Divided loyalties for confused English Blues
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Jun 3 2002
EVERTON fans won't know whether to feel proud, perplexed or panicked this morning.
One of their own, Niclas Alexandersson, scores a stunning World Cup goal with his wrong foot, but it turns out to be the strike that condemns a nervy England to 90 minutes hard labour, and much soul-searching, in Saitamo. Alexandersson so rarely gets into shooting positions for the Royal Blues that seeing him hoover up in a clearance from Danny Mills and hammer it past a dazzled David Seaman will have sent shock waves through the faithful, who've seen him disappoint so consistently at Goodison and elsewhere. Mind you, it could have been worse for England, and more confusing for Evertonians, had another Swedish misfit, Tobias Linderoth, scorched a shot into the net instead of over the bar. That might have given the Scandinavians a shock opening win and sentenced Sven-Goran Eriksson to some sleepless nights. Linderoth has become the invisible man since Walter Smith brought him to Goodison. Yet here he was helping steady a midfield that grew stronger and more composed as the game progressed. A goal then from the man virtually ignored by the incoming David Moyes would have made Sven look even more gloom-laden, before David Seaman gave him reason to smile with important saves from Freddie Ljungberg and full-back Teddy Lucic.
But what about the first half when England, on the back of a fierce headed goal by Sol Campbell after a superb David Beckham corner, appeared in command? Just an illusion, I'm afraid. At no point did we look completely at ease. Sol Campbell in particular seemed edgy on the very rare occasions when Sweden managed to get Henrik Larsson and Marcus Allback forward, and the experiment with Emile Heskey down the left meant that England were playing three against four - one of the four being the skipper who was never going to be match fit. This was an area that would eventually threaten England with what could have been a demoralisind defeat. It didn't much matter in the first half when Sweden struggled to put all the pieces together and Paul Scholes and Owen Hargreaves were fresh and alert. But as Beckham drifted away and Heskey found himself running into the same blind alleys, England became narrower and narrower and Sweden, given the high-octane infusion of Southampton's Anders Svensson, began to make telling inroads into a central area which had suddenly gone soft. Not that there had been all that much fluency to begin with. But now, with Hargreaves and Scholes losing their way, Sven's men began to look as ordinary as Sweden had in the first 45 minutes. The man to suffer most from this power-cut was Michael Owen. He began brightly enough, but then found the ball being launched longer and higher in pursuit of a non-existent centre-forward. Owen was supposedly going to be the man of the moment, building on his mesmeric entrance of four years ago. On this kind of diet all he'll do is starve. Playing passes to his feet while he's surrounded by defenders isn't the cleverest way to use Michael, but finding him in space - something Steven Gerrard might have managed - seemed beyond the wit of his team-mates.
It's probably a bit early to despair, even though Eriksson himself - never the happiest - bore the look of a man sitting on something sharp and pointed. But the lessons of a sterile encounter need to be digested. Darius Vassall was the pick of the forwards, but rarely linked with Owen in any meaningful way and ended up giving England two left-wingers. Surely not the original idea. As for Heskey, either play him at centre-forward, where he can use his physical presence, or not at all. He's not a wide man, eager though he is to impress. The midfield needs a ballwinner, that was clear long before a limited Sweden began to fancy the game a bit more. Nicky Butt must take one of the central midfield spots or his Manchester United colleague, Juan Sebastian Veron, will do England fatal damage in Friday's frightener. Above all, let's just play people in their right position.
For Heskey, read also West Ham's Joe Cole, who was asked to play left when the Liverpool man got moved inside, and promptly disappeared. Have we seen the World Cup winners here, asked one radio commentator? Not a hope, came the instant reply as the departing England fans tried to keep the slump out of their shoulders. At least the Evertonians will have a few talking points that won't occur to the majority of the watching millions. And that's before they get on to the subject of Thomas Gravesen and the dynamic Denmark.
Jun 3 2002 By Chris Bascombe In Saitama, Liverpool Echo
NICLAS Alexandersson hopes his sensational start to the World Cup will help to revitalise his Everton career next season. The Swedish midfielder's brilliant finish heaped misery on England during the disappointing 1-1 draw in Saitama. And after scoring a famous goal for his country, Alexandersson admitted he particularly enjoyed getting one over the Liverpool contingent in the England camp --but hoped Evertonians would not hold it against him. "I have heard there were a few Everton fans who wanted Sweden to do well," said Alexandersson. "To have a good World Cup will help my confidence when I go back to Everton next season. It will be good for both Sweden and Everton if I do well although at the moment I'm thinking of my country." "I spotted an Everton flag in the crowd during the game and it made me feel at home. I hope not every English fan is unhappy I scored. I thought Toby (Linderoth) had a really good game as well so it was a good day for our club as well as Sweden." Alexandersson admitted Sweden were happier to deal with Emile Heskey as a winger rather than a forward. "We knew how England would line up and we expected Heskey to play in midfield," said the Swede. "I thought Heskey did well because he won many headers, but we were happy he was playing wide." The Everton star said it was one of his proudest moments when he realised he'd cancelled out Sol Campbell's opener. He added: "It was an unbelievable feeling for me when I saw the ball hit the back of the net. It's always fantastic to score, but the fact it was such an important goal made it extra special. "After we scored we created some more really good chances and we could have won the game. It was a really vital point for us. "England had a really good start and we were having to chase the ball a lot. It changed for us in the second half because I think England tired. It was particularly difficult for David Beckham playing his first game after injury.
"To get a point is always important in your first game, but to get it against England is even more significant. "They will have a lot of pressure on them when they play Argentina now."
Ipswich reject Stewart swop
Jun 5 2002 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
IPSWICH'S refusal to accept a cash-plus-player deal for Marcus Stewart has scuppered Everton's hopes of signing the Portman Road hitman. The Blues have enquired about the availability of Stewart and were encouraged to learn the relegated outfit would be willing to let the forward go.
But George Burley is only interested in a cash deal for the £5m rated striker. David Moyes (left) was willing to offer Ipswich a player-plus-cash deal but is unwilling to spend the majority of his summer transfer kitty on the player. There is now little chance of Everton following up their interest in the player. It is also unlikely that the manager's transfer fund will be boosted in the next couple of weeks by the sale of Alex Nyarko, despite speculation linking the Ghanaian midfielder with a move to Torino. Contrary to reports stating the Serie A outfit have tabled a £5m bid for the 28-year-old, Everton have received no contact from the Italian side. Club spokesman Ian Ross revealed: "There has been no contact between the clubs or from any other club regarding Alex Nyarko." David Moyes would be willing to listen to offers for the midfielder, who walked out on the Blues at the end of 2000/2001 season following a confrontation with a fan at Highbury. The Everton boss returns from the Far East tonight, where he has watched a handful of World Cup matches. He completed his trip by attending yesterday's China v Costa Rica clash, with speculation mounting that he was having a closer look at the £2m rated Saints target Li Tie.
I hope Moyes was watching - Linderoth
Jun 5 2002 By Chris Bascombe From Kobe
THE sight of Tobias Linderoth inserting the England midfield into his pocket probably came as much as a surprise to Evertonians as it did Sven- Goran Eriksson. Since David Moyes took charge, the Swede has become the Lord Lucan of Goodison, making just one appearance at Arsenal in the final game of last season. Judgement has been reserved on one of Walter Smith's final signings. Noone has seen enough of Linderoth to know if he's any good. On the evidence of Saitama, perhaps a hidden gem lurks behind the anonymous exterior. His impressive show against England will have been noted by those Blues delighted to see their men making such a good impression on the World Cup's opening games. he ease with which Linderoth controlled the second half may at least earn him a fresh start at Goodison next season. The player himself certainly hopes so. "I know David Moyes was going to the World Cup and I hope he was watching the game," said Linderoth after helping his side to a crucial point. "Obviously I want to have a good tournament because it may help me when I get home. You never know what will happen next season. "I felt very good out there, particularly in the second half. I was very happy with our performance but the disappointment for us was we didn't score another goal and win the game." With Thomas Gravesen starring for Denmark, Niclas Alexandersson claiming a famous goal for his country and Linderoth shining for Sweden, the Everton contingent have fared slightly better than their Liverpool rivals so far. Linderoth thinks Sweden outfoxed England tactically on Sunday and that allowed his side to transform the game.
"England were very good for the first 20 minutes of the game, but after half time the coach changed a few things and it was better for us," he said. "It's a good start for myself and Sweden and we must now continue this and hopefully progress to the next round." If Linderoth can shine in the next two games and beyond, the quietly spoken Swede may save, or raise, some more precious funds for Moyes' rebuilding process.
Evertonian - it's out now
Jun 5 2002
WORLD Cup fever is in the air in this month's issue of The Evertonian. As the greatest show on earth gets underway we relive some World Cup moments for former boys in Blue. While England and the Republic of Ireland go head-to-head as we speak to ex-World Cup toffees Alan Ball and Kevin Sheedy about their country's hopes and their own tournament experiences. And there's plenty more of course.
DAVID Moyes chats to us about life at Goodison now things have calmed down a bit, and lays down his expectations for the months ahead.
WE MEET the new additions to the coaching staff as former Blue Alan Irvine and Jimmy Lumsden arrive on Merseyside as Moyes' right-hand men.
IT WAS a strange old season for Steve Watson last time out but the highlight of it for him, he says, was the emergence of some of the younger players. He tells us about his high hopes for the future.
NO MONEY, poor football and little local talent in the squad. Yes, things aren't going brilliantly over at the 'other Everton'. We take a look at what's happening with our other side over in Chile.
WE will start our 100th season in the English top flight in August and we kick-start a series features related to that this month with 100 quiz questions about Everton for you to get your teeth into. How much do you really know?
WHEN the World Cup is over, what will you do then? Hopefully our rough guide to the summer will help you out ...
AND, as if that's not enough, we reveal the winners of our Player of the Season and Goal of the Season competitions ... all in this month's Evertonian.
EC approve new transfer laws
Jun 6 2002 Liverpool Echo
THE EUROPEAN Commission have given their final approval to football's new transfer rules and awarded sport as a whole a special status under EU employment law. The decision means the EC have drawn a line under their involvement in transfer disputes and ended the uncertainty about the legality of the new rules. The changes to transfer laws, implemented last year, have not had as great an effect as some had anticipated, and the most significant change is likely to be the implementation of two transfer windows from next season. Other rules limit contracts to five years, and make sure clubs and players stick to those contracts for a minimum of three years up to the age of 28, and two years afterwards. Suspensions or other sanctions will be applied to anyone who breaks their contract during those periods. The EC's decision also cements the right of players to have free transfers at the end of their contracts. EC competitions commissioner Mario Monti said: "Football now has the legal stability it needs to go forward."
Club rejects Blues approach for Eire star
Jun 6 2002 By Claire Gray, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have been thwarted in their attempts to prise Republic of Ireland World Cup star Matt Holland away from Ipswich Town. Their efforts to bring his teammate Marcus Stewart to Goodison were also rebuffed by Ipswich, who are refusing to consider anything other than cash deals for their players. The Blues have enquired about both players, who are valued at around £5m each.
Everton boss David Moyes has limited funds at his disposal and so a cash plus player deal is his only option if he wants to operate in that area of the market. But clubs are unwilling to get involved in traditional part-exchange deals in the wake of the ITV Digital crisis, as they look for cash up front to alleviate the financial strains the game is working under at the moment. The Blues encountered the same problems in trying to snare Derby County goalkeeper Mart Poom and Robbie Savage and are likely to come up against similar hurdles as they continue their search for reinforcements.
It is no coincidence that those clubs relegated from the Premiership last season are reluctant to take on the burden of another wage, as they look to recoup some of the losses of dropping into the first division. Ipswich themselves are hoping to recoup around £15m. It means that transfer action has so far been limited not only at Everton but right across the board.
Holden's rise from grassroots to Goodison Park
Jun 7 2002 By David Triggs, Chester Chronicle
ANDY Holden wasn't one to pull any punches as a player. In fact, most of the strikers who went head to head with him have probably still got the scars to prove it. But it was that straightforward, nononsense approach to the game that endeared Holden to new Everton boss David Moyes when he replaced the sacked Walter Smith earlier this year. Moyes put Holden, a surviving member of the Goodison Park backroom team of Smith s predecessor Howard Kendall, on a month's trial.
And the former Preston North End boss liked what he saw. "That was the longest month of my life!" said Holden. "I didn't know what the new boss would think of me and I didn't know if I would get on with him. "He wanted to watch me to see how I worked so I was really under the microscope.
"It was a massive relief when he took me into his office and told me he thought there was a place for me at the club. "The thing he said he liked most about me was my honesty. I always spoke up if there was something I didn't agree with, and he seemed to admire that." Moyes arrived on Merseyside a day before the relegation-troubled Blues were due to entertain Fulham at Goodison Park. With no time to get to know the players, he entrusted Holden with the job of picking the team. "The only problem was I had a reserve game to go to at Bradford the day before," said Holden, who joined Everton six years ago to work with the youth team before moving to manage the reserves and, more recently, help coach the first team. "I was sitting in the stand at Odsal Stadium on a rainy Friday night in Bradford trying to pick a team for the biggest game of my life."
A nerve-jangling 2-1 win against Jean Tigana's Cottagers sent the 40,000 Goodison faithful home happy and Holden headed straight back to his local, the British Legion in Flint, to have a few pints and unwind! Spurred by the arrival of Moyes, Everton escaped the dreaded drop. The players return for pre-season training on July 1 and go on a tour of Austria before the opening game of the Premiership season on August 17. Football is a multi-million pound industry now but the game was very different when Holden was a raw teenage defender with Flint Town United and Rhyl.
He joined Chester in 1983, making 100 appearances and captaining the side before being signed for Wigan Athletic by Ray Mathias in 1986. It was at the end of his first full season at Sealand Road that he won his one and only Welsh cap in a 0-0 bore draw with Israel. "I played half the game and did alright," he said. That Welsh team had some great players Mark Hughes, Ian Rush, Brian Flynn, Kevin Ratcliffe and Joey Jones." His move to Oldham from Wigan perhaps best illustrates how the game has changed beyond recognition in the last decade. "There were three clubs in for me; Preston, Crystal Palace and Oldham," he said. "I was undecided about where to go but got a phone call from Joe Royle, who was manager of Oldham at the time. We arranged to meet in one of my favourite pubs the Red Lion in Northop and when I arrived at 7pm, Joe was sitting there with two pints. Half-an-hour later I was an Oldham player!" Holden enjoyed the best years of his career at Boundary Park, playing in 1990 stitanic FA Cup semi-final tussle with Alex Ferguson's Manchester United.
On retiring from the game he moved into coaching, gaining the full FA badge and taking charge of Oldham reserves before the move to Goodison beckoned. At the start of last season, Everton stalwart Dave Watson wanted to take Holden across the Mersey with him when he left to take charge of Tranmere Rovers. "Dave wanted me as his assistant manager and I was tempted," said Holden, who lives in Flint with his wife Linda and children Jack, three, and four-year-old twins Ben and Sam. "But going to Tranmere would have meant taking a pay cut and I had to remember I have a family to support and a mortgage. "I don't regret the decision to stay with Everton, even though the last 12 months have been tough. I must have gone to between 70 and 100 matches last season!
"Everton is a massive club with phenomenal support. They deserve the best and I hope we can give them something to cheer about next season."
More of the same, Nic
Jun 7 2002 By Howard Kendall
EVERTON'S Niclas Alexandersson turned the clock back 18 months last weekend.
No doubt Evertonians watching England's match with Sweden will have been stunned by the quality of the performance from the Goodison winger. Rarely has he shown such quality in the royal blue of Everton. It was a performance reminiscent of his days with Sheffield Wednesday, when he was a wide man who scored goals on a regular basis and worked hard tracking back. Those are the qualities which endeared him to Walter Smith and which led to his transfer to Goodison.
It was a signing I was pleased with. Let's hope last week's showing is a sign of things to come and not merely a frustrating insight into what could have been.
Striker Fergie's 'No' to Scotland
Jun 10 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
SCOTLAND boss Berti Vogts has failed in a bizarre bid to tempt Duncan Ferguson back into the international fold - for one match only! After watching the aerial influence of Irish substitute Niall Quinn against Germany last week, Vogts contacted the Everton skipper to ask if he would reconsider ending his self-imposed exile when the Germans visit Glasgow in a Euro 2004 qualifier next summer. Ferguson, however, remained resolute in his refusal to represent his country.
"He said he never wanted to play for Scotland again. What could I do?" said Vogts. Seven of Germany's nine World Cup goals so far have been headers, and Vogts added: "The Germans do not like tall and powerful attackers running at them as we saw when Niall Quinn came on last week.
"I spoke to Ferguson for 15 minutes and tried very hard to get him to play for me against Germany.
"But the only solution now is to find another big, strong striker, which we have done in Kevin Kyle. He will need to be our Duncan Ferguson for that game. Ironically, Sunderland youngster Kyle has always listed Ferguson as a role model. "Ferguson is my hero and I've always looked up to him," he said. "He loves football and that's the way I hope to be."
Reserve boss glad to hold on
Report By Richard Williamson, Daily Post
Jun 11 2002
ANDY HOLDEN is looking forward to playing a key role in the new-look Everton coaching staff.
But the Reserve team boss, who guided the Blues' second string to the championship in 2000/01, has spoken of his releif at winning over new manager David Moyes. The former Preston boss has brought in ex-Blue Alan Irvine and Jimmy Lumsden as part of his backroom team and opted to include Holden after he had come through a month's trial. "It was the longest month of my life!" admitted Holden. "I didn't know what the new boss would think of me and I didn't know if I would get on with him. He wanted to watch me to see how I worked so I was really under the microscope.
"It was a massive relief when he took me into his office and told me he thought there was a place for me at the club. "The thing he said he liked most about me was my honesty. I always spoke up if there was something I didn't agree with, and he seemed to admire that." Holden was actually handed the task of picking the team for Moyes' first game against Fulham after the new arrival had only had one training session with the players. Everton ran out 2-1 winners in a game that helped kick-start their successful climb clear of relegation. Now Holden, who has been at Goodison for six years, is looking forward to the start of pre-season training on July 1. "Everton is a massive club with phenomenal support," he declared. "They deserve the best and I hope we can give them something to cheer about next season."
Chairman Dainty leaves Blues post
Jun 12 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NORMAN DAINTY signalled the end of an era at Everton Shareholders Association this week, when he announced his retirement as chairman. Dainty, who is 80-years-old next month, has finally decided to listen to the advice of his family doctor - but he insists he will remain an active member of the association. "After 11 thoroughly enjoyable years I have decided to retire as chairman," he explained, "but I will retain my membership and will continue to attend meetings." Kevin Nolan succeeds him in the chair, with Richard Lewis appointed vice-chairman. Dainty, the uncle of former Blues' manager and player Joe Royle, has been chairman of the association since 1991. He has been a member for more than 30 years. He is also the current rresident of the Liverpool County FA, has served as chairman of the I Zingari Football League and was responsible for the institution of the Merseyside Police League. "I have been told to slow down a little by the doctor," he added, "but I am leaving the association in very good hands." A lifelong Evertonian, incoming chairman Nolan paid tribute to Mr Dainty at Monday's AGM, when he presented him with an inscribed decanter on behalf of the association. Blues' director Paul Gregg also spoke at the meeting, while architect Steve Lavelle made a presentation on the status of the Kings Dock project.
Blues hoping to start with historic clash
Jun 12 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have asked the FA to help them commemorate their historic 100th season in the top division, by giving them an opening match against their nearest rivals in the all-time table, Aston Villa. The fixtures for 2002 - 03 are announced tomorrow. The campaign will be Everton's hundredth in the top flight. The club with the next best record of seasons in the top division is Villa.
Everton met Villa in a home match - at Anfield - on October 6 in the inaugural league season.
Goodison officials asked if they could either meet Villa on the opening day, or play them on October 5 to commemorate that occasion. The FA are expected to grant the Blues a clash with Villa on the opening day on August 17. Everton have met the Midlanders in first day clashes twice in recent seasons at Goodison Park. In 1994, they drew 2-2, and again 0-0 in 1998 - both times with a new manager kicking off his first full season in charge. The Echo will have all the fixtures for the new season exclusively tomorrow.
No move yet on Nyarko say Everton
Jun 13 2002 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have dismissed reports that Alex Nyarko (left) is on his way to Paris St Germain - with French defender Bernard Mendy moving the other way in an exchange deal. Newspapers in France this morning reported that Nyarko, who has spent a season on-loan at Monaco, was poised to move permanently to PSG. But Blues' Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "Paris St Germain know our phone number, but we have certainly had no contact from them yet. "As far as we are concerned Alex will be back pre-season training with us on July 1."
Jun 13 2002 By David Prentice And Chris Mcloughlin
THE FA fixture computer has handed Mersey football fans a Christmas cracker - the first derby match of the season at Anfield on December 21. But Everton's request for a clash with Aston Villa on either the opening day or October 5 has been ignored. The Blues will open against Tottenham at Goodison Park on August 17, then on October 5 must go to Old Trafford. Everton wanted to face Villa to commemorate their 100th season in the top flight, with the Midlanders their nearest rivals in the number of seasons spent in the top division. "We are a little disappointed that our request to face Villa early on was not granted," said Blues' chief executive Michael Dunford, "but otherwise we are reasonably satisfied with the way the fixtures have come out. "But we must stress that these fixtures are still provisional. The TV companies have a couple of weeks now to decide which games they want to screen up until the end of December so some dates could be switched."
Liverpool begin their campaign with a trip to Villa Park before Southampton visit Anfield the following weekend. Newcastle are supposed to be on Merseyside on August 31 but the match is a prime candidate to be televised by Sky, as are the October clashes with Chelsea and Leeds.
Title rivals Manchester United visit Anfield in November while the Reds will look to make it a hat-trick of Old Trafford wins in April. The two clashes with champions Arsenal take place in a five weeks spell after Christmas but perhaps the biggest omen for Liverpool fans is the venue of their final game of the season. The Reds won the title in 1986 with a last day victory at Chelsea and the last win of any kind at Stamford Bridge came in 1989/90 season, the year of Liverpool's most recent title triumph. Everton face two promoted clubs in the opening month of the new season. The Goodison derby is staged four days after the Hillsborough anniversary. The last time a derby match was held so close to that date - on April 16, 2001 - there was controversy after a minute's silence had to be abandoned. The Christmas fixtures have been kind to Blues' fans. Everton make the relatively short trip to Birmingham on Boxing Day, then entertain Bolton on December 28 and Manchester City on New Year's Day.
Opening day fixtures
Jun 13 2002 icNorthWest
LIVERPOOL travel to Villa, while Everton are at home to Spurs, on the opening day of the 2002/03 season. It is going to be a difficult start to the season for West Brom, who face Manchester United at Old Trafford on August 17 - then play Leeds at home and Arsenal away within the following 10 days. Leeds are at home to Manchester City, Newcastle play host to West Ham, and Chelsea travel to Charlton.
Reds steal Blues' opening day thunder
Jun 13 2002 By David Randles, icLiverpool
LIVERPOOL have stolen Everton's thunder by being drawn against Aston Villa on the opening day of the new Premiership season. The Blues had put in a special request to Premier League officials as they had hoped to play Villa on August 17th to commemorate 100 years of top flight football.
The midlanders are second in line to Everton's record stay in the top division and Everton officials thought the fixture would mark what will be a special year for the club. However, the irony of Gerard Houllier's team travelling to Villa Park on the opening day will not be lost on Evertonians.
As the first two fixtures in October present the Reds' sternest test, with back-to-back ties against Chelsea at Anfield (5th) and then Leeds at Elland Road (19th), Liverpool's much-awaited first clash with Manchester United falls on 30th November (Anfield). Yet again the season to be jolly could be met with a sense of 'bah-humbug' if Liverpool fail to overcome tricky ties against derby rivals Everton (21st December) and a Boxing Day encounter with Blackburn (both at Anfield), before travelling to Newcastle on New Years Day. There could be an emotional Merseyside derby at Goodison Park just four days after the 14th anniversary of Hillsborough. Once again, the Premiership season is scheduled to end on 11th May, but far from the 6-0 Anfield rout against Ipswich this year, Liverpool have an awkward trip to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge to compromise on the final day. Surely however, they'll have it all wrapped up by then - won't they?
It's too dangerous to write off goalkeepers
Jun 14 2002 By Howard Kendall
THE media seems to have taken it in turn to single out England's players for particular praise this World Cup. Rio Ferdinand has been, quite rightly, lauded. Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have been built up, David Beckham dominated the headlines against Argentina and Trevor Sinclair, Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole have all had their moments. But the one individual I believe has not had the credit he deserves is one of their longest standing stars. Maybe it's because he has been so solid for so long that David Seaman is being taken for granted, but for me he has been one of the most effective goalkeepers of the tournament so far. Ironically he will come face to face with another keeper I have huge respect for, Denmark's Thomas Sorensen, tomorrow afternoon. Before the World Cup, when David was struggling with a shoulder injury, he was almost written off as an international goalkeeper. I think possibly Arsenal even had their doubts, too, as they showed with the swoop for Richard Wright. But Seaman has shown that it is dangerous to write off keepers.
In England's three games so far he has proved a tower of strength, spreading calm and reassurance to what is still a young and inexperienced back four. He has made important stops when necessary and has looked a class act. He will be hoping that Thomas Gravesen doesn't decide to romp forward on Saturday now and do a Niclas Alexandersson! I think that the game against Denmark will suit England more than the clash with Senegal which we would have landed for topping the group.
Denmark's style is similar to England's, the players are all familiar with each other - but England should have the better quality players man for man. It is strange how even problem areas now, like the left flank, have been filled effectively. Trevor Sinclair come in, after Emile Heskey started the tournament out there, and flourished. It reminds me of how Bobby Robson almost stumbled on a winning formula accidentally in 1986. With Bryan Robson injured and Ray Wilkins suspended he was forced to turn to Peter Reid and Steve Hodge - and both were hugely influential in taking us to the quarter-finals. It was the same in 1966, when Geoff Hurst famously stepped into Jimmy Greaves' shooting boots from the quarter-finals onwards - and hopefully Trevor Sinclair can do the same this time. With Argentina and France already on the plane home, it promises to be one of the most open World Cups for decades. England have a chance, and while Ireland will be underdogs against Spain, they too also a chance. Spain are the better side, but Ireland's spirit is outstanding and that can count for so much in football. The gap between the so-called bigger nations and the minnows in international football has never been closer - and this could be the year for one of the lesser lights to shine.
THE Premiership fixtures for the new season, published yesterday, are always interesting - but in truth there's little significance to be read into them. Everton's opening month doesn't seem too arduous. After entertaining Tottenham on day one they travel to Sunderland, then face two promoted teams in Birmingham and Manchester City. But I've always felt that the early part of the season is when promoted teams are at their most dangerous. By Christmas they tend to find their level, but before then they are quite capable of reacting to all the hype about being in the Premiership and pulling off shocks. But you simply can't look at fixtures and predict what may be easy games and what could be difficult. The only omen Evertonians will be considering is, with Manchester United ending the campaign at Goodison Park, Everton could end the 2002-03 season the same way they ended the last one . . . by taking on the champions!
Gravesen hands out warning to England
Jun 14 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has no fears about facing England in tomorrow's World Cup showdown.
Everton's Danish star will be at the heart of his country's midfield when the two nations clash in Niigata. But after already seeing off world champions France, South Americans Uruguay and holding surprise package Senegal, he insists they can now upset England. "After knocking out France, we have a strong belief in our own potential and think that - on a good day - we are able to beat England, too," he said. Gravesen added: "England are a super power and they are natural favourites. It is exciting for us to be playing a country with such a tradition in the World Cup. "Of course, it is extra motivation to be playing against the players I meet so many times during the Premier League season, and I would love to show our fans at Everton what stuff we are made of in Denmark."
Gravesen is more a playmaker than a destructive presence and has played an influential part in each of Denmark's three games so far. Stig Tofting and striker Jon Dahl Tomasson have been carrying injuries, but both are expected to be fit for tomorrow's 12.30pm kick-off.
Blues will see best of me now, Gravesen
Jun 17 2002 By Chris Bascombe in Kobe
THOMAS Gravesen promised Evertonians they will see the best of him at Goodison next season after his excellent World Cup displays. The Dane emerged from his country's 3-0 defeat to England with pride after putting in a number of fine performances in Japan. Now he's hoping to show the same quality in Everton colours. Gravesen recognises many foreign imports need a season to settle into the Premiership before they show their qualities on a more consistent basis. "I hope that's the case for me and I hope our team gets better and better too," said the Dane. "We want to get higher up the table where we should be. I don't think anyone's seen the best of Thomas Gravesen in this World Cup, I hope there's even more to come from me next season and, of course, that will be as an Everton player." Gravesen fought until the final whistle in Niigata and ultimately believes only bad luck deprived his country a place in the last eight. "The only difference between the two team was the timing of the goals. I think England had some luck on their side," he said. "We knew it was going to be a big task to beat England and we're sorry we couldn't do it. We showed we could play alongside England and give them a game. The only thing we couldn't match was the goals they scored." Like all the Everton contingent in Japan, the midfielder gave a good account of himself for his country. The Danes picked him out as their star performer in the Far East, although he was taking little consolation having gone out. Said Gravesen: "I would give away any good performance I may have given myself to have gone further in the competition. "When you lose 3-0 it's hard to look at yourself and think you've played well. If we could have just scored one goal it would have been crucial for us, but we just couldn't get it. "But I take away some great memories of the World Cup, especially having beaten France. We have a young team here now and we're prepared to start something new."
Police demands hit Blues' plans - FA
Jun 17 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE FA have blamed police demands for Everton's opening day fixture snub. The Blues had originally asked to kick off next season against Aston Villa, or alternatively entertain them on October 5, to help commemorate becoming the first club in England to reach 100 top flight seasons. Instead, the fixture computer handed a home game against Tottenham Hotspur on August 17 and a trip to Old Trafford on October 5. The FA's Alison O'Dowd wrote to Blues' Chief Executive Michael Dunford to explain: "Merseyside Police are quite prescriptive in when yourselves, Liverpool and Tranmere Rovers can play certain fixtures and many of their requests warrant high priority. "Both yourselves and Aston Villa are at home on the opening day as a result of various requests from 'paired' clubs, which therefore ruled this date out. "The closest we came was to initially get you away to Aston Villa on October 5, but unfortunately another specific police request over-rode this date."
Neither Everton nor Liverpool are involved in the opening day Sky fixture switches. West Brom's visit to Old Trafford has been put back for Sunday screening, Birmingham's visit to champions Arsenal will be the first Monday night match of the new season, while Leeds' home game against Manchester City is the payper-view selection.
World Cup is over for me, says Joe-Max
Jun 18 2002 By Paul Walker Echo Reporter In Jeonju
EVERTON'S unlucky American striker Joe-Max Moore believes his World Cup is over.
Moore has figured on the bench in the USA's dramatic charge to the quarterfinals, getting two short appearances as substitute - and winning his 100th cap against Poland - as his team-mates have won a shock quarter-final shot at Germany in Ulsan on Friday. But Moore reckons he has no chance of being involved after picking up a nasty knee injury, and at 31 feels that his World Cup days are over after playing in three successive tournaments. He said: "At my age I don't expect to be around the squad in four more years, so that Poland game was almost certainly my last in World Cup finals.
"There may be a couple more USA games for me in the next year or so, but I would expect that to end soon too as a new squad is developed. But it's been great while it lasted." Moore's recently completed season with Everton was wrecked by injury, and now his final World Cup has gone the same way. But he said: "The tournament has been great, we have done so well and done everyone proud. "I know I have only figured a couple of times as substitute, but this has been a wonderful experience." He added: "I'd love another game here, but I have pulled some of the muscles off a tendon at the back of my knee and that looks like the end of it for me, here, and probably my chances of playing much more for the US. "I'm trying to get back, but it's unlikely to be ready. It could be a couple of weeks. "I know this is my last World Cup, which is sad, but to be ending with this squad at the stage we have reached is a great feeling."
Blues reject Nyarko loan bid
Jun 18 2002 By David Prentice Everton Correspondent
EVERTON have tossed out another short-term solution to their enduring Alex Nyarko problem.
Paris St Germain have asked to take the Ghanaian midfielder on-loan, on similar terms to those agreed by Monaco last summer. But the Blues have rejected the approach, preferring a permanent transfer. Nyarko cost Everton £ 4.5m when he was signed from Lens in the summer of 2000 and Goodison officials fear that another year spent on loan in France could see his value depreciate significantly. As matters stand the player will return to Bellefield on July 1 to train with team-mates he last clapped eyes on 14 months ago. York goalkeeper Russell Howarth, meanwhile, believes he can end Everton's search for a new goalkeeper. The England under-20 keeper played on trial for the Blues at Falkirk towards the end of the season and says: "It was great at Goodison Park. I really enjoyed the experience. I had a couple of days' training and then played for them in a testimonial game up at Falkirk. "I haven't heard anything from David Moyes yet, but with my contract being up soon, hopefully there will be a few more looking at me. I'd like to think I'm good enough to get something with Everton. "Playing at that level makes you want more of it. Everything was superb from the training facilities to the actual playing side." Howarth made just one league appearance for the Minstermen last season after the fine form of Alan Fettis. But has since thrived on the international scene with England Under-20s. Moyes is expected to make one final bid for Derby's Mart Poom when he returns from a short holiday next week. The Rams are under pressure to sell following relegation, but the Blues cannot afford the original asking price of £5m.
'1970 match had it all'
Jun 19 2002 Exclusive By David Prentice, Echo Reporter
THE greatest player in the world held his head in disbelief. The greatest defender simply patted the greatest goalkeeper on the back. But Brian Labone's reaction to one of the most memorable moments in World Cup history was even more down to earth. "Gordon Banks asked me 'Where were you?' and I told him 'I got here as quick as I could!'" The Everton icon was talking this week about the last time England faced Brazil in the World Cup. A day when he earned the 25th of his 26 England caps, a day when the most charismatic and colourful of even Brazil's flamboyantly fantastic teams overcame the reigning world champions and a day when Pele was denied by arguably the greatest save ever made. Images from Guadalajara endure even now, despite a 32-year absence of competitive clashes between England and Brazil. But this week, with England's quarter-final opponents now confirmed as Brazil, there has been much, much more . . . Jeff Astle's miss, that tackle by Moore, Alan Ball clipping the crossbar, Tostao slaloming through the England defence like a downhill skier to set up Jairzinho for the winner. "It really was the match which had everything," recalled Labone, who partnered Bobby Moore at the heart of England's defence. " But while everyone always remembers the Banks save and Bobby's tackle, I remember my pal Tommy Wright having an outstanding game at right-back which was largely overlooked. "Tom never suffered nerves and he was ice cool that day, which was difficult because it was boiling hot. "The Gordon Banks save is quite rightly shown over and over again. It was one of the greatest ever. I just wish I'd had £25 for every time I'd watched it! "Everyone knows we lost that game 1-0, but we were thought of as the only team that could have beaten Brazil in that tournament - and we should have.
"Jeff Astle, God bless him, missed an easy chance and Bally hit the bar. "We still qualified, but went out after leading West Germany 2-0 in the quarter-final. That effort exhausted them for the semi-final against Italy, who in turn were outclassed in the final by Brazil. "If Brazil were the best team in 1970 we were probably the closest to them. They were the best attacking team and we were the best at the back - a little like this time, in fact." This time, though Brian believes that the Brazilian goalkeeper could be the busier on Friday morning. "I fancy us to win, I really do," he said.
"Brazil are good up front, but Belgium could have had two or three goals against them and we are better than Belgium. "I think the winner of Friday's game will go on to win the World Cup and I'm confident we can do it." While Labone was out in the searing heat of Mexico the last time the two countries clashed in World Cup action, this time he plans a more sedate vantage point.
"I'll be watching it at home. I love all this nationalistic flag waving with the pubs packed for every game, but I prefer to concentrate on it on my own."
Nyarko deal may fund bid for Poom
Jun 19 2002 By David Prentice, Everton Correspondent
EVERTON have agreed to sell Alex Nyarko to Paris St Germain for £3m - and that could now prompt a renewed bid for Derby goalkeeper Mart Poom. The Blues have finally reached agreement with PSG to offload the unhappy African, initially on loan, but with the deal becoming permanent in the next French transfer window in January. PSG will pay a loan fee until then and the decision will avoid the embarassing situation of Nyarko returning on July 1 to begin pre-season training with a club he vowed never to represent again. Everton's transfer funds will not be significantly boosted until January - and the Blues will not fall into the trap they did two years ago of spending money on promised income. But the release of another wage could help David Moyes make a fresh bid for Mart Poom next week. Merseyside Police, meanwhile, have refuted claims by the FA that they were responsible for the failure to grant Everton the opening day clash against Aston Villa they had requested. A statement said: " Merseyside Police has made a number of requests to the FA in relation to Liverpool and Everton fixtures for the forthcoming season. "The fixture regarding Aston Villa was not specifically mentioned and Merseyside Police would have been quite happy to entertain Aston Villa on the opening day of the season."
Nyarko's Goodison troubles near end
Jun 21 2002
ALEX NYARKO'S troubled Everton career is drawing to a close after he agreed to join French first division side Paris St Germain. He has initially signed a loan deal for an undisclosed fee - and a permanent transfer of £3 million has been agreed for next January's French transfer window if PSG decide to take up the option. Blues officials were reluctant to let Nyarko go on another loan spell as they feared his overall value would fall. But talks re-opened between Everton and PSG, and the African midfielder, signed by the Goodison club in July 2001 for £4.5 million, has been allowed to play at the Parc des Princes next season. Blues chief executive Michael Dunford said: "We have agreed that Alex Nyarko will join Paris St Germain initially on loan, the club having agreed a permanent transfer fee of £3 million if they wish to make the deal permanent." Nyarko's switch to PSG ends an uncertain few weeks for the former Lens star, who faced the possibility of having to return to Bellefield on July 1 to resume his career in England after earlier vowing never to play for Everton again. That decision was prompted by an on-field confrontation with an angry Blues fan at Arsenal's Highbury ground in April 2001. The incident prompted Nyarko to state his intention to retire from the professional game. He later retracted the decision and joined Monaco on loan all last season, only for financial problems to prevent the deal being made permanent...
Euro bosses helping FIFA cross divide
Jun 21 2002 By Howard Kendall
THIS World Cup will be memorable for many, many reasons - not least the dramatic progress of so-called unheralded football nations. With only Brazil, England and Germany of the more traditional soccer powers reaching the last eight, the likelihood of a shock winner is increasing with every round. The gap between the bigger powers and the emerging nations has never been closer, and I think the credit for that has to be handed to the influence of foreign coaches. It is no coincidence that countries like Japan, South Korea and Senegal have exceeded all pretournament expectations - with coaches of the quality of Philippe Troussier, Guus Hiddink and Bruno Metsu overseeing their preparations. You could even make an argument for England getting so far largely as a result of a foreign coach! It has been clear for many years now that lesser footballing nations have been producing quality players. Liberia's George Weah was World Player of the Year almost a decade ago.
But what foreign coaches have done is organise their national sides along successful European lines and that has allowed the undoubted individual talent which exists to flourish. Without a shadow of a doubt it has been the most exciting international tournament I can ever remember - and we still haven't reached the climax yet. It could still get even better - and one of those foreign coaches could yet end up holding aloft the most famous and prestigous trophy in football.
Flying start for Blues
Jun 24 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will ask their players to begin preparing for the new football season this week.
The Blues' first teamers will fly to Lyon in groups of four for specialist fitness assessment.
The individual clinics will allow Blues' coaches to tailor training sessions to suit players' particular needs. The players were informed of the innovation from new boss David Moyes just two weeks ago. The assessment sessions point to the emphasis Moyes intends to place on fitness and conditioning next season. Pre-season training begins on July 1, two weeks earlier than the players were asked to report back last season. The Blues will also play eight pre-season fixtures - three more than last summer. The first derby match of the season, meanwhile, will take place on Sunday, December 22 after Sky TV announced their switches. Everton will be screened three times before Christmas, while Liverpool figure seven times, including five matches in a month from December 1.
Everton appear live against : Manchester-United Away Monday October 7; West Ham Away Sunday October 27; Liverpool Away Sunday December 22. Liverpool appear live against: Newcastle United Home, Monday September 2; Chelsea Home, Sunday October 6; Manchester United Home, Sunday December 1; Sunderland Away Sunday December 15; Everton Home Sunday December 22; Arsenal Away Sunday December 29; Newcastle United Away Wednesday January 1. Further changes will be announced when the Pay-Per-View selections are made. Manchester United, looking to bounce back after last season's disappointing third place, can be first seen the following Friday, August 23, when they travel to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea. Announcing the live fixtures Vic Wakeling, Managing Director of Sky Sports, said: The Liverpool - Everton derby in December and the Liverpool-Newcastle matches in September and January all attract huge interest nationwide, and we view them as must-see games. "We expect Liverpool to up there again with Arsenal and Manchester United, so we think it very important that we cover those games. Everton's development under David Moyes will be watched closely by all football fans, and that October game against Manchester United will be a very good test." This season Sky Sports will again show 66 Premiership matches under the second of a three-year deal. The opening live match sees Arsenal start their defence against newly promoted Birmingham City, on Sunday August 18.
Here comes McBride
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jun 25 2002
EVERTON boss David Moyes is pondering a move for USA World Cup star Brian McBride - and may use Joe-Max Moore as bait. Striker McBride was highly impressive in his country's run to the quarter-finals in the Far East, netting in the 3-2 win over Portugal and the 2-0 second-round success against Mexico. And Moyes has set his sights on capturing the 30-year-old, who has been given permission to leave Major League Soccer outfit Columbus Crew as reward for his service to the fledgling American set-up. oyes is a known admirer of the US international, signing him for a spell on loan two years ago when the Blues boss was in charge at Preston. McBride enjoyed a successful two-month stay before being forced to return home after contracting a blood clot in his arm, with the first division club then unable to reach a deal with their American counterparts over a permanent move. Now Moyes is poised to make a fresh move for the striker, and could use McBride's US team-mate Moore in part-exchange. Moore suffered a dismal World Cup, ironically being kept out of the US starting line-up by McBride before suffering an injury, and has become a peripheral figure for Everton since Moyes took over in March. Meanwhile, the Blues will begin their pre-season preparations next week by heading to France. The first-team squad will travel to Lyon for specialist fitness assessments, from which the coaching staff will be able to alter training sessions to suit players' individual needs. "The players are coming out in small groups throughout the week," said Moyes, who has been linked with a move for Ivory Coast defender Didier Angan. "They are coming out to be fitness tested and be assessed to see exactly where we are. "I've come out for the first couple days, but other than that, the players will come out on their own before starting training next week "It will give us an idea of where we see each indivdual player and hopefully from those tests we will be able to work through the pre-season with that in mind. "They will all go to a hospital in Lyon for a few days where they will have numerous tests - dentistry, on their feet and stress tests as well, which should find out what their strengths and weaknesses are." The players will report for preseason training on July 1 - two weeks earlier than last season - and will play eight friendlies, as opposed to five last season. Moyes reasoned: "I am relatively new to the club and the players are new to me. "Therefore, the more games we have will help and the preseason is longer than it would normally be." Those players involved in the World Cup have been allowed extra time to recuperate and will undertake the tests at a later date. Sky TV's Premiership schedule was announced yesterday and the Blues will be televised three times before Christmas. Their lives games are at Manchester United on Monday, October 7; at West Ham on Sunday, October 27; and at Liverpool on Sunday, December 22.
Jun 25 2002 By Kevin Ratcliffe
WORLD Cup semi-finalists South Korea have shown how far energy, industry and fitness levels can take a team. The tournament hosts undoubtedly have talent. But it is their incredible energy which sometimes has you counting how many players they actually have on the field which has carried them so far. It is a quality David Moyes is hoping to instill at Everton in the coming season.
In the past, clubs like Leicester City have proved that by improving fitness levels and organisation an average football team can often over-achieve. David Moyes already has his Everton players thinking about next season by taking them away to Lyon in France for fitness assessment. This is not just a useful tool for the coaches. It can also be a valuable motivational aid for the players themselves.
If you have actual fitness levels written down you can physically gauge how much you have improved after the gruelling but important preseason schedule. The players' fitness levels will be at their lowest now, so after six weeks of training and games the coaches should be able to show individuals how far they have progressed. This can be useful to lift players during what is a gruelling time of year for them. By bringing the players back so early, Moyes is clearly showing the emphasis he is placing on fitness. He also has eight pre-season games planned which is three more than last season. Personally I think players much prefer to play games and they are the best way of building match fitness. I think five games is too few to give everybody in your squad the games they need - even a squad as small as Everton's - but eight is about right. If Everton can improve their fitness levels for the coming season it can only improve their prospects. Just look at the number of games in which South Korea have scored second half goals or extra time strikes in this World Cup.
Evertonians would, I am sure, settle for their side making the same sort of impact next season as the Koreans have this summer.
Blues ace Unsworth in charity link-up
Jun 25 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME FOR UNSWORTH
DAVID UNSWORTH has asked registered charity the Everton Former Players' Foundation to organise his testimonial year. The Blues' star, who kicks off a year's events with a match against Athletic Bilbao on August 10, will make a significant donation to the foundation. "I am delighted that the Blueblood Charity will benefit," said Unsworth. "The Foundation, together with my own testimonial committee, will co-ordinate all the events." Blueblood Treasurer Steve Milne added: "We are more than happy to be working alongside David in this important year. "It's always nice to see current players helping out the old boys." The Blueblood Foundation aids ex-Evertonians suffering from physical, mental or financial hardship. Much of their work, of necessity, receives no publicity - but former stars like Gordon West and Gordon Watson have publically declared their gratitude to the organisation after undergoing respective knee and hip surgery at the charity ' s expense.
Unsworth's attractive pre-season match against La Liga side Bilbao will be preceded by a celebrity derby match - with old boys from both clubs taking part. Evertonians and Liverpudlians will also have an opportunity to play in that game. For details on how you can buy a place in either the Everton or Liverpool line-up contact the David Unsworth Testimonial Hotline on 0151-520-2362.
Blues to step up bid for Poom
Jun 26 2002 By David Prentice
DERBY goalkeeper Mart Poom remains Everton's number one target this summer despite quotes attributed to the agent of Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech today. Viktor Kolar, who represents the six feet five inch Sparta Prague keeper, was reported to have said: "I expect Petr to move to England and play for Everton in the near future. "We are just waiting to hear more news regarding his work permit." Everton Chief Executive Michael Dunford, however, responded: "That's new to us. We have made no moves whatsoever regarding Petr Cech." A renewed bid for Estonian goalkeeper Poom is imminent, but the success of any swoop depends on how firmly Derby stick to a £5m asking price.
Manager David Moyes is desperately trying to juggle his limited transfer pot - and would like to use some of the funds to finance a bid for Preston's 20-year-old midfielder Dickson Etuhu. That would only be possible if he could land Poom for a fee in the region of £3.5m. Etuhu, who cost Preston £300,000 from Manchester City in January, would cost around £1m. If Derby stick to their guns Moyes will look elsewhere for a goalkeeping solution, with Leicester's Ian Walker next in line.
Black and Blues
Jun 26 2002 By David Prentice Everton Reporter
EVERTON will become the men in black next season - for one match at least. The Blues' will unveil three new strips next month - a traditional blue and white home strip, a white and blue away strip and a strip featuring black shirts to be worn when the other two strips clash. At present, the game at Blackburn Rovers on November 16 is expected to be the only occasion this event will arise.
The Toffees will also mark a century of seasons in the top division by adorning their strips with a badge featuring a silhouette of Dixie Dean. The words "Top Flight Football 100 years Everton" will surround the image. There is a precedent for Everton wearing black. In 1881, with Everton attracting new players, i t was decided to bring some uniformity to the strip. As the club was short of money the existing strips were dyed black. Everton became known as ' The Black Watch,' but the strip was abandoned for salmon pink and blue - colours adopted in recent years as a change strip...
Blues keen on Breen
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Jun 27 2002
EVERTON may be ready to step up their interest in Republic of Ireland international Gary Breen.
The central-defender has been without a club since his contract with Coventry City expired at the end of last season. Moyes had last month been linked with a move for the 28-year-old, who was a success for his country during their run to the second round of the World Cup, including netting in the 3-0 win over Saudi Arabia. And the Blues boss could be poised to approach Breen with a view to making him his first signing of the summer on a free transfer. Everton have also moved closer to securing a deal for USA World Cup star Brian McBride. The striker has been allowed to leave his club Columbus Crew following his loyalty to the fledgling Major League Soccer in America.
And rather than pay a fee for the 30-year-old's services, the Blues are offering McBride's fellow countryman Joe-Max Moore in a straight swap. Should McBride complete the move, it will be the second time he has played under Moyes - the Blues boss having taken him on a two-month loan two years ago while in charge at Preston. Meanwhile, Everton have laughed off suggestions of a move for Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech. Derby County's Mart Poom remains the number one target, and if the £5million price tag slapped on him by his club proves prohibitive, Moyes - who is also after Preston's young midfielder, Dickson Etuhu - will turn his attentions to Leicester City's Ian Walker.
Moyes effect boosts ticket sales
Jun 27 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
David Moyes has proved popular at Goodison Park
EVERTON are on target to top last year's season ticket sales.
Three months after his appointment as manager, the David Moyes effect shows no sign of diminishing at Goodison. Just 48 hours before Everton's discount season ticket renewal deadline there were lengthy queues outside the stadium for tickets. And Chief Executive Michael Dunford revealed: "We have been hugely encouraged by season ticket sales so far. We fully expect to exceed last season's figure of 21,500. "But I would advise supporters if they do want a season ticket to get one as early as possible. "The support we receive from season ticket holders is crucial. It gives us a cash boost before the start of the season and as we approach what is going to be an historical landmark in the club's history, we want as many season ticket holders to be with us as possible."
The deadline for discounted rate season tickets is 12 noon on Saturday, after which they will revert to full price. With transfer funds limited, Everton are checking out the possibility of signing the Republic of Ireland's free agent, Gary Breen . Since his contract at Coventry expired at the end of last season, Breen has been linked with moves to Charlton, West Ham and, curiously, Inter Milan.
The Blues, however, have now entered the frame and with Inter's interest having receded would hope to become favourites for his signature. Derby's Mart Poom is still number one priority, but the Rams are digging their heels in, having tossed out Everton's original £3.5m offer. The Goodison box office, meanwhile, will remain open until 7pm tonight and tomorrow for season ticket renewals.
Blues hold talks with star Breen
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jun 28 2002
EVERTON have confirmed talks have taken place with Republic of Ireland defender Gary Breen over a possible move to Goodison Park. Blues manager David Moyes met with the 28-year-old (left) this week and the Irish international is currently weighing up his options after impressing for his country at the World Cup in Japan and Korea. Breen is available on a free transfer after his contract at Coventry City expired at the end of last season. The defender, who scored against Saudi Arabia in the World Cup finals, is keen to return to the Premiership after a season in the first division with the Sky Blues. And Moyes, who is looking to bolster his squad before the new season, said: "I can say we've had talks with Gary Breen since he's come back with the Republic team. "He's available on a Bosman, which makes him a good target for us, because he is a decent player and one that's available for no cost, so that's a possibility also. "But we have been in talks with several players and have made enquiries for more than ten players to see if they are available, if the prices would be suitable for us to pay." The Everton boss also confirmed that he is still interested in signing Estonian goalkeeper Mart Poom, but so far his hopes have been dashed by Derby County.
He added: "As everybody knows we've made a bid for Mart Poom at Derby, which at present has been turned down and we're assessing that situation just now. So we have been working hard."
Meanwhile, Everton's box office will stay open late tonight to cope with the demand of supporters seeking to renew their season tickets. Tomorrow is the last day supporters can renew their season tickets at a reduced rate for the coming 2002/03 season. The ticket office will close tomorrow at noon but it will be open late tonight until 7pm. Head of PR and Corporate Affairs at Everton, Ian Ross said: "We do not envisage extending the deadline for season ticket renewals and we encourage those supporters wishing to buy a season ticket to get one as soon as possible."
Ebbrell leaves Blues
Jun 28 2002 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON chief scout John Ebbrell has left the club by mutual consent. The former Blues' midfielder, who made 266 appearances between 1988 and 1997, has left to pursue new challenges.
Ebbrell returned to Goodison as chief scout two years ago. Prior to his return, the club's lack of transfer funds meant they had operated without a scout. The club is expected to replace Ebbrell.
The Blues will step up their bid to secure the services of free agent Gary Breen over the weekend.
"I can say we've had talks with Gary Breen since he came back from the World Cup with the Republic team," said manager David Moyes. "He's available on a Bosman, which makes him a good target for us because he's a decent player and one that's available for no cost. "But we have been in talks with several players and have made enquiries for more than 10 to see if they are available, if the prices would be suitable for us to pay. "As everybody knows we've made a bid for Mart Poom at Derby, which at present has been turned down, and we're assessing that situation." Meanwhile, Everton's deadline for discount priced season tickets expires at 12 noon tomorrow. But the club's official charity, the Blueblood Foundation, has warned that some supporters may miss out, after mistakenly mailing their season ticket renewal forms to the charity's PO Box. The Foundation includes an appeal for donations in every season ticket application sent out. But more than 200 fans have erroneously returned their renewal forms to the Foundation rather than the club's box office.
" The mistakes are costing us money, because we have to then post the forms on to the club," said Blueblood Chairman Laurence Lee. "We will continue to do so as long as forms are mistakenly posted to us, but any which arrive after the deadline will clearly not be passed on to the club in time." Fans who wish to make a donation to the Everton Former Players' Foundation can continue to do so by posting cheques to PO Box 354, Liverpool L69 4QS.
Blues lead Breen chase
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Jun 29 2002
EVERTON have taken pole position in the race for Republic of Ireland central defender Gary Breen.
David Moyes and Everton officials met with the former Coventry City player on his return from his successful World Cup campaign with Mick McCarthy's team earlier in the week. And further talks are planned over the weekend with the Blues remaining optimistic that they can beat off the challenge of Charlton Athletic and West Ham for the 28-year-old's signature on a Bosman free transfer. The Irish international has been out o f contract at Highfield Road since the start of the summer and has also been courted by several other clubs, including Southampton and his former club Birmingham City. But the Blues remain hopeful they can make Breen their first signing of the summer. Everton's head of corporate affairs and public relations, Ian Ross, said: "We held initial talks with Gary Breen earlier this week and believe they went very well. "We know there is considerable interest in this player from other clubs but we remain cautiously optimistic."
Breen is expected to make a decision on his future shortly and is desperate to sign for a Premiership club having spent last season in the first division with Coventry. Meanwhile, Everton chief scout John Ebbrell has left the club by mutual consent. The former Blues midfielder, who made 266 appearances in nine years at the club in the 1980s and 1990s, has decided to leave for a fresh challenge. After three years away from Goodison Ebbrell returned as chief scout in 2000.
Before his appointment Everton had been operated without a chief scout but they are expected to unveil a successor to Ebbrell in due course. EVERTON's deadline for discount priced season tickets expires at 12 noon today. But the club's charity, the Blueblood Foundation, has warned that some supporters may miss out, after mistakenly mailing their season ticket renewal forms to the charity's PO Box. The Foundation includes an appeal for donations in every season ticket application sent out. But more than 200 fans have returned their renewal forms to the Foundation rather than the club's ticket office. "The mistakes are costing us money, because we have to then post the forms on to the club," said Blueblood chairman Laurence Lee. "We will continue to do so as long as forms are mistakenly posted to us, but any which arrive after the deadline will clearly not be passed on to the club in time."