Everton Independent Research Data


Arteta's vow as Spurs thwart Davies move
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 1 2005
MIKEL ARTETA last night vowed to prove himself in the Premiership as Everton missed out on a deadline day deal for Tottenham winger Simon Davies. Goodison officials had hoped to follow up the loan capture of the Real Sociedad playmaker by securing a permanent deal for Welsh international Davies (right). But a frustrating day of negotiations ended in deadlock after Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy refused to lower his £5million asking price for the 25-year-old. Everton lodged two firm offers with Tottenham in an attempt to bolster David Moyes's midfield for their Champions League pursuit, believed to be around £2.5m and £3m. But despite an £8m move for Nottingham Forest pair Andy Reid and Michael Dawson, the White Hart Lane chairman ruled out a compromise deal for Davies and insisted he would only listen to offers over £4m. That figure was beyond Everton's valuation of a player who has made only 13 appearances for Spurs this season and returned to the side for the first time in two months in Saturday's FA Cup draw at West Bromwich Albion. But they will have Arteta available for tomorrow night's Premiership visit of Norwich. And the former Glasgow Rangers midfielder admits he is desperate to revive his career at Goodison after a troubled season in San Sebastian. Everton are believed to have paid around £1m to take Arteta on loan and will pay a further £1.85m to sign him on a permanent basis at the end of the season if he impresses. Arteta, who has made only a handful of appearances for Sociedad this season, said: "I found myself in a situation which I didn't expect at all, with a coach who did not want to use me.
"The past few months have been long ones. I've given up planning too far ahead. I want to be a player that counts. I don't feel good picking up money and not playing football and I hope moving to Everton will give me this chance." Manager Moyes said: "We have a got an opportunity to look at him for six months, the Everton supporters have a chance to look at him and between us we will all decide whether Mikel Arteta will be a good addition to the squad. "He fits all the requirements for us, he can play midfield, he can play wide, so it gives us a bit more cover and a good chance to have a look at a promising young player. "He did very well for Glasgow Rangers, then got himself a big money transfer to Real Sociedad though maybe it has not quite worked for him." Arteta started the season at Sociedad playing off the forwards Nihat and Kovacevic with defensive cover behind him - a situation he could find at Everton. He was dropped to the bench after a poor run but Sociedad president Jose Luis Astiazarán admitted his departure was for financial reasons, saying: "We cannot afford to have a player on the bench who earns what Arteta earns."

Rooney baiting may backfire
By Paul Walker and Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 1 2005
EVERTON legend Graeme Sharp has appealed to Goodison fans to lay off Wayne Rooney in the FA Cup because it could harm their own club's chances of reaching the quarter-finals. The teams have been paired in the fifth round, with the game to be played on either February 19 or 20. It will be Rooney's first return to Goodison Park after his controversial move to Old Trafford in the summer, and he is likely to receive a hostile reception from those fans angered by his departure. But Sharp believes that if Rooney (pictured) is given a torrid time on his return to Goodison it could motivate him even further. "Everton fans have to realise that life goes on. This is not about Wayne Rooney but about Everton reaching the quarter-finals," said former striker Sharp. "Everton fans should channel all their efforts into helping the 11 players in blue, not putting their anger into abusing Wayne, that could only make him play better. "Everyone saw what a fantastic player he is with those two amazing goals against Middlesbrough. "And everyone here knows better than most what damage Wayne can do, so getting him wound up should be the last thing the fans should do."

Sharp added: "Of course all Everton fans are disappointed to see Wayne in a red shirt, but the lad has gone now and we should all move on. "Too much hype over the situation will only play into Manchester Unit-ed's hands. "What is important is to get our own team into the last eight and any ill-treatment of Wayne will not help achieve that. It is almost playing into his hands. "Look at what happened at Liverpool last month. Their fans gave Wayne all sorts of abuse and what happened? He ended up winning the game for United. "I hope Everton fans have moved on. "Maybe they should look at the fact that since he has left, the players here have responded magnificently and we are having a great season. "Getting on Wayne's back and giving him something to use for his motivation is not the cleverest behaviour." Former Manchester United and Everton player Mickey Thomas is another who is confident Wayne Rooney has the temperament to handle what is sure to be a much-hyped Goodison Park return. "Wayne Rooney has the temperament to handle this game; I have no doubt about that," said Thomas. "He has already been back to Merseyside once for the Liverpool game and he wasn't fazed by that - so while I appreciate feelings are running high at Everton about his move to United, I don't think the game itself will have any problem. "But you have to look at the AC Milan match coming so soon afterwards and wonder if Sir Alex might just decide to rest him for that one."
* MIDDLESBROUGH have joined Everton by admitting breaches of FA Rule E22a for failing to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. The charges related to a mass confrontation during the match between the two clubs at the Riverside on Sunday, January 16.
Both clubs have requested personal hearings which will be scheduled in due course.

Ferguson: Everyone should take it easy over Wayne
Daily Post
Feb 1 2005
SIR ALEX FERGUSON last night urged Everton supporters to go easy on Wayne Rooney when he returns to Goodison Park in the FA Cup later this month. "It's a hard away draw and we know it's a massive game," said Ferguson. "The last six and seven names that were in there were all big like Arsenal and Chelsea; it could have been anyone. "The obvious focus will be on Wayne Rooney so it's a big test for him. But people must remember he's been an Everton fan all his life and I hope there's been some space between Wayne's move and now, and I hope there's a calm between the fans.
"We have a great relationship with Everton and it should be a good game."

Cup draw sparks security concern
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 1 2005
EVERTON will stage a major security operation when Wayne Rooney returns to Goodison Park next month to avoid a damaging FA punishment. The former Goodison idol will be back at the club he quit last August after Everton drew Manchester United in yesterday's FA Cup fifth round draw.
Rooney's return will guarantee a hostile atmosphere on February 19 following his acrimonious £27million move to Old Trafford. And Everton will step up their normal matchday security procedures to prevent any controversy that could impact on their pursuit of a Champions League place. Everton are on a final warning from the FA after three pitch invasions at Goodison Park this season. The club have been told they face a fine if there is another repeat this season, but there is also the possibility they could be docked points if there is a serious breach of FA instructions.
Both chief executive Keith Wyness and manager David Moyes appealed for restraint in the recent matchday programme against Charlton. And the club's surprise decision yesterday to accept the FA charge of failing to control their players at Middlesbrough could be viewed as an attempt to appease the game's governing body. Everton would not reveal the details of their increased security operation last night. But chief executive Wyness said: "We are aware that emotions could be running high but I am convinced that Evertonians will conduct themselves in a proper fashion. "Measures are in place to cover any eventuality." Club captain Alan Stubbs, meanwhile, believes Everton's dramatic improvement since Rooney left should put the potential powderkeg into perspective. "It should be interesting, whether he plays or not," said Stubbs. "I'm sure I'll get a phone call from him this afternoon about it. "But at the end of the day, Wayne's gone now, we wish him all the best, but we're doing well without him. "Hopefully, things won't get too carried away closer to the game, because I'd like to think that Everton Football Club, its players and its fans have moved on and Wayne Rooney has moved on. When you look back on the transfer now, it was all for the benefit of Everton." Ironically Rooney helped United into round five with two majestic goals against Middlesbrough at the weekend. But Stubbs insists Everton have nothing to fear from the Cup holders, who face AC Milan in the Champions League four days after their visit to Goodison.
Stubbs added: "It'll be a tough game and Wayne scored a few mediocre goals at the weekend! But if he plays, he plays. I'll see if I can get close to him and kick him! We're looking forward to it. We've got a few important Premier League games before Man United come here and if we can get some good results it will be an interesting build-up to the tie."

Bring on the Mancs
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 1 2005
Bring on Mancs
GREAT news about Everton getting the Mancs at home in the Cup. We could not have asked for a better draw. I just pray Rooney plays because he deserves all the stick he gets.
Jay Simpson, Sefton
Worried Wayne?
I AM so glad we have drawn Man United in the FA Cup. Even if Rooney chickens out of this game, he can't miss the league game as well. Now we'll see what he's really made of. And I definitely think it's about time we put one over the Mancs.
David Evans (via e-mail)
Fat chance
I GUESS if we are going to win the FA Cup, we have to beat the best. Bring on the Fat Boy!
Gareth Jones (via e-mail)
Len not right
AS a Norwich fan I can't accept the view that we "...left, flight feathers ripped out, lucky to get nought, with Everton easing up after scoring three and capable of six" as suggested by Len Capeling in Monday's Daily Post. Not sure you were at the match or your memory is going, but the score was 3-1. Everton were lucky at Carrow Road this season. I didn't see anything that was evidence of a top five Premiership side. See you on Wednesday.
Nick Budden (via e-mail)
Spanish highs
I HAVE had some encour-aging reports on Mikel Arteta from my friends who are Rangers fans. He'll do well at Everton.
Mark Smith, Maghull
Arteta wl b gr8
I HAVE had about five text messages about Arteta, from Rangers fans and even one from a Celtic fan. All seem to be in agreement that he is a quality midfielder, just needs to settle in quickly.
Mike Turner, Speke
Fourth and prosper
FOR me this season is already a success, but I don't want it to finish yet. I still think Everton has all the graft still in it and that we can hold on to fourth place right up to the end.
Eddie Hunter (via e-mail)
Great Scott
EVERTON have surpassed everyone's expectations over the course of this season.
The rebuilding process of the club takes time, and now our ambitions are qualifying for Europe rather then avoiding relegation, the quality of the player we need changes and these players are not available. Sign Scott Parker.
Tony Freeman, Crosby
Wright's wrong
THE one thing Everton need at the moment is a new goalkeeper. Wright is not good enough and Nigel Martyn will be retiring after his year-long extension runs out.
Bobby Andrews, Walton

Arteta reveals lure of Reds duo!
Feb 1 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON new boy Mikel Arteta this afternoon revealed that a phone call to his new rivals across Stanley Park helped convince him to move to Merseyside. The 22-year-old former Spanish Under-21 international is close friends with former Real Sociedad team-mate Xabi Alonso and winger Luis Garcia. He gave them a call after being contacted by the Blues on Friday about the prospect of a loan move to Goodison to the end of the season which could turn into a permanent transfer for £2.8m. He said: "I know two of the Spanish players at Liverpool, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia.
"I called and asked my friends about the city and how they live and they said they were very happy here. Knowing them will help a little bit. "Also having played in Glasgow will help because of the language and because of the passion in this country. "I have been very impressed with the team. They are physically very big and strong but also the atmosphere in the dressing room is very good.
"As soon as I arrived each player was coming in to talk to me and that is very good; very important."
Arteta has arrived on Merseyside with a medial ligament problem which could delay his debut for up to a fortnight. But the midfielder is eager to prove this week he is fit enough to earn a run out at Southampton on Sunday. He added: "The side is having a great season so even though the squad is small, I will still have to work very hard to get in the team. "The idea is to stay here (beyond the loan period) but the most important thing is to start playing and doing things properly and then we will see what happens. "I will work hard this week and we will see on Sunday if I can play, but that is up to the manager." Blues boss David Moyes said of his new capture: "He is a young player who did really well for Rangers before moving back to Spain last year for a big fee. "It hasn't quite worked out for him at Sociedad. This is an opportunity for us to have a look at him and see if he can become a permanent signing. tHe is a technically very gifted player.He fits the mould we are looking for in terms of his talent and his age. "We are looking to build a good young team and Mikel has a lot of experience for a young player, having played with Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain and Rangers, before going to Sociedad. "He can play in midfield or out wide, which gives us options."
Arteta is eager to prove himself in the Premiership, admitting: "The past few months have been long ones. I've given up planning too far ahead. "I want to be a player that counts. I don't feel good picking up money and not playing football and I hope moving to Everton will give me this chance." The Blues had also been in extended negotiations with Tottenham aimed at bringing Simon Davies to Merseyside. But, despite an £8m outlay on the Nottingham Forest duo of Andy Reid and Michael Dawson last night, White Hart Lane supremo Daniel Levy refused to consider anything less than £4m for the Welsh international. The Blues were unwilling to match the valuation. The Blues could also be without skip-per Alan Stubbs (groin injury) for tomorrow night's Premiership clash with Norwich at Goodison. Meanwhile, Everton have chosen not to risk the wrath of the FA and new chief executive Brian Barwick and have opted to accept the charge of failing to control the club's players for the melee at Middlesbrough two weeks ago. It is a move which has been followed by the Riverside outfit, who faced the same charge.

New boy aims to mend his Art ache
Feb 1 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA is confident a new start on Merseyside will bring stability and contentment to a career which has seen far too little of both in the last six months. When he switched the hullabaloo of Ibrox for his hometown club of Real Sociedad last summer it seemed the 22-year-old playmaker had completed his dream move - and brought an end to his personal troubles. But that could not have been further from the truth. Signed as the replacement for Liverpool-bound Xabi Alonso, Arteta's return to his hometown club quickly went pear-shaped. It has proved to be a demoralising six months, culminating with the personal anguish of the recent bomb scare at the Bernabeu which brought a halt to Sociedad's league clash with Real Madrid. It is a period of his career Arteta can now reflect on with disappointment, having escaped San Sebastian for a loan spell with Everton which could turn into a permanent £2.8m move in the summer. His departure from Rangers last summer, two years after arriving from Barcelona for £5.8m, was supposed to bring him the happiness he sought. "I had personal problems with my family and that time last season was very difficult, " he explained. "I had to leave because my head was not good. Family, for me, is the most important thing. "I knew that with my head not right that I wasn't settled. I couldn't do my best and the club knew this. They understood and, for that, I have to say 'thank you'. The club asked me what was happening and I was honest with them. It was to do with my parents. "Rangers understood everything and they kept things quiet. That was something I appreciated. I can't just forget Rangers because I came home. I had a good relationship with so many people and I miss that. "It's easy for people to be good and honest when things go well, but when they go badly people feel different and what I received from Rangers is something not easy to find in life." It was a disappointment for the Rangers fans, who had taken Arteta to their hearts. Indeed, his first season in Scotland started spectacularly, scoring in his Old Firm debut before going on to play a pivotal role in the side's march to the domestic treble. Had his career at San Sebastian started as spectacularly, there is no way Everton would have acquired his services. Moving to Real Socieded was supposed to be the perfect outcome to his Glasgow torment. He was representing his hometown club, near his family and with a platform to parade his skills in front of the Spanish manager Inaki Saez. Saez had promised Arteta that a move to La Liga would increase his chances of promotion from the Under-21s. But soon after the £2.7m transfer, Saez lost his job, Socieded failed to win in their first five league matches and Arteta lost his place in the side, with coach Jose Amorrortu deciding the young man's flair was a luxury his struggling side could not afford. Arteta, speaking two weeks ago, continued: "We started badly and the manager thought the most important thing was to be defensively well. "He didn't give me much of an explanation. I didn't expect it. He said that he wanted to play differently, to play with long balls and more security. He felt there are a lot of players better than me to do that. "That was a big disappointment for me to hear after they decided to sign me. "When I was in Glasgow, the manager of Spain said I should play there (Sociedad). He was sure that I had a big chance. But now I am forgotten." The battle to regain a regular first team place, however, was at the back of Arteta's mind during a dramatic night at the Bernabeu in January. He had been on the field for 20 minutes as a substitute when the players were ordered off the pitch because a Basque country newspaper had received a bomb threat. "I felt the danger that a bomb could explode," said Arteta. "You think it is maybe not ETA because normally they do it in other places. But this was a stadium with lots of people, so was it Al Qaeda? It was very, very dangerous. "We had to go out as quickly as possible because you think it could become a tragedy. The first thing I thought was my girlfriend and family was there and, if something happens, it could be so terrible. I was very nervous. "It was a horrible feeling of fear - you don't know if there is a bomb or if it is going to explode. A lot of things are going around your head in a short space of time."

Stubbs: Fans have moved on after Roo
Feb 1 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON captain Alan Stubbs believes the Blues' success since Wayne Rooney's departure should ease his return to Goodison Park. The England star's new club, Manchester United, were drawn with Everton in yesterday's FA Cup fifth round draw. If Rooney plays it will be his first appearance against his boyhood heroes since his £27million summer switch to Old Trafford. "It should be interesting, whether he plays or not," Stubbs said. "But at the end of the day, Wayne's gone now, we wish him all the best, but we're doing well without him. "Hopefully things won't get too carried away closer to the game, because I'd like to think Everton Football Club, its players and its fans have moved on and Wayne Rooney has moved on. "When you look back at the transfer now, it was all for the benefit of Everton. "If he plays, he plays. I'll see if I can get close to him, see if I can kick him - you never know!" Sir Alex Ferguson also urged Everton supporters to go easy on the player they once worshipped. "The obvious focus will be on Wayne Rooney so it's a big test for him. "But people must remember he's been an Everton fan all his life and I hope there's been some space between Wayne's move and now, and I hope there's a calm between the fans," Ferguson said. "We have a great relationship with Everton and it should be a good game."

Wayne can cope with cauldron
Feb 1 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has the temperament and the character to come through his FA Cup cauldron unscathed, says a player who has run the Goodison gauntlet himself. Steve McMahon was an Everton ball-boy who made more than a century of appearances for the Blues in the early 1980s. But he outraged the Goodison faithful by quitting Goodison for Aston Villa in 1983, then intensified that anger by joining Liverpool in September 1985. He accepts that Rooney is likely to receive a similar reaction to his own if he plays in the FA Cup fifth round tie at Goodison on February 19. But he says: "I'm sure Wayne will be able to handle it, but it's not very pleasant when it happens to you, there's no doubt about that. "I just hope it's only verbals. "I found it difficult, because the Evertonians didn't really understand why I left and didn't know the reasons. "I was portrayed as the bad boy, when I didn't really want to leave Everton, but I felt I had to because I wasn't offered a proper contract. "I could have joined Liverpool straightaway, but I didn't out of respect to Everton - but the fans never knew any of that. "I'd be lying if I said the crowd reaction didn't get to me, but the strange thing is that it probably made me perform even better whenever I faced Everton. "I always gave 100 per cent in every game I played, but having so many people on your back gives you an extra edge.
"Just look at Rooney at Anfield recently, where he scored the winning goal." McMahon, who jetted out for a new managerial career in Australia today, was uncertain, however, that Rooney would even figure at Goodison in the Cup tie. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if Wayne doesn't play," he explained. "Sir Alex Ferguson is a fantastic manager and a past-master at mind games. "With United in Champions League action a couple of days later he might tell Wayne he is saving him for the big Milan clash. "But if he does play, he has the character to handle the situation."

No fears for Roon return
Feb 1 2005 By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC and police today calmed talk of potential crowd trouble when Wayne Rooney returns to Goodison in the FA Cup. The former fans' favourite (left) is expected to lead the Manchester United frontline when the two sides clash in the fifth round of the cup later this month. Emotions are bound to run high among supporters on the day because of the ill-feeling over Rooney's departure from the Blues last summer. Both Everton chief executive Keith Wyness and manager David Moyes appealed for supporters to behave when the 19- year- old returned to Goodison with United for the league clash last month. After the sides were paired up in the FA Cup, club spokesman Ian Ross said: "I don't think any Everton fans would consider doing anything that would damage the reputation of the club. "They have an almost impeccable record of behaviour both at home and away. "Wayne Rooney is not the first former Everton player to return to Goodison Park or the first Everton favourite to return. "We're aware that if he does come back and play it will be a sensitive issue for many fans but Evertonians have got a fantastic record of good behaviour.

"We don't expect there to be anything more than a vociferous reception for Wayne Rooney if he does come back - and there is no guarantee that he will even play. We're not expecting any trouble at all." Neither the club nor Merseyside police would discuss security and stewarding levels for the game, saying these were "operational issues". No decision has yet been made on the kick-off time for the match but police are expected to discuss this with the two clubs, BBC and Sky over the next few days. Merseyside police tried to play down the impact that Rooney's return would have on the behaviour of fans. Inspector Lindsay Veitch, from the force's football unit, said: "We have policed countless matches in the FA Cup matches in the city over many years. This is a big game and will be policed as such. "As always we will be working with Everton Football Club and Liverpool council to ensure that every eventuality is planned for and that the game can be enjoyed by all."

Moyes: Don't let your efforts be all in vain
By David Prior, Daily Post
Feb 2 2005
EVERTON manager David Moyes last night challenged his squad to make sure all their hard work so far this season does not go to waste. The fourth-placed Goodison club take on struggling Norwich tonight and, when asked if he fears the challenge of fifth-placed neighbours Liverpool in the rest of the campaign, the Scot insisted Everton would merely continue to concentrate their efforts on catching those teams above them. "I don't know why you mention Liverpool," said Moyes. "We are looking at the top teams and trying to catch them rather than looking at the teams behind us. Our job is to try to overtake Manchester United, we must be aiming to catch them. We are continuing to look forward and at the teams above us." He added: "Norwich is a game we realistically have to try and get maximum points out of. But we'll still be in fourth position, although we'd like to keep our distance from the other teams if we can. "They're a side which don't lose that often. They've drawn a lot of games, and obviously they will have wished that they'd turned some of them into victories as it would have made a big difference to them. "But I think they're a side which are doing everything to try and compete. It will be hard for them but they know they are not far away fom staying in the Premiership. With a little bit of luck they could make it." With Chelsea at Goodison Park in a fortnight and then Manchester United in the FA Cup a week later, these are heady times for Everton as they bid to turn an impressive season into a major triumph. Moyes added: "We have some big games coming up, fantastic games to keep us all on our toes, and I feel at this point in time it is looking like a very good season for Everton. "We have 14 games left now and we aim to make the most of them. The squad I have here now is adaptable and I believe we can go on from here to make our ambitions come true." Moyes has fought hard over the past month to bring in play-ers who can carry the club to that coveted fourth place. Mikel Arteta is the latest arrival, although a knee injury will stop the former Barcelona youngster facing the Canaries. Moyes also signed James Beattie and French youngster Guillaume Plessis, but missed out on Spurs winger Simon Davies. "There were others," he admitted. "We made a bid for Simon Davies but that is all I want to say about the window now it is shut. We have to go with what we have got and I believe we are still set for a great season."

Stuart keen to impress on latest Goodison return
By Jim Van Wijk, Daily Post
Feb 2 2005
GRAHAM STUART is out to get his Norwich career off to the perfect start when he returns to Everton tonight. The veteran midfielder (left) signed for the Barclays Premiership strugglers until the end of the season on the final day of the transfer window, leaving Charlton after almost six years of service.
And after finding his first-team opportunities limited at The Valley this season, Stuart cannot wait to get back into action, particularly with his debut coming against another of his former clubs. "I haven't played too many first-team games this season, but I'm still fit and I have still got a huge desire to play the game," declared the 34-year-old. "I'm ready to step in - but obviously it's down to the gaffer to make a decision on what happens. "All I can say is that I will give my 100% best when called on. I've played all the way across the mid-field during my time. It's obviously up to the manager to decide on that. I'll do whatever I'm asked to do." Stuart is likely to get his first run-out tonight, probably on the left side of midfield to free Darren Huckerby for a central striker's role alongside £3million man Dean Ashton. And it will be at a stadium the 34-year-old knows well.
During his four-year stint at Everton, Stuart won the FA Cup in 1995. The season before had found himself involved in a heart-stopping end to the league campaign when his late goal helped keep Everton up on the final day as they beat Wimbledon. Stuart reflected: "I'm looking forward to going back to Goodison Park because that place holds a lot of happy memories for me. It was a big part of my career." However, the midfielder insists there will be no place for sentiment come kick-off time tonight as the Canaries continue their quest to move out of the relegation zone. "Any side who managed to put together back-to-back wins could suddenly find themselves clear of the other three - and we've got to make sure that side is Norwich," said Stuart. "Two wins on the trot would do wonders for our position - and I'm sure it would do wonders for our confidence as well. We've got to remain positive. "We've got a 14-game season ahead of us and it starts on Wednesday night.
"There are plenty of points to play for - and from what I've seen of the lads so far they are convinced we can retain our Premier-ship status." Whether Norwich do eventually pull off an escape act and beat the drop could see Stuart rewarded with a new deal in the summer. For now, though, the midfielder is not looking past the task at hand. "A longer-term deal would be the ideal scenario, but first things first," reflected Stuart. "The most important thing right now is the next 14 games and I've got my eyes set on them and helping Norwich the best way I possibly can. "We'll just have to wait and see what happens in the summer." When the two clubs met at Carrow Road earlier in the season, Everton raced into a 2-0 lead by half-time and looked every bit Champions League challengers. Norwich, though, battled back to draw level, only for Duncan Ferguson's towering header to eventually secure all three points. Canaries manager Nigel Worthington has called on his players to show the same kind of fighting spirit in the return encounter on Merseyside tonight.

Arteta: I rejected Rangers approach
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Feb 2 2005
NEW signing Mikel Arteta insists he won't have a problem with the physical nature of the Premiership - after revealing he chose Everton ahead of a return to former club Rangers. The 22-year-old was yesterday unveiled as David Moyes' sole transfer deadline day signing, initially on a loan deal from Real Sociedad until the end of the season but with a view to a permanent £2.8million deal. And the midfielder disclosed how he had turned down an approach from Rangers, for whom he signed for £5.8m in 2002 before moving back to Spain in a £3m switch last summer, to take him back to Ibrox. He also spurned an advance from another former club, Paris St Germain, as well as an unnamed Spanish club. He said: "The Rangers chairman called me up, but I wanted to come to the Premiership and I think it is a great opportunity for me." Arteta, who established himself as a terrace idol in the blue half of Glasgow, did claim however that his experiences above the border will ensure he can adjust quickly to the Premiership's style of play. The former Spain under-21 international added: "I realised when I moved to Glasgow that the mentality and the spirit is different, and I hope that that will help me to adapt here as fast as I can. "I don't think the Scottish culture is very different from the English culture. I hope having been in Glasgow will help me." A medial knee ligament injury that has kept Arteta sidelined for five weeks means he will have to sit out Everton's home Premiership clash against Norwich tonight. Arteta is hopeful of being fit in time for Sunday's league trip to Southampton, but manager Moyes believes he will need longer than that. The Scot said: "We've got to make sure he's got no problem with his medial knee ligament injury.
"He's trained this morning but obviously he's lacking a little bit of match practice, but it'll give him a chance to settle in and we'll look at him over the next week or so." Moyes has minor doubts over Duncan Ferguson (hip), Alan Stubbs (groin), Steve Watson (stomach muscle) and Lee Osman (knee) for tonight's Goodison clash with City. Fit-again goalkeeper Nigel Martyn may also be recalled in preference to Richard Wright, who has appeared less than convincing during his five-weeks as cover. * LAST night's Everton Reserves' scheduled home fixture with Newcastle United Reserves in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League was postponed. The match has now been re-scheduled to be played at South-port's Haig Avenue ground on Thursday, April 7 (kick-off 7pm). With the enforced change due to Newcastle United's youth team's involvement in a tour of Italy, the scheduled the home fixture with Manchester United, which was due to be played on Tuesday, April 5, has now been brought forward to Monday, April (kick-off 7pm) also at Haig Avenue.

Red compatriots told me I should sign
By David Prior, Daily Post
Feb 2 2005
WHEN a player is mulling over an offer to join Everton, it's not often the first opinion he seeks is that of a Liverpool player. But after learning of David Moyes's interest in him last weekend, that is exactly what Mikel Arteta did. "I was quickly on the phone to my friends at Liverpool," says the 22-year-old (left). "And I asked about the city and where the Spanish lads live. They told me how happy they were in Liverpool." Of course, given the evergrowing band of Spaniards choosing to make the city their footballing home, it makes perfect sense. An ever-growing band that, were they all to be fit and selected, would mean the next Merseyside derby contained seven Spaniards; quite a community for potential recruits to source for advice. On this occasion Arteta sought out Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia, the former having been his predecessor in a play-making role in San Sebastian before undertaking his own, successful switch to the city last summer - and on whose word the new arrival clearly places much importance. "I asked him what he thought and he said he was really happy here," adds Arteta,, who began his career at Barcelona before moving to Paris St Germain and then Rangers. "He said to come here, that Everton are doing really well this season, that they have passionate fans and that I will enjoy it. "I also asked Luis Garcia, and both of them told me I had to come. It is important for me that there are some Spanish lads around because they will be able to help me settle in and if I need anything important I know who to ask. "I know Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia well. I was in the same Spanish under-21 team as Xabi, playing together in the centre of midfield, and we are both from San Sebastian. I also know his brother Mikel very well, we have played together at Sociedad. "As for Luis Garcia, we came through the same Barcelona academy together, he is a bit older than me but we have always been friends and kept in touch." But despite his Spanish friends and his up-bringing in the spectacular foothills of the Pyrenees, it is a community much closer to home that provides the main evidence to suggest Arteta will be at Goodison for a lot longer than the four months he is initially contracted for. Ibrox is not an arena for the faint-hearted foreigner to thrive, but Arteta quickly became a fans' favourite after his £5.8million move from Barcelona, helping Alex McLeish's men to the treble in his first season. His second term in Scotland's second city was by the player's own admission not as successful, but Moyes nevertheless claims it was Arteta's performances in the unforgiving cauldron of Old Firm derby day that he most relied upon when weighing up an approach to Sociedad. "I just looked at him playing in the Old Firm games and that made me realise that if he could play in the Old Firm games then he could play down in England," says Moyes. "He's had two years in Scotland, which, competitive-wise, is similar to England. I think he's more in tune to that and probably more prepared for it. "It's a pleasant surprise to get him. A player of this sort of quality is a player many would have gone for if they'd had the opportunity to. He was a big player at Glasgow Rangers just a year ago. It's just not quite worked at Sociedad, but because he's 22, it gives you a great opportunity to work with a young player who, if he fits the bill, could be here for much longer." Moyes is at pains to point out that Goodison's latest arrival is in no way a replacement for Thomas Gravesen, an opinion reinforced by one glance at Arteta's slight physique. Brains, rather than brawn, is the brief for Arteta, an injection of guile and creativity that will hopefully help decide a few close encounters as Everton embark on what is bound to be a nervy chase for Champions League gold. "He's technically very good," says the manager. "And hopefully he can be someone who can help us to pass the ball better. "He was someone that was brought to my attention a few weeks ago, and the minute I heard about it I started to see if it was possible to get him on loan. We've got a chance to see him for four months, and if he's right we've also got a deal that we can buy him if we want to do so. He fits the bill as far as the sort of players we've been looking to bring." Added Arteta: "The manager said to me that he needs somebody in mid-field to try and pass the ball, and he thinks that I am this kind of player. "I can play in front of the defenders or just behind the strikers or even on the right, so I can give the manager many options. We will see, it depends on what the manager needs from me and my position." The similarities between Glaswegian and Merseyside football are not lost on the midfielder, either. "I have been in Scotland for a couple of seasons with Rangers, so I understand the language even if the two accents from Glasgow and Liverpool are very different," he says.. "But playing in Scotland means I know what to expect from football here. "I enjoy the spirit that the fans and players show, I know about the stadiums too. Ibrox and Goodison Park I am told are both passionate places, my Glasgow experience will help me in Liverpool. "And it was great when David Moyes spoke to me on the phone. He has a strong Scottish accent and I was immediately able to understand him." The familiar surroundings will hopefully provide an amiable base from which Arteta can relaunch a career that has floundered in recent months. Last summer's move to Sociedad looked on paper at least to be a dream move - but it has proved to be anything but. Having failed to win any of their first five matches, Arteta lost his place in the side as coach Jose Amorrortu deemed him a luxury the Basque side could not afford. Internationally, Arteta's prospects also took a dive: having promised the player that a move to La Liga would enhance his prospects of graduating from the Spain under-21 side, national coach Inaki Saez soon lost his job. "Now I am forgotten," Arteta bemoaned at the time.
He adds: "Sociedad did everything they could to bring me to San Sebastian - it was my city and I was really happy to come back there. But I wasn't playing and that was very frustrating." Handed a new start by Moyes, a £2.8m permanent deal is the prize Arteta is chasing - as well as a return to the Champions League. He adds: "I have played in the Champions League before and one of the reasons to come to Everton was that they have a very good chance of qualifying for the tournament next season. "I did not have an opportunity to play in Spain because of the situation at Sociedad, and at my age that was not good. I needed to be playing regularly. "The idea is that after the loan I have the chance to make the move permanently, but at the moment the most important thing is to start playing on a regular basis and then we will see. "I have a great opportunity here, and I hope I can soon show my team-mates and the fans what I can do. It was a difficult decision to leave San Sebastian, it is my home city and my dream to play for Sociedad. "But it has not worked out and now I would love to play for Everton for some time, certainly beyond the end of this season."

Everton cash injection could be on its way at last
Daily Post
Feb 2 2005
THE head of the Fortress Sports Fund last night said he expected to put a formal investment offer in front of Everton chairman Bill Kenwright today. Chris Samuelson was in London yesterday as he sought to finalise the long-awaited £12.8m deal which will give his consortium a 29.9% stake in Everton. The Swiss-based financier said he would meet Mr Kenwright in the capital today to finally put the deal on the table or, if that proved impractical, would fax the documents to the club.
Mr Samuelson has been awaiting formal approval of the Fortress Fund from the Brunei Financial Services Commission where it is being set up. Last night, Mr Samuelson told the Daily Post: "I have had the good news today that we have had verbal approval from Brunei and they are not going to raise any objections. "Now we're setting up an escrow account to receive the money and it should be in the account within 48 hours. "It will sit there until an EGM of Everton's shareholders can approve the deal." Mr Kenwright is clearly not in a position to accept any deal himself and is anxious that any offer is fully reviewed by the Everton board prior to any possible shareholders' EGM.

It will take at least a month to convene an EGM where the position taken by Mr Kenwright's rival director, Paul Gregg, will be crucial. The multi-millionaire has been at loggerheads with Mr Kenwright following a bitter battle for boardroom control last summer.

Hell Bent on a net return
Feb 2 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT is determined to lead from the front in Everton's battle to secure Champions League football as he seeks to rediscover his goalscoring touch. The forward is set to return to the starting line-up for tonight's Premiership encounter with Norwich. He has been one of the successes of the season since his £450,000 arrival from Ipswich and admits he is thriving on the pressure of being so high in the table. Bent (right) is the club's joint top scorer on six but has not netted in his last seven appearances for the Blues. He is determined to bring that run to an end to answer David Moyes' call for more goals from his Champions League chasing side. Bent said: "Everybody's scoring, everybody's contributing. My only gripe is that I want to score more goals. It has been a great six months for me. "To be honest, I have never really been in this position before, in the top half of the Premiership, let alone fourth, and it does bring a different sort of pressure. "But it is a pressure to go out there and be at your best every week and maintain the good runs you have been doing and making sure you don't slip up." Everton take on the Canaries with manager David Moyes insisting his focus is on catching Arsenal and Manchester United rather than worrying about the chasing pack. Liverpool's 2-1 win at Charlton last night cut Everton's lead to four points. But a win at Goodison tonight would re-establish the seven-point cushion but also close the gap on third place Arsenal to just four points. Moyes said: "I don't know why you mention Liverpool. We are looking at the top teams and trying to catch them rather than looking at the teams behind us. "We must be aiming to catch them. We are continuing to look forward and at the teams above us." Moyes faces a selection dilemma tonight following Nigel Martyn's return to full fitness.

Blues aim to start firing on all cylinders
Feb 2 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
GOALS are the goal for David Moyes as he sets his sights on a return to the blistering form of the first half of the season. The Blues entertain Norwich at Goodison tonight eager to maintain the gap over the chasing pack in the hunt for a Champions League spot. But despite a series of solid performances in recent weeks, Everton go into the game having won only once in the league in the last five games - and having suffered defeat at Goodison for the first time since October, in the last league game against Charlton. A glance at the results of recent weeks suggests that the side's defensive record has been at fault. After all, before Christmas the side was conceding an average of just 0.78 goals per game - a rate which only Manchester United and Chelsea could compete with.
In the six league games since that rate has risen to 1.8. But the horrendous scoreline at White Hart Lane has helped to warp that statistic, and doesn't tell the full story of a side which has been playing well and creating chances. Richard Wright has come in for criticism for his disappointing form since replacing Nigel Martyn in the side, which could well lead to an early return to the side for the 38-year-old keeper tonight. But the real letdown has been the side's failure to do what it was doing before Christmas - winning tight matches. Saturday's triumph over Sunderland was only the second time this season the Blues have scored more than twice in a game at Goodison. Moyes admits: "Saturday was a very important result. We dealt with the game well, took our chances and created others as well. "I have always said I have wanted us to be hard to beat at home. Now we have Norwich and we are focused on winning that one."
The indentity of two of Saturday's scorers was also telling. James McFadden netted his third goal in four starts after finally ending his 15-month wait for his first competitive goals, and James Beattie eased the weight of expectation following his £6m arrival from Southampton by finding the net for the first time as an Everton player - albeit with an effort which owed a great deal to Danny Collins telling deflection. Moyes continues: "James has looked as if he has been capable of scoring in each game he has played for us so far, so it wasn't a concern. "Two have hit the post for him and he has had other chances as well. Now he has got one and I am sure more will follow. "But we need all of our players to look a threat and to look capable of getting on the scoresheet. "Faddy got another goal last weekend and could have had another one. "Scoring in the last few weeks does seem to have helped him. He has had a good record in Scotland and with Scotland, either as a wide man or up front. "But he is still a young boy. It was always going to take him time to adjust down here but we knew he would develop because there is a big talent in there. "He is a lad who is so well thought of and the expectation has been great so maybe he has been trying too hard. "But he has got back to the basics and he has been more influential because of that. Now he knows that the opportunities will come." Moyes is fully aware that the six points on offer against Norwich and Southampton on Sunday could push the club a long way towards Europe. With that in mind, the manager could well be ready to switch things around, with David Weir, Tony Hibbert and Marcus Bent all in line for a return.

Meet Mikel's sexy senorita
Feb 2 2005 By Mary Murtagh, Liverpool Echo
MOVE over Coleen McLoughlin. The latest celebrity girlfriend in town is Lorena Bernal - the sweetheart of Everton's new signing Mikel Arteta. The 23-year-old former Miss Spain is no stranger to the limelight. A catwalk model and television presenter in Spain, Lorena is a famous face in her own right. Lorena, who was born in Argentina but lives in Madrid, is the long-term companion of the 22-year-old former Spanish U21 international. She is already used to British weather, Coronation Street and fish and chips having visited Mikel in Glasgow when he played for Rangers. He is the latest addition to the Spanish line-up on Merseyside. Mikel was inspired to pull on a shirt for the Blues after a chat with former Real Sociedad team mates Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia who now play for Liverpool FC. Multilingual Lorena should have no problems settling in in Liverpool because she speaks English . . . as well as Spanish, French and a little German. Lorena is an aspiring actress and has already starred in a soap opera and was one of the faces of Pepe Jeans.

Abuse would fire Rooney
Feb 2 2005 Echo Letters
START making the banners - 'Once a Blue always a Blue'. Greet Wayne Rooney with as many of these and as big as possible. Other than that we should go for polite applause or a dignified silence for the Man U cup match. We need to get behind OUR boys and not waste our voices on their players. Besides, the boy's a pro doing a job and Everton FC are better off without him and the media circus that surrounded him. Let's not lower ourselves to booing and abuse that would only spur him on anyway.
Frank Jones, Stockbridge
LIVERPOOL proved that one surefire way to motivate Wayne Rooney is to barrack him. Please let's not start all that. Best thing would be to greet him with complete silence/ apathy, as this is more likely to faze him.
Steve Lloyd, Harrogate
THE UNITED game is Everton's opportunity to lay a few ghosts to rest. A Blue victory is long over-due and seldom have I looked forward to a game with as much relish as this one. Let's hope that Everton can follow up by doing the double over Man U.
Jimmy King, Aigburth
SO Rooney returns to Goodison for the first time. Clearly there will be a split between those that hate him and those that 'don't mind him'. After all, 'he has done our club a favour' and he's an 'Evertonian at heart'. What absolute rubbish! This is the guy who couldn't wait to dump his 'favourite' club the moment he knew Man United were interested. This is the guy who hasn't given Everton ANY credit since joining United. This is the guy who claimed he had learned so much under the guidance of Alex Ferguson. He hasn't once - NOT ONCE - said how EFC helped nurture him into a top class footballer. I have no time for him and never will have. Let's forget this 'silence' nonsense and give him an almighty grilling.
Shez Khan, Liverpool
PEOPLE forget Richard Wright is a quality keeper who was out of action for a year. In his first season he was solid as a rock with loads of clean sheets, so let's get behind him and give him the confidence he needs.
Dave Cairns, Lincoln
I BELIEVE the acquisition of Mikel Arteta is a sound one, and McFadden and Beattie would appear to be a good partnership. All we need now is a stern defence and a productive mid-field. A few goals and some clean sheets will give us the confidence to get into Europe. Moyes is a great manager. We will beat United in the next round and could be a good bet for the FA Cup.
Roger Williams, North Wales
IT was both a pleasure and relief to see James McFadden put up such an accomplished display against Sunderland at the weekend. Scoring early in the match clearly gave the Scot a confidence boost and I feel certain Evertonians will now see his potential realised sooner rather than later.
James has shown great patience in waiting for his opportunity at Goodison, and under the guidance of David Moyes and Alan Irvine he can only flourish. Another goal tonight in a victory over Norwich would set the seal on a fine four days - and further frustrate the Anfield brigade.
Cec Murdoch, Aintree

A Blue in a sea of Reds
Feb 2 2005 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
SIBLING rivalry in the Mercer household takes on extra significance when it comes to football. Despite the presence of identical twin brothers Mathew and Andrew, the allegiances of the Seaforth youngsters couldn't be further apart. While 13-year-old Andrew adopts the family tradition of being a fervent follower of Liverpool, Mathew supports rivals Everton. It may be an uneven divide, but such is Mathew's impassioned loyalty towards the Blues, he simply shrugs off his outcast tag. "His love for the club stems from his grandfather, but when he died last year it left Mat as the only Evertonian in the family," said his mum Paula, who has nominated Mathew for Jblue's Young Fan of the Year. "This never bothered him as he is proud to be a True Blue. "Over the years Mat has had to take a lot of ribbing for being a Blue, but now he's the one handing out the insults." In fact, Mathew rarely misses an opportunity to wind up his brother. Asked what his proudest moment as a Blue was, he simply replied: " Beating Liverpool this season." Another of Mathew's most memorable moments came towards the end of last year, when he was one of the lucky junior supporters' club members to be invited to the Christmas party at Goodison. "I would like to thank all the staff at Goodison for the Jblue Christmas party Mathew was invited to and where he was photographed with Tim Cahill signing his shirt," said Paula.
* If you know someone who deserves to be Jblue's Young Fan of the Year, write in to us and let us know why. Include both your name and the youngster you are nominating, plus addresses, phone numbers and, if possible, a photograph. Send them to: Jblue, Young Fan of Year, Liverpool Echo Sports Dept, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
* At Everton's official club stores there are further reductions on sale items and all replica shirts can be purchased with a free name and number service. And when purchasing two items from the training range, both adult and junior, you get a third free (cheapest item free).

Everton 1, Norwich 0 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Feb 3 2005
IS PIGEON pie on the Delia Smith menu by any chance? Duncan Ferguson has been a man possessed against Norwich City, scoring the winner at Carrow Road and forcing Gary Doherty to concede a crucial own goal at Goodison Park last night. Whatever the reason for his personal rampage against the Canaries, and he has proved their nemesis in two FA Cup ties too, Everton must bottle it and serve on 13 more occasions this season. For so long it seemed that David Moyes would not be the only blue to fall on his backside against the Premiership strugglers as Everton, as they have done for the best part of a month now, toiled to assert their Champions League credentials in the face of stubborn opposition. The Everton manager went sliding as he attempted to retrieve a David Weir clearance in front of the dug-out in the 10th minute, but that was a rare moment of relief for the Goodison faithful until Ferguson's crucial intervention 12 minutes from time. Liverpool's victory at The Valley had not only reduced the gap in the race for fourth place to four points it increased the pressure on Everton to improve on a recent run of only one league win in five games before last night. Thankfully they rediscovered the art of the slender one-nil last night and deservedly so, just. But Everton must also rediscover the style and conviction that under-pinned their pre-Christmas assault on the Champions League if they are genuine about closing the gap above them rather than widening the one below them, as their manager insists. This, however, was a hugely significant victory for Everton in the face of growing pressure from outside and if Moyes can solve the thorny problem of his strikeforce, with Marcus Bent promising much more than James Beattie at present, then perhaps their hold on fourth will be convincing once again. Despite strong claims for a starting role from Bent, who showed the hunger and menace required in his brief substitute's display against Sunderland on Saturday and again last night with a key part in the winner, Moyes kept faith with James McFadden after his fine FA Cup performance. There were no arguments with that decision, and in the much more delicate call of who to start in goal the Goodison faithful also backed Moyes's judgement when he risked Richard Wright's confidence with an immediate recall for Nigel Martyn.
Wright was always in an unfortunate predicament when he replaced Martyn after 16 months on the sidelines, not that he cursed the chance when it finally came. Martyn has been so commanding in the Goodison goal that his rival required a Herculean effort the moment he replaced the veteran at The Valley to stay in the team. But one clean sheet in six matches, and several unnerving moments, was more than a side with Champions League aspirations can afford. The 27-year-old could rightly argue he needed a run of games to fine tune reflexes and confidence after so long kicking his heels on the bench but he can have few complaints with a change that was for the good of the team. His replacement was quickly back in the action as Everton struggled to assert any authority over the Premiership strugglers in a laboured start. Norwich had the first real chance of the night when three home defenders challenged for the same ball in the 11th minute and gave Dean Ashton a clear shot on goal as a result. Martyn was quickly off his line to block, but the rebound fell straight to Mattias Jonson and Goodison breathed a sigh of relief as he blazed over the bar. A serious lack of midfield options forced Moyes, who didn't even have a midfielder on the bench with new signing Mikel Arteta joining Leon Osman, Li Tie and Steve Watson on the injured list, to move McFadden to the right and Joseph Yobo into the centre. As a result Everton saw plenty of possession down the right flank, in fact it was their only outlet in the first half, but a serious lack of support for McFadden left him isolated and the home side impotent. The only time Moyes's side threatened before half-time came when the Scot or the overlapping Tony Hibbert delivered a delightful cross into the penalty area. But Kevin Kilbane, twice, and James Beattie just failed to connect and indeed it was Norwich who looked the more threatening only for last-ditch clearances by the Everton defence to thwart their efforts. There was no creativity or imagination to Everton's play and when they did find space around the Norwich box they invariably wasted it with the wrong pass or a wasted shot. Robert Green, the visiting goalkeeper, could not have enjoyed an easier A central midfield of Yobo and Lee Carsley will never be expected to provide silk as well as steel but in Beattie, Tim Cahill, McFadden and Kilbane Everton still had the armoury to expect more inspiration than they received.
The Goodison pitch that has drawn such criticism from Moyes did not help matters (even the hit-the-crossbar contestant was seen complaining at half-time) but, as the manager himself insists, that is no excuse for an all-round struggle. At least the second half witnessed a marked improvement from the home side who, along with the crowd, finally woke up to the importance of the game. A mix-up between Carsley and Beattie let Norwich escape three minutes after the restart when they both left Hibbert's incisive pass to each other, although Kil-bane almost spared their blushes with a low shot from the rebound that forced Green into his first genuine save of the night. Beattie's application away from goal left a lot to be desired, as several groans from the Goodison gallery suggested. But like any good striker he comes alive at the merest sight of goal and twice he almost conjured a breakthrough out of nothing. On 53 minutes he tested Green from 25 yards with a shot that appeared to be sailing high into the Gwladys Street only to dip viciously at the last moment to only miss by inches. Four minutes later he read Cahill's intentions perfectly to steal in front of Doherty but though well placed when the low cross came his shot sliced over. Moyes brought on Duncan Ferguson in a much-needed change of attack and Carsley would have added to his repertoire of free-kicks this season when he curled a 20-yard effort towards the top corner in the 66th minute only for a stunning stop by Green to keep the scores level. Little had been seen of Norwich as an attacking threat in the second half but with Everton concentrating on an all-out assault they came close to a shock lead twice in a minute. First Ashton sent a free header straight at Martyn when Darren Huckerby picked him out on the penalty spot, then the well-travelled forward shot weakly at the keeper when free inside the area. The pressure was soon back at the opposite end, however, but a series of wasted headers by Everton finally exhausted Moyes's patience and he replaced the disappointing Beattie with the rapturously-received Bent. Two minutes later, the decision was vindicated as Bent, with his first touch of the game, helped deliver the crucial breakthrough. Once again McFadden was the provider with a fine cross from the right and the substitute forced Green into another excellent save with a towering header. The Norwich keeper could only parry the effort back into play, however, and fellow substitute Ferguson was on hand to pressu-rise his marker Doherty into forcing the ball over the line at full stretch. Instead of settling the nerves the goal only served to induce panic in the Everton ranks and the home side suffered a fraught finale in which Alan Stubbs survived a strong hand-ball claim and Hibbert collected his fifth booking of the season, ruling him out of the Chelsea game. But survived they did, and a week Moyes described as pivotal to Everton's season ended with their second successive win. Improvement is essential if they are to retain fourth place until the end of the season, but David Moyes's men will not be dislodged quietly.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir (Ferguson 63), Stubbs, Pistone; McFadden, Carsley, Yobo, Cahill, Kilbane; Beattie (Bent 75), McFadden (Naysmith 87). Subs; Wright, Chadwick.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert (foul).
NORWICH (4-4-2): Green; Edworthy, Fleming, Doherty, Drury (Stuart 46); Jonson (McKenzie 80), Francis, Holt, Brennan; Huckerby, Ashton. Subs: Gallagher, McVeigh, Shackell.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
ATT: 37,485
NEXT GAME: Southampton v Everton, Premiership, Sunday 2pm

Massive result in race for Europe
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 3 2005
ALAN IRVINE insisted there is no points target for Everton's Champions League chase as he hailed a "massive result" in their season against Norwich last night. Gary Doherty was credited with the 78th-minute own goal that kept David Moyes's team seven points clear of Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the race for fourth place. And though he denied Liverpool's victory over Charlton 24 hours earlier had intensified the pressure on Everton, the Goodison assistant manager (right) admitted it was a must-win game in the club's pursuit of European football. Irvine said: "I don't think Liverpool's win at Charlton put us under any more pressure than usual. We knew we had to win anyway. "You look at the games you've got left and try to work out which are the games you definitely have to win and with all due respect to Norwich this was one of them. There was no more pressure from last night's result, only from what we knew we had to do. "We need as many points as possible, and we want them as quickly as possible. We haven't set any targets but we know the average for getting in the Champions League is 66 points and 60 points for the UEFA Cup. Those are the averages from recent years, and if we can get near those figures soon it will be fantastic.
"It was a great boost to win this game. We don't know what impact it will have in terms of our play and confidence but there is no question this was a big result for us tonight." Everton struggled to break down Nigel Worthington's team until substitutes Duncan Ferguson and Marcus Bent combined to record a crucial victory. "We felt it was necessary to change things, as we often do in matches, and without taking anything away from the performances of those who were replaced the two strikers who came on played a major part in the win," said Irvine. "David deserves a lot of credit for getting it right. Both Duncan and Marcus were involved in the goal and it was just what we needed. We put some terrific balls into the box but just failed to get on the end of them and I was beginning to think it wasn't going to be our day, but I felt we deserved it in the end. "I don't think Marcus believes he has been dropped. He realises he has played an important part this season and still has an important part to play. Everyone is aware of the amount of work he has had to do this season and it was looking as though it had taken its toll on him. "But in the last few games he has looked really sharp again." Ferguson looked to have scored the all-important winner until replays later credited the goal to Doherty. And Irvine said: "I don't think Duncan is claiming it. He put a lot of pressure on Gary Doherty and that created the goal, but as far as I could see it was Gary Doherty who touched the ball." Moyes also recalled Nigel Martyn in goal at the expense of Richard Wright following the veteran's recovery from a calf injury. Irvine admitted: "I don't want to criticise Richard but Nigel has been outstanding ever since he came into the team. Everyone knows that, Richard knows that. It depended on how it went for Richard but Nigel is a calming influence with a lot of experience and he made some big saves tonight." Meanwhile Wayne Rooney's return to Everton will be one of the fifth round FA Cup ties broadcast on BBC TV. The game will be on Saturday, February 19 with a 5.30pm kick-off. Arsenal's game against Sheffield United or West Ham will also be shown live on BBC TV on the same day at 12.30pm. The Lancashire derby between Burnley and Blackburn will be shown live on the Sunday (kick-off 1.40pm).

Security tight for Rooney's return
By Deborah James Daily Post Staff
Feb 3 2005
SECURITY plans are being drawn up in a bid to allay any crowd trouble during Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park later this month. Officials yesterday announced Everton's FA Cup fifth round clash with Manchester United will kick off at 5.30pm on Saturday, February 19. The game, the first meeting between the two teams since Rooney's £27m switch to Old Trafford, will be screened live on BBC1. Emotions are expected to run high among supporters on the day because of ill-feeling over the 19-year-old's departure last August. Rooney has already returned to Merseyside as a player once, against Liverpool at Anfield, when he controversially taunted home fans after scoring the only goal. This resulted in a supporter throwing a mobile phone at him. Yesterday Everton club spokesman Ian Ross said: "I don't think Everton fans would do anything that would damage the reputation of the club. "We don't expect there to be anything more than a vociferous reception for Wayne Rooney if he does come back - and there is no guarantee that he will even play." He said: "All the games are in different security categories. A game against someone like Man U or Liverpool will fall into the highest category but, until we have had further discussions, we cannot be specific about security arrangements. We are happy with the kick-off time and we are not expecting any trouble." However, last night fans criticised the timing of the match, two-and-a-half-hours after the usual starting time of 3pm. They raised fears that late matches allowing more drinking time before kick-off could lead to alcohol-fuelled trouble between fans in local pubs and the ground.
Keith Wilson, founder of the Bluewatch supporters club, said: "It's naughty to allow a match to go ahead at that time. "People will have made arrangements to come up for a 3pm kick-off, and this means they will have four hours in the pub before they go in. "It's just pouring fuel on the fire. A lot of people will be very bitter because they feel let down that Rooney left, and if Everton had been the rich-est club in the world he would have stayed. Everyone knows if someone is being booed they are more likely to play better. I don't think there will be any trouble." Merseyside Police are to hold a meeting to discuss whether extra police should be brought in for the game. However, a spokeswoman said she could not discuss operational details. Everton liaison officer Insp Lindsay Veitch said: " Merseyside Police has met with Everton and it has been agreed that the match will be played at 5.30pm. "Clearly, this is a very high-profile match and discussions are now under way to care-fully plan the policing of the match, the Everton neighbourhood and the city. "Merseyside Police has a vast amount of experience in dealing with such significant fixtures."

Steven's screamer silenced the Saints
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 3 2005
WHEN the Champions travelled to the Dell on the last day of November 1985, they gatecrashed the Saints' centenary celebrations without one of our star strikers. Scotland were playing Australia for a place in the Mexico World Cup finals and Graeme Sharp had been whisked off Down Under. Luckily the Blues could also boast the likes of Gary Lineker (right), Adrian Heath and Paul Wilkinson, who won a rare start that day. This was the season that Big Ron's Manchester United had won their first 10 games and according to the media had the title sewn up by late September. By the time Everton went down to the South Coast the first cracks were starting to appear in United's armoury and the Blues were tucked in nicely in about sixth. Saints, meanwhile, were in their customary lower mid-table position. The kick-off was delayed due to a fireworks display and a parade of old Saints' heroes and the Toffees started like they were still watching the lights with ex-Everton target, Glenn Cockerill slotting home inside the first minute. Southampton had some lively players with the likes of Danny Wallace and Steve Moran and they gave the Champions a bit of a chasing before Adrian Heath scored from a narrow angle early in the second half. Almost immediately Moran headed the Saints back into the lead and for a while it looked like Everton would fall further behind. But with about 20 minutes to go Lineker raced away in typical style to level again. The winner when it came was an absolute blinder from the sublime Trevor Steven who drove home a rocket from fully 30 yards that England veteran Peter Shilton couldn't get near. And there it was, another joyful long distance journey home for the travelling Blues and a warning to the pretenders that Everton had no intention of giving up their title without a fight.

Everton 1, Norwich 0 (Echo)
Feb 3 2005 By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park
THE magnitude of this victory will not be fully understood until the end of the season. But, with the heads of Evertonians still buzzing and the adrenalin still pumping today, there is a real sense that it could prove to be a watershed result - the victory which steers the Blues back on course towards a destination nobody believed was in reach when this remarkable journey began in August. Champions League football has emerged as the club's number one target. And if that goal is achieved, then come May this result could well be regarded as one of the most crucial in the campaign. Anything other than victory could have been a hugely significant body blow in the wake of Liverpool's win at Charlton and Everton's run of just one win from the five preceding league outings. That disappointing run of form had provided the first hint that the bandwagon was losing momentum. So this was a game where the result was more important than the performance.
Which is why any brave talk in the stands before the game was betrayed by a tangible sense of nervousness. There was an awareness that this game was an opportunity to send out a message to the chasing pack. And when Gary Doherty inadvertently prodded the ball weakly over his own goalline from a yard out with 13 minutes remaining, Goodison breathed a huge sigh of relief. Up until that point it looked as if, as with the Charlton game, Everton would be undone by a failure to create and convert chances. The finger nail clippings must have been a foot deep in the Gwladys Street by the time Doherty struck. That they were not lost in vain is really thanks to Marcus Bent.
Two minutes after his arrival as a substitute for James Beattie he showed his teammates how to make the most of a decent cross by leaping high into the air to unleash a thunderbolt header from a tantalising James McFadden centre. Goalkeeper Robert Green produced an outstanding parry, but couldn't prevent Doherty putting the ball over the line as he slid in attempting to prevent Duncan Ferguson capitalising. It was an apt goal to seal the points from a game in which Everton produced far from a compelling performance. They were more languid than lustrous. But the psychological boost of this result should ensure the latter will be the keyword at St Mary's on Sunday.
Everton are a team which needs to be playing at full pelt in order to be at their most effective.
For too much of last night they weren't. There was a lack of zip and crispness about much of the football, from Beattie back. The terrible state of the pitch must take a large portion of the blame. But not all. The spirit in the side is as strong as ever but the energy levels were not at their peak.
It was as if the whole team has been worn down by the increasing number of sides arriving at Goodison with the sole aim of getting men behind the ball and holding out in the hope they can snatch something on the break. As a result, they struggled to show the invention or the nous to over-come their single-minded visitors. The Thomas Gravesen factor? Very possibly. But that is too simple a conclusion. The number of set-pieces wasted revealed a sloppiness which was far less prevalent in the team's performances earlier in the season. The anxiety was not reserved for the stands. It was a trait reflected at the back as well, where indecision led to a couple of heart-in-mouth moments during the second period following the departure of David Weir. The experienced defender brings a degree of calm to the back four which is taken for granted when he is there but obvious by its absence when he is not. Thankfully, the equally calm and composed Nigel Martyn, back in the side after recovering from a torn calf muscle, was a match for everything thrown at him.
At the other end of the pitch Beat-tie is clearly still less than 100 per cent. However, the fizzing shot he rattled beyond Green and just inches over the bar eight minutes into the second period provided a tantalising glimpse of what he will offer on a more regular basis when he is in peak condition.
Up until that point Doherty, by fair means and foul, had enjoyed the upper hand in their personal battle. And that was a real blow in the opening half, because the one thing Everton were doing well in the first 45 minutes was crossing the ball. Tony Hibbert, James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane each produced at least one gem of a centre. But the men in the middle, led by Beattie, couldn't capitalise.
That situation changed when Ferguson entered the fray. And it was the big Scot ' s imposing presence which forced Doherty into committing a foul on the edge of the box in the 67th minute from which Lee Carsley produced what is fast becoming one of his trademarks - a stunning free-kick.
Unfortunately, his effort was matched by an equally impressive save from Green, who somehow managed to claw the ball away from the top corner of his goal. The quality of his performance meant he was unlucky to end the evening on the losing side. But if the most successful sides enjoy the greatest share of good fortune, then Everton are heading in the right direction - the continent..
EVERTON: Martyn; Hibbert, Weir (Ferguson 64), Stubbs, Pistone; McFadden (Naysmith 88), Cahill, Yobo, Carsley, Kilbane; Beattie (Bent 75). Not used: Wright, Chadwick
NORWICH: Green; Edworthy, Doherty, Fleming, Drury; Francis, Jonsson (McKenzie 81), Holt, Brennan (Stuart 46); Ashton, Huckerby. Not used: Gallacher, McVeigh, Shackell
REFEREE: Alan Wiley

It's turf at the top!
Feb 3 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo

EVERTON have become embroiled in a turf war with Manchester United - a fortnight before the clubs clash for real in the FA Cup! The Blues will not be able to relay their degenerating Goodison Park pitch until after the visits of Chelsea and Manchester United, because United have first option on the specially selected grass used by Premiership clubs. The turf - which costs around £120,000 per pitch - is imported from Holland and is a high-grade combination of grass and synthetic materials. But United have already claimed the only grass currently a Blues chief executive Keith Wyness explained: "The properly matured turf we use is in short supply at this stage of the season and Manchester United have first option on the next available batch. "By the time the next batch is available it would be leaving it too late to have the entire pitch relaid before the United cup tie.
"I certainly don't want to run the risk of the new surface not being ready in time for the cup match, but we will be able to extend the areas of the goalmouth we have already relaid before then."
League leaders Chelsea and FA Cup rivals Manchester United will both visit Goodison before the bobbly pitch can be replaced. "Obviously the pitch isn't very good. It's difficult to control the game and pass the ball about on that kind of surface," said assistant boss Alan Irvine. "Having said that it's the same pitch for both teams. "I believe the turf isn't available at this particular time, but it may well be available after the Manchester United game." There is a two-week break from Goodison action after the cup tie, before Blackburn visit on March 5. The FA Cup fifth round tie against United, meanwhile, has been selected by the BBC for live screening. As a result it will kick off at 5.30pm on Saturday, February 19. The later kick-off time will increase security fears for a clash which is likely to be played in a heightened atmosphere - with Wayne Rooney set to return to Goodison for the first time since his controversial transfer to Old Trafford.

Blues' new investors
Feb 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have opened negotiations with a potential new investor - even though the club remains optimistic that the Fortress Sports Fund's proposed £12.8m injection will eventuallymaterialise.
With a series of deadlines having passed since financier Chris Samuelson unveiled his plans for investment, Everton are now courting other potential investors. And talks have already taken place with a new bidder. "We are seeking to maximise all potential revenue streams," said chief executive Keith Wyness today. "I can confirm we have opened negotiations with another potential investor."
Whether the new investor is in addition to, or a possible replacement for the Fortress Sports Fund, was still open to debate. FSF had promised the Blues money before Christmas. There have been a long list of complex excuses and delays from Samuelson for its non-arrival - leaving many Blues fans cynical it will ever now materialise. Anita Gregg, meanwhile, wife of Blues' director Paul, has been elected to the Everton board of directors. The decision, ratified at a board meeting today, was a legacy of the dis-solution of True Blue Holdings. Mrs Gregg, who was formerly a director of True Blue Holdings, joins the board to protect the financial interests she held in True Blue.

Blues' sights on four more wins for Europe
Feb 3 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are chasing four more victories to secure their unlikely dream of a place in Europe next season. And six would land them the ultimate prize of Champions League football. Last night's late victory over Norwich restored the Blues' seven point lead over rivals Liverpool, with 13 Premiership games remaining. And assistant-boss Alan Irvine believes a 60-point haul could be enough to see the Blues play UEFA Cup football next term. "We haven't set a target," he said after Gary Doherty's 77th minute own goal secured a 1-0 win. "You know that the average is about 66 points for the Champions League and about 60 points for a UEFA Cup spot. "Those are the averages and if we can get either of those figures any time soon that would be fantastic." Irvine was aware, however, that victory against the Premiership's second-bottom side was imperative if the European momentum was to be maintained. "We knew that we had to win this game anyway, regardless of what happened in Liverpool's game,. "When you look towards the end of the season and look at all the games you've got left, you try and work out where you're definitely going to have to get your points and, with all due respect to Norwich, this was one of those games that we felt we had to win at home." That victory came largely as a result of the impact from two substitutes. Marcus Bent forced a flying save from Norwich goalkeeper Robert Green just minutes after replacing James Beattie - and Duncan Ferguson forced Gary Doherty into poking the ball into his own net. "We felt it was necessary to make a couple of changes, we usually do," added Irvine. "And without taking anything away from the performances of the players who were replaced we just felt we needed to liven things up. "I think David Moyes deserves a lot of credit for getting it right, because obviously the two players who he brought on were involved in the goal. "I thought that we got some terrific balls into the box, particularly in a little spell in the first half. "But we just didn't quite get on the end of things, and it was one of those occasions where you are thinking 'is it ever going to happen?'

Boardroom battle may resurface at Goodison
By David Prior And Andy Kelly Daily Post Staff
Feb 4 2005
THE POSSIBILITY of another boardroom battle at Everton emerged last night when it was revealed that director Paul Gregg was lining up a rival investment deal in America. It came as a board meeting at Goodison failed to deliver any conclusive decision about the long-touted Fortress Sports Fund deal. Swiss-based financier Chris Samuelson had earlier told the Daily Post he had asked chief executive Keith Wyness to get clear indications from the board as to whether they supported the deal he heads. But after several hours Wyness instead confirmed that the club was now looking at other potential investors, including an American-based deal being pursued by leading director Gregg. Wyness said: "We are in preliminary negotiations with another potential investor, and I know Paul Gregg is also speaking to a possible American investor." The prospect of Gregg pursuing his own investment deal echoes the bitter boardroom struggle of last summer, when Gregg and club chairman Bill Kenwright put forward alternative investment proposals. Gregg's was dependent on Ken-wright stepping down as club chairman but the theatre impresario clung to power on the back of the Fortress deal he promised to deliver. Now, six months later, the club is yet to receive the certificate of incorporation which officially puts the £12.8million Fortress deal on the table - a situation apparently confirmed in yesterday's board meeting. A source close to the club said: "I think the feeling yesterday was that it was up to Mr Samuelson to get his side of the bargain in order and then the club will sort its end out. "This deal is not the be-all and end-all for the club." Speaking earlier from Paris, Samuelson again insisted that everything was in place for the Fortress deal which would give his unnamed investors a 29.9% stake at Goodison. He said: "It is a fait accompli. The fund is approved and ready to go. I have not received the actual certificate of incorporation of the fund but that is a technicality. "We have been told verbally it has been approved and so the documents will follow. "I have asked Keith Wyness to get clear indications from the board today as to whether they support the proposal. "The deal itself has not changed in months. We had to go forward to our investors on a confirmed basis and that was £12.8m for new shares representing 29.9% of the total shares. "The Fortress money has been there for some time, we have just been waiting for the fund to exist to take the money in. "As far as I'm concerned it's a fait accompli - subject to the approval of an EGM of shareholders." Getting board and shareholder approval at Everton could yet prove difficult for Mr Samuelson with Gregg thought to be highly sceptical about its merits.

Ignore Rooney
Icliverpool And Daily Post
Feb 4 2005
Ignore Rooney
IF Everton fans let Wayne Rooney dominate the pre-match talk, then he'll probably just dominate the game. Let's talk about our quality players and concentrate on supporting them to beat Man United, and not just Wayne Rooney. Let's face it, we could hurl abuse at Rooney all game, but it won't make us feel any better unless we beat them. If he doesn't score, then they have plenty of others who can.
Pete Curtis, Crosby
... and again
I KNOW this is a hard thing to do, but Everton fans should not pay any attention to Rooney.
That's the best way to treat him. We know he can do damage in a flash - just ask Middlesbrough.
Lets get 100% behind the lads in Blue and make Rooney regret what he left - the best club in the world.. Besides, we can always give him stick when he comes back in the league.
S Green, Woolton
Roo nothing
I KNOW this may stir up a hornets' nest but I still really admire Rooney. I'm Blue to the core and his leaving left a void the size of Croxteth itself. But I for one will not be booing him just because he made the mistake of leaving the club he adored simply to fill his bank account. Okay, he could have done it all differently and with highsight probably would. But the way I see it we all won when Wayne left, even though to a man we all thought at the time we were doomed.
Karl Cross, Widnes
Tiring work
IT WAS a massive result for Everton on Wednesday, even if the performance wasn't the best.
The players are clearly starting to tire (as you would expect) and the same high tempo and crisp passing is not there any-more. Despite this, the lads pulled it out of the fire and heaped more pressure on that lot across the park. I think we're playing better away from home at the moment and can see another good result against Southampton.
S Feeney (via e-mail)
No substitute
I WONDER how many timely substitutions by Moyes have resulted in our goals this season.
It must be near to double figures with big Dunc featuring in about four of them alone!
Roy Joyal (via e-mail)
Pitch battle
I WAS delighted to hear Alan Irvine say that the pitch won't be relaid until after the Man Utd game.
Apparently they can't get hold of the turf until then! Chelsea and Man Utd won't like that and I can't wait to see what Ferguson and Mourinho say when they see the pitch.
Steve Barnes, Aigburth
Mikel an Art-ist
ARTETA did very well at Rangers and was a big fans' favourite but got homesick and wanted to leave. He's a flair player and a bit of a luxury. Still, he will keep the girls happy!
Lee Bloom (via e-mail)

Watson sees specialist to dash hopes of return
By David Prior, Daily Post
Feb 4 2005
STEVE WATSON'S hopes of figuring in Everton's push for a Champions League place look to have diminished with the club confirming he will be visiting a specialist to investigate a mystery stomach problem. The midfielder suffered a stomach strain in the Boxing Day win over Manchester City and has not played since. Initial fears over a hernia have been allayed but the problem is showing no signs of shifting, leading Everton to seek expert help. Head physio Mick Rathbone said: "Steve's actually been out for five and a half weeks now and he's not doing particularly well. "That can be a problem when dealing with this type of condition. We did some light training today and he's not really improving sufficiently. "As everyone knows we've seen the hernia specialist and he's content that everything is okay in that department, but we may have to listen to an orthopaedic viewpoint and see what we can do from there." Also currently sidelined is Leon Osman, who jarred his knee against Sunderland last weekend and having watched Wednesday's late win over Norwich from the stands remains doubtful for Sunday's trip to Southampton. Rathbone added: "Ossie's got patella tendonitis. It's not the knee he injured against Blackburn and we're just going to have to wait and see how it settles down over the next few days." A late decision will be taken over new signing Mikel Arteta's availibility for the visit to St Mary's Stadium. The Spaniard is building up his fitness levels following a medial ligament injury suffered while at Real Sociedad. Meanwhile, Everton will have to wait to relay the Goodison Park pitch - because Manchester United have first option on the imported turf. David Moyes is keen for the deteriorating pitch to be relaid ahead of the crucial run-in to the Premiership season. Currently the turf used by Everton and other Premiership clubs is imported from Holland at a cost of £120,000 and the only grass that is available has already been earmarked for Old Trafford. Chief executive Keith Wyness said: "The properly matured turf we use is in short supply at this stage of the season and Manchester United have first option on the next available batch. "By the time the next batch is available it would be leaving it too late to have the entire pitch relaid before the United Cup-tie. "I certainly don't want to run the risk of the new surface not being ready in time for the Cup match, but we will be able to extend the areas of the goal-mouth we have already relaid before then." Everton must therefore entertain Barclays Premiership table-toppers Chelsea and also United before they can make any major improvements. Jerzy Dudek

Merseyside battle for Champions League place under way
Daily Post Feb 4 2005
THE battle lines have been drawn as Merseyside's big two fight it out over their respective 13 remaining matches for the £20million pot of gold which comes from Champions League qualification. Everton and Liverpool, now fourth and fifth in the Premiership, face a nerve-shredding run-in to the end of the season. Everton, on 47 points after Wednesday's 1-0 win over Norwich, hold a seven-point lead over Liverpool and are 10 points clear of the rest with what seems a certain UEFA Cup place as their reward after a remarkable campaign. While Everton might say otherwise, the pressure is on them. Twice this week they will have played 24 hours after a Liverpool fixture.
The Reds cut that lead to four points by winning at Charlton on Tuesday but David Moyes's side responded by restoring it to seven the next night against the Canaries. Tomorrow Liverpool are again in action first, at home to Fulham, while Everton go to Southampton on Sunday. Liverpool look to have the slightly easier run-in, with only one match - away to Arsenal - against teams in the top three. Everton must play Chelsea and Manchester United at home and travel to Highbury to face the champions. But it could all end up depending on the Merseyside derby at Anfield on March 20, a game Liverpool may have to win.

Life's a pitch.. unless United come to town
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Feb 4 2005
NORMALLY footballers prefer to play at home, with their own supporters backing them and all the advantages that brings, but you could possibly forgive the Blues if they are actually looking forward to getting away from Goodison on Saturday. St Mary's can be a tricky place to visit, as Liverpool found to their cost recently, but the opportunity to play on a pitch that doesn't resemble the main stage at Glastonbury must be a welcome one. David Moyes mentioned it after Charlton game, when it did sound a little like sour grapes, but since then the surface has deteriorated even further and played a big part in reducing Wednesday night's encounter with Norwich to such a dismal spectacle.
It never affected the FA Cup match with Sunderland too much, simply because Mick McCarthy's side were so poor, but there's every chance it could impact our run-in if it's not relaid adequately as planned. However, with Chelsea and Manchester United next up at Goodison, two teams who will come to Goodison and attempt to pass the ball through mid-field at every opportunity, it will be interesting to see if Moyes is tempted be to hang fire just a little bit with the new turf. Obviously the draw against United would have been few people's first choice - and that's before we even consider the whole Wayne Rooney circus - especially given the sort of form that Alex Ferguson's side showed at Highbury in midweek. However, if you're to achieve great things and record famous victories then you have to play the big sides. Newcastle, Tottenham and United were all meant to be too good for us in 1995 yet we overcame all of them, with a team not dissimilar in style to the present one, and ended up lifting the trophy. Was that really 10 years ago? Apart from the pitch, our other worry is still the size of the squad, and despite all the last minute rumours on Monday we ended up with only the slightly surprising loan signing of Mikel Arteta. It's difficult to judge players on the strength of Scottish football - quite a few players have struggled to make the step up from the Scottish to the English Premiership recently - but he always looked skilful, if a bit lightweight, when he featured in televised Old Firm games. Hopefully he will give the squad a boost though, and it will be interesting to see how Liverpool supporters react if he plays a big part for us, given that it was apparently a couple of their own Spanish play-ers who persuaded him that Everton represented a good move.

McMahon's Glory trail
Daily Post
Feb 4 2005
eFORMER Everton and Liverpool midfielder Steve McMahon is planning to take Perth Glory to the World Club Championship after taking over as manager at the Australian club. The former England international has been handed a one-year contract and has set his sights on taking them to the revamped world tournament in Japan in December. McMahon, who left Blackpool last summer, said: "I try to tell it as it is. If I don't think players are doing enough, I'll tell them. I'll change things if I have to."

Gregg not behind investment bid - Blues
Feb 4 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have insisted Paul Gregg is not preparing a rival investment plan. The Blues insist any suggestion the Goodison director had made contact with potential investors in the United States aimed at rivalling negotiations being headed by chief executive Keith Wyness are wide of the mark.
But Goodison supremo Wyness, who is continuing to discuss a £12.8m investment deal with the Fortress Sports Fund and who has also held preliminary talks with a new potential investor - so far unamed - has dismissed the suggestion. In fact, Gregg has been working on the club's plans to either develop Goodison or build a new home elsewhere. Gregg was unavailable for comment today but Wyness told the ECHO: "He has been talking to a group in America that may be thinking about stadium investment." Meanwhile, yesterday's board meeting did not lead to confirmation of the FSF investment. But Chris Samuelson, the Geneva-based financier heading the FSF deal, remains confident he will secure a 29.9 per cent stake in Everton with a £12.8m investment - despite the ongoing delays and the series of explanations for them. Samuelson claimed: "It is a fait accompli. The fund is approved and ready to go. "The Fortress money has been there for some time, we have just been waiting for the fund to exist to take the money in." If the FSF deal receives boardroom approval it will then require 75 per cent backing from all the club's shareholders at an EGM.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta is ahead of schedule in his battle to prove his fitness after arriving on Merseyside from Real Sociedad. David Moyes warned earlier this week that the 22-year-old Spanish midfielder could have to wait a fortnight for his Everton debut because he is recovering from a medial ligament injury. But Arteta has impressed the Goodison chief this week with his work on the training ground. Moyes revealed: "Mikel has done two or three days of hard training. We are trying to get him fit as quickly as we can. Because of his time in Scotland he will know roughly what the football is like in England. "But he has not played for a while and he is coming back from an injury."
Arteta is unlikely to figure at Southampton on Sunday, but is expected to travel with the squad as he continues to settle in. Meanwhile, Steve Watson is facing an extended spell on the sidelines because of a mystery stomach injury. The midfielder has been ordered to rest but is eager to find an alternative because he is out of contract at the end of the season and keen to prove he can still play a part for the Blues.

Blues back on front foot as they dig in for Europe
Feb 4 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
HAVING proved themselves in the heat of battle over the last week, David Moyes' battle-hardened troops are eager to go on the offensive this weekend as they prepare for the final push. The three games played at Goodison in the last 10 days have been akin to a war of attrition, thanks to the wretched condition of the pitch and the conservative approach of the visiting sides. It is great credit to Moyes' foot-soldiers that they have overcome the setback against Charlton to secure valuable victories against Sunderland and Norwich in those conditions. They are results which have maintained the club's push on two fronts: for silverware in the FA Cup and European qualification in the Champions League. And those victories mean the Blues can enter enemy territory at the St Mary's Stadium on Sunday in buoyant mood in the belief that the club's ambition of securing a place in the Champions League can be realised with the points on offer at Goodison in the remaining three months. Kevin Kilbane explains: "We have got to be looking to winning our home games - we have to be beating sides like Norwich. "That will be the key for us this season now. The two home games this week were really important games for us. "Wednesday was a big win for us. It was a tough game, a very, very tough game. "It can't help anybody when we are looking to get balls into the box and little passes are bobbling up and it is tough to get it down. "We couldn't the ball down and play too much but we were able to grind out a big win. "Things are ticking along nicely at the moment.
"Southampton is a tough place to go but we will go there optimistic because we believe in ourselves and in each other. "You have to look up. You can't be looking over your shoulder - we had enough of that last season looking at other results all the time to see how it was going to affect us. "This year the only thing we can do is look onwards and upwards, and that is what we are doing."
The opportunity to become the side frustrating the opposition is one which Kilbane also welcomes, having endured three energy-sapping contests on home turf. "I think we have found most sides coming to Goodison this season with a regimented game-plan," adds the Republic of Ireland winger.
"Fulham, Portsmouth and other sides have come here, sat off and said: 'Come and beat us, come and break us down.' "That is difficult when sides are putting 10 men behind the ball. "But, in fairness, we have done it to teams this season when we have gone away from home as well.
"We like to hit teams on the break. "But here it has been tough. Fair play to the lads, in every game they have put in a good shift and we have been getting the results. "Everybody is counting down the games now but we just have to keep going, keep working hard for each other and we will see what happens." As the season enters the final quarter, the pressure and expectation is mounting in and around Goodison. It was tangible on Wednesday night and was reflected in aspects of the side's performance. But while being in fourth place, seven points ahead of the chasing pack may be unfamiliar, Kilbane insists it will not get under the players' skins. He adds: "We would much rather be where we are now. "We believe in ourselves and in each other and that is what is carrying us forward right now."

Collision course for derby showstopper
Feb 4 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CONTRARY to popular belief, there are some benefits to passing 40 years of age. I can sit on my own in a pub and not attract strange glances, car insurance companies believe I am less of a risk than boy racers and price their policies accordingly (fools!) - and I can vividly recall a time when Merseyside was the utter, undisputed football capital of England, if not Europe. Between 1984 and 1989, Everton and Liverpool went head to head for every available trophy. In fact, for three successive seasons they finished first and second in the table - surely the most two-sided seasons in history? They contested two FA Cup finals and one League Cup final - the Charity Shield weekend became an almost annual Mersey pilgrimage to the capital - and in 1984 they cleaned up absolutely every trophy in sight. Yes, even the FA Youth Cup. Think of Manchester United and Arsenal's rivalry of the past six seasons, magnify it a couple of times over - but take away any crowd disturbances - and you have something approaching Merseyside's dominance. But that was then. Liverpool's last title triumph of 1990 marked the beginning of the end of almost two decades of Anfield domination of English football. Everton's slide from the time they briefly rubbed shoulders with their neighbours had started a couple of years earlier. But there are faint signs that the Mersey beasts are beginning to stir again. A shoot-out for the fourth and final Champions League place may not have the stature or the prestige of those championship head-to-heads of the Eighties, but it's a step in the right direction. Middlesbrough and Charlton may be nominally in the chase for fourth spot, but in truth the battle for the last Champions League slot is a straight-fight between the Blues and the Reds... and who will win is anybody's guess. The fortunes of the £6m men may ultimately prove decisive.
Fernando Morientes and James Beattie have been brought in to spearhead both clubs' end--of-season run-ins. Both got off the mark in the past week, one fortunately, one gloriously - and both will be leaned on heavily in the 13 games remaining. Morientes' goal at The Valley was as impressive as it was important, and his part in the winning goal 20 minutes later suggests he is a player growing in confidence and influence. Beattie's assimilation has been slower, but a couple of bright flashes before he was substituted for Marcus Bent against Norwich suggests he is gradually getting to where David Moyes wants him to be. Both should be firing on all cylinders by the time the season's pivotal weekend looms - a Palm Sunday showdown at Anfield in the 201st Mersey derby. That clash already looks like having a major bearing on the ultimate outcome of both sides' seasons.. And, unless Everton can upset Manchester United in a fortnight, the game will have a 10-day build-up.
It will be almost like those monumental derby day collisions of the Eighties - when the referee would blow his whistle, let both sides kick lumps out of each other for an hour, then somebody would throw a football on. In 1987, Liverpool prevented Everton clinching the championship at Anfield. Twelve months later, Everton stopped their neighbours breaking Leeds United's record of unbeaten games from the start of the season. There's every chance the mid-March collision will have that kind of significance once again. And it's about time. Open all hours – unfortunately
MANCHESTER United's visits to the red half of this city are usually timed to kick off out-side opening hours. The two sets of fans despise each other, you see. And, adding alcohol to an already incendiary atmosphere, is generally deemed a not very sensible idea. So what time will Wayne Rooney's potentially explosive return to Goodison Park kick off? Yes, tea time on a Saturday night.
Wayne Rooney haters 1, bright sparks at the BBC 0.

Southampton 2, Everton 2 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at St Mary's Stadium, Daily Post
Feb 7 2005
REVENGE is a dish best served with a cold-hearted, clinical finish into the top corner with the referee poised to blow for full-time. Everton's last visit to St Mary's ended in utter despair when Fabrice Fernandes curled a stoppage-time equaliser beyond Nigel Martyn to earn Southampton an unlikely 3-3 draw. Having led by two goals with only minutes remaining the result demoralised a Wayne Rooney-inspired Everton and proved a pivotal moment in their freefall towards the drop zone.
Now it is Southampton's turn to fall to their knees. While the Saints now face a far more serious threat of relegation than David Moyes's side did last term, however, the visitors are genuinely believing in Europe. And if their incredible transformation does end with a place at football's top table, the Champions League, then they can look back at Marcus Bent's thrilling 92nd-minute leveller as a crucial lift along the way. Everton, just as they had done against Norwich in midweek, are now grinding results out. Their performances reflect the effects of an arduous season on such a slender squad. Tim Cahill, Lee Carsley and Kevin Kilbane, three midfielders who have delivered timely moments of inspiration this season, are carrying injuries and the sparkle that underpinned so many victories before Christmas has been replaced by fatigue. Nothing, however, has doused the indomitable spirit that has burned through this squad ever since that summer of misery and it is their attitude that is now driving them on. Their legs may be going, but their hearts are not.
Everton can play much better than they did on the south coast yesterday, they must do, but Moyes also faces the delicate task of how to freshen up his side with such scarce resources. At least Bent has made one decision much easier for the Everton manager though, responding to his recent move to the bench with his second decisive contribution of the week. Despite the draining effect of the win against Norwich and the claims put forward by Bent on that occasion Moyes selected the same side that scraped past the Canaries. Bent was again on the bench, where he was joined by new signing Mikel Arteta as the Everton manager gave his side an instant opportunity to improve.
And instantly improve they did. Only four minutes were on the clock when Beattie fulfilled the prophecy of an ex-player returning to haunt his former club and gave Everton the lead in their very first attack. James McFadden showed a hitherto hidden talent for long range throw-ins when the £6million striker harried Calum Davenport into the corner flag. Claus Lundekvam fatally missed the delivery as it sailed into the six-yard area, Tim Cahill did not, and though Paul Smith parried his flying header with a fine reaction save the ball dropped to the former Saint who volleyed high into the roof of the net from an acute angle. TV replays later suggested Beattie was in an offside position when the ball dropped to him, but at least the dubious goals panel will not be required for this one.
The early goal marked the start of a more threatening display by Beattie, who was denied a superb second by the finger-tips of Smith when he volleyed Lee Carsley's chip towards the top corner 15 minutes later. The same, however, could not be said of his teammates. Everton's early goal was a false dawn. For the next 55 minutes they were, quite simply, battered by a team second from bottom of the Premiership. Peter Crouch's obvious aerial ability was a constant thorn for David Weir and Alan Stubbs while the speed and skill of on-loan striker Henri Camara was a fine foil for the beanpole centre-forward. But Everton did themselves no favours with another tired, laboured performance in which they failed to shut down the supply from the wings and regularly wasted possession through careless distribution. After crying out for a decent pitch to play on it was staggering to see so many aimless long balls hoisted into the home half by Everton, with the sole result of giving Southampton further opportunity to pressurise their defence. What made their first half display so galling was the fact that on the few occasions they did pass and move with any conviction they always threatened to prise open a suspect home defence. McFadden almost capitalised on a loose Lundekvam backpass in the 26th minute and would have doubled Everton's advantage but for a timely block by goalkeeper Smith, while Cahill should have scored when he rose to meet Alessandro Pistone's cross unmarked but headed over on the stroke of half-time. But they were isolated moments of hope for the travelling Evertonians as Southampton were otherwise encamped in the area in front of them and should have had much more than Crouch's equaliser to show for their dominance. Camara wasted a great chance to bring the home side level within 10 minutes of Beattie's opener when he blazed over after Crouch had capitalised on a defensive error by Stubbs. The Senegal striker was clearly offside when Crouch's pass arrived, but the opportunity represented the start of an uncomfortable afternoon for the Everton defence who never got the measure of the Southampton forward line. After Camara, Rory Delap and David Prutton had all gone close Harry Redknapp's side secured their inevitable leveller through sheer simplicity in the 36th minute. For the second time in the game a long throw-in provided the assist and despite the presence of three Everton defenders Crouch climbed above them all to meet Prutton's throw with a looping header that kissed the underside of the bar and left Nigel Martyn stranded.
Moyes replaced Carsley with Bent at the break in a bid to bring more pace and urgency to Everton's play but the pattern remained unaltered and Southampton edged in front courtesy of a fine finish by Camara nine minutes after the restart. Camara instigated the move down the Everton left and when he received Prutton's return ball he wrong-footed Stubbs, waited for Martyn to commit himself and lifted a nonchalant chip over the keeper into the far corner. It could have been worse for Everton had referee Andy D'Urso penalised Weir for a blatant handball on 50 minutes. The incident, in which Weir almost carried the ball out of his box after being shoved by Crouch, took place right in front of the official and it was the visitors' great fortune that he somehow missed it. Only when Moyes brought on Duncan Ferguson and Arteta did Everton show any level of improvement, but even then there was nothing to indicate the drama to come. Arteta, tidy in possession but inevitably off the pace after his recent knee injury, was booked within three minutes of his arrival and Martyn remained by far the busier keeper as Graeme Le Saux, Nigel Quashie, Camara and Crouch all had chances to make the game safe in the final quarter. But they didn't, and with seconds left on the clock Everton broke down the centre after Crouch gave possession away when attempting to find Camara instead of running into the corner as both Harry and Jamie Red-knapp demanded. As against Norwich in midweek Bent and Ferguson combined well and after a neat exchange the £450,000 express scurried away down the right. There appeared no chance of an equaliser even after the striker sprinted wide of Calum Davenport due to the acuteness of the angle but with a fabulous strike, reminiscent of Tomasz Radzinski's against the same opposition at Goodison two seasons ago, Bent found the top corner through Smith's despairing guard. The opposite reactions encapsulated what it meant to both sides. Southampton, shattered, collapsed to the floor almost to a man. Moyes, suddenly offering impersonations of Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford, sprang down the touchline in pursuit of his delirious players. "I'm beginning to believe it will be Everton's season," said the Everton manager once he came back. After stealing a point out of this, many more will believe it too.
SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2): Smith; Delap, Lundekvam, Davenport, Bernard; Prutton, Redknapp, Quashie, Le Saux; Crouch, Camara. Subs: Svensson, Telfer, Jakobsson, Ormerod, Blayney.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs (Arteta 60), Pistone; McFadden, Carsley (Bent 46), Yobo, Cahill, Kilbane (Ferguson 60); Beattie. Subs: Naysmith, Wright.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert, Arteta (fouls)
REFEREE: Andy D'Urso
ATT: 31,509
NEXT GAME: Everton v Chelsea, Barclays Premiership, Saturday 12.45pm

We'll keep on fighting until we're in Europe
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 7 2005
0ShareDAVID MOYES believes Everton's fighting spirit can carry them into Europe after Marcus Bent's sensational stoppage-time strike rescued a point at Southampton yesterday. The Everton manager (right) labelled his side's display as the worst of the season as they struggled to build on James Beattie's fourth-minute opener against his former club. Harry Redknapp's strugglers looked to have secured a deserved victory when Peter Crouch and Henri Camara overturned Beat-tie's first Premiership goal for Everton. But Bent sparked delirious scenes among the travelling contingent when he scored his seventh goal of the season in the dying seconds. The draw leaves Everton five points clear of Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the race for fourth place. And Moyes believes the latest example of Everton's never-say-die attitude underlines the desire for Champions League football at Goodison Park. Moyes said: "I'm pleased for Marcus and all of the players. There is a fantastic spirit among them and the more I look at it the more I'm beginning to think it is Everton's season. "I don't know what that means exactly, maybe fourth, but a top-10 finish would have represented a good season to many for Everton at the start. "We are very good at winning games late on or, in today's case, not losing. We go right to the end. They are a terrific bunch of lads who know they can play better than they did today but I would not swap our team spirit for anybody's." Bent has dropped to the bench for the last three games but pressed his claims for a recall with his second decisive contribution of the week. And Moyes admitted: "I can see in his training and his desire that Marcus is beginning to get back to the player we had up until November time. He was playing in almost every game, and but for the last two or three has appeared in almost every single match this season.
"I think that took a bit out of him but he's getting it back now and he has a big part to play between now and the end of the season." Bent's equaliser ensured Everton ended a week Moyes had described as pivotal to their season unbeaten. But the Everton manager admitted his side's display left a lot to be desired. "I'm pleased to get a point more than I am relieved," he said.. "I would rate that performance as our worst of the season. "The players worked really hard to get a result against Norwich in midweek and I think that, along with the travel, took a lot out of them. "We looked tired, we were not at the races in terms of reaction and were slower than Southampton to too many balls. So to get something out of it, when for long periods it didn't look likely, is a great result. "To be fair Southampton played well and not many teams would be able to cope with Peter Crouch in that form. He did the same against Liverpool recently and he was outstanding again today."

Manager reveals midfield injuries
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 7 2005
DAVID MOYES revealed that three of his midfielders are currently playing through the pain barrier to help Everton's European assault. The Everton manager highlighted problems with Lee Carsley, Kevin Kilbane (left) and Tim Cahill, and believes Kilbane and Cahill will have to pull out of international duty with Ireland and Australia respectively this week. He said: "We needed to change things and we hoped to get to half-time to sort things out. We had to juggle things around. Lee Carsley suffered a dead leg, Kevin Kilbane is carrying a knock and Tim Cahill is playing with three or four injuries for us. He is Robocop at the moment." Everton also survived a strong penalty claim when referee Andy D'Urso refused to punish David Weir for a blatant handball in the second half. But Moyes said: "The reason he didn't give it was because he didn't give the push on Davie Weir just before the handball. Perhaps he was hoping nothing would come of it but I think that was why he didn't give the penal-ty." Southampton manager Harry Redknapp, meanwhile, voiced his frustration with Peter Crouch after the draw. Crouch had equalised following James Beattie's goal against his former club and, with Saints leading thanks to Henri Camara's strike, the lanky forward went on a mazy run in injury-time.
But his shot failed to test Everton keeper Nigel Martyn and within seconds the visitors broke, with Marcus Bent firing home the visitors' equaliser. The Southampton manager and his son, Saints midfielder Jamie, appeared to vent their anger with Crouch at the end of the game but, having calmed down after seeing two precious points slip away, Redknapp said: "What can you say to the lad, really? "I would have prefered it if with 30 seconds to go Crouchie had kicked the ball off the pitch but what I didn't want to happen was the goalkeeper to get the ball and give them one more chance."

Radzinski tips stylish Liverpool to overhaul rivals
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Feb 7 2005
0ShareTOMASZ RADZINSKI admits he doesn't want Liverpool to win the race for fourth place - but thinks they will. The former Evertonian, now with Fulham, ironically received a less hostile reception at Anfield than he did at Goodison when the Cottagers played Everton in November. That reflected Radzinski's spiteful departure from Everton last summer, but the striker still wishes his former team well, even if he does not believe they will deny Liverpool the final Champions League place. He said: "The gap's only five points now and I know they've still got to play Everton here at home, so anything is possible. I'm still hoping that Everton are going to get it because I have a lot of friends there and I still hope that the Blues will edge it. "But I think it's going to be quite difficult for them because Liverpool play good football and now with Morientes they have somebody who can score goals on a regular basis. They look like they might get it. "They're completely different teams - I think Everton are a much more organised team than Liverpool, I think they stick to the plan. If it's going to be a 0-0 at the end of the game, Everton don't mind. That's why they've such a record for winning 1-0 in the league. "But Liverpool play a much more attractive game to watch so it's two different ways to look at it. I prefer the way Liverpool play - more open and fluent and more for the neutral supporter." Radzinski felt his side could have got something out of Saturday's game. He added: "When Sami (Hyypia) scored the whole game just changed, it was more difficult to get a grip on the game. We didn't have many clear-cut chances, but then neither did they - all the danger came from set-pieces."

Let's face it... we were very lucky
View from the stands by Sean Yates Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 7 2005
I TOLD you James Beattie would score on his return to Southampton! However, that was about the only thing that went to my predicted script on an afternoon where, let's face it, Everton got lucky.
We should have been beaten out of sight before Marcus Bent popped up with his last-minute equal-iser. I haven't celebrated an away goal as much for quite some time. The reason we were still in it was partly down to the great goalkeeping of Nigel Martyn - thank God he's back - and partly through some good fortune. But if anyone has deserved some luck, it's Everton. We've worked really hard to get where we are this season, and while we can't play well every game, picking up points from below-par performances is welcome. Beattie has begun to really impress and he gave us a great start with a well-taken goal, and could have had another but for a fine save by the Southampton goalkeeper. But too many of his team-mates were struggling. Alan Stubbs had a rare nightmare, while Alessandro Pistone in particular wasn't up to much. I hold my hands up and say that while I maintain Peter Crouch is a lanky lump, he is actually also quite an admirable footballer - almost a present-day Duncan Ferguson minus the head-butting and pigeon-fancying. He was certainly too much for our defence, who had a hard time throughout. Elsewhere, Mikel Arteta didn't have the most encouraging of debuts - giving the ball away and being booked within minutes of coming on! - but it's far too early to pass any judgement. Next up Chelsea. We'll have to do a bit better than this, though.

Southampton 2, Everton 2 (Echo)
By Scott McLeod at St Mary's Stadium, Liverpool Echo
Feb 7 2005
0Share AS the delirious Evertonians slowly made their way out of the St Mary's Stadium singing at the top of their voices, a handful of disconsolate Saints supporters remained seated, staring at the ground and shaking their heads. These were the extreme emotions reflecting the most surprising afternoon of this remarkable campaign. This was a day when everything that shouldn't have happened did. Everton's quickest goal of the season, scored by the new striker eager for goals and against an outfit which had only won three games all season, should have been the signal for a pipe and slippers afternoon. After all, the side's impressive league position has been cemented by a consistency of performance, under-pinned by such crucial basics as closing players down, passing simply but effectively, and maintaining focus and concentration until the 90th minute and beyond.
The problem was, all bar the last of those characteristics let them down at St Mary's. It was one last, desperate push forward which turned defeat into what could prove to be a crucial point. There was very little slick, incisive football from the men in Blue. But when it mattered most they mustered something. A one-two between Marcus Bent and Duncan Ferguson, a surging run by the 26-year-old and a thumping finish from the tightest of angles. But the thrilling outcome - and the sight of David Moyes doing a Jose Mourinho by sprinting 40 yards down the touchline punching the air - still does not hide the fact this was as poor a performance as the side has produced this season. It is to Everton's enormous credit that they somehow grabbed a point. But they cannot afford to repeat this kind of performance too often between now and May. Thankfully, there are now plenty of weapons in their armoury to ensure such dips are not repeated. And those weapons are now starting to fire with the accuracy required of a team gunning for the Champions League. Bent has responded magnificently to losing his place in the last two matches by coming off the bench to play a crucial role in securing four invaluable points. His last-gasp winner was his seventh of the season, and his first in eight games, and came 90 seconds into injury time. With Ferguson also making a series of telling contributions from the bench, the Blues' offensive options are now rich indeed, particularly as one of the biggest pluses yesterday was the sight of James Beattie finally producing a performance befitting a player of his reputation and calibre. There were six million reasons why Harry Redknapp chose to sanction Beattie's transfer to Everton. But the striker needed just four minutes to produce one compelling reason why his departure should be rued on the south coast. The hitman has clearly been short of fitness since his arrival at Goodison. But here, for the first time in a blue shirt, he showed precisely why Moyes was willing to invest a club record fee in the player. If only his team-mates had capitalised on the early advantage he gave them with his first Premiership goal for the club. Unfortunately, their performance afterwards was so mystifying. Southampton were by far the better side, creating a host of decent opportunities. The only surprise was that it took them as long as it did to find the target. Peter Crouch, whose height would cause problems for low flying aircraft, allowed a long David Prutton throw to simply bounce off his head and into the corner of the net.
Before half-time, the Saints produced a wave of chances, and the second period started in much the same vein. Nigel Martyn produced a great save to deny Henri Camara and referee Andy D'Urso, who was clearly petrified to make any decision after his faux pas of failing to send Barry Ferguson off despite showing the player two yellow cards during his last visit to Southampton, refusing to point to the spot when David Weir handled in the area. But the Blues couldn't hold them out all afternoon, with Camara finally netting the second with a decent drive in the 54th minute. The Goodison chief is never afraid to be bold under such circumstances. Having already introduced Bent in place of Lee Carsley to switch from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 at the start of the second period, he made a double change on the hour. Off went Kevin Kilbane and skipper Alan Stubbs, sacrificed to make way for Ferguson and new boy Mikel Arteta. The system remained 4-4-2, but it was a bold, offensive definition of the formation. No guts, no glory. Arteta certainly wasted no time proving he is more than just a flair player, crunching Camara in the centre circle to earn a booking minutes after joining the action.
Everton finally looked like a team capable of leaving St Mary's with something to show for their efforts. But the glass jaw of the Steve Wigley era has been replaced at Southampton by a new resolve. That is why it took a hammer blow from Bent to steal the point. It was a finale fitting of a side with a backbone of steel.
SOUTHAMPTON (4-4-2): Smith; Delap, Lundekvam, Davenport, Bernard; Prutton, Redknapp, Quashie, Le Saux; Crouch, Camara. Subs: Svensson, Telfer, Jakobsson, Ormerod, Blayney.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs (Arteta 60), Pistone; McFadden, Carsley (Bent 46), Yobo, Cahill, Kilbane (Ferguson 60); Beattie. Subs: Naysmith, Wright.
BOOKINGS: Hibbert, Arteta (fouls)
REFEREE: Andy D'Urso
ATT: 31,509

'We must improve to make Champions League'
Feb 7 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT has warned that Everton cannot afford a repeat of yesterday's performance at Southampton if they are to secure a Champions League place. The 26-year-old striker (left) came off the bench to net the injury-time equaliser which earned the Blues a point and gives them a five point lead over fifth placed Liverpool. But Bent agrees with David Moyes' assessment that it was "the worst performance of the season". "Liverpool have come into a good run of form and they are going to be hot on our heels," Bent told the ECHO. "So for us to get into the Champions League or any other cup we have got to be playing the way we were playing in the first half of the season.

"As soon as we get that form back I don't think there will be any stopping us. "Five points is quite a big gap. And we have got to look forward to try and catch Arsenal and Manchester United to make it easier for us to get a final place in the top four. "We certainly don't go out there to play under par but sometimes it happens. Next week we will be trying to put it right and take a couple of good things out of this game. "We didn't play well, but we got the point and now we need to make sure we don't play like that in the rest of the season." Bent has had to settle for a place on the bench in the last three games but he is hopeful his goal yesterday, coupled with a rousing performance as a sub in last Wednesday's 1-0 win over Norwich, will secure him a return to the starting line-up for this weekend's encounter with Champions-elect Chelsea at Goodison. Meanwhile, Lee Carsley (dead leg) should be fit for the weekend, while Tim Cahill has gone for a precautionary scan on an ankle injury and Kevin Kilbane, the Republic of Ireland's Player of the Year, has been withdrawn from Brian Kerr's squad with a groin problem.

Moyes salutes fighting spirit
Feb 7 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes was far from happy with his team's display in the draw at Southampton, but admitted: "I'm pleased to get a point." He was relieved referee Andy D'Urso did not give an obvious penalty early in the second half when David Weir handled the ball. Rival manager Harry Redknapp called it "blatant" and Moyes said: "I think the referee didn't give it because he didn't give a push on David Weir first . . . but we were fortunate there. "We worked really hard to beat Norwich in midweek and it took something out of them, but still got something out of it today even though we were never quite at the races. "It didn't look like we would for long periods but I'm still pleased with all the players and the spirit among them to keep going. We're very good at winning games, or not losing them, late on. That's the way to do it. "I wouldn't swop them for anyone." Moyes revealed he had to make three changes in the second half after Kevin Kilbane and Lee Carsley were injured. But he was full of praise for Marcus Bent, who knocked in fellow substitute Duncan Ferguson's assist right at the death. Moyes said: "Marcus is getting back to the form more like we had from him up to November time. I can see it in his training and in his desire."
Redknapp voiced his frustration with Peter Crouch, despite the striker netting in the 2-2 draw.
Crouch had equalised following James Beattie's goal against his former club and, with Saints leading thanks to Henri Camara's strike, the lanky forward went on a mazy run in injury time. But his shot failed to test Everton keeper Nigel Martyn and within seconds the visitors broke, with Bent firing in the equaliser. The Southampton manager and his son, Saints midfielder Jamie, appeared to vent their anger with Crouch at the end of the game, but Redknapp said: "What can you say to the lad, really? "I would have preferred it if, with 30 seconds to go, Crouchie had kicked the ball off the pitch, but he is a striker and wants to score."

Dunc's sub-lime heroics
Feb 7 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE cynics will say it's a belated bid to land a contract extension at the end of this season, the romantics that it's a desire to give the supporters a swansong to remember. Whatever the motivation - and even Freud would struggle with that one - Big Dunc was an Everton inspiration once again. Less dramatic maybe, than his match-changing performance in midweek against Norwich when Duncan Ferguson did everything but score the winner, but nonetheless influential in an even later Everton show at Southampton. It needed something dramatic to salvage a point from the most lacklustre, limp, utterly off-the-pace performance of the season - but Everton's substitutes provided it. Ferguson held the ball up and rolled it across to Marcus Bent, and he produced a totally captivating finish. Ferguson's continuation on a substitutes' bench for what is left of this season has already been decided by the rigours of time and age on his 34-year-old frame. Not so, Bent - and like his totemic partner, he produced a second compelling cameo of the week. But his should earn him a starting place. James Beattie has been a willing enough lone front-man, but he lacks the pace and mobility of Bent. The return of his pre-Christmas form, and Joseph Yobo's discomfiture in central midfield, is as compelling an argument yet as we have seen for David Moyes to go 4-4-2.

Moyes assures Wright of his Goodison future
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 8 2005
DAVID MOYES has assured Richard Wright he still has a bright future at Goodison Park despite handing Nigel Martyn an instant recall in the Everton goal. Wright (left) was given seven appearances to press his claims after Martyn suffered a calf injury at Charlton on December 28. But he failed to seize the chance and, following one clean sheet against Sunderland, the veteran was recalled for the win over Norwich and the man-of-the-match performance at Southampton on Sunday. With Martyn recently committed to a new 12-month Everton contract the 27-year-old's immediate prospects look bleak. But Moyes insists his decision was a reflection of Martyn's enduring form rather than Wright's recent displays, and has backed the former Arsenal keeper to ultimately fulfil his potential at Goodison Park. Moyes insisted: "The decision was made because of Nigel's performances over the last 16 months. His performances have been excellent and that is the reason he was brought back in. "I still have a great deal of faith in Richard Wright, but he would be the first to admit that he should have done better in some of the games he played. But it was more to do with what Nigel had done than Wrighty as to why we made the change." Wright won his last England cap against Holland in 2001. And though he is out of the spotlight for both Everton and England, who take on the Dutch at Villa Park tomorrow night, Moyes believes Wright will reclaim his place in the future. "He definitely has a good future ahead of him," he added. "He is still only young for a goalkeeper and he will be needed between now and the end of the season. "He has a terrific attitude, is great in training and I don't expect that to change because of this. He will be disappointed, he doesn't like it, but he knows it was more to do with how well Nigel had done prior to getting injured as to why he is back in the team now." Tim Cahill, meanwhile, has withdrawn from Australia's friendly in South Africa after collecting another injury in the 2-2 draw at St Mary's.
The midfielder was christened "Robocop" by Moyes on Sunday when he revealed Cahill is carrying a series of strains. Physio Mick Rathbone said: "Tim sprained his ankle with five minutes to go. He's in some discomfort and we'll have to see how it is in the next couple of days." Lee Carsley is also a doubt for Saturday's visit of Chelsea but is expected to recover from the dead leg suffered at Southampton while Kevin Kilbane, voted the Republic of Ireland's Player of the Year on Sunday, is nursing a groin strain.

Weir happy to make Scotland return
By Jon West, Daily Post
Feb 8 2005
DAVID WEIR has revealed he was planning his international comeback from the moment he learned Berti Vogts had lost his job as Scotland manager. The Everton centre-back (left) refused to play for the German after he was publicly blamed for the 2-2 draw in the Faroe Islands in September 2002.
That seemed to put an end to the 34-year-old's international career, but now his former Goodison manager Walter Smith has taken charge, Weir is hoping for the opportunity to win his 38th cap in Italy next month. He said: "It is great to be back and exciting to be back involved with my country again. "Walter phoned me up and asked if I would be interested in coming back and I said I was.
"I had thought about it before. When Walter got the job I thought I might get a chance so I ran it past a few people to see what they thought and also had a think myself. "I had put a bit of preparation in hoping for the phone call and when Walter phoned we confirmed it." The Faroes debacle, which had been Vogts's competitive debut, is regarded as one of Scotland's poorest ever results although the Euro 2004 play-offs were still reached. But with Vogts having left, his reputation in tatters following a 1-1 draw in Moldova in October, the experienced Weir's return can only be seen as timely ahead of such a daunting fixture. But Weir admits some people might yet not forgive him for turning his back on Scotland in the first place. He said: "It has left scars and it was not nice to stop playing for your country, especially in those circumstances. But I have a chance to address that and be positive about it and hopefully go out on a better note than the last time.
"To be honest I never really wanted to stop playing for my country. I just felt I had to make that decision. "Circumstances conspired against me. Stopping playing for your country is a massive decision and one I thought a lot about. It was a decision I felt was right at the time but I wouldn't say I felt happy about it. In an ideal world I wouldn't have made it. "It wasn't spur of the moment or something I made overnight. I talked to my family and different people. "I had enjoyed playing for my country so much and not a lot of people get the opportunity to do it. "I realise it is a big honour and that people might have taken it the wrong way, thinking 'Who does he think he is?', but I just felt it was a decision I had to make." Meanwhile, Smith is hoping Ally McCoist's return to the national side set-up will help bring the feel-good factor to the squad. McCoist was a legendary goalscorer for Rangers during a trophy-laden playing career and won 61 caps between 1985 and 1998. Since retirement he has enjoyed a high-profile media career as a pundit, with years of appearing on A Question of Sport also expanding his reputation as a lively character. But Smith, who was his manager at Ibrox, insisted: "Although there is a lighter side to him there is also a serious side and he takes his football very seriously having taken his coaching badges in Scotland. "Alistair also brings a good personality with him as well and I think that is important to the squad at this present moment."

Praising Rooney return
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 8 2005
Praising Rooney
I HOPE that my fellow Evertonians will give Wayne Rooney the welcome he deserves when he returns to Goodison Park. I shall be applauding him on to the pitch to thank him for saving our financial bacon. As a chartered accountant and shareholder, I can appreciate how close we were last year from following Leeds into bankruptcy. The 2004 accounts showed that our liabilities exceeded our assets by £23million and our salvation lay in the home-produced players whose values were "off Balance Sheet". The sale of Rooney, while disappointing from a football perspective, was a godsend in financial terms.
Geoffrey R Leece, Willaston
A little respect
TO play our worst game of the season against a resurgent Southampton - who on the day were excellent - and still get a point is a measure of how far we have come. Any fair-minded individual will respect the job our players and manager are doing with a tiny squad.
Frank Black, Liverpool
Key month
FEBRUARY is so important for Everton. We've got Liverpool breathing down our necks and we're playing Chelsea and Manchester United also. There are signs that the team is slipping so we need to get behind them 100% as do the directors. Even the talk about FSF is not that important now. We've done so well already without it.
Ashley Jones (via e-mail)
Shut Reds up
WE must finish above Liverpool no matter what. Liverpool's comments should be used as motivation. I think Blackburn showed how to play Chelsea, and I'm sure Moyes will have taken it all on board.
Tim Collins, Prescot
Anfield is scared
LOOKS like Liverpool are getting worried now judging by the comments coming out of Anfield. First we had the soon-to-be-departing Steven Gerrard shouting his mouth off, and now Rafael Beneathus is saying how much of a better team they are. Let's face it, they should be judging by the money they have spent but they are not and it's sad to see a once great football team on the decline.
A Young, Formby
Fortunate point
WE didn't deserve anything from Southampton so we have to be happy to come away with a point. We've really let our standards drop the last few games so to gain four points from the last two games is quite creditable.
Paul Mullally, Liverpool
Going down?
KNEW it would happen eventually. We are slipping. I agree if we finish in the top 10 we would have done well. I think we got a little carried away with it all.
Ben Chapman (via e-mail)

Chaddy set to leave
Feb 8 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were today poised to sell striker Nick Chadwick to Plymouth Argyle. The 22-year-old frontman (left) was travelling to the South Coast to conclude the £250,00 deal with Pilgrims manager Bobby Williamson. Chadwick has found his route into the first team at Goodison blocked this season by Marcus Bent and Duncan Ferguson. The £6m signing of James Beattie from Southampton during the January transfer window has now persuaded Blues manager David Moyes that he is in a position to let Chadwick go. The 22-year-old from Staffordshire, a product of the Blues youth system, has had limited first team opportunities this season. But he has scored goals in both the Carling Cup and the FA Cup - notably against Plymouth last month in the third round tie.

Blues won't Roo return of Wayne
Feb 8 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S head of security is confident the return of Wayne Rooney to Goodison will not pose a threat to the club's Premiership points total. The Blues have been warned by the FA that any further instances of fans encroaching on to the pitch could lead to a fine or even the possibility of league points being docked. But safety officer Norman Whibley insists the stewarding and policing operation for the FA Cup fifth round tie on February 19, coupled with the help of supporters, will ensure the return of Rooney will not lead to security problems. "I believe the stewarding operation will provide everyone with confidence and importantly, following the recent reminders by both the manager and myself, no-one will encroach on to the pitch," said Whibley. "Obviously I am conscious that should Wayne Rooney play he will be the centre of attention for both sets of fans but again I am sure that with the sporting nature of the Everton fans they will treat him both with respect and also as an opposing player. "It is common these days for players to leave a team and move on. It would be naive not to say we are aware of the feelings of Everton fans but nevertheless, we'll have a stewarding and police operation on the day which will ensure the people enjoy the game in safety.
"The sportsmanship of Everton fans was evident when the Manchester United team were presented with the Premier League trophy at Goodison in 2003, when our fans stood and warmly applauded that achievement." Fans have encroached onto the Goodison pitch during three games this season, most recently following the last-minute winner against Portsmouth on January 3. That incident led to a warning from the FA and a plea from manager David Moyes. He said: "The last thing we want is for any sanctions to be taken with regard to losing points, and that is how seriously the authorities can take these incidents. "The excitement at Goodison has been terrific this season and that is exactly what we want, but we must keep within the rules." Whibley insists the security operation for the visit of Manchester United will be no different than for any other game. He added: "With regards to safety and security and the crowd management arrangements we're treating this tie as any other. There will be meetings with the police and all the heads of department within the club as normal."

FA Cup ticket details
Feb 8 2005 Liverpool Echo
Everton v Manchester United in the FA Cup fifth round to be played at Goodison Park on Saturday, February 19 (kick-off 5.30pm) EVERTON have released ticket details for the FA Cup fifth round tie against Manchester United. Tickets will be priced at the standard Premier League rate of: Main Stand £30, Top Balcony £27, Family Enclosure £27, Lower Gwladys £24, Upper Gwladys £27, Park Stand £28, Upper Bullens £29, Paddock £27, Lower Bullens £25, Disa-bled Enclosures £28/£27/£24.
A junior (under 16 only) price of £20 Upper Bullens/Main Stand, £18 Park Stand, £16 all other General Stand areas. An Over 65s price of £18 will be available in all General Stand areas of the ground. Manchester United have been allocated 6,000 tickets in the Bul-lens Road Stand under FA guidelines. Therefore the following Season Ticket holders in the Bullens Road Stand will be offered a best available alternative seat on application: Paddock Stand - Supporters seated in seat numbers 151 and below (all rows), Lower Bullens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 190 and below (all rows), Upper Bullens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 189 and below (all rows).
Tickets are on sale to Season Ticket holders at the Park End Box Office. Season Ticket holders may claim their own seat (subject to availability) on production of Cup Priority voucher no.22 (this must be fully completed with their seat details) at the Park End Box Office until close of business on Friday, February 11. Postal applications may be made enclosing the correct remittance, relevant fully-completed voucher and a stamped addressed envelope to the Box Office, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. For this game ONLY Season Ticket holders may claim their own seat by phone on 08707 383786 up until close of business on Friday, February 11. There will be a charge of £1.55 per ticket and a transaction fee of £1.55 for this service. Tickets will be available on GENERAL SALE from Monday, February 14 at 9.30am from the Park End Box Office and also to postal applicants.
Dial-A-Seat (General Sale) - Holders of Access and Visa cards may book seats subject to availability on GENERAL SALE using the 24 hour Dial-A-Seat service 08707 3837866 from Monday, February 14. There is a £1.55 charge per ticket plus a £1.55 booking charge for this service. Lounge Members will need to present Cup Priority voucher no 22 or FA Cup 5th Round voucher from their Season Ticket books to gain entry to their usual seats. Supporters registered on the Home Cup Scheme will automatically receive their tickets for this fixture through the post. Those supporters whose seats will be affected by the visitors will be allocated a best available alternative seat in their own stand and their tickets posted to them.

We need to restore credibility says Smith
Feb 8 2005 Liverpool Echo
SCOTLAND manager Walter Smith wants the team to rid itself of its "cheeky boy" image. That was the phrase often used by previous manager Berti Vogts, and most often about Everton's James McFadden. Results were poor under the German and Smith has drafted in veteran internationals David Weir and Neil Sullivan to add experience to the squad. But, with seven points having already been dropped on the World Cup qualification trail and a daunting trip to Italy fast approaching, Smith knows there can be no bedding-in period for new faces. He said: "We just do not have time for boys right now. Everyone will have to stand up and be counted right away. "The international arena is a harsh environment and we need to get in there and restore the credibility we have lost."

Smith has attempted to create a club atmosphere. He said: "I am trying to get a club feel about the squad and foster the right spirit when we are together." Meanwhile Weir, recalled the infamous 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands that prompted Vogts to criticise the Everton man, resulting in him quitting international football. He said: "You should feel excited about playing for your country and I knew I no longer had that sensation. I was frustrated and angry after the Faroes."

Playing for keeps!
Feb 8 2005 By Greg Keane, Liverpool Echo
A SCHEME to encourage young girls to take up goalkeeping has been handed a huge boost with the backing of Everton and England shot stoppers Rachel Brown and Danielle Hill. Just4Keepers, a goalkeeping course established four years ago by Neville Southall's former Everton deputy Ray Newland, has coached and trained hundreds of youngsters, with some graduates going to America on sporting scholarships. Now Newland, along with colleague Rob O'Shea, is set to launch a course aimed solely at girls - in an attempt to attract new talent who may have hitherto been put off by their male counterparts. And the idea has been given the wholehearted support of Everton Ladies colleagues Brown and Hill. England No 1 Brown told Junior Xsport: "It's a great idea. "Goalkeepers tend to get overlooked a little bit so bring it on! It might encourage some young talent to come to the fore around the area and there are not many specialist goalkeeping courses around. "When I first started playing there was not even a girls team, never mind a goalkeeping course for girls.
"It is a matter of progression. This is a great opportunity for any girls in the area and shows that women's football is becoming more recognised." Hill, Brown's understudy at Goodison and a firm fixture in the England under-17s squad, added: "The course seems like an excellent idea, and good opportunity for girls to get involved in goalkeeping. "There wasn't really anything like this when I first started, so I'd encourage girls to get involved. "Goalkeeping is more exciting than playing outfield. You can save penalties and you can be the hero! When you're playing in goal you can be the captain of the defence, you have a lot of responsibility and it is a great way to become more confident." Brown was similarly effusive about the joys of being the last line of defence. She added: "People say it isn't as glamorous, and the likes of centreforwards get more attention, but I have always been a goal-keeper. I have never played out. "I certainly would not swop it for being an outfield player now. Playing in goal is a huge adrenalin rush. You get a shudder of excitement when someone is coming at you which I like. "Being a goalkeeper is great, and although you can be made a scapegoat when things go wrong, as a goalkeeper you accept that and I certainly would not change my position. "One of the advantages is that you get to see the whole of the match, but what I like about it is that you can be bossy and shout at everybody! "Although there are signs that attitudes to keepers might be changing, I am not really looking for it to be honest. "Being a goalkeeper is not something you should dismiss. It should not be the last resort. "Formerly it was players who could not play football who went in goal, but now we are almost sweepers as well as keepers so that certainly isn't the case." The course is set to begin in the next few weeks, with numbers and locations depending on the number of girls who express an interest in joining up. Newland added: "I feel a purely girls course will really work. "If you're an outfield player and you haven't got it, you haven't got it, but with goal-keeping you can develop certain skills and techniques. "This can suit the girls as it is less physical to a certain extent and goalkeeping can be great fun. "We have a number of girls who have loved it so I really want to encourage more girls to get involved."

Liverpool scalp is top target for McFadden
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 9 2005
JAMES McFADDEN believes finishing above Liverpool means more than a Champions League prize to Everton as their threadbare squad lost another player yesterday. Nick Chadwick joined Plymouth Argyle last night after Everton accepted a £300,000 offer from the Championship club for the 22- year-old striker. The Academy graduate, who scored against the Pilgrims in the FA Cup third round, would have been out of contract this summer and has made only 21 appearances since his breakthrough in 2002. Nevertheless his departure limits manager David Moyes's options as Everton enter a crucial stage of the season. The Goodison club signed three players during the transfer window - James Beattie, Mikel Arteta and Guillaume Plessis - but have lost three as they chase a Champions League place - Chadwick, Kevin Campbell and Thomas Gravesen. McFadden, meanwhile, insists Everton can hold onto the fourth Champions League spot despite their difficult run-in and the draining effects of this season on their small squad. But the Scottish international (above) believes finishing above Liverpool would be more cause for celebration at Goodison Park than an unexpected place among the European elite. Moyes has insisted Everton are still looking to catch those teams above them rather than settle any local scores after being in the top four since September.
But McFadden, currently away on Walter Smith's first Scotland training camp, said: "For the fans and everybody associated with the club, it would be unbelievable to finish above Liverpool, no matter if that meant 15th and 16th - just to finish above Liverpool. "That would be great but, the fact that it could be for a Champions League place adds to it. To finish above them would mean much more than getting into the Champions League. "All the people who work at Everton are Evertonians and they're always looking at the Liverpool score, just to make sure we stay above them. "If you look at it, we're a few points ahead even of the other teams who are competing for the European places so, at the very least, we're hoping to get into the UEFA Cup. But there's no reason why we can't get into the Champions League. No reason at all." McFadden believes Everton's season will be regarded as a success even if they failed to win another game this season. But he insists the team spirit which has defied all expectations can carry the club towards Europe. He added: "What happened last summer made us all realise we had to pull together because people were convinced we were going to be relegated. "After the Arsenal game, everyone said were we definitely going down. We've done ever so well to bounce back from that and go on the run we have done. "If we lost every game from now until the end of the season, it would still have to be considered as a success. But obviously I just hope that doesn't happen." * Leon Osman has been linked with a free transfer to Portsmouth when his Everton contract expires at the end of this season. Goodison officials, however, remain confident of agreeing an extension with the popular midfielder. Meanwhile Dave Bassett is bringing tales of his colourful football career to Liverpool to help raise funds for local youth teams. The one-time manager of Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang' is the guest speaker at a Sportsman's Dinner on Friday, April 22. The event, organised by former Everton star Ronnie Goodlass, will also feature comedian Gary Marshall, compere Willie Miller, a three course meal and a charity auction. Proceeds will help buy kits and equipment for local football teams.
Tickets cost £36 each and are available by calling 0151 924 6444. Discount rates at the Devonshire Hotel are also on offer to those with tickets.

Scottish star determined to succeed at Everton
Feb 9 2005
By Jon West, Daily Post
SCOTLAND striker James McFadden insists he has never been tempted to turn his back on Everton and return north of the border. National team captain Barry Ferguson has rejoined Rangers after 18 months at Blackburn while striker Stevie Crawford had a short spell at Plymouth before signing for Dundee United. Although McFadden (right) has found life tough since swapping Motherwell for the Premiership, he is determined to tough it out on Merseyside. He said: "Barry's decision was up to Barry and I am not going to judge him. "I think the main factor for him was that Rangers wanted him back. It didn't matter that he had left them - he is a Rangers fan and when they came in for him it was hard to say no. "It was hard for me because I was not playing but I have not been back to Scotland so I wouldn't say I was homesick." That persistence appears to be beginning to pay off as he has kept his place in the team for the last three games. He said: "It is good to feel involved again. I had been on the bench and come on in games but it doesn't beat starting games, especially when you are winning." McFadden is one of the younger players in the 25-man squad new Scotland manager Walter Smith summoned for a get-together in Manchester this week. But he is also one of the most experienced as well as being the top scorer with six goals from 19 caps. McFadden was given his chance by previous manager Berti Vogts, who was ousted following a 1-1 draw in Moldova in October. The youngster admitted he owed the German a debt for giving him his chance - and for sticking by him when he missed the flight home from a summer tour of Hong Kong after a late night out. He said: "I think everybody knew it was inevitable he was going to leave and I was sad for him to go because it was hard for him. "He got a hard time and it was disappointing to see the way he was treated but that happens in football." Vogts used to refer to him as "my cheeky boy" but McFadden certainly appears to have developed a more serious side to his game. He said: "I do feel more mature. It certainly hasn't been easy to find all your hard work over a week has been for nothing."

Benitez is too late to play his mind games
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Feb 9 2005
PSYCHOLOGICAL warfare from Rafael Benitez? Bit late for that, isn't it? Maybe three months ago, when some of his own players needed their mindset changing, but not now when too much ground has been surrendered to sides who might as well be operating on a different planet so distant are they. The only team within hailing distance happens to be Everton. But why bother? Everton have stayed ahead of Liverpool all season, and have not looked in the least bit out of place thanks to a manager who says precious little about the opposition, preferring to concentrate on things Goodison. Perhaps Benitez (pictured) is worried that the family from across the park aren't going to step aside and allow Liverpool to overtake? If so, he has good reason to be concerned. True, Everton were shocking at Southampton, yet someone up there clearly likes them, hence the welcome good fortune you need to hang on to the coat-tails of your supposed betters. Of course, you need more than luck to stay in the top four so long. Everton have ability. They also have an invaluable quality called togetherness that probably pleases their exacting manager more than anything else.
Oh yes, and lest we forget, David Moyes doesn't have 10s of millions to spend on his team. £33million may be coming into the club from the sale of Wayne Rooney, Thomas Gravesen and Tomasz Radzinski, but such has been the scale of mismanagement off the field that he's unlikely to see more than the trimmings of that treasure. To answer Benitez's jibes about Liverpool having better players, Moyes, if he had a mind to, might say those so-called superstars haven't shown much to frighten the rest of the Premiership this season. Yes, Moyes would like better players. But who wouldn't? Benitez may be under some financial prohibitions at present, but they are nothing compared to the crippling constraints that Moyes has had to grit his teeth through since arriving on Mersey-side. While I'm at it, let me mention in this context a manager whose deeds will never be bettered in this soccer hot-bed of ours. Or elsewhere for that matter. Bob Paisley is legend. So much silverware it blinded you. League Championships, European Cups. Mountains of monuments to one of the greatest of the greats. But what also made Bob special was that he never rubbished the opposition to gain cheap headlines. In private, he'd describe less-favoured practitioners as rubbing rags, but Bob always preferred to let his magnificent teams do his talking. And few sides spoke more eloquently. Rafael Benitez should put Bob on his reading list, along with The Beatles. And, instead of telling us what Everton are not, share with us what his own team - 22 points behind Chelsea - are all about.. Better still, he could build on two league games unbeaten, by adding another 10 to the total. Though here again, Everton may have something to say about that, especially if the combative Moyes cuts out Benitez's unworthy comments and gives a copy to every member of his first-team.
But not before the eve of the derby...

Smith backs Dunc's international exile
Feb 9 2005 By David Prentice and Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH is happy for Duncan Ferguson to carry on his international exile - and admits he would have done exactly the same as the Tartan rebel. The former Blues boss, now in charge of Scotland, successfully persuaded David Weir to end his self-imposed absence from international football. But he admits he didn't even try to talk Ferguson around - and he fully understands the player's reasons for standing down. "I know Duncan's reasons for not playing and I have always appreciated those reasons," he said this week. "I was his manager at Rangers when it happened and I've always appreciated his reasons. "I would have acted in the same manner if I had have been him, so I didn't see any reason to ask Duncan - in the sense that I know exactly what the problem is that made him make his decision not to play for Scotland." But Smith, who sold Ferguson twice - once without his knowledge - then brought him back to Goodison in August 2000, is aware of the influence the big striker has had at Everton this season. The forward has been used expertly by David Moyes from the substitute's bench, coming on 22 times and helping turn a stalemate into victory on seven of 12 occasions and a losing position into a share of the spoils twice from five appearances. "Davey (Moyes) has obviously had to use him the way he sees best and he is getting a great return from him," adds Smith. "The manner in which he is using him at the present moment is all to the good. Duncan's got himself into a situation where he has been really fit. "I think he has enough left to play another year or two, but that's not a decision I can make. I don't know the club's circumstances, I don't know Duncan's circumstances, so that's something I can't really comment on.
"I can only comment on what I see at the present moment and that is that Davey is really getting the best out of Duncan by the way he is using him at the present moment."

Beattie firing up Bent and Ferguson
Feb 9 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Graeme Sharp believes James Beattie has contributed much more than just two goals from six starts since his arrival on Merseyside. The club's second greatest goalscorer believes that, even without hitting top form, Beattie (right) has enhanced the club's chances of securing a European place. "When James arrived, each of the other strikers will have thought 'is he coming in instead of me?'" explains Sharp. "Because of that, they will have each upped their game to get in the side. That is bound to benefit the club. "Both players (Duncan Ferguson and Marcus Bent) deserve credit for their attitude and the determination they have shown to give the manager something to think about." Beattie has started each game since signing from Southampton for £6m last month. His emergence as the club's number one striker has brought the best out of team-mates Marcus Bent and Duncan Ferguson. In each of the last two Premiership games, the introduction of the duo as second half substitutes has led to late goals which have earned the Blues four vital points.
They are clearly eager to force their way back into Moyes' starting line--up. But if they do, Sharp suspects it will have to be at Beattie's expense, because of the manager's success with the 4-5-1 formation this term. The club's willingness to offload Nick Chadwick suggests there are no plans to change that approach. "Both Duncan and Marcus are trying to get that number one slot," adds Sharp. "Ideally as a striker you like to build up a partnership but that is not possible at the moment because of the success the side has had with the 4-5-1 formation. "I think it would be wrong to change that because the side is doing well in that system. "Even without Thomas Gravesen, who has been missed, the system suits us. I expect the manager to stick with that shape. "And so for either of the strikers to get into the side they will have to replace Beattie - or play in another role. "We are probably one of the lowest scoring sides in the top half of the Premiership. But you have to give credit to the defence for doing so well, keeping so many clean sheets and ensuring that the goals we do get tend to earn us points. "I would like to see us scoring more goals, but that may have to wait until next season. "And so in the meantime, the strikers in the squad are going to have prove they are in the kind of form which is capable of leading the manager to consider leaving Beattie out."

The forward leading that charge is Bent, who should consider himself hugely unlucky to have lost his regular place in the starting line-up. Sharp agrees: "Marcus has been fantastic since he came here. Playing up front alone is one of the hardest jobs you can do in any team because you have to do that much running and still find the energy to get into the right positions when the ball comes forward.
"Working in that role since the start of the season at such a high standard should not be underestimated. " He was bound to have a lull of some sort because of the demands on him. But in the last 10 days he has come off the bench and looks as sharp as ever." As for Beattie's own contribution, Sharp suggests the jury is still out. He continues: "He cost a lot of money, a club record fee, but what you cannot deny is that he has a proven scoring record in the Premier League. He is not yet up to the fitness level the manager requires from his players, but there were signs at Southampton on Sunday that he is getting fitter and he took his goal well. "It will take time, but I am sure he will recapture the form of a couple of seasons ago when he seemed to be scoring in every game. "Every signing is a gamble and only time will tell if he is a success - there is more pressure on him because of the fee. "With all due respect to Blackburn and Southampton, he has come to a bigger club with a stronger and more passionate fanbase. That is something he will have to get used to, the heightened expectations of being at a club of this size."

Moans pathetic
Feb 9 2005 Echo Letters
Lucky to draw
WE were very lucky to get a point against Southampton. Although Beattie scored a good goal and nearly scored a screamer, he had another poor game. Until he is fit we should either play Bent up front on his own or play Bent and Ferguson as a front two. Beattie is not holding the ball up, winning any headers or making any tackles.
Dominic Duerden, Worcester
Moans pathetic
I'VE heard Everton fans having a go at the team after the draw at Southampton. It's pathetic.
We had three key players injured but playing and still got a draw against a resurgent team.
My only problem is who should start the Chelsea game. Bent has to start and I'd like to see him alone up front or with Beattie if we can't get five in midfield due to injuries. Osman is hugely missed and Carsley is the key.
Andy Devey, Liverpool
Getting tired
NO doubt the return of Nigel Martyn will instil confidence into the defence, but having been at the game on Sunday I thought Alan Stubbs was either carrying an injury or tired. The concentration levels at the back seemed lacking. Crouch's goal, direct from a throw in, would not have happened a few weeks ago. It was plain to see the work rate and high energy game they played earlier this season is catching up with some players.
Mark Chapell, Jersey
Tommy clanger
WE sold an in-form midfielder and bought an out-of-touch striker for double the money. Another terrible piece of financial management from Everton. Despite the fact the club could have lost Gravesen in the summer for nothing, Everton could have cashed in by keeping Tommy and making the Champions League. The side has now lost its shape, and how Bent has lost his spot to Beattie defies logic. Marcus has been brilliant.
Bob Butchard, Brisbane
A real off-day
WE could not have had a better start at Southampton, but then we lost our way and just invited attack after attack. There are always going to be one or two players that have an off-day every match but against the Saints, they all did! Were we still tired from midweek because of the pitch? I don't know but thank God for Benty's fantastic goal. That could make so much difference at the end of the season.
Martin Brown, Formby

Kendall is victim in Blue 'murder'
Feb 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
THERE have been a handful of occasions when Howard Kendall has nearly died on his feet at Goodison Park. Liverpool's 5-0 derby demolition in 1982, and the final day relegation escape against Coventry 16 years later, took the most successful manager in Everton's history as close as he has ever felt to death. But for two nights in April, Kendall will be killed off properly - or at least that's what it will seem to guests at a new Murder-Mystery event at Goodison Park. The renowned Everton manager has agreed to be the "victim" at a new venture at Goodison Park, where guests have to work out whodunnit. The brainchild of Brian Snagg, the man who organised Merseyside's first ever football panto at the Royal Court last year, he hopes the new venture proves just as successful. "It's just like one of those murder-mystery weekends hotels stage," he explained.
"Guests come along to an evening at Goodison Park, where one of the other guests 'murders' Howard Kendall. Some of the guests are actors, but you don't know who. Clues are left behind, and they have to dis-cover the identity of the murderer. "It should be great fun - and, of course, Howard returns from the dead because we're killing him off again the following week!" The two Murder-Mystery nights are Friday April 22 and Friday April 29 and include a two-course buffet.

Macca salutes young guns' arrival for senior service
Feb 9 2005 Liverpool Echo
SCOTLAND striker James McFadden is delighted Derek Riordan and Garry O'Connor have graduated from the under-21s to join him in the senior squad. The Everton forward was a mainstay under Berti Vogts, despite his lack of experience. And the 21-year-old has kept his place in a 25-man squad named by new manager Walter Smith ahead of next month's World Cup qualifier in Italy. McFadden has struggled to justify his reputation as the great young hope of Scottish football, mainly because he had been starved of matches at Goodison. But he has still notched a healthy six goals for his country from 19 caps and was delighted to welcome the Easter Road duo as competition.
He said: "It is great to see young boys come through for the sake of Scottish football. Derek has been brilliant this season and big Garry has always been able to score goals, so it is no surprise."
Motherwell banked £1.5million from Everton by selling McFadden in September 2003. The money was vital as they had plunged into administration the previous year. Now Motherwell have bounced back under manager Terry Butcher and will take on Rangers in the CIS Insurance Cup final next month. McFadden said: "I was going to go but we have Liverpool on the Sunday so I can't. "I still speak to Stevie Hammell regularly and it is brilliant for them to be in that cup final." That will be a tall order as Rangers thrashed Dundee United in their semi-final clash - a result which has not gone unnoticed on Merseyside. McFadden said: "We played on the Wednesday and when I came on I saw Rangers had beaten Dundee United 7-1. "Everyone was laughing in the dressing room that a semi-final had ended 7-1. But you never know. Anything can happen."

Tranmere Rovers 2, Everton 4
By Andrew Stratton, Daily Post
Feb 10 2005
TWO late goals by James Vaughan decided a lively see-saw NatWest Liverpool Senior Cup quarter-final clash at Prenton Park last night. Extra-time had seemed likely until Vaughan headed in Everton's third from an Andy Fowler cross in the 86th minute. Then the striker settled it with another header in the 90th minute from a free-kick which led to a booking for Tranmere's Oliver James. The Blues took a 17th-minute lead after James gave away possession. Guillaume Plessis, making his first start for the club since his move from Lens, raced forward and held off the challenge of Paul Martin to beat Phil Palethorpe with an angled shot from 15 yards. Steve Davis was unlucky for Rovers when he hit the bar from close range in the 24th minute. Two goals in five minutes in the second half gave Rovers the advantage. James made up for his error when heading in a Paul Brown corner in the 64th minute. Then four minutes later Davis found the target with a determined effort after beating two defenders. It was 2-2 in the 75th minute when Paul Hopkins beat Palethorpe from close range, following a left-wing cross. It was then anybody's tie but Everton who had beaten Tranmere in the same competition last year, produced the stronger finish.
TRANMERE ROVERS: Palethorpe; Vaughan, Lovell, Martin, Tremarco, James, Jones M, Fowler, (Henry 87), Dickinson, Davis, Brown. Subs: Scott, Pinch, Johnson, Garry.
EVERTON: Turner; Wright, Boyle, Hughes, Gerrard, Kearney, Hopkins, Plessis, Vaughan, Phelan (Anichebe 72), Fowler. Subs: Gallagher, Holt, Morrison, Molyneux.
REFEREE: Mr J Collins.

Gravesen move has hurt us - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 10 2005
EVERTON manager David Moyes has admitted for the first time that his side are struggling to adapt to the loss of midfield orchestrator Thomas Gravesen. The Danish international had been the undoubted player of the season at Goodison Park before his surprise move to Real Madrid last month. Gravesen would have been out of contract this summer yet Everton, who refused to stand in the way of a once-in-a-lifetime move to the Bernabeu, managed to recoup the £2.5million they paid Hamburg for the player in 2000 when Madrid stepped in. Everton's league form since Gravesen's departure, however, has deteriorated. They have won only one of four Premiership fixtures without the Dane - a scrappy 1-0 victory over Norwich - and Moyes labelled Sunday's draw at Southampton as their worst display of the season. But the Goodison manager insists disruption was inevitable once Gravesen left, and he will continue to find the right formula to cope with his absence. "We are still seeking the right blend since we lost Thomas," admitted Moyes. "That is what we are looking for at the moment. We have not been at our best but these things happen in a season. "Teams change all the time and you have to adapt. We are still looking for the right bodies and the right blend." The Everton manager brought in Mikel Arteta on loan from Real Sociedad following Gravesen's exit, and gave the former Glasgow Rangers midfielder a 30-minute debut at St Mary's on Sunday. Arteta, however, is still short of match fitness after suffering a knee ligament injury in December. And the Spaniard admits he will need time to reach peak condition following five weeks on the sidelines at Sociedad. "It was nice to be asked after only four or five days here to be on the bench with the team at Southampton and of course, I also had the chance to play a couple of minutes," said Arteta. "I feel much better since I've been here. I know because of my injury I have to train much harder every day to get to my best level of fitness. "After that, I'll be ready, if the gaffer wants to start me in a game. I have been out a number of weeks, I don't think I am 100%, but I am looking forward to reaching that level as soon as I can."

Chadwick left for more football
Daily Post
Feb 10 2005
FORMER Everton striker Nick Chadwick admitted the lure of regular league football persuaded him to join Plymouth. The 22-year-old (left) was snapped up by the Champion-ship side for £250,000, with Plymouth pouncing now rather than wait until Chadwick's contract expired in the summer.
Chadwick said: "I want first-team football and that's why I have come here. It makes me feel good being here because Plymouth were prepared to pay the asking price that Everton wanted. I'm very grateful for that, the manager and the board here have put their belief in me."

When billionaires were pick-pocketed
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 10 2005
EVERTON'S last win against the Chelsea billionaires came in exciting fashion in November 2000, when Walter Smith's last available XI overturned the odds for the second week in succession.
The previous Saturday, Arsenal had been turned over 2-0 by the likes of Idan Tal, Alec Cleland and
. Though not the force they are now, Chelsea represented another massive hurdle, one which few expected the Blues to hurdle. The summer of 2000 had seen Walter (who remember never had any money) blow his second transfer war chest of the type that David Moyes could only dream of, on a mixed bag of players. The likes of Gravesen, Pistone and Watson would eventually prove to be excellent buys for the Blues, though not necessarily during Walter's time. Unfortunately this was offset by the arrival of white elephants like Alex-andersson, Nyarko and the Paul Gascoigne circus and don't forget the emotional return of Big Dunc. By November it was clear that Walter was losing the hearts and minds of the Everton support. Chances were few and far between and it was a real bodyblow for the Blues when Chelsea's Italian youngster Sam Dalla Bonna drove home from just outside the box. But the game changed in the opening minutes of the second half when Eidur Gudjohnsen drove powerfully towards the bottom corner. Paul Gerrard managed to divert the ball onto the inside of the post and away. Everton immediately worked the ball forward, and Scot Gemmill released Cadamarteri for his second goal in successive Saturdays. Game on! The Goodison crowd was now at fever pitch and it was no surprise when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who'd been embroiled in a running battle with Michael Ball all day, finally snapped and elbowed the young defender. The Blues now had the extra man. With about 15 to go with Kevin Campbell, again a scorer the previous week, forced his way past Marcel Desailly and slotted home. Goodison went wild.

Details of Everton FA Cup tickets
Daily Post
Feb 10 2005
TICKET allocation for the fifth round FA Cup tie between Everton and Manchester United on Saturday, February 19 (5.30pm) is as follows:
Prices for a standard Premier League game will apply and are as follows: Main Stand £30.00; Top Balcony £27.00; Family Enclosure £27.00; Lower Gwladys £24.00; Upper Gwladys £27.00; Park Stand £28.00; Upper Bul-lens £29.00; Paddock £27.00; Lower Bullens £25.00; Disabled Enclosures £28/£27/£24 A junior (under 16 only) price of £20.00 Upper Bullens/Main Stand, £18.00 Park Stand, £16.00 all other General Stand areas. An over-65s price of £18.00 will be available in all general stand areas of the ground. Manchester United have claimed 6,000 tickets in the Bullens Road Stand. Therefore the following Season Ticket holders in the Bullens Road Stand will be offered a best available alternative seat on application: Paddock Stand - Supporters seated in seat numbers 151 and below (All Rows) Lower Bullens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 190 and below (All Rows) Upper Bullens - Supporters seated in seat numbers 189 and below (All Rows) Tickets are on sale to Season Ticket holders at the Park End Box Office from 9.30am as follows: Season Ticket holders may claim their own seat (subject to availability) on production of Cup Priority voucher no.22 (this must be fully completed with their seat details) at the Park End Box Office until close of business on Friday, February 11. Postal applications may be made enclosing the correct remittance, relevant fully completed voucher and a stamped addressed envelope to the Box Office, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. For this game ONLY Season Ticket holders may claim their own seat by phone on 08707 383786 up until close of business on Friday, February 11. There will be a charge of £1.55 per ticket and a transaction fee of £1.55 for this service. Tickets will be available on general sale from Monday, February 14 at 9.30am from the Park End Box Office and also to postal applicants.
Dial-A-Seat (General Sale) - Holders of Access and Visa cards may book seats subject to availability on general sale using our 24 hour Dial-A-Seat service 08707 3837866 from Monday, February 14. There is a £1.55 charge per ticket plus a £1.55 booking charge for this service. Lounge Members will need to present Cup Priority voucher no 22 or FA Cup fifth round voucher from their Season Ticket books to gain entry to their usual seats. Supporters registered on the Home Cup Scheme will automatically receive their tickets for this fixture through the post, those supporters whose seats will be affected by the visitors will be allocated a best available alternative seat in their own stand and their tickets posted out to them.

Martyn is the key to Europe
Feb 10 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goalkeeping legend Neville Southall believes Nigel Martyn is the key to the club's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League. The 38-year-old (left) returned to the Blues' starting line-up last week after recovering from a torn calf muscle. He has kept 10 clean sheets in his 22 appearances this season and Southall rates him and Chelsea's Petr Cech, who will be at Goodison on Saturday in the Premiership, as the best keepers in the country. "If the club want to make the Champions League then they cannot afford to make mistakes or concede sloppy goals. In that respect, Nigel Martyn is going to be very influential," Southall told the ECHO. "He is a steady eddie and the players seem comfortable and confident with him behind them. The defence is more assured. The players appreciate him and he doesn't make mistakes. "He has the right experience to help the whole team as he knows exactly what it takes to get into Europe and to win things. "The test of any goalkeeper for me is when you sit in the crowd. It is a position which gets people most agitated, but I have been to Goodison a number of times in the last year and I have never heard a murmur of discon-tent over Nigel. "That is something you can't say about the other keepers the club have had in recent years. Even if it isn't meant in a nasty way, you do tend to hear little comments. Not with Nigel. "The best keepers are the ones who are unfussy. Just look at Petr Cech. "The goalkeepers who make lots of eye-catching saves are either in a bad side or they are bad positionally. "The best keepers guide players into the right positions and spot the danger before it happens. Nigel is a great reader of the game because of his experience. "He is a great set of eyes for the defence and they look much more composed when he is behind them. "Nigel does that for Everton and that is also why Chelsea are where they are. Arsenal and Manchester United have not had a settled keeper and that is why they are where they are. "Nigel is consistently an eight out of 10 performer and you can't underline how important that is for any side. It is so important to have him back in the team. "He really could make the difference between making the Champions League and just missing out." Meanwhile, David Moyes has admitted that the side is struggling to come to terms with the sale of Thomas Gravesen to Real Madrid. He said: "We are still seeking the right blend since we lost Thomas. That is what we are looking for. We have not been at our best but these things happen in a season."

Cars to drive kids' dreams
Feb 10 2005 EXCLISIVE by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THERE is nothing unusual about a footballer wanting to make the transition to coaching when his playing career draws to a close. But if Lee Carsley (left) chooses that well-worn path, then he is likely to opt for a very different destination. The former Irish international is close to completing an 18-week training course as he begins that journey. But the prospect of following the likes of Everton manager David Moyes and assistant boss Alan Irvine into coaching at the very highest level doesn't appeal to the hard-working midfielder. Instead, Carsley has revealed that if he does choose to concentrate on coaching when he hangs up his boots, then working at the grassroots of the game - and specifically with children with disabilities - appeals to him most. "I have been in football all my life and there is no reason why I shouldn't stay in the game," reveals Carsley. "But the hours our coaches (at Bellefield) work are long. I can't see myself doing that. "Equally, I am not going to be somebody who is going to sit in the house and do nothing. "Financially, I will be in a position to do something which I enjoy and find rewarding." Carsley is a player who could never be accused of taking his privileged position as a professional footballer for granted. He has always endeavoured to ensure he makes the most of his profile as a Premiership hero to thousands of youngsters. That charity work and his coaching ambitions dove-tailed this week with his appointment as an ambassador for the Football Foundation - an organisation which aims to make it easier for both able-bodied and disabled youngsters to play the game. After putting a group of disa-bled teenagers through their paces at Everton's Bellefield training ground, Carsley revealed exactly why it is a scheme which is so close to his heart. "Hopefully I can do a lot more of this kind of stuff because I have got a disabled son myself so I know what it is all about," he explains. "I don't think people realise how important it is for disabled people to get involved in things and to have things specifically for them. "It gives them something to look forward to and to focus on. "And having trained with them here at Bellefield, there are some very good players who are taking a lot from the whole experience." Carsley, whose six-year-old son was born with Down's Syndrome, added: "If my Connor can grow up to be as active and involved as some of these lads then I will be really proud.
"I find working with kids with disabilities is even more rewarding than doing stuff with a youth team or even a senior side because you are getting a lot more feedback from these guys and they appreciate it so much. "It is something I could do more of in the future. "Getting involved in these kinds of initiatives is something I have always tried to do and I think it is the least I can do."
Indeed, Carsley believes all professional footballers have a responsibility to the community because of their profile. And while it may not be the kind of work which grabs the attention of the scriptwriters on Footballers' Wives, Carsley believes it is a truer reflection of how modern players operate. He said: "Most afternoons I just go back to my house anyway, so it is not as if I am shooting off to a casino or anything like that. I can afford the time and it is good to be able to give it up.
"Some nights I will come down to Bellefield to do a bit of coaching with the Youth Academy and they appreciate you going down. "But they are helping me as much as I am helping them because I am working on doing my coaching badges. "A lot of the lads have causes they like to do work for."
Not surprisingly, the majority of Carsley's fundraising work is for Down's Syndrome charities.
But by becoming an ambassador for the Football Foundation he is helping to address another issue which is close to his heart - the lack of sporting options available for children with disabilities.
He explains: "Connor is getting to that age where he could get involved in a team but you would be surprised how little is available for him. "For instance, if I want to send Connor on a football coaching course he has got to have an assistant with him. "I can afford to pay for an assistant, but that is not the point - other people may not be able to and that is not right. "I have never known of a coaching course being specifically for kids with special needs at that age. Things are improving, but there is always more that can be done." As for his grand new title, Carsley has just one gripe: "I am the first ambassador in my family, but I am still waiting for my big black car with flags on the front!"
No doubt the Ferrero Rocher will follow later.

The jury
Feb 10 2005 Liverpool Echo
'Four points from six is a good haul' - Stephen Shone ANOTHER late goal saved us from another embarrassing performance on Sunday. It's pleasing to see the team fighting to the end but we should never have been in that position in the first place. Even though Southampton played well, we had four or five clear cut chances to score and should've been 2-0 up before they equalised. It's good to see that even though we aren't playing well we are still picking up points. I'm sure we'll get over this blip and start scoring freely and beating teams again - maybe this week against Chelsea.
It will be a tough game, but I only fear their pace as I thought our defence struggled last week with Camara. We must start with two up front though in Beattie and Bent.
LOOKING back over our past two league games against relegation strugglers, taking four points from six has been a good haul, considering that in both games we did not play our best. Before the Southampton game, many would have felt it was a must-win but in the end everyone would have been happy with a point. Looking ahead, the game against Chelski will be a real test, but they won't like playing on the Goodison pitch at the moment. Maybe it's a good thing it is not being relaid!
With Tony Hibbert suspended, I am hoping Leon Osman will be fit because we are really missing him in midfield - without forgetting to mention our other 'walking wounded'. With Marcus Bent rediscovering some of his form, it has given Moyesy a real selection problem up front.

The jury
Feb 10 2005
Liverpool Echo
previous 12
'Four points from six is a good haul' - Stephen Shone WE didn't deserve anything from Sunday's game but we still managed to grind out a result. It isn't the first time this season we have managed that. In fact, it wasn't even the first time that week with the Norwich game falling into a similar category. In past seasons being able to win when playing badly is not a quality we have had but this season it's there in abundance. Add in the extra bit of luck we seem to be getting (both Beattie's goals so far have had a fortunate element to them and Saints should have had a penalty against us) and we may just hang on to that fourth spot. The performance we put in at Stamford Bridge earlier this season should give us the confidence to have a go at Chelsea.
THE first and last minute were ok, it was the middle which was dross" - our last game summed up perfectly by Davie Moyes. But we did get a point out of it. If that was our worst performance of the season then I imagine Moyes won't let it get any worse. He can't. If we keep playing like that, then we can kiss the Champions League goodbye. Liverpool aren't playing brilliantly either, but they got two wins on the bounce and Morientes is starting to score, so we have to be wary of the threat.
But it's still in our own hands. Five points clear and we still have to play Liverpool. We can afford to lose that and still qualify. But we have a lot of important games coming up and Chelsea are next.
The pitch is a mess, but if we unsettle them, they'll get annoyed, as shown at Blackburn.

Chadwick: No hard feelings over my departure
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Feb 11 2005
NICK CHADWICK has revealed his surprise at David Moyes' decision to sell him this week - but insisted he holds no grudges against the Everton manager. The Goodison Academy graduate (left) sealed a £250,000 switch to Coca-Cola Championship side Plymouth on Tuesday and is expected to start for the Home Park outfit against Rotherham tomorrow. Chadwick had expected to see his largely frustrating time at Everton finish at the end of the season, with Moyes's dwindling resources, particularly after the departure of Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Campbell, ensuring his availability within the squad until then. But earlier this week Moyes informed the 22-year-old that the club had decided to accept the offer from Argyle. Chadwick said: "Over the last 12 months or so when I realised that I wasn't going to be a part of things then my next move was to try to forward my career elsewhere. "I spoke to the manager about that and was told that numbers were low and that wouldn't be allowed to happen. When Thomas and Kevin left it left us even lower on numbers, so I was surprised when he called me into the office and allowed me to leave. "It's something which I need to thank David Moyes for - the fact that he has finally let me get on with my career and better myself." Despite having scored six times - in an Everton career that could boast just four starts - Chadwick was never afforded a sustained run in the first team. Chadwick feels he deserved more. "Every time I've played in the Premier League I've done myself justice," he said. "There's still a little bit of sadness because I think every time I've played I've deserved more chances than I got and had those chances come no one will ever know what might have happened." That lack of opportunity convinced the frontman his interests were best served by moving on, despite a glimmer of first-team football in recent weeks. He added: "I'd been involved in recent weeks and that had given me a boost and I was always hoping that something would come of that, but I think deep down I always knew that. "To be fair it had been proven before, that even if I had come on and done well it didn't necessarily mean that I was going to be included the next week. "First and foremost I know I've got a job to do at Plymouth, and I'm massively looking forward to playing every Saturday. When you're training all week with nothing on a Saturday you're robbing a living." "You're being paid to basically go and perform on a Saturday, obviously there's only 11 players who can do that and that's something that I'm now really looking forward to achieving." But despite his lack of chances at Goodison, Chadwick is adamant he is not bitter. "I'd say that my time at Everton was more on the fantastic side than the frustrating side," he added.. "The people I've got to work with have been unbelievable as have the fans who have always supported me. "I'll always remember friends I've got there for a long time. Towards the end, obviously when I knew my future lied elsewhere, but nothing was happening, it was frustrating but I'm not going to let that override the fact that I've been at such a great club as Everton. "I've played games for them, scored goals for them and most importantly I've made so many great friends and met so many great people." Meanwhile Guillaume Plessis was delighted to score his first goal in English football in Everton's 4-2 NatWest Senior Cup win at Tranmere on Wednesday. The 20-year-old, who signed a six-month contract after leaving French side Lens, hit the target after just 18 minutes. And he said: "For me it is a huge pleasure, firstly to be playing in England and secondly at Everton. I'm really pleased."

Eat your words Reds
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 11 2005
Eat your words
EVERTON should show the players in the dressing room what Rafael Benitez and Co said. Blow it up, pin it on the wall. That should help us get fourth place. I think the fans can play a bigger role at games and not just the big matches. The crowd noise was embarrassing against Norwich. Let's sort it out.
Barry Knight (via e-mail)
Nick nicked
WITH A small squad striving to get into Europe, what was the sense in selling Nick Chadwick for a derisory fee? After the hype of the transfer window proving to be a damp squib, he may have proved useful in the run-in.
Jonathan Fisher (via e-mail)
Chelsea fear EVERTON'S league form over the past few weeks has nose-dived and, let's face it, if we play half as bad against Chelsea as we did against Southampton we will get turned over big time.
David Moyes will need to get the lads fired up for this one
Mark Jersey (via e-mail)
Tony for England
AFTER watching England's poor performance against Holland, I am astonished that Tony Hibbert hasn't had a chance in the national team. He's one of the best fullbacks in the country and without Gary Neville, England would be very weak on the right side of defence. Hibbert is one of my star men of the season at Goodison, on a par with Leon Osman, Tim Cahill and Nigel Martyn.
David Roberts, Runcorn
Euro tonic
GREAT to see Nigel Martyn back in goal, just a shame that the defence wasn't up to much at Soutampton. If we finish fourth, fifth or sixth it's more than we thought in August. It amazes me that the fans are still giving the players stick; they are bound to have a few bad games. I know we all want to finish above Liverpool, but the UEFA Cup will do as a stepping stone for next season and will make us even more attractive to good players.
Leo Smith, Liverpool
Sad departure
SORRY to see Chadwick move on, although he had no choice really. Don't think he got a fair shot and any-time he played, he did well.
Alan Flynn (via e-mail)
Star player
TO ALL those people having a go at Alessandro Pistone . . . leave him alone! He's a class act and it upsets me to hear people near me at matches barracking him. He's been tremendous this term - it's certainly his best season so far with the Blues.
Janice Jones, Southport
Osman to stay
I AM sure David Moyes will reward those who have done well with new contracts. Ozzie is one of many who have excelled this season. The youngster will get his reward. Very few contracts are signed at the first offer these days.
Shirley Smith, Liverpool
Just desserts
I FEEL sorry for Osman. The lad has shown so much loyalty to Everton and we can't even offer him a decent contract. He is not asking for the world. He is a very good player and we are lost when he doesn't play. He took long enough to break into the team but we should thank the player for his performance this season by offering a decent (not crazy) pay salary. Big Dunc, on the other hand, should take a pay reduction so that he can stay with us. The man is a legend and again he did well when he came on as a sub at the weekend.
Gary Pugh (via e-mail)

Bent and Beattie can be a winning blend
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 11 2005
SO much for Everton enjoying the lush turf of St Mary's then. Apparently there are still legions of Southampton supporters wandering around dazed and confused after Everton's remarkable equaliser on Sunday. It was an excellent point given just how remarkably poor the Blues played, but earlier in the season we were going to places like that and winning. Then we had very little room to manoeuvre in terms of team selection, and we were on tenterhooks every time Marcus Bent went down with a slight knock. However, since we bought James Beattie and gave ourselves more options up front we have started to look unsure of ourselves. The departure of Thomas Gravesen is no doubt a contributory factor, but what is starting to become puzzling is the way we are sticking to a system built around both Bent and the influential Dane, despite their absence. When we had five decent midfielders and one striker strong, quick and enthusiastic enough to operate as the lone frontman then it made sense. It was that combination that was to thank for our good form though, not the system itself - it shouldn't be seen as some sort of crutch. Beattie, who took his first Premiership goal for Everton superbly, will never play the lone front-man role as effectively as Bent, no matter how fit he is. He's just not that sort of player. Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo will never make a central midfielder. It's one thing looking good on the ball at the back, but that's with everything in front of him. Seeing him receiving the ball in the middle though, unaware of what's behind him, is getting painful to watch. Surely, if we're going to keep the old system then Bent has to start ahead of Beattie. If not, then a switch to 4-4-2 must be on the cards. That's what we change to late on in games when we've lost the initiative, so why not start that way instead? If we don't pose more of a threat from the off tomorrow then we might just find ourselves in a spot of bother that even the introduction of Duncan Ferguson won't fix. Chelsea are rightfully at the top because they're excellent, but we showed at Stamford Bridge that we are capable of matching them. Arjen Robben is missing too, and he was the difference in November, so there's no reason, we can't do a bit better than perhaps some people expect.

Moyes: We can halt Chelsea charge
Feb 11 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES admits Everton could blow the title race wide open by beating Chelsea at Goodison tomorrow. Jose Mourinho's champions-elect arrive on Merseyside having lost only once in the league all season - at Manchester City 24 domestic league and cup games ago. But their lead at the top of the table could be cut to six points by the end of the weekend if they lose at Goodison and both Manchester United and Arsenal record victories. Moyes, however, is more concerned with chalking up the three points to help his side continue their own pursuit of a top four finish.
And he has revealed there is growing confidence inside Bellefield that a victory could be on the cards. "Chelsea will regard coming to Goodison as a tough game in their challenge for the title," Moyes told the ECHO. "That is their goal and while they have a good lead, they will be trying to get the points on the board to give them the title. "But we have given them a tough game already at Stamford Bridge and we will be looking to do the same this weekend. "We could make the title race more interesting if we win. But I am only interested in us. "I know there will be people who won't be giving us much of a chance in this game, but inside Bellefield we feel as if we have as good a chance as anybody of doing something against Chelsea and stopping their run. "We have built our squad on no money at all. They have been able to take the pick of the best players in Europe and so for us to be competing with them at this end of the table really is a great feat." Everton have suffered a pre-match scare with the news that full-back Alessandro Pistone is struggling with a throat infection. With Tony Hibbert suspended, the Italian's illness could leave the Blues light in defence. Joseph Yobo is standing by to step into yet another unfamiliar role. Injury worries over Lee Carsley and Tim Cahill have both cleared up.

Europe would be fantastic!
Feb 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AS room-mates, they would appear to be about as well-matched as Brad and Jen. In the one corner, you have David Moyes (right) - intense, passionate, steely-eyed, consumed by a burning determination to win at all costs; a man only likely to smile if a tactical switch has just paid off.
In the other you have Ally McCoist - the wisecracking TV pundit with a twinkle in his eye and a reputation as a ladies' man; ready to grin cheekily every five minutes. But Walter Smith reveals that the pair did share digs together as Scottish youth team players under his guidance, and that there are sides to the pair the public does not see. "Aye, Davey and Ally did room together," confessed the former Blues boss. "Was that like chalk and cheese?" he was asked.. "No," he laughed uproariously. "Big Davey has a side to him, you know! And although Alistair has a lighter side, he takes his football very seriously." Smith has handed McCoist his first coaching job as part of his new Scotland set-up, but he still watches the progress of Ally's old room-mate closely. And he has been hugely impressed.
"If Davey gets a European place I think it would be fantastic for him. If he gets a Champions League place that would go down as the managerial achievement of the year," he declared. "Davey has a determination to succeed and that comes over all the time. People forget sometimes that making the change from managing at first division level to the Premiership is a big one. "Not a lot of people do that and it takes a little time to settle. He has done that and shown he is one of the leading managers in the country. "I just hope Everton are settling down now and the situation they are in this season becomes a fairly normal one. "After what they have gone through in the past 10 seasons or so that is maybe a little bit optimistic, but I think that a club of that stature needs to get the financial wherewithal to achieve that. "I think if this season they did get a Champions League place, it would also help him financially to remain in that position and they are a club who have traditionally shown they can do that." Moyes followed Smith as Blues' boss in March 2002, but despite the disappointment of the nature of his departure from Goodison, he is genuinely delighted to see his successor faring so well. "I don't think there is any doubt that he is one of the bright young managers around," Smith went on. "When he came into Everton he made a good impact right away. The first season he just missed out on a European place on the last Saturday.
"Last season, for whatever reasons - and I'm not privy to what happened - it didn't go as well as anybody would have wanted. "But it is a measure of how well he has done that he has changed things around in the summer. He has brought in a couple of players and those players have fitted in right away and they have had what can only be described as a tremendous season. "A lot of the results have been tight but they have showed great resilience. "If he can get a Champions League place that would be a fantastic managerial achievement, to get in there above clubs like Liverpool and Newcastle. "It's great. I don't think there's any other way you can describe it. It's amazing to see the transformation and I think Davey deserves the credit for that more than anybody. "The style of play and the manner in which they have won games this season has been a great credit to him.
"I think they have been terrific and I hope that they are settling down. "Hopefully buying James Beattie is the first indication that the club is adding to the staff after long periods when there has been a bit of turnoil. "I just hope they can hang in there until the end of the season. They look as if they have a good spirit and a good confidence and I just hope they can hang in and pinch that European place above Liverpool." The presence of players like James McFadden, Gary Naysmith and the recently recalled David Weir to his international squad, means that Smith will be making frequent visits to Goodison Park to witness firsthand Everton's efforts to clinch that Champions League berth. He is looking forward to those scouting missions. "James is a player who was pitched in at international level at a very young age," he explained. "He has been playing international football for a couple of seasons now in a Scotland team that has been struggling a little bit.
"It's not been an easy period for him to show what he can do and I think any player of his type moving to England will take a little time to settle in and he seems to be doing that now. "The reports from the last few games have been very good and hopefully he can have an impact between now and the end of the season. "As for Davey Weir, I didn't have to persuade him to come back at all. I just phoned him up, asked him if he wanted to play and he said 'yes' right away. "From a Scotland point of view that was great, because in my eyes he had always played well and for me he would be an automatic choice so I was delighted."

Blues face Jose's mind game
Feb 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
YOU may call it straw clutching. I prefer to think of it as employing statistical evidence to provide cause for optimism. Everton are the only Premiership team to have won every match following the four international breaks this season. Chelsea have won just one. Add to that a disintegrating pitch, the injury to Arjen Robben, a disruptively early kick-off - and Everton's precedent for upsetting long unbeaten records (Liver-pool '88, Arsenal 2002), then a Chelsea defeat is clearly imminent.
Even Jose Mourinho thinks so.
"It's simple to under-stand that every week after the internationals, we have lost points," he said. "Every game." "So now, maybe, it is time for us to lose points again." More mind games from Jose? Or do Everton have a genuine chance of upsetting Chelsea's Premiership title charge?
Don't be surprised to see both teams claiming a point.
Invading the senses
EVERTON have endured three "pitch invasions" this season; one, an alarm-ingly ginger streaker; the second, a lone fan who decided to get familiar with a corner flag after Lee Carsley's derby match winner - then finally, a display of over-exuberance after a late winner against Portsmouth.

The Premier League's reaction? A threat to dock points if any further transgressions take place.
Liverpool fans have already joked that if their team can't catch Everton, they will make sure one of their fans does the job for them. So has the Premier League's "threat" helped or hindered the Goodison safety staff? You decide.

Beattie needs time to become a legend
Feb 11 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
REGARDLESS of what you may have read on these pages previously, Bob Latchford wasn't quite perfect. Almost. But not quite. And there were plenty of Everton fans willing to let him know.
The passing of time has seen The Latch pass into something approaching sainthood around Goodison Park. But he was just one of many to feel the sharp edge of Gwladys Street's tongue at certain stages of his career. Caustic comments along the lines of "fat," "lazy" and requiring some form of engine up his rear end were not as rare as you would imagine. And he wasn't alone. Genuine, undeniable Everton legends like Peter Reid, Kevin Ratcliffe and even Neville Southall have all been on the receiving end of waspishness from the more fickle fans. Which is why it has been amusing to hear more than a handful of supporters questioning James Beattie's effectiveness in recent weeks, and calling for Marcus Bent to replace him. Bent's impact as a substitute in Everton's last two matches has been undeniable - and his Radzinski-esque strike against Southampton last week was an absolute peach - but it should also be pointed out that it was only his second goal in 18 matches.
Bent's qualities lie in his intelligent running, his selfless work-rate, his deceptive pace. Beattie offers something altogether different, a goal threat. On his debut, Everton's £6m man got into a scoring position underneath the Plymouth crossbar. He somehow contrived to turn his shot over, but he got there. He was then unlucky to hit the post at Middlesbrough, did the same against Charlton, scored against Sunderland and Southampton, got superbly in front of a defender to crash one over the bar against Norwich - and has generally chiselled out a chance every game he has played, from a less than prolific supply of crosses. If even goalscoring legends like The Latch received stick, he shouldn't worry. And the reception he received when he was substituted against Norwich suggests that 99 per cent are still right behind him. Thirty years time and he'll be a legend.

Ricksen listens to Ball over Everton transfer
By Jon West, Daily Post
Feb 12 2005
RANGERS defender Michael Ball has revealed he was sounded out by team-mate Fernando Ricksen about a potential move to Everton. The Goodison Park club are keen to sign a player who will be out of contract in the summer and had a bid turned down two days before the transfer window closed last month. Ball, the former England defender, was happy to supply his team-mate with the information but still believes the Dutchman is most likely to remain at Ibrox. He said: " Ball cost Rangers £4million in the summer of 2001 when then-boss Dick Advocaat lured him away from Everton just weeks after he had picked up his solitary England cap. A serious knee injury put his career on hold for 18 months, by which time Rangers' financial problems had become a factor. The club refused to pay Everton a £500,000 fee which would have been triggered by his 60th appearance so most of this season has been spent on the sidelines too. But a settlement was eventually negotiated - with the player making his own financial input - and Ball has now started the last two matches. He said: "It had been a long time coming. "I have had a couple of games now and feel confident. "All I need now is a good run of games and hopefully things will get better for me."

Manager of the year... and there's no way it's Jose
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 12 2005
BACK in awful August today's encounter at Goodison Park would have been billed as the paupers against the prince, the fallen giants against the nouveau riche with designs rather than delusions of grandeur. Instead, and as further evidence of Everton's dramatic transformation, the contest can be sold as a play-off to determine the most successful manager in this season's Premiership. Not even the miracle worked by David Moyes since his side were widely tipped for relegation could enable his club to compete with Chelsea on a financial scale. Noone can, although the pauper analogy still seems more appropriate at Goodison Park than most. "In financial terms we should not be in Chelsea's division," said Moyes. But it is a measure of how far his team has travelled this season that if Everton can defy the odds and hang onto the fourth Champions League spot many observers would rank the achievement above a first championship triumph in 50 years at Stamford Bridge. Former Everton manager turned Scotland coach Walter Smith would be one such observer. Jose Mourinho has been a welcome, wonderful addition to the otherwise predictable make-up of the managerial landscape in this country and no-one can dispute the midas touch that delivered a European Cup, UEFA Cup and two titles to Porto in two seasons has travelled well. Yet whereas the suave, forthright Mourinho was expected to win the Premiership title in his first season in England, a fact he willingly acknowledged when accepting his £5million-a-year contract, Moyes was merely asked to keep Everton in it. The prospect of both clubs partaking in the Champions League draw this August, therefore, would leave Smith in no doubt about the manager of the year. "I don't think there is any doubt that Davie has done as good a job as anyone in the Premiership," said Moyes' predecessor. "You cannot argue with Alan Curbishley's viewpoint that Davie is the only manager who has achieved anything this season by ensuring Everton are already safe. Even next season that will be their aim. It takes a few seasons before you get that thinking out of your head. "But nobody would have expected what he has done this season. Jose Mourinho has taken on a very different scenario in the way you run a club. He has had to do so under the weight of expectation. "Davie hasn't had that, but it doesn't take away from the job he has been doing. If he gets a European place then it would a fantastic achievement. If he gets a Champions League place then that would be the managerial achievement of the year for me." Moyes has spent £8.45m since last season on a squad that narrowly avoided relegation, recouping £33m. Spending a contrasting £92m has brought its own pressures for Mourinho, although his inheritance of a squad rich in Champions League experience meant it was not only the obvious spending power of Roman Abramovich that put the Portuguese coach at a significant advantage. Champions League football is a necessity for Chelsea's image and growing status. For Everton, it could be the ticket that transforms their fortunes overnight. Smith, who knows thing or two about working under financial restraints at Goodison, explains: "People are becoming more aware of the circumstances managers have to work under.
The circumstances I had to work under at Everton are happening to a lot of clubs now whereby the financial implications cause a lot of managers headaches. "I hope things are settled down at Everton now. Europe would be a terrific achievement but getting into the Champions League would help not only the image of the club but also financially as well." Recent performances have suggested an arduous campaign is beginning to exact its toll on Moyes's threadbare squad. But if Everton do hang onto fourth then Smith, who amidst the anguish of his own departure as Everton manager in 2002 told Bill Ken-wright that Moyes was the man to replace him, will not be shocked by his successor's achievement. "I don't think there is any doubt that David is one of the brightest young managers in the country," he said. "When he came into Everton at the start he made a good impact right away and they just missed out on a European place on the final day of his first full season. "Last season, for reasons I am not privy to, it didn't go as well as anybody would have wanted, but it is a measure of how well he has done that he has changed things round since the summer. "He has brought in a couple of players and they have fitted in right away. It has been a tremendous season. A lot of their results have been tight, but they have shown great resilience and I know Davie from the days when he was a youth team player and I was coach and I hope he can keep the results going until the end of the season. If he got a Champions League place I think it would be a fantastic managerial achievement to get in there ahead of clubs like Liverpool and Newcastle. If Everton could get into that situation then a lot of the credit should go to Davie." Smith added: "His determination comes over. He has that bit in him whereby he wants to succeed. He has, and he has shown he is one of the leading managers in the country. When I was the Scotland youth coach his room-mate was Ally McCoist and it wasn't necessarily chalk and cheese. Even then though it looked a natural thing for him to go into coaching he did all his coaching and I had a fair idea he was going to make a real attempt at it." Smith will not cast his final vote for the manager of the season until the main prizes have been won. Mourinho has produced a level of consistency at Chelsea that has pushed Arsenal and Manchester United aside, although the latter's emergence in the title race could bring Sir Alex Ferguson another individual accolade if they manage to overcome the leaders by May. But the former Everton manager says: "It is difficult to pick one out, but the most important thing of all is Davie is getting mentioned among those names. "If he can show something tangible for that at the end of the season you can make an assessment on who has been the best. "It is a difficult to say what is the greater achievement. If any manager of a newly-promoted team can keep them in the Premiership then it is a tremendous feat too and Iain Dowie, Nigel Worthington and Bryan Robson should be applauded if they do. "But having had that disappointment last year and then taking Everton to where they are now is arguably a better achievement by Davie. "Everton have had highs and lows since he has been there, but there is no question they are back on a high now."

Everton 0, Chelsea 1 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
WITH THEIR military planning and organisation, rigid defence and an occasional dash of flair, the kings of the 1-0 remain focused on their cherished prize. Whether the principles that are carrying Chelsea ever closer to a first league title for 50 years still apply to Everton, however, is open to debate. Though on a less expensive and heralded scale, Everton have deservedly sat in the top four since September thanks to many of the characteristics of Jose Mourinho's champions-elect. Fantastic discipline, defensive solidity, team work and genuine talent are all hallmarks of the Goodison success story this season but another of their lauded qualities - their focus - appears to have been distracted by the blinding lights of the Champions League in recent weeks.
After so many years in the doldrums, the end product of which crystallised only last summer, fourth place and the impact it would have on finance and prestige is akin to a title triumph at Goodison Park in 2005. A demeaning ambition perhaps, but a reality nonetheless. One invitation to Europe's richest competition could sustain a long-term revival for Everton once the Wayne Rooney money runs out. With Liverpool in the first year of Rafael Benitez's rebuilding programme, Newcastle beset by division, Middlesbrough flattering to deceive and the fruits of Tottenham's youth policy yet to emerge, this season offers Everton perhaps the finest chance to reshape their future. Yet that pursuit requires a ruthlessness that Everton are in danger of losing sight of. You can hear it in talk that claims finishing above Liverpool means more than Champions League football, an obvious lack of ambition that James McFadden is not alone in expressing. You can sense it in the lack of atmosphere at Goodison Park recently, which appears to require either relegation battles or objects of fury to rediscover a voice best served driving its team towards unexpected glory. And you can see it in team selections that have bucked the trend of making the best use of limited resources. That did not apply on Saturday as James Beattie received welcome support from the returning Marcus Bent and David Moyes used what midfield options he had available to stifle Chelsea's array of Kings Road millionaires. But he had only eight minutes to assess his new-look formation as the £6m striker foolishly if not, as he protests, maliciously, became the quickest Everton player to an early bath at Goodison Park. Beattie has made an encouraging start to his Everton career since his £6m transfer from Southampton. He has become the focus of debate where Moyes's recent formations are concerned, yet has not been helped by the lone striker role in which Bent has flourished but does not appear to suit his more direct, penetrating style. Recent performances, though also revealing the effects of an arduous season on a threadbare squad, have strengthened the argument that Beattie needs the support of a fellow striker or, if 4-5-1 is to remain, is the man to make way. For the next three games at least, he has provided the answer. His eighth minute dismissal against Chelsea was the only decision referee Mike Riley called right on Saturday but there could be no disputing the punishment once Beattie reacted to William Gallas's obstruction by throwing his head into the back of the French international. Or there should have been no disputing it. Beattie deserves great credit for facing the media afterwards, the majority would not in similar circumstances, and it was with genuine despair that he insisted he had not butted Gallas but had attempted to pre-empt another block by the Chelsea centre-half as they chased the ball into the corner flag. The Everton striker passionately expressed the same argument in a private meeting in the referee's room as he faced up to the first suspension of his professional career. The only way Riley would consider grounds for an appeal, however, is if subsequent TV replays showed Beattie wearing a Ruud Van Nistelrooy mask. On second thoughts, take the punishment. At least Beattie offered an apology to team-mates, manager and supporters because, whether he believes he has been wronged or not, he did let them down and he does owe them big time. Headbutt or a nudge in the back of the neck, it was violent conduct and an act that forced those he left behind to defend for their lives against the league leaders and prompted Moyes to initially defend the indefensible. Gallas did over-react but Moyes, refreshingly honest about his own players's indiscretions in the past, almost set a worrying precedent by absolving Beattie from any responsibility for turning a difficult task into an impossible one. Mercifully the Everton manager spared any further embarrassment last night when he retracted comments that may have been fuelled by the initial passions of battle but which served his and Beattie's cause no good at all. Moyes issued a statement last night explaining: "Having had some time to reflect and, perhaps more significantly, having now had time to carefully study video recordings of Saturday's game, I believe that I should set the record straight by conceding that the dismissal of James Beattie was right and correct. "My comments on Saturday came immediately after the final whistle and at a point when I had only had the opportunity to see one, very quick re-run of the incident." Moyes continued: "Although the incident was totally out of character - James has never even been suspended before in his career - his actions were unacceptable and, self-evidently, had a detrimental effect on his teammates. "James did issue a formal apology to myself, his team-mates and to the Everton supporters immediately after the game and that was the right thing to have done. He will now be subjected to the normal club discipline. "He is a competitive, but a fair player and I know how upset he is by what has happened. However, I must say that I do still believe the Chelsea player in question did go down too easily." Everton reacted well to keep Chelsea at bay, which was all that could be asked of them with ten men. Riley heightened Goodison grievances by falling for every trick by the visitors and not even speaking to Frank Lampard when he swung at Lee Carsley after the Everton midfielder had checked his run, a la Gallas and Beattie.
Solutions to the creative, attacking problems that have plagued Everton since Thomas Gravesen's departure were not required once Beattie went, but at least the home side showed defensive resilience remains a virtue. Nigel Martyn made two excellent saves to deny Eidur Gud-johnsen at close range while Joseph Yobo shone in several roles as Chelsea, despite Damien Duff's constant probing, were restricted to mostly tame efforts from distance. But with 20 minutes to go the relentless pressure finally told when Paulo Ferreira delivered a £13m full-back's cross from the right and though Claude Makelele's shot hit the crossbar the ball fell at the feet of Gudjohnsen who tapped into an empty net. With Duncan Ferguson on as a late substitute Everton threatened an unlikely recovery against a Chelsea side who have not conceded for a remarkable ten Premiership games. Only Carsley came close to breaking that record with a glancing 81st-minute header straight into the arms of Petr Cech. "Our delivery and our setpieces were terrible. That was what annoyed me most about our performance," said Moyes,, who will also be without Tim Cahill against Manchester United following a fifth booking of the season for the tenacious Australian. The FA Cup offers the cliche of a welcome distraction for Everton this weekend. After that, however, there should be none for the most important prize of all. Everton's motto of 'Nothing but the best is good enough' is appropriate for the Champions League. 'Nothing else matters' is more accurate now.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Ferguson 73); Carsley (Arteta 84), Cahill, Yobo, Kilbane; Bent; Beattie. Subs: Wright, Plessis, Gerrard.
BOOKINGS: Cahill (foul)
SENDING-OFF: Beattie (violent conduct)
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge; Tiago (Johnson 89), Makelele, Lamp-ard; Cole (Jarosik 71), Gudjohnsen, Duff (Carvalho 90). Subs: Smertin, Cudicini.
BOOKINGS: Terry, Jarosik (dissent)
REFEREE: Mike Riley
ATT: 40,270
NEXT GAME: Everton v Manchester United, FA Cup fifth round, Saturday 5.30pm

I'm sorry, but I should not have been sent off
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
JAMES BEATTIE last night apologised for his moment of madness against Chelsea - but still insisted he should not have been sent off for head-butting William Gallas. David Moyes yesterday retracted post-match comments absolving his £6million record signing of blame for the eighth-minute dismissal after studying video evidence of the incident in Everton's 1-0 defeat by the champions-elect. "Having had some time to reflect and, perhaps more significantly, having now had time to carefully study video recordings of Saturday's game, I believe that I should set the record straight by conceding that the dismissal of James Beattie was right and correct," said the Everton manager.
Beattie will be fined two weeks' wages for the first red card of his career and misses three crucial games as a result of the fastest dismissal of an Everton player at Goodison Park - this Saturday's FA Cup clash with Manchester United plus Premiership games with Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers.
The striker requested a private meeting with referee Mike Riley after the game as he launched a passionate defence of his actions. But despite damning TV evidence, Beattie insisted he did not intend to hurt the French international and was merely dealing with the defender's constant obstruction. The striker said: "We were chasing the ball into the corner and Gallas kept checking over his shoulder to see where I was. He checked me two or three times and in the end I just thought I'd put my head down and try and get the ball." Beattie continued: "Our heads barely touched, it was not an intentional head-butt by any means. I've had a word with the referee and he seemed to accept my explanation. "All I did was put my head down as he went to check me again.
"I've explained what happened to the referee but he said that from where he was he had to send me off. He has refereed me loads of times and he knows that in all that time, and even with the amount of challenges I go up for using my arms, I have never tried to hurt anyone. "I don't know if there is a chance of an appeal but he said he accepted my explanation." Beattie added: "I'm not interested in whether it looks bad on the replays or not, my intention was not to head-butt him and he has made a meal of it." Despite Beattie's claims Everton will not appeal against the decision with Moyes last night admitting the striker deserved to be sent off. But the striker has offered an apology for leaving his side to combat Chelsea's dominance with only 10 men for 82 minutes. "I am devastated," he said. "It was a massive game for us, as is next week's game and the ones after that. "I have said sorry to the lads and the gaffer, and I want to say sorry to the fans, but I honestly never thought I would be sent off for that. I never intended to do him any harm. "It is the first suspension of my career, never mind the first sending off, and I am devastated. "To be sent off in a massive game like this and then to miss the next three games is devastating and I just want to say sorry to the fans.
"It is not in my nature to head-butt, and if I had gone to do it properly he would have stayed down a lot longer."

Still in driving seat, but moral wins don't count
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
THERE have been a few questions asked about James Beattie in the last few weeks. Most of them have been about fitness or his ability to play as a lone striker though; no-one ever thought to query his temperament or his disciplinary record. The fact that he's never been redcarded or suspended in his career before, facts he put forward in his defence in the aftermath of Saturday's match with Chelsea, only make his impromptu impression of a rutting stag all the more bizarre. Criticism of William Gallas's over-reaction to the headbutt, in the opening stages of what was expected to be a top of the table epic, is really besides the point. David Moyes says that John Terry wouldn't have gone down as dramatically as the Frenchman, which may very well be true, but that doesn't alter the fact that Mike Riley would still have had no choice but to instantly dismiss the Everton centre-forward, regardless of who was the recipient of his cranial attentions. Everyone knows that if you swing elbows, raise your hands or stick the head on an opponent, no matter how hard, then more than likely you're going to walk. If Duncan Ferguson, for instance, had acted like Beattie then there would have been calls to get a posse up and chase him out of town with cattle prods and pickaxe handles. It was a ludicrous and pointless thing to do. The players who actually remained on the pitch on Saturday were magnificent, demonstrating the work ethic and the toughness of character that has seen them ensconced in the top four of the Premiership for most of the season. Admittedly the pitch - which apart from the patchwork goalmouths looks more like Goose Green every week - was a great leveller and helped to disrupt Chelsea's rhythm, but the likes of Tim Cahill, Kevin Kilbane, Marcus Bent and Joseph Yobo, who at times did a passable Trevor Steven impersonation on the right wing, ran themselves into the ground. However, the Blues are at the business end of the Premiership now, playing for Champions League qualification, a prize that other clubs spend countless millions trying to attain, so brave defeats and moral victories are worthless. Points on the board are all that matter. Beattie's banned for three games and Cahill will miss the cup tie next Saturday, but again you get little sympathy when you're fighting for the top places. You only had to look at Anthony Gerrard and Guillaime Plessis warming up in front of the Family Enclosure to realise that the Blues are already down to the bare bones, but in the past the Toffees have often produced their best results when able bodies have been thin on the ground. Two of Walter Smith's most vital wins, at Ewood Park and Highfield Road, came when he struggled to put 11 players out, and both featured Yeovil goal-machine Phil Jevons, playing on the wing of all places. Similarly, no-one gave David Moyes's team a chance at Old Traf-ford earlier this season, especially with Yobo and Thomas Gravesen missing, but they earned a point and could have feasibly have taken all three. So Moyes will have to adapt again, and the first thing he will do is reinstate Bent as the lone striker, which might not be such a bad thing after all. Mikel Arteta has shown in his brief cameos that he can play a bit too, so he seems certain to start in a five-man midfield, while Leon Osman's imminent return should also provide a boost for the squad. Moyes has admitted that the recent shaky form has coincided with the departure of Gravesen to Madrid, but the impact of Osman's absence through injury should not be under-estimated either. And despite the disappointment of the sending-off and the result at Goodison, the actual upshot of the weekend's games, in terms of stark statistics, is that the Blues still have a five-point lead over their nearest challengers and there's now one less game to play. All the 'mind games' in the world, which actually seem to consist of saying 'we're better than you', don't change the fact that the real pressure is on the teams behind Everton. After all, they're the ones who have to find at least an extra five points from somewhere. So the Toffees, for their part, are still firmly in the driving seat and just have to keep doing what they're good at, stay focused and use their heads. But not like that, obviously.

Cole: I always felt we'd be too hot
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
JOE COLE acknowledged that Everton had proved difficult to break down following the sending-off of James Beattie - but added that he always felt the Premiership leaders would come out on top.
The home team had to play for 82 minutes with one man short following the striker's dismissal, Eidur Gud-johnsen eventually finding a way past Nigel Martyn to seal three points. Cole, back in the side to replace the stricken Arjen Robben, did his chances of further impressing Jose Mourinho no harm at all with an inventive display. He said: "The sending-off changed the game but everybody knows it's hard to break down a 10-man team who are just defending. "But I never had the feeling that it wasn't going to go for us. "Now we have three cup games before we play our next league game and it is great to put the league to bed for a while with us being so many points clear.
"We are missing important players. "But it gives people like me the chance to get into the side and do my best, I hope that it makes it difficult for other to get their places back when they are fit.
"It is fantastic to be involved in something like this, but it's not won yet. "We have 11 games left, and we know it will get harder as we get nearer the end, so nobody should start thinking it is all over. I'm just happy the team won, that is the main thing, and that I was part of it." Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho did not attend the after-match press conference and sent his assistant Steve Clarke, who saw the Beattie incident differently from the home contingent. Clarke said: "The whole game changed when Beattie was sent off. When you look at the incident you think 'why did he do that, it's silly.' But these things happen for no reason. "I am sure Beattie will look at that and wonder why it happened."

Martyn shows age is no barrier
View from the stands by Ken Stewart Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
THE GAME as a contest was obviously over when James Beattie decided to become a past Everton legend; his Rhino impression was spot on. We held out very well. Chelsea had lots of possession but there weren't many clear-cut chances bar the goal. As an attacking force, we were minimal and Marcus Bent had nothing to chase up front. He was needed back defending most of the time. But Chelsea do have the best defence in Europe, so breaking them down with 10 was near impossible.
But our own defence has to be applauded and yet again Nigel Martyn (pictured) is showing age is no factor when you have class. He made some wonderful saves, dominated his box and gave the defenders the confidence to think they may be able to hold out for a draw. We would have done, but for an unlucky bounce which deceived Martyn leaving Gudjohnsen a tap-in. It was hard luck after such excellent defence. We have to get this game out of our heads and with Liverpool losing we are in the same position as we were at the start of Saturday, and that will do nicely. Now we begin the countdown for a game which is bound to be explosive on Saturday. With or without Wayne Rooney it would have been spicy, but his presence adds petrol to the flames. We can beat Manchester United, but I thought we could beat Chelsea and the form United are in means they will start favourites. Goodison will be rocking, which will make a great atmosphere, but I sense it will be filled with bitterness and the 5.30pm kick-off wasn't the cleverest of ideas. Whatever happens, it will be memorable.

Striker Heskey tips old club in Everton chase
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
EMILE HESKEY helped deal a massive blow to Liverpool's hopes of Champions League qualification - and then backed his old team to finish fourth. Heskey was man of the match and won the penalty which sent Birmingham on their way to a 2-0 victory at St Andrews on Saturday. It means Liverpool remain five points behind neighbours Everton in the battle for fourth place. But Heskey insisted: "I think they can still finish fourth. I wish them all the best and I hope that they can get it. "Every time I have played against my old clubs, I have wanted to do well. When I was at Liverpool I wanted to do well and beat Leicester whenever we played them, so it was no different to that. "I still get on well with the players and everyone shook my hand after the game. I think the result was more about us than about Liverpool. Our performance was brilliant. "We did not let them get into us, because if you give them the chance to pass the ball then they can break teams down."

Everton through to last four of cup
Womens Football, Daily Post
Feb 14 2005
A JODY HANLEY extra-time strike made sure Everton Ladies beat Chelsea 1-0 to reach the FA Cup semi-finals yesterday. However fellow Merseysiders Tranmere went out 7-1 at home to Bristol Rovers. Charlton also negotiated the sixth round, beating Sunderland 4-1 - but manager Keith Boanas was disappointed his side allowed the visitors back in the match after the Addicks took an early lead through Ann-Marie Heatherson, and quickly doubled it with a fine Jo Broadhurst finish.
However, captain Casey Stoney scored an own goal as she sliced a clearance from a corner to halve her side's advantage and keep the Black Cats in the game. The hosts bounced back with second-half goals from Eniola Aluko and Katie Chapman to seal it. "Whoever we play will be a difficult game, they are all Premiership teams left, and the semi-final is going to be a very hard contest," cautioned Boanas, whose side are now 90 minutes away from a third consecutive FA Cup final after losing in 2003 to Fulham and then last year to Arsenal.

Everton 0, Chelsea 1 (Echo)
By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Feb 14 2005
THERE were 10 heroes in Everton Blue on Saturday. But had there been eleven it would surely have been a much more satisfying outcome. Whether or not James Beattie's headbutt was intentional - and the striker's honest and emotional insistence that it was not was compelling - you still couldn't argue with Old Mother Riley's decision to brandish the red card. Mike Riley had a stinker of a game, giving far too many 50/50 decisions Chelsea's way to constantly under-mine any hopes Everton had of causing the upset of all upsets after being reduced to 10 men inside eight minutes. But that is something we have come to expect from the most starstruck of all the Premiership's referees.
The irony was that his most harmful ruling against David Moyes' men was the one he got right. Once the striker's head made contact with William Gallas' as he chased a nothing ball towards the corner flag, the out-come was inevitable. Last week, the quickest Everton goal of the season. This week, the quickest sending off in Everton history. Beattie is certainly leaving his mark on this campaign.
Whether it is exactly what the Good-ison faithful were expecting when he signed in for £6m is another thing altogether. This should have been the game where he made the difference, where he exploded into life after a steady but uninspiring start to life on Merseyside. Instead, it raised more questions than answers about the forward. But while his actions cost Everton dear, they also provided his teammates with an opportunity to demonstrate why there remains cause for intense optimism in the remaining months of the season. Their efforts warranted a lucky break on Saturday. It may not have come at Goodison, but it did courtesy of results elsewhere. And so it is looking increasingly likely that the club's Champions League aspirations could be determined by the meeting with Liverpool at Anfield next month. That will be Beattie's first league game back after completing his three game suspension. You would have thought that being reduced to 10 men after less than eight minutes would have been the signal for a one-sided stroll to victory for Chelsea. Instead, while the Londoners had the lion's share of possession, they struggled to wriggle free of Everton's attentions. It was a rousing, gutsy display - from the acrobatics in goal of Nigel Martyn to the relentless running of Marcus Bent up front. But then we have come to expect that from this side.
Indeed, we can now put a definitive answer to the question: How much is Everton's team spirit worth? The difference in the cost between the two starting line-ups was a whopping £77.85m. Once Beattie left the action that figure rose to £83.85m. Yet on Saturday the 10 men proved a match for their expensive guests. Everton stood toe-to-toe with the millionaires and fought like heroes. Chelsea, and you can forget all the pandering from the TV pundits, were not vastly superior - and that against 10 men. Chelsea are perplexing. In John Terry they have an English captain hewn from the toughest granite, in Frank Lampard they have one of the continent's most accomplished goalscoring midfielders and in Jose Mourinho they have the most flamboyant, articulate of managers. And yet that dazzling triumvirate provide the bedrock for a 'square' football team.
In the opening quarter they were falling like lemmings in search of punishment for their tough-tackling counterparts. And in the final quarter they were kicking the ball away like petulant school children, intent on playing the clock down to protect their one goal advantage. Professionalism or gamesmanship? An easy answer as far as I am concerned. It was like watching a Serie A side in action, not a team battling for the English title. Everton are a side put together on a shoestring, which is why Moyes took them on a much-earned three-day break to Portugal on Saturday night. He wants his hard-working, close-knit group to recharge their batteries after months of faultless effort.
It is the kind of continental excursion they are going to have to get used to. Because it is going to take a gargantuan effort from the sides below the Blues to wrestle a top four berth away from them.
Everton's performance against Chelsea illustrated why their break is deserved - and why it is so badly needed. The hearts remain strong but the legs are getting weary. Beattie is now suspended for three games, Nick Chadwick is re-starting his career at Plymouth and Tim Cahill picked up his fifth caution of the season on Saturday and will now not face Manchester United. On Saturday Leon Osman was missing because of a knee problem, a thigh strain ruled out James McFadden and Tony Hibbert was suspended. As a result, teenaged defender Anthony Gerrard and new arrival Guillaume Plessis, a player who has only played one Liverpool Senior Cup game for the club, were among the substitutes. The size of the squad is now being exposed more than at any other stage of the season.
Chelsea have no such problems, which is why they will cruise to the title. Everton? Saturday proved, yet again, why it would be foolish to even contemplate them failing to achieve their ultimate goal despite the problems that lie ahead. European football will return to Goodison next season. No ifs or butts.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith (Ferguson 73); Carsley (Arteta 84), Cahill, Yobo, Kilbane; Bent; Beattie. Subs: Wright, Plessis, Gerrard.
BOOKINGS: Cahill (foul)
SENDING-OFF: Beattie (violent conduct)
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Gallas, Terry, Bridge; Tiago (Johnson 89), Makelele, Lampard; Cole (Jarosik 71), Gudjohnsen, Duff (Carvalho 90). Subs: Smertin, Cudicini.
BOOKINGS: Terry, Jarosik (dissent)
REFEREE: Mike Riley
ATT: 40,270

Beattie will bounce back
Feb 14 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE'S team-mates have backed the striker to bounce back better than ever following his red card shame against Chelsea. The dismissal of Beattie by referee Mike Riley eight minutes into Saturday's game effectively ended Everton's hopes of bringing Chelsea's unbeaten run to an end.
The 26-year-old is now facing a three game suspension which will rule him out of this weekend's FA Cup fifth round clash with Manchester United, followed by the Premiership games away to Aston Villa and at home to Blackburn. But team-mates Alessandro Pistone and Marcus Bent have both backed the £6m striker to respond positively to the setback when he returns to the side, with the Anfield derby in five weeks his next Premiership outing. Pistone told the ECHO: "He is a good lad, he is a good player - everybody knows that. And so he just has to give 100 per cent. "If it was a red card it is a bad mistake because it was a really important game for us and we needed to keep our focus. You should be focused on that kind of game but he has to understand it has been a bad mistake.

"It was incredibly frustrating because we were expecting the game would be hard. You know Chelsea will be a hard, hard game even at home. It is hard with 11, so you can imagine what it was like after only eight minutes being down to 10." Bent added: "We didn't feel that he had done too much wrong. Football is football, things happen. "When something like that happens you just tend to hang about and wonder what's gone on. "I told him to keep his chin up, these things happen. He will bounce back. It was his first sending off and hopefully it will be his last." Pistone is still coming to terms with the defeat. He added: "We are nearly at the end of the season and we are fourth, five points ahead of Liverpool so we had every right to believe we could win the game. "I am still down because of the result. Although we were 10 against 11, before they scored I was honestly believing we could go through the game. They were having shots, but only from 20 and 25 yards because they couldn't get in our area. "I was very positive. We defended well, produced a good performance and conceded little to them. "As a team we did well. We were just unlucky." Manager David Moyes (left) has changed his original view of the incident, acknowledging now that Beattie had to go. He said: "Having had some time to reflect and, perhaps more significantly, having now had time to carefully study video recordings, I believe I should set the record straight by conceding the dismissal was right and correct." Moyes has taken his players on a three-day break to Portugal to help them recharge their batteries after a demanding two months of fixtures. Pistone believes it will stand the side in good stead ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fifth round clash with Manchester United. "It is a good time to get away and recharge our batteries," he added. "We have got a hard game on Saturday which is important to us and hopefully we will be back to 100 per cent next week." Everton will be without the suspended James Beattie and Tim Cahill, who is serving a one match ban following his fifth caution of the season on Saturday. But Leon Osman and James McFadden are both in contention to return to the squad after missing the Chelsea match through injury.

It was Beattie who let Chelsea off the hook
Feb 14 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was adamant. His new £6m striker was innocent . . . no ifs, no butts. But, for possibly the first time in his Goodison career, Everton's engagingly honest manager found himself in a minority of two, the other being James Beattie himself. Because no matter how many times you studied Saturday's eighth minute incident which saw Beattie red-carded, no matter how sympathetic you tried to be to Everton's sent-off striker, the outcome was the same - a moment of illconsidered recklessness cost Everton any chance they had of knocking Chelsea's title-chasing juggernaut off course. And that impetuosity came from a player, not the referee. Mike Riley was unquestionably erratic and seemed only too willing to favour the visitors all afternoon - but he called the game's pivotal moment a hundred per cent right. So what was Moyes thinking with his whole-hearted support for his striker? He has since, of course, admitted that his initial reaction was wrong and that, in fact, the ref was right to send Beattie off. (And not too many managers have the guts to publicly change their minds.)
But his initial reaction was puzzling.
Maybe the problem lay in the definition of a head-butt - though if Beattie wasn't guilty of butting the back of William Gallas' head,, he was certainly guilty of ramming it - a crime equally worthy of a red card - notwithstanding the readiness of Chelsea's fragile defender to hit the deck. Or perhaps Moyes was employing a particularly subtle style of psychology. He took his team to Portugal for a mid-season training/ bonding session straight after Saturday's defeat. The likeli-hood of any bonding would have been significantly reduced if the squad believed their most recent acquisition had been responsible for reck-lessly tossing away their most important match of the season so far. Everton's tiny squad is straining at the edges. The last thing it needs is one of its group to be ostracised for gross stupidity. Maybe Moyes was trying to prevent a crowd backlash, or maybe it was a bid to keep his players together. David Moyes clearly appeared to believe his player was innocent while an emotional Beattie also made a compelling appeal to be believed. Ultimately, no-one did. If Evertonians were seeking consolation on Saturday - and until the final whistle blew at St Andrew's two hours later there was precious little to be found - it could be unearthed in the performance of the wonder-fully selfless Marcus Bent. With Beattie now suspended for three matches (an appeal would be as stupid as Beattie's actions) the Blues at least have the option of restoring Bent to the role he revelled in before Christmas, that of a lone striker chasing intelligently and selflessly. Of course, Thomas Gravesen is no longer around to supply some of his passes, while chief support-act Tim Cahill will also endure an enforced absence after his valiant bid to stave off suspension - it's been 14 matches since his last yellow card - finally cracked. But for three vitally important games at least, Everton will have to go back to the tried and trusted 4-5-1. Chelsea, meanwhile, confirmed the impression they offered on their first visit to Merseyside two months ago --that if, as seems increasingly likely, they claim the Premiership title, they will become the most charmless champions since Blackburn Rovers ground out glory by losing at Anfield. Jose Mourinho's ruthlessly coached side encroaches remorselessly at free-kicks, its players toss the ball away regularly, stand defiantly in front of attacking throw-ins, take as long as possible to trudge off the pitch when being substituted and, yes, hit the deck far too easily. But amongst the relentless gamesmanship, they play some highly effective football. It was too good for 10-man Everton - but whether the Blues would have been able to offer a more meaningful match will now never be known. And the fault for that was not Mike Riley's.

Beattie's apology for first red card
Feb 14 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES BEATTIE apologised to his manager and his team-mates after the first sending off of his career. The striker was dismissed by referee Mike Riley just eight minutes into the clash with Chelsea. But the 26-year-old striker (right) remains adamant his head-butt on William Gallas which led to the straight red card was not intentional. He said: "I was chasing the ball into the corner and William Gallas was checking over his shoulder to see where he was. He checked me off two or three times and I thought, 'if he is going to block me off I will just get my head down and try and get the ball'. "As he has gone to stop me the next time, because my head was down, our heads touched. But by no means was it an intentional head-butt at all. "I had a word with the referee after the game and he accepted my explanation. But the ref said that from where he was standing it was definitely a red and I accept his decision. "It was a combination of Gallas stopping and me still running which led to the collision. Whether it looks good or not, my intention was not to headbutt him. "I felt devastated when I saw the red because it was a massive game for us, as it is next week and the week after. They are all big games for us at the moment. "I told the lads I was sorry and I am sorry to the fans and the gaffer. But I never thought I would get sent off for that because I never intended to do him any harm. "It is the first suspension of my career, let alone my first sending off."
Beattie will now miss Saturday's FA Cup fifth round clash with Manchester United followed by the Premiership games at home to Blackburn and away to Aston Villa. It is something the striker is struggling to come to terms with, insisting his situation was not helped by Gallas milking the incident by going down and staying down. Beattie added: "Every game is a big game but to be sent off eight minutes into this one and to miss three games now is devastating for me and I have just got to say sorry to the lads. "It is not in my nature to headbutt anyone and, to be quite honest, I think he made a meal of it. if I had actually gone to do that with intent he would have probably stayed down a bit longer. "On the pitch the ref said I had to go. But he has reffed me loads of times and never once have I gone to hurt anyone. For the amount of challenges I go for, I never catch anyone. I never go to hurt anyone, it is not in my nature." Meanwhile, injured midfielder Steve Watson has vowed to make it impossible for manager David Moyes to leave him out of the side as he bids to prove he is worth a new contract at the end of the season. He said: "My main aim is to get fit and to get back into the team and then whatever happens will take care of itself. "I'd like to stay but it is up to me now to get back into the team and force the issue. "The way I feel at the moment, once I am back in I'll stay in because I will make it impossible for the gaffer to leave me out. That is the way I have got to be." Watson has been sidelined with a stomach injury since the Boxing Day clash with Manchester City but is expected to be back to fitness in two weeks.

Rooney's plea to play in Goodison Cup tie
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 15 2005
WAYNE ROONEY has urged Sir Alex Ferguson not to leave him out of a potentially explosive return to Everton this weekend. Rooney (left) is guaranteed a hostile reception if he returns to Goodison Park for the first time since his £27million move to Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie. Everton have held meetings with Merseyside Police over how to handle the incendiary atmosphere if the former boyhood Blue plays. But the striker will relish the occasion, and has told family, friends and his United team-mates that he is desperate to face his old club in the televised showdown. Rooney, however, now has an anxious wait to see if Ferguson will grant his wish. The United manager is unlikely to have his selection policy influenced by security concerns but may rest his leading goalscorer on account of the Champions League tie with AC Milan four days later.
And Ferguson may be encouraged to spare Rooney if he has a full complement of strikers available at Goodison Park. Ruud van Nistelrooy returned to full training for the first time in three months yesterday after recovering from an Achilles problem and was joined by Alan Smith and Louis Saha, following their rehabilitation from knee injuries. While Ferguson has an embarrassment of riches for the FA Cup, however, his Everton counterpart David Moyes could struggle to fill the bench this Saturday. Moyes is without James Beattie and Tim Cahill through suspension and lost both Leon Osman and James McFadden to injury against Chelsea last weekend. Osman is expected to recover from a knee problem in time to face United but if he again misses out and McFadden fails to shake off a thigh strain, the Everton manager could be forced to give new signings Mikel Arteta and Guillaume Plessis their debuts. The Everton manager, who has taken his first team squad on a four-day break to Portugal, has now fined Beattie two weeks' wages for the act of lunacy that saw him dismissed after eight minutes on Saturday. Moyes retracted his comments absolving the striker of blame for headbutting William Gallas after studying video evidence of the incident. And Beattie's team-mates have not been convinced by his appeals for clemency either. Alessandro Pistone believes Beattie made "a bad mistake" by inviting the red card from referee Mike Riley that forced Everton to defend with 10 men for 82 minutes. And the defender admits the £6m striker did not show the focus the team needs to achieve a Champions League finish. Pistone said: "He is a good lad, a good player and so he has to give 100%. "If it was a red card it was a bad mistake because it really was an important game for us and we needed to keep our focus. You should be focused on that kind of game but he has to understand it has been a bad mistake. "It was incredibly frustrating because we were expecting the game to be hard. You know Chelsea will be a hard, hard game even at home. "It was going to be hard with 11 so you can imagine what it was like after only eight minutes to be left with 10 men."

Everton are in our sights - Parlour
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Feb 15 2005
RAY PARLOUR insists Middlesbrough can catch Everton in the race for the final Champions League spot. A place in Europe's elite competition remains the chief target for Steve McClaren's men, despite Boro being in the latter stages of the UEFA Cup. They are currently seven points adrift of the fourth-placed Merseysiders, but Parlour claims his teammates can overtake them. "We can still turn that round," he said. "We will never give up hope until it can't be done. If you do, then you might as well throw in the towel now. But there's still a long way to go and a lot to play for. "When it gets to March, April time, then that's the crunch. That's when we have to get a run going. "Hopefully, we've had our dip in form, which a lot of clubs do have in the Premiership, and we can get our that back.
"But we're still in sixth and doing okay. There's a long way to go and it can easily go wrong, but it can also easily improve." Parlour is enjoying a new lease of life at Middlesbrough as 'father figure' to the club's young players. The former England international believes that with stars like Stewart Downing the future is bright on Teesside - and he is delighted to be playing his part under manager Steve McClaren's regime. Parlour will return to the Boro side for Thursday's last-32 UEFA Cup first-leg tie with Austrian champions Grazer AK, along with Boudewijn Zenden, after both sat out Saturday's goalless draw at Bolton through suspension.

Silly striker
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 15 2005
Silly striker
BEATTIE, what were you doing? He should not get back in the team automatically. I think the other players were excellent and gave Chelsea a really good game despite only having 10 men.
Steven Wright, Aigburth
Get Beattie
I AM disgusted with Beattie. If he wants to behave like a yob then he can go and join Fat Boy at Old Trafford. Everton do not need him and he will be no big loss while suspended.
Carolyn Sansom, Warrington
Bent's the boy
JAMES BEATTIE, you have a lot of explaining and apologising to your co-players, manager and fans. This is a game you could have put your £6million to good use. But I fear what many Everton fans like myself have been thinking for the last few games - your play has improved but still far short of Marcus Bent.
Mike Bean, Birkenhead
More defensive
I STILL think Beattie will eventually come good for us. I also think that it may be a blessing in view of next week's game. I think our best chance of beating the Mancs is to return to what we were doing a couple of months ago.
Guy Peters, Anfield
Bad to share
MAYBE the state of Everton's pitch at present will finally make people realise that shared stadiums cannot work in this country. Can you imagine what it would look like if it was being used twice every week?
Joseph King, Crosby
Drunk on spirit
I THINK that the best thing Everton have done was selling Wayne Rooney. It has given us a sense of team spirit and no-one can call us a one-man team because we are one team.
Christine Flynn, Liverpool

Tottenham Youth 2, Everton Youth 1
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Feb 16 2005
TWO goals in the first 30 minutes effectively sealed Everton Youth team's fate as they went out of the FA Youth Cup in the fifth round as they lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane last night. Top scorer Paul Hopkins gave Neil Dewsnip's side hope with his third goal in the Youth Cup and his 17th goal in all competitions this season nine minutes before half-time. But Everton could not find an equaliser in the second half and missed out on a quarter-final tie at Watford, who beat Middlesbrough 4-1 on penalties at Vicar-age Road last night. Everton, who were beaten final-ists in the competition in 2002, started well and Victor Anichebe claimed for a penalty after just six minutes, but the referee gave nothing after the 16-year-old striker appeared to be brought down by Stuart Lewis. Scotland youth international defender Patrick Boyle denied Simon Dawkins a shot on goal a couple of minutes later but from the resulting corner Spurs, who had beaten Liverpool on penalties in the last round, took the lead. Leigh Mills was unmarked as he headed in to make it 1-0.
Anichebe had another claim for a penalty turned down after being sent free by James Vaughan, he appeared to be brought down by Spurs defender Charlie Lee, but again the referee gave nothing.
Everton were pressing for an equaliser and Icelandic attacker Bjarni Vidarsson crashed a superb 20-yard effort onto the bar. But from being almost level, Everton were two goals down after half an hour after Jamie O'Hara curled a free-kick past the helpless Craig Gallagher in the Everton goal.
Dewsnip's side's chances of progress looked slim at that stage but once again Walton youngster Hopkins gave them hope. The England youth international has been a regular scorer all season and in the 36th minute he got in ahead of Spurs keeper Tommy Foilcast to head home Anichebe's cross.
Gallagher came to Everton's rescue either side of the break with saves form Dawkins and also Barcham as the home side looked to cement their lead. But as the game wore on Everton pressed for an equaliser to take the tie into extra-time and substitute John Paul Kissock, on for Andy Fowler, almost did the trick on 70 minutes. He went on a good run but his low shot from the edge of the area fizzed just wide of the post. And with eight remaining Hopkins almost completed a fine comeback, but when he pounced on a loose ball he could only shoot wide from eight yards.
Alan Kearney had a long-range attempt in injury time which didn't trouble the Spurs keeper too much and Everton's chance has gone as the Londoners held out to complete their Youth Cup Merseyside double.
TOTTENHAM YOUTH: Foilcast; Ifil, M Wright, Lewis, Mills; Lee, Maghoma, Dawkins (Hamed 77), Barcham; O'Hara, Daniels. Subs: Thyer, Button, Riley, Daniels.
EVERTON YOUTH: Gallagher; S Wright, Wilson, Boyle, Hughes; Kearney, Hopkins, Fowler (Kissock 68), Vidarsson (Phelan 47); Vaughan, Anichebe. Subs: Jones, Holt, Molyneux.
BOOKINGS: Tottenham's M Wright and Everton's S Wright, Vaughan and Phelan.

Stubbs confident despite injuries
Feb 15 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper Alan Stubbs insists the club's two-pronged assault on league and cup success will not be undermined by an increasing number of injuries and suspensions. Goodison chief David Moyes is facing the prospect of having only 15 senior players fit and available for Saturday's FA Cup showdown with Manchester United. James Beattie is beginning a three game suspension and Tim Cahill is serving a one game ban while Steve Watson, Li Tie, Leon Osman and James McFadden are all on the treatment table. Both Osman and McFadden have a chance of recovering in time to play some part against United, but Moyes is still facing a shortage of options. "The suspensions are starting to kick in now with our small squad, but we'll stick together as we always have done and we'll get through it," Stubbs insists. "We'll miss James (Beattie) and Tim (Cahill), as would any side in the Premiership. "It is going to be difficult without them, but it will give a chance to someone else to come in and try and stay in the team. It could be a great chance for someone to impress the manager and get a run in the side." Marcus Bent will replace Beattie, who is facing a two- week £60,000 fine for his red card against Chelsea, as the side's lone striker for the fifth round tie.
Mikel Arteta is expected to make his first start for the club after two cameos from the substitutes' bench and 20-year-old French signing Guillaume Plessis is also pushing for his first senior appearance after impressing the coaching staff since arriving on trial at Christmas. Kevin Kilbane and Lee Carsley are still walking a disciplinary tightrope. They are one booking away from a one-game suspension.
But if they get through the next two games without receiving a caution, an FA amnesty will save them from the threat of a ban.
Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has pleaded with Sir Alex Ferguson to start in Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie against Everton. But the striker is expected to be rested for the tie, with the United chief protecting the forward from a highlycharged return to Good-ison ahead of next Wednesday's Champions League tie with AC Milan. Both Alan Smith and Ruud Van Nistelrooy have returned to training this week after recovering from injuries and they are expected to figure against the Blues.
And with fellow striker Louis Saha also available, Ferguson is expected to disappoint Rooney.
* Everton travel to Tottenham tonight in the fifth round of the FA Youth Cup.
The game kicks off at White Hart Lane at 7pm.

Dixie memorial award a mark of excellence
Feb 15 2005 Liverpool Echo
THIS year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of the greatest striker football has ever seen - Everton's Dixie Dean. Dean died where his heart and soul lay - at Goodison Park on March 1, 1980, attending his first derby match for many years. Just hours before this poignant anniversary, the Liverpool Echo will again present the Memorial Award bestowed in the great man's honour for the past quarter of a century. It promises to be an emotional and very special highlight of the Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year event, being held on Monday, February 28 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel before a host of sporting stars, past and present. There is no doubt everyone present will be in awe as we revisit the story of Dixie Dean - whose greatest feat was, of course, scoring 60 league goals in just one season, 1927/28. Now, to mark the 25th anniversary of Dixie's death, the Echo will publish a special series of excerpts from the greatest soccer story ever told. Our forthcoming, not to be missed articles are unique - because the words come from the great man's own mouth. 'Dixie Dean Uncut - The Greatest Story Ever Told', is a new book which will be launched at our awards night and contains the most in depth, meticulous interview Dean ever gave. First published in the summer of 1970, the original transcript of the inter-views have never been seen - until now. Former Echo journalist Michael Charters typed up the interviews verbatim, from which an incredible 18-part series was produced. The cuttings were care-fully filed away in the Echo library, but the original manuscript of the interview was thought to have been lost forever. Then former Echo Sports Editor Ken Rogers, now Executive Editor of Trinity Sport Media, was researching the Echo archives for a project, when he discovered the original manuscript - perfectly preserved. "It was like finding the dead sea scrolls," he enthused. Dixie Dean Uncut goes on sale from March 1, priced £8.99. The Echo's Memorial award in his honour, received last year by the Golden Vision himself, Everton sixties striker Alex Young, will this year be presented to a sportsman who embodies the great traditions of Goodison Park. Someone, who like Dixie Dean himself - combined wonderful ability with a fiercely competitive desire to win every game. Still time to vote for your Merseyside sporting star FOR your chance to vote for the Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year for 2004, e-mail us with your choice of winner at sport@liverpoolecho.co.uk and title your e-mail 'sports personality'.

Scot's three games to save Goodison career
Feb 16 2005 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
JAMES BEATTIE'S moment of madness against Chelsea has handed Duncan Ferguson a final chance to extend his Everton career. The big Scot was expected to become the most high-profile departure from Goodison Park this summer when he reaches the end of his current lucrative contract.
Injuries, his impact on the Everton wage bill and several disputes with Moyes had all conspired against the 33-year-old and his sending off at Charlton in December - the seventh of his Goodison career - looked to have destroyed any prospect of a new deal. Moyes, however, has been delighted with Ferguson's contribution since his return from suspension and is considering a new 12-month contract offer after all. And his decision will be shaped by Everton's next three games. Ferguson is the most prolific substitute in the Premiership this season with 23 appearances but his input will increase in the next month as Everton count of the cost of Beattie's assault on William Gallas.
With Nick Chadwick sold to Plymouth Argyle last week Moyes only has Ferguson and Marcus Bent to lead his line against Manchester United in the FA Cup this Saturday plus Aston Villa and Blackburn in the Premiership. And if the towering centre-forward can help inspire a memorable cup victory, or open up a sizable gap on Liverpool in the race for the fourth Champions League place, then he will be offered the chance to continue his eventful Everton career. Ferguson, however, will have to accept a dramatic wage cut to stay at Goodison Park. The club's highest earner is likely to be offered a basic £10,000-a-week next season, although performance-related bonuses would also be included in the 12-month deal. Ferguson has played a key role in every Premiership point won by Everton since his return from a three-match ban. He set up equalisers for Tim Cahill and Bent at Middlesbrough and Southampton respectively, and forced Gary Doherty to concede the own goal that gave Everton victory over Norwich at Goodison. His substitute displays have had a major impact on Everton's season and eased his injury problems in the process. In 12 games in which he has appeared with the scores level Everton have gone on to win seven times, while he has helped turn two of five deficits into a draw. Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, has underlined the sense of frustration in the Everton camp at Beattie's indiscretion on Saturday. Alessandro Pistone admitted the £6m striker let his team-mates down with his eighth minute dismissal against Chelsea and now new signing Arteta - who could make his full debut against United on Saturday - has revealed his annoyance with Beattie. Arteta: "It is difficult to win against Chelsea playing almost all the game with a man down, on top of that the one we lost was Beattie, that was even more annoying for us. "They are a well armed team at the back, and that above all ensures their success."

Defiant Stubbs says players will stick together
Feb 16 2005
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
THE dangerous realities of working with the smallest squad in the Premiership are hurting Everton manager David Moyes - just when he can afford them least. The fear among Goodison Park fans is therefore that their amazing season could be about to falter through lack of manpower. Everton face Manchester United in Saturday's FA Cup fifth round with barely enough players to fill the match-day squad. James Beattie and Tim Cahill are suspended and Li Tie and Steve Watson injured - meaning Moyes has just 17 fit players - including two goal-keepers - to face United on Wayne Rooney's first return to Goodison Park. Tony Hibbert will return from suspension - and Leon Osman should have recovered from a knee injury. Blues captain Alan Stubbs is predictably defiant.
"The suspensions are starting to kick in now with our small squad - but we will stick together, as we always have done, and we'll get through it," he predicted. "We will miss James and Tim, as would any side in the Premier-ship. It is going to be difficult without them - but it will give a chance to someone else to come in and try and stay in the team. It could be a great chance for someone to impress the manager and get a run in the side." Moyes brought in Beattie - plus loan singings Mikel Arteta and Guillaume Plessis - during the transfer window but has lost Thomas Gravesen, Kevin Campbell and youngster Nick Chadwick. It leaves Moyes with the prospect of using youngsters like Anthony Gerrard - Steven's 19-year-old cousin - and the untried Plessis.

Hopkins's strike couldn't prevent Youth Cup exit
Feb 16 2005 By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Tottenham Youth 2, Everton Youth 1
TWO goals in the first 30 minutes effectively sealed Everton Youth team's fate as they went out of the FA Youth Cup in the fifth round as they lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hot-spur at White Hart Lane last night. Top scorer Paul Hopkins gave Neil Dewsnip's side hope with his third goal in the Youth Cup and his 17th goal in all competitions this season nine minutes before half-time. But Everton could not find an equaliser in the second half and missed out on a quarter-final tie at Watford, who beat Middlesbrough 4-1 on penalties at Vicar-age Road last night. Everton, who were beaten final-ists in the competition in 2002, started well and Victor Anichebe claimed for a penalty after just six minutes, but the referee gave nothing after the 16-year-old striker appeared to be brought down by Stuart Lewis. Scotland youth international defender Patrick Boyle denied Simon Dawkins a shot on goal a couple of minutes later but from the resulting corner Spurs, who had beaten Liverpool on penalties in the last round, took the lead. Leigh Mills was unmarked as he headed in to make it 1-0.
Anichebe had another claim for a penalty turned down after being sent free by James Vaughan, he appeared to be brought down by Spurs defender Charlie Lee, but again the referee gave nothing.
Everton were pressing for an equaliser and Icelandic attacker Bjarni Vidarsson crashed a superb 20-yard effort onto the bar. But from being almost level, Everton were two goals down after half an hour after Jamie O'Hara curled a free-kick past the helpless Craig Gallagher in the Everton goal.
Dewsnip's side's chances of progress looked slim at that stage but once again Walton youngster Hopkins gave them hope. The England youth international has been a regular scorer all season and in the 36th minute he got in ahead of Spurs keeper Tommy Foilcast to head home Anichebe's cross.
Gallagher came to Everton's rescue either side of the break with saves form Dawkins and also Barcham as the home side looked to cement their lead. But as the game wore on Everton pressed for an equaliser to take the tie into extra-time and substitute John Paul Kissock, on for Andy Fowler, almost did the trick on 70 minutes. He went on a good run but his low shot from the edge of the area fizzed just wide of the post. And with eight remaining Hopkins almost completed a fine comeback, but when he pounced on a loose ball he could only shoot wide from eight yards.
Alan Kearney had a long-range attempt in injury time which didn't trouble the Spurs keeper too much and Everton's chance has gone as the Londoners held out to complete their Youth Cup Merseyside double.
TOTTENHAM YOUTH: Foilcast; Ifil, M Wright, Lewis, Mills; Lee, Maghoma, Dawkins (Hamed 77), Barcham; O'Hara, Daniels. Subs: Thyer, Button, Riley, Daniels.
EVERTON YOUTH: Gallagher; S Wright, Wilson, Boyle, Hughes; Kearney, Hopkins, Fowler (Kissock 68), Vidarsson (Phelan 47); Vaughan, Anichebe. Subs: Jones, Holt, Molyneux.
BOOKINGS: Tottenham's M Wright and Everton's S Wright, Vaughan and Phelan.

Casino cash for stadium
Feb 16 2005
By Bill Gleeson, Daily Post
CASINO operator Las Vegas Sands could contribute up to £75m towards the cost of a shared stadium for Everton and Liverpool football clubs. According to Everton co-owner Paul Gregg, the US-based gaming group is considering a plan to part finance a new home for Merseyside's big two if it forms part of a development that includes a supercasino. Referring to an estimated £100m cost of a new stadium, Mr Gregg said: "A casino group has offered to pay three quarters of that." He then added that it was Sands, the owner of The Venetian in Las Vegas. Sands has already agreed deals with both Glasgow Rangers and Sheffied United to build supercasinos at their grounds, pending approval from the Government. Sands is also in talks with Birmingham City. A spokesman for the casino group said: "Las Vegas Sands is in discussions with lots of Premier League football clubs, but there is nothing going to be announced imminently." Mr Gregg made the revelation that he has been in preliminary talks with Sands as he called on Liverpool City Council and both clubs to look again at the possibility of sharing a stadium. Mr Gregg believes Liverpool should abandon its plan to build its own stadium at Stanley Park on the grounds that doing so would save money that could then be invested in its squad instead. Mr Gregg said: "The Stanley Park scheme only ever came out of the Kings Dock plan for Everton. But Kings Dock has failed. "The city council and the Northwest Development Agency should now be reviewing the options for both clubs. "If both boards were being totally honest, they would admit that they want to provide for the fans' ambitions on the pitch. "Liverpool, who have had money to spend on the team have not done well enough and Everton, should they get in the Champions League, will have to see how they finance the club next season. Both need money for their squads and the situation is therefore shouting out for both clubs to share." Mr Gregg says that the Liverpool City Council should go back to square one when thinking about the stadium requirements. "Surely there should be public backing from the council for the shared stadium. Neither of the clubs can afford the capital costs on their own."

Time running out for Watson
Feb 16 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON is set to run out of time in his race to prove he is worth a new contract at Goodison.
The versatile 30-year-old (left) is one of a host of senior professionals in David Moyes' squad in the final year of his current deal. But an injury-plagued season means he is the only one of eight senior players who has had no talks with the club over his future. The midfielder is currently sidelined with a stomach injury which is expected to keep him out of action for another fortnight, further hindering his hopes of extending his stay on Merseyside. Duncan Ferguson was also expected to be shown the door in the summer but the striker is now on course for a new one-year deal at Everton. However, the Big Scot, 33, will have to take a huge paycut from his £35,000-a-week deal if he is to remain at Goodison, with the Blues likely to offer just a £10,000-a-week basic package with bonuses for appearances and goals. The striker has impressed the coaching staff at Bellefield since his return from suspension following his red card against Charlton. He has proved an effective substitute for the club this season and Moyes is tempted to extend his stay. Ferguson is believed to be keen to stay. The club have already made offers to Leon Osman, David Weir, Alan Stubbs and Gary Naysmith. Naysmith's representatives failed to reach agreement with the Blues before Christmas and the left-back has been widely linked with a return to Scotland, with his boyhood heroes Rangers his likely destination. However, the club remain optimistic they can reach agreement with Stubbs and Weir, who have both been offered one year extensions. Osman has attracted interest from a host of other Premiership clubs and, because he celebrates his 24th birthday before the end of his current deal in June the midfield playmaker would be entitled to move on a Bosman free, with Everton receiving no compensation despite him being a product of the club's youth system.
Another player on course for a contract offer is Alessandro Pistone, who has proved to be one of the most consistent full-backs in the Premiership this season. It has been the Italian's best season in England and he is expected to be rewarded. Fresh terms for Kevin Kilbane are also being explored.
While Watson realises he has a lot to prove, he has not given up hope of staying on Merseyside. He said: "I've never had injuries anywhere else in my career and it's been frustrating but it has never dampened my enthusiasm at the club. "Obviously I would like to stay but it is up to me now to get back into the team and force the issue."

Beattie will make up for his stupidity
Feb 16 2005 Echo Letters
Beattie will make up for his stupidity
I DO think David Moyes was right in initially supporting James Beattie after such an innocuous challenge. Obviously, Beattie was stupid and deserves severe club censure. However, Everton did not deserve to concede a goal in the way they did and on the guts shown by his colleagues, they certainly merited a draw. Let's now show what a small, disciplined squad can do by beating United. I hope Bent scores the winning goal. Beattie will return to the team a much better man.
Roger Williams, Llanfairfechan
BEATTIE is a fool. I cannot believe some people are actually supporting him and saying it's maybe a good thing. Losing three points to a stupid act is NEVER a good thing. I never rated him and said so when we bought him, but hoped he would prove me wrong. Instead he is worse than I had him down for.
Colin O, Wirral
BEATTIE, what can I say? I am disgusted at him. What a let down, we need these points, they are very important to us, so what was he thinking? I'm glad Moyes had a change of heart, he had me worried for a minute. Not a bad display from the 10 men left though. I'm not making any excuses here, but Lampard breaks Alonso's foot and nothing . . . Beattie headbutts Gallas and gets a straight sending off!
Barry B, Aintree
Focus on the positives
ENOUGH about Beattie already, focus on the performances of the rest of the lads against Chelsea.
They huffed and puffed, and almost blew the house down. Everton were wonderful to even hold Chelsea down the way they did. It takes patience and discipline, they showed their true colours.
Watch for Beats' comeback match after suspension. I'm sure he will be up and ready to go.
By the way, if it was Dunc's head instead of Carsley's that connected with the ball, it could have been a very different scoreline.
Well done lads, very proud of you.
Jack M, via email
Let's give Rooney a rousing reception I WAS as disappointed as anyone when Everton lost Wayne Rooney, particularly as it was to United. However, in the cold light of day it was best for all concerned that he left. He needed a bigger stage than Everton could provide, and I'm sure in years to come Evertonians will be grateful for the cash injection his transfer gave the club. I would urge all Evertonians to give the lad a rousing reception if he plays on Saturday, and be proud that we produced such a talent to the world of football. I'm sure if he scores on Saturday his natural reaction will be elation, but deep down I suspect it will tug at his heart strings. That said, let's hope we can score at least one more than United!
Frank Guest, Moreton

Ferguson's back could lose Moyes some front
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 17 2005
EVERTON could be down to one fit forward for this Saturday's FA Cup clash with Manchester United if Duncan Ferguson fails to recover from a back injury. Ferguson, a talismanic figure against United in the past, is a major doubt for the fifth round tie after failing to shake off the problem during the squad's mini-break to Portugal. Manager David Moyes has already been hit by suspensions and injuries ahead of Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park. And he will have only Marcus Bent available to face United if Ferguson joins his absentee list. "Duncan has a sore back and it is making him very doubtful for Saturday's game," he revealed last night. The setback could not have come at a worse time for Moyes and Ferguson, who hopes to use James Beattie's three-match suspension to convince the Everton manager to hand him a new 12-month contract. Moyes rates Leon Osman and James McFadden as only 50-50 for the match with knee and thigh injuries respectively, and is without long-term absentees Li Tie and Steve Watson. Tim Cahill is also out as he serves a one-match ban and the Everton manager may have to turn to his youth ranks if his 17-man squad - that includes Ferguson, Osman and McFadden - suffers any more losses. The Everton manager said: "We knew there would be parts of the season that would be difficult but we are fully aware of it and I suppose that in a lot of ways we would rather it be in the FA Cup where we had them. "But we would rather not have it. We have a couple of injuries and suspensions, though I am sure it is no worse than any other team in the Premiership." Everton's Premiership trip to The Hawthorns in April, meanwhile, has been rearranged for live television purposes. The game against West Bromwich Albion will now take place on Sunday, April 3 instead of Saturday, April 2, with a 4.05pm kick-off.
* JAMES BEATTIE and Mikel Arteta will be at the Everton club shop in Liverpool city centre this afternoon. The new signings will be signing autographs at the shop, near Central Station, from 1.30pm. Goalkeepers Nigel Martyn and Iain Turner will also be meeting the public at Everton's Megastore in Walton on Friday from 1.30pm.

Whiteside: Rooney can handle Goodison
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Feb 17 2005
NORMAN WHITESIDE believes Wayne Rooney has developed such strength of character that he will be more than able to handle his return to Goodison Park. Whiteside, whose truncated playing career took in spells with both Manchester United and Everton, can see major comparisons between himself and Rooney. Aside from playing for the same two clubs, they both emerged as top-flight stars in their teenage years. Whiteside, (right), who shone for United in the mid 1980s before moving on to Everton, expects 19-year-old Rooney to come in for plenty of abuse when he returns to Merseyside with the Red Devils for Saturday's FA Cup tie. "The only reason people give you stick on away grounds is because they are frightened of you," said Whiteside,, speaking at a Carlsberg event to promote the FA Cup. "You only have to see Wayne play to know why opposing fans are frightened, and Everton fans - more than most - know how good he is." The comparisions between the pair are uncanny. Whiteside was the youngest ever player to appear in the World Cup finals.
Aged 17 years and 41 days, he lined up for Northern Ireland at the 1982 finals. Rooney, who left Everton to join United last summer, is both England's youngest international and goalscorer.
Whiteside said: "Wayne is getting more exposure than I did, because he is English and because of how football is played these days and how much media spotlight there is. "It is so much more than I had to deal with. I have had the same question asked of me from the time that Michael Owen burst on to the scene. "I do understand what it is like for very young kids to be plunged into big-time football, it happened to me. "I was 16-17 doing it, and now it is Wayne Rooney doing the same. He is under far greater pressure than I was." He added: "Look at this game coming up. If he listens he will hear the punters 'calling' him, having a go. "But they do that because they are frightened of you, and he no doubt will get that from Everton fans because they know how good he can be. "I think he handles it all pretty well for someone of his age. "He has had a great start to his career and seems to show no nerves, but the main thing is that he still has to maintain it. "He has not been around very long, but he has all the attributes of a young man who can be around the game for a long, long time and be a huge success." For Whiteside, Saturday's Goodison Park tie brings back special memories of its own. In 1985, he scored 10-man United's extra-time to beat Everton in the final at Wembley.
Kevin Moran had been sent off for tripping Peter Reid, but United hung on and Whiteside scored a spectacular left-footed winner past Neville Southall. Whiteside said: "I've been talking to Peter Reid about that day and there has been plenty of banter, particularly about how he dived over Kevin Moran's tackle to get him sent off! "People do remember my goal in that final, probably more than anything else I ever did in my career. "Lots of people still come up to me and tell me they were in Wembley and behind the goal that I scored it in. "The stadium used to hold 100,000, but I reckon 500,000 people have told me they were there to witness that goal. "I wish I had a pound for everyone who has said that to me. "But I suppose it is a magic moment in Cup final history for lots of people, including me. "When you are a kid kicking a ball around in the street, all you want to do is to score a goal in a cup final and that is something I achieved. "Dreams do come true, and I discovered that."

Police in warning ahead of Cup tie
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Feb 17 2005
POLICE officials have warned fans they face ejection from Goodison Park if segregation policy is broken during Everton's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Manchester United. With United striker Wayne Rooney making his first appearance at the stadium since his £27million move to Old Trafford, the plea comes amid claims United supporters have bought tickets in areas for home fans. Everton supporters groups have complained about tickets on general sale being handled by an outside agency, with United fans able to buy them without checks. A fans' spokesman said: "We are hearing that lots of United fans have got hold of tickets in home areas and seemingly nobody is asking them which team they support when they buy them." Everton secretary David Harrison, however, has played down the problem saying: "This is the way we always sell our tickets and have done so when Manchester United have been playing here for the last 10 years." Harrison added: "We are hearing the same thing, that there are thousands of tickets in wrong hands. That is nonsense. "Everyone who buys a ticket is told that if they are in the wrong areas then they will be ejected." Everton have sold approximately 20,000 tickets to their own season ticket holders and 6,000 to United fans who will be segregated. The rest have gone on general sale. Fans websites including United's "Red Issue", Everton's "When Skies are Grey" and even Liverpool fans websites have been full of claims on message boards that fans have been able to buy tickets in wrong areas. Merseyside Police, who controversially allowed the high-profile match to kick off at 5.30pm on a Saturday evening, have underlined their policy about fans who are in the wrong segregated area or who arrive at the game drunk. They are also asking fans not to travel to the game without tickets, and a spokesman said: "We will be pro-actively enforcing the 'Sporting Events Control of Alcohol Legislation' in regard to this event, therefore anyone found to be intoxicated will be refused entry to the ground.
"There will also be restrictions in place within Liverpool city centre in relation to drinking alcohol in the street. "Any supporters with offensive or inflammatory banners displayed during this event will be removed by police and stewards. "And any away fans found sitting in designated home fan areas of the stadium will be ejected from the ground, as segregation is a condition of the club's safety certificate." On the issue of the kick-off time, which other forces around the country have banned, Chief Supt Mike Langdon, said: "There are numerous requests to change kick-off times and each kick-off time has its own potential and dynamic. "The fact that millions will be able to see the game live is a consideration when planning the timing. "We have been very proactive with the club and licensees about conduct and people who are drunk will not be allowed in to the ground. "There will be a vigorous arrest policy in place to deal with those who try to get in the ground under the influence of alcohol. "There is a strong operational order in place to deal with every eventuality on the day."

Wayne gets picked on - Ferdinand
By Simon Stone, Daily Post
Feb 17 2005
RIO FERDINAND has accused referees of "picking on" Wayne Rooney. The young England striker has gained a reputation of being hot-headed - a tag Ferdinand believes is unfair. He said: "Wayne gets picked on a little bit. People want to make an example of who he is. "You see images on TV when he is shouting his frustrations but he is no different from a lot of players. "Referees book him when others get three or four opportunities to make a foul. "They get away with it but referees are sometimes quick to give him a booking. "But his disciplinary record has improved. Let's not forget, he is a young lad with a lot on his plate."

When our name was really on the Cup
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 17 2005
MEETINGS between Everton and Manchester United in the FA Cup have generally been reserved for the very latest stages of the tournament - indeed, the last two took place at Wembley. In 1985, 10-man United foiled the Toffees' bid to complete a treble - a domestic league and FA Cup double, plus a European trophy, the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup. The Blues gained revenge a decade later with what remains our last major honour. If ever a team lived up to that old cliche of having their "name on the trophy", it was Everton in 1995. From the miraculous escape at Ashton Gate in the fourth round, Evertonians everywhere were convinced that this indeed was our year, and further victories against Newcastle at Goodison and the 4-1 demolition of Spurs in the semi at Elland Road, confirmed that some things are just meant to be. An Everton win was considered unlikely by the so-called experts, but win they did and after a dominant first-half display, were good value. The star of the show early on was the mercurial Swedish winger Anders Limpar. The inconsistent but immensely skilled wide man ripped the back out of United in a dazzling first half.
It was he who led the break which led to Paul Rideout's decisive goal on the half hour, sprinting clear on a lightning burst which gave the Blues a four against two overload. The game itself was no classic, although no Evertonian was in the least bit bothered and, after the break, the Blues had to defend in depth. The heroes now were veteran keeper Neville Southall - who rolled back the years to deny Scholes and Pallister - Dave Watson and a young David Unsworth. The half seemed to last forever before we were finally put out of our misery. Who could forget the sight of Dave Watson punching the air in delight before lifting the trophy in front of the legions of delirious Evertonians in their plastic Blue noses. Happy days.

Moyes: I won't risk stars
Feb 17 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will refuse to jeopardise Everton's league ambitions by forcing his walking wounded into FA Cup action against Manchester United on Saturday. The Blues manager is facing a mounting selection headache for the fifth round tie, with Duncan Ferguson joining the growing list of players set to miss out. Moyes will resist pushing the striker and his other injury doubts into action, preferring to ensure any players less than 100 per cent fit are given the chance to return to their best in time for next week's Premiership encounter at Aston Villa. "Duncan Ferguson has a sore back which will probably rule him out," Moyes said today. "We also have the suspensions to deal with, along with a few other injuries. "We are not short as far as getting a strong 11 for the game. But we might be short of options on the bench. "But our priority is making sure everybody is ready for the run-in. That is the most important thing and I would rather have 16 or 17 senior players available for the league games we have coming up rather than the FA Cup." Li Tie and Steve Watson are definitely out for the cup game, while Leon Osman and James McFadden are only 50/50.
Both players will have to prove to Moyes they are completely over their respective knee and thigh injuries if they are to play any part against United. Ferguson's back problem is expected to have cleared up in time for the trip to Villa Park. But with James Beattie beginning a three game suspension, that will leave the Blues with Marcus Bent as the only recognised striker against United.
Tim Cahill's suspension means new arrival Mikel Arteta is in line for a start in midfield. French 20-year-old Guillaume Plessis could also make his Everton senior debut at some stage of Saturday's cup tie. Doing well in the FA Cup is always a bonus and we are going to try and win," added Moyes.
"But I want to see all my players available for next week and that is something we are looking to do.
"This weekend is a really hard game but it is one we are more than capable of handling.
"I was delighted with the response from the 10 men last weekend. We fought well and to still be in the game with 10 minutes left meant we had a chance of taking something from the match.
"That says a lot for the effort of the players." Reserve defender Anthony Gerrard is likely to be included among the substitutes once again, while 16-year-old striker James Vaughan could also be a substitute for the first time. Tony Hibbert will return to defence following his one match suspension last weekend. That will give Gary Naysmith the opportunity to push forward into midfield, allowing Kevin Kilbane to take a more central role. Meanwhile, James Beattie and Mikel Arteta were at Everton's Megastore in the city centre this afternoon from 1.30pm signing autographs. Nigel Martyn and Iain Turner will also be meeting the public at Everton's Megastore in Walton tomorrow from 1.30pm.

The jury
Feb 17 2005 Liverpool Echo
'We can only hope Beattie uses his absence to get into peak condition for his return' - David Spowart

THERE seems to be an increasing number of people eager to give James Beattie as rough an introduction to life at Everton as possible, so they will doubtless have been delighted at his sending off. Like most inside Goodison, I spent the majority of the Chelsea match convinced that the referee had cheated us of our star striker to conveniently hand Chelsea an advantage. The fact that Riley was later proved correct with regard to that particular incident does not excuse his inept display throughout. We are sure to miss Tim Cahill just as much as Beattie on Saturday. However, the fact that his suspension comes in a cup tie may just prove to be a blessing. With suspensions and injuries beginning to threaten our league position, the last thing we need is a replay.
EVENTS at St Andrews on Saturday helped to lift most of the gloom that had descended earlier at Goodison. The 10 men's efforts were creditable, with Alessandro Pistone providing a case for renewing his contract. Enough has been said about James Beattie; we can only hope he uses his month-long absence to get himself into peak physical condition for his return. Tim Cahill's suspension for Saturday should allow him to rest any injuries he's been carrying, while maybe providing Mikel Arteta with the opportunity to fill the creative void left by Thomas Gravesen's departure. The media will be out in force at the weekend, and nothing would please them more than excessive banter aimed at Wayne Rooney. It would be far more productive to channel any venom behind the team.
'We can only hope Beattie uses his absence to get into peak condition for his return' - David Spowart
THE effort from the players couldn't be criticised against Chelsea but the reason we had to play with 10 men can be. Whatever Beattie was trying to do was stupid and out of character, but it seems pointless labouring the point now. Beattie can easily be replaced by Bent. He deserves to start against United anyway as his workrate last Saturday was fantastic. The real loss will be Cahill who will be a difficult player to replace. We could start with Arteta against United. In his two short appearances he has looked a good passer and confident on the ball. The mudheap of a pitch probably helped us against Chelsea but I hope we don't get any more rain this week as if the pitch gets any worse it will be embarrassing! Saturday's game will be a tough one, but as long as Red Devil Riley isn't the referee I feel confident.
WHAT else could I say about James Beattie that hasn't already been said this week? He admits his stupidity and how he let down his team-mates and the fans. I accept that. Now Bent can go up front and Everton get back to being the team that has done us all so proud this season. We played well on Saturday, but as the game went on I couldn't understand why Yobo was operationg on the right side of midfield. I have not got a problem with Moyes' tactics, but on Saturday I thought he left it too late with the changes. We need some creativity in the team now and I think Arteta can provide this.
The game against Manchester United will be very tough, but if we stick together on the pitch and keep Rooney quiet, we have a good chance.

Safety alert on Blues cup clash
Feb 17 2005 By Tony Barrett & James Glover, Liverpool Echo
POLICE are to launch their biggest football security operation for Saturday's late kick-off cup clash between Everton and Manchester United. Special security measures are being introduced because of a number of potential flashpoints, including:
* The likely return of Wayne Rooney to Goodison after his controversial transfer to United.
* Hours of drinking time for rival fans in the pubs before the 5.30pm kick off time.
* The number of visiting fans who were allocated 5,800 tickets under FA cup rules.
* The potential for some form of action by the visiting fans in protest at the club takeover attempt by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer.
* Segregation fears after it emerged some United supporters may have tickets for Everton sections.
Earlier this month Merseyside police said they were happy with the kick-off time for live TV broadcasting. But now sources have revealed police are preparing for problems inside and outside the ground. No fans will be admitted if they are suspected of being drunk, and police will look out for offensive or inflammatory banners. Supporters with tickets in the wrong sections of the ground could also face ejection. It is believed hundreds of United supporters have snapped up seats for the Everton sections after around 5,000 went on general sale by phone and on the internet through Ticketmaster. The ECHO understands police chiefs were reluctant to agree to the late kick-off and made their reservations known to Everton officials. A senior police source said: "This is a very high profile game and it was always liable to attract the attention of the TV companies. "It would be fair to say we have some misgivings about the match kicking off at that time."

Why Premiership progress must be the priority
Feb 17 2005 Liverpool Echo
Scott McLeod talks to two opposing stars from the 1985 FA Cup Final as they reflect on this weekend's clash between Everton and Manchester United. IN the last two decades a pattern has developed in Everton v Manchester United FA Cup encounters. The formbook suggests whichever side is the dominant force in the league ends up losing out when the sides meet in the cup.
That was the case in 1985, when a Norman Whiteside strike in extra-time sealed cup final glory for the 10 men of United against Howard Kendall's treble chasers. Ten years later and the roles were reversed, with Alex Ferguson's cup holders humbled at Wembley by Paul Rideout's headed strike.
The omens are good for the Blues this weekend as they face the reigning cup holders: a side which has dominated the Premiership - and league clashes with Everton - for the last decade. But Peter Reid, a member of that losing side of '85, would willingly swop cup victory for Everton building a dynasty capable of competing with the likes of United, Arsenal and Chelsea on a regular basis.
He believes that could be within the club's reach if David Moyes can guide Everton into the Champions League - which is why he regards the Cup game as merely a tantalising showpiece in this thrilling campaign. Reid explains: "It is physically such a demanding league to play in. You need a squad of real depth which costs money to assemble. That is why sides like Everton are not expected to finish up there. "It is a Catch 22 situation in many ways. You need the better players to strengthen the squad to survive that kind of season but you cannot get those players without finishing up there in the table. "That is why it has become increasingly difficult for clubs like Everton to break into that top group in the last 10 years. "But they have given themselves a great chance of upsetting the cycle this season. That will be their priority, it has to be. "Reaching Europe will generate more finance, giving them the opportunity to bring in better play-ers. And the prospect of European football will also attract a better quality of player. "That is something which can kick-start the club to get back into a position we were during the 80s." The distraction of a cup campaign could actually undermine the club's hopes of achieving such a goal, particularly with a threadbare squad to choose from, and Reid fears for Everton in this one-off encounter. He continues: "It will be hard for Everton. My heart says Everton, but my head says Manchester United. "I thought United were dogged in the derby and ended up being too strong in the end. That is the way they are playing at the moment and it will be very hard for Everton against that. "Everton were fantastic against Chelsea. But I think Manchester United might have too much for them. "They need to dig out performances like last weekend's against Chelsea. "The display they produced despite having just 10 men for 80 minutes was brilliant. "We all know what the side's strengths are and hopefully they can keep it going and reproduce that this weekend. "As the one who made the draw, I hope they get through. I got plenty of stick from my friends for that. But it will be very, very hard. "But the really important thing is that Everton keep their form going in the league." There has been a great deal of talk of the part Wayne Rooney will play at Goodison. But whether he plays or not, or whether he scores or not, Reid believes Everton have already won on that score. He continues: "Everton have had a terrific season without Wayne. "Nobody wants to lose a player of his ability, but without him they have got a good shape and to be fourth in the league at this stage of the season is absolutely outstanding. "All Evertonians will have been hugely disappointed that Wayne went. But the club was very well compensated. "I think the deal was terrific and if you look at it, all parties seem to have come out of it well. "Everton have become very hard to beat and the players have been fantastic. "You can see how tight the players are as a group. And that is a massive thing for any club.
"If you want to achieve something you need spirit like that - the spirit Everton have. "There is a feeling for the shirt. That should be the norm in any side but it isn't necessarily the case and so what Everton have developed is a very big thing. "They are resolute. The amount of games they win by a single goal shows that. "They are dogged, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something which we should applaud." Reid will be delighted if that spirit gets the better of Manchester United at Goodison. But his real hope is that it keeps Everton going in the race for fourth spot - so that the Blues can get the better of United more regularly than once every 10 years.

Sports Personality shortlist announced
Feb 17 2005 Liverpool Echo
TODAY we enter the final straight in the race for the Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year award for 2004. And there are just six runners left in the field. The one who emerges from our super six shortlist next week will be crowned Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year at a glittering ceremony in Liverpool on February 28, attended by sports stars past and present. There's now just a week left for you to vote - send your nomination for Sports Personality of the Year, along with your phone number, to ECHO Sport, PO Box 48, Old Hall St, Liverpool L69 3EB. Or e-mail sport@liverpoolecho.co.uk

Ronaldo not Rooney is the biggest threat
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Feb 18 2005
MIKEL ARTETA has insisted Cristiano Ronaldo and not Wayne Rooney will be the main threat to Everton's FA Cup aspirations tomorrow. Rooney will be the centre of attention when he returns to Goodison for the first time since his controversial £27million transfer to Manchester United last August. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has yet to decide whether the 19-year-old will play in the televised fifth-round tie, where a hostile reception is expected from Evertonians still upset by the manner of his departure. But while new Everton signing Arteta is confident Rooney can cope with the situation if selected, the Spaniard has warned his teammates that the primary danger will come from elsewhere. "United have many players I admire, but the one who stands out most is Cristiano Ronaldo," said Arteta. "For somebody so young he has amazing quality, his skills are fantastic but he has also matured quickly as a footballer since he first arrived at Old Trafford. A lot will be made of Rooney's first return. He is a professional and will be able to handle the pressure. "But he made his decision to leave and now he has to cope with the consequences." Arteta came up against United while at Rangers last season, where the two sides met in the Champions League with the Old Trafford side winning on both occasions. "I played against United twice and they were high-class opponents," he added. "I might face Roy Keane again who impressed me a lot. He is very strong and very difficult to stop. "For us Champions League qualification is more important, but a trophy is a trophy and it would mean a lot to the fans if we won the FA Cup." With both Leon Osman and James McFadden struggling with knee and thigh injuries respectively, Li Tie and Steve Watson long-term absentees and Tim Cahill suspended, Arteta is almost certain to be handed his first start in midfield tomorrow. David Moyes's threadbare squad could be stretched further with Duncan Ferguson expected to miss out with a back injury and James Beattie suspended, which would leave Marcus Bent as the only fit senior striker. But despite his side being three games away from a date in Cardiff in May, the Everton manager has said he will not put his team's challenge for fourth place at risk by selecting unfit players tomorrow. "Duncan Ferguson has a sore back which will probably rule him out," confirmed Moyes. Tony Hibbert returns after a one-match ban with French trial-list Guillaume Plessis expected to be on the bench against United.

Fans won't forget, Ratcliffe tells Rooney
By Ken Gaunt Daily Post Correspondent
Feb 18 2005
FORMER Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe has warned Wayne Rooney to brace himself for a hostile atmosphere at Goodison Park tomorrow. The Manchester United striker is due to return to his old club in the FA Cup fifth round tie tomorrow evening following his £27million move last August.
Ratcliffe said: "I hope he gets a decent reception but I don't think so. They find it hard to forget."
However, one of Everton's finest ever players believes the club had little option but to move the young striker on. "If you think about it, it was more about the football club than Wayne Rooney," he said.. "For them to receive £27million for a player, you cannot turn that down, especially the kind of debt Everton were in. "You can get a few players in with that kind of money. "It was a good point in selling him because the league position suggests that." Rooney was impressive in the derby defeat of Manchester City last weekend, scoring once and having a hand in the other. Ratcliffe is not surprised at the youngster's development since his move to Old Trafford. "The lad just seems to turn games at the moment. "He is a quality player. The talent has always been there. "Wayne was always going to be a better player in a better side. "I think he has proved that with England." Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson insists Rooney has the necessary temperament to cope with any possible hostility tomorrow. "He will handle it no problem," said the West Brom manager. "He is big-time player and has a strong mentality for a young lad. "Of course Wayne will want to impress going back to his old club but he will be level-headed. "I don't see lads in the Everton side being the type of professionals who will wind him up anyway. "They will just want to concentrate on getting on with their own jobs. I can't see there being a problem." Robson and Ratcliffe, opposing skippers in the 1985 FA Cup final won by United, linked up again this week at a reception, backed by Nationwide, where the trophy was on display. Ratcliffe believes the old knockout competition is winning people over again now the final is played in his native Wales. "The Cup has picked up in the last few years," he said. "The big thing was taking it to the Millennium Stadium. "The fans love the atmosphere, there is virtually no segregation, and so do the clubs and players. "They like the importance of it. "The last three or four years the FA Cup has come to life again." Meanwhile Ruud van Nistelrooy has indicated he would love to spend the rest of his career at Old Trafford. The Manchester United striker is in line to return to the side for the first time since November tomorrow against Everton after recovering from an Achilles injury. Van Nistelrooy says he has has been devoted to the club since the day he joined from PSV Eindhoven in a £19m move. "I feel at home in a place with such strong traditions. I don't see why I shouldn't spend the rest of my playing days here," he said.

Wyness: We want to be in world's top 20 next year
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Feb 18 2005
KEITH WYNESS yesterday underlined his aim to transform Everton into one of the world's top 20 richest clubs inside the next 12 months. But the Everton chief executive has again stated true progress can only be made once the club resolves the issue of whether to construct a new stadium or develop a plan to renovate Goodison. Wyness spoke after the publication of this year's Deliotte & Touche report into football finances, which named eight Premiership clubs among the primary income-generators in football. Manchester United led the way having made £171.5million over the past year, while Liverpool were 10th with Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United named. Manchester City were the surprise new entrants to the top 20 helped by their move into their new stadium at Eastlands. Aston Villa were the final team in the list with an income of £55.9m, compared to the £44.3m which Everton generated over the same period. Wyness admitted that Everton will only be able to realise their full commerical potential once a decision on a stadium is made, something he conceded remains no nearer a conclusion. "The stadium is still one of the biggest issues that confronts us and how we maxim-ise that revenue," he said.. "It's well documented that we are looking at the options available to us and we're working as hard as we can on those options at present but there is still no clear direction that I can tell the fans we've decided on at this stage. "It is the single biggest factor that will take us forward into the top 10."
However, Wyness believes the Goodison club have the correct business practices in store and sufficient commercial potential to break into the standings by the time the 2006 list is published.
"This is a league which Everton should be playing in and climbing," said Wyness. "Our short-term aspirations by season 2005-06 must be to be in the top 20 but then to really make progress as to being in the top 10 as quickly as we can do. "That really is where the club deserves to be and where we must be. All our plans have got to be based around that." Wyness unveiled a business plan at last year's annual general meeting with the aim of increasing turnover to more than £60m by the start of the 2007-08 season. However, with Everton faring much better than expected on the field and in line to earn a lucrative place in the UEFA Cup at the very least this season, Wyness has brought that target forward. "The plans that were presented at the AGM for the three-year-plan would clearly put us into the top 20 by season 2007-08 but I would like to be in the top 20 by 2005-06," he said. "I think that's achievable if we work hard over this next off-season to do that. "With the plans in place it is looking like we will be able to achieve and exceed our hopes for the business plan at present, although it's still very early."

Gregg: No groundshare is such a shame
Daily Post
Feb 18 2005
EVERTON director Paul Gregg has revealed his disappointment at his club's failure to secure a ground-sharing deal with Liverpool. Plans for the Merseyside rivals to share a new stadium at
Stanley Park collapsed last month, with both sets of supporters against the proposals. Gregg believes the move would have suited both clubs, with the capacity at Anfield and Goodison Park both under 50,000. Gregg said: "With both clubs at fourth and fifth in the Premiership, what better opportunity to try to put them together in an independent stadium? "What Liverpool desperately need is another 15,000 seats, what Everton need is another 15,000. "The financial demands of doing it individually are enormous."

Questions remain over Rooney's return
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 18 2005
WAYNE ROONEY. Will he or won't he? Make his much-anticipated return to Goodison tomorrow, that is. Nick Barmby, realistically the only other player to leave in similarly acrimonious circumstances in recent years, never had to come back at all. He missed Goodison derbies through injury and, according to the bizarre Mr Houllier, 'respect for 9/11', before he dropped out of the top flight, but it seems safe to assume that the lad Evertonians used to refer to as 'our Wayne' will be at Manchester United for some time to come. Therefore the chances are that sooner or later he is going to have to come back and play in front of the fans who once worshipped him. Will it be now though? Or will Alex Ferguson let the hype and the tension build up, thanks to the boozer-friendly kick-off time and all the stories about added security, and then disappoint the inevitable flag-bearers and effigyburners by withdrawing Rooney at the last minute? You wouldn't put it past him, and let's face it, he has a reasonable replacement in the shape of the Ruud van Nistelrooy, if indeed the Dutchman, the breaker of Everton hearts last season, is actually fit. Regardless of who ends up leading the line for Manchester United tomorrow, it's certainly going to prove another extremely tough test for the Blues. Hopefully, they will keep 11 players on the pitch this time, not shoot themselves in the foot - or the back of the head if you prefer - like they did last Saturday. Needless to say, everyone was mortified by James Beattie's moment of lunacy against Chelsea and his overzealous nuzzling of William Gallas almost certainly cost us any realistic chance of getting anything at all from a game that many fans had a sneaking suspicion we could win. However, there's no point dwelling on it: Beat-tie made a stupid mistake and he has been punished. Hopefully he will use his enforced absence to undergo a sort of 'mini pre-season' at Bellefield to ensure that he's fit and ready to make amends once he's eligible for selection again. After all, he only has to look in the direction of the Blues' serial sinner, Duncan Ferguson, to see that if you score goals in a blue shirt then the Goodison crowd have an almost infinite capacity for forgiveness. Whether Wayne Rooney will agree with that come tomorrow evening though is another matter altogether.

Bin the sinners
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 18 2005
Bin the sinners
ALTHOUGH no-one could condone the moment of madness shown by James Beattie, being one of the few occasions when everybody agreed with the red card, I feel it is rapidly nearing the time when sin bins should be introduced. Possibly hundreds, or even thousands of people have paid to see a match, filled with excitement, buoyant and ready to give their team all the support they can. Then within the first ten minutes the bubble has burst. I agree all that goes with the card should stand, the fine the missed games, etc. etc., but something should be done . . . say 15 minutes off for a yellow, and 30 minutes off for a red.
Doug Webb, Waterloo
No thanks
READING some of the comments by Wayne Rooney, it seems a pity he couldn't have thanked David Moyes and the youth team coaches who gave him his chance, a club that was prepared to offer him £50,000 a week. No wonder the hatred runs deep.
James Helme (via e-mail)
Silence the boos
SO Rooney cant wait to play against us and has begged Sir Alex Ferguson to start him tomorrow.
Let's give him a Goodison return to remember by winning on the pitch and showing him our support for the boys in Blue. I disagree with booing him all game.
Brian Bernard (via e-mail)
Keep Duncan
I DO think Duncan Ferguson should be handed a new contract. When a player comes on and puts in 100% each time, he can change a game. He's the person who could keep us in fourth place.
William Evans (via e-mail)
Missing out
WE NEED to show Rooney what he has left behind and what he is missing. He has gone to a team where most of the players are only there for the money rather than the whole spirit in the camp, which our team have. We will have to step our game up 100% on the last two showings. Don't get me wrong, we played exceptionally well against Chelsea. But for the Beattie sending-off we would have had more of a chance. But it is incidents like that we don't need creeping into our game. We have played well all season without needing to use dirty tactics. Get behind the team tomorrow and forget Rooney.
Neil Devlin, St Helens
Support Beattie
AGREED, Beattie was stupid, but it happened, we can't change it, so let's get over it and support him when he's back playing. Also, I think the Ferguson is worth another contract, albeit on reduced terms. He's Everton through and through.
Janice Jones (via e-mail)
Cut price deal
FERGUSON deserves a new contract, albeit at a lower salary to reflect advancing years and questions over his fitness. I believe Everton will win as long as they contain United and I hope that Marcus Bent will will convert one of Duncan's headers. Much will depend upon midfield resolve.
Roger Williams, Llanfairfechan, Wales

We'll make United pay
Feb 18 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Manchester United's Champions League obsession could be their undoing in tomorrow's FA Cup clash at Goodison. United enter the knockout stage of the Champions League against AC Milan next Wednesday. And Moyes (right) has warned that if the men from Old Trafford arrive on Merseyside with half an eye on that game, then the Blues will punish them. Moyes said: "They are in a good run of form, but this is a time of the year when Manchester United are traditionally in a good run of form. "But that doesn't mean there are not games to be lost for them. We have got to try and make sure this is one of those games. "They have got AC Milan next week and I am in no doubt there will be some level of concentration going towards that game. "And this could be an opportunity for us to capital-ise. They have got enough quality in their squad to be able to juggle things around and so whatever team we face will be tough. But AC Milan is a very big game for them. "The Champions League is probably something Manchester United are desperate to win. They are a club which sets targets to win trophies every season and the FA Cup is one they still have a chance with. This is an important game, but the Champions League is probably a bigger target."
Everton go into the game with a host of suspensions and injuries to contend with. By contrast, Alex Ferguson has a wealth of options, with Ruud van Nistelrooy and Alan Smith expected to return to the squad after recovering from injury. As a result, Ferguson could choose to leave Wayne Rooney out of the squad altogether as he looks towards the Champions League game next week, which could postpone the teenager's return to Goodison until the league clash in April. Moyes is unconcerned by the possibility of Rooney returning to face his old club. He said: "They have got one or two strikers coming back from injury who could play so it is difficult to predict what the United team will be. "But we know that whoever they do select, it will be a very good side."
Meanwhile, Moyes could resist the temptation to hand Mikel Arteta his first Everton start.
He added: "I am not sure if this will be the right game to put him in. We have got suspensions and injuries to contend with, but we do have one or two options." Both James McFadden and Leon Osman completed a full training session yesterday and both could play some part tomorrow if they came through today's session unscathed. Arteta has pin-pointed Cristiano Ronaldo as the Blues' greatest threat The 22-year-old said: "He has matured quickly since he first arrived at Old Trafford. A lot will be made of Rooney's first return. "But he made his decision to leave and now he has to cope with the consequences."
* EVERTON'S Ruleteros Society are appealing for old football shirts, shorts and socks ahead of their visit to CD Everton in Chile next month. They will be accepting donations in St Luke's Church between 2-5pm tomorrow before the Cup tie at Goodison.

Blues can end long wait - Rideout
Feb 18 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
PAUL RIDEOUT believes Everton are better equipped now than they were a decade ago to inflict FA Cup misery on Manchester United. The Blues' 1-0 triumph over Alex Ferguson's men at Wembley in 1995 was the club's last victory against United in any competition. But Rideout, the man on target in that game, is confident David Moyes' men can end the club's agonising wait for another win tomorrow when the two sides meet in the Cup for the first time since '95. "In '95 the bonus was simply getting to the final after staying up in the league," Rideout reflects. "I think nearly all the players that year would have sacrificed the place in the final for our Premiership survival.

"After escaping the drop we didn't have time to worry about the final. We just went into the game without fear because we had already achieved our target. "And we had the whole country willing us to do it as well. We just went out there to play and we had the philosophy of 'what will be, will be'. We had nothing to lose. "That is a similar situation now. The side has just been enjoying itself all season but now, with the end so close in the league, they will be starting to think about the Champions League and get a bit nervous. "So the Cup will be a welcome break from that pressure for them. And it probably helps that nobody is expecting them to win. "But they have kept surprising people in the league and I don't see why they shouldn't do the same in the cup. "They have been playing some good stuff this season. They haven't got the credit they deserve for the quality of their football - it has impressed me. "They have got more flair than we had in '95. We worked hard as a team, just like this side, but we didn't have the ability they have got to cause problems for defences.
"They work the ball well on to the flanks and they have got good wingers. Up front Marcus Bent has had a great season and he has led the line well. "They have impressed me greatly." Rideout now lives and works in the United States, where he has become a youth coach for the Kansas City Wizards.
He moved over there with his wife and family after finally hanging up his boots in 2002 after an enjoyable swansong at Tranmere. But he keeps a close eye on what is happening in the English game and, in particular, at Goodison. He had 11 clubs during his long career, but Everton is the one closest to his heart. He watches them either live or on extended highlights every weekend, and keeps an eye on developments during the week with Sky Sports News. His closest friends from his time in the game were from that side. He still keeps in touch regularly with Craig Short and David Unsworth. And he refuses to let the memories of that great day at Wembley fade. "I still watch the video every now and then to remember it all. It was a special day." So when he settles down at home for tomorrow's mid-morning kick-off Kansas time, he will be as nervous as any punter on the Gwladys Street. He continues: "I had a lot of clubs in my career but Everton is the one where I felt I settled down and was most at home. "Manchester United are in that unbelievable form right now and it is going to be difficult for Everton. "I can't see an obvious result, but with Everton's resolve and their good defence they have every chance. "In previous years the defence hasn't been as strong and they have ruined any chances they have had of bringing that run against United to an end by conceding goals too easily. But now they are tough to break down, just like we were in the final in '95. "You just had to watch how hard the 10 men worked to make it so difficult for Chelsea last weekend to realise what United are going to be up against. And right now they also have a great belief."

Reds can be held for fourth - Paul
Feb 18 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will hold off the challenge of Liverpool in the race for the Champions League, according to Paul Rideout. The former Blues' star, now based in the United States, has kept a close eye on this season's Premiership campaign. And he insists that Everton have more than enough in their locker to hold off the challenge from their rivals for fourth place. He said: "A lot is being made of the clubs behind them, but I don't think there is any really strong challenge. Liverpool are very inconsistent.
"Everybody expects Liverpool to get that fourth place, but that puts a lot of pressure on them and, if you look at the two squads at the moment, of the players Liverpool have available they are far from the side they were. I cannot see the argument that they are so much stronger than Everton.
"Everton don't have that same kind of pressure, they are much more consistent and their defence is solid. "Of the other sides, Middlesbrough do have a lot of depth, but they have no variety. I have watched them a lot this season and they play exactly the same way every week. "They are a boring side and I don't think they have got the spark to get up there. "What David Moyes has done this season is astounding. "This year they are all working together and I can see real similarities with what Joe Royle did with us. "Every time I see David Moyes talking about the team he is positive and never blasts the players, which will be well received in the dressing room. It encourages the camaraderie. "They are a breath of fresh air in the Premiership. You need a team to come in and shake things up, which is what Everton are doing."

Everton joins care project
Feb 18 2005 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
THREE major companies will back the Liverpool Cares for Culture drive. The scheme, run by Business in the Community, encourages Mersey-side firms to help their communities with direct action through initiatives like staff volunteering programmes. High-flying Everton FC, lottery operator Camelot and accountancy experts Grant Thornton have signed up to the employee volunteering cares scheme, chaired in the city by Liverpool ECHO deputy editor Jon Brown. Staff from the three companies will participate in a series of community-based projects throughout 2005, which will provide valuable assistance and support throughout Merseyside. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness said: "Liverpool Cares for Culture offers appropriate opportunities for our business, such as training and development through employee volunteering, while providing us access to the community to enable us to make a real difference and make The People's Club a reality." By 2008, when the city is European Capital of Culture, Liverpool Cares for Culture aims to have provided £1m-worth of in-kind business support to the benefit of the region. The scheme's programme development director, Jo McGrath, said: "By adopting a leading role in supporting regeneration objectives, companies enhance their business reputation and provide learning and development opportunities for employees." She said firms can help the initiative either by their staff volunteering for community programmes or by giving in-kind support. If you want to learn more about the scheme, you can e-mail Liverpoolcaresforculture@ bitc.org.uk

Draw your lone conclusion
Feb 18 2005 You Bet With Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY may be partial to a pie or two, but his return to Merseyside tomorrow will be far from savoury. By electing to earn his crust at reviled rivals Manchester United, the former Everton idol guaranteed a hostile reception from the Blue fraternity he once declared himself eternally part of. Evertonians know better than to turn the Good-ison turf into a mobile phone amnesty, so the extent of their revulsion will manifest itself via more vocal means. Alex Ferguson's counter-measure will simply be to rest Rooney and deny the Gwladys gospel choir the satisfaction of a homecoming tirade. And therein lies Everton's best hope of progressing to the quarterfinals of the FA Cup. Without Rooney, United (4-5 Totalbet) must rely on half-fit Ruud van Nistelrooy or half-wit Alan Smith as their lone front man. Yet the task of over-coming one of this season's best defensive units can only be masterminded by the ingenious Rooney. Everton's (3-1) limited strike options however, is a sure signal for punters to lump on a stalemate (9-4), especially when you consider how close their 10 men came to shutting out championselect Chelsea last weekend.

FA Cup preview: Everton v United
February 18, 2005
Manchester Evening Post
UNITED boss Sir Alex Ferguson looks set to have a full '68m strike complement to choose from when the Reds travel to Everton in the FA Cup fifth round. Ruud van Nistelrooy has been champing at the bit in training this week since his return from Holland on Tuesday after completing rehabilitation work for an Achilles injury. Alan Smith was back on the training ground at Carrington on Thursday, and Louis Saha has been working as well, which means Ferguson has all his big guns firing for the first time since November. Meanwhile, Everton boss David Moyes has a skeleton squad as he prepares for the Goodison Park clash. James Beattie and Tim Cahill are suspended, while long-term injured duo Steve Watson and Li Tie are also still out. Moyes also has doubts over Duncan Ferguson (back), James McFadden (thigh) and Leon Osman (knee) - but full-back Tony Hibbert returns after a one match suspension. It means Mikel Arteta can expect his first start - while Everton's other loan signing Guillaume Plessis will be on the bench along with teenage defender Anthony Gerrard.
Despite thier selection problems, United defender Rio Ferdinand is still wary of the Toffees.
He said: 'Everton still have people who score goals so it would be wrong for us to think because they've got so many out it will be easier. 'And they are used to playing with just Marcus Bent up front anyway." Everton (from): Martyn, Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Yobo, Pistone, Naysmith, Kilbane, Carsley, McFadden, Osman, Bent, Ferguson, Arteta, Plessis, Wright, Gerrard, Fox.
Manchester United (from): Carroll, Howard, G Neville, P Neville, Brown, Ferdinand, O'Shea, Heinze, Fortune, Ronaldo, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Saha, Smith, Bellion, Miller

Rooney's return
February 18, 2005
Manchester Evening Post
WAYNE Rooney has proved he can cope with anything on a football pitch - and that includes the abuse he is likely to suffer at Goodison Park today. The 19-year-old Manchester United star returns to the club he left last summer in a '27million transfer for a the first time in the FA Cup clash with Everton. But his manager Sir Alex Ferguson's faith in the prodigious teenager was shown by his swift response to the question of whether he had considered taking Rooney out of the limelight:
"I have not even thought about it - not a hint of it," said Ferguson, abruptly. Fears have been expressed about Rooney's temperament already this season - he has been seen swapping insults with fans during away games this season, and was substituted at half time of the ill-starred Spain v England friendly in November. But Ferguson could do nothing but praise Rooney, who has had just four yellow cards all season, as well as the three-match ban for pushing Bolton's Tal Ben Haim in the face in December. "Like a lot of good young players we have brought up the right way, his temperament is first-class in terms of his response to a big-match atmosphere," said the manager.
"He is a competitive player, as all great players are, and his discipline has never really been an issue.
"He got a three-match ban for what happened against Bolton, which was ridiculous, but he is fine. He competes and why shouldn't he - that's his job. Delighted "He has got everything in his locker to let him just go out and play. He has never been a problem here - we are delighted with him because he's a great personality to have around the training ground." United have taken precautions for tomorrow's game, giving Rooney his own minder, but Ferguson says he expects nothing out of the ordianary after going through similar experiences with players like Eric Cantona, Rio Ferdinand and Louis Saha. And he is puzzled as to why, in an age when players switch clubs all the time, there should be such a focus on Rooney: "Wayne will get a lot of abuse tomorrow in a way that may reflect that a player has left the club. "But in the modern-day game it is hard to imagine Everton will be particularly different to any other football club in the world. "We at United are unusual in that players like Giggs, Scholes and the two Nevilles have spent their lifetimes at this club. No other club is like that. "Every club has players that come back to play against them - we have Jaap Stam coming back on Wednesday, and have had Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and so on. "I don't expect Everton supporters to be any more over the top than with any other player coming back. "We have a great relationship with Everton, and it is a big day for them with all the talk and hype of a player of 19 years of age, creating an emotional thing. "But I don't expect anything other than booing. "He has got the temperament to do it. Everton know that too, and I just hope the game passes in the right way and nothing stupid happens." Ferguson pointed to the good relationship between the two clubs, although that has been sullied in the last two seasons. In 2003 some Everton officials tried to prevent United from receiving the Premiership trophy on the pitch at Goodison on the final day of the season until they were pressured by the Premier League. Complaints And last year Everton passed on complaints to Merseyside Police after United celebrated their last-minute winner in front of home supporters. Over 100 complaints were received but the police did not take any action after meeting with United, and after video evidence failed to back up the allegations of foul abuse and offensive gestures. Ferguson said that incident had damaged the relationship with Everton a little: "We are at either end of the East Lancs Road but have never really had a problem with Everton. "That was maybe spoilt a little bit last year when we scored a winner there with the last kick of the ball, but that was after them being down 3-0 and getting back to 3-3, so it was a real kick in the teeth. "Their PRO guy should have handled it better - he was a bit over the top - but other than that there is no problem between the clubs.
"It's a sensitive situation we have to deal with tomorrow and has to be handled properly, and we won't let ourselves down with that. "When Eric Cantona went back to Leeds for the first time after signing for us, it was volatile but nothing spilled out onto the pitch and there was nothing over the top - it was purely from the terracing. "But Wayne has answered all the questions himself really, about what he can cope with." Rooney's departure seemed to galvanise Everton, and for most of this season they have been in pursuit of top spot after struggling to avoid relagtion in the last campaign. That has not surprised Ferguson: "Everton have a good manager who has them highly motivated - they were running on adrenalin in the early part of the season and are still playing with great conviction and determination now. "You know you won't get an easy game - but neither will they. "The sale of Rooney helped them financially and meant they got one or two players in themselves." Mikael Silvestre completes his three-match ban for the red card against Arsenal, and John O'Shea is ruled out as he suffered concussion in Sunday's derby. Normally such a bang on the head would rule him out for 14 days under FA regulations, but United will send the Irish star to a specialist in a bid to prove he is fit to play against AC Milan on Wednesday. Up-and-coming Giuseppe Rossi is included in the squad travelling to Goodison today - he has replaced Eric Djemba-Djemba in the 25-man squad named for the Champions League and was considered for a place on the bench against Manchester City

Everton 0, Man Utd 2 (D,Post)
By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
AROUND 1,000 Evertonians were waiting for the Manchester United coach bearing Wayne Rooney when it pulled into Goodison Road at 4.15pm on Saturday, with 25 police officers, five horses and dozens of stewards forming the rest of a rousing reception committee. Cries of "Judas" were quickly overpowered by chants for Everton when the striker stepped down from the coach in a powerful demonstration of how a club means far more than any individual, no matter how great his talent.
As a prelude to an epic FA Cup contest it was a convincing scene. Yet an entirely false one as Everton found themselves immersed in the dampest of damp squibs once the main event began.
Bad enough that they were outclassed by Rooney and his United team-mates on the field, for Everton the real indignity on Saturday came in being outclassed by the temperamental teenager in the contest of how to behave under extreme emotional pressure. The 19-year-old who jumped ship with indecent haste yet revitalised his boyhood club to the tune of £27m was the model of self-control in the FA Cup fifth round. Abused before the game had even kicked off by Everton's match ball sponsors, abused every time he touched the ball and subjected to chants of "Die, die Rooney", his immediate reaction on the final whistle was to applaud the Gwladys Street terrace where he would have been standing on Saturday but for his God-given talent. In contrast, that same heartbeat of home support was criminally let down by an idiot boasting both loose marbles and loose change. A £1 dart in exchange for a lifetime ban and a £50,000 assault on Everton's delicate finances by the FA, who must also be held to account for the 5.30pm kick off time that went against the wishes of Merseyside Police. The meathead who probably dined out on his moment of pathetic infamy on Saturday night had no doubt slaughtered the teenager for his questionable Evertonian credentials beforehand. Yet he will not even under-stand the irony of the damage he has inflicted upon his own club, with the threat of a points deduction now a step closer, let alone appreciate it.
The FA Cup, with Rooney back at Goodison for the first time and Manchester United the formidable opposition; what else did Everton need to work themselves up into the relentless, hungry pack that defied all odds before Christmas? Instead, the coin thrown at the back of Roy Carroll's head epitomised a bitterly disappointing evening when Everton's priori-ties became dazed and confused.
Goodison had turned out in force to condemn, as one of its many banners put it, the Evertonian from Croxteth who "Could have been a God but chose to be a Devil". Yet the only United player made to suffer was the former Wigan goalkeeper from Enniskillen whose only obvious indiscretion was to drop Pedro Mendes's lob over his line and not own up. Meathead must be so proud.
Rooney was also subjected to missiles thrown by the crowd of course and, like everything else Everton attempted on Saturday, they missed. When he trotted into the corner of the Gwladys Street after only four minutes objects were hurled from every conceivable angle and no-one expressed any surprise. "I thought Wayne handled it all very well," said his former team-mate Leon Osman afterwards. "He was always going to be under pressure and get plenty of stick but he handled everything as well as anyone possibly could. "I've never experienced anything like that myself but I know it must be difficult not to be intimidated at Goodison Park in those circumstances, but Wayne showed what a big occasion player he is again. He wasn't fazed by it and showed that the bigger the occasion, the better he plays. That is one of the best qualities you can have as a player and Wayne has it in abundance." Unlike Luis Figo on his return to Barcelona as a Real Madrid player, however, there was no pig's head to greet Rooney when he first ventured towards danger, only an inflatable porker tossed amongst the home support. It was a perfect symbol for Everton on Saturday - plenty of hot air, yet lacking in substance. What had started out as a passionate, electrifying cup tie began to disintegrate into a tedious, ugly exit from the competition the moment Quinton Fortune headed United in front in the 24th minute. With Everton's response so weak, and David Moyes's options so few once the injured Duncan Ferguson joined the suspended James Beattie and Tim Cahill in the stands, the home crowd quickly sensed there was no way back. In that sense, they were only taking their lead from the manager and the performance of their team. Moyes had to all intents and purposes revealed Everton's FA Cup intent before kick off by insisting he would not risk any players with knocks and then resting David Weir and Alessandro Pistone on the bench. It is a perfectly valid argument given the over-riding importance of the Champions League but did little for Everton's prospects against the in-form team in the country. The introduction of Weir and Pistone with Everton two-goals down highlighted how the game was up for Everton long before the end, but also how bereft of creative options Moyes is with the untried Guillaume Plessis and 16-year-old Academy striker James Vaughan his only alternatives on the bench. The home side had, in truth, made a fine start against the cup holders. Osman, on his return from injury, sparkled with the ball and in his attempts to win it, Marcus Bent produced his customary endeavour as a lone frontman, ably supported by James McFadden, while Joseph Yobo produced a towering dis-play against the centre of attention. Once man of the match Cristiano Ronaldo waltzed beyond flu-victim Kevin Kilbane and wide of the non-existent challenge from Gary Naysmith and delivered a telling cross for Fortune to head home from six yards, however, Everton's star began to fade. It could all have been so different had Bent converted debutant Mikel Arteta's sublime pass beyond Carroll two minutes before the break. But with the chance going begging as the striker struggled to find his feet before the United keeper smothered the danger, Everton's FA Cup hopes followed suit. They failed to produce an attack worthy of the name in the second half as United produced a masterclass in possession and movement and Everton defied belief with their passing in the final third. Ronaldo, having won a 58th minute free-kick with his latest theatrical tumble over Arteta's outstretched leg, made the game safe when Nigel Martyn fumbled Paul Scholes's deflected drive right into the path of the Portuguese trickster. It was Martyn, however, who gave Evertonians their only consolation when he prevented Rooney scoring on his return with two outstanding saves to earn the Goodison stewards' Player of the Year award. In round four Everton exposed the astonishing gap that now exists between the top two divisions in English football with a comfortable despatch of Sunderland.
But, on this evidence, there is a similarly unbreachable margin between fourth and second in the Premier League. Only those who cannot contain urges to attack Roy Carroll or throw mobile phones onto football fields believe Sky when they proclaim the Premiership as the best league in the world.
Everyone else knows three clubs are competing for first place and the best the remaining 17 can hope for is to take the unofficial championship of fourth. He may have gone too quickly, and he and his advisors may have handled his exit terribly, but that is why Rooney left Everton for Manchester United. The consolation for Everton, and there is one, is that they still have everything to play for this season without him.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Naysmith; McFadden (Weir, 67 mins), Carsley, Arteta (Pistone, 79 mins), Kilbane; Osman; Bent. Subs: Wright, Plessis, Vaughan.
BOOKED: Weir (foul)
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Carroll; G Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Heinze; P Neville, Keane (Miller, 81 mins); Ronaldo, Scholes, Fortune; Rooney. Subs: Howard, Giggs, Smith, Spector.
BOOKED: Keane (foul)
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 38,664
NEXT GAME: Aston Villa v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm

Everton braced to pay a high price in FA rap
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Feb 21 2005
EVERTON are expecting a hefty fine after it was revealed referee Rob Styles will report THREE separate incidents of crowd misbehaviour following Saturday's bad-tempered FA Cup defeat to Manchester United. The Football Association is to investigate after millions of television viewers saw United goalkeeper Roy Carroll struck by a coin thrown by a supporter in the Gwladys Street End of Goodison Park. And referee Styles is believed to have made note of two other acts of missile-throwing in the match report he will submit to the FA today after the unsavoury scenes marred Everton's 2-0 fifth-round defeat. The official passed a mobile phone to the fourth official during the second half and television pictures also spotted an object thrown in the direction of Wayne Rooney, whose first return to Everton since his £27million transfer to Old Trafford last August was the primary cause of much ill-feeling in the home stands. "I can confirm that Roy Carroll was struck by an object," said Styles. "I will make my report at this stage and the contents of that have to remain private between myself and the FA." It is understood Carroll said to the referee that he feared for his safety, although Everton are believed to be unhappy with suggestions their stewards were unsympathetic towards the goal-keeper's plight in the immediate aftermath of the incident.
Everton have already been warned this season about the behaviour of supporters inside Goodison following pitch invasions during Premiership games against Liverpool and Portsmouth. The FA has threatened to deduct points from clubs where fans have been persistent offenders, but it is more likely that Everton will be handed a large fine in the region of £50,000. FA spokesman Adrian Bevington said: "We will be speaking to Everton and the police through our safety officer. The most important thing is that, through video evidence, the culprit is identified and served with a banning order. "We welcome the comments from Everton Football Club immediately following the match and their desire to have the culprit identified and then for the police to deal with them. "Individuals who throw missiles must face action from the police and then through the courts, and then receive banning orders to prevent them attending any football both at home at abroad." Everton have made television and CCTV coverage of the incident available to Merseyside police and are confident the offender will be caught and banned from Goodison for life. "It would appear that the video recordings and footage we got prove quite conclusive," said Head of Communications Ian Ross.
"We think it is a coin thrown by some mindless yob in the Gwladys Street End. He has let everyone down. "The gentleman left the ground before the police could get him but we think with the video evidence we got we may be able to identify him. "We would appeal to anyone who knows who it was to go to the police and turn him in. "We are determined to find the individual in question and he will be banned for life if found guilty by the courts." On the threat of any punishment from the FA, Ross added: "We hope that there will be an understanding that we did everything we could.
"Prior to the match, we did a lot of work to ensure supporters would not cause any trouble. Otherwise the game passed off without any major problems and we would like to thank all the other supporters of both teams for that. "99.9% of the fans have been well behaved, but this one person has disgraced the name of this football club. "We are responsible for the actions of our fans. We appreciate that and we apologise to Mr Carroll and to the Manchester United team. One guy out of 40,000 throws one coin, which hits one of the Manchester United players. "There was not a lot we could do to stop it and I would have to say that it would appear, from what I've been told by the police, that the moment this guy threw the coin, the right thinking Evertonians surrounding him in the Gwladys Street pointed him out to the police immediately because they realised how serious this was. "I think that just shows the general level of intelligence among our fans - they realised that they had to do the right thing and turn this man in. "We're not sure if a mobile phone was thrown as well. We've got several things, which were collected from the perimeter of the pitch, but whether they were thrown - I don't know." Everton manager David Moyes praised the quick action of the club, and said: "We don't want that sort of thing associated with the club. We don't want that to happen here. "It was good the club came out straight away and dealt with it. It's not something we want to see. In the main, the supporters were great and respectful of both sides. The fans got behind us. But if someone has thrown a coin then they need to be banned. "It's something that needs to be stopped. With cameras now it is easy to spot and it certainly needs to be stamped out." Meanwhile, Everton will launch an investigation after Rooney was involved in a row with two members of the group of match-ball sponsors prior to the match. Ross said: "We view the situation very seriously and it will be investigated. We will want to hear the sponsors' side before taking any action."

Moyes rallies players to claim prize to ease cup pain
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
DAVID MOYES revealed his Everton players were more determined than ever to claim some reward from their outstanding Premiership campaign after Saturday's FA Cup exit to Manchester United.
Moyes admitted he would sooner take the defeat on Saturday than lose the forthcoming Premiership clash between the two sides in April. And the Everton manager insisted his players will not be affected by the Cup elimination as they aim to clinch fourth place in the Premiership and Champions League qualification, with the Goodison side five points clear of fifth-placed neighbours Liverpool. "Straight afterwards, the boys were talking about sticking together and saying they want to finish off the job this season," said Moyes. "It was great encouragement for me to hear them saying these things after the game, and it made things easy for me. I didn't have to pick them back up. "I think if you'd have asked me before the game whether I wanted to beat United in the league or the Cup, then I'd have taken a league win. "We were running out of options by the end of the game with so many players out. But if you'd asked me whether I wanted the players to miss a Cup game or a league game, I'd have said a Cup game." Moyes added: "It's difficult to be critical of a bunch of players who I think are giving their best in every game. I can't ask for anything more of them. "We are not running out of steam. But when it comes to big games, we have to try and bridge that gap somehow to the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea and on the main we have done hat well this season. We played some good football on Saturday, but we did not create enough opportunities." Moyes revealed even some of the players he had available were not 100% fit, with Kevin Kilbane receiving praise from his manager for playing while unwell. "Mikel Arteta was having problems with his hamstrings towards the end of the game because he hasn't played that much recently and Kevin Kilbane had a virus, so even the players we had playing we were struggling," he added.. The Everton manager also saluted former striker Wayne Rooney for the manner in which he responded to his first return to Goodison. Moyes said: "I thought Wayne was excellent the way he handled it, and I didn't expect any different from him. We weren't sure whether he'd be playing.
"Wayne came and saw all the staff and players after the game to have a word and we told him well done." The Goodison pitch was ripped up yesterday in preparation for a new pitch which will be ready for the visit of Blackburn Rovers on March 6. "The pitch hasn't helped," said Moyes. "We've known that for a while."

Osman: Our final delivery let us down
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
LEON OSMAN admitted Everton were made to pay for a lack of penetration in the FA Cup fifth round tie on Saturday. Goals by Quinton Fortune and Cristiano Ronaldo gave Manchester United a comfortable victory on Wayne Rooney's high-profile return to Goodison Park. Everton midfielder Osman made a fine return to action after missing four matches with a knee injury. But despite an encouraging start against the FA Cup holders, Everton only seriously threatened Roy Carroll's goal when Marcus Bent latched onto Mikel Arteta's through ball in the 43rd minute. And Osman admitted: "We played well up until the final third when our passing let us down. We couldn't get one in and it became very frustrating. United don't create a lot of chances but they do take a good percentage of them. "We didn't create many, only the one for Marcus, and against United you have to take any chance you get. I thought we started well, we had a good game plan and we all knew what we had to do. In the first half we were on top of our game but they got the goal and only after their second did they take control. "They are a class team with great play-ers and they showed that. Everyone knows what good players they are and once they got the second goal they kept possession and made it very hard for us." Despite the attention surrounding Rooney it was Ronaldo who proved Everton's nemesis as he created the opener for Fortune and pounced when Nigel Martyn failed to hold a deflected free-kick by Paul Scholes. "Ronaldo showed what a great player he is," said Osman.. "He has great feet and skill. We were hoping he wouldn't be able to show that but he did and we suffered because of it. It is hard to keep the best players quiet and he is one of the best." Osman, however, believes two factors could help Everton recover from the FA Cup disappointment as they chase a Champions League spot - new Spanish signing Arteta and a new Goodison pitch. He said: "It was a big game to make your debut but I thought Mikel did well. He is a good technical player and he didn't shy out of any challenges. He's got a great touch and I think he will do well for us this season."
Everton are taking advantage of a two week break in home fixtures to replace the terrible Goodison pitch. And Osman added: "I feel a new pitch would definitely help us. We've been playing on it for a while now and there is no doubt it has hindered us. The quicker we get the new one down the better, I think it could have an influence on how we perform for the rest of the season."

The 400 thugs who came looking for trouble
By Adrian Butler, Daily Post Staff
Feb 21 2005
A POST-MORTEM into why the FA Cup tie involving Wayne Rooney's emotive return to Everton was allowed to kick-off at 5.30pm will begin today. Police arrested 33 supporters on Saturday night after violent clashes broke out both before and after the fifth round tie at Goodison Park. Five police officers were injured after the match as they tried to break up groups of fighting hooligans who then turned on the officers as bottles and other missiles rained down. Chief Inspector Chris Armitt, in charge of policing the game, said it was the worst football-related violence he had ever seen.
Supporters had earlier clashed in the Everton Brow area around 4pm as away fans were marched to the ground from Lime Street station. Around 400 known Manchester United hooligans who had travelled from Manchester, London and elsewhere were instrumental in the violence. Chief Inspector Armitt said: "Around 100 individuals who attach themselves to Man United were themselves involved in violence with Leeds United hooligans around 9.30am in Manchester.
"They then travelled to Liverpool where they were joined by 300 others from Manchester, London and elsewhere. "We then had a situation where 400 individuals considered a football hooligan risk were arriving in Liverpool city centre." Merseyside's Chief Constable, Bernard Hogan Howe, is today expected to tell the BBC that sensitive matches cannot be held so long after pubs have opened on Saturdays. The Daily Post understands senior officials at Everton were surprised when police gave the game the go-ahead at that time. Mr Hogan Howe, who has ultimate sanction over the timing of games on Merseyside, yesterday said he would be asking for a full report on the violence today.
He added: "I will also be urging a review of the behaviour of both sets of football supporters and talking to the BBC about the kick-off time for future football games which will be held on Merseyside." The BBC is thought to have requested the ratings-grabbing 5.30pm kick-off time. The late start meant many fans would have been drinking all afternoon. But Merseyside assistant Chief Constable Mick Gianassi insisted the kick-off time was not solely responsible for the problems.
"The reality is that about 300 or 400 people came here intent on causing trouble and it really wouldn't have mattered what time of the day that was. "More and more policing has to take into account commercial considerations. We sat down with the club and we reflected that in the numbers that we had available. "Tomorrow, the chief constable will be talking to the FA and the clubs about the situation and look to find a resolution. "We police society and we have to deal with the issues we are faced with, and one of the issues we have to deal with is the commercial interests of football clubs and the desire of people to watch football late in the afternoon." A BBC spokesman said he did not know who suggested the 5.30pm kick-off. But he added: "It was agreed with both the police and the Football Association. We will now be looking at what happened." Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: "When it was announced that the game would go ahead at 5.30pm we did receive some calls from a section of our supporters expressing surprise. "But once the police agreed the time with the FA and the BBC, and assured us they could police it, that was sufficient. "The club believes the police did a magnificent job. The trouble that occurred was away from the ground and, apart from the one missile incident, the game passed off very peacefully." Mr Ross said the main lesson that should be learnt was that football violence had not disappeared. A police spokesman said serious disorder took place after the match as fans clashed in the Everton Valley area. One of the injured officers needed hospital treatment but was not thought to be seriously injured.
The other arrests were for public order offences or for being drunk and disorderly. One lifelong Everton fan who witnessed the violence was controversial MP George Galloway. He said: "It's the worst behaviour by Everton fans I can remember. "To see the cauldron of hate was disgusting, particularly the hatred of people behind the goal towards the Man Utd goalkeeper." Cllr Peter Millea, chairman of Merseyside's ground safety committee, had last week warned about the risk of violence. He said: "Any knowledge of the relationship between Merseyside and Manchester's football teams would have shown that this would be a problem. It was always going to be a high tension game. " Sports Minister Richard Caborn yesterday joined the call for sensitive matches to be held earlier on in the day. He said: "If a match is going to be high pressure, and yesterday was certainly one of those, perhaps we have to put it on earlier in the day." Carl Roper, spokesman for Everton For Change, said: "You would think that these days the authorities would be sufficiently clued up to ask what they can do to minimise the chances of disruption. "When Liverpool play Manchester United nowadays, kick-off is routinely at 12.30pm. "The opposing supporters were leaving in what's already one of the biggest nights of the week for the police in the city. This is not the police's fault, but they are normally the experts at minimising trouble." Everton fans booed Rooney throughout the game. One fan's shirt read: "We hate you so much because we loved you so much." A large-scale police presence was required to escort the away supporters from Goodison Park stadium after sporadic incidents of disorder, police added. "The incidents were quickly dealt with by the officers at the scene and the escort was established to cause as little disruption as possible," the spokesman said. FA head of media Adrian Bevington said: "We work with all the relevant parties, including the local police force, when arranging kick-off times and we have never arranged a kick-off time without full agreement and approval of any local police force. "We have of course seen many FA Cup ties played at 5.30pm successfully without any problems in recent years."

Everton face inquiry over missile hurled at keeper
Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
EVERTON FC face an FA inquiry after Manchester United's goalkeeper, Roy Carroll, was felled by a missile during the match. It is thought the Northern Irish international was hit by a coin, though a police officer also recovered a mobile phone and a chocolate bar from the pitch. Detectives are examining the phone to find who it belongs to. Merseyside Police said they were liaising with club stewards over the incident and will study CCTV and TV footage of the incident to identify the missile thrower. Officers have interviewed fans sitting near to where the incident took place and taken witness statements. Everton have vowed to ban for life the fan who threw the missile that struck Carroll. Club spokesman Ian Ross branded the fan responsible a "mindless moron" as the FA revealed they would be liaising with the club and police over the incident. Mr Ross said: "It was a disgraceful incident, but an isolated one and we hope the police will be able to deal with it.
"We prepared for a major fixture in the right way, and made appeals to fans about their behaviour. And 99% did behave well but just one fan has disgraced the name of this club. "We are determined to find him. We accept that we are responsible for the behaviour of our fans and we apologise to Roy Carroll and the Manchester United team. It shouldn't happen but how can you stop it? "One mindless moron spoilt things for everyone else. There is no place for that sort of thing at Goodison Park. "The BBC have made available video footage for Merseyside Police to study. If we are able to apprehend the culprit he will be banned from this ground for life." An FA spokesman said: "We will liaise with the club and police to discover what happened and try to discover the individual's identity." Two youths were also arrested during the match for throwing plastic bottles towards the pitch. The missiles did not hit anyone and the incident is not thought to be connected with the other attack.

Sponsor could be blacklisted after verbal battle with Wayne Rooney
Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
A SPONSOR of Saturday night's game could be blacklisted from future deals with Everton after a member of its party clashed with Wayne Rooney. A guest of the match-ball sponsors, Ellesmere Port Motor Auctions, was involved in a verbal altercation with the former Everton striker as he walked past. Rooney was leaving the pitch after warming-up before the start of the match. A member of the party was seen on TV apparently shouting at the striker. Everton sources claim Rooney, who controversially left Goodison in a £27m move to Old Trafford last summer, was upset by the incident when he returned to the players' tunnel. Now the club is examining footage of the game before it decides whether to allow the company to sponsor future matches. Everton spokesman Ian Ross said: "There was some altercation between a member of the sponsor's party and Wayne Rooney as he came off the pitch 10 minutes before kick-off, and we are looking into it. We view the situation very seriously. "We will want to hear the sponsor's side before taking any action. What happened was certainly unfortunate." Ellesmere Port Motor Auctions was unavailable for comment last night.

Villa date is all that matters right now
By Mike Stevens Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
FORGET Wayne Rooney, Aston Villa away is the most important matter all Evertonians should be concentrating on now. After all the hype surrounding the return of 'Once a Blue', is it any surprise that tempers boiled over and left the watching public with a vastly skewed idea of your average Evertonian. I cannot understand why anyone purporting to support the club would do anything to jeopardise the team's chances in the future. At some point, if we do not clean up our act and refrain from throwing or jumping onto the pitch, it is going to cost us points. And if that costs us a place in Europe, the lunatic fringe at Goodison will have done the team far more damage to their long-term welfare than any minor abrasion to Roy Carroll's head. The incident marred what was already a deeply distressing evening. Everton were outclassed on the night by a team whose control of possession left the home team floundering. They tried, but they struggled to make any kind of dent in United's measured approach. And when Everton did get the ball, their work in the final third was woeful. But if Aston Villa can be despatched on Saturday, then our latest trials and tribulations can hopefully be laid to rest. Everton need to find a cohesive midfield again. It was all fits and starts against United. Previously this season the strength of the midfield has been greater than its individual parts, but while there were some nice touches showed on Saturday it did not all hang togther. Mikel Arteta, showed promise, though and if he can build up an under-standing with those around him then Everton can still finish with the surprise result of the season - a Champions League place.

Everton to meet Gunners for place in final
Women's Football, Daily Post
Feb 21 2005
EVERTON LADIES are to meet Arsenal in the semi-final of the FA Cup after the Gunners' negotiated the quarter-finals yesterday. Arsenal manager Vic Akers was delighted after his side secured their place in the last four with a 3-0 win over Birmingham. Jody Hanley had sealed Everton's spot in the semis with an extra-time goal last Sunday in a 1-0 win against Chelsea but they had to wait until yesterday to find out who their opponents would be. A Julie Fleeting double and a Sally Lacey own goal sealed the win for the Gunners as they continue their search for a clean sweep of honours.
"We're obviously delighted to be in the semi-final where we're going to face Everton," said Akers.
"It was never going to be easy and every game is important from here on in. We've been drawn away again, but we're used to that now because we've only had one home draw so far in this competition," he added.

Stage right, Ronny
Paul Hince
Manchester Evening Post
February 21, 2005
LET'S try to put things into perspective, shall we? Whatever you've been reading to the contrary, Everton v Manchester United at Goodison Park most definitely wasn't World War Three. In a crowd approaching 40,000, a few mindless morons behind Roy Carroll's goal threw missiles on to the pitch.
If one of them threw his own mobile phone, we know everything about him already. Brains of a rocking horse. Carroll, thank goodness, wasn't seriously injured. Everton say they will identify the culprit from video evidence and ban him from Goodison Park for life. Short of emptying the pockets of every fan who passes through the turnstiles, there is nothing that Everton - or any other club - can do to stop one simpleton throwing an object on to the pitch. Everton have pledged to take the appropriate action. End of story, I would have thought. No points deduction. No games played behind closed doors. No need for the FA to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Let Everton identify the barmpot and deal with him. Wayne Rooney in a cauldron of hate? Cobblers! Remember Rio Ferdinand's return to Elland Road or Paul Ince's return to Upton Park? When it comes to spite, the Goodison Park faithful are amateurs compared to the unforgiving fans of Leeds United and West Ham. So the Rooney Monster got called a few choice names by his former admirers on Saturday. What a shock that was. Once a Blue, always a Blue, he had declared before his United move. What did you expect after that? Everton fans throwing rose petals at his feet? It was never going to happen. And anyway, since when did a bit of abuse break a footballer's leg? Thirty-odd scrapping fans arrested after Saturday's match, charged either with public order offences or being drunken disorderly. Another "shock-horror" story for our Sunday tabloids. Do I blame the fans? No, I blame the Football Association for allowing a kick-off time of 5.30pm for a match where emotions were always going to be running high. That's right. Give the fans all day to get tanked up, and then start wringing your hands and squealing when the boozed-up brigade start knocking chunks off each other - and anyone in the vicinity wearing a police uniform. Should I tell you how stupid the FA really are? They give an early evening kick-off to a match between two clubs less than 40 miles apart, and on the same day make the fans of Sheffield United travel all the way to London for a match kicking off at midday. I know it was designed for TV, but it should have been the other way around, surely - midday at Goodison Park and early evening at Highbury. So much attention has been focussed on the non-footballing aspects of United's trip to Merseyside that we are in danger of overlooking the fact that we witnessed a terrific FA Cup tie. It was like turning back the clock to the days when men were men, women were women - and we could all notice the difference. Did you see the state of the Goodison Park pitch? If I hadn't known different I could have sworn we were back in the 60s or 70s, when every pitch was like a pudding at this time of year. In those days, that was what made British players so unique. They would start the season on bowling greens, by January they would be knee deep in mud and by May they would be playing in dustbowls - and they adapted their game accordingly. I'll tell you what. Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger would have had faces like a wet weekend if they'd had to send their players out on that Goodison Park gluepot. Some players may even have refused to come out of the dressing room. It did my heart good to watch Saturday's match. It was a proper FA Cup tie played in proper English conditions. No diving. No feigning injury. One excellent team and one very good team, who actually looked as though they were interested in a competition which seems to have lost much of its lustre in recent years.
Pitches like the one at Goodison Park are said to be great levellers, but Fergie's lads underlined an old soccer adage - top-class players can perform on any surface, just as they did 30 and 40 years ago.
One player who I certainly expected would have his talents nullified by the conditions was Cristiano Ronaldo. This is the kid, remember, who learned his football in Portugal. I doubt if he's ever seen a pitch like the one he stepped on to at Goodison, let alone played on one. But Old Trafford's young dance master was brilliant. He proved to me what a truly great player he is. It's all very well pulling off those eye-popping tricks on a pitch like a carpet, but bamboozling opponents at full tilt in a quagmire is a different proposition altogether. So those will be my abiding memories of Saturday's tie. Not brainless idiots embarrassing Everton. Not the predictable abuse ringing around Rooney's spacious lugholes, and not the fans being given all the time they needed to get bevvied. I'll remember a good old-fashioned FA Cup tie played in conditions which I thought I would never see again at a Premiership ground. And, oh yes. A performance from a kid from Portugal who, the more I see, the more I'm convinced will become one of the greatest players in Manchester United's history.

Everton 0, Man United 2 (Echo)
By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
Feb 21 2005
AGONY, despair, heartache. They have proved the perfect complement to the word 'cup' for Everton in the last decade. But on Saturday night the club's recent woes in the FA's oldest competition hit a whole new low. You can now add 'cup shame' to that ignominious collection. And it was nothing to do with the events on the pitch, even if the performance was short of what we have come to expect from this Everton side. It was the actions of a handful of fans on the Gwladys Street which brought shame on the club. A variety of missiles were launched towards the pitch throughout the game.
Bottles, coins, mobile phones. It was manna from heaven if you were in search of gallows humour in the wake of the defeat. But no, the coins were not donations for the Tsunami Appeal. And no, the mobile phone wasn't for Roy Carroll to order a pizza because he had nothing else to do in the second half. The objects were intended to cause harm. And they did. But not just to Carroll, who was struck on the head. Everton are now sure to feel the wrath of the FA after Rob Styles made mention of three incidents in his match report. And that could have consequences far beyond the cup. The Blues were already under the spotlight because of a number of incidents this season when fans have encroached on to the pitch. As a result, the governing body is likely to hit Everton with a fine - 10,000 if they are lucky, substantially higher if they are not. But there is also the possibility of points being docked. While that is unlikely to be the punishment in the wake of Saturday night, the Blues are now treading on very thin ice in the remaining months of the season. And losing league points is a blow which would far outstrip any cup disappointment. The real focus since Christmas has always been on the Premiership. That was clear from Saturday's performance. The players didn't shirk their responsibilities. But nor did they go beyond the call of duty in search of a result, as the 10 men did against Chelsea last week. Even the manager was willing to acknowledge his main focus is elsewhere, reflecting after the game: "We have got to play Manchester United here again in the league. And if I had a choice I would rather we lost in the cup and won in the league." David Weir and Alessandro Pistone were, surprisingly, named amongst the substitutes. The reason given was nothing to do with tactics or horses for courses - they were simply rested. Rested, despite the manager having less than 15 fit and available senior professionals. This was a cup tie. But the real cup hunger and atmosphere will be provided by the remaining 11 Premier-ship games. So it would be a bitter twist of fate if the club's Champions League aspirations were snuffed out because of the mindless actions of some individuals who, through some misguided logic, thought they were supporting their club by using Wayne Rooney and his new team-mates for target practice. It is all the more galling because the rest of the Goodison faithful didn't give the former hero as hard a time as was expected - bar the lady representing the matchball sponsors who gave him an earful as he left the field after the pre-match warm up. There were the banners, there were the boos and the taunts. But it did not overstep the mark. And Rooney's display ensured it was never likely to. The fine work of Joseph Yobo in snuffing out the goal threat of the striker certainly helped. And when Rooney did get chances - two glorious ones in the second half - Nigel Martyn produced a couple of top class saves. It was as Mikel Arteta had predicted in midweek - the real danger was Cristiano Ronaldo. Gary Naysmith allowed him too much space on the wing in the 23rd minute and he produced a pinpoint cross for Quinton Fortune to head home. And in the second half he earned the free-kick from which he netted United's second, reacting quickest to prod home from close range after Nigel Martyn could only parry Paul Scholes' set--piece drive. The second goal killed off the tie with more than 30 minutes remaining. But in reality, the outcome was pretty obvious after the opening goal. Everton looked sharp and dangerous in the opening 20 minutes. But once they were behind, United's ability to maintain possession coupled with Everton's struggle to rediscover the high tempo at which they play their best football meant Carrol was largely untroubled. There was one glorious chance which could have changed all that Minutes before the break Arteta took possession midway inside the United half, evaded one challenge and then produced a magnificent through ball for Marcus Bent. It was the perfect pass to pick out the striker's run, presenting him with the ball inside the penalty box with only Carroll to beat. But his first touch let him down and by the time he released his shot Carroll had closed in enough to smother the effort. Bent's athleticism, his impressive leading of the line and his eyecatching pace have made him one of the stars of the season. But to be the best of the bunch in this exceptional campaign he needs to add a greater goal return. With James Beattie not set to return until the derby at the end of March, the 26-year-old has an opportunity to show his teeth in front of goal in the next two games. Aston Villa and Blackburn may not be fixtures which attract the same level of media attention as this encounter.
But finding the target in those matches will be far more valuable. The irony is that, in failing to reach the last eight, the Blues could well have boosted their chances of achieving their league goal. Of the 11 jumps remaining, United at Goodison will be one of the toughest. Saturday confirmed that.
They showed greater invention and greater flair than Chelsea showed last week and were also able to match their hosts for workrate. There have been plenty of matches this season where we have been able to gauge how far Everton have come in the last 12 months. This game demonstrated how far they have yet to go. Put simply, United outclassed the Toffees. There is no shame in that.
The actions of a handful of fans on the Gwladys Street, however, is a very different story.
EVERTON (4-4-1-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Naysmith; McFadden (Weir, 67 mins), Carsley, Arteta (Pistone, 79 mins), Kilbane; Osman; Bent. Subs: Wright, Plessis, Vaughan.
BOOKED: Weir (foul)
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): Carroll; G Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Heinze; P Neville, Keane (Miller, 81 mins); Ronaldo, Scholes, Fortune; Rooney. Subs: Howard, Giggs, Smith, Spector.
BOOKED: Keane (foul)
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 38,664
NEXT GAME: Aston Villa v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm

Blues' search for yob
Feb 21 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THE key to Everton escaping a hefty fine for Saturday's coin throwing incident at Goodison is catching the supporter responsible. The FA could hit the club with a fine as big as £50,000 after Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll was struck by a coin midway through the second half of the FA Cup fifth round tie. But Soho Square officials have informed Everton privately that they have been impressed with the way in which the club has responded to the incident. And if CCTV footage and the help of fans can lead to a quick identification of the culprit, the FA will respond favourably.
The club have vowed to ban the supporter for life. The Blues have apologised to Carroll following Saturday's incident - and praised their fans for their instant response to the incident. Carroll appeared to be struck by an object thrown from the Gwladys Street End of the stadium. But angry Everton fans immediately pointed out the offender to police. Everton's Head of PR, Ian Ross, said: "We are responsible for the actions of our fans. We appreciate that and we apologise to Mr Carroll and to the Manchester United team. One guy out of 40,000 threw one coin, which hit one of the Manchester United players. "There was not a lot we could do to stop it and I would have to say that it would appear the moment this guy threw the coin, the right thinking Evertonians surrounding him pointed him out to the police immediately. "I think that just shows the general level of intelligence amongour fans - they realised that they had to do the right thing and turn this man in. "Unfortunately he fled the stadium before the police could apprehend him. We are hopeful the pictures are pretty conclusive and we are hopeful that we'll have little trouble in identifying him."
Ross added: "The club is dismayed that someone who professes to call themselves an Evertonian would stoop to such a dis-tasteful act and once the culprit is identified the appropriate action will be taken. "In essence the club has been let down by one mindless moron. "It was a disgraceful act and we are currently liaising with Merseyside Police in the hope that we can isolate this one individual and then deal with him. Club manager David Moyes echoed the sentiments in an interview with evertonfc.com. He said: "We don't want that sort of thing associated with the club. We don't want that to happen here. "The supporters at Everton are great, I thought they were terrific on Saturday night. I thought there was a lot of respect for our team but also for the Manchester United players.
"They have been great all season, I expect them to be great again, but obviously if someone has thrown something onto the pitch, they shouldn't have."

Stars talking up Blues' ambitions
Feb 21 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes doesn't need to tell his players they can concentrate on the League - his players were saying it for him after Saturday's FA Cup defeat by Manchester United. Everton were comfortably beaten in the fifth round tie at Goodison Park, but afterwards Moyes was defiant. "The players know we have 11 games to play now and we have a lot to play for, probably more than any Everton team have had to play for in a long time," he declared. "But they were saying that after the match, not me, and it was good to hear. "The boys were talking about sticking together afterwards and making sure that we finish off the job. "Coming from them it was great encouragement to hear the things they had to say. It made it easy for me after the game. "I was able to let them do the talking, sit back and just say keep it going and keep your work up. "It's difficult to be critical of a group of players who I feel are giving their best every game." Moyes insisted that despite back-to-back defeats by the teams first and second in the Premiership, his side is not running out of steam.
"I don't think that's the case," he explained. "But when it comes to big games we have to try and bridge that gap of quality between ourselves and Manchester United or Chelsea. "Even tonight I thought we played some good football. We didn't make enough opportunities; that was the only thing. "Maybe if we had other players we could have changed the way we played and tried to do things differently. "But we ran out of options in the end. We couldn't do anything to try and spice it up in any way. "We gave David Weir and Alessandro Pistone a rest, but I couldn't put them on up front so we ran out of options in the end. "The squad is really about as thin as it's been since I've been here, but if you had asked me to pick a game where we had a thin squad to select from it would have been the cup. "I'd have chosen the players to have missed this game rather than a Premiership match. "Mikel Arteta had tight hamstrings because he hasn't played for so long
and Kevin Kilbane played with a virus. So it wasn't just the ones we didn't have - some of the players who played were struggling as well. "For me, Kevin playing with a virus was terrific because we would have been really short without him." On the returning Wayne Rooney, Moyes added: "I thought Wayne handled the situation well, but so did our players. "He came and saw the staff after the game, but I don't want to get bogged down in Wayne Rooney questions because he is not my player."

Blues' future hinges on making Europe
Feb 21 2005 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER UNITED'S Saturday night stroll at Goodison Park marked up a statistical horror-story for Everton Football Club. The visitors' 2-0 triumph, which was every bit as comfortable as it sounds, was United's 20th game without defeat against Everton - a decade of demoralisation stretching back to the FA Cup final triumph of 1995 - and a record which shockingly incorporates 17 defeats and three draws. It is a run of results which contrasts alarmingly with the 20 matches which followed the two clubs' previous Cup final appearance a decade earlier. From the summer of 1985 Everton won 9, drew 5 and lost six to their neighbours from down the East Lancs Road, only one loss by more than a single goal. The stark contrast reflects tellingly how both clubs' fortunes have reversed in that period. And Everton's hopes of lessening that gap, no gulf, would appear to rest on their next 11 games. If that sounds like an absurd over-reaction to an FA Cup exit, just glance at Everton's substitutes' bench on Saturday - then count how many thirty-somethings nearing the end of impressive careers still carry influential roles in the Blues' squad. Everton lost an FA Cup tie they could, realistically, afford to lose. But the Champions League prize they have unexpectedly forced their way into pole position for is one they cannot afford to toss away, unless they want to spend another decade down among the Premiership's flotsam and also-rans. The cash cow of the Champions League can generate £20m in one go --and Everton need that kind of investment, and more. "There's no way we'd ever get close in one summer," said David Moyes afterwards. "It's going to take four or five summers of realistic spending and improvement to probably even scrape the surface. I don't think one summer will cure it." But without the catalyst of European football, the Blues won't even get that chance. Everton's threadbare resources were exposed for all to see on Saturday night. Suspensions to James Beattie and Tim Cahill, and a predictably untimely injury to Duncan Ferguson, meant that Everton's substitutes' bench featured two teenagers with barely a dozen reserve team appearances between them - and meant that when Everton had to chase the game, they could only introduce a centre-half and a full-back. David Moyes' reasons for refusing to bring in quantity rather than quality in the last transfer window were offered and have been accepted by the Goodison faithful. Quality improvements - and in his first start Mikel Arteta made a promising impact - are necessary. But there is "quality" in the short-term Jamie Redknapp, Robbie Savage, Nigel Quashie bracket, or quality in the £6 or £7m-a-go-Scott Parker type-category - and if Everton's improvement is to be more than a one-season flash in the pan they need several of the latter. Of course none of that improvement will be possible if a handful of morons continue to utilise Merseyside's latest matchday accessory, the pay-asyou-throw mobile phone. In the late 1970s, Goodison was bedecked for years with "Please Refrain From Throwing Missiles" posters,, after Pat Jennings was floored by one of those old-style heavy duty Coke bottles. But today's authorities are less forgiving. Wayne Rooney couldn't be reached by phone on Saturday, or even what appeared to be a golf ball, a plastic drinks bottle or an inflatable pig which bounced around the Gwladys Street End - but one coin did strike Roy Carroll. After a pitch invasion following the Portsmouth victory which could be put down to enthusiastic excess, this was an entirely more sinister development and must be squashed immediately. It's not in the Scouse way to grass-up a fellow supporter, but Evertonians who identify Saturday's culprit could be doing their football club a huge service. Most supporters managed to get their message across to the returning Rooney legally.
The fans made their point, and the Croxteth collaborator took it on the chin. The only moment which appeared to faze him was when the lady representative of the matchball sponsors tossed a comment in his direction as he walked off from the pre-match warm-up. But Wayne Rooney is now part of Everton's past. It is the immediate future which should be of more concern to Evertonians. It is laden with significance for the future of the club.

We knew Roo return could spark clashes
Feb 21 2005 By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
MERSEYSIDE'S police chief today said: "We knew this match could lead to violence." Police knew the return of Wayne Rooney to Goodison Park could spark trouble but deliberately kept it from the public, the ECHO can reveal. Senior officers agreed to a 5.30pm kick-off for Saturday's FA Cup match after Everton agreed to pay for 150 extra officers to be put on duty. Today Merseyside chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe said officers believed there could be trouble at the fixture but hoped the extra policing would solve the problem. He said that the force feared speaking out before the match would make the situation worse. He praised the officers who were on duty during and after the game for dealing with "orchestrated" violence involving hundreds. Mr Hogan-Howe said: "We have to make sure we anticipate possible situations and don't aggravate public safety. We didn't want to do that. "The approach had to be calm and restrained. It would have been irresponsible to say that the return of a certain player was going to cause trouble even though there was a risk of it. "It's difficult to predict how 40,000 people will react. "We would have had to have had very strong evidence that there was going to be trouble at that start time and that we wouldn't have been able to police it for it not to have gone ahead then. "Because of all the concerns about the game the club funded a doubling of the policing resources - an extra 150 officers.. "The fear is this was orchestrated. That is one of the possibilities we are investigating." Around 300 fans are thought to have been caught up in brawls in Everton Valley at the peak of the post-match trouble, with only 10 police officers on hand to try to tackle the fighting. As Manchester United fans made their way to stations, police massed near the rear of the group where known troublemakers had gathered.
When the front of the group came under fire from glasses and bricks, the handful of officers at the scene found themselves trapped between away fans and 200 people armed with missiles.
Mr Hogan-Howe said: "The police officers involved were magnificent. They were brave and got stuck in to a difficult situation. It was excellent work."

Police are looking at footage recorded on city council CCTV cameras and on hand-held cameras carried by police officers on the ground to try to identify the offenders. Football intelligence officers from both Merseyside and Greater Manchester police are trawling through the tapes in the hope that they will recognise the thugs from past incidents of violence. But the hunt could be hindered by the fact that many of those involved may have come from other parts of Britain to fight. Police say the kick-off time in itself cannot be blamed for the trouble, saying previous cup matches have started at similar times and passed off without incident. Police have so far been told of injuries to six officers, one of whom had stitches in a hand wound. More are expected to report wounds today when they arrive for duty. Sports minister Richard Caborn last night questioned whether high-pressure matches should kick off late. He said: "We might have to rethink the 5.30 kick-offs. If a match is going to be of some tension, and Saturday was certainly one of those, perhaps we have to put it on earlier."

The battle of Everton Valley
Feb 21 2005 By Tony Barrett & Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
IT WAS described as the worst football violence ever to take place in Merseyside - and the most sustained attack on Liverpool's police since the Toxteth riots more than 20 years ago. If the 500 officers on duty had any doubts there would be trouble following Saturday's match then the sight of already-bloodied Manchester United fans getting off the train at Lime Street just hours before the game surely removed them. This was a flashback to the 1970s with a hardcore of United fans getting the "ordinary" train to try and stay out of the way of police and with one thing in mind - causing mayhem. But Merseyside police had already been informed by officers in Manchester that around 100 people, who appeared to be United supporters, were involved in scuffles at Piccadilly Station as they crossed paths with Leeds United fans. A handful of people were arrested at the scene and the remaining crowd boarded the lunchtime train to Liverpool where they carried on drinking. Chief inspector Chris Armitt, who was commanding the operation, said: "Before they arrived in Liverpool, we were aware of problems and as we escorted them to Goodison officers wore protective clothing. "We knew were were going to get problem supporters but they were taken to Goodison without incident." However, four hours later, the United fans were met with a torrent of bricks and bottles as they were escorted back to Lime Street along Everton Valley and Scotland Road
Despite there being around 35 police vans just yards away, dozens of trained police dogs and the force helicopter hovering above, the hooligans were not put off How no-one was seriously hurt is a mystery. The assault was as ferocious and sustained as anything seen in Liverpool for decades.
Chief Insp Armitt said: "Around 300 rival supporters appeared and there was a violent and large-scale confrontation. "Officers intervened and came under attack. The rival fans were ripping up fences and bricks and throwing them at the crowd. "These people who attach themselves to football clubs are not fans." Four officers suffered cuts and bruises and a fifth was taken to hospital for five stitches and a broken hand. Chief Insp Armitt added: "Obviously it was a slow process to move the crowd along Scotland Road and the bombardment lasted for a full hour. "I have been in this job for some time and I can say it was the worst football-related violence ever seen in Liverpool." The riot-helmeted officers closed ranks and somehow managed to pin the United fans between them as missile after missile rained down on them. Other officers emerged from the melee and headed straight in the direction of where the missiles were coming from, only to see most of the hooligans escape into the labyrinth of side streets. One officer fell to the ground after apparently being struck by a missile and was pulled away from the scene by a colleague. A woman looking for a taxi to take her into town had a lucky escape when a bottle thrown from about 50 yards away smashed against a wall behind her. The sense of chaos was added to by the appearance of hundreds of people from nearby housing estates and pubs and yet more Everton fans who had heard the noise and decided they wanted to see what was happening. The fact that the violence was unfolding at the heart of a residential area only made matters worse. Terrified mothers grabbed the hands of their children and dragged them back home away from the melee. It is unclear exactly who was behind the attack. People at the scene talked of hearing rumours all day that a combination of Everton and Liverpool fans were intending to join forces to take on any United hooligans who dared to walk through their "turf". What is clear is the assault was on a far greater scale than anything the police had expected. Weeks of preparation aimed at minimising the risk of such an eventuality had come to nothing under a hail of bricks and bottles. The hooligans were hell-bent on bringing mayhem to the streets and on this occasion nothing was going to stop them. The situation had hardly been helped by the sound of the 400-plus United fans in the convoy walking through the streets singing anti-Liverpool songs and goading opposing fans with songs about departed Blues hero Wayne Rooney. But, in truth, these songs were no worse than those that are heard week in, week out at football grounds across the country. They were not the cause of the violence, but they did not help. As one bystander asked: "Why didn't they just put them all on buses instead of bringing them through here?" The potential for trouble had first become clear before the match as the human convoy took a route from the city centre, along Islington, Everton Road and Mere Lane before arriving at Goodison. But perhaps the fact the fans were being marched to and from the ground, as happened in the 1980s, triggered something in the minds of those intent on causing trouble. They knew that, just as they had walked to the ground before the game, they would be walking back to the station afterwards. With a clearly defined route back into the city centre the hooligans were able to come up with a location where they would mount their vicious assault.
Chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe condemned the clashes and said: "I will be asking for a report into the events of Saturday and I will also be urging a review of the behaviour of both sets of football supporters and talking to the BBC about the kick-off time." Mr Hogan-Howe is expected to tell the BBC that sensitive football games should never be scheduled at that time again - a view backed by the minister for sport. But Chief Insp Armitt said: "Obviously it was a factor, but if 200 individuals turn up looking for trouble, it doesn't matter if the game starts at midday, 3pm or 5.30pm."
The 33 supporters who were arrested were held over night at separate police stations and released yesterday. Assistant chief constable Mick Giannasi said: "We are anticipating a significant number of post-incident arrests. "This was an orchestrated incident and there were known football hooligans at this game." Mr Giannasi also defended the force's decision not to object to the timing of the game. He said: "The decision to run the game at 5.30pm is a matter for the club and the FA. "If we felt that we could not police the match sufficiently it at that time we would say."

Barwick targets 'mindless' hooligans
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 22 2005
NEW Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick has vowed to root out the 'mindless individuals' who disgraced football this weekend - but refused to rule out the prospect of more Saturday evening matches. Everton have launched an appeal to find the supporter who hit Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll with a coin in Saturday's FA Cup tie while Burnley fan Michael Lewis was jailed for five months yesterday following his one-man pitch invasion at Turf Moor. Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle has accused the FA and BBC of contributing to the violence by pushing for a ratingswinning timeslot for the emotive return of Wayne Rooney to his old club.
The FA's new head is now under pressure to balance the interests of the broadcasters who pay fortunes for the rights to screen games with the obvious need for security. And Barwick said last night: "There has been wide debate surrounding the decision to play the Everton v Manchester United FA Cup tie early on Saturday evening. "While kick-off times are always subject to the full approval of the local police force, I accept the valid debate and questions raised regarding this.
"Together with the police, clubs and broadcasters, we must ensure we give careful consideration to any potential problems which may result from playing certain ties at this time in the future.
"Let's be clear, missile-throwing and pitch invasions are not only unacceptable, they are also a criminal offence. "Legislation is in place to deal with these mindless individuals who cause problems. They must be banned from attending all football in this country and abroad. "However, we cannot allow a small minority to spoil the game for the vast majority of fans watching inside the stadiums and the millions of TV viewers watching at home." Everton are facing a possible £50,000 fine for three incidents of missile-throwing on Saturday, although the FA have told the club they are impressed with their swift response to the assault on Carroll. But the culprit has not been caught and the club has appealed to anyone who knows the supporter to contact Merseyside Police.
Everton's Head of PR, Ian Ross, said: "Clearly the Football Association will be launching some form of investigation into the incident. If the culprit can be found and dealt with as soon as possible this would undoubtedly help the club. "Someone must know who this is. If you do know then, for the good of the club, please contact Merseyside Police." They can be contacted on 0151 709 6010 or supporters can contact Everton on 0151 330 2278.

Fifteen fans arrested and charged with variety of offences
Daily Post
Feb 22 2005
FOURTEEN men and a male youth were last night charged with a series of offences related to the violence which marred the aftermath of Saturday's FA Cup tie at Goodison Park. Those charged hold addresses in Manchester, Hull and the Isle of Man, as well as districts of Liverpool, Cheshire and Wirral. They will face a variety of charges including affray and assault, public order offences, possession of alcohol in a sports venue, and being drunk and disorderly. Another seven men and a male youth - from Liverpool,, High Wycombe, Stockport, Litherland, St Helens, and Upton - have been bailed. They must return to police stations at later dates in relation to offences including violent disorder, affray and public order crimes. Two men, from Manchester and Kirkby, were issued with fixed penalty notices for drunk and disorderly behaviour. A further two men from Dublin and the Isle of Man have received formal cautions.
Those charged were:
* Martin Pickup, 20, of Taylor Hill Road, Huddersfield. Due to appear before magistrates on Feb 24 charged with being drunk and disorderly.
* Colin McCaffrey, 20, of Chalford Road, Manchester. Appeared yesterday on a public order offence.
* Jonathon Kelly Slee, 23, Agneash, Isle of Man. Due to appear on March 1 charged with a public order offence.
* Stephen Jon Armstrong, 33, Woodford Ave, Lowton, Warrington. Due to appear March 1 charged with a public order offence.
* Terence James Seddon, 22, of Hartnup Street, Everton. Will appear Feb 25 charged with a public order offence.
* Andrew Stuart Smith, 37, Bannister Drive, Hull. Due to appear March 3 charged with a public order offence.
* A 15-year-old male youth from Liverpool has been charged with possession of alcohol in a sports venue.
* Michael Frances Butler, 21, Gladstone Road, Seaforth. Due to appear on Feb 25 charged with a public order offence.
* Robert Paul Marshall, 22, Flordd Yr Ysgot, Flint. Due to appear on March 2 charged with a public order offence.
* Richard Latham, 23, Milton Way, Ettiley Heath, Sandbach. Due to appear on March 1 charged with a public order offence.
* Christopher Joseph Murray, 22, Manderston Drive, Liverpool. Due to appear on March 3 charged with being drunk and disorderly.
* Nicolas Joseph Flemming, 27, Pemberton Road, Woodchurch, Wirral. Due to appear March 1 charged with being drunk and disorderly.
* Samuel Anthony Smart, 48, Clough Road, Manchester. Due to appear on March 4 charged with being drunk and disorderly.
* Ben Alan Dawe, 20, Tenby Street, Anfield. Due to appear on Feb 25 charged with assault and affray.
* Joel Christian Devine, 25, Siddeley Street, Aigburth. Due to appear on Feb 24 charged with a public order offence.
Those bailed pending further inquiries included a 26-year-old man from Liverpool, a 29-year-old man from High Wycombe, and a 24-year-old man from Stockport, who were all arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
An 18-year-old man from Litherland and a 33-year-old man from St Helens, who were both arrested on suspicion of affray, were also bailed. That also applied to a 16-year-old male from Liverpool arrested on suspicion of football offences, a 25-year-old man from Upton, Wirral arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and a 24-year-old from Liverpool arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and affray.

Police didn't take the risks seriously enough
Adrian Butler and Deborah James Report, Daily Post
Feb 22 2005
A LIVERPOOL MP last night said Merseyside police underestimated the dangers of allowing Saturday's FA Cup tie to be played on a Saturday night. Riverside MP Louise Ellman spoke out as people across the city said senior officers should have predicted the violence and barred the match from taking place at 5.30pm. The late start time was blamed for drink-fuelled violence from fans of Everton and Manchester United. All day drinking in the run up to the match was also said to be responsible for United's players being bombarded with missiles by the home fans. The 5.30pm start time was suggested by the BBC, which showed the match live on television. It was then passed by the police, on the condition that Everton's directors agreed to give around £35,000 towards funding 150 extra officers. Ms Ellman last night said the police showed a lack of foresight in failing to realise the potential dangers of the emotive game. She said: "Looking at what happened I think the police need to exercise much more caution in agreeing to late starts. "I just think that a much fuller assessment has to be made in situations like this. In this case it wasn't. I think the police need to look at their resources and perhaps be more realistic about what is likely to happen." Carl Roper, spokesman for Everton For Change said: "The police have the power of veto and they should have said no. I can't think of a worse time to have an Everton versus Manchester United game. Why was it allowed to take place? "It has been frustrating listening to everybody this morning passing the buck. What price the BBC's ratings?" Meanwhile, Merseyside Police Authority has demanded Chief Constable Bernard Hogan-Howe give a full report into the events. Police Authority's chairman Cllr Bill Weightman said: "After giving the force a reasonable amount of time to conduct a review, I expect to see a full report on this issue delivered to the community safety and liaison committee of the authority, at which point members will have the opportunity to discuss the future policing of high profile games. "The Police Authority supports the Chief Constable's decision to call for a review of what happened concerning Saturday's FA cup match, and welcomes talks between the Chief Constable, the BBC, the FA and Everton Football Club." The BBC, which requested the ratings-grabbing slot for the match, last night defended its position, adding that it would not be changing its policy of asking for 5.30pm slots for games. A spokeswoman said: "The timing of games is a decision for the police to make - a football match cannot go ahead without police permission. Sky have been televising late matches for years, so this is not a BBC issue." Yesterday, Mr Hogan-Howe said: "We would have needed to have had very strong evidence that there was going to be trouble at that start time and that we wouldn't have been able to police it for it not to have gone ahead then."
The Chief Constable admitted his force feared speaking out about possible violence before the match started. He said: "Because of all the concerns about the game the club funded a doubling of police resources." Wayne Rooney's return to Everton after his bitter split from his boyhood club was marred by clashes on and off the pitch. Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll, was felled by a coin thrown from the crowd at Goodison Park. Police have been given TV images from the match, shown live on BBC1, to find the culprits. A mobile phone and plastic bottles were also recovered from the pitch. Yesterday, people continued to reveal the full horror of what happened on the streets. Hours before the game, eyewitnesses saw bloodied Manchester United supporters getting of a train at Lime Street station, after they had already been involved in scuffles with Leeds fans at Manchester Picadilly Station. Then, after the game had finished, United fans were met with a torrent of bricks and bottles as they were escorted back to Lime Street along Everton Valley and Scotland Road. The police escort route went past a building site, where ammunition for the hooligans was readily available. Witnesses said a number of local youths, who had not been at the game but had been drinking throughout the afternoon, arrived to attack the United supporters.
Fans ripped up fences and bricks and threw them into the crowd. Liverpool Walton MP Peter Kilfoyle last night told the Daily Post he did not think the police were to blame. He said: "This is not the police's fault, it is the fault of the hooligans." But he said the BBC and the FA should not have allowed the game to go ahead at that time. He said: "The BBC are driven by commercial considerations but I think safety should be the top priority." Mr Kilfoyle, whose Liverpool Walton constituency includes Everton's Goodison Park ground, accused the FA of "idiocy" in "rolling over before the BBC on the timing of football matches". He said the late kick-off "was a major contributory factor in the disgraceful scenes perpetrated by a minority of my constituency on Saturday". Ian Leyland, secretary of Merseyside Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said: "I have spoken to senior officers and I feel assured that in the future earlier kick-offs will be preferred. "On this occasion, it would have been preferable for the match to have been an early morning start --but I have no doubt that because of the hype surrounding the game, there would have been trouble whatever time is was played." Merseyside Police said 300-400 hooligans had gone to the game intent on causing trouble anyway. The force yesterday approached the Football Association and Everton FC for talks on the trouble and the kick-off time. Sports Minister Richard Caborn has questioned the wisdom of late kick-off times and called for a review. Everton FC condemned the violence and said life bans will be given to anyone identified throwing coins. A spokesman for the Football Association said: "The FA can confirm that it is in communication with the host clubs and police forces after crowd incidents at the Everton-Manchester United and Burnley-Blackburn FA Cup matches. "The FA hopes that the individuals involved can be identified and dealt with under the law." Everton insiders are now worried that the club will be penalised. The club has already received two warnings from the FA this season.

Wayne was never a Blue
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 22 2005
Never a Blue
ROONEY was cocky from the start and confirmed what one banner said - he's not a Blue and never will be a Blue. As for the coin throwing, I was sat in the Park End and we were pelted with coins from the Man U fans on a number of occasions. I think they need to assess CCTV from all round the ground, not just the few incidents that were caught on camera. As for Rooney, I've just seen the picture where he's signalling the score to the Man U fans - if that's not adding fuel to the fire I don't know what is. He's joining in with a crowd who are ridiculing his home town, but I don't think he has the intelligence to suss that one out.
Jon Simms, Liverpool
Ban them for life
EVERTON were unable to compete against a much more skillful and more technically equiped side. I feel sure that Wayne felt sorry for his old mates and that is the only reason he failed to score.
Finally, all those yobs who hurled abuse and missiles deserve to be expelled for life for they have no right to be so-called supporters of a great club.
Roger Davids (via e-mail)
Fine the thug
IF EVERTON are fined the rumoured £50,000, I think that when the idiot responsible for throwing the coin at Carroll is caught he should be taken to court by the club and sued the £50,000 + costs - even if it means taking his house off of him. That would be one hell of a deterrent to other thugs in the Merseyside area.
Louis Johnson, Aigburth
Go 4-4-2?
FIRSTLY the form team in the country outplayed us. My hope that we will hang onto fourth spot - the three sides above us and the two below all have European games and David Moyes must be hoping that the other teams pick up injuries or tire. With 33 points up for grabs and three or four teams still capable of snatching that fourth spot, Moyes will need to look at the remaining home games and think about changing the system for these games and adopt a 4-4-2 and go for it.
Phil Jackson, Woolton
Turf war
WHY has it taken so long to get the pitch returfed? This is one of the biggest contributing factors to why we have been so poor in our last few home games. We have become a passing side over the last 12 months and the system we play depends on the slick one-touch passing that we have seen for most of the season. It should never have been left this long.
P Robson, Liverpool

Beattie working overtime
Feb 22 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed he is putting James Beattie through a pre-season training programme to ensure the suspended striker is in peak condition when he returns to the side for the Premiership run-in. Moyes admitted after Beattie's £6m arrival from Southampton last month that the striker would not be in peak condition until the start of next season after a long spell on the sidelines at St Marys. But Moyes has capitalised on Beattie's enforced absence from the side after picking up a three game ban for his red card against Chelsea. He is putting Beattie through the same vigorous fitness regime which worked so effectively for the squad in last pre-season. Moyes told the ECHO: "James is doing a lot of work right now. He is training harder than he has trained probably all season. He is doing two and sometimes three sessions a day to improve his fitness. "We are trying to get him closer to the level we want from him. It is very similar to the work we put the rest of the squad through during pre-season in Austria and America. "We won't stop that regime until the start of next week and then he can begin to focus on training and getting ready for the end of his suspension."
Beattie's first game back will be the derby with Liverpool at Anfield at the end of March. Meanwhile, the Blues have two fresh injury worries to contend with ahead of Saturday's trip to Aston Villa in the Premiership. Both Mikel Arteta and James McFadden picked up hamstring strains in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United. The duo have not trained since the game and will face fitness tests later in the week. Arteta is likely to be given the green light for the trip to Villa Park, but McFadden is a bigger doubt after hobbling off on Saturday. Meanwhile, Ian Ross, Everton's Head of Communications, has reiterated the club's determination to root out the individual who threw a coin at Roy Carroll on Saturday. He said: "The police have completed initial studies of the video from the game and they are very encouraged from the results they have had. "We are confident of finding the person responsible but we are urging fans to come forward because it is imperative we do identify the individual." The individual is facing criminal charges over the incident and will be banned from Goodison for life.

Mikel aims to make a telling contribution
Feb 22 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
FOR all Cristiano Ronaldo's fancy footwork, the most eye-catching example of skill at Goodison on Saturday was produced by a player in royal blue. The exquisite pass from Mikel Arteta which presented Marcus Bent with Everton's best chance of the Cup tie moments before half-time provided a glimpse of what the new arrival from Real Sociedad could offer the Blues in their chase for the Champions League. And the 22-year-old has promised there is more to come from him as he continues his battle to regain full fitness following a season spent battling injury and loss of favour in San Sebastian. "I like to be able to make those passes in that area," he told the ECHO.
"Unluckily we didn't score, but that is what we have to try and do for the forwards in every game.
"Now we have to keep our mind on the league. The most important thing is to make sure we get the fourth position. "I have not started a game for a long time and so after an hour (on Saturday) I was feeling it in my hamstrings. And the pitch didn't help. "But I am continuing to work very hard in training and I feel I am improving every week. "I hope I can continue to get in the team in the next few weeks. I do like to play every week but I know I have to work really hard for it." Everton's exit from the Cup at the hands of Manchester United means the Blues now have nothing to distract them from their primary objective - the Champions League. Arteta continues: "Every week is a Cup final for us now. We have to work hard because the other teams are going to push us and we have difficult games." Arteta is still waiting to play his part in an Everton victory, having figured as a sub in the draw at Southampton and the defeat to Chelsea before starting for the first time against United.
It is a run he is eager to bring to an end. He admits: "I would have liked to have marked my first start with a victory. It was a difficult game but we still got two really good chances to score and we didn't.
"Had we taken the chances it could have been very different but they knew how to keep the ball, lose time and keep the game. It was generally difficult for us. "But it will not be like that every week. Not every side is as good as Manchester United."

Moyes in creative headache for Villa
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Feb 23 2005
DAVID MOYES could be facing another creative shortage at Villa Park on Saturday as he prepares his side for the final push towards Europe. Both Mikel Arteta (left) and James McFadden are rated doubtful for the Midlands trip after limping out of the FA Cup defeat by Manchester United with hamstring problems. McFadden is carrying the more serious strain after pulling up in the 67th minute against United while Arteta's debut setback is the consequence of a lack of senior football this season. Manager Moyes is anxious the duo recover to face Aston Villa as Everton aim to open up an eight-point gap between themselves and fifth place Liverpool, who play Chelsea in the Carling Cup Final on Sunday. The FA Cup exit has left the Goodison Park club with just 11 games to crown their fine campaign with a place in the Champions League. And Moyes said: "Both James and Mikel have got fatigue problems but I am still hoping they will be fit to face Villa. "We could really do with having them both available because we want to push on now." The Everton manager, meanwhile, is putting the suspended James Beattie through an intensive pre-season training programme to maximise his contribution during the run-in. The £6m record signing is out until the Anfield derby on March 20 following his dismissal against Chelsea. And with the striker still short of his optimum fitness due to a series of injuries at Southampton earlier in the season, Moyes is using the enforced break to his advantage. "We are trying to get James closer to the level we want from him," said the Everton manager. "It is very similar to the work we put the rest of the squad through during pre-season in Austria and America. "We won't stop that regime until the start of next week and then he can begin to focus on training and getting ready for the end of his suspension."

Fans join hunt for coin thrower
Daily Post
Feb 23 2005
EVERTON'S supporters have joined the search for the coin thrower who felled Manchester United's Roy Carroll. Merseyside Police are still investigating the incident at Saturday's FA Cup fifth round tie at Goodison Park with the FA likely to hit Everton with a charge of failing to control their fans.
And because Everton's own plea to supporters to find the culprit has failed so far, the club's fans' websites are now involved in the campaign. Ian Ross, Everton's director of communications, said: "It shows that everyone at this club is united in their condemnation of what happened and we are all pulling together to find the culprit." Everton have privately been told that if the coin thrower is discovered and police are able to take action, that will help the club when they have to answer the inevitable charge. Everton can expect a fine of up to £50,000 when the FA finally do act.
Ross said: "If the culprit can be found and dealt with as soon as possible, this would undoubtedly help the club. Someone must know who he is. If you do, for the good of the club, contact Merseyside Police." Police are studying enhanced CCTV pictures and Ross says: "We are led to believe they are much closer to making an identification."

Kilbane welcomes back 'nuisance' Cahill
Feb 23 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL will return to the Everton side for Saturday's trip to Aston Villa with a ringing endorsement from team-mate Kevin Kilbane. The Irish international is delighted to see Cahill available again after he missed the FA Cup clash with Manchester United through suspension.
Kilbane believes the Aussie midfielder has been one of the club's most important players this season and said: "Tim has been great for us this season. "He makes himself a nuisance for us in the middle of the park and he has been one of the key players for us throughout the year. "He was great over the Christmas period when we were getting a bit jaded. Tim was the one player who sparked us off and helped us kick-on by getting forward and scoring goals. "I would rather have had Tim missing for the cup game than the league game, because the league is so important for us. "These 11 games we have got coming up are very big for the club. We have just got to believe in ourselves and what we can achieve because we are capable of doing good things here." Cahill has forged an impressive partnership with Lee Carsley in the heart of Everton's mid-field this season. He has netted five goals from his 23 league starts, plus another in the FA Cup, to make him the club's second top scorer behind Marcus Bent.

Moyes happy to take a time-out
Feb 23 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
LAST summer during Everton's pre-season training camp in Houston, David Moyes admitted to being enamoured with American sport. He was fascinated by the training techniques, the technological advances made by the US coaches and the spectacle of their sporting contests. And so it is apt that, over the next five weeks, the Goodison chief has an opportunity to take advantage of one of American sports' favourite idiosyncracies - the time-out. The FA Cup defeat at the hands of Sir Alex Ferguson's in-form Manchester United last weekend means that the Blues now have nothing to distract them from their number one goal acquiring a Champions League place. There are 11 games remaining in which to secure that goal, beginning with Saturday's trip to Villa Park. But over the next 39 days, the Blues have the opportunity to chalk off just three of those contests. The clash with Villa is followed a week later by the visit of Blackburn to Goodison. There is then a fortnight ' s break before the Anfield derby, which itself is followed by a fortnight break to accommodate World Cup qualifiers before the trip to West Brom on April 3. Moyes intends to make the most of the wide-open fixture list during March because in April the games come thick and fast - six in the space of four weeks. A heavy fixture list could cause the club's small squad problems. After all, last weekend exposed the lack of depth, with the Goodison chief having to name a 16- year- old rookie striker and a 20-year-old French trialist amongst his substitutes. But Moyes is confident that the time-out over the next month will benefit his squad. "After the Cup defeat we know we have got 11 games left in our season," Moyes told the ECHO. "That is still a large portion of the season. And between now and the start of April we have only got three games to contend with. "That could help us because we want to have our squad fully ready for the games in April. "At the moment we are low on numbers.
"We would have liked to have made more signings in January but the players of the quality we were looking for weren't available. "But right now we don't actually have many players carrying knocks. Suspensions have started to hit in and we have had one or two players sidelined. But the only long-term absentees have been Steve Watson and Li Tie. "We haven't been able to play a settled side. Last weekend Duncan Ferguson wasn't available and we had not other forward options. We brought back James McFadden and Leon Osman with very little training. "We also gave Mikel Arteta his first start. We had planned to take him off after an hour and to move Joseph Yobo into midfield so David Weir could come on. "And then Faddy picked up a hamstring strain and we were left with no alternatives. "We competed with United for 60 minutes. I have watched the game again closely and examined the statistics we gathered from the match and for an hour there was very little to choose between the two sides. "But when they went two up we couldn't really change anything to come back." That was because, coupled with Ferguson's injury, the Blues were deprived of Tim Cahill and James Beattie through suspension. The threat of a spell on the sidelines is still hanging over Kevin Kilbane and Lee Carsley. Both players are on four yellow cards and one away from an automatic ban.
But after Saturday's Villa game the FA's card amnesty means the duo will be reprieved. Beattie will return for the derby and Watson is just a fortnight away from a return to action. With Arteta adapting to the English game and high-hopes for Guillaume Plessis, this timeout could prove to be the key to Everton's campaign.

Riot will not be repeated
Feb 23 2005 By James Glover, Liverpool Echo
POLICE say they have learned lessons from a full investigation into Saturday's football riot.
Merseyside chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe promised no repeat of the violence when Everton next meet Manchester United in April. He said officers would ignore the "hype and speculation" about the fixture and draw up a strategy to deal with potential problems. Hundreds of fans clashed in Scotland Road after Saturday's FA Cup fixture, with MPs blaming the late 5.30 kick-off for sparking trouble. But Mr Hogan-Howe said the start-time was not the critical factor, highlighting dozens of arrests at the Glasgow and Lancashire derbies. Both games kicked off at lunchtime. "At the heart of this issue is the very small minority of supporters who resort to violence, causing massive disruption for people who simply want to enjoy the game." Councillor Bill Weightman, chairman of Merseyside police authority, said: "A much wider issue of violence and alcohol-related crime in Britain needs to be addressed." Police revealed information about five more men arrested during trouble on Saturday. Christopher Green, 18, of Carnation Road, Fazakerley, is charged with affray and bailed to appear before city magistrates on February 25. Alan Tippler, 34, of Gaywood Green, Kirkby, is charged with being drunk and disorderly and bailed to appear on March 1. Three men, from Huyton, Norris Green and Anfield, have been given £80 fixed penalty notices and a sixth was issued with a fixed penalty notice for public order offences.

Win the chance to be Everton's derby mascot
Feb 23 2005 jblue, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S bid for a Champions League spot faces the ultimate test next month when David Moyes' men cross Stanley Park to take on Liverpool. Buoyed by Lee Carsley's solitary strike in the 1-0 victory at Goodison back in December, the Blues will attempt to complete a memorable derby double on Sunday, March 20. And thanks to Jblue, you could be part of the action in our exclusive competition.
We are giving one lucky member of Everton's junior supporters club - girl or boy - the chance to join their heroes on the pitch prior to kick-off as the offical Blues mascot. As well as the pre-game kickabout with the squad, our winner will also receive a full Everton kit and allow one guest to walk down the tunnel with them. They will also be able to see how the players prepare for the big kick-off as they join them in the dressing room for an opportunity to take pictures and get autographs
To enter this money can't buy competition, simply answer the following question: Who scored the winning goal in the last derby at Goodison Park? Send you entries (on a postcard or sealed down envelope) to: Jblue Everton Mascot Competition, Everton Football Club, Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL. As well as your answer, please include your name, address, daytime phone number, date of birth and Jblue membership number. The winner will be the first correct entry picked at random. Closing date is Monday, March 7. Normal competition rules apply. * If you aren't already a Jblue member, join today for free by calling 0870 794 1985'

Rooney reveals factors behind his move
Feb 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has admitted the prospect of tackling Europe's finest was one of the major factors behind his controversial £27million switch from Everton to Manchester United. AC Milan's visit to Old Trafford tonight represents the biggest challenge of Rooney's club career so far, but the 19-year-old is relishing the opportunity of facing the likes of Paolo Maldini and Jaap Stam. "These are massive games," he said. "No disrespect to Everton, but you are not going to be taking part in these sorts of games playing there."

Blues in title race for top website
Feb 23 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC and Liverpool social enterprise Brava Design are vying for top IT awards. They are finalists in the Big Chip Awards in Manchester tomorrow. Everton's website, designed by Liverpool company Rippleffect, is up for best commercial website prize. Brava Design provides design training for women and is shortlisted for the education and training award.

Aftermath of the Goodison fiasco
Feb 23 2005 Echo Letters
I WILL not defend the individual who threw the coin that hit Roy Carroll, nor any others who threw articles onto the pitch. I am, however, exceptionally annoyed at those sanctimonious people who now seek to make Everton the scapegoat for a disease which has been common at many grounds this season. The fact their missiles missed their target, unlike at Everton, does not make those clubs any less liable for the situation. The FA has to look at the facts. Missile throwing is a curse. Missing your target does not make it any less of a curse. If the FA fine or deduct points from Everton, they must fine and deduct points from all the other clubs where missiles are proven to have been thrown.
Tim Carey, via e-mail
I DON'T want to try and justify any of the incidents surrounding Saturday's game but I am appalled at some of the one-sided and biased media coverage directed at Everton Football Club. The coin throwing incident was a nasty unwanted episode, but no worse than the mobile phone thrown from the Kop. The violence outside the ground was organised and beyond the club's control, but it seems the media are hell-bent on crucifying the club. THE harsh reality is that we were well beaten by Manchester United. The game exposed the massive difference in quality.
Mike Porter, Liverpool
WE looked pretty awful off the pitch as well. Too much booing Rooney, too little cheering our lads and all topped off by some idiots chucking things. Hardly in keeping with school of science stuff and likely to put off potential investors.
Bob, Birkenhead
THE late kick-off didn't fuel the violence after the Everton game. The mindless yobs would have caused problems whatever the time of the day.
Roger, Llanfairfechan

EVERTON were defeated on Saturday by a much superior Manchester United team. United may finish this season as champions of both Europe and England and Wayne Rooney may win a hatful of medals, but he will surely one day wake up thinking of what could have been. For all the medals he may pick up at Old Trafford, he will always have a nagging regret of what may have been with the Blues. He's burned his bridges now though. A lady at the match on Saturday summed it up with her T-shirt, which read 'We hate him so much, because we loved him so much.'
Mike Carney, Liverpool
I AM in no way condoning throwing coins at players, but Roy Carroll's reaction was a disgrace. You would think a 'shot put' had hit him..
Tim Coombe, via e-mail
Twin grounds
After Everton's King's Dock fiasco and the failure to reach an agree-ment on a ground share with Liverpool, the best move forward for both clubs would be adjacent grounds, joined at the long stands and, with shared facilities in this enclosed area and retail outlets around the perimeter.
This double stadium would be situated in the park or at the Kings Dock. It would have a sliding roof to cover whichever area needed to be covered. Both teams would share grounds and facilities until the completion of the double stadium. Then we could say to the rest of the football world: Beat that!
Bobby Formby, via e-mail

Final chance for Watson to prolong Goodison stay
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Feb 24 2005
STEVE WATSON will have a final chance to prove he is worth a new contract at Everton. The 30-year-old (right) has been sidelined since straining stomach muscles during the 2-1 win over Manchester City on Boxing Day, and the length of time it has taken for the injury to heal has prompted fears the versatile midfielder would require surgery to solve the problem. With Watson out of contract at the end of the season and the only one of eight players in a similar situation to have not yet opened talks over a new deal, an operation and the sub-sequent recuperation period would have most likely brought a premature end to his Goodison career. But a consultant has said a period of rest and recuperation should be enough for the player to recover. Watson has resumed light training this week and is still expected to be sidelined for at least the next fortnight, but Mikel Arteta is winning his battle to be fit for Saturday's Premiership encounter at Aston Villa. However, manager David Moyes will not risk forward James McFadden if the Scottish international does not recover fully from his hamstring strain. Midfielder duo Kevin Kil-bane and Lee Carsley are currently one booking away from a suspension, but if they avoid being cautioned at Villa Park that threat will be lifted due to the FA's card amnesty which begins next week. * LAST NIGHT'S Everton Reserves's FA Premier Reserve League Northern Section mini-derby match against Liverpool was postponed due to a frozen pitch at Southport's Haig Avenue ground.

Fans' favourite steers Everton to shock win
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 24 2005
FOR many Evertonians of a certain age, trips to Villa Park conjure up great memories of title run-ins and semi-final wins. Unfortunately when it comes to bread and butter league games, the stadium is fast becoming a graveyard of Elland Road and White Hart Lane proportions. Indeed it's 18 years since our last league win with Kevin Sheedy's blockbuster pointing Everton towards the title.
In the '80s Everton had a decent record there and won well the first time I went to Villa, back in September 1980 when Gordon Lee's Everton surprisingly turned over the future champions.
Lee was underfire after an inconsistant couple of years. His nearly team of '77-79 saw the introduction of youngsters like Kevin Ratcliffe and Steve McMahon. With his wedge haircut, McMahon looked like about 80% of young scousers of that era, and as such was seen as our representative on the pitch. Eventually he was to leave in rancorous Wayne Rooney type circumstances but in 1980 he was a crowd favourite. At Villa Park he was at his best, out tackling the likes of Dennis Mortimer and Des Bremner. The two decisive goals came in a five-minute spell in the first half. Firstly, skipper Mike Lyons scored his first goal for over a season, heading home from a Joe McBride corner. Then, with Villa still reeling McMahon sent McBride away and from the wing-er's cross, Peter Eastoe headed past Jimmy Rimmer before exiting the pitch after clashing heads with Allan Evans. After the break Villa pressed but were unable to score. Erratic goal-keeper, Jim McDonough was rarely troubled and the Blues collected a good old-fashioned two points. Surprisingly Villa bounced back to win the league, while the Blues finished 15th. Gordon Lee went at the end of the season and a fella called Kendall got the manager's job. I wonder what happened to him?

Asia trip invitation for Blues
Feb 24 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been invited to take part in the Premiership-organised Asia Cup in July. But Everton have not yet confirmed their involvement because plans for a return to the United States for a 10 day training camp are also being considered. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness revealed: "We have received an invitation to take part and we have until Monday to give a decision." The week-long event could be worth up to £500,000 for the Blues. The Premier League inaugurated the tournament last summer in a bid to capitalise on the popularity of the English game in the Far East.
The lucrative tournament will take place between July 20 and July 24 in Shanghai. Chelsea, Newcastle and Birmingham took part along with the Malaysian national side in Kuala Lumpur, with Jose Mourinho's men beating the Magpies on penalties after a goalless final. The Premier League invite a side from the Premiership's top six, a side from sixth to 12th and a side from the bottom eight to take part in the competition. The top three have declined the invitation, which is why Everton have been offered a place. The other sides currently negotiating with the Premier League are Charlton and Newcastle, although Everton's superior league position means they will receive the biggest payment for taking part. A currently unnamed Chinese side will make up the quartet of teams. All the sides will play two games, with the semi-finals followed by a third/fourth place play-off and a final. If Everton decline the invitation, Liverpool will be offered a place - although they are likely to turn it down as they are already working on other commitments. If the Blues do say no, then they are expected to return to the USA in July after the success of last summer's training camp in Houston for the Copa de Tejas. However, the destination this summer would not be Houston. Los Angeles is currently under consideration.

AirAsia in talks with Blues over new shirt deal
Feb 24 2005 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
ASIA'S leading budget flight operator AirAsia yesterday reiterated their desire to become Everton's shirt sponsors for next season. The Malaysian career has been in talks with the Goodison club since expressing their interest in brokering a business partnership last month. But reports from Malaysia have suggested a disagreement over the value of the deal could scupper their attempts to sponsor the team in the 2005-06 season. AirAsia are prepared to pay £1.5million for the privilege but it is believed Everton are asking for nearer £2m. "We are very keen on the deal with Everton," said AirA-sia executive director Kamarudin Meranun. "We are coming out with a proposal that we hope will be accepted." Everton's success on the pitch and increased television exposure has made them an attractive proposition to potential shirt sponsors, with a number of other parties - including Malaysian Airlines and current sponsors Chang Beer - also interested in negotiating a deal.

An Everton spokesman said last night: "Everyone is aware the deal with Chang Beer expires at the end of this season, and we are in talks with a number of interested parties over sponsorship for next season." The Goodison club still await their fate with the Football Association after the crowd disturbances that marred their FA Cup defeat to Manchester United at Goodison last weekend.
The club have braced themselves for a hefty fine if they are charged, although the FA are unlikely to dock any Premiership points. An FA spokesperson said: "We are still in the situation of gathering facts and trying to work out what exactly happened. "Only when we have gathered all the information will we be able to make a decision on this matter."

Totally devoted to their colours
Feb 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
Meet Merseyside's super fans. The ECHO crowns these red, white and blue die-hards our Fans of the Year. ROB BRADY finds out what makes them special. NOWHERE in Britain are people more passionate about their football than on Merseyside. So to win the accolade as the Liverpool ECHO's Fan of the Year at Everton, Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers means you must be a very special supporter - with a special story to tell. And our three winners this year are exactly that.
Kopite Andrew Ward, True Blue Stan Tyrrell and diehard Superwhite Gilbert Upton will all be attending the 33rd Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year event on Monday night to take their well-earned bows as genuine Merseyside superfans. At the Crowne Plaza Hotel we will be honouring them alongside the person ECHO readers have voted Merseyside's Sports Personality of the Year for 2004. We'll also be presenting the prestigious Bill Shankly and Dixie Dean Memorial Awards in honour of two of the game's immortals, as well as our Young Sports Personality of the Year award and the Rugby League Achievement Award. The evening, attended by sporting stars past and present, will be hosted by ITV's Clive Tyldesley, with former Scotland manager Craig Brown the guest speaker. Said ECHO Sports Editor John Thompson: "Merseyside is renowned for its football fanaticism. "The nominations we received for our Fans of the Year awards this year gave us some fantastic stories and choosing a winner for each club has been really difficult for our judges.
"But Andrew, Stan and Gilbert stood out for the depth of their devotion - and the lengths they go to follow their fantastic clubs. "We hope they enjoy their well-earned moment in the limelight - they are stars in their own right!"
NO one earned more nominations in our competition than Stan Tyrrell. The sheer number of votes we received for the 41-year-old shows just how highly regarded he is by fellow Evertonians.
Stan is the backbone of the Bootle-based supporters group Walnut Blues. He selflessly organises tickets and travel to away games for up to 100 people, ensuring Everton are always well supported - even on pre-season trips abroad. "I don't mind doing it," Stan said. "I just want everyone to be together and enjoy themselves. We started out with mini-buses, but so many people wanted to go we ended up needing coaches. We took 98 to Blackburn Rovers this season." Nothing, say the fans, is too much trouble for the father-of-three. Les Whitehead, secretary of Walnut Blues, said: "Stan does so much for people. A lot of fans at work during the day rely on him to get tickets and arrange travel." Stan, of Bootle, has been following Everton for 35 years, despite early attempts by relatives to turn him to 'the other side'. "My cousin George was a red and he was always trying to change my mind, but I was having none of it," he recalled. "There have been many highlights down the years. The FA Cup wins, the Bayern Munich games and any time we beat Liverpool. "This season Everton have been fantastic. They can certainly make Europe, but whether it is through fourth or fifth place I don't know. To stay above Liverpool and get into the Champions League would be a double bonus."
WHEREVER Liverpool play - home, away or in Europe - they can be sure Andrew Ward will be there to cheer them on. His dedication to the Reds' cause is all the more remarkable given the traumatic event that turned his life upside down when he was just 14. Andrew was left with serious head injuries after being struck by a car. Although he has made great progress in his rehabilitation, he remains confined to a wheelchair. Now 26, his devotion to the club has helped him through the difficult years, although the love affair actually began long before his accident. "The Reds are my passion," said Andrew. "I've been following them since I was six. I remember getting carried on my dad's shoulders into Wembley for the 1986 FA Cup final. "There have been many highlights. The atmosphere at this season's Olympiakos game was brilliant. Jamie Carragher is probably my favourite player. He is a Scouser through and through. He gets all the fans going." Andrew travels to matches with his devoted parents Billy and Ann. His mother said: "An-drew goes to every Liverpool game, even pre-season friendlies. He has defied the doctors' early predictions. They said he would never be able to even sit up or talk. "He was in a coma for six months. Graeme Souness, who was manager back then, used to come and visit him and a lot of the players made tapes for us to play to him." Andrew watches the action from the disabled section at the front of the Kop. "When Steven Gerrard scored against Olympiakos all the players came over to celebrate right in front of us," he said. "In Bucharest I was right next to the Liverpool bench. Gerard Houllier came over and shook my hand." Andrew was nominated by fellow fan John Costello, who said: "His dedication to the club knows no bounds. He goes everywhere to watch them. He would rather go the match than go on holiday."
ANYONE delving into the annals of Tranmere history owes a huge debt to Gilbert Upton. His devotion goes way beyond cheering on Rovers from the stands. The 64-year-old has written several books on the club, including the definitive history of Tranmere. Gilbert attended his first game with grandfather James Stephens during the war. Early highlights included being among the 19,000 who saw them beat Wrexham to reach the old third division in 1958, but he reckons the best time to be a Rovers fan was during John King's second spell in charge in the 80s and 90s. "The period when John King got things right with Peter Johnson was good," Gilbert recalled. "We played attractive football and scored a lot of goals. There were many memorable games. "And I can't forget Everton 0 Tranmere 3 in more recent years. That was the greatest day. Tranmere fans wanted to see their side take them on in a true game and beat them." A retired senior manager, Gilbert wrote 'Tranmere Rovers, A Complete Record' with fellow fan Steve Wilson, providing a comprehensive record of fixtures, results and players for scholars of the club. "There was no proper history of Tranmere," Gilbert said. "We ended up going back through the ECHO archives and other newspapers, match by match, to create a database. It took several years." He was nominated by son Stephen, who said: "He deserves recognition for providing information about Tranmere Rovers to the fans."

McFadden backs Scotland keeper
Feb 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S James McFadden has backed goalkeeper Rab Douglas to bounce back from his Old Firm blunder in time for next month's World Cup qualifier in Italy. The spotlight is on the Celtic goalkeeper following the error that gifted Rangers a lead in Sunday's derby at Parkhead.
Douglas had just been restored to the Scotland set-up by new manager Walter Smith after being jettisoned by Berti Vogts. McFadden, who is expected to lead the line in the San Siro, was well aware of the Douglas blunder. But he said: "It might sound stupid for a 21-year-old to be standing up for an older player but people really do need to get off his back." Smith confirmed that Douglas would definitely be travelling to Italy, although he offered no clue as to who would start.

The jury
Feb 24 2005 Liverpool Echo
We have been in the upper reaches far too long to let our season fall away now - Steve Shone

I WAS ashamed to be an Evertonian last Saturday. The constant abuse aimed at Rooney was out of order. I was disappointed, partly because we hadn't really given United a game, but moreso because we had let ourselves down. The media spotlight was upon us and we responded exactly as they wished. Was his reception really called for? He is just a 19-year-old lad doing what he does best. I was as gutted as the next person that he left but although he wasn't completely innocent there were bigger egos and more sinister motives involved. Regardless of what many think, he is still an Everton fan. One day he may even return, but for now let's concentrate our efforts as supporters on encouraging our own team.
THE GAME against Man United was always going to be difficult but with the injuries and suspensions we had it was hard for Everton to really make a game of it. It spoke volumes of how thin our squad is when we really only had two recognised subs, both of which were defenders. We must not let our season fall away now; we have been in the higher reaches of the table for too long. On the plus side Arteta looked good and with the likes of Cahill, Beattie and Ferguson all to return hopefully we can get back on track ready for the run-in to the end of the season and qualify for Europe, which really would be an outstanding achievement. I'm just glad that we've got the United game out of the way in the cup so hope-fully when they return in April we can focus more on Everton rather than the Rooney sideshow.

THE FA Cup tie was just full of disappointment throughout.

I felt this season we could have gone all the way in the cup, but lately we have been playing badly compared to the first half of the season. I believe the problem has been Gravesen's exit as well as putting Beattie in the squad ahead of Bent.

For me, Beattie hasn't proved himself worthy of the blue shirt and so far seems to be a waste of money.

On Saturday, we had no creativity to create any chances. We do have a small squad at the moment but I was expecting more determination and aggression.

Unfortunately, however, a minority of fans were not short of these attributes. The atmosphere was always going to be hostile, but the BBC made the situation worse by moving the match to so late in the day. Any action above a fine from the FA would be unfair because of the effort put into the security.
BEN McGRAE, Hunts Cross
SATURDAY was no more than a reality check for Everton. For most of the season we were capable of keeping clean sheets against supposedly better teams, and this factor has been the foundation of our success. But, more recently, once the goal goes in, it's very tough. The feeling pre-match was that we would only get one chance in the game and after Bent failed to take it, the conclusion was, disappointingly, inevitable. The manager is only too aware of this, hence the arrival of Beattie.

Everton target Belgian link-up
Feb 25 2005
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON are attempting to establish a 'feeder-system' to Goodison Park from Belgium first division club Charleroi. Everton officials, led by chief executive Keith Wyness, have opened talks with their Belgian counterparts over a deal that would see their best young players offered Premiership trials on Merseyside. Both Arsenal and Manchester United have formed similar arrangements in recent years with Belgian clubs Beveren and Royal Antwerp respectively. Termed a "technical relationship", the deal has given United and Arsenal first option to take players on trial with Premiership players heading in the opposite direction on loan. Arsenal landed central defender Kolo Toure thanks to the arrangement, while United defender John O'Shea was sent to Antwerp to gain valuable first-team experience before breaking into the Old Trafford senior set-up. Belgian clubs are renowned for their extensive scouting network - especially throughout Africa - and it was at Standard Liege where Everton defender Joseph Yobo began his European career. Talks between the clubs are ongoing but Goodison officials are confident a deal can be struck as they seek to expand their transfer search in the future. Everton, meanwhile, have been invited to take part in the Premiership-led Asia Cup in Shanghai this July. The seven-day event, in which Everton would play two games, takes place between July 20 and July 24. But the club are also considering an offer for a 10-day training camp in the United States this summer and have yet to reach a final decision. Chief executive Wyness said: "We have received an invitation to take part and we have until Monday to give a decision."

Quirk of fate that fighting had not happened sooner
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Feb 25 2005
FOR ONCE we can exit the FA Cup, tell everyone that we're now going to concentrate on the league and actually keep a straight face. Injuries and suspensions meant that the odds were stacked already against Everton before last Saturday's game against Manchester United, and the result was never in doubt from the moment that Quinton Fortune gave them the lead. David Moyes is usually livid following any Everton defeat, never mind an absolute footballing lesson on our own turf, yet he seemed positively sanguine in the wake of this particular cup exit. Maybe he knew that a team with three untested teenagers on the bench had little chance against Alex Ferguson's multi-million pound side, the Premiership's form team, or else he saw the game as an inconvenience, liable to get in the way of the real prize, Champions League qualification. Whatever the reasons for Everton's meek surrender, it seems likely that United will face a much more hostile reception on the pitch when they return with valuable league points at stake in April. Hopefully, that antagonism is confined to the pitch, although Wayne Rooney's reception was actually nowhere near as bad as predicted; certainly no worse than that reserved for, say, Gary Speed or even Robbie Fowler. The missile throwing and the violence outside the ground were, however, regrettable in the extreme. Much has been made of the late kick-off, and it certainly exacerbated matters - although let's not forget that the majority of people who spent all day drinking did so peacefully - but the 'Battle of Everton Valley' ultimately occurred because there were hundreds of supporters from both clubs who wanted to fight.
It's as simple as that, and it's only a quirk of fate that United haven't been to Merseyside in the Cup for a long time, otherwise this would have happened sooner. As for the individual who tried to brain Roy Carroll, the club are apparently doing all that they can, cooperating fully with the police and endeavouring to identify him. However, the expected £50,000 fine from the FA seems harsh unless the game's governing body can pinpoint where exactly Everton were negligent. Hopefully the Blues can begin their final push for Europe tomorrow at Villa Park and get everyone back to talking about them for all the right reasons.

Blues in a fine mess
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Feb 25 2005
A fine mess
SO EVERTON FC are facing a stiff fine from the FA, for what? You cannot legislate for the behaviour of one or two idiots within a gathering of 38,000 people. I was horrified to see the events that took place and hope CCTV can pinpoint the idiots responsible. But Everton have no bigger and no smaller problem than any other football club. Society has the problem and the problem is fuelled by commercial greed. From the moment that a 5.30pm kick off was decided, it didn't take a "rocket scientist" to work out that we had a disaster waiting to happen. Meanwhile the good name of the city takes another mauling, the taxpayer picks up the bill and numerous frontline Police Officers are left on sick leave with their hard-pressed colleagues having to do that bit more to fill in.
Keith Cederholm,
Caldy, WirralEarly warning
IT IS easy to be glib after the event, but Saturday's ructions surrounding the match reek of "I told you so". Forget the commercial aspect and possible spectatator inconvenience. It really is a MUST that all future matches involving Everton or Liverpool and United should start at midday, or before, to minimise trouble and protect the safety of all concerned. Unfortunately fanatics cannot accept that Wayne Rooney is playing for, of all teams, United, a side disliked by a wide range of ordinary supporters at other clubs. Of course the police and the Everton management can't forsee every possible situation but it is appalling to see senior figures trying to "whitewash" their responsibilities. It is ridiculous for the Chief Constable to review Saturday's events without admitting liability. He sanctioned the kick-off time. There were many unsavoury incidents. Everton FC can't stop every lunatic but they can acknowledge the true number and a determination to eradicate those numbers.
Dave Levy, St Helens
Forget past
I WAS amazed to hear comments that apart from the coin-throwing incident, the game went off peace-fully. My son and myself are season ticket holders at the Park End. On Saturday my son was at the front of the stand, close to the away fans, and was subjected to 90 minutes of continual coin throwing, eventually being hit in the eye. During this time there was no intervention by the police, whose attention was directed solely at responses from the Everton fans. I sat with my youngest son in what I can only loosely describe as the Family Enclosure. I honestly believe some fans bought tickets with the sole intention of vilifying Wayne Rooney from start to finish, which was an absolute disgrace. Fans have got to move on and support the team and David Moyes.
Frank Dwyer, Kensington
Selling game
I AM A Tranmere Rovers season ticket holder and we have had to sell our prize assets on more than one occasion just to survive. If memory serves me well, weren't Everton in some kind of financial difficulties prior to the sale of Wayne Rooney? Should the fans not follow the lead of Rovers's supporters and wish the player well as he moves on to greater things? Rovers have had to part company with players such as Jason Koumas, Alan Rogers, John McGreal and many others. The game of football used to be the entertainment business of the working man, but now it has degenerated into some kind of tribalism that is totally alien to the word 'sport'. Everton Football Club seem to be managing quite well after the sale of their prize asset! Enjoy the game, that's what it used to be about.
Stefan Ellis (via e-mail)

Treble injury lift for Moyes
Feb 25 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are set to receive a triple injury boost ahead of tomorrow's trip to Aston Villa. Mikel Arteta (left) and James McFadden have both been troubled by hamstring problems this week, while Duncan Ferguson missed last week-end's FA Cup clash with Manchester United because of a back injury. But David Moyes told the ECHO: "They have all got an outside chance for Villa. "Duncan did some light training yesterday. Mikel has missed two days training and James is coming along well."
The Blues are also set to welcome back Tim Cahill from suspension for the return to league action, further boosting Moyes' options. Last weekend 16-year-old striker James Vaughan and 20-year-old trialist Guillaume Plessis were included amongst the substitutes because of a shortage of senior professionals. The prospect of Ferguson and Cahill being available for selection will give Moyes the opportunity to shuffle his pack. Like Everton, Villa have had to operate with a small squad this season. Moyes added: "We have both got small squads but it has not affected us too greatly. There are pluses with having a small squad as well and we try to use those advantages as best we can.
"The players know that they are going to be involved virtually every week. Villa is a hard game. They have got a good home record and going there is as difficult for visiting sides as coming to Goodison.
"We are aware of the importance of the games we have coming up now and we know we want to try and kick on and achieve something this year." Meanwhile, Everton are reported to be in negotiations with Belgian outfit Charleroi aimed at developing a 'feeder-system'. Any delay would see the Belgian club's best young players being offered Premiership trials on Merseyside.
It would also give Everton the opportunity to loan out promising youngsters in order for them to gain experience. Goodison officials are believed to be confident a deal can be struck.
* Reports in Italy have linked Everton with a summer move for out-of-favour Juventus midfielder Stephen Appiah. The 24-year-old Ghanaian joined Juve from Parma in 2003 but has failed to establish himself and could be available for £3m in the summer.

We will not let guard down vows Weir
Feb 25 2005 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
AFTER contending with the two finest sides in the country over the last fortnight, Everton could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief ahead of tomorrow's trip to Aston Villa. Unlike Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson, David O'Leary doesn't have a wealth of options at his disposal. And his Villans are not enjoying their finest run of the season right now, having won just twice in their last seven games. But while Villa may not be as intimidating as Chelsea and Manchester United, David Weir (pictured) insists the Goodison squad have not lost the qualities which have taken them to such a heady league position. He explains: "We have got to be 100 per cent fit and 100 per cent working hard in every game. We can't afford to be less than the optimum and that is the manager's job I suppose, to gauge who is not at that level. "We can't afford to drop a level and we can't afford any passengers. "The players definitely won't be addressing the game that way. We know how tough it is to get results anywhere in this league. "You have to perform and work hard in every game. That is what has got us results this season, it has not been because we have turned up and just expected to win. "We have earned every result and tomorrow will be no different." Despite losing their last two games, Everton have every right to still be holding their heads high. Against Chelsea they were outstanding despite being reduced to 10 men after just eight minutes. And in last weekend's fiery FA Cup encounter with Manchester United they were far from out-classed by the country's most in-form side, despite failing to hit top gear. But Weir and his teammates, judge success or failure on just one statistic. He continued: "It is not hard to gauge how we are playing at the moment because of the quality of the sides we have played because you are only judged on results. "We have lost two games. It doesn't really matter who you lose them against. "Last weekend's defeat means we don't have an opportunity to do well in the Cup anymore, so it is all down to the league now.
"The league is the biggest indicator of how you have done over the season and is the one everybody wants to do well in. "You could argue just having the one competition to focus on will help us. But you should only focus on the next game anyway. "Regardless of what competitions you are involved in, you should always be giving 100 per cent and not looking too far ahead." Moyes chose to rest Weir, and team-mate Alessandro Pistone, for the United game, naming both players on the bench.
The Scot believes it is a move which makes sense, with the hectic run-in during April sure to take its toll on the Blues' small squad. "The next five weeks is a chance for a few boys who have played a lot during the season and who may need a rest to get a rest," he adds. "But ideally you want a rest coming off the back of some good results, not coming off a disappointing one. It is always harder to respond to that. "If you have had encouraging results it is easier to deal with. But we do need to give people a break, the squad being as small as it is." Weir has been one of the revelations of the season, forging one of the strongest defensive partnerships in the division alongside Alan Stubbs and returning to the form which made him a target for Manchester United three years ago. It is a change in fortunes which has led to a return to the international fold following Walter Smith's appointment as Scotland boss. Weir admits: "I am enjoying this season. Last season was a nightmare. I have never had a season like that, where I found it difficult to get playing and to find form. "Feeling good was a factor in going back to play for Scotland. But it was mainly because I felt I had unfinished business. I left on a bad note and didn't want it to stay like that for the rest of my life. "Hopefully I can go out on a good note now and I can enjoy it again. "Scotland's next game is against Italy next month. It is a big test, but that is why you play. "I was a bit nervous going back after being away for so long because you don't know how people are going to take to you. "But it was brilliant, I really enjoyed it."

Fans face life ban after United game
Feb 25 2005 By Mike Hornby, Liverpool Echo
TWO Everton fans face life bans from football grounds after being charged with offences at the FA Cup tie with Manchester Utd. Former Wallasey bank worker Martin Pickup admitted being drunk and disorderly at the Goodison Park game which was followed by violent scenes of hooliganism.
Pickup, 20, who now lives at Taylor Hill Road, Huddersfield, appeared at North Liverpool community justice centre yesterday. He pleaded guilty before telling the court he had been drinking at a city centre pub where he was given a free ticket. Also in the dock was 25-year-old Joel Christian Devine, of Siddeley Street, Aigburth. Mr Devine, an oil rig worker, denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour during the fracas on Scotland Road. Judge David Fletcher refused requests from both defendants that an interim football match banning order be overturned until full hearings can be held. Although Pickup admitted being drunk and disorderly, his solicitor Richard Whitehead said they would challenge a permanent match ban which has being requested by police.
The case was adjourned until March 3, when police will argue that he should no longer be allowed to attend organised football games. Sentencing for the drunk and disorderly matter will also take place on that day. Mr Devine will stand trial on May 4 and was bailed on condition he does not attend any regulated football games in the meantime. Last Saturday saw the worst football violence ever seen in Merseyside. After Wayne Rooney's return to Goodison Park, a group of 200 away fans were set upon by a crowd as they made their way to Lime Street Station. A confrontation ensued with riot police coming under heavy fire from bricks and masonry. The first man to be sentenced over last weekend's trouble escaped with a £100 fine and no ban from football grounds earlier this week.
Colin McCaffrey, 20, of Chalford Road, Manchester, pleaded guilty at Liverpool magistrates' court to using foul and abusive language but the bench decided not to ban him from matches because his offence took place away from Goodison Park.

Aston Villa 1 Everton 3 (D, Post)
By David Prior, Daily Post
Feb 28 2005
HOLD the 'slump' talk, then. Just when it seemed they were embarking on another late-season descent towards potential disappointment, just as events were apparently conspiring to jeopardise all their good work, so Everton respond with a performance that tops everything even this miracle of a season has thrown up. Seldom have Everton so delivered; seldom have they stared a situation in the face and produced such a perfect response, what in 11 weeks' time could well be seen as the turning point in this chase for untold riches. It's 2003 all over again, the worry had been. Everton's previously fluent football had suddenly clogged up, the pre-Christmas abandon replaced by anxiety and tedium, a desperate dearth of creativity and a sudden pining for Thomas Gravesen. Points were suddenly being scrapped for rather than carved out, while last Saturday's FA Cup defeat to Manchester United had even raised questions about the players' appetite for the huge matches that lie ahead. But it's the league that Everton's players are unswervingly focused on this year, and a gathering belief that the unexpected opportunity of Champions League football must - must - not be squandered. Not now. And certainly not to Liverpool. Perhaps the first question David Moyes will have been asking himself as Everton's Villa Park exhibition unfolded on Saturday, was simply 'why?'. Why such glorious fare after weeks of insipid morsels? Why did a team without an away league win since November choose the notoriously tricky Villa Park to unfurl their campaign's best? If their manager can answer those questions, Everton will have a top-four place wrapped up long before May 14. irst, what we know without question: Everton can play what Moyes on Friday termed "proper stuff" without Thomas Gravesen. In fact, so unambiguously did they shake off all concerns about the repercussions of the Dane's departure that there were comparisons made with the 'Rooney effect' - that is, lose your best player and you free the rest. Remove the individual and you have, potentially, one hell of a team. The midfield on Saturday - Mikel Arteta, Kevin Kilbane, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman and Lee Carsley - typified that. Each had a job within it, each carried that job out with Rolls-Royce precision. With an average age of 25, they out-played Villa's midfield to an embarrassing extent, so much so that had they generated six or seven goals there could have been few complaints from a stunned David O'Leary and his dreadful side. But if such a band of men could boast a star, then that star was undoubtedly Tim Cahill. Returning to the side after suspension, he more than justified all the superlatives thrown his way by Moyes in the lead-up to the game, prompting most of Everton's attacking moments and undoubtedly serving to inspire his team-mates to their ultimate heights. It's an influence wizened old pro Nigel Martyn, for one, recognises. "He's just carried on playing the same way he did at Millwall, and he's enjoying it," said the 38-year-old goalkeeper. "It can be daunting making the step up, but he's taken it in his stride, he scores goals, he works really hard, he's a good passer of the ball. "He's quite a laid-back sort of character, he's a real Australian I suppose you'd say, but he's got a desire and a will to win. He was tremendous, but then the whole of the midfield was too. Let's hope there's more to come the way he is playing this year."
e added: "It was a good performance from us and I'm very pleased with the way we played - apart from one minute at the start of the second half. I thought our midfield were awesome today, the way they passed the ball and the movement off the ball was superb. You're asking for seven out of 10 at this time of the year, but I think five of them gave an eight or nine." You could extend that ratingto pretty much the whole team, in fact. Even with a late knee injury to Alan Stubbs forcing a change at the back - Joseph Yobo coming in alongside David Weir in the centre - Everton were from the first whistle a different side to the one that has laboured for so much of 2005 so far. Indeed it was Yobo who helped to set the tone, dispossessing Gareth Barry with a sublime slide-tackle after just five minutes when the midfielder looked set to burst free towards Martyn's goalmouth.
That was virtually it as far as Villa's first-half attacking went, though. Cahill was already beginning to run proceedings, embarking on two mazy runs within the next five minutes, the first teeing up Marcus Bent whose shot just deflected wide. The tone of Everton's start was good - they were clearly up for an improvement to recent displays, and they deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes. Osman began and finished the move, bursting out of defence and finding Kilbane, who fed Cahill on the left The 25-yearold's ball evaded Bent at the near post, but it bounced on to Osman at the far post and the Academy graduate completed the slick move by heading in from pointblank range.
Rather than entrench, as Everton have had a habit of doing once taking a lead away from Goodison, the visitors pressed on and the again impressive Bent, taking Arteta's lay-off, fired just a yard wide of the right stanchion. They also enjoyed a spot of luck, Nolberto Solano's free-kick scraping the wrong side of the far post after Eric Djemba-Djemba had somehow won a foul with a fall that wouldn't have won an audition for Sunset Beach. Even that was the former Manchester United man's most productive moment of the afternoon - what Sir Alex Ferguson ever saw in him remains a complete mystery. Everton were comfortable going into the break, but that feeling lasted just 17 seconds of the second half as the game suddenly exploded into life. Luke Moore dispossessed a dithering Yobo, who found Thomas Hitzlsperger and the German's shot was merely parried by Martyn into Solano's path. It was a dreadful start for Moyes's men, who'd broken-the first rule of post-interval football - keep things tight and resist the inevitable early onslaught. Stunningly, though, Villa had barely stopped celebrating before Everton were back in front. Tony Hibbert slid a ball through to Bent, who lofted a perfect chip to an unmarked Cahill, who gleefully lapped up his close-range header. Villa's defending was again pitiful, but Everton were rampant. They should have quickly gone further ahead, Thomas Sorensen scrambling Bent's 20-yard effort wide when the striker found acres of space, while Osman halfvolleyed over when he had time to at least test the Villa keeper.
But there was to be no keeping Everton out. With 23 minutes remaining, Bent found Cahill who engineered space for himself to centre for Osman. The young midfielder's second goal was almost as much a formality as his first. Cahill had two further good chances to extend Everton's lead, while Bent sliced horribly wide from close in, but they served to emphasize the visitors' dominance rather than suggest any profligacy. Eight points now separate Everton from their neighbours, a sizeable gap with 10 games to go irrespective of Liverpool's two games in hand. Next weekend that gap could conceivably grow to 10 given the respective fixtures, and surely now Everton are clear favourites for that fourth place. There's still a long road to go, but if they keep playing like this it's surely one Everton can complete.

Aston Villa 1 Everton 3 (Echo)
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
Feb 28 2005
YOU know something special is happening when Evertonians leave Villa Park with smiles on their faces. The last time was back in 1987 and came just weeks before the Blues secured their most recent league title. There's little chance of that feat being repeated this season. But what David Moyes' men are on course to achieve would be equally meteoric in the context of the modern top flight - and would give Everton the chance to play in Europe's top competition for the first time since 1971. While those of the red persuasion were focused on cup matters in Cardiff this weekend, Moyes' troops produced their most emphatic away performance of the campaign to extend their lead over Liverpool - their most likely challengers for the final Champions League place - to a whopping eight points. "We shall not, we shall not be moved," was the chant from the magnificent away contingent of almost 6,000 fans as this contest entered its latter stages. It is hard to argue with them. Call me mad, call me unhinged. But I have developed a crazy theory about this Everton side - that they ARE the fourth best side in the Premiership. Wild, I know. And finding evidence to back up that assessment was difficult. But then I stumbled across a little thing called the Premier League table - and realised maybe that bold claim isn't such a ridiculous one. No other side outside the top three can claim to have played with the same consistency as Everton this season. No other side outside the top three can claim to have displayed the same resilience and character. No other side outside the top three has such a mouth-watering away record. And no other side has gone to Villa Park and outshone David O'Leary's men so emphatically. There were no "Champions League, ya 'avin a laff" catcalls from the Villa crowd. Those that were left at the final whistle actually took time out from their booing of the home players to applaud Everton's lionhearts. And rightfully so. You see, Villa don't get beaten very often in their own back yard. Before Saturday, the only teams to manage it had been Arsenal, Manchester United and fierce local rivals Birmingham in a tight encounter. "Only Arsenal have taken them apart like that this season," was the subdued comment from one local hack in the wake of the final whistle. Who said Everton were just about muscle, brawn and good fortune? No side has ever found itself in fourth spot in the league with just 10 games remaining through good luck. It is time Everton received the credit they deserve. In recent weeks there has been the suggestion that the honeymoon was over. But on this evidence, it was simply a case of the Blues' enduring the 'blip' which, if you believe the likes of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, every side endures during a campaign. The catalyst for Everton rediscovering their best form on Saturday was undoubtedly the return of Tim Cahill. He was compared to Robocop by Moyes earlier this month because of his ability to play on through any injury. Maybe The Terminator would be a more fitting description. The Aussie was a dynamo, linking the play together magnificently. Scoring the crucial second goal and playing a prominent role in the other two - which Leon Osman converted with glee as he demonstrated yet again what a handful he can be in the final third of the field. The loss of Thomas Gravesen in January rocked Everton. And since the Dane's departure Moyes has struggled to recapture that same balance in the centre of the field.
But the equilibrium was perfect on Saturday. Cahill was the vital component, while Mikel Arteta's influence should not be underestimated. Remember the Paul Power factor? The Spaniard distributes the ball intelligently, gets forward and - as his grapple with Lee Hendrie in the final minutes proved - he is not scared of the physical demands of the English game. Moyes has rarely put a foot wrong in the transfer market. And it seems he has produced another gem. In the three months before Christmas the Everton side picked itself: Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Osman, Cahill, Carsley, Gravesen, Kilbane; Bent. Saturday was as close as Moyes has come to reproducing that side in the last month - with Arteta for the Dane and Joseph Yobo for the injured Alan Stubbs. As a result, the play and passing was more fluent. This was the first half display against Norwich maintained for the entire 90 minutes. The most influential players of the whole campaign were back to their best in this familiar line-up. The midfield took a grip of the game in the first few minutes and never let it go. And now that the yellow card amnesty has passed, the sword of Damocles is no longer hanging over Lee Carsley and Kevin Kilbane. Elsewhere, Marcus Bent was outstanding, providing another reminder of how important he has been this season by leading the line intelligently and holding the ball up well. He pushed Cahill close for the Man of the Match accolade. And his tantalising chipped cross from the right edge of the area which teed up the Aussie for the second goal to restore the lead less two minutes after Nolberto Solano's equaliser deserves special praise. That goal, and its timing, was crucial. Everton were guilty of failing to translate their first half dominance into goals. And that failure was punished less than 20 seconds after the restart following some sloppy play at the back - the only sloppy play of the game. A side feeling the pressure of challenging for a Champions League berth would have buckled. But this side simply dusted themselves down, redoubled their efforts, restored the advantage and never looked back. Cahill's goal was good. But the strike which gave Everton their first two-goal winning margin on the road since the August victory at Selhurst Park was one of the finest of the campaign. Not surprisingly, Bent and Cahill were at the heart of it, combining to pass their way through the Villa defence before the Aussie teed up Osman for his second of the afternoon. There could, and maybe should, have been others. Villa couldn't have complained if the winning margin had been four or even five. But when you have waited 18 years fora victory, who cares. It was the performance, not the number of goals, which will have sent a chill down the spines of the sides in the chasing pack.

Two-goal Osman salutes 'best' win
Feb 28 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
LEON OSMAN hailed Everton's Villa Park victory as their best performance of the season after his two goals had helped move David Moyes' men eight points clear of Liverpool. The 23-year-old claimed two closerange efforts either side of a header from an inspired Tim Cahill as the Merseysiders cemented their hold on the final Champions League place with a superb win in the Midlands. And Osman said: "It was something we knew we were capable of and we showed out on the pitch that we could do it. It was maybe the best performance of the season - every single member of our team was concentrated on the game today and performed to their potential. "We showed we could have scored more goals. Our passing was good, our movement was good, and like I say it could have been more. We know each other's games as a team, and you know when to run when someone's got the ball. It's all about knowing when each other plays. "We realised how big a game it was for us on Saturday and by winning it we have put ourselves eight points above Liverpool. Our aim is to finish as high as we can, getting as many points as we can and hopefully we can keep on doing it." Middlesbrough's home draw against Charlton completed an excellent weekend for Everton, who had claimed just one win in five going into the match. And Osman paid tribute to the returning Australian Cahill, who set up both his fellow midfielder's goals. "It was a great bit of play from Tim and he set both my goals up, so I have got a lot to thank him for," he commented.

"The first one was a cross and I just managed to sneak in at the back post and the second, I just found myself in the middle of the goal, gave the keeper the eyes and sent him the wrong way.
"Tim is a fantastic player and you might say we missed him last week. "We probably did. He was outstanding all game. "He deservedly got his goal and he has certainly shown what he is capable of producing." And he insisted: "We are not really looking as far as the Champions League just yet, we're looking at each game as it comes and trying to amass as many games as we can and see where we finish."

Happy omen may be just 'Champion!'
Feb 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE last time Everton celebrated a league win at Villa Park, they as good as clinched their last Championship. Only six games remained after Kevin Sheedy's rising drive secured a streaky 1-0 win against an Aston Villa side soon to be relegated, and Howard Kendall's Everton originals were far too good to be caught. Eighteen years later, another prize containing the word Champions is on offer. And while there are still 10 games to go, and Saturday's stunningly comprehensive stroll may not yet have clinched Champions League qualification, it has certainly restored a sense of what might be around Goodison Park again. Just when Everton looked to be running out of steam and ideas, they produced a juggernaut of a performance at a ground where they have regularly struggled.
The 3-1 scoreline does scant justice to a display which could have yielded a 6-1 or 7-1 demolition.
Count the chances which didn't go in - Bent, Kilbane, Osman, Bent again and Cahill - and you get some approximation of the visitors' dominance. And it may not be mere coincidence that a restoration of the formation and most of the personnel which took Everton into unexpected European contention produced a display not seen away from Goodison since the stirring success at Carrow Road. Swop Mikel Arteta for Thomas Gravesen and you have exactly the same formation and lineup as the pre-Christmas Blues - and it sparkled. Tim Cahill, benefiting from a week's enforced absence, was magnificent - a controlling, prompting, authoritative figure in the heart of midfield, while Marcus Bent was almost back to his best. Where that now leaves James Beattie is uncertain - on the sidelines next weekend, in any case, if Everton produce another display and result against Blackburn half as good as this one. David Moyes can't possibly consider a recall. But that's the kind of problem the Blues' boss would have welcomed before kick-off on Saturday. It's a long time since Everton have been to Villa Park chasing a prize with a Champions tag attached. But this one looks just as achievable as the last time.

Blues beat rivals to young Cambridge keeper
Feb 28 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have held off competition from Manchester United and Arsenal to secure the signing of goalkeeper John Ruddy from Cambridge United. The Blues have agreed an undisclosed fee for the 18-yearold and he will move to Goodison in the summer when the transfer window re-opens.
Ruddy has been the U's first choice keeper all season since keeping a clean sheet and saving a penalty in his debut against Leyton Orient on the final day of last season. He was called into the England Under-19s squad for the first time earlier this season and has become a firm favourite with fans at the League Two club. He has agreed a two-year deal with the Blues which will keep him at Goodison until 2007. And he is expected to spend two days a week training with Everton goalkeeping coach Chris Woods at Bellefield between now and the end of the season. As well as Arsenal and Manchester United, Ruddy had attracted interest from Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Wigan.

Martyn cool on talk of Europe
Feb 28 2005 Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN has insisted talk of Champions League football has been banished from the Everton dressing room despite David Moyes' side now being firm favourites to clinch a top four Barclays Premiership spot. Everton's emphatic 3-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday, with the aid of two goals from Leon Osman, means they will enter the final quarter of the campaign eight points clear of Liverpool who have only one game in hand. The Merseysiders continue to defy the doubters who are waiting for them to crack after the loss of first Wayne Rooney and then Thomas Gravesen. The way they demolished Villa, a side with their own aspirations of securing a top six finish, was strong evidence that Everton will last the pace. But Martyn, who has just signed a new one-year contract extension, is adamant that playing against the cream of Europe is still a dream which is firmly on the back-burner. He said: "It is too early to say whether we can last the distance. We'd like to think we could but there is still such a long way to go really. "An eight-point advantage is nice to have but there are a lot of games and points to play for and we could very easily slip up. Noone is thinking of Champions League football. "We've just got to make sure we keep playing well and if we keep doing that then we have got a chance. We've got jobs to do and everyone tries to do them right. "People ask if we achieve Champions League football, how high would it rank for me in my career but I'm not looking that far ahead. "That's something you do once you have achieved it and we haven't achieved anything yet. The important thing is to prepare right for the next game against Blackburn and we won't look beyond that. "You can't afford to contemplate what you might achieve. You've really got to stay focused on what you are trying to do and not let your eye get taken off the ball."
The return from suspension of Tim Cahill and the fine form of onloan newcomer Mikel Arteta gave Everton a fluency in midfield which they never looked like relinquishing. Martyn said: "With the way we passed the ball around I would have said it was the performance of the season at Villa. "I thought our midfield was awesome - not just the passing but the movement off the ball was superb and we created some great chances. "Tim Cahill coming back madea big difference. He had a great game. I thought Mikel Arteta was excellent but all five of them were in the middle. "You are asking for seven out of 10 performances this time of the year and I think the five of them gave us an eight or a nine out of 10. "Tim has been fantastic this season and if there is more to come, then it will be brilliant. I think Tim doesn't play with any fear. He has carried on playing the same way he played for Millwall.
"The Premiership can be daunting but he has taken it into his stride. He scores goals, he works really hard, he is a good passer of the ball. He is everything you need in a midfielder. "He is quite a laid-back sort of character, a typical Australian you could say, but he has got a desire and a will to win that is obvious to everyone." Villa manager David O'Leary described his side's performance as the worst in his two years in charge and admits his side have to fire on all cylinders to compete in the Premiership. He said: "Every game is hard for us. We are a team not of individuals. We are a team of a good honest bunch of lads. "We've got to play as a team. We haven't got a Thierry Henry who can do a bit of magic. All of us have got to be at it together. That's our strength. "We are a mid-table team who can either drop down from tenth to 12th or go up to sixth like last season if we get some results, but to get that we've got to be all together, working hard. "We can't carry anyone and we can't depend on someone to produce an individual piece of magic. It's a team thing and the whole team had a bad day."

Moyes delight at Everton's character
Feb 28 2005 By David Prior, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES was delighted his side had shown the character to hit back after conceding an equaliser just seconds into the second half. Nolberto Solano levelled Leon Osman's opener 17 seconds after the break, but Everton quickly regrouped and went back in front through Tim Cahill before sealing victory through Osman's second. And Moyes said: "It was destroying to be standing there and watch us lose a goal from the kick-off. "Sometimes you worry that the home team have had a rollicking from the manager and then they have the crowd behind them but we just got the ball down and we played football." He added: "We played really well today and the players are due an awful lot of credit. They knew it was a big game and it was a big task to win here because Aston Villa have a good home record. I thought the football we played was composed and relaxed."
Moyes hailed new signing Mikel Arteta, who put on an excellent display as part of Everton's commanding five-man midfield. "I thought Mikel Arteta was really good today. He did a great job and he's a lot stronger than people give him credit for," added the Scot. "Overall, he has come in and I think he'll help us because I've been looking for a blend and a balance in midfield." Nigel Martyn meanwhile insisted talk of Champions League football had been banished from the Everton dressing room. The veteran keeper, who has just signed a new one-year contract extension, is adamant that playing against the cream of Europe is still firmly on the backburner. He said: "It is too early to say whether we can last the distance. We'd like to think we could but there is still such a long way to go really. An eight-point advantage is nice to have but there are a lot of games and points to play for and we could very easily slip up. No-one is thinking of Champions League football."

This form can secure fourth spot - Yobo
Feb 28 2005 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO believes Everton will not be caught in fourth place if they maintain the form which saw them demolish Aston Villa. The Blues recorded their first victory at Villa Park in 18 years with Saturday's 3-1 triumph. It extended Everton's lead over the chasing pack in the race for the Champions League to eight points with 10 games remaining. "If we keep playing like we did on Saturday it will be very tough for anyone to beat us," Yobo admitted. "Keep playing like that and we will keep picking up the points we need to achieve what we want to achieve at the end of the season. "If we finished in fourth position it would be a massive boost. We don't want to let it slip like we did two seasons ago and so we just need to keep taking points. "We are taking it step by step. "Saturday was a massive three points for us. It is probably our best performance of the season because we should have been four or five ahead of them. "We had lost back-toback games against Manchester United and Chelsea and so we were looking forward to this game. We wanted to prove people wrong and show we were capable of bouncing back from those results. "And it is a massive boost because we have been able to move eight points ahead of Liverpool. "But there is still a long way to go. We are not thinking about them that much, we are just thinking about ourselves and taking it game by game." Leon Osman gave the Blues a 1-0 half-time advantage. But it didn't reflect Everton's dominance. And when Nolberto Solano equalised less than 20 seconds into the second period the alarm bells began to ring. But Yobo added: "It says a lot about our character and spirit that we came back to score straight after they equalised. We showed bouncebackability to get another goal. "From then we were on top of the game. The spirit is unbelievable here."
Osman, who added his second of the afternoon to make it 3-1 midway through the second half, rates it as the best performance of the campaign. He said: "It was something we knew we were capable of. It was maybe the best performance of the season - every single member of our team was concentrated and performed to their potential. Our passing was good, our movement was good and it could have been more. It is all about knowing when each other plays. "Our aim is to finish as high as we can." Both Osman and Yobo reserved special praise for Man of the Match Tim Cahill.
Yobo said: "Tim is one of those players in the midfield who is hard to pick up. He just moves all around and he finds space. "He has been a big player for us this season and having him back to get forward and score goals helped us on Saturday." Osman added: "He set both my goals up, so I have a lot to thank him for. Tim is a fantastic player and you might say we missed him last week."

Life of Blues legend Dixie in his own words
Feb 28 2005 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TO mark the anniversary of Dixie Dean's death we are kicking off a series of excerpts from the great man's life story. This week's series is unique as it is told by the man himself! Millions of words have been written about the life and deeds of William Ralph Dean - the greatest goalscorer English football has ever seen. 'Dixie Dean Uncut - The Greatest Story Ever Told', is a new book launched tomorrow, containing the most in-depth, meticulous interview Dean ever gave. First published in the summer of 1970, the original transcript of the interviews was believed to have been lost forever. The tale of how Dean's epic story was rediscovered is almost as dramatic as some of the player's own feats. Former Echo journalist Michael Charters, now sadly deceased, sat down with Dean many times during the Spring of 1970 to plan his life story. Charters typed up the interviews verbatim, from which an incredible 18-part series was produced which ran throughout the summer of 1970.
Back in the days when the Echo was a broadsheet newspaper, the articles filled two pages every week for more than four months! The cuttings were carefully filed away in the Echo library, but the original manuscript of the interview was thought to have been lost. Then former Echo Sports Editor Ken Rogers, now the Executive Editor of Trinity Sports Media, was researching the Echo archives fora book project last year, when he discovered the original manuscript - perfectly preserved. "It was like finding the dead sea scrolls," he enthused. "I was digging around in one of our many archive store rooms when I stumbled across them, probably where Michael Charters last lay them down 35 years ago! "With the anniversary of the great man's death looming, I realised this gave us a wonderful opportunity to continue the memory of his achievements in the form of a book, which we have now completed." 'Dixie Dean Uncut' goes on sale today, priced £4.99.



















































































February 2005