Everton 2 Man City 2
January 01, 2003
Manchester Evening Post
MANCHESTER City suffered last minute heartache as Tomasz Radzinski headed in a last minute leveller for the Toffemen at Goodison Park. City reacted well to falling behind to Steve Watson's opener with the brilliant Nicolas Anelka and Marc Vivien Foe firing them into the lead. But with another three point away-day haul within sight, Li Tie sent in a dangerous cross that substitute Radzinski powered past Peter Schmeichel. The match had been billed as a battle between Li Tie and City's Sun Jihai ' a pairing that would be watched by an estimated 300 million in China ' but it was the battle of the forwards that was more interesting. In Wayne Rooney, Everton have a player who at 17 is already billed as the future of English football. In Nicolas Anelka, City have the finished article.
In full flow
Despite being deemed surplus to France's requirements, there are surely few better sights in football than City's forward playing to his potential. Rooney's clever through ball on seven minutes set Watson clear to fire the opener, but from there on in it was all Anelka. With no natural attacking partner, Anelka was charged with being a one-man attack and so effective was his performance that he kept an entire back four occupied throughout. Seemingly keen to shake off a tag as a selfish player, he is turning into the complete player and an early pass to Shaun Wright Phillips was testament to his skills. If only it had been the other way round, City would surely have levelled there and then, but the England Under 21 star fired over. No matter as Anelka turned goal poacher on 33 minutes. Ali Benarbia, probably the only City player on the pitch truly on the forward's wavelength, hit a delightful chip that Richard Wright could only palm straight to Anelka to level with his 10th of the season. Rooney fired a brief riposte, first skipping past Richard Dunne to cause panic in City's defence and then heading wide from a corner.
Half time changes
Everton were forced to bring Lee Carsley on for Joeph Yobo and Radzinski for Kevin Campbell at the break and the changes affected their rhythm. Benarbia had a great chance to score on 52 minutes when played in by Wright-Phillips only to fire wide with the goal gaping. Anelka continued to threaten and after Foe had fired over, he got across his marker to flick a header narrowly off target.
Foe has also been in prolific form of late and he got his reward for numerous surges forward with a goal on 82 minutes. The Cameroon international is on a season long loan from Lens, but his header from Jihai's cross to make it six goals in as many games will surely have helped persuade boss Kevin Keegan of his long term importance. A place in Europe would help Keegan as he looks for funds to build his squad and a win over Everton would have added to a growing belief that the Blues can finish in the top six, but with time running out Radzinski popped up to spoil New Year's Day for one half of Manchester
KK delighted despite draw
January 02, 2003
Manchester Evening News
KEVIN Keegan shrugged off the disappointment of losing two valuable points to an injury-time equaliser at Goodison Park, safe in the knowledge that his side has had a decent holiday period.
"We did enough to win the game even though we didn't start well and for half an hour we were as poor as we have been for a while," he said. "Once we got the ball down and passed we played some good football and looked the more likely side to win it. To be fair to David Moyes and his side they never stopped believing and wanting to get the ball forward and wanting to try and score and they did it. "Everton are not fifth in the table because they have been lucky, they are fifth because they resilient, full of character and self-belief. We made them dig very deep but I am sure they will count themselves lucky to have got back in the game. "We showed that we can go anywhere and play anybody and, given that bit of luck that you always need, get a result. "We have desire and character. It is a measure of how far we have come that we are disappointed to start the new year with a draw at a side that began the day in fourth spot."
Everton 2, Man City 2 (D, Post)
Jan 2 2003 By Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
AROUND 300 million people tuned into this contest from China yesterday. Only a handful would know how Everton managed to leave it with a point. On the rocks and seemingly on the way to their first defeat in five games, the Blues' place amongst the Premiership elite was looking even more fragile as injury time against Manchester City entered its final minute. But after a year in which David Moyes has inspired the most remarkable recovery in Everton's recent fortunes it would have been remiss to think there would be no more once 2003 began. With Li Tie determined not to be upstaged by compatriot Sun Jihai in front of the remarkable TV audience in the Orient, the Blues always had a joker to play even if it seemed the Christmas stalemates that have slowed their progress were heading for history. This was a game of the unexpected, the Blues' bright opening giving way to a tepid dis-play and the once subdued City storming in front, and when Steve Watson launched one last desperate hoof up field there was one final shock in store. The Chinese midfielder not only turned centre-forward but beat Steve Howey in the air. Tomasz Radzinski glanced the loose ball home and a stunned Goodison crowd found themselves back in the Champions League placings. They may only have been there for three hours, but in getting back into the top four Everton showed all the qualities they'll need to stay there: gathering points through sheer determination when their football goes astray. As an ashen-faced Kevin Keegan said: "Fair-dos to Everton. They kept going and got a reward that over 90 minutes they possibly didn't deserve, but maybe they did deserve something for their refusal to lay down." The early signs were that it was going to be Everton's day anyway - and that was without the first customary piece of magic from Wayne Rooney. After their recent brushes with the law the last thing the Blues needed was a referee as controversial as Andy D'Urso, as the groans around Goodison testified when his name was read out before kick-off. Moyes was probably joining in too, but any fears he'd have to spend another afternoon showing TV replays to Alan Wiley took up the reins for the rest of the game, with Everton already in the lead and looking comfortable for their first win of the festive season. A bright, high-tempo opening by the home side was just what Moyes had demanded following two below-par performances over Christmas and before Manchester City had put a pass together they swept in front on just six minutes. At the heart of the breakthrough was, of course, Rooney. Twisting on an infield pass he spun away from two City markers effortlessly, opening up a chasm in the middle of the visiting defence which he pierced with a superb through-ball for Steve Watson.
Quite what Watson, given his first Premiership start of the season, was doing springing the offside trap in the centre-forward's role no-one knows. But having joked about taking Rooney's place up front when his lengthy suspension kicks in he showed it might not have been an idle boast after all with a blistering finish low past Peter Schmeichel. Even after falling behind so quickly there was no response from City as Everton dominated, Alan Stubbs and David Weir easily shackling the visitors' attack and Li Tie running the midfield in one of his best Premiership performances. The pattern remained exactly the same for the opening half hour as the Blues sought only to add to their lead rather than protect it. Then, completely out of the blue, City suddenly emerged from their shell to cut swathes through the Everton midfield and defence in a brief, five-minute period and got themselves back on level terms. Skipper Ali Benarbia began finding space and conjuring up gifts for Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips, although his generosity was bettered by Blues keeper Richard Wright when the Algerian skipped past Watson and floated the ball across his goal. Wright was caught at full-stretch as he tried to catch the danger and proceeded to drop the ball at the feet of Anelka, who tucked home the invitation from four yards out. Benarbia almost caught Everton cold at the start of the second half as Moyes' side had to come to terms with two enforced changes at the break, Kevin Campbell and Joseph Yobo succumbing to ankle and thigh injuries respectively.
City were showing far more invention around the area than their hosts, and a slick one-two between Bernarbia and Wright-Phillips should have given them the lead on 51 minutes only for the midfielder to shoot past Wright and inches past the far post. Without the "warrior" Campbell - as Moyes called him - to hold up play Everton became over-reliant on hit-and-hope balls to Rooney and Radzinski, he main result being to gift City possession far too cheaply as Keegan's side looked increasingly dangerous. After Radzinski had latched onto Watson's fine pass and nicked the ball beyond Schmeichel but out of play, Marc-Vivien Foe should have given City the lead in the 69th minute.
Apoor pass by Li Tie forced Wright to make a brave save at the feet of Wright-Phillips, but the ball fell to the Cameroon midfielder on the edge of the box and Goodison looked on aghast. Mercifully, his 18-yard chip towards an empty net landed inches over the bar. And 10 minutes from time Everton once again benefited from Foe's misfortune in front of goal. A miscued shot by Wright-Phillips across the face of the goal cannoned off Foe's knee, but wide. Within a minute though, it was a case of third-time lucky as he gave City the lead. The fact that it was thoroughly deserved said everything about Everton's rapid decline during the contest. Another polished break by the visitors pulled the Blues' defence out of shape and when the ball was worked out to Sun on the right they were left badly exposed in the middle. An inch-perfect cross by the other Chinese superstar on dis-play got the header it deserved from Foe and Everton were behind. There were still nine minutes remaining but such was the lack of promise in the Blues' display many headed for the exits. But that's always a dangerous game to play and by the time those fans had reached their cars, the dreaded wall of noise that announces they've missed something special was heading their way.
Rooney ban setback as Blues sneak draw
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 2 2003
DAVID MOYES' relief at pinching a point off Manchester City was short-lived yesterday after Wayne Rooney's ban stretched to four games. The Everton star collected his fifth booking of the season as Tomasz Radzinski's injury-time header rescued a point for the below-par Blues at Goodison Park.
On top of a three-match suspension for the Boxing Day tackle on Birmingham's Steve Vickers, it means Saturday's FA Cup date with Shrewsbury will be Rooney's final appearance until February.
The striker was booked for a foul on Marc-Vivien Foe after riding out a bad tackle by the same player. And Moyes, who believes Rooney's reputation is now going before him, said: "I thought it was a foul against Wayne initially and yet he's the one who ends up getting booked. You get less for murder." Recalled Steve Watson had given Moyes' men a sixth-minute lead only for City to strike back through Nicolas Anelka and Foe as Everton faded badly. But with seconds remaining substitute Radzinski grabbed his seventh of the season to give Everton a fourth successive draw. Moyes, who lost Joseph Yobo and Kevin Campbell at half-time through injury, admitted: "After Bolton I was disappointed because we deserved to win and didn't get the result. Now there is relief at getting a point when it looked like the game was going away from us. "There has been a bug sweeping the club over the last week. I've had it, my staff have had it and so have a few play-ers like Alessandro Pistone and Mark Pembridge, who was able to play on. Plus we were carrying a couple of injuries. But they are not excuses for why we didn't play well today. "There are a few players off colour at the moment. A few have dipped in form recently but they've got to keep believing and try and hang on in there. That's what happened when we grabbed the equaliser. Li Tie had given a big contribution and then won a great header which Tommy bravely headed in in front of Peter Schmeichel." He added: "I thought we had weathered most of what Manchester City could throw at us in the second half, although they were the better side, but even so a few players were out of sorts."
Everton 2, Man City 2 (Echo)
Jan 2 2003 by David Prentice at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
LI TIE has yet to score a goal for his adoptive Everton - but he managed a touch yesterday which might prove to be the most celebrated moment in Goodison history. With 365 million Chinese viewers eagerly tuning into Everton's clash with Manchester City, plus 40-odd thousand despairing Scousers just about managing to stay tuned in, he provided the telling touch which allowed Tomasz Radzinski to steal a scarcely deserved draw for the Blues. New Year's Day traditionally kicks off with a hangover, and Everton endured a real stinker yesterday. But the character and the never-saydie attitude David Moyes has instilled in his squad ensured they claimed a fourth successive draw with a 93rd minute goal. The only disappointment was that so many Evertonians missed it. Moyes has remained blissfully unaware of the Goodison phenomenon known as the Park End dash. An increasingly common occurrence in recent years, the spark was always an opposition goal down at that end of the stadium. Those who flocked to the exits after Marc-Vivien Foe's flying header should have known better. Six times this season Everton have scored in the closing 10 minutes Almost 93 minutes had elapsed when Steve Watson hoofed a hopeful long ball straight down the middle of the park -"a good old fashioned Fourth Division goal" Kevin Keegan later called it.
Li Tie leaped to apply a significant head-on from the edge of the penalty area, and Tomasz Radzinski accelerated explosively to head the ball beyond the stranded Schmeichel. Everton have diligently clawed their way up the Premiership table since September. But in recent weeks there have been signs that the industry and the effort which got them there is being undermined by depleted resources. Injury and suspension has savaged the Blues' squad this month, and there were further casualties yesterday. Kevin Campbell gamely shrugged off his weekend ankle injury to maintain his ever-present record. But he lasted only until half- time before he succumbed. Joseph Yobo joined him for an early shower, a knee injury the problem, and by the 55th minute Everton had used all three substitutes. There was even the inevitable ban - on a day when only one Everton player was booked. Wayne Rooney was cautioned for a retaliatory tackle, after Foe had escaped censure for an equally illegal challenge on the youngster. It was Rooney's fifth booking of the season. Happily, however, the referee for the final 75 minutes was Alan Wiley. It has been four years since Andy d'Urso made his entrance onto a Premiership stage, with a flurry of yellow cards at Pride Park and an absurdly early and unjust sending-off of Richard Dunne. It took him barely a minute to show that in all that time he has improved not one iota. It was Dunne who poked a Rooney cross behind for what should have been a corner. A goal kick was the verdict. Then he ignored Jensen's illegal challenge on Steve Watson. Fortunately d'Urso's fitness was just as fallible and he was replaced by the more reliable Wiley with the game only 14 minutes old. By then Everton had already chiselled out a lead, and predictably Rooney was a pivotal figure. Even on a quiet afternoon for him personally, he made a significant impact. Dropping deep to collect possession, he wheeled and watched City back-off apprehensively anticipating a trademark burst with the ball. Instead Rooney showed he has the vision to go with his explosive striking talents and he picked out Steve Watson with a precise pass.
Watson killed the ball instantly, turned and crashed a sweetly-driven daisy- cutter into the corner of Schmeichel's goal. It was the high point of an excellent afternoon for Watson. He had been eager to prove he can perform in midfield all season, but has been denied by injury. Yobo's enforced departure meant he had to revert to right-back at half-time, but before then he made a number of prominent surges down the right flank. Strangely, his goal did little to lift either Everton or the subdued fans. Little of note happened in either goal-mouth, until Ali Benarbia darted to the Blues' byline and cut back a cross which tempted Richard Wright, but was marginally too high for him to collect. The 'keeper juggled the ball unconvincingly and it fell neatly for Anelka to apply a simple side-footed finish. After the break City were the dominant force. Shuttling the ball about crisply and neatly they conjured up a host of chances. Benarbia dragged a 12-yard shot inches wide after Wright-Phillips' back-heel had opened up space inside the Everton area, then Tie's sloppy pass let in Wright-Phillips again. Wright blocked this time and when the ball broke free Foe should have done better than lift a shot onto the roof of the net. As Everton flagged, a City goal looked increasingly likely. Wright-Phillips' cross-shot was flying wide until it struck Foe and flew inches over the bar, then Foe finally converted with a flying header. It should have been enough to secure a deserved three points for City, but the Blues rallied, inspired by Watson. He made a tackle and challenged for a header which won an 89th minute corner, then bulletted it a foot over himself from Pembridge's kick. Then another header from another corner was smothered frantically by Schmeichel on the goal-line. That was in the 92nd minute, but another 60 seconds later came a successful cavalry charge. Watson cleared, Tie touched on and Radzinski finished.
The celebrations could be heard on the other side of the world . . .
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Yobo (Carsley 45 mins), Weir, Stubbs, Naysmith, Watson, Gravesen (Gemmill 56 mins), Tie, Pembridge, Campbell (Radzinski 45 mins), Rooney. Unused subs: McLeod, Baardsen.
MANCHESTER CITY (3-5-2): Schmeichel, Dunne, Howey, Distin, Sun, Horlock, Benarbia, Foe, Jensen, Anelka (Huckerby 81 mins), Wright-Phillips. Unused subs: Wiekens, Goater, Mettomo, Nash.
Referee: Andy d'Urso (Alan Wiley 14 mins).
Bookings: Jensen (34 mins) foul, Rooney (57 mins) foul, Horlock (90 mins) foul.
Goals: Watson (5 mins) 1-0, Anelka (32 mins) 1-1, Foe (82 mins) 1-2, Radzinski (93 mins) 2-2.
Man of the Match: Steve Watson.
McBride flies in to bolster Everton attack
Jan 2 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WORLD Cup forward Brian McBride landed in Merseyside today to help solve Everton's looming striker crisis. And Egyptian defender Ibrahim Said is set to follow. Blues' boss David Moyes has swooped to bolster his squad after the frantic festive fixture list left him short of numbers. McBride, the 30-year-old forward who has scored at the last two World Cup tournaments, arrived at Bellefield this morning. Paperwork finalising a short-term loan deal will be completed today and a work permit application will be lodged tomorrow. Successful resolution of both would see McBride available for duty at Tottenham next Sunday. The Blues will also apply for a work permit for Said today, but he will not fly in until next week. McBride will be an Everton player until April 5, when he will return for Columbus Crew's nationally televised opening match of the new MLS season against Los Angeles. Any swoop for Celtic midfielder Colin Healy, however, may remain on ice. Celtic boss Martin O'Neill said yesterday: "I wouldn't be prepared to let any of my top players go out on-loan at the moment. "The fact is Colin has six months left on his contract and he has been injured for the last couple of weeks and might well have figured before now. "I know that Colin wants to play in somebody's first team and he had that good spell at Coventry which opened his eyes. "But if nothing develops with Colin in terms of someone buying him in January, then I certainly won't loan him out." Everton would be forced to pay a fee if they wanted Healy before the end of the season.
There has been no contact from Paris St Ger-main regarding on-loan midfielder Alex Nyarko.
The French club has until January 19 to declare an interest in signing the player permanently for up to £3m, but regardless of any interest, Nyarko will remain in France until the end of the season.
David Moyes gave his entire first team squad the day off today, in a bid to prevent a bug which swept Bellefield earlier this week claiming more victims. "We did have a bug going through the club last week," he said after yesterday's game. "Pistone was hit by it and Pembridge played even though he had it. "Yobo has a knee injury and Kevin Campbell a recurrence of his ankle injury, but neither look too bad. Gary Naysmith had a dead arm but had to carry on. " There were quite a few players who were out of sorts, but I have said 'great stuff' to them." Wayne Rooney collected a fifth booking of the season and will have a further one-match ban on top of the three he was already set to miss. But he will be available for Saturday's trip to Shrewsbury, still on despite floods in the Midlands yesterday.
Jan 2 2003 Liverpool Echo
What should Everton's New Year resolution be? BRIAN LAWLOR: To be back in Europe - where a club of our stature belongs MOST importantly, we must continue to nurture the progress of Wayne Rooney, perhaps giving him a regular place in the starting 11 before the season is out. He is probably ready now, but I still favour the more cautious approach taken by David Moyes. We must ensure that this season's great start does not go to waste and that we get one of the European places which we have every right to fill. Playing European football next season would be a totally unexpected bonus and be great for the fans and the club. To be back in Europe is where a club of our stature belongs, as we all know the luck we've had in Europe. Moyes must continue to take us forward next season. In doing so, we must lose some of the dead wood knocking around the squad. Improving the midfield area has to be our priority. For once, we can be totally positive at what the next year holds for the Blues.
JENNIFER THOMAS: It looks like we're going to be in for a rough time scoring wise WELL, I'd say it was to score more goals. If you look at the Premiership table, everyone above us and a few below have a much better goal difference. We are not conceding too many, which is fantastic and shows that Richard Wright is doing a brilliant job, but on the other hand we are not scoring too many. Radzinski misses too many sitters and if wonder kid Wayne scored every time he created an opportunity then we would have a goal difference as high as Big Dunc's injury list. But with Wayne's ban looming and Campbell's sudden injury, it looks like we're going to be in for a rough time scoring wise. So this is where the defence has to step in. If for a few weeks we're not scoring goals then we have to be careful not to concede them either. Then when we come through our rough patch, we can concentrate on increasing our goal difference. But at the moment our 'Dogs Of War' style play is paying off. We are battling for games up until the last minute.
It should not be a case of whether to invest in a stadium or the team - do both.
FIRSTLY, Everton must keep David Moyes at the club. Secondly, consistency is vital and something we have mainly had this season, but obviously we will need to keep it going throughout the whole year. Thirdly, a bit of shooting practice might be in order, if we are going to have a resolution of scoring more goals. Take note Tomasz Radzinski. Finally, a resolution for all Everton fans and the Board should be to back the Kings Dock stadium. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, as £30m for a stadium of this quality is such good value it's not true. It should not be a case of whether to invest in a stadium or the team, both have to be done, as David Moyes does not expect to be handed £30 million for team re-building and Everton can not afford to do that. The future of the club is in David Moyes and Wayne Rooney, but to ensure Everton have top flight football for another 100 years the future is investing in the club's infrastructure.
ANGELA DILLON: The respect we are now getting on and off the pitch in unbelievable EVERTON'S New Year's resolution should be to carry on doing everything they have been doing since March.
Nobody at the club has put a foot wrong since David Moyes took over. The respect we are now getting on and off the pitch in unbelievable. This time last year I would have answered by saying we should resolve to stay in the Premier League. Now Europe is a realistic aim. The play-ers' resolution should be to carry on learning and showing great desire to play for Everton, even those not in the team. They are so near to achieving our dream of playing European football again. Rooney's resolution is hopefully to join the priesthood with the under-standing that we need him on match days. I'm sure David Moyes in his wildest dreams never imagined we would make so much progress so soon and I'm sure he will be determined to make us even better in 2003. If the players and fans keep responding, we will all hopefully be finding our passports.
Old boy eyeing fresh Cup glory
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
Jan 3 2003
KEVIN RATCLIFFE does not need to be told about the magic of the FA Cup. The 42-year-old former Everton defender wrote his name into the competition's record books back in 1984 when he skippered the Blues to victory over Watford in the final and became the youngest man to do so since Bobby Moore 23 years before. Ratcliffe also experienced the bitter taste of defeat at Wembley in the following two seasons as first 10-man Manchester United and then Merseyside rivals Liverpool denied him further winners' medals. But while no-one can ever take those days beneath the famous Twin Towers away from the Welshman, it is the romance of the world's oldest and most celebrated club competition which will occupy his mind tomorrow. As manager of Division Three outfit Shrewsbury, Ratcliffe's realistic ambitions in this year's FA Cup may not extend as far as the lush green turf of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, but the third round draw has handed him his very own final. A 3-1 victory over UniBond League out-fit Barrow at Gay Meadow on December 7 set pulses racing in Shropshire as boss, players and supporters alike kept their fingers crossed for a big name. But for Ratcliffe, it could hardly have come any bigger when Everton, the club he represented with such distinction during a stay lasting almost 14 years, were handed the trip down the M6. The manager's reaction was remarkably calm: "It's a good draw for us," he said. "We wanted one of the big boys and we've got one." But he conceded: "It's obviously special for me because of my links with the club. The draws have been good for us this season and we're at home again, so it should be a great occasion for the club and our fans." On paper, Everton - one of this season's Premiership successes - should have little trouble negotiating a tricky but eminently winnable tie, even in the third division outfit's own backyard. However, the history of the competition is littered with too many giant-killing acts to allow former Shrewsbury defender David Moyes even to contemplate any relaxation, and that will be a message Ratcliffe will hammer home to his players as they prepare for their big day. Asked if his side could spring a surprise, the Everton old boy replied: "I can't see why not. It is a cup game and anything can happen. "Obviously there might be a slight bit of nervousness on their side because there is a potential banana skin in there. It is a nice tie for the club." A little under-stated, perhaps, but there is no doubting Ratcliffe's excitement as he prepares to lock horns with the club which brought him so much success. The accomplished defender made his senior Everton debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford in 1980 under Gordon Lee, but it was not until late 1982 that he became a fixture in Howard Kendall's side. His honours make impressive reading - two league titles and a European Cup Winners' Cup success to go with his FA Cup winners' medal, as well as 58 caps for Wales - but it could have been even more. The ban on English clubs imposed in the wake of the Heysel Stadium tragedy denied Kendall's side the chance to test themselves in the European Cup, and by the time the sanction was lifted, the great side of the mid-1980s was on the wane. Ratcliffe left Goodison Park in 1992 in for Scottish club Dundee and had brief spells with Cardiff City, Nottingham Forest and Derby County before accepting his first job in management with Chester City, but he will always enjoy legendary status in the blue half of Merseyside for his partnerships with Derek Mountfield and Dave Watson.
However, all that will be a distant, if fond, memory when he sends his troops into battle tomorrow intent on breaking the hearts of the blue and white legions which cheered him on for all those years.
Ratcliffe arrived at Gay Meadow in November 1999 after Jake King's reign came to an end and guided them to safety that season when a 2-1 final day win over Exeter ensured survival and ironically condemned Chester to the Conference. Things have gradually improved since - Town finished 15th in 2000-01 and ninth last season, although Wednesday's 5-1 hammering at Rushden and Diamonds left them sitting 18th in the Division Three table. But for a few days at least, it will be thoughts of Everton and a potential cup shock which will fuel the dreams of Shropshire's optimists, and that would delight no-one more than one of Goodison's favourite sons.
McEveley poised for stardom
By Martyn Ziegler, Daily Post
Jan 3 2003
EVERTON may have one 17-year-old grab-bing all the headlines but they must be wondering about another talented teenager who slipped through their grasp. Like Wayne Rooney, the player he used to mark in training during six years as an Everton schoolboy, James McEveley is 17, a boyhood Everton fan, hugely gifted and with the brightest of futures. But it is Ewood Park rather than Goodison where McEveley is fast making a name for himself as one of the most exciting young defenders in the country. Black-burn's manager Graeme Souness, not someone who over-eggs the pudding about a player, put his feelings succinctly when he said: "I think we have won the Lottery with him." McEveley was outstanding in Blackburn's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough on Wednesday despite playing out of position at l e ft-back. He favours central defence, but his pace and bal l skills mean he can adapt - so much so that he even hit the crossbar with a fierce swerving shot from 25 yards. It was all dream-like for McEveley, who left Everton two years ago after they would not give him a full-time contract. McEveley, who has already rejected overtures from Scotland to play for them instead of England, said: "I'm an Everton fan and had been at the club since I was nine but when I was 15, it was our last year at school, and they were giving out the fulltime contracts they didn't give me one then as they said they hadn't decided. "Walter Smith was the manager then but I think the decision was down to the youth coaches Colin Harvey and Alan Harper. "My dad went to see the academy director and he came home and said 'you are not going to like this' and told me what they said. I wanted to leave straight away. It was mainly my decision, and my dad just said he would stick by me. "I didn't have any other options. I just wanted someone to believe in me, to say 'he's going to be a player'." Fortunately for McEveley, his potential had been noted by a Blackburn scout and when his dad Jimmy told them he was available, he invited him for a week's trial.
That culminated in him playing in a 2-0 win against Manchester United's Under-16s, immediately after which he was offered a contract. Things moved swiftly on to this season where he suddenly found him-self thrust into the first team and made his Premiership home debut on Wednesday.
McEveley said: "I was just trying to make myself a regular in the reserve team but my coach said keep plugging away and you never know. I came on against Walsall in the Worthington Cup and it has just gone on from there. "I prefer playing at centre-back but I like the freedom of going forward from left-back. You don't get to make runs much at centre-back. "I enjoyed the game against Middlesbrough and I couldn't believe it when I hit the bar. I knew I hit it well and I just thought 'why didn't it just go in'." Souness is wary of his young star getting "a big head" but McEveley insists there is no danger of that. interested in football." As for comparisons with Wayne Rooney, McEveley is insistent they don't exist - and he knows Everton's starlet as well as most.
He added: "I played with Wayne Rooney all the six years I was there. I used to mark him a lot in training and he was good then, a natural talent and he's filled out in the last couple of years."
Souness will not find it easy to leave McEveley out of his squad again, though he knows he has to protect his player. The Blackburn manager said: "He's got a big, big future as long as he doesn't let it go to his head. "Playing in the Premiership at 17 - wow! You would give anything for that.
"You saw what he was about against Boro when he was second in a race going into the box against Geremi, caught him up and was too powerful for him - and looking at Geremi's he's a powerful player. Shoulder to shoulder he has got him off the ball. "He's 17 and he's such a wonderful, wonderful athlete that he's quite scary. Right now he has a proper attitude and as long as he doesn't get a big head he's going to be a player. "He's a wonderful specimen, a proper athlete and that's going to stand him in good stead."
Blues tie up double deal
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 3 2003
EVERTON yesterday bolstered their bid for a Champions League place by completing the loan signings of Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said. USA World Cup striker McBride, who arrived at Bellefield yesterday morning, has agreed a three-month loan deal which will enable him to return to MLS side Columbus Crew on April 5. Egyptian defender Said will have the remainder of the season to prove his worth with the Blues, who have an option to buy the 23-year-old from his club Al Ahly.
The pair are due to secure work permits next week, with Everton hopeful the paperwork will be completed in time for the visit to Tottenham a week on Sunday. McBride is likely to instantly move into first-team contention as boss David Moyes struggles with a strikeforce depleted by injury and imminent suspension. Kevin Campbell was forced off on Wednesday against Manchester City with a recurrence of an ankle injury, while Nick Chadwick and Duncan Ferguson are still injured and Wayne Rooney is facing a four-match ban. Said spent two weeks with Everton during the summer and went on their pre-season tour of Scotland playing in the games against Queens Park, Dunfermline and Hibernian, but returned to his Cairo-based club because Blues boss David Moyes had used up his transfer budget. "The loan is with a view to a purchase and Everton will have an option between his arrival and the end of the season," said his English agent Jesse Learoyd-Hill. "Ibrahim wanted to come to England because he feels it is the best place to test his skills. "He just loved the time he spent with the club in the summer. He liked the players he worked with and he seemed to have quite a rapport with the manager. "He was disappointed something wasn't sorted then but he understood the position. "The challenge of playing against top quality strikers, week-in, week-out, is what he wants. "I feel this could be a massive coup for Everton as Ibrahim is a very big star in Egypt. He is mobbed very much everywhere like one of the top young internationals in
England. "Now he is looking forward to roll-ing his sleeves up for Everton and showing what he can do." Moyes gave the first-team squad a day off yesterday in a bid to eradicate a bug which has affected numerous club staff and players.
* EVERTON'S FA Cup tie at Shrewsbury Town tomorrow is expected to go ahead, despite the floods.
Jan 3 2003 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have made their third transfer-window signing - but 18-year-old goalkeeper Iain Turner will not be considered for senior duty for some time. The Blues paid a nominal fee to Scottish Third Division Stirling Albion and the player travelled down to Bellefield today for a medical. Rated one of the brightest young goalkeepers in Scotland, Turner had a trial at Everton recently and will join the successful Youth Academy.
Rooney best since George
Jan 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SHREWSBURY assistant boss Dave Fogg has hailed Wayne Rooney as the second best player he has ever seen. But the manager himself has warned the youngster to bring his wellies to Gay Meadow tomorrow! Fogg was a youth coach at Everton when Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball, David Unsworth and Richard Dunne all But he rates Rooney as even better than that quartet. "I would have loved to have got hold of Wayne Rooney because he is something else," said Fogg. "I played against George Best in Peter Foley's Testimonial for Oxford and he was the best player I've ever seen, but Rooney is the second best. "He's got everything - pace, power and a brain and he's a hell of a prospect and is going to be frightening." Shrews boss and Everton legend Kevin Ratcliffe, however, had a warning for the 17-year-old. "If Wayne can wear wellies with six inch studs he might just get away with playing on our pitch," he joked. The banks of the River Severn run alongside Gay Meadow and heavy rain over the last few days has made the pitch heavy. But despite floods throughout the Midlands this week, the match is not in danger. Top scorer Kevin Campbell will travel with the Blues to Shropshire and will have a late fitness test on his injured ankle. "Kevin's ankle is no worse than it was on New Year's morning so we will give him every chance of making it," said Moyes. Joseph Yobo, however, looks likely to miss out with a dead leg. Tomorrow's clash pits a former Shrew, David Moyes, against one-time Toffee Kevin Ratcliffe. Moyes played 95 times for Shrewsbury between 1987 and 1990, while Kevin Ratcliffe famously made 472 appear-ances for Everton winning more medals than any other outfield player. They became friends after meeting on a Mediterannean holiday a few years ago and Ratcliffe said: "I've been chuffed to bits seeing what David's done. "Everton have been waiting for some-body to grab the club by the scruff of the neck and bring some sort of glory back. He's given Evertonians pride again." The Blues, meanwhile, have lodged a work permit application for loan signing Ibrahim Said. The Egyptian's agent, Jesse Learoyd-Hill, believes the Blues have acquired an excellent player. "I think he will quickly adapt," he said. "He is strong and talented. "He's very excited.With the permission of his club he has withdrawn from first team affairs over the past few weeks so as not to get injured. "He has been training with the reserves and the youth team as well as putting in extra time on his own - and is raring to go.
"His attitude is that he can arrive at the club and quickly prove himself worthy of a first team place.
"There have been a couple of injuries at Goodison recently and he is hopeful he will be able to show he can step straight into the breach," his agent added.
Ian on a mission
Jan 3 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IAN WOAN has supplied bullets for both Brian McBride and Kevin Campbell to fire throughout a classy career. But the Shrewsbury midfielder will be plotting the downfall of the Blues' tomorrow in a classic minnows v giants cup-tie. Woan made his name as a Nottingham Forest star of the 90s. Such was the quality of his left-foot that Everton actually tried to recruit him as a natural successor to Kevin Sheedy, but Forest refused to let go. During that era Forest proved a regular thorn in Everton's side, Woan hopes he can repeat the feat at Gay Meadow. "We used to turn Everton over regularly at the City Ground," he explained. "I've got quite a good record against them - but I've never faced them with a Third Division team before! "It will certainly be a culture shock for Everton.
"I've not seen a ground like it for getting waterlogged. When I first saw the pitch it was under a foot of water - that was on a Tuesday - and the staff told me not to worry because the game would still go ahead on the Saturday. "The river went down, the water level dropped - and it did! "The tie is a real money-spinner for Shrewsbury so they will do everything in their power to ensure it goes ahead.
"It might suit us if the pitch is heavy, although we're blowing so hot and cold at the moment it's incredible. "We lost 6-1 at Boston, bounced back to beat Bury 4-1 and then lost 5-1 at Rushden on New Year's Day. "We have a small squad and if we don't get our strongest 11 out we can't really compete in that league, but we have some good players there and in a one-off cup tie you never know." Woan is in the twilight of a career which started in the Conference with Runcorn. He cost Forest £80,000 in 1990 - and went on to prove himself one of Brian Clough's more astute signings, more than 250 appearances, amassing a collection of spectacular long-range goals along the way and winning a Division One Championship medal in 1998. Kevin Campbell was the spearhead of that Forest side - and after a transatlantic transfer in 2000 Woan then played alongside most recent Blues signing Brian McBride at Columbus Crew. "He's a really genuine foot-baller," said Woan. "A good, hard-worker both in training and on the pitch. He's an old-fashioned centre-forward, good in the air and works the channels well. "I couldn't see him and Kevin working all that well together, but he will do a good job whenever he's needed. "Kevin's better playing alongside a nippy forward like Radzinski or Rooney, because Kevin doesn't have a selfish bone in his body and will allow players like that to flourish. "He's a really honest, genuine pro and as he's already shown at Everton he can score goals." It is an ankle injury to Campbell which prompted David Moyes' move for US international McBride. "I played alongside him at Columbus Crew for four months," added Woan.
"But then I was transfered down to Miami - and then the MLS decided to fold Miami and I was left without a club. "It was then that Kevin Ratcliffe asked me if I wanted to train with Shrewsbury and I've been there all season. "He's been quality with me and I'm just enjoying still being able to play regularly at 35. "Any footballer who gets to his mid-30s just wants to keep going as long as they possibly can and I'm hoping that there's another year or two left in me yet." Evertonians will just be hoping there isn't a goal or two left in his left foot.
Too much to expect Rooney to be lone star
Jan 3 2003 FanScene by Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
HAPPY New Year. Well, probably more of a mixed emotions-type New Year, actually. Granted, at the start of the season we would all have been delighted with the prospect of starting 2003 in fifth place, but it's impossible to ignore our recent alarming dip in form. There are no such things as home bankers in the Premiership, but Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City must surely be the closest things there are for any side that has ambitions of finishing in the higher reaches of the table.
That's why the results over the holiday period, on the back of the Birmingham one, were so disappointing. We played reasonably well against Bolton, and on another day Wayne Rooney may have had a hat-trick. What was noticeable about the rest of the side in that game, though, was that no-one took advantage of the space the teenager was creating as defenders were drawn to him like angry shoppers to a Next sale. The collective responsibility that was the hallmark of David Moyes' side earlier in the season seems less in evidence as, at times, the only tactic seems to be 'give it to Rooney'. The youngster should be right up on the centre-half's shoulder, where one piece of magic will see him in on goal. Instead, he finds himself starved of service and having to drop into midfield to even get a sniff of the ball. After spending much of the year wondering if he could hold a place down in the team, it's now more of a question of just how will we get by without him while he serves this ridiculous suspension. A lot will be required of Wednesday's equalising goal-scorer Tomasz Radzinski in these forthcoming games, as it looks like the injured Kevin Campbell will be joining Rooney on the sidelines. David Moyes is trying to bring in the American, Brian McBride, who on his World Cup performances - although we all know that they're no guarantee - looks just the sort of player we need as cover for Campbell. Colin Healy is the other one interesting the Blues and, in all honesty, he doesn't need to be any great shakes to be an improvement on our central midfielders, the way they are playing at present. Who knows though, this might be our bad spell - the one that all teams have at some stage according to the Premiership Managers' Big Book of Excuses. To ensure it is, though, we need to start performing a lot better than we have been, especially in the way we pass the ball and keep possession. A win at Shrewsbury - biblical floods permitting - is crucial to regain some of the lost confidence. With hard work and a bit more taking of responsibility there's no reason why we shouldn't go there, win comfortably and look to get back to the form that has seen us deservedly troubling the European places.
Shrewsbury 2, Everton 1 (D, Post)
Jan 6 2003 By Ian Doyle at Gay Meadow
THE cynics would have it be known the romance and magic of the FA Cup were consigned to history along with terracing and inflatable team mascots. But it would take a brave man to repeat that particular misconception to David Moyes this morning as he contemplates the most embarrassing setback of his embryonic managerial career. After the start to his Everton reign had delivered success in a measure that even the most optimistic Blues fan would have been surprised by, it was inevitable there would come a point when the encouraging highs were tempered by a few lows.
Yet no-one could have expected a defeat to a side 81 places below Everton which had shipped 11 goals in two away games over the festive period. And one managed by a former Goodison legend, too. Kevin Ratcliffe captained the Blues to three consecutive FA Cup finals in the 80s, so it was perhaps destiny that the club which provided him with such success as a player should provide him with one of his greatest moments as a manager. Nigel Jemson's 88th-minute match-winning header will go down in Cup folklore as sealing possibly the biggest shock in the competition since Wrexham defeated then champions Arsenal 11 years ago, and one of the most stunning losses in Everton's history. Moyes' men had thought they'd escaped with a draw after fighting their way back into the game with an equaliser from Niclas Alexandersson after Jemson had opened the scoring with an expertly-struck free-kick. But as sickening as the late goal was, the truth is that the Blues left a disbelieving Gay Meadow with precisely what they deserved - nothing. Despite a brief second-half rally, Everton paid the price for a worryingly sluggish start devoid of the passion and commitment which has been the bedrock of this season's success. Depressingly, cup shocks are nothing new to Blues supporters in recent years, but they have almost exclusively been the preserve of the League Cup. And after such a humiliating defeat, the post-mortem usually consists of finger-pointing, soul-searching and much banging of fists on managerial tables. Yet with the exception of one or two, none of the players were massively below par - Everton were simply beaten by the better team on the day. It will be hard to take for both the players and the supporters, not to mention Moyes himself. Yes, the Blues boss was without a number of first-team regulars, but he admitted later that could not be used as an excuse. Premiership side - and one challenging for a Champions League place, remember - should not be losing to a side seven places off the bottom of the Football League.
But take nothing away from Shrewsbury. They were superb in what was a welcome throwback to those enthralling Cup ties of yesteryear. Little wonder, then, that Ratcliffe was left scratching his head afterwards. "If we played like that every week, we wouldn't only not be struggling at the wrong end of the third division, we wouldn't even be playing in the division," mused the Shrews boss. "We had 11 heroes out there today. They were superb." Everton cannot say they didn't know what to expect. A Shrewsbury player for three years towards the end of his career, Moyes had prophetically warned his players beforehand to roll their sleeves up and produce a fighting display or face the ignominy of a Cup exit. Given their lacklustre first-half performance, however, they were obviously taking no notice. From the very first whistle, Shrewsbury showed an eagerness and a desire which the visitors simply could not match and ultimately proved the difference between the two sides. Luke Rodgers perfectly encapsulated this. A relative unknown before Saturday, the 21-year-old Shrewsbury striker must now have attracted a host of potential suitors willing to offer him a higher level of football following an impressive performance full of pace, power and talent.
It was Rodgers who proved the catalyst for Shrewsbury's early enterprise. His header down was fired wide by Jemson on five minutes, and later he was denied by a combination of Richard Wright and the woodwork after a good pass from former Burscough boy Ryan Lowe. In between, Everton had Wright to thank again following a superb save diving to his right to divert Jemson's back-header from a clever free-kick by Ian Woan. But the goal the hosts' play deserved came on 37 minutes. Another rampaging Rodgers run was ended by a trip from Thomas Gravesen on the edge of the area, and up stepped Jemson to curl the ball around the wall and into the top corner. Yes, the wall could have been better placed and Wright was slightly at fault, but credit the Shrewsbury man for his precision.
As Rodgers proved a revelation, his opposite number Wayne Rooney endured an afternoon of misery on his goodbye appearance before starting a four-match ban. Jeered with every touch - something the youngster is becoming increasingly accustomed to - and starved of decent service, he showed only flashes of his wares before his frustration at Everton's impending exit resulted in another booking late on for dissent. Rooney started alongside Tomasz Radzinksi up front after Kevin Campbell - how he was missed - failed to overcome his ankle injury. And with Joseph Yobo, Alessandro Pistone and Tony Hibbert all unavailable, Everton made five changes from Wednesday's game against Manchester City with Scot Gemmill making his first start since the League Cup tie at Wrexham in September and Peter Clarke his first of the season. Such alterations may partially explain the Blues' slow start, but despite being outplayed in the first half, Everton wasted some decent chances on the break with Radzinski the main culprit. The Canadian international had already put one opportunity across the face of goal before firing straight at keeper Ian Dunbavin - a former Liverpool trainee - and then seeing a shot cleared off the line by Peter Wilding, only for Lee Carsley to blaze the rebound over the crossbar. The totally ineffectual Gravesen was replaced by Alexandersson at the interval and the Blues immediately wrestled control of the midfield, although they survived a strong penalty claim when Clarke appeared to upend Rodgers in the area. The equaliser duly arrived just before the hour when a poor clearance from Dunbavin was eventually punished by Naysmith's low cross into the path of Alexandersson down the inside right channel, who shot low into the far corner from eight yards out. The Swede then somehow put the ball wide from an identical position and Li Tie wasted a good chance when he missed his kick following Radzinksi's pull back, before the killer blow arrived two minutes from time. David Unsworth was harshly adjudged to have fouled Steve Jagielka on the Shrewsbury right, and Woan whipped in a set piece from which Jemson ghosted in between Unsworth and Carsley to head in past Wright at his near post. The defeat means the Blues have now won just one of their last nine games, and the buoyancy of the opening months of the season is in danger of evaporating. Next Sunday's Rooneyless visit to fellow FA Cup failures Tottenham Hotspur, with new boys Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said hopefully in tow, has suddenly taken on extra meaning. It could well shape the remainder of Everton's season.
SHREWSBURY TOWN (4-4-2): Dunbavin; Moss, Wilding, Artell, Smith; Lowe (Aiston 84), Atkins, Tolley, Woan; Rodgers (Jagielka 80), Jemson (Drysdale 90). Subs: Kendall, Redmile.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Clarke, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth (McLeod 90); Carsley, Gravesen (Alexandersson 46), Gemmill (Li Tie 75), Naysmith; Rooney, Radzinski. Subs: Baardsen, Pembridge.
BOOKINGS: Shrewsbury's Lowe and Everton's Gravesen, Stubbs and Rooney.
REFEREE: Mr S Dunn.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Alan Stubbs. No Everton player truly distinguished himself, but up against a surprisingly tricky customer in the livewire Luke Rodgers, Stubbs for the most part came out on top.
Everton rubbish Rooney Real link
Jan 6 2003 Daily Post
EVERTON last night moved to deny speculation linking Real Madrid with a bid for Wayne Rooney.
Reports over the weekend had suggested that the Spanish giants had spoken with Blues directors about purchasing an option on the 17-year-old Figures of up to £20million were being touted for the striker, who is poised to sign a five-year professional contract with the Goodison outfit. But last night Everton flatly denied even talking to Real. In a statement, Everton's head of corporate affairs and PR Ian Ross, said: "Stories which surfaced over the weekend suggesting that the Everton board of directors had entered into negotiations with Real Madrid about a future deal involving Wayne Rooney are inaccurate and spurious. "There has been no contact whatsoever between the two clubs about Wayne or indeed any other footballer. "At present the club's board, along with manager David Moyes, are concentrating all their efforts on assembling a senior squad which will, hopefully, ultimately fulfil the ambitions of every Everton supporter. "Like any self-respecting professional football club, one of our primary objectives is to ensure that our better players stay put so that they might contribute to the building of a successful future."
Moyes: We'll learn from shock defeat
Jan 6 2003 By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has urged his shell-shocked side to learn from their embarrassing FA Cup exit on Saturday. Everton were humiliated 2-1 at lowly third division side Shrewsbury Town with former Nottingham Forest striker Nigel Jemson netting twice for Goodison legend Kevin Ratcliffe's side.
Niclas Alexandersson's equaliser on the hour proved academic as the Blues were outplayed in the third round tie. And Moyes was forced to admit his side's slow start to the Gay Meadow encounter ultimately proved their undoing. "This is the first real setback for me here at Everton," said Moyes. "We cannot do anything about it now and we just have to look at it and move on to the next game.
"We will learn from this. "Shrewsbury played very well but they took encouragement from our poor start. "They deserved the victory, there is no question about that. All credit to them, they created chances and I hope they go on to do well. "I have no complaints with the result. “We are disappointed. We should be capable of coming to Shrewsbury and win but we were just not good enough." Moyes added: "When we got to 1-1 I felt we should have won the game. We just needed that second goal. "We had enough opportunities to win the game with the quality players we have got. "But our missed chances spurred them on. "We gave away a stupid free-kick which resulted in the goal and if you do that then you tend to lose games." Moyes continued: "To be fair to Shrewsbury, they had hung on and had played well - especially in the first half - and they kept going and got the result. "You have to deal with both success and failure in the same way, not get too high when you're doing well and not get too low when you lose, and we'll try to do that. "When you win, you've got to go out there and take the applause and when you lose, you have to go out there and take the boos, and we deserve the boos." The defeat means Everton have won just one of their last nine games with the sole victory of that run coming at home to Blackburn Rovers in mid-December. Moyes made five changes from the side which drew 2-2 at home to Manchester City on New Year's Day, but refused to use that as an excuse for his side's stunning defeat. "We had a very strong side out there and most of them are first-team players, so I don't think the changes I made were really a factor," insisted the Blues boss. "And the pitch played no part in the defeat. "The players knew exactly what to expect. A lot of players in our side have come from lower divisions and they knew what would happen." Moyes also confirmed Thomas Gravesen's half-time substitution was tactical and not because of injury to the Dane. "I brought Thomas off because he wasn't good enough," revealed the Scot. "There have been an awful lot of nice things said about us. Obviously now the opposite is going to happen but you have to be big enough to take that and hopefully improve from it. "I certainly will. It is all part of the job and the players must get back out there and show that this hasn't affected them too much."
Shrewsbury 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jan 6 2003 By David Prentice At Gay Meadow, Liverpool Echo
IF Everton needed a reality check in this season of progress, improvement and pride restoration - it came in the most crushing and un expected of circumstances. Even for a club which has specialised in Keystone Cop style collapses whenever a tricky Cup tie has been presented in the past seven years, Saturday's FA Cup embarassment at Shrewsbury was shameful. Fully 81 places in the League pyramid separated Everton from their third round opponents. And absolutely no- one inside Gay Meadow could even begin to argue that Shrewsbury's success had not been fully deserved.
A couple of programmes were tossed forlornly at the pitch from the visitors' section when referee Steve Dunn blew the final whistle. But Everton's travelling fans largely slunk away in stunned silence.
In previous seasons at Goodison, defeat to a lower league team has prompted - quite correctly - outbursts of rage, anger and demands for bloodletting. But this one is different. In terms of shock value, defeat by Shrewsbury Town is every bit as appalling as those other names etched onto the roster of Everton's Hall of Shame . . . Port Vale, York, Bristol Rovers, Oxford, Tranmere. But Saturday's debacle has to be placed against the backdrop of what has been achieved at Everton since their last FA Cup embarassment on Teeside 10 months ago. The Blues capitulated miserably that afternoon. They were weak and wasteful on Saturday, too. But while that Middlesbrough defeat was just the latest in a long line of distressing surrenders, Saturday's embarrassment was a solitary shock in a year of astonishing progress. But it still begs the question, why did Everton lose to a team 81 places below them in the League pyramid? A simple answer to a complex question is that Saturday's tie was just one match too far for the Blues. The improvement David Moyes has motivated from this Everton squad has come through coaxing a set of under achieving players to perform at a high tempo and intensity in almost every match. With seven or eight days in between games to recover and recharge, it has proved a highly effective tactic. But when the same small squad is asked to produce that intensity five times in 14 days, a reaction is almost inevitable.
It came on Saturday. It wasn't a surprise that Everton's brightest performer - on a day when mediocre would have been enough to claim that title - was Scot Gemmill, a player who last figured in a senior starting line- up way back in September. Other players flagged miserably, Thomas Gravesen was hauled off at half-time, while some fell victim to more usual failings. Tomasz Radzinski has enjoyed an excellent season so far, but a clinical ruthlessness in front of goal is not one of his qualities. Twice, early in the day, he missed chances which might have changed the course of the tie. In the fifth minute he raced onto a Rooney header but shot disappointingly across the goal and wide. Ten minutes later Gemmill's precision through pass set him free again, but this time he shot against the goalkeeper. A minute later he had the best chance of the lot, rounding the keeper but seeing his goalbound shot cleared off the line. The ball rebounded to give Carsley an even cleaner sight of goal, but he shot horribly over the crossbar. Such was Shrewsbury's mood that such misses were always likely to prove costly. A sign of things to come had already been posted as early as the 11th minute. Ian Woan's clever free-kick was angled goalwards by Nigel Jemson's head and it took a Richard Wright save of outstanding quality to prevent the game's opening goal. That goal eventually came in the 37th minute, five minutes after Luke Rodgers had already fired in a near post shot which Wright turned onto a goalpost. A foul on Rodgers produced the free-kick from which Jemson bent The Shrews into the lead. It had been fully meritted - and even Kevin Ratcliffe admitted he sat down at half-time and worried about a potential backlash. It failed to materialise. The pitch was difficult, the weather was freezing cold - but with nine British players in their starting line-up the Blues could hardly blame foreign fancy- dans not fancying the conditions or appreciating the significance of the FA Cup. In any case, a mini-revival was sparked by a Swede. Niclas Alexandersson was introduced at the interval, unsurprisingly for Gravesen. The Dane's future at Goodison Park could depend on his reaction to the snub. When Walter Smith tired of Gravesen's attitude and acted aggressively, the Dane promptly started to sulk and raced back home. He is suspended for next weekend's trip to Tottenham - and will hopefully spend the time preparing a triumphant comeback. Everton rarely looked like completing one themselves. The second half was barely three minutes old when Luke Rodgers, a spiky, livewire little forward, ran for the umpteenth time at a retreating Everton rearguard and was flattened by a sliding Peter Clarke. It was a stonewall penalty, but Everton survived. They even got back into the match on the hour, when Gemmill flipped a pass into the overlapping Alexandersson's path and he converted a precision finish. That ought to have been the signal for Everton to wrest control of the tie, but they did so only tenuously. Alexandersson shot across goal from a slightly tighter angle than he had converted from - and substitute Li Tie miskicked horribly when his first touch of the game gave him an outstanding chance to score. The Shrews' winner came, in time-honoured FA Cup giant killing fashion, in the last minute. Unsworth's challenge on Jagielka was scarcely deserving of a free-kick, but Ian Woan whipped in another quality cross and Nigel Jemson converted a decisive near post header. If Evertonians were looking for consolation - and there was precious little in Shropshire on Saturday night - it came in the identity of the victorious manager. Kevin Ratcliffe gave Evertonians some of their most vibrant memories during the success-soaked days of the 1980s, and he remains an avowed Evertonian. Few Blues would have begrudged him a managerial moment of glory.
For the club he left behind, though, there was merely ignominy, shame and a need to take a long, hard collective look at themselves.
SHREWSBURY TOWN (4-4 2): Dunbavin, Moss, Wilding, Artell, Smith, Lowe (Aiston 84 mins), Atkins, Tolley, Woan, Jemson (Drysdale 92 mins), Rodgers (Jagielka 80 mins). Unused substitutes: Kendall, Redmile.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Clarke, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth (McLeod 91 mins), Carsley, Gemmill (Tie 75 mins), Gravesen (Alexandersson 45 mins), Naysmith, Rooney, Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Pembridge, Baardsen.
GOALS: Jemson (37 mins) 1-0, Alexandersson (59 mins) 1-1, Jemson (89 mins) 2-1.
We deserved the win says Ratcliffe
Jan 6 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN RATCLIFFE celebrated an Everton defeat for the first time in his life on Saturday night . . . eventually. The legendary former Blues' skipper and current Shrewsbury boss admitted it took a little time for his Third Division side's famous FA Cup upset to sink in. "It's a little bit strange, I must admit. But at least my dad's still speaking to me!" he said. "The family came today as Shrewsbury supporters. When Everton play next week they will be supporting Everton again, just like me. "But it was very enjoyable. One minute I was hoping they didn't break on us and get one right at the end - and then we got one! "I am sure my chairman would have liked a draw and a trip back to Goodison, but I'll take the win. "It's my best moment as a manag-er, no doubt about it. "Sometimes you need a little bit of luck in the cup, but I thought we deserved it today. "The way they played today I had 11 heroes out there and it did surprise me the way that we played. It puts a big question mark as to why we are where we are in the League. If we play like that every week we wouldn't just be high up the Third Division we'd be out of the Third Division." Ratcliffe tried to give his old club an excuse for their below-par performance, citing the state of the bumpy Gay Meadow pitch. "It's difficult on that pitch. I don't think you realise how difficult it is," he explained. "We actually train on a pitch which is worse than that so sometimes we know what to expect. "It's that unexpected factor which can catch teams like Everton unawares, that and our players possibly being better than they might have expected when they all function the way they did today. "One of the things that we hit on was that you can't run on that pitch, so we told out lads not to get too tight on Rooney because he wasn't going to be able to drop off and run with it. "He's a quality player who can hurt you, but we let him turn and the pitch has helped us more than it's helped them. "I've just told the lads to enjoy it. I told them you don't get many moments like this in football and some of them might not experience anything like it again. "I asked them to be aggressive, but not so aggressive that they were putting themselves at risk of a yellow card - but the last thing I said was don't show them any respect. Get out there and get at them. They are only as good as the time you give them on the ball. "We would have been happy with the draw, but I thought we deserved to win. "We were so much on top in the first half I was concerned that there might be a backlash after half-time, but we seemed to control the pace of the game which is important. You just think 'Is one going to be enough?' "All I asked my players to give me in the second half was what they had given in the first. "If that wasn't enough they would still have done their job. But in the end it was enough."
Moyes - FA Cup pain can inspire us
Jan 6 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES intends to use the pain of Saturday's shock FA Cup exit to inspire his team to another fine run of form in the Premiership. The 2-1 third round defeat to third division outfit Shrewsbury brought a dramatic end to Everton's unbeaten run of five games and left the club with only the Premiership to focus their attentions in the remaining months of the season. But two days on and the manager admits he and his side are still coming to terms with the reversal. The players were in at Bellefield yesterday for training as they seek to regain their best form for this weekend's televised Premiership clash at Tottenham. "The players are hurting and I am sure they feel as bad as I do and as the supporters feel," Moyes said. "I don't think any of us are over it yet. But sometimes a little bit of pain does no harm as long as we get rid of it and move on. We won't hide away from it this week but we will be working hard to try and get back to our good Premiership form as quickly as we can." Moyes was quick to praise the performance of Kevin Ratcliffe's side in the wake of the Gay Meadow defeat. But the manager has become accustomed to seeing his team do everything asked of them ing the first five months of the season. Now he believes the failure to produce the goods against the Shrews will provide each of the players involved with some vital lessons. He added: "I didn't learn anything more about my players on Saturday but I hope they learned some things about themselves. "I think they were surprised by the level they had dropped to and they can take lessons from that. "The pitch was a leveller but it wasn't the reason we lost the game. "You would expect the better players to control the ball better in the conditions but that wasn't the case." The one plus from the weekend's Cup action is that no injuries were reported the game.
Disappointing way to be dumped out
Jan 6 2003 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
I COULD not believe the result that came out of Gay Meadow. Perhaps Everton were guilty of the biggest sin you can commit in a cup tie, being too relaxed and complacent against so-called inferior opposition. The third and fourth rounds of the FA Cup are like the Cup Final for little clubs like Shrewsbury and you can bet they will put up a tremendous fight to try and cause an upset. Ex-Blues' skipper Kevin Ratcliffe will also have fired them up against his old club and he will be delighted with their performance. These cup games are battles and you have to give 100% commitment otherwise, like the Blues, you can find yourself in trouble. I remember ties against the likes of Swansea and Swindon when we came a cropper (people still talk to me about our shock defeat at Worcester City, and I wasn't even in the team then!) but Everton have had a history of losing out to lesser clubs and should have been on their guard! Playing teams you would expect to beat has a psychological effect, but David Moyes will not be happy, especially with Nigel Jemson's second goal. The Blues were defending everywhere but the near post and he was given a clear header. hrewsbury fully deserved to win. The Blues must turn their attentions to finishing as high as possible in the league, and if they can achieve a top six place it will still have been a very successful season. But that defeat will be hurting. The Reds have been suffering of late, but now the Blues have to come to terms with a major setback. We await their response.
Day to savour for old boy Kev
Jan 6 2003 By Damian Spellman
SHREWSBURY boss Kevin Ratcliffe was happy to let his players do the celebrating after pulling off the biggest coup of his managerial career. The 42-year-old Everton legend was a model of composure after masterminding the demolition of the club he supported as a boy and took to the heights of championship, FA Cup and European Cup Winners' Cup success as its captain in the 1980s. And while the 11 heroes who engineered a shock 2-1 victory prepared to party, Ratcliffe was already looking towards next Saturday's 17th versus 18th third division clash with Southend. Having seen and done it all as a player, the former Wales international is not about to be carried away over one game, even though there was no better demonstration this weekend that the tradition and romance of the FA Cup remains as deliciously inexplicable as ever. "It's the lads' Cup final," he said. "I've played in big games, so I know what it's about, and people don't understand why you're a little bit relaxed about it because you've played in games like that in your career. "These lads have never experienced anything like it, so it's a bit different for them. You don't get many moments like this in football - some of them might not experience anything like it again, so they've got to enjoy it.
"But we've got an important game next week, so they'll be back in on Monday and trying to get three points for next week." In the meantime, Ratcliffe's players and the bulk of the 7,800 supporters who crammed into Gay Meadow to see their side make the fourth round for the first time in seven years, have the excitement of tomorrow lunchtime's draw to which to look forward.
On today's Cup draw, Ratcliffe added: "I'm not really bothered now. We'll enjoy this. and whoever we get, who cares?" Moyes was philosophical in defeat, if hugely disappointed by the performance of his team, which he felt created enough chances to win the game after getting back on terms. "I've had a lot of things at Preston which didn't always go my way, a lot of disappointing things," he said.
"You have to deal with both success and failure in the same way, not get too high when you're doing well and not get too low when you lose, and we'll try to do that. "When you win, you've got to go out there and take the applause and when you lose, you have to go out there and take the boos, and we deserve the boos." But while Moyes was left to pick up the pieces, Ratcliffe left Gay Meadow, like his family and friends, to resume his support for the club he had just dumped on the scrap-heap.
"They came as Shrewsbury supporters and they'll go away and when Everton play next week, they'll be supporting Everton, just like me," he said.
Blues hit by Nyarko cash hitch
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 7 2003
EVERTON could miss out on a £3.5million windfall for Alex Nyarko as Paris St Germain struggle to raise the funds for the controversial midfielder. The Blues have been forced to hawk the Ghanaian international around various clubs on loan after he vowed never to play for them again following the infamous run-in with a fan at Highbury in April 2001. Current club PSG, with whom Nyarko has proved a big success this season, have to give Everton a decision on whether they intend to turn his 12-month loan deal into a permanent move during this transfer window. The deal has been agreed at around £3.5m - money which could be used to help David Moyes' moves in the transfer market - but so far Goodison officials have heard nothing from PSG. The French side have until the end of the month to sign Nyarko but are known to have financial problems and are unlikely to raise the set fee in time. That could leave Everton having to find another buyer or club willing to take him on loan, while Nyarko could even be forced to return to Merseyside and honour his contract in the summer. The midfielder was signed for £4.5m from Lens in 2000 and still has over two years left to run on his Goodison contract. Moyes, meanwhile, can give new signing Brian McBride his debut at Tottenham on Sunday after the American international was granted a work permit yesterday.
The 30-year-old admits that he would like to emulate the immediate impact international colleague Joe-Max Moore made at Goodison. "I'd love to have a start like he had, but my main goal is to help Everton in one way or another," he said. Joe-Max told me a lot about Everton. We talked quite a bit about it at the World Cup and we talked a bit about it in the autumn. Of the loan deal, McBride (right) added: "It's three months. I really have no expectations, I'm just here to try and help out in any way I can. "I'm sure it will be a different type of football to what I've been used to in the past. I've had a chance to watch a lot of it. It's a fast-paced game and the quality is very high. It's going to be a lot of fun. "I am looking forward to playing along-side Wayne Rooney. He's got a great first touch and he's a very exciting player." Moyes was in charge at Preston during McBride's season-long spell at Deepdale three years ago and the American can't wait to start work with him again.
"I really enjoy working with David," he said. "He is someone who will speak his mind. He will let you know exactly what is going on and what he thinks of you." McBride will now start a three-month loan spell at Goodison and could start at White Hart Lane as the Blues, still smarting from their FA Cup humiliation, lose Wayne Rooney for four matches and continue to have injury concerns over Kevin Campbell. Egypt defender Ibrahim Said, who agreed a move to Goodison on the same day as McBride, is expected to be given his work permit in the next 24 hours.
* LAST night's scheduled Everton reserves league fixture at Newcastle was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Gerrard charged with violent conduct
Jan 7 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN GERRARD was this afternoon charged with violent conduct for his two-footed tackle upon Gary Naysmith in the derby. Liverpool immediately announced they will seek a personal hearing to defend the Reds and England midfielder after the FA finally announced their decision. The FA's video review panel decided action should be taken against the England international after analysing the incident over the last two weeks. Gerrard could now face a suspension and fine for the challenge if Liverpool -are unsuccessful in their bid to defend the player. Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is surprised by the FA's decision and is keen to seek a personal hearing at the FA's Soho Square headquarters. He told the ECHO this afternoon: "We have received notification from the FA but we haven't made a final decision on our response. "I can say that our player had no intention at all to hurt anybody. After the incident the Everton player continued playing and the referee took no action. "We will be looking for a personal hearing to put forward our case. The referee wrote in his report he hadn't seen anything." The incident occured minutes from the end of the goalless derby at Anfield on December 22. Gerrard's lunge earned Everton a free-kick and left Naysmith nursing cuts to his thighs. But the Liverpool player was not cautioned by referee Graham Poll.
Wayne won't leave Blues
Jan 7 2003 By John Thompson and David Prentice
WAYNE ROONEY has already signed a binding contract which ties him to Everton Football Club for three years, the ECHO can reveal. The agreement, understood to be a scholarship deal, was signed by the youngster in June last year and means he will be at Everton for at least a further two and a half years. The Blues insist that 17-old wonderboy Rooney - today linked with headlines proclaiming negotiations to sign him on a full professional contract are 'in crisis' - remains determined to sign up with the club he has supported all his life, and been at since he was a 12-year-old. Rooney is currently being represented by Paul Stretford and his 'ProActive' agency. It is understood club officials met with Stretford on Merseyside yesterday for a further round of talks over Rooney's professional contract and that a number of issues remain unresolved - including details regarding his wages and image rights. However these are thought by Everton to be relatively routine matters rather than real stumbling blocks. They remain more than confident that Rooney will shortly sign a deal committing his long term future to Goodison Park and expect that contract to be tied up within the next few weeks. However, reports that Rooney can now simply walk away from Everton at any time now are understood to be completely without foundation. A knowledgeable source said: "Wayne has no intention whatsoever of going anywhere else but to suggest he can do so even if he wished to is simply untrue. It is understood the scholar-ship contract signed by Rooney, while not providing him with the professional salary and other benefits he can and will soon receive, is nonetheless legally binding. It is said that fact - plus Rooney's personal determination to sign for his heroes - means Blues fans should not panic over his future at the club. Everton's Head of Corporate Affairs and PR, Ian Ross, said today: "Talks between the club and Wayne Rooney's advisers have been ongoing for a number of weeks and are continuing. To suggest that these negotiations are on the brink of collapse is absolute nonsense. "Indeed it is likely that we will again be sitting down with Wayne's ProActive Management team later this week. Wayne Rooney is anxious to sign a full professional contract with us and we are similarly anxious to see this deal agreed, signed and delivered. "Negotiating any contract is self-evidently a complicated and at times drawn out process.
"Everton Football Club and ProActive are determined to reach swift agreement on a contract which will satisfy both club and player. "Wayne Rooney has constantly made it clear that he is an Evertonian first and a footballer second. He does not want to play for any other club. "We confidently expect a deal to be struck in the not too distant future." Reports of an initial £8,000 a week offer are accurate, but this figure will swiftly rise depending on the player's progress.
Moyes' men will blast right back
Jan 7 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALL management can seem like the easiest job in the world when your side is doing well.
The test of a good manager comes in the way in which he deals with a blip, a bad run. For the last five months David Moyes has been steering Everton up the Premiership table and into steady waters. He has won acclaim for his management and the way in which he has brought the best out of his players. Saturday's defeat to my Shrewsbury side was his first hiccup. And he responded impeccably. I know the defeat will have hurt him. He is a winner and does not accept anything less.
But while he probably held an inquest behind closed doors, in the face of the media he refused to lay the blame at anybody's door. And, more importantly, he refused to make excuses. Instead, he was honest. It may seem straightforward, but many managers would rather hide behind the cover of 'it was a poor pitch' or concentrate on their own side's deficiencies. But David was magnanimous, admitting the better side won on the day. That kind of honesty is refreshing and will rub off onto his players. If a side sees their manager making excuses for a defeat, it can give them the cover to hide behind their own shortcomings. But Moyes will not allow that. And although losing to a third division club will have hurt him on Saturday, he was still man enough to give credit where it was due.
I know how nerveracking it can be when you are the favourites in a cup tie. The boot has been on the other foot for me in reaching this season's third round, worrying about losing to non-league Stafford Rangers. Upsets happen in the cup. Saturday was our day. But nine times out of 10 it would have gone the other way. And I am certain the defeat will not affect Everton's fine league form. David Moyes is too good a manager to allow one setback to send the Everton bandwagon off the rails. He will get them back on track quickly.
Spotlight can be tiresome
IT has been a long time since I was in the media spotlight of the top division. But in the last few weeks I have had a reminder. It has been hard to keep my players focused on their league games because of the intense media interest in our FA Cup tie with Everton. I tried to keep them out of the spotlight by banning them from talking about the game. But that merely turned the focus on me. And I now have a greater appreciation of the pressure on Premiership bosses nowadays. The media frenzy which surrounds the top flight is far greater now than it was during my playing days.
Magazines, newspapers, Sunday papers, radio stations, terrestrial TV stations and SKY are constantly looking to fill pages or air time. It is an aspect of the job I appreciate not being subjected to at Shrewsbury, where we just have two local papers and the local radio to deal with. Now I know why so many Premiership managers go grey prematurely.
TV's big chance
NO DOUBT the TV companies are regretting having not picked our third round tie with Everton for live coverage. Thankfully, the fourth round draw has given them the chance to make amends by throwing up a home tie against Chelsea. We have the chance to try and repeat Saturday's upset, but even before the game has been played, we are winners. Financially, and in terms of the profile it gives the club, a tie like this is great news. The players will be looking forward to the tie and, as with Everton, they can go into it knowing they can play without fear. All the pressure will be on Chelsea, who will have to do their homework on us.
Rooney will sign for Everton, says agent
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 8 2003
WAYNE ROONEY'S agent last night allayed fears the Goodison sensation could quit the Blues by insisting: "He will sign for Everton Football Club." Paul Stretford, head of Rooney's ProActive Sports Management team, spoke out amid reports the striker's first professional contract with Everton was on the verge of collapse. Rooney still hasn't put pen to paper on a professional deal nearly three months after he was entitled to. He is currently only tied to the Blues under the terms of the three-year scholarship deal signed when he left school last year. Under those terms Rooney could walk away from Everton at short notice and the Blues would receive only a minimal compensation fee for his development. But the boyhood Evertonian has no intention of leaving Goodison Park and despite the current delays he is expected to sign a five-year deal soon. The 17-year-old wanted to commit himself in December once he had changed agents and fresh talks took place this week between ProActive and Goodison officials. No agreement has been reached because the striker's phenomenal rise has complicated projected image rights. His wage demands are not an issue, but it is understood his new agents' fees have still to be agreed. But Stretford said: "There is no doubt in my mind that Wayne Rooney will sign for Everton Football Club. To suggest that negotiations are on the point of collapse is absolute nonsense. "We are in discussions to negotiate a contract with the football club for Wayne. That's what Wayne wants, what we want and what Everton Football Club want and that's what will happen. "Talks have been handled in a more than amicable fashion and things are being moved forward as we speak." Stretford admitted the contract currently on offer "does have some difficulties" but he insisted: "I am not aware of any major stumbling blocks." Everton reacted to the fuss by confirming more talks are scheduled for later this week. In a statement Ian Ross, head of Corporate Affairs and PR at Goodison, said: "Talks between the club and Wayne Roon-ey's advisors have been on-going for a number of weeks now and are continuing.
"To suggest that these negotiations are on the point of collapse is absolute nonsense. "Indeed, it is likely that we will again be sitting down with Wayne's ProActive management team later this week.
"Wayne Rooney is anxious to sign a full, professional contract with us and we are similarly anxious to see this deal agreed, signed and delivered." He added: "Negotiating any contract is, self-evidently, a complex and, at times, drawn-out process. "Wayne is still a very young man but his progress so far this season has been such that his profile - both locally and nationally - has been dramatically elevated. "Both Everton Football Club and ProActive are determined to reach swift agreement on a contract which will satisfy both club and player. "Wayne Rooney has constantly made it clear that he is an Evertonian first and a footballer second - he does not want to play for any other club.
"We confidently expect a deal to be struck in the not too distant future."
Franck flies in for Blues trial
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 8 2003
DAVID MOYES is giving a three-day trial to Monaco defender Franck Jurietti as the Everton boss looks to bolster his ranks even further. The French man arrived on Merseyside yesterday and will spend the rest of the week with the Blues in the hope of winning a short-term contract with a view to a permanent deal in the summer. Jurietti, 27, has fallen out of favour with Monaco coach Didier Deschamps and has made only seven appearances all season. He is under contract at Stade Louis II until 2005 but is desperate for a move and Deschamps is prepared to let him leave. Everton are unlikely to pay for a transfer during the transfer window but could arrange a loan move similar to the deals that have brought Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said to Goodison Park this week. The Department of Overseas Labour and Employment yesterday offered Moyes a ray of hope as injuries and suspensions cloud his plans for Tottenham. Egyptian defender Said officially became Everton's second signing through the transfer window when he was granted a work permit. The 23-year-old now eligible to enter the country and put pen to paper on a temporary loan deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until the summer. But before then Said could be plunged straight into the Premier-ship due to a selection crisis surrounding Sunday's visit to White Hart Lane. Moyes is already without Wayne Rooney, David Weir and Thomas Gravesen against Spurs as the star striker starts a four-match ban while the others serve one-game suspensions for picking up five bookings this season. The loss of Weir, who scored a superb equaliser in the corresponding fixture last season, is a major blow for Moyes as his defence is already stripped to the core. Tony Hibbert is to undergo a hernia operation today, Joseph Yobo, Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone are all slight doubts and now the inform Alan Stubbs looks set to miss out after twisting his ankle in the embarrassing FA Cup exit at Shrewsbury. Stubbs fell awkwardly just before the interval at Gay Meadow and is unlikely to recover by the weekend, which may give Moyes no option but to include right-back Said in the first-team pool. Kevin Campbell, who missed the Shrewsbury game with an ankle problem, faces a race against time to prove his fitness and is likely to be replaced by new arrival McBride. Fellow new boy Said will be chasing a permanent move to the Premiership from Cairo-based club Al Ahly if he proves his worth with Everton in the remainder of the season. The Blues manager said: "We saw bits of Ibrahim in pre-season. "We saw things that we liked and there were other bits that we weren't too sure about. "It will give the boy a chance to come over here and see if he can make it in England.
"We can all make the decision together."
Everton painting the town Blue
Jan 8 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DIXIE DEAN will be up the wall at Goodison Park for the rest of this season - with Ball, Harvey, Kendall in the palm of his hand. Visitors to Everton throughout this historic hundredth season of top flight football have been admiring a spectacular mural - painted on the side of a willing supporter's house! The end house on Goodison Road, over the road from the bronze statue, seemed a suitable site - and Terry Smith who lives in the property was happy to oblige. The Blues commissioned mural expert Mark Garrod of Hunts Cross to carry out the work, and he said: "I am very happy with it and everybody thinks it's very good and just what the place needed. "Everyone can recognise all the play-ers in it, which is good! "I thought it was a great idea and although I'm a Crystal Palace supporter I've got a bit of a soft spot for Everton. I just hope that the fans admire the mural. "I was up there for four days and it was quite cold. I began on the Monday, lost one whole day through rain and finished it on the Friday. I've done murals before, but I'd say that this was my biggest project." The mural will remain until the end of the season, then the wall will be restored to its original condition. The house isn't the only property around Goodison which has had a makeover. Another property in the middle of Gwladys Street has been proudly emblazoned in Royal Blue and white. Season ticket holder, Mike Atkinson, is landlord of the property and had the house painted - again to celebrate the 100th season of top flight football. "I asked the tenant if they would mind and they were more than happy," he explained. "It's just my way of helping commemorate such a significant season."
Dunc back in training
Jan 8 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON is on the brink of finally kick-starting his stalled season. The Blues striker has made just one brief subs titute appearance all season - at Wrexham in October - before a painful back injury required surgery. But his rehabilitation is now complete and he is almost ready to rejoin full training for the first time since last summer. "Duncan will resume full training next Monday," said Moyes. "The injury seems fine, but the challenge now will be getting him up to the level of fitness we require, given the way we play now. "He was with us during pre-season training, but because of the injury was only able to train on the odd days." The player has targeted the home game against Leeds United on February 1 for a possible comeback. But manager Moyes will have to juggle with serious selection problems before then. Loan signings Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said could both start at Tottenham on Sunday, because of the injury and suspension problems which are currently ravaging the squad. David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney will all miss the trip to White Hart Lane through suspension, while Kevin Campbell, Alan Stubbs and Joseph Yobo are struggling with injury. "Alan is a doubt," said Moyes. "He went over on his ankle at Shrewsbury and is still receiving treatment. Kevin is touch and go for the weekend, while Joseph trained today and we will see if there is any reaction before making a decision on him." Adding to the defensive difficulties Steve Watson is recovering from a calf strain while Alessandro Pistone hasn't been seen at Bellefield for a week since going down with the virus which swept the training ground over Christmas. Monaco defender Franck Jurietti arrived on Merseyside yesterday for a three-day trial, but Moyes' hopes of checking out his form and fitness have been hindered by the cold weather.
The Bellefield training pitches are frozen and the 27-year-old has been unable to join in a proper training session. Further talks between Wayne Rooney's advisors and Everton will take place before the end of the week, but the player's agent, Paul Stretford, is confident a deal will be agreed soon.
"There is no doubt in my mind that Wayne Rooney will sign for Everton Football Club," he said. "To suggest that negotiations are on the point of collapse is absolute n o nse nse . We are i n discussions to negotiate a con-tract with the football club for Wayne. "That's what Wayne wants, what we want and what Everton Football Club want and that's what will happen. "Talks have been handled in a more than amicable fashion."
McBride warming to Blues challenge
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 9 2003
BRIAN McBRIDE was greeted by zen pitches at Bellefield but knows his Everton arrival will soon be thawed by a hot reception from David Moyes. It was the lure of working with Moyes once more and showcasing his talents on the English stage that prompted the American international to answer Everton's SOS last week. McBride was unveiled yesterday at the start of a three-month loan deal designed to ease Everton's striking shortfall as they aim to hang on to a European place this season.
Neither the 30-year-old or Moyes is looking beyond a temporary stay just yet. But it is clear this reunion between the pair who worked together at Preston will not only be for the benefit of the Blues. McBride explained: "I really enjoyed working with David at Preston and I'm sure it will be the same this time. He demands everything from you. When you give it he's happy to tell you and when you don't he's happy to let you know as well! "I like that, it keeps you on your toes and it makes you a better player. He's not a coach who is always down on you, which can be hard at times. He rewards you as well. "When I was at Preston he was honest and it was enjoyable to work for him. I'm not surprised he got this chance to coach a big team in the Premiership because he's great at what he does." The advantages for Moyes are also obvious. With Wayne Rooney about to serve a four-match suspension and the effects of an ever-present record in the Premiership now taking its toll on Kevin Campbell, the Blues boss desperately needed a new face. Now he's got one he knows all about without having to pay a fee and, with Campbell "touch and go" for Tottenham, the deep end awaits. "You only need to remember what he did in the World Cup to know he can do a job for us," said Moyes. He was one of the most talked-about strikers there. He's what I would call a typical British type of centre forward and I've no fears about throwing him into big games. He's over six foot and has huge shoulders so there's no problems there. "At the moment he has signed a contract for three months. I've worked with him before and to be fair to him I am trying to get younger players than him in here. "He is here as cover and he knows that. He's willing to help us in that respect. It's difficult for a club like us to get quality players mid-season. There are few play-ers out of contract at this time of year so loan deals are the only thing you can really do. "This will give him some exposure but you only have to look at him to see he's a fit lad and in good shape so we will see what happens. "He's due to go back on April 1 at the moment when the American season starts." McBride would struggle to land a permanent move once his three-month deal expires as he has already signed a con-tract with the Major League Soccer for next season. It was the MLS who prevented McBride moving to Goodison last summer in the wake of his impressive World Cup showing. But despite not playing for nearly three months, he is just anxious to get started. "I'm really excited about it," added McBride. "It's a good time for me to come over and I hope I can help out in the three months I've got. "I haven't played a competitive game since October 24 so my match fitness needs sharpening, but I've been at a training camp for the last month and a half so my general fitness isn't a problem. "I don't know if I'll go into the team straight away but of course I'd be up for it if I am. Fortunately or unfortunately, whatever way you look at it, I've gone straight into games before after being out for a while injured and I'm here to help Everton in whatever way they want." He added: "Right now I'm just concentrating on the loan period but who knows what might happen? I've just resigned with the league in America so it would be difficult to get out of that but you never know. "There's always a chance of getting a permanent move but at the moment I'd say it's an outside chance."
Blues open bidding for star Healy
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 9 2003
EVERTON have fired the opening salvo in their bid to prise Colin Healy away from Celtic. The Blues lodged a minimal bid for the Republic of Ireland international with the Scottish champions yesterday after David Moyes - as revealed in the Daily Post last month - brought forward plans to add him to his squad. Everton instigated talks with the Glasgow giants and offered around £150,000 to tempt them into releasing the midfielder during the transfer window rather than lose him for nothing when his contract expires this summer. "We have tabled an offer with Celtic for Colin Healy," manager Moyes confirmed. Celtic are understood to have rejected Everton's opening offer as they hold out for more for the 22-year-old midfielder. That is likely to spark a catand-mouse game between the clubs that may delay any deal until the final week of the window. Moyes is keen to bolster his midfield for the second half of the season after strengthening his attack with Brian McBride and defence with Ibrahim Said. Egyptian international Said is due to arrive at Everton today, giving him just three days to prepare for the trip to Tottenham when he may be required due to a defensive crisis. Joseph Yobo has now returned to training but the Blues will have to wait for any reaction to his knee injury before he can be declared fit to face Spurs. Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, has been told he has a fight on his hands to force his way back into Moyes' plans. The injury-plagued striker has made just one appearance this season - at Wrexham in the Worthington Cup - due to a problematic back injury that required surgery. He is set to return to full training next week and could be available for action in early February. But Moyes has warned the striker he has to sharpen his overall fitness to play for his team and noone will walk straight back into it. The Blues boss said: "Duncan will resume full training next Monday. The injury seems fine, but the challenge now will be getting him up to the level of fitness we require, given the way we play now. He was with us during pre-season training, but because of the injury was only able to train on the odd days."
* EVERTON still have tickets available for Sunday's Premiership game at Tottenham. Tickets, priced £30 adults, £15 concessions, are available from the Goodison Park box office.
Jan 9 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BRIAN McBRIDE is hoping his three month loan spell hits him hard - in the pocket! Everton's new American international striker (left) famously donates 100 dollars to the Central Ohio Diabetes Association every time he scores a goal or is credited with an assist for his club or country.
With 45 goals in 123 MLS appearances, a further 20-plus goals for his country - and lying second in Columbus Crew's all-time assists chart (behind Robert Warzycha!) - it has proved a profitable liaison for the association. McBride could be handed an instant debut at Tottenham on Sunday, depending on how Kevin Campbell's ankle injury responds to treatment. But he is prepared to be patient.
"I just hope to provide whatever is needed," he said at Everton's Bellefield training ground. "If I am on the bench I am on the bench, if I'm not in the team that's probably a good sign for the team in that everyone is back from injury. "I am a target man who tries to bring team-mates into the game, create chances for others and try to get into the box and get on the end of things. "But I'll just do whatever I'm asked to." McBride has experience of English football from a loan spell at Preston Nor th End last year. It was during that 13-match spell that he developed a deep admiration for David Moyes. "The possibility of working with David Moyes again was a great motivation to me," he said. "I enjoyed my time working under him at Preston, albeit for a short time, and I have a lot of respect for him. "He is different to other coaches I have worked with. For me the biggest thing is that he demands the most out of you and when you give it he will play you and praise you. When you don't he will tell you, and I enjoy that kind of honesty." Before McBride made his decision to come back across the Atlantic he spoke to former Blues striker Joe-Max Moore - an international team-mate.
"Joe-Max had nothing but good things to say about Everton," he said. "He told me how good the organisation is here, how well you are treated and how good the guys are in the locker room."
He didn't have to mention Wayne Rooney, however "We get Sky Sports News in the USA," said McBride smiling, as soon as the youngster's name was mentioned. But the anti-Rooney-publicity squad had clearly issued their guidelines. "Playing alongside all the players is an exciting prospect, not one in particular," he said. "It's a solid group of guys playing at a very high level." The new MLS season kicks off in April, but McBride believes he is fit enough to step straight into the Premiership if needed. "My fitness levels are pretty good," he said. "It's going to be about my footwork and whether I can get my legs up to speed in time, but I look forward to the challenge." McBride was the MLS's Most Valuable Player of 1998 - a sort of American Footballer of the Year - when he also scored the MLS goal of the year. He scored the only US goal of the 1998 World Cup and added two more in Japan. He once scored a flying volley for Wolfsburg against Bayern Munich in a German Cup qualifier - a match Wolfsburg won 2-1 in a major upset, but the year just passed has been one of his most success-ful to date. He started it in the USA's successful Gold Cup side, married Dina in February and soon after announced she was pregnant. He then went to the World Cup, celebrated a Gold Cup success with Columbus Crew . . . and signed on-loan for Everton. If it costs him a few dollars . . . he won't mind a bit.
Blues to tour China
Jan 9 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE People's Club will visit the People's Republic later this year in a ground-breaking post-season tour. Everton will play in China for the first time as soon as the current season ends, as part of the sponsorship deal with mobile phone giants Kejian. The Blues will play one match in Shenzen and another in Hong Kong during a 10-day tour. Western clubs have played in China before, always to sell-out crowds, but the likely inclusion of Li Tie and Li Wei Feng (both pictured) in the Blues' squad will increase the tour's profile dramatically. The Blues also hope to benefit commercially from the trip. China and the Far East are proving increasingly important to Everton, with more than 300 million Chinese soccer fans tuning in to TV sets to watch them play Manchester City - who in Sun Jihi also have a Chinese player - over Christmas. Meanwhile, Everton were still waiting to hear from Celtic today, after confirming that a £150,000 offer had been lodged for midfielder Colin Healy.
Celtic are due to fly to Florida for a winter training camp at the weekend and at present Healy is expected to travel with them. It is thought the fact that Celtic boss Martin O'Neill is away in Barbados on a family holiday at present which may delay any immediate response to the bid.
Ibrahim Said, meanwhile, arrived in England today and was immediately handed David Ginola's old number 24 shirt. But the 23-year-old Egyptian hopes to make a far greater impact during his loan period with the club. "I am looking forward to playing in England," he said. "The Premiership is now regarded as one of the best leagues in the world and it is where the best players now want to come and play. "I just hope to be a part of that. I hope during my time here I can show David Moyes and the Everton fans what I am capable of achieving. "Everton have had a great start to the season and back home I have been observing how they have been progressing. Obviously the Premiership will be very different to playing in Egypt but I hope to learn quickly and adapt to the pace of the game." Said enjoyed a brief glimpse of British football when he played for Everton in pre-season friendlies against Queens Park, Dunfermline and Hibernian last summer. He added: "Having spent a short period with Everton in the close season will hopefully have helped me in the long term and I am looking forward already to meeting my team-mates again." Tonight's mini-derby at Chester, meanwhile, has been postponed - and David Moyes has even been prevented from training his players at Goodison Park by the icy conditions. "We have had the undersoil heating on for the last two days at Goodison," he said "but it is still solid. It's difficult trying to get any quality of training in but we will work inside again today."
* The Blues still have tickets available for Sunday's trip to Tottenham. Priced £30 adults and £15 juniors and over-65 concessions.
We must learn from humbling by Town
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jan 10 2003
WELL at least we can concentrate on the league now. It's strange, the worst Everton cup defeat in living memory, with our high-flying side failing to cope with the talents of Nigel Jemson and Ian Woan, has almost been greeted with indifferent shrugs. It seems to have been chalked up as "just one of those things" by many supporters, probably still buoyed by the sight of us fifth in the table and above you know who. The chances are though that David Moyes views last Saturday's debacle at Gay Meadow somewhat differently. Most of us can accept that at times a limited squad such as ours will be outplayed - as we were by Chelsea last month - but being outfought, by anyone, never mind Shrewsbury Town, is simply not on. Kevin Ratcliffe's team, who were worthy winners of the tie, could not believe how easy it was, especially in the first half. Everton made no attempt to impose themselves on the game by pressurising Shrewsbury or battling for the loose balls.
The golden rule in such games is to get stuck in and match the other team physically until eventually your extra ability gives you the edge. Too many Everton players seemed to think that sort of graft was beneath them and spent more time looking to the referee for soft free-kicks than closing down their third division opponents who were knocking the ball about like Real Madrid. Going out of the Cup in such a manner is obviously disappointing, but an even bigger worry is if the players take that attitude into the Premiership. Application and effort are what have kept us in touch with the European places of late. If Saturday's apathetic performances are repeated against the likes of Spurs on Sunday then all that good work will be undone. Even Wayne Rooney (pictured) failed to shine at Gay Meadow, and if you believe half the stories then you might be led to think that was because he's distracted by his contract negotiations with Everton or else his mind is on a switch to the Bernabeu.
All footballers' contracts take time to sort out, it's just that when you're a talent like Rooney the Press pay closer scrutiny to the goings on. Rooney is worth a fortune now at 17 and anyone with eyes in their head can see that he is potentially the best player in the world. That's right, not in the Premiership, in the world. It's only right that his representatives make sure that he receives the rewards commensurate with his talents, while the club on the other hand need to safeguard against being taken for a ride while at the same time ensuring that their prized asset is happy. That's a delicate balancing act and one that understandably takes a bit of time and patience. It will be worth it in the end though if we get to enjoy plenty more years of Wayne Rooney in an Everton shirt.
Turner thrilled with prize move
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 10 2003
JUST 12 months ago Iain Turner was facing the prospect of a promising career ending before it had even begun. Now he has set his sights on blossoming into a Premiership force with Everton. No wonder the 18-year-old goalkeeper finds it hard to let his move to Goodison Park sink in. Turner is due to sign a three-year deal with the Blues next week after David Moyes scoured the market for another up-and-coming young talent and spotted the Stirling Albion stopper. Disgruntled Albion are taking Everton to a tribunal over the transfer fee after rejecting a nominal fee for the teenager, even though he was out of contract on December 31. But while David and Goliath fight it out over his valuation, the impending new arrival on Merseyside is just relieved he still has a chance in the game at all. Turner, currently in Portugal with the Scotland under-21 squad, explained: "I did my lower back in last season. It was due to wear and tear because I trained too much when I was younger.
"I was out for six months and it was a really worrying time for me because I didn't know if I was going to make it back or not. "I enrolled in college and started a Sports Management course, because I wasn't sure if I even had a future in foot-ball or not. "At the start of the season I was still playing for the under-18s and after all the problems I've had I was just happy to be playing football again. "Then Chris Reid got injured for Albion and all of a sudden I got my chance in the first team.
"I knew I had to take that chance and six clean sheets in 13 games proves that I have. "And now here I am, about to sign for Everton and training with Scotland under-21s. "It is hard for me to believe at times, but I have worked hard and I've been focused about returning. "My hard work is paying off at last." Turner spent a few days on trial at Bellefield as Moyes considered bolstering his goalkeeping ranks with new young talent. Having impressed and then passed a medical last week Turner, who was also reportedly interesting Manchester United, hopes to become the latest young star to make the grade under his fellow Scot. "It's quite unbelievable really," added Turner. "I was so surprised when I was told Everton wanted me but it's a terrific honour and I can't wait to get started. "The hardest thing for me was trying to decide whether to give up regular first-team football for life in the reserves, or even the under-19s at Goodison. "I'd be crazy to think I will walk straight into the team down there, but it is too good an opportunity to miss. "It's not often in life you get a chance like this and I knew deep down I couldn't pass it up. Everton are flying right now and they are a massive club with a proud tradition. "Anyway, if I work hard and do my best, then you never know what will happen. "The training facilities down there are amazing and I'm sure I will only improve as a player. "Chris Woods is the goalkeeping coach and I can only benefit from working under people like that. "David Moyes is great too. He really helped me a lot and when I went down for my two-day trial he gave me a lot of good advice and made me feel really welcome.
"He is great with the kids, as he's shown with Wayne Rooney. I can't wait to start playing for him."
Healy eager to make move
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 10 2003
COLIN HEALY last night revealed his determination to move to Goodison Park as David Moyes prepares to run the rule over a second French League star. Marseille's Polishborn midfielder Piotr Swierczewski is due at Bellefield within the next few days as the Blues manager continues his search for squad reinforcements. Monaco defender Franck Jurietti ends a three-day trial with Everton today after pressing for an initial loan move until the end of the season. Similarly Swierczewski, 30, hopes to secure such a deal and join former Olympique team-mate Joseph Yobo at Goodison Park after being made available by the Stade Velodrome club. Moyes also plans to bolster his midfield with the permanent signing of Celtic's Healy (pictured) before the closing of the transfer window at the end of the month. But as the Republic of Ireland international confirmed he would not be staying in Glasgow when his current contract expires in the summer, the proposed deal is facing a number of delays. Everton could go up to £200,000 in a bid to get their man before the end of the season, although at that price Celtic could be prepared to retain Healy's services until his deal runs out. Adding to the hold-up is the Scottish League's winter break, which is making it difficult to deal with Celtic chiefs such as manager Martin O'Neill, who is now away in Barbados. But even as his agent spoke out against a move from Celtic, Healy made his reasons for leaving clear. He said last night: "My agent is speaking to Everton and I am just waiting for him to get back to me. "I was offered a new contract by Celtic a few months ago but I'm not really interested because I'm not going to get regular firstteam football. "I'm just waiting to see if Celtic now accept Everton's offer."
But Healy's agent, former Paul Gascoigne advisor Mel Stein, said: "I'm not sure a move away from Celtic is a good move at all because Celtic are such a massive club. But if you are going to go anywhere then Everton is a good move for any player." Stein added: "Celtic and Everton are quite close to a deal. But they haven't reached an agreement yet and I have no idea when it is likely to be concluded." The Blues, meanwhile, are to go on a 10-day tour of the Far East at the end of the season as part of their sponsorship arrangement with Chinese electronics firm Kejian. E verton will play one game in Shenzen and another in Hong Kong immediately after this campaign as they look to build on the popularity Li Tie and Li Weifeng have generated.
* LAST NIGHT'S mini-derby at the Halton Stadium was postponed due to a frozen pitch.
Everton face new year test at Crewe
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 10 2003
IT may be a new year but Everton's Academy sides will be hoping to pick up where they left off at Crewe Alexandra tomorrow. Colin Harvey's side secured a fine 5-1 win against Stoke at Belle-field before the Christmas break, while Alan Harper's under-17s were similarly impressive in a 3-0 derby victory over Liverpool at Netherton. And when the FA Premier Academy League resumes tomorrow both Blues' sides will be hoping to start 2003 with a good performance and three points. Harvey said: "Both sides had good results before Christmas and you just look to keep that going. But it is all down to the lads and how far they want to push on in their careers." Striker Michael Symes is almost back to full fitness. The 19-year-old, who formed a prolific partnership with Wayne Rooney last year, has hardly figured this season due to injury. While tomorrow's match at Crewe may come a little too early for him, he may be back in the squad for next week's home fixture with Nottingham Forest. Craig Garside and Damon Martland - who had surgery on his knee prior to Christmas - are both long-term casualties, but Colin Thorbinson is nearing full fitness. At U17 level coach Harper hopes the Blues' derby win four weeks ago can provide a springboard to continued success for his side. He said: "They have had a couple of weeks off and been back just over a week so hopefully they are all keen to get going again." Harper has a full squad to choose from. Everton have signed 18-year-old Scottish goalkeeper Iain Turner from Stirling Albion and the youngster will arrive on Merseyside within the next week. He will add to the strength of the squad at both reserve and U19 level, where the Blues have been using talented youngsters Alex Cole and England U16 international Sean Lake since the departure of Andrew Pettinger prior to the season, who returned to Humberside suffering from homesickness.
* MIDFIELDER Scott Brown, 17, who hit a hat-trick for Everton U19s in their last match before the Christmas break against Stoke, is included in Dick Bate's England under-18s squad for the Meridien Cup in Egypt.
McBride to be handed Blues debut
Jan 10 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will ask his all-American hero, Brian McBride, to fly the flag for Everton in the English Premiership this weekend. The US international has sparkled on the big stage throughout his career, scoring for his country in the last two World Cup Finals - and Moyes hopes he can reproduce that form for Everton in Sunday's televised clash at Spurs (2pm). He has shown he can be a big game player and I know he will be a threat in both boxes because he is very good in the air," said the Blues' boss. "He is a high profile player, an international who has played all over the world for the USA. We brought Li Tie in from China and he made an impact and there's no reason why Brian can't make a similar impact. One thing we can expect from him is that he is extremely hard working."
A lingering ankle injury sustained by Kevin Campbell will hand 30-year-old McBride his Premiership debut, but Moyes hopes that the injury could have a restorative effect on his top scorer. "Kevin Campbell has been important to us all season," he explained "and it was noticeable that when we didn't have him for the first time last weekend we missed him. "He has been flogged to death and this injury might just give him a little break." Everton's selection possibilities have been savaged by injury and suspension. David Weir, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney are suspended, Alan Stubbs and Kevin Campbell are major doubts, but Joseph Yobo has trained normally this week and Steve Watson and Alessandro Pistone have also declared their fitness today. "We are short on numbers," said Moyes, "but what we want more than anything is a reaction from those p layer s who are selected. "We are still very sore after last week. I am still hurting, I am sure the players are but we have to look forward now. We have done extremely well in the Premiership so far and we have to try and regain the form we have shown for most of the season. "Tottenham are one of seven or eight sides fighting for a place in Europe next season, and while 40 points is still our immediate target, we are also in contention with them. "Clubs that can put together a good run now will have a real chance of making it. We haven't lost in four league games now and we must show we are good enough to put together another run like we enjoyed earlier in the season."
The Blues have 30-year-old Polish World Cup player Piotr Swierczewski currently on a three-day trial from Olympique Marseille, and are still waiting for a response from Celtic after they tabled a £150,000 offer earlier this week." Meanwhile, Colin Healy has reiterated his desire to join Everton by turning down an offer to extend his stay at Celtic. Healy said: "I was offered a new contract by Celtic a few months ago but I'm not really interested because I'm not going to get regular first team football. "I'm just waiting to see if Celtic accept Everton's offer."
Jan 10 2003 Icliverpool & Daily Post
HOW dare Gerard Houllier complain about the foul on his keeper against Sheffield United when he continues to back Steven Gerrard to the hilt over his tackle on Gary Naysmith? It seems to be one rule for him and another for everyone else.
Dean King, via e-mail
WHY aren't Everton exploiting their true potential? They should have opened a megastore in China by now, either in Bejing or Shanghai.
All they'd need was a shop, lots of Li Tie and Rooney merchandise and then watch the cash flow in.
I don't know how long the shop would last, maybe only a few years or however long Li Tie is here, but in the short term it would definitely be worth the money.
James Tyrrell, Woolton
ALL the fuss over Wayne Rooney's protracted contract got me thinking. Every time there is a good player in the making at Everton, he will leave the club, the most recent ones being Nick Barmby and Francis Jeffers. So, what chance do we have to keep Rooney for long?
Nicola Stevens, Liverpool
Spend it on team
I AM not worried about the Kings Dock, I would rather see the money spent on players. We could improve Goodison, plus I think we have probably got our maximum fan base. Let's face it, who wants to see thousands of away fans in the ground?
Peter Schumacher, via e-mail
LET'S face it, most teams catch the sickness sometime: underestimating so-called weaker opponents.
Liverpool have already done it against Basel. One good thing about David Moyes: he's a lot more realistic than Gerard Houllier across the way and hasn't claimed a top spot by right. Hopefully, the Shrews result will wake up a few players: there are NO easy games. We would have got Chelsea in the next round anyway, and we know what's happened with them this season!
John Schrempft, Berne, Switzerland
Moyes knows best
LET'S give David Moyes some time to assemble HIS team. I like the players he's brought in and like the sound of the new four but I hope he's getting at least one other midfielder. Preferably a creative one. I don't rate Niclas Alexandersson but he deserves one last chance after the goal against Shrewsbury. What a game to decide you're not up for it! I wonder what the players thought when they saw the next round draw could have been Chelsea at home?
Revenge or thank God?
Andy Devey, Liverpool
Tottenham 4, Everton 3 (D, Post)
Jan 13 2003 By Andy Hunter at White Hart Lane, Daily Post
EVERTON'S season remains afloat, with Europe still on the horizon. Yet David Moyes must have felt like the captain of a rapidly leaking ship yesterday. With holes springing up all around his squad, the Blues manager managed to patch things together tight enough to get the response he had demanded to last weekend's FA Cup embarrassment at Shrewsbury. All around him at White Hart Lane, however, appeared the leaks that mean psychological surgery is now needed to keep this campaign burning brightly. On the day the boy on whom so much creativity depends started a four-match suspension, the Blues scored three goals in a Premiership game for the first time this season.
That would have added more encouragement to a display which would have earned at least a point had the Everton defence upon whom so much has been built this season not suddenly gone AWOL and produced their worst outing of the entire campaign. After three successive defeats that had left Tottenham's season seemingly in turmoil, Glenn Hoddle could hardly believe his luck as the Blues presented his team with four goals and Robbie Keane seized three of them. Now, having claimed just one win in 10 matches, Moyes is the man hoping for another sea change. This was a case of like meeting like in the Premiership, as both former members of the top flight's 'Big Five' sought to rectify campaigns that had suggested they were on the way back before their festive faltering. Adding to the magnitude of the occasion was last week's humiliating third-round FA Cup exits for the two clubs and it is was easy to see why this had become a defining point in the season.
In that respect the result represents a huge setback to Everton's ambitions, although - defending apart - there was still enough in the performance in terms of commitment and creativity to ensure any obituaries are a little premature. Brian McBride was handed a debut just four days after being unveiled an Everton player, his first competitive start since the MLS season finished on October 24. But Moyes' plans, already hit by injury and suspensions for Wayne Rooney, David Weir and Thomas Gravesen, took a further knock before the game had even started. Richard Wright was in for a rough ride from the home fans thanks to his Arsenal connections so there were groans all around the ground when it was announced he'd injured his knee in the warm-up. Ex-Tottenham keeper Espen Baardsen thus became the second Everton debutant of the afternoon and the fourth keeper Moyes has used this season, surely some kind of record. With no other cover for the bench, young midfielder Leon Osman received a last-minute call-up. The Goodison chief's head must have been pounding with the relentless selection crisis and yet the start from his play-ers was exactly what he had wished for and within 10 minutes he was dancing on the sidelines. Scot Gemmill was prefered in midfield to the more robust presence of Mark Pembridge or Lee Carsley, and showed why with a breathrough that smacked of vindication for the Everton boss. Everton's new North American Alliance strikeforce started and finished the move, Canadian Tomasz Radzinski (above right) neatly laying the ball off to Gemmill, whose defence-splitting pass sent American McBride racing through.
The on-loan star was desperate to "stick one past" his World Cup room-mate Kasey Keller and, despite his match rusti-ness, he showed superb composure to slot the ball beyond his compatriot. No wonder Moyes was in raptures in the dug-out, his appeal for striking rein-forcement justified already. Sadly the defensive reshuffle also became obvious and just three minutes later Everton's deserved lead had gone, thanks to the first example of the hesitancy that ultimately ruined their afternoon. With Joseph Yobo back in his favoured centre-half position the Blues initially coped well with their rearguard losses. However, the first set-piece they were forced to deal with saw them caught flat. Alan Stubbs' dangerous back header forced Baardsen into his first save of the game and conceded a needless corner. From Darren Anderton's delivery, McBride won the near post header, although the next two were crucially met by white shirts as Gus Poyet turned Simon Davies' knock-back beyond the despairing reach of the Norwegian. The rapid loss of a valuable away lead failed to dampen Everton's hunger for the task, however. Keller was forced into a flying save by Watson's angled header, Radzinski sent a blistering 25-yard drive narrowly over, while Stubbs turned Gary Naysmith's free-kick wide with a header and then powered his own set-piece shot inches over the Spurs' bar. That's not to say all the chances fell Everton's way, though. Baardsen, who looked rusty on the leveller but improved as the game wore on, allowed two Anderton free-kicks to whistle past either post, the second a huge let-off for the visitors as Steffen Iversen let it bounce underneath him at the back post. Five minutes after the restart there was no escape as Everton found themselves losing their lead and their markers with alarming haste. It was a harmless enough ball from Anderton that caused the damage as Robbie Keane ghosted in behind Stubbs but stayed level with last man David Unsworth. With Baardsen racing from his line, the Irish striker nipped the ball around him and struck home. Baardsen may have been unconvincing at times but it was thanks to the on-loan keeper that Everton stayed in the game a minute later. An Iversen cross from the right landed at the unmarked feet of Davies at the back post and he seemed certain to double Tottenham's lead, only for their former keeper to produce a superb reflex save. Its importance was emphasised just six minutes later as the Blues scrambled themselves back on level terms. Keller had denied Stubbs with an excellent near-post block but from the subsequent short corner Watson was able to slide in his second goal in two league games once Gemmill's cross created panic in the Spurs' six-yard area.
Unfortunately it was Everton who dominated the defensive shortcomings yesterday, and two more gifts were soon coming Tottenham's way as all the good work of the mid-field and attack was criminally undone. Keane put Spurs back into the lead on 68 minutes when Everton lost possession from their own throw- in, Yobo bought the dummy offered by the striker and Baardsen was left picking a 22-yard low drive out of the bottom right-hand corner. Seven minutes from time the White Hart Lane hero secured the win with his first hat-trick for the club thanks to another piece of personal skill and yet more aby smal Ever ton defending. This time they conceded from their own goal-kick, as Gary Doherty headed it back into the visiting half and Stubbs completely missed his clearance. That allowed Keane into the danger zone but there was still enough cover to cut out the danger. However, he easily skipped away from Yobo once again and lifted a nonchalant finish over the tiring Everton keeper. Excuses existed for the centre-halves who had both passed late fitness tests after struggling with injury all week, Stubbs' misery compounded by what appeared a broken nose on the hour. But Moyes wasn't interested in them, especially after his side had again restored parity in style seven minutes before Keane's match-winner. It was Radzinski who deservedly struck after Li Tie and then Naysmith had combined to set him free inside the area, his instinctive left-foot shot easily beating Keller and providing the platform for a point. Instead, the platform simply sprung another hole.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (3-5-2): Keller; Doherty, Perry, King; Carr, Bunjevcevic, Anderton, Poyet, Davies; Iversen (Acimovic 80), Keane. Subs: Sullivan, Taricco, Blondel, Gardner.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Baardsen; Pistone, Yobo (Cars-ley 85), Stubbs, Unsworth; Watson, Li Tie (Osman 90), Gemmill, Naysmith; McBride, Radzinski. Subs: Alexandersson, Pembridge, Said.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gemmill (foul) and Tottenham's Doherty (foul).
REFEREE: Mr S Dunn.
That was our worst of season - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 13 2003
DAVID MOYES admitted Everton produced "their worst defensive display this season" yesterday as Robbie Keane condemned the Blues to defeat at Tottenham. The Spurs striker struck a second half hat-trick as Everton's winless streak stretched to six games at White Hart Lane. Debutant Brian McBride had given the depleted visitors a 10th-minute lead while Tomasz Radzinski levelled matters in the 74th minute as Everton twice fought back from behind. But Keane's third seven minutes from time, following slips by both Alan Stubbs and Joseph Yobo - who was substituted shortly afterwards - left Moyes fuming. The Blues boss, who was forced to give Espen Baardsen his debut after Richard Wright injured his knee in the warm-up, said: "We paid the price for our defending. "That was our worst defensive display of the season. It was down to bad decisionmaking, simple as that. If the under-14s team had made those decisions you would have said it wasn't good enough and this certainly wasn't. "They were bad mistakes and I'm sure none of them will need me to tell them." He added: "I was a bad misjudgement by Alan but Robbie Keane still had an awful lot to do after that.
"Alan got a knock on the nose that just wouldn't stop bleeding and that seemed to disrupt us a bit in a period of the game where we had just got to grips with things and were getting back into it."
Despite the defensive showing, Moyes was satisfied with his side's response to last week's FA Cup humbling by Shrewsbury. He said: "This was a massive improvement to Shrewsbury so that is a plus." Moyes continued: "I would be worried about the run if we were fifth from bottom but as it is, we are still sixth from top. There were a lot of good things in the game. We played well at times and were more enterprising than we have been of late, as the three goals show. "We have improved and I would say we have only just started. It's only been improvement over the last five or six months and we are looking at sustained progress over the next two or three years. But we've got a lot of work to do. "Now we need to step on. A lot of things worked against us today but we still could have pulled something out of this and we should have done." He added: "I thought Brian did well for us. I said he was an honest player and he worked very hard, never shirked any challenges and took his goal well. He hasn't played a game for a long time so he did great to give us 90 minutes." Moyes, meanwhile, insisted there is "no chance" of Wayne Rooney being allowed to go to the UEFA Championship with England under-20s in March. "I've spoken to (England coach) Les Reed about it and they know what I think," he said. Players who are first team regulars shouldn't be taken away from their clubs at that time. Anyway, Wayne will probably still be suspended then!"
Tottenham 4, Everton 3 (Echo)
Jan 13 2003 By David Prentice At White Hart Lane, Liverpool Echo
MARK LAWRENSON'S pre-match assessment of this humdinger was that you couldn't have paid him enough to watch it. So while he washed the car and saved himself a pay-per-view tenner, he missed a Sunday lunchtime seven goal thriller. In hindsight it was probably just as well. One of the classiest centre-halfs of his day, he would have been appalled by the defending displayed by Everton on an afternoon when they self-destructed spectacularly. A little uncertainty at the back was to be expected, given the presence of a stand-in goalkeeper making his first senior appearance for 15 months - but all four goals Everton conceded were avoidable - and none could be firmly pinned on Espen Baardsen. Two goals came from a goal-kick and a throw-in - taken by Everton - while the other two were sloppy in the extreme. Both central defenders made costly errors, but David Moyes appeared to be pointing the finger of blame firmly in one direction - when he introduced Lee Carsley four minutes from time, and hauled off Joseph Yobo. His post-match comments were telling, too. Dissecting Spurs' winning goal he said: "It was a complete misjudgement by Alan Stubbs, but Keane still had a lot to do after that and I would have hoped we would have done better." For 'we', read Yobo (above left), who Keane easily sidestepped before poking the ball over Baardsen. The imperious form displayed by the Nigerian earlier in the season evaporated as soon as contract talks and permanent signings were mentioned - and he was turned far too easily by Keane for Spurs' third goal 15 minutes earlier. But Yobo should not be made a scapegoat for this result. Everton's defending collectively was woeful, handing an erratic Spurs side three points they could scarcely have hoped for. It was a heart-breaking blow for the Blues, given the obstinate and opportunistic form shown by their forwards at the other end. Three times they found a way past Kasey Keller - but still they lost. In hindsight, the writing was on the wall even before kick-off. David Moyes conducted his pre-match warm-up routine on the White Hart Lane pitch conscious he had a dozen players unavailable through either suspension or injury - a number which included two goalkeepers. That belatedly became an unlucky 13 when another 'keeper pulled out, Richard Wright crying off with a knee problem just an hour before kick-off. Espen Baardsen was the man pushed into the shop window, 15 months after his last senior appearance for Watford. If the Evertonians had been aware that had been a 4-3 defeat by Bradford, they might not have gre ete d th e Norwe g ian so enthusiastically. Baardsen could not be solely blamed for any of the goals, but the match sharpness which comes with regular action was clearly missing. Brian McBride, too, has not played any competitive football since October. But the American became the Blues' first debut marksman since Mickael Madar burst onto the Goodison scene five years ago and looked bright and willing. Goals had not been the most anticipated product of the American's loan spell at Goodison. He scored only once in a nine match stint at Preston and two during an even longer spell with Wolfsburg in the German League. But he took just nine minutes to open his account in the Premiership, with a clinical strike. Neat inter-play in the Everton midfield gave Gemmill possession, and he produced the kind of slide-rule pass he is always capable of. It would be incorrect to say McBride sprinted clear, but he was intelligent enough to cut across the chasing defenders and just as Perry threw in a tackle he finished ruthlessly. As well as that cutting edge, McBride also offered an omipresent aerial threat, but it was three headers at the other end of the pitch which yielded the game's second goal just three minutes later. McBride's headed clearance from a corner was nodded back into the danger zone by Davies - and Gus Poyet angled a clever header past Baardsen's outstretched dive.
That opening came from a corner conceded by Stubbs, as he tried to head the ball back to his goalkeeper - and it was a sign of things to come. While Everton were always threatening at one end - Watson's header was pushed behind by Keller, Radzinski fired a rasping left-footed shot narrowly over, then Stubbs placed a glancing header narrowly wide and crashed a fierce free-kick narrowly over - they never looked secure at the other. The second half was only five minutes old when Robbie Keane scored the first of his treble. David Moyes spent a long time berating assistant referee Mr Bannister for his failure to raise a flag when the Irishman raced well clear of Everton's awful offside trap. But it looked like the Spurs' striker had timed his run to prerfection, before taking full advantage of the Blues' statuesque defending by rounding Baardsen to roll home. The Blues timing was almost as good, when they snatched an equaliser just seven minutes later. Gemmill curled a corner into the Spurs six yard box and even though Steve Watson appeared to be pulled by the jersey, he wheeled to ram a right-footed shot past Keller. But the third goal Spurs claimed in the 67th minute was a disaster. Unsworth's throw-in was easily picked up, Anderton threaded a pass towards Keane and he turned Yobo with an ease which wouldn't have been thought possible three months ago. Even then his crisp, low drive might have been parried by a keeper with more match action under his belt. Iversen lobbed another opening over Baardsen, but wide, in the 70th minute - as Everton looked set to lose by their now almost compulsory 3- 2 scoreline at Tottenham, but they showed a character and a resilience markedly missing eight days earlier. Li Tie and Gary Naysmith exchanged neat passes on the periphery of the Spurs' penalty box and Tomasz Radzinski crashed an excellent left-footed finish past Keller. That should have been enough to claim at least a point, but the 82nd minute winner was calamitous. Baardsen's goal-kick was punted straight back at the Everton defence. Alan Stubbs misjudged alarmingly, letting the ball bounce over his head and Robbie Keane raced through with relish. Joseph Yobo dashed across to cover, but was beaten too easily and Keane poked in the winner. At least Mark Lawrenson wasn't watching. A Republic of Ireland international scoring a hat-trick against Everton? He might have paid to watch that.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (3-5-2): Keller, Perry, Bunjevcevic, King, Carr, Anderton, Poyet, Doherty, Davies, Keane, Iversen (Acimovic 80 mins). Unused: Sullivan, Taricco, Blondel, Gardner
EVERTON (4-4-2): Baardsen, Pistone, Yobo (Carsley 86 mins), Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Tie (Osman 90 mins), Gemmill, Naysmith, McBride, Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Alexandersson, Pembridge, Said
REFEREE: Steve Dunn
BOOKINGS: Gemmill (27 mins) foul, Doherty (76 mins) foul.
GOALS: McBride (9 mins) 0-1, Poyet (12 mins) 1-1, Keane (50 mins) 2-1, Watson (57 mins) 2-2, Keane (67 mins) 3-2, Radzinski (73 mins) 3-3, Keane (82 mins) 4-3
Robbie's treble can be an inspiration
Jan 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
ROBBIE KEANE is hoping his first Premiership hat-trick can help Tottenham put their recent poor run behind them. After successive Premiership defeats at Newcastle and Southampton, plus a 4-0 FA Cup drubbing against the latter, the Republic of Ireland striker gave Glenn Hoddle's side a lift with his three goals in the 4-3 defeat of Everton. He said: "It's my first Premier League hat-trick and it's extremely special - hopefully we can build on this good result. "The last few games we've not been playing as well as we would have liked - hopefully we can kick on from here." The striker added: "We made it hard for ourselves. Everton worked very hard and it was a tough game. We rode our luck sometimes." Uruguayan Gustavo Poyet, who got Spurs' other goal, hailed the hat-trick hero.
The former Chelsea man said: "Every time Robbie runs with the ball he's going to have chances.
"It's difficult to pick his best goal because they were all important ones. He added: "Games like these are difficult but we have showed we can fight, run, play and score today." The result moves Spurs up to eighth in the table, two places and a point behind Everton, whose goals were scored by Brian McBride, Steve Watson and Tomasz Radzinski. Hoddle hailed a "wonderful individual performance" and "a fantastic hat-trick" from Keane. He said: "Sometimes you get gut feelings - but I felt all day Robbie looked as if he was going to be a thorn in their side. "That's been waiting to happen all season. He could have had five and he could have got more this season - but it shows the lad's a real character." He continued: "We kept getting a lead and could not hold on - but the team showed fantastic character. "People outside the club have been questioning the team spirit but this proves we have the spirit to come back. "In the end I think we deserved to win. There are chinks we've got to put right but I'm delighted with the three points." The former England coach also admitted people are working "non-stop" to try and strengthen Spurs' squad - but gave little else away about what comings and goings would take place at White Hart Lane.
Moyes blocks Wayne call-up
Jan 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will resist FA efforts to take Wayne Rooney to the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates in March. England's Under-20 coach, Les Reed, confirmed this weekend that he wanted Rooney to join youngsters like James Milner and Jermaine Jenas f or the month long tournament. But Moyes delivered a pointed reaction when he was asked about Rooney's possible participation yesterday. "The first word starts with F, and the second starts with O. "I spoke to Les and they know. I think it's something that the national squads have to look at. If any young player is a regular first teamer the FA shouldn't ask to take them away during the season." Unlike Under-21 and full international squads, the FA cannot force a player to go. The tournament runs from March 25 to April 18 - meaning Rooney would miss up to five matches, including the Goodison derby.
That could be even longer if the FA invoked a 14-day rule allowing full preparation for the tournament. Reed believes Rooney would benefit more from going to the Championships than being called up for next month's full international against Australia at Upton Park. He believes players like Rio Ferdinand and Joe Cole were promoted to full international football too quickly.
"Rio spent almost two years sitting on the bench or sitting in the stand in an anorak when he could have been playing regular Under-21 football," he said. "Ron Atkinson said that Sven should pick Wayne Rooney even if he doesn't play because he'll learn a lot by being among the first team players. But he'll learn a lot more by playing and not just training. "If you look at Ronaldo, Rival-do, Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry, they were not overnight wonders. They had many international caps in the bank before making their senior debuts. Zidane had 48 youth caps. "That is whay Wayne is in danger of missing out on." Reed also warned about the burden of over-expectation on Rooney's shoulders. "I would reserve judgement," he added. "He has got a lot going for him, but most of it is physical. "He has got strength, power and pace, but how he will cope with a season of 90-minute games has yet to be seen. "What will happen next with Wayne is that opponents will prepare better; the surprise element will be gone. The question now is whether he can cope with problem solving." Rooney was suspended for yesterday's 4-3 defeat at Spurs, but manager David Moyes praised his striking debutant Brian McBride - a player who became the Blues' first debutant goalscorer since Mickael Madar. "Brian did well for us," he explained. He is an honest player, worked hard, took his goal well and didn't shirk a challenge." But Moyes was less complimentary about his defenders. "We paid the price for our defending today," he declared.
Kenny driven by a love for the Blues
Jan 13 2003 Liverpool Echo
THE ECHO is honouring the most loyal fans of Merseyside's three big football clubs. There's still time nominate someone for our Fan of the Year award by writing to us at: Sports Desk, Liverpool ECHO, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB, or e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nominations close at the end of next week. The three winners chosen by our judging panel will attend our Sports Personality of the Year awards ceremony on February 3, as well as receiving a year's supply of Cains beer. Here we look at two of Everton's true blue contenders who've been nominated. IN nearly six decades Kenny Ingram has seen many great names grace the Goodison turf. The HGV driver has been following the Blues since he first saw them play as a five-year-old perched on his older brother's shoulders in the late 1940s. Later, while serving in the army, he even played against Alex Parker when the defender was serving with the Royal Scots Fusiliers before he joined Everton. Kenny, now 64, said: "We were serving in Germany at the time and I learned after the game that he was joining Everton. We won the match, but you could see he was a very good full back." Kenny, of Wallasey, has witnessed some of the most memorable moments in Everton's history. As a boy he once even met the club's greatest ever player, Dixie Dean, and tried on his international caps. He said: "My dad knew him well. They used to play together in schools football. I met him when we went to the pub he used to run in Chester. "I have seen all the greats. Alan Ball was one of the best I have ever seen. I liked Trevor Steven as well. I have always liked wingers."
Recently-widowed Kenny accompanies his wheelchair-bound son Lee to every home game and to as many away matches as possible. His three other children are also regulars. He said: "My daughter Helen used to run Paul Bracewell's fan club. I go to all the home and away games. Lee loves Everton. We even go to the pre-season friendlies. We were up in Scotland following the team last summer.
"I have been all over the country fol-lowing Everton. One game that really stands out is winning at Wembley in the 1966 Cup final. We were 2-0 down and came back to win it. "The 1980s saw a great run - we had a fantastic team. It was such a pity we couldn't compete in the European Cup.
"We would never have lost Gary Lineker, Trevor Steven and Gary Stevens. "I'm quite happy with David Moyes and the current team. I just wish we had the money that Liverpool have, then we'd be where Arsenal are now!"
Why Bristol fan asked for transfer
IAN GRAVES loves Everton so much, he moved his family nearly 200 miles to be closer to the club!
He pleaded with his bosses in Bristol for a transfer when he discovered the company also had a depot in Runcorn. His love affair with the Blues started on his sixth birthday. Ian, now 38, explained: "A friend of my mother's was walking past a sports shop in Bristol and bought me an Everton scarf for my birthday. I think it was mainly because it was blue. "From then on I was an Everton fan. Back then there were not many in Bristol." Even living in the West Country could not keep Ian away from Goodison. The warehouse operative said: "I would get up at five o'clock on a Saturday morning to travel up to the match. I found out that the company I was working for had a depot in Runcorn and from then on I was asking for a transfer." When they agreed, mad Blue Ian moved wife Sue and daughters Bethany and Briony up north, despite not having any family connections in the area. He added: "I didn't tell family and friends the real reason for the move. They would have thought I was barmy. "That was two-and-a-half years ago and now we are settled here and have lots of friends. "A couple of years ago my wife wrote to Bill Kenwright to tell him I had been supporting the club for 30 years. He sent back two match tickets and a signed Everton shirt. "I was so chuffed."
Blues must improve defence
Jan 13 2003 By Tommy Smith
WHAT a contrast in Everton's game with Spurs yesterday. Okay, the defences were not up to much, but the attackers on both sides produced an enthralling spectacle. It was good to see the Blues' new boy, Brian McBride, making an early impact and you could not fault the way David Moyes' side responded to the challenge. But he will not be happy at his side's defending. They allowed Robbie Keane far too much space and a player of his quality will make you pay for slackness. It's vital the Blues become a solid unit again and get back on track. Their form pre-Christmas offered hope of a top six finish and they don't want to throw that good work away with sloppy defensive shows like the one at White Hart Lane.
Blues forced to play games to get Healy
Jan 13 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CELTIC and Everton will call each other's bluff over the transfer of Colin Healy to Goodison. Everton lodged a £150,000 bid for the Irish international midfielder last week. But Celtic's response yesterday was to take the 22-year-old with them to Florida on a mid-winter training camp.
The Glasgow club seem intent on prising more money out of the Blues for a player who has hardly figured in Martin O'Neill's plans all season. But Everton know that the player would be happy to move to Everton for nothing in the summer. No decision seems likely for a fort-night at least.
Instead the Blues will re-focus their thoughts on finalising Wayne Rooney's first senior contract at Everton. Further talks are planned this week - and Everton have dismissed yet more reports linking Rooney with another European giant. A report this morning said that Rooney had rejected an approach from Inter Milan. Inter director, Gabriele Oriali, was reported to have said: "I appreciate Rooney a lot. It's clear that if there is going to be a case where you can sign an option on him we would be prepared." But Blues' chief executive Michael Dunford said: "I have not had any contact from anybody at Inter, nor have I heard of any contact." Everton's fourth goalkeeper of the season, meanwhile, Espen Baardsen, reflected on his "rusty" debut yesterday. The Norwegian international conceded four at former club Spurs and said afterwards: "I will not say that I played a good game. It was okay. "I admit I was a bit rusty. That is not strange because it's been a while since I played a match. "I haven't even played for Everton Reserves. I don't know my teammates yet either." He also cited a hip injury picked up during the match as a contributory factor. "It is not an excuse, but I was in a lot of pain," he explained. "It hurt every time I dived to the right. Of course the Tottenham players shot there every time! "I'm not sure what happens next Saturday, or if Richard Wright will be back or not. "I didn't know anything about starting until about half-an-hour before kick-off, then I was told that I was in the team. Of course I became a bit nervous. "Robbie Keane was the big difference between the teams. He was outstanding today."
Winter break's mixed blessing
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 14 2003
ADVOCATES of a winter break will have received a warning from this week's FA Premier League Academy fixtures. After four weeks off from competitive fixtures, Everton under-17s and U19s were due back for the first matches of the new year. But both Colin Harvey's U19s' and Alan Harper's U17s' Academy fixtures at Crewe Alexandra's Alexandra Park on Saturday were postponed due to frozen pitches. It is desirable not to over-exert young footballers, so the make-up of the Academy League - which sees small regional leagues of nine or 10 teams - is ideal. And a winter break is also perfect for rest and recharging the batteries of players who are still growing, but the vagaries of the British winter mean the Blues will have been without competitive action for 35 days when they welcome Nottingham Forest to Bellefield and Netherton this weekend. And if a similar break were adopted at first-team level, bad weather could see players and fans kicking their heels for large parts of the winter and having to play catch-up later. It is a pity for the Blues' youngsters, who both finished the first part of the season on a high - the U19s thrashed Stoke City 5-1, while the U17s had an excellent 3-0 derby victory over Merseyside neighbours Liverpool. Coach Harper said: "Most of the lads are raring to go. I think the break is too long really. We're trying to make it shorter. A week's enough to give them a decent break."
Moyes ponders keeper deal
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 14 2003
ESPEN BAARDSEN could win an extension to his short-term Everton contract as Richard Wright awaits a verdict on his knee injury. Norwegian Baardsen made his Blues debut in the 4-3 defeat by Spurs on Sunday after former Arsenal keeper Wright was forced to withdraw just half an hour before kick-off. Wright , who would have been watched by England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson at White Hart Lane, had a scan yesterday and remains a major doubt for Saturday's game with Sunderland.
With Steve Simonsen and Paul Gerrard both still recovering from injury, that is likely to mean a second Everton start for Baardsen, who admitted he was "rusty" in his first competitive appearance for 15 months. David Moyes signed the former Spurs keeper for a month on Christmas Eve after he was released by Watford. He has now employed four different keepers this season - the first time that has happened at Goodison since the 1926-27 sea-son. The Blues manager could be forced to extend that deal for an extra month if today's scan results show Wright's injury is serious.
Everton physio Mick Rathbone explained: "Richard had trained on the Friday and the Saturday and was okay but he then picked up the injury on the pitch at Tottenham. "He had a scan today and at the present moment we are unsure as to whether or not he'll be ready for Sunderland." Moyes' only other goalkeeping option is 18-year-old Iain Turner, who is due to sign a three-year contract with the
Blues when he returns from a training camp in Portugal with Scotland's under-21s later this week. Everton are still awaiting the outcome of a tribunal after failing to agree a fee with Scottish third division club Stirling Albion for Turner, who could be catapulted into the squad on Saturday.
However, Gerrard has now stepped up training having dislocated his knee while on loan at Ipswich and has an outside chance of featuring against Howard Wilkinson's strugglers. On his debut Baardsen - who claims Arsenal tried to sign him on loan just hours after he agreed a move to Everton - said: "I wouldn't say that I played a good game. It was okay. "I admit I was a bit rusty, although that was no surprise because it's been a while since I played a match. I only found out that I was going to be playing 20 minutes or so into the warm-up." Baardsen added: "It's never easy when that happens and I was a little bit nervous at the start. "I hadn't played for the club before Sunday - I haven't even been able to play for the reserves - so although I am what I would term training fit, I'm not 100 per cent match fit." He added: "That is not an excuse but I took a blow to my hip and was in a lot of pain afterwards. It hurt every time I dived to the right and of course the Tottenham players shot there every time!" Everton, meanwhile, are still waiting on a decision from Celtic over their £150,000 bid for Colin Healy. The Blues' move for the Republic of Ireland midfielder is likely to drag on until the final week of the transfer window after the Scottish champions took Healy away with them to Florida for their mid-winter training camp.
No false dawns despite defeat
Jan 14 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
THERE'S a common theme developing among the Evertonians I know at the moment. Phrases like "an-other false dawn" and "here we go again" are being tossed around after Sunday's self-destruction at Spurs. But while I was as appalled as anybody by Everton's dreadful defending at White Hart Lane, I found plenty of cause for optimism. It was strange that an area which has consis tently been a strength all season should have let them down, but there were reasons for that.
David Moyes was forced to make a number of changes, most notably in goal, and it does take time for an understanding to develop between a goalkeeper and his defence. Joseph Yobo came into the middle and Alessandro Pistone came in at right-back, and all the changes contributed to an air of uncertainty at the back. But countering that was the incredible spirit and togetherness Everton showed. They kept coming back and coming back, Steve Watson was a real threat cutting in from the right until Glenn Hoddle cottoned on and tinkered with his own formation slightly, they scored three goals in the Premiership for the first time this season and in the first half particularly I thought some of Everton's play was exceptional. It was all undone in the end by sloppy defending, but you do sometimes get one-off games like that. Everton will hope that was all it was and that they can bounce back impressively against Sunderland this weekend. Hopefully they won't have as many selection difficulties and it will just prove to be a blip. What is most pleasing is that Evertonians are now bitterly disappointed to lose at Tottenham. In the not too distant past a 4- 3 defeat there would have been seen as a reasonable result!
Moyes to keep hold of Rooney
Jan 14 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have avoided being dragged into a club-versus-country row over Wayne Rooney after David Moyes held clear-theair talks with England Under-20 coach Les Reed. Reed had made it clear on Sunday he was ready to select the Blues' teenage star for the forthcoming World Under-20 Championships in the United Arab Emirates. But after discussions between Reed and the Goodison boss, Everton have been assured Rooney will not be picked to travel to the three-week tournament at the end of March. Moyes told the ECHO today: "Les Reed has told me he has no intention of calling Wayne up to the squad. "In fact, he made it clear he has no intention of calling up any players during the season who are involved in their club's first-team squad." Reed's decision means Rooney will now not face the prospect of missing four key Premiership matches against Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and West Brom. Had Reed selected the 17-year-old striker, Everton would have been forced to release the player under strict FIFA regulations. The decision of the England Under-20 coach also means youngsters such as Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas and Leeds' James Milner will not be selected to travel to the middle east. Reed's decision could also be tempered by the fact the Under-20 Championships coincide with two senior England internationals. Rooney's electric start to life in the Premiership could mean he is more likely to be involved with Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for the European Championship qualifiers away to Liechtenstein on March 29 and at home to Turkey on April 2. Meanwhile, the Blues are unlikely to extend Espen Baardsen's loan deal at Everton if Paul Gerrard can prove his fitness this week. The former Oldham keeper stepped up his training regime today in a bid to prove he has shaken off the dislocated knee injury which he sustained while on loan at Ipswich. With Everton number one Richard Wright still a major doubt for this weekend's clash with Sunderland, Moyes is keeping his options open over who will stand-in for the former Arsenal man. He added: "Richard has seen the specialist and the knee injury doesn't seem to be too bad but it will still be a few days before we can judge how long it is going to keep him out for. "We are just waiting for the injury to settle down a bit. It may be something that doesn't keep him out long.
"We are looking into the situation with Espen but a lot will depend on whether Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen will be fit in time for our next game." Baardsen was signed for a month on Christmas Eve after being released by Watford. The Blues will have to decide this week whether to extend the deal to a second month depending on the fitness of Wright and Gerrard.
Ferguson denies second burglary assault
By Alan Weston And Ian Fannon, Daily Post
Jan 15 2003
EVERTON striker Duncan Ferguson is being investigated by police over an allegation that he assaulted an intruder who he caught redhanded in the act of burgling his house. Police were called to Ferguson's home in Victoria Road, Freshfield, near Formby, after receiving a report of a burglary. The man was restrained by Ferguson until police arrived, but the burglar later claimed he had been assaulted by the footballer. A friend of Ferguson said last night that he "vehemently denied" the accusation. Carl Bishop, 37, of Carisbrooke Road, Walton, Liverpool, was charged with intent to steal and appeared before North Sefton magistrates in Southport on Friday. He pleaded guilty and is due to appear before Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing during the week beginning February 10. The latest incident comes exactly two years and a day after a break-in at Ferguson's former home in Ruf-ford, West Lancashire, in which he confronted two men. He disarmed and restrained one of the men until police arrived. Two men were later jailed for 15 months. Merseyside Police last night confirmed they were investigating an allegation of assault made against the householder in connection with the incident. According to Ferguson's friend and former legal adviser, Kevin Dooley, Ferguson surprised the intruder in the act of stacking goods ready for removal. Mr Dooley said Ferguson had suffered injuries when the intruder had "shown violence" towards him after he was disturbed. "Mr Ferguson has built two houses in Victoria Road, which are in the same grounds," said Mr Dooley. "One of them has a gym, and he had gone over to do some training when he surprised an intruder. "Whilst endeavouring to apprehend the intruder, a struggle ensued which resulted in Mr Ferguson suffering injuries. "Fortunately, he was successful in restraining the intruder until the police arrived." Mr Dooley added: "The incident has caused much distress to Mr and Mrs Ferguson, and their distress has been aggravated as a result of a complaint of assault by the burglar against Mr Ferguson, which he is vehemently denying. "While I appreciate the duty of the police to investigate such complaints, I find it appalling that a man who was in his own house, apprehends an intruder, and suffers injuries himself while apprehending him, should be subjected to such an ordeal." Mr Dooley said Mr Ferguson had not yet been spoken to by police in connection with the allegation. A spokesman for Merseyside Police confirmed last night that they had attended a call at a home in Victoria Road last Wednesday, following reports of a burglary. "A man was arrested on suspicion of burglary at the scene, after being apprehended by the owner of the property," said the spokesman. "We can confirm that we are currently investigating an allegation of assault made in connection with this incident against the householder." Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross declined to comment.
Sweeping away the old system
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 15 2003
THE likelihood of seeing Tony Hibbert, Peter Clarke or Wayne Rooney sweeping the steps on the Gwladys Street after a big match are non-existent. But 30 years ago sweeping passes were not the only thing talented young footballers had to learn to ply their trade in the game. These days clubs want their young stars to have more than an educated left-foot and with the Academy system now firmly in place, learning to be a footballer involves more than just kicking a ball for 90 minutes.
In the past, the off-the-field education was made up almost exclusively of 'character-building' exercises like cleaning boots and kit, sweeping the terraces and generally being a dogsbody.
Now boys can learn a whole range of skills to help them in life, in or out of the game. At Everton, the club prides itself on the development of young players. And while success on the field is the chief aim - and that has been achieved with Hibbert (pictured), Clarke and Rooney following on from the likes of Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball and Gavin McCann before them - Academy director Ray Hall and Everton's head of education and welfare Mike Dickinson put as much time and effort in achieving similar results off the pitch. Dickinson said: "There is a whole culture change in football. Yes there are those that say it was all right in my day, why all this? "But the young players have got to learn and it's all about respect. We are trying to treat young players as human beings, with the respect that they deserve in the hope that that is how they will treat people. It has come a long way since the old days. "And you would be surprised at how many of the older players are now interested in education courses. Even players who have made it into the reserves and first team ask me about courses on various things like computers. "No matter how good a career someone has, it will end. That could be at 17, at the end of a scholarship, as a result of an injury or being released. Or even at the end of a decent career at 35. "So they will need to do something else. And a scholarship provides that." It is five years since the FA brought in the Academy system, changing from the old apprenticeships. Now young players embark on those scholarships, which are for a minimum of two years on the foot-ball side and three years in education. Everton have one of the most successful youth Academies in terms of providing youngsters for the first team and they are committed to doing the same off the field. Each scholar has to undertake 12 hours study each week at either Chesterfield High Specialist Sports College in Crosby, Southport College or at the school they previously attended by special arrangement. Two hours of those 12 are for core skills, which are related to the game and personal development each Tuesday after-noon, dependant on participation in reserve fixtures. The other 10 hours are part of an educational package ranging from sports science to business, from 'A' level study to motor vehicle maintenance on a Monday and Wednesday. Dickinson explained: "The core skills, or personal and social education as it is often called in school, are geared to the lads involved in professional football. They are unique circumstances that they find themselves in. "So, for example, we have done sessions on relationships. We are also planning to have someone come in from Second Chance to talk about alcohol abuse; from the Liverpool police force to do some work on drug abuse; people from the Driving Standards Agency to talk about driving safely and awareness on the road as all the young lads are desperate to have a car. "We provide advice on financial planning, but there are also football-specific topics in dealing with the media, role models and the image of the game.
"For the other 10 hours the boys pursue their chosen courses. "Some boys are doing 'A' levels, some are doing business studies, another group is doing a B-Tec in sport on the performance and excellence route - a course put together by heads of education welfare in football clubs and also Peter Cates from the Premier League. Four boys are on an IT and graphic arts course and they are working on designing a website. "We also have one boy on the third year of a motor vehicle maintenance course. The philosophy being that we will pro-vide for whatever is appropriate to their needs and ability level. We always have the aim of helping them when the time comes that football ends for them, because inevitably it will. We are helping them to insure against the inevitable." There are boys in the past who have gone on to university, who may have been deemed 'not good enough' to make it in professional foot-ball and others have gone on to forge careers away from the game in various fields such as the police force. Despite these benefits it is not always easy to keep the boys interested when they only see a future as a footballer. Dickinson added: "I know that maybe if they had a choice many of them would not be interested but we present it to them in such a way that it isn't a huge chore. Something that is essential, necessary and useful with the future in mind. "And it is also a break from the foot-ball. No matter how keen and how focused they are, it is of use to them to have a change of environment, emphasis and pace.
"Yes they are reluctant at times, like after they were beaten in the youth cup, but every one was there the next morning and I can't ask for much more than that. It is geared towards each individual or, as I like to say, it is courses for horses." But what of a player like the most talked-about teenager in football, Wayne Rooney? Even though it may appear he has no fears of making a living, the Blues are looking after his education and welfare just like every other scholar, making sure he is educated in the right way. Dickinson stressed: "He is still a scholar at the club, so he is part of the education programme. It fits in around him because he is in the first team. "There have been players in the past who have also been involved in the first team so the programme has to be tailored in a different way to suit their needs because of different training timetables. Other clubs do exactly the same and that is allowed for within the scholarship programme." With that system in place the club are always looking to improve, like they must do in all areas of the game. In the past many of the courses took place in the Goodison lounges, which were not ideal for classroom learning, so partnerships with the educational establishments were taken up. Now with the state-of-the-art training and academy facility in the pipeline, much of the learning will take place there.
Dickinson explained: " The course, our links with Chester-field and Southport, and the hours, in principle will not change. But in practice they will because built into the plans for the new facility are classrooms, IT rooms, a library and reading room, a lecture theatre and so on. "The implications in terms of the delivery of the education means we can have our core skills there, most of the teaching will probably take place there with staff travelling to us. For some of the younger lads it is advisable that we keep them under our gaze for that little bit longer and try to influence their lives that little bit more. "And maybe also if some of the older players want to do some courses we will be able to lay them on in the new facility." But for Dickinson, who was in teaching for 26 years before taking up his full-time role at Everton, extensively at Savio (formerly Salesian High School) and was part of the England schoolboy international set-up in the mid-90s, the benefits of the education programme can only be fully real- over time. He added: "It is in its infancy - this is only the fifth year of the Academy system. As with performances on the pitch, we can only really judge how successful the education programme has been in the years to come. "I was in teaching for 26 years and I wouldn't have left if I wasn't committed to this system and felt it was very beneficial. I relish the opportunity to influence young people in a positive way and I think we, as an Academy, can do that here."
Rooney's in clear to put seal on Blues deal
Andy Hunter Reports, Daily Post
Jan 15 2003
WAYNE ROONEY is expected to return from suspension with a permanent Everton contract in his pocket after being freed from a potential FA wrangle yesterday. The Goodison hero has been cleared to continue his remarkable rise with the Blues after the club learned England Under-20s Technical Director Les Reed would not be taking him to the World Championship. Manager David Moyes dismissed reports on Sunday claiming the 17-year-old striker - currently suspended until the Charlton game on February 8 - would miss four more Everton games in March due to the tournament. But that failed to prevent the matter dragging on, with Rooney even being threatened by a UEFA ban if Everton failed to comply with England's request. Reed confirmed to Moyes by telephone yesterday that no regular Premiership players would be forced to travel to the United Arab Emirates' competition, which could still be called off in the event of a war with Iraq. Everton's head of PR, Ian Ross, revealed: "Les Reed has been in contact with David Moyes to inform him that he has no intention of calling up Wayne Rooney for the tournament in March. "For the club, that is mercifully the end of the matter. I don't think there was any doubt it would be resolve amicably.
"Anything to do with Wayne Rooney is news at the moment, so we were expecting this. We had always had assurances from the FA that they would look sympathetically at any case involving us, and presumably any other youngster who is in a Premiership first team." The move does raise the prospect of Rooney - who would have missed Premier-ship games against Arsenal, Newcastle, West Brom and Liverpool - being fast-tracked into Sven-Goran Eriksson's England senior squad instead.
Meanwhile, Everton are confident the long-running saga over his Goodison career will be resolved within the next month. A second round of talks took place between the club and Rooney's ProActive management agency last week with both sides closer to resolving the thorny issue of the star's projected image rights. It is believed only a few details have now to be ironed out and the contract should be signed before his comeback against Charlton. Despite reports both Real Madrid and Inter Milan want first refusal on the striker, Everton have not had any contact from either club as Rooney wants to commit himself to Goodison with a five-year contract. Now freed from England U20 duty, the teenager could become the youngest full international since records began in the 19th century. His current suspension makes it highly unlikely Eriksson will summon him for the friendly against Australia in February - much to Moyes' satisfaction - but he will be in line for promotion when the European Championship qualifiers resume. England take on Liechtenstein on March 29 and Turkey on April 2. Should Rooney play in either game, he will beat the present record held by Michael Owen, who was 18 years and 59 days old when he made his full England debut against Chile in February 1998.
Moyes: Yobo form no big deal
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 15 2003
DAVID MOYES last night insisted Joseph Yobo's contract dispute is not to blame for the Everton defender's dip in form. The Nigerian international has recently struggled to recapture the heights of his initial awesome displays for the Blues and was culpable as Robbie Keane ran riot at Tottenham on Sunday. Yobo was substituted shortly after the Spurs striker scored the match-winner at White Hart Lane and his dip has coincided with recent contract problems. But Moyes is adamant they are not the reason for his recent displays as he revealed both parties have now resolved their differences over his transfer. Everton took up their option to sign the defender for £4.5million from Marseille in November on a five-year contract. But Yobo, who sacked his agent at the time, believed personal terms would be renegotiated once his initial 12-month loan deal became permanent. Last night Moyes said: "That's all over with now and the things that needed ironing out have been sorted. The contract issue hasn't played a part in his form. "Maybe a month ago he was a bit confused about what exactly was going on and it got him down a bit. But the contract has nothing to do with it and he has even been in to see me and reassured me that that is the case.
"Basically he is just a young centre-half who is learning rapidly. "I always said that as a young defender he would be liable to make mistakes, especially at this level, and that he would have to learn from them. "Obviously players cannot make mistakes continuously and we work with him every day to help him improve." Moyes added: "I would say he is a better player already, his positional sense and understanding of the game have already improved. "But there are still things we need to try and iron out with him. That's only natural." Moyes, meanwhile, will give Richard Wright every chance to prove his fitness for Saturday's game with Sunderland after scans revealed the cause of his knee injury. Wright (pictured) missed the Tottenham defeat after suffering an injury in the warm-up and could eventually require surgery if the problem isn't cured with rest. But with Paul Gerrard also edging back to fitness the Blues boss will give both keepers time to recover for the weekend before deciding whether to extend Espen Baardsen's loan deal by another move. Moyes explained: "We'll give Richard every chance of making it for Saturday although we will have to wait until the very last minute by the look of things. "We know what the problem is now, he's got something trapped in his knee and every now and then it becomes inflamed and painful. We had to train indoors in the gym all last week due to the weather so maybe that had something to do with it.
"We will let it settle now but if it doesn't improve eventually we would have to take a look at it."
Kevin Campbell may also return after missing the defeats at Shrewsbury and Spurs with an ankle injury. The Blues boss added: "Kevin's done a bit of running today and there is a chance he could be available for Saturday. Plus we'll have David Weir and Thomas Gravesen back from suspension so we'll have a few more options."
Steve's up for forward role
Jan 15 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON hopes to put his injury nightmare behind him and help get Everton on the goal trail.
The Blues star's season has been marred by injury, but he has scored in each of his last two games since return-ing to first team action. A move forward from defence into the right midfield slot has enabled the big Geordie to bolster Everton's attacks. He scored at Spurs last Sunday and against Manchester City at the start of the month and after featuring in just six games this season, is promising there is a lot more to come from him. He said: "I'm delighted to be fit again. I was hoping the New Year would change my luck. I played on New Year's Day and scored and then scored against Spurs. I'm just hoping that is a platform to build on and I can get fitter and do better. "An advanced role is the way for-ward for me. I have always enjoyed attacking. There's a lot more to come from me in that position. There's a lot more goals to come as well. "I have played at all levels at right-back and I have obviously been seen by many as a right-back, but I feel I can be a threat especially in the air in a more advanced role. "If I can stay injury-free for the rest of the season I can only get better. All season I have been injured for a week, fit for two weeks, it has been very disjointed. Hopefully now I can do enough to stay in the team." Despite the team not winning in their last five Premiership matches, the spirit within the Blues camp remains undaunted after their superb start to the season. Watson said: "The FA Cup defeat really jolted everybody. I thought we reacted positively at Spurs. "It was the first time we have scored three league goals this season. To come away from that game without anything was a major disappointment. "You have to take some pluses out of the way we attacked. Spurs are a very good side at their home ground. "At times we looked the team most likely to score. "The run of six Premiership wins in a row that we went on earlier in the season had to end sometime. We have still been picking up points even if we have not been playing particularly well. "Now that the games are starting to even out after the busy Christmas period, the performance against Spurs was a step forward despite the result. We are looking to carry that forward." Newcastle-born Watson is fired up for Everton's next match, a home tie against Sunderland on Saturday. He said: "I'm a Newcastle lad big style. The reaction I've had when I've played at the Stadium of Light, the Sunderland fans are not big fans of mine. To get three points on Saturday is the main thing, but as a Geordie it will be very nice. "We consider the next two games against Sunderland and Bolton to be winnable. "That will make a difference because there are five or six teams around us separated by a couple of points. A couple of wins and you can really get yourself in a good position again." Last weekend's match at Spurs saw new signing Brian McBride score on his debut, the American impressing his teammates after several months with-out first team football. Watson, a £2.5m signing in the summer of 2000, said: "He told me before the game that he had not played a match since October. When you consider that, I thought he was unbelievable. His fitness was good. There's a lot more to come from him. "It was a confident finish and he is a good target. Kevin Campbell has been a great outlet for everybody. Brian is a lot slighter in build, but he certainly is brave to take the knocks. "To be able to knock the ball up and know it's going to stick and you have time to push up the park is vital. "With Kevin and Duncan Ferguson out - the two best at doing that job - Brian came in on Sunday and did really well."
McCoist: A question of facts
Jan 15 2003 By David Prentice
ALLY McCOIST will not be joining Everton as a specialist striking coach. But the popular TV presenter may visit Bellefield for a day at manager David Moyes' invitation. Morning reports have suggested that the record-breaking Scottish striker has been recruited by Moyes to work with the Goodison club's forwards, in a similar role to that handed to Ian Rush at Liverpool. But Moyes said today: "Ally was on a coaching course I was involved in last summer and I suggested then that he should come and work with our strikers for a day. That was it. It was something which was said between friends and it has been a bit over-stated in the media this morning. Ally has contacted me this morning and he is distraught at the way the story has come out." The Blues' boss is currently focusing his attentions at the opposite end of the field - trying to find a fit goalkeeper for the visit of Sunderland on Saturday. Richard Wright is still experiencing discomfort from the knee in jury which forced his dramatic withdrawal from last Sunday's match at Spurs and Moyes said: "We don't think the problem is that serious, but we will give it a chance to settle down and hopefully it will do so in time for the weekend. "We will leave it until the last minute and if it doesn't settle down we will consider an injection an d th e n maybe surgery." Paul Gerrard restarted training yesterday after his loan spell at Ipswich was cut short by a dislocated knee. Steve Simonsen will have an X-ray on his broken toe on Thursday to gauge his progress, while Kevin Campbell is recovering well from an ankle injury. "Hopefully Kevin will be available for the weekend," said Moyes. Chinese international Li Wei Feng, meanwhile, has been named in his country's squad to face Brazil on February 12, but Li Tie has not been selected, as previously agreed by Everton. Two Falkirk players - Trinidad and Tobago international Colin Samuel and 19-year-old forward Lee Miller - are expected at Bellefield next week for a brief trial. Piotr Swierczewski, who enjoyed a similar trial last week, is now training with Birmingham City. Paul Gascoigne flew to China last night, in a bid to resurrect his stalled career.
The former Everton and England midfielder has been without a club since leaving Burnley at the end of last season. He will have trials with five different clubs in Beijing - including Li Tie's club Liaoning Bird. Gazza said: "I'm looking forward to it. It's a challenge and I'm going there with an open mind."
"I don't know what it's going to be like and I'm looking forward to it. "I'm looking forward to getting back on the pitch and training. "I'm a bit nervous and it's a new challenge. I have trained really hard. This is an opportunity for me to get out of England go over there and enjoy myself. I hope to play good football and entertain the fans." Los Angeles striker, Carlos Ruiz - top scorer for the MLS champions last season, claims Everton are monitoring his progress in the US. The 23-year-old Guatemalan said: "I know that two clubs in England are i nteres te d . One is Everton." David Moyes, however, is unaware of any Goodison interest.
Moyes in swoop for Brazil star
Exclusive By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 16 2003
EVERTON have launched an audacious swoop to hijack Brazilian World Cup winner Kleberson's proposed move to Leeds. The Atletico Paranense midfielder has been linked with numerous moves to Europe since the summer with Roma, Celtic and Newcastle all interested. Cash-strapped Leeds have led the chase for the 23-year-old throughout the transfer window but their struggle to raise funds to secure a deal has enabled Everton to enter the race. Goodison officials have made contact with their Brazilian counterparts over the possibility of signing the star who blossomed in Korea and Japan, playing five times and starring in the World Cup Final victory over Germany. Paranense are believed to want £4million for Kleberson which would obviously represent a major stumbling block for the Blues. But having arranged innovative deals to bring Joseph Yobo and Rodrigo to Goodison Park in the summer they hope to follow suit by signing the midfielder on loan until the end of the season, when a permanent move would be considered. Leeds are still in the driving seat having opened discussions with Kleberson's representatives. But with Terry Venables still under pressure to sell despite offloading Olivier Dacourt, Lee Bowyer and Robbie Fowler in the past week their bid could face further delays. Kleberson, who saw Celtic pull out after admitting they couldn't afford his transfer fee, is anxious to secure a move to Europe before the transfer window closes with the Premiership his prefered destination. As such he is believed to have brought forward plans to marry fiance Dayane Da Silva so she can eventually join him in England - although the nuptials are on hold until next month when she turns 16! "He told me he would not leave until I accepted his marriage proposal," she said. Everton are now awaiting a response from Paranense over their own proposal eve n though talks between Kleberson's agent and Leeds are at an advanced stage. David Moyes, meanwhile, is to give trials to two young Falkirk stars next week. Colin Samuel and Lee Miller will train with the Blues during the Scottish League's winter break although Falkirk boss Ian McCall is loathe to lose them permanently just yet with his side joint top of the first division. Miller, 18, has had a trial with Nottingham Forest and is a highly-rated striker who topped the Falkirk scoring charts last season. Trinidad and Tobago star Samuel, 22, joined McCall's men last summer and like Miller can operate in both midfield and attack. Polish midfielder Piotr Swierczewski, who spent three days on trial at Bellefield last week, is close to agreeing personal terms with Birmingham. Moyes admits he is ready to gamble on the fitness of either Richard Wright or Paul Gerrard against Sunderland on Saturday, providing they come through training without any reactions this week. Gerrard is now back in training and could come in for his first start since September in place of onloan Espen Baardsen if Wright fails to recover from his knee injury in time. Moyes, who has invited TV presenter Ally McCoist to spend one day training with his Everton strikers, said: "We hope Richard will be fit. His problem may require surgery but we are hoping that he may get through to the end of the season or it may just go away. "We are willing to take that gamble at the moment but we won't know if he will be fit to play until just before kick-off on Saturday. "Paul started training on Mon-day and if there is no reaction then he will obviously come back into contention. We only had one goalkeeper last weekend and we are desperate to get them all back."
Ex-Blue skipper has to explain illustrious past
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Jan 16 2003
IT IS such a long time since Kevin Ratcliffe came under the glare of the national media spotlight that the experience is delivering some surprises this time around. Some of the reporters beating a path to the door of the manager of FA Cup giant-killers Shrewsbury Town aren't old enough to recall how Ratcliffe made his name in the game in the first place. Somewhat embarrassed, Ratcliffe has been obliged to list to his interviewers the impressive achievements of a playing career that ran from 1978 to 1994: the two league titles and the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup triumphs as captain of Everton in the mid-80s, the 56 international caps at centre-back for Wales. Ratcliffe said: "It's been a long time since I had to deal with so many reporters. I find myself speaking to people who probably haven't heard of me before this month and want to know my history. "And I was seeing people from the sort of newspapers you only find in libraries. "It's a sign I'm getting older and about the way people look at the game. "I've been in management for eight years now with Ches ter and Shrewsbury but you are out of the limelight down here in the third division. "Almost all of the national attention is on the Premiership. Not that I'm complaining. I enjoy working at this level although I don't think I could turn down the chance to manage a larger club if the opportunity ever came along." Ratcliffe brought the media pack down on his own head by deciding to personally handle all of Shrewsbury's publicity in the build-up to the third round FA Cup tie with Everton earlier this month. The idea was to leave the players undisturbed to concentrate on the game. It could not have worked better as two goals by the well-travelled Nigel Jemson earned Shrewsbury a 2-1 success and the shock of the round. Ratcliffe admits he felt "strange and conflicting" emotions as the final whistle sounded on the Shrews' victory over the club he served for 15 years. He said: "I felt happy and sad all at once. I thought about how Denis Law felt when he scored a goal for Manchester City that consigned Manchester United to relegation from the first division back in the 1970s.
"First and foremost there was the elation of winning, the achievement of it. I'd never had a giant-killing success like that as a manager before. Then the disbelief clicked in that it was Everton of all clubs we had put out." The victory, followed by a fourth round draw that gave Shrewsbury a plum home tie with Chelsea, ensured the media circus will descend once again on the historic Shropshire town. The tie is being televised live by the BBC on Sunday, January 26. Meanwhile, Ratcliffe is spreading the publicity load by making the players and himself available to the media on one day only - next Friday afternoon. Ratcliffe appreciates the publicity generated by the cup run has a value beyond the substantial fees Shrewsbury will receive from the BBC for the live broadcast of the Chelsea game from Gay Meadow. He said: "Local people have realised what football can do in raising the profile of the town over the last month. "The TV crews have been filming around the town and not just the football club. That exposure can only help to attract more visitors here. It is a beautiful place. "The TV money will strengthen our financial position. We'll still have an overdraft but it will help clear some of it and give us some breathing space. "It's not going to mean I can go out and spend money on big-wage players. We've seen what happened to the likes of Bradford City, Derby County and Port Vale since the collapse of ITV Digital and it's not going to happen here.
"Shrewsbury Town don't want to go anywhere near an administrator. "But the cup run shows how the luck of the draw can have such a significant influence on the fortunes of a club." Ratcliffe points out that in the first two full seasons as manager at Shrews-bury they did not get past the first round of either of the two principal cup competitions, nor did they receive a home draw. This season Shrewsbury have enjoyed home ties in all four rounds of the FA Cup including the two ties against Premiership opposition. Ratcliffe said: "We've never had this luxury before and it's come at an opportune time. "This is the period of the season when clubs at our level might often generate some extra revenue by selling a player for £20,000 or £30,000. "But these kind of deals just aren't being done anymore. The clubs don't have the money to spend and the transfer market has gone flat." Not that Ratcliffe has ever had a great deal of money to spend at either of his two clubs.
At Chester he kept the team on a steady course for four years amid a sea of financial turbulence.
At Shrewsbury a run to the brink of the promotion play-offs last season was a high water mark in league performance. Ratcliffe said the lower profile does not mean less work. "I have been at the top and bottom of the game and I can tell you there's just as much effort and quality of work that goes in," Ratcliffe said. "Some of the managers down here deserve a chance to prove themselves at a higher level. But first you have to be successful in the lower divisions. "Very often it is the standing of the club where a man finishes his playing career that determines the level at which he moves into coaching and management. "In my case it was the third division with Chester. People are talking about Alan Shearer becoming the next manager of Newcastle when Sir Bobby Robson retires so he could start in the Premiership. "It's a case of being in the right place at the right time."
Seeing red over racism
Jan 16 2003 By Helen Cartwright, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON players from past and present joined forces to launch the 'Show Racism the Red Card' campaign at Goodison Park. Blues stars Joseph Yobo, Thomas Gravesen, Ibrahim Said and Tomasz Radzinski lined up alongside former players Andy Hinchcliffe and Earl Barrett to promote the message, with Tranmere players Kevin Gray and Alan Navarro and Liverpool community development officer Brian Hall. Nigerian defender Yobo told the assembled schoolchildren from Liverpool and Knowsley that racism can be a difficult problem to face. He said: "We are all human beings, white or black, no matter what nationality. If you are not strong it will affect you. The only way to deal with it is to show racism the red card." After a question-and-answer session with the children, the players raffled off a signed football shirt from each of the three teams before signing autographs. Tranmere club captain Gray said he was thankful that racism was not a major problem at Prenton Park, adding: "We don't really get a lot of racism at the club, not even from the crowd."
The organisers of the campaign wil be distributing 75,000 Liverpool, Everton and Tranmere posters to try to spread the anti-racism message to local schoolchildren. Ged Grebby, campaign organiser, said:. "The message from the players is very clear - they don't want any racism in Merseyside.
"The questions the kids asked showed they were thinking about the issues and I think they will go away from this with a really strong, powerful message." Barrett, one of the first black players to play for the Blues when he joined in 1995, is now an active campaigner against racism but believes he didn't do enough to help prevent it when he was a player. He admitted: "I didn't do anything about it when I was a player because I didn't know what to do about it. Now I have been given the chance to tell kids about my experiences and to let them know that racism is wrong."
Rideout warning for Gazza
Jan 16 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE has been warned not to expect an easy ride in China. The former Everton and England star flew East at the weekend for a series of trials. But his old Glasgow Rangers team-mate Paul Rideout, who left Everton for Huan Dao Vanguards in 1997, had some sobering words for Gazza.
"I'm never going back there - I never want to see the place again," he said. "It's so far behind the rest of the world you need a different mentality to live there. The team all lived together and training was lengthy. We never had more than three hours to ourselves." Gascoigne is hoping to tie up a deal with Li Tie's club Liaoning, and chairman Cao Guojun said yesterday: "Gascoigne has been around a long time. We understand him very well. For him, the first thing is whether or not he can adapt to our game. After all, he is getting old."
Ideal start for McBride
Jan 16 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BRIAN McBRIDE became Everton's first debut goalscorer for five years last Sunday, with a strike fashioned across the Atlantic. The American international calmly slotted the Blues' opening goal at White Hart Lane past US team-mate Kasey Keller. The pair roomed together during the World Cup, and he admitted that his knowledge of Keller's game helped him get his Goodison career off to a flying start. "Kasey's a great goalkeeper and the fact that I'd played with him before helped me to score," he explained. "He's great at cutting down angles so I knew that I'd have to hit it early. Once he comes forward it's very hard to score past him. "It was a great ball from Scot Gemmill. When we played in a practice match on Thursday he did the same - but it was great that I could finish past Kasey!" McBride's strike was the first time an Everton player had scored on his debut since Mickael Madar struck at Crystal Palace in 1998. "People have said that I couldn't have asked for a better start," added McBride, "but I wanted a winning start. That's the most important thing - to go out and win games. "Having said that, it was great to score for so many reasons. "I'm here to help the team in any way and when I score I feel as if I'm doing my job. I scored in front of our fans and also the game was beamed back to the States so my wife got to see it, so that made it special." McBride must wait anxiously this week to see if he is given the opportunity to build on his goalscoring debut.
Kevin Campbell's ankle injury has responded well to treatment and the Blues' top scorer could be available again for the visit of Sunderland on Saturday. McBride was brought in initially as cover for Campbell, but impressed during his Premiership debut at Tottenham. He said: "I am very comfortable with manager David Moyes and I will do whatever the club needs me to. "It is a great opportunity for me to help one of the top clubs in the world." Moyes hopes to use his time in Britain - he will be available up to and including the trip to Arsenal on March 22 - to prepare for the forthcoming MLS season which kicks off in April. "It will help me get physically ready for the MLS season," he added, "and geared up for our ultimate goal, bringing an MLS Cup to Columbus Crew."
Dixie's name lives forever
Jan 16 2003 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
DIXIE DEAN's name will always be revered by Evertonians. And just like Dixie, most people believe the astonishing records he set with Everton will also live forever. The presentation of the Echo's Dixie Dean Memorial Award, sponsored this year by Littlewoods, will be one of the highlights of our Merseyside Sports Personality of the Year Award night on February 3. This highly prestigious award has been presented by us for more than 20 years now in memory of a man who was quite simply the greatest goalscorer the game of football has ever seen. It was at Tranmere Rovers that William Ralph Dean first made his mark as a 17-year-old scoring sensation, netting 27 goals in 27 games.
But it is his amazing feat in scoring 60 goals in 39 league games for Everton in 1927/8 which remains his most glorious achievement. It is a record which still stands. The feat is all the more amazing in that it followed a serious motorcyle crash in 1926 which left Dean unconscious for 36 hours.
But he recovered from a fractured skull and broken jawbone thanks to his iron will - resuming his career with devastating effect and going on to win every honour in the game. When he left the Blues in 1938 he had scored 377 goals in 431 games. It was upon his death at Goodison in 1980 that the Echo inaugurated this award in his memory. It honours the spirit which epitomised Dean and down the years has been won by such Goodison luminaries as Alan Ball, Kevin Ratcliffe, Colin Harvey, Brian Labone and Graeme Sharp. Said former Blues striker Sharp: "It really was a fantastic honour to win it last year -any award which is associated with Dixie Dean is obviously more than a bit special. "To Evertonians Dixie was and still is a hero. Mention Everton and the first name that springs to mind is always Dixie Dean. "I'm looking now at his statue outside Goodison Park and you know as you see it that his goalscoring record will never be beaten."
Blues set to tie up Wayne
Jan 16 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY will be signed up as a full-time professional by Everton before he pulls on a first team shirt again. The young striker is suspended until a trip to Charlton on February 8. The Blues were staging another round of talks with his tives today and Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "We are making encouraging progress and if we continue at the same rate I would the situation will certainly be resolved by then. "In fact I would expect it to be quite a bit sooner." Rooney was expected to sign his first professional contract in December, after switching from a local agency to ProActive. It is believed the Blues have offered him around £8,000 per week. But talks hit hitches over several issues, among them image rights and the player's basic salary. Those differences have now been resolved and an agreement is close, if not imminent. Blues' boss David Moyes, meanwhile, today dismissed reports linking him with a swoop for Brazilian World Cup star Kleberson
"Kleberson is somebody we have shown an interest in, but at present we won't be pursuing it," he said. The £4m rated Atletico Paranense midfielder's advisors are currently locked in talks with Leeds. One Brazilian who will be back at Everton next month, though, is Rodrigo. The midfielder who has seen his entire season wrecked by a cruciate knee ligament injury has been rehabilitating in his native Brazil, but is expected to return to Bellefield in mid-February. Kevin Campbell was back in full training today with a view to returning to the first team squad for Saturday's visit of Sunderland, while Duncan Ferguson has also trained all week - despite the trauma of being forced to apprehend a burglar in his home for the second time in as many years. "Duncan has no problem with his old back injury," explained Moyes, "and we are just working to get him up to match pace now." Everton reserves are in action next Thursday, in a game which could see Ferguson involved. Richard Wright, meanwhile, will not train at all this week, before under-going a fitness test on his injured knee on Saturday morning. The injury forced him to withdraw from the side which faced Tottenham on Sunday at the last minute. The Blues have already sold more than 35,000 tickets for the visit of Sunderland and are advising fans who intend to go to buy their tickets before the weekend.
Dock choice of Blues 'flawed'
By Andy Kelly Daily Post Staff
Jan 17 2003
A LIVERPOOL councillor has called for an investigation into how Everton were chosen as the preferred developer for the Kings Dock. Coun Steve Munby believes there were serious flaws in the process which selected the football club for the flagship waterfront site. He believes similar mistakes were made in the approach to Liverpool's other main waterfront development, the Fourth Grace site now earmarked for Will Alsop's Cloud. His claims will be debated by a full meeting of Liverpool City Council next Wednesday night. In a motion to council, the Labour councillor calls for the choice of developers on both sites to be reconsidered. He claims a different approach was used to select the Kings Dock and Fourth Grace developers than that used to choose Grosvenor Henderson as the partner in the retail redevelopment of the Paradise Street area. Coun Munby said: "I think we got it right over Grosvenor Henderson and wrong on the other two. "With Paradise Street we had very detailed consultations carried out by Healey and Baker over what we needed on that site. "Rather than choosing a particular scheme, we chose a partner who we felt could deliver what we needed. "With the Kings Dock and Fourth Grace, we chose designs rather than looking at what the partners could deliver. "The Kings Dock is unravelling and I don't think either of these schemes will be delivered in their current form." Everton lost their preferred bidder for Kings Dock after failing to secure their £30m contribution to the overall £300m cost of the project. Last night, Liverpool council leader Mike Storey said Coun Munby's criticisms were "ludicrous". "The key point is that we did not own the Kings Dock site - it was owned by English Partnerships, " he said. "There was no hidden agenda here. We asked for expressions of interest, four were short-listed and they then gave presentations to the Liverpool Vision board." In terms of the Fourth Grace, Coun Storey said there was widespread consultation as a masterplan for the future of the city was being drawn up. "In fact it could even be said that the Kings Dock and Fourth Grace decisions were even more open than Grosvenor Henderson. "With Grosvenor the council did the whole of it. We knew we needed to increase our retail turnover. "Coun Munby is speaking as a local ward councillor who knows that some residents near Kings Dock may be affected by the development. "But what is often forgotten is that the other three shortlisted proposals for Kings Dock would also have involved the movement of large numbers of people."
Marseille poised to swoop for Nyarko
Report By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 17 2003
MARSEILLE could be poised to take Alex Nyarko off Everton's hands - and give David Moyes a much-needed cash boost. The controversial midfielder has been on loan at Paris St Germain this season and hasn't played for the Blues since his infamous bustup with a fan at Highbury in April 2001
A deal of around £3.5million has already been agreed with the French side to extend his 12-month loan deal into a permanent transfer. But with the transfer window closing at the end of the month, PSG have shown little sign they are capable of raising the necessary funds and have as yet failed to contact Everton over any possible lowering of the fee. That has alerted rivals Marseille, whose boss Alain Perrin has been impressed by Nyarko's performances in Le Championnat this season. Everton are desperate to offload the 29-year-old and are now open to all offers for the Ghanaian international. The Blues would be prepared to drop their asking price to around £2.5m - well short of the £4.5m they splashed out to bring the midfielder to England from Lens in July 2000. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney has taken a step nearer to signing up as a full-time professional with Everton. As revealed in the Daily Post earlier this week, the Blues remain hopeful he will put pen to paper on a new deal before he returns from a four-match suspension at Charlton on February 8.
A third round of talks between the club and Rooney's new advisors from Paul Stretford's ProActive agency were held yesterday. Everton chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We are making encouraging progress and if we continue at the same rate I would say the situation will certainly be resolved by then. In fact, I expect it to be quite a bit sooner." Kevin Campbell returned to full training yesterday and should come into consideration for tomorrow's game at home to Sunderland.
Duncan Ferguson is also closing on a return to action and has targeted next Thursday's reserve game at Manchester United as a possible comeback
Blues set for clash with old enemies
Jan 17 2003 Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
EVERTON'S Academy sides return back to action with home matches against an old foe in Nottingham Forest. Colin Harvey's under-19s face Forest at Bellefield (noon kick-off), while Alan Harper's under-17s welcome the Midlanders to Netherton (11am). Both clubs are renowned for their excellent youth development programmes and in recent years have faced in other in various competitions. Two seasons ago when the Blues won the FA Premier Academy League north west section Nottingham Forest beat them at the national semi-final stage. And also that season the Midlanders knocked the Blues out of the FA Youth Cup. Everton redressed the balance somewhat last season, as they beat Forest 2-1 in the FA Youth quarter finals at Goodison thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and David Carney. And in November Harvey's U19s and Harper's U17s both did well against Forest. Robert Southern's goal gave Harvey's side a 1-1 draw, while Robert Booth's strike earned a 1-0 victory for Harper's. Harper has a full squad to choose from, with no fresh injury worries. Daniel Fox has been back in training after his operation before Christmas and the 16-year-old left-back, like his team-mates, is raring to go after last week's postponement of the scheduled fixture at Crewe. Harper said: "We have played some practice games between between ourselves but that is about it really. "The weather has changed since last week so training has been good."
The U19s have one or two players still missing. Striker Michael Symes, who has been out since September, is close to a return and may figure tomorrow. But Wales youth international Craig Garside and winger Damon Martland - who had surgery on his knee prior to Christmas - are both long-term casualties. Colin Thorbinson is also recovering from injury and is still unavailable.
And of tomorrow's match, Harvey said: "They are a good footballing side (Nottingham Forest) and I think they have just about had the upper hand on recent meetings, but we have had some good games against them." The Blues can call on Scott Brown tomorrow, but the influential midfielder will then be missing for two weeks as he is on international duty. The 17-year-old flies out with Dick Bate's England under-18s squad on Sunday for the Meridien Cup in Egypt.
Blues on alert over Kleberson
Report By Ian Doyle, Cindy Garcia-Bennett And Sergio Ferraro
Jan 17 2003
EVERTON were put on fresh alert last night over Brazilian midfield target Kleberson after Robbie Fowler's move from Leeds United to Manchester City collapsed. World Cup-winning midfielder Kleberson said yesterday that he is still hopeful of joining Leeds. But the door remains open for the Blues to hijack the transfer after Atletico Paranaense president Mario Celsa Petraglia revealed that Leeds and the Brazilian club are "far from reaching agreement". And Kleberson's projected move to Elland Road has been plunged into further doubt following Fowler's sensational change of heart over a £7million move to Manchester City. Armed with that money, Venables had been allowed by chairman Peter Ridsdale to pursue the players he wants to strengthen a squad shorn of Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane, Lee Bowyer and Olivier Dacourt following their departures this season.
But with Fowler now saying he wants to stay at Elland Road, unless Venables can swiftly offload another member of his squad it is questionable whether Ridsdale will release the necessary £4m to secure Kleberson's signature. Everton officials have already made con-tact with their Atletico counterparts and David Moyes yesterday admitted his interest in the player, with Newcastle United also reported to be preparing a bid. Leeds' director of PR and corporate affairs, David Walker, met Atletico president Mario Celsa Petraglia in Brazil on Wednesday to discuss the prospect of a move for the 23-year-old. Leeds said the talks had been positive but some issues had not been resolved and no deal had been agreed. Kleberson has still got his heart set on a move to Elland Road. He said: "I would very much like to join Leeds United. I know that English football is very strong and I am interested in playing there. "I am meeting with the (Atletico PR) president this afternoon in order to discuss this matter." But Curitiba president Mario Celso Petraglia revealed yesterday that Leeds and Atletico were still some way apart on a fee for the player. "We met with the Leeds representative, there was an offer but we were far from reaching an agreement. Leeds' representatives said they would return to England to discuss it with the president (Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale) and then they will contact us." But Petraglia, clearly pessimistic about the prospect of Leeds coming back with a better offer, added: "I don't think that will happen. "Kleberson has other offers from European clubs and also from other English clubs." Kleberson has long been Leeds boss Terry Venables' number one target after he watched the player in action during the World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea last summer. Kleberson was planning on flying to England to conclude the deal, making his debut and then returning to his homeland to marry his girlfriend Dayane Wilians da Silva when she turns 16 on Valentine's Day. "I will go to England to present myself, have a game and then come back to marry. I will then start my new life," he added. "Before, I was just training and thinking about my transfer, but now I have other things to worry me."
Never any doubt as Rooney signs
Jan 17 2003 By David Randles, icLiverpool
WAYNE ROONEY will be an Everton player for at least the next three-and-a-half years after signing his first professional contract with the club. The 17-year old 'Wonderboy' finally put pen to paper on a lucrative deal which will keep him at Goodison until 2006. The length of the deal is the maximum allowed for a player under the age of 18, but it is expected Rooney will extend the term to five years on his next birthday in October. Rooney, who was earning an apprentice's wage of around £300 a month until now, is thought to have secured one-hundred times that amount in an £8000-per-week deal. The news will come as a relief to some fans who were growing anxious after Rooney failed to sign for the club as expected shortly after his 17th birthday three months ago.
Rooney then chose to switch from a local agent to Paul Stretford's ProActive, and further hitches over image rights and the players basic salary threatened to turn the event into a saga. But for the boyhood Evertonian their was never any doubt as to where he was going to play his football.
Flanked closely by Blues boss David Moyes, the Croxteth born striker was allowed to speak to the press for the first time. He said: "It was always going to be Everton. "I never even thought about signing for another club, despite everything that has been written about me in the newspapers recently. "I have been an Everton fan all my life and I am delighted now that everything with the contract has been sorted out. "It was very important for me and my family that I stayed here.
"I always knew I was going to sign. I've always dreamed of signing for Everton and I always knew it would happen." Since scoring a brace against Wrexham in the FA Cup, Rooney burst onto the Premiership scene with a stunning goal to secure victory over Arsenal at Goodison Park in October, before taking the Leeds defence on singlehandedly to earn the points at Elland Road. Another winner against Blackburn and some mouthwatering performances for the Toffees, most notably against Bolton last month, have already made Rooney one of the hottest properties in European football. Indeed, the youngster has prompted overtures from various quarters to be included in Sven Goran Eriksson's full England squad for next month's frienldy against Australia. For Rooney, who only left school just over six months ago, his progression to the heights of Premiership stardom has come at a rapid pace. However, if the past half a season has shown just glimpses of the potential brimming inside Rooney's golden boots, the next three and a half should make for very pleasant watching.
Stubbs: My hurt pride
Jan 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF a week is a long time in politics, 90 minutes is even longer in football. Alan Stubbs walked out at White Hart Lane last Sunday as the proudest man in the capital. Less than two hours later he was battered, bruised and bloodied. The pride came in being named captain of Everton for the first time. The fall was a 4-3 defeat and a challenge which left him with two black eyes and a nose pouring with blood. "Being named captain was a very proud moment for me," he said "but the result didn't crown it off. "I have captained a few of the clubs I have been at, but it's not something you dream about doing when you're young. You just want to play for the team you support then. "But to skipper that side is probably the greatest honour you can get . . . and to have done that in the Premiership was something special. "I would imagine it was just the one-off. Kev's not far away from joining in again now, so it was probably just short term, but I enjoyed the experience. "I meant to ask the kit man for the armband so that I can keep it, but I was so disappointed afterwards I forgot all about it." With club captain Duncan Ferguson absent all season through injury, Kevin Campbell and David Weir have shared the duties all season. Both were absent, however, at White Hart Lane and Stubbs said: "It was a bit strange beforehand when I knew I was going to be skipper. I didn't really know how to react to it. "I just tried to get the boys going. "I had a good idea it was going to be either me or Unsy, but I was only told at the last minute so I didn't have time to let anybody know. "I don't think I tried to do anything differently once I was out there. I went close to a goal a couple of times but I think that was because I finally managed to hit a free kick properly!
"It would have been great to score, especially being captain, but at the end of the day it wasn't to be." In the end goalscoring wasn't a problem at Spurs, with the Blues grabbing three for the first time this season, but keeping them out at the other end proved more difficult. "We gave bad goals away and we know that," admitted Stubbs. "I feel as if recently we have done alright but Sunday was a bad game for the goals we conceded. We know that." Stubbs refused to hide behind the dramatic goalkeeping reshuffle which hit the Blues' pre-match preparations. With kick off looming, Richard Wright dropped out with a knee injury, forcing Espen Baardsen into his first senior appearance for 15 months. The defenders were clearly unfamiliar with the Norwegian, but Stubbs said: "It would be easy for me to say that was a factor, but that would be an easy way out. At the end of the day it was individual mistakes and individual errors. "I can't remember having played with four different keepers behind me in a season. It's been strange. "We've had one keeper who has been carrying a niggle and the others have been out, so it's been a case of wrapping them in cotton wool. "But there are signs that they're all coming back now and if Wrighty doesn't make Saturday, hopefully we'll have Espen and Gezza (Paul Gerrard) available."
Moyes facing selection dilemma
Jan 17 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES faces a last minute selection headache for tomorrow's visit of Sunderland - at both ends of the field. The Blues' boss has doubts over a goalkeeper and a centre-forward, as the players he has brought in to help ease an injury crisis have themselves fallen victim. Kevin Campbell did not train yesterday as he recovers from an ankle injury, and Brian McBride who deputised so successfully last weekend is also doubtful with tight hamstrings. At the other end, stand-in goal-keeper Espen Baardsen is a severe doubt with a bruised hip, Richard Wright will have a last minute fitness test on his knee injury and Paul Gerrard has only just retstarted training after a month out with a dislocated knee. "It will be a last minute team selection," said Moyes. "We are worried about both pen-Kevin and Brian up front, but we are hoping one of them will be available. "Espen is a serious doubt with the injury he picked up during the match last Sunday and Richard will be a very late decision, but we are hoping Paul Gerrard will be available." Everton will be hoping the visit of Sunderland can be the platform for another winning run, a month after their last success over Blackburn Rovers. "Sunderland are maybe a little like Everton have been in the past," added Moyes, "whereby they have to try and go away and shut up shop to grind out results. They have shown that they can do that quite successfully. "They drew at Anfield and were unfortunate at Old Trafford recently. "It will be a tough game for us, there is no question about that." Thomas Gravesen and David Weir are both available again after sussion, but Wayne Rooney's ban continues. The Blues, meanwhile, have had no contact whatsoever from Marseille regarding Alex Nyarko - currently onloan at Paris St Germain. Marseille's Polish midfielder Piotr Swierczewski, though, who had a brief trial at Everton recently, has been snapped up by Birmingham City until the end of the season.
Cup tonic gives Black Cats hope
Jan 17 2003 Liverpool Echo
RELEGATION-haunted Sunderland will hope to carry their FA Cup success into the Premiership tomorrow to dent Everton's unlikely challenge. The Black Cats ended a run of six games without a victory in all competitions on Tuesday night when they clinched an extra-time victory over Bolton to book a fourth-round trip to Blackburn later this month. But it is the Premiership which remains their over-riding priority - and a positive result at Goodison Park would help their cause. Sunderland head for the north-west lying 18th in the table and knowing that the pack of clubs ahead of them is gradually thinning out. Manager Howard Wilkinson made wholesale changes for the clash with Bolton. But the psychological benefits of the win - and the perform-ances of some of his fringe players - cannot be over-estimated. "Some of the players did them-selves no harm," he said.
"There haven't been many games when there's been too much competition in terms of picking the team." Everton played a key role in getting Sunderland's season off to a poor start when they arrived at the Stadium of Light on August 24 and left with all three points, the same amount they will be looking to take from tomorrow's encounter.
Everton 2, Sunderland 1 (D, Post)
Jan 20 2003 Andy Hunter Reports From Goodison Park, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has established something of a reputation for taking on officialdom this season. It is a mission that knows no bounds. From the FA, who advise caution over the dangers exposed to young millionaire footballers on one hand yet seek to promote Wayne Rooney to the top of the English game with the other, to the secret society of referees that closes ranks whenever a contentious decision arises, the Everton manager is prepared to challenge them all regardless of the cost. Now he has gone one further. And as the first man this year to seek American intervention without a UN resolution, his bid to topple the established order in the Premiership is stirring once again. The capture of Rooney's prized signature on Friday night obviously overtook events and over-shadowed some of Moyes' views on the following day's game with Sunderland. In them he noted how he'd "caught a sparkle in the eyes of the players again which might have waned a little lately" and "I can see people around me who want to respond" to the winless run that had stalled his side's chase for a prized European spot. Correct on both counts, the Goodison chief will have taken particular satisfaction from the sense that - with only roughly one third of the campaign remaining - there is even more to come. From the opening half hour, when Everton played without any signs of the trepidation a run of six games without a win can engender, to the first 15 minutes after the restart, when the title itself seemed to be at stake such was the explosion that blew Sunderland aside, the hunger that will stop the season tailing off flowed through the Blues' ranks. Against a Sunderland team haunted by relegation, with the fewest goals in the Premiership, without a win in five games and, defensively, without a clue, that had to be the case if Everton were to restore confidence. And while a procession of missed chances again contributed to a nervous finale that made this contest appear much closer than it should ever have been, the seeds of recovery look to have taken hold. The display at Tottenham had suggested Everton's bad patch - a patch that yielded only the one league defeat at White Hart Lane - was nearing an end and in several respects it was confirmed on Saturday. Now with a 10-day rest for the likes of Kevin Campbell and Richard Wright to benefit from they can approach forthcoming, winnable, fixtures fully prepared for the final assault. As Moyes remarked afterwards: "We are probably safe now and it's a long time since you could say that about Everton in January. There was a great atmosphere today and there were many outstanding performances, players like Scot Gemmill, Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson spring to mind. Plus the bench was full of good players as well so that is another sign we are getting stronger." And he has a new 'goal-machine' clicking into gear straight away too! The only downside to Brian McBride's impact at Everton was that it didn't come a month earlier, when a side heavily-reliant on Campbell's strength and willingness to take a battering up front began to take its toll.
In just two games the American (pictured) has proved he has the rare knack of sniffing out a goal - and that was a quality his team-mates were in desperate need of this weekend. Just 44 seconds had elapsed when Alan Stubbs sent the first of two unmarked headers from Gary Naysmith corners wide of the mark. Tomasz Radzinski, who combined well with his new partner all afternoon, was then foiled twice by Thomas Sorensen as he tried to scurry around the Danish keeper, who also foiled McBride when his textbook header from one of many superb Alessandro Pistone crosses seemed destined for the bottom corner. The suspicion it was going to be "one of those days" increased when the excellent Steve Watson and Pistone combined outside the Sunderland box and the former's flying header smacked against the post and into safety with Sorensen well beaten.
In response to all this traffic, Howard Wilkinson's men could only respond when invited to do so by Everton errors, debutant and former Tranmere midfielder Sean Thornton driving a shot just wide after a loose ball by Li Tie and Richard Wright parrying Kevin Phillips' effort after Stubbs was caught trying to trick his way out of defence. But the more the Blues pressed without reward, the more obvious the open-ing goal became, even if Kevin Kilbane's 34th-minute breakthrough stunned the Goodison crowd. Appropriately it came after another Everton attack floundered, Phillips breaking deep into their half before playing an incisive pass behind the Blues' defence and Kilbane netting into the far corner. To their credit, the home side ignored all the omens and emerged for the second half like a team possessed. Roared on by an equally demonic crowd they simply tore their shell-shocked opponents apart. It might never have happened had not Wright redeemed himself for dropping Thornton's corner at the feet of Phillips with a stunning point-blank save one minute after the restart, or had Pistone not taken the ball off the same player as he latched on to a through-ball seconds later. But having survived those scares, they soon gained the deserved ascendancy thanks to Everton's new all-American hero. The first arrived in the 51st minute when Watson threaded a pass towards the by-line to Gemmill, who ignored Radzinski's near-post pleas and crossed deep for the on-loan striker to connect with an over-head kick that floated in thanks to a generous deflection off Darren Williams. His second, six minutes later, also arrived without a good first touch. But having guided Radzinski's precision pass away from two Sunderland challenges, McBride produced an exquisite low shot that found the far corner and left Sorensen stranded. In between the double, Everton had enough chances to have retired early, David Unsworth having a blistering volley blocked on the goalline and Radzinski volley-ing a great chance wide. But after upping the tempo to the levels that paid such dividends before Christmas they began to lose their grip on possession in the closing stages. Again they were thankful to Wright, whose handling was unconvincing but whose shot-stopping was faultless as he again showed after Stubbs' sliced clearance fell into the path of Williams. For McBride, his own generosity meant this game was worth $300. For David Moyes and Everton, it could be worth much more than that.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Watson, Gemmill, Li Tie (Gravesen 46), Naysmith; Radzinski, McBride (Campbell 74). Subs: Pembridge, Yobo, Gerrard.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Sorensen; Williams, Craddock, Babb, McCartney; Thornton, McCann, Thirlwell (Arca 64), Kilbane; Flo (Proctor 72), Phillips. Subs: Gray, Thome, Macho.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gemmill and Weir (fouls) and Sunderland's Craddock, McCann (fouls) and Babb (ungentlemanly conduct).
REFEREE: Mr P Dowd (Staffordshire).
McBride happy to pay the price
Jan 20 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
BRIAN McBRIDE has revealed how the loss of his grandfather helped inspire the match-winning heroics that cost him $300 on Saturday. The on-loan striker took his Premiership tally to three goals in two games with the double strike that sank Sunderland after Kevin Kilbane had given the strugglers a shock first-half lead. It was Everton's first win in seven matches as David Moyes' side leapt back into the top five. And it was a display that hit the United States star in the pocket after the Blues' forward pledged to reward a local charity following the death of his grandfather.
McBride has so far donated around $8,000 to the Central Ohio Diabetes Association due to his commitment to give something back for every goal, assist and victory he savours. After running up his latest bill he explained: "When I score or when my team wins I make a donation to the CODA.
"They are only a small organisa-tion, it's just for central Ohio and not the National Diabetes Association which is huge, and they need all the help they can get. "At the end of each season I total up how much I owe them. It's $100 per goal, per assist and per win for whatever team I'm playing for whether it's Everton, Columbus Crew or the national team. "So today has cost me $300 but it's good money as far as I'm concerned. I'm doing something I love for a living so it's important to give something back. I don't begrudge a single cent of it. They need more money than I could give them anyway." The American added: "It all started when they contacted me at Columbus and asked if we could make an appearance or help them, which I did. Then they wrote thanking me and I told them I'd do anything I could to help. That's how it all began. "They didn't know it at the time but it was something that was really close to me." McBride continued: "My grandfather passed away because of complications related to diabetes and my wife's father also has it. "I was looking for ways to help them when one of my teammates at Columbus came up with the idea of making donations and now that's my way of helping them out. "I've been doing it now for three or four years. It's not a crazy amount of money, I'd say in total I've given them around $8,000 so far."
McBride, who was an injury doubt just before the game with tight hamstrings, struck twice in a blistering second-half spell that saw the Blues overturn a first half deficit to reignite their European chase. McBride admitted: "In the first half it looked like it was never going to go in for us. We missed several chances and their keeper made a few really good saves. "But even though we went in a goal down at half-time, we kept it positive and were told just to keep going and the goals would come. Thankfully they did. "I didn't score this many in all my time at Preston, though you should have seen how many posts I hit! Seriously though, it's down to the players I have around me here.
"They are all top quality and the service I've been getting has been great and just at the right time. I feel fortunate to have this time here." He added: "I felt good today. Before the game I had tight hamstrings but they loosened up during the game and I had no problems at all. "The most important thing was the win but I enjoyed every minute of it. The ovation I got when I came off was fantastic but all the way through the atmosphere was awesome." Despite his latest impressive contribution the American is still likely to return to Columbus Crew when his loan deal expires on April 1. He explained: "I'm not thinking beyond the three months at the moment. "I just want to help out as much as I can and as long as we keep winning that's all that matters."
Everton 2, Sunderland 1 (Echo)
Jan 20 2003 By David Prentice At Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
NOT everybody inside Goodison Park on Saturday was impressed by Everton's new all-American hero. One former Blues' star was so unmoved by Brian McBride's first half performance he actually used the B-word. Brett is a word which hasn't been uttered at Goodison Park for seven years. An Everton centre-forward promoted beyond his talents, the unfailingly honest striker managed just one goal in 21 appearances - and his name was taken in vain again on Saturday. The speaker's identity shall remain secret, because after the break McBride proved how swiftly fortunes can change in football. An acrobatic overhead kick ricocheted off a defender's back and crawled over the Sunderland goal-line. Seven minutes later, McBride took an unconvincing touch to a sweet Radzinski pass, the ball broke fortuitously and he took advantage with a ruthlessly efficient finish. When he left the field after 74 minutes he had amassed as many Premiership goals as Wayne Rooney, won Everton's first game in 10 - and was hailed a hero. Funny old game indeed. McBride modestly accepted the praise and the plaudits afterwards, but the man he deferentially calls "coach" also deserved some. He addressed the growing gaps in Everton's squad by luring an American and an Egyptian for little more than their weekly wages. It was a timely and productive swoop. It was also noticeable that as soon as Everton were back on a game-a-week timetable, the high intensity power-play which had taken them into the upper echelons of the Premiership returned. They now have 10 days to prepare for a trip to Bolton, and the effects should be apparent. The only alarming aspect of an entirely reassuring afternoon for Evertonians was the number of chances which went begging. Everton have now won 10 Premiership games this season by the odd goal. That statistic does not reflect a team which is pinching wins and just doing enough to win. It describes a team which sometimes finds it difficult even to finish its dinner. Like Charlton, Blackburn, West Brom - and even games they have lost like Southampton and Chelsea - Everton carved out a huge number of goalscoring opportunities against a poor Sunderland side, but took only a slight percentage.
The tone of the afternoon was set inside 43 seconds. Alan Stubbs said on Thursday he was due a goal; by the time he lined up a free-kick in the eighth minute he could have been shooting for a hat-trick! In the opening minute, he directed a free header from Gary Naysmith's corner over the crossbar; then, five minutes later, had an even easier chance in identical circumstances, which he butted wide. Radzinski was forced wide by Sorensen in the 10th minute after he had scampered through. Then the Sunderland goalkeeper got down swiftly to parry McBride's far post header from the outstanding Alessandro Pistone's cross. The Italian has all the qualities necessary to become one of the Premiership's most accomplished defenders. He can attack with pace, cross comfortably and accurately with either foot and cover intelligently. He showed all of those attributes on Saturday, but David Moyes will not be completely confident that he will be available for the next three games, such is his susceptibility to injury and illness. Of course, Everton's attacking efforts were aided by Phil Babb. His reckless defending helped Everton amass a huge number of openings.
Radzinski cut inside on his left foot and saw a goalbound shot blocked, then Watson wheeled and saw another effort blocked at close range. Watson's performances since his switch to right midfield have been hugely encouraging and he was desperately unlucky in the 26th minute when he flung himself at Pistone's cross, but saw a flying header crash back off the inside of a post. He sliced another chance wide from Radzinski's touch then, as so often happens when a side fails to take advantage of a period of supremacy, fell to a sucker punch. Kevin Phillips' pass inside Watson was beautifully judged for Kilbane to chase, and the Irish international finished with uncharacteristic precision. Everton came back with some of their best football of the season after the interval, but not before they had survived a couple more scares. Wright finger-tipped Phillips' curling right-footer to safety, palmed another explosive Phillips effort away, and finally Pistone made a wonderful covering clearance when the England striker had raced clean through. Everton then wrested absolute control of the game. Gemmill's right flank cross was overhead-kicked by McBride for the equaliser, Radzinski missed a howler from just six yards, Unsworth's cross-shot was cleared off the line, Radzinski's effort was blocked by Craddock before the little Canadian international carved out a chance which McBride ultimately converted. It was the very least Everton had deserved - and the hero was an unlikely one. McBride scored just one goal in his nine-match spell with Preston a year ago. "You should have seen how many posts I hit," he smiled afterwards. Now he's scored as many League goals as Rooney. Not bad for a forward compared to big, bad Brett.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth, Watson, Gemmill, Tie (Gravesen 45 mins), Naysmith, McBride (Campbell 74 mins), Radzinski. Unused subs: Pembridge, Yobo, Gerrard.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Sorensen, Williams, Craddock, Babb, McCartney, Thirlwell (Arca 64 mins), McCann, Thornton, Kilbane, Phillips, Flo (Proctor 72 mins). Unused subs: Gray, Thome, Macho.
REFEREE: Phil Dowd.
BOOKINGS: Gemmill (22 mins) foul, Craddock (41 mins) foul, McCann (48 mins) foul, Weir (84 mins) dissent, Babb (92 mins) dissent.
GOALS: Kilbane (33 mins) 0-1, McBride (50 mins) 1-1, McBride (57 mins) 2-1.
Shooting star's fistful of dollars
Jan 20 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BRIAN McBRIDE'S brief spell in English football has already cost him 400 dollars and Everton's new American hero hopes to hand over plenty more before his loan spell at Goodison is over. As reported in the ECHO when he arrived, McBride makes a donation of 100 dollars to the Central Ohio Diabetes Association for every goal, assist and victory he is involved in. In an era when professional footballers are more richly rewarded than ever before, he shrugs and says it is just his way of giving a little back. After he had scored the second and third goals of his Everton career on Saturday to celebrate his first win, he explained: "Coda contacted me to come and do some work for them with a bunch of other people, and they wrote and thanked me. "I wrote back and asked if I could help out in any other way and it just started like that. "It is something which is really close to me. My grandfather basically passed away through complications from diabetes and my wife's father has diabetes. "One of the guys at the Columbus Crew office suggested the donationsfor-goals idea. Now I give 100 dollars per goal, per assist, per win, which includes the national team, Columbus Crew games and whoever I am playing for. "They need more money than I can give them!
"It has been going on for about three years now and it's not a crazy amount of money, but it helps them. It's about 8,000 dollars I've given." After notching just one goal during his previous spell in England with Preston North End, McBride puts his current scoring spree down to the quality of service he has received at Everton. "You should have seen how many posts I hit at Preston!" he joked. "No, it's not that. It's my team-mates - not that my team-mates at Preston weren't good, but the guys around me here are top quality and the service has been great. "I feel fortunate that in both my time here and at Preston I was able to play with some great players. "I felt good during the game. I had a fitness test beforehand and I felt that my legs actually loosened up during the game.
"But there was a time when it looked like the ball was never going to go in. We missed some chances, the goalie made some good saves, then they scored. At half time we just had to make sure we kept things positive and encouraged the lads to keep going. "It paid off and I really appreciated the ovation when I came off. The atmosphere throughout the game was just awesome and in the second half when we were pressing it was like an extra man."
Moyes has got Goodison buzzing
Jan 20 2003 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S football has been a revelation this season. Previous seasons has seen a defensive-type of play, but not any more. David Moyes has really got them buzzing - and their performances have shown they are enjoying themselves. The Blues looked on fire from the start against Sunderland. They could have had three in the first few minutes but, typically, a bolt from the blue via Kevin Kilbane temporaryly stunned them. But this Everton side doesn't panic, has players capable of creating and scoring goals, and once they equalised the result never looked in doubt. Brian McBride looks a decent play-er, took his goals well, with a little bit of luck on his side, but I was also greatly impressed with Alessandro Pistone, who was a contender for man of the match, while Tomasz Radzinksi's runs created many openings. In the end, Everton had so many chances they should have won 6-1, and it was a fine, all-round show. The whole club has been lifted since Moyes' arrival.
With performances like this, I can see them maintaining their challenge for a top six spot, and could still possibly finish in the top four.
Loan star's boost for Campbell
Jan 20 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE impressive form of Brian McBride is set to provide Everton skipper Kevin Campbell with an extended period of recuperation. The Blues' on-loan US international netted twice on his Goodison debut against Sunderland on Saturday as David Moyes' side notched up their first victory of 2003. His tally of three goals in two games since arriving on a three month loan from Columbus Crew has convinced Moyes he can afford to take his time bringing Campbell back into the starting line-up.
The manager believes a key factor for his side's dip in form in December was the fact Campbell was in need of a break. "We were affected by the amount of games and tiredness but one of the most important factors was that we didn't have anyone available who could give Campbell a breather during that period," admitted Moyes. "He has given us so much this season and we weren't able to give him a rest at any time so that took its toll in the end. "Plus we picked up the odd sion which happens in a season, so there was disruption." Campbell returned to first team action as a stitute on Saturday having been missing since the New Years Day draw with Manchester City of a niggling ankle injury. The forward will now be eased back into action because Moyes knows he has a ready-made replacement in McBride. The manager singled the American after Saturday's victory, saying: "His performance was excellent, he gives you great honesty and commitment. It is players like that who contribute to the team overall and win you matches. "Brian has come straight into the Premiership, scored last week in his first game for us and got another two here, and the way he played he could have had a hat-trick. "He works so hard, he won headers for us in both boxes and that's important to any team." But while McBride is doing an impressive job covering for Campbell and long-term absentee Duncan Ferguson, Moyes admits there is little chance of the American becoming a permanent addition to the Goodison ranks. He adds: " At the moment he has signed a contract for three months. I've worked with him before and to be fair to him I am trying to get younger players than him in here. "He is here as cover and he knows that. He's willing to help us in that respect. It's difficult for a club like us to get quality players mid-season. There are few players out of contract at this time of year so loan deals are the only thing you can really do." With Everton not in action again until the away game at Bolton a week tomorrow, Campbell has the opportunity to recharge his batteries before battling with McBride for a first team return.
Words of wisdom
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jan 21 2003
WAYNE ROONEY will learn a lesson from the current four-match ban which has coincided with the signing of his new contract, insists Everton owner Bill Kenwright. The 17-year-old star still has to sit out Everton's next two matches at Bolton and home to Leeds before he can restart a young career which has already projected him to the brink of a full England debut before the end of the season.
Rooney's aggressive style has propelled him into the unforgiving glare of the Premiership spotlight where he has completed only seven full matches, but been sent off once and booked six times.
Kenwright said: "It's easy to become a marked man, football-wise and media-wise, so this four-match ban is the time for him to reflect and to get away from all that so he comes back sparkling and fresh. "He has to be given time, as the manager David Moyes says, he's not proved himself consistently over 90 minutes. But Wayne knows that, he's been sent off, had a lot of yellow cards, so he has had a lot of time to learn." But with those friendly words of advice from Kenwright comes the obviously sheer delight at seeing his club capture the young striker on a three-and-a-half-year contract, announced last week. Kenwright recalls how he first witnessed the beginning of the Rooney legend on a Saturday morning at the club's training ground when he decided to go and see what all the fuss over a 13-year-old was all about. Kenwright said: "I just went down to the training ground one Saturday morning to watch the young kids. And he did some-thing on the pitch with 60 or 70 people there that was amazing, and he scored an astonishing goal. There was a silence for several seconds as people just looked at each other to be sure they'd all seen the same thing. Then everybody just applauded like you get in a theatre, very polite. "You don't believe what you have seen. Surely it's a one-off, it might be like some-thing you see in a circus. People juggling balls, but when you see the strength and application you just know." He added: "I try not to go over the top about him, but it's very, very difficult not to. When I saw him in the Youth Cup final, when I saw him score a goal in the early rounds against Tottenham from 30 yards, those are the moments.
"The legend of Wayne Rooney and the stories of him, scoring the winner against Arsenal and then going home to play football in the back entry with his mates are true. "That's what makes him unique. I don't have to tell people that over the last few years young players have left this club, and it's broken my heart to see it. "To get this lad signed up is a big plus for the club. It's something that David Moyes said when he joined, that he wanted a youthful squad. We were going after several goalkeepers in the summer and when Richard Wright's name came up, that was the one he wanted, he wanted youth and the future England goalkeeper. "I want Evertonians to feel they have the future England keeper playing for them. "Well, if we can have the future England goalkeeper, the right-back in Tony Hibbert who has also signed a new contract, and the centre-forward in Wayne that will be a triple whammy for us. "I don't ever want Wayne to leave this club. "I want us to be so successful over the three-and-a-half years o f Wayne's contract for it never to be come an issue."
Platt's in no rush to pick ace Rooney
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 21 2003
DAVID PLATT last night admitted there is no rush to fast-track Wayne Rooney into his England under-21 squad. The under-21s coach has included the Everton sensation in a pool of around 35 players from which he will select the squad to face Italy on February 11. That game comes just three days after Rooney is eligible to return to action following his current four-match suspension. And Platt believes the wealth of striking talent at his disposal has eased the temptation to include the 17-year-old in his plans. Blues boss David Moyes - who yesterday allowed Chinese defender Li Wei Feng to leave the club permanently - will be pleased his pleas not to elevate Rooney rapidly through the international ranks is being heeded, although the possibility of a senior call-up remains. Platt said: "The message to everyone is that this is a difficult squad to get into. "What I will tell you is that one player at this moment who is on fire is Jermain Defoe. He is an under-21 striker who is doing nothing wrong whatsoever. "Francis Jeffers has scored 12 goals in 12 games for the under-21s. Shola Ameobi gives me a physical presence and did well in the last two games against Slovakia and Macedonia. "Bobby Zamora is doing well and now people are hitting me with more players to add to an under-21 squad when I'm finding it difficult enough to pick two strikers. "I've got problems already with the players in my squad in that I can only pick a couple in attack. "Wayne Rooney has played very well for Everton and he is a very good player who has been very beneficial for them, especially coming off the bench. "What people choose to forget is that he came off the bench to score the winner against Arsenal and Leeds and so, therefore, it was two cameo appearances and then all of a sudden it's 'he should be in the full England squad'." Platt added: "What I will say is that I have a pool of players to choose from that stretches to 35 and Wayne has forced his way into a pool of players from which I will choose a squad." Platt continued: "Your ability says you might be able to get into the squad but it's not a case of 'yes, he's good enough'. It's a case of 'are you better than the people in the squad?' That's the challenge to everyone - not just Wayne Rooney."
Wei Feng (left), meanwhile, has had his Everton contract terminated by mutual consent after failing to break into the first team or settle. The 24-year-old defender made two appearances for the Blues after arriving as part of the Kejian sponsorship deal in the summer. Wei Feng returned to China before Christmas to get treatment on a broken nose and play two matches for the Chinese national team. But he will now stay there permanently after the Blues allowed him to move back to former club Shanzhen Kejian. Moyes confirmed: "Li Wei Feng found it harder to settle in England that Li Tie and he has returned home to China. He has joined a club in China and on behalf of everyone at Everton we wish him all the very best with his future career." Wei Feng admitted: "Everton was like a home for me. The manager is brilliant and all my team-mates were friendly and accommodating and tried to help me settle. "But I lost my way, my confi-dence went when I was off the pitch and not playing in the first team. I am afraid I cannot get that back if I play for the reserve team for a long time, that it's the reason why I would not come back."
Barry cuts down forest as Blues secure win
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 21 2003
ANTHONY Barry's sixth goal of the season gave Alan Harper's Everton under-17s a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest in the FA Premier Academy League. After five weeks without a game, the Blues picked up from where they left off with a well deserved victory. Barry collected Gavin Lynch's pass and, despite seeing his chipped first effort turned aside by the Forest keeper, he pounced on the rebound to open the scoring. The 16-year-old - along with strike partner Lynch - had further chances but the visiting keeper was in fine form to deny the Blues a more emphatic win. Harper said: "It was a good performance. They like to pass it as well so it wasn't a physical game and we did well.
"We deserved to win and we had fur-ther chances to score. All the lads have contributed and it was a good team performance. "It has been exactly a month since we last played so I was pleased with the performance and the fitness levels were good as well." Colin Harvey's under-19s made a dis-appointing return to action as they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest at Bellefield. The Blues did well without creating too many clear-cut chances, but deserved something for their efforts. Harvey said: "It was a good hardworking all round team performance. And I thought we deserved something from the game. Our goalkeeper had very little to do apart from pick the ball out of the net. We had a fair amount of the play without creating a lot of chances. Even so their goalkeeper had more to do."
But despite the defeat, there were a number of positives taken from the match, not least the return of striker Michael Symes and the debut of goalkeeper Iain Turner. Symes, who was so influential alongside Wayne Rooney in both League and FA Youth Cup last season, has played just twice this season due to injury. The 19-year-old forward played for 70 minutes, but couldn't prevent the Blues going down to defeat in their first match since the Christmas and new year break. A header mid-way through the first half was enough to give the Midlanders all three points. The Blues' recent signing from Stirling Albion,18-year-old keeper Turner, made his debut at U19s level. The keeper had little to do and couldn't be faulted for the winning goal. Harvey added: "Michael Symes played for about 70 minutes and obviously he needed the game. "He was a bit off the pace and it will take him a while to get back into it, but at least he has got that 70 minutes under his belt. "It is good to see him back. "The goalkeeper had very little to do and it is hard to judge him on that game, but there were one or two players who put in good games. "No-one had a bad game, but Brian Moogan came in at right-back and was probably one of our best players."
Moyes' men are top-half contenders
Jan 21 2003 By Kevin Ratcliffe, Liverpool Echo
SO the bubble has burst has it? After such a tremendous run in November, it was inevitable Everton would hit a rocky patch. It was equally inevitable that, when it came along, the critics would pounce. But while victories have proved elusive in the last month, David Moyes' side has still managed to pick up points. And on Saturday they showed they still have the spirit for a fight when they came back from a goal down to beat Sunderland. Everton may now be finding their true level in the Premiership, but a bubble certainly hasn't burst. Saturday's match was in many ways tougher than a game against one of the top three sides because the Blues were expected to win. Sunderland are fighting for their lives and have a manager who likes to keep things very tight at the back. It was potentially a huge banana skin. But Moyes' side stuck to their principles and earned the three points. That is why they will stay in the top half of the table and will continue to challenge for a UEFA Cup place between now and the end of the season.
Rivalry is healthy
NOTHING does more to improve a player's form than healthy competition. If a player knows there is somebody in the squad breathing down their neck to get a place in the side it keeps him on his toes. David Moyes has done a good job of signing players who give him options in key positions.
Ibrahim Said and Brian McBride are proof of that. The two new loan men may not make the starting line-up when the manager has a fully-fit squad to choose from, but they do keep the pressure on the players in the team. McBride works his socks off and has been rewarded with three goals in two games. Kevin Campbell knows he will have to maintain his early season scoring form to keep the American out of the team when he regains full fitness. That is a great position for a manager to be in.
Whatever the result, we're the winners
AFTER beating Everton in the last round of the FA Cup, anything my Shrewsbury Town team achieves now is a bonus. The prospect of Chelsea coming to town for a fourth round tie is mouth-watering.
But the biggest plus for the club is the fact the game is going to televised. It means we have made more money from this cup run than for any in the last five years. And because Chelsea are at our place, we also know victory is not out of the question. As David Moyes' side learned, Gay Meadow is a difficult place to visit. We managed to over-come Everton with a late winner. If we can repeat that this weekend and do a 'Diego Forlan' to Claudio Ranieri's men, I will be delighted. But we are realistic enough to know the biggest prize for us will be the money. It does not mean I will be able to spend a fortune on new players in the summer. But the club's finances will be in much better shape for the next couple of years. With so little money filtering down to the third division from the Premiership because of the influx of foreign players, that kind of cash boost is a godsend.
Fitness woe goes on for Fergie
Jan 21 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
BLUES striker Duncan Ferguson will not make his return to action against Manchester United reserves on Thursday. The Scot is taking longer to recover from his back injury than the Everton backroom staff had anticipated. But there is good news elsewhere on the injury front, with Tony Hibbert and Nick Chadwick beginning swimming sessions as part of their recovery from hernia problems, while Swede Tobias Linderoth is expected to join in full training later this week. Manager David Moyes said: "Duncan is making slower progress than we had hoped. He will not feature in the game on Thursday. He is finding that the training is making him stiff. "It's just general stiffness and soreness from the training we are giving him to try and get him back into the condition we require him to be in." Everton do not play a first team game until a week today, when they face Bolton in the Premiership. Moyes added: "The time gives us a little chance to top up on the players' general fitness and get them ready for the final run of the season." The manager received good news from England Under-21 boss David Platt, who says he is in no rush to include Wayne Rooney in the international with Italy on February 11 - just three days after the teenage sensation completes his domestic four-match suspension. Everton don't want Rooney pushed too quickly through the England ranks. Moyes welcomed Platt's comments. He said: "We have said Wayne has got to settle down and get back to playing for Everton. Wayne's development is the most important thing.
"I'm sure David Platt would be looking to involve Wayne in the Under-21s at some time, there's no doubt about that."
Blues give Li Tie green light for China
Jan 21 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have given Li Tie the goahead to test himself against the country which provided his footballing education. The Blues have had a change of heart over the midfielder's call-up to the China squad for next month's friendly against Brazil. When Li Tie arrived at Goodison in the summer, the club ironed out an arrangement with the Chinese FA which allowed them to hold the player back from international games during the Premiership season. But Everton's exit from the FA Cup means they don't have a game between February 8 and 22, enabling Li Tie to play in Beijing on February 12 against the world champions alongside former Everton man Li Weifeng The defender has returned to China after failing to settle in England. Li Tie will fly out to China straight after the Blues' Premiership game at The Valley on February 8 and he will return the day after the friendly against Brazil. The match will be significant for both Li Tie and Li Weifeng as the duo honed their skills in Brazil as teenagers. "The Chinese football association wanted to send a team of young players abroad to study," explained Li Tie. "They chose 22 players, aged 16, to go and live in Brazil. We were there for five years." Four years on and Li Tie is putting the skills he learned in South America to good use with Everton. And he will be hoping the lessons he has learned in the Premiership can help him produce a better result for China in their second match against Brazil in 12 months. He adds: "It is extremely different to playing football in China - but I feel that I have improved a lot since I arrived. "David Moyes and all my team-mates have helped me settle in. They trust me and they have helped me a lot. "Every professional team needs the kind of spirit that we have if they are to do well. Everyone here is very friendly and it is great to be a part of things." He knows that work ethic will be crucial against Brazil, having tasted defeat against them last year.
He and Weifeng were in the Chinese side that was convincingly beaten 4-0 by Ronaldo and co. in the World Cup. Nevertheless, the performance of Li Tie in that game caught the eye of manager David Moyes, who was out in Japan and South Korea scouting for new talent. Moyes recalls: "I went out to the World Cup and saw China train a couple of times. "My first reaction was they would be squad players and it would be hard for them to break through. "But their attitude has been fantastic. They have trained well, they have good habits and they want to get better. It's great to work with boys like that." Things may not have worked out for Li Weifeng, but Li Tie has exceeded his manager's expectations since arriving in England, playing 25 times for the Blues.
Moyes renews Healy chase
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 22 2003
EVERTON will make a renewed bid to prise Colin Healy away from Celtic this week as David Moyes plans one more look through the transfer window. The Republic of Ireland international has been away on the Scottish champions' winter break in Florida for the past week, stalling Everton's attempts to renew negotiations with Martin O'Neill and Celtic officials. Adding to the hold-up were the contract talks between O'Neill and Celtic owner Dermot Desmond in Barbados over the weekend. But after O'Neill returned to Britain yesterday without a deal - sparking further speculation about his own future - the Blues hope to make some progress on their pursuit of the midfielder. Celtic rejected Everton's opening offer of around £150,000 for the 23-year-old and are prepared to keep him for the final four months of his contract rather than accept such a low fee.
But with Healy keen on a switch to Goodison Park, an increased offer from the Blues could see him follow Brian McBride, Ibrahim Said and young goalkeeper Iain Turner into the club before the window closes at the end of this month. Duncan Ferguson, meanwhile, has suffered a slight setback on his latest comeback mission before it has got underway. Blues striker was due to make his first appearance since the Worthington Cup win at Wrexham on October 1 in tomorrow night's reserve game against Manchester United. But having reported stiffness due to the intensive training scheme he is currently undergoing at Bellefield, he is now targeting next Tuesday's home reserve match with Bradford as his return. Ferguson had an operation to free a trapped sciatic nerve in his lower back in October amid fears it was his last chance to salvage an injury-ravaged career. Manager Moyes said: "Duncan is making slower progress than expected. He will not feature in the game on Thursday. "He is finding that the training is making him stiff. It's just general stiffness and soreness from the training we are giving him to try to get him into the condition we require him to be in."
The Blues boss expects to welcome Tobias Linderoth back to full training later this week after the Swedish international's three-month absence. Having just forced his way into Moyes' first-team plans Linderoth tore his hamstring in November's Worthington Cup win at Newcastle and then picked up a knee injury in December. Fellow midfielder Li Tie is to take part in China's friendly against world champions Brazil next month after a U-turn by the Blues. Under an agreement with the Chinese authorities Li Tie was not to play in any internationals during his 12-month loan spell.
But following Everton's exit from the FA Cup it has been decided to allow the midfielder to face Brazil on February 12, as they don't have a game between Charlton on February 8 and Saints on the 22.
McEveley's England material
Report By Martin Ziegler, Daily Post
Jan 22 2003
JAMES McEVELEY'S brilliant form since breaking into the Blackburn side at the tender of 17 has been so exceptional that his teammates are already tipping him for full England honours. The Liverpool-born, former Everton junior player has been outstanding at left-back since New Year's Day and has already come off best against David Beckham in one meeting this month. McEveley caught the public's eye in the first leg of the Worthington Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. Not only did he contain the England captain, but he also made a miraculous goal-line clearance from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seconds before the final whistle. Lucas Neill, the Australian international who plays at right-back for Blackburn, said: "For someone who is 17, he has a lot of composure. "He has just come into the team at the right time when we have been struggling for a left-back and he has taken his chance unbelievably well. "He looks a fantastic player and I hope he can continue this form consistently from now until the end of the season. "I am sure he will go on to play for England. I know they have Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge who are both young, and he needs a little bit more time and experience, but I don't see why not, especially as England have historically had a problem down the left." McEveley was a schoolboy alongside Wayne Rooney at Everton, the club he supported, but left two years ago after the Merseysiders dithered over giving him a contract.
Blackburn were the grateful beneficiaries and McEveley - who has already turned down overtures to play for Scotland - soon came to Souness' attention. Th e te e nag er plays at centre-half for the reserves, but has looked a natural left-back for the first team - and Neill believes he should aim to stay out wide. "I don't see why he shouldn't do it at left-back," added the Australian. "I think he's too young to be a centre-half - and too good looking - and he could be an answer. "He has a lot to offer distribution-wise at full-back and until now he has been brilliant there for us." Souness, not someone who goes over the top about his own players, said earlier this month: "I think we have won the Lottery with him." But knows he has to protect his player and added: "He's got a big, big future as long as he doesn't let it go to his head. "Playing in the Premiership at 17 - wow! You would give anything for that. He's 17 and he's such a wonderful, wonderful athlete that he's quite scary.
"Right now he has a proper attitude and as long as he doesn't get a big head, he's going to be a player. "He's a wonderful specimen, a proper athlete and that's going to stand him in good stead."
Moyes: We're almost there
Jan 22 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes says Everton are almost home and dry - in their quest to stave off relegation!
Despite the Blues lying in an impressive fifth place in the Premiership, the manager insists that his chief target this season is still to steer clear of a relegation fight. At the start of the season the Goodison boss set a figure of 40 points come May to avoid the drop. Everton are just one point away from that total with more than a third of the season still to go. However, Moyes will not amend his pre-season target, even though his team is now challenging for a Champions League place. He said: "It has not changed from the start of the season. The first thing was to ensure we were still a Premiership club and the next thing was to see if we can do better than that. That's exactly where we are. "Forty points in the Premiership was safety. We have 39 now so we are just about home and dry. That would be the first goal achieved. I would not put myself or the players under any pressure by saying there is a second step." The Blues have a free weekend after their surprise elimination from the F A Cup at Shrewsbury three weeks ago. The club will use the break to recharge the players' batteries before they travel to Bolton for a league game in which a draw or better would see them reach that 40 point mark. The manager said: "I wish we didn't have a break just now. I wish we were still in the cup on Saturday. We will try to use the break to our best advantage and train the players, but also give them a couple of days rest as well." Meanwhile Everton have made no further approach to Celtic for Colin Healy. The Scottish giants did accept the Blues' tial bid of around £150,000 for the 23-year-old Irish international. Moyes said: "We made an offer a few weeks ago and we have heard nothing back from Celtic."
Good form is best defence
Jan 22 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes will continue to use the threat of the axe to keep his central defenders on their toes. Nigerian sensation Joseph Yobo (as dropped from the Blues' back-line for Saturday's 2-1 victory over Sunderland following the error-ridden 4-3 defeat at the hands of Tottenham six days previously. The World Cup star began his Goodison career in headline-grabbing form, but the manager opted for the experienced David Weir and Alan Stubbs partnership for the home clash with the Black Cats. Moyes said: "We have got good competition in defence in David Weir, Stubbsy and Joseph. The three of them are going to have to compete hard. "You can't just go with two, because that would not be enough. You have to have one who can come in. At different times they have each been out of the team. "We did not defend well at Tottenham so I made a change last Saturday. Prior to that they have all had good spells and not so good spells. They just have to knuckle down and get on with it. If they play well, they will be selected." It is not just in defence where Moyes' selection options have been given a major boost with the return to fitness of a number of key players. Keeper Steve Simonsen has resumed training after recovering from a broken toe sustained just before Christmas, and is now competing for the number one jersey with Richard Wright and Paul Gerrard, who have also both shaken off injuries. Moyes said: "There's a lot of competition throughout the squad at the moment. There's players looking to get back in and the introduction of Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said has strengthened the squad. "There are others with their foot in the door such as Niclas Alexandersson. Lee Carsley and Mark Pem-bridge made a great contribution in the early part of the season and are ready to come back into the team looking much fitter and stronger. "Tobias Linderoth is getting closer and Wayne will be back from suspension shortly, so we are strengthening up. Prior to Christmas we were a little bit short of numbers, but we have got on with it and hopefully we can take it on from the Sunderland game." Meanwhile, former Everton midfielder Idan Tal looks set to return to his native Israel after failing to make the grade in top flight Spanish football. The 27-year-old is expected to join Maccabi Haifa on a free transfer from Rayo Vallecano. Tal failed to impress at Goodison and left for Rayo in September last year.
Ratcliffe: Scousers the recipe for success
By Nick Hilton, Daily Post
Jan 23 2003
IN KEVIN RATCLIFFE'S long experience it is simply par for the course that his giant-killing Shrewsbury Town side should include a sprinkling of Scousers. "They are a good breed to have in a football team," says the manager aiming to bring down Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round this weekend on the same Gay Meadow turf where his beloved Everton were slain in round three. Ratcliffe thinks back and adds: "Throughout my playing career and in eight years as a manager there has invariably been one or two lads from Liverpool in the team. They have a good, competitive attitude about them." The Shrewsbury line-up that overcame Everton earlier this month included Ian Dunbavin, a 22-year-old goalkeeper from Knowsley who had two years on the books as a professional at Liverpool and Ryan Lowe, a 21-year-old from Liverpool who was playing non-league football for Burscough before Ratcliffe snapped him up. Then there's Ian Woan, a 35-year-old from the Wirral who may not qualify as a Scouser but brings a wealth of experience from 11 years at Nottingham Forest to bear in the third division team's midfield. After spending more than half of his working life on Merseyside with Everton, there is no mistaking the Scouse influence in Ratcliffe's accent even though he was born and raised just across the north Wales border in Mancot. At Goodison during the mid-1980s he was captain of an inspired combination of Scousers and other Englishmen, Scotsmen and Welshmen who fashioned an unprecedented era of glory for Everton. It was exactly the kind of British mixture that had become the recipe for success for English teams throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, both in domestic football and in Europe. Ratcliffe recalls: "All of the great teams of that era, Man United, Liverpool, Leeds, Everton, Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Derby were made up of Englishmen and Scots with perhaps Welsh and Irish players thrown in. They made a good blend. "You could hardly name a good side from those days without Scottish players. At Everton we had Andy Gray and Graeme Sharp in our side. Imagine Liverpool in the late 70s and 80s without Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen? "Yet now you scarcely see any Scottish players in English football you wonder where they have all gone. "At our level you've got to make do with the nearest thing, players from the north of England, Scousers Yorkshiremen and Geordies."
In the Premiership the disappearing Scots have been replaced by the foreign legions and no club has invested greater faith in imported talent than Chelsea, Shrewsbury opponents on Sunday. Ratcliffe says: "We are playing the league of nations . The contrast would have seemed quite bizarre a few years ago but fans are getting used to it now. Recently I have seen both Chelsea and Fulham put out teams without a single British player in the starting line-up." By way of illustration Chelsea's first XI on duty at Manchester United last Saturday was made up of three Frenchmen, two Dutchmen, one apiece from Italy, Denmark, Nigeria and Iceland and just two Englishmen, Graham Le Saux and Frank Lampard. Ratcliffe adds: "Chelsea have always been a cosmopolitan club, the most flamboyant club in London, trendsetters but not necessarily successful. "They seem to have moved from one extreme to another in recent years. While once they had a lot of great players who had advanced into their 30s now, under Claudio Ranieri they look to have a young element of emerging foreign players. "This year I fancy them to do well in the Premiership and qualify for the Champions League.
"They are sitting in a good position without people taking too much notice of them. That can be a good thing. If they are still up there with 10 games to go anything can happen." The phrase "anything can happen" is of course the essence of the FA Cup's appeal. It is the easiest explanation for Shrewsbury's third-round triumph over Everton and is the reason for the live TV broadcast by the BBC of Chelsea's visit to the picturesque little ground on the banks of the River Severn. Many Shrewsbury supporters felt the BBC should have chosen the Everton game for the main live broadcast in round three since it offered a classic FA Cup David-and-Goliath contest with the added spice of Ratcliffe's long and successful association with the Goodison club. Instead the Corporation chose the all-Premiership fare of Manchester City v Liverpool. Ratcliffe, however, can understand some reasons for the BBC's choice - up to a point. He says: "They might have worried about the game not being on, given the fact that we are vulnerable to weather here where as Manchester City have undersoil heating. And if Everton go two-up, the tie can look dead in their view. "But FA Cup ties don't die as a rule. Teams take chances in one-off situations and unusual things happen."
The BBC could not ignore the second opportunity to visit Shrewsbury presented by the fourth round draw and the broadcasting fee will help to ease the financial strain at Gay Meadow. It may possibly provide funds for Ratcliffe to bring in a free transfer player to help push the team into the top half of the Division Three table. So what chance of lightning striking a second time in front of a national TV audience of millions? Ratcliffe says: "It really comes down to the same equation I spoke about before the Everton game. If all of our players are close to their best form and five or six of the opposition are not then we have got an outside chance. "But we all know that if Chelsea have 11 players on their game on Sunday then there won't be a lot we can do about it. "All I can ask of our players is that they give everything. By coming this far we have exceeded our wildest dreams but in football you always hope you go that little bit further."
Hibbert targets return to first team
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 23 2003
TONY HIBBERT has targeted a comeback to the Everton first team - as Espen Baardsen prepares for a further month at Goodison. Defender Hibbert is hoping to be back in David Moyes' plans for the televised home clash with Southampton on February 22. The 21-year-old has been missing since being forced off with a thigh injury during the derby game at Anfield on December 22, and has since undergone a hernia operation. Hibbert said: "Hopefully, I'll be back within three weeks. I'm not being pushed and we're just taking it one step at a time. "I know it will be tough to get back in and I expected competition even when I was in the starting eleven. "Steve Watson's obviously played there a lot and so has Alessandro (Pistone), plus Joseph Yobo can play there and we've just signed Ibrahim Said. "The most important thing for me at the moment is just to keep concentrating on my club football. "I was selected for an England under 21s get-together but I look upon that type of thing as a bonus. Everton is my priority." Meanwhile, Blues boss Moyes - who has yet to receive any further contact from Celtic over transfer target Colin Healy - has decided to extend Baardsen's spell at the club by a month. The Norwegian international, who was recruited on an initial one-month contract on Christmas Eve, will stay as goalkeeping cover despite Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen edging back to fitness and the recent acquisition of Iain Turner. Baardsen has now recovered from the minor hip injury sustained in his emergency appearance at Tottenham Hotspur. Moyes has warned Joseph Yobo that he could face an extended spell on the substitutes' bench if David Weir and Alan Stubbs impress as a centre-back partnership. Nigerian international Yobo was dropped from the Blues' line-up for the 2-1 home win over Sunder-land on Saturday after a below-par performance the previous week in the defeat at Tottenham. And Moyes said: "We have got good competition in defence in David Weir, Stubbsy and Joseph. The three of them are going to have to compete hard. We did not defend well at Tottenham so I made a change last Saturday. Prior to that, they have all had good spells and not so good spells. "They all have to knuckle down and get on with it. If they play well, they will be selected."
* EVERTON'S next reserve game against Bradford City will take place on Wednesday at the Halton Stadium, Widnes, kick-off 7pm.
Yobo: I'm still feeling Blue
Jan 23 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is still all loved up at Everton, despite being dropped to the bench for the first time last weekend. The Nigerian international has suffered a dip in form since signing his four-year contract last month, and watched from the dugout last Saturday as David Weir and Alan Stubbs marshalled the heart of defence agains t Sunderland. But Yobo insists he is as happy as ever on Merseyside and that his contract situation has not affected him in any way. "I'm happy at Everton and they have shown me love and made me enjoy the game of football," enthused Yobo. There is nothing for people to be afraid of concerning my contract with Everton. There is no problem there.
"The people love me and I have learnt a lot of things from the club that makes me enjoy my game."
Ironically, the only problem Yobo had during the recent contract negotiations was with his agent.
He explains: "He is not very strong and can no longer handle me. But he is a very nice man. All is well with us but he is no longer handling me." Moyes is confident the Super Eagles star will return to his best after a spell on the sidelines and agrees his recent contract talks did not have a bearing on his form. "Maybe a month ago he was a bit confused about what exactly was going on and it got him down a bit," said Moyes. "But the contract has nothing to do with it and he has even been in to see me and reassured me that that is the case. "Basically he is just a young centre half who is learning rapidly. "I always said that as a young defender he would be liable to make mistakes, especially at this level, and that he would have to learn from them. Obviously players cannot make mistakes continuously and we work with him every day to help him improve."
* Everton have extended the stay of keeper Espen Baardsen by another month. The Norwegian was signed as a stop-gap measure while Richard Wright, Paul Gerrard and Steve Simonsen were sidelined by injury. The ex-Spurs star played in the Blues' 4-3 defeat to his former club, but was dropped when Wright and Gerrard both passed late fitness tests ahead of last Saturday's Sunderland match.
But Moyes has decided to extend his spell at Goodison until his other keepers reach full match fitness. Baardsen is viewing the move as an opportunity to put himself in the shop window and attract a permanent contract with another English club. He said: "They have given me another month to look round for another club and get in shape. I'm a free agent when the deal expires so clubs will still be able to sign me after the transfer window closes."
* Tony Hibbert has targeted a return to the Everton first team by the middle of February.
The 21-year-old, who signed a new contract last week, is aiming to make his comeback in the televised game against Southampton on February 22. He has been missing since the derby last month because of a thigh injury and has since under-gone a hernia operation. He said: "Hopefully I will be back within three weeks. I'm not being pushed and we are just taking it one step at a time. I know it will be tough to get back in and I expected competition, even when I was in the starting XI."
Moyes wary of Bolton threat
Jan 23 2003 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES issued a warning to his Everton players today after watching Bolton's valiant display at St James' Park last night (Wednesday 22 Jan). Sam Allardyce's Premiership strugglers impressed Moyes, despite losing 1-0 to Newcastle. The Blues travel to the Reebok next Tuesday aware that the Lancashire club are fighting for their lives. "Bolton played very well and deserved at least a point from the game, particularly for their second half performance," admitted Moyes. "Bolton are down there at the moment but we know they are fighting for their lives. "It is nice to have a quiet week like this and extra time to prepare for our next match. "Teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives and we know what to expect." The extended break between games has given some of Moyes' walking wounded extra time to regain their fitness. The manager has been impressed with the progress made by Tony Hibbert, who is recovering from a hernia operation. He added: "Tony has started doing some swimming work and we expect to have him jogging before the end of the week. "But we have not set any targets for him to be back. Alessandro Pistone has done well in that position recently and that is the kind of competition for places we want." Espen Baardsen is another player on the injured list. The keeper has been signed on for a second month despite still being out. Moyes explained: "Espen picked up a hip injury at Tottenham but we felt we needed to keep him here to make sure we are not going to be left short while other players getting back to fitness." Paul Gerrard will be in goal for the reserves tonight as he continues his return to fitness after a knee injury. He will be joined in the side which will travel to Manchester United by recent arrival Ibrahim Said, who will be making his first appearance since rejoining the Blues. He will be part of a strong side which will also include Lee Carsley and Mark Pembridge.
* LIVERPOOL'S appearance in the Worthington Cup final against Manchester United could provide an unexpected boost to Everton's hopes of European qualification. The Worthington Cup provides qualification to the UEFA Cup for the winner, but if both Liverpool and Manchester United qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four, then the extra UEFA Cup place will be made available based on league placings. That would mean the sides that finish fifth and sixth in the Premiership would qualify for the UEFA Cup. Or if Liverpool finish in fifth spot in the Premiership and win the Worthington Cup the sixth placed position will also represent European qualification.
However, the Blues will be hoping to gain qualification for Europe by staying ahead of the Reds in the Premiership.
Blue boys prepared for City challenge
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 24 2003
ALAN HARPER'S Everton under-17s put their recent unbeaten run on the line tomorrow against a side who are still to taste defeat this season. The Blues travel to take on unbeaten FA Premier Academy League leaders Manchester City in fine form. Three straight wins either side of the Christmas break have put Harper's side in the right frame of mind to take on the formidable challenge City will present. Last week's 1-0 win over Not-tingham Forest could be the platform for Everton to make the second half of the season a profitable one in terms of results and development.
And with a fully fit squad, Harper is hopeful the Blues can reverse the 2-1 defeat City inflicted on them in the middle of November at Netherton. He said: "We are looking forward to Saturday's match because they are unbeaten and it should be quite a good game. "We played them in November and got beat 2-1. They were a lot better than us on the day. We didn't play at all, so we can take a bit of revenge. "It would be lovely to be the first team to beat them, but it shouldn't give us any extra incentive. That is what you should go out and do anyway." Colin Harvey's under-19s will look to bounce back after last week's defeat to Nottingham Forest. The Blues deserved at least a point from the clash and will look to make amends against Manchester City, although like their U17s, City will be a tough proposition and they also top the U19s Group A table. Scott Brown is away on international duty so is unavailable for the Blues' next two Academy League fixtures. He will be hoping to start for Dick Bate's U18s side when they open their Meridien Cup campaign in Egypt tomorrow against Burkino Faso (2.30pm). Also still missing are long-term casualties Craig Garside and Damon Martland. But striker Michael Symes will look to build on his first start for the Blues in four months last weekend.
Moyes: McLeod can go if the deal's right
Jan 24 2003 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON have rejected a bid by Rotherham to take Kevin McLeod on loan until the end of the season - but the winger could still be on his way out of Goodison Park. Ronnie Moore wanted the 22-year-old to help spearhead the first division club's play-off push, only to have a loan offer turned down by David Moyes. The Blues manager has used McLeod only once this season, as a late substitute in the FA Cup defeat at Shrewsbury, and is ready to listen to offers - but only if they involve a firm bid and a permanent transfer. McLeod was linked with a transfer to West Bromwich Albion two seasons ago and a number of first division clubs are believed to be interested in his signature. But they must pay to claim his services before the end of the transfer window, or wait until his contract expires in the summer to complete a transfer. McLeod, a member of the 1998 FA Youth Cup-winning side, was outstanding in pre-season but has struggled to nail down a regular place in Moyes' first-team squad since the start of the season. Moyes is still waiting a decision from Celtic on Colin Healy as his pursuit of the Republic of Ireland midfielder looks set to drag into the final week of the transfer window. Everton, meanwhile, have again been forced to clarify Joseph Yobo's contract situation as the saga took another twist yesterday. The Blues have taken up their option with Marseille to sign the Nigerian international for a further four years this summer for a total fee of £4.5million. Only last week Moyes insisted Yobo's contract was not the cause of his dip in form as the few outstanding issues had been resolved. But Yobo, in an interview with a Nigerian radio station, again claimed his contract is yet to be finalised. He said: "We are renegotiating a new contract. I hope this contract will be in place before the close of the transfer window or by the end of the season." Technically Everton still have Yobo on an initial 12-month loan deal and no obligation to increase his personal terms once his permanent contract comes into effect in the summer. They may yet improve his wages at the end of this season but the Blues are unaware of any renewed contract negotiations. Ian Ross, head of corporate affairs and PR at Goodison Park, confirmed: "We have a legally binding contract and that is not going to change. "We have taken up the option to buy Joseph Yobo which we had to do before June. That won't be formalised until the end of the season when we pay the outstanding balance on the deal with Marseille."
Man United Res 1 Everton Res 4
Jan 24 2003
A LEON OSMAN hat-trick was the highlight of a comfortable victory for Everton Reserves against Manchester United Reserves at Moss Lane, Altrincham. The Blues had a strong side out, but they deserved to go in front just before the break when Osman fired his first low past United keeper Ricardo. The visitors stunned United two minutes after the restart when Osman found Niclas Alexandersson and the Swede finished. Everton confirmed their superiority midway through the half with a third goal. Osman converted an Alexandersson cross with a firm header for his second.
Minutes later the youngster fired his hat-trick after Mark Pembridge had picked him out with a cross. Neil Wood scored a consolation for the home side from a free-kick but it was always going to be Everton's and Osman's night.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Said, O'Hanlon, Clarke, Pilkington, Carsley, Alexandersson, Moogan, (Schumacher 65), Osman, Pembridge, McLeod. Subs: Turner, Carney, Southern, Beck.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Ricardo (Jowsey 46), Lynch, Pugh, Roche, Muirhead (Heath 78), Stewart (Lawrence 67), Chadwick, Butt, Nardiello, Davis, Wood. Subs: Fox, Williams
Hibbert deal is just as crucial
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jan 24 2003
THE BUSH telegraph was humming like a really hummy thing last Friday when Everton rather enigmatically announced a 'significant' press conference. Depending on who you listened to Robbie Fowler had rejected Manchester City for the Toffees, Steve McManaman was turning his back on the Champions League with Real Madrid to come on loan to his boyhood club and the Brazilian Kleberson and his bride were on their way. As it transpired the news did concern a precocious teenager; from Croxteth though, not Rio. Finally the tiresome press speculation is over and Wayne Rooney has signed his first professional contract. Which is marvellous, obviously, although the patronising national media seemed more interested in commenting on his demeanour at the press conference than on his footballing future. You get the feeling they won't be happy until he's walking with books balanced on his head like Walton's answer to Eliza Doolittle. Somewhat ignored by the press, but not by Evertonians, was the fact that Tony Hibbert also committed himself to a new deal. The full-back's introduction to the first team obviously hasn't been as eyecatching as Rooney's, but his progress has been no less impressive. He suffered a few shaky games early on as he found his feet, but importantly he learned quickly and has grown in stature and confidence to the point where we find ourselves wondering if it's significant that the team's recent defensive frailties have coincided with his injury problems. It will certainly be a boost when we get him back, especially if his replacement during the last two games, Alessandro Pistone, can transfer his good form to the opposite flank. The Italian was fantastic against Sunderland as Everton reproduced the attacking form they had shown at Spurs, although crucially they kept it tighter at the back and took all three points for the first time in what feels like an age. Pistone wasn't the only one to excel though - the likes of Scot Gemmill, Steve Watson and Tomasz Radzinski all played blinders although the headline grabber was obviously the inspirational loan signing Brian McBride. He has been thrown in at the deep end, but seems to be doing just fine. So, things are looking up again: we're playing a lot better, we're still in fifth place and we've secured the signatures of two of our brightest stars. That certainly deadens the pain of Li Wei Feng's departure.
Three and easy
Jan 24 2003 IcLiverpool & Daily Post
WELL done Everton! We played well against maybe with a bit more luck we could have had a few more goals, but three points in the bag is the aim of the game, after all. Some supposed Evertonians are talking about offloading the whole squad to buy some expensive players that don't want to be here other than for the money. But it's the expensive misfits who have caused us the problems in the past.
Mark Tilley, Kensington
IT was a great win for the Blues against the Black Cats. Brian McBride for President if he keeps this up. It was nice to see him donating to a Diabetes charity as well. I lost my mum in similar and I hope he raises a lot of money.
Andy C, Skelmersdale
BRIAN McBRIDE looks like a player who could do damage. I don't know if we should sign him though. Remember Joe-Max Moore? I thought Joe looked like a decent player when he first signed for us, but hely.bad
W Livie, Liverpool
A POEM to McBride: Well, welcome to Goodison young Brian McBride, we hope you can fit in our Premiership side. We can tell by your name that you have returned, to the Isles that once your Grandpappy was spurned, and perhaps you can play like no-one before and become a great star that we all can adore. Like Royle and Labone and Kendall and Dean and this young Rooney lad who's just in his teens. We want you to win with your mate Davey Moyes and tell all your buddies Stateside of your joys. So come on then lad, find the back of the net and make Brian McBride a name not to forget.
T Jones, (via e-mail)
Thanks for support
I WOULD like to thank every Evertonian at the Sunderland game for getting behind the team when being a goal down. Although I live in Norway, I am doing all I can to promote the Blues here.
Svein Lysvoll, Trondheim, Norway
Red card for Platt
WILL somebody send David Platt to the David Moyes school of man-management and tell him that Wayne Rooney is not shouting off about playing for any England team. If his set-up is so good, why don't they win everything in sight? Maybe you have to be able to play cards.
Ernie Jones, Southport
Working hard is the key
Jan 24 2003 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Neville Southall believes the key to the club's transformation under David Moyes is their work ethic. The club's greatest ever goalkeeper can see similarities between the current side and the Joe Royle team he was a part of that finished sixth in the table in 1996. Royle's side were dubbed the 'Dogs of War'. It was not intended to be complimentary but Nev insists no side can do well without a strong work ethic. And with the Blues able to call on a player of Wayne Rooney's quality, he can see the next 12 months leading the club into European competition and a bright new future. "I can definitely see similarities between this Everton team and the side we had with Joe," said Nev. "The best thing about the current team is the amount of work they put in. Not enough sides in the Premiership have a decent work ethic. "David Moyes and Alan Irvine both work unbelievably hard and they won't settle for players who don't do the same and that kind of attitude is why the side has done so well this year. "The two hardest working teams in the division are Arsenal and Manchester United. Yes, they have the most talented players but they are at the top of their game because they work so hard. "It is a great time to be bringing in a player like Rooney because he knows he has to give his all. He is not going to pick up any bad habits. "And so I can see him getting better and better." The Blues are currently lying sixth in the table. It is in stark contrast to the club's position last season, when they were once again facing the prospect of a relegation dogfight. The squad has not changed radically since then. But on Tuesday Moyes takes his team to Bolton knowing victory will maintain his side's challenge for European qualification. Southall, who is now at Canvey Island, is confident that is a realistic target. "Moyes has got his side playing the right way. I can't see many teams working harder than them and so I think they have a great chance of qualifying for Europe. "The key to successful management is not who you buy, it is who you get rid of. Moyes needs to get rid of the players he is not keen on keeping but in the current market that will be difficult. "He will have to be imaginative to get some money in and if his signings this summer are as good as the ones he made last summer then I can see the club really going places."
Moyes eyes Falkirk strike pair
Jan 24 2003 By Rob Brady, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are to take a closer look at two highly rated young strikers from Scottish club Falkirk.
Lee Miller and Collin Samuel will arrive at Goodison next week to train with the Blues. Miller, 19, and 23-year-old Trinidad and Tobago international Samuel have impressed this season helping Falkirk to the top of the Scottish first division. The arrangement has come about because Everton boss David Moyes is good friends with Falkirk manager Ian McCall. The former Dunfermline teammates met yesterday to discuss the move, which could possibly open the way for some Everton youngsters to gain match experience at the Bairns. Moyes said: "There is two boys coming down from Falkirk and we are going to look at them. Ian McCall is an old friend of mine and we speak quite regularly. "He has two players who have been attracting a bit of attention and we will bring them down for a few days training. It's just a look." Moyes stressed that it was not a two-way arrangement between the clubs, but added: "If we thought there was anyone who would benefit for a spell on loan at Falkirk, then we would consider it." McCall said: "Hopefully it will be something that will benefit both clubs. We'll see what comes of it. We have spoken about the players who could come here on loan and they are really youngsters, but unfortunately not Wayne Rooney. It could be an exciting thing for Falkirk if we can come to some arrangement." Meanwhile, Tobias Linderoth is expected to resume training at the weekend as he steps up his recovery from a hamstring injury. But the Everton manager would not put a date on when the Swedish midfielder will be available for first team selection. Moyes said: "He has been out for quite a while and is in need of a couple of reserve games and certainly some training to make sure there is no recurrence of his hamstring problem."
* The Blues have rejected a bid by Rotherham to take Kevin McLeod on loan until the end of the season. Ronnie Moore wanted the 22-year-old to help spearhead the first division club's play-off push. But despite the move being blocked by David Moyes, McLeod could still find himself surplus to requirements at Goodison. The manager is willing to listen to offers for the player but only wants a permanent deal.
My best has yet to come - Pistone
Jan 26 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ALESSANDRO Pistone has had to be patient in his bid to reclaim a first team place, but now he hopes to help the Blues to their highest ever Premiership finish. The Italian's Goodison career has been disrupted by injury. He began to make his mark when David Moyes took over towards the end of last season, but the injury curse struck again during preseason training. It took the full-back (pictured) two months to recover from a hamstring problem, returning at a time when the team was rocketing up the table. Everton currently lie in fifth place, one spot higher than their best Premiership finish in 1996. It was David Unsworth's suspension ahead of last month's Merseyside derby that finally gave Pistone his first league start since May. Tony Hibbert's hernia problem has now seen the former Newcastle and Inter Milan star switch over to fill the right-back slot, where he has impressed in recent games. The naturally right-footed Pistone said: "Fortunately I can play on both sides. I'm comfortable on the left. I have played most games there, but for the under-21 international team I was a right-back most of the time. It's not a major problem for me." Pistone, a £3m Walter Smith signing in the summer of 2000, has no complaints about having to wait for his first-team chance after overcoming injury. The 27-year-old, who has made 44 appearances for the Blues, said: "I had a hamstring problem in pre-season and was out for a couple of months. "When I was fit again the team was doing very well. Everyone was playing really well, so I had to wait for a chance to play. You can't do anything but train well and be ready for your chance. "There is competition for places among everyone. It has to be like that. With this manager, there's no one player who is sure to play if he has not performed well in the previous game. It is good like that. Everybody is doing their best to show they are a good player. "If you are fit and you play well, you can keep your place. When you are not playing, you know that if you get a chance you have to take it. It keeps everybody at a high level of concentration." Given the long period out of the first team, Pistone (right) believes he has yet to approach his best form. "I'm in good form, but I had a better season last year and had some really good games", he said. "Of course the team was not doing so well last year. It was not so easy to take one player out of eleven. This year it's easier because the team is doing well and there is more chance to show what you can do. "I have to say that last season we were unlucky with injury. There was a period where there was seven or eight players injured, which was very bad for a club like Everton that does not have a big squad. "This year has been a lot better. Of course it's impossible to go through a whole season without injury problems, but we have done quite well up until now. It has kept the team spirit high." Comfortable on the ball, Pistone is now in his sixth season in English football. He says he is settled over here and is in no hurry to return to Serie A.
He explained: "I like England. I feel comfortable here. I have had no problems. I'm happy at Everton.
"I prefer the English style of playing football. They play until the last minute and give everything. That is how I like to play. In Italy it is very tactical, very defensive. "The Italian league is very difficult. The pressure is incredible from outside - the fans and the magazines. "You can see some really good players, but it's hard to see a very good game. That is what I don't like. There are some incredible players, but they can't show what they can do because it is very tight. At the end of the day the team must get a result."
Moyes steals a march on star
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 27 2003
DAVID MOYES looks to have stolen a march on Scotland's football giants with the decision to hand Falkirk hero Colin Samuel a trial with Everton. Samuel starts a week's training with the Blues at Bellefield today after Moyes last month agreed to run the rule over the Trinidad and Tobago star and strike partner Lee Miller. And it is a move that could pay rich dividends as Samuel has since confirmed his profile as one of the brightest prospects north of the border. The big striker took his tally to eight goals in three games on Saturday with the first half hat-trick that caused a Scottish Cup shock as first division Falkirk battered Premier League Hearts 4-0. Over the weekend both Celtic and Rangers were linked with bids for Samuel, who has helped inspire Falkirk's promotion push after initially struggling to settle in Scotland. But Moyes has stolen a march on the Glasgow giants by offering the pair a trial and it is believed the arrangement also gives Everton first option on their signatures. The Goodison chief is firm friends with Brockville Park manager Ian McCall, who is loath to lose either Samuel or highly-rated Scottish youngster Millar before the end of Falkirk's chase for promotion. Everton, however, could still secure a deal with the Scottish club if the duo impress this week by allowing them to return to Falkirk until the end of the campaign on loan. Meanwhile, Paul Gerrard has admitted that he is considering his future at Goodison Park. The Blues goalkeeper faces an increasingly tough task to oust first choice Richard Wright. Gerrard said: "To be truthful, I think Richard is the automatic choice, so maybe it's the time to start looking elsewhere, but we'll see what happens. "I've got another year left on my contract after this season. All I can do is train hard and see what happens."
Samuel hat-trick for Falkirk
Jan 27 2003 Liverpool Echo
COLLIN Samuel did his hopes of signing for Everton no harm at all on Saturday when already has what it takes to be a success in the Premiership when his first-half hat-trick for Falkirk dumped Hearts out of the Tennennt's Scottish Cup at the third-round stage. The Trinidadian heads down to Goodison Park today along with fellow Bairn Lee Miller to train with Everton in the hope of clinching a deal with David Moyes' side. Samuel has been outstanding for the First Division side since arriving in Scotland at the beginning of the season and he showed he can play at a higher level. Everton boss David Moyes' friendship with Falkirk head coach Ian McCall meant he was given the go-ahead to have a closer look at Samuel ahead of other top-level clubs who have also expressed an interest in the player.
Hotshot Samuel expects a short stay
Jan 27 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE hottest property in Scottish football arrived at Everton today - but Collin Samuel expects the stay to be a short one. The Trinidad and Tobago international rattled a 28 minute hat-trick on Saturday as First Division Falkirk upset Premier League Hearts in the Scottish Cup. Samuel - and team-mate Lee Miller - will train with the Blues this week before returning to boost the Brockville club's promotion push. "I would love to stay at Falkirk until the end of the season in the hope of winning the First Division title," said Samuel. "But I'll go down to Everton and play the best that I can when I'm there." Blues' boss David Moyes, who snapped up Stirling goalkeeper Iain Turner after a similar trial spell lier in the season, said: "Both ers will spend a few days training with us and that is it." Neither will play in Wednesday's scheduled reserve match against Bradford City - and will return to Scotland in time for The Bairns' home game against St Johnstone this weekend. Moyes was keen to play down this week's trial, but Samuel's hat-trick on Saturday - his eighth goal in his last three appearances - projected him onto every back page north of the border at the weekend. The Scottish Cup clash was watched by representatives from Celtic, Rangers, Arsenal, Leeds, Newcastle, Charlton and Bolton. Newcastle boss Bobby Robson tried to take Samuel to St James' Park last season, but the move floundered because the 20-year-old was refused a work permit due to an insufficient number of international appearances. Falkirk boss Ian McCall, a pal of David Moyes, spent yesterday scouring sports shops in Glasgow for a new pair of boots for Samuel. "He lost his own pair at Brockville and I could hardly send him down to Moyesie asking to borrow a pair, could I?" he said. Moyes' squad will be fresh and focussed on tomorrow night's trip to Bolton, after enjoying a rare weekend off. Tobias Linderoth restarted training today, while Duncan Ferguson is doing "cardio-vascular and gym work" and is unlikely to feature in the reserves on Wednesday.
Chinese take Gazza away
Jan 27 2003 Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE has signed for struggling Chinese second division side Gansu Tianma. The former England star has agreed a one-year deal worth £400,000 with the B-League's bottom team, club officials have claimed. Gansu Tianma general manager Zhong Bohong said: "We picked him because he's a real professional football player. "We noticed he has two shortcomings - one is his physical fitness, another is leg strength. "He has a good sense of the game. He has good skills and experience, especially in the big matches. "We think he could play a key role in the team. We'd like him to be the spiritual leader of the team." As well as playing for the team, Gascoigne is understood to be taking on an assistant coaching role and acting as a consultant to the club's academy. The 35-year-old former Newcastle, Spurs, Lazio, Rangers and Everton midfielder flew to China earlier this month in the hope of reviving his fading career. He failed to impress after training with first division side Liaoning Bodao and was not offered a contract.
Wright set to put knee op on hold
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 28 2003
DAVID MOYES will ask Richard Wright to play through the pain barrier after confirming the Everton keeper faces the surgeon's knife this summer. The Blues keeper faces Bolton tonight after a much-needed 10-day rest on the knee injury that flared up at Tottenham and has troubled the former Arsenal stopper for months. Both Steve Simonsen and Paul Gerard are now back in training to ease the recent goalkeeping crisis that gripped Goodison Park. But with a European place still up for grabs, Moyes is anxious his number one delays any surgery until the end of the campaign. The Blues manager said: "Richard is probably in need of a minor operation. There is a piece of fat in his knee joint that is causing him some discomfort. "But he's getting through at the moment and we just hope it doesn't flare up again. The problem is with his kicking more than anything else, but hopefully he'll get through to the end of the season and have surgery then." Moyes, who must decide whether to give fit-again Kevin Campbell a recall in place of the in-form Brian McBride, admits he would have swapped the blank weekend for another game on the back of the defeat of Sunderland. But he accepts he will need fully fresh players to overcome battling Bolton at The Reebok tonight.
The Blues boss said: "I think Sam (Allardyce) will keep Bolton up but I hope it's not at the expense of taking points off Everton. We have got something to try and chase until the end of the season and so have they. We were in the same position as them last season and every point is so important.
"I watched Bolton lose narrowly at Newcastle last week and they deserved something from the game, no question. It is by no means a game where you think 'this is points in the bag' - far from it.
"Through Sam they've got an in-built fighting spirit and character. I know all about that because they beat Preston at Cardiff in the playoffs and he's done a great job to keep them in the Premiership ince. "Whatever happens they will fight until the end. They've got a serious chance of staying in the Premiership." Moyes is still without Wayne Rooney, Tobias Linderoth, Tony Hibbert and Nick Chadwick while Duncan Ferguson will not be fit for the reserves game with Bradford as "he is doing another week of cardiovascular work to build up his general fitness levels." Swedish midfielder Linderoth returned to light training at the weekend after suffering both hamstring and knee problems since November. "We hope he's not going to be much longer because we'd like him back," added Moyes.
* Mark Pembridge has been named in the Wales squad to play Bosnia at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on February 12.
* EVERTON are expected to make one final push to sign Colin Healy before the transfer window closes on Friday. The Blues have had one offer rejected by Celtic for the Republic of Ireland midfielder, who is out of contract and available on a free this summer. But David Moyes wants to add Healy to his squad before then, and hopes the Scottish champions will accept an improved bid by the Blues within the next few days.
Strike options allow Blues to keep rising
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 28 2003
THE LAST time Everton ventured from Goodison Park it was a lack of goalkeepers that delivered a serious body-blow to their hopes. Now David Moyes hopes an abundance of strikers will confirm the Blues have caught their second wind. The Blues manager recently stressed the importance of Kevin Campbell (right) to Everton's revival this season, bemoaning the lack of cover for the powerful centre-forward when an ever-present season spent taking the knocks for others took its toll.
After a brief substitute appearance against Sunderland the Blues' leading scorer is itching to lead the line again at Bolton tonight. There is, however, one not-so-small obstacle in his way, Everton's new all-American hero Brian McBride. The on-loan striker followed up his debut goal in the away defeat at Tottenham with a brace to sink Howard Wilkinson's side ten days' ago, justifying Moyes' decision to bring him to Britain after only two games into a three-month spell. Moyes dismissed weekend speculation he may turn McBride's move from Columbus Crew into a permanent deal come April 1 - when the MLS season resumes and the American heads home. But at a crucial juncture in Everton's campaign - points from the next six Premiership games could well determine their European quest ahead of a testing run-in - the Goodison chief is just glad of the dilemma and admits there is no need to rush Campbell back. He said: "Kevin's fine now. He's had a good week's training and looked very sharp during it. "But Brian's contribution is making things a lot easier for us. It's a great experience for him. He's made an immediate impact which is fabulous for us and for him. "We've now got the option that we can play Kevin or Brian and with Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne, who is back from suspension in a week, that give us serious competition up front which is what we want. Between those four we hope to have the combinations to worry the opposition." Moyes also hopes the 10-day break between the Sunderland victory and Bolton has enabled his squad to recharge their energy levels ahead of the final push for the finishing line. There were clear signs in the 2-1 defeat of the Black Cats that the high-tempo game that has propelled Everton into the upper reaches of the Premiership was back and benefiting from the return to week-by-week matches. And Moyes is looking on that victory to provide the second wind which cements Everton's place in the European zone. "We have been working hard and the players are looking sharp," he said. "I think that showed in the Sunderland game. "I would have preferred a game on the Saturday after that," he added, referring to the Blues' inactivity at the weekend due to their shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Shrewsbury. "But, on saying that, we have enjoyed the rest. It has let us get a few more people back fit. The energetic performances were there at the start of the season, which you would hope for, although over the busy Christmas period there was a little lull in that. "It was a very good performance against Sunderland, but we know we have to try and maintain that." Moyes puts the zestful approach of his players down to a realisation that they are not among the most technically gifted in the league. "Let's be fair - there' s probably more talented teams than us, so we have to try and bridge that gap as best we can," he said. "If that comes from being energetic and hard-working then so be it. Hopefully it won't be difficult to maintain. I can only tell you what I see from what the players are doing at the moment and how they are feeling. "I certainly feel there is a buzz about the place again, and hopefully it will show by the results. "We have got something to go for - there is a high spot in the league available to us and we need to try and chase that. We are still in contention at the top and we have to try and stay there. The target is to get as many points as possible and hopefully try and win the championship - we have to aim for that."
Falkirk boss ready for Samuel bidding war
By Lisa Gray, Daily Post
Jan 28 2003
FALKIRK general manager Crawford Baptie insists the highest bidder will win the fight for Collin Samuel's signature - even though he is training with Everton this week. The star striker - who netted a hat-trick against Hearts on Saturday - will train with David Moyes' squad at Goodison Park until Friday, along with team-mate Lee Miller. In return, Bairns head coach Ian McCall could be given the chance to take two Everton youngsters to Brockville until the end of the season to bolster his squad for the run-in to the first division title. But Samuel's blistering form this season means clubs on both sides of the border are beginning to sit up and take notice of the Trinidadian. Falkirk have already rejected one bid for Samuel, before Saturday's Scottish Cup tie against Hearts, claiming the offer did not meet their valuation of the player. And, even though Everton are the only club so far who have been given permission to take a closer look at the striker, Baptie admits the Falkirk board will accept the highest offer they receive for Samuel. He said: "It would be down to whoever made the highest bid. The reason he has gone to Everton this week is because there is the possibility that we could get two of their under-21 players on loan until the end of the season. "Ian's been down there to have a look at them and was impressed by them. "They haven't been able to break into the first team at Everton at the moment, but there is a chance they could come up here. Other Premiership clubs have also asked about Collin but, with no disrespect to them, they aren't as big as Everton."
Samuel grabbed a hat-trick against Arbroath last week before achieving the same feat against Hearts to dump Craig Levein's side out of the the Scottish Cup. But interest in the player has been mounting for weeks and Falkirk are all but resigned to the fact he is destined to play at a higher level than the Scottish first division. Baptie added: "We get faxes from about 35 scouts every week wanting to come and watch him and there are are a lot of Scottish and English clubs who have shown an interest. Ian would love to keep all his best players here, but there has also been a lot of speculation about players like Lee Miller and Mark Kerr as well. "We would love to win the first division and that's Ian's priority. "But for a club of our size, if an offer came in to the board that they couldn't refuse, then we can't stand in the player's way."
Everton lacking City's muscle
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 28 2003
UNBEATEN FA Premier Academy league leaders Manchester City proved too strong for Everton under-17s on Saturday. Alan Harper saw his side's three-match winning run come to an end in Manchester as the home side won 2-0 at the Platt Lane training complex. City opened the scoring after 20 minutes and although a young Everton side were certainly gave as good as they got, the physically stronger home side were on top. However the Blues' 16-year-old striker Paul Hopkins saw one effort crash back off the post that would have brought the scores level. Harper's side had further chances, but City doubled their advantage half-way through the second period to seal victory and keep up their 17-match unbeaten sequence. The game was played after a horrendous downpour and coach Harper felt City just deserved their victory. "In little bits the performance was okay," he said. "They were bigger and stronger than us, which we knew anyway. But some of our play wasn't bad and the lads had a good go. "We had a couple of chances but they deservedly won it and were better than us on the day. "Saying that Christian Seargeant, an under-16 player, did well considering he was up against bigger and stronger players." Colin Harvey's under-19 side were left without a fixture as they saw their match with Manchester City called off due to the waterlogged pitch. A downpour 20 minutes before kick-off left large pools of water on the Platt Lane surface. While the groundstaff were able to remove it from the pitch that Harper's U17s played on, the U19s were not so lucky. There are no matches this coming weekend as it is an In-Service training weekend, when coaches and staff from Academies around the country attend courses set up by the Premier League. Harvey's U19s will travel back to Manchester today, hoping to take on the league leaders at the Platt Lane complex in the re-arranged fixture. The U17s' next fixture is away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on February 8.
* EVERTON midfielder Scott Brown was involved for England U18s as they beat Burkino Faso 3-2 in the UEFA/CAF Meridien Cup in Egypt on Friday. Goals from Manchester City's Dorryl Proffitt, Manchester United's Adam Eckersley and Liverpool's David Raven gave Dick Bate's side an opening victory. They also faced Mali in Ismailya yesterday evening and Proffitt was on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw.
The cavalry charge
Jan 28 2003 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
DAVID MOYES is calling on his Everton cavalry to see through the excellent work set up by his first choice players this season. The Blues go to Bolton tonight, with a line-up likely to be very different from that which started the season back in August. But Moyes said: "Sometimes you stumble upon things. We moulded a team at the start of the season which did well, and maybe we are starting to mould a different team now which will carry us through the second half of the season. "Different players will be used at different times here and they understand that. "If you want to play at a club like Everton no-one can be guaranteed a place. "If someone has had a hard schedule and is looking a bit jaded we have other players who can come in. "I don't see it as a selection dilemma. We need a strong squad if we are going to try and continue to do well between now and the end of the season." Players like Brian McBride, Alessandro Pistone and Scot Gemmill have all come in for their first League appearances of the season recently - and impressed. McBride has scored three goals in two games since arriving on-loan from Columbus Crew, Scot Gemmill has set up goals in each of his last three games, while Alessandro Pistone was solid against Spurs and outstanding against Sunderland. Moyes must choose between fit again Kevin Campbell and in-form McBride up front, must decide whether to recall Joseph Yobo at the back, and also has Thomas Gravesen itching for a recall in midfield. "I don't see it as a hard choice," said Moyes. "I just pick players who are right for the night. Hopefully we get it right more often than we get it wrong." Absentees for the trip to Bolton (kick-off 8pm) are long term injury victims Tony Hibbert, Duncan Ferguson and Rodrigo, plus the suspended Wayne Rooney. Tobias Linderoth is back in training but needs match fitness before he can be considered.
Scot can be our gem
Jan 28 2003 By David Prentice
SCOT GEMMILL has grabbed the lead role in a recent Everton production of 'assister act.' And tonight at Bolton he hopes to show his star quality can run and run. The Scottish international salvaged his season in the unlikeliest of settings. To every Evertonian, the FA Cup upset at Shrewsbury was the moment a season of stunning progress stalled spectacularly. For Scot Gemmill, however, it was the moment his career restarted. Recalled for only his second starting appearance of the season - his first was a solitary Worthington Cup outing at Wrexham - he created an Everton equaliser with a carefully weighted through ball. The following week at Tottenham he repeated the trick - then against Sunderland the week after claimed another assist with a right wing cross.
After waiting all season for the opportunity to impress, he hopes David Moyes was taking keen notice. "Of course I am pleased with the way things have gone personally for me in the past few games," explained Gemmill "but I will try and answer the question modestly and say it's a lot easier to do that when the team is dominating games, as we have been, and in a position to do that.
"If we are in our own half defending then obviously you can't do that, so I would think it is more to do with the fact that we have had good spells in games. "The movement of the strikers is obviously important, as well. I like to think that you should get credit for the through ball, but more often than not the forward gets the credit for the run - but I'm not really in a position to argue the pros and cons of that situation!" For most of this season Gemmill wasn't really in a position to argue about anything. Before the final match of last season at Arsenal the Scottish international had enjoyed a remarkable spell of consistency. Of the previous 33 matches, he had missed just one through suspension. This season, however, an injury ruled him out of the start of the campaign, then the form and fitness of players like Gravesen, Li Tie and Lee Carsley prevented him forcing his way back in. "It had gone a long time without me even looking like I was going to play," he admitted "which is the way football goes sometimes. "I just kept getting told after training to keep focused and keep patient. "Even now I've played the last few games I can't allow myself to get too secure because it is too much of a disappointment if I am left out again. I just take every game as it comes. "The team has been changed so often this season that no-one is sure of their place - even the famous players.
"I must admit it was hard to deal with being out for so long, especially with the team doing so well. You're almost like a jealous kid looking in from the outside. "All I can do is put the first half of the season behind me and hope to carry on." Gemmill has more than the remaining 14 matches of this season to concern him as he aims to build on his recent form. He turned 32 in January - and has the final year of his Goodison contract looming. "I have one more season to go on my contract," he explained. "There are more pressing cases than mine, but it is something I have thought about and something I do play for every time I play. I go out to give my all. "It's just common sense really. If I'm not playing I won't get another deal. But I have really settled at Everton and I really enjoy it here. I can't believe I have been here since '99 - the time has gone so fast - and it's just really good to be here with things going so well at the moment." Everton will try to maintain that feel-good factor at Bolton tonight, but Gemmill is aware how tough the trip to the Reebok Stadium will be. "Alan Irvine watched them play at Newcastle last week and told us they played very well," he added. "It will be a very tough match. We expect them to play three in midfield so whoever plays in midfield for us will have to be on top of their game. "I remember last season that Gazza scored there when we drew but should have won. "My over-riding memory of that game was the look on his face, and that we conceded a last minute equaliser. "It's so close it's almost like a derby. We will take a large number of fans which always adds to the excitement of playing away." For Gemmill, the excitement lies in just being involved at all at the moment.
Sam wary of Everton newcomer
Jan 28 2003 Liverpool Echo
BOLTON manager Sam Allardyce's agenda going into the match against Everton revolves around strikers. Tottenham target Michael Ricketts wants to leave the Reebok Stadium while Valencia's Salva Ballesta is debating whether to come on loan. Allardyce knows just what a fresh face in attack can do - he only has to look down the other end of the park tonight. Brian McBride has settled in quickly at Everton after arriving on loan from Columbus Crew and scored twice against Sunderland.
Allardyce said: "I hope if we get a striker he makes the same kind of impact. That would magnificent.
"I saw McBride's two goals against Sunderland and the first one he got a little bit of good fortune.
"But that just gives you the confidence to carry on scoring. We will have to keep an eye on him - we know about him from when he had a spell at Preston." Allardyce admits the deal to bring in Salva is looking unlikely with the transfer window closing on Friday. "We have tried our best to push on a deal for Salva but it's hit rocky ground on the financial aspect," said the Bolton boss. "All the ones before this have been too expensive and went way above the budget we have available. "Obviously one signing before the deadline will be a major boost."
European bid to take shape
Jan 28 2003 Kevin Ratcliffe
EVERTON go to Bolton tonight - for the first of a Premiership double-header which could shape their season. Such has been the astonishing progress made by David Moyes this season that UEFA Cup qualification is now an expectation among Evertonians rather than a distant dream. Looking at the quality which exists in the squads of clubs like Chelsea, Newcastle, Spurs and Liverpool I would have to say that Everton must still be considered outsiders for Europe. But back-to-back victories against Bolton and Leeds could transform that situation. The first test, at the Reebok Stadium, will be very tough. Bolton are battling for their Premiership life at present and, like Everton, have enjoyed the luxury of a weekend off to focus their efforts. They were unfortunate at Newcastle last week and possess a sprinkling of quality in players like Djorkaeff and Okocha which can transform matches.
Having said that, Everton played them off the park at Goodison at Christmas. How that game finished goalless is still beyond most observers' comprehension - and if Everton can pinch a win tonight the momentum which can be generated at this stage of the season can be crucial to a team's ultimate placing. I still think a European placing will be just beyond the Blues - and that should not be perceived as a failing after the wonderful season they have enjoyed already.
McBride an asset
BRIAN McBRIDE has made an impressive impact already at Everton. I'm hoping he can now go on and become as influential a signing as another striker captured at a similar stage of the season, when I was playing. Wayne Clarke was snapped up by Howard Kendall as cover during the 1987 title run-in.
Injury to Graeme Sharp meant he was needed for a run of 10 successive games - and he responded with five crucial goals. McBride's impact has already been significant - and he could get the opportunity to build on that. Even if he doesn't score again, McBride's attitude and the impact he will have in simply livening up the players around him at Bellefield could be crucial. I'm a big advocate of bringing in one or two players at this stage of the season to refresh other players in the squad, and McBride's temporary acquisition already appears to have been a master stroke by David Moyes.
Osman has talent
LEON OSMAN enjoyed the briefest of tastes of Premiership football at Spurs recently, and is now itching for a lengthier run-out. I've seen Leon during his loan spell at Carlisle and there is no doubt that he is a talented footballer. His biggest problem has been in convincing people what his most effective position is. I have seen him operate as an out-and-out midfielder, a link between the forward line and the midfield and even as a striker. Whatever his favoured role, he is another example of the excellent work being done at the Everton Youth Academy by Ray Hall, Colin Harvey, Alan Harper and the rest of their team. But I hope I'm wrong!
Blues Cup relic up for auction
Jan 28 2003 By Emma Jones, Liverpool Echo
AN Everton football programme more than 100 years old is expected to fetch £3,500 when it goes under the hammer next month. The programme is from the 1897 FA Cup final between Everton and Aston Villa, the year of Queen Victoria's 60th anniversary diamond jubilee. Sotheby's football memorabilia expert Graham Budd said: "FA Cup programmes in general are collectable items regardless of the age, but what is so special about this programme is that you just don't see them from that period any more "Pre-1900 football programmes are vastly different from today's mini-magazines. They were just one sheet of paper that had the team information and adverts for local businesses." The programme is showing its age slightly. If it had survived intact, it could have been expected to fetch £4,000 to £5,000. Everton were beaten 3-2 in that final and had to wait until 1906 for their first cup final win. The club have played in 12 finals. Two Liverpool season tickets from 1897-98 and 1900-01 will also go on sale and could realise £600. The 1900-1901 ticket is particularly special as it was from Liverpool's first title- winning season. Graham Budd, said: "The Liverpool tickets are in better condition, but won't raise as much. They're expected to fetch £600 in total, they do not have the same popularity. "They're both great historic pieces - for a Liverpool collector, the tickets will be of great importance - but the FA Cup final programme will attract more interest from general programme collectors rather than exclusively to Everton or Aston Villa fans."
The sale is at Sotheby's in London on February 18.
Bolton 1, Everton 2 (D, Post)
Jan 29 2003 By Andy Hunter At The Reebok Stadium, Daily Post
THE SUREST sign of Everton's Premiership revival arrived last night as they sailed past the magical 40-point mark yet still found themselves with everything to play for. In recent seasons reaching the fabled cut-off point for safety has been the cue for Goodison to heave a sigh of relief, or struggle for breath and fingernails as it proved too close for comfort. Not now. But for Chelsea's comeback against Leeds the Blues would have landed back in the Champions League zone courtesy of Steve 'van Basten' Watson's double against Bolton as they recorded their first away win since November 17. That was merely a minor inconvenience for David Moyes and Everton though. In the summer staying up was the new managerial incumbant's main concern and now, with 13 Premiership matches remaining, his team have a very real grip on Europe. Whether they can reach foreign shores next season and polish off the most incredible transformation in recent Premiership history will depend on nights like these and their strength of character. Against a Bolton side supposedly fighting for their lives yet minus any real striking threat, they showed plenty to ease to victory and prove they really have caught a 'second wind' as Moyes had hoped. The Blues boss admits he is now formulating a new side for the final third of the campaign and of all the players pressing their claims for inclusion recently, few have made such a dramatic impact as Watson. A 'Jack of all trades' since his arrival at Goodison Park, the Geordie is currently shattering the myth that versatility counts against a player with the goals that have helped end Everton's winter slump before it had really taken hold. After the run of six games without success ended against Sunderland, and with a ten-day rest to ease weary limbs, last night offered Everton the chance to show they have the energy and spirit to push all the way to the European finishing line. Until the end of March they have a run of matches that could determine whether heightened expectations will be realised come May. A plentiful supply of points are on offer which - should the Blues collect a healthy tally - will boost belief and qualification hopes ahead of a horrible run-in. And they made the finest possible start in that quest with a display of solidity and purpose that, but for a few wasted chances and slack counter-attacks, would have seen them home safe by the interval. The Blues know all about the tension gripping Sam Allardyce's side, and used the experience of recent relegation battles to weather early Bolton pressure thanks to decent defending and good fortune. David Weir and Alan Stubbs dominated the aerial battles against the recalled Michael Ricketts and Henrik Pedersen, though were grateful to the transfer-listed striker for planting a free header wide in the first minute and to Ivan Campo when he miscued a volley in front of goal after the Blues' rearguard was caught napping by Youri Djorkaeff's clever free-kick. Even with the Everton attack of the lively Tomasz Radzinski and Brian McBride struggling to find the same wavelength in the opening exchanges the Bolton defence looked vulnerable. And, after surviving a few close calls as McBride scuffed an excellent Radzinski cut-back from the by-line and Gary Naysmith powered a free header straight at Jussi Jaaskelainen, Everton finally punished their indecision in the 32nd minute thanks to a moment of magic from Watson. David Unsworth's free-kick from deep in his own half was won by McBride, whose header dropped to the Blues' right midfielder but gave him little option. Or so it seemed. Watson had other ideas and, connecting with a first-time overhead kick from the edge of the area, saw a hooked volley completely bamboozle Jaaskelainen and drop into the far corner of his net.
As Allardyce remarked: "The minute that goal went in you could see our confidence drain but there's very little you can do against a goal like that. It was a spectacular effort, a brilliant goal." Watson barely had a half chance when Walter Smith chose to field him as an emergency striker for six games last season and yet six minutes later he added a second to take his tally to four in four starts.
Radzinski made the most of Bolton indecision with a darting run across their area to seize possession. He laid the ball off perfectly for Naysmith and once Jaaskelainen parried his low drive Watson turned predator to fire home the rebound. Credit for both strikes must also go to McBride, who again delivered where and when it mattered most by winning the header that released Radzinski in the first place after a more obvious role in the opener. Having let leads slip quickly in their last two Premiership away games, at Birmingham and Tottenham, it was vital Moyes' men took their well-earned cushion into the interval and it was thanks to Bolton old boy Alan Stubbs that they did. With Joseph Yobo again left on the bench the pressure was on the central defence to shine and Stubbs came to the rescue in the 42nd minute when Alessandro Pistone's weak back header enabled Djorkaeff to lift the ball goalwards over Richard Wright. Boos rang around the Reebok from the home fans at half-time and it was inevitable Bolton would emerge for the restart fired-up by an Allardyce rollicking. They did, but even then it was Everton who carved out the first real chance of the second half and should have made the game safe. A long clearance out of defence saw Radzinski out-pace Spanish veteran Campo and bear down on the Bolton goal. Just at the last, however, the former Real Madrid man forced him wide and after electing not to shoot at the second attempt a golden chance went begging. Naysmith caught a sweet 25-yard volley that seemed destined for the top corner until the Bolton keeper just intervened, while Yobo - who showed signs of his imperious form when he appeared as a late substitute - and even Li Tie went close.
There seemed little chance of Bolton even visiting the Everton area, let alone troubling Wright in the Blues' goal. But with seconds remaining Kevin Nolan's long throw-in swirled in the wind and caused mayhem in the Blues penalty box, Gudni Bergsson turning in the loose ball past Wright. There was no time for an incredulous fightback, however, and nor did Bolton deserve one. This was a night when both Everton and Watson found new, previously unthought of, targets.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Steve Watson
While it was a comfortable win for the Blues last night, their new goal machine looked the only man on the pitch capable of finding the net and gave a tireless display.
BOLTON (4-3-2-1): Jaaskelainen, Mendy, Bergsson, N'Gotty (Facey 68), Charlton, Gardner, Frandsen, Campo, Djorkaeff, Pedersen (Nolan 45), Ricketts. Subs: Poole, Whitlow, Barness.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Pistone, Stubbs (Yobo 78), Weir, Unsworth, Watson, Li, Gemmill, Naysmith (Pembridge 84), McBride, Radzinski. Subs: Campbell, Gravesen, Gerrard.
REFEREE: R Styles (Hampshire).
BOOKINGS: Bolton's Mendy (unsporting behaviour), Gardner (dissent); Everton's Watson (foul).
Zola the difference
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Jan 29 2003
WHERE Everton perished, Chelsea flourished - which will have been painful for David Moyes.
Unlike West Ham, Kevin Ratcliffe's team did at least get in a few tackles, but Chelsea were so on top of their game that Shrewsbury never came near to overcoming the chasm in class. No wonder Claudio Ranieri looked so content. In the elegant Gianfranco Zola he possessed an orchestrator of the highest class. It was a pleasure to watch him.
Europe in our sights
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 29 2003
ALAN IRVINE admitted Europe is now a realistic target for Everton after Steve Watson's double sank Bolton last night. The Blues midfielder his recent tally to four goals in four starts with the first-half brace that earned David Moyes' side a comfortable win over relegation-threatened Wanderers.
Gudni Bergsson's 91st-minute consolation was the only scare for the Blues, who passed the 40-point barrier in the process. Moyes has always insisted safety is Everton's priority this season. But after recording their first away win since the defeat of Blackburn on November 17 last year, assistant manager Irvine confirmed the target is now qualification for Europe. "I didn't realise it had been that long since we'd won away to be honest," said Irvine. "But this was a very important game for us, as it was for Bolton. It was very important we got a result tonight and we said to the players in the dressing room afterwards, 'We're safe now!' Hopefully we can build on this result. "Safety was our first target and maybe we can think about setting new ones now. Obviously that means picking up as many points as we can until the end of the season. We are in a great position to compete for a place in Europe, so we are definitely going to aim for it. "It's way beyond what we hoped for at the start of the season, but if we continue playing like this then we will have a chance." Watson volleyed home a superb overhead kick for the Blues to break the deadlock on 32 minutes and pounced six minutes later to secure a convincing win. "I'll give him the credit for that first one," said Irvine. "He is well capable of scoring spectacular goals like that and I won't spoil his moment by asking whether he meant it! Watto's a very good finisher and can score all sorts of goals. "He scores headers, tap-ins and the spectacular in training and he has a happy knack of getting into good positions. "We don't see him as a centreforward and he doesn't see himself as a right-back any more, so we gave him the opportunity in midfield and he's done extremely well. He said he sees himself in a more forward role these days and as a result he had to be patient with Lee Carsley doing a fantastic job in midfield. The hectic schedule of games maybe caught up with Lee and that gave Watto his chance. Now he's taking it." Moyes' right-hand man added: "We deserved to win. We looked fairly comfortable for most of the game, although we felt as if we should have killed the game off earlier. "To be fair we haven't had the luxury of a two-goal lead too often this season so that was good. "It would have been even better if we had taken another of our chances or done better with one of the many counterattacks we had, but hopefully that will come in time."
Bolton 1, Everton 2 (Echo)
Jan 29 2003 By David Prentice At Reebok Stadium, Liverpool Echo
HE'S got red hair and they still don't care, but this time it was Everton's other ginger nut who had the travelling Evertonians singing the Blues at Bolton last night. It was only a month ago that Steve Watson suggested - with his tongue only slightly in his cheek - that he could be the man to solve a short-term striker crisis at Goodison Park. David Moyes thought otherwise and brought in Brian McBride on-loan, but the Geordie refused to let that little knockback curb his appetite for goals.
Since his season belatedly kicked off on New Year's Day, he has now plundered four goals in four starts, plus another one scored from the substitutes' bench earlier in the season. In fact if his last three appearances of last season are taken into account, he has now scored six in his last seven starts . . . not bad for a player who failed to muster so much as a shot on target during a six-match spell as an emergency centre-forward under Water Smith. But then Everton under David Moyes are an altogether more enterprising side. They were always in charge against a barren Bolton outfit, created by far the better chances and thoroughly deserved a second successive Premiership victory which sent them streaking past the 40 points mark. Bolton were Everton's closest rivals in the battle to beat the drop last season. This time around the differences in attitude and expression between the two is devastating. A month ago Everton overwhelmed Wanderers at Goodison, but somehow failed to score a goal. Last night they made no mistake. The same XI which beat Sunderland 10 days previously were rewarded with the naming of an unchanged side. But their evening started sloppily. Li Tie was brushed off possession in the opening seconds, Frandsen crossed and ..TEXT: Michael Ricketts bulletted a header a foot wide. Campo sliced a shot wide from Djorkaeff's killer free-kick, but it was little more than a brief, short-lived flurry. Tie recovered from that early lapse to produce a solid and tidy display - and enjoyed the rarity of a full 90-minute appearance. Everton created opportunities, too, and they were cleaner more acceptable chances.
McBride saw a shot from six yards charged down after a minute-and-a-half, then Radzinski cut in superbly from the byline to give the American another opportunity, which he snatched at. Radzinski's pace and intelligent running was a constant problem for Bolton, and he sneaked in at the back post to direct Pistone's long throw into Jaaskelainen's grateful grasp. Everton's best move of the half saw Pistone supply the ball into the Bolton box again, this time with his right foot, but McBride's stooping header flew well wide. McBride connected with his head again in the 32nd minute, but even he must have been astonished by what happened next. The American's flick- on to Unsworth's free-kick saw the ball drop behind Steve Watson on the right hand edge of the Bolton penalty area. The newly-converted midfielder swivelled and hooked an acrobatic volley across goal, over Jaaskelainen and into the net for comfortably the most spectacular strike of his Everton career.
Eight minutes later he struck again, and while his second strike was more conventional, it was just as important. Tomasz Radzinski (right) was the chance creator, with a dogged run to dispossess N'Gotty inside the penalty area. He pushed the ball back into Naysmith's path, his low drive was pushed away by Jaaskelainen and Watson raced in to gleefully rap the ball into the empty net. From that point on the result scarcely looked in doubt - and Everton might have made their evening even easier before Gudni Bergsson's injurytime consolation. For those of you who thought Compo was a decrepid, elderly has-been with funny hair who featured in the Last of the Summer Wine . . . think again. He's currently on-loan at the Reebok from Real Madrid, and funnier. Ivan Campo was destroyed by Radzinski for pace in the 53rd minute and when the advancing keeper pushed the little Canadian wide, he couldn't quite direct the ball into the supporting Nasysmith's path. Nine minutes later Naysmith saw a stinging 20-yarder tipped over the crossbar then Watson saw two chances for a hat-trick vanish with a shot over the crossbar and a header from Gemmill's corner which Jaaskelainen scrambled away. As has been Everton's habit this season, they failed to finish the game in the comfort zone, despite dominating. A minute of the allotted extra three had expired when Gudni Bergsson grabbed a close range consolation from a long throw into the Blues' box. The tannoy announcer gave the credit to a bemused Delroy Facey, but afterwards Sam Allardyce confirmed Bergsson was definitely the goalscorer. It was about the only thing Bolton had been decisive about all night. Everton, on the other hand, can now confidently start planning their hundred and first season of top flight football. In case anyone hadn't noticed, that's the 40-point total passed three months earlier than last season - but now Everton's sights are trained are loftier targets than Premiership survival.
BOLTON WANDERERS (4-3-3): Jaaskelainen, Mendy, Bergsson, Ngotty (Facey 67 mins), Charlton, Gardner, Campo, Frandsen, Pedersen (Nolan 45 mins), Ricketts, Djorkaeff. Unused substitutes: Poole, Whitlow, Barness.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs (Yobo 77 mins), Unsworth, Watson, Tie, Gemmill, Naysmith (Pembridge 83 mikns), McBride, Radzinski. Unused substitutes: Gerrard, Campbell, Gravesen.
REFEREE: Rob Styles.
BOOKINGS: Mendy (16 mins) unsporting behaviour, Watson (68 mins) foul, Gardner (92 mins) dissent.
GOALS: Watson (32 mins) 0-1, Watson (38 mins) 0-2, Bergsson (91 mins) 1-2.
MAN OF THE MATCH Steve Watson: The match-winner, but he was aided by the lively Radzinski.
There is more to come - Watson
Jan 29 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON matchwinner Steve Watson celebrated the most spectacular strike of his Goodison career last night - then confessed it had been the worst performance of his season so far! Geordie midfielder scored both goals in a 2-1 triumph at Bolton, the first an acrobatic volley from 18 yards, to take his tally this year to four in four starts. But afterwards he said: "I'm quite critical of myself and that's probably the worst game I've had this season with the ball at my feet. My decisions and my passing weren't great, but I managed to get on the end of a lot of headers and that came off."
The opening goal was a stunning effort, and Watson added: "It's been a while since I've caught one as sweetly as that. "It was a great header from Brian because he isn't the tallest fella, but it just dropped over my shoulder and I thought 'have a go!' "There was very little else on, and I caught it as sweet as I'd hoped. The second was just following in for a rebound after a good strike from Gary Naysmith. "It was pleasing, but disappointing that we didn't make it more comfortable by killing them off." In the second half Watson had a couple of opportunities to complete a hat-trick which didn't quite come off, but he believes there is even more to come from him. "That was only my fourth start of the season so my fitness levels can get better as well, but as a team the work-rate we have put in all season has been fantastic," he said.
* Meanwhile, Leeds were today attempting to hijack Everton's bid to sign Celtic midfielder Colin Healy. The Blues have been tracking Healy for the last month but Celtic's £375,000 valuation delayed any deal. Now Terry Venables is understood to be ready to snap up Healy for before the transfer window closes. The former England boss is eager to strengthen his squad following the departures of Olivier Dacourt and Robbie Keane and the imminent sale of Robbie Fowler to Manchester City. Everton had hoped to sign Healy in the summer when he will be a free agent. But Leeds could now scupper any hopes of such a deal. Everton's Reserves are in action tonight at the Autoquest Stadium against Bradford City (7pm).
Bolton Wanderers 1 Everton 2
BY RICHARD FROST
January 29, 2003
Manchester Evening Post
BOLTON manager Sam Allardyce took a dim view of a shoddy Reebok show and admitted candidly: "We are in grave danger of relegation." Wanderers remain just outside the bottom three but the downturn from last week's encouraging performance at Newcastle was devastating. Allardyce was no mood to look for excuses - and there weren't any. The game wasn't as close as the score suggests as a sharper and better organised Everton side kept on track for European soccer next season with Steve Watson strikes after 32 and 37 minutes. A last-gasp reply by skipper Gudni Bergsson was no consolation for Allardyce, who said: "We've got 21 points from 25 games and that scenario means grave danger, irrespective of whether you are in or out of the bottom three in the table. Must win game "We are four points adrift of a point a game and that is relegation stuff. Birmingham are the next team above us and we've got them here on Saturday so we've got to work to put them under pressure. "It's absolutely crucial that we win that game which puts more pressure on our players and I just hope it doesn't blind them." He added: "We got exactly what we deserved - absolutely nothing. It was a huge disappointment because there were such encouraging signs at Newcastle.
"We had looked forward to this game on the back of that performance but failed to produce what we can produce. "We must take it on the chin and accept that sometimes the players we've got can't cope and they didn't cope with a strong, skilful Everton side."
The grim truth is that Bolton, who have scored only two goals in their last six Premiership games, had early chances to take the initiative but - again - they went begging. Henrik Pedersen whipped in a cross from the right in the first minute that Michael Ricketts, who attracted limited boos for his transfer request, should at least have got on target instead of heading wide. Then free-kicks by Youri Djorkaeff set up good chances for Ivan Campo and Pedersen after four and 17 minutes but neither connected cleanly with their shots. Watson struck in the 32nd minute after Per Frandsen had been penalised near the left touchline, just inside the Everton half. David Unsworth drove in the free-kick, Brian McBride headed it on and Watson, just inside the penalty box with his back to goal, hooked an overhead kick which lobbed agonisingly over stranded keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The second, seven minutes later, was less memorable. Bruno N'Gotty missed a tackle and the ball ran loose to Gary Naysmith whose shot was parried by Jaaskelainen into Watson's path to stroke home. Kevin Nolan, a half-time substitute for Pedersen, was off target with a headed chance on the hour and then Jaaskelainen produced a stunning save from Naysmith. Bergsson's first Bolton goal of the season came almost as an afterthought. Frandsen had a shot blocked and the Icelander pounced on the loose ball in a packed box to score from 10 yards. Midfield maestro Jay-Jay Okocha was not fit enough to return from his hamstring injury as expected but will make the Birmingham game. How Bolton need him to come back with a bang.
Samuel: I could be a Blues star
By Alistair Grant, Daily Post
Jan 30 2003
COLLIN SAMUEL, the Caribbean sprint king who has taken Scottish football by storm, yesterday delivered his verdict on a move to Everton and declared: "I'd be totally confident of making an impression." The 21-year-old Falkirk striker, who has been clocked at 10.4seconds for the 100m, shot to fame at the weekend when he cracked a superb 28-minute hat-trick in the 4-0 Tennents Scottish Cup giant-killing of Hearts. Trinidad and Tobago international Samuel is spending the week training with Everton and watched his first ever Premiership game on Tuesday - the Toffees' 2-1 victory at Bolton. Samuel's agent Raymond Sparkes said: "It was the first Premiership game Collin's attended and he loved it. "I asked him: 'What do you make of it?'. He said, 'I wish I was on the pitch because I'd be totally confident of making an impression.' "This is a boy who was in Trinidad and when the Falkirk scout went out there to see him play they had to shoo cows off the pitch before the game." David Moyes is running the rule over the player this week as he considers his options.
A bid of between £500,000 and £1million is believed to be enough to secure the signature of Samuel. Falkirk have insisted this week he will go to the highest bidder. Moyes is aware Bairns boss Ian McCall has a firm offer for Samuel on the table from another Scottish club - and delaying beyond Friday's closure of the transfer window could allow one of a clutch of interested Premiership clubs to steal him from under his nose in the summer. "There has been a ground-swell of Premiership clubs enquiring if he can go on trial with them," he said. "But that's not on the agenda for Falkirk. "Collin's had his week's training at Everton lined up for a month because Ian McCall and David Moyes are long-term friends. "It was just a wild coincidence that he scored a hat-trick in 30 minutes at the weekend and then went training with Everton this week. "But anyone else who wants to see him is going to have to go to Falkirk and have a look. "Now Collin's developed his reputation, David Moyes might be forced to act quicker than he might have done."
Everton Res 2 Bradford C Res 1
By Alan Myers, Daily Post
Jan 30 2003
KEVIN McLEOD had an eventful night at the Halton Stadium, putting in an impressive performance before being sent off for a nasty challenge on Bantams' keeper Nicky Beach. McLeod was heavily involved in Everton's opener, crossing for Niclas Alexandersson whose header was saved - but Leon Osman converted the rebound. And the Blues made it 2-0 on 25 minutes when Osman was pushed in the area and captain Lee Carsley converted the spot kick. But just after the half hour McLeod saw red, leaving Everton down to 10 for much of the game. Bradford's Juanjo Carricondo eventually got them back in it with a fine free-kick but the Blues held on.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Said, O'Hanlon, Clarke, Pilkington (Southern 76), Carsley, Alexandersson, Schumacher (Symes 68), Osman, Carney, McLeod. Subs: Turner, Crowder, Beck.
Blues call off Healy hunt
Report By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jan 30 2003
EVERTON have shelved their interest in Celtic's Colin Healy after refusing to be dragged into an auction for the Republic of Ireland international. Earlier this month the Scottish champions rejected a £150,000 offer from Everton for the midfielder, who is now attracting interest from Leeds, Fulham and Newcastle. And despite Leeds coming in with a £350,000 bid this week, the Blues are not prepared to increase their minimal offer for a player who is out of contract in June. The cash-strapped Yorkshire club hope to clinch Healy's signature providing Robbie Fowler completes his on-off-on transfer to Manchester City before the transfer window closes tomorrow night. Healy was interested in a move to Goodison Park but now, with three other Premiership sides all declaring an interest and his transfer fee inflating, the Blues have called off their chase. Everton could try again in the summer if the player fails to secure a move south of the border within the next 48 hours but that appears highly unlikely. The Blues' current longest-serving player, meanwhile, could be on his way out of Goodison Park today. Paul Gerrard has been the subject of a £300,000 bid by first division Ipswich and is in line to team up with former Blues star Joe Royle for a third time. The pair were at Oldham together as Gerrard established himself as the England under-21 keeper before following Royle to Goodison Park in a £1.5m deal in 1995. After falling down the pecking order at Everton this season after the arrival of Richard Wright, the 30-year-old spent an impressive loan spell at Portman Road only to dislocate his knee in training. But Royle has now come back in for Gerrard, who has made 99 appearances for the Blues and still has 16 months left on his Goodison contract.
Window closes on Blues' McFadden bid
Jan 30 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have had a £500,000 bid for Motherwell teenager Jamie McFadden rejected - and David Moyes expects to see the transfer window close tomorrow with no new arrivals at Goodison Park.
The Blues' boss revealed today that he made an offer for McFadden "almost a month ago," but that Motherwell's valuation of the player was way in excess of his bid. Since then he has turned his attentions to prising Colin Healy away from Celtic, but again the Scottish club's valuation of the player was too high. "I have read reports saying I have lost interest in signing Colin," he said today. "That is not true. I am still interested in taking him, of that there is no doubt, but we have made our offer and that is it." With Leeds United and Fulham also trying to sign Healy, Moyes is hoping that Celtic counterpart Martin O'Neill digs his heels in and keeps the midfielder for the duration of his contract. Everton would then be in pole position to sign him on a free transfer in the summer.
"It is unlikely there will be any more new faces arriving before tomorrow," said Moyes. "We have already added Brian McBride and Ibrahim Said so we are not desperate - and there are only 13 games left." Moyes also revealed that there had been no contact from Ipswich Town regarding a possible swoop for Paul Gerrard. "I spoke to Joe Royle about a number of matters earlier in the week, but Paul's name wasn't mentioned," he said. Everton's European ambitions next season, meanwhile, will be focused entirely on Champions League or UEFA Cup qualification. The Blues have decided not to join the chase for Inter-Toto Cup qualification next summer. Everton did enter last season, but were pipped by Fulham, who qualified for the UEFA Cup proper via the back-door route into Europe. Moyes said, however: "The board shares my view that we do not want to apply for Inter-Toto Cup qualification next season." Alessandro Pistone has a minor groin strain and Alan Stubbs a dead leg after Tuesday's win at Bolton, but Moyes expects them both to be fit for Saturday's visit of Leeds United to Goodison.
Blues hope to beat rain
Academy Football By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jan 31 2003
EVERTON under-19s will hope to finally play some football today at Manchester City. Since Christmas Colin Harvey's side have played just one FA Premier Academy League fixture - a 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest. Last Saturday's postponement of the match against City at Platt Lane, due to a waterlogged pitch, means the side have had little competitive action in almost two months.
So while they will hope to put a dent in leaders Manchester City's title charge, just getting the re-arranged game on will be a bonus. Harvey said: "It was disappointing last week. After going down there and getting that close you want a game. "It would have been a free weekend this week, and we have only had one game since before Christmas so if the lads aren't desperate to play now they never will be. "We're training as normal, but the reason you do that is to play games on a Saturday"
The Blues, though, will have a young side out today, with injuries and several of their key players involved with the reserves on Wednesday night. Long-term casualties Craig Garside, Colin Thorbinson and Damon Martland are all still missing and midfielder Alan Moogan and goalkeeper Alex Cole are both out through injury. David Carney, Steven Schumacher and Robert Southern all played on Wednesday so they are unlikely to be risked today. But Michael Symes may as he needs matches after his long-term injury. Midfielder Steven Beck, goalkeeper Iain Turner and full-back Martin Crowder were all unused substitutes for the reserves. With no scheduled Academy League fixtures due to the in-service training weekend, a number of Alan Harper's under-17s' players will get a chance. Scott Brown is away with England under-18s in the UEFA/CAF Meridian Cup tournament in Egypt. The 18-year-old midfielder has played in two of England's first three matches. England opened with a 3-2 win over Burkino Faso last Friday and a 1-1 draw with Mali on Monday.
And Brown had another fine game as Dick Bate's side beat hosts Egypt 1-0 on Wednesday in Ismailya thanks to a goal from Newcastle's Lewis Guy. The Blues youngster will hope to be involved when England take on Nigeria in their final match tomorrow. A win and defeats for Spain and France in their matches against Egypt and Burkino Faso tomorrow will see Bate's side triumph in the Meridian Cup contest.
Moyes in anxious wait over Healy deal
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jan 31 2003
DAVID MOYES faces an anxious wait today to discover if his plans to sign Colin Healy have been scuppered. Celtic rejected an £150,000 bid earlier this month from Everton for the midfielder, who is out of contract at the end of the season. The Blues have since refused to increase their offer, and with Newcastle United, Fulham and Leeds United - who lodged a £350,00 bid earlier this week - all interested in signing the Republic of Ireland international, David Moyes is hoping Celtic counterpart Martin O'Neill insists Healy sees out the remainder of his contract. Everton would then count themselves favourites to sign the 23-year-old in the summer when he becomes a free agent.
"I am still interested in taking Colin, but we have made our offer and that is it," confirmed Moyes.
The Blues boss also revealed he has had a £500,000 bid for Motherwell teenager Jamie McFadden rejected. Moyes tabled the offer earlier in the month but the Scottish Premier League outfit were asking for a much larger fee for the 19-year-old. Any impending move for Falkirk's Collin Samuel - who along with team-mate Lee Miller completed his trial spell at Bellefield yesterday - has been complicated by the surprise departure of Falkirk head coach Ian McCall. McCall yesterday left the Brockville Park outfit to become the new manager at Dundee United, taking his coaching staff with him to Tannadice. Meanwhile, Everton need not rush to offload goalkeeper Paul Gerrard. The 30-year-old has been the subject of a £300,000 bid by Ipswich Town and, although the transfer window closes this evening, Nationwide League clubs are exempt from the rule. And with Premiership clubs still allowed to sell players after the transfer window has shut, there is no pressure on Town boss Joe Royle to make a quick purchase for Gerrard, who had a spell on loan at Portman Road earlier this season. Everton have decided not to put their name forward for next season's Intertoto Cup and are instead concentrating on Champions League or automatic UEFA Cup qualification.
Sliding Doors behind Blues
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jan 31 2003
IT APPEARS that our gambit of not taking the cups seriously and going all out for the league is paying dividends. Alan Irvine said we would begin to notice a difference in our play as the games thinned out and that appeared to be the case on Tuesday when we secured our most straightforward three points of the season. It wasn't too long ago that we were classed in the same bracket as Bolton Wanderers - in fact their fans still seem convinced that 'that goal that crossed the line' was a Sliding Doors-type moment and that if it had stood our respective fates would have been oh so different.
The gulf between the two sides is now immense and the midweek victory was one of the most satisfying of the season. Even against Sunderland - the only side we've seen in the Premiership who are anywhere near as bad as the Trotters - we did our best to throw the game away, but at the Reebok even the most battle-hardened Evertonian felt the points were safe by half-time. Once again we had another revelation from a previously out of favour player to thank for that. Steve Watson is a player that you just have to admire for his attitude and the fact that he has more ability than he's sometimes given credit for - indeed, the Geordies still love him. Since he arrived at Everton it has often been suggested that he would be more suited to the right side of mid-field than at full-back and that certainly looks the case at the moment. Bolton simply couldn't cope with him and the reborn Alessandro Pistone down the right-hand side. Surely the board of a club like Bolton must look at what David Moyes has done with his players and despair as Sam Allardyce asks for funds to bring in another sundry Continental 'star' in a bid to save their season. And speaking of stars, you only had to look at the Everton bench on Tuesday to get an indication of how well the present first team are playing. Joseph Yobo, Kevin Campbell and Thomas Gravesen would walk straight into most Premiership teams, yet they find themselves having to bide their time and kick their heels on the touchline. Allied to that is the fact that when Tony Hibbert and Wayne Rooney return from suspension and injury they will have a job shifting Pistone and Tomasz Radzinski.
We may not have the biggest squad in the Premiership, but when it comes to competition for places we're in a very healthy situation indeed. That's reflected in the league table as we enter February still in the top five.
Moyes eyes on Euro goal
Jan 31 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will chase a new Euro-vision at Goodison on Saturday - after ruling out entry to the InterToto Cup next season. The Blues face Leeds United, ideally placed to challenge for a UEFA Cup spot or even a Champions League place next season. But boss David Moyes insists it is not that prospect which has brought about a change of heart regarding the maligned back-door route into Europe. We have watched how clubs involved in the competition this season, like Fulham and Aston Villa, have fared and that has affected our decision more than anything," he explained.
"Looking at their experiences you understand how intensive the demands are. The English season is a long one. The games are hard and it takes its toll. That's why we have decided against the InterToto this time." Everton face a Leeds side reeling from recent departures and fans unrest at Elland Road, but Moyes believes Everton's own crowd can play an important part in their European ambitions. "Our fans have a big part to play now in the remainder of the season. I have watched matches all over the country and there is no doubt that home support can be massively influential, both in the way they can lift a team's tempo and the way they influence match officials. You certainly need a vocal and vibrant crowd behind you." Ironically tomorrow's referee at Goodison is Mark Halsey, a man accused of being influenced by a Merseyside crowd on Wednesday night when he awarded Liverpool a crucial corner kick at the Kop End. Moyes said: "I actually think Mark Halsey is one of the better referees in the Premiership, although I may be saying differently after the game tomorrow! "After he sent off Joseph Yobo at Newcastle he contacted me to tell me that he wished he hadn't had to do it, but that his hands were tied by the law. We had to agree, but at least he had the decency to contact us and explain his actions." Everton have just won back to back Premiership matches for the first time since November, but Moyes is considering changing the winning team which achieved those results. We may look to alter one or two things," he explained. "We had certain things in mind for the Bolton match which helped us to win the game and we have other things in mind for Leeds. It's horses for courses if you like." Alessandro Pistone and Alan Stubbs are both expected to shake off minor injuries, while Moyes must decide whether to recall Kevin Campbell up front. New Dundee United boss Ian McCall, meanwhile, has asked to take Peter Clarke on-loan. The defender has already enjoyed a successful spell at Blackpool earlier in the season.
Leon eyes top goal
Jan 31 2003 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON isn't the only Everton midfielder who can score goals. While the newly-converted midfield marksman has plundered four in his last four starts, Leon Osman has just scored that total from half as many reserve team outings - and is itching for the opportunity to show he can do it in the Premiership. Osman opened the scoring against Bradford City on Wednesday night, just six days after a spectacular hat-trick against Manchester United. Coming just days after his Premiership debut at Tottenham, it has marked a memorable start to the year for a talented 22-year-old who has been wracked by injuries since he limped out of the first leg of the 1998 FA Youth Cup Final . . . typically, after scoring a goal. "I have always, all the way through my career, tried to score goals," he said. "When I was very young I played up front, but ever since I was about 12 I've been a midfielder who likes to get forward and score goals. "I would love the chance to do it in the Premiership. That's what I'm here to do, to play football and get in the team. "I have been building towards playing in the Premiership all my life and I think I am ready. "I'm in the last year of my contract so this is a very big year for me. I need to show not just the gaffer but everyone else that I can play at that level. "I have belief in myself I can do it, but I just need to show other people."
Osman would almost certainly have received his opportunity before now, but for a series of setbacks which would have flattened a youngster of lesser character. He spent six months on the sidelines after that Youth Cup final setback, had barely recovered when he sustained an ankle injury - and only returned from a cruciate injury this time last year. But after watching contemporaries like Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball and Richard Dunne accelerate past him, he is now keen to make up for lost time. "Franny, Danny Cadamarteri and others all got chances the following season, but I was out for six months with a knee injury and just after I'd got back from that I did my ankle pretty badly," he explained. "That season was a write-off and I was standing still while other people were going past and proving they could do it. It was very frustrating. "Franny, who's the same age as me, got his place at Everton and then a move to Arsenal. "It's happened now and I just have to do my own thing. "I came back in February or March after doing my cruciates, got a good pre-season under my belt and in the first four reserve games scored two goals. "I went to Carlisle and got three up there and then came back and scored four in my last two, so I've been scoring goals all season.
"It's not all about scoring goals though, it's about keeping the team moving, playing well and the goals are a bonus . . . I'll take them, though! "I can do a job defensively, but that's not my main attribute. I can run with the ball and I like trying to get on the end of things. "Playing at Carlisle was a major lift for me. At the start of the season I was playing well for the reserves and scoring a few goals, but I could see that in order to progress I would need to prove I could do it at a higher level.
"I needed to prove that, not just to the manager but to myself, and I asked him if I could go out on loan. Next thing I was at Carlisle and loving it." For a player who weighs less than 10 stone, he had no problem dealing with the notoriously hurly burly Third Division. "If you want it to be a battle it will be," he said "but I put my foot in when I had to and tried to put my foot on the ball whenever possible. It was a good team for that. "We were more of a passing side than a physical side anyway and I thought I fitted in well." Now Osman wants to show he can do that in the Premiership as well, a little longer than the couple of minutes his debut at Spurs lasted for. "When you travel away you are always hopeful of being involved somewhere, and when I knew I wasn't that was a bit of a disappointment," he explained. "When we got to the ground I was trying to help out and encourage, without getting in the way, and I was just warming up with Kevin McLeod. Then Jimmy Comer, the club masseur, told us the manager wanted to see us in the dress-ing rooms because Wrighty had hurt his knee. "We couldn't get in there quick enough and when Alan Irvine told me I would be on the bench I got changed quicker than I've ever got changed in my life. "As the game went on I was thinking about how great it would be to get on, but when the injury time board went up I thought 'Oh well, it's not going to be today.' "Then the manager's told me to get changed, I'm going on, and I was over the moon. "There was only a minute left and while you want as long as you can to make an impact it was still great to get on there and make my debut." David Moyes offered heartening words for Osman after that brief introduction. "We're pleased with the way Leon has been progressing and we hoped that when he came back from Carlisle he would be sharp," he said.
"That has proved to be the case and he has been involved for us in our game down at Spurs.
"He is a hard working player, who lacks a bit of height, though if the opportunity arises I would have no fear about putting him in the first team." Osman hopes that could be tomorrow. "I'll be there on Saturday, keeping my fingers crossed," he said. "I was told to report for the Sunderland and Bolton games, but it wasn't to be. "Maybe this week, or the week after it will be . . ."