Everton Independent Research Data


Newcastle 2, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Dec 2 2002 Ian Doyle Reports From St James' Park, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES hasn't even been handed the award yet, but already the manager of the month curse has struck. Football's most notorious hoodoo can be the only explanation for the unbelievable late events which turned a landmark Everton victory into a heartbreaking, numbing defeat at St James' Park yesterday. Within four minutes of celebrating a seventh successive Premiership win and a sixth straight clean sheet - not to mention ascension ahead of Mersey rivals Liverpool into second place in the table - the Blues somehow conceded two dramatic goals to hand Newcastle unlikely revenge for the Worthington Cup elimination last month. Never mind a draw, Everton deserved nothing less than victory for an heroic, resolute rearguard action which was imposed on them following the unfortu-nate early sending-off of Joseph Yobo. But that will be of no consolation to Moyes - surely set to be named November's top Premiership boss - when he contemplates just how the fates transpired to prevent his side producing their best run of league form since 1987. Of course, Everton won the championship that season. And while no-one - certainly within the Blues camp - is suggesting this current side are ready to sustain a serious challenge to the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United, it is measure of how much the team has progressed under Moyes that this defeat will be so keenly felt. In many ways, it was a carbon copy of the loss at Manchester United - the last time Everton had been beaten - when a determined defensive effort was undone in the closing stages. Yesterday, however, Moyes' men had the added incentive of a lead to defend after Kevin Campbell had profited from Newcastle's abysmal defending even before Yobo was dismissed for a professional foul on Craig Bellamy after 20 minutes. And with four minutes to go, it appeared the visitors had done enough to claim yet another 1-0 win as, spearheaded brilliantly by substitute David Weir and the impressive Alan Stubbs, Everton produced a defensive masterclass. But if you are going to concede after 10 hours 18 minutes of Premiership football it may as well be one of the goals of the season. Alan Shearer's volleyed effort was something no-one could legislate for, but for Bellamy to moments later sneak a shot in at the near post via deflections off both Li Tie and Richard Wright smacked of sheer cruelty. It was particularly rough on Wright, who had been in outstanding form throughout and must surely earn a recall to Sven-Goran Eriksson's next England squad. His first save - an expert block by his legs to deny Bellamy the opener after Shearer's flick-on had put the Welsh-man in the clear - came as the hosts, eager to make amends for their Champions League hammering to Inter Milan in midweek, began the brighter. But it was Everton who struck first on 16 minutes, with Kevin Campbell continuing his love affair with St James' Park. A long ball forward from David Unsworth was chested down by Campbell and, with Newcastle centrebacks O'Brien and Steven Caldwell allowing him to move in on goal, the striker rolled the ball under the hesitant Shay Given to give the visitors the lead. Newcastle sought an immediate response, and Wright had to be alert moments later to palm Kieron Dyer's shot around the post after a slack Unsworth pass had gifted the England man possession. Given the attacking prowess of the home side, Everton already knew they faced a tough task in keeping a sixth successive clean sheet. But their job was made even more difficult in the 20th minute when they were reduced to 10 men after what must rank as Yobo's first mistake as an Everton player. The Nigerian was beaten by Bellamy in the chase for a long punt upfield, and as the striker cut across there was a collision of legs which ended with the Welshman hitting the floor. Yobo did not appear to attempt to make a challenge, but as the last defender the referee had no option but to produce the red card. Harsh yes, but inevitable. The sending-off set the tone for the remainder of the game, with Newcastle laying siege on the Everton goal only to be denied time and again by a Blues defence which, with Weir deputising for the departed Yobo, produced heroics to keep the Magpies at bay. Wright in particular was proving inspired, diverting Shearer's bullet header over the bar after Laurent Robert had for once produced a good delivery from a corner kick. Dyer then wasted an excellent chance after being fed by Nolberto Solano, and Evertonians breathed a sigh of relief when Dyer again caused trouble in the area but no Newcastle player was following up. The second half brought little respite for the visitors. Gary Speed shot over, both Andy Griffin and Robert put chances wide, and when Solano did manage to find the target he could find no way past Wright at the near post. The longer the game went on, the less likely it looked that Newcastle would grab an equaliser as Everton proved they could easily adapt to defending with 10 men as well as 11. Compare that to Newcastle, who were nothing short of a shambles in defence and were reduced to pumping long balls up to Shearer and Bellamy. Given this, it was always going to take something special to beat Wright. And unfortunately for the Blues, Shearer managed just that in the 86th minute, rocketing in an unstoppable 25-yard volley.
That was harsh enough on Everton, but as the game drifted into injury time the unbelievable happened when Bellamy's cross-cum-shot from the left took enough of a deflection off Li Tie to force Wright into diverting the ball into his own net.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Griffin, O'Brien, Caldwell (Ameobi 80), Bernard; Solano, Dyer, Speed (Viana 80), Robert; Shearer, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Dabizas, Jenas.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth; Carsley (Weir 22), Gravesen, Li Tie, Pembridge; Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 72). Subs: Simonsen, Naysmith, Gemmill.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Unsworth.
SENDING-OFF: Everton's Yobo.
REFEREE: Mr M Halsey.
ATT: 51,607.

Robson praise for Blues defence
Daily Post
Dec 2 2002
NEWCASTLE manager Bobby Robson was full of praise for Everton's rearguard action following the sending-off of Yobo but said he never gave up hope that his side would eventually make a breakthrough. "I always believed we could get something. I just thought they might crack. You have got to be a supreme optimist," he said. "They were in control of the game and they scored with their first sortie into our box. "They were not easy to knock over, their organisation was good but we made it easy for them to defend, but to be fair to them, they defended well. If we could defend like that we might win the league. "All that was missing was our last final quality ball into the box and it took a remarkable, stunning shot from Shearer to break Everton's resistance." Robson added: "After that you knew that they would visibly be shaken and maybe drop because they had absorbed a lot of pressure and three points had gone to one and hearts sink; then we struck the killer blow."
Newcastle captain Shearer smashed a superb 25-yard volley to break Everton hearts. He said: "I didn't think it was going to come. Everton are resolute and tough. It was going to take something special to break deadlock. And it will be up there in my top three career goals. It was sweet."

Blues face triple woe
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Dec 2 2002
EVERTON yesterday suffered a triple blow on an afternoon of misery at St James' Park. Joseph Yobo was sent off as the Blues surrendered their proud six-match winning run by conceding two late goals to Newcastle United. And now the Nigerian international is in danger of missing the derby with Liverpool on December 22. The Blues defender was sent off for a professional foul on Craig Bellamy in the 20th minute, and will have to serve a one-match suspension. That game will be the Anfield encounter unless Everton defeat Chelsea in the Worthington Cup on Wednesday and qualify for the quarterfinals, which are due to take place the midweek before the derby and would give Yobo the opportunity to serve his ban then. And David Unsworth is in a similar predicament after he picked up his fifth booking of the season yesterday. An Alan Shearer wonder-goal and a deflected Bellamy effort in the last four minutes wiped out a 16th-minute Kevin Campbell opener and ruined Everton's chances of moving second in the Premiership ahead of Liverpool. David Moyes, however, refused to be too downcast. "I am extremely proud of my players, but very disappointed with the result," said the Blues boss. "We did not get what we deserved. "I think everyone in the crowd thought we had done enough to see Newcastle off. "We had to try and defend and frustrate them, which is not the way we usually play, and I thought we did remarkably and defended really well, and you saw what type of goal it took to finally get past us." Of Yobo's sending-off, Moyes added: "I think by the laws of the game it was a sending off but it was harsh.
"Joseph did not pull his jersey and did not trip him up, it was just a collision of legs. "I think the referee was hiding behind the laws of the game a bit, but that's the way it is going at the moment."
Moyes admitted that the game turned on Shearer's brilliant 86th-minute equaliser. "I don't think there is a team in this division, including Arsenal, who would not have Alan Shearer as their centre forward," he continued. "You'd think we had done enough to come away with something from the game. Then we lose a wonder goal, which you have to put your hands up about, but then to lose to a deflection was unfair. "We came here last season and lost 6-2, drew 3-3 in the Worthington Cup last month and have only just lost today, so it shows we are progressing." Moyes also lauded goalkeeper Richard Wright, who saw his record of more than 10 hours without conceding a Premiership goal ruined by Shearer's strike.

Newcastle 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Dec 2 2002 By David Prentice At St James' Park, Liverpool Echo
JUST as they had done throughout a series of six successive Premiership victories, Everton took credit despite cruel, gutwrenching defeat. No-one in Royal Blue was in the mood to contemplate positives after Newcastle had snatched victory with two goals in the final five minutes at St James' Park yesterday - one a wonder strike, one a deflection - but consolation was undoubtedly there.
For a start, match-winners Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy left the pitch wearing Everton jerseys. For a long time now the only player from an upwardly mobile club like Newcastle who would have been seen dead in Royal Blue was Gary Speed. But Everton are now widely respected throughout the Premiership - and they proved yesterday they are no one-man band. Joseph Yobo has largely been creditted for the incredible run of clean sheets Everton have compiled since Freddie Ljungberg last beat Richard Wright more than 10 hours ago. But Everton played more than 70 minutes without him yesterday - following Mark Halsey's harsh red card -and showed just as much doughty resilience.
The Blues were reduced to 10-men when Craig Bellamy paid back a small slice of the debt he owed his team- mates after Wednesday's Champions League dismissal. A still pimply-faced 23-year-old, Craig Bellamy is a little young to be considered an old drama queen, but that's the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from yesterday's performance. Yapping like one of those small terriers so beloved of continental ladies, he yelps, gesticulates and wails his way through matches. Then there's his sense of balance. It would be harsh to say he goes to ground far too easily, but reliable reports from Tyneside suggest he got up from his seat during last night's highlights show, crossed in front of the TV set and cleared a hostess trolley full of drinks as he plunged dramatically into a leather Chesterfield couch. It was a routine he had practised earlier in the afternoon. With the match just 21 minutes old, Bellamy got goalside of the Blues' defence down the inside right channel. Yobo, as ever, reacted like lightning to the threat, but placed a hand on the forward's shoulder.
It was all the invitation Bellamy needed to plummet like Peter Kay from the topboard. The official carrying the yellow flag claimed to have seen enough contact to warrant a dismissal, and an aghast Yobo was shown the red card. That left Everton almost 70 minutes to defend the lead given them by Kevin Campbell's customary St James' Park strike. Five times now Campbell has played for Everton on Tyneside, on five occasions he has found the net -and four of them have been the crucial opening goal. Yesterday's came just 16 minutes in. David Unsworth carried the ball out of defence, looked up and clipped a defence piercing pass over the Magpies' rearguard and into Campbell's path. He chested the ball on, held off the covering challenge and poked the ball under Given.
But any chance Everton had of building on that lead was wiped away by Yobo's red card. Richard Wright had already made two impressive stops from Bellamy and, as Everton gathered to preserve their goal lead, he showed more of the form which must surely see Sven Goran Eriksson booking a ticket for Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. A tip over he made from Shearer's bullet header in the 33rd minute was stunning. His all-round game displayed assurance and composure, too, and with David Weir replacing Yobo at the heart of defence and Radzinski tucked in as a sort of deep-lying inside right, it needed something special to beat him. Unfortunately Newcastle boast the irrepresible Alan Shearer in their forward line. Just five minutes remained when a left wing cross was cleared from the Everton penalty area towards the lurking striker. Still 20-25 yards out, at a prohibitive angle, he connected with a truly stunning volley which arced over Wright. He later rated it in his all-time top three. For a forward who has struck superlative goals for more than a decade, that said it all. A point would still have been a creditable achievement for Everton, but they were denied even that consolation in the 89th minute. Bellamy dribbled in from the byline and his poked, near post shot looked to be covered by Wright, but the ball clipped agonisingly off Li Tie's toe and spun past his despairing grasp. As if the late goals weren't bad enough for Everton, David Unsworth was booked in the 91st minute and joined Joseph Yobo on derby-match death row.
The pair will miss the Anfield derby on December 22 through suspension -unless Everton can see off Chelsea on Wednesday night and contest the Worthington Cup fifth round just a few days earlier.
But both Yobo and Unsworth need not despair just yet. If their team-mates show the same character, grit and resolve on Wednesday that they did here - and enjoy a little more luck - they could bounce straight back. Everton are nobody's pushovers any more.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given, Griffin, O'Brien, Caldwell (Ameobi 80 mins), Bernard, Solano, Dyer, Speed (Viana 80 mins), Robert, Shearer, Bellamy. Unused substitutes: Jenas, Harper, Dabizas.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley (Weir 24 mins), Gravesen, Tie, Pem-bridge, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 73 mins). Unused substitutes: Simonsen, Naysmith, Gemmill.
Referee: Mark Halsey. Booking: Unsworth (91 mins) foul. Sending-off: Yobo (21 mins) denying goalscoring opportunity.
GOALS: Campbell (16 mins) 0-1, Shearer (85 mins) 1-1, Bellamy (89 mins) 2-1.
Attendance: 51,607.

Speed backing the Blues
Dec 2 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON old-boy Gary Speed believes the new Blues are no Premiership flash in the pan. Only two Newcastle goals in the final five minutes at St James' Park yesterday prevented Everton going second in the table and extending their remarkable run of six successive victories. The 2-1 defeat left Everton fifth, but Speed believes his old club can maintain a challenge for a European place as the season progresses. "Do I think they can challenge for a Champions League place this season? Of course I do," he said. "Their position in the league says it all. If they'd won yesterday they would have gone above Liverpool. "They've got the points on the board already, so if they carry on playing the way they have been they will be right up there. They're going to have spells in the season, like we have had, where you don't play well and lose two or three on the bounce, but it's how you react to that and how you come through it that counts. If Everton keep up that work ethic they've got they will have a chance of beating anybody." Despite the hostile reception Speed now receives from Evertonians following his controversial departure from Goodison four years ago, he admits he is delighted to see the Blues back in the top part of the table. "Of course, I'm pleased," he said. "I'm still a Blue and noone will take that away from me. You always have that regardless of what has happened in the past. "All my Evertonian mates were up for the game -although I got them tickets for the Newcastle end which they won't have been too pleased about - and they're made up with what's happening there. "Usually when a new manager takes over it can take at least 18 months to two years to get the team playing the way he wants, but David Moyes has come in and done it in just a few months. "I think what they do is work very hard for each other. You know that if you don't match that kind of work-rate Everton will beat you. If you have that quality in your side you always have a chance of winning. "It was difficult to assess them today because they went down to 10 men after they'd just scored and they had to defend, which they did very well. "It looked at one stage that we weren't going to get back into it. It just took a wonder goal from Alan to get us back in it and Everton will think themselves unlucky to have then lost the game."

Blues' Kings denial
Dec 2 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today continued to deny claims they are about to scrap their move to Kings Dock.
The club said they were "working tirelessly" to secure the finance for the move, despite increasing fears they may be about to pull the plug. The Blues need to raise £35m by Friday to cement their part of the 55,000-seat arena project. The Goodison Park board is reported to be considering diverting money to support manager David Moyes's team building rather than putting it in the stadium. But club spokesman Ian Ross insisted today: "There has been no change. Everton Football Club continues to work tirelessly to secure the necessary funding for Kings Dock." Everton's directors are considering a risk assessment report this week on the implications of moving to the waterfront arena ahead of a planned board meeting this Thursday. On Friday club officials will meet regeneration company Liverpool Vision, spearheading the Kings Dock scheme on behalf of land owners English Partnerships, to announce whether they have the finances to go ahead. The ECHO understands that Everton had asked Vision for a month's delay but that Vision refused. One insider said: "Everton have had almost two years to work on this. "It is now or never." If Everton miss the Friday deadline, English Partnerships could opt to press ahead with the scheme, but build a smaller stadium which would only stage concerts, conferences and exhibitions. It would leave Everton in their ageing Goodison Park home, with little prospect of an expansion or revamp which could earn extra sources of vital revenue for the club.

Blues derby lifeline
Dec 2 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON could lose half of their celebrated defence for the Anfield derby later this month - unless they can beat Chelsea in Wednesday's Worthington Cup tie. A red card for Joseph Yobo and a 91st minute caution for David Unsworth at Newcastle yesterday rules both out of the December 22 derby through suspension. But there is a slender lifeline. If the Blues can pull off an upset at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, they would play the fifth round tie four days before the Anfield showdown, allowing both players to serve their ban. Newcastle boss Sir Bobby Robson was in no doubt about the quality of Everton's defending yesterday. "If we had Everton's defence, we would win the Premiership," he declared. Blues' boss David Moyes, though, was bitterly disappointed his side didn't take more after defending Kevin Camp-bell's lead for more than an hour, only to lose two goals in the final five minutes. "We are extremely proud of the players, but disappointed that we didn't get more from the game," he said. "We didn't need to go chasing it and I thought we did that remarkably well. You all know what kind of goal it took to get Newcastle back into it. "We lost a wonder goal and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say there's very little we could have done about that. But then to lose a deflection along the touchline which creeps in at the near post, it certainly wasn't our day. "I've nothing but praise for the players." Moyes also defended Joseph Yobo, after he was sent off for pulling down Craig Bellamy. "I think by the rules it was a sending off," he said, "but I think they are harsh and we are all a bit sick of referees sending players off so easily.

Yobo agrees to Blues deal
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 3 2002
YOSEPH YOBO has put derby doubts to once side and agreed his £4.5million permanent switch to Goodison Park. Everton last week wrapped up a deal with Marseille for the inspirational defender who has now given the go-ahead to one of the most expensive deals in English football this season.
Bill Kenwright has taken out an extra loan of more than £3.5m to extend Yobo's contract by a further four years following his impressive introduction into the Premiership. Yobo has now agreed personal terms and the switch will be formally ratified with UEFA when the transfer window reopens in January. Before then, however, Yobo must hope Everton overcome Chelsea in the Worthington Cup tomorrow to avoid missing the trip to Anfield on December 22. Both Yobo and David Unsworth must serve a one-match suspension after earning a dismissal and a fifth booking of the season respectively in the Newcastle defeat. Those bans will come against Liverpool unless Everton earn a place in the Worthington Cup fifth round on December 18. Lee Carsley, meanwhile, is a doubt for tomorrow's trip to Stamford Bridge after picking up a foot injury at St James' Park. Carsley was replaced in the aftermath of Yobo's sending off. But the decision was based on fitness as well as tactical reasons. Everton physio Mick Rath-bone revealed: "Lee has got a badly bruised foot.
"He went for a precautionary scan on the foot which was all-clear but he is doubtful for Wednesday's game with Chelsea. "He is still feeling a little uncomfortable so we will keep an eye on him over the next few days."

Kings Dock - what the experts say
Dec 3 2002 Liverpool Echo
THOSE with the vision to create a first-class stadium arena must not lose their nerve at this crucial stage, city council leader Mike Storey warns. "If we've got the vision, we should go for it. We've talked for ages about this and, when it's within our grasp, people find reasons not to do it.
"When the bids were shortlisted, this plan caught my imagination. It's catapulted Liverpool to provide something that doesn't exist in the North-West. It will be the best stadium arena anywhere. The other similar ones are in Amsterdam and Melbourne." But he says it is important to remember the site will be used for many other things apart from football. "There's a great danger of people talking about is as just Everton's stadium. Football will be taking place about 10% of the time. Mostly it will be used for exhibitions, conventions, conferences and concerts." Former Everton manager Howard Kendall says the Kings Dock development will be a fabulous move for the club - but only as long as it leaves current manager David Moyes with the resources to build a Premiership-winning side. He adds: "The fans want to know what's going on. Other top teams like Manchester United and Chelsea have improved their current facilities. It's difficult for Everton to improve the situation at Goodison Park." Shrewsbury Town manager and former Everton skipper Kevin Ratcliffe says clubs have to move forward if they want to compete at the highest level. "I think it's a must.
"If you don't move on, you stand still. Five or 10 years from now Goodison Park is going to be ancient. It's not the same place it was 20 years ago, it's lost a lot of its character. "It's quite essential what you can get out of a football club. You have to look at other revenue rather than just what a match brings in every other week." Dave Hickson, who played for Everton in the 1950s, says he hopes the move goes ahead. "If I was playing now, and I could move to Kings Dock in three years, I think that would be wonderful. "It's the wish of most of the people at Everton. "It would be great for the club."
The fans' view
EVERTON fans who back plans to move from Goodison Park will be waiting with bated breath to hear Friday's announcement. Graham Ennis, of Everton fanzine When Skies Are Grey, says supporters have shown themselves 'generally behind' plans to move to the new 55,000 seater state-of-the-art stadium at Kings Dock. He adds: "Fans have been consulted and voted on it and gave their approval. But there's lots and lots of questions that need answering." The Kings Dock development has been a hot topic on Everton fan website bluekipper.com, where fans have debated the pros and cons of the move. One wrote: "Thirty million pounds sounds like a fortune, and it is a lot of money, but look what we'd be getting. At the Kings Dock we'd have a £150m stadium in a £300m development. "We don't want to be looking back in years to come thinking of what might have been, how we could have had a world-class arena for next to nothing." Another has suggested attracting outside investment by 'shamelessly linking the Everton name to the Beatles', and transforming the stadium into a Merseyside issue. The game's national supporters federation has underlined that fans should always be consulted before clubs take the decision to move grounds.
Steven Powell, development officer of the Football Supporters' Federation, says fans should be 'centrally involved' in any major development affecting their team. Mr Powell says: "At Arsenal for example, overwhelmingly the supporters were in favour of moving to a new stadium, mostly because it was just around the corner. "But there are other issues. Fans are deeply divided over sponsorship names for example. Some don't care while others say you shouldn't be selling the name of the club."

Kings Dock timeline - the story so far
Dec 3 2002 Liverpool Echo
October 2000: Everton lodges an official bid for Kings Dock.
January 2001: Detailed models of Everton's plans go on show at St George's Hall. The club's bid is one of seven being made for the site.
April 2001: Everton are named one of the two most favoured bids for redevelopment and win the backing of city council leader Mike Storey. An independent survey suggests Everton and Liverpool should build a joint stadium elsewhere. Both teams reject the idea.
June 2001: Liverpool Vision, which is redeveloping the site, gives its support to the Everton bid.
July 2001: English Partnerships confirm Everton's Kings Arena plan as the preferred developer for Kings Dock.
November 2001: London-based developer Derek Lovejoy Partnership is appointed to shape public open space around the site.
January 2002: Liverpool Vision chairman Sir Joe Dwyer announces the stadium will be built even if Everton is relegated from the Premiership.
January 2002: A battle to win £35m of Euro funding for Kings Dock is launched.
March 2002: Everton are offered 50/50 partnership in the project with the city council, English Partnerships and the North-West Development Agency.
April 2002: Everton's dream of kicking off the 2005-6 season at Kings Dock is dashed when the project is put back six months.
August 2002: There is a serious setback to the scheme when it is revealed Everton are struggling to find funding.
October 2002: An apparent rift emerges between club co-owners Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg over how to fund the development. Director Mr Gregg puts plans on the table to fund the deal through a £30m "reverse mortgage".
November 2002: Everton calls reports of a collapse of the Kings Dock plans 'idle speculation'.
December 2002: The club has until this Friday to confirm it has the £35m cash needed to fund its end of the scheme.

Directors study plan
Dec 3 2002 By Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
It could be tomorrow, or a few days from now, but Liverpool Vision's deadline cannot be extended indefinitely. The club directors are currently studying the results of a £50,000 risk assessment plan, exploring the benefits and potential pitfalls of Kings Dock. The ECHO understands that the major concern identified by this document is whether the revenue streams from large scale concerts predicted in the business plan can be delivered. But the document does not come down firmly either way, and elements of it can be used to argue for or against Kings Dock. The ECHO has campaigned for Everton's Kings Dock plan, because we believe it is in the best interests both of the football club and the regeneration of the city of Liverpool. If Everton cannot go ahead, it will not be the end of the Kings Dock arena. A back-up plan to continue with a smaller scale arena to provide concert and conference facilities is already on the drawing board. But for Everton, the future does not look as bright without this project. For football fans, the bottom line is success on the field. A winning team, playing attractive football and supporters can tolerate a decrepit stadium. Goodison Park is a grand old stadium, and a lot of us have fond memories and emotional ties to it. But, in the 21st century, supporters of top-flight football expect better than peering around pillars to get a view of the goalmouth. Goodison's current facilities cannot come close to exploiting the club's potential in the hugely lucrative corporate hospitality market. And there is no room left to expand and develop the stadium on its current site. If the club cannot raise the cash for the Kings Dock move, when exactly would it be able to afford to build another stadium elsewhere, without the massive public sector financial support available for Kings. Some reports in recent days have suggested that Everton may decide to abandon Kings Dock in order to concentrate on team building. That is deeply misleading. Everton has made it clear from the start that money for Kings Dock is ring-fenced and has nothing to do with the money available for players. The potential revenues generated by Kings Dock should put Everton back in the big league in terms of the transfer market. Certainly a move to such a glamorous venue would match the ambitions of the club's brilliant young manager, and help attract the kind of top-notch signings the club has always been associated with. In the short term, Everton could well survive and prosper without Kings Dock, especially with the current excellent results. But a downturn in fortunes on the field and the future will look a lot less rosy. Kings Dock may represent a huge gamble for Everton. But the bigger gamble could well be to turn it down.

Are Blues on to a winner?
Dec 3 2002 By Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
LIFELONG Everton fan and ECHO special projects editor MARK THOMAS on why the Kings Dock plan MUST go ahead. THE great Kings Dock cliffhanger is finally drawing to a conclusion. Don't bet on it, but the future of the project on which Everton Football Club's entire future hangs could even be resolved by the end of this week. And, despite what you may have read elsewhere, its fate is still very much in the balance. Everton fans could be forgiven for putting the whole tangled Kings Dock saga out of their minds, amid all the euphoria about David Moyes's magnificent work on the team.
What they must not forget, however, is that this could be Everton's only chance of securing a home fit for the 21st century. And if the club does not grasp it now, then that chance will be lost.
Probably for good.
On Sunday afternoon, the club was five minutes away from recording a seventh win on the trot and, with it, the not inconsiderable achievement of climbing above arch rivals Liverpool to go second in the Premiership. Thanks to Alan Shearer's brilliance, that did not happen, but all of us who have royal blue blood in our veins remain delighted with the progress the club has made this season.
But, in the longer term, Kings Dock is of massive importance and club deputy chairman Bill Kenwright continues to make determined and tireless efforts behind the scenes to raise the £35m still required to ensure it can go ahead. We know that Liverpool Vision, the regeneration company spearheading the project for the public sector partners, has demanded a firm commitment from Everton by this Friday. In the real world, however, it would be astonishing, given the scale of the prize for the city and region as well as the club, if the Vision board would not allow a few more days if Mr Kenwright needed them. According to inside sources, most of Everton's board of directors are opposed to the 'reverse mortgage' deal proposed by millionaire director Paul Gregg. But Mr Kenwright is trying to broker an alternative deal to raise the money on a cheaper basis, without surrendering any of the club's 50% equity stake in the 55,000 seat arena project. It is a tall order, but it would be foolish to underestimate Mr Kenwright's determination. There remains real optimism behind the scenes in both the public and private sector camps, that the project will get the green light. When will we know if Mr Kenwright has pulled off a deal? The only confident answer to that one is that it will have to be soon.

Wright man, wrong time
Dec 3 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT finally received some national recognition for the quality of his goal-keeping on Sunday. The only surprise was that it took an afternoon when he finally conceded a goal for people to acknowledge how well he has been playing. Possibly doubts still existed in some critics' minds, after Richard made a less than convincing start to his Everton career, but for me the best thing that could have happened to him was picking up the injury when he did. After a shaky debut and a mixed performance at Sunderland, he had to step out of the spotlight for a couple of weeks - and that allowed him to have a look around the club, realise what it was all about and settle into the place. I remember a similar thing happening to a man who became an Everton legend. Dave Watson found it tough living up to a million pound price tag and following in the footsteps of a crowd favourite like Derek Mountfield when he signed from Norwich City. His first half-a-dozen games weren't up to the level he knew he could produce, but then he got injured and had to sit out for a little while. When he came back he knew what the place was all about and he was outstanding. Richard seems to have benefitted the same way from his enforced absence - and people are finally beginning to sit up and take notice.
Chin up, Joseph
JOSEPH YOBO'S red card on Sunday was harsh, but under the letter of the law it was also absolutely right. There was barely contact made by the defender, but he did place a hand on Craig Bellamy's shoulder and that's all a referee needs to make a decision these days. In the old days you would be unlucky to be booked for something like that, but now a red card is deemed the correct punishment.
For me, I was disappointed that Bellamy seemed to go down after Yobo touched him. But the important thing now is for the defender to put it behind him, not get too down about it and carry on performing the way he has been for the Blues. The last thing Everton want is a player feeling sorry for himself in a big game like Wednesday night's.
Influence of the Toon
NEWCASTLE proved on Sunday just how impor -tant a hostile, noisy, partisan crowd can be to a team. The home supporters did everything in their power for 90 minutes to unsettle Everton and influence the referee into showing cards to Everton players. If there was any doubt in Mark Halsey's mind whether Joseph Yobo should have been shown a red or yellow card, the Toon Army made his mind up for him. They also convinced the officials Everton were time-wasting at every opportunity - and for long periods it was like 10 playing 12. Newcastle boast an excellent home record, and much of the credit for that must go to their partisan supporters.
Rooney scores with top award
Dec 3 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON's great young talent Wayne Rooney was among the award winners as Merseyside's sporting achievement throughout the year was reflected at a special awards ceremony last night.
The 17-year-old striker, who has burst onto the Premiership scene this season with devastating impact, scoring sensational goals against Arsenal and Leeds, was among the BBC Sports Awards (North West) winners at the Reebok Stadium. Rooney beat off several other bright young stars to win the Radio Merseyside Newcomer of the Year. Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier received the Judges' Award in recognition of his triumphs since becoming manager, the way he has transformed the club and put them back on the European soccer map, and for the way he has overcome his life -threatening heart condition. It was a great night, too, for Rugby League's double Man of Steel, Paul Sculthorpe. The Saints star received double recognition, winning the game's Player of the Year award and also the top accolade of Sportsman of the Year. Beth Tweddle's terrific performances in winning a gold and two silver in gymnastics earned her the Commonwealth Games Special Achievement award. Beth trains at Liverpool's Park Road Centre of Excellence. World number one tennis player, Mark Ecclestone, of St Helens, was Disabled Sport-sperson of the Year, while Warrington-born Lancashire and England star Neil Fair-brother received an Achievement in Sport award for 20 magnificent years at Old Trafford before retiring. Paula Radcliffe, once a member of Frodsham Harriers, was Sportswoman and Sports Personality of the Year. Echo sports editor John Thompson was among the members of the judging panel.

Joe-Max heads for Goodison exit
Dec 3 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOE-MAX MOORE has played his last match for Everton. The American international cannot be called up by David Moyes - even for the club's reserve team - after his work permit expired on December 1. Moore is now hoping he can find a new club during the January transfer window.
The Blues did not apply to extend Moore's permit because he has not been involved in recent first team squads and the application may have been rejected. But he is still a regular international and there should be no problems if another club made a fresh application. "Everton were trying to help me by not applying for a new permit," explained Moore. "But if I can get a new club in January they can then re-apply." The 31-year-old has not played for the Blues first team this season, after picking up an injury during the World Cup in Japan. He is now fully fit, has played several reserve games and is itching to revive his career. He has made 64 appearances for the Blues, many from the substitutes' bench, scoring 10 goals. Ironically Moore might have come into contention for tomorrow's Worthington Cup tie at Chelsea, with the Blues nursing a number of knocks and bruises as well as broken hearts following Sunday's clash at Newcastle. Lee Carsley has been sent for a precautionary X-ray on what is believed to be a bruised foot, Steve Watson has been recovering from flu and Niclas Alexandersson is still missing with a knee strain. "We are a little short down the right side at the moment," said David Moyes, "we will have to look at that after training today."

Yobo award appeases red card pain
Dec 3 2002 By David Randles and Dave Smith
JOSEPH YOBO has picked up the PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award for November. Following a string of excellent performances at the heart of the Blues defence, the Nigerian international has received the acclaim he deserves by those who know best, the fans. It's been a week of mixed fortunes for Yobo however after receiving his marching orders in the unfortunate 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on Sunday, but the news of this latest accolade will go some way to appeasing the hurt of an impending three match supsension. Just this morning the 22-year-old confirmed his desire to put pen to paper on a permanent contract following last week's announcement that Everton and former club Marseille had agree a deal for the player. Yobo, who initially arrived on a 12-month loan from the French club in the summer, is expected to extend his stay on Merseyside by a further four years for a fee in the region of £4.5m. Despite a delayed start to his Goodison career through injury, Yobo has made up for lost time alongside either David Weir or Alan Stubbs at the heart of the Blues defence. As Everton climbed to third spot in the Premiership in November on the back of a record total of six consecutive victories, Yobo was instrumental in maintaining a watertight rearguard which did not concede a single league goal throughout the month. Yobo's contribution can be judged by the fact that earlier in the season, when he was injured, Everton conceded 11 goals in seven games but the defence has certainly taken on a new look since he made his mark and he will be sorely missed for the three games he will now be absent from due to suspension. In the First Division, Nicky Forster made it a double Royals' celebration as he claimed the fans' award soon after it was announced that Reading boss Alan Pardew was the November manager of the month as the division's form team rattled up five successive wins to storm into a play-off spot. Forster missed the win over Watford through injury but returned to the side to score the winner against Crystal Palace before playing his part in Saturday's 1-0 triumph over Brighton - a result which represented Reading's sixth consecutive clean sheet. The race for the title of Division Two player of the month was one of the tightest of the season with Oldham's impressive young defender Fitz Hall and Crewe's free-scoring striker Rob Hulse going neck and neck all the way to the wire, with Hall just beating his rival to the tape. In the Third Division, Oxford's Andy Crosby followed up his match-winning penalty in the last minute against Lincoln on Saturday by becoming the second United favourite to be named player of the month, following in the footsteps of Bobby Ford who was our September winner.
* Voting for the PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award closes at midnight (GMT) on the last day of each month so why not start compiling your votes for December. The PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Awards take place throughout the season and each month one lucky fan is chosen to present the winning player with their prize at a VIP day out at a selected home game. To have a chance of presenting the award however, you must first vote for the winning player. The player with the most votes at the end of the season will receive the PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Year award.
November Award Winner Summary:
Barclaycard Premiership - Joseph Yobo, Everton
Nationwide Division 1 - Nicky Forster, Reading
Nationwide Division2 - Fitz Hall, Oldham
Nationwide Division 3 - Andy Crosby, Oxford United

Desailly: We're consistent
Report By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Dec 4 2002
MARCEL DESAILLY insists Chelsea have turned a significant corner this season after coming through tests against Bolton and Sunderland they may have failed in the past. The Blues picked up four points from those two games, despite having been 1-0 down at the Reebok Stadium and being held scoreless by a resolute Sunderland side until the 58th minute at Stamford Bridge. One of the keys to their seemingly improving consistency has been the partnership of the men described as 'extraterrestrials' by Claudio Ranieri earlier this season - Desailly and his French compatriot William Gallas. Gallas has been an ever-present so far this season, partnering Desailly in central defence on 15 occasions, during which time they have kept seven clean sheets and conceded a total of just 11 goals. Even more pertinently, only two of those goals have come in their past eight games together, in which time Chelsea have consolidated third place in the table. Captain Desailly is not prone to making any rash title declarations, but set his team the target of still being in the top three at the turn of the New Year. He said: "We could have lost these type of games against Bolton and Sunderland last season, but we have shown this year that Chelsea can manage to stay in the top three. "Every week, we try to play to win - not the league necessarily but just each game and we try to make the crowd pleased. "We are now going to have a heavy winter with many games but I hope this run continues and that, in January, Chelsea will still be in the top three." Tore Andre Flo, the former Blues' striker who was in Sunderland's line-up last weekend, added: "Chelsea look strong at the moment and more consistent so it looks good for them." Chelsea's most pressing fixture is their Worthington Cup fourth round tie tonight at home to Everton, whom they also face at Goodison Park in the league this weekend. Desailly was rested from the third round win against Gillingham and, while still picking a relatively strong side, Ranieri may adopt the same cautious policy in the case of his captain today by recalling John Terry. Terry's first-team starts have been restricted to just two so far this season, the last of which was against Gillingham, due to the flourishing partnership between Desailly and Gallas. Desailly is certainly impressed with his 25-year-old compatriot, who has now started to win international recognition for his progress.

Moyes is ready to take risk
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 4 2002
DAVID MOYES is prepared to unleash Wayne Rooney on Chelsea tonight despite the Everton sensation treading a derby-day tightrope. A booking for the 17-year-old star in the Worthington Cup clash or in the league return on Saturday could see Rooney joining Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth on the sidelines at Anfield on December 22. Thomas Gravesen is also one yellow card away from suspension, but last night Moyes insisted his side's approach won't change at Stamford Bridge - although his line-up could. Rooney, who played all 120 minutes in the previous round win at Newcastle, is likely to be asked to help penetrate the Premiership's toughest defence to take Everton into round five and leave the suspended duo free to face Liverpool as a result. "Wayne and others have an opportunity because of some knocks we are carrying with us," said Moyes, who is definitely without Lee Carsley. "We have been sensible and cautious with him because of his age but also because the form of Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski have made it easy. "Wayne is very much part of our thoughts and we could have used him several more times already. It's a big learning curve for him at the moment and he's taking it all in. Hopefully going to these places and seeing how others deal with it will all help him in the end." Moyes added: "I hope the way we are handling it is the right way. No-one would expect Wayne to play 30 or 40 games in his first season for Everton but there will be periods when he does play regularly. He has already been part of every Premiership and Worthington Cup squad this season and for a lad who has only just turned 17 that is a great achievement." On the suspension threat, Moyes said: "There are a few ways of looking at it. If we win it would release Joseph and David for the derby but they'll still miss another game and if we pick up a few more bookings we'll have another few out. "But that's football. Manchester United have got back to winning ways with a weakened team and that shows what squads are for. You can't have your best players available all the time." Despite a cruel end to their six-game winning run, Moyes insists the Blues can take heart from Sunday's late defeat at St James' Park.
He added: "To lose such a good run in trying circumstances is hard but understandable with 10 men and a wonder goal involved. "But we controlled Newcastle very well with 10 men, and this is a Newcastle team that has just beaten Juventus at home and pulled off a great result in Feyenoord.
"It is easier to deal with because of the performance we put in. It would have been harder to accept the end of our winning run if we didn't play well."
* JOSEPH YOBO has received some consolation for his red card against Newcastle after being voted the Professional Footballers' Association Fans' Player of the Month for November.

Blue benchmark
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Dec 4 2002
DAVID MOYES has done a fine job of rewriting the Everton's recent history and does not intend to stop when it comes to the Worthington Cup. Moyes' team face the first of two clashes with Chelsea inside four days that could be the benchmark of Everton's overall improvement. Everton play at Stamford Bridge in the fourth round of the Worthington Cup tonight in front of the TV cameras, and then entertain the West Londoners at Goodison Park in the Premiership on Saturday. Moyes said: "This is a chance to see how far we have come, these are the games you want to be involved in if you want to be considered one of the top teams." That sort of schedule would have left Everton fans fretting in the past, but not these days. Moyes' revolution sees his reborn team facing both clashes with genuine belief. Everton, who have never won the League Cup in any of its guises, fancy their chances in West London. "We are two of the in-form teams of the moment, Chelsea are doing really well and we have also been playing well this season," said Moyes. "Now we have two games back to back against them to give us a real opportunity to see how far we have come. "If we want to be at this end of the table at the end of the season and considered up there with the rest, then these are the games we have to overcome. "We have improved, and when you get to this level the games come thick and fast. You only have to look at those in the Champions League at their horrendous schedule to realise that. And that is what we are aspiring to. "Now we are beginning to realise is what it's like to play in big games and the two with Chelsea are just as big for them as us.

"But we are confident enough now to feel we can go to Chelsea and give it a real go and believe we can get through to the next round. "Chelsea have overcome what has been perceived as inconsistency over the last couple of years, but I hope that people are also starting to say that about Everton. "We know how hard it will be to go to Stamford Bridge, but we must also show them it's going to be hard for them at Goodison Park." Moyes wants to change the perception of Everton as perennial cup losers, having already made them a league side to fear. "Cup runs are very important," he added. "When I came to Everton people told me that the club rarely got past the first round of the Worthington Cup, so already we have done well to get this far. "This competition is a priority for us and we have to try and progress as far as we can. It's another tough draw and we need to play really well to continue our run in it. "I'd love to say to the fans that we are going to get to a cup final, I can't guarantee that but we are certainly going to try. "If we could be in Europe by the early March that would be very nice, but we are certainly not going to get carried away. "We are doing okay, the club is going in the right direction and I won't say anything silly or daft that will set me up to be knocked down, but we are a confident squad these days." It is a long time since at Everton manager spoke with such conviction.

Yobo: There is more to come
Dec 4 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON may have moved in the nick of time to sign defender Joseph Yobo, who believes he has much more to offer the Goodison club. The Nigerian star's outstanding displays have brought him to the notice of clubs across Europe, but Everton are set to turn their loan player from Marseille into a permanent signing once the transfer window opens next month. Arrangements are in place for a £4.5m move, leaving Yobo free in the meantime to concentrate on helping Everton into the last 16 of the Worthington Cup against Chelsea tonight at Stamford Bridge, before facing the Londoners again in the Premiership on Saturday - this time at Goodison. Victory for the Toffees will mean Yobo is eligible to play in his first Merseyside derby at Anfield later this month, with the Nigerian able to play out his one-match suspension for being sent off against Newcastle in the next round of the cup, played just days before the Liverpool clash. He said: "I think the best is yet to come from me - I'm still not at my best. "I believe I can still do more and I'm trying to get better with every game I play. I want to improve with each performance and I think that I am getting better with every game."
Yobo's performances have been recognised by the Professional Footballers Association, who have made him their player of the month for November, with Goodison boss David Moyes one of the favourites to pick up the manager's award. Yobo added: "It was a difficult start to the season for me after being out injured - but since I've come into the side the team has had a very good run.
"I've done my best, but it's the team who have been great. The manager and the players have been working hard, and that's made it easier for me. "I know I've done very well, but it's a team effort."
Tonight's game also holds the possibility of a rare place in the Everton starting line-up for teenage star Wayne Rooney. Manager Moyes has rarely used Rooney from the start of matches this term.
But he did so in the Worthington Cup third round at Newcastle, and there is the chance that Stamford Bridge might be the latest port of call for Moyes' policy of carefully grooming the youngster .

Putting the graft in
Dec 4 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON regularly run that extra mile to preserve the clean sheets they have clocked up with remarkable regularity this season - and they now have the statistical evidence to prove it.
The Blues' rigid rearguard was finally pierced by Alan Shearer's wonder-goal on Sunday, 10 hours and 18 minutes after Freddie Ljungberg had previously breached it in a Premiership clash. But while Sir Bobby Robson claimed that his Newcastle side would be champions with Everton's defence behind them, David Unsworth believes the credit should be more widely distributed. "It's a great compliment to hear comments like that," he said "but I've said before that it isn't the defence that keeps clean sheets, it's the whole side. "The defending that Kevin Campbell and Tomasz Radzinski do is phenomenal, and the midfielders are running 12/13 kilometres a game. We have had it measured and it makes our jobs at the back that much easier. "The lads in midfield are putting in some unbelievable shifts which makes us a more solid unit." Unsworth craves another clean sheet at Stamford Bridge tonight more than anyone else. Both his and team-mate Joseph Yobo's appearance in the Anfield derby later this month depends on Everton's progression in the Worthington Cup. If they triumph tonight, they will contest the fifth round just four days before the trip to Anfield - allowing the pair to serve one match bans then. "At the time I didn't know it was the derby I was down to miss," he explained. "I knew I was on four bookings but it isn't something you think about during a game. "I am absolutely gutted. No-one likes to miss any game, but I'm still clinging on to the hope that we will beat Chelsea and then I'll be suspended for the next round of the Cup. "Nobody wants to miss the derby. "Having been here for so long that is one game I don't want to miss. I'd have been giving everything to try and beat Chelsea as it is, but that gives me even more motivation - if any were needed. "I want to be involved and I'd love to be involved in the next round, too. It's a big competition and we're going for it - but I don't want to miss the derby. That goes without saying." West Ham are the only side to win at Stamford Bridge so far this season, but Unsworth has complete confidence that Everton can follow The Hammers' example. "We don't fear anyone." he said. "That's not cockiness or over-confidence, it's just a belief now that we have amongst the squad. "We respect teams and prepare in as professional a way as we can, but we don't fear anybody. "You only have to look at us defensively and the way we performed at Newcastle with 10-men. It took the goal of the season to get past us. "I have never seen a better goal against us. Ninety-nine players out of 100 would have taken a touch or chested it down and then hit it, but for Shearer to hit it from as far out as that, first time . . . it's the best goal I've ever seen scored against us."

Rooney walking a tightrope
Dec 4 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY is ready to step out on a derby match tightrope tonight -when he starts his fifth match for Everton. Boss David Moyes knows that a booking for the young striker at Chelsea tonight or at Goodison on Saturday would rule him out of the forthcoming derby match - unless Everton win at Stamford Bridge. But he is prepared to run that risk to add to the 17-year-old's soccer education.
"I am aware that Wayne and Thomas Gravesen are both one booking away from a ban - and I will look at both to see what we can do, but we probably don't have the numbers to think about squad rotation," he explained. "It is a big learning curve for Wayne. Noone expected him to play 30-odd games in his first season at this level, but he has been in the squad on every occasion and somewhere along the line he will get the opportunity to start matches." One of those opportunities will come tonight, in the fourth round Worthington Cup tie (kick-off 7.45pm), while David Unsworth is hoping to be selected for his 300th Everton appearance. Lee Carsley, however, will miss out with a bruised foot, leaving Everton short down the right flank. "Steve Watson was sent home with flu, but his calf wasn't right anyway," explained Moyes "and Niclas Alexandersson is out as well. We need to have a look at things and see what we have available. "It's not ideal to be playing the same team twice in a few days, (Chelsea are at Goodison in the Premiership on Saturday) but the further you go in cup competitions the greater the likelihood of things like that happening. "We were delighted to get through the last round and we will be trying our utmost to get past Chelsea.
"Chelsea have done very well this season and much of that is down to keeping the same line-up together. "You can name the Chelsea starting XI week in week out now, and players sometimes need that stability you lose with squad rotation." Chelsea's outstanding young striker, Carlton Cole, is on- loan at Wolves and will not be recalled, while Gian-franco Zola is expected to be rested. But that still leaves a formidable forward line of Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen. The match will be screened live on Sky.

Chelsea aiming to toughen Carlton up
Dec 4 2002 Liverpool Echo
CHELSEA chairman Ken Bates has called on Carlton Cole to follow the example of John Terry and make the most of his loan spell at Wolves by "toughening" himself up with experience of the "real world". Cole would no doubt have been playing in the Worthington Cup fourth round tonight against Everton if he had not gone out on a month's loan to Wolves last week. He certainly made a big impression in the third round victory against Gillingham, scoring both goals in Chelsea's 2-1 win.
However, boss Claudio Ranieri last week decided the 19-year-old striker, who has been called into the latest England Under-20 squad, would benefit more from regular first team football in the First Division. Rejecting suggestions Cole was sent to Wolves as a punishment for a bad attitude, he insisted: "Carlton is my young lion, but he is still a baby. I have Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gud-johnsen fit, all world-class players, and Carlton would do no better than get on the bench for the next month. "Regular games in the promotion fight of Division One will make him a better player. I believe in Carlton and he is one of the young players here who are the future of Chelsea." Bates believes Cole can now match the examples of Terry and Michael Duberry in returning from a loan spell to force his way into the first team at Stamford Bridge. Terry came back from loan at Nottingham Forest in 2000 to be a substitute at the FA Cup final, then win a regular place the following season. Bates said: "We decided it would be better for Carlton to be playing first-team football, even in the First Division, and get toughened up. "Wolves are pushing to get promotion so he'll have a lot of hard games. It'll be great for us and great for him." Terry could return to the side tonight if Ranieri rests Marcel Desailly. Gianfranco Zola and Graeme Le Saux could also be rested. However, Boudewijn Zenden returns to the squad after almost two months out.

Chelsea 4, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Dec 5 2002 By Jonathan McEvoy at Stamford Bridge
ONE route to Europe closed, another still open. Everton may have seen their Worthington Cup hopes go west down south last night but all is not lost. The Blues have now to prove their worth in the Premiership after they were dismantled by a slick Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Football is a fickle master and the challenge for David Moyes and his side is to keep their recent momentum going in the league on Saturday, so as not to let the expectation still washing over Goodison drain away.
After losing cruelly at Newcastle at the weekend - shipping two goals in the final four minutes - last night was a test of their strength of character. If that is a truism, the stakes are now higher.
Ironically, Chelsea provide the opposition in three days' time. Moyes promised he will turn out a different, sterner team from the one that suffered this version of capital punishment. Moyes has done tremendous work in raising the ailing Everton team he inherited to new heights. His next task - a tough challenge he is sure to relish - is to keep them in the ascendancy. There was no legislating for the wizardry of Gianfranco Zola, who unpicked the Everton defence with aplomb and created the home side's first two goals, but one question Moyes must address is the Rooney issue. In a bold statement of intent the precociously-talented teenager was named alongside Tomasz Radzinski and Kevin Campbell, but spent most of the night annonymously cast on the fringes of the action in an ill-starred three-man frontline. Admittedly, it is hard to leave out the two experienced forwards who have scored 12 of Everton's last 19 Premiership goals, but if Rooney is to start it is surely worth playing him where he is most dangerous - as half of a front two. The writing was on the wall when Chelsea stormed into a 26th-minute lead through Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink but he had Zola's sorcery to thank. The little Italian threaded a defence-splitting pass from the half-way line for his strike partner to get behind the otherwise impresssive Joseph Yobo and take one touch before coolly drilling home beyond Richard Wright. It was a just reward for Claudio Ranieri's side who were beginning to assert themselves after Everton failed to make their early brightness pay.

And Chelsea left them with a mountain to climb when Emmanuel Petit grabbed their second of the night and his first goal of the season. Again Zola was the architect. His delicious, floated pass was latched on to by Petit, who timed his run to perfection to avoid the offside flag, and volleyed decisively beyond Wright in the 43rd minute. Everton could have no real complaints with the half-time scoreline as Chelsea's league of nations showed their class. It is a sign of Everton's recent renaissance that they travelled to London to face the team third in the Premiership with hopes of progressing into the quarter-finals. But all the steel and fight imbued in them by Moyes was not enough and the game was effectively over by the end of the first half. The best early opening fell to the Blues through Mark Pembridge in the 16th minute as the Chelsea defence for once looked vulnerable. William Gallas and John Terry conspired to allow him a sight of goal only for him to steer a well-struck volley wide of the target. By then, Pembridge had directed a free-kick into the wall and, at the other end, Celestine Babayaro had squirmed an inviting chance wide from inside the area from Zola's cut-back. But, in truth, Everton were forced on to the back foot and could be accused of lacking quality in their crossing when they had a chance to put the home side's recent reputation for miserly defending to the test. Radzinski was presented with a golden chance to wrest Everton back into the contest within two minutes of the start of the second-half. The little Canadian has proved prolific this season, having finally found the killer instinct that made him such a success at Anderlecht prior to his move to Merseyside two summers ago. But his touch deserted him on this occasion as Chelsea's backline went AWOL. Thomas Gravesen found him in space on the right edge of the penalty area but his shot lacked power and was easily gathered by keeper Carlo Cudicini.
It was Everton, though, suffering most of the palpitations. Zola, denied a goal when caught marginally offside one moment, clipped the crossbar the next with a free-kick whipped in from the left. Some respite came with Zola making way for Eidur Gudjohnsen. The travelling fans generously applauded him as he exited stage right. Moyes' brand of Everton never give in and they forced a succession of corners midway through the second-half but struggled to sustain their pressure or to find the guile and craft to carve out a realistic way back. And it was all over for them in the space of two destructive minutes. First, Mario Stanic directed a near-post header past Wright in the 68th-minute as he climbed above Li Tie to apply the crucial blow to Hasselbaink's corner. And Hasselbaink then claimed his second of the night with a viciously-struck shot from the edge of the box to kill off Everton's hopes of winning the League Cup for the first time in their history. Twenty minutes to play but no hope. And it got worse before it got better. Rooney had a penalty saved in the 78th-minute after Gallas had handled the ball. But the youngster pushed the ball lamely and Cudicini tumbled down to his right to save. And that after Rooney had gestured David Unsworth away to claim responsibility for the spot-kick. The impudence of youth. Naysmith poked home a consolation for Everton moments later from Graves-en's corner but it was too little, too late. The Blues defence had not conceded a single goal in more than 10 hours of football before Saturday's St James' Park calamity. Now it's six goals in 74 minutes. And to complete their misery, Unsworth and Yobo will miss the Mersey derby on December 22. Their suspensions would have been used up in the Worthington Cup quarter-finals had Everton gone through. Oh dear.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini, Babayaro, Lampard, Hasselbaink, Stanic, Gallas, Melchiot, Petit (Morris 71), Zola (Gudjohnsen 57), Terry, Gronkjaer (de Lucas 63). Subs: de Goey, Desailly.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Wright, Pistone, Weir, Unsworth, Radzinski, Campbell, Pembridge (Naysmith 36), Tie (Gemmill 69), Gravesen, Rooney, Yobo. Subs: Simonsen, Stubbs, Hibbert.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Pistone.
REFEREE: Mr P Durkin.
ATT: 32,322.

A Category C farce
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Dec 5 2002
A FLAGSHIP Liverpool bookstore last night withdrew copies of a football hooligan biography from its front window display after an outcry by Everton and the club's fans. Managers at the Waterstone's store in Bold Street apologised to offended supporters after inviting self-confessed football thug Andy Nicholls to a book signing promotion. They were ordered to remove the books from the window after their head office in London intervened. Mr Nicholls, 39, a former Everton season ticket holder, has written about masterminding two decades of hooliganism in his biography entitled: Scally Confessions of a Category C Football Hooligan. Yesterday he signed his book at the store for an hour in the face of stinging criticism from the club he claims he has followed all his life.
Ian Ross, head of corporate affairs and public relations at Everton, said: "We have continually denounced this book and are amazed that a bookshop with such a good reputation should provide him with a platform on which he can extol the virtues of football hooliganism. "Every right thinking member of this football club wants nothing to do with this man. We have been inundated with telephone calls, letters and emails decrying Waterstone's for allowing him to sign in their store. We will take this to the highest level at Waterstone's." On the morning of the launch Waterstone's defended the book signing and their choice of author. A spokesperson said: "We are not in the business of censorship. Where would you draw the line? He isn't doing a reading or talking, he'll just be in the store for an hour signing books." But last night, in an embarrassing U-turn, the company apologised for any offence caused and said they would withdraw the book from their front window display. The spokesperson said: "It seemed to be a low-key event and we have no plans to have him back in our shop. There was certainly no desire to cause offence to anyone. "We have spoken to Everton Football Club and reassured them of this. We will look to review the range of authors we have in our shop." The store has sold more than 400 hardback copies and has 300 more in stock after ordering a second delivery from distributors. Yesterday 31 books were sold - compared to the 150 books that were sold when motor racing commentator Murray Walker signed his memoirs at the store last month. One shopper vowed to take the book back after buying it as a mistake.
Vicky Empson, 25, from Maghull, said: "I thought it was a general football book and bought it for my boyfriend as a present. "I did not realise who the guy signing books was and was disgusted that I had paid money to a former thug. I can't believe he was just sitting there selling that kind of book." But other shoppers were interested in what Mr Nicholls had to say. Richard North, 18, a student at Liverpool John Moores University, said: "I am just generally interested in why people act the way they do. I don't think it would encourage other football violence." Paul Williams, 30, travelled from North Wales for the book signing. He said: "I think it's an exciting read. There is a lot more on the market that is worse than this." Nicholls claims he formed a gang in the 1990s called the "Snorty Forty" who were determined to resurrect football violence. The book reads: "A few of us agreed that it was not over and we had to get a mob together for Newcastle away and let them know we were still about. "We played them on the Saturday before Christmas so it was no problem increasing the Snorty Forty to the Snorty Fifty-Six. "There were a few kids but they were there to make a name for themselves and were usually the ones with the blades." One of the most chilling passages refers to plans to have soccer playerturned movie star Vinnie Jones attacked after a crucial relegation decider in 1994. It reads: "It was decided that several smackheads would be given a good wage if, in the melee that was sure to follow, Vinnie was slashed." Everton bosses banned Mr Nicholls for life from home games after the book's publication on October 31. But last night, Mr Nicholls justified its publication. He said: "I was obviously very disappointed to be banned but we will fight it all the way. "There are books in most book-shops of a similar ilk. Books about murders and serious crimes are worse. All I have done is write about some of the things that I have witnessed. It (hooliganism) was an important part of terrace culture and it is a story that needs telling." But Everton's Ian Ross said: "He seems to be portraying this as a necessary historical record. If that is the case why doesn't he donate the money to Alder Hey or another charity?"


Does Kings Dock really need an arena?
Daily Post
Dec 5 2002
Tony Mcdonough Makes The Case For The Stadium And Business Editor Bill Gleeson Gives The Opposite Viewpoint.
IF EVERTON Football Club want to compete with the best of the Premiership and of Europe then a new stadium is essential. Greater revenues from match day receipts and the maximising of the Everton brand name are just two of the enormous potential benefits of the proposed 55,000-seater Kings Dock arena. But is what's good for Everton also good for the city of Liverpool? Yes, says Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey who believes the city centre cannot do without a world-class arena for much longer. The alternative, he says, is to put people in a tent - which hardly projects the right image of Liverpool to the rest of the world. In fact, Coun Storey is so determined the city should have a prestige venue, he says he will pursue a separate venture even if the Everton plan falls through. "Everton and Houston Securities were the successful bidder chosen from the short-list by the Liverpool Vision board to develop the Kings Dock and I put my public support behind them once they were selected. "But if Everton were unable to go ahead then we would still build a publicly-funded arena alongside the associated leisure, retail and housing developments." Coun Storey is frustrated that Liverpool is not able to compete with Manchester for big international stars and claims Liverpool's tourism industry will continue to lag behind until we have a facility equivalent to, or better than, Manchester's MEN arena. He added: "I was over at one of the big Manchester venues recently and Liverpool desperately needs one like it. "At the moment we can't put 11,000 people in an arena in Liverpool without putting up a tent. "When I talk to people about tourism they impress on me the need to put the infrastructure in place for tourism to happen. Manchester has done that but we haven't." Everton director Paul Gregg, who has been one of the prime movers in keeping the Kings Dock dream alive, believes both Everton and the city would gain equal benefit from the arena. "Everton is currently enjoying success on the field and this arena would give us a fantastic opportunity to put the club at the fore-front of the Premiership," he said. "It will have facilities without equal anywhere in Europe and will allow us to maximise our fan base and generate millions of pounds in extra revenue." Mr Gregg claims the King's Dock stadium would be one of the best in Europe and says that can only be a plus for the image of Merseyside. He said: "For many years Liverpool has fallen way behind Manchester in persuading major artists to come to the city and perform. "The stadium would allow us and ensure events are profitable -that aspect is important." The project is being designed in such a way as to make the quick and smooth transition from football stadium to concert arena very easy. The roof will open or close in about 20 minutes and partitions and acoustic curtains can be slid into position. A section of the roof can also be lowered to create a smaller concert hall. Mr Gregg said leaving Goodison would be a heartbreaking decision for everyone associated with the club but believes this project will create something as special and unique as their old home. "We would be leaving 100 years of memories behind us but we believe this is the best way forward," he added. "What this arena will say to the world is that this is a great city with a great club at its heart." The two main objections to the scheme are the use of public money in the form of Objective One funding, and the possible disruption caused to people living and working in and around the city centre. As far as local disruption goes Mr Gregg admits this will be a real issue for some people but says that people have been happily living and working around Anfield and Goodison Park for many years. On the issue of funding he added: "The millions of pounds of European money that has come to Liverpool has to be put to good use to give maximum benefit to the city. "This is a fantastic opportunity to get the public and private sector working together to ensure funding doesn't go to waste." The final word goes to Rogan Taylor from Liverpool University's Football Industry Studies Unit. "The river front is a great location to have something that symbolises the importance of football to a city like Liverpool," he said. "How many times do you look at the skyline with the Liver Buildings and the two cathedrals and say to yourself, where is the other cathedral? "Everything depends on the final deal because other peoples' money is involved, including the council. "When it comes to how the revenues will be carved up, the devil will be in the details."
MANY groups in the city are voicing concerns about the current plans to build a huge stadium at Kings Dock. They include local residents, political opponents of Liverpool's Liberal Democrat administration, city centre shops, some Everton fans and the Merseyside Civic Society, which fears the stadium plans could turn a key part of the city into a ghost town for much of the week. Paul Brant is a waterfront resident and a Labour councillor representing the Abercromby ward, which includes Kings Dock. Coun Brant believes most people living near the development are against the plan. He said: "It would paralyse the transport infrastructure for up to four hours every other Saturday afternoon, which could have a catastrophic effect on the city as a retail destination. "It takes about two hours for 4,500 cars to empty from the Kings Dock after the summer pops. The proposers of the scheme have yet to show how it can cope with 55,000 visitors. "Also there are real questions about the business case for the entertainment side and whether major artists would fill it to capacity on more than one or two days a year." Even if both Everton and Liverpool Vision give the scheme the go-ahead this week, there will still be many other funding and planning hurdles to be crossed before construction work can begin. In addition to Everton's money, another £35m of the stadium's construction costs is meant to come from Merseyside's European Union funded Objective 1 programme. Some community groups believe that big showpiece regeneration schemes like the Kings Dock are not the right way to improve prosperity. They argue that the money would be better spent on grassroots projects. Marie McGiveron, who runs a neighbourhood council in Vauxhall, said: "We are always looking for the opportunity to create jobs because of the deprivation here. "We rely heavily on European funding. If all the Objective 1 money was wrapped up in that project and valuable resources were taken away from improving the quality of life for people living in this community, it would be a shame." Charles Hubbard, vice chairman of Merseyside Civic Society and managing partner of property agency Edmund Kirby, believes that the public has been kept in the dark about the Kings Dock. He said: "The real facts and figures have never been aired. The question that is being asked by the Civic Society is that big stadiums are only occupied 20 days a year. "You might get some occasional other uses such as concerts, but most of the time the place would not be in use. "There were lots of other good schemes put forward at the time of the shortlist, which would have kept the place looking busy all the time." hile the question mark over Everton's ability to raise £30m to pay for its share of the capital costs of constructing the stadium are well known, it is less well understood that the club could struggle to cover its running costs at Kings Dock. Last season Everton spent £49m on its operating costs while it earned £38m from all sources. That means it made an £11m operating loss. This was only covered by the sales of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball in the previous summer. To give up their freehold stadium in order to pay rent at Kings Dock will add to costs, as will the need to pay some sort of financing charge to whoever owns the stadium instead of Everton. These additional costs would push Everton further into the red, and it's unlikely the club's bankers would agree to that. Liverpool Stores Committee chairman Ed Oliver said retailers in the city centre want to see something done with the dock.
"What we have concerns about, which nobody has answered, is how do you get 55,000 people on to what is effectively an island site, surrounded by water, on a busy Saturday. "Are we happy to have visiting and home supporters moving through the shopping centre on a Saturday? "The traffic and policing of football fans through the city centre is a worry to us. "As far as the retailers are concerned, Kings Dock must be developed as at the moment it is standing there empty.
"What can't happen is nothing."

Chelsea 4, Everton 1 (Echo)
Dec 5 2002 By David Prentice At Stamford Bridge, Liverpool Echo
THE identity of the side to progress into the last eight of the Worthington Cup was not the only issue to be comprehensively clarified at Stamford Bridge last night. Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth now know they will sit out the Anfield derby. Wayne Rooney will pass the penalty taking responsibility back to Unsworth. And the Blues will now surely abandon any further experimentation with a 4- 3- 3 formation. Four times this season Everton have started a match with three strikers on the pitch. They have yet to do better than a couple of scrambled home draws.
"Maybe the way we played didn't suit us," Blues boss David Moyes conceded after a drubbing as decisive as anything he has witnessed since he arrived at Goodison. "We didn't think it worked particularly well." It was an accurate assesment, but in many respects the formation was forced on him last night. Fortunate with injuries so far this season, it was perhaps appropriate that it should be a capital venue where sidelined players started to limp along like London buses. With right flankers Niclas Alexandersson and Steve Watson already absent, Lee Carsley joined them with a bruised foot. Everton's squad is not sufficiently blessed to cope without asking individuals to operate out of position, so Wayne Rooney was asked to shuttle between midfield and up front.
The youngster possesses the talent to make a decent enough fist of the task. But Chelsea always had extra bodies in midfield - and they also had the visionary class of Gianfranco Zola. If Rooney is looking for a role model to follow, he could do worse than the 36-year-old Italian who still plays with the enthusiasm of a 17-year-old. He was only on the pitch for 57 minutes, but while Everton were delighted to see the back of him after he had created two goals, struck the crossbar and had a goal of his own disallowed, it was tempered with the knowledge that they will be facing him again on Saturday. Twice before the interval he produced sublime passes which carved gaping holes in an Everton defence which only three days earlier had been described as a title-winning unit. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took advantage of the first, although Joseph Yobo might have had Sunday's red card experience in his mind when he let the Dutchman cut across him without putting in a foot.
The second left Everton's isolated defenders forlornly hoping for an offside flag, while Manu Petit romped in to neatly volley past Wright. Those goals came in the 25th and 43rd minutes, but Chelsea had always been threatnening after an initial Everton flurry petered out. The Blues' only opening of any note - until they scored with the game decided - came at the apex of their brightest spell, in the 13th minute. Terry's attempted clearance bounced off Pembridge to Radzinski, who chested the ball back to the Welshman. He was well positioned, just inside the Chelsea penalty box, but volleyed narrowly wide. Zola exitted before the hour mark had passed, but even in his absence Everton never looked like staging a revival and in the 60th minute Pistone was booked for clattering Stanic in frustration. A player's value is often only truly appreciated when he is absent. In that respect Tony Hibbert enjoyed a good night. The Worthington Cup has not been kind to Alessandro Pistone. He registered an own goal on his last appearance at Newcastle, and did not cover himself in glory last night. But he wasn't alone. In the 68th minute Stanic climbed easily above Tie to head in Chelsea's third from a Hasselbaink corner, then two minutes later Hasselbaink was allowed to collect his own partially cleared corner kick and drive an outstanding cross-shot past Wright. The large army of travelling fans finally thought they had something to cheer 12 minutes from time, when William Gallas handled Unsworth's chip into the penalty area. Wayne Rooney managed to persuade Unsworth to hand over the responsibility, but his shot was too close to Cudicini who parried the effort comfortably. It mattered little. From the resulting corner Naysmith prodded in Gravesen's cross anyway to give Everton a glimmer of consolation. The only other consolation on a grim night came in the quarter-final draw. After the footballing lesson handed out by Chelsea, the prospect of facing a Manchester United side just running into form in a fort-night's time was not an appealing one. Neither is meeting Chelsea again in 48 hours. But this time the personnel - and the formation - promises to be different. So too, might be the result . . .
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro, Gronkjaer (De Lucas 64 mins), Lampard, Petit, Stanic (Morris 71 mins), Zola (Gudjohnsen 57 mins), Hasselbaink. Not used: De Goey, Desailly.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Wright, Pistone, Yobo, Weir, Unsworth, Tie (Gemmill 69 mins), Gravesen, Pembridge (Naysmith 35 mins), Radzinski, Campbell, Rooney. Not used: Simonsen, Stubbs, Hibbert.
REFEREE: Paul Durkin.
BOOKING: Pistone (60 mins) foul.

Moyes scoops boss award
Dec 5 2002 By David Randles, icLiverpool
DAVID MOYES has picked up the Barclaycard Premiership Manager-of-the-Month award for November. The Blues boss exceeded expectations by guiding his side to third in the table on the back of four consecutive 1-0 wins last month. Sunday's defeat at Newcastle currently sees the Blues in fifth spot. While so-called top clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United faltered in the Premiership, Moyes quietly got about his business to turn Everton into one of the hardest sides to beat in November. The decision was made by the Barclaycard Awards Panel, which includes representatives from football's governing bodies, the media and fans. The Barclaycard Awards Panel said: "Since taking over at Goodison Park David Moyes has transformed the fortunes of Everton. His ability to organise and inspire both young and seasoned professionals alike has lifted his team to fifth in the Barclaycard Premiership. "As the other great club in Liverpool, Everton have under-achieved for far too long, but Moyes has began turning things around and they now look like the type of team that is ready to write a new chapter in the club's history." True to form, the Goodison boss accepted his award as a collective achievement on behalf of his team in saying: "We understand that awards like this only come about if we are consistent as we have been early on this season. However, we need to keep this up for the months ahead." "I think the main difference at Everton this season is that the players have more confidence and belief in themselves to play good football and that's what they're doing. We're also working very hard as well, the players know that the team is more important than the individual. Indeed, since taking over from Walter Smith last March, Moyes saved Everton from relegation and has worked with his players throughout the summer to instil a hard working ethic and good team spirit which has led to the club's rejuvanation this season. Moyes continued: "This award is a tribute to the whole team who have worked so hard and the fans that have been right behind us. "My goal at the start of this season was to get Everton playing decent football and steer clear of relegation and I certainly think we've moving in the right direction." With this award however, comes a superstitious notion that any winning manager will endure a following month of poor results - just ask October's winner, Gerard Houllier - and since the start of December, the Blues have lost two games on the trot already. However, well aware of the accolade's curse, Moyes seems to think he has the answer: "I've been told that if I ever won this award not to accept it on the pitch," he said receiving his prize at the club's Bellefield training ground today. "If you do, you never win the next game." So that's a win against last night's Worthington Cup conquerers Chelsea on Saturday then! Moyes, who is seen as one of the brightest young managerial prospects in British football, joins fans favourite Joseph Yobo in the award stakes for November as the Nigerian international celebrated his PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award earlier this week.
* Since arriving on Merseyside from Preston North End Moyes' record stands as P 28 W 14 L 10 D 4.

Saturday will be different, vows Moyes
Dec 5 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES last night vowed Evertonians will see a different Everton on Saturday - both in personnel and attitude. The Blues face Chelsea at the weekend, just three days after last night's 4-1 drubbing at Stamford Bridge in the Worthington Cup. But Moyes rapped: "It will be different at Goodison on Saturday. We know it will be much better. "We didn't quite have as much energy about us tonight. Maybe the way we played didn't quite suit us and obviously Chelsea are a very good team. "They are in good form and we know what we are up against on Saturday. "The three up front didn't work particularly well. We thought Chelsea had started to get the better us but it still took a couple of wonderful passes from Zola to craft the goals." Moyes can recall Tony Hibbert and Alan Stubbs, both rested last night, and might have Lee Carsley available after missing out with a bruised foot. But he must also check on Mark Pembridge who limped off with a hamstring strain after half-an-hour. "We'll see how Mark is tomorrow, but most of our players are there. The problem was that we had no-one who could play on the right hand side. "With Lee Carsley, Steve Watson and Niclas Alexandersson missing there was no-one who is comfortable on that side, but we have played the way we did before and done quite well. "We started okay in the opening period and Mark Pembridge had a good chance to make it 1-0, but Chelsea are a good side. "We were doing fine until two wonderful passes by Zola crafted out the two goals, but we should have done better defensively." Moyes also revealed that Wayne Rooney will not allow a late penalty miss to affect him. "He will cope fine," he said. "He is a confident boy and I don't forsee any problems there at all."

Beaten Blues' ban blow
Dec 5 2002 By Stephen McMillan
EVERTON paid a heavy price for last night's Worthington Cup humbling. The Blues will be without key defenders Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth for the Goodison derby on December 22 after their 4-1 fourth round defeat at Stamford Bridge. Everton needed to beat Chelsea to ensure Yobo and Unsworth served their suspensions in the quarter-final four days before the Mersey clash with Liverpool. But the pair are now destined to sit out the derby in a blow to boss David Moyes' hopes of reinforcing his side's recent resurgence against their arch-rivals. Yobo was red carded in Saturday's Premiership defeat at Newcastle while Unsworth is set to be sidelined after picking up five yellow cards this season. A defiant Moyes promised there will be no repeat of last night's miserable defeat at Chelsea when the two clubs meet again at Goodison Park in the Premiership on Saturday. The Blues boss spoke out after his side crashed to their heaviest defeat of the season.
Moyes was critical of his defence as the Blues were overrun by a Chelsea side inspired by Gianfranco Zola, who was the architect of the home side's first two goals. But Moyes pledged his side would learn from the defeat and show a vast improvement for Saturday's league clash. "It wasn't a good result for us tonight, but full credit to Chelsea and Zola in particular," he said. "We started well in the opening period and Mark Pembridge had a good chance, but Chelsea are a good side and we were doing fine until two wonderful passes from Zola crafted the first two goals." Moyes added: "You have to say well done to him, but defensively I think we should have done much better. We didn't have enough energy tonight. "We came up against a good team who were in form, and there's plenty to think about for Saturday. "But make no mistake, things will be different on Saturday. It will be a much better Everton performance you see then." A goal in each half from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, plus strikes from Emmanuel Petit and a Mario Stanic header, set Claudio Ranieri's men en route to victory. And just to add to Everton's night of misery, Wayne Rooney saw his 78th-minute penalty saved by Carlo Cudicini, although Gary Naysmith scored Everton's consolation from the resulting corner. "It was a tough night for Wayne Rooney, but he'll get better for it and understand more as a result," said Moyes. "I have no doubt that he will cope fine about missing the penalty. He is a confident boy and I don't foresee any problems. "There's a big campaign to push him further, but people will see that the way we are using him is the right way."
Moyes also defended his position to play Rooney as part of a three-man front line. "We have played three up front on occasions this season and done well with it, but it didn't work particularly well for us tonight," he added. Man-of-the-match Zola said: "It was a difficult cup tie. But we coped very well - and I think everyone is growing up, me included. That is good news because things can only get better. When you have such a confidence everyone can do their best."

Kenwright aims to own Kings arena
By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Dec 6 2002
EVERTON FC co-owner Bill Kenwright is working on new proposals that would see Everton own the new stadium planned for Kings Dock. Mr Kenwright's latest proposals come as it emerged that plans put forward by fellow co-director Paul Gregg have been ditched in the face of opposition from some members of the club's board. Mr Gregg had proposed that a syndicate of investors would replace Everton as part-owner of the waterfront scheme. Mr Gregg, a former theatre entrepreneur, put forward his plan last month after Everton had spent 18 months in fruitless efforts to raise the cash it needs for the stadium. It is understood that Mr Kenwright is trying to put together a £30m financing arrangement that would see the club own the stadium outright from the start of the project. It is also hoped that Mr Kenwright's new proposal would be cheaper than Mr Gregg's plan.
News of Mr Kenwright's latest proposals emerged at a press conference staged yesterday afternoon by Liverpool Vision, the regeneration company in charge of developing the Kings Dock. Liverpool Vision said it was prepared to give Everton another month to come up with the money needed for the scheme. As well as the £30m the club needs to pay for its equity, Everton must also find house builders and other investors who will develop flats and commercial property on Kings Dock. The need to find developers for the housing side is essential as £35m of the profit from sales of flats and other properties is earmarked to part-fund the costs of constructing the stadium. Liverpool Vision chairman Sir Joe Dwyer said: "Bill Kenwright has written to me very late this afternoon with indications of what he is doing and it does give us a lot more confidence. We will be meeting them in the next few weeks to get this settled. "If we do not see a verifiable plan in place, English Partnerships will withdraw the scheme. We need to see a verifiable scheme in place by the end of the year." English Partnerships, a regeneration agency, owns the Kings Dock site at the moment.
Sir Joe said that Mr Gregg's plan had caused a "segregation" on the Everton board, with some members opposed to it. Liverpool City Council leader Mike Storey said it was important to give Everton a chance to find the money as the Kings Dock plan would put Liverpool on the map as a venue for major events. Joe Anderson, leader of the Labour group on Liverpool City Council and member of Liverpool Vision board, said he was surprised that a decision had been announced before the board had discussed the issue at a meeting scheduled for today. Coun Anderson said: "Its absolutely appalling that they have made that decision and not had any discussion about it at the board. I will be raising this at tomorrow's meeting. "They never even made a phone call to me. I had to contact them. "I hold the view that they have had two years with preferred developer status and that should be removed. "It's ironic that this has come up in the pantomime season. Its policy on the hoof." Mr Storey hit back saying: "All the time he has been on the Vision board, he has not raised this at a meeting. He has not said a peep. Everything we said today is subject to the Vision board, but it is appropriate for the chair of the Vision board to say what he is recommending.
"He is an opposition leader and he should be doing things that are good for the city. I'm quite disgusted with what he has said."

Modest Moyes is the man
Report By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Dec 6 2002
EVERTON boss David Moyes was last night celebrating winning the Manager of the Month award for November - and dedicated the accolade to his players. Moyes' reward comes after the Blues put together a six-match winning sequence that has lifted them to fifth place in the Premiership.
Last month's two victories on the road at Leeds and Blackburn either side of triumphs at Goodison Park against Charlton and West Brom - all 1-0 - makes him the first Everton boss to win the honour since Walter Smith in September 1999. Former Preston chief Moyes, who took over from Smith in March, has revitalised the Blues' fortunes on a shoe-string budget and turned them from relegation candidates to European contenders. He said: "The players deserve this award more than anyone.
"They've worked extremely hard and we had a good end to October as well, which they continued through November. It was a great spell for the club and I hope we win more of these together.

"It gives me a lift because when you come into the Premiership, you're always hoping you succeed in it and you want the supporters to think that you're doing a decent job. "Hopefully, this award will show how well the players and the staff have worked together." The decision was made by the Barclaycard Awards Panel, which includes representatives from foot-ball's governing bodies, the media and fans. The Barclaycard Awards Panel said: "Since taking over at Goodison Park, David Moyes has transformed the fortunes of Everton. "His ability to organise and inspire both young and seasoned professionals alike has lifted his team to fifth in the Barclaycard Premiership." Moyes said that confidence had been the key to his side's resurgence. "It's good to win this award, it shows we've had a decent start to the season which we hope to continue," he added. "I think the main difference at Everton this season is that the players have more confidence and belief in themselves to play good football and that's what they're doing. "We're also working very hard as well. The players know that the team is more important than the individual. This award is a tribute to the whole team who have worked so hard and the fans that have been right behind us. My goal at the start of this season was to get Everton playing decent football and steer clear of relegation and I certainly think we're moving in the right direction." Moyes will need to make the most of those inspirational qualities after successive defeats for Everton against Newcastle and Chelsea this week.
Mark Pembridge, meanwhile, will miss tomorrow's Premiership clash against Chelsea with a fresh injury blow. The Wales international midfielder had just returned to the side following calf problems but was forced off during Wednesday's Worthington Cup defeat to Chelsea. Moyes confirmed: "Mark has a bit of a hamstring strain and he will miss the weekend's game."
Lee Carsley, Steve Watson, Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth are all responding to treatment.

Chelsea chance to prove mettle
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Dec 6 2002
BACK TO reality or merely a blip? Tomorrow's game against Chelsea will tell us a lot about just how good the present Everton side are. They need to bounce back and reassert themselves quickly after a desperately disappointing week when they narrowly missed out on second place in the Premiership and then got battered out of sight in the Worthington Cup. Both games were always going to be difficult, but a harsh sending off early on at St James' Park was a handicap that few sides would overcome. To their credit the Blues battled brilliantly against the Geordies who had more or less run out of attacking ideas when Alan Shearer scored his incredible volley. Craig Bellamy's winner was just cruel. They took credit for the performance if not the result in that game, but there was no such luxury following the cuptie at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea probably look more like genuine title contenders this season than they ever have done, but that does not explain Everton's worst performance of the season. David Moyes' men simply didn't do the basic things that have made them so formidable of late. The manager admitted after the game that the formation didn't help. Playing with all three strikers looked initially like a bold, attacking move, but as we saw earlier in the season it badly disrupts the balance of the side. Our most dangerous players, Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne Rooney (above right), were reduced to operating in unfamiliar areas of the pitch where they could do little damage to the home side's rearguard. Hope-fully this is finally a lesson learned.
Another change that the manager must be tempted by is to rest Li Tie and bring in Scott Gemmill.
Admittedly the Chinese international does seem to perform better at Goodison, but after starting every game this season he looked ready to drop on Wednesday. Things are easy when you're winning and confidence is high - it's how you deal with the setbacks and problems that sort the great from the good though. With that in mind we can either look forward to tomorrow's game with fear and trepidation after such a hiding or alternatively we can view it as a golden opportunity to put the record straight and at least give Chelsea a game. We've already shown that when we play to our potential we can compete with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal so it's up to the manager to pick the side up, make the changes that are needed and get them believing in themselves again.
David Moyes is fully aware of that and few would doubt his post-match assertion that "it will be different at Goodison on Saturday".

Blue boys bidding to banish memories
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Dec 6 2002
EVERTON'S Academy sides hope to banish their bitter FA Youth Cup memories tomorrow when they return to action in the FA Premier Academy League. The last game for many of Colin Harvey's under-19s and Alan Harper's under-17s will have been the Youth Cup defeat at Goodison Park to Port Vale last week as there were no Academy League games last Saturday. And while the full Cup line-up will be split between the two sides tomorrow when they welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Netherton, they will be keen to get back to winning ways. A number of the players will feel they didn't do themselves justice at Goodison and will be hoping to prove a point tomorrow - and also next Saturday in the final Academy League fixtures before the Christmas break. And they will be keen to put in positive performances and earn a couple of morale-boosting results to set them up for the New Year and the second part of the season. Harvey's side sit sixth in the Group A table of the Academy League, and have been inconsistent in terms of results. But with several key players like striker Michael Symes, defender Franklyn Colbeck and Wales youth captain Craig Garside having suffered lengthy injuries this season the side have done well on the whole with their performances - with two wins and two draws from their last five fixtures before Saturday's break.
All three are still out and hope to return in the New Year. Harvey's side will again look to midfield trio Alan Moogan, Scott Brown and David Carney to provide the basis of what they will hope will be two victories to round off a superb year for the Blues Academy on a high. All three players have impressed at reserve team level as well this season. Harper's young side have been similar to Harvey's - superb 3-0 and 6-0 wins over Liverpool and Crewe respectively have been followed by two reverses in the last two matches against unbeaten league leaders Manchester City and Birmingham City before last Saturday. And they too will hope to go into the Christmas period with two good performances.

Gemmill ready to fly
Dec 6 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SCOT GEMMILL enjoys the rare honour - in recent years anyway - of having crashed in the vital goal which took Everton to the top of the table. But, having sampled the high life, the experience has made it even more frustrating for the Blues midfielder to endure sitting on the sidelines and watching Everton regularly flirt with the upper echelons of the Premiership this season. It was last August that Gemmill's sublime volley past Middlesbrough took Everton briefly top of the first Premiership table of the season. It heralded the most consistently sustained spell of his Blues' career. After shaking off a niggling back injury, he played 32 of 34 games between October and May -but this season he has been a frustrated spectator. The lay-off has even led to hitherto-concealed masochistic tendencies! Introduced as a 69th minute substitute at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, he commented: "I said to some of the lads after the Chelsea game that most people wouldn't relish going on when the team's losing 3-0, but I just wanted to get on and play. "I think that shows how little I have played recently . The last time I started in the Premiership was at the end of last season and it has been a horrible feeling. "All I can do is keep trying really. "I can't use the excuse that the manager doesn't know what I can do, because he was here for the last nine games of last season and I played all bar the last one, when he told me he wanted to look at the other players. "He does know what I can do, but he has chosen to go with Li Tie (pictured right) and Li Tie has been fabulous.

"My only defence is that I was genuinely injured at the start of the season and the team has done very well so I've not even been in a position to argue about it! "I genuinely do want the team to do well and if they are winning and I can't get my place back I will accept that. But it is hard." But, as Lee Carsley and Tobias Linderoth have discovered, the midfield areas of the pitch are amongst the most difficult to avoid injury - and in that department the Blues are dropping like flies. Rodrigo, Linderoth, Carsley, Niclas Alexandersson and Steve Watson were all missing on Wednesday - and the match was barely half-an-hour old before Mark Pembridge joined them. That leaves openings, particularly down the right flank. But while Gemmill has operated effectively there in the past, it is not a position he feels at ease in. "I don't feel comfortable playing there," he revealed. "I always feel exposed because I'm not fast enough to play there, but the times I have done I've got through and tried to do the best I can for the team. But I'm never going to go past a fullback and I can't argue I should be playing there. "I prefer it in the middle and I feel I have played well for the reserves, but while it is hard to stay motivated I have to remember it is the only chance you get. If I can't get in the first team I owe it to myself to play properly." Gemmill could come into contention tomorrow for the second part of the Chelsea doubleheader, and he is expecting a totally different game to Wednesday's walloping. "Anyone who was in the dressing room after that game," he added, "wouldn't have been surprised to hear the gaffer talking about Saturday literally two or three minutes after the final whistle and how he wanted us to respond. "He also said he would do all he could to prepare us tactically and mentally. "Chelsea have more of a work ethic about them now and they are very strong defensively, but we beat them at Goodison two or three years ago just through pure hard work and closing them down. "I don't think we were as good as we have been on Wednesday and while I don't think they were brilliant, they are a good team and they have individuals who can punish lapses in concentration." One of those indiv iduals is the enormously-gifted Gianfranco Zola who, at the age of 36, is arguably producing the best form of his career.
It's an example Gemmill would love to follow. "I hope and pray I can go on as long as Zola," he enthused. "He is a great example. I try to do the right things and stay healthy, not just at the training ground but at home as well."

A lot to prove for Blues
Dec 6 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will launch a revenge mission at Goodison Park tomorrow - against the only team to have "outplayed" them so far this season. Chelsea arrive on Merseyside just three days after they decisively ended Everton's Worthington Cup hopes. And newly crowned Manager of the Month, David Moyes, declared: "For the first time this season I felt that a side outplayed us on Wednesday.
"That throws up different things in my head, but the main one is that we need to play much better.
"You can talk about systems and formations, but the bottom line is that we didn't play well in midweek and that must change." The personnel will undoubtedly change tomorrow. Tony Hibbert will return for Alessandro Pistone, Alan Stubbs could come back in and Lee Carsley will have a late fitness test on the foot injury which sidelined him in midweek. Carsley's return would allow Moyes to revert to a more solid 4-4-2 formation, but he added: "Only Arsenal have won more matches in the Premiership than us this season so that tells me we are doing okay." That is reflected in the nomination of Moyes as Manager of the Month for November, the first selection of an Everton manager since Walter Smith in September 1999. "I am pleased when Everton win any award - and this is an award for Everton rather than David Moyes," he said. "Everybody has played their part, no more so than the players. "The staff also have a real spirit behind the scenes, and the supporters have played their part - selling out Goodison and selling all our tickets for away games. "I just hope we have got the Manager of the Month jinx out of the way with that defeat on Wednesday." Chelsea will recall Marcel Desailly at the centre of their defence. Everton's Swedish duo of Tobias Linderoth and Niclas Alexandersson, meanwhile, could start light training next week.

Everton 1, Chelsea 3 (D, Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
Dec 9 2002
IF THE Blues' bubble has burst, there were no signs of deflation around Goodison Park on Saturday night. After rolling a six-game winning streak to go third in the table Everton knew they had set themselves up for a fall with the rest of Premiership waiting for David Moyes' upstarts to slide firmly back into their place. Moyes had warned it couldn't last while Evertonians hadn't entirely got out of the habit of worrying about Bolton's results before realising it is now Manchester United who they need to check on first. So just before 5pm on Saturday night - when those crafty 'cockneys' from Chelsea inflicted Everton's third defeat in less than a week - the cue arrived for all the old foreboding and cynicism that has accumulated around Goodison Park in recent times to come flooding back.
But it never did. More than an hour after the game disbelief was still etched into the faces of many of the club stewards searching for answers to what they'd just witnessed. Indignation was rife, as the five police officers outside the referee's room testified afterwards, but anyone looking for evidence that 'normal service has been resumed' was in the wrong place. Chelsea did expose Everton's limitations on Saturday, especially in taking two early Christmas presents from the home defence to open up what proved an unassailable lead. "Diabolical defending," admitted the manager. The lack of options at Moyes' disposal was obvious, where just a few absentees - from midfield especially - limits Everton's potency and could spell trouble for a sustained campaign at the top. But against a Chelsea side now second and rated the strongest outfit to emerge from Stamford Bridge's spending spree, the Blues proved they can match the best - even if the scoreline suggests otherwise. In Premiership terms the Blues became a good side overnight but even on the back of three straight defeats and their first loss at Goodison since April, they will not disappear in the other direction just as quickly. If at all. For more than 45 minutes Everton gave Chelsea's defence a sustained opportunity to prove their world-class credentials. Ultimately the incomprehension over David Unsworth's dismissal was, Moyes admitted, nothing compared to how they didn't salvage a deserved 2-2 draw. Yet again the manager's reaction said everything about Everton's progress. Moyes said: "Both Chelsea and Newcastle have aspirations to get into the Champions League, so the fact that we've competed with them shows we've come a long way quite quickly. "Chelsea are there. They showed in midweek how good a side they can be. I think they're title contenders. I think the only team in the top five you'd have thought wouldn't be in the top five at this stage would be Everton. "But we are fifth and it's strange we are disappointed about not beating Chelsea. And this team's disappointed at not beating Newcastle as well. You shouldn't have to pick the team up. That represents a big turnaround and we are making good progress. "The games this month have been tough for us, though we've been competing well. "We've had the consistency but not the breaks."
Too true. If both sides were still playing this morning Moyes would still be waiting for a break from referee Eddie Wolstenholme. His handling of the entire contest was, to be overly kind, erratic. The mystifying decision to send off Unsworth for violent conduct after an injury-time altercation with Jesper Gronkjaer summed up his afternoon. When Unsworth walked so did Everton's hopes of completing the fightback they had threatened from the moment Gary Naysmith profited from Kevin Campbell's graft and slotted past Carlo Cudicini in the 43rd minute. Yet, without wishing to join the Blackburn official's appreciation society, he was not responsible for Everton's defeat or entirely at fault for frustrations inevitably boiling over. Unsworth's reaction to being dragged to the floor by the Dane was over-zealous, not violent, but it was the fourth official rather than the unsighted referee who decreed otherwise to prompt a ludicrous dismissal.

Everton to tame Shrews
Daily Post
Dec 9 2002
EVERTON legend Kevin Ratcliffe believes his Shrewsbury side are capable of knocking the Blues out of the FA Cup. The third division Shrews booked their place in the third round with a convincing 3-1 win over Barrow on Saturday. Their reward is a home tie against the club Ratcliffe (pictured with David Moyes) spent the majority of his playing career with. He said: "Obviously there might be a slight bit of nervousness on their side, because there is a potential banana skin in there. It is a nice tie for the club. "But we've got an important game against Port Vale on Tuesday. "We'll keep our minds focussed on that before the Everton game comes round." FA Cup Third round draw: Leicester v Bristol City; Scunthorpe or Carlisle v Leeds; Gillingham v Sheff Wed; Chelsea v Middlesboro; Ipswich v More-cambe; Preston v Bristol Rovers or Rochdale; Man City v LIVERPOOL; Shrewsbury v EVERTON; Southend or Bournemouth v Crewe; Plymouth v Dag & Red; Cambridge Utd or Northampton v Millwall; Bolton v Sunderland; Darlington v Farnborough; Walsall v Reading; Fulham v Birmingham; Stoke v Wigan; West Ham v Nottm Forest; Charlton v Exeter; Sheff Utd v Cheltenham; Aston Villa v Blackburn; Cardiff v Coventry; Wolverhampton v Newcastle; Southampton v Tottenham; Norwich v Brighton; Arsenal v Oxford Utd; Grimsby v Burnley; West Brom v Bradford; Rotherham v Wimbledon; Brentford v Derby; Blackpool v Crystal Palace; Man Utd v Portsmouth; Macclesfield v Watford.

Moyes set to report referee
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 9 2002
DAVID MOYES is to report controversial referee Eddie Wolstenholme to the FA over his entire handling of Saturday's game - not just David Unsworth's dramatic dismissal. The Everton manager could find himself in trouble with English football's governing body after criticising the Blackburn official in the aftermath of the 3-1 defeat by Chelsea. But Moyes believes it is time referees were made accountable for their actions after the Blues were reduced to ten men for the second successive league game. Apart from Unsworth's dismissal for violent conduct Moyes was furious with the decision not to award his side an injury-time penalty after Kevin Campbell was shoved by Marcel Desailly from the resulting free-kick. Chelsea themselves face a £50,000 fine for having six play-ers cautioned while Jesper Gronkjaer - who told Wolstenholme he wasn't punched by Unsworth - said he'd give further evidence on Everton's behalf. But Moyes said: "Gronkjaer said on television that he'd back any appeal but for me it's a small issue alongside how I feel about the game. "I'm going to report the referee because I feel that would be right. "They report us if we call them names, so I think it's only right that they take some criticism. "I'll send a letter to the FA and I'm sure they'll throw it into the filing cabinet. I'm more annoyed with his display overall than with the sending off. "The sending off was in injury time and it wasn't as if it was a goal disallowed. We should have got more from the game and that's twice in a week." Moyes was embroiled in the 91st-minute melee as he dragged Unsworth off the Chelsea winger. He added: "I went to get the ball in quickly hoping to get the free-kick taken, then Unsie was there so it was easy for me to keep him away from their players. "I'm more disappointed with the decision after the sending off, which looked like it was a push on Kevin. It was a hard decision for the referee to make, but I think it was a penalty. "He's got both the decisions wrong. He held him down, there's no question about that because he was getting up, and other people came into it from all over the place." Gronkjaer rubbed salt into Goodison wounds by tapping home Chelsea's third with the final kick of the game.
But he insisted: "I can't understand the sending off and I was surprised to be booked. If Everton decide to appeal I'll definitely appear on David's behalf. "It was just a genuine tussle for the ball although I did feel a boot in the back of my head."

There was no punch
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 9 2002
DAVID UNSWORTH last night denied allegations he punched Jesper Gronkjaer as the Everton star launched an impassioned plea to avoid a damaging four-match ban. Referee Eddie Wolstenholme claimed Unsworth punched the Chelsea winger in the face as he dismissed the Blues defender in the closing seconds of Saturday's controversial 3-1 defeat. With no automatic right of appeal for violent conduct, Unsworth - already banned from the Mersey-side derby after reaching five bookings this season - faces a lengthy suspension unless Wolstenholme agrees to rescind his decision. Everton will today ask the FA to instruct the Blackburn official to review the incident again after both video evidence and Gronkjaer revealed there was no punch. And with his fate at the mercy of the referee last night, Unsworth appealed for common sense to prevail. Unsworth explained: "I intercepted the ball and he was pulling me back. I tried to hold him off and we both bundled to the floor. I went over the top of him and held him down, and that was that. Then the melee erupted. It all kicked off and he stayed on the floor. "The ref said he was sending me off for punching him in the face. "To be fair the lad then got up and said I never punched him and I've just watched it on the video and it proves as much. Hopefully it will be rescinded. "With everyone getting involved it looked much worse. Gronkjaer did get caught in the face by a knee, but by that stage I'd been dragged off by the gaffer and I was just wanting to get on with the game." He added: "It was the last thing we needed. I'm already missing the derby which is bad enough but now I've facing a four-match ban. "Hopefully common sense will prevail and the ref is man enough to look at it again and quash it. "If we'd both been booked it would have been fine; for both to be sent would have been ludicrous, but to send just one off is stupid. I've asked everyone and they've all been honest with me and no one said I deserved to be sent off. "I didn't think it was a red, their player didn't think it was a red. Only one man in the ground thought it was a red." Blues boss David Moyes plans to report Wolstenholme to the FA over his handling of Saturday's game. But hopes of having Unsworth's red card rescinded receeded after the official later suggested there had been violent conduct regardless of whether a punch had been thrown. Wolstenholme told the Daily Post: "I cautioned the Chelsea player for unsporting behaviour and then, after discussing the incident with my colleagues, I dismissed David Unsworth for violent conduct. "Striking an opponent is a red card offence and it doesn't matter what you strike him with." Things will have to go through the proper channels now and I'll probably look at it again, though I haven't yet." Unsworth's dismissal deflated Everton's second-half fightback against second-place Chelsea who took full advantage when Gronkjaer, who was booked for his part in the incident, tapped in their third with the final kick of the game. But despite Everton's third successive defeat Unsworth believes Saturday's performance offered further evidence of their revival this season. He said: "We gifted them a two-goal lead with some terrible defending at the first. We'd worked so hard on crosses beforehand, so that was doubly frustrating.
"But we recovered brilliantly in the second half and were desperately unlucky not to come away with at least a point. So to lose 3-1 is very hard to take and with Gronkjaer getting the third is a kick in the proverbial you-know-whats." Unsworth added: "I heard people saying that it was a great game and an advert for the Premiership. When have people spoken like that about Everton in the last few years? "Despite the result we have turned the tide. Everyone could see we gave it our best shot. We've lost three on the run, so it sounds strange to say we're still making progress, but we are.
"This is a smack of reality, but it's a good learning curve. You can't gift any team a two-goal lead, especially not a good one like Chelsea. "Chelsea are a lot more solid now and they have a fierce determination and good spirit. They're going for the title but we showed today we could match them."

Timely reminder of life at the top
By Former Blues' Star Ronnie Goodlass, Daily Post
Dec 9 2002
DAVID MOYES will spend this week reminding his players of the qualities that have swept Everton into the higher reaches of the Premier League. After three defeats in the space of six days, the manager and his backroom staff will be working hard to ensure that a temporary blip does not develop into a full-blown crisis of confidence. Moyes has instilled real character, self-belief and a will to win into his side to dramatically turn around Everton's fortunes in such a short space of time.
But after Saturday's latest setback against Chelsea, the Blues' new-found battling spirit will be put to a severe test with Blackburn and Liverpool on the horizon. However Moyes has shown throughout his blossoming managerial career a willing-ness to learn and I am sure he will have taken note of how things have turned out in the past week. Everton did very well with ten men at Newcastle, only to lose out to a wonder goal and a deflection, but the midweek Worthington Cup defeat at Stamford Bridge was a disappointing performance, especially with a quarter-final place at stake and a potential route into Europe. I think it was the right decision to revert to 4-4-2 for Saturday's game.
Everton's success in recent weeks has been built on strong defence and keeping clean sheets.
So to give a goal away so early in the game against Chelsea should have been avoided especially from a set-piece, but they failed to pick up Mario Stanic at the corner for the opener. They were then two-down in 28 minutes to one of the quality sides in the league and again I felt they could have done better defensively. Richard Wright has been doing very well, but I felt he could have palmed Frank Lampard's shot to the line rather than straight back out while I also felt David Unsworth should have got more of a tackle in on goal scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. In the first half Everton didn't keep enough possession. Against a side like Chelsea you just can't keep giving the ball back to them. Everton did not put them under enough pressure and allowed the visitors to play at their own pace. A shot from Tomasz Radzinski was all they had to show until Gary Naysmith's goal. But the second half was a different story. Everton pressurised the opposition, played at a higher tempo and started to knock more balls into the box and create some panic in the Chelsea defence. Kevin Campbell had two good chances, but hit the crossbar with one while I don't know how Graeme Le Saux managed to smuggle the ball off the line to stop the other. It was great to see Naysmith starting to get into the box. All teams need goals from midfield and that has been one of the plusses of the past two games. It was a positive second half performance, and the only thing Everton failed to do was score. However the peformance of the referee left a lot to be desired. I don't know about Eddie Wolstenholme, it was more like Kenneth. As a team, with his two assistant referees, they showed a lack of consistency with the flag going up only for the referee to give the decision the other way - and vice-versa. Unsworth's sending off also left a sour taste, especially as he will miss the derby and pick up a three-match ban for violent conduct. He has put his hands on the Chelsea player but did not have a swing for him, so the referee could have shown more common sense with the game so close to the finish. For Jesper Gronkjaer to break away and then score the decisive third really rubbed Everton's noses in it. Overall I still feel Everton need a natural wide player to help them get consistently good passes delivered into the danger areas, like Zola does for Chelsea. Everton have the players to score goals. Lee Carsley and Mark Pem-bridge have done a good job when asked to perform that role, but lack the pace to get down the line and put pressure on defences. When the transfer window opens in January it would be nice if Everton could get a couple of new faces to freshen things up and keep the mometum going. But I think it would need Bill Kenwright to play Father Christmas for that to happen. However the club is heading in the right direction. Everton are much more positive than they were under Walter Smith and the sell-out crowds are appreciating the effort being put in by the players. In the past week they have lost to a team in the second phase of the Champions League and another quality side who have spent heavily, but Everton have not looked out of place. The Blues have done well to get so high up the table so quickly under Moyes, but now the hard work is staying there. Blackburn have the players who can pose problems in Cole, Yorke, Duff and Dunn but Everton have got to return to what has served them so well in the opening weeks of the season. Stop giving a goal start to the opposition, look to take the lead themselves and then prove hard to break down. It has proved a winning combination and can do so again.

Everton 1, Chelsea 3 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Dec 9 2002
BEFORE Eddie Wolstenholme's reputation is hung, drawn and quartered by an indignant Goodison mob, it should be pointed out that the referee's erratic performance was not the reason Everton lost to Chelsea on Saturday. Poor defending for half-an-hour and excrutiatingly bad luck in front of goal after that, provided more salient explanations. But the unsatisfactory official could be the catalyst for future Everton defeats if he depletes the club's already stretched squad by one more during the busiest period in the fixture calendar, and sticks to his hasty decision to dismiss David Unsworth.
The Blues' defender was red-carded in the 93rd minute for a touchline tangle with Jesper Gronkjaer, an anti-climactic end to another excellent afternoon's entertainment at Goodison. But if Mr Wolstenholme's appearance on ITV's The Premiership programme later that night was anything to go by, Unsworth's hopes of a re-appraisal seem unlikely. Video evidence can be a valuable aid for officials, but sadly most use it in a desperate attempt to justify their erroneous decisions, rather than as a tool to right wrongs. Just check out Wolstenholme's post-match performance. Unsworth was sent off because the officials believed he had thrown a punch. We know this because the player himself said that was the explanation he was offered at the time; they were also the words heard by Jesper Gronkjaer, as he tried to defend his opponent - and that was the reason offered to David Moyes. But after the tape clearly showed no punch was thrown, what happened next? The officials desperately sought another crime. "Violent conduct does not necessarily mean violence with the hands," waffled Wolstenholme afterwards. So what does it mean? If the referee had witnessed another offence, why not inform the watching world exactly what he had seen? Why was a punch ever mentioned in the first place? The first refuge of the mistaken official is always to muddy the waters with a vague explanation. And we thought officiating had come so far since Mr Thomas's never-to-be-forgotten "an infringement occurred." The overwhelming evidence appears to suggest the officials got it wrong, then tried to engineer another plausible explanation from the evidence to hand. Wolstenholme and Everton's paths first crossed in the summer of 2000, when the Blackburn-based official took charge of a pre-season friendly between Blackburn and Everton.
During that clash he red-carded Thomas Gravesen for, well, no-one is still sure what for. Everton asked if the official would consider looking at video evidence. The referee, realising Sky TV were unlikely to be present at a pre-season friendly, smirkingly agreed. He was shocked when Everton suddenly presented their own video tape, shot by their sports scientist. Not half as shocked as Everton, though, when he studied the tape, decided Gravesen hadn't thrown a punch, but had adopted a violent posture. The Dane was suspended for the opening day of the season. Saturday's injury-time incident was damaging to both parties. Everton will lose Unsworth for four matches over Christmas, while the controversial end diluted the credit Chelsea deserved for their resilient display.
Chelsea finally appear to have discovered some substance to add to their style. They were gifted two goals by Everton in a sloppy first 27 minutes, but then held on magnificently as the Blues staged a storming second-half revival. Influential in that were substitutes Scot Gemmill and Wayne Rooney - and the time could now be right for them to play increased roles in the first team in the weeks ahead. Everton found themselves playing catch-up by conceding two very avoidable goals.
First Gravesen failed to clear Le Saux's near-post corner, then Stanic was left criminally unmarked to nod the first headed goal Richard Wright has conceded all season. First Gravesen failed to clear Le Saux's near post corner, then Stanic was left criminally unmarked to nod the first headed goal Everton have conceded all season past Wright. For the second Wright himself had to take some responsibility. He chose to punch Lampard's 20-yard drive, but directed it straight back to Hasselbaink who steered his third goal of the week into the Everton net. The Blues needed a goal before the break to revitalise them, and they got it when Campbell slipped Gary Naysmith through and he rifled a clinical right-footed shot past Cudicini. David Moyes had promised Chelsea a more thorough examination then the lacklustre midweek roll-over, and after the break they got it.
The chances began to pile up. Stubbs headed over from a free-kick, Campbell volleyed a close range shot past Cudicini, but it bounced up conveniently for Le Saux to head off the line, then Carsley's flying header was also cleared by Le Saux before Campbell flicked on Carsley's header and watched it slap back off the crossbar. The game was all but over when Gronkjaer and Unsworth tangled and Wolstenholme made his bid for the Blind Pew Memorial Award 2002. He dismissed Unsworth, but awarded Everton a free-kick, then when the ball was hoisted into the box he ignored what appeared to be a solid push which sent Campbell sprawling to the floor. To add insult to perceived injury Gronkjaer, who had escaped with just a yellow card, then broke clear into the area Unsworth would have been defending and rolled Zola's pass into an empty net. The 3-1 scoreline was harsh on Everton, but it was a harsh afternoon for everyone in Royal Blue. The consolation was that they came out of it with their reputation rebuilt after the midweek pummeling. Mr Wolstenholme's reputation hinges on his reaction to Saturday's closing minutes.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Unsworth, Carsley, Gravesen, Tie (Gemmill 63 mins), Naysmith, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 63 mins). Unused substitutes: Pistone, Weir, Simonsen.
CHELSEA (4-4-2): Cudicini, Melchiot, Desailly, Gallas, Le Saux, De Lucas (Terry 75 mins), Lampard, Petit, Stanic (Gronkjaer 60 mins), Hasselbaink (Gudjohnsen 83 mins), Zola. Unused substitutes: Morris, De Goey.
Referee: Eddie Wolstenholme.
Bookings: Stubbs (11 mins), Stanic (21 mins), De Lucas (69 mins) all unsporting behaviour, Hasselbaink (79 mins) persistent misconduct, Lampard (86 mins) delaying play, Gronkjaer (92 mins) delaying play.
Sending-off: Unsworth (93 mins) violent conduct.
Attendance: 39,396.
GOALS: Stanic (4 mins) 0-1, Hasselbaink (27 mins) 0-2, Naysmith (42 mins) 1-2, Gronkjaer (93 mins) 1-3.

Blues bid to clear Unsy
Dec 9 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON launched their defence of David Unsworth today - when a video of Saturday's controversial red card incident was dispatched to FA headquarters in Soho Square. Hopes that Eddie Wolstenholme would rescind his original decision receded when the match official appeared to change his story in a post-match interview. After informing Unsworth he had been dismissed for punching Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkaer, he said afterwards: "I cautioned the Chelsea player for unsporting behaviour and then, after discussing the incident with my colleagues, I dismissed David Unsworth for violent conduct. "Violent conduct does not have to be violence with the hands or arms. Striking an opponent is a red card offence and it doesn't matter what you strike him with.
"I'll probably have a look at it again, though I haven't yet." Blues' chief executive Michael Dunford confirmed that Everton would explore every possible avenue to exonerate their player. "We have sent a video to the FA for their panel to look at," he explained today. They then decide whether they will ask the referee to look at it again, but I would hope they will because we do not consider David's actions to have been in any way violent." If the red card stands, Unsworth will be missing for the entire Christmas programme, including games against Liverpool, Birmingham, Bolton and Manchester City. Manager David Moyes could find himself in hot water with the FA for his post-match comments on Saturday. The Blues' boss said: "I am going to report the referee because I feel that would be right. "They report us if we call them names, so I think it's only right that they take some criticism. "I'll send a letter to the FA and I'm sure they'll throw it into the filing cabinet. I ' m more annoyed with his display overall than the sending-off."

Blues backs act like Reds!
Dec 9 2002 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON did a Liverpool in the first half against Chelsea. Their defence was absolutely awful, being caught cold for the first goal when no-one reacted in the box. Richard Wright should have done better with a shot which he seemed to palm back out into Jimmy Flloyd Hasselbaink's path, and he did the rest. It had been a poor game, but Gary Naysmith grabbed a lifeline for the Blues.
Moyes certainly got his side going in the second half and they had several good chances to get back in the game. But the worst person on the pitch was the referee and he got it totally wrong over David Unsworth's dismissal. Having sent the lad off and booked Jesper Gronkjaer he awards a free-kick to Everton! The Blues will be kicking themselves for their failure to win the game. Chelsea were not as good as the score-line suggests, and despite their good run, I don't think they will be in the title shake-up.

Be a man, urges unhappy David
Dec 9 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH has pleaded with referee Eddie Wolstenholme to be "man enough" to admit a mistake and overturn Saturday's controversial red card. Unsworth was dismissed in the 93rd minute for an untidy tangle with Chelsea's Danish winger Jesper Gronkjaer. He already misses the Anfield derby through suspension, but if Saturday's red card for violent conduct is upheld he will be sidelined for the entire Christmas programme - including the Boxing Day clash at Birmingham, the visit of Bolton on December 28 and the New Year's Day visit of Manchester City. "I am hoping the referee will look at the video evidence again and rescind the red card," he explained afterwards, ironically clutching a bottle of man-of-the-match champagne. "The ref said I was sent off for punching him in the face, but to be fair to the lad he said I hadn't. Hopefully the video evidence will prove that was the case. "With everyone getting involved the incident might have looked worse than it was, but by then I was being held off by the gaffer anyway. "The last thing I want is a three-match suspension. I am already missing the derby which is bad enough. "Hopefully common sense will prevail and the ref will be man enough to quash it. He told me I had punched Gronkjaer in the face and the video evidence clearly shows I didn't. "If we had both been booked, fine. If we had both been red-carded that would have been ludicrous, but to book one and send me off was worse.
"I didn't think it should have been a red card, their players didn't think it should have been, there was only one man in the ground who did." To add insult to injury, Gronkjaer then raced away to tap in Chelsea's match-clinching third goal. "We have gifted them two goals at the start with poor, poor defending," added Unsworth. "We have worked so hard on corner kicks so to concede one like that was very disappointing. "But I thought we were brilliant in the second half."

Moyes was never shy to give his view
Exclusive Interview By Alex Murphy, Daily Post
Dec 10 2002
PACKIE BONNER, the ex-Republic of Ireland keeper, played in goal for Celtic when David Moyes was trying to break into The Hoops first team in the early 1980s. Even then, Bonner says, Moyes stood out as a thoughtful footballer who looked destined to be a coach. "He was a scholar," said Bonner, who, with 80 Ireland appearances to his name has won more international caps than any other Celtic player in history. "Young though he was, he was thoughtful about the game, and wasn't shy about voicing his opinions." Bonner said that coming up through the Celtic ranks instilled priceless habits in Moyes at a young age. "You had to be a winner, and to think like a winner to get the jersey," he said. "As a young player, you learned that to be a Celtic player, you had to give it 120 per cent on the field, and Davie certainly did that. "He was vocal on the pitch, and in the dressing room he would say what was on his mind. You knew he was tough. There was nothing shy about him. To get on you had to be tough, and you had to work hard at your game, and Davie certainly did that. "He also learned about the importance of discipline. The reserve coach then was a man named Frank Connor, and he was very much a man to insist on doing the right things on and off the pitch." Bonner, who was a part of the Republic of Ireland coaching set-up at the World Cup last summer, said that Everton's Lee Carsley was full of admiration for the way Moyes had brought a sense of purpose to the club. "I know from talking to Lee that the discsipline is much greater," said Bonner. "There is fun, which is important, but with a purpose." Bonner said that Moyes's family was an important influence on his football education. His dad was a major figure in youth football in Glasgow, helping to run boys' football in the city. Bonner said: "From an early age he was influenced hy his father, who was a youth coach, and he absorbed the importance of good coaching from him." The Bhoys manager in Moyes's early days, legendary Celtic centre-half Billy McNeill, admired Moyes's whole-hearted approach, but the tall defender never quite made the grade. Bonner recalled: "One night we played away to Juventus (in September 1981) in the second leg of a European Cup tie and Davie played right-back. They were some opposition, and it was some place to play if you didn't feel comfortable in your right position. But it was typical of Davie that he got stuck in." Celtic lost 2-0 against a Juventus team featuring five of the players who helped Italy win the World Cup the following summer, and they went out 2-1 on aggregate.

David was determined to make the grade
Exclusive Interview By Stephen Mcmillan, Daily Post
Dec 10 2002
WHEN Charlie Nicholas talks about a certain young player from the Celtic team of the early 1980s as being "a natural athlete and good on the ball", you might be forgiven for thinking he's talking about himself. But in fact that's the Scottish legend's assessment of the playing qualities of Everton manager David Moyes. Their paths in life may have diverged over the last 19 years since Nicholas was transferred to Arsenal - and Moyes to Cambridge United shortly after - but the pair actually started out on the football road together when they both signed for Celtic in 1980. Moyes was 16, Nicholas 18. They had known each other for longer than that though, having first met through David's father David senior, who was coach to one of Scotland's most successful amateur teams.
The young Charlie and Davie even used to talk football over beans on toast at David's gran's house.
Both born and raised in Glasgow in the early 60s, the pair tasted early playing success at Celtic and were viewed as stars of the future. Moyes played for Scotland's youth and schools' sides, appeared for the Bhoys in a European Cup tie against Juventus as an 18-year-old and then won a Scottish League medal in 1982 - success which brought him to the attention of big clubs south of the border.
And if his proposed loan move to Arsenal in the summer of 1983 hadn't faltered at the same time as Nicholas' own permanent deal with the Gunners was going through, Moyes' own career path might have been very different. But as it was, Moyes rejected loan deals with Arsenal and Sunderland, and a more permanent offer never came. When he was sold to Cambridge United three months later in the autumn of 1983, his journeyman playing career had begun. Shortly after that he would make the prophetic decision to apply for his first coaching badge - just as Nicholas was rocketing to playing fame in the capital. Nicholas himself remains surprised to this day that greater playing success eluded Everton's 39-year-old manager. "He was a natural athlete - a big, tall lad. David mainly played as a centre-half for Celtic, but he was actually quite decent on the ball," says Nicholas, now an expert commentator for Sky TV. "He also played right-back for a while, which was highly unusual for someone as tall as him. He was quite quick and he did work damn hard, I have to say.
wasn't the type of young lad who, because he was 6ft 1in, could have just battered the forwards. He did try to get the ball down. "I think we were all surprised - I know I certainly was - when David wasn't given a longer run and more of a chance to establish himself in the Celtic side. "I know there were a few decent players keeping him out, but I always felt that he would have been there a long time. I was surprised that he never maintained that level of football." Nicholas' personal theory is that Moyes' very versatility may have been his undoing. "I know a lot of people thought, hang on, he is actually quite good on the ball," he told me. "Maybe clubs were looking at him and trying to work out his best position. Perhaps that became a negative for him in the end." This theory might help explain why a permanent deal to Arsenal or other big clubs failed to materialise, and why in the end Moyes made a total of just 35 appearances for Celtic in his three years at Parkhead.

"The talk was of myself, David and George McCluskey going to Arsenal," Nicholas recalls. "But I don't really know why it didn't come off. I remember going (to Arsenal) in the summer of 1983 and David's name was mentioned, but nothing else materialised." After the disappointment of his free transfer from Celtic, Moyes plied his trade around the lower reaches of English and Scottish professional football, beginning at Cambridge United. He had reached Preston by September 1993 and it was here he made his first break on to the coaching scene, with his appointment as assistant to boss Gary Peters in 1996. Two years later, at the age of 35, Moyes took over the managerial reins and within another two years had led his side at a canter to the second division title. Of this sudden and early rise to coaching prominence, Nicholas says: "I suppose when I looked at David with the Preston situation, I was quite surprised that he'd got himself there. But at the same time I thought, on you go, good luck to you." It shouldn't really have been a surprise to Nicholas though, because he remembers well the determination shown by the teenage Moyes. "David came to Celtic with a good temperament, a good philosophy and a good attitude," he says. "But I have to say, he was very, very determined. It's nice to see that coming through in his management. "He was a very determined character even then - determined to get into the team. It was always refreshing to be with him and I thoroughly enjoyed his company." While David Moyes never found the level of fame and adulation that Charlie Nicholas achieved as a player, there seems every chance that he will find his own starring role in life as a manager. They say good things come to those who wait.

Unsworth poised for Christmas suspension
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 10 2002
EVERTON face losing David Unsworth for their entire Christmas programme as hopes of having his Chelsea dismissal overturned faded last night. The Blues yesterday sent a video of Saturday's controversial bust-up with Jesper Gronkjaer to the FA in a bid to persuade referee Eddie Wolstenholme to rescind his red card verdict. But with the FA still waiting on a decision from the Blackburn official last night, and Wolstenholme broadening his definition of violent conduct, Everton's chances of success are slim. Wolstenholme initially told Unsworth, Gronkjaer and Blues boss David Moyes he had dismissed the Everton defender for punching the Danish winger in the face during their Goodison melee. But an hour after the game he said: "Striking an opponent is a red card offence and it doesn't matter what you strike him with." It is believed Wolstenholme will now stand by his decision, but on the grounds Unsworth struck Gronkjaer with his knee before being pulled away by Moyes. Unsworth, already banned for the Anfield derby on December 22, will then serve a three-match suspension against Birmingham, Bolton and Manchester City. He will not be eligible to play again until the FA Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town on January 4. Shrews boss and Blues legend Kevin Ratcliffe plans to resist his club's attempt to move the third round clash to Goodison Park. Town officials are hoping to cash in on their Premiership catch by having the game switched from their 8,000-capacity Gay Meadow to Merseyside if Everton agree. The Blues are set to receive just 2,500 tickets for the FA Cup test but both clubs will profit if the game is staged at Goodison. However, Ratcliffe is determined to take on his former club at Gay Meadow as he believes it will increase his side's chances of pulling off a major cup upset. Ratcliffe said: "People have mentioned switching the game to Goodison but you can't do that. "If your ground isn't up to scratch then you shouldn't be in the competition." Blues boss Moyes, meanwhile, has been linked with a January swoop for Danish Under-21 international striker Tommy Bechmann. Bechmann has attracted widespread interest with his displays for Esbjerg this season and has been linked with moves to Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund plus clubs in Italy and Spain. "I don't know anything about a contract with Everton but it does sound interesting," said Bechmann yesterday. However, the Dane is under contract with Esbjerg until 2005 and a proposed fee of around £1m could curtail Everton's interest. IS David Unsworth being treated too harshly?

Young Blues blunt Blades
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Dec 10 2002
EVERTON under-17s got back to winning ways after the FA Youth Cup defeat last week with a 1-0 win over Sheffield United in the FA Premier Academy League at Netherton on Saturday. Both defences were dominant and for the Blues Anthony Gerrard and Mark Hughes excelled at the back.
Alan Harper's side had had a number of chances from setpieces and after a well-worked corner from Laurence Wilson, 17-year-old top scorer Gavin Lynch was on hand to head home his sixth goal of the season. Harper said: "The lads worked hard and didn't play the best football that they have played this season. But they have had a week off and most of the under-16s have been taking their mock exams so they haven't done any real training all week. "They had about half-an-hour of really decent play but after that it was more about defending well as a team, which they did. So it was a good result in the end." But it was bad news for Colin Harvey's under-19s as they went down 3-2 at home to Sheffield United on Saturday. The Blues had led 2-1 at the break. Steven Schumacher's free-kick and a Steven Beck back-post header had put them in command. But at the start of the second half the visitors were awarded a disputed penalty and equalised. Slack marking led to the Yorkshiremen's winner and despite a late rally the Blues couldn't salvage a point. Harvey said: "It wasn't a bad performance and although it wasn't a great game we did deserve something from it."

Unsworth showdown
Dec 10 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are heading for a public showdown with referee Eddie Wolstenholme - after the FA official refused to rescind the red card he showed to David Unsworth on Saturday. The Blues asked the FA official to study a video of the incident, but Wolstenholme said: "I have seen the video which confirms that there has been violent conduct. I went on television to explain my decision within an hour of the final whistle, so there is no way I could change my report. "I told the player he was being dismissed because he had struck the Chelsea man. You don't have to use a hand to strike someone." Blues' boss David Moyes, though, is ready to ask the FA to intervene. "He told David at the time he was being sent-off for striking an opponent, and Jesper Gronkjaer also heard that," he explained. "The video clearly shows he did not strike the player, either with his hand, his knee or any other part of his body. "If he said there was intent by David to strike Gronkjaer with his knee I could understand the decision, but he said David struck him, which he clearly did not. "That is twice now he has taken charge of matches at Goodison and twice we have failed to win. The sending-off has upset us, but not as much as his refusal to award a penalty just seconds after that." The FA can still overturn Mr Wolstenholme's decision. Tranmere goalkeeper John Achterberg recently escaped a ban for a red card at Cardiff, despite the official refusing to rethink his original decision. The FA's video appeals panel must be satisfied that the player has been unfairly dismissed. The dubious goals panel has 'awarded' Newcastle's winning goal at St James' Park to Li Tie, depriving Craig Bellamy of the credit. The Blues plan to hand a trial to Scotland's most promising young goalkeeper.
Stirling Albion's Iain Turner will arrive at Bellefield next week, hoping to impress David Moyes sufficiently to earn a permanent contract. The 18-year-old has already impressed on a similar trial at Charlton, who offered £40,000 rising to £200,000. This was rejected, and he has since caught the eye of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Turner has played 10 games for Stirling this season, and has helped The Binos compile the best defensive record in Scotland's Third Division.
He will work with Everton's goal-keeping coach Chris Woods, who tipped off the Blues about the Under-19 inter-national's progress this season. Everton's FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury Town meanwhile, will definitely be staged at Gay Meadow. The Shrews had hoped to persuade the FA to switch the tie to Goodison Park in order to give the cash strapped club a major financial boost, but the FA is keen to preserve the integrity of the tournament and refused. Everton's trip to Arsenal, meanwhile, has been switched to a Sunday for live Sky TV coverage. The match will now be played on Sunday, March 23 (kick-off 4.05pm).
* Manchester United will play Celtic, Juventus and Barcelona on a pre-season tour of America next summer, the club have announced. The Old Trafford club open their tour against Martin O'Neill's side on July 22 in Seattle before they move onto Los Angeles to play Club America, the biggest club in Mexico, five days later. United then head to the east coast to the New York Giants Stadium where Juventus await on July 31 before Sir Alex Ferguson's side become the first team to play in Philadelphia's new Lincoln Financial Field stadium, against Barcelona.

Red card robbed reshuffled Blues
Dec 10 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
TO be 4-3-3, or not 4-3-3? That was the question on every Evertonians lips after David Moyes employed that system again at Chelsea last week. I think you need specific types of players to successfully operate that formation, but I would go for it every time if you are facing a team with three central defenders. Obviously Chelsea don't play that way, which is maybe why it didn't work for Everton on the night, but I don't think it should be discarded out of hand. For the time being, Everton's players seem comfortable with the solid 4-4-2 which was restored at Goodison at the weekend. Everyone knows their jobs and it was only when David Unsworth was dismissed that the balance was upset and Chelsea finally made the game safe. Speaking of Unsworth, the absurd inconsistency of referees was highlighted again at the weekend. Mark Halsey contacted David Moyes after dismissing Joseph Yobo last Sunday, and agreed that while the red card was harsh, he was bound by the letter of the law. So what happened during the Tottenham v West Brom game on Sunday? Scott Dobie was brought down by goalkeeper Kasey Keller - again without intent - while clean through on goal. There was no doubt Dobie would have scored, while in the Everton instance Craig Bellamy still had a goal-keeper to get past. But while Yobo received a red card, Keller escaped with a yellow. I was pleased to see the player stay on, but where is the consistency?
It's worse below
EVERTON have had good cause to bemoan their luck with officialdom in recent weeks, but no matter how badly done by they may feel, it's always worse in the Nationwide League! David Unsworth will miss the derby after collecting five bookings, while Wayne Rooney and Thomas Gravesen are also just a caution away from a ban. But at Shrewsbury we have a number of players hovering on four cautions - with the Cup tie against Everton looming - and it's not a level playing field which has seen them reach that mark. Everton's clash with Chelsea last Saturday was their 20th of the season, and that includes a run to the fourth round of the Worthington Cup. At Shrewsbury we were knocked out of that competition, but tonight against Port Vale will play our 26th game of the season.
Surely that should be taken into account when considering suspensions for lower division players.
As it stands the amnesty date for both the Premiership and the Nationwide League is exactly the same, which is clearly loaded in favour of the bigger clubs.
Cup draw cracker
I DIDN'T exactly bounce around the living room like that Oxford United striker when Sunday's FA Cup draw was made, but I did nearly drop my cup-a-soup! Everton always seem to be number 14 in the draw, even back when I was playing, so as soon as the ball came out I knew it was the tie I really wanted. It's a long time since Shrewsbury have hosted a really big game at Gay Meadow and it will be our day more than Everton's. We just hope Everton have an off-day and we can raise our game enough to cause an upset. I know David Moyes and Jimmy Lumsden, and obviously I'm an old team-mate of Alan Irvine's, so there will be plenty of links on the day between the two clubs. But it's a great draw for me personally and while there's a lot of football to be played between now and then, I'm already looking forward to it.

Gazza has high Rooney hopes
Dec 10 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE has revealed his admiration for Everton starlet Wayne Rooney. And the former Everton and England star offered the 17-year-old a word of advice to avoid the pitfalls that blighted his own career. Gazza said he can see comparisons between Rooney and himself as a teenager.
He said: "I was playing for the first team and all of a sudden I'm playing in the back streets with friends. "I've heard Wayne is still doing that, which is fantastic. You never lose track of your friends.
"As long as he keeps his head right, he is going to be an unbelievable player." The Geordie was a crowd favourite during a spell at Goodison that ran from July 2000 and March 2002, but injuries restricted him to less than two dozen appearances. He is now considering resurrecting his playing career at Division One side Gillingham after deals with Darlington, Exeter City and DC United fell through. Gascoigne has also played for Newcastle, Tottenham, Lazio, Rangers, Middlesbrough and Burnley during a colourful career. The club's chairman Paul Scally confirmed he has spoken to the 35-year-old's representative and hopes to know later this week whether a deal can be struck.
Scally said: "We've talked to a lot of people about Paul and he's apparently working very hard.
"We've got some good players here, but we'd like someone to sit in midfield and create some chances for our strikers. We just need that extra bit of spark in the middle of the park and hopefully he can give us that. "There's quite a large element of risk, but it's not a publicity stunt. It is a football decision. "We've spoken to his advisor and Paul's got a couple of other options, but he's going to give us an answer in the next few days."

Family defend Wayne's awards appearance
Dec 10 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FRIENDS and family leapt to Wayne Rooney's defence today - after the Everton striker was criticised for his demeanour in collecting the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year trophy on Sunday night. A BBC radio station fielded calls yesterday criticising the 17-year-old for chewing gum and having his tie loosened when he received the prize. But dad, Wayne Rooney senior, said last night: "This award is a massive achievement for my son and shows just how far he has come in such a short time. "It's what he does on the pitch that matters. We are really proud and happy for him."
Everton spokesman Ian Ross added: "Wayne is an innocent lad who was only 17 a few weeks ago. Appearing on the show must have been frightening. "At least he wore a collar and tie, unlike some guests including Sir Steven Redgrave and Sam Torrance." A BBC spokeswoman said: "We did get some complaints but no-one connected with the show was the least bit concerned. Everyone thought he was a lovely lad." If any disrespect was shown during the two hour show, it came from presenter Gary Lineker. He cracked juvenile jokes about England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson's summer affair and the size of Dion Dublin's wedding tackle, digs which left both parties squirming uncomfortably.

The NEW glossy Evertonian - OUT NOW
Dec 10 2002
IT'S new, it's glossy and it's packed full of action.
The old newspaper-style tabloid format that has served us so well for eight years has been replaced with a more modern product which we feel reflects the new ambitions of the club under David Moyes. Our resurgence under the new manager and the remarkable loyalty and enthusiasm of Evertonians in general has encouraged us to upgrade the product in our 100th season of top flight football. The "Evertonian" cover price increases to £2.95, but the size jumps from 28 /32 tabloid pages to 72 glossy A4 pages. The quality and design of our new publication will match anything in the Premier League with tremendous picture power, competitions, exclusive interviews and focused stats. This month, the championship-winning squad of 1985 give their verdict on the current crop of players, we speak exclusively to new signing Joseph Yobo and the Blues' deputy chairman Bill Kenwright. We also find out who, when it came to taking penalties, had the coolest head of all while Graeme Sharp meets up with a couple of Evertonians to discuss the issues of the moment for our first Talking Blue feature. In another new slot, Everton's assistant boss Alan Irvine takes a tactical look back at the Blues' recent revival while Sky TV's Richard Keys takes his place in the Press Box this month. We have opinion, we have your letters and a whole lot more which makes the first ever glossy Evertonian a difficult one to miss.

First blood to League in photo rights fight
By Claire Tolley Daily Post Staff
Dec 11 2002
LIVERPOOL and Everton football clubs have taken their first step towards victory in a legal battle to stop the spread of unofficial merchandise. Premier League clubs yesterday won a High Court judgement in their fight to preserve their multi-million pound merchandise revenues. The FA Premier League, which is representing the clubs in court, yesterday fended off moves by a calendar manufacturer to have a case centring on photographic rights struck out before trial. It is alleged that Elite Sports Distribution Ltd printed photographs of Premier-ship players without obtaining the clubs' permission. Yesterday's ruling will also force Elite to disclose where they obtained the photographs. Liverpool was one of two test clubs used by the FA Premier League to argue their claim that pictures in the calendar represented unlawful interference with trade. At the High Court, Judge Geoffrey Vos, QC ruled it was not possible to dismiss the clubs' claim until more information was disclosed about the origins of the photographs. He said: "In my judgement there is no reason why disclosure should not be ordered now to see whether the claim is doomed to fail as the defendants suggest. "It seems to me that, if they had an absolute defence to the claim, it would be in their interests to produce the documents to prove they acquired the photographs lawfully."
Clubs such as Liverpool and Everton raise a considerable part of their revenue from spin-off merchandising. The latest figures from Goodison showed they raked in £1.9m from retail goods in the past 12 months, with Liverpool's figures thought to reach into several million pounds. The company has until January 13 to disclose where the photographs came from.

Wayne's whirl
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 11 2002
PAUL GASCOIGNE has warned Wayne Rooney he must heed the lessons of his own controversial career if the starlet wants to fulfil his immense potential. The former Everton and England star is tipping the Blues teenager to grow into a football great. But Gascoigne believes Rooney must discipline himself on and off the field in order to avoid the pitfalls that have punctuated his colourful career. Rooney shot into the national consciousness with his stunning winner against champions Arsenal in October - aged 16 - and was named BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday.
And Gascoigne, who was forced to live his life in the media spotlight in the aftermath of the 1990 World Cup in Italy, can see similarities between Rooney and himself as a youngster. The 35-year-old said: "He is a fantastic player and as long as he keeps his head right he will go on to be a great, an unbelievable player." Rooney, 17, is set to sign his first professional contract with the Blues later this month after a dazzling start to his debut season. And Gascoigne added: "I would go and play for the first team at Newcastle and then go back and play with the lads in the park and I've heard Wayne is doing something similar. " You should never lose track of your friends. Good friends stick by you through thick and thin." Gascoigne, who spent a short spell at Goodison after being signed by ex-boss Walter Smith, is now considering a move to first division Gillingham in a bid to resurrect his career. Rooney found himself on the wrong end of the public spotlight following his appearance at the BBC awards night. He received criticism for chewing gum and for wearing a loosened tie when he collected his award - a stark reminder to the young striker of the tightrope play-ers in the public eye walk. Everton spokesman Ian Ross pointed out: "Wayne is an innocent lad who was only 17 a few weeks ago. Appearing on the show must have been frightening. At least he wore a collar and tie, unlike some guests." Everton, meanwhile, have officially appealed against David Unsworth's sending off in Saturday's defeat by Chelsea at Goodison Park. Unsworth was sent off following a tangle with Chelsea's Jesper Gronkjaer, although the Dane protested to referee Eddie Wolstenholme against the dismissal and has since offered his assistance at any appeal. Gronkjaer last night re-affirmed his feelings on the subject by admitting he does not know why the Everton man received his marching orders. I didn't understand the red card," said Gronkjaer. "Of course it is an advantage for my side if the opponent gets a man sent off, but in this case the player has not done anything wrong. He shouldn't have been punished. "I committed a foul by pulling him in the shirt and then he fell on top of me. I got a blow on the back of my head whilst I was lying down and couldn't see what happened. "I have no idea whether it was Unsworth or Wayne Rooney who came running from behind. I am sure that it wasn't intentional." The FA will wait for Wolstenholme's report before considering what action they can take, although it is understood the referee will stand by his original decision. Meanwhile, the Blues expect to welcome Stirling Albion's highly-rated goal-keeper Iain Turner on trial next week. The 18-year-old impressed Charlton during a trial and the Addicks offered £40,000 rising to £200,000. The bid was rejected and Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is also tracking the Scotland under-19 star. l Everton's FA Cup third round tie against Shrewsbury will be played at Gay Meadow, it has been confirmed. The Blues' trip to Arsenal has been rear-ranged for Sunday, March 23 (KO 4.05pm) and will be screened live on Sky. Newcastle's winner against Everton 10 days ago has been awarded to Li Tie (own goal) after Craig Bellamy had originally been credited with the late strike.

If things go wrong, he works harder
Daily Post
Dec 11 2002
THE manager of the month curse has just struck Everton. No sooner has David Moyes picked up the Premiership award for November than the Blues have started leaking goals and losing games.
Most supporters will accept this readjustment to the Blues' Premiership cruising altitude, but what about when Everton inevitably go through a really sticky patch? Charlie Nicholas thinks this will be the time when the Everton boss shows his true colours. "I think David will be prepared for the bad times," says the ex-Scotland striker. "Every team - whether it be Liverpool, Arsenal or Manchester United - has that spell, and Everton's will come. There's no doubt about that. "But it will be the same philosophy from David Moyes. He won't confuse things. He won't start saying to players, I'll treat you differently and I'll train you differently. "There is no confusion in Moyesy's mind. It's simple. When things are going well, we'll keep maintaining it. When things are going badly, we'll keep the basics going and we'll work hard until we come through it. "He's already got the players bonding well and that will just keep getting stronger." Nicholas also believes Moyes has gathered the right backroom staff around him, saying: "He's got Alan Irvine and Jimmy Lumsden with him. Jimmy's fantastic with the younger kids. He's been a very clever coach over the years. "I hope for Everton's sake it goes the way that Howard Kendall got it. They were on the fringe of dis-aster for a long period, and then suddenly they won the FA Cup and were a big force again. "It'll probably take Moyesy a bit longer to convince himself and some of the players that this is a long-term progression.
Deep down they'll be thinking, if we finish in the top eight it'll have been a hell of a good season.
"They have a chance but I think the focus would be more on the FA Cup than the champion-ship. If they can get a good run in the cup, it'd be nice." Moyes has faced adversity as a manager before, but Nicholas points out: "He really got through that period at Preston when some of his players were not very pleasant to him. That's the sign of a strong individual and a strong character."

David's not one for standing still
Interview By Stephen Mcmillan, Daily Post
Dec 11 2002
FOLLOWING his appointment as Everton manager on March 14 this year, David Moyes paid a solo visit to Bellefield and called together his new charges. What he said to his new players - including the likes of Paul Gascoigne and David Ginola - spoke volumes with its commanding simplicity.
His speech went something like this: "I'm in charge now. You'll work hard and enjoy working with me. But you haven't been doing your jobs properly. And if anyone messes with me, they're finished."
Gascoigne left for Burnley almost immediately and Ginola appeared only once more, as a substitute.
In Moyes' short managerial career at Preston and now Everton, he has earned a reputation as a tough, hands-on disciplinarian, who takes personal control of every aspect of his club's football operation. One of the key factors in Everton's revival is attributed to the players' new-found fitness levels - Kevin Campbell being a prime example - and the self-belief and determination that an inspirational character like Moyes has engendered. But anyone who assumes that the youngest manager in the Premiership is only about discipline and control is wrong. "From the first game I instilled a new do-ordie attitude and we want to win games," Moyes said recently. "But we also want to play entertaining, attractive football." And Charlie Nicholas can remember when he first saw this positive football philosophy coming to the fore. The ex-Scotland striker was a Celtic player alongside David Moyes for three years in the early 80s, although they knew each other before that through David's father, who was a successful amateur coach. Nicholas remembers well the game's central role in the Moyes' family life. "I knew David even before he came to Celtic," he recalls. "His dad, David Senior, was in charge of one of the best amateur teams in Scotland. David Junior was always focused on football and he was always chatting about the game. "I remember one day when we went to his gran's house. We were sat around and David's gran made us all beans on toast. David was there with his father and a few friends, and we were all just there talking about football. "David obviously got a good footballing education from his old man. We were all relatively young, but we had a great idea about where we wanted to be. It's a memory that's always stuck in my mind. He was very like his father in that way. He was never one to be standing still." Three months after Nicholas signed for Terry Neill's Arsenal in 1983, Moyes was released by Celtic manager Billy McNeill and joined Cambridge United. From the heady heights of playing European Cup football against Juventus as an 18-year-old and picking up a Scottish League winners' medal, the young David Moyes now found himself plying his trade down the leagues in England. Maybe it was the influence of his father, maybe it was his response to this early adversity, and maybe the determination that has always underpinned his character was already coming to the fore, but two years after that setback Moyes had qualified for his first coaching badge. "I think he probably always had it in him to become a manager," says Nicholas. I think that his father had made such an impression on him that he was probably thinking, well, let's see where my career goes. "I remember seeing him when he was playing for Dunferm-line and he probably felt then that he was so ingrained in the football, that his father had taught him well and that he should have done better as a player. Maybe all of these things edged him towards management." David Moyes is an unabashed student of the game. He devours managers' memoirs and picks out the methods and routines that suit him best. Apart from his obvious admiration for Sir Alex Ferguson, he also has a profound respect for Sir Bobby Robson, who hand-wrote him a three-page letter of advice when Moyes was still an unknown. Moyes even paid his own way to France for the World Cup in 1998, embarking on a busman's holiday to study international coaching methods at close quarters. Nicholas picks up the story: "I was working there for Scottish TV and we met up one night. We had a couple of bevvies and a chat about the old times. David told me he'd been touring round as many different coaching sessions with as many different teams as possible. "And I thought, you're so determined to get involved in every facet of management. I was really impressed by his single-minded attitude. "He was so determined about it, and normally when you see someone as focused as that it's a good sign. "He's got such an honest demeanour about him," adds Nicholas. "He's bright, but he's also a very genuine boy. He won't patronise you for the sake of it. "Most Scots tend to be fairly outspoken, and if he's saying something he means it. A lot of people can play the media card quite well, and I think David unconsciously plays it well. "I've always thought Glasgow and Liverpool were quite similar, and David's upbringing will stand him in good stead."

A leader on and off the pitch
Report By Graham Chase, Daily Post
Dec 11 2002
MR MOTIVATOR: David Moyes checks in at Goodison last March HAMISH FRENCH was a team-mate of David Moyes during his time at Dunfermline in the early 1990s and remembers him as born leader. "He was a very important member of the team," recalls French, now a coach himself at Dunfermline while playing part-time for deadly rivals Cowdenbeath. "He was a leader on and off the park. He joined in the with all the banter that goes on at a football club and he got on really well with everybody." Moyes and French mainly played together in the Scottish first division. "He was a very uncompromising centre-half and he put everything he had into winning games and also his training," adds French. "He always wanted to improve. Moyesey would do anything he could to improve. He was always interested in developing new training ideas and routines." As well as working tirelessly on his own game, Moyes always had time for other players. French continues: "He was happy to pass on his footballing experience and advice to the YTS boys and the apprentices. You could tell he was very interested in the coaching side of things." French remembers one particular example of Moyes inspiration: "We were playing a local derby against Cowdenbeath. We were the better team and were really fancied to win the game. We came off at half-time and we weren't performing at all well. The manager was very unhappy with the way we were playing. David was also very upset at what was going on and he had a few words for the team. "In that speech he managed to motivate every single one of us and we went out and beat Cowdenbeath."

Moyes lifted by a double Swede boost
Dec 11 2002 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been handed a midfield boost as Tobias Linderoth returned to training today.
And his fellow Swede Niclas Alexandersson is also expected to step up his recovery from injury this week. Linderoth has overcome a hamstring problem sustained in the Worthington Cup tie with Newcastle on November 6 that sidelined him just as he was beginning to justify a regular place in the Blues' first team. Alexandersson has been out with a knee injury since the game with Aston Villa on September 22. Everton manager David Moyes today said it was too early to say when the pair would be available for first team selection. The Blues boss will be looking for his side to maintain their formidable home record against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Last weekend's defeat by Chelsea was their first league loss of the season at Goodison, ending a run of five straight home wins. Despite conceding five goals in their last two league games, which followed an impressive string of five clean sheets, Moyes has resisted the temptation to take drastic action. He said: "The goals from Chelsea were disappointing and we all know what happened at Newcastle. We are not working on anything that's particularly different in training. We are doing the usual work.
"The lads did really well to keep those clean sheets and we want more of them. The players have been very consistent throughout the season. That's what every manager wants." Moyes warned that Saturday's clash with Blackburn would be as tough as their previous two meetings under his reign. The Blues won 1-0 at Ewood Park last month, while Rovers won at Goodison in the latter stages of last season. Meanwhile, Everton are still waiting to hear whether the FA Appeals panel will overturn the red card picked up by David Unsworth after his clash with Chelsea's Jesper Gronkjaer.
Unsworth has thanked Gronkjaer for publicly supporting him. The Chelsea winger said: "I don't understand the red card. Of course it's an advantage for my side if the opponent gets sent off, but in this case the player has not done anything wrong. He shouldn't have been punished." Unsworth said: "I'd like to thank him for what he said after the game. We hope the referee will have another look at it and hope-fully change his mind." But referee Eddie Wolstenholme is adamant Unsworth, who faces a four-match ban, was rightly sent off. He said: "I have seen the video of the game which confirms that there was violent conduct."

Li Tie finally off the mark
Dec 11 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LI TIE has been credited with his first goal in English football. But Everton's Chinese international is not celebrating! The FA's dubious goals panel has decided that Newcastle's winner in the recent St James' Park clash between the clubs was a Li Tie own goal. Craig Bellamy's near post shot was unfortunately deflected past Richard Wright by Tie's toe. He said today: "I just feel very unlucky. I couldn't do anything about it. I had no choice. I had to block the shot and it was unlucky that it went in. "I couldn't do anything about it and I don't really care whether the goal was credited to me or not. I'm just concentrating on playing well for Everton." Tie joins skipper Kevin Campbell as Everton's only ever-present this season - and while Campbell is top scorer with nine goals, Tie has come close several times but has yet to score a goal in the right net. Ironically he watched compatriot Sun Jihai score for Manchester City on Monday night in their televised match at Sunderland. The pair are close pals and afterwards Jihai got in touch to send a message of support.
"After he scored, Sun Jihai phoned me after the game to offer me encouragement to get a goal," explained Tie. "I'll certainly try to score in the near future for Everton. I will work hard to make sure that happens." His lack of goals apart, Tie has been delighted with his introduction to life in the Premiership. "I've been here for four months now and I find it much better than at first," he added.
"I've almost settled down, although I find it's still difficult. English football is intensive, combative and very much about power. "There's a lot of physical contact and maybe that's the most different thing from China, but I think I have improved a lot. "Every week I have to play against some of the best play-ers in the world and that has helped me grow." And while Tie has yet to celebrate a goal in Royal Blue, he has done the next best thing with his defence-splitting pass which created the winning goal for team-mate Tomasz Radzinski against West Brom recently. "I played very hard in that game and I showed my best," he said. "It was good to do that because I haven't been happy with all of my performances since I came here. "I know playing football in England is the most difficult task I have ever had to do, so if I keep demanding of myself that I do my best, it is because I have to do my best if I want to be successful here."

The wit and wisdom of David Moyes
By Stephen McMillan, Daily Post
Dec 12 2002
ATTITUDE: I believe in positive thinking. I always expect my team to win.
AMBITION: I want to be involved with clubs that win champion-ships, are involved in Europe, and maybe even a national team. I want to get to the very top.
THE PEOPLE'S CLUB: It came naturally to me to say that this club belonged to the people because everyone I had encountered in the city the previous day seemed to be Evertonian.
EVERTON: The passion that people here in Liverpool have for their football takes me back to my days in Glasgow, and it's energising. The fans here at Goodison are desperate for some success.
EVERTON: This is the kind of club I've always wanted to manage. It's a club which makes a real difference to the lives of thousands of people, deciding whether they go to work with a smile on their face or not.
LEAVING PRESTON: When good opportunities come around in life you have to take them and I think if I hadn't come to Everton
when the offer came my ambition would have been questioned.
LOAN DEALS: I'm comfortable with signing players on one-year loan deals. It tends to be that players in the final year of their contracts are hungrier.
CELTIC: I've always been proud that I started my career at Celtic. I wasn't one of the most gifted players ever to walk through the doors of Celtic Park, but I gave everything every time.
SIR ALEX FERGUSON: Like him I'm a leader who likes to stand
up and be counted. But I want to do things my way. I like to be hands-on with my players.
WHAT IT TAKES: If you're not a big name, you have to go somewhere and prove yourself. I've given up a lot to understand about coaching, tactics and management. Sometimes, you get out what you put in.
Maybe management is giving me the opportunity to enjoy the success I didn't have as a player.

Yobo keeps Blues waiting
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 12 2002
JOSEPH YOBO last night revealed he hasn't put the finishing touches to his proposed £4.5million move to Goodison Park. The Everton defender's switch from Marseille was believed to have been completed after deputy chairman Bill Kenwright raised the extra £3.5m needed to secure Yobo for a further four years. But despite the Blues finalising terms with the French club, the Nigerian insisted he hasn't been able to agree a deal because of a change in agent. Yobo said: "Everton have agreed a deal with Marseille but they have not agreed a deal with me, so at the moment I am still on loan here. "Everything is sorted with Marseille but I'm still waiting to see what is going to happen. Hopefully we will reach a deal but if not then I am technically still on loan. "Everything has been put on hold because I've changed my agent. I wasn't happy with a few things and I need my future secured if I'm to stay with Everton. That has delayed things but hopefully we will put something together and finish the deal off soon." Despite the delay and Yobo's revelation Everton insist a deal has been reached with all parties and that the transfer will be formally ratified once the transfer window reopens in January. Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, will be free to finalise his Goodison contract from midnight tonight. The Everton hero joins Paul Stretford's Proactive Sports Agency tomorrow after the deal with his current representatives expires. Rooney has been free to sign his first professional contract with the Blues since October, only for the agent issue to delay matters.
Negotiations are expected to get underway shortly after the striker's switch to Proactive.

Irvine: Why I'm glad to be back
Andy Hunter Exclusive, Daily Post
Dec 12 2002
NEVER GO BACK' is a worn-out phrase in football only because it has proven so prophetic so often. In Alan Irvine's case, returning to Goodison Park is turning out to be one of the best decisions he's ever made. The results business, as Everton's still relatively new assistant manager calls it, has taken a sharp turn for the worse over the past three matches. Just like the Blues' confidence. However, Irvine's passionate conviction about Everton's future and his love for his new role is undiminished.
While keeping the club in the Premiership almost single-handedly last season, David Moyes also managed to put into place preparations for the management team that has helped revitalise Everton this term. One of his first calls was to Newcastle United where the man who'd transformed their youth system was pondering a move to join the Football Association's proposed national academy.
Instead, thanks to Moyes' powers of persuasion, the Premiership and a return to Everton beckoned for the 44-year-old who was unveiled alongside former Preston coach Jimmy Lumsden before the FA Youth Cup final in May. Moyes, Irvine, Lumsden and especially Everton haven't looked back since.
"I've loved it, absolutely loved it," said Irvine back on the training ground he first saw on his arrival from Queen's Park in 1981. He added: "When I first spoke to David I asked him whether we would be working with the players and trying to improve their strengths and deal with their weaknesses all the time in training. "I didn't want to come into a situation where we didn't do that much work on the training ground but straight away David said that's exactly what we will be doing. That convinced me. It has turned out to be like that and I've really enjoyed every single minute. "Obviously results have made it even more enjoyable but it has all gone so well. I'm loving the buzz of a Saturday again. At youth level it is much more of a long-term project but with the first team you are in the results business. "Apart from the last few, the results we've been getting have made everyone feel better and you can continue to work harder and harder because the players are more receptive to what you are doing. "It has been an absolute pleasure to be back. It has been even better than I'd possibly imagined it could be this early." Saturday's controversial defeat by Chelsea, fresh on the back of the Blues' emphatic Worthington Cup exit and cruel loss at Newcastle, has been described as "a smack of reality" for Everton. But even a sudden dose of realism as harsh as this one can reveal the strides the squad has made this season, with the two Premiership losses in particular displaying positives if not points. "It has been well above expectations," Irvine admits. "We've come in and there's been no money so it's not been a case of changing the squad around or anything like that.
"So straight away you think if this is a team that's been fighting relegation in the recent past, how are we going to change things around? But the lads have been absolutely fantastic from day one. "They've applied themselves to absolutely everything they've been asked to do, their work-rate has been phenomenal both in training and the games and as a result of that they have won games that have bred confidence. "Confidence has run on into the next game and it's just progressed from there. "When we lost to Manchester United and Newcastle we were only minutes away from getting terrific results while no-one would argue we didn't deserve something from the Chelsea game. "The good thing about the defeats away from home in the league, against Man United and Newcastle, was that okay we lost and it was very disappointing for all of us, but we walked out of their with our heads held high. "As we all know you can go to these places and get a real hiding. We certainly haven't had that and we've come away from those places with no points on both occasions. But we've done extremely well and everyone has had to say that we were extremely unfortunate on both occasions." The Premiership is not the only learning curve facing Irvine at present, as the Everton management team's relationship is still at an embryonic stage. Irvine's path had crossed Moyes' on various coaching courses but it was a case of venturing into the unknown when the compatriots teamed up this summer. Everton's assistant boss explains: "We knew each other but not very well and we had never worked together before. We are finding out about each other all the time. "I've really enjoyed working with David. He is incredibly thorough and hard-working and is a person with a terrific knowledge of the game. "He is ultra-professional and believes in getting everything organised which suits me perfectly because that's the way I feel it should be done too.
"We have similar beliefs which makes it easier but at the same time we are not the same people. My job is to support David in what he wants to do. Sometimes we might not agree on certain things but we discuss everything and it's up to him to make the final decision. "Sometimes it's his decision, sometimes he takes mine or Jimmy Lumsden's view or that of the rest of the staff but the final decision is his and we back it 100 per cent."

Fan to present Yobo with award
Dec 12 2002 By David Randles, icNorthwest
JOSEPH YOBO is set to receive his PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month award on Saturday as Everton play host to Blackburn at Goodison Park. Since his arrival from French club Marseille in the summer, the Nigerian international has been a revelation at the heart of the Blues' defence and helped the team to four successive clean sheets last month. Such has been Yobo's form that Evertonians the length and breadth of the country voted in their droves to announce him as the Premiership's best performer for November. The PFA fans' Player-of-the-Month award however, not only registers as a success for Yobo but also for icLiverpool. How's that you may ask? Well for those who don't already know, icLiverpool, as part of the national icNetwork has been exclusively hosting the live voting panel through which fans have a real say in who should receive the coveted award each month. The icNetwork is the official online partner for the PFA Fans' Awards which offers YOU the paying public the chance to meet and present your favourite player with their prize each month. And what's more, if selected, you will be treated to a VIP day out at one of your teams home games before presenting the player with their prize. And this month, icLiverpool is pleased to announce that one of it's regular users has been selected to present Yobo with his award at Saturday's match after voting for the star last month. Jack Roberts is a lifelong Evertonian who now lives in Kingston, Surrey. Detached from their spiritual home, Jack and his wife keep right up to date with all things Everton via icLiverpool and Saturday's prize offers them the chance to return to their roots to enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime. All Evertonians will agree it goes without saying why Yobo should receive his award but Jack has his own reasons: "My wife and I are die-hard Evertonians so we're absolutely over the moon," he said. "Our reasons for voting for Joseph is that since he came to the country the supporters were lead to believe that he was immense and solid at the back. But just as soon as he arrived, he picked up a bad injury which led him to miss the start of the season - which incidentally led us to carry on leaking goals. "Since his recovery he has been a tower of strength and given us undeniable pace which makes us play further up the pitch than we've ever been able to without him, "It's for these reasons coupled with this being a supposedly transitional period for him whilst coming to grips with the English game that he gets our vote. "Well done Yobo and long may it continue". We at icLiverpool hope Jack and his wife enjoy their day but remember, their are still six months of the season left and next time it could be you! To vote for your favourite player and to have a REAL chance of presenting them with the PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month Award, start voting now.

Turnaround in form down to David's revolution
Post Sport'S Fanscene Writer Mark O'Brien Delivers The Supporters' Viewpoint On David Moyes, Daily Post
Dec 13 2002
EVEN the untrained eye can see that something remarkable has happened to Everton Football Club.
At the start of the season you could get the longest odds in living memory on us winning the league, yet at St James' Park at the end of November, we found ourselves five minutes and a wonder goal away from second place in the Premiership. This is the club that earlier this year gave one of the most abject performances in living memory, at Middlesbrough. Except it's not actually the same club any more; not by a long way. Something fundamental has changed at its heart, something that can only be attributed to one man, David Moyes. When the Everton board finally parted company with Walter Smith they took what may at the time have been considered a gamble; going for Preston North End's young boss and not an established 'name' from the managerial gravy train.
In years to come that bold decision will be looked upon as one of the most crucial in the club's entire history. The club changed for the better from the moment Moyes took over. Here was an ambitious man who was willing to stake his reputation on turning around a club with no money and a collection of players who were apparently not good enough. Moyes saw a golden opportunity to manage a massive club. Here was someone who finally believed in Everton, and from that very first game against Fulham it became quite clear that Everton, the fans and the players alike, believed in David Moyes. At the end of that stomach-churning 90 minutes every Evertonian knew their club could not be in a more capable pair of hands and that relegation was simply no longer an option.
With a whole summer of pre-season training to work with his new charges, Moyes set about trying to mould them into the sort of side he wanted. Straight away one of the most visible differences he affected was in the conditioning of the players. Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Campbell alone look like they've lost the equivalent weight of a family of four. As a result of that extra fitness they can now compete for the full 90 minutes against anyone. It's not all about having leather lungs though; the football itself has improved immeasurably. Simplicity seems to be the key - the disastrous experiments with the 4-3-3 formation being the notable and painful exception - and the comment that all the play-ers make when asked about Moyes' methods is that they all know exactly what their role is on the pitch. That clarity must be great for all the players, but especially the youngsters. Obviously the eyes of the nation are on Wayne Rooney but Evertonians have seen how, for instance, Tony Hibbert has developed into an outstanding full-back. For years the fans have known that our future lay with our youngsters, and in Moyes we seem to have a boss who finally agrees.
Despite the eulogising, this actually hasn't been the great-est week of Moyes' Everton career with two defeats to Chelsea and that reverse against Newcastle. However, our reaction to these results underlines more than anything the biggest impact that the manager has had on Everton, and that is in the fans' expectations. We now seriously expect Everton to go and win at Newcastle and Chelsea. It started at Old Trafford when we seemed to have secured a point but went down to a flurry of late goals. We're not used to getting anything but a hiding against United so we were all trying to look on the bright side. Moyes was having none of it though, he made it clear in his post-match comments that his Everton team went there to win. That just hasn't always been the case. For years we've been fed excuses about the lack of money for players until we became happy to merely accept Premiership survival. Thankfully a new, more belligerent attitude is starting to take firm hold and we no longer feel we have to doff our cap to the Premiership gentry. As it is we already have what it takes to beat the majority of teams in the Premiership, especially at home. But to truly sustain a push for a European place, we will need a stronger squad. We currently rely heavily on a couple of key players to win us games, notably, at present, Kevin Campbell. When it comes to getting the best out of the resources to hand David Moyes has shown he is without peer in the top flight. The challenge for the board of Everton Football Club is to make sure they can gradually improve the quality of the raw materials available to him. If they can do that there are no limits to what we can achieve.

Unsworth waits on FA fate
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 13 2002
DAVID UNSWORTH will discover his disciplinary fate today after Everton's appeal against his controversial Chelsea dismissal received FA backing. The Blues have no automatic right of appeal over a straight red card for violent conduct and face losing Unsworth for four games after referee Eddie Wolstenholme stood by his original decision. But now the FA have advised their video panel to review the incident and have promised a decision within 24 hours. The video panel have the power to overturn Unsworth's red card, a decision that would mean the defender misses just the Mersey-side derby on December 22 instead of matches against Birmingham, Bolton and Manchester City too. Goodison chief executive Michael Dunford, meanwhile, has insisted Joseph Yobo's permanent move to Everton is done and dusted. The Nigerian international claimed on Wednesday that his personal terms have yet to be finalised due to a change in agent. But Dunford last night confirmed the Blues have landed Yobo on a five-year contract under the terms of his move from Marseille in July. "As far as we are concerned the matter is quite simple," said Dun-ford. "On July 9 this year Joseph signed an agreement with Everton and agreed that he would accept a period of five years including the 12-month loan. I have in my possession a work permit issued to Everton Football Club valid until June 30 2007 when that agreement was lodged. "On November 26 Everton exercised its option with Olympique Marseille to make the transfer permanent and I don't think there is a great deal more we as a club can do. "I am aware that Joseph feels he would like us to review the contract, but as far as we are concerned we have acted honourably in this. We have signed agreements and I would hope the player understands the position and we can go forward from there." Yobo recently moved agents after claiming he was unhappy with a few developments. But Dunford insisted the star defender was fully aware of Everton's contractual position when they paid Marseille the extra £3.5m to make the move permanent last month. He added: "The player is entitled to change agents and we are willing to speak to any representative he appoints, but I have to reiterate that in July when Joseph joined us - initially on loan - he was aware that we had the right to take that option. "We had to exercise that option by May 11 2003. We did that last month and Joseph was made aware of this. "I have an agreement signed by Joseph that if Everton decided to take up the option, which we have duly done, the following terms would apply for a five-year contract. "If Joseph wishes to renege on that then that is an issue between Joseph and the club. As far as we are concerned the matter is quite straightforward." Blues defender Li Weifeng has returned to China in a bid to bolster his match sharpness. The 24-year-old, who has made just two senior appearances this season, suffered a nose injury in a recent reserve game and requires treatment back home. Depending on his recovery time, Weifeng will then play a few international friendlies for China before returning to Merseyside in January. American striker Joe-Max Moore has now officially left Everton after the Blues decided not to apply for a new work permit when his contract expired.

We can rekindle Goodison glory
Andy Hunter Reports, Daily Post
Dec 13 2002
GIVEN that David Moyes arrived as Everton's saviour nine months ago this week it is entirely accurate to credit him with the rebirth of the Blues. Those Evertonians brave enough to recall the dreadful FA Cup defeat by Middlesbrough - when relegation seemed a likely destination for Walter Smith's team - would hardly raise an eyebrow if Moyes did in fact go into labour before the weekend, such is the extent of the miracle he's worked since. The full measure of Everton's transformation can be felt today where, after two painful defeats against teams with the wealth and experience of Champions League football, there is indignation about only being fifth in the table.
These are heady days indeed for the club's long-suffering supporters, players and directors.
Yet with Everton's dependency on the Kings Dock still regularly regaled and mention of their lack of finance akin to treachery in some quarters, the burning question remains: can this revival be sustained, can the Blues finally put years of decay and hardship behind them to return to the elite?
Since the inception of the Premiership, success in English football has gone cap in hand with big business. Splashing the cash is no guarantee of landing the biggest prizes as Leeds, Chelsea and even Liverpool have discovered, but nevertheless the genuine, regular contenders all come from the moneyed gentry. In many ways entry into the cash-machine of the Champions League has become a closed shop. But, as Everton have hinted under Moyes this season, football's unpredictable nature means the path is open for all. That is the carrot now driving the Blues. Qualification for Europe could help transform the entire club's fortunes and, as assistant manager Alan Irvine insists, it remains a very real - though potentially long-term - possibility. Irvine's confidence is well-founded. As a player he helped Howard Kendall's Everton on their way to greatness from nowhere, then as a coach has seen both Blackburn and latterly Newcastle gatecrash the big time at close quarters.
"There is always an opportunity for teams to break in," explains Irvine. "Just look at Spain. There Valencia have done extremely well for what is a small club in comparison to Real Madrid and Barcelona and so on. "And it is possible for a team to do that here. Just look at Newcastle. They are a big club but they are not one that has been associated with being at the right end of the Premiership. "Now they've broken through. They have the experience and the money from the Champions League and that can make such a big difference. "That shows us it can be done, that we can get back up there. It would be a sad world if there was no chance of challenging the top clubs and re-establishing ourselves, wouldn't it? "And we have to keep working to get back in there. It can be done. "It's similar to when I arrived at Everton as a player and though football has changed in many ways the circumstances are familiar, where we were looking to get back up there and, of course, we did. "I remember the first Everton game I ever went to when I was considering which club to join. It was away at Wolves. We got a draw that day and the threat of relegation was still very real for Everton, but you could sense the determination and support around the place then and it is the same now. "You can build on that and that is what we are aiming for." Few would seriously expect to see Everton in the Champions League next season but then that was never on the agenda this summer anyway. The key priority for everyone was progress and if that is maintained - as Irvine discovered under Sir Bobby Robson, who two years ago was fighting relegation with Newcastle and on Tuesday night was returning with them to Barcelona - then the limits disappear. Irvine said: "It has been wonderful for me to come back to Everton. Obviously results help tremendously but it has gone better than I'd ever imagined and yes there are similar circumstances to when I arrived here as a player as now. "By the time I came in David had been in and done a great job with the squad in keeping them up last season but, just like Howard did when he first arrived, it was a case of starting from scratch. "We've had to work extremely hard since the first day and the players have responded really well to that. The future does look bright but that will only be achieved if we continue what we are doing. The hard work is still to be done. "We have started quickly but at the same time we know how quickly things can turn the other way and you can start losing games.
"We have lost two in the league now, both harshly, but if you go five games without a win you can easily find yourself back in a bad position. Thankfully the terrific string of results we put together has made people much more confident and the spirit is great." Irvine adds: "There is now a lot of talk about what Everton can achieve at the other end of the Premiership table and that's fabulous. It's what we want but we have to remember how we got here in the first place. "If we can continue to develop as we are doing and break into the top of the table quicker than Newcastle did and get into the Champions League, it would be fantastic. It may not happen this season, but it's what we are aiming for and it would have a big impact."

Moyes clears the air with star Yobo
By David Prentice Everton Correspondent, Daily Post
Dec 13 2002
DAVID MOYES had clear-the-air talks with defender Joseph Yobo this morning - and has backed the Blues star to recapture the form he displayed during an outstanding start to his Everton career.
The Blues issued a strongly worded statement yesterday, after Yobo gave an interview where he claimed not to have signed a long term contract. A five year deal was, in fact, signed last month.
Moyes sat down with the Nigerian this morning and said: "I have spoken to Joe and he knows exactly what the situation is. "If there have been any mistakes made it has not been by Everton and I expect us all to put this behind us. "Joseph has played really well for us and we hope he can continue that form tomorrow." Yobo will receive a PFA Fans Player of the Month award before tomorrow's visit of Blackburn Rovers. Moyes is anticipating few changes to his starting line-up, but may consider the time is right to hand Wayne Rooney an opportunity from the start. The Blues, meanwhile, have waved goodbye to two of their international stars - one permanently. Joe-Max Moore's contract has been terminated by mutual consent to allow the American striker to seek a new club. Li Wei Feng has returned to China until the New Year for surgery on his nose.
Independent reports in China suggest the player is unsettled and wants to return to his original club Shenzhen Pingan. Clarke was back at Bellefield this morning after playing for England Under-20s last in their 2-0 defeat by Switzerland.

Happy holiday if Blues do well
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Dec 13 2002
IT HASN'T been the best of weeks for Everton, what with losing again to Chelsea and Wayne Rooney being declared the greatest threat to the fabric of decent society since acid house and devil dogs.
Ian Ross summed it up best when he hinted that those people ringing Everton and the BBC to complain about Rooney's attire and demeanour at the Sports Personality of the Year Awards must have far too much spare time on their hands. An absolute load of nonsense. On the pitch we gave a much better account of ourselves against Chelsea than we did in the Worthington Cup, but in the end the outcome was little different. Claudio Ranieri's side has plenty of ability, as you'd expect from such an expensively assembled squad, but they've added a more stubborn streak this year making them very difficult to break down, despite knowing that we basically threw the game away.
Blackburn will come to Goodison with something of a point to prove tomorrow after our smash and grab raid at Ewood Park not so long ago, which elevated us to third place in the table. They passed the ball to death on that day but had little up front. In recent weeks Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke have started to play a little like they did at Old Trafford. If we don't tighten up at the back and make silly mistakes again, we could easily be punished. A good professional performance and the three points would set us up nicely for the holiday period, and hope-fully we can get through the game without losing any more players. David Unsworth's mystery punch will see him miss a slew of games - nobody saw the mystery punch he's meant to have thrown, but nonetheless he should have shown a bit more restraint before getting Jesper Gronkjaer in a half-Nelson. The Christmas period can often make or break a team's season so we're going to need as many players fit and available as possible. With our new found sense of professionalism and purpose, the third round FA Cup draw against Shrewsbury shouldn't pose too much of a problem - even if the game stays at Gay Meadow and isn't switched to Goodison. Obviously financial considerations are paramount and far more people will get to see the game if it is switched, but it does always feel as if the occasion is lessened when the smaller team gives up home advantage. Hopefully, for the sake of the purists, Kevin Ratcliffe will have his wish and the game will be played at Shrewsbury after all.

Shrewsbury cup tie is ideal for Moyes' men
Dec 13 2002 By Howard Kendall
DAVID MOYES' could not have asked for a tastier tie to begin his FA Cup campaign with Everton.
The trip to Shrewsbury's Gay Meadow on the first weekend of January is a belter. The new regime must over-come Everton's habit over the last 10 years of being knocked out by minnows on a regular basis. The fact it is against a side managed by the club's most successful skipper ever adds spice to the tie. I always knew Kevin Ratcliffe had what it took to become a manager. Players who were leaders on the pitch have a head start when it comes to becoming a boss. And Kevin has done well during a demanding apprenticeship in the lower divisions. He had to work under incredibly difficult circumstances at Chester and is now doing a good job at Shrewsbury. If a club is looking to bring a manager through from the lower divisions, they should not look any further than Kevin. In the meantime, he will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing his beloved Blues. For Moyes, the key is to break the cycle of unexpected cup exits. During my first spell at Everton we only lost once to lower league opposition, and after that 1-0 defeat to Grimsby we were given a standing ovation for the quality of our play. Successful teams don't suffer those kind of upsets and it is important Moyes helps the club discard its reputation as cup pushovers.

Milestone for master Kev
Dec 13 2002 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
DESPITE what Don Howe and the Carling Opta Index might say, statistics cannot ever completely express an individual's contribution to a football team. But in Kevin Campbell's case, it's a good starting point. Everton's captain and top scorer kicks-off his 100th Premiership match for the club tomorrow. During the previous 99 appearances he has scored 41 Premiership goals. That's 41 strikes without the aid of penalty kicks; 41 strikes in a team which has struggled to win a corner let alone a match; and 41 strikes despite having to adapt to a succession of strike partners of varying styles and standards. But, possibly because of the names which have previously claimed the coveted number nine jersey - legends like Dean, Lawton, Hickson, Young, Royle, Latchford and Sharp - Campbell has sometimes struggled to earn the affection of the Goodison crowd. One of the men who wore that jersey more effectively than most - only Dixie Dean scored more goals for the club - has little doubt that Campbell's place in Everton's roll of honour is deserved. Graeme Sharp scored 159 goals for Everton - and has been present for most of Campbell's. "Kevin has made an outstanding contribution to Everton Football Club, there's no doubt in my mind about that," said Sharp. "When he first arrived it was his goals which kept the club up, and despite picking up more than his fair share of injuries, he has scored regularly since then. "But apart from his goals, he has managed to look like our most potent goal threat even though he has frequently modified his game to suit whoever he has been partnering up front. "I thought the criticism he received at times last season was totally unjust. Often he was playing up front on his own, after coming back from injury, too. "But even when he hadn't had the best of games, you could guarantee he had put in a decent shift. "I'm just delighted that he has silenced some of the boo boys who were on his back." Since receiving a ticking off for an accurate, but poorly received assessment of some of the decisions the club's hierarchy had made last season, Campbell has preferred to keep his own counsel. He prefers not to speak to the media, which has possibly damaged his public profile. But Sharp is adamant he has been one of the most influential figures in the Everton revival. "He has managed to get through a full pre-season for the first time in a while, and that has shown in his form this season. "We are told he hasn't missed a single minute's training this season and Everton have benefited. "While Duncan Ferguson is out injured he is Everton's only real target-man and it is important he remains fit as long as possible." The only statistic which counts against Campbell is the one on his birth certificate - he is 33 in February - but there is little sign of his edge blunting yet. Who would bet against him marking his 100th start with another goal stat?

Everton 2, Blackburn 1 (D, Post)
By Jonathan McEvoy at Goodsion Park
Dec 16 2002
IF only this teenager could fasten his tie correctly and stop chewing gum, he'd be a sensation.
Pilloried a week ago for his appearance as he collected the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award, Wayne Rooney chewed up and spat out Blackburn with the latest demonstration of his genius. His winner, brilliantly created from nothing and despatched with masterful precision, was enough to deny Blackburn the point, or three, they deserved - and surely renders his claims for inclusion in next week's derby irresistible. Watchful has been David Moyes' watchword in dealing with a 17-year-old whose effortless guile has burdened his young shoulders with much of the hope and expectation that has welled up in the Goodison faithful through their years in the wilderness.
It may be tough on Tomasz Radzinski, who has scored five goals this season, but the player most likely to send shivers down Liverpool spines is the kid from Croxteth. And Everton fans will be hoping Moyes lets Rooney off the leash for the fixture they want to win more than all others. He dropped a few reminders of his burgeoning talent against Graeme Souness' side. He was always the most likely to bamboozle defenders with his instinctive skills and his crucial goal 25 minutes into a frenetic 90 minutes of football summed up his consumate ability. Richard Wright's long goalkick was nonchalantly brought under control by Rooney and his first time, right-foot shot was placed diagonally beyond the helpless Brad Friedel with all the calm efficiency of a veteran goalscorer - not a rookie making his fourth Premiership start. The point was underlined by Everton manager David Moyes. He is quick to protect his young charge from prying eyes - and notebooks - but he is not reticent in listing the characteristics that mark him out as a player of stupendous promise.
"I've never come across anyone like him," enthused Moyes, whose comments, like those of Arsene Wenger after his side had been slayed by Rooney's boots in October, went far beyond the platitudes so often trotted out at post-match Press conferences. "He's one of the first people to whom I think football comes naturally. He plays and does things on the field in an unconscious way." Where can be no higher praise of a footballer than that. Yes, Rooney has much to learn, as Moyes readily admitted, about the need for fitting his brand of magic within the requirements of team play, but his repetoire is already breath-taking. He had, as you would expect, already been involved in the Everton equaliser. Kevin Campbell's cut back from the right found Rooney lurking on the far post and his shot on the turn rebounded off a post for Lee Carsley to sweep home. Carsley's 12th-minute strike cancelled out Andy Cole's sixth-minute opener, the former England striker nodding home David Thompson's free-kick after a Tony Hibbert foul. By that stage Everton, whose defence looked liable to creak open again all afternoon, had ridden out their luck. Unfortunate to lose a week earlier to high-riding Chelsea, they can count themselves favoured this time around. They held their own in the first-half after escaping a few palpitating scares even before Cole's early goal, but were decidedly on the back foot in the second half. Again, more lessons for Moyes ahead of next week's Anfield showdown. His defence is going to be without the suspended Joseph Yobo and David Unsworth, and who ever comprises his rearguard must look to add more steel than was evident on Saturday. Yobo, caught up in a contract wrangle, fell below the outstandingly high standard he has set himself over the past few months while Blackburn were gifted too many free headers in the closing, nervy moments. With much of the play congested in the middle of the field - you can expect more of the same in the derby - Rooney acted as Everton's escape valve, the figure likely to unlock Blackburn's almost equally edgy backline. He could have doubled his personal tally after 32 minutes when he again conjured an opening from Carlsey's pass but dragged his shot wide.
Then, when he turned provider his team's luck was no better. Seven minutes into the second half, Rooney teed up Carsley but he blazed over and Campbell was guilty of failing to react as he threaded a pass across the face of goal in the 69th minute. Campbell, this abberation apart, worked hard in a selfless performance, while at the other end Wright was called on to make several vital saves, the best a stunning save from Craig Short 12 minutes from time, poking out his left hand to turn the ball away from goal. By then, Blackburn had been reduced to 10 men after Lucas Neill was given his second booking of the afternoon. Initially, yellow carded for a foul on Tony Hibbert, he was then ordered off for bringing down Gary Naysmith in the 76th minute. Souness later claimed that he knew his side was in trouble the moment they saw Graham Barber's name down to referee the game. Neill can count himself hard done to, but that decision notwithstanding you could find little fault with his officiating. Not that going down to 10-men hindered Rovers in the final throes of the game. They made it look as if they possessed the extra man as Everton lived dangerously.
But Rooney was the difference. He may not give interviews, he may want to resist intrusion, but if his language is football Everton can count themsleves blessed in having a player who is so articulate. Not for the first time, not for the last.
EVERTON: Wright, Stubbs, Unsworth, Campbell, Tie (Weir 64), Naysmith, Gravesen, Rooney (Radzinski 90), Yobo, Carsley, Hibbert (Pistone 90). Subs: Simonsen, Gemmill.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Friedel, Neill, Tugay, Flitcroft (Johansson 76), Cole, Duff, Yorke, Thompson, Taylor, McEveley (Gillespie 45). Subs: Kelly, Ostenstad, Danns.
SENDING OFF: Neill (two bookable offences).
BOOKINGS: Everton's Hibbert; Blackburn's Gillespie.
REFEREE: G Barber.
ATT: 36,578.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Wayne Rooney: Who else? No wonder it is a full house at Goodison these days. He had a hand in the first goal and scored the second and, in his first Premiership start for three months, reinforced the belief he is the genuine article.

Teen talk
Dec 16 2002 By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has vowed to "take away Wayne Rooney's adolescence" to help the Everton sensation live up to his potential. The Everton boss again threw a protective arm around the 17-year-old striker after his match-winning display in their 2-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. And Moyes revealed he is determined to ease Rooney's growing pains by steering him away from the pitfalls that might lie in wait for the Croxteth teenager. Moyes, delighted at his side ending a three-match losing streak ahead of next week's Merseyside derby at Anfield, said: "We are trying to do what is best for him. "Between 17 and 20 is an age when you don't want to be in the spotlight. It is a period where we want to try to take his adolescence away from him. To deny him the opportunity to do the sort of things everyone else has done at that age. "I don't think he's got a big ego. He's very down to earth and just wants to be left alone and we have to be careful how we continue to watch his development. He's more mature as a footballer than as a person." Rooney scored the Blues' 25th-minute winner with a searing shot to cap a fine individual display. But Moyes does not want the youngster fast-tracked into Sven-Goran Eriksson's England set-up. "At the end of the day we want to do what is best for him," the Blues boss said. "We have to be careful with him. He's played a good game but if at the end of the season he's played 20-25 games then it might be right for him to get a chance to be involved with England at that stage, not now. "I have spoken to Sven once but it is not for me to interfere in his job." Moyes does not believe Rooney is yet the finished article. He said: "I thought he gave the ball away several times in the middle of the park.
"That's where we need him to develop his game, to be linking up better and to be more team orientated at times, but his performance all round for the team, not just for himself, was much better. "He did track back to tackle, but then he knows we wouldn't have him any other way. We don't care who they are here, if you give the ball away you better show you're going to try and win it back otherwise you will be sitting beside me. "He was also involved in both the goals, obviously scoring one of them, and for a young player he is doing excellent and going in the right direction with his play. "He's got all the attributes, but more importantly he has footballing intelligence, which is good to see in someone so young. "But it's not the Wayne Rooney show, although we are aware of how important he is to us and how good his performance was as well." For Blackburn manager Graeme Souness, he was left to reflect on another performance where he felt he had "been mugged," but more critically referee Graham Barber's display. It was Barber who dismissed Neill in an FA Cup tie at Middlesbrough in February, although the red card was later rescinded, and it was the Hertfordshire official who gave Garry Flitcroft his marching orders in the win at Highbury recently. "Referees don't like admitting they are wrong like he had to earlier this year," reflected Souness. "But we knew we were in trouble and that it would be a difficult afternoon when we saw the referee's name before the game."

Everton 2, Blackburn 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Dec 16 2002
THE perpetually brow-beaten Berti Vogts trudged out of Goodison Park with an even more hang-dog expression than usual. Never a man to add zest to a flagging party, the Scottish coach offered a respectable impersonation of a bulldog licking another dog's trail off a thistle. The reason for his ire obvious. He'd just had first hand evidence of exactly what he'd missed out on. Wayne Rooney has a Scottish grandparent, you see. Vogts was made aware of the family tie a fortnight ago, long after Rooney had tied himself permanently to England - and he moaned: "It would have been nice to have at least been able to ask him." The German Jock should console himself that he will not be the last coach to covet Rooney's services by a long chalk. David Moyes has inherited the most sparkling talent in the English game - and has used him with impeccable timing. A slight dip in Tomasz Radzinski's excellent form this season, coupled with a robust substitute's appearance from Rooney last week, saw the Blues' boss make a straight switch. It was an inspired decision. The home stands at Goodison were packed to capacity again. The revival in the club's playing fortunes, fashioned by Moyes, is clearly the reason, but then there's also the Rooney-factor. The 17-year-old is a joy to watch - a throwback to old fashioned strikers who would collect the ball and drive instantly at cowering defenders. The reaction inside press boxes up and down the country highlights the youngster's talent. Usually an impenetrable bastion of cynicism, disbelieving chuckles of appreciation can be regularly heard when he pulls off another wildly improbable feat. At Elland Road, the enclosed viewing gallery erupted in admiration following his solo strike; against Arsenal it was the audacity of his second effort, which bounced onto the roof of the net, which had the hardened hacks purring in satisfaction. On Saturday, Rooney almost repeated the feat. His goal, drilled with laser-like precision past Friedel after winning the ball in the air and accelerating like an Olympic sprinter away from Taylor, was stunning. But then, seven minutes later, he almost added an outrageous second. His control to kill a ball which had fallen from the sky was sublime, a cheeky touch took him past Short and only a miscued shot from 20 yards proved that the 17-year-old is human. But to suggest that the forward is a star of the future is wrong. He is a supremely talented striker right now. Facets of his game will improve with experience. He's started only five first team fixtures, but Saturday was the first time he has been given the chance to play alongside Kevin Campbell in a 4-4-2 formation, and he sparkled. It would be stretching it to suggest he was the sole difference between the sides because a late Richard Wright save from Short was truly monumental, but he was hugely influential. His best moments came in the first half after Everton started sloppily again. Evertonians initially shuddered when Joseph Yobo found himself suspended for the Anfield derby, but now the time could be perfect for the young defender to have a break. He didn't play badly on Saturday, but he miscued clearances, stood off strikers and that air of unflappable majesty he had previously exuded appears to have been eroded by his off-field upsets. Everton defended dreadfully for 10 minutes. Hibbert headed off the line from Flitcroft, Cole's header struck Wright on the legs and rebounded to safety and Cole got it just right in the fifth minute when the keeper faltered fatally at Thompson's free-kick and he made it 1-0. Hibbert then misplaced a header and Dwight Yorke should have made it two. One quality Moyes has imbued in his side, though, is potency. They have scored in every game at Goodison under his stewardship and did so again in the 11th minute. Carsley's header sent Campbell sprinting for the byline down the right. His cross bounced awkwardly but was hooked cleverly by Rooney past Friedel and only the inside of the post denied him a goal. The ball rolled conveniently along the line for Carsley to tap home. Soon after, Lucas Neill was harshly booked - more as a result of the crowd reaction than any awful crime - a decision which had far-reaching consequences later. The match was wide open. Naysmith's corner struck Rooney in the midriff when he was unmarked in the six-yard box. Rooney then added another stunning strike to his growing collection of Goal of the Month contenders; Cole beat Yobo a little too easily and crashed a shot against the foot of a post, and Naysmith's free-kick struck Stubbs on the back of the head as he looked set to nod a decisive third. Graeme Souness switched to a 3-5-2 system for the second half, but Everton should still have wrapped the game up within minutes of the restart. Campbell was dispossessed by Neill as he cocked the trigger, Rooney set up Carsley to blaze over and then Gravesen flicked the ball wide with the outside of his boot. Blackburn began to dominate and Moyes, too, switched to a 3-5-2 with Weir introduced for Tie. More magnetic magic from Rooney should have sealed the points, but Campbell couldn't quite react when his cross was dragged along the goal-line. Neill's second yellow card for clumsily pulling down Hibbert as he tried to surge into the penalty box, saw him sent off, but Stubbs' shot from the resulting free-kick, saved spectacularly by Friedel, was Everton's last threat. Blackburn's 10-men stormed forward. Wright redeemed his earlier error with an outstanding one-handed save from Short's flying header. He then back-pedalled furiously to claw a Gillespie cross from under his own bar and, in the 94th minute, the Blues survived a frantic six-yard box scramble from a Blackburn corner. By then, baffled Berti was on his way back North, but not the only Scottish coach frustrated by Rooney's masterclass. Graeme Sou-ness was grim faced, too. They won't be the last managers left perplexed by the prodigy.

EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Hibbert (Pistone 90 mins), Yobo, Stubbs, Unsworth, Carsley, Tie (Weir 63 mins), Gravesen, Naysmith, Campbell, Rooney (Radzinski 92 mins). Unused subs: Gemmill, Simonsen.
BLACKBURN ROVERS: Friedel, Neill, Short, Taylor, McEveley (Gillespie 44 mins), Thompson, Tugay, Flitcroft (Johansson 75 mins), Duff, Cole, Yorke. Unused subs: Ostenstad, Danns, Kelly.
REFEREE: Graham Barber.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert (5 mins) foul, Neill (13 mins) foul, Gillespie (65 mins) foul.
SENDING OFF: Neill (73 mins) second bookable offence, foul.
GOALS: Cole (5 mins) 0-1, Carsley (11 mins) 1-1, Rooney (25 mins) 2-1.

We've got Wright man for England
Dec 16 2002 By Ian Parkes, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY may be on a fast track to an England call-up, however, coach Sven-Goran Eriksson should no longer ignore Richard Wright's claim for an international recall. Rooney may have stolen the headlines and the spotlight as Everton boss David Moyes restored the 17-year-old sensation to the starting line-up for a Premier League match for the first time in nearly three months, but Wright ran him a very close second. The teenager added to his burgeoning collection of classic strikes with a stunning 25th-minute winner to end Everton's three-match losing streak, but it was a breathtaking save from Wright which ultimately guaranteed Moyes' boys the three points. It capped a performance from the 25-year-old which suggests he is again approaching his best, at least Moyes believes that is the case, so perhaps it is time for Eriksson to reconsider Wright. With all the talk regarding David Seaman's potential England successor focusing on West Ham ' s David James and Paul Robinson at Leeds, Wright has been largely overlooked, winning the second of his only two caps 10 months ago. Although his £6million move to Arsenal last summer may not have worked out, Wright has become a pivotal figure in Everton's re-emergence as a Premier-ship force since his £3.5million switch this summer. Moyes may have criticised Wright for failing to stay on his line when Andy Cole scored his 150th Premiership goal, but the Scot feels further England honours cannot be too far away. He's showing signs of the quality he possessed when he was being touted a couple of years ago," said Moyes. "I've got to say I'm always hard on him because I think he should be better than he is. But he is working really hard to reinstate his reputation to where it should be.
"I've a saying: 'Don't go on stage if you've not got an act' and at the moment we need to make sure when Richard Wright goes on stage - and it will come again, although it might not be this season - he is ready to perform. "But he's at a team who are fourth top in the league, he's English and a goalkeeper, so he cannot be too far away from it." Wright's moment of brilliance came in the 78th minute, at a time when Everton were under intense pressure despite Blackburn being down to 10 men following the sending off four minutes earlier of Lucas Neill for a second bookable offence.
Wright somehow clawed a Craig Short flick header from another Thompson free-kick over the crossbar, drawing a standing ovation from the Everton supporters.

Short: How Wayne left me standing
Dec 16 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON old-boy Craig Short paid a sparkling tribute to Wayne Rooney on Saturday, after initially expressing relief that the youngster was playing! The Blackburn defender endured a tormented afternoon as the kid less than half his age ran riot at Goodison Park. "When I first saw Rooney's name on the team-sheet I was relieved," said Short "because Radzinski had caused us so many problems at our place. "I thought: 'he can't be as quick as him,' but he has other qualities too. He is agile, strong, quick and very, very confident. He just seemed to be totally at home out there and you didn't want to be one against one with him because he has so much skill. "Sometimes when you are playing against players who get it, hold it up and lay it off you feel quite comfortable with that. But when you face players as direct as him it's more difficult. "We haven't had many English players over the years like that. Gascoigne was one who wanted to just get the ball and take players on and Wayne is exactly the same. When he came on at Ewood he was out on the left wing and he just wanted to get the ball and run at people. "That's frightening for defenders. David Dunn's similar at our place and there aren't many of them about. "He didn't get much service second half, but when he got it he looked very dangerous. "There will be times when his team-mates will moan at him for running the ball too much, but you have nine or 10 other players in the team who will do the simple thing and you need someone with that bit of magic and I don't think it should be drilled out of him.
"Other players can get the ball, hold it and lay it off. His strength is turning and running at people which is how he scored his goal today. "We let it bounce, but he read it well, chested it on and it was a very good finish. People talk about him only being 17. I'm just glad that I'll be retired when he reaches his peak in seven or eight years!" Short admitted he was also impressed by the all-round improvement in the Everton side under David Moyes. "When a new manager comes in the place usually gets a lift," he added but they are still working hard now. They work hard and seem physically strong. They are strong at the back, have a physical midfield and it's no surprise that they've got so many 1-0 wins. I have been impressed and it's what this club has wanted for a number of years. "I still speak to Unsy, Paul Gerrard and Jimmy Comer - and I speak to Joe Parkinson a lot who's a season ticket holder here now, and I'm pleased for them - because the time I was here for three out of four years we were fighting relegation. "It's good to come back here and see such a good atmosphere."

Rooney rises to top to lift the crowd
Dec 16 2002 By Len Capeling
THANK heavens for Wayne Rooney. The young Everton sensation gave departing fans something to warm themselves by after the luckiest points of the season were pickpocketed at Goodison Park.
Just as importantly, he enabled a furrowed David Moyes to talk about something other than a largely embarrasing outing which will have done little for confidence. Without Rooney you shudder to think what would have befallen a Blues' line-up that never learned to cope with a Blackburn side which played the bulk of the good football - inspired by Damien Duff and David Thompson - yet ended up with only a bottle of gripe water for their indigestion. Clearly, three defeats on the bounce had ripped the stuffing out of Everton. Throughout, they looked as troubled as turkeys contemplating Christmas. Not Rooney, though. And that proved vital. That made the difference.
For while all around him floundered, the young god bestrode his new kingdom like a boy born to be king. He was awesome. His goals we know about - and there was another one here, plus the most significant of assists for Lee Carsley. But it was his power and his passing and his passion that made you sit up and forget the numbing cold. This teenager titan is turbo-charged. Give him a sliver of a chance and he's away like a battle tank with a booster rocket for an engine. In a second half when Everton were overwhelmed and Richard Wright was another hero with a string of excellent saves, Rooney appeared to be the Blues' lone outlet. Even the most aimless up-and-unders were snaffled up by this extraordinary 17-year-old and converted, with a burst of speed, or an imperious shrug of his muscular frame, into a penalty-area threat. Those us of who marvelled when the young Alan Shearer thrust his way to the forefront of English centre-forwards have another phenomenal throwback to eulogise. Sadly, the cranky Graeme Sou-ness couldn't quite bring himself to worship at the shrine, preferring to condemn leaden defenders for allowing Rooney the space to manoeuvre.
Possibly he had his thoughts on other things having watched his classy side overwhelm Everton for the majority of the game, only to end up with just an Andy Cole goal - his 150th in the Premiership - to show for their domination. On presentable chances alone, the final scoreline might have been 9-6 to Blackburn, and, on an Arctic afternoon, that would have been worth watching. Though not for Moyes, who was so angered by his team's refusal to get close to Blackburn that he found himself rebuked by referee Graham Barber, who ran 30 yards to deliver the reprimand. Poor Moyes. Nothing he said made the slightest difference, Everton - even when Blackburn were reduced to 10 men with the harsh ending-off of Lucas Neill - were a shambles, particularly in central midfield, and the financially-unhappy Joseph Yobo - I want more money - joined his defensive colleagues in having a nauseous 90 minutes. Add to this general malaise some dodgy work by England hopeful Richard Wright and you usher in the sort of scenario that heart attacks are made from. Wright undoubtedly saved Everton in a desperately one-sided second half with three saves, two of them outstanding, one of them exceptional. But put the ball in the air and he freezes like Frosty the Snowman.
Rooney, on the other hand, wouldn't freeze if you put him into cold storage. Twice in the second half as a rampant Blackburn roared forward - seeming to create a goal chance every time they attacked - the Croxteth Kid skated past Blackburn defenders to set up sitters - both missed - for the dozing Kevin Campbell and the wasteful Lee Carsley. This was Rooney in the Dalglish mould, making something out of nothing, which he'd done earlier in rapping an upright for Carsley to score, and then terrorising Craig Short and Martin Taylor before blasting the ball beyond a stunned Brad Friedel. Not ready for the Premiership? Not ready for a long first-team run? You wouldn't have guessed it on a day when he was one of the few pluses for the battered, but ultimately victorious, Blues. He must start the derby match now. He deserves to be the first name on the team-sheet. If he is, Evertonians will dare to dream he's the man to gum up a stuttering Liverpool machine. That being so, we await the haunting lyric floating up into the darkness over Stanley Park next Sunday evening... Roooneey ... Roooneey ... Roooneey.

Rooney rises to top to lift the crowd
Dec 16 2002 By Len Capeling
THANK heavens for Wayne Rooney. The young Everton sensation gave departing fans something to warm themselves by after the luckiest points of the season were pickpocketed at Goodison Park.
Just as importantly, he enabled a furrowed David Moyes to talk about something other than a largely embarrasing outing which will have done little for confidence. Without Rooney you shudder to think what would have befallen a Blues' line-up that never learned to cope with a Blackburn side which played the bulk of the good football - inspired by Damien Duff and David Thompson - yet ended up with only a bottle of gripe water for their indigestion. Clearly, three defeats on the bounce had ripped the stuffing out of Everton. Throughout, they looked as troubled as turkeys contemplating Christmas. Not Rooney, though. And that proved vital. That made the difference.
For while all around him floundered, the young god bestrode his new kingdom like a boy born to be king. He was awesome. His goals we know about - and there was another one here, plus the most significant of assists for Lee Carsley. But it was his power and his passing and his passion that made you sit up and forget the numbing cold. This teenager titan is turbo-charged. Give him a sliver of a chance and he's away like a battle tank with a booster rocket for an engine. In a second half when Everton were overwhelmed and Richard Wright was another hero with a string of excellent saves, Rooney appeared to be the Blues' lone outlet. Even the most aimless up-and-unders were snaffled up by this extraordinary 17-year-old and converted, with a burst of speed, or an imperious shrug of his muscular frame, into a penalty-area threat. Those us of who marvelled when the young Alan Shearer thrust his way to the forefront of English centre-forwards have another phenomenal throwback to eulogise. Sadly, the cranky Graeme Sou-ness couldn't quite bring himself to worship at the shrine, preferring to condemn leaden defenders for allowing Rooney the space to manoeuvre.
Possibly he had his thoughts on other things having watched his classy side overwhelm Everton for the majority of the game, only to end up with just an Andy Cole goal - his 150th in the Premiership - to show for their domination. On presentable chances alone, the final scoreline might have been 9-6 to Blackburn, and, on an Arctic afternoon, that would have been worth watching. Though not for Moyes, who was so angered by his team's refusal to get close to Blackburn that he found himself rebuked by referee Graham Barber, who ran 30 yards to deliver the reprimand. Poor Moyes. Nothing he said made the slightest difference, Everton - even when Blackburn were reduced to 10 men with the harsh ending-off of Lucas Neill - were a shambles, particularly in central midfield, and the financially-unhappy Joseph Yobo - I want more money - joined his defensive colleagues in having a nauseous 90 minutes. Add to this general malaise some dodgy work by England hopeful Richard Wright and you usher in the sort of scenario that heart attacks are made from. Wright undoubtedly saved Everton in a desperately one-sided second half with three saves, two of them outstanding, one of them exceptional. But put the ball in the air and he freezes like Frosty the Snowman.
Rooney, on the other hand, wouldn't freeze if you put him into cold storage. Twice in the second half as a rampant Blackburn roared forward - seeming to create a goal chance every time they attacked - the Croxteth Kid skated past Blackburn defenders to set up sitters - both missed - for the dozing Kevin Campbell and the wasteful Lee Carsley. This was Rooney in the Dalglish mould, making something out of nothing, which he'd done earlier in rapping an upright for Carsley to score, and then terrorising Craig Short and Martin Taylor before blasting the ball beyond a stunned Brad Friedel. Not ready for the Premiership? Not ready for a long first-team run? You wouldn't have guessed it on a day when he was one of the few pluses for the battered, but ultimately victorious, Blues. He must start the derby match now. He deserves to be the first name on the team-sheet. If he is, Evertonians will dare to dream he's the man to gum up a stuttering Liverpool machine. That being so, we await the haunting lyric floating up into the darkness over Stanley Park next Sunday evening... Roooneey ... Roooneey ... Roooneey.

Derby bonus for delighted boss Moyes
Dec 16 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES kicked off his derby week preparations from an unexpected position this morning - looking down on neighbours Liverpool. Everton's defeat of Blackburn on Saturday, coupled with Liverpool's loss at Sunderland, means the Blues will go to Anfield next Sunday a point clear of their rivals. Moyes said: "I said to the lads a few weeks ago that if we maintained our form we could have a chance of going into the derby match just a couple of points behind Liverpool. "Now we find ourselves above them, which is a testament to our players, because Liverpool are still a very good side." While the Reds have a Worthington Cup quarter-final on Wednesday, Everton have a clear week to prepare - and will use it to offer intensive treatment to young defender Tony Hibbert.
The full-back has been ever present in the Premiership this season, but sustained a serious gash on Saturday in the incident which saw Lucas Neill red-carded. "Hibbo has a big hole in his thigh which needed plenty of stitches," said Moyes. "He is a major doubt already. "It would be a blow if he does miss out because he has been outstanding all season and has shown a consistency which is often the hardest quality for young players to find. "He has got to the stage now where fans expect to see him in the starting line-up which is the biggest tribute you can pay to him." Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are logical replacements, with Watson hoping to push his claims in tomorrow night's reserve match at the Halton Stadium against Middlesbrough. Niclas Alexandersson may also begin his comeback from injury in that game, while Mark Pem-bridge was hoping to step up his training after doing some light work on Friday. But the Blues' boss has already begun his campaign to shield Wayne Rooney from the glare of pre-derby publicity. The youngster's spark ling performance against Blackburn on Saturday has made him firm favourite to keep his place at Anfield on Saturday. But Moyes said: "I will be saying nothing about team selection all week."

Blackburn appeal on Neill red card
Report By Mark Staniforth, Daily Post
Dec 17 2002
BLACKBURN have confirmed they will appeal against the red card handed out to Lucas Neill in Saturday's Premiership defeat at Everton. Rovers boss Graeme Souness was furious when referee Graham Barber dismissed the Australian international for two bookable offences in the 74th minute.
Barber had also dismissed Neill in Rovers' FA Cup defeat at Middlesbrough earlier this year, although that was later rescinded after the review of video evidence. Souness blasted Barber after Neill's yellow cards for fouls on Gary Naysmith and Tony Hibbert. And he hopes the club's immediate appeal will end in a similar result to that which enabled Neill to avoid punishment last season.
Souness said: "There is no automatic right of appeal with two yellow cards. "But we intend to ask Philip Don (the Premiership referees' officer) to look at video evidence of the two situations in the hope he might reconsider. "We knew we were in trouble when we saw the referee's name down before the game. I feel sympathy for Lucas because it is the second time he has been sent off by the same referee." Neill will figure in Souness' plans for tonight's tough Worthington Cup quarter-final at second division neighbours Wigan. Despite the Goodison Park defeat stretching Rovers' run of perilous Premiership form to one win in seven as they approach the hectic festive period, Souness is unwilling to give up his side's hold on the trophy without a fight. He has named his strongest squad with only injury victims Henning Berg and David Dunn still absent. Youngster Jay McEveley has recovered from the bug which ruled him out at half-time on Saturday, while Stig Inge Bjornebye returns after his long-term eye injury but is not likely to figure. Souness is well aware the potential for embarrassment is great with the buoyant Latics having already knocked out West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City and Fulham in the competition this season. And he insists retaining the cup remains high on his list of priorities. Souness said: "We will pick our strongest possible team because we are in the quarter-finals of a major cup competition with a great chance of getting to the semi-finals. "I suppose we will be favourites but I have been involved in enough cup matches not to listen to much of that. Manchester City, Fulham and West Brom will all testify to how difficult it is to beat Wigan this season. "They are a very good side and they will make it difficult for us at their place, but we have prepared well and are looking forward to the challenge." Souness blasted his side as "same old Blackburn" after sloppy defending cost them more points at Goodison. And midfielder David Thompson admitted the team needed to start putting things right against Wigan to stop their uncomfortable streak severely denting their confidence. "The lads are getting really fed up with it now but we've just got to bounce back because that's the way it goes," Thompson said. "You've just got to get on with it and keep looking forward to the next game." Wigan defender Jason De Vos looks likely to be fit for the game despite suffering a dead leg in Saturday's win at Oldham. De Vos scored in the 2-0 victory which kept the Latics top of division two and should be available again, while Neil Roberts is also expected to play even though he sustained an ankle injury in that match. Defender Steve McMillan missed out at the weekend with an ankle problem but was close to full fitness and will have a chance of facing Rovers, although manager Paul Jewell may keep faith with impressive youngster Leighton Baines. Striker Andy Liddell will miss out again with a calf injury while Lee McCulloch is also sidelined by a knee problem.

Blues set for double swoop
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 17 2002
DAVID MOYES is eyeing a double transfer swoop in January after bringing forward plans to land Celtic midfielder Colin Healy. The Everton manager wants the Republic of Ireland international for a nominal fee when the transfer window reopens on January 1 instead of waiting for the 22 -year-old to become available on a free transfer next summer. And Moyes is also considering bringing Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said back to Goodison Park as he prepares to bolster the Blues' push for a European place. Said spent a fortnight with Everton in the summer and played in pre-season friendlies in Scotland only to return to Cairo-based club Al Ahly because the Blues couldn't afford the £1million-plus transfer fee. But the Blues boss was suitably impressed by the versatile Egyptian, who can play on the right or centre-half, and would welcome his return if a deal can be struck.
Said could arrive on a loan deal until the end of the season while Celtic may be tempted to part with Healy next month for a fee of around £150,000-£200,000 if the Goodison coffers allow. Everton's finances have already been stretched to secure Joseph Yobo's £4.5m move from Marseille. But with Moyes anxious for more midfield cover, the Blues board may go further to secure Healy's services in a similar deal to the one that brought David Weir from Hearts in 1999. The Goodison boss last month admitted the Cork-born midfielder was on his hit-list after he'd rejected Celtic's contract offer over a lack of first team chances. Healy forced his way into Mick McCarthy's Republic team last year following a successful loan spell at Coventry City. He was in line to replace Roy Keane at this summer's World Cup but agonisingly missed out because the deadline for call-ups elapsed a day before the Manchester United skipper was eventually expelled. Moyes, meanwhile, is facing a defensive crisis ahead of the Merseyside derby after Tony Hibbert picked up a serious injury in Saturday's defeat of Blackburn Rovers. Full-back Hibbert received a gash in his thigh in the incident that saw Lucas Neill receive his second booking of the contest and is rated a major doubt for Sunday.
With Yobo and David Unsworth both suspended for the Anfield showdown Moyes can ill afford another defensive loss. He said: "It would be a blow if Tony does miss out because he has been outstanding all season and has shown a consistency which is often the hardest quality for young players to find. "He has a big hole in his thigh which needed plenty of stitches and he is a major doubt already." Steve Watson will press his claims to replace Hibbert tonight when he plays for the reserves against Middlesbrough at the Halton Stadium.

Blues show way in Derby
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Dec 17 2002
EVERTONIANS will be hoping that the club's under-17s' derby double is something of an omen.
With next Sunday's derby at Anfield to come, Alan Harper's side showed the first team how it's done with a 3-0 win over Liverpool at Netherton on Saturday. The scoreline was a repeat of the earlier meeting at the Reds' Kirkby base in November to complete a memorable FA Premier Academy League double. Everton were always on top and went ahead after 19 minutes in devastating fashion. Left-winger Laurence Wilson's beauti-fully flighted pass from the left was met by captain Anthony Barry at the far post. And the 16-year-old flashed an unstoppable volley into the roof of the net. The Blues doubled their advantage after 36 minutes. After another superb ball into the box from Wilson, Barry and Seargeant both tried to get shots in before U17s' top scorer Gavin Lynch pounced to score from close range for his seventh of the season. And it was no surprise when they added a third. Joseph Jones' free-kick was glanced home superbly by Potter. Harper said: "It was very pleasing and it could have been four or five. The good thing is that we got a clean sheet because when you have got a long break, it is still in their minds how well they are playing. "The first goal was excellent. It was fairly level at that stage and it was a great cross by Laurence Wilson and a good volley by Anthony Barry." Steven Beck grabbed a hat-trick as Colin Harvey's under-19s enjoyed a 5-1 victory over Stoke City at Bellefield. Scott Brown had opened the scoring after being set up by David Carney. And although the visitors equalised, England youth international midfielder Beck scored the first of his treble with a header to see the Blues go in at half-time 2-1 ahead. Beck added his second early in the second half, finishing well as he raced through on the goalkeeper. Anthony Gerrard headed home from Beck's corner to make it 4-1. Then Beck completed his hat-trick mid-way through the second half with a volley from 12 yards. There are no more Academy League fixtures until Saturday, January 11.

Forget any form - it's derby day!
Dec 17 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
ONE thing concerns me about this weekend's Merseyside derby - it's that old cliche about formbooks going out of the window! Everton have proved many times in recent years the wisdom of that saying, overturning league positions to triumph. But now we find ourselves looking down on Liverpool going into a derby match for the first time for three years. Everton have a full week to prepare, while Liverpool have the distraction of a Worthington Cup tie. Is far as players are concerned, I think they would probably prefer to have a match to focus on instead of a long, nerve jangling build-up. Speaking as a boss, though, I'm sure David Moyes will be delighted to have the extra days to plan a few things and look after one or two of the injuries the squad has picked up.
Whatever the respective teams' preparations, derbies are completely unpredictable. Everton have been rock bottom, Liverpool top, like the night Joe Royle took over - and the Blues triumphed - then there was the afternoon in 1997 when the tannoy announcer played the Tales of the Unexpected theme after Danny Cadamarteri had tormented Neil Ruddock, just days after Coventry had blitzed the Blues 4-1 in the Rumbelows Cup. No-one knows what might happen. But you all know what I'll be hoping for! Hibbo will be missed
TONY HIBBERT'S injury is a huge blow to Everton's derby match preparations.
He has been one of the finds of the season and the fact he has played every Premier-ship match says it all. He has been a real unsung hero for the Blues. All the talk has been about Wayne Rooney this season, but Hibbert has played many more games. He might not be a flair player, but he has proved a real 'Steady Eddie' and consistency is often the most difficult quality for players to find.
Sven doesn't need to call up Rooney

I'M in total agreement with David Moyes when he says it is far too early to be thinking about an England call-up for Wayne Rooney. I have little doubt that Wayne has the qualities necessary to forge a successful international career, in the future. For now I don't see what would be gained by tossing him in uneccesarily early. England are reasonably well off for international strikers at present - while there are other uncapped players around like James Beattie who are on fire.
The Southampton striker has been scoring regularly for more than a year now and, like Rooney, was a child prodigy at Blackburn. Much depends on how Everton continue to fare. If they are still playing well, winning matches and scoring goals come the Spring, the clamour for Rooney's call-up will probably be difficult to ignore. I'm just a little concerned that an England cap doesn't seem to be the precious, coveted prize it once was. Caps seem much easier to come by than they once were, which is probably down to the proliferation of international friendlies and the unwillingness of leading Premiership bosses to release their top players for them. I'm sure that when Wayne Rooney is eventually called up by England he will shine, but for now there's no reason to fast-track him into Sven Goran Eriksson's plans.

Baby's early kick-off
Dec 17 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goalkeeper Richard Wright arranged a special delivery this week - to ensure he could play in his first Merseyside derby match. His wife Kelly gave birth to their first child, daughter Bo, on Sunday in a birth which was induced a week ahead of schedule to avoid a clash with the match on Sunday at Anfield. Both mother and baby are now reportedly doing well at the family home in Cheshire. Manager David Moyes explained: "The baby was due next weekend at the same time as the derby match so the birth was induced to allow Richard to play. "Richard's delighted, wife and baby are doing fine and we're all very pleased for him." News that the Blues keeper has become a dad follows his remergence as a possible England goal-keeper of the future. He arrived at Goodison in the summer from Arsenal in a £3.5m transfer - having previously established himself at his first club Ipswich - his home town. A series of eye catching performances which have helped lift Everton to fourth in the Premier-ship have boosted Wright's chances and pushed him in to England coach Sven Goran Eriksson's thoughts. The Blues goalkeeper simply grinned today when asked about the circumstances surrounding the birth of his daughter and said: "I just didn't want to miss any games!"

Blues to wait in Healy hunt
Dec 17 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes today cofirmed that Celtic's Colin Healy could become an Everton transfer target - but not until the end of the season. The Blues have again been linked with a swoop for the Republic of Ireland midfielder, with reports suggesting a £150,000 bid when the January transfer window opens. But manager Moyes said today: "That's untrue at the moment. "Colin is a player we are interested in, but I have seen reports saying we are about to pay £300,000 for his services which is completely incorrect. "I have had one telephone conversation with his agent and that is it." Healy is out of contract next summer, when he could be signed for nothing, and the Blues are more likely to wait until then before pushing for any deal. Moyes may try to add to his squad in January, however, with a fresh move for Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said. The attacking full-back made a handful of appearances for the club in pre-season friendlies last summer, but the Blues could not afford to finance a permanent transfer at the time. Moyes hopes he can bring the Egyptian back on-loan to add an extra body to his squad as numbers begin to deplete through injury and suspension. The Blues would need a work permit. Everton are already resigned to the prospect of losing three-quarters of their regular defence for Sunday's derby match through suspension and injury, while goalkeeper Paul Gerrard dislocated his knee last Friday and will be sidelined for several weeks. Gerrard was on-loan at Ipswich when the accident happened in a training session.
"It was literally in the closing moments of the training session. Paul turned awkwardly and the kneecap just popped out," said Ipswich boss Joe Royle. It's obviously a very painful injury and is a blow to Paul and us." David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo are already suspended for the big match, while Tony Hibbert is a major doubt with nine stitches in a thigh wound sustained during Saturday's victory over Blackburn. Steve Watson, Niclas Alexandersson, Peter Clarke, Nick Chadwick and Kevin McLeod will all play for the reserves tonight against Middlesbrough at the Autoquest Stadium to push their claims for inclusion in Sunday's match.

Wright's baby gets early call
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Dec 18 2002
EVERTON goalkeeper Richard Wright arranged a special delivery this week - to ensure he could play in his first Merseyside derby match. His wife Kelly gave birth to their second child, daughter Bo, on Sunday in a birth which was induced a week ahead of schedule. The 25-year-old England international wanted to avoid a clash with this weekend's crunch Everton and Liverpool derby match at Anfield. Mother and baby were last night reportedly doing well at the family home in Cheshire.
Blues' manager David Moyes said: "The baby was due next weekend at the same time as the derby match, so the birth was induced to allow Richard to play. "Richard's delighted, wife and baby are doing fine and we're all very pleased for him." Richard, who married Kelly three years ago, said: "The birth was always planned around football and so that all the family could be up here with us. I just didn't want to miss any games." Dr Zarzo Alfirevic, clinical director at Liverpool Women's Hospital, said 25pc of births are currently induced and that figure is likely to increase in the future.
He said: "The main reason for induced labour is the fact that between five and 10pc of births go beyond the due date and there are adequate medical grounds. "I do not see many women who want to induce the birth for non-medical reasons, but it is our job to present the pros and cons and maybe if their husband is on an oil rig and there is no risk of harming mother or child then there may be a case. "Liverpool is a football mad city but I have certainly never been asked to induce a birth because of a football match." London-based obstetrician Donald Gibbs has helped deliver the babies of footballers at Chelsea and Crystal Palace. He said: "This certainly sounds like a diary birth. I have been asked to induce births but personally I believe in a natural birth wherever possible.
"There are some risks associated with inducing birth, including the increased risk of a Caesarean or haemorrhaging. "If this was their second child and it was induced one week before the due date, then it shouldn't have been too risky. "I would certainly not advise an induction more than 10 days before the due date." Richard Wright arrived at Goodison in the summer from Arsenal in a £3.5m transfer and a series of spectacular performances have boosted his chances of being picked as the next regular England goalkeeper.

Yobo is fan-tastic
Dec 18 2002 By David Randles, icLiverpool
WAYNE ROONEY may have stole the show against Blackburn on Saturday but one man was on top of the world before a ball had even been kicked. Everton fan, Jack Roberts felt like the luckiest man alive when he was chosen to present Blues' defender Joseph Yobo with his PFA Fans' Player of the Month Award for November. Jack won the chance to present Yobo with his award after voting for the player via icLiverpool and couldn't hide his delight after meeting the Blues star on the hallowed Goodison turf prior to kick-off: It was absolutely fantastic and a great day," he said. "Everton really looked after us from start to finish and we even bumped into Bill Kenwright who was great." "I've never been on the pitch before and it was such a buzz being so close to David Moyes and to see all the players warming up before kick-off. "I even saw myself on the big screen and had my name announced in front of what was almost a full house which has got to be every Evertonian's dream." Jack and his wife got the full VIP treatment with a meal and drinks in the Joe Mercer Suite before presenting Yobo with his award, but it wasn't just personal congratulations that the 32-year-old had for the Nigerian International. Once Jack found out that Yobo had won the award he acted swiftly to inform the Nigerian team's official website, SuperEagles.com. On hearing the news that one of their own had won the PFA Fans' Award, site editor, Jossey Ogbuanoh sent Jack a message of congratulations to pass on to Yobo who is the first player to represent his country in this manner.
A lifelong Evertonian, the now Surrey-based fan originally hails from Bangor in North Wales and gets his allegiance from his mother who is from Edge Hill. However, as most of us point to family links for supporting our teams, Jack's family ties to Goodison Park come with more than a hint of foundation. His grandad, Ted Foreman actually played for the Toffees' reserves in the 1940s. Since then most of his family have been True Blue at heart. Although Jack has been based down south for the past 12 years he still tries to get to as many games as possible and keeps in touch with goings on at Goodison via icliverpool. He is also a member of the largest Everton Supporters Club in the London area (ESCLA) which sates his Blues' appetite somewhat. Any guesses for the topic of conversation at the next meeting? To give yourself a chance of meeting your favourite player start voting now for December's PFA Fans' Player-of-the-Month.

Len Capeling's quotes of the year - Pt II
Dec 18 2002 Daily Post
Alex Ferguson is basically an old-fashioned manager and his tactical prowess is negligible. When you have a fantastic horse, the jockey doesn't have to be great. - Dismissive words from third-choice Chelsea keeper Mark Bosnich, turfed out of Old Trafford by Sir Alex. Later in the season Bosnich failed a drugs test. The thing is, at least I can't get another injury now. - Looking on the sunny side. David Beckham broke a bone in his foot, putting his World Cup spot in jeopardy. I don't feel that Dale Cardoza and Kevin Crouthers displayed the quality necessary to wear the Warrington shirt. - Wolf howl from coach Dave Plange after a shaming 58-4 loss to Wigan Warriors. Phil Thompson did Liverpool proud and it is a real pleasure to admit my error. - Sports columnist Patrick Collins admitting he got it "hopelessly, utterly, emphatically" wrong when he ridiculed the appointment of Thommo as stand-in for Gerard Houllier. You're all f***ing idiots! - End of term assessment of hated sport-writers from an empty-handed Sir Alex Ferguson. What are all those asterisks in the newspapers? - Playful query from Arsene Wenger (Fergie's deadliest rival) whose Arsenal side brought the Frenchman his second Double. They didn't lose away in the league all season, winning at Anfield despite playing most of the match with 10 men. There are a lot of covers-ups here sometimes. Some players need to look at themselves. I'm not sure that happens enough at this club. When players don't do their job it's bloody frustrating. Only two of us did really well, Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beck-ham. - Captain Roy Keane uncorking his anger after a season on the slide. This was before the explosion in the Pacific. Everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife. - Clever putdown from Arsene Wenger after Sir Alex Ferguson insisted that no matter what Arsenal did, Manchester United remained the country's No.1 team. Cisse is a monster. He's a dazzling talent who fell into football straight from birth. - Marseille's Pascal Nouma on Liverpool's continuing target, goalscoring sensation Djibril Cisse. I want to kill Lewis. What did you expect when you took me out of the ghetto and gave me $50m? - Mike Tyson, as ever, the the very essence of charm before his world heavyweight showdown with Lennox Lewis in Memphis. Would I go back to England? God, no! - Steve McManaman winning his second European Cup medal with Real Madrid and deeply attached to his reign in Spain. As a bonus, someone sent the boyhood Blue a brand new Everton shirt with his name on it. Nil. - My colleague Mark Lawrenson's opening comment on England's World Cup prospects. The lads will see their women, but only after the first round. They must learn to moderate their sexual appetites. - So that's why Italy opted to go home early, they needed home comforts more than a lecture on abstinence from coach Giovanni Trapattoni. We burn referees like that at the stake. - Italy skipper Paolo Maldini who thought referee Graham Poll's refereeing in the controversial game against Croatia was local league standard. Well, we could have told him that. Thankfully, Poll didn't survive too long afterwards. I think we got what we deserved. - Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira on France's early exit from the World Cup. They were the pre-tournament favourites. I am going back up there and you can add an Irishman's name to the list of the fallen. - Republic of Ireland captain, Roy Keane, contemplating a one-way trip to Suicide Hill on the Pacific island of Saipan. Instead, he committed another kind of suicide by publicly pounding manager Mick McCarthy. I have never had to listen to such foulmouthed abuse from any footballer. I have never witnessed such an attack from any human being in any walk of life in my life. - Mick McCarthy on Keane's vitriolic out-burst which ended the Manchester United man's international career. Or did it?
Over here a dog is for Christmas. Over there, it could be for breakfast, lunch and dinner too. - Woof joke on Radio 5 website brought an apology from the BBC to South Korea. I am optimistic. We can beat Brazil. - So, what came next? Lame excuses, that's what. Sven Goran Eriksson got it seriously wrong as England let it slip against the 10 boys from Brazil. Acorn Stairlifts Say: Bring On Brazil! - Support for England from the strangest of sources. Sadly, Sven's men got stuck on the stairway to heaven. I just want to say sorry to the people I let down today. I can only blame myself. - Tearful David Seaman, whose terrible error led to Brazil's pivotal equaliser. My team talk to my players was that we could not die. - Brazil's evangelising boss, and Gene Hackman lookalike, Luis Felipe Scolari.
I refuse to pay a salary to a player who has ruined Italian soccer. - Perugia president Lucianno Gaucci after a goal from Ahn Jung-Hwan knocked Italy out of the World Cup. In time, Gaucci recanted.
If you put all the players in a sack and punched it, whoever you hit would deserve it. - Rush to judgment by Franz Beckenbauer. He slammed his successors only to see Germany defy his evaluation to reach the World Cup final - where they lost to Brazil. Well, you only get a World Cup every four years. . . - Brazil's golden boy, Ronaldo, who was asked if the World Cup was better than having sex. For sale, one pair of Diadora football boots. Hardly used. Contact Roy Keane. Reason for sale, I've just grown too big for them. - After all the World Cup furore, this spoof ad was posted on an internet site. Murder, arson and rape are heinous crimes but, for me, cheating at golf doesn't come far behind. It reveals a treacherous streak that betrays the spirit of almost the last of the honourable games. - Veteran sports columnist Ian Wooldridge always trenchant in his views. Discuss.
You give up your rights to fall about in the street when you become a pro. You cannot let your guard down in public. - An early warning about conduct unbecoming from new Leeds manager Terry Venables, appointed after David O'Leary was dumped. Sadly, Leeds reacted by falling down on the field of play. He wants to play for a bigger and better club. But if Leeds say no, he will stay. He is a loyal soldier. - Possibly the most barefaced quote of the year from Rio Ferdinand's agent, Pini Zahavi. Before you could say 20 per cent of £28million Rio was off on the road to Old Trafford. He never convinced me of his hunger or desire to play for Liverpool. - Gerard Houllier returning a chastened - and allegedly money-grabbing - Lee Bowyer back to Elland Road. Well, if this doesn't inspire me, nothing will. - Ernie Els gazing down Muirfield's 18th fairway a week before he won his first Open championship in the competition's first four-way play-off. I think we can go through the whole season unbeaten. - Proud boast of Arsene Wenger on behalf of his double-winners. But then something happened to make him Blue. Think Wayne. Think Rooney. Think Goodison glee.
I'm giving the asylum back to the lunatics. - The other Keith Harris resigns as chairman of the penniless, punch-drunk Football League. Mind you, he did quit hours after asserting that the league was in good hands. Namely, his own. Orville was immediately available for comment. It came as a complete shock to me. - And to Everton manager David Moyes, who discovered the club had got him the wrong Chinese player, Li Weifeng, instead of the expected Li Tie. Fortunately, Tie arrived later as a main course. We have to take decisive action and move with the times. - Tranmere saviour Peter Johnson takes control again after the sacking of Prenton's latest scapegoat, Dave Watson. I've come to realise that the most important person in your life is yourself. I must not take any chances with my health. - Gerard Houllier admitting for the first time that he returned too soon from life-saving heart surgery. What I don't want is people sulking. If that happens I can be extremely ruthless and nasty because I am the protector of the team and the club. If there is a cancer it has to be eradicated swiftly. - Whingeing from Jari Litmanen - later off-loaded to Ajax - and Patrik Berger brought a rapid response from an uncompromising Houllier in late August. Well, Clive, it's all about the two Ms - movement and positioning. - Who else but riotous Ron Atkinson putting Clive Tyldesley right and doing well enough to qualify for the latest edition of Colemanballs. If you were in his position, Ron, it would take them all night to remove your jewellery. - Clive Tyldesley's aside to Ron Atkinson after the commentator had recalled the story of a substitute who didn't get on the pitch after taking too long to remove a necklace. Deadly silence followed this crack. Until Gerard Houllier can take Liverpool to the title they cannot be regarded as a great side. Manchester United have established their greatness and have dominated the stage. Liverpool have yet to get back on that winning stage. - Wind-up merchant Graeme Souness taunting his old club, before pinching a precious point from them at Ewood Park. I feel like pulling a blanket over my head and having a good cry. - Damp eyes for dreamy Darlington chairman George Reynolds, who believed he'd signed former Newcastle refugee Faustino Asprilla for his lowly third division team. Reynolds even pretended to be Asprilla - North East accent and all - on a local radio link-up. Asprilla didn't show then - or later. I'd waited long enough. I hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that! And don't ever stand over me again sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal David Wetherall there's some for him as well. I didn't wait for Mr Elleray to show the red card, I turned and walked to the dressing room. - The unexpurgated Roy Keane recalling his horror tackle on Alf-Inge Haaland in his heavily seralised autobiography. The FA rushed - sorry, crawled - to investigate, while Haaland himself threatened a million pound law suit and Manchester City - eager not to be left out - claimed relegation damages. Nice one. I hadn't forgotten Alfie (and that challenge on me against Leeds). Bryan Robson told me to take my time. You'll get your chance, Roy. Wait. But there he was. He had the ball on the far touchline. - Keane cranking up the tension, pre-pounce at Old Trafford. If you can keep playing tennis when somebody is shooting a gun down the street, that's concentration. - Wimbledon winner Serena Williams reminding journalists that she didn't begin her career on the plush lawns of an American country club. It looked like we'd got people off the streets and put them together tonight. Six or seven players put in abysmal performances. - Brassed-off Bradford City boss Nicky Law after his first division side were fired out of the Worthington Cup by Wrexham's Division Three Dragons.
Olaf Mellberg is a better player because he's got Peter Enckelman behind him. That's given him immense confidence. - Oops! No sooner were these words uttered by Aston Villa manager Graham Taylor than Mellberg was delivering a long-throw towards Enckelman that bounced into the off the goalkeeper's foot. Birmingham City went on to romp this local derby. Score two goals - get one free. - Perfect punchline from fanatical Bimingham City fan Jasper Carrott after the Mellberg-Enckelman fiasco. Carrott had waited 16 long years to savour the 3-0 defeat of bitter rivals Villa.
If you see Wayne Rooney out on the streets make sure you send him straight home. - David Moyes enlisting the aid of Everton fans to keep young Goodison god Wayne Rooney out of possible trouble.
Manchester United are in total, if not complete, control. - Commentator Jon Champion.

Everton give Lake chance at just 15
Dec 18 2002
Everton Res 0, Middlesbrough Res 2
EVERTON Reserves endured a disappointing night at the Halton Stadium as Middlesbrough took all the points with a deserved victory. Goalkeeper Sean Lake, who is just 15, got a chance to show what he could do in the Blues' goal and he didn't let anybody down. In fact he was more than alert as early as the first minute when Dean Windass tried to lob him from 20 yards, but the youngster was able to turn the ball around the post. Everton's only chance in the first half was a Steve Watson header and the visitors took the lead just before the break through David Murphy's close-range header. The same player was on hand to make it 2-0 on 56 minutes, again from a corner and again a powerful header. Scott Gemmill, Niclas Alexandersson and Steve Watson were all substituted as David Moyes assesses his squad before Sunday's derby.
EVERTON: Lake, Schumacher, O'Hanlon, Clarke, Moogan, Alexandersson (Beck 46), Watson (Crowder 72), Gemmill (Brown 72), Carney, McLeod, Chadwick. Subs: Cole, Southern,
MIDDLEBROUGH: Crossley, Cade, Murphy, Smith, Davies, Vidmar, Wilson, Dove (Graham 84), Windass (Gilroy 74), Marinelli (Storey 87), Downing Subs: Russell, Kelly

Ban woe for Blues defender Unsworth
Dec 18 2002 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID UNSWORTH will spend a bleak midwinter on the sidelines after he lost the appeal against his Chelsea dismissal yesterday. The Everton defender's last hope of avoiding a controversial four-match ban vanished when the FA's video panel narrowly backed referee Eddie Wolstenholme's decision to dismiss the 29-year-old for violent conduct. Unsworth, already banned for this Sunday's Merseyside derby after reaching five bookings for the season, must now serve an additional three-game suspension and won't be available again until the FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury on January 4.
The FA instructed their video panel to review the incident as there is no right of appeal for violent conduct. But last night a Goodison spokesman revealed: "The FA informed us today that, by a vote of 2-1, the appeal over David Unsworth's sending-off against Chelsea has been rejected." Both Unsworth and manager David Moyes launched an impassioned plea for common sense after the defender's tangle with Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer 11 days ago. Gronkjaer even offered to support Unsworth's case after Wolstenholme initially informed the two players and Moyes he had shown red for a punch by the Blues star. But despite video replays proving there was no punch, Wolstenholme refused to rescind his decision, claiming there was violent conduct regardless.
Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed he does want to bring Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said back to Everton when the transfer window reopens next month. Said spent two weeks on trial at Goodison Park in the summer but returned to Cairo because the Blues could not afford his transfer fee.
Now, however, Moyes is investigating the possibility of landing the Egyptian on loan for the rest of the season. "We are talking to his agent about the possibility of him coming to join us in January," said the Blues manager.
* TICKETS for Everton's Boxing Day game at Birmingham City go on general sale from today. Priced £30 adults, £15 juniors/over-65s, they are available from the Box Office which opens at 9.30am.

Pires: It's the Blues we fear
Dec 19 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON received a pre-derby boost today, when Arsenal winger Robert Pires tipped them as more likely title winners than Liverpool. The French star has written off Liverpool's title chances -- and tipped Everton as a more dangerous threat to his side's hopes of retaining their Premiership crown.
"For me, there are three teams capable of stopping us winning the title," said Pires. "Manchester United are still our main rivals, but Chelsea have come back to their best form and are not in the Champions League which could help them. Physically the European matches are very draining.
"I also think Everton have a real chance. They are a very dangerous side and they have really surprised me this season." Pires also puts his side's recent blip of form down to their defeat at Goodison which ended a 30-match unbeaten run. "At the time we were on the clouds," he added. "We had not lost for so long. We had got so used to everything going well that we did not know how to react and we ended up on a run in which we lost five out of six matches. "It was not about fatigue because it was still close to the start of the season. It was more a lack of concentration - we were no longer worried about losing." Blues boss David Moyes, meanwhile, was closely monitoring the progress of two of his influential players today. Tony Hibbert has been given a chance of recovering in time to maintain his ever-present Premiership record on Sunday, while Mark Pembridge is also improving after receiving treatment for a hamstring injury. Hibbert had nine stitches inserted in a gash in his thigh at the weekend and has been unable to move freely, but the wound is healing quickly. With David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo suspended, both players' could be crucial to David Moyes' derby plans.

In the jungle, the Brunei jungle...
Dec 19 2002 By David Prentice
MICK LYONS was the man who regularly shed blood for the Royal Blue cause - some of it his own - so missing out on a good night's sleep to watch his beloved Blues will be a minor distraction for one of Everton's most devoted servants. Lyons is now the coach of the Sultan of Brunei's football team, and the eight hour time difference between that land of tropical jungle and Britain means that he will be settling down to Sunday's derby at five past midnight. But as befits a man who will always be remembered as the very truest of blues, he wouldn't miss it. "We get all the English football screened over here," he explained "and I'd originally invited all the lads round to watch it thinking it would be a Saturday match. "But then we found out it was Sunday - and it will be midnight here before it starts. But we'll still watch it. "We'll just be drinking coffee rather than lager, with us being in training at eight the next morning! "The room will be ready for the occasion, though. I picked up a signed number nine Kevin Campbell shirt while I was back which I'll have put up behind the TV. I also got lots of signed pictures which are already up on the wall here. "We're ready for it." Lyons' name is linked indeliby with the Merseyside derby. It is one of the anomalies of the history of the fixture that despite displaying more passion, enthusiasm and zeal for the cause than any other Evertonian - in a dozen years he failed to finish on the winning side. Everton's only two victories during that era came while he was out injured. But he is convinced that should have changed very early in the series. The first derby of the season rarely falls in December - but it did in 1973, and it fell on Lyons' 22nd birthday. "I remember that match so well," he declared. "It was my 22nd birthday and I should have been the hero because I scored a perfectly good goal when it was 0-0.
"Joe Harper got to the byline and pulled the ball back and I climbed above Alec Lindsay to head in. I didn't touch him, but the referee disallowed it and then told me afterwards it was for offside, even though Joe was at the byline and pulled it back for me. "Liverpool l iteral ly went straight down to the other end after that, Alan Waddle scored for them and that was that. "I think of it as one of those Clive Thomas decisions, even though Thomas wasn't refereeing that game." Aah yes..... No conversation with an Everton icon of the 70s would be complete without reference to the Treorchy tyrant. For fully two minutes Lyons is incandescent. A mere 25 years has done little to dim the burning sense of injustice still felt by Evertonians present at Maine Road on April 23, 1977.
"No Evertonian will ever forget that derby," he seethed. "He told us at the time he had disallowed Hammy's goal for handball, but afterwards he came into our dressing room and said it was for an infringement of the laws of the FA." "'What does that mean?' I asked him. 'An infringement occurred' is all he would repeat. "A year or two later I was on a sports forum with various sports people recalled Lyons - there was a boxer and a Rugby League player -but also the linesman who had been on duty that day. He told me Thomas had come into the dressing room afterwards and said 'listen lads, we have to get our stories straight on this one.' "Basically he got it wrong and has never had the guts to admit it. "It hurts so much because it was a derby, and because that first trophy is always so important. "Look at how Everton's FA Cup win in 1984 suddenly acted as a catalyst for the club." Rant over, Lyons reflects on recent Everton history, when he could almost be considered a lucky Everton charm. "Makes a change for me!" he joked. "I was back on Merseyside for a fortnight and I went to Blackburn where we won, watched the youth team at home to Port Vale, watched Everton reserves play Sunderland and then watched us beat West Brom 1-0. "I also went to Everton and Liverpool's training grounds. Melwood, as a facility, is fantastic and I was really impressed with Gerard Houllier and the attitude of the players. Everything is so disciplined and professional. "I went to Bellefield after that and it was wonderful. I hadn't been back while Walter Smith was there because I didn't know if he would be happy about an old player wandering around.
"But I know Alan Irvine so I went back in with John Bailey and it was great. "I met David Moyes. I love managers that don't give players an inch and our manager now comes across like that."
Lyons was also impressed by some new Blue faces he saw for the first time. "I was really impressed with Joseph Yobo," he added "and Tony Hibbert is a good lad. He reminds me a lot of Terry Darracott, a real steady Eddie who comes from Huyton and does a good, solid job." And Rooney? "Someone at Liverpool spoke to me about him, I won't embarrass them by saying who, but they told me he reminded them of a young Dalglish, with pace. "With comparisons like that the sky's the limit for him." Despite the passing of years and the miles between them, Lyons' love affair with the Toffees is still as passionate as ever. But he did have one shock admission to own up to. "When you are on Merseyside you are either an Evertonian or a Liverpudlian - and you love to see your own team win and the other get beat. "But when you are away from Merseyside you want both to win, because they're your own. "I always want Everton to do better, but I don't mind seeing Liverpool do well, too." Mick Lyons, the truest of blues wishing the Reds well? Clive Thomas might get a Christmas card one year, yet.

Inspirational talk
Dec 19 2002 By Graham Chase, Daily Post
ANDY FENSOME, now at Lancaster, was signed by Preston North End just a month after David Moyes in October 1993. He recalled: "We were staying in the same hotel when I first arrived. When he moved out he was always inviting the lads round for dinner with his family and he was particularly good with the new lads. "The season before we arrived Preston were relegated to the third division. In our first season we lost in the play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers. The year after we lost the play-off semi-finals against Bury and in 1996 we won the championship." The 33-year-old right back recalls that Moyes was dedicated to his sport. "David was mad about his football," he said. "If we didn't have a game on a Tuesday night, he'd be off watching a game somewhere or taking a coaching session." John Beck left the club in 1994 and when Gary Peters was appointed as the new manager, Moyes was given a coaching role. Moyes had already demonstrated his motivational abilties, as Fensome remembered: "We had lost the first leg of the play-off semi-final, 2-1 at Torquay. John Beck had drilled into us exactly what was needed and emphasised our style of play. "On the morning of the second game, Moyesey organised for all the players to go for a walk.
"Dave sat us down and we had a players meeting. He said that for some of us it could be a last chance to play at Wembley and this was an opportunity for everybody to shine or it would be our last game of the season. "We would play to the system but he said if anybody felt they could add to our game with individuality, then just do it. If it didn't come off we could talk about it later. "David ran that meeting and he told us to express ourselves. As it was we went out and beat Torquay and we got to Wembley. It was a great night for all of us. "David inititated that walk and talk and obviously he had something in him even then to show real leadership qualities."

Why Rooney is in safe hands
Dec 19 2002 EXCLUSIVE by Stephen McMillan
SOME people wrongly believe that Everton manager David Moyes is only interested in fitness and discipline, so his reaction to Wayne Rooney's showboating against West Bromwich Albion recently may have come as a surprise. The hands-on-hips display from Everton's 17-year-old wonderkid infuriated the opposition - but delighted his manager. "Part of Wayne's game is that he plays with an air of arrogance and I certainly wouldn't want to take that away from him," said Moyes.
One person who wasn't surprised by this comment is legendary striker Charlie Nicholas, who played alongside the Everton boss at Celtic in the early 1980s. He thinks Moyes will bring out the best in Rooney. "When I saw Wayne dance over the ball at West Brom, I loved it when Moyesy said afterwards that he wouldn't stop him doing that," says Nicholas. "I just thought that was brilliant. As a player that's exactly what you want to hear. "Moyesy is very aware of people with strong personalities and growing reputations. He will not stop people if they want to express themselves. He's always loved the game being played properly. He likes flamboyant and expressive players. It gets the people behind you. "That's what he believes in, and that was always our philosophy since we were young." Nicholas is a man who knows what it's like to live with the pressures of fame and fortune. In the early 80s "Champagne Charlie" was shielded from the bright lights by Celtic manager Billy McNeill in the same way Sir Alex Ferguson then nurtured Ryan Giggs a decade later. And he is right behind Moyes' manoeuvres to shield Rooney from the spotlight. "It's the only way to go about it," he says. "The kid's 17, and the only way he's going to learn is by making mistakes, both on the field and off the field. "Rooney's going to be getting Gascoigne-type attention and he's from a working-class background like the majority of us were. Mistakes will be made, but it's when the mistakes are made that the people teaching and coaching him will help him through it. "And in David Moyes and Jimmy Lumsden, who coached me at Celtic, he's got the right men around if he steps off the rails." After his match-winning goal against Arsenal on October 19, Moyes described Rooney as the best young player he had seen since Charlie Nicholas. "That's a very nice compliment," says Nicholas of the comparison. "I've only seen Wayne play two or three times, but he looks very special. "What a physical presence he's got for a boy of that age. And he doesn't have any fear. He just wants the ball and, as soon as he gets it, off he goes. "We can't get enough of these players. It's so good to get an expressive British player - and from a city like Liverpool. It's what you're always looking for. "If only we could get someone half as good as that in Scotland." While Everton's backroom staff will do everything they can to minimise off-field distractions for the 17-year-old, Moyes' extra personal challenge will be to coach Rooney in a way that results in constant improvement. And as a young star who didn't make it to the very top during his own career, Moyes' desire to bring out the best in Wayne Rooney will be even more acute. "David's big focus will be on people who have a genuine, natural talent," says Nicholas. "We were taught at Celtic by a gentleman called Frank Connor, who was a tremendous coach to me, Moyesy and the other youngsters. "He knew the pressures and what he demanded from you were honesty and hard work. "And then he used to say to the better players like myself that we actually had to be even fitter than the rest, because our markers would be working away at us. "I think Moyesy would be focused on things like that with Rooney. He'll say to him, you're so good, but this is what we'll work on to help your game." That style of coaching would certainly fit into the Moyes' philosophy. The Everton boss demands hard work in general and extra work on weaknesses. "I really wish someone had taken me out every afternoon to work on my flaws and make me a better player," Moyes has said. "If one of my players isn't strong in the air or his left foot isn't so good, we spend time on making it better. Putting my tracksuit on and working with the players is the part of the job I enjoy most." And probably the part which the players appreciate most, too. While it's clear Moyes has a humility which allows others to warm to him, there is without doubt a supreme confidence about the man too. "You need to have the belief in your mind," says Nicholas. "That's what makes you better and convinces you you're better." He's actually talking about Rooney in this case, but he could just as easily mean the Blues' inspirational manager David Moyes. After 15 years of chronic underachievement and a number of false dawns, the Blue half of Liverpool can head into this weekend's derby showdown with optimism and hope, thanks to their manager's incredible self-belief.

Hibbert facing Mersey anguish
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Dec 20 2002
TONY HIBBERT is losing his battle to be fit for Sunday's Merseyside derby. The Everton defender required nine stitches in a thigh injury after clashing with Blackburn Rovers midfielder David Thompson during the Blues' 2-1 win last Saturday. Blues boss David Moyes is monitoring his progress and is prepared to wait until the morning of the game until making a decision. But Hibbert - who has been an everpresent in the Premiership this season - is in danger of missing out on the Anfield encounter this weekend. Fellow injury victim Mark Pembridge, however, is nearing a comeback after missing the last two games with a hamstring injury. The Welsh international was forced off during the Blues' Worthington Cup exit at Chelsea two weeks' ago and had been undergoing intensive treatment to regain full fitness. "Mark is making decent progress, but he is still in a little bit of discomfort, so we'll have to monitor his fitness ahead of Sunday," said Everton head physio Mick Rathbone. Steve Watson is another who could come into contention against Liverpool as he continues to improve following a hamstring injury, while Niclas Alexandersson and Tobias Linderoth have both resumed full training. Duncan Ferguson has taken the latest step in his recovery from a trapped sciatic nerve and is expected to step up his rehabilitation in the New Year.
Everton were yesterday handed an unexpected boost before Sunday's derby with Arsenal winger Robert Pires tipping them to be more of a threat than Liverpool to the Gunners' Premiership crown. The Footballer of the Year dismissed Gerard Houllier's side completely, insisting that only the Blues - along with Chelsea and Manchester United - can stop Arsenal retaining the title. "For me, there are three teams who are capable of stopping us winning the title," the French midfielder said. "Man United are still our main rivals but Chelsea have come back to their best form and are not in the Champions League, which could help them. Physically the European matches are very draining.
"I also think Everton have a real chance. They are a very dangerous side and they have really surprised me this season." Everton, meanwhile, have been linked with a move for unsettled Celta Vigo full-back Juanfran, although Moyes is more likely to move for Egyptian international Ibrahim Said and Celtic midfielder Colin Healy when the transfer window opens in January.

Jackson not suprised by Moyes
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Dec 20 2002
DAVID MOYES' success in revitalising Everton as a Premiership force comes as no surprise to Mike Jackson, the latest loan player to join Tranmere Rovers. The 29-year-old centreback thrived under Moyes' management at Preston and now he recognises the style of the overhaul underway at Goodison. "David Moyes deserves all the success he is enjoying at Everton," said Jackson. "He is a very motivated manager and works hard for everything he achieves. "Everything he does is thorough and to the point. I'm not surprised at all to see Everton doing so well." While Moyes has been preparing Everton for this weekend's derby encounter with Liverpool, Jackson made the same move from Preston to Merseyside, joining second division Tranmere for a month. Tranmere fans will be hoping Jackson can find the same form that made him a key figure in the Preston side Moyes led to promotion to Division One two seasons ago, winning the players' and supporters' player of the year awards. "David Moyes has cer-tainly been a very positive influence on my career," added Jackson. "He works you hard and he works into the afternoons to get what he wants. "At Preston it was never a matter of coming in for the morning, training until 12 noon and then going home.
"We would be there until two and three in the afternoon working on our game. "Now the same thing is happening at Everton. He has moulded, shaped and organised them, and made them very fit.
"That's what he is all about." Jackson identifies attention to detail as another of the key elements of Moyes' match preparations. "He will know about every player we are going to come up against," Jackson said. "He will have detailed analysis on them. You go into a game knowing exactly what you have to face. There are no surprises come Saturday afternoon."

Reds beware derby Blues
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Dec 20 2002
IF there's one inescapable truth about Sunday's sizzling Anfield showdown, it is this: Liverpool simply cannot afford anything other than victory. Whatever the price. Admittedly, this would apply to the (possibly recovering) Reds even if the opposition were not their suddenly noisy neighbours from across Stanley Park's swan lake. Everton might be happy to take a share of the spoils, despite David Moyes' avowed intention to win every game. But for Liverpool there can be no half measures here. After a ruinous Premiership run that has seen them claim just one point from the last 18, nothing less than three points will quell the rising tide of trauma. Five weeks ago Liverpool were top of the Premiership and nothing seemed beyond them. But defeats at Middlesbrough and Basel appeared to unnerve them and plant seeds of distrust in their minds. Gerard Houllier publicly berated Steven Gerrard, Jerzy Dudek got the jitters, and the sawdust promptly fell out of Liverpool legs. Now they find themselves facing a ferocious local shoot-out with confidence in short supply after the worst set of results in 19 years. Already the vultures are circling, sensing a bloodletting.
Post-Gerrard, Houllier has been in emollient mood. Happy to adopt the caring, sharing father figure. But for how much longer can he go on gift-wrapping excuses for players who have let him down?
The Sunderland game was viewed as a likely turning point, but turned out to be anything but, with chances created and spurned and the woeful Wearsiders grabbing a late winner. Everton will look at that and see jangling nerves and apprehension. And hope to make it work to their advantage before the watching TV millions. Their weekend was happier. Despite conceding control to a classy Blackburn side and claiming all the good fortune going, they still blundered their way to victory thanks to boy wonder Wayne Rooney - of whom Liverpool supporters may already have heard.
Like Liverpool, the Blues were stuttering after three defeats in a row. But the story of their season so far has been their indomitable spirit, which has helped disguise all other faults. They would never claim to be the classiest of sides - for verve, read vigour - but thanks to David Moyes they do have tremendous self-belief - a priceless asset when things get tough. Their goals-for column may not show it, but they support their strikers well, with full-back Tony Hibbert giving them some width down the right. Liverpool will need to be aware of the threat he may pose, though he is currently an injury doubt. The big question Everton fans want answering is, will Rooney play? Moyes wants to protect him but if there's any game likely to add an extra yard to Rooney's game, it's this one. If you come from a True-Blue background, this is a match you dream about playing in. Not to mention scoring the winner - in the 92nd minute. Moyes may still opt for his usual pairing of Tomasz Radzinski (right) (for pace) and Kevin Campbell (for muscular expertise and the usual Anfield strike). But you would still expect Rooney to show at some stage and you wouldn't wager against him making a significant intervention. Because that's his trademark. What Moyes won't want to do is lift Liverpool's spirits by pouring forward and leaving yardage behind his Yobo-less defence for Michael Owen to stride into. Owen's not getting the greatest of service at the moment - with Liverpool's midfield being the weakest of links, although Gerrard and Danny Murphy came storming through in the thriller at Villa. But Owen remains one of the most gifted of goalscorers and the slightest lapse will be punished. Bank on it. Everton's midfield also gives cause for concern. Though here it is defensive duties that are some-times neglected. They went AWOL in the latter stages against Blackburn and a repeat could offer us a more expansive game, where tackles are missed or not made at all, and strikers end up with the ball at their feet in dangerous positions. Neither side is likely to offer a Giggs-like threat down the flanks, and Liverpool need to get someone to play the Hibbert role down their right. But what money on El Hadji Diouf as a winger ahead of Vladimir Smicer? Derby rookie David Moyes would love to know what Houllier's plans are likely to be - but then the same can be said for the Liverpool players, who do more rotations than the average barbecue. Whatever happens, he will need big games from Gravesen, Carsley and Li Tie. If they lose their face-to-face with Steven Gerrard and Danny Murphy, Everton will struggle. And Wayne Rooney may have to do his cavalry charge once again. Houllier, a past master of these neighbourhood squabbles, will pray that Richard Wright - iffy in the air, generally impressive else-where - doesn't prolong the Jurgen Macho effect that currently haunts the Reds. Someone is going to get a thrashing one day. Or so we're led to believe. I certainly think there'll be goals. I also believe that Everton are capable of extending the agony for the Premiership's fallen giants. But I have been wrong before. Very wrong.

Blues close in on Dock deal
Exclusive By Bill Gleeson Business Editor, Daily Post
Dec 20 2002
EVERTON Football Club is in the final stages of clinching a deal to raise the money it needs to finance a new stadium and arena at Kings Dock. Everton's latest proposals could be submitted to Liverpool Vision, the regeneration company in charge of the Kings Dock development, as early as today. The club, which has been given until the end of this month to show it can fund its share of the Kings Dock project, has been in talks to sell its four freehold was ties, including Goodison Park and the training ground at Bellefield, to property developers. Three or four firms of developers are in the running. One is Eatonfield, a North Wales based group. If a deal is clinched, the money raised from the sale of Everton's properties would be enough to cover the £30m cost of the club's stake in the 55,000-seat waterfront stadium and arena. Any deal, however, would be subject to planning permission being granted to allow Eatonfield, or another property firm, to develop the sites in the way they want. Eatonfield wants to build homes at Bellefield and a supermarket on Goodison Park.
In addition to the four sites, which also include the club' s youth training ground at Netherton and a car park close to Goodison, the deal would see the redevelopment the club's megastore.
In a statement last night, club owner Bill Kenwright emphasised that there was still some way to go before any deal was finalised. The Everton deputy chairman told the Daily Post: "A lot of hard work has been put in over the last few months, but I must stress that a lot more must still be done.
"However, I am confident that a position can be reached where all those parties involved can be satisfied." The issue of planning approval for the re-development of Everton's freehold properties is crucial. Everton believes it can raise about £12m from the sale of Goodison Park, so long as planning permission is given to develop the site as a supermarket, probably for Tesco.
Last year Liverpool City Council wrote to the club saying it thought that objections from rival supermarket firms could make it difficult to grant the necessary permission. In the past, a figure of £10m has been quoted for Bellefield, but the value of the prime site in West Derby has risen sharply in the past 12 months on the back of a surge in house prices in the area. Roy Kenny, operations director of Eatonfield, last night said: "No developer can come up with the funds without planning permission."

Kings Dock super-deal
Dec 20 2002 by Mark Thomas, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are set to unveil a £65m super-deal to secure its dream new 55,000 seat arena on Kings Dock. But it will not come in time to prevent the club from losing its status as preferred developer for the site on the city's waterfront - at least in the short term. Everton had been struggling to find £30m as its own contribution to the £155m building costs of the arena and fears had also arisen about raising another £35m from the residential and commercial developers. Regeneration company Liverpool Vision, which represents the public sector partners in the £300m Kings Dock project, has given the club a New Year's Eve deadline to guarantee the cash. Now, after weeks of negotiations by club deputy chairman Bill Kenwright, a deal which will resolve both problems has been negotiated. A bank is understood to be at the heart of the consortium which will provide the new backing for the scheme. Mr Kenwright told the ECHO today (Friday, December 20): "A lot of work has obviously been done in the last few weeks and while there is still more to do I am hopeful that an agreement can be reached to please all parties." The deal won the backing of the Everton board at a day-long meeting at Goodison Park last Friday, and Liverpool Vision chairman Sir Joe Dwyer has been to London for personal talks with Mr Kenwright. A senior public sector source confirmed today: "It is solid money and the public sector partners are feeling a lot more comfortable but there is a lot of work still to be done on the fine detail." Details of the financial package are yet to emerge, but the ECHO understands that it provides Everton's £30m and would also guarantee £35m from the residential and commercial side. However, the club has asked for a couple of months to complete a business scrutiny of the residential and commercial element, and the public sector partners are refusing to budge on their deadline. The club will lose "preferred developer" status at the end of December. One insider explained: "The board of Liverpool Vision must stick to their December 31 deadline but will be keen to hear the outcome of the independent scrutiny of the Everton proposals. If that is positive, then it is full steam ahead. "There is certainly no question of entering into negotiations with anyone else for Kings Dock in the meantime." The new deal brokered by Mr Kenwright means Everton will not have to surrender any of its 50% equity stake in the multi-purpose arena. It spells the end for an alternative rescue package proposed by millionaire Everton director Paul Gregg, which would have involved the club surrendering its 50% of the arena to a consortium in a "reverse mortgage" deal, and gradually buying it back.

Suspended Unsworth to be cheerleader
Dec 20 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH will take on a new derby-day role on Sunday - unofficial Everton cheer-leader.
The Blues' defender made his derby debut in 1992, and has been a regular and influential participant ever since, but this weekend he will be forced to sit out the clash through suspension. He still intends to exert some influence over proceedings, though. "I'll be in the dressing room beforehand geeing the lads up and psyching them up," he said. "Not that they'll need it! "I've missed games before through suspension and I've always been there geeing them up, home or away, and I certainly wouldn't want to miss this one. "I've missed a handful of derbies in the past, but this is the most frustrat-ing by a mile. "To be missing games when you shouldn't be missing games - having been sent off for no reason - then that's a real kick in the proverbials, especially over Christmas.
"Games at this time of year are big, big games, great games to play in and usually in front of full houses. "It's a real sickener and I just hope I can get my place back when I'm available again."

Moyes to follow United road to Anfield success
Dec 20 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is approaching his first Merseyside derby on Sunday, with his options decimated by injury and suspensions. But the Blues' boss hopes to follow the example set by Liverpool's other great rivals from down the East Lancs Road. David Unsworth and Joseph Yobo are banned from Sunday's 167th League derby, while the involvement of Tony Hibbert and Mark Pembridge hangs inthe balance. But Moyes said: "We don't have an awful lot of options available to us, but ManchesterUnited have shown recently how you can work that to your own advantage. "It's more about the people who are fit and available than those who are not and we will be working to give the team as much confidence and self-belief as possible so that we can go out there and play as we have been doing for most of this season." Moyes has never been present at a Mersey-side derby, but his experience of Old Firm clashes in Glasgow has told him exactly what to expect. "I've heard they're pretty similar," he said "although there might be a little more football played in them now than there ever used to be. "We will be quite comfortable whatever way the game is played. If it's fast and furious we have shown we can do that already this season. "If it comes down to a football match, we are getting better at it and are improving all the time." Everton are currently ahead of the Reds by a point which will add an extra edge to Sunday's encounter. But Houllier insists the main motivation of his players is their own success not what their neighbours are up to. "I don't know if this is a good time to play a derby or not but what I do know is we will be up for it and we feel we owe something to our fans. "The extra motivation for us comes because we've had a bad spell in the league and the fact we have been unlucky in recent games. "I am never motivated by the opposition. I am motivated by my own team. I will tell the players to keep playing for the fans like they did at Aston Villa. "After the spell we've been in there is an opportunity for us to show we have become stronger and bigger. Big clubs come through rough times and I hope we will be looking back at this period as a time when we strengthened. This run will be when we sharpened our assets." Dietmar Hamann is the only key absentee for Liverpool ahead of today's training. Markus Babbel will not be fined for his show of dissent against Aston Villa on Wednesday. He will be just given a warning by the Liverpool management.

Liverpool 0, Everton 0 (D, Post)
Andy Hunter Reports From Anfield, Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
A MERRY Christmas awaits the whole of Merseyside yet there is no disputing who left Anfield the merrier last night. Mothers throughout the region got the scoreline of their prayers as the 167th Merseyside derby ended goalless to ensure there will be even fewer fights than usual among divided families on Wednesday. For the managers of Merseyside though, the respective festive celebrations are likely to be much different. One of the most eagerly-anticipated derbies in years ended with honours even and the city united. But with both clubs united in terms of chances, strength and, most importantly, promise that is a more sobering thought for Gerard Houllier than David Moyes today. Regardless of having to worry about the FA punishing Steven Gerrard for his scandalous tackle on Gary Naysmith, the Reds boss may be toasting the end of his title dream early in the New Year unless there is a dramatic recovery in results. A Premiership push cannot be ruled out in a season where the leading pack are throwing away points like confetti and Liverpool, despite taking just two points from the last 21, can still find themselves fifth. But at the half-way point in the season it is going to require a dramatic improvement in performance, penetration and purpose if the second half is to end with the trophy all of Anfield believed was a realistic target just two months ago. A stereotypical derby is an impossible barometer of whether the Reds have made necessary strides in the past five days but the bottom line is this was a derby Liverpool desperately needed to win and didn't. Instead, it was Everton who scored the moral victory and who savoured a contest that showed they have managed to close the chasm between the teams in just five months. They went into the game above Liverpool in the table and left the same way, and with the knowledge their climb into the Champions League placings has been no fluke. Can it be sustained? On this display it is only the size of their squad that can hinder the Blues as they proved they can live with the wealthy elite. It was not the big-money signings that dominated yesterday's tense if hardly enthralling derby though, but two homegrown talents on whom so much was expected. They didn't disap-point, even if their impact was the opposite of what many had presumed. "Rooney's gonna get you!" taunted the visiting fans as Everton, minus two key defenders through suspension and starting with two injured fullbacks, comfortably kept their hosts at bay during the first half. But while Wayne's fairytale ending didn't quite live up to the script he came closer than anyone to becoming Liverpool's bogeyman as well as Goodison hero. A smile and a clenched fist salute to the home fans marked his first contribution of the game, and that was just when he started warming up in the sixth minute! Within a minute of coming on he left Chris Kirkland needing treatment after the six foot-plus keeper bounced off the Everton striker, then was involved in a strong penalty shout after being held by Stephane Henchoz while Emile Heskey tripped Kevin Campbell as the injured Kirkland spilled a throw. In the 74th minute he produced the footballing moment of the match when he turned away from Sami Hyypia and shaped for what would have proved the winner, only for his blistering goalbound drive to deflect off Henchoz's leg and strike the bar. Rooney, the youngest player ever to appear in a Merseyside derby, was also a model of self-control until the final flash-point, which sadly cannot be said of Liverpool's local star Gerrard. The Reds midfielder produced another commanding display and was at the heart of all Liverpool's brightest play. But as we approach the feast of Steven (sic) it is not his performance that this derby will be remembered for but the 88th-minute lunge on Naysmith that led to the game's only major controversy. Having already managed to escape without a word from referee Graham Poll for a first half swing at Tony Hibbert, Gerrard (left) went further and much too far when he launched what TV replays later suggested was a deliberate two-footed stamp on Everton's Scottish midfielder. Naysmith's chilling yelp could be heard high above the derby atmosphere but incredibly neither the referee, who booked seven players for mostly innocuous offences, the fourth official nor the linesman saw anything wrong and gave the Reds a throw-in. That was not before the inevitable mass melee took place, with Rooney and Kevin Campbell involved, and while Gerrard was very lucky to escape he may not get off entirely Scot-free if the FA decide to take another look. The Reds' frustration was understandable though, as they never convincingly took the chance to revive their season at their rivals' expense. After the usual frenetic opening it was Everton who emerged the stronger, dominating possession though rarely getting behind the Reds defence. By contrast Liverpool edged the first-half chances, John Arne Riise twice being foiled by fine Richard Wright saves with Gerrard and Michael Owen also going close, but their performance was surprisingly lacklustre given the confidence rush of the thriller at Villa. Their reluctance to venture forward and reliance on the long ball over the top stirred the Kop's frustration, with numerous wayward passes doing little for the quality. It was a sure sign of under-achievement that Houllier was forced into a double substitution after only 52 minutes and the decision worked as the Reds finally forced Everton onto the back foot.
Heskey had been on barely a minute when he headed Gerrard's delightful free-kick wide, while Jamie Carragher's quick set-piece should have been dealt with much better by the big striker only to miscontrol when clean through. Even with the second-half ascendancy though the Reds never delivered any real threat to the commanding Wright, and credit for that must go to the awesome contribution of his defenders. All were superb, but Alan Stubbs and recalled Alessandro Pistone were absolutely immense. At the other end Tomasz Radzinski wasted a glorious chance to repay Moyes' faith in him when he miscued in front of the Kop following David Weir's flick-on, while Lee Carsley also stung Kirkland's otherwise cold fingers. Chances may have been at a premium but courtesy of Rooney and Gerrard the derby still generated enough talking points for Christmas week. The season of goodwill went missing at Anfield, but one half of Merseyside won't care about that.
LIVERPOOL (4-4-2): Kirkland; Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Traore (Heskey 52); Murphy, Gerrard, Diao (Smicer 52), Riise; Baros, Owen. Subs: Dudek, Diouf, Biscan.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Hibbert (Watson 61), Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Carsley, Gravesen, Pem-bridge, Naysmith; Radzinski (Rooney 55), Campbell. Subs: Li Tie, Simonsen, Gemmill.
BOOKINGS: Liverpool's Traore, Henchoz and Carragher (fouls) and Everton's Gravesen, Weir, Campbell and Naysmith (fouls).
REFEREE: Graham Poll.
ATT: 44,025.

Vandals daub red paint on Dixie statue
Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
A STATUE dedicated to one of Everton's best-loved footballing legends was vandalised in the run-up to the yesterday's derby match. Everton Football Club officials arrived at Goodison Park yesterday to find the Dixie Dean monument covered in red paint. The attack is believed to have happened on Saturday night. But within hours of discovering the defaced bronze sculpture, which is on the corner of Goodison Road and Walton Lane, it was cleaned up and restored to its former glory.
The paint-bombing came less than 24 hours before Everton took on rivals Liverpool at Anfield.
Everton Football Club spokesman Ian Ross last night said: "This is a disgusting and disgraceful act. I know that all right-thinking football lovers in this city, be they blue or red, will condemn this piece of wanton vandalism. "It would be wrong for us to opt for a knee-jerk reaction and blame Liverpool supporters because true Liverpool fans, and that's 99pc of them, would never dream of doing such a thing. "I suspect this is the work of mindless vandals and not football supporters because Dixie Dean is not only an Everton hero but a Merseyside footballing legend." The statue, designed by local artist Tom Murphy, was unveiled in May last year. Dean scored 60 league goals for Everton during the 1927-28 season. A spokesman for the police said the incident had not been reported to them but officers would be investigating.

1m homes agent sends Rooney packing
By Jenny Watson Daily Post Staff
Dec 23 2002
EVERTON'S ace striker Wayne Rooney was mistaken for a burglar by London estate agents who believed he was trying to case £1m homes to set up a break-in. Staff refused to deal with the teenage footballer and his teammate, Alan Stubbs, when they walked into a Chelsea estate agents and asked them to leave before they phoned the police. The pair had wandered down the Kings Road to kill time before Everton's recent Worthington Cup defeat away against Chelsea, after being dropped off at the club's Stamford Bridge ground early. Out of curiosity, Rooney, 17, and Stubbs, 31, walked into the offices of Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward to look at the multi-million pound homes being advertised in the window. But staff who failed to recognise Everton's boy wonder, despite his recent high profile, became suspicious of the two who were wearing club tracksuits and trainers and chewing gum. An Everton source said: "One of the agents simply refused to give the pair any details of their properties. Then the players were asked to leave the premises or police would be called. The agent thought they were burglars who had come to London to "case" some big houses before robbing them." He added: "Wayne and Alan just left without making a fuss. The lads were crying with laughter when they found out. The agent had mistaken them for a couple of scallies on the rob." A spokesman for Everton said: "Even the classiest estate agents need to learn that appearances can be deceptive." Working class hero Rooney, who still lives with his parents in their Croxteth council house, recently signed a deal with Everton that will see him earning around £6,000 a week on top of lucrative advertising deals. Alan Stubbs is already a millionaire. Yesterday local estate agents said the London company had been misguided. you can never judge a customer by their appearance. Ian Crane, of Merseyside firm Cooney and Crane, said: "My father once served a Texan oil millionaire dressed in ripped jeans who proceeded to order 20 Jaguars. "In business you cannot afford to judge a book by its covers. I'm sure there was some North-South snobbery going on here. "Since I started in property I have dealt with several footballers including Peter Beardsley. Often they don't really look like millionaires but they have the cash in the bank. Estate agents, like any business, should not leap to conclusions about people based on their clothes or accent."
Estate agents Kinleigh, Folkard and Hayward are based on Kings Road. A spokesman for the firm said: "I am not allowed to comment on this incident but we wouldn't normally judge people in this way."

Spotlight on Owen v Rooney
Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
1 min: Owen gets head to Danny Murphy's long free-kick, but Everton clear any danger.
5: Owen caught offside as he runs onto a Steven Gerrard throughball.
9: Rooney warms up for the first time to jeers from Liverpool fans.
21: Owen tries to launch Liverpool attack but stumbles.
22: Owen reaches another Murphy free-kick but heads wide.
38: Owen tries to work a shooting opportunity, but is never in possession of the ball and Everton clear.
40: Owen takes on Alessandro Pistone down right. Ball comes inside but Gerrard's crisp shot is clutched by Richard Wright.
53: Gerrard's long ball is too strong for Owen and Wright easily gathers.
54: Chance opens up for Owen but Vladimir Smicer's pass is ineffective.
54: Rooney replaces Tomasz Radzinski.
55: Rooney's first act is to collide with goalkeeper Chris Kirkland, who is slightly hurt in the challenge.
60: Rooney tries to launch attack but is dispossessed by Sami Hyypia.
61: Owen races to reach a long ball but Steve Watson averts threat.
62: Owen penalised for foul on Kevin Campbell.
62: Rooney charges at Liverpool defence after Murphy gives away possession but Hyypia tackles.
67: Owen finds good position as Liverpool launch a promising attack but Alessandro Pistone cuts out Milan Baros' pass.
70: Rooney attempts a 'Cruyff' turn but loses control and Liverpool clear.
73: Rooney controls well and turns Hyypia but his deflected shot hits crossbar.
74: Owen breaks down the left and sends in a dangerous cross for Smicer but Everton survive.
76: Rooney controls on edge of box but three Liverpool defenders force him to cough up possession.
76: Owen slips attempting to lead a Liverpool counter attack.
77: Owen looks to twist into the area but David Weir breaks up play.
81: Owen breaks into clear space down the left and breezes past Weir but the Scot hacks him down.
82: Murphy fires in free-kick for Owen but Everton clear for a corner.
84: Rooney breaks and outpaces Jamie Carragher but cannot beat Henchoz.
87: Rooney gets involved in a scuffle between Campbell and Gerrard.
88: Owen turns and hooks in a shot but it dips wide.

Moyes: Don't get carried away
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
DAVID MOYES has called on Everton fans not to get carried away as the Blues go into Christmas ahead of neighbours Liverpool for the first time in 16 years. Yesterday's goalless draw in the Merseyside derby leaves Everton fourth in the Premiership table, a point above the struggling Reds.
Moyes believes his side can maintain their recent successful run over the festive period, but he cautioned against complacency. The Goodison chief said: "I wish I could say the Champions League is the ambition but that would be going too far too soon. "There are five teams - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool - who everyone would expect to be in the top five at the end of the season. "We need to stay in the next group. We are going to try. We are where we are on merit. We are a long way into the season, so it is no fluke. It is possible and we have the momentum. "It is easier to stay in this position than to get into it. We have to tick over now."
Moyes added: "But we're all new to this. Relegation was the usual word used for us and hopefully that word won't get used too much in the future." Moyes admitted he thought substitute Wayne Rooney had scored when his shot was deflected off the crossbar 15 minutes from time, but backed the decision to start the match with his young star on the bench. "It took a deflection and went on to the bar and for a moment Ithought it was going to go in," he said. "But it was always in my mindto leave him on the bench. It was right for him to see a good partof the game from the bench.
"I'm sure our league position above Liverpool will please the fans loads."

I'm sorry - Gerrard
Report By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
STEVEN GERRARD last night moved to defuse the row over for the horror tackle that marred the 167th Merseyside derby at Anfield. The Liverpool midfielder faces the threat of an FA probe after his late, two-footed lunge on Everton's Gary Naysmith in the closing moments of yesterday's 0-0 draw. Gerrard escaped without a booking for the challenge - but the FA video panel could yet request a viewing of the incident prior to any possible disciplinary action. Gerrard said: "I think Gary was a bit disappointed first of all but I have apologised and explained to him that I tried to pull out.
"And I have tried to explain to all the other Everton players that I tried to pull out at the last minute.
"I think it just looks bad because I have gone in with two feet. I am never going to try to deliberately hurt a fellow professional. "Although I did go in with my studs showing I have tried to pull out at the last minute - I can honestly say that." Gerrard acknowledged the prospect of action from the FA and defended himself against any future charge. He said: "We will have to see if there is action from the FA. "If I had gone through with the tackle maybe I could have hurt him even worse but I pulled out and he has only got a little mark. So I am glad for him that I haven't hurt him and he has been able to carry on." The England star added: "I spoke to David Moyes after the game as well and he just said to me that these things happen. "It's a derby game and tackles go flying in left, right and centre." Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier said: "From what I saw I didn't see anything reprehensible. All the officials did not see anything wrong but with the video it is something different. It does not look good. I will speak to Gerrard but he said to me he didn't want to hurt Naysmith. "It has happened in other games and players have got a fine - maybe Steven will get a fine as well." Everton manager David Moyes tried to distance himself from the furore. "I've seen it there on the camera in the dressing room and obviously I don't think it's particularly good," he said.
"It's not my place to comment on those things but at the same time they do have a code to abide by as professional players. "Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player and I really admire him." Gerrard caught Naysmith on the left touchline with three minutes of the game remaining and the incident sparked a melee involving several players from either side as the Blues midfielder lay writhing in agony. Former Goodison chief Walter Smith condemned the tackle and pointed the finger at referee Graham Poll. He said: "You can't excuse what he did. No doubt about, he should have gone. It was a sending off. It was two-footed. "The referee was booking players for next to nothing but for that there was nothing. He got away with the worst tackle of the game." Houllier hailed his players' character in what he described as a typical Liverpool-Everton game. "Derbies are always like that, a lot of possession, commitment and physically demanding," he said. "On the back of the Villa game (Liverpool's injury-time Worthington Cup victory in midweek) - which was also demanding - I am proud of the players. "I am pleased we stood up and managed to get at least a clean sheet."
Houllier made early changes in the second half, introducing Emile Heskey and Vladimir Smicer for left-back Djimi Traore and midfielder Salif Diao, and he felt the duo injected more urgency into Liverpool's play. He added: "Our second half performance was much better than the first."

Hibbert defies injury to lead Blues defence
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 23 2002
IT is a measure of Wayne Rooney's status that his presence warming up on the touchline threatened to overshadow events on the pitch. Feared and jeered by Liverpool fans for the threat he posed in yesterday's 167th Merseyside derby, and cheered and revered by Everton's travelling faithful, the whole of Anfield could feel the Rooney factor. And when the 17-year-old local lad made his belated entrance 55 minutes into the contest, he immediately lived up to his billing as the most exciting and potentially devastating talent on display. Overawed by the big stage? Not a bit of it. The Croxteth Cavalier rattled in a shot that Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland did well to push over the top.
His every touch was met with a collective sigh of anticipation - or dread - and, ever the showman, he impudently twirled the ball on his fingers a la Michael Jordan after being awarded a throw-in. No, he couldn't win the game for Everton but their deserved draw still leaves them top of the tree on Merseyside this Christmas - fourth in the Premiership table, a point above Liverpool in fifth. Manager David Moyes was delighted with the precociously-gifted youngster's contribution.
"I am sure Wayne enjoyed the experience," he said. "Some of his pals would be shouting for him, some would be shouting at him. I did think he had scored but the ball was deflected on to the bar."
Moyes was full of praise for his team, who are showing they can consistently compete with the best.
"We have come to Anfield and made it difficult for Liverpool, which is pleasing," said Moyes, savouring his first Merseyside derby. "I think we are in our position in the table on merit now. We have the momentum going. "It was a tight game and I don't think either goalkeeper was really that troubled." Moyes praised his defence and goalkeeper Richard Wright - and reserved a special commendation for Tony Hibbert, whose availability was in doubt until the eleventh hour. He was forced off in the second half with a groin strain. Moyes said: "Tony was so determined to play. He had his thigh restitched and did not train once this week but he was desperate to be involved."
The renaissance Moyes has orchestrated since taking charge of Everton's ailing fortunes in March was under-lined by defender Alan Stubbs. "Four or five weeks ago we were saying that if we could come here two points behind Liverpool that would be great," revealed the lifelong Blue from Kirkby.
"We've come here one point ahead of them and we still are, so there are a lot of happy Everton fans out there. "It's been fantastic up to now. We're fourth because we deserve to be. It's no fluke - and long may it continue. I think a draw was fair. When there was a chance it wasn't a clear one, so we probably cancelled each other out. "It was a typical derby with tackles flying everywhere and no time on the ball - and we had to be on our guard for 90 minutes. We wanted to get at them as much as we could. We knew the way the results had been going for Liverpool their confidence wasn't high and we could get a result. "We got one - not the one we wanted, but we'll settle for it." Everton's relative satisfaction was not mirrored by Liverpool, who have watched their title charge take a massive jolt in recent weeks. They went into the match having taken a meagre point from the last 18 on offer and on the back of four straight league defeats. But manager Gerard Houllier - who has seen his side slip from seven points clear to seven adrift of leaders Arsenal in the space of seven games - praised Liverpool's character. He said: "Recent form plays on the players' minds. While we may be short of confidence, I don't believe we are short of character. My only regret is that sometimes we reverted to long-ball tactics, instead of trying to keep the ball on the floor." Liverpool striker Michael Owen admitted: "It wasn't a great result, although our defence have done their job. Everton sit deep, get bodies behind the ball and they are a physical side - and we found it hard to create anything."

Liverpool 0, Everton 0 (Echo)
By Chris Bascombe At Anfield, Liverpool Echo
Dec 23 2002
STEVEN Gerrard's tackle summed up the Merseyside derby. Scrappy, ugly but 100 per cent committed. No matter what your shirt colour, it's hard to work out if this was a point gained or two points lost. It was a game neither team dared lose and it showed. A draw seemed somehow acceptable to both sides, although Everton will feel happier having preserved their position above their neighbours. For the Reds, there is an element of relief the losing run is finally over. This was a derby straight from the cliche manual. Frantic, tight, lacking in high quality football but where both sets of supporters can be content their heroes gave everything for the cause. Anxiety was the biggest influence and although you may not be able to tell in the stands, the sense of respect both teams had for each other probably made a stalemate inevitable. In the case of Gerrard, perhaps the line was crossed on just how much he wanted to win. The horror tackle on Gary Nay-smith, which he has apologised for, could have been more severely dealt with at the time, but we should hold back before we start getting as high and mighty as the tackle itself. This was straight out of the derby rule-book which was written by the likes of Graeme Souness and Peter Reid. A challenge which is always worse when it's against your side than by one of your own. Can you defend it? No. Do you expect it in games like this? Yes. As Liverpool's outstanding contributor to the afternoon, the Reds will be grateful their midfield linchpin didn't see red on 88 minutes but if the FA, which only fined Dennis Bergkamp £5,000 for a stamp, take stronger action here, an investigation into double standards will be warranted. You can usually measure how good, or bad, a game is when the main talking points are tackles, refereeing decisions and the crowd. Indeed, such was the dearth of chances, the highlight of the first half was Wayne Rooney and his beaming smile warming up in front of the Kop. Most seemed to take it in good humour. You had to admire his cheek. Back where it mattered, Everton created the better chances in the first half and with more composure in the box, could have led at half-time. Tomasz Radzinski miskicked with the Kop goal at his mercy and Lee Carsley had more time than he thought when he attempted to head across goal. Carsley's shot, or was it a cross, also forced Chris Kirkland to push the ball over the bar. Liverpool's main threat during a feisty but uneventful opening came from long distance shots. John Arne Riise struck a perfectly executed volley which was too close to Richard Wright to cause him a headache. Gerrard also struck a dipping 25 yarder which Wright held, but there was no momentum to the Reds' play and no sustained spells of pressure. Everton looked more confident. On the stroke of half-time the Reds finally forced Wright into meaningful action. Riise ran from his own half and his left-footer needed to be pushed wide. For much of the opening stages, a mystifying long ball option was being persisted with, with Riise's head the prime target. In terms of creativity, only Gerrard looked on top of his game, although Danny Murphy improved when he moved into the centre later on.
Salif Diao would never have played in a match of such pace before, and it showed, and only when early substitutions were made in the second half did the passing and movement improve. There was more promise for Liverpool after the interval but little end product. In truth, the Everton defence coped comfortably. Heskey headed wide and Smicer's volley forced Wright to save. Owen, starved of service again, also went close with an audacious chip but in the battle of potential England number ones, neither keeper had much opportunity to show how good they are. With chances at a premium, it was a mistake, or single moment of individual brilliance, which was the most likely source of a winner. Everton's gem almost provided it. The teenager's presence on the bench, like some ghost of Liverpool's present, was an entertaining sideshow for 55 minutes. The chant from the away end 'Rooney is going to get you' was no idol threat and for all the attempts at a witty retort, the home crowd knew it was possible. But for the crossbar, he would have had his prey on his first attempt and an outcome too hideous to contemplate would have fallen upon the hosts.
There was an inevitability Rooney would have some influence and it was nearly a momentous one.
He turned Sami Hyypia with ease and but for Henchoz's intervention, would have been celebrating the first of many derby goals. To be fair, had either side stolen all three points, it would have been rough justice as both can claim to have shaded each half. Liverpool will feel more frustrated because having considered their own title aspirations far more realistic than David Moyes considers Everton's, Gerard Houllier was desperate for a win to restore belief Arsenal can be caught.
Liverpool have now taken just two from a possible 21 Premiership points and their title hopes are disappearing quicker than shots of brandy at a Christmas banquet. But although their barren spell in the Premiership continues, one point is worthy of celebration when the woodwork is all that prevented a nightmare before Christmas.
Liverpool: Kirkland; Carragher, Henchoz, Hyypia, Traore (Heskey 52); Murphy, Gerrard, Diao (Smicer 52), Riise; Owen, Baros. Not used: Dudek, Diouf, Biscan.
Everton: Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert (Watson 60); Naysmith, Gravesen, Carsley, Pem-bridge; Radzinski (Rooney 55), Campbell. Not used: Li Tie, Simonsen, Gemmill.
Referee: Graham Poll
Bookings: Traore, Gravesen, Carragher, Weir, Campbell, Naysmith.

Big Dunc Is Plaque In The Frame
Dec 23 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON striker Duncan Ferguson unveiled a True Blue Heritage Plaque at the club's Bellefield training ground. The unveiling is part of the club's on-going centenary celebrations. To date plaques have been put up at the Sandon public house in Anfield, Everton's original HQ in 1884, and Goodison Park, their home since 1892. Two plaques are also based behind Dixie Dean's statue at Goodison Park, recognising the 377 goals he scored in 431 appearances for the club. The Bellefield plaque reads: "Bellefield has been available to Everton as a training ground since 1946. "Everton bought the site in 1965 from Mr Tyson, the founder of the well-known Merseyside contracting firm.
"Bellefield has been acknowledged as providing one of the best training facilities in English football."
Everton intends to erect a number of True Blue plaques in key areas around the city which relate to the club's history, such as Prince Rupert's Castle and Stanley Park.

Stubbs: It's a happy Christmas for Blues
Dec 23 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will celebrate Christmas ahead of their city rivals in the Premiership for the first time in 15 years - and yesterday's derby hero Alan Stubbs declared: "It's no fluke. We are there because we deserve to be there." The Blues' defender made a colossal contribution to his side's cause in a goalless draw at Anfield, and afterwards he said: "We said four or five weeks ago if we could come here two points behind them it would set it right up for us. "Instead we have gone into the game ahead of them and at the end of the game we are still in front so there's a lot of happy Evertonians out there. "I think a draw was a fair result. It was a typical derby, really fast and furious, and I think both sides cancelled each other out. "With the way the results have been going for Liverpool recently they were not at their best in terms of confidence and we knew we had a great chance of going there and getting a result. We got a result. Not the one we wanted, but we'll settle for that.
"We wanted to get at them as much as we could but in the first half we were a bit sloppy giving the ball away in good areas and they were breaking on us." Blues boss David Moyes saluted the performance of Stubbs afterwards. "He was excellent for us, but he's been like that for six or seven games now." He also revealed that Tony Hibbert had to have more stitches inserted into a thigh wound the day before the clash to allow him to play. "I'd actually ruled him out in my head," he explained. "I thought he had no chance. The plastic surgeon looked at the injury on Friday and said it hadn't healed, so Tony asked him to put more stitches in. "He hadn't done one second's training all week, but he was desperate to play. "In the end he came off with a groin strain."

Rooney revels in Red cauldron
Dec 23 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SO the bragging rights belonged to the Blues.
Under the strange local bylaws which govern this most tribal of occasions, a draw on your opponents' turf constitutes a moral victory. When that result is also coupled with a Premiership table which still has Everton looking down on their neighbours, it adds up to a good Christmas for The Toffees. But it could have been even better. The deadlock of the first goalless draw of David Moyes' Goodison career came within inches of being broken - and it was no surprise that Wayne Rooney was the man-child who almost did it. Teenagers aren't supposed to treat derbies like this.
The constricting tension of the occasion, the incendiary atmosphere, the don't-dare-lose mentality is supposed to reduce even hardened professionals to a quivering heap. Rooney revelled in it. He came as close as anyone to breaking the suffocating deadlock with a rising 73rd minute drive which clipped the top of the crossbar. But even before he entered the fray, like some swaggering matador, he strutted around Anfield like he owned the place. Warming up throughout a dull first half, he chose the Kop End to jog towards. While the baying hordes chanted songs about his weight - an odd decision given his chiselled physique - he jogged to within inches of the terrace wall, and grinned. Then he peformed a couple of keepy-ups, span the ball on his finger and ambled back, as if he was walking in the park. The image was deceptive. Rooney was desperate to get into the action, and his performance when he did suggested it can't be long before he is regularly running out in Everton's starting XI. Once again, Tomasz Radzinski performed well. But when it mattered most he misfired. A mis-kick on the turn allowed one 35th minute chance to go begging. Then he flopped a tame header at the same goal on the stroke of half-time. On such moments derby matches can turn. This had been billed as a flashback derby, to the days of the 80s when Everton and Liverpool dominated the English game. Instead, we were hauled back a further 10 years or so, to the suffocating Seventies when this local bust-up regularly finished goalless. All the ingredients were there for a truly explosive derby match, but it spluttered fitfully and only the 88th minute maul instigated by Steven Gerrard's appalling two-footed stamp gave us a flash of what this clash can be truly like. The last time Graham Poll took charge of a Merseyside derby, his eyesight was razor sharp. He managed to spot the second hand on his stop-watch ticking to indicate time-up, just seconds before the ball crossed the Liverpool goal-line for an Everton 'winner.' This time, he missed Gerrard's horrendous lunge at Gary Naysmith's thighs. So did his assistant - so, too, did the fourth official. It seems that only everybody else along the Main Stand section of the stadium witnessed it clearly. Whatever the moral standpoint, these kind of challenges are a regular ingredient of derby match football. Moyes has been involved in plenty in Glasgow and that influenced his team selection. Li Tie sat out a match for the first time this season. Salif Diao's sobering experience in the heart of the midfield battle showed why. The Senegalese constantly wanted more time than was ever available and was substituted six minutes into the second half. Tie, too, may have suffered in the midfield melee. But men brought up locally flourished. The pace of Owen and Baros had always hinted at embarrassing Everton. But Alan Stubbs produced another colossal performance, as did Alessandro Pistone, just weeks after a shockingly lacklustre showing at Chelsea. Then there was Tony Hibbert. He had nine stitches inserted in a thigh wound last Saturday. The wound still hadn't healed the day before the derby, so he had a plastic surgeon restitch the injury and he played.
Their displays gave Moyes heart that the Blues may maintain their surprising progress this season. They will celebrate Christmas fourth in the table, one place above their city rivals. The last time that happened they went on to claim the championship. Their squad strength will surely not allow such a prospect this time but, at Goodison, the future is decidedly bright.

Hotshot showdown will have to wait
Dec 23 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MERSEYSIDE will have to wait a little longer for the noholds barred, blood and thunder 90- minute showdown between the young pretender and the boy wonder. David Moyes' team selection ensured that the showdown between Liverpool's Michael Owen and Everton's Wayne Rooney did not take place until the second half of the 167th Merseyside derby. And while both players played a key role in the contest, neither illuminated the contest in the way the fans of both clubs know they can. The powerful 17-year-old in the blue shirt was the closest of the two to finding the net.
He may only have been afforded a 35-minute cameo in the game. But in that time he saw a deflected shot rattle the crossbar and he gave Liverpool keeper Chris Kirkland a headache with a crunching collision. Owen did play the full 90 minutes. But deprived of chances, he could do little to break the deadlock in a game which was ultimately a real letdown. Rooney's chance came 17 minutes from time. He turned Sami Hyypia only for his drilled shot from just inside the box to be deflected onto the woodwork and over for a corner. Kirkland was happy to see that one go over the bar. He wasn't so pleased to see Rooney in the 56th minute though, just a minute after the striker's arrival on the pitch. Rooney chased a long ball towards the corner flag but lost out to the Liverpool keeper, who flattened the Everton man in the process. But the 17-year-old bounced straight back to his feet. Kirkland stayed down nursing a bad back. And not being involved in the action for the first 55 minutes didn't prevent Rooney playing a role in the contest though. His first emergence from the dugout for a warm-up on nine minutes was met with boos from across the ground. And as he trotted along the touchline towards the Kop, the volume was turned up. If abuse from opposition fans is a backhanded compliment, then Rooney must have been impressed by the reception. He will also have been happy with the backing of the away support, who taunted their hosts on the stroke of half-time with the chant "Rooney's going to get you". He tried his best, but never quite lived up to that prediction. One man who has, on a number of occasions in the past, is Owen. And there is no doubt the Liverpool fans would much preferred to have been celebrating his talent rather than giving Everton's hotshot some stick during the opening period. Milan Baros has been the Reds' most consistent goalscorer in recent weeks. But Owen is a big game player. And this was the most eagerly awaited derby for many a year. Surely Owen would shine. But if you are not presented with the chances, it is hard to make an impression. And so for the first 45 minutes, Owen could do little to influence proceedings. He was given just one opportunity to test Richard Wright, but his powerful header from close range following a Danny Murphy free-kick in the 34th minute, flashed just wide of the upright. And with the ball spending much of its time in the middle third of the field and Liverpool looking too often to the early ball over the top, the Anfield hotshot was denied further ammunition to hurt the Blues. But Gerard Houllier is right. Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney are the future of English football. Although, while the future is bright, the present was something of a letdown at Anfield yesterday. Both players will have their day on the derby stage. You will be hoping that day will come at Goodison on April 19, 2003.

Gerrard apologises to Naysmith over tackle
Dec 23 2002 By Chris Bascombe And Scott Mcleod
STEVEN GERRARD issued an immediate apology for the horror tackle on Gary Naysmith which nearly started a brawl in the derby stalemate. The Liverpool midfielder escaped punishment from referee Graham Poll for the 88th minute challenge. However, the FA have the power to look at the incident again. Gerrard said he spoke to Naysmith and Everton boss David Moyes after the match to say he was sorry. He said: "I want to apologise for the tackle. I have gone in with two feet with my studs showing, but I tried to pull back as late as possible. I didn't deliberately try to hurt him. "I've apologised to the player after the game. If I tried to go straight through him then I'd have hurt him, but I did try to pull out of the tackle. "He accepted the apology and I've also tried to explain to some of the other Everton players that it wasn't my intention to hurt him. I do apologise for going into a tackle with two feet and with my studs showing. "I spoke to David Moyes after the game as well and he just said to me that these things happen. It's a derby game and tackles go flying in left, right and centre but it is never my intention to hurt a fellow player." Liverpool will now be anxiously waiting to hear if the FA are considering further action. Dennis Bergkamp was recently fined £5,000 following a similar incident when Arsenal played Blackburn. Gerard Houllier defended Gerrard saying: "I spoke to Steven immediately and he said to me 'Really boss, I didn't mean to hurt anybody. I was just surprised by the sliding tackle and I tried to pull back.' "I told the player to explain what happened because he went for the ball. "The linesman was only two yards away from it and he didn't see anything reprehensible. I didn't see anything and Graham Poll didn't see anything either.
"On the replays it doesn't look good, I admit that. But you have that sort of thing sometimes in derbies. There were some tackles from behind in the game which, to me, were very, very dangerous." Everton boss David Moyes refused to condemn Gerrard, although he admitted it was a nasty challenge. Moyes said: "It was just a bad tackle. Steven Gerrard is a fantastic player and I admire him. "Gary was injured on his thighs but the cuts did not need stitches. It wasn't nice but derbies are intense affairs."

Champs League beyond my men - Moyes
Dec 23 2002 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has ruled out a challenge from Everton for a Champions League place, despite his side lying fourth in the Premiership at Christmas. The Blues' 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield kept Moyes' side above their Stanley Park neighbours in the Premiership table and still hot on the heels of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. But while the Everton boss insists his side are there on merit, he does not believe a top four finish and qualification for a place in the Champions League is a serious target for the season. "I wish I could say a Champions League place was my ambition but that would be looking too far too soon," admitted Moyes. "I don't think we are ready for that. There are five teams in Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle and Chelsea who would surprise people if they weren't in the top five slots. "We are trying to stay in and around that group if we can but I am finding it hard to say a Champions League place is what we are aiming for. We are going to try because we are half way through the season. It is not a fluke now. "We have got the momentum and the players know what they have got to do, so it is possible we can stay there. It is harder getting up there because to do that you have to win six games on the bounce. We have done that to get up there and that was through hard work. "To stay there you just need to tick over as Liverpool, who are still in the top six despite two points from 21, have proved. They are still there because of the great run they had earlier in the season. "Now we are there we need to keep ticking over and putting points on the board." The hard-fought point at Anfield comes into that 'ticking over' category. Moyes was pleased with the endeavour of his players but admits a winner for either side probably would not have been a fair outcome. He added: "I thought it was a tight game, as is usual in derbies. There was a lot of tension, particularly in the first half and neither goalie was troubled too much. "I think it was a fair result over the course of the game. "We have come to Anfield, made it difficult for them and showed that Everton are a decent side now. Teams have to play well to beat us and if you give us opportunities we have players who can win games. "We have been to a lot of big teams away from home this season and done well. Maybe we haven't always got the results that we deserved but in this game I thought we deserved the draw."

Both sides will be disappointed
Dec 23 2002 By Tommy Smith
MERSEYSIDE fans can go into their Christmas festivities happy in the knowledge that honours ended even in yesterday's Anfield showdown. If anything, the Everton fans will be the happier, if only for the fact that they remain above their rivals in the table and deserved their point. But, such is the expectation around Goodison these days, that they may have sensed they could achieve something better. As for Liverpool, there will be the obvious disappointment that they could not get that much-needed Premiership win to end a run that has now become the worst for 49 years. In short, a typical derby, full of passion, effort, good football at times, but one in which the defences held sway.
There were chances, too. Not necessarily gilt-edged ones, but Tomasz Radzinski had a good chance at the Kop end in the first half when he mis-kicked, while Emile Heskey sent his close-range diving header the wrong side of the post at the same end in the second. Other than that, John Arne Riise hit a cracker on the volley which Richard Wright safely held, and later Wayne Rooney could have been the toast of one half of Merseyside if his shot, which took a slight deflection, had not been a few inches lower. I thought it was a fair result. It was a battle from the outset and, more often than not, the defences were in command. The second half changes saw both managers adopt positive stances, with Heskey being sent on down the left, and Rooney making his derby debut. I, personally, would have put Heskey up the centre to create more problems for the visitors. In midfield, Thomas Gravesen and Lee Carsley played well, while Alessandro Pistone had a fine game at left-back. Steven Gerrard, although a bit reckless at times, and Danny Murphy were the pick of the Reds mid-field but, generally, the teams cancelled each other out. I still don't think the Reds are in a crisis - fifth in the table is not the end of the world - but I don't think the Reds will win the title. They have lost too many matches and are still suffering from a lack of confidence. As for the Blues, their confidence is sky-high and it's a tribute to David Moyes that, 12 months on, they look a totally different team. Most of the faces are still there, so their climb up the table has to be down to the manager. Derby matches are a battle and both teams will acknowledge the fact they did quite well but neither were able to land a knockout blow. Everton will be more than happy going into Christmas in fourth place. They have definitely improved beyond all expectations - and the big question is: Can they maintain it? I believe they can at least finish in the top six and, with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea around, plus the Reds, they will be in good company.
Moyes deserves a huge pat on the back for bringing new life to the club. The Reds are working very hard but, at the moment, they have to find confidence, consistency - and wins. A top three finish is still on - but I don't think the title is a possibility at this stage. But we've still half a season to go, so anything can happen. Let's hope so. Merry Christmas!

Kenna's Christmas wish
By John Curtis, Daily Post
Dec 24 2002
BIRMINGHAM CITY defender Jeff Kenna has revealed what he would like for Christmas - Wayne Rooney on the substitutes' bench! Everton travel to St Andrews on Boxing Day buoyed by a goalless draw in Sunday's Merseyside derby at Liverpool. "Everton are doing really well and really flying although at their place we were unlucky not to get three points," said Kenna, referring to the 1-1 draw at Goodison in August. "They got a lucky equaliser in injury time. "They are very good at what they do and it will be another difficult test for us on Boxing Day. Wayne Rooney has done well. I hope he's on the bench!" Kenna believes it is important for Birmingham to improve on their home form - just three wins in nine matches - to further enhance their current position which sees them eight points clear of the bottom three. He said: "Our home form is not what it should have been.
"Before the season started, we were looking at our home games to give us a chance of staying in the league. "We've been getting better results away from home, which is more difficult when you are a promoted team, but if we can get a few more three pointers at St Andrews it will take the pressure off when we go away." He added: "Before the start of the season we would have said that 20 to 25 points at this stage would give us a great chance of staying in this division. If we can nick something, it would help. "It's a hectic period with four games in 10 days and that will sort a lot of things out one way or the other." Defender Kenna is optimistic that his Achilles problems will be over soon.
Kenna has defied the injury for the past two months to ease the club through a defensive injury crisis and establish a healthy mid-table position. It had been originally thought that Kenna's injury would require a lengthy period of rest but he has made a steady improvement while continuing to help out as an emergency left-back. Kenna admitted: "It's clearing up quite nicely which is a bonus for me. I hope I can get through Christmas."

Yobo to come right back
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 24 2002
JOSEPH YOBO is expected to make an immediate return to the Everton line-up on Boxing Day - but not in his favourite position. The Nigerian star missed Sunday's Merseyside derby through suspension but should return at Birmingham on Thursday as the Blues look to strengthen their top-four position. But Yobo may have to wait before reclaiming his preferred centre-half spot after the commanding displays produced at Anfield by David Weir and Alan Stubbs. With Tony Hibbert a major doubt due to his continuing recovery from a thigh wound as well as the groin injury that forced his substitution against Liverpool, Yobo could beat Steve Watson for the right-back role at St Andrews. Manager David Moyes - yesterday linked with Anderlecht striker Ivica Mornar - must also wait on Gary Nay-smith and Mark Pembridge's recovery from derby knocks before finalising his plans. Moyes, who saw the first goalless draw of his Goodison managerial reign on Sunday, yesterday admitted he is excited by the challenge of keeping Everton in the leading Premiership pack, despite reservations about their Champions League prospects. "There's added pressure from being at the top of the table because we want to stay there," said the Blues boss. "But it's much better being here than fourth from bottom. But I can tell you I'm excited. That's how we feel. It's a passionate game. I think it's great. I'm delighted for the players. Why should we hide our emotions?
"At the moment we are five or six points off from being a Premiership side for another season, but we're also four points off the top of the league. Somewhere in between there is realism." Croatian striker Mornar was yesterday linked with a move to Goodison Park from Anderlecht, where the Blues signed Tomasz Radzinski, but he has not played the required 75 per cent of matches for his country in the past 12 months and would struggle for a work permit. Moyes is hoping to bring in Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said when the transfer window reopens in January, as the Daily Post revealed last week.

Wayne derby delay right
Dec 24 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
HINDSIGHT can be a wonderful thing and, with the benefit of it, some Evertonians are suggesting David Moyes made a mistake by not using Wayne Rooney from the start on Sunday. I take the opposite viewpoint. Your first derby match is always your hardest, and I was hoping that David would resist temptation and leave Rooney on the bench. These occasions can get to even the most experienced pros. My old team-mate, Gary Stevens, became an outstanding international defender, but even he suffered on his derby debut. I remember Liverpool deliberately playing on him because of his nervousness - and this was a lad who later went on to win a great number of England caps. Steven Gerrard also suffered on his first appearance at Goodison Park, and sometimes a young kid just isn't expecting the intensity and blinding pace of a derby. You might have played plenty of Premiership football and think you know all about it. Then you play a derby match and you think 'Woah! What's going on here?' I think it was important for Wayne to watch the game from the outside looking in, before he was released into the fray. The occasion can sometimes be too big for a player. In Wayne's case, though, you have to ask what kind of occasion is going to be too big for him? He seems to take absolutely everything in his stride, and I don't think I have ever seen a young player with so much confidence in his own ability. The worry that Liverpool will have for future derbies is that Wayne now knows what it is all about. I'm looking forward to the Goodison return already!
Gerrard: Ref must take blame
STEVEN GERRARD'S 'tackle' was a bad one, but I still think it would be wrong for the FA to punish him via a video panel. Put into the context of a derby match, the challenge was typical. And if you decide to analyse that particular challenge, where do you draw the line? The video panel would have to sit every day to analyse similar incidents up and down the country. If any blame is to be apportioned - and clearly there has to be some culpability - it is the referee who should be hauled up by the FA for not seeing the incident. But if Gerrard is to be punished, so too should a dozen other players every weekend - and that would be an almost impossible task for the FA to keep on top of.
Blueprint paying off
EVERTON emerged undefeated at Anfield, by doing what they have been doing all season.
They worked hard together, closed Liverpool down quickly and tried to retain a solid 4-4-2 shape all afternoon. They might have kept possession better at times, but having said that they still created the best chances of the match, and only the blink-ered or the biased could suggest that Everton did not deserve at least a point.

Moyes hits over video 'trial'
Dec 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BLUES boss David Moyes has criticised the FA's video panel system, as Steven Gerrard waits to hear whether Sunday's horror tackle will come under further scrutiny. Moyes lost David Unsworth for the festive programme after the panel studied his red card against Chelsea two weeks ago and decided to support referee Eddie Wolstenholme's original decision. The Blues' boss is still bristling. "I don't want to see Steven Gerrard punished," he said, "but we have lost a player (Unsworth) who has been playing really well this season because a video panel has decided he has been guilty of violent conduct. "So it would be nice if Philip Don, the referees' assessor, could pick up the phone and tell me the reason why. "An explanation would be nice, but more than likely there will be no phone call at all." Moyes' mood is unlikely to be improved when he learns the identity of the fourth official appointed for Saturday's Bolton Wanderers clash at Goodison. Eddie Wolstenholme, the man who dismissed Unsworth and refused to change his mind after reviewing the incident on video, will be patrolling the dug-outs. It is a strange choice by the FA to send Mr Wolstenholme back to Goodison so soon after his last controversial appearance there. But the same criteria governed Graham Poll's selection as official for Sunday's derby, two years after he ended a Goodison derby disallowing a Don Hutchison 'winner.'

Blues pair in hernia fears
Dec 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON could lose two of their brightest young talents in the New Year - to the same injury.
Striker Nick Chadwick needs a hernia operation which will be carried out soon in the New Year, while outstanding young defender Tony Hibbert could follow him. "Tony has been struggling with his groin for a few weeks now," said manager David Moyes. "That's why he came off at Anfield, although he felt a bit better on Monday morning. "We have sent him to a specialist to have it checked out because there are concerns it could be the start of a hernia." The Blues will be guided by the consultant on whether surgery is necessary immediately, but if Hibbert is ruled out for any length of time there are replacements standing by already. Joseph Yobo played right- back during the World Cup for Nigeria, while Steve Watson came on after an hour of Sunday ' s derby and showed no ill-affects from the injury problems which have sidelined him all season. Tobias Linderoth and Niclas Alexandersson, though, have returned to full training. "They are both fit," said Moyes. "We need to get as much work as possible into them in the near future."

Birmingham 1, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Andy Hunter At St Andrews, Daily Post
Dec 27 2002
THE public executioners will be out for Wayne Rooney today. But if David Moyes' psychic powers prove as accurate as his managerial vision then the Everton idol should not fear the hangman.
A festive season that began with one horrible tackle ended with another ugly one and Everton feeling a burning sense of injustice yesterday as the teenage sensation received the first red card of his Premiership career. It was ahead of the Merseyside derby, when fears that Rooney's rough-and-ready approach could be provoked were firmly on the agenda, that Moyes stated: "You make mistakes to improve." The Blues boss could never have guessed those words would be tested so soon afterwards but, even if David Elleray's decision was as harsh as Moyes believes, this is one valuable lesson from which Rooney will emerge stronger after he has sat on the sidelines for three games next year. He may be just 17 but he has the character to listen and learn, and quite what an improved Rooney could do will inspire Everton even more. But that is conjecture for another day.
After calling for "a strong official" to deal with the intimidating atmosphere of St Andrews, Moyes was also left with another prophetic regret. Housemaster Elleray was never going to produce anything less than red once Rooney threw himself into a 50-50 with Steve Vickers and came off better with just 10 minutes left to play in the Midlands. It was a reckless rather than mali-cious challenge made with the ball his only target. But having got the ball he also caught the former Tranmere man, forcing him out the game, and in the climate generated by Steven Gerrard's tackle it was no surprise to see him ordered off. Comparisons with that derby incident are inevitable but inaccurate. The challenges were poles apart and the only connection is that they added to Moyes' private fury at the spate of big decisions not going his way. Also adding to his anger yesterday, though, was the display of his own team. This was an away point he found harder to celebrate than the one at Anfield. Mercifully no more coffee tables had attacked any of the Goodison staff over the festive period, so Moyes was forced to make only the one change to his derby day line-up, Joseph Yobo returning at right back in place of the injured Tony Hibbert. Christmas Eve arrival Espen Baardsen replaced broken toe-victim Steve Simonsen on the substitutes' bench where Chinese midfielder Li Tie was in residence for the second successive game. Against a powerful Birmingham side with the worst disciplinary record in the Premiership the same rules as applied to Tie in the derby came into effect. But, despite a purposeful start by the visitors, that was as far as comparisons with their Anfield outing went. Everton, showing none of the effects that often strike on Boxing Day, seemed to settle immediately and created three half-chances inside the opening 11 minutes. Just 39 seconds had gone when Gary Naysmith exchanged passes with Radzinski and whipped over a delightful left-wing cross that fell invitingly for Kevin Campbell on the penalty spot.
The Blues centre-forward was caught between a header and a volley, and opted for the latter which he sent high over the bar. Radzinski was then foiled at the front post by an outstretched Birmingham boot as Yobo's delivery from the opposite flank flashed across the goalmouth. Then another, deeper cross from the Nigerian was flicked by Campbell into the path of Naysmith who sent an 18-yard shot high and wide of Nico Vaesen's goal. Such an encouraging start away from home should have laid the foundations for a confident Everton side to seize control of the contest. Instead, it signalled the beginning of the end o f their impressive first-half play as both they and Birmingham dragged proceedings down with one of their sloppiest displays for a while. Too many overhit passes out of defence, a subdued strikeforce and a referee in Elleray who was only too willing to stop play for the slightest infringement contrived to frustrate the packed travelling support as Everton allowed their hosts to start running the midfield. In a stale half the most interesting spectacle was the duel for Welsh s u p remacy between Mark Pembri d g e and Robbie Savage as the Goodison midfielder twice clattered into his Midlands rival. Despite losing momentum Everton never appeared in danger of conceding a goal as Steve Bruce's men toiled to batter their way through the visiting rearguard.
Then, just as both sets of supporters started dreaming of half-time, the con-text of the game changed completely with two goals from nowhere in the final two minutes before the break.
It was Everton who struck first on 44 minutes with a goal that could and should have given them a timely interval lift. Yobo started the move with a fine tackle on substitute Stan Lazaridis, with Thomas Gravesen taking up the loose ball. His raking pass forward sliced through a static home defence waiting for an offside flag, but when it never came Radzinski raced clear and even had time to miskick his first effort before converting via Vaesen at the second attempt. Criminally, with just two minutes of injury time to be played, the Blues switched off rather than held on to their lead, enabling Birmingham to reclaim momentum with the simplest of equalisers. Lazaridis swung over an excellent cross from the left and suddenly a defence that had seemed so secure turned statuesque as unmarked American striker Jovan Kirovski headed powerfully beyond Richard Wright and sparked an inquest between Alan Stubbs and Alessandro Pistone. Everton frustration mounted when the half-time whistle blew immediately and what should have been a cajoling exercise for Moyes at the break presumably turned into a grilling. Their ascendancy had lasted barely two minutes and, although there were no obvious repercussions in a second-half performance that improved in quality, Everton never threatened to explode into life, even with the customary excitement generated by Rooney's introduction. With both sides going for the win spaces opened up for the first time, and despite numerous scrambles around either box there was nothing of note until Everton's young striker twisted away from Savage and Kenny Cunningham. With expectation raised again, however, this run had no fairytale conclusion.
BIRMINGHAM (4-4-2): Vaesen; Kenna, Cunningham, Vickers, M Johnson; Devlin, Savage, Cisse, D Johnson (Lazaridis 43); Horsfield (Hughes 75), Kirovski (Morrison 60). Subs: Bennett, Powell.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Carsley, Gravesen, Pembridge (Watson 65), Naysmith; Radzinski (Rooney, 65), Campbell. Subs: Li Tie, Gemmill, Baardsen.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Carsley, Weir (fouls); Birmingham's Morrison (foul).
SENDING-OFF: Everton's Rooney (violent conduct).
REFEREE: David Elleray.
ATT: 29,505.

A blip, not a Wayne of real terror
By David Prior, Daily Post
Dec 27 2002
HE may only have been on the scene for a matter of weeks, but Wayne Rooney's autobiography could already boast more chapters than many a seasoned pro. Ever since his right foot launched a missile of a winner past David Seaman in October, justifying in one thrilling moment the mega-hype that had accompanied his footballing infancy, the boy from Croxteth has barely been off the back pages. Here was "a special talent", Arsene Wenger proclaimed, while he was merely the finest 16-year-old player his boss David Moyes had ever seen. Possessing the kind of build usually found only in rugby scrums, Rooney settled in to the rough and tumble of English top-flight football with astonishing ease. Often arriving as a second-half substitute with the swagger and menace of a pantomime villain, the opposition fans soon sensed they were perhaps watching the first steps of a glittering career. First he ended Arsenal's 30-game unbeaten run with a goal that has already achieved wherewere-you-when status on Merseyside. A fortnight later he left Leeds' back four in knots before sliding the only goal beyond England's great hope for the future, Paul Robinson.
Crowds and press boxes buzzed in excitement at the sight of Rooney's name on the teamsheet - here was the lad from the streets playing for his heroes, a George Best for the 21st century. But even though Moyes used every swab of Goodison Park cotton wool he could find to keep his bright young thing under wraps, it was obvious to see that Rooney was no Michael Owen. Not in footballing ability - Rooney has already scored a Premiership goal sooner than the Liverpool striker and nothing yet suggests he will not find the back of the net as many times - but in terms of just about everything else, the two are a different species. Of course nothing profound should be read into Rooney's first sending-off of his career yesterday - one slightly harsh red card hardly suggests an impending career of Gazza-like impetuosity and waste. A sign of things to come or just a small blip in a meteoric rise, it should be nevertheless be remembered that Rooney is probably no different from a lot of people born in 1985. And he's a breath of fresh air - as he showed at the BBC Sport's Personality of the Year award ceremony. Now the 17-year-old has guaranteed himself the backpage exposure his manager had probably feared. But then whoever thought Wayne Rooney was an angel probably put sherry and a mince pie by their chimney yesterday, too.

Wayne didn't deserve red
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Dec 27 2002
DAVID MOYES launched a staunch defence of Wayne Rooney last night after the young Everton star received the first red card of his Premiership career. The 17-year-old striker was sent off by David Elleray in the 1-1 draw with Birmingham and must serve a three-match ban in the New Year following an 80th-minute challenge on Steve Vickers. Former Tranmere man Vickers needed stitches after the tackle, in which Rooney also appeared to win the ball. But as he accused referees of conducting a vendetta against his team, manager Moyes was adamant the Goodison sensation was not guilty of violent conduct. Moyes said: "There was a decision to be made and it could have gone either way. I will always defend my players, though. "In some people's eyes it is a sending off and for others it would not be. But I'm looking at it the way Everton have been treated lately and it seems referees are quite keen on us at the moment and maybe that's why Wayne suffered.
"All the incidents are going against us at the moment, David Unsworth, Wayne's today and the one last week which I deliberately tried to say very little about. "This was more of a challenge between two players going for the ball, more than anything else." The Blues boss added: "It was a good, honest challenge and I didn't think it was a red card. There is more to his game than aggression but I won't be asking him to curb it. I am delighted with how he is progressing. "I wouldn't ask him to show restraint. I'm not going to take that away from him the same way Birmingham wouldn't ask it of Robbie Savage. It is all part of his learning curve. "Maybe he did get there second but that happens when two players go in for the ball. Usually in that case it is a booking. I wonder if Wayne had got there first would their player have been sent off?" Moyes asked Elleray to study the incident on a lap-top computer after the game but ruled out making a formal appeal after controversially losing the fight to clear Unsworth's name after his dismissal against Chelsea.
"We could appeal to the FA but there is no point for us at the moment with the way referees are," said the Scot. They close ranks and make sure they get their stories straight every time we ask them. "I asked the referee to look at it again afterwards. He reluctantly agreed but told me he couldn't comment on it. That's why you wonder about the line of communication we have with officials. He had a poor game in general, his use of the advantage rule was diabolical. You try to help referees but I feel we aren't getting the rub at the moment." Tomasz Radzinski's sixth goal of the season had given the Blues a 44th-minute lead at St Andrew's only for poor defending to allow Jovan Kirovski to equalise in first half stoppage time. "It was a poor game in general," said Moyes. "I wasn't happy with the result but we didn't deserve anything more. It was close to our worst performance of the season. It's not a bad return from Anfield and St Andrews, but this wasn't good enough. It was horrible to concede a goal like that. With just two minutes to go we should have cruised to the break, but we switched off."

Birmingham 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
By David Prentice At St Andrews, Liverpool Echo
Dec 27 2002
ANOTHER important lesson on the learning curve of Wayne Rooney's short career was handed out at St Andrew's yesterday - as Everton's week ended in much the same way as it had begun, with a two-footed tackle. Ironically it was a Harrow schoolmaster doing the teaching, although there was sufficient doubt to question whether the decision deserved a tick or a cross. Impetuosity rather than malice motivated Rooney as he tried to chase down a ball which was racing away from him.
Introduced for the last 25 minutes of a mind-numbing match, he had already beaten one challenge and accelerated away from another, before knocking the ball a yard too far in front of him. He lunged in two-footed, may have connected with some part of the ball, but also connected with a large part of Steve Vickers' ankle and given Everton's fortunes in these matters lately a red card was a formality. David Moyes had asked for a strong referee in the build-up to this game, citing the intimidating St Andrew's atmosphere. He must have blanched at the sight of David Elleray strutting out. As ever, the old pterodactyl (copyright Joe Royle) endured an erratic afternoon, unnecessarily breaking up a match which needed no further help to deserve the description dreadful. Then there was the big decision. There is little doubt that Rooney made contact with Vickers' left ankle, a gash requiring six stitches was testament to that. But the challenge also looked like it was an honest attempt to retain possession. David Moyes did not pointedly refer to an incident his side had been involved in four days earlier, but the inference was that refereeing inconsistencies were beginning to bristle at Goodison. So what of the football action? With goodwill to all men a common theme at this time of year, spare a thought for poor old Stuart Eades of Birmingham. The City supporter was asked to name his all-time best Birmingham XI in yesterday's match programme. Presumably barred by his youth from delving too deep into the club's past, it was still a surprise to see names like Gary Rowett and Geoff Hors-field in his starting line-up, and Thomas Myhre on the substitutes' bench.
This suggests the current, hard-working but limited Birmingham side is probably the best he has ever watched - and must also mean he has never clapped eyes on Bob Latchford or Trevor Francis.
A scrappy, unsatisfying St Andrew's scuffle cried out for class like that. Most of the 29,505 inside St Andrew's will have wished they were still sat slumbering in front of Von Ryan's Express as a stodgy first half neared its end. After 44 minutes and 35 seconds of mind numbing tedium, we got two goals in two minutes. And after the scrappy, scrambled fare which had preceded it, even the goal which broke the deadlock carried an element of good fortune. The two Thomases sprang the Birmingham offside trap, Gravesen weighted a sweet pass through for Radzinski to race clear onto, but as the little striker sized up a shot, he swung back his foot and the ball bobbled. Radzinski swung at fresh air, knocked the ball on another foot and this time lashed the ball through the advancing Birmingham keeper. Everton should have gone in leading, but just 15 seconds from the end of the allotted extra two minutes they conceded a sloppy equaliser. Stan Lazaradis raced away down the left and swung a damaging cross into the Everton box. Jovan Kirovski was left hope-lessly unmarked to direct a free header past Wright, with Pistone and Stubbs pointing accusing fingers at each other.
The second half was marginally more exciting, but it still took the introduction of Wayne Rooney to inject some real goalscoring threat. With his first touch he retrieved a ball from the byline which looked a lost cause and hooked a cross dangerously into the Birmingham box. Then he played a sharp pass to Campbell, demanded an instant return and burst clear only for goalkeeper Vaesen to volley away. It was a similar break which brought a premature end to his afternoon. Trying desperately to chase down an uncharacteristically sloppy touch he jumped in on Vickers and saw red. Everton's biggest concern now, is whether he learns from the incident. That other outstanding young Mersey striker, Michael Owen, was shown a red card early in his career for a two-footed lunge on Ronnie Johnsen. He learned from the experience and rarely erred again.
Now Rooney must show if he can do the same.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-2): Vaesen, Kenna, Cunningham, Vickers, M. Johnson, Devlin, Savage, Cisse, D. Johnson (Lazaradis 43 mins), Kirovski (Morrison 60 mins), Horsfield (Hughes 75 mins). Unused substitutes: Bennett, Powell.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone, Carsley, Gravesen, Pembridge (Watson 65 mins), Naysmith, Campbell, Radzinski (Rooney 65 mins). Unused substitutes: Tie, Gemmill, Baardsen.
Referee: David Elleray. Bookings: Carsley (32 mins) unsporting behaviour, Weir (52 mins) foul, Morrison (83 mins) unsporting behaviour.
Sending-off: Rooney (80 mins) violent conduct.

Sam's rallying call
December 27, 2002
Manchester Evening News
BOLTON boss Sam Allardyce has challenged his side to defy the form book at Everton on Saturday.
Allardyce, buoyed by four points from two games, is desperate to maintain the improvement, especially as they have the chance to drag Aston Villa right back into the relegation equation on New Year's Day. He said: "When we had two games in a short period of time last year, we may have won the first but always failed in the second. "I kept them back for two hours after the Newcastle game so we could warm down properly and focus on the Everton game. "If we can get a good result there, we could go into January with a mass of points from a short period of time and it could change our season for us. We have made a magnificent start to the holiday period." Bolton emerged from the dramatic 4-3 win over Newcastle yesterday with no further injury worries to add to the calf strain suffered by Bruno N'Gotty and Paul Warhurst's hamstring problem. The Reebok boss added: "It is a great worry because both injuries have been recurring all season. They shouldn't really keep either of them out for more than two or three weeks." Scouser Kevin Nolan is desperate for a recall tomorrow, especially as most of his mates are Goodison fans. He said: "I was disappointed not to start against Newcastle yesterday. I enjoyed it when I got on. "It's up to me to prove to the gaffer that I need to be in the team and this is one match in particular that I don't want to miss."

Struggling sides still have plenty of fight
Dec 27 2002 By Howard Kendall
EVERTON now face a run of games against teams whose main priority is avoiding relegation.
With the form Everton are in at the moment, the fans will be expecting them to beat the likes of Manchester City, Bolton and Sunderland. But these sides of fighting for their lives and it won't be easy. They all want to pull away from the drop zone. Earlier in the season Everton were inconsistent against City and Birmingham. It's no use playing well against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, then throwing it away against the struggling sides. City will try and play their way out of trouble while the rest will scrap for points. You could say that Everton are scrappers too. I'm not being unkind when I call them that, it's just that they have hard working players instead of luxury ones like West Ham. But the Blues also have quality in there that can carve out chances for the forwards. Everton proved against Liverpool that they are capable of going anywhere and getting a result. I was surprised that they did not start with Wayne Rooney on the pitch. I thought he started against Blackburn as a warm-up for the derby, but maybe David Moyes wanted to introduce him as a sub if the game was tight. It was possibly the right decision and Rooney almost scored late on, but by doing that, you take a gamble that the game remains tight. There is always a risk you could end up being 2-0 down and your sub trying to score a hat-trick. Christmas break wouldn't work IT IS around this team of the year when some people would have us taking a mid-season break.


They do it in Europe, but many countries have fewer teams in their leagues and they don't have two domestic cup competitions like us. When I managed in Spain, there was a break over the festive period. It didn't really break up the team's rhythm because it was only for around two weeks. The players still trained, it's just that there were no games. As a manager in England, I would let the players have most of Christmas Day with their families then have a training session late in the afternoon. Then I would take them to a hotel for the next day's game. Here I'm not sure a break would work. The crowds at matches increase at this time of the year as many fans are off work and want to watch football. The Boxing Day feature is a tradition. A break would also lead to a fixture backlog towards the end of the season because of the amount of games we get through at this time of the year.

I won't change Wayne - Moyes
Dec 27 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has accused referees of they ducting a vendetta against his side, as Wayne Rooney received the first red card of his young career at St Andrew's yesterday. The 17-year-old striker (right) was sent-off for a tackle which left Birmingham defender Steve Vickers with a gash requiring stitches in his left ankle but Moyes insists he's happy with the way Rooney is playing. But afterwards the Blues' boss declared: "In some people's eyes it could be seen as a sending-off, in others it wouldn't, but the way Everton have been treated in recent weeks you have to ask whether referees are a bit keen on us at the moment and whether Wayne has suffered for that. "All the big decisions have gone against us lately. David Unsworth's, Wayne's today and the one last Sunday which I deliberately did not react to. "Wayne's looked like a decent attempt to win a challenge.
"I asked the referee to look at it again. I took a lap top in to him which he reluctantly agreed to look at, but he would not comment after he had watched it. "I think there was a decision there which could have been construed either way." Unlike the recent failed attempt to have David Unsworth's red card rescinded, Moyes said that there would be no appeal this time. "There's no chance with the way refs are," he said. "They close ranks and make sure they get their stories right. "But I will not ask Wayne to change. Aggression and strength are part of his game. It looked like a good, hard challenge and I did not think it deserved a red card. "The defender just nicked the ball ahead of Wayne, but if it had been the other way around I wonder whether the defender would have received a red card. "I am delighted with the way he has worked and the way he is progressing. It's part of his game and I'm not going to ask him to take that away. "You wouldn't want to take Robbie Savage's fire away from him, would you? "It's another part of the learning curve for Wayne."
Birmingham boss Steve Bruce added: "All I know is that Steve Vickers has six or seven stitches in an ankle wound, but from where I was sitting it was impossible to judge the challenge." Rooney will be suspended for three matches, but will be available for tomorrow's sell-out visit of Bolton to Goodison Park.

Bolton 0 Everton 0
December 28, 2002
Manchester Evening Post
A STUNNING performance by Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen helped Bolton to their first clean sheet for 16 games as they stepped up their battle for premiership survival. Jaaskelainen made three superb saves from Everton's new teenage hero Wayne Rooney to keep Bolton in a game where they were often on the back foot. Rooney, in truth, should have scored, but it was to Bolton's credit that they never caved in under severe pressure which reached a crescendo in the middle of the second half. Rooney, hit the bar on the hour and perhaps Everton started to believe that they weren't going to score as Bolton stiffened their midfield by sending on Stig Tofting in place of Michael Ricketts who was suffering from a ricked neck. Kevin Nolan had squandered Bolton's best chance when he scuffed his shot after 51 minutes but, in a late flourish, Jay-Jay Okocha hit the bar and Tofting had a great chance, only for team mate Ivan Campo to get in his way.
But Bolton extended their unbeaten run to three games and were more than satisfied to go home with a point

Nolan knows all about Wayne's world
December 29, 2002
Manchester Evening Post
BOLTON midfielder Kevin Nolan knows better than anyone the pitfalls and pressures facing new Everton sensation Wayne Rooney. Both stepped straight out of Scouse adolescence into the Premiership glare at the age of 17. It wasn't the best of Boxing Days for Rooney who lost his record as the youngest Premiership scorer to Leeds United's James Milner while becoming the youngest to be sent off when he was red-carded at Birmingham. But Nolan went into Saturday's Goodison date between the clubs claiming that Rooney will survive the loss of his private life to become an England superstar. Nolan admits the pressure on Rooney will be even greater because he left town to make his name at the Reebok after a spell at Liverpool. He said: "I didn't know Wayne until I met him when we were on England Under-21 duty earlier this season but I know plenty about him. "He's a good lad, very down to earth and I'm very pleased for him with the way it's going. He looks a better player every time you watch him.
"He's been massive in Liverpool since he was about 14, but it's been amazing since he exploded onto the first-team scene. He's got broad shoulders and has handled everything very well while David Moyes has handled him very well." Nolan added: "Wayne is new to the Premiership so a lot of people don't know what he's like. The same applied to me last year but I've found it harder this time because opposition clubs know me now and are wary of me. "I expected it to be tougher for me this season but if I learn from it, I'll become a better player. I'm just happy that other teams are noticing me. I'm also happy that I'm getting back to fitness and form after coming back too soon from a groin injury. "Wayne will find it harder as time goes on but his talent is fantastic. The impact he has made is shown by the fact that he has sold more shirts in the club shop that any other Everton player this year this year. "When we were on U-21 duty it was Rooney this, Rooney that but he must try to stay out of the spotlight as much as he can. David Moyes is doing that and I am sure he is producing a great player for England. "But everybody knows Wayne and his face is always in the papers. I feel sorry for the lad. He'd get noticed even if he moved to London but it comes with the job. "After a year in the Premiership I find it difficult to go out in Liverpool, even though I play at Bolton. I can only imagine the pressure Wayne is under. But I think he'll go on to be a great player. He's quick, he can finish and he seems to be taking everything in his stride."

Everton 0, Bolton 0
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 30 2002
IT is a long time since Evertonians have ushered in the New Year with such relish and the name they will toast longest into the early hours is that of Wayne Rooney. Nobody in English football at the present time can conjure such excitement as the 17-year-old with whom Goodison Park has been singularly blessed. Beyond the grey monotony of a very ordinary afternoon's fare, Rooney shone like floodlights, his every touch and turbo burst allied to vision and daring, illuminating an otherwise drab draw. In cold reflection it was a case of two points dropped - Bolton are the sort of team Everton must beat at home if their aspirations of a top four finish are to be realised - but those facts are the prosaic to Rooney's poetry. Admittedly, he failed to score the goal the quality of his display deserved and he tired in the closing stages, but let's not be picky. Bolton manager Sam Allardyce, happy to see his side grab a vital point, joined the procession of managers to hail the Croxteth sensation. "Lucky Moyesie," he said ruefully. "I've never seen a youngster of his age with such talent. Everton could never afford to buy a player of that quality. And great players make you a great manager. "He can only get better if he keeps focused and listens to David Moyes. "He was the one player on the pitch who could have turned the game on his own." No one should underplay Moyes' galvanising influence on Everton's revival but you can't argue with the rest of Allardyce's assessment - including the truth that Rooney was the only man likely to conjure a winner from nothing.
Just ask Ivan Campo who was made to look more like Ivan the Terrible as he was given the runaround by the youngster. The Spanish star, on a season's loan from Real Madrid, has played against some of the top players in the world - Totti, Rivaldo, Del Piero, Inzaghi, Batistuta - but he was in no doubt that Rooney belongs in the pantheon. "After the game I told Wayne he is a great player, that he'll be a very good player but he must be patient - but I'm not sure he understood my English," smiled Campo. "He could have scored a couple of goals. He impressed me. He's good enough to play in any team in the world." He showed his resilience by brushing off the unwanted publicity that went with his first Premiership red card on Boxing Day to shake the game out of its torpor with a darting run at the Bolton backline midway through the first half. On this occasion, his centre was cleared before it reached Kevin Campbell as he closed in but there was more - much, much more - to come. Bolton, despite being buoyed by a nerve-wracking victory over Newcastle two days earlier, only rattled the woodwork once in an otherwise toothless afternoon's work.
Jay-Jay Okocha's 20-yard free-kick 13 minutes from time was Everton's most disturb-ing moment while Jussi Jaaskelainen, in stark contrast, foiled Rooney three times. Everton's supply line to Rooney was woeful and the midfield below par but the young pretender's precocious gifts caused Bolton more than one tremor as he carved chances for himself from nothing. Three times in the last two minutes of the first half he almost broke the deadlock. Jaaskelainen pushed one effort wide and then Rooney's flashing shot at Thomas Gravesen's corner couldn't find its way through before it finally took four defenders to close him out as he again bullocked into the area moments later.
His best chance came in the 62nd m i nu te wh e n h e brought Joseph Yobo's centre under control only to volley the ball on to the underside of the bar when a more careful steer would have yielded the elusive goal. By then Jaaskelainen had again parried a Rooney effort and the striker's follow-up was blocked as Everton finally found some rhythm and penetration. For Rooney it was an object lesson in the frustration that comes with the game, as he failed to find the end product to what would have been a catalogue of masterpiece goals. No wonder Moyes was visibly furious at the end of the afternoon. He desperately wants to win every game - especially against the team fourth from bottom - and his annoyance was understandable. But, really, Everton were not at their best. How much Moyes must wish - public protestations to one side - to be able to dabble in the transfer market once football's January sales open to build on the momentum he has created. His more pressing concerns centre around Kevin Campbell's fitness. The striker was replaced by Tomasz Radzinski 10 minutes into the second half with calf and ankle injuries, leaving the Blues' striking resources threadbare. Moyes was forced into deploying the diminutive forward line he has shied away from using - the two Rs - and with Kevin Keegan's Manchester City due in town on New Year's Day the fit-ness of his skipper is high on his agenda of concerns. Rooney visibly waned in the closing throes of the game, as well he might after the yardage he covered. No doubt when he plays more than a cameo role on a regular basis, completing 90 high-octane minutes will come naturally.
But, for the moment, if Moyes can take any consolation from this victory spurned, it is that Rooney will score more often than not. He doesn't deserve to be so unlucky again.

Boss left sweating on crock Campbell
By Jonathan McEvoy, Daily Post
Dec 30 2002
EVERTON manager David Moyes is sweating on the fitness of skipper Kevin Campbell after the Blues were held to a goalless draw by lowly Bolton on Saturday. Star man Wayne Rooney was kept at bay as the visitors earned their first clean sheet in 15 matches. And Moyes is pondering more striking problems as Kevin Campbell faces a race against time to be fit for the visit of Manchester City on New Year's Day. With Nick Chadwick sidelined and Duncan Ferguson still some way from being fit, Campbell's absence would come as a major blow to Moyes' hopes of extending Everton's impressive recent run. The Everton boss is reluctant to play two small men up front - Tomasz Radzinski and Rooney - in tandem and is waiting for an update on the extent of Campbell's injury. Campbell was replaced by Radzinski 10 minutes into the second half with calf and ankle injuries. Three times Rooney was denied by point-blank saves from Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen - and he also slammed a rising 62ndminute shot against the bar on a day of frustration for Everton. Bolton had not kept a clean sheet since their win at Old Trafford on September 11. And Moyes reserved qualified praise for 17-year-old Rooney, whose misses in front of goal means the Blues have won just one of their last seven games. Moyes said: "It was a good performance from Wayne but he needed to score at the end." Moyes continued: "He had enough opportunities, albeit he created most of them himself. "I'm disappointed - it was defi-nitely a case of two points lost and it feels like a defeat. We should have won the game and we didn't. "We've dropped four points out of our last six now and that's not good." Moyes could even have been at a worse scenario had Jay-Jay Okocha's 78th-minute free-kick found the net instead of rattling the Everton bar. Bolton boss Sam Allardyce admitted the long-overdue clean sheet was the biggest positive of day after a series of late mishaps which have blighted his season. "We were very determined at the back and we were an exceptionally unit," he said. "I feel like this is a moral victory. I don't think anybody would have a goalless draw, but that was our first aim. "Our performance was dogged, and resilient, we weathered a storm for 10 minutes in the second half and we nearly snatched it. "Now we need to start develop-ing these kinds of matches into 1-0 wins."

Everton lose Kings Dock bid status
By Alan WestonDaily Post
Dec 31 2002
EVERTON FC will lose its status today as preferred developer for the Kings Dock, allowing other developers to potentially step in with a rival bid for the flagship site. Regeneration company Liverpool Vision, which represents the public sector partners in the £300m Kings Dock project, set a New Year's Eve deadline for the club to guarantee its £30m contribution to the scheme. With that guarantee still not in place, Liverpool Vision will now be able to consider other options for the redevelopment of the waterfront site. But even though Everton has failed to meet the latest deadline, the Daily Post understands there are no other developers in a position to put together a comprehensive bid within the next three months. Liverpool Vision has alsorevealed it has not started discussions with anybody else. The club had been struggling to find its own contribution to the £155m building costs and fears had also arisen about raising another £35m from the residential and commercial developers. Liverpool Vision confirmed it had received and considered draft propos-als from Everton outlining a new funding package for the delivery of the waterfront arena.
Last night, Liverpool Vision chairman Sir Joe Dwyer said: "I have met within the last few days with representatives of Everton and their private sector partners to discuss the funding of their share of the arena costs. "I am encouraged that they are now addressing the requirements set out by the public sector, but the proposals are subject to the outcome of a due diligence exercise by the new private sector development partners and it will be two to three months before any package can be confirmed and funding guaranteed." It is hoped Everton will finish its due diligence exercise - a business scrutiny of the residential and commercial element - within six to eight weeks. Sir Joe confirmed he had written to Everton outlining the public sector's response to its latest proposal.
He added: "In these circumstances it is not likely that English Partnerships will extend Everton's preferred developer status beyond December 31 as the necessary guarantees are not at this stage in place. "Everton and its partners will continue their due diligence work on the arena and associated development opportunities. "They will be in a position to confirm their proposals on completion of this exercise. "In the meantime, Liverpool Vision and its public sector partners will be considering alternative means of achieving our aspiration to deliver a major arena, conferencing and exhibition facility on this site. "We will of course give appropriate consideration to the result of Everton's due diligence, and hope that this work can be concluded as quickly as possible." A Liverpool Vision spokesman said: "We are looking at how to pursue the objective of providing conference, exhibition and arena facilities on the King's Dock that might work independently of the football component.
"There is currently no discussion with any other developers and no discussion about how and when discussions with other developers would commence. "If Everton come back with the appropriate guarantees the board will give them appropriate consideration."

Preview: Everton v Man City
December 31, 2002
Manchester Evening News
NICLAS JENSEN has earmarked fellow Dane Thomas Gravesen as the chief threat to Manchester City's away day bandwagon rolling out of Merseyside with three points. No one in the Premiership has been better on opponents' grounds in the last ten weeks of 2002 than Kevin Keegan's side and they aim to carry that blistering form into the New Year. The Blues first five Premiership contests on the road yielded just one point but a change of system and luck has seen them win four and draw one of the last six away fixtures, a sequence the title favourites would love to have on their CVs.
Away day bonuses
Jensen and company, who have picked off West Brom, Birmingham, Sunderland, and Fulham in recent trips, know that high-flying Everton pose a stiff challenge but are sure City are up to it.
"We have a great spirit around the team at the moment and we know we are difficult to beat. Even the game we lost against Spurs should have been won so we will be optimistic about going to Everton," said Jensen. "There has been a great deal of talk about a few players there this season but Thomas is the unsung man who I feel makes them tick. "He is a good player I know him very well. He combines a lot of work with high skill level and the killer through pass. We will have to keep our eye on him. "Thomas is a real hard worker who is important to Everton and to their strikers. He can win a ball and then he knows how to use it. If we can stop him it will make the forwards less dangerous."
Injury blows
Jensen will play as a left wing-back at Goodison as City come to terms with being without both Danny Tiatto and Eyal Berkovic. Tiatto will be out for three to four weeks, while Berkovic is also out, though he could be back for Sunday's FA Cup clash with Liverpool. "Losing them both is a blow but Danny will not need surgery and Eyal, although he will miss the trip to Goodison, will not be too long in being fit again," pondered manager Kevin Keegan. "Eyal has been an inspiration and a real leader in his own way over the first half of the season and with Peter Schmeichel and Nicolas Anelka has been one of our most influential performers. "We are lucky that Niclas Jensen and Ali Benarbia have both come right back to their best and at just the right time." Keegan is set to start the match at Everton with a familiar 3-5-2 formation though it could be a close call between Darren Huckerby and Shaun Wright-Phillips as to who plays off nine-goal Nicolas Anelka.
Everton will start with Wayne Rooney alongside Tomasz Radzinski because Kevin Campbell has an ankle injury. David Unsworth is suspended for the Toffeemen while a hernia problem rules out the promising Tony Hibbert. Jensen, who played as both a wingback and conventional defender at Fulham, is just happy to be included after being dropped at the start of the month. "It is great to be back in the side and now I hope to keep my place but I know that I have to be at my best to do that," he said. "I always knew it was going to be difficult to always be a first choice because this is a good club with a lot of good players. I never expected to be able to come here and play every game for three or four seasons. "The competition is great and the strength of the reserve team is great and that tells you how strong a club you are at. "I thought we did well on Saturday with a back three or four and that flexibility will stand us in good stead."

Moyes eyes triple boost
Dec 31 2002 Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES hopes to bolster Everton's European push with a host of new signings after the transfer window reopens at midnight tonight. The Blues boss, who last week admitted several new faces may arrive at Goodison Park in January, is targeting three new faces to help strengthen the club's grip on European qualification. Top of his hit-list is a new striker, who could be arriving on loan in the next few days despite Kevin Campbell's ankle injury proving less serious than first feared.
American World Cup star Brian McBride is a likely candidate providing Everton can arrange a loan deal with his Major League Soccer club Columbus Crew. The 30-year-old international was strongly linked with a move to Merseyside in the summer only for a proposed £1.5million deal involving a swap with Joe-Max Moore to falter over thethen Everton striker's injuryand the MLS's refusal to let McBride break his contract. Perugia's Nicolas Amoruso and Anderlecht's Croatian star Ivica Mornar have both emerged as possible targets recently - while out of favour AC Milan striker Jon Dahl Tomasson could also figure - but McBride is a more realistic signing. Moyes knows all about the American star after taking him on loan at Preston North End last year and McBride is keen on a move back to England. Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said is also expected at Goodison later this week on loan until the end of the season. And he could still be joined by Celtic's Colin Healy if the Blues can persuade the Scottish champions to accept a nominal fee for their midfielder before his contract expires in June. Moyes is a long-time admirer of the young Republic of Ireland inter-national and is favourite to land him on a free transfer in the summer. But he has not given up on signing Healy for a fee of around £150,000 this month, although there may have to be a departure from Everton to add him to the wage bill. Moyes is anxious to bolster his forward line as Campbell's injury scare highlighted the frailty of Everton's squad at the weekend. The Blues centre-forward was forced out of the goalless draw with Bolton amidst fears he ankle ligament damage could spark a lengthy spell on the sidelines.


December 2002