I contributed quite well throughout the game." Bent saw a volley deflected on to the crossbar inadvertently by United defender Mikael Silvestre. "When I hit it it looked like it was going for the top corner but it hit Silvestre and went on to the bar. Then we were undone either side of half-time."
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney dismissed suggestions that Chelsea only have to turn up to win the Premiership following Manchester United's 2-0 win. He admitted to being 'fired-up' by claims that Chelsea will stroll to the title. "There have been one or two comments about one team being in it but it's rubbish really. This is a good start to the season but we have keep it going," he said.. Rooney was booed at times by Everton fans but laughed it off. "I am a professional footballer for Manchester United. The fans gave me a bit of stick but that is part and parcel of the game. You move on." United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was pleased with his side's hard-working performance.
"We knew it would be a very tough game and it was," he said.. "But to be fair to the lads they got stuck in and got the goals at the right time - just before half-time and just after." The Scot was delighted with the form of Ruud van Nistelrooy, as well as new boys Edwin van der Sar and Park Ji-Sung. "Ruud has been in fantastic form in pre-season. Edwin showed his experience, he calmed the game down. He made a great save in the first half, and one in the second half. All in all, his composure calmed us down. "Park showed tenacity and penetration, I was very pleased with his performance." Ferguson believes a good start to the season will help United challenge for the title.

Forward faults just as costly as back problems
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 15 2005
WHAT would David Moyes give for someone like Jermaine Defoe or, dare we say it, Wayne Rooney at the moment? In the two big games that his side has played at Goodison Park this past week - against Villarreal and then Manchester United - the lack of someone with pace and the ability to convert pressure into goals was as big a contributory factor to Everton's defeats as the sloppy errors at the back. James Beattie, Marcus Bent and Duncan Ferguson all got opportunities to lead the line for the Blues, but whatever combination Moyes deployed, the team still looked relatively toothless up front. In both games, endless crosses were slung into the opponents' box as the Blues' big men tried to bludgeon their way through, but once the Spaniards and then Manchester United weathered the initial onslaught it became relatively straightforward for them to keep Everton at bay. Moyes must know that he can't rely solely on last season's secret weapon, Tim Cahill, to find the back of the net. Although the Australian midfielder must have been disappointed to see Edwin Van der Sar twice deny his trademark far post headers. Given that James Vaughan is still so young, it seems clear that answer to this striking problem must lie elsewhere, in the transfer market, but who exactly fits the bill? The rumours keep circulating about Michael Owen, but does anyone seriously think this is anything but a pipe dream? He'd be perfect, obviously, as he is probably as good a goalscorer as there is in the world, but surely if he really is intent on leaving Real Madrid he will have more options than just moving to St James Park or Goodison. Manchester United are being a bit coy about him at the moment, but Alex Ferguson knows that players of Owen's quality don't become available very often, so it would come as little surprise if he ended up at Old Trafford. Milan Baros is an interesting one, as his style of play would mean that he could play just as easily alongside a target man or up front on his own. The fact that no deal has been done for him already though would suggest that Moyes is unwilling to meet Liverpool's asking price. Is it possible that Everton's management are waiting on the result of the second leg against Villarreal, so they know if they're guaranteed Champions League group stage money, before they make any firm bid for any pricey and highly-paid player? The fact that they were linked with Preston North End's much more conservatively priced striker David Nugent in the immediate aftermath of the first-leg setback against the Spaniards would suggest that this might indeed be the case. It's not the time for despondency just yet though, one league game into the season. Everton have been punished ruth-lessly for their mistakes thus far, but in United they faced one of the best sides in the country, while Villarreal looked even better again.
The fact that Everton matched the pair of them for long periods - well at least until Joseph Yobo's crazy back-pass turned the United game into a procession - shows that there is plenty of reason to look forward to another positive season, in the league and Europe, albeit with a quick entry into the UEFA Cup looking likely unless something truly remarkable happens in Spain next week.
We've a better squad than last season, with the midfield in particular looking stronger since the inclusion of Simon Davies and Phil Neville, and the players seem to have the same commitment and work ethic that pushed them into fourth place last time around. And if Moyes can sort the problems out up front sooner rather than later then there's no reason why the Blues can't finish there or thereabouts again.

Not taking chances is only real worry
By Ken Stewart, Daily Post
Aug 15 2005
YOU never really thought we'd get two wins on the bounce against United, did you? It goes down as another defeat - two home defeats - but I read that "our winless streak" continues. One league game and one European game against sides that finished third in their domestic leagues - don't start worrying just yet. Like last Tuesday we dominated the first half and had the better chances. Tim Cahill being his usual brilliant self and popping up where no other player decides to wander. Simon Davies looks like a steal. It's only two games into the season but he was pleasing on the eye and doesn't mind tracking back either. But, we never put away our chances and there were quite a few "genuine" chances.. The need for a quality striker to partner Beattie up front, because it seems Moyes sees the blonde one as his starting striker. We're not in a striker crisis. We have Bent, Ferguson, McFadden and even a certain James Vaughan who can come in and do a job. But we need is someone to liven things up, do the unexpected and who will complement a "big man". I believe if we had that striker we'd have won on Saturday. The team have played like a team. Critics will make out we "hoof" the ball forward to say Beat-tie or Ferguson's head and hope for a knockdown.

I agree, that we're physical but all that means is you go in strong and committed, there is nothing wrong with letting someone know you're there. Man United had been doing it for years and they where the team of the last decade. It is two home defeats but Everton are moving forward, there's a team coming together and a good one at that. James Beattie

Bent keen on a leading role
Aug 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT is desperate to be given the chance of becoming Everton's main striker following his man-of-the-match display against Manchester United. Though a bottle of the sponsor's bubbly could not make up for the Blues' 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, Bent was happy with his performance particularly as injury has meant his preparations for the new season have been stop-start. "I haven't played much in pre-season because I have had an Achilles problem and I was struggling to get back but once I get going it's quite fluent," said Bent. "It was nice to get the man-of-the-match award and be involved in a game of this nature. We keep saying that we need to be a bit more clinical to compete with the big sides but it didn't happen against United." With a bit more good fortune, Bent would have celebrated his first goal of the campaign but an acrobatic volley smashed against the Park End crossbar when the scores were all square. That was one of a handful of opportunities Everton had but they failed to cash in and Bent realises that David Moyes' men need a cutting edge.
Bent added: "The shot I had looked like it was going into the top corner but it flicked off Silvestre and went onto the bar. "Every time I don't start, someone asks me if I have a point to prove. I played in every game last year and we finished fourth. I didn't score as many goals as I would have liked but I can add to that." While there was little wrong with Everton's commitment or workrate, just as against Villarreal they were undone by two lapses of concentration, the latter being an awful slip by Joseph Yobo that allowed Wayne Rooney to score. But as Bent points out, there is little to be achieved from making the Nigerian international a scapegoat for the defeat. "Joe knows that he has done wrong and everyone else knows it to," Bent said. "But we are not going to dwell on that. He has learned early in the season not to do it again, I suppose. "The game changed completely when it went to 2-0. "We can still take plusses out of the game. Phil Neville and Simon Davies have settled in and they will fit into the way this side works."
* Per Kroldrup will undergo hernia surgery tomorrow afternoon and is expected to be out until the end of September. Moyes had hoped that his Danish international would have been able to delay the operation for a couple of weeks to get through the hectic early schedule. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "It would have been hard for him to carry on playing at this stage of the season. The best thing to do is to get it done."

Moyes' striking dilemma after Bent adds spark
Aug 15 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"I DIDN'T rant and rave at them. The players did alright," said David Moyes. And he was dead right. But that doesn't mean Saturday's unfortunate opening day defeat didn't give the Blues' boss a headache or two. Everton did look bright, purposeful and industrious. But only after James Beattie had made way for Marcus Bent. And that poses an unwelcome dilemma for Moyes. Beattie will always score more goals than Bent, which is why the £6m striker was preferred from the start against Villarreal and Manchester United. But Bent's intelligent running and movement makes him better suited to the 4-5-1 formation the Blues have started the season with. "Marcus Bent? You're having a laugh?" chanted the wits from the United section after the sponsors named the Everton substitute as their man of the match. But there was little doubt that Bent transformed an easily contained, direct Everton approach when he was introduced after 20 minutes. He just never looked like scoring. Even his shot which slapped the face of the United crossbar was deflected. A lack of clinical finishing meant that Everton couldn't claim a lead they could defend. Tim Cahill twice smuggled his way into the kind of goalscoring positions which brought him 12 goals last season. But each time Edwin van der Sar proved what a valuable acquisition he could be for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Then Ruud van Nistelrooy sneaked half-a-yard ahead of David Weir and that was enough to edge United into an interval lead, before Moyes was presented with his second headache of the afternoon. Joseph Yobo is a Rolls Royce of a defender, prone to Lada moments once every afternoon. His breakdown on Saturday effectively ended the match as a contest, just as the players and crowd were rousing themselves for a second half cavalry charge. Wayne Rooney never received service like the pass he received from the Nigerian even when he wore a Royal Blue jersey. He celebrated the goal as wildly as you would expect, while the Gwladys Street supporters deserved commending for the way in which they responded to his two-nil salute towards them midway through the second half. He was verbally berated, but the missile-throwing mindlessness which marred last season's visits wasn't repeated. By then, mind, Evertonians had just about given up the chase. The Blues still look in far better shape than they did this time last year, when Arsenal had just come to Goodison and taken the hosts apart. But there are questions which still need answering about Everton's shape and formation. An injury to James Beattie could, perversely, provide a short-term answer for one, the other will have to be put on hold until Per Kroldrup is finally ready for his first team debut.

Heads held high - Moyes
Aug 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES remained in a positive mood today even though Everton started their Premiership campaign with a home defeat against Manchester United. Although he is understandably frustrated having seen his team lose their first two matches of the season, Moyes insists there is still plenty to look forward to and was encouraged by the dis-play against United. Compared to this time 12 months ago, Everton are certainly in better shape, and the manager believes that once they cut out the kind of error that gifted Sir Alex Ferguson's side their second goal, then the Blues will be up and running. "It is hard against good teams to recover from two goals down," said Moyes. "Overall the performance was fine and I can't fault the players. We probably made more chances against them then when we beat them 1-0 a few months ago. "The players did everything that was asked of them. United are a good team and we made it difficult for them. They are talking about United being champions this season and we weren't that far off them. "I think most people will see a better Everton team than they did this time last year. I have said before that all I can try and do is make progress year in and year out. That is what I am trying to do. "Obviously it will be a tough ask to improve on fourth position but I think if we can continue the form, take the chances and cut out the mistakes which didn't have last year, then I think we will get some good results." Moyes was, however, left to rue Everton's lack of cutting edge and knows that if progress is to be made, they cannot afford to pass up the kind of opportunities with which they were presented. That said, the sparkling performance of Marcus Bent was a major plus for Moyes and he is now challenging the 27-year-old to show that he is capable of nailing down a regular starting place. "I thought Marcus came on and did terrific," Moyes added. "He has had an Achilles problem, which has kept him out of a couple of pre-season games and missed a bit of training, but he is going to have to wait for his chance. "He came on when James Beattie went off with a foot injury and he brightened us up a little bit. He played well. We had chances and I think we should have scored. I think their goal-keeper made a couple of good saves. "Against good teams, you don't get five or six good chances. You might only get two or three and you have got to be clinical when you get them because let's be fair, United didn't have a host of chances."

New season throws up early surprises
Aug 15 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS will remember Stephen Hughes as a tidy, inoffensive midfielder who showed all the passion of Julian Clary let loose in the Playboy mansion. Now at Coventry, the red card Hughes was shown for arguing about an absurd penalty decision on Saturday told us one thing, the start of a new football season is always unpredictable. Reading trounced Preston, Luton top the early table, Crystal Palace are second bottom - and Chester's match against Grimsby was postponed because of the weather! Shame that unpredictability didn't stretch to the Premiership.

Bent keen on a leading role
Aug 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT is desperate to be given the chance of becoming Everton's main striker following his man-of-the-match display against Manchester United. Though a bottle of the sponsor's bubbly could not make up for the Blues' 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, Bent was happy with his performance particularly as injury has meant his preparations for the new season have been stop-start. "I haven't played much in pre-season because I have had an Achilles problem and I was struggling to get back but once I get going it's quite fluent," said Bent. "It was nice to get the man-of-the-match award and be involved in a game of this nature. We keep saying that we need to be a bit more clinical to compete with the big sides but it didn't happen against United." With a bit more good fortune, Bent would have celebrated his first goal of the campaign but an acrobatic volley smashed against the Park End crossbar when the scores were all square. That was one of a handful of opportunities Everton had but they failed to cash in and Bent realises that David Moyes' men need a cutting edge.
Bent added: "The shot I had looked like it was going into the top corner but it flicked off Silvestre and went onto the bar. "Every time I don't start, someone asks me if I have a point to prove. I played in every game last year and we finished fourth. I didn't score as many goals as I would have liked but I can add to that." While there was little wrong with Everton's commitment or workrate, just as against Villarreal they were undone by two lapses of concentration, the latter being an awful slip by Joseph Yobo that allowed Wayne Rooney to score. But as Bent points out, there is little to be achieved from making the Nigerian international a scapegoat for the defeat. "Joe knows that he has done wrong and everyone else knows it to," Bent said. "But we are not going to dwell on that. He has learned early in the season not to do it again, I suppose. "The game changed completely when it went to 2-0. "We can still take plusses out of the game. Phil Neville and Simon Davies have settled in and they will fit into the way this side works."
* Per Kroldrup will undergo hernia surgery tomorrow afternoon and is expected to be out until the end of September. Moyes had hoped that his Danish international would have been able to delay the operation for a couple of weeks to get through the hectic early schedule. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "It would have been hard for him to carry on playing at this stage of the season. The best thing to do is to get it done."

Moyes' striking dilemma after Bent adds spark
Aug 15 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
"I DIDN'T rant and rave at them. The players did alright," said David Moyes. And he was dead right. But that doesn't mean Saturday's unfortunate opening day defeat didn't give the Blues' boss a headache or two. Everton did look bright, purposeful and industrious. But only after James Beattie had made way for Marcus Bent. And that poses an unwelcome dilemma for Moyes. Beattie will always score more goals than Bent, which is why the £6m striker was preferred from the start against Villarreal and Manchester United. But Bent's intelligent running and movement makes him better suited to the 4-5-1 formation the Blues have started the season with. "Marcus Bent? You're having a laugh?" chanted the wits from the United section after the sponsors named the Everton substitute as their man of the match. But there was little doubt that Bent transformed an easily contained, direct Everton approach when he was introduced after 20 minutes. He just never looked like scoring. Even his shot which slapped the face of the United crossbar was deflected. A lack of clinical finishing meant that Everton couldn't claim a lead they could defend. Tim Cahill twice smuggled his way into the kind of goalscoring positions which brought him 12 goals last season. But each time Edwin van der Sar proved what a valuable acquisition he could be for Sir Alex Ferguson's side. Then Ruud van Nistelrooy sneaked half-a-yard ahead of David Weir and that was enough to edge United into an interval lead, before Moyes was presented with his second headache of the afternoon. Joseph Yobo is a Rolls Royce of a defender, prone to Lada moments once every afternoon. His breakdown on Saturday effectively ended the match as a contest, just as the players and crowd were rousing themselves for a second half cavalry charge. Wayne Rooney never received service like the pass he received from the Nigerian even when he wore a Royal Blue jersey. He celebrated the goal as wildly as you would expect, while the Gwladys Street supporters deserved commending for the way in which they responded to his two-nil salute towards them midway through the second half. He was verbally berated, but the missile-throwing mindlessness which marred last season's visits wasn't repeated. By then, mind, Evertonians had just about given up the chase. The Blues still look in far better shape than they did this time last year, when Arsenal had just come to Goodison and taken the hosts apart. But there are questions which still need answering about Everton's shape and formation. An injury to James Beattie could, perversely, provide a short-term answer for one, the other will have to be put on hold until Per Kroldrup is finally ready for his first team debut.

Everton 0, Man United 2 (Echo)
Dominic King At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Aug 15 2005
SUCCESS and failure is separated by the narrowest margin at the highest level and after two games of the new season, everyone connected with Everton will know how fine that line is. Of course, it is anything but ideal to kick-off a campaign that has promised so much with home defeats against Villarreal in the Champions League and Manchester United in the Premiership. But had it not been for a couple of lapses in concentration at vital moments, there is no doubt the picture would have been much rosier because - as is so often the case in football - those scorelines have not reflected Everton's level of performance. Just as the case had been against Villarreal, David Moyes' men were more than a match for their opponents at Goodison Park on Saturday. Had fortune favoured the brave, the Blues would have been three points better off. Everton have made giant strides over the past last year but if they are going to make the next leap forward that their manager anticipates, the kamikaze tendencies must be eradicated and a killer instinct needs to be found. As good a side as United are, there could have been few complaints had they gone into the interval trailing on Saturday as Everton mixed determination with verve and vivacity. Amazingly, though, Moyes' men failed to heed the lesson from the Villarreal contest. Instead of playing for time and ensuring that no damage was done before the break, United were afforded too much time to conjure up a move on the edge of the box. Once Ruud van Nistelrooy had pounced on John O'Shea's centre, the course of the game had changed completely and left Everton facing an uphill struggle as United are masters of defending a lead. However, that lapse was nothing compared to Joseph Yobo's catastrophic pass across the face of his penalty area within 29 seconds of the restart to give Wayne Rooney the simplest opportunity. From that point, Mission Improbable became Mission Impossible. It could, perhaps should, have been so different. A strangely subdued Goodison burst into life once Marcus Bent replaced James Beattie, as the former's pace and power caused United numerous headaches.
He may have his detractors in the stands but there was certainly nothing wrong with Bent's display against United and if Beattie's foot injury is more serious than it appears, he is tailor-made to play in the role of lone striker. Few work harder for the team, he is never afraid of making runs to benefit others and though it may not always come off, Bent is certainly prepared to try something different in order to make things happen. With his confidence high, Bent was at the hub of everything positive Everton, playing with a swagger and authority, created during a breathless 25-minute spell in the first half. Bent started a move that culminated with Simon Davies - once again impressive on the right side of midfield - crossing for Tim Cahill to bullet in a goal-bound header that Edwin van der Sar did magnificently to save. Everton went even closer to breaking the deadlock through Bent moments later, when his acrobatic volley from Yobo's knock down deflected off Mikael Silvestre and thudded against the crossbar to allow United to breath a heavy sigh of relief. How frustrating, then, that as Everton had United clinging to the ropes, prodding and probing to land a killer blow, they dropped their guard and allowed the visitors to respond with a fatal counter. Once the talented but obnoxious Rooney had pounced to score the second, Moyes' men were effectively chasing shadows but it is to their credit that they never let their heads drop completely. That is why it is unlikely Moyes will have trouble lifting spirits at Bellefield this week ahead of next Sunday's trip to Bolton. Some defeats are chastening experiences but those against Villarreal and United are certainly not in that bracket. Whereas the opening day mauling against Arsenal 12 months ago left Evertonians with a deep sense of foreboding, the feeling now should be that the club is well placed to build on what has been achieved since. Certainly the midfield of Cahill, Davies, Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville (above) and Kevin Kilbane or Leon Osman has sufficient quality to ensure Everton will once again mount a bold assault on the European places. And if Moyes is able to add a couple more high-calibre signings before the transfer window closes, it is simply now a question of fine tuning a few things - and making sure they heed the costly lessons of these first two games.
Man of the match Marcus Bent
His energy and pace brought the crowd to life.

Heads held high - Moyes
Aug 15 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES remained in a positive mood today even though Everton started their Premiership campaign with a home defeat against Manchester United. Although he is understandably frustrated having seen his team lose their first two matches of the season, Moyes insists there is still plenty to look forward to and was encouraged by the dis-play against United. Compared to this time 12 months ago, Everton are certainly in better shape, and the manager believes that once they cut out the kind of error that gifted Sir Alex Ferguson's side their second goal, then the Blues will be up and running. "It is hard against good teams to recover from two goals down," said Moyes. "Overall the performance was fine and I can't fault the players. We probably made more chances against them then when we beat them 1-0 a few months ago. "The players did everything that was asked of them. United are a good team and we made it difficult for them. They are talking about United being champions this season and we weren't that far off them. "I think most people will see a better Everton team than they did this time last year. I have said before that all I can try and do is make progress year in and year out. That is what I am trying to do. "Obviously it will be a tough ask to improve on fourth position but I think if we can continue the form, take the chances and cut out the mistakes which didn't have last year, then I think we will get some good results." Moyes was, however, left to rue Everton's lack of cutting edge and knows that if progress is to be made, they cannot afford to pass up the kind of opportunities with which they were presented. That said, the sparkling performance of Marcus Bent was a major plus for Moyes and he is now challenging the 27-year-old to show that he is capable of nailing down a regular starting place. "I thought Marcus came on and did terrific," Moyes added. "He has had an Achilles problem, which has kept him out of a couple of pre-season games and missed a bit of training, but he is going to have to wait for his chance. "He came on when James Beattie went off with a foot injury and he brightened us up a little bit. He played well. We had chances and I think we should have scored. I think their goal-keeper made a couple of good saves. "Against good teams, you don't get five or six good chances. You might only get two or three and you have got to be clinical when you get them because let's be fair, United didn't have a host of chances."

New season throws up early surprises
Aug 15 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS will remember Stephen Hughes as a tidy, inoffensive midfielder who showed all the passion of Julian Clary let loose in the Playboy mansion. Now at Coventry, the red card Hughes was shown for arguing about an absurd penalty decision on Saturday told us one thing, the start of a new football season is always unpredictable. Reading trounced Preston, Luton top the early table, Crystal Palace are second bottom - and Chester's match against Grimsby was postponed because of the weather! Shame that unpredictability didn't stretch to the Premiership.

Beattie out of crucial Euro tie
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 16 2005
JAMES BEATTIE has been ruled out of Everton's attempt to qualify for the Champions League group stages. The striker will be sidelined for at least a fortnight with a badly bruised toe joint suffered in the Premier-ship defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday. A precautionary X-ray yesterday allayed inital fears Beattie may have sustained a broken foot similar to the injury that sidelined him for six weeks while at Southampton last October. But Everton expect the 27-year-old to miss the next few weeks as he recovers from his injury, making Beattie unavailable for the return European assignment in Villar-real on Wednesday week. Head Physio Mick Rathbone confirmed: "James went for a precautionary X-ray that has revealed no fracture. "He has badly sprained his toe joint and we anticipate that it could be some weeks before he is fit to play again." It is another blow to Beattie, who has had a stuttering start to his Goodison career since his club record £6million arrival from Southampton in January. After netting just twice in 13 games for Everton last season, he began the new campaign as first-choice striker and scored in the first leg against Villarreal last week before limping off against United after 21 minutes. Beattie's injury is a major blow to manager David Moyes, who has been continually frustrated in his efforts to bring in striking reinforcements this summer. Moyes now has just Marcus Bent, Duncan Ferguson and youngster James Vaughan to call on up front, with Everton needing to score twice in Spain to stand any chance of winning through to the group stages of the Champions League. As well as the game in Villarreal, Beattie will miss the forthcoming Premiership encounters at Bolton and Fulham, with Everton hopeful the international break will be sufficient time for the striker to recover ahead of the home game with Portsmouth on September 10. Beattie will be joined on the sidelines by Per Kroldrup, who under-goes surgery today to cure a niggling groin problem that has prevented him from making his competitive debut following his £5m move from Udinese this summer. The Denmark international is expected to be out for between four and six weeks. Everton's reserves take on Liverpool in the mini-derby this evening at Wrexham (kick-off 7pm).

Early days
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Aug 16 2005
Early days
BEFORE Everton kicked off last season, we would all have settled for mid-table as a great improvement. Having qualified for the Champions League was unbelievable, but now the hatchet men who call themselves supporters already have us written-off and relegated. Remember, the greatest moments of this game are the unknown, that is what makes it the world's No1 sport. A tough task ahead, but I bet we are there at the finish.
J Jones (via e-mail)
Play Euro way
EVERTON showed they have so much guts in the match against Villarreal. However, they failed to match the skills of their opponents and this could be their main problem in the Premiership.

We need to adapt our approach to a European style of play and I do believe Mikel Arteta could be our supreme playmaker. However, we need to be much sounder in the back - lots of pace and skill but above all we need to be more effective up front.
F Rogers (via e-mail)
Defensive lapses
DISREGARDING Joseph Yobo's error, we did it again. Once can be unlucky, but three times in two games is bad play. We pour forward, then we don't defend as a team. All we had to do against Man United was just ease our way to half-time, as on 40 minutes it was 0-0, so let's not concede before the break. Against Villarreal, we got ourselves back in the game, but then instead of containing the game until half-time at least, we give away another goal.
A Aston (via e-mail)
Slip-up punished
DISAPPOINTING result Saturday.
Yobo has always been prone to the odd mistake and always seems to get punished when he slips up.
In his defence this time, I have noticed that Sam Allardyce has been resting Jay-Jay Okocha off and on because of all the football Nigeria played in the summer.
Sean Thornton, Wirral

Beattie's toe blow woe
Aug 16 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE'S bid to establish himself as Everton's number one striker has been dealt another hammer blow. The England international underwent a precautionary x-ray last night to determine the severity of the injury that forced him to hobble off 20 minutes into the weekend defeat against Manchester United. Manager David Moyes revealed after the game that Beattie was having trouble putting any weight on his foot and there were initial fears that the 27-year-old had broken a bone.
Scans showed, however, that Beattie had suffered heavy bruising to a joint and will be sidelined for a couple of weeks at least, meaning that he will miss next Wednesday's crucial Champions League return with Villar-real, as well as Premiership games with Bolton and Fulham. Everton physio Mick Rathbone confirmed: "James has badly sprained his toe joint and we anticipate that it could be some weeks before he is fit to play." Beattie has suffered wretched luck following his £6m move from Southampton in January and only made seven starts towards the end of last season because of suspension and fitness problems. He had, though, looked sharp against Villarreal last Tuesday and scored Everton's goal in the 2-1 defeat before being replaced by Marcus Bent. Man of the match after again coming on for Beattie against United, Bent is likely to take over at the head of Everton's attack. But Moyes does still have the option of using Duncan Ferguson, while youngster James Vaughan is sure to take a more prominent role in the squad. But Bent is ready to answer Moyes' SOS and said: "It was nice to be involved in a game like the one against United. I played every game last season and we ended up fourth. "I maybe didn't score as many goals as I would have liked but I can add to that and hopefully contribute as much as I did once again."
* EVERTON still have 250 tickets left for supporters who wish to travel independently to next week's return Champions League clash with Villarreal. There are also places available on the official travel packages, priced £299.

Ruthless streak will put Blues on course
Aug 16 2005 Exclusive By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA today warned that Everton must quickly discover a killer instinct or risk failing to fulfil their early season promise. Although the Blues have lost their opening two games against Villarreal and Manchester United, David Moyes' men have shown enough in 180 minutes of competitive action to suggest they can build on last year's achievements. But while the passing has looked slick at times and their workrate has been typically industrious, Everton were undone in both those games by lapses in concentration at crucial stages and, significant-ly, their radar being off-beam in front of goal. As Arteta points out, Everton are a side who have enjoyed great success by grinding out results - half of last season's 18 victories were by 1-0 scorelines - rather than overwhelming opposing teams under an avalanche of goals. Getting back to basics is something that boss Moyes is certain to devote plenty of time to at the club's Bellefield training headquarters this week, especially with an awkward trip to Bolton and the return leg against Villarreal in the Champions League looming on the agenda. That is why the Spanish midfielder - a £2.5m signing from Real Sociedad in the summer following a successful loan spell last season - believes it is imperative Everton learn from the early lessons and develop the ruthless streak that will get their campaign rolling in the right direction. "We are looking sharp, we are looking ok and physically we are feeling good," said Arteta. "We are creating chances but the problem is that we are not scoring. That is the only thing that is wrong. "We certainly didn't deserve to go into half-time against Manchester United losing by one goal but after the break we lost a poor goal very early and we can't keep conceding these type of goals. "At the end of the day, we have got to make sure that we keep concentrating for 90 minutes because we are not the type of squad that will score three or four goals in a game. Maybe one goal at the right time can make all the difference. "We need to keep our concentration a little bit more and be a bit more clinical. Then we will be able to push on from here. "It's like the gaffer has said. We created more chances against Manchester United on Saturday than we did against them last year yet we still ended up winning that game 1-0. "We know what we need to work on now because it was the same against Villarreal. Five minutes to go before half-time we conceded a goal and that is something that we have got to work on." As promising as much of Everton's play has been, Arteta - who has linked up well with Tim Cahill and Phil Neville in the centre of midfield - could not help but walk away from Good-ison at the weekend feeling slightly despondent. However, the former Rangers play-maker knows it will not do any good to dwell on the negatives and he is now looking forward to the challenge facing Everton in the coming weeks. "I think we are playing well and we made life difficult for both Villarreal and Manchester United," Arteta added.. "Nobody will remember that we played well in both these games but got nothing from them. We need to take our chances. "The spirit is good. We knew we had a very difficult start to the season. In Manchester United, we played against one of the best sides in Europe. "We just have to accept it. Now we have two away games and they are both going to be difficult. We need to start getting points."

Blues Reebok tickets
Aug 16 2005 Liverpool Echo
TICKETS for Everton's Premiership trip to Bolton on August 21 (1.30pm) are available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no32, together with at least eight away match ticket stubs (different games) from last season. Tickets are available from the Park End Box Office during normal office hours and the match stubs must be properly affixed to the official away match saving sheet from the Park End Box Office. Stand tickets in the upper tier are £39 (adults), £28 (OAPs) and £21 (under-16s). Lower tier tickets are £31, £24 and £16. Joe Mercer Suite members and People's Club members should present voucher 32 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher 1 from their Season Ticket books. Please note that purchasers of any concessionary tickets purchased - whether for under-16s or over-65s - will be required to be presented identification of age upon entry into the stadium.

Neville's experience is invaluable
Aug 16 2005 By Andy Gray, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE'S arrival at Everton might not have been the 'sexy' signing to fire the imagination of Goodison fans, but supporters already seem to have been quietly satisfied with the capture of the former Manchester United player He has made a solid impression in both of his appearances for the Blues so far. Everton and Neville can be good for each other. He will undoubtedly benefit from a run in what he believes is his best position, while the Blues will benefit from his experience and ability.
Neville has won more than 50 caps for England and played more than 300 games for one of the most successful sides in the country. That kind of experience is invaluable, while he is still fresh enough and fit enough to make a significant impact on Merseyside.

Davies ruled out of Wales friendly
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 17 2005
SIMON DAVIES handed David Moyes an injury scare last night when he withdrew from the Wales squad. The 25-year-old was expected to play a part in his country's international friendly against Slovenia at Swansea this evening. But the midfielder has been ruled out of the fixture after complaining of a shin injury. Davies will return to Bellefield for further assessment but must be considered an early doubt for Sunday's Premiership visit to Bolton Wanderers. James Beattie and Per Krodlrup have already been ruled out through injury, with Lee Carsley and Gary Naysmith also on the sidelines. Moyes, meanwhile, could renew his interest in Roma defender Matteo Ferrari.
FIFA had banned the Italian club from purchasing players for a year following complaints made regarding their conduct in signing Frenchman Philippe Mexes. But after initally upholding the decision, the Court of Arbitration for Sport acceded to Roma's appeal and have suspended the transfer embargo, meaning the Serie A side will now contemplate departures from their squad. Moyes had been originally been considering a 12-month loan move for Ferrari and a £4million swoop for teammate Simone Perrotta. Phil Neville's subsequent arrival from Manchester United has lessened the need to move for midfielder Perrotta. But although a striker remains Moyes's priority, he may now move again for Ferrari, who can play on the left of defence. Meanwhile, Everton last night denied they had received any bid from Charlton for Marcus Bent.

Liverpool Reserves 2, Everton Reserves 3
Daily Post
Aug 17 2005
EVERTON RESERVES edged out Liverpool in a five-goal thriller in the FA Premier reserve League North at the Racecourse Ground last night. Everton took the lead on six minutes, when Seargent whipped in a free-kick and Vidarsson rose unchallenged to head past Willis. The goal came slightly against the run of play, as Liverpool had began the game brightly with Hammill causing problems on the left wing. After two minutes it needed a terrific block from Wright to deny the young Liverpool winger, and a minute later he shot just wide after cutting in from the left. Everton looked threatening whenever the ball was crossed into the box, and Vidarsson grabbed his second of the game shortly after the half hour, when he met Phelan's right-wing centre and outjumped Barragan to send a looping header over Willis. Everton were awarded a penalty two minutes after the break when Anichebe turned O'Donnell and was brought down. But Hughes' spot-kick was saved expertly Willis. Liverpool's relief was short lived however, and two minutes later Anichebe headed in from close range after Hughes nodded back a right wing free-kick. Liverpool immediately introduced Sinama-Pongolle, and he wasted no time in making an impression on proceedings, heading in a Mannix free-kick less than five minutes after coming off the bench. His pace and trickery lifted the Reds, and Godwin should have further reduced the deadlock after being fed by Sinama, but he dragged his shot wide. Hammill then had a header cleared off the line, as Liverpool pressed forward, and Whitbread saw an overhead kick go just over. The excellent Guthrie scored with a spectacular volley with four minutes left, but Everton held on despite being reduced to 10 men after Harris was shown a second yellow card.
LIVERPOOL RESERVES: Willis, Barragan, Peltier (Josemi 61), O'Donnell, Whitbread, Hobbs, Wilkie (Sinama-Pongolle 51), Guthrie, Godwin, Mannix, Hammill (Frayne 80)

EVERTON RESERVES: Wright; Wynne, Wilson, Wright, Hughes, Harris, Phelan, Li Tie, Anichebe, Seargent, Vidarsson.
* Meanwhile England U17s coach, John Peacock has named three Liverpool-based players in his 18-man squad for the Pepsi Tournament from August 31 - September 4.
Everton duo John Paul Kissock and Lee Molyneaux and Liverpool's Michael Nardiello have all earned a first call-up to the national squad.

Police price hike a blow for clubs
Daily Post Comment
Aug 17 2005
0ShareFOOTBALL is woven into the fabric of life on Merseyside, and even among those of us who are not active followers of the sport, there are not many who do not at least profess some allegiance to one of our great football clubs. So our revelation today that the Merseyside Police Authority is contemplating imposing a 43% increase in the charges it imposes on Liverpool and Everton to provide police cover at matches will inevitably stir controversy. Premiership football is an incredibly rich sport, played out by millionaires in stadiums packed with supporters paying handsomely for the experience, while millions more tune in to global television coverage by companies paying huge fortunes for the rights to cover matches. Meanwhile, police forces like that on Merseyside face a daily balancing act as they try to stretch their budgets to provide adequate levels of front-line policing, while ensuring that proper back-up and civilian resources are maintained and that their commitments to funding their pension payments are met. Faced with these pressures, it is easy to understand the temptation of a police authority to seek to tap into the riches of the top football clubs to make a greater contribution towards the policing costs which their home matches generate.
We all want to see more police officers employed to fight crime and help improve the quality of life for law-abiding citizens, and there can be no doubt that the policing of football does represent a drain on badly-needed resources. That said, it should be remembered that the football clubs already make a significant financial contribution to the policing of matches. While it could be argued that the Premiership giants can well afford an increase, smaller clubs like Tranmere Rovers in the lower divisions run on such tight budgets that a major increase in policing charges could have a devastating impact.

Clubs to be hit by 43% hike in police charges
Exclusive By Andy Kelly, Daily Post
Aug 17 2005
THE bill for policing football matches on Merseyside is to rise by more than 40% - with the possibility of matches being refused safety certificates if clubs do not agree. Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere are all being asked to dig deeper to cover the cost of police cover at their home games this season.
Clubs are billed after every home game and the first bills reflecting the new charges will start arriving after September 1. If agreement cannot be reached, the chief constable could refuse to support a club's application for a public safety licence. It would then be up to the local authority to decide whether to grant the licence or do the unthinkable - start cancelling football games. Merseyside Police Authority is hopeful there will be no major dispute and the clubs will accept the rise which it points out is the first for a decade. Its increase reflects a new charging framework compiled by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). The cost will amount to a 43% rise on what the clubs on Merseyside paid last year. Each football match is charged differently depending on the level of intelligence police officers have about the possibility of trouble between supporters and any history between the two clubs. Costs last year started at £12,333 for a low risk category A game rising to £14,575 for a higher profile category C game. But extra police brought in for potential "flashpoint" games can see that figure rise substantially. Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park with Manchester United last year meant the cost of policing that game rose to £36,000 and the much-publicised violence there meant extra police coming in for future games between the two clubs. Extra searches of fans going into grounds this season in the wake of the London bombings will also increase pressures on manpower. Chief Constable Bernard Hogan Howe and MPA treasurer Steve Houston have been involved in negotiations with the football clubs this summer. Last night, Everton confirmed the discussions but said they could not comment as they were still awaiting formal notification of the increase, which could cost the club £120,000 a year. No-one from Tranmere Rovers was available to comment, but Liverpool FC spokesman Ian Cotton said: "We have received the proposals and are currently considering our response." It is thought the charging issue will be discussed at a meeting of Premier League clubs on Thursday with the possibility of the league attempting to collectively bargain with police forces around the country. Both Everton and Liverpool FC said the primary concern was the safety of supporters and they would not allow anything to compromise that, a view echoed by Cllr Bill Weightman, chairman of Merseyside Police Authority.
Cllr Weightman said: "This rise of 43% has been negotiated nationally by ACPO and agreed by every force in the country, the exception being Greater Manchester who want to charge more. "As far as I'm aware there have been no major issues brought up by the football clubs but they have not had their first bills yet. "We have not had an increase in charges on Merseyside for a decade and the police authority has been aware for a while of the need to increase charges to cover the cost of policing the games. "We look at each game on its own merits - for instance we know Tranmere will not need the same level of cover as Liverpool because of the differences in support and the teams they will be playing. "We only charge the teams for policing inside the ground, the rest comes out of our own budget. "This is not about raising revenue for the force, it's about protecting the public.
"Given the fact we are talking about multi-million pound businesses the costs are minuscule."
While it is hoped an agreement will be reached, any dispute could yet affect the football fixtures.
Cllr Weightman said: "The local council issues a public safety certificate for each game.
"The chief constable decides the number of officers suitable to police the game and if the clubs do not agree to that then he obviously would not support their application. "It would then be up to the council to decide if the match went ahead though it would be very rare for them to issue a safety certificate if the chief constable did not support it." The police authority hopes the extra revenue can help cover for officers who are called in from across the region to police matches at Anfield, Goodison and Prenton Park. It believes it offers a first-class service to the clubs and one which should be properly paid for. "We rarely have any major issues before or after games on Merseyside and that's down to the expertise of the police in controlling the fans. "We have a duty to get value-for-money for the public and that's what we're doing," said Cllr Weightman.
Premiership newcomers in dispute over cost
PREMIERSHIP newcomers Wigan Athletic are involved in a long-running dispute with Greater Manchester Police about the cost of policing their games. The force issued Wigan with a High Court summons over unpaid match-day policing bills last month. The force threatened to withdraw policing from the JJB Stadium over a bill of £273,602 which the club believes is unfair. It points out that Wigan were charged £44,000 to police last season's home match versus Leeds United while Preston North End, which comes under Lancashire Police's jurisdiction, were charged just £7,000 when they played the same opponents. The dispute is now likely to be decided in the courts. Every public event will be affected by new prices THE rise in the cost of policing will not just affect Merseyside's football clubs. The new ACPO guidelines give recommended levels of charge for many other events to try to reach a broad average around the country. As well as other professional sporting events, such as St Helens rugby league matches locally, it will affect everything from music concerts to county shows, charity cycle races and carnivals. Most small scale community events will continue to receive free policing while other events will receive "abatements" of 50%. Cllr Bill Weightman said: "One of the big things we have coming up is Capital of Culture year in 2008 and we will be talking to anyone holding events. "They will be subject to the new regime."

Bent staying here - Moyes
Aug 17 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has moved to reassure Marcus Bent that his future lies at Goodison Park after rubbishing reports today that Charlton have made a bid for his services. There have been suggestions that Charlton boss Alan Curbishley has offered £1.5m to take the Hammersmith-born striker back to London, while it is understood that Deportivo La Coruna have been contemplating taking Bent on a season-long loan. Moyes, however, has made it quite clear that he will not be allowing Bent to move anywhere, especially now that James Beattie faces a spell on the sidelines with a foot injury. The Everton boss - who also quashed speculation linking him with a £3.5m move for Mark Viduka - was thrilled with Bent's Man-of-the-Match performance against Manchester United and now wants the former Ipswich man to get among the goals. "It was a big plus seeing Marcus play like that," said Moyes. "He has missed quite a bit of training because of an Achilles problem and missed a few pre-season games, so that was a positive. "Of course he could do with a few goals but couldn't we all. Hopefully it won't be too long before they come his way. "But nobody has come in for Marcus and nor would we want them to. How could we possibly think of selling him or anyone at the minute?" Moyes, meanwhile, has received some good news regarding Beattie's injury. Though he will miss Everton's next three games against Bolton, Villarreal and Fulham, it is hoped he will be available for selection again early next month. "We don't think it is going to be as bad as we first thought," said Moyes. "We have had it scanned and there isn't as much damage as we feared there might be. "But it's still a blow for him because he looked sharp against Villarreal and he didn't really have a chance to get into it against Manchester United but thankfully we aren't going to be without him for too long." Moyes will find out tonight how successful the hernia operation Per Kroldrup underwent yesterday was, while the manager is waiting to talk to Simon Davies about his fitness. The midfielder pulled out of Wales' friendly with Slovenia tonight with a shin problem.
"He has had a few problems with his shins and I guess that is what it is but I haven't spoken to him yet," Moyes added.

Blues hang on despite late fightback
Aug 17 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON reserves edged a thrilling five-goal mini-derby at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground last night.
Watched by manager David Moyes and his assistant Alan Irvine, the Blues raced into an early lead when Icelandic youngster Bjarni Vidarsson glanced Christian Seargent's free-kick past a stranded Paul Willis. Vidarsson doubled his and Everton's tally shortly after the half hour with another header, this time wriggling clear of Zak Whitbread to plant Scott Phelan's superb cross beyond Willis' dive.. Everton could have made it three 46 seconds after the restart but Mark Hughes saw a penalty saved by Willis. He soon atoned, however, when he teed up Victor Anichebe to score from six yards.
However, the Blues' naivety began to tell after Pongolle's introduction and reserve team boss Andy Holden was happy that the older heads in the ranks - Richard Wright and Li Tie - exerted some influence towards the end Despite almost constant pressure with Sinama-Pongolle buzzing around looking for openings, Liverpool only managed to breach Everton's defence once more, Danny Guthrie scoring with a superb volley in the dying minutes. "We created a lot of chances in the second half and I thought we were going to get something at the end but when you concede three goals as we did, it is always going to be hard," said Liverpool reserve team coach Hughie Macauley.
"But it was good to see Flo back. He has not played for a long time and will now be looking to get some more minutes on the pitch. He is very quick and his runs will always bring people into the game and cause problems for defenders." For all Liverpool's late pressure, however, the final score was a fair reflection of the game and an inexperienced Everton team deserved to register their first Reserve League North win of the campaign. "Richard is absolutely top drawer when he comes with the reserves," said Holden, who saw James Harris harshly sent off for two bookable offences. "He took a couple of catches at the death that really took the pressure off. "But I am pleased with the work ethic of everyone in the team and of course there are going to be mistakes when they are so young. Saying that, any result against Liverpool is a good one."
LIVERPOOL RESERVES: Willis, Barragan, Peltier (Josemi 61), O'Donnell, Whitbread, Hobbs, Wilkie (Sinama-Pongolle 51), Guthrie, Godwin, Mannix, Hammill (Frayne 80)
EVERTON RESERVES: Wright; Wynne, Wilson, Wright, Hughes, Harris, Phelan, Li Tie, Anichebe, Seargent, Vidarsson.
* England under- 17s coach, John Peacock, has named three Liverpool-based players in his 18-man squad for the Pepsi Tournament from August 31 to September 4.
Everton duo John Paul Kissock and Lee Molyneaux and Liverpool's Michael Nardiello have all earned a first call-up.

Bent wants to commit his future to Everton
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 18 2005
MARCUS BENT admits he is unsure about his Everton future - despite receiving public backing from David Moyes. Bent has been the subject of persistent speculation concerning a move away from Goodison, with Charlton Athletic the latest club to be linked with the 27-year-old. However, Everton manager Moyes yesterday insisted the club have no intention of selling Bent, particularly as James Beattie is sidelined for the next few weeks with a toe injury. But while Bent has revealed his desire to commit his long-term future to Everton, he concedes the matter could eventually be taken out of his hands. "I have settled really well at Everton, developing a great rapport with the fans and last season was without doubt my most enjoyable and successful in football," said Bent. "I've got two years left on my current contract and would be happy to show my commitment to the cause by signing a new long-term deal if it was offered. "If, however, the club decide that I am not in their plans, I will reluctantly have to consider my options, but at the moment I don't know what the situation is." Charlton manager Alan Curbishley is believed to be preparing a £1.5million offer for the much-travelled Bent, although Everton maintain they have received no bids for the player.
Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna have been considering an offer of a season-long loan, while Wigan Athletic have also regis-tered an interest. Bent, who was signed for £450,000 from Ipswich last summer, added: "I have been very surprised to read the continued press reports this summer linking me with moves to a host of Premier-ship clubs. "As far as I am concerned, I have not been told by anyone at Everton that I am for sale or that there have been any bids for me. "As it stands, I am just concentrating on keeping myself in the team and trying to make this season more successful than last." Bent produced a man-of-the-match performance against Manchester United last weekend when appearing as substitute for Beat-tie, whose injury has left Moyes short of striking options for the next few weeks. Everton will not entertain the notion of Bent departing before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, and Moyes has instead urged the striker to redis-cover his goalscoring form. Of his display against United, Moyes said: "It was a big plus seeing Marcus play like that. He has missed quite a bit of training because of an Achilles problem and missed a few pre-season games, so that was a positive. "Of course he could do with a few goals but hopefully it won't be too long before they come his way. But nobody has come in for Marcus and nor would we want them to. How could we possibly think of selling him?" Meanwhile, Gary Naysmith faces a second operation on the ankle injury that has ruined his summer. The Scotland international requires a minor procedure to remove a small piece of bone in the ankle that was operated on three months ago. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Gary is having a minor operation on the other side of his joint - not the side that has been a problem." Naysmith should return to first-team contention by the end of September.

Day when Gascoigne reignited old glory
Post Past By Philip J Redmond, Daily Post
Aug 18 2005
PAUL GASCOIGNE was undoubtedly one of the most exciting players of his generation. For Newcastle, Spurs and during his early England career, he was the real deal, combining breathtaking close control and a keen eye for an opening with a razor-sharp football brain. Unfortunately as his career progressed he suffered a whole catalogue of injuries, and found it ever harder to regain full fitness. By the time he turned up at Goodison in the summer of 2000, his best days were behind him, with long periods of injury punctuated by games when he looked half-fit and the occasional flash of genius. Gazza's only goal for the Blues was a cracker and it came during a thrilling 2-2 on a damp day at the Reebok in November 2001. Newly-promoted Bolton had already confounded their critics by challenging the leaders with young striker Michael Ricketts banging in the goals. Walter Smith's Blues meanwhile were trundling along in midtable, with Thomas Gravesen and new striker Tomasz Radzinski the men in form. Bolton started the brighter and it was no surprise when they took the lead with a quickly-taken Per Frandsen free-kick in the first half. But just before the break ex-Wanderer Alan Stubbs levelled with a booming 25 yard free-kick. Radzinski's pace began to worry the ponderous Bolton defence and after about an hour a lightning break involving him and Gary Naysmith culminated in Paul Gascoigne finishing with a superbly hit half-volley. Now Gazza really began to enjoy himself and soon after his cute throughball sent Radzinski away. Unfortunately the little striker finished tamely. However when Gascoigne repeated the trick, Radzinski was flattened by Bruno N'Gotty who walked for his trouble. That, it seemed was that, but in injury time the Blues lost concentration and from a last-gasp corner the previously anonymous Rick-etts back-heeled the equaliser from a Gudni Bergsson header.

Defence worries trouble Blues
Aug 18 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were anxiously awaiting the safe return from Libya today of Joseph Yobo - after defenders Per Kroldrup and Gary Naysmith both successfully underwent surgery. With defensive resources stretched at Goodison, Yobo was in action in Tripoli for Nigeria last night, with the Blues desperate to avoid any further injuries to their back-line. "We've not heard from Joseph so we're hopeful he's come through okay," said physio Mick Rathbone today. "Per Kroldrup's operation was a success. It was routine surgery and I spoke to him last night. He told me he certainly felt a lot better when Denmark's fourth goal went in! "Gary Naysmith's op was very straightforward, too. He had a tiny piece of soft tissue nipping in the ankle joint and it was easily removed. "He should be back playing again in a couple of weeks." Lee Carsley is also making good progress from a medial knee ligament tweak, while Simon Davies is receiving treatment for a shin problem which kept him out of Wales' draw with Slovenia last night. "The grounds are very hard at the moment which is contributing to the soreness in Simon's shins," added Rathbone. "We'll have to see how he is before the weekend."
Goalkeeper John Ruddy, meanwhile, could be loaned out to Black-pool for the season. The Seasiders are desperate for a replacement for the injured Lee Jones and will ask Everton to loan them their £250,000 capture from Cambridge this summer. With Nigel Martyn, Richard Wright and Iain Turner already at Goodison, the Blues are well covered in the goal-keeping department.

Self belief is key on Euro mission
Aug 18 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ONE of Goodison Park's favourite sons is backing Everton to defy the odds by springing a Champions League surprise. Alan Ball was a key figure in the Blues' League Championship winning side of 1969-70 and marked the club's first ever European Cup appearance with a hat-trick in a 6-2 home win over IB Keflavik. Personal commitments meant he was unable to take his place in the Main Stand for Everton's return to the big time last week against Villarreal but he managed to see the game on television - and was far from despondent at the final whistle. While many observers believe David Moyes' men are faced with an impossible mission in Spain, Ball sees things differently and feels Everton are capable of booking their place in the group stages. "I thought in the first 20 minutes at Goodison, Everton were excellent and you could tell that the fans made it a real occasion," said Ball.
"They played a good side but they gave it their best shot and acquitted themselves with credit.
"I don't think the tie is over. David will have known all along that the more you go up the ladder, the better the finishing becomes and that is the only thing that separated the sides. "It will be tough to go over there and get a result but it is not a long shot. Everton have proven in the past they are well capable of travelling away and grinding out a result. If the players believe they can go there and do it, they will." When he was signed by Harry Catterick from Blackpool in 1966 for £110,000, Ball arrived at Goodison as a World Cup winner and one of the pre-eminent midfielders of his generation. In six sparkling seasons, he formed what would become the Holy Trinity with Howard Kendall and Colin Harvey and assured himself of a place in Everton folklore with some tremendous displays - not to mention becoming the first player to wear white boots. Though he left for Arsenal in 1972, Ball has never lost his affinity for the club and still considers himself to be "very much a Blue". Whenever Everton are playing in the south, he does his utmost to attend and Ball has no doubts that the club will continue their upward curve under Moyes. "David believes in a team ethic rather having individuals and there is a tremendous team spirit," said Ball.. "He has signed play-ers like Phil Neville, who fit straight into that mix. Phil is reliable, a good professional and the type of person who just wants to get on with his job. "I had a great time at Everton - it was the time of my life. Once you are a Blue, it stays with you forever. I get a great reception when I go back and I hold the club in the highest esteem."
* EVERTONIA is Everton's new members club and replaces JBlue and ABlue. It is open to fans of all ages and offers a more comprehensive service to supporters.
Full details about all the benefits of Evertonia and how to join are available on www.evertonfc.com
Membership costs £19.99 for adults and £9.99 for under-16s.

The Jury
Aug 18 2005 Liverpool Echo
WHO should David Moyes pick to lead the Everton attack in Beattie's absence?
WITH the injury to Beattie I'm sure Marcus Bent will slot into the striker position in the 4-5-1 formation. Ironically this formation is more suited to someone with pace and now we have a stronger midfield than last year we may see a result this weekend. My only criticism of Bent though is his inability to be clinical in front of goal but this criticism can be levelled at all Everton's strikers at present. The need to sign a striker, or even two, before the transfer deadline has now become a priority. Playing James Beattie up front on his own has so far not suited his style of play. Overall our season's long term ambitions should be one of consolidation - to build on the fine season we had last year. Even with the possible exit from the Champions League next week, we will still gain entry into the UEFA Cup, which shows the progress we have made.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
SATURDAY saw Everton begin a new season full of high expectations after the heroics of last season.
We began the season with James Beattie leading the front line but since his arrival he has nowhere near justified his price tag. I believe his injuries have contributed to his poor form as well as not being suited to the system we play. Marcus Bent should be leading the line - especially when we play one up front. Bent has proved to everyone that he can do this job for the team. Although his goalscoring has been questioned, his contribution to the team is a valuable asset. He has and always will give 100% for the club and I think he is one of a few strikers in the Premiership who can play up front by themselves successfully. We also have Ferguson but he wouldn't be able to last a full game any more. Vaughan is also a hot prospect who would be good if we played two up front.
OUR problem over the last two to three years has been not scoring enough goals and that has continued in the pre-season games. Now Beattie is injured, Moyes is left with the choice of one candidate to play the lone striker role - Marcus Bent. As was obvious on Saturday, Bent's mobility makes him a better player to link with the five in midfield but his finishing is a weakness.
Ferguson can't be expected to lead the attack every week and his performances last season prove that he is most effective coming off the bench. Moyes' bigger dilemma will come if he manages to sign a new striker. If he does, will he play 4-4-2 on a regular basis and lose one of the central midfield players? If so, which one would he lose? With four in midfield Cahill would lose the free role he currently has so we should continue with the tried and tested system of Bent on his own up front.
WITH Beattie out and our limited squad we don't have many options up front. With all the next three games being away I think we must use Bent up front alone. He looked lively against Manchester United on Saturday and if he can repeat his start of last season we might do well.
Bent is far more mobile than Duncan although I'm sure we'll see him come off the bench in all the games. Our midfield passed the ball well in parts on Saturday and got into scoring positions. If we can do this in our next three games I'm sure we'll get goals. The Villarreal game is the most important. I'd start with Bent, then bring on Duncan for the whole second half and play with two up front. Ideally I'd like to see Moyes break the bank and sign another striker before the transfer deadline as it's clear we're lacking the finishing instinct up front.

Tie still concerned by leg injury
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 19 2005
LI TIE admits he is still terrified of aggravating the leg problem that left him sidelined for 18 months.
The China international, who played in Everton's 3-2 victory in the mini-derby this week, saw his initial return from a broken shin scuppered when he broke down during a reserve game back in January. And now, having fought his way back for a second time, the 27-year-old is anxious he does not suffer the same fate again. "I had not played for 18 months and from a physical point of view my ankle is the weakest position of my injured leg," he said.. "But it's really getting better and better. After the seven matches I have played since the beginning of this season, I am very happy with the improvement. "I still have to be very careful during the match. I try my best to avoid the strike if unnecessary. When you are not totally fit for the match that is the easiest way to be injured, so it involves a lot of concentration." One fillip for Li Tie came in the aftermath of Tuesday's reserve win, when Goodison manager David Moyes demonstrated his interest in the player's recovery by making an appearance in the dressing room afterwards. He added: "Everyone was happy to see our manager there, including myself. "He came into the dressing room after the match, which is not usual for him, and he told us that he was happy with the result. "The manager also said that this result came at the right time, because the whole club needs good results at all levels. "The first team played two big matches last week with some good performances, but we have not managed the results, so hopefully the match on Tuesday will be huge encouragement for everyone." James Vaughan has received a first call-up to the England under-19 squad. The Everton striker, who recently turned 17, has been named in the party that will face Belgium in a friendly at Darlington's Neasham Road stadium on September 6.

Sometimes you don't know what you had until it's gone
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Aug 19 2005
WATCHING Thomas Gravesen give England's highly-rated midfield the run-around in Copenhagen on Wednesday night served as a reminder of how we often don't appreciate players until they've gone.
For a long time the Dane was the target of much frustration when he played for Everton, yet now it's surely clear to even his biggest detractors that he is a class act. Will it be a similar scenario should Marcus Bent be allowed to leave? Obviously Bent isn't in quite the same bracket as Gravesen when it comes to natural ability, but it could certainly be argued that he provided other attributes - ie pace and work-rate - that were just as vital to the Blues' push for Europe last season as the Dane's passing and creativity. David Moyes has said that he isn't listening to offers for the ex-Leicester striker, and Bent himself has said he doesn't want to go. But as we all know, what people say and what they mean in football are often two different things. Bent must be frustrated that despite his efforts last season his is the position constantly under threat, especially when he sees James Beattie constantly being picked ahead of him despite the club's record signing struggling for any sort of decent form.
And while Bent certainly has his faults, most notably his nervousness in front of goal, it's becoming increasingly clear that the team as a whole look more cohesive and more likely to find the back of the net when he is playing. G iven that Beattie is now injured, Bent has the chance to prove that he should be first choice and that he is serious that he wants to stay at Everton. Hopefully that's how he views it, as we need him to play out of his skin, along with the rest of the team, if we're to start converting pressure into goals and get a couple of positive results in the coming week. First up are Bolton, who are possibly the last side you want to face before a crucial European game, given that their rather robust style is not dis-similar to our own. The chances of picking up injuries against them are probably increased even further by the fact that last season's match at the Reebok, the one that did for Lee Carsley, was a particularly spiteful affair. It seems strange to be talking about a crucial week after one league game, but the whole complexion of our season could be altered by what happens in the next five days.

Defender needed
Daily Post
Aug 19 2005
Defender needed
I CAN'T believe Everton aren't going for a centre-back with Per Kroldrup out. What about Kyriagkos or Christanval or even Lescott?
T Mackie, Merseyside
Get Campbell
HOW about Everton putting in a cheeky bid for Sol Campbell? We don't exactly need a centre-back but then we would have amazing players in that position with Kroldrup, Yobo and Campbell.
John Itie, Everton
Striker problem
IT'S a pity Everton did not sign Kevin Phillips when we had the chance, as he is a proven goalscorer.
Pete White, Liverpool
Missing money
WHAT has happened to the money from Everton's finishing position last year - a whole £6.5million more then what we budgeted for? What about the money from the sale of Radzinski, the sale of Gravesen, the money from what would have been the fortress fund, the new "lucrative" sponsorship with Chang Beer, the inflated season ticket prices and the new corporate facilities (which were hiked by 40% plus)? Don't tell me there is no money, because there should be. Our board tell us - the people that keep this club running - nothing.. It's not enough to love the club Bill, it's time to put your money were your mouth is - our Champions League dream is over. We should have built on last season's fourth, not dithered.
Phil Brown, Liverpool
Better service
MARCUS Bent or James Vaughan would be able to score goals as long as regular good balls are delivered. I feel sure that our midfielders could provide plenty as long as they could rely upon the defence being strong and decisive. Even the best forwards in the world would have difficulty scoring goals for Everton at present. If we can stop leaking silly goals then the team would regain much-needed confidence and play with passion.
Roger Last (via e-mail)

Go for Smith
EVERTON should go for Alan Smith on loan. He's losing the plot and needs a new club to relaunch his career as a striker.
Andy Devey, Everton
Good buys?
EVERTON have spent money on transfers but the issue is whether or not they will turn out to be poor buys. The number of players who could have done a good job for us, like Smertin, but are going to other clubs on loan or for smaller fees than we paid for our questionable buys is a concern.
H Barbara (via e-mail)

Moyes waiting on Davies injury news
Aug 19 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will check on Simon Davies' fitness before finalising his plans for Everton's trip to Bolton on Sunday. The Blues midfielder, a £3.5m summer signing from Tottenham Hotspur, was forced to miss Wales' friendly with Slovenia on Wednesday because of a shin problem and returned to Bellefield for intensive treatment. Having made a bright start to his career on Merseyside, Moyes is hoping that Davies will come through the training sessions today and tomorrow and boost Everton's chances of registering their first win of the season. Of the other internationals who have been away this week, Phil Neville and Kevin Kilbane both reported back this morning with a clean bill of health, while there are no problems anticipated with Joseph Yobo either. "Simon has had a few problems with his shins since he came here," Moyes said. "He has treatment but we will see how he is. He is the only one of the international players that we have worries about." Should Davies lose his battle, Moyes has the option of recalling Kevin Kilbane to his starting line up after the Republic of Ireland international was dropped to the bench against Manchester United.
But whoever Moyes selects for duty at the Reebok, he knows they will have to be right on top of their game against a Bolton side that has made startling progress over the past couple of years.
"It's another game to look forward to," said Moyes. "Bolton is a tough fixture but we have got to go there and try and get the points. All games in the Premiership are big ones and I have yet to encounter an easy one. "I think everybody knows that Bolton finished just behind us in the league last season. The games that we have had against Bolton have always been quite tight and relatively good games and hopefully we will have more of the same." Moyes is particularly looking forward to locking horns with his old friend Sam Allardyce again and believes the Bolton manager has done an outstanding job in transforming the club's fortunes. "Sam has brought Bolton on and he has got them into a position now where you would expect to see them stay in the next couple of years," he added. "He has done a great job and you would expect them to stay in the top half of the league."

Commentator's attack on Moyes provokes fury
Aug 19 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CONTROVERSIAL football commentator Alan Green has launched an astonishing attack on Everton and their manager of the year, David Moyes. The BBC radio analyst has used his column in the Irish Examiner newspaper to savage the Blues. In it he suggests that Moyes should "see a doctor" for saying "our target is to finish higher than last season," that Everton have only bought discards and players he has never heard of this summer and that "no-one really wanted to join a team who'd performed beyond their wildest dreams last season and are now likely to drop back where they came from." Evertonians have reacted with dismay and disgust at the comments. "The saddest part is that our licence fees are funding such bias," said Ian MacDonald, vice-chairman of the Everton Independent Supporters Club. "He says David Moyes should see a doctor. I suggest he sees a psychiatrist and stops sucking on the bitter lemons. "I hope David Moyes prints a copy of the article and pins it to every player's coat peg on Sunday." The independent Everton web-site When Skies Are Grey pasted the article on its message board, sparking a furious response.
Some of the replies included:
* "You'd think that he'd be supportive of a once great team that is having a day in the sun again and milking it in case it doesn't see another for a while, to break up the serial montony of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, but unfortunately he's just a sour, fat old Kopite and as biased as they come."
* That's pure bias. It just needed a 'bubble burst' metaphor to top it all off.
* The over-riding tone of the piece is that we should be grateful for one good season in 20 and we should know our place. He'll be bemoaning the lack of genuine competition at the top next. He has a privilege of getting paid to offer his opinion on football and he frequently abuses it.
Here is a large portion of Green's column:
ALL supporters love to dream of success, particularly at the dawn of a new season, and the media generally loves to feed those dreams. That's why you see headlines such as "We Are The New Invincibles" over arrogant ramblings by John Terry and read claims from Gary Neville that Manchester United can go through the campaign unbeaten. The players should know better.
But nowhere is in more need of a hearty dose of reality than Everton Football Club. No sooner had they finished fourth in May, principally due to a wretched league season from Liverpool, than David Moyes was pronouncing his team the "New Kings of Merseyside." You'd have thought such delusions wouldn't last beyond a certain night in Istanbul, but no. Amidst many ludicrous statements pre-season (see also Peter Kenyon's "small group of one"), I thought that of Moyes topped the lot "our target is to finish higher than last season." I think he should see a doctor. And then I read the programme for Everton's opening fixture against Manchester United. It advertised "superb Everton v Villarreal t-shirts. We have some left in stock and they are a 'must wear' item for supporters on the night of the second leg, wherever you are in the world." I wouldn't rush to buy one at £8.99; they'll be on sale at a fraction of that price in just over a week's time. They talk big at Everton; the truth is harsher. All summer, there have been boasts of how much they have to spend, the players they're after and who wants to go to Goodison. I even saw James Beattie interviewed about how 'new signing' Milan Baros would fit in alongside him. Sorry, have I missed something? Instead, the reality is that Everton have bought Per Kroldrup, a defender I hadn't heard of, and two players clearly discarded by their clubs, Simon Davies and Phil Neville. Isn't it so that no one really wanted to join a team who'd performed beyond their wildest dreams for one season and are now likely to drop back where they'd come from? Not even Craig Bellamy who changed his mind after talking to the manager. Nice one, Dave. Moyes should be dampening expectations, not feeding them. He should be relieved that he managed to persuade his best players, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta to stay on. He should be telling supporters to think of a top 10 finish at best, not speaking of third place or better.
Everton supporters can dream but they're not fools. Moyes says his team didn't get what they deserved against Villarreal. Almost everyone else knows better. The Spanish side controlled the game without having to exert themselves. It will require a miracle to reach the group stages. You see, their eyes were so dazzled by the headlights they failed to comprehend they hadn't actually qualified for the Champions League, only for a qualifying round. And Manchester United, apart from one superb save by Edwin Van Der Sar, were in easy command of Saturday's game. Most dishearteningly for advocates of the so-called 'School of Science', when Everton failed to trouble Fergie's men they quickly resorted to their standard 'Plan B', bring on Duncan Ferguson and lump the ball forward. Inevitably, it failed. Evertonians may dream on but trust me; normal service has resumed at Goodison Park.

The tide will turn - Leon
Aug 19 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
OUT of adversity comes strength and a defiant Leon Osman believes Everton are ready to roll up their sleeves to give their season lift-off. After suffering home defeats to Villarreal and Manchester United, the fixture list has hardly presented David Moyes' squad with a simple task this weekend to register a first win of the campaign. A trip to the Reebok Stadium does not figure in the category of "three easy points" and there is no doubt Sam Allardyce will have Bolton primed to take advantage of any weakness Everton may show when the sides meet on Sunday. It is significant, then, that the mood around the Blues' Bellefield training headquarters in the past few days has been optimistic.
While the players know it will be difficult, there is certainly no fear or trepidation in the ranks.
As Osman points out, results may not have been good so far but there hasn't been a lot wrong with Everton's performances and there is a confidence that the tide will turn back in their favour soon.
If that is to happen, however, the 24-year-old knows the players must stick together when the chips are down and show the same mentality that saw them bounce back so strongly from an opening day mauling 12 months ago. "You obviously want to start the season well and not to get a result in either game is disappointing," said Osman, whose ability to score goals from midfield has made him an important member of Everton's squad. "We put in really good performances in both those games and I think we were unlucky, especially against Manchester United. It was down to individual errors and everyone makes them. "We suffered a heavy defeat against Arsenal last year and bounced straight back with a win against Crystal Palace. Hopefully that will happen again. "We knew we had a difficult start. The first four or five games are very tough, both at home and away. "But we are going to have to graft as hard as we can and start getting points on the board as soon as possible."
Victory at The Reebok would provide the ultimate fillip ahead of the return leg against Villarreal next Wednesday. That, nevertheless, is easier said than done because Bolton have done nothing but improve during the past two seasons. Once viewed as perennial relegation strugglers, Bolton have been transformed by Allardyce into a genuine top ten side. Wheeling and dealing in the transfer market to make some inspired signings, he has also made Bolton an incredibly difficult side to beat.
There was nothing fortuitous about their sixth place finish last year and Allardyce was frustrated that they blew the chance of taking three points off Aston Villa on the opening day of the campaign.
"It is going to be very tough," Osman agreed. "They are one of the toughest sides in the league who like to play a physical game with their opponents. They have been well coached by their manager about the system they are going to play. "Every player is six foot and we know it is going to be difficult. But we are very positive going into the game and hopefully we can go there and get a good result. "They have belief in what they are aiming to achieve and in each other and through that they have shown consistency. "They had a little dip in November. If they hadn't had that then who knows? They would have been challenging for third or fourth spot. They bring the players in on loan for the season and the manager still manages to get them playing for the club. "That shows how far they have come by being able to bring in such quality as it is not easy nowadays. Other managers could go down that route but then again, it probably wouldn't work for everyone." Bolton's style may not be particularly pleasing on the eye but it is has been effective and Osman reckons their approach will evolve the longer they spend fighting in the top half of the table, just as Everton's has done. "Sam is a special manager and he seems to be able to get the best out of them. "It is all about finding your strengths and utilising them. We did that very well last season and hopefully with adding more quality over the summer we can push on." OPTIMISM: Leon Osman has faith in Blues

Blues depend on greats of Rath!
Aug 19 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF Tim Cahill was Everton's 'Man of the Year' last season, physio Mick Rathbone wasn't far behind.
The man with the healing hands effectively kept a squad of just 18 first team players fit and flying - only Li Tie, Steve Watson and James Beattie spending any length of time on the treatment table - and even Duncan Ferguson managing a full, injury-free campaign. But Rathbone was honest enough to admit that good fortune played as much a part as his own skill in the treatment room - which is why Evertonians are already anxious. Luck evens itself out, we are told, and already Per Kroldrup, Gary Naysmith and James Beattie have been sidelined, with the season just two games old. Everton may not get as lucky with injuries again this season. Bolton boss Sam Allardyce claims he needs another "four or five players" to cover his club's UEFA Cup commitments this season. If Sam's calculations are correct, David Moyes needs to add another half-a-dozen names to his squad to see Everton through to the January transfer window . . . Champions League or otherwise.
Fighting talk folly
IS FA chief executive Brian Barwick having some kind of mid-life crisis? Reacting to Alan Smith's decision not to play for England this week, he said: "Not the cleverest thing to do. I never got the opportunity to play for England, turning that chance down is a disappointment." Barwick never got that chance because he was never a professional footballer. Or even much of an amateur one.
"I was a very poor Barrow Sunday League centre-half," he recalled. "As the games took place on the mornings-after-thenights-out-before, I was usually quite languid in my approach and carrying an extra pound or two!" Which is why I was so disappointed to see Danny Williams duck out of a British heavyweight title fight with Matt Skelton. You see I was never fortunate enough to get the opportunity to fight for a British title. Well Brian Barwick started it! Just plane madness THE Scotland squad travelling to Austria this week was delayed on takeoff - because the charter plane was too small to handle all the luggage. Walter Smith and his players were forced to sit in their seats for almost an hour and a half while the 737-500 remained grounded at Glasgow. Ground crew and flight attendants joined forces to try to cram in all the baggage and at one point even the captain joined in. For the return journey, the Scots were advised to leave behind all unecessary and useless baggage. Suggestions that goal-keeper Rab Douglas was left kicking his heels on the Graz tarmac are still unconfirmed.
James will pay price for honesty
THE donkey ears were affixed to images of David James' head this week - and under-standably so, given his uncanny impersonation of Wayne Sleep hailing a taxi as he hurtled off his line in Copenhagen. But I found his post-match reaction strangely endearing. James cocked up. But he admitted it, then poured petrol on the fires by admitting he didn't prepare properly. The footballing mantra "Fail to prepare, prepare to fail" is drilled into footballers from a very young age. But James admitted: "Be-cause I knew I wasn't going to start, for once I didn't do my starting preparations.
"The whole thing about preparation is that you could go on in the first minute. It is a lesson I try to teach youngsters and it is one I should follow through myself. "Maybe I can get away with this one because it is a friendly and has no bearing on qualification. "But I am representing England and I should have paid more attention. There were things I did which I will make totally sure I never do again." In an age where footballers hide behind sound-bites, cliches and "no comments" it was refreshing to hear a footballer being so brutally honest. And a shame that his honesty will be used as another stick to beat him with.
Rough justice
STEVE Bennett was honest enough and candid enough to admit he was wrong to dismiss Jermaine Jenas. The red card he brandished has been downgraded to a yellow. I'm sure Graeme Souness is thrilled - after seeing his Newcastle team's sterling rearguard action at Arsenal wrecked 10 minutes from time after an erroneous red in the first half. Did you expect praise for the most pompous, preening and petty match official in the Premiership - who sent a player off for a challenge he couldn't possibly have seen clearly?

Threadbare squad can stand the strain, says Moyes
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 20 2005
DAVID MOYES is certain his threadbare side can stand the strain of their latest injury setbacks ahead of what is likely to be a bruising encounter at Bolton tomorrow. The Everton manager's already slim 23-man squad was reduced yet further this week with defenders Gary Naysmith and Per Kroldrup undergoing surgery on respective ankle and hernia problems that will keep them out for a month.

Lee Carsley is not due back for at least a fortnight after his pre-season knee injury while James Beattie's bruised foot is set to keep him out of the Reebok Stadium clash. Simon Davies, who pulled out of Wales' game against Slovenia with a shin-splints problem, is also a doubt. Moyes, though, believes his limited resources does not necessarily increase the urgency of new players arriving at Goodison before the end of the transfer window. He said: "It's a tough opening programme and a tough week. We are looking at people who could make that situation better, but I feel we've got enough in the squad and more importantly we've got a squad that's quite adaptable. "The injured players are no use at the present time though, they only become of use when they're fit. We can't worry about them, the more important people are the people who are fit and able to play."
Moyes added: "There are prospects around for adding to the squad, but I'm not going to come out and say anything because I don't deal in speculation. When it happens I'll let people know. It's not going to happen immediately, that's for sure. I think we've played very well in the two games so far. I'm more relaxed with the squad and the way the players are playing." Marcus Bent, who impressed when coming on for Beattie against Manchester United last weekend, will start up front against Sam Allardyce's men while Kevin Kilbane should also return to the starting line-up.

Green fails to move Moyes as Scot focuses on Bolton
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 20 2005
AS he penned his latest bid for full Boris Johnson status on Merseyside, Alan Green probably knew his slightly odd rant would wind up a few Evertonians. He probably thought he'd wind up David Moyes, too, just as he's successfully wound up that other Scot, Sir Alex Ferguson, over the years.
But while judging from the online message boards he's certainly succeeded in the former, the message from the manager couldn't be clearer: Nae bothered. The slightly odd rant in question could be found, of all places, in the Irish Examiner. Training his black-or-white sights firmly on Everton, Green used his regular column to pick apart Moyes's stated ambition to better last season's fourth place. "I think he should see a doctor," Green raged, before claiming: "Everton supporters can dream but they're not fools... trust me, normal service will be resumed at Goodison Park." Several hundred further words followed a similarly restrained line of considered thought. For Moyes, who claimed he hadn't seen the article and had only been given a brief precis of the content therein, such criticism is by now an accepted part of life at Goodison. So long as the critic is making their observations in good faith, and the Scot does not have a problem. Whether Green was or not, of course, is another matter entirely. "I think the first thing I'd say is that do they really have much understanding about football? I think about it a wee bit more than they do," said Moyes. But I can't do anything about it - that's why it's such a great game. Football's about opinions, although I'd ask why the person with the opinions was making those opinions. Maybe there's something else behind it, I don't know. "But you can only say what you see on the football pitch, and if you don't think you're seeing good stuff or that there's something wrong with the football club then you're entitled to say that. There's no problem at all. "If there's something else then that's not right is it? But only those people can decide that, and they'd probably be working outside what their job is." What perhaps puzzles Moyes more is exactly what Green and others would currently have to sink their teeth into. A fourth-place finish, far beyond even the wildest expectations, has landed Everton in the midst of a Champions League double-header, while defeat to Manchester United at the weekend was a desperately unfair reflection of their overall performance. And all with a squad that can't even provide at least one cover for every position. Moyes can only guess at the critics' motivations. "We're trying to take Everton into a new age, but we can't do it the way a lot of people are doing it. So maybe we broke the mould and people couldn't accept it, that we were actually successful without spending any money and maybe doing it a wee bit unfashionably. "We shouldn't be here apologising for finishing fourth. We've done the best we could, so I find it difficult that people should criticise Everton for finishing fourth. "You might not like the style of the play and the things they do, but at the end of the day you can't say they didn't have a tremendous season and that Everton aren't getting better after quite a long period of not doing so well. "It's (the criticism) not water off a duck's back, but if you're playing badly I think I'm probably the first one to come out and say we're not doing it, so you expect people to do the same thing. If they think that, it's up to them." Moyes added: "We can't kid ourselves - we could have spent £100million and we might find results hard to come by, because that's the way the Premier League is. Some clubs nearby have spent lots of money, and you know results are hard to come by. That's the way it is." Back to the matter in hand, and Everton will tomorrow look to put some points on the board in the first of three away games in a week. Last season's two games against Bolton produced 10 goals, but Moyes would much rather settle for the kind of narrow victory that so propelled their ascent last season. Less of the catastrophic errors exemplified by Joseph Yobo last week are obviously called for, but Moyes is hoping for a similar level of performance to the one that should really have produced something-from last Saturday's opener. "It's a tough game whoever you play in the Premiership but it's Bolton away is one of the even tougher ones," said Moyes. "If we'd got the goal before they did last week - if Tim had scored from that header - we could have been talking about a completely different game.
"You mustn't forget those things and you mustn't bury your head in the sand. We did have the chances to score and to get something from the game. "We didn't, and that's what happens when you deal with good teams who take their opportunities. "But we did okay against Manchester United, we made one or two mistakes that could have been eradicated but overall the players could not have done more than was asked of them. "Anyone who watched Everton over the year will say we looked a better side than we did this time last year, and we went on to do well this time last year. "Both games at Goodison so far this season have been great, and the way the supporters have all stayed and applauded the team off at the end, they've realised how well the team have played and the fact we've been up against top quality opposition." Yobo, on international duty with Nigeria in Libya this week, has had two long plane journeys to try and rid his mind of the blunder that allowed Wayne Rooney to kill off last weekend's game. No words from Moyes were needed in the immediate aftermath of the game, and the Scot is certain the central defender will respond tomorrow. "The most important thing is that you don't dwell on a mistake like that, we don't want any more of them but he seemed fine today in training. "I don't think you needed to point out his mistake - I think you've got an understanding that you can't do that."

Bolton 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
By David Prior at The Reebok, Daily Post
Aug 22 2005
IN YEARS to come, scientists will attempt to unravel the mystery of Everton's first victory of this campaign. It's a fair bet, though, that even the finest minds will be left scratching their heads.
It's eight years now since the Reebok Stadium ushered in a new era at Bolton Wanderers against the same opposition, but rarely can it have played host to such a baffling result. Not even Alistair Campbell could have disguised the extent to which David Moyes's men were thoroughly dominated from first whistle to last; had both sides converted every chance, Bolton would have won 17-3.
Thankfully, what Everton lost in possession they more than made up for in courage and guts. Oh, and that other vital ingredient conspicuous by its absence this season, at least until yesterday lunchtime: luck. After the disappointment of last week's unlucky but slightly flimsy defeat to Manchester United, all the ingredients that took Moyes's side to fourth last year were back in place. They contended, they battled, they snarled; the manager's warrior comparison afterwards was highly appropriate. With the resources currently at their disposal, a situation made yet worse yesterday by the injuries to Alessandro Pistone and Marcus Bent, Everton cannot be expected to produce what could loosely be termed pretty football. Given the identity of yesterday's opponents, moreover, such an approach would surely have heralded certain defeat. Sam Allardyce's side have deservedly cultivated a reputation as bruisers; like Everton, their more indelicate qualities have helped compensate for deficiencies in manpower and class. And yesterday was not a day for wilting flowers. Everton, for standing up to the bombardment they faced with guts, deserved their fortune.
Of perhaps more concern to Moyes this morning will be the state such an energy-sapping result will have left his men in. Victory in Villarreal was always an extremely difficult requirement, but Everton must now pursue that objective with a pitifully small squad of fit personnel. Such a fact was brought home by Moyes having to relocate Phil Neville to left-back in the wake of Pistone's injury yesterday.
While emphasising the former Manchester United man's versatility, it also nullified his influence on the game and Everton can surely not afford to do that against their Champions League opponents this week. The manager continues to insist such misfortune is simply an inevitable part of football, but surely the time is coming when his criteria for new arrivals must be widened. Forget the quality, Everton need depth at the moment. Last season's two encounters had delivered a total of 10 goals, but there was little in the opening stages yesterday that suggested a similar feast was in store. Allardyce had no doubt warned his side against a repeat of the slackness that saw them concede two goals inside the first opening nine minutes of their Premiership opener last weekend.
For all the Lancastrians' tighter defence, however, Everton should really have gone ahead with their first and virtually sole chance of the first half. Pistone's cross was inch-perfect, but Tim Cahill completely missed his glancing header when only the faintest touch would have diverted the ball inside Jussi Jaaskelainen's far post. Aside from that moment, Bolton quickly settled into a pattern of domination, with Everton's midfield enjoying little of the influence that so deserved a goal against Manchester United. Kevin Davies represented their main threat and, after easily shaking off the attentions of Pistone in the eighth minute, was only denied a shot on goal by a fast approaching Nigel Martyn. The goalkeeper was called into similarly decisive action just before the half-hour. Gary Speed's corner was met firmly by Radhi Jaidi at close range, and in blocking the Tunisian's header Martyn almost took his right-hand post with him. Everton lacked cohesion and were increasingly incapable of stemming the tide of white that swept forward at regular intervals. The visitors' frustration was compounded by their inability to make use of the infrequent opportunities they did have, best typified by the lead-footed pass from Cahill that denied Bent a clear run through on goal. Kevin Kil-bane was also culpable, steering a header dreadfully wide after Bent's cross. And Everton's display took a familiar turn for the worse after 31 minutes by a nasty-looking injury to Pistone that saw him leave the field on a stretcher. Chasing a ball with Henrik Pedersen, the Italian appeared to jar his knee, and as he crumpled in pain on the grass the sighs from the Merseysiders' dugout were almost audible. Sadly, a quick glance along his bench confirmed to Moyes the paucity of his current options - a goalkeeper,, two wingers, a midfielder and a striker. With no defender to call on, Leon Osman - who had been left out as Bent started on the right with Duncan Ferguson on his own up front - came on and Neville was forced to fill in for Pistone. "To say I'm frustrated is an understatement," bemoaned Allardyce, and he only had his players to blame. Time and again they contrived to miss opportunities in front of goal, Gary Speed twice heading over after El Hadji Diouf crosses while Kevin Nolan sliced high into the crowd with the goal gaping from just eight yards.
In a way, their profligacy - coupled with Everton's heroic defending - almost made the out-come inevitable, but it was still an utter shock when the visitors took the lead eight minutes into a second half that had up until then demonstrated little improvement from the first. The move was actually started, in a nice moment of symmetry after last week's blunder at Good-ison, by Joseph Yobo. The Nigerian flew a ball high over the Bolton defence, and when it even evaded a jumping Ferguson, Cahill suddenly found himself in a good position on the left. The Australian stretched out a leg and delivered a perfect centre that Bent could almost walk into the back of the net. Cue a full-on assault on the away goal. Martyn saved low from substitute Ricardo Vaz Te, Speed almost forced a stabbed shot through a crowded penalty area, while Diouf smacked the crossbar late on after Everton failed to clear properly. Somehow Everton hung on for the kind of 1-0 win they could almost patent now. Stubborn, undeserved and yet heroic. Clearly, while European competition may place new demands on their style this season, in the Premiership the old ways remain the best.
BOLTON (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Campo 79), Ben Haim (Vaz Te 83), Jaidi, Gardner; Speed, Nolan, Okocha; Diouf, Pedersen (Stelios 67), Davies. Subs: Walker, Faye.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Pistone (Osman 33); Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Kilbane; Bent (McFadden 61); Ferguson. Subs: Wright, Davies, Vaughan.
BOOKING: Kilbane (foul).
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
ATT: 25,608
NEXT GAME: Villarreal v Everton, Champions League third qualifying round second leg, Wednesday 9pm

Upbeat Moyes salutes his wounded warriors
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 22 2005
DAVID MOYES hailed Everton's "warriors" after an improbable victory at Bolton - but the Scot saw his slim resources further depleted by injuries to Alessandro Pistone and Marcus Bent. Bent's 53rd-minute goal chalked up the Merseysiders' first win of the season in a game dominated throughout by Sam Allardyce's men. But the Everton striker was then forced to withdraw soon after having apparently twisting his ankle when landing awkwardly on top of Bolton's Jay-Jay Okocha. The club will today assess Bent's chances of being fit for Wednesday's Champions League qualifier second leg in Villarreal, but he must be considered a doubt with James Beattie still only a "30%" chance according to Moyes.. One player definitely out of the trip to Spain is Pistone, who was stretchered off just 33 minutes into the Reebok Stadium encounter after damaging knee ligaments in an innocuous incident involving Henrik Pedersen. The Italian is likely to be out for at least a fortnight.
The injuries cast a shadow over a remarkable result for Everton that owed everything to some heroic defending and ended a run of five successive away defeats in the league. Moyes admitted: "We had to dig deep and fight - we were all warriors today. "I knew with three away games this week it was going to be a big challenge, and today was always going to be a hard game. "We defended very well, it was a constant bombardment from them, and I can count on one hand the teams that will come here and win. At half-time I told them to keep doing what they were doing and to get the ball down a bit better than first half." Moyes felt his side deserved their luck having seen little in their opening defeats to Villarreal and Manchester United. "We played well enough against Villarreal to get a result and we made chances against United," added Moyes. "We defended really well today, Yobo and Weir and all the boys at the back did well. This time last year we won at Crystal Palace and that spurred us on to the season we had last year." The Goodison manager refused to moan about the latest injuries to befall his side, which was already missing several players, but did joke: "Villarreal will be a different type of game... hopefully Peter Reid and Andy Gray can put their boots back on!"

Cancer clause led to my exit - Stubbs
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 22 2005
ALAN STUBBS left Everton because the club wanted a clause written into his new contract relating to the cancer he had beaten four years ago. Stubbs, who was the club captain at Goodison, turned down the offer of a new one-year deal before moving to Sunderland earlier this month.
The 33-year-old was upset at the inclusion of a clause in the contract that gave Everton the option to cancel should his cancer return. A similar clause was included in the original deal which Stubbs signed on arriving from Celtic on a free transfer in the summer of 2001, just six months after he beat cancer for a second time. But having been in remission for more than four years, the player has revealed his displeasure at Everton seeking the same option this summer. "The reason that I did not sign a new contract is that they wanted a clause in the contract about my cancer," said Stubbs..
"I don't want to be standing here and slating anyone but that was the reason. "I was there for four years and I feel I have done as well as anyone in the team. To offer me just a one-year contract with a clause about my cancer, I don't think they have shown me any loyalty." Everton were willing to review their contract offer if Stubbs was assessed by an independent cancer specialist, but the player declined. Stubbs twice overcame testicular cancer while at Celtic. He was originally diagnosed in June 1999 and underwent an operation and chemotherapy before making a full recovery. He suffered a relapse in November 2000 but, after further surgery in January 2001, was given the all-clear to resume his career, and moved to Goodison six months later.

Allardyce laments wasteful finishing
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Aug 22 2005
BOLTON WANDERERS manager Sam Allardyce believes his team lacked a "cutting edge" in front of goal in their 1-0 defeat to Everton at the Reebok Stadium. Marcus Bent scored the winner for the visitors, tapping in against the run of play following good work from Tim Cahill. El Hadji Diouf hit the crossbar for the Trotters, but they could not find a goal despite dominating possession. "The final cutting ball, the final finishing and the final decision-making," was Allardyce's reason for the defeat.
He said: "They had a packed defence, which many teams do in the Premiership away from home.
"You have to have the cutting edge and the right quality - I think on several occasions we didn't have the cutting edge to put the ball in the back of the net. "We've paid a heavy penalty for what should have been a great start to the season. "From start to finish we dominated the game but the Premiership will punish you." Allardyce said: "This was perfect example of what happens when you do not take advantage of the chances you create. "We had 17 attempts on goal to their three yet ended up losing the game. We we never under the cosh yet we ended up with nothing, it is so frustrating." Allardyce felt the Everton goal was one that should not have been conceded. "I don't want to be too hard on our defence given the chances we missed but one lapse of concentration has cost us dear," he added.. Everton manager David Moyes, meanwhile, praised Joseph Yobo for his fine performance that followed his error against Manchester United. "His performance today was Terry Butcher-like," said the manager. "What Joseph did today is all we've asked of him. We're not asking him to be anything more than a good, dominant centre-half. He has great pace and athleticism and today he showed that."

Weir praises Bent
Daily Post
Aug 22 2005
EVERTON captain David Weir has lauded the goalscoring instincts of Marcus Bent after the striker fired David Moyes's side to their first win of the season. Bent produced a typical poacher's strike early in the second half, turning in a Tim Cahill cross from close range to round off an impressive Everton counter-attack at Bolton. Weir said: "You know what you are going to get from Bolton. "You know you have to stand up to them. If you can do that you always have a chance of getting something. "Marcus showed we have got players at the front who can finish them." Of the result, Moyes said: "It's important to win your away games because we will be hard to beat at Goodison. Today will give us a good base to try and climb the table."

Omens looking good for season
View from the stands by Steven Milne Everton supporter, Daily Post
Aug 22 2005
0ShareWE'VE started this season exactly the same way we started last season - losing the first game and winning the second. Is this a good omen? Three points is three points at the end of the day, although it wasn't pretty. We defended deep, although the last 15 minutes felt like a lifetime, especially when Diouf's shot rocked the cross bar. Evertonian hearts were pounding. We played 4-4-2 with Ferguson and Bent leading the attack, but most of the work was done by the Everton back four. It did not help when Pistone was stretchered off after 30 minutes, but for the Evertonians around me, they weren't too affected by the Italian's loss! Phil Neville coolly slotted into the left back and both he and Everton looked comfortable. Just before half-time Gary Speed handled in the area. The visiting fans cried in unison "penalty". The referee waved for play on. Half-time came, with the talk not being of where the goal was going to come from, but who was going and how were they getting to Villarreal on Wednesday. The second half started, as the first one ended, with Everton defending well, particularly Yobo and Weir, but then on 52 minutes Marcus Bent scored against the run of play. Tim Cahill being the provider, Bent finding himself in front of the defender couldn't really fail to miss, side-footing the ball past the keeper. Worryingly 10 minutes later, Bent hobbled off leaving David Moyes with possibly five players who may miss Wednesday's game. Bolton squandered numerous chances and it was Everton's man of the match, Joseph Yobo and his fellow defenders, who made an Evertonians lot, a happy one.

Bolton 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
By Dominic King at The Reebok, Liverpool Echo
Aug 22 2005
WHEN Sam Allardyce stands in his technical area at the Reebok Stadium glowering at players and frantically gesticulating like an overworked tictac man, it can be safely assumed that things aren't going Bolton's way. How pleasing, then, it was to see Allardyce at his most animated yesterday afternoon as Everton dug deep in the face of some severe pressure to win three priceless points that will get their season up and running. While the opinionated Bolton manager will claim otherwise, Everton deserved to head back to Merseyside celebrating a victory which can act as a catalyst to spur them onto bigger and better things in the remainder of the year. Make no mistake about it - the Reebok Stadium has become one of the most difficult stadiums to visit in the Premiership and most teams leave empty handed after being put through the mill for 90 minutes. That is why Everton deserve plenty of credit for being able to shrug off numerous problems and then stand tall when the chips were down to grind out the victory. This was David Moyes' men doing what they do best.
Having lost their opening two matches, some outspoken critics were getting ready to pen the obituaries on Everton's campaign, especially as a thin squad had to contend with three difficult away trips in the space of six days. Add into the equation that injuries had wreaked havoc with the manager's plans, then you can see why the snipers had Everton heading for a fall and made Bolton hot favourites. But just think back to last season and the amount of times Everton triumphed in the face of adversity. As a number of players suggested in the run up to this game, the Blues are at their most dangerous when they are being written off. True, the first half against Bolton will be quickly erased from the memory as both teams struggled to pass the ball with any fluency, meaning that clear chances were few and far between. To win the war, though, the battle must first be won and that is exactly what Everton did. While Bolton prodded, probed and poked around for openings, the 11 men clad in Blue ran their socks off to protect Nigel Martyn's goal. Duncan Ferguson and Marcus Bent set the example at the head of affairs, bustling up Bolton's defenders whenever possible, while behind them the midfield chased loose balls and dived into tackles as though their lives depended on it. Most credit, nevertheless, should go to Everton's rearguard, who despite some uncomfortable moments late on adopted a 'thou shalt not pass' attitude, particularly Joseph Yobo, who more than made up for last week's howler against United. The Nigerian international did not show his best form at times last season when he was played in different positions but put him in the middle of the back four and more often than not he will show star quality. Spare a thought also for David Weir who turned in a captain's performance. Never afraid to put his head in when the boots are flying, he put the shackles on the dangerous Kevin Davies. Even a serious looking injury to Alessandro Pistone could not throw Everton out of their rhythm, as Phil Neville moved seemlessly from the centre of mid-field to left-back. On the opposite flank, Tony Hibbert was as assured as always.
Having coped with the best that Bolton could throw at them in the first half, the question during half-time was would Everton be clinical enough to win the game if a chance fell their way after the break? As neat and tidy as they had been in both games against Villarreal and United, the one fair criticism that could be aimed at Everton was that they lacked a cutting edge when it was most needed. This time, happily, the doubts were dispelled within six minutes of the restart, as Yobo dispatched a long ball forward to Tim Cahill, whose super first time cross afforded Bent the easiest of chances to get off the mark. That goal completely knocked the wind out of Bolton's sails and as they began hoofing aimless balls forward, it soon became apparent that Everton had broken their opponents' spirits.. Allardyce desperately tried to freshen things up, introducing a succession of substitutes but the closet that Bolton ever came to scoring was when Everton sat back too deep allowing El-Hadji Diouf to thrash a shot onto the crossbar which went via Martyn's fingertips.
They did have one more opportunity in the dying moments but Jay-Jay Okocha put a free-kick straight into the wall from a threatening position, sending an apoplectic Allardyce into a frenzy on the touchline. Moyes, on the other hand, did his best to keep a lid on his emotions but once the final whistle sounded, he joined the rest of his players and staff, bullishly punching the air in delight in front of Everton's travelling support. It would, of course, be wrong to get carried away over one victory, the same as it is to be too critical after one defeat. But the early signs this season have certainly been encouraging and now everyone connected with the club can look forward to the forthcoming trips to Villarreal and Fulham.
Take note, Alan Green.
BOLTON (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Campo 79), Ben Haim (Vaz Te 83), Jaidi, Gardner; Speed, Nolan, Okocha; Diouf, Pedersen (Stelios 67), Davies. Subs: Walker, Faye.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Pistone (Osman 33); Arteta, Cahill, Neville, Kilbane; Bent (McFadden 61); Ferguson. Subs: Wright, Davies, Vaughan. BOOKING: Kilbane (foul).
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
ATT: 25,608

Our Euro dream is still alive
Aug 22 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is aiming to snuff out the threat of Villarreal on Wednesday night after silencing the doubters with a towering dis-play against Bolton. The Nigerian international insists Everton can still make it through to the Champions League group stages by overcoming Villarreal this week, boosted by yesterday's victory over Bolton. Yobo tarnished his reputation with a woeful back-pass that allowed Wayne Rooney to seal Manchester United's opening day victory at Goodison Park but was right back to his best at the Reebok Stadium yesterday. Yobo was one of Everton's star performers in their 1-0 win but felt he owed his improved display to everyone at the club to atone for his aberration and is now looking to maintain his form as the Blues bid to overturn a 2-1 first leg deficit in Spain. "When I made that mistake against United I realised that the next game was coming up quickly and I had to put it right behind me and move forward," said Yobo. "I felt very bad but I have to understand that it is a game. Once it was over, I was determined to move on, prove people wrong and make sure that I bounced back immediately. "But I am just happy that we won the game because that was the most important thing. When you win games, confidence is always going to be high and we are now looking forward to the next game." Everton's squad understandably left The Reebok in high spirits after they registered their first victory of the Premiership campaign and hopes are high in the ranks that they can spring a surprise against Villarreal. Most observers have written off Everton's chances already but Yobo says the players are happy with that because it gives them an added incentive to keep proving their critics wrong. If they are going to turn things around, however, the Blues will need a performance as resolute and determined as the one against Bolton but the former Marseille man insists Everton are certainly capable of delivering again. "We lost our first two games but the atmosphere was still very good," said Yobo. "We had confidence and we believed in ourselves. "People had been talking about us because we had lost those games, so it was good to win against Bolton to get ourselves back on track. "We knew it was going to be a very difficult game but with our Champions League game coming up, we really needed this win. We know we are a good team and we showed a good spirit. "That is what really helped us win the game, togetherness and spirit. We fought very hard and every player gave everything they had. We keep doing that, then we have got a chance. "The spirit is good so hopefully we can go to Villarreal, give them a good fight and achieve what we want. We'll go there and enjoy it."

Blues strike back at Stubbs' claims
Aug 22 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today hit back at former captain Alan Stubbs' claims that he quit the club because they wanted to insert a cancer clause in his contract. Stubbs, who twice suffered testicular cancer several years back, made his debut for Sunder-land on Saturday at Anfield. Afterwards he accused the Blues of behaving cynically and showing no loyalty to him and said: "The reason that I did not sign a new contract is that they wanted a clause in my contract about my cancer. "I don't want to be standing here and slating anyone, but that was the reason. "I was there for four years and I feel I have done as well as anyone in the team. To offer me just a one-year contract with a clause about my cancer, I don't think they have shown me any loyalty." Everton, however, are baffled by the 33-year-old's claims. Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "I was sorry to read Alan's quotes in today's press. However, I can categorically state that the contract offered to Alan did not include a cancer clause.
"It was withdrawn after he had asked for it to be withdrawn and that was confirmed to his agent.
"So I am somewhat confused by his quotes." Stubbs had a cancer clause in the contract he first signed when he moved to Goodison from Celtic in the summer of 2001. The clause remained in the new one-year deal offered to him this summer, but after being in remission for more than four years the player's agent, Paul Stretford, asked it to be removed and Everton immediately complied.
The deal then presented to Stubbs did not include the clause, but the Blues believe there has been a breakdown in communication between the player and his agent in transmitting this information.

Blues duo seek Euro green light
Aug 22 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is keeping his fingers crossed that Marcus Bent and James Beattie will be fit to lead Everton's Champions League charge on Wednesday night. Bent was the Blues' match-winner at Bolton yesterday, popping up with the only goal of the game to give his side their first victory of the season, but hobbled off with a knee problem shortly after. As for Beattie, he missed the Reebok victory because of a foot injury but has recovered quicker than anticipated and could yet make the frame against Villarreal. One man who will definitely be missing in Spain is full-back Alessandro Pistone, who left the Reebok on crutches after damaging knee ligaments in a collision with Ricardo Gardner. Given that injuries have wreaked havoc with his early season plans, Moyes could do with a positive fitness bulletin and will give Bent and Beattie every chance of being involved against Villarreal. "We are going to have to keep Alessandro out for a couple of weeks," said Moyes.
"Marcus injured his ankle but we don't know how he is yet. We are going to have to check him out. The problem is that we don't have much turn around time between now and Wednesday.
"Maybe I can bring Trevor Steven, Andy Gray and Peter Reid back for the Champions League game! James Beattie has an outside chance and hopefully Simon Davies will be over his shin problem in time." Reflecting on a doughty performance against Bolton, the manager hailed his side for digging deep to grind out the result that has got their campaign up and running. Moyes was particularly pleased with the way his defence stood firm in the face of some fierce pressure but refused to single out any individuals for special praise. "This time last year we won at Crystal Palace and we were a bit fortunate, " Moyes recalled. "We went on to have a super season. "We defended well. It was a constant bombardment, and a good result for us.You can count on one hand the number of teams that will win here this season. "I thought our players all along the back four were superb. Joseph Yobo and David Weir did well but the whole team defend. That was the mainstay for the result.

"We had played well in the two defeats against Villarreal and Manchester United. We had a few chances there and against Bolton we had just one, but that is football for you. "We could have done with taking Duncan Ferguson off with 25 or 30 minutes to go but we couldn't because of their threat from set pieces. But there is no sense of relief because we've been playing well." Bent, meanwhile, shares his manager's optimism that he will be involved against Villarreal and is now hoping that he get back on the goal trail. "The sooner we picked up that first win, the better," said Bent. "It was tough. They are a tough side with a lot of big players but we did well against them. "Personally, to score any goal is good, whether it is a tap-in or one that flies into the top corner. It was a great cross from Tim Cahill and it is a nice confidence booster."

Take sting off the pain of injury with a few new signings
Aug 22 2005 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THERE were times last season when Everton appeared to be trying to claim an old Highbury chorus as their own. "One-nil, to the Everton" rang out seven times before Christmas - and was followed by a couple of refrains in the New Year, too. But despite the first 1-0 scoreline of this campaign yesterday, there were moans afterwards that the Blues had adopted another old Arsenal classic - Lucky Everton. Those cynics should be told to stuff their complaints up their marble corridors.
Sure, Everton got lucky at times against a never-say-die Bolton. Just as they got unlucky last weekend against United. Marcus Bent's perfectly poached goal earned an enormous away win.
Of more concern to David Moyes than a patchy performance offensively, is that last season's good fortune with injuries is evening out. Alessandro Pistone proved that he may, indeed, be made of glass, Bent left the Reebok - while James Beattie, Gary Naysmith, Lee Carsley and Per Kroldrup are still several weeks away from a return. Yesterday's 1-0 win will give the Blues breathing space. But new signings would reassure Evertonians even more.
* HAS David Moyes been pushing pins into effigies of spurned footballers? Look who was on the injured list on Saturday. Recent Goodison target Emre could be sidelined for some time, Craig Bellamy sat out Blackburn's victory over Fulham, while last summer's target, Martin Laursen, is back on Aston Villa's long-term injured list. If I was Scott Parker I'd be just a tinsy, winsy bit concerned.

Ticketless Blues fans urged to stay at home
Aug 22 2005 By Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THOUSANDS of ticketless Everton fans are travelling to Spain for Wednesday's Champions League tie with Villarreal. At least 3,000 supporters will make the trip, even though only 1,600 seats were made available by the Spanish club in their 20,000-capacity stadium. Club officials and police today warned fans not to travel without tickets. They said supporters would have nothing to do in the tiny Spanish town. Chief superintendent Dave Lewis, Merseyside's football monitoring coordinator, said: " I can appreciate the supporters' interest, but the facilities in Villarreal do not lend themselves to fans who cannot get into the game watching it on TV. "There are no bars with big screens showing the game. We would want to avoid any frustration related to that. "The people of Villarreal have no disorder history but there are always safety concerns with large numbers of travelling fans. Any breach of the ground segregation is a security risk. "Everton fans in the home end leave themselves liable to be ejected." Mr Lewis said intelligence officers from Merseyside police would monitor fans, and their tickets will be checked before they reach the turnstiles. Six chartered flights have been booked from Liverpool John Lennon airport to Spain and back, tomorrow and Thursday. That means at least 2,470 fans will travel to Spain - many of whom booked their flights and accommodation immediately after the fixture was announced. A spokesman for airline Easyjet said bookings for flights from Liverpool to Spanish cities near Villarreal had trebled for the day before the tie.
A spokesman for Everton said: "We have made it clear that the ticket allocation was not what it should be. The demand was always going to out-strip supply. "Fans that are over there are ambassadors for the club, and 99.9% will behave impeccably. But history teaches us that whenever you have a game abroad and fans travel there is potential for problems. "The message is stay at home and watch it on TV unless you've a ticket."

Bent looks to prove the critics wrong
Aug 23 2005
By David Prior, Daily Post
MARCUS BENT is hoping to be fit to lead Everton's attack in their make-or-break Champions League clash in Villarreal tomorrow - so he can put one over the club's critics again. Striker Bent, whose appearance will be determined by a late fitness test on the knee injury he suffered soon after scoring the winner at Bolton on Sunday, claims the Goodison men love proving the doubters wrong.
The club go into their third qualifying round second leg in Spain with a 2-1 first-leg deficit, but Bent believes they can beat the odds and qualify for the group stages. He said: "It does not bother us and if people want to write us off that is up to them. "We are working hard for ourselves, our club and our manager to try to achieve what we did last season. "People were writing us off last season and look what happened then, so let them carry on. The stick we get inspires us." Bent accepts his goal against Bolton could be the boost Everton needed to kickstart their domestic season. He said: "It was very important. We lost the first game against Manchester United and we needed to start stacking points up - not that we are in a bad situation - but the sooner we get points the better.
"Bolton are a tough side, especially at home. They have a lot of big players, a lot of physical players and quality as well, so we are pleased to get three points." Of his injured knee, Bent added: "It is quite sore at the moment but not as bad as we first thought. We are going to assess it at training and see where we go from there." Everton will be without full-back Alessandro Pistone for the trip to Spain after he too picked up a knee injury at the Reebok, but Simon Davies should return following a shin problem that kept him on the bench at the Reebok Stadium.

Stubbs stands by comments over cancer clause
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 23 2005
ALAN STUBBS last night refused to back down over comments he had made relating to his departure from Goodison - claiming he was "extremely hurt" by Everton's insistence on a cancer clause in his contract. The 33-year-old was initially presented with a one-year contract containing the clause, which the club described as a "special notice condition" and allowed them to end the agree-ment should his cancer return. The player objected to the clause, having been in remission for testicular cancer for four years, and by way of compromise Everton offered to remove it if Stubbs submitted to an examination by an independent consultant and received the all-clear. Everton insist that examination never took place because Stubbs wanted a two-year deal, rather than the single year he had been offered, and that was the sole reason behind his eventual departure. But the former Celtic and Bolton player issued a state-ment last night to reaffirm his disappointment at the way he had been treated - and stood by his suggestion the cancer clause had contributed to his exit. A statement released by his management company read: "Alan Stubbs wishes to make it clear he stands by the comments he made regarding his reasons for not signing the one-year contract he was offered by Everton Football Club. "Alan and his family were extremely hurt by Everton's requirement to initially include a clause in his contract which could terminate the agreement should his testicular cancer return and then insisting on him visiting a consultant for examination before considering removing the offending clause. "At the time Alan had served the club as a player and then as captain for four years and made 142 appearances. During that time Alan's ill-ness did not cause him to miss a single training session or match. "When Alan captained Everton he fulfilled a boyhood ambition and he remains proud of his and his teammates' achievements during his time at the club. "Following the successful 2004-05 season when Everton finished fourth in the Premier League it is also true to say that Alan felt he deserved the offer of a two-year contract. "For Alan, this is now in the past and he is delighted to be part of Sunderland Football Club where he has an excellent relationship with the manager and hopes his experience will contribute to a successful season for the club." Everton director of communications Ian Ross insisted Stubbs' contract demands, and not his medical history, were responsible for his leaving. He said: "When Alan joined he was in remission. A clause was inserted relating to the fact he had previously suffered from cancer. "In October last year, Alan, through his management, was made the offer of a 12-month extension. Although that offer did still contain a 'special notice condition', Alan asked, as he had been in remission, it be removed. "The club informed Alan and his management we were happy to do that once the player had been examined by a doctor." But Everton say once negotiations gathered pace Stubbs indicated he wanted a longer deal and never visited a specialist. Ross added: "Alan decided to reject the offer and, having became a free agent. The medical examination which Alan had indicated he was content to undergo never took place."

Ticketless fans told: Stay at home
Aug 23 2005 Daily Post
THOUSANDS of ticketless Everton fans are travelling to Spain for tomorrow night's Champions League tie with Villarreal. At least 3,000 will make the trip, even though only 1,600 seats were made available by the Spanish club in their 20,000-capacity stadium. Club officials and police have warned fans not to travel without tickets. They said supporters would have nothing to do in the tiny Spanish town. Chief superintendent Dave Lewis, Merseyside's football monitoring co-ordinator, said: "There are no bars with big screens showing the game. We would want to avoid any frustration related to that." Mr Lewis said intelligence officers from Merseyside police would monitor fans, and their tickets will be checked before they reach the turnstiles. Six chartered flights have been booked from Liverpool John Lennon airport to Spain and back, leaving today and returning on Thursday. That means at least 2,470 fans will travel to Spain - many of whom booked their flights and commodation immediately after the fixture was announced. A spokesman for Everton said: "We have made it clear that the ticket allocation was not what it should be. The demand was always going to outstrip supply. "The message is stay at home and watch it on TV unless you've got a ticket."

Green garbage
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Aug 23 2005
ALAN GREEN will eat humble pie at the end of this season when Everton prove they were no one season wonder. What we achieved was down to determination, skill, 100% commitment and excellent management and for a supposed expert to criticise us for achieving what we did, on such a limited budget, just takes the biscuit. While I am not sure we will reach the dizzy heights of third - I am sure we can achieve another top-six placing and for that we should be applauded. Saturday's result against Bolton was deserved and is the kick-start to another fine season. We deserve credit when it is due.
Harold James, Liverpool
Striker needed
WELL DONE Everton. Though under constant pressure we won and this will only give us confidence for future success. Marcus Bent proved what he can do given decent service. However, Everton will need to assert themselves to a greater degree this season - and the constant search for another striker goes on. Our midfield is packed with quality now all we need is a 20-goal a season man and we have a very strong first team.
Len Norman (via e-mail)
Great defence
WELL played David Weir, Joseph Yobo and all the Everton warriors. You defended excellently and scored with very few chances - a good sign if ever there was one. Every team is going to find life difficult at the Reebok, even Chelsea. Tomorrow's game is going to be very tough, but if we score an early goal and defend like we did on Saturday then I wouldn't rule out an upset. Hopefully we can ram those cruel words down Mr Green's throat.
Terry Goulding (via e-mail)
I WAS ashamed to be a fan of Everton yesterday morning after the board left Alan Stubbs thinking that his contract had to include the 'cancer clause'. I have no reason to believe it is untrue as the words came from Stubbs's own mouth. It is utterley appalling and atrocious and just one of many sad debacles attributed to the Everton board.
Brian Harding, Crosby
Injury crisis
WHEN are Everton going to cough up some cash for David Moyes? We have probably the smallest squad in the league, not enough cover for many positions - and now we have five players in doubt for Villarreal - the biggest game in a decade. It is farcical. Bill Kenwright, as per usual, is living in dreamland.
B G Moores, St Helens
Stubbs shame
GIVEN the service Alan Stubbs gave Everton I think it is a disgrace the way he has been treated. Shame on Everton yet again.
David Crosby (via e-mail)

Sheffield sign up ex-Blue Unsworth
Daily Post Aug 23 2005
SHEFFIELD United have signed defender David Unsworth from Portsmouth on a three-year deal.
The 31-year-old will add experience to Neil Warnock's back line and has joined for an undisclosed fee. Capped once by England 10 years ago, Unsworth failed to establish himself at Portsmouth last season after joining from Everton and had a loan spell with Ipswich in the Championship. "I'm delighted to have someone like David as part of my squad," Warnock said. "His experience will be invaluable to the squad."

Blues' £10m move for Kuyt
Aug 23 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have made a £10m bid to land top Dutch striker Dirk Kuyt, manager David Moyes revealed today. And they have also made an approach to tempt ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen to Goodison Park. Owen has rejected the approach, while the bid for Kuyt - like Owen a potential target for their Merseyside rivals - has been turned down by Feyenoord who insist they want 18m Euros - around £12m. But Blues boss David Moyes is adamant Everton have the funds to bid for top players. "We have been in contact with Michael Owen and his advisors but unfortunately Michael does not see Everton as his choice at the present time," he said before flying out to Villarreal today.
"But I am reassuring the Everton supporters that we are in for most of the names. "We offered £10m for Kuyt on August 1, which was rejected by Feyenoord. "It's just to make people realise that we are in for players who we consider to be top class. "We do have money to fund deals if they are the right ones and the right ones are available. "Certain top names that we are talking about are the right ones, but as far as I know it is 18m Euros for Kuyt and I just felt that was too much.
"We have got people in mind and I hope to bring people in before the transfer window closes. With Sandro Pistone injured - he had a scan and we are not quite happy with the one that we have had so far - it may force me into bringing in a left-back." Pistone has not travelled to Spain, while Villarreal goalkeeper Mariano Barbosa has stoked the fires ahead of the Champions League qualifier by branding Everton " a bunch of animals." The 21-year-old Argentine claims he was buffetted by the Blues in the first leg a fortnight ago and quickly realised it was a case of "kill or be killed." He also criticised Everton's fans. Barbosa said: "I have never been beaten up as badly as by Everton - not even when I was in the playground at school. My head was cut open and I was left swearing.
"After the game my entire body ached. My shin, my chest, my thigh - you name it and it hurt.
"I came out to make a catch in the first-half and I was hit with a terrible blow. That got me angry and I then realised it was a case of kill or be killed. "But I had to be careful about it. Their supporters were very gentle - I don't think. "They swore at me a lot, although I could understand very little of it. I saw them doing something strange, making V-signs with their fingers and I asked: 'Are they looking for peace and love?' "Diego Forlan, who used to play for Manchester United, explained that they were saying 'F**k you' to us. They used their middle finger, the way we do, and their index finger.
"The second leg is going to be a battle - and I am going to get stuck in. I have no other option. Everton are a bunch of animals, they are not worth a thing."

'We have to put chances away'
Aug 23 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HAVING had to cope with an aerial bombardment on Sunday, Nigel Martyn has spent the time since preparing to deal with a completely different challenge. To say the contrast in style between rough, tough Bolton Wanderers and the artisans of Villarreal is like night and day is something of an understatement. While Bolton will hurry the ball forward at the first opportunity, trying to batter the opposition into submission, Villarreal will happily pass the ball around in long, hypnotic spells, patiently waiting for an opening to appear. But though the styles may vary, Martyn insists that Everton's approach must be the same in the Estadio El Madrigal as it was at the Reebok if they want to keep their Champions League dream alive. Given Villarreal's recent European pedigree - they were UEFA Cup quarter-finalists last year - not to mention the fact they hold a 2-1 advantage, the odds are stacked against Everton. Martyn, however, does not see things that way and believes the Blues are capable of upseting the odds. "Sometimes you win games and it masks a lot of things because the team hasn't played well but that hasn't been the case with us," said Martyn, who will make his 20th Champions League appearance tomorrow. "We had only been disappointed with results and not performances. We created chances against Manchester United and that is something you don't often get a chance to do. "But it is the same old thing. You have got to take your chances when you are having a period of play like that. We've got to make sure we do that if we get a chance against Villar-real. "They played some good football at Goodison and playing them will be like chalk and cheese compared to Bolton. But you have got to adapt to the way teams play and we will work on defending and we will work on trying to cause them problems too." As Martyn is up for the battle, so too is Jospeh Yobo, one of the stars of the show during the rearguard action against Bolton and a man who will need to stand firm when Villarreal's attackers start flying forward. With his confidence restored following his blunder against Manchester United, the Nigerian international is adamant that the complexion of the tie will change completely if Everton can poke their noses in front early in the game. "I think we will give them a very good fight," said Yobo. "Their second goal at Goodison was a very good goal and we couldn't do anything about it. "But we can go there and fight them and see what happens. If we take our chances it will make it much easier for us. But we will make it very tough for them."

Fans react to Alan Green's controversial comments
Aug 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
BBC radio five broadcaster Alan Green last week said David Moyes should see a doctor for wanting his team to finish higher in the league this season than they did last season. He also described Everton's pre-season signings as nobodies and discards. Those, along with other forthright views, provoked a huge response from our readers and here's a sample of those letters:
EVERTON are quite rightly proud of their achievements last season. Millions of pounds in debt, boardroom struggles and the sale of their top two players made them favourites for the drop.

What happened instead was incredible and the club made sure they enjoyed their moment.
Alan Green believes the players brought in are has-beens, but ask any Tottenham or Manchester United fan and I'm sure you will hear different. Both Simon Davies and Phil Neville have amassed over 50 caps for their country and both were praised by their former clubs for their work ethic and commitment. As for slating David Moyes for saying his team intends to improve on last season, has anyone ever heard a manager say he wants to do worse than last season? Green is a bitter and biased commentator and his 'point' was pointless.
Paul R, Gateacre
TO COIN an ex-Kopite's phrase, I would love it if Moyes used Green's comments to charge up the players for another campaign of "overachievement"! The Blues should make Green look like the fool he is. My radio five boycott has now begun.
Dominic Scott, Walton
I MIGHT be mistaken but I thought football was a 'game of opinions', so why castigate a national radio broadcaster for having a view just because we don't agree with it? I say well done Alan Green for speaking your mind. The Blues would love him to be proved wrong and this will all come out at the end of the season.
Stephen Webster,
Old Swan
I CAN'T understand the outcry over Alan Green's article. He is only giving his opinion and since when was that a crime? What did he say that isn't true? Kevin Ratcliffe and Duncan McKenzie have both said in recent radio interviews that any Evertonian will be delighted if they finish in the top half of the Premiership this season, as have most of the Blues I know.
Dave Hughes, Netherton
ALAN GREEN'S article should never have made it into print. He claims Moyes needs to see a doctor because he is positive about this season's targets. What kind of manager would he be, and what message would it send out to the players, fans and everyone associated with Everton FC if he said: "Last season was a bit of a fluke, let's aim for 12th-15th and see where we go from there, shall we?"
Of course Moyes wants to improve on last season's critic-defying performance. It may be a bold statement, but for the confidence and self-belief of the club, it was a statement that needed to be made.
Alan Stark, West Kirby
IT TOOK Alan Green all of 15 seconds to make the cheap gag about Villarreal t-shirts during his commentary of Everton v Man United. He then set off on another diatribe against the Blues. It is one thing to have an opinion, but the way he expresses himself is unprofessional and should be an embarrassment both to his employers and fellow commentators. I don't rant on phone-ins, I just happen to have had my fill of this appalling man's views inflicted on me. He is a disgrace and should be sacked.
Tim Taylor, Nottingham
I AM a Red but Alan Green's comments are true.
He is the only media figure to say exactly how it is for Everton. Bidding under the odds for players, offering less wages - surely any true Blue with an iota of intelligence can see the games being played.
Paul Greo, Formby
WHAT is controversial about Green's comments? As far as I am concerned everything he said is right. The truth hurts.
Andy Williamson, Hightown
JUST when Everton get back up to where they belong, this utter bile is fed down our throats.
I just hope this guy knows what he's in for because the people who doubted us last year were eating their words at the end of last season. And he can't be a very good pundit if he hasn't heard of Danish international centre-back Per Kroldrup.
Adam McCulloch, Chesterfield
BACK in May when we secured a Champions League slot, David Moyes had every right to proclaim a new dawn at Goodison. However, this depended on Everton making at least six quality signings through the close season. If he had done this we may have had a chance to equal our achievements of last season. As much as Alan Green's article hurts it is not far from the reality of the situation. This summer has shown us that Moyes either does not have the money to spend or does not like parting with it. I salute Alan Green for telling it as it is.
Terry Craven, Liverpool
DAVID MOYES could be tempted to use this article as motivation for Everton's upcoming fixtures.
However, it's more likely that the Everton management team are struggling to get off the floor from laughing at the insane ramblings of a little man who clearly knows nothing about football.
Darrel Pugh, Merseyside
EVERTON haven't signed any class players on the back of last season. Isn't that what Alan Green is making apparent? But where Green was wrong was in his attack on David Moyes. The boss can hardly tell the same group of over-achievers to perform less vigorously.
Martin Farrington, Merseyside

Blues fans take a limo ride to Euro game
Aug 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
ELEVEN Everton fans will be arriving in style at tomorrow's Champions League game after travelling across Europe in a chauffeur-driven limousine. The stretch limo set off from Goodison Park yesterday, waved off by Everton legend Graeme Sharp. Terry Taylor, 22, of Broad Square, Norris Green, said the trip to Spain would cost more than £2,000, but would be well worth it. He said: "We usually fly to matches abroad and have driven before. We'll have a brilliant time and are really looking forward to the experience." The friends, who include Terry's father and brother, always go to matches together and think they will soon get used to the luxuries of having their own driver. They say it could even cushion the blow if the Blues lose out to Villarreal. The fans were aiming to arrive at their destination in Valencia after taking a ferry to France and driving south. Terry said: "We went to Bolton last year in a limo and we really enjoyed ourselves even though we got beat, so we wanted to do it again." He added that they were determined to go one better than the Liverpool fans featured in the ECHO who travelled to Istanbul in a taxi.

Cancer groups slam Stubbs contract
Aug 23 2005 By Helen Hunt, Liverpool Echo
CANCER campaigners slammed Everton after the club included a getout clause in Alan Stubbs's contract. The player has twice beaten the disease and had been expected to extend his career at Goodison Park. But Stubbs yesterday revealed he quit the club for Sunderland after being angered by a clause which could have terminated his contract if the disease returned. Everton chiefs confirmed the clause was initially included in a one-year-deal, but said it would have been withdrawn if Stubbs had agreed to a medical. But today cancer campaigners said the clause should never have been there. Devoted Evertonian Phil Morris, who runs a web-site for survivors of testicular cancer, said he was ditching his club shirt. The 32-year-old, who works part-time as a truck driver, said: "I've lots of calls from sufferers who feel the same way. "It's a kick in the teeth for every lad who's had testicular cancer who's worked hard to get back to normal." "They shouldn't have to worry about getting a job after cancer." Stubbs, 33, was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999. It came back the following year in his stomach, but he was eventually given the all-clear in January 2001. Everton claimed Stubbs left because he wanted a two-year contract, not because of the cancer clause. Two of Merseyside's largest employers, Merseyside police and Liverpool council said as public organisations they did not use get-out clauses. But Everton spokesman Ian Ross defended their use. He said: "They are accepted, standard practice within many businesses, particularly football. "When Alan Stubbs arrived here from Celtic in 2001 he was perfectly happy to have the clause inserted in the contract." He added Stubbs was made the offer of a 12-month extention to his contract last October which had included the clause. When he asked for it to be removed Everton said they would withdraw it once he had been examined by a consultant. They say Stubbs later told them he wanted a 24-month contract and rejected the 12 month deal, having never undertaken the medical. He later joined Sunderland.

Watch game with Blues legends
Aug 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
JOIN Everton legends Dave Watson and Graeme Sharp in the People's Club to watch the Blues take on Villarreal in the Champions League tomorrow. Watson was the skipper of the side the last time Everton played competitively on European shores, while Sharp was, of course, indelibly involved in the club's greatest ever European game against Bayern Munich 20 years ago. The evening starts in plenty of time for the kick off at 9pm with big screens beaming all the action from Villarreal.
Throughout the evening Waggy and Sharpy will also be taking Evertonians questions in an exclusive Q&A. Places are limited so everyone is urged to book early by contacting Everton's hospitality team on 0151 330 2321. Venue: The People's Club (formerly Legends) Price: £12 pp.

Promise of bright future in greatest challenge yet
By Ian Doyle in Villarreal, Daily Post
Aug 24 2005
THE decision to hold yesterday's press conference in the prayer room at John Lennon Airport may have been unintentionally symbolic, but David Moyes needs no reminder of the task facing his players this evening. Ever since the Scot's arrival three-and-a-half years ago, Everton have continually confounded the doubters and the expectations of their own supporters, most notably last season when a top-four Premier-ship finish brought qualification for the Champions League within tantalising reach. Now Moyes believes his injury-hit squad will have realised the greatest achievement of his tenure should they manage to take that final step by over-turning Villarreal's first-leg lead and secure a place in the lucrative group stages of Europe's premier club competition.
Everton must score at least two away goals at the Estadio El Madrigal to have any hope of progress following a 2-1 home defeat in which the Spanish La Liga outfit demonstrated why only Barcelona and Real Madrid currently rank higher in their homeland. But while admitting his players await the biggest challenge of their Goodison careers, Moyes is confident this evening's encounter - effectively Everton's most important match in over a decade - represents a glimpse into the not-too-distant future for the club. It would be the biggest achievement for us to get through this, but I'm one of those people who says that our biggest achievement is always around the corner," says Moyes.
"It would be better than finishing fourth last season because we are the underdogs and are coming from behind in the tie against a team who finished third in La Liga behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. They are clearly a good side. "I think it's as big a game as any of my players have been involved in. But this is a taste of what's to come here at Everton. "I'm sure Everton will be back in Europe more often in the coming years, competing to be in the Champions League. That's the aim."
Present matters are of greater concern to Moyes, though, with goals the most pressing need in Villarreal this evening. However, with his extensive efforts to bring in another forward so far frustratingly failing to bear fruit - Dirk Kuyt and Michael Owen the latest nearlymen - injuries to James Beattie and Marcus Bent have only underlined why Moyes has been so keen to bolster his striking options. Both could be patched up and thrown into the fray this evening as Duncan Ferguson loiters on the sidelines waiting to be unleashed. But rather than expend energy by attacking from the off, Moyes is hoping patience proves a virtue. "We've got to score two goals in the 90 minutes, simple as that," he says.. "It doesn't have to happen in the first minute. You can score two goals in a short space of time, but the idea will be to be patient and get into the game.
"We've got to try and put them under pressure. It's a really hard place to go and get a result and everyone is aware of the task we face. But we are doing okay at the moment. It's a different kind of game to those we have played recently, but we can achieve something here." That pressure Everton placed on Villarreal in the first leg led to a number of disparaging remarks from the ruffled Spaniards, most notably from goal-keeper Mariano Barbosa who yesterday followed up his grumbles about English "animals" with another set of whines over the perceived roughhouse tactics of the Goodison side and the unsettling behaviour of their supporters. Thousands of those fans are expected to descend upon Villar-real to provide more rousing backing for Everton's players. And rather than rise to Barbosa's bait, Moyes greets the comments with bemusement. "I hear their players criticising our style, but it baffles me," he says. "This is a team with Mikel Arteta, Simon Davies, Phil Neville, Leon Osman - I find it hard to see how we could have a poor style of play with those type of players." Indeed, with the flap-happy Barbosa a clear weak link in the Villarreal defence, the custodian can expect more of the same this evening with Everton buoyed by their hard-earned, morale-boosting victory at Bolton Wanderers on Sunday. "We'll try to play to our strengths," adds Moyes. "We are strong and tough. We'll make sure they know they have been in a battle. They have to understand that's part of our footballing culture at the club, but I don't think anyone could say we were over-physical in the first leg. It didn't go for us in the game at Goodison Park, but we put them under pressure and that's the main thing. We had a lot of the ball in and around the box but it didn't quite go for us, and they scored two well-taken goals. We played with a high tempo and that's something we'll have to do again. "The win against Bolton has given us a boost, and our defenders were fantastic on Sunday. We kept a clean sheet which was something we did regularly last season, and we have to do that again against Villarreal." Qualification to the group stages of the Champions League tonight would not only represent Everton's finest achievement under Moyes, it would give them access to a potential £15million treasure chest. Money, though, is not the motivator for the Goodison manager. "This would be a huge step for us, and it's one we would never really envisaged happening so soon," says Moyes. "The financial implications of progress are obvious and significant, especially with what it does in terms of our budget, but it's the prestige about reaching the group stage that is driving me on personally. "To say we made the group stage of the Champions League and have the chance to compete would be more important than any financial gain."

Money's no object in bringing Owen back
By Ian Doyle In Villarreal, Daily Post
Aug 24 2005
DAVID MOYES has offered to rescue Michael Owen from his Real Madrid frustration - as Everton look to finalise a loan move for Roma's Matteo Ferrari. The Everton manager, whose side attempt to qualify for the Champions League group stages tonight against Villarreal, revealed yesterday that he believes a move for Owen remains a future possibility despite the 25-year-old declining a transfer to Goodison. It also emerged Moyes made a £10million offer earlier this month for Feyenoord striker Dirk Kuyt - also linked with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur - and has lodged a substantial bid for a third striker as he moved to quell any criticism of the backing he has received from the Goodison board during a largely frustrating summer in the transfer market. Moyes does appear close, however, to a major breakthrough in his pursuit for defensive cover as representatives of Ferrari - who didn't train with Roma yesterday - last night claimed he is poised to signing a season long loan deal with a view to sealing a £3.7million transfer next summer. Meanwhile Moyes confirmed: "We've tried for Michael Owen. He was very kind and his representatives were very kind too and said maybe it wasn't the right move at this time. People know Michael Owen was an Everton supporter as a boy and, in time, something may happen. "We would love to have Michael Owen here and would offer the money required to take him here. We've been asking the questions for a lot longer than most people think." Owen is almost certain to return to the Premiership after being deemed surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu. Liverpool remains his preferred destination, but with the transfer window closing next week and no Anfield deal seemingly as yet in the offing, his future remains uncertain. Moyes, who previously saw moves for Mikael Forssell and Craig Bellamy fail to transpire this summer, added: "We also offered £10m for Dirk Kuyt of Feyenoord on August 1 and Feyenoord came back and said they wanted 18m euros for him. "We offered nearly that much for another big name striker as well. "People are saying the board haven't been backing me but we've been out competing and trying for new players all summer. People who say we haven't been in for players are wrong. I just do my business quietly rather than in public. "For the last 10 years we haven't been in for these kind of players, so rather than criticising us, people should be praising Everton for attempting to buy these type of players. That just shows how far the club has come on."
Despite the double rebuff, Moyes is convinced there will be new faces arriving at Goodison before the end of the month, although he dismissed the suggestion qualification tonight would have a major effect on his immediate spending plans. "I'd think people will be coming in before the deadline closes," he said. "There will be some coming in, definitely. I've got several players who I feel might arrive. "Qualifying for the group stages might not benefit us in the short term as there are only a few days left in the transfer window, but in the long-term it would raise the profile of the club." Everton, who must score at least two goals at the Estadio El Madrigal to overcome a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Villarreal, have been hampered by a host of injuries. James Beattie could be given an injection and asked to play through the pain barrier of his toe injury, while Marcus Bent faces a late fitness test on the knee injury that forced him off during Sunday's win at Bolton Wanderers.
"James Beattie has done some light training since he suffered the injury, but there's an outside chance that we could give him an injection to play," said Moyes. "Marcus Bent has also trained but is rated very doubtful." A final decision on whether one or both forwards take part tonight will be taken at lunchtime today. Definitely out, however, is Alessandro Pistone. The knee injury sustained by the Italian at the Reebok is more serious than originally feared, and with Gary Naysmith recovering from a second operation on his ankle, Moyes had admitted he may have to move for a left-back. The arrival of 25 year-old Ferrari, though, would help provide additional options at the back. "Alessandro Pistone has had a scan and maybe it's worse than we first thought," said the manager. Everton, meanwhile, have reiterated the final contract offered to Alan Stubbs did not contain a clause relating to the cancer he beat four years ago. On the advice of their own medical staff, who consulted with the player's cancer specialist, the club were satisfied with the health of the defender and withdrew the clause. Stubbs joined Sunderland earlier this month.
* EVERTON teenager James Vaughan has signed his first professional contract at the club. The Birmingham-born striker has signed a three-year deal. Vaughan celebrated his new deal by joining up with the first-team squad in Spain. The 17-year-old said: "It has been a huge learning curve playing against senior players but our reserve coach Andy Holden has always been there to offer me advice."

Martyn refuses to rule out England World Cup return
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 24 2005
NIGEL MARTYN is refusing to rule out a return to the England set-up ahead of next summer's World Cup. Sven-Goran Eriksson has been urged to recall the Everton keeper following the error-prone performance of David James in the 4-1 friendly defeat in Denmark last week. Martyn earned the last of his 23 caps in a 2-2 draw with Cameroon in May 2002 in a World Cup warm-up match in Kobe. The 39-year-old then asked not to be considered for the England team as he wanted to concentrate on resurrecting his career with Everton and has since discouraged talk of a comeback. But after being arguably the most consistent English goalkeeper in the Premiership over the past two seasons with the Goodison club, Martyn has said he is willing to reconsider his stance - provided it is not to the detriment of his performances for Everton. "You never say no to your country when they come calling," said Martyn yesterday. "But I have benefited during my brief time with Everton by not playing for England. "It gives me more time to rest between games and is helping prolong my career. All those trips away are hard and you are training constantly. "I think my retirement from England was forced on me because I was not playing for Leeds at the time and it would have taken a brave manager to select me. But I was fortunate to have been given another chance at Everton and I think I should repay that than be totally selfish. I am enjoying every minute at the moment."

We can turn it around
Aug 24 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will urge his Everton players to seize the moment this evening and produce the performance of their lives to secure a place in the Champions League group stages. Trailing Villarreal 2-1 from the first leg at Goodison Park a fortnight ago, Everton boss Moyes believes only a faultless display will be good enough in the Estadio El Madrigal to turn things back in their favour. But he believes his side can produce the improbable - and he also hopes to secure a further boost by completing a double signing before the end of the week. The Blues are close to completing a loan deal, with a view to a permanent £3.7m transfer, of Roma left-back Matteo Ferrari - and moves will also be revived to land Inter midfielder Andy Van Der Meyde. But first, Moyes is focused on tonight's challenge. The Blues' boss still has a couple of fitness issues to resolve before he final-ises his team selection. James Beattie kicked a ball for the first time in training last night and could play with the aid of a painkilling injection, but it is touch-and-go whether Marcus Bent will be involved. Nevertheless, the manager is confident that his squad are up for the challenge. As he realises, chances like this do not come along too often so that is why he will ask them to run themselves to a standstill to upset the odds. "If they do get the result, it will probably be the biggest result that any of these players have got," declared Moyes. "We are away to a Spanish side who finished only behind Real Madrid and Barcelona last season. V "That gives you an indication of how difficult it is going to be. That is why from my point of view and the players point of view, it will probably be the best result most of us will have had in our career. This is certainly the biggest game I have been involved in. "I think I will tell them that they have got an opportunity and not to let it go. They should grasp every chance they can. If they come in at the end of the game and their best has not been good enough, then you can't ask for any more. "But I am sure that they will. I'm sure that they see this as an opportunity because they worked really hard last year to get into that position and now we have got to see if we can do it on the night." Boosted by recording a first win of the season against Bolton on Sunday, Moyes will be looking for his defence to keep as cool under pressure as they did at The Reebok, not to mention showing the same killer instinct. He does, however, have the utmost respect for Villarreal and having watched them on at least six occasions since the draw was made in Nyon last month, Moyes knows only too well that Manuel Pelligrini's side are nothing but ruthless if they are given a chance. "They are a terrific side and have got some terrific players," conceded Moyes. "They are comfortable on the ball, they have a good system which is slightly different to the way that we play and it is unorthodox at times. "But then again, they are really stable. They have the players to hurt you like Riquelme. We have got to be wary of what they can do. However, we have got to try and hurt them ourselves and we have certainly not come here a beaten team."

Lets put Blues back in the big time - Cahill
Aug 24 2005 EXCLUSIVE by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHEN David Moyes stands in the dressing room of the El Madrigal Stadium this evening, he will be able to keep his pre-match pep talk short and sweet. There are some games during a season when the stakes are so high that a manager simply has to point his play-ers in the right direction, knowing they will bound onto the pitch to give their all. Villarreal against Everton is one such occasion. Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, the Blues know they have 90 minutes to turn things upside down and propel themselves into the Champions League group stages. Many judges have written Moyes' men off already, suggesting that they will not be able to cope with the Spaniards' slick, quick passing game, and the best Everton can hope for is to head back to Merseyside with a respectable defeat.
Everton's players, however, will not be reading from that script. Buoyed by Sunday's gritty 1-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers, confidence and belief is soaring in the ranks. Of course, nobody is rash enough to make any outlandish statements because while each squad member has faith that they can deliver a star performance, they appreciate it will be difficult against a side that finished third in La Liga last year. But as influential midfielder Tim Cahill points out, this is Everton's big chance to get a foot firmly back in the big time. And if the players have to run themselves to a standstill to achieve it, that's what they will do. "We had to battle against Bolton but full credit to us because we got the points," said Cahill. "At the end of the day that is all that matters. We were under no illusions about what we were going to face. We needed to win a lot of second balls but we did it very well and we got the three points which gets us off to a great start. "Now we can worry about Villarreal. It's a massive game, a really big tie. We have got a massive chance but if we are going to get through, we are going to have to mix it with them early on. "If we get an early goal, we will be able to crack on from there. I'm not bothered about what other people think about us. I think Villarreal will be wary of us because we are a very physical side. "We have just got to do our best, play our football and give 100 per cent as we always do. It's one chance to get into the Champions League and make Everton famous. We have got a team that will run through brick walls to get a result. "If that's good enough, then so be it. If it's not, we are just going to have to accept it and move on. The main priority was to get three points against Bolton and now we can cope with Villar-real. We are full of confidence." Given his ability to ghost into the box and pop up with important goals - he did it 12 times last season - Cahill is sure to have a significant role to fulfil if Everton are to turn their dreams into reality. Injuries to key players may have meant that Moyes' plans have been thrown into disarray but there is every chance that some of his walking wounded will be fit enough to figure at some point this evening. The Australian is confident that whichever side the manager chooses will do itself justice. His defence was back to its obdurate best at Bolton, the strikers are doing everything they can to sniff out goals, while Moyes' new look midfield axis of Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta and Cahill has clicked smoothly into gear. Having been voted Player of the Year last season, Cahill - who provided the cross for Marcus Bent's winner at Bolton - has started this campaign in a similar vein. Yet, typically, he is more concerned about helping the team on to better things. "It's easy when you play with good players," Cahill stressed. "Phil and Mikel are great players and the strikers have been playing well, too. "Benty gives us a different element running in the channels, Fergie won every header against Bolton and it will be good to get Beats back doing what he does best, which is scoring goals. "There are plenty of options for the manager and hopefully we will be able to produce the goods for him. "We definitely needed the three points against Bolton. The table makes much better reading than it did beforehand. Now it's onwards and upwards."

Fans hit by air traffic control blues
Aug 24 2005 By Michelle Fiddler, Liverpool Echo
HUNDREDS of Everton fans were caught up in air traffic control chaos at Liverpool's John Lennon Airport today. Over 300 fans were stuck on an Air Slovakia plane on the runway after it was grounded for more than two hours before leaving for Spain. A further 150 supporters on a 9am flight with Air Scotland were also delayed. Airport bosses said there were problems with the national air traffic control computer. Stanley Joyce, from Kirkby, said: "We have been sitting on the plane for over two hours. There is no air conditioning and we have only been given a small cup of juice each to drink." Neil McFarlane, 37, from Chester, said: "We should have left at 9am and been in Valencia by noon English time. Then we were due to spend the day in Valencia ahead of tonight's match.
"We were called to the boarding gate but then told it was being put back until at least 1pm.
"We paid £299 for this flight but we are just being messed around." Everton are playing Villareal tonight. A spokesman for Everton said: "It is sad but the fans will get there in time for the match and we hope it doesn't detract from their enjoyment. "We can control many things at Goodison but air traffic is not one of them." A spokesman for Liverpool Airport said: "The air traffic control system has gone down nationally meaning restrictions on planes getting off the ground.
"We have been restricted to one departure and one arrival every five minutes." The planes took off two hours late.

Blues tickets on sale now
Aug 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP, FULHAM v EVERTON, SATURDAY AUGUST 27 (3pm): Stand tickets for this fixture are priced £28 (adults), £20 (Over 65s) and £10 (Juniors - under 16 only) and are currently on general sale from the Park End Box Office from 9.30am each day. Please note that any concessionary tickets purchased must be bought for people under 16 years of age or over 65 years of age. Identification will be required upon entry into the stadium.
BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP, EVERTON v PORTSMOUTH, SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 10 (3pm): Evertonia members only sales continue from the Park End Box Office during normal office hours. All members will need to produce a valid membership card in order to purchase a ticket within this priority period. Members should note that Evertonia membership entitles the holder to one ticket per membership. General sale will commence on Tuesday, August 30 from the Park End Box Office at 9.30am. Supporters should note that a Dial-A-Seat service on 08707 383786 will also be in operation for this fixture.
BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP, ARSENAL v EVERTON, MONDAY SEPTEMBER 19 (8pm): Stand tickets priced £35 (adults), £17.50 (over 65s and juniors - under 16 only) are currently available to season ticket holders upon production of voucher no 34 together with not less than nine away match ticket stubs (different games) from season 2004/2005 and properly affixed to the official away match saving sheet from the Park End Box Office today from 9.30am. Joe Mercer and People's Club members should present voucher 34 from their season ticket books. All other executive members need to present cup priority voucher three from their season ticket books. Please note that any concessionary tickets purchased must be bought for people under 16 years of age or over 65 years of age. Identifi-cation will be required upon entry into the stadium. Supporters should note that applications will not be accepted unless stubs are attached to the official away match saving sheet.

Moyes played Bolton at own game for win
Aug 24 2005 Echo Letters, icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
WE PLAYED as we did against Bolton because they are a horrible team to play against. We will play much better than that in other games. They are like the old Wimbledon team, where they were one of the few teams you had to change your style against as they were so physical. That showed in the selection of Bent and Kilbane who are bigger and better in the air than the likes of Osman who missed out. Moyes knows what he is doing. You don't make the Champions League by fluke!
Danny Frodsham, Liverpool
SUNDAY'S game wasn't the greatest but I'm not bothered how we get the points as long as we get them. Look at Chelsea - they were lucky to beat Wigan and won at the weekend with a dodgy goal off Drogba's knee, but I don't imagine they are too bothered about how they win as long as they do win. Bolton didn't take their chances and we had one and took it. We want our performances to be better and definitely need more shots on goal but three points is three points.
Tony Brown, Fazakerley
I'M made up we got three points but can any Evertonian say hand on heart they enjoyed the game against Bolton? Was anybody else disgusted that two Premiership teams kicked long ball all afternoon? You would see better football in the park. I was ashamed to say I was an Everton fan. This was fourth v sixth from last year remember. It has to be the worst game in Premiership history, bar none.
Roy Crabb, Bootle
WE STILL need a consistent striker, but it looks like we'll have to play the hand we already have. Vaughan should get his big chance now, I'd start him against Villarreal tonight. As long as Bent is fit, we will need to play 4-4-2 to get any sort of result.
Billy Prescott, Tuebrook
THESE bids for Kuyt and Owen look like publicity stunts by the board to make it look like we are trying. Owen didn't want to come but what puzzles me is if we have that kind of money to spend why not bid for Keane or Baros, both of whom would have jumped at the chance to come?
Terry Smith, Liverpool
WHATEVER the situation regarding bringing players into the club, what we should be concentrating on at the moment is cheering the boys on tonight.
Sean Smith, Childer Thornton

Watson dinner
Aug 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Dave Watson is the guest speaker at a Liverpool Lions' Sportsman's Dinner on Thursday, October 20. To be held at the Holiday Inn, Lime Street in aid of Everton's Former Players Association, there will also be comedy from Eddie Archer. Tickets, priced £45, are available from Peter Hart on 0151-424-2508 or David Scott on 0151-489-1981.

I'd answer Sven's call - Martyn
Aug 24 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN is refusing to rule out a surprise return to international football. With doubts over David James' position in the England squad following his woeful display in last week's 4-1 defeat against Denmark in Copenhagen, many pundits have championed the claims of Everton star Martyn.
The 39-year-old has not played for England since May 26, 2002, when he was involved in a World Cup warm up match against Cameroon in Japan but has arguably been one of the most consistent keepers in the Premiership since. While he maybe in the twilight of his career, Martyn is still performing to the peak of his powers - think of his wonderful finger tip save from El-Hadji Diouf in Sunday´s 1-0 win at Bolton - and if Sven-Goran Eriksson happens to phone soon, there is only one answer he would be able to give. "You can never say no if your country comes calling," said Martyn, who has been capped 23 times by England. "What I have benefited from in the time I have not been in the squad is not being away for a long time because having plenty of rest has enabled me to prolong my career. "When you are away with England, you are travelling and training constantly.
"But it is a World Cup year, so I guess you do not rule anything out. I think (the decision to retire) was more forced on me when I was not in the Leeds team. "When you are not playing for your club, it is hard to be picked for your country. "I have been fortunate that Everton have offered me such a wonderful opportunity since then and rather than be selfish perhaps I have to give something back in return. "Having seen things peter out at Leeds, I had to take this chance with both hands." Of more immediate concern to Martyn, however, is tonight's Champions League return with Villarreal and though Everton are considered to be long shots, he insists the Blues are equipped to get the result they need. "We are British so we like the backs to the wall kind of scenario," Martyn added. "We are much happier when people are writing us off. "It is going to be a tough game and we are going to have to make sure that we put in a good performance. There is nothing more we can do than that."

Villarreal 2, Everton 1 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Estadio El Madrigal, Daily Post
Aug 25 2005
Villarreal win 4-2 on aggregate
EVERTON supporters will wake up this morning wishing Pierluigi Collina hadn't put off his retirement after all. The Italian referee joins Clive Thomas in the Goodison hall of infamy after disallowing Duncan Ferguson's 80th-minute header for an infringement by Marcus Bent that only the folicallychallenged official managed to spot. It was heartbreaking for Everton and the thousands of supporters who had made the journey to Villarreal in the hope of watching their side earn an unlikely qualification to the group stages of the Champions League. Outplayed for long stretches and thankful for a magnificent Nigel Martyn performance, the determination, team spirit and collective talent that so personified their achievements last season came to the fore as they battled back to within an ace of forcing extra-time. After going behind to a deflected Juan Pablo Sorin opener, Mikel Arteta's sublime second-half free-kick gave Everton renewed hope of a memorable comeback to rank among their finest achievements. But they were dashed by an unfathomable decision by Collina, who was given special dispensation to continue his officiating career after passing the age of retirement last season. On this evidence, it must be asked - why? An Arteta corner from the left on 80 minutes was arched perfectly on to the head of Ferguson, who had climbed highest and bulleted home a trademark header past Villarreal goalkeeper Mariano Barbosa. Everton celebrated in the knowledge they had levelled the tie, only for Collina to award a free-kick for an apparent foul by Bent. Diego Forlan's injury-time strike merely rubbed salt into an already gaping wound. But by then the damage had been done. This is an occasion that Everton will remember for a long time for all the wrong reasons. Of course, there is the consolation of UEFA Cup football to look forward to, yet it could - and should - have been so very different. Everton were outclassed for periods of the game in which their lack of European experience was again exposed. But the fact is they deserved better for a brave display of which they can be proud. That sense of injustice will linger for a long time, but the tie ultimately proved a step too far for this Everton vintage. They overachieved with last season's fourth-placed Premiership finish, and if anything, last night's defeat underlined why Moyes simply has to strengthen his squad before the transfer market closes at the end of the month. Otherwise, nights like this - in which Everton were given magnificent backing from their supporters - could remain a novelty rather than a regular occurence. While 1,600 travelling fans were officially inside the Estadio El Madrigal, the actual number was closer to 5,000 as Everton supporters dotted the landscape of the steep, claustrophobic stands, their banners proudly proclaiming the club's return to European football. Passionate Continental support is clearly not the sole domain of the red half of the city. History was against Moyes in his attempts to overcome the odds last night with Everton having won just seven away ties in 11 previous European campaigns. Marcus Bent, matchwinner at Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, came through an extensive fitness test to retain his place, and with James Beattie considered not yet ready for a return Kevin Kilbane replaced the injured Alessandro Pistone at left-back in the only change from the Reebok. Moyes had labelled the game the biggest in the Goodison careers of his players and that his team would play to the strengths which had so ruffled Villarreal in the first game and caused goal-keeper Mariano Barbosa to air his "animals" jibe.. Everton fans are not ones to easily forget, and jeered every touch of the custodian. Everton's formation placed a heavy workload on Kilbane in an unfavoured left-back position, and his cause was not helped by an early booking for a late challenge on Javi Venta that subsequently forced the Villarreal right-back to depart injured. Everton began much the brighter and took the game to their hosts during the early stages without ever threatening weak link Barbosa. Instead it was Villarreal who fashioned the first opportunity, Marcos Senna dragging a long-range effort harm-lessly wide before Martyn just reached Juan Roman Riquelme's throughball ahead of Forlan. But the visitors were in the ascendancy and spurned a fantastic chance to take the lead on 17 minutes. Another bout of Everton pressure culminated with a Phil Neville long throw on the right flicked on by Ferguson only for Tim Cahill - of all people - to direct a free header weakly into the grateful arms of Barbosa. It was to prove a costly miss as Villarreal went ahead three minutes later in the most fortunate of circumstances. With Everton on the attack, Bent lost possession and the ball moved swiftly upfield to Sorin, whose hopeful 20-yard strike seemed destined for Martyn until it deflected off the unlucky David Weir giving the Everton keeper, who had already began diving the other way, little chance. The goal meant Everton still had to score at least twice to just take the game to extra-time. And it gave a previously nervous Villarreal the confidence to dominate the remainder of the half with Moyes's men thankful for another stellar Martyn showing. The keeper beat out two typically ferocious long-range Forlan strikes before twice denying Villarreal playmaker Riquelme in the space of a minute, first palming away a curling free-kick then proving the equal to the Argentine's attempt from an outrageous angle. The second half made no difference to Kilbane's woes, who was fortunate Collina took a lenient view on an ugly challenge on Gonzalo. Bent then shot wide after a rare Everton forward sortie before Forlan was again thwarted by Martyn.
With chances at a premium, the last thing Everton could afford was to waste the few that fell their way. Yet after Simon Davies had skipped past one defender and clipped a dangerous ball into the box, Ferguson, arriving at the far post, could only head wide. Villarreal began to toy with Everton as they sought to kill off the tie but continued to find Martyn in sensational form, the keeper tipping round Luciano Figueroa's instinctive effort after the ball was deflected into the striker's path.
Everton's cause seemed lost until a moment of class gave them renewed hope on 69 minutes. Phil Neville was unnecessarily tripped by Gonzalo on the edge of the area, and Arteta made the Villarreal defender pay by clipping a brilliant free-kick over the wall and inside Barbosa's near post. With Everton tails up and substitute Leon Osman adding much-needed zip to the attack, the Barbosa had a lucky escape moments later when Cahill's left-wing cross hit Sorin and dropped on to the crossbar before being scrambled clear. The game became a genuine end-to-end affair, Martyn left helpless as another deflected Sorin effort drifted wide while Barbosa produced a decent save to deny Ferguson.
Then came Collina's moment of madness that rightly enraged Everton. Despite mounting pressure and one amazing late scramble in the Villarreal penalty area, Barbosa's goal remained intact and Forlan's injury-time tap-in from Sorin's cross sealed Everton's fate. Everton supporters will be interested observers when the UEFA Cup draw is made tomorrow morning. But if it wasn't for a certain Italian referee, it could have been the Champions League draw today that made essential viewing.
VILLARREAL: Barbosa, Rodriguez, Arruabarrena, Forlan, Josico, Riquelme, Figueroa (Tacchinardi 81), Sorin, Quique Alvarez, Javi Venta (Kromkamp 14), Senna. Subs: Lopez Vallejo, Guayre, Hector Font, Santi Cazorla, Pena.
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville, Arteta, Davies (McFadden 79), Cahill, Kilbane (Osman 56), Bent, Ferguson. Subs Not Used: Wright, Li Tie, Hughes, Vaughan, Wilson.
BOOKINGS: Kilbane, Osman.
REFEREE: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)
ATT: 22,000
NEXT GAME: Fulham v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm

Referee cost us chance of victory, says Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 25 2005
DAVID MOYES pointed the finger at referee Pierluigi Collina after Everton slipped out of the Champions League in controversial circumstances last night. The Italian official disallowed an 80th-minute header by Duncan Ferguson that would have put the Goodison side 2-1 ahead on the night and potentially sent the game into extra-time with the aggregate score level at 3-3. But Collina stunned Everton by adjudging Marcus Bent to have fouled Villarreal defender Gonzalo in the area, with the Spaniards going on to win the third qualifying round second leg. And Moyes said: "It was a definite goal. At the time I have to trust the referee with the decision but there is no denying he has made a big mistake tonight. "We went for it towards the end and to get that goal chalked off, it was not right. "It makes the result hard to accept. It was a real tough game for us. I dont' think we were the better team on the night but we were never out of it." Ferguson's disallowed goal came just 11 minutes after Mikel Arteta had brought Everton level with a sublime free-kick following Juan Pablo Sorin's deflected opener for Villarreal. And Moyes believes if the goal had been allowed, the momentum was with his team to complete an amazing turnaround. He added: "I think we had the momentum. We were at a stage where we would have tightened up and at least forced extra-time."
Moyes continued: "We lost a goal to a deflection which deflated us for the rest of the first half after we started well. Then we needed something to come and we got it with the equaliser." Diego Forlan's injury-time strike gave Villarreal a 2-1 win on the night, and Moyes conceded his team had been outplayed for large parts of the game but had the chances to register a memorable victory.
"We had that scramble at the end where no-one could force the ball in," said the Everton manager. "Tim Cahill had a good chance in the first half to put us one up and Duncan had a good chance that he should have scored. "I'm not saying we had loads of chances because they had a lot of opportunities, but we had chances at a good time and had we taken them things might have been different." Everton now drop into the UEFA Cup, with the draw for the first round taking place in Monaco tomorrow. And Moyes is urging his players to learn from their experience in the Champions League. "The players have said that we have to try and get in the competition next year and we now have a chance in the UEFA Cup and we have to learn from this game," he added.. "Maybe over the two legs we let it slip. They scored two wonder goals in the first game. "It has been 20 years for the fans to wait to get back into this competition (European Cup) and we have got to go out and make sure that we give everything to get back in it. "I am really pleased with what the players gave me, but behind that I am disappointed as I wanted so badly to get through to the group stages as I know what it means to Everton. It meant a lot to the fans, to me personally and to the players."

Old boys out to keep up Cottage record
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Aug 25 2005
EVERTON have an awful record at Craven Cottage. Indeed Alan Ball's debut in August 1966 was our last victory down by the Thames. The Cottagers have spent the majority of the last 39 years in a lower division, but after four straight defeats it's time we put the record straight. Recently three Blues stars have moved to Fulham, all having made an impact at Goodison. First off was the Merthyr Maradona, Mark Pembridge, who joined in August 1999 from Benfica. In four years, the ginger Welshman played in all the midfield positions and always gave 100%. He was however on the end of some terrace abuse, but eventually won over the booboys with his shrewd football brain and mean deadball skill. In contrast, Polish/Canadian Tomasz Radzinski, left under a cloud after making unnecessary derogative comments about David Moyes. Initially the little striker struggled after his move from Anderlect in 2001, but eventually became arguably the Toffees star performer during their push for Europe in 2002-03. Radz was often overshadowed by Wayne Rooney, but it was his goals and searing pace that often won the points. Who could forget the late double that beat Southampton? But it all went pear-shaped and Radzinski's parting shot ensures he receives a hot reception whenever the two sides meet. The final member of the Everton/Fulham connection was only at Goodison for a several months, but is fondly remembered. Brian McBride appeared for the USA in the 2002 World Cup, he had also worked for Moyes at Preston. With the Blues stuggling with injuries in January 2003, the big stiker linked up on a three-month loan. Good in the air and sound on the deck, McBride only lacked a yard of pace. He scored four goals, but his age ruled out a permanent move. Let's hope none of the Goodison old boys strike form this Saturday.

Villarreal 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
By Dominic King at Estadio El Madrigal, Liverpool Echo
Aug 25 2005
Villarreal win 4-2 on aggregate
FORTUNE may have failed to favour the brave last night but there is no doubt that Everton have learned siginificant lessons from their all too brief Champions League adventure. As David Moyes sat in front of the assembled Press corps in the El Madrigal Stadium, his expression suggested he could not quite believe what he had seen but also that he was already planning to take the Blues on the next stage of their development. While there is no doubt that an enthralling contest between Everton and Villarreal was ruined by a woeful piece of refereeing from the normally faultless Italian Pierluigi Collina, it was significant that Moyes was not making too many excuses for his beaten troops. Having asked before the game for his players to run themselves to a standstill to have a chance of progressing to the lucrative group stages, the Blues manager was understandably thrilled with the effort and desire of Everton's players. Effort and desire, however, can only take you so far.
Perhaps, then, this was one step too far for a squad that is frustratingly short on numbers and which has been hit hard by a series of injuries to key personnel in recent weeks. The reason Villarreal found themselves a place in today's draw in Monaco and not Everton is simply that they had slightly more quantity and quality in key areas of their squad, not to mention a greater recent experience of European football. As he was in the first leg, Juan Roman Riquelme was absolutely outstanding. Revelling on the big stage, the Argentine playmaker sprinkled stardust all over the pitch, dancing left and right always looking for an opening. It was quality Everton could not match. The Blues have a very good first eleven and it is one that should have no trouble remaining in the top half of the Premiership for a number of years to come. There is every chance, too, that Moyes' current ensemble will prosper in the UEFA Cup. Players such as Nigel Martyn, Tim Cahill, Phil Neville, Simon Davies and Mikel Arteta would get into most Premiership teams, as would the likes of the ever dependable Tony Hibbert, David Weir and Joseph Yobo. It is well documented that the manager is on the lookout for a striker but he is still guaranteed goals from Duncan Ferguson, James Beattie and Marcus Bent, while the emergence of James Vaughan promises to excite. But to take the next leap forward, there needs to be a couple of quality additions before the transfer window shuts at the end of the month to turn promise into reality, the kind of investement that will make games like last night the norm. Because - as they have learned - any weaknesses a side may have will be ruth-lessly exposed in the heat of Champions League combat. When Villarreal had the chance to go for the kill in both ties against Everton, they didn't need a second invitation to do so. Moyes simply didn't possess a strong enough squad to deal with them. For example, look at Kevin Kilbane. He has been a diligent servant for the Blues since he arrived from Sunderland two years ago playing on the left-wing. What he isn't, though, is a left-back but with Alessandro Pistone not available and Neville needed to play in the holding midfield role, Kilbane had to be the square peg in the round hole. He tried his best but never looked comfortable and Villarreal tested him to the full. An early booking did not do his confidence any good and with Moyes playing a 4-1-3-2 system to start off with, Kilbane was often exposed in a position that is alien to him. How the presence of left-back cover was missed. Despite a bright start, Everton ' s confidence drained when Juan Pablo Sorin scored a fortunate opening goal after 20 minutes, his long-range effort deflecting off Weir and leaving Martyn wrong footed. That was the only thing Martyn missed all evening. Once again, the 39-year-old was absolutely oustanding and kept his side in the game with marvellous saves - to name a few - from Diego Forlan, Riquelme and Lucho Figueroa either side of the interval. It took a while for Everton, backed by a huge travelling army of fans, to recover. But it is to their credit that they hauled themselves back into the match and fully deserved their reward when Arteta curled a wonderful free-kick past Marian Barbosa after Phil Neville had been tripped. At that stage an Everton winner looked the most likely and Barbosa denied Ferguson with a magnificent save as the clock ticked down. Sadly, it was Collina who had the most significant intervention after harshly penalising Bent when Ferguson found the net. Desperately chasing a goal to force extra time, it was not a surprise when Everton were caught on the counter attack in injury time, Sorin racing forward to provide Forlan with what will be his easiest chance of the year. Game over, then, for this season. But having had a taste of the life, it is no surprise that Moyes and his men want more. If they are to return to the competition in 12 months time, however, quality must now become the new buzz word at Goodison Park.
VILLARREAL: Barbosa, Rodriguez, Arruabarrena, Forlan, Josico, Riquelme, Figueroa (Tacchinardi 81), Sorin, Quique Alvarez, Javi Venta (Kromkamp 14), Senna. Subs Not Used: Lopez Vallejo, Guayre, Hector Font, Santi Cazorla, Pena.
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville, Arteta, Davies (McFadden 79), Cahill, Kilbane (Osman 56), Bent, Ferguson. Subs Not Used: Wright, Li Tie, Hughes, Vaughan, Wilson.
Booked: Kilbane, Osman. Goals: Sorin 21, Forlan 90; Arteta 69.
Att: 22,000
Ref: Pierluigi Collina (Italy)

Mikel blasts 'ridiculous' decision
Aug 25 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA today blasted top referee Pierluigi Collina for his 'ridiculous' decision to disallow a Duncan Ferguson goal - a judgement that ended Everton's Champions League dream. The Spanish midfielder was one of a number of outstanding performers for the Blues in last night's 2-1 defeat against Villarreal and he looked to have given his side a chance of qualifying for the group stages when he scored a late free-kick. However, Arteta was left distraught when Collina ruled out Ferguson's 80th minute header for an infringement against Marcus Bent. Having had the chance to watch the incident numerous times since, Arteta is still perplexed as to why the Italian official penalised Everton. But having come so close to getting through to the group stages, the former Real Sociedad star says there is now a huge determination in the squad to qualify for the Champions League again and go one step better. "It was a really difficult game for us but we did everything that we could," said Arteta. "After my goal, we had chances and then we scored a really clear goal through Duncan. The referee said that it was foul but where was it? I think it was absolutely ridiculous. I have seen the replay six times and the only thing he could have given it for was against Benty. "Benty wasn't holding the defender or anything and it was not his fault. It is just ridiculous.
"I think the spirit and the performance was magnificent. You could not ask for any more from the lads but we need to keep going. We want to play in the Champions League again. "We are disappointed, we are frustrated because we have done everything that we possibly can. "But it is like the gaffer says - we should be proud of what we have achieved and hopefully we can do great things in the UEFA Cup."

Italian defender set to answer Blues' SOS
Aug 25 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MATTEO FERRARI is racing to shore up Everton's defence at Fulham on Saturday. The Italian defender was expected to complete a year-long loan to Everton today, with a view to
a permanent £3.7m transfer, and Dutch winger Andy van der Meyde could join him at Goodison before the weekend. Everton were today trying to process the paperwork which would enable left-back Ferrari to make his debut at Craven Cottage. His agent, Giovanni Corci, said last night: "The time has come to sign with Everton. It will be a loan move with an option to buy at the end of the season for an agreed sum of around £3.7m. "We are only waiting for club administrator Rosella Sensi to ratify this move." Inter, meanwhile, are prepared to accept £2m for midfielder Andy van der Meyde and Everton will try to negotiate a deal in the next 48 hours. The transfer talks have taken longer than usual, with Blues officials in Spain for last night's Champions League qualifier - and then jetting directly to Monaco for tomorrow's UEFA Cup draw. As transfer-manouevring intensifies ahead of next week's deadline, the Blues seem prepared to listen to offers for Scottish winger James McFadden. The long-anticipated signing of Preston midfielder Dickson Etuhu is also expected to be finalised before next Wednesday.

Players gave me everything, insists proud boss Moyes
Aug 25 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was left with mixed emotions today as he reflected on Everton's brave exit from the Champions League. Thrilled with the efforts of his players but frustrated by Pierluigi Collina's decision to disallow Duncan Ferguson's goal during the 2-1 defeat against Villarreal, the Blues boss could not help but think what might have been as he jetted back into John Lennon Airport. A place in the UEFA Cup may seem scant consolation but Moyes insists it is a challenge that should be grasped with both hands. "I'm really pleased with what the play-ers have given me," said Moyes, whose side lost out 4-2 on aggregate. "We were never out of the game at any stage. We had a chance and we put in a good, whole-hearted performance. "But behind that, I am disappointed because I wanted so badly to get into the group stages of the Champions League. "I know what it means to Everton, I personally wanted it and so too did the players. "We are in the UEFA Cup now and we have to learn from that. I told the players before the game that this club had waited 10 years to get back into Europe and said that even if we didn't get through, we had to make the supporters know that we did all we could. "The supporters were fantastic. They came here in their thousands and they will go home the same as we do, saying that we were unlucky not to get through."
Moyes admitted Villarreal had shown themselves to be outstanding opponents over the two legs and that they went a long way towards booking their place in the group stages with a superb performance at Goodison Park. But the Blues boss insisted that had Everton shown more of a killer instinct at crucial times during each game, it would probably have been them involved in today's Champions League draw. "Tim Cahill had a chance in the first half and Duncan had one in the second that he probably should have scored," said Moyes. "But there is no denying that the referee has made a mistake. "It makes the result hard to accept. It was a tough game but we were a match for Villarreal. We now have to try and get in the competition again next year and now we have a chance in the UEFA Cup. "We have to try and learn from the games against Villarreal. Maybe we let things slip in the first leg when we let them score two goals. But they were two wonder goals and make no mistake, they are a top team."

Lessons to be learnt from cruel setback
Aug 25 2005 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S European adventure has only just begun, rather than prematurely ended. David Moyes' continental course has simply taken a different path, rather than run into a dead end. But while tomorrow's UEFA Cup draw cannot possibly hand the Blues a tougher test than the one they came agonisingly close to passing last night, Everton's experience in El Madrigal will have offered them lessons they must learn if further European heart-ache is not to be endured this season. Sure, they were robbed last night. The baffling decision by the world's best referee to disallow Duncan Ferguson's late header was bare-headed, wide-eyed robbery. But while it was disappointing to witness Pierluigi Collina clearly taken in by Villarreal's pre-match bleatings about rough-house tactics and overly-aggressive approach play - he,, arguably, is more sensitive to the abrasive English approach than most. Aerial combat is not an art European referees are used to - and if Everton insist on a direct approach on their travels abroad in future, more officials will imagine phantom fouls in packed penalty boxes. But that's for the next leg of the European adventure. For now, Evertonians can be rightly proud of their team's efforts - and justifiably outraged by the manner of their exit from Champions League football. It seems that Everton, the European Cup and a simmering sense of injustice will never be separated. No-one argued that Villarreal were the better, more technically accomplished team over the two legs. But the best, most gifted teams don't always triumph in Europe. Ask Barcelona. For the final half-hour of last night's Spanish second leg Villarreal were rattled, pushed onto the back foot - and at the mercy of an Everton team building an impressive head of steam. Duncan Ferguson should have scored, then Mikel Arteta did - before Ferguson finally did plant a towering header past the flailing Argentine cry baby. Sadly, it seems that Mariano Barbosa's assertions that Everton were "worthless animals" who had bullied him throughout an uncompromising first leg had been translated into Italian. Because only Pierluigi Collina can explain what offence he thought he saw committed in the Villarreal penalty box. He pointed the finger of accusation at Marcus Bent, but repeated television replays from a succession of angles revealed nothing - save Bent's own shirt being tugged. But interpretation of that offence, strict in domestic football, seems to be more liberal in Europe. Refs' boss Keith Hackett assured David Moyes that refereeing would be the same in Europe as it is at home. It wasn't. Ferguson could barely raise an arm without a whistle sounding, while Villarreal's play-acting and feigning of injury was depressingly predictable. At least Collina did spot a shameless attempt to have the yellow-carded Kevin Kilbane sent-off with a shocking dive. Sadly he did not punish the offender. Everton were the team punished when they thought they had secured extra-time - and the knowledge that just one more goal would have made them overwhelming favourites to progress. As it was Everton were even subjected to the indignity of a defeat by Diego Forlan's injury time breakaway. That was twisting the knife, but the initial wound had been opened by Signor Collina. If Everton can learn the lessons, it does not have to prove fatal to their European aspirations this season.

Blues fans are kings of road
Aug 25 2005 Evertonia, Liverpool Echo
A DOZEN supporters who called on the spirit of Evertonia this week to make the most of the club's first excursion into European competition for a decade have pledged to make it a regular event.
Twelve Blues fans travelled to the El Madrigal Stadium for last night's Champions League tie in a limousine - from Goodison! It meant an epic journey through England and France en route to Villarreal near Valencia in east Spain. And the supporters have vowed to use the same form of transport to get them to each of Everton's European games this season. Bob Sefton, one of two drivers leading the Blue expedition, which set off on Monday morning, said: "There were two of us sharing the driving so it was a bit tiring, but it was a good trip. We went to Bolton on the last day of last season in the same limo and said we would do it again for Europe. "Everybody enjoyed it and we will definitely do it again for Europe, provided we don't have to go to Russia! We decided we wanted to see the Blues in style and that was the best way to do it. "It was a terrific experience. I was surprised at how many cars we saw on the way down with flags and scarves hanging out of the window." The Evertonians on the trip were: Alec, Joe, Terry and Tony Taylor, Eddie Smyth, Mark Alderson, Jon Lister, Simon Cheyne, Mark Toop, Gary and Danny Morrison and Bob Sefton.
Be a derby mascot
THOSE fans who have not yet entered our competition to be a mascot for the Goodison derby in December still have a chance of winning this unique prize. Supporters who join Evertonia's junior membership before the end of August will be considered for this exclusive ECHO competition.
To enter, answer the following question:
Who scored the winning goal in last season's Goodison derby? SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO: Evertonia Mascot Competition, Scott McLeod, Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, Goodison Road, Liverpool. L4 4EL. Include your name, age and Evertonia membership number on your entry.
* EVERTONIA is the new members club for Everton supporters of all ages. Membership is £19.99 for adults and £9.99 for under 16s.

The jury
Aug 25 2005 Liverpool Echo
What are your views on last night's Champions League exit at the hands of Villarreal? THE FERGUSON goal that never was should have been the most financially significant moment in Everton's history. Instead, it will now take its place alongside Hansen's handball and Hamilton's chest in the 'What if' section of our proud history. To spend too long bemoaning the deficiencies of the current Everton team would be to deny Martyn, Weir, Cahill, Davies and the rest the credit they deserve for never allowing what is undoubtedly a top class football team in Villarreal to get a firm grip on the match. The acquisition of a fast and prolific centre forward is a necessity. However, an exciting playmaking winger could turn what is undeniably a very good team into an excellent team.

And so to the UEFA Cup - a trophy that would, lets not forget, be very handsome to win. We can surely hope for a kinder draw than we got this time around.
'YOU CAN'T always get what you want' seems an apt song after last night. Being an Evertonian, you sometimes feel like no matter how much we try, how much effort we give, something and usually someone will always come in and throw water all over your fire. I could have been talking about how Everton had heroically made it into the Champions League, against the odds, but Pierluigi Collina changed all that. Yes we have the UEFA Cup but I can't help but feel we have been robbed again.
I would happily accept it if we had been beaten by the better team on the night but for 60 of the 90 minutes we were superior. Although I'm trying to look for positives it's difficult without thinking that fate has given us yet another beating. So what next? A trip to Europe's unknown, maybe a trip to Ukraine or Monaco. Whatever happens, fate will probably raise its ugly head again.
IT WAS always going to be difficult to go to Spain and score two away goals but I didn't expect us to be denied by a bad referee decision and the chance to go to extra time. We showed over both legs that we have the abilty, if not the pretty football, to compete with teams from Europe. As for Everton, yes it is disappointing not to have reached the group stages and people may look at it as a lost opportunity but we have come a long way in a season and to be in the UEFA Cup is an achievement which no-one expected last August. Hopefully Everton can consolidate by building on last year's achievements. We have to take heart from the games we have played so far and also enjoy the experience again of playing in Europe. It's not quite what we wanted but let's not pass up the chance of enjoying the European games we will see this year.
IT'S A shame Pierluigi Collina's enforced retirement was reversed, as one inexplicable decision dealt a fatal blow to hopes of glamorous Champions League ties and huge financial reward.
There was still much to be happy with in a game that could not have been more different to the battle at the Reebok. Although there was some reliance on the excellent Nigel Martyn to continue his fine form, chances were created against an impressive side. Villarreal should be seen as a blueprint and inspiration for our future success; a squad of very talented footballers gradually put together at relatively little cost, who have gained valuable experience in the UEFA Cup. UEFA Cup fixtures may bring a feeling of 'what if', but they will hopefully provide the knowledge to help us succeed when a Champions League opportunity next presents itself.

Everton in talks over van der Meyde move
Aug 26 2005 By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
EVERTON officials were in Italy last night hoping to conclude a move for Dutch midfielder Andy van der Meyde. Goodison representatives met with their Inter Milan counterparts to thrash out a deal for the 25-year-old, with the clubs believed close to agreeing a fee. The San Siro side will allow the Holland international to depart for around £2million. However, there remain some issues to be resolved - including personal terms - before van der Meyde can become Everton manager David Moyes's latest signing. Everton are also confident of completing a deal for Roma defender Matteo Ferrari within the next few days. The Italian left-back is expected to agree a one-year loan deal with a view to a permanent move, although he faces a race against time to sign before lunchtime today and be eligible for a debut in tomorrow's Premiership match at Fulham. His agent Giovanni Corci said: "The time has come to sign with Everton. It will be a loan move with an option to buy at the end of the season for an agreed sum of around £3.7million." And Everton are closing in on £750,000-rated Preston North End midfielder Dickson Etuhu, with a deal anticipated before the transfer window closes next week. The Goodison club will learn their European fate at noon today when the draw for the UEFA Cup is made in Monaco. With qualifying ties for the competition finishing only last night, Everton have to wait until this morning to dis-cover the format of the draw.
However, having dropped into the UEFA Cup from the qualifying round of the Champions League, they are likely to be among the top half of the seeded clubs. Moyes, meanwhile, has insisted Nigel Martyn is still good enough to play for England after his man-of-the-match heroics in Villarreal on Wednesday night. The goalkeeper had hinted before the game he will consider a return to international football should national coach Sven-Goran Eriksson come calling. And Moyes said: "Nigel was good enough for England before the game and he is certainly still good enough.
"I think Nigel Martyn was outstanding against Villarreal, if that's a big enough word to describe his performance. "In a lot of ways, I hope that he does not have to perform like that too often.
"When he has been called upon, he has performed like that. "The players take so much strength from him and they rely on him and he makes things that are actually quite difficult look simple."
Moyes added: "Since we bought him he has been inspirational for us. Not because he has been flash or anything, he has just been steady and makes very few mistakes. "He is reliable and from our point of view that's important. "It is not for me to pick anyone else's team, but what I would say is that he has not let us down. "If he makes a mistake then it is a genuine one. I can count probably on one hand in the two years that I have had him the mistakes that he has made. "But age is going to be against him. That is why you have to work to see what other keepers are out there and what they can do." Moyes paid tribute to Everton's travelling support, adding: "They were absolutely terrific. So an apology for not getting them further in the competition but hopefully we will be there next year."

No time to feel sorry for cup exit
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 26 2005
MIKEL ARTETA believes Everton's Spanish heartache can spur the club on to success both at home and abroad. David Moyes's side fell short in their attempts to reach the group stages of the Champions League when they were eliminated in controversial fashion by Villarreal in the third qualifying round on Wednesday. Everton remain bemused by referee Pierluigi Collina's decision to disallow a late Duncan Ferguson header that would have levelled the aggregate scores and almost certainly sent the game into extra time. But Arteta is confident the Goodison outfit can take heart from their performance, and has backed the team to impress in the UEFA Cup and ensure another crack at Champions League qualification next season. "The worst thing was to see the draw for the Champions League," said the Spaniard yesterday. "We have been thinking about being in the Champions League all summer, and now we are not there. We feel we should be there. "But we need to forget about it, although we can take confidence from how well we played. "It will give us good experience for the UEFA Cup. We can get into the group stages and that will be another good achievement for the club, and I think we can do well." Everton return to domestic matters tomorrow with a visit to Fulham, and Arteta has warned they must overcome their obvious disappointment at Wednesday's result to resume the difficult task of repeating last season's fourth-place Premiership finish. "We need to get over this as quickly as we can and start our season again," said the midfielder. "Saturday is now important and we have to win. "Some of the other teams around us are signing good players and we know it is going to be really hard to stay in the top four or five this season. "It is going to be difficult to qualify for the Champions League again and people don't expect us to be fourth, but I believe we can do it." It was from Arteta's corner that Ferguson headed home in the 80th minute in Spain only for Collina to chalk off the goal for an apparent foul by Marcus Bent on Villarreal defender Gonzalo. And after joining the chorus of disapproval against the Italian, the Everton midfielder has shed new light on why the 'goal' was disallowed.
"I am frustrated with the referee," said Arteta. "Duncan did nothing wrong. I asked Collina why he had disallowed the goal and he just said 'walk away, walk away'. Afterwards he said he had spotted a foul before the corner. "So why did he not blow before I had taken the corner and maybe shown a yellow card to the players involved and then let me take the corner? It was not an honest result. The second goal that we scored was absolutely perfect. There was nothing wrong with it, and we should have won 2-1 in normal time." While Villarreal dominated Wednesday's game for long periods, Arteta has dismissed suggestions the tie exposed Everton's limitations but admitted Moyes's side must start taking their chances against the top teams if they are to return to the rarefied air of top European football. Tim Cahill and Ferguson both spurned good opportunities during the second-leg defeat and Everton were similarly profligate in their opening Premiership game against Manchester United. And Arteta said: "We have a good style that suits the good players we have. It worked well for us all last season and it worked well for us in Villarreal, so I do not see the need for us to changle things now. "Villarreal are a very good team but we had chances and we thought we had got ourselves into a good position to finish them and win the tie. They put us under a lot of pressure but we coped well and created chances. "I would not say we have a lot of things to learn from this game. There are a number of internationals in our team with a lot of experience and they showed that over the two legs. "But we must start taking our chances against the top teams - that's what will make the difference." He added: "We are very frustrated because we have done everything that we can and the gaffer said we should be proud with what we have achieved. The performance was magnificent. "We are going to keep going and we will keep believing and that's one of the great things about Everton. We try to protect each other and that's a good thing." Skipper David Weir has echoed Arteta's view that Everton can immediately bounce back from their European setback.
"The dressing room is fine," said the centre-back. "Of course we are disappointed with the game. But we are big enough, we will take it on the chin and move on. "We aren't sulkers, we won't make something out of what happened, though we thought we deserved better but the Fulham game is now the one that counts. "It result is complete disappointment. We gave so much in the game. I thought we deserved to win and obviously I felt we were unjustly treated. "There is not even a doubt when you see the replay. It was a great goal, a great header and he pulled something up that was insignificant and disappointing to say the least." Weir added: "When we were 1-0 down at half-time it would have been easy for us to go under but we came back and played probably the best we had in the tie in the second half and gave ourselves a chance. "We were pushing, really the better team and if that goal had been allowed then we could maybe, though it is easy to say, have gone on to win the game. "We have set our standards and we have to do that week in, week out now. I am sure if we do that then we will have a lot to be proud of." Weir also had a special word for the thousands of Everton fans who made the journey over to Spain to support the side. "They were everywhere, every corner you looked in the ground they were there," he said. "They supported us from the first minute and really you couldn't ask for anymore. "They have waited a long time to get into Europe and hopefully it will be a regular occurrence now."

Pride in defeat
Aug 26 2005
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Pride in defeat
I, LIKE every other Evertonian, am suffering a mixture of emotions. As well as feeling proud to be a Blue, I am gutted that the 'goal' was not allowed to stand. Collina had Duncan Ferguson down as a marked man and that was obvious from the first challenge he made. I have lost count how many times we have seen a referee go onto the field knowing he will punish Ferguson for every challenge he makes. I think we had enough chances apart from the disallowed goal to have won the game, while Nigel Martyn had a blinder in goal, keeping us in the game with some fantastic saves. I would like to congratulate David Moyes and the players for getting us into that position in the first place, and hope we can taste Champions League football again next season. For now let's just move on and concentrate on finishing as high up the table as possible and winning the UEFA Cup.
Scott McAllister, Norris Green, Liverpool
Red sympathy
OKAY, I'm a Red but I have to say 'unlucky' to Everton. Villarreal were a class above the Blues and deserve to be in the group stages, but nothing can disguise the fact that it was a shocking decision by Collina and his linesman. I can understand why he gave it . . it did look like Bent pulled the defender back because of the way each player's arms were situated and the way the defender stumbled backwards, but it was a shocking decision. I think defenders are given too much protection in the penalty area. I wanted Everton to lose but if that had happened to Liverpool I would have been livid.
Gary Taylor, Liverpool
Hard workers
THE players did Everton proud in the second half and a clean goal was disallowed for no apparent reason. The referee had it in for Everton's physical style of play from the first whistle. We might not be the most technically gifted team in the world, but noone can question our work rate and commitment.
Peter Smith, Liverpool
Victory tonic
EVERTON were so unfortunate to lose. They were playing with confidence and I am sure they would have gone on to win. Now they need a good win at Fulham. As long as our forwards secure good ball and we start scoring consistently, the team can compete with anyone in the Premiership.
Roger Lewis, North Wales

Another 'what if' on controversial night
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
Aug 26 2005
JUST LIKE at the end of the first leg a fortnight ago, the Everton fans applauded their team off after a stirring yet again unfruitful performance against the Spaniards of Villarreal on Wednesday night.
While all the talk after the defeat at Goodison was about the quality of the men in yellow's finishing, it was the quality of the man in black's refereeing that was the subject of much discussion following a disgraceful display by Pierluigi Collina at El Madrigal. The Italian official, who apparently said: "I'm the best referee in the world, who are you?" to one of the Everton players stunned by his decision to disallow a perfectly good Duncan Ferguson goal to level the tie, made an uphill task virtually impossible for Blues despite their valiant efforts. It will be interesting to see if the English FA follow up their interest in bringing him over to the Premiership to officiate big games once his specially extended career in Serie A comes to an end next year. Imagine him in the middle for a derby.
The size of Everton's support in the crowd was incredible, despite the scares over tickets. There were plenty available in Valencia in the lead up to the match and apart from a couple of incidents where the local police got quite enthusiastic with their batons, there seemed little problem with the thousands of Blues in with the home supporters. Indeed, anyone entering the concourse behind the goal where Ferguson's goal was chalked off had to double check they were actually in the home end, such was the number of Evertonians there. It's a shame that it ended so controversially, with yet another entry in the 'what if?' section of the club's history, but no one could deny that players did themselves and the fans proud. Mikel Arteta was superb in mid-field, as was Nigel Martyn in goal, but the outstanding performer was Duncan Ferguson. It was obvious how much the match meant to him. And so it was doubly heartbreaking to see his moment of glory stripped from him. We have to try and turn this setback into an opportunity though, and if the players can keep reproducing the intensity of their two performances against Villarreal then they stand every chance of participating in quite a few more European nights, albeit in the UEFA Cup. They certainly deserve the chance to have this season's campaign remembered for something better than a refereeing error.

FA recognises clubs' disability initiative
By Peter Guy, Daily Post
Aug 26 2005
MERSEYSIDE has received yet another football accolade after a scheme run by Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere Football Clubs won a major award from the FA. Hot on the heels of Liverpool's triumph in the Champions League and Everton's European berth comes the Merseyside Disability Partnership's success at the 2004-05 FA Football Development Awards held in London.
The partnership took first prize in the Disability Football category with Everton Football in the Community officer Dave Connor receiving the award from the FA's Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking and the chairman of the FA's Football Development Committee Ray Berridge.
The Merseyside Disability Partnership was formed by the three football clubs alongside local councils and the Liverpool County FA. The partnership runs leagues and competitions, a school club link programme and county boys' and girls' squads. Kelly Simmons, FA Head of Football Development, said: "These annual awards mark some of the most significant work carried out each year at grassroots level. "The FA recognises that it can only deliver the Football Development strategy with the support of its many partners at national and local level, so to recognise their work and reward good practice, the FA has established the Football Development Awards." And the Participation Through Sport project in Warrington took the Volunteer Development prize. The project, which is based at the NSPCC-backed Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Centre in Warrington, has been encouraging youngsters aged between 14 and 19 to improve their personal development through sports leadership. They organise and run girls' soccer schools,, boys' five-a-side leagues as well as mini-soccer tournaments. Over 200 children have participated in the events organised by the 30 football volunteers.

Villarreal handed United challenge
By Alan Easel, Daily Post
Aug 26 2005
EVERTON'S Champions League conquerors Villarreal have been drawn alongside Manchester United in the group stages of the competition. Yesterday's draw in Monaco also handed the Old Trafford side the task of overcoming Portuguese champions Benfica and French side Lille. The latter have confirmed they will play their home matches at the Stade de France, the venue for May's final. The club's Grimonprez-Jooris arena was deemed unsuitable by UEFA because of ongoing renovation work. In facing Villarreal, United will come up against former striker Diego Forlan - bought by Sir Alex Ferguson for £7million and sold for £1m - who scored the winner against Everton in midweek.
Arsenal will have no excuses if they fail to make the knockout stages. FC Thun's qualification is something of a football fairytale - they normally play to crowds of 6,000 while neither Ajax nor Sparta Prague are the forces of old. Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein said: "We take nothing for granted, all the teams are here because they deserve to be. "We have got to progress and it's important we should in this competition. "We have had success on the domestic stage over the last nine years and with that success comes expectation." Celtic's nemesis Artmedia Bratislava will make a rapid return to Glasgow after being drawn in Group H with Rangers. The Scottish side will also meet Inter and Porto.
The draw in full
GROUP A Bayern Munich Juventus Club Brugge Rapid Vienna
GROUP B Arsenal Ajax Sparta Prague Thun
GROUP C Barcelona Panathinaikos Werder Bremen Udinese
GROUP D Man Utd Villarreal Lille Benfica
GROUP E AC Milan PSV Eindhoven Schalke Fenerbahce
GROUP F Real Madrid Lyon Olympiakos Rosenborg
GROUP G Liverpool Chelsea Anderlecht Real Betis
GROUP H Inter Milan Porto Rangers Artmedia Bratislava

Tough Euro tie for Blues
Aug 26 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been handed a difficult UEFA Cup assigment against FC Dinamo Bucharest next month. David Moyes' men will travel to Romania for the first leg on September 15 before hosting the return game at Goodison Park two weeks later. The Blues were seeded in Group A and could have been pitted against Bulgaria's Levski Sofia, Shaktar Donetsk from the Ukraine, FC Copenhagen or, closest to home, Cork City. Instead, Everton have been given arguably the most difficult assignment against a side who have a rich European pedigree. Dinamo, whose star player is the Romanian international Vlad Muntaneu, were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester United last season 5-1 on aggregate. They play their home games at the ramshackle National Stadium but have a formidable record in front of their own fans and qualified to face Everton by beating Omonia Nicosia 4-3 over two legs in the last round.

Knee injury wrecks Pistone's season
Aug 26 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO PISTONE has been ruled out for most of the season with cruciate ligament damage and will undergo surgery. David Moyes will now step up his search for a new left-back after having his worst fears confirmed today. Pistone was stretchered off during last week's 1-0 win against Bolton Wanderers. The bad news was tempered, however after, Moyes revealed Matteo Ferrari is on the verge of completing a one-year loan deal from AS Roma, while Andy van der Meyde was due at Goodison Park today for a medical. "We are hoping to bring a couple of new players in," said Moyes.
"Matteo will hopefully complete today but I don't know whether we will get him registered in time for the game against Fulham. "But we will try to do that if possible. Andy van der Meyde will come in for a medical and we will see if we can get him in." Losing Pistone, nevertheless, has come as a huge blow to the Everton manager, who has already had to cope with injuries to key players Per Kroldrup, Lee Carsley and James Beattie so far this season. "Pistone has cruciate damage and it is a massive blow," Moyes conceded. "We now have to look and see if we can bring in a left-back as well before the transfer window closes for business next week." As Moyes continues to be busy in the transfer market, of more immediate concern is tomorrow's trip to Fulham. The manager does not give Beattie much chance of being involved but is looking for his players to bounce back from the disappointment of being knocked out of the Champions League by Villarreal on Wednesday night.
"Our record hasn't been particularly good at Fulham but people were saying the same about us at Leeds a couple of years ago."

Euro pain an inspiration
Aug 26 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may have only been left with tears for souvenirs from their brief Champions League adventure but the chance to start healing the wounds begins at Fulham tomorrow. While a nagging sense of 'what if' continues to gnaw away at the back of Blues supporters' minds, especially after referee Pierluigi Collina chalked off a perfectly good Duncan Ferguson goal, there should also be a huge feeling of pride. David Moyes' men proved more than a match for Villarreal over two legs and showed, especially in Spain, that they are an upwardly mobile club with plenty to look forward to in the coming seasons. The manager has spent £20.7m since January on bringing new, quality arrivals to Goodison Park and is likely to shell out more cash in the future so that Everton are regular competitors in Europe's premier club competition. Such ambition convinced Simon Davies to leave Tottenham Hotspur in May and move to the Blues in a £3.5m deal, the midfielder's head turned by Moyes' big ideas, not to mention a chance to play in the Champions League. That chance may have gone for now but the Wales international - impressed by what he has seen so far during his spell on Merseyside - is convinced that Everton are well capable of defying the critics by finishing in the Premiership's top four again. But if they are to do that, Davies knows there can be no European hangover against lowly Fulham and Craven Cottage is the type of stadium in which Everton must impose themselves if they are to fulfil expectations. "Fulham is a big game for us now and it's good that it has come around so quickly," said Davies. "We have got a small squad so that means we will be playing most games but we have got to be up for it. "Games against the likes of Fulham away are the ones that we should be winning or getting something from if we want to get back into the Champions League again next year. "We have got to take the positives out of the Villarreal game. We can't dwell on the defeat but I don't think anyone can say that we didn't put good effort in. We had chances but they did not go for us. It is frustrating because we created enough chances to have at least forced extra time. "It's just one of those things. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it does not. The effort was there for everyone to see but while everyone is pleased with how we played, there is still a lot of disappointment." Travelling back home yesterday, the atmosphere on the plane was understandably muted - particularly after Everton's players had had the chance to study Collina's controversial decision. The feeling of injustice was exacerbated when news of the draw for the group stages filtered through but Davies believes the Blues can use such grievances to their advantage in the coming weeks. A place in the UEFA Cup provides some consolation and the 25-year-old expects Everton to put the experience they gather from further continental trips to good use. "The lads have done brilliantly," said Davies. "If anything, it gives us the confidence to go forward. "We know now that we can go out there and play against anyone because we gave Villarreal a run for their money. "Now we will give it everything we can to make sure we have got a chance of being involved in the competition again next year because that is what everyone wants.
"We have had a taste of it and we want to do it again. These games have given us a great incentive. We have got the appetite to go forward now. We still have the UEFA Cup to look forward to.
"Let's hope we can go far in that competition. The Champions League has been a great experience for us and we know that we can compete at the highest level, even though some people had doubts about us." There had been some doubt whether Davies would play against Villarreal because of a shin problem but he expects to be involved against Fulham. Given he has been carrying an injury, Davies' start to his Everton career looks all the more impressive now and he admits that things - a couple of results excepted - have gone even better than he thought they would since leaving White Hart Lane. "I'm thoroughly enjoying it," said Davies. "The fans in Villarreal were absolutely unbelievable because they made it like a home game. I came here for nights like that and now I want a lot more of them. "They were so loud and they made us want to run that extra yard. When they give us support like that, they know they will get a lot back."

Silence is golden on Blues bids
Aug 26 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON, apparently, were trying to reassure their fans when they announced this week that they had a bid for Dirk Kuyt come up £2m short - and that Michael Owen would rather have root canal surgery, or even worse, play for Newcastle, than sign for the club he once supported. Now call me old-fashioned, but neither managed to fill me with a sense of optimism that the Blues had big bucks to splash out on top stars. Even worse, the dreaded SAS bids were brought to mind - Shearer and Smith. Now on this occasion, I don't for a single second believe Everton were publicly announcing interest in players, safe in the knowledge they were already destined to end up elsewhere. But after the comical £12m bid for Alan Shearer, just hours after Newcastle had already agreed a £15m fee - and last summer's well intentioned but always doomed to failure approach for Alan Smith, Everton should tread carefully whenever they announce possible signings. Or even more sensibly - simply don't say anything until a deal is done. David Moyes was clearly trying to head off criticism of the Blues' board by showing that funds did exist and had been made available to him. It was a well-intentioned attempt to reason with fans - some of whom will always see smoking guns on grassy knolls and blame Bill Kenwright for everything from the Villarreal ticketing fiasco to JFK's assassination. But it was cack-handed. One fan even colourfully suggested to me that Goodison was beginning to resemble the set of Bullseye, all that was missing was a sympathetic Jim Bowen, oozing insincerity, murmuring: "Ohh, never mind. Here's what you could have won." No-one wants to hear about failures, unless they are glorious. Which is why, if Evertonians were seeking genuine reassurance, they found it in the final half-hour at El Madrigal. The spirited, positive, purposeful performance which pushed La Liga's third best team to the brink of defeat gave Evertonians more heart than any amount of transfer speculation could. One final thought. If Everton believed Dirk Kuyt was worth £10m on August 1 - was offering an extra £2m really pushing the boat out all that much?
Stubbs' timing well out
I'VE had fall-outs with Alan Stubbs before. And I don't particularly want to upset him again. But I found the timing and the tone of his outburst about his last Everton contract offer baffling. Why bring it up months after the negotiations took place? Why turn on the club now, after he has left?
There is no doubt that any clause about his cancer returning is deeply insensitive and cynical - but Everton claim they immediately withdrew it when Stubbs pointed it out. I found the whole episode unnecessary - and tarnished the reputation of a player who gave 100% commitment to the club, which he supported as a boy, during his three years there. If he has been advised on the issue, that advice doesn't seem to have earned him any admirers at Goodison Park. I only hope it doesn't affect the way he is perceived in the eyes of the Everton fans - of which he is still one.

Blues legends reunite to hit trophy trail
Aug 26 2005 By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
SIX Everton legends thrilled a packed crowd at the National Football Museum in Preston yesterday.
Around 500 fans arrived to meet Kevin Ratcliffe, Graeme Sharp, Peter Reid, John Bailey, Kevin Sheedy and former boss Howard Kendall. While at the museum the former Blues favourites were reunited with the FA Cup, which they won in 1984, and the Cannon League Division 1 Trophy, which they secured in 1985. They signed autographs, chatted to fans and posed for photographs with the silverware. Striker Sharp, who opened the scoring in the 2-0 FA Cup final win over Watford in 1984 and went on to score 150 goals for the Blues, paid tribute to the event organisers "It's a fantastic facility here and it brings back some great memories," he said. "It has been a great chance to meet up with some old pals and the fans turned out in force. "We're very lucky to have a place like this museum based in the North West." The event followed Wednesday's visit of former Liverpool players Alan Kennedy, Bruce Grobbelaar, Phil Neal and David Johnson. It is all part of the museum's bid to encourage more fans to see what it has to offer. Musuem spokesman Mark Bushell said: "It was great to see members of that fine Everton side from the mid-80s reunited and they were all in fine form. "They told some anecdotes about their careers and John Bailey was the comedian among them. "Fans turned out in force, many of them to get shirts signed, and people travelled from all across Merseyside. Those who have made the trip have seen what an exciting place it is." The museum's European Cup and Cup Winners' Cup had to be sent back to UEFA this week ahead of tonight's European Super Cup final. But when they return Bushell revealed they intend to hold a special event to remember both Liverpool and Everton's success on the continent.

World cup dreams
Aug 26 2005 By Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
AN 11-YEAR-OLD Everton boy is among 14 winning youngsters out of 3,000 entrants who will represent England at the World Cup. Cody Hannon impressed at final football trials over the weekend, and is the sole Merseysider selected for next month's three-day children's tournament in France. Playing against footballers from all over the world, Cody has since come to the attention of Everton Football Club who are interested in taking him on. But the prolific hotshot would never have got the chance to play in the World Cup if it was not for the north Liverpool organisation Positive Futures. The group, who work in socially deprived areas such as Breckfield, Kirkdale, Anfield and Everton, went into Cody's school, Faith primary school in Bute Street, Everton, and set up a football team as the school had no male teachers. Positive Futures encouraged him to take part in the World Cup trials and provided transport to and from each venue as Cody inched tantalisingly closer to the final 14. Project coordinator Clare Corran said: "It's great so see homegrown talent coming through. We've put him on the right track and it's down to Cody now."
Positive Futures is backed by the home office and works with boys and girls aged between 11-18 in north Liverpool. And it's not just football related, with girls taking part in activities such as drama, health and beauty training. The World Cup youngsters, chosen by ex-Liverpool stars Neil Ruddock and John Scales, will meet super-star footballer Zinedine Zidane in France.

Coo-l hand Dunc
Aug 26 2005 By Helen Hunt & Dave Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Duncan Ferguson would be the last person to speak about his charity work. The Blues striker, a keen pigeon fancier, is tight-lipped when it comes to talking about the things he does to help others. But despite being known as a bit of a hot-head on the pitch, his heart is made of solid gold. He regularly does more than his bit for charities and people in need, both at home and away.
He often visits children on the wards of Alder Hey unannounced. His name has been linked to the donation of a mini bus to The Variety Club of Great Britain. Only recently he made a big donation to the Harvey Phillips appeal, which is raising funds for the 10-month-old who lost both legs and one arm to meningitis. Duncan posted a cheque for £5,000 to unsuspecting appeal organisers in Grimsby - as well as a silver good luck charm. It is believed he read Harvey ' s plight in a pigeon trade magazine, which advertised an auction being held to raise money for the little boy. Tony Mardon, 65, who organised the auction, said he was shocked when the post arrived and out popped Duncan ' s cheque. He said: "We cannot believe it. It now looks like the auction and everything else combined with the £5,000 could raise up to £20,000." Darren Phillips, Harvey's father, added: "It is mind-blowing and I cannot thank him enough." Organisers at the Variety Club are equally impressed by Duncan. Lyn Staunton, chairwoman of the north west branch, said: "He's always been a great supporter of ours. "He's wonderful. He's presented a lot of Sunshine Coaches for us. He's always been there for us. He's down to earth and a really nice guy." Meanwhile Everton spokesman Ian Ross, said: "Duncan is a private man in many respects and like a lot of footballers he is sometimes much maligned. "A lot of footballers do a great deal of work behind the scenes for charity unheralded. "They do a lot for children's charities and hospitals. No-one does more in that area than Duncan Ferguson. "He spends a lot of time at Alder Hey. He's a great unsung hero but he never seeks publicity, it something he does privately."

Wyness counting cost of Euro woe
By David Prior, Daily Post
Aug 27 2005
KEITH WYNESS yesterday revealed the full implications of Champions League failure after seeing Everton handed a tough UEFA Cup opener in Romania. A two-legged first-round clash against Dinamo Bucharest stands in the way of qualification to the group stages of Europe's second-tier cup competition. But Goodison chief executive Wyness admitted only progress to the quarter-final stage - a full 10 games away - would bring the club actual financial gain. Speaking after the draw was made in Monaco, Wyness said: "You could lose money on some of these qualifying rounds quite easily, so it's got to be the quarter-finals or beyond if you want to make anything out of the UEFA Cup. "There's two things with the UEFA Cup these days - the first thing is that you'll be playing a lot on Sundays because the UEFA games are on a Thursday, and secondly you don't want to become distracted by it, because if we drop two or three positions in the league that affects the prize money we get out of that." Everton's budget had not accommodated for qualification to the Champions League group stages, but Wyness confessed he was still bitterly disappointed by this week's exit at the hands of Spanish club Villarreal. He added: "I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a slight feeling of what might have been. There's a definite feeling of yes, we could have been there and we should have been there, but we have to move on and this is another tough draw." Everton manager David Moyes agreed his team had been handed a difficult task against Bucharest, with the first leg in Romania on Thursday, September 15 and the return at Goodison a fortnight later. "We don't know an awful lot about them but I will make sure I do before we play them," he said. "I am guessing it will be a tough game, they all are. We would rather have got something easier than that but that is the way the draw goes. "We hope the second leg at Goodison will be an advantage. We need to make sure we have a chance when we come back to Goodison so we have a chance of getting into the group stage of the UEFA Cup."

Continental concern for Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 27 2005
THEY may back on home soil, but Everton will take another step into the unknown this afternoon.
After having their wade into the unchartered waters of the Champions League halted prematurely by an egotistical Italian, David Moyes's side return to the more familiar ebb and flow of Premiership football with a trip to Fulham. Disappointment and a seething sense of injustice continue to pervade the Everton dressing room following their contentious midweek exit in Villarreal, with Pier-luigi Collina swiftly assuming the infamy of Clive Thomas proportions among supporters. Taking strength from that Spanish setback and retraining sights on UEFA Cup progress has been the unified vow of the Everton players. But in the short-term, Moyes admits to harbouring concerns of a possible European hangover. The unique pressure and travelling demands of Continental combat have told on squads greater in number and depth than this current Goodison outfit. Indeed, Everton need only glance across Stanley Park toward neighbours Liverpool for an example of how European travails can affect Premiership form. Everton lost to Manchester United immediately after the first leg against Villarreal earlier this month, and Moyes can only wait and see how his players react this afternoon.
"We don't know how it's going to affect us because we are new to it," says the Everton manager.. "We can only listen to what other people's adventures have been like when they've been away in Europe and come back. "You hear Sir Alex Ferguson talking about how important the fixture is when Manchester United come back from Europe. Then you look at Middlesbrough, who had success in Europe last season but struggled when they came back to the Premiership. It was the same with Liverpool. "It's something that we are not used to. But at the start of the week, looking at who we have played - Bolton away,, Villarreal away and now Fulham away - that would be a hard week no matter who you are. For anyone to have three away games in six days, it requires a big effort. "It's been tough. But the Premiership teams have played in midweek too, so it's not like Fulham have had a free week to prepare for the game." The controversy that tainted Everton's Champions League exit still rankles with Moyes, with Collina - who allegedly told play-ers not to doubt "the best referee in the world" - firmly in the firing line. "I feel disappointed that Everton have waited so long to get into the Champions League, and for teams like ourselves it is a hard struggle to get there, only to miss out through no fault of our own," says the Scot. "Make no mistake, Villarreal are a good team, but we'd given ourselves a chance with 10 minutes to go to maybe go on and get a third or ensure we take the game into extra time. "If the goal had been allowed, we'd have approached the rest of the game differently and we're not having to push on for a goal. "There's no question that our final 10 minutes of that game were given up by a referee's decision. We asked him why he disallowed it, and he told us to ask Marcus Bent. As everyone can see from the television, Marcus does nothing so the referee has seen something that wasn't there. "At the end of the day, he has to accept he got the decision wrong. I get decisions wrong, and when I do I try to accept it and hold my hands up.
"We won't sulk. But it still doesn't take away the fact what we have missed out on. We missed the draw on Thursday which we wanted to be in." Nevertheless, Moyes has echoed the opinion of his players that there were plenty of plus points to emerge from the match. "I hope the manner we were eliminated can act as an incentive for us in Europe," he adds.. "But the main positive is that we have gone out there and shown we can compete and played quite well against a top team. "In both games, we played well against the team who finished third in the Spanish league. We know we can now go anywhere and give a good account of ourselves. "I feel the team is improving and moving on. People like Mikel Arteta, Phil Neville and Simon Davies are adding to the team from where we were this time last year. "All we can do is try and improve and progress the team year in, year out. After being in the Champions League, with the atmosphere and the way the game went and the way the supporters built up the game, it gave me an adrenaline rush and I'd like to get a bit more of that." A positive result at Craven Cottage this afternoon would be the ideal way to follow last weekend's win at Bolton Wanderers and help eradicate some of the bitterness of Wednesday's defeat. History is against them, however, with Everton losing all five previous Premiership visits and having only ever won three games at Fulham, the last coming 39 years ago when Alan Ball scored the only goal in August 1966. And the Goodison club will be wary of the threat posed by the clutch of former Everton players now playing for Chris Coleman's side, with Brian McBride and Tomasz Radzinski both expected to start this afternoon. Moyes could be without Duncan Ferguson, with the Scottish striker struggling with an ankle injury after having played 90 minutes twice already this week. "Duncan has a bit of an ankle knock which we will need to have a look at," says the Everton manager. "He has played two full games already this week and has done well for us. But we're more concerned about his ankle injury than him completing the 90 minutes again. "But if the we continue to play as well as they have done recently and maybe take or two chances I am not worried about the game at Fulham too much." James Beattie is unlikely to recover from the toe injury that has ruled him out for two games, while Gary Naysmith (ankle), Per Kroldrup (hernia) and Lee Carsley (knee) are sidelined. And new signing Matteo Ferrari could be given an instant debut after Moyes was handed another fresh injury blow yesterday when Alessandro Pistone was ruled out for the majority of the season. The Italian defender, who signed a new two-year deal this summer, sustained cruciate ligament damage in the win at Bolton and will undergo surgery.
"Alessandro has a cruciate injury and looks as though he will be out for most of the season," confirmed Moyes. It is the second time in his Goodison career that Pistone has suffered a cruciate injury, with the left-back also missing much of the 2000-01 season.

Everton wait on van der Meyde medical
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 27 2005
EVERTON face an anxious wait before Andy van der Meyde can follow Matteo Ferrari into Goodison.
The Holland international began a series of medical tests yesterday that will continue over the weekend after agreeing personal terms on a three-year contract. And Everton are hoping van der Meyde's current groin injury does not prevent the 25-year-old from completing a £1.8million move from Inter Milan, a fee that will rise once the player makes a set number of appearances. "He'll give us more options with his pace and is maybe a bit more direct than some of the other wide players already here," said Everton manager David Moyes. "He can play on both flanks and he will help bolster the squad." Ferrari, meanwhile, completed the formalities of his move from Roma in time to be eligible for this afternoon's Premiership visit to Fulham, with Everton last night granted international clearance from the Italian FA. The 25-year-old defender has signed a one-year loan deal with a view to making a permanent £3.7million transfer. And Ferrari said: "I am very happy because I am a fan of English football and when I was in Italy I always watched English football on TV. "I am very glad to be here because Everton showed so much confidence in me and so that is why I am happy to be here. "I am a central defender, I like to play in that position. I prefer to show what I can do as a player on the pitch and I can promise the best commitment and the highest level of professionalism." Ferrari has won 11 caps for Italy and has previously played in his homeland for Inter, Bari, Lecce, Genoa and Spal. Moyes said: "He played nearly 50 games for Roma last year and was the Italian squad that went to the European Championship." Moyes continued: "We are talking about some one who has got decent quality but the biggest thing will be adapting to life in the Premiership. "He's a centre-half and can cover for in that position, and also at fullback if need be.
"It was only a year ago that he was being thought of as the future for Italy at centre-half. He got a big transfer from Parma to Roma, but it just hasn't quite worked for him. He is young and athletic and will give added competition to the defence. "I only really had Joseph Yobo, David Weir and Per Kroldrup at centre-back, and with Per getting his injury I thought I couldn't take any risks in case we had any problems or an injury to a centre-back." A striker remains the priority, although the manager will move for a left-back after the extent of Alessandro Pistone's cruciate ligament damage became apparent yesterday. Moyes confirmed: "With Alessandro now probably out for the rest of the season, I'm looking to bring a left-back in as well. And I'm still trying to bring in a striker to the squad." Moyes could yet further bolster his squad with another signing, with £750,000-rated Preston North End midfielder Dickson Etuhu still strongly linked with Everton.

Fulham 1, Everton 0 (D,Post)
By Ian Doyle at Craven Cottage, Daily Post
Aug 29 2005
EUROPEAN hangover or not, David Moyes was still nursing a familiar headache on Saturday night.
A week that began with morale-boosting victory at Bolton Wanderers followed by an honourable Champions League exit against Villarreal ended in the damp squib of defeat, disappointment and recrimination at Craven Cottage. Given that Everton have lost all six Premiership trips to Fulham and have not won in these parts since 1966, such a concluding act may not come as a surprise. Yet it's the manner of this latest capital calamity that provides the more depressingly recognisable undertones. Although defiantly upbeat afterwards, his disgruntled charge across the pitch from dugout to dressing room on the final whistle suggested Moyes was upset by more than just the daft last-minute red card shown to Phil Neville by the ever-baffling Mike Riley. He had good reason. Not for the first time, Everton were undone by a chronic lack of ideas and cutting edge in attack as Fulham were allowed to steal three points that should have been Goodison-bound long before Brian McBride's 56th-minute winner. Such failings prevented Everton from taking at least a point from Manchester United on the opening day and ultimately undermined their attempts of qualification for the group stages of the Champions League. And it's why they will struggle to ensure another chance of earning a seat at the top table of the European game unless they can discover a ready-made remedy for their goalscoring ills. This, of course, is no news to Moyes. The failure to entice striking reinforcements has not been for the want of trying, with Mikael Forssell, Craig Bellamy and Milan Baros among those the Everton manager has chased in vain to rectify his team's most glaring shortcoming. And while recent interest in Michael Owen and Dirk Kuyt demonstrates admirable and necessary ambition, with the transfer window slamming shut later this week it seems increasingly likely Moyes may be forced to make do with his current squad. "I've been looking for a striker and will continue to do so until the window closes, but I'm not hopeful," he admitted.. "We are looking for a quality forward, and it's difficult to find any like that who are available." Unless matters change dramatically in the next few days, Moyes will be reliant - at least until January - on his current charges. Much of the burden must therefore be shouldered by James Beattie once he recovers from the toe injury that has sidelined him for the last fortnight, a considerable undertaking for the record signing given his failure to convince since arriving from Southampton. Of the rest, Marcus Bent is not a prolific goalscorer while Duncan Ferguson, despite two full games in four days earlier in the week, can no longer be considered for a regular starting role. That leaves James Vaughan, who at 17 years of age bustles with promise and potential but is not yet ready for consistent first-team exposure. Last season, Everton became increasingly reliant on Tim Cahill to augment their goalscoring threat of their forward line. But with the Australian yet to reignite that spark during the formative stages of this campaign, drought has started to set in; three goals in five games tells its own story. It would be unfair to blame Saturday's defeat on the strikers, however. Everton were an underwhelming attacking threat throughout the team, and on this evidence the pace and direct wing-play of Andy van der Meyde cannot arrive soon enough. Just a smidgeon of those qualities would probably have meant Moyes's side ended a taxing week with a second successive away league win. Instead, their record now reads four defeats in five games - hardly representative of Everton's performances against some difficult opposition, but neverthless reason for some concern.
Indeed, if Moyes harbours serious intentions of improving on last season' fourth-placed Premiership finish then Craven Cottage is exactly the kind of place where his team should be winning, particularly when faced with opposition as abject as Fulham on Saturday. Moyes may have swatted aside suggestions the physical and mental strain of their unsuccessful Spanish sojourn had taken their toll on his players, but the truth was Everton looked jaded, their concentration at times lacking and their distribution wayward. That said, Fulham were even worse on an afternoon that will quickly be erased from the memory banks. Those that stayed away from a Craven Cottage some way short of capacity certainly made the right choice; Everton's new signing Matteo Ferrari, watching from the bench, must have wondered what all the fuss concerning English football was about. The first half made for painful viewing. After a slow start, Everton enjoyed the greater possession but that lack of incisiveness inside the penalty area was evident from as early as the seventh minute, when Mikel Arteta dragged a shot across the face of goal. Kevin Kilbane - much improved after his miserable time in Villarreal in midweek - swung in a cross moment later from the left that was missed by Cahill at the near post before bouncing over Bent, and then a dreadful Zak Knight pass gave Simon Davies a shooting chance but the Welshman pulled his effort well wide. Everton had a fortunate escape when Luis Boa Morte challenged David Weir to meet Claus Thomsen's corner and the ball deflected off the Goodison defender on to the crossbar, while at the other end Cahill struck the visitors' most presentable first-half opening straight at Tony Warner after being found by Leon Osman, who had harried Moritz Volz out of possession on the by-line. But given Everton's striking concerns, it was perhaps inevitable that a forward Moyes has signed twice in his managerial career should consign his side to defeat. McBride initiated the move for his winner 11 minutes after the break. After defending an Everton cross in his own area, he ambled back up field as play progressed with Steed Malbranque freeing Volz down the right, allowing him to arrive unmarked just in time to meet the full-back's low cross with a first-time finish into Nigel Martyn's right-hand bottom corner.
The goal hardly brought Fulham to life, but it did prompt their best spell of the game with Malbranque's right-footed blast drawing a flying save from Martyn before Boa Morte ended a powerful run by shooting wide. Moyes gambled with a triple substitution with 15 minutes to go, and it almost paid dividends on 86 minutes. Substitute James McFadden laid the ball off to Neville, who crossed from the left for Ferguson, another replacement, to launch a towering header that Warner did well to paw clear. This fixture has had a nasty undercurrent in recent years, but a competitive encounter never looked like boiling over until the 89th minute when referee Riley, having previously booked Neville for a nothing tackle on former Blue Tomasz Radzinski, couldn't help himself when the pair again challenged and the Fulham striker once more crashed theatrically to the ground. A second yellow gave Riley his headlines and Neville the first sending-off of his career. Arteta could have equalised during an extended injury time, but there was to be no repeat of his Villarreal exploits as his free-kick curled narrowly over. The two-week international break provides Everton with welcome respite following a hectic August and will give Moyes time to contemplate on a frustrating opening to the season - and his players a chance to find their shooting boots. They certainly need them.
FULHAM (4-4-2): Warner; Volz, Knight, Bocanegra, N Jensen; Malbranque, Bouba Diop, C Jensen, Boa Morte; McBride, Radzinski. Subs: Batista, Collins, Elrich, Leacock, Helguson.
BOOKING: Radzinski (foul).
EVERTON (4-1-4-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Kilbane (Ferguson 74); Neville; Davies (Vaughan 76), Cahill, Arteta, Osman; Bent (Mc-Fadden 76). Subs: Wright, Ferrari.
BOOKINGS: Weir, Neville (both fouls).
SENDING-OFF: Neville (second bookable offence).
REFEREE: Mike Riley
ATT: 17,169
NEXT GAME: Everton v Portsmouth, Barclays Premiership, September 10, 3pm

Valente swayed by Jose
Exclusive by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Aug 29 2005
A GLOWING recommendation from Jose Mourinho was all Nuno Valente needed to hear in order for him to become Everton's seventh signing of the summer. The Portuguese international flew into Liverpool yesterday to put pen-to-paper on a two-year deal with option of another season after Blues boss David Moyes moved swiftly to agree a £1.4m transfer fee with FC Porto. With Alessandro Pistone and Gary Naysmith both out with long-term injuries, Moyes has been frantically on the look out for a left-back but he looks to have found one with impeccable credentials. A member of Mourinho's all-conquering Porto side, Valente arrives at Goodison having won both the Champions League and the UEFA Cup, not to mention the World Club Championship and numerous caps for Portugal. However, Valente knew his time at Porto had come to an end earlier this summer when they asked him to make a choice between club and country. Given he had no intention of sacrificing his international career, the 30-year-old was forced to move. Though he had a number of options, once Mourinho phoned to tell him that Everton had expressed an interest, Valente's mind was made up. Then, his first discussion with Moyes confirmed everything the Chelsea manager had reported to be true. "Jose rang me to tell me that there was a possibility for me to play in England and he told me it was a very exciting opportunity, " revealed Valente, who has also played for Sporting Lisbon and Leireia during his career. "I am very grateful to Jose. He made it clear that Everton are a very good club and that they would be suitable for me. Jose's input was very important and he spoke very highly of the way Everton play. "I am very excited to have the chance of playing in the Premiership because it was a dream for me. When I knew that I had to leave Porto, I wanted to test myself in another country and England was always top of my list. "Jose also told me that David is a very good coach. I am angry with Porto with the way that they have treated me but that is in the past and now I want to look forward to the challenge of helping Everton enjoy lots of success."
The signing of Valente completes a busy couple of days in the transfer market for Moyes, who brought Roma's Matteo Ferrari to the club on a one-year loan deal and hopes to conclude a deal for Andy van der Meyde tomorrow. He is also still on the lookout to sign a new striker for Wednesday's transfer deadline and was quick to thank Everton's board for the help and support they have given to him during his quest to sign new blood. "With Alessandro and Gary out we needed left-back cover and Nuno came highly recommended by Jose Mourinho, " said Moyes. " Nuno has a wealth of experience and I am delighted to have him here. "Nuno will be away with Portugal for the next week or so and then we will have him here. The board have been great and in the last week we have signed Nuno, Matteo Ferrari and hopefully we will be able to get Andy van der Meyde, too."

Neville upset by first ever sending-off
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 29 2005
PHIL NEVILLE has questioned the decision of referee Mike Riley to send him off against Fulham on Saturday. The 28-year-old was dismissed for the first time in his career as Everton slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage. Neville was shown a second yellow card in the 89th minute after being adjudged to have fouled former Everton striker Tomasz Radzinski, with referee Riley having already cautioned Neville for an earlier challenge on the same player. And the Goodison midfielder said: "It was the first time I have been sent off in my career. It was disappointing, particularly as it was in the last minute of the game. "In the first half he gave a foul against me and then agreed that I had got the ball, so I thought then that I'd have my work cut out for the rest of the afternoon. "But the sending off was an innocuous challenge, I think I hardly touched the lad. With just a minute to go, I think the referee could have taken a more lenient view. "Foreign forwards maybe make the most of challenges these days, but that's not an excuse at all. "It wasn't Tomasz Radzinski that got me sent off, it was a little bit of the referee and a little bit of a tired challenge, but not one I think was worthy of a booking. That's why the disappointment is with me now." Everton manager David Moyes, meanwhile, dismissed the suggestion his team suffered from a European hangover following their defeat at Villarreal in the Champions League last Wednesday. "The opening 10 minutes I think we were a bit slow in starting, but once we got into our rhythm I think we did okay," said Moyes. "Sometimes it's more psychological as there is a lot of talk about it and maybe players start to believe it. "But they went about things the right way and prepared properly. "I don't think the result was affected by the way things went in Europe in midweek. "We should have gone on and won against Fulham, and the one game I didn't think we played well in was the one we have actually won. "The standard of opposition (Manchester United and Villar-real) has been good but we have played much better football in those games and the only thing missing has been that cutting edge."
Everton have now won only one of their last 17 visits to London, and have lost four of their opening five games this season. And Moyes admitted: "It has been a difficult week. We had a good taste of Europe and enjoyed it, so we are hoping to do similar again. "We must set our goals high, and anybody who has seen us will say we are a better side than we were last year."

Dilemma facing manager Moyes is clear to see
By Miles Shackley, Daily Post
Aug 29 2005
I JUST don't know how we do it, I really don't. At 3.50 on Saturday afternoon, I received a phone call from a hearty Evertonian whose work commitments prevented him from attending our annual London-west duffing. "How are we doing", he asked. "Very well", I replied. "We've bossed the game from the word go. Fulham haven't had a sniff, the defence looks solid, we've knocked it about really well at times and controlled the pace of the game. Arteta is in a different class. We haven't really made a decent chance yet, though." After mulling this over for a second or two, the seasoned sage replied: "That sounds like a 1-0 defeat, then." There's something about being an Everton fan that primes you for inexorable disappointment. Everton's midfield ran the proceedings for an hour of this game, and yet from the moment Fulham took the lead, all around me were resigned to the fact that the game was destined to finish 1-0. That the Londoners were hapless just made the defeat all the more unpalatable. The team started very well, coping easily with anything that Fulham threw at them in the opening moments, which was admittedly very little. Steed Malbranque was kept in check to the point of anonymity, while Luis Boa Morte's major contributions amounted to him chasing around official Mike Riley and having a bit of a whinge at him. Surely Blackburn have to bid for him soon, if only to complete the set. It wasn't long before Mikel Arteta's class began to shine through. The comely Spaniard, on whose hair my own is modelled, has been quietly and effectively stamping his name across the Everton midfield this season and seems a player who can not only tackle in the same way that Paul Bracewell did but can also genuinely dictate the pace of the game around him. It's nice to have someone who can provide an alternative to the breakneck pace to which Everton's recent relative success has been partly attributed. Alas, his best work was largely undone by the fact that Everton rarely had enough bodies ahead of him at any stage to sufficiently trouble Fulham's defence. Tony Warner had to do a bit on the odd occasion but he'd probably get away with not washing his kit for the next game. A couple of smart saves and a comical attempt at headed clearance aside, the ex-Liverpool keeper was largely untroubled. The goal when it came - predictably from an ex-Everton striker - visibly deflated the team who, to their credit, tried to continue patiently moving the ball around on the deck, infuriating the chap in front of me who wanted it lumped at Duncan Ferguson for the remainder of the half. He may have had a point as, once behind, we never really looked like we'd break them down. Sometimes, one good hard kick is as good as 20 dainty flicks. So David Moyes has a problem to address. Everton have a midfield that is capable of going toe to toe with the best of them, but we simply don't make enough clear goal scoring opportunities. Sacrificing a midfielder in the past has seen us overrun by the opposition, and even if we do choose to play two up front at the expense of a midfielder, who gets the nod? For all that he brings to the team, Marcus Bent is never going to be prolific. Ferguson is too brittle to play a full 90 minutes week in, week out. James Vaughan is just a kid and somewhere in the world it seems a belligerent witch doctor is jabbing hot needles into a James Beattie voodoo doll. We can't just hope that Tim Cahill can repeat last season's successful dalliances into opposition territory - partly because it's simply not fair on him and partly because he misses a lot too - so something has to give somewhere along the line if we're to advance. In the words of celebrity house snoop Loyd Grossman, David it's over to you.

Goodison ambition is the lure for Valente
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Aug 29 2005
NUNO VALENTE yesterday agreed to solve Everton's left-back problem - and arrived with a recommendation from Jose Mourinho. The 30-year-old defender became David Moyes's seventh signing of the summer by penning a three-year contract after the Goodison outfit agreed a £1.4million deal with FC Porto. Everton manager David Moyes moved quickly for the Portugal international after injuries to Alessandro Pistone and Gary Nay-smith left him without cover at left-back. And Moyes revealed how a conversation with Chelsea manager Mourinho helped persuade him to swoop for Valente, who starred for his country during their run to the final in Euro 2004.
"After the injuries to Sandro and Gary we needed a left-back and Nuno has come very highly recommended from Jose Mourinho," said Moyes.. "I spoke to Jose about him. He had him at Porto and he was in the side that won the Champions League in 2004. He is a Portuguese international with a wealth of experience. "We found it difficult in the summer when we were looking for a left-back but we have been able to move quite quickly on this deal. "If Gary Naysmith had been fit we may have got through but with both our left-backs being out injured we couldn't go beyond the transfer window playing people out of position there." Valente flew to Merseyside yesterday to complete the formalities of the transfer before jetting back out to link up with the Portugal national team for their forthcoming World Cup qualifying double-header against Luxembourg and Russia.
Valente departed from Porto after refusing their demand that he retire from international football, with the player having subsequently been relegated to the reserves. And he cited the ambition of both Everton and Moyes as the reason for his decision to switch to Goodison. "I am very happy," he said. "I am happy to be here and I am coming to a club with a lot of ambition. I hope to win things here like I did in Porto. "I intend to help the team, help the manager achieve his objectives and that is very important for me and for the club. "It is an international club with ambition and I know it is a good club for me to play for. "I have not spoken to my friends Paulo Ferreira and Ricardo Carvalho, who are now at Chelsea, but we will chat about English football when I meet with the national team this week. "But I like the idea of playing in English football. It is a league that I have always looked at as special, it is one of the best in Europe. I believe it is a good place for me to play." Valente joins Simon Davies, Per Kroldrup, John Ruddy, Phil Neville, Mikel Arteta and Matteo Ferrari as new arrivals at Goodison during this transfer window, with Moyes hopeful of adding an eighth in Andy van der Meyde. Everton will discover the results of the Holland inter-national's medical tomorrow, with a fee and personal terms already agreed for the Inter Milan winger. However, the 25-year-old has hinted he will not be immediately available for selection should the transfer go through before the deadline. "The only concern the English club have is the abductor muscle I strained a couple of months ago," said van der Meyde. "I will be ready in a couple of weeks."

Fulham 1, Everton 0 (Echo)
By Dominic King at Craven Cottage, Daily Post
Aug 29 2005
STANDING outside the Press room at Craven Cottage, David Moyes put on a brave face as he tried to explain how Everton had just lost their fourth game of the season. Praising the way his players had passed the ball around against Fulham and commending the effort they put in after an exhausting six days on the road, Moyes did his best to remain as bullish as he possibly could. Perhaps, however, a more accurate gauge off his emotions came when referee Mike Riley brought an end to a fixture that was often more thud and blunder rather than blood and thunder. Having seen Everton dominate their opposition but once again come away empty-handed, a frustrated Moyes stormed across the pitch, pausing briefly only to applaud his club's travelling supporters and shake hands with former Blue Brian McBride. The scowl on his face was an image which spoke volumes. Moyes knew his players had squandered a golden opportunity to erase the disappointment of their controversial Champions League exit at Villarreal and build on last Sunday's victory at Bolton. While their style may be easy on the eye and they possess one or two flair players, it would be stretching the imagination in the extreme to describe Fulham as testing opposition. But for some baffling reason, Everton can't beat them on their own turf. It is 39 years since the Blues last won at Craven Cottage - a debut goal from Alan Ball gave Harry Catterick's men a 1-0 victory on August 20, 1966 - but it is debatable whether they have had a better chance since than the one that has just passed them by.
Yes, it had been a difficult week for Everton. Starting with an exacting 90 minutes at the Reebok last Sunday, a trip to Spain ensured they had little time to recharge the batteries and they could have done without an another arduous journey to London. Fulham, though, went into the contest with their confidence shattered by successive defeats against Blackburn and Arsenal. They were there for the taking, so no wonder Moyes appeared enraged. If Everton are to make a swift return to the Champions League next season, then they are going to have to find a remedy for their chronic early lack of goals and cut out the frustrating mistakes that have compromised progress. Easier said than done, of course, and it is a familiar gripe. But the top teams in the Premiership would have left Craven Cottage at the weekend, clutching onto three points taken with the minimum of fuss. Everton should have done the same. Testing the water early on, the Blues began cutting through Fulham's brittle backbone from as early as the seventh minute when Mikel Arteta skipped through a couple of weak challenges only to drag a presentable opportunity wide. Maybe it was too easy. Moments later, Kevin Kilbane's left-wing cross caused anxiety amongst Fulham ' s defence but somehow both Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent failed to make contact with the goal at their mercy inside the six-yard box. Panic spread amongst the home support and every misplaced pass was met with howls of derision. Instead of stamping their authority on the game, though, Everton somehow allowed themselves to be dragged down to Fulham's level. Allowing possession to slip in vital areas, not choosing the right option when moving forward with menace and giving Chris Coleman's men a chance to regather their thoughts, Everton slowly saw the initiative wrestled from their grasp.
Once they went behind to a sloppy goal from McBride - he was allowed to jog forward unmarked to hammer home Moritz Volz's cutback on 56 minutes - it became apparent that Moyes' side would face an uphill struggle. The most frustrating aspect of this latest setback was Everton's inability to put Fulham goalkeeper Tony Warner under any real pressure until it was all too late. He looked as though he would have cracked had the Blues turned the screw. As it was, Everton's only real chance came when substitute Duncan Ferguson saw a bullet header clawed out after James McFadden and Phil Neville had combined to good effect on the left. Neville was involved in the final flashpoint of the game, when he was harshly sent-off by referee Riley for an innocuous challenge on Tomasz Radzinski. But it was no great shock to see TV replays suggest the ex-Blue had made a meal of things.
So just as they had done in the home encounters with Villarreal and Manchester United, the Blues were made to pay for failing to cash in when they were well on top. The players knew it, Moyes and his staff knew it, as did the supporters. Perhaps there has been too much of a reliance on Cahill to pop up with the goals from midfield, as he did so successfully last season. While he has been getting into dangerous areas in every game, the Australian hasn't been able to finish the job. He can't be expected to come up with the goods all the time, so it is no wonder that Moyes has spent all summer looking for a striker. Time, nevertheless, is running out and Blues fans will be hoping he can come up trumps before midnight on Wednesday. There is no doubt that Evertob are a good side and only a few minor adjustments need to be made in order to make the next leap forward.
But if Moyes and his men are to do that, the lesson must be learned from this latest, exasperating reverse.

We lacked a killer instinct - Neville
Aug 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE joins up with the England squad later this week admitting the next 14 days will be "pretty poor" after Everton's frustrating defeat against Fulham. The Blues midfielder was harshly sent-off for the first time in his career, as Everton were once again let down by some familiar old failings during their 1-0 defeat at Craven Cottage. Having enjoyed a bright start to his Everton career following his £3.5m move from Manchester United, Neville will now have to sit out the next Premiership game against Portsmouth as he serves a one-match ban. Though he will hope to play in both England's World Cup qualifiers against Wales and Northern Ireland, the 28-year-old must sit and stew on the manner Everton threw the away chance of doubling their points tally for the season. It is not the first time that David Moyes' men have allowed chances to go begging and Neville agreed that Everton risk jeopardising all their hard work unless they fail to develop a ruthless streak. "For a large part of the game, I felt we were totally in control," said Neville. "We passed the ball well, probably as well as we have done all season but maybe we lacked a little bit of a killer instinct. "That cost us. If you look at all our games, maybe apart from Villarreal away, we have dominated in the first half but we have not managed to score that all important first goal. "It was so important that we scored the first goal against Fulham, particularly after the tough week that we have had. "We could have sat back then and invited Fulham on to us. But we didn't capitalise on the possession that we had. "Once Fulham scored, we were always chasing the game and when you have had the week that we have had it is very difficult to get back in the game then. "When you have a 10-day break for international duty, it is always nice to go away with a victory because you can go away happy and relax. But after a defeat, you do nothing for the next 14 days but think about what you could have done better. "The next 14 days are going to be pretty poor really. It was the first time I have been sent off in my career and it is disappointing because it was in the last minute and it was a bit of a tired tackle." Neville was, understandably, upset at the manner of his dismal but significantly, he exonerated Tomasz Radzinski of any blame, preferring instead to turn his ire on the erratic officiating of referee Mike Riley. "In the first half, he gave a foul against me and then agreed that I got the ball," Neville added. "I thought then that I had my work cut out but later on in the game it was just an innocuous challenge and I didn't feel as though I touched the lad. "With a minute to go, maybe he could have taken a more lenient view. Foreign players, maybe forwards, do make the most of challenges but that is not an excuse. It wasn't Tomasz Radzinski that got me sent-off. "It was a little bit of the referee and a little bit of a tired challenge but it wasn't a challenge worthy of a booking, I don't think. That is why the disappointment will stay with me now."

'We've got the creators, we just need the people to get us some goals'
Aug 29 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was left to rue Everton's lack of a killer instinct as they headed into the international break on the back of another frustrating defeat. The Blues allowed a number of good opportunities to go begging before they eventually lost 1-0 against Fulham and Moyes accepted it is an area of his side's play that needs to improve quickly. Moyes, nevertheless, was still pleased with the way Everton acquitted themselves after three taxing games in the space on six days away from home, insisting that results do give an accurate indication of how Everton have been performing.
"I didn't think so but then again we didn't create maybe enough chances from the game," said Moyes. "We had plenty of opportunities. We had the ball in good positions to do so and we had one or two chances that we should have taken. "I don't think Fulham had many chances either, really. We didn't make the final pass or the final run that would have counted. We hope that it will happen again for us but it was a hard game for us. "We dominated a lot of the play in midfield but it looked as if the game was going to peter out. They got the goal and we didn't and that's the way it goes sometimes. I'm not too disappointed with the performance, just the result. "I thought the players did everything we asked of them. We competed well which pleased me because we were worried about how it might be but I had no need to worry because they played well. "I thought we got near but we just didn't have that final bit which might have made a difference. We can't fault the play getting up to the 18-yard box because it was very good. We have got the creators, we just need the people to get us some goals. "I think we have been creating chances in all our games. Maybe we could have had a penalty against Fulham and Tim Cahill went close a couple of times. We've created bits and pieces but we'd like to create more." Meanwhile, Moyes - who will find out the results of Andy van der Meyde's medical tomorrow before making an announcement on his £1.8m move from Inter Milan - was quick to back Phil Neville after he was sent-off for the first time in his career.
Everton's players were particularly unhappy with the role of former Blue Tomasz Radzinski in the incident and the way referee Mike Riley was so quick to brandish a red card, but the manager refused to fan any flames. "I didn't really see what happened with Phil," said Moyes. "It was difficult from where I was but I certainly won't be pulling Phil up for being competitive. "I have to trust the system that we have got and the people who mark the referees and they can put it in place and say that if they don't do particularly well they can do something about it." Neville will now miss the next Premiership game against Portsmouth at Goodison Park and his suspension is likely to see new boy Matteo Ferrari make his debut but Moyes never contemplated playing him at Craven Cottage.
"Matteo could play left-back but it is not his natural position," Moyes added. "Until we got him in and let him have a look around us - he only trained with us on Friday - we could only use him sparingly."

Decision due over van der Meyde move
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Aug 30 2005
EVERTON will decide today whether to make Andy van der Meyde their latest signing. The Holland international has already agreed personal terms on a £1.8million move from Inter Milan, and underwent a stringent medical over the weekend. Van der Meyde is currently suffering a groin injury that the player expects will sideline him for at least the next three weeks. Tests have revealed the usual concerns associated with such an injury and Everton will talk with the player today before deciding if they should proceed with the transfer. If van der Meyde receives the green light, he will become David Moyes's eighth signing of the summer and bring to an end a year-long chase for the 25-year-old. Dickson Etuhu of Preston North End is another anticipated arrival, with Moyes also still in the market for a striker before the transfer window closes tomorrow. However, former target Michael Owen is set to join either Liverpool or Newcastle United while Dirk Kuyt, the subject of a £10m bid from Everton earlier this month, has opted to stay at Feyenoord. "I have taken my definitive decision," he said. "I am staying at Feyenoord. "The feeling was not good, at the last moment, to leave such a beautiful and fantastic club. "I have weighed up what is good for me and what is not and I decided on to remain at Feyenoord." Meanwhile, the controversial decision by Pierluigi Collina to dis-allow Duncan Ferguson's header in Villarreal appears to have been the referee's last major contribution to football. Collina yesterday quit the Italian Referees' Association (AIA) and announced his shock retirement following a row over sponsorship. The 45-year-old had been accused by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) of a conflict of interest after accepting a sponsorship deal. Opel, who also sponsor AC Milan, were to pay Collina £545,000 per year and the FIGC told Collina he would only be able to referee second division games. "After 28 years, I have decided to hand in my resignation," said Collina. "At the end of the day I think everybody is losing out." Collina had been handed special dispensation to continue officiating for another season, despite reaching the maximum age of 45.

Van der Meyde signing in the balance
Aug 30 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were discovering the result of Andy van der Meyde's medical today before deciding whether he will become the club's eighth summer signing. The Blues have agreed a £1.8m fee with Inter Milan for the Holland international and personal terms have also been ironed out with the player, but manager David Moyes is waiting to see if any problems emerge from the medical.
Van der Meyde has had a groin injury and will not be able to play for another four weeks should he sign, so Moyes wants to make sure everything is okay before committing to a deal for a player he has been tracking for 12 months. Meanwhile, Tim Cahill believes the lessons learnt in the Champions League qualifier against Villarreal will stand the Blues in good stead when they face UEFA Cup opponents Dinamo Bucharest. Everton travel to Romania for the first leg of the tie on September 15, with the return match a fortnight later. The Australian midfielder said: "It is a very difficult draw. We have been hard done by again, but that is football. "After the experience of Villarreal we want to take the lessons from that into Europe and domestically. "We have had a taste of Europe and the boys are feeling confident, so we will see what we can do. It is not a bad thing to get a tough draw. It tests you as a player and as a team. "We have character and now we have to see if we can adapt to losing out in the Champions League and can move forward in the UEFA Cup."

Kuyt rules out immediate move to the Premiership
Aug 30 2005 Liverpool Echo
FEYENOORD striker Dirk Kuyt has ruled out making a deadline-beating move to the Premiership.
The 25-year-old Holland player was the subject of a failed £10m bid from Everton
at the start of August and has also attracted Liverpool and Tottenham's attention. However Kuyt, who scored 29 goals in 34 league games last season and has started the new campaign with three in three matches, has now committed to Feyenoord until next summer. "I have taken my final decision, I'm staying at Feyenoord," said Kuyt. "It didn't feel right to leave a wonderful, fantastic club like Feyenoord at the last moment. "This season nothing will come of it with other clubs. If a tremendous club comes in I'll listen to it, but I'll also say immediately that it's only for next season.
"I'll only leave when I have the permission of the management. I don't want to leave in unpleasant circumstances," he added. "I hope when my time comes my departure will be pleasant, although we're not at that point yet."

We will show our ruthless streak
Aug 30 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR insists Everton's players will emerge from the international break showing the ruthless streak needed to transform their fortunes. While there has been much to admire about the way have the Blues have passed the ball around in games against Manchester United and Fulham, progress has been compromised by an inability to take chances at key moments. It is, of course, too early in the season to start panicking but as Weir points out, good performances will count for nothing unless Everton get into the habit of killing teams off when opportunities arise. But with 12 days before David Moyes' men return to Premiership combat with a home game against a Portsmouth side still seeking their first win, there is plenty of time to work on righting the wrongs and Weir is confident lessons will be learned. "There is a fine line between success and failure at this level and I think we have been harshly done by in the last couple of games," said the captain..
"Chances need to start dropping for us and we need to start getting the breaks to get ahead in the games. If we manage to get ahead in games, then I think it will really change around for us.
"The breaks seem to be going against us. But we know that you have got to score when you are on top at this level. When you are the better team, you have got to make your pressure pay off.
"That means scoring goals but we haven't been able to do that at present. So when we have been conceding goals, we have been right up against it. The game at Fulham was similar to the one against Manchester United in many ways." While Moyes will see a number of his squad head off to play in World Cup qualifiers, the ones left behind at Belle-field will have an opportunity to recharge their batteries after a demanding start to the campaign. Weir, however, was not offering tiredness as an excuse for the way Everton played in the second half against Fulham at the weekend - even though they had spent a tiring week on the road and played three matches in six days. If anything, the squad will only be happy when they are involved in even more matches because that will be a sign that they are enjoying success, so for the 35-year-old it is very much a case of the more, the merrier.
"It was difficult being away but that's what we want," said Weir. "We want to be playing in Europe, we want to have lots of games and be coming back to play in the Premiership. You won't get any complaints from us about that. "That's what we are here for, that's what we get paid for. To be honest, that's what we want to do more of. We wanted to go into the break with good memories, not on the back of a defeat and it's frustrating that we have got to wait. "We will look forward to the next game, though, and the chance to get things back on track. "We have just got to use the break to make sure we come back focused."

Moyes can bring good times back - Davies
By Mark Currie Daily Post Staff
Aug 31 2005
WELSH international Simon Davies is backing his Everton manager David Moyes to bring the glory days back to Goodison Park. The 25-year old former Spurs midfielder, one of seven summer arrivals on the Blue half of Mersey-side, regards his move as an opportunity to make up for lost time after a frustrating five years at White Hart Lane. With Spurs unable to mount a realistic challenge for honours and his own progress hampered by injury, Davies said he had made the correct decision to move on. "Five years at one club is a long time and I could have stayed as I had four years on my contract," he said. "But as soon as Everton came in, especially with them being in the Champions League, I didn't want to turn it down and I've been more than happy with my decision." And despite Everton's early exit from Europe's premier club competition following their defeat by Spanish side Villarreal, Davies believes the experience will prove invaluable in the future. "Over there in the second leg we really put them under pressure in the second half, but things didn't go our way, particularly with Duncan Ferguson's goal disallowed," he added.. "Nevertheless it gives us the confidence to know we can compete at that level. Since qualifying the boss has shown he is ambitious with the signings he has made and, although he has missed out on a couple of names, he's proved he's willing to spend big money. "And hopefully there are one or two more to come before the transfer window closes tomorrow evening. "In any event we now have a good group of young players who are all ambitious and we think we can do well." Despite his susceptibility to shin splint injuries, Davies claims he is now managing the problem and is looking forward to a run in the team.
"I rarely played more than five or six games at a time for Spurs and any player will say you need a run to get back to your best," he said. "Hopefully this year I can stay fit and show the fans what I'm capable of playing on the right of mid-field. Moyes has talked to me about it and his middle three of Cahill, Arteta and Neville seem well suited. "But I'm happy playing on the right." Davie will be intent on making life as tough as he can for England when they meet Wales on Saturday. "I don't ever want to see England do well," he said. "I will never hear the end of it, and my Scottish boss at Everton, David Moyes, has sent me here saying that if we don't win, don't bother going back to Goodison Park. "Anything we can do to stop England we will do."

Striker light
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Aug 31 2005
Striker light
EVERTON need a striker and I hope David Moyes gets the message or we will struggle for sure.
A guaranteed 20-goals-a-season man for whatever it takes.
Bill Smith (via e-mail)
Cole the goal
I THINK Carlton Cole will be the answer to Everton's striking problems if we got him on loan from Chelsea.
Greg Downing, Bootle
James the first
IF Everton don't get a striker we could try playing James McFadden up front. I know he's pretty lame on the left but he has always done quite well on the few occasions he's played up front.
David Oakes (via e-mail)
Ful of despair
I CAN accept defeat and Fulham was another game lost that should have been won. But I'm just getting sick of hearing the same old phrases from David Moyes and the Goodison camp. With a fit squad, and another top striker, we could be up there where we belong.
John Vale, Aigburth
Cheers not tears
IF Everton have aspirations not to compete for relegation places this season they have to beat teams of Fulham's quality. I know we have a pathetically small squad but we should not have lost. Offensively, Everton are poor and if something is not done to improve the attacking quality up front and midfield, tears will be shed.
Roger Landing, Widnes
Same old story
I AM fed up with the now familiar cliche of 'Everton played well... but did not get the result they deserved'. You get results by putting the ball in the opposition's net, something Everton do not have the renowned capability of doing. And with playing one up front alone, doesn't that decrease the odds? Sort it out!
N Baines, St Helens

Referee Collina's notice refused
By Alan Easel, Daily Post
Aug 31 2005
ITALIAN Referees Association president Tullio Lanese has refused to accept Pierluigi Collina's shock resignation from football. Collina brought an end to his 28-year career as a professional referee on Monday after recent controversy surrounding his sponsorship deal with car manufacturer Opel.
The 45-year-old's decision to to sign a contract with AC Milan's team sponsor has been seen by critics as a conflict of interest, and has ultimately forced Collina to tender his resignation.
Collina, who has forged a reputation as the world's best referee, received a special exemption to continue refereeing this season, having reached the Serie A's official age limit of 45 in February.
He came under fire from Everton after controversially disallowing Duncan Ferguson's late header against Villarreal last week. "What has happened is a surprise," admitted Lanese. "No-one expected it. I will call for an AIA (Italian Referees Association) meeting to take place in order to reject Collina's resignation." Collina was due to referee the World Cup qualifier between Spain and Serbia & Montenegro on September 7 but has now been replaced by English official Graham Poll.

Moyes to move for striker Nugent
Aug 31 2005 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was today launching an eleventh hour bid to bring in a striker - with Preston's David Nugent the name at the top of his hitlist. Having signed seven players since the end of last season, the Everton boss has had a busy summer in the transfer market and expects to stay active until the window closes at midnight. If all goes according to plan, Moyes will welcome a further two new faces into his squad before the deadline - one being Andy van der Meyde, the other being a new centre-forward. With personal terms finalised and a £1.8m fee agreed with Inter Milan, the only thing that is preventing van der Meyde's arrival is the results of a medical he underwent at Belle-field yesterday. Given that he is currently striken with a groin injury that will keep him sidelined for another month, Everton have adopted a cautious approach but remained hopeful of wrapping up the deal. Once that is finalised, Everton's board will then be able to give their undivided attention to bringing in a striker - possibly Scouser Nugent. Born in Huyton and a lifelong Blue, Nugent is one of the hottest properties in the Coca-Cola Championship having scored 13 goals for Preston in 28 appearances following his £100,000 move from Bury in January. One man who is unlikely to end up at Goodison is Republic of Ireland international Robbie Keane. Morning suggestions that Moyes travelled to London to talk terms with the Spurs forward were not true and furthermore, Spurs are not looking to sell.

Keane at top of final-day wishlist
Aug 31 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
EVERTON will make a desperate bid to bring in a new striker before the transfer deadline tonight - with Robbie Keane leading a list of several candidates. Manager David Moyes met the Tottenham striker in London yesterday as he looks to bolster his attacking options before the window closes at midnight tonight. Michael Owen also revealed last night that Moyes made another bid for his services shortly before the England international agreed to join Newcastle United from Real Madrid.
"David Moyes rang to see if there was a chance of getting me to Goodison Park and to wish me luck if not," he said. "I think he must have known that my dad was briefly an Everton player and I used to follow them as a boy." Preston's David Nugent, Porto's Benni McCarthy and Chelsea's Carlton Cole are also on Moyes's wishlist, but the frantic nature of deadline day could mean other players coming into the reckoning. Moyes will divert all his energies into luring a striker today, which would appear to rule out a late swoop for Preston midfielder Dickson Etuhu. Everton are still hopeful, meanwhile, that winger Andy van der Meyde will finally get the all-clear today. Dutchman van der Meyde has agreed personal terms but his medical has been complicated by the groin injury the 25-year-old is currently stricken with. Everton will receive the result of a test relating to the injury today and if they are happy will then formalise the £1.8million transfer.

Bringing in a striker must be top priority
Aug 31 2005 icLiverpool & Liverpool Echo
THE MAIN thing I'm concerned about at the moment is our lack of shooting. Moyes has said himself, we've had chances we didn't take so far this season. We get into good positions and need people to take chances but they aren't. We've shored the back up with the signings of Ferrari and Valente, the midfield looks good - skill mixed with tough tacklers - and Van der Meyde will round that off.
But now we need to sort the front out. We need a striker, we all see it, Moyes included after his comment about Fulham and us lacking in the final third. So now, after three games we should have won, but didn't due to lack of scoring and shooting all round, surely a striker is our next and most important purchase.
Alan Edwards, Wirral
TAKING a punt on Preston's David Nugent would not be a bad idea. He's a die-hard Evertonian and the goal he scored against Ipswich was superb.
Bobby Turner, Formby
WE PROBABLY kept the ball better in the Fulham game than we have for a long time but never looked like scoring. The result was probably about right as they looked slightly more dangerous when they had the ball. I am still confident for a good season, however, as long as we can add an end product to some of the good football that we played on Saturday. Good to see more new faces arriving. There is a good squad coming together but we do need to break this losing habit quickly with some wins in the next few games.
Ian Kingston, Broadgreen
DESPITE the loss against Fulham, we played the ball around well for over half the match. Combined with the Villarreal game, we played it round more than in the whole of last season apart from the Man City and Villa games. Best of all, we didn't go route one even with Ferguson on. Maybe the penny's finally dropping. A decent striker and we could be looking good.
Gary Lloyd, Bootle
THE LAST two results have shown the need for a 20-goal a season man more than ever. But at least David Moyes shows dignity in his post match interviews. He could have slated the ref. He could have slated the team, but, as ever, he was magnanimous in defeat.
Simon Aylesbury, Skelmersdale

Football fans deny matchday violence
Aug 31 2005 Liverpool Echo
SEVEN men have denied taking part in violence following an Everton football match. The men, who appeared at Liverpool crown court, were arrested following last season's FA Cup fifth round game between the Blues and Manchester United. They all pleaded not guilty to violent disorder on February 19. In the dock were: Mark Leary, 45, of Lister Road, Kensington; Colin Stewart, 36, of Store Street, Kirkdale; Terence Sweeney, 39, of Cockington Close, Northwich; Steven Wetherall, 33, of Hawthorne Avenue, Halewood; Mark Feeney, 30, of Leyfield Road, West Derby; Joseph Delap, 25, of Stran-stead Avenue, Warrington; Phillip Roberts, 35, of West Wycombe Road, High Wycombe.
They were all remanded on unconditional bail to await their trial, to start on February 13 next year.
Three other men also appeared in court charged with violent disorder on the same date: serving soldier Ben Dawe, 20, of Tenby Street, Everton; Christopher Green, 18, of Carnation Road, Fazakerley, and Kevin Davies, 24, of Moss Grove, Birkenhead. Their trial was fixed to begin on November 21.










August 2005