Everton Independent Research Data


Rooney makes another debut - as a baby's name
Daily Post
Jul 1 2004
0ShareTHE son of a Manchester United supporter is thought to have become the first baby to be named after young England soccer star Wayne Rooney. Kerry Masters, of Beccles, Suffolk, picked the name "Rooney" 15 weeks ago - before the 18-year-old's starring role in Euro 2004. Now she is hoping that Wayne Rooney will leave Everton to join United for the new season. "I am a Manchester United fan but I do like Wayne Rooney", said Ms Masters. "I named Rooney after Wayne Rooney because we have a lot of men whose names begin with R in our family and I thought this would be a good one. "My Rooney's only 15 weeks old so it's a bit early to say whether he'll be a footballer. But I'm hoping so."

Rooney has to stay - Southall
Jul 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
NEVILLE SOUTHALL has led a group of Everton legends urging Wayne Rooney that now is the wrong time to leave Goodison. The greatest goalkeeper in the club's history spoke out as speculation increases that Manchester United and Chelsea are ready to swoop if Rooney (right) cannot agree a new long-term contract. Southall, Dave Watson, Kevin Sheedy and Gary Lineker all believe Rooney should follow Steven Gerrard's lead by pledging to stay on Merseyside with his boyhood heroes.
Southall said: "I feel sorry for him because this talk has come along at a time when he has still not had a chance to make his mark for Everton over a period of years. "If it was me I would stay at least another year or two to prove something to the fans and give the club a chance of success."

Legends urging young Rooney to stay at Everton
Jul 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
A HOST of Everton legends have united to urge Wayne Rooney to follow Steven Gerrard's lead by pledging to stay on Merseyside. Speculation has been growing since his storming performances for England at Euro 2004 that the 18-year-old's future lies away from Goodison. Manchester United and Chelsea are both believed to be keen on acquiring the hottest young talent in Europe. And the delay in negotiating an extension to the player's current contract, which runs out in two years, has heightened concerns amongst supporters. Liverpool fans endured similar concerns over Gerrard before the Anfield skipper announced on Monday that he will be staying on Merseyside.
It is a lead many former Goodison heroes hope Rooney will follow. Neville Southall, Dave Watson, Kevin Sheedy and Gary Lineker all insist the best thing for Rooney would be to stay at Goodison.
"I feel sorry for him because this talk has come along at a time when he has still not had a chance to make his mark for Everton over a period of years," explains Southall. "If it was me I would stay at least another year or two to prove something to the fans and give the club a chance of achieving success. "But if you are a player like him, with his talent, you want to see investment in the team because without it they will be struggling next season. The club finished fourth from bottom last season and they have lost a few members of the squad since then. "What he needs now is time to sit down to consider his options. If he does that there is every chance he will copy Steven Gerrard, follow his heart and say he will stay for a while. "From a footballing perspective, playing every game for Everton is better than sitting on the bench at Manchester United. "No doubt the clubs that are interested in him will try to unsettle him and the club. I know most people are resigned to the fact he will leave at some stage. "But now doesn't seem the right time. "Whatever happens, the club needs to be honest with the fans. And if that means admitting the financial state of the club means they have to consider selling the player, then so be it." Watson, on the coaching staff at Everton as Rooney was emerging through the youth system, echoes Southall. The former skipper believes that, at 18, the best place for Rooney is Goodison. "People seem to forget Wayne is still just a teenager," says Watson. "He still learning his trade and there is still much more to come from him. "He is a Blue through and through and I am sure he would want to stay. Like any footballer, he wants to win trophies. "But I am sure he would want to do that at Everton. And if you look at the way he has been performing for England in the last few weeks, staying with the Blues isn't holding him back too much!" During the 1980s Sheedy's sweet left foot made him a fans' favourite in the greatest Everton side of all time. "He has done well with England but he has been playing with players who are on the same wavelength," explains Sheedy. "Everton have got themselves in a situation over a period of time where the club hasn't progressed as the supporters would like. "The club has stood still and when a player like Wayne Rooney comes along the club are not in a position to bring in the players to play alongside him, to bring the best out of him and help challenge for the top honours.
"In the short term, the money from a sale could help the club, but in the long term you only win trophies with players like Wayne Rooney. "He is in a similar situation to Steven Gerrard. He made a decision to stay at Liverpool when there was more money on offer elsewhere. "Had they lost him they would have had no obvious replacement and the club would have taken a step backwards."
Lineker was Everton's star striker during the 1985-6 season but Evertonians were denied the chance of seeing Lineker lift trophies with the club because of his transfer to Barcelona. Lineker looks back on that move with regret now and warns that if Rooney were to leave, the 18-year-old could also rue the decision. "In an ideal world I'd have played a few more seasons there and won the league title with them - I never did win a league championship medal in my career," says Lineker.
"Ultimately, it is whether Everton decide to sell Rooney or not. It wouldn't do him any harm to stay and continue to learn his trade there but my gut feeling is he won't be an Everton player at the start of the season."

Going now will not help Wayne
Jul 1 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN GERRARD'S decision to reject the not so merry money-go-round at Chelsea stay looks like the equivalent of a £15m lottery winner saying: 'No thanks - life would be worse for it." Gerrard may be amassing a fortune at Anfield but he's a star professional in a world where money justifiably matters. He is also a rare footballer who understands, after a soul-searching journey, there's more to life than money. Like his long-term career strategy and happiness. With a possibility the Abramovich whirlwind could blow itself out as quickly as it formed, it's also fair to conclude Gerrard has made the right decision in his head as well as his heart. It's a big if, but if Liverpool can embark on the resurgence planned under Benitez, he'll have no regrets. But as Liverpool celebrate his momentous decision, Evertonians remain worried sick. They fear the greatest natural talent to emerge since Dixie Dean, a boy who took Euro 2004 by storm, might never turn out in their beloved blue shirt again. No doubt Rooney's stock as a simplistic financial asset is now at its highest. Indeed, it may never be higher. It's possible his advisors might urge him to cash in now and make a m ove wh ich, despite Everton's plans to make a massive new offer, could be bettered down the M6 or M62. Rooney's situation is not the same as Gerrard's. But there are enough similarities, and even more good reasons, for Evertonians not to lose all hope over their young hero and those guiding him. Like Gerrard, he comes from a down to earth family, not the sort who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. Until recently they were living in a council house in Croxteth, bringing up a teenager who simply dreamed of representing the club they adore. It's impossible to believe that suddenly doesn't matter at all to Wayne Rooney and his family. And let's not forget Rooney's professional development at Everton under David Moyes has been phenomenal. Is anyone giving this great club and its manager the credit and respect they deserve right now? Leaving behind family and friends at the age of 18 to chase top dollar even 30 miles away can't be good for him when he's still got so much time on his side. Bring on Exhibit A, Francis Jeffers..... You can make a straight financial case as to why he might leave. And the bitter pill would be sugared slightly by the fee cash-strapped Everton could demand. But that doesn't make it right. Because moving a wondrous young talent like Rooney out of his home town club at just 18 years of age is dangerous and downright wrong. All true fans, who don't just speak from their hearts on this, know it.

Gerrard wants to join Forest's merry men
Jul 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GERRARD has issued a come and get me plea to Nottingham Forest. The 31-year-old is now a free agent after his Everton contract expired at midnight last night. He is keen to renew acquaintances with City Ground boss Joe Kinnear, who took him on loan at the end of last season.
"It would be nice to go back - but at the moment I am waiting on phone calls," Gerrard said. "I loved my time at Forest last season and the team did very well while I was there. "I think Forest have got a great chance of gaining promotion this season and should be aiming for at least the play-offs."
Gerrard's former Goodison goalkeeping team-mate Steve Simonsen, also a free agent after his contract expired yesterday, is set to move to Leeds on a free transfer, although Stoke have also joined the battle for his services. Charlton are believed to be monitoring Thomas Gravesen's situation, with the Dane yet to agree a new contract with the Blues. But Everton are increasingly confident the 28-year-old will pledge his future to the club.

Cat out of the bag for Roo
Jul 1 2004 Liverpool Echo
ROONEY mania has gripped the nation. And for Liverpool duo Rigsby's Cat, it marks the beginning of a recording career. The pair, Steve Lloydand Alex McGrath , have been performing for years in Liverpool's pubs and clubs as a well-known covers band. On the night of the England v Croatia match, inspiration struck. Alex says: "The whole place was bouncing because of the match, and I was singing A Whole Lotta Rosie by AC/DC. For a laugh I changed the lyrics to A Whole Lotta Rooney, and the place went mad. "So I went and reworked the lyrics, and then we recorded it. "I've been in bands for 16 years but I've never done a record before!" The song was played by Magic 1548 DJ Mark Jones, and also by Radio City. Alex says: "It's just a laugh, but to be honest it turned out really well, it sounds great. "I'm not sure Wayne himself is the right age to remember this track, but maybe a record mogul out there will spot its potential and contact us!"
The lyrics in full:
I wanna tell you a story
About a young kid I know
When it comes to football
Woo he steals the show
Ain't exactly pretty
Ain't exactly small
On the ground, in the air, off the spot
You can watch him beat them all!
Never seen a player, never seen a player like you
Doin' all the things and scoring all the goals that you do
Though he's only 18 , you've just gotta look
The way he's playing now will rewrite the record book
He's a whole lotta player
He's a whole lotta player
He's a whole lotta Rooney a whole lotta Rooney a whole lotta Rooney
He's gonna score a whole lotta goals.
Rooney you can do it
Do it to them all day long
Running at defenders
You're the one that takes them on and on and on and on!
The World's greatest players are saying you're the best
No-one can stop that kid with the three lions on his chest

Agent warns Everton over Gravesen
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 2 2004
THOMAS GRAVESEN has moved nearer an Everton exit after his agent admitted only a "big offer" could tempt the midfielder into staying. The Danish international has been linked with a move away from Goodison since his agent, former Manchester United defender John Sivebaek, revealed last month the player was keen to "try something new". Gravesen saw his stock rise with some impressive performances in helping Denmark reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2004 before being eliminated by the Czech Republic. And, despite reiterating his desire for fresh talks with Goodison officials, Sivebaek has said it may be time for his client to move on. Gravesen has only a year remaining on his current Everton deal, and while David Moyes has intimated he would be prepared to keep the 28-year-old at the club until his contract expires next summer, a substantial bid may persuade the Everton manager to change his mind. Said Sivebaek: "Thomas has one more year to run on his current deal and we are planning to have talks. "But it is fair to say that it would take a big offer for Gravesen to sign a new deal. "He has been with Everton for four years and has done really well and has enjoyed himself. But it may be time for him to try something new." Atletico Madrid have been linked with a move for Gravesen, although Sivebaek has since denied any talks having already taken place. And Gravesen may not be the only Scandinavian departing Goodison before the start of next season. FC Copenhagen manager Hans Backe is interested in signing fellow Swede Tobias Linderoth. The Danish side are willing to pay £1million for the 25-year-old's services, a fee Moyes would be likely to accept. Meanwhile, Paul Gerrard has joined Coca-Cola Championship side Nottingham Forest on a free transfer after spending a spell on loan at the City Ground last season. Scott Brown, also released by Everton this summer, has been given a trial by League One side Port Vale.
* EVERTON'S new home kit will be launched on August 6. Pre-orders will be taken through the Everton Online Megastore from July 9.

Make Owen a Blue
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 2 2004
Make Owen Blue
EVERTON need to make a quality signing and soon. Owen Hargreaves fits the bill, and it would be a chance for him to link with Wayne Rooney and boost our midfield. This would show the fans and the players alike that Everton really do have ambition. Another player to keep in mind is central defender Danny Gabbidon. The young Welsh international would be ideal cover for the veterans Alan Stubbs and David Weir.
Peter Edwards (via e-mail)
New signings?
A MESSAGE to Messrs Kenwright, Birch and Moyes - where are the new signings? How long have Everton fans got to put up with reading about other teams signing new players? Sort it out now or go.
Paul McDermott, Bootle
Bad move
IF you leave us Wayne, you will not be known as an Everton great - you will be known as a Chelsea great. Can you handle that?
S Wilkinson (via e-mail)
I'VE just woken up from a nightmare. I dreamt Rooney was sold and Unsworth was back at Goodison. I'll have to cut out the caffeine before I go to bed. I was one of the ones who thought Unsworth should have a contract because we were short of defenders, but I don't want him back now after Bolton turned him down.
Sean Childer, Birkenhead
Going down
IT IS time for Kenwright to help Moyes out and bring some new players in before the start of another hectic season. Going by the fixtures we've got, we will be down by Christmas.
Alan Whitty, Norris Green

Ticket slump is no worry
Jul 2 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have allayed fears of a mass exodus of fans from Goodison by revealing season ticket sales are on course to reach the 22,000 mark. That figure will still be 6,000 down on last year's record-breaking total of 28,000. But after finishing fourth from bottom last season, increasing season ticket prices by around 30 per cent and having only signed one new player, it is a total which the club is satisfied with. Chief executive Trevor Birch (pictured) confirmed: "We have currently sold around 19,000 (season tickets) and we are hopeful that we will reach a final figure of 22,000." The club's average season ticket sales in the Premiership is just over 20,000. Since the modest total of 7,000 in 1993/94, season ticket sales have risen steadily before last season's dramatic increase. Ian Ross, the club's head of public relations, adds: "Last year's figure was self-evidently a club record. It was exceptionally high and came off the back of a very successful season.
"But if you look at the figures for the last 10 years as a whole, it is clear last summer was unprecedented. "If you take the general average over the last decade, 22,000 would be a very satisfying total when you bear in mind our final league position last season and the fact we reluctantly had to increase season ticket prices. "It is testament to the level of dedication of our supporters. The doom-mongers said at the end of the season that our supporters would desert the club in their thousands and that we would see the season ticket sales drop to about 10 or 12,000 but we have some of the best fans in the country and the current sales reflect that." The final total could rise substantially if the Blues can secure Wayne Rooney to a new contract, along with Thomas Gravesen and Tomasz Radzinski. The reluctance of all three players to enter into contract talks has concerned supporters. Rooney is the biggest worry with widespread speculation linking the player with a big money move out of Goodison. Manchester United are keen on securing the signature of the hottest property in English football. But the Old Trafford plc will not sanction a bid in excess of £25m and the Blues have made it clear they will not even contemplate letting Rooney go for anything less than £40m. It is a price they hope will scare off the suitors. But until Rooney agrees a new contract with the club, the speculation will continue. The club is ready to offer Rooney a new five-year deal which would be the most lucrative in Everton history, doubling his £13,000-a-week wages overnight and including regular pay rises. Birch added: "We will be sitting down with Wayne and his advisors as soon as possible." Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek has once again set himself on a collision course with David Moyes after reiterating his belief that the Danish midfielder would benefit from a move away from Goodison. He said: "Thomas has one more year to run on his current deal and we are planning to have talks. "But it is fair to say it would take a big offer for Gravesen to sign a new deal. It may be time for him to try something new." Danish side FC Copenhagen are reportedly lining up a £1m bid for Tobias Linderoth.

Mersey clubs' TV switches
Jul 2 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NEITHER Everton nor Liverpool will kick off the new season at 3pm on Saturday, August 14.
Both the Blues and the Reds have had their opening clashes of the 2004/05 season switched by Sky TV. Everton will entertain champions Arsenal on Sunday, August 15 (kick-off 2pm), while Liverpool could kick the first ball of the campaign after their opening day trip to Tottenham was selected for pay-per-view at 12.45pm on August 14. The showdown between the Premiership's newest two managers will raise the curtain on Sky's coverage for the new campaign. Everton feature three times before Christmas on Sky TV, while Liverpool will figure seven times. A further three Blues fixtures have been chosen for pay-per-view screening, with four Reds clashes chosen. The Goodison derby will be a pay-per-view offering, meaning a 12.45pm kick-off on Saturday, December 11.
The Reds' trips to Manchester United and Chelsea, plus their home clash with Arsenal, have all been switched.
Sunday 15th, Everton v Arsenal (2pm)
Sunday 29th Bolton v Liverpool (4.05 pm)
Monday 20th, Manchester United v Liverpool (8pm)
Sunday 26th, Portsmouth v Everton (4.05 pm)
Sunday 3rd, Chelsea v Liverpool (4.05pm)
Saturday 23rd, Liverpool v Charlton (5.15pm)
Sunday 28th, Newcastle v Everton (2pm), Liverpool v Arsenal (4.05pm)
Sunday 26th, West Brom v Liverpool (6pm)
Tuesday 28th, Liverpool v Southampton (4.30pm)
Saturday August 14 - Tottenham v Liverpool (12.45pm)
Saturday October 23 - Norwich v Everton (12.45pm)
Saturday October 30 - Blackburn v Liverpool (5.15pm)
Saturday November 13 - Birmingham v Everton (5.15pm)
Saturday December 11 - Everton v Liverpool (12.45pm)
Saturday December 18 - Liverpool v Newcastle (12.45pm)

Beware of those grim precedents
Jul 2 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOR nearly 20 years now, Gary Lineker has been as warmly received at Goodison Park as Roman Abramovich with a bulging back-pocket. But smugly satisfied of Swiss Cottage went a little way to redressing the balance this week - and at the same time warned of the worrying precedents for Wayne Rooney in Everton's dim and distant past. For those younger readers who cannot remember a time when Everton were the dominant force in the land (a distressingly high number of you) - a quick history lesson. Champions Everton signed Lineker for a club record £800,000 in 1985.
Fans warmed to him slowly - because he stepped into the adored Andy Gray's shooting boots.
But 40 goals in a season warmed even the coldest heart - and then in Mexico, an Everton player became tournament top scorer at a World Cup finals. Then he left - without so much as a backwards glance. When asked recently why he never spoke about Everton, he replied: "No-one ever asks me about them." Accepted argument was that Lineker's pace had turned Everton into a one-dimensional team and it suited the squad to sell him - although a Barcelona bid of £2.8m was probably just as influential. But it has always been believed that Lineker was only too-happy to go. Until this week. "Everton came to me and told me they had accepted an offer from Barcelona," he said. "If it had been a poxy club I not have accepted it. But if the club comes to you and say they've accepted an offer, you have to go. "In an ideal world I'd have played a few more seasons there and won the league title with them - I never did win a League championship medal in my career."
So whilst not exactly forced out, Everton didn't move heaven and earth to keep the most talented striker of his generation. Three months later Wayne Rooney was born. And 18 summers on, Everton find themselves in a similar situation. Lineker has urged Wayne Rooney not to make the same mistake he made. And endearing though his comments are, the goalposts have moved considerably since then. The chances of Wayne Rooney winning a League championship with Everton before he comes of age are bleak. And Everton are adamant that this time they do not want to lose the most talented striker of his generation. But the precedents are grim. Ever since Lineker left, Everton have been a selling club. Trevor Steven, Martin Keown, Andrei Kanchelskis, Duncan Ferguson, Nick Barmby, Francis Jeffers, Michael Ball - all left at the peak of their powers - even when the club wanted otherwise - while maturing internationals like Olivier Dacourt and Marco Materazzi also proved too expensive to keep. It would be heart-stirringly rewarding to see Everton break the mould with Rooney. But, I fear, unlikely. There is little doubt in my mind that Rooney would certainly not suffer from another couple of seasons at Goodison - it's hardly damaged his development so far, has it? But other forces appear to be at work. Just one statement from Rooney's Pro-Active handlers would sweep away speculation in one fell swoop. We've asked. But they won't make one. Which allows the media frenzy to gather pace. All Evertonians can do is wait, fingers and toes firmly crossed - kneeling on their prayer mats. And if Rooney does follow Lineker out of Goodison, hope that the money isn't spent on millennium equivalents of Neil Adams and Kevin Langley . .

Rooney can lead Red revolution
Stuart Mathieson
July 02, 2004
Manchester Evening News
WAYNE Rooney can become head boy in Sir Alex Ferguson's latest, imported version of Manchester United's top class. The Reds' boss is bolstering Old Trafford's youth system and senior squad with teenage and early 20s captures, in readiness for the eventual full break up of the local spine of his squad. And Rooney, the hit of England's Euro 2004 campaign, is set to be the jewel in the crown.
Ferguson will be officially back at his Carrington desk on Monday when he returns from Portugal, ready to forge ahead with restructuring. In the early 90s, Fergie's blueprint for the Reds was underpinned by home-grown products Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville, with Londoner David Beckham joining them. Beckham's departure last summer began the erosion of the so-called Class of `92 and Nicky Butt is expected to move to Newcastle next week. By the middle of next season, Giggs, Scholes and Neville will all be in their 30s. Importing young prospects from abroad is an easier and cheaper route than securing English talent, so the Reds have been busy scouting on the continent. Fergie has already landed 17-year-old defender Gerard Pique from Barcelona, and he will now turn his attention to snapping up a 17-year-old Italian forward from a Serie A club. The club are also believed to be tracking 22-year-old left winger Morten Gamst Pedersen of Tromso and 17-year-old American midfielder Eddie Gaven from Tim Howard's old club, New York/New Jersey MetroStars.
Fergie's two pre-Euro 2004 targets were landed last month in the form of '6.9m, 26-year-old Gabriel Heinze from Paris St Germain, who'll strengthen the mid-age range of his senior squad, and 23-year-old, '7m striker Alan Smith from Leeds, who joins last summer's outfield buys Kleberson and Eric Djemba Djemba and newly established regulars John O'Shea (23) and Darren Fletcher (20). The biggest success story from 12 months ago has been 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo. Purchased for '12m from Sporting Lisbon, he is now regarded as a bargain considering the price that would be on his head following his huge impact on Euro 2004. But while United got in early on Ronaldo before his fee escalated, they haven't been so lucky with England's sensation Rooney. His four-goals in Portugal saw his price rocket to the '50m put on the 18-year-old's head by Everton chairman Bill Kenwright. However, the Liverpudlian is stalling on talking contract business with Everton and United remain favourites to land him if they can find a suitable payment package. Adding Rooney to the Ronaldo-led young revolution developing at Old Trafford would be a massive answer from the Reds to the gauntlet thrown down by champions Arsenal, who believe power in the Premiership has shifted to Highbury. Ferguson will be hoping his project for the future will mirror the Class of 92's impact over a decade ago that installed United as England's super power and demoted both Liverpool and Arsenal.

Gravesen sights Moyes meeting
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 3 2004
THOMAS GRAVESEN will meet with Everton manager David Moyes later this month to decide his Goodison future. The Danish international will report back for pre-season training after the majority of his team-mates as a consequence of his starring role in Denmark's run to the quarter-finals of Euro 2004. And the 27-year-old will immediately sit down with Moyes and Goodison officials for talks during which he is almost certain to tell the club of his desire to leave. Gravesen has just one year remaining on his current Everton deal and his agent John Sivebaek has yet again hinted that despite the player saying he wants to stay, he is likely to do the exact opposite. "Thomas wants to stay," said Sivebaek. "We haven't spoken to Everton yet and we haven't spoken to any other club but we know there is a lot of interest in him and it may be time to try something else. "The agreement with Everton was there would be a meeting with Thomas when he comes back for preseason training. "That is what we expect to happen and everything should be resolved then."
Charlton Athletic are one of a number of clubs reportedly interested in the combative midfielder.
Meanwhile, Everton officials are confident season ticket sales will reach 22,000 before the start of the season. Current sales stand just below 20,000, and while they are not expected to come close to last year's record sales of 28,000, Everton are still pleased with the outcome. Ian Ross, Head of PR said: "Last season's sales were astonish-ingly high. If that figure is taken out of the equation then a total of around 22,000 would be very pleasing indeed." Everton's opening home clash with Arsenal has been put back a day and will now take place on Sunday, August 15 with a 2pm kick-off, one of six televised appearances for the Goodison club between now and the New Year. The Goodison meet-ing with Crystal Palace has also been moved to Sunday, April 10 so not to clash with the previous day's Grand National at Aintree. Everton's full televised Premiership games list for the remainder of the year is: Sun Aug 15 Arsenal (H) (2pm), Sun Sep 26 Portsmouth (A) (4.05pm), Sat Oct 23 Norwich City (A) (12.45pm) (PPV), Sat Nov 13 Birmingham City (A) (5.15pm) (PPV), Sun Nov 28Newcastle United (A) (2pm), Sat Dec 11 Liverpool (H) (12.45pm) (PPV).

Blues open up Rooney deal talks
Jul 3 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are finally set to begin talks over Wayne Rooney's new contract next week. The Blues have been eager to begin negotiations over an extension to the 18-year-old's current deal since the end of last season. Rooney still has two years remaining on his Goodison contract but the Blues are ready to offer the striker a five-year deal which is the most lucrative in the club's history in order to end increasing speculation about the England international. Chief executive Trevor Birch made it clear earlier this month that he was even willing to travel to England's training camp at Euro 2004 in order to begin negotiations with Rooney and his agent Paul Stretford. But the player's representatives are only now ready to sit down with the Blues. Manchester United have been continually linked with the striker and are reportedly preparing a bid. But Everton have still not received any enquiries about the player's availability and manager David Moyes, chairman Bill Kenwright and Birch have all made it clear they are intent on keeping the player at Goodison.
They are keen to secure a new contract, but they will resist the option of selling the player even if negotiations reach a stalemate. United are believed to be unable to stretch beyond a bid of £25m for the striker and that is almost half the figure Everton would be looking for if they felt they had to sell. Rooney is believed to be keen to stay on Mersey-side after only recently moving into his new Formby home with fiancee Colleen McLoughlin. Rooney currently earns £13,000 a week, but the new contract would immediately double that figure, with the deal stepped over its five year duration to make him the best paid player in the club's history, overshad-owing the current £35,000 a week salary for Duncan Ferguson. A skeleton squad will report back to Bellefield on Monday for the first day of pre-season. Moyes has granted Tobias Linderoth, Thomas Gravesen and Rooney extended breaks after their exertions at Euro 2004, while Tomasz Radzinski and Joseph Yobo will also be missing after playing for Canada and Nigeria respectively since the end of last season. And with familiar faces such as Scot Gemmill, David Unsworth, Alex Nyarko, Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen, Peter Clarke and Francis Jeffers having left over the summer, only a handful of players will be reporting back for training. Li Tie and Gary Naysmith will be continuing their rehabilitation from injury, with Tie still recovering from a broken shin and Naysmith having undergone a hernia operation.

Rooney is poised to remain at Goodison
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jul 5 2004
WAYNE ROONEY looks set to remain an Everton player next season after Manchester United admitted they could not afford to buy him at present. The 18-year-old, currently sidelined with a broken bone in his right foot, has become the most coveted player in European football after his outstanding displays for England during Euro 2004. Manchester United and Chelsea have been consistently linked with £30million moves for Rooney since the end of last season, with the former believed favourites should the player decide to depart Goodison Park. But any move has now been placed on the backburner after United chief executive David Gill insisted the focus at Old Trafford was now on cutting down on squad numbers, rather than bringing in new players. "At the end of last season we identified the need to sign a striker - that was Alan Smith from Leeds," explained Gill.
"We also identified a left-back - that was Gabriel Heinze. We've completed the task with those two signings. "One of the reasons we run a successful operation is because we operate within strict financial parameters. We cannot afford to spend £45million or £50m on one player. "Our priority now is to concentrate on exits - then that's it." However, with Nicky Butt and Diego Forlan expected to lead the exodus, it is believed there remains an outside chance of United formulating a bid for Rooney before the start of the new campaign. United have already spent £26m on new recruits this summer, but were reported in one newspaper to be willing to sacrifice new signing Alan Smith in a swop deal for Rooney. The comments from Old Trafford will encourage Goodison officials, who will sit down with Rooney's representatives this week and offer the teenager a five-year contract which would make him the highest-paid player in the club's history. Everton report back for training today but there will be only a skeleton squad available to manager David Moyes. Rooney, Thomas Gravesen and Tobias Linderoth have been given extended leave following their Euro 2004 exertions while Tomasz Radzinski and Joseph Yobo are on international duty. Yobo scored the only goal as Nigeria beat Algeria in a World Cup qualifier at the weekend. Steve Simonsen, who was released by Everton at the end of last season, has been in talks with Leeds United. Leeds United manager Kevin Blackwell said: "Steve Simonsen is one of three or four goalkeepers that I am actually speaking to at the present time."

'Fantastic' Rooney earns tournament place
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Jul 5 2004
WAYNE ROONEY has been hailed as "fantastic" by Jurgen Klinsmann after being named in the Euro 2004 team of the tournament. Everton striker Rooney was paired up front along-side Liverpool's Milan Baros after an outstanding series of displays for England. The 18-year-old netted four goals before seeing his campaign ended prematurely by a broken bone in his foot during the quarter-final defeat to Portugal, which England lost on penalties. German legend Klinsmann, who was asked to help name the team of the tournament, likened Rooney's impact to that of England team-mate Michael Owen in the France 98 World Cup. "Wayne Rooney was just fantastic," said Klinsmann.
"He reminded me of a kid playing in the street - he didn't care who he was playing against. He was carefree and fearless. "He also reminded me of the way Michael Owen came on to the scene and I hope that like Michael he can keep to that level. "It will be tough for him more psychologically than physically, especially in a big media country like England. "It will be interesting to watch how he develops for the 2006 World Cup." Klinsmann added: "The thing about someone like Rooney is he is not involved in any political issues within the squad - like David Beckham for example. "He can just go out and play in a wonderful way." Baros earned his place in the team of the tournament after his five goals helped the Czech Republic reach the semi-finals and made him the competition's top scorer. Rooney was joined by fellow England player Ashley Cole in the final line-up, the Arsenal left-back rewarded for a string of impressive displays culminating with an outstanding performance against Portugal. Alongside Cole in defence were centre-backs Jaap Stam (Holland) and Ricardo Carvalho (Portugal) and right-back Giourkas Seitaridis of Greece. The midfield saw Portuguese duo Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo on the flanks with Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic) and Theo Zagorakis (Greece) in the centre.

Fans unite in anger at Rooney's Sun deal
By Kirsti Adair, Daily Post
Jul 5 2004
WAYNE Rooney's decision to sell his life story to The Sun newspaper has angered Liverpool and Everton fans across Merseyside. In what is thought to have been the biggest newspaper deal for a Premiership player, the England and Everton striker is rumoured to be receiving £250,000 for his story. The Sun's coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster outraged thousands of people on Merseyside. Last night, John Glover, who lost his 20-year-old son Ian in the disaster, said: "Hillsborough may well have been 15 years ago but I think the majority of people on Merseyside will feel the same way. "Completely let down by Rooney's decision to take 30 pieces of silver from the paper which treated Merseysiders so harshly during a very traumatic time. As a Liverpool supporter, I fully appreciate what a fine football player Rooney is. "But I find his decision staggering." The paper falsely accused Liverpool fans of urinating on dead bodies and stealing from them. After the tabloid printed the story "The Truth", Merseysiders boycotted the paper. Sales plummeted on Merseyside and have never fully recovered. Yesterday, football fans from both clubs said they felt badly let down by 18-year-old Rooney. Fans' websites had been inundated with messages from supporters condemning the deal. Over the next week, Rooney will give the paper a series of exclusive interviews. The Sun's sister paper, The News Of The World, yesterday published a story about his love for girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin, life in Liverpool, England team mates and the Euro 2004 tournament. But some Everton fans believe Rooney has been badly advised. Ian McDonald, of Everton Independent Support Group, said fans of the club were also upset about Rooney working with The Sun. "I believe Wayne has been badly advised by his agents who know a lot better than to get him into this situation. "Although he was only three years old when Hillsborough happened, that is still no excuse for him dealing with that paper. "If they want to drive a wedge between Wayne and his home city, they've succeeded." Rooney yesterday told the newspaper how he proposed to Coleen in a garage forecourt. He said he had stopped at the BP garage. When she got back in the car he got out the ring and asked her to marry him. He said: "She said yes and we kissed and had a bit of a hug. Asking Coleen to marry me was worse than walking out for England." Michael and Bomber star in clothes posters LIVERPOOL striker Michael Owen's dog is to star in a £50,000 modelling job. Bomber the Staffordshire bull terrier will appear with his master in posters advertising men's clothing firm Burton. The footballer and his dog will promote a limited edition collection called Ten by Michael Owen, named after the striker's Liverpool shirt number.
Owen helped create the range with fashion designer Colin Wolfenden.

Rooney stays a Blue
Jul 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY will remain an Everton player next season - even if the club receives bids for the striker. The ECHO understands manager David Moyes and the board are determined to reject any attempts to prise the 18-year-old (right) - who has been widely linked in recent months with both Manchester United and Chelsea - away from Goodison. The striker has two years remaining on his current contract and talks are expected to begin later this week on a new five-year-deal which will be the most lucrative in the club's history. There has been widespread speculation recently that Rooney will leave. He has never said he wants to quit the club and is believed to be keen to stay on Merseyside. The Blues were further buoyed this weekend by comments from Manchester United chief executive David Gill, who suggested the Old Trafford summer spending is now at an end. "At the end of last season we identified the need to sign a striker - that was Alan Smith from Leeds," said Gill. "We also identified a left-back - that was Gabriel Heinze. We have completed the task with those two signings. "One of the reasons we run a successful operation is because we operate within strict financial parameters. We cannot afford to spend £45m or £50m on one player. "Our priority now is to concentrate on exits, then that is it." And with Chelsea closing in on the Serbian striker Matieja Kezman, it is looking increasingly likely that the Blues will not receive any bids for Rooney. The teenager was back at Bellefield today to receive treatment on the broken foot he sustained in England's Euro 2004 defeat to Portugal. He was joined at the Everton training ground by the majority of David Moyes' first team squad as pre-season got underway. Among those players present was the club's only summer acquistion so far, striker Marcus Bent. Manager Moyes is hopeful he is not the last new face to arrive at Goodison before the start of the season. He said today: "We are in need of strengthening and I am hoping we can get some more players in before the start of the season.
"But if we don't I will do everything I can to field a team capable of competing every week. We must not forget how big this club is. "Everybody is responsible for maintaining that stature from the top to the bottom. "My job will be tough but it's a challenge I'm relishing." Meanwhile, Everton are believed to be monitoring the availability of Mill-wall's Tim Cahill. The midfielder has only one year remaining on his contract at the New Den and could come within Everton's strict transfer budget.

A website for true blue eyes
Jul 5 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON supporters can now bid for a piece of club history on an internet auction site. Items including an autographed Wayne Rooney shirt and a video of some of Everton's greatest victories are attracting huge interest on the e-Bay style website. It is the first time an English club has sold off memorabilia in such a way. And with a percentage of the money from every sale going to charity, club officials are confident it will be a major success. A club spokesman said: "We have got a lot of stuff which fans would obviously be interested in and we were thinking up the best ways of making it available to them. "The best idea we came up with was an auction site in the style of e-Bay because that has proved itself extremely popular with football fans." Money from each sale will be split between the club, the Everton FC former players association and the Everton FC in the community charity. And a donation will also be made to a third charity, to be selected on a monthly basis. The most popular item on the site at the moment is a signed shirt by flavour of the month Wayne Rooney. That has already attracted bids of more than £300. And the nets used in the Park End goal last season are also available. They were today going under the internet hammer for just £60. The spokesman added: "This is the kind of stuff that you normally can't buy. "It is our way of giving our fans an opportunity to get their hands on it." * The Everton FC e-auction site can be found at www.evertonfc.com/

UEFA launch bid to restrict foreign imports
Jul 5 2004
By Martyn Ziegler, Daily Post
UEFA have launched far-reaching and controversial proposals designed to limit the number of foreign players in club football. Under the plans, first-team squad sizes would be limited to 25 players of which up to four would have to be products of a club's youth system and a further four trained in the same country. Of the 32 sides in last season's Champions League, five clubs would have not had enough home-grown players: Arsenal, Chelsea, Celtic, Rangers and Ajax. The proposals are sure to be opposed by many of the top clubs who prefer big squads - for example, Chelsea had more than 40 players in their first-team squad last season. There is, however, growing concern that the large number of foreigners in some leagues - there are moves currently afoot in Italy to challenge EU law and insist on a minimum of six Italian players in every team - is affecting those countries' competitiveness in international football. The plans do allow for the minimum eight youth players to be of any nationality - something they have had to agree on in order to comply with EU laws and avoid a Bosman-style court case - but there could still be quotas on players from non-EU countries. UEFA are aiming to bring in the new rules by the start of the 2006/7 season though there would be a transitional period to allow clubs to adapt their squads to comply with the regulations.
UEFA vice-president Per Ravn Omdal launched the proposals at a conference of national association leaders in Lisbon. Scotland's FIFA vice-president David Will welcomed the proposals, which will be presented to UEFA's Congress in Estonia next year for a final decision. He said: "In Euro 2004 all the countries who have their major club teams importing players have not done so well and all those exporting players have done well." The Football Association's David Davies said a rigorous debate was needed on the subject. He said: "What has been proposed is deliberately to provoke debate and it will certainly do that."

Real candidate for Rooney
July 05, 2004
Manchester Evening News
AFTER Manchester United admitted they could not afford Wayne Rooney, Real Madrid may be set to step into the breach. A presidential contender for the Spanish club has countered Old Trafford's admission that the Reds can't afford Everton's '50m valuation by declaring that Real's kitty could stand a world-record splash. Arturo Baldasano is an outsider in the elections for the top post at the Bernabeu as he challenges current president Florentino Perez, but he claims Real's new coach Jose Antonio Camacho can have Rooney if he wants him. "If Camacho wants to have Rooney I don't expect any kind of problems to try to negotiate to recruit him," said Baldasano, who also says David Beckham can leave Madrid if the coach wants him to go. "According to the accounts that Mr Perez presented last year we have, in cash, more than 140million euros ('94m). "I don't think it is going to be a problem, the money. We can find the money in order to recruit Rooney." Madrid's money-no-object position is in direct contrast to United's stand. Reds chief executive David Gill said: "One of the reasons we run a successful operation is because we operate within strict financial parameters. We cannot afford '45m or '50m on one player." United, however, will be buoyed by the fact that they appear to have driven off one money-laden rival in Chelsea. And despite Baldasano's boasts, the Reds remain in the driving seat of the future because Rooney is reluctant to uproot from the North West. This week, the striker will have the plaster off the foot he broke in the Euro 2004 quarter- final defeat by Portugal, and will have X-rays to determine the healing process. Everton are ready to offer him the most lucrative contract ever in the Merseyside club's history. They are understood to be prepared to double his current '13,000 weekly wage overnight in a new five-year deal, with a gradual increase to '40,000 over the period of the deal. However, there has been no contact yet between the club and Rooney's agent Paul Stretford and no new deal has been put on the table. Stretford, who did business with the Reds as Andy Cole's agent, met United boss Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of last week at a charity golf tournament but it is understood the talk was a brief one in the clubhouse.

Reds 'can't afford' Rooney - Gill
July 05, 2004
The door has been firmly slammed shut on Wayne Rooney's `dream' move to Manchester United for 12 months at least - and not even the likely departures of Nicky Butt and Diego Forlan will resurrect it. Rather than warn Sir Alex Ferguson that sales will be required to fund a pre-season move for England's Euro 2004 striking sensation, Old Trafford chief executive David Gill views his recent comments on the teenager as putting an end to a process United had not started. While Ferguson is understandably a huge admirer of the 18-year-old Evertonian, at no stage has he, or anyone else from the United camp, claimed a formal bid was about to be lodged. And, having splashed out '26million on new players - including striking duo Louis Saha and Alan Smith - in the last six months alone, Gill clearly believes United have met Ferguson's transfer demands and spent enough. "At the end of last season we identified the need to sign a striker - that was Alan Smith from Leeds," Gill told the Daily Star on Sunday.
"We also identified a left-back - that was Gabriel Heinze. We've completed the task with those two signings. "One of the reasons we run a successful operation is because we operate within strict financial parameters. We cannot afford to spend '45million or '50million on one player. "Our priority now is to concentrate on exits - then that's it." It had been widely thought that Ferguson would be given the green light to pursue Rooney should he be able to raise significant sums from player sales. This option has now been ruled out and in any case, the Old Trafford hierarchy are aware that the fees they could receive for Butt and Forlan will not come anywhere near the '30million they believe Rooney may eventually be allowed to leave Goodison Park for. United know Butt will command a decent sum from Newcastle or any of the other suitors who have enquired about the England midfielder, but probably nowhere near the '6million that has been suggested in some quarters, while it may require a `Fabien Barthez-style' pay-off to get rid of Forlan. After two-and-a-half years of persevering with the Uruguayan, it appears Ferguson has now accepted that his '7million signing from Independiente is not going to reach the levels required of a Red Devil and buyers are now actively being sought.
The problem for United is that Forlan's relatively large salary is likely to put off potential suitors if they also have to pay a transfer fee, so, even if the 17-goal forward excels for his country in this month's Copa America, the club will have to be flexible in handling his potential departure.
With two years of his present deal still to run, Forlan could earn the best part of '3.5million by remaining at Old Trafford, a situation which could force the club into the kind of pay-off that saw Barthez net a staggering '2.4million before the eccentric French keeper would agree a free transfer to Marseille. That financial juggling act will mean nothing to Rooney, or Everton for that matter, who now find themselves in an unenviable situation. Should Rooney spurn a switch to Chelsea - the only club who have the ready cash available to tie up the deal - the Toffeemen will hope their teenage star signs an extension to his current contract, which now only has two years to run.
However, should the teenager think a move to Old Trafford is still a possibility next summer, he could easily stall on a deal, which could dramatically reduce his value 12 months from now.

Mourinho 'won't make a move for Rooney'
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 6 2004
JOSE MOURINHO last night claimed Chelsea were not in the race for Wayne Rooney - as he held out an olive branch to Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. The Portuguese coach maintained he is not interested in splashing Roman Abramovich's millions on the Everton superstar despite his arrival on the world stage at Euro 2004. Chelsea and Manchester United were both believed to be preparing major bids for the Goodison hero, who is due to open contract talks with his boyhood club this week. But Mourinho declared: "I love Rooney. His personality is amazing. When a kid of 18 plays like he did, it is absolutely amazing. "I always admire kids like him and Ronaldo. They seem like they are 30 years old and full of confidence. "But it is not just too much money, I think we have other priorities in terms of players and positions. "Rooney is a wonderful attacking player, but he is not a pure striker, a target man. He plays with free movement just behind on both sides, we have other players with these qualities." Mourinho's words would appear to leave Rooney's future either at Goodison Park or Old Trafford, with United the only other English club able to tempt Everton into selling their prized asset. The Chelsea coach, however, revealed his admiration for Anfield skipper Gerrard and insisted there were no hard feel-ings over his decision to remain on Merseyside.
Gerrard stunned the Chelsea hierarchy last week when he resisted a £36million transfer worth £120,000-a-week in favour of a leading role in Rafael Benitez's debut season at Liverpool.
Despite the snub, Chelsea will continue to monitor the England international's position and may even renew their interest as early as January, when the transfer window reopens. "When I was asked if it was possible for him to come here, I said he's a top player," revealed Mourinho.
"I still have the same thinking about him. "He is a top player. I don't know him well but I can understand he must be a very good boy with a good personality and, for me, a real top player - not in England but in the world. "I always like to see the positives and, in the football world, there are many players." Mourinho continued: "You can never be worried when a player is leaving, not coming or signs for another club. "There are a lot of players to choose from. He (Gerrard) is not a dream. "He is a Liverpool boy and decided to stay. It's his decision. "I also had to choose between staying in Porto, my country, my life, with my family. "Having the same style of life and changing because I wanted to change my life. "I decided one thing and have to accept he decided another way. "I'm not worried about it but he's not coming here and I have to change my mind into a different direction. "I still wish him big success, but I hope he stays just behind us in the league."
Mourinho also insisted he was not in the market for Dutch international midfielder Edgar Davids, who has been linked with a free transfer move to Anfield.

Don't let shooting star flash across sky and disappear
By Andy Kelly, Daily Post
Jul 6 2004
THE head of UEFA's technical committee last night warned Wayne Rooney not to allow fame and fortune to corrupt his "Roy of the Rovers" fairytale. Everton's coveted striker will outline his career intentions this week when he opens talks with Goodison officials over a new five-year contract.
Manchester United and Chelsea are both poised should the 18-year-old sensation spark a transfer frenzy by rejecting his boyhood club's offer. But UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh believes Rooney, one of two England players named in the team of Euro 2004, can continue his meteoric rise by staying with Everton. "He was Roy of the Rovers in Portugal," said Roxburgh. "He was like a comic-book hero - everything he touched turned to gold. "He's such a likeable guy too - so open, just a young boy enjoying every moment. "There are plenty of examples of shooting stars who just flash across the sky and disappear, what's difficult is to appear early and stay at their top and there is every sign that he will do so. "It's always a big fear that the ones that come on the stage very early get too much attention and too much money too soon. The players themselves have to be aware of the dangers and they need really good people around them to support them - and I know in David Moyes Wayne Rooney does have a very good person to help him." Rooney, out for another month with the broken foot he suffered against Portugal, met the Everton manager yesterday at the start of pre-season training. Thomas Gravesen, Tobias Linderoth, Joseph Yobo and Tomasz Radzinski were all absent due to international commitments while new signing Markus Bent joined Moyes's threadbare squad for the first time. Everton's home game against Middlesbrough on Saturday, September 18, will now take place on Sunday, September 19. Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier, meanwhile, believes Rooney would have been voted Euro 2004's player of the tournament but for the broken metatarsal that precipitated England's quarter-final exit. Houllier, now a UEFA technical expert, admitted the striker had made a lasting impression on the voting panel who ultimately gave the honour to victorious Greece captain Theo Zagorakis. Houllier said: "It was unfortunate for Wayne Rooney because if he had not been injured I think he might have won the main player award. "He was a revelation, a very young promising player. He was excellent against France, Switzerland and Croatia. It's just a shame that he then got the injury against Portugal because he was such a big influence in the English team. "He played in a very clever way, always dropping at the right time and getting the ball. I think his link-up play between the midfield and Michael (Owen) was very good."
UEFA named Greece captain Zagorakis as the player of Euro 2004.
The former Leicester City midfielder capped a series of magnificent performances by leading his country to a shock victory in Sunday's final against hosts Portugal. The UEFA technical study group, led by UEFA's technical director Roxburgh, also revealed their All-star 23-man squad of the tournament which features four England players. Liverpool striker Milan Baros, who finished as top scorer in the tournament, was joined by Everton's England four-goal star Rooney in the squad. The other England play-ers in the squad were midfielder Frank Lampard and defenders Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell.
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech - Czech Republic, Antonios Nikopolidis - Greece. Defenders: Sol Campbell - England, Ashley Cole - England, Traianos Dellas - Greece, Olof Mellberg - Sweden, Ricardo Carvalho - Portugal, Georgios Seitaridis - Greece, Gianluca Zambrotta - Italy.
Midfielders: Michael Ballack - Germany, Luis Figo - Portugal, Frank Lampard - England, Maniche - Portugal, Pavel Nedved - Czech Republic, Theodoros Zagorakis - Greece, Zinedine Zidane - France.
Strikers: Milan Baros - Czech Republic, Angelos Charisteas - Greece, Henrik Larsson - Sweden, Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal, Wayne Rooney - England, Jon Dahl Tomasson - Denmark, Ruud van Nistelrooy - Holland.

Why Wayne?
Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 6 2004
Why Wayne?
I'M an Evertonian but I believe Wayne Rooney has made a big mistake in telling his life story to The Sun. Ever since they wrote that garbage about Hillsborough I've not liked them and their hatred of our wonderful city. God bless those unfortu-nate 96, you're always in our hearts (from an Evertonian).
Chris Grabinski, Liverpool
I AM absolutely appalled that Rooney has sold his story to the most hated paper on Merseyside.
What was he thinking about? Okay, I know he was only three at the time but he must know about the lies they printed. Surely he doesn't need money that badly.
Frank Jones, Liverpool
I CAN'T understand why Rooney has sold his story to The Sun. The things they wrote about Hillsborough were not just about Liverpool Football Club fans but Merseyside. I hope he donates the cash to a local charity.
John Owens, Liverpool
WAYNE ROONEY has enough right as anyone else to do what he wants. But surely he must have known that tying himself to The Sun would cause deep offence to people in Liverpool? What have his family and friends been telling him? And what part has Stretford played in this? I think we should be told.
Chris Jefferies, Allerton
WHILE Wayne Rooney has hardly covered himself in glory by signing up to The Sun, I don't think the finger of blame should be pointed at him alone. The boy maybe isn't aware or has been sheltered from the true depth of feeling that runs through the city of Liverpool toward that newspaper.
His family should be queried, but most of all we should look at the role played by his advisors.
Not content with trying to sell him to Manchester United, it's almost as if they are deliberately trying to lessen Rooney's image in the eyes of Evertonians by doing this, therefore making it easier for him to move to Old Trafford.
But that's just me being cynical, right?
N Baines, Haydock
WAYNE ROONEY has made a big, big mistake by now writing for The Sun.
It's not as if he has that much of a life story to tell as of yet. The stuff in the Sunday newspapers was just embarrassing.
Dennis Moss (via e-mail)

Roon's five-year offer
Jul 6 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON officials today confirmed that they have offered teenage striker Wayne Rooney the biggest ever deal in the club's illustrious history. As exclusively revealed in the ECHO on June 11, the new five-year offer, that could see the 18-year-old remain on Merseyside until 2009, has been passed on to his agent, Paul Stretford, and the Blues are currently awaiting a response. Chief executive Trevor Birch has moved quickly to try and secure the long term services of Rooney, who has two years left on the original deal he signed in January 2003. Rooney's stock is as high as it's ever been following his performances at EURO 2004 and Everton have continually made no secret of the fact that they want to keep hold of their prized asset. Birch sai d: "We believe this is the right offer for Wayne - one which fully reflects his growing stature within football. "The five-year deal which has been offered to Wayne is the biggest ever made in this club's history and will hopefully not only satisfy Wayne's demands but will also serve to under score the club's ambition." After weeks of speculation linking him with Manchester United and Chelsea, this offer of a lucrative new contract by Everton is a firm indication that the club, having nurtured his talent through the early years, is not prepared to lose one of their top stars. Birch added: "Wayne Rooney is a great talent and there can be no doubting that he has benefited from spending all his formative years as a footballer at a club which has a proven track record in helping young players to realise their true potential. "Everyone at Everton Football Club is anxious that Wayne remains at Goodison Park to continue his footballing education under the stewardship of manager David Moyes and his coaching staff. "Whilst we all understand that a player of such ability will inevitably be coveted by others, we honestly believe that Wayne's interests, at this stage in his career, would be best served by him committing his future to the club he plays for and has always supported. "We have therefore, in the offer of this new contract, made every conceivable effort to ensure that Wayne remains a key figure at Everton Football Club for the foreseeable future."

Bent: I want a home
Jul 6 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT has set his sights on shedding his reputation as a football nomad in order to become a permanent fixture at the "biggest club" of his career. Everton became the eighth club of the 26-year-old's career last month when he signed for £450,000 from Ipswich. He has averaged almost a club a season since making his league debut at Brentford as an 18-year-old, but is determined to settle for more than just 18 months on Merseyside. He told the ECHO: "I have always said I want to stick about in the one place. "It might seem nice moving around from one club to another meeting new people. But it feels like starting at a new school. "This is the biggest club I have played for. Before now, Blackburn and Ipswich were big clubs to play for, but this one is massive. "The team didn't do too well last season for various reasons. But every club has its day."

New boy Marcus is just hell Bent on learning from the Wayne gauge
MARCUS BENT may be eight years older than Wayne Rooney, but the Goodison new boy certainly doesn't view himself as the senior pro. Indeed, the 26-year-old £450,000 signing from Ipswich has been so impressed with what he has seen from Rooney in the last 18 months that he may well be picking up a few tips of his own from the teenager when they finally get the chance to work together at Bellefield. Bent checked in for pre-season training yesterday having spent the summer marvelling at the performances of his new team-mate for England. And he is not afraid to admit that he is relishing the prospect of playing alongside the teenager. Throughout his career Bent has worked with experienced strikers who have been older than him. Now he has the chance to form a partnership where he is the senior professional. But he insists that Rooney's ability means age is an irrelevance. "It seems weird talking about playing with Wayne Rooney," he admits.
"He is a young boy who has just come into the game and who has done real ly well in the European Championships. "Before, the players I have played with and looked up to have been people like Mark Hughes, Les Ferdinand and Atillio Lombardo, who have all been older than me. "Now I am the older player, but he has done more than I have and he is better known than I am. It is weird walking into a changing room and meeting a younger player who has done what he has done." Rooney's broken foot means that Bent's debut in an Everton side that also includes the 18-year-old has been delayed beyond the start of the new Premiership season. But it is a wait he is willing to put up with, provided Rooney is still an Everton player when he finally does return to fitness. Like most Evertonians, the former Ipswich striker has been concerned by the on- going speculation. And so he is reassured by the prospect of Everton doing everything in their power to ensure the striker remains a Blue this season. He adds: "He is a fantastic player and I have been hoping he stays here. Hopefully he can stay and help Everton move up the table and achieve what a club like Everton should be achieving."
Bent is taking nothing for granted though. He has joined a club which already boasts an impressive array of striking talent, including Tomasz Radzinski, James McFadden, Nick Chadwick and the experienced duo of Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson who still have 12 months left on their contracts. "There are other forwards as well as Wayne and I am not saying I am going to be the number one striker or the number two. "I just know that I will work as hard as I can and try and score goals and hopefully get in the first team." To improve his chances of achieving that aim, Bent opted against a break in the sun after signing for Everton last month. He explains: "I signed two weeks ago. My missus wanted to go away but I wanted to stay in the country and do a little bit of training before I came back. "I have been doing a little bit to keep in shape. But I am quite a fit person anyway, I am quite athletic. I don't really abuse my body. "It is nice to be here now. I stayed up in town on Sunday night ahead of my first day in training and I was a little bit nervous and anxious. "Obviously I know a lot of the faces, but I don't know too many of the lads personally. There is nobody here I have played with before. "That is a new experience for me, because at the other clubs I have been to I have either played with players before or I have known them from outside of football. This is a new chapter for me." Everton is Bent's eighth club. But despite regular moves which have taken in Crystal Palace, a £2.1m move to Blackburn and a £3m switch to Ipswich, the forward has only ever struggled for goals once. He netted just once during an unsuccessful spell at Port Vale in 1999. Since then, he has found goals in the Premiership relatively easy to come by, averaging just under a goal every other game for Ipswich before moving to Leicester on an extended loan last summer. He was one of the pluses in an otherwise hugely disappointing season at the Walkers Stadium, scoring 10 goals from 30 starts. It was a better return than anybody achieved at Goodison. Now he is hoping to continue that form in the forthcoming season. He admits: "It was frustrating with the way things went at Leicester because I went there to play Premiership football and when I went I was obviously hoping they would stay up. "It didn't work out that way because we lost games we shouldn't have lost and drew games we shouldn't have drawn. That is why things turned out the way they did. "But to come off the back of that and get the chance to come to Everton is a dream come true. This is a massive club and hopefully I can do even better than I did at Leicester here." Portsmouth were also keen on signing the forward and matched Everton's bid.
But for the player, there was no contest. "It was the status, the size of the club which made me choose here," he finished. "Coming to the city, meeting the gaffer and then seeing the facilities and seeing the ground made my mind up. This is a massive club and it is a career move which will suit me and which is what I need."

Blues Serb up friendly
Jul 6 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will play bian outfit FK Zeleznik in a friendly during their pre-season training camp in Austria next week. The game will be played in Koflach on July 16, kicking-off at 6.30pm.
Manager David Moyes is relishing the challenge facing him in pre-season. He said: "I'm looking forward to probably the biggest challenge of my management career. I'm going to do everything I possibly can to make sure that the disappointments we had last year don't happen this year."

LFC fan weds at Everton's church
Jul 6 2004 By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
DIEHARD Liverpool fan Maureen Ash had her dream wedding - at an Evertonian church. Maureen tied the knot with Graham McElligott at a service at St Luke's in the shadow of Goodison Park.
But in the heartland of all things blue, Maureen showed her true colours by decking the church out in red. She even made her bridesmaids wear dresses in the colours of her Kop heroes. In a hidden act of defiance, Maureen, 31, wore her lucky red undies underneath a traditional white wedding dress for the weekend wedding. Football-mad Maureen grew up just a stone's throw away from Everton's home ground and counts St Luke's, nestled in the corner of the stadium, as her local church. She refused to let her allegiances get in the way of getting married in her own parish, even allowing official Everton FC chaplain the Rev Harry Ross preside over the nuptials. Maureen, a dental hygienist, said: "Liverpool is such an important part of my family's life. "It was a bit ironic that I got married in an Evertonian church, but I grew up right by Goodison Park, and I did have it completely decked out in the red colours of my club. "I've been getting some stick from my friends who are Liverpool supporters. The vicar wasn't too happy about my colour scheme but it was a wonderful occasion." Crystal Palace fan Graham, 32, was happy to go along with the wishes of his bride. He said: "It just goes to show that although there is rivalry between the two clubs there's no real animosity." Maureen went to her first game with her father when she was 14 and has been a season ticket holder since she was 18. She has not missed a home game in 13 years and regularly attends reserve and youth matches. Her dedication landed her the Barclaycard Fan of the Month Award.

Chelsea boost Reds' Rooney chances
July 06, 2004
Manchester Evening News
MANCHESTER United's chances of eventually capturing Wayne Rooney have strengthened after Jose Mourinho ruled out a move by Chelsea for the teenager. "I don't think Rooney can come here," said the Stamford Bridge boss on the first day of his new job. "It is not just that it is too much money. I think we have other priorities in terms of players, positions, qualities. "Rooney is a wonderful attacking player, but he is not the target man - he plays with free movement just behind on both sides and we have other players with these qualities." It leaves United as clear favourites for Everton's 18-year-old and the Goodison club's case for a '50m transfer fee will have been weakened. Everton and Rooney have still to talk about a new contract for the strikes.

Chelsea boost Reds' Rooney chances
July 06, 2004
Manchester Evening News
MANCHESTER United's chances of eventually capturing Wayne Rooney have strengthened after Jose Mourinho ruled out a move by Chelsea for the teenager. "I don't think Rooney can come here," said the Stamford Bridge boss on the first day of his new job. "It is not just that it is too much money. I think we have other priorities in terms of players, positions, qualities. "Rooney is a wonderful attacking player, but he is not the target man - he plays with free movement just behind on both sides and we have other players with these qualities." It leaves United as clear favourites for Everton's 18-year-old and the Goodison club's case for a '50m transfer fee will have been weakened. Everton and Rooney have still to talk about a new contract for the striker.

Everton offer Rooney five-year deal
July 06, 2004
Manchester Newing News
Wayne Rooney has been offered the richest deal in Everton's history to remain at Goodison Park, the club has confirmed. A lucrative new five-year contract, in a bid to ward off potential suitors, is on the table for the 18-year-old England striker. Rooney's stock is on the rise after Euro 2004 in Portugal, where he scored four goals in his first major tournament. Everton are anxious to retain his services, especially after such a poor season last time around. Rooney still has two years left on his current deal, which was signed in January 2003. However, chief executive Trevor Birch is keen to re-negotiate and the players' agent Paul Stretford has been informed. Birch told the club website, www.evertonfc.com: 'We believe this is the right offer for Wayne - one that fully reflects his growing stature within football. 'The five-year deal which has been offered is the biggest ever made in the club's history. 'Hopefully it will not only satisfy Wayne's demands but also serve to underscore the club's ambition.' Rooney is currently recovering from a broken bone in his right foot sustained during the quarter-final defeat by Portugal. Birch believes the Liverpool lad, who has come through the ranks, would be best to remain close to his roots. He said: 'Wayne is a great talent and there can be no doubt he has benefited from spending all his formative years at a club which has a proven track record in helping young players realise their potential. 'Everyone at Everton is anxious that Wayne remains at Goodison Park and continues his footballing education under the stewardship of manager David Moyes and his coaching staff. 'While we understand that a player of such ability will inevitably be coveted by others, we honestly believe that Wayne's interests, at this stage in his career, would be best served by committing his future to the club he plays for and had always supported.'

Rooney to make Everton sweat
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 7 2004
EVERTON underlined their determination to keep Wayne Rooney last night when they offered the phenomenon a record-breaking contract worth £13million over five years. But they face an anxious wait to hear whether it will be enough to keep the 18-year-old at Goodison Park. Rooney's representatives ProActive will meet chief executive Trevor Birch "in the not-too-distant future" after being faxed the £50,000-a-week offer, the highest in Everton's history. Goodison officials are hoping for a swift agreement to end speculation linking the Euro 2004 star with a Merseyside exit. However, with Manchester United set to test both Everton and Rooney's resolve with a lucrative bid, plus Chelsea and Real Madrid also linked with the striker, the Goodison offer is likely to signal the start of a protracted fight for his signature. Everton's offer represents a 500% increase on the striker's current wage and their commitment to keep Rooney has already been illustrated by the £50m price-tag placed on his head. Goodison officials know the teenager can command a much higher salary and Champions League football elsewhere following his heroics in Portugal. But they hope their offer - which shatters the wage structure in force at the club for the last three years - plus the crucial part the club has played in his development, will convince the boyhood Evertonian to stay. Chief executive Birch said: "We believe this is the right offer for Wayne - one which fully reflects his growing stature within football. "The five-year deal which has been offered to Wayne is the biggest ever made in this club's history and will hopefully not only satisfy Wayne's demands but will also serve to underscore the club's ambition." He added: "Wayne Rooney is a great talent and there can be no doubting that he has benefited from spending all his formative years as a footballer at a club which has a proven track record in helping young players to realise their true potential.
"Everyone at Everton Football Club is anxious that Wayne remains at Goodison Park to continue his footballing education under the stewardship of manager David Moyes and his coaching staff.
"While we all understand that a player of such ability will inevitably be coveted by others, we honestly believe that Wayne's interests at this stage in his career would be best served by him committing his future to the club he plays for and has always supported. "We have therefore, in the offer of this new contract, made every conceivable effort to ensure that Wayne remains a key figure at Everton Football Club for the foreseeable future." Rooney's representatives could wait to see if a genuine bid that matches Everton's valuation of the player materialises from United or Chelsea before giving their decision. But if none is forthcoming it will improve Everton's chances of securing his signature considerably. A spokesman for ProActive said last night: "We have today received a fax from Everton Football Club giving the outline of a proposed long-term deal for Wayne Rooney.
"We will be giving this proper consideration and will be in contact with Trevor Birch to make arrangements for a meeting in the not-too-distant future." Nottingham Forest, meanwhile, will have to double their £400,000 valuation of Leon Osman before Everton consider selling the 23-year-old.
Osman finally made a first-team breakthrough at the end of last season and David Moyes - yesterday linked with a move for Marseille captain Brahim Hemdani - is reluctant to let the promising midfielder go.
* CHARLTON'S former Everton defender Gary Rowett has retired from professional football because of a knee injury.
The 30-year-old, who has been out of action since sustaining the injury in August last year, started just 13 Premiership games for the club since his £3.5million move from Leicester in May 2002.
Manager Alan Curbishley said: "I'm absolutely gutted."

The Sun apologises over Hillsborough
By Alan Weston Daily Post Staff
Jul 7 2004
FAMILIES of victims of the Hillsborough disaster last night refused to accept an apology by a national tabloid over the way it reported the tragedy in which 96 Liverpool supporters died. This morning The Sun - which in 1989 accused fans caught in the terrace crush of urinating on the dead and stealing from bodies - says it is "truly sorry" and that its false allegations were "the most terrible mistake in its history." Its apology comes in the wake of the angry reaction on Merseyside caused by Everton and England soccer star Wayne Rooney's deal to tell his life story to the newspaper, for a reported £250,000. Last night Phil Hammond, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said The Sun's apology was "too little, and 15 years too late." Mr Hammond, who lost his 14-year-old son Philip in the tragedy, said: "This will not be accepted by me or any of the Hillsborough families. "They are hiding behind Rooney and it will not make any difference. They think that because they've got a big name on board people in Liverpool will now start to buy the paper, but we're not that stupid. "They should give the source of the information they used as the basis of that story." A full page editorial in today's Sun newspaper says: "It is 15 years since The Sun committed the most terrible mistake in its history. "By making grave and untrue allegations about the behaviour of Liverpool fans during the Hillsborough disaster, we enraged the city. "But most importantly we tarnished the memory of 96 soccer fans who had tragically lost their lives.
"And our carelessness and thoughtlessness following that blackest of days made the grief of their families and friends even harder to bear. "We long ago apologised publicly to the victims' families, friends and to the city of Liverpool for our awful error. "We gladly repeat that apology today: fully, openly, honestly and without reservation." It continues: "The Sun of 2004 no more deserves to be hated on Merseyside than Wayne Rooney does. "We cannot believe these protests properly represent the opinions of the majority of men and women in Liverpool. "No one will ever forget the terrible Hillsborough tragedy, nor those who died and their loved ones. "But trashing a young man of whom everyone should be proud is not the way to honour their memory." The editorial line of the paper remains defiant, accusing "local media" of whipping up controversy over the Rooney signing. It also reports that the footballer, and his fiancee Coleen McLoughlin, have been "hurt and upset" by the criticism in his home city. The revelation of the deal last week shocked fans of both Liverpool and his own club Everton, with many dismayed that the youngster was not better advised.
Internet message boards were inundated with messages from supporters condemning Rooney's deal. The Sun made its original allegations - which were proven to have no factual basis - in April, 1989, under a headline declaring "The Truth." Copies of the newspaper were burned on the streets and a boycott followed, which saw sales of the paper plummet across the region. They have never fully recovered.

Everton's sponsorship deal unveiled in Thailand
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 7 2004
EVERTON'S one-year shirt sponsorship deal with Chang Beer was scheduled to be confirmed in Thailand this morning. Details of the agreement with Thai Beverages, which will see the company crest of two elephants and a fountain adorn the Everton shirt next season, were due to be revealed at a joint press conference in Bangkok (5am GMT). The deal is believed to be worth around £1million to the Goodison club over 12-months and the Thai company has the option to extend the contract beyond 12-months if the sponsor-ship proves successful. Thai Breweries recorded a profit of $250m last year and are owned by Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who was part of the consortium aiming to buy into Liverpool two months ago. Despite the collapse of the consortium's bid and the link up with Everton, an advisor for Thai Breweries insisted they remained interested in sponsoring the Anfield club when its deal with Carlsberg expires next year. Thanit Thamsukati said: "We are still interested in sponsoring the Liverpool shirt, no matter whether the Thais successfully become shareholders in the team. The only thing we care about is at what price." Chang Beer replace Kejian as Everton's new shirt sponsor, after the Chinese electronics company's two-year association with the club ended last month. Everton, meanwhile, will be forced to play two matches inside 48 hours at the start of the new Premiership season due to Manchester United's Champions League commitments. David Moyes's side were due to visit Old Trafford on Wednesday, August 25, but United face a Champions League qualifier on the 24th. The game will now take place on Bank Holiday Monday, August 30, with a 12noon kick-off, and comes less than two days after Everton entertain West Brom at Goodison Park.

City to fight Royle pay-out
By Thomas Martin, Echo Correspondent
Jul 7 2004
MANCHESTER City football club today said it planned to appeal against a ruling to hand more than £422,000 to sacked manager Joe Royle. The Everton legend was awarded the damages yesterday after sueing City, alleging he received only a fraction of the pay-off he was due after being sacked as manager in May 2001. The ruling at Manchester county court followed a two-day hearing in Liverpool earlier this year. The hearing was told Mr Royle, 55, was sacked by City days after losing their final league match against Chelsea. The team was due to be relegated from the Premiership after a poor season. A part of Mr Royle's contract dictate d he woul d receive, in addition to his £300,000 annual salary, an extra £400,000 bonus if City were in the Premiership when he left.
Because the club had played all their matches, City bosses refused to pay him the cash, believing the season had ended. But the judgment found that, although the team's relegation was inevitable, the season was not deemed to have ended because playoff matches had still to be played and administration matters completed. Judge Michael Kershaw QC ordered Mr Royle be paid £422,899.08 damages, plus costs. A statement released on Mr Royle's behalf said: "Joe is sorry for City's fans that the board didn't see fit to comply with their contractual obligations or settle this case without the need for a trial and the attempt to embarrass Joe by making scandalous and unwarranted allegations." A Manchester City spokesman said: "The result is very disappointing."
The club plans to appeal to the High Court.

Barmby switches to home town Hull
By Chris Wilson, Daily Post
Jul 7 2004
HULL CITY have signed former England international Nicky Barmby on a one-year deal with the possibility of a longer contract. The Hull-born playmaker,, who has played for both Liverpool and Everton in his career, joins the Coca-Cola League One outfit on a free transfer after accepting a settlement with Leeds United to terminate his contract after weeks of negotiations. Barmby, who is believed to have accepted a £1million payoff from Leeds, endured a miserable time with the Elland Road side after joining the club for £2.75m from Liverpool in August 2002. He made just 31 appearances for the Whites and was farmed out to Nottingham Forest on a month's loan earlier in the year. City chairman Adam Pearson expressed his delight at landing such a big name and is confident Barmby can resurrect his faltering career in front of his new home-town supporters at the KC Stadium. Pearson said: "We could not be happier to sign Nicky. This is massive for the club and town as Nicky's a local lad and he'll be keen to impress. I'm sure he'll do ever so well next season."
Barmby follows in the footsteps of Roland Edge, Delroy Facey, Sergio Leite, Leon Cort and Michael Keane, who have all signed for the Tigers this summer. Pearson added: "This shows our level of ambition at the club. I'm genuinely excited about this move and think it could be just what we need in our push for promotion." Barmby is also relishing the prospect of playing for the team he supported as a child but admitted to mixed feelings at leaving Leeds in such circumstances. The 30-year-old midfielder cannot wait for the new season to begin but revealed the move was tinged with sadness at the way his career fizzled out at Elland Road. He said: "This is where I always wanted to be eventually but it was disappointing to leave Leeds in that way and it certainly slowed down my progress in football. "But that's the game we play. You learn from your mistakes and the only was is up now." Meanwhile, Pearson expects Taylor to take up the dual role of Hull City manager and England under-21 coach "in the next 48 hours". Taylor will be in charge of the side on match days only for their eight midweek games next season.

Eastern boom
Jul 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S plans to gain a significant fanbase in the Far East have been boosted with confirmation of a lucrative new shirt sponsorship deal with Thailand's biggest brewery. The club has signed a one year deal with Chang Beer worth £1.5m. But there is also a two year option as part of the deal which could ultimately land the Blues with a £6m windfall. Everton director Paul Gregg and the club's head of commercial operations Andy Hosie were in Bangkok today to announce the deal. Gregg said: "For us, there are no boundaries as we seek to expand the Everton business and we believe that the opportunities for the club will only grow with the support of Chang Beer. "Chang are committed to a significant investment to promote the Everton brand, not only in Thailand but in many other countries in which they sell their beer." As part of the sponsorship arrangement Everton plan to produce a range of club chandise which will be available exclusively to the Far East and will be priced to compete with the widespread sale of football shirts on the black market. As part of the deal, three young Thai footballers will come to England to join the club's Academy. Meanwhile, David Moyes has insisted Leon Osman is going nowhere and has not received an official bid for the player, despite Nottingham Forest boss Joe Kinnear claiming he had tabled a £400,000 offer. Moyes said: "I have been given no information of any offer from Nottingham Forest and even if I had, he is not for sale and certainly not at that price."

Everton hope to seal club record contract
Jul 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are hopeful of securing Wayne Rooney to the most lucrative contract in the club's history after formally faxing their five-year offer to the player's agent yesterday. But even if talks stall over the deal, said to be worth £12.5m, the club will resist any offers for the striker before the close of the transfer window at the end of August. As revealed in the ECHO last month, the Blues have put together a five-year deal which is the richest in the club's history and which will see Rooney earning £50,000-a-week, which will represent a rise of almost 500 per cent on his current £13,000-a-week deal. It was faxed to ProActive, the agency which represents Rooney, yesterday. A spokesperson for ProActive confirmed last night: "We have today received a fax from Everton Football Club giving the outline of a proposed long-term deal for Wayne Rooney. on-"We will be giving this proper consideration and will be in contact with Trevor Birch to make arrangements for a meeting in the not-too-distant future." Birch, Everton's chief executive, is confident the offer is a fair reflection of the 18-year-old's current standing in the world game. It also shatters the club's strict wage structure, which was introduced three years ago. Birch said: "We believe this is the right offer for Wayne - one which fully reflects his growing stature within football. "The five-year deal which has been offered to Wayne is the biggest ever made in this club's history and will hopefully not only satisfy Wayne's demands but will also serve to underscore the club's ambition. "Wayne Rooney is a great talent and there can be no doubting that he has benefited from spending all his formative years as a footballer at a club which has a proven track record in helping young players to realise thier true potential. "Everyone at Everton Football Club is anxious that Wayne remains at Goodison Park to continue his footballing education under the stewardship of manager David Moyes and his coaching staff. "While we all understand that a player of such ability will inevitably by coveted by others, we honestly believe that Wayne's interests at this stage in his career would be best served by him committing his future to the club he plays for and has always supported. "We have therefore, in the offer of this new contract, made every conceivable effort to ensure that Wayne remains a key figure at Everton Football Club for the foreseeable future." There has been widespread speculation throughout the summer linking the striker with big money moves to Chelsea and Manchester United. But earlier this week new Stamford Bridge chief Jose Mourinho revealed Rooney is not on his summer shopping list, and United cannot stretch beyond a £25m price tag. With Everton unwilling to even contemplate an offer below £40m at this stage, the club is hopeful that Rooney will remain a Blue next season. The next few weeks will dictate whether it is the first season of a five-year deal, or if Rooney and his representatives are willing to reject the new offer.

'Roo deal is sign of ambition'
Jul 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists the scale of the new contract offered to Wayne Rooney is a reflection of Everton's determination to keep the striker at Goodison for many years to come. The Blues faxed the details of their offer to the office of Wayne Rooney's agent yesterday afternoon. The five-year deal is the most lucrative in the club's history, worth £12.5m. If Rooney puts pen to paper he will instantly increase his wage from £13,000-a-week now to £50,000-a-week. It smashes the club's previous biggest wage deal, which provided Duncan Ferguson with a £35,000-a-week deal when he returned from Newcastle in 2000. Moyes said: "I think this offer is a reflection of the club's ambition. "We have always stated we want to keep Wayne Rooney and an offer of this size for an 18-year-old is exceptional. "Whatever happens, Wayne has two years left on his current contract and we hope to extend that to five years." Everton are determined to finally bringing an end to the speculation linking Rooney with a move out of Goodison by making such an unprecedented offer.
They will await a response from Rooney's agent Paul Stretford but even if that takes a number of weeks, the club will refuse any bids that are made for the player.

What's the story Wayne?
Jul 7 2004 By Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
YOU probably won't have read today's edition of The Sun, but you may have heard about it - and it is discussed elsewhere in tonight's ECHO. So . . . was it an apology, or just an outrageously insulting, cynical, sickening and self-serving rant from a classroom bully-cum-table-turning-cry baby?
That's a tricky one, isn't it? Another, more general, question is: What do you get for £250,000 these days - if you're Wayne Rooney, the Proactive Sports Group or The Sun? If you're The Sun you get the following "World Exclusive" revelations (hold tight, everyone):
* Wayne loves his fiancee, Coleen McLoughlin
* She loves him
* They like to watch EastEnders
* They've called their dog "Fiz" because it looks like the Coronation Street character of the same name (poor dog)
* Wayne thinks Becks is great
* Wayne sometimes got cheesed off having to go training every night after school
I really can't imagine what they're going to tell us next, perhaps "Wayne and Coleen have been to the Pinewoods near their Formby home and they saw . . . a SQUIRREL!" So what of Proactive, whose founder, Paul Stretford, currently seems so unpopular among Evertonians you'd think he plays for Liverpool? His company has got people like me wondering "Is this the dumbest or smartest outfit on the planet - or, somehow, neither?" If it thought doing a deal with that newspaper was going to help its most cherished and highly-profitable client win friends and influence people in his Merseyside homeland, it has to be the dumbest of the dumb. If, however, Wayne Rooney ends up at Manchester United on the fattest of fat contracts, perhaps the Proactive powers that be won't care what anyone calls them.
Or, then again, perhaps it was just another deal.
And what of Wayne Rooney? Unlike Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney was only three at the time The Sun spewed out lies and libels so putrid and poisonous that a great many people on Merseyside, not least the bereaved Hillsborough families, are still choking on the memories. These people do not need telling that it was 15 years ago. They know when Hillsborough happened. And they don't need telling when to forget and when to forgive.
So what's the story, Wayne? What do YOU think?
Perhaps part of the answer to this whole mess lies in yesterday's quote from a Proactive spokesman, who said of Everton's new, five-year contract offer to Wayne: "We will be giving this proper consideration." We? I trust the "We" includes Wayne Rooney. One thing the teenager must surely understand by now is that dealing with The Sun can be very bad for your health. That £250,000 - was it REALLY worth it? Good advice? Well, that's priceless.

The Sun has lost the plot (again)
Jul 7 2004 Echo Comment
EVEN by its usual shabby standards, the Sun newspaper has today excelled itself. The paper has published a full page comment article, appealing to the people of Merseyside to stop criticising Wayne Rooney and apologising for its lies over the Hillsborough disaster. It has also accused the Liverpool ECHO of deliberately stirring up feelings against Rooney. The Sun is referring, of course, to the deal it has struck with Rooney's agents to tell his life story. We reported the facts of the deal last week and have since carried a number of letters from readers expressing their views on the matter.
The Sun has today devoted its front page and an entire inside page to the subject. It is nothing less than an attempt, once again, to exploit the Hillsborough dead. Fifteen years ago, it told deliberate lies to sell newspapers. Today, it has published a hypocritical apology - to sell newspapers.
The Sun says the ECHO reported its deal with Rooney because we are part of the same company which owns its greatest rival, The Mirror. It says the "misery being inflicted on Wayne" is a crude effort by us to make commercial gain. Which just shows how out of touch with Liverpool The Sun really is. The ECHO reported the news of the deal because we knew our readers would want to know about it. We reported it because we know that many people in this city still regard The Sun as a vile publication which long ago lost all respect. And we reported it because thousands of Merseysiders - Red and Blue - are deeply proud of and interested in one of our city's finest footballing sons. The Sun's deal with Wayne and today's hollow apology comes at a time when the paper is in the midst of a price war. This is no coincidence.
The Sun is desperate to regain the readers it lost on Merseyside with its lies.
Let's just remember those lies:
* Liverpool fans stole from the dead.
* Liverpool fans urinated on the dead.
* Liverpool fans caused the disaster.
Whilst the journalists responsible for those lies have moved on, many Hillsborough families and Liverpudlians still believe The Sun cannot be forgiven for the pain it inflicted. That's because the effects of those lies are still with them - and still dog this city - today. Today's Sun article is not a real apology. It is a shameless and cynical attempt to win readers. And most people on Merseyside will realise that. The Sun has missed the point and lost the plot. The majority of the people of Merseyside have nothing personal against Wayne Rooney. They feel he has been badly advised.
The majority of fans do not hate Rooney. They feel he has been misled. They are sad, also, that his unique talents are being overshadowed by this grubby affair. Today's Sun exaggerates, over-reacts and depicts a lurid picture of hate which is about as far from the truth as its London offices are from Goodison Park. The Sun, in a breathtaking display of arrogance, says it can understand the grief of those who lost loved ones in Hillsborough. Its actions and words today, however, prove this is far from the case. If it truly understood their grief, it would never tell them, as it has today, that it is "time to move on."
How can we forgive and forget?
PHIL Hammond, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said today: "This was not an apology from The Sun. They are just using Wayne Rooney to have a go at other newspapers.
"We have had a good relationship with the Liverpool ECHO, Daily Post and Daily Mirror over the years, but we have also had a good relationship with other papers which are not owned by Mirror.
"The one paper we have a problem with is The Sun. "They want people to forgive and forget. How can we forgive and forget when we don't know the truth? They know the truth - and if they want to help us they should tell us who was the police source for the lies they printed 15 years ago. "What The Sun was told by this source must have been damning, because the paper's original head-line was going to be 'You Scum'. "As for Wayne Rooney, our argument is with his advisers. It wasn't him who rang up The Sun and said 'Hello, I've got a story for you.' If he has been badly advised, then he should sack his agents. "And regarding the £250,000 he is reported to have been paid - perhaps he might think the best thing he could now do is donate it to good local causes, such as Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the ECHO's Sunrise Fund and the Marina Dalglish breast cancer charity fund.
"I would also like to invite Wayne to sit down and watch a video of Jimmy McGovern's Hillsborough drama-documentary, which tells the real truth about what happened." Phil, who lost his 14-year-old son, Philip junior, in the Hillsborough disaster, adds: "The ECHO has reported that Rooney's performances at Euro 2004 had united the red half and the blue half of Liverpool. Probably the last time this happened was in the aftermath of Hillsborough." He added: "What a terrible shame that The Sun is now trying to drive a wedge between Wayne Rooney, the Everton and Liverpool fans and the local papers. "They must not be allowed to get away with it."

Neville pays tribute to Rooney magic
Jul 7 2004 Liverpool Echo
ENGLISH football has a great future with the emergence of stars like Wayne Rooney. The Everton teenage sensation took Euro 2004 by storm with tremendous displays and goals, and one of his England team-mates believes that his absence through injury from the Portugal game was a key factor in defeat. "We missed him in the final game because he gives us a different dimension because he can get the ball, hold it up and give it," said Gary Neville. "There aren't many players like that in the world, let alone England," suggested Neville, speaking from his soccer school in Malta. "English football has a bright future because of Wayne and others. He took everyone's breath away at the tournament with what he did at such a young age - scoring fantastic goals and the way he performed. "His performance against France was exceptional for someone, whether they're 17 or 37. "To produce that performance in a tournament against the best defence in the world, and the strength he showed, was quite unbelievable," added Neville. The Manchester United defender did not want to speculate over Rooney's future, but feels that when a player performs like Rooney did it is always going to attract attention. "For England, I am just lucky to have the opportunity to play with him. "He enjioys playing football, has youth on his side, and he has no fear of anything. "He just wants to go out there and play, but he needs nurturing," the Manchester United defender added.

Hopes wrecked by broken vows
Jul 7 2004 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
WHEN the Premier League was set up in 1992 it was sold as an idea to improve England's chances on the international stage. It has failed. The Premiership has improved a lot of things about football in this country, but it hasn't helped our national team much. And certainly not in the way it promised to. If we didn't realise it 12 years ago, then we certainly do now. The Premier League is about one thing and one thing only: making money. Anything else is a bonus.
The influx of foreign players has raised the standards in English football. The Premiership is a far better division than the First Division it replaced. So the few Englishmen able to get a game are probably of a higher standard than most of their predecessors. But the downside is a league which last season produced only four English goalkeepers who got regular first-team football. Two were relegated, the other two finished 16th and 17th. Little wonder, then, that England conceded six goals in their four Euro 2004 games. And while the number of English players in the top flight has plummeted, the wealth gap between the Premiership and the rest has produced a Football League of such a low standard that Sven Goran Eriksson has a far smaller pool of players to select from than any England manager in history. Another of the ways the Premiership was going to assist England's chances was by reducing the number of top-flight teams from 22 to 18. They got halfway then gave up. Two less home games a season was just too high a price for our greedy chairmen to pay in the national cause. The men running our top clubs would rather run their players into the ground and the FA have neither the guts nor the power to do anything about it. One only needs look at the performances of the Premiership's teams in the last two major tournaments. England reached the quarter-finals of both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004 but looked completely shot in the second half of most of their games. The Republic of Ireland got as far as round two in the Far East and failed to qualify for Portugal. France, with nine Premiership players in their squad this summer, had by far the best squad in both tournaments yet failed to win either. They looked completely exhausted two years ago as they failed to score a goal and, although slightly better this time around, they still did not make the last four. Many of the Greek squad that won the European Championships in Lisbon on Sunday also play in Europe's top leagues - but as fringe players and substitutes. The goalscorer, Angelos Charisteas, for example, started only six Bundesliga games last season. If England genuinely wants to do better in major tournaments, our leading chairmen need to start cutting the number of matches their top players play. But that would mean them volunteering to do without a few extra quid a season. So I suppose we will just have to carry on looking for scapegoats every two years instead.

Blues set to miss out over Ball cash
Jul 7 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are set to miss out on a £500,000 windfall because of financial difficulties at Rangers.
The Scottish club have informed former Goodison defender Michael Ball he is no longer part of Alex McLeish's plans at Rangers. The Scottish giants are believed to be unwilling to pay the £0.5m payment which will be triggered if Ball plays 60 games for the Scottish giants. The payment is part of the £6.5m deal which took Ball to Ibrox in August 2001. Ball's time with Rangers has been dogged by persistent knee problems. But after finally overcoming the problem last season he made 43 appearances for the club before being dropped to the bench for the run-in to the season with the title already lost to Celtic. He has now made 54 first team appearances for the club, leaving him six matches short of the total required to provide Everton with the payment. Ball is believed to be keen to return to the Premiership in order to improve his chances of an international recall.
He was selected for Sven Goran Eriksson's first England squad against Spain in February 2001 but has not been involved since. Rangers are believed to be willing to listen to offers of £2m for the full-back.

Football joins fun
Jul 7 2004 By Mike Torpey, Liverpool Echo
HORSE racing joins forces with football for a star-studded day at Haydock Park this weekend. Instead of wearing the silks of racehorse owners, jockeys at the Merseyside track will be riding in the colours of the 20 Premiership clubs for Haydock's annual summer family Sunday funday. Riders like Frankie Dettori and champion jockey Kieren Fallon could be sporting the shirts of Everton and Liverpool. Paddy Power Football Furlong day will also see players like ex-Reds ace Robbie Fowler, former Everton striker Franny Jeffers and Newcastle's Jonathan Woodgate - along with celebrity guests from Coronation Street - on hand to meet racegoers and sign autographs. There are six races with 10 horses running each, and every Premiership club will be represented three times during the afternoon. Points will be awarded - ten for first place down to one for tenth - and the side with the most will receive the Paddy Power Football Furlong trophy. 260 horses were entered for the 60 places available. Haydock chief Adam Waterworth said: "It's for both racing and football fans in the north west that Haydock Park has been chosen for this new event." The day will feature a range of attractions, including opportunities to be photographed with the FA Cup, autograph sessions with players, and mini exhibition football matches. Children are invited to come at 11.30am for a soccer school run by professional coaches. Football Furlong has also joined forces with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in a three-year partnership that hopes to raise more than £50,000 for the Full Stop Campaign. First race on Sunday is at 2.10pm and admission costs £8 for the Newton Enclosure, £15 (Tattersalls) and £24 (County). Accompanied under-16s enter free.

United wait on Rooney
Stuart Mathieson
July 07, 2004
Manchester Evening News
MANCHESTER United will sit tight and wait for the fallout from Wayne Rooney's contract answer to Everton. The Goodison club have placed a lucrative carrot in front of their coveted England star to the tune of '13m over a five-year period. It's the Merseysiders' biggest-ever contract offer to a player and the 18-year-old and his agent Paul Stretford will speak to the club within the next seven days and declare their intent. Rooney has two years left on his current deal and Everton know that if he refuses their '50,000-a-week wage offer their hopes of a transfer '40-50m windfall will fade rapidly. That will play into the hands of his suitors at Old Trafford, who have already ruled out blasting away United's transfer record to land the four-goal Euro 2004 hit. United can't afford to budge on their stance and only a package that involved an initial downpayment of '15m is likely to be in line with the funds the Reds could muster, having spent '27m on players in 2004 already.
United maintain their priority for the rest of the summer is to off-load players from their wage bill, having brought in Alan Smith and Gabriel Heinze. But the Reds still appear to be in the box seat with Rooney said to prefer a move down the East Lancs rather than to Chelsea or Real Madrid. Should dyed-in-the-wool Evertonian Rooney knock back his idol's best pay deal, the financially troubled Goodison club will realise their biggest asset's stock is probably at its highest and may be prepared to listen to a transfer fee package from United. If Rooney decides to say no to Everton's attempts to get him to stay, then the player may have to consider putting in a transfer request.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has understandably kept tight-lipped. But the Reds' dressing room was buzzing last season after Rooney's performance at Old Trafford and Fergie's England contingent will return to Carrington later this month with glowing testimonials for their performances during Euro 2004.

Moyes ready to test Hemdani's resolve
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 8 2004
MARSEILLE captain Brahim Hemdani is on David Moyes's transfer wish-list, the Everton manager confirmed last night. Moyes, anxiously awaiting an answer on the contract offer to Wayne Rooney, wants to add the versatile 26-year-old to a threadbare squad that boasts only one new addition so far this summer, £450,000 Markus Bent. Hemdani is in the final year of his Marseille contract and this week insisted he would stay at Stade Velodrome despite interest from several Premiership clubs. Moyes, however, hopes to test that resolve with a firm bid for the former French under-21 international and has also revealed his pursuit of Millwall playmaker Tim Cahill. "Hemdani is a player we have an interest in," Moyes told the Daily Post. "And we have made an enquiry about Cahill."
Manchester City and Bolton have also been linked with Hemdani, a midfielder who operated in central defence for much of last season as Marseille reached the UEFA Cup final. When told of rival interest the former Cannes and Strasbourg player said: "I have one year left on my contract with Marseille and I am happy here. "I am currently in Albertville with the team for a week's training and I would not have come if I didn't intend to stay. Joining a foreign club will happen. "An experience abroad is part of the career of a professional footballer nowadays. "But at the moment changing clubs is not my priority. When the time comes I will know it and I will go." Moyes is desperate to bolster his playing staff as quickly as possible but saw another onetime target slip by yesterday when defender Dominic Matteo joined Blackburn on a free transfer. Australian-born Cahill (right) rose to prominence during Millwall's incredible run to the FA Cup Final last season but with a £3million price-tag he is currently beyond Everton's means. Kevin Campbell, meanwhile, is attracting interest from Micky Adams at Leicester City. The 34-year-old striker has just one more year left on his £35,000-a-week Everton contract and has been linked with Crystal Palace, although no-one at Goodison has received any enquiries from the Premiership newcomers. Leicester need striking reinforcements having lost Les Ferdinand and Bent in the close season and Everton will not stand in Campbell's way if a genuine bid arrived from the Walkers Stadium.

Rooney distanced from Sun 'apology'
Exclusive By Alan Weston Daily Post Staff
Jul 8 2004
WAYNE ROONEY'S management team last night distanced the Everton and England star from the Sun's apology over its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster. Rooney featured prominently in the Sun's full page article yesterday in which it admitted that its slurs against the Hillsborough victims in 1989 represented the worst mistake the newspaper had ever made. But last night Rooney's business manager, Paul Stretford, of the Pro Active Sports Group, said that the 18 year-old star had not been consulted about the apology. Speaking exclusively to the Daily Post, Stretford said: "Pro Active, Wayne and his fiancee Colleen believe that the Sun's repeated apologies for its terrible mistakes in its reporting of the Hillsborough disaster are entirely a matter for that newspaper." The Sun article accused the Daily Post and its sister paper, the Liverpool Echo, of stirring up trouble for Rooney, and attacked those fans who had criticised him over the deal, claiming on its front page that the player had been "hurt" by a "hate campaign" against him. But Stretford told the Daily Post: "We all wish to make it clear that the sentiments expressed in yesterday's Sun were the views of that newspaper alone and we were not asked to, nor did we, endorse them." Yesterday, the Sun received widespread criticism over its article, which was being interpreted by many on Merseyside as a cynical marketing tool to try to revive its sales, which have been desperately poor in the region ever since its coverage of the disaster 15 years ago. Stretford added that Rooney, who has already donated his services as a celebrity patron to raise funds for Liverpool's Alder Hey children's hospital, and Coleen remained firmly committed to the region. "Wayne and Coleen are immensely proud of their home city, its people and every part of its heritage. They have shown this by the work they do and the money they donate to various Merseyside charities, including Alder Hey and Claire House. This will continue to be a big part of both their lives in the future." Rooney remains the subject of intense transfer speculation after emerging as England's star of Euro 2004. Stretford is to hold talks with Everton shortly over a new five-year contract the club has offered, which would make him the best-paid player in the club's history.

United in grief - and now in anger
Jul 8 2004
The Sun's 'apology' for its shameful coverage of Hillsborough won it few friends yesterday. Andy Kelly reports on Merseyside's sceptical reaction, and you have your say in our Letters special
LIVERPOOL was united once again yesterday - just as it had been 15 years ago. The city's grief was this time replaced with anger, as it woke to find the tabloid newspaper which had printed unimaginable lies about the Hillsborough disaster had finally apologised. Sort of. As the Daily Post reported yesterday, The Sun's full-page editorial said it was "truly sorry" for the "most terrible mistake in its history." That mistake, lest anyone forgets, was accusing Liverpool fans of stealing from and urinating on the 96 dead and being directly responsible for the tragedy. The paper was stirred into action, not by any long-overdue remorse but by the adverse reaction in Liverpool to Wayne Rooney signing a £250,000 deal to sell his story to the paper, still reviled in his home city.
And the paper accused the local press, including the Daily Post, of being responsible for whipping up controversy about the Rooney deal. But as The Sun's assistant editor Graham Dudman found out on a compulsive Roger Phillips phone-in on Radio Merseyside yesterday, the people of Merseyside do not need the media or anyone to tell them how to feel. Callers queued in their dozens to tell Mr Dudman exactly what they thought of his paper's "apology". Yes, they knew it wasn't him personally, or possibly many of the staff who now work there, but the damage had been done - let the dead rest in peace. He pointed out at length that few of the current Sun staff were employed by the newspaper when former editor Kelvin McKenzie decided to run the now infamous "The Truth" article. But listeners to the programme were in no mood to accept his apologies, and he was on the receiving end of a series of calls which articulately and passionately dismissed The Sun's overtures to Merseyside. The first caller, a mother who lost her two sons at Hillsborough, set the tone when she told Dudman: "I will never accept an apology from The Sun." She demanded to know who the sources were for The Sun's accusations over Hillsborough. When Dudman claimed he did not know, she said: "I am sure in your position you could find out where they got their information from. "We have got a good idea who it was, and if that had been revealed we would have got justice for our children, which we have never had." Many also felt it was just a cynical marketing move to try to increase The Sun's dreadful sales in Liverpool. An official poll on the Liverpool Football Club website echoed the views of those on the airwaves. A huge 87% of fans voted to reject the apology from The Sun. "There is no apology, just another attack on the Liverpool people," said one message.
"You call that an apology? My two-year-old nephew can say sorry in 15 seconds; he doesn't take 15 years," said another. Phil Hammond, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said what was printed did not even amount to an apology. He said: "They are just using Wayne Rooney to have a go at other papers. "They want people to forgive and forget. But how can we forgive and forget when we don't know the truth? "They know the truth - and if they want to help us they should tell us who was the police source for the lies they printed 15 years ago. "As for Wayne Rooney, our argument is with his advisors. It wasn't him who rang up The Sun and said 'Hello, I've got a story for you'. "I would like to invite Wayne to sit down and watch a video of Jimmy McGovern's Hillsborough drama-documentary." Last night, Mr Dudman from The Sun was still doing the rounds of the national broadcast media, still insisting it was all being done for Wayne Rooney's benefit. He said: "The Rooney story broke at Euro 2004 and every paper was after his story.
"There was no thought from us that signing up Wayne would be good for us in Liverpool.
"The story started to run, and then last weekend Wayne and his girlfriend started to receive very nasty and upsetting abuse. "For that reason, we decided to repeat our apology and we have done that completely and utterly. "None of the senior staff on the paper now were around 15 years ago - every head of department has changed. "It was the blackest day in The Sun's history but we do think it is now time to move on and one of the ways to do that is to leave Wayne Rooney alone."
Apology too little, too late
THE Sun's apology will never be enough. I'm an Evertonian but a Scouser first. I'm proud of Everton. But I admit it, Liverpool Football Club and its fans are a credit to the city in their behaviour and success. The Sun's apology was too little too late. The damage has been done not only to those involved but to the reputation of the city.
Chris Regan, Southport
Blame agent
I THINK that Wayne Rooney's agent must take the blame for not attempting to advise Wayne about what outcome may arise from the article in the Sun.
TC, Oxford
They branded us
I THINK it's disgusting that the Sun newspaper came out with its apology. The fact of the matter is that 15 years ago the newspaper branded the people of Liverpool as scum. This was not only a reference to the football fans that attended the match but all the people of the city. I know personally that many people from around the country and the world think of Scousers as loyal, hardworking and people who think of others before themselves. The Sun's article today has again put the people of Liverpool across in a bad light. It basically puts us across as pettyminded people who are unforgiving. The newspaper was sadly mistaken if it thought it could make me look inside myself and think "hang on a minute, maybe I should just learn to forget about it". It was also mistaken if it thought it would change the mind of not only Scousers but outsiders from across the world, people who really know the city and its people. No chance. The memory of the 96 will always remain in the hearts of these people and the memory will not fade with time. The Sun does not deserve our forgiveness. It is below us. We have every right not to buy the Sun and i for one will always look upon it as a newspaper who tried to lie about the sons and daughters of our great city.
Paul Beattie via e-mail
A grim rag
IT TOOK 15 years but shouldn't have even taken 15 seconds. The lies of that newspaper will never be forgotten and the so-called "apology" smacks of a lowly and desperate attempt to boost sales and profits. Reference to Trinity Mirror's owner-ship of the two local papers is a cheap points-scoring exercise which is, and always has been, typical of a grim national rag. Nobody who cares deeply about Liverpool and Merseyside will be fooled.
Craig McGlasson, via e-mail
They don't care
IF ROONEY didn't get all the fuss he's getting now, they would never have even considered to print an "apology".They don't even care about him! They only care about their sales. This "apology" is a disgrace to the families of the 96, to the people who survived, to the people who lost friends and it's a big disgrace to the whole city of Liverpool, blue and red.
Dennis Stelten, Holland
No forgiveness
THE Sun cannot and will not ever be forgiven and should not be sold anywhere in Merseyside. It is nothing more than an opportunist rag.
Mark Dunne, Hillsborough survivor
So arrogant
HOW arrogant can that "paper" still be? When one apologises unreservedly, it needs to be qualified by a statement that does indeed apologise without reservation, not one that tries to claim the people of Liverpool are in the wrong for being disappointed with Wayne Rooney. This attitude towards the Everton striker comes not from local media stirring things up, but from a deep-seated hatred of this rag. Everyone on Merseyside knows this is an attempt by The Sun to try and increase its fantastically poor readership within the area; one, which I am sure, will fail.
Gary Farrell, Crosby
He may leave
AS A Scouser and Liverpool supporter, I totally agree with the boycott of the Sun newspaper and continue to offer condolences to all the people who lost loved ones or were hurt at Hillsborough.
Though I do think the comments aimed at Wayne Rooney are unfair, admittedly he has been badly advised and maybe he now realises the strength of feeling which still exists against The Sun. If I was an Evertonian I would be concerned that he may feel he has to leave the club in an effort to put this behind him. I look forward with a little trepidation to him running out at Anfield still in his blue strip.
Roy Caslin, via e-mail
UNACCEPTABLE. They might as well have just summarised it as "We've apologised a thousand times, just get over it and start buying our paper again".
Tony Mooney, Maghull
A wicked ploy
WHAT are The Sun on about, I ask you? I'm a Liverpool fan and haven't said a bad word about Wayne Rooney - and have certainly not been "trashing" the young man, as the Sun says we have been, from its shaky moral pedestal. What made my jaw hit the floor though was that this rag said: "We cannot believe these protests properly represent the opinions of the majority of men and women in Liverpool". Well the thing is, they do and the fact that they are unable to realise this is the very reason why they were foolish and wicked enough to use Wayne Rooney as a shield to their sales, which I hope will never recover. Justice for the 96.
Robert Alan Pope, via e-mail
It's laughable
I AM a lifelong Everton fan and can honestly say I hate the Sun newspaper for the way they covered the Hillsborough tragedy. For the Sun to apologise today is laughable and arrogant; do they think we are stupid in this city?
James Byrne, Childwall
Time to forgive
I THINK it's about time we forgive and forget. The people at the Sun newspaper are not the same people who were there in 1989. I think this hatred of the Sun newspaper is now reflecting badly upon us. We have to move on, there is nothing more to achieve by continuing this campaign against The Sun newspaper.
Denis Grainger, Liverpool 25
They lied
THE SUN should print, in exactly the same size type on the front page as they used for the infamous "The Truth" front page, the words "WE LIED". And then apologise, naming and shaming their sources for the original story. This should also be the case on their website, to ensure that the message goes as far as possible. Until then - thanks, but no thanks - they are not forgiven. And yes, I was at Hillsborough.
Ray Roberts
Admit lies
THERE is only one thing this "newspaper" can do to hope to right their wrongs. And that is to devote their entire front page, as they did to their despicable lies, to four simple words: WE LIED, WE APOLOGISE. I as a Liverpool supporter will accept nothing less.
Kjell Ivar Haugnes, Oslo, Norway
Sun's insult
I'M INSULTED! This is not a proper apology this is a 'We are appalled at the way Wayne Rooney has been treated by fellow Merseysider's. The Sun just couldn't say YES we made an error, YES we were WRONG and we are SORRY! End of story! What's this nonsense about Rooney? It's disgusting and I'm fuming!
Louise Lacy, Liverpool 27

The truth is, The Sun has made another mistake
Daily Post Comment
Jul 8 2004
WE HAVE been criticised for some things, and from some quarters, in our time, but yesterday's comments in a full-page article in The Sun newspaper just about takes the biscuit. As you will have read in yesterday's Daily Post, The Sun published an apology for what it quite properly described as the most terrible mistake in its history - its outrageous slur on the memory of the 96 Hillsborough dead and their families, under the breathtakingly inappropriate banner headline "The Truth".
It was 15 years ago, and The Sun has chosen to bare its soul about this shameful episode because of the controversy surrounding Everton and England star Wayne Rooney's exclusive deal with the News International tabloid. Apparently the Post, along with its sister paper the Liverpool Echo, are to blame for all this. Let us quote from their article: "What the Sun finds most depressing about what is going on in Liverpool is the way trouble is being stirred up by the local papers, the Post and the Echo." The article then helpfully reminds readers that we are owned by Trinity Mirror, the same company which owns the Sun's key tabloid rival, The Daily Mirror, before adding: "The misery being inflicted on Wayne Rooney is a crude effort by them to make commercial gain. We hope that the people of modern Liverpool, a city of spirit and sophistication, are not taken in." So it is the Post and Echo who are making a crude effort for commercial gain? An interesting analysis of the situation, we are sure you will agree. The Hillsborough disaster took place 10 years before our parent group merged with Mirror Group Newspapers to form Trinity Mirror. We reported the tragedy then, and have continued to report its repercussions ever since, with compassion, responsibility, and the greatest of care for the sensitivities of the community we serve. We remain completely editorially independent of the Mirror and the many other national, regional and local newspapers in the Trinity Mirror stable. As to our coverage of Wayne Rooney, we have followed his career from the start, long before his extraordinary talent brought him into the sights of the national media. We have always been hugely supportive of Wayne, and will remain so. He is a young man of whom the whole of Merseyside can be extremely proud. Whether he was well advised in signing up with The Sun, given the sensitivities involved, is another question. It was always going to be a controversial step. All we have done is to faithfully report the reaction that the deal has sparked. Is Sun editor Rebekah Wade really suggesting that we should not cover issues which excite such passionate concern from our community, for fear of depressing her and her colleagues? We do not really need lectures on how to cover modern Liverpool, particularly from a newspaper so committed to the concerns of our region that it has announced that it will close down its north west office later this month with a string of redundancies. Perhaps Wade should look more closely at her motives for yesterday's apology. In April, to mark the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, the Daily Post published a major article analysing the unique phenomenon in newspaper publishing history that is the impact of The Sun's coverage on its relations with Merseyside. We invited Wade and News International to discuss the issue in a balanced way. They refused. If an apology had been on their minds, they could hardly have chosen a better platform or moment. Now, on the back of a big deal they have signed with football's hottest property, they find it expedient to make their apology. Wade's assistant editor, Graham Dudman, went on a local radio phone-in yesterday and apologised once again for all his newspaper had done. He described his paper's article as a "fulsome" apology. As our erudite readers will know, this frequently misused word actually means "over the top and insincere". Clearly, Dudman had made a mistake. Although, come to think of it . . .

Moyes: Offer recognises Rooney standing
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 8 2004
DAVID MOYES believes Everton have recognised Wayne Rooney's standing in the game - and his potential to go even further - in their record-breaking contract offer. Everton are still awaiting a response from Rooney's representatives ProActive over the £50,000-a-week five-year deal they proposed to the 18-year-old on Tuesday. Goodison officials hope talks will commence within days as they attempt to keep the England striker away from Manchester United and Chelsea's grasp. Manager Moyes believes the contract offer rewards Rooney's rise within the game. "The club have made Wayne a good offer," he said. "He is here for another two years and we have shown we want to extend that to five. It is all credit to the club that they have realised Wayne's ability and potential, and that is mirrored in the offer they have made to a boy who is 18-years-old." Everton director Paul Gregg, in Thailand yesterday for the official unveiling of the club's new sponsorship deal with Chang Beer, stressed no offers or enquiries have yet been made for Rooney. And he hopes Everton's contract offer and valuation of the Euro 2004 star will be enough to resist United's advances.
Gregg said: "I think we all recognise that Wayne Rooney is an Evertonian. He has grown up through the Everton Academy and obviously from the club's point of view we are very keen that he should stay at Goodison Park. It is our ambition that he should stay at Goodison Park. "We have received no offer from any other club so we are offering Wayne a contract that we believe is the highest the club have ever paid any player. "His management will consider it and Everton for our part are delighted to recognise Wayne's success in Euro 2004 and we are doing everything in our power to persuade him that his time at Everton has only been short. We have every reason to believe that he will be with the team when he recovers from his foot injury." Everton's one-year association with Chang Beer is worth £1.5m to the Goodison club, with part of that sum spent developing the club's brand in Thailand with, for example, a supporters club.

Radzinski rejects three-year deal
Jul 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI has rocked Everton by turning down the club's latest contract offer. The 30-year-old striker has declined a new three-year deal. It comes less than a month after the Canadian international told the club he wanted an extra year on the two-year deal put to him at the end of last season. Radzinski has 12 months remaining on his current contract and if he does not put pen to paper on a fresh agreement David Moyes is intent on keeping him at Goodison, allowing his contract to tick down rather than lose him now for a small fee. The player has attracted interest from Charlton and Fulham with the Cottagers having already seen a cheeky £900,000 bid turned down. West Bromich Albion are also believed to be monitoring the situation. Moyes said: "Tomasz Radzinski requested a three-year contract. We offered a three-year contract, but he has now rejected that offer." Meanwhile, the Blues are still waiting on a response from Wayne Rooney's agent to the club's £12.5m five-year contract offer. The size of the deal reflects Everton's determination to keep hold of their prize asset. Director Paul Gregg said: "I think we all recognise that Wayne Rooney is an Evertonian. "He has grown up through the Everton academy and we are obviously very keen that he should stay at Goodison Park. "It's our ambition that he should stay. I can confirm that we have no interest expressed by Manchester United." One striker who could be on his way out of Goodison though is Kevin Campbell. The experienced forward has one year remaining on his Everton contract and the club has been made aware of interest in the player from Leicester City. David Moyes is continuing to scour the transfer markets in search of the players who fit into the club's strict transfer budget. He has singled out former French under-21 international Brahim Hemdani as a potential target, but the Marseille captain is valued at £1m. That price tag could hinder the Blues' chances of acquiring the 26-year-old midfielder.

Blues banking on Eastern promise
Jul 8 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
IF you think Premiership football is big business now, come back in 10 or 20 years time. Because the thought of Everton being strapped for cash or Liverpool needing to trawl for new investment partners might just be a strange little difficulty belonging to yesteryear. The Blues announcement yesterday could well be a sign of the times to come. In cutting a deal in Thailand for shirt sponsorship with the brewery Thai Beverages, the club has turned on a tap which might one day just be gushing some serious cash in the direction of Goodison Park. We await with increasingly baited breath to hear whether Liverpool have struck an even more lucrative and ground -breaking deal in Thailand. It's no secret Liverpool see the country as a gateway to the whole Far East market, where support for British football is fanatical and which could soon yield some decent money on merchandising. Soon our two big clubs will divert their eyes from east to west. Both Liverpool and Everton are shortly to embark on tours of the States, Liverpool to play some of Europe's biggest names in the North east of America and Everton facing two top Mexican sides in Texas. They've both got serious competition out in the USA, where many Premiership clubs want to make a breakthrough and where, if one or two barriers to interest in the game can be broken down, then there could be opportunities for both clubs to develop a valuable fan base in America. Satellite TV and computer streaming is now changing the world so rapidly that it really doesn't matter whether you are sitting in Bootle or Bangkok, West Derby or West Palm Beach, the chances are you can now catch the game live and at a price. That's not to mention Australia or Africa, where other opportunities to cash in are emerging or will one day do so. Europe's biggest clubs are turning on to the prospects, and of course the bigger your reputation is to begin with, the more likely you are to have a head start. But there's also room for the quickest off the mark to gain an advantage, and with Thai Breweries' brand Chang now proudly proclaimed on their shirts it looks like a case of 'first up, best dressed' for Everton. Particularly when the player bearing the new look shirt is one Wayne Rooney, suddenly a global superstar who can surely help Everton's popularity rise enormously in these new football markets. The reason Everton are determined to keep hold of him is so David Moyes - who has developed his talent and his temperament as well as anyone could have hoped - can build a team around him, and get Everton up the table rather than further down it. But he can also be a huge asset for the Blues off the pitch too, as they join others in the race to conquer new worlds both East and West.

Blues' future is in Roo's hands
Jul 8 2004 Everton Correspondent SCOTT McLEOD examines why Wayne Rooney's future could hold the key to the Blues' fortunes
AS signals of intent go, Everton's mammoth contract offer for Wayne Rooney is hugely impressive.
For much of the summer Evertonians have had to endure constant speculation about the future of the 18-year-old from Croxteth (right) who has suddenly become the hottest property in Europe.
Manchester United one day, Chelsea the next. There have been few people outside Merseyside who have remained unconvinced by the speculation. And even in the city, Blues have been getting twitchy. We have received so many calls to our sportsdesk from worried fans we even contemplated setting up an extension direct to the Samaritans. There is no smoke without fire, after all. Indeed, who wouldn't be interested in adding Rooney to their ranks? The club needed to do something impressive to clear the air and douse the flames. And this week they delivered. £50,000-a-week over five years is impressive. If Rooney signs the £12.5m deal his income will increase overnight by £37,000-a-week. It tramples all over the previous biggest contract dished out by the club when Duncan Ferguson agreed a £35,000-a-week five year deal upon his return from Newcastle in 2000.
But while we may be talking telephone numbers now, it will all count for nothing if the deal remains unsigned. Earlier this summer Everton announced they had made a bid of £7m for Alan Smith. Days later the youngster signed for Manchester United and since then Everton have cobbled together just £450,000 to secure the services of Marcus Bent from Ipswich. The failure to turn the bold Smith bid into a bold Smith signing merely added to the frustration of the fans. Too often in recent years Everton have dared to think big only to come crashing down to earth with a bump. This time, we need to see a happy ending. And that is why Rooney's decision will not just have a personal impact for the teenager, it will dictate the club's progress over the next couple of years. Securing a player of his calibre and renown will remind everybody in this country and beyond that Everton is still a giant of English football, despite the financial constraints which have restricted the club in recent years.
It will also send a telling message to those suitors who may have believed Everton were a soft touch, a former giant of the game now surviving on past glories. But, more importantly, Goodison Park will remain the arena for one of the world's hottest properties. If the prospect of earning more money elsewhere has ever crossed Rooney's mind for even a split second, he now knows he doesn't need to leave his beloved Blues to acquire all the riches he needs. But ambition is his greatest driving force. And now he knows the club match his ambition. That is good news for the fans, the financiers, the manager, the current playing staff and, crucially, any prospective signings. Moyes is intent on building a side at Goodison. Rooney is a sizeable chunk of the jigsaw - and as strong a magnet as a manager could wish for when negotiating for new players. Let's just hope that if Wayne does put pen to paper, there is enough cash left in the coffers to add a few more faces to the squad.

Wayne has a cross to bear
Jul 8 2004 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY impressed high street shoppers in Aintree when he showed off his latest tattoo.
The Everton youngster had just visited the DNC tattoo parlour on Warbreck Moor when he was surrounded by fans trying to catch a glimpse of his new tattoo. And they were not disappointed, as the covering protecting the etching slipped away to reveal a blue cross. One onlooker said: "Someone said they had just seen Wayne Rooney coming out of the tattoo parlour and everyone ran down to see him. "When I got there he was surrounded by people asking him for autographs but he was really patient and signed them all. "One woman asked him to show her his new tattoo and he said he couldn't because he had been told to keep the protective covering on. "But while he was chatting the covering slipped away and it looked like the tattoo was some kind of cross. Of course, it was blue." Eagle-eyed photography student Sarah Smith managed to capture the moment Wayne's tattoo made its first public appearance when she snapped him outside the parlour. The tattoo is Wayne's third. He has an etching of his girlfriend Coleen's name on his right shoulder and the word "okay" on his back. It is thought one of Wayne's closest friends has a tattoo saying "now" on his back to complete the phrase "okay now" which the pair are regularly heard saying.

Apology too little, too late
Jul 8 2004 Letters to the Editor, Daily Post
Apology too little, too late
THE Sun's apology will never be enough. I'm an Evertonian but a Scouser first. I'm proud of Everton. But I admit it, Liverpool Football Club and its fans are a credit to the city in their behaviour and success. The Sun's apology was too little too late. The damage has been done not only to those involved but to the reputation of the city.
Chris Regan, Southport
Blame agent
I THINK that Wayne Rooney's agent must take the blame for not attempting to advise Wayne about what outcome may arise from the article in the Sun.
TC, Oxford
They branded us
I THINK it's disgusting that the Sun newspaper came out with its apology. The fact of the matter is that 15 years ago the newspaper branded the people of Liverpool as scum. This was not only a reference to the football fans that attended the match but all the people of the city. I know personally that many people from around the country and the world think of Scousers as loyal, hardworking and people who think of others before themselves. The Sun's article today has again put the people of Liverpool across in a bad light. It basically puts us across as pettyminded people who are unforgiving. The newspaper was sadly mistaken if it thought it could make me look inside myself and think "hang on a minute, maybe I should just learn to forget about it". It was also mistaken if it thought it would change the mind of not only Scousers but outsiders from across the world, people who really know the city and its people. No chance. The memory of the 96 will always remain in the hearts of these people and the memory will not fade with time. The Sun does not deserve our forgiveness. It is below us. We have every right not to buy the Sun and i for one will always look upon it as a newspaper who tried to lie about the sons and daughters of our great city.
Paul Beattie, via e-mail
A grim rag
IT TOOK 15 years but shouldn't have even taken 15 seconds. The lies of that newspaper will never be forgotten and the so-called "apology" smacks of a lowly and desperate attempt to boost sales and profits. Reference to Trinity Mirror's owner-ship of the two local papers is a cheap points-scoring exercise which is, and always has been, typical of a grim national rag. Nobody who cares deeply about Liverpool and Merseyside will be fooled.
Craig McGlasson via e-mail
They don't care
IF ROONEY didn't get all the fuss he's getting now, they would never have even considered to print an "apology".They don't even care about him! They only care about their sales. This "apology" is a disgrace to the families of the 96, to the people who survived, to the people who lost friends and it's a big disgrace to the whole city of Liverpool, blue and red.
Dennis Stelten, Holland
No forgiveness
THE Sun cannot and will not ever be forgiven and should not be sold anywhere in Merseyside. It is nothing more than an opportunist rag.
Mark Dunne, Hillsborough survivor
So arrogant
HOW arrogant can that "paper" still be? When one apologises unreservedly, it needs to be qualified by a statement that does indeed apologise without reservation, not one that tries to claim the people of Liverpool are in the wrong for being disappointed with Wayne Rooney. This attitude towards the Everton striker comes not from local media stirring things up, but from a deep-seated hatred of this rag. Everyone on Merseyside knows this is an attempt by The Sun to try and increase its fantastically poor readership within the area; one, which I am sure, will fail.
Gary Farrell, Crosby
He may leave
AS A Scouser and Liverpool supporter, I totally agree with the boycott of the Sun newspaper and continue to offer condolences to all the people who lost loved ones or were hurt at Hillsborough.
Though I do think the comments aimed at Wayne Rooney are unfair, admittedly he has been badly advised and maybe he now realises the strength of feeling which still exists against The Sun. If I was an Evertonian I would be concerned that he may feel he has to leave the club in an effort to put this behind him. I look forward with a little trepidation to him running out at Anfield still in his blue strip.
Roy Caslin, via e-mail
UNACCEPTABLE. They might as well have just summarised it as "We've apologised a thousand times, just get over it and start buying our paper again".
Tony Mooney, Maghull
A wicked ploy
WHAT are The Sun on about, I ask you? I'm a Liverpool fan and haven't said a bad word about Wayne Rooney - and have certainly not been "trashing" the young man, as the Sun says we have been, from its shaky moral pedestal. What made my jaw hit the floor though was that this rag said: "We cannot believe these protests properly represent the opinions of the majority of men and women in Liverpool". Well the thing is, they do and the fact that they are unable to realise this is the very reason why they were foolish and wicked enough to use Wayne Rooney as a shield to their sales, which I hope will never recover
. Justice for the 96. Robert Alan Pope, via e-mail
It's laughable
I AM a lifelong Everton fan and can honestly say I hate the Sun newspaper for the way they covered the Hillsborough tragedy. For the Sun to apologise today is laughable and arrogant; do they think we are stupid in this city?
James Byrne, Childwall
Time to forgive
I THINK it's about time we forgive and forget. The people at the Sun newspaper are not the same people who were there in 1989. I think this hatred of the Sun newspaper is now reflecting badly upon us. We have to move on, there is nothing more to achieve by continuing this campaign against The Sun newspaper.
Denis Grainger, Liverpool 25
They lied
THE SUN should print, in exactly the same size type on the front page as they used for the infamous "The Truth" front page, the words "WE LIED". And then apologise, naming and shaming their sources for the original story. This should also be the case on their website, to ensure that the message goes as far as possible. Until then - thanks, but no thanks - they are not forgiven. And yes, I was at Hillsborough.
Ray Roberts Admit lies
THERE is only one thing this "newspaper" can do to hope to right their wrongs. And that is to devote their entire front page, as they did to their despicable lies, to four simple words: WE LIED, WE APOLOGISE. I as a Liverpool supporter will accept nothing less.
Kjell Ivar Haugnes, Oslo, Norway
Sun's insult
I'M INSULTED! This is not a proper apology this is a 'We are appalled at the way Wayne Rooney has been treated by fellow Merseysider's. The Sun just couldn't say YES we made an error, YES we were WRONG and we are SORRY! End of story! What's this nonsense about Rooney? It's disgusting and I'm fuming!
Louise Lacy, Liverpool 27

So how can Wayne eclipse The Sun?
Jul 8 2004 ECHO Chief Features Writer Paddy Shennan finds out what Rooney could do next to appease the city for taking Murdoch's money . . .
IT really didn't have to be this way. It really SHOULDN'T have been this way. But bad advice has been taken, a bad deal has been done and, to add yet more insult to injury, the people of Merseyside have again been cast as the villains of the piece.
* Ninety-six Liverpool fans die at Hillsborough - The Sun kicks us where it hurts.
* Bereaved families voice their understandable dismay that advisers supposedly acting in the best interests of Everton's Wayne Rooney seal a deal with The Sun - and the same paper again kicks us where it hurts. One week he's the golden boy. The pride of Croxteth. The pride of Merseyside. The pride of England. A local and national hero. The new star on football's European stage. And the next? His previously good name is dragged through the mud, and disgraceful attempts are made to drive a wedge between him and his fellow citizens. So, following his not-so-great misadventures in The Sun, what next for Wayne Rooney? The debate about his footballing future - and where it lies - has been raging since he made his debut for Everton as a 16-year-old nearly two years ago. But what about off-the-field? What should he do next? Keep his head down and let others do the talking and his bidding? Hang on, isn't that how he found himself in this sad, sorry and needless mess? Phil Hammond, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, has already called on the 18-year-old to donate his fee - the deal with The Sun is said to be worth £250,000 - to local charities.
He has also invited him to a meeting, at which he can watch Jimmy McGovern's powerful and heartbreakingly sad drama-documentary Hillsborough. He added that if he feels he has been badly advised, he should sack his agents. And Max Clifford, Britain's best-known publicist, stresses: "Wayne Rooney isn't the target here - the targets are others who are older and should be wiser.
"I think it's now necessary for Wayne to explain his position on this. I think he owes that to the people of Liverpool. "And I think it would be good for both him and the people of Liverpool if he gave a press conference and said 'It wasn't my intention to cause offence.' I think that would help things to move forward." And, regarding The Sun, he adds: "It is fine to criticise The Sun for what it is doing now, but I don't think it would be fair for people to blame the current editor, Rebekah Wade, and her team, for what happened 15 years ago, and which they had nothing to do with."
Wayne was said, on the front page of yesterday's Sun newspaper, to be "hurt" by a "hate campaign launched against him in his home city." But his business manager, Paul Stretford, the founder of the Proactive Sports Group, has distanced his star client from the paper's remarks about Hillsborough and its supposed apology. He said: "We all wish to make it clear that the sentiments expressed in yesterday's Sun were the views of that newspaper alone and we were not asked to, nor did we, endorse them." And he added: "Wayne and (his fiancee) Coleen are immensely proud of their home city, its people and every part of its heritage. They have shown this by the work they do and the money they donate to various Merseyside charities, including Alder Hey and Claire House. "This will continue to be a big part of both their lives in the future." Ricky Tomlinson, who played bereaved father John Glover in Jimmy McGovern's Hillsborough - John lost his 20-year-old son, Ian, in the disaster - believes there is no need for Wayne Rooney to rehabilitate himself. He says: "Wayne is a lad of 18, only just old enough to vote. He's not a businessman. He's someone who has employed people to advise him and act on his behalf and now he finds himself in this terrible mess. "I don't blame Wayne Rooney and I'm sure he's not done this for the money. He can earn £250,000 after a few weeks of playing football or, even quicker, from an endorsement. "I think whoever advised him on this should give something to charity and make an apology on the front page of the ECHO."
The Sun's actions, he says, have done nothing but cause more harm: "The grief, sadness, anger, pain and heartache were slowly fading, but it has now all been resurrected. "I've had offers from The Sun, but I've never done anything for them; I will talk to anyone except The Sun." Peter Hooton, lead singer with The Farm - whose single, All Together Now, was the FA's official Euro 2004 song and, like Ricky, a Liverpool fan - says: "The whole thing has obviously been a public relations disaster.
"What should Wayne Rooney do now? I haven't got any advice - except, perhaps, 'Change your agent!' "And I think The Sun have really shot themselves in the foot. They have opened up old wounds and, as a result, a new generation of 16, 17 and 18-year-olds will now learn all about what happened over Hillsborough - and that will hit their sales even more. "For The Sun to have a go at the Trinity Mirror newspaper group, which includes the ECHO, is mind-boggling. The stupidity of it! If they were serious about making amends, they should simply have printed, on their front page, "SORRY. WE LIED." Simon O'Brien, TV presenter, actor and Evertonian, also believes Wayne needs to take action: "I think he should make some kind of statement, either to justify what has been done or apologise for it. "I will continue to support him in a Blue shirt, but I just think he needs some good, sound advice so all this can be sorted out. "I don't think it's a good idea to say nothing at all."
Sales figures are at the root of this sorry tale THE decision by The Sun to apologise for its disgusting lies at the time of the Hillsborough disaster should be seen by all Merseysiders as an attempt to boost its sales figures for the Wayne Rooney story. The Sun's attempt to cloud the tragedy of Hillsborough by once again attacking the memory of those who died by suggesting that the ECHO is behind the disgust people feel at Wayne Rooney's decision to sell his story to The Sun is one more insult to the families and friends of those who died - and to the whole of Merseyside. Rooney, like Souness before him, should never have allowed his story to have appeared in The Sun. This 'apology' is not worth the paper it's written on.
D. J. Baum,
Knowsley (via e-mail)
Apology is in very bad taste
I THINK The Sun has got a cheek to print this apology. I have not seen the paper nor do I wish to but, from what you say in your piece in the ECHO, I find the whole thing appalling and in bad taste. The Hillsborough disaster is still raw and once again this has opened up a lot of wounds for the families and friends of people who lost people on that sad day. I am an Evertonian and I was at Villa Park when the news came through. My sister had travelled to Hillsborough without a ticket. My journey home was bad enough, so I cannot begin to imagine how other families felt when they got the news that they had lost someone. Luckily for me my sister did not even attempt to enter the terraces that day. I am really upset that Wayne went to "The Scum" with his life story. The apology is too little too late and I only hope that people again begin to boycott the paper, and to all decent people out there - if you see someone with the paper tell them to buy another daily instead.
Julie King, Liverpool (via e-mail)
IT is obvious that the publication of Wayne's story in The Sun was a deal brokered by his agents, so how come the blame is not being apportioned correctly?
Name & Address Supplied (via e-mail)

Where is the justice in
IF The Sun is so full of remorse and sorrow over Hillsborough, then why does it not voice its full and unmitigated support to the campaign for justice? Surely there could be no better expression of regret than to offer to get behind the survivors and their bereaved families. A donation to cover legal expenses would be an example, although I suspect there is simply too much water under the bridge for most people affected by Hillsborough to treat such an offer with anything other than disdainful cynicism. Much like this 'apology'. However, as many people are aware, the lies go much further than the editor's desk at The Sun and until the real perpetrators of 'The Truth' are brought to justice there will be no forgiveness.
Paul Donegan,
Seaforth (via e-mail)
THE editorial in The Sun yesterday left me both pleased and disappointed. To speak openly about their errors of 15 years ago and unreservedly apologise for "The Truth" is commendable.
Had the apology finished after the first seven paragraphs then I'm sure the majority of people in Merseyside would have accepted it. What, may I ask, was the intent of publishing "The Truth" in the first place, if it wasn't for commercial gain? It demonstrates the paper's lack of understanding of the deep feelings surrounding "The Truth" for such links to be made. I fear the apology has left The Sun confused and the people of Merseyside will continue not to buy this paper. I feel this is an opportunity wasted by The Sun to correct their errors and move on.
The paper is correct to say time is a great healer, unfortunately all this episode has done is resurrect many ill feelings.
Malcolm Dickinson, Liverpool (via e-mail)
THE only way Wayne Rooney can redeem himself is by giving away The Sun's money to charity.
If not, I suggest he goes to Manchester or London because he has clearly forgotten the place he comes from. He may only have been three years old at the time. So what? My niece is three years old and knows The Sun never comes into our house.
Mrs C. L., Woolton (via e-mail)

Everton will lose Rooney battle - agent
July 08, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Leading agent Jon Smith believes Wayne Rooney will be prised away from Everton despite the Goodison Park club's best efforts to keep the England striker. Rooney saw his stock rise dramatically with four goals as England reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2004 in Portugal. But even money-bags Chelsea's apparent lack of interest in Rooney has not deterred the speculation that he will move, with Manchester United and even Real Madrid mentioned as possible destinations.
Everton manager David Moyes has offered Rooney a new five-year contract in a bid to hold on to the teenager. But Smith, of the SFX group, believes Everton are unlikely to win the battle to keep the Barclays Premiership's hottest property.
"I'd be very surprised if Everton end up keeping him," said Smith. "I think they've done a very good job trying," Smith added on Radio 5 Live. Smith believes that if Everton can bring in more than '20million for the 18-year-old and add to squad with player exchanges being part of the Rooney deal they will be forced to accept his departure. With Everton reported to be '40million in debt Moyes may find his hand being forced by the Everton board. "Maybe if two or three other players become part of that transaction I think it would serve them well," added Smith

Comment: Ronaldo to upstage Rooney
Paul Hince
July 08, 2004
Manchester Newsing News
UNLESS you've been holidaying on Mars, it won't have escaped your attention that the whole world has gone Rooney-crazy these past few weeks. And with good reason. How many 18-year-olds have had the bombshell impact on a major international tournament that young Wayne did in Euro 2004?
Will Rooney take that blistering form he displayed in Portugal with him into the Premiership next season? That could depend on which colour shirt he is wearing. Even the teenage wonderkid can't carry Everton around on his shoulders for ever. But if I had to put my money on a young, inexperienced footballer setting the English Premiership alight in the coming season, I wouldn't plump for Rooney, for all his undoubted talent. My money would go on a boy who is not much older than the Everton sensation. And this kid also demonstrated his world-class potential during the European Championships. His name - if you haven't already guessed - is Cristiano Ronaldo.
I have a confession to make. When I first saw Ronaldo playing for Manchester United early last season, I thought Alex Ferguson had wasted '12.5m of his club's money in bringing him over from Sporting Lisbon.
Come on, you Reds fans. Didn't you feel the same way about your new acquisition? More than twelve million quid for a show pony. All fancy tricks and no end product. I can even remember writing a column at the time about Ronaldo in which I suggested that, if he didn't cut out those fancy stepovers, some beefy full-back was going to deposit him in the thirteenth row of the main stand.
I should have known better. As usual, Sir Taggart was right and I was wrong. Fergie had obviously seen that, beneath the party tricks, there was a serious footballer bursting to get out. And burst out he has. Probably half a season had slipped by before I got my second look at Ronaldo in the flesh playing for his club side. He was almost unrecognisable from the player I had seen in the opening weeks of the campaign. He had changed physically. He looked bigger and stronger than when I first saw him. And his game had changed, too.
Sure, he still had more tricks up his sleeve than Paul Daniels, but now there was purpose in his play. Ronaldo was no longer a show pony. Now there was an awareness of others around him. He knew where to pass and when to pass. Here was a boy not only with playing ability but with the ability to learn. And six months working with Fergie and his coaching staff at Carrington Moss had taught him plenty. Of course, running rings around a Leicester City full-back - with the greatest of respect - is not exactly the same as pitting your skills against some of the best defenders on the planet. And that was the quality of the opposition which Ronaldo faced while playing for Portugal in Euro 2004.
The tournament represented the biggest test of his fledgling career. And the kid from Old Trafford passed it with flying colours. With the exception of the final itself, when the Portuguese forwards were hardly given a sniff of the ball by a wonderful Greek defence, Ronaldo was magnificent throughout the tournament.
At the age of 19, Ronaldo was to Portugal what Rooney was to England. Their teenage talisman. The very hub of their attack who displayed an ability to play anywhere along the front line with equal effect. The show pony I first saw in the summer of 2003 had become a genuine team player by the summer of 2004 without sacrificing any of his natural gifts. What a transformation. Did you see Cristiano's face at the end of the championship final? He looked heartbroken, didn't he? I'll tell you what that image said to me. It said that here was a young footballer who cares about his soccer, who wants success on the field both for his club and his country. Now a little inner voice tells me that Ronaldo will find the success he craves while playing for Manchester United in the coming season.
He will torment and terrorise defences from one end of the country to the other - of that I am positive. And another voice tells me that, as yet, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg as far as this extraordinary kid from Portugal is concerned. He's only had one full season in the Premiership and is still learning his trade. I shudder to think of the havoc he will be creating amongst opposing defences by the time he's 21. Rooney's chances of fulfilling his frightening potential will hinge on where he pitches his tent ahead of the coming campaign. Ronaldo's stage is all ready and waiting at the Theatre of Dreams. Can you imagine the two greatest teenage talents in the world playing for the same team next season? No. It could never happen - could it?

Robson urges Rooney to join Reds
July 08, 2004
Manchester Evening News
BRYAN Robson is imploring Wayne Rooney to weigh up the potential medal count between Manchester United and Everton and move to Old Trafford. Everton have offered the 18-year-old ace a king's ransom to stay at Goodison. It's a '50,000 a week wage packet Old Trafford wouldcertainly match if not beat. But United legend Robbo insists cups not cash should be Rooney's deciding factor and Old Trafford would win hands down. "It's okay earning huge wages and being a top player but inside most of the biggest stars there is this burning ambition to win things and in all fairness you'd have to say he stands a far better chance doing that at Old Trafford as opposed to Goodison. "There is no getting away from it, if he stayed at Everton he might not win anything. If he stays at Everton he has got to ask himself is he going to win something in the next five years? The answer is likely to be no.
"He has to be looking to improve all the time and win things and that can be done at United. "He'd be playing with top class players on the biggest stage. Wayne seems to be a big time player and the Old Trafford stage would not faze him at all. "It would be a good move by United. I think they would need someone like Rooney to really make a push for the Champions League and the title again.
"He still has to prove himself. He's only had one good competition to his name but you have to say he was terrific in Euro 2004. "But for me he is good enough now so why not move to United now. If he develops the way he has been doing then he is going to be world class and United could accelerate that process. "Wayne reminds me as a player and character of Norman Whiteside. The way he holds the ball up and the way he strikes it I think the closest player I can recall with that ability was Norman. "Norman didn't have Wayne's pace but Rooney has all Norman's attributes plus the pace. He's also mentally very tough like Norman was. Norman was 18 when he took the 1982 World Cup by storm and handled the Old Trafford pressure brilliantly. Old Trafford was the right place for him and it will be for Wayne."

Blues to urge Liverpool to back groundshare plan
By Andy Kelly Daily Post Staff
Jul 9 2004
A DECISION on whether Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs will share a stadium must be made within weeks, the Daily Post can reveal. The prospect of such a move came a huge step closer yesterday when Everton's chief executive, Trevor Birch, confirmed he would formally approach Liverpool with a groundshare proposal. Mr Birch said: "In the next couple of weeks, I will make a proposal to Liverpool. We need a new ground and we know it makes sense to share." The ex-pro and former Leeds and Chelsea executive has made no secret of the fact that generating revenue through a new stadium is a pivotal part of his masterplan to return Everton to the upper echelons of the English game. It now appears his preferred option - perhaps the only option given Everton's current financial situation - is for Everton to come on board Liverpool's £80m Stanley Park stadium plan. That is to be considered by city planners at the end of this month so any deal would almost certainly have to be in place by then. Mr Birch, who took over from Michael Dunford in May, now seems prepared to "think the unthinkable". The majority of Everton and Liverpool fans have made it clear they would not support any plan to share a stadium with their closest rivals. Ian Macdonald, spokesman for the Independent Everton Supporters Club, said: "Everton are looking for something for nothing because they've got no money. I'd ask the people at Everton if they want to be remembered as the people who sold Wayne Rooney and took us into a groundshare." He called on former Everton board member Lord Granchester, son of a Moores family heiress, to come to the financial rescue of the club. Last year the Daily Post was first to reveal that the public sector had approached both Merseyside clubs over the possibility of a groundshare. Everton's Kings Dock dream had turned into a nightmare and the cost of Liverpool's new stadium was clearly going to place a significant burden on the club's finances. The North West Development Agency (NWDA) and Liverpool City Council acted as "honest brokers" in meetings between senior executives of both clubs. The NWDA and other agencies could put £20m towards a stadium - if the clubs agree to share. Last night, Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: "We support a shared stadium because of the economic regeneration benefits it would bring to north Liverpool.
"I recognise the emotions that go with this - they are almost theological - but if it was managed correctly I think the case for a shared stadium sells itself. "We are now at a very important moment and with Liverpool's planning application up at the end of the month, I think we will see something happen either way in the next few weeks."

Moyes was right to protect Rooney
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 9 2004
Moyes was right
CERTAIN media types portrayed David Moyes as something of a killjoy for keeping Wayne Rooney away from the 'limelight'. I remember Mr Moyes having to give his scaryeyeball-look to more than one know-nothing-with-a-microphone. Well, Wayne finally slipped the leash and we've all seen what he's slipped into. What baffles me is that I imagine all the tabloids must have offered huge sums for a Rooney 'exclusive' after Euro 2004. Did Paul Stretford (the person now 'guiding' the Rooneys) REALLY have to pick The Sun?
EJ Ruane, (via e-mail)
Gutter journalism
AT first I was almost taken in by The Sun's apology but was outraged by the rest of the rant instructing the good people of Liverpool to 'move on'. Young Rooney has not being advised well but as a Liverpool supporter, I do wish him well. I might have accepted a genuine apology, but instead The Sun have launched a tirade at the local media because they are connected to a rival national newspaper and have accused some of the people they are trying to apologise to for 'turning its anger on one of the greatest footballing talents the city has ever seen'.
This shower truly belong in the gutter.
B Lorcan (via e-mail)
Liverpool United
IT warms my heart to know that the Blue half of the city concur with the Reds over the issue of The Sun. I remember Hillsborough vividly and the warmth of the people as they all stood as one in their grief at such a tragedy. It was moving. Scousers all around the country get stick from others because of where we come from but our city has one thing most in the country don't have - a community spirit.
Eddie Donovan, (via e-mail)
Blame Stretford
PAUL STRETFORD, Rooney's agent, is to blame for this mess. The best thing Rooney can do is to dismiss this man immediately.
Peter Booth, Liverpool
Money talks
WHO wouldn't have accepted £250,000 for a two-hour interview? Get real. It's a free country and if Rooney can make a few quid off the rag, why not? On the other hand, if he goes to Man U he will never hold the same light with me.
Chris Keenan, New Brighton
Doubting Tomasz
WHAT is going on at Everton? Now Radzinski wants to go!? He got the three-year deal so what is he doing now? Does he know something we don't? Has someone been tapping him up, Fulham for example? The new season isn't far away. I'm sure Tomasz Radzinski's reasoning needs to be explored.
L Boon, Merseyside
Cue Davis bid
IF FULHAM bid £2million for Radzinski and we rejected it, why don't we bid £3m for Sean Davis like Tottenham are - in fact, give them Radzinski and £1m.
M Smith, Liverpool
What's going on?
GRAVESEN leaving, Radzinski leaving, Rooney leaving. Unsworth not wanted, Campbell not wanted, Ferguson not wanted, all the other rubbish not wanted by any club. Those that we want, all not joining us.
O Chadwick, Merseyside
Get rid of all!
IF you ask me, Wayne Rooney has been knocking about with Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen for too long during Euro 2004. The three of them together think that they are too good to stay in this city, they all think that they are the best players in the game. But the truth is that while they aren't bad, they are a long way short of brilliant. Instead of letting them make headlines for all the wrong reasons, get rid of the three of them.
D Brown, Broadway

Radzinski's contract rejection adds to worries
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 9 2004
DAVID MOYES may have to cut his losses with Tomasz Radzinski after the Canadian intensified his striking worries by rejecting Everton's final contract offer. Radzinski joined Wayne Rooney in facing an uncertain Goodison future yesterday when he declined the club's offer of a new three-year contract. Despite demanding a threeyear deal at the end of last season, when Everton offered two, the 30-year-old is believed to be unhappy at the time it took the club to meet his original demands and has decided to leave. Fulham's interest in the former Anderlecht striker may also have influenced the rejection. But whether Radzinski gets his wish is now up to Moyes. The Everton manager has indicated he would rather let the £4.5million player leave on a free next summer than lose him for a nominal fee at a time when Rooney is being pursued by Manchester United and Chelsea. But the prospect of keeping a disillusioned player who could help raise some much-needed transfer money could alter that stance. Moyes has made only one £450,000 signing so far this summer and has missed out on several targets due to the club's lack of funds. Crystal Palace yesterday agreed a £2m fee with Millwall for Tim Cahill, a sum that is beyond Everton's means at present, and Rangers's insistence on a sizable fee for transfer-listed Craig Moore will stifle Moyes's chances of landing the Australian defender. Everton are still awaiting news from ProActive over their decision to offer Rooney a contract worth £13m over the next five years. The Goodison hero went on holiday yesterday after having a plaster cast removed from his broken foot and is not due back in the country for a fortnight. Everton physio Mick Rathbone revealed Rooney's rehabilitation is on course. "So far, so good," he said: "The plaster has come off and he's in a light walking boot. He has a bit of a break now and we will reassess the situation in two weeks." Out-of-contract goalkeeper Steve Simonsen, meanwhile, has agreed a two-year deal with Football League Championship side Stoke.

Madrid chief targets Rooney
Jul 9 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
REAL MADRID presidential candidate Florentino Perez, who is bidding to earn a second term in office, would back a summer move for Wayne Rooney after describing the Everton youngster as a future world beater. And in a sensational outburst, team-mate Tomasz Radzinski has told the 18-year-old (right) that he needs to leave Goodison. It is a blow for the Blues, who are still awaiting a response from Rooney to the offer of a five-year contract worth £50,000-a-week. The striker is currently on a fortnight's holiday and is likely to keep the club sweating on a response until he returns. The prospect of a possible bid from Real Madrid could hinder Everton's chances of keeping the Croxteth striker. Perez would approach Everton if coach Jose Antonio Camacho decides Rooney is a player who might improve Madrid's chances of honours next season. Perez said: "Rooney has shown at Euro 2004 that at the age of 18 he is a splendid player and that he is mature enough to develop both physically and mentally in order to become the most important player in the world. "If Camacho tells me he would like Rooney, I will do my best to sign him." However, Camacho holds the key to Madrid's interest, and he has yet to comment on whether Rooney interests him.
Everton are still facing a battle to hang onto midfield dynamo Thomas Gravesen. His agent John Sivebaek has not ruled out a return to SV Hamburg for the Danish international, once again insisting he has played his last game for the Blues. He said: "Currently we have no intention to extend his spell and I believe that Thomas would very much like to play for Hamburg again." Blues boss David Moyes said: "Thomas is on holiday. We gave him a couple of weeks longer after the Euros. I think I've said it before: we're waiting to hear what Thomas has got to say." Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson is now considering a half million pound pay-off from the club. The Scottish striker is in the last year of his Goodison contract and due to pick up around £2m in wages should he choose to stay. His departure could give Moyes more leeway to attract Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage to Goodison.

Everton rocked by Rad attack
Jul 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON were left reeling today after a blistering attack on the club by want-away striker Tomasz Radzinski. The Canadian advised Wayne Rooney to leave Goodison - and accused manager David Moyes of indecision. The Blues manager has so far made no response to Radzinski's damning newspaper quotes. It is understood the club wish to speak to Radzinski before saying anything about the matter. Everton are also still facing a battle to hang onto midfield dynamo Thomas Gravesen. Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek has not ruled out a return to SV Hamburg for the Danish international, once again insisting he has played his last game for the Blues. He said: "Currently we have no intention to extend his spell and I believe that Thomas would very much like to play for Hamburg again." Moyes said: "Thomas is on holiday. "We gave him a couple of weeks longer after the Euros. I think I've said it before: we're waiting to hear what Thomas has got to say and what his agent has got to say." Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson is now considering a half million pound pay-off from the club. The Scottish striker is in the last year of his Goodison contract and due to pick up around £2m in wages should he choose to stay. Everton, however, hope he will be tempted to take the offer and pursue a new contract elsewhere. His departure could give Moyes more leeway to attract Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage to Goodison. Savage is yet to sign a new deal at St Andrews and although the fee could prove to be a stumbling block, the boyhood Evertonian is believed to be keen on a switch to Goodison. Everton's interest in Savage hasn't yet led to a formal bid for him, despite speculation. But if the Blues feel they now have to consider offer for Gravesen and Radzinski, the money generated could be used to secure the Welsh international.

Radz lights Blue touch paper
Jul 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LESS than 24 hours after rejecting Everton's final contract offer, Tomasz Radzinski has stunned the club by urging Wayne Rooney to leave Goodison. The 30-year-old Canadian (right) is on a collision course with manager David Moyes following an explosive interview with a national paper in which he claims:
* Wayne Rooney should leave Everton.
* Marcus Bent is not the man to save the Blues from a relegation battle next season.
* Indecisive management from Moyes has affected his form.
* He wants to leave Goodison.
He said: "I don't think it is a good place to be at the moment because next season we will be fighting another relegation battle when good players want to be testing and improving themselves by playing in Europe. "It is not the best situation for Wayne or myself to be in right now. I want to be playing in a club in Europe or challenging for a European place while Wayne should be playing at a top club in the Champions League. "Wayne has shown in Euro 2004 that he can play at the top level and I think he needs to move on to further and better himself. "My feeling is that Wayne will definitely move on and I hope he will go somewhere where he can improve and grow as a player, and sadly I don't think that is Everton. "Without building up your team it will be a struggle.
"We have lost a lot of players this season and yet we have only brought one in and I am afraid I don't think Marcus Bent will be able to stop us from struggling again next season." Radzinski believes Rooney's performances for England in Euro 2004 are proof that the teenager from Croxteth must leave the Blues. He adds: "He scored four great goals and was brilliant in Portugal so he showed he was ready and I think he will go on to greater things. "He gives Everton an extra sparkle and I think he showed last month that he has got the ability to be a star at the top level." And Radzinski believes he would also benefit from a move after feeling let down by the club and the manager.
"Last season was a disaster," he continues. "I ran my arse off for the club and in January the manager said as soon as we were safe I would get my rewards which I took to mean a new contract.
"But I was only offered a one year extension and the indecisiveness of the manager was affecting my form. "Anyone who knows David Moyes will know he cannot make a decision. It was so frustrating.
"Then finally they offered me a new three-year contract at the end of last week. But my frustration had become so big that it was too late by then. "It's been two months since the end of the season and the manager has not called me once. That makes me think the club do not want me and for any player that is difficult to accept. "At the end of next season I believe there are 14 players out of contract and that means a lot of players will be uncertain and it doesn't mean the club will be in a very good state. "I think of better places I would rather be on Monday but I have got a year left on my contract so I will be there and see what happens after that. I would like to stay in the Premier-ship because it is a great league. "But I'm 30 years old, I'm ambitious and I want to achieve big things in my career."

Li Tie speeding up on recovery road
Jul 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Li Tie is making rapid progress since returning from China to continue his recuperation from a broken shin. But his recovery will come too late for the midfielder to join his international team-mates as China host the Asia Cup. The 26-year-old midfielder has had to come to terms with the prospect of missing out on the competition which is due to get underway in China a week on Saturday when the hosts take on Bahrain. It is a bitter pill for the midfielder to swallow - and for his home nation. He is the biggest star of the Chinese side, revered there as much as Wayne Rooney is in England. "The Asian Cup is the biggest tournament in Asia," explains Li Tie. "All of my national team-mates are looking forward to trying to win the trophy for our country. "We are the hosts this time. As everyone knows, home advantage can help the hosts win. "We also want to give as good a performance as we can for all of our loyal fans. That's what I want, but I know I can't do it."
While China is gripped by the same fervour and excitement wh ich helped make Euro 2004 such a success, Li Tie will be in Liverpool, reporting to Bellefield every day to undergo rehabilitation.
Everton head physio Mick Rathbone has been delighted with the play-er's progress since coming back to England last month. Li Tie broke his shin when he collided with team-mate Yang Pu during a training session ahead of China's World Cup qualifier against Kuwait in February. The original prognosis was for the player to be out of action for six months. But his recovery while in China has taken longer than anticipated. Things are moving faster now he is back with the Blues, though.
Rathbone confirmed: "It can be frustratingly slow and all we can do at the moment is sit and wait around until the thing heals. "However, he is improving. He's working in the gym." Li Tie is happier with how his recuperation is going. And he is keen to get over the disappointment of missing out on the Asia Cup and so much of last season. He adds: "There are too many things that I do regret from last season. "I missed so many matches and then I broke my shin while on national duty in January.
"I feel better now. I still can't play with the ball at the moment but I am starting to look forward to the new season. "I want to play as many games as I can. I hope I can get more opportunities and I know I need to improve on my confidence which can help me to achieve more."

Tell us what we really want to hear, Rooney
Jul 9 2004 By Philip McNulty, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has spoken out on many subjects this week - and without wishing to be too harsh, has subjected the nation to a blizzard of unadulterated and embarrassing drivel. Rooney's "life" story has proved conclusively that Everton manager David Moyes knew better than agent Paul Stretford all along when he insisted he should be protected from the harsh and unforgiving glare of national attention. It would also have spared us the sick-making revelations about his first night with girlfriend Coleen and how he proposed in that most romantic of locations - a garage forecourt. He has been made to look a fool by those purporting to represent his best interests. I don't blame Rooney. He is a very young boy who has received a piece of spectacularly bad advice. And by that I specifically do not mean the much-discussed rights or wrongs of associating with particular newspapers. That is a matter for him and his advisors.I mean he has been made to look a fool by being pushed far too soon into the position where titbits are being transformed into journalistic spectaculars, and banalities make banner headlines. This is an 18-year-old who has barely had a life, let alone accomplished enough to have intimate moments at a Liverpool hotel served up with the Sunday breakfast. Had Rooney had anything interesting to say it would have been different. But Wayne could do himself the biggest favour of all by actually discussing what appears to have been declared a forbidden subject by his agent. Everton Football Club. Remember them? You know, Rooney's employers? The people who this week put a contract worth a reported £50,000-a-week on the table for the teenager? I do not believe for one minute, as some have suggested, this is a publicity stunt. If Wayne walked into chief executive Trevor Birch's office in the next 10 minutes and asked to sign, it would be a done deal. But whereas Wayne is apparently free to discuss nonsense, he is seemingly banned from putting his football, club and supporters, who still adore him - despite what some might say - out of their misery. Rooney's fate will hang like a mushroom cloud over Everton's entire future until he makes a decision on this massive contract offer, and I genuinely believe he should sign the deal. Manchester United can wait. Playing for the club he loves, in front of supporters he loves and who love him, has hardly harmed him so far. We have had a succession of football men with Manchester United links insisting he must move to Old Trafford. What a shock that is. This will all come as a great delight to Sir Alex Ferguson - why have a dog and bark yourself? - and add weight to a frenzy intent on robbing Everton of Rooney's services. It would be just perfect for Wayne to use his new-found public platform to declare his intentions on what people are REALLY interested in. Wayne, it is time for you to talk to Everton Football Club and about Everton Football Club. They and their supporters deserve no less.

Rooney for Celtic
Jul 9 2004 By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
HUNDREDS of Merseysiders are lining up to have a tattoo in the style of their hero Wayne Rooney.
The Everton and England superstar had a Celtic cross etched on to his right arm at the DMC tattoo parlour in Warbreck Moor, Aintree. Since we gave readers a sneak preview of the tattoo in yesterday's ECHO, staff at the parlour have been deluged with calls from people who want a copycat tattoo. Liverpool's youngest tattooist Dwaynne McGuinness was given the honour of taking his needle to Wayne's arm. Dwaynne, 18, admitted he couldn't believe it when he saw the world's latest football sensation walk through the door of the shop. He said: "I heard a customer saying that there was someone in the shop who looked like Wayne Rooney. "I looked out into the waiting area and I saw it was definitely him. "He already knew what kind of tattoo he wanted and I took him into the back of the shop to do it for him." Despite going under the tattooist's needle for more than two and a half hours Rooney didn't flinch and was described as a "model customer" by staff. Dwaynne said: "He didn't flinch and he was very friendly to everyone. "He even posed for a picture with everyone and he would be welcome back here any time." Everton team-mate Alan Stubbs has already had a tattoo done at DMC and the Blues centre half took Rooney to the parlour when he was asked where he had had his done. There are many different inter-pretations of the symbolism of the Celtic cross. Usually it features a circle which is believed by many to represent the moon. Celtic expert Stephen Walker explained that the cross had close links with Ireland thanks to Saint Patrick.
He said: "There is a legend of how St Patrick was preaching to some soon-to-be converted heathens and he was shown a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle that was symbolic of the moon goddess. "Patrick made the mark of a Latin cross through the circle and blessed the stone, making the first celtic cross. "This legend implies that the saint was willing to make ideas and practices that were formerly Druid into Christian ideas and practices." Rooney is due back at the store in the next few weeks as Dwaynne finishes off his masterpiece on his star customer. Dwaynne added: "We have had Alan Stubbs in and the boxer Paul Smith but Wayne is definitely the most famous person we have had. "Since people saw his new tattoo we have had hundreds of phone calls from people asking to have the same one done."

Liverpool Echo letters special
Jul 9 2004 Liverpool Echo
We still feel grief
THE Sun's apology and its criticism of the ECHO and our sister paper the Daily Post prompted a storm of angry letters from our readers. Here we publish a selection of your views I HAVE just read an article in the Guardian newspaper concerning your front page, as I will NEVER read your newspaper as I am a Liverpudlian. The Guardian states that you claim that the only reason that the Post and ECHO are angry with Rooney is simply for financial gain as they are owned by the Trinity Mirror group, your rivals. I find this despicable. Liverpool people are loyal and still feel the grief from losing 96 fans at Hillsborough and so we still continue to boycott your newspaper, and many generations to come will do the same. The people of Liverpool ARE angry at Wayne Rooney for what he has done, and so the Post and ECHO are simply representing the view of local people, not trying to make money out of a tragedy, like your newspaper did in the aftermath of Hillsborough.
Although Wayne is an Everton player he is also a Liverpudlian and they were all Liverpool people who we lost on the tragic day, and Wayne should have thought of the hurt he was causing their families. Mr Rooney has lots of money in the bank, and I'm quite certain that every single newspaper in the country was desperate for his story, and so he could have gone elsewhere, but sadly, he turned to you. I am also sending this email to the Post and ECHO, so that they know that your pathetic attempt to discredit their story has not gone unnoticed and has been ignored as nobody knows the opinion and feeling of Liverpool people better than the Post and ECHO. Emma Coyle,
Liverpool (copy of a letter to The Sun)
What The Sun did is irreversible
I CANNOT believe that Wayne Rooney could sell an exclusive to The Sun newspaper, irrespective of the fact that the editorial staff have now changed and that the new editor could fill the Mersey with the word sorry. Rooney should know better. He has lived in this city for 18 years and must know that by reading The Sun newspaper you are insulting the memory of those Liverpool supporters that died at Hillsborough. I have a 15-year-old son who cannot stand football, but he wouldn't eat a portion of chips out of The Sun. What The Sun did is irreversible. A million sorrys, a million new staff or a million quid will not change that fact.
Andrew via email
History repeats itself
AS an older fan I find it hard to believe that Wayne Rooney's advisers have allowed the super-star to put himself under so much pressure from the people of Liverpool by signing a deal to write for that paper. The decision to sell his story to that paper was ultimately the downfall of Graeme Souness as Liverpool manager. Rooney will find it a hostile atmosphere whenever and for whoever he plays for next season (let's hope it's Everton) and although he has grown and matured so much in the last 12 months, the hatred that will come from this discussion might affect the young striker. Rooney is young and naive so you have to question his advisers for putting him in this situation. Let's hope that this doesn't affect him too much.
Paul Mason, via e-mail
True values
THE success of Porto and Greece has reminded us all of the importance of teamwork ahead of the cult of the overpaid individual which the agents relentlessly pursue for their own greed. The success of these unfashionable outsiders couldn't have been better timed as an illustration of what the really important values are.
Anthony Campbell, West Derby
It's not Wayne's fault
BOTH The Sun and Rooney's agents must have known how poorly regarded that paper is in this area and surely they knew the only way Everton fans and Merseyside people in general would turn against him would be by doing this story. Please don't get on Rooney's back over this mistake. He is paying people to advise him.
Richard Baker (Everton season ticket holder)
MESSAGES in response to The Sun's apology to the city have poured into ECHO website icliverpool.co.uk's messageboard. A selection appears here... I AM an Everton season ticket holder - born and bred in the north east and immensely proud of my roots. I fully admit that living up here means I will never ever be able to comprehend just what the tragedy did to the city of Liverpool.
However, you don't need to be a genius to at least try to understand the impact. If it had been Newcastle or Sunderland fans - the whole north east region would have united and any two-bob newspaper printing such criminal allegations as The Sun did would also have been boycotted to this day.
Geordie Blue, Newcastle
SO the saga goes on. Is it just me, or is no one else getting fed up hearing about and seeing Wayne in the papers every single day? If it's not about his contract or leaving, it's about The Sun saga.
Bluenose , Wirral
I FEEL sad that an entire city can turn on a young man who has done so much for the country because of something which happened when he was just three.
Jade, Liverpool
THE only good that has come out of this is that The Sun has united Merseyside once again!
Nathan, Toxteth
THE Sun has tried another cheap trick to get readership on Merseyside. Remember The Sun did as much damage to the area as Thatcher. They were a great couple working together to destroy Merseyside.
Gary Oxford , Oxford
I MIGHT be able to accept the apology from today's staff at The Sun, even if I cannot forgive the paper for its accusations against the people of Liverpool, if it did not then go on to attempt to draw sympathy by hiding behind Wayne Rooney.
Larry Shone, Runcorn
AS an Everton season ticket holder of 15 years, and Scouser for double that, I am disgusted by Rooney selling his story to The Sun. Us Blues might have banter with Reds, but this is serious.
Phil Johnson , Speke
JUST another scurvy try from The Sun to increase their sale in Liverpool. No apologies accepted.
H. N., Reykjavik
ONCE again The Sun stokes up the hate and disgust throughout the city of Liverpool for that newspaper. Let this latest incident be a reminder to all those who have been buying it during the last 15 years of what they have been subscribing to.
Dave A, Litherland
WAYNE was three years old when The Sun printed the offensive reports that they did. He's not much older now and I for one believe that the kid is probably in pieces over the offence caused.
Adam Cragg
Write to us, fax us or e-mail your views.
Always include your name and full postal address plus a day time phone number if possible. (We prefer to use names of letter writers but you can ask for your name not to be published if you have good reason).

Time for The Sun to say 'We Lied'
By Susan Lee, Liverpool Echo
Jul 9 2004
A little over 15 years ago I took a telephone call one Saturday teatime from a work colleague.
He was ringing to tell me about the unfolding disaster that was Hillsborough. He also wanted me and every other available journalist to come into the office to start to bring the facts of the nightmare to the rest of the world. Fifteen years later, last Tuesday night, I took another call from another work colleague. He was ringing to tell me that, at last, The Sun newspaper which had so viciously and maliciously twisted those facts was about to issue a front page apology for its actions.
Neither of us could quite believe it and in the end we were right not to believe. What we got was a mealy-mouthed whine, a cynical attempt to win back readers by trying to use Wayne Rooney and his supposed deep 'hurt' at fans' reactions to his selling his story to The Sun; a half-hearted, selfjustifying whimper of a sorry with a big fat 'but' on the end. The fact that Rooney's representatives now say they knew nothing of the 'apology' supposedly initiated by their client simply re-inforces what we have always known; that The Sun isn't interested in the truth or in people or their feelings, just cold hard profits. Why else, less than three months ago, would it have refused to comment when a colleague rang to talk to them about a piece he was writing on the anniversary of Hillsborough? Why else would it have added such a rider to its apology, again attacking fans and this city? And why else would it never do what it should have done in the first place and, instead of saying sorry and to counterbalance that terrible headline The Truth simply run another banner headline saying We Lied. There are those who suggest that Hillsborough is now history; that we should all 'move on' but that is unacceptable for two reasons. One, how can you 'move on' when you've lost a loved one in such terrible circumstances, only to feel as if you've lost them all over again thanks to the actions of a newspaper? And why should this city, so maligned by those headlines that travelled the world, 'move on' when slurs and lies are still being perpetuated and the consequences continue to reverberate down the years? And what of Wayne in all this?
An enormously able young man now at the eye of a very messy storm, only he can begin to start some kind of healing process to the deep wounds which The Sun has broken open once again.
He needs to sit down and publicly explain his decision and to try, as far as possible, to pour oil on some very troubled waters. He may only be a teenager but he has a powerful image. He has the world at his very talented feet and when he talks his words will be noticed. We're ready to listen, Wayne.

July 09, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Real Madrid presidential candidate Florentino Perez, who is bidding to earn a second term in office, would back a summer move for Wayne Rooney after describing the Everton youngster as a future world beater. Perez would approach Everton if coach Jose Antonio Camacho decides Rooney is a player who might improve Madrid's chances of honours next season. Speaking to PA International, Perez said: "Rooney has shown at Euro 2004 that at the age of 18 he is a splendid player and that he is mature enough to develop both physically and mentally in order to become the most important player in the world. "If Camacho tells me he would like Rooney, I will do my best to sign him."
Like fellow candidates Arturo Baldesano and Lorenzo Sanz, who Perez replaced as president four years ago after a campaign in which he promised to deliver Luis Figo, Perez is employing name-dropping tactics to curry favour. He has already recruited defender Walter Samuel from Roma and Porto pair Ricardo Carvalho and Costinha are reportedly set to be the next arrivals. Should Rooney sign, the deal would top the lot, but the England youngster is rated by Everton in the '45-50million bracket, which would be a test of Madrid's financial clout. In Spain today the press were convinced Madrid were closing in on Rooney. Mass circulation sports daily Marca dedicated its front page to a picture of Rooney celebrating one of his four Euro 2004 goals, accompanied by the headline `Objective Rooney'. The paper claimed that Perez has his sights fixed on the teenage prodigy who has also reportedly been targeted by Chelsea and Manchester United. Baldesano, regarded as the outsider in Sunday's elections, has also intimated that Rooney could become a Madrid player should he spring a surprise and win the race to succeed Perez. However, Camacho holds the key to Madrid's interest, and he has yet to comment on whether Rooney interests him. With Raul and Ronaldo already at the club, Camacho would have to find Rooney a place in the team alongside that pair for the deal to be viable. Perez has insisted on his `galacticos' starting every game for which they are fit, and either Raul or Rooney would have to drop deep to make that a feasible prospect.
Camacho, a former Benfica and Spain coach, is being given far more of a say in team affairs than his predecessor Carlos Queiroz, and Camacho is thought to favour Parma's Italy Under-21 striker Alberto Gilardino.

Team-mate tells Rooney to quit Everton
July 09, 2004
Manchester Evening News
REDS fans will be delighted to learn that Wayne Rooney has yet again be urged to quit Everton, but this time from one of his own team-mates - Tomasz Radzinski. The young strike sensation is currently weighing up a lucrative offer from Everton, but Radzinski, who himself has just rejected the offer of a new deal, thinks Rooney must move to 'better himself'. And, interestingly, Radzinski believes that Rooney will definitely move, although whether that would be to Manchester United or Real Madrid remains open to question as neither club have made a firm enquiry. Radzinski told the Daily Mirror: "Wayne has shown in Euro 2004 that he can play at the top level and I think he needs to move on to further and better himself. "My feeling is that Wayne will definitely move and I hope he'll go somewhere where he can improve and grow as a player and sadly I don't think that is Everton. "I don't think it's a good place to be at the moment because next season we will be fighting another relegation battle when good players want to be testing and improving themselves by playing in Europe."

Everton start Rooney talks
July 09, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Talks have opened between Everton and Wayne Rooney's representatives to discuss the offer of a new five-year deal for the 18-year-old England striker. Rooney, currently sidelined with a broken bone in his foot, saw his stock rise in Euro 2004 in Portugal, where he scored four goals. Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid have all been touted as potential suitors for the teenage sensation, although as yet none of them have made a formal bid. Raised in the Croxteth area of Liverpool, Rooney's current deal still has two years left to run but Everton are anxious to secure his long-term future. A meeting took place today between the club and the player's team to discuss the offer on the table. Head of public relations Ian Ross told the club's official website, www.evertonfc.com: "Initial talks between Everton and Wayne Rooney's representatives have now opened and will continue."
Manager David Moyes has already stated that he hopes the club's pre-emptive action will persuade the player to stick with the club he has supported all his life. "I think this offer is a reflection of the club's ambition," he said. "We have always stated we want to keep Wayne Rooney and an offer of this size for an 18-year-old is exceptional." Rooney is currently taking a break and expected back in two weeks. However, the youngster has been told he needs to leave Everton to "better himself" by Goodison team-mate Tomasz Radzinski.

Radzinski betrayal a bitter blow for Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 10 2004
PRE-SEASON optimism? Not at Everton. With his transfer targets disappearing into rival hands on a daily basis, his transfer pot empty and an orchestrated campaign to lure his star player to Manchester United now in full flow, it is a painful sense of trepidation not hope that must be enveloping David Moyes now. And if all that wasn't enough, he now has to handle a public attack on his management and the state of Everton Football Club from one of its highly-paid employees, Tomasz Radzinski. Radzinski has genuine grievances for rejecting Everton's offer of a new three-year contract but in urging Wayne Rooney to quit his boyhood club, criticising new arrival Marcus Bent and attacking the manager who oversaw his one impressive season at the club in a national newspaper interview yesterday the striker is guilty of an act of betrayal. Moyes is due to meet the 30-year-old at the squad's pre-season training camp in Austria next week but the damage to their relationship, and of the reputation of the club and Moyes to a degree, has been done. With only 12 months left on his Goodison contract it appears inconceivable that Radzinski will now start the new season at Everton, even if he did allegedly "run his arse off for the club" - to use his own words - last term.. Fulham have long been linked with a move for the Canadian international, who scored fewer Premiership goals than Bent last season, and there appears little wisdom in Moyes's policy of retaining Radzinski for the final year of his contract even with doubts now surrounding the majority of his strikeforce. And with Radzinski joining the league of voices telling Rooney why he should reject Everton's contract offer the manager is sure to reconsider his stance. In his Everton suicide note Radzinski said: "Wayne is the future of the club and so I under-stand why they have done it but it's a bit disappointing that they have offered him a deal while I have been kept waiting. "I don't think it's a good place to be at the moment because next season we will be fighting another relegation battle when good players want to be testing and improving themselves by playing in Europe. It's not the best situation for Wayne or myself to be in right now. "I want to be playing in a club in Europe or challenging for a European place while Wayne should be playing for a top club in the Champions League. Wayne has shown in Euro 2004 that he can play at the top level and I think he needs to move on to further and better himself. My feeling is that Wayne will definitely move on and I hope he'll go somewhere where he can improve and grow as a player and sadly I don't think that is Everton. "Without building up your team it will be a struggle and I want to be in a team with real potential. "We have lost a lot of players this season and yet we have only brought one in and I am afraid I don't think Marcus Bent will be able to stop us from struggling again next season."
Radzinski was signed for £4.5million from Anderlecht by Walter Smith in 2001 but injuries blighted his first season in England. His second, under Moyes, saw a dramatic improvement and he was named Everton's Player of the Year but last season represented another disappointment as he scored just eight Premiership goals. This week he rejected the club's offer of a new three-year contract - a decision he blames entirely on indecision by Moyes. He revealed: "In my first season I had a lot of injury problems and it was a struggle. Then in the next season, David Moyes came in and was enthusiastic and we did really well and only just missed out on Europe. "But last season was a disaster. I ran my arse off for the club and in January the manager said as soon as we were safe I would get my rewards which I took to mean a new contract. But I was only offered a one-year extension and the indecisiveness of the manager was affecting my form. "Anyone who knows David Moyes will know he cannot make a decision. "It was so frustrating. Then finally they offered me a new three-year contract at the end of last week. But my frustration had become so big that it was too late by then. It's been two months since the end of the season and the manager has not called me once. That makes me think the club do not want me and for any player that is difficult to accept.
At the end of next season I believe there are 14 players out of contract and that means a lot of players will be uncertain and it doesn't mean the club will be in a very good state." Radzinski reports back for pre-season training on Monday for what is sure to be a frosty meeting with the Everton manager. He admitted: "I could think of better places where I would like to be on Monday but I have got a year left on my contract so I will be there and see what happens after that. "I would like to stay in the Premiership because it is a great league. But I'm 30 years old, I'm ambitious and I want to achieve big things in my career."

Charlton denies Rooney interest
Jul 10 2004 Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has played down speculation linking the Red Devils with a move for England sensation Wayne Rooney. Old Trafford director Charlton says United are satisfied with the strength of their squad and revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson has shown no desire to sign Everton striker Rooney . "Wayne Rooney is a great player, but he's not our player," Charlton said. "I think he's quite happy at Everton and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't stay there. David Gill (United's chief executive) has already said that Wayne is not for us. We have long-term plans and we are a bit careful, we don't just throw money away. "At the moment Alex Ferguson has not come to us demanding: 'Let's have Wayne Rooney'. We are quite satisfied with what we've got."
Gill yesterday admitted United cannot compete with Chelsea's huge spending power in the transfer market. And Charlton echoed those thoughts when adding: "We haven't got the money to pay for all the players we are linked with. "The financial discipline of the club is very important. We have to compete with the best, but getting your sums right is very important. We get mentioned with every player because we do well financially."

Wayne's cast up for sale
Jul 10 2004 Liverpool Echo
THE plaster cast from Wayne Rooney's broken foot is to be auctioned for charity. Everton FC physiotherapists removed the cast - used to protect Rooney's fractured metatarsal - on Thursday.
Rooney has worn the cast since breaking his foot during England's defeat against Portugal two weeks ago. The cast, signed by England's Euro 2004 sensation, is expected to fetch thousands for Wirral's Clare House Hospice and the Down's Syndrome Association when it is auctioned on the internet later this month.

Transfer talk only unites us
Jul 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON assistant boss Alan Irvine insists that on-going speculation surrounding the future of the club's top players has not dented morale in the dressing room. Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen have all been the subject of widespread speculation about their futures during the close season. Yesterday Radzinski admitted he wanted to leave the club after turning down a fresh contract offer and urged Rooney to do likewise, while Gravesen's agent has consistently reiterated the player's desire to move. But despite the growing concern amongst fans about the club's predicament with the new season now just a month away, Irvine insists the anxiety has not spread to the squad. He said: "It has been just like ant other pre-season. The camp is full of optimism and the play-ers look like they are pleased to be back. I have not seen any evidence of negativity after some of the things that have been said in the papers. "When the players get in, they just get on with training and the banter has been good, as usual. "We seem to be the whipping boys at the moment, but I wouldn't worry about it, it will be somebody else's turn soon. "It is not affecting morale. We seem to be getting a bit of interest from outside. Obviously, a lot is to do with Wayne's situation and that is under-standable. As everyone knows we have made a fantastic offer to Wayne and we're hoping that he will sign a new contract soon." The Blues' squad departed for a week-long training camp in Austria today with just 15 out-field players in the travelling party.
Last season that total was 22. The lack of depth in his Goodison squad is increasingly worrying for Moyes, with his travelling party including veteran strikers Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell along with fringe players Nick Chadwick, Peter Clarke and Leon Osman. The manager has only managed to add Marcus Bent to his ranks this summer and is keen to acquire more new faces.
But with a small transfer budget at his disposal the club is struggling to find the players of the quality required to improve the squad. Joseph Yobo and Tomasz Radzinski are set to join the squad on Monday after having their summer break extended by a week because of their international commitments. Moyes is keen to seek talks with Radzinski after the striker carried out an interview with a national paper yesterday in which he called for Rooney to leave the club and criticised Moyes' management style.. The Goodison chief will not comment on the matter until after those talks have taken place. There was some good news for the fans last night though, with the confirmation that Everton officials have finally opened formal negotiations with Rooney's representatives over a new deal. The club have offered the striker a five year contract worth £50,000-a-week.
Meanwhile, David Unsworth is considering an offer to join Portsmouth after being left in the lurch by Bolton. The 30-year-old became a free agent at the start of the month when his Goodison contract expired.

Sir Bobby calls time on Rooney move
July 10, 2004
Manchester Evening News
MANCHESTER United legend Sir Bobby Charlton has played down speculation linking his club with a move for England sensation Wayne Rooney. Old Trafford director Charlton said that United were satisfied with the strength of their squad and revealed that Sir Alex Ferguson had shown no desire to sign the Everton striker. "Wayne Rooney is a great player, but he's not our player," Sir Bobby told MUTV. "I think he's quite happy at Everton and I don't see any reason why he shouldn't stay there.
"David Gill has already said that Wayne is not for us. We have long-term plans and we are a bit careful, we don't just throw money away. "There are good players available that sometimes you have to go for, but at the moment Alex has not come to us demanding: `Let's have Wayne Rooney'. We are quite satisfied with what we've got."
Gill, United's chief executive, yesterday agreed that the club could notcompete with Chelsea's huge spending power in the transfer market. And Charlton echoed those thoughts when adding: "We haven't got the money to pay for all the players we are linked with. "The financial discipline of the club is very important. We have to compete with the best, but getting your sums right is very important. "We get mentioned with every player because we do well financially." United's reluctance to enter the bidding for Rooney could leave the door open for Real Madrid to write out the biggest cheque in soccer history in a shoot-out for the teenager's signature with Chelsea.
The Spanish club's president Florentino Peres yesterday made Rooney the focus of his re-election campaign by pledging to bring him to Madrid if he wins tomorrow's vote. Perez, who paid '42m for Zinedine Zaidane, knows he will have to top that for the 18-year-old but said: "If Jose Antonio Camacho tells me he would like him, I will do my best to sign him. Wayne Rooney could become the most important player in the world."

Wayne's record offer
Jun 11 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are ready to fly out to Portugal to offer Wayne Rooney the biggest contract in the club's history. The striker has two years remaining on his current deal but Blues chiefs are eager to secure the 18-year-old to a five-year contract. Rooney's representatives have been stalling on entering contract negotiations, aware that the player's stock is sure to rise after the forthcoming tournament in Portugal. Everton are willing to offer the player a new deal which will reflect his status as one of the world's best young players and have not ruled out flying to Portugal to conclude talks. Chief executive Trevor Birch said: "We have always made clear our desire to see Wayne Rooney commit his long-term future to this football club and, to that end, we would be happy to open talks with the player and his representatives about a new contract at any point. "Indeed, we are anxious to do just that. Although Wayne is currently in Portugal with the England squad we would be perfectly happy to open those negotiations during the course of the European Championships."
Rooney's current contract pays him £13,000-a-week and is stepped to rise every season. The club have imposed a wage ceiling of £20,000 a week on new deals, but are willing to break through that ceiling for Rooney. Any new deal is likely to double his current earnings and will rise over the course of the five-year deal. It will be stepped to rise as the player develops and could eventually be worth up to £8m. Everton are keen to avoid a situation where the player will begin the season without having agreed a new contract. If that proves to be the case and Rooney's contract ticks down the club will have to consider offers next summer, as they will want to avoid the player leaving at the end of his contract in 2006 - even though his age would mean the club would recoup a tribunal transfer fee.

Moyes offering a word to the wise
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Staff
Jul 12 2004
DAVID MOYES has urged Wayne Rooney to put an end to the speculation surrounding his possible departure from Goodison Park. The Everton manager believes the teenage sensation of Euro 2004 could immediately quash all rumours of a move away from the club he has supported since childhood by declaring his intention to sign a new deal. Last week the Blues put forward a five-year contract to Rooney and his representatives which will make him the highest paid player in their history. An initial meeting has been held between Rooney's agent, Paul Stret-ford, and Everton chief executive Trevor Birch and further talks are planned. But Moyes believes Rooney could put an end to a worrying few weeks for Evertonians by announcing now what his intentions are. "All this uncertainty could be ended by just one word from Wayne on his new contract," said Moyes.. "All Wayne and his representatives need to do is come out and say that, but so far that's not happened so it's making people wonder what is going on." Moyes - who also faces a crisis meeting with wantaway striker Tomasz Radzinski in Austria today for the first time since the Canadian's withering attack on his management style - believes Everton is still the perfect place for the young striker to continue his football education, despite the impact he made for England in Portugal which catapulted him to worldwide attention. Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid have all been linked with multi-million pound moves for Rooney but Moyes believes the youngster should turn his back on a move away from his hometown club, as Steven Gerrard did at Liverpool. "Wayne should give it a chance and see if it can work, as Steven Gerrard seems to be doing at Liverpool," he said. "Gerrard has put Liverpool to the test by saying 'I'm challenging you to stand up and make my club one of the top ones in Europe." "At least he has said he will give Liverpool a chance. Like Wayne, Gerrard has a great future ahead of him, but he knows there is still time to move his career on elsewhere in a year or two. "And it's not just me and the board who want Wayne to stay - so do the fans and the players. "The supporters are a bit down because they are thinking not much has happened this summer, but if they hear Wayne Rooney is coming back with us than the place will be jumping and it will be a sell-out every week." Moyes has revealed that he sees Rooney as a future captain of Everton, but insists he will persist with his policy of not playing him in every game as protection against damaging his long-term career. "It would be special for me if I could make Wayne captain of Everton," he explained. "Maybe not now, but certainly in the next year or two - certainly by the time he is 20. That would be something special for Wayne." Moyes continued: "There were periods when I think Wayne should have been taken out of the team last season, but because of our situation and the media frenzy regarding Wayne it made it very difficult. "I will be watching things carefully this season but I am not going to leave out one of Europe's top players when I have no need to do so. "If we think Wayne is right then he will play. But there will be times when he won't - and the best players at Man United and Arsenal have to accept that sometimes they will be given a breather."

Making the most of Everton's continental getaway
By Neil Macdonald Daily Post Staff
Jul 12 2004
TWO of Everton's twenty somethings have an extra incentive to get as much as they can out of the club's pre-season training camp in Austria. Scottish international James McFadden is experiencing his first pre-season at Everton, while Leon Osman knows this season is his last chance to make a permanent breakthrough into David Moyes' first team plans. The season was already a few weeks old when McFadden put pen to paper on a £1.25million switch from Motherwell and he believes that maxim-ising his fitness levels will be crucial, as he looks to continue his development under Moyes. "It should make a massive difference to me because I'll be starting the season as fit as anybody at the club," he said. "That will give me a better chance of getting into the team. The training is tough but I'm enjoying it and I'm looking forward to the season starting. "My fitness was all right last season but hopefully I'll be even better this year." After an exciting start to his Everton career last season, the 21-year-old failed to reproduce that early promise and potential often enough, which he admits. "I had a good start and then let things fall away from me," he rued. "But there's no point in worrying about what happened last season. It's the next game that we've got to look forward to, not dwelling on the past." Ironically Osman, 23, broke into the first team while McFadden was struggling and started in the last three matches against Wolves, Bolton and Manchester City, scoring after just three minutes of his full debut at Molineux. He too recognises the importance of having a solid pre-season behind him, as he will need as many strings to his bow as he can muster this year if he is to fulfil his rich potential. "I keep saying every year that the coming season is the most important one of my career but this year it seems to be the case. It's a very important time," he assessed. "I'm in the last year of my contract and I need to really get a good pre-season behind me and hopefully push on from there to impress a few people.
"I got a taste of it towards the end of last season and I want that more often so I'm going to be giving all I've got to try and make that happen." Osman added: "When the season finished I was a little disappointed with the fact that it had done just as I'd started to get a run of games in the team, but that's what the season's about. I got a good rest and I'm hoping to come back and push on."
Despite his own struggle for form mirroring Everton's poor results, McFadden is hopeful that he and the club can improve from now on, with the first step on his personal journey being a first team place. While he will be going all out to impress during pre-season training and friendly matches, he acknowledges his prospects are in the hands of the manager. He said: "I just want to get fit and to get into the team. If that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen but that's the aim and I'll be trying my best. "It will be difficult but not just because it's my second season. The league is getting stronger and competition for places in the team is higher."

Hopes dashed of cash aid for shared stadium
By Andy Kelly Daily Post Staff
Jul 12 2004
LIVERPOOL and Everton football clubs will not be offered a £20m "sweetener" of public money towards a shared stadium, the Daily Post can reveal. It had been widely reported that such a sum was on the table from the North West Development Agency to encourage the clubs to share a single new ground. But the NWDA's chief executive has now insisted that no public money could be used in the construction of the stadium. Liverpool's application for a 60,000-seat stadium on Stanley Park is expected to be heard by city planners later this month. But Everton's new chief executive, Trevor Birch, announced on Friday that he would make a formal approach to Liverpool about a groundshare in the next few weeks. With Everton's financial difficulties well documented, the possibility of £20m of public money towards the £80m-plus cost of the Stanley Park stadium would be a considerable bonus. But that possibility now appears to have been dashed. Steve Broomhead, chief executive of the NWDA, said: "We have consistently supported the concept of a shared stadium. "But we would not put any of our resources into the cost of constructing a shared stadium. "Our interest is not in putting money into the stadium itself but in helping to upgrade the community facilities, transport, infrastructure and housing around the stadium. "The £20m - from ourselves,, Europe and elsewhere - would be used for that." But why is such support seemingly linked only to a shared stadium and not Liverpool's own individual plans for a ground on Stanley Park? Mr Broomhead said: "A shared stadium is more holistic. There is evidence from around the country of the regenerative benefits a new stadium can provide. "The new City of Manchester stadium is an example of that and we have seen that shared stadiums can work in Europe, in places like Milan." But among the fans, the groundshare idea remains as unpopular as when it was first mooted at the end of last year. The Daily Post has already received dozens of emails from fans of both clubs expressing their concern at Mr Birch's overtures last week. And Anfield residents also believe the idea of both clubs sharing a stadium in Stanley Park is a completely different matter than Liverpool acting alone. Resident Bob Burbridge said: "Residents, I am certain, will bring up a whole new raft of objections to these new plans. It will increase all of the issues in the area by 100%. Noise, pollution, traffic control will all once again take centre stage. As a resident, objections must not be labelled as supporter bias. The situation in the area over the years has been appalling and only now is becoming better, with little or no help from the football club. "This must not be allowed to happen without proper consultation and if everything that has been said and done before has to be scrapped then so be it."

Moyes standing up to greatest challenge
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Staff
Jul 12 2004
DAVID MOYES admits he is facing the greatest challenge of his fledgling managerial career but insists he will not hide from the obstacles ahead. The former Preston manager was feted on all sides as he piloted his new charges at Goodison Park to the brink of UEFA Cup qualification in his first full season in charge. But last year the young Scot had to contend with rumours among supporters that he had lost the dressing room as Everton failed to repeat their impact of 12 months previously and instead found the relegation places too close for comfort. Speculation surrounding suggestions of an uneasy relation-ship with the players has not been helped by Tomasz Radzinski's astonishing attack on life at Goodison and the manager's approach as he turned down a new three-year deal at the club last week. Moyes admits this summer has been the worst he can remember, with the transfer stories surrounding the future of Wayne Rooney and his own attempts to bolster the squad with no financial muscle only complicating matters further. But Moyes is determined to prove he is no quitter and that he can put Everton back on the right track towards the higher reaches of the Premiership. "Whatever happens this summer I'm probably facing my biggest challenge as a manager next season," he said.. "But it's not one I will run away from. I'm going to meet it head on.
"It's a real frustration when I look at the clubs like Birmingham, Charlton, Middlesbrough, Tottenham and Fulham. They are investing in their squads. We should be able to compete with them, but we can't. "Last season was the highest sales of merchandise and the most season tickets the club had ever done. That was progress and we know a new stadium might bring us even more revenue. But until we get some fresh investment we can't really progress. "But I have to say it's not a question of broken promises. I would never criticise the board of directors here but I will truth-fully say what the situation is to protect my own reputation. "Bill Kenwright is continually trying to get us the finance to make Everton better and he's as big a supporter as any Evertonian." Moyes says he shares the frustration of supporters in not seeing a number of new signings join the club already, at a time when other Premiership sides are busy strengthening. The arrival of Marcus Bent is the lone new face to date. I was determined to make changes and make things happen this summer," said Moyes. "But things have just not fallen into place. "I expected it to be difficult but not this tough and the uncertainty over Wayne Rooney and the finances at the club has just added to the problems."
Everton's predicament at the wrong end of the table is another factor in the problems attracting new players. "This time last year everyone wanted to join this football club because they could see the progress being made," Moyes continued. "Unfortunately this summer I found the exact opposite because, all of a sudden, Everton doesn't have the same strong appeal because we finished just above the relegation zone. "Some players I have spoken to just don't want to join us right now. When they aren't coming because they are unsure of the direction of the club, it is hard to take."
Moyes, who revealed that Everton had tried to prise Owen Hargreaves away from Bayern Munich last summer, added: "We are not a club in desperate trouble, just a club that needs a little bit of new investment to try and get back on the right track." Meanwhile it seems Moyes cannot escape questions about Rooney, especially given the fact that he has not yet put pen to paper on the new deal offered by the club and is being coveted by teams like Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid. But Moyes is unequivocal about what Wayne should do next - sign up to the five-year contract which will make him the highest paid player in the history of the club. And he remains steadfast in his determination to keep hold of Goodison's prize asset, despite the string of pundits lining up to suggest Rooney would be better off moving to pastures new. There is, feels Moyes, a "witch-hunt" against both Everton and their young manager despite their success in success-fully steering Rooney's career through its formulative years. Moyes feels both the club and its managerial team deserve more credit for the way they have sheltered Rooney so far and uses the example of his dealings with his young star during Euro 2004 as an example of how he cannot win, whatever course of action he takes. "I saw the criticism of the Chelsea and Liverpool contingents for going into the camp to speak to their players, so I decided to let Wayne just get on with it," Moyes explained..
I didn't think he needed me, his club manager, on the phone every day. People say I didn't contact him but that's not the case. I sent him a good luck text message before the game with France and another message straight after he got injured against Portugal. "It seems I can't win. If I'd contacted him I'd have been told to back off and because I left him to it people say I'm not interested. At times there's almost a witch hunt against me and the club and it's baffled me. "I am being made to be the fall guy, the bad guy, and I'm saying to myself 'What have we done wrong here?'"

Perez in position to pursue striker
Daily Post
Jul 12 2004
REAL MADRID president Florentino Perez won a landslide victory last night - and now Everton must wait to see if he follows up his pre-election pledge to try and sign Wayne Rooney. Perez was voted in for a second four-year term as president after securing 91.35% of votes cast at the ballot boxes yesterday. Postal votes have yet to be counted, but Perez cannot be overtaken. Rivals Arturo Bald-asano and Lorenzo Sanz endured a nightmare day. Baldasano secured just 458 of the 23,401 votes cast, while Sanz obtained the support of 1,893 members. Perez clinched 21,377 votes, with 330 void. There are approximately 11,200 postal votes to be counted. Earlier, Perez had repeated that the club may target teenage Everton striker Wayne Rooney, whose four goals and fearless performances illuminated Euro 2004. "We are working towards making a Real Madrid for the 21st century," he said.. When asked if that meant there would be space for Rooney, Perez added: "At Real Madrid there is always space for the best players in the world."

Moyes: I'll fight to end to keep Rooney
July 12, 2004
Manchester Evening News
David Moyes has revealed his struggle as he attempts to keep Wayne Rooney at Everton - and has also spoken of his frustration at what he believes to be a "witch hunt" against himself and the club.
The Goodison boss has revealed that he is in talks about giving the England striker the captaincy to keep him at Everton. Moyes believes he is facing the biggest battle of his career in persuading Rooney to accept the '50,000-a-week deal which would make him Everton's highest-paid player.
In an interview with The People, Moyes said: "Tell me why I should give up on the best young player in Europe? "I will fight to the very end to keep him at Goodison - I'm certainly not going to give him up easily." Moyes has admitted that Rooney might be handed the captaincy to ensure he remains at Everton.
He continued: "It would be special for me if I could make Wayne captain of Everton. Maybe not now, but certainly by the time he is 20. "That would be something special for Wayne and it would be special for me if I could give him that honour. "Wayne is worshipped at Everton and when that happens at your boyhood club it's a special, unique feeling." Although the former Preston manager has conceded that Rooney will eventually quit Everton, he hopes the youngster starts next season with the club. Moyes explained: "If Wayne stays and we still can't give Everton success, maybe at that point he would be well within his rights to say `I want to go'. "But I think he should give it a chance and see if it can work." Moyes has also expressed his disappointment at being made to look uninterested in Rooney's form at Euro 2004, which he believes has made him out to be the "bad guy". The Scot said: "I sent him a good luck text message before the game with France and another message straight after he got injured against Portugal. "At times there's almost been a witch hunt against me and the club and it's baffled me. I am being made to be some sort of fall guy."

Where would Rooney go?
July 12, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has again hinted that the Spanish club may make a future move for Everton striker Wayne Rooney. The 18-year-old England forward, who took Euro 2004 by storm, has been valued at '50million by his club on the back of his performances for his country.
Perez was re-elected as Real president last night and has said he is determined to bring the best players in the world to the club, with Rooney fitting the bill. But Manchester United and Chelsea have also been linked with a move for the teenager, who must first decide whether to accept a new contract on offer at Goodison Park. Here we look at the clubs with the financial muscle to prise the youngster away from Everton.
MANCHESTER UNITED (Deloitte & Touche World Football Rich List position: 1st) - United have ruled themselves out of the running for Rooney, claiming he would be too expensive, but they remain the club most likely to prise him away from Goodison. A move to Old Trafford would see Rooney stay in the north west, while he would benefit from Sir Alex Ferguson's vast experience of dealing with young superstars. Verdict: Pole position - if the price is right.
CHELSEA (10th) - Money is no option for the cash-rich Stamford Bridge club who have been the world's biggest spenders since new owner Roman Abramovich came in last summer. Their biggest single buy so far has been Damien Duff ('17million) but the Bridge's Russian billionaire can easily afford Rooney despite his potential world-record transfer fee. Jose Mourinho claims he is not interested but could surely be persuaded. Verdict: Cannot be ruled out.
JUVENTUS (2nd) - Last year the Italian giants' income was nearly '153million so the club funded by car manufacturers Fiat have the money to compete in the transfer market. However, their forward line already boasts France international David Trezeguet, Alessandro del Piero and Marco di Vaio and they are unlikely to splash out on a player who has yet to prove himself consistently in league football. Verdict: Non-starter.
AC MILAN (3rd) - The defending Serie A champions will be looking for success at home again while trying to regain their hold on the Champions League but are more than well catered for up front with Filippo Inzaghi, Andriy Shevchenko and Jon Dahl Tomasson. If they are to strengthen it will be with a player of international renown or, at least, one who is familiar with the Italian top-flight. Verdict: Impossible.
REAL MADRID (4th) - Rooney may have made a name for himself at Euro 2004 but he has some way to go before he can be considered a true `galactico'. Madrid usually make a point of signing one big name every year - Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo and Beckham have been sucessive signings at the club. It would go against the trend to buy a largely unproven teenager but Perez is undoubtedly keen. Verdict: An outside chance.
BAYERN MUNICH (5th) - It is difficult to see where Rooney will fit in alongside the highly-rated Claudio Pizarro and Dutch striker Roy Makaay. He will be seen as too much of a gamble in a country where consistency and team work go hand-in-hand. Verdict: Germany is not a place Rooney is ever likely to find himself.
ARSENAL (7th) - Arsene Wenger would undoubtedly be interested in a player of Rooney's talent but is not prepared to pay over the odds for anyone and will have a limited budget having already bought young Spanish striker Jose Reyes in January and Robin van Persie in the close season. Verdict: Possibility but only if the price is right.
LIVERPOOL (8th) - Everton's Merseyside rivals have already splashed out '13million on Djibril Cisse and with Michael Owen and Euro 2004 top scorer Milan Baros in the squad there will be no interest from across Stanley Park. Verdict: Ridiculous.
NEWCASTLE (9th) - The Magpies are looking for a long-term replacement for talisman Alan Shearer, who retires after this season, and Sir Bobby Robson would love to sign Rooney but the price is way beyond what they could hope to raise. Money needs to be spent on other areas of the squad and splashing out more than half of the club's total 2003 income on one player would be lunacy. Verdict: Covetous but lacking in financial clout.
BARCELONA (13th) - The rejuvenated Catalan giants are still rebuilding under Frank Rijkaard and president Joan Laporta likes to make a show of bringing in big names - although he failed to take Beckham to the Nou Camp last season. However, only one place is available up front with Ronaldinho guaranteed to start every week and new signing Henrik Larsson is already competing with Javier Saviola for the chance to play. Verdict: Not out of the question but probably not this year.

Radzinski talking as Fulham deal near
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 13 2004
TOMASZ RADZINSKI could be a Fulham player by the end of this week if David Moyes agrees to sell the controversial striker following showdown talks in Austria. The Canadian striker teamed up with the Everton squad at their pre-season training base last night and will reiterate his desire to leave the club when he meets Moyes this morning. Radzinski is sure of a frosty reception both from the club's management and fellow players after attacking Moyes's methods and signings in a national newspaper last week. The striker has just 12 months left on his Goodison contract after rejecting the offer of a new three-year deal. But his outburst is likely to change Moyes's view that he should see out his final year with the club - and Fulham manager Chris Coleman is confident of completing a £1.5m deal within the next few days. Coleman, who is also chasing Blackburn striker Andy Cole, had a £900,000 offer dismissed by Everton at the end of last season. But he believes an improved bid will be given more consideration in light of Radzinski's comments. If the sale goes through Moyes, who is monitoring Sturm Graz defender Eddy Bosnar in Austria, will be desperate for the cash to be reinvested in his threadbare squad. The Everton manager has now seen another leading transfer target lured to a Premiership club. Marseille captain Brahim Hemdani is close to joining Bolton after Everton failed to follow up Moyes's interest with a firm offer. The 26-year-old midfielder's move to The Reebok "is practically done", according to Marseille general manager Pape Diouf. Wayne Rooney's management team have flatly denied that a meeting had taken place between chief executive Paul Stret-ford and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez. The ProActive Sports Group, who handle Rooney's affairs, insist Stretford and Perez have never met. A spokesman for ProActive said: "De-spite erroneous speculation, Paul Stretford has never in his life met Mr Perez." David Unsworth, meanwhile, yesterday completed a free transfer move to Portsmouth. The former Everton defender, who rejected the club's offer of a two-year deal, has teamed up with Harry Redknapp for the second time in his career following a season-long spell at West Ham.

Time for action
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 13 2004
Time for action
EVERTONIANS for Change have called on the club's board to move decisively to prevent a sense of crisis enveloping the club's pre-season. At the moment Everton's most valuable player is at the centre of a media circus regarding his future and members of the playing staff are openly calling for him to leave the club. Added to this, just over a month from the start of season rather than adding to the squad, the club is faced with the prospect of actually having a smaller sqaud than the one that finished the last season so poorly. In the weeks that followed the disappointing end to last season, the board took a number of steps designed to reassure the fans that the club was in safe hands and being run with ambition and conviction. What the fans deserve now more than ever is actions not words. Regarding Wayne Rooney, Evertonians for Change calls on both he and his advisors to move to end the speculation by responding to the club's new contract offer as quickly as possible.
Carl Roper, Evertonians for Change
Goals not words
ROADRUNNER Tomasz Radzinski missed so many chances last season that cost us dear in matches we could have won. Instead of holding the club to ransom, he should concentrate on sharpening his shooting instead of shooting his mouth off.
James Robert, Everton season ticket holder
Sell Rooney
SELLING Wayne Rooney is not only inevitable, but essential. Real Madrid are among the very few who could afford the £40million price. Our loss, a new Dixie, is their gain, a new Di Stefano. But we need that money to replace players who wouldn't even cut it in the Coca Cola league.
Ged Hampton, Maghull
Building plan
TO ALL those people who say that David Moyes must go because he's lost some of the players, they're talking nonsense. As there is no obvious sugar-daddy waiting in the wings with Moscow/ Beijing/Bangkok gold, then the only way for Everton to get back to the promised land is to build over the medium to long term, using Trevor Birch's expertise with the managerial skills of Moyesy.
Both should be put on long-term contracts.
Paul Wight, Bootle

Everton's Channel hopping
Football In The Community, Daily Post
Jul 14 2004
ShareYOUNG footballers from the Everton Academy are travelling to Guernsey this weekend to take part in the island's biggest ever football tournament for under 10-year-olds. The 'Visit Guernsey Mini Soccer Tournament 2004' will feature club sides from Everton, Blackpool, Stockport, Essex and Northampton, three sides from Jersey and for the first time a team from Alderney. Seven Guernsey club sides will be up against them. For the first time, two prizes are on offer through the sponsorship of Rothschild. The winning team will receive the Rothschild Shield, but there is also a competition for the Rothschild Plate which will ensure that all the teams have something to play for throughout the two-day tournament, which will be held on July 17 and 18.

Up your bid or forget Savage, Everton told
By Andy Hunter In Austria, Daily Post
Jul 14 2004
BIRMINGHAM City have given Everton 24 hours to improve their "laughable" offer for Robbie Savage after accusing the Goodison club of double standards in the transfer market. The Midlanders thwarted David Moyes's attempts to make his second signing of the summer when they rejected a £2.5million bid for the controversial midfielder yesterday. And relations between the clubs deteriorated when Birmingham launched a withering attack on Everton's transfer conduct last night.
Birmingham, who value Savage closer to £3.5m, likened Everton's pursuit of the 29-year-old to Manchester United's long on-going interest in Wayne Rooney. And they threatened to withdraw a four-year contract offer to Savage if the matter is not resolved within days. The Birmingham statement read: "Everton's bid, of which only £1m is an immediate down payment, would mean that we would have to wait until 2008 for the remainder of the fee. "Additionally that would be with the proviso that Everton are in still in the Premier League in 2007 and 2008, and overall the total offer falls well short of our valuation of the player. "Steve Bruce is quite right to tell Everton to put up or shut up. On the one hand they are moaning about speculation and contacts from other clubs regarding Wayne Rooney, but by the same token it appears they are dealing in exactly the same manner regarding Robbie Savage. "The entire board of Birmingham City Football Club has become very bored with the 'Everton for Savage' story, and frankly the offer they made this morning is laughable. "Birmingham City's managing director Karren Brady has told Everton in no uncertain terms of our club's valuation of the player and they have 24 hours to make up their minds.
"Regardless of the outcome of Everton's interest, the board of Birmingham City Football Club is reviewing its position with regards to offering Robbie Savage a new contract." Birmingham's public criticism is another blow to Everton's standing in the transfer market, which has so far yielded only one new signing this summer. The Goodison club, who refused to respond to the attack, will not go beyond £2.5m for boyhood Everton fan Savage, a player Moyes also tried to sign last summer.
They will now reconsider how payments can be made to Birmingham, although any changes could depend on raising fresh capital first. Tomasz Radzinski met Moyes at the team's Austrian training base yesterday to resolve his Everton future following last week's outburst. Moyes would not reveal the outcome of their talks but if, as expected, Fulham offer around £1.5m for the Canadian striker he will almost certainly be allowed to leave.

Radz wants out
Jun 14 2004 By David Randles, icLiverpool
TOMASZ RADZINSKI looks set to leave Everton after handing in a transfer request. Following months of speculation that has seen him linked with moves to both Blackburn and Fulham, the £2m rated Blues striker is likely to have played his last game for the Goodison Park club. Everton's Head of Public Relations, Ian Ross, said today: "I can confirm that this morning we have received a written transfer request from Tomasz Radzinski. David Moyes will consider the matter later in the week."
The Canadian international, who was on target for his country in Sunday's 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Belize, has 12 months to run on his existing contract but is thought to be unhappy with the one year extension the club have offered him. Everton boss David Moyes has stated his desire to keep Radzinski on Merseyside, but the 30-year-old player is thought to want more reassurances about his future at the club. Just a fortnight ago, as Fulham were preparing an improved £1.75m offer for Radzinski he said: "When all the talk is about the future you always want to know what is going to happen," "Not much has changed. The contract offered by Everton was only for a one-year extension, which would have left me standing really in the same spot that I am this time next season.
"I have to wait, negotiations are underway and hopefully within the next two or three weeks there is going to be a solution to it. "The sooner it happens the better, but I am not rushing into anything because it is a very important decision for me, for the club and for my future." Radzinski, who has scored 26 goals from 78 appearances for Everton since signing in a £4.5m deal from Anderlecht three years ago, now appears to have taken that decision into his own hands which is likely to prompt various suitors for his signature.

Rooney did not deserve to be on the losing team
Jun 14 2004 By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL OWEN today hailed Wayne Rooney's latest electric performance for England and said: "He didn't deserve to be on the losing team." The Liverpool striker could see how concerned the French defence was with Rooney's ability. His scintillating run ought to have led to the decisive moment of the game, but David Beckham's missed penalty proved costly in a frantic finale. Owen says the Everton youngster emerged from the contest with his reputation enhanced. "I think it's especially unlucky for Wayne to be on the losing side when he's put in such a good display," said Owen.
"We were counter-attacking after we scored and Wayne's style of play really helped us as the game went on. There was one point where it looked as though he had them really worried. "It was going so well until the end, but it's just a disappointing result. I don't think I've ever been involved in such a cruel match as that before. "I could only imagine how it felt for other teams when we did it to them playing for Liverpool. Now I know what it's like to be on the receiving end." Owen had sympathy for his club skipper Steven Gerrard for the error which led to Zinedine Zidane's penalty.

He said: "I feel sorry for Stevie Gerrard. Mistakes are part of football. I think more players came out of the game with a lot of credit than not. "Ninety per cent of it was bad luck but there wasn't much we could do about the free-kick by Zidane. "It's something we have to learn from to make sure we don't let the same situation slip away again. "I think our mindset after we scored was to sit back. It's natural to protect what you've got. "I felt a bit isolated but we wanted to keep the lead. If we hadn't conceded the goal it would have proven the right thing to do."

Eriksson's reason to Roo part in sub plot
Jun 14 2004
By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TERRY VENABLES' face might almost have matched the colour of his salmon pink shirt - as he tried to paint David James as the villain of the England piece and keep a straight face. Cruelly exposed, old Calamity couldn't seriously be blamed for the 92nd minute penalty which kicked English football were it hurts. In truth, the men who failed England in their hour of need were the unlikeliest of suspects. David Beckham, the man who kept his nerve when it mattered most against Argentina, lost it against the French and squandered a pivotal penalty kick. And Steven Gerrard will never make a mistake again like that horrific back pass as long as he pulls on a football shirt. But those two weren't the only agents of England's misfortune. Sven Goran Eriksson's decision to replace Wayne Rooney with Emile Heskey also needs some serious explanation. "He was tired," was the lightweight argument offered up. Well, from this viewpoint, Rooney had a funny way of showing it. The only striker capable of holding the ball - Michael Owen had endured an inexplicomably anonymous evening and was quite correctly replaced by Vassell - Rooney had just completed a turbo-charged sprint half the length of the field to win a penalty kick, when he was replaced. England undoubtedly needed another physical presence up front to help the ball stick, but withdrawing Rooney was a mystifying way of making that happen. Rooney's other manager, David Moyes, was inside the Stade de Luz to witness his young charge's performance and will have watched with a mixture of pride and apprehension. Pre-tournament, he claimed that Chelsea were the only club rich enough to afford a bid for his young prodigy. But such was the quality of Rooney's performance that not only will Roman Abramovich's resolve have been hardened, the rest of Europe will have been woken up to the 18-year-old's immense talent. Rooney's performance, along with that of young Ledley King, are the reasons why last night's defeat may not necessarily be terminal to England's Euro 2004 hopes.

Tapping levels on high
Jun 14 2004 By Chris Bascombe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Liverpool fans must be concerned by the high level of 'tapping up' activity within the England camp. Operation 'get Gerrard or Rooney to Chelsea' is in overdrive. And the national media cliques are certain the Merseysiders won't be at their respective clubs at the start of next season.
It's unlikely Rick Parry or Trevor Birch will call for an investigation into 'illegal approaches'.
But while the rest of the country prays for an England victory, it's easy to understand why some Reds and Blues would be happy to see their boys back on home soil as soon as possible.

Big Nev makes a great saving
Jun 14 2004 Liverpool Echo
CROWDS queued along Liverpool's Church Street on Saturday to pit themselves against a goalkeeping legend - and win free flights if they were lucky! Former Everton and Wales No.1 Neville Southall was in goal once again, this time in a free flights giveway by budget airline easyJet to celebrate Euro 2004's big kick off. Anyone who managed to put two out of three penalties past Big Nev could win a pair of free return flights from Liverpool John Lennon airport to a range of destinations including Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris. But the man who, at his peak, was arguably the best goalkeeper in the world and who now coaches Wales' U19s goalkeepers and semi-professional side Canvey Island still looks agile enough to thwart most opponents.

Luke sees defeat snatched from the jaws of victory
Jun 14 2004
Liverpool Echo
A LIVERPOOL schoolboy was minutes away from leading England to victory against France last night.
Luke Cooney, six, was given the honour of leading out his heroes after winning an ECHO competition. Luke was picked from hundreds of entrants in the McDonalds sponsored contest for the unstinting support he gives to his younger sister Emily who has cerebral palsy. Luke, the year-one pupil at St Robert Bellamine's primary school in Bootle, led out his Liverpool favourite Steven Gerrard. His hopes of an England victory were dashed by two late goals which stunned fans - including those watching on the big screen in Liverpool city centre. Fans, many wrapped in the St George's flag, turned Mathew Street and Concert Square into a human sea of red and white.

Everton rebuff fresh bid for Radzinski
Exclusive By Andy Hunter In Austria, Daily Post
Jul 15 2004
FULHAM have been told to raise their valuation of Tomasz Radzinski after having a second enquiry for the troubled striker rebuffed by Everton. The Cottagers, who had a £900,000 offer rejected by the Goodison board at the end of last season, returned with a £1.3m approach yesterday.
But despite his recent criticisms of the club, Everton want £1.75m for the 30-year-old and are now awaiting Fulham's next move. Chris Coleman is keen to land Radzinski this week and David Moyes will not block his departure if Fulham match Everton's asking price. The Goodison manager was prepared to keep the Canadian for the final 12 months of his existing deal after rejecting the club's three-year deal, but has now changed his stance. Moyes met Radzinski at the club's Austrian training camp on Tuesday morning to discuss the striker's outburst in a national newspaper.
The Everton manager has refused to comment on the outcome of their meeting but disciplinary action has been taken against the forward, possibly in the form of a two-week fine, and the player has apologised to Marcus Bent for his criticism. Radzinski's departure will help generate some much-needed transfer funds for Moyes, although despite offloading 15 players since the end of last season - including Academy players - he has still only been allowed to make one new signing so far.
Chief executive Trevor Birch is still awaiting a decision from ProActive on Wayne Rooney's contract offer but with Moyes's transfer targets being snapped up the manager is increasingly desperate for new faces. Everton have only 20 players at their Austrian training camp, a figure that includes Sturm Graz trialist Eddy Bosnar and several players with uncertain Goodison futures: Radzinski, Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell, Peter Clarke and Nick Chadwick. The club's ill-fated attempt to land Robbie Savage ended yesterday when the Welsh midfielder vowed to sign a four-year contract with Birmingham. A verbal agreement made with City manager Steve Bruce eight weeks ago will now be followed up on Friday when Savage signs a new four-year contract, with the final season optional.
Although Savage insisted last night that he always wanted to stay, the possibility of a move to Goodison Park had a real attraction for the midfielder given his boyhood support of the club and his family connections in the area. "I never wanted to leave Birmingham," said the Welsh international. "I had a good chat with the gaffer and I'm delighted it's agreed. It was agreed eight weeks ago. I'm a man of my word. "Because I've kept quiet on the situation, and for some reason the contract has never been signed, then it was brought to a head, which was best for both parties because it has dragged on for a long time. "But it's not my fault other teams wanted to buy me." Savage's decision has also pleased co-owner David Sullivan, who could not resist another pot-shot at Everton's bid.
"We weren't impressed with the fact that they made it public," said Sullivan.. "Why they make these things public I do not know. It unsettles players. The offer was ludicrous. I just don't know why they did it." Meanwhile Bolton manager Sam Allardyce last night scrapped a move for Marseille captain Brahim Hemdani - a player Everton were linked with a week ago. The Algerian midfielder's potential switch to the Reebok Stadium broke down on financial grounds. Allardyce said: "We will continue our search to strengthen the squad. We are hopeful of bringing some new players in soon." Moyes had admitted the versatile 26-year-old, who spent the bulk of last season in central defence as Marseille reached the UEFA Cup final, was on his wish-list.

Osman looking to a happy ending
Exclusive report from Austria by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 15 2004
IT SEEMS wrong to share the burden of last season's alarming slide at Everton with one of the campaign's few, albeit belated, success stories. But it is a reflection of Leon Osman's improved standing among the senior staff that he willingly accepts the responsibility. The 23-year-old waited a football eternity to complete his graduation from FA Youth Cup winning player and consistent reserve star to the Premiership stage with Everton, the club he has belonged to since childhood.
When it came, in the form of three impressive outings at the finale of last season, his patience was rewarded. A goal inside two minutes of his Premiership debut at Wolves preceded two further industrious and inventive outings against Bolton and Manchester City. On a personal level it was an undoubted success, and although he regards it as too little it is certainly not too late to make his mark at Everton more sustained. Collectively, however, it was a nightmare, as all three games ended in the same pattern of alarming defeat that ultimately left the club hovering one place above the relegation zone. On the outside it would appear the atmosphere of disillusionment has not evaporated with the summer recess at Everton. But Osman insists there is an over-riding determination to prove that last season was the exception, not the previous term's unexpected revival under David Moyes, and it is a mission he hopes to be an integral part of. "We all know last season was very disappointing, especially after doing so well the year before," he admits..
"We all know last season just wasn't good enough. We all believe we should be finishing much higher up the league than that and we are going to give it everything to make sure we are.
"We have a good squad of players here but the results last season, especially towards the end, were very disappointing. We are not sure exactly why but we are determined it won't happen again.
"We have spoken about what went wrong amongst ourselves and the reasons why, but all the criticism we are getting from the outside only serves to pull us closer together and make us stronger." His arrival may have been short-lived last season but, as the regular use of 'we' indicates, it finally ended Osman's role as the promising outsider to the Everton squad. He could now play a key part in it, although he accepts the abrupt end to his first run in the side means he is back at square one in the eyes of Moyes. Osman explains: "Last season was a great lift. It's been good training with the first team whilst playing in the reserves for the last few years but now I've played a few Premiership games I really do feel part of the team. Ialways believed I could play at that level but there's no doubt my confidence has improved as a result too. It was a case of just waiting for my chance to come along. "You always play better when your confidence is high and going on loan to Derby really helped in that respect. I came back on a real high and the manager saw that and put me straight in the team. Then it got even better after that. "This season is a big test for me. The end of last season came too quickly for me, and now I know I'm starting from scratch again." With only 12 months remaining on his Goodison contract Osman has added reason to ensure his elevation is sustained next season. The midfielder's contractual situation, combined with the rich promise he displayed at Derby and ultimately Everton last season, has alerted several suitors to a possible move.
Derby and east Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest have both failed to tempt Everton into parting company with Osman in recent months, with Moyes telling the latter it would take an offer of £1m before he would even consider the possibility. For a player with only one destination in mind, it was a welcome rebuke. "It was good to hear him say that about Forest," he said.. "I hope it shows I'm in his thinking. "I'm contracted to Everton until the end of this season and I'm really happy the manager turned down the interest. Now I hope to show him that he's made the right decision.
"It's flattering to know other clubs are interested but this is where I want to play my football.
"I want to play as many games as possible in the Everton first team next season. "First and foremost, I'm glad I'm an Everton player. I've been striving to get in the team for a long time now and I was glad to finally get a few games at the end of last season. "Every player's aim is to push on, to play the best he can every week, and hopefully I can do that with a lot more games this season."
He adds: "Every summer I seem to be saying that the next season is the most important for me, but now with the contract situation and having got into the side at the end of last season it is crucial I don't let my standards slip. "I worked as hard as ever last season and I can't afford to sit back and think 'that's it' because I played a few games at the end of it. I need to do it every single week and keep pushing on. "I've grown up playing in central midfield, more attacking than defensive, but I can play a number of positions and I'll play anywhere to be in the team. "Every position is up for grabs at the moment. The manager has his own ideas on players he wants to bring in and on players who are already here, but pre-season is about showing him you deserve a place in the team and that's what I intend to do."

Connah's QN 1, Everton XI 3
Daily Post
Jul 15 2004
A YOUNG Everton side proved too sharp up front for Connah's Quay Nomads in last night's friendly.
Lawrence Wilson bent a superb 25-yard free-kick into the top corner to give the visitors a 14th minute lead, but Danny Williams headed a fine equaliser after 50 minutes. The impressive James Ford put Everton ahead again in the 57th minute with a low 25-yard shot and he added a solo effort 13 minutes later.

Cahill caught up in wrangle with Millwall
By Paul Brown, Daily Post
Jul 15 2004
MILLWALL have rubbished midfielder Tim Cahill's claims he is being forced out of the New Den, labelling his comments "preposterous". The 24-year-old issued a statement through his advisers SFX following the collapse of his £2million transfer to Crystal Palace insisting he neither requested a move nor wanted to leave the Lions. But Millwall hit back, claiming Cahill's version of events "beggars belief". "Tim was given permission by Millwall to talk to Crystal Palace after both clubs had agreed terms," said a club statement. "The two parties met, but talks subsequently stalled with the revelation that the agent was demanding a £125,000 fee. "That this request was made just hours after the publication of the Football League Agents Fees Report, serves only to highlight the amount of money leaving the game unnecessarily and being lost to football. "Despite the claim that the player 'never asked to leave the club', the facts are that Tim asked both Dennis Wise and his predecessor Mark McGhee for a move. "The agents themselves have spoken to Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis on numerous occasions indicating that their client wanted to leave. They also confirmed that they had spoken to two other clubs, namely Everton and Aston Villa, about the possibility of a move for Tim. "Any suggestion that he might be 'frozen out' of the first team as a consequence would be preposterous." SFX were blamed by Palace chairman Simon Jordan for destroying the deal by demanding a £125,000 cut, a fact Cahill denied in his own statement, saying: "It is simply untrue that agent fees prevented the transfer from going ahead and I am very disappointed that this has been reported as the reason for the move breaking down. "I also want to make it clear that I've never been offered or turned down a new contract at Millwall. "Having given the club eight years' service I do not want to be forced to leave."

Rooney show is boost for us - Moyes
Jun 15 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is willing Wayne Rooney to repeat Sunday's power-house performance against the French when England face Switzerland on Thursday - even though that may intensify interest in the 18-year-old. Rooney's astonishingly mature performance at the weekend has alerted the rest of Europe to a talent which Premiership observers have long since appreciated. The Blues' boss was inside the Stade de Luz to witness Rooney's impressive display, and said today: "I was delighted to see Wayne do so well. "It's good for Everton and especially good for the boy himself. "He handled the whole occasion well and looked mature throughout." As to possible approaches from some of Europe's leading clubs, Moyes replied: "If that happens, it happens. "But we want to get Everton into a position where we are bidding to bring the top players to Goodison. "That's not possible as things stand at the moment, but selling our best players isn't going to bring that possibility any closer." Moyes watched transfer target Dmitri Bulykin of Russia on Saturday night and is also monitoring Dominic Matteo's position at Leeds. But the former Liverpool defender's wages could prove a stumbling block with Blackburn favourites to secure his signature. "He's one of a number of players we are interested in," said Moyes. "We are keeping an eye on his situation. As for Bulykin, it was a difficult match to assess him in because Russia were not very ambitious." Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp, also inside the stadium in Faro, was similarly unimpressed with Bulykin. He said: "I went to look at Bulykin, but it turned out he's not really the type I'm looking for. He's strong in the air, more of a traditional English- styl e centre-forward. "I want someone with a bit more movement who can open things up more. David might like him as a foil for Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski who could run off him." * The Blues' box office will be open from 8.30am to 7pm each night this week, and 8.30am until 1pm on Saturday to process season ticket renewals. Closing date to guarantee retaining old seats is Saturday.

Radz to see out Blues contract
Jun 15 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will let Tomasz Radzinski see out the final year of his Everton contract, after rejecting a transfer request from theCanadian international. Radzinski submitted a formal request late yesterday, stating he was unhappy at only being offered a one-year extension. "The contract offered by Everton was only for a one-year extension, which would have left me standing in the same spot next season," he said. But Moyes instantly rejected it and would prefer to have the player available for a further year than accept the likely £1.5m his transfer would yield. "I don't want to be without Tomasz," said Moyes, who is nevertheless unlikely to improve the length of contract offer for a player who will be 31 in December. Radzinski joined the Merseyside club from Belgian side Anderlecht three years ago in a £4.5million deal. He has scored 26 goals in 101 appearances (85 starts) since then. His transfer request is likely to alert a number of Premiership suitors, including Fulham, Blackburn and Portsmouth, while Celtic are also monitoring Radzinski as a potential replacement for Henrik Larsson.

No more fans' ashes to be buried at Goodison
Jun 15 2004 By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
EVERTON are to stop the practice of burying supporters' ashes around the Goodison Park pitch.
The Blues have reluctantly withdrawn the facility after running out of space. Since the club began offering the service, the ashes of more than 800 Evertonians have been laid to rest there. The ashes of many former players, including the legendary Dixie Dean, have also been sprinkled on the pitch. Everton's head of public relations Ian Ross said: "We have used up all the available pitch-side space.
"It is very disappointing because, from the club's perspective, we always regarded it as akin to the ultimate honour that someone would want Goodison Park to represent their final resting place.
"We never publicised or advertised the fact that we did this; it was simply a service we provided for supporters." The spot where each fan's ashes are buried is marked by a memorial plaque. The club also allowed family members to commemorate birthdays, anniversaries and other special dates by letting them spend time at their loved one's site. Blues chiefs have been aware that the number of spaces available has been diminishing and had hoped to solve the problem by opening a chapel of rest at the proposed Kings Dock stadium. But when those plans fell through the club had to stop the practice of burying ashes at pitchside. Everton are discussing with the Rev Harry Ross about the possibility of ashes being laid to rest within the grounds of St Luke's church on Goodison Road - a church which famously represents part of Goodison Park's fabric.
* WHEN Liverpool boxing trainer Jimmy Albertina died last year his family thought the only rightful resting place for the lifelong Blues fan would be Goodison Park. Jimmy's widow Bernie approached the club who were only too happy to find a burial spot. She said: "As well as being a massive Everton fan he also worked as a steward on match days. "It was fitting to have his ashes buried there because Everton were such a big part of his life. "The club were really good to us."

Rooney the dangerman - Silvestre
Jun 15 2004 By John Gibson In Lisbon, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY - not comparative veteran Michael Owen - is England's trump card, says French centre-back Mikael Silvestre. The Manchester United player was bamboozled by Rooney for the penalty that could have won the opening game for England. Rooney was heavily criticised before the clash by France's other central defender, Lilian Thuram, for his youthful inexperience.
But Silvestre insisted: "He's capable of doing anything for England. "Wayne had a great game. He was the main target for the English defenders to hit and caused us problems with his honesty and aggression. "He plays in that position between our defence and midfield where he is difficult to pick up and mark." Silvestre admits Rooney did him so effectively on the penalty that he ought to have been sent off - and thanked old United team-mate Fabien Barthez for saving David Beckham's spot kick. "Rooney could have played the ball inside to Darius Vassell or gone himself," said the French defender. "He decided on the second and I had to go in. I'm lucky that Fabien saved the penalty and that I wasn't sent off." Silvestre revealed how close France were to surrendering victory to England when he added: "Our team was spent. All our belief had gone but by the end we had the result and that was crucial for future games. "England were very good. We found it extremely difficult to create chances. We weren't very dangerous."

Eriksson has faith in Owen and Rooney
Jun 15 2004 Liverpool Echo
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON is happy with the Wayne Rooney-Michael Owen partnership as England start to prepare for Thursday's Euro 2004 clash with Switzerland after the heartbreak against France.
Rooney turned in a superb performance in England's 2-1 defeat and won the penalty that could have clinched victory when they were leading 1-0, only for Fabien Barthez to save David Beckham's spot-kick. But Owen looked a shadow of the player who has netted 25 times for his country before he was substituted midway through the second half. He has often produced his best performances alongside a big target man such as Emile Heskey rather than a player like Rooney who has pace as well as power. But Eriksson has no thoughts about breaking up the combination even though Heskey is a contender to play against the Swiss - but in a left-sided midfield role if Paul Scholes does not recover from a twisted ankle. Eriksson said: "I think Wayne and Michael play well together. If you think that one striker should be strong and good in the air while the other is quick, then they are not like that. "Rooney is strong but not tall so if he has to fight with the big centre-backs he will not win much in the air. "But they have so many other good things going for them. They are doing well and I am sure that Michael is happy with Wayne." Eriksson admitted concerns that Rooney might be losing his cool and in danger of being sent off had been one consideration when substituting him with just under 20 minutes remaining on Sunday. The Everton striker had been involved in a couple of spats with midfielder Claude Makelele shortly before he was brought off. Eriksson conceded: "We talked about it on the bench and when you are tired it is easier to lose your patience.
"But Wayne did very well. I am a little surprised because when we met up three weeks ago he didn't look that sharp. On Sunday he was absolutely fantastic." Ledley King - who, like Rooney, was playing his first game in a major tournament in Lisbon on Sunday - was happy with his performance despite talk that he may be dropped to make way for John Terry on Thursday. The Tottenham centre-back said: "I wanted to come in and not let anyone down and I have always been confident in my ability to do a job. "It was nearly a dream debut in terms of it being my first competitive match and I settled down quickly after a few nerves. "Sol Campbell was great alongside me. I grew up admiring him and wanted to follow in his footsteps. He helped me all through the game. "Have I given the manager a selection headache? I just wanted to do well and I'll stick by whatever decision the manag er makes for the next game."

Moyes keen to close Goodison exit door
By Andy Hunter in Austria, Daily Post
Jul 16 2004
DAVID MOYES is loath to let another player leave his threadbare squad before Everton make their next move in the transfer market. Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski, Thomas Gravesen and Tobias Linderoth have all been linked with Goodison exits that could refinance Moyes's attempts to rebuild his playing staff. Duncan Ferguson has been offered a £500,000 pay-off for the final year of his contract, while fellow high-earner Kevin Campbell could also be taken off the wage bill if Crystal Palace or Leicester follow up their interest in the 34-year-old. Radzinski is currently closest to an Everton exit with Fulham, who were last night given permission to speak to Blackburn's Andy Cole, being told to up their £1.3m valuation of the striker to £1.75m to conclude a deal. But Moyes, (pictured above), is growing increasingly concerned that the struggle to bring new faces into the club - having missed out on Robbie Savage, Dominic Matteo and Sean Davis this summer - will leave him short of numbers if the present situation continues over the next four weeks. And he is anxious the club makes further signings before sanctioning the departure of any more of his current squad.
Everton have released 15 play-ers since the end of last season but have so far spent only £450,000 on Markus Bent. Both Rooney and Gravesen will need to see signs of investment in the squad to be convinced to sign new contracts with the club, with the Danish midfielder expecting to hold talks on a new deal when he returns from his international break on Monday. Moyes is interested in Millwall's Tim Cahill and Marseille captain Brahim Hemdani, who have seen respective deals with Crystal Palace and Bolton collapse this week, while Manchester United's decision to allow Nicky Butt to go on loan next season - providing someone covers his £34,000-a-week wages - will alert the Everton manager. At that price Butt is certainly beyond Everton's reach, while the club's struggle to raise a transfer budget could hinder a move for £2m-rated Cahill. Everton, meanwhile, play their first friendly of the summer tonight when they take on Serbian side FK Zeleznik in Koflach (kickoff 5.30pm GMT). Zeleznik finished third in the Serbian top flight last season, gaining a place in the
UEFA Cup, and this game represents the start of their buildup for European competition next month.
Joseph Yobo (groin), Radzinski (calf) and James McFadden (thigh) are all likely to miss out with pre-season niggles.

Forward thinking to end his odyssey
Jul 16 2004 By Andy Hunter in Austria, Daily Post
UNCERTAINTY and Everton strikers have formed an unholy alliance this summer. And it illustrates the confusion over the direction the club is heading that the only forward with a guaranteed Goodison future is starting out at his eighth club. While doubts surround Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski, Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell and Nick Chadwick's long-term presence at Everton new arrival Marcus Bent is revelling in what he hopes will be the high-profile end to his own football odyssey. Now, with a three-year contract signed on his £450,000 move from Ipswich last month, the 26-year-old is anxious to address another issue sparking much debate right now; that of Everton's ability to avoid another flirtation with relegation next season. Having suffered the experience while on loan to Leicester last season, for whom he scored 10 goals after his arrival in September, Bent would not wish a repeat on his own worst enemy. And despite the implications of losing Rooney, the progress being made by rival clubs and the alarming lack of signings this summer, of which Bent holds the dubious distinction of being the only one, he believes the sense of foreboding around Everton to be misplaced. "I wouldn't have come here if I didn't think the squad had quality," said the striker.. "I know they ended up in a position no-one expected them to get in last season but I think, well I know, that they believe they are better than that. And I'm sure the Everton fans were very disappointed because they know they are better than that as well. "We've been working hard this week and we're looking forward to our first game on Friday, and I am sure we will be raring to go come the start of the season. I can't predict what will happen once the season starts but I hope we start and finish the season with all guns blazing. We need to get a good home record going and win the games that we should win. "At Leicester they were written off from the start but there were so many games we should have won last season and didn't, on occasions we were three-nil up and drew three-three or even lost. "There is a stature that comes with Everton though. They are a big side, a big club, and the expectation and pressure is far greater and the squad here, because of what happened last season, has the grit behind them and want to get out and battle." He added: "Everton has a far bigger profile and I hope I thrive on that. It is quite scary in a way, but it is something as a professional footballer and a man you have to rise to. "You want to play on the biggest stage and with the biggest clubs and hopefully I have chosen the right course, I believe I have. Now I want to give everything for the team and myself." Bent has experienced the consequences of that higher profile without even kicking a ball in anger for his new club. Last week he was unwittingly dragged into Radzinski's row with the club when the Canadian appeared to criticise his arrival, although, as he explained when apologising on Tuesday, the former Anderlecht player was attacking the number of new signings the club have made rather than their calibre. Bent reveals: "Tomasz came up to me as soon as he got here and explained that he didn't mean it the way it sounded in the paper.
"He shook my hand and we've been speaking ever since. I don't think he meant anything personally, more that with so many players leaving only one new signing wasn't enough, and since he's been here he seems like a really nice lad." Radzinski may have broken a golden rule in his public out-burst but his point about Everton needing far more than just one new face after last season's slump finds few dissenters. "I'm very surprised that I'm the only signing so far to be honest but that's for the management of the club to sort out," admits Bent. "I'm sure there will be a few more before the start of the season or maybe even deadline day." As far as Bent is concerned, the lure of Everton should be enough to ensure more new faces are on show by August 15. Although he is forced to admit that a journey that has so far taken in Brentford, Port Vale, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Blackburn, Ipswich and Leicester had its origins a bit closer to Goodison. The striker explains: "I'm not going to lie, but as a youngster growing up and looking at the successful teams it was mostly Liverpool, as an outsider when you think of Liverpool you think of them. "But as you grow older you know the situation, and Everton have started to come to the fore again with Wayne Rooney coming on the scene. "What really clinched it for me was when I came up to Everton, spoke to the gaffer, met the staff and the people who make it tick and saw how big the club really was and its fanbase is. That's what clinched it for me. The people here care, and they showed me they wanted me and that's why I chose Everton. "Everton and Portsmouth showed strong interest and no disrespect to Portsmouth, they did really well last season, but for me Everton are the bigger side and a place where I wanted to take my career on." He added: "It is hard moving so often. I'm a London boy, but I moved away at a young age and had to learn to cope with it from the age of 19. It gave me a head start and I've moved a lot since then, not because I've wanted to but because I've had to. "It hasn't been a case of teams not wanting me, I've either done well and other clubs have come in for me or they've sold me for financial reasons. "Everton aren't the richest club in the world at the moment but I think if I do well, there can be some stability for me and my career. I've got three years and I hope I'm here that long." Bent has already made an impression on Evertonians, being part of the long list of opposition players last season who cost the club crucial points in the dying stages of the game. The striker, who can also occupy a right-wing slot, headed home a final second equaliser for Leicester on an ill-fated day at The Walkers Stadium. "What I do remember about that game was having a goal disallowed in the first half," he recalls. "I headed it against the bar, it came back, hit my arse and went in. The referee said I handballed it but afterwards he came and apologised to me, although it was a bit late then. "That's why I was so happy when I scored the equaliser at the end of the game. It had been happening to us at Leicester quite a lot last season, where we'd get done right at the end, so I was just happy to turn it the other way for a change. It was nothing against Everton!"

Odds on for clubs to share stadium
By Larry Neild and Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Jul 16 2004
THE leader of the city council last night claimed that Liverpool and Everton are closer than ever to agreeing to share a multi-million pound football stadium. Cllr Mike Storey said the two clubs were "warming" to the prospect, adding that he felt a shared facility "made economic sense".
In addition, he said he rated the chances of a joint stadium actually becoming a reality as now being 60-40 in favour. However, Liverpool FC last night said they were "surprised" at his comments,, stating that talk of a shared stadium was nothing more than a "red herring". Cllr Storey made his remarks at a conference called by developers Grosvenor to discuss their proposals for the Paradise Street shopping development. The council leader took the opportunity to tell an audience of more than 200 developers and professionals that he was in favour of a joint stadium. He said: "It seems ludicrous for two clubs, both based within the Anfield area, and to be within spitting distance of each other, to have separate grounds. "Many people have said that a joint stadium is an impossible dream, but I disagree and we are moving closer to making it a reality. "In fact, I would put the odds at it actually happening as 60-40." Cllr Storey added: "I have always been in favour of the two clubs sharing facilities because it makes economic sense. "We live in a city where members of the same family live under the same roof and can still support Liverpool or Everton. So what is wrong with those people having a shared stadium? "Why spend millions of pounds on two grounds when a shared stadium would release more money for new players. I know there will be diehards who say never, but perhaps now is the time to start thinking the unthinkable. "Of course, the final decision will have to rest with the boards of the two clubs, but there are warming, softening words emanating from both camps on this issue and this gives me hope for optimism." Liverpool FC's planning application for its new ground is expected to go before the city council's planning committee for consideration within a matter of weeks. A club spokesman last night said: "We are surprised to hear these comments this afternoon. As far as we are concerned, the position has not changed. "We have submitted a planning application for a new stadium based on a single club use and we have also written to the NWDA to reiterate that point." He added that the club's proposals would bring huge regeneration to north Liverpool and that talk of a shared ground was a "red herring". The spokesman said: "Liverpool have been working with both the city council and the local community for the past five years on a project which we always saw as the catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of north Liverpool. "Talk of a shared stadium in terms of the benefits that this would bring to the whole community is nothing more than a red herring." The NWDA has confirmed that £20m would be available to improve infrastructure, transport, housing and community facilities in the area surrounding any future shared stadium. Earlier this month, Everton's new chief executive, Trevor Birch, announced he would make a formal approach to Liverpool about a ground-share. A spokesman for Everton said: "Talks are ongoing and have been for sometime. We have always made it clear and our new chief executive, Trevor Birch, has made it clear that a shared stadium is the way forward not only for Everton but also for Liverpool.
"We have already signed up to it." The majority of Everton and Liverpool fans have made it clear they would not support any plan to share a stadium with their closest rivals. Reflecting the Goodison Park side's poor Premiership showing last season, Les Lawson, secretary of the official Liverpool Supporters Club, said: "Why would we want to share with a potential first division club?
"They cannot afford to do their own stadium - why should we throw away everything we have achieved with our plans just because they have fallen on hard times? "If they really want be part of our plans, then they can give us Wayne Rooney in return." Ian MacDonald, spokesman for the Independent Everton Supporters Club, said: "We should not be discussing a stadium share when we are a club staring into the abyss. "We could build a new stand at Goodison for £7.5m. I would rather that, than selling our identity and risk being known as the club which shares a ground with Liverpool."

Thinking the unthinkable
Andy Kelly considers the massive pressures which are forcing Liverpool and Everton football clubs closer to the once unimaginable possibility of sharing a ground, Daily Post
Jul 16 2004
NEWS that the leader of Liverpool City Council now believes a shared stadium between Liverpool and Everton is more likely to happen than not will send a shiver down the spine of many Merseyside football fans today. To share a stadium with their closest rivals, to have a red or a blue sitting in their seat every other week, is something the majority do not even want to contemplate.
There will be talk of season ticket burning and of "never going back" to the clubs they currently live and breathe. A shared stadium may make economic and practical sense, but it is too big a price for many fans founded on their own club's unique pride and traditions. Surveys conducted when the Daily Post first revealed the possibility of groundshare last year produced a clear majority against such a move. But while no-one should underestimate the power of supporters - particularly at clubs with such historically close links to their communities - there are other, potentially stronger forces at work in modern football. Money of course is chief among them and there is no doubt that it is financial realities which are providing the impetus for groundshare. Neither Liverpool nor Everton currently has a Roman Abramovich to bankroll their Premiership aspirations. Liverpool do not yet even appear to have a Thaksin Shinawatra or a Steve Morgan to help them fulfil their lofty title ambitions. The Thai Prime Minister's £60m deal appears dead in the water after an adverse reaction in his home country. And the Liverpool board appeared to baulk at the terms being offered by property magnate and shareholder Steve Morgan for a similar level of investment. Many feel it is still the Anfield club holding most of the cards in the negotiations over a ground-share. Their finances are clearly in a better shape than Everton's and their plans for a new 60,000-seat stadium on Stanley Park are already at an advanced stage. City planners should consider them within weeks.
But Liverpool are now under considerable pressure from a number of sides to agree to a groundshare. They include:
* Everton's new chief executive Trevor Birch has said he will formally approach Liverpool about a groundshare. He has acknowledged Everton need a new ground to increase revenues and return to the elite. With little money apparently available from the board, sharing with Liverpool could provide their only chance of a new ground, however unpalatable or unpopular it might be.
* It was the North West Development Agency which first publicly mooted the possible of groundshare. It has offered up to £20m for infrastructure improvements in and around a new shared stadium which it believes could be a key driving force in the much-needed regeneration of north Liverpool.
* Liverpool city council, along with the NWDA, has acted as an honest broker in negotiations between the clubs. Most of its work has been in the background but Storey has now broken ranks and thrown his weight publicly behind a groundshare. A single world class stadium facility in Liverpool would be seen as a huge bonus to celebrations in 2008.
* Club finances are possibly the key pressure on Liverpool. The club is due to finance much of its £80m-plus stadium through a loan drawn from major banks. That will put considerable strain on finances in forthcoming years, thereby lessening the chances of it buying the quality players needed to win top honours. It is success on the pitch which will ultimately bring in extra money. With each passing month the cost of the stadium will also be rising, adding an even greater financial burden, with a possible lengthy public inquiry into the Stanley Park stadium still ahead. The key question may be whether Everton have enough collateral to bring to the table to convince Liverpool of the viability of groundshare. With considerable debts already, Everton would be left with the need to sell their two most valuable assets to pay for their half of the stadium: a surplus to requirements Goodison Park (at least £15m) and Wayne Rooney (name your own price).

A club on the verge of crisis...in July
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
Jul 16 2004
AFTER a gruelling season, the summer break is meant to be a time for relaxation, free of worry and football-related stresses. However, things are never so simple at Goodison Park, and if anything Evertonians are even more glum now than when the season ended with that never-to-be-forgotten outing to the Eastlands Stadium. At the rate we're going we could very well end up being tagged crisis club Everton in July, when we normally wait until at least late September. For a start, speculation has always surrounded Wayne Rooney, and we all feared that a good European Championships would raise his profile quite a bit, but surely none of us expected the level of hysteria that his performances over in Portugal generated. More importantly, none of us expected those displays to provoke quite this level of unrest and speculation concerning his future. The club seem genuine in their efforts to keep him at Goodison, but their task certainly isn't being helped by extra problems popping up on a seemingly daily basis. For instance, Tomasz Radzinski's comments about David Moyes, Rooney's future and Marcus Bent were, quite frankly, disgraceful. It's typical of the modern footballer that he thinks he should be rewarded - as if his current salary isn't reward enough - for working hard last season. People are just getting sick to the back teeth of these pampered millionaires and their over-inflated opinions of themselves. They don't even pretend to be interested in anything but their own wallets nowadays and their lack of pride is positively breathtaking.
Something has to be amiss with the state of the game when, in the same week, Alan Stubbs can express indignation over criticism levelled at Everton players at the end of last season and Patrick Kluivert can describe Newcastle's offer of forty grand a week as 'derisory'. Managers throughout the Premiership are faced with the problems of players' attitudes,, but the increasingly frustrated David Moyes is further hampered by the other perennial problem at Goodison, namely a lack of any serious transfer funds. Whoever thought the day would come when we'd be unable to land Paul Dickov and Robbie Savage? The situation, quite frankly, is frightening. Unless there are some positive developments in the next couple of weeks the prospects for the new season look decidedly bleak. Happy holidays.

Koumas agrees to four-year contract
By Jamie Gardner, Daily Post
Jul 16 2004
JASON KOUMAS has signed an improved four-year contract with West Brom after requesting a transfer last week. The request was dismissed out of hand by Baggies manager Gary Megson, with the Wales international apparently unhappy at the progress of talks to extend his current deal, which had two years to run. Former Tranmere player Koumas, who had been linked with a move to Everton, is now under contract until 2008 and Megson said: "We're really pleased Jason has signed this contract. "Hopefully, this will enable him to get his head straight and concentrate solely on his football. "Jason needs to make the next step in his career. He's got to become consistent, more of a team player, put more work-rate into his game while keeping the fantastic ability he undoubtedly has. "The contract he has signed will give him and his family security and, in return, we shall be placing more demands on Jason to become the finished article as opposed to just a promising young player. "This contract should enable Jason to concentrate purely on improving as a player and helping West Brom improve as a club." Koumas scored 10 goals for Albion last season as they bounced straight back to the Premiership after being relegated from the top flight in 2002-03.
Chairman Jeremy Peace added: "We have continually stated we were only interested in Jason signing a new deal and we're delighted he's put pen to paper. "Both parties have been willing to compromise, which has enabled us to reach an agreement which suits everyone."

We're a joke
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 16 2004
We're a joke
IT'S official - we are now a joke. The amount of abuse I'm getting from Birmingham City fans is horrendous. Not a problem - I can handle it but to think BCFC fans are slagging our beloved club off is surreal. Here's a club that has done nothing for years and has only recently got back into top-flight football. Yet they have more money than us, more direction than us, much better prospects than us yet we are supposed to be the much bigger club. £1m down payment with the rest not paid until 2008! Fact Two: We're skint.
Shez Khan (via e-mail)
I FIND it a disgrace and an embarrassment to hear about what we have offered Birmingham for Robbie Savage. If offering £1million and then the rest in 2008 isn't bad enough, they add that the rest of the cash is only paid if we are still in the Premiership. Is our board expecting us to be relegated by 2008? If so I think they should leave now as this clearly shows that they have no ambition for this club.
Simon Lee, Liverpool
Moyes could go
IT'S going from bad to worse. The club is a source of ridicule, and now to hear that we may have no new players. Moyes could leave if this continues, I certainly wouldn't blame him. I thought last year's off-season was bad, I'm dreading next years - just when you think it can't get worse it somehow does.
Matty Martin (via e-mail)
PR disaster
ONCE again, EFC create yet another PR disaster in the wake of the Savage bid. Years of boardroom lies and deceipt continue to occur and its another setback that we Evertonians now see as the norm rather than the exception.
Paul Mullally, Liverpool
Why not Davis?
I'D like to know what's going on. Last season we were talking about bringing Sean Davis in for £5million only for him to fail a medical at the start of the season. This season he goes to Spurs for £3m and we're not even in the running. We had a trump card in Radzinski who wants out and Fulham want to buy him - why didn't we do a player/cash exchange? There is a lot of lies being told around Goodison these days and us fans are just about sick of it.
Stephen Moore, (via e-mail)
Lily Savaged
OH dear. Just as we we're looking foward to the likes of Sean Davis, Jason Koumas, Joe Cole (on loan) or even Micheal Carrick to end our midfield problem we go and bid for Lily Savage! Sorry that just about sums us up at the moment. EFC are pushing us loyal fans to the limit!
Tony McClean (via e-mail)
Dithering Moyes
IT IS unfortunate that Radzinski chose to air our dirty linen in public - but can anyone take issue with what he has said? Moyes is a ditherer. He was accused of dithering in the transfer market when he was at Preston and he has not exactly made any decisive moves in the last 12 months.
Even allowing for the shortage of cash, we have missed many transfer opportunities because he is incapable of pulling the trigger.
P Fearon, Liverpool

Nyarko to leave Blues after permit blow
Jun 16 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES suffered another body blow today, when he learned that midfielder Alex Nyarko has kicked his last ball for the club. The 30-year-old has failed to secure a work permit for next season and there is no right of appeal against the decision. The Ghanaian did not figure regularly last season, but with David Unsworth, Francis Jeffers, Scot Gemmill and Paul Gerrard having already left the club, Peter Clarke and Tomasz Radzinski rejecting new contract offers and Thomas Gravesen indicating that he is also unsettled, the Blues boss runs the risk of being seriously short of manpower next season. Nyarko joined Everton from Lens for £4.5m in July 2000 but could only acquire a permit lasting until summer 2004. An independent tribunal consisting of members of the FA, the Premier League, the PFA, an ex-player and an exmanager met in Sheffield yesterday and tossed out the application. The fact Nyarko was not a regular last season - he started only 10 first team games - and retired from international football three years ago were contributory factors.

Big time can improve me - Rooney
Jun 16 2004 Liverpool Echo
ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney is loving the big tournament experience he is getting at Euro 2004.
The 18-year-old was a star performer in the 2-1 defeat against France - his first match in a major international tournament - and despite the result the Everton striker is enjoying his time in Portugal.
"It's been brilliant being out here among the best players in Europe," he said. "It's a brilliant experience for me being such a young age and it can only benefit my game. "Everyone, as soon as we got here, wanted the game to come as soon as possible." Rooney also spoke of his friendship with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. "He's been a great help. He's always there for me when I need advice," Rooney revealed. "We've been down to the arcade room together and we play table tennis and pool. "Are we a team when we play? No, I'm probably better than him at most things."
Rooney would become the youngest player to score in the final stages of the European Championships if he is on target against Switzerland in Coimbra tomorrow. "Obviously looking back in years to come it would be a big thing for me to score, but I just want to win the game for England. I don't care who scores." Meanwhile Sol Campbell admits time is running out for England's older brigade to lift an international trophy. He knows this may be just one of three chances left for himself and the other 29-year-olds in the squad - David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville - to win a trophy with England. "There are a few of us who don't have many tournaments left - maybe this one, the World Cup and the one after - and I want to win something before my international career runs out," the Arsenal defender admitted. "But it doesn't matter if it's your first tournament or your fifth. As an international player, you want to do all you can to achieve success."

England waned without Rooney
Jun 16 2004 By Danny Murphy, Liverpool Echo
I AM not a football manager, and I don't mean any disrespect to the players who came on - but I was still surprised when Sven Goran Eriksson decided to make Wayne Rooney one of the players substituted 15 minutes from the end of Sunday's game. He had just given as good a performance at that level I think I have ever seen from an 18-year-old. His touch was excellent, his power unbelievable, he showed assertiveness, confidence and great self-belief - and the run which yielded the penalty kick displayed all of those qualities. I think psychologically France will have taken heart from seeing Wayne go off when he did. When a player is having so much joy against you, seeing him depart before the end will allow you a big sigh of relief. Sadly the French had no thoughts of taking Zinedine Zidane off before the end. He is one of the few players in the world who can produce that bit of magic even when under intense pressure. As a midfielder myself, I recognise and admire those qual iti es immensely. And the good news for England is that they are unlikely to come up against class like that again in the tournament . . . unless they progress into the latter stages.
Here's hoping!

Money meltdown even affecting United
July 16, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Manchester United chief executive David Gill is facing up to some tough financial decisions which highlight why the Red Devils have been unable to come up with a firm offer for Everton superstar Wayne Rooney. Three weeks ago, when he initially knocked down talk of a '30million bid for the teenage sensation, Gill outlined that following the summer arrivals of Gabriel Heinze, Alan Smith and Liam Miller, he was now concentrating on player exits. Since then, the only departure was yesterday's free transfer move of defender Mark Lynch to Sunderland, which will barely make a dent in United's salary levels, and Gill is under pressure to ensure those do not spiral over 50% of turnover, seen as one of the crucial watermarks in the City for maintaining confidence in the club's well-being. If Gill was anticipating the more notable departure of England midfielder Nicky Butt he has so far been sadly mistaken. Despite confirmed interest from Newcastle, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and Everton over the past six months, Butt, who was reluctantly given the green light to leave in January by Sir Alex Ferguson, remains on the Old Trafford payroll.
No takers
Although it is thought United would accept around '3.5million for the 29-year-old, whose price tag started at the '5million mark, there have still been no takers, leaving Gill in the uncomfortable situation of having to decide whether to sanction a season-long loan deal. Unlike Chelsea, loaning out established first-team stars is not a policy United have pursued with any enthusiasm and even Fabien Barthez's departure for Marseille last year ended with his contract being cancelled in return for a '2.4million pay-off in March. With two years remaining on Butt's current contract, Gill knows that when the midfielder returned to Old Trafford in 12 months' time, his transfer fee will have plummeted because he would be close to being able to move for free on a Bosman deal, a situation virtually unheard of at Old Trafford. However, with Premiership and Champions League incomes falling, Gill knows he faces a harder task balancing the books than he would have done last year and, in the absence of a permanent sale, any loan deal involving Butt would take up to '2million off United's annual wage bill. Apart from Butt, striker Diego Forlan is the only other established player for whom a buyer is being sought. But while the Uruguayan, who also has two years remaining on his contract, may have become a more attractive proposition following his impressive performances in Copa America, United already accept it may require another Barthez-style deal to find a club willing to take on his relatively high wages.

FK Zeleznik 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jul 17 2004
By Andy Hunter in Koflach, Austria, Daily Post
AND NOW, some good news. Everton opened their pre-season programme with exactly what they needed after weeks of torment, rejections and a resignation - victory in a football match.. Kevin Campbell's 11th-minute goal was enough to see off Serbian side FK Zeleznik last night and, if little else, give the squad a positive escape from the tremors sweeping the corridors of Goodison and the fear enveloping their supporters. It is a thankless task trying to draw conclusions from a pre-season friendly, especially one this early, but there was enough in this performance to keep David Moyes satisfied for now. Markus Bent gave a bright, intelligent forward's display on his first appearance for the club since his £450,000 move from Ipswich alongside the goalscorer, while Gary Naysmith and Kevin Kilbane stood out on their return from summer operations. Bent almost marked his debut with a deserved goal in the 20th minute when he latched onto Campbell's chip over the top only for Zeleznik keeper Oliver Kovacevic to smother his attempted lob. Nine minutes earlier the Serb stopper had not been quite so assured when Kilbane's measured cross from the left resulted in a powerful header by Steve Watson that he could only parry. Campbell was on hand to tap in the loose ball and a game of few chances but plenty of bruising challenges was settled. Zeleznik, who qualified for this season's UEFA Cup through their third-placed finish in the Serbian top flight last term, were of a much higher pedigree than David Moyes usually accepts at this stage but that is how the Goodison manager wants it this year. Even so, the only impression Zeleznik seriously left on Everton was on the back of their ankles. And that was the last thing Moyes needed. The result, the performance and the run-out were all good but of course there had to be a downside and that came in the faces on the substitutes's bench. Or rather the lack of them. First friendly of pre-season and Moyes could only field three players on the bench, one of them a keeper. Customary summer niggles kept Nigel Martyn, Tony Hibbert, Duncan Ferguson, Tomasz Radzinski, Joseph Yobo and James McFadden out of the game, while the Euro 2004 contingent are still in recuperation.
But now is the time when managers like to give players 45 not 80 minute run-outs and it is not worth contemplating the effects an injury-crisis could have on this squad in the Premiership next season. That can wait for now. It was not on the travelling Evertonians's minds when the final whistle went last night, two of whom leapt onto the pitch completely naked. Theirs was a fitting tribute to the Everton squad, miniscule at best.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright (Turner 66); Pistone, Weir (Stubbs 45), Bosnar, Naysmith; Watson, Carsley, Osman, Kilbane; Campbell (Chadwick 45), Bent.

Everton's new chief executive walks out
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 17 2004
new chief executive Trevor Birch resigned yesterday after the board rejected his plans to sell the club. Birch walked away from the club after just six weeks at the helm, frustrated by a developing power struggle between chairman Bill Kenwright and millionaire director Paul Gregg. The former Chelsea and Leeds United chief executive arrived at Everton with a pledge that he would have complete autonomy in his quest to bring in new investment and transform the club's fortunes.
The Daily Post understands that he attended a meeting of True Blue Holdings, the company which holds a 68% stake in Everton, on Monday, at which he spelt out his aim to sell the club lock, stock and barrel. He warned True Blue shareholders Kenwright, Gregg, Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby that they would have to be prepared to sell their shares, taking a substantial loss on their original investment. His blunt message was that the only way to save the club from extinction was to sell it. It brought to a head a confrontation that had been developing between Birch and his new employers almost since the start of his brief tenure, as the new chief executive came to terms with the true scale of the financial problems faced by the club. It is believed that the power struggle between Kenwright and Gregg was frustrating Birch's plans to run the club his way. The True Blue board rejected his proposals on Monday, and in the days that followed, held a series of meetings and conversations aimed at trying to find a compromise. Yesterday, leisure entrepeneur Gregg announced his own plan to restructure the club by dissolving True Blue's shareholding back into the Everton Football Club Co Ltd. The aim, he said, was to raise £15m from outside investors, and another £15m from 15,000 fans who would buy £1,000 worth of shares each. Gregg also claimed there was a refusal to relinquish control within True Blue - who now constitute the entire Everton board of directors - that was preventing progress at the club. Within hours of Gregg's comments, Birch had announced his resignation from Everton. The new chief executive had endured a frosty relationship with David Moyes since he joined the club, with Everton's failure to sign new players this summer the root of the manager's frustration. The ongoing Wayne Rooney saga and the issue of a shared stadium with Liverpool were further complications. However, none of these are believed to have prompted his decision to quit. Everton have lost one of the most respected businessmen in football at a crucial time. It has come as a major blow to the morale of the club's backroom staff, who had been upset at the departure of previous chief executive Michael Dunford but had taken to Birch from the outset, and by the news that there would be no pay rise for any of them this year.
Kenwright refused to discuss the reasons behind Birch's departure last night. His only comment was: "Obviously I am disappointed that things didn't work out with Trevor and I am personally very sad to see him leave." A club statement read: "Everton FC is disappointed to announce that Trevor Birch has resigned his position as chief executive officer. The club is, however, continuing discussions with Trevor about the possibility of an advisory role going forwards." That advisory role meant Birch overseeing the club until his successor was appointed. However, his resignation was with immediate effect and last night Everton announced the club was being run by its senior executives and heads of department. Birch, who is to start a two-week holiday, was unavailable for comment last night.

Gregg attempts to point the way
Andy Hunter on the changes now pushed by Everton's director, Daily Post
Jul 17 2004
THE Wayne Rooney affair, a failure to attract new signings, the groundshare controversy and mounting debt are just a few of the damaging and as yet insurmountable problems to confront Trevor Birch during his six weeks at Everton. But it is perhaps higher up the power chain at Goodison Park where the real reason for his shock resignation lies. Paul Gregg and Bill Kenwright are engaged in a struggle which, if neither will admit is a battle for control of the club, is at least a fight over the direction Everton must take to halt their current, alarming decline. And with the club's two most influential directors at loggerheads while David Moyes awaits additions to a squad that finished one place above the relegation zone last term, the chief executive is the first victim of that impasse. Birch led debt-ridden Chelsea into Abramovich's embrace and attracted a buyer to free-falling Leeds. The fact he has had enough at Everton after only six weeks will not ease the sense of helplessness and trepidation around Goodison a month short of the new season. Gregg and Kenwright have been in dispute over how to salvage Everton for over a year, although it was only yesterday that the former - in the knowledge Birch had resigned - decided to go public with his plans to attract new investment. Gregg has made it clear that True Blue Holdings must dissolve its control at Everton having failed to take the club forward since replacing Peter Johnson on Boxing Day 1999. Confusingly, that is an opinion shared by Kenwright. Gregg is proposing a five-year plan that would lead to a ground share with Liverpool, a new training complex and ultimately release around £15m on new players each season. Gregg insists the current make-up of True Blue makes it impossible to attract fresh investors as the members - himself, Kenwright, Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby, the entire board of directors - own 72% of Everton. His argument that fellow directors are unwilling to see their powerbase weaken has certainly been strengthened by last night's resignation of Birch, although it may have been his intransigence to accept the chief executive's solutions that caused it.
Gregg explained: "To live up to everybody's expectations we have got to change and I believe we will get support for the changes. In my opinion True Blue has gone as far as it can and we need new investors. "The constitution of True Blue makes it very difficult for other investors to be part of Everton Football Club because the control of the club is within True Blue. "The constitution of True Blue should change and shareholders in True Blue should ultimately change their shares for shares in Everton. Then there will be a new opportunity to broaden the base for investment and bring new directors onto the board. "At the moment, investors could put money into the club but still not have a voice in how the club goes forward if they are not part of True Blue. "To make the change the shareholders in True Blue must vote for it. That is something I have been asking to do for 18 months. But it is a matter of control and it is a big decision to make changes where the control may be relinquished. "Of course, control could well stay the same if the constitution is changed and there are no new investors. But we need to make it easier for people to bring money and new ideas into the club. "I believe there are maybe two or three seriously wealthy people on Merseyside who want to invest in Everton but would only do that if they could present their own views on how the club should be run, which would mean places on the board. They would not have that opportunity now.
"Those people could invest collectively or individually to raise £15m. "But by making it easier for people to invest in the club we could also, in the future, put together a fans' share issue to buy shares for £1,000. If there are 15,000 fans around the world willing to invest then we could bring in another £15m. "We need to look for initial investment to consolidate the club's finances but we also want to support the shareholders." Gregg admits he is "ambitious" his proposals will be put his place, and insists he is committed to overseeing the five-year plan if it is accepted. "I will be anxious to seek the support of the new investors for this plan," he told the Daily Post.. "If someone comes on board you want them to share this vision. I am not saying the vision is perfect but it is an attempt to take the club forward by attracting new investment, new young players and sharing a stadium with Liverpool. "I appreciate many fans are against the idea of sharing a stadium with Liverpool but Everton's support needs another 22,000 seats and a new stadium would give us that. "It would transform the annual revenue of Everton Football Club by £12m-£15m a year and when you can start investing that sort of money in the team each year then you have a real chance to make major progress." KENWRIGHT and Gregg own an equal share in True Blue but the chairman has a greater stake in the club because he also owns some of the remaining 28% in the Everton Football Club Company Ltd. His plan on how to attract new investors may be at the heart of Birch's decision to quit, even though the chief executive himself believed selling the club was the best way forward.
But Gregg is clearly convinced the club needs a fundamental change in the way it runs its affairs.
"We need to attract new talent to the board," he said;; "When my wife and I came into the club it was to support our good friend Bill Kenwright. "But it was also based on the observation that the club had suffered because of a lot of bad management until Bill arrived and there was an opportunity to change Everton Football Club into a major force in the game again. "My frustration has been that we haven't made those changes and developed the club into what it could be. We have a fantastic club and its brand can be used to make that five-year plan a reality. "It is about selling the club worldwide and maximising the revenues so we can invest in the right players for the future." Gregg has not attended an Everton first team game for over a year and has never disguised the fact he is not a football fan. But it is his experience as a highly-successful businessman that he believes the club needs most of all now. He insisted: "The problem is that if you cannot make a contribution, there is no point being in something. Everybody has to feel rewarded by what they are doing and I believed that at this club there was a shared ambition. That has not been achieved.
"From my perspective, the family invested a lot of money in the club. We know football is different from other businesses, but my point is that should not stop the club being run properly. "It should be a business first and then we have got to satisfy the fans because if it isn't run properly we cannot be successful on the pitch. Run the club properly and then we will be in a much better position to support the ambitions of the fans and the manager. "But everybody, from the fans to the player to the manager and the directors have got to be signed up to the same plan. "Myself and Bill Kenwright never planned to do a Roman Abramovich but we believed the club could be a lot better in many ways. We have not achieved that because we have not changed the way the club is run and that has to be addressed." For Everton's sake, it has to be addressed immediately.

Someone must take charge of the situation - quick
By Mark O'Brien Daily Post Columnist
Jul 17 2004
OH FOR the days when all we had to worry about was keeping hold of Wayne Rooney. Everton fans fear opening a newspaper or switching on the radio at the moment in case they are confronted with yet another piece of disturbing news from Goodison. Many of us were still reeling from the details David Sullivan revealed about our offer for Robbie Savage - payments to be made only if Everton stay up and we have a white Christmas for the next four years - when we were sucker-punched with the news of Trevor Birch's resignation. Just what on earth is going on? Rumours are rife, as ever, but no one seems to know just what exactly is happening at the top level of our club. Perhaps we should have realised something was amiss when Paul Gregg broke his vow of omerta and made his statement about wanting to restructure the club's hierarchy to allow for new investment.
Obviously someone else in the boardroom doesn't agree, or otherwise they would simply be making the necessary changes, not talking about them in the press. Perhaps that statement and Birch's decision to leave before he's even had time to have his business cards printed aren't directly related, but it seems unlikely. The ex-Leeds chief was brought in because of his experience in dealing with tough situations; is it possible that he has delivered some home truths that his new employers find rather unpalatable? Along the same lines, is it possible that he has suggested courses of action to alleviate our problems that have proved even more unpopular with the powers that be? Someone has to take charge of the situation, and quick. Unfortunately, we were led to believe that the best person to do that has just packed up his briefcase and left the building, mumbling "I left a steady job at Elland Road to come here as well." The biggest concern for most Blues now, over and above the general sense of foreboding that the approaching season brings, is that David Moyes might be the next one to decide that he's had quite enough of this shambolic summer too.

Liverpool distance themselves from groundsharing scheme
By Mary Murtagh Daily Post Correspondent
Jul 17 2004
0ShareLIVERPOOL last night moved to end further speculation about a potential groundshare with Everton. The Anfield club signalled groundsharing with neighbours Everton will not happen - and called for a line to be drawn under the whole matter. Liverpool said they were concentrating solely on seeing their own application for a modern 60,000-seat stadium win planning approval in the next few weeks. The statement, issued by club chief executive Rick Parry, followed comments from Liverpool council leader Mike Storey reported in yesterday's Daily Post. He told a conference held by Paradise Street developers Grosvenor: "I would put the odds of it actually happening as 60-40.
"I have always been in favour of the two clubs sharing facilities because it makes economic sense. The millions of pounds that would go into building two new grounds could be spent on signing play-ers instead." The clubs last held talks just over a month ago in negotiations which included the North West Development Agency and the city council. But Liverpool's stronglyworded statement said: "Despite reports to the contrary, Liverpool's position has not changed. Several million pounds' expenditure and a huge amount of hard work have got us to the point where our planning application is about to be considered. "That planning application is based on single club use, a point we have consistently communicated to both the NWDA and the city council. "It's no secret there was an extensive series of talks, brokered by the NWDA, where the subject of a shared stadium was examined thoroughly. "Those discussions did not produce a solution that was acceptable to Liverpool Football Club. We're also conscious the vast majority of our supporters view Anfield as their spiritual home and are strongly opposed to ground-sharing. "From our point of view, the time has come to draw a line under this whole subject and move on. "Liverpool have worked closely with the local community and city council for five years on a project which we always saw as a major catalyst for the regeneration of the whole of north Liverpool." In the light of Liverpool's statements, overtures from Everton and the public sector now seem doomed to failure. But one problem may be gathering on the horizon for Liverpool. Sources close to the club have indicated the price of the proposed 60,000-seat stadium on Stanley Park is rising and may already have gone through the £100m mark, from an original estimate of £80m.

Madrid name targets - but Rooney not mentioned
By Martyn Ziegler, Daily Post
Jul 17 2004
REAL MADRID coach Jose Antonio Camacho has gone public on two players he is interested in signing - but neither of them is Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira or Everton striker Wayne Rooney.
The Gunners captain was named this week by reelected Madrid president Florentino Perez as "the best in the world in his position", sparking speculation the Spanish giants may launch a £30million bid. However, Camacho named Porto's central defender Ricardo Carvalho and Roma's Brazilian international midfielder Emerson as two possible arrivals at the Bernabeu. The Real coach said: "I am only the coach and I don't sign players but Carvalho and Emerson are names that interest us.
"Emerson is a player of outstanding quality. But I insist, we are going to be cautious because Madrid already have a great team." He also insisted that striker Fernando Morientes is to play for the club next season after spending last year on loan at Monaco. The Spanish forward has been linked with a money-plus-player deal for Vieira. Camacho added: "He has two years left on his contract with Real Madrid and is a first-team player. I'm looking after Real's interests." Real Madrid skipper Raul revealed that he would be delighted if Patrick Vieira decided to swap Arsenal for the Spanish giants.
Vieira has been strongly linked with a move to Madrid this week and, after his countryman Zinedine Zidane was believed to have urged Vieira to leave London, Raul also backed the proposed signing.
"All I can say is that Vieira is a great player and that he would be received well here," said Raul..
Raul's is a classic Madrid tactic, used consistently during recent years to lure other 'Galacticos' like Zidane, Ronaldo and Luis Figo to the Bernabeu. On those occasions, Madrid players said publicly that they would welcome players such as Zidane and Ronaldo to the club, and Raul is now doing the same with Vieira. The Spain international also had flattering words for a current Madrid player - England captain David Beckham. Like Raul, Beckham had a poor Euro 2004, but Raul believes the former Manchester United player can regain his best form in the coming season. "I have seen David and he looks very well," said Raul.. "He is rested and, like all of us who were involved in Euro 2004, he has turned the page."

Wages an issue for Cahill and Lions
By Paul Brown, Daily Post
Jul 17 2004
MILLWALL have warned Tim Cahill they will not break the bank to keep him at the New Den in the wake of his outburst this week. One-time Everton target Cahill accused the club of trying to force him out when his £2million move to Crystal Palace collapsed and he was reduced to playing for the reserves. The Lions hit back by claiming he had twice asked for a transfer, but are willing to talk about a new contract as long as the 24-year-old keeps his wage demands within reason.
Chief executive Ken Brown said: "If Tim comes to us now and says he wants to play for us that's good news. If he's pledging his commitment to Millwall the way to demonstrate that is to sign a new deal.
"I'm sure the chairman would be delighted and he's willing to contemplate that within our restrictions." Cahill's current deal expires next summer.

Rooney contract delay is harmful
By Andy Hunter In Austria, Daily Post
Jul 17 2004
EVERTON director Paul Gregg insists ProActive's failure to give a decision on Wayne Rooney's contract offer is undermining the club's preparations for the new season. Goodison officials are still awaiting to hear whether Rooney will accept or reject the £50,000-a-week offer almost two weeks after it was faxed to the striker's representatives. Gregg admits the club cannot implement its transfer strategy until it knows whether the £35million-rated striker will commit himself to his boyhood club. And last night he called on ProActive and Rooney to announce their intentions soon for Everton's sake. "The biggest problem facing the board and David Moyes at the moment is not knowing the future of Wayne Rooney," Gregg told the Daily Post. "If he is staying then that is one consideration to be addressed, if it is under the new contract that is another and if he is going then that is a different consideration entirely. "Unfortunately, however, this is not in David's or the board's hands. We desperately want Wayne to stay but until we know one way or the other it is difficult to plan his team for the future. "We have done all we can and now it is down to player. We want him to stay because of his relationship with the fans, what he can do for us on the pitch and because he can also help develop the Everton brand and improve our fanbase. "That is why we made such a generous offer and now the ball is in the player's court." Since the £13m deal was presented to ProActive chief executive Trevor Birch met Rooney's agent Paul Stretford only once.
Birch's shock resignation last night may not delay proceedings as the offer on the table is the highest Everton can afford. And last night a spokesperson for ProActive said: "Talks are ongoing but we are not responding to anything that is being said elsewhere."

FK Zelenik 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jul 17 2004
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THIS was always intended to be a low-key opener to the pre-season fixture schedule. But even that over-states a game that was completely put in the shade by the news which filtered through to the small Austrian town of Koflach less than an hour before kick-off. The revelation that Trevor Birch had quit his post as chief executive of Everton just six weeks after starting the job was the main talking point amongst the dozens of fans who made the trip. They did, however, pause their talk long enough to give Tomasz Radzinski a far from forthcoming welcome when he appeared amongst the travelling party prior to kick-off. And whatever the future holds for Radzinski, on this evidence he knows he has an impressive new rival for a regular starting berth at Goodison. Marcus Bent has quickly forged a friendship with Kevin Campbell since signing in at Everton. And that relationship was translated to the pitch here, with the duo looking impressive during an opening half in which Campbell netted the only goal of the game with a close range poacher's effort after goalkeeper Kovacevic could only parry a Steve Watson header in the 11th minute. But while Campbell grabbed the goal, it was Bent's power, pace and link-up play with his strike partner which caught the eye.
He should have scored in the 20th minute when a lovely ball from Campbell released the striker. His deft chip was well saved by the keeper. Campbell's goal proved decisive in a game that was a decent test for the Blues. The Serbian outfit, who will play in the UEFA Cup this season, made rolling substitutions throughout the second half. By contrast, Everton had just three substitutes available, with one of those goalkeeper Iain Turner. As a result, many players were given 90 minutes, something David Moyes would have preferred to avoid. It was a timely example of why fresh investment is so desperately needed in the squad. And why the latest instalment of the Goodison Park soap opera should not be allowed to deflect anybody's attention from the real issue - giving the manager the raw materials with which to build an Everton side to be proud of.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Wright (Turner 66); Pistone, Bosnar, Weir (Stubbs 45), Naysmith; Watson, Carsley, Osman, Kilbane; Bent, Campbell (Chadwick 45).

Owen and Rooney odds on to roll Swiss over
Jun 17 2004 icLiverpool
BOOKMAKERS Victor Chandler have unveiled a raft of specials around England's Liverpool based players for tonight's match against Switzerland. As England chase a vital three points against the unfancied Swiss the firm go 7/2 that Mersey striking marvels Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney both score on Thursday night. "Rooney destroyed the French defence at times last Sunday so it's a fair assumption that he'll do the same against the Swiss," said Chandler's Ian Marmion. "And although Owen had a quiet game against France we expect to see him bounce straight back on Thursday."
Chandler have also thrown Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard into the combination mix.
That all three burst the onion bag is rated a 33/1 shot with both Owen and Gerrard to score 12/1 and Rooney and Gerrard 16/1. Marmion added: "Gerrard looked gutted after his back pass led to the penalty but I wouldn't be surprised to see him bounce back with a few goal attempts."
Former Anfield keeper David James is priced at 25/1 to save a penalty and 8/11 to keep a clean sheet with Emile Heskey 9/4 to score against the Swiss.
Rooney/Gerrard/Owen to score 33/1
Rooney/Gerrard to both score 16/1
Rooney/Owen to both score 7/2
Owen/Gerrard to both score 12/1
Rooney to score 11/8
Owen to score 10/11
Gerrard to score 11/2
David James clean sheet 8/11
Switzerland to be awarded a penalty and David James to save it 25/1
Emile Heskey to score 9/4.

Rooney loves Kay for comedy
Jun 17 2004 By Mark Bradley In Coimbra, Liverpool Echo
FORGET Pele or Best, there's only one big name that inspires England's Euro 2004 star Wayne Rooney - larger-than-life funnyman Peter Kay. The beefy comedian has proved the spark many hope will drive Everton's teenage sensation to glory in today's clash with Switzerland. The 18-year-old striker loves the Bolton-born star so much he even watches his DVDs while he shapes up.
Kay has become a household name thanks to the hit series Phoenix Nights and adverts for John Smiths bitter. And, not surprisingly, Rooney reckons Kay is bang on target with his soccer-related advert for the beer. Rooney said: "When we go into the massage room, we put a DVD on and watch it. We watched a bit of Peter Kay the other night before I got my head down and went to bed."
Rooney will put a smile on the faces of all England supporters if he adds to his growing collection of records tonight. Rooney became England's youngest international last year, when he came on against Australia aged just 17 years and 111 days. He followed that, 206 days later against Macedonia, by breaking Michael Owen's record to become England's youngest goalscorer in only his sixth senior appearance. Now, having turned 18 only last October, he could become the youngest player to score at a European Championship finals. Tomorrow Rooney will be 18 years and 236 days. The current record is held by Dragan Stojkovic, who scored for Yugoslavia against France aged 19 years and 108 days in the 1984 finals. Belgium's Enzo Scifo may have been even younger when he played at the 1984 finals, but he failed to score in that tournament.

The saviour walks out
Jul 17 2004 Special Report By John Thompson & Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WHEN Trevor Birch took up his role as Everton chief executive on June 1 he insisted he could transform the club's fortunes off the field. But less than six weeks after settling in at his desk, the man who oversaw the Roman Abramovich revolution at Chelsea and who saved Leeds from financial meltdown has found the task at Goodison too daunting. He has walked away - seemingly unable to come to terms with the infighting which has left the club reeling with the kick-off to the new season just four weeks away. One theory suggests the last straw for Birch came when he picked up copies of yesterday's Liverpool ECHO to read of director Paul Gregg, proclaiming a grand plan to bring up to £30m of new investment into Goodison. Both men had attended an eight hour board meeting only the previous day. Yet it is claimed that Birch knew nothing of Gregg's intention to go public, with the latter claiming the need to restructure Goodison's powerbase and financing as his own big idea.
Another theory claims Birch was so worried by the state of the club's finances he actually wanted to seek a new buyer for Everton. Yet another suggests Liverpool's firm declaration against ground sharing yesterday may also have backed Birch - a ground share advocate - into a corner. Whatever the truth of this acutely embarrassing episode for Everton, it takes a lot to make a man turn his back on a £600,000-a-year job - to give up on the post he insisted he was in for the long term. Birch has remained tight-lipped, refusing to shed any light on the reasons for his departure. He's now on holiday. However, it has become increasingly obvious in recent weeks that all has not been well behind the scenes at Goodison. There's no doubt a power struggle is taking shape between chairman Bill Kenwright and multi-millionaire director Gregg - as Gregg's comments in yesterday ' s ECHO served to illustrate. That struggle appears to have under-mined what Birch was planning. And, coupled with a poor relationship with the manager, appears to have convinced him to make such a dramatic decision. Birch's departure goes to the heart of a problem which has been developing for the last 12 months - and which has been highlighted by a series of body blows throughout the close season. The lack of investment in the squad, the failure to secure new deals with Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen and the on-going speculation of rifts within the board-room have all been caught in the spotlight of a national media focus created by the Wayne Rooney 'will he stay, will he go' saga.. Birch arrived at the epicentre of it all. And rather than putting the good ship Everton back on an even keel, he found he was bringing his own problems. It was clear from the outset Birch's plans for the club did not marry up with those of David Moyes. The Goodison boss insisted after the 5-1 hammering at Manchester City on the final day of last season that widespread changes needed to be made to his squad. It was hard to argue with the manager. The worst ever points total, a host of players heading for the exit and the majority of those who remained were entering the final 12 months of their contracts. Kenwright echoed the manager's concerns and vowed that there would be at least £5m available for him to invest. It was Birch's task to raise those funds as quickly as possible by attracting major new investment to the club. But nothing was immediately forthcoming, and his view that a shared stadium presented the best way of attracting those investors meant it was a huge task which faced him. In the meantime, there was little sign of activity in the transfer market. And the manager became increasingly agitated. Fifteen players, from the Academy through to the first team, departed the club at the end of last season but the £5m recouped in wages was not redirected to the manager. With the season looming large, Marcus Bent remains the only new addition. What is clear is that Everton's hierarchy hoped Birch would be the man to herald a modern age. But the personal chemistry between Moyes and Birch meant they were poles apart.
It was understood the pair had not spoken for up to a fortnight before Birch's decision. It is also believed Birch saw Gregg as something of a 'loose canon' within Goodison.
It will be very interesting to see if, following Birch's departure, new faces begin to arrive. And whether the uncertainty that is being created by the obvious faction between Gregg and Kenwright can be cleared away before the club suffers further damage. Whatever happens, the money is sure to remain tight, for the time being at least. And all the good work which appeared to have taken place earlier in the summer now counts for nothing. The reshuffle which was implemented to coincide with Birch's appointment was intended to revamp the club's powerbase. Gregg, whose share in Everton is only bettered by Kenwright, adopted a more handson role and set about negotiating the shirt sponsorship deal with Thailand's Chang Beer. Sir Philip Carter departed his post as chairman and was given the title of Life President and fellow boardroom old-boy Keith Tamlin departed. Kenwright, who it was revealed had been effectively running the club from his London office anyway, became the chairman. But it was Birch who was meant to be the new lord and master of Goodison. He replaced Michael Dunford but took on far more responsibility than his predecessor. That control was undermined by the wrangling that is taking place between Gregg and Kenwright. Both men are talking of finding new investment. Both men are talking of ambitious plans for the future. But neither seems to be talking for the other. It remains to be seen who will come out on top. But the first victim has already been claimed.

A tough act to lift ailing Blues
Jul 17 2004 By Rob Brady Echo Reporter
WHEN Trevor Birch arrived at Goodison at the start of June, he came with the reputation of being a financial firefighter. Chelsea were just hours away from meltdown when he took over and he arrived at Leeds with the fire sale in full flow. Birch was the man who brokered the deal that saw Roman Abramovich take charge at Stamford Bridge and then he oversaw the £22m Gerald Krasner takeover at Elland Road. So when Birch was appointed Everton's new chief executive in a major boardroom shake-up, the 46-year-old was seen as the man to breathe new life into the club's stagnant finances. However, settling into the seat vacated by Michael Dunford, he warned that there would be no quick fix. Birch talked long term. He had developed an impressive financial reputation after becoming an accountant at Liverpool's Ernst and Young offices. This had followed a low profile soccer career. He was on the books of Liverpool - he won a European Cup winner's medal after being an unused sub in 1978 - Shrewsbury and Chester.. Despite the career change, he yearned for a return to football. He was interviewed for the Everton chief executive's role by Peter Johnson in the mid-90s, although the former chairman didn't appoint anyone. At Everton, his task was to attract major new investment to the club and provide manager David Moyes with transfer funds. A five-year plan was drafted to revive Everton's fortunes. But Birch rattled the traditionalists by declaring the Blues must leave Everton if they were ever again to be a force in English football. He even resurrected the idea of a ground share with Liverpool.

Fans' fury at birch drama
Jul 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod And John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON supporters today demanded to know: 'What the hell is going on at the club we love.'
Fans groups have been left angry and disillusioned as Goodison's new chief executive Trevor Birch (right) walked out after just six weeks in the role. He gave up his £600,000 a year job last night and headed off on holiday as a cat and mouse power struggle between top directors Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg emerged, with Gregg yesterday revealing his plans for change and investment to the ECHO. It' s understood Birch, who it is believed wanted drastic action to balance the Goodison books, including a possible sale, knew nothing of Gregg's plans to go public and found it the last straw. A major rift between Birch and manager David Moyes which had developed from the outset was another factor. Everton chairman, Bill Kenwright, is however still pledging the club will move forward and is determined a new chief executive will be appointed soon. Today Ian McDonald, spokesman for the Independent Everton Supporters Club, said: "Just when you thought it can't get any darker it's getting even worse. "It seems Trevor Birch did not realise how big the job was or was it that he has not been allowed to do the job the way he wanted to? "We need to see some leadership from the chairman and the main players. "All Evertonians should forge together because we are the club. "We've no new ground, no new stands, no new quality players, nothing. Just a millstone around our neck. Kenwright said today: "I am obviously sorry it has not worked out with Trevor. I am very sad to see him leave. "But all that matters is Everton Football Club and a new chief executive will be in position just as soon as humanly possible, hopefully before the season commences." Gregg, meanwhile, today called for Wayne Rooney's situation to be cleared up as soon as possible by his agency Pro Active. Said Gregg: "The biggest problem facing the board and David Moyes at the moment is not knowing the future of Wayne Rooney."

Southport 2, Everton Res 2
Jul 19 2004 Daily Post
LIAM WATSON'S prospective Southport Nationwide North squad held Andy Holden's youthful Everton side in their first outing. Debutant Kevin Lynch put the home side ahead when he planted a fourth-minute Colin Potts right-wing corner past Shaun Lake. The Toffees took time to get into their stride before Dave McGoldrick on the far post converted a Christian Seargent 35th-minute right-wing cross with an excellent header. A minute before the interval James Vaughan swept a low shot across keeper Danny Alcock. Eight minutes from time Lee Mulvaney, one of nine Port substitutes, rounded Shaun Lake after fine work from Neil Robinson to equalise.

Club keen to conclude Rooney contract saga
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 19 2004
EVERTON are ready to bring the Wayne Rooney saga to a head if the Goodison hero continues to stall on his £13million contract offer. David Moyes and Bill Kenwright discussed their Rooney strategy in London on Saturday. They remain desperate to keep the 18-year-old and believe his five-year deal is the best way forward for the player and the club. But they need a decision from Rooney's management team ProActive urgently as they prepare for the new season and will reluctantly sanction the sale of the striker if one is not forthcoming in the next two weeks. Rooney has been strongly linked with Manchester United, who are biding their time in the hope Everton's financial plight will force them to sell for half the £35m asking price if the contract remains unsigned.
That could drag the damaging saga into next year, when the transfer window re-opens in January or in the summer, when Rooney - due to report back from holiday this week - would have only 12 months remaining on his present deal. Last night, Kenwright admitted Everton could not allow that situation to unfold. He said: "A sale of Wayne Rooney would certainly revitalise the club, but the five-year contract would also revitalise the club because the fact is we would have kept one of the major stars in world football. "It is a double-edged sword and I know what I want to happen.
"The facts are he hasn't asked for a transfer and we would like him to stay. "He's got two years left on his current contract and that situation cannot continue for ever. "We can't allow a player like Wayne to go into the last year of his contract and lose a major asset as happened with Steve McManaman at Liverpool. "David and I will be personally dealing with it (Rooney's future) in the next week or so."

Gregg: Let me step in
Jul 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GREGG stepped into Goodison Park today and declared that "things must change." The Blues director travelled up to Merseyside from his Oxford home over the weekend and this morning headed straight to the club to pursue a more hands-on role following the departure of chief executive Trevor Birch on Friday. Gregg insisted there was no power struggle with chairman Bill Kenwright but he issued a stark warning to his fellow board member following the proposals he outlined for the running of the club in Friday's ECHO. "You can't run a multi-million pound business on passion. We can't carry on the way things are. We have to have change," he declared. "We need a new opportunity to bring in new investment. If we don't have that we will die on our feet." Gregg wants True Blue's shareholding to be diluted back into the club to attract new investors. Potential investors have been scared off because they are not being offered a say in the club for their money.
Gregg also sought to reassure supporters suspicious at his sudden public involvement. "My motivation is clear," he said. "When I put my money in I thought Bill and I were going to change the world. "Instead we have endured a catalogue of errors and the truth of the matter is that last week there could be no decisions, but to change. "Everton Football Club is a great club. I put my money in because I believed we could make it special again. "As far as I am concerned we have reached a point where we can't carry on without new investment." Gregg reassured fans who fear he intended to build up the club in order to take out his investment and leave the club in the lurch. "That's impossible. Nobody would want to buy me out the way things are," he said. "Eighteen months ago I asked Bill to change the constitution so we could get the business side of things right. "My frustration is very simple. There's nothing wrong with Everton. "I recognise Bill's passion. I do understand Everton is an outstanding brand, its fan base is incredible but our management has not been good enough for us to do what we want - and that must change."
* Thomas Gravesen is ready to see out the final year of his Goodison contract, after his agent John Sivebaek confirmed there had been no offers for the Danish midfielder. The 28-year-old had been linked with a move to Atletico Madrid following a string of impressive performances at Euro 2004.

The men who hold Blues' future in their hands
Jul 19 2004 By David Prentice & Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
BOTH Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg insist there is no power struggle at Everton. But there is clearly a major difference of opinion on how Everton should be run. And Gregg moved straight into Goodison Park this morning to start putting those ideas into practice. The Blues' director went public with his proposals for Everton Football Club in the ECHO on Friday - proposals which included diluting True Blue shareholdings back into the club to allow new investors to come forward. Gregg, who joined the board in 2000 when the failed Kings Dock stadium plans were being formulated, claims there are a number of people on Merseyside willing to invest up to £15m in Goodison. He also believes the club could raise a further £15m via a fans share issue. He claims the current structure of the club is a barrier to progress and reveals the constitution of True Blue Holdings makes it difficult for other investors to become part of Everton, because control of the club rests within True Blue. Gregg holds 32.6 per cent of True Blue and Kenwright 32.8. Other Goodison directors Arthur Abercromby and Jon Woods, also own shares in True Blue, Abercromby 7.3 per cent and Woods 25.6 per cent. The four virtually represent the club's board in all but name - and Gregg clearly accepts that point. "I am anxious to see if Bill will support the changes I've recommended," he said. "The proposals were put to the board last Thursday and I haven't had an answer as yet. We need one as quickly as possible to go forward. "I will go to Goodison to see what is going on, to talk to the staff and give them support for this situation. "The board will have to now interview prospective candidates for the position of chief executive but in the interim period I'm happy to stay at Goodison and help with the issues that need addressing, if Bill wants that." Those final four words are the pertinent ones. Gregg has largely been a silent partner, if not a sleeping one, since he helped Kenwright forge True Blue Holdings five years ago. And his decision to find a very public voice now has been greeted with suspicion in some quarters. There is a fear that Gregg, who publically does not share Kenwright's passion for Everton or even football, is concerned at merely salvaging his investment. Gregg, however, dismisses such a notion. "No-one would want to buy me out the way things are at present," he said.. Presumably he sees the situation as similar to the Celtic model in the 1980s, when Fergus McCann publically stated his desire to save Celtic from bankruptcy - and make a large profit from his investment in the process. But Bill Kenwright is adamant he will not stand aside. The Blues chairman has spent a weekend of soulsearching - resisting appeals from friends and family to walk away from an impending crisis. His suspicion of the impact a Gregg regime could have on Everton Football Club has proved a powerful factor. "All I want is the best for this club. I have always said I would stand aside if there was somebody better qualified to do the job than me. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to Everton," Kenwright said.. Kenwright spent all day Saturday with David Moyes discussing potential signings. Gregg spoke at length with the manager by telephone on Sunday. Moyes, however, is not interested in taking sides in possible power-struggles and wants both parties to work together. The differences, however - at present - appear irreconcilable. If the impasse is not concluded swiftly then it is clear that it is on the pitch where the real impact will be felt. And that will be far more damaging than the departure of Trevor Birch, the embarassing £7m bid for Alan Smith or anything else that has brought Everton into the spotlight over the last three months. Moyes cannot start the season with the group of players he currently has at his disposal, even making the far from unlikely assumption that Wayne Rooney, Tomasz Radzinski and Thomas Gravesen stay. Money is needed to guarantee the club's status as a Premiership club. Trying to understand exactly what is happening at Everton is tough enough.
Predicting the future is impossible. But one thing is certain - once the storm has passed there will be plenty of debris, and possibly a few more victims.
Age: 62
Lives: Oxford
Career: Founded Apollo Leisure Empire in 1977, after borrowing the then huge sum of £25,000 to buy the New Theatre in Oxford. Sold the group in 1999 for £126m - confirming his position as one of Britain's richest men. Formed True Blue Holdings with pal Bill Kenwright in 1999.
Has no interest in the game itself and did not attend a single game at Goodison last season.
Age: 59
Lives: London
Career: Originally an actor, featuring in Coronation Street, ZCars and early Carry On films, Kenwright turned to producing his own theatre productions with great success. Hits included Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers and Shirley Valentine. A lifelong Evertonian, he joined the board in the early 1990s. Part of a consortium which was beaten by Peter Johnson in 1994, he formed True Blue Holdings to buy out Johnson in 1999. He became vice-chairman, accepting the chairman's role this year.

Kenwright will not step aside for Gregg
Jul 19 2004 Exclusive by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
BILL KENWRIGHT will not step aside for Paul Gregg to assume control at Goodison Park but is considering his future as Everton chairman. The theatre impressario is suspicious of his boardroom rival's intentions for Everton despite asserting yesterday there was no power struggle taking place at Goodison Park. However, Kenwright is growing increasingly disillusioned with the infighting that led to Trevor Birch's shock resignation last week and will relinquish control if a new investor can be found. Kenwright spent the weekend considering how to take the club forward after the chief executive walked out on Everton and Gregg declared he had a five-year strategy in place that would raise £30million. The chairman also met David Moyes to discuss new transfer targets on Saturday and was not, contrary to reports, trying to talk the manager out of quitting Goodison, too. Moyes is still pursuing urgentlyrequired additions to his squad despite a minimal transfer budget and the absence of a chief executive. Gregg, meanwhile, will visit Goodison Park today to assure staff the business can still operate as normal and to help in the general day-to-day running of the club.
He is awaiting an answer from fellow directors over the proposal to dilute True Blue's shareholding back into the club and raise £30m over the next five years. "I am anxious to see if Bill will support the changes I've recommended," he told the Daily Post last night. "The proposals were put to the board last Thursday and I haven't had an answer as yet. We need one as quickly as possible to go forward. "I will go to Goodison tomorrow to see what is going on, to talk to the staff and give them support for this situation. The board will have to now interview prospective candidates for the position of chief executive but in the interim period I'm happy to stay at Goodison and help with the issues that need addressing if Bill wants that. "We need to get everybody on side. There are only four weeks before the start of the new season and we have an important job to do. "Obviously David Moyes has his own agenda he wants to put in place and with Wayne Rooney reporting back this week it will be interesting to see what happens there."

We can afford to hold onto 'our' Wayne
Jul 19 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright insists the cash-strapped Blues can finance the £50,000 per week deal on offer to Wayne Rooney. The Blues have offered 18-year-old Rooney a new five-year contract on the back of his outstanding performances for England during Euro 2004 and are still waiting for a reply. " From the time Wayne signed his last contract we have been talking to (his agent) Paul Stretford about a new one," Kenwright said.. "I suppose, going into this next season, we were thinking probably 'double-your-money, we'll double what you are on now'. "But David Moyes said 'look, he's the best player in the world and I want to support the best player in the world. I'd like him to become my captain and I think we should offer him the highest wage in our history.'
"And I agreed totally and offered him the £50,000 a week - and that is not a joke offer, that is the offer in the contract." Kenwright is hoping Rooney accepts the offer, even though his sale would go a long way towards clearing the Toffees' debts. "Certainly a sale of Wayne Rooney would revitalise the club's finances, but a five-year contract would also revitalise the club because the fact is we would have kept one of the major stars of world football," Kenwright added. "It is a double-edged sword and I know which I want to happen. The facts are that he hasn't asked for a transfer, and we would like him to stay." However, Kenwright and Everton manager Moyes know that Rooney's future must be resolved one way or the other as soon as possible because, with only two years remaining on his current deal, his value will drop as his contract runs out. "He's got two years left on his contract, and that situation cannot continue forever," warned Kenwright. "You cannot allow a player like Wayne to go into the last year of his contract and lose a major asset, as happened with Steve McManaman (when he left Liverpool for Real Madrid). "David and I will be personally dealing with Wayne's future in the next week or so." Rooney is expected to report back to Bellefield this week, although rumours are his advisers will tell Everton he will not sign a new contract until there are clear signals that the club can attract new talent.

Wayne backs soccer festival
Jul 19 2004 By Tim Roberts Echo Reporter
WAYNE ROONEY has given his backing to the football tournament at which he was golden boot winner six years ago. Playing for Pye FC, Rooney scored 18 goals in five games to help his side lift the BT Liverpool Knowsley International Youth Soccer under-12 Championship in 1998. He said: "This tournament is a great week of football played at a very high level and it gives local teams the opportunity to play against players from all over the world." Next week, youngsters from China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil will join hundreds of local children in hoping to become the next star of the tournament. More than 200 teams and 3,000 footballers from across the globe will compete across 11 age groups with under-7 to under-10 playing up to the semi-finals on Saturday and Sunday at King George V Playing Fields, Huyton. The main tournament, which features boys from under-11 to under-18 and girls at open age, under-18, under-14 and under-12 includes teams from 13 different countries. Overseas sides competing include Dijon FCO, Dallas Solar 90 Blue, EPS Helsinki 89 Girls and Jufalli Eagles. Tournament director Dave Mercer said: "Every year the tournament develops and this year was so popular that we were fully booked by February. "As well as the international teams and local sides we have teams from across Britain this year which is a big development for us."
The main tournament will see 50 matches played each day,starting on Tuesday 27 July, at the Geoffrey Hughes Sports Ground, Mossley Hill, with five Premiership referees in action including Uriah Rennie and David Pugh.

Crisis will not distract me, insists Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2004
0ShareDAVID MOYES will press ahead with plans to bolster his threadbare squad this week as he vowed not to be distracted by the boardroom crisis engulfing Everton. The dispute between Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg, combined with chief executive Trevor Birch's abrupt resignation, has heightened the despondency at a club boasting only one new signing this summer. But Moyes is refusing to allow problems within the Goodison hierarchy to affect his rebuilding plans and hopes to finally strengthen his squad within days. Moyes and Kenwright met two possible targets on Saturday - believed to be Marseille duo Brahim Hemdani and Mathieu Flamini - despite the scarcity of transfer funds at Goodison. "I just want to get on with my job," said the manager.. "My job is to put out the best team that I possibly can, get the players in the best shape I can and hopefully that's the way we're going at the moment. "As far as I'm concerned our concentration will be focusing on getting the players fit, playing the pre-season friendly games and preparing for the start of the Premiership."
Defender Hemdani is available for around £750,000 but the personal terms that collapsed his move to Bolton could again prove a stumbling block with Everton. Flamini, 20, is also keen to switch to the Premiership and fits Moyes's criteria as a young, impressive midfielder after starring in Marseille's run to the UEFA Cup Final last season. The Everton manager will not be drawn into the increasing struggle between Kenwright and Gregg and wants the pair to work together, at least while the transfer window remains open and player issues can be addressed. But there is little prospect of that with the directors at loggerheads over the future of the club. Gregg, along with fellow director and True Blue stakeholder Jon Woods, was at Goodison Park yesterday to help with the day-to-day operations at the club. He held a meeting with all heads of department to assure them the business will function as normal despite Friday's departure of Birch and reiterated his view the club's powerstructure must change. In a clear attack on Kenwright he said: "You can't run a multi-million pound business on passion. We can't carry on the way things are. We have to change. We need a new opportunity to bring in new investment. If we don't have that we will die on our feet. "When I put my money in I thought Bill and I were going to change the world. Instead, we have endured a catalogue of errors and the truth of the matter is that last week there could be no decisions, but to change." Gregg also denied he would immediately take his investment out of the club if his proposal to dilute True Blue's shareholding into Everton was accepted. "That's impossible," he said. "Nobody would want to buy me out the way things are." Kenwright, as reported in yesterday's Daily Post, will not stand aside for Gregg to take control of Everton but will consider stepping down as chairman if an outside investor steps forward. The board have approached several possible investors, including an American-based consortium, but have not received any firm offers as yet. Moyes, meanwhile, has denied the mounting crisis has affected his players or that his relationship with them has fractured. "People can say what they like but when you know what the facts are, you get on with it," he said. "I know things have been going well throughout our preparations. "We've been preparing the players. I've spoken to the players and they're not telling me anything which I didn't already know."

Gregg in move to dissolve True Blue
Exclusive by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2004
PAUL GREGG will formally begin his plan to revive Everton's fortunes today when he asks his fellow directors to dissolve True Blue Holdings. The multi-millionaire believes the current constitution of True Blue scares off potential investors by denying them a say in the running of the club.
And Gregg, who aims to raise £30million if the company dilutes its shareholding back into Everton, last night claimed several investors have already made contact with the board and will step forward if his proposal is accepted. The leisure tycoon said: "Tomorrow morning I will put written proposals forward to change the constitution of True Blue. They will be sent to all the shareholders in True Blue and hopefully I will get their approval. "We need to move to the next stage of attracting new investors as quickly as possible and I hope the shareholders recognise the urgency of the situation.
"We have had a couple of conversations with potential investors and some unexpected conversations too. "The main thing is for everybody to know there is a clean sheet of paper and we can start again." Gregg, along with fellow director and True Blue stakeholder Jon Woods, was at Goodison Park yesterday to help with the day-to-day operations at the club. He held a meeting with all heads of department to assure them the business will function as normal despite Friday's departure of Birch. He added: "The staff feel let down because they have lost Trevor. It is vitally important we have everyone onside." Gregg also denied he would take his investment out of the club if his proposal was accepted.

Gregg in move to dissolve True Blue
Exclusive by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2004
PAUL GREGG will formally begin his plan to revive Everton's fortunes today when he asks his fellow directors to dissolve True Blue Holdings. The multi-millionaire (left) believes the current constitution of True Blue scares off potential investors by denying them a say in the running of the club.
And Gregg, who aims to raise £30million if the company dilutes its shareholding back into Everton, last night claimed several investors have already made contact with the board and will step forward if his proposal is accepted. The leisure tycoon said: "Tomorrow morning I will put written proposals forward to change the constitution of True Blue. They will be sent to all the shareholders in True Blue and hopefully I will get their approval. "We need to move to the next stage of attracting new investors as quickly as possible and I hope the shareholders recognise the urgency of the situation.
"We have had a couple of conversations with potential investors and some unexpected conversations too. "The main thing is for everybody to know there is a clean sheet of paper and we can start again." Gregg, along with fellow director and True Blue stakeholder Jon Woods, was at Goodison Park yesterday to help with the day-to-day operations at the club. He held a meeting with all heads of department to assure them the business will function as normal despite Friday's departure of Birch. He added: "The staff feel let down because they have lost Trevor. It is vitally important we have everyone onside." Gregg also denied he would take his investment out of the club if his proposal was accepted.

Gravesen to stay at Goodison
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 20 2004
THOMAS GRAVESEN is set to ease David Moyes's transfer worries by remaining an Everton player next season. But whether that is on a new long-term contract or a countdown to leaving the club on a free transfer next summer remains to be seen. The Danish international (left) returns to Bellefield tomorrow following his post-Euro 2004 sabbatical. Gravesen has been linked with several moves in recent months, with Celtic purported to have joined Hamburg and Atletico Madrid in the hunt for the 27-year-old. Gravesen's agent, former Manchester United defender John Sivebaek, has issued conflicting signals over the player's future recently as he approaches the final year of his contract.
But yesterday he declared the midfielder was committed to Goodison for the 2004-05 season and keen to hear if Everton will offer him a new deal. "I think he'll stay at Everton one more year," said Sivebaek. "We don't know about a new contract - it's difficult to say because we've not had any discussions with Everton yet. "Thomas is coming back from holiday in the next few days so we'll go and see what's going on in the near future. It depends on the team and some other things but I can't really say at the moment." He added: "Thomas is very happy at Everton and he would be happy to stay for one more year. But he has to go on with his career - he's been there for five years and wants to see what he can do next." Gravesen, who will travel to America with the rest of the squad on Friday for the Copa de Tejas tournament, will meet manager David Moyes tomorrow to confirm he is staying. Moyes, meanwhile, can select from a much stronger squad tonight when Everton face Crewe in their second pre-season friendly. Injuries to several players revealed the fragile state of the Everton squad on Friday when they could only field three substitutes against FK Zeleznik.
Alan Stubbs, Duncan Ferguson, Tony Hibbert and James McFadden could play at Gresty Road, while Joseph Yobo and wantaway Tomasz Radzinski could play a part.
EVERTON (from): Wright, Martyn, Turner, Watson, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Bent, Radzinski, Campbell, Ferguson, Kilbane, Naysmith, Yobo, McFadden, Osman, Carsley, Clarke, Hibbert, Chadwick.

Wayne will snub deal
Jul 20 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are bracing themselves for the news no Evertonian wants to hear when Wayne Rooney returns to England tonight. The 18-year-old is set to turn down the club's record breaking offer of a five-year deal worth £50,000-a-week. The club's summer rebuilding plans have had to be put on hold because of the two week delay in receiving a response from ProActive, the player's representatives. Rooney has spent that time away in Barbados with fiance Coleen McLoughlin as he continues to recuperate from the broken foot he sustained in the quarter-final defeat to Portugal at Euro 2004. He is believed to have been considering his options after receiving the huge offer from Everton. The club have received no enquiries for the teenager and are keen to keep him at Goodison. But Rooney is believed to have told friends he favours a move away from the club he supported as a boy, with Manchester United and Real Madrid the two sides in the frame.
However, any move away from Merseyside is unlikely to happen before the start of the season.
Chelsea, the third club regularly linked with Rooney, have made it clear there will be no more additions to Jose Mourinho's squad. And Madrid President Florentino Perez has made Arsenal's Patrick Vieira his number one summer target. Perez has a policy of signing just one 'galactico' each summer, meaning Rooney could have to wait before making a switch to the Spanish giants.
That leaves Manchester United, who are unwilling to stretch to Everton's £35m asking price because of the £40m cost of adding 10,000 new seats at Old Trafford. Behind the scenes chairman Bill Kenwright and director Paul Gregg are battling for control of the club. But both men are like-minded over the Rooney issue. Kenwright says: "A sale of Wayne Rooney would revitalise the club's finances. But a five-year contract would also revitalise the club because we would have kept one of the major stars of world football."

Gregg turns all eyes East
Jul 20 2004 Everton Correspondent SCOTT McLEOD speaks to director Paul Gregg about his ambitions for the Blues
PAUL GREGG has revealed his plans to transform Everton by altering the make-up of the Goodison hierarchy. The Oxford- based businessman believes there is huge potential to turn the club's floundering finances into significant profits. But his business instincts have caused some suspicion among some fans, when contrasted with chairman Bill Kenwright's passion about the Blues.
Gregg sees the Far East as a huge untapped market of Premiership football fans who could help transform a club which is currently £37m in debt. He was a key figure in putting together the new shirt sponsorship deal with Thailand's Chang Beer. And he told the ECHO: "It is fair to say that I have been excited by the business potential at Everton. "I never understood what the local interest in the Premier League was in Thailand but obviously that was underlined by the attempts of the country's Prime Minister to try to buy Liverpool. "I thought that if there were an opportunity there we should exploit it. Over three visits in three months we have generated a strong relationship with Chang Beer and other people who can see the vision of developing the Everton brand over there." Gregg has drawn up a five-year plan to transform the club's ailing fortunes. The Far East is a key to that plan, with a strategy aimed at forming a network of Everton youth academies throughout Asia and inundating the region with club merchandise produced specifically to compete with the multi-billion pound black market. But the leisure tycoon believes the current structure of Everton is an obstacle to his hopes of making the club profitable once again. Gregg wants to dissolve True Blue Holdings, the company which possesses 72 per cent of the club's shares in order to make it easier to attract fresh investment into Goodison. He was due to formally make that proposal to his fellow board members today - and was expected to receive a lukewarm response. He added: "We need to move to the next stage of attracting new investors as quickly as possible and I hope the shareholders recognise the urgency of the situation. "We have had a couple of conversations with potential investors and some unexpected conversations too. "The main thing is for everybody to know there is a clean sheet of paper and we can start again." A change in the constitution is something Gregg is sure will lead to fresh investment from wealthy benefactors who would then be able to join the board. An initial investment of £15m, followed by a potential share option for another £15m has been predicted by Gregg. Added to his plans for the Far East, Gregg is confident it will allow him to meet the tight financial targets he has put in place. He explained: "My ambition is to get the turnover to around £65m a year. By doing that, we could get the wage bill up from £27m to £35m.
"The marketing department have been aggressively promoting and I believe we can get the commercial profits up to £7.5m by 2006 and £10m by 2006/ 2007 as we develop the brand.
"When we went to Thailand the most important part of the deal was the fact the brewery were going to spend £0.5m in Thailand to promote the relationship with the club. "We have agreed with them we will have given a merchandise company the opportunity to distribute throughout Singapore to enter the Asian market. "If we can make 50 cents an item and sell one million we would make more money than selling £30 shirts in our sports shops. "We want to have one million Evertonians in Thailand by the end of the season." But it is not just the commercial benefits which Gregg is focusing on. He explains: "We want to develop an Everton branded youth academy in each Asian country. We are already holding talks in China and we want to extend throughout the continent.
"We recognise that if we can do well on the field then the excitement and interest from fans everywhere, including the Far East, will increase. It is all about increasing the brand awareness."
Closer to home Gregg is keen to develop that brand and fanbase. Despite Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry's determination that the Reds will not consider the possibility of a shared stadium while they press ahead with their plans for Stanley Park, Gregg has refused to discount the idea.
He said: "We must do our level best to get into sharing a stadium with Liverpool because that is the cheapest option with the best return. "We must also build a board that can communicate with the fans and persuade them that the best thing they can do is provide their support. "It is the fans' spending power which will support the club in its current situation and the best thing they can do to help is to buy there tickets while we try to make changes behind the scenes. "The key is for them to buy into the future of the club and what we are trying to do."

Everton's debt explained
Jul 20 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are constantly described as a club in extreme debt - with figures ranging from £30m-40m in the red. In May, however, Bill Kenwright outlined Everton's borrowings as such: Everton borrowed £30m in a securitisation fund (similar to a mortgage) to be repaid over 25 years. The repayments amount to around £2m per year. In addition Everton have an overdraft facility of £5m, which they are believed to be up to their limit on. There is no surplus money available to play with, but Everton can and do meet their repayment obligations and the club is not in the kind of spiralling debt situation Leeds United faced.

Kenwright: No Green link-up
Jul 20 2004 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT will not turn to billionaire pal Philip Green in his power struggle with Paul Gregg.
Morning newspaper reports suggested that the Blues ' chairman had turned to his family friend for support as Gregg made a public play for control of the club. Kenwright maintained a dignified silence today, but the Echo understands he has no, nor has any plans, to turn to Green.
The colourful financier, nominally a Spurs fan, has always tossed out approaches from football clubs - but will not even be asked this time. Kenwright has been working closely with boss David Moyes over the past few days on adding to the club's threadbare first team squad. The chairman is anxious that Gregg's jockeying for position does not impact on any moves Moyes may be planning.

Yobo and Radzinski set for Crewe test
Jul 20 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON take on Crewe in a friendly at Gresty Road tonight. Joseph Yobo and Tomasz Radzinski are both expected to figure after returning to training a week later than everybody else. And boss David Moyes is adamant the on-going crisis engulfing the boardroom has not affected his pre-season preparations. He said: "I just want to get on with my job. My job is to put out the best team that I possibly can, get the players in the best shape and hopefully that is the way we are going at the moment. "As far as I am concerned, our concentration will be focusing on getting the players fit, playing the pre-season friendly games and preparing for the start of the Premiership." Moyes has met with Marseille duo Bharim Hemdani and Mathieu Flamini to discuss a possible move to the Premiership. Hemdani is available for £0.75m and 20-year-old Flamini could be available for a similar fee.

What went wrong at Goodison?
Jul 20 2004 Post Soapbox, IcLiverpool & Daily Post
What went wrong?
I, AND probably many more fans, were hoping that the appointment of Trevor Birch might help to solve the now perennial crisis at Goodison Park. The phrase "cloud cuckoo land" now springs to mind. Birch has suddenly departed, citing differences between the main shareholders as the reason for his exit. Surely Birch must have had some guarantees before accepting the position? So what went wrong? Paul Gregg (who he?) has not seen the team play for more than a year. So what the Dickens is he doing as a director? At least, Bill Kenwright actually attends matches. It has been obvious for some years, that there is something radically wrong in the higher echelons at Goodison Park. At one time, the club could afford and bought some very fine quality players. Over the last few years, millions have been spent on transfer fees and wages for players who constantly under-perform (or, in some cases, don't perform at all! Witness one Mr Slaven Bilic!). The late Charles de Gaulle once said that "politics were far too important to be left to politicians". By the same token, football is too big a game to be left to left to football directors.
A J Quinn, Liverpool
End humiliation
THE RESIGNATION of Trevor Birch is a humiliation too far for Evertonians. His original appointment was hailed as a new dawn for the club by Bill Kenwright. Now whatever plans there were for the regeneration of the club lie in tatters along with its reputation. Not four weeks ago, Birch wrote to season ticket holders imploring them to renew their tickets for the forthcoming season, warning them that they may lose their seats and that the next few years would be a bumby ride. Obviously, after taking a good look at the club from the inside, the ride looked too bumpy for Birch. Evertonians for Change now calls on Bill Kenwright to reconsider his role at the club and apparent insistence on retaining a majority shareholding at all costs. Evertonians for Change has repeatedly called for the club to be run with the same enthusiasm, commitment and passion as demonstrated by the club's supporters.
Our wait goes on.
Carl Roper, Evertonians for Change
Give Gregg chance
PAUL Gregg has said before he will put money in when he is in charge, so why not let him take over? True Blue holdings is ruining Everton, and only Gregg is willing to do anything about it. Stick by David Moyes as well.
Gaz Sharp (via e-mail)
Goodison our club
WELL done Everton, you have managed to bring a smile back to the faces of Leeds fans, knowing they are not the only fans to suffer from a board of directors who have lost their way. You have to give way now for the sake of our football club. You may own the shares but you are only custodians; the club still belongs to us, the true Evertonians, the fans.
John Munro, Southport
Waiting on Wayne
THE many sides of Wayne Rooney. On the pitch - Scouse-born, hard-tackling, plenty to say, confident. Off the pitch - quietly sits in Barbados. Wayne - it's time to answer the fans. If you are a true Blue, at least give us the respect we deserve and allow us to keep some dignity by telling us if you are going to stay.
Sean Booth, Liverpool
Moyes worry
JUST when you thought it couldn't get any worst, Trevor Birch leaves after six weeks. Let's face it, there must be something seriously wrong at the club to warrant his resignation. I wonder if Moyes will be around come next week.
Simon Steele (via e-mail)
Rooney plea
WAYNE, please don't string us out to dry! If you want to stay, but don't want to commit to five years (and who could blame you?) then ask for a three-year contract. If you don't want to stay, then please make sure we are okay. Please stand up, be a man, be a Blue.
T Gee, Fazakerley
Restore pride
WE must be prime candidates for relegation, and just how low can we sink? Come on Bill, pull your finger out and do whatever it takes to restore our battered pride. I am fed up of limp wannabes like Fulham and Birmingham being allowed to insult my club and being given the ammunition to do so. Let's take Everton = Frustration out of the dictionary and replace it with Everton = Pride, passion and success.
Colin Garland, Meols
Birch fall-out
WATCH out for Moyes using Rooney's exit as his excuse to leave. Who can blame him? Birch going could be the worst thing that's happened to the club in the long-term. If Rooney goes now he's 10 times worse than Barmby.
Steve Barrow (via e-mail)
We need funds
I AM not surprised at what is happening to the football club I love. Bill Kenwright is trying to live a dream but as I said at the time he took over, he is the wrong man. He has never had the funds to carry us forward.
Shaun Cahill (via e-mail)
Tired of saga
I THINK fans are getting sick to death of the Rooney saga. He says he is an Evertonian through and through but is linked with other clubs. This is not fair on David Moyes, the manager, and the rest of the team that's left.
Jack Boyd, Merseyside
Same old story
BILL Kenwright has overstayed his welcome. Since the first time that we just missed relegation, some years back, Kenwright stated "this must not happen again". But it has. Season after season. Kenwright is the one common denominator.
David Tickner (via e-mail)
Time for an answer
WE ARE aready been messed around by Wayne Rooney. How long does it take to say yes or no? I thought he cared about the club.
Dominic McHale, Widnes
Pledge commitment
COME on Gregg show your true potential and get the directors around the table and remind them about the supporters of this great club. I, among many other season ticket holders, have made our commitments for the coming season. Now it's your turn to support us.
Dave Wilson, Wirral
Time for action
FORGET groundsharing. The way things are going we will be able to share on Buckley Hill in a couple of years. Kenwright and Gregg need to do something now, or our last two hopes of being a big club again will walk out of Goodison Park for good. Without money we have to sell Rooney to give Moyes a chance for this season. We saw it last year. Most of the first team squad just aren't up to the job. The same squad will get relegated next season and then Rooney will go for buttons. If Gregg and Kenwright can't sort transfer money out this week, then they and Rooney have to go.
Martin Sands, Liverpool

Everton board hit by another resignation
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 21 2004
EVERTON'S boardroom divisions were further exposed last night when one director attacked Paul Gregg's plans for the club and another resigned. Arthur Abercromby became the second member of the Goodison executive to quit in five days when he ended a 10-year tenure on the Everton board.
His departure, following chief executive Trevor Birch's exit on Friday, means there are now only three people with a say in how the club is run - Bill Kenwright, Gregg and Jon Woods. And last night Woods aligned himself firmly in the Kenwright camp when he criticised Gregg's proposals to dilute True Blue Holdings and raise £30million over five years as "impracticable and unachievable".
Woods, one of the founding members of True Blue, joined Gregg at Goodison Park on Monday to help the business in the wake of Birch's exit. But last night he made clear his opposition to his fellow director's intentions for the club although he stopped short of outlining his own vision to take the club forward and give David Moyes urgently required transfer funds. "I wish to clarify my position with regard to current events at Everton," said Woods in a rare statement. "Contrary to some press reports I do not support the proposals that Paul Gregg has brought to the public arena in the last few days. "Whereas I accept that Mr Gregg is fully entitled as a director of the club to put forward his views, I believe that they are both impracticable and unachievable." He added: "First and foremost I am an Evertonian and always will be. Mr Gregg is right about one thing. This great club and its future is the most important issue. "To that end I will continue to work with and support chairman Bill Kenwright towards bringing success to this club both on and off the field." Abercromby, meanwhile, resigned without backing either of the camps in the power struggle that is tearing the club apart just four weeks short of the new season. The builder claimed he wanted to resign at the end of last season but was persuaded to stay by his fellow True Blue members and directors. Abercromby said: "For some time it had been my intention to leave the board of Everton Football Club at the end of the 2003/04 season. "Due to various circumstances and at the request of colleagues my resignation was postponed until last week. "I would like to thank everyone connected with Everton Football Club and particularly the staff for the opportunity of working with them over the years." Everton's dreadful pre-season continued on the field last night when they lost 2-1 at first division Crewe.

Moyes expects Rooney to sign new deal
July 21, 2004
Manchester Evening News
David Moyes remains optimistic that Wayne Rooney will agree to stay at Everton. The 18 year-old England man will have a scan tomorrow on his broken foot when he finally arrives back at Everton from his holiday in America. Talks are planned on his new contract before Everton jet off to the United States at the weekend for a two-match trip to Houston, Texas. Moyes said of the offer to Rooney: "Of course I am optimistic. I said we are going to be positive at Everton and I am. We have made him a tremendous offer and I would expect that to be accepted. "I think we have made a good offer and I am sure in the coming days or weeks we will find out exactly what is going on."
Even Rooney's camp are claiming the player is "confused and concerned" by the state he finds his beloved club in and a source said: "There is a large part of his heart still at Everton and he would love to stay."
Rooney is also believed to be upset by banners waved by Everton fans at Crewe on Tuesday which read: "What has happened to `once a blue always a blue' Rooney." Whether Rooney's love for the club will stretch to him signing a new deal - he still has two years left of his current contract - remains to be seen given Everton's financial crisis. Rooney's advisors are playing down the claims that a decision on the offered five-year contract, worth '50,000 a week, will be made in a matter of days. Rooney's agents have changed their name to the Formation Group this week, and an insider insists "no deadline has been put on the contract discussions, which are ongoing." What clearly concerns the Rooney camp is the chaos at Goodison Park, where two chief executives and two directors have left this summer.
Rooney's agent Paul Stretford had a meeting with Trevor Birch last Thursday and the following day the former Chelsea and Leeds chief executive was clearing his desk, to the amazement of the Rooney camp. Those advisors a week earlier had presented Everton with a list of questions about the future financial viability of the club and its ability to deliver the deal offered to Rooney. They are still waiting for those answers. The boardroom infighting now sees chairman Bill Kenwright seemingly at loggerheads with director Paul Gregg, but with the backing of the only other director left, Jon Woods. The saga seems to be disrupting Moyes' pre-season build-up and he had to watch his side lose 2-1 at Crewe in a friendly on Tuesday, while angry Everton fans voiced their fury at the state of the club. He said: "There are two directors in control and I get on well with both of them, and I certainly will not be adding anything to that, it is something for the board to sort out.
"But Everton is a fantastic club and the supporters are second to none and they deserve better. My job is to try to delivery that on the field. "We have offered Wayne a tremendous contract and we wait on a reply, I would have thought we would have had an answer by now, and hopefully we will get that very soon." The backdrop to the Rooney saga is the boardroom war between Gregg and Kenwright. And Gregg has turned the screw by claiming he has financial backing that could bring in '15million if Kenwright agrees to a change the club's constitution to eliminate True Blue Holdings, which effectively runs Everton. Gregg said: "New investment is realistic, but without change it will not be available. It is as simple as that."

Speed joins Bolton
July 21, 2004
Manchester Evening New
Gary Speed has completed his '750,000 move from Newcastle to Bolton. The 34-year-old Welsh captain will link up with his new team-mates once they return from their short trip to Portugal and is expected to play in the friendly against Bradford at Valley Parade on Saturday. "I am delighted to sign a player of Gary's quality," said Bolton boss Sam Allardyce. "He's a very experienced Premiership player and will add much needed depth to our squad." Coup Allardyce has already indicated he considers the deal to be a major coup for the Lancashire outfit. Speed has played more Premiership games than any other player in a career that has spanned successful stints with Leeds, Everton and Newcastle and the 34-year-old was impressed by the `feelgood factor' he got during his discussions with Bolton officials. He had offers from a number of Premiership sides, plus two big-name Football League clubs but Allardyce did not need to do too much persuading for Speed to accept Bolton's contract offer. "Gary was eager to join us and turned down offers from other clubs to become a Bolton player," said Allardyce. "He has great enthusiasm for the game and will add a bit of steel to our midfield."

Crewe 2, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jul 21 2004 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
REVOLTING in the stands and not much better on it. A line you'd usually expect to tag to a crisis club in the bleakest of winters or a still-born spring, but July? And at a pre-season friendly? If Everton's long-suffering fans were looking for a brief respite from the abject misery now consuming them on a daily basis then they found none at Gresty Road last night. There was little achieved in victory over FK Zeleznik in Austria on Friday night and no reason to press the panic button after this, although the amount of directors' fingers on them at present would make that impossible anyway. But any defeat has an effect, even if it is only on morale. If Everton's players are to remain impregnable to the turmoil at the top - a feat beyond the larger squad of Leeds last season - then not being outplayed by first division opposition is a pre-requisite, even now. A purposeful start and a rousing finish from Everton could not dis-guise the fact the finer football, passing, movement and attacks came from Crewe last night. And but for two sharp saves from Nigel Martyn the scoreline could have been even worse. Everton supporters were traipsing away from the ground long before Kevin Campbell scored his second of the summer, the prelude to a late flourish in which Marcus Bent had a close-range tap-in wrongly disallowed for offside. And if that was an indication of the worrying lack of creativity and composure on the pitch then other supporters showed they are not prepared to sit quietly while the club's directors, the custodians of the club who are tearing it apart, put personal power battles before the team. "From John Moores to Death's Doors, 125 years" read one huge banner in the packed Everton section while another voiced their dismay at the other issue under-mining David Moyes's pre-season preparations, that of Wayne Rooney's refusal to announce a decision on his future. "The People's Club ask what happened to Once a Blue, Always a Blue Rooney?" They may well find out sooner rather than later, with ProActive rumoured to be giving an announcement this week but last night exposed the brutal truth that without Rooney, or without the several decent players his sale at a premium price could bring, this small squad is in big trouble.
Everton began reasonably well, Duncan Ferguson and Nick Chadwick looking menacing and combining for the game's first good chance on 10 minutes, put narrowly wide by Leon Osman after a piercing pass by Steve Watson. Steve Jones put the home side in front on 27 minutes when he immaculately finished a fine through ball from David Vaughan under the advancing Martyn, then forced a fine save from the veteran a minute later after brushing Tony Hibbert aside. Vaughan almost doubled Crewe's advantage in the 57th minute when the Everton defence was again left standing by a swift exchange but again Martyn, as so often last season, spared their embarrassment.
But not for long. Seven minutes later, from an innocuous free-kick, the entire Everton rearguard missed the runs of three Crewe players giving one, Billy Jones, the freedom of Gresty Road to score with a flying header. With 10 minutes left and from a long ball over the top from Steve Watson, who dominated from central midfield and struck a post late on, Campbell held off his marker and finished sweetly. Two minutes later Bent thought he had his first Everton goal when he nudged Watson's low right wing cross over the line but was harshly adjudged offside. A goal or not, the multitude of sins would not have been covered.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs (Clarke 60), Pistone; Watson, Osman, Carsley (Kilbane 46), McFadden; Chadwick (Bent 46), Ferguson (Campbell 46).
CREWE (4-4-2): Williams; B Jones, Walker, Moses, Roberts; Rivers, Bell, Lunt, Vaughan; S Jones, Higdon.
ATT: 5,247.

Crewe 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jul 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod at Gresty Road, Liverpool Echo
IF Evertonian's made the short trip to Crewe in search of a little good news they were badly let down. Events off the field have over-shadowed the football in the last week as the power struggle between chairman Bill Kenwright and director Paul Gregg has developed. And last night provided another reminder of exactly why the situation needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. Both Gregg and Kenwright have pledged to bring new investment into the club. And whoever comes out on top nobody is under any illusions as to how much that investment is required. It was a point made forcefully by one of a host of banners displayed by the disgruntled travelling support before the kick-off. "Kenwright! Enough is enough, we want success. Nil Satis Nisi Optimum." Whether the statement was aimed to support Gregg or merely to remind the chairman of the task facing him, another banner proclaiming "Sir John Moores to death's door, 125 years?" made it clear what the fans believe will be the outcome if the wrangle continues. David Moyes will be the first to feel the impact. His thin squad is desperately in need of reinforcements. But the continued silence from Wayne Rooney's representatives and the lack of funds in the transfer pot are impeding him at every move. And the fans know it. "The People's Club ask why once a blue, always a blue Rooney?" was the third six foot banner to be hauled out from the 1,500-strong away following. And so Moyes is just getting on with the job as best he can. Last night he shuffled his pack as he works to build the squad's fitness. And, in the end, a decent workout was the best anybody could have claimed from this game. The opening and closing 15 minutes were not too bad. But in between, the home side had the edge and deserved a two-goal lead which only threatened to be eroded by a bright finish from the visitors. Duncan Ferguson and Nick Chadwick had the chance to impress up front. But it was at the back where the Blues were really tested. Steve Jones had a field day down the inside flank in the opening 45 minutes, ensuring it was a torrid start to the pre-season for Tony Hibbert.
Jones twice got the better of him before finally finding the net in the 30th minute. The impressive David Vaughan played the ball into Jones' path and he poked a shot under the advancing Nigel Martyn from 10 yards. It was a blow for the Blues. But it was not unexpected. And when they made it two 23 minutes from time via a diving close range header from Billy Jones, it was clear the opening friendly on home soil would not end favourably. Dario Gradi's side played with their usual confidence. And had it not been for Martyn's acrobatics further goals would have been added by Steve Jones and Richard Walker long before the second. The fightback which garnered a ferocious finish from Kevin Campbell for his second goal in two games, an unfortunately disallowed effort for Marcus Bent and an effort against the woodwork for Steve Watson did provide some sort of silver lining. And while the result was not welcome, there will have been valuable lessons for Moyes.
Bent, who averaged a goal every three games for Leicester last season, came on as a second half substitute to play on the right of midfield, while Watson switched to the centre in the second half as Moyes assessed his options.
CREWE: Williams; B Jones, Walker, Moses, Roberts; Rivers, Bell, Lunt, Vaughan; S Jones, Higdon.
EVERTON: Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs (Clarke 60), Pistone; Watson (Bent 46), Osman, Carsley, McFadden; Chadwick (Campbell 46), Ferguson (Kilbane 46).

Our future is at stake
Jul 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON director Paul Gregg today issued a warning to the club: Act now, or we'll lose £15 million.
The leisure tycoon is becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of response to his plan for radical change at Goodison - a plan aimed at turning around the fortunes of the cash-strapped club.
Blues chairman Bill Kenwright is maintaining his silence and today declined to comment on Gregg's stark warning. There are now just three directors left on the Goodison board after Arthur Abercromby quit last night. Gregg has a group of investors lined up who he says have made definite asssurances they will bring in millions of new money to Goodison. Gregg insists they will not come on board unless the constitution of True Blue Holdings, the holding company which owns 72 per cent of the club, is changed to allow new members to join the board. Gregg formally tabled a proposal to change the constitution yesterday but has received no response. Kenwright has remained tight-lipped on the matter this week as the power struggle escalates. Gregg's proposals can only become reality with the backing of Kenwright. Gregg said: "New investment is realistic, but without change it will not be available. "It is as simple as that." The £15m is a first phase of a plan which includes putting together a share-option for normal fans, which could generate a further £15m. Apart from Kenwright and Gregg, the club's other remaining director Jon Woods has placed himself firmly behind the chairman. The theatre impresario has said he is working around the clock to find new investors of his own, with his search focusing on the US. But with Gregg and Kenwright seemingly unable to work together, the whole saga is in danger of reaching a stalemate which would leave the club in ruins. Manager David Moyes, who saw his side lose 2-1 at Crewe last night, has expressed his frustration at not being able to bring in new players he has targeted to improve his threadbare squad.

Moyes' fear over crisis
Jul 21 2004 By David Prentice and Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES admitted today the on-going power struggle in the Goodison boardroom is undermining his plans to strengthen the Everton squad before the start of the new season.
He currently only has enough money available to pay for the wages of one new signing. And yet he has the smallest squad at any time during his two-and-a-half years at the club. He had hoped to add another three new faces to his ranks to add to the £450,000 acquisition of Marcus Bent. But the wrangle between chairman Bill Kenwright and director Paul Gregg has taken the club's focus away from the team and into the boardroom. The developing saga took another twist last night as director Arthur Abercromby quit after 10 years, leaving just three directors - Ken-wright, Gregg and Jon Woods. Following Trevor Birch's departure as chief executive last week, daily business at Goodison is effectively being handled by club secretary David Harrison and finance boss Mike Chesterton. Woods last night threw his support behind Kenwright saying: "Contrary to some press reports I do not support the proposals that Paul Gregg has brought to the public arena in the last few days. "While I accept that Mr Gregg is fully entitled as a director of this club to put forward his views I believe they are both impracticable and unachievable. "First and foremost I am an Evertonian and always will be. "Mr Gregg is correct on one thing - this is a great club and the future of this club is the most important issue. To this end I will continue to support the chairman Mr Bill Kenwright towards bringing success to the club." Abercromby, who owns a 25.8 percent shareholding in True Blue Holdings - said his resignation would take effect from the end of last season, when he had decided to stay on in the club's "better interests.. "For some time it had been my intention to leave the board of Everton Football Club at the end of the 2003/04 season," he said. "Due to various circumstances and at the request of colleagues my resignation was postponed until last week."
Moyes is concerned the board-room upheaval is now starting to take the focus away from matters on the pitch. He conceded: "The situation at the club could be hindering our plans.
"Obviously, it would be better if we knew exactly where we are at. At the moment we are just getting on with it and getting the players fit. "It is a board situation and I am sure they will sort it out. "We are trying hard but it doesn't look like we are making progress at the moment. I have said all summer we are in need of quality players who can make the difference. "We have nothing to hide. Our washing has been done in public and we will just carry on. "We are trying to be creative with what we are doing and I think there is a very small amount of money available for a wage. Bill Kenwright is trying very hard to try to make some cash available which would maybe get us one or two players. "That is the situation and we are trying to be as up front as we possibly can be. "Selling players on is a possibility, but we cannot let any players go until we have new people coming in.
"We don't have the finances to bring in the quality of players which I would want. What we are going to try to do is make something happen. We are staying as positive as we can because there is a great spirit among the lads at the moment. "Winning keeps that going, and that is what we need to do."
Suggestions that there is discontent in the Everton camp are wide of the mark. Last week's Austrian training camp was tough for the players, but there were no dissenting voices and the sense of togetherness was tangible. As for last night's game, Moyes was satisfied by the display, although he conceded it further higlighted the lack of options he has at his disposal. He added: "The boys had a good run around and I don't think that in the end we deserved to lose. "But at this time of year it doesn't really matter. We missed a few chances, hitting the post and having a goal disallowed. In bits of the game we did okay and in other bits we didn't. "I thought in the opening 20 minutes we got good crosses in from the left and we had a couple of good chances. But in the last 20 minutes before half-time I didn't think our passing was particularly good. "In the second half there wasn't much in it and we were a bit unlucky." Alan Stubbs had to be withdrawn at half-time after a clash of heads left him with double vision. Moyes is expected to shuffle his pack as best he can for tomorrow night's visit to Burnley. That should mean the first runout of pre-season for Joseph Yobo and Tomasz Radzinski and starts for Richard Wright, Gary Nay-smith, Marcus Bent and Kevin Kilbane. Thomas Gravesen and Tobias Linderoth have returned to training after an extended break following their exertions at Euro 2004 but they are unlikely to be considered before the club's tour in Texas.

Blues can't afford to implode now
Jul 21 2004 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
IF we thought Liverpool had problems with power struggles and new investment, then it looks like we figured without Everton. Like everyone I was shocked to see chief executive Trevor Birch quit after just six weeks in the job. Now we have another director quitting last night and Paul Gregg and Bill Kenwright seemingly at loggerheads. I'm a Merseysider as well as a Liverpudlian and I want the city to have two Premiership clubs. It would be a disaster if Everton were to be relegated next season and that's why the club must not implode. Wayne Rooney's situation may be another matter to what's going on in the Goodison boardroom - but of course the fans do not want to see him leave.
But if he does go then at least Everton should get enough money for him to get them out of this present mire. Tough as it may be to accept, it might be better to lose Rooney rather than keep him and risk relegation for the first time in more than half a century.

The great Blues debate
Jul 21 2004 Liverpool Echo
Falling standards
I RUN my own business and recently asked for some quotes on doing an advertising campaign in both Anfield and Goodison and had meetings with both necessary departments. The difference was frightening. Liverpool were professional and efficient but after several phone calls Everton didn't even get back to me with quotes. This would be the same marketing department who we as the fans are trusting to bring in fresh financial revenue and they cannot even be bothered to get back to a potential investor. Just how exactly is our club being run? I see Trevor Birch resign after six weeks, 15 players are allowed to leave and only one brought in. Paul Gregg invests nothing of his fortune.
I have never feared so much for the start of a season as this and the gulf between us and Liverpool both on and off the field is enormous. As a fan I admire everything Mr Kenwright has tried to do, but he and the other board members are only custodians of the club, and looking after it for the fans.
So please do something Mr Kenwright, so the next generation still has a club to be proud of and support.
Paul, Crosby
Laughing stock
EVERTON Football CLub is becoming a laughing stock and no-one is prepared to accept the blame. Bill Kenwright cries poverty, David Moyes does likewise. Who got us so heavily in debt? Who wasted money on the Kings Dock fiasco? Who appointed or was influential in bringing Michael Dunford and Paul Gregg to Goodison? Who was responsible for bringing Duncan Ferguson back for £4m and allowing his huge wages wages to cripple us?
G Brown, Huyton
ALL fans are wary of a man like Paul Gregg who has no knowledge of football, let alone a passion for Everton. But he does seem to have spotted what supporters have known for a long time - the club has got to change, and quickly. We don't know his motives or if his plans hold water, but at least he's offering something. And until we hear Bill Kenwright's to get us out of this mess then Gregg's gong to win increasing support.
Alan Taylor, Walton
Face facts
THERE are two realities we Blues have to face.
1. Paul Gregg is the only hope we have, and Kenwright should step aside and let Gregg take control.
At least we would begin to look professional at the corporate level again and bring in much needed finance.
2. Wayne Rooney was lost to us the day he signed with Stretford.
Laurie Bourne, via e-mail
Agents rule
FOOTBALL is now dominated by agents who are forcing our young and up and coming stars to join their elite organisations. For example Wayne Rooney. England's star of the future has said he is a devotee of Everton put has had the audacity at just 18 years of age to refuse a contract worth £50,000 per week from the club he is supposed to love. What a load of bunkum. With a predatory Manchester United waiting in the background, he has proved that money does indeed talk by effectively sticking two fingers up to his beloved boyhood club. It is about time professional footballers were broughtback down to earth and a realistic wage ceiling was set.
That said, while there are people out there still willing to pay for season tickets then the self-indulgent agents will keep on bleeding Joe Public for every penny they can make.
Bill Locke, Speke
THE way Everton are treating the supporters is an absolute disgrace. An attempt to sign Alan Smith with an imaginary £7million, the increase in season ticket prices, Birch walking out, the pathetic finish to last season. We deserve a lot more. We have had 125 years of top flight football but we are going down.
Dave C, Ellesmere Port
Let fans in
DAVID MOYES said it: Everton are the People's Club. I would be willing to put £1,000 of my hard-earned money into the club I love, and so are thousands of other Blues. Give us a share issue, let's put Everton back where we belong!
Wayne, Walton
Cash aid
LIKE many other True Blues in exile, I am ready and waiting with my £1,000. It's about time the board should let people who truly love Everton, invest in the club to take us forward without thinking about financial reward or how much we will get back in the future when the vultures turn our club into a PLC. Let's add some real meaning into the words True Blue Holdings.
Dave Longworth, via e-mail
Give it a go
MAYBE we were wrong about Paul Gregg. True he doesn't go to the game, but then sometimes it's good to have a cool objective head around. He's obviously a sharp businessman, he ran SFX well enough and he's worth a mint. I think he deserves a chance to put his ideas forward. He's a cooler less passion-fuelled head than our Bill and maybe we need that touch of reality at the moment.
Paul Kareg, via email
Change needed
BILL KENWRIGHT has had enough time to turn things around but has failed miserably. I don't care if Paul Gregg isn't an Evertonian. At least he's not letting his heart rule his head. Something needs to change and quickly or we'll lose Moyes as well as Rooney.
Tom Roberts, Liverpool
Share issue
PAUL GREGG'S call for change at Everton gives the impression that this man really does have the welfare of the club at heart. However, recent history, and a search through the Echo's archives will quickly dispel this myth. Just how gullible does he think Evertonians are? We were there before him, and we will be there long after he takes his posturings out of this city. Yes, he is right when he says that the constitution of True Blue Holdings is putting off investors. However, he is disingenuous when he says that a restructuring of True Blue Holdings will remedy this. The only solution is for True Blue Holdings to reduce their percentage shareholding in the People's Club. The only way that this can be achieved is through a shares issue. Do you think that True Blue Holdings will agree to this when Wayne Rooney's prospective transfer is about to increase the value of their shares?
Ann Adlington, Liverpool
KENWRIGHT has given his all, and all that's left now is passion. True Blue Holdings is a spent force.
Paul Gregg is a willing, wealthy and untried force. Let him get on with it. A future based on Bill's pride alone equals relegation. Is that what you want, Bill?
Brian Flack, Chester

Blues boss fined for speeding
Jul 21 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON manager David Moyes was today fined £100 after being caught speeding in Scotland.
The Blues boss appeared at Dumfries Sheriff Court after he was clocked doing 100mph on the M74.
Moyes, who lives in Preston, admitted committing the offence near Beattock while returning south on March 7 after a weekend in Glasgow. Sheriff Kenneth Barr fined him £ 100 and ordered his licence to be endorsed with five penalty points but warned him that any repetition could result in a ban.

Agents change name
Jul 21 2004 Liverpool Echo
PROACTIVE Sports Group, the agents handling Everton and England star Wayne Rooney, has agreed a name change to Formation Group. Formation represents 270 footballers, including 112 in the UK.
It also provides a wealth management arm, legal and professional services and sports marketing.

Vauxhall Motors 0, Everton Reserves 1
Jul 22 2004 Daily Post
A 20TH MINUTE shot from Paul Hopkins proved to be the only difference between the two sides at Rivacre Park last night. The Motormen gave a good account of themselves against the young Blues, but Hopkins' strike - a neat left-foot drive from the edge of the area having turned his marker - gave Dittmer in the Motors' goal little chance. Vauxhall responded with a couple of decent efforts from Fenney and the tricky Cumiskey, but Everton held their advantage at the break. On the resumption, the Blues were the better team, but wayward finishing and some spirited defending meant the result was always in the balance.

Rooney eyes window of opportunity
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 22 2004
WAYNE ROONEY could delay a decision on his Everton future until the end of August as he waits to see what genuine offers arrive at Goodison Park. The few remaining Everton officials are still waiting for a decision from the 18-year-old striker on a £13million five-year contract more than three weeks after it was offered. Rooney's advisors, ProActive, want assurances from Everton that they can afford the lucrative deal and sign new players despite the boardroom turmoil tearing the club apart.
And they are prepared to wait until the end of the transfer window on August 31 before giving an announcement. Everton, however, cannot allow that situation to unfold as they struggle to rebuild their fragile squad and will attempt to force the issue within the next 10 days. David Moyes and Bill Kenwright believe the delaying tactics are designed to reduce their asking price so that Manchester United can step in with a bid of under £20m. Everton desperately want to keep Rooney but if the contract continues to remain unsigned they will reluctantly sanction a sale of around £35m if a taker can be found. But manager Moyes yesterday reiterated his confidence in keeping Rooney at his boyhood club. He said: "Of course I am optimistic. I said we're going to be positive at Everton and I am. "We have made Wayne a tremendous offer and I would expect that to be accepted. I am sure in the coming days and weeks we will find out exactly what's going on. "We are waiting for a reply and I would have hoped we'd have had an answer by now, but hopefully we will get that very soon."
Rooney will have a second scan on the broken metatarsal he suffered at Euro 2004 today and early indications are he will return to action two weeks into the new season. Everton, meanwhile, have approved the sale of Tomasz Radzinski and Tobias Linderoth as they attempt to give Moyes money for new players. The Goodison manager is refusing to let any more players exit Everton without reinforcements in place. But the club are close to agreeing deals with several targets and have sanctioned the double departure to finalise the moves. Fulham have now raised their offer for Radzinski to £1.5m after having a £1.3m enquiry dismissed and have told Everton they will not go any higher. That figure should clinch Radzinski's signature after the Canadian international told Moyes he wouldn't play for the club and pulled out of Tuesday's defeat at Crewe with an injury.
FC Copenhagen have also had a £1m offer for Linderoth accepted and the Swedish international will be back in Scandinavia once personal terms are agreed. Sturm Graz manager Heinz Schilcher has claimed Everton are ready to make Eddy Bosnar their second signing of the summer. The central defender spent last week on trial with Everton in Austria and Graz claim the 24-year-old will sign a two-year deal. Schilcher said: "We have discussed intensely and are ready to let Eddy go.
"We have agreed to a rather low sum, because it has always been Eddy's dream to play in England."

Gregg boost in fight for Everton
Exclusive by Larry Neild and Andy Hunter Daily Post Staff
Jul 22 2004
EVERTON chairman Bill Kenwright suffered a major setback in the battle for control of the club last night when its minority shareholders threw their weight behind millionaire rival Paul Gregg.
Everton Shareholders Association are to petition tomorrow for a special meeting to call for the company which controls the club, True Blue Holdings, to be dissolved. The holdings company, in which both Kenwright and Gregg are major shareholders, owns 72% of Everton. Fellow True Blue board member Jon Woods is backing theatre impresario Kenwright, who was last night locked in meetings and unavailable to comment. The club's fourth director, businessman Arthur Abercromby, announced his resignation on Tuesday. Gregg is calling for True Blue to be dissolved, paving the way for his own rescue plan for Everton, which would involve a new board, £15m of immediate investment and the promise of a new stadium. Everton Shareholders Association chairman Steve Allinson told the Daily Post last night: "We are at the stage now where this situation absolutely cannot continue. "The performance of True Blue Holdings to date and the demise of Everton FC over the last four years, in terms of its level of debt and the serious problems around the club, raise questions about their tenure, but while they are locked in a struggle for control, they are doing nothing to address the very real crisis facing us. "The problems from top to bottom throughout the club are causing major concern among the shareholders. To me, it is not a question of Bill Kenwright or Paul Gregg but the principle of whether we can carry on with True Blue Holdings, which appears fundamentally flawed and has shown it cannot work together as a team. "There is no direction or capital investment and that is what Everton are suffering from. Other clubs with debt can at least point to a new stadium or training facilities, but all Everton can point to under True Blue is a massive mortgage. It's nonsensical. "Do we carry on with True Blue Holdings as the majority owners or do they act like true Blues and dissolve, then get around the board with the shares they would still have and give us some decisions? "Nothing is being addressed. True Blue is doing nothing. Let's split it up and run the board professionally. I am not a standard bearer for Paul Gregg. A lot of the things he has said I don't agree with. "But as I say, it is not Paul Gregg or Bill Kenwright. It is a question of whether True Blue remains." Mr Gregg said: "The ball is currently in Bill Kenwright's court, but if nothing happens by Friday I will reveal more details of my own plans."

True Blue Holdings - the facts
Daily Post
Jul 22 2004
TRUE Blue (Holdings), based in Harrow Road, London, was established on January 21, 2001, and is registered at Companies House as a private limited company. A file from Companies House last night indicated that its next accounts were due to have been filed by March 31 but were overdue.
The register lists the directors as Arthur John Abercromby, BSc, of Alderley Edge, Cheshire, described as a company director; Anita Kim Gregg, of Oxford, listed as a company director; Paul Richard Gregg, of the same address as Anita Gregg; William (Bill) Kenwright, a theatre producer of London and Jon Vincent Woods of Hale, Altrincham, described as a publisher. The holdings company has a share capital of 22,031,351 ordinary £1 shares with an aggregate nominal value of £22,031,351.

Shareholders demand a complete shake-up
Daily Post
Jul 22 2004
EVERTON Shareholders Association (ESA) last night called on the directors of Everton holding company True Blue Holdings Ltd to dissolve it. Steve Allinson, Chairman of the ESA, which represents the shareholding supporters, said in a statement released to the Daily Post last night: "True Blue Holdings has served the club poorly over the last four years. The club is in a far worse state than when they took over and the situation is now intolerable." He confirmed that a formal petition for an Extraordinary General Meeting would be served on the board on Friday, forcing the board to face an increasingly concerned body of owners during the first month of the season.
Mr Allinson said: "We will have answers. We've watched with growing alarm the mounting debt and lack of investment under True Blue, and now we are expected to sit here and watch them pull themselves apart. "In financial terms alone, the issue over Wayne Rooney has to be the most pressing. Quite simply, if Wayne doesn't sign a new contract, we will either eventually lose him for minimal compensation or he will be sold for a fraction of his true value before that. The impact on Everton would be devastating." The association says the Everton board should be challenging Rooney's agents, Proactive Sports. They are calling on the Football Association to mount an enquiry into Proactive's conduct. Colm Kavanagh, executive member of the ESA, said: "We are preparing a report on the whole issue. The irony is that this should be coming from the club, not its shareholders."

True Blue battle for control of Goodison
Bill Kenwright is one of their own, but some Everton fans are turning against him in the battle for boardroom control. Larry Neild reveals why.
Jul 22 2004
EVERTON FC jet off to America next week for a pre-season friendly tour and the players must be wondering what kind of club they will come back to when they return home early in August.
The battle of the giants - impresario Bill Kenwright and wealthy businessman Paul Gregg - is likely to be played out with the victor shaping Everton's future for the next half-decade. The power struggle intensified this week when Goodison director Arthur Abercromby followed chief executive Trevor Birch and announced his resignation from the board. That left just three board members remaining, chairman Kenwright, Gregg and Jon Woods. Woods has jumped into the Kenwright camp, giving the one-time Coronation Street actor an advantage. Between them, they have over 58% of the shares in True Blue Holdings, the company with a 72% stake in Everton FC. The Gregg family own 32.6% of True Blue, with Abercromby in possession of a 7.3% holding. Although Abercromby has resigned from the Everton FC board, it is not known if he has ditched any of his shareholding or resigned from the True Blue board. But the struggle took a significant twist against Kenwright last night when the Everton Shareholders Association threw its weight behind Gregg. Gregg insists he has a team of rich businessmen waiting in the wings to invest an initial £15m into Everton FC, and it is known he has been in contact with a business consortium from Thailand, following the collapse of interest in rivals Liverpool FC by Far Eastern investors. It seems that Gregg is giving Kenwright until the weekend to show his hand before he himself lays his cards on the table. He is demanding the dissolution of True Blue Holdings to be replaced by an all-new board that will run Everton FC. Ownership will be spread to give more people a stake in the club, from fans to investors to business people. Gregg is understood to believe that the shake-up will encourage big investors into the club, allowing the revival to start in earnest. New money would be available to buy more players and Everton could turn its attention to a new home. Gregg, it is understood, favours Everton and Liverpool sharing a neutrally owned stadium, preferably in Stanley Park. Although Liverpool insist they will not even contemplate a ground share, the Gregg camp believe that the Reds do not have the resources to pay for a ground for the exclusive use of Liverpool FC. A potential legal challenge to the encroachment of historic Stanley Park, possibly by way of a judicial review in the High Court, would seriously delay the Liverpool project and send its costs even higher. That, it is thought in some quarters, could make Liverpool's dreams of a new Anfield no more than that, a dream. A stadium sponsored by Liverpool council, with European cash via the Northwest Development Agency, would still present the city with a showpiece arena, while solving the problems of both clubs. If Liverpool do succeed in going it alone, Gregg still believes that Everton, under a new regime, would be in a position in five years to start work on its own all-new 55,000-seater stadium on a new site. A whole range of financial packages, from debt to equity, would be in place to fund a new facility. It would mean Everton trailing Liverpool in the stadium stakes by two years, but the target set as part of a five-year plan would be deliverable. Kenwright continues to remain silent about his intentions, but, despite the call made last night by Everton Shareholders Association to dissolve True Blue Holdings, he may yet have an ace or two up his sleeve. Kenwright is understood to be talking to wealthy friends from the world of business and is trying to draw in backing from around the world, particularly the US.
Critics say the current debacle could leave the club, as a business, in ruins, but that is hardly likely to happen. As a member of the prized English Premier League with the global exposure it produces, Everton is still in an enviable position. The club also has a fan base which makes it a marketing manager's dream. The recent Euro 2004 tournament secured Wayne Rooney's status as the hottest young property in world football. On Sunday, August 1, Everton play a friendly against Club America before hopping onto a trans-Atlantic flight home to what could be a very different playing field in the battle for control of Goodison. A draw seems unlikely, and who wins the penalty shoot-out between Gregg and Kenwright remains to be seen.
Bill Kenwright
Born: September 4, 1945
Age: 58
Background: Actor from 1964 to 1970, including a spell in Coronation Street
Education: Liverpool Institute.
Evertonian credentials: Follows the team both home and away everywhere, and travelled to watch Wayne Rooney in the Euro 2004 championships in Portugal.
Showbusiness connections: Theatre producer since 1970. Has produced more than 500 plays and musicals, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers, and Shirley Valentine.
Partner: Actress Jenny Seagrove
Personal wealth: Unknown, but does not figure in Sunday Times Rich List. He led a consortium which took over Everton in a £30m deal in 2000. Most of his assets are already believed to be tied up in the club.
Paul Gregg
Born: October 2, 1941
Age: 62
Education: Hull Nautical College
Background: Has worked his way up the leisure industry, and was chairman of the Apollo Leisure Group from 1978-2001.
Showbusiness connections: Membership of the Variety Club of GB. Lists his recreations as theatre.
Evertonian credentials: As SFX chief, he unveiled plans for a concert arena and conference development at Kings Dock, as part of a proposed new stadium for Everton. The plans collapsed through lack of funding. Has not attended an Everton match in over a year. Partners: Married Anita Grehan, 1970.
Personal wealth: He sold the Apollo Leisure chain in 1999 for £129m. Is ranked joint 305th in the 2004 Sunday Times Rich List, with an estimated wealth for him and his family of £127m.

Financial struggle saddens Ratcliffe
Daily Post
Jul 22 2004
FORMER Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe believes Everton need to find the positives to escape their dire financial predicament. Goodison manager David Moyes remains hopeful the England striker will agree to stay with the club, although many Everton supporters are not as optimistic.
Talks are planned on his new contract, with Rooney's camp claiming the player is "confused and concerned" by the state he finds his beloved club in. But Ratcliffe, who made 498 appearances for the club and was a key player in their successes in the 1980s, said: "Too many negative things are coming out of the club and not enough positives are coming in. "It looks like it's going to be a fair old struggle for them and it saddens me that the club is struggling financially. "You want to try and entice the best players in the country and the world - and unfortunately the club cannot do that.
"They are looking at selling Wayne Rooney, maybe he wants to go - but you can't knock a player for wanting to win things. "The supporters will be disappointed but when you've got a prize asset worth £20million-plus and your overdraft is £40m, if it helps Everton survive then it's got to be done."
Ratcliffe, who also won 59 caps for Wales between 1981 and 1993, believes Moyes could get fed up with life at Goodison Park. Ratcliffe added: "I don't know how much infighting there is but David Moyes might get a little fed up with dealing with the same players. "Bill Kenwright has the heart of the club with him but they need to bring in quality players."

Moyes lands Cahill
Jul 22 2004 By David Randles, icLiverpool
EVERTON have agreed a fee to bring Millwall star Tim Cahill to Goodison Park. The £2m rated Australian is expected to join the Blues within the next 24-hours after agreeing terms on a four-year-contract. Cahill, who is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the game, was set to make the switch from East London to Merseyside last month before Premiership newcomers Crystal Palace stepped in. However, following the collapse of that deal last week as the Selhurst Park club refused to pay the agent's fee, Blues boss David Moyes has wasted no time in rejuvanating his interest in the player who becomes his second capture of the summer following the arrival of striker Marcus Bent. Speaking to the club's official site today Moyes said: "We are delighted that Tim Cahill has agreed to join us. "He has proved himself as one of the best players in the First Division and we hope to give him an opportunity to prove it in the Premiership." The expected £1.75m departure of striker Tomasz Radzinski to Fulham will help fund the Cahill deal. After months of speculation, the Canadian international is reported to be in London undergoing a medical after the two clubs finally reached agreement on a transfer fee. Radzinski is likely to sign for the Craven Cottage club over the weekend.

Fergie barred from USA
Jul 22 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will be without Duncan Ferguson for their pre-season tour of Texas. The Scottish striker is believed to have been refused entry to the United States because of his criminal conviction in 1995. The Blues could apply for a special visa for Ferguson, but there would be no chance of that being approved even before the club returns to the UK on Sunday week. Ferguson served six weeks of a three-month jail sentence in Glasgow's notorious Barlinnie jail during the winter of 1995 after being found guilty of assault on Raith Rovers John McStay during a Glasgow Rangers match.
With Tomasz Radzinski today tying up a move to Fulham for £1.75m it leaves manager David Moyes with just three strikers ahead of the Copa De Tejas at Houston's Reliant Stadium. The Blues take on Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America at the end of next week. The imminent departure of Radzinski will bolster the manager's modest transfer kitty however. On Tuesday night Moyes admitted that he will only consider selling players if he had new signings lined up. And with Tobias Linderoth also expected to join FC Copenhagen in a £1m deal in the next few days it is clear the manager's rebuilding plans are taking shape. However, reports that Australian defender Eddy Bosnar has completed a move to Goodison are wide of the mark. The Sturm Graz defender impressed during a week-long trial at the club's Austrian training camp last week. He would be available on a free transfer, but his lack of international experience would present work permit problems. Everton may be willing to have a longer look at the player before the start of the new season. Meanwhile, Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright met with Wayne Rooney's representatives yesterday but were unable to secure the player's signature on the record-breaking £50,000 a week five-year contract. Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford, is believed to be stalling in order to gauge interest in the player from elsewhere and to see how the Goodison boardroom power struggle turns out. But Moyes remains confident of keeping Rooney. He said: "Of course I am optimistic. I said we are going to be positive at Everton and I am. We have made Wayne a tremendous offer and I would expect that to be accepted. "We are waiting for a reply and I would have hoped we would have had an answer by now. Hopefully we will get that very soon." Moyes takes his small squad to Burnley tonight for the club's third pre-season friendly, before jetting to Texas tomorrow.

Fans call on directors to force change
Jul 22 2004 By David Prentice & Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
KNOW what can happen to people who are seen as the white knights," said Bill Kenwright. He was speaking on the day he freed Everton from the clutches of a previous, flawed ruler. It was a perceptive, if not to say prophetic, statement. Five years and seven months later, Kenwright's own regime is coming under greater scrutiny than ever before from inside and outside the Goodison boardroom. And there is a sense among fans that the club has reached a point of crisis, a crisis which must be resolved now - before it is too late. The spotlight on the chairman has been intensifying ever since he succeeded Peter Johnson. Today, just weeks before the start of the new season, it has never been stronger. Kenwright is locked in a power struggle with rival shareholder Paul Gregg, who wants the club to accept new investors under a plan which he says will generate millions. Kenwright, says Gregg, is standing in the way of such progress. Today one influential set of fans, the Everton Shareholders Association, tried to force the pace by calling for True Blue Holdings - the vehicle which holds the bulk of the Everton shares - to be dissolved.. These minority shareholders have also gathered enough support to force an extraordinary general meeting.
Whilst they have little real power, their call will be a psychological blow to Kenwright. And Gregg has promised to reveal even more details of his plans in the next 48 hours. The clock is ticking. Kenwright first made a play for control of the Goodison boardroom in the summer of 1994, when the Moores family announced the end of an era by severing their ties with the club. He was outmanoeuvred by Peter Johnson. But when Blue Peter's reign ended in a maelstrom of controversy four years later, he was the only runner in the race. "The last time I was involved in a takeover battle I asked myself questions," he said. "Was I good enough? Was I fooling myself? I was also swayed by some fans, but now I'm pretty certain that I'm the right man for this."
Sir Philip Carter (right) was restored as chairman - although deputy-chairman Kenwright was clearly the man calling the shots - and a new board constituting Paul Gregg and Jon Woods put in place.
The successful takeover was formally completed on Boxing Day 1999, while Walter Smith's side were demolishing form-team Sunderland 5-0 at a vibrant Goodison Park. Things would rarely be as happy again. Kenwright sanctioned a £15m-plus spending spree by manager Walter Smith on the promise of sponsorship from cable company NTL. The deal collapsed at the 11th hour, leaving the manager to pull apart his squad almost as soon as he had assembled it. On the pitch, the Blues slid from one catastrophe to the next and in March 2002 Walter Smith was sacked, barely a month after he had been allowed to spend a further £4.4m on Tobias Linderoth and Lee Carsley, plus a free transfer of David Ginola. David Moyes' impact was immediate and astonishing. Aided by the emergence of a supremely talented youngster from the youth ranks at Goodison called Wayne Rooney, Everton finished seventh in the Premiership and narrowly missed out on a place in the UEFA Cup. Rooney was injured during the pre-season build-up for 2003-04. The season started inconsistently, was marred by a nightmare November, a fraught February and effectively ended with a 3-1 defeat of Spurs in April. The Blues finished on their lowest points total in 115 years of league football, heralding one of the most turbulent close-seasons in the club's history. Wayne Rooney's stunning successes in Euro 04 were tarnished for Evertonians by the knowledge that a record-breaking £50,000 a week contract lay unsigned in a Goodison office. Then chief executive Michael Dunford left the club on the same day that chairman Sir Philip Carter was asked to stand down along with long-serving director Keith Tamlin. Trevor Birch was announced with a fanfare as Dunford's successor. "I knew within minutes he was the right man for the job," said Kenwright. Unfortunately Birch knew within six weeks the job was not right for him. He quit. This week, Arthur Abercromby (right) resigned, leaving a boardroom triumvirate of Bill Kenwright, Jon Woods and Paul Gregg, with Woods publicly declaring his support for the chairman. Everton now seems rudderless. There is no chief executive and the two most important board members (out of a measly three) are at loggerheads. The message from supporters, meanwhile, is clear. Ian MacDonald, the vice-president of the Everton Independent Supporters Club, sums it up: "Evertonians can see the sands of time on a long and illustrious history in the top flight are finally running out. It has been coming for a long time. We've had warnings for many years, but supporters are saying it will take a miracle if we stay in the Premier-ship before a ball has even been kicked in anger. "Has anyone ever said that before about this proud club? We are not doom and gloom merchants. We are realists. "Everton could be relegated because of boardroom upheaval, part-time ownership and full-time shambles. Everything has come home to roost in this summer of discontent. "I implore the men in charge, on behalf of everyone who loves the club, to settle their differences or stand aside. "We are told there are lifeboats ready to put to sea in the shape of potential investors. I urge them not to disappear while the men at the helm are arguing." Change is in the air. And for the fans of an ailing Everton Football Club, it can't come quickly enough.

Goodison's quiet man speaks out
Jul 22 2004 Liverpool Echo
THE quiet man of Goodison has suddenly discovered his voice. And he has rocked Everton to its foundations. Ever since the collapse of the development at the Kings Dock, Paul Gregg has been perceived by fans as public enemy number one: the richest member of the Goodison board but with no intention of using his money to help the club. He has always resisted the media spotlight and has been willing to accept his standing among the fans. But in the past week that has changed. Gregg claims he's been forced to go public because of the refusal of board members to sanction radical change. When Kenwright bought the club, he formed a company named True Blue Holdings. And 72% of Everton is owned by that company and shareholders Kenwright, Gregg, Arthur Abercromby and Jon Woods. It is a closed shop, which Gregg claims is putting off potential new investors. Gregg said last week: "The constitution of True Blue makes it very difficult for investors. "The constitution of True Blue should change and shareholders in True Blue should ultimately change their shares for shares in Everton. Then there will be a new opportunity to broaden the base for investment and bring in new directors." Gregg formally presented his proposal for a constitutional change on Tuesday but has received no response. If that situation were to change, the leisure tycoon has promised Evertonians he has investors willing to put £15m into the club, with a further £15m to be generated by a share option. Gregg's motives have been questioned by supporters. Those suspicions are based on the fact he has never made any secret of the fact he is not an Evertonian, or even a football fan. And there's been speculation he wants to get out of the club and recoup his £7m investment.

The fans deserve better than this
Jul 22 2004 Echo Comment
WE ALL know football is virtually a religion on Merseyside. Which is why it is sporting sacrilege to see Everton Football Club in the perilous financial position it is in today. And why the only conclusion can be that things have got to change. Change radically. And change now. For the sake of those 40,000 loyal supporters who pay homage at Goodison Park every other weekend. And the many thousands more who would if they could, or once did. Chairman Bill Kenwright, the club's owner, is as big an apostle to the Blues' cause as you could wish to see.. But even apostles can't work miracles. And if it takes the ultimate personal sacrifice for him to step aside and allow in a new regime, then for the sake of Everton FC, he must search inside his soul and be brave enough to do it.
Because the club he holds so dear and has run for more than four years is on its knees and hurtling towards dis-aster, held back by debt and unable to find the millions of pounds in new investment so desperately needed. Of course, if a passionate Evertonian like Bill Kenwright sincerely believes he is dancing with the devil in the shape of Paul Gregg, the multi-millionaire leisure tycoon who claims he has the vision, the wealth, the strategy and the connections to make Everton at least respectable again, he is entitled to resist. Perhaps he is even duty bound. BUT Bill Kenwright can only do so by producing his own investment plan to get Everton out of the mess they are in; a detailed plan which stands proper scrutiny and which can be delivered very, very quickly. The ECHO is not backing Gregg over Kenwright or vice versa. We're not taking sides. But we are on the side of Everton Football Club and we are insisting today that it cannot go on like this. Right now Paul Gregg's game plan is the only plan in town. Kenwright must come up with an alternative or Everton will sink further into the mire. And it would be a crime for this newspaper and others who care for this club to stand by and let that happen. Better to have the home truths rammed home by true friends in July than risk a tragic inquest next year when it could well be too late. Let's remind ourselves of the mess which Everton, for all its detractors still the fourth most successful club in English soccer history, is now in.
In David Moyes it believes it has one of the brightest young managers at the helm, yet the club is rummaging down the back of the sofas in the directors' lounge to find just a few coppers to spend on players. David Moyes' transfer budget is little more than a million pounds at last count and drip-feed £7m bids for stars like Alan Smith don't fool anyone. It is a club in an ageing stadium which needs to modernise its operating methods, but which has seen its new chief executive Trevor Birch quit after just six weeks in the post. It is a club which must bring in new players to bolster a thinning squad which somehow survived the last season with just 39 points, yet which could soon lose its brightest young star. Of course it naturally concerns people to hear Paul Gregg doesn't know anything about football as a sport, let alone profess a love for Everton. There are those who are right to analyse his motives and fear he may just want to open things up with his restructure of True Blue Holdings, the sub-company which controls Everton, and get back the £7m he has invested. In other words, if Paul Gregg is a saviour for Everton, he's an unlikely one. But better that than no saviour at all. Because right now the alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. It's not too late now - the season hasn't even started. But soon, unless something happens, it will be. Personalities must be set aside. Politics and bickering, in public or in private, must stop. For the sake for those who hold Everton in their hearts, and for the sake of a city where top flight football involving two teams is part of the social fabric, things have to change at Everton.
What the fans say
Roy Culshaw-Lewis, 39, pub manager, from Wallasey: "Although Bill Kenwright assures us he is a true blue, to solve our problems he has to put fans in the picture.
"Selling Rooney is not the answer. Despite his £40m value which could clear our debts, it would be a leap from the frying pan into the fire."
Andrew McKenzie, 20, a student from Tuebrook: "We have no money, we have no team, this season we are going to be neck and neck with teams like Norwich. "I would not blame Kenwright for the current problems, I blame the players on big money contracts like Duncan Ferguson."
Denise Fisher, 37, a bank clerk from Aintree: "They are not putting enough money in. Rooney cannot be blamed for wanting to go. And David Moyes must receive financial backing from the board."
Steve Ryan, 42, a tanker driver from Gateacre, said: "How we can have financial problems after 10 years in the Premiership with gates of 40,000 each week. It's because of the way this club has been run - like a masonic lodge - behind closed doors."

New pressure for True Blue to fold
Jul 22 2004 Liverpool Echo
NEWS that the Everton Shareholders Association want True Blue Holdings to be dissolved will come as a bitter blow to Bill Kenwright. Their call came after the club's minority shareholders gathered enough support to force an extraordinary general meeting. They will formally petition the board for the EGM tomorrow and it could take place as soon as mid-August. It is a bitter blow to chairman Bill Kenwright, who has opposed moves by fellow True Blue director Paul Gregg to dissolve the holding company which owns 72% of the club. ESA chairman Steve Allinson said: "We've watched with growing alarm the mounting debt and lack of investment under True Blue. Now we are expected to watch them pull themselves apart. "If they truly care about the security of Everton's long term future they must dissolve and lead the club as individuals from a level playing field. Only then can the board seek new partners and embark on the full structural changes necessary. "The biggest tragedy is that while the board is locked in a struggle over control, the lifeblood of this club slips away. How can they continue to ignore the real crisis that threatens our very future as a Premiership club?" The ESA needed to secure the signatures of 220 shareholders to force an EGM. That total was reached yesterday. The battle between Gregg and Kenwright has brought the issue to the fore. But the Wayne Rooney saga has also infuriated the supporters. An ESA statement confirmed today: "The ESA are incensed at the failure of the Board to challenge the performance of Proactive Sports, Wayne Rooney's agents. "The ESA are determined to highlight the activities of Proactive and urged the Football Association to mount an inquiry into the conduct of Rooney's agent."

How Kenwright responded to frustration of fans
Jul 22 2004 Liverpool Echo
ANGRY Evertonians rallied together as last season ended to fire a series of questions at Bill Kenwright and his waring board. The worst points total in the club's history and a final league position just one place above the drop zone was the cause of the frustration. Kenwright responded, using the ECHO back on May 20 to answer the questions that were so concerning the supporters.
What role does Paul Gregg play at EFC?
Kenwright: He has always said that he is not a football fan - and I give him much credit for that - but he wants desperately for this club to succeed, and not just because he and his family have invested £7m. Is there any real ambition, or possibility of investment by this board of directors? Kenwright: I personally find the first half of this question insulting. Do you really think anyone lacking ambition would give up a huge proportion of their life like that? On the day we took over I said we were only custodians of this football club until someone with more money, more ideas and more passion came along. That person (or those people) simply do not exist.

July 22 2004
By Ian Parkes,
Manchester Evening News
Kevin Keegan has urged Wayne Rooney to resist the lure of a move abroad and believes the 18-year-old is too young to cope with life away from home. Although Rooney remains sidelined with the broken foot he sustained during the recent European Championships, feverish speculation continues to surround the Everton striker. His exploits for England in Portugal not only captured the imagination of the public, but also understandably caught the eye of the game's top managers.
With Everton in turmoil behind the scenes and in the midst of a financial crisis, the pressure is growing to sell their most valuable asset, and a sum of around £30million is seemingly the going rate. Manchester United are apparently interested in rising star Rooney, who is adding to the uncertainty at Everton as he continues to stall on signing the most lucrative deal in the club's history, a five-year package understood to be worth £13million. There are also overtures from overseas but Manchester City boss Keegan insists Rooney should remain in the Premiership; if not with Everton, then with another top English club. "It's difficult for me to talk about other people's players as manager of Manchester City," said Keegan, who was nine years older than Rooney when he sparked a storm by quitting Liverpool to join Hamburg for £500,000 in 1977. "My only piece of advice to him would be to say that at 18 years of age, he's too young to leave England and go abroad. "I left England at 27. I had played 40 or 50 times for England, won championships here and gained massive experience in Europe playing with Liverpool - and I still found it tough. "I would tell him he should sign with Everton or with another English club, but he's too young to go abroad. "Other players have proved that to be the case where they've gone early in their careers, like, you could say Paul Gascoigne and people like that, and they are back now. "It doesn't work, they miss too many things. They can't have all the things around them that they need when they are young. "When you're 27 you're a man, you get on with it, you put up with the language problems, you learn and you're a bit more streetwise. "You're bound to be because you've got that nine, 10 years' experience behind you." Keegan, though, can understand if Rooney wanted to join a club with the kudos of Real Madrid should they come calling with an offer likely to prove irresistible. "You couldn't blame him if someone like Real Madrid came along and said 'would you like to come and play with 1/8Zinedine3/8 Zidane every week?'," added Keegan. "You've got to look at it this way. You try to be fair and sensible, but at the end of the day football is not always fair and sensible things don't always happen." Keegan is unsurprised by the furore and clamour which currently surrounds Rooney as he remembers watching the teenager two years ago in a youth cup tie and thinking then he was something special. "It was when Walter Smith was manager," recalled Keegan on leaguemanagers.com. "I sat and watched a young kid called Wayne Rooney destroy our youth cup side almost single-handed. "Don't get me wrong, Everton had other good players, but he was the catalyst for it all. "Everton at that time were struggling to score goals, and I just said to Walter, 'if it was my club I think I would put him in the first team straight away'. He was that good. "And of course, Walter said, 'Well I can't do that because he's still at school.' "So, I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that he has come through and done well."

Burnley 1 Everton 1 (D,Post)
Jul 23 2004 By David Prior at Turf Moor, Daily Post
SO after a glimmer of hope off the pitch, a glimmer of hope on it. That's blind optimism for you, anyway. Everton last night wrested a draw from a game they largely deserved to lose, thanks to Joseph Yobo's late header. But little else suggested anything but a great deal of work still needs to be done with David Moyes's squad leaving today for America. As the Scot admitted: "We didn't play very well, but we go away now for another spell now and hopefully we can continue to keep improving. "At the moment the results don't matter, but it would have been nice if we could have played a little bit better." Such has been the relentlessly dismal quality of news emanating from Goodison these last few weeks, yesterday's capture of Tim Cahill was the transfer equivalent of hot soup at the top of a rain-battered mountain. The snaring of a Millwall player may in years past not have proved the highlight of summer's shopping, but unless things drastically improve, it may prove the pinnacle of this holiday's activity for Moyes. Let's hope not, with a couple more arrivals rumoured to be imminent, but at least Evertonians have a new player of some promise to speculate on, plus the added and rare satisfaction of knowing that for once another club, Crystal Palace, was fended off in his chase. What small mercies. Almost as satisfying yesterday was the virtual conclusion to the Tomasz Radzinski saga, the player who got what he want and then decided it wasn't what he wanted. His subsequent dummy-spitting ostracised himself from Moyes's plans and although the deal is not finalised yet, Moyes will hope it is not far off yet. Unfortunately, Cahill's arrival has come too late for him to be on the plane to America, visa requirements again the issue but more a question of logistics than the black mark that led to Duncan Ferguson's passport failing to get stamped. That leaves him with just three recognised strikers in Marcus Bent, Nick Chadwick and Kevin Campbell. Moyes chose to give all three a 45-minute run-out last night, new boy Bent looking alert, if not exactly threatening. Pre-season games in the middle of July have a tendency to be desperately tedious affairs, and the first half promised no change from the norm. In front of a typically patchy crowd, Steve Cotterill's Coca-Cola League Championship outfit strung together what moments of excitement there were. Moyes started with a relatively strong XI, with Lee Carsley and Steve Watson playing in central midfield and James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane on the flanks.
The visitors were indebted to Richard Wright's double save early on, keeping out first Richard Chaplow and then Robbie Blake. Blake did deservedly give the home side the lead after 19 minutes, sweeping the ball in from the edge of the area, and they could easily have gone further ahead shortly before half-time had Graham Branch's low shot not ricocheted off Wright and against the crossbar. The second half brought a raft of changes, Bent and Campbell giving way for Ferguson and Chadwick and Leon Osman, David Weir and Alessandro Pistone. They appeared to make precious little difference to the attacking threat posed by Moyes's men, at least until Osman's smart volley on the turn after Pistone's cross. And in fact it was from the Gary Naysmith's resulting corner that Everton drew level, Yobo rising to head a rare goal and at least stemming the flow of travelling fans that by stage. A bit of noise from the fans though had clearly shaken Everton into some sort of life, and moments later they were narrowly disallowed a neat Chadwick over-head volley from short range, the striker ajudged to have been marginally offside. Overall though, much to do - on and off the pitch. BURNLEY: Coyne; Duff, Sinclair, McGreal, Camara; Roche (O'Neill 85), Chaplow, Grant (Djebi Zadi 83), Branch; Blake (Eboki-Poh 80), Hyde. EVERTON: Wright; Hibbert (Pistone 45), Stubbs (Weir 45), Yobo, Naysmith; Kilbane, Carsley, Watson (Osman 45), McFadden; Campbell (Ferguson 45), Bent (Chad-wick 45).
SCORERS: Burnley - Blake 19; Everton - Yobo 80
REF: G Salisbury.
ATT: 6756

Cahill only the latest Goodison arrival
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Jul 23 2004
DAVID MOYES is lining up another two new signings at Everton after Australian international Tim Cahill yesterday agreed terms on a four-year deal at Goodison. The Scot last night revealed he is hoping to go back into the market for "another one, possibly two" more players after Everton claimed a 1-1 draw at Burnley in their second game of their pre-season campaign. For now though Moyes is delighted to have secured the services of Millwall's 25-year-old Cahill for a fee believed to be in the region of £2million. "We are delighted that Tim Cahill has agreed to join us," he said. "He's one of the better play-ers in the English first division and we hope to give him an opportunity to prove it in the Premiership." Moyes said he would continue looking for new players up until the end of the transfer window. "It wasn't what I wanted to do this season but if that's what I've got to do that's what I'll do." Everton depart today for their three-match tour of America but Cahill will not be on the plane, although he could meet up at some point before he travels to Athens as part of the Australian Olympic squad. "I'm hoping to get him for a few days in America but I couldn't be sure yet," said Moyes last night as he also confirmed that Wayne Rooney would not be travelling.
"The Olympics will also be a great experience for him, as he's still relatively inexperienced as a top-class footballer." The attacking midfielder had originally agreed a £2million move to Crystal Palace but that was called off at the last minute after Eagles chairman Simon Jordan objected to the involvement of the player's agent. He impressed last season as Millwall reached the FA Cup final last season, only to lose to Manchester United in Cardiff. He had been with Millwall for seven years after signing from Australian side Sydney United. Moyes funded the deal by allowing Tomasz Radzinski to finally leave Goodison. The unsettled striker underwent a medical in London at about 5pm in his proposed move to Fulham. The 30-year-old is expected to sign for the Cottagers at the weekend after the clubs agreed around a £1.75m fee. Everton had yet to conclude the deal as of last night.
Radzinski, who has 12 months to run on his contract, rejected a new three-year deal at Everton and publicly criticised manager David Moyes. The forward joined Everton from Anderlecht three years ago. The Merseyside club were furious with Radzinski for refusing a deal he had originally demanded, then urging England striker Wayne Rooney to quit the club. And his fierce criticism of Moyes and the lack of new signings at the club make his swift departure almost inevitable.
Coleman is keen to seal the deal now he is armed with the £3m he received from Tottenham for Sean Davis. Radzinski scored eight goals in 34 appearances last season and was a useful foil for Rooney. Moyes again reiterated last night that he was not letting the off-field boardroom problems affect him. He added: "It's a great football club, and when you've got a great football club there's a lot of talk about it. I just do my job, at the present time we're in the middle of fitness work and we're trying to get them in the right shape if we can."

Monday meeting as board pressured
By David Prior, Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
EVERTON'S minority shareholders will today deliver a petition to Goodison Park calling for the dissolution of True Blue Holdings as its major shareholders Bill Kenwright, Paul Gregg and Jon Woods, announced they would attend a board meeting on Monday. Chairman Kenwright last night confirmed he would be discussing a rescue plan put forward by fellow director Gregg that hinges on True Blue, the company formed by Gregg and Kenwright in 2001 which owns 72% of Everton, being dissolved. "There will be a board meeting on Monday when Paul Gregg's proposals will be discussed," said Kenwright. "Jon Woods (the other remaining director) and I wanted it to be today (Thursday) but Paul couldn't make it. "In the meantime I have spent the week continuing the search for new investment, recruiting a new CEO, and hourly working alongside David Moyes to strengthen his squad for the forthcoming season." Presumably, Kenwright's action last night serves as the response to Gregg's ultimatum delivered earlier in the week when the millionaire said he would reveal more details of his plans "if nothing happens by Friday". The Everton Shareholders Association will however press on with their plan to deliver a petition to the Park End reception at Goodison today. Vice-chairman Ann Asquith and secretary Nick Williams will hand in all the petitions so far received from ESA members which back Paul Gregg's plan in wanting True Blue to be dissolved. ESA chairman Steve Allinson last night claimed the voluntary petitions were being received "hand over fist" and that they already had well over 20% of the ESA members had returned supporting petitions, the requirement in order to trigger an extraordinary general meeting.
"We have had over-whelming support," said Allinson last night. "The petition is supporting stage one of Paul Gregg's plans. "It is not about Paul Gregg or Bill Kenwright though. It is about facing up to the real issues that are affecting this club." Should that requirement be met, the club must accept the petition and call an EGM, which would have to take place at some stage between August 13 and September 17.

Keegan's a believer home's best for Rooney
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
KEVIN KEEGAN has urged Wayne Rooney to resist the lure of a move abroad and believes the 18-year-old is too young to cope with life away from home. Although Rooney remains sidelined with the broken foot he sustained during the recent European Championships, feverish speculation continues to surround the Everton striker. His exploits for England in Portugal not only captured the imagination of the public, but also understandably caught the eye of the game's top managers.
With Everton in turmoil behind the scenes and in the midst of a financial crisis, the pressure is growing to sell their most valuable asset. Rooney is adding to the uncertainty at Everton as he continues to stall on signing the most lucrative deal in the club's history, a five-year package understood to be worth £13million. There are also overtures from overseas but Manchester City boss Keegan insists Rooney should remain in the Premiership; if not with Everton, then with another top English club. "It's difficult for me to talk about other people's players as manager of Manchester City," said Keegan, who was nine years older than Rooney when he sparked a storm by quitting Liverpool to join Hamburg for £500,000 in 1977. "My only piece of advice to him would be to say that at 18 years of age, he's too young to leave England and go abroad. "I left England at 27. I had played 40 or 50 times for England, won championships here and gained massive experience in Europe playing with Liverpool - and I still found it tough. "I would tell him he should sign with Everton or with another English club, but he's too young to go abroad. Other players have proved that to be the case where they've gone early in their careers, like, you could say Paul Gascoigne. It doesn't work, they miss too many things. They can't have all the things around them that they need when they are young. "When you're 27 you're a man, you get on with it, you put up with the language problems, you learn and you're a bit more streetwise. "You're bound to be because you've got that nine, 10 years' experience behind you." Keegan, though, can understand if Rooney wanted to join a club with the kudos of Real Madrid. "You couldn't blame him if someone like Real Madrid came along and said 'would you like to come and play with Zinedine Zidane every week?'," added Keegan. Keegan is unsurprised by the furore and clamour which currently surrounds Rooney as he remembers watching the teenager two years ago in a Youth Cup tie and thinking then he was something special. "It was when Walter Smith was manager," recalled Keegan.. "I sat and watched a young kid called Wayne Rooney destroy our youth cup side almost single-handed. "Don't get me wrong, Everton had other good players, but he was the catalyst for it all. Everton at that time were struggling to score goals, and I just said to Walter, 'if it was my club I think I would put him in the first team straight away'. "And of course, Walter said, 'Well I can't do that because he's still at school.'
"So, I don't think it's a surprise to anybody that he has come through and done well."

Wyness flattered by Everton rumours
Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
ABERDEEN chief executive Keith Wyness last night said he was "flattered" by reports naming him as a possible successor to Trevor Birch at Everton, but that he had not received any offer yet.
With the chief executive's role at Goodison currently vacant following Birch's resignation last week, Englishman Wyness had been linked as a replacement. Chairman Bill Kenwright last night confirmed he has spent time this week attempting to recruit a new chief executive but Wyness, who has been at the Pittodrie helm for the last three years following seven years as an executive with British Airways, attempted to play down the suggestion. He told the Daily Post: "It is flattering to be linked to a Premiership side but there is nothing more to say. There has been no offer made to me at the moment and I have a job." Wyness has been a controversial figure during his time at Aberdeen, rarely shying away from commenting on major issues affecting the Scottish game. He has publicly criticised the Old Firm and has overseen the departures of two managers. But asked if he was set to leave that behind to become Everton's new chief executive, he replied: "Not at this moment."

Old boy Unsworth fears sale of teenage wonder
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
FORMER Everton star David Unsworth fears the Goodison Park club will be unable to reject a big money move for Wayne Rooney. Unsworth has just joined Portsmouth on a free transfer after playing almost his entire career at Everton, apart from a season at West Ham and a spell at Aston Villa. He has been part of the massive exodus of players who have left the Merseysiders because of their current financial crisis. Rooney's representatives have held further talks with chairman Bill Kenwright this week, but no decision has been made on whether he will sign the five-year contract the club has on offer. And a decision is unlikely to be reached until there is a clearer view of Everton's future. Rooney returned from the USA yesterday to have a scan on the broken bone in his foot and is expected to be back on the plane today with the rest of the squad on their 12-day trip to Texas. But Unsworth believes that his future at the club is in severe doubt, while admitting that he is upset to see his former team in such a mess. Unsworth said: "I am still in contact with a lot of mates who are Evertonians and they are pulling their hair out at the moment. "As a former player and an Evertonian it gives me no pleasure to see the state the club are in." Unsworth added: "You have to try to keep a great player like Wayne because of what he does on the park. But then again if they are in so much of a financial problem, can they turn down X amount of millions for their top player?"

Gregg's Blue vision
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
Blue vision
HAVING heard Paul Gregg's vision for the club and, more importantly, how he would implement strategies to achieve this vision, I believe he should be in control now rather than later. If Bill Kenwright and his mate Jon Wood are true Evertonians, they would hand over control to Gregg immediately and let him get on with the job of revitalising the Toffees.
Laurie Brown (via e-mail)
True colours
I, TOO, was there at the FA Youth Cup Final when Wayne Rooney yanked the blue shirt over his head to reveal his 'once a Blue.....' Yes, we all know Wayne is a prodigy and it is right he has ambitions to play with and against the best --but he's still only 18. It's hardly as though he is 28, without a major haul of medals and time running out. Wayne should continue his development with the club who have nurtured his fabulous talent for another couple of years before making a move. It's not as though we have done his career prospects much harm so far.
Tony Wardale, Liverpool
Cloud gazing
WITH the saving of £220m from the aborted Cloud fiasco, why don't the City Council build a joint stadium in consultation with both clubs. This would incorporate facilities to host Commonwealth or Olympic games, hotel facilities, shopping, park, leisure centre, running track, concert venue etc.
It would be a lot cheaper than the Cloud and would be used by thousands, and not just the football fraternity.
T Capp, Everton
Break silence
IT SEEMS Rooney is now adult enough to do inter-views, so why can't he be man enough to come out and let the supporters know what he intends to do. He owes us that much at least.
Peter Cullen, Liverpool
£50m price tag
ONLY an offer of £50 million-plus should be accepted for Rooney, if indeed he wishes to go. Otherwise we will simply be a bad team with a small overdraft heading towards inevitable relegation. Who will want to join us without Rooney. Our only hope is that Kenwright swallows his pride and allows people with true finance-raising ability to run the club.
Frank Black, Liverpool
A real tragedy
FOR ALL the troubles at Everton and the Rooney saga everyone should stop and take a minute to think about the family of Alex Cole, the former Everton youth goalkeeper tracigally lost in a car accident. Deepest sympathy towards family and friends and hopefully people realise it is just a game. Losing Rooney to Man U would not be tragic, losing Cole is.
Steve Jones, Liverpool
Lone star
ROONEY'S critics should back off. He is the only tangible asset Everton have. If he hadn't emerged when he did, Everton would be on an even faster track to obscurity.
Les Braben (via e-mail)
Lost links
WHAT "forces" are making the "sad" sale of Rooney inevitable? The only "force" stopping Rooney signing a contract is the boy himself. I didn't realise there weren't any phones or faxes, internet access and so forth in his hotel. Wayne could have stopped all this weeks ago by committing himself to a new contract.
Steve Harper (via e-mail)
WHAT has confused me is Rooney's total silence in the last few weeks. The boy claims to be Blue through and through but after only three good games for England he is all of a sudden too good for Everton. He did not even have the best of seasons for us last year. Bailing out on Everton will be the wrong thing to do. He has many more years to come to acheive what he craves, so why not just stick with us for a while longer and help rebuild this club to a state that it so deserves!
Paul Mc, Liverpool
Empty words
WHAT a mess. The writing, sadly however, has been on the wall for at least the last two years when we have heard only empty words and transparent sound-bites. Think back to the season before last - seventh spot and moving forward, a real positive vibe around the place . . . did we invest then? No.
What chance now? It's patently obvious that new investment from an external source(s) are bound by terms so restrictive as to render it non-existent. What are we left with . . . Gregg?
Part of being an Evertonian has always meant dealing with unbelievable highs and considerable lows. I really do fear the worst this time. We could be witnessing the death knells of this once great and diginified club.
Michael Forbes (via e-mail)

Supporters caught in massive dilemma
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
Jul 23 2004
PEOPLE enjoy fiction, be it in books, films or at the theatre, because generally it deals with problems. Problems tend to be neat, they can be resolved, whereas in real life we rarely face such clear-cut decisions; instead what we normally have to deal with are dilemmas. Bill Kenwright, with all his theatrical experience, must know this, yet it's his boardroom rival, Paul Gregg, who has grasped the concept and is using it to exert pressure, through the media and in turn the Everton fans, on his one-time friend. Gregg knows that we are desperate for a respite from ever-mounting troubles; first and foremost we want the exodus of players to halt and we want David Moyes to be able to bring reinforcements in. Wayne Rooney's future is uncertain, to say the very least, and the prospects for next season do not look rosy. What better time then for Gregg to present himself as the 'hard-headed businessman' who can get Everton back on an even keel? So, are you a Gregg man or are you a Kenwright man? That seems to be the clear-cut choice that's being presented. The Oxfordshire-based businessman knows full well that if he gets the Everton fans on his side then the sensitive Kenwright will probably fold in the face of abuse from the stands. He is, after all, an Evertonian. That's not enough though, as has been pointed out on many occasions, and obviously his stewardship of the club hasn't been good, otherwise we wouldn't be in this position. However, before we make our choice, perhaps we should also look beyond Gregg's promise of new investment and schemes to sell zillions of shirts in the Far East. For a start, surely he shares some blame for the mistakes of the last few years? But how come he's only offering to do something now? We know he doesn't go to the game, but surely a glimpse at a newspaper would have told him that something was amiss at Goodison. And how come he wasn't pressing for changes to the boardroom constitution when he thought he was getting a stadium and offering Everton the famous 're-verse mortgage'? Maybe most tellingly, why are the other directors, who presumably are furnished with more facts than us, so dead set against him if his plans are to improve Everton's fortunes? If he were successful then surely their investments would rise in value too? What we all want is for the parties involved to resolve the struggle for boardroom dominance sooner rather than later. As fans though, with best interests of the club at heart, we must be very wary of being used as pawns in their power games. The sad fact is, along with all our problems, we now face a massive dilemma.

Burnley 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Jul 23 2004 By David Prentice at Turf Moor, Liverpool Echo
IF Everton were looking for some much needed succour and support in this pre-season from hell, a glance at the back of last night's match programme helped. With 40 available squad spaces - and only 15 places filled, Burnley have a first team squad even more emaciated than Everton's. But the Coca Cola Championship side then went and undid all the good work by giving the Blues the run-around. Yeah, yeah. Pre- season friendlies just an exercise. Results meaningless, if you have a great pre-season you always lose the first match etc. etc. But the same glaring deficiencies which afflicted Everton in that awful run-in to last season still exist. And while Tim Cahill ' s arrival and Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney's return will help address the dearth of creativity, Tomasz Radzinski's departure has left an already leaden footed forward line even less blessed by that crucial ingredient - pace.. Radzinski has been panned on these pages before. A less reliable finisher than Devon Loch with a heart only a little larger than a pea, he still offered searing pace coupled with intelligent movement. Bent and Campbell were willing for 45 minutes last night, but rarely looked like troubling new Burnley keeper Danny Coyne. Gary Naysmith did tingle the former Tranmere keeper ' s finger- tips with a curling free-kick, then Bent barged clean through but fired straight at the keeper. But they were sporadic raids. With Tony Grant classily cajoling Burnley into a series of attacks, the home team took the lead through Blake then forced Richard Wright to show that while Nigel Martyn may well be the more consistently reliable keeper, he will at least have a concerted challenge for his place this season. Wright was excellent, flinging himself around a goalmouth peppered by shots and crosses, but it was concerning that he had to be. The crossbar came to his rescue in the 28th minute after he had partially blocked a Graham Branch blockbuster, then in the second half he athletically turned away an Eboki-Poh shot. At least Everton's fitness looked good. In the last quarter they finally exerted some consistent pressure and were rewarded when Yobo rose majestically at the far post to plant Kilbane's cross past Coyne. It hardly sent the visiting fans - considerable in number again - into raptures. Most had trudged off home by then. Bright spots? Richard Wright - and the mushy peas and pie served up in the press room. Consolation? It ' s only pre-season. You don't need to get properly worried for three weeks yet.
BURNLEY: Coyne, Duff, Sinclair, McGreal, Camara, Roche (O'Neill 85), Chaplow, Grant (Djebi Zadi 83), Branch, Blake (Eboki-Poh 80), Hyde.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert (Pistone 45), Stubbs (Weir 45), Yobo, Naysmith, Kilbane, Carsley, Watson (Osman 45), McFadden, Campbell (Ferguson 45), Bent (Chadwick 45).
GOALS: Blake (19 mins) 1-0, Yobo (83 mins) 1-1.

Blues target Dutch star
Jul 23 2004 Exclusive by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have targeted Dutch international midfielder Mark van Bommel. Blues chairman Bill Kenwright met PSV Eindhoven officials at an early morning rendezvous today - just hours after completing the sale of Tomasz Radzinski to Fulham and the capture of Millwall midfielder Tim Cahill.
The 27-year-old holding midfielder spent five successful seasons with PSV, but a proposed move to Schalke 04 this summer broke down on PSV's six million euros valuation. If Everton can reach agreement with the club and player it would represent a major coup. Van Bommel has won 25 caps for Holland, scoring five goals - one against England at White Hart Lane to inflict the first defeat of Sven Goran Eriksson's reign as national coach. He missed Euro 2004 through injury, and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Schalke O4, Tottenham and Aston Villa this summer. Blues' boss David Moyes said last night: "We hope to go back into the market for another one, possibly two more players." It appears that Van Bommel is first choice. While Moyes and his first team squad flew out to the USA this morning, Chairman Kenwright was believed to be conducting negotiations with the Dutch club. Van Bommel started his career with Fortuna Sittard, but would relish a move to the Premiership.

Everton deny Scolari claims
Jul 23 2004 By David Randles, icLiverpool
EVERTON have been forced to deny claims that they have approached Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as a replacement for David Moyes. Following the shock remarks from the Brazilian World Cup winner, who guided the host nation to the the finals at Euro 2004 earlier this month, Blues spokesman Ian Ross retorted: "This is absolute nonsense." Speaking to Portuguese newspaper A Bola, Scolari, (pictured), said he was contacted by Everton to replace Moyes during the summer but was put off due to the limited transfer funds on offer. He said: "I had offers from Italy, England and Spain. "I can even give an example. The team that finished 17th in the Premiership (Everton) contacted me, but what can I do when a club invites me and tells me that the transfer budget is £10m? "How can you compete with the big clubs when this will give no more than two good players?" Scolari is well renowned as one of world football's more colourful characters, and although Everton have denied his comments, the fact he went as far as to outline details of revenue that would be available to him is likely to see Moyes demanding some strong answers from a board which is currently lurching from one crisis to another.

Gregg: Time for Kenwright to go
Jul 23 2004 By David Prentice & Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON director Paul Gregg is calling on Blues chairman Bill Kenwright to step down for the sake of the club's future. After a week-long public power struggle, the multi-millionaire leisure tycoon has written to Kenwright telling him he has major new backers who will only move in to help if he quits. The matter is now set to come to a head on Monday afternoon at an Everton board meeting announced yesterday by Kenwright to consider Gregg's proposals to bring in an immediate £15m. Gregg also has longer-term plans to rebuild the club and its financial muscle. That is likely to involve a fans' share issue which Gregg believes will bring in another £15m. Gregg is refusing to comment on the letter, which has also been received by Everton director Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby, who resigned from the Goodison board two days ago. However, Kenwright today confirmed he had received the letter and said: "Jon, Arthur and myself received an e-mail from Paul Gregg late yesterday afternoon which contained no real information. "We responded with an agreement to discuss it at Monday's board meeting: something which we feel would be right and proper as we have always preferred to do our business in private. Gregg's letter, which has been seen by the Echo, tells the chairman: "Obviously you have been very upset with the events that have taken place last week and the decision that I had to make to bring some sense to the Everton dilemma and in particular the way we as a Board would be able to move the club forward. "For my part the frustration in being unable to persuade you that we needed new investment which I believe would only be forthcoming if you were prepared to relinquish control of the club with the ultimate dissolution of True Blue and transferring True Blue shares into Everton shares." Gregg pledges he has enough interest and commitment to generate up to £15m into the club and more importantly, can introduce it in a way that would 'retain some intrinsic value in what would be our own Everton FC shares'. He tells Kenwright: "The people concerned for very obvious reasons do not wish their names to be published at this point, but I can confirm to you that with your approval to the changes they will confirm their interest and support for my agenda for the club." Gregg insists he does not want to 'seize control' at Goodison but appoint a new chairman and bring in two other senior directors to drive an ambitious plan to move Everton forward, as he sees it. Adds Gregg in the letter: "Obviously to make this progress that would require the current board standing down and hopefully making a positive statement in wishing the new board success with their endeavours and ambitions for the club and this I believe would renew your support on Merseyside and return credibility to the fan and shareholder base that we have come to the right conclusion for the club. "I fully understand you may not want to rush to this decision or even support it, but I do feel unless we come to some positive move forward then the fans and the shareholders will have every right to be frustrated with our lack of progress." "You and I both know that Everton and its fans are bigger than both of us and is a very important part of many lives on Merseyside, and what we now need is a really positive step forward that lets us embrace the ambitions of our supporters and not those wishes of ourselves."
Gregg denies he is pushing for change to unlock the £7m he has invested in the club and then leave. He insists he is prepared to bring in new money and expertise and devote his own energies to reviving the club - even though he has never been a fan of football or professed a passion for Everton. Kenwright remains privately more than sceptical and has shown no sign of bowing the the pressure of the past week. In a statement issued yesterday afternoon - one which ended with the Blues signing Milwall midfielder Tim Cahill - he said: "There will be a board meeting on Monday when Paul's proposals will be discussed. "Jon Woods and I wanted it to be today but Paul couldn't make it. "In the meantime I have spent the last six days continuing the search for new investment, recruiting a new Chief Executive Officer, hourly working with David Moyes to strengthen his squad for the forthcoming season." With regard to Wayne Rooney's situation, he said: "David and I both feel we had a good meeting with Paul Stretford on Thursday which will be continued over the weekend." There are now just three members left on the Goodison board, with Jon Woods, alongside Gregg and Kenwright the only remaining director, having aligned himself with Kenwright and declared Gregg's plans 'impracticable.' The Everton shareholders Association meanwhile today delivered a formal petition to Goodison Park demanding the the dissolution of True Blue holdings and calling for an extraordinary general meeting.

Blues walking the tightrope
Jul 23 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IN the newspaper world, the month of July is known as the silly season. That's because it's traditionally a thin time for stories and silly ones tend to receive more of a profile. But the events at Goodison Park over the last few weeks have given a truer meaning to the phase. Actually, silly doesn't even begin to describe what's been going on at Everton. Charlie Corolli has rolled into town, complete with circus troupe, dancing bears and bearded ladies. Except it's not been even in the slightest bit funny. Everton have been rocked by boardroom crises before - but rarely have they impacted on the playing field as much as the current upheaval. Even when Blue Peter sneaked Duncan Ferguson down the back staircase at Goodison, Walter Smith still had 27 what you would call proper, solid first team squad players to choose from. (Alright, lumping John Spencer and John Oster in that lot might be stretching it a bit, but you take the point). If Tobias Linderoth joins Tomasz Radzinski out of the Goodison exit door next week - and their earnest discussion on the Turf Moor pitch before last night's match suggested that departure is imminent - that leaves David Moyes with 21 first team players, one of whom won't accept £50,000 a week to play for the club, another who won't accept £500,000 not to play for the club. Before you even mention the quality, the quantity isn't like anything enough to keep Everton in the Premiership next season. The capture of an undeniably promising midfielder from Millwall has been met with unbridled euphoria in Walton.
But Everton need more. Much, much more. David Moyes - a man who has my unqualified support and sympathy in this whole mess - has said as much. But no-one appears to be listening.
There has to be change at Everton Football Club this summer. That doesn't mean I believe Paul Gregg is the right man to lead Everton out of the wilderness. But it does mean that Bill Kenwright must counter his rival's investment proposals with proposals of his own. Because if Kenwright doesn't have a long-term strategy or business plan, then Gregg is the only plan in town. It was a freak of a singularly paltry Premiership season that allowed Everton to collect their lowest points total for 115 years last season - and still escape relegation. But they can't be as lucky again. And if they do go down, they are singularly unequipped to bounce right back. Names like Sheffield Wednesday and Coventry City should serve as stark warnings to Everton Football Club. The clubs is at a crossroads - again - and far too frequently Everton have taken the wrong turning.
This time they must get it right. The silly season is in full swing. The serious one starts three weeks today, and if Everton are not in better shape on the pitch - the only laughing will be on the red side of Stanley Park.

Gregg the star persuader!
Jul 23 2004 By Andy Kelly and Deborah James, Daily Post
He is locked in a boardroom battle for control of Everton Football Club, but just who is Paul Gregg and how did he get to hold the fate of thousands of Evertonians in his hands? Andy Kelly and Deborah James report PAUL Gregg knows a thing or two about persuading world stars to perform on Merseyside. In an amazing coup he once persuaded legendary chanteuse Marlene Dietrich to perform in Southport. But whether he can persuade Wayne Rooney to carry on packing in the crowds at Goodison Park remains to be seen. Mr Gregg's name will be uppermost in the minds of the Goodison faithful today as they watch the struggle for control of their club unfold. Most will know their main shareholder - battling with Bill Kenwright for boardroom power at a club he has not watched in more than a year - made his money in the entertainment world. But many will not know he was involved in controversy on Merseyside long before Everton became part of his business portfolio. Paul Richard Gregg first came to prominence in 1970 when he was appointed to run Southport's Floral Hall at the tender age of 28. He already had a strong background in the entertainment world, having spent five years working at the ABC cinema group in his early 20s, followed by three years in Oxford as entertainment manager with British Leyland. When Gregg arrived in Southport, the Floral Hall had not made a profit in 40 years. But Gregg, showing the business acumen which would turn him into a millionaire 129 times over, soon changed that.
An annual deficit of £17,000 a year at the time of his arrival was quickly turned into a small profit of £3,000 for 1971 and 1972. He believed in one thing - stars. He introduced Southport's summer season and it was quickly turned into one of the North West's leading entertainment venues.
As well as Dietrich, big names like James Last, Ella Fitzgerald, Jack Jones and Cliff Richard were all snared in the Gregg net. It was during his time in Southport that he is first thought to have met Bill Kenwright, when the theatre impressario brought a successful show to Gregg's complex. It was to be a partnership which would be renewed many times over the years as the two became personal friends before reaching a controversial climax at Everton. The hall was a success and, in July 1973, Gregg was appointed director of publicity and attractions for the whole of Sefton. His hard-faced attitude to money was evident even then, as he spoke about the type of acts Southport should attract. He said: "If we had two dancing bears playing dustbin lids and we made money that's okay because people must want to see it." Ironically the profits did not last and the complex lost money but, with 250,000 people visiting the Floral Hall, Gregg was adamant there was a huge knock-on benefit to the local economy. Retired journalist Alan Pinch, editor at the Southport Visiter in the 1970s, remembers Gregg's "enthusiasm" for the music scene. He said: "He was doing things in Southport that even the big cities like Liverpool couldn't do, because he had such good contacts.
"He brought in a lot of big American bands and names like Henry James, Count Bill Basie, and Duke Ellington. "He even managed to get Marlene Dietrich to sing at the opening night of the theatre.
"He was fabulous for jazz music in Southport, I used to see him at gigs and he was always very easy to work with and very enthusiastic." It was ultimately Gregg's own ambitions which brought his period in Sefton to a close in July 1976. After a tip-off, he admitted to a council inquiry team that he had moonlighted in private business with his wife Nita for six years while still employed by the council. He arranged bookings and promoted concerts for top names outside the resort - without his employer's permission. One former colleague told the Daily Post: "His wife has always been a very strong driving force behind his career." Gregg resigned from his £7,500 a year job, but was unrepentant. "I worked for six and a half years to turn what was a failing Victorian seaside resort into one of the most prosperous resorts on the North West coast and something which has no connection with Southport posed a situation which the council could not accept," he said.
Sefton councillor Sir Ron Watson was president of the Southport Chamber of Commerce during the Gregg era in the town. Last night he said: "He was a very dynamic individual and a great innovator. He was obviously very frustrated at the constraints placed on him by working for a local authority."
If anything, leaving Southport was probably the best thing that ever happened to Gregg, setting him on the path to his fortune. Within six months, he had taken over the 2,500-seat Apollo complex in Ardwick, Manchester, masterminding concerts, shows and cinema scheduling. He was also running Prince Theatres and Prince Concert Promotions, a subsiduary of the Prince of Wales Hotels in Southport. By December 1977, he was bringing Cliff Richard back to Southport for concerts tied in with packages involving stays at the Prince of Wales and Royal Clifton hotels. It was now that Gregg's empire really began to take shape as he bought the historic Oxford New Theatre, later renaming it the Apollo Oxford. Appointed chairman of the Apollo Leisure group in 1978, Gregg saw his empire grow into one of the country's biggest entertainment groups under his 13-year guidance.
Former Southport tourism boss, Phil King, who was appointed to replace Gregg after his resignation, said: "Since leaving Southport he's done very well, he's become a very successful businessman in the entertainments industry." In a personal capacity, Gregg, 62, is father to two sons and a daughter. His son David is a leader and preacher at the non-denominational evangelical Community Church, on Ash Street in Southport. In 1999, he sold the Apollo Leisue chain to the American SFX group for £129m, but stayed on as chairman, stepping down in 2002. As SFX chief he was involved in the ill-fated plans to create a concert arena and conference centre as part of a new Everton stadium at the Kings Dock. True Blue Holdings was set up in January 2001 and owns a 72% stake in Everton. Both Gregg and his wife are directors, the family owning 32.6% of the company. Kenwright and Arthur Abercromby are the other directors. Unlike passionate supporter Kenwright, Gregg has made no secret his connection with the club is entirely for business reasons. Somewhat ironically given the current board room struggle, his old friend Kenwright is thought to have persuaded him to get involved. Ultimately there is no doubt that it was stars which made the Paul Gregg millions - how Everton's fans must wish to see him bring some back to the Goodison Park pitch.

Rooney may join tour - Moyes
Jul 23 2004 Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has not ruled out the possibility of Wayne Rooney joining the squad in Houston.
The 18-year old had a scan on his broken foot yesterday and the bone is healing as hoped.
Moyes said: "We may bring him out later on. He has just been on holiday after a hectic summer and to get him back on another flight wouldn't be rght. "We want him to start his rehab back at Bellefield swimming and cycling. That will hopefully happen in the next couple of days."

Cahill opens door for Radz
Jul 23 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON striker Nick Chadwick welcomed the arrival of former Milwall team-mate Tim Cahill today, while Tomasz Radzinski's three-year Goodison career ended with a move to Fulham. Chadwick spent three months on loan at the New Den last sesason playing alongside the 24- year old Australian international, who was signed by David Moyes yesterday for £2million. "Without putting pressure on him I think he will do well, " said Chadwick. "He is very direct and there are no airs and graces about the way he plays. He will certainly put a tackle in." Manager David Moyes is delighted with his second signing of the close season but may have to wait to work with Cahill on the training ground.
Moyes explained: "Tim has been selected for the Australian Olympic squad. "I was disppointed when I heard but it is one of these things and we hope to maybe get him for a few days before he goes." Canadian international Radzinski was in London having a medical prior to his move to Fulham for a fee believed to be £1.75million. Moyes is also expected to sell Swedish international Tobias Linderoth to FC Copenhagen for around £1million, but that fee has yet to be agreed. However, the Blues boss is optimistic of finally bringing an end to the Thomas Gravesen contract saga. The Danish international's agent John Sivebaek has been quoted a number of times during the summer claiming Gravesen is eager to leave Goodison. But Moyes will talk about the prospect of the 27-year old signing a new three-year contract while out in Texas for the Copa de Tejas tournament. Moyes added: "Thomas had said to me he wanted to talk about his contract after he returned from Euro 2004. "When we get away we will have the chance to chat."

Rooney: It's make your mind up time
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 24 2004
DAVID MOYES last night urged Wayne Rooney to come to a decision on his Everton future. The Goodison manager, who completed Tim Cahill's transfer from Millwall yesterday, admits rebuilding plans cannot be fully implemented until he knows whether the 18-year-old sensation will be at the club next season. Moyes remains confident Rooney will still be an Everton player next term after meeting Paul Stretford on Thursday, although whether that is on a new five-year contract is still in doubt. And while he is prepared to wait for an answer from the striker Moyes admits the continuing delay is harming his preparations for the new season. The Everton manager, now in America on a pre-season tour, told the Daily Post :"I thought we had a good meeting and I think it will be continued very shortly. "I just think that we're looking for an answer from Wayne and his advisors as to whether he wants to stay, and we hope to get that very shortly. "I think there are reasons why there's not been an answer yet but I think we're now round a table and we're working on it.
"As far as I'm concerned, I would like to know as it would help my plans and that's why I need the advisors to let me know what the situation is because then I'll be able to decide what direction I'm going in. But I'm willing to wait for such a good player." Rooney will recuperate from his broken foot on Merseyside while his teammates step up their pre-season programme with matches against Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America next week. "There's a chance he might join up with us in America but I won't do that if I don't have to, I'd rather let him get his foot right," added Moyes.
Manchester United want the England international but are not prepared to meet Everton's £35m valuation. And last night, in an interview with American Fox Sports World Channel, United keeper Tim Howard appeared to suggest it was a done deal. When asked about United's prospects for next season the American said: "It will be great to have four top class strikers for the season, Saha, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Rooney and Smith." Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed the club will offer Thomas Gravesen a new contract before the start of the new season. The Danish international is now into the final year of his existing deal and has been linked with several moves abroad this summer.
But Moyes hopes to convince the midfielder to extend his four-year Everton career during the 10-day stay in Houston. "We're going to make Thomas an offer," said the Everton manager. "We're looking forward to going to America with him, and I'll talk to him over there and get his thoughts and see where we go. I haven't really had a chance to speak to him at all yet. "Thomas asked me if I would wait until after the European championships. We want to keep him and we'll make an offer for him to stay."

Kenwright laughs off Scolari link
Daily Post
Jul 24 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT last night rubbished Felipe Scolari's claim he was offered the chance to replace David Moyes as Everton manager this summer. The World Cup winning coach, who led Portugal to the European Champion-ship Final three weeks ago, told a Portuguese newspaper he had an offer from Goodison officials and a promise of £10million to spend if he accepted. But chairman Kenwright said: "I have spoken to Philip Schofield over the summer but not Felipe Scolari. David Moyes is very much the manager of Everton." Scolari, asked about the job offers he had before agreeing to extend his deal with Portugal until the 2006 World Cup, told A Bola: "I had offers from Italy, England and Spain. "I can even give an example. The team that finished 17th in the Premiership (Everton) contacted me but what can I do when a club invites me and tells me that the transfer budget is 15million euros (nearly £10million). "How can you compete with the big clubs when this will give no more than two good players?" Scolari, known widely as Felipao (Big Phil), also admitted he had held talks with Benfica who eventually appointed former Italy coach Giovanni Trapattoni to succeed the Real Madrid-bound Jose Antonio Camacho.

Passionate support of fans wins over Cahill
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 24 2004
TIM CAHILL sealed his £2million move to Goodison Park last night but is unlikely to be joined in the Everton midfield next season by Mark van Bommel. The Australian international has signed a four-year contract with Everton, who raised the transfer fee by selling Tomasz Radzinski to Fulham for £1.75m. David Moyes also wants Dutch international van Bommel before the start of the new season and chairman Bill Kenwright met the midfielder's representatives yesterday. However, with a £4.5m price-tag on his head the PSV Eindhoven star is out of the reach of Everton, whose only available transfer money will come if Tobias Linderoth completes a £1m move to FC Copenhagen this weekend. Cahill has joined the club at a turbulent time, but believes the club's massive support base will ensure they move forward once the boardroom turmoil is resolved. The 24-year-old Australian, part of their Olympic squad and out of the first three games of the season anyway through suspension, said: "I watched the club last season finish so low in the Premiership table, I know there are a few problems, but to still have the support they have week in, week out, is enough passion to drive any team forward. "That's the reason why Everton will always be a strong club and will go on to bigger and better things. "That is the reason why I want to be here, because when you are low the fans support you, and when you are high the fans will be there too. "That's the main thing. I know a lot of footballers don't look at it that way. But this is my dream move, I'm so excited just to be a part of Everton." Cahill added: "The manager and the chairman have been fantastic. They've told me about their ambitions, and their visions for the club match my own. I desperately wanted to come to Everton and to improve myself and the club. "It's very emotional for myself, because it has been a long-term battle to come to a place like this and I am just very happy and very fortunate to come to a club like Everton. "I want to show Everton fans that I am an honest player. I will work for the full 90 minutes and I will give everything, regardless of whether we're winning 2-0 or losing 2-0."
Everton have initially paid Millwall £1.7m for Cahill, a fee that will rise to £2m, and received £1.75m for Radzinski after he finally got his wish to join Fulham. The 31-year-old signed a three-year deal yesterday - subject to a medical - to end Chris Coleman's long-running pursuit of the former Anderlecht forward. Coleman said: "Both (assistant coach) Steve Kean and I are delighted to have secured the services of Andy Cole, Claus Jensen and Tomasz."

Sort it out, or we'll sort it for you
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Jul 24 2004
THE Everton Shareholders Association last night told Bill Kenwright he would be turning his back on his beloved club if he refused to dissolve True Blue Holdings. Kenwright, Jon Woods and Paul Gregg will meet on Monday to discuss the latter's proposals to dilute their holding company into Everton and to stand down as chairman. ESA officials were at Goodison Park yesterday to formally submit a petition calling for an extraordinary general meeting to acting chief executive Mike Chesterton.
And they called on chairman Kenwright to accept plans to change the structure of the club and allow new investors to have an influence in the boardroom. ESA chairman Steve Allinson said: "The petition for an EGM is an unequivocal statement by the supporting shareholders that the current and shameful state of affairs at Everton's holding company is unacceptable. "It is the fervent hope of every right thinking Evertonian that True Blue resolves their conflict at the board meeting on Monday. If they are still unable to reach an agreement they must immediately dissolve True Blue and refer the decisions to the shareholders of Everton Football Club Company Limited at this EGM.
"Any plans will then by subject to a final vote which will include individual shareholders as representatives of the Everton community. It would then be decided and our club can move on.
"The current stalemate is unacceptable. A future strategy endorsed by the supporting shareholders would have the backing of the vast majority of fans. "If Bill Kenwright is not willing to refer this impasse to the Everton community he might as well turn his back on us forever. Sort it out, on Monday, or we will sort it out for you." Kenwright was put under more pressure by Gregg yesterday when the leisure tycoon asked him to relinquish his control of True Blue and Everton. And Gregg claimed the major backers he has lined up for the club will only invest if Ken-wright quits.
In a letter to the chairman, and fellow True Blue members Woods and Arthur Abercromby, the multi-millionaire said: "Obviously you have been very upset with the events that have taken place last week and the decision that I had to make to bring some sense to the Everton dilemma and in particular the way we as a Board would be able to move the club forward. "For my part the frustration in being unable to persuade you that we needed new investment which I believe would only be forthcoming if you were prepared to relinquish control of the club with the ultimate dissolution of True Blue and transferring True Blue shares into Everton shares. "Obviously to make this progress that would require the current board standing down and hopefully making a positive statement in wishing the new board success with their endeavours and ambitions for the club and this I believe would renew your support on Mersey-side and return credibility to the fan and shareholder base that we have come to the right conclusion for the club. "I fully understand you may not want to rush to this decision or even support it, but I do feel unless we come to some positive move forward then the fans and the shareholders will have every right to be frustrated with our lack of progress. "You and I both know that Everton and its fans are bigger than both of us and is a very important part of many lives on Merseyside, and what we now need is a really positive step forward that lets us embrace the ambitions of our supporters and not those wishes of ourselves."
Gregg insists he has £15million of investment lined up if True Blue is dissolved but is refusing to reveal their identities until after Monday's board meeting. He told the Daily Post last night: "I don't want to reveal their names until we get a decision from the board. We need people to acknowledge that we need new investment and we need to change. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about."
In his letter to Kenwright he added: "The people concerned for very obvious reasons do not wish their names to be published at this point, but I can confirm to you that with your approval to the changes they will confirm their interest and support for my agenda for the club." The Everton chairman will not step aside for Gregg, but will consider his position if an outside investor was prepared to come on board. Kenwright confirmed last night: "Jon, Arthur and myself received an e-mail from Paul Gregg late yesterday afternoon which contained no real information. "We responded with an agreement to discuss it at Monday's board meeting: something which we feel would be right and proper as we have always preferred to do our business in private."

Moyes rounds on doubting Thomas
Jul 24 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes will spend the next week trying to convince his doubting Thomas he has a long-term future at Goodison. Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen has finally shelved plans to quit the club now, but has just 12 months remaining on his current deal at the end of which he could walk away for nothing. Moyes is keen to avoid that situation and he plans to sit down with the player during the club's week long tour of the USA and persuade him to commit to a new deal.
Gravesen was linked with a return to Germany as well as Spanish outfit Atletico Madrid following a string of sterling displays in Euro 2004. But his agent, John Sivebaek, recently announced his player would see out the remaining year of his deal. Everton flew out yesterday for a pre-season trip to Houston where they will tackle the likes of Pachuca and Club America in the Cope de Tejas tournament. During their stay in North America, Moyes plans to sit down with Gravesen and see whether terms can be agreed on a contract extension with The Toffees. "Thomas has said to me he wanted to talk about his contract after he returned to Everton from the European Championship in Portugal," said Moyes.. "There seems, though, to have been an awful lot of people who have wanted to talk about the situation beforehand. "But when we get away we'll have a chance to chat and see exactly where he is. "Hopefully something can be sorted out." Moyes hopes Tim Cahill will be on board in time to fly out and join the touring party in the States. The player's £2m switch from Millwall was reported to have hit a snag yesterday, but the delay was actually in demands made by Tomasz Radzinski ' s agents concerning his switch to Fulham. The Blues hope that problem will be resolved quickly, allowing the Cahill deal to be concluded. The Blues are also continuing negotiations with PSV Eindhoven over midfielder Mark Van Bommel, although Borussia Dortmund have also now expressed interest in his signature. The Blues play their first match next Thursday.

Gregg urges fans to share in his plans
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Staff
Jul 26 2004
PAUL GREGG has stepped up his campaign to win over Evertonians by declaring his plans include a share issue to supporters. The Goodison Park director, now locked in a struggle with chairman Bill Kenwright over the future of the club which comes to a head this afternoon, wants to convince fans that he has the club at heart. Gregg, who has not been to an Everton game in 15 months, has warned things must change or the club will miss out on £15million worth of investment. He wants True Blue Holdings, which holds 72% of the shares in Everton, to be dissolved and has called on Kenwright to step aside to allow for a fresh influx of money into the club. The two men meet at a crucial board meeting today with Gregg insisting he has investors waiting in the wings as long as Kenwright and fellow True Blue Holdings member Jon Woods, who publically backed the present chairman last week, leave to pave the way for a new Board and chairman. He also wants to launch a new share issue in October to raise a further £15million, and intends to widen that to supporters 18 months later. Kenwright, who has been agonising this week over his position at the club, will also put his proposals to a meeting which is one of the most significant in the club's history. He was bitterly upset by a banner saying "Kenwright: enough is enough" which was raised during the defeat at Crewe in midweek, especially as he continues to work hard at bringing in new signings and finding funds to bolster the team's transfer kitty. Kenwright has always said he would consider stepping down if that was the price to be paid for attracting a major injection of funds, but he remains suspicious of Gregg's motivation and is not ready to hand over control to his fellow member of True Blue Holdings. Gregg insists he does not want to become chairman himself, but admits that he has somebody in mind, linked to the potential investment for the club. "It is important we have a chairman who is more Merseyside based," he told the Daily Post last night. However on speculation that Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leah was being lined up for Goodison, Gregg insisted there had been no approach, but added: "He is the sort of presence who would be great to have on the board." Gregg also ruled out any contact with Dave Curry, a property developer with interests in England and America. Gregg released a statement to fans' organisations over the weekend in which he insists that his plans are the best option to take the club forward. Many supporters have questioned the reasons behind Gregg's sudden emergence as a driving force at the club after months of silence, and some of the websites were asking whether the statement was genuine.
The Daily Post can confirm it was an authentic attempt by Gregg to build bridges with the supporters who have pointed to his lack of action in the past. Gregg says the time has come for swift changes as manager David Moyes struggles to strengthen his squad on a shoestring budget and prize asset Wayne Rooney stalls over a new five-year deal worth £13 million. He told the Daily Post: "Everyone has concerns about what we are trying to do, so I wanted to set out a clear agenda without any secrets that addresses the short, medium and long-term. "That includes an opportunity to widen the share issue and broaden the ownership of Everton, which is not happening at the moment."
Gregg plans to call an EGM in late September or early October to win backing for an initial share issue to raise £15million. Other plans outlined by Gregg include a replacement for chief executive Trevor Birch, who quit after just six weeks in the post, as a priority and the appointment of a business director to help galvanise sponsorship and fund-raising for the club's proposed new Academy and training round to replace Bellefield. "We need someone to head and manage that project and to look at options for bringing in finance and sponsorship," he added.. Keeping Wayne Rooney on board also remains a top priority with Gregg adding: "We are planning to persuade Rooney to stay and with the new investment we hope that will answer many of his management team's questions about whether Everton can afford to do that." On today's meeting, Gregg said: "If my proposals are rejected it means Bill has delivered a credible alternative. The most important thing is that we deliver a result for Everton Football Club. It is not about whether I win or Bill wins, but about making sure Everton wins. If we fail in that we are all losers." In his statement to the fans Gregg declared: "I have been a loyal supporter of Bill Kenwright and I would like to put on record my respect and admiration for this great Evertonian. "My passion is success and you are hungry for success. Now the time has come where head must rule over heart if we are to make this club great again. "My immediate priorities are to deal with the club's urgent need for new investment and financial stability to invest in the rebuilding and strengthening of the team. "It is vital we keep Wayne Rooney at the club, he is the world class asset around which we will build a great team."
However Kenwright remains sceptical that Gregg can deliver, believing his plans are the wrong direction for the club to take. The resignation of Birch 10 days ago - followed by Gregg's decision to go public with his demands for change - have piled the pressure on Kenwright. He also lost ally Arthur Abercromby during the week, when his decision to resign from the board was confirmed. The outcome of today's meeting will be keenly watched by all Evertonians.

Moyes is looking to morale booster
By Ian Doyle in Houston, Daily Post
Jul 26 2004
DAVID MOYES is hoping Everton's trip to the United States can give his beleaguered squad a much-needed morale boost ahead of the forthcoming Premiership campaign. The players arrived in Houston on Friday for this week's Copa de Tejas tournament with the boardroom power struggle between Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg continuing to cast its shadow over pre-season preparations.
After his team finished just one place above the relegation zone last season, Moyes (left) has seen his playing resources decimated by a raft of departures and few new arrivals, coupled with an injury to Wayne Rooney. It left morale low among the Goodison camp, but Moyes is confident the tour to America can build upon the improved team spirit which was engendered during the training camp in Austria earlier this month. Explaining the decision to visit Houston, Moyes said: "It is slightly unusual but we felt as though we needed a change. "We were all a little bit low at the end of last season, but we had a great week in Austria and we are trying to rebuild the spirit within the squad and the team itself for when the Premiership starts." He added: "The weather is as we expected. It is very hot, but we have probably the best training facilities I have ever had as a player or a manager. "All of the players are of the same mind. From that point of view, it is great to go and train every day."
Everton will face Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America on Thursday and Sunday respectively, with Moyes admitting it will be a case of stepping into the unknown when his players walk out at Houston's futuristic Reliant Stadium, which will host both games. "We don't know much about the opposition, other than both sides have been doing well in the Mexican league," said Moyes..
"With Houston so close to the Mexican border, we are almost playing in their neck of the woods and both sides will have plenty of support. "The conditions may suit them better, although the roof may be closed for the games and the air conditioning turned on, which will obviously help us."
After beating FK Zeleznik in a friendly game in Austria, Everton were unimpressive during a subsequent 1-0 defeat at Crewe and 1-1 draw at Burnley. But Moyes is unconcerned at the prospect of facing two of Central America's premier sides. "We don't want to lose any games, but I couldn't lie and say the results will be hugely important," he said. "We chose hard games, we know they are going to be. "But we are preparing for the season and we will ultimately be judged by what happens in the Premiership." Wayne Rooney is unlikely to fly over to join the squad with Moyes believing it may be best for the striker to remain at Belle-field and continue his recovery from the broken foot sustained while playing for England in Euro 2004 last month. "I don't think we'll bring Wayne over at this moment in time," said Moyes. "He's been away and on the move for most of the summer so it would probably be better for him to relax a bit and have some time at home and continue his rehabilitation with cycling and swimming." New signing Tim Cahill will also be absent as he prepares for the Olympics with Australia, although Moyes added: "I've spoken to Tim several times on the phone and he's ecstatic about signing." The Everton manager will also discover within the next few days whether he can press ahead with his attempt to bring PSV Eindhoven's £4million-rated midfielder Mark van Bommel. "We'll learn more about van Bommel early during the week," said Moyes. "I'm also interested in several other players as well and hope to bring more in before the start of the season." The only injury concern for Moyes is defender Alessandro Pistone, who has a sore Achilles tendon and missed training yesterday and is likely to be sidelined again today.

Hibbert wants to play a fuller role
Daily Post
Jul 26 2004
TONY HIBBERT enters the new season with one objective in mind - to secure the right back berth at Goodison on a permanent basis. The 23-year-old defender endured a stop-start campaign last year as Everton also found it hard to match the heights of the previous season, when they just missed out on a UEFA Cup spot. But Hibbert is determined to make the most of the pre-season build-up to force his way into David Moyes's plans for the Premiership season ahead. "Every game I play in it is my aim to be first choice right-back," he declared.. "It is up to the manager, obviously, but down to me to prove that I can be his first choice. "It was difficult not playing but I will carry on working hard in training and hopefully that will prove that I can be the first choice. "Everyone, including me, had big expectations last year but it didn't turn out right. The attitude was great and in even in some of the games we had chances, but they were just not going in." Hibbert hopes Everton can find the winning habit in America this week after returning just one win from three friendlies - and that they can then carry that form into the league matches. "The best feeling is when you have won, so the games are important in terms of getting back your sharpness and game speed, for example," he added. "It is obviously very disappointing that we have not been winning. We need to start putting that right with the games here in America. "As well as getting results we have still got a lot to do in terms of the sharpness. We have done a lot of long distance running and that obviously helps us in the games."

Scolari should explain claims
Daily Post
Jul 26 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT wants World Cup winning manager Felipe Scolari to apologise or at least explain his claims that he had been approached for the Everton job. Scolari, who led Portugal to the final of Euro 2004 two years after guiding Brazil to the World Cup, said he was approached in the summer to take over as Everton manager. In an interview he said he had been offered numerous roles in football around the world, including one at the team who finished 17th in the Premiership last season. That was Everton, though chairman Kenwright insists that there has been no contact at all.
He said: "When I was first told of Mr Scolari's claim I assumed it was nothing more than a joke. Nobody from Everton has made contact with Mr Scolari to offer him any form of role at the club.
"The suggestion is ridiculous and I am surprised that a man of his reputation and elevated profile should make such a claim, albeit one that did not specifically mention the club's name. "We would formally ask Mr Scolari for a full apology or ask for an explanation if a genuine mistake has been made." Kenwright insisted that manager David Moyes has his full backing. He added: "In David Moyes, Everton has a man who I believe can take the club back to a position of preeminence within British football. "Mischievous stories like this one only serve to do the manager and the club a huge disservice."

Silence over Rooney sex claim
By Tony Barrett Daily Post Correspondent
Jul 26 2004
WAYNE Rooney and his advisers were last night remaining tight-lipped about allegations the young Everton star employed the services of an escort girl. England's hero at Euro 2004 made headlines for all the wrong reasons when a Sunday newspaper reported he had paid a Liverpool prostitute £140 to sleep with him. Charlotte Glover claimed she was working for the La Femme escort agency in December, 2002 when she was called to an appointment with a client at a flat in Croxteth, Liverpool.
She alleges there were four men inside the property and one of them was Wayne Rooney, then aged 17. Ms Glover, 21, said: "The agency got a call for three girls to go to a flat in Croxteth. We got there about 1.45am. It was a depressing place and we were scared because most of the other flats around it were boarded up and vandalised. "Three of us - myself, my sister Katie and another escort girl - walked in and there were four men inside. The man who had phoned up opened the door. His name was Mark and I recognised him from the Jolly Miller pub where I worked part-time as a barmaid.
"There was also a baldie lad and a fair-haired guy. Then I noticed the lad sitting quietly in the corner with a Santa hat pulled over his head as though he didn't want us to recognise him. "My sister recognised him straight away and blurted out, 'I'm sure that's Wayne Rooney', because she'd seen his picture in the local paper the day before. So I walked over and said, 'Are you Wayne Rooney?'
"But he just said, 'No I'm a boxer', and turned away. "I kept saying to him, 'You are Wayne Rooney, I've seen you on the telly'. But he kept telling us he was a boxer. Eventually he laughed and admitted who he was. "Almost immediately he started bragging about it. He showed us photographs on his mobile phone of all the other Everton players. I was a bit starstruck." Ms Glover claims Rooney gave one of his friends his cashcard to withdraw £140 from his bank account for payment. She added: "After about 40 minutes the fair-haired lad came back with the money. As he gave the card back to Rooney I asked whether I could see his name one it. It said 'Rooney' and I was buzzing." Rooney became engaged to his childhood sweetheart, Colleen Mcloughlin, last October and has recently been on holiday with her. Last night, Rooney's agent, Paul Streford, refused to comment on the allegations. Rooney is missing from the Everton squad currently in America on a pre-season tour as he recovers from the broken foot he sustained while on international duty with England. But his future as an Everton player is shrouded in doubt as a £50,000 a week contract offer is yet to be accepted by the Rooney camp amid speculation he could leave the club he has always supported.

Scot free
Daily Post
Jul 26 2004
LEICESTER manager Micky Adams will run the rule over midfielder Scot Gemmill during their tour of Scotland. The 33-year-old, who had a spell on loan with Preston last term, was released by Everton at the end of last season and could figure as a triallist in the games against St Johnstone, Partick and Kilmarnock. Adams said: "He is available as a free agent. I have worked with him before when I was at Nottingham Forest."

Right player, wrong club in Texan own goal
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 26 2004
THEY may still be wet behind the ears as regards their footballing education, but at least the Houston people are eager to learn. "Hey, I know you guys," boasted the waiter at the sight of an Everton member of staff resplendent in training kit. "Wayne Rooney of England, he plays for you doesn't he?" Before there was time for an affirmative response, came the most fatalistic faux pas.
"Liverpool, isn't it?" Such is the standing of the beautiful game in these parts. Awareness is increasing among Americans but only the aficionados can lay claim to any knowledge of the finer details, such as who plays where. While Everton's visit to Houston may have raised a few eyebrows back in England, Texans by and large appear non-plussed by the visitors from Goodison. Certainly there was no large party of supporters and media to greet the players at the airport, the type of which might have been expected if China had been the tour's destination. Nor did their arrival on Friday warrant a mention in the local newspaper the following day, although confirmation of the completion of Tim Cahill's transfer from Millwall did. This is not a trip for commercial gain, with Everton believed to be making only a tiny profit from the tour. Neither is it a chance to spread the footballing gospel, despite David Moyes and Alan Irvine holding court to a host of US coaches at a seminar yesterday. Instead, while Liverpool, Manchester United et al chase the dollar further north, Moyes is content to give players and fans - both here and at home - the opportunity of a welcome change from the depression which threatens to engulf Goodison at present. And a change it is. Deep in the heart of Texas, Houston is one of America's biggest cities and can boast the curious fact of possessing the largest number of air-conditioned buildings in the world. With summer temperatures regularly in the hundreds and humidity as high as the skyscrapers which pierce the horizon, it's no wonder. Excess is one of American's most notable traits, but in Texas they have it down to an art form. Near to the team's hotel lies a shopping mall to shame the Trafford Centre, while the futuristic Reliant Stadium which will host Everton's games is a mammoth beast of an arena, topped off with retractable roof. And then there's the size of the steaks. Yet while Texans aren't shy to make a boast or two, their much-cited friendliness is no myth - unsurprising given the name of the state is derived from the Native American word tejas, meaning friend. The Copa de Tejas in which Everton are playing is literally the Cup of Friends. The players were handed a day off on Saturday with many deciding to aid acclimatisation by spending four hours on the golf course. But as conditions are so unbearable during the daytime, Everton have been training during the early morning and late evening in preparation for the two-game tournament in which they will face Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America.

Moyes won't get transfer boost
Jul 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod with the Blues in Houston, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GREGG'S promise of bringing £15m of new investment into Everton will not provide manager David Moyes with a significant boost to his transfer coffers. Instead, the ECHO understands any money he brings in will be focused on the club's debt, with only a modest amount made available to the Goodison chief for squad strengthening. The news comes as Gregg and Blues chairman Bill Kenwright come face to face at a board meeting at Goodison tonight. Kenwright is being challenged by Gregg to relinquish his control of True Blue, the holding company they formed to buy 72 per cent of Everton. Gregg claims the structure of True Blue is scaring off new investors and has put together a plan aimed at bringing in new finance via wealthy investors - who so far have remained unnamed. But Gregg has made it clear to officials at Goodison that his proposals will not provide an immediate solution to the manager's financial problems. And with Kenwright struggling to gather together the transfer funds that had been promised to Moyes, the manager and chairman are having to be creative with their transfer market activity. Moyes (pictured above) added Tim Cahill to his squad on Friday. But the £2m deal was only made possible by the sale of Tomasz Radzinski to Fulham for £1.75m. And the club's hopes of adding PSV's Mark van Bommel to the ranks will also rest on income generated by sales. Tobias Linderoth could be moved on, with FC Copenhagen eager to sign the Swedish international for £1m. But with Van Bommel expected to command a fee in the region of £3m, the problems facing the cash-strapped club are obvious. Australian defender Eddy Bosnar is set to be given a one-year deal by the Blues this week. But the 24-year-old, who joined the squad for the week-long training camp in Austria earlier this month, will only act as cover for the squad.
The defender cannot receive a work permit because of his lack of international appearances.
However, he has returned to Australia to secure an extended work visa which will allow him to remain in the UK for the next 12 months. Meanwhile, the Blues held an open training session in front of 300 fans at the Houston Texans' training facility last night. Alessandro Pistone was rested because of tendonitis in his ankle and Tony Hibbert also sat out the session as a precaution because of a leg problem.

Kenwright's attentions turn to board rebel Gregg
Jul 26 2004 Exclusive By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT came out fighting today ahead of this evening's showdown board meeting at Goodison. After a week of virtual silence, which saw him concentrating on retaining a dignified stance, completing the capture of Tim Cahill and selling Tomasz Radzinski, the Blues' chairman finally called on rebel director Paul Gregg to effectively 'put up or shut up'. Kenwright said: "As of this moment Paul Gregg has never presented to me or the Everton board any concrete proposal.
"While I regret that a fellow director of the club has chosen to conduct his business through the media, I welcome the fact that after four years he seems ready to help raise finance for the club.
"I can promise every Evertonian that no agreement, contract or anything else will get in the way of acceptance of a firm financial proposal that we believe can take the club forward. "Any mention otherwise is both irrelevant and mischievous." Gregg's financial proposals, briefly outlined last week, have not been taken seriously by the Blues' board - with remaining director Jon Woods describing them as "impracticable and unachievable"." Gregg, who has not named any of the people he says are ready to invest in Everton claims he can bring in £15m of outside investment - but only if Kenwright stands down. He also plans a £15m fans' share-issue. The proposals were being presented at a board meeting at Goodison Park tonight and discussed more fully. But Kenwright is clearly losing patience with Gregg's very public bid for control of Goodison Park. He has contemplated standing down, but his deep suspicion of Gregg's motives and plans for the future of the club has seen him dig his heels in. He has the public support of the club's other remaining director, Jon Woods, and has continued to work closely with manager David Moyes. He also remains adamant that the boardroom upheaval will not get in the way of his manager's squad rebuilding.
The pair convinced Tim Cahill to turn down three other offers last week - including one from Charlton - and Kenwright flew to Holland to meet PSV officials and discuss a bid for midfielder Mark van Bommel. Kenwright has a list of the manager's main summer targets and is fully aware of his desire to start the season with a squad four players stronger than the one he currently has at his disposal. The chairman's only chance of making that happen, however, is by finding new investment of his own. Ironically, it is rumoured that Kenwright was working on two offers of investment from US backers last week - but that the interest cooled when news of boardroom upheaval at Goodison Park reached the States. Kenwright and Gregg were set to come face to face tonight for the first time since Gregg's bid for control became public. But the theatre impresario is ready to stand firm, believing he has Everton's best interests at heart. In a letter sent to every member of staff at Goodison Park four days ago, Kenwright said: "For me personally, at this moment, I'm not too sure what the future holds. "I want you to know, though, that whatever decision I make over the next few days, it will be made with only one thought in mind - what is best for Everton Football Club. "There will be no other consideration - neither of control, ownership or anything else - that, to me, is irrelevant. "I could kid myself and say that for more years than I can remember, I have been making the pilgrimage to Goodison, but the truth is that I can remember each and every one of those years. "The fact that there is currently a grey cloud over the blue and white palace, hurts me more than I can say. But for all of our sakes, I hope that the cloud can soon be lifted and the football club can get back to the real business of 11 men in blue and white, and a ball." Whatever the outcome of the power struggle, the biggest issue concerning Moyes is the fact there is no sign of a cash injection coming his way for summer rebuilding. He spoke from the club's Texan training base last night and said: "We are in need of making more additions to the squad. We are doing everything we can with what we have got, but the situation is very difficult. "We do have an interest in Van Bommel, as well as a number of other players. We are trying to bring some quality into the squad and I am hoping we can have the chance to do that." With Kenwright now set to take Gregg on, the financial outlook is unlikely to be any clearer even after tonight's board meeting.

Rooneys hit back over sex claim
Jul 26 2004 By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
COLEEN McLoughlin's family today denied she has split from fiance Wayne Rooney after allegations he had sex with an escort. It was reported that Coleen, 18, had a huge bust-up with the Everton and England striker after she read about the allegations in a national newspaper. Coleen, who lives with Wayne at their £900,000 mansion in Formby, is said to have walked out. But her father Tony said: "People will believe what they want. But they are happy together." The family are challenging the escort girl to get a handwriting expert to prove her story. Charlotte Glover claimed it happened in December 2002 at a flat in Croxteth. She alleges that Rooney, then 17, was one of four men present and she had sex with the striker, who later wrote her a note. But Rooney's uncle, pub landlord John Morrey, said: "The note is supposed to be proof that they slept together but it would be easy for someone to add something to the piece of paper after Wayne had given Charlotte his autograph.
"It doesn't even look like his handwriting. "Maybe she should get a handwriting expert to prove it. Wayne loves Coleen to bits and I don't think he'd cheat on her." Coleen's mother Colette, said today: "It's all rubbish. They've not split up and he's been here with Coleen talking." Today, the boss of La Femme escort agency said Charlotte Glover was actually taken on by the company only a week ago. Sue Thompson told how she had only been on their books for a week and had now been fired.
She said: "This girl was employed a week ago and in that time has taken one booking at a hotel on Speke. "I can state as fact that Wayne Rooney has never used our agency. La Femme is a reputable firm and this girl has obviously caused a lot of upset. Rooney's agent Paul Stretford today refused to comment.

Business expert figures out the reasons behind Everton power struggle
Jul 26 2004
ECHO chief feature writer PADDY SHENNAN asks a football finance chief to unravel the mess that is Everton FC MONEY doesn't talk at Everton Football Club - it turns the air blue. The sums do add up. They add up to misery. For Goodison Park has the one thing money can't buy: poverty.
You can call it a securitisation loan with an additional overdraft facility. You can call it a mortgage with an additional overdraft facility. But, says football finance expert and Everton shareholder Professor Tom Cannon, a debt is a debt. Prof Cannon, the chief executive of Ideopolis International, a research and development company based in Rodney Street, Liverpool, says the club undoubtedly has a debt. All it needs now, he adds, is a plan.
Everton took out a securitisation loan three years ago - effectively a 25-year mortgage, which costs £2.8m a year in repayments. It raised £30m, which cleared the club's overdraft.
In addition, the club has a £5m over-draft facility, which it is believed to be up to its limit on.
"It IS a debt - like the mortage on your house is a debt," says Professor Cannon, the former director of the Manchester Business School. "But the club probably had no choice in taking it out, because its overdraft was so large." And, in the short term at least, it has made the club's plight less precarious
"Just as it is in the interests of a building society that you can keep on paying your mortgage, it is in the interests of the company which Everton arranged their loan with to see the club continue trading." Things, it seems, could be much worse - Everton could be megabucks Chelsea! "Chelsea, by far, is the club in the country with the most debts. If Roman Abramovich walked away, it would be bankrupt and the Premier League would be forced to relegate the club." Football, it is always stressed, is a business like no other. So, although its books might send hard-headed accountants in other fields running for the smelling salts, is Everton merely in a similar messy situation to many other clubs?
"We're probably not the worst," says Prof Cannon. "But there probably isn't a mistake we have avoided. "We have wasted money in a whole host of areas, not least the saga involving plans to build a stadium at Kings Dock which cost more than £1m. And we've lost money on so many players." There are, as the fans know, too many to mention - although Prof Cannon does mention injury-plagued Slaven Bilic and Danny Williamson, glamour signings David Ginola and Paul Gascoigne, Alex Nyarko and Duncan Ferguson. He describes the decision to buy back Ferguson from Newcastle - which happened during Walter Smith's reign and was sanctioned by owners True Blue Holdings - a "sentimental purchase," adding: "It's like going back out with an ex-girlfriend - it just shouldn't happen!" Ferguson is reported to have recently rejected a £500,000 pay-off from the Blues. He is therefore set to see out the remaining year of his contract, picking up around £2m in wages in the process. Everton, the money man points out, has also suffered from the instability associated with three changes of ownership in its recent history. "We've had the Moores family, Peter Johnson and now True Blue Holdings. No other club in the Premiership, not even Chelsea, has seen that speed and regularity of change. "Other clubs have either had one change of ownership in that time - like Manchester United, Chelsea and Newcastle - or none,, like Arsenal and Liverpool.
"And towards the end of the Moores family's ownership, after the club had enjoyed its incredibly successful spell of the mid-1980s, the policy was 'minimise, minimise, minimise,' when the board should have been redeveloping the stadium and refinancing the club. "The club has also suffered, over the same recent period, from the additional shifting sands of regular changes in management."
"The first thing Everton needs is clear and decisive leadership, whether that's from Bill Kenwright or Paul Gregg," says Prof Cannon. "We need a stablising force and someone to come out and say 'I'm in charge. This is where we are going and this is what we are going to do.' "What we need is a plan, because we haven't had one! There is no strategic plan in place. No business can survive going from A to B if you don't know where B is. And that's the problem at Everton. "Everyone likes Everton, but does everyone respect Everton? Even the fans don't respect their club at the moment. The most common words you hear now are 'shame' and 'embarrassment.' We've got to wipe that out."
"There also has to be a major attempt to bring in new money, and I think we should have a share issue for the supporters." And following the apparently illfated ground share proposal, he says: "What is Plan B? Every efficient, well-run organisation should have a Plan B. "The club needs to be open and honest with the most important people - the fans. It needs to demonstrate strong leadership, outstanding customer care and professionalism and inspire respect."
"Wayne Rooney signs and the club uses that fact as a platform to attract more finance to the club. The board doubles in size and brings in outside expertise."
"The Wayne Rooney saga drags on and the current situation with the board drags on, with acrimonious exchanges, more splits and complete turmoil - reflected in a dreadful period for the team out on the pitch." Two things are crystal clear: there are more questions than answers and, while it can be frustrating, depressing and heartbreaking, it's never dull as a Blue.
72 fans x £490 = Big Dunc (that's £35,000 a week)
WHERE does a fan's hard-earned money go? I hope you're sitting comfortably ... A Main Stand season ticket at Goodison Park costs £490. Ageing and injury-prone high-earners Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell are each paid in the region of £35,000 a week. Here, then, is the painful equation: 72 season ticket holders paying £490 for a year's football equals 35,280 - or about a week's wages for Ferguson or Campbell. And they could very well be spending that week in the treatment room, on the bench, in the stands, at home with their family etc. Shortly before he left the club, to be replaced by Trevor (Five Year Plan) Birch, former chief executive Michael Dunford gave the ECHO the gospel according to the Blues' bookkeeper..
And the word was .. not very good.
* Prize money and Sky money: £20m
* Gate revenue: £13.5m - 14m
* Souvenir sales profit: £500,000
* Total £34.5m.
* Wages (football, management, coaching staff) : £26.5m
* Non-football staff wages: £5m
* Upkeep of stadium: £3m
* Total £34.5m
The difference between one Premier League position is £500,000 in prize money. The season before last, Everton finished seventh. Last season, they finished 17th - thereby waving goodbye to £5m of prize money and potential transfer funds.
The club has stressed that every advertising board, every box and every corporate seat is sold - and that there's a waiting list. Commercial income, therefore, could only increase if the stadium was redeveloped - or Everton moved to a new home.
Here's how the club compares in the money-spinning executive box stakes:
* Everton: 13 executive boxes
* Liverpool: 31
* Southampton: 47
* Leeds: 54
* Manchester City: 68
* Aston Villa: 105
* Tottenham: 120
Winning trophies. Moving to a new stadium. Attracting a fairy godfather or godmother with billions in the bank ... These are said to be the three ways cash-strapped Everton could dig themselves out of the deepest of deep holes. And each one currently seems highly unlikely. "I don't think there is any quick return to the glory days," said Trevor Birch - before he made his sharp exit. Michael Dunford and Trevor Birch both believed a shared stadium with Liverpool FC was the way forward - Dunford went as far as describing it as a "no-brainer" in commercial terms - but the Reds have said it's a non-starter. And a new stadium could cost in the region of £100m, which seems to make THAT a non-starter. Sustained success on the pitch which would bring its own financial rewards? Without the club investing in a new team? Tricky. Which leaves a fairy godfather or godmother ... If you're reading this, please send your cheque, made payable to The Everton Football Club Company Ltd, to Goodison Park, Liverpool L4 4EL.

Europe looks to land of opportunity
Jul 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod with the Blues in Houston, Liverpool Echo
A GROWING number of European clubs are starting to look on the USA as a land of opportunity. There is a wealth of untapped footballing talent in the country. And Graham Smith, the agent who organised Everton's trip to Houston this week for the Copa de Tejas, is helping ensure that talent is discovered. He explains: "There are so many boys and girls playing soccer here at school age. The participation at that age is vast. "The problem is that America itself doesn't have any particular feeder system. You have a youth club system from six to 18. But after that there is nothing for them with the exception of college scholarships - and only the cream of the crop will go onto those.
"The best college players will then go to a draft, where the scouts from what professional clubs there are in America select who they want. "There are just 10 major league soccer teams and below them there is the A-League, which is comparable to the Conference or maybe Division Three. "There are 16 of those sides. And in such a vast country, that is a very small number indeed. It is very hard for players to break through and so there are a lot of good players lost to the game. "There is a system in place, but there is a lack of opportunity. Thankfully, that is slowly changing and clubs outside this country are starting to recognise what untapped talent there is. "That is why I have given a lot of American players opportunities to go to Europe to play in markets where they don't have to have a work permit, as they do in the UK. "Sunderland were over here recently and have invited two of the US based players from the A-League teams they played against to go back with them and have trials.
"They were very impressed with the standard of those sides. And if they can develop their footballing education then there is a chance for players to make the grade because the athleticism is already there with the players over here. "And there is a hunger because footballers are driven by the love of the game. There isn't a lot of money to be made here because the clubs operate with a salary cap. "Because of that, they all tend to be well run financially and they are able to keep a sensible fiscal policy."

Moyes resisting loan moves
By Ian Doyle In Houston, Daily Post
Jul 27 2004
DAVID MOYES will resist the temptation of a short-term solution as he strives to increase his player numbers at Goodison. The Everton manager continues to chase PSV Eindhoven's £2million-rated midfielder Mark van Bommel after having seen his squad decimated by 16 departures over the summer as a result of the increasing financial constraints at the club. Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill have so far been the only confirmed incomings, although Moyes will bring in Australian midfielder Eddy Bosnar and has identified a couple of other transfer targets. However, Moyes has insisted he is reticent to bolster his squad with play-ers who would only be arriving on a temporary basis.
"There are one or two players we are interested in bringing in on permanent deals," said Moyes. "We would sooner do that than bringing people in on loan. "In any case, I'm not sure the players who are being put up for loan by Premiership clubs are ones suitable for us." Moyes had been interested in purchasing Joe Cole on a short-term deal from Chelsea earlier in the year and was also linked with a move for Stamford Bridge striker Carlton Cole. One player who will be arriving at Goodison is midfielder Bosnar, who has been allowed to leave Sturm Graz after the Austrian outfit could no longer pay his wages. Bosnar then trained with Everton during their stay in the country earlier this month and now Moyes has offered the 24-year-old a one-year deal. Although the player does not qualify for a work permit, he has returned to Australia to obtain an extended work visa which will allow him to stay for 12 months. Said Moyes: "We are looking for players to boost our squad numbers and that is why we want to sign Eddy." Everton's players were put through their paces yesterday during an extended morning training session which culminated in a tour of the futuristic Reliant Stadium, venue for the forthcoming friendly games against Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America. And Moyes has been happy with the progress of his squad, which has been aided by some unseasonal cooler weather in Houston. "Training has been good," he said. "The boys are training well and working hard. "The weather has been better than we expected and has not been too hot, and that has made things easier for us. "Morale has certainly been high and we are gaining a good spirit over here. Hopefully we can keep it going and the team can do well in the friendlies.
"It's hard to judge how far down the line we are in terms of our preparation, but we are now closer to the point where we can work on the specifics of the team."

Weir doesn't want his playing days to end
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 27 2004
FOR most Evertonians, last season represented a never-ending nightmare which they were only too happy to wake up from come May. An all-too-familiar dalliance with relegation and the ongoing financial woes off the field combined to ensure the previous year's flirtation with Champions League qualification appeared the freak of nature many feared it could prove to be. However for David Weir, summer came at precisely the wrong time. The Everton defender endured a indifferent campaign both as team member and individual, where injury and loss of form led to him spending much of his time kicking his heels on the sidelines. It was just as he worked his way back into the side that the season reached its conclusion to leave the former Scottish international out of action once again. At 34, Weir accepts time is no longer on his side. As one of a clutch of Everton players entering the final year of their current contracts, the centre-back is refreshingly honest when it comes to discussing his future at the club he joined from Hearts in February 1999. "I just want to be playing," admitted Weir. "I missed a lot of last season for various reasons, and my plan is just to get on the pitch and play as many games as I can. "Personally, I wasn't glad the season was over. You only get so many games of football and so many seasons so you want to enjoy it and enjoy every minute you get on the pitch. I don't want to wish it away. "I'm 34 years old now, so a contract extension is probably not on the cards for me. I'm just hoping I can play and play well, and if I do play well then maybe there will be something at the end of the season for me. Time will tell. But I'm not just going out to enjoy it as my career is towards the end rather than the beginning. I want to do well, and if I'm doing and the team is doing well, then I'll be enjoying it." He added: "Last season was a difficult season for us. But you learn a lot from situations like that as well. It is all about new experiences and learning more about yourself and your team-mates and how they react and respond to what happens." The boardroom battle between Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg has been dominating the thoughts of most supporters at present, but Weir insists it has not been a real topic of discussion within the squad. "We only know about what we read in the press," he said. "There hasn't really been any talk of it in the dressing room. Players are paid to play and not worry about what goes on in the boardroom." Weir is part of a small Everton party currently in Houston preparing for the Copa de Tejas, in which opposition will come in the form of leading Mexican sides Pachuca and Club America. With so many departures and so few arrivals at Goodison in the summer, the defender admits the atmosphere within the squad has inevitably taken on a new form.
"We've had quite a settled squad during my time at Everton," added Weir. "In the five years I've been here we've had a lot of familiar faces, so that's changing a bit. "In football as a whole that isn't normally the way and obviously there are reasons why things have been the way they have at Everton, but eventually in football people move on. It's part and parcel of the game. "The new season is a fresh start for us and I'm looking forward to it. We had a good season the year before last and then we've had a not so good season so we know we can do better this time around. "We haven't set ourselves any goals for the new season yet. At this stage it is all about fitness and preparation, but nearer the kick-off maybe we'll sit down and discuss what we want as a team from the next season. But we know we have to do better than last time." As a former student in the United States - Weir spent a time living in Indiana studying a football scholar-ship before returning home to embark on his career - the tour to Texas has been the ideal tonic ahead of what promises to be a significant season for both player and team. It's great here," he insisted.. "I lived in America for a while and I was looking forward to coming and so far so good. I enjoy the people, I enjoy the food and there's always plenty to do. "The majority of pre-season you go away, but for me personally if I could go anywhere it would be America. So I'm quite happy we've come to Texas. "The weather hasn't been too hot when we have been training so far, so that has been a bonus." So too would a season in which Weir spends the possible twilight of his season more on the pitch than off it.

Kenwright has four days to find a solution or face the axe
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Jul 27 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT has just four days to come up with a plan to revitalise his beloved Everton or face being driven out as chairman. That was the stark reality to emerge from a stormy two-anda-half hour showdown with fellow Goodison board member Paul Gregg . The two men are locked in a power struggle over the future of the Blues with Gregg insisting he has investors waiting in the wings willing to inject £15m into the club. But he claims the cash will only flow if Kenwright dissolves True Blue Holdings, which holds 72% of the club's shares. Before entering yesterday's meeting, Mr Gregg said: "It would be dreadful if it (the dispute) drags on longer than today." But it seems the battle for Everton's board will now continue until at least the end of the week. After what insiders described as a "fiery" and "bad tempered" meeting, the two former friends announced that future control of the club would be decided on Friday. Either Kenwright will agree to Gregg's plan and resign or the board will accept his own proposals for attracting cash to the club. An Everton statement said: "At today's board meeting, the club's board discussed Mr Gregg's proposals positively. "Mr Kenwright also presented his proposals and it was agreed that a decision would be made on Friday as to the future control of the club." Theatre impresario Kenwright arrived first at the Gwladys Street end of the ground. He mischievously told reporters it was "just an ordinary board meeting". But he quickly accepted his public confrontation with Gregg had raised the stakes. He said: "I have never known anything like this in my life - a personality war has been waged. "Today, I suppose we will see each other for the first time. I welcome the fact that he is now addressing the need for investment.
"I am looking forward to hearing something in the board meeting, something concrete. If it's good money, I would applaud it." And he gave a clear indication that he would quit, if he thought Gregg's plan was workable. He added: "I hear from the back page of the papers that if I step down big money will come into this club. "If that is what it takes, I will step down. I'm irrelevant. "All that matters is the football club and the new season." Minutes later Gregg arrived at the main entrance on Goodison Avenue. He stood for almost five minutes answering questions on the power struggle.
He said his proposal would deliver £15m by the end of September and said it was up to Kenwright to come up with a better plan. He claims he has three secret investors - one of whom is Merseyside-based. He said: "We will create new investment before October in the club, provided there are changes to True Blue - effectively a change in control. "We need to get ourselves on a financial footing. The problem is the new investors want a change in the board. "If we do not attract major investment, the future is very bleak. "I would like to see Bill's plans for the future. Bill is a great Evertonian, he is special. "The problem is we have to change." Kenwright fears Gregg wants True Blue to dissolve so he can unlock the £7m he has invested in the club and then leave. But when the leisure tycoon was yesterday asked if he was committed to Everton for the next 12 months he replied: "Yes, and probably a lot longer." He said he wants Everton's financial position to improve so the club can make a "credible" offer to Liverpool FC to share a stadium - a proposal Liverpool have already rejected. He said: "We need 60,000 seats. The most interesting thing is the Liverpool scheme requires the support of the city and the NWDA. "It is the city's ambition to have a shared stadium and that is the basis of their £45m infrastructure grant." Gregg and Kenwright's row has coincided with the delicate task of persuading striker Wayne Rooney to sign a new Everton contract.
Board members seemed in confusion yesterday with Gregg saying the 18-year-old's contract was not going to be discussed at the meeting but Kenwright insisting it was on the agenda. Kenwright also said the board would discuss the appointment of the club's new chief executive. Trouble-shooter Trevor Birch quit earlier this month after only six weeks at the helm. The Daily Post understands discussions over his successor have now been put on hold until Kenwright and Gregg resolve their differences but Aberdeen's current chief executive, Keith Wyness, is thought to be the front runner.
Nick Williams, secretary of the Everton shareholders association, said: "Hopefully we will see a resolution on Friday so that the staff can get the support for the new season.They should make what is happening public so that the fans know. They are the club after all."

Cahill will improve
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
Jul 27 2004
I SAW Tim Cahill several times for Millwall last season and think he is a player who can add goals from midfield for Everton, which has been something of a problem area for them. He is a good athlete and is not afraid to put his foot in. Everton have suffered from not having a midfielder who can break into the box, and that is something Cahill can provide, although at this stage and in terms of the Premiership he is still inexperienced. But overall I think he can improve the team. If Everton are looking for Cahill to make forward runs, they probably still need to add a holding midfielder, particularly as Thomas Gravesen, good player though he is, has the habit of disappearing for chunks of a game.

Loyal support for Blues
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 27 2004
Loyal support
THE worst off-season that I can remember is almost over and the support for Everton is still strong from the most loyal fans in the country. The players need to take a leaf out of the fans' book.. I hope the new signings prove to be the change that we need.
Eddie Hunter (via e-mail)
Moore fits bill
I HAVE been watching the situation over Craig Moore of Rangers and feel he would be the addition at the back we need and would only cost around £450,000.
Steve Black, Liverpool
Bill in the right
FOR Paul Gregg to call for Bill Kenwright's head via the papers is a disgraceful way to conduct affairs. After Peter Johnson only one person wanted to buy the club - Bill. He did not have the money and knocked on friends' doors to beg, steal and borrow - I applaud the man. To those fans who put up banners - shame.. Gregg? Doesn't watch a match for over a year, then starts calling the shots!
Yes, things must change but there is a right way and a wrong way, The vast majority of fans are with Kenwright.
Mike Kay, Prescot
Bean counter
I CANNOT believe how Paul Gregg can gain so much support. He has not proposed to spend a bean of his own money.
Keiron Leith (via e-mail)
Midfield boost
IF WE keep bringing play-ers in like Tim Cahill I think we have a good chance of coming in the top half of the table. I also think a signing like Mark van Bommell would bolster the mid-field a lot. This is my midfield for Everton this season: Kilbane, Cahill, Gravesen, van Bommell.
C Murphy, Bootle
Laugh lines
YET again Everton fans have been made the laughing stock of the country. Over the last decade it seems we have come through one storm after another. The worrying thing now is I can't see how we are going to recover from this one. We have a very small squad of players, a power struggle and a young prodigy that is reluctant to sign a new contract.
Peter Jacobs, Warrington

Naysmith warning Blues board
Jul 27 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
GARY NAYSMITH has urged the Everton boardroom to settle their differences - and resolve a potentially damaging situation which could see 14 players quit the club next summer . . . for nothing.
The Blues have already lost senior squad members David Unsworth, Tomasz Radzinski, Francis Jeffers, Alex Nyarko, Scot Gemmill, Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen and Niclas Alexandersson in the last few months - only one bringing in a transfer fee - with the additions of just Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent. But 14 more senior players are out of contract next summer - with no new deals having been placed on the table. Naysmith finds it hard to accept that Everton have allowed so many players to enter the final year of their contracts without offers of new deals. "We are all in the same situation and obviously there must be reasons why everyone is going into the final year of their contract, but the players are not aware of that," said Naysmith.. "I think it is just a case of the same seven or eight people signed in the same year and we all signed a similar length of contract.
"Like a number of the players here, I have less than a year left and what will be will be, really.
"Hopefully in the next two to three weeks my agent will be meeting with the club to try and get a new contract. "The situation is quite simple really. I have less than a year on my contract to run.
"There has been speculation in the papers about other teams, but the truth is that I have not heard anything about getting sold to another team. "If Everton offer me a contract they will do that and it is up to me to make sure I am in the team and playing well. "I have a lot to prove. It is up to me to get a new contract and the only way to do that is by playing well. "If you are sitting on the sidelines every week then it is going to be difficult to do that. "I don't think it will play on the players' minds, and from what I have seen during this pre-season it is not causing anyone to hold back. Everyone is up for it."

Moyes: Prove you are worth another deal
Jul 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE host of Everton players entering the final year of their contracts have been urged to prove this season that they are worth a new deal. The Blues have 11 senior players less than one year away from becoming free agents. But manager David Moyes insists that does not mean the club will say goodbye to all of them at the end of the forthcoming season. "With some of them I have said 'perform and we will see what we can do'," said Moyes. "They know me and they know that will happen - in fact, it has already happened with one or two. "They can react by sulking or they can react by trying to prove to everybody they deserve to be kept at the club. "I am hoping we get the latter from them and in the conversations I have had with the players up to now they have certainly indicated that to me." The players entering their final year are Alan Stubbs, David Weir, Alessandro Pistone, Nigel Martyn, Leon Osman, Steve Watson, Nick Chadwick, Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson, Thomas Gravesen and Gary Naysmith. A number of that group are nearing their mid-30s and are aware this season will provide them with one last hurrah in an Everton shirt. But there are others who could still have a long-term future at Goodison - of whom only Gravesen has been offered a new deal so far. However, he has yet to put pen to paper due to fears the club does not have the financial clout to make signings which will prove to him that Everton's ambition matches his own. The Blues are keen to recruit PSV midfielder Mark Van Bommel and the £3m-rated Dutch midfielder - the kind of big name who could appease Gravesen - as well as concerned supporters.
Meanwhile, Steve Watson will miss Thursday's opening game of the Copa de Tejas in Houston after going under the surgeon's knife yesterday. The 30-year-old has been ruled out of the match against Pachuca at the Reliant Stadium after having an in-growing toenail removed. However, head physio Mick Rathbone is optimistic the Geordie midfielder will be able to play some part in Sunday's second game against Club America. He said: "Steve has had a minor operation on his big toe. "We went to a medical centre in Houston which is apparently one of the best in the USA and we saw one of the best foot specialists in the entire country so we were in good hands. "He treats the Houston Texans (American football) players. "He won't make Thursday's game but we are hoping he will be alright for Sunday."

Bill is due by end of week
Jul 27 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT and Paul Gregg were refusing to comment today after last night's showdown Board meeting at Goodison. The meeting ended with Kenwright agreeing he has until Friday to find £15m or agree to stand down as Everton chairman. The pair came face to face at Goodison Park yesterday for the first time since Gregg mounted a public bid for control of the club. After the 21/2-hour meeting, a joint statement was issued which read: "At today's Board meeting, the club's Board discussed Mr Gregg's proposals positively. "Mr Kenwright also presented his proposals and it was agreed that a decision would be made on Friday as to the future control of the club." Kenwright has been courting investment from the USA, but must accelerate those plans if he is to head off Gregg's proposals. The Blues director claims he has a mystery investor ready to pump £15m into the club, but only if Kenwright steps down to allow a new board to be created. Reports today suggested mobile phone millionaire Mike McComb is ready to front an alliance with builder David Mclean, while Lord Grantchester - a long-time opponent of Kenwright's - was also reported to be involved.
Kenwright's family has urged him to get out as Gregg cranked up the power struggle last week.
But Kenwright remains deeply suspicious of the direction in which Gregg may take the club if he hands over control. It is why he will take serious legal and financial advice between now and Friday's deadline before deciding on his own future. Kenwright criticised Gregg for turning the argument into a "personal war." He said before yesterday's meeting: "I hear that if I step down big money will come into this club. And if that is what it takes I will step down. I am totally, totally irrelevant. All that matters is Everton. "If there is new investment out there and it is good investment I have always said that contracts, power positions and control would not get in the way. "People do not seem to realise that in three weeks' time the new season starts and as far as I am concerned I want to get David Moyes some new squad players, that is what it is all about as far as I am concerned.
"I hope that we can discuss things in the boardroom like sensible human beings." Gregg's view was not changed by yesterday's meeting. He warned: "If our plans for the club are turned down then we would consider our legal position. But it is not about taking Bill on, it is about getting the best for the club. "For the past 12 months I have been asking Bill to change the constitution of the club and it has not happened. "I feel we should make Everton successful and increase the value of the club for everybody. We should have a five-year strategy. "The object of raising new funds for our club is to both support the team as well as to begin at last to resolve some of the long-standing financial difficulties that are threatening our future." That future also involves the fate and future of 11 players awaiting word about contract negotiations. Gary Naysmith is just the first to voice his concerns - there will be more as this saga rumbles on.

Everton suffer transfer setback
By Ian Doyle In Houston, Daily Post
Jul 28 2004
DAVID MOYES'S plans to strengthen his squad received a setback last night when Mark van Bommel insisted he did not want to join Everton. The PSV Eindhoven midfielder was a major target for Moyes as he attempts to bolster his thin playing resources. But the £4millionrated van Bommel has revealed he had no interest in moving to Merseyside, with the 27-year-old saying: "I want to move to a larger club, and Everton are not a larger club than PSV." It is a blow for Moyes, who is desperate to bring in new faces not only to boost squad numbers but also appease the likes of Thomas Gravesen, who wants assurances the club's ambition in the transfer market matches his own.
"It is disappointing," admitted Moyes of van Bommel's statement. "Everyone knew of our interest in the player, but we will now move on and see if we can bring any others players in." With the start of the new season just over a fortnight away, Moyes acknowledges time is against him to sign new players, although he has refused to rule out entirely any short-term loan deals should suitable players become available. Moyes would sooner avoid a late recruitment scramble before the transfer window closes at the end of August, similar to the one which saw four players arrive at Goodison on deadline day last year. He dismissed reports from Hertha Berlin's Hungarian goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly that Everton were interested in him while also playing down a link with Italian full-back Christian Panucci of Roma. "Panucci is a player who was mentioned to us but that is all that has happened on that score," said Moyes. Meanwhile, the clutch of Everton players who will be out of contract at the end of next season have been urged to prove they are worth a new deal.
Everton have 11 senior players who have entered the final year of their contract, and Moyes has insisted they must perform during the forthcoming campaign to improve their chances of extending their Goodison career. "With some of them I have said 'perform and we will see what we can do'," said Moyes, who is keen to ensure a number of the players remain at the club in the long-term. "I think they know me and they know that will happen - in fact, it has already happened with one or two. "They can react by sulking or they can react in a positive way by trying to prove to everybody they deserve to be kept at the club. "I am hoping we get the latter from them and in the conversations I have had with the players up to now they have certainly indicated that to me."
Alan Stubbs, David Weir, Alessandro Pistone, Nigel Martyn, Leon Osman, Steve Watson, Nick Chadwick, Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson, Gary Naysmith and Thomas Gravesen have all entered the final year of their contracts, and while Nay-smith has indicated he wants to stay only Gravesen has so far been offered a new deal. Meanwhile, Watson will miss tomorrow night's friendly against Pachuca after undergoing a minor operation on his toe. "Steve had an ingrowing toenail which needed removing," said Moyes. "He's out of Thursday's game, but we are hoping he will be back for Sunday against Club America." Alessandro Pistone continues to be troubled by slight Achilles tendonitis and is also likely to be missing tomorrow.

Kenwright fearful over step into the unknown
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Jul 28 2004
PAUL GREGG is keeping Bill Kenwright in the dark over the names of the investors he says are lined up to inject cash into Everton. The Daily Post understands the Everton chairman fears he has been asked to resign without knowing the vital details of his rival's rescue package. The two Goodison board members are locked in a power struggle over the future of the club. The pair, along with third board member Jon Woods, met in a stormy two-and-a-half hour showdown on Monday and presented their rival proposals for new investment. Gregg claims to have one major investor who will inject £15m into the club but only if True Blue Holdings, which holds 72% of Everton's shares, is dissolved and Kenwright resigns as chairman. He says there are two other investors also waiting in the wings. But Gregg, who is worth £160m, has kept the identities of the investors secret - even from Kenwright. Theatre impresario Ken-wright has said he will only consider quitting the club if he believes the investors are credible and prove their money is forthcoming. He fears Gregg will spend the £15m of new cash on cutting the club's £35m debt. Kenwright then believes the founder of the Apollo Leisure Group will sanction the sale of striker Wayne Rooney and attempt to find a buyer to purchase the club outright. Such a move would allow Gregg to leave Everton with the vast majority of the £7m he originally invested in the club. Gregg issued a statement last night in response to an attack on his intentions on an Everton fans' website, insisting that he has no plans to use the sale of Rooney to underpin his future investment and underlining his commitment to revive the club's fortunes. Gregg said: "I am aware that the main concerns of Everton supporters is for a period of stability and sustained investment that will be necessary to guarantee the club's long term success.
"I want to reiterate my personal and long-term commitment to Everton Football Club, putting them on a sound commercial footing with a five-year plan to ensure the club can compete at the highest level. "The club has made an offer to Wayne Rooney and we are determined to keep him as well as providing immediate funds to strengthen the team." The guessing game over who the potential investors are has started with mobile phone magnate Mike McComb, Labour peer Lord Grantchester, builder David McLean, property tycoon George Downing and Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy all being touted. Last night David McLean said he was not involved in any future investment plan. He said: "It is not true. I am not interested and I will not be getting involved." George Downing also ruled himself out and said he has not even been approached. He said: "I have got no interest. I am a mad Evertonian but I cannot commit to becoming an investor at Everton at the moment. I see being an investor as a full time job and I don't have the time. "Most football clubs are looking for someone to steer their commercial development. I do not believe I am personally qualified to do that, I am not sure Paul Gregg is either. "I also do not think it is just about passion. You're ideally looking for a businessman who knows about football." Sources close to Lord Grantchester also dismissed speculation linking him with the new investment as "wide of the mark."
Mike McComb and Sir Terry were unavailable for comment.

Stubbs is feeling pain of the fans
By Ian Doyle In Houston, Daily Post
Jul 28 2004
NO-ONE needs remind Alan Stubbs of the predicament Everton find themselves in. As a boyhood Blue, the defender understands the despair of the supporters who are watching on in trepidation as the unseemly boardroom power struggle between Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg reaches its final act.
As a player, he has been part of an Everton side which exceeded all expectations during David Moyes's first full season only to then underachieve miserably and end last season just one place above the Premiership drop zone. And as one of several players who have entered the final year of their contract, he is only too aware of the financial constraints in which Moyes must operate and how they are forcing the Goodison manager to juggle his resources with one hand tied behind his back. Given his proximity to a situation which is evidently close to his heart, Stubbs is frank in his assessment of where Everton are and how the club can rebuild and begin a progression back towards the heady heights of the Premiership's upper echelons they were occupying barely 15 months ago. For that to start, he believes the jostling for control in the corridors of power must be resolved as soon as possible. "The players know what the situation is," admits Stubbs. "At this moment in time it is not affecting us, but even though we are not getting involved, the sooner the whole thing is resolved the better - primarily for the manager, then the fans and then the players.
"It must be difficult for the manager because it must have a bearing on who is coming in and who is coming out. Maybe the manager's plans are being held back a bit, I don't know for sure. "We've brought in two players but more players have left than have come in this summer. "That is not the ideal situation, and we'd probably have preferred it to have been the other way around."
The small size of the squad is a concern to Stubbs, who believes whoever emerges with control of the boardroom must swiftly aid Moyes in his quest to bolster his playing resources. "We're not exactly bustling with numbers in the squad at the moment," says the centre-back. "As the season progresses, I think that situation will have to change pretty dramatically. "But I think we will have some more players in the squad by the start of the season. The manager will have targets that he is looking at now, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are coming. We've been linked with a few players over the last six to eight weeks and for one reason or another we have not got them.
"We need more players to make the squad more competitive." It's not just the management that have been frustrated over the summer. As Stubbs admits, last season's comedown from the previous campaign's dizzying heights and the seemingly neverending stream of negative news eminating from Goodison are things supporters have found difficult to take. "Hopefully I'm wrong when I say we raised a bit of false hope with our performance the previous season," he adds. "But being honest about it, we all surpassed what we thought we could achieve that season. "To be so close to qualifying for Europe raised the bar for the following season. "Fans were coming along in their droves as they always have done. We cannot fault the fans at all for their support. "But there is a lot of discon-tent among them at the moment. They are not happy with the way the club is going. It's easy when things haven't gone right to come out and start pointing the finger, but they have every right to do that in this instance." While Stubbs concedes the supporters may not completely be aware of the frantic movement behind the scenes to bring in new players and fresh investment into the club, he has warned that they will not remain patient forever. Action must be taken. "To be honest, I don't blame the fans at all for feeling upset," he continues. "We finished really disappointingly last season, the season ticket prices have gone up and the club is not going the way they would like to see it go. "They back the club 110 per cent and unfortunately the club are in a position where not a lot of money is coming through on to the pitch. "Questions are getting asked and they want answers. But the fans probably don't realise how hard people are working behind the scenes to rectify that, and that's where the impatience comes in. "The board, Mr Kenwright and the manager are probably trying everything they can to change that as quick as possible, but unfortunately it doesn't happen with a click of the fingers. "That's where the fans have to be patient, but whether they can be we will see over the next couple of weeks." Patience will be the watchword for Stubbs and the 10 other Everton players whose contracts have now entered the final year of their current contract. Gary Naysmith has already intimated his desire to open negotiations over a new deal, but Stubbs admits it may be some time before the situation is addressed.
"I've spoken to the manager about that and a number of other things," he adds.. "The manager is trying to go round and speak with the other players who are in that situation. "Hopefully being so close to the end of their contracts will have the effect of spurring the players on to do well next season. "My main priority is to play in the team and if anything comes from that, then great.
"There are a lot bigger issues than my future concerning the club at present. "Personally, I would prefer those problems to be resolved more than anyone starts discussing a possible new contract for myself." However, Stubbs did have a word of warning for the Goodison powerbrokers. "With so many players almost out of contract, if the club are in this same situation towards the end of next season, they will find themselves in a very difficult position," he admitted.. Iimagine it would be a lot harder to replace all those players than it would be to let them go. "From now to then is a long time, however. We'll just all play it by ear and see what happens." Such is life for both players, management and supporters in Blue at present.

Naysmith keen to open contract talks
Daily Post
Jul 28 2004
GARY NAYSMITH has signalled his desire to open talks over extending his stay at Goodison.
The 25-year-old is one of several players on the Goodison books who have now entered the final year of their contracts but has been linked with both Rangers and Celtic. And Naysmith, who signed from Hearts in a £1.75million transfer in October 2000, will seek talks with club officials over an extension to his present deal. "The situation is quite simple," said the Scottish international. "I have less than a year on my contract to run and hopefully in the next two or three weeks my agent will be going to meet the board and try and get a new contract. "There's been a lot of speculation in the papers about other teams but I haven't heard anything about being swapped or being sold to any other team. "Like seven or eight other players here, I have got less than a year to go and what will be will be." Naysmith added: "If Everton want to offer me a contract then they will do that. It's just up to me to make sure I am in the team and play well. "I have a lot to prove this season because I have to get a new contract and the best way to do that is to be in the team." Meanwhile Wayne Rooney will continue his rehabilitation from the broken bone in his foot he suffered during Euro 2004 at home rather than joining the squad out in America. New signing Tim Cahill will definitely miss the start of the Premiership season after linking up with the Australia squad for the Athens Olympics. The midfielder is expected to feature in a warm-up match against South Korea on Friday. Cahill would have been suspended for the Blues' first three matches in any event.

Rooney signs up for exclusive sporting action portrait deal
Daily Post
Jul 28 2004
FOOTBALL fans around the world can now get their hands on exclusive signed pictures of Everton and England star Wayne Rooney thanks to two Liverpool firms. Internet company New Mind has won a £40,000 contract with bigbluetube to create a new e-commerce site to sell the limited edition prints. Wayne Rooney has signed an exclusive three-year contract with bigbluetube, which specialises in selling memorabilia signed by sporting legends. Managing director Matt Wilkinson said: "We are about to put out a print of Wayne scoring for England against Croatia at Euro 2004.
"We don't know how much this deal will make us over the next three years. It all depends on how much interest we get." New Mind was approached by bigbluetube with a view to focusing its future marketing strategy primarily on the new e-commerce site which will be live from the end of September.

Grav tells Moyes he wants to stay
Jul 28 2004 By Scott Mcleod with the Blues in Houston, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has assured David Moyes he still sees his future at Goodison Park. But the Danish international will resist putting pen to paper on a new contract until the manager has added to his Everton ranks. The midfielder, who still has one year left on his contract, met with Moyes during a meeting at the club's Houston training camp last night and told him that he has set his sights on playing for the Blues next season. However, Gravesen has reiterated the message he delivered in May when he made it clear he will not sign the new deal until he sees the club making the kind of signings which will prove to him their ambition matches his own. He has just one season remaining on his current deal but has been offered another three years. His reluctance to sign has led to a summer of speculation fuelled by a series of unwelcome comments from agent John Sivebaek. But Moyes told the ECHO: "I have spoken to Thomas about the situation. He told me that he wants to see Everton making progress. "But he also said that if we do that he will have no hesitation in staying. He wants to stay. "It means the ball is in our court. We need to make him think Everton can compete again at the top of the table." Everton's attempt to secure the signing of PSV's Mark Van Bommel was intended to do just that. But the Dutch international has made it clear he has no intention of making the switch to Merseyside. The £3m-rated midfielder said: "I want to move to a larger club and Everton are not a larger club than PSV." Everton have been offered Italian full-back Christian Panucci but the Blues are unlikely to make a move. Meanwhile, Everton have just 16 players for tomorrow night's opening game of the Copa de Tejas. With Li Tie and Wayne Rooney rehabilitating from broken bones at Bellefield, Tim Cahill unable to join his new team-mates because of international commitments with Australia and Eddy Bosnar yet to formally complete his one season move to Goodison, Moyes has few options available to him. He brought just 18 players to Texas but both Alessandro Pistone and Steve Watson have picked up injuries and have been ruled out of tomorrow's game against Pachuca, which will kick off at 7.30pm (1.30am on Friday, BST).
Pistone is suffering from tendonitis in his Achilles and Watson has had an ingrowing toenail removed.

Stamina the key for Blues boost
Jul 28 2004 By Scott Mcleod with the Blues in Houston, Liverpool Echo
IN THE second half of last season a rumour began to circulate among Evertonians that the club's players were unhappy with David Moyes' training regime. The suggestion was that certain individuals believed they were being asked to do too much during the week, leaving them jaded on a Saturday afternoon. But the manager insists talk of the workload being too great is well wide of the mark. In fact, he is convinced that the club's fall from grace last year was because of a lack of adequate work on the training ground - particularly during the club ' s pre- season preparations.
As a result, he has completely remodelled his training programme this summer. And he is confident the rewards will be reaped when the campaign gets underway in just over a fortnight. "There were a lot of things said last season about me working the players too hard," reflects Moyes. "But the fact of the matter is we actually did roughly 20 training sessions less during last season than we did the year before. "And I know the workrate we produced on the field was way down on the 2002/03 season. Last season we lost a lot of games late on. That had to be down to a lack of overall fitness but also a lack of concentration as well. "That has to be addressed and if the players are stronger and they have had to dig deep doing their work on the training ground then they will do the same in the last five minutes of games once the season starts. "The season before last we were winning those games in the last five minutes. Statistically we covered more distance and worked harder and I don't think it is any coincidence we got better results. "I have had to look at that and take it into consideration. That is why we have worked the players harder in this pre-season and they have been really responsive to it. They have got through it and their attitude in training has been great. They have gone about it with a smile on their face. "They are actually a very good group of lads. The players are desperate to put things right as well." Moyes continues: "One of the things I couldn't understand was that two years ago our workrate was second to none. Everybody appreciated and admired the effort that went in to playing for Everton. "I felt last year's pre-season was a little bit lighter than it should have been. "And in turn our performances and results proved we didn't work as hard as a team and didn't seem to play with that wholehearted spirit which we had shown. "I think a lot of that came from not having as good a pre-season as we should have had in terms of fitness. "And so this year we have introduced a couple of new fitness coaches - one from the Academy and one we have brought in. And I think they have made a real difference. "The players have worked really hard because what we might lack in technical ability we have to bridge in terms of effort and workrate. "I hope that will be noticeable, but the only people who can demonstrate that is the players on the field. "We are getting them in a condition where they will be able to do that. It is down to me to try to make that happen. "Players don't realise until they have done the work that they actually needed it. "I think now they are seeing and realising the benefits of what we are doing. And that will be reflected on the pitch when the season gets underway."

Thai brewers drink to Red and Blue bid
Jul 28 2004 By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
THE THAI brewing company which has just signed a sponsorship deal with Everton says it is also interested in a deal with rivals Liverpool. The Thai Beverages 1.5m deal with the Blues is initially for one year only, but the company may be willing to take up an option to extend the contract at the end of the forthcoming season. And with Liverpool's long-term sponsorship agreement with Carlsberg due to come to an end next May, Thai chiefs are ready to test the water with a bid to put its elephant logo on the shirts of Liverpool FC players. A spokesman for Thai Beverages said: "Liverpool will open bidding for the sponsorship next month and we are interested in joining the bid. We will look at prices and other details before making a decision." Liverpool declined to comment today. If Thai Beverages were to sponsor both Liverpool and Everton, it would be the first time two clubs in the English Premiership have been sponsored by the same company. Scottish rivals Celtic and Rangers were once both sponsored by the telecommunications firm NTL. Thai Beverages, which makes Thailand's most popular beer, Chang, is looking to further its presence in Europe, although the Asian market remains its priority. Speculation in Asia had suggested Thai Beverages may be ready to buy into either Liverpool or Everton, but the company today insisted it is only interested in sponsorship arrangements. The spokesman added: "We are not keen to buy a stake in either Liverpool or Everton, because football is not our core business. "We want to be involved in sponsorship deals because it will help support our beer marketing activities." Thai Beverages is currently embroiled in a business dispute with current Liverpool sponsors Carlsberg.

Blues' views split over rift at Goodison
Jul 28 2004 Liverpool Echo Letters Special
Views split over rift at Goodison
BILL KENWRIGHT never had and never will have the money needed to make Everton a true force in the Premiership. Most Evertonians don't trust Paul Gregg's motives but will give him a chance because he says he can find money. Kenwright needs to find a serious investor and let go. How can he not find anyone interested in buying into the club with most points and years in the top flight, the fourth highest trophy haul and the potential to fill a new stadium? Rooney will do well to remember what happened to Jeffers, Barmby and Michael Ball who all left Goodison for supposedly 'bigger' clubs. If he wants to be bigger than Dixie he should stay. I am sure that his Everton-mad family want him to and the wages aren't bad.
Brian Mayock, Liverpool
NO-ONE doubts Bill Kenwright's passion, and his endeavours for the past four years appear to have achieved next to nothing. The real issue the board needs to focus its mind on is this: Never before have Evertonians been so collectively disillusioned, embarrassed and just plain cheesed off as they are now.
Jimmy Gordon, Walton
EVERYONE is rightly having a go at Wayne for not speaking to the fans but what about Bill Kenwright? Paul Gregg has nailed his colours to the mast but Ken-wright remains silent. Why is it that two life-long Evertonians, Wayne and Bill, both refuse to speak to the fans and yet Paul Gregg, who has no interest in football, let alone Everton, is talking to the papers virtually every day?
Speak to us Bill and Wayne, even if it's just to say goodbye!
John Newland, E. Port
SO GREGG didn't got to any matches last season. That doesn't make him a bad businessman does it?
Bill Kenwright's heart is in the right place but it needs more than that at the moment, and there seems to be very little in the way of money. Sorry Bill, much as I appreciate your passion, it's been an awful lot of talk and little action, so we must let Gregg have a go. It just can't go on as it is.
John Berne, via email
EVERTON surely have to follow the Celtic model. It's got to be business first, without it you can't have the football at any level and if that's what Paul Gregg can bring about then give him a go.
The proceeds of any rights issue should go on increasing ground capacity to increase revenue in the long term. Once that ' s in place you can increase wages and attract better players. Bill Kenwright clearly loves the club but he ' s not businesslike enough to save it and has to be realistic. Otherwise he'll help bring down the very thing he cares so much about. To both directors I'd say whatever is resolved on Friday please let us have some honesty and tell us what is going on.
Dave Brown, West Kirby
KENWRIGHT needs to look in the mirror. He has no money, no ideas, and has turned the fourth most successfull club in England into a laughing stock. If he really loves Everton, he should let Gregg take over. As for Rooney, I think Everton should withdraw the contract if he doesn't sign soon. He still has two years on his present contract, so we would get another 12 months out of him on £13,000 a Week, and if proves to be as good as he seems to think he is, his market value will increase.
S Oaks, Fazakerley
WHAT a choice.
I don't want Gregg to run our club as he doesn't care about Everton or football. He will sell Rooney and get rid of Moyes before leaving after floating or selling Everton. As for the 'share issue', only a select few will be able to buy.
M Tilley, Merseyside
Make your mind up time for Wayne
WHY is it taking Wayne so long to make his mind up? Sign or don't sign, we've got enough to worry about. If he loved the club like he's said he does he would sign the contract. The Blues need him.
Peter Atkinson, Walton
HAS PLAYING for Everton stopped Wayne Rooney from becoming the youngest goalscorer in the Premier-ship, the youngest ever player to get an England cap or the youngest ever goalscorer for his country? Has it stopped him from being offered £50,000 a week at the age of 18? No! So what's Wayne's problem?
John Downes, Cheshire
THE Rooney saga goes on and it's exposed further the role of agents in this game of ours. These people are slowly strangling the game, and how Rooney's genuine family and friends can sit idly watching as Paul Stretford's vice-like grip on Wayne tightens is beyond me. I appeal to his family to use their influence to end this mess.
Tony Swann, Aigburth
QUITE simple. Sell Rooney and stay afloat. If he loved the club so much he would have signed immediately. The reason we are all bashing our heads together is because of his agent.
Stuart Orlans, via email
ROONEY has had three weeks to put our minds at rest. One simple statement could have ended all our worries, but his silence is deafening. This club can survive without Rooney. Moyes deserves a medal for sticking with us through all this and I'd be more upset to lose him than Rooney.
Steve, via email
MONEY is important, but not everything. The team of the 1980s had bought a knackered Peter Reid for around £60,000, plus some other rejects like Kevin Sheedy. Motivation is the key.
John Dean, via email

Fancy doing some jury service?
Jul 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
FANCY joining the best team in the business? Well now you can. Echo Sport is looking to sign up the top talent on Merseyside for the new season. We've decided that after two years of tremendous service our Fans Jury should be allowed to go on a well earned free transfer. So if you're a true blue or a diehard red, and fancy giving your verdict each week on Everton and Liverpool in our popular Thursday page, let us know now. To pass the medical and join our squad you'll need to be a season ticket holder at Goodison or Anfield. And we'll probably like the look of you even more if you attend away games too. What we want most from our new jurors is a burning passion for Merseyside's big two, one which shines through their articles in times good, bad or indifferent.

Gazza's 'certain' of move
Jul 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE is "110 per cent sure" he will join Boston as a player-coach on Friday. The 37-year-old former Everton star is set to work under manager Steve Evans as a player-coach. Gascoigne made his debut for the League Two club with an impressive 75-minute appearance against an inexperienced Newcastle side, which the hosts won 4-0. And he said: "The chairman (Jon Sotnick) is happy and I am happy. I cannot see any reason why on Friday, I am 110 per cent sure, I will sign for Boston United. "Steve and the chairman want me to have a chance to have a look round the ground instead of just rushing everything.' The lengthy queues outside Boston's York Street ground, which delayed the kick-off by 15 minutes, are testament to his pulling-power. It took six minutes for Gascoigne to bring the crowd to its feet, with a turn, a flick and a 50-yard cross-field pass. Despite an evident lack of pace and upper body strength, the 37-year-old rarely gave the ball away and one run saw him beat a bemused Jamie McClen three times. When asked if he was pleased to be joining a family club, Gascoigne said: "As long as I don't have to pay maintenance for all these."

Reds poised for Rooney swoop in January?
Stuart Mathieson
July 28, 2004
Manchester Evening News
UNITED will start the season without Wayne Rooney but Reds chief executive David Gill won't rule out a future bid for Everton's wonder boy. Old Trafford's 2004 transfer outgoings have apparently stopped at the '27m shelled out for Louis Saha, Alan Smith and Gabriel Heinze . . . but things could change. "Our stance hasn't changed in that we said we had identified with Alex the players he wanted to bring in and we did those deals early for Alan Smith and Gabriel Heinze," said Gill.
"Also we don't normally buy big in January but we did that this year signing Louis Saha. That's where the budget was. So we were categoric to say that at those inflated prices for Wayne Rooney we wouldn't be in the game. "That is the situation we are still in today. We have not approached Everton and have not had any discussion with them on the matter. "But the manager is quite rightly always monitoring the market place. It would be silly to rule anything out. Things are fluid and things move so you can't be categoric saying that something that isn't happening now won't happen in the future. That could be the same with any player. Everton's march to the top of the table in the early months of his first full season at the helm provided such a confidence boost. And it ensured a momentum was built up which took them to the very brink of European qualifaction. The key to that success was the effort and never-say-die attitude displayed by Moyes' players. It is something he wants to get back to. There has certainly been no dissenting voices from the playing staff during the gruelling training sessions in the Houston heat this week.

Moyes looks at strike options
By Ian Doyle in Houston, Daily Post
Jul 29 2004
DAVID MOYES will tonight hand James McFadden the opportunity to stake a claim for a more regular striking role at Everton. The Goodison side take part in the opening match of the Copa de Tejas in the early hours of the morning when they face Mexican outfit Pachuca here in Houston. With Wayne Rooney injured, Duncan Ferguson left at home and Tomasz Radzinski departed, Moyes has only three first-choice strikers to call on for the pre-season tournament. But the Everton manager will use the chance to see how McFadden fares up front in the advanced role the player himself prefers. "We'll be looking at James McFadden to play up front while we are here," said Moyes. "We have Kevin Campbell, Marcus Bent and Nick Chadwick here also, so that's four forwards I can call upon. "I want to give James a chance up there. He's keen to play in that position but he knows we are still trying to find out which position is best for him. "He will alternate between wide and up front during the season because he has the ability to do that." The small squad which travelled to Texas - only 18 players made the journey - has left Moyes with little room to manouevre in terms of team selection for the tournament. "We're working with such a small squad," he said yesterday. "To-day we had only 13 players training, and we can't afford to pick up any injuries at all.
"There have been plusses to working with a small number. We've been able to get closer to the players and work on a few more specific things, but we'd sooner have more players here.
"A couple of injuries and we will be short. We have a few players back home still, but we don't have loads." One player who Moyes won't be able to use on his return is Swedish midfielder Tobias Linderoth, who will complete a £1.5million move to FC Copenhagen today. A crowd of around 25,000 is expected at the futuristic Reliant Stadium for tonight's friendly against leading Mexican side Pachuca, which will be played under a closed roof. And Moyes admits that while his players are starting to show signs of sharpness on the training field, fitness and performance remains more important than results at this stage of pre-season. "The players are beginning to look a little bit sharper," said the manager.. "What we'll be looking for is some better play than what we've seen from them so far, a bit more creativity and invention on the ball. "However, we're coming up against opposition we don't know a lot about over here. We don't know about their style, about their play-ers, so we're going into the unknown. I don't think the outcome will have much bearing on what might happen in the Premiership because we probably won't come up against anyone who will play in a similar Mexican manner." Defender Alan Stubbs meanwhile believes the game is very important. He said: "Sometimes people think that when you go away and lose a few games on a tour, it has been a waste of time and bad for the team. But all this is just preparation for the first game of the season. But it is important that we start putting some performances together. The results are still immaterial but the performances are not." Alessandro Pistone is a definite absentee tonight while Steve Watson has an outside chance of appearing despite having an minor operation to remove an ingrowing toenail earlier in the week. Meanwhile Bill Kenwright continues to explore options to find investment for the club and head off a plan from fellow director Paul Gregg to dissolve True Blue holdings - which would see the theatre impresario ousted from the Board.

Scot wants performance to match the popularity
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 29 2004
LIKE the Texan appetite for excess, James McFadden's popularity knows no boundaries.
Even thousands of miles from home the Scottish international maintains an affinity with local Evertonians who have warmed to the flamboyant forward's flair play since his transfer from Motherwell on deadline day last September. Long after the remainder of his team-mates had done their stint signing autographs after an open training session here in Houston, McFadden was scribbling on fans' shirts and posing for pictures with starry-eyed onlookers. But while the 21-year-old was eager to play down any perception of preference towards him from supporters, his views on his opening season on Merseyside were more forthright. After an explosive opening to his Goodison career in which the home crowd were seduced by man-of-the-match performances of wing wizardry against Stockport County and Leeds United, McFadden's star faded as David Moyes's men became embroiled in a turgid fight against relgation. Must do better is McFadden's message not only for Everton as a whole, but his own game. And as the player himself admits, there can be no excuses this time around. "I don't think there was any reason in particular why that happened," says McFadden of the way his season fell away after such an impressive arrival. "I came into the club and made a good start but I then failed to really establish myself in the team. "I don't really know why that happened and I don't have any excuses for it. Maybe there are little things I need to fix in my preparation and application on the pitch. "The transition between moving from the Scottish League to the Premiership had nothing to do with it. It would have been different if I had made a slow start, but I made a good start and I just couldn't carry it on. "It's not easy to play in a team if they are not doing well, but it's not impossible." Setting such high standards has aided McFadden's rise to Premiership prominence, and he insists it is the pressure to perform from within which has left him adamant not to repeat the mistakes of last season. "Last year, if I had a bad game people could say I was young and just settling in," he says. "Next season that won't matter. I will have had a full pre-season and be as ready as anyone. "I will have no excuses if I fail to deliver. Last season it would have been easy for me to make excuses but I have had my settling-in period now and if I'm not doing it on the pitch then that is my own fault. "I don't feel any pressure from outsiders. The only pressure I feel is from myself. I wasn't happy with the way it ended last season. I should have done better as a whole over the season and I don't want a season like last season again. I'm aiming to make sure that doesn't happen." One problem area McFadden will certainly be addressing is his goalscoring. Despite finding the net at international level with Scotland, the forward has so far failed to rustle the onion bag while in an Everton shirt. "I was disappointed not to get even one goal," he admits.. "But I was mainly playing wide out left and had only one game up front. "If I had the choice I would rather play up front but I have no problem playing on the wing. I will play wherever the manager wants me to play, but I need to score more goals. "I had played a few games for Scotland while I was at Mother-well and did reasonably well, and I have kept the goals going at that level. "But I have improved since I have been at Everton and what I pick up at international level hopefully I can bring back to my club form." With Wayne Rooney injured, Duncan Ferguson at home and Tomasz Radzinski departed the path has opened for McFadden to demonstrate his wares in a preferred striking role. It is situation of which the youngster is desperate to take advantage of. "Obviously Tomasz Radzinski has left, and over here we only have four strikers if you count me as a forward," he says.. "Hopefully I will get a chance to play up front and get a goal while we are here. "We have a good squad and we've always had a good atmosphere within that. But now more than ever, we know we need to pull together and get through this because of the bad press we are getting for behind-the-scenes matters and because we have such a small squad. "We need to work hard together and it'll be important that we play for each other." He adds: "We know we need a vast improvement on last season. I don't think we can accept just avoiding relegation again. We need to be competing further up the table and not just fighting to avoid the drop. "We just need to pull together and make sure we start well and hopefully that can carry us through to the end of the season."

Pachuca, the 'halfway' champions of Mexico
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 29 2004
EVERTON will come up against one of Mexico's finest sides in tonight's opening match of the Copa de Tejas in Houston. Pachuca are the country's oldest club and claimed the opening championship of the Mexican league last season. Mexico use a convoluted process to determine an opening championship winner (from August to December) and a closing championship winner (from January to May). In each championship, the league's 20 teams are split into four groups of five. Everyone plays each other once, with eight clubs eventually progressing to the quarter-finals after which a straight knockout continues until the final, where the winner is determined. Pachuca won last season's opening champion-ship, but in the closing championship they lost a qualifying play-off and missed out on a quarter-final place. And despite their opening championship win, Pachuca fell foul of Mexico's bizarre organisation and did not qualify for this year's Copa Libertadores - the Americas equivalent of the Champions League. Needless to say, there is growing discontent among supporters in Mexico at the organisation of their domestic football.

Hell Bent on Blues mission
Jul 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod with the Blues in Houston, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has asked Marcus Bent to prove he is worth a regular place in the Everton starting line-up during this pre-season. The striker, who was signed from Ipswich Town for £450,000 last month, has impressed in training since arriving at Everton and has quickly become a popular member of the senior squad. His pace will be a useful outlet for the Blues, particularly since the departure of Tomasz Radzinski to Fulham. But the player has not yet guaranteed himself a starting berth for the opening game of the season against Arsenal. Moyes said: "He has got to try and force his way into our side and hopefully that will happen. "He is doing fine. He has settled down well.
"He is very quick and he will give us pace in the team. But he will have to earn his place like everyone else." Bent will have the chance to stake his claim for a striking berth tonight against Pachuca in the opening game of the Copa de Tejas tournament in Houston. Another player eager to impress is James McFadden. "I was disappointed not to get even one goal last season," said McFadden.
"But I was mainly playing wide and had only one game up front. "If I had the choice I would rather play up front. I need to score more goals. Hopefully I will get a chance to play there while we are here." Wherever McFadden is asked to play, Moyes is looking for more consistency from the Scottish international this season. Moyes adds: "Faddy didn't do much pre-season last year and I think he will benefit from this. "He is still a bit rusty in a few things he has been doing but I am hoping he will feel stronger and better for getting through pre-season. "Experience, time and understanding will make all our younger players better." Moyes is ready to give McFadden the chance to play up front, either tonight or in Sunday's clash with Club America. The Blues, who will be the first side to play in Houston since Manchester United in 1985, are taking on Mexican opposition for the first time in the club's history. But manager David Moyes believes the clash of footballing styles will benefit his players as they continue their preparation for the start of the new Premiership season. "Of course there are lessons to be taken from playing games like this," admits Moyes. "Learning to adapt to a different style of play from the opposition, who will have a more continental approach, will be useful. "The Mexican opposition will be completely different to the opposition we would expect play against week in, week out in the Premiership. "Although it is still just a pre-season friendly we are also looking to show signs of improvement in our fitness and our football from the matches we played last week. "It has been tough for them and their legs are feeling it a bit now but hopefully we will see the benefit in the games." Houston has a large population made up of immigrants from Mexico, which means that the vast majority of the 25,000 crowd which is expected to flock into the Reliant Stadium tonight will be supporting Pachuca.
It all adds to the occasion for the manager, who took his first look at the stadium with the pitch laid out last night. "We are playing in a wonderful stadium, which is something to be enjoyed and we are looking forward to it," he adds.. "We didn't know exactly what we would be coming to but the facilities have been terrific. "In fact, I wish we could take the pitches and the weather back home with us. And if I could take back the Reliant Stadium and put it in place of Goodison we would certainly have the best ground in Britain." Back at Goodison, meanwhile, the Blues were expecting to tie up the loose ends of Tobias Linderoth's £1m switch to FC Copenhagen today. Moyes said: "Tobias has indicated to me that he wants to go back closer to home with his girlfriend and we are hoping that we can sort everything out shortly." Copenhagen should announce Linderoth's signing today.

I'm not going to foot Blues' bill, insists McComb
Jul 29 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MOBILE phone magnate Mike McComb is not bankrolling Paul Gregg or Bill Kenwright's bid for control of Goodison Park.
But the lifelong Evertonian has firmly pledged his support to the current chairman. Kenwright faces the most agonising 24 hours of his Goodison life, with a decision promised tomorrow on whether he has matched Paul Gregg's promise of £15m investment - or to stand down.. The chairman was involved in two separate meetings yesterday in a bid to raise funds, and while neither involved Mike McComb, who sold the Mobile Phone Store for £50m, the successful Formby businessman is a Kenwright supporter. "I am not involved in negotiations, nor do I have any plans to get involved," he said. "You should never say never, but for the foreseeable future that is my intention. I have a young family and they are the only thing more important to me than Everton Football Club. "But if I was to speak as a businessman, the last thing Everton Football Club needs is change. One of the fundamental problems of the last few years has been the amount of change and upheaval at Goodison Park. "We have had three changes of ownership, numerous managerial changes and countless changes on the playing staff. "We need continuity. I understand that you can't run a business on passion alone. But equally, you can't run a successful business without that quality. "I have never met the chairman. But I sit behind him and Jon Woods in the directors' box and they kick every ball and are present at every match. "They understand the club and have a feel for the club and I think that is important. "I have met Jon Woods and he is a very successful and articulate businessman - and it should be pointed out that neither he nor the chairman get paid a penny. "We know where both men's interests lie - which is with Everton Football Club. In ten years time, if allowed, he would still be chairman of Everton and proud to be chairman. "It was continuity which brought us our greatest period of success and I think we need continuity now. "The time is not right for me to get involved now, but my hundred per cent support is with the current chairman." According to supporter polls, however, McComb is in the minority. The influential Toffeeweb site, the longest established and most visited supporter site, is currently running a poll asking: "In whose hands would you have greater confidence placing the financial future of Everton FC?" The figure at present has an overwhelming 80 per cent backing Gregg. Many supporters still seem loathe to publicly criticise Kenwright, but Toffee-web columnist Lyndon Lloyd wrote: "Such is the apprehension for the coming season among supporters that they seem ready to abandon their Blue blooded 'saviour' for a bona fide businessman in the Peter Johnson mould. "There is a very real feeling that unless Kenwright can suddenly formulate both a rock solid plan and the investment to support it, the smart money has to go on the man who seems intent on finally running Everton Football Club like a business as opposed to the 'Old Boys' club it has resembled for so long now. "Six months ago it would be unthinkable to back Gregg over Kenwright. Unfortunately for Bill it appears very much as though he is facing a do-or-die situation this week as he seeks to convince us that he has a master plan." The identity of Gregg's investors remains secret, which is why Kenwright remains deeply suspicious of Gregg ' s proposals. During Monday's board meeting the Blues director gave a detailed presentation of his plans - without offering any names. Kenwright also spoke of bringing in money, offering four or five possible investors, but nothing concrete. Today, effectively, constitutes the final day for the Blues chairman to produce a benefactor. A report this morning stated that former chief executive Trevor Birch prepared a cashflow projection before he resigned, revealing that Everton needs another £5m simply to stay in business. The clubs is expected to exceed their £5m overdraft limit at Barclays Bank next month - and boss David Moyes is desperate to bring in new players before the Premiership season starts. Something has to give - and tomorrow will reveal whether it is Bill Kenwright's chair-manship or Paul Gregg's power-bid.

Battle between the man who cares and the man who dares
Jul 29 2004 By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
TO keep the faith - or take a leap of faith. That's the dilemma facing Everton today on the eve of one of the most important days in the club's recent history. Tomorrow Bill Kenwright will declare whether he intends to carry on in control or step aside for leisure tycoon Paul Gregg and dismantle True Blue Holdings. In this high stakes game of boardroom poker, Kenwright is effectively being asked to chuck in his hand without even calling Gregg's. All he has by way of reassurance is a steely-eyed promise from Gregg that he is not faking. He says he's is genuinely holding the aces, but Gregg insists his unnamed backers will deliver the investment and expertise needed to move the club out of its cash crisis. And hopefully help ease fears of relegation next season. Knowing Kenwright, if he sleeps tonight, it won't be for long. If he hasn't found the means to trump Gregg, he'll be agonising over this decision. Owning and running Everton has been his dream. But he promises he won't hold onto it longer than he should and risk a nightmare ending if someone better can take the reigns and l ead a resurgence. It's just that Kenwright is far from convinced Gregg, who knows little about football as a sport, is the right man. He's not alone. But Gregg and his supporters, while acknowledging his PR is hardly helped by his lack of interest in the game, insist his detachment can actually be good for Everton. Gregg ' s not the only one who feels Kenwright's passion and his 'heart on the sleeve' style gets in the way of cold, hard thinking and planning. His love of Everton is unquestioned, but does he lack the hard head to make tough decisions and embrace change?
Appointing a chief executive as part of a major club reshuffle, only to see him quit six weeks later, hardly helps Kenwright's case. So we've now got the man who cares versus the man who dares.
There are signs Gregg (left) is winning support, though it's far from unqualified and getting the trust of the fans remains another matter for him. If Gregg does get his hands on Everton tomorrow and he uses the position simply to unlock his £7m previous investment, it will be a gross abuse of privilege. Because, for all its pains and torments, that is what running a club like Everton most certainly is. Gregg may not know much about the game but knows enough to under-stand it plays a big part in so many supporters ' lives. Whether such sentiment matters to him we don't yet know. With Kenwright we know it does. This is Kenwright's call. He can stay put, bide for time, keep looking and searching for wealthy friends prepared to back him. But if Gregg won't be forgiven if he's pulling a fast one, neither will Kenwright for dithering if opportunity really is knocking. The bottom line is that neither player had better be bluffing when they say they've only got Everton's best interests at heart.

Boardroom panto is no laughing matter
Jul 29 2004 Liverpool Echo
THE boardroom upheaval at Everton has already claimed its first victim. The summer pantomime Snow Blue and the Seven Blue Noses has been postponed until later in the year.
Scheduled for a three-night run at the Empire Theatre from August 19, organisers Blue Nose Promotions have decided that the mood amongst Evertonians at present is not suitable for pantomime. "With everything that is going on at the club at present, we decided the time was not right for a panto," said organiser Brian Snagg. "Our first run at the Royal Court was very well received and supported and we feel that we helped put a smile back on Evertonian faces.
"But the situation now is simply too serious to make light of and we've decided to put it off until later in the year." Former Brookside star Danny McCall had been lined up to join the original cast, along with former players like Brian Labone and Gary Jones who did not feature in the original run, which began last March. Starring Kenneth Cope, Billy Butler, Mickey Finn and Leanne Campbell, the last run also saw Evertonian stars like Howard Kendall, Neville Southall, Kevin Ratcliffe, Colin Harvey, Kevin Sheedy, Derek Temple and Ed 'Stewpot' Stewart tread the Royal Court boards. The Seven Blue Noses who featured every night included John Bailey, Roger Kenyon, Martin Dobson and George Telfer.

Unrest is affecting my preparations - Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 30 2004
THE future control of Everton will be decided today with David Moyes warning his preparations on the field have become dangerously compromised by the ongoing board-room squabbles.
The power struggle between former friends Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg has overshadowed a pre-season which has seen 16 playing departures and just two new arrivals so far at Goodison.
Moyes's plans for squad rebuilding are being stymied by a continued lack of financial backing with a little over two weeks to go before the start of the Premiership season and only a month until the transfer window closes. Everton also have 11 players in the the final year of their contract whose futures cannot be decided until Moyes is made aware of the club's long-term fiscal situation.
That is expected to become clearer by 1pm today with the passing of Gregg's deadline to owner Kenwright over proposed investment into the club. Either Kenwright will agree to Gregg's plan to dissolve True Blue Holdings and pump £15million into the club or be forced to stand down as chairman if the board refuse to accept his own proposals for investment. But Moyes, (pictured above), has warned time is running out as he strives to bolster his threadbare squad and ensure his team remains competitive for the start of the forthcoming campaign. "It is important that things are resolved for the good of Everton Football Club," said Moyes. "The stuff which is going on is not helping my preparations at all. "It needs to be sorted out as soon as possible. It's getting to the stage where there is only two weeks to go until the start of the season. "There's also only a month of the transfer window to go so we could do with things being resolved so we can plan for the coming three or four weeks." Moyes had only 16 fit professionals to select from for the opening game of the Copa de Tejas in Houston against Mexican side Pachuca in the early hours of this morning. He started the game with James McFadden partnering Kevin Campbell up front, meaning new signing Marcus Bent joined Nick Chadwick on the substitutes' bench. But Moyes has urged Bent, a £450,000 signing from Leicester City last month, to use the tournament as an opportunity to earn a place in the starting lineup for next month's Premiership opener against champions Arsenal.
"He has got to try and force his way into our side and hopefully that will happen," said the Everton manager. "He is doing fine. He has settled down well and is well integrated with the lads. "He is very quick and he will give us pace in the team. But he will have to earn his place like everyone else."
Meanwhile new signing Tim Cahill has revealed that the chance to go to the Olympics with David Moyes' blessing was a major factor in his decision to join Everton. The Australian international will miss the first three weeks of the new Premiership season with the Greek Games starting next month. And he said: "Everton have been fantastic, David Moyes and Bill Ken-wright, for the backing they have given me and I want to build a strong rapport with the manager. "It's all about give and take and having a good relationship. " That did make a big decision in why I went to Everton."

Wright ready for a fresh run at Goodison gloves
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jul 30 2004
RICHARD WRIGHT could be forgiven for feeling a little apprehensive when he began packing for Everton's trip to Houston. It was during the close season last year when the goalkeeper, while reaching for a suitcase in his loft at his Ipswich home, slipped from the ladder and damaged his shoulder. It would prove a precursor for a year to forget for Wright. The injury forced him to miss almost all of the pre-season preparations, with the 26-year-old being rushed back to take his place between the sticks for the opening fixture at Arsenal. But no sooner had he recovered then he was sidelined again with a recurring knee injury which eventually needed a major operation. Worse still, during recuperation Wright was forced to look on as Nigel Martyn - brought in by Everton manager David Moyes to primarily provide extra competition - ended up as the club's player of the season after a series of outstanding displays proved the highlight of an otherwise forgettable campaign for the Goodison club. Wright could be somewhat disgruntled at seeing himself drop down the pecking order behind someone in the twilight of his career. But after a year in which low followed low, the former Arsenal player is just pleased to be back in contention for a tilt at the goalkeeper's jersey. "I'm glad I'm able to be here," says Wright of the tour to Texas. "Pre-season was not a happy time for me last year. "This year has been different. I've just kept going from the end of last season. I was on standby for England for Euro 2004 so I kept myself fit and worked hard at the gym, even when I was on holiday. "I think I suffered because of the lack of a pre-season last time. Physically I felt fit, but the knee problem had not been sorted out from the year before." Rather than the headline-grabbing shoulder injury, it was that niggling knee complaint which would be the cause of much of Wright's frustration last season. Eventually, it took a trip to famed specialist Dr Richard Steadman to resolve matters. Wright explains: "I had a year without really knowing what was wrong. I was having operations where they were cleaning it out and saying I could train again and the problem would still be there. "That was frustrating and in hindsight it would have been better to have had the problem sorted at the initial stage. "When I went to see Richard Steadman, he watched a video of a previous operation on my knee and knew immediately what was wrong. He found a fold of tissue which had calcified and gone rock hard and stopped the knee cap from moving. "Once he sorted that out I have had no problems with the injury recurring and I can smash a ball without worry. "The downside of going to America is that the rehabilitation took so long. In England if I'd had the operation I might have been back inside six weeks, but they wanted it to be 10 weeks before I even started serious training. "But I can't complain. It seems to have worked."
So much so that Wright has been in impressive form as the goalkeepers have been put through their paces by coach Chris Woods. However, the England international is realistic when it comes to his immediate first-team chances under Moyes. "The gaffer has said it is a fresh start for a new season, but from my point of view Nigel had an excellent season last time and it's up to me to push myself ahead of him," said Wright. "That's why I'm working hard now to make sure I do get the opportunities and make the most of them." Martyn's arrival from Leeds on deadline day last season led to Wright making a decision which ultimately worked against him. "I knew Nigel would do well," he says. "He hasn't played at the highest level for no reason. "That probably contributed to why I played against Newcastle just after he joined. I was so desperate to remain in the team, particularly having missed the previous game against Liverpool. "I was worried if Nigel got in the team then he might end up staying there, and that's what happened. "I went out against Newcastle and wasn't fully fit. It's something that I have learned from. "I've always got on well with Nigel from our days of training together with England. We work hard together and I have learned a lot from him. I have really enjoyed the time he has been here, but it was frustrating to see him performing so well last season. "Obviously, I want to play and he knows that. We both know the situation." But despite the likelihood of beginning the Premiership season still on the substitutes' bench,, Wright has no plans to move away from Goodison. "What has happened to me over the last few years has made me even more hungry," he says.. "I want to be playing in the top flight and achieve more and more, and regain my place in the England fold. That is my aim. "But my goal at the moment is to get back into the Everton team. Anything else will come from that. I have no reason not to see my long-term future at Goodison. I really enjoy it Everton, they are a great club with great fans. "My family are settled up here and we enjoy the lifestyle. But I will enjoy it more with first-team football."

Situation may well drag on a while
Fanscene By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Jul 30 2004
JUST about the only good thing about Everton having no money is that you can pretty much dismiss just about every transfer rumour you hear as pie in the sky. However, the little lie factory that churns these crazy stories out has simply transferred production over to 'mystery investor' tales instead..
Terry Leahy and Philip Green have now been joined by Lord Grantchester, avowed Kopite Steve Morgan and various 'mysterious Americans'. It's surely only a matter of time before we dust down the Bernie Ecclestone, Paul McCartney and Sultan of Brunei links again, allowing the Reds to start making their tried and trusted 'cowboy outfit' jokes,, no doubt. We're all obviously hoping for a resolution to the whole ownership situation today, but there's every chance that we will have to wait a while before the blue smoke rises from the boardroom and we know just who is in charge.
Paul Gregg's mystery £15million will surely come with a certain amount of conditions and caveats attached because, as someone commented earlier in the week: "If there's someone out there willing to just hand over £15m to Everton then Bill Kenwright would have found him years ago." Any proposal then is more than likely going to have to be examined closely before anything is agreed, meaning that this situation could feasibly drag on a while longer. That's not ideal, obviously, with the start of the season approaching so fast, but decisions like this are too important to be rushed.
Another person not making any snap judgements is Thomas Gravesen, who apparently wants to wait and see if Everton make any progress before he signs any new deal. It isn't clear what proof of progress he requires, which would lead you to think that the Dane is actually looking to leave on a free next summer.

Let them sweat
Post Soapbox by Icliverpool & Daily Post
Jul 30 2004
SO some Everton players in the last year of their contract are beginning to get twitchy - good!!
Part of the mess we are in is down to them. David Moyes, is dead right to make them sweat a bit and prove they are worth a renewed contract by having to play for one. We know some can't or won't and the sooner their time is up the better.
T Booth, Waterloo
Bill's best bet
I'M a passionate Blue, and it does look like a real possibility we're in danger of relegation. I for one would rather be relegated with Bill Kenwright than Paul Gregg. Gregg says no new funds for the manager for at least a few years - at least Kenwright realises we need players now.
John Prior, Liverpool
Self help
SO Thomas Gravesen wants assurances that David Moyes intends to improve the squad. He could start the improvement himself by passing the ball to one of our players for a change or learning how to tackle.
Sheila Jones, Liverpool
Nick's chance
ARE people really starting to have a go at David Moyes? Six months ago he was the new Alex Ferguson - now we say he should go.. Unbelievable. He has done what he could with a small bunch of Division One (sorry League Championship) players. The only decent players we have arrived under him: Wright, Martyn, Kilbane, McFadden, Yobo and Hibbert. I liked Radzinski but he did miss more than he scored. Chaddy is begging for a real chance. If Rooney stays we have four good strikers, Rooney, Chaddy, Bent and McFadden.
Andy Powell, Liverpool

Pachuca 2, Everton 5
Jul 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod At The Reliant Stadium, Liverpool Echo
IT seems Everton left all their problems on the plane when they arrived here in Houston.
David Moyes and his men have been able to put the club's off-the-field worries to the backs of their minds here in Texas - and it showed last night as they thumped Mexican champions Pachuca 5-2 in the opening match of the Copa de Tejas. Five different goalscorers led Moyes' men to victory amidst the magnificent surroundings of the Reliant Stadium. But this was no walkover. The win had to be earned the hard way against a Mexican outfit which was slick and incisive on the offensive.
And that made the outcome all the more rewarding for a side that is short on numbers, but not on morale. It was James McFadden who set the tone, netting the opener after just three minutes before going on to produce a mesmerising performance in a free role behind Kevin Campbell.
Rome may be burning, but in Houston it was McFadden who was on fire. His preferred position is up front, and his chance came here because the manager's options have been depleted, with Tomasz Radzinski now at Fulham, Duncan Ferguson unable to travel to the US and Wayne Rooney injured.
But he is not the only young player who could benefit this season from the trimming down of the Goodison squad. Both Nick Chadwick and Leon Osman can expect to get far more first team football this year than they have been given in previous seasons. And each had an impact last night. The former fired in the fifth of the night after coming on as a sub, and the latter was the provider for McFadden's opener. A neat piece of skill saw him evade two defenders with a swift turn on the edge of the box before sliding McFadden in down the inside right of the penalty box. From an acute angle he fired a shot across the face of Colombian international goalkeeper Miguel Rodriguez and into the far corner of the net. Moyes had warned before the game that this week's intensive work on the training ground in the extreme Texan heat could tell on his players. But there was no sign during a thrilling opening 15 minutes. McFadden was roaming across the frontline, losing his markers and utilising his skill to infiltrate the penalty box. It was his scintillating run from the halfway line which led to the second goal for the Blues. He charged into the box past two defenders only to see his shot blocked. It bounced out to Osman, who also saw a shot blocked. But this time Angulo had done so with the use of the arm. With David Unsworth now departed and Ferguson and Rooney back in England, Thomas Gravesen slotted the ball calmly into the bottom left corner. It seemed those Evertonians who had made the long journey to Texas would be in for a goalfest long before the second-half flourish. Instead, Pachuca found their passing game and their superior pace, and the scores were level at half-time. But that was more to do with slack Everton defending than slick Mexican football. Alan Stubbs was caught out for each of the goals. He was dispossessed inside his own area by Sergio Piedra in the 23rd minute. The low cross found Juan Cacho and he swept a shot beyond Nigel Martyn. The equaliser came a minute before the interval. Octavio Martinez found space in front of the Everton area. He charged goalwards, nutmegged Stubbs as he entered the box and fired beyond Martyn. The fear at half time was that Everton's tough training ground regime would catch up with them after the break. For 10 minutes it appeared as if that would be the case. But then came the five-minute flourish which put Pachuca on the back foot. And this time the lead would not be relinquished. McFadden was the key. Every time he received the ball it seemed something exciting would follow. He produced a number of audacious shots from distance which troubled the Pachuca keeper. And in the 55th minute a good cross from Lee Carsley was headed towards the bottom corner of the net by the Scot, only for Rodriguez to prod clear. It was his flair which caught the eye whenever he received the ball. But his running off the ball to find space and stretch the defence was equally impressive. But when the third goal came in the 57th minute, it was from McFadden's strike partner. Gravesen swept an in-swinging cross from the left and Campbell rose unmarked five yards out to head home. Another header restored the two-goal advantage, Kevin Kilbane heading in at the back post from a McFadden corner. Gravesen came within inches of adding his second of the game with a 25 yard free-kick 12 minutes from time which beat the keeper but bounced back off the crossbar. Instead, it was left to Chadwick to make it five with six minutes to go. Now the Blues need only avoid defeat by three clear goals against Club America on Sunday and they will be returning to Merseyside with some silverware to show for their trip.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert (Clarke 46), Stubbs, Yobo, Naysmith (Bent 70); Osman, Gravesen, Carsley, Kilbane; McFadden, Campbell (Chadwick 79).
PACHUCA (3-5-2): Rodriguez ( Cabrera 73); Angulo (Solis 70), de Anda, Duran (Yacuta 56); Barrera (Galaviz 64) , Cordoba, Espinosa (Noe 64), Martinez, Rosas (Omelas 64); Piedra, Cacho (Chavez 46).
REFEREE: Mr R Alberto.
STAR MAN: James McFadden.


Blues chief won't budge
Jul 30 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT will not stand down as chairman at Everton, unless boardroom rival Paul Gregg names his mystery backers. But Gregg says the chairman has already received legal guarantees that the money is in place - and that any postponement of a decision will further harm the club. Following Monday's board meeting, both parties decided that the club's future would be resolved today. But The ECHO can reveal Kenwright intends to dig his heels in, until he knows where Gregg's promised £15m is coming from. "I've already said before, if there is a cash transfer of £15m that I could not match, and part of that was for me to stand down, then I would go - with a broken heart but my head held high," Kenwright told the ECHO. But the chairman believes he has had no assurances or guarantees that the money even exists. Contrary to reports yesterday, he claims no detailed business plan or proposal was put before him at Monday's board meeting. And he will not relinquish the reins of his beloved Blues until he is convinced they are in safe hands. No meeting is planned between the two men today, but the pair have been in touch by e-mail - and Gregg insists his promised £15m investment is both credible and put up by "blue-blooded Englishmen". It is said Gregg's lawyers sent a letter to Ken-wright yesterday confirming the money is there. Kenwright however, insists he has received no such guarantee. The new investors want a clean board so they can start rebuilding the club from scratch. And Gregg has reiterated once again that his plans do not include the sale of Wayne Rooney, the sacking of David Moyes or the immediate selling of his own shareholding. If Kenwright continues to prove stubborn, Gregg may reluctantly take the case to court. He could argue that Kenwright is not acting in the best interests of the club and believes that a resolution could be reached in the civil courts within 48 hours. But he wants to avoid further conflict and hopes Kenwright will give a final decision soon. It is now a fortnight since Gregg went public proclaiming there were people ready to invest millions into Everton. He has stressed the club must be restructured first, with True Blue Holdings - the sub company which effectively controls Everton dismantled. Gregg, who has privately expressed his concerns within the club for over a year, believes no one will invest serious money into Everton at present because, as organised, they would not get the influence and power required in return. He also believes the club is lacking focus and direction under Kenwright. Kenwright counters by claiming Gregg has no feel for the club and lacks the commitment he brings.

Attempting to break America is non-cents
Jul 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod In Houston, Liverpool Echo
AS Robbie Williams will testify, 'breaking the American market' is no easy thing. But that is precisely what some of the biggest clubs in British football are trying to do during this pre-season. Like the 19th century prospectors, Europe's elite are heading west in search of gold. But is it fool's gold? Graham Smith is the US-based agent who helped put together Everton's trip to Houston. He is sceptical about the chances of the English clubs making an imprint on the US sporting psyche.
Everton, unlike some of the other Premiership outfits, have no commercial agenda to their visit.
It is the facilities, the change of scenery and the opportunity to pit their wits against the different footballing style of Mexico's top sides - Club America and Pachuca - that proved the biggest draw.
And, according to Smith, that is the best the English sides can expect this summer. He is certainly well placed to gauge the mood of the American sporting audience. He has been living in Los Angeles since 1994 but was brought up on Merseyside, first in Dovecot and then Rainhill. A lifelong Evertonian, he played in the same side as Joe Royle during his days at Quarry Bank School and went on to forge a successful career in the game with Notts County, Colchester, West Brom and Cambridge United. After hanging up his boots his romance with the game continued, working for a decade at adidas before joining the board at Chelsea in 1985 and overseeing the club's commercial operations. After leaving Stamford Bridge in 1990 he set up his company, the First Wave Sports Marketing Agency with Frank McLintock. As an agent, he helped take Preki and Robert Warzycha to Everton and represents a number of European-based players. And his verdict of the influx of European 'soccer' clubs to the US is straightforward. "I am sure the English clubs think there is a commercial opportunity for them over here," admits Smith. "But, in truth, at this moment in time there really isn't. The American sporting public are pretty ambivalent about it all. "For the limited football market there is over here, there was awareness of Wayne Rooney during Euro 2004. "USA Today even devoted a line or a photograph about him during the tournament. But if he walked into this hotel where the team are staying nobody would recognise him. There is always a marketing edge on things in the States. But the clubs in England are deluded somewhat if they can think they can crack it. "The real benefits of coming here lie in the facilities and the change of environment." Last summer when Manchester United arrived for their tour they played to record-breaking crowds in both Seattle and Philadelphia. The club pocketed £1.3m from that tour and intend to make it £2m this summer. No doubt others are hoping for a similar revenue boost. But for the US fans it is just an interesting sideshow. Once the clubs return home, the short-term interest will wane and they will return to the more popular sports like basketball, American football, ice hockey and baseball The conclusion is simple. It is not a case of what the club's can do for America, rather what America can do for the clubs.

Moyes job security is crucial for Blues
Jul 30 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
AT the time of writing, wisps of white smoke over Goodison were still conspicuous only by their absence. But regardless of who wins the power struggle, there is one individual who I believe is vital to the future health of Everton Football Club. David Moyes must remain as manager. Clearly, the situation doesn't even need discussing if Bill Kenwright holds sway. He brought Moyes to the club, has forged a close and trusting relationship with him and backed him with whatever funds he can chisel out of Barclays Bank. According to two separate stories, however, the goalposts move if Paul Gregg wins control. On Wednesday a tabloid tale suggested Gary Megson had been lined up to replace Moyes in the event of a Gregg success. Yesterday it was Gordon Strachan's name in the frame. Paul Gregg laughed off both stories when asked. There is even a train of thought that the tales might have been planted by pro-Kenwright pals to damage Gregg's standing among Evertonians. If so, the ploy failed. Website polls have 80 per cent of Evertonians backing the businessman over the lifelong fan. But the seed has already been planted that Moyes may not survive a successful coup. Such a situation would, to my mind, be desperately damaging. Just look at the evidence this week. Gary Naysmith expressed concern that 14 senior players would be out of contract next summer. Not only did that have financial implications for the club, but there were morale issues for the players concerned. Moyes' response was admirable.. Regardless of how many of the 14 play-ers you or I believe Everton would actually miss, Moyes declared: "Yes, we do have a lot of players out of contract at the same time. I've told them all they have to prove to me they are worth new deals." A possible negative turned into a very big positive. Everton has been wracked by instability in the past decade and another change of manager would offer, at best, only very short term improvement. More important is a swift resolution of the boardroom chaos.
Over to Bill and Paul.
Food for thought
EDITOR'S Comment in World Soccer magazine provided food for thought. Gavin Hamilton wrote of Wayne Rooney giving interviews only to those publications who were prepared to plug a particular fizzy drink and a certain brand of crisps. "And we wonder why we are nurturing a generation of obese children." And that's without even mentioning the deal with The Sun, a newspaper which hardly leaped to his side following last week-end's tawdry 'revelations.'

Everton fight may end up in court
Jul 30 2004 By Mark Hookham, Daily Post
THE battle for Everton's boardroom could end up in court, the Daily Post can reveal. Paul Gregg is understood to be considering taking legal action if his feud with Bill Kenwright is not resolved. The two millionaires are locked in a struggle for control of the club, with Gregg claiming he has attracted three investors willing to inject £15m into the club. But he insisted the investors will only release the money if True Blue Holdings, which holds 72% of the club's shares, is dissolved and Kenwright resigns as chairman. The former friends met in a stormy showdown on Monday which concluded with a pledge to resolve who controls the club by 1pm today. During that meeting, Kenwright presented four names of potential investors he had talked to about injecting cash into Everton.
Gregg insisted he could have £15m in the club's coffers by the end of September, but refused to tell Kenwright who his backers are. The Daily Post understands that a portion of that £15m will be Gregg's own money. The founder of Apollo Leisure Group invested around £7m when True Blue was formed in 2001, a fraction of his estimated £160m fortune. Before the Monday meeting, Gregg was asked what he would do if Kenwright rejected his plan. He replied to reporters: "We will consider our legal position". The Daily Post understands Gregg is considering making a legal case alleging that Kenwright has not acted in the best interests of the club. Sources close to Gregg say he believes the matter could be resolved in the civil courts within 48 hours. Gregg has previously issued a statement in response to claims on internet websites that he would sell the club's prize asset, Wayne Rooney, to underpin his investment. He said: "The club has made an offer to Wayne Rooney and we are determined to keep him as well as providing immediate funds to strengthen the team."
Meanwhile, Kenwright was last night locked in 11th hour talks with a number of investors in London.
Friends say he has been working 20-hour days this week in an effort to put together an investment package. Ian McDonald, from the Independent Everton Supporters Club, said: "I have spoken to Bill a few times and I believe he will know what is best for this club." A club spokesman said: "There is no formal meeting as such. Documents will be exchanged by either fax or email and then there may or may not be a statement released."
Moores grandson linked with return
LORD GRANTCHESTER, a former Everton director who retired from the board four years ago, continues to be linked with a return to the club. The 53-year-old Labour peer, grandson of former owner Sir John Moores, refused to deny claims he may be one of Paul Gregg's mystery investors.
Gregg has insisted he has three investors willing to inject £15m into the club. Earlier in the week sources close to Lord Granchester dismissed speculation linking him with such investment as "wide of the mark". But last night the peer said: "I share a great desire in seeing Everton achieve a better future, and I understand that changes need to be made. I look forward to hearing proposals from the board."

Everton could have an arena like this
Jul 30 2004 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
LIKE Everton, Coca Cola Championship's Coventry is in dire financial straits. But, unlike Everton, the club is able to anticipate playing in a state-of-the-art stadium because the city council had the vision to resurrect a dream. Yes, lowly Coventry City will kick off the 2005-2006 season in a magnificent, new £60m stadium. And guess what - the project is headed by a Scouser. Roby-born Barry Butterworth, 43, is the council's project coordinator. And what a project it is. As part of Arena Coventry, which cost a total of £113m, the stadium is linked to a £250m overall development scheme involving the biggest Tesco store in Europe. The football club had tried to develop its own ground on a 70-acre site next to the M6, but its deepening financial troubles dashed its dreams.
However, the council realised the site could provide a stadium and the kind of leisure facilities only available in nearby Birmingham. So they devised an audacious development that cost Coventry's council tax payers just £10m with a further £5m of European funding and £5m coming from Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency. The rest of the £250m cost has come from the private sector eager to get involved in or sponsor the ambitious new development. What they will have when Arena Coventry is complete next July is a leisure scheme that will attract pop concerts, exhibitions, conferences and gamblers, as well as football fans. All will pour a steady stream of revenue into the venture's coffers. And Barry Butterworth says there are lots of comparisons that can be drawn between our two cities. "Coventry has a population of about 300,000 people and a sub region of 1m people," he says. "Like Liverpool, it was hit by recession but is now very vibrant with £4bn of investment in the city and low unemployment." He says that as Coventry's fortunes improved, the council wanted to spread prosperity from the south of the city to the north, where the Arena Coventry site is situated. The council bought the 70 acres and then sold 32 acres to supermarket giant Tesco: "That gave the council a huge amount of money that it put back into the scheme," says Barry. All four sides of the ground have attracted big sponsors eager to pour money into the project: luxury car maker Jaguar, which has a Halewood plant, has just been unveiled as the main Arena Coventry sponsor in a £7m deal. The council was able to fund the project, not because of the football stadium, but because of the regeneration and the 3,000 jobs it will create. Barry says they recognised they could not build a stadium that could only be used for 30 days a year. The development will be a third of a mile long and will provide a 32,000-seat stadium which can be converted to a 40,000 capacity for concerts. When not in use by the club the development will offer conference facilities for 3,500, a 1,000-seat banqueting facility, a health and leisure centre and private office space for community use. Ingeniously, the 70 football club executive boxes are larger than normal for conversion into bedrooms, so on non-match days, the arena has a 70-room hotel. Two exhibition halls are planned for events like snooker tournaments or business presentations and beneath those will be a massive casino with a gaming hall the size of a football pitch. According to Barry, everyone is a winner with Arena Coventry: "The council owns the land and building and we see it as an asset," he says. "Coventry will use the stadium as a tenant on a long-term lease. "We recognise the club was the key at the start with the vision and it has the possibility, when it gets back to economic stability, of coming back and becoming part of the arena operation and taking revenue from some of the facilities." He says all parties realised that a football ground cannot be developed in its own right now: "It has to be delivered with key partners. "We want to provide new facilities for the city and 3,000 jobs and there is a brilliant-synergy between all these elements of the football ground, the hotel, conferencing etc and everyone gains, the club, the council and other investors. "But all the partners must be sold on it to deliver it," he insists. Barry confesses to being an Everton fan, but he adds: "Seeing what Everton and Liverpool have been trying to achieve and being involved in this makes you realise what a fantastic project it is here. "This is unique on this continent. We hope we can show what can be achieved." After learning of the project, a Liverpool council spokesman said: "If the private sector could demonstrate they have major schemes and funding available we will look at them very carefully."

The peer with the right pedigree to bale out Blues
Jul 30 2004 Daily Post
LORD Grantchester has the ideal pedigree to be Everton's knight in shining armour - but this is his second chance to bale out the Blues. As an heir to the Moores fortune, Lord Grantchester is part of a bloodline which earned the Goodison club the 1960s nickname the Mersey Millionaires. Christopher John Suenson-Taylor, the third Baron of Grantchester, 53, was educated at Winchester School and the London School of Economics. A dairy farmer by profession, he is married with one son. His original place on the Goodison board in 1994 was a legacy born from his grandfather, Sir John Moores. Founder of the Littlewoods empire, Sir John became a club director in 1960, progressing to chairman later that year. When Peter Johnson took over the majority shareholding of the club in 1994, the Moores family retained a presence on the board, with Lord Grantchester elected in July 1994. But in 2000 Kenwright formed the True Blue consortium and took over control of the club. Speculation quickly mounted about Lord Grantchester's future role with Everton and, within months, he resigned. He denied there had been a rift with the new owners of the club.
He said: "My stepping down had produced some speculation which I would like to clear up,
"I have had no disagreements with my fellow directors and I would like to express my full support for Bill Kenwright and his board. "I am not walking away from Everton Football Club. It has been a part of my upbringing. My first Latin words were Nil Satis Nisi Optimum." The Moores family sold the Littlewoods and retailing mail order company in 2002 for £750m. They had already sold some stores in 1998 and the pools business in 2000 - those proceeds and past dividends are worth £445m. The 2004 Sunday Times Rich List estimates the family is worth £1.1bn, although it is unknown how much Lord Granchester is worth or how much he stands to inherit.


Fans' anger grows at everton stalemate
Jul 30 2004 By Mark Hookham, Daily Post
HE struggle for control of Everton's boardroom hit stalemate last night after chairman Bill Kenwright refused to recognise the authenticity of a £15m rescue proposal by millionaire director Paul Gregg.
Gregg announced yesterday that Moores family heir Lord Grantchester is one of the investors who has agreed to help fund the cash injection into the club. But last night Kenwright said he wanted firm proof of the validity of Gregg's proposals before he would accept them, and was continuing his own efforts to find new investment. Labour peer Lord Grantchester stands to inherit part of his family's £1.1bn fortune and already owns around 10% of the shares. A former Everton director, he quit the Everton board when True Blue Holdings, which currently owns a 72% stake, took control of the club four years ago. Gregg claims new money will only flow into the club if True Blue dissolves and Kenwright stands down as chairman. The Everton board met on Monday and, after an angry confrontation between the former friends, the club issued a statement claiming that the issue of control of the club would be resolved on Friday. But at 5pm yesterday, Gregg held a press conference outside the main reception of Goodison and said the club remained deadlocked.
He said: "There has been no formal decision. Mr Kenwright promised he would tell everybody this afternoon where control would lay. "We made the proposal, it is a genuine proposal, the funds are there but at 5pm today we have not heard from Mr Kenwright. "I do not want to walk away from this. I have put my head above the parapet and said what is wrong with the club. Everybody wants Everton to be the best club in the Premier League." He confirmed Lord Grantchester's involvement in his proposal, but declined to say how much the Cheshire dairy farmer would contribute. He said: "It is envisaged that he will be part of the board. We have a very credible member of the Merseyside community on board. You do not need further proof (of our proposals) than that." He said he had been in "written communication" with Kenwright, but had not talked to him. He added he would consider his options over the weekend and confirmed that one of those options was legal action.
Last night, Kenwright issued a statement in which he claimed Gregg had failed to deliver a formal proposal providing evidence of the £15m new investment, despite promising to do so within 24 hours of Monday's board meeting. Kenwright said: "Neither myself nor my fellow director, Jon Woods received any such proposal. However, what we did receive - repeatedly - were emails from Paul which continued to demand our resignations and which, astonishingly, even contained the required letters for us to sign. "Today at 3.20pm, Jon and I received a fax from a lawyer acting on Paul's behalf stating that he had seen a letter from a third party - who wished to remain anonymous - but who, he claimed, was 'in principle' prepared to support an investment of up to £15m if, and only if, changes were made amongst the club's board. The financial status of this nameless third party was confirmed not by a bank nor by a leading financial institution but by a lawyer.
"On that basis, and seemingly that basis alone, Paul continues to demand that both myself and Jon stand down. "Despite repeated requests, the board is no closer to ascertaining who Paul's proposed investors are and we still await delivery of the financial guarantees and formal proposals which were promised earlier in the week. "What is at stake here is the future control of one of the world's great football clubs, a club which both myself and Jon have loved and supported all our lives and a club which took me three years of toil and a further four months of detailed negotiation and scrutiny to allow myself to get to the same position which Paul wishes to find himself in, inside a week. "Both myself and Jon feel that we have a huge responsibility to Evertonians all over the world. If trying to behave and act in a responsible and honourable manner is not part of that responsibility then maybe the simplest solution is for both of us to sign Paul's resignation letters." He added that he was still working on team building and trying to find new investment. "I repeat that...I am prepared to stand down should Paul keep his promise to provide the club with the required evidence of a cash injection which I cannot match." Last night, Nick Williams, secretary of the Everton Shareholders' Association, said frustration was growing among the supporters. He said: "I think as soon as you give people a deadline and then nothing happens, they start to get more angry. "The football season is two weeks away and the transfer deadline is about four weeks away. "If the boardroom is not sorted out then the playing problems will not be alleviated and that is what people's main concern is." Carl Roper, from Everton for Change, set up in May this year to stop the club's slide, said now may be the time for Kenwright to step aside. He added: "Today has been another false dawn. There is a guy whose credentials as an Evertonian have been called into question - not without good reason - but who has a proposal to bring some money into the club and make it more dynamic. "A lot seems to be put on Bill Kenwright's judgment of who Paul Gregg's backers are. "Our view is that Bill's performance over the last four years calls his own judgment into question. "In that time, we have had a failed media deal and the shambles over the stadium, while now we have the amount of money available to the manager changing by the day."

Goodison pays tribute to loyal Blues fan
Jul 31 2004 Liverpool Echo
A HUGE banner displaying an image of tragic Everton fan Bernard Murphy is to be hung outside Goodison Park throughout the coming season. Lifelong Blues supporter Mr Murphy, 40, was killed in a freak accident as he travelled to Everton's away match at Leicester on March 20 this year.
Ever since, club officials have been looking at ways of paying a fitting tribute to Mr Murphy, (pictured), who had not missed an Everton game for three seasons prior to his death. Now the club have decided to feature his image in a series of banners to be flown outside Goodison Park throughout the 2004/05 season. Everton spokesman Ian Ross told the ECHO: "We have been flying banners outside the ground for the past couple of seasons. "The first time we did it was to commemorate our 100 years in the top flight and the second time was to celebrate our 125th anniversary as a club. "The banners were very popular with our fans so we thought that it would be a good idea to celebrate the fans themselves this season. "During the discussions to do this someone came up with the idea of using an image of Bernard Murphy on one of the banners.
"In our opinion this is a particularly fitting way of celebrating Mr Murphy's life as an Evertonian and hopefully what we are doing will provide a bit of comfort to his family and friends every time they come to Goodison Park." Mr Murphy, from Huyton, was killed on his way to Leicester's Walkers Stadium when he was hit by wooden hoardings blown by 70mph winds. He had been walking along the city's Upperton Road when the tragedy happened.

Rooney snubs top box
Jul 31 2004 Liverpool Echo
WAYNE ROONEY has given the clearest indication yet that his future lies away from Everton - by failing to renew the option on his executive box at Goodison Park. The youngster's Pro-Active advisers are responsible for hiring the suite, but have informed Everton they are not in a position to do so at present. Rooney's box is one of the most luxurious at Goodison, situated on the halfway line - and he regularly raced across to celebrate in front of it after scoring important goals last season. Everton will now release the box to other supporters. Rooney has still to respond to the offer of a club record-breaking £50,000-a-week contract offer made after his Euro 2004 heroics.

Gregg: My backer is a true Blue
Jul 31 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GREGG has spoken about the true Blue Evertonian he believes can take over from Bill Kenwright's True Blue Holdings at Goodison Park. As revealed in later editions of yesterday's Echo, Lord Grantchester is one of the investors behind Paul Gregg's bid to wrest control at Everton.
In a press conference outside Goodison Park, Gregg said: "He's a true Blue. You can't have any better Blue than Lord Grantchester. "We've agreed he would help form a new board. It's a considerable involvement." The 53-year-old Labour peer is one of Gregg's backers in his bid to oust Bill Kenwright, and Gregg added he was disappointed there was no formal response to his proposals from the theatre impresario as yesterday's self-imposed deadline passed. "One of our partners has already been announced and it's quite obvious we can supply the funds. It's as simple as that. It's a genuine proposal but we've had no confirmation from Bill Kenwright about the offer. "We need to think about our position now, but it's an incredibly sad day for Everton, for the fans, the players, the manager, that we have no sense of direction. Everyone will feel terribly let down. "I haven't spoken to Bill today. I don't know if it's ended our friendship, but I feel I've been let down in the last four years. "We've confirmed to Bill our plan was, as far as we're concerned, to put £15m of new money into the club, to deal with the shortfall in the cash flow at that time and take the club forward.
"I'm disappointed with Bill Ken-wright. Bill is a passionate Evertonian, but this is a big problem at the moment. The club hasn't got any sense of direction and the club is more important and people must do the honourable thing. "It's a matter of urgency that the board makes some decisions on how the club is run immediately." Kenwright believes the correspondence he received from Gregg yesterday was a lawyer's letter which offers no proof of funds and fails to reveal the identity of all of the investors. Kenwright has repeatedly stated he would walk away from the club if he was convinced its future was in safe hands - but until he is aware of the full details of the proposed takeover he cannot do that. Gregg, however, claims this is merely a stalling tactic. "There is no secrecy over the other backers," he said. "What we wanted Bill to understand was that there would be other people willing to put money into Everton on the basis that the board was changed. "When Bill asked me to join True Blue he wasn't bothered where the £10m was coming from then." Keith Wyness, meanwhile, has quit as chief executive of Aberdeen - after being linked with a move to Everton.
"I have several options that I am considering," he said. "Everton is not the only possibility, although it is flattering to be linked with them." No appointment can be made, however, until a decision is taken on who will be running the club at boardroom level.


















July 2004