£20M CITY BID LANDS LESCOTT
ABOVE: Senderos is a wanted man
1st August 2009 Daily Star
By David Woods
MANCHESTER CITY are close to completing a move for Joleon Lescott after Everton made a shock bid for Arsenal flop Philippe Senderos.
Moneybags City’s persistence over Lescott looks set to pay off with a fee of £20m enough for the Toffees to part with the England defender. The Merseysiders had previously rejected offers of £18m and £19m. Everton boss David Moyes was adamant centre-back Lescott would not leave, but it seems the availability of Senderos has paved the way for a deal. Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will let the Switzerland international, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan, leave north London.
Arsenal inserted a buy-out clause of £6m for Senderos when they loaned him to the Italian giants but it could be the Emirates side push for more with Everton.
If Senderos does go for £6m, it would mean Wenger, after selling Emmanuel Adebayor (£25m) and Kolo Toure (£14m), will have raised close to £45m.
Wenger has spent just £10m on Belgium defender Thomas Vermaelen, who arrived from Ajax. In contrast, City boss Mark Hughes will take the club’s total spending this summer to over £112m with the purchase of Lescott. But Wenger is likely to step up his pursuit of Bordeaux’s Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh.
David Moyes vows to step up the search for fresh talent for Everton FC
Aug 1 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has vowed to step up his search for fresh talent as he aims to break Everton’s transfer deadlock – sooner rather than later. The only notable arrival at Goodison Park since the transfer window opened has been Jo, who joined on a season-long loan from Manchester City. However, it has not been for a lack of trying and the situation would have been much brighter had Sheffield United not gone back on their decision to sell Kyle Naughton to Everton. Not surprisingly, some concerned supporters have started to draw parallels with last summer, when Everton made late moves for Marouane Fellaini and Louis Saha. “We know the situation and we know we have got to add to the squad,” said Moyes, who will take a strong side to the Ricoh Arena for tomorrow’s friendly with Coventry. “I let it be known at the shareholders’ forum that we don’t have the money to make major signings but we are looking all the time. “You never want to bring players in who you feel aren’t going to improve what you already have, so the search continues to go on. “The search is to try and find those one or two players who can add something different to the squad and give us a little bit more depth. “I’d have liked to have had everything done a week after the end of last season. I can’t say I’m any closer to doing anything but we are still looking and hopefully the right person will come up.” Though they missed out on Naughton, the Blues are still tracking Leeds midfielder Fabian Delph and are considering their next move for Sweden’s Rasmus Elm. Another priority is bringing in a central defender to prov de cover for Joseph Yobo and Joleon Lescott, as Phil Jagielka returns to full fitness. But there will at least be some good news on the horizon soon when, all being well, Ayegbeni Yakubu will make his first appearance in a Blue shirt since rupturing his Achilles tendon last November. Provided there are no hiccups, either the friendly at Blackpool on Tuesday or the Goodison date with Malaga next Friday are the targets to relaunch Yakubu’s Goodison career. Everton, meanwhile, are bracing themselves for another Manchester City bid for Joleon Lescott but insist they will not sell the England international even for £30million. Club sources at Goodison Park are making it clear their attitude has hardened over the issue to the extent even a bid approaching £30million would be rejected. Lescott is also now aware the only way that stance will change is if he asks for a transfer.
Leon Osman ready for fine tuning at Coventry
Aug 1 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN is being sent to Coventry tomorrow. But Everton’s gregarious midfielder doesn’t mind one bit. The Blues only arrived back from their successful pre-season tour of the United States yesterday morning – but with just three games remaining of the build-up to the new campaign, Everton’s first ever visit to the Ricoh Arena assumes greater significance. After the Sunday lunchtime clash, Everton take on Blackpool next week, before Malaga provide the final opposition of the friendlies programme at Goodison Park eight days before the big kick-off proper. The curtain raiser to the new season could hardly be more mouth watering, the visit of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal – one of the clubs Everton will be aiming to oust from a Champions League spot next season. Despite losing Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to Manchester City, and seeing Samir Nasri suffer a broken leg, Osman believes rumours of The Gunners’ demise have been greatly exaggerated.
“It’s great to start with a big game, you’re going into the season at full throttle. Hopefully if we can get three points against them it will set us up for a good season,” he declared. “Arsenal are still a quality side. The reputation is there, the quality is there, they may not have bought as many players as other teams, but I’m sure once the season starts, they’ll be the old Arsenal.” Osman believes that Everton’s annual pre-season trips to North America are an important part of the team spirit within the squad. The Blues first travelled to the States in the summer of 2004, after a season where the club achieved their lowest ever points total. But the legacy of that trip was an astonishing comeback. “We went to Houston in 2004,” added Osman. “It was a really difficult time. We’d just finished 17th in the league and nobody expected much from us, but we bonded really well on that trip. “The facilities were different class, the players got really close, and we came out of the blocks flying at the start of that season. I think there’s a feeling within the club if we can keep recreating that every season, start well, then the season will be decent.” The Blues flew out to Seattle almost a fortnight ago for a week long training camp. A narrow defeat by Argentinean side River Plate in Edmonton was followed by a penalty shoot-out success over the MLS All Stars, the first time the American League’s representative side had seen its colours lowered on home turf. “We’ve got ourselves a good group of lads, a good team on and off the pitch, the quality is there for all to see,” Osman went on.
“You don’t improve by selling your best players, so if we can keep hold of ours, hopefully we can keep moving in the right direction. “We feel we’re improving all the time. We feel if we can add a few more players, we can improve still. Hopefully the players at the club will see that’s the case and want to stay.” David Moyes looks likely to be forced to set his sights a little lower in terms of transfer targets this summer, after a £15m outlay for Marouane Fellaini this time last year. Brazilian Jo has already arrived on a season-long loan, and Moyes has warned fans that he will continue searching for free transfers and loan signings. Osman, however, believes that the manager will continue to take Everton forward, despite the restrictions. “Ultimately it’s his decision, he’s in control. He seems to know what’s right for the club, he’s consistently getting us top six finishes in the last couple of seasons. We all trust in him, and all the fans have shown they do as well, so we’ll see what happens.”
Looking ahead to the new season, the Billinge-born midfielder expects Everton to carry on defying the critics who believe the club to be punching above their weight, and he expects the Blues’ rivals for the European places to be among the usual suspects. “We’ve been fighting with Aston Villa, Fulham were up there last season, Tottenham, West Ham, its the same usual teams we’re always fighting year in year out for that spot. “We’ve finished in the top six the last three seasons, we’re certainly where we belong. Over a long period of time, over a long season, you usually end up where you should be. We had a dip a couple of times but we’ve come back strong, we certainly feel we’re a team that’s pushing upwards and getting stronger.”
Osman is also hoping this season will finally be the one when he wins senior honours.
The so far uncapped midfielder has been recommended by David Moyes to England coach Fabio Capello, an exciting possibility in a World Cup season. But as usual, the 28-year-old remains a realist. “It’s flattering to be talked about, but I’ve just got to knuckle down, do my own job here and try and achieve everything I can do. There’s no point in dwelling over it, taking your eye off the ball, because you’ll not perform as you need to for your club.” And if Osman performs as he can for Everton this season, it surely can only be a matter of time before club honours follow. It is now 14 years since Everton’s last trophy, but last season’s FA Cup final defeat, as well as runs in the UEFA and League Cups the previous season, have only made the current squad hungrier than ever to end the club’s drought. “We’ve been getting a decent league finish, we’re starting to put one or two cup runs together, so hopefully we can transform that into winning something this year, or at least another improvement,” Osman added. “It would be absolutely massive. We’re crying out for silverware, the fans are crying out for some silverware, if we could actually make that happen, it would be fantastic.”
Grounds for concern?
Everton’s record in first visits to new stadial Emirates Stadium, Arsenal 1 Everton 1 (Cahill) 28-10-06
* Reebok Stadium, Bolton 0 Everton 0 1-09-97
* KC Stadium, Hull 2 Everton 2 (Cahill, Osman) 21-09-08
* Eastlands, Man City 5 Everton 1 (Campbell) 15-05-04
* Britannia Stadium, Stoke 0 Everton 1 (Stubbs) 5-01-02
* Stadium of Light, Sunderland 2 Everton 1 (Barmby) 25-03-00
* JJB Stadium, Wigan 1 Everton 1 (Thompson og) 31-01-06
* Pride Park, Derby 2 Everton 1 (Barmby) 7-02-99
* Walkers Stadium, Leicester 1 Everton 1 (Rooney) 20-03-04
* Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough 0 Everton 2 (Grant, Hinchcliffe pen) 2-03-96
* Madejski Stadium, Reading 0 Everton 2 (Johnson, McFadden) 23-12-06
* McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield 1 Everton 1 (Watson) 15-09-98
* St Mary’s, Southampton 0 Everton 1 (Watson) 20-04-02
Coventry City boss Chris warns Everton FC to expect a test
Aug 1 2009 Liverpool Echo
COVENTRY boss Chris Coleman has fired a warning to his players ahead of the club’s final pre-season game against Everton tomorrow. The Sky Blues are unbeaten in four warm-up games this summer, although Coleman is still expecting a marked improvement in performance when David Moyes’ FA Cup finalists visit the Ricoh Arena. And despite the fact the match, which kicks off at 12.30 is to be held to pay tribute to Marcus Hall spending more than a decade with his home- town club, Coleman is adamant the game will not be a normal run of the mill testimonial.
Coleman said: “All the players should be aware how important this game is, it is a really big test against a top Premier League side as we work towards our first league game against Ipswich on August 9. “Marcus deserves to be rewarded for the great level of service he has shown this club, but first and foremost Sunday’s match is one of the last chances the players will have to show me what they can do ahead of Ipswich, and will have a major bearing on my team selection for that game.
“There will be no rolling subs, or players coming on and off after 10 minutes – we will be doing all we can to try and beat Everton.” Hall added: “I’m really looking forward to the game against a top class side like Everton “Although this is my testimonial game I understand it is a vital part of our preparations for the new season, and hopefully Sky Blues fans will come out and show their support.”
Hall has warned Everton that he's scored against them before – and he plans to do it again! Tongue firmly in his cheek, Hall said: “One of my few career goals has come against Everton – in a League Cup tie many years ago – so they may well decide to call it off when they realise I am so prolific against them!” Hall has made 262 appearances in two spells for the Sky Blues scoring two goals. The goal that he was so keen to recall came in a clash at City’s old Highfield Road ground came on a grimly remembered evening in 1997 when Coventry won 4-1. Howard Kendall was so enraged by his side’s performance that he marched onto the pitch at the final whistle to order his players to start lapping the pitch. A handful refused and for a time the post-match scene descended into near anarchy as players and management swapped terse thoughts. The Blues, however, bounced back three days later with an unexpected derby day victory when Danny Cadamarteri exploded onto the scene. Tickets for Sunday’s match cost £12 for adults and £6 for concessions (senior citizens over 60, NUS card holders, under 18s, and members of the armed forces with a valid form of armed forces identification) and are available by calling the club shop and ticket office on 0844 873 1883 (option 2) or purchasing tickets in person at the official Britannia Tyres Superstore at the Ricoh Arena.
Dominic King: Man City should go to the bottom of the class
Aug 1 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MONEY, if you have enough of it, can get you most things but it will never, ever be able to buy you class. One major story has dominated the footballing agenda this summer and that has been Manchester City’s attempts to sign any number of footballers, brazenly waving bundles of notes and spouting hot air about what they are going to do over the coming years. For some, it will have made compelling viewing and if the mind boggling investments they have made come off, there is a chance that it will be welcomed in some quarters, as the established order of the top four will get bustled up. Chances are, though, the only people thinking that will be supporters of the club itself; with each passing day, the esteem in which City used to be held continues to plummet and it is likely that every Evertonian is sick to death of hearing their name mentioned. It really is such a shame that they are turning into the Chelsea of the north, a club that thinks kudos and respect is gained by the amount of zeroes they have on their considerable bank balance. Here’s the reason why. Not so long ago, a gentleman named John Wardle was City’s chairman and ‘gentleman’ is the perfect way to describe him; affable, courteous and laser Blue to the core, he demanded that his beloved club handled their business with dignity and in private. Wardle, however, was never comfortable being in the spotlight after taking over from David Bernstein in 2003 and was known in some circles as ‘the reluctant chairman’; his only aim was to see City flourish. In no small thanks to him, they did to a certain extent. When money was tight, Wardle – who built up the multi-million pound sports clothing company JD with business partner David Makin from scratch – would invariably dip into his fortunes to bail them out. It is understood that over the course of the past decade, Wardle’s wealth has contracted by almost a third, owing to the amount of cash he gave City, but there was never shouting from the rooftops; his club was the only thing that mattered.Such an approach made him a popular figure amongst supporters and in boardrooms up and down the country, as he was adept at making many friends but few enemies. Yet since the Abu Dhabi United group came in, with Garry Cook and his personalised cufflinks at the helm, Wardle – who was forced to sell his shares in City because he couldn’t provide the finance to build a top team – has all but been ostracised. Good people who worked under him have also been jettisoned without explanation and many parts of a one-time friendly club are now completely unrecognisable to how they were four or five years ago. Change, as we know, isn’t always for the better. Never in Wardle’s day would a banner of a new signing be unveiled at the bottom of Deansgate, the road into the city, declaring ‘Welcome to Manchester’ nor would a chief executive have commented about another club’s player like Cook did with Joleon Lescott. Everton are enraged about the way City have pursued Lescott since last Christmas, never more so than in the past week, livid that they have played a game in the media to unsettle the player with little dialogue done through the proper channels. But City are going to find that no amount of money will persuade Everton to do business and it is refreshing that David Moyes and Bill Kenwright are going to take this stand. Kenwright, of course, declared at last September’s EGM that he wants to find Evertonians “a billionaire” but if that means the values and ethics he demands at Goodison Park disappear, the Blues will be all the poorer. Everton are one of the last bastions of old-fashioned values; if, for example, you ever ask Moyes for a comment on a possible transfer target, the glower he will return ensures you will never do so again. Supporters, obviously, want to read about transfer news at this time of year but Moyes and Kenwright are cut from a different cloth to Cook and Mark Hughes and will only speak when the time is right – when business is concluded. It may be out of sync with the modern game but John Wardle will know exactly why Goodison’s main men adopt such an approach; etiquette and class are worth far more than barrels of oil. And that will always be the case.
Everton FC's King Louis VIII!
Aug 1 2009 Liverpool Echo
IN-FORM Louis Saha is set to wear number eight tomorrow, after wearing number nine in his debut season at Goodison. “I was born on the eighth day of the eighth month, it is a number I do associate with,” said Saha. “I have always favoured the number eight jersey throughout my career but for one reason or another it has never been available.”
Dominic King: Karaoke kings Jo and Marouane Fellaini beat language barrier
Aug 1 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SPOT the irony. Jo and Marouane Fellaini can hardly speak a word of English yet they brought the house down at the annual karaoke evening. While intense training and competitive games matter most during Everton’s pre-season tours, there is almost as much importance placed on the night that David Moyes affords his players to let their hair down. In recent years, Mikel Arteta has been the man to provide the best tunes and those who were in Dallas in 2006 for his rendition of “I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles” by The Proclaimers still remember the little dance he did to accompany it with great fondness. Twelve months later, he, Nuno Valente and Anderson da Silva teamed up in Los Angeles, calling themselves the “Three Amigos”, to do an upbeat Latin song that again brought the house down. But with Arteta recuperating in Merseyside, the stage was clear for someone to shine and Jo and Fellaini duly obliged; Jo –a man who seems to be permanently smiling – got the crowd going with a version of ‘La Bamba’.
So impressed were his team-mates that they all started doing his trademark thumb and little finger wiggle celebration – but Fellaini was not to be outdone, belting out a French dance tune. Nobody knew the words but it didn’t matter as he earned rapturous applause, which is more than can be said for Louis Saha, who diplomatically passed up the opportunity to grab the microphone. Mind you, he can’t be blamed, particularly if he had Phil Neville‘s experience in mind; the skipper’s rendition of ’Hey Jude’ in 2005 was so bad that he was forced off stage under a barrage of roast potatoes.
Merseyside Police issue warning to Everton fans about Blackpool match
Aug 1 2009 by Kevin Core, Liverpool Echo
POLICE are urging Everton fans who do not have tickets for the friendly against Blackpool on Tuesday August 4 at Bloomfield Road stadium not to travel to the match. They have confirmed all the away ticket allocation for the match, which kicks of at 7.45pm on Tuesday, have been sold. Lancashire and Merseyside police have asked fans not to travel to the game if they do not have one of these tickets, and not to buy tickets from any other source. They added there will be no cash turnstiles at the stadium.
Everton boss David Moyes tells Manchester City - Give us a little respect over Joleon Lescott chase
Aug 2 2009
David Moyes has accused Manchester City of showing a lack of respect to Everton in their chase for Joleon Lescott. The Toffees have turned down two bids for the defender and boss Moyes is not happy at the way their cash-rich Premier League rivals are going about their business. He told the Sunday Mirror: “It’s about showing respect and we’re not being shown that. “I’m sure if I was (City boss) Mark Hughes, with all the money he has, I would try to buy the best players. “But we try to go about it in a different fashion. I would think I would go about my business in the way I’ve always done.” City have had bids of £15million and £18million for Lescott turned down - and are now believed to be returning soon with a £22million offer. However, Everton are insisting they will not sell the England international defender, even for £30million.
Moyes continued: “I’ve always tried to contact the managers and show respect to them in terms of transfers - and no matter how much money I might have to spend I would always want to keep that up. “It goes back to the managers having a drink together after the game, to the fact managers would still phone each other up when they are looking for a player. "That is part of the way it should be done..
YOU’VE COTT TO ASK FOR TRANSFER
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
2nd August 2009 Daily Star
By Steve Millar
EVERTON boss David Moyes has told defender Joleon Lescott: Hand in a transfer request if you want to leave. The England star is the next major target of mega-spending Manchester City whose boss Mark Hughes has had two major bids already rejected by the Goodison club. Moyes is under no pressure from chairman Bill Kenwright to sell Lescott who is seen by City as the perfect partner for £14million Kolo Toure. But Moyes knows that Lescott’s head has been turned by the double your money wages on offer of £80,000 a week. So the ball has now been put firmly in his court as City prepare to make a third bid of around £25m. Lescott will be asked to hand in a transfer request to put the deal in motion with Hughes determined that he will not take “No” for an answer. Moyes has already earmarked Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos as a £3m replacement and will use the £22m surplus to fund other big signings. Aston Villa and Sunderland are also keen to sign Senderos who spent last season on loan at AC Milan. But Everton are at the head of the queue to snap up the big Swiss stopper. Senderos has now returned to the Emirates for pre-season training but is resigned to leaving Arsenal and would jump at the chance of linking up with Moyes on Merseyside. If the Senderos deal collapses, then Moyes has another target in Bolton defender Gary Cahill. But City boss Hughes also has alternative targets lined up should Lescott fail to ask for a move. Newcastle’s Sebastien Bassong and Chris Samba at Blackburn are the latest central defenders on Manchester City’s radar. City scouts watched French defender Bassong valued at £6m, in Newcastle’s 0-0 draw with Leeds last Wednesday. And Mark Hughes has already signed the 6ft 5in Samba before when he was in charge at Blackburn. But Lescott undoubtedly remains top of City’s hit list after signing Kolo Toure from Arsenal for £16m and missing out on Chelsea’s England skipper John Terry. So far, they have had bids of £15m and £18m rejected. And Everton have made it clear they will continue to toss out bids no matter how much City offer. Hughes also has West Ham’s Matthew Upson and Bruno Alves at Portuguese champions Porto in his thoughts.
Coventry City 2, Everton 2
Aug 2 2009
A last minute goal from Coventry midfielder Aron Gunnarsson denied Everton victory in a first pre-season friendly since returning for their tour of the United States.
The Toffees - sporting their striking new black away kit - had taken a 2-1 lead in the 86 th minute when Jose Baxter exchanged passes with Marouane Fellaini and hammered a drive past Coventry keeper Keiron Westwood from 16 yards. However, Blues boss David Moyes was frustrated to see his players switch off in the dying moments to allow Gunnarsson the opportunity to bundle in an effort that bobbled past the helpless Tim Howard. Still, there was enough positives for Moyes - who was without the injured Joleon Lescott at the Ricoh Arena - to take from the game, not least the performance of his loan star Jo. The Brazilian striker looked a menace throughout and after going close twice in the opening exchanges, he teed Tim Cahill up to put Everton into a 16 th minute lead, the Australian goal machine blasting in at the second attempt. Everton were comfortably the better side, so it was a surprise when they were pegged back just before half-time, when Michael Doyle slotted in from close range after Ashley Cain had got free down the left-flank. Moyes tried to give as many of his travelling party a run out as possible and aside from Jo, he will have been pleased with Fellaini’s efforts. With better fortune, the club record signing would have got his first goal of pre-season but his thumping left foot drive was tipped over by Westwood. He continued to cause Coventry with his size and movement and his nimble touch gave Baxter a chance he refused to pass up. That should have been the winning goal but, disappointingly, a rare lapse at the back enabled Gunnarsson to profit and give Coventry a share of the spoils in Marcus Hall’s testimonial.
Coventry City 2, Everton 2 - Joleon Lescott’s silence speaks volumes
Aug 3 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
THE locals came to salute one of their own. But for Everton, the man of the moment was conspicuous by his absence yesterday. Having commanded the headlines during the past week, Joleon Lescott avoided the spotlight when David Moyes’s side continued their pre-season programme with a draw at Coventry City.
The reason for the defender’s non-appearance was a hip injury which had limited his training since the return from the United States on Friday. That, though, will do nothing to quell the growing speculation that the England international may find the lure of Manchester City’s multi-million revolution impossible to resist.
Moyes had, not without good reason, hit out over the weekend at the lack of class shown by City and the disrespect they have shown towards the Goodison outfit over their continued pursuit of Lescott. Everton have already dismissed two offers for the 26-year-old with Moyes unwilling to part with any of his squad, a stance resolutely backed by chairman Bill Kenwright. Nevertheless, City are expected to imminently lodge a further improved bid to further test the Goodison resolve. Lescott, of course, could end a saga that is adding unwanted intrigue to Everton’s Premier League preparations by publicly declaring he is going nowhere. But his ongoing silence is merely fuelling the fire; Evertonians will hope it does not prove telling.
Without Lescott, Everton posted a performance that was in parts encouraging against their Coca-Cola Championship hosts. Yet the manner in which they twice let the lead slip due to some slipshod defending underlined why Moyes is so keen to hold on to Lescott during this transfer window, particularly with Phil Jagielka sidelined until well into the new campaign. Following the keenly contested encounters in North America against River Plate and the MLS All-Stars, this was another worthwhile run-out for Moyes’s side in what was a testimonial for Coventry’s veteran full-back Marcus Hall. The matchday programme illustrated the impact the defender has made on the local community throughout his career, but the stadium announcer was stretching things a bit when declaring the home supporters had turned out in force for the match. Steven Pienaar, who missed the victory over the MLS All-Stars in Salt Lake City due to a thigh injury, was again sidelined, while Louis Saha, who scored on Wednesday night, was rested. The absentees meant Jack Rodwell stepped back into the heart of defence alongside Joseph Yobo, while Marouane Fellaini ostensibly patrolled the left flank of midfield. Moyes believes Rodwell will ultimately develop into a successful centre-back, and the youngster will have learned from attempting to keep the experienced Clinton Morrison in check. Quite whether Rodwell is yet capable of stepping in at that position when the hurly-burly of the Premier League begins is another matter, however. Resplendent in their new away kit of black with – there’s no avoiding the fact – pink trim, Everton were comfortably in control during the opening period, with Jo influential. The Brazilian is clearly enjoying life back at Goodison after his profitable spell on loan earlier in the year, and continues to hint at why Manchester City splashed out £18m to bring him to the Premier League 12 months ago. Jo saw a header clawed away by Keiren Westwood after Cahill’s flick-on after seven minutes, and shortly afterwards was again denied by the Coventry goalkeeper after cleverly making space for an angled left-foot drive.
His efforts came to fruition in the 16th minute. After a fine turn lost the attentions of former Liverpool defender Stephen Wright, Jo pulled the ball back into the path of the incoming Cahill. Although the initial shot was blocked by Westwood’s legs, the Australian made no mistake with the rebound. Pre-season is a notorious barometer of future success. But coming to Everton has evidently reignited Jo’s love for the game and given the striker the environment in which to prosper, a point to ponder for anyone considering a move away from Goodison. Phil Neville humoured the travelling contingent with some speculative shooting but Leon Osman and Fellaini were much closer with shots from range. Coventry, whose competitive season begins on Sunday, rarely threatened going forward save one penalty box scramble that ended with Yobo clearing off the line from Leon Best. So it will have disappointed Moyes that the defence momentarily switched off 10 minutes before the break to allow Ashley Cain the time to cross low from the right and Michael Doyle the space to finish at the far post. Jo again came close shortly after the interval, but Coventry took heart from their equaliser and made the game much more competitive during the second half. Fellaini, who Moyes later revealed has been struggling to shake off the effects of a debilitating virus throughout pre-season, solicited a fine flying save from Westwood to turn over his dipping 25-yard effort, while Tim Howard – a half-time replacement for Carlo Nash – held a Doyle shot at his near post. Everton youngsters James Wallace, Jose Baxter, Keiran Agard and Lukas Jutkiewicz were given the chance to impress during the final quarter, but the entertainment level dropped to such an extent the stadium announcer kept the crowd amused with updates from the third Ashes Test. The visitors, though, were determined to finish with a flourish and Baxter will have done his cause no harm with a well-worked goal in the 85th minute, bursting forward from midfield and exchanging passes with Fellaini before crashing the Belgian’s lay-off home from 20 yards, despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Westwood. But Coventry earned a draw in the final moments when further slack Everton defending allowed Aron Gunnarsson to force the ball home.
Coventry 2 Everton FC 2 - Dominic King's verdict
Aug 3 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool
NOTHING sets tongues wagging in pre-season quite like the non-appearance of a player who has been embroiled in a ‘Will he, won’t he?’ saga. So when it emerged shortly before kick-off at the Ricoh Arena yesterday that Joleon Lescott had not travelled and would take no part in Everton’s friendly with Coventry City, it was inevitable that conspiracy theorists would have a field day. Soon there was talk of transfer requests, speculation that Lescott was on his way to Manchester City and suggestions that David Moyes was preparing for a life without the England international. The truth, of course, was much less sinister. A hip injury - which will also keep him out of tomorrow’s friendly at Blackpool - ensured Lescott stayed at Finch Farm to have treatment, while his team-mates continued their preparations for the new season. But if you wanted ultimate proof why Moyes is refusing point blank to buckle under the weight of City’s relentless pursuit of Lescott, it was the throwaway line he delivered in jest shortly after the final whistle that spoke volumes. “Well if it wasn’t Jack Rodwell who played centre-half, it was going to be Andy Holden and Jack just about got the nod there,” said Moyes, allowing himself a wry smile at the thought of his larger-than-life reserve team manager making a comeback. Everton do not have the bodies to allow someone to leave Goodison Park now - even if they wanted to - and there is no chance of Moyes jeopardising his team’s ambitions by selling one of his prized assets. It really is that simple. Though this contest kicked-off less than 48 hours after they had been on a gruelling transatlantic flight, there were no signs of jetlag in the opening exchanges as Everton looked several notches above their opponents in terms of quality. Easily moving the ball backwards and forwards and from side to side at pace, Everton set a tempo which Coventry had trouble keeping up with. With a touch more ruthlessness, the Blues would have found themselves in front before many had settled into their seats. The man causing most trouble for the Sky Blues was the freshly shorn Brazilian striker Jo; he might have lost most of his hair but, unlike Samson, his powers remained strong and the adroit way he linked play was a pleasure to watch. With better fortune, he might have scored twice inside the first 12 minutes, one header from a Cahill flick-on forced Keiron Westwood into a flying save, while he again called the Coventry keeper into action with a thumping left shoot that was pushed wide. It appeared only a matter of time before the Toffees took the lead and so it proved on 16 minutes when Cahill thrashed a shot past Westwood at the second attempt, following good work by Jo and Leighton Baines. To see Cahill get off the mark for pre-season was an especially welcome sight; he, like the rest of his team-mates, has done a lot of good work over the past fortnight and his performances have gradually improved. Yet he would be the first to admit that he is a different proposition altogether when the goals are going in and Everton’s chances of toppling Arsenal on the opening day will be much improved if Cahill is firing on all cylinders. Had this been a game with something riding on it, it would not have been difficult to envisage Everton wrapping things up before the break, such was the gulf in class, so it came as a surprise that Coventry actually got back into it. First Leon Best took advantage of some hesitancy in Everton’s defence and slid a shot towards goal that Rodwell did well to hack off the line with Carlo Nash stranded. There was no let off, however, on 35 minutes when Coventry worked a move down Everton’s left and Ashley Cain scampered clear to cross for Michael Doyle, who had the simple task of slotting into an empty net. In normal circumstances, that would have been enough to lift the home crowd but the simple fact of the matter was that there were hardly enough spectators inside this charmless venue to make any kind of an atmosphere. Perhaps it had something to do with the early kick-off time, perhaps the Third Test up the road in Edgbaston was a contributing factor - either way, Marcus Hall’s testimonial did not capture the imagination of too many paying customers. Being able to hear the players refer to each other by their nicknames and catching every instruction bellowed out by Moyes and Chris Coleman further added to the impression that this was simply a glorified training exercise. Still, it was a ‘training exercise’ that Moyes wanted to win and win it they should have done in the second half, as they dominated possession, continually looking for a way to poke their noses back in front. Marouane Fellaini did his best to make that happen, looking sharper than he has done at any point since the players returned from their summer break, and he almost scored in the 65th minute with a thumping left-footed effort that Westwood tipped over. Easily identifiable with that voluminous haircut, Fellaini was at the heart of the move that saw Everton take what should have been a winning lead four minutes from time, laying-off a return ball for Jose Baxter to rifle home. Frustratingly for Moyes, his side could not register the victory they probably deserved and that was down to the fact they conceded a comical equaliser to Aron Gunnarsson in the final seconds, his header bobbling in after he had been left unmarked. Would it have happened if Lescott had been in the middle? That, obviously, is open to debate; but what isn’t is the fact Moyes will not sell - and certainly not when his squad is so threadbare.
MYSTERY OF MISSING JOL
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
He didn’t travel with the squad for that reason. Why would I bring an injured player?
3rd August 2009 The Daily Star
David Moyes last night insisted Joleon Lescott WAS injured after missing Everton's friendly at Coventry Manchester City are expected to return with a £20m offer for Lescott within days after having two bids rejected by Everton over the summer. So the absence of Lescott with a mystery injury, which Moyes later claimed was suffered on the club’s US tour, fuelled fears he was on the verge of becoming the latest big-name capture at Eastlands. Moyes was adamant his defender was unfit to travel and refused to be drawn into talk of a transfer. Moyes said: “Joleon picked up a hip injury in America so we probably don’t expect him to be fit for Tuesday night against Blackpool, but we are hoping to get him fit for our game on Friday.
“He didn’t travel with the squad for that reason. Why would I bring an injured player?” Everton had to put youngster Jack Rodwell at centre-half due to Lescott’s absence, and the 18-year-old had a difficult task marking experienced striker Clinton Morrison during the 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena. City remain optimistic they can wrap up the deal for Lescott this week, with Everton lining up Arsenal’s Philippe Senderos as replacement.
Everton FC's Marouane Fellaini in race to be fit for Premiership
Aug 3 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted he faces a huge challenge in getting Marouane Fellaini fit for the start of the new season after he contracted a debilitating virus.
Everton’s club record signing enjoyed his best performance of pre-season yesterday, as he figured prominently in a 2-2 draw with Coventry City at The Ricoh Arena.
Manchester City target Joleon Lescott missed out after picking up a hip injury in the United States, an injury that will also prevent him from playing in tomorrow’s friendly fixture at Blackpool. Fellaini, however, will play some part at Bloomfield Road, as Moyes is concerned that he has lost a lot of strength after he was sick for much of his summer holiday. Though the 21-year-old looked much sharper against Coventry, Moyes feels there is much to work on in order for him to be fighting fit for Arsenal’s visit on August 15. “Felli has had an illness for most of the summer which has affected him,” said Moyes. “He’s lost quite a lot of weight and it’s noticeable looking at him how thin he has become. “It has definitely had an effect on his overall performance but I thought he improved a bit. He picked up a viral infection in the summer.“It got into his blood, he lost a lot of weight and he wasn’t a boy that could afford to lost any weight. “It is going to take a little while I feel for him to get his full strength back. “I don’t think he is there yet. He has not been right all through pre-season and he is still not right. “When you are the shape and build he is, when you lose weight it’s not all that easy to put it back on. “Since he has come back we’ve been trying to get him built up, but the weight is not going back on at the moment.”
Everton should have made their first game back after the tour of the United States a winning one but a defensive mistake in the dying seconds shortly after Jose Baxter had fired them 2-1 in front, cost them dearly. Aron Gunnarsson scored Coventry’s equaliser – Michael Doyle had earlier cancelled out Tim Cahill’s opener – to leave Moyes predicting there is still room for improvement. “It was okay,” he said. “For 30 minutes we played well and then we let them back into the game a little bit and should have killed it off earlier. “It’s a little bit like we’ve been throughout pre-season
“I’m disappointed that we lost two goals. That would be the downside.”
Everton FC move for Arsenal's Philippe Senderos
Aug 4 2009
EVERTON were today thrashing out a deal aimed at bringing Philippe Senderos to Goodison Park. It was reported on the Swiss Football Federation website over night that the Arsenal defender has seal a moved to Merseyside. That, however, is not the case yet but the Blues are hopeful that they will be able to smooth out a suitable fee with the Gunners for the 24-year-old. Chairman Bill Kenwright told Echo Sport today: “We have been negotiating with Arsenal for the transfer of Philippe. Nothing has been concluded yet but talks are on going.” Personal terms have been agreed with Senderos, who spent last season on loan at AC Milan, but only when the two clubs come to an agreement will he be able to have a medical. Hamburg have also made an attempt to sign the player and are understood to have offered £5m for Senderos but his preference is to join Everton. If a move for Senderos does go through, it does not mean that Joleon Lescott will be hurried through the Goodison Park exit door.
Blues boss David Moyes has made it clear on a number of occasions during the past fortnight that his only intention is to strengthen his squad, rather than weaken it.
With Phil Jagielka out until November at the earliest, Moyes’ top priority was to sign a central defender with Premier League experience and Senderos certainly fits the bill.
Capped 31 times by Switzerland, Senderos joined Arsenal in the summer of 2003 and went to make 115 appearances for them before moving to the San Siro 12 months ago.
He played 15 times for the Rossoneri but returned to North London when it became clear that Milan would not be pursuing a permanent deal. If all goes according to plan, Senderos would become Everton’s first permanent signing of the summer but the chances of him being joined by Leeds starlet Fabian Delph have all but diminished.
The 18-year-old has been on Everton’s radar for some time but Leeds have posted a statement on their official website explaining why they have agreed to sell him to Aston Villa, subject to him agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.
It read: 'We can confirm a fee has been agreed with Aston Villa for Fabian Delph and wish to place on record our appreciation for the honourable manner in which they have conducted their interest in the player. “Leeds United have resisted approaches from other Premier League clubs.”
SENDEROS 'WILL NOT REPLACE LESCOTT'
ABOVE: Everton have turned down two bids for Lescott
We have been negotiating with Arsenal for the transfer of Philippe [Senderos]
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright
4th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Mauro Galluzzo for dailystar.co.uk
EVERTON today confirmed that they are in negotiations to sign Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos.
But the Goodison Park club said that a fee has yet to be agreed for the 24-year-old Swiss international. The Swiss Football Federation last night claimed on their website that the defender’s move had been confirmed. However Everton chairman Bill Kenwright said: “We have been negotiating with Arsenal for the transfer of Philippe. Nothing has been concluded yet but talks are on-going.”
YOU'RE GOING NOWHERE
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
4th August 2009 Daily Star
By Chris Harper
JOLEON LESCOTT has been told he will NOT be allowed to leave Everton – despite demanding a move to Manchester City yesterday. The England defender – who stands to double his wages to £90,000-a-week at Eastlands – finally took matters into his own hands by asking to quit Goodison Park during showdown talks with manager David Moyes at the club’s training HQ. But Lescott was left in no doubt that he will not be able to engineer a move as boss Moyes told the central defender he is not for sale. Moyes has been totally unmoved during City’s very public pursuit of Lescott and was in no mood to cave in when he verbally asked for a transfer. City boss Mark Hughes has seen bids of £15m and £18m rejected and has to decide whether to try again, knowing it will need a silly offer of £25m-plus to prompt Everton into reconsidering. Instead, Hughes may turn his sights on Sebastien Bassong at Newcastle or Chelsea’s Alex as he hunts for a partner for Kolo Toure.
Lescott missed Everton’s friendly with Coventry on Sunday with a hip injury and could be missing again at Blackpool tonight. But he will want to prove his fitness before Friday’s game with Malaga as Fabio Capello’s England squad for next week’s friendly with Holland is named Saturday. Moyes is keen on Arsenal’s unwanted defender Philippe Senderos, who would snub a move by Hamburg to stay in the Premier League.
Everton FC manager David Moyes tells Joleon Lescott - you're going nowhere
Aug 4 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
David Moyes after the FA Cup Final defeat
EVERTON will not bow to player pressure and grant Joleon Lescott a move to Manchester City. The England defender met David Moyes yesterday at the club’s Finch Farm training base to discuss his future and is understood to have told his manager that he wants to leave. City have aggressively pursued his signature for the best part of nine months and it clear to see that they have turned Lescott’s head by promising him a huge salary. They have had two bid of £15m and £19m rejected by Everton in the past fortnight and would have been hoping that a transfer request broke the deadlock. Moyes, though, made it emphatically clear that he would not agree to the request and once again spelt out the reasons why he won’t agree to Lescott’s sale.
With a shortage of bodies, Moyes simply cannot afford to weaken his squad further by letting one of his most important players move to a side that are likely to be one of Everton’s main rivals in the new campaign. City have made no secret of their desire to land Lescott – who joined the Blues in the summer of 2006 and has enjoyed great success on Merseyside – and have mounted a very public campaign to secure his signature. They have even tried to bid for long-term Everton targets Fabian Delph and Rasmus Elm in the past 48 hours. Their approach, however, has infuriated Goodison Park officials and Moyes is growing particularly weary of the saga. He has spoken on several occasions, stressing that no member of the squad that took Everton to the FA Cup final in May will be allowed to depart this summer. Yet Moyes will also be aware that he faces what could be a difficult situation, as the last thing a squad that prides itself on being so united needs now is an unhappy player in the ranks. Lescott – who has a lucrative contract at Goodison that runs until 2013 – will not play in tonight’s friendly against Blackpool because he has a hip injury.
Everton FC latest: David Moyes urges caution over James Vaughan fitness
Aug 4 2009
DAVID MOYES admits he is having to coax James Vaughan back to full fitness as the striker strives to rediscover his match sharpness. A host of injury problems have restricted Vaughan to just 10 competitive starts for the Blues since making his debut as a record-breaking goalscoring substitute more than four years ago.
The 21-year-old began just two games last season, a campaign wrecked by a knee operation that was delayed by almost a month. Vaughan was eventually rushed back into action during the closing weeks of the season and even made a substitute appearance in the FA Cup final defeat to Chelsea at Wembley. The forward has appeared in all five of Everton’s pre-season games, but struggled to make an impression during a 78-minute appearance in the 2-2 draw at Coventry City on Sunday. Vaughan is likely to be given another run-out when the Blues continue their preparations for the Premier League season with a visit to Blackpool this evening.
And Moyes accepts that while the striker retains the ability to make an impact from the bench, he is still some way short of being considered for a regular starting role.
“We want to try and get Vaughany some games,” said the Blues boss. “You could see against Coventry that he needed the game. “He is getting closer to it and every extra training session he puts in is a bonus because he has missed so much of the last seven or eight months. “He wasn’t fit at the end of last season, albeit that we had to use him in certain situations. But it’s obvious he is still in need of games and practice.
“He is no longer a boy now, and we know he still has a lot to offer. “What he can do for us is liven things up and brighten a game up, but he’s tended to do that a lot more off the bench. “James had a start at Coventry and we want him to try and do that from the off.” One Everton striker who has enjoyed a more profitable pre-season is Jo.
The Brazilian, on a season-long loan from Manchester City, impressed again on Sunday, coming close with a number of efforts and laying on the opening goal for Tim Cahill. Jo showed enough during a six-month temporary stay in the second half of last season to persuade Moyes into extending the forward’s Goodison career.
And the Everton manager believes the 22-year-old is now becoming firmly established within the squad. “Jo was a real handful and I thought he played well,” said Moyes. “He created chances, made a goal and looked the most likely to score. He was a real positive. “He looks as if he is getting better, and he is beginning to grasp it a little bit better. “He is understanding the club a bit more and the pleasing thing for me is that he’s been close to goals in games. “We have been trying to build him up, build up his confidence and make him stronger, and if we can do that then we’ll get a goal return from him.” Everton supporters without tickets for tonight’s friendly are being urged not to travel as the away allocation is sold out and no tickets will be on sale at Bloomfield Road before the game.
Everton FC star Tim Cahill not returning to Australia
Aug 4 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Tim Cahill has no plans to return to his native Australia in the immediate future. A number of Socceroos stars have returned home from European clubs in recent months. But 29-year-old Cahill, who will play for his country against the Republic of Ireland next week in Limerick, reckons he has unfinished business in Europe before he contemplates heading back to his homeland. “I won’t be too soon in coming back to Australia because I need to win things,” he said. “I need to work hard and try and push Everton as far as we can and to try and win some trophies. “Last year we were unsuccessful but we were so close yet so far away. “It’s hard to put times on things because look what happened with Jason Culina and Mile and a lot of the boys.
“You never know but I’m very ambitious in the fact that I want to play in the Champions League.”
Blackpool 2, Everton 1
Aug 4 2009 by Ian Doyle at Bloomfield Road
SUMMER, the time of sunshine and relaxation, has become anything but for Everton supporters in recent years. Rather than sitting back and reflecting on another season of encouraging progress from David Moyes and his players, fans have instead been left chewing their nails in the hope none of that good work comes undone. The financial constraints under which Moyes is forced to wheel and deal during the transfer window have become accepted by Goodison followers. But the ongoing success of his team has brought increased expectation and the prospect of some of the Premier League’s supposed bigger fish picking off Everton’s prime assets. So it is with Joleon Lescott, whose head has been sufficiently turned by Manchester City’s riches to declare earlier this week that he wants to leave. If Everton’s supporters are unhappy with Lescott’s stance - and plenty are - they did not let it be known at Blackpool last night.
And in truth, there was very little to shout about for those that made the trip from Merseyside to the seaside resort, as an initially encouraging pre-season campaign took another downturn with a disappointing defeat at the Coca-Cola Championship side.
The sight of a hobbling Jo being helped down the tunnel by Mick Rathbone merely added another unnecessary concern to what has thus far been a testing week for Everton. The Brazilian’s performance until his injury was by some distance the main positive for Moyes after an otherwise underwhelming display from his charges.
In mitigation, Everton had only played two days earlier and are still overcoming any lingering effects of their long-haul journey back from the United States at the weekend. But Moyes will expect a better level of performance from his players when they wrap up their warm-up programme with the visit of Malaga on Friday evening.
As against Coventry City on Sunday, Moyes selected a strong starting line-up with the only change seeing Tim Howard replace Carlo Nash in goal.
Along with Lescott, both Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha remained absent, meaning the bench was once again packed with youngsters. It served to underline the threadbare nature of the Everton squad with the Premier League opener at home to Arsenal now only 10 days away. The intended arrival of Philippe Senderos from the Emirates would at least ease the pressure on a backline that has yet to keep a clean sheet during pre-season and has sorely missed the presence of both Lescott and Phil Jagielka in recent games. Jack Rodwell is not yet physically ready to step in at centre-back at top-flight level and had another education last night up against a robust Blackpool forward line. Even if Moyes sticks to his guns and Lescott stays put, another central defender is certainly required to bolster the squad. And having been unhappy with his team’s defending in the 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena, the Goodison manager will be apoplectic at the backline during the first half last night. Before the game, the Bloomfield Road audience saluted the arrival of new Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who responded in typically eccentric fashion. And the Tangerines needed just four minutes to forge ahead when David Vaughan burst in between Rodwell and Leighton Baines down the inside right channel and hit a low shot across Howard into the bottom corner. The lead was almost doubled moments later, when an excellent cross from the right by full-back Alex Baptiste was headed against the inside of the post by Jason Euell. Everton eventually settled with Jo, the most promising performer of the summer, again to the fore. The Brazilian shot at Blackpool goalkeeper Mark Halstead before netting the visitors’ equaliser on 17 minutes.
Halstead could only flap at a Baines corner from the right and, after Marouane Fellaini - who will have benefited from another 90-minute run-out - turned the ball goalwards, Jo was on hand to prod the ball home from a matter of yards. Yet parity did not last long as, 11 minutes later, Everton were undone by some slipshod defending.
Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert were not on the same wavelength, which allowed Euell to nip in ahead of the Everton right-back and finish beyond the exposed Howard.
Jo spurned a chance of a second equaliser when he floated a shot over after Tim Cahill flicked on Fellaini’s lofted pass. But Everton could have gone further behind shortly before the interval when Gary Taylor-Fletcher sent a free header wastefully over at the far post after being found by another fine Baptiste cross. With Blackpool having replaced five players during the interval, Everton began the second half in determined fashion with Jo remaining the chief threat. The Brazilian saw an early sighter saved, but drew a much better stop from Blackpool keeper Halstead with a venomous 20-yard shot after capitalising on a poor square pass from Will Haining. Blackpool defender Rob Edwards was required to hack off the line before Jo was once again denied by a sprawling Halstead, substitute Jose Baxter agonisingly inches wide with his follow-up effort. Another youngster, Lukas Jutkiewicz, headed a late chance wide but Everton could not conjure another equaliser.
BLACKPOOL (4-2-3-1): Halstead; Baptiste (Haining 46), Edwards (Eastham 70), Evatt (Nowland 46), Crainey (Martin 68); Southern (Mitchley 77), Adam (Hudson 46); Taylor-Fletcher (Nardiello 46), Euell (Demontagnac 46), D Vaughan (Ormerod 24); Burgess (De Lucas 46). Subs: Rachubka, Gilks.
EVERTON (4-2-3-1): Howard (Turner 68); Hibbert, Yobo, Rodwell (Apkan 80), Baines; Neville (Wallace 62), Fellaini; Osman (Jutkiewicz 80), Cahill (Duffy 62), Jo (Agard 75); J Vaughan (Baxter 62). Subs: Peterlin, Forshaw, Arnoux, Mustafi.
REFEREE: N Swarbick.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Malaga, Friendly, Friday 8pm.
Blackpool 2, Everton 1 - Defensive concerns making life uneasy
Aug 5 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
SUMMER, the time of sunshine and relaxation, has become anything but for Everton supporters in recent years. Rather than sitting back and reflecting on another season of encouraging progress from David Moyes and his players, fans have instead been left chewing their nails in the hope none of that good work comes undone.
The financial constraints under which Moyes is forced to wheel and deal during the transfer window have become accepted as the norm by Goodison followers.
But the ongoing success of his team has brought increased expectation and the prospect of some of the Premier League’s supposed bigger fish picking off Everton’s prime assets. So it is with Joleon Lescott, whose head has been sufficiently turned by Manchester City’s riches to declare earlier this week that he wants to leave.
If Everton’s supporters are unhappy with Lescott’s stance – and plenty are – they did not let it be known at Blackpool last night. And in truth, there was very little to shout about for those that made the trip from Merseyside to the seaside resort, as an initially encouraging pre-season campaign took another downturn with a disappointing defeat at the Coca-Cola Championship side. The sight of a hobbling Jo being helped down the tunnel by Mick Rathbone merely added another unnecessary concern to what has thus far been a testing week for Everton. The Brazilian’s performance until his injury was by some distance the main positive for Moyes after an otherwise under-whelming display from his charges. In mitigation, Everton had only played two days earlier and are still overcoming any lingering effects of their long-haul journey back from the United States at the weekend. But Moyes will expect a better level of performance from his players when they wrap up their warm-up programme with the visit of Malaga on Friday evening. As against Coventry City on Sunday, Moyes selected a strong starting line-up with the only change seeing Tim Howard replace Carlo Nash in goal. Along with Lescott, both Steven Pienaar and Louis Saha remained absent, meaning the bench was once more packed with youngsters. It served to underline the threadbare nature of the Everton squad with the Premier League opener at home to Arsenal now only 10 days away. The intended arrival of Philippe Senderos from the Emirates would at least ease the pressure on a backline that has yet to keep a clean sheet during pre-season and has sorely missed the presence of both Lescott and Phil Jagielka in recent games. Jack Rodwell is not yet physically ready to step in at centre-back at top-flight level and had another education last night up against a robust Blackpool forward line. Even if Moyes sticks to his guns and Lescott stays put, another central defender is certainly required to bolster the squad. And having been unhappy with his team’s defending in the 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena, the Goodison manager will be apoplectic at the backline during the first half last night.
Before the game, the Bloomfield Road audience saluted the arrival of new Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who responded in typically eccentric fashion. And the Tangerines needed just four minutes to forge ahead when David Vaughan burst in between Rodwell and Leighton Baines down the inside right channel and hit a low shot across Howard into the bottom corner. The lead was almost doubled moments later, when an excellent cross from the right by full-back Alex Baptiste was headed against the inside of the post by Jason Euell. Everton eventually settled with Jo, the most promising performer of the summer, again to the fore. The Brazilian shot at Blackpool goalkeeper Mark Halstead before netting the visitors’ equaliser on 17 minutes. Halstead could only flap at a Baines corner from the right and, after Marouane Fellaini – who will have benefited from another 90-minute run-out – turned the ball goalwards, Jo was on hand to prod the ball home from a matter of yards.
Yet parity did not last long as, 11 minutes later, Everton were undone by some slipshod defending. Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert were not on the same wavelength, which allowed Euell to nip in ahead of the Everton right-back and finish beyond the exposed Howard. Jo spurned a chance of a second equaliser when he floated a shot over after Tim Cahill flicked on Fellaini’s lofted pass. But Everton could have gone further behind shortly before the interval when Gary Taylor-Fletcher sent a free header wastefully over at the far post after being found by another fine Baptiste cross.
With Blackpool having replaced five players during the interval, Everton began the second half in determined fashion with Jo remaining the chief threat.
The Brazilian saw an early sighter saved, but drew a much better stop from Blackpool keeper Halstead with a venomous 20-yard shot after capitalising on a poor square pass from Will Haining. Blackpool defender Rob Edwards was required to hack off the line before Jo was once again denied by a sprawling Halstead, substitute Jose Baxter agonisingly inches wide with his follow-up effort. Another youngster, Lukas Jutkiewicz, headed a late chance wide but Everton could not conjure another equaliser. The clock is ticking, and Moyes knows his players can do a lot better than this.
Blackpool 2 Everton 1 - Dominic King's verdict
Aug 5 by Dominic King, Liverpool
YOU tend to see some curious things when you travel away for pre-season friendlies and there were plenty to behold last night in the land of donkey rides and kiss-me-quick hats.
If being at a stadium that was only half completed and the sight of Blackpool’s quirky manager Ian Holloway banging an imaginary drum before kick-off was enough to raise an eyebrow, just consider this. Though the visit of Everton was always going to guarantee a crowd bigger than normal at Bloomfield Road, someone decided it would be a good idea to close half the ticket office – so swine flu preventative medication could be given out. More of a concern for those Evertonians who made the short hop up the coast last night, though, was the scene that unfolded during a puzzling first half, when they watched that normally reliable Blue defence splutter and suffer. David Moyes has made no secret of his desire to bring in a new central defender and on the evidence with which we were presented here, it was easy to see why – a side with more creative verve than Blackpool might easily have embarrassed Everton. With only 12 days to go until the start of the new campaign, the Toffees should have been smoothing over the rough edges in their play and a workout at Blackpool was intended to take them a giant step towards that objective. However, the opening 45 minutes posed more questions than it was ever likely to solve answers and you only needed to see Tim Howard angrily gesticulating and shouting at the men in front of him to appreciate that things were not going according to plan. Behind after four minutes, when David Vaughan brushed past a weak challenge from Jack Rodwell to slip a shot past Howard, Everton might have been out of this friendly before it even had chance to properly start had a Jason Euell header not hit a post. That could have been put down to a slow start had normal service been quickly resumed but that was most definitely not the case; bar Brazilian Jo scrambling an equaliser on 16 minutes after the home side failed to clear a corner, Moyes had little to smile about. Worse followed when a mix-up between Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert gave Euell the chance to get the goal his efforts deserved and the way Moyes spun on his heels to head to the dressing room at the break suggested some harsh words would be delivered. Up in the directors’ box, Bill Kenwright evidently shared his manager’s concerns; the anxious look he sported as Blackpool’s forward players continued to cause mischief spoke volumes. Frustratingly, it never really got any better in the second period. How, then, do you explain it? A simplistic view would be to say that Rodwell’s presence in the middle of defence was ruthlessly exposed by a team that pays its way by playing with an agricultural style and is not adverse to the rough stuff. Yet that would be harsh in the extreme; a boy, after all, is being asked to do a man’s job and Rodwell’s footballing education will, for the next couple of years at least, be received in midfield. Fatigue might have been another plausible reason, as many of the players who were training in Salt Lake City last week are sure to still be on West Coast time, while legs were sure to be heavy after Sunday’s trip to Coventry, too. But perhaps the uncertainty that was on the pitch stemmed partly from the side-show that has been going on for much of the past month; Manchester City’s courtship of Joleon Lescott has cast an extremely heavy and wearying shadow. It is only natural that his decision to tell Moyes on Monday that he wants to move to Eastlands will have been spoken about and if the players are like supporters, they will want an end to the saga as soon as possible. You could not find a more united and spirited squad in the Premier League than the one Moyes has built and if there happens to be an unhappy individual, it will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect. This is not to suggest that Lescott is unhappy but if he has his heart set on leaving, then there is a train of thought that will suggest it is best for him to go; Moyes, that said, is most definitely not of that view. He will fight tooth and nail to keep a player he plucked from the Championship and turned into an England international because Lescott is an outstanding talent, who can play in two positions at the heart of his defence, as well as scoring goals. Sidelined by the hip injury that kept him out of Sunday’s contest at Coventry, the powerful and commanding Lescott would have been a welcome addition to the ranks here and it goes without saying that we will see him in a Blue shirt once again. Keeping him, you see, and adding to the ranks is what is needed for Everton to maintain their progress and the imminent arrival of Philippe Senderos from Arsenal is a step in the right direction. That said, more new faces will be needed before the big kick-off, if anything just to give the players a lift and add a freshness to training again; those who have played in the six friendlies so far have performed with great credit but they need help. And soon.
David Moyes slams Everton FC senior players after Blackpool defeat
Aug 6 2009 Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes has issued a stern warning to his first team squad stars after seeing them struggle against Blackpool in midweek. Shocked by what he had seen during a haphazard opening 45 minutes, when Everton shipped two goals and might have conceded a couple more, Moyes felt compelled to turn on his hairdryer the moment his starting line-up walked through the door. Inside the close confines of Everton’s cramped changing area at Bloomfield Road, Moyes served up any number of verbal volleys, lambasting many of the senior professionals who he felt had let themselves – and him – down. Though he had regained some composure when the time came to conduct a post mortem after the 2-1 defeat, it was clear to see that Moyes was still smouldering with the performance that those he trusts had served up. There have been a number of positives to take from pre-season so far – the performances of Jo and Tim Howard’s outstanding form, for example – but Everton’s defending has not been stellar. They have yet to keep a clean sheet since returning from their summer break and Moyes is demanding an immediate improvement, both in terms of the attitude and resilience, starting against Malaga tomorrow evening. “Results like that become a concern if you don’t think you are playing that well and we certainly didn’t play well against Blackpool,” Moyes reflected. “I thought Blackpool had a good attitude and looked as though they are prepared for the new season. They will look at it as a positive game. We can’t. “We didn’t look as if we were prepared. I don’t think it was down to fitness. It was down to attitude and I thought our attitude was poor. We didn’t reach the standards we have set ourselves in recent years. “But maybe when something like that happens, it straightens you out. It might make them realise how they got the success they’ve had here and what they have to do to get it back.”
His words might alarm some Evertonians – not least the ones who headed to the seaside town – but Moyes was more angry than concerned. The work he has seen from his squad in training, after all, has been mainly positive and the manager is quick to point out that similarities between now and 12 months ago are few and far between.”
“The players are ahead of where we were last year,” said Moyes. “The group is probably better and more ready. We have got one or two more players than we had last year and I think they are as fit as they were at the end of last season.
“I don’t see the fitness as being a great problem. They have got a really good attitude and work really hard so it is noticeable when the attitude drops. “It dropped in the first half from the senior players. They know how I feel because it is my style to say what I think.” If Moyes never minced his words nor did his captain; Phil Neville was just as brusque when analysing the game at Blackpool and knows an immediate response is needed, particularly with the Premier League opener Arsenal looming into view.
“It’s not something you can turn on like a tap and at this momentn time we’re probablyphysically a little bit soft,” said Neville. “We need to get back to the mental toughness that we showed last season. I’m sure over the next few days, we'll be working hard at that as we pride ourselves on our defensive solidity.
“It’s probably not been there yet this pre-season. We need 11 leaders out there and that’s what we’ve always had. We need to get back to that against Malaga.”
MOYES SLAMS SLACKERS
ABOVE: David Moyes
6th August 2009 Daily Star
By Dave Lyons
DAVID MOYES has ordered his Everton players to sort out their dodgy attitude.
Moyes was furious after a virtually full-strength side lost 2-1 in Tuesday night’s friendly at Blackpool. Everton have won just once in six pre-season matches.
And their preparations for the new campaign have been overshadowed by Joleon Lescott’s transfer request and a lack of new signings. Moyes said: “The performances only become a concern if you don’t think you are playing that well – and we certainly didn’t play well against Blackpool. “Blackpool had a good attitude and looked as though they are prepared for the new season. They will look at it as a positive. We can’t. “We didn’t look as if we were prepared. I don’t think it was down to fitness. It was down to attitude. It was poor. It might make the players realise how they got here, the success they have had and what they have got to do to get back to it.” Moyes, whose side face Malaga at Goodison Park tomorrow night, still hopes to buy Philippe Senderos from Arsenal. He has agreed personal terms with the Swiss defender, although he has so far failed to meet the asking price of around £5m.
Everton FC manager David Moyes vows to help Louis Saha win his asthma battle
Aug 6 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is determined to get Louis Saha up and running again as soon as possible – after revealing the striker is facing an on going battle with asthma.
The French striker never played in Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Coventry City nor did he travel with the rest of the squad to Blackpool on Tuesday night for Everton’s latest friendly defeat. Though his manager says it is not a serious problem, Moyes has admitted it is something that “needs to get sorted out” before Saha can start playing again. The timing of this setback, however minor, could not be any worse, as Saha’s performances in training have been of the highest quality. He took his tally for pre-season to two when scoring in last Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the MLS All-Stars but it is the way Saha has performed in training that had given most encouragement
“Louis has been looking sharper and better than he’s ever been in his time here and I really hope that he can keep it up,” said Moyes. “When he played against the MLS last week, he took his goal really well but I always fancied him to score when he got himself in. “He also had another chance that, with Louis’ qualities, you would expect him to finish but, in the main, you could see that his confidence was improving all the time. “I’ve certainly seen a much fitter Louis Saha since he returned to training last month and we just hope that we can get back quickly.” Saha had a stop-start first season on Merseyside after arriving from Manchester United just before the transfer window closed 12 months ago. There were a number of times, though, when he showed flashes of outstanding quality, not least when he scored FA Cup goals against Middlesbrough and Chelsea. A trouble-free pre-season was supposed to be the launchpad for Everton’s new number eight to show his world class talent but Moyes thinks that can still be the case. “Louis, I think, needed to get through the first few weeks of pre-season without any trouble,” said Moyes, who puts his players through the mill when they return from holiday. “He has done really well and we are not too worried about this matter. He has gone about his work really well and it has been pleasing to see. “He has improved all the time – and improved his fitness.
“He’s got the kind of ability that many players wish for and a lot of managers will vouch for that. We want to see it in abundance.”
Everton FC manager David Moyes allays Jo fitness worries
Aug 5 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has allayed Everton’s fear that loan star Jo is facing a lengthy lay-off. The Brazilian international has been one of the best performers in Everton’s pre-season and showed his well-being with a goal in last night’s 2-1 defeat at Blackpool.
However, there was a worrying sign towards the end of the game when Jo was carried down the tunnel by physio Mick Rathbone and to make matters worse, the striker left Bloomfield Road on crutches. Moyes though was quick to ease concerns that the Sao Paulo-born forward would miss the big kick-off against Arsenal on August 15 and expects him to be back in training before too long. He said: “Jo went over on his ankle but we don’t think it’s too severe. “We didn’t think it was too bad at the time and we don’t think it is now.” Everton conceded a fourth-minute goal from David Vaughan and a 28th-minute strike from veteran Jason Euell and Moyes added: “It wasn’t very good, so we’re disappointed. "I was disappointed with the performance in the first half, all round it was well below what we expected.” Meanwhile, Everton are still trying to complete a deal to make Philippe Senderos their first permanent signing of the summer. Talks are still ongoing with Arsenal over the player’s valuation and it is hoped an agreement can be reached sooner rather than later. Senderos has already agreed personal terms and indicates that his preferred move is to Merseyside.
He has also been the subject of interest of Hamburg.
LESCOTT FACING FANS BACKLASH
At the moment it looks like Everton don’t particularly want to come to the table and we have to respect that
7th August 2009 Daily Star
By Chris Harper
Joleon Lescott will brace himself for an angry backlash from Everton fans tonight – as Manchester City get ready to launch a third bid for the England international.
The defender trained yesterday following his recovery from a hip injury and is in David Moyes’ squad for the friendly against Malaga at Goodison Park this evening
It promises to be an uncomfortable occasion for Lescott, who told Moyes on Monday that he wanted to move to Eastlands, even though the Everton manager has repeatedly stated he is not for sale. Lescott, 26, whose return to fitness comes 24 hours before Fabio Capello names his squad for next week’s friendly in Holland, can expect to be subjected to a chorus of catcalls from the stands as supporters vent their anger on him. City have seen bids of £15m and £18m rejected and are weighing up a renewed offer, thought to be in the region of £22m for the centre-half who can also play at left-back. That will almost certainly be dismissed as well but City manager Mark Hughes said: “We can only try and speak to Everton. We have made bids and they have been rejected. “Until we get the opportunity to get around the table and possibly discuss the deal, we don’t know if it is something that will happen.
At the moment it looks like Everton don’t particularly want to come to the table and we have to respect that. “We have not had the opportunity to speak to the powers that be. We have put two bids in and maybe there is room to go back in. “If they are talking about £30m it’s difficult to speak about. We don’t know if we are going to get the opportunities to speak on those terms.” Hughes went on to defend himself and City against claims made by Moyes that the club “lacked respect” in their pursuit of the defender, who moved to Goodison Park from Wolves for £5m in 2006.
“I could have lifted up the phone and asked David if he would sell his centre-half and he would have said no, so where do you go from that point?” said Hughes. “What we try to do is go to those who can conclude a deal around the table and they have been reluctant to do that.
Everton FC fans: Join our Band of Bloggers
Aug 7 2009
DO you think you can join our Band of Bloggers?
Everton Banter (check out the website here) is looking for new people to write alongside Liverpool Daily Post/Liverpool ECHO journalists and our superstar columnists. If you think you have got what it takes, send a short blog post about the Blues to email@example.com. We'll pick the best and you'll soon be blogging with us - good luck!
Everton rumour mill: Inter ace eyed, Blues chasing Benfica midfielder,
Aug 7 2009
Everton, Spurs chasing Inter Milan striker Obinna
Everton and Tottenham are being linked with frozen out Inter Milan striker Victor Obinna. Gazzetta dello Sport says Obinna is being courted by a number of European clubs with the Spurs, Everton, Schalke and Parma leading the chase for his signature.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp is keen to do business for around £3 million for the Nigeria international, who almost joined Everton last summer.
Source: Tribal Football
Everton boss Moyes ponders Ebondo offer
Everton boss David Moyes hasn't ruled out a deal for Toulouse defender Alin Ebondo.
The Times says Everton have been offered Ebondo, the Toulouse right back.
Moyes could bring in Ebondo as cover for Tony Hibbert after his injury problems last season.
Source: Tribal Football
Everton chasing Benfica's Yebda
Benfica midfielder Hassan Yebda is wanted by Premiership clubs.
The Daily Mail says Blackburn could rival Everton for the young midfielder.
Yebda has been a long-term target for Everton boss David Moyes.
Source: Tribal Football
Everton join race for defender
Everton have joined Portsmouth, Stoke, Blackburn and West Ham in the race to sign Sunderland defender Nyron Nosworthy. Everton are in the market for a centre-back to act as cover for the injured Phil Jagielka and have confirmed they are in talks to sign Arsenal defender Phillipe Senderos. However, they are also after a right-back and with central defender Joleon Lescott linked with a move to Man City they may see Nosworthy, who can play in both positions, as an ideal signing. The 28-year-old has made more than 100 appearances for the Black Cats since moving from Gillingham in 2005 and Black Cats boss Steve Bruce is keen for him to remain at the club.
However, the former Wigan manager is reportedly prepared to let the defender leave if a suitable offer is made.
Everton FC draw Czech team SK Sigma Olomouc in their Europa League play-off
Aug 7 2009 By Dominic King and Debbie Smaje
EVERTON were today handed a tricky assignment against SK Sigma Olomouc in their Europa League play-off. The Blues could have drawn against teams from Scotland, Belarus, Greece or, Kazakhstan but they were paired with the side from the Czech Republic, who qualified for this round by beating Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate.
Though it is not what many would describe as a “gimme”, Everton do at least have home advantage first and will play host to Sigma on Thursday, August 20 at Goodison Park, with the return leg being staged seven days later. Sigma finished fourth in the Czech league last season and once reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1992 but this, in truth, is a tie that Everton will be looking to win comfortably before going on to the group stages, which begin in September. Sigma Olomouc were formed in 1919 and play at the 12,014 capacity Andruv Stadion. Olomouc have never won their domestic title, but since the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993 they have finished runners up once in 1996 and in 3rd place in 1998, 2001 and 2004.
It will be Everton's first competitive trip to the Czech Republic, but they have played a previous European tie in Czechoslovakia. Dukla Prague eliminated Gordon Lee's side in the 2nd round of the 1978-79 UEFA Cup. Bob Latchford and Andy King scored in a 2-1 win at Goodison, but a late goal in each leg sent the Blues out on away goals.
Everton’s players are determined to erase the disappointment of last season’s failure against Standard Liege and enjoy a lengthy run in the newly-formatted competition. The final will be played in Hamburg next May.
Joleon Lescott to return in Everton FC friendly with Malaga
Aug 7 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT will aim to put the most difficult week of his Everton career behind him when he returns to action against Malaga tonight. The England international rocked the Blues on Monday when he met with manager David Moyes and asked for a move to Manchester City. That request was thrown out in a flash, as Moyes has no intentions of selling one of the most important members of his squad to a side who are likely to be rivals this season. Lescott was spared an uncomfortable first meeting with any Evertonians on Tuesday night, as he was ruled out of the friendly at Blackpool after jarring his hip. However, he has since responded to treatment and returned to full training at Finch Farm yesterday and it is understood that Moyes will restore him to the centre of defence. Moyes has a number of fitness issues ahead of Everton’s final warm-up fixture – notably surrounding Jo and Joseph Yobo – and he wants Lescott back in the fold. He said: “I thought there was a chance of him playing against Blackpool. He trained but felt it again, so we decided not take a risk with him. We will see.” Everton’s manager is also refusing to budge from the stance he has adopted all summer long which, simply, is that Lescott is not for sale.
It was suggested in Manchester yesterday, when City held a Press open day, that a third, improved bid was being prepared but Goodison officials have not yet been contacted. Even if they do come back with a figure far in excess of the £19m they last offered, it will be treated in the same manner as the previous two. Such a firm response to City’s aggressive pursuit of Lescott has raised the prospect that the Eastlands club will soon have to admit defeat and turn their attentions elsewhere.
But if Everton are being stubborn over Lescott, they are finding Arsenal in an equally obdurate mood over their attempts to sign Philippe Senderos. The Switzerland international agreed personal terms last weekend and has his heart set on a move to Goodison, after it was made clear that he would be free to leave. Everton and Arsenal enjoy cordial relations at boardroom level and negotiations are ongoing but, as yet, they cannot agree a fee. Arsenal want close to the £5m they have been offered by SV Hamburg for a player who was on loan at AC Milan last season, making 15 appearances. Meanwhile, Everton will today discover the identity of their opponents in the Europa League play-off round. Possible opponents include Toulouse, Genoa and Trabzonspor.
Everton FC's Dan Gosling keen to banish FA Cup final disappointment
Aug 7 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAN GOSLING is ready to make up for lost time – and banish his latest disappointment – when Everton tackle Malaga at Goodison Park this evening.
Having played six games in the last four weeks, the Blues have their final dress rehearsal ahead of the new Premier League campaign against a side that finished eighth in La Liga in the season just gone. It is tradition for Everton to play continental opposition on home soil and in the last three years, Atletico Bilbao, Werder Bremen and PSV Eindhoven have all given David Moyes’ men a good workout.
Given the strength in depth of Spanish football, Malaga are certain to be technically assured and capable of passing the ball well, so it will provide Everton with exactly the kind of test they need at this stage. For Gosling, though, the game has added significance; he has been away on international duty for much of the past month and his only appearance for the Blues thus far came in the opening defeat at Bury.
The reason for his absence was the fact he was involved in England’s bid to win the European Under-19 Championships but, as was the case at Wembley in May, he came up short at the final hurdle as hosts Ukraine beat the Young Lions 2-0 in Donetsk.
However, Gosling returned to Finch Farm earlier this week determined to take the positives from the experience and he is hoping to get a chance to show the benefits of that trip to the Eastern Bloc against Malaga. “It was a great achievement to get to the final and we were all very proud we got that far,” said the man known as ‘Goose’ to his Everton team-mates. “It was such a great shame the way it ended but overall, it was a positive experience. That was the second final I was involved in in a matter of months, so hopefully it is going to be third time lucky. All the lads are striving to do it again this year and I think we have got the players capable of doing that but this where all the hard work begins.” Gosling’s progress last year – along with that of Jack Rodwell – was hugely encouraging, as he showed himself to be a player with a keen eye to get forward and the happy knack of scoring goals. His place in Everton folklore, of course, was assured the moment he popped up in the dying minutes of the FA Cup fourth round replay to knock Liverpool out but as heady as that moment was, Gosling’s focus is firmly on the future – starting tonight. “It would be nice to get a start but whoever the Gaffer chooses, I will be raring to go, if and when I get called upon. Hopefully we will get a good result,” he said. “We had PSV last year and they gave us a good work out. Malaga are sure to be a good side but we need this as we are all gearing up for Arsenal.” Aside from the collective disappointment of the game against Chelsea at Wembley, the summer turned out to be a miserable experience for many of Everton’s internationals. Tim Howard was in goal when the United States lost 3-2 to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final and Rodwell could not help England’s Under-21s avoid a 4-0 thrashing in their European Championship final. Gosling now knows how they felt. “The timing of the goals killed us,” said a philosophical Gosling. “We were a bit leggy as we had extra-time in the semi-final but we can’t use that as an excuse. Ukraine were the better side on the day. But it was a good experience. Every time you go away with your country, you learn something new. Of course it was a disappointment to miss our tour, particularly as I’ve only played one game but I’m looking forward to Malaga.”
The lowdown on Malaga
Aug 7 2009 by Debbie Smaje
Malaga CF come to Goodison Park tonight as Everton end their pre season preparations. There is little known about the Andalucian club outside Spain so who are they? The club are relatively new, but their origins go a long way back. Formed in 1948 as Atletico Malagueno, the club were affiliated from their formation with the older CD Malaga, formed in 1933 after a merger between two much older Malaga clubs first formed in 1904. After the dissolution of CD Malaga in 1992, Malagueno took over as the city's premier club, renaming themselves as Malaga Club de Football in 1994. The new Malaga club also took over CD Malaga's honours and historical artefacts which are now on display in the club's display cabinet. Throughout their history, Malaga have enjoyed very little success, spending all but 15 of their seasonsin the Spanish League pyramid below level three, with 39 years in the Tercera Division, and seven in the regional leagues known as Categorias Regionales. The club's only major honours are the 2002 Intertoto Cup, and the Segunda Division title in 1999. Based on the Costa Del Sol, Malaga have traditionally enjoyed a large English following, with a strong ex-pat community in the area. Their home ground is La Rosaleda, or The Rose Garden. The ground was originally the home of CD Malaga, and was rebuilt in 2006 to hold around 30,000 fans, the team averaging a respectable 22,905. The club also have one of football's more unusual nicknames, the Boquerones, or in English, the Anchovies! Malaga have lived a yoyo existence in recent years. They reached the UEFA Cup in 2002, after qualifying via an undefeated run to the Intertoto Cup. They went on to reach the quarter finals of the competition, beating Leeds United along the way before going out to Portuguese side Boavista. They remained an inconsistent lower mid table team, before suffering a disastrous relegation, finishing bottom of La Liga in 2006. Financial problems followed, and the club was bought by former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz. They were forced to lose many of their best players to ensure survival and escaped relegation on the penultimate day. The financial troubles still lingered, with the club effectively going into administration. Fortunes changed on the pitch though, as coach Juan Roman Lopez Muniz built a side made of freebies and loan signings that charged towards promotion. They stuttered in the second half of the season and Muniz left for Racing Santander. Malaga's former coach Antonio Tapia came in as they stumbled over the finishing line, finally sealing promotion back to La Liga as runners up, defeating Tenerife 2-1 on the last day of the season. Expected by many to struggle last season, Tapia shocked everybody by leading his team of underdogs to a surprisingly comfortable 8th place finish. The whole squad had cost less than a million Euros, and after a disastrous first four games, the team recovered to enjoy a consistent season, the undoubted highlights coming in away wins at rivals Sevilla and Real Betis.
In a squad built on teamwork, there are very few standout stars within the Malaga side. Goalkeeper and club captain Francesc Arnau Grabulosa is a Malaga stalwart, having joined in 1996 from Barcelona. A former Spainish under 21 and under 23 international, he has been a consistent and reliable part of Malaga now for nearly 15 years. Up front is Moroccan international Nabil Baha, last season's joint top scorer, with nine goals alongside penalty taking Malaga-born midfielder Apono. After spells in Portugal and France, Baha arrived at Malaga in 2007. Out of the team at first, injuries to ex Bolton striker Salva Ballesta presented him with his chance, and he scored 10 goals in Malaga's promotion winning season. Linked with a move to Steaua Bucharest in 2008, he stayed as he was desperate to play in Spain's top flight, finally doing so and scoring his first goal in a 4-0 win over Recreativo de Huelva.
The most recognisable name in the Malaga lineup is undoubtedly former Newcastle man Albert Luque. After making his name in the Champions League with both Mallorca and Deportivo La Coruna, he moved to Newcastle United for a fee of nearly £10 million. After picking up an injury early in his Newcastle career, Luque returned to score in a derby game with Sunderland in 2006. It was one of few highs however, as Glenn Roeder, and later Sam Allardyce failed to really play him, and he was sold to Ajax. After a short unhappy spell there, he came back to Malaga on loan, where he had previously played on loan nine years earlier. He was one of the successes of last season's team, and signed permanently this summer on a free transfer.
Everton 2, Malaga 1: Fans deliver show of support for Joleon Lescott
Aug 8 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool
IT was, in many ways, the perfect dress rehearsal; a night when Evertonians came for an early glimpse of what season 2009-10 might hold. The running was hard, the passing was occasionally slick and the defending was stout as David Moyes gave his ‘A’ team their last run-out before the serious business starts a week from now against good-class continental opposition And there, in the middle of his back four, was Joleon Lescott, the man whose future has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks and who many wondered whether he would be seen in a Blue shirt again. Lescott may have indicated his desire to leave earlier in the week but anyone who expected him to receive a hostile reception were wide of the mark, as those congregated in the Gwladys Street let him know he still had a place in their affections. The loudest cheer during the announcing of the teams was saved for Lescott, while his was the only name sung before kick-off, an emphatic declaration that these supporters do not want him to abscond down the M62. With City infuriatingly persistent in their attempts to land the England international, this saga is sure to have another scene that will be played out before it reaches a conclusion but, purely in terms of football, one wonders why the switch is even being considered. They may have lavished £100m so far during this window but – try and put an impartial hat on for a second – who would you back in a straight shoot-out between City and Everton at this moment in time? A dressing room filled with a lot of egos or a dressing room united in a common cause? A team struggling to find a style and whose manager might not last if results go askew or a team filled with players who know the job their manager has asked them to? Yes, City might have the potential to do fine things but they also have the potential to implode quite spectacularly and if you harbour ambitions of playing in a World Cup, would it not be better to use a stable club as your platform? Certainly on the evidence with which we were presented in the first half, you would pick Everton over City every time; the speed of their passing and movement was better than at any point so far in pre-season. Malaga’s wretched start was undoubtedly down to them only arriving at Goodison 35 minutes before kick-off but even if they had got to the ground in plenty of time, it’s unlikely they would have been able to cope with Everton.
Picking the side that is likely to be as close to the one that starts against Arsenal in seven days time, Moyes was rewarded with a display full of verve and vibrancy and it was no surprise when Everton took the lead on 17 minutes. If he was looking for a response to Tuesday’s aberration at Blackpool, when he called into question the attitude of his senior players, the manager must surely have been satisfied with the football with which he was presented here. Leon Osman had already wasted one glorious opportunity, screwing his effort from 12 yards wide after good work by Steven Pienaar, but Louis Saha made no mistake moments later when opportunity knocked for him. It has been well documented on these pages how good the Parisian has looked in training and he scored for the third time in pre-season when capitalising on a mix-up in the area to smash a right-footed effort in from 10 yards. The cheers from that goal had barely died down when Everton doubled their lead on 20 minutes, more good work from Pienaar presenting Osman with a chance to atone for his earlier miss that he happily gobbled up. Malaga looked lethargic and disinterested, only occasionally threatening to break out of second gear; but for the efforts of their goalkeeper Munua, the Toffees would have been out of sight by half-time. Pienaar – anxious to make up for lost time after missing the last three games with a thigh strain – was outstanding and only terrific stop from Munua prevented a thumping 20-yard drive from fizzing into the corner of the Gwladys Street net. Having the luxury of being able to coast through to half-time, Everton were perhaps guilty of switching off at the start of the second half when they gave a silly free-kick away in the middle of their half. What they could never envisaged happening, however, was the quality of the strike JJ Luque conjured, a swirling, dipping effort from 35 yards that sped past Tim Howard and into the top corner. That jolted Everton back into life and they almost restored their two-goal advantage on the hour when Marouane Fellaini struck the base of a post with a thunderous left-footed drive that deserved better. Fellaini was substituted not long after that but he could be well satisfied with his efforts for the evening, as he has improved with each passing day and – with the exception of Bloomfield Road – such comments apply to the team. Of course, there are still some rough edges to be smoothed over before Arsenal arrive but things are ticking along nicely – all that is need now is the future of Lescott – who was one of the last players to leave the pitch – to be sorted out once and for all.
STAY FOR GOOD JOL
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
8th August 2009 Daily Star
By Tim Gray
Everton 2 Malaga 1
EVERTON fans refused to turn against want-away Joleon Lescott last night.
And the defender got the clearest possible message that the Goodison faithful want him to stay. Lescott has told Toffees boss David Moyes that he is keen to quit the club for big-spending Manchester City. Moyes has already rejected two offers from City and has accused them of showing no respect in their chase for the England international defender. But any fears that fans would react by booing Lescott were quickly dispelled as they chanted his name before and during last night’s friendly win over Malaga, with the defender playing the full 90 minutes. Moyes insists he has no intention of allowing the former Wolves player to leave. Yet that is unlikely to stop City from making a third attempt to snare Lescott after having bids of £15m and £18m turned down. Lescott missed last weekend’s 2-2 friendly with Coventry and Tuesday night’s 2-1 defeat at Blackpool with a hip problem. But he was back in action at Goodison as Everton warmed up for next Saturday’s Premier League kick off against Arsenal by defeating top Spanish opposition. Moyes’ men were 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes after Louis Saha and Leon Osman found the target. Former Manchester United striker Saha, who celebrates his 31st birthday today, broke the deadlock in the 15th minute when he lashed the ball home from 20 yards. And four minutes later, Osman doubled the lead with a delightful finish from just inside the area.
But Everton’s final friendly before the start of the campaign did not go totally to plan.
They again failed to keep a clean sheet as JJ Luque reduced the deficit with a stunning David Beckham-style free kick which arrowed into the top corner in the 47th minute.
Malaga finished eighth in La Liga last season – yet Everton should have won by a more handsome margin. Marouane Fellaini saw an effort cannon off a post on the hour mark before being s ubstituted. Osman also spurned a good chance when he fired straight at the keeper when he should have done better.
Everton FC’s Leon Osman fired up for Europa League tie with SK Sigma Olomouc
Aug 8 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THEY don’t have a name that rolls off the tongue, nor are they renowned in Europe, but the mention of SK Sigma Olomouc caused a stir in Everton’s dressing room yesterday. The draw for the Europa League, of course, was something that David Moyes and his players were anticipating from the moment their place in the competition was secured in April and, to some extent, they could not have asked for more. Though it would have been better to face Hearts in terms of easy access and simple scouting, Everton were spared a potential nightmare trip to Kazakhstan, not to mention a complicated assignment in Belarus. Sure, SK Sigma secured their place in this play-off round by thrashing Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate but Moyes’ contacts in Scotland, plus his extensive scouting network, means Everton will be ready for their date with the side from the Czech Republic on August 20. So, all things being equal, the Blues should be able to negotiate the hurdle that has been put in front of them without too much trouble and ensure a place in the newly-formatted group stages of the Europa League. Last season, of course, things went askew when they were paired with crack Belgian side Standard Liege and a poor defensive performance at Goodison Park in the first leg of that clash effectively destroyed their chances of repeating the adventure of 2007/08. This time around, however, there is a determination to correct that anomaly; Goodison comes alive when it hosts European football and the electricity in the stands transmits through to the players.No wonder, then, that Leon Osman is already counting down the days until SK Sigma arrive on Merseyside and is already dreaming that the road on which they are about to embark will lead all the way to Hamburg next May. Osman, after all, has a number of fond memories about the run in Europe that was ended in such heartbreaking fashion by Fiorentina – he scored howitzers against Larissa and Brann Bergen – and wants more of the same this time around. Too much hard work has been put in over the past 10 months for this opportunity to be thrown away and the long-serving midfielder is quick to point out that plenty of glamorous sides will be in waiting in the next phase. “We spent the whole of last season trying to get into position to qualify for Europe,” said Osman, whose double blast at Fulham on the final day guaranteed Everton secured their second consecutive fifth place finish last season. “We aren’t going to kid ourselves and say that we have got an easy draw. We’re Everton and it just doesn’t happen like that for us. We usually get the most difficult tie available and we were expecting nothing different this season. “But we will be ready for it and it didn’t really matter who we were drawn against. We will treat them with greatest respect, as we do every team, and the preparation for the two matches will be as good as it always is here.
“You just can’t beat the buzz of playing in Europe. People have knocked the Europa League but there are some great teams in it this year; as a player, you want to be testing yourself against the best from other countries. “It’s not the Champions League and we accept that. To get in the Champions League it looks like you need a hundred billion dollars or something stupid but, for the moment, we are happy to try our luck in the Europa League. “Okay, the early stages aren’t full of top quality but when you start getting towards the business end of it, you see some class sides and that will always be the case. That’s why we’re desperate to do well.” Located towards the Czech Republic’s eastern border on the banks of the river Morava, Olomouc is a city that one travel guide describes as being “charming and beautiful” and, unlike Prague, is not teeming with tourists. In many ways, it is an unknown quantity and the same can be said of SK Sigma, who have a squad that is made up primarily of Czechs but also includes a Brazilian midfielder named Daniel Rossi and the experienced Slovak midfielder Ladislav Onofrej. They finished fourth in the Czech league last season and once reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1992 but as Tim Cahill says, this is a tie that Everton will be looking to win before going on to the group stages, which begin in September. “It’s not a bad consolation by any means,” said Cahill, who has scored European goals for the Blues against Dinamo Bucharest, Larissa and Zenit St Petersburg. “It’s just really important that we make the most of it, like the way we made the most of last season. “We had so many injuries but regardless of whether the lads had been fit or not, I don’t think we could have done any more than qualify for the FA Cup final or finish fifth in the league – the reason we did that is because we stuck together. “That’s what we have always done in times of adversity. You never get the perfect scenario in football. It’s all about making the most and the best of things.”
EVERTON WANT £30M FOR LESCOTT
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
9th August 2009 Daily Star
By Paul Hetherington
JOLEON Lescott has been told that even if he writes out a transfer request he won’t get a move to Man City. Incredibly, City could now have to break the British transfer record to get the Everton defender. That means boss Mark Hughes forking out more than the £29.1million Man United paid Leeds for Rio Ferdinand seven years ago.
Goodison boss David Moyes is still fighting to keep Lescott, 26, after rejecting City bids of £15m and £18m. They have told the England defender he must put a transfer request in writing if he wants to join City, where his wages would treble to £105,000-a-week. But the Daily Star Sunday can now reveal that even that may not be enough to get Lescott – who has indicated verbally that he wants to join City – his dream move. Everton say they would need a bid that would “blow us out of the water” and that could be as much as £30m. So £22m, which could be City’s ceiling, may not be enough for Moyes. He said: “We are consistent. We said we wouldn’t be selling any players – and they are still here.”
MOYES SAYS BUY BUY TO EURO BID
ABOVE: Moyes is desperate for new faces
11th August 2009 Daily Star
By Dave Lyons
DAVID MOYES fears a lack of success in the transfer market could derail Everton’s bid for Euro glory. The Goodison boss, who has rejected bids for Joleon Lescott and Louis Saha this summer, knows he is in a race against time to bring in new players ahead of the club’s Europa League play-off tie against Czech side Sigma Olomouc
The two-legged clash will dictate whether or not the Toffees have a season of regular European fixtures and the income that brings. And Moyes admits he needs to act now to reinforce his squad ahead of the first leg next week. Moyes said: “We are not ready as far as the squad goes, we want more players in. “We let a few go in the summer – Andy van der Meyde, Lars Jacobson, Nuno Valente – and we have not replaced any of those players yet.” Moyes has been linked with a £15m move for Paris Saint-Germain’s Stephane Sessegnon. The 25-year-old midfielder has been earning rave reviews at PSG and is regarded as one of the best midfielders in France.
Moyes watched the Benin international in action last Saturday when he played in the opening league game against Montpellier. Despite agreeing a new deal last month, reports in France suggest that Everton are still hopeful of landing him.
CITY MAKE FINAL LESCOTT PUSH
ABOVE: Joleon Lescott
11th August 2009 Daily Star
By Bill Thornton
MANCHESTER CITY will make one last attempt to land Joleon Lescott from Everton. But if that bid fails boss Mark Hughes could turn to former City star Sylvin Distin, now at Portsmouth Hughes will fan the flames of Portsmouth’s fire sale by offering £5m for Distin, who left Eastlands two years ago. City, who have injury worries over £15m new boy Kolo Toure, as well as fellow centre-back Richard Dunne, will probably move again for a central defender in the January transfer window. Meanwhile, Hughes hopes Distin, 31, will relish a second spell in the light blue shirt. City have bid £18m for Lescott and have not quite given up on the deal despite Goodison boss David Moyes’ desire to hang on to his prize asset.
They did consider a move for West Ham’s England defender Matthew Upson.
But they did not go ahead because they feared they would be presented with a fee way beyond their valuation – around £15m for a 30-year-old.
Everton FC can’t afford another slow start warns captain Phil Neville
Aug 14 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IT may seem a little early to be handing out warnings but Phil Neville articulated the thoughts of many Evertonians earlier this week. In the wake of Tuesday night’s disappointing 2-1 defeat at Blackpool, the skipper’s displeasure mirrored the frustrations that David Moyes was harbouring and, typically, he pulled no punches when assessing the impact of that result. Given that Everton are a side by whom you can set your watch when it comes to keeping clean sheets, the fact they had conceded nine goals in six games prior to last night’s tussle with Malaga was clearly a cause for concern. Not surprisingly, then, the tone of Neville’s thoughts centred on the Blues’ current soft underbelly but it was his pay-off line that had most resonance. The gist of it? “We can’t afford another slow start.” While last season was possibly the best during Moyes’ seven-year reign, there are grounds for describing it as his most miraculous, too as, if we are honest, Everton should not have recovered from falling out the starting stalls. A tally of nine points from nine games suggested that a fight at the wrong end of the table – and nothing else – beckoned but thanks to their unerring consistency, coupled with the errors of others, the situation was remarkably salvaged.
So good was Everton’s form from November onwards that they took more points than Arsenal in the last 29 games – i.e. good enough to qualify for the Champions League – but there are many who are expecting that this will be the campaign when the bubble bursts.As a group, the squad Moyes has assembled love nothing more than proving the sceptics wrong and they will be keeping a keen eye on who has them earmarked for a season of travails before next week’s big kick-off. To prove the doubters wrong, however, the Blues need to come flying out of the blocks, as the amount of money that some of their rivals have spent suggests they will find it extremely difficult to make up lost ground, if there happens to be a slip up. Now we are not for one minute suggesting the calamity of last August is about to be repeated – you have only had to see the players in training for doubts to be assuaged – but it could be that they need a jolt to focus the mind. The way modern football has transformed means there is no chance any longer for teams to play their way in – pressure is instantaneous and a glance at the fixtures Everton will play before September’s international break to appreciate that. Should they beat Arsenal seven days from now – and have a couple of signings on board – the club would be given a tangible lift and they would be set up perfectly for the first leg of their Europa League play-off. What’s more, dispatching the Gunners would ensure the Toffees travel to Premier League new boys Burnley on a high, as opposed to having their tails between their legs, and you would back Everton to get a result at Turf Moor. Losing to Arsenal, however, would inevitably set nerves jangling and the last thing the squad would need is to prepare for the Europa League clash under a cloud; nobody, after all, needs reminding about what happened against Standard Liege. It must be stressed that there have been a number of encouraging aspects in this pre-season campaign, particularly the way Jo has settled in and Tim Howard’s faultless form, but, equally, momentum has been checked slightly in the last week. Moyes, no doubt, will spend the next week ironing out any glitches and now is not the time to be pressing any panic buttons, as history has shown that Everton are one of the best teams in the country. But, at the same time, you only have to look at horse racing to see that the best don’t always recover from slow starts; so vital, therefore, to build up a head of steam and have no need to worry about the rest.
No luck of the Irish for Everton FC’s injured ace Seamus Coleman
PRE-SEASON is a time when David Moyes traditionally gives youngsters a chance to shine, so spare a thought for Seamus Coleman. Signed from Sligo Rovers in February, the 20-year-old defender showed a great deal of promise, both in terms of attitude and talent, in Everton’s first friendly at Bury last month and gave the impression he would tackle a brick wall if asked to do so. Building on that with a solid display in training the week after, the stage was set for Coleman to stake his claims when he was part of the squad that travelled to Seattle but his problems started on the flight across the Atlantic. He had an angry blister that, due to the cabin pressure became swollen and that meant he was forced to stay in his hotel room, resting his foot, while the rest of the group – including fellow scholars Jose Baxter and James Wallace - went training. Normally, you would expect things to be as right as rain within a couple of days but, sadly, Coleman’s woes were only just beginning and an infection in the blister meant he went from needing to wear sandals to hobbling around on crutches. That, obviously, precluded his involvement in the games against River Plate and the MLS All-Stars and so bad has the injury become that the only he way to get the route of it is with a minor surgical procedure. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Everton FC could be heading for new horizons on pre-season tours
AMERICA has proven to be a popular base for Everton to start their Premier League preparations but might there be a change of destination for next year’s tour?
The Far East is in vogue at present and Chang would love to see Everton play a game in Thailand once again but it could even be that they go even further abroad. Had things worked out financially this year, David Moyes and his players might have ended up in Australia, a country that places just as much emphasis on sport as the US. Nothing has been decided at this early stage and America will always be favourite in Moyes’ mind but there is sure to be a time when he calls for change.
David Moyes declares Joleon Lescott is not for sale after final pre-season friendley win over Malaga
Aug 8 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has moved to finally end all talk about Joleon Lescott’s future by emphatically declaring: “He’s not for sale.” Everton rounded off their pre-season preparations last night with a 2-1 win over Malaga at Goodison Park and Lescott – who had missed the last two games with a hip injury – played the full 90 minutes. Despite telling Moyes earlier in the week that he wanted to move to Manchester City, Lescott was given a warm ovation by the home crowd both at the start and the end of the contest. And despite having kept his own counsel for much of the summer on the saga, Moyes felt compelled to make his feelings known. “To get Steven Pienaar and Joleon back in the team showed what we have got and that is a good team,” said Moyes. “We have been short on numbers and I’ve been saying that we need a new centre-half for ages now. We were short as one of them (Joseph Yobo) was ill here. “The crowd know and understand that what we are doing here is right and we have been very consistent and we have said that Joleon Lescott won’t be sold. “There’s not much point me elaborating on that because I have been consistent – he’s not for sale.” Moyes added: “Joleon played really well, he was terrific. “And you only needed to hear the crowd’s reaction to him. There was a lot of cheering for him and rightly so.” Having given his players a public dressing down after the 2-1 defeat at Blackpool on Tuesday, Moyes was much happier last night after seeing a flying start rewarded by goals from the in-form Louis Saha and Leon Osman. Though Malaga pulled one back when JJ Luque thrashed in a long range free-kick, Everton – who were drawn against SK Sigma Olomouc in the Europa League yesterday – were never really in any danger and Moyes was satisfied with what he saw. “It was much better balanced in the team and much closer to the players that played last season for us,” said Moyes. “It was much more like us and when we get our players fit we’re a decent side.”
David Moyes hails growing influence of Steven Pienaar - Everton FC latest
Aug 10 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed the growing influence of Steven Pienaar – then challenged him to become Everton’s main man. The South African international returned to the side in Friday night’s 2-1 win over Malaga after missing three games with a thigh injury. But his presence enabled Everton to rediscover their cutting edge and he was responsible for creating Leon Osman’s winning goal. Pienaar proved in the second half of last season that he has the talent to make Everton tick and there have been glimpses of brilliance in the friendlies that has featured in this summer.
Now Moyes wants to see him do it on a regular basis, as he believes Pienaar is a completely different player compared to the one he signed from Borussia Dortmund two years ago. “I thought he was very good against Malaga and he is a really big influence for us in the way that he plays,” said Moyes. “We had missed his presence in training for a week or so and it had been difficult without him but when we get him in the side, you can see what he does. “I think he has improved since he came to Everton from where he was. When he left Germany, he looked as if he might be a player that was heading in the wrong direction. “But now he looks as if he’s going in the right direction. We are considering giving him a run in the centre, just behind the front man, but we don’t have many options out wide.” Meanwhile, Moyes’ search for new players continues and he spent Saturday night in France watching Montpellier draw with Paris St Germain. Letting players leave, however, is not an option and Stoke City have had a £3.5m bid for James Vaughan firmly rebuffed.
I'm back with a bang - Everton FC striker Louis Saha
Aug 11 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA is ready to start the new Premier League season with a bang after he declared: “This is the best I’ve felt in years.” Since returning from his summer break, Saha has made a huge impression with the quality of his training and the way he has played in many of Everton’s friendlies. He scored his third goal of pre-season in last Friday’s 2-1 win over Malaga and gave the impression that he will be at his peak for Arsenal’s visit this weekend. That is down to the fact he has only missed one training session since the first week of July and for a player who has struggled with injuries, it has served to be a huge confidence boost. “It is a long time since I felt this good,” said Saha, who arrived at Goodison Park 12 months ago nursing a calf problem which prevented his inclusion until the middle of September. “The last full pre-season I had was three years ago with Manchester United, so hopefully both myself and the team will be able to reap the benefits. “The last few weeks have been very good for me. I feel ready to go now and know I can cope with the intensity of games. I expected a tough pre-season and that is exactly what it’s been. “But I got through it and I’m really happy about that. I needed to get through it and it has also been nice to get a few goals, as that is what a striker needs to do.” Saha scored eight goals in his debut campaign at Goodison Park but, though he won’t reveal any targets, it’s quite clear that he intends for his tally to be significantly higher this time. If he can do that, Everton’s hopes of bustling up the top four clubs will also improve and the France international feels his side are capable of another bold show. “I didn’t participate in any of the pre-season games last year but it seems that we have got back to basics,” said Saha. “The performance against Malaga was much better – which the manager demanded. “I hope we can push on but we will definitely need a bigger squad, particularly if we are playing in Europe. But we are now just a few days away from the start and the boys are full of confidence. We are ready for Arsenal.”
Saha is desperate for an influx of new blood, but is going to have to wait a little longer before he and the rest of his team-mates form a welcoming committee. Philippe Senderos is still on course to join and a deal is getting closer but, for the moment, talks are on going as they try to negotiate a fee.
David Moyes concerned over lack of Everton signings
Aug 11 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has expressed his concern at his failure to significantly add to his Everton squad ahead of the 2009/10 campaign. The Everton manager, who has rejected bids for Joleon Lescott and Louis Saha this summer, knows he is in a race against time to bring in new players ahead of the club’s Europa League play-off tie against Czech side Sigma Olomouc later this month. The two-legged clash will dictate whether or not the Toffees have a season of regular European fixtures and the income that brings, and Moyes admits he needs to act now to reinforce his squad ahead of the first leg at Goodison Park on August 20. Moyes said: “We are not ready as far as the squad goes, we want more players in. “We let a few go in the summer – Andy van der Meyde, Lars Jacobson, Nuno Valente – and we have not replaced any of those players yet. “If we want a run in Europe we need more players quickly. The search goes on, it has never stopped all summer and I am feeling a bit demented with it all now!
“Apart from a couple of clubs, the transfer activity around the country has been limited. But for us, to have finished fifth and reached a cup final, to improve on that costs a lot of money. “But we don’t have that money. So trying to find players who are cheap, don’t want much wages and will come here to improve us, well, it is not easy.”
So far, Moyes has only brought in Brazilian striker Jo on loan from Manchester City and a clutch of untried youngsters.He remains hopeful of a positive outcome in his bid for Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos, although the clubs are believed to be still some way from agreeing a fee. Moyes said: “We have a good team but what we do not have is back-up, and that is what we are trying to get. “The bid for Senderos has been with Arsenal for a while now, and maybe it is getting closer.” Moyes saw a much-improved performance from his players on Friday when Everton beat Malaga 2-1 at Goodison Park, with Manchester City target Lescott playing the full match and getting a rousing reception from home fans. And it seems Moyes might have won the battle to retain one of his prized assets. His stubbornness not to be pushed into a deal for the defender – selected again in the England squad for this week’s friendly with Holland – looks to have paid off. It is believed Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has held further talks with City and told the Eastlands club the Toffees do not want to sell to one of their direct rivals in the battle to claim a Champions League berth. And Everton’s reluctance to part with their big-name players was underlined when Moyes recently rejected an £8million bid from Turkish side Besiktas for Saha. Moyes said: “Louis is someone we had a big bid for. But he didn’t want to go and we didn’t want to sell.”
Man City target Joleon Lescott hands in transfer request - Everton latest
Aug 11 2009 Dominic King Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes today rejected a written transfer request from Joleon Lescott - and reaffirmed his intention that the defender is not for sale. Lescott is currently away in Holland with the England squad for tommorow night’s friendly but that did not stop him informing Moyes in writing today of his desire to move to Manchester City.
However, as was the case last Monday when Lescott verbally informed Moyes of his desire to leave the Blues, the manager’s response was just as emphatic. Moyes has effectively now ended any lingering hopes City had of signing the 27-year-old in a £20m deal and re-emphasised Lescott’s importance to the Everton squad. “Joleon Lescott put in a written transfer request this morning which I immediately rejected,” Moyes told the Echo. “We will continue to work with him as we appreciate his many qualities as a player. “I have said all along that I have no intention of selling my best players. “Joleon is simply not for sale.” City have aggressively pursued Lescott, the Blues double player of the year two seasons ago, for the past nine months. They made a formal £15m bid the Friday before Everton headed to the USA for the pre-season tour in July. They then followed up with another bid of £19m on the day Everton played the MLS All Stars in Salt Lake City but that was also given short shrift by Everton’s manager and board. Moyes publicly stated three days after Everton appearance in the FA Cup Final on May 30 that he had no plans to break up the squad which had reached Wembley and finished fifth in the Premier League for the second season in succession. He did the same at a sharehlders forum in early July.
Lescott, signed by Moyes from Wolves in June 2006, signed a new lucrative new contract at Goodison in March 2008 and has another four years of that deal still to run.
If City have been aggressive in their pursuit of Lescott, Moyes has been even tougher in resisting their protracted public campaign to prise him away. Regardless of City’s new found riches and how much they have offered both the Blues and Lescott in wages, Moyes is standing firm on a point of principle - and for the good of the club.
Everton pre-season special: David Moyes up for big challenge
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SATURDAY evening, May 30 and a plush hotel in West London is preparing to stage a grand dinner. Usually when people turn up to such functions, knowing that the food will be good and the wine will flow, they arrive in high spirits but on this occasion, those walking through the doors were sombre and subdued – Everton, after all, had just lost the FA Cup final. Predictably, the subject that dominated conversations was why the famous old pot had ended up in Chelsea’s hands, rather than being perched in the middle of a vast ballroom that was bedecked in royal blue and white. It could, quite easily, have been a solemn occasion and there is little disputing that the first half of the evening was quiet; that the second half was anything but was helped largely by the words of Bill Kenwright and David Moyes. When he was handed the microphone by his chairman, it was easy to see that Moyes was hurting and would probably have appreciated some time to get over the huge disappointment of losing Everton’s first appearance at Wembley since 1995. By the time he had finished speaking, however, you could sense he would not spend the summer wallowing in self-pity and his pay-off line proved that. “It won’t be a case of if we get back (to Wembley),” Moyes promised. “It will be a case of WHEN we get back. This is where this club deserves to be.” How, then, does Moyes repeat the trick? Where do he squeeze the extra improvement out of a squad to get Everton in to the Champions League places without having the financial resources of other clubs? Many on the outside, of course, will say it is impossible, that last season was as good as it will ever get for Moyes and Everton – i.e. a fifth place finish and a gallant run to a cup final – and they have reached the ceiling of their ambitions. But don’t such things get said at this time every year? Even 12 months ago, when a calamitous summer almost caused irreparable damage, they still managed to turn things around and finish miles clear of Tottenham, West Ham, Manchester City and Aston Villa. totally committed, approaching its peak and unfailingly consistent, one that takes great pleasure in proving the doubters wrong. Marry all that with the intensity and drive Moyes which takes with him every day to work and it is not difficult to envisage Everton maintaining their place in the top five or six, as they have done for the past three years. Improving past that is the big conundrum. “There has been an awful lot of nice things said about me by my chairman and supporters but I take none of it for granted. I never will. I do my job, like everyone else, and try to do it to the best of my ability,” said Moyes, last season’s LMA Manager of the Year. “This time last year, I didn’t think we’d finish in the top 10. I really didn’t. We had four serious injuries, none of them were due to come back from their operations; we had let players go and had gone to Switzerland with a lot of kids who weren’t ready and our recruitment was late. As a result, our start was poor and we took nine points from our first nine games. “We found ourselves out of the UEFA Cup and Carling Cup, too. But we got a couple of breaks, ended up finishing fifth and getting to a Cup final, which was far greater than anyone thought. “But what doesn’t change is what we have got inside the club; there isn’t a word for it – you can just see it in the players. It’s built into them. “The important thing is to keep that going. We finished fifth and had an outstanding season but we are now at the period where we have got to make progress again.” It has again been a testing summer, as he has had to deal with more serious injuries to key players, as well as a transfer saga surrounding Joleon Lescott, but experience has enabled him to deal with the problems in a more measured way – even if the fire inside still rages. “I went to see a manager when I was much younger about getting a job to assist him. But the word came back that I was too intense. Too bloody right I am!” he recalled. “I’m not very funny and I have to be straight. That’s just my style. I say things the way that I feel. That’s just the way it is. But my ambitions never change. My ambition is to take this club back to the top. I’ve never opened the box I was given at Wembley. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I only want to open one that has got a winner’s medal inside it. Let’s hope in the coming years we’ll see a few of those for everyone here.” You wouldn’t expect him to say anything else. After all, nothing but the best is good enough.
Everton rumour mill: Blues linked to Boro midfielder, Swedish target weighs options, PSG midfielder watched?
Aug 12 2009
Everton linked to Boro ace Gary O’Neil
EVERTON are being strongly linked with interest in Boro midfielder Gary O’Neil.
Toffees boss David Moyes is known to be looking for a solid ball winner and playmaker, having been previously linked with former Boro midfielder Lee Cattermole at Wigan. If Moyes was to come knocking at the Riverside, Boro would probably ask for a fee of around £4m. This would certainly be within Everton’s reach if they agree to sell Joleon Lescott to Manchester City for £20m. O’Neil has also been regularly linked with interest by Fulham and former club Portsmouth, but so far Boro have not received any offers. In the meantime O’Neil has committed himself to the Boro cause and has postponed a hernia operation in order to remain available throughout August.
Likelihood rating: 3/5
Source: Teeside Gazette
Target weighs up options
Kalmar midfielder Rasmus Elm is to decide on his future after visiting two more clubs but admits Everton are in the running. Manchester City, Valencia and Liverpool are all thought to be on the trail of the highly rated midfielder who shone for Sweden during the Under-21 championships but Everton are in with a chance after he paid the club a visit. Elm told Sportbladet: "Everton is a fantastic club. "It's well kept and good, I got a positive impression. But I want to get time to reflect on it, take it easy and feel what's right. "It has to feel right. It will be a good decision regardless what it will be."
Likelihood rating: 2/5
PSG's Sessegnon linked with Goodison switch
Everton boss David Moyes was reported to be in France over the weekend.
Moyes watched PSG's French League season opener at Montpellier on Saturday - with Stephen Sessegnon in his sights. Everton were among a number of English clubs linked with the 25-year-old earlier in the summer when Sessegnon demanded an improved contract at PSG. L'Equipe says Moyes is ready to make a £15million move for the midfielder.
Likelihood rating: 2/5
Source: Tribal Football
David Moyes tips Marouane Fellaini for second season success at Everton
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is backing quick-learner Marouane Fellaini to make his second year as Everton player an even bigger success than his first. The Blues’ club record signing has endured a difficult pre-season after contracting a virus during the summer that led to him losing a lot of weight. But there were signs after Everton returned from their tour of the US and Canada that he was starting to come good again and he confirmed that impression against Malaga last Friday. Fellaini was one of Everton’s top performers in the 2-1 victory and the smile he sported on leaving Goodison Park suggested he was pleased with his efforts. It has left Moyes feeling confident that Fellaini – who finished last season as the club’s joint top scorer – is ready to shine and is confident that he will be up to the challenge. “I thought that was the best he played in pre-season and you could see after the game that he felt good about himself,” said Moyes, who paid £15m to sign the Belgian. “It’s taken him the best part of five weeks to get to the required level and we hope that he is now going to stay up there.
“I think the first few weeks of this season might be harder for him than he found it last year and it may taken him time to find his stride. “But I also don’t think it will be a great surprise if we see great improvement from him, as he showed last season how big a contribution he can make.” When he first arrived at the club, Fellaini endured a number of disciplinary problems and ended the campaign with 12 bookings.
The second suspension he picked up in January ruled him out of two games against Liverpool and he struggled to find a rhythm when Moyes restored him to Everton’s starting line-up. But his manager took great heart from seeing him knuckle down when things got tough and that is an attitude he believes will help Fellaini – who will for Belgium in a friendly against the Czech Republic tonight – prosper. “There were times when he knew he was not up to speed and it came during the heavy period we had in January and February,” said Moyes. “But by the end of the season when the games were really important, he helped us and made a contribution with his goals and performances. “The Premier League is a long, old haul and there will be different periods when players are in form or when they are struggling. “The good thing about Felli is that he is someone who responds to criticism and you can see that he wants to learn all the time. He is a player who works and wants to improve.” Manchester City, meanwhile, have all but admitted defeat in their pursuit of Joleon Lescott, who saw a written transfer request rejected by Moyes yesterday morning. It is understood that City have no plan to rock the boat by making another bid for the England international and are ready to turn their attentions to West Ham’s Matthew Upson.
Everton pre-season special: Phil Neville prove doubters wrong
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THINGS have changed dramatically for Phil Neville in the past 12 months but one aspect of his Everton career will always remain the same. At this time last year, Neville – despite never giving anything other than his very best in every game – was a player whom many supporters still had reservations and, in many ways, he became an easy target for those disaffected by that summer’s travails. It is not difficult to recall the boos he was subjected to during the opening day defeat against Blackburn Rovers, particularly when he passed a ball back to his goalkeeper Tim Howard made through the first half when Everton were trailing. Experience, though, has enabled Neville to not let criticism affect his game and, slowly but surely, the outstanding consistency of his performances, either at right-back or in central midfield, enabled the tide to turn.
The first inkling that things were changing for him came in another game against Blackburn when he stood in front of the Darwen End at Ewood Park to applaud the visiting section, straight after Everton had tumbled out of the Carling Cup on an especially miserable night. Normally he would have been on the end of a steady stream of insults and hand gestures but, on this occasion, Neville was given sympathetic applause, in recognition that he had done all he could to help in difficult circumstances. By the time he thrashed home a penalty in the FA Cup semi-final shoot-out against his first love Manchester United, any lingering doubts about his commitment had been long since banished and a place in Blue affections had been secured. But if there has been a reversal in his popularity, Neville’s determination to improve is as unwavering as it has always been and the challenge of surpassing the efforts of a campaign that saw Everton finish fifth and reach Wembley is one that excites him. He, of course, is aware that it will be difficult to make the next step – i.e. winning a trophy or qualifying for the Champions League – but, as he prepares to start his fifth season at Goodison Park, he is as enthusiastic as ever. “I’m looking forward to the next 12 months and I’m more excited about prospects now than when I first arrived at this club,” said Neville, who has made 178 appearances since that £3.5m move from Old Trafford in August 2005. “We are moving in the right direction and the foundations that the manager has built here should provide us with a platform to keep pushing on and you only have to look around the club to see that we are geared up for success. “We are settled in our new training ground, we have got a young and hungry squad and the manager looks like he is going to be here forever; I think a lot of clubs would happily swap places with us at this moment. “Once we get Yak, Jags, and Mikel back from their long-term injuries - we really missed them last season, as they are three big players - I think our squad is in good shape and, take my word for it, the spirit is as good as I have ever known it here. “It is going to be hard to do better than we did last year but we have got to believe that we can do it. Our form from Christmas time onwards was of Champions League qualifying standard and the challenge is to try and do it for the full season now.” It is clear to detect a determination in Neville’s voice but that should not come as a surprise; the events of May 30 at Wembley, after all, continue to gnaw away at the back of his mind, a disappointment he cannot forget.
Losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup final was, he says, possibly the lowest moment of his career, one that dwarfed missing out on selection for three World Cups during his England career.As he led his team up the 109 steps to collect their runners-up medals, Neville was so numb that he almost walked past his wife, Julie, and their children Harvey and Isabella, who were waiting at halfway to console him. Yet rather than let that misery eat him up, Neville is determined to use it as a positive and hopes the pain he and his team-mates felt that afternoon, walking past the famous old pot but not being able to touch it, can spur them on to greater heights. “If I’m honest, Wembley still rankles with me now,” he said. “The funny thing about football is that you remember the defeats in football more than you remember the good times but we have got to use what happened to our advantage. “The reason it stayed with me so long was because I honestly believed we were going to do it; we had done unbelievably well to get to the final and it hurt so much that we came up short when it really mattered.
“Yes, we were playing Chelsea but I have got big expectations for this team. I had three-and-a-half weeks away in the summer but I just couldn’t stop thinking about Wembley. “I couldn’t forget the emptiness I felt walking up the stairs and not being able to get my hands on the FA Cup. I don’t think I ever will. That probably clouded my view of the season but and it was only when I got home I realised what we had done. “I had an afternoon with my son and we watched the DVD together; it was only then I realised we had every reason to be proud of our achievement and we have got to believe we can do the same - if not better - when we start for real again.
“We climbed a lot of mountains last year and in some ways the challenge is going to be bigger again. But we are a consistent side and are still improving; nothing we do should shock people.”
Everton pre-season special: Passports at the ready for Europa League push
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AMID the many striking images that were taken during last season’s unforgettable campaign, one picture of David Moyes strikes a particular chord. Leaning against a dugout and staring into space, his mind clearly racing all over the place, this photograph of the Everton manager was captured immediately after his side had just been knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Standard Liege. As someone who relishes the opportunity to pit his wits against coaches on the continent, falling at the first hurdle for the third time in European competition dented Moyes’ pride and that defeat came when it appeared Everton’s season was about to implode. Remembering the adventures of the previous campaign, and those memorable nights in Kharkiv, Nuremburg and Bergen, being knocked out by the Belgians was an especially bitter pill for Moyes to swallow. Perhaps, though, it was the watershed moment that was required to galvanise the Blues. Having looked anything but potential European candidates last autumn, their form picked up so much that they ended up being spoken of as Champions League contenders. Unfortunately, club football’s most glamorous and lucrative competition remains tantalisingly out of their reach for the moment and Moyes is unlikely to be satisfied until he is rubbing shoulders with the best around.
For the time being, however, the Europa League is an acceptable alternative and – provided they negotiate a tricky play-off with SK Sigma Olomouc this month – there are plenty of trips and teams on the horizon to make the mouth water. “It’s not a bad consolation by any means,” the Blues’ midfield talisman Tim Cahill agreed. “It’s just really important that we make the most of it, like the way we made the most of last season. “We had so many injuries but regardless of whether the lads had been fit or not, I don’t think we could have done any more than qualify for the FA Cup final or finish fifth in the league – the reason we did that is because we stuck together.
“That’s what we have always done in times of adversity. Fair enough, it would have been nice to have the quality that Mikel, Yak and Jags give us but it was not to be – you never get the perfect scenario in football. It’s all about making the most and the best of things.” And making the most and the best of things is something UEFA have done with the Europa League, revamping the old UEFA Cup by giving it a new name and altering the format, so it resembles the Champions League and is easier to understand. Its many critics, of course, will argue that there is still not enough money involved and there far too many games – if Everton were to reach the final in Hamburg on May 12 next year, 17 extra fixtures will have been added to their schedule. But even if the workload is great, the chance to make a bit of history is something that greatly appeals to Moyes and his players and there is absolutely no possibility of him treating it as shabbily as some other Premier League managers have done. What’s more, the grand day out at Wembley in May has given Moyes an appetite for the big time and there would be nobody prouder if he happened to become only the second manager to lead Everton to a European final. “Certainly this group of players and myself as a manager need that experience,” said Moyes. “I know all about the great nights here, such as Bayern Munich 20 years ago, and my aim is to give those experiences back to the supporters. “We all want to be in the Champions League and we still remember what happened in Villarreal. “ The Champions League is the best competition to be in but we are going to try and make the Europa League the best competition by having a long run it. “European football offers a new challenge for most people at this club but it is obviously something that we want more of. We want to be come accustomed to playing it. “We have got to do everything that we can to make sure that we get into the group stages.” GIVEN that they have had some terrible draws in the past, being paired against SK Sigma – the Czech Republic’s fourth best side – should not have Evertonians cowering in fear but Moyes has no intentions of taking them lightly. “They are not (as tough as) Standard Liege, who beat us last season in the UEFA Cup,” he pointed out. “The European draw is difficult, Sigma put eight past Aberdeen so I will need to have a chat with Aberdeen manager Mark McGhee about that and what he thinks they are like. “As yet I don’t know a great deal about them. But that will change when I start work on it. But they are not as good as Liege. “At least this will not be as tough as last season but it will still be hard. We have to see whether we are good enough.” If Moyes is burning with determination, so too are his players. Being involved in Europe adds an exciting new dimension to a season and there is no disputing that it was sorely missed last time around.
No wonder, then, they are desperate to avoid a repeat. “You just can’t beat the buzz of playing in Europe,” said Leon Osman. “People have knocked the Europa League but there are some great teams in it this year; as a player, you want to be testing yourself against the best from other countries. “It’s not the Champions League and we accept that. To get in the Champions League it looks like you need a hundred billion dollars or something stupid but, for the moment, we are happy to try our luck in the Europa League. “Okay, the early stages aren’t full of top quality but when you start getting towards the business end of it, you see some different class sides and that will always be the case. That’s why were desperate to do well.”
Everton pre-season special: Blues getting ready to dance to Samba beat
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHEN the best give you advice, it pays to listen and one man who can certainly vouch for that is Everton’s latest loan star. While some of their rivals have been busy making signings and spending money as if it has been going out of fashion, Everton have endured a number of frustrations, the most notable being when Tottenham hijacked their bid for Sheffield United right-back Kyle Naughton. There has, though, been one ‘addition’ to the fold, namely Jo – or, to give him his full title, João Alves de Assis Silva – the Brazilian striker who made a positive impression during a short spell on Merseyside in the second half of last season. Anxious to bring another forward in, Moyes had little hesitation in bringing Jo back to Merseyside when it became apparent that Manchester City would have a surfeit of forwards and there has been nothing to suggest that the manager has erred. Always laughing and smiling, Jo has looked anything but the £18m flop that people had been quick to brand him during his early days in Manchester, when he struggled to get to grips with pace of the English game.
Clearly, a warm, welcoming environment has helped Jo show his best but he never doubted for one minute that he would hit the levels that had dazzled Moyes when he went on a scouting trip to watch the 21-year-old in action for CSKA Moscow in April 2008. But there is also a self-confidence that his talent will shine through and that stems from a conversation he had with one of the greatest goalscorers of the last generation – namely the original Ronaldo. “When I was a young boy my idol was Ronaldo,” he said. “In Brazil, we call him ‘The Phenomenon’. I’ve had the pleasure to meet him and when I did, I told him I had followed his career since I was a child and that he was still my idol. “I was not ashamed to tell him this. He gave me special advice. He told me to remain patient and have determination as it always repays you in the future. I will always keep those words close to my heart.” Moyes has proven a master of taking those who have fallen out of favour elsewhere and turning them into polished gems at Goodison and he definitely has something to work on with Jo.
The quality that he has shown in training has frequently left on-lookers gasping for breath – one particular session in Seattle, during Everton’s recent US tour, was illuminated by the ferocity and accuracy of his shooting – and it is encouraging that he scored three times in their warm up fixtures. Should he do come up with the goods when the real business begins on Saturday, you could easily see Jo becoming as popular on the terraces as he is with his team-mates and he is adamant that he has much to offer. “People have not seen my best yet,” he said. “It didn’t work out how I wanted at City but, with the way things are looking here, I’m sure I can start scoring goals again. The idea is for me to stay relaxed and play the best that I can. I need to repeat what I did for CSKA. “When you arrive at a club and you have the confidence of the manager, you feel a lot of tranquillity and you can play at a much higher level. That’s not just for me - it’s for every player. I think I will get better. “I just want to be happy again. I want to be able to show that through scoring a lots of goals and my performances. People will realise that my first six months (in England) were just my adaptation period. “I did not expect to be made so welcome. This club has very good foundations. Though things never worked out, I left a lot of friends at Manchester City. But on arriving here, I felt the vibe was much better and I’m ready for the challenge.” And ready to show that he can up with the goods on the road; Jo scored five times for the Blues last season but all those came at Goodison and he wants to correct that little anomaly. “I have been lucky with the goals I’ve scored in front of our fans,” said Jo. “But I’m going to work hard so I can get my first away from Goodison. The manager and my team-mates have given me confidence. I’m playing better in every game and that is what I’m going to continue to do.” A hit on and off the pitch – Jo stole the show during the annual karaoke evening when Everton were in Canada – he has continually impressed his captain and Phil Neville makes no secret of how highly he rates him. “From the moment Jo walked in here on day one, I have taken a shine to him,” said Neville. “I remember the gaffer saying to me last year that he had been to see a young Brazilian kid for CSKA Moscow who had the lot and that stuck in my mind. “He has been a total revelation in his time here. When I watch him in training, he reminds me of Ole Solskjaer, the way that he can finish. “Every time he gets a chance, you expect him to score. He’s physically fit, has been working really hard and maybe he’s just needed to come to this type of environment to show his best.
“You would never have thought that a lad from Bury would strike up a rapport with a lad from Brazil but he’s been a breath of fresh air around here and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll help us get to where we want to go.”
Everton pre-season special: Trio out to make up for lost time
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IT is the question that has no answer, the two words that are debated over again and again without a conclusion ever being drawn: ‘What if?’ Using the summer months to reflect on that heartbreaking defeat at Wembley in May, that is exactly what Evertonians asked themselves, as they looked for reasons as to why the battle with Chelsea could and should have turned out differently. What if Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Ayegbeni Yakubu had all been fit? Unfortunately, we will never know if their presence in David Moyes’ starting line-up that afternoon would have turned the tide and brought the FA Cup back to Merseyside but it’s safe to say, Everton’s chances would have dramatically improved with them. During the course of an average season, clubs tend to expect they will have to deal with one major injury yet the fate that befell the Blues during the campaign just gone was only that simply beggared belief. Losing Yakubu last November after he ruptured his Achilles tendon during a win at Tottenham was bad enough, but to follow it up with Arteta and Jagielka rupturing their cruciate ligaments in February and April respectively was all too much to take. That Everton were able to put those traumas to one side and secure a fifth place finish, not to mention going all the way to Wembley, speaks volumes for the team spirit that Moyes has fostered. Yet it is only natural to wonder how different the situation might have been had Yakubu – a man who practically guarantees 20 goals a year – not been confined to the sidelines for seven months or had Arteta been allowed to maintain his majestic form. Of course, it would be wrong to assume Everton would have definitely improved on their efforts – Moyes, after all, found a way of playing that brought the best out of those who were fit and able – but it is the not knowing which frustrates so much. Tim Cahill, for one, believes that Arteta’s absence – he suffered his injury on the same day Victor Anichebe was struck down – was a blow from which Everton never really recovered and he, more than anyone, felt the impact of having no little Spaniard around. Those two men have forged a relationship off the field that enables them to sparkle on it and the statistics back up Cahill’s argument: the normally prolific Australian only scored twice during Arteta’s spell in the stands. “Mikel is one of my best mates off the pitch and on it he is a massive provider of my goals,” Cahill pointed out. “Let’s not make excuses but pretty much all the time when we are out there, he knows where I am without even looking.
“Mikel is a player that would add to any team in the Premier League. He’s got such quality. Did we miss him at Wembley? Well, we could definitely have done better in the FA Cup final, it just seemed a bridge too far when we came to that game.
“He’s coming close to his pinnacle now. He, Yak and Jags have all had serious injuries – the worst in their careers – but it’s all about how they are going to come back. I speak to Mikel at length about looking after his body, as I know from my own experience. “I’ve told him to take care of the injury, not to rush it. What’s important is getting the injury right and coming back at a high level to play in the Premier League again. “We do a lot of rehab and preparation work together; Mikel takes great pride in what he does and that’s why it’s great to work alongside someone like that. He’s a credit to the team, he adds a lot of value and he needs to get back for us as soon as possible.” The date when Arteta and Yakubu are fully attuned for the rough and tumble of domestic combat is likely to be sometime in September and the date they relaunch their careers cannot come a second too soon. While everyone knows what Arteta – whose enforced lay-off was eased by the arrival of bouncing boy named Gabriel during the summer – can do, it is perhaps easy to forget what Yakubu adds to the team. During his first year at Goodison Park, he got into a groove that was so good you knew he would hit the target whenever a chance came his way and a flurry of four goals in five matches at the beginning of last season further illustrated that point.
A man with an infectious smile, his spirits have been good during pre-season and the signs of progress in his work with physio Mick Rathbone – notably during the tour of the United States and Canada – have been there for all to see. Significantly, the Nigerian expects to return as good as ever and the fact he has set himself a 20 goal target suggests his confidence has not been dented by a prolonged spell of inactivity.
“Training has been good and it’s been good to be back with the team – it’s getting better and better,” said Yakubu. “I have never scored below ten, so I want to score more; it would be nice to score more than 20. I just want to score as many as possible.
“I just have to be patient, work hard and set myself a target to work to. I’ve done that so far and stuck to it. Every year this side is getting better. We are getting stronger as a unit and we are building. I can’t wait to be back.” Sentiments with which Jagielka wholeheartedly agrees. His was, without question, the most difficult to stomach, as his efforts through the course of the year had been faultless – now it is just a case of him remaining patient. “I’ve got a hard couple of months ahead of me,” said Jagielka. “But hopefully the months will pass quite quickly and I won't have too many reactions in my knee, so I can look forward to playing again.” To say it would be like having three new signings would be a cliché but one thing is for certain – with the spine of their side restored to full working order, Everton’s hopes of winning the games that really matter will improve immeasurably.
Everton pre-season special: Blues seeking World Cup glory in South Africa
Aug 12 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
SOME have queried the choice of host nation, others have voiced concerns about the quality of stadia and safety issues but one thing will never be in doubt. The closer we get to the start of the 2010 World Cup, those players who have a chance to represent their countries in South Africa will be straining every sinew to make what could be a once in a life time opportunity come true. Given that David Moyes has assembled a cosmopolitan group of players, Everton are sure to have a healthy representation and there is even grounds for thinking that, come this time next year, the squad may even be home to a World Cup winner. England, after all, will be among the favourites to challenge for that shining, shimmering gold trophy and Joleon Lescott – provided he maintains the outstanding consistency he has shown during his time on Merseyside – is likely to be in the 22-man party that Fabio Capello selects. But he might not be the only Lion from Goodison Park. Prior to suffering that sickening knee injury, Phil Jagielka was finding his feet in the England set-up, while Leighton Baines has emerged as a genuine challenger to Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge at left-back.
Both men will be determined to use the new campaign as a platform to show Capello they need to be considered and Jagielka – as he continues on the road back to full fitness – will have taken heart that Capello called on him in a crucial qualifier against Ukraine in March. And, whisper it quietly, if Jack Rodwell makes the progress that many at Goodison hope and envisage, do not be surprise if he happens to be mentioned as a surprise contender to be included – if he doesn’t make this one, he will be a certainty for 2014 in Brazil. Only a calamity of enormous proportions will stop England from heading to Africa but two Blues whose places at the greatest footballing show on earth have long since been secured are Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar.
Pienaar, of course, will lead the home defence and this proud South African showed during the recent Confederations Cup that neither he or his compatriots will let themselves down in front of the eyes of the world. He has heard all the talk about stadiums being left half-built and the possible criminal threat to tourists, particularly in his home town of Johannesburg, but steps have been taken to ensure that the competition will run smoothly. South Africa’s government have invested huge sums of money to combat the problem, will the former mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, has been asked for helping in lowering the crime rate and Pienaar is sure things will go according to plan – on and off the pitch. “The grounds they have built are really impressive,” says Pienaar, who grew up in the Westbury township of Johannesburg with his mother and three sisters. “A lot of work has gone into it making the World Cup a success and I’m sure it will be.” “It was a shame we were beaten in the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup but there was no disgrace in losing to Brazil. We knew there was something we could have achieved but it was still a great learning experience. “The World Cup is still a long way off but we have a young team and we can only build on this. Confidence is what’s been lacking.
“We’ve talked a lot about self-belief and we showed that against Brazil but unfortunately they are a superior team who can score from anywhere.” Scoring from anywhere is something that Cahill knows about and his knack for being in the right place at the right time, as he showed in the summer of 2006 when becoming the first Australian to hit the target at the World Cup finals. Those two goals turned Cahill into a national icon and another double blast against Japan in June ensured Australia qualified for South Africa as Group winners and there is no disguising how much he enjoys playing for the Socceroos – regardless of all the air miles he clocks up.
“Being with Australia put things into perspective after the FA Cup final defeat,” said Cahill. “Playing those games for my country helped me recover, as I would have needed to play another 10 games for Everton to make me feel better after what happened at Wembley. “When you've got a passion for football and a manager, you play even better than what you do (normally). We fly halfway around the world because we want to but it’s even better flying halfway around the world for a manager that looks out for your body. “Pim (Verbeek) also looks out for you mentally as a player and as a person outside of the football pitch. “Things like that you cannot put a price on and for us I think as a country we’re very blessed to have someone with Pim's knowledge and to be going to the World Cup again.” Only time will tell how many Evertonians will eventually head south next summer but it is safe bet that Tim Howard will be in goal for the United States, as he was during the Confederations Cup, and Joseph Yobo will captain Nigeria, for whom Ayegbeni Yakubu will lead the line. If Louis Saha transfers the talent he has been showing in training to the big stage, France could conceivably give him the chance for missing the 2006 World Cup final through suspension, while Jo has ambitions of muscling into Brazil’s squad – as Mikel Arteta does with Spain. So when you take all that into account, one thing is absolutely certain; if those players fulfil their potential and stake irresistible claims, they will be a part of a thriving Everton team – and that can only be good news for David Moyes.
Everton pre-season special: The full squad for the 2009/10 season
Aug 12 2009 Dominic King Liverpool Echo
1 Carlo Nash
Signed from: Wigan Athletic, August 2008
Experienced goalkeeper signed last summer as backup for Tim Howard. Nash has played for numerous clubs including Stockport, Manchester City and Preston, but is yet to make a competitive appearance for the Blues.
2 Tony Hibbert
Signed from: Trainee, August 2000
Everton’s current longest serving player, Tony Hibbert is a reliable full-back. One of the best tacklers at the club, the ex-England under-21 international is an important member of the back four.
3 Leighton Baines
Signed from: Wigan Athletic, August 2007
Injuries may have contributed to a slow start to Baines’ Everton career, but the attacking left-back is now one of the first names on the teamsheet after building up an impressive understanding with Steven Pienaar. Received his first England call-up last season.
4 Joseph Yobo
Signed from: Marseille, July 2002
David Moyes’ first signing as Everton boss in 2002, the quick and powerful Yobo has matured into one of the most consistent and reliable defenders in the Premier League. Despite a stop-start 2008-09 season, performed well consistently as ever after Phil Jagielka’s season ending injury.
5 Joleon Lescott
Signed from: Wolverhampton Wanderers, June 2006
After his £5 million move from Wolves defender Lescott may have seemed too much at the time, but he quickly established himself as a classy defender with a goal threat, scoring 10 goals in the 2007-08 season. Voted fans’ Player of the Year in 2008, he is a regular in Fabio Cappello’s England squad.
6 Phil Jagielka
Signed from: Sheffield United, July 2007
After struggling to earn a place in the Everton team initially, Phil Jagielka played one game at centre half and never looked back. The brave and committed defender was Everton’s runaway Player of the Year last season after a year of colossal performances, but sadly missed the FA Cup Final through injury.
8 Louis Saha
Signed from: Manchester United, August 2008
After a glut of honours in an injury-hit spell at Manchester United, Louis Saha joined Everton last summer. Injuries may have disrupted his first season, but the classy Frenchman showed in flashes the kind of brilliance and creativityy that could win a game almost single handedly.
10 Mikel Arteta
Signed from: Real Sociedad, January 2005
Signed initially on loan as a replacement for Thomas Gravesen, Arteta is Everton’s inspirational and creative midfield heartbeat. Also the club’s dead ball specialist and former Player of the Year ., Arteta enjoyed arguably his most consistant season for the Blues last year before injury ended his season.
Signed from: Manchester City, July 2009
After a successful loan spell in the second half of last season, David Moyes moved to sign the young Brazilian striker on loan again for the new season. A devastating finisher with his left foot, Jo’s greatest quality is his ability to bring the best out of players around him with his link-up play.
12 Iain Turner
Signed from: Stirling Albion, January 2003
The young Scottish keeper has made only a handful of appearances for the Blues, mainly used as back-up for Nigel Martyn, Richard Wright and Tim Howard. Has enjoyed five successful loan spells away from Everton, and is highly regarded by those clubs as a talented and commanding keeper.
14 James Vaughan
Signed from: Trainee, July 2004
James Vaughan became Everton’s youngest ever goalscorer in 2005 against Crystal Palace. It is unfortunate that A series of injuries have since held him back the talented striker. But he has lightening pace, mature finishing and infectious enthusiasm are all qualities he has in abundance, and he remains a dangerous player when fit.
17 Tim Cahill
Signed from: Millwall, July 2004
The Australian is arguably David Moyes best signing. A bargain from Millwall, Cahill has become an almost talismanic presence in the Blues squad. , his energy, late runs into the box and unbelievable spring for a player his size have become his trademarks, and He can always be relied on when Everton need him most.
18 Phil Neville
Signed from: Manchester United, August 2005
Easily Everton’s most experienced and decorated player, club captain Neville is one of the team’s key players. His invaluable versatility and professionalism make him an inspirational player. to younger players around him. Enjoyed his best season at Everton last season as a key holding midfielder.
19 Dan Gosling
Signed from: Plymouth Argyle, January 2008
The young midfielder already has his place in Everton history assured after his FA Cup extra-time winner against Liverpool at Goodison. The versatile Gosling is most at home in midfield, and His enthusiasm, energy, quick feet and eye for goal make him a promising player for now and the future.
20 Steven Pienaar
Nationality: South African
Signed from: Borussia Dortmund, July 2007
The ex-Ajax man is another of David Moyes’ bargain signings. The tricky Pienaar has established himself as an important creative spark who brings the best out of all players around him. His blossoming understandings with Leighton Baines and Yakubu are at the heart of a lot Everton’s good football.
21 Leon Osman
Signed from: Trainee, August 2000
The little midfielder has had a lot to overcome in his career. Putting aside a serious knee injury, Osman has succeeded despite his lack of size, strength and pace, by outweighing his weaknesses with his quick feet and vision for passing, and a unique eye for a crucial spectacular goal.
Signed from: August 2007
The Nigerian striker is the finest goalscorer at Everton in a generation. A prolific finisher at Portsmouth and Middlesbrough, the Yak combines world class movement, finishing and link up play to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League. Currently close to a return after injury. picked up last November.
24 Tim Howard
Signed from: Manchester United, July 2006
The American goalkeeper, signed initially on loan, has remained Everton’s number one since he arrived in 2006. A commanding shot stopper, Howard demands a lot of his back four and has become a crowd favourite. as much for his reaction to conceding, as for his celebrations when the Blues score!
25 Marouane Fellaini
Signed from: Standard Liege, August 2008
The tall and distinctive Fellaini is Everton’s current record signing. Despite his age and the problems of adjusting to a new league, language and culture, Fellaini became a key player in his first season, scoring nine goals. Has unfortunately also gained a following from referees, picking up two suspensions last season.
26 Jack Rodwell
Signed from: Trainee, July 2007
After becoming Everton’s youngest player in Europe, Rodwell has developed at a phenomenal rate, already touted by many as a future England international. Making several appearances in midfield last season, His maturity, confidence and range of passing mark him out as a very a special player.
27 Lukas Jutkiewicz
Signed from: Swindon Town, July 2007
The young Southampton born striker made his first Everton appearance against Sunderland at Goodison Park last December. The tall and quick footed Jutkiewicz has spent loan spells at Plymouth Argyle and Huddersfield Town, and has become a regular player for Andy Holden’s reserve side.
28 Victor Anichebe
Signed from: Trainee, July 2005
The powerful Nigerian striker scored his first senior goal on the day Duncan Ferguson scored his last. But excelled during the 2007-08 UEFA Cup run that he made his name, using his strength and pace to bully defenders and score four goals. Has also made use of pace and power as a wide right player last season.
30 John Ruddy
Signed from: Cambridge United, May 2005
After signing from Cambridge United in 2005, a series of loan spells have added to Ruddy’s reputation, most notably at Stockport County, where he impressed current Motherwell boss Jim Gannon enough to sign him on loan this season. Kept a clean sheet on his only Blues appearance against Blackburn in 2006.
31 Seamus Coleman
Signed from: Sligo Rovers, January 2009
The Irish full-back is awarded a squad number for the first time this season, after signing in January 2009. A regular in the reserve side, Coleman earned his first team chance in a pre-season game at Bury, where he played both right-back and left-back, and impressed as an attacking and mature defender.
35 Kieran Agard
Signed from: Arsenal, January 2006
Signed from Arsenal’s Academy, Agard was last season’s Reserve Player of the Year and signed a new two-year contract this summer. On the fringe of the senior squad, He has impressed this pre season, showing himself to be a quick and dangerous striker, especially when cutting inside from wide areas.
37 Jose Baxter
Signed from: Trainee, August 2008
Baxter became Everton’s youngest ever debutant after a sub appearance at home to Blackburn on last season’s opening day. His late header drifted agonisingly over the bar to prevent him from becoming the youngest ever scorer. Has impressed again this pre season, scoring at Coventry and is one for the future.
38 James Wallace
Signed from: Trainee, August 2008
The young midfielder was a regular on last season’s bench but has so far failed to make a first team appearance for the Blues. Another youngster given the chance to impress this summer, he cCaught the eye in games in friendlies as a hard tackling box to box midfielder, never short on confidence to pass or shoot
Everton pre-season special: ESPN's Ray Stubbs eyeing a Mersey TV feast
Aug 12 2009
FRESH from its debut just under a fortnight ago, ESPN’s new live UK sports channel kicks off in style this Saturday with coverage from 5pm of Everton v Arsenal live from Goodison Park, followed the week after by Liverpool v Aston Villa on Monday 24. With 46 live Barclays Premier League games this season, ex-BBC man Ray Stubbs will be leading the studio coverage, joined by co-hosts Rebecca Lowe, Kelly Cates and Mark Chapman, with Jon Champion heading up the commentary team.
The global sports broadcaster has already signed deals with Sky, Virgin, BT Vision and Top Up TV in the UK, meaning football fans have a range of ways of being able to see all of their favourite Premier League teams in action this season. For details of how to sign-up just go to www.espn.co.uk As well as Premier League games, ESPN will also be supplying live action from 30 Clydesdale Bank Premier League matches, Italian Serie A and Major League Soccer as well as the pick of games from the top-flights in Germany, Russia, Holland and Portugal. On top of that, ESPN have also signed up the hugely popular Ultimate Fighting Championship along with Aussie Rules Football and Top 14 French Rugby, meaning there’ll be plenty to keep sports fans occupied in between live Barclays Premier League coverage. And with ESPN HD, for the first time fans will be able to enjoy every televised match in high definition. Speaking to The Echo, Ray Stubbs said “We’ve got an unbelievable amount of first rate sport live on ESPN, headlined with the best of English, Scottish and international football. How Liverpool and Everton prove themselves this season against United, City, Chelsea and Arsenal is going to be more fascinating than ever to watch, and I’ve no doubt the Merseyside clubs are going to be the source of a huge amount of excitement and interest as the season unfolds.”
Tim Cahill: Joleon Lescott is a model pro - Everton FC latest
Aug 13 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL has urged Evertonians to have no fears when Joleon Lescott pulls on a Blue shirt for the first time since handing in a written transfer request on Saturday.
The England defender rocked supporters when David Moyes revealed on Tuesday that he had received a formal letter from Lescott stating his desire to move to Manchester City. Not surprisingly, that did not go down well with the majority of Blues, who have felt let down by the way he has handled the saga and the timing of the request. Some have voiced concerns that it may be best if he was not in the line-up to face Arsenal at the weekend but Cahill has been quick to offer a counter argument. Cahill – who scored two goals in Australia’s 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland last night – says Lescott will not allow other issues to distract his focus when it matters. “It’s a catch 22 for the lad,” Cahill said. “Sometimes there are once in a lifetime bids and it’s astronomical money. “But he is such a great professional and I know at the weekend he will give everything. It’s very hard for footballers these days to be put in such a difficult position. “He’s a big player for Everton and England. If he goes, he goes, if he stays, he stays. But whatever decision he makes, I’ll support him.
“We make decisions for our families and the one thing about Joleon is that he is a great professional. If Lescott’s preparations for the new campaign have had a cloud over them, Cahill’s could not be going any better and he proved that again in Limerick. He only played for 45 minutes but that did not stop him increasing his international tally by two and picking up the Man-of-the-Match award – now he can’t wait to started. “It’s a long road to the World Cup and we took this game really seriously but the Premier League starts this weekend and I can’t wait,” said Cahill.
“I’m just excited about it all. The main thing was to get a run out, get my sharpness and train hard. The gaffer warned us when we all left not to lose that sharpness we have built. “He warned us not to relax too much as we’ve got Arsenal at the weekend and I wanted to prepare as much as I can. “It’s a big season for us after what we did last year and it’s going to be tough to try and emulate it. It’s all about preparing right physically and mentally.” Moyes, meanwhile, today gave the clearest hint that Jo is winning his fitness battle and is growing in confidence that the Brazilian will be fit to face Arsenal. Jo has been out since he turned an ankle in the 2-1 defeat at Blackpool 10 days ago but provided all goes well in training over the next two days, he should return to the squad. “When Jo went over on his ankle, we didn’t really think it was that bad and we hope that he is going to be okay for the weekend,” said Moyes.
“He is back running now but is only doing straight line work. He’s not twisting and turning yet but we hope to do that kind of work with him in the next couple of days.”
Everton's Tim Cahill scores twice in Australia's win over Republic of Ireland
Aug 13 2009
TIM CAHILL hit the goal trail ahead of the new Premier League season in fine style last night. The Everton midfielder struck twice for Australia in their 3-0 win over the Republic of Ireland in Limerick. Cahill hit two goals in seven minutes in the first half of the friendly, warming up nicely for the opening game of the season at home to Arsenal on Saturday. “It’s a long road to the World Cup and we took this game really seriously but the Premier League starts this weekend and I can’t wait,” said Cahill.
Australia coach Pim Verbeek admitted the result had flattered his side and praised the performance of Cahill - who he was able to withdraw at the break. “Tim is a great player on and off field,” he said. “Beside that he works very hard, he has quality to create goals and if he is there he will score them.” He added: “Tonight 3-0 was too much, the third goal was a fantastic goal. "But if you look at chances, especially Robbie Keane, Ireland had plenty of chances.” The Dutchman also refused to be drawn on Lucas Neill’s absence from the squad, amid speculation the defender was set to sign for a club in the upcoming days. He said: “I wanted him to be with me on the sidelines. "He was with me here today to tap on the boys shoulders and support them,” he said, saying: “I was not ready to take a risk with him.” Asked if that meant Neill was on the verge of signing for a club, he replied: “You will have to ask him that. "I don’t think he would like me to say.”
Everton FC’s Jo winning fitness battle for Arsenal opener
Aug 13 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are growing in confidence that Jo is winning his battle to be fit for Saturday’s opening showdown with Arsenal. The Brazilian striker has been sidelined since he was carried off with an ankle problem in Everton’s 2-1 friendly defeat at Blackpool last Tuesday. Jo left Bloomfield Road that night on crutches to heighten fears that he might have been in store for a long lay-off but David Moyes was quick to allay such concerns. And Everton’s manager today gave an upbeat assessment of Jo’s chances of figuring against the Gunners as he prepared to welcome him back to training. “When Jo went over on his ankle, we didn’t really think it was that bad and we hope that he is going to be okay for the weekend,” said Moyes. “He is back running now but is only doing straight line work. He’s not twisting and turning yet but we hope to do that kind of work with him in the next couple of days.” His availability would be a big boost to a squad that is not blessed with vast numbers and would give Moyes precious options, as he attempts to mastermind a winning start. But even though he does not have lots of bodies, Moyes has taken heart from the form that his key players are showing, particularly Tim Cahill. The talismanic midfielder showed his wellbeing last night when scoring two first half goals as Australia brushed the Republic of Ireland aside 3-0 in Limerick last night. That 45-minute cameo will have done him the world of good and Cahill is now looking forward to the real business getting started. “It’s a long road to the World Cup and we took this game really seriously but the Premier League starts this weekend and I can’t wait,” said Cahill.
“I’m just excited about it all. The main thing was to get a run out, get my sharpness and train hard. The gaffer warned us when we all left not to lose that sharpness we have built. “It’s a big season for us after what we did last year and it’s going to be tough to try and emulate it. It’s all about preparing right physically and mentally.”
Though Cahill has been away from Finch Farm since Monday, he has kept up to date with Joleon Lescott’s current situation but has assured Evertonians the transfer request that the defender put in on Tuesday won’t affect his performance against Arsenal.
“It’s a catch 22 for the lad,” he said. “Sometimes there are once in a lifetime bids and its astronomical money. It puts him in a difficult position but he is such a great professional and I know at the weekend he will give everything.” Cahill, however, was the only member of Everton’s international contingent to win last night, as Steven Pienaar and Marouane Fellaini could not help South Africa and Belgium from slipping to 3-1 defeats Serbia and the Czech Republic respectively.
VIDEO: Joleon Lescott has had his head twisted by Manchester City - Everton boss David Moyes
Aug 14 2009
David Moyes has told Manchester City manager Mark Hughes that he makes the decisions at Goodison Park and reiterated that Joleon Lescott is not for sale.
Hughes hinted yesterday he would go above Moyes’ head in his pursuit of England defender Lescott by suggesting City “were in conversations with the people who ultimately make the decisions at Everton”. But Moyes said today: “Lescott has had his head twisted in all of this.“I hear that City think they are talking to people who make the decisions here, well that’s me. “I make the decisions, they have not talked to me and the player has been consistently told he is not for sale. “He should get his head around that and get on with his career.”
David Moyes wants progress from his players for Everton FC
Aug 14 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today urged his players to secure a flying start to the new campaign – then set them challenge of surpassing last season’s staggering efforts.
Everton defied the odds last year when, after taking nine points from their first nine games, they qualified for the Europa League by finishing fifth and reached the FA Cup final. Some say it will be impossible for Everton to do the same again but Moyes wants to see his squad burst out from the blocks when the new season kicks off tomorrow with Arsenal visiting Goodison Park. “This is a great time to be a manager and you want to get off to a good start – but you also want to make sure you have a good finish,” said Moyes. “But I’m looking forward to it and I’m hoping we’ll have another successful season. Being able to walk out at a packed Goodison is what we are all in it for. “There has been another lift in our standards over the past 12 months and I can see in the players that they can’t wait to get up and running again.”
If Moyes has confidence that his squad is in peak condition, his skipper Phil Neville believes that it will take a performance as good as anything they produced from Christmas onwards to beat the Gunners. Arsenal are once again begin tipped as the side most likely to fall out of the top four but Neville won’t entertain such thoughts – if anything he has suspicion that Arsene Wenger’s men could turn out to be a surprise package. “They are probably licking their lips that so many people are writing them off but we certainly aren’t doing that – Arsenal will be going for the league again,” said Neville. “But we’ve got to maintain our progress and that, for me, is making sure we finish no worse than fifth, getting through to the Europa League group stage and a good cup run. “We are building something here that will hopefully carry on long into the future but we need to make sure we keep working as hard as we can.”
Meanwhile, Manchester City are understood to be preparing one last attempt to sign Joleon Lescott – even though Moyes continues to maintain the player is not for sale.
City have had bids of £15m and £18m rejected already and Moyes dismissed Lescott’s written transfer request earlier this week.
No major signings yet but David Moyes keeps the faith as Everton FC continue to lift the standard
Aug 14 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IT says much about Everton’s progress in recent years that summer has become the time when there are mumblings of disquiet. If things have gone smoothly on the pitch during the past three seasons, the same cannot be said about when the shutters have rolled up on the transfer window and the business of buying and selling players has started. Watching a number of their rivals lavish vast sums has led to a number of Evertonians becoming disillusioned and frustrated, wondering what might happen if David Moyes was given a budget that enabled him to compete for the best players available. The situation, unfortunately, has been no different in recent months.
Since losing the FA Cup final, Everton have recruited Jo from Manchester City on a season-long loan and brought in Americans Anton Peterlin and Cody Arnaux to bolster the reserve set up but the headline grabbing deals have been conducted elsewhere. Moyes, of course, wanted to have his business wrapped up by now and he would have been much more relaxed if Tottenham Hotspur had not hijacked his bid to sign Kyle Naughton from Sheffield United. Yet whereas Moyes was fearing the worst ahead of Blackburn Rovers’ visit on the opening day last season, this time around his mood is altogether brighter as he attempts to mastermind Arsenal’s downfall tomorrow. True, not being able to call upon Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta, Ayegbeni Yakubu or Victor Anichebe is a big handicap to overcome, while the saga that has swirled around Joleon Lescott in recent days has been anything but helpful.
Cast a glance at Everton’s likely starting line up, though, and then think about their achievements in the second half of the campaign just gone and it quickly becomes apparent why Moyes is counting down the minutes until the first whistle is blown.
This might well be the time when the metaphor of climbing mountains and scaling new heights is used but if others will start on their journey with shiny, new gear, Moyes has no problem using tried and tested equipment as he embarks on another ascent. “Being able to walk out at a packed Goodison on a day like tomorrow is what we are all in it for,” said Everton’s manager. “We have got something like 10-and-a-half months to look forward to and you can never tell how it is going to pan out.
“There will be good times, there will be difficult times but everyone has their dreams just now and that’s what is so great. It’s an exciting industry to be involved in and when you are a manager of a team, you are right at the cutting edge. “I’m looking forward to it, as much as I always have done. There has been another lift in out standards over the past 12 months and I can see in the players that they can’t wait to get up and running again. “The work they have been doing has been excellent and it gives me great hope that they are all striving to get to the places that I want to take this club. We are all hoping to have as good a start as we can.” He is also hoping to bring in fresh faces as quickly as possible; a deal to bring Philippe Senderos from the Emirates Stadium is in the pipeline but that is not the only transfer that Moyes, his team of scouts and chairman Bill Kenwright are working on. “I think we have got a strong team,” said Moyes. “It’s the back up that is causing us concern at the moment but it is something that we hope to put right and we will be working hard up until the window closes to get one or two in. “We had a difficult summer last time and there have been some difficulties again this year, as we have not made any additions and we have got important players who we would like to get back quickly. So you can see similarities.” Yet there are also many differences. City, Tottenham and Aston Villa have all spent big but the reason for the splurge is to leapfrog Everton and regardless of what they do, they will never be able to buy the spirit that has served the Blues so well, so often. “It’s something that we have got here,” Moyes pointed out. “We’ve had great consistency over the last three years and when people look at us, they see a stable football club that is progressing gradually.” One advantage Everton will have tomorrow is the backing of a partisan home crowd, but even if three points aren’t forthcoming here, there is no chance of Moyes losing his head. “Well it’s as tough as it comes, isn’t it?” adds Moyes. “When you have to start your campaign against one of the top four teams, you know that you are going to be in for a difficult afternoon. “I remember when we played Arsenal five years ago on the opening day and got beaten 4-1 but we ended up finishing fourth. “It’s a long marathon run and it would be really nice if we could get ourselves a good start but the most important thing is where we will finish next May – and we want it to be higher than last season.”
HOWARD KENDALL: Everton FC players know what is expected of them for Premier League opener with Arsenal
Aug 14 2009 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
NO matter how a pre-season campaign goes, you never get an indication of what will lie in store when the real business begins. I remember seeing Everton win every one of their friendlies one summer during my first time in charge but we were straight back to the drawing board after the first two games, as we had lost both. So even though David Moyes has suggested a couple of times in the last couple of weeks that Everton might not be ready to go against Arsenal, I’m pretty confi-dent that the players will be fully attuned come 5.30pm. Yes, some people have got a bit jumpy that no major signings have been made since the transfer window opened but the first year we won the title in 1984, we only had 14 or 15 players to do us. And the only ones who moaned in that group were Alan Harper and Kevin Richardson, as they invariably found starts hard to come by; you never heard complaints from the others about tiredness or too many games. That’s why I’m not too downhearted about Everton’s prospects for the new season. Yes, the players will have a lot of demands placed on them but they are determined bunch, physically fit and everyone knows what is expected of them. What’s more, it was encouraging to see Tim Cahill look so sharp and score two on Wednesday evening for Australia and that 45 minutes in Ireland might have just put him spot on for the game with Arsenal. There are also a couple of good young players coming through, aside from Dan Gosling and Jack Rodwell, and that is going to benefit Everton in the future – with Liverpool clearly picking foreign youngsters, we might have the pick of the best in this city. Arsenal is what really matters now; if we get at them from the first whistle, they might just buckle and they are not a side that enjoys being hassled or harried. They might play exceptional football but in a battle, I’d back Everton every time, so – all being well – the first Saturday night of the season will be an enjoyable one for us Blues.
£8M TAYLOR MADE FOR MOYES
14th August 2009 The Daily Star
EVERTON last night launched an £8m bid to sign Newcastle defender Steven Taylor – and that could clear the way for Joleon Lescott to join Manchester City.
Taylor (left) could be the latest star to leave St James’s Park following Michael Owen, Mark Viduka, Oba Martins, Sebastien Bassong and Habib Beye.
The former England under 21s captain Taylor is Moyes' No 1 target – even though the Everton boss still wants to hang onto Lescott. But City boss Mark Hughes yesterday insisted the deal is not dead and said: “People need to be able to get in a position where they can speak and discuss whether or not the situation can be moved forward and that hasn’t happened yet
David Moyes slams Man City's “disgusting” Joleon Lescott chase
Aug 15 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
David Moyes _300
DAVID MOYES has slammed Manchester City’s aggressive pursuit of Joleon Lescott and branded their attempts to sign the England defender “disgusting”. Having kept his own counsel on the matter for most of the summer, other than issuing a couple of statements, Everton’s infuriated manager has spoken his mind on a saga that has rumbled on and on. Bewildered by the way City have conducted their business in public, Moyes’ patience finally snapped when Mark Hughes declared on Thursday that he had not given up hope of signing Lescott. It provoked a considered but powerful response from Moyes, who mischievously suggested City will have come up short this season if they do not challenge for the title, given the money they have spent, and that they lacked the class of Real Madrid. Moyes was also emphatic in his declaration that Lescott, who has certainly been unsettled, will not be sold as he is the man in charge of footballing affairs at Goodison Park – contrary to what Hughes had intimated at his Press briefing. “The dialogue has not taken place with Manchester City and Everton in the way that it is said to be,” Moyes pointed out. “If it was, the dialogue would come to me. There has been no contact with me. I’m the person here who makes the decisions, I’m in control of Everton Football Club. There has not been one call. It’s disappointing. “We have got a player who we really value and we want to keep. We think the world of him and he can play two positions. We don’t want to lose him. Yet he is being continually put in a position like he is at this moment. They way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupted our club.
“Garry Cook had one conversation with Bill. Brian Marwood (City’s football administrator) had one conversation with Bill, so I don’t know who these ongoing talks are supposed to be with unless City are talking to someone they shouldn’t.”
Lescott met Moyes at Finch Farm yesterday to discuss his situation and how things can be resolved but there is little doubt that it is going to take an enormous amount of time to get the former Wolverhampton defender fully focused once more.
“You would have hoped that (City) would have seen that we said no and they would have respected the situation,” Moyes continued. “If they were going to come back in with an offer, you would have hoped they would have done it privately, not through the media. “We will need to see (whether we can twist his head back). He has had a situation where people are speaking to him and trying to disrupt him. They should be giving him the right information, which is he is not for sale. “We have got to do what is right for our football club. What is right for us at this moment in time is that Joleon Lescott stays. I think other football clubs should not talk about players from others clubs in the media. “If you do that, your destabilising the player or the club. I would hope I don’t do that. We will need to see. He has had a situation where people are speaking to him and trying to disrupt him. They should be giving him the right information, which is he is not for sale.” Rather than offload Lescott, Moyes has been looking for suitable candidates to act as replacement and, ironically, he could be tempted to sign Middlesbrough defender Robert Huth, now that he has ditched his interest in Arsenal’s Philippe Senderos. “I have got a situation where I have not got an abundance of centre-halves,” he said. “But there are several clubs looking for them. It’s probably one of the positions this year when there has been a lack of players available to buy. The prices have been extremely high.” That is why both City’s bids of £15m and £18m have been given short-shrift and Moyes also explained why any further attempts to do a deal will be treated the same, regardless of what the feeling is in Manchester. It has been an unwelcome distraction on the eve of the new campaign, but Moyes has made it clear that Everton will consider approaching the FA to report City over an illegal approach. He said: “If that’s the case, then it is breach of contract. If anyone from their club has been in contact with Joleon Lescott, that’s breach of contract. He signed a new contract extension last March. We think so much of him. He is under contract. “When people do things correctly, I must mention Real Madrid. They signed Ronaldo the week after the end of last season. They paid what Manchester United saw as the correct price. They did it at the right time.
“They gave United the opportunity to spend the money or do what they want with the finances. That has not been the way this has gone about. We had the first offer of £15m four weeks ago – the day before we played Rochdale (July 17). The second bid was on July 29. The business was very late coming and not at the price. What did they pay for Gareth Barry? £12m? How long did he have left on his contract? A year? How many months has Joleon Lescott got left on his deal? There you go.”
Everton FC’s Phil Jagielka closing in on return after summer lay-off
Aug 15 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HONEYMOONS are supposed to be idyllic, trips of a lifetime that provided you with an opportunity to forget about everything and unwind. Phil Jagielka’s experience, however, was something completely different; while he cherished the opportunity to spend time with his wife, Emily, in Thailand last month, there was a part of him that wished he was elsewhere. With his recovery from a ruptured cruciate ligament going smoothly, Jagielka was given the green light by David Moyes to make the most of the fact that Finch Farm would be all but deserted when Everton’s squad headed off on their tour of the US and Canada. Fortunately for Jagielka, his significant other has proven to be a rock throughout this hugely frustrating episode and she understood why there were times during their trip to paradise that his mind drifted to Seattle, Edmonton and Salt Lake City. Happily, though, the new Mrs Jagielka will be relieved to know – as will all Evertonians – that last season’s Player of the Year is close to putting the worst moment of his professional career behind him. “I couldn’t go on honeymoon straight after the wedding, as my knee was still pretty bad, so we decided to go when the lads went off on pre-season but it was odd, being away like that, while the others were away training,” said Jagielka. “I was sending them texts and was on instant messenger all the time while they were in America and there was a part of me that wished I could be there. But I suppose it would have killed me even more, being in America but not being able to do anything. “Thankfully the wedding gave me something to focus on for the summer. If it had been empty and all I was doing was going into Finch Farm for treatment, sitting with packs of ice on my knee, I’d probably have gone stir crazy. “But Emily has been amazing through it all. She’s had to put up with an awful lot of grumpiness from me and a lot of laziness; she’ll tell you that I’ve probably played on it! It’s been hard for her, too, as this is the first time I’ve been properly injured. “I’ve come home with bumps and bruises before but never anything like this when I’ve been out for such a long period. I’m sure once everything is back normal, I’ll thank her properly for what she’s done.” If it was hard enough sitting out friendly games against River Plate, the MLS All-Stars and alike, it’s fair to say things will be even more difficult for Jagielka today when he takes a place in the directors’ box and watches his team-mates run out to face Arsenal.
Moyes, certainly, would have jumped at the chance to include a man with a commanding and unflappable presence in the heart of his defence and the moment he becomes available again can’t come soon enough for player or manager.
Jagielka, after all, was a model of consistency last season and responsible for providing one of the most memorable moments, when he crashed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out with Manchester United past Ben Foster to send Everton to the FA Cup final. It was such a heartbreaking twist, then, that Jagielka’s world was turned upside down seven days after that but he is currently taking solace that he can see a chink of light at the end of what has frequently been a dark and infuriating tunnel.
“Things are going well and I’m pretty much on schedule,” the England international reported. “During the first few months, it’s not uncommon to lose a week then gain a week but, at the moment, everything seems to be all right. “That said, it’s also getting a little bit harder. The closer I’m getting to being able to do more stuff, the more frustrating it’s becoming that I can’t but November was always the date I was looking at and that remains the case. “I had an okay time last season and I would have loved to have been fit to start this one so I could carry on progressing but unfortunately that was never going to be the case from the moment I got injured. “I dealt with that pretty early on but it does get harder, particularly when you see the lads preparing for big games like the one we have got against Arsenal, having meetings and stepping it up in training. “The first game of the season is always special and this will be the first one I haven’t been available for in a long time. I suppose I could be involved in the meetings but there’s no point at the minute, as it would do my head in even more.”
He may not have totally immersed himself in the build up to the season but Jagielka is still well placed to offer an opinion on Everton’s prospects and sees no reason why they can’t fly out of the traps. “Last year we didn’t have much to start with but now the squad looks strong,” he said. “It’s not an easy game to start with but we’ve done well against them before and hopefully there won’t be any ridiculous goals from Robin van Persie this time.”
Everton FC’s Joleon Lescott’s head was turned by Manchester City long ago
Aug 15 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TO borrow the line made famous in that exchange between the late George Best and a perplexed waiter: “where did it all go wrong?” It is a question Joleon Lescott will, in all likelihood, be asking himself at this moment after the saga surrounding Manchester City’s attempts to sign the England international took another dramatic twist this week. David Moyes’ public declaration that he had rebuffed a written transfer request from Lescott provided concrete proof on the fact a number of Evertonians had been refusing to believe all summer: the defender is desperate to move to Eastlands.
Given that all the talk about Lescott has come from the other end of the M62 – and the player has, perhaps unwisely, kept his own counsel – it is easy to see why many have jumped to the conclusion that City’s was a one-sided chase. Not so. Lescott’s head was turned by City months ago and their hostile pursuit has, to a certain extent, paid off because – as the letter Moyes received on Tuesday morning showed – Everton have a player in their squad who no longer wants to be there. Looking at things from a purely economic point of view, it is easy to understand his thinking. After all, if you were offered the chance to move to another job with the promise of having your wages doubled, your response could only be “when shall I start?” Regardless of whether you feel modern footballers are overpaid, you cannot blame someone for wanting to accept the opportunity to secure the financial futures of their children’s children’s children. But, unfortunately, Lescott finds himself in limbo because he has adopted a stance that can at best be described as naïve. Others will say it has been foolish and weak-willed; from word go, he has patently been hopelessly ill-advised.
Let us take you back to the start of it all in January. City had let it be known to the Manchester media they were eager to land Lescott and when the story was reported, Moyes hit the roof. He maintained that one of his best players would not be sold.
Yet three days after, the lifestyle magazine ZOO hit the news stands containing an interview with Lescott; quizzed on a number of issues, he gave this answer to a question about what he made of City’s new found wealth and their chances of overtaking Everton. what we’ve got and can’t do anything about other teams,” he said. “We have to keep working hard. I get excited at the idea of Man City having billions. I’m like any fan. I like seeing the transfer gossip. So no, it doesn’t bother me.”
When it was published, it left a number of people at Goodison shaking their heads in disbelief, not least because the timing was so poor. If the words appeared bad then, they look even worse now. Clearly, Lescott knew of City’s interest, yet that did not stop him being one of Everton’s most consistent performers in the second half of the campaign and his attitude could not be faulted. But if he was hankering for a move, the way to approach it would have been to sit down with Moyes, look him in the eye and speak to him truthfully. If you are straight and honest with Everton’s manager, you are unlikely to run into too many problems, and that is something Simon Davies, James McFadden, Andrew Johnson – to name a few – will vouch for.
When they wanted to seek pastures new, all informed him of their intentions and each time the response from Moyes was the same – if you stick with me for a couple of weeks, I’ll always do my best for you. And he did. Those three men all got the moves they wanted and Lescott’s wish may well have come true had he spoken to Moyes, who has handled the last few weeks impeccably, straight after the FA Cup final, when there was time to find a top class replacement. What’s more, Everton would have got a fabulous deal – the £20m City are prepared to offer is a staggering amount of money for a 27-year-old – Lescott would have been given a grand send off and no Evertonian would have thought badly of him. Whether the same can be said now, only time will tell but handing a written transfer request in while he was away on international duty was the latest PR disaster and chances are Lescott will receive a hot reception from the Gwladys Street this afternoon. Is there anyway back for him? Moyes certainly thinks so and he will continue to call upon a player who has made giant strides under his management; those who have taken events over the past week as a personal affront are likely to feel very different.
MOYES FUMING AT CITY'S ANTICS
15th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Dave Lyons
EVERTON boss David Moyes last night launched a blistering attack on Manchester City’s behaviour over their bid to sign Joleon Lescott. Moyes (right) is fuming at the way City and boss Mark Hughes have done business and said: “It’s disgusting.”
The Toffees chief accused City of deliberately trying to unsettle his England defender and says he is thinking about reporting the Eastlands club to the Premier League for tapping up the player. Relations between the two clubs deteriorated yet further following Hughes’ claims that City were trying to seal their prolonged interest in Lescott by bypassing Moyes and “speaking to the people who will ultimately decide the deal.” The comments incensed Moyes who said City’s strategy in waiting until late July before submitting two bids for Lescott has backfi red because Everton would have been left with no time to bring in quality replacements even if the offers had been acceptable. He said: “I’m the person here who makes the decisions, I’m in control of Everton Football Club. There has not been one call to me. The way it has been handled is disgusting and all it has done is disrupted our club and made it very difficult for us. “We have got a player who we don’t want to lose. Joleon’s head has been twisted. He is in turmoil. “Look at how Real Madrid did the Ronaldo deal. They signed Ronaldo the week after the end of the season. They paid what Manchester United saw as the correct price. They did it at the right time. “They gave Manchester United the opportunity to spend the money or do what they want with the fi nances. That has not been the way this has gone about. “We had the fi rst offer of £15m four weeks ago. The second bid of £18m was on July 29. The business was very late coming. “What did they pay for Gareth Barry? £12m? And how long did he have left on his contract? A year? Joleon years And he could not resist one fi nal dig at Hughes adding: “Man City could quite easily win the Premier League this season. If I had spent that kind of money, I’d be thinking of having to challenge to win the Premier League.” Lescott will be in the Everton squad which takes on Arsenal today and Moyes is determined he will remain at Goodison Park despite the defender handing in a transfer request earlier this week. Moyes must now decide whether Lescott, who turns 27 tomorrow, is in the right frame of mind to start Arsene Wenger’s side, aware that Everton fans are likely to give him a hostile reception.
BARRY HORNE: New football season the most open and competitive for a decade
Aug 15 2009 Liverpool Echo
It’s that time of year again and I have to say that I’m looking forward to this new season as much as I have any since I finished playing. The relative lack of spending at Manchester United and Chelsea in conjunction with big spending at Manchester City and Tottenham and investment at Villa and Liverpool promises to make this campaign the most open and competitive in more than a decade. Sir Alex Ferguson has lost two key members of last year’s title-winning squad, without replacement. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs are 12 months older and, for all of Fergie’s undoubted ability, United will not be feared as they have been in the past. In pre-season, Arsenal have looked superb going forward. Cesc Fabregas, Jack Wilshere and Andrei Arshavin have all impressed but, yet again, Arsene Wenger has failed to rectify a long running problem - they are vulnerable at the back. Chelsea have added to their squad and looked very solid in the Community Shield and, for me, they will be the team to beat and I think Liverpool should run them close, having spent the money from Xabi Alonso’s sale and a little bit more. Of those who are aspiring to get into the Champions League – the usual suspects are Spurs, Villa and Everton – there is a nouveau riche Manchester City. People have questioned Mark Hughes’ spending, suggesting that he hasn’t acquired top, top players. But what he has got, however, is a group of players from the best of the rest and his squad has a very good balance to it; the one position I think they may struggle in is up front, where I don’t think Roque Santa Cruz is as good as Mark thinks he is. Martin O’Neill has added wisely to his squad once again, although the loss of Gareth Barry is major blow, while Harry Redknapp has enjoyed doing what he does best – building a team that will undoubtedly by vying with Villa for a European spot. For Everton’s fans, of course, it has been another testing summer. Not only have we not bought anyone yet, there has also been very little talk of us competing for any big signatures either. I think we missed the bargain of the summer in Lee Cattermole, a player I have watched ever since his debut. I have no doubt he will move on from Sunderland for more than the £6m they have paid for him.
The onus is on City
THERE is little that hasn’t already been said about the Joleon Lescott saga but, once again, David Moyes has managed the situation superbly. Now that Lescott has submitted a formal transfer request – presumably at the behest of Manchester City – the onus is very much on them to ‘get the deal done’. That will come at a cost but I wouldn’t be surprised, if David received a bid that was too good to turn down.
My only hope is that the situation is resolved in time for Everton to find a replacement of suitable quality.
The future’s bright, the future’s orange for ‘gingernut’ Louis Saha at Everton FC
Aug 15 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA has set tongues wagging this summer with the quality of his performances but the colour of his hair has also been the subject of debate.
When he returned to training in July, many of his team-mates were taken aback to see that the man whom they simply call ‘King’ had chosen to turn his jet-black hair a shade of orange that can only be described as unique. Of course, he is not the first footballer to have such work done – nor is he even the first in Everton’s dressing room – but you will be surprised behind the reasons why this debonair Parisian has gone for a peroxide look; it is more Father Time than fashion. “In the summer it was hot and I fancied a change,” said Saha, who has also just switched his squad number from nine to eight on account of superstition. “But, if you ask me why really it’s because I’m getting old. What more can I say!”
Everton 1, Arsenal 6: take part in our online poll
Aug 15 2009
EVERTON suffered a nightmare start to the Premier League season as they were hammered by six goals to one by Arsenal at Goodison Park. The Gunners exposed Everton’s frailties in defence and the hosts’ lack of depth. The last time Everton lost 6-1 at home was back in 1958, and Arsenal did the damage that time as well.
Their passing, movement and finishing left Everton in shreds, and the north Londoners were three up at the break through Denilson, debut defender Thomas Vermaelen and his centre-back colleague William Gallas. Everton boss David Moyes had suggested beforehand the Joleon Lescott saga had destabilised his team, but few would have predicted to this extent. After the interval Cesc Fabregas struck with two fine goals, the result maybe suggesting Moyes should sell Lescott with Manchester City still interested, and spend the money on re-vamping his squad. Everton included Lescott despite the ongoing saga of Manchester City’s attempts to sign him, which prompted Moyes’ angry outburst yesterday at the Eastlands club’s tactics.
Brazilian striker Jo had recovered from an ankle problem, while Steven Pienaar was passed fit after knee trouble. Arsenal gave their new Belgian defender Vermaelen his league debut, but were without Theo Walcott (back), Abou Diaby (groin), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and Johan Djourou (knee). But their absences did not seem to matter as they systematically took Everton apart at the back. Moyes got a heroes’ reception from the Goodison Park faithful, and Lescott’s name was greeted with far more cheers than jeers from a sell-out crowd. But Moyes then had to sit and watch as his usually reliable rearguard, admittedly missing the excellent Phil Jagielka, fell apart before his eyes. Arsenal were sharp from the start and their passing game was quickly on song. And when Phil Neville misplaced a ball in midfield, the Gunners flowed forward before Nicklas Bendtner drove a shot over the bar. Then Bendtner headed down for Robin van Persie to see his shot on the turn deflected wide by Lescott.
Everton were having to work tremendously hard in midfield to contain the tempo of Arsenal’s game and the Toffees barely created a chance in the opening half.
The goal Arsenal had been threatening arrived after 26 minutes. Bendtner surged in from the left before flicking a pass to Cesc Fabregas, who instantly turned the ball into Denilson’s path. The pace of the move left Everton floundering, and the fine strike from the Brazilian from just outside the area dipped and curled into the top corner.
Everton’s response was predictably furious and they had Arsenal hemmed into their box for a spell. Only a goal-line clearance from Denilson following Marouane Fellaini’s header from a Leighton Baines corner stopped an equaliser. Arsenal, though, were cutting through Everton with movement and accurate passing, and after 37 minutes they were two ahead. Van Persie’s free-kick from the right found Vermaelen beyond the far post, and the defender headed back into the bottom corner for a fine debut goal. Everton’s marking for that was dreadful, with Fellaini and Joseph Yobo seemingly at fault. But four minutes later when Gallas headed home another free-kick, this time from Fabregas, the defending was even worse.
The Frenchman had a free run into the six-yard box to guide his header home completely unmarked. Goalkeeper Tim Howard appealed for cover as colleagues stood motionless. Everton were shell-shocked, and it got worse three minutes after the interval. Everton were caught by a pitch-length move from Arsenal that ended with Fabregas cruising into the box to send his shot past Howard. Denilson had started the surge deep on the left and found Van Persie before a neat pass left the Arsenal skipper to do the rest. Moyes then made a triple substitution. Saha replaced Leon Osman, Dan Gosling came on for Tony Hibbert while Jack Rodwell took over from Jo.
The reshuffle included Neville reverting to full-back from midfield, where he had struggled. Rodwell, Fellaini and Pienaar both had chances as Everton struggled to get some pride back. Arsenal sent on Emmanuel Eboue for Bendtner after 63 minutes, the game long won. But Fabregas was not finished. After 69 minutes he collected a throw from Manuel Almunia and ran from inside his own half without facing a tackle to drive home the fifth. Their jobs done, Arsenal took off Fabregas and Van Persie, sending on Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo. With the ground emptying fast, and the Gunners’ fans in full song, Everton just wanted this embarrassment to end as quickly as possible. But Eduardo still had time to score the sixth, netting from close in after Andrey Arshavin’s shot had come back off a post with two minutes to go.
Everton finally got onto the score-sheet in injury time when Saha netted after Pienaar’s shot had been blocked.
* WHO is to blame for the Blues shocking start? Vote in our poll here and have your say below
16th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Adrian Stiles
ARSENE WENGER has often been accused of talking double Dutch but he was happy to let his stars talk up their title chances at Goodison. A stunning Gunners display – spearheaded by Dutch duo Robin van Persie and Thomas Vermaelen -– left their title rivals in no doubt that they mean business this season. Everton were left shell-shocked – and their fans heading for the exit gates at half-time – as they were ripped to pieces by a classy Arsenal display. Manchester United have won the title three times and Chelsea twice since Wenger last got his hands on the coveted prize.
But could this be the season that Arsenal re-establish themselves as the best team in the Premier League? You would certainly not bet against it on this evidence.
Afterwards Wenger talked of the work that has gone into creating his new team and the loss of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to Manchester City. He said: “We lost two great players in the close season but it provides the chance for new talent to pop up. “I am very close to this club and a lot of work has gone into this side.”
That was evident from the moment Denilson put the visitors ahead with the goal of the game in the 26th minute. They were 3-0 up at half-time after a woeful performance from the Toffees defence, while Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas made it 4-0 in the 47th minute. It said everything about Everton’s lack of activity in the transfer market this summer that Moyes started with ten of the players that lined up in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea at the end of May. With the re-signing of Jo on loan from Manchester City the only significant incoming, Moyes has had his work cut out trying to keep Joleon Lescott from Manchester City’s clutches. Moyes claims Lescott’s head has been “twisted” by a “disgusting” transfer saga which has been carried out in public. However, the Everton boss clearly believed Lescott was in the right frame of mind to feature against the Gunners. But the former Wolves defender’s confidence took a battering before a ball had been kicked in anger.
His name was greeted by cheers and jeers when it was read out over the PA system at the start, many fans clearly unhappy at Lescott’s decision to hand in a transfer request earlier in the week. Lescott looked a troubled man. And while Arsenal’s passing was impressive, Everton’s was dodgy to say the least. Arsenal’s fifth goal came from Fabregas on 69 minutes when, after collecting a pass from Manuel Almunia, he ran the length of the pitch without facing a single challenge to rifle home.
He celebrated by displaying a T-shirt in memory of his friend and Espanyol skipper Daniel Jarque, who died of heart failure last week. Sub Eduardo completed the rout in the 89th minute before Louis Saha hit a last-gasp consolation. Moyes was blunt about defeat, admitting he could take no positives from the display.
He said: “I think everybody knows we would have liked to have strengthened our squad but we had a team out that finished fifth in the league last season. It should’ve been better.”
Everton 1, Arsenal 6: Where do Blues and Joleon Lescott go from here?
Aug 17 2009 by Chris Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
JOLEON LESCOTT can come back and be a great player again for Everton despite his transfer request a week ago but Evertonians will now be fearing whether their team can come back from this defeat to still have a great season.
On the opening day of the 1990-91 season, a certain wantaway Everton player staged a half-time protest at his team-mates deficiencies, cutting a solitary figure against one the Goodsion Park goal posts before the rest of the home side emerged following the interval. That game finished 3-2 to newly-promoted Leeds United and that man was of course Neville Southall. Despite being seemingly bound for Manchester that summer – it was United in his case who eventually failed to stump up the cash with Sir Alex Ferguson plumping for Peter Schmeichel the following year. And despite handing in several transfer requests throughout his long and distinguished Everton career, the Welsh international goalkeeper would remain at Goodison Park for a further seven years and go on to make a club record 750 appearances. Lescott will never go on to reach the heights of Southall and become the number one player in the world in his position but he has become a highly-valued part of David Moyes’s squad and because of that the Everton manager is steadfastly refusing to be bullied into selling him at this time to a team who are likely to be one of his own club’s main rivals this season.
As far as Moyes is concerned it’s an open and shut case – Lescott is not for sale.
Mark Hughes though seems to love talking about Manchester City’s pursuit of the Birmingham-born defender and was again waxing lyrical after his own side’s victory at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Hughes, who said there was “no point” in speaking to Moyes directly about the matter, continues to adopt a lamentably disrespectful attitude towards one of his former teams. The Goodison faithful took Hughes to their hearts when he played for them during the Walter Smith era despite the already washed-up striker spending most of his time in the Everton side getting into petty wrestling matches with opposition centre-backs rather than scoring goals – he netted just once in 18 outings.However, this particular Welshman seems to have forgotten the goodwill shown to him by the blue half of Merseyside and further stuck the boot in by inadvertently adding some comedy on what was a black day for Everton.
Hughes continued: “I am not surprised David feels a bit aggrieved with the situation, you always are when a big club comes along trying to acquire one of your better players.” So becoming the latest Premier League outfit to sell your soul to Arab petrodollars while giddy fans swagger around your ground wearing tea towels on their heads doing Harry Enfield ‘loadsamoney’ gestures makes you big Hughesie?
Come back City when you’ve won a trophy in Lescott’s lifetime, when more than a decade has past since you played in the third tier and when you’ve won more League titles than Derby, Burnley, Portsmouth and Preston. By the way, you’re still trailing the mighty Huddersfield. Lescott himself received a mixed reaction from the home support. When his name was read out immediately before kick-off, the majority of Everton fans cheered – and they will presumably continue to back him so long as he doesn’t swap his royal blue jersey for a lighter hue – but there was no escaping the sound of a significant minority who booed the England international. The former Wolves man’s body language also suggested that he is currently unhappy with his surroundings. While the rest of his team-mates ran energetically to salute the Gwladys Street following the pre-match handshakes, Lescott walked slowly to his position with a gunslinger’s gait. Despite the air of uneasiness, there was no suggestion at this stage of the horror show about to unfold for Moyes’s men over the following 90 minutes.
Denilson’s stunning opener on 26 minutes, was vintage Arsenal as the Brazilian midfielder unleashed an unstoppable shot from outside the area. The hosts almost drew level when Marouane Fellaini headed towards goal from an inswinging corner-kick by Leighton Baines but Denilson was again the hero for the Gunners, clearing off the line. But while there was nothing Everton could do about Arsenal’s first goal, what followed was entirely preventable and largely self-inflicted. Arsene Wenger must have worried about his side’s two opening fixtures this week – trips to Goodison and Parkhead where his delicate footballing butterflies could potentially get their wings clipped. You know you’re going to come up against some breathtaking passing at times and clever touches when facing any of the Wenger’s teams but instead of ruffling the French cockerel’s feathers as you’d expect, Everton allowed themselves not just to be totally outplayed by Arsenal but to be physically bullied too.
What you should never be guilty of against the Gunners though is allowing them to score simple headed goals past you from set-pieces. That’s just what Everton did though – twice. New Arsenal recruit Thomas Vermaelen is a rarity for a 21st century centre-half in the Premier League. Standing less than 6ft tall, the Belgian is more Hercule Poirot that Fellaini in stature but you don’t need to be a sleuth of the calibre of the Agatha Christie character to work out that it’s all going to end in tears if you leave players completely unmarked in the box to head in free-kicks delivered by Robin van Persie. Vermaelen benefited from this on 37 minutes and Williams Gallas repeated the trick just four minutes later. Such basic mistakes meant the game was over as a contest by the interval but Evertonians hoped their side – 10 of the starting 11 were the same as the FA Cup final – could reclaim some pride after the break.
After all, only a late van Persie stunner had rescued a point for the Gunners on their previous visit just eight months ago. All such thoughts went out of the window less than three minutes after the restart as van Persie dragged both Lescott and Joseph Yobo right out of position before squaring the ball to Cesc Fabregas who left home skipper Phil Neville in his wake to shoot the ball under Tim Howard’s body for a fourth Arsenal goal. With less than an hour on the clock, Moyes tried some drastic action with a triple substitution seeing Leon Osman, Jo and Tony Hibbert replaced by Louis Saha, Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling but the rout continued to get worse.
Such was Arsenal’s devastating prowess on the counter-attack, Moyes admitted afterwards he sometimes wished his side’s shots had gone high and wide rather than into Manuel Almunia’s hands. The visitors’ fifth goal was the best such example as seconds after a Fellaini shot had been gathered by the Spanish custodian, Arsenal were down the other end of the pitch with Fabregas dispatching a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner of Howard’s goal from outside the area. This strike also led the Arsenal captain to dash to the touchline an unveil a red and white number 21 shirt with the name ‘Jarque’ in tribute to the Espanyol captain Daniel Jarque González, a former Spain Under-21 team-mate of Fabregas who died of a heart attack earlier this month aged just 26. Mercifully, Wenger’s focus now shifted to the Champions League qualifier at Celtic and he withdrew Fabregas and van Persie but with two minutes of normal time remaining, substitute Eduardo tapped-in a sixth after Andrey Arshavin had hit the post. At this stage, Everton were staring a heaviest league defeat at Goodison since the year the Titanic went down. Louis Saha’s stoppage time consolation – a tap-in from the edge of the area after Almudia had saved from Steven Pienaar – ensured they had to settle for a heaviest ever Premier League home defeat and biggest ever loss on the opening day of a campaign. Just when Evertonians thought the summer couldn’t get any worse, along came the new season.
Everton 1, Arsenal 6: Blues' season on knife edge
Aug 17 2009 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ONE weekend into the new season and already we know what ESPN stands for - Everton Suffer Premier Nightmare Nightmare, though, doesn’t quite articulate the events that unfolded at Goodison Park on Saturday evening, as the Blues made a start to their campaign that was so horrific it could quite easily have come from the pages of a Stephen King novel. Unless drastic action is taken, there will be no happy ending to the tale which will unfold between now and next May as, to be brutally honest, Everton looked a broken team against an Arsenal side that needed no second invitation to run amok. No fight, no spirit, no togetherness, nothing. A 6-1 defeat may have left every Evertonian shuddering and shaking in stunned disbelief but that wasn’t the most alarming aspect of a day that had started with great expectations.
This, remember, was the side that had defied the odds to finish fifth in the Premier League last season, had battered Arsenal to the point of submission in January and contested the FA Cup final 77 days earlier. While the quality of their football didn’t always suit purists last year, you knew in every game that every man David Moyes selected for duty would run themselves into the ground, chase lost causes and hand out lessons in commitment to their rivals. Did you see any of those qualities on Saturday? Did you see 11 men all pulling in the same direction, ready to back up their colleagues in times of difficulty? Do you have genuine worries for the long-term future of this team? The only answers to those questions can be ‘no’, ‘no’ and ‘yes’ and the only way those problems are going to be solved is for the club to confront the issue that has festered away throughout this testing summer. Many have done their best to paint a rosy picture of the situation. A string of players insisted that things had ticked along smoothly during pre-season and that they were happy with Everton’s shape going into the new campaign. To an extent, they were right. Up until just after the friendly against River Plate in Edmonton, Moyes had things exactly where he wanted them and everyone was focused on making another bold assault on the division. Since then, though, things have changed dramatically and that is down to Manchester City’s disgraceful attempts to sign Joleon Lescott; it hasn’t just affected one player - it’s in danger of destroying the club. This is not scaremongering or being overdramatic. It is a statement of the truth, one that will, in all probability, upset a few people but, quite simply, it needs to be declared, as Everton have come too far in the last few years to let all the good work unravel. Here’s the reason why. When you have a squad as small as the one with which Moyes works, it quickly becomes apparent if someone has a problem; at other clubs, it is possible for sulkers to be eased into the background. That’s not possible at Finch Farm. Now it must be noted here that Lescott was not the reason Everton conceded six goals at home for the first time since September 1958 nor are we suggesting his professionalism has dipped during this infuriating pantomime. Yet, as Moyes put it in his searing pre-match press conference, his “head has been twisted” and it is clear that he wants to join City, no matter how much the Gwladys Street sing his name or cheer his every touch. Nothing will change that fact. He has wanted to move to Eastlands for some time yet the more Everton have dug their heels in, the more disillusioned he has become that the switch is not going to happen. You only needed to look at his body language when he ambled onto the pitch to realise it. So as his mood has darkened, uncertainty and unease has started spreading around the dressing room; Lescott is an influential figure, with a number of close friends, and there is no doubt his predicament is having an effect on his allies.
How, then, does it get resolved? Moyes has handled the whole situation superbly and, equally, it has been admirable that Everton have stood up to a club who are acting with an astonishing arrogance.But doesn’t there come a point when enough is enough? Lescott would be missed for his many playing qualities but the money that City are preparing to pay for a man who turned 27 yesterday would be as welcome as the first drops of rain after a drought. Moyes has understandable concerns that he wouldn’t be able to buy a suitable replacement before the transfer window closes and that selling clubs would start bumping their prices up when Everton come calling, aware they have plenty of money to spend. But what is worse? Hanging on to a player that has no wish to be at the club and having a squad that is in danger of going stale and being destabilised? Or sending Lescott on his way and having a fortnight to bring in some players, who want to be at Goodison? Watershed moments are supposed to happen at the end of a season, not in the first game, but this, surely, was the final proof to Moyes that he desperately needs new faces as there is a suspicion that too many of the 11 who started this contest are living off past glories. When Arsenal thrashed Everton on the opening day of the 2004/05 campaign – also, by coincidence, on August 15 – you knew there would be a response, as the squad contained strong characters like Alan Stubbs, Lee Carsley, David Weir and Kevin Campbell. One wonders what retort this bunch will offer as there is no room for wallowing in self-pity – a Europa League play-off against SK Sigma Olomouc, after all, beckons on Thursday evening and a game that has suddenly taken on massive importance. If the mistakes that gifted Arsenal five of their six goals are repeated – Everton have not defended so poorly since they were flattened in November 2005 - another European adventure will be over before it gets the chance to start. The season, you see, suddenly hangs on a knife-edge. Arsenal had the tools to ruthlessly expose the problems that have been bubbling away, but if they are to be the first and last side to do that, the spirit which has served Everton so well needs rekindling. A failure to do so could end up knocking this grand, old club back years
Phil Neville says team deserve criticism after 6-1 defeat to Arsenal: Everton FC latest
Aug 17 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
We deserve the criticism, insists Everton captain Phil Neville after 6-1 home defeat to Arsenal PHIL NEVILLE today admitted that every ounce of criticism Everton receive is fully deserved after their worst performance in four years. The Blues opened up the new Premier League campaign with a shambolic 6-1 defeat against Arsenal on Saturday – their heaviest reverse at Goodison Park since 1958. It prompted words such as ‘diabolical’, ‘humiliating’ and ‘unacceptable’ to be used in the aftermath and a shell-shocked Neville found no reason to disagree. Having been encouraged by the way pre-season had gone, the captain was bewildered why Everton produced something so poor but he refused to use the saga with Joleon Lescott and Manchester City as a reason. “In terms of our defending, it’s the worst we have played since Dinamo Bucharest in September 2005,” said Neville. “It was too easy for Arsenal to get in and score. “That’s not the Everton that has shown such consistency over the last five years. We’ve been built on solid foundation and pride ourselves in being difficult to beat. “That’s been our strength. Even if the quality of our play hasn’t been good at times in the past, people know that we are hard to beat. “Forget the speculation and all the rubbish that everyone has been talking about. “That’s had absolutely nothing to do with what happened out there. “It’s simple. If you don’t stay with men at set pieces and you don’t stay with runners, you get punished. It’s a kick up the backside, without a doubt.” An inquest to the performance was held at Finch Farm yesterday and the video of the game made for especially uncomfortable viewing. For while Arsenal played some typically slick football, they were gifted five goals by calamitous defending and Neville knows there cannot be any sign of a repeat when SK Sigma Olomouc arrive at Goodison on Thursday evening.“We need to toughen up and get back to basics,” said Neville. “I know we are hurting and we have got to take responsibility for that performance. It’s not acceptable and, believe me, the players won’t accept it. You talk about our famous spirit, well we have got to show it now. This is a time for strong characters. “We have got to show our strength of spirit on Thursday night. We’ve got to show everything that has made us the fifth best team in England. This is a big test for us.” As the situation with Lescott continues to rumble, aided thanks to more unhelpful comments from Mark Hughes over the weekend, Everton are concentrating on drafting in some much-needed new faces in the next 48 hours. Valencia midfielder Ever Banega is high on Moyes’ wish list, while checks have also been made on Spartak Moscow’s flying right-sided winger Vladimir Bystrov and Middlesbrough defender Robert Huth.
Shellshocked David Moyes insists ‘blame me’ - Everton FC latest
Aug 17 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THE scene was painfully familiar. David Moyes was stood outside Goodison Park’s press room, trying to explain why Everton had succumbed to another opening day defeat. But while he shouldered the blame for the Blues losing 3-2 to Blackburn Rovers 12 months ago due to the fact he had not made any signings, this time Moyes was left to conduct a post-mortem after abysmal defending gifted Arsenal victory.
For a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, it was no surprise Moyes was left distraught by what he had seen unfold before his eyes, a lack of commitment, belief and a failure to do the basics well among his players had blown a cavernous hole in Everton ambitions. Moyes, however, would not point the finger of blame at any individual; instead he insisted the buck stopped with him and it is clear that many hours will now be spent on the training pitches at Finch Farm to correct the situation.
“I’ll need to pull my socks up and try to do better with the players I’ve got,” said Moyes, unable to digest the 6-1 scoreline. “It’s my responsibility to make sure those players do perform on the pitch. They didn’t perform, so I take that responsibility.
“You work with them. But they have still got to defend set pieces and challenge, head the ball and run with people. If they don’t do that then it’s very difficult. But it’s the team that I pick. I’m the man who picks them. “But I do believe they are good players and I do believe that we are a good team. I think one or two are not focused correctly. I have to make sure I get them back focused. We’ve got a big game in midweek and we’ve got to make sure we get over this quickly.” When Arsenal last visited Goodison Park on January 31, they needed a Robin van Persie wonder goal deep into injury time to save them after being battered to the point of submission but, here, they went into cruise control after Denilson’s superb opener. What startled most, though, was the fact that Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas were left unmarked to make the score 3-0 at half-time, while Cesc Fabregas ran 70 yards unchallenged to crash home Arsenal’s fifth. “The disappointing thing was that I thought Arsenal bullied us and pushed us around. They won more contests and nudged us off the ball,” Moyes pointed out. “You wouldn’t renown Arsenal for that. You’d probably say that was what Everton do. So that’s maybe our boys thinking they are a bit better than they actually are. The basics are always required. You have to win your headers, win your challenges and track your runners back. All the things that you expect your players to do.” This game, of course, was played out alongside the saga which is Manchester City’s attempts to sign Joleon Lescott but Moyes was quick to stress that the events of the past week had not contributed to Everton’s downfall. “At the moment they have got to make sure that they achieve enough to do what they are good at – that’s to make sure we are in the division,” said Moyes, who took no solace from Louis Saha’s injury time consolation. “If they’re getting carried away with themselves and thinking they’re better than that at the moment then they have got to look after themselves because otherwise we’ll be in trouble. “For whatever reason we didn’t perform. I’m going to have to get to the bottom of it. “I’ve said I’ll try and get on the training ground and see if I can do better with them. Spirit is a big thing here. I would think we are solid enough to be strong and I’m sure we are.”
Injury setback agony for Everton striker Victor Anichebe
Aug 18 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE has put all thoughts of a comeback on hold after he suffered a frustrating setback in his bid to recapture full fitness.
The Everton striker has been sidelined since damaging knee ligaments in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United on February 22 but has spent the summer working on his rehabilitation. He had hoped to be returning to action around the same time as Mikel Arteta, who suffered a similar injury in the same game at St James’ Park.
But while Arteta (pictured right) continues to please Everton’s medical staff and could be back in action some time within the next month, Anichebe has had to go back to the drawing board. It was hoped that he would be able to step up the intensity of his programme now but that is on hold after Anichebe pulled up lame at Finch Farm last week. There is, however, brighter news with regards to Everton’s current injury situation and that involves Ayegbeni Yakubu, who could be available again within the next four weeks. Yakubu played in a behind closed doors game at Finch Farm against Bangor City and capped a lively performance with a goal. Given the extent of the injury he suffered – a ruptured Achilles tendon is the worst a footballer can suffer – Everton are understandably exercising caution with the Nigerian. The signs, though, are encouraging and having Yakubu fit and available once again would provide a huge lift to the squad. Moyes, meanwhile, is continuing to explore options for new signings but has spoken for the first time about his frustration at missing out on Kyle Naughton and Fabian Delph. Everton had hoped to land both those players in June but ended up being beaten to their signatures by Tottenham and Aston Villa respectively.
Brazilian striker Jo is Moyes’ sole senior ‘purchase’ so far this window but he is endeavouring to make things happen, sooner rather than later. “We haven’t spent a lot of money and we don’t have great funds to spend,” said Moyes. “We said it at the shareholders meeting a month ago that we didn't have a great amount to spend. “That hasn’t changed. But we will try and pick our players carefully. We wanted to try and sign a couple of up-and-coming British lads in Fabian Delph and Kyle Naughton.
“But we weren’t able to make those deals happen. So we are continuing to try and spend at that sort of level. “There were reasons why those deals didn’t happen but there was no direct fault attached to Everton. In the end, those players have ended up at our rivals as they have money to spend. “With the amount of money I have got to spend, it’s difficult to improve on a side that has finished fifth in the Premier League.
“I targeted a couple of younger players I thought I could get in, hopefully with good potential. But that’s gone now. We need to add to the squad and I’m confident we can get a couple in.”
NIGEL MARTYN: Joleon Lescott saga will prove costly to Everton unless it gets solved
Aug 18 2009 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
THE curse of the ‘overhanging issue’ strikes again – when football clubs find themselves dealing with a massive issue off the pitch, results take a hit.
There is no logical reason why it should happen but I know from experience – and a bitter one at that – that it does, regardless of what people say to the contrary.
During my time at Leeds, of course, Lee Bowyer and Jonathon Woodgate were involved in an extremely serious court case but it had nothing to do with the rest of the squad.Yet from the moment they were in the dock, we were never the same team.
It shouldn’t have had an effect. I was training as hard as I always did and my will to win never dipped and I’m pretty sure everyone else felt the same. Yet for some reason, the magic that made us such an irresistible force disappeared and it heralded the break up of a side that could and should have achieved great things. Now I am not for one moment suggesting that Everton are heading for such a dramatic fall from grace nor am I comparing Joleon Lescott’s predicament to the one that my two former colleagues went through, but it’s pretty clear to see that Manchester City’s bid to sign him is having a negative impact. The build-up to Saturday’s game with Arsenal should have been all about David Moyes telling the world how he intended to take Everton forward, after the success that we all enjoyed last season, rather than having to deal with such a messy issue. He is clearly at odds with Mark Hughes now but, from my position, I get the impression that City’s manager is uncomfortable with the aggressive stance he is having to adopt. Mark is clearly ambitious but he is a decent guy and I’m sure he’d have preferred to have done his business for Lescott quietly.
But he is working for billionaires who are used to getting their own way and he will realise that he needs to be seen to be delivering – that goes for winning matches and signing players. If he doesn’t, his job comes under threat. So how does this all get resolved? Easy. Take the money City are offering, thank Joleon for his work and replace him with Fulham’s Brede Hangeland. It may sound easier said than done but Everton must be decisive as days like last Saturday can’t become the norm.
Everton FC’s Europa League clash with SK Sigma Olomouc can lift the Goodison Park gloom
THERE is only one way to get over a defeat like the one Everton suffered against Arsenal. That, clearly, is to get back out on the pitch as soon as possible and record an emphatic win and the Blues have a great chance to that on Thursday night.
European football returns to Goodison then and, make no mistake, David Moyes will be telling his players how much he wants to have a run in this competition.
You don’t work for 12 months as a player to throw great chances away but if Everton let their guard slip against SK Sigma Olomouc, then they will run the risk of that happening. It won’t be an easy test and they are clearly no mugs, having given Aberdeen an 8-1 aggregate thrashing, but the memories of Villarreal, Dinamo Bucharest and Standard Liege must be used as a motivation. And if the players are in the right frame of mind, I’d be hopeful of us bouncing straight back
Be surprised if you are surprised in the new FA Premier League season
GEORGE GRAHAM said something a few years ago that struck a chord because it was so true. When he was asked how he envisaged the new Premier League campaign turning out, he replied: “It will be exactly the same as it always is.” How true. Every summer we hype things up, believing that there will be some shift in the established order but really we all know what is going to happen between now and next May. Goals will be scored, players will get kicked and referees will make controversial decisions and either Manchester United or Chelsea will win the title. Manchester City have been the story of late, owing to the amount of money they have spent and the players they have bought, but I don’t think they have the necessary experience to mount a challenge for the title this time around. Liverpool have started inauspiciously, while you couldn’t help but be impressed with Arsenal’s win over the Blues but, for me, the fight for the major trophy will come down to the top two. Both United and Chelsea opened with wins in games they just did enough in and they’ll do that until they find their stride – then it will come down to fine details.
Everton FC hero Tommy Clinton laid to rest
Aug 18 2009 Liverpool Echo
THE funeral of former Everton favourite Tommy Clinton – the man who signed for the Blues through a moving train window – took place last Friday.
The popular full-back who made 80 appearances for the Blues between February 1949 and December 1953 passed away peacefully at the age of 83. A rugged defender capped three times by Ireland, Clinton signed for Everton when Secretary Theo Kelly made the trip to Dundalk to beat off the attentions of other English talent spotters.
The bizarre scene took place at Dundalk station on March 15, 1948. After chatting to Tommy, his train was about to move out of the station when Clinton signed the forms and passed them through the window to the Blues’ official. Clinton had to wait until February 26, 1949 for his Everton debut – but it was a winning one in a 2-1 triumph over Burnley. He returned to the reserves to hone his youthful impetuosity and improve his positional play, and got his big chance at Vetch Field in 1951 against the legendary Ivor Allchurch. A performance described by manager Cliff Britton as “faultless” Clinton kept his place and but for the presence in the Irish team of the legendary Johnny Carey would have won more than three caps for the Republic.
In 1952-53 he played in every game in the FA Cup as the then Second Division Everton reached the semi-final before losing to Bolton Wanderers at Maine Road.
He had the misfortune to miss a penalty in that tie. At the time Everton were trailing 4-0 and the miss seemed irrelevant, but as the Blues came back to make the score 4-3 the miss assumed much greater significance. Regardless of that disappointment, he loved his time at Goodison and even when he was displaced in the first team by Don Donovan, he resisted efforts by Bristol City to lure him south to remain at Goodison.
He eventually left the club in 1955 to join Blackburn Rovers, but soon returned to Merseyside to play for Tranmere Rovers. The family connection with Everton stayed strong, however, as his wife Muriel and daughter Nicola both worked in the Goodison offices for many years.
AGONY FOR VIC
Aug 18 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE has put all thoughts of a comeback on hold after he suffered a frustrating setback in his bid to recapture full fitness. The Everton striker has been sidelined since damaging knee ligaments in a 0-0 draw with Newcastle United on February 22 but has spent the summer working on his rehabilitation. He had hoped to be returning to action around the same time as Mikel Arteta, who suffered a similar injury in the same game at St James’ Park. But while Arteta continues to please Everton’s medical staff and could be back in action some time within the next month, Anichebe has had to go back to the drawing board. It was hoped that he would be able to step up the intensity of his programme now but that is on hold after Anichebe pulled up lame at Finch Farm last week. There is, however, brighter news with regards to Everton’s current injury situation and that involves Ayegbeni Yakubu, who could be available again within the next four weeks. Yakubu played in a behind closed doors game at Finch Farm against Bangor City and capped a lively performance with a goal.
Given the extent of the injury he suffered – a ruptured Achilles tendon is the worst a footballer can suffer – Everton are understandably exercising caution with the Nigerian. The signs, though, are encouraging and having Yakubu fit and available once again would provide a huge lift to the squad. Moyes, meanwhile, is continuing to explore options for new signings but has spoken for the first time about his frustration at missing out on Kyle Naughton and Fabian Delph. Everton had hoped to land both those players in June but ended up being beaten to their signatures by Tottenham and Aston Villa respectively. Brazilian striker Jo is Moyes’ sole senior ‘purchase’ so far this window but he is endeavouring to make things happen, sooner rather than later.
“We haven’t spent a lot of money and we don’t have great funds to spend,” said Moyes. “We said it at the shareholders meeting a month ago that we didn't have a great amount to spend. “That hasn’t changed. But we will try and pick our players carefully. We wanted to try and sign a couple of up-and-coming British lads in Fabian Delph and Kyle Naughton. “But we weren’t able to make those deals happen. So we are continuing to try and spend at that sort of level. “There were reasons why those deals didn’t happen but there was no direct fault attached to Everton. “In the end, those players have ended up at our rivals as they have money to spend. “With the amount of money I have got to spend, it’s difficult to improve on a side that has finished fifth in the Premier League. “I targeted a couple of younger players I thought I could get in, hopefully with good potential. “But that’s gone now. We need to add to the squad and I’m confident we can get a couple in.”
EVERTON DROP LESCOTT
19th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Mauro Galluzzo for Dailystar.co.uk
JOLEON Lescott has been dropped from Everton’s squad for their Europa League qualifying match against Sigma Olomouc as rumours over his move to Manchester City escalate. The 27-year-old, who handed in a transfer request last week, has been linked with a big money move to City all summer. And his exclusion from the squad is likely to fuel speculation that City have finally agreed a fee for the player.
The Eastland club were reportedly lining up a £22m offer for the England international. Everton boss David Moyes said: “Joleon’s attitude has not been right these past days, he has disappointed me and he has disappointed his team-mates. He is not in the right frame of mind.” But Moyes insisted he still does not want to sell the player. He added: “I hope this will all be sorted out, after the (transfer) deadline.”
The news comes after Lescott was reported to have missed training this morning.
The player, who was known to have been at the training ground, is believed to not have been on the pitch with his team-mates.
David Moyes axes Joleon Lescott from the Everton FC squad
Aug 19 2009 By Dominic King
JOLEON LESCOTT’S Everton career looks to be over after David Moyes revealed that the defender has been axed from his squad owing to a poor attitude.
The England international - who has been a target for Manchester City all summer - was told to train alone at Finch Farm this morning as Moyes prepared for tomorrow night’s Europa League clash with SK Sigma Olomouc. Lescott’s body language was poor in last Saturday’s 6-1 drubbing by Arsenal and he has continued to dismay senior colleagues with his approach to training in recent days, leaving Moyes with no option but to take drastic action.Either Phil Neville or Jack Rodwell will take Lescott’s place in the starting line-up against the Czechs and Moyes has vowed to step up his own pursuit of two central defenders. It now looks likely that Lescott will be sold to City - who have had bids of £15m and £18m rejected so far this summer - after Moyes confirmed that contact between the two clubs has been made. But there is no doubt that Lescott’s actions have hurt Moyes and Everton’s manager pulled no punches when he lifted the lid on how the 27-year-old has behaved as this transfer saga has become increasingly acrimonious.
Everton silent on Joleon Lescott claims
Everton declined to comment today on reports that Joleon Lescott failed to train with the first-team squad ahead of tomorrow’s Europa League play-off with Czech side Sigma Olomouc at Goodison Park. Boss David Moyes took charge of a training session this morning at the club’s Finch Farm complex, but it is believed defender Lescott was not on the pitch with his team-mates. Lescott, who was known to have been at the training ground, has been the subject of several weeks of transfer speculation, with Everton rejecting two bids from Manchester City for £15m and £18m. An Everton spokesman said: “We will not be making any comment on this.”
Everton maintain that City have not made a third bid for the player, despite further dialogue this week.
Everton rumour mill: Blues chase Spurs pair, former defender to return?, Villa ready to sell Reo-Coker, Kapo move eyed
Aug 19 2009
Everton to bid £12M for Tottenham pair Bentley, Hutton
Everton boss David Moyes is launching a £12 million bid for Tottenham pair Alan Hutton and David Bentley. The Mirror says the Goodison club have opened talks with Spurs for the available pair and could get their men if they increase the offer before the window shuts at the end of the month. Moyes's surprise double move also suggests he is now planning for spending money - with Joleon Lescott's sale to Manchester City giving him the cash to bring in more bodies in a hurry. Everton are willing to pay around £8million for Bentley, a player Moyes admired last summer when he left Blackburn Rovers for more than double that sum. Hutton has had an injury-hit spell at White Hart Lane since he joined from Rangers which is why Moyes rates him in the £4 million category, which is also much less than Tottenham paid Rangers for him.
Likelihood rating: ***
Source: Tribal Football
Dunne linked with possible move to Everton
Republic of Ireland defender Richard Dunne is being linked with a possible move back to Everton. The Manchester City player could reportedly move to Merseyside in a deal that would also see Joleon Lescott move from Goodison Park to Eastlands.
Although Everton say they have had no further contact with Manchester City in relation to Lescott, City sources are suggesting Dunne could be offered in part-exchange.
Likelihood rating: **
Source: New Ross Standard
Villa ready to sell Everton, Fulham target Reo-Coker
Aston Villa are ready to sell Nigel Reo-Coker.
The Mirror says Villa boss Martin O’Neill will listen to offers for out-of-favour midfielder Reo-Coker. Everton and Fulham have been linked with the former England U21 international.
Likelihood rating: **
Source: Tribal Football
Everton planning surprise move for Wigan's Kapo
Everton are eyeing Wigan Athletic winger Olivier Kapo.
The Daily Mail says Everton are interested in Kapo with David Moyes ready to offer £1.5million for the Wigan Athletic striker. The France international is unsettled in Lancashire, however, and would prefer a return to his homeland. Kapo made only 10 league starts in the first-team at Wigan last season and Roberto Martinez may be tempted to cash in and let the Frenchman leave. The 28-year-old has not yet recovered from knee ligament damage sustained on Wigan's pre-season trip to Austria last month. Galatasaray and Fenerbahce would also rival Everton if Kapo fails to secure a move to France.
Likelihood rating: ***
Source: Tribal Football
Everton FC in bid to land Argentine Ever Banega
Aug 19 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON moved a step closer to landing Argentina international Ever Banega on loan last night when club officials applied for a work permit. The Blues have been tracking the Valencia midfielder for some time, after reports he had not settled following a £15m move from Boca Juniors. He actually spent last season on-loan at Atletico Madrid and was an unused sub at Anfield in November’s Champions League clash. After missing out on Nigerian winger Victor Obinna last summer when an application was rejected, the Blues will wait anxiously on the outcome of the application. Banega does not meet the necessary criteria which requires a player to have figured in 75per cent of his country’s full internationals during the last two years.
However, the midfielder is highly-rated. Banega was selected for Argentina’s Under-20 team for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, which they won. Soon after joining Valencia in January 2008 he made his debut for the Argentina national team, in a 5-0 friendly win over Guatemala, then in the summer he won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. With striker Jo the only significant arrival this summer, David Moyes will be hopeful of landing the talented midfielder on-loan with a view to a permanent deal. Leighton Baines, meanwhile, has targeted a clean sheet in the first leg of tomorrow’s Europea League play-off against Sigma Olomouc. “First and foremost we’ll be looking to get a clean sheet,” he said. “Not just because we conceded so many in the last game, but also because we don’t want to concede an away goal in Europe. “We want to come away from the game and go over there with a few goals as well. It might not happen in the first 15 or 20 minutes but we don’t want to go all gung-ho in the first half at the risk of conceding a goal, so it’s important that we play sensibly. “The important thing is that we come away with a good win. It’s good for us to have a game again so quickly and a chance to put in a performance.” The left-back also revealed how memorable results in the Blues’ recent history of European competition are a common topic of conversation in the dressing room.Š
“One of the stand-out games was the game against Fiorentina. I think everyone will always remember that,” he added. “Sometimes games like that do pop up in conversation. “It was a memorable night for everyone who was involved. I was only on the bench, but it was still a game that I remember. Š“It was a good night for being a neutral to watch that kind of game. It was really exciting but, unfortunately for us, it was disappointing at the end. “We will be looking to go on a good run again in this competition. Obviously it’s important for us to get through to the group stage now. We missed out on it last time after losing to Standard Liege, so it’s important to get there again.”
Everton 4, Sigma Olomouc 0
Aug 20 2009 Daily Post, Liverpool
JOLEON LESCOTT may be packing his bags, but Everton supporters can start reaching for their passports. With the wantaway centre-back sat in the stands, David Moyes’s side effectively sealed qualification to the group stages of the Europa League in emphatic style. And it was somehow apt Lescott’s absence allowed a homegrown talent to further blossom last night. Moyes turned to Jack Rodwell to fill the midfield breach left by Phil Neville being forced into temporary centre-back duty.
It was a decision that paid rich dividends, Rodwell shining bright on European stage and striking two memorable goals to help Everton on their way to an impressive first-leg victory over Czech outfit Sigma Olomouc. Of all the youngsters to have come through the Goodison since Wayne Rooney, Rodwell has always been the one for which hopes have been highest. Moyes has been rightly protective of the 18-year-old since his debut in the UEFA Cup tie at AZ Alkmaar two seasons ago.
But Rodwell’s outrageous long-range brace either side of half-time - one with the left foot, one with his right - will have made his claims for regular first-team inclusion difficult to ignore. Already Everton’s youngest-ever player in Europe, Rodwell’s audacious first strike also made him the youngster player to score in Continental combat for the club. Few would be surprised if more landmarks fall the way of the England under-21 international in the coming years. With Louis Saha also weighing in with a brace, this was the ideal response to the 6-1 opening-day humiliation to Arsenal, an energetic and vibrant Everton possessing far too much quality and intent for the visitors. The fall-out to that defeat involved an unhappy Moyes informing Lescott he will not be considered until he changes the “poor attitude” that led to his axing. But the sight of the centre-back laughing and joking in the directors’ box last night, seemingly without a care in the world, didn’t exactly smack of someone who was overly bothered to be sitting the game out.
Lescott would surely have heard the muffled chants aimed against him from a minority of supporters in the Gwladys Street end during the match.
The reality is, though, that a parting of the ways has become almost inevitable, although Everton will resist any further City offers until their valuation of the player is met.
Indeed, Moyes has already started planning on life after Lescott with talks having opened last night with Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor.
European qualifying play-offs have not been kind to Everton under Moyes, not least given the standard of opposition they have been paired against.
The Champions League defeat against Villarreal in 2005 was followed by the debacle against Dinamo Bucharest, and although Metalist Kharkiv were eventually seen off a year later, Standard Liege proved too strong last season. Sigma had thrashed Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate in the previous round - including a 5-1 first-leg victory at Pittodrie - and their technical ability was evident from the first whistle.
But once Everton shook off the after-effects of Saturday and began imposing their physical prowess on the game, they wrested an initiative that was never loosened.
This was more like it, a throwback to the Everton of earlier this year when allcomers to Goodison were hurried out of their stride and despatched with ruthless efficiency.
Perhaps the defeat to Arsenal was the freak result supporters had hoped; certainly, things would have been different had Moyes’s side performed like this at the weekend. Rodwell was the only change from Saturday, not so much a strong show of faith in his players to make amends for that disappointment but evidence of how few options are available. Moyes had bemoaned a lack of competition for places in the build-up to the game, and a glance at the bench - where the seven players had a combined total of only 30 Everton starts between them - strengthened his case.
Sigma had in fact started the brighter, and there were half-hearted claims for a penalty in seventh minute when Jakub Petr tumbled over the outstretched arms of Tim Howard. Moments later, the only thing Michal Hubrik was awarded was a yellow card for diving after too heavy a touch when knocking the ball around Howard after running in behind the Everton defence. The American goalkeeper then leapt to his right to turn behind a well-struck Michal Ordos drive but the momentum soon shifted towards the home team. Leon Osman’s deflected shot from 20 yards was tipped over by Sigma goalkeeper Petr Drobisz before Saha put Everton ahead on 34 minutes, stabbing the ball home at the near post ahead of Drobisz after Fellaini’s persistence worked a crossing position from the right. Six minutes later the lead was doubled. Leighton Baines fired a free-kick into the Sigma wall, but Rodwell returned the rebound with interest, thumping home a magnificent 20-yard shot with his left foot.
The visitors remained a sporadic threat, though, and Hubnik was close to connecting with a dangerous low cross from raiding left-back Ladislav Onofrej.
If Rodwell’s first goal was good, his second nine minutes after the interval was even better, thrashing a loose ball in off the crossbar with his right foot from 25 yards.
Quite a way for Everton to rack up their 8,000th goal in first-team matches.
Sigma had no answer, Moyes’s men vibrant. Drobisz saved magnificently after Osman capitalised on a poor Onofrej clearance, but could do nothing to prevent Saha netting his second with a low drive that arrowed into the bottom corner with 16 minutes remaining. With next Thursday’s second leg a formality, Everton supporters can now start planning for three more European jaunts. And while Lescott may not play in Europe this season, Rodwell certainly will.
David Moyes steps tries to bolster defence with Vladimir Bystrov: Everton FC latest
Aug 20 2009 By Staff reporter
EVERTON are closing in on an £8m deal to sign Spartak Moscow’s flying right winger Vladimir Bystrov – as David Moyes stepped up his efforts to bolster his defence. Moyes has endured a frustrating summer in the transfer market but he is at last making headway and Bystrov should be the first of a number new faces coming through the door. Capped 24 times by Russia, Bystrov is regarded as one of the quickest players in Europe and his imminent arrival will give Everton’s attack an exciting, new dimension. Talks are at advanced stage with Spartak and Everton officials are confident terms will be concluded for the 25-year-old to be signed by the time they face Burnley on Sunday. Once that business is done, Moyes will switch his attentions to bring in two central defenders, as Joleon Lescott’s future at Goodison Park is hanging in the balance. Lescott has been axed from the squad that will play SK Sigma Olomouc tonight in the first leg of the Europa League play-off and faces an enormous task to reverse his fortunes. The England international has dismayed senior members of the squad with his attitude in training since Everton were beaten by 6-1 by Arsenal and Moyes has had to take action. He ordered Lescott to train on his own at Finch Farm yesterday and it now looks increasingly likely that he will end up at Manchester City before the window closes. A number of options have been discussed but Moyes is evidently starting to make plans for life after Lescott – even if he didn’t go as far as saying that the 27-year-old has played his last game for the club.
"Normally Joleon is a very good trainer and very focused but he doesn’t seem to be that at this present time," said Moyes."It doesn’t mean the end of his Everton career. He might be in the first team squad for this weekend if I see there is a change in his attitude. "Personally the biggest disappointment is that Joleon is a very good boy behind it all and the people who have been advising him are giving him poor information. "They have turned a good lad into something else. I can see by the reaction of his team-mates that they are disappointed in him as well. "I will have another centre half soon – at least one – and Joleon will have a decision to make. Until his attitude changes, he won’t be included. "It is not inevitable that he is leaving now. All I have done is make a decision for this game that may or may not be the right decision."But Saturday’s performance against Arsenal made me realise that I had to do something. I couldn’t let it drift." Either Jack Rodwell or, more likely, Phil Neville will take Lescott’s place in the middle of Everton’s defence but Moyes has made it clear he is demanding an improved effort. "I felt on Saturday that everything what we have tried to build at Everton over the last few years was damaged," he said.
"Maybe I need to get back to the man who whipped the players a little bit more. It was a poor attitude all round that damaged us."
We’re begging for forgiveness
Aug 20 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
We’re begging for forgiveness
FOR those who think foreign footballers are unaffected by harrowing results, spending some time with Marouane Fellaini may change that perception.
While some continental players would have happily put all thoughts of the 6-1 thrashing which Arsenal inflicted behind them the moment they pulled out of Goodison’s car park on Saturday night, Fellaini’s mood was as Blue as the shirt he wore. He might not be the most demonstrative individual but, listening to Fellaini explain how he found it impossible to unwind upon returning to his city centre apartment, there is no doubting that the Belgian is hurting. So shocked was he by both his own performance - and that of his team - Fellaini ended up walking the floor on Saturday and Sunday night and not even the intensity of training at Finch Farm has been able to expunge the memory of Arsenal’s demolition job. But, fortunately, there are always ample opportunities in this sport to make amends and Everton are presented with the perfect one this evening, when they tackle SK Sigma Olomouc in the first leg of their Europa League play-off. In normal circumstances, you would expect the Blues to breeze past little known Czech opposition but nobody in David Moyes’ squad is being allowed to think that way after being brought down to earth with such a hefty bump. Games in Europe, after all, have not always been kind to Everton and with the home crowd having been left perplexed by events on and off the pitch in recent weeks, Fellaini knows that the focus must be maintained as there is some serious making up to be done. What could be better, then, than getting their season back on track by taking a giant step towards the group stages with a display that will make the return leg in Olomouc next Thursday a formality? “The result at Arsenal was a bad moment for everyone,” said Fellaini, whose command of English is gradually improving. “Teams are normally a little apprehensive when they come here and know that they are going to have a tough afternoon. “We played well for 20 minutes but when they scored, got another one and then another quickly after that, it really shocked us. You could see that we were not at the normal high levels that we expect from ourselves. “Now we have a great chance to put it right. We have got to show another side to ourselves, another face if you like. We know it was a difficult afternoon for our supporters and it wasn’t nice when you could the stadium emptying after the fourth goal. “We have got to get their favour back, we are begging for forgiveness really. They always turn up in huge numbers but we let them down. It took me a long time to get to grips with it - if I’m honest, it still shocks me now.
“I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night. Sunday wasn’t much better. When you are on the end of a defeat like that, it really hits you hard. It was shocking and we all feel down about it. It’s a big challenge now to show that we have got mental toughness.
“It’s good that we have got such an important match now. Europe is important to everyone at this club and we want to have a long run. This is a big opportunity for us and we intend to make the most of it. “It’s also a big opportunity for me, too. I know important things are expected of me but they are also expected of the team. We have had a wake up call. We have got to wake up tonight and against Burnley on Sunday. Now you must see the real Everton.” And the real Marouane Fellaini. There is no disputing that he was below par against the Gunners, guilty of falling asleep at the back post to let Thomas Vermaelen score and looking heavy legged when giving Cesc Fabregas vain pursuit. There are, however, some mitigating circumstances to consider. for starters, Fellaini’s summer break was decimated by him picking up a serious virus which has had debilitating effects, setting him back a month. When his team-mates were cranking up the gears in Seattle and Salt Lake City, Fellaini was lumbering behind and the levels of his performance dropped so dramatically that Moyes was worried about whether he would even be ready for Arsenal. Now, though, he has embarked on a programme to bulk himself up and, slowly but surely, Everton’s record signing feels he is getting back to the levels that enabled him to finish as joint-leading scorer during his first season on Merseyside. “On holiday I picked up a blood infection,” Fellaini explained. “I lost four or five kilos and it really set me back. I found the first few weeks of training very hard, particularly in Scotland. I was trying to train but feeling weak because I’d lost so much weight. “Now I feel much better and I’ve regained three or four kilos. I knew I wasn’t fit early on and that affected my form. I had a month where I simply couldn’t train properly, so I suppose people have seen an improvement recently. “I’m working harder than the other boys now. I have got to catch them up. I’m doing all the work in training but I’m staying behind a little longer to work in the gym and I feel as if I’m on the right road.”
Psotka is planning a shocker
Aug 20 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ZDENEK PSOTKA is not a name that Evertonians will know, but he is aiming to give them nightmares this evening. SK Sigma Olomouc’s coach arrived at Goodison Park last night and immediately set his sights on ending Everton’s interest in Europe at the first hurdle once again. Few will give Sigma much of a chance, given that they have a side that does not feature any household names, but Pstoka has great faith in his players. What’s more, he believes the commotion which has been caused by Joleon Lescott’s axing from the squad - coupled with the 6-1 defeat Everton suffered against Arsenal - has played into Sigma’s hands. “Lescott is an icon at this club, so it will certainly be a disadvantage that he is not playing and we are ready for this test,” said Pstoka. “We are not worried about playing Everton. Why should we be?
“They are a good side but we have a lot of confidence and I will be surprised if we do not cause them some trouble. “Everton have got a good team but when they played Arsenal, they were punished for every mistake they made by an exceptional team.”
Sigma set up this tussle by thrashing Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate earlier this month.
But their results in the Czech Liga have been disappointing since then.
They drew 1-1 with Bohemians 1905 last Sunday, seven days after being beaten 2-0 by Slovako.
‘Gambler’ Everton FC manager David Moyes reveals that Joleon Lescott’s price tag has not been met
Aug 20 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted he is gambling with Everton’s European future by axing Joleon Lescott. The Blues boss also revealed that the defender could have a selling price but nobody has met it yet. With Phil Jagielka injured, the decision to drop Lescott leaves Moyes with only one recognised centre-back Joseph Yobo for tonight’s clash with Sigma Olomouc. He said: “Yes, this is a gamble. And it will be one of those two, (Phil) Neville or (Jack) Rodwell, who will play in defence.
Moyes believes he had no choice but to axe Lescott and said: “Joleon’s attitude has not been right these past days, he has disappointed me and he has disappointed his team-mates. He is not in the right frame of mind.” But Moyes insisted he still does not want to sell the player, saying: “I hope this will all be sorted out, after the deadline.
“People can read what they like into this. But I have said all along I don’t want to sell him. But it is a bit like Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Manchester United, there is always a price. “At this moment no club has made us an offer for the player that we want to accept.”
Everton 4, SK Sigma Olomouc 0: Four-star supershow lifts pressure
Aug 21 2009 By Dominic King Liverpool Echo
PUT away the sedatives, stop biting your nails and take those hands away from your eyes – Everton can travel into Europe this season without a care in the world.
Since David Moyes made continental adventures a regular occurrence for the Blues, the away legs of play-off games have invariably been fraught, nerve shredding experiences which, in the main, have ended in disappointment. Villarreal, Bucharest and Liege are three cities were dreams have died, while those who were in Kharkiv will never forget the gamut of emotions which were induced by a roller-coaster 90 minutes. Yet next week in the medieval Czech Republic town of Olomouc, Moyes, his players and Everton’s supporters will be able to relax after a campaign that was teetering on the brink exploded into life last night thanks to a four-star show.
Of course, Moyes will not let anyone think that the job is done and he will be demanding maximum concentration in six days time but, in reality, doubles from Louis Saha and Jack Rodwell mean Everton will have at least six more Europa League games to play. It has been one of the most turbulent weeks with which Moyes has had to deal during his time as Everton’s manager but there is no disputing that he has handled it correctly and a snapshot on television confirmed that just before kick-off. As Moyes sat in the dugout, his face a mask of concentration in preparation for a game of huge importance, the cameras cut to Joleon Lescott sitting in the stands, laughing and joking, a complete juxtaposition. Given that he had been jettisoned from the squad due to a poor attitude in training, the least you would have expected from him last night would have been to show some contrition but, clearly, even that was beyond him. He has been an outstanding performer over the last three years, rarely putting a foot out of place, so it is such a shame his reputation with Evertonians has been ruined by such petulant behaviour. A parting of the ways is inevitable now and, listening to the Gwladys Street voice their thoughts on this acrimonious episode, he will not be missed – after all, those sit behind that goal only want people who will fight for the Royal Blue jersey. Thankfully, the 11 men Moyes selected for this contest are all prepared to do that and they needed to show their battling qualities early on, as their unheralded visitors attempted to expose any lingering cracks following the debacle against Arsenal. There were some anxious moments in the opening exchanges, notably when Michal Ordos thumped a goal-bound drive that Tim Howard did well to save, while hearts were in mouths when Michal Hubnik went sprawling in the area, chasing a through ball. Hubnik was booked for diving but replays actually showed that Olomouc had strong claims for a penalty; had it been given, a red card for Howard would have been inevitable and could have been the incident that put Everton on a slippery slope. Certainly their play lacked a fluency for a short spell after that and there were genuine fears Olomouc might capitalise, as the defending seemed uncertain, despite skipper Phil Neville’s vocal attempts to restore order. Once they got into some kind of rhythm, though, things started to settle down and a clear sign that confidence was returning came when passes started darting from Blue shirt to Blue shirt at the speed of a pinball machine. Olomouc may have caught the eye by flattening Aberdeen in the previous round but, as results in their domestic league have subsequently shown, they are not in the class of, say, Sparta Prague and Everton soon started to turn the screw. Leon Osman was first to test their keeper Petr Drobisz with a deflected shot that was looping into the top corner on 24 minutes and it wasn’t long before any lingering nerves were settled when Louis Saha made the breakthrough. Given the opportunity to start after his lively weekend cameo, Saha grasped it with both hands as he led the line with aplomb and showed a poacher’s instinct to dart in at the near post, diverting Marouane Fellaini’s cross past Drobisz. The sense of relief that goal brought was almost tangible and it brought a sense of freedom to Everton’s play, which is why Rodwell undoubtedly felt compelled to try his luck from distance. Had belief in the ranks been short, Rodwell would, more than likely, have taken the sensible option and played an easy ball out to the flanks, rather than risk squandering possession with a speculative shot. Rodwell’s boots, however, are packed with dynamite and the left-footed Exocet he crashed past Drobisz on the half-volley from 20 yards gave another glimpse of his burgeoning talent. But if that was good, better would follow. Early in the second period, Rodwell – who became the club’s youngest scorer in Europe – effectively put Everton’s name in the group stage draw with a right-footed thunderbolt from even further outside the box. After so many testing weeks, after so much negative publicity, finally the Blues had something to really smile about; looking like a team again and playing with conviction, this was what we have come to expect. The gloss was put on the victory in 74 minutes when Saha got the reward for his tireless efforts, fizzing a drive from outside the box past the beleaguered Drobisz and milking the subsequent acclaim that followed from the stands. Whether he will be needed for duty in Olomouc, only Moyes will know but at least the manager has the luxury of being able to give some players a rest next Thursday if he so chooses – and when has been able to do that in the past?
EVERTON (4-5-1): Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Neville, Baines; Osman, Rodwell (Gosling 77), Cahill, Fellaini, Pienaar (Vaughan 83); Saha (Jo 79).
SK SIGMA OLOMOUC (4-3-3): Drobisz; Silva, Skerle, Dreksa, Onofrej; Topeka (Bajer 61), Horava, Kascak; Petr (Janotka 74), Hubnik, Ordos.
Goals: Saha (34, 73), Rodwell (40, 54)
Bookings: Hubnik (8), Neville (61)
Referee: Lucilio Cortez Batista (Portugal)
Jack Rodwell: European double was best moment of my career - Everton FC latest
Aug 21 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JACK RODWELL today relived his blistering European double and declared: “It was the best moment of my career so far”. Everton’s gifted young midfielder lifted the gloom that has been hanging over the club in recent days with two stunning goals in the 4-0 drubbing of SK Sigma Olomouc. Having become the youngest player to represent Everton in Europe when making his debut against AZ Alkmaar in December 2007, Rodwell created another piece of history last night. Aside from effectively guaranteeing Everton a place in the Europa League group stages, Rodwell replaced David Johnson as Everton’s youngest European scorer and cemented his burgeoning reputation. But while he was thrilled with that landmark, Rodwell’s thoughts were centred on the team and he admitted that beating Olomouc was the perfect way to banish the memory of the capitulation against Arsenal. “It’s brilliant to break records and be in the history books but the most important thing was getting the win,” said Rodwell, who was Everton’s man of the match. “Once the first goal went in, we all lifted our games and you could see the confidence coming through in our passing.
This was a massively important game for us, one that we had to win to stay in the competition, so to score and make a big contribution makes it the best night of my career. “But we have got to keep moving forward. We might have a good lead but the tie isn’t over. We’ve got a 4-0 lead and we’ve got to keep it.” Though Rodwell only came on as substitute last weekend, he was just as affected by the scoreline as those who played the full 90 minutes and was desperate to make amends. Yet while it was a hugely satisfactory evening all round – a first clean sheet was just as important as the four goals – Rodwell is already looking forward to the next challenge. A trip to Burnley is next on the agenda and the 18-year-old hopes Everton can now maintain their momentum. “After the Arsenal game we were all desperate to get a win, so to do it in that manner was very pleasing,” said Rodwell. “It really hurt what happened last weekend. All the team, all the squad – we were all affected by it. But we stuck together and we got back on track. “I couldn’t get that Arsenal result out of my mind and really everybody has been thinking about it all week. That’s why it was so important to get this result. “We’ve worked hard in training to try and get it out of our heads but there is no getting away from it. It was a terrible result, a terrible performance and we had to put that right.”
David Moyes targets four players - Everton FC latest
Aug 21 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has set a target of landing four new signings in the next 11 days.
The Blues boss said: "I want to be in the Europa League. I think this year it will give us big games if we get through – and it's still an if. "But our squad depth is a definite concern. "We're getting closer to bringing in players. There's about 11 days to go and I feel we probably have to bring in four players. “I've not done it so far in I don't know how many days, but I think we need to add more players to the squad before the deadline." Everton's lack of bodies gave a start to young midfielder starlet Jack Rodwell, and he responded with an outstanding display topped by two ferociously struck goals. Moyes admitted the power behind the youngster's shooting took him by surprise. "We've always said Jack has great potential and we hope he will go on to fulfill that potential," he explained. "We'll bring him along, hopefully, in the right way, but he showed he is a very good player. "He's been excellent in a lot of international football and European football. He has composure on the ball which he showed. He controlled certain parts of the game at different times. What I didn't know that he was such a good shooter! "It came as a surprise in as much as I knew he was a good striker of a ball, but I've never really seen him rattle the back of the net like he did tonight." Rodwell came off before the end after a heavy fall which left him needing lengthy treatment and Moyes added: "He has a slight twist in his knee but I hope it's not too bad. "I said maybe in years to come he could turn into a centre-half, but I think at this moment he is a central midfield player. "He has undoubted quality, but he has a bit to go yet and we will have to use him in games as we see fit. But he has a great chance because we don't have a big squad." Everton survived a shaky start and Moyes added: " They will feel aggrieved that they should have had a penalty kick."
HOT ROD'S A CZECH MATE
ABOVE: Rodwell is very promising
21st August 2009 The Daily Satr
By Kevin Francis
TEENAGE star Jack Rodwell showed once again last night why he is the most promising Everton discovery since Wayne Rooney The 18-year-old scored two stunning goals for the Merseysiders in their Europa League first leg play-off game against Sigma Olomouc at Goodison Park. Rodwell possesses a cool head that belies his years and he capped a wonderful first-half performance with Everton’s second goal against the Czech side in the 40th minute. A free-kick from Leighton Baines was blocked but Rodwell was lurking some 25 yards out to coolly strike the ball home with tremendous pace, comfortably beating Sigma keeper Petr Drobisz.
That strike was outstanding – but there was more to come from the teenager.
He earned a standing ovation from the crowd for his next goal in the 54th minute.
He struck the ball from 25 yards with his right foot and the rising shot completely deceived Drobisz and went in off the underside of the bar. Earlier Louis Saha, scorer of the Everton consolation in the 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Arsenal on Saturday, had put the home team ahead in the 34th minute. Marouane Fellaini managed to cross the ball low from the right and Saha, who had replaced Jo, was on hand to slide the ball over the line from a couple of yards out. Sigma, who disposed of Aberdeen 8-1 over two legs to reach this stage of the competition, were a very attack-minded outfit with some swift raiding that frequently caught the Everton defence off guard.
They were always harrying Everton and were not afraid to shoot on sight, keeping up the pressure whenever they could. In fact, Everton were pegged back in their own half for long spells early in the game and were never really able to mount a worthwhile attack in the opening 25 minutes. But once Everton did get into their stride they always looked to have the upper hand with Fellaini always looking particularly dangerous. And Everton scored a fourth through ex-Manchester United striker Saha on 74 minutes with a left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The Toffees’ defence, of course, was without Manchester City transfer target Joleon Lescott who had been dropped by manager David Moyes for not having the right kind of attitude in recent days. Lescott hardly looked contrite in the stand where TV cameras caught him laughing and joking in the moments leading up to the kick-off.
While Lescott was watching from the stands, his current club were believed to be in talks with Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor as a possible replacement for the England international. It’s no secret that cash-strapped Newcastle want to reduce their wage bill and Everton could be willing to pay around £8m for Taylor.
The one stumbling block, though, could be the Newcastle defender’s wage demands.
Because it is thought that Everton are highly unlikely to pay him anywhere near the kind of money he is currently earning every week in the North East with Newcastle.
David Moyes confirms Everton are step closer to landing Ever Banega
Aug 22 2009 By Dominic King
DAVID MOYES has confirmed Everton are a step closer to landing Ever Banega - as he challenged his players to maintain their winning ways. The Blues successfully applied for a work permit for the Argentina international in London yesterday and are hoping to bring him to Goodison Park on a season-long loan. Provided all goes to plan, the Valencia midfielder will become Everton’s second major signing of the summer and he should arrive on Merseyside in the next couple of days. But before Moyes meets Banega, 21, he will take his side to Burnley tomorrow and he is desperate for three points to banish the memory of their opening day nightmare.
"It was a good performance and a good result ," said Moyes. "We feel a bit better after last week but it will be a long time before I’m over that." Of Banega, the manager added: "We have got the work permit and we hope that we will be able to see him in the next few days. "He is a player will very good ability and is similar to Mikel Arteta in many ways. He can retain the ball for us and pass it and he will be here for a year on loan. "If he is good for us, then we will keep but if things don’t work out, we can always send him back." Moyes has a number of fitness issues to deal with ahead of the trip to Turf Moor and Steven Pienaar, Jack Rodwell and Tim Cahill will need to pass fitness tests to start. And Moyes knows it will need a top performance, as he saw the newly promoted side - many people’s favourites to finish rock bottom - stun Manchester United in midweek. "I thought Burnley were fantastic," said Moyes. "We all know how good Manchester United are but I thought Burnley really deserved their win. "Owen (Coyle) has done as good a job as anyone and he was close to being my Manager of the Year last season. It’s undoubtedly going to be tough for us.
"A lot of people have tried to get Burnley out of the Championship but none have succeed until Owen; he is someone I have known for a long time. "Can they stay up? Well that’s a different question altogether. The Premier League is a long season, relentless at times. It can seem never ending but it’s a great start for them."
Louis Saha: Everton FC are performing like a band of brothers again
Aug 22 2009 by Dominic King,
THE scoreline was appalling, the criticism was disparaging and the atmosphere around Finch Farm was as flat as it has ever been. But amid the fallout of that disastrous 6-1 opening day defeat against Arsenal, there was one accusation that really struck a chord with Everton’s squad and hammered home just how poor their performance had been. It was, of course, the suggestion that they looked anything but a team; the more they fell behind, the more it appeared that some were simply playing for themselves, meaning evidence of the unity which had served them so well last season was thin on the ground. Fast forward to Thursday evening, however, and there were spells against SK Sigma Olomouc when it was like watching the Everton of old, a band of brothers, fighting, tackling and passing for one another, all working towards a common goal. Ask Louis Saha for his thoughts on why there was such a difference between the two performances, though, and the answer he provides shows there is no sign of any irreparable cracks appearing in the dressing room. Joleon Lescott’s poor attitude and subsequent axing from the squad may have brought a flurry of unwanted publicity but Saha refuses to use that saga as an excuse. As he sees it, if glory is shared collectively, the same must happen with any criticism. “We had a really bad start last Saturday, so we were really up for the game against Olomouc and we hopefully showed with our performance that Arsenal was just a blip,” said Everton’s number eight, who scored twice in the 4-0 European victory. “You may say we looked like 11 individuals but we lose together as a team. That must always be the way. It was really hard but we bounced back; that is because we worked so hard on the training pitch and we wanted to get that reaction. We showed we are a team.
“If you have all the headlines and stuff like that, this means you have got quality in the team. People chase your players if they think they are quality. Joleon is a player here with great quality. It was just so important for us to get a great result and move on.
“Now we have to go over there and finish the job. Yes, we have a big lead but things aren’t done. Olomouc showed they have some quality and they put us under pressure early on. But we put in a shift and we must make sure we get our rewards over there.”
Before the return leg in the Czech Republic, and the inevitable progress into the group stages, Premier League business resumes tomorrow with a trip to Burnley, a team that are guaranteed to be riding on a high. Burnley, after all, defied the odds to sink Saha’s former employers Manchester United on Wednesday evening and there is little doubt that Turf Moor will be crammed to the rafters, with the locals hoping to see another big name brought to its knees. It would be foolish to get carried away on the back of one win over unheralded Czech opposition but Everton have proven adept at beating sides that have come up from the Championship in recent years and the players are determined to get the first three points. What’s more, they also have in Saha a striker who is showing signs of his very best form; he has started with a bang by scoring three times in two games, making the most of the platform he built himself during an impressive pre-season. “The goals are good,” said Saha. “It is important to get consistency and we are trying to have a better season than we had last time. That is the ambition but it is going to be hard. We need to make improvements and we need some players to come in. “The manager is looking to do that. I think if we bring new faces in, it will give everyone a lift. We are looking for improvements. When you are a competitor, you always want to compete and we haven’t been competing as we would have liked. “The main thing is to keep the spirit here. We showed we still have it by winning as we did, now we must turn to the league. The lads watched Burnley play. Have I been in touch with anyone from United? No. They are all too p****d off to talk! “But we know that it is going to be tough, they are newly promoted and those type of sides always give maximum effort in the first 10 games. But it is going to be a good game and we are looking forward to it.” As Evertonians are looking forward to seeing him in action again; there is no disputing that Saha is a thoroughbred, a striker who could take teams apart almost single-handedly. And if he continues in this groove, his tally will increase at a rapid pace. “I have gone through pre-season without any sign of injuries,” said Saha, whose first year on Merseyside was disrupted by niggling fitness problems. “I know I have more opportunities to score if I am getting on the pitch but I’m not setting myself any targets. “I have the confidence right now I am not thinking about knees or ankles or hamstrings any more. Hopefully that is all behind me. I am concentrating on enjoying my football again “I’m just looking for goals all the time and it is about the team. If the team play well, I will get more opportunities. I’m glad I’m scoring but it could be Yak, Jo or Vaughany. The main thing is that the team scores many goals.”
Royal Blue - Everton FC news: Jack Rodwell ready to become regular Everton FC fixture
Aug 22 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHILE Everton’s past was sat chewing gum in the stands on Thursday evening, how pleasing it was to see the future out on the pitch grabbing the headlines.
If Joleon Lescott’s career on Merseyside is heading towards an inevitable conclusion – a transfer to Manchester City – Jack Rodwell’s spectacular double blast against SK Sigma Olomouc could not have been better timed to lift the doom and gloom.
Though Rodwell may often find himself the butt of dressing room jokes – he and Dan Gosling are known as Harry and Lloyd, the hapless characters from the film Dumb and Dumber – there is no disputing his talent. It has long been known that Everton have the highest of hopes for Rodwell and his composed, authoritative display in the Europa League play-off confirmed that he is on the road to fulfilling those expectations. Already a history maker and a record breaker – Rodwell overtook David Johnson as Everton’s youngest scorer in Europe, which sits nicely alongside his title of the club’s youngest European debutant – if he maintains his progress, many more gongs will follow. There will, though, be some who harbour concerns that he might not reach such heady heights; after all, the pages of history are littered with the names of youngsters who promised so much early on but ultimately delivered little.
For every Wayne Rooney, there is a Danny Cadamateri, the type of player who lit up stadiums with teenage kicks but, for one reason or another, ended up seeing out their career in the shadows. In an age when the financial rewards are often mind-boggling and temptation lurks in every city centre bar and nightclub, it is easy to see why those who have so much so young end up frittering it away. Rodwell, however, is a mature young man who comes from good stock; respectful of his senior colleagues and always eager to take on board advice when it is given to him, he is not someone who thinks just because he has reached 18, he knows everything. That point was proven on the tour of the United States and Canada last month; having been involved in the mix up that enabled Ariel Ortega to score for River Plate in a friendly, David Moyes pointed out the error of his ways. In the next game against the MLS All-Stars, Rodwell had clearly taken the message on board, as his positional play and passing was outstanding, while the energy he showed in difficult conditions was equally impressive. Little wonder, then, that Moyes expects him to be a regular starter this year and while he is never the kind of man who will be effusive in his praise of an individual, you only have to read between the lines to grasp his thoughts on Rodwell.
“We’ll need to ease him into things occasionally as he is still a young boy but it is clear to see there is talent,” said Moyes. “We won’t have any problems playing him if we have to. That says more than enough about what we think of him.”
And such thoughts are not just confined to Goodison; Fabio Capello is aware of Rodwell’s emergence and, you never know, a season of outstanding consistency might just secure him a place on the plane to South Africa next summer. Outstanding in a number of England’s games in the Under-21 European Championships in June, it would not be hard to imagine him being called up to see how the senior squad operates if he continues to impress for Stuart Pearce. Everton might have a small squad but that is going to work in Rodwell’s favour, as he will get plenty of opportunities to play in big games and he showed last season against Liverpool and Manchester United in the FA Cup that he has the temperament for it. But, first things first, Everton is the number one priority and it will be fascinating to see how he develops in the coming months, as if his performance against SK Sigma Olomouc becomes the norm, many more favourable headlines are going to be written about him.
Barry Horne: African Cup could be so costly for Everton FC
Aug 22 2009 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
I READ and agreed with, nearly, all of an article I read last week about this season’s African Cup of Nations. Martin Samuels quite rightly defended the right of the African Nations to hold the tournament, eloquently expressed why it has to be staged in January and pointed out the value to the African people. Whilst it’s nonsense to ask multi-million pound footballers to spend a month in Angola, I accepted all of those points. I also agreed with the assertion that managers of clubs who will lose players to the African Nations Cup were fully aware of that likelihood when they signed them.
The point I disagreed strongly with, however, was Martin’s belief that the tournament will cost Chelsea the Premier League title because of their reliance on Drogba, Mikel, Kalou and Michael Essien. It is true that Liverpool have no African stars, neither do Manchester United, while Arsenal have sold their two highest profile Africans to Manchester City. But I watched a Chelsea side wipe the floor with Sunderland in midweek without Hilario, Carvalho, Cole, Mikel, Malouda, Zhirkov, Ferreira, Sturridge, Alex, Belletti and Anelka. I suspect Chelsea will be able to put out a team capable of beating Burnley, Sunderland, Hull and Birmingham from the 20-or so players who they have available. Sadly I don’t think that will be the case at Goodison Park. If Everton don’t add to their squad in the next week or so, they will feel the loss of Steven Pienaar, Yakubu, Joseph Yobo and Victor Anichebe far more keenly.
Royal Blue - Everton FC news: Joe Royle set to spin yarns at Blue dinner
Aug 22 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THE sportsmen’s dinners that former Blue Ronny Goodlass stages twice a year continue to go from strength-to-strength and another has been planned for Friday, November 27. It promises to be a special evening, too, as Joe Royle will be the guest speaker at the Devonshire House - and it will be the last time he gets up to talk in front of an audience. Anyone who has had the pleasure of listening to some of Royle’s yarns will know the value he provides and there will be plenty of other old Evertonians alongside him. Graeme Sharp, Ian Snodin, Dave Hickson, Derek Mountfield, John Bailey and George Telfer have all confirmed their attendance, while Sean Styles will provide the comedy. There should also be plenty of laughs, as Everton’s press officer Darren Griffiths will be Master of Ceremonies.
Tickets are £40 each or £450 for a table of 12. For further information, call 051 264 6600.
Royal Blue - Everton FC news: Sour finale to Lescott saga clouds fine beginning
Aug 22 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
GIVEN the events over the past week, this column could not pass without making reference to the latest episode in the Joleon Lescott saga. For David Moyes to come out and deliver such a strongly worded statement on the eve of Everton’s Europa League play-off shows just how dismayed he has been with the defender’s actions.
There were a couple of incidents involving Lescott at Finch Farm in the days after that shocking defeat to Arsenal which dismayed some of his senior colleagues and left Moyes with no other option but to take action. Dropping him from the squad was the right thing to do and the only hope now is that a swift conclusion in talks with Manchester City is reached so that everyone can start afresh and consign this wretched saga to the past. That Moyes said he wanted to bring in four players before the transfer window closes is a clear indication he is planning for life after Lescott; the biggest shame is that three years of outstanding work has effectively been destroyed.
Man City confirm agreement has been reached with Everton FC for the transfer of Joleon Lescott
Aug 23 2009 By Jo Kelly
MANCHESTER City confirmed an agreement has been reached with Everton for the transfer of Joleon Lescott. The move is subject to the player agreeing personal terms and passing a medical. Although the clubs have not revealed the fee, it is believed to be in the region of £22m rising to £24m. It is believed Lescott will be revealed as a Man City player on Tuesday.
GET LOST LESCOTT!
23rd August 2009 The Daily Star
By Steve Morgan
EVERTON will report rivals Manchester City to Premier League bosses over their approach for Joleon Lescott – after the defender makes his £24million switch to Eastlands. Boss David Moyes has finally sanctioned the England man’s move down the M62 after the centre-back left him no choice but to cut his losses.
City have been after Lescott since January and finally look set to land their man.
The fiery Scot has already labelled City’s conduct “disgusting” as he fought to keep hold of the former Wolves player. Moyes ripped up a transfer request from the defender two weeks ago, as one of the most drawn-out deals of the summer turned nasty. Now City boss Mark Hughes has finally landed his key defensive target – and City skipper Richard Dunne could be on his way to Goodison Park in a separate deal.
But as well as shelling out £9m more than their initial £15m offer, City would be hit even harder in the pocket if they are found guilty of an illegal approach.
Everton could cite Ashley Cole’s move from Arsenal to Chelsea in 2005, which saw the player slapped with a £100,000 fine while the Stamford Bridge club were docked £300,000 and given a suspended three-point deduction. Moyes regrets playing Lescott in last week’s 6-1 hammering by Arsenal and admits that helped persuade him to sell up. The Everton coach said: “It’s been difficult because his attitude has been so poor and it’s had an effect and that’s why we’ve had to leave him out. “Obviously we’d rather have him playing but if a player is going to behave in the manner he did, we’ve had no choice but to keep him away. “I always would have preferred to keep the player. If I could have had my way that would have been my choice. He’s a good player and he can play two positions. “You could see the effect that it had last week. I think it’s played a big part behind the scenes. “Joleon had told me on the Friday when he came in that he didn’t want to play but I had no options so I chose to ignore it and play him. “But in the end it worked against me so I’ve taken the decision.”
Burnley 1, Everton 0: New men needed to end nightmare
Aug 24 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
EMBARRASSMENT, jubilation and disappointment, all in the space of eight days. If they haven’t already, Everton’s supporters had better strap themselves in for another ride on the emotional rollercoaster this season. The hopes built by the handsome European victory in midweek came crashing down yesterday as the poor start to the Premier League campaign continued for David Moyes’s side at Turf Moor.
And it brought into sharp focus the desperate need for reinforcements before the transfer window slams shut in a week’s time. With the Joleon Lescott saga in its final throes, at least Everton will soon be spared the distraction of the tiresome speculation surrounding the wantaway defender’s future that has overshadowed their efforts during the opening week. Much will now depend on how Moyes spreads the expected £24million windfall Lescott’s departure will generate. Quite rightly, the Goodison manager is unhappy at being faced with a race against time to splash the cash.
But it’s patently clear another mad scramble before deadline day is required to ensure a fighting chance of maintaining the Premier League progress of recent years.
Having shipped six last week in the opening-day humiliation against Arsenal, one goal was all that was required to see off Everton yesterday, Wade Elliott’s deflected strike 11 minutes before half-time proving decisive. Everton will point to the 75th-minute missed penalty from Louis Saha but, while Moyes suggested otherwise, few could grumble at the final outcome. Indeed, but for some smart goalkeeping by Tim Howard, the visitors would not have had the opportunity of making a late surge during the final quarter. Saha, who has started the season in impressive goal-scoring fashion, should not shoulder the blame for this setback. Instead, this was a collective failure, the defence understandably unsettled by absentees and Everton worryingly outplayed in the centre of the park by a Burnley midfield marshalled superbly by veteran Graham Alexander.Moyes may also question his decision to start with Saha as the lone forward. While a system that has served the Goodison manager well, it was only when Jo was introduced as a second striker for the ineffectual Marouane Fellaini that Everton began to consistently threaten. That Moyes did not make another change as the visitors chased an equaliser underlined the paucity of options available at present, particularly when inspiration is required from the bench. And the at times unconvincing performance of Joseph Yobo highlighted the pressing need for at least two new centre-backs. As Moyes later admitted, Phil Neville, despite his trademark application and professionalism, is not the long-term answer. Everton have made beating Premier League newcomers an art form in recent years, having won 14 and drawn four of their previous 18 games against promoted sides. But as Manchester United have already discovered, Turf Moor is not the most accommodating of grounds for visiting teams. And Everton did not help themselves with a sloppy, indecisive display far removed from the enterprise and enthusiasm shown during the final hour of their 4-0 win over Sigma Olomouc on Thursday evening. Like Moyes, Burnley manager Owen Coyle is a Scot who has made his name guiding a Lancashire team up through the lower leagues. Coyle is revered as a god around these parts, and it’s easy to see why. With minimal resources, Burnley play a game that is both easy on the eye and robust enough to withstand the unique physical demands of the Premier League.
No doubt buoyed by that famous win over United in midweek, the Clarets almost caught Everton cold in the opening moments when they exploded out of the blocks, a momentum that ensured they remained in the ascendancy throughout the first half.
Less than a minute in, a driven cross from Chris McCann was nodded on to the crossbar by Martin Paterson and Steven Fletcher struck the rebound against Howard’s legs. Two minutes later, more slack marking from the visitors allowed Elliott the time to arc in a cross that the unmarked Paterson glanced wastefully wide from six yards out. It took Everton until half an hour before offering an effort on target, Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen comfortably fielding Jack Rodwell’s header from a Leighton Baines corner. And although Saha was not far from connecting with a teasing Tony Hibbert cross from the right, the home side moved into a deserved lead on 34 minutes.
There was more than a hint of good fortune about the goal, however.
Elliott failed to connect properly when taking a swipe at Robbie Blake’s deflected cross from the left but, after Fletcher retrieved possession, the ball was fed back to the Burnley midfielder whose curling effort from 15 yards took a significant nick off Neville’s boot and looped over Howard before dropping into the net.
With Alexander, the 37-year-old veteran who prospered at Preston under Moyes, influential as a deep-lying midfielder, Everton struggled to build up a head of steam.
Tim Cahill saw a deflected shot bobble wide, but Howard was called upon to make a smart save from a hooked McCann effort after an Alexander shot had fallen into the path of the Burnley midfielder. Once Jo was introduced midway through the second half, Everton at last began to make inroads. None more so than in the 75th minute, when referee Phil Dowd pointed to the spot when Tony Hibbert went to ground under the weight of McCann’s challenge. In truth, it was a questionable award, so Burnley will claim justice was done when Saha blasted the spot-kick wide of Jensen’s left post. Jo had a goalbound effort blocked by Andre Bikey, Saha thrashed a shot just wide from range and Elliott cleared a Rodwell shot after Jensen had gone walkabout, but the home side stood firm. So the dream goes on for Burnley. But the Premier League is proving a nightmare so far this season for Moyes and his Everton team.
Joleon Lescott passes Manchester City medical
Aug 24 2009 By Nick Peet
JOLEON Lescott this afternoon passed his medical at Manchester City, giving the green light to his proposed £24million switch from Everton FC.
The England international is now set to put the finishing touches to his big-money move which will give David Moyes the finances necessary to bring in some new faces before the close of the transfer window, starting with Russian midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. After a summer of drawn-out negotiations Everton have got the money they wanted for Lescott, who handed in a transfer request shortly after City boss Mark Hughes made his intentions clear. Lescott travelled to Manchester today and took in a short visit to Eastlands, before heading off for his medical. And having now satisfied City's medical team, he is likely to be unvailed at the City of Manchester Stadium before their Carling Cup clash with Crystal Palace on Thursday.
The 27-year-old will move to Eastlands after three successful years at Goodison Park, in which he established himself as a highly-regarded top flight performer and forced his way into the international set-up under Fabio Capello.
David Moyes ready to spend Lescott cash on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov: Everton FC latest
Aug 24 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to spend the first chunk of the cash they receive for Joleon Lescott by signing Lokomotiv Moscow captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
The Blues agreed a deal with Manchester City for Lescott over the weekend and they will receive an initial £22million, which could end up reaching £24m with add-ons.
Now David Moyes has the cash to make some serious moves before the transfer window closes and first through the door will be Bilyaletdinov. A delegation from Goodison Park will fly out to Hamburg today to conduct a medical with the Russia international, who operates on the left-side of midfield. Capped 28 times by his country, Bilyaletdinov will add a presence to Everton’s engine room – his 6ft 1ins – and will cost Everton £8.9m. The 24-year-old will require a work permit but there should not be any problems, as he is now a regular for Russia and helped them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2008. With Valencia midfielder Ever Banega also expected to arrive on Merseyside this week, Moyes can now turn his attentions to filling the void created by Lescott’s departure. He has a number of targets in mind, ranging from West Ham’s Matthew Upson to David Wheater of Middlesbrough and Bolton’s Gary Cahill, but recognises that he needs to move swiftly.There were occasions during yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley when Everton did not look anything like the robust defensive unit of last season and improvement is imperative if they are not going to leave themselves too much ground to make up. But Tony Hibbert, the club’s longest serving player, has urged supporters not to panic, as he says experience shows Moyes will again get things right even though Lescott has gone. “Seeing new faces gives everyone a lift and it keeps us all on our toes and I’m sure the manager is working hard to do that,” said Hibbert. “We will miss Joleon. He is a good lad and on the pitch he is a brilliant footballer; he has shown that in his displays for us. But players come and players go and we’ll move on.” Fortunately, Everton have a chance to put this latest defeat behind them on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League play-off against SK Sigma Olomouc. Hibbert, however, believes that with better fortune the squad would have been travelling on the back of a positive result and he is adamant they will show great improvement soon. “We knew it was going to be a hard game and we had to weather the early storm but we kept pushing and pushing and just couldn’t find a way through,” said Hibbert. “It’s a long season and we know we haven’t played to what we can yet. The lads are all down but we’ll get up, get together again and put this behind us.”
End of Joleon Lescott saga in sight: Everton FC latest
Aug 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
Multimedia Background image for 'Everton FC boss David Moyes opens up on the Joleon Lescott to Manchester City transfer saga' THE Joleon Lescott saga finally reached a conclusion last night when Everton confirmed they have agreed a fee with Manchester City. The England international is expected to undergo a medical today after City finally came up with a bid which met the Merseysiders’ valuation of the player. Having rejected two previous offers – the first about £18million – Everton are reported to have accepted £22million rising to £24million from City for Lescott.
Lescott will now meet with Manchester City and will sign subject to him successfully negotiating personal terms and passing a medical. Lescott said his goodbyes to his Everton team-mates at Finch Farm on Saturday morning as it became clear he was leaving the club. Toffees boss David Moyes was unhappy that the Eastlands club, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi’s multi-millionaire Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, were not prepared to pay what he thought was the going rate from the outset.
Asked if the Lescott deal was well advanced the Everton boss said following yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley: “If they (City) say they are quite far on I’m sure they are. “But we shouldn’t have been asked to wait this length of time for an amount of cash we think was the correct value for the player. “Real Madrid came in with the money (£80million for Cristiano Ronaldo) for Manchester United the week after the end of the season. “If the money had been offered in June it would have been a lot easier for us. The time is against us (to find a replacement).” Moyes has repeatedly stated his desire to keep his best players at Goodison Park, however Lescott submitted a transfer request nearly two weeks ago.That request was quickly rejected, with the Toffees boss again reiterating he was unwilling to sell the player. But Moyes has been unimpressed with the player’s attitude and has not involved him in their last two matches – the midweek Europa League win over Sigma Olomouc and yesterday’s defeat at Burnley. A statement on City's official website said: “Manchester City can confirm that agreement has been reached with Everton for the transfer of Joleon Lescott. “The move is subject to the player agreeing personal terms and passing a medical.” Lescott moved to Everton from Wolves for a fee of £5million in 2006 and has since made 113 Premier League appearances for the club scoring 14 goals.
David Moyes must buy and quick: Everton FC latest
Aug 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
A WEEK might be a long time in politics, but the next seven days will see David Moyes racing frantically against time. Given that football is now played out against a backdrop of hype, with every win being trumpeted as the start of something big and each defeat greeted as the start of meltdown, suggestions that Everton are a club on the brink of a crisis after two defeats are inevitable. Such claims, of course, are completely unhelpful – not to mention wide of the mark – but if this kind of talk is going to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later, Moyes must embark on a sustained recruitment drive. Goodison Park’s transfer kitty is set to receive a significant boost today when Manchester City sign Joleon Lescott for a fee in excess of £21m but the manager now faces a new problem – spending it. The window, after all, closes at 5pm next Tuesday and clubs are not necessarily going to cooperate with the Blues. But that can’t stop them; that Everton were only able to bring one substitute at Burnley yesterday was enough to set alarm bells ringing. It’s usually the teams that finish above you which are used as a barometer of progress but, with Everton, you can tell what kind of shape they are in when you see them tackle one of the sides that have graduated from the Championship ranks, away from Goodison Park. Why? Here’s the evidence. In the last four seasons, Everton have played 12 of these fixtures and not lost a single one; seven wins and five draws show how effective and efficient they are at exposing any deficiencies that the new boys may have. Last season, for example, when things were in a state of flux, the only two victories that came during a wretched first nine games came at The Hawthorns (West Brom) and The Britannia Stadium (Stoke), while another point was salvaged at Hull City. So while some teams may find themselves crumbling when facing a team high on energy and backed by a partisan crowd, Everton do not tend to bat an eyelid in such circumstances. But here the opposite was true. All careless passing and unsure tackling in the first 10 minutes, it was only down to a combination of the woodwork and some woeful finishing that Moyes did not see his team trailing by two goals. Riding on a high after toppling Manchester United in midweek, Burnley pushed the Blues onto the back foot immediately and could have taken the lead inside the first 60 seconds when Chris McCann skipped behind Tony Hibbert. His perfect cross into the middle found Martin Paterson but the striker’s header thudded against the crossbar and Tim Howard needed to be on red alert to prevent Steven Fletcher following up on the rebound. You would have anticipated that moment jolting Everton into life yet – if anything – it only made them more anxious and Paterson should have profited in the third minute but, again, his header from Wade Elliott’s centre lacked the necessary direction.Clearly rattled, it set the tone for a showing in the first 45 minutes that was as miserable as the wind and rain which swept over Turf Moor off the nearby Pendle Hills, showing why Moyes must take decisive action. With Lescott expected to be unveiled as a City player tomorrow, Everton really need to put themselves in a situation to do something similar as this squad is desperately in need of a boost – both of morale and personnel.
Ever since Phil Jagielka’s knee buckled under him in April, Everton have needed a central defender but, with a just over a week to go until the transfer window closes, they still need cover for him, to go alongside a replacement for Lescott.
Lessons should have been learned from last summer’s frantic trolley dash but, almost unbelievably, we are going to be faced with a similar situation in the next seven days, as Moyes tries to fill the gaps. There is no time to worry about paying a little over the odds for some players or deliberating over character references; if Everton are going to have any chance of repeating last year’s success, they simply have to move now.
Should they fail to make the necessary signings, the consequences might be catastrophic; yes, Mikel Arteta and Ayegbeni Yakubu are due to return soon to action, but the squad that travelled to East Lancashire does not have anything resembling depth. When you factor in the inevitable minor injuries that get picked up during a season, it is difficult to see how Everton will be able to cope with the Premier League fixtures, a European campaign and, possibly, a run in the Carling Cup.
Saying that, if they keep playing like they did in the first half, they are not going to have much to worry about in the second half of the campaign, as better sides than Burnley will have a field day if afforded such time and space. Take the goal to which they fell behind. Robbie Blake was put under no pressure as he fizzed a cross in from the right, nobody in the middle was composed enough to deal with the bouncing ball and eventually it was left to Elliott to inflict the ultimate damage. His left-footed drive took just enough of a deflection off makeshift central defender Phil Neville to make it loop beyond Howard’s grasp, sparking pandemonium in this most atmospheric of venues and giving Burnley a lead they thoroughly deserved. It was only thanks to Howard that it wasn’t doubled after the break. Continuing to pile on pressure and feeding off the energy that was pouring down from the stands, the American keeper needed to be at his most agile to tip over McCann’s cute lob. Belatedly that scare finally brought Everton to life and the last 30 minutes were spent laying siege to the home side’s goal, with their running noticeably faster and a sense of urgency restored to their passing. An equaliser should have been forthcoming when Hibbert galloped into the area and was tripped by McCann but, to every Evertonian’s enormous frustration, Louis Saha dragged his spot-kick wide and with that went all hope of grabbing a share of the spoils. To stop all hope for the season evaporating, quick and decisive action must be taken; performances like this will not be tolerated for much longer.
David Moyes says Everton are in need of a lift after defeat at Burnley
Aug 24 2009 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted Everton’s squad is in need of a lift after watching them slip to what he felt was an undeserved defeat at Burnley. With the transfer window closing next Tuesday at 5pm, Moyes knows he must move swiftly to bring in the four new faces he said he wanted after the Blues had beaten SK Sigma Olomouc last Thursday. Ever Banega and Lokomotiv Moscow’s captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov are two players who Moyes hopes will provide a boost but he also needs a couple of central defenders to come to fill the void left by Joleon Lescott’s departure to Manchester City. The Blues looked short on occasions at the back at Turf Moor yesterday as they were beaten 1-0 but Moyes just wishes he had more time to weigh things up after the deal with Manchester City for Lescott was agreed over the weekend. “We definitely need freshening up and we will try and make a go of it this week,” said Moyes, who has his eye on a number of defensive transfer targets.
“I won’t be relieved when the transfer window is shut. I’ll wish it will have been open longer, because it will give me more of a chance to spend the money. The time is the thing that is against us now. “If the money had been offered back in June then it would have made it a lot easier for us. “If Real Madrid paid the right money for Ronaldo to Manchester United a week after the end of the last season, then we shouldn’t have had to wait this long for someone to pay the price we believe is right for our player.” The Lescott saga has cast a huge shadow over the start of the season and the situation has not been helped by Everton following up the opening day debacle against Arsenal with another setback in Lancashire. However, Moyes was adamant that Everton could and should have got something from the game, as they created a couple of chances late on, the best of which fell to Louis Saha but the in-form striker screwed his penalty wide. “Burnley were the better side in the opening 30 minutes,” said Moyes. “But after that we got back into it and were maybe a little bit unfortunate not to get something out of it. “The confidence they took from the game in midweek, we expected that kind of start from them. I thought we got back into the game. “We had a couple of good crosses just before half time. But it just wasn’t with us. Maybe you’d expect our confidence to be a little low after what happened last week.” Not many Everton players got into top gear at Turf Moor but Moyes made a point of giving Phil Neville a word of praise, after the skipper tried his best in an unfamiliar role to keep the defence together. “Considering he is not a centre half, Phil has been terrific for us,” said Moyes. “He’s a credit in the job he tries to do, no matter what it is. He has done really well for us. But I don’t envisage him doing a long-term job for us there.”
Burnley 1, Everton 0: David Moyes must buy, buy ... or it’s bye bye
Aug 24 2009 By Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A WEEK might be a long time in politics, but the next seven days will see David Moyes racing frantically against time. Given that football is now played out against a backdrop of hype, with every win being trumpeted as the start of something big and each defeat greeted as the start of meltdown, suggestions that Everton are a club on the brink of a crisis after two defeats are inevitable. Such claims, of course, are completely unhelpful – not to mention wide of the mark – but if this kind of talk is going to be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later, Moyes must embark on a sustained recruitment drive. Goodison Park’s transfer kitty is set to receive a significant boost today when Manchester City sign Joleon Lescott for a fee in excess of £21m but the manager now faces a new problem – spending it. The window, after all, closes at 5pm next Tuesday and clubs are not necessarily going to cooperate with the Blues. But that can’t stop them; that Everton were only able to bring one substitute at Burnley yesterday was enough to set alarm bells ringing. It’s usually the teams that finish above you which are used as a barometer of progress but, with Everton, you can tell what kind of shape they are in when you see them tackle one of the sides that have graduated from the Championship ranks, away from Goodison Park. Why? Here’s the evidence. In the last four seasons, Everton have played 12 of these fixtures and not lost a single one; seven wins and five draws show how effective and efficient they are at exposing any deficiencies that the new boys may have. Last season, for example, when things were in a state of flux, the only two victories that came during a wretched first nine games came at The Hawthorns (West Brom) and The Britannia Stadium (Stoke), while another point was salvaged at Hull City. So while some teams may find themselves crumbling when facing a team high on energy and backed by a partisan crowd, Everton do not tend to bat an eyelid in such circumstances. But here the opposite was true. All careless passing and unsure tackling in the first 10 minutes, it was only down to a combination of the woodwork and some woeful finishing that Moyes did not see his team trailing by two goals. Riding on a high after toppling Manchester United in midweek, Burnley pushed the Blues onto the back foot immediately and could have taken the lead inside the first 60 seconds when Chris McCann skipped behind Tony Hibbert. His perfect cross into the middle found Martin Paterson but the striker’s header thudded against the crossbar and Tim Howard needed to be on red alert to prevent Steven Fletcher following up on the rebound. You would have anticipated that moment jolting Everton into life yet – if anything – it only made them more anxious and Paterson should have profited in the third minute but, again, his header from Wade Elliott’s centre lacked the necessary direction. Clearly rattled, it set the tone for a showing in the first 45 minutes that was as miserable as the wind and rain which swept over Turf Moor off the nearby Pendle Hills, showing why Moyes must take decisive action. With Lescott expected to be unveiled as a City player tomorrow, Everton really need to put themselves in a situation to do something similar as this squad is desperately in need of a boost – both of morale and personnel.
Ever since Phil Jagielka’s knee buckled under him in April, Everton have needed a central defender but, with a just over a week to go until the transfer window closes, they still need cover for him, to go alongside a replacement for Lescott.
Lessons should have been learned from last summer’s frantic trolley dash but, almost unbelievably, we are going to be faced with a similar situation in the next seven days, as Moyes tries to fill the gaps. There is no time to worry about paying a little over the odds for some players or deliberating over character references; if Everton are going to have any chance of repeating last year’s success, they simply have to move now.
Should they fail to make the necessary signings, the consequences might be catastrophic; yes, Mikel Arteta and Ayegbeni Yakubu are due to return soon to action, but the squad that travelled to East Lancashire does not have anything resembling depth. When you factor in the inevitable minor injuries that get picked up during a season, it is difficult to see how Everton will be able to cope with the Premier League fixtures, a European campaign and, possibly, a run in the Carling Cup. Saying that, if they keep playing like they did in the first half, they are not going to have much to worry about in the second half of the campaign, as better sides than Burnley will have a field day if afforded such time and space. Take the goal to which they fell behind.
Robbie Blake was put under no pressure as he fizzed a cross in from the right, nobody in the middle was composed enough to deal with the bouncing ball and eventually it was left to Elliott to inflict the ultimate damage. His left-footed drive took just enough of a deflection off makeshift central defender Phil Neville to make it loop beyond Howard’s grasp, sparking pandemonium in this most atmospheric of venues and giving Burnley a lead they thoroughly deserved. It was only thanks to Howard that it wasn’t doubled after the break. Continuing to pile on pressure and feeding off the energy that was pouring down from the stands, the American keeper needed to be at his most agile to tip over McCann’s cute lob. Belatedly that scare finally brought Everton to life and the last 30 minutes were spent laying siege to the home side’s goal, with their running noticeably faster and a sense of urgency restored to their passing.
An equaliser should have been forthcoming when Hibbert galloped into the area and was tripped by McCann but, to every Evertonian’s enormous frustration, Louis Saha dragged his spot-kick wide and with that went all hope of grabbing a share of the spoils. To stop all hope for the season evaporating, quick and decisive action must be taken; performances like this will not be tolerated for much longer.
CITY SIGN £24M LESCOTT
24th August 2009 Daily Star
By Geoff Marsh for express.co.uk
JOLEON Lescott is on the verge of signing for Manchester City, after Everton agreed a £24m fee for the player. The 26-year-old, who fell out with Everton boss David Moyes, will now undergo a medical at the Eastlands club. Lescott, who was dropped his “poor attitude” last week, has finally been allowed to leave. A statement on Everton's website said: "After the earlier bid, there was a change in the player's attitude. "It was in the best interests of Everton if they allowed him to leave."
Everton had previously turned down two bids, £15million and £18million, plus a written transfer demand from Lescott. And Moyes had threatened that his position may become untenable if the defender were to leave. But it now seems that Moyes has conceded defeat. He will turn his attentions on spending some of the cash to strengthen his side before the transfer window closes next week. Everton have slipped to bottom of the table after losing the first two opening games of the season.
Everton eyeing Sylvain Distin following Diniyar Bilyaletdinov signing
Aug 25 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today officially announced the signing of Diniyar Bilayeltdinov – and are now trying to make Sylvain Distin their second addition in 24 hours. Bilyaletdinov put pen-to-paper on a five-year deal last night after passing a medical in Hamburg and his near £9m transfer from Lokomotiv Moscow makes him the third most expensive signing in Everton’s history. The reason for the meeting in Hamburg between club officials and Bilyaletdinov’s representatives was due to the fact he is allowed to enter Germany on a Russian passport. Capped 28 times by Russia, the 24-year-old will not be available for Premier League duty until the game against Fulham on September 13.
“We are delighted to have secured the services of Diniyar,” said Everton chief executive Robert Elstone. “I know David Moyes has wanted to bring him to Goodison for some time.” With Bilyaletdinov secured and Valencia’s Argentina midfielder Ever Banega all but wrapped up, Everton’s focus has now turned to bolstering their defence and Distin is the man in line to fill Joleon Lescott’s boots. Distin has been linked with moves to Aston Villa and Liverpool this summer but it is now looking increasingly likely that he will become an Everton player. A fee in the region of £5m is being negotiated with Portsmouth, while personal terms are being thrashed out but. Distin could be on board before the weekend. The Frenchman started his career at Gueugnon before moving to Paris St Germain but he came to prominence when joining Manchester City in 2002 after a loan spell with Newcastle. He left City in 2007 for Portsmouth and his first campaign on the south coast resulted in an FA Cup win.
Hbut his future at Fratton Park has been uncertain since the end of last season.
Meanwhile, Ayegbeni Yakubu will play his first competitive football since November 30 when Everton reserves tackle Burnley at the Stobart Stadium tonight (7pm).
Everton left with a mountain to climb already says Nigel Martyn
Aug 25 2009 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
FROM starting out on a level playing field, suddenly Everton are faced with the prospect of climbing a mountain this season. While breaking into the top four was always going to be difficult – particularly without spending lots of money – many will have felt before the new campaign got underway that the Blues could keep their place in the top five or six. Now, though, two defeats have dramatically changed the landscape. True, we got off to a bad start 12 months ago but ended up salvaging the situation so it would be folly to write David Moyes or his players off at this early stage. They will know, however, what a challenge ending up as best of the rest again is going to be, especially given the flying starts that Tottenham and Manchester City have made. Only time will tell how handy the respective nine and six point advantages they have already will ultimately turn out to be. I’m not for one minute suggesting that it is time for anyone to start panicking. There are still 36 games to play and you should never underestimate the ability David has to galvanise his teams in the face of adversity. But losing to Arsenal and Burnley means that Everton have given themselves very little margin for error in the next couple of months and it is going to prove extremely difficult pegging our two main rivals back. Yes, we still have to play Tottenham twice and our game in hand is against Manchester City, so victories in all three of those matches wipes out any deficit and puts us back in the game.
But things are rarely so easy. Tottenham, after all, are playing with great confidence and will be much more difficult to beat now they have got their tails up.
Similarly, City will fancy their chances whoever they play and wherever they go.
Personally, I see City posing the greatest threat to the top four. If they can get it right at the back, their offensive players will cause plenty of problems, but Tottenham’s attacking strength means that they are going to be in there pitching, too. If we are going to get back into the mix, an immediate improvement is required. That makes beating Wigan at Goodison Park next Sunday an absolute imperative. We can’t stay languishing at the wrong end of the table for too long and we need to start making inroads before the international break. We have to show there is life after Joleon Lescott and the only way to do that is by recapturing the sparkle from our play which is so clearly missing.
I hope Joleon Lescott remembers to thank David Moyes
NOW that the Joleon Lescott saga is over, there is no time for dwelling on what has happened in the last couple of months. Firstly, it is only right that we acknowledge the contribution that he has made to Everton over the last three years as, in the main, he has been a model of consistency. The biggest pat on the back, though, should be to David Moyes, who has helped turn Lescott from someone stuck in the Championship to an England international. Doubtless we’ll be hearing a press conference from him soon to mark his unveiling by City and I’ll be really disappointed if he doesn’t thank David. It’s very likely that they have fallen out in recent weeks but you have got to be big enough in times like this to express your thanks for what someone has done for you. Without the time and energy Everton have invested in him, Joleon would never have got the chance to earn such vast sums of money at City. I hope he acknowledges that.
Blues must stay focused for second leg
IT will be a rare treat for Everton to travel into Europe this week with the pressure off but that doesn’t mean their professionalism will slip. Having put four past SK Sigma Olomouc last Thursday, it would be a shock of enormous proportions if we let that advantage slip. But with League form so poor, David Moyes will see this game as a chance to get some confidence back and he will be demanding a fully focused performance. The last thing you want is to go over to Olomouc, play poorly and lose two or three nil and only just scrape through. Yes, the manager has room to manoeuvre and he could give starts to a couple of lads, like Dan Gosling and Jo, who have been on the periphery. At the same time, however, he won’t want to put the team in a position where confidence could end up being dented further – don’t be surprised if he plays all his big guns.
Everton boss David Moyes backs Louis Saha to bounce back from Burnley penalty agony
Aug 25 2009
EVERTON boss David Moyes has backed Louis Saha to put his penalty misery at Burnley behind him and fire Everton into Europa League’s group stages.
Moyes hopes the French striker will conjure up the perfect riposte against SK Sigma Olomouc on Thursday evening. “Louis has had a really good start to the season,” said Moyes, whose side travel to the Czech Republic with a four goal advantage from the first leg. “He has never missed a training session and we did not think that he could have done that. “He is a really good professional. “Everyone who has worked with him will say what a talented footballer he is; everyone knows he has played for some really good teams and played in a World Cup semi-final. You can see he is confident and maybe it’s down to his fitness. “You can see he feels much better and maybe he wants to show people he shouldn’t be labelled as injury prone.”
EVERTON FURY AT LESCOTT HOLD-UP
25th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Bill Thornton
THE Joleon Lescott transfer saga hit an 11th-hour snag last night – leaving Manchester City embarrassed and Everton furious Defender Lescott passed a medical and the clubs had already agreed the £22m deal that Goodison boss David Moyes never wanted. But a hitch in negotiations between the player and City left Mark Hughes unable to announce he had finally got his man. And Moyes, whose team is bottom of the Premier League after two defeats, was in limbo as he tried to push on with plans to spend the money on new signings. City said on Sunday that they had agreed the fee with Everton and they expected to complete the deal yesterday afternoon. But at least the Eastlands outfit were able to reveal that Brazilian left back Sylvinho has joined the club on a year-long contract. The 35-year-old left-back was released at the end of last season by Barcelona, after helping them to victory against Manchester United in the Champions League. Sylvinho, who made 55 appearances for Arsenal from 1999-2001, is seen as top-quality back-up for Wayne Bridge.
Hughes hopes international clearance will arrive in time for his seventh summer signing to go into the squad for the Carling Cup tie at Crystal Palace on Thursday.
“Sylvinho has a wealth of experience at the very top level, having represented Brazil and played for some of the top clubs in Europe,”Hughes said. “When the chance presented itself to bring him to Manchester City as a free agent I saw it as representing excellent business for us. “Sylvinho won the European Cup last season at Barcelona and he will strengthen our defensive options.”
EVERTON NET BILYALETDINOV
25th August 2009
By Mauro Galluzzo for Dailystar
EVERTON have confirmed the signing of Russia midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov from Lokomotiv Moscow for an undisclosed fee. he 24-year-old met with Toffees officials yesterday in Hamburg - he is permitted to enter Germany with a Russian passport without a visa - and signed a five-year contract. Bilyaletdinov will now return to his homeland to complete the formalities of a visa application to enter the UK. Everton chief executive Robert Elstone told the club’s website: “We are delighted to have secured the services of Diniyar. “I know David Moyes has wanted to bring him to Goodison for some time and we look forward to welcoming him.”
Bilyaletdinov will not be eligible for Thursday’s Europa League play-off second leg against Sigma Olomouc and is unlikely to be in England for Sunday’s Barclays Premier League clash with Wigan. He is due in the UK early next month for Russia’s World Cup qualifier against Wales and is expected to link up with his new team-mates for the first time ahead of the following weekend’s trip to Fulham.
The 6ft 1in player has won 28 caps for his country and played in every game during last summer’s memorable run to the Euro 2008 semi-finals under Guus Hiddink.
Meanwhile midfielder Joleon Lescott is on his way out of Goodison Park after the club agreed £24m fee with Manchester City for the player.
Everton Reserves 3 Burnley Reserves 0
Aug 26 2009 Liverpool Echo
AYEGBENI YAKUBU put his injury misery behind him in fine style last night by marking his return to action in the only way he knows how. Having been sidelined with a ruptured Achilles tendon, the Nigerian got on the score sheet 31 seconds into his first competitive start for Everton since November 30 and sent Andy Holden’s reserve side on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over Burnley. In truth, it would have been a surprise had Yakubu missed the opportunity with which he was presented and he duly dispatched his effort from 10 yards past Daniel MacDonald with the minimum of fuss. But what will have pleased Everton boss David Moyes and his assistant Steve Round - both of whom were among a crowd of 1,080 at the Stobart Stadium - was Yakubu’s physical condition following such a lengthy absence.
Some have criticised Yakubu in the past for carrying excess weight but he looked lean and lithe here, clearly showing the benefits of the hard work he has put in during his rehabilitation at Finch Farm. The goal and a run-out would have been a more than sufficient evening’s work but, five minutes after scoring he turned provider, giving Dan Gosling a simple chance to double Everton’s advantage - with the aid of a deflection - from 12 yards. Both those moments were greeted with that infectious smile and while there is still some way to go before he is ready for Premier League battle once more, if all goes according to plan the game at Fulham on September 13 could be when he returns to Moyes’ squad. Seeing him in action again hammered home how much he has been missed and though it would be trite to call him a new signing, there is no doubt a man whose 56 appearances for Everton have yielded 26 goals will give Moyes a new, potent attacking dimension. Yakubu fully deserved the standing ovation he was afforded when substituted on 70 minutes and Holden’s assistant Alan Stubbs articulated the feelings of everyone at Goodison Park when assessing the 26-year-old’s effort. “It was a great start, wasn’t it? If only things were that easy all the time,” said Stubbs. “I’m just glad he came through unscathed and you can see he is now well on the road to recovery now. “Hopefully it won’t be too long before he is back scoring goals for the first team. Yak just needs some more games to get his fitness and the confidence to put his foot through the ball when he shoots but that will come in time. He makes the game look so easy.” If Everton’s first team had an uncomfortable time against Burnley at the weekend, the opposite was true for their second string and from the moment Yakubu fired them in front, the result was never in doubt. American striker Cody Arnaux put the gloss on the scoreline late in the game with a smart finish but, granted better fortune, the Blues could easily have doubled their total, much to Stubbs’ obvious delight. “It was a great start to the season,” he said. “When you looked at the two teams, you would have expected us to get a good result but that’s easier said than done. It was pleasing to get some goals but the clean sheet was just as important.”
EVERTON (4-4-2): Turner; Mustafi, McCarten, Duffy, Barnett; Gosling, Wallace (Arnaux 75), Akpan, Gosling (Peterlin 46); Yakubu, Agard.
BURNLEY (4-4-2): MacDonald; Hoskin, T Anderson, Duff, McEneaney; Wilson, Harvey, C Anderson, King; Knowles, Fletcher.
Goals - Yakubu (1), Gosling (6), Arnaux (79)
Yakubu returns with goal for Everton FC reserves
Aug 26 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AYEGBENI YAKUBU today set his sights on giving David Moyes a welcome headache – as Everton moved close to wrapping up a deal for Sylvain Distin.
Having announced the capture of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov yesterday, Everton are confident they will be in a position to do likewise with Portsmouth skipper Distin soon. A fee in the region of £5m has been agreed with Pompey and personal terms are being ironed out for the Frenchman to move north and become Moyes’ second buy of the week. Aston Villa were reported to be in the running for Distin but it is understood they admitted defeat over the weekend in the attempts to lure him to the Midlands.
It has been a pleasing couple of days for Moyes – whose squad flew out to the Czech Republic today – particularly as he saw Yakubu get up and running again last night
The most expensive striker in Everton’s history marked his return to action with a goal 31 seconds into the reserves’ 3-0 win over Burnley at the Stobart Stadium in Widnes. Though he is still short of being ready for Premier League battle, his 70-minute run out was a big step in the right direction and provided Yakubu with a lift at just the right time. He had become increasingly frustrated during a nine-month absence that was enforced by a ruptured Achilles tendon but Yakubu can now see a point when he will be fit again. But the Nigerian has promised not to take any unnecessary risks in the coming weeks for the fear of jeopardising all the good work he has done this summer. “A goal like that can give me a lot of confidence,” said Yakubu. “I’ve been out for almost a year and that is too long not to score goals. Hopefully there is more to come. “The players have been so good to me and they have always been behind me; I was just looking forward to the first game and I’m so pleased to get 70 minutes. “It’s all looking good. There were some low moments and I was just praying that I would get back to this level. There were no setbacks and now I want to continue doing my job. “I will continue working hard in training and doing the right things; it will be up to the manager to decide when I’m ready to return or not but I feel in good condition.” Yakubu became a crowd favourite during his debut season at Goodison Park and his forward play helped propel Everton to the first of their fifth place finishes under Moyes. The former Middlesbrough striker became the first player since Peter Beardsley in 1992 to score 20 goals, only for injury to stop him repeating the feat. However, Yakubu is anxious to make up for lost time and said: “If you score goals, it’s a gift and something you will never lose. I still believe I can do it for Everton.”
Joleon Lescott finally closes Manchester City deal
Aug 26 2009 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER City finally took their summer spending to a staggering £120million when they resolved a late hitch over Joleon Lescott's protracted move from Everton.
The England international centre-half will be added to mark Hughes ranks for an initial fee of £22million, rising to £24m. The 27-year-old has signed a five-year contract worth £90,000-a-week with City, having passed a medical on Monday afternoon. The deal had to be put on hold for 24 hours, however, due to a dispute over payments owed to the defender's representatives. A further round of talks broke the impasse last night and Lescott could make his debut for Mark Hughes' team against Portsmouth at Fratton Park this Sunday. The fee, which will unlock David Moyes pre-season spending, will eventually rise to £24m providing additional targets are met during his stay in Manchester. City expect to unveil the second costliest English defender – after Rio Ferdinand – at a press conference tomorrow, alongside left-back Silvinho. The Brazilian defender, 35, was released by Barcelona after playing in their Champions League final victory over Manchester United last season.
Boss Mark Hughes said: "Bringing him to the club as a free agent is excellent business for us. "He won the European Cup last season at Barcelona and he will strengthen our defensive options." Sylvinho is Hughes's seventh new signing of the summer and will provide cover for Wayne Bridge. The full-back, who spent two seasons at Arsenal before leaving for Spanish club Celta Vigo in 2001, has won the Champions League twice and picked up three La Liga medals. Hughes added: "Sylvinho has a wealth of experience at the very top level, having represented Brazil and played for some of the very top clubs in Europe." City hope to include him in the squad to face Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup tomorrow, providing they receive international clearance.
LESCOTT LASHES OUT AT MOYES
26th August 2009
By Julia White for Dailystar
JOLEON Lescott has lashed out at Everton boss David Moyes.
The 27-year-old, who fell out with Moyes last week, finally joined the Eastlands club yesterday for £24m after weeks of speculation he was going to make the move.
And he today made an astonishing attack on his former manager claiming that Manchester City are a bigger club than Everton. He said: “I see the future being brighter here than Everton. “Everyone outside the top four are aiming for the same thing but I think Manchester City are more equipped to get there faster than Everton. That is why I made the change.” Lescott was dropped last week for “poor attitude” after a disappointing display against Arsenal in the opening game of the season.
But the player denies that interest from City had effected his commitment on the pitch.
He said: “I was disappointed in the comments about my attitude because they were not accurate. “I felt I conducted myself in the right way. If the players at Everton didn’t think so I apologise. “I also thought the criticism of my performance against Arsenal was a little bit unfair. “I know it wasn’t my finest performance for Everton. But I didn’t think it was my worst either. It was a collective performance and Arsenal were better than us on the day.” The fallout from his row with Moyes is likely to spoil a relationship with Everton’s fans. Lescott added: “Of course it is going to bother me.
“I had a good rapport with the fans and we got on well. I would like to think they understand I gave my all for Everton.” City boss Mark Huges was relived to have finally landed his top transfer target and he insisted City have acted properly in their pursuit, He said: "Joleon is arguably the best centre-half in the Premier League and can be for a number of years. “Some transfers are completed relatively quickly, others take longer. This has been one of the latter cases but the fact we kept pushing for it is indicative of my view on the player.”
Sylvain Distin set for medical ahead of Everton move
Aug 27 2009
Everton have agreed a deal to sign defender Sylvain Distin from Portsmouth, and the player will have a medical this evening. Everton are armed with funds after selling Joleon Lescott to Manchester City for £22million, and Distin will be effectively a like-for-like replacement. The fee involved has not been disclosed, but 31-year-old Distin has agreed a three-year contract and will sign - providing he passes his medical.
Everton chief executive Robert Elstone said: “After Sylvain made it clear his preferred destination was Goodison, the chairman moved quickly to finalise the deal - and Sylvain is now on his way to Merseyside to undergo a medical.”
Everton FC Rumour Mill: Luisao bid fails; De Guzman chase; Brown targetted; Westwood price; Bougherra deal
Aug 27 2009
Luisao bid falls short
Everton will have to up their £12m offer for Benfica's Brazilian international defender Luisao, after Benfica rejected the bid. According to Portuguese sources, they want closer to £17.5m for the stopper. Sources also say Everton see Luisao as a replacement for new Manchester City signing Joleon Lescott and have jumped ahead of Fiorentina in the race to land the centre-half.
Source: Tribal Football
De Guzman chase with Chelsea
Everton have joined Chelsea in their admiration of Feyenoord attacking midfielder Jonathan De Guzman. Chelsea chief Frank Arnesen made a check on De Guzman last week in his two-goal performance against Roda JC.
Everton, flush with the cash raised from Joleon Lescott's sale to Manchester City, are also tracking De Guzman, according to Dutch sources today.
Source: Tribal Football
Brown a target?
While everyone else debated the merits of Eduardo's penalty in the Arsenal vs Celtic game, Everton were reportedly watching Celtic star Scott Brown. The midfielder is expected to cost around £8m, and is understood to be eager to move to England after Celtic's Champions League exit. He joined Celtic from Hibernian in May 2007.
Source: Daily Record
Westwood price tag
Everton's rumoured interest in Coventry's Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Keiren Westwood may be over after City manager Chris Coleman put a £10m price tag on his number one. It is understood the Blues had been preparing a £4m offer for the shot-stopper, who joined the Midlands club from Carlisle last year.
Bougherra moving south?
There is speculation surrounding the future of Ranger’s defender Madjid Bougherra, who is being linked with a move to English Premier League side Everton.
Radio Clyde ran with the story earlier today, but as yet it is just a rumour as no news of an official move has taken place yet. Rangers would be less than willing to let their Player of the Year go, although with Moyes having the cash to splash, an offer over £5 million could tempt the Rangers' money men to sell the Algerian star with a fair amount left over.
David Moyes: Everton FC are going to be stronger than ever
Aug 27 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today vowed to make Everton a stronger side after selling Joleon Lescott – as he revealed Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could make an instant Goodison debut.
As Lescott was being unveiled by Manchester City yesterday, Moyes was planning both for tonight’s game against SK Sigma Olomouc and the future. Bilyaletdinov became the first official signing of what the manager hopes will be a busy few days before the transfer window shuts next Tuesday. And if the Russian international obtains his visa and work permit by tomorrow, he could end up featuring in Sunday’s Premier League tussle with Wigan Athletic. “We’re really looking forward to bringing Diniyar in and there is a chance he could play on Sunday,” said Moyes, who will assess “one or two bumps and bruises” before deciding on the team that will start here this evening. “There has been enough talk (about Lescott’s transfer) and now is the time for everyone to move on. My job is to try and make us stronger. That’s what I am aiming to do. “We are working on several deals. I would be disappointed if we did not get four players in, maybe even more. We’ve made quite a bit of progress on them.”
A £5m fee has been agreed with Portsmouth for Sylvain Distin and personal terms are being discussed, while a number of other central defenders are being considered.
First things first, though, Moyes wants his squad to book their place in the Europa League group stages with the minimum of fuss, after winning the first leg 4-0.
It would be an enormous surprise if Everton failed to negotiate this task but the Czech side have not given up hope and Moyes knows SK Sigma have some quality.
“We have got to take this game with great seriousness, as I thought we had some fortunate moments in the first game,” he said. “But I will not take anything for granted. We didn’t play well against Arsenal or Sigma but I thought there was some improvement at Burnley. “A win would be good for confidence but the important thing is to make sure we qualify. We have got to be careful as Sigma caused some problems. “I wasn’t surprised by their quality, as they beat Aberdeen 8-1 in the previous round. We have got to make sure that we don’t abuse the lead we have.”
Midfielder Tim Cahill added: “We are in a great position but sometimes that can work against you. We are all focused as we have an opportunity to do something special.”
David Moyes promises Everton FC won't take it easy in Europa League qualifier
Aug 27 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
YOU can tell David Moyes is in a relaxed frame of mind when he looks at a press room bar laden with beer, smiles – then encourages travelling journalists to make the most of the local hospitality. As he entertained questions in a cramped, stiflingly hot auditorium in Olomouc last night, Moyes was in high spirits. But that hasn’t always been the case in recent years when Everton have travelled in Europe. Normally at this stage of the campaign, Moyes has been faced with the task of navigating play-off matches that have been fraught with danger. He certainly had nothing to laugh about in places such as Villarreal, Liege or Bucharest. But with the insurance of a four-goal first leg lead – not to mention the knowledge that his transfer plans are falling into place – it was no surprise that Moyes was so convivial as he spoke about Everton’s prospects ahead of their tussle with SK Sigma Olomouc. Away from the cameras and microphones, though, Everton’s manager will slip back into the role of strict disciplinarian once again to ensure there is no chance of his players falling flat on their faces. Moyes, of course, knows it only takes a second for a game to turn on its head and maximum concentration will be required in the opening stages this evening to prevent Olomouc getting even the faintest whiff of staging an improbable comeback. So while some will expect the Toffees to cruise through 90 minutes in second gear, Phil Neville is at pains to point out the opposite will be true as Everton aim to begin the post-Joleon Lescott era in style. “As captain, all I can say is that we wanted an end to that saga, so we can all move on,” said Neville. “All we want to do is concentrate on football and away from the pitch, the manager has shown he is the best in the business at dealing with such issues. “We have got to be a team again. What we can do in this game is play with no fear, enjoy ourselves and hope the freedom that we have got brings back the confidence and belief that we showed nearly every week last season. “If we progress – and nobody is thinking that this tie is over – we could end up having some really great games and trips that capture the imagination.“But we will be going to big grounds with big atmospheres and this trip can give us some experience. “This will be a valuable lesson. Olomouc showed they are a good side and if we give them half a chance, they will take it. “We are in a better position but European football has a habit of kicking you in the teeth if you are not on your guard.” Neville is poised to make the 93rd European appearance of his career – he is expected to play as auxiliary central defender once again – and is hoping it will end with a scoreline as emphatic as the one Everton recorded in his most recent. While a victory would rubber stamp their place in the Europa League group stages in style, it would also provide an antidote to the disappointing way Everton have started the new Premier League season. “Sigma are no mugs and in the first 20 minutes at Goodison, when we were a little bit nervous, we had to ride our luck,” said Neville. “But after we scored the first goal, we controlled the game and that needs to be the case again. “We are in a great position to progress but we have still got an awful lot to do to repay our fans for the way we have started the league season.
“We’ve had a massive kick up the backside from Arsenal and Burnley and we have got to improve.” Once Moyes brings his quota of new faces in – and is able to welcome back influential players such as Ayegbeni Yakubu and Phil Jagielka from injury – improvement in Everton’s play is guaranteed. That’s why long-serving defender Tony Hibbert is refusing to panic after a couple of bad results, pointing to the fact that the Blues have become adept at turning negative starts into positive endings. “It’s the same old Everton isn’t it?” said Hibbert. “We seem to have these bad starts but, once the gaffer gets everyone together, it clicks into gear again. We just need to iron out a few little things and we’ll be away again. “If you ask the rest of the lads, they will say the same thing. “It’s just a matter of time and hopefully it will be sooner rather than later. “We’ve got another important game now and we’ll approach it like we always do. “They are going to have to come at us and it is nice coming here knowing that we have a four goal lead. “But we’re still going to have to weather an early storm and keep things tight. If we do that then we’ll hopefully get a win to get into the group stages.”
I understand Everton boss David Moyes’ reaction – Joleon Lescott
Aug 27 2009by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AFTER the accusations came the inevitable response, the final act in a drama that has spanned the summer and ended up becoming increasingly bitter. But as Joleon Lescott was unveiled as a Manchester City player yesterday, immediately facing questions about why his relationship with Everton fell asunder, there was, at long last, a brief glimpse of humility. Having been castigated by David Moyes for showing a bad attitude in training, Lescott finally got the opportunity to put his side of events forward and – predictably – it was at odds with his former manager’s view.
Listening to Lescott speak, though, following his £24m move, it was easy to pick up on the fact he was, in some ways, contrite for a few of the incidents which unfolded this past month at Finch Farm. And, most importantly, there was a sign of respect; in front of the television cameras at Eastlands, he may have portrayed Moyes as an ogre and paid nothing other than lip service to his three years on Merseyside. Away from that glare, however, there was a side to Lescott that had not been seen for some months, one which recognised that he would never have become the third most expensive defender in football history had it not been for Moyes and company.
“Obviously the relationship didn’t end the way I’d have liked it to,” said Lescott. “But I do understand his (Moyes) point of view. But we’ve got to move on now.
“We spoke on Saturday when the deal was coming to a close. I said goodbye to everyone at the training ground and we now move on in our separate ways.
“It was disappointing to hear that (he had let his team-mates down). But they were ok with me. Louis Saha came out and said I’d conducted myself properly, which was nice. “But I would like to apologise to anyone who feels let down by me. I understand where he was coming from. At the end of the day I made, it clear to him I wanted to leave. “The fans were great in the pre-season friendly against Malaga and Arsenal. Obviously there were a few sections of the crowd who wanted to let me know they were upset. “That’s fine, it’s their right. But I had a great rapport with the fans in my time there and I thank them a lot for everything and the chairman as well.”
Lescott, undoubtedly, will receive a hot reception when City come to Goodison next January but he has attempted to nip in the bud suggestions that he is a mercenary.
He may have doubled his wages in Manchester but the England international says football, rather than finance, was the main motivation behind a move which has almost destroyed relations between Everton and City. “I didn’t expect the fans to accept that I wanted to leave,” he said. “But I made the decision and I had to live with the consequences. “I understand their disappointment. I wouldn’t expect them to want to sell me. But I wanted to make the change and I’m grateful that, in the end, Everton let me. “I haven’t done anything that anyone in any profession strives for. People want new challenges and I’m no different. At this moment City is a great opportunity for me.”
The Jury: Everton fans on Joleon Lescott and their hopes for new signings
Aug 27 2009 Liverpool Echo
LEE MOLTON, St Helens
THE Russians are coming – well Bily is! It’s good to see the Blues finally buying new players with more on the way too. Bily could be a great signing for us, he is tall, a winger and can score goals too. The Lescott saga has finally ended now with him seeing the pound signs. Where in Europe will you be playing this week Lescott – oh yes your new team is not in Europe this season! The European campaign has started well with a convincing home leg win, the away leg should be a formality to take us into the Group stages again and more European adventures for the Evertonians.
Good to see the Yak back and scoring in the Reserves, we have missed his goals and he will provide competition with Saha, Jo and Vaughan. The league campaign has not started that well, but it is early days and a win over Wigan will kick-start our season.
RICHARD KNIGHTS, West Derby
I USED to like Man City, they were hardy perennial losers, but a great bunch of fans with a real sense of humour – giant bananas anyone? Cit-eh fans always boasted that they had more supporters in Manchester than United. Now they’re imitating Chelsea, mega-rich owner, hoovering up every available player, money no object. Hate them.
I don’t blame Joleon Lescott, he’s 27, it’s his last chance of a big pay day. Let’s be honest if anyone offered to double our pay, loyalty or not, you wouldn’t see most of us for dust. I can already detect signs of pundititus, the pundits have to make a living, so two games in and the Cassandras are wailing in full force. As Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army used to say ‘Don’t panic.’ No scrap that, it was . . . ‘Don’t panic! don’t panic!’
DEBBIE SMAJE, Upholland
IT’S about time we had some good news. The Lescott saga has finally come to an end at long last, and as a result, we have finally made our first cash signing of the summer in Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. A centre-back must be next of course, and hopefully in time for Wigan on Sunday. The important thing first is to ensure we finish the job against Olomouc tonight. Progression in Europe could easily help to lift confidence, just as last season’s early exit dented it. A good result and going through to the group stage should lift the players enough to get a result against Wigan on Sunday. That will only happen if the squad is united. It has looked in the first two games like off the pitch problems have divided the players. They need to put it behind them and get back to performing the way we know they can, because so many of them let themselves down against Arsenal and Burnley, and we could do without starting as badly as we did last season.
MIKE DRUMMOND, Speke
I WOULD be forever grateful if Everton were to have a 'normal' summer for a change but that would not make any sense would it? Instead we have to spend it getting over a cup final loss and rather than buy a player or two right away to ease the pain, we announce that 'there is money available' but only spend it when our best defender is sold for £24m! I am not going to bang on about Joleon.The only person I think less of now is Mark Hughes, but I do not have enough space to say my true feelings of him!
It has been stated that we deserved more at Burnley but we can't take the win away from them, they were better on the day, simple as. My main concern right now is the numbers. We seem to have signed a great player in the Russian lad and I just hope that a central defender is next.
Sigma Olomouc 1, Everton 1 (1-5 on agg): Blues cruise into Europa League group stages
Aug 27 2009
Everton booked their place in the Europa League group stages tonight after drawing 1-1 with Sigma Olomouc to wrap up the tie 5-1 on aggregate. The Toffees suffered an early shock when Tony Hibbert was sent off for a professional foul with only seven minutes on the clock, and Sigma pushed forward immediately to try and take advantage. But having weathered the storm, Everton hit back shortly before half-time through Steven Pienaar, whose emphatic strike effectively ended the tie and rendered Pavel Sultes’ late equaliser a mere consolation Taking a comprehensive 4-0 advantage to the Czech Republic from the first leg, it seemed all that David Moyes’ side had to do to ensure victory was guard against complacency. But within minutes of the kick-off the Merseysiders had made life unnecessarily difficult for themselves, as Leighton Baines lost possession just metres from his own area. Jakub Petr, who had already had one shot saved by Tim Howard, latched onto the ball and was brought down heavily from behind by Hibbert on the edge of the box. Despite protests from the Everton players, the referee was in no doubt and immediately showed Hibbert the red card to reduce the visitors to 10 men. Sigma looked to quickly seize the initiative, and after Lukas Bajer had rattled the crossbar direct from the free-kick, Tomas Horava and Tomas Janotka fired in an effort each within the next two minutes. The hosts continued to dominate for the rest of the half, with Janotka in particular looking lively, but they could not convert their possession into goals and were made to pay for it three minutes before the break. In Everton’s first meaningful attack, Leon Osman broke clear on the right and pulled the ball back to find Pienaar arriving in the box. He took one touch with his left foot to control the ball before smashing it past Tomas Losavik with his right. The goal appeared to deflate Sigma, and Everton looked comfortable after the break despite being a man down. Osman and Pienaar were replaced by 17-year-olds James Wallace and Jose Baxter midway through the second half, while Yakubu came off the bench to make his long-waited return from injury with 15 minutes to go.It was Sigma’s substitute Sultes who managed to drill home for the hosts with 10 minutes to go, but it was too little too late for the Czechs as Everton advanced to the group stages.
Sigma Olomouc 1, Everton 1 (1-5 on agg): Passports stamped for Europa assault
Aug 28 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
A RED card, but no red faces. How David Moyes will hope attempts to bolster his squad before next week’s transfer deadline prove as straightforward as this European progression. Everton eased into the group stages of the Europa League by comfortably sidestepping the danger of an unlikely Sigma Olomouc comeback last night.
While domestic matters have so far proven troublesome during the embryonic stages of the campaign, Europe has posed few such problems for the Goodison outfit.
It wasn’t an evening without concern, with Tony Hibbert’s seventh-minute dismissal and imminent Europa League suspension highlighting Everton’s lack of options at right-back. The early sending-off made little impact on the outcome, though, Steven Pienaar’s well-taken strike two minutes before the break seemingly having earned Everton a deserved victory until an 80th-minute equaliser from Pavel Sultes.
And with Yakubu making a 14-minute return to senior action from the bench, the positives far outweighed the negatives for Moyes. Early elimination from Europe badly affected Everton in 2005 and undermined their efforts for a brief period last season, but there was never any chance of another failure here.The hard work, of course, was done in last week’s first leg when two goals apiece from Jack Rodwell and Louis Saha put Everton into a strong position flying out to the Czech Republic. And the event yesterday that could have the most influential impact on Everton’s season was actually taking place back on Merseyside at Finch Farm.
Sylvain Distin’s medical edged the French centre-back nearer a move to Goodison after a deal was agreed with Portsmouth for the 31-year-old. With Diniyar Bilyaletdinov already on board – the Russia international could make his bow against Wigan Athletic on Sunday – and talks ongoing to finalise a loan deal for Valencia’s Argentina midfielder Ever Banega, Moyes’s recruitment drive is gathering pace.
The Goodison manager remains confident of bringing in at least one – and possibly two – more faces before the transfer window slams shut at 5pm on Thursday.
And while Moyes does not believe yesterday’s qualification will have any impact on his buying power, it stands to reason that the further Everton progress in the competition then the easier it will be to sell the club to prospective signings. Success, after all, breeds success. That Moyes chose only to make two changes for the tie in a baking Andruv Stadion said more about his lack of options than ensuring there was no complacency among his charges. Everton, though, will be much better equipped by the time the group stage begins next month, the draw for which takes place today. And with the experience of their run to the last 16 two seasons ago under their belts, the Goodison outfit should be confident of again making serious inroads.
So comfortable were the visitors during the second half that 17-year-old reserve midfielder James Wallace was handed a senior debut from the bench after impressing during pre-season. Jose Baxter, also 17, made his European debut and further encouragement was garnered from the surprise return of Yakubu, who emerged from the substitutes’ bench during the second half after making a goalscoring comeback for the reserves just two days earlier. It was the striker’s first senior run-out since limping off with a ruptured Achilles at Tottenham Hotspur last November. And although Yakubu remains understandably short of match sharpness, his mere presence back on the pitch will act as a major confidence boost for the squad. Elsewhere, Dan Gosling – making his first start of the season – improvised well as a makeshift right-back following Hibbert’s dismissal, Rodwell’s stock continues to rise after a tidy display in central midfield and Leon Osman was a lively performer. That said, Everton didn’t exactly help their cause when they continued the season’s worrying trend for self-destruction when they were reduced to 10 men after just seven minutes.
An uncharacteristically loose pass from Leighton Baines across the penalty area put Hibbert in trouble and, in attempting a sliding tackle, the right-back dumped the breaking Jakub Petr to the turf. With Hibbert the last defender, referee Fredy Fautrel had no hesitation in issuing a straight red. Thankfully for the visitors, the offence was narrowly outside the box, although Tim Howard was still required to turn Lukas Bajer’s subsequent free-kick against the crossbar. In truth, the dismissal ended the game as a spectacle, with Everton understandably sitting deep and Sigma, for all their tidy possession, unable to consistently penetrate and instead resorting at times to kicking their opponents. The Czech side scored eight goals in seeing off Aberdeen in the previous round, but rarely troubled Howard over the two legs. Tomas Horava thrashed a shot narrowly over from 20 yards after Everton failed to properly clear a corner, but the visitors were just as close when Jo, given a chance up front in place of Saha, didn’t connect properly with Pienaar’s low cross from the left. Pienaar, though, made no mistake two minutes before the interval when, after taking a touch to control Osman’s right-wing ball, the unmarked South African fired in from 12 yards.
The strike was only Pienaar’s fifth in 77 appearances for Everton, and if there is any criticism of the midfielder it is that his goals tally does not match his creative output.
With finishing of this calibre, it’s difficult to understand why. Pienaar’s goal left Sigma needing to score six to progress which simply was not going to happen.
The Czech side did produce a late rally in front of a sell-out crowd and drew level 10 minutes from time when, after Baines conceded a free-kick, Rudolf Otepka rolled the ball sideways for substitute Sultes to curl a low drive inside Howard’s right-hand post.
But it’s Everton who move on. Europe awaits.
Sigma Olomouc 1, Everton 1 (1-5 on agg): Blues show they can stand the heat
Aug 28 2009 Liverpool Echo
SWELTERING conditions, an obscure European destination and a game with no pressure attached to it – was this the start of pre-season training again?
The times when it is possible to enjoy a fixture completely devoid of stress are few and far between during a normal campaign, so it was no wonder David Moyes informed his players to make the most of a rare opportunity here in the Czech Republic last night. Having established a four-goal lead in the first leg of their Europa League play-off at Goodison Park, only a calamity of unthinkable proportions would have prevented Everton taking their place in the group stages. For a moment, that calamity looked like unfolding; a first half that should have been a walk in the park turned into anything but as Tony Hibbert’s sending-off after seven minutes triggered countless Evertonians to have panic attacks. Had Lukas Bajer’s subsequent free-kick nestled in the net rather than thudding against the bar, we would have been faced with a very different contest, one that could have ended up with the Blues conceding many more goals. But Everton are one of the most resilient sides in the business and despite having to play a central midfielder as a central defender and a right-sided attacker as a right-back, they eventually showed the huge gulf in class between themselves and SK Sigma Olomouc. Once Steven Pienaar extended the hefty advantage which had been established on Merseyside last Thursday, just before half-time, it was plain sailing and not even a late equaliser from Petr Sultes ruined what turned out to be a thoroughly satisfactory exercise. And by the time this re-jigged competition resumes on September 17, it’s quite possible the Blues will find their season completely up and running, after enduring what can kindly be described as a stuttering start. Look at the evidence: first up, Moyes has recruited Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, a top Russian international with a wealth of experience, who, all being well, will provide energy, creativity and a cutting edge on the left hand side. He has also completed a deal for Sylvain Distin, a central defender who will fill the void created by Lescott’s departure; the Frenchman might be the wrong side of 30 but his fitness record is impeccable and, if required, he could also play left-back. Distin, however, will not be the last new face through the door; there are several deals being worked on to dramatically improve the quality of Everton’s squad.. Had Everton not already possessed talent, they could quite easily have ended up going under inside what was a compact, atmospheric stadium, as from the moment they lost Hibbert – and there were no arguments about the decision – they were subjected to intense pressure. Yet, ultimately, they ended up showing the spirit and unity that has been missing on occasions during the early stages and that ended up breaking Czech hearts; Sigma simply could not find a way through two solid black and pink walls. Everton’s new kit might not be to many tastes but there was nothing ghastly about the quality of Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo’s defending – on the floor or in the air, these two men refused to give an inch in temperatures that reached 32 degrees. It has been well documented that Neville is not a central defender but, once again, he proved himself a credit to his club, hurtling into challenges and barking out orders to ensure Olomouc never got a look in. Alongside him, Yobo was back to his imperious best; when the Nigerian is in this kind of form, he makes the art of defending look easy, effortlessly squeezing the life out of strikers.
Sometimes he can have a tendency to leave you tearing your hair out when he switches off at crucial times but those moments do not happen anywhere near as much as they used to and nor did a lapse look like occurring here. With Dan Gosling also performing admirably at right-back in Hibbert’s absence, Olomouc, for all their huff and puff, never looked like blowing Everton’s house down and ended up being restricted to pot shots. Seltus swept a swiftly taken free-kick from 25 yards into the only part of Howard’s goal that he couldn’t reach but no matter; the only thing it changed was the digits on the scoreline. By the time Sigma restored parity, Moyes had the luxury of introducing youngsters James Wallace and Jose Baxter for some much needed experience and giving Ayegbeni Yakubu a surprise run out, as he steps up his rehabilitation from injury. When the first game of the group stages gets under way, Yakubu will inevitably strip a good deal fitter – and the same can also be said of the team. The season, after all, must start here
SIGMA OLOMOUC (4-1-3-2): Drobisz; Silva, Dreksa, Skerle, Onofrej; Kascak; Janotka (Sultes 72), Horava, Petr (Stepan 84); Ordos, Bajer (Otepka 72
EVERTON (4-5-1): Howard; Hibbert, Yobo, Neville, Baines; Gosling, Osman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Pienaar; Jo.
Goals - Pienaar (44), Sultes (83). Bookings - Gosling; Onofrej. Sent-off - Hibbert.
(Everton win 5-1 on aggregate)
LESCOTT: I DID NOTHING WRONG
27th August 2009
By Jeremy Cross Daily Star
Joleon LESCOTT has hit back at David Moyes – after insisting Everton could not help him achieve his Champions League ambitions.
Lescott is desperate to put the transfer saga behind him following his £22m switch to Manchester City. It has proved the most bitter transfer of the summer, with Moyes blasting Lescott’s attitude, dropping him and making him train alone.
But Lescott insists the Everton manager’s criticism has been out of order because he has done nothing wrong. The England defender, 27, says he only wanted to better himself and join a club with greater chances of breaking into the top four.
“Obviously I’m very excited that the deal has finally been done,” said Lescott.
“It hasn’t been easy and I had to weigh up my options. “The criticism I got was disappointing because I don’t think I’ve disrespected Everton. “If I did then I apologise but I just want to be part of this successful time at Manchester City.
“Everyone outside the top four is aiming for the same thing and Manchester City are better equipped to get there than Everton. “If the two clubs couldn’t have worked things out then it wouldn’t have happened. “I wanted a change but was upset by what was said. I don’t think the comments were that accurate. It wasn’t the greatest situation to be embroiled in.” The Birmingham-born stopper says he understood Everton’s reluctance to let him go. “I know where they were coming from. I wouldn’t expect them to want to sell me,” he added. “But everyone strives for a new challenge and to want to better themselves. I’m no different and this is a great opportunity for me. “I spoke to Everton on Saturday, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. I don’t think I’ve let people down, I made it clear to David Moyes that I wanted to leave. “I just want to get on with playing football now.
“I’ve made my decision and will have to live with the consequences. I want to be part of this club’s success.” City boss Mark Hughes reckons he has landed the No.1 centre-back in the country and said: “It’s been a long and difficult process but I feel Joleon is the best centre-half in the Premier League and will be for many years to come.” Now Hughes knows his squad must deliver. “There is an expectation about what we can achieve in the future,” he added. “We are comfortable with that. I know I have a group of players who can compete at the top end of the table, which was my goal when I took over. “We have probably done in two transfer windows what could’ve taken a much longer period of time. “But we wanted it quickly and knew if we could get the players we needed the club would be stronger. “The players we’ve been able to bring into the club is great. Not only in terms of ability but mentality as well.” Everton are considering reporting City to the Premier League over the Lescott saga but Hughes said: “I’m happy how the club’s dealt with the process.
DISTIN’S TOP OF MOYES’ HIT LIST
27th August 2009 daily Star
By Ian Murtagh
DAVID Moyes last night claimed Everton can emerge stronger without Joleon Lescott if the Goodison boss lands his transfer targets. Moyes, who will spend most of the £24m he has received from Manchester City for the centre-half, announced he plans to bring in “at least four new signings” by the time the transfer window slams shut on Tuesday. He will spend the hours leading up to tonight’s Europa League play-off second leg against SK Sigma Olomouc in the Czech Republic on the phone striving to improve a squad which has under-performed so far this season but at last won the first leg 4-0. Moyes will embark on the biggest spending spree of his time at Goodison Park. He has already signed £10m winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov from Lokomotiv Moscow – he could face Wigan on Sunday if his visa comes through – and clinched a season-long loan deal for Valencia’s Ever Benega. But the Everton chief is now focusing on the domestic market. He is hoping to beat Aston Villa in the race to sign Portsmouth’s Sylvain Distin and is also closing in on Middlesbrough’s German stopper Robert Huth, though Newcastle’s Steven Taylor remains an alternative.
And that might not be the end of his shopping. “I’ll be disappointed if I can’t bring in four new signings, maybe even more in the next few days,’’ he said last night.
“We have made quite a bit of progress and hopefully I will be able to announce something strongly.’’
Everton FC confirm Sylvain Distin signing
Aug 28 2009
EVERTON have signed defender Sylvain Distin from Portsmouth on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. The 31-year-old Frenchman completed the move today after passing a medical at the Goodison Park club’s Finch Farm training ground.
Distin joins the club following the sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City and could make his debut against Wigan at Goodison on Sunday. Everton manager David Moyes told the club website, www.evertonfc.com: ``He'll give me a centre-half. I needed one before Joleon [Lescott] left and he'll give me a direct replacement for him. He's a left-footed centre-back, which I wanted. “He’s a bit older but more experienced and I look back at how well Davey Weir and Alan Stubbs did for us in their 30s, and I hope Sylvain can do the same. “We need someone to come in and keep us steady because we want to be competing at the top end of the Premier League.”
Distin joins striker Jo and midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov as summer signings at Everton.
DAVID PRENTICE: All that glitters is not gold - a tale of two Everton FC centre-backs
Aug 28 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT stopped short of saying he’d joined a bigger club – after all, his new manager had already done that for him. But the inference was clear at Wednesday’s press conference. “Everyone outside the top four is aiming for the same thing, but I think City are better equipped to get there faster than Everton,” said Lescott. For better equipped, read richer. And that, sadly, appears to be the currency which motivates Joleon Lescott. City have spent wildly and impressively this summer, but does that make them a bigger club than Everton? If you were talking about the size and loyalty of their admirable fanbase, you could have an argument. But ultimately a losing one. Because despite the increasingly persuasive argument about the size of your wad, the length of your honours list is still the most impressive statistic for membership of football’s ‘Big list.’ And City have failed to win a trophy in Joleon Lescott’s lifetime. Actually Huddersfield have won more league titles than City. So have Derby, Burnley, Portsmouth and Preston. Which brings us back to money, surely the primary motivation for Lescott’s move. He said he was “over the moon” at a move worth £94,000 a week to him – surely a contender for the John Cleese “stating the bleedin obvious” award. But the argument that we’d all jump at the opportunity of doubling our wages doesn’t hold. Of course we would. But if you’re elevating a nurse’s wages, a taxi driver’s take home or even a journalist’s monthly to a bank manager’s salary, we’re talking serious life-changing sums.
But how much can Lescott’s already luxurious life change? When you already earn in the region of £40,000 a week, how much more can you do with £94k?
Have diamond studs on your Louis Vuitton washbag? Apply gold plating to the monogrammed gates at your mock Tudor pile? Leave another Lamborghini in the stately home sized garage to gather dust? Joleon Lescott can talk about City’s ambition, his international prospects and the “project” City have embarked upon.
But he’s just left the club which has twice finished best of the rest in the Premier League. His penultimate appearance for the club was in a Cup final, and he was confident enough in Everton’s prospects to sign a new contract barely 12 months ago.
Money, once again, appears to have won the day. But before you get too down-hearted at the cynicism and greed of modern footballers, let me remind you of the experience of another Everton centre-half from not so long ago. In 2001 a newspaper carried the following news item. “Alan Stubbs will take a pay cut to complete his dream move to Everton after turning down a three-year deal to stay at Celtic. “The central defender, 29, could have earned around £20,000 a week at Parkhead but has agreed to write off £1m over three years to play for his home club.” Celtic a bigger club than Everton?
You’d have to concede defeat on that one, but Stubbs still let his heart rule his wallet.
Sadly that kind of story is disappearing from football.
DAVID PRENTICE: Everton spend in haste, repent at leisure
Aug 28 2009 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF you’ve ever left Christmas shopping until the last minute, you’ll understand the perils of panic buying. You dash around desperately, spend more than you intended and end up with something not as appropriate as you’d hoped. The same theory applies to football’s transfer market, as Evertonians can grimly attest. In 2006 the season started on August 19. Everton had long since snapped up Tim Howard, Andy Johnson and Joleon Lescott, familiarised them with team-mates, tactics and team pattern, and hit the ground running with three wins, two draws and the most handsome derby win for decades. In 2007 the season started on August 11.
Everton had already signed Phil Jagielka, Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines – and enjoyed three wins and a draw from their first five games. Then the Blues decided to abandon their policy of shopping in the Spring sales In 2008 the season started on August 16. No-one signed until August 26. Even the manager admitted the team was not ready to win Premier League matches. And a wretched start proved him one hundred per cent correct. In 2009 the season started on August 15, Everton’s first acquisition didn’t land until August 25. The start to the campaign? Well I’m sure you’ve spotted the pattern. Spend in haste, repent at leisure.
HIBBERT OFF-DAY BUT DISTIN'S IN
28th August 2009 Daily Star
By Ian Murtagh
DAVID Moyes endured a bitter-sweet afternoon as Everton moved through to the Europa League group stages. Though Steven Pienaar’s sweetly-struck 43rd-minute goal killed off the Czech side’s flickering hopes, Everton had to play with 10 men for virtually the whole game following Tony Hibbert’s sixth- minute dismissal.
There was mixed news in the transfer market for Moyes, who is on the verge of completing the £5m-plus signing of Sylvain Distin on a three-year deal but had a bold £10m bid for David Wheater rejected by Middlesbrough. With Yakubu making his comeback late on, it was a day when the positives outweighed the negatives.
Moyes revealed that Distin, who underwent his medical last night, is in line to play against Wigan on Sunday, while other new recruits are in the pipeline, including Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross. “We need centre-halves so he could play,’’ said the Everton boss. “And we are close on one or two more deals. But Yakubu’s not ready. It’s great to have him back but he’s several weeks away from starting.’’ Everton were never going to lose this tie but Hibbert’s red card made it less comfortable. Moyes had warned against complacency but Leighton Baines was careless with a wayward pass across his box which led to Hibbert’s illegal lunge on Jakbul Petr. Moyes added: “We were put under pressure early on because Sigma needed to score and the sending-off made it even more difficult. “But I was disappointed with the officials, though to be fair, they weren’t happy with them in the first leg.’’ Had Lukas Bajer’s free-kick found the net rather than the bar, it might have offered the 10,212 crowd a glimmer of hope. Sigma never went close again until sub Pavel Sultes hit a 79th- minute consolation with a 30-yard drive. The Czechs had driven forward at every opportunity but a lack of imagination in the final third meant they could never make that extra man count. In contrast, Everton sliced open their opponents with a dash of class from Leon Osman. He brilliantly left two defenders trailing in his wake on the right before pulling the ball back for Pienaar to crash in a rising shot. It left Sigma needing six second-half goals to go through. There was more chance of Moyes phoning Joleon Lescott than Everton caving in. After Tim Howard was called into action for the first time on 63 minutes, diving to his right to keep out Mark Kascak’s long-range effort, Moyes sent on two rookie subs, 17-year-olds James Wallace and Jose Baxter, for first-team and European debuts respectively. And with 15 minutes remaining, the 500 travelling fans also had the sight of Yakubu returning.
EVERTON SNAP UP DISTIN
28th August 2009 The Daily Star
By Julia White for Dailystar.co.uk
EVERTON have signed Portsmouth defender Sylvain Distin for an undisclosed fee.
The 31-year-old has signed a three-year deal after passing a medical at the Goodison Park club’s Finch Farm training ground. Distin joins the club following the sale of Joleon Lescott to Manchester City and could make his debut against Wigan at Goodison on Sunday. Everton manager, David Moyes, said: “He’ll give me a centre-half. I needed one before Joleon [Lescott] left and he’ll give me a direct replacement for him. He’s a left-footed centre-back, which I wanted. “He’s a bit older but more experienced and I look back at how well Davey Weir and Alan Stubbs did for us in their 30s, and I hope Sylvain can do the same. “We need someone to come in and keep us steady because we want to be competing at the top end of the Premier League.” Distin joins striker Jo and midfielder Diniyar Bilyaletdinov as summer signings at Everton and is expected to make his debut on Sunday against Wigan.
The Frenchman’s arrival will free up Phil Neville to revert to a midfield role as the team aim to get back on track in the Barclays Premier League. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could also secure a place in the squad along with Aiyegbeni Yakubu who played the last 14 minutes of the Europa League play-off match against Sigma Olomouc on Thursday after recovering from a ruptured Achilles. Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Victor Anichebe remain sidelined through injury.
Everton closing in on Atletico Madrid’s Dutch ace John Heitinga
Aug 29 2009 by Dominic King The Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are hoping to seal a deal to make John Heitinga their third signing of a hectic week after agreeing a fee with Atletico Madrid. Having already brought in Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Sylvain Distin, Blues boss David Moyes has now turned his attentions to the versatile Heitinga. The Holland international can operate either at right-back or as a central defender and has occasionally played as holding midfielder, too. He only moved to Madrid at the end of the 2007-08 season following a successful time with Ajax but is understood to have his heart set on a move to the Premier League. A transfer fee in the region of £5m was agreed yesterday and Everton officials are now trying to put together an attractive financial package to complete the move.
That is easier said than done, as Heitinga’s current salary would smash the current pay scale at Goodison Park but Everton are determined to do all they can to land their man. Whether the same will be said about Ever Banega, however, is open to debate, as the landscape around that deal has changed dramatically in recent days. When Everton entered into negotiations for a season long loan, Banega was out of Valencia’s team but all of a sudden he has started to be included again.
The Argentine midfielder has let it be known that he favours a move to Merseyside but things have been complicated by a top German club making a big money offer to buy him permanently. Moyes is now faced with the choice of whether to continue pursuing Banega - who the Blues successfully obtained a work permit for last week - or drawing stumps and pursuing an alternative option. Whatever happens, Moyes has not finished his business for the window yet and is confident that he will make more additions in the next 72 hours and confirmed: “I’m hoping to do more than another two if I can.” Meanwhile, Moyes - whose side were paired with AEK Athens, Bate Borisov and Benfica in yesterday’s Europa League draw in Monaco - has hailed Distin’s arrival and believes the Frenchman will have no trouble filling Joleon Lescott’s boots. “Usually we buy with a view to the future,” Moyes pointed out. “But on this occasion, the reason we were not letting Joleon go was because there was only a couple of what I thought were good centre-backs available. “One was (Sebastian) Bassong. I did have an interest in him. But we had not been offered anywhere near the money from Manchester City at the time when you could have been interested in taking Bassong from Newcastle. “That one we couldn’t do. The other one was Matthew Upson, if you wanted a natural left footer. There is a bit of a similarity in age (between Upson and Distin) but the price for Matthew Upson was far greater than what it was for Sylvain Distin.”
BARRY HORNE: Big clubs have missed a trick in the transfer market
Aug 29 2009 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
THE deadline for the transfer window approaches, and it looks like being a familiar scenario for David Moyes with a frantic scramble towards Tuesday’s 5pm cut-off.
But there has already been some good business conducted elsewhere in the last few days. I have commented already on the bargain Steve Bruce got in Lee Cattermole and I think that Tony Pulis has done an equally good piece of business in signing Robert Huth and Tuncay Sanli for a reported £10million. I watched Middlesbrough many times last year and even at their grimmest Tuncay stood out like a beacon.
Robert Huth is undoubtedly a quality defender, too. The combined fee for all three means that for £16m somebody could have bought a very strong spine for am decent Premier League team. I was at Turf Moor last weekend when it wasn’t just Everton’s spine which was lacking. But on what was obviously a bad for Evertonians, I had to admire the way Owen Coyle and Burnley went about their business. Much has been said about the “spirit”, the “pluckiness” and the “team spirit” of the Premier League new boys. Very few articles that I have read or heard, however, commented on the bold tactics employed by Coyle and the fact that Burnley actually played good football – especially in the first half. Burnley matched Everton’s five in midfield and I was very impressed with the way their two full-backs followed Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman into very deep areas of the pitch. It was a risky strategy, obviously leaving space, but Burnley’s teamwork, organisation and tactics meant that they were getting men free in wide positions and it was from such overloads in those areas that Burnley should have made the game safe by half-time. Having said that, the much maligned Tony Hibbert did well going forward putting in three excellent crosses over in the first half. He also ‘won’ the penalty which meant Everton could quite easily have come away with an undeserved point. There must be a huge improvement tomorrow.
I have also seen Wigan this season and while they try to play football, they are lightweight and lacking pace all over the pitch. If Everton can improve – and they need to – they should have too much for Wigan.
European draws good for Britain
IT has been a good week for British clubs in Europe – in so much as the draw has been kind to our four Champions League representatives and ourselves in the Europa League. Benfica are a pale shadow of the European force they once were, and while AEK Athens will pose a difficult tie away from home Everton should progress quite smoothly through the largely uninspiring and unecessary group stages. I have no doubt that Everton fans will travel in their thousands to Portugal and Greece and will have a great time. Possibly not quite as many will make the trip to Belorussia, but I am sure they will have an equally good time. The Europa League only really begins in earnest when the group stages are done and the tournament reaches the last 32 stage.
But getting there can still very entertaining for the fans and good experience for the players in the latter stages of the competition.
DOMINIC KING: Could be time for Everton to cut out the riddle man
Aug 29 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DECISIONS, decisions. Who would have thought the signing of a left winger could end up completely changing the identity of Everton’s midfield? Having convinced Lokomotiv Moscow to part with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov for £9m, David Moyes has signed a player that will provide the Blues with a genuine cutting edge on the flanks, one that will happily hog the touchline. Listening to the manager speak about his latest capture earlier this week, there is no doubt Bilyaletdinov will go straight into Moyes’ starting line-up – as you would expect for someone who has just become the third most expensive purchase in Everton’s history. But to accommodate the Russian international, Moyes is going to need to shuffle the pack that has served him so well over the past 12 months and, inevitably, someone is going to be disappointed.
The early talk that has dominated conversation among Blues goes something like this – Bilyaletdinov comes into the left, Steven Pienaar switches over to the opposite flank and Leon Osman becomes the man to drop down. That would then leave Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill to operate in the central areas with Phil Neville resuming his role as the anchorman once Sylvain Distin takes his place alongside Joseph Yobo at the back. It is easy to see the logic in that theory but it would be dangerous to jump to such a conclusion, particularly after Osman bounced back to form in the Czech Republic on Thursday evening, producing a performance crammed with honesty and endeavour. Osman would not argue that he has been a little below par in the opening weeks of the campaign but one thing he can never be faulted on is his honesty and application; he never hides or shirks the issue even when things are difficult.
What’s more, there are even grounds for thinking that Osman’s clever movement and subtle passing is more suited to a central area, a link man who can make things flow but will also get back to aid his defenders. So if that means Osman is going to be brought off the flanks to maintain his place, suddenly the dilemma revolves around Fellaini and Cahill, the man whom Moyes calls ‘Johnny On The Spot’.
Were a poll to be conducted on the Gwladys Street or in the Park End, there would, surely, be only one winner; Cahill has given the supporters who occupy those stands so many giddy moments in the five years he has been a Blue and is not done yet.
Though his goals have dried up in the last couple of months, there were signs of that devilment in his play returning at Burnley last weekend. It’s only a matter of time, too, before his tally starts ticking over again, as his two strikes for Australia against the Republic of Ireland earlier this month showed he has not lost any of his poacher’s instinct. Which brings us to Fellaini. That he finished his first campaign in England with an impressive haul of nine goals proves he has qualities similar to Cahill but that is not necessarily a plus for this team. There have been a number of times in games when Cahill and Fellaini have played alongside each other that they have ended up wandering into space, only to nullify each other’s threat. Now this is not picking on Fellaini by any means; when Arsenal came to town and demolished the Blues on the opening day, many singled the Belgian out for stinging criticism but, as has always been the case, he was the easy target. People look at the huge fee Everton paid for him and expect him to produce fireworks every time he steps into battle but he has only been at the club 12 months and is still finding his feet. This is going to be an important campaign for Fellaini and many will be watching to see how he progresses; who knows? Maybe a way to accelerate that development will come if he watches from the sidelines occasionally as Moyes grapples with his middle riddle.
A wee drop of strong stuff goes down a treat
WHILE footballers rarely want for anything, they are occasionally faced with the most thankless tasks – as one member of Everton’s squad discovered on Thursday.
As the game’s governing bodies attempt to completely expunge any form of substance abuse, it is a requirement for clubs to have two randomly selected players tested for drugs after every European game. For a number of reasons, we will not reveal the identity of the pair from Everton who were asked to enter the doping room following the game in Olomouc but while one had little trouble providing his sample, it was not plain sailing for the other. You can imagine after running around in sweltering heat, being drained of fluids, that doing what nature intended is easier said than done – and no matter how much water, he glugged, nothing happened. With time ticking away before the bus left – and this individual still in his strip – someone in the doping room suggested having a sip of something a little bit stronger and hey presto.
So it’s true, then. Beer reaches parts other liquids cannot reach.
Lukas goes with Well wishes
AYEGBENI YAKUBU got his Everton career up and running again in the reserves this week but one striker has moved away from Goodison to ignite his prospects.
Lukas Jutkiewicz has struggled to make an impact at first team level since arriving at Goodison Park and is hoping a six-month loan spell at Motherwell will work the oracle. “I was at Everton with James McFadden and he had a tremendous amount of ability,” said Jutkiewicz. “Hopefully I can do as well for Motherwell as he did.”
Leighton Baines: Time for Everton to turn the corner
Aug 29 2009 Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES has urged his team-mates to make the most of a perfect opportunity and head into the international break on a high. Everton bring their first set of Premier League fixtures to a close tomorrow at Goodison Park with a tussle against Baines’ former club Wigan Athletic. While the Blues have endured a laboured start to domestic affairs, losing to both Arsenal and Burnley, the past seven days have been even more disappointing for Wigan. After conceding five on home soil against Manchester United, they crashed out of the Carling Cup at Blackpool on Wednesday when the Tangerines put four past them. It would be rash to say that a Europa League draw with SK Sigma Olomouc has turned the tide for Everton but there has been a definite change in the mood around the club in recent days and Baines feels the time has come to capitalise. After all, there would be nothing worse than to spend the two weeks leading into the game at Fulham mulling over three consecutive defeats and that’s why Baines hopes the side David Moyes selects will be firing on all cylinders from the first whistle. “Wigan have had a couple of really disappointing results after such a good win at Villa on the opening day,” said Baines, who made 162 appearances for the Latics. “They played really well and were buzzing going into the Manchester United game. “Since then, they’ve had the wind taken out of their sails and they will be looking to put that right against us. But with an international break coming up, it’s so important that we end this little sequence of games with a win.
“We need to go into it with a good performance and three points. That’s what we are aiming for. It would be horrendous not having a game for a fortnight knowing that you’d lost you first three league games.
“We need to put a win on the board and it’s vital that we do it. The good thing is that we are at home, we all enjoy playing at Goodison and we know there is going to be a good atmosphere - now it’s up to us to produce the performance.” Diniyar Bilyaletdinov could be in line to make an unexpected debut if the necessary paper work arrives in time, while Sylvain Distin is expected to shake off a little foot problem to take his place in the heart of Everton’s defence. Should Moyes does select both of the signings he has made this week, nobody will notice it more than Baines, as the men who play in front and alongside him will have changed out of all recognition.
He has become accustomed to having Joleon Lescott by his side and Steven Pienaar surging forward ahead of him but Baines is quick to point out that a change of personnel does not cause any major problems. If anything, Baines feels the new boys will provide Everton with a much-needed lift - Distin’s presence at Finch Farm yesterday certainly created a buzz - and he is looking forward to seeing how the side evolves in the post-Lescott era. “There is certainly a freshness when a new player comes in - it gives everyone a lift; it’s what you want, really,” said Baines. “It will be interesting to see what they are like and what qualities they have. “I really enjoyed playing alongside Joleon when he was here but he has moved on now and it is time for us to move on. I’m not quite sure where Bilyaletdinov is going to play when he comes in but everything points to him being on the left side. “I’ve really enjoyed having Steven in front of me and we have got a good combination but all I can do at the minute is concentrate on keeping in the side myself; whoever plays alongside me, I’ll try and do my best with them.”
TRACTOR BOYS TO TACKLE MOYES
29th August 2009
By James Dobson
EVERTON will face the real Tractor Boys in the group stage of the Europa League.
David Moyes’ side have been drawn against BATE Borisov of Belarus in Group I, along with Portuguese giants Benfica and AEK Athens. BATE stands for the ‘Borisov Works of Automobile and Tractor Electric Equipment’.
The club showed up well in last season’s Champions League, drawing home and away with Juventus. Everton boss David Moyes said: “I’m happy enough with the draw and I’m pleased to be in it. “The travelling is maybe a little bit longer than I’d have hoped.”
MOYES IN A RACE FOR BENTLEY
ABOVE: Toffee target: David Bentley
30th August 2009 Daily Star
By Steve Millar
EVERTON boss David Moyes will seek urgent talks with chairman Bill Kenwright to find extra cash for a move for David Bentley in the next 48 hours. Moyes has spent the £24million banked after Joleon Lescott’s sale to Manchester City and needs board backing to finance his next big signing. He’s splashed almost £6m on Atletico Madrid defender Johnny Heitinga as well as capturing Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Sylvain Distin to take his spree to £21m. Add to that the £3m due to Lescott’s former club Wolves in sell-on rights, and you can see that Moyes’ transfer pot is empty.
That’s why he will turn to Kenwright and ask for another huge cheque to tempt Bentley away from Tottenham. Everton have been in contact with White Hart Lane about a possible move to bring Bentley back to the North West where he starred in a three-year spell at Blackburn. Spurs bought him for £15m 13 months ago and would be looking for a similar amount to ship him out after he failed to impress boss Harry Redknapp. Moyes hopes a bid of around £11m will be enough to get his man – and that’s where the generosity of Kenwright comes in. Moyes said: “With the position Everton are in, I think we should be entitled to go out and spend the cash. We have made a profit in the last couple of years. “We have finished fifth two years in a row. I might be at a different level to other clubs but we have to able to re-invest and go back into the market. “We want a club which keeps aiming to progress, so I’m going to push the board really hard not just to spend the Joleon money but to spend more.
“You can’t be at the top of the league and want to be at the top of the league and not invest in the team. The team needs investment. “Bill is doing everything he can to get me the money because we don’t have a big financial backer.” Moyes points to Lescott as an example as to how far the club has progressed in recent seasons.
He said: “When I came to Everton I wanted to build a new young side which I thought could improve and we would have re-sale value on the field. That has proved the case.
“We bought Joleon for just under £5m and sold him for £24m. So in truth we have made big profits. When I came in, apart from Wayne Rooney, very few players were saleable. “Now we have that and we have a club competing at the top end of the league. I want to continue competing up there.”
Everton FC 2-1 Wigan: On the whistle report
Aug 30 2009
EVERTON hauled themselves off the foot of the table with their first Barclays Premier League win of the season thanks to an injury-time penalty from Leighton Baines. Wigan, who picked up six bookings, took the lead after 56 minutes with a Paul Scharner header. Everton equalised soon after through Louis Saha, but had to wait until the third minute of added time for their winner. New defender Sylvain Distin made his Everton debut while another new signing, Russia winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, was on the bench. The Toffees made just one change from the side that lost their last Barclays Premier League game at Burnley last weekend, with Marouane Fellaini dropped to the bench to accommodate Distin. Phil Neville reverted to a midfield role. Wigan retained just four of the players who were ditched out of the Carling Cup by Blackpool in midweek - Michael Pollitt, Paul Scharner, Emmerson Boyce and Mohamed Diame. With Everton likely to unveil more signings before Tuesday's deadline - they are reported to have agreed a fee with Atletico Madrid for Holland defender Johnny Heitinga - David Moyes' wide could soon have a new look to it. They started the day bottom of the table, and needed to get some consistency into their game. Everton started brightly, with Tim Cahill seeing a diving header from Leighton Baines’ corner go just wide. Then goalkeeper Pollitt did well to turn over a fierce 12-yard effort from Jack Rodwell. Wigan tackles were certainly flying in, to the fury of the home fans, and eventually Wiltshire referee Lee Probert got his book out to caution Diame for a foul on Neville after 19 minutes. Wigan had created very little, although Charles N’Zogbia saw a shot from the edge of the area deflected wide.
Everton almost scored with the best move of the match so far after 30 minutes. Rodwell’s turn and pass found Leon Osman, who instantly sent Tim Cahill racing away down the left. The Australian’s cross found Louis Saha powering into the six-yard box, but Pollitt managed to get his body in the way of the striker’s shot. Skipper Mario Melchiot was the next Wigan man booked, for bringing down Pienaar.
Even Moyes felt the strength of Wigan’s tackling. He bent down to collect the ball as it crossed the touchline in front of him, and he was sent spinning by Hendry Thomas, who was sliding in trying to keep it in play. Both men finished in a heap on the track.
A minute later Boyce was cautioned for a foul on Saha, Wigan having just sent on Jason Scotland for the injured Diame. Thomas was also in the book after 40 minutes for breaking from the wall to charge down a Neville free-kick. Within seconds of the restart, both Saha and Cahill failed to convert a Tony Hibbert cross as it flashed across the six-yard box. Boyce then made a brave saving tackle to stop Osman's 10-yard effort. Hibbert’s long ball then sent Saha away to fire a cross-shot a foot wide of the far post. But it was Wigan who broke the deadlock after 56 minutes. N’Zogbia crossed from the right and Scharner arrived unmarked on the far post to produce a diving header that Tim Howard could not keep out. A minute later Leon Osman was booked for a foul on Hugo Rodallega, by now Wigan were coming out of their shell.
And they almost had a second after 60 minutes when Jordi Gomez side-footed a Melchiot cross against a post. But Everton were level after 62 minutes, Saha emerging from a ruck of players to head home a Baines corner. Everton then sent on Fellaini for Osman after 69 minutes, and in the melee of the first corner after the Belgian arrived, Joseph Yobo saw a towering header cleared off the line by Hendry.
Everton FC 2 Wigan 1: Blues find their feet in a physical contest
Aug 31 2009 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES found himself dumped to the Goodison turf yesterday. And the Scot will realise his Everton side are having similar difficulty in finding their feet in the Premier League this season. An injury-time penalty from Leighton Baines may have ensured a confidence-boosting first league victory of the season to move Moyes’s men off the bottom of the table. But the elation of the happy supporters streaming home at full-time was tinged with a healthy dose of relief following an afternoon that underlined the hard work that needs to be done to revive their top-five form.
Of course, after the humiliation of opening-day defeat to Arsenal and last week’s shock reverse at promoted Burnley, it would be harsh to quibble at this triumph.
Indeed, last season’s habit of late goals remains present and correct. Yet that Everton even came within seconds of taking only a point from a game they should have won at a canter spoke volumes. The margins were narrow. Both Louis Saha’s equaliser and the winning penalty came shortly after Wigan had spurned gilt-edged opportunities to add to Paul Scharner’s 57th-minute opener. Moyes had found the funny side at being upended by a sliding Hendry Thomas during the first half, but later acknowledged some of his players require a similar kick up the backside. There was no real surprise that the winner should come from the spot, given the succession of fouls and bookings – Wigan face a fine after accruing six yellow cards – that littered a fractious encounter. Latics manager Roberto Martinez has forged his reputation on building attractive teams but, having shipped nine goals in losing their previous two games to Manchester United and Blackpool, fear and negativity ruled their approach.
Referee Lee Probert’s whistle was too often the most prominent feature, particularly during a first half in which Wigan conceded 17 fouls to Everton’s three.
Such initial lack of ambition from the visitors ensured Sylvain Distin – given a rousing reception when introduced to the Goodison crowd before kick-off – couldn’t have wished for a more accommodating introduction to life as an Everton player.
Moyes is still seeking to strengthen his squad before tomorrow’s 5pm transfer deadline – two new arrivals are a must – but there was a stronger appearance to his bench yesterday that ultimately helped turn the game for Everton.
The substitutes included Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, the Russia international winger granted permission for a first involvement since his £9million arrival from Lokomotiv Moscow and who was given a late run-out. More surprising, though, was the sight of Marouane Fellaini sat alongside the new boy.The Belgian international has yet to find his form after a summer in which he was hampered by a debilitating virus, and Moyes chose to remove the 21-year-old from the firing line. No doubt fired by being omitted, Fellaini’s late introduction added zest to Everton’s attacking endeavours while the thrust of fellow substitute Jo eventually proved too much for Wigan’s overworked defence. The changes meant the Goodison manager could shuffle his pack and return Tim Cahill to the attacking midfield in which he has few Premier League equals.
Released from defensive responsibilities and back in his preferred position, the Australian – who Moyes had revealed remains bothered by a foot injury – buzzed with intent in the first half. Cahill’s appetite was evident in the 31st minute when a typical burst found space down the left and his low cross into the six-yard box was met by a sliding Saha, only for the Frenchman’s effort to hit goalkeeper Mike Pollitt and ricochet back off the striker and behind. Everton had the better of what little action took place between the fouls in the first half, a rasping Jack Rodwell drive soliciting a decent parry from Pollitt and the goalkeeper safely fielding a Steven Pienaar effort.
With Cahill again prominent, the home side intensified their efforts after the restart. Mario Melchiot blocked an effort from the Australian, Leon Osman was similarly denied and Pollitt almost fumbled under pressure from Cahill.
Tim Howard had been a virtual spectator before the break, but Wigan finally strung enough possession together in the 53rd minute for Charles N’Zogbia to see a curling effort deflected wide. Yet it was with a sense of disbelief that Wigan went ahead four minutes later. Slack defending again proved Everton’s downfall, N’Zogbia given the room to cross low from the right for Scharner, who had nipped in behind Tony Hibbert, to head in from close range for his fourth goal against Everton.
It could have been worse moments later when a simple pass from Melchiot dissected the entire Everton defence and the incoming Jordi Gomez struck the base of Howard’s left-hand post. Had that been a few inches to the left, Everton would surely have been contemplating a third straight league defeat this morning. Instead, parity was restored on 62 minutes in the simplest of fashions when Saha leapt highest among a gaggle of players to nod in a Baines corner from the right for his fourth goal of the campaign.
Brave defending from Wigan midfielder Thomas prevented Saha from notching a second after Joseph Yobo glanced another Baines corner to the far post, while Cahill was wasteful when heading wide from Hibbert’s curling cross.Jo, on for Saha, shot straight at Pollitt from a good position and Rodwell thumped an inviting rebound horribly over the crossbar from 15 yards. Wigan should have capitalised on such profligacy in the closing moments when, with Everton’s defence exposed following a lightning break, Scott Sinclair’s shot was blocked when the youngster had four team-mates available. That aberration was compounded three minutes into injury time when Jo’s forceful run into the box was curtailed by Emmerson Boyce’s foul challenge and Baines, who had suffered a bloody nose during the first half, delivered a more significant, decisive blow by keeping his cool where Saha lost his at Burnley by converting from 12 yards. There was still time for Jo to send another opening well over but the points were assured. Everton’s Premier League season is now up and running.
Everton FC 2, Wigan 1: The window to happiness
Aug 31 2009 Dominic
FROM snarls to smiles; a frantic finish has ensured Everton’s season is up and running. Now David Moyes must hope a brisk end to the transfer window will keep it that way. Shortly before 4.15pm yesterday, the unthinkable – namely opening the campaign with a third straight defeat – seemed poised to become reality after the unmarked Paul Scharner stooped to head Wigan Athletic into the lead. Come 4.50pm, Goodison Park was bouncing with delight, jubilant supporters reaping the rewards of Moyes being able to make adventurous, experienced substitutions for the first time this season, nipping any thoughts of rebellion in the bud. The world, thankfully, seems a happier place today following a header from Louis Saha and a last-gasp penalty from the unflappable Leighton Baines, but if the Blues are to make up ground on Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa, the next 36 hours are crucial.
You may have expected Moyes to be smiling broadly after seeing his team get off the mark in such dramatic fashion yet, if anything, the opposite was true. Yes, there was a joke about the moment he was pole-axed by Hendry Thomas but otherwise little else.
He knows, you see, that Everton still need two more additions to their squad before the window slams shut – possibly more – which is why he hopes bold, decisive action will be taken by those in charge of the club’s purse strings. History shows they have never failed him before and there is no reason to suggest they will do now, particularly as they are working overtime to get the complexities of Johnny Heitinga’s £5.7m move from Atletico Madrid ironed out. But if Everton are to successfully juggle the demands of the Europa League, Carling Cup and Premier League, they need more than a flying Dutchman to swell ranks that have been depleted but are starting to return to normal. Consider yesterday’s evidence: Moyes has never shied away from confronting difficult selection dilemmas and a look at Everton’s bench showed once again that he will not hesitate in disappointing players, regardless of their price taghow much he has paid for them. If Diniyar Bilyaletdinov’s presence was an unexpected bonus, to see Marouane Fellaini’s name alongside that of the Russian’s almost 12 months to the day when he became the club’s record signing was, perhaps, something of a surprise. Many would have felt Leon Osman’s place was under most pressure but if his form has been a rung or two below what is expected – he will not look back on Scharner’s goal with any fondness – the same can also be said of Fellaini. Though he and Tim Cahill dovetailed to great effect last season, particularly in a number of games before Christmas when no strikers were fit, neither he nor his partner in crime are anywhere near as effective when paired together behind a front man. At this present time, then, the logical thing for Moyes to do is give Fellaini – who, do not forget, contracted a debilitating virus in the summer – a spell as an impact player and let the wily Cahill lead the way. During the opening exchanges, you could see that was the best decision as Cahill had an energy and devilment about him once again, harrying and harassing Wigan’s defenders, always looking to latch on to scraps around the penalty area. With the security of Jack Rodwell and Phil Neville behind him, you could see a freedom returning to his play that had been missing at Burnley seven days earlier, when it looked as if he was inhibited, shackled to a deep-lying role.
Never more was that evident than after 31 minutes when he scurried down the left on to a ball from Osman and slid an inviting centre into an area commonly called ‘the corridor of uncertainty’ for Saha, but the Frenchman couldn’t apply a finishing touch. No matter. This was much more what we have come to expect from the Australian and the added bonus was that when Fellaini was pitched into the action, his efforts – along with fellow substitute Jo – helped retrieve what almost became a hopeless situation. How Everton ended up chasing a game they should have won in a stroll is a matter for some debate, as the prospects of Wigan scoring for much of the afternoon looked as remote as a week of unblemished sunshine here in August. That was down to the fact Roberto Martinez’s side seemed more concerned with kicking any Everton player that moved forward in the first 45 minutes – even Moyes came in for a touch of the rough stuff – and that they came up against a central defender in fine form.
Clearly there will be bigger tests for Sylvain Distin to cope with down the line but this was a most encouraging first appearance in a Blue shirt and showed why it would be futile spending anymore time thinking about Joleon Lescott. While some players need several games to get attuned to a team’s rhythm, Distin didn’t even need 45 minutes to tap into the Everton way and, if anything, he has added qualities to the back four that Lescott most definitely lacked. Lescott might be a tremendous athlete and capable of popping up at the other end to score a goal but he was not especially vocal nor was he someone who would bark out orders to organise. Distin, on the other hand, could be seen demanding that Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo and Baines listened to him from the first whistle, telling his colleagues at the back how he wanted them to move and when to do it. Throw in the fact that he is athletic, intelligent and experienced and you can see why he was such an attractive proposition for Moyes; this was an assured debut, one which eventually ended with a victory.Baines had to be the calmest man inside Goodison when he marched up to take the spot-kick awarded after Jo was chopped down by Emmerson Boyce and it showed, as he smashed past Mike Pollitt.
Only time will tell how important that strike proves to be but it has certainly changed the atmosphere going into the international break; all being well, it will be lifted even more if the shopping spree Moyes has planned comes off.
Everton FC manager David Moyes keen to sign two more players
Aug 31 2009
DAVID MOYES is desperate to add two more faces to his Everton squad in the next 24 hours – so he can give some more of his under-achieving players a kick up the backside! The Blues boss dropped Marouane Fellaini and Jo to the substitutes’ bench against Wigan yesterday – and both made match-winning contributions as impressive substitutes. If Moyes can add to recent signings Sylvain Distin and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov – both of whom figured against the Latics – he hopes his squad can become even more competitive. “I think there’s three or four have needed a kick up the backside,” said Moyes “but I’ve not been able to do that because I’ve not got enough players. “But I will have soon and it will get to the stage that if they don’t perform then I can change them. “The substitutions worked well. I thought Felli made an impact, Jo got us a penalty, had two chances and maybe should have scored. We need to have that opportunity more often. “We’ve not really had it on the bench too often to change things, certainly this season. “If we get Mikel and Yak back in the coming months, I can see us starting to have a much stronger squad and be able to make changes from the bench when things aren’t going that well. “This is going to be the hardest part for Fellaini, the first six months of the second season. “But he made a difference for us today and changed the speed of the game, the tempo. “We need to be able to do that with different players and I hope that soon we’ll be able to do that.”
The Blues had to come from behind to finally edge out Wigan with a 92nd minute penalty. But the Blues boss believed it was an ultimately deserved victory.
“I thought we deserved it in the end,” he said. “I thought the players stuck at it. It’s not easy coming from behind in the Premier League. “I don’t think we should have put ourselves in that position, but we did. “We missed several opportunities and you always fear a goal against you is on its way and that’s what happened.” The transfer window closes at 5pm tomorrow and Moyes added: “I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get another two in. I’ve let four go and and only got two in so even to get back to the small numbers we had last season I have to get two minimum. “The chairman and the staff are working really hard to bring people in. There’s no guarantee that will happen, but that’s the objective if we can.” Referee Lee Probert came under fire from Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, 24 hours after his part in seeing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sent off at Old Trafford. Martinez said: “It is not ideal to have that referee, but my opinion is not important. I am sure Everton will be delighted. “Maybe they should give the referee some time and space and it wasn’t ideal for him to be refereeing this game. “With their penalty, Jo was very clever and he could see the tackle coming, he left his standing leg there for the contact. I am not sure just how much contact there was.”
Marouane Fellaini makes mark from Everton FC substitutes' bench
Aug 31 2009 By David Prentice
NOT since another towering totem last passed this way has one player divided opinion quite so much. Big hair, big reputation, low work-rate, the similarities between Duncan Ferguson and Marouane Fellaini are not restricted to a requirement to duck going through doorways. Ferguson cost some significant transfer fees, always claimed he was worth much, much more – and some agreed. For Fellaini, living up to his own weighty transfer fee has proved to be a burden during an eventful opening 12 months on Merseyside. Yesterday was one of his good days, but it still needed the kick up the derriere of 69 minutes idling on the substitutes’ bench to elicit a match-winning reaction. Even here, there were similarities with his skyscraper predecessor.
Joe Royle once decided that Big Dunc needed some gentle encouragment and decided to leave him in the dug-out for the visit of newly promoted Sunderland.
It was as good as telling the big fella there were two burglars rummaging through his Cristal champagne. He buried a bullet header at the Gwladys Street End and his celebration made it clear to his manager that Supersub was not really the role he had in mind for himself. Fellaini sent an equally eloquent message to his boss.
He didn’t score yesterday, but his influence on the game was unmistakable.
At a time of the game when Everton had equalised but were labouring to chisel out a winner, he offered some welcome perspiration and no little inspiration.
His boss was satisfied. “I thought Fellai made a big impact,” said David Moyes. “He changed the speed of the game, the tempo. But this is going to be the hardest part for him now, the second season.” The Belgian clearly has the talent to succeed, he just needs to find a defined position. Because at present it seems that it’s a case of either Tim Cahill or Fellaini, but not both. But if Fellaini still has his best years all in front of him, there’s also a precedent at Goodison for golden oldie centre-backs to enjoy an Indian summer. Richard Gough was a Rolls Royce defender who was nearing vintage status when he finally landed on Merseyside. But despite not making his Everton bow until the age of 37, he proved an outstanding acquisition. On his debut his defensive partner was another 37-year-old, the legendary Dave Watson – a man whose Goodison achievements wasn’t reflected in the number of great games he played, but the number of great seasons. At 31 Sylvain Distin can almost be considered positively youthful.
He enjoyed an accomplished enough debut yesterday, although in truth didn’t have an awful lot to contend with. Wigan were poor. Their enterprising young manager seems to have already adopted the maxim “If at first you don’t succeed . . . do something different.” After receiving accolades and back slaps for the style of their football on the opening day at Villa Park, Wigan were niggling and overly aggressive.
Both managers thought six away bookings was a harsh total, but in truth a more consistent referee than Lee Probert would have shown even more. In the end it was Wigan’s inability to keep their discipline which cost them the match. Emmerson Boyce crudely curtailed Jo’s penetrating run and the end result was a nerve shredding 92nd minute penalty kick. It takes a particularly strong character to accept a potentially season-changing responsibility – but Leighton Baines possesses that quality. There were signs that some of his team-mates also possess the same disposition. It will be needed because Everton are still a long way off the side which ended last season so impressively. But, like Marouane Fellaini, they’ve finally made a start to their season.
Steven Pienaar: My old mate Johnny Heitinga can be great for Blues - Everton FC latest
Aug 31 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR is keeping his fingers crossed that he will receive a call in the next 24 hours to tell him he has been reunited with Johnny Heitinga. Everton’s influential midfielder played for five years in the same Ajax team as the man David Moyes is trying to sign before the transfer window closes. The pair progressed through the reserves to become regulars in Amsterdam and Pienaar is adamant the Holland international – who was booked in Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 defeat in Malaga yesterday – would be a big hit in a Blue shirt. Whether that happens will become clearer today, as an Everton delegation are due to meet Heitinga’s representatives to discuss personal terms. A £5.7m fee has been agreed with Atletico and Pienaar believes Heitinga will show that to be a bargain – provided the deal reaches a successful conclusion. “We hope a few more faces will come in to boost our confidence and it will make us more alert because we will all be fighting for places,” said Pienaar. “I hope Johnny is one of them. I know him really well – he’s a good defender, a good professional and his record shows that as he’s played for Ajax, Atletico and Holland. “He’d be a great signing for us. He can play in a few positions – right-back, centre-back or just in front of the defence. He’s a quality player.
“If he comes in, it would bring more football to the team also. He’s good on the ball and it will be a massive plus for us – you want to see players of his quality come to the club.” Pienaar will join a clutch of Everton’s big names jetting off on international duty in the next few days but he will leave on a high after yesterday’s 2-1 win over Wigan. Paul Scharner headed the visitors into the lead midway through the second half, but the Blues roared back with goals from Louis Saha and a Leighton Baines penalty. And the South African says it was imperative that Everton summoned such a response after opening their Premier League campaign with defeats against Arsenal and Burnley. “It was really hard match and the situation was difficult for us because of the first two results, so it was important we got the points,” said Pienaar.
“It was a big test of character when we went behind but we didn’t let ourselves go and got a goal at the right time. “We put a lot of pressure on them as it was vital we got this win. Now we want the season to take off. We’ve got 35 games left and our form will come.”
LEE GETS ONE SPOT ON
31st August 2009 Daily Star
By Kevin Francis
LEE Probert, the man who caused such a rumpus at Old Trafford on Saturday, was spot on at Goodison Park yesterday. He had no hesitation in awarding Everton the injury-time penalty that earned the Merseysiders their first points of the season.
It was Probert, in his role as fourth official, who informed referee Mike Dean that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger had kicked a water bottle in anger, which resulted in the Frenchman being sent off in the final minute of his team’s defeat at Manchester United. But referee Probert’s late, late decision yesterday was completely right after Emmerson Boyce had upended Jo in the penalty area. Leighton Baines, a £6m signing from Wigan two years ago, gleefully rapped the ball home to give the hosts a victory that their despairing fans thought would never arrive. Toffees boss David Moyes said: “I felt we got what we deserved. The players stuck to it. “It is never easy to pull back from a goal down in the Premier League. I haven’t been looking at the table while we’ve been bottom and I’m not looking now because I don’t think the table’s taken shape yet.” But he warned: “There are three or four players who need a kick up the backside but with injuries I have not been able to do that.
“But I’ll be getting players back soon and when they are fit I will be able to change things around if players don’t produce the goods.” Moyes also plans to bring in new signings before the deadline. Talks on terms with Dutch international defender Johnny Heitinga are scheduled today after Everton agreed a £5m fee with Atletico Madrid.
Wigan had gone ahead in the 57th minute when skipper Mario Melchiot supplied a great pass to Charles N’Zogbia and his left-footed cross was headed downwards between keeper Tim Howard and a post by Paul Scharner. Jordi Gomez hit the post for the Latics, but Everton drew level in the 63rd minute when the always busy Louis Saha rose to brilliantly head home a Baines cross. It was a deserved equaliser, too, for after such a poor start to the season Everton had thrown everything they could into attack. Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said: “We had enough chances to kill the game but we never seemed to get a break. I thought we looked dangerous, particularly in the second half, but a lot of decisions went against us.” Wigan adopted an up-and-at-’em approach in which tackles were flying in all over the pitch as they tried to outmuscle Everton. After leaking five goals against Manchester United and four at Blackpool in midweek, the Latics turned nasty. They committed 17 of the 20 first-half fouls – not including one surprise tackle on Moyes! Moyes, minding his own business in the technical area, was felled by Wigan’s Hendry Thomas. Hendry’s mis-timed run for the ball resulted in him sliding into Moyes with an unintended challenge that sent the Scot crashing. He saw the funny side of it, saying: “I thought the tackle was fair!” And he was smiling even more after his side’s last-gasp penalty. EVERTON 2 WIGAN 1