Everton Independent Research Data


Tottenham 2, Everton 1: Promise is turning to frustration for Blues
Mar 1 2010 Liverpool Daily Post
THE last time Everton visited White Hart Lane, David Moyes took a vow of silence. Yesterday, however, it was the entire away support left speechless. For the second time in four days, the Goodison outfit were forced to contemplate another damaging blow to their season. But while the fans who travelled to Portugal were flabbergasted by Thursday's surrender to Sporting Lisbon, this time they struggled to comprehend how their team contrived to gain nothing from an absorbing encounter with Tottenham Hotspur. Not for the first time, only when Everton had fallen behind did they start beginning to play with the freedom and confidence that has proven the foundation of their New Year revival. It worked against both Chelsea and Manchester United. But Moyes's men ultimately left themselves too great a task during a stirring second-half comeback yesterday. Yet it could and should have been all so different.
Landon Donovan will surely have nightmares over his contender for miss of the season 13 minutes from time, but the blame cannot be laid solely on the shoulders of the American. Poor defending, some questionable team selections and an inevitable European hangover had allowed Tottenham to wrest the initiative with first-half goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric. Everton fought back from two goals down when the sides met at Goodison in December and, despite a 55th-minute strike from Yakubu, their second-half efforts fell agonisingly short. Moyes had refused to speak to the media after October's Carling Cup defeat at Tottenham in protest at a fixture schedule that saw his side play three important games in three different competitions inside six days. Sadly, it is becoming increasingly likely there won't be such an issue next season, Everton now standing 10 points off a Europa League qualification berth, with any lingering hopes of a top-four finish having surely been extinguished. So, a frantic February that would define Everton's campaign has ended with three home wins and three away defeats, and both good and bad news from the treatment room. A mixed outcome for a mixed season. Moyes had sought to stave off the after-effects of their European endeavours by making five changes from the team that succumbed in Portugal. Victor Anichebe, making his first start after suffering serious injury at Newcastle United more than a year ago, began on the right of midfield with Everton employing a 4-5-1 formation. It was an experiment that didn't really work, the Nigerian a peripheral figure. But he wasn't alone during a first half in which, despite ostensibly having more numbers in midfield, Everton were too often overrun in the engine room, the defence too often exposed to the runs of Modric, Tom Huddlestone, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe. Matters improved after the break when John Heitinga was pushed forward to provide greater cover for a back four which was bolstered from the bench by Phil Jagielka's first Premier League appearance since last April. The absence of Heitinga and Sylvain Distin through suspension and ineligibility respectively was keenly felt at the heart of defence in Lisbon, but the pair were at fault for Tottenham's opener on 11 minutes. A long ball forward from Tom Huddlestone gave Defoe something to chase down the inside right channel, but rather than close down the striker Heitinga instead backtracked towards goalkeeper Tim Howard.
By the time Distin sensed the danger, Defoe had struck a cross-cum-shot across goal where Pavlyuchenko – making his first league start of the campaign – arrived onside to slide the ball home for his fifth goal in three games. It was Groundhog Day for Heitinga, whose similar hesitancy at the same end during the Carling Cup defeat cost Everton dearly. The visitors almost gained an immediate response on 17 minutes, when Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes dropped a deep Leighton Baines corner at the feet of Yakubu and was relieved to see Michael Dawson make a goal-saving block. But Everton conceded again on 28 minutes with a goal made entirely in Croatia. Niko Kranjcar, Vedran Corluka and Modric passed their way through the left side of the visiting defence before Modric curled a magnificent shot from 20 yards that looped over Howard and went in off the underside of the crossbar.
Everton should have been back in the game on 41 minutes but Jack Rodwell sent a free header wastefully wide from Phil Neville's clipped right-wing cross.
Bale, a constant threat down the Tottenham left, almost fashioned a third before the break but Defoe couldn't quite connect properly to his driven low ball.
Yet from the moment Heitinga struck a drive at Gomes, it was clear Everton were a different beast in the second half and they forced their way back into the game on 55 minutes. A deep corner from Mikel Arteta was headed back across goal by Rodwell and, after Pavlyuchenko made a hash of his attempted clearance, Yakubu prodded home from two yards. Cue an Everton barrage. Gomes parried clear a first-time Rodwell volley from Yakubu's cross and then denied Steven Pienaar after the South African intercepted a loose Wilson Palacios pass and advanced on goal.
The came Donovan's moment to forget, a low Rodwell cross from the left deflecting into the path of the American at the far post who, with everyone anticipating the equaliser, somehow hit the ball wide into the side-netting from barely two yards.
Even Jason Donovan would have fancied his chances from that range.
The chances still came and, from Heitinga's corner, Jagielka sent a free header narrowly over the bar, while at the other end a fine save from Howard in injury time stopped Kranjcar netting a third for Tottenham. But that would have been harsh on the travelling support that suffered in silence as they trudged disconsolately home, shaking their heads in disbelief and frustration.

Landon Donovan insists Everton FC deserved more at Tottenham Hotspur
Mar 1, 2010. Liverpool Echo, By James Pearce.
LANDON DONOVAN admitted defeat was tough to take after Everton’s second half fightback proved to be in vain at Tottenham. The Blues’ hopes of qualifying for Europe suffered a major setback as they were beaten 2-1 by the Champions League chasers. David Moyes’ side paid the price for a lacklustre first half display at White Hart Lane as goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric put Spurs firmly in control. Yakubu’s strike early in the second half transformed the contest but the Blues spurned a number of chances to equalise. The USA international missed the best of them when he inexplicably fired wide with the goal at his mercy. “We didn’t start the game well enough,” Donovan said. “Everyone was disappointed with the way we played in the first half. When you start like that and find yourselves 2-0 down at a place like this it is always going to be difficult. “But I thought our response in the second half was really good. We got a goal back and had a number of other chances to get something out of the game. “We put a lot into the game in the second half and I thought we deserved to get something out of it.” The 27-year-old, who is entering the final weeks of his loan spell from LA Galaxy, made his 11th appearance for the Blues.
With 13 minutes to go he had a glorious opportunity to net his second goal for the club, but he failed to convert Jack Rodwell’s cross from close range.
A clearly upset Donovan couldn’t hide his despair. “This is just a really disappointing moment for me personally,” he added. “I’ve put a lot into my time here and another goal would have been a nice reward. “I got myself in a good position at the back post and was hoping Jack was going to put the ball across goal. He did that and it came perfectly for me. “It’s hard to understand what went wrong. I felt like everything was right but then I looked up to see the ball had hit the side netting.
“It’s so frustrating because if we had scored then it’s possible we might have gone on to win the game. “It’s tough but we’ve got to put this behind us now and move on. There are still a lot of points to play for.” Donovan flew off to Amsterdam last night to link up with the USA squad ahead of their international friendly with Holland on Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta believes yesterday’s poor start at White Hart Lane was down to the fact that Everton were still suffering after their Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon. “Thursday was a big hit for us because we wanted to go far in that competition and the way we went out meant it was mentally tough,” Arteta said. “We tried to get back on it today but we lost.”

Spurs 2, Everton FC 1: Blues' hopes of European football suffer major blow
Mar 1, 2010. Liverpool Echo, By Greg O’Keeffe
THE last time Everton played at White Hart Lane the shirts were purple, this time it was the faces. There was anger and frustration in equal measure as the Blues' hopes of securing European football next season suffered a major blow in the capital.
There was anger in the dugout and in the away end at the fact it took half this contest for them to shake off the mother of all hangovers following their Europa League exit.
And frustration that their gutsy second half fightback went unrewarded.
Everton ultimately paid the price for a lethargic opening 45 minutes during which goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric left them with a mountain to climb. After Yakubu netted early in the second half the Blues were transformed and threatened to turn an entertaining contest on its head. Tottenham threw away a 2-0 lead at Goodison back in December when David Moyes' side rallied to force a draw. And Spurs were clearly petrified that lightning was about to strike twice as anxiety spread through their ranks. Everton would have grabbed at least a point but for a nightmare miss from Landon Donovan. It was the American international's Ronnie Rosenthal moment as he somehow missed the target with the net gaping.
It was tough on Donovan who has been a big hit at Goodison since he arrived on loan from LA Galaxy in January. He didn't need telling that it had cost his side dearly.
The dejected look on his face as he walked away from the ground to catch a flight to Amsterdam for a midweek friendly with Holland said it all. Donovan was hurting and so were his team-mates. They knew this was a golden opportunity to step up their bid for Europa League qualification. Victory would have put them just five points behind Tottenham with a game in hand. Defeat means Spurs have disappeared over the horizon. February was always going to be a defining month and at the end of it Evertonians are left with a nagging feeling of what might have been.
It started with a derby defeat at Anfield when they failed to take advantage of a 10-man Liverpool side who were there for the taking. The response was emphatic with wins over Chelsea, Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United fuelling the belief that there could be an exciting finale to the campaign. But that bubble of optimism was burst by last Thursday's woeful display in Lisbon and yesterday's defeat delivered another reminder of their inconsistency. When cast as the underdogs with nothing to lose Everton have excelled, but when the stakes are high and the pressure is on them to deliver they have fallen short. A remarkable run will now be needed if they are going to avoid having nothing but pride to play for in the final weeks of the season.
Moyes had demanded a response following their European exit but all he got was more of the same. Back in October, when the Blues wore a purple kit in support of Liverpool Unites, Everton were beaten 2-0 at Spurs in the Carling Cup.
After the game Moyes took a vow of silence in protest at the organisers' insistence they played just two days after a league clash at Bolton. His side's first half display yesterday will have left him speechless in North London once again.
Hopes that the return of John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin would tighten up a defensive line which looked so shaky in Lisbon were swiftly dashed.
Everton were under the cosh from the start and the hesitancy of the two centre-backs contributed to Spurs' 11th minute opener. When Defoe latched on to Tom Huddlestone's ball down the right and looked up to discover nobody had tracked his run he could hardly believe his luck. The England striker had all the time he wanted to steady himself and his cross-shot was turned in by Pavlyuchenko. It was the resurgent Russian's fifth goal in the space of a week. Moyes had opted for fresh legs in a bid to ensure the Blues bounced back but they were second best in all departments. Lone striker Yakubu, making his first start for two months, was isolated and when a rare chance did fall at his feet after Heurelho Gomes dropped Leighton Baines' corner, Michael Dawson was alert to block his effort. Victor Anichebe was another one of those to benefit from Moyes' decision to ring the changes. The Nigerian striker found himself out on the right in his first start for a year but he failed to grasp his opportunity. Anichebe squandered possession cheaply and left skipper Phil Neville exposed as the excellent Gareth Bale was allowed to charge forward and whip in a stream of dangerous crosses. Pavlychencko and Niko Kranjcar both threatened to add to Spurs' tally before they finally doubled their lead. There appeared to be little danger when Modric picked up possession on the edge of the box but the little Croatian whipped a curling shot over Howard and in off the bar. Jack Rodwell, who had been recalled in place of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, had Everton's best chance of the half but nodded wide from Neville's cross. Moyes had to take action at the interval and it was no surprise that Leon Osman was sacrificed with Phil Jagielka replacing him and Heitinga pushed forward into midfield. It was a smart move. The Dutchman helped give the Blues a physical presence in the middle they had seriously lacked and Jagielka exerted his authority at the back to tighten things up. There was an instant improvement with Heitinga forcing a save from Gomes and just 10 minutes into the second half Everton had a lifeline. Mikel Arteta's corner was nodded back across goal by Rodwell and Yakubu was on hand to bundle home only his third goal of the season. The away fans finally had something to shout about and from then on the momentum was with the Blues. It took a smart stop from Gomes to deny Rodwell soon after and the introduction of Donovan for Anichebe helped maintain the pressure. Steven Pienaar stung the keeper's hands after a wayward pass from Wilson Palacios but the best chance of all fell to Donovan. When the American inexplicably knocked Rodwell's cross wide from two yards out, Moyes slumped in his technical area with his head in his hands. Spurs' preparations for this game had been dogged by a virus sweeping through the squad. But it was Everton who were left feeling sick yesterday.
TOTTENHAM: Gomes, Corluka, Bassong, Dawson, Bale, Kranjcar, Huddlestone (Kaboul 52), Palacios, Modric, Pavlyuchenko (Crouch 81), Defoe (Gudjohnsen 71). Subs not used: Alnwick, Walker, Dervite, Assou-Ekotto. Yellow cards: Modric
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Heitinga, Distin, Baines, Anichebe (Donovan 63), Arteta, Pienaar, Osman (Jagielka 45), Rodwell (Vaughan 81), Yakubu. Subs not used: Nash, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov, Gosling. Yellow cards: Neville Arteta, Pienaar, Heitinga
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Landon Donovan says sorry for Everton's miss of the season
March 1, 2010. Guardian, By Paul Weaver
• On-loan forward reflects on 'disappointing moment'
• Moyes buoyed by return from injury of Phil Jagielka
The Everton forward Landon Donovan has apologised to his team-mates after missing one of the sitters of the season against Spurs at White Hart Lane yesterday. The American came on as a substitute and should have equalised in the 77th minute after Jack Rodwell picked him out with a pass to the far post. It would have been a just result for an Everton side who dominated the second half after being outplayed in the first. "Landon said sorry to us afterwards," said the midfielder Mikel Arteta. And Donovan himself said: "This is just a really disappointing moment for me personally. I've put a lot into my time here and another goal would have been a nice reward.
"I got myself in a good position at the back post and was hoping Jack was going to put the ball across goal. He did that and it came perfectly for me. It's hard to understand what went wrong. I felt like everything was right but then I looked up to see the ball had hit the side-netting. It's so frustrating because if we had scored then it's possible we might have gone on to win the game." Everton's manager, David Moyes, who sank to his knees and clutched his head in despair, at least found some consolation in the performance of the defender Phil Jagielka, who is returning to full fitness after a serious knee injury. Although Jagielka only came on as a substitute his form will interest England's manager, Fabio Capello, in view of the number of defenders who are injured or in poor form. "Phil made a massive difference when he came on against Spurs," Moyes said. "On his day he's a really top defender. He's probably not ready for 90 minutes yet. But if he plays like he did against Spurs he's not far away [from England]." Everton captain's, Phil Neville, also praised Jagielka's performance when he said: "He was probably a catalyst for that second-half performance. It's great to have him back as he is a real voice around the place. He probably only trained 10 or 15 days and that shows what a character he is."
Meanwhile Tottenham's manager, Harry Redknapp, who was upset to see the midfielder Tom Huddlestone added to an already lengthy injury list, has found consolation in the form of Luka Modric, who himself has had to recover from a fractured leg. Redknapp said: "I think Luka is back to his best; he could play in any team in the world. His goal against Everton was a fantastic finish from a great player."
The Spurs midfielder Niko Kranjcar, Modric's international team-mate with Croatia, added: "I think he proved it when he came on at Wigan and was sublime. Against Everton, again he had a great game. Since we started playing together in the national team I think the team benefits from us playing together and we get the best out of each other."

Tottenham 2-1 Everton: The Daily Mirror match report
March 1, 2010. Daily Mirror, By John Cross
Luka Modric scored one of the goals of the season - but Tottenham only held on for victory after the miss of the season. Everton looked dead and buried at the break but staged a brilliant second half comeback which would have been completed but for Landon Donovan’s amazing blunder. Donovan raced in at the back post but, with an open goal at his mercy, somehow the US midfielder fired into the side netting from two yards. It was a miss which cost Everton a point, left David Moyes with his head in his hands and kept Spurs boss Harry Redknapp’s men in hot pursuit of Champions League football next season. And if they are to reach Europe’s promised land then they will need more special performances like the one provided by pint-sized midfielder Modric. Croatian Modric was exceptional throughout and his magical 28th minute goal put Tottenham firmly in charge and on course for victory after in-form Roman Pavluchenko had given them an early lead. But it turned out to be a nail biting finish as Everton battered Spurs in the second half in what turned out to be a thrilling, end-to-end encounter which was full of twists and turns. The biggest turning point of the game perhaps came in the 53rd minute when Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone was stretchered off after a clash with Everton’s John Heitinga.
Huddlestone has been an unsung hero for Tottenham this season and you only begin to realise his value to the team after he was replaced by makeshift midfielder Younes Kaboul. The tide turned and as much as Tottenham bossed the first half, it was one-way traffic after that and Yakubu’s 55th minute goal set up a grandstand finish.
It was almost like deja vu as Tottenham threw away a two-goal lead against Everton in December when Moyes’ men grabbed a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
But Tottenham now have a squad full of confidence and they look capable of forcing their way into the Champions League. Left back Gareth Bale looks reborn as he flies down the flank and there was no better player on the pitch than him yesterday.
But at the moment Pavlyuchenko looks irreplaceable and un-droppable, even keeping England striker Peter Crouch and Eidur Gudjohnsen on the bench.
Pavlyuchenko is on fire at the moment and it took him just 11 minutes to get Tottenham off to a flier. Huddlestone’s pass found Jermain Defoe and he drove in a low cross, Pavlyuchenko slid in and then fired home from ten yards.
It was the Russian centre forward’s fifth goal in his last three games and it stunned Everton who, despite their midweek Europa League exit, have been in terrific form in the Premier League. But Tottenham completely overwhelmed Everton in the first half, never allowing their midfield talents of Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Steven Pienaar to get a foot hold on the game. Tottenham’s only weakness was a shaky performance by keeper Heurelho Gomes who spilled the ball in the 17th minute but the outstanding Michael Dawson made a brilliant block from Everton striker Yakubu. Modric then put Tottenham further ahead in the 28th minute with an absolute world class goal. A long injury lay-off has stopped Modric from reaching his high standards this season, but the Croatian was approaching his best yesterday as he swapped passes with fellow countryman Niko Kranjcar on the edge of the box.
Modric then hit a stunning right foot 20 yard shot which caught Tim Howard off his line, the ball sailed over the Everton keeper’s head, hit the underside of the bar and then crashed down over the line. It looked as if Tottenham would run away with it but Everton boss Moyes was brave and bold enough to change it at half time, bringing on Phil Jagielka for Osman and changing the shape of his team.
Moyes’ tactical switch worked, Huddlestone went off and Everton were back in the contest after Yakubu forced home in the 55th minute after Rodwell headed on Arteta’s corner. From then on, it was like the alamo. Tottenham panicked, Kaboul was over run in midfield and Wilson Palacios also struggled, at one point his square pass straight out of Sunday League let in Pienaar only for Gomes to save his fierce 72nd minute shot. But as good as Donovan has been since joining from LA Galaxy in January, he will forever be haunted by his 77th minute miss. Rodwell’s low cross found him unmarked, but Donovan side footed wide. Fabio Capello will only be hoping that Donovan is as wasteful when England face the USA in the World Cup this summer as the Everton midfielder somehow fired into the side netting.
Still Everton did not give up as Heitinga’s near post corner found Jagielka but the centre half headed over. There were huge cheers of relief from the Tottenham fans at the final whistle as they went home with three points and a step closer to the Champions League. Donovan, meanwhile, will want to forget his miss as quickly as possible.

David Moyes rues first half display by Everton FC
Mar 1, 2010. Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES said Everton did not deserve to lose at Tottenham but admitted a below-par performance in the first 45 minutes ultimately cost his side. The Blues boss witnessed a Jekyll and Hyde display at White Hart Lane as goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric gave Tottenham a two-goal lead at half time.
Yakubu pulled one back after the break but despite having much the better of the second period, the Blues could not muster an equaliser. “We didn’t deserve anything in the first half, that is for sure,” Moyes said. “But by the end of the game we probably deserved something out of it. We just gave ourselves too big a mountain to climb in the first place.” Moyes was pleased with the response after the interval but said his players owed it to the supporters, adding: “It was a spirited second half but they needed it. After the first half performance they needed it and after the performance in midweek against Sporting they needed it, because they weren’t good enough.
The second half I can look at and say the supporters got their money’s worth out of us, but they didn’t in midweek or the first half today.” Landon Donovan missed one particularly gilt-edged chance to level the game, somehow firing wide from three-yards out and the manager confessed it may have proved a turning point if the American had converted. “Landon’s miss is one we’re looking at and probably saying if that goes in it’s two each with 10 minutes to go, we’ve got the momentum and we may well have gone on and won the game.” The manager also praised Phil Jagielka who impressed after replacing Leon Osman at half time. “Phil made an undoubted difference,” he said. “We looked as if we could deal with one on ones, we looked assured and more comfortable, and that made a big difference, it really did.”
Meanwhile Harry Redknapp revealed the full extent of the injury crisis in his squad.
Tom Huddlestone was carried off on a stretcher after getting his foot caught by John Heitinga while taking a shot during the 2-1 win at White Hart Lane, adding to Redknapp’s problems in midfield as Jermaine Jenas requires surgery on a groin injury and Wilson Palacios is walking a disciplinary tightrope on nine bookings. In defence, Ledley King has a thigh problem and Jonathan Woodgate looks likely to miss the rest of the season with his long-term groin complaint. The news from the specialist treating Aaron Lennon is that the England winger needs at least six weeks’ rest, with David Bentley unable to deputise as he has a tear in his groin. “Tom will have a scan and we’ll see how it is,” said Spurs boss Redknapp. “I don’t know how bad his injury is, it doesn’t look all that good at the moment. But we are running out of central-midfield players. We’ve only got three anyway, we’ve got Palacios, Tom and Jermaine Jenas. “Jenas looks like having an operation on Wednesday probably, we don’t know how Tom is and Wilson’s on nine bookings so it’s not an ideal situation. It’s an area we’ve been light on all year really.” Vedran Corluka and Palacios were also fighting the effects of a virus that swept through Spurs this week – but they were out of the blocks quickly against David Moyes’ men and took the lead in the 11th minute when Roman Pavlyuchenko netted. “Pav scores goals, that’s five goals in the last two-and-a-quarter games and you can’t ask more than that,” said Redknapp, who chose not to sell the Russia striker to Lokomotiv Moscow during the January transfer window. “It’s good, it gives me a nice problem, I’ve got good frontmen.”
Luka Modric added the second when he rounded off a slick move, involving fellow Croatians Corluka and Niko Kranjcar, with a finish that went in off the underside of the crossbar. “It was one of the best goals I’ve scored,” Modric said. “We know each other from the national team. I’m very happy but the most important thing is that we won, it was a massive win.”

Dixie Dean: The story behind greatest of them all
Mar 1, 2010. Liverpool Echo
IT was 30 years ago today . . . that the greatest centre-forward in English football breathed his last. Dixie Dean died at Goodison Park – the scene of so many of his greatest triumphs – minutes from the end of a Merseyside derby match.
And to commemorate the occasion the Everton Collection is hosting a new online exhibition telling his story in a series of magnificent images. Dean’s name figures heavily in the Collection, which has been on display at Liverpool’s Central Library for several months now. Due to finish its six month run after the Easter holidays, football fans of any allegiance are urged to visit the Collection before it goes back into storage.
Of course the images will still be available for viewing via the Collection’s excellent website – www.evertoncollection.org.uk – which now has thousands of images freely available to view of the Collection’s 18,000 items. Fans can read the Everton Football Club minute books from 1887 to 1964, explore the match archive section which includes 10,000 match programmes or even search for your favourite player’s memorabilia. A new ‘player search’ function has recently been released on the site, linking every match programme with the players featured inside.
There is A Week in History section, which last week featured Johnny Carey’s birthday, Dean scoring a hat-trick at Anfield and Everton putting 10 past Southport.
The latest minute book transcriptions describe the planned redevelopment of Goodison in 1914. Blues legend Bob Latchford will be holding a signing session in The Everton Collection exhibition on Saturday, March 6 between 1pm and 4pm.
Visit the Everlution Collection on the second floor of the Central Library in the Picton Reading Room.

Everton and Liverpool FC meet for stadium talks
Mar, 1 2010. Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL FC and Everton FC were today sitting down for a top-level stadium summit with city council leaders. Representatives from Liverpool university were also expected to attend. LFC chief executive Christian Purslow and his Everton counterpart Robert Elstone are trying to find a solution to their outdated grounds. Both were due at the meeting. It is understood the clubs will be urged to let the university carry out a feasibility study into options. North West Development Agency chief executive Steve Broomhead said: "We welcome the meeting. People are beginning to look at the opportunities again. Both clubs need solutions, either singly or jointly."
Both Everton and Liverpool declined to comment on the meeting.
One option that may be examined during the meeting is the "football quarter" put forward by fans' group Keep Everton in Our City (KEIOC). The KEIOC idea would see Goodison Park rebuilt – with a hotel and other developments around Stanley Park helping pay for it. In a separate development Liverpool Labour leader Joe Anderson is writing to EFC and LFC to suggest they enter into a feasibility study with the council about the possibility of a shared stadium. He said the option needed ruling in or out once and for all, and that above all clarity was needed. City council leader Warren Bradley has said he thinks the idea of a football quarter based around Stanley Park is a "cracking idea". In the past any talk of a shared stadium has always been ruled out by Liverpool FC. The club maintains it remains committed to building a new £400m, 60,000 seater ground in Stanley Park. It is understood the club is looking for £100m to get work started – but has so far struggled to raise the cash. Building a new stadium is Purslow's number one priority. The lack of progress is a prime source of discontent among fans fed up with US owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Everton fans are equally desperate for a new home. The club was forced back to the drawing board after the government rejected the £400m Tesco/Kirkby project.
It is understood the club is now studying the possibility of re-developing Goodison – although this has always been ruled out as unaffordable. The club is also understood to be carrying out a new search for sites with the city council. But in the past none of the sites identified by the council proved affordable because of the need for "enabling" development to help off-set the cost of the stadium.

Tottenham defeat tough to take after brave fightback says Landon Donovan: Everton FC latest
Mar 1, 2010, Liverpool Echo, By James Pearce
LANDON DONOVAN admitted defeat was tough to take after Everton’s second half fightback proved to be in vain at Tottenham. The Blues’ hopes of qualifying for Europe suffered a major setback as they were beaten 2-1 by the Champions League chasers. David Moyes’ side paid the price for a lacklustre first half display at White Hart Lane as goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric put Spurs firmly in control. Yakubu’s strike early in the second half transformed the contest but the Blues spurned a number of chances to equalise. The USA international missed the best of them when he inexplicably fired wide with the goal at his mercy. “We didn’t start the game well enough,” Donovan said. “Everyone was disappointed with the way we played in the first half. When you start like that and find yourselves 2-0 down at a place like this it is always going to be difficult. “But I thought our response in the second half was really good. We got a goal back and had a number of other chances to get something out of the game. “We put a lot into the game in the second half and I thought we deserved to get something out of it.” The 27-year-old, who is entering the final weeks of his loan spell from LA Galaxy, made his 11th appearance for the Blues.
With 13 minutes to go he had a glorious opportunity to net his second goal for the club, but he failed to convert Jack Rodwell’s cross from close range.
A clearly upset Donovan couldn’t hide his despair. This is just a really disappointing moment for me personally,” he added. “I’ve put a lot into my time here and another goal would have been a nice reward. “I got myself in a good position at the back post and was hoping Jack was going to put the ball across goal. He did that and it came perfectly for me. “It’s hard to understand what went wrong. I felt like everything was right but then I looked up to see the ball had hit the side netting. “It’s so frustrating because if we had scored then it’s possible we might have gone on to win the game.
“It’s tough but we’ve got to put this behind us now and move on. There are still a lot of points to play for.” Donovan flew off to Amsterdam last night to link up with the USA squad ahead of their international friendly with Holland on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Mikel Arteta believes yesterday’s poor start at White Hart Lane was down to the fact that Everton were still suffering after their Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon. “Thursday was a big hit for us because we wanted to go far in that competition and the way we went out meant it was mentally tough,” Arteta said. “We tried to get back on it today but we lost.”

Everton FC youngsters knocked out of FA Youth Cup by Blackburn Rovers
Mar 1, 2010, Chris Wright, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON YOUTH crashed out of the FA Youth Cup last night in a cruel 2-1 extra-time defeat by Blackburn Rovers despite taking the lead. Neil Dewsnip’s side looked to be heading for the club’s first appearance at the semi-final stage of the Youth Cup in eight seasons after Shane Duffy had headed in from Jose Baxter’s free-kick five minutes before half-time. Nathan Craig, Aristote Nsiala, Conor McAleny and Tom Donegan all had chances to increase Everton’s lead but failed to take them.
Everton were made to pay with 10 minutes left of normal time when Grant Hanley levelled – it was the first goal Everton under-18s had conceded in more than 1,000 minutes of play stretching back to October 11 last year. Both sides had chances to book their place in the semi-finals and a two-legged tie with Chelsea. But Rovers substitute Osayaman Osawe scored the crucial strike 12 minutes into the first period of extra-time. Baxter went close late on with a free-kick, but despite pressing for an equaliser Everton find an equaliser to force the tie to go to a penalty shoot-out.
BLACKBURN ROVERS YOUTH: Swann, Ramm, Morris, Lowe, Hanley, Jones (O’Connor 83), Evans (Osawe 65), Bowen, Hitchcock, Potts (Knowles 73), Banton. Subs: Irwin, Pivkovski.
EVERTON YOUTH: Davies, Nsiala, Bidwell, Mustafi, Duffy, Wallace (Orenuga 106), Donegan, Forshaw, McAleny (Hope 88), Baxter, Craig (Garbutt 106). Subs: Roberts, Murphy.

Extra-time goal sends Everton Youth team crashing out of the FA Youth Cup at Blackburn
March 2, 2010. By Chris Wright, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON YOUTH crashed out of the FA Youth Cup last night in a cruel 2-1 extra-time defeat by Blackburn Rovers despite taking the lead. Neil Dewsnip’s side looked to be heading for the club’s first appearance at the semi-final stage of the Youth Cup in eight seasons after Shane Duffy had headed in from Jose Baxter’s free-kick four minutes before half-time. Nathan Craig, Aristote Nsiala, Conor McAleny and Tom Donegan all had chances to increase Everton’s lead but failed to take them.
Everton were made to pay with 10 minutes left of normal time when Grant Hanley levelled – the first goal Everton under-18s had conceded in more than 1,000 minutes stretching back to October 11. Both sides had chances to book their place in the semi-finals and a two-legged tie with Chelsea, but Rovers substitute Osayaman Osawe scored the crucial strike 12 minutes into the first period of extra-time.
Baxter went close late on with a free-kick, but despite pressing for an equaliser Everton couldn’t score the vital strike that would have taken the tie to a penalty shoot-out.
BLACKBURN ROVERS YOUTH: Swann, Ramm, Morris, Lowe, Hanley, Jones (O’Connor 83), Evans (Osawe 65), Bowen, Hitchcock, Potts (Knowles 73), Banton. Subs: Irwin, Pivkovski.
EVERTON YOUTH: Davies, Nsiala, Bidwell, Mustafi, Duffy, Wallace (Orenuga 106), Donegan, Forshaw, McAleny (Hope 88), Baxter, Craig (Garbutt 106). Subs: Roberts, Murphy.Davies, Nsiala, Bidwell, Mustafi, Duffy, Wallace (Orenuga 106), Donegan, Forshaw, McAleny (Hope 88), Baxter, Craig (Garbutt 106). Subs: Roberts, Murphy.

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton FC's Leighton Baines can stake a claim for World Cup place
Mar 2, 2010. Liverpool Echo
I’M absolutely delighted that Leighton Baines has been called up to the England squad for tomorrow night’s friendly with Egypt at Wembley. It’s a massive opportunity for the Everton left-back to show what he can do on the international stage and I’m confident he will rise to the challenge. What’s happened with the left-back spot with Ashley Cole getting injured and Wayne Bridge making himself unavailable is a bizarre situation. But the door has opened for Baines and he has to make the most of it. It’s a straight fight between Baines and Stephen Warnock, and I’m sure Fabio Capello will give both of them some game time tomorrow. With no guarantees that Cole will be fit for the World Cup, Baines could be playing for a place in the England side for the World Cup in South Africa. There’s no question Baines has the quality to make the step up. He had a slow start to his Everton career but over the past year he’s been a model of consistency. He has really blossomed at Goodison and an England debut should hold no fears for him. Baines is in a similar mould to Cole in that he likes to get forward and his delivery from wide areas is one of his best assets. Few international sides have out and out wingers these days so he just has to ensure he gets his defensive positional play spot on. Enough has been said and written already about Bridge’s decision not to play for England. I’m sick of hearing about these soap opera story lines which have destabilised the national team. All I will say is that it’s easy to say ‘grow up and be a man about it’. The fact is we don’t know how Bridge is feeling. He’s got principles and we have to respect his decision. It could also have been a big night for Baines’ Everton team-mate Louis Saha – but after the striker was named in the France squad for the first time in three years for their friendly against Spain he has had to pull out. Saha has been excellent this season and has 15 goals to show for it. His quality has never been up for debate, the problem has been injuries, but Mick Rathbone and his team have done a great job keeping him fit for so long.
A knock kept Saha out at Spurs and I’m gutted that he has been denied another shot at international football. Everton can’t give up on quest for Europe
FEBRUARY was always going to be a massive month for us and it contained plenty of highs and lows. The wins against Chelsea and Manchester United were special. You don’t get days like that very often and beating them was a big deal.
If we had sneaked through in Europe and then nicked a point at White Hart Lane on Sunday it would have been an excellent month. But losing to Sporting and Spurs has taken the shine off those great results. Hopes of silverware have gone but we have to lick our wounds and go again - starting at home to Hull on Sunday.
It’s going to be difficult but I still believe sixth or seventh place is not beyond us.
I’m confident we can finish above Fulham and Birmingham and I can also see maybe Aston Villa falling away. We have to keep fighting, put a run together over our last 11 league games and turn up the pressure on the teams above us. Hull are fighting for their lives and they will try to stop us from playing. It won’t be pretty but it’s a must win game for us and we have to grind it out.
Double agony for Everton so tough to take
IT’S BEEN a bad week with back to back defeats denting our confidence. The European exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon was tough to take. We stood off them and allowed them far too much of the ball. It was no surprise when they finally scored and we had no response. The away goal we conceded late on in the first leg was crucial. A 2-0 lead would have been a great score to take over there. But that strike gave them a big psychological boost. There was certainly a hangover at Spurs and we only started to play when we were 2-0 down. The boss got the reaction he was hoping for in the second half and we should have got a point. Landon Donovan will be having nightmares about that miss. He was devastated and that shows how much he cares. But he has nothing to apologise for because he’s been a revelation here.

Everton FC midfield star Mikel Arteta relishing chance to take a breather
March, 2, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA is relishing the chance to put his feet up this week before helping to kick-start Everton’s bid for European qualification.The Spanish midfielder, who only returned to action in late January after a long-term knee injury, admits a hectic schedule has taken its toll. Back to back defeats at the hands of Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham have dented hopes of a strong finish to the season but Arteta remains bullish. And a blank week due to the international fixtures gives the Blues the chance to regroup ahead of Sunday’s home clash with Hull City. “I’ve played eight games in the last 36 days after being out for 11 months so I’m a bit tired,” he said.
“In the last 20 minutes against Spurs I was feeling tight everywhere. “I’ll have a few days of rest and then we have 11 big games coming up. “We want to finish as high as possible so we have to win most of them, starting with Hull.” Arteta admits Everton fell short of their usual high standards in the first half at Spurs but he insists there were positives in the second half that they need to build on. Yakubu halved the deficit after goals from Roman Pavlyuchenko and Luka Modric but the Blues couldn’t make their pressure count. “In the first half they were the better team and it was hard for us to get close to them," Arteta admitted. “The manager wasn’t happy at half-time because we gave the ball away too often. “We changed a few things and in the second half we did much better. “We competed well against them and if we had scored a second goal, we probably could have ended up winning the game. We had chances to get something out of the game. Meanwhile, skipper Phil Neville has praised the contribution of Phil Jagielka following his return to action after 10 months out with a knee injury. The defender played 40 minutes against Sporting Lisbon last week and impressed again when he came off the bench at half-time at Spurs.
“It’s probably come sooner than Jags expected but he’s that kind of character,” Neville said. “I thought he was outstanding on Sunday and he was probably the catalyst for that second half performance. "It's great to have him back as he is a real voice around the place. He is going to be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”

Phil Neville hails Everton's Leighton Baines as England's best left-back
March 2, 2010, By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON skipper Phil Neville believes Leighton Baines has got what it takes to force his way into the England side for this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
The Blues left-back is set to make his international debut in tomorrow night’s friendly with Egypt at Wembley. Ashley Cole’s broken ankle and Wayne Bridge’s enforced exile mean Baines has a golden opportunity to impress manager Fabio Capello.
And Neville is confident the 25-year-old, who has excelled for the Blues this season, has all the qualities to be a major hit at the highest level. “Leighton is a very level headed lad who keeps his feet on the ground,” Neville said. “In the past he was probably just happy to be in the England squad but now there’s a quiet determination to go in there and cement his place in the team. “He has a good chance of starting and hopefully staking a claim for the World Cup. “He has all the attributes. He’s quick, technically good, gets crosses in, knows how to defend and he won’t let anyone down.
“There is always someone who comes up late on the rails and does well in a World Cup and what a fantastic end to the season it could be for Leighton. “He has good experience at international level with the under-21s and that will stand him in good stead for the game against Egypt.” Baines, who will be vying with Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock for the vacant left-back spot, is desperate to get a chance to show Capello what he can do. The former Wigan defender, who won 16 caps for the under-21s, was in the England squad last March but didn’t feature against either Slovakia or Ukraine. With Cole facing a race against time to be fit for the World Cup and Bridge having seemingly retired from international football, Baines knows a good performance tomorrow night could book his seat on the plane to South Africa.
“I was delighted to get called up,” Baines said. “Obviously it’s been on my mind for one reason or another and people have been talking about it so it was nice to get the call. “The fact that Everton have been playing so well has helped. We’ve done very well in the last couple of months and good teams get noticed. “I’m looking forward to the experience and just hope I get an opportunity. “I think every player in and around the squad will be thinking about the World Cup. It’s a way off yet but it’s only natural for it to be on your mind.” Meanwhile, Louis Saha’s hopes of a return to the international stage have been dashed by a thigh injury. The Blues’ 15-goal top scorer has been forced to pull out of France’s friendly with Spain in Paris tomorrow night.
Saha, who sat out Everton’s 2-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday, was declared unfit after undergoing medical tests in the French capital yesterday. It was the first time Saha had been called up by his country for more than three years. He earned the last of his 18 caps against Greece in November 2006.

Everton FC fans letters
March 3, 2010, Liverpool Echo
SUNDAY’S loss against Tottenham really was an infuriating a defeat as we have had all season because it was so avoidable. Sloppy at one end, profligate at the other, the optimism of last week has dissipated in the space of just a few short days.
The season is not over, not by any means. We are well in with a shout of grabbing one of the European spots. But with our last lingering hope of a trophy and a chance of grabbing fourth place now all but extinguished, the season finale will be a lot less exciting than it could have been.
Thomas Mallows
WE need Arteta and Rodwell to build a partnership in the middle. Anichebe is not worth a starting place – he’s just a squad player. Donovan's miss was unfortunate and I hope this will not be how his stay on Merseyside will be remembered, he has been an outstanding player for us since his arrival.
WE beat the league leaders and we beat the defending Premier League champions playing some great attacking football. Then we go to Lisbon and play defensive hoofball. Absolutely woeful.
TO sit back on a one goal lead with Sporting Lisbon having an away goal ain't going to cut it! A lacklustre performance; no actually the performance was pathetic.
As one supporter said: "A waste of time." The club should reimburse the fans who made the effort to attend the game. What's the point of qualifying for this tournament when that is the best the team can put out?
THE last two results have seen us come back down to earth with a massive bump.
Dumped out of Europe, when many of us believed we did have a good chance of making the last 16. And then we suffer our ninth league defeat of the season, Lisbon having some effect in the dismal first-half display. I just hope we don’t go into meltdown now. Hull will come out fighting like mad for the points on Sunday so we must be prepared to scrap for what would be a morale-boosting win if nothing else.
FROM the sublime to the downright embarrassing. The win over Manchester United now seems a very long time ago, having been a very distant second best in Lisbon, followed by a truly shocking first half at Spurs. All we’ve heard since is how well we played in the second half at White Hart Lane and how we deserved something from the game. Sorry, but it’s no good waking up when you’re already two goals behind to a side fighting for a top four finish. We have some very winnable games on the horizon, starting with the visit of ‘Phil Brown’s Hull City’ on Sunday.
Only a win will do to get us going again.
Robert Beard

Leighton Baines expected to start for England at Wembley
March 3, 2010, By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON defender Leighton Baines is set to start for England in tonight’s international friendly with Egypt at Wembley. Manager Fabio Capello refused to confirm that he will hand the 25-year-old his debut, but during the squad’s final training session Baines was part of what is expected to be the starting line-up.
Baines is battling it out with Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock for the left-back slot which has been left vacant by Ashley Cole’s ankle injury and Wayne Bridge’s retirement from international football. When asked who would get the first chance to impress, Capello said: “There are two choices at left-back, but only one at right-back – so Wes Brown will start.” Both Baines and Warnock are expected to play some part in what is England’s final friendly before Capello names his preliminary squad for the World Cup in South Africa. Baines is just one of a number of Blues in action tonight with Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling in the England Under-21s squad for their European Championship qualifier against Greece at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is in Budapest for Russia’s friendly with Hungary, while in Amsterdam goalkeeper Tim Howard and on-loan forward Landon Donovan will play for the USA against a Holland side which could include Blues defender John Heitinga. Defender Philippe Senderos will undergo a late fitness test on his hip injury prior to Switzerland’s home clash with Uruguay. Meanwhile, young Blues defender Seamus Coleman has vowed to keep his feet on the ground following his breakthrough this season. The 21-year-old has made seven first team appearances for the Blues since making his debut away to Benfica in October. Coleman will play for Republic of Ireland Under-21s against Armenia in Dublin tonight but he is already being tipped for promotion to Giovanni Trapattoni’s senior squad. “I heard my name mentioned in relation to the senior squad, but I wasn’t thinking about it,” he said.
“I knew myself that I would be with the Under-21s for another while yet as I have only played a handful of games for Everton. “Even to get mentioned was a compliment, to know that (assistant manager) Marco Tardelli was aware of me and speaking about me was a great boost. “But I won’t get carried away, I know my career will start to dip if I let this little bit of success go to my head.”

Under-21s defeat for Blues duo
March 4, 2010, By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON duo Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling were both in action last night as England Under-21s lost 2-1 to Greece in a European Championships qualifier at Doncaster. Rodwell started the game and Gosling came off the bench for the last six minutes. Seamus Coleman couldn’t prevent Republic of Ireland Under-21s from going down 2-1 at home to Armenia. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scored Russia’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Hungary in Budapest. Johnny Heitinga triumphed in the battle of the Blues in Amsterdam as Holland won 2-1 against a USA side including Tim Howard and Landon Donovan. l Everton’s league trip to Man City has been confirmed for Wednesday, March 24.

PSV sign former Everton winger Andy Der Meyde
March 4, 2010, Liverpool Echo
FORMER Everton winger Andy van der Meyde has signed for PSV Eindhoven until the end of the season. The Eredivisie leaders have the option to extend the contract of the 30-year-old – who was a free agent after leaving Everton last season – for two more years. Van der Meyde comes in as Serbia attacker Danko Lazovic leaves PSV to join Russian side Zenit St Petersburg. Van der Meyde was viewed as one of Holland's brightest prospects when he burst on the scene at Ajax and earned a move to the San Siro in 2003. He failed to meet expectations in Milan, though, moving to Merseyside two years later, where his career stalled due to injury. The winger is now hoping he can win over the PSV fans, having won two league titles and the KNVB Beker three times with their arch rivals. “I want to be important for PSV. I am glad to be here,” he said. “It did not take long to make up my mind. The chance to return to football with a major club like PSV is excellent. “I must first be totally fit and hope that soon I will be. “It does not matter where I have played previously, it is now that matters.”

Former Everton FC star Dave Watson eyeing Champions Cup glory
March 4, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON legend Dave Watson is relishing the chance to help mastermind England’s bid for glory in next month’s inaugural European Former Players Association (EFPA) Champions Cup at the ECHO Arena. The 48-year-old Goodison great has been signed up as assistant boss of the Three Lions side who will be managed by ex-England manager Terry Venables. Watson will be appearing alongside John Barnes, Steve McManaman and Peter Reid, and he is still helping to recruit further talent for the prestigious four-team six-a-side tournament. England will be up against Europe, Scotland and a joint Wales and Ireland team managed by Liverpool legend Ian Rush. The European team, who will be led by ex-Italy boss Arrigo Sacchi, is set to include ex-Barcelona star Patrick Kluivert, former Danish midfielder Michael Laudrup and Portuguese forward Ricardo Sa Pinto. Ally McCoist has agreed to head up Scotland’s challenge. Watson enjoyed a memorable 15-year career with Everton during which he won the league title in 1987 and captained them to FA Cup glory against Manchester United at Wembley in 1995. He remains the last Blues skipper to lift a trophy. “I’m really looking forward to the Champions Cup coming to Liverpool,” said Watson, who won 12 international caps. “When I was asked to get involved I didn’t need to think twice – just look at the names already signed up.
“It’s a great chance for Merseyside football fans to see so many home grown and foreign stars from yesteryear. “I’ve come across Terry Venables in the past at charity matches and he’s a fantastic guy. I’ll be assisting him but I’ll also be playing a bit as well. “My work as a youth team coach at Wigan means I keep myself reasonably fit and anyway I’ll have the other lads to do my running for me! “In Barnes, McManaman and Reid we’ve already got the basis of a cracking side and I’m still in the process of chasing up a few others. “It should be a really memorable night for everyone.” Venables will be glad to have the former Blues defender in his corner this time. Watson skippered the Hong Kong Select XI which embarrassed Venables’ England side in a warm-up match prior to the 1996 European Championships.
The Select XI was comprised of a hotch-potch of Hong Kong club players and veteran Premiership stars and were supposed to give England a morale-boosting send-off by conceding a glut of goals. However, Watson excelled at the back as England scraped a 1-0 victory. The inaugural EFPA Champions Cup is part of a two-day annual congress coming to Liverpool on April 15 and 16. This is the first year in the EFPA’s history that it has been held outside Barcelona. The conference is being held at the city’s Hilton Hotel on Thursday, April 15 where the guest speakers will include Sir Bobby Charlton and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor. That evening there will be a gala dinner at the ECHO Arena attended by an array of footballing greats, including speaker Sir Geoff Hurst. The tournament at the Echo Arena will take place from 6.45pm on Friday, April 16. The four teams will contest a round robin competition.
Tickets are on sale now priced £20 for adults and £10

Everton FC fans jury
March 4, 2010. Liverpool Echo
SO after beating Chelsea and Manchester United in consecutive matches, we crash out of Europe and get beat by Spurs, just to give us Evertonians a little dose of reality. Don’t get me wrong, we fully deserved the wins against the top two but all good runs come to an end at some point I suppose. There is no point in commenting on the Spurs match. For anyone who managed to see the Landon Donavon miss, it basically summed up the game! However, seeing Jags come on and get some minutes under his belt was reassuring. Looking forward to the Hull match, it is a great game to pick ourselves up from and I don’t see any reason why we cannot comfortably win. The internationals should not affect our squad too much and hopefully Tim Cahill will be back to give us some aerial threat which we have lacked during his absence.
COLE FRASER, Litherland
THE past week has been a tough one to handle, following the previous couple of weeks. The exit from Europe was particularly disappointing. We showed at Goodison that we were more than a match for Sporting, but we didn't turn up in Lisbon. It was a shabby performance that deserved little more than it got. The return of Phil Jagielka was the obvious highlight. Upon his introduction he immediately tightened up the defence and begun barking out his orders, something we have missed.
At Spurs, on Sunday, we showed a slightly improved account of ourselves. When Tottenham went 2-0 up, it looked as though we might have keeled over and taken a real hammering. Credit to the players, though, for fighting back and we were unlucky not to grab the equaliser.
ONLY two sides have beaten Everton in the league since November so let’s not be too negative on them. That said, it does hurt when it looks as though any slim chances of qualifying for European football next season are now over but nothing would surprise me with Everton. One option I would like to see from now on is Seamus Coleman having more starting roles in the side. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Fred Armstrong on Monday night and watch him pick up his Everton Fan of the Year award at the Echo Sports Awards. The man is a true gentleman, who has attended more Everton matches than any other fan that will sit in the ground this Sunday.
If fans could transfer from club to club, money just couldn’t buy true supporters like Fred!
YET again, after all the excitement and brilliant performances in the wins over United and Chelsea, Everton let themselves down away from home. With all the Cups now gone, the aim has to be getting back into Europe. But just like at Spurs on Sunday, we have left ourselves with far too much to do. If we can go away to an in form Arsenal team and play like that, only two deflections stopping us from picking up a win, why do we approach games away to everyone else like we’re already beaten?
We have had a decent away record over the last few years, but only three wins this season, all with a degree of luck against strugglers isn’t good enough.
The home form seems sorted, the Birmingham Cup game the only time we haven’t won at home since Christmas, and with that in mind, we should beat Hull on Sunday.
But what is the point in beating them at home, if you’re not going to start playing against them away until we’re two or 3-0 down?

Proud Everton FC left-back Leighton Baines ‘buzzing’ after England debut
Martch 4, 2010, BY Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES was today reflecting on the proudest moment of his career after becoming Everton’s latest international debutant. The Blues’ left-back played the full 90 minutes as England beat Egypt 3-1 in a friendly last night – his mum, Colette, and eldest son, Rhys, were among several family members in the Wembley crowd – and said he felt relatively satisfied with his efforts. “I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Baines, who was back at Finch Farm today to prepare for Everton’s clash with Hull City this weekend. “I only found out I was in the team just before we left the hotel to come to Wembley. “I thought I might get to play 20 minutes at the end or maybe a half if I was lucky. I’d heard that people were saying me and Stephen (Warnock) would get a half each and I thought to myself ‘I’ll take that’. “I wanted to start, because I wanted to be on the pitch for the national anthem and feel a part of it. But to play the full game was totally unexpected and that’s why I’m just over the moon. It’s got to be the proudest moment of my career.” Baines has come a long way since Blues boss David Moyes made him the then most expensive defender in Everton’s history, when paying £6m to bring the 25-year-old from Wigan Athletic in July 2007. And with Chelsea’s Ashley Cole injured and Wayne Bridge of Manchester City out of the reckoning, Baines has an opportunity to establish himself as England’s first choice left-back – that, however, will only happen if he keeps performing for Everton. “Playing for England is not something you expect to do,” said Baines. “I suppose it’s all happened quite quickly but you have got to take your chance if it comes along. The next meet-up is not until May now and I have got to make sure I am in that. The more time I get to spend with the (England) squad, the better it will be. You can build up relationships then. I’ve just got to keep playing as well as I can for Everton. “Playing 90 minutes has been a big confidence boost and I’ve just got to keep it going. It would be a dream if I managed to get to the World Cup.” Everton duo Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling were both in action last night as England Under-21s lost 2-1 to Greece in a European Championship qualifier at Doncaster. Rodwell started the game and Gosling came off the bench for the last six minutes. Seamus Coleman couldn’t prevent Republic of Ireland Under-21s from going down 2-1 at home to Armenia.
Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scored Russia’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Hungary in Budapest. Johnny Heitinga triumphed in the battle of the Blues in Amsterdam as Holland won 2-1 against a USA side including Tim Howard and Landon Donovan.
Meanwhile, Everton’s league trip to Manchester City has been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 24 (7.45pm). The match was due to take place in August but was postponed due to the Blues’ Europa League commitments.

Howard Kendall: Leighton Baines rose to the challenge for England
March 5, 2010, By Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
I’M sure Leighton Baines will get a great reception when he runs out at Goodison on Sunday. The left-back will have returned to club duty on a real high after making his England debut in the midweek win over Egypt. Naturally, there were a few nerves early on but overall I thought Baines did very well. The fact he got the full 90 minutes shows how much Fabio Capello rates him and Baines will certainly be better for the experience. That starting spot at Wembley was just reward for the consistency and quality he has shown this season. Everyone wants to be a part of the World Cup and he has done his chances no harm at all.
Howard Kendall: Everton FC must keep fighting for European place
IT’S BEEN a tough week for Everton with back to back defeats, but there is still plenty to play for this season. Of course going out of Europe was a big blow and the defeat at Spurs has damaged hopes of qualifying for next season’s competition.
But there are 33 points up for grabs and the players have got to focus on putting together another winning run. You have to take it game by game and try to put pressure on the teams above. Sunday’s game at home to Hull is the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways. When we played them at home last season I thought they were the worst Premier League side I’d seen. They only just stayed up and have struggled again this season. Hull will get men behind the ball and make it difficult but the Blues should have too much for them. Our home form has been excellent and we need to play with the same intensity we showed against Chelsea and Manchester United. It’s easy to lift yourself against the big clubs but we have to do it against teams at the bottom. Going to Spurs was always going to be tough as with the likes of Luka Modric they have real quality. It was a chance for us to close the gap but there wasn’t any life in us during the first half. It was a continuation of the game in Lisbon and it was clear the disappointment of going out of Europe really affected the players. The second half was totally different and in the end we could have got a point. One major positive has been the return to action of Phil Jagielka.
It’s a tremendous boost to see the defender back playing again after so long out.
He’s very consistent and you always know what you are going to get from him.
Jagielka will have a big role to play as Everton look to finish the season strongly.
With Mikel Arteta and Jagielka back fit and raring to go, we should climb the table once again.
Howard Kendall: Landon Donovan has been a big hit at Everton FC
l SUNDAY is Landon Donovan’s final home game for Everton before he returns to America and let’s hope he can sign off on a high. I really felt for him last Sunday after his bad miss in the defeat at Spurs. He lost concentration at a key moment and paid the price. Donovan has to shake that off and take out his frustration on Hull. It’s not easy when you are only at a club for 10 weeks but he has worked really hard and been a big success. I know Everton fans really appreciate the contribution he has made and he can be proud of his efforts.

Everton FC defender Phil Jagielka describes the night he was robbed at knifepoint
March 5, 2010, By Nick Moreton, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON footballer Phil Jagielka has described the night when he was robbed at knife point as the most frightening experience of his life. Talking about the rise of Premier League footballers being targeted by thieves in a report on BBC radio last night, the defender also said he feared the situation could get out of control and someone could get seriously hurt or killed. Jagielka, who was supposed to be playing a cup game away at Hull City that night in September last year, was forced to miss the trip when injury kept him out of the game. But as he settled down with friends at his Knutsford home to watch another match on TV, and with his children sleeping upstairs, three men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas burst into his house.
Jagielka said: “I thought it was the missus coming home from her college course at first. “One threatened me with some kind of object while another went into the kitchen to get a couple of knives.” Although Jagielka was not hurt in the incident, the robbers took cash and jewellery and the England World Cup hopeful thinks burglars are now targeting houses where residents are at home.He said: “I think there is a cultural change in how to do robberies. “It used to be when people were away, break in and take what you could, whereas now they seem to want you to be in to open the safe because obviously most things are kept there these days. “I think even if they get caught, the punishment for the crimes is not as severe as it could be.”
Jagielka is one of more than 20 Premier League players in the North West of England who have been targeted by thieves in the last three years, including Pepe Reina, Darren Fletcher, Robbie Keane, Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Federico Macheda and Tony Hibbert. Asked if he thought there was a danger of someone getting seriously hurt or even killed, Jagielka said: “Things do get out of control.
“Either the robbers are going to get overturned, and I would hate to think what is going to happen to him, or vice versa, if someone comes in with a knife and slips and ends up stabbing you.” He added: “I am not sure what the police can do or what you can do as a footballer.”

Everton FC’s Phil Jagielka is loving life again
March 5, 2010. By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA is having problems hitting his doubles – but the Everton defender couldn’t be happier. During his 10-month battle to regain fitness following a serious knee injury, the Blues centre-back channelled his efforts into improving his darts.
It helped to pass the time after Jagielka’s blossoming career had been cruelly halted by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament. However, since returning to full training last month his time on the oche has been limited. Phil Taylor’s status as world number one is safe and Jagielka, who made his comeback as a substitute against Sporting Lisbon last week, is just glad to be back doing what he does best. “It’s so hard when you don’t have anything to look forward to on the weekend,” he said. “I really needed to find something competitive I could do while I was out. I tried to play a bit of golf but that wasn’t brilliant for my knees so I stopped that. “That just left pool and darts. We’ve got a board at the training ground and I played a lot. My darts did improve a fair bit but since I’ve been back involved I’ve gone back to being rubbish again.”
When Jagielka slumped to the Goodison turf against Manchester City last April his world came crashing down. It was just a week after his penalty had secured the Blues’ passage to the FA Cup final. The rehab has been long and painful but all the hard graft has paid off. “With that injury there are normally a few complications and there were a lot of frustrating times,” he said. “It was hard and my best friend became the exercise bike. “Thankfully, the medical team and the players helped get me through it. I also owe a lot to my wife and kids who had to deal with a grumpy dad.
“The thing I missed most was the camaraderie. We’ve had a lot of new players this season and although you can have a bit of banter with them, it’s nowhere near the same when you are not travelling with them all the time. “It’s been great to get my place back on the bus next to Ossie (Leon Osman). Things are a lot happier now. I’m feeling positive and hopefully I can stay fit for the rest of the season.”
Jagielka got 40 minutes under his belt against Sporting last week and played the second half at Tottenham last Sunday. The 27-year-old came through unscathed and now has his sights set on a Goodison comeback against Hull City on Sunday.
“I’ve had a few stiff joints and muscles after the two halves I played but I’m feeling good,” he said. “Obviously, it would have been nice not to have lost both games but in terms of my personal progression it was beautiful to get on against Sporting.
“I didn’t think I would play but when Philippe (Senderos) went down there was a big rush to get my pads and shirt on. I hadn’t had any game time because the reserves match I was due to play in was called off but I had been training for a few weeks.
“People say in your first few games back the excitement and adrenalin get you through and that was definitely the case. I’ve been told to expect lots of niggles and stiffness. It’s a case of when I feel good I can train and when I don’t feel so good I need to back off and do my own thing. “I’m not sure whether the gaffer thinks I’m ready to start yet but I hope to play some part against Hull. “It will be amazing to play at Goodison again. I’ve sat and watched so many games there this season and it will be nice not to be a spectator. “The fans have been brilliant to me. The reception I got in Lisbon when I came on was crazy. It sent goose pimples down my spine.” Jagielka is also determined to repay the faith shown in him by the club. When he suffered the injury last season he was involved in contract talks and despite the serious setback, the offer of a five-year deal remained on the table. Last May he signed on the dotted line and is at Everton for the long haul. “Negotiations were going on before the injury but they could have easily taken a step back and said ‘let’s just wait until you get fit’,” he said.
“But they upheld their part of the bargain and I was very thankful for that. It was nice to have that piece of mind while I was out. Now I want to play a big part in helping Everton to be successful over the coming seasons.” Jagielka admits qualifying for Europe will be difficult after last week’s defeat at Spurs, but he won’t give up the fight. He added: “There’s still a chance and it would be nice to kick on and get European football again. “Six months ago nobody was even thinking about Europe but a great run raised expectations. Maybe we need to take a step back and realise how well we have done to be in the position we’re in now. “We’ve got most of the European challengers out of the way. We’re playing a lot of teams in the bottom half but often they are the hardest games. “Hull are fighting for their lives. It’s a different type of pressure when you are expected to beat a team compared to say playing Manchester United.” TICKETS are still on general sale for Everton’s home game with Hull City on Sunday.

Hull City's Jimmy Bullard could make injury comeback against Everton FC
March 6, 2010. Liverpool Echo
HULL manager Phil Brown has revealed Jimmy Bullard could start tomorrow’s Premier League match against Everton at Goodison Park. The midfielder, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since December, was left out of the squad for the defeat against West Ham two weeks ago but has since played for the reserves and in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Doncaster this week. “He’s got a very good chance but it’s the bigger picture that we’re involved in,” said the Hull boss. “If he misses Sunday, there’s 10 big cup finals to go, and it’s important that, if he does start Sunday, he’s available for the other 10. “That’s the decision that lies firmly on my chest. If I feel Jimmy can have an important role, then he will start. The decision’s already made.” Brown has told his Hull players to lay down a marker for the rest of the season at Goodison Park. The Tigers will be playing only their third match in four weeks and are looking to take their first points from the last of a three-game away run.
Defeats at Blackburn and West Ham took their record away from the KC Stadium this season to 10 defeats and four draws from 14 matches. And Brown’s side find themselves back in the relegation zone ahead of the trip to Merseyside following Bolton’s win over Wolves last weekend. With a home match against Arsenal to come a week tomorrow, Brown said: “We are 18th in the Premier League. We understand what’s to come. We’ve got two tough games coming into the final 11 matches.
“Probably no-one expects us to get anything; the pressure’s off us to an extent. Hopefully we can raise our game better than what we did at Upton Park and take that to Goodison and give Everton a game. “The performance at West Ham wasn’t acceptable – by our own standards, by Premier League standards, by anybody’s standards – and we’re here to address that.” David Moyes’ team have had an up-and-down month, with victories over Manchester United and Chelsea balanced out by a Europa League exit at the hands of Sporting Lisbon and a 2-1 defeat by Tottenham.
Possibly the low point of Everton’s season came in the first half at the KC Stadium in November, when Hull were three up inside half an hour. The Toffees recovered to pull two back but could not prevent Hull claiming the three points, and Brown admitted the match encapsulated the Tigers’ season. “I think that (result) will be on David’s mind,” he continued. “What we are capable of was the first half at the KC Stadium. “The ugly side of us is what happened in the second half so we’ve got to make sure that we focus on the performance in the first half and bring that to the table. There is an ingrained mentality to David’s side that fortunately for us wasn’t on show at the KC Stadium in the first half and we managed to get a hold of it. “But we’ve got to make sure we perform to our maximum at Goodison.” Geovanni is fit following his own knee problems but defender Anthony Gardner is facing at least six weeks on the sidelines after damaging ankle ligaments against West Ham. Dean Marney (calf) and Stephen Hunt (ankle) are doubts while Craig Fagan is suspended.

ROYAL BLUE: Everton FC’s new keeper Jan Mucha ready to rise to the challenge
March 6, 2010 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IN Slovakian, Mucha means ‘fly’ – as in the insect. And Slovakia’s number one goalkeeper intends to live up to the description when he signs for Everton from Legia Warsaw this summer. Jan Mucha is already making plans for his arrival on Merseyside, once Slovakia’s World Cup commitments have ended. The 27-year-old has already targeted an area of Liverpool where he wants to live, is taking English lessons – and has even started collecting Beatles CDs! Mucha has taken advice from his international team-mate Martin Skrtel and is eagerly anticipating his switch to the Premier League. “I already have a good friend in Škrtel. We know each other from the national team and Martin showed me the city,” he explained. “Thanks to him, I know where I want to live. He has a house near Fernando Torres and other Liverpool and Everton players, so my future neighbourhood is really interesting.
“I have a private teacher in a language school in Warsaw, and I have even started collecting Beatles CDs.” Adding to the translation of his name even further, Mucha is also working towards his pilot’s licence – “I am in the middle of my course,” he confirmed. Mucha, the Legia Warszaw keeper, will join Everton on a three-year contract at the end of the season before heading to Rustenburg, Mangaung/Bloemfontein and Johannesburg for his country’s World Cup debut. Whenever that journey ends – and with unpredictable Paraguay, minnows New Zealand and fading holders Italy in Slovakia’s group he is hopeful of progress from the group stages – the final stop on Mucha’s close-season itinerary will be Finch Farm. “I had many other offers but when I heard ‘Everton’, I felt ‘this is it’,” he added. “I could have gone to Turkey – there were two big bids. If I’d gone, I would have been a millionaire because the money they offered was staggering. But I would never have forgiven myself if I had not tried England; if I’d rejected an offer from the Premier League.”Listen, I wasn’t born in England, Italy or Spain where a player has many possibilities. I am from Slovakia, I am playing in Poland and it is not so easy to catch the eye of big clubs. I had to double my efforts but it has paid off.”
Mucha’s decision to go to Everton on a free transfer was clinched by his midwinter visit to Goodison. “When they showed me the training facilities I was shocked. There are about 20 training pitches, all in perfect condition. This is a football world I always dreamed about,” he said. ”I spent just a few days in the city, but I already like it.”
Immediate priority, however, is coming to England with a Polish title winner’s medal in his pocket. Currently second, Mucha said: “Legia have a place in my heart and I want to repay them by lifting the title.”
David Moyes wins the numbers game
DAVID MOYES has broken many records and established many benchmarks in his eight years as Everton manager. But he never expected to be the manager who used more players than anybody else in a single season. When Phil Jagielka came on in Portugal last week he was the 36th player picked for senior duty this season.
And that was one more than the trio of revolving door seasons which jointly held the record previously. In 1888-89, the very first League season, football teams were constantly changing and Everton used 35 players in 22 games.
In 1919-20, the first season after the Great War, different reasons applied, with many players returning from active duty – while in 1998-99 Walter Smith was clearly experimenting trying to find a winning blend after taking over from Howard Kendall (34 players) in 1997-98.
The lowest number of players used in Everton’s history? The 18 players selected by Harry Catterick in 1968-69, just one less than the following famous season – a campaign which saw only 16 players selected in league matches and three more in cup competitions.
Still a few tickets left for Everton 1995 FA Cup winners’ reunion at the Adelphi Hotel
SOME tickets are still available for Everton’s 1995 FA Cup winners’ reunion at the Adelphi Hotel on Thursday, March 25. There have been numerous get togethers of the last Everton side to lift silverware in 1995, but for the first time in almost a decade the entire FA Cup-winning side has agreed to return to Merseyside for a celebration.
Many of Joe Royle’s trophy winning side have now settled abroad. Match-winner Paul Rideout coaches at Kansas City Wiz, the man whose break created the goal, Anders Limpar, is back in his native Stockholm, while Daniel Amokachi is still involved in football, coaching in Nigeria. Last season’s near miss means that the 1995 triumph was the fifth and final time the Blues raised the FA Cup aloft.
The famous old trophy will be present at the reunion – and tickets can be bought from Bluenose Promotions, price £85, on 07747-011014.
Shareholders Association dinner open to all True Blue Evertonians
THERE was a time when Shareholders Association dinners were perceived as stuffy, officious affairs, the preserve of stuffed shirts and businessmen. Not any more. Everton’s present Shareholders Association has extended an invitation to all Blues to attend their annual gathering at Goodison Park on March 20. Held in the Alex Young Suite (7.30pm for 8pm) with lounge suit dress code, the dinner will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the 1984/85 double winning team in the company of Derek Mountfield, Gary Stevens and John Bailey. And to commemorate 40 years since winning the 1970 League Championship, Gordon West, Alan Whittle and special Guests “Prisoners of Rupert’s Tower”, John Keith and Dave Hickson, will attend. Fans can have their picture taken with the trophies and enjoy a three course meal for £40. All proceeds will go to the Everton FC Former Players Foundation.

BARRY HORNE: Everton FC must look forward not back after Europa League exit
March 6, 2010. Liverpool Echo
AFTER Everton’s poor showing in Lisbon our season is effectively over.
Nevertheless I still think it’s been a great year for the club and David Moyes and the players have done absolutely great. If you look at the state of some clubs’ debt Everton have done fantastically given their early season difficulties. The value of the squad has systematically imp- roved year after year, bearing in mind what David Moyes inherited from Walter Smith. Everton then were where Portsmouth are now – in possession of a long list of short term buys to do a short term job. To get to where we are in the league has been remarkable, but the one disappointment of this year has been our cup performances. It’s perhaps a little early to be looking forward to next season, but in many respects it’s not. David Moyes and his staff will have a long, long look at preparations for next season and hopefully have a lot more luck in the early stages to build a better platform to renew an assault on the top six.

David Moyes: Johnny Heitinga can give Everton FC something different
March 6, 2010, By David Randles, Liverpool Echo
WITH Everton trailing Tottenham by two goals at half-time last weekend, David Moyes shuffled his pack. Off came the previous week’s man-of-the-match, Leon Osman, replaced by Phil Jagielka, with Johnny Heitinga pushing up into midfield.
It was one of those substitutions that leaves you scratching your head, puzzled at how it will make a difference. As it happened, it was a switch that helped change the dynamics of a match that went from lost cause to fighting chance for Everton.
As Heitinga provided the presence and poise that had previously been lacking, Everton got a foothold in the game and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point. The Dutchman has been feted for his performances at the heart of the defence this season but reminded those at White Hart Lane that he has plenty more in his locker. “He’s done really well at centre-half for us this season,” said Moyes.
“But Johnny helped us last week when he went into midfield. “We were needing something different, which we might do from now on with losing Fellaini.
“With Fellaini and Cahill out we missed that little bit of strength against Spurs.
“We didn’t need it in the Man United game. Folk might have thought we’d have needed it there, but we didn’t. In the end, we needed it at Tottenham.” Heitinga was back in central defence for Holland’s 2-1 win over the USA in midweek, displaying a versatility that harks back to his schooling at the world renowned Ajax academy.
“He has that ability to adapt,” continues Moyes. “He can do a couple of jobs and do them well. “He’s given us that steadying influence. He’s gone quietly about his job and done very well. “He came in at a difficult time for us. “When he joined I thought the best way would be to settle him in midfield, to introduce him to the Premier League from there. “He had a couple of games there but then had to move back because of injuries to other players. “He just settled there nicely. It’s one of those decisions now where we might use him as a holding midfielder in some games while in others we can play him at centre-back.” The general assumption is that a fully fit Jagielka will slot back in at centre-half. That, of course, implies there will be a fall guy. On current form it would be difficult to justify a reason to dislodge Heitinga, who has also played at right-back this season. “He gives us composure but he’s also got a very good football brain,” says Moyes. “He understands and reads the game very well.
“That’s why, when he’s played at the back, he’s done the job well for us. “He’s a good all round footballer who can play in two or three holes for us. “It’s probably helped him settle in to the Premier League now by giving him 10 or 12 games at the back.
“I’m sure he feels he’s done okay.” Contrary to earlier this season when Moyes’ squad was decimated by injuries, competition for places is hotting up. But with Heitinga stating a good case for a place at the back, last week’s midfield foray could also see him pushing the likes of Jack Rodwell and Mikel Arteta too. “We’ve got a strong squad,” adds Moyes. “We’re maybe a little short here and there but if we can get them all fit we’ve got a real chance. “I know we can be a match for the best teams.
“But there has been the odd game like Sporting Lisbon away, or Birmingham City in the FA Cup, where I didn’t see it coming. “We weren’t in a bad run so where did it come from? “Maybe it comes down to a bit of complacency from one or two players
“That’s why if we have everybody fit it’ll be some job picking the team. But it will be some job getting in the team too.” Having the ability to produce the goods in a variety of positions can only enhance Heitinga’s chances of making the cut.

Mikel Arteta waking up from injury nightmare - Everton boss David Moyes
March 6, 2010. By David Randles, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Mikel Arteta is finally putting his injury nightmare behind him. The Spanish playmaker spent the best part of a year recovering from a cruciate ligament problem before making his comeback against Birmingham in the FA Cup in January. Since then, Arteta has played seven games in just over a month and admitted to feeling the strain after last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham. With a week off to recuperate ahead of Sunday’s match against Hull, Moyes is confident Arteta will now start to feel the benefit of being back in the fold and can focus on getting back to his best. “Mikel has been important for us,” said the Everton boss. “In the last day or two I’ve seen signs that he’s starting to feel a bit better. He’ll now be starting to lose that feeling that he’s been injured for 11 months. “He’ll now be thinking that he’s back playing football and starting to forget about his injury.” Moyes says injuries have forced his hand in Arteta’s case, who otherwise may not have played so many games so soon after returning from such a lengthy lay-off. “We do need to wrap him in cotton wool a little bit,” agreed Moyes. “But we’ve had a situation where we’ve been a bit short of players in that role. “Jack Rodwell’s come in but we’ve lost Marouane Fellaini. “But Mikel’s still got a bit of strength to get back and overall fitness levels to catch up with. It’s hard to do that when you come back to the Premier League so quickly. “We’ve asked a lot of him because we’ve not always had players to bring in.”
Meanwhile, Moyes has tipped Phil Jagielka to claim a World Cup place.
The England defender earned three caps under Fabio Capello before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament last April. Jagielka has made just two substitute appearances for Everton recently but Moyes sees no reason why he can’t force his way back into Capello’s plans. “If he gets back playing in the coming weeks then I think he could make the World Cup. That’s not out of his reach,” said Moyes. “He would really need to hit the ground running in the games and weeks ahead though.”
Jagielka hasn’t trained this week due to a thigh strain but should be fit to face Hull.
“He’s not played any reserve games and these little strains happen when you’ve been out for so long. If he improves his fitness he can have a really strong finish to the season.” Louis Saha is out of the Hull game tomorrow due to a hamstring injury. Tim Cahill could train today but will not figure tomorrow.

Premier League defeat at Hull City was turning point in Everton FC's season - David Moyes
March 6, 2010. Liverpool Echo
David Moyes needs no reminding of when Everton’s Barclays Premier League campaign hit its nadir - but will get it as Hull visit Goodison Park tomorrow.
The Toffees endured a troubled and injury-hit start to the season and three successive defeats in November left them fifth bottom. Amid that run was a dreadful performance at struggling Hull when Moyes’ side conceded three times in the opening 28 minutes. They hit back to lose just 3-2 but Moyes was still furious at his team’s capitulation and was left questioning their commitment and desire.
Moyes said: “On that night I think there were genuine reasons for asking those questions. “The situation we were in at that time was terrible, our performance was shocking. “We put it right in the second half, and in truth we should have got back and scored three goals, but if you give yourself a mountain to climb it makes it doubly difficult. “That was probably a real low for us at that moment in time.”
Looking back, Moyes now views that KC Stadium nightmare as the turning point in Everton’s season. In the 12 games that followed Everton lost just twice - both times to rivals Liverpool - to charge into the top half and possible European contention.
That run culminated in superb home defeats of leaders Chelsea and champions Manchester United. “I think from around about that period we picked up,” said Moyes. “They then rose to the challenge and have performed much better.
“The team looks better, the club is back on the up and we need to try to finish very positively.” Everton’s resurgence was checked last week as they went down 2-1 at Tottenham, just three days after Sporting Lisbon emphatically ended their Europa League campaign. Moyes is now hoping they can get back on track as they face Hull again but the Scot is taking nothing for granted, even though the Tigers’ fortunes have slumped since their last meeting. Phil Brown’s men, who had moved level with Everton after that November result, have tasted victory just once more.
They are precariously placed in the bottom three and, without an away win for a year, they face a tough battle to secure a third successive season in the top flight.
Moyes said: “I’m sure if they could stay in the Premier League again they would say it has been a great season for them. “It was a great achievement to keep them up last year. “It has been a tough season but I don’t think they would have expected it any other way. “You would probably choose to play these teams down at the bottom but it is difficult - there is a reason for every team to win in the Premier League.
“Those teams are going to be scrapping for points, and are desperate to get results, but if you were playing the ones at the top - as we have just done - they are all striving to get Champions League points. “Three points against Hull City is our only points target at the moment. It would be unwise to look any further.” Despite their results, Hull’s performances have held up and they took points off Chelsea and Manchester City last month. Moyes is at least pleased for Brown, whose position had seemed in jeopardy at the beginning of November, and feels the possible return of Jimmy Bullard will make his side dangerous again. Moyes said: “Having been given a chance Phil has shown he was going to do everything he can to hang in there. “What would have happened if they had put another manager in there? Would he have done any better? I don’t think he would. “It was a good decision by the chairman and I think Phil Brown is proving to be the right man for the job. “I think they tend to get positive results when Jimmy is in the team too, so it is something we need to be aware of.” Everton were due to give a fitness test to Tim Cahill after almost three weeks out with a calf injury but Louis Saha is again missing with a hamstring problem

Everton 5-1 Hull: The Daily Mirror match report
March 7, 2010. The Daily Mirror, By David
It was hard to tell exactly whether the look on Mikel Arteta's face was one of delight, relief, or just plain surprise, after finally breaking his Everton goal drought.
One thing is for sure, though, none will have felt sweeter than the opening strike he produced to send his side on the way to a magnificent victory over Hull.
It is more than a year since he was last on the scoresheet at Goodison, but more importantly, it is eight months since his son Gabriel was born, and the Spanish midfielder has been waiting ever since to perform the celebration we witnessed yesterday. He swung his arms together in a cradling motion, to indicate the emotion he and his partner Lorena have experienced during their baby's early months, as he has been in and out of hospital with eyesight problems. No wonder then, that Arteta celebrated so passionately, and then followed it up with an even more joyous celebration as he added a second with mother and child watching on proudly. Clearly, his goals are a bit like corporation buses. The midfielder actually tried to claim a third as Everton went on the rampage in the second half, but that is perhaps a little too hopeful given the role Hull's Richard Garcia played in actually putting the ball into the net. Instead, he will have to be content with merely dominating this contest with a man of the match display, which showed he is beginning to return to the sort of top quality level he reached before being cruelly struck down with the cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for almost 12 months. His boss David Moyes believes he is still inching towards full fitness after returning to the starting line up less than a month ago, but if this is Arteta at half throttle, then what he can achieve will be frightening.
He was outstanding from the start, and Hull simply couldn't cope with his influence in running forward so aggressively from midfield. Even before he opened the scoring he had two shots that came perilously close, and the only surprise was it took him 17 minutes to break the deadlock. It was a great finish too, the Spaniard coolly finding the corner of the net with a calculated strike after Yakubu's cross from the left, even if Hull allowed it to arrive at his feet too easily. From there, it seemed there would only be one result, and so it proved, but not before the visitors showed flurried briefly with a show of spirit inspired by Everton failings when Yakubu fluffed a penalty, after winning it himself. It was a poor spot kick, and Hull - perhaps angered by the award given that it looked harsh - rallied to level before the break when youngster Tom Cairney superbly volleyed home from the edge of the box. But there was too big a gulf in class between these two sides for the game to remain level before long, and when Arteta added his second just before half time, it was effectively all over.
Again, Hull allowed him too much space as Steven Pienaar cleverly backheeled Victor Anichebeís cross, for the Spaniard to again finish precisely from 15 yards.
After the interval there were just two questions: how many, and would Arteta secure his hat trick? He tried to claim it after his cross from the left floated towards the far post, but there was little doubt Garcia must accept responsibility, after heading emphatically into his own net. From there, Everton were unstoppable, with only the wonky radar of Yakubu and substitute Jack Rodwell briefly keeping the score down as they missed two each. But when Landon Donovan came off the bench he changed gears upwards once more, first firing a missile into the far corner on 82 minutes as a Leighton Baines cross reached him, and then setting Rodwell up to finish in some style four minutes from time. This could well be Donovan's last game at Goodison, because he is due to return to LA Galaxy after next weekend's visit to Birmingham, and if he does, then they will miss him. The American has settled in mangificently on Merseyside, showing with his performances against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United that he is comfortable on even the most elevated stage.
Manager David Moyes will try to extend his loan further, but one suspects - more importantly - he will enquire about a permanent deal after the World Cup is over, because he has the potential to become a Premier League star. He is not alone in the Everton squad, On this form, they can still challenge for a European place, because it is clear they will not settle for mid table obscurity no matter their setbacks in recent weeks. For Hull, the future seems more ominous. If they defend as badly as this, they will go down.

Everton FC 5, Hull City 1: Mikel Arteta strikes twice as Blues crush sorry Tigers
Mar 7, 2010. Liverpool Echo
Mikel Arteta struck twice as Everton kept their European push alive with a crushing win over Barclays Premier League strugglers Hull this afternoon.
The Spaniard found the net either side of a sublime Tom Cairney equaliser to spare the blushes of profligate striker Ayegbeni Yakubu in the first half at Goodison Park.
The Nigerian hit the post and missed a penalty but it ultimately mattered little as Everton overran their visitors in the second half. Richard Garcia headed an Arteta cross into his own net and substitutes Landon Donovan, making the final home appearance of his loan spell from Los Angeles Galaxy, and Jack Rodwell completing the rout. Hull, who remain in the bottom three, struggled to live with the Merseysiders for most of the game. Midfield talisman Jimmy Bullard, returning after a three-month lay-off, failed to make an impact and the absences of Anthony Gardner and Andy Dawson weakened their defence considerably. Everton, in recording a club record-equalling sixth successive Premier League home win, were simply stronger in all departments. Were it not for Yakubu having a personal nightmare in front of goal, the damage could have been much worse. It might have been different had Garcia taken an early chance after brilliantly controlling a high ball from Nick Barmby, but Tim Howard jumped to block his shot. Everton hit back on the break with Arteta getting a chance to shoot after his poor pass was hit straight back to him by Kevin Kilbane but he sliced wide. Arteta fired wide again moments later and Amr Zaki did no better at the other end with a scuffed effort. Leon Osman then carved out Yakubu’s first clear-cut chance with a superb throughball but the Nigerian, alone up front in place of the injured Louis Saha, hit the post with Boaz Myhill beaten. Yakubu did his best to put that behind him by delivering the deep cross for Arteta’s opener after 17 minutes.
The former Middlesbrough man found space on the left and picked out Arteta at the far post with precision.Yakubu’s touch deserted him again soon after, however, as he missed from the spot, although Hull could claim the penalty award by referee Lee Mason was harsh in the first place. It came after Hull were caught by Leighton Baines on the left and Yakubu went down as both he and Kamil Zayatte battled to reach his cross. Yakubu was keen to take responsibility from 12 yards but his stop-start run-up was followed by a tame shot and Myhill saved to his right.
Hull made Yakubu pay as highly-rated teenager Cairney levelled superbly after 31 minutes. Barmby’s free-kick was headed out by Phil Jagielka - making his first start of the season - and Cairney controlled on his chest before firing a left-footed shot across Howard from 20 yards. But the scores were not level for long as Victor Anichebe broke down the right and pulled the ball back into the box. Steven Pienaar helped it on its way with a backheel and the inrushing Arteta slotted his second with a well-placed finish. Everton really turned up the pressure early in the second half. Arteta sensed a chance to claim a hat-trick soon after the restart when Pienaar was brought down by George Boateng but then hit his free-kick into the wall. Yakubu’s hapless afternoon continued as he broke clear to square for Anichebe to tap in only to see the offside flag raised against him. Rodwell, introduced just before half-time for the injured Osman, then saw a shot deflected against the post. Persistence eventually paid off with a third goal after 51 minutes. Myhill flapped at an Arteta cross under his own crossbar and the unsuspecting Garcia could do little to prevent the ball bouncing off his head and in. Arteta took the congratulations of his team-mates as if he had completed a treble but an own goal was recorded. Pienaar then laid on a chance for Rodwell after breaking down the right but his shot was deflected wide. The one-way traffic continued as Sylvain Distin broke into the box and shot straight at Myhill.
Yakubu endured more torment after combining well with substitute Donovan but then lifting over the bar from in front of goal. Donovan showed him how to finish by smashing home a superb fourth goal after two Hull defenders failed to clear a Baines cross eight minutes from time. Everton still had time for more as John Heitinga found Donovan out wide and the American pulled back for Rodwell to clip home a fifth.

David Moyes hails departing Everton FC loan star Landon Donovan after 5-1 win over Hull City
March 8, 2010. Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes paid tribute to on-loan Landon Donovan after the American netted on what could be his last Goodison appearance for the club in yesterday’s 5-1 thrashing of Hull City. Donovan again impressed after coming off the bench by finishing powerfully and then setting up the fifth for Rodwell.
It was United States international’s final home appearance before returning to Los Angeles Galaxy and Moyes conceded hopes of extending his 10-week loan were slim.
He said: “We would like him to stay but it looks like he is going back to America.
“We respect that and don’t have a problem with it, but he has done well.
“I think we and Landon would be keen but he is here for the Birmingham game next week. “Maybe there is a bit of time to see if anything can be done but, if not, you could see what the supporters thought of him.” Moyes revealed he lost count after his side ran out convincing winners. The scoreline could have been even more emphatic as a host of other chances were passed up. Ayegbeni Yakubu missed a penalty, hit the post and put another good chance over the bar while, among other opportunities, Victor Anichebe had a goal disallowed. At full-time Moyes was convinced his team had scored six and had to be corrected in his post-match Press conference.
Moyes said: “I thought the players played really well and to score six was very good.”
Moyes then joked about how a radio reporter had told him the team only scored five goals. When it was pointed out five was indeed the correct score, Moyes said: “I’m sure it was six. I’m delusional!”Regardless of the number of goals, Everton’s emphatic performance lifted them to eighth in the table and firmly back into European contention. Arteta’s performance was particularly satisfying as the Spaniard continues to feel his way back into action after only returning from a near year-long lay-off in January. Moyes said: “He scored two very good goals and played really well all round.
“Mikel is still not back to how he was but I thought today was more like him and shows how much we have missed him over the year. “It might take him a while to get his full strength back but he did a lot of good things with the ball.”
Moyes also had consoling words for Yakubu after a forgettable afternoon on the personal front. “I thought Yak did a lot of good things,” Moyes said. “I said to him he needs to score the goal when the game is tight. “Today didn’t matter, it wasn’t important. “When he missed the penalty at 1-0 and they got back into it, it could have been important but, overall, if he scores when the game is tight then that will be good for me.” Defeat was a demoralising one for Hull and left them in the relegation zone after three defeats in succession. Manager Phil Brown said: “I thought we were competitive in the first half but in the second we certainly weren’t. “We left our game in the changing room for whatever reason. “Everton were good but we made them look good because we didn’t get in the face of the opposition. “Defensively I have questioned one or two but we will dust ourselves down and get on with it. We have got 10 big games now.”

DAVID PRENTICE: Mikel Arteta shows he’s the daddy as Blues fight to the finish
March 8, 2010. By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is getting good at this kind of thing. ‘In the last day or two I’ve seen signs that he’s starting to feel a bit better’, suggested Everton’s prophetic boss, before sitting back and watching the subject of his observation inspire an extravagantly entertaining demolition of Hull City at Goodison Park. Mikel Arteta, clearly, felt a lot better. Whether it was the presence of his wife and baby in the Main Stand, or just a psychological easing of the shackles which invariably follow a long-term injury, Evertonians’ best little Spaniard was back to his effortless, elegant best.
And the timing of The Toffees’ biggest win for more than two years was perfect.
If your hue is blue and you reside on Merseyside you’ve no doubt had the text messages since the Lisbon collapse. “Keep the noise down. Your end of season parties get earlier and earlier,” and side-splitting variations on the same theme.
Which is what made yesterday’s sparkling dismissal of Hull – a hammering so comprehensive Phil Brown’s pallour was almost deathly when he walked into the Goodison press room – so significant. Before David Moyes was able to construct an Everton squad with depth to match its increased quality, Everton had a habit of finishing seasons unacceptably early. Two seasons ago a UEFA Cup exit to Fiorentina saw the Blues deflate like a punctured balloon. The season before yielded one win from the final eight. Even when Everton famously upset the established order and finished fourth, they celebrated by losing 7-0 at Arsenal and 3-2 at Bolton.
And 2003/04? The less said about that frail finish the better. But that’s all changed now. If players aren’t pulling their weight, David Moyes can change them. Last season, with the sizeable carrot of an FA Cup final place dangling, Everton won three of their final four games of the campaign including an unheard of victory at Craven Cottage. This term the Blues have no tangible targets left to aim for – an improbably faint hope of a place in next season’s Europa League apart. But they still kicked off the final quarter of the season with an exceptionally polished performance full of flicks and feints, mesmerising passing and incisive running. Ironically Yakubu, a man often accused of putting on his flip flops as soon as there’s a hint of spring in the air, clearly wanted to make a point. After his goal at White Hart Lane last weekend – and a World Cup summer ahead, the Nigerian was in single-minded mood.
After creating the opening goal for Arteta, he demanded the penalty kick after he was crudely upended by Kamil Zayatte, a man with both the temperament and penalty box composure of his animalistic namesake. Little matter that Leighton Baines or Mikel Arteta are both infinitely more reliable penalty takers. Yakubu wanted a goal badly – and but for a rustiness which refuses to go away he could have finished with a hat-trick. But at least he was having a go. In his 23-goal season of 2007/08, Yakubu managed only three goals in the last dozen matches – two on the final day.
His last two seasons for Middlesbrough elicited none in 12 and none in 16 as soon as Spring had sprung. Not since his Pompey days had he scored regularly in the run-in to a season. But the appetite, if not the ability to satisfy it, is clearly there. The same could also be said for the rest of the squad. David Moyes finally has options he can turn to. Leon Osman limped off, to be replaced by the burgeoning talent that is Jack Rodwell, and when Victor Anichebe had run himself into the ground, livewire Landon Donovan raced on. His laser-guided drive set up a final flourish – and a sixth successive victory at Goodison Park. Rarely has Goodison Park been such a fortress.
Only once have Everton gone through an entire season undefeated at their handsome old stadium. But this term only Arsenal and Liverpool have left Goodison with all three points. With five fixtures remaining – all of which slot safely into the ‘winnable’ bracket, Everton can perhaps climb the Premier League table even further before the season finally grinds to a close. There’ll be no early finishes at Everton this time.

Everton 5, Hull City 1: Mikel Arteta shows Blues what they were missing
Mar 8 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
THE last time Hull City won at Goodison, war-time rationing was still in place.
And their visit yesterday showed what Everton have been missing this season.
David Moyes’s side may have navigated their campaign back on track with a comprehensive dismantling of Phil Brown’s Hull to secure a record-equalling sixth successive home Premier League triumph. But the jubilation of Evertonians heading contentedly home will have been tinged with a tangible sense of what might have been. Mikel Arteta’s talismanic presence has been undoubted ever since arriving at Goodison more than five years, yet it was only during an almost year-long absence with a serious knee injury that his influence has been truly recognised.
Pressed back into action through necessity rather than design, Arteta has had no option but to rediscover his form, touch and fitness amid the intense glare of first-team football. Now the Spaniard is back. Arteta netted a brace yesterday – his first goals since netting against Aston Villa on February 15 last year – and was heavily involved in Everton’s third while demonstrating the artistry and craft that have become his trademark. With his wife Lorena Barnel and young son Gabriel watching from the stands, it was perfect timing from Arteta. And it was the ideal response from Everton to consecutive setbacks against Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham Hotspur, particularly with Moyes having held a summit with his squad last week aimed at preventing their season drifting aimlessly to an unsatisfying conclusion.
The return of Arteta – and that of Phil Jagielka, who made his first start since his own knee injury last April – gave Everton’s starting line-up a reassuringly familiar look that has been lacking throughout much of the campaign. But it was one of the most recent arrivals that drew the loudest chants, the sounds of “sign him up” booming from all four corners of the ground when Landon Donovan followed his late strike by creating Everton’s fifth for Jack Rodwell. With Donovan’s successful loan spell due to expire after the visit to Birmingham City on Saturday, this was his last home game. However, it’s clear Everton must exhaust every available avenue to extend the American’s stay. This win ensured a measure of revenge for Moyes’s side after a woeful first-half performance at the KC Stadium in November that represented the nadir of their season. That defeat put Hull level on points with Everton but a run of just one win in 13 league games has seen Phil Brown’s side slip back into the relegation zone. And with the Tigers having not won on their travels for more than a year – and at Goodison since 1952 – yesterday’s game was a must-win if Everton were to retain any hopes of European qualification. Okay, the home side were undoubtedly helped by the fact Hull were pathetic, their attacking forays epitomised by ponderously portly striker Amr Zaki who has clearly eaten well during his six-month Premier League sabbatical earlier this season. But Everton’s display was more in keeping with their second-half efforts at White Hart Lane a week ago.
Crucially, however, this time an end product was added to their enterprise, an indomitable midfield display from John Heitinga providing the foundation for his more creative team-mates to flourish. It took the home side only 17 minutes to capitalise on a bright opening when Arteta lost the attentions of Nick Barmby to meet Yakubu’s deep cross from the left at the far post and finish beyond Boaz Myhill.
While the goalkeeper for Phil Brown’s Hull would have been disappointed to concede at his near post, he made amends 11 minutes later when Everton should have doubled their advantage. A generous decision from lamentable referee Lee Mason saw the hosts awarded a penalty when Kamil Zayatte challenged Yakubu near the byline but, after dusting himself down, the Nigerian placed a weak penalty far too close to Myhill, who saved diving to his right. Although on target last week against Tottenham, Yakubu has been short of games and confidence this season since returning from the serious Achilles problem that sidelined him for nine months.
The striker had already spurned one great opening when, after George Boateng lost possession outside the Hull area, Leon Osman fed Yakubu only for the Nigerian to hit the post from 10 yards with just Myhill to beat. And his penalty boob fleetingly appeared costly when Hull equalised four minutes later. There seemed little danger when Jagielka headed clear Jimmy Bullard’s free-kick, but the ball fell to Tom Cairney who took one touch to control before unleashing a magnificent angled volley that flew in past Tim Howard from 20 yards. However, parity only lasted until the 39th minute when Everton regained the lead with another well-worked goal.
Victor Anichebe, again asked to patrol the right flank, burst down the wing and fed a ball inside for Steven Pienaar to backheel into the path of the incoming unmarked Arteta, who stroked home from 12 yards. The second half began as the first ended. Anichebe had a goal chalked off for offside and an effort from substitute Rodwell – on for the injured Osman – was scrambled clear. But Everton didn’t have to wait long to extend their lead on 51 minutes, with Arteta again influential. The Spaniard delivered a cross from the byline on the left and, after Myhill botched his attempt to pat the delivery over the crossbar for a corner, the ball hit the unwitting Richard Garcia in the face and drifted over the line. With Phil Brown’s Hull demoralised, it was then a matter of how many Everton wanted to score. Rodwell was denied by a brave Cairney block, a marauding Sylvain Distin warmed the palms of Myhill while Yakubu’s woes continued with a weak shot at the Hull goalkeeper before ballooning over from eight yards when found by Donovan. The American international showed the Nigerian how it is done with a crisp angled finish with eight minutes remaining and he then turned provider four minutes later, laying Heitinga’s pass in for Rodwell to sidefoot past the increasingly fed-up Hull keeper Myhill. Moyes admitted afterwards he lost count of the score. If only Everton’s injury list had been rationed this season.

Everton 5, Hull City 1:
Mikel Arteta banishes Hell at Hull for Blues
March 8, 2010, By Gre O’Keefe, Liverpool Echo
HAVING been to Hull and back earlier this season, Everton had a heavenly performance from Mikel Arteta to thank for banishing any lingering painful memories of this campaign’s worst display. Mention Phil Brown’s Hull to any Everton fan today and their reaction will be one of pleasure not pain, and that is largely due to the best little Spaniard they know. When the Blues lost 3-2 at the bitterly cold KC stadium in November, conceding three in a nightmare first half, few could have predicted the return leg would be so joyously different in the early spring sunshine.
Everton looked lost on that early season Wednesday night, devoid of inspiration, character, or much in the way of optimism until they could coax their injured stars back to full health. Yesterday two of those stars, Arteta and Phil Jagielka, performed like they had never been away as the Toffees could so easily have put seven or more past the Tigers. Despite a wobbly period when they failed to take a 2-0 lead with a missed penalty, David Moyes’ side gradually eased the cork from the bottle to pour some vintage champagne football in the second half, similar to levels they reached against Manchester City at Goodison in January. With Arteta approaching his true self and linking up delightfully with Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines, the Blues purred past Birmingham into eighth place in the Premier League table. Hull created the first chance of the game, as Nick Barmby played in Richard Garcia and Tim Howard was quick off his line to smother danger with a good save. The relish with which Evertonians still boo the increasingly irrelevant Barmby is hard to fathom.
His treacherous move was long enough ago to be worth little more than a shrug of the shoulders today. But it did not take long for Arteta to threaten. Everton broke, and the midfielder surged forward with a wide open space ahead of him and tried to play in Yakubu with the outside of his boot. The pass didn’t reach the Nigerian, and the rebounded clearance found its way back to the Spaniard who blasted wide.
Everton were soon dominant, and already enjoying the majority of possession against the relegation battlers. Leon Osman did well to ride a challenge on the edge of the area and slip in Yakubu only for the striker’s effort to hit the post.
A goal seemed inevitable, and it came as Osman was again involved – passing to Yakubu who swung an inch-perfect cross for Arteta to tap in at the far post.
The Spaniard dedicated the strike to his baby son Gabriel, watching with wife Lorena Bernal in the stands. It was his first goal for the Blues since the wonder strike against Hull last season. The Blues could have put the result beyond doubt earlier if it were not for Yakubu’s leaden-feet. The Yak showed willingness and hunger leading the line alone, but seemed desperately short on confidence. Lee Mason awarded Everton a debatable penalty on half an hour, after Kamil Zayatte clattered through Yakubu while appearing to also win the ball. But a woeful spot-kick, straight at Myhill, was symptomatic of his worrying lack of edge lately. The miss looked like it could have been crucial minutes after, when Jimmy Bullard’s free-kick was headed clear on the edge of the Everton area. The ball fell to 19-year-old Tom Cairney who fired an angled volley past Howard. Thankfully Everton refused to allow the set-back to knock them out of their stride. Leon Osman was increasingly influential in Everton’s midfield, until he had to be replaced just before half-time with a groin injury.
And it was Osman again making things happen, who played in Victor Anichebe with a delightful ball. In turn the youngster found Steven Pienaar, and his clever back-heel allowed Arteta to steer a low strike into bottom right-hand corner and renew the lead.
The Blues were denied an early goal in the second half when Yakubu was adjudged to be a fraction offside as he played in Anicbebe for a simple finish. But then the game was effectively finished. More Everton probing culminated in a deep Arteta cross which deflected in off Richard Garcia for an own goal. Hull were resorting to any means necessary as they tried vainly to stem the tide of royal blue. Some of their defending had the excitable Phil Brown hopping mad in the technical area, particularly when even Sylvain Distin went marauding and almost scored. Brown will wonder how his side still conceded so many against a team whose lone striker was having an afternoon to forget amid a season he won’t recall too fondly either.
Again Yakubu wasted another chance to wrap up proceedings, shunning a simple ball to John Heitinga who had made a lung-busting run forward only to roll a tame effort at Myhill. Minutes later he blasted a Donovan cross high into the Gwladys Street from three yards out. Fortunately, with Yakubu struggling and Louis Saha injured, there are goals aplenty in midfield. Hull failed to clear under pressure from Jack Rodwell and the ball reached a looming Donovan who rocketed his drive into the corner of the net. Afterwards the American hinted it may not have been his last performance for Everton despite seemingly bidding farewell to all four corners of the ground.
His contribution has been memorable for all the right reasons. Who could argue with chants of ‘Sign Him Up’ from the crowd? The Blues condemned Hull to their 11th away defeat, as Heitinga played a perfectly weighted pass to Donovan in the same position from which he had just scored. This time the American cut the ball back to Jack Rodwell, and the teenager finished calmly to complete the rout.
By the end, the gulf in class was as long as the M62 which separates Hull and Merseyside, and as sizeable as the vast difference between Everton’s two displays against the Tigers in this ever-pulsating season.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville (Capt), Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Arteta, Heitinga, Osman (Rodwell, 45), Pienaar (Gosling, 86), Anichebe (Donovan, 70), Yakubu.
Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov..
HULL CITY: Myhill, McShane, Garcia, Barmby (Geovanni 55), Kilbane, Mouyokolo, Boateng, Bullard (Altidore, 62), Zayatte, Zaki, (Vennegor of Hesselink, 69) Cairney.
Subs: Duke, Ghilas, Cooper, Olofinjana.
REFEREE: Lee Mason (Bolton)

Landon Donovan begs LA Galaxy to let him stay at Everton for a little longer
March 8, 2010. The Daily Mail, By John Edwards
Landon Donovan has made a personal plea for LA Galaxy to extend his stay at Goodison Park after admitting he was in awe of the work ethic among England’s leading players.Everton’s on-loan midfielder may have questioned David Beckham’s commitment to being Galaxy captain last summer, when he fumed: ‘Maybe he’s not a leader or captain. Fair enough. But as a minimum, you should bust your ass every day. That hasn’t happened.’ He has no issues with any of Beckham’s home-based England team-mates, though, after viewing them at close quarters over the past two months and says their dedication has been an eye-opener. As the USA star waited for an answer on his immediate future from Galaxy boss Bruce Arena, the 28-year-old revealed his impressions of English football and explained why he will be an even bigger threat to Fabio Capello’s side at this summer’s World Cup.
‘What have I learned? Wow! I’ve learned a lot,’ he said. ‘The biggest thing from a professional standpoint is to keep yourself going every day. That is so important. The amount these guys put in is so draining, physically, mentally and emotionally. I have so much respect for the Frank Lampards and Steven Gerrards who do it day in, day out. It’s the same here at Everton, when you see players like Leighton Baines turning out every week and maintaining standards. ‘It’s been really great and I can’t imagine many players in the world, let alone Americans, can say they have played against and beaten Chelsea and Manchester United in the space of 10 days. That has to be the highlight. It’s certainly improved me as a player. I’ve learned a lot technically and tactically.’ This improvement was evident in Everton’s 5-1 win over Hull on Sunday when he scored one and set up another. ‘My experience puts me in a stronger position for the World Cup,’ he added. ‘The biggest plus is I now have the confidence to play against anybody and not fear anyone at all.’ Arena recently insisted he wanted Donovan in the States after next weekend’s game at Birmingham, but a potential MLS players’ strike Everton will ask Galaxy for a four-week extension to the player’s 10-week loan, but deep down they fear their request will be rejected.
‘If the Hull game ends up being my last home appearance, then going on and scoring was the cherry on top,’ said Donovan. ‘But I haven’t given up hope of staying here at Everton a little longer. I think we will know more during this week. Both clubs know how I feel, which is that I would like to stay. ‘I’d have to go back April 15 at the latest, and if that can be worked out, great. If not, then I’m still very grateful for the chance I’ve had.

Mikel Arteta aims to fire Everton into Europe
March 8, 2010. London Evening Standard
Mikel Arteta intends to be playing on the European stage with Everton next season - and David Moyes expects him to break onto the international scene. The Spanish playmaker proved his return to form and fitness with a clinical double as Everton ran out crushing 5-1 winners over Barclays Premier League strugglers Hull yesterday.
The 27-year-old's goals were his first since returning to action in January after an 11-month lay-off with a serious knee injury. Victory lifted Everton to eighth in the table and got their European bid back on track after last week's defeat at Tottenham and a disappointing Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon "I think we played some terrific football," said Arteta. "We wanted to get it back after both defeats last week and we got it back and scored a few, so we're delighted. "We have to win every game at home now, you want a chance to get in Europe next year. We have 10 games to go and we are in the mix now." Arteta revelled in the space given to him by Hull at Goodison Park finding the net twice in the first half either side of a stunning Tom Cairney equaliser. "I am delighted," Arteta said. "I have been out a long time and I was pleased to score. "I had more freedom to go forward because we were playing Johnny (Heitinga) behind me. "The manager wanted me to go forward and play closer to the strikers and have more influence in attack."

Everton 5 Hull 1:
It's happy daze for David Moyes as Mikel Arteta sparks Toffees goal rush
March 8, 2010. The Daily Mail, By John Edwards
David Moyes was not sure how many goals Everton had scored at Goodison Park yesterday, but he was certain Mikel Arteta is gradually inching his way back to his imperious best.
If Hull manager Phil Brown was left dazed by Everton’s attacking onslaught, he was not the only one, as Goodison counterpart Moyes reflected on his side’s biggest win of the season.
He said: ‘We played some really good football, and to score six was terrific. Was it six or five? Six, aye. One of the radio boys mentioned 5-1 in a question, and I was wondering whether to correct him. 'It was five? Oh, I’m glad I didn’t say anything to him, then!’
Marvelling at Arteta’s most convincing performance since returning after a year-long absence through injury just over a month ago, Moyes added: ‘He still isn’t completely back to where he was, but that was much more like him.
'Two goals and some fantastic stuff all over the park. It just showed how much we’ve missed him.’ Beaming Arteta said: ‘I’m just so happy after being out so long, and, to make it even more special, my eight-month old son Gabriel was watching me for the first time.’ In contrast, Yakubu’s sure touch was nowhere to be seen, as he dragged an unchallenged 13th-minute shot against a post and squandered a penalty, harshly awarded for a challenge by Kamil Zayatte 15 minutes later. Ambling casually towards the spot in what scarcely constituted a run-up, the striker’s intentions were easily read by Boaz Myhill, who dived to his right to save. If Yakubu’s finishing left something to be desired, he did contribute in a creative sense with a deep 17th-minute cross that sailed beyond Victor Anichebe but was met by a stretching sidefoot volley from Arteta for the midfielder’s first goal in a year. Hull levelled in spectacular style in the 32nd minute, as Tom Cairney met a half-cleared Jimmy Bullard free-kick with a volley that arrowed into the net. Yet Everton tore Hull apart with their second goal in the 39th minute. Steven Pienaar might have sensed a shooting opportunity after controlling Anichebe’s low cross but, realising his path to goal was blocked, cleverly back-heeled for the onrushing Arteta to sidefoot beyond Myhill.
There was a familiar swagger about Arteta’s midfield prompting that suggested it may be close at hand. He even believed, albeit briefly, that he had scored a hat-trick, as Everton went further ahead in the 51st minute. Retrieving the ball after a near-miss by substitute Jack Rodwell, Arteta chipped a cross that floated beyond the backtracking Myhill and was headed in by Garcia, behind him. As Arteta wheeled away to take the acclaim, it was announced as an own goal While Yakubu continued to suffer, blazing over from the edge of the six-yard area, there was no let-up for toiling Hull as Everton piled on the misery with two further goals. Substitute Landon Donovan inspired chants of ‘USA’ and ‘Sign him up’ after scoring the fourth and making the fifth, in what was almost certainly his last home appearance. The American drilled an angled drive past Myhill in the 82nd minute, after Leighton Baines’s cross eluded everyone in the area, and he was unselfish four minutes later, teeing up Rodwell for the final goal. ‘I was very disappointed with the way we went under near the end, and I made that clear in the changing room afterwards,’ said Brown. ‘Goal difference could be vital, Everton (4-5-1): Howard 6; Neville 7, Jagielka 7, Distin 6, Baines 7; Anichebe 5 (Donovan 70min, 7),
Osman 6 (Rodwell 44, 7), Heitinga 7, Arteta 8, Pienaar 7 (Gosling 85); Yakubu 5.
Hull (4-5-1): Myhill 7; McShane 5, Mouyokolo 6, Zayatte 6, Kilbane 6; Garcia 5, Cairney 6, Boateng 6, Bullard 7 (Altidore 62, 6), Barmby 7 (Geovanni 60, 6); Zaki 5 (Vennegoor of Hesselink 69, 6). Booked: Garcia.
Man of the match: Mikel

Phil Jagielka hails Everton FC's two-goal hero Mikel Arteta
March 8, 2010, By Greg O’Keefe, Liverpool Echo
PHIL Jagielka today hailed the “breathtaking” return to form of fellow long-term absentee Mikel Arteta in the Blues’ 5-1 thrashing of Hull. Both players have battled back from knee ligament nightmares to make successful returns to the Everton first team, and both shone as Phil Brown’s relegation strugglers were trounced at Goodison. Jagielka, who cruised through his first full game in 11 months on Sunday, believes Arteta has been playing it safe while rebuilding his confidence, but is now close to his magical best. He said: “I think so far we’ve had the safe Mikel. He’s not had to go into that many tackles, or play too many world-class passes and he’s done everything neat and tidy. “But if you’ve watched him in training the last few days, he seems to have everything back; his balance, his eye to foot coordination, and it’s frightening. “If you look at the way he runs with the ball, and his vision, and the way he teams up with Bainsey particularly on the left. As you could see against Hull, some teams will have no answer to it.” Jagielka was impressed with the midfield master-class the Blues put on in scoring five. He said: “It was an amazing performance. Thankfully I give the ball to the midfielders and watch because some of the stuff was breath-taking. The interplay between Steven Pienaar, Mikel, Bainsey, Johnny and Jack when he came on was just unbelievable. “I had an idea I’d get some game time, so there was a little bit of nerves driving in and then when the gaffer named the team it was nice to hear my name in the first 11 and a fantastic game to come back in.
“It’s a little bit easier coming back in a centre-back than midfield as far as fitness goes, but I’ve been eager to try and get back in as quickly as I could. I’ve had little niggly things go wrong in the rehab process but that’s what happens when you have major reconstruction.” The 27-year-old feels his team-mates have now got the disappointment of their Europa League exit out of their system. And he is confident they have every chance of qualifying for the competition again next season.
He said: “If we can put a run together and play that sort of football, then we can put pressure on those teams above us and make a run for the European places.
“Lisbon was really disappointing but that’s what happens in European football sometimes. We didn’t get the goal, they got three with a little bit of luck because they all had little deflections. But what can you do? Then we were quite disappointed with the performance first half at Spurs but then second half the character we showed should have got us a point. “We just want to pick up as many points as possible now. The gaffer must be excited to have the squad he has available and I can’t see there being too many additions or too many people leaving in the summer, so it’s a case now of maybe putting down your marker for next season. “If we can keep this bunch of players together in the form we’ve been in today by next season we should be in great shape. Personally I’m relishing the competition for places.” After a week which saw his team-mate Leighton Baines further stake a claim for an England World Cup place, Jagielka is hoping he too can make a late push for inclusion in Fabio Capello’s squad. He said: “There are a lot of players who have played well all season at centre-back and I don’t presume to be anywhere near the front of the queue.
“Hopefully I’m somewhere in the queue though, and if I can put some performances in before the end of the season I can keep moving up the queue and see where it takes me.”

Everton FC boss David Moyes tells Mikel Arteta he can still make Spain's South Africa squad for 2010 World Cup
March 9, 2010, By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has urged Mikel Arteta not to give up on his Spanish dream – although the Everton manager conceded that it was probably too late for Everton’s ‘best little Spaniard’ to make his country’s World Cup squad this summer.
Arteta has, surprisingly, never featured in a senior Spanish national squad, despite a dozen appearances for the Under-21s and numerous recommendations from his manager, team-mates and even opponents like school pal Xabi Alonso.
But Moyes believes Arteta would finally have achieved international recognition but for the cruel injury he sustained a year ago. He said: “If Mikel hadn’t been injured last year I thought he’d have been a consideration for the Spain squad. “Because he is playing in the Premier League and is one of the better midfielders here, that draws attention to the national team. “But it also gives an indication of how strong Spain are.
“Maybe he’ll have to wait after this competition (the World Cup) and if he keeps playing well for Everton then maybe he can get his way into the squad for the next European Championship qualifiers.” Arteta has started five consecutive matches since returning from a cruciate knee ligament injury – and on Sunday against Hull City showes signs of returning back to his creative best with two goals and a moral claim for a hat-trick after a mishit cross was knocked into his own net by Ricardo Garcia.
Despite his most dominant performance to date, however, Moyes believes there is more to come from Arteta. “Mikel Arteta scored two really good goals,” said Moyes. “He played well all-round so I’m really pleased for him. Mikel is still not right back to where he was, but today it was more like him. “It shows you how much we have missed him over the last year or so.” Moyes added: “I knew he would come on a bit as his fitness and confidence has grown. He had a tough time over the last week against Sporting Lisbon and Tottenham, I thought it was him emptied out. “I gave him a couple of days off and he has trained better after that. He has looked a bit more like himself. “It will take him a wee while to get his full strength back, but he did a lot of good things with the ball today.” Arteta himself, meanwhile, says he intends to be playing on the European stage with Everton next season, despite the Blues trailing fourth placed Aston Villa by four points and two matches. “I think we played some terrific football,” he declared. “We wanted to get it back after both defeats last week and we got it back and scored a few, so we’re delighted. “We have to win every game at home now, you want a chance to get in Europe next year. “We have 10 games to go and we are in the mix now. “I had more freedom to go forward because we were playing Johnny Heitinga behind me. “The manager wanted me to go forward and play closer to the strikers and have more influence in attack.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Mikel Arteta masterclass inspires five-star Everton FC's European push
March 9, 2010. Liverpool Echo
SUNDAY brought one of the best performances of the season against Hull. Everton’s link-up play and movement reminded me of some of the football Arsenal are renowned for. The overlapping and running off the ball was fantastic at times. Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar linked up particularly well on the left, while Leon Osman and Mikel Arteta played well together before Ossie had to go off just before half-time. We played some really attractive stuff and it could have been much more than five. Following the two defeats in Lisbon and White Hart Lane, it was important we turned things around against Hull to get back on track. It was great to see Mikel Arteta back to his best too. He ran the show from the middle of the pitch, scoring two good goals and assisting the own goal. His fitness levels look very good for a player who has been out for so long. I remember watching him burst forward in the 80th minute and thinking what good condition he’s in. He’s clearly worked very hard on the physical side of his rehabilitation and is now feeling the benefit of that.
He’s only been back since the last week in January, but the way he breezed through Sunday’s game is testament to the hard work he’s put in with the physio’s and fitness staff at the club. There are various permutations but if seventh place opens up for a Europa League spot, there’s still a lot to do. Everton would effectively be looking for two teams from any of Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham or Aston Villa to fall away. Of that group maybe Villa are the most likely. They have a couple of games in hand on us but Evertonians will hope Villa become distracted by the FA Cup.
Hopefully they’ll take one eye off the ball and their league form dips a bit. If so, Everton need to be ready to take advantage. It’s just a pity we didn’t start the season with the kind of form we’ve produced over the past few months. Had we done that it could be Everton up there challenging for a Champions League place instead of hoping someone now falls away.
Donovan deal has been a success
AS yet we’re not sure if Landon Donovan has played his last home game for Everton or not. David Moyes has made it clear that he would like the American to stay but it appears that his club, LA Galaxy, would like him to return to the United States.
Whatever happens, he’s been a success. The fans have taken to him so well simply because of the perfomances he has put in. I believe Donovan had a bit of a hard time during his spell in Germany but that certainly hasn’t been the case with Everton.
He’s only been with us for 10 weeks but looked like a Premier League player from day one in what was an impressive debut at The Emirates. More that that though, he’s looked like an Everton player and fitted in nicely with the way we like to play. It’s not all been about attacking and beating his man. Donovan has shown the willingness to help the team, working hard and tracking back. If there was some way Everton could come to an agreement with LA Galaxy for him to stay on at Goodison Park that would be a real positive. It’s just a pity he doesn’t have a similar kind of contract at LA Galaxy to the one that allows David Beckham to play for AC Milan.
What if Liverpool finish fourth and win the Europa League?
I WONDER what Liverpool will do if they finish fourth in the Premier League and go on to win the Europa League this season. Back in the 2004/05 campaign when Everton finished fourth to claim the last Champions League place, and Liverpool went on to win the competition, the Anfield club came out bleating that they had to defend the trophy they’d won. Will they apply the same logic if they get fourth place and win the Europa League this May. Will Liverpool insist on defending that trophy too?

Landon Donovan hoping for extension to Everton FC stay
March 9, 2010, By James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have not given up hope of extending Landon Donovan’s stay at Goodison Park. The American international’s 10-week loan spell is due to end after this Saturday’s Premier League trip to Birmingham City. However, the Blues are still working to reach an agreement with his club LA Galaxy to allow Donovan to remain on Merseyside. The 28-year-old has proved a major hit since he arrived in January and boss David Moyes would dearly love to have him on board over the coming months as the Blues look to launch a late bid for Europa League qualification. Donovan has admitted he wants to stay at Everton until the end of the campaign, but Galaxy coach Bruce Arena insists he expects him back next week to prepare for the new MLS season which is due to kick-off on March 27. One factor in Everton’s favour is that the MLS season could be delayed due to strike action as there is an ongoing dispute between league officials and the players’ union. Donovan, who scored his second goal for the Blues in Sunday’s 5-1 demolition of Hull, has proved hugely popular among both Blues supporters and his team-mates. Defender Phil Jagielka has his fingers crossed that Donovan hasn’t graced Goodison for the final time.“I’d love to see Landon stay for longer,” he said. “He’s had a smile on his face during his time here and has been fantastic from start to finish. “If he can’t stay this time then hopefully we’ll see him back here in the future. “I know he didn’t enjoy it when he played in Germany but he has enjoyed it here and we’ve loved having him. “Back in January we needed a fresh face and a fresh pair of legs and he gave us that. “Within a few days he was one of the boys and made an instant contribution at Arsenal. “Having spoken to Tim Howard about him before we always knew he was going to fit in well and Landon is a fantastic character “If next weekend is his last game we’re certainly going to miss him.”

Pienaar pleads guilty to drink-driving
Tuesday, March 09, 2010 - 10:21 AM
Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar was banned from driving for 12 months after pleading guilty to drink-driving, a court official confirmed today. The South Africa international was also fined £1,000 (€1,100) for the offence and ordered to pay a further £100 (€110) fine for failing to comply with a traffic signal. Pienaar was found to be nearly twice the legal limit after he was breath-tested by police in Liverpool.
He was originally listed to appear at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court on Dale Street today, but his decision to plead meant he was dealt with yesterday. The 27-year-old was pulled over by police in the early hours of Sunday February 21, the day after Everton’s 3-1 win over Premier League champions Manchester United at Goodison Park. Merseyside Police found the Toffees star had 61 micrograms of alcohol per 100ml of breath. The legal limit is 35 micrograms. His year-long driving disqualification could be reduced by three months if he completes a course before October 7. A collection order for payment was made, and Pienaar was ordered to pay a total of £100 (€110) in costs to cover both the charges brought against him, the court official said. He arrived at the Merseyside club on loan in the summer of 2007, and his move from Borussia Dortmund was later made permanent when Everton paid £2m (€2.2m) for him. Everton Football Club declined to comment.

Everton FC News: Everton facing battle to extend Landon Donovan’s stay
March 9, 2010, By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
EVERTON face a battle to extend Landon Donovan’s stay with the American keen to spend another month at Goodison. Donovan’s 10-week loan spell from LA Galaxy is due to expire after this Saturday’s Premier League visit to Birmingham City.
The United States international scored on his farewell appearance at Goodison in the 5-1 win over Hull City on Sunday, after which the home supporters implored Everton to “sign him up”. David Moyes spoke after the game of respecting the wishes of MLS side Galaxy, who at present expect the player to return to America next week.
But Donovan has pleaded for his career in England to be extended a further four weeks after proving a huge success at Everton, and believes there is still a possibility.
“I would say there is a chance I could stay a little longer,” said the forward. “There are a lot of factors involved, obviously, we will see what the Galaxy want.
“Logistically it’s harder than just saying I want to stay or I am going to stay. I think we will have a lot more info this week. “I have told the Galaxy what I want, they know what’s going on and I speak to my manager there fairly often and at this point it is an Everton and LA Galaxy conversation. “Both clubs know how I feel, which is that I would like to stay, though I can’t end the season here, I’d have to go back April 15 at the latest. “If that can be worked out great, if not then the Galaxy are my team and I’m very grateful for the chance I had here.” However, LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena has dismissed suggestions Donovan’s stay could be extended. “We're not interested,” said Arena. “Landon will be back here March 15. We're being consistent with everything we've said all along.” But the situation is further complicated by a dispute between the MLS Players’ Union and the league chiefs over payments, which has currently reached an impasse that could yet result in a players’ strike. That would delay that start of the new MLS season and Donovan’s required return to the United States, although that could change on a game-by-game basis. And of his imminent departure, the 28-year-old said: “It would be bittersweet either way. “I’d like to go back home and start with my team-mates, I miss them, because I have played with them for three, four, five years in LA, if I leave here I will be excited to go home, but it would be sad to leave here.” Donovan made an influential bow in the 2-2 draw at Arsenal in January and has gone on to score twice in 12 appearances. And he believes he has become a better player as a result of his Everton experience.
“I’ve learned so much,” said the American. “The biggest thing from a professional standpoint is to keep yourself going everyday because physically it’s draining and mentally and emotionally as well, and I have a lot of respect for the Lampards and Gerrards, who do it day in day out, who just keep going, even Bainesy here, who plays every week. “But I’ve not been surprised. I believe in my ability and what I do and I am at a point in my life where I know what I have to give and I bring that out of myself a lot more often than I ever did. “If I do that, I know I am going to be successful, so when I think back, it’s been great, there have been some incredible results and performances but I know I am capable of that. “Being at Everton has absolutely improved me as a player. “It’s impossible not to. I have learned a lot technically, tactically, how to keep myself motivated.”

USA captain Landon Donovan set to return to LA Galaxy from Everton
• Goodison officials accept MLS club's wish for return
• Player hopeful game-by-game deal can be agreed
Guardian, March 9, 2010, By Andy Hunter
Landon Donovan's loan spell at Goodison Park appears certain to end as scheduled this weekend, despite requests from Everton to LA Galaxy that he be allowed to stay on Merseyside for an extra month. The USA captain, who has had an impressive 10-week spell at Goodison Park, had said that he might stay in the Premier League after this Saturday's match at Birmingham City. Everton officials and the 28-year-old raised the subject with LA Galaxy prior to Sunday's match at home to Hull City, a 5-1 win in which Donovan scored one goal and created another. But the Galaxy want to keep to the deal's agreed 15 March deadline, even if the Major League Soccer season is delayed by a labour dispute. There is a growing acceptance at Goodison that Donovan will return to the US after the Birmingham game. Everton are keen to retain a cordial relationship with LA Galaxy and while there may be an attempt to sign Donovan in the summer, another loan deal next season is more likely for a player who signed a four-year extension in December. Donovan, however, hopes to prolong his Everton career, with a game-by-game option a possibility in the weeks before the Galaxy begin their MLS season against New England Revolution on 27 March. Donovan, who has been named as the MLS's Most Valuable Player in the past two seasons, said: "I have told the Galaxy what I want, they know what's going on and I speak to my manager [Bruce Arena] there fairly often and at this point it is an Everton and LA Galaxy conversation. "Both clubs know how I feel, which is that I would like to stay, though I can't end the season here, I'd have to go back 15 April at the latest. If that can be worked out, great. If not, then the Galaxy are my team and I'm very grateful for the chance I had here. It would be bittersweet either way." The American said that his time under David Moyes would prove beneficial when he faces England in the USA's first World Cup game, in Rustenburg on 12 June. The forward's success in the Premier League is in stark contrast to two previous spells in Europe, at Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich, and admits his confidence has soared during the stay on Merseyside. "I've learned a lot," added Donovan. "The biggest thing from a professional standpoint is to keep yourself going every day because physically it's draining, mentally and emotionally as well. I have a lot of respect for the Lampards and Gerrards, who do it day in day out, who just keep going, even Bainesy [Leighton Baines] here, who plays every week. "It's absolutely improved me as a player," he said. "It's impossible not to. I have learned a lot – technically, tactically, how to keep myself motivated – and it puts me in a stronger position for the World Cup. But the biggest thing now is having the confidence that I can play against anybody and not fear anyone at all. I don't think there are many players in the world, let alone Americans, who get a chance to play against and beat Chelsea and Man United in the same week. That has to be the highlight."

Everton Academy rally to earn point with West Bromwich Albion
March 9, 2010. By Mark Beessley, Liverpool Daily Post
CONOR McALENY scored with 15 minutes left to earn Everton under-18s a point at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in a 2-2 draw. Neil Dewsnip’s side were looking to bounce back from their extra-time defeat in the FA Youth Cup at Blackburn, but they missed the chance to go top of the FA Premier Academy League Group C table.
Everton took the lead against West Brom on 25 minutes as James McCarten profited from a goalkeeping error. Everton keeper Adam Davies superbly saved a harshly awarded penalty in the first half to keep them ahead. But five minutes before the break West Brom drew level. The Baggies had been the last side to score against Everton in the Academy League almost five months ago. And poor defending saw them repeat that after a goalmouth scramble. West Brom took the lead 10 minutes into the second half when McCarten's clearance was charged down and the home side got in to score.
But Everton showed their battling qualities and following a tactical switch by coach Dewsnip which defender McCarten moved up front, the centre-back set up McAleny’s equaliser on 72 minutes. Dewsnip said: “It was a really exciting game. Our lads sensed they could lose and didn’t like that. It is not something they had experienced in the league for a long time.” Everton play their game in hand on leaders Manchester United today with the rearranged Merseyside derby with Liverpool at Finch Farm (kick-off 2pm). The game was postponed in January due to the snow and ice. Everton are concerned that overnight frost could again make the pitch too hard again.
Everton will face Huddersfield Town at Finch Farm on Saturday (11am).
EVERTON UNDER-18s: Davies, Nsiala, Bidwell, McCarten, Murphy, Orenuga, Dobie (Craig 65), Akpan, Donegan, Codling (Mustafi 75), McAleny (Hope 85). Subs: Roberts.

Everton FC fans’ letters: Everton now need to match great performance against Hull City away from home
March 10, 2010. Liverpool Echo
A SECOND-HALF display like that against Hull City on Sunday without Cahill, Fellaini, Osman and Saha speaks volumes of the quality in the squad now.
The challenge to the team is no different to the one that followed the win against Manchester United and that was to repeat the standard away from home.
We failed to do that, so with games at Birmingham, Wolves, Stoke, Manchester City and Aston Villa to come, it's time to put a marker down for next season when looking to compete with the very top sides.
BEATING Hull 5-1 on Sunday was a magnificent victory, with some tremendous link-up pass and move football. It is not often that a team scores five goals, without one of the recognised strikers scoring. This was a stroll in the Goodison Park sunshine for the Blues. Mikel Arteta had an outstanding game – orchestrating the play from midfield – easily his best performance since his return from injury.
To win six successive home matches is no mean feat – especially with our injuries – in a tough Premier League.
A GOOD replacement for Landon Donovan would be Portsmouth’s Jamie O'Hara.
This would be my only signing this close season using any other money on improving the contracts of players here for the long haul. With Wes Brown now injured, what chance Phil Neville joining Jags and Baines for a World Cup jaunt?
LANDON Donovan has made a great impact at our club. He certainly ‘hit the ground running’. I hope we can sort out a deal to bring him back next season.
If it’s true that Chelsea are interested in signing Donovan, he'd better get used to sitting on the subs’ bench.
I WOULD love Everton to extend Landon Donovan's loan period, but I don't think it can be done. We might be able to sign him on permanently after the World Cup, though.
WINNING against Hull only leaves me frustrated at not having beaten Liverpool at Anfield. That looks like a costly three points to have squandered.
In fact it may prove to be the difference between qualifying for Europe or not.
In the long run we will just have to get on with it but it is clear to see Moyes is taking this team in the right direction. The Blues play some lovely football at times and we have creative players right through the midfield. Landon Donovan has surprisingly taken to the Premier League with ease and we should certainly do all we can to ensure his stay is longer. The only cloud on the horizon is the form of Yakubu who had a nightmare on Sunday. He has the look of Stuart Barlow about his game at the moment. Unfortunately I cannot see another team coming in to sign him, so we will either lose a lot of cash on him or we will just have to get him back into form.
Steve Croft, Halewood

Steven Pienaar happy to stay Everton FC player
March 10, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
SUPER-fit Steven Pienaar is loving his hard-running role in Everton’s midfield so much he refuses to even contemplate a summer transfer. The energetic Toffees midfielder has impressed with his non-stop displays since returning from injury earlier this season, and he believes the work ethic David Moyes instils in his squad will have him in perfect shape to shine on home soil for South Africa in June. Speculation linking the 27-year-old with a move to Bayern Munich and a raft of top European clubs has persisted, but Pienaar says it is a non-starter. Despite only having a year left on his current contract, and no new deal agreed yet, he said: “From my point of view, I'm an Everton player and I don't want stuff like that to distract me from what I'm doing. It is speculation. “I can't say anything because I wasn't approached.
“When you play well there will always be talk of interest from clubs, you can say something like that. I'm happy at Everton. “The good thing is I'm a regular at Everton, which means I will keep fit anyway. “I have been working very hard since I returned from injury and I understand I have to be very fit, because if not there is no way you can play in the English Premier League if you are not fit, because of the pace of the game. “Basically, I will be fit when called upon by the national team.”
Meanwhile, LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena has effectively dashed Everton and Landon Donovan’s hopes of extending his loan move at Goodison.
The Galaxy boss has insisted that Donovan will return to the club after this Saturday’s Premier League clash with Birmingham as agreed. He said: “Landon will be back here March 15. We're being consistent with everything we've said all along.” Everton have pressed the MLS outfit on the possibility of the popular forward remaining for another month, and were heartened at news the US season faces a possible delay, but the Americans refused to budge. Another player resigned to an Everton exit is promising goalkeeper John Ruddy. Currently on loan at Motherwell, Ruddy has conceded his Everton career is almost certainly over following the signing of Jan Mucha.
The Slovakia international joins Tim Howard and Iain Turner at Goodison next season, and Ruddy believes his departure is inevitable.
He said: “Next season they'll have two keepers, plus myself and Iain Turner. So I can't see myself playing unless there are injuries or suspensions. I've resigned myself to the fact that my time at Everton is at an end, but I've enjoyed it and I've got nothing bad to say about them.”

Sylvain Distin believes money can’t buy Everton F.C.’s team spirit
March 11, 2010. By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
SYLVAIN DISTIN believes that Everton’s priceless ‘band of brothers’ spirit helped propel them to wins over Chelsea and Manchester United. The Toffees came through a tough February fixture list with the scalps of two of the Premier League’s top four, and the centre half insists that the chemistry between the squad is more important than big-money signings. He said: “That is something money can’t buy.
“The atmosphere and the chemistry between players is something you need, as well as big players. “You need to feel good together as you spend a lot of time together, sometimes more time than we spend with our families. “You have to work hard for each other and you need a good team spirit to do that.” Distin partnered Phil Jagielka for the first time in central defence during the 5-1 thrashing of Hull and was encouraged by their performance. He said: “He is a player with a lot of experience and we have trained well together. The Hull game went well for us. We had a good understanding. “There were one or two times where the communication wasn’t quite there because I am not used to the words he was saying. “The first ball bounced between us and Jags said something like ‘take it home’ and I wasn’t sure what he meant. “But we sorted it out quickly and he is a great player to line up next to.”
Distin believes the growing stability of Everton’s defence has been boosted by the return of key injured players. He said: “Now we have our injured players back it means the defence is not only the back four. You have to defend as a team.
“We are doing that now. We are defending properly and it makes it easier for the back four.” Meanwhile, midfielder Dan Gosling will be signing copies of new Everton DVD “Nothing But The Best” at Everton Two, Liverpool One from 4pm today.
BILL KENWRIGHT EXCLUSIVE: My search for a Blue billionaire for Everton FC
BILL KENWRIGHT’S office is on the top floor of his company’s imposing building in London’s Maida Vale, but to match his mood today it would have to be high above the capital on cloud nine. It is the morning after his team have beaten champions Manchester United 3-1 and only ten days after they have beaten league leaders Chelsea 2-1. The smiles around Bill Kenwright House are as broad as those of a West End chorus line. After the final whistle, the Everton chairman admits he was tempted to do cartwheels all the way back down the M6. The growing evidence that David Moyes’ team can beat the best, cemented by last weekend’s terrific victory over Hull City after the disappointments of Lisbon and Tottenham, is a welcome boost in what has been another season of extremes. From a difficult summer when fresh investment again failed to materialise and Joleon Lescott’s protracted transfer complicated player recruitment, to an injury crisis which saw the first team squad decimated for months – few would have predicted the campaign could be poised to end with another challenge for Europe. But Kenwright knows he can only savour the moment so much. The Wavertree-born majority share holder is aware that soon the season will be over, and familiar questions will re-surface. How long can David Moyes succeed without the level of financial backing which the top four clubs have? Where is that elusive sugar daddy who can transform the club into world beaters? The newspapers on his desk are heavy with the details of Portsmouth’s sad financial slide. Some have speculated that the demise of the South Coast club, coupled with problems closer to home across the park and up the M62, indicate that mega-rich ownership is not a passport to instant success. But Kenwright is unequivocal in what he insists Everton still need.
“The truth is Everton do need a billionaire” he says. “Of course that’s a stock phrase, but we do need major investment. “One of the difficulties of being a chairman who has had to use money as wisely as he possibly knows how, is that it’s hard when you get bombarded, as I have been in the last three AGMs, with questions like “Why can’t we have what Newcastle have? West Ham? Portsmouth?” “I even got Notts County last year. A former Everton employee had gone there and evidently there was some rumour mill that I turned down Arab millions beforehand.” It is hard not to share Kenwright’s bemusement when asked why Everton could not emulate a League Two club who eventually faced a winding-up order despite promises of lavish wealth.
But is there a sense that many Evertonians’ perceptions are changing, and becoming more realistic in the wake of the current economic climate? “Yes I do think that’s certainly true,” he says. “The rough times I’ve had have been documented – but what hasn’t been documented is the fantastic support I’ve had from Evertonians during those rough times. “Now 99per cent of my mail is “don’t listen to the idiots”. I’ve always believed that everyone has a right to air their opinion, but unless you know the facts – unless you’re in the hot seat having to make the decisions – your judgement can be very confused. And that’s a polite way of putting it! “The conspiracy theories that go round and round are pretty difficult to cope with. I’ve always said it’s been my privilege to be the Chairman here and today (after the Manchester United win) the world is a different place. “I went to bed with a smile on my face and woke up with a smile on my face. “But a couple of weeks ago when we lost to Liverpool, I was, believe it or not, getting barracked with the same old garbage about those who run the club. Unbelievable – but sadly true.” The chairman revealed that there are currently three or four interested parties circling around Everton. But past disappointments have taught him to err on the side of caution. “Am I hopeful? I’ve been hopeful before, and nothing’s come of anything. But I will find that investment. “Keith Harris from Seymour Pierce is probably the top football investment broker. He has been, alongside others, looking for us. “Every name you see that has been out there looking for football clubs, we’ve spoken to them. We’ve had people in the Far East, America, Switzerland, Japan. “Robert Earl is no slouch and he’s out there looking. Jon Woods is out there looking. I’m out there looking.” search for investment is intrinsically linked with the conundrum over Everton’s new home, and Kenwright had mixed feelings in November when the Government rejected the club’s proposed move to Kirkby. For a man clearly still in love with Goodison Park, the decision to leave it was tortuous for him. “We put it to the vote,” he says. “The vote was as scrupulous as you can get it. I wasn’t thrilled with the margin, but there was no one that I spoke to, and I spoke to a lot of people I admired who were involved in that bid, and everyone said to me ‘This proposed move is the best way forward’.” “It was incredibly borderline for me, and I understood the feelings of those who didn’t want to move.
“I remember in the thick of it all as Jenny and I walked down the side of the pitch after a game, she put her arm in mine and said ‘Just look at this place, isn’t it wonderful?’ And I thought ‘We are going to have to leave here.’ It was very, very difficult. “There was nobody, not one person, who I gave time to or considered knew what they were doing, that could show me a financial model for staying. Or show me a financial model for not going. “I wrestled with it and followed the path I thought was ultimately best for the football club. I know this is what was in the hearts of those against the move also, and I applauded a lot of them for that. “I think at their best the campaigners against Kirkby were terrific. At their worst they weren’t terrific – let’s leave it at that.” So what’s the next step in the search for a new home?
“It’s difficult,” he says. “Liverpool council are important. We never stopped communication with them. We’ve had many meetings. They know our situation, and they know it’s vitally important, even more so now, that we stay in the Liverpool boundaries. “We continue to search for other sites, and we are looking at several Goodison redevelopment possibilities. But the problem, as always, is cost. It’s easier and cheaper to build a new stadium – but we continue to seriously consider the Goodison situation. “I always believe that an end has to bring in another beginning, and now that the Kirkby decision has been made, we look forward to the future.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Goodison is the greatest ground in the world to me. But something has to happen. “I have the utmost faith in Robert Elstone to steer us through the next round of talks and developments. “Amongst his many other attributes Robert talks and listens to Evertonians and that’s important to me. Very important. He’s a great guy doing a great job.”
TOMORROW: Why I chose Goodison over Hollywood

Howard Kendall: Magic Mikel Arteta ran riot against Hull
March 12, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, By Liverpool Echo
THE scoreline says it all about the performance against Hull last weekend, but I was particularly impressed with how Everton won the battle in the middle of the park.
Everton dominated the centre and David Moyes’ decision to play Heitinga just in front of the back four worked a treat. I had my doubts with the Dutchman playing there at first, but he had an outstanding afternoon. He looked solid and allowed Arteta to have such a massive influence on the game. There are not many in the game who can open up defences and make such cutting passes as Mikel. If someone is as comfortable on the ball as that, other players make runs off the ball knowing their side will keep possession. David Moyes was right when he said Arteta needed games before he could get back to his best. Someone who needs a personal confidence booster is Yakubu.
He tried hard on Sunday but couldn’t get anything on target. After the Hull game one wag suggested we should swap him for Bendtner, who missed a hatful against Burnley the day before. Then of course, Bendtner got a hat-trick against Porto.
I wouldn’t bet against Yakubu responding in similar fashion. He has scored goals at every club he’s been at, and has been out for a long time. Once that sharpness and confidence in front of goal comes back he’ll be flying. As a lone striker he cannot fail to thrive on the support of a midfield with Arteta and Pienaar in it. He will be mightily encouraged at the quality of through balls they will provide and can’t fail to start finding the net soon.
Howard Kendall: Birmingham task will be tougher than tame Tigers
THE only hint of caution I’d add about Sunday is to emphasise how poor the opposition were. Birmingham tomorrow will be an entirely different prospect.
The Hull result will serve as a confidence booster after the defeats in Lisbon and West London but the FA Cup exit at the hands of Birmingham was a low point. City had their own FA Cup setback when Portsmouth knocked them out so both sides will be involved in a straight bun fight for Europe now. Neither manager will allow his side to slack and both will want to finish the season as strongly as possible.
Both men are born winners and my two former clubs will produce a good game.
It will be a battle of midfield. They have Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer, and we must match them. I believe Everton have the stronger bench out of the two teams though. Against Hull we had Tony Hibbert, Jack Rodwell, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Landon Donovan on it among others. It really shows the strength of the first team.

Bill Kenwright exclusive: If David Moyes left Everton FC I’d be lost
March 12, 2010, By Greg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT started as a momentary pause in conversation, then slowly it became a silence so profound it seemed to absorb everything else in the room. Bill Kenwright the raconteur, the negotiator, the showman, the proud custodian of Everton FC, is completely lost for words. Such is the enormity of considering life without David Moyes as the manager of his club. We are speaking hypothetically, of course, but Kenwright still shudders at the thought his friend and confidant could one day even consider leaving. “It certainly would be very difficult for me,” he says. “I’m actually not sure I would ever want to work with another manager. But I don’t think of losing him. He appreciates Everton. “I know how honest and honourable he is, so all he would think about is ‘Have I got more left to give Everton Football Club?’ Not the other way around. I know that he just wants to build and improve. He’s ambitious for Everton – that’s the great news. He is committed to Everton.” The Toffees chairman has a rare and highly-cherished relationship with Moyes based on mutual respect. “The greatest thing about this period of my Everton life has been David Moyes,” he says. “I think what he has brought to this football club is quite extraordinary.
“I remember that famous day when we scored and he kicked that water bottle as if to say to the doubters, ‘I told you my team would do it!’. “He is a winner. I first heard about him about a year before we got him. Preston played Chelsea in the FA Cup and they murdered Chelsea but lost to a late, late goal. “All my Chelsea mates were saying ‘bloody hell, what a team’. Then Jenny read an article on him and it was all about how he prepares footballers physically and mentally to make them successful.“Now I look at what he’s done for us. We’ve taken a lot of time over our signings discussing whether they are Everton players. Will they fit into our philosophy? You look at Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Leighton Baines and they are Everton. If they’re not Everton they don’t last.“Because we’ve had to be careful financially, David hasn’t had an opportunity to make many mistakes and it shows how good he is.”Family man Kenwright is pleased that Moyes has nurtured Everton’s reputation as a welcoming club.“You very seldom read about a player arriving here and not saying how welcome he felt,” he says. “It’s important to me and David. We enjoy reading that. That the Everton experience means something.“Cars and Tommy Grav were there at Goodison against Chelsea, and as they walked in my face lit up. Two bullet heads in the middle. They weren’t playing that well together at first but gradually it happened and they became Everton legends. “So no matter how single minded the manager is, he’s also developed the family spirit of Everton.” So what would Kenwright say if Moyes asked for his advice about, for example, applying to a future managerial vacancy elsewhere? “I would always tell David he is already at the best club in the world,” he said. It would be massive to lose him. “But you have to remember his chairman might not be here next season. If I get what I’m desperate to get for Evertonians, I might not be involved. “The new owners might not want me. In any kind of conversation I’ve always said to people ‘Forget me’. Bill Kenwright’s position does not form part of any negotiations. “They’ve come because of Everton and David Moyes.” But it is clear, despite deflecting praise to his manager, that Everton’s recent success also owes a lot to Kenwright’s stewardship. Moyes is always quick to credit his chairman, and in particular his negotiation skills in the highly-fraught transfer market. They were skills utilised when Wayne Rooney made clear his intentions to quit Goodison during a tearful phone call in 2004. Kenwright added: “With Wayne we desperately wanted to keep the boy. Believe me the fee was a lot more than when we started talking. “I’ll never forget having Wayne on the phone to me, with a catch in his voice. He was desperate to leave. He told me he needed to go.
“David and I had done everything we could to keep him. But David made the decision on the Friday when Wayne handed in a transfer request. Then the boy rang me.”Kenwright reveals he may well have had his feet up in a producer’s office at a major Hollywood studio if Everton had not come calling. “My first game on the board was October 21 1989,” he says. “That summer I was setting up a movie in America. My two main passions as a kid had been Everton and movies. “My gran used to take me to the pictures on a Friday and I saw this world which I wanted to be part of.
“I loved cinema and still do. I was offered a deal in Hollywood by a major studio. They wanted me to go and produce for them. In many ways it was a dream come true.
“I thought about it hard. I wondered whether I could do both? Whether I could keep my theatre company going. “I got all my staff into the boardroom and told them about the offer. I said I really wanted to do it, and that they’d said I could do six months there and six months here. My staff went white. “I told them they were more than capable of running the theatre stuff in my absence. But then the phone rang in my office, and a voice on the other end said: ‘Hi Bill, it’s Philip Carter – are you coming to the game on Saturday?’ I told him I was and he asked if I could get there 10 minutes before I normally did to chat. “I knew they were thinking of doing some concerts on the pitch and they’d asked me to ask Paul McCartney if he was interested and so I guessed it was about that. “I got there early and Philip said: ‘Bill I hate throwing this at you like this, but there is going to be a position on the board. Would you join us? We’d have to do it carefully because there’ll be a lot of publicity. Take the weekend if you need’.” “I couldn’t even get my words out. I was stunned. My dad was a red, but in his later years he would come with me to Goodison. I walked out and he asked if I was okay. I could still hardly speak. I said: ‘Dad, I can’t say anything but they’ve just asked me to be on the board’. And he said: ‘Come on you Blues!’ I came into the office on Monday and said: ‘Guys forget Hollywood – I’m going to Goodison’. And that was it.” But with the ongoing success of his theatre company, Kenwright has had the chance to convert various celebrities into Evertonians. So, what does the Evertonian version of the Spanish Inquisition believe will be his legacy? “That’s for others to decide on,” he says, pausing again. “It does affect me what people think of course it does. Especially my fellow Evertonians. “You don’t decide to become an actor because you’re a secure human being believe me. You don’t produce 18 or 19 shows at one time because you’re secure. You do it because you think you’re not good enough unless you’re working constantly. “I am trying to prove myself all the time. I don’t think I’ve achieved anything thus far. I look in the mirror and see this 64-year-old, grey haired man but I still think it’s all ahead of me. I really do. I think about tomorrow, next year and onwards.”

Everton FC fan Billy Smith sets up website with every Everton match report - ever!
Mar 12 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE Football League’s first ever penalty kick was awarded at Anfield. And before Evertonians start smirking and muttering ‘down at the Kop End by any chance?’ it was in the days when Everton were in residence. And it was missed. A Sunderland striker called Wilson shot wide of the target just two minutes into his team’s visit to Merseyside, but the Wearsiders still went on to win 4-0. And did you know the first Everton footballer sent off in a League match was Charlie Parry, by the appropriately named Mr Grump! Those historical nuggets, and many more are included in true Blue Evertonian Billy Smith’s mammoth new website undertaking. Quite simply, Billy is attempting to compile every single match report of every single Everton match, home, away and abroad, from all-time . . . . ever. It’s like counting the grains of sand in the Sahara. But before you shake your head in disbelief, Billy’s already up to 1930-31. It’s all there in the grandly titled website – Everton Independent Research Data on www.bluecorrespondent.co.nr Split into seasons, plus bonus sections referring to penalty kicks and sendings-off, there are reports from every match Everton have ever played. Plucked direct from newspapers like The Football Field, the Daily Courier, the Liverpool Mercury and, of course, the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo, it’s quite simply the most exhaustive reference work devoted to Everton Football Club ever undertaken. Sometimes the site takes a bit of time to load, but it’s worth the effort.
Some of the Victorian reports hark back to a quainter age – an era when bored goalkeepers sauntered out of goal to join in attacking moves and AGMs took place in the Queens Head and “proceedings were interspersed with songs and recitation, the meeting being brought to a close by drinking the health of the chairman with musical honours.” (Everton’s second ever agm that one in 1881). The game in the Victorian era was dramatically different. But in many respects it hasn’t changed at all. There are letters to the Echo from fans criticising team selection, complaints about prices being doubled for the visit of attractive opposition – and a huge following committed to supporting Everton. None more committed than Billy, though. “All these articles are from newspaper reports from Liverpool and Bolton,” he explained. “As I progress I’m hoping to put reports from all over Britain and to contain all information on any game Everton have played counting friendlies, tours, reserve matches and ‘A’ team games.
“Other information will be all transfer news, injuries and any information which I located in any news sources which will hopefully help you understand the tapestry of Everton’s history.” It has taken Billy five years to get as far as he has – but it’s undoubtedly been worth the effort. And in answer to the smart alecks who asked “How many of your reports are up there?” He’s only got up to 1931 and has another 79 years to go. My era’s coming soon. Good luck Billy!

Everton FC captain Tim Cahill fights to return against Bolton
Mar 12 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL is targeting a return to full fitness in time for Everton’s next fixture at Goodison Park in a week. The Aussie international wants to play against Bolton Wanderers next Saturday, after more than a month on the sidelines with a leg injury.
Cahill limped off during Everton’s first leg victory over Sporting Lisbon on February 16, and has missed games Manchester United and the crucial Europa league return leg in Portugal. Now the 30-year-old is desperate to be back in contention for the Premier League clash with Owen Coyle’s men, especially because it is a rare 3pm Saturday kick off at Goodison. After a number of recent home games were switched for live TV coverage, this Premier League fixture is a traditional kick-off time on March 20.
He said: “There is always a great atmosphere at Goodison but I get a buzz driving to the ground, seeing the fans arriving. “It is a great time for families to come along to the game and cheer us on. Everton fans are always great at getting behind us and we need more of your support against Bolton.” Last season the Blues beat Bolton 3-0 at Goodison Park, and David Moyes will hope for a similar victory to boost his side’s chances of qualifying for Europe again. Meanwhile, Leicester City chairman Milan Mandaric has revealed how his friendship with Bill Kenwright helped the Foxes win the race to sign James Vaughan on loan. England under-21 international Vaughan was wanted by Derby County, where he had a brief loan stint earlier in the season.
Mandaric said: “It was unfortunate to lose Matty Fryatt (broken jaw) but James is a proper player. It wasn’t simple. The player was wanted by other teams.
“I have a good relationship with the Everton chairman and I said to him that my manager would like the player and your manager wants him to get additional experience, so let’s close the deal.” Vaughan, who has netted twice for the Toffees this season despite his injury problems, will join Leicester for a month-long deal with the option of staying until the end of the season. l To get your tickets for Everton v Bolton Wanderers visit evetonfc.com or call the ticket office on 087044 21878.

We can pip Everton FC for European place says Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish
Mar 13 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
ALEX McLEISH has admitted for the first time that Birmingham could qualify for the Europa League – if his current strikers can deliver sufficient goal-power during the remainder of the season. McLeish saw the reunited Cameron Jerome-Christian Benitez partnership impress during the 2-0 mid-week win at Portsmouth which lifted City up to eighth spot in the Premier League. He concedes today’s visitors, Everton, remain favourites to overhaul them despite City drawing 1-1 at Goodison Park and also knocking them out of the FA Cup. McLeish said: “Can you qualify for the Europa League? Well, if Cameron continues to score goals and we keep winning, then it’s possible. “If Christian and the other strikers can keep getting us goals – the four front guys we trust to get into these positions and do well – then it’s possible.
“We know it’s possible. Anything is possible. Everton would still be favourites to catch us in this particular campaign and Fulham are also there and thereabouts.
“But we have got ourselves in a marvellous position of strength – and it’s up to the players to keep driving and going for it.” McLeish added: “If we can beat Everton at home, it would help and we fancy ourselves at St Andrew’s. “But Everton are a great club, they were brilliant last week (against Hull), and they will be coming with a lot of confidence. McLeish is a massive fan of Everton play-maker Mikel Arteta whom he signed when manager of Rangers. He said: “I taught him everything he knows! Seriously, He’s a wonderful talent. “He had a brilliant first season at Rangers. “The second season was tougher because we lost a lot of key players and were rebuilding again. “We had to ship him out anyway for financial reasons and he went back to Spain and decided when he came back to England, he was going to be ready for the physical side of things. “I take my hat off to him, he has been sensational. Arteta is a huge, huge talent, someone I admire, and hopefully my players don’t stand back and admire him at the weekend.”

Barry Horne: Everton FC must keep faith with Yakubu
Mar 13 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S destruction of Hull City was a joy to watch and it wasn’t a one off with us having produced similar performances against much stronger opposition.
Mikel Arteta rightly received the bulk of the plaudits, but he had a very talented supporting cast. I’ve got a feeling John Heitinga is going to be a big crowd favourite. Evertonians love someone with aggression who puts their foot in but can also pass the ball like he can. The one player who looked off the pace was Yakubu, but David Moyes needs to keep playing him. Although qualifying for Europe remains possible, it’s a long shot so to a certain degree the pressure is off from now to the end of the season. No-one expects us to get there and Moyes can use the games to help Yakubu get his sharpness back. The last 10 games are a chance to get all the lads who’ve been out for a long time back firing on all cylinders. One of those is Phil Jagielka. Moyes is right to say he still might get into England’s World Cup squad. He’s a player with a fantastic attitude and considering the problems of his rivals for a place he’s in with a chance

Greg O'Keeffe: Everton FC's Yakubu will come good
Mar 13 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
UNLIKE his team-mates, Yakubu did not have a happy afternoon against Hull.
The centre-forward got himself in lots of good positions to score, but the pained expression on his face after he ballooned yet another effort over the bar from three yards was one which anyone who has played football at any level could sympathise with. Some days you just get out of bed on the wrong side. Nicolas Bendtner responded to a similarly profligate show against Burnley by scoring a hat-trick against Porto in the next game. Don’t bet against The Yak getting himself on the score sheet at St Andrews today.

Greg O'Keeffe: Johnny Heitinga, a true Everton FC hard man
March 13, 2010 by Dominic King Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans love a tough-tackling cult hero, but since Lee Carsley’s departure they have missed a player with enough bite and menace to start the old Chuck Norris jokes. You may have heard them; Superman wears Chuck Norris/Lee Carsley pyjamas. If you look in the mirror, in the dark, and say ‘Lee Carsley’ three times, he appears and breaks up the opposition attack. A Lee Carsley tackle is the preferred method of execution in 16 US states. When MC Hammer sang “You can't touch this”, Lee Carsley touched it anyway. MC Hammer was too scared to say anything…they go on and on. Now finally John Heitinga has stepped into the breach. The Dutchman has flourished since reverting to centre-half and playing alongside Phil Jagielka can only improve him further. But it is his fearlessly unflinching challenges which have begun to win the hearts of the supporters. I’ve already noticed a few of the old Carsley jokes being recycled with Heitinga’s name instead. Let’s hope he continues to forge a reputation as the type of player lithe, fleet-footed midfielders want to avoid – and the gags keep coming.

raise the bar on those DVD releases
Mar 13 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
THE joker in the Park End summed it up. As Everton scored their fifth past a pitiful Hull City en route to Sunday’s crushing victory, that wonderfully self-deprecating Goodison humour kicked in. “Go on Blues,” he shouted. “Make it six and they can bring out another DVD.” Everyone was in stitches, but the unfunny thing is that he was probably right. Had Yakubu been near top form, Moyes’s side would have at least matched their 7-1 destruction of Sunderland two seasons ago. It could have been more, such is the imbalance of any game which contains Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar on one side, and the Yard Dog’s Yard Dog Paul McShane on the other (coming to a Sunday League pitch near you soon). So far, there’s been no DVD hailing the victory over Phil Brown’s side, but would you be surprised if one was on the shelves by the end of the season? This week saw the release of Nothing But The Best, a DVD featuring the fantastic victories over Chelsea and Manchester United this season. They are games that Bluenoses will cherish for a while, Chelsea in particular, put to the sword for the first time under David Moyes’ reign. Both matches were testament to achievement in the face of adversity, and contained some truly impressive football from the Toffees. Nevertheless, many supporters will have winced at the news that the games were being released on DVD. Evertonians of an older vintage will point to a time when wins over Chelsea and Manchester United were routine, and nothing to particularly cherish. Certainly, times have changed and now wins over any of the top four are something to celebrate, but packaging them up as a DVD leaves the club open to accusations of being small time. Now before I go on, it’s vital to acknowledge that there is no doubting the business sense behind the DVD releases. Go back 10 years and Everton’s merchandising operation was distinctly average. The club was woeful at making money for itself commercially. Fast forward to the current day and things are different. Thanks initially to the much-maligned Keith Wyness, and now of course the ever-dynamic Goodison chief executive officer Robert Elstone, Everton are a resourceful business which exploits every commercial opportunity. Just look at the booming trade which the two Everton stores do. Supporters should be grateful the club has finally got its act together in terms of making money. The DVDs are another way of generating cash for a business which needs every penny it can get. Understanding that makes it harder to criticise them.
It started with the famous 3-0 derby victory over Liverpool in September 2006, when the Blues ran riot at Goodison. A few weeks later, DVDs of the game appeared on the shelves. It might have sparked a bit of wounded abuse from our friends across the park, but at the time who cared? Evertonians could probably watch that game time and time again and still not get bored. Then the Sunderland thrashing was committed to disc, and a trend started which has begun to leave some fans uneasy. There can be no tract with end of season compilation DVDs, especially under David Moyes (even if some will want to forget the optimistic VHS/DVD releases during the Walter Smith years). Mostly they have been campaigns to look back on fondly. But this continuing trend of releasing a disc of every notable result is questionable. Such discs sit uncomfortably on the shelves next to releases of games when other clubs have won silverware. David Moyes’ Everton would never settle for any suggestion of mediocrity. It goes against everything he has gone about instilling during his tenure in Merseyside. So the constant DVD trail celebrating league wins, albeit impressive ones, must be viewed in context of what Everton want to be. The Scot has always wanted his club to compete on equal terms with Manchester United and Chelsea on the pitch. Now they are beginning to do just that. Maybe it is time to bring aspects of their commercial set-up in line with the teams who Everton are so close to matching.
That might mean being a little bit more particular about churning out those DVDs.

Liverpool FC and Everton FC fans' groups unite to promote city football quarter
Mar 13 2010 by David Randles
LIVERPOOL and Everton fans have joined forces to campaign for a football quarter in north Liverpool. Under the banner “Altogether Now”, supporters groups Keep Everton in Our City (KEIOC) and the Spirit of Shankly have cast aside their rivalries to promote a pioneering concept that would have benefits, not only for the two football clubs, but the surrounding Anfield and Walton areas. An open letter has been sent to the city’s key decision making agencies to request the co-funding of a feasibility study to examine the idea. The football quarter is intended to be a groundbreaking regeneration programme centred around Stanley Park which will stimulate a wide range of social and economic benefits to the area. The move was officially announced on Friday at Anfield’s historic Sandon pub, exactly 118 years to the day since the split that resulted in the creation of two clubs in 1892. Colin Fitzpatrick of KEIOC said: “An independent feasibility study into which the fans would have some input would demonstrate the need and viability of a programme that would kickstart regeneration in the north Liverpool community, maintain Liverpool’s position as a world centre for football excellence and provide opportunities for thousands of Liverpool people.” Both clubs have seen plans for new stadiums stall in recent years, an issue highlighted in the letter that has also been sent to both Liverpool FC managing director, Christian Purlsow, and Everton FC chief executive Robert Elstone. LIVERPOOL and Everton fans have joined forces to campaign for a football quarter in north Liverpool. Under the banner “Altogether Now”, supporters groups Keep Everton in Our City (KEIOC) and the Spirit of Shankly have cast aside their rivalries to promote a pioneering concept that would have benefits, not only for the two football clubs, but the surrounding Anfield and Walton areas. An open letter has been sent to the city’s key decision making agencies to request the co-funding of a feasibility study to examine the idea. The football quarter is intended to be a groundbreaking regeneration programme centred around Stanley Park which will stimulate a wide range of social and economic benefits to the area. The move was officially announced on Friday at Anfield’s historic Sandon pub, exactly 118 years to the day since the split that resulted in the creation of two clubs in 1892. Colin Fitzpatrick of KEIOC said: “An independent feasibility study into which the fans would have some input would demonstrate the need and viability of a programme that would kickstart regeneration in the north Liverpool community, maintain Liverpool’s position as a world centre for football excellence and provide opportunities for thousands of Liverpool people.” Both clubs have seen plans for new stadiums stall in recent years, an issue highlighted in the letter that has also been sent to both Liverpool FC managing director, Christian Purlsow, and Everton FC chief executive Robert Elstone.

BARRY HORNE: Boss David Moyes needs to hold on to current Everton FC squad
Mar 13 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
MANAGER David Moyes has spoken about his determination to ensure there are no departures from Everton this summer. Considering the value and age of the current squad, it’s no surprise that he’s keen to keep them all together and make a couple of acquisitions. When you compare the squad now to what Moyes inherited it’s a huge improvement. Also when you compare what we’ve got to the likes of Wolves, Hull, Blackburn and Bolton – the kind of clubs that not long ago Everton would be compared to – we’re in fine fettle. With all the talk about holding on to what we’ve got, some will maybe think it’s strange that Moyes allowed James Vaughan to go on loan to Leicester. There is also talk of Seamus Coleman being loaned out. My admiration for Vaughan is well known and whenever I’ve seen Coleman play he has impressed. Going out on loan at their age doesn’t mean they don’t have a future at Everton.They would do well to look at Leon Osman’s career. He went on loan to Derby when he was 22, did well, come back and made a name for himself. He was patient, worked hard and reaped the rewards for his commitment and professionalism.
I believe Vaughan has a great future ahead of him and there’s no reason why Coleman can’t make it at the highest level. Another player set to move on is Landon Donovan but I’m not alone in hoping he returns after the World Cup. It’s been another example of Moyes’ good use of the loan system. It’s been a great move for the player and the club. Donovan has put himself in the Premier League shop window with his performances and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a number of clubs chasing him.
But such was the affinity between player and club I would be very surprised if Everton don’t have first call on him.

David Moyes: None of my Everton FC stars are going anywhere
Mar 13 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes will draw iron curtains around his squad in the summer as he vows that none of his ever-improving Blues will be allowed to leave. The Toffees manager hailed his current set-up as the best group of players he has had at his disposal during his Goodison reign. And he is determined, as he prepares to face Birmingham at St Andrews today, that summer transfer departures will be strictly on his terms.
Everton must beat the Midlands outfit today to continue their climb up the Premier League towards the Europa League qualifying spots. But Moyes already has one eye on the summer, and will not bend despite the inevitable exposure some of his top players like Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar will receive at the World Cup. He said: “I don’t think for any reason I’ll lose any of the squad. I don’t for a minute foresee that.
“I am confident we’ll keep the squad together. There’s no need for a big overhaul. We ‘d always like to add a couple of players if we can do so but nothing more.” The case for keeping hold of his big players will be strengthened by securing European football, but the Scot is aware that Everton have plenty to do if they can make that a reality.
“I still think it’s a long shot,” he said. “The odds have not got any shorter. There is a bit to go before I could even think about it. “Those teams above us are a lot of points ahead and it would take a big turnaround for us to catch them. “We always aim to do the best we can. Not set any targets or said we are aiming to catch any team, always said all we can do is win the next game and see how things go. “We haven’t targeted any team or any position at the moment. All we can do is try and finish as high as we can and see how it goes.” The manager is encouraged by the football his side have produced in recent victories against Chelsea, Manchester United and Hull City.
He said: “I think we are playing some good football. We’ve been playing well for a while, but then in amongst all that we’ve suddenly had a result or a performance we did not expect. “It might be going really well and then had a game we didn’t see coming, but in the main we have been doing well for the last 13/14 games, when we have had not a bad run.” But while he is keen to rule out any outgoing transfers in the summer, Moyes would like to be better equipped to deal with injury crises like the one which almost derailed this season. He said: “At the start of the season we had a real severe bout of injuries. It would be difficult to have a squad big enough to cover that, but in the same breath maybe we need to look how we could do it a bit better if it happens again. “But hopefully it won’t happen again. “The one thing we’ve had is the stability. We’ve got the players in quite early and quite young, and they’ve gone with us.“People like Cahill and Phil Neville and Tim Howard have been with us four or five years now, lots of players like that who know what we are after. “We need to keep recycling, bringing people like Rodwell and Gosling in at the bottom end.
“Hopefully they will stay with us. It’s important to bring in young players because at the top end players will drop off and you need to replace them at the other end.”
Moyes knows today’s game will be competitive, as Alex McLeish also tries to guide his side towards one of the top seven places. He said: “Birmingham will be looking at the teams above them saying the same as me, trying to win their next game and see where it goes. “Everyone is trying to finish as high up the league as they can. Birmingham have had a really good season and are in a strong position.” Everton will benefit from the steadying presence of Phil Jagielka back at the heart of defence, but his manager stressed that the England star will need time to recover fully like team-mate Mikel Arteta. He said: “He seems fine. He was a bit stiff for a day or two after Hull. “Jags isn’t fully back, things will be a little bit up and down. He hasn’t played one reserve game and we put him straight back in. We’ve taken a risk by putting him back in. but from what I’ve seen so far he has helped. He has made us better and made us stronger defensively.”

Everton FC starlet Seamus Coleman could go out on loan
Mar 13 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
SEAMUS COLEMAN could follow James Vaughan out on the loan trail as David Moyes attempts to hand his crop of promising youngsters vital experience. The 21-year-old Irishman has emerged as a target for Ian Holloway’s Blackpool, while new QPR boss Neil Warnock is also thought to be keen on him. Moyes has previously hinted that he would allow the highly-rated right-back to gain experience elsewhere, and Coleman has found first team opportunities limited since skipper Phil Neville’s return to fitness. Although still recovering from the injury ravages of early season, Moyes is aware his squad is now in a far healthier position. His defensive options have been boosted by the return of Tony Hibbert, who was on the bench against Hull last weekend, and Phil Jagielka’s successful return. With Joseph Yobo, who can play right back also fit, Moyes may decided he has enough options to allow Coleman to move in a similar deal to striker James Vaughan. Vaughan joined Leicester City on Thursday for an initial month-long deal, with the option to extend the spell until the end of the season.Meanwhile, Louis Saha and Tim Cahill are ready to boost Everton’s European ambitions by returning to action against fellow top six contenders Birmingham today. The French striker has missed the last two games against Tottenham and Hull City with a hamstring problem, while Cahill hasn't featured since limping off against Sporting Lisbon at Goodison last month. Moyes said: “Louis Saha is back training as is Tim Cahill. Overall we are pretty healthy and we hopefully go into the game with most people available.” Moyes is keen that his side exorcise the ghosts of their FA Cup defeat by Birmingham at Goodison. He said: “If you look at the Birmingham Cup game I don't think anybody could say we didn't deserve to get at worst a draw. We gave them a two-goal lead and in almost every other way we dominated the game, they only had three shots on target and scored twice.
“But we have to make sure we are tougher and harder to beat. Birmingham don't concede many goals and we have to make sure we don't either.” Leon Osman has a slight injury but the game at Birmingham is set to be the final appearance for on-loan Landon Donovan. The American is due to return to LA Galaxy for the start of the MLS season after the Premier League match. Although the 28-year-old could yet remain for a further month if a proposed players’ strike in the MLS goes ahead, Moyes is not optimistic. He said: “There is probably a five per cent chance of him staying, 95 per cent against. There have been some conversations, but that is the date they were due and they want him back. “I am comfortable with that, there’s no problems with it. It would be great if we could keep him but if we can’t, I accept that.”

Birmingham City 2, Everton FC 2: Blues let two-goal lead slip against fellow Euro hopefuls
Mar 13 2010 Greg O'Keeffe at St Andrews
Sylvain Distin in action at Birmingham 300
EVERTON were held to a draw by fellow European hopefuls Birmingham despite racing to a two-goal lead. The Toffees capitalised on a slow start by the home side to open the scoring through a fine individual goal by Victor Anichebe. Then David Moyes’s side looked to have settled the affair in the 22nd minute when Yakubu nodded in Steven Pienaar's lobbed pass from close range. But Cameron Jerome quickly restored Birmingham's interest when he swivelled to turn in a Keith Fahey centre. And Craig Gardner completed a route-one move just after the break to level with a first time shot which beat Howard. While the shared spoils was a fair result, Moyes will rue the missed opportunity to leap-frog the Midlanders in the table and further press Everton’s dwindling Europa League ambitions. But while it was the second time in three months that the sides have cancelled each other out in league combat, a game of rising drama was a far cry from December's 1-1 draw. Again, Birmingham recovered from a lively Everton start to take a share of the spoils from a tussle that at one stage was threatening to get away from them. A quiet opening spell offered little hint of the drama to follow, but with the end of the first quarter approaching a glut of three goals in seven explosive minutes followed. Everton’s superior midfield began to tell, as they probed along the right through Phil Neville.
The former Manchester United man fed Anichebe inside the area, and the Nigeria forward - making only his third start since his return from long-term injury - turned Liam Ridgewell to blast an unstoppable shot past Birmingham keeper Joe Hart.
Only moments earlier Hart had reacted superbly to keep out a low, curling effort from Pienaar, but within three minutes the England man was beaten again. Arteta found Pienaar on the right, and the South Africa midfielder eluded Lee Bowyer to stand up a cross for Yakubu, who shrugged off a challenge from Roger Johnson to head in from point-blank range. But four minutes later Birmingham regained a foothold in the game. Ridgewell knocked Scott Dann's lobbed pass to Fahey, whose left-flank cross into the danger area was guided home on the turn by Jerome. The former Cardiff striker’s third goal in two games was the perfect response to McLeish's pre-match suggestion that Birmingham's European fate would be determined by their shot-shy attack. And Jerome was again vital when Birmingham equalised six minutes after the break, rising to flick a Hart goal-kick to Gardner, who blasted a low drive beyond the sprawling Tim Howard. The game could have gone either way in its dying stages, Birmingham sporadically on the break, while Everton - who were denied three optimistic handball appeals after the break - spurned a chance to claim maximum points when Cahill, breaking through on goal, fired tamely at Harte. EVERTON: Howard, Neville (Capt), Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Cahill (Rodwell, 75), Arteta, Pienaar, Heitinga, Yakubu (Donovan,67 ), Anichebe (Gosling, 79).
Attendance: 24,579 Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov.
BIRMINGHM: Harte, Carr, Bowyer, Ridgewell, Dann, Ferguson, Benitez (McFadden), Johnson, Jermome, Fahey, Gardner (Larsson, 58).
Subs: Taylor, Philips, Michel, Queudrue, Tainio
Ref: Lee Probert

Everton FC confirm departure of American international Landon Donovan
Everton have confirmed forward Landon Donovan’s loan spell has officially ended and the American will return to Los Angeles Galaxy. As late as yesterday evening, after the 2-2 draw at Birmingham, manager David Moyes was still holding out hope they could hang onto the United States international. “He is on a plane home tomorrow. We are still trying to do something. You never know, who knows?” he told the post-match press conference. However, Everton today posted a lengthy farewell interview with Donovan on their website in which they confirmed the loan deal had ended. “Landon Donovan has returned to LA Galaxy following his 10-week loan,” the story on www.evertonfc.com read. “Despite attempts to extend Donovan’s loan period at Everton, LA Galaxy have now recalled him to their squad ahead of the start of the MLS season on March 27. “It is still unclear if the American league will kick off on time as the threat of a players’ strike looms following disagreements over the labour contract currently in place.” Donovan paid tribute to the club’s fans on his departure. “I’m 28 years old now and I’ve played over 100 times for my country, I’ve also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world,” he said. “But I’ve never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. "Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I’ll never forget.”

Birmingham 2 Everton 2
Saturday 13th March 2010, The Express and Star
Birmingham snatched a point from the jaws of defeat after coming back from two down to earn a share of spoils at home to Everton. The St Andrew’s crowd, who have seen only two Premier League home defeats all season, were left stunned after 22 minutes as the visitors romped into a commanding lead through Victor Anichebe and Yakubu. But Blues got themselves back in it with a quick reply through Cameron Jerome, before Craig Gardner’s first goal for the club early in the second-half proved enough for a point. The floodgates opened in the 19th minute through Anichebe, who left Liam Ridgewell for dead with a deft turn to drill the ball past Joe Hart in the home goal. Three minutes later and Everton looked to have taken a real foothold in the game, when Yakubu found the defence sound asleep to meet Steven Pienaar’s lofted cross into the box with a header into the net. A quick goal from the home side pegged back the Toffees on 26 minutes, with Jerome on target for the second game in a row after no goals in nine, guiding the ball into the net from Keith Fahey’s cross.
That gave Blues initiative to fightback in the second-half with their reward just seven minutes after the break, Gardner’s maiden strike since signing from Villa, Jerome turning provider to nod on Hart’s goal kick for the midfielder to finish a route one goal.

Landon Donovan proves a point with Everton loan
March 14, 2010 , Los Angeles Times
Galaxy forward Landon Donovan, who also plays midfield for the U.S. national team, told the Everton club's website that his 10-week loan to the English Premier League club proved that he belonged on the international scene.
"I've proved to myself that I can play against any player in the world and that's a pretty cool thing to think," he said. "Where I came from as a young boy, I didn't have soccer on TV and I didn't know any teams in the world outside of Manchester United or Real Madrid. To come to this point and do what I'm doing is pretty special."
Donovan scored two goals in 13 matches with the England club, helping the side rise from 12th to 9th in the Premier League standings while beating Manchester United and Chelsea. Everton also tied Arsenal. Everton fans voted Donovan the club's player of the month for January. "I'm 28 years old now and I've played over 100 times for my country," said Donovan, who is returning to Los Angeles. "I've also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world. But I've never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. "They've been absolutely incredible and it's hard to imagine that they can be that passionate every time you go out — but they care." Making his stay more special for the Northwest England club was playing alongside U.S. national team goalkeeper Tim Howard, who has been in goal for Everton since 2007. "Before I came, I had a lengthy talk with Tim Howard about the club and the manager in particular and Tim has nothing but great things to say about him," Donovan said of Everton and Coach David Moyes.
-- Dan Loumena

The People
14 March 2010
Birmingham 2-2 Everton
Dean Jones
If Either of these sides are to play in Europe this year, it will probably be on a pre-season tour. Because while talk on the terraces ahead of kick-off was of booking a Europa League spot - the dream is surely going to prove beyond reach for both clubs.
Everton have been in magnificent form of late but threw away a two-goal advantage here that is likely to prove costly. And Birmingham manager Alex McLeish realises that despite an inspired comeback, his side lack the firepower required to remain as contenders. The draw means Blues now sit eighth in the Premier League, with the Toffees one place below them. And Everton manager David Moyes was quick to play down any talk of a jaunt across the continent as he reflected on the disappointing collapse. He said: "I have never said anything about Europe, but we have not helped ourselves and there is a long way for us to catch up. "Our performance was fine, but the result wasn't. We could have been more in front at one stage - and it's disappointing that we have not won." Birmingham will not argue, as there is little doubt that Everton should have been out of sight following their start to this St Andrew's clash. Birmingham began with a defensive record that could only be matched by champions Manchester United, as they had conceded just eight league goals at home. Yet within 22 minutes Everton had made a mockery of their back line.
The movement of Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar was too much for Blues to handle, and the only surprise was that they held out for 19 minutes.
After Joe Hart had made a fantastic full stretch save to keep out a brilliant curling effort from Pienaar, Everton took the lead. Devastating Victor Anichebe cut inside Liam Ridgewell before unleashing a left-foot drive that flew home to mark his first goal of the campaign. It was not long before the Toffees were celebrating again, and this time it was the predatory instinct of Yakubu that counted. He was able to leap high at the far post to convert over the line after a perfectly weighted chip from the right side by Pienaar. By now there was a real look of concern on the faces of 21,000 Brum fans. While they have been good at stopping goals recently, they haven't been much cop at scoring them. So when their lifeline arrived on 26 minutes it was met more by relief than anything else. It came in bizarre fashion too, as Cameron Jerome attempted to prod home Keith Fahey's angled cross. It was unclear how much of the ball Jerome managed to touch, but the bounce fooled everyone and it squirmed into the far corner of keeperTim Howard's net. It proved to be the turning point as Everton's flair and invention subsided in the second half and Birmingham were able to equalise. Hart booted a long kick towards the Everton box, which Jerome nodded down and Gardner struck sweetly with his left boot into the far corner.
Sour It was his first strike for the club, and it proved to be the final goal of the game - although referee Lee Probert's decision to turn down three penalty appeals after Birmingham's Roger Johnson, Gardner and Stephen Carr appeared to handle may leave a sour taste in the mouth of some Toffee fans. "It is so typical of what we have done all season," said Birmingham's McLeish of his side's fightback.
"It is a great achievement to come back from two goals down against a side in form.
"Europe is still obtainable for us, but we have some tough games and probably don't have the strength in depth. Stranger things have happened though, so we will give it a go." Shiner Pienaar Made a great early contribution with his attacking flair and he did not fade - unlike some of his teammates.
Birmingham: *HART 7 - Carr 6, Johnson 7, Dann 6, Ridgewell 6 - Gardner 7 (Larsson, 59mins, 6), Ferguson 7, Bowyer 6, Fahey 7 - Jerome 7, Benitez 5 (McFadden, 72mins).
Everton: Howard 6 - Neville 5, Jagielka 6, Distin 6, Baines 7 - Anichebe 7 (Gosling, 79mins), Heitinga 6, Arteta 7, *PIENAAR 7, Cahill 6 (Rodwell, 76mins) - Yakubu 7 (Donovan, 67mins, 6).
Referee: L Probert 5.
Shocker Benitez
Never made any impact on the game and has still not managed to score at home for Birmingham.

Everton FC's season of squandering continues against Birmingham
March15 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IF EVER a game summed up Everton’s season it was this. The curiously disjointed draw with Birmingham at St Andrew’s was the 2009/10 campaign so far in microcosm. One part promising and dominant, the future looked bright, the other part bemusingly lacklustre and costly. Ultimately Everton’s travelling support left the Midlands pondering what might have been. If this season is to be remembered for anything other than the disastrous glut of injuries which threatened to paralyse the club, David Moyes’ men probably have to win seven from their remaining nine fixtures. This encounter with Alex McLeish’s fellow Euro contenders was practically a six pointer. Victory would have propelled Everton into eighth place, and landed a hefty psychological blow on the other top six wannabes. Defeat was unthinkable, and had the Toffees left empty handed, Europe really would have been off the agenda.
But the frustration emanating from the away dressing room after the game was understandable, even though they shared the spoils. To surrender a two goal head-start against a side as upwardly mobile as Birmingham is maddening. For the majority of the first half Everton did everything their manager asked of them. Solid in defence, where Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin seemed impenetrable, they won the midfield and created chance after chance. First Mikel Arteta miscued a chip to the far post on 15 minutes with Yakubu looming. Then Leighton Baines went marauding down the left and dazzled Stephen Carr with tricky footwork before slipping the ball to Pienaar, whose curled effort looked to be going in but for a fine save from Joe Hart.
Moments later Arteta crossed for Cahill, who burst into the box and flashed a header close. Birmingham seemed shell-shocked. Then in a frenzied four minute spell the game should have been over. First Phil Neville fed Victor Anichebe. With his back to goal, the big forward turned Liam Ridgewell with ease and blasted a thunder bolt of a strike past Hart from the edge of the area. Anichebe’s own struggle with injury has not been given the same recognition as players like Arteta and Jagielka. It is easy to forget that the Crosby youngster has had to work hard to get his own career back on track.
His brief career with Everton to might seem chequered, but the class he showed with the execution of his strike hinted that Anichebe can contribute positively playing on the right. The goal had been coming as Everton’s momentum built, and soon afterwards Pienaar crossed to the far post, and Yakubu crept up behind the slumbering Roger Johnson to nod home from close range. The Nigerian’s super eagles celebration was a welcome and deserved sight after his afternoon to forget in front of goal against Hull. It was a reward for continuing to get into the right areas despite being short on confidence. Birmingham were all at sea, and bore little resemblance to the tough to beat outfit who harried, pressed and bustled Everton out of the FA Cup at Goodison in January. But just when they needed it, they got lucky, and it was definitive. Keith Fahey was given too much time and space to swing a deep cross into the box, and it seemed to take the faintest of unintentional touches off Cameron Jerome to confuse Tim Howard and nestle in the corner of the net. The goal gave Birmingham their purpose back. Their tempo increased, and they almost hit the blues on the break again as Carr fed ‘Chucho’ Benitez who put his shot too close to Howard.
Next Jagielka cleared almost off his own line as Birmingham responded to the home crowd. Just before half time Jerome again went close, powering a header narrowly over the bar. But Everton had the last chance of the half with a curling free kick from Baines, after a foul on Anichebe, which went wide. The start of the second period saw the Blues denied a plausible penalty shout when the ball struck Roger Johnson’s arm in the area. But then Birmingham conjured a route one equaliser, Jerome flicking on Hart’s goal kick and Craig Gardner arrowed a first-time shot into the bottom right hand corner of Howard’s goal. Birmingham pressed, buoyed by their equaliser and threatened with a succession of crosses and corners. But then Everton had a chance to take the points, as Cahill broke into the box with men in support, and fired weakly at Hart. There can be no criticism of a player who has only just returned from a four-week absence, but it was a crucial miss and Everton’s lack of clinical finishing was telling. There was to be no fairy tale ending for Landon Donovan either.
Although he injected the pace and purpose which has been the hall-mark of his bright spell in Merseyside after replacing Yakubu, Birmingham clung onto their point.
Overall the Toffees had superior class and better players. They scored the better goals too, but it is irrelevant because they still shared a solitary point. Everton need to become more efficient at keeping leads. Just like with Sporting at Goodison, they race into impressive leads but then offer their opponents a way back into games.
Their slick, passing football can annihilate teams like Hull, but that must be matched with concentration and tenacity for 90 minutes. Starting with Bolton next Saturday, the Blues must focus on building their lead without letting their focus slip.
The club deserves the fillip of Europe for soldiering through the darkest of those injury-ravaged times, and still competing in Premier League matches.
They still have some control over their fate. Most of the remaining fixtures are eminently winnable, and some of the teams above the Blues will slip up.
Yes, this squad can go places. Yes, it is good enough to win silverware. But the time for rhetoric and promises is in May.
BIRMINGHAM: Hart, Carr, Bowyer, Ridgewell, Dann, Ferguson, Benitez (McFadden), Johnson, Jermome, Fahey, Gardner (Larsson, 58). Subs: Taylor, Philips, Michel, Queudrue, Tainio.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville (Capt), Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Cahill (Rodwell 75), Arteta, Pienaar, Heitinga, Yakubu. Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov.
REFEREE: Lee Probert

David Moyes rues slip up against Birmingham: Everton FC latest
Mar 15 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes bemoaned his side’s failure to grab all three points after building a two-goal lead in Birmingham. The Everton boss knows that draws will not be enough to push his side into the Europa League qualifying places, and wants the focus among his squad to be on performances and not injuries. He said: “I don’t want to be looking back. I want to be looking back and think it was not because of injuries. I want to have a football conversation at the end of it and not talk about injuries. “I feel we have got a good team but we just couldn’t cope with so many major injuries at the start of the season. We are sort of over that but we still have some major players out. “(Europe) is not something I’m discussing at the moment because until we get on a real serious run, we can’t claw something back. At the moment a point is not going to claw anything back.” Moyes does not feel his squad needs a summer overhaul. He said: “If I had the same group I wouldn’t be too worried if I didn’t because I think we are close to the teams at the top. “It’s been difficult when you don’t have a lot of big finances to change it. But I do think we have a good team. I think we have moved on as a team and a club so we’ll try to continue that. “I don’t mind expectations if they are right – until one or two of the other teams spend £60-70m, then the money will dampen them. The money will make a difference.” Meanwhile, Everton have confirmed forward Landon Donovan’s loan spell has officially ended and the American will return to Los Angeles Galaxy. Despite attempts to extend Donovan’s loan period, LA Galaxy have now recalled him to their squad ahead of the start of the MLS season on March 27.
Donovan, who threw his shirt to the away fans after the Birmingham game, said: “I’m 28 years old now and I’ve played over 100 times for my country, I’ve also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world. “But I’ve never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I’ll never forget.” Birmingham boss Alex McLeish praised midfielder Craig Gardner who recovered from illness to earn his side a 2-2- draw with Everton by scoring his first goal for the club. Gardner, signed from Aston Villa for £3million in January, had been rated doubtful to be fit enough to face David Moyes’ side. But he capped another fine fightback by City who had trailed 2-0 midway through the first half. McLeish said: “Craig was ill yesterday. He was a doubt this morning. There has been a virus going about and Craig was a victim. He was supposed to come in for a fitness test this morning but told the doctor he was okay.
“He started sluggishly but he got his second wind and became a threat.
“It was a great strike from him for the goal, and, being a Birmingham fan, I know what it will mean to him.” City remain unbeaten at home since September and McLeish was again full of praise for his team’s fighting qualities.
He said: “That was so typical of what we have done this season and the players just don’t give up. “Today was another example. Everton could have blown us away in the first 20 minutes. We had an early warning when Joe Hart made a good early save but we didn’t heed it. id at half-time about making sure we didn’t give Everton too much respect and we came back strongly in the second half.”

Missing out on Europe would make season a failure says Everton FC’s Victor Anichebe
Mar 15 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE today admitted that missing out on European qualification would make Everton’s season feel like a failure. The 21-year-old scored his first goal since returning from a 12-month injury lay-off in the Blues’ 2-2 draw with Birmingham on Saturday. Although victory would have put the Blues in a stronger position for a Europa League spot, the striker still believes they can overhaul the teams above them. He said: “It would feel like a failure to not qualify for Europe. We all really want that. “The amount of players we’ve had it has been hard, and it’s a credit to the boys that we are this far up the league considering that we’ve been missing big players. “It’s a real testament to us, but we’ve still got hope.
“We’ve got nine games left and an okay run-in so we need to just keep pushing. There is still belief we can get into Europe.” Everton allowed a two-goal lead to slip at St Andrew’s, and Anichebe said the dressing room was bursting with frustration afterwards. He said: “It was frustrating. We were on top for so long and then they got a fortunate goal, and it spurred them and the crowd on to believe they could get back into it. “They did put us under a lot of pressure and were up for it. It’s a very hard place to come to. It’s like when teams come to Goodison, and they do find it hard.
“I would like to think we are a lot better than them, but they play to their strengths and they are doing well in the league. When it’s 2-0 we need to maybe just sit back a bit and be a bit steadier. When they got a goal back it made things very difficult.
“They will all be hard games left. But if we show enough character and play as well as we did in spells against Birmingham then we should finish in a good position."
Anichebe was pleased with his goal, a fine individual strike, and is determined to put his own injury problems behind him. He said: “Me, the gaffer and Steve Round worked on something similar to that in training so I owe the goal to them. We practised it and it just shows that if you work hard in training it will show on the pitch. It was a good goal but the main thing would have been to win. “I’ve got belief in myself. Obviously I need to work on my fitness a bit, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been playing consistently. “The manager and the boys know I need to work on my fitness but I feel confident. I like playing on the right. It gives me freedom to express myself, but we’ve got other players who can play there. “The team is flexible. Just because Landon is going doesn’t mean I’ll automatically be starting in there. I will keep fighting for my place.”

Birmingham 2 Everton 2: Full time report
Birmingham Evening Post
Lifelong fan Craig Gardner scored his first Birmingham goal as Alex McLeish's side recovered to earn a point against Everton and preserve their six-month unbeaten home record. Everton, knocked out of the FA Cup by Blues at Goodison Park this season, had taken control with two goals in three minutes mid-way through the first half from Victor Anichebe and Ayegbeni Yakubu. But Birmingham's fighting spirit has shone through on countless occasions and it again surfaced. Cameron Jerome's third goal in the last two games gave them a life-line before Gardner's moment of glory following his £3 million January move from local rivals Aston Villa. Mikel Arteta, who played under McLeish at Rangers, produced an impressive display in front of his former boss. But another ex-Ibrox player in Barry Ferguson was an influential figure in the centre of the park for City. Both sides gave away a series of niggly free-kicks in the opening quarter of an hour and there was little cohesive play although Everton were quicker to the second ball. After 16 minutes Blues keeper Joe Hart produced a superb save to keep his side on level terms. Leighton Baines found Steven Pienaar in space and his curling effort was destined for the corner of the net until Hart finger-tipped his drive around the post. Hart then clung onto a Cahill header from an Arteta centre before Anichebe put Everton ahead after 18 minutes. Toffees skipper Phil Neville played the ball into the feet of Anichebe who turned past Liam Ridgewell before beating Hart with a powerful 15 yard drive. Then three minutes later Yakubu got on the score-sheet to double Everton's lead. Arteta picked out the run to the by-line of Pienaar and, from his cross, Yakubu climbed above Roger Johnson to head home at the far post.
Birmingham needed a positive response and hit back through Jerome. Keith Fahey sent in a cross from the left of the Everton box and Jerome got the faintest of touches in deflecting the ball wide of Tim Howard and into the corner of the net.
Lee Bowyer became the first player to be booked - for deliberate handball - but there was now more purpose about the home side's general play. In first half-injury-time Hart again excelled to push away a Pienaar free-kick. Everton appealed in vain for a penalty for handball against Johnson following a fiercely struck shot from Pienaar early in the second half. There was then another shout for handball in the box from the visitors fans against Gardner but this was also rejected by referee Probert.
After 52 minutes Gardner brought Blues back on level terms. Jerome won the challenge in the air and in an instant Gardner ran onto the ball and drilled a low left-footed drive past Howard into the corner of the net. But after 59 minutes he was substituted and replaced by Sebastian Larsson. Yakubu was booked after blocking a Bowyer free-kick when not retreating 10 yards. Everton boss David Moyes made his first change when bringing on Landon Donovan for Yakubu after 67 minutes while Christian Benitez was replaced by former Everton striker James McFadden after 73 minutes. Cahill created space for himself but fired his left-footed attempt straight at Hart before he made way for Jack Rodwell. Anichebe looked in a lot of pain when suffering a knee injury after a challenge with Johnson and he was immediately substituted with Dan Gosling coming on for the striker. McFadden blazed over from close range as both sides sought a winner while Johnny Heitinga also fired one over the bar for the Toffees

Birmingham City 2, Everton 2: Colin Tattum's big match verdict
Mar 15 2010 by Colin Tattum, Birmingham Mail
DAVID Moyes revealed before the game that he felt this Everton squad was the best he had assembled in eight years. They’ve had Champions League finishes, FA Cup finals, European competition (and flirted with relegation) during his time at Goodison Park. But Blues are still just about keeping Moyes’ men at bay in the Premier League, comparatively early into the reign of Alex McLeish – and immediately after promotion from the Championship. Everton appeared to be taking the game well beyond Blues when charging into a two-goal lead with a quarter gone. But Blues did what Blues do and responded, showing their resourcefulness and opportunism to drag themselves out of a hole. After Craig Gardner equalised with his first goal for the club – and it was an impressively executed one, too – Blues could have gone on and completed a quite remarkable comeback. They didn’t and the match could have swung either way but the very fact that Blues showed they had it in them to react and live in such company was another feather in the cap. Everton are the sort of club that Blues should be seeking to emulate under McLeish in the Carson Yeung era. Due to shrewd management, organisation, a good work ethic and continually improving quality, they have gone from dab hands at punching above their weight to making significant progress, the sort that fires dreams of silverware and regular success. Blues, who have not lost to Everton now in three outings this season, have had the same template put down at St Andrew’s by McLeish and should he be armed with a £15 million here, a £10 million there – as Moyes has in more recent times – so what is to stop them? “When you consider they’ve been round and about the last few years, it’s a brilliant feat by Davie Moyes,” said McLeish. “But they are still able to spend £15 million on one player. I can’t quite do that yet and if we can aspire to Everton, the Stokes, Fulhams who have done well the last couple of years, then that’s the kind of level we want to get to. “To try and look beyond that is ridiculous, given the amount of finances we are putting into it at the moment.” Everton, due to their long injury list, will feel that they are in a rather false position and should be further up the division. Blues, on the evidence so far, should think that the eighth to mid-table spots are the norm for them and take the necessary steps to push further on and up in the immediate future. In its own way, with both sides keen to make a play at those above them and possible Europa League qualification, the match had an edge. But Blues didn’t buy into it for some while. As McLeish noted: “We were in a kind of deep sleep the first 25 minutes”. That’s when Everton, with Steven Pienaar, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta oozing class, dominated. Victor Anichebe rifled the opener into the top corner and just three minutes later Yakubu headed in from close range after Pienaar stood up a lovely cross. Blues found a way back via the slightest of touches from Cameron Jerome as he pirouetted to help Keith Fahey’s cross on its way. The goal was timely and it seemed to shake Blues from that slumber. Jerome transformed into an impressive leader of the line. He was not just quick and urgent, but robust and muscular. Barry Ferguson found his groove and Liam Ridgewell, who had been given a hard spell by Anichebe, dusted himself down and began to bounce his opponent and make capital going forward. Seven minutes into the second-half, after Blues had survived a couple of interesting penalty shouts for handball, the equaliser came, from the swiftly swung left boot of Gardner, who was quickly onto Jerome’s flick to take the shot early from the edge of the area. What a goal it was for the avowed Blues nut. You could tell, too, as he didn’t quite know what to do when celebrating the kind of moment he would have dreamed about as a kid. Gardner’s inclusion – he kept his place ahead of Sebastian Larsson – was fair and rewarded McLeish in that contribution alone, even if he did suffer the sapping effects of illness Blues have only ever come back from 2-0 down twice before as a Premier League club: Clinton Morrison’s double at Liverpool; Stern John’s famous stoppage-time shinner at Villa, both earning draws. They sensed they could go one better as Everton’s goalmouth was put under pressure. However, a succession of breaks in play, and later injuries to Cahill and Anichebe, plus some stout Everton action, tended to slow the rhythm of Blues. The match was chalked-up all square, and served as a further reminder that Blues have the right stuff about them, whatever the kind of pickle they find themselves in – and that they should aim to compete with and challenge the Evertons of this world.

Another ‘If only’ for David Moyes as Everton FC throw away 2-0 lead at Birmingham City
Mar 15 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
DAVID MOYES admits it will be difficult to reflect on this season without a sense of regret as Everton suffered another setback in their quest for European qualification.
The Goodison outfit were held to a 2-2 draw at near rivals Birmingham City on Saturday despite having raced into a two-goal lead inside the opening 22 minutes.
It means they remain six points adrift of sixth place and a Europa League berth, despite having lost only two of their last 15 Premier League games. Previous long-term absentees Victor Anichebe and Yakubu were on the scoresheet while Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka, who have both missed much of the season through injury, also started the match. And Moyes accepts his team could be further up the league but for those debilitating fitness setbacks. “I do think ‘if only’ but I don’t want to be looking back. “I want to be looking back and think it was not because of injuries, have a football conversation at the end of it and not talk about injuries. “I feel we have got a good team but we just couldn’t cope with so many major injuries at the start of the season. “We are sort of over that but we still have some major players out. “I wouldn’t say we have big squad. Strong, but you couldn’t use the word big. We probably have the least amount of numbers I would say in the Premier League compared to any club.” Moyes added: “It’s been difficult when you don’t have a lot of big finances to change it. But I do think we have a good team. I think we have moved on as a team and a club so we’ll try to continue that. “I don’t mind expectations if they are right – until one or two of the other teams spend £60-70m, then the money will dampen them. The money will make a difference.” Everton’s bright start appeared to give them total control until Cameron Jerome pulled a soft goal back on 26 minutes, prompting a Birmingham revival which led to Craig Gardner’s equaliser shortly after half-time.
“We conceded a diabolical first goal,” said Moyes. “We didn’t block a cross, we were too deep and it ended up trickling in at the back post. That gave Birmingham a lifeline when it was really all us up to that point. “Victor scored a good goal, a good team goal. We worked it well and passed it well. We did it with 10 or 12 passes but they kicked it up the field and scored with one pass.” Goalscorer Anichebe limped off in the second half and the returning Tim Cahill was also substituted, with both injuries set to be assessed today. “Tim’s calf stiffened up and Victor went over on his ankle,” said Moyes. Saturday’s game marked the end of Landon Donovan’s 10-week loan spell at Goodison with the American heading back to MLS side LA Galaxy after scoring twice in 13 appearances. “Overall I am very pleased with how the loan spell went,” said Donovan. “It was always the case I was going to go back on March 15.
“Everton have made it clear they wanted me to stay but I have to respect my team in LA. I am the captain there and it would send the wrong message not to go back.
“I think the biggest thing has been from a confidence stand point to know I can do well in the Premier League. I would consider coming back and I could never have imagined it would go this well. “But I am a member of the Galaxy and I have signed a new deal there. It is a team I love playing for and am so excited to get back there.
“But my guess would be if I ever comeback to the Premier League it would be to this club.”

Birmingham 2-2 Everton: The Daily Mirror match report
Published 05:30 15/03/10 By James Nursey
Phil Jagielka says an England World Cup call-up would take him to heaven from hell in a matter of months. Everton centre-back Jagielka, 27, made his second start at St Andrews since damaging cruciate ligaments in his left knee against Manchester City last April. His injury meant the stopper missed last season’s FA Cup final after converting the penalty which took Everton back to Wembley. Jagielka, signed from Sheffield United in July 2007 for £4million, was also held at knife-point as a gang robbed his luxury mansion in September. The star’s agony has hampered his England hopes after winning his third full cap against Ukraine at the beginning of last April.
But Jagielka hasn’t booked his summer holiday yet and believes his ’annus horribilis’ could still have a happy ending with a trip to South Africa. Jagielka said: “I even got burgled in 2009 as well! “It was an interesting year but I got married which was the only highlight. “My wife Emily has had to deal with sulky Phil being moody and the kids Mya and Zak so my hat goes off to them more than anyone else. “My family and my mum and dad are very pleased to see me back playing. “When I had the operation I thought it would be six to eight months so I would have half a sniff of the World Cup but it was ten months. “I would love to have a plane ticket over to South Africa but realistically it may have been a couple of months too late for me to comeback.
“I can’t expect to be in the squad but I will work with the physios and fitness coaches at Everton and see how I get on. “I might get ten games until the end of the season and if that is good enough it will be brilliant, if not I will put my England shirt on in the summer and support the boys. “So I will have an England shirt on one way or another - either supporting or hopefully playing. “But I have been out for a long, long time so I would never wish anyone else an injury or get excited when someone does get injured.” Jagielka looked commanding early on at Brum as Everton cruised 2-0 up inside 22 minutes. Victor Anichebe blasted in on 19 minutes before Yakubu’s header from close-range after Steven Pienaar’s lobbed pass. But Cameron Jerome gave Birmingham a lifeline when he swivelled to turn in Keith Fahey’s centre in the 26th minute. And Craig Gardner completed a route-one move just after the break to level with a fine left-foot shot. Everton are ninth after just one defeat in five games in the Premier League following victories over Chelsea and Manchester United at home.
David Moyes’ side are benefiting from return of other long-term absentees like Yakubu, Anichebe and brilliant playmaker Mikel Arteta. Jagielka added: “Four of the lads who started at Birmingham - me, Yak, Victor and Mikel - were out for eight, nine or ten months. “The squad was looking a bit thin and we lost Joleon Lescott at a crucial time. “We did start the season slowly and maybe realistically we were never really going to be pushing for the European places. “But the boys have had some fantastic results which has catapulted us back up the league and put those sort of ideas back in people’s heads.” Everton will have to do without US star Landon Donovan,28, though in their run-in. The American striker, who came off the bench at Brum, is returning to LA Galaxy after arriving at Goodison in January on loan. Donovan said: “Overall I am very pleased with how it went. “But it was always the case I was going to go back on March 15. “Everton have made it clear they wanted me to stay but I have to respect my team in LA. “I am the captain there and it would send the wrong message not to go back. “I am a member of the Galaxy and I have signed a new deal there. “But my guess would be if I ever comeback to the Premier League it would be to this club.”

Donovan leaves Everton and returns to US
Monday, 15 March 2010. The Independent
Everton have confirmed forward Landon Donovan's loan spell has officially ended and the American will return to Los Angeles Galaxy. As late as Saturday evening, after the 2-2 draw at Birmingham, manager David Moyes was still holding out hope they could hang onto the United States international. "He is on a plane home. We are still trying to do something. You never know, who knows?" he told the post-match press conference. However, Everton on Sunday posted a lengthy farewell interview with Donovan on their website in which they confirmed the loan deal had ended.
"Landon Donovan has returned to LA Galaxy following his 10-week loan," the story on www.evertonfc.com read. "Despite attempts to extend Donovan's loan period at Everton, LA Galaxy have now recalled him to their squad ahead of the start of the MLS season on March 27. "It is still unclear if the American league will kick off on time as the threat of a players' strike looms following disagreements over the labour contract currently in place." Donovan paid tribute to the club's fans on his departure.
"I'm 28 years old now and I've played over 100 times for my country, I've also played a lot of league games in different parts of the world," he told evertonTV.
"But I've never met a fan base like this, either playing for them or as an away player. Forget about football for a moment, this is a life experience I'll never forget."

Ferguson fuels Birmingham resistance
Birmingham City 2 Everton 2
By Phil Shaw
Monday, 15 March 2010. The Independent
Arsène Wenger be warned. Amid the talk of Arsenal's run-in being the easiest of the title contenders, their next away opponents have been casually bracketed with Burnley, Hull and Wolves as a source of potentially easy pickings. But Birmingham City, as their manager Alex McLeish noted after their fightback against Everton, are a team who never give up. St Andrew's has not witnessed a home defeat since September. Wenger will find a side unrecognisable, in character and quality as well as personnel, from the relegation-bound outfit whose stoppage-time equaliser added insult to the shocking injury Eduardo suffered at Birmingham two years ago.
On that occasion, James McFadden's spot-kick twisted the knife for Arsenal. This time, another Scot, Barry Ferguson, is a more likely thorn in their side. The national captain under McLeish, Ferguson's capacity to retain possession and select a pass were instrumental in Birmingham's recovery here and made him a close rival to the more flamboyant Mikel Arteta as the outstanding performer. "Barry took charge," McLeish said succinctly. Craig Gardner, too, made an impact even before his crisply-taken equaliser, belying the fact that he was poorly 24 hours earlier. "I told him: 'Look, you can't let us down. If you're going to collapse after 20 minutes, it's a problem'," McLeish said. "He took a while to get into it, but he did, like Lee Bowyer, who had also been ill." Everton, whose quest for Europa League qualification must continue without Landon Donovan after the American's return to California yesterday, could vouch for the threat awaiting Arsenal. They were cruising after goals by Victor Anichebe and Yakubu. David Moyes thought they had scored six in the 5-1 rout of Hull and it looked as if the manager may need a calculator to keep track of another spree. Instead, Cameron Jerome cut the deficit and Gardner earned Birmingham a deserved point. "Davie [Moyes] must have thought, 'they told me this was a hard place to come but it's easy', until we got the proverbial finger out," McLeish said. "This is a team that never gives up." Birmingham City (4-4-2): Hart; Carr, Johnson, Dann, Ridgewell; Gardner (Larsson, 59), Ferguson, Bowyer, Fahey; Jerome, Benitez (McFadden, 72). Substitutes not used: Taylor (gk), Phillips, Michel, Queudrue, Tainio. Everton (4-1-4-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Heitinga; Anichebe (Gosling, 79), Cahill (Rodwell, 76) Arteta, Pienaar; Yakubu (Donovan, 67). Substitutes not used: Nash (gk), Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaletdinov.
Referee: L Probert (Wiltshire).
Booked: Birmingham Bowyer. Everton Yakubu.
Man of the match: Arteta.
Attendance: 24,579.

On-loan Everton FC star John Ruddy keeping it clean north of the border
March 16 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool
AT the tender age of 23, John Ruddy’s first team Everton career is already a dim and distant memory. It was four years ago that the big, blond goalkeeper stepped off the substitutes’ bench just eight minutes into a Premier League game with Blackburn.
With Nigel Martyn injured and Iain Turner sent off, Ruddy was handed an unexpected debut. Unfazed, he kept a clean sheet. It’s a feat he’s repeated many times since in hugely impressive loan spells at Stockport and now Motherwell, but Ruddy accepts that the imminent arrival of Slovakian international Jan Mucha at Goodison means it’s unlikely to be a performance he’ll be repeating again soon. “I’ve resigned myself to the fact that my time at Everton is at an end, but I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve got nothing bad to say about them,” he said. There’s a reason that Ruddy is so sanguine.
His form at Motherwell has been stellar. He is second in Soccer AM’s Golden Glove chart for best shut-out-to-matches ratio – behind Swansea goalkeeper Dorus de Vries – and is close to overtaking a Motherwell club record of 17 clean sheets (a shut-out against St Mirren last Tuesday was his 15th of the season) – while Saturday’s 3-1 win over Hearts kept Motherwell fourth in the Scottish Premier League and on course fora place in Europe next season. “I do like to keep track of my clean sheets,” admitted Ruddy. “I’m like a striker and the amount of times he scores. They can say off the top of their head how many times they score and I’m the same with clean sheets – it’s 15 by the way. Ratio-wise, I think I had a better spell at Stockport when it was eight in 13 games. But this is up there and means more to me because it’s over a longer period.”
Ruddy’s form has not gone unnoticed by parent club Everton. The Blues sent goalkeeping coach Chris Woods to check out the form of his protege last Tuesday – and according to reports north of the border, he wasn’t alone. Glasgow giants Celtic are reported to have been alerted by Ruddy’s progress and he explained: “I have a year left on my contract at Everton and I go back there in the summer. “Ultimately they will make a decision on my future, whether they want to sell me or keep me. I think a possible move to Celtic is just paper talk to be honest.” Ruddy could yet remain at Fir Park on a permanent basis and admits that a return to the Europa League next season would be a substantial incentive to stay put. “Could that influence my future? Of course it could,” Ruddy added.” The incentive of Europe is a big draw for any player and I’m no different. We had a taste of it against Steaua Bucharest and I played in that game. “But, if I move on, I’ll do so with my head held high.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Why Everton FC's Victor Anichebe should go to the World Cup before Kevin Davies
Mar 16 2010 Liverpool Echo
IT’S BEEN an awful long time since Kevin Davies ran from the halfway line to score a wonder-goal at Goodison Park – so long ago it was even before I arrived at Everton! And I don’t think we’re going to be seeing too many goals like that again from Kevin.
But he will be back at Goodison Park again on Saturday with talk of an England call-up ringing in his ears. I’m not sure about that, but there will be a player in an Everton shirt on Saturday, not dissimilar in style to Kevin, who should be on the plane to South Africa this summer. Victor Anichebe hasn’t played for Nigeria since his horror knee injury. But he’s hit the ground running since he returned to first team action and his goal at Birmingham on Saturday was unstoppable. Victor has been the forgotten man on Everton’s appalling injury list over the past 12 months. While fans have bemoaned the long-term absences of Arteta, Jagielka and Yakubu – and the spells on the sidelines for Phil Neville and Steven Pienaar, Anichebe’s loss seems to have been largely overlooked. But he showed at St Andrew’s just how much he has been missed. He just has to reproduce that level of performance consistently now.
It was a shame for Victor that he sustained his injury at the same time that Yakubu was also sidelined, James Vaughan was injured and that Louis Saha was in and out of the side. If Victor had been fit he would have seen plenty of opportunities in the position he most enjoys. With Landon Donovan’s departure, however, it looks like he is going to get more openings down the right hand side now. That doesn’t mean he will play as an out and out wide-man like Donovan did. On Saturday Victor was drifting in from the flanks, as he did when he scored that stunning goal, and while he’s a strong runner his physical presence means it makes sense to have him in and around the penalty area as often as possible. No doubt much will be made of Kevin Davies’ physicality on Saturday, but I’d like to see Victor putting himself about against Bolton Wanderers. And when it comes to possible World Cup call-ups, Anichebe is the man I’d most like to see on a plane to South Africa this summer.
Everton fans have no need to feel Blue about a draw at Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM CITY have enjoyed an excellent season – based very much on the blueprint Everton adopted a few seasons ago. They are organised, work incredibly hard and are very, very difficult to break down. And when they pinch a goal they are more than capable of defending it and grinding out a narrow victory. Everton established that blueprint for teams wanting to break away from the lower reaches of the Premier League table. But Everton have moved on now. We have better quality players than when we were grinding those 1-0 wins out and play a better quality of football. And that’s why fans were disappointed at only coming away from Birmingham at the weekend with a draw. No-one’s won at St Andrew’s since mid-October – and that includes teams of the quality of Chelsea and Manchester United.
There’s certainly nothing to be disappointed about in coming away from Birmingham with a point. But the fact that Everton’s players and their fans were frustrated shows just how far the club has come. Expectation levels are now at a point where fans expect Everton to go to tough places like Birmingham City and win.
And that speaks volumes for Everton Football Club.
Why I hope Mark Halsey’s comeback is at Goodison
MARK HALSEY said this week he’d love to restart his top flight career again at Goodison Park, the ground where he last took charge of a match before being struck down by throat cancer. I hope he gets his wish. Halsey is that rare breed of referee – somebody who could be your mate, just one of the lads – and there aren’t many refs you can say that about! He’s the kind of fella you could have a joke with in the tunnel.
There’s no arrogance about him, none of that school-masterly streak which so many officials have. But apart from all that, he’s a very good referee too. He’s just starting on the road back to full fitness and took charge of a reserve game last week.
Apparently 10 minutes into the game a Scunthorpe United reserve ran past Halsey, shook his hand and said, “Great to have you back.” Shortly after half-time, Halsey booked him – a moment of pure class! I’m sure when he does step out at Goodison again he’ll receive a great reception. That’s unusual for a referee – but he will deserve it.

Everton FC are getting better and better - Yakubu
Mar 16 2010 by David Randles, Liverpool Echo
YAKUBU believes Everton are stronger than they have been for many years.
The Nigerian striker is in his third season at Goodison Park since making the switch from Middlesbrough and is certain the Blues have gone from strength to strength.
“I think Everton are getting better and better,” said Yakubu. “Every season we get better. “With the players we have and getting our injured players back I think we now have one of the best Everton squads for a long time. “We now hope we can progress as a team and start winning trophies.” Yakubu was on target in Everton’s 2-2 draw with Birmingham at St Andrews on Saturday. That was his third goal of the season.
He missed a series of chances to improve his tally in the previous week’s 5-1 win over Hull, but has now set his sights on this weekend’s visit of Bolton. “Sometimes as a striker you play well but you don’t get your goal,” he said. “Then at Birmingham I score with my first chance so you have to stay positive and remain strong in your head when you are a striker. “I am so pleased to get my goal and be back. I thought after mine and Victor’s goals we would get the three points but we now have to focus on taking three points against Bolton at home next week.” Meanwhile, Landon Donovan has paid tribute to the Everton fans for making him feel welcome throughout his 10-week stay on Merseyside. The USA captain has now returned to MLS club, LA Galaxy, after 13 appearances for the Blues. During a successful loan spell, Donovan helped Everton record wins over Manchester City, Chelsea and Man United before an emotional farewell against Hull in his last home game. “The send-off from the fans after the Hull City game was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” said Donovan, who scored the second of his two goals for the club in that game.
“You feel proud but it was also a sad moment, because when you’re accepted that way and you feel that love, it’s hard to leave. “I’ve never seen or experienced anything like that and I just kind of went with the moment. “I didn’t want to make too much of it and have them booing me and get me off the pitch! “I just wanted to show my appreciation. For me, I fed off that energy and I hoped that they fed off my energy, then it’s been a win-win for everyone. He added: “Playing and beating Chelsea and Manchester United within the space of a week will be something I will always remember too. “I don’t think any other American has had the opportunity to do that.”
LA Galaxy recalled Donovan ahead of the new MLS season, which is set to start on March 27. However, a possible players strike over the labour contract could delay the start of the campaign.

Jose Baxter sent off as Everton are knocked out of Liverpool Senior Cup by Skelmersdale United
Mar 17 2010 by Our Correspondent
EVERTON’S hopes of joining Liverpool in a ‘battle of the giants’ Liverpool Senior Cup final were dashed as Jose Baxter saw red in a 2-0 defeat at the Skelmersdale & Ormskirk College Stadium. Baxter was one of a trio of Blues substitutes with first team experience – alongside Shane Duffy and Shane Wallace – and was brought on after an hour to boost a youthful visiting line-up but he was dismissed with 10 minutes left or a late challenge. The UniBond League Division One North side took the lead on 25 minutes with a long range effort from Kyle Armstrong. Neil Dewsnip’s side’s hopes of a comeback in this semi-final were dashed after the break as Skem substitute Ryan Wade netted in acrobatic fashion and Everton’s task got harder after Baxter’s sending off.

Everton FC fans letters: David Moyes should give Blues' kids more of a chance
Mar 17 2010 Liverpool Echo
I DON’T understand why Seamus Coleman hasn’t played more for Everton.
David Moyes always seems to play the most senior players as soon as they are fit, regardless of whether they are match-fit or playing well.For example, Tim Cahill straight back into the team against Birmingham last Saturday while Jack Rodwell remains on the bench and Coleman not even in the squad. Coleman should have been given a run in the team two months ago when he was flying.Moyes needs to start giving Gosling, Rodwell and Coleman a proper chance in the team. Kstom I STILL feel the Blues need another top class striker. Beyond that, the squad is really strong if we can avoid another injury epidemic. Rayefc DAVID MOYES sometimes puzzles me with his treatment of young players. Although Tim Howard is playing well, John Ruddy could have been his understudy. Ruddy is proving what a great keeper he is with some brilliant performances in Scotland for Motherwell. And now Moyes is loaning out Seamus Coleman who would be a perfect partner at right-back to complement another attacking full-back in Leighton Baines. Instead, Moyes continues with Tony Hibbert doughas EVERTON cannot expect to win every game. We still have players settling into the team after injury and Birmingham are no pushovers at home. The Blues are playing well and creating chances and will end up in a European place. Jdx I WAS at St Andrew’s on Saturday and even though Yakubu and Victor Anichebe scored our goals, they were the two laziest players on the park. Graeme

England will flop at World Cup - Everton & South Africa's Steven Pienaar
March 17, 2010, By Gerg O’Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
STEVEN PIENAAR has cranked up the psychological pressure on his team-mate and potential South Africa 2010 rival Leighton Baines by declaring that England are likely to be World Cup flops. The midfielder is set to star on home soil in the summer tournament, and could line up against his partner on Everton’s left flank Baines, who is tipped for inclusion in Fabio Capello’s squad. But although he rates the Three Lions performances under the Italian boss so far, Pienaar, 27, believes other teams will still fancy their chances of beating them. He said: “They have got the players and they’ve got a manager (Capello) who’s finally got them to play as a team. “I’m not a fan of the England team. I think teams can get a result against England. “They have a reason to feel confident, definitely, because in the past there were egos in their team but they play as a team now, no more about individuals. “But we have to wait and see if they can live up to the challenge. We have to do it on the field and not in the newspapers.
Despite his admiration for Capello, Pienaar has tipped Germany, Italy, Argentina and European champions Spain to fight it out for the Jules Rimet Trophy. He said: “I have always said Argentina. Spain is also in the mix and you can never rule out Italy and Germany. Italy know how to win tournaments and the Germans have a good team, so they also have a chance to win it.” Capello's men start their World Cup campaign against the USA in Rustenburg before facing Slovenia and Algeria in their other Group C matches, while Pienaar's South Africa take on Mexico, Uruguay and France in Group A. Meanwhile, on-loan Everton striker James Vaughan has been tipped for success by Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson. Pearson, who took the 21-year-old on a month-long loan deal to the Walker stadium last week, has already seen signs that Vaughan can be a star. The deal could be extended until the end of the season, and Pearson has been impressed with the striker’s attitude after he was introduced as a substitute on Saturday. He said: “I think we will have to ease him in, but his character is such that there are no half measures with him. “I think you can see straight away he is such a brave character and plays so wholeheartedly that it has probably contributed to his injury problems, but you don't want to change that in him. “I think he will be great for us and I think you can see his aggression, his pace and his power. I am sure he will be a player who will bring something a little different. “I know he only played for half an hour on Saturday and probably stiffened up towards the end. He has a great future in the game and, if he can play a significant role for us, it will not only be good for us but also for him.”

Gary Cahill could return for Bolton Wanderers at Everton FC
Mar 18 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
BOLTON manager Owen Coyle is delighted that Gary Cahill has returned to training following a blood clot in his left arm. The central defender could have an outside chance of facing Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday. Coyle said: “It is terrific to have Gary back training with the group. We are all very pleased with his progress and we will keep monitoring him.” Cahill is determined to make an impact for Bolton and clinch a place in England’s World Cup squad. He said: “It is a case of working hard and getting back up to match sharpness. It is not the longest injury or illness so it has been easy to slot straight back in. “But I am bound to lose a little bit of fitness because I have been out of the game. Hopefully I can play a part in the rest of the season.”
KENWYNE JONES will be able to play a part in Sunderland’s Premier League run-in after being spared a lengthy spell on the sidelines. Manager Steve Bruce feared being without Jones for a month after the striker limped off at half-time during Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City. However, Bruce was handed a major boost when scans revealed no lasting damage.

Everton defender Leighton Baines joins Merseyside greats to support Rhys Jones Community Centre
March 18, 2010 by Tina Miles, Liverpool Echo
MERSEYSIDE sporting greats are coming together in memory of Rhys Jones.
Everton defender Leighton Baines joined past Reds and Blues stars to launch a fundraising dinner. The black-tie event at Aintree Racecourse will raise cash to build a community centre in the murdered Liverpool schoolboy’s name. The Rhys Jones Memorial Fund is half way through its fundraising target for the £1.5m development.
Sporting heroes who made their name in Liverpool said the charity needed a final push to turn the dream into a reality. Everton legends Graeme Sharp and Joe Royle and Liverpool hero Phil Thompson were among those at Cafe Sports England yesterday to launch the sporting dinner. They were joined by Olympic heroes Beth Tweddle and David Price, boxers Tony Quigley and Tony Bellew and former Lord Mayor of Liverpool Steve Rotheram. Everton’s Leighton Baines said: “This is something that a lot of hard work has gone into since what happened to Rhys.
“We are trying to give it the final push and make something good come out of something terrible. “Rhys was an Everton fan. We attended Rhys’s funeral and when you do something like that it makes you realise. It was an emotional day.
“I’ve got two little boys and I don’t want them on the streets. “This community centre will be a safe place and keep children off the streets, which is fantastic.”
The Sporting Heroes dinner takes place at Aintree Racecourse on May 20. Tickets are £100 each. For details call Christine Chellew on 0151 224 5622.

The Jury: Everton FC fans on the draw at Birmingham & Landon Donovan's departure
Mar 18 2010 Liverpool Echo
LET’S rewind to March last year when Evertonians were like kids on Christmas Eve marching down to Wembley to watch us beat Man Utd in the Semi Final while Liverpool were sitting in second position above Man Utd, a point off the top of the Premier League. Look how fast football can change especially on Merseyside!
While both clubs are in desperate plea for cash to get back to were they belong, Manchester laughs at us with its massive Stadia, its wealth and world class players.
Who would have ever thought the best player on the planet being a Scouser representing Manchester ? This season, We can sit and blame injuries ‘til the cows come home but to lose against Bolton, Hull and Burnley is why we sit looking up at these teams thinking on what might been.
WE really needed to win against Birmingham, not only to gain some distance over them, but to also keep close to the European spot and the contenders for it.
It was bitterly disappointing to let a two goal lead slip. Our attacking was great but clearly overshadowed by our abysmal defending which, of late, which has been to a good standard. One positive though was seeing Tim Cahill making a comeback.
In saying that, we should not dwell on the past and we have overcome worse recently so we need to pick ourselves up against an inform Bolton team. Like the Hull game, I can’t see this game troubling us much but that’s not to say Bolton won’t try to give us a game! The likes of Pienaar and Arteta will be important to us in this game and if they come up trumps and set a few chances up, then I am confident we will put a few away. COLE FRASER, Litherland
THIS current streak of inconsistent displays is going to be our downfall, unless we can rectify it quickly and get back to back wins under our belt. The quality of our recent performances have been up and down like a yo-yo, something Moyes will be aiming to fix during the season run-in. The Birmingham game was disappointing, we were cruising at 2-0 and should have wrapped it up. For the first half an hour we completely ran the show and played some great football. We should beat Bolton on Saturday.
We're on fire at Goodison and I fully expect us to claim the scalps of the Trotters, to add to the list of City, United and Chelsea. Lastly a mention for Landon Donovan. When we brought him I expected him to be a bit-part player. I'm glad I was wrong, because he was a revelation. The compliments that he payed were very flattering and I hope he returns.
WELL after another disappointment away from home, we’re back at Goodison this weekend. Given our home form, we should continue our excellent winning streak as despite a couple of wins lately, Bolton usually struggle away from home and certainly don’t have the best of records at Goodison. It is good to see that at least while our away form stutters, we can rely on putting in some dominant performances at home to make up for it. The wins over United and Chelsea were outstanding, but it was good that we followed that up by also convincingly beating a team we were more expected to beat. That has to continue against Bolton. It is a shame we will have to do that without Landon Donovan. He made a difference, providing us with some much needed pace and intelligence. Hopefully the rest it provided for Bily will help him to make more of an impact.

Everton FC have got the right blend says Tim Cahill
Mar 18, 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool
TIM CAHILL and David Moyes go back a long way.
The influential Australian was one of the Everton manager’s early – and some would say best – signings when he paid Millwall the unfeasibly modest fee of £1.5m in the summer of 2004. Cahill’s reputation has grown considerably since then, but so too has the Everton squad’s and he fully endorses his manager’s comment that this is currently the strongest Blues squad he has played in at Goodison Park.
“It’s a massive statement, but I’ve been lucky enough to be here the same amount of time as the gaffer and what we do have here is a growth of players young and old and a good nucleus where we can rely on the youngsters just as much as the old players,” explained Cahill. “Saying old, we’re not that old! But it’s good that the gaffer can change the team and change the midfield and change the strikers and keep Louis fresh and Yak fresh and me. “Victor can come in and Jack Rodwell and Dan Gosling. The competition’s there, especially at the back as well, so now it’s all about how we find a happy medium between now and the end of the season.” That starts against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and Cahill has warned his team-mates not to underestimate a team which has blown red hot (against Wigan) and ice cold (at Sunderland) in recent weeks. “I think people overlook some of the players they’ve got. They do actually play a lot of football,” he warned. “I think the route one game of playing the ball long and getting in players faces has worked effectively for them, but they mix it up well and we know it’s going to be a hard game, but we need to get back on track again and try to get back to winning ways. “The atmosphere’s been a bit mixed since the Birmingham game because we were very disappointed. The first 20 minutes we were on fire, but we conceded two soft goals. “But I think the best thing is we didn’t lose. We feel hard done by because we’ve played them three times and not beaten them but we train very hard and work very hard and this season’s been a massive turn around we’ve been very positive.” For Cahill himself, the turnaround from the trials and tribulations of the autumn was no surprise. “I think for me personally being here and knowing what the team’s all about and the club’s all about it’s not really amazing that we’ve come back from so many injuries,” he explained. “We always knew our potential and what we’ve got. It was just unfortunate the situation we found ourselves in and it was just a matter of time until we got all the lads back. “I’ve been here. It happens every season. They say the same thing ‘do they have enough, will they have enough?’ and I think we don’t talk a lot about what we’re going to do we just try and slowly progress and show them on the football pitch. “I’m pretty sure if you rewind back some of the comments made about or team and the players and some of the staff was pretty harsh – some of it was true – but you take it with a pinch of salt and the way we’ve kicked on just shows the spirit of this club. It’s a good place to be.”
This can still be a special season for Everton FC says Tim Cahill
TIM CAHILL believes Everton can still celebrate a “special season” at Goodison Park. But the Blues’ talismanic star is reluctant to target a European place, despite the incredible recovery which has seen the Blues turn their Premier League season on its head. A turbulent start to the campaign, broken up by injuries to key players and unencouraged transfer speculation, saw Everton closer to the relegation zone than the European places at one stage. But some stirring victories in February and March have seen the Blues looming ominously on the shoulders of the top six sides again.
“It’s nine games to go and we know what points we need to get,” said Cahill.
“We’re not losing sight of where want to be, but if we take one game at a time it could be a special season. “I’m not one to look too far ahead but we know our targets for the next nine games and it starts against Bolton, so the more games we win we’ll definitely have a chance of finishing in a European place. “We’ve got a strong squad, a strong mentality and we want to kick on. We don’t want to rest on our laurels.
“We’ve got a lot of players involved in the World Cup but no-one’s really resting or trying to save themselves. We’re going to give everything for the push to the end of the season because European football is a massive feat for us and something we’re striving to play in next season.” Cahill himself is integral to Australia’s World Cup campaign. He made history in Japan when he became his first countryman to score at a World Cup finals and he will play a key part in a tough – but not prohibitive group which includes Germany, Ghana and Serbia. But he insists he won’t be saving himself despite a recent calf muscle problem which saw him sidelined for four matches.
“I’ve played in pretty much all the games this season bar the last four so it was difficult having to watch,” he added. “But it was great to see the lads do really well.
“It was particularly hard to watch the Sporting Lisbon game, though, because I thought we had a really big chance in that competition. We had the upper hand against them and it was unlucky we didn’t go there and finish the job. “Coming back in after three weeks out was diff-icult and I’m still getting to grips with my calf.
“ I’ve had a few little problems but I got 75 minutes under my belt and we’ll see how long I can last at the weekend if selected. “It’s part and parcel of coming back in after injury. You do get reactions from playing and feel a bit tight but it’s just one of those things.”

David Prentice: Everton FC must sign up Steven Pienaar before he lights up World Cup
Mar 19, 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo S
STEVEN PIENAAR, it seems, is already thinking about the World Cup.
But perhaps his bosses at Goodison should also cast an eye forward to this June, too.
The South African playmaker has been one of Everton’s most influential players of the past two years. And he is sure to catch the eye in his country’s colours this summer, too. Yet Pienaar has only a year to run on his current contract, and the Blues don’t seem to be in any hurry to get him to sign a new one. David Moyes has already made it clear that the money he spends this summer will be in sealing new deals rather than signing new players. So why the sluggishness over Pienaar? Everton’s recent record over players’ contracts has been exemplary. Every significant player has been tied up to a long-term deal with the minimum of fuss and maximum efficiency.
So why the delay this time? Are the power-brokers concerned that undue haste in snapping up one player will lead to half-a-dozen more chasing pay rises?
Or have they already shaken hands with Pienaar and are confident he will sign a new deal in his own time? Whatever the reasons, Blues fans will only be able to sit down and enjoy Pienaar’s performances this summer when his name is on a new long term Everton contract.

Howard Kendall: Sad farewells to Jack Connor and George Hogan
Mar 19 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
l SADLY I have attended two funerals this week. On Monday, I paid my last respects to ex-Everton reserve team coach Jack Connor. Jack played for Huddersfield and Bristol City before winding up at Goodison. Ray Wilson and Denis Law were both at the funeral. On Tuesday, we bid farewell to George Hogan, who worked 20 years at Everton as a steward. I fondly recall him looking after my lad on coach trips to away games. A lovely guy.
Howard Kendall: Relegation-threatened clubs must show patience with their managers
SACKING Phil Brown at this point of the season smacks of desperation by the Hull City board. Too often the decision-makers at clubs in Hull’s position panic and made knee-jerk choices. Burnley are rumoured to be questioning Brian Laws’s future too – and it just makes no sense to me. The owners’ refrain is that they can’t afford to be relegated, but getting rid of the manager is not the answer with nine games left. The outgoing manager knows his team far better than anyone who is drafted in so late in the day could hope to. It leaves the new man with no time to stamp his authority and no opportunity to make any changes in the new player side of things.
The Hull board probably made their minds up after the 5-1 thrashing at Goodison, but they forget that Brown got them into the Premier League and did a great job keeping them there. Maybe you have got to question the players. They threw the towel in at Goodison, but I think Brown will be back
Howard Kendall: Beware of Bolton’s Big Kevin Davies
IT WAS such an impressive start for Everton against Birmingham, a side who have been likened to the Toffees in the past. To race into that lead and then see it pegged back is frustrating but instead of criticising, sometimes fans should give credit to the opposition. Birmingham deserve big accolades for the way they have got going so soon after their last promotion. They look only a striker away from being a top side, and it looks like Harry Redknapp made a shrewd choice by preventing Roman Pavlyuchenko’s move to the Midlands. They also have Joe Hart, a keeper I believe Everton looked at while he was at Shrewsbury. The coaches at Everton decided to go for John Ruddy instead, who is impressing at Motherwell, but Hart is on the brink of a World Cup place. Saying all that, Birmingham’s second goal – the long ball down the middle – should have been dealt with. Tomorrow’s opponents, Bolton, are going through the new manager effect, and the players have responded well to Owen Coyle.
They also have, in Kevin Davies, a player in great form. I recall him scoring an outstanding individual goal at Goodison, and the back four will have to be on their toes against him tomorrow. His header at West Ham recently underlined the threat he poses. But Everton have more than enough options to counter Bolton, in particular their own big, physical, headache for defenders – Victor Anichebe. He scored a terrific goal at St Andrews and can play his way into a consistent starting place, especially now Landon Donovan has gone.

Everton FC legend Peter Reid praises quality of David Moyes’s squad
Mar 19 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT WAS a goal of immaculate technique and true perseverance which took Peter Reid’s breath away. Leon Osman’s 25-yard curling strike which hauled Everton back into a game they were losing against Stoke City in October gave the former Blues legend food for thought. As assistant manager of the Potteries outfit, Reid could only applaud the effort and the courage which the midfielder displayed in going for goal.
“Ten minutes before Leon’s goal he tried another shot and shanked it,” he said.
“It spun off his boot and some supporters started booing. But he has got real balls and when the opportunity came again he didn’t hesitate. For me Osman just illustrates the strength in depth David Moyes currently has. “He is a very under-rated player and can fill a variety of positions. “It’s a really strong squad which David has at the moment. There is good cover in almost every position.” Reid believes the Blues are in the best shape for many seasons ahead of the visit of Bolton Wanderers to Goodison Park tomorrow. Having won honours as a player with both clubs, the former tough-tackling midfield dynamo believes the game will be a stern test of David Moyes’s side’s European ambitions. But Reid – voted 1985 PFA Player of the Year – insists the current Everton squad is the closest yet to the great side which he graced.
“I’ve been very, very impressed when I’ve seen Everton lately,” he said, fresh from leaving Stoke’s training ground. “I’ve had the opportunity to see more of them since I finished managing Thailand and came back to the Premier League. I got to watch them beat Manchester City at Goodison and then Chelsea. Both of them were fantastic displays against top quality opposition, and it made the rest of the league take note. David had them denying the opposition time and space to play, and then they were very effective and controlled when they had the ball. “Against Chelsea John Heitinga was playing those quality diagonal balls for Saha to run onto and they mixed that with periods of lovely passing. “The tactics for both of those games were spot-on. You had to sit back and admire how Everton went about their work.” Reid is quick to acknowledge the role played by the Goodison crowd in both victories.
“Of course, they were night games,” he pointed out. “Goodison is more of a bear pit under the lights than ever. “Every single league manager will tell you it’s a tough place to go to. But Bolton are in great form themselves. “The result against West Ham took a lot of pressure off them, and beating Wigan so emphatically will boost them and show they are developing a bit of confidence. “Give Owen Coyle his due; he has got them believing in themselves. Chung-Yong Lee looks a decent player and Kevin Davies is a tough competitor. He might not be a natural goal-scorer but he is so hard for defenders to cope with, backing into them, winning headers and making them sweat. “Even his strike partner Johan Elmander looks like he has got some confidence. He’s got a goal finally. “Ultimately if I had to pick a winner it’ll be Everton. They certainly miss the midfield influence of Marouane Fellaini, but the squad is brimming with quality. There is the perfect mix of experience and ages too.
“You've got older, wiser heads like Phil Neville and Tim Cahill, and then young players like Rodwell and Gosling who are champing at the bit to get on.” But Reid admits Everton face an uphill task if they are to secure a place in Europe for the third consecutive season. “It will be difficult,” he said. “The slow start to the league and the awful injuries they’ve had has been a major hindrance. I think the fans will have found getting knocked out of the FA Cup hard to take too, especially because they had such a positive experience last year. “Moyes will have them only looking at the next game and focussing on three points.” For his part, Reid is enjoying life at Stoke, a side that continue to confound the critics. “We’re really hard to beat,” he said. “We play to our strengths and in players like Tuncay, Shawcross and Etherington we've got players with real class. “We’re making a lot of progress considering it’s our second season back in the top flight.” But how will Reid feel when Everton visit the Britannia Stadium on May 1 in the penultimate game of the season? “I’ll want Stoke to win, no doubts,” he says. “It’s just the way I’m made. I need to win. “But it will be a great occasion when the two teams meet. It always is when any team I left Everton for have played them. “Maybe the Blues are on the brink of doing great things again. They need to hang onto players like Rodwell. The club has progressed since they had to sell the crown jewels in Rooney. “Now they can attract big quality players themselves so the future is bright.”
Peter Reid facts:
Age: 53
Place of birth: Huyton
Height: 5ft 8ins
Played for Everton 234 times, scoring 13 goals.
Joined the Toffees from Bolton for £60,000 in 1982.
In 1985 came fourth in the World Soccer player of the year award behind Michel Platini, Preben Elkjaer and Diego Maradona.
Won 13 England caps.
Managed Thailand for a year winning the T&T Cup in Vietnam.

Everton FC are the team to fear in the Premier League, says Bolton Wanderers boss Owen Coyle
Mar 19 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EMPHATIC triumphs over the Premier League’s top four have made Everton the division’s form side, according to Bolton boss Owen Coyle. David Moyes hosts Coyle’s Trotters tomorrow for another must-win game in the Blues quest for Europa League qualification. But with his fellow Scot’s endorsements ringing in his ears, Moyes will be aware that Bolton are on the crest of a wave. While victories over Chelsea and Manchester United have contributed to a six-match winning streak at Goodison, recent wins over Wigan Athletic and West Ham United have lifted Wanderers and all but removed their relegation fears. Coyle said: “I think it's fair to say that Everton are one of, if not the, form team in the division. “They have been playing particularly well at home and have turned over Manchester United and Chelsea, so we are under no illusions how difficult the task will be. “David Moyes is a pal of mine and someone that I have a lot of time for. He is a top-class manager, so we know that we are going to have to be at our best. “But it is a game that we are looking forward to and Goodison Park is a place that, when you are at your best, you can get points from. “It's always the same in football - if you win a game then there is a great feeling at the club. Last weekend (4-0 victory against Wigan) was a valuable three points but we are all grounded. “We don't get carried away and we recognise that there is plenty of work ahead of us. “Everyone at this club is working hard collectively.
“That is what we need because we have plenty of big games coming up, starting this Saturday.” Meanwhile, Landon Donovan has insisted he would only play for Everton if he returns to the Premier League. Donovan impressed during his 10-week loan from LA Galaxy that ended on Saturday ahead of the start of the MLS season, which may yet be delayed by player strikes. If industrial action goes ahead, the 28-year-old could return to Goodison. He said: “If I ever went back to England I would only want to play for Everton. Playing at Goodison Park is really special. “As much talk as there is about getting a new stadium, there's something about a historic place. People have gone there for years. I'm just a player there for 10 weeks; this is their life.
“There's nothing concrete set up. I think we've all been very clear about the possibility that I could go back if something happens. It's crossing that bridge when we get to it, right now.”

Barry Horne: Everton must put the squeeze on Juusi Jaaskelainen
Mar 20 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON once again showed some terrific attacking prowess at the persistently dogged Birmingham City. Whilst most teams, under the current circumstances, would be content with a point at St Andrew’s there was disappointment amongst Evertonians after taking a wholly deserved two-goal lead. But we are in a good run of form and, having seen Bolton on many occasions this year, I’m hoping for another performance as good as the first half at St Andrew’s or the 90 minutes against Hull. As good as Juusi Jaaskelainen is, Bolton still have one of the worst defences in the Premier League, many of their goals having been conceded without the influential Gary Cahill in place. While the fixture may not look appealing on paper, it will hopefully be one which yields goals. And that’s always a good thing!

Barry Horne: Why Champions League is the only place to be
Mar 20 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S recent form against both the top teams and the lesser lights in the Premier League means that fans aren’t just anticipating a fine finish to this campaign.
Blues are already looking forward to next season. David Moyes doesn’t have to have an outrageous summer spending spree to strengthen the squad for the future. All that is required is some shrewd business to add a few younger players who should be expected to contribute next season, but are more likely to develop into top players for the future. That, combined with better fortune on the injury front, would give us every chance of competing not just for the lesser European places, but be in the ever-increasing mix for Champions League contention. That is the feeling amongst all of my Evertonian mates. We have watched the action from afar this month and the possibility of joining in that action is too exciting not to think about. It is obviously fantastic to follow your club, whether it be Wrexham, Tranmere or Stoke City, but rarely can it have been so apparent that the Champions League is where it’s at.
That feeling has never been more apparent than this week when we saw some incredible performances both on and off the pitch. Rooney and Messi confirmed their current status as the two best attacking players in the world. And love him or loathe him, Jose Mourinho’s performance off the field in the last two weeks was as impressive as anything Rooney or Messi produced on it. Should Everton make it into such company in the near future, or even the Europa League once again, it will be interesting to see how much David Moyes and his players have learned and improved from their own skirmishes on foreign shores.

Greg O'Keeffe: Everton FC helps to change lives of Ugandan children
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
AS you read this, there is a class of school children in a poverty-stricken Ugandan village sitting at their desks in new Everton shirts. Those new blues have been converted thanks to the generosity of nsno.co.uk user Mike ‘Terrorgram’ who decided to sponsor a child in the civil war-ravaged African country. Each month, Mike donates to ABAANA, a charity which passes all of his donation directly to helping the child, rather than being swallowed up by administration fees. “The most amazing thing is the cost – about £15,” says Mike. “This encouraged me and I now have two child sponsorship arrangements. “When you figure the price of a match, it's really for nothing yet you are changing someone’s world. “Initially, there was very little contact directly with the child, but photographs and letters have subsequently followed.
“I am now proud to say I have a developing relationship with the children and am seeing them progress. I was lucky in that one of them, Raymond, admitted blue was his favourite colour. “When the mid-season sale came, I managed to get 12 shirts. I don't know what I would have done had he liked red.”

Greg O'Keeffe: Colour is only simularity between Everton FC and Birmingham
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
BIRMINGHAM City have been an infuriating thorn in Everton’s side this season.
Two points and a galling FA Cup defeat are all David Moyes’ men have to show for their encounters with the upwardly-mobile Midlanders. But they are a hard side to dislike. Cast in a similar mould to previous Moyes teams, McLeish’s men earn their achievements through a nice blend of graft and guile. Indeed those qualities are epitomised by a player who has yet to feature against Everton for Birmingham. It is nice to hear that former Toffee hero Lee Carsley has no intention of hanging up his boots and is prepared to fight for a place at Birmingham. Cars has endured an injury-hit campaign, with the 36-year-old having only recently shaken off an ankle knock. But he is back in first team contention now, though, and is hoping to force his way into Alex McLeish's plans over the coming weeks. He is also taking his coaching badges, so if the summer brings about a mooted departure from St Andrew’s, there would be few more popular choices for any potential coaching vacancies at Finch Farm.

Victor Anichebe’s chance to make Everton FC career long-term
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT IS a tale of two strikers, which has already had more twists and turns than Silverstone. Consider the inter-changing fortunes of 21-year-old Everton centre forwards James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe. The pair burst onto the Goodison scene at roughly the same time, both showing tantalising glimpses of future promise and both weighing in with goals early in their development. Both have ensured fitful and chequered progress since, and trying to predict the future for the pair is like trying to guess the results of May’s general election. Guess-work at best. But rewind to early 2009 and ask most Evertonians who they would have thought would be the one out on loan at a Championship club and who they thought would be pressing claims for a first team place with ever improving performances, and the Vaughan votes would have outnumbered the Anichebes. By the start of February 2009, the powerful young forward’s Everton career appeared to be hanging by the slimmest of gossamer threads in the wind. Not only had Anichebe apparently agitated for a loan move to Hull City, he then went one step further and almost committed Everton FC career suicide – he defied David Moyes. Reports suggested that Anichebe rowed with his manager over the transfer to the KC stadium being blocked, and then became so frustrated he was ejected from the training ground on the eve of an important derby game. It was hardly helpful in the club’s preparation for the FA Cup replay. But showing the strength of character which has become more apparent this year, the Nigeria-born striker responded by eventually getting back into the first team until that fatefully awful afternoon against Newcastle United in February. If you have erased that game from your memory forgive me, but it was the one when both Mikel Arteta and Anichebe were injured and ruled out for a year each. Anichebe would probably like to have erased the memory of Kevin Nolan’s atrocious tackle which nearly snapped his leg in two, and probably would have but for his particularly muscular build. Of course in the meantime James Vaughan continued to suffer his sadly consistent string of set-backs but at least he played at times – Anichebe was just trying to recover from a career threatening set-back. Those early days of promise when he was employed in such effective fashion on the right flank by Moyes in Uefa cup games must have seemed a long time ago to him. Yet remarkably it is Anichebe now threatening to break once again into the first team, while Vaughan is trying to get games at Leicester City.
Anichebe’s thunder-bolt left footed strike against Birmingham last Saturday hinted at an extra dimension to his game that could yet see him have a major impact in royal blue. At the same time Vaughan was coming on as a substitute to try and boost the Foxes’ promotion push. It will be fascinating to witness the finale of the pairs story.
It may be a long-shot, but the happiest of endings would be to see a home-grown pair partnering each other in an Everton strike force that would have it all - pace, presence, aerial ability, youth and goals aplenty. Both are due a bit of luck, perhaps with some they could write their own happy ending.

Everton 2 Bolton 0
Trevor Baxter
Manchester Evening Post March 20, 2010
Gretar Steinsson became the third Bolton player sent-off in four games Bolton crashed to defeat against Everton. Steinsson saw red for his 70th minute tackle on Yakubu, referee Alan Wiley adjudging the Icelandic international was the last covering defender. Spanish ace Mikel Arteta curled in the resulting free kick from 20 yards to deny the visitors another point towards Premier League safety. Zat Knight nearly equalised minutes later, heading over from close range following a flick on by Kevin Davies. Steven Pienaar scored a deserved second as the 10-men tired late on, and the Toffees were good value for their lead after dominating possession in the second half.

Coyle said: “We more than matched Everton and had some great chances in the first half to take the lead, but we never took them. “The sending off will be the talking point and the free-kick for the goal. “My initial impression was it was offside to begin with, but I’ll need to look back at that. “I think if there was any contact it was minimal but Mr Wiley, in his wisdom, has decided it is a red card. “Sometimes they go for you and against you but my issue then was that Mikel Arteta was allowed to move the ball another four yards nearer our goal. “I would suggest with the quality he’s got he’s far more dangerous there than where the offence was committed.
“I can accept sometimes that decisions go against you but not that he’s allowed to move the ball into the arc. That gave them an unbelievable advantage.
“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth and the frustration is we’ve left here with no points.” The opening 45 minutes was fairly even. Indeed, Wanderers produced the move of the match to create a shooting opportunity for skipper Davies. Johan Elmander, Chung-yong Lee and Jack Wilshere were involved before the captain fired straight at Tim Howard. Knight and Davies also tested the former United keeper while Jussi Jaaskelainen moved smartly to prevent Steinsson scoring an own goal.
However, Everton stepped up the pressure after the break, forcing Wanderers to defend deeper and deeper. Steinsson's dismissal, following those recently of Tamir Cohen and Sam Ricketts, meant a re-shuffle for Wanderers boss Owen Coyle.
However, he resisted a temptation to bring on fit again Gary Cahill as one of his substitutes. Cahill will now likely feature against champions United at the Reebok next Saturday. Leon Osman smashed a shot against the bar before Pienaar tapped into an empty net after Osman's great approach play.

David Moyes - Victor Anichebe can be Everton FC winner
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
FOR Victor Anichebe the road to redemption started at Finch Farm. The 21-year-old was at his lowest ebb, ruled out with injury for 12 months after an already tumultuous start to 2009. A training ground bust-up with his manager over a proposed move to Hull had resulted in him being dropped for the FA Cup replay with Liverpool, and his Everton career appeared dead in the water. So when news emerged that the Nigeria-born striker would be missing for a year, many believed he would never reappear in an Everton shirt. But reappear he did, and last weekend’s goal against Birmingham proved that Anichebe could just be about to have a positive impact on the Toffees season when it counts. After the game, the striker insisted he is working harder than ever at Everton’s modern training complex in Halewood. Now manager David Moyes believes the diplomat’s son is growing up: “Victor has matured lately,” he says. “He has all the attributes to be a really good modern day footballer, but he has to work harder at his game. “He has to improve his training. He has to decide how much he really wants it and the way you show that is by what you do on the field. He has done much better in recent games. “ We have shown confidence in him by giving him a run in the team and a chance to show what he can do.” Moyes lauded the powerful forward’s display on the right of attack against Birmingham. “There was a period last week against Birmingham where he was practically unplayable, he was that good. He can be that on his day.”The Everton boss revealed that Anichebe’s physical presence also forced him back into his thoughts. “We were struggling and didn't have enough stature in the team. I had no Louis Saha, no Tim Cahill at the time. I needed some more physical presence in the team and had to get some size in the side at that time,” he says. “It's very much up to him now. His performance and training will dictate that (whether he continues to play). “We will see how he goes. There is no guarantee for any of them. “He can play through the middle and off the side for us now at times. He has become more versatile for us and playing off the side has eased his burden at times. “I don't know if that will be his position all the time but it suits us at this present time.” The Scot is keen to reiterate how fortunate young players are to be at a club like Everton. “I keep saying that sometimes people don't realise how lucky they are until they eventually leave,” he says. “We want to give Victor every opportunity to prove he can be an Everton player. “I think Victor has always known what he wants. His injury was a terrible injury but overall Victor has got himself back and what he needs to do now is improve his fitness levels so he can fulfil 90 minutes regularly. That's probably his next challenge.” That infamous bust-up aside, what were the factors inhabiting Anichebe’s development. “Victor has always needed to keep his work-rate high, he has to if he's going to play in the Premier League. “ In the modern game, you have to work hard in your training and that makes your job at the weekend a little easier. “Maybe he is laid back in his general mannerisms but behind all that he is a good boy and someone who I think wants to do well. “But he needs help to do that, and we are willing to give him that guidance as long as he is willing to do his part. “He knows how we feel. We like him a lot. But we want him to give more.”
The Everton boss considers Anichebe, at 21, still a youngster but old enough to take responsibility for himself. “I still class him as one of the young boys. He is just above the youngest ones, he's in among the 21 and 22-year-olds. “Victor now has to show that he is good enough to play and be a part of Everton going forward.” But what prevented Moyes from selling Anichebe him last summer, particularly after the Hull fall-out? “We wouldn't have allowed him to go. I still had a lot of hope that Victor would come through because he has a lot of good attributes. “It was down to whether Victor was going to show them and show the attitude to raise his game and play, and I think he has done that. There have been a couple of games where maybe he has felt a bigger part of things here now. “He has a bit of ability around his feet. He'll never be renowned as a scorer of lots and lots of goals but he can create goals and we want him to do that.” Anichebe should consider the gauntlet thrown. “If he scores goals like he did against Birmingham, then great. He should score more goals because he has the ability to do so.” It's important for Victor to show he can play his part in Everton moving forward because he could save you some money? “We need these young boys, we need the homegrown players such as Victor. There aren't many homegrown talents around and he comes into this.

Everton FC defender Seamus Coleman joins Blackpool on loan
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
Seamus Coleman, Everton FC
SEAMUS Coleman today headed out on loan as the Blues prepared to give Owen Coyle the Goodison fear-factor. The highly-rated Irish full-back made the switch to Ian Holloway’s Blackpool, as revealed in last weekend’s ECHO, after David Moyes agreed to let him gather experience in the Championship. Despite impressing earlier in the season, the 21-year-old has found first-team opportunities hard to come by since Phil Neville returned to fitness. With Tony Hibbert also back from injury, Moyes has allowed Coleman to follow James Vaughan into the second tier of British football to boost his learning curve. Meanwhile, despite only losing twice at Goodison so far this season, Bolton boss Coyle believes Everton are fallible at home. The former Burnley manager insists Goodison is a place where visiting teams can get three points, and Baines wants the home crowd to prove him wrong by roaring the Blues to victory.
He said: “We want Goodison to be a fortress and we want people to come to Goodison fearing the worst because we are all so strong. “The next few weeks are vital. We want to make sure we secure European football again and if we can take maximum points then we will be in a strong position to really have something to play for as the season draws to a close. “There are no easy three points in the Premier League. It is important we approach the Bolton game in the right way and the fans get behind us. “We have got used to European football at Everton now and it is where Everton belongs. Goodison deserves big European nights so it is important we work hard now to give us the opportunity to get those nights.” Moyes, who has everyone fit and available apart from long-term casualty Marouane Fellaini, is not getting carried away with his impressive home record. He said: “It's amazing. It doesn't feel like we have only lost twice. But if we end up that way it'll be great. Talk is cheap, and we can only take one game at a time. “The gap between us and the teams in the European places is a bit bigger than we'd like it to be. “At the start of the season, we'll always look back at the games against Stoke and Wolves and wonder, plus we also went out of the FA Cup at Goodison, so the season will be tinged by that a little bit.” Tickets are still available for today’s game. Visit evertonfc.com/tickets or call 0871 663 1878.

Duo return is perfect timing for Wanderers
8:50am Saturday 20th March 2010
By Marc Iles - The Bolton News
GRETAR Steinsson believes the return of Gary Cahill and Mark Davies will provide a “perfect boost” to Wanderers’’ survival chances.
Owen Coyle’s injury list has been shortened ahead of this afternoon’s trip to Everton, with both players expected to play some part in the Whites squad at Goodison Park.
Cahill has been missing since the end of January after finding a blood clot in his upper arm, while Davies has been out of action since the 3-0 defeat at Blackburn a month ago. And Steinsson says the pair’s arrival back in the squad could not have come at a better time. “It’s fantastic to see them both back, we have missed them because they are both great players,” he said. “It’s a good time to have them back. They will add an extra bit of quality and hopefully that will mean a good finish to the season. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do but we are staying positive, and hopefully that means we can keep on climbing the table.” Wanderers have done themselves the world of good in recent weeks, winning three of their last four games to put eight points between themselves and the bottom three. The steady climb up the Premier League table has been accomplished despite a daunting injury list that still includes the likes of Stu Holden, Chris Basham, Gavin McCann and Sean Davis, and suspensions to Tamir Cohen and Sam Ricketts. “You have to give the squad credit because we have coped well,” Steinsson said. “It’s just that time of the year where you tend to collect these kind of things, and we have been lucky in the last couple of seasons because they haven’t hit us that bad. “You have to man up and take injuries on the chin - there’s no use complaining about them.” Steinsson admits he feared the worst when news of Cahill’s blood clot first broke in early February. It appeared at first that the centre-half would miss the rest of the season, a drastic course that was averted after specialists found a relatively minor operation would correct the problem, leaving him to return to training within a few weeks without fear of it re-occuring. “Back when he suffered the injury, we thought to be without his quality for the rest of the season would be very difficult,” he said. “Any team would feel the loss of Gaz - but we found there were players to fill in, and they have done fantastically well while he has been away. “We have to fill 11 places in the team every single week, it doesn’t matter if our big players are out injured. We have to keep on going. “You might have to shift a few around, as we have done, but so long as you work hard and do as you’re told, you will be fine.”

Mikel Arteta magic helps Everton FC beat Bolton
Mar 20 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
Everton: Howard, Neville (Capt), Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Heitinga, Cahill (Saha, 62), Pienaar, Arteta, yakubu, Anichebe.
Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Bilyaltedinov, Osman, Rodwell.
Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Muamba, Knight, Steinsson, Cohen (Davies, 84), Elmander, (Ricketts 72), Lee, O’Brien, Wilshere (Taylor 80), Davies.
Subs: Cahill, Riga, Habsi, Weiss.
Ref: Alan Wiley
A MOMENT of Mikel Arteta magic helped Everton grind out victory against Bolton Wanderers to boost their European ambitions. The Spaniard’s trade-mark free kick in the second half of the Premier League clash against Owen Coyle’s hard-working side was good enough to win any game. But it was a rare flourish in an otherwise forgettable afternoon which will be remembered only for keeping Everton’s hopes of a top six finish alive. Three points were made safe in the game’s last minutes when Steven Pienaar finished calmly from Leon Osman’s pass, to put ten-men Bolton to bed. Everton should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when Tim Cahill played Victor Anichebe clear through on goal, but the powerful forward took too long setting his sights and allowed Paul Robinson to slide in with a last minute tackle. Then they went close again when Leighton Baines burst through and tried to Bolton let the Blues know they were in a game when Chung-Yong Lee swung a free kick into the penalty area, and Johan Elmander was left free to head tamely at Howard. With 20 minutes gone, Paul Robinson clattered through Anichebe and left the 21-year-old writhing in agony. It quickly became apparent that the striker, talked up by his manager before kick off, would be unable to continue and had to be stretchered off and replaced by Bilyaletdinov. Moments later Phil Jagielka prevented the Blues from going behind when, from another deep free kick, Kevin Davies’s header was aiming for the back of the net until the Yorkshireman flicked it over the bar. Then Tim Cahill was booked for a crude challenge on loan starlet Jack Wilshere, as the game started to liven-up, and minutes later a decent Everton move resulted in Bilyaletdinov blasting over the bar. Kevin Davies fired a free kick straight at Howard after Phil Neville hacked down Johan Elmander. Everton were slowly creating chances, but a lethargic Yakubu was failing to make any impact on the contest. Bilyaletdinov did superbly to slip a pass into the feet of Baines in the box, but Robinson saved the day for the Trotters again with another sliding block. But from their own corner Everton were in danger again, as Wanderers robbed Distin in the box and broke with Tamir Cohen flashing a dangerous effort narrowly over the bar. Then Bolton passed their way through Everton’s midfield and looked odds on to open the scoring as Davies bore down on goal, but Howard saved with his legs. Everton almost started the second half with a goal when Neville crossed into the box, and Pienaar’s shot cannoned off Steinsson to Yakubu’s feet but the Nigerian’s effort was blocked. Moments later John Heitinga showed a flash of skill to meet his marker and test Jaaskelainen from 15 yards.
Everton were enjoying the majority of possession and attacking intent, but were finding Bolton tough to break down. Owen Coyle’s side worked hard without the ball, pressing the Toffees and making it harder for them to establish any real tempo to their passing. Too often Everton’s final ball lacked any edge and promising moves fizzled out. The chances stacked up for Moyes’ men though, as Jagielka headed Bilyaletdinov’s arcing free kick powerfully to draw a smart save from Jaaskelainen.
But then Bilyaletdinov found Pienaar’s whose slide rule pass fed Yakubu and the Nigerian looked to be through on goal until he was grounded by a clumsy shove from last-man Gretar Steinsson. The Trotters defender was giving his marching orders by Alan Wiley, and Mikel Arteta curled the resultant free kick wonderfully over the bar and into the top corner of Jaaskelainen’s goal. Bolton refused to play dead though, Zat Knight heading a free kick over the bar five minutes later. Moyes showed impressive positivity with his changes; Leon Osman was introduced for a tiring Yakubu as the blues inevitably began to dominate Bolton’s ten men. Then in the game’s dying minutes Everton hit the cross bar through an Osman strike. And the little midfielder did splendidly just after to pull a pass across the Bolton goal which Saha dummied and the unmarked Steven Pienaar rapped home to secure all three points. There was still time for Phil Neville to tease Matt Taylor with some flashy footwork on the edge of the box, and fire his shot wide, before Wiley blew the final whistle.

Everton 2 Wanderers 0
5:14pm Saturday 20th March 2010
By Liam Chronnell - The Bolton News
WANDERERS had a third player sent off in four games as goals from Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar handed Everton victory at Goodison Park. Gretar Steinsson became the latest Bolton player to see red after he was dismissed for a professional foul on Yakubu on 72 minutes. From the resulting free-kick, Mikel Arteta curled home the opener in a game Owen Coyle’s side were unfortunate to go home empty-handed in after another encouraging display. The visitors, chasing a fourth victory in five games, created the better chances and Kevin Davies missed a great opportunity to open the scoring six minutes before half-time after a superb Wanderers move.
Everton dominated the second period without ever causing Bolton any real problems until Steinsson’s red card swung the match decisively in the Merseysider’s favour.
Pienaar wrapped up the points in the last minute when he swept home Leon Osman’s pull back.

Everton 2-0 Bolton: The Sunday Mirror match report
Published 21:52 20/03/10 By Simon Mullock
It's been a year from hell for Mikel Arteta, but his season is ending with a real flourish. The Spaniard’s third strike in six games, since returning from a cruciate ligament injury, tipped this contest in favour of the Toffees. Bolton’s Gretar Rafn Steinsson’s harsh 70th-minute challenge denied Yakubu a clear run on goal, so referee Alan Wiley sent off the Icelandic defender. And Arteta nudged the ball closer to goal, behind the ref, before thundering his 20-yard free-kick in to the top corner.
Everton manager David Moyes enthused: “It was a fantastic free-kick, but I’ve been telling Mikel not to do too much too soon.” And Steven Pienaar’s 89th-minute goal sealed a seventh home win on the trot, to earn their best run at Goodison Park for 20 years. But Bolton boss Owen Coyle fumed: “I can just about accept the sending off, but I can’t accept how the referee allowed Arteta to move the ball forward for the free-kick.” In a scrappy opening half, busy Bolton were denied an early penalty appeal after Johnny Heitinga handled – the first of many decisions that went against the visitors. Zat Knight volleyed a close-range chance straight at home goalkeeper Tim Howard and Tamir Cohen’s half-volley just cleared the crossbar. Then a neat move involving Johan Elmander, Chung-Yong Lee and Cohen should have brought an equaliser. And Kevin Davies, after exchanging passes with Jack Wilshere, drove the ball against Howard’s legs. At the other end, Anichebe hesitated in front of goal and on 15 minutes was carried off after a fair barge in the back by keeper Paul Robinson.
And Everton’s Tim Cahill, booked for a crude tackle on Wilshere, was fortunate to survive until being substituted on 63 minutes. The Aussie’s studs came into contact with Lee’s back and he appeared to try and guide in an Arteta cross with his hand.
When Louis Saha replaced him, the home fans screamed for the overweight Yakubu to also be withdrawn. But the underworked Yakubu suddenly found something he fancied when Pienaar’s 70th-minute pass sent him in to a test of pace with Steinsson.
The Nigerian striker got to the ball first, only to go down when Steinsson’s clumsy tackle halted the burly six-foot international. So Wiley finally produced his red card and Arteta’s free-kick exacted retribution. In the closing stages, sub Leon Osman should have sealed success when Jussi Jaaskelainen failed to hold Heitinga’s drive. But the midfielder was denied a slice of glory by the crossbar. Seconds later Osman got to the six-yard box before Pienaar unleashed a powerful strike to seal victory.

David Moyes
Sunday March 21,2010
Everton manager David Moyes felt his side thoroughly deserved their three points after a hard-fought Barclays Premier League win over 10-man Bolton.
Goals from Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar in the final 18 minutes fired the Toffees to a 2-0 victory after the sending off of Gretar Steinsson at Goodison Park. Everton had been dominant in the second half but their breakthrough only came when last man Steinsson was dismissed for bundling over Ayegbeni Yakubu and Arteta curled home the resulting free-kick. Moyes said: "It was turning but it was up to us to make it so. We were the only team I felt was going to go on to win the game." He added: "I thought we were the better team, we were the team who passed it. "Bolton came in and made it very hard but they didn't offer any attacking threats, with the exception of a couple of free-kicks, so overall I thought we deserved it." The sending off was the main talking point of the game but Moyes backed referee Alan Wiley's decision. "I have seen it again and the referee calls it right," Moyes said. "He was onside and it was a really good ball from Steven Pienaar through to Yak. He certainly brings him down." Victory was Everton's seventh in succession in the league at home, their best run since 1990. But Moyes added: "The job is to win the next game. If I can get records, then great, but it's not important for me."

Joleon Lescott to miss Everton game after injury
Mar 22 2010 Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT has suffered a hamstring injury which will rule him out of Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Everton. The England defender will have a scan to determine the full extent of the problem, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has confirmed yesterday. Lescott picked up the problem during the warm-up of the 2-1 Premier League win at Fulham and is the latest player to give Fabio Capello a fitness scare. David Beckham is out of the World Cup with a ruptured Achilles, Ashley Cole has a serious ankle injury, Aaron Lennon has a groin problem and last week Jermain Defoe tore his hamstring. “Joleon had a problem before the game in the warm-up, a muscle,” said Mancini. “I think he can’t play against Everton. At the moment I don’t know how long he’ll be out. He’ll have a scan.” Despite Lescott’s absence, City were ahead at Craven Cottage through Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez before the break, then they held on for victory after Danny Murphy pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Referee Lee Probert then turned down another penalty appeal when Chris Baird’s cross struck Vincent Kompany, meaning City moved into fifth place and will be in the Champions League places if they defeat Everton at Eastlands on Wednesday. “It was an important win,” Mancini said. “Here, against Fulham, it’s difficult. They’re a good team and have a good manager.
“It was important for us, but it’ll be a fight until the end of the season with the other three teams. Liverpool are a fantastic team, and I think we must fight with them, Aston Villa and Tottenham.” Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said: “I thought the team did remarkably well to come back and had much the better of the second half and came close to an equaliser.” “City were much happier to hear the final whistle than us.”

Everton FC 2-0 Bolton: What this season could have brought ...
Mar 22 2010 by Chris Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERYONE in football seemingly agrees on the old adage “The league table doesn’t lie.” Truth and fairness don’t always go hand in hand though. When Everton’s 38 Premier League fixtures of the 2009/10 season are completed on May 9 it’s still a long shot that they’ll have done what is required to secure European football for a fourth successive term. Over that entire nine-month period they’re unlikely to have been consistent enough to achieve that particular goal. A fourth successive top-half finish should be in the bag – it could have been six if David Moyes’s men hadn’t been held on the last day back in 2006 in another campaign in which they were playing catch-up.
Considering Everton only finished in the top half once in the Premier League in the decade before Moyes’s arrival that will be no mean feat but as the Scot himself acknowledges, the bar of expectation has been raised considerably by himself since then. But while the columns of played, won, drawn and lost, goals for and against and ultimately their points total will record Everton’s season in black and white along with all their peers, they alone will not be able to do justice to the real story of how this season has unfolded. League tables cannot include mitigating footnotes for crippling injuries but while a final table speaks the truth, it is a fact that the spine of Everton’s team was missing for long periods this term with a cruel injury list – which began in the run-up to last year’s FA Cup final – making a mockery of some of their rivals’ complaints about their own sick notes. Saturday’s victory over Bolton – a club record seventh home win in the Premier League – had an intriguing symmetry about it.
The run began with a 2-0 success against a Burnley side, also managed at the time by Owen Coyle, on December 28. Not only were the scorelines and the opposite number to Moyes in the away dugout identical but both victories were achieved following needless sendings-off from players in the away camp. Stephen Jordan saw red for the Clarets following a senseless and prolonged tug on Steven Pienaar’s jersey while on this occasion Gretar Steinsson got his marching orders for an (un)professional foul on Ayegbeni Yakubu. Even if Steinsson had not made his untimely challenge, there was a feeling around Goodison that the hosts, who had prompted and probed for over two-thirds of the contest, were eventually going to get their just rewards. It’s the kind of confidence that a sequence of now seven successive Premier League home wins brings. Although Saturday’s win over the Trotters came with an encouraging first clean sheet in 10 outings since the 1-0 success over another Lancashire rival Wigan on January 30, Moyes’s men’s league form since the turn of the calendar year has been terrific. It’s telling that if the season had started on January 1 then Everton would currently be standing in third place. Indeed, their record-breaking run which includes successes over Chelsea and Manchester United – can realistically be extended into double figures with West Ham, Fulham and Portsmouth the remaining visitors to Goodison this term. So where does all this leave Everton? Seemingly at the start of every Premier League season we’re told that this is the year that the Goodison outfit who ‘punch above their weight’ will be overhauled by big-spending wannabes Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. This year that’s finally likely to happen but even though these kind of sides have been able to invest more heavily than Moyes, his now fit-again troops are showing they’re still a match for most on their day. Even if the final table shows ‘regression’ in 2010, the Scot now believes he has greater strength in depth in his squad than he’s ever possessed. All six outfield substitutes on the bench against Bolton – Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Louis Saha, Leon Osman, and Jack Rodwell – have previously been regulars in the starting line-up. The most significant incident of note in a first half bereft of clear-cut chances was the loss through injury of Victor Anichebe – who had netted his first goal of the season at Birmingham a week earlier after a year on the sidelines – just 15 minutes in after the Nigerian was clattered from behind by Paul Robinson. Home skipper Phil Neville claimed afterwards that his team-mates knew it would take a long time to break down their stubborn, hard-running opponents, but after carving Bolton up for 72 minutes without being able to play an accurate final ball, Everton got the break through a moment of Mikel Arteta magic. Steinsson was completely undone by Steven Pienaar’s slide-rule pass to Yakubu and bundled the Nigerian down when through on goal. It was an open and shut professional foul.
The resultant free-kick was dispatched with superb accuracy by the Spanish midfielder, who after previously struggling to find his range from dead-ball situations since his comeback from injury, expertly curled the ball over the Bolton wall and into Jussi Jaaskelainen’s net. Bolton had always looked a threat on the break when the score was goalless but once the hosts had gone ahead, they were always likely to increase their lead and moments after Osman had rattled the crossbar racing in to meet the rebound from a John Heitinga shot, he helped fashion a second for Steven Pienaar on 89 minutes. Fed by fellow substitute Bilyaletdinov, Osman dribbled his way to the by-line before cutting back to find the unmarked South African at the far post with his pass arriving at Pienaar’s feet via a clever dummy by another replacement, Saha.
Everton are still dependent on ‘snookers’ to get where they want in the league this term with two of their biggest disappointments of the new year coming in key cup ties against Birmingham City and Sporting. However, if Moyes can keep the nucleus of his 21st century ‘School of Science’ together this summer then the holy grail of silverware should not be beyond their grasp in 2011.

Everton FC 2 Bolton Wanderers 0 - Blues rueing slow start to season
Mar 22 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe,
THE Premier League may well be more of a marathon than a sprint, but Everton would be on the brink of great things if only they could come out of the blocks faster in future seasons. Statistics show that the Toffees’ form from January to May in recent campaigns has been so good, that if the season started at the start of each year Everton would have been consistent Champions League qualifiers. It doesn’t of course, and a habit of starting seasons slowly has persisted, meaning David Moyes’ men have had to claw back ground on the top six clubs. Last season they turned in a sterling effort to finish fifth, as in the campaign before, and keep a sense of progression about the club. But this season’s stuttering start, for all the mitigating circumstances, was so bad it might have made the task of European qualification beyond the Blues.
It is a great shame, because Everton continue to grind out results, beating all and sundry since that first derby defeat last November. Saturday’s 2-0 triumph over an obdurate Bolton Wanderers shoved them into eighth place, and made it seven successive wins at Goodison in the league for the first time in 20 years.
Refreshingly, David Moyes had an almost fully fit squad to choose from, minus the influential long-term casualty Marouane Fellaini. Add the Belgian to the mix and pray for a better injury record next season, and the sky is the limit for this Everton squad. There is strength in depth, a potent blend of youth and experience, guile and muscle, and goals from midfield. Everton had enough to overcome Owen Coyle’s solid and determined Trotters, even if they did labour through the first half. Thankfully the Blues realised that few sides will be able to pass the ball around Bolton without matching them physically. So they did a bit of both, rode some luck, and secured another vital win in their European quest. Moyes had kept faith with the side which started so positively against Birmingham, and Everton should have taken the lead on 10 minutes when Tim Cahill played Victor Anichebe clear through on goal. The powerful forward took too long setting his sights though, and allowed Paul Robinson to slide in with a last minute tackle. It was a maddening moment. Talked up before kick-off and fuelled by the confidence of a tremendous strike against Birmingham, Anichebe looked set to capitalise again. But his manager’s hint of caution on Friday, that perhaps the 21-year-old will never be a prolific hitman, was proved pertinent when he wasted the opportunity. Anichebe can be devastatingly effective on the right flank, but simple one-on-one scenarios like that need to be executed. Shortly afterwards, the second aspect of his failings resurfaced – a susceptibility to injury which continues to hold him back. Paul Robinson left the youngster writhing in agony after a clattering challenge. It quickly became apparent that he couldn’t continue, and had to be stretchered off and replaced by Bilyaletdinov. Not his fault granted, but it was a desperately disappointing end to his afternoon. Everton were slowly creating chances, but Yakubu was failing to make any impact. Bilyaletdinov did superbly to slip a pass into the feet of Leighton Baines in the box, but Robinson saved the day for the Trotters again with another sliding block. Owen Coyle is slowly staring to get Bolton playing football to go with the tough stuff though, and then his side produced one of the moves of the game. Bolton passed their way through Everton’s midfield and looked odds on to open the scoring as Davies bore down on goal, but Howard saved with his legs. Everton came out for the second half still not quite in top gear, but they were enjoying the majority of possession and attacking intent.
But they persevered and eventually got the break which turned the game.
Bilyaletdinov found Steven Pienaar, whose slide rule pass fed Yakubu and the Nigerian looked to be through on goal until he was grounded by a clumsy shove from last-man Gretar Steinsson. The Trotters defender was dismissed by Alan Wiley, and Mikel Arteta curled the resultant free kick wonderfully over the bar and into the top corner. Coyle complained afterwards that the Spaniard had rolled the ball forward from where the offence occurred, but it was unlikely Jaaskelainen could have done anything about it regardless of where the ball was struck. It was the third time in four seasons Arteta has scored against Bolton, and further proof his injury hell is behind him. Then Moyes made positive changes when many managers would have tried to cling onto the lead. Leon Osman was introduced for a tiring Yakubu as the blues inevitably began to dominate Bolton’s ten men, and Louis Saha replaced Tim Cahill.
In the game’s dying minutes Everton hit the cross bar via Osman’s strike. And the little midfielder did splendidly just after to pull a pass across the Bolton goal, which Saha dummied and the unmarked Steven Pienaar rapped home to secure all three points. There was still time for Phil Neville, making his 200th Everton appearance, to show some flashy footwork and fire a shot at the Bolton goal Everton’s better class had eventually told, and with favourable results elsewhere they are still Euro contenders. They could be contending for bigger things than the Europa League next season, if they begin with the same intensity and sense of purpose which has propelled them since January.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville (Capt), Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Heitinga, Cahill (Saha, 62), Pienaar, Arteta, Yakubu (Osman), Anichebe (Bilyaletdinov, 20). Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Rodwell.
BOLTON: Jaaskelainen, Robinson, Muamba, Knight, Steinsson, Cohen (Davies, 84), Elmander, (Ricketts 72), Lee, O’Brien, Wilshere (Taylor 80), Davies. Subs: Cahill, Riga, Habsi, Weiss.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley.

Everton FC boss David Moyes satisfied by Bolton Wanderers victory
Mar 22 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool
DAVID MOYES felt his side thoroughly deserved their three points after a hard-fought Premier League win over 10-man Bolton on Saturday. Goals from Mikel Arteta and Steven Pienaar in the final 18 minutes fired the Toffees to a 2-0 victory after the sending off of Gretar Steinsson at Goodison Park. Everton had been dominant in the second half but their breakthrough only came when last man Steinsson was dismissed for bundling over Ayegbeni Yakubu and Arteta curled home the resulting free-kick. The Blues boss said: “It was a turning point but it was up to us to make it so. We were the only team I felt was going to go on to win the game.
“I thought we were the better team, we were the team who passed it. Bolton came in and made it very hard but they didn’t offer any attacking threats, with the exception of a couple of free-kicks, so overall I thought we deserved it.” The sending off was the main talking point of the game but Moyes backed referee Alan Wiley’s decision.
“I have seen it again and the referee calls it right,” Moyes said. “He was onside and it was a really good ball from Steven Pienaar through to Yak. He certainly brings him down.” Victory was Everton’s seventh in succession in the league at home, their best run since 1990. But Moyes added: “The job is to win the next game. If I can get records, then great, but it’s not important for me.”Bolton boss Owen Coyle felt the red card incident changed the course of the match, but had more of a gripe with where Arteta’s free-kick was taken from than the actual decision. The Trotters had won three of their previous four games but defeat still leaves them with work to do to stave off relegation. Coyle said: “We more than matched Everton and had some great chances in the first half to take the lead, but we never took them. “The sending off will be the talking point and the free-kick for the goal. My initial impression was it was offside to begin with, but I’ll need to look back at that. “I think if there was any contact it was minimal but Mr Wiley, in his wisdom, has decided it is a red card. “Sometimes they go for you and against you but my issue then was that Mikel Arteta was allowed to move the ball another four yards nearer our goal. “I would suggest with the quality he’s got he’s far more dangerous there than where the offence was committed.
“I can accept sometimes that decisions go against you but not that he’s allowed to move the ball into the arc. That gave them an unbelievable advantage.
“It leaves a bad taste in the mouth and the frustration is we’ve left here with no points.”

Everton FC have no use for regret, says Phil Neville
Mar 22 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today demanded that Everton shelve regrets about their early season sluggishness until the summer, as they continue to chase European football.
The skipper, who made his 200th appearance for the Toffees in the 2-0 win over Bolton, says there is no room for regret and only 100% focus will lift Everton into a top six place. The Blues rose to eighth in the Premier League thanks to the victory over Owen Coyle’s side at Goodison, but must still win the majority of their remaining fixtures to achieve European qualification. He said: “We can’t afford to look back and the table doesn’t lie – our form in the first half wasn’t good enough to be up there. “But there was no panic because we knew when everyone was fit we could beat anyone on our day, and we have proved it. “The challenge now is to finish really strongly and not let it just peter out. “The manager’s challenged us to finish in a European place, which looks massive, but if we play as well as we can then it’s within our reach. “Back in October, when we were going through such a patch where you couldn’t see a win coming and the lads in there were fighting for their lives, the manager said it was a question of survival because we knew with everyone back we’d be a match for most.“That came around the turn of the year and it’s gone really well since. “The manager still thinks we can play better and so do I. But we’re not looking at next season yet, it’s a question of finding the motivation within ourselves to not let the season just drift to an end. “Those going to the World Cup could concentrate on their fitness and being right for that, but that isn’t the case here. “It was disappointing we didn’t go on today and get three or four, we just lacked that bit of composure and ruthlessness and that’s what has been missing a bit, like at Birmingham last week.” Neville cannot believe he has already played 200 times for the Blues. He said: “I only realised afterwards when Alan Stubbs mentioned it, but it’s flown. “I remember getting to 50 in my second season. I’ve really enjoyed it and long may it continue. “My first motivation after leaving United was not to be a failure, because I’d seen it happen to so many others. “I was 28 and found the right club at the right time, and in particular the right manager. “Even when I’ve done well he’ll challenge me to do better and at 33 he’s still doing it.”

VERDICT: Everton 2 Wanderers 0
2:40pm Monday 22nd March 2010
Bolton Evening News
By Marc Iles
IT’S been too long since Wanderers have had a hit on Merseyside — and Something was certainly amiss on their most recent visit to the Capital of Pop. Gretar Steinsson’s sending off proved the game’s major talking point, coming as it did just a minute before Mikel Arteta gave Everton the lead with an exquisite free kick, albeit one taken yards away from where it should have been. The Icelander had sent burly striker Yakubu tumbling theatrically to the turf with the most minimal of contact, and while he can have little complaint at the straight red shown by Alan Wiley, he can count himself unfortunate that the Nigeria international wasn’t called back for being offside well before he reached him. Steven Pienaar piled on a little more Misery just before the end, leaving Owen Coyle bemoaning yet more bad luck and another refereeing decision on his travels. Yet the manager’s travel sickness pales in comparison to Wanderers’ fortunes when they venture west down the East Lancs.
Five years have passed since the Whites even managed a goal in the City of Liverpool, that when Big Sam’s European challengers earned a fab 4-0 victory at Goodison Park.
It has been a Long and Winding Road from there, with seven successive defeats at Anfield and Goodison. And while it can be argued that referee Wiley and his officials certainly gave Wanderers no Help on Saturday, Coyle might feel on reflection a little annoyed that his team had not got themselves into the lead well before Steinsson’s dismissal. Everton’s home form had seen them despatch Chelsea and Manchester United already this year but, in the main, they looked sloppy in possession, and rather toothless up front until the introduction of second-half substitute Leon Osman.
Wanderers were impressively compact, suffocating Arteta and Pienaar, and tidy enough going forward to have asked most of the serious questions in the opening hour of the game. That said, Victor Anichebe should have given Everton the lead early on after being fed through the middle by Tim Cahill, only to hesitate enough to allow Paul Robinson to make a tremendous recovering tackle. The young striker was stretchered off the pitch a few minutes later as a seemingly innocuous aerial challenge with Zat Knight saw him drop to the floor requesting medical attention.
David Moyes later revealed that Anichebe had been taken to hospital for checks on a rib injury. His replacement Diniyar Bilyaledinov caused no such problems, and it was from there that Wanderers established themselves in the game. Their first opportunity arrived when Knight ghosted in at the far post to meet Chung-Yong Lee’s free-kick, only to send a tame shot wide. There was no such lack of conviction from Tamer Cohen, who blasted a left-footed half-volley inches over Tim Howard’s bar a few minutes later. Wanderers has scored almost at will against Wigan a week earlier and while this opposition was a significant step up in class, they still looked a threat in full flow going forward. Jack Wilshere once again stood out when the ball was at his feet, and the on-loan Arsenal midfielder was in the thick of the game’s best move.
Kevin Davies started things off 35 yards from goal before a series of reverse passes through Wilshere, Chung-Yong and Johan Elmander provided an excellent opportunity for the careering skipper, which, unfortunately for Wanderers, was blocked by Howard’s legs. Grumbles of dissatisfaction had begun to emanate from the Gwladys Street End going into the second half, something that would have been music to Owen Coyle’s ears at the time. Sam Ricketts’ return from suspension and Gary Cahill’s comeback from injury had given the Whites boss a selection dilemma at the heart of his defence before kick-off. But he stuck with Andy O’Brien, and his decision was paying off handsomely, with the former Republic of Ireland centre-back putting in his most convincing performance for some time. Wanderers looked to be heading for a second successive clean sheet, and were actually on the hunt for a goal when everything unravelled. Losing possession on their own set piece, Pienaar’s quick break and pass caught their defence flat-footed and while Yakubu looked to be a half-yard offside, he slowed just enough to allow Steinsson to make his challenge, collapsing to the floor in the process. You might argue the 6ft, 13-stone front man could have comfortably withstood the full-back’s attempt to win back the ball. But then you’d probably be missing the point. Steinsson was sent unceremoniously back to the stand by referee Wiley, who might then have been busy checking how many ‘Ss’ were in the Icelander’s surname to notice the wily Arteta taking the ball a few feet closer to the edge of the box. With some degree of inevitability, the Spaniard clipped the ball over the wall and into the bottom corner, leaving Jussi Jaaskelainen starring blankly in shock. Even after that hammer blow, the Whites might have salvaged something. Knight headed over the top from six yards and Davies’s control eluded him at the vital moment when it seemed he would steal in at the far post.
Everton were much more dangerous with Osman present, and soon pressed home their man advantage further. Shortly after he had blasted against the post from close range, the little midfielder danced around Knight to square across the six yard box for Pienaar to side-foot the second, ensuring a seventh successive home victory for his side. There was no coming back from that, and while there was plenty to admire from the performance, the Whites trudged off the pitch in the rain, Mersey-beaten again.
It’s Getting Better under Coyle, no doubt, but it seems Wanderers will make the manager wait until the bitter last before claiming the points that ensure their survival.
Maybe then, his Revolution can begin.

Everton 2-0 Bolton:
The Daily Mirror match report
Published 05:30 22/03/10 By David Maddock
Owen Coyle gave his Goodison counterpart David Moyes the ­ultimate salute by saying he wants to turn Bolton into a mini-me version of Everton Moyes, who has just entered his ninth year as Everton boss, has ­recovered from a dreadful start to the season to take Blues to the fringes of the chase for a top-four slot. And Coyle would love to emulate the work on Merseyside of his fellow Scot by turning Bolton into an established Premier League force.“First and foremost Bolton want to stay in the Premier League and we will use the strengths we have to do that, but we want to progress and show we can play as well,” Coyle said. “What Davie Moyes has done at Everton is the blueprint for that. With the money the top clubs have, it’s hard to take them on playing football and survive, never mind compete, but gradually he has done that. “At the start he didn’t have much money and he had to juggle some balls, but look at the quality he has gradually introduced. “Arteta is world class and they have real quality players to call on, so I think you’ll find what he’s done is a role model a hell of a lot of clubs will look at.” Moyes is now the second-longest-serving post-war manager at Everton, behind Harry Catterick, and is fourth in the current list of longest-serving managers in England. And as he reflected on eight years in the Goodison hot-seat, he admitted that the overriding feeling is not one of satisfaction, but relief mingled with a little fear. “Every week I have to make sure I work hard. Somebody could be there to take your job if you don’t work hard,” he admitted.
“In management you are under pressure most weeks. I sometimes go home and think ‘bloody hell, this is a tough way to earn a living’ and think it’s horrible.
“But I’ve never felt I’d give it up, not once, because this is what I do. “The top managers are there because they work incredibly hard and their enthusiasm can’t waver. “If anything I think the longer you’re in it the harder you have to work if you want to get to the top. The day you relax is the day you go backwards.”
Everton clocked up their seventh straight home win even though Bolton matched them for long periods, and only after Gretar Steinsson’s senseless dismissal reduced the visitors to 10 men. But they did it by continuing to pass and probe, even when things weren’t going their way. For Moyes there is the nagging question of what might have been this season. Given the quality of Arteta, who broke the deadlock on 75 minutes with a quite beautiful finish from the free-kick the dismissed Steinsson gave away when he hauled down Yakubu in a goalscoring position, and the potential around him, it could have been much, much better. They scored a second on full-time when the equally impressive Steven Pienaar turned in Leon Osman’s fine cross from an even better run, and if they can add a top-quality striker in the summer and keep all their stars, then they could be something to behold next season. “I think what really rankles is when I think about where we could have been and where we should have been,” Moyes admitted. “We sold a player [Joleon Lescott] right on deadline and we then had a run of injuries so there is part of me that thinks we have a really good team but we have not been able to show it.” It is not quite over for Everton yet, though. They have a relatively easy run-in, and while fourth place is probably out of reach, they can still overhaul Liverpool. For Bolton, satisfaction will come when they reach safety. Coyle has a vision of trying to play decent football, and for that he must be praised, but he is also pragmatic enough to realise that safety comes first. “There are certain types out there I’d like to add to the squad - but we have to make sure we’re in the Premier League to do that because finance plays a big part,” he said.

From The Times
March 22, 2010
Phil Neville’s case worthy of consideration
Mikel Arteta, the Spaniard whose brilliance was the difference between the teams, has long since given up on his ambition of appearing in this summer’s World Cup finals but David Moyes believes another member of his Everton squad could be worthy of an unexpected call-up. Phil Neville, 33, won the last of his 59 England caps in October 2007 but is performing with great consistency at a right-back position that could be a problem for Fabio Capello. Moyes chose the occasion of Neville’s 200th appearance to lend his support. “For Phil to play 200 games for Everton shows that his move from Manchester United was right,” the manager said. “It’s given him a new lease of life and he’s been inspirational to everybody here. “The [England] manager has got enough to do to pick his own players but it’s hard to go without a right back and Phil Neville certainly wouldn’t let them down.” Neville is not ready to accept his international career is over. “It’s the first time I’ve had a sustained run at right back in my Everton career and there aren’t too many available,” he said. “There’s Glen Johnson, while Wes Brown has been injured so there’s possibly a chance as understudy to Johnson and I’ll fight tooth and nail for it. “I’ve been to three European Championships but always missed out on the World Cup at the last hurdle.”
Arteta, whose superbly struck 20-yard free kick in the 72nd minute followed Gretar Steinsson’s dismissal for a foul on Yakubu Ayegbeni, elevated a mediocre game, while Steven Pienaar’s last-minute strike, after good work from Leon Osman, gave the scoreline a lopsided appearance. Owen Coyle, the Bolton manager, who was unhappy with the refereeing performance of Alan Wiley, knows a handful of points are still required before he can turn his attentions to next season. “First and foremost we have to make sure we’re in the Premier League,” the Bolton manager said. “Then we’ll get the group in for pre-season for four or five weeks and that’s when you can really look to put your stamp on it and give it your own flavour.”
Everton (4-1-4-1): T Howard 7 — P Neville 8, P Jagielka 5, S Distin 7, L Baines 7 — J Heitinga 6 — V Anichebe 5 (sub: D Bilyaletdinov, 14min 6), T Cahill 7 (sub: L Saha, 62 6), M Arteta 9, S Pienaar 6 — Yakubu Ayegbeni 5 (sub: L Osman 76, 6). Substitutes not used: C Nash, A Hibbert, J Yobo, J Rodwell. Booked: Cahill. Next: Manchester City (a).
Bolton Wanderers (4-4-2): J Jaaskelainen 7 — G Steinsson 6, J O’Brien 7, Z Knight 7, P Robinson 8 — Lee Chung Yong 8, T Cohen 5 (sub: M Davies, 83), F Muamba 6, J Wilshere 7 (sub: M Taylor, 81) — J Elmander 7 (sub: S Ricketts, 71), K Davies 7. Substitutes not used: G Cahill, M Riga, A Al Habsi, V Weiss. Booked: Lee. Sent off: Steinsson. Next: Manchester United (h).
Referee: A Wiley. Attendance: 36,503

Everton rise above jungle warfare to dispose of Bolton
Tim Richat Goodison Park , he GuarsdianMonday 22 March 2010
It is around 37 miles from Goodison Park to David Moyes's home in Preston, which allows a manager plenty of time for thought. Discussing his eighth anniversary at Everton, Moyes recalled some difficult journeys north. "I have gone home plenty of nights thinking 'this is tough work'," he reflected. "It is difficult to explain, but as a manager you are always looking for answers." The journey from Goodison on Saturday evening, like the last six after Premier League games, was on the back of a victory and it was put to him that his thoughts would have been lighter, happier. "No," he said. "What hurts is thinking about where we could have been. "We sold a player [Joleon Lescott] right on deadline. We tried to bring in people that maybe we didn't want to have. We had injuries and thought they would be back in September. As you well know, they were not back until the new year. "But now I think we have a group of players who are beginning to believe they are a good team. There has always been a doubt as to whether we could quite get there, but the recent wins against the top teams have made us realise we are much closer than we have ever been. We are looking for Everton to be a different animal than a Bolton, but when I came to Goodison we were scrapping with them." by Guardian Chalkboards Everton found it difficult to break down a sturdy Bolton defence. Though they had the best of the passing all over the pitch, they struggled to get the ball to their own players in the box - thanks, mostly, to stout clearances from the Bolton centre backs. However, for much of this game they seemed a similar species, fighting to control a game as Atlantic rain swept across the pitch. Only after Gretar Steinsson's dismissal for bringing down Yakubu Ayegbeni, and the beautiful free-kick from Mikel Arteta that followed, did Everton really seize this game by the throat and they might have scored several times more before Steven Pienaar accepted a gift pass from Leon Osman. Bolton are a team in transition, mixing some of the rugged football that served them so well under Sam Allardyce and Gary Megson with the more delicate touches Owen Coyle wants to introduce. When Moyes left Preston for Goodison in 2002, the template for new managers was Alan Curbishley at Charlton; now it is Everton. "The job David Moyes has done is a testimony to him," said Coyle. "When he first came in, he had to juggle some balls. First of all, Everton were solid and now he's adding a bit of flair. They are a role model a lot of clubs will look at."Everton found it difficult to break down a sturdy Bolton defence. Though they had the best of the passing all over the pitch, they struggled to get the ball to their own players in the box - thanks, mostly, to stout clearances from the Bolton centre backs. However, for much of this game they seemed a similar species, fighting to control a game as Atlantic rain swept across the pitch. Only after Gretar Steinsson's dismissal for bringing down Yakubu Ayegbeni, and the beautiful free-kick from Mikel Arteta that followed, did Everton really seize this game by the throat and they might have scored several times more before Steven Pienaar accepted a gift pass from Leon Osman. Bolton are a team in transition, mixing some of the rugged football that served them so well under Sam Allardyce and Gary Megson with the more delicate touches Owen Coyle wants to introduce. When Moyes left Preston for Goodison in 2002, the template for new managers was Alan Curbishley at Charlton; now it is Everton. "The job David Moyes has done is a testimony to him," said Coyle. "When he first came in, he had to juggle some balls. First of all, Everton were solid and now he's adding a bit of flair. They are a role model a lot of clubs will look at."

Lescott hit by injury blow
March 21, 2010
Manchester Evening PostJoleon Lescott suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up of the 2-1 win over Fulham and will have a scan to determine the extent of the problem.
And the defender looks set to miss out on the visit of Everton in what would have been his first game against his former club since a controversial £22m move from Goodison Park. City boss Roberto Mancini said Lescott will have the scan before the crucial clash on Wednesday. "Joleon had a problem before the game in the warm-up, a muscle," said Mancini. "I think he can't play against Everton. At the moment I don't know how long he'll be out. He'll have a scan." Despite Lescott's absence, City were ahead at Craven Cottage through Roque Santa Cruz and Carlos Tevez before the break, then they held on for victory after Danny Murphy pulled a goal back from the penalty spot. Referee Lee Probert then turned down another penalty appeal when Chris Baird's cross struck Vincent Kompany, meaning City moved into fifth place and will be in the Champions League places if they defeat Everton at Eastlands on Wednesday.

Latics ecstatic after Everton FC reserves rout
Mar 23 2010 Liverpool Echo
SHANE DUFFY scored a late consolation – but Everton had already been overwhelmed by a strong Wigan line-up at Stobart Stadium Halton last night.
The Blues were 3-0 down at the break thanks to a brace from Tomasz Kupisz either side of Antonio Amaya’s well-struck effort. Callum McManaman, cousin of Steve, sent the first effort of the game over in the fifth minute but the vistors took the lead 13 minutes in when Kupisz lobbed Iain Turner. Jose Baxter hit a volley wide before a penalty appeal was turned down after Hope Akpan was seemingly shoved in the box. But Wigan doubled their lead when a corner fell to Amaya to finish powerfully on the volley. McManaman then had an effort deflected wide before Kupisz lashed in a superb volleyed effort three minutes before half-time. Wigan remained on top until Duffy scrambled home a corner with 25 minutes left but Cywka had the last word as he capitalised on a mix-up between Turner and sub Jake Bidwell to roll home the fourth.
EVERTON: Turner, Thompson, Garbutt, Nsiala, Duffy, Wallace, Craig, Akpan, Forshaw, Baxter, McAleny. Subs: Davies, Donegan, Bidwell, Murphy, Dobie.
WIGAN: Nicholls, Redmond, Mustoe, Amaya, Gohouri, Routledge, Cywka, Holt, Jupisz, McManaman, Bouaouzan. Subs: Buxton, Morris, WIlliams, Jukes.

Everton FC stars Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman go head to head in cookery demonstration
Mar 23 2010 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON stars Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman have put their cooking skills on the line. More than 60 Liverpool bar and restaurant owners were treated to a special ‘Ready Steady Cook’ demonstration which involved the players cooking a perfect Thai dish to accompany Chang Beer - the Blues sponsors - while answering questions from guests. The event was held at Liverpool One’s Chaophraya Thai restaurant.
Everton’s Player of the Month Osman, said: “Phil and I had a lot of fun preparing the Thai dishes.”

Nigel Martyn: Why I hope Phil Neville achieves his World Cup dream
Mar 23 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
Nigel Martyn: Why I hope Phil Neville achieves his World Cup dream
I WAS delighted to see Phil Neville reach the personal milestone of 200 appearances for the Blues against Bolton. I was at the club when he arrived and I always thought he was going to be a great signing. He’s a model pro, a great captain and a fantastic character to have around the place. He was at United for a long time but over the past five years he has turned himself into Mr Everton. It was interesting to hear Phil talk about his burning ambition to make England’s World Cup squad. You would have to say it’s an outside chance at the moment. I can’t see him getting in as a midfielder so right-back is his best hope. Glen Johnson is clearly Fabio Capello’s first choice but there could be another spot up for grabs. Phil’s brother Gary has come back into the United side and people seem to be banging his drum at the moment. Phil hasn’t really been talked about but you need players of his experience and versatility. He hasn’t got much time to force his way back in but he’s in good form and wouldn’t let anyone down. I hope he achieves his goal and with him giving it everything right to the end Everton will benefit from that.

Nigel Martyn: Everton can take European fight right to the wire
Mar 23 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
CONFIDENCE is clearly high in David Moyes’ squad and Everton’s fine form is making a few clubs cast nervous glances over their shoulder. It was a great weekend for us with the Blues winning while Aston Villa and Liverpool slipped up.
There is a team in blue shifting along at a good rate at a crucial time of the season and a few of the teams above will be getting worried. We’re only six points behind Liverpool now with a game in hand and only five behind Villa. You would have to say the Reds are still odds on favourites to finish above us but we have to make sure we’re able to capitalise if they slip-up again. We can certainly catch Villa. They had a poor result at home to Wolves and with a small squad they seem to find it difficult at the business end of a season. Qualifying for Europe is still a tough ask but we have to keep believing. It’s easy to think about what might have been this season. If we hadn’t had such a terrible run with injuries I honestly believe with this squad we could have been pushing for a place in the top four this season. But there’s no point looking back now and there are still 24 points to play for. First up, it’s Manchester City at Eastlands tomorrow night and that’s a huge game for us. City are going flat out for fourth place and are going into it on the back of a good win at Fulham. We’ve had an extra day’s rest but their squad is so big that I don’t think that will come into it. City have an abundance of strikers who can hurt you and are strong in midfield, but their weakness is at the back. We’ll need to defend resolutely but we also need to put pressure on their backline as much as possible. Hopefully our creative players like Arteta and Pienaar will hurt them. We’ve got nothing to lose now and we’ve got to be positive and go for the win. If the scores are level with 20 minutes to go I’m sure we will see some positive substitutions. A point at Man City is never a bad result but victory for the Blues really would make those clubs just above us sit up and take notice.
Nigel Martyn: Everton so lucky to have David Moyes at the helm
DAVID MOYES celebrated eight years in charge in style against Bolton with a seventh successive home league win securing our best run at Goodison for 20 years.
Without doubt Moyes is Bill Kenwright’s best ever signing. What he has achieved highlights the importance of stability and continuity in football. Eight years at a Premier League club is no mean feat. The first few seasons were a bit yo-yo but Moyes has really steadied the ship and has got us challenging for Europe every year now. At times we get disgruntled with results but who out there could do better? The fact is we’ve got a very good manager and someone who is probably going to move upwards from us to a bigger club. The challenge is to ensure to hold on to him for as long as we can. Our great home form highlights the fact that teams don’t enjoy coming to Goodison. The crowd intimidate away teams and we’re taking full advantage. It was hard work on Saturday and Bolton were stubborn opponents.
The sending off was crucial and Owen Coyle wasn’t happy but the fact is Steinsson was the last man and he did catch Yakubu.

Everton FC defender John Heitinga invites fans to take a zip slide over Goodison Park for the ECHO’s Liverpool Unites charity
Mar 23 2010 by Tina Miles, Liverpool Echo
LIVERPOOL Unites has teamed up with The Everton Foundation to offer the experience of a lifetime – zip sliding over the pitch at Goodison Park.
The zip slide will take participants from the top balcony to the paddock, offering a bird’s eye view of the famous stadium. Everton defender John Heitinga today encouraged fans to take part. And the footballer urged readers to raise cash for the club’s charity of the season, the ECHO’s official charity. The event on Sunday, April 18, is open to anyone over the age of 16 and full training will be given on the day.
Participants will receive a tour of Goodison Park after they have taken part.
Friends and family can come into the ground and watch. Liverpool Unites fundraiser Tom Woolley said: “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Goodison Park from a completely different point of view, whilst helping local children in the process.
“Whether you’re an Evertonian, thrill seeker or just want to conquer a fear of heights we’d welcome your application. “We only have a very small number of places in this event so please contact me as soon as possible if you would like to take part.”
There is a £25 entry fee. Participants are committed to raising at least £75 in sponsorship for our children’s charity Liverpool Unites. Parental consent is required for anyone under 18. You must weigh no more than 17.5 stones and no less than six stones. You do not need to be an athlete to take part but should be reasonably fit. If you are in any doubt about your suitability you should consult your GP.
We have a limited number of places for this event so if you would like to take part please contact fundraiser Tom Woolley at tom.woolley@liverpool.com.

Everton FC’s Mikel Arteta is getting his kicks again
Mar 23 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool
MIKEL ARTETA was given the green light to start taking free-kicks and corners again before Saturday’s visit of Bolton to Goodison Park – and that’s put Everton’s next opponents on red alert! The Spanish set-piece expert made his comeback from almost a year’s injury absence against Birmingham in January. But manager David Moyes was keen for the influential midfielder not to put undue pressure on himself – mentally and physically. “When he came back into the side I didn’t want him taking the corners and free kicks,” explained Moyes. “I said to him ‘stay away from it’ and let him get his strength and fitness back. “But his confidence has come back and he can feel good about taking corners and free kicks again, which is good for us because he is very good at them. “He has now scored three goals since he’s been back and that is part of what he gives us. You can see him growing in confidence now.”
Arteta’s first three appearances after his lengthy lay-off were all as substitutes, including an unexpectedly early run-out in the Anfield derby when Marouane Fellaini limped off with a serious ankle injury. He then started two games, but was withdrawn before the end. But Saturday’s appearance against Bolton was the sixth successive occasion now that Arteta has completed the full 90 minutes. And after scoring twice from open play against Hull City, he contributed a trademark laser guided free-kick to break the deadlock on Saturday. Arteta was thrilled with the set-piece which whipped over Bolton’s defensive wall and swooped low past Juusi Jaaskelainen’s forlorn dive.
“Hopefully it means I’ve started a scoring run again,” he smiled. “I was so happy to get the goal because it was a free-kick in a great position and they can be so important – because when you’ve got a tough game like that, a moment like that can be the difference between winning and losing the game. “It helped us get three points so I’m happy.” Ironically just before Arteta sustained his harrowing knee injury at Newcastle in February last year he had scored in back to back appearances against Bolton and Aston Villa, part of a scoring run which had seen him contribute five goals in nine starts. But rather than celebrate his own personal scoring form, Arteta was keen to highlight Everton’s impressive home form. Saturday’s success was the Blues’ seventh successive home win in the Premier League – a 20 year best – and a run which started with a handsome victory over tomorrow night’s opponents Manchester City.
“It’s a great record,” added Arteta. “Our home record is so important because if we can keep our home form going we are going to be really close to a European spot because away from home we always do well. So let’s keep the run going!
“Everyone knows Goodison Park is always a tough place to come. We had a bad start to the season but we are doing much better at the moment. “But if we want to get something at the end of the season we will have to be really consistent.” If Everton are to maintain that run they will have to contend with another in-form footballer, Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez. According to team-mate Javier Garrido, Tevez is having the same effect on Manchester City as Wayne Rooney is at Old Trafford this season. Rooney has been tipped to sweep the board for the player of the year awards at the end of the campaign for carrying Manchester United towards the Barclays Premier League title, while Tevez has weighed in with 22 goals so far to put City in the frame for a Champions League place. The Argentina striker, 26, grabbed the crucial goal against Fulham at the weekend which means City will be back in the top four if they can avenge their mauling at Goodison Park tomorrow. “Carlos is definitely one of the in-form strikers,” said Garrido, who was a last-minute replacement for Joleon Lescott at Craven Cottage after the former Everton defender suffered a hamstring injury.
“When he plays, the team has confidence because he is a player that gives his best, works hard and scores goals for us. He is a key player, a main player for us.
“We know how well Wayne Rooney has done but for us, for Man City, maybe Carlos Tevez is like Wayne Rooney is for United. He works hard and gives us a lot, and the team feels that.” Lescott is now expected to miss the Everton clash at Eastlands, so Garrido is relishing the chance the grab a rare opportunity after struggling for regular football. “Joleon felt something in his hamstring and I am always ready to go in,” said the Spaniard. “That was a bit of a weird situation but in the end I played and I’m very happy. You have to come in and do your job. “I haven’t been playing for a few weeks, obviously I want to play week in, week out but I have to understand the manager’s decision and when he calls me I have to be ready.” With no knockout competitions to distract them, City are fully focused on finishing fourth in the Premier League.
Garrido said: “We are thinking about it. Why not? We are in the right position and right situation. We beat Fulham, a team that tries to play good football, so we have to keep going. “We are in a good position. These are the last games and we have to do well, we have to be strong and it is in our hands to get the fourth position.
“Our challenge is to be in the top four. The club have invested money into making us a big, big club, there are a lot of good players here and a bigger squad, so our challenge is to be in the top four.”

Everton FC close in on Joao Silva signing deal
Mar 23 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are close to an agreement to sign the top scorer in Portugal’s second division, Joao Silva. The tall, powerful 19-year-old has scored 11 goals this season for Deportivo das Aves and has attracted interest across Europe with his goalscoring exploits. The youngster visited Everton’s Finch Farm training complex last week and the Blues are talking with his club about a 700,000 Euro move this summer.
The Portuguese under-20 international played down a potential move last night.
“Everton is a great club. It would be good for me but for now I just want to concentrate on Aves. We are in a good position and I want to finish the season,” he said. But talks are at an advanced stage and the Blues are hoping to tie up a deal to head off interest in Silva’s homeland from Porto, Sporting Braga, Guimaraes and Nacional. Everton, meanwhile, will check on the fitness of Victor Anichebe before tomorrow night’s trip to Manchester City. The Nigerian international was withdrawn 14 minutes into the game at Goodison following a collision with Bolton’s Paul Robinson. Influential midfielder Steven Pienaar, however, will be involved at Eastlands – and he will be hoping to repeat his stunning strike against Roberto Mancini’s men two months ago. “It would be nice to get another one but the most important thing is to get three points,” smiled Pienaar. “It’s going to be another good game against City. We want to go there and enjoy ourselves.” Pienaar was boosted by his fifth goal since Christmas against Bolton on Saturday – but was quick to deflect the praise to the man who created the close range finish for him. “It was good play by Ossie (Leon Osman), and it gave me an open goal really. But obviously I was glad to get another goal.”

Lescott out for up to five weeks
Stuart Brennan
March 23, 2010, Manchester Evening Post
Joleon Lescott will be out for four to five weeks with a hamstring tendon injury, City confirmed today. The Blues had initially hoped to have the £24m defender back for next Monday's home clash with Wigan after he limped out of the warm-up at Fulham with hamstring trouble. A scan has revealed that Lescott's problem is related to his hamstring tendon, which can be a more serious problem. But the scan failed to reveal the full extent of the damage to the tendon. Lescott has travelled to London for further investigation of the problem which it has now been confirmed will keep him out upwards of a month. “Joleon, I think, is out for at least four weeks with a problem with the muscle tendon,” said Roberto Mancini. “He went to see a doctor in London and he said it will be four or five weeks before he can come back. “We are unlucky because Joleon is an important player for us.” Javier Garrido is likely to get the nod to continue after stepping in at late notice to fill Lescott's boots as the Blues won 2-1 at Craven Cottage. Better news for City is that Roque Santa Cruz, who limped out of the action after opening the scoring at Fulham, is fit. After a season dogged by knee and calf injuries, the Paraguayan striker had only suffered tightness of the calves and was able to train yesterday. The Lescott blow comes at a bad time for the Blues. Manager Roberto Mancini - pictured during a lighter moment in training with assistant Brian Kidd - had decided to use the big England star at left-back for the first time in his City career following Wayne Bridge's hernia operation.

Everton FC boss David Moyes believes that the pressure is on for mega-bucks Manchester City
Mar 24 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes knows all about raising expectations. The minor miracles he has performed as Everton manager have transformed the club from perennial Premier League strugglers, to a club hot on the coat-tails of the elite. Repeated European qualifications have raised Evertonian hopes of another Europa League campaign next season. But while Moyes strives to meet those supporters’ dreams in the heated battle for sixth place, the Scot admits that the weight of expectations on tonight’s opponents from across the M62 is even heavier. The ownership of Abu-Dhabi based Sheik Mansour has allowed Manchester City to invest potently, but uber-rich status has left City fans expecting great things. “Expectations are very big at Manchester City,” says the Blues boss. “They have risen extremely high and I can say that’s without much real back-up or reasons. “It’s more to do with the spending. A lot is expected from the players by the media, and a lot is expected by the club as well. “The speed at which people want the clubs to be winning is high. How many trophies are there to win? There are not enough. Then if the big owners spend money it puts them under a lot of pressure.” But Moyes insists that although he would relish the budget available to Mancini, the sense of continuity and collective he has forged at Everton is as important as finances. “The collective is important,” he says. “It’s what is needed for any football club, and you only get that through a little bit of time and a chance to work with the players. “Manchester City have bought players who have got undoubted talent who can win games, individuals who can make the difference, and given time they might have a team like Everton. “But I’ve been fortunate and been given eight years to mould together a team that knows what it means to play for Everton. What it means to supporters. “ I don't know if all the Manchester City players know what it means to the Manchester City supporters. Or what it means to play for Manchester City.” Moyes believes Everton’s relatively small squad and reduced recruitment options makes players realise they cannot hide when things are not going well.
“I think the people who are here understand what’s required. That’s because we can’t suddenly go out and change things and make a difference. “ If you are not playing well here, you have to buck up and play well quickly because it’s not like we are going to bring someone else in. You have to do it yourself and get on with it.” That self-reliance has been rewarded this season with wins over Manchester United, Chelsea, and Mancini’s City which have galvanised the Everton players’ confidence.
“We've always been able to beat anyone now and again, but what it's done is given us a lot of belief that on our day we can give the big boys a game. It's been coming,” he says. “We've had years and years where we've not been able to quite compete with the top teams and it gets harder because of the spending they do.
“We have to keep grinding away and nudging along and try not to get despondent when clubs spend £30m-40m on players. We have to keep doing what we do at Everton and try to find a different solution to find success.”Some have speculated that Joleon Lescott’s decision to leave Everton for Eastlands last summer has not helped his bid to represent England in the World Cup. And Moyes believes Lescott had a happy niche at Goodison. “I don't know what the England manager is thinking,” he says. “ I have no idea. I just know Everton were a good home for Joleon Lescott, a good fit. But that's gone now. “ We now have players who are fitting in to Everton, Johnny Heitinga and Sylvain Distin, it moves on. “Everton was a good fit for Joleon Lescott as it is for Leighton Baines, but I would say that.” The Scot received plenty of praise for the style in which the Toffees defeated Manchester City at Goodison in January, and he believes his high-profile wins are coming with less disclaimers this season. “I think we've had a number of good performances. City was one of them but we played well against Chelsea and Man United. In those games we definitely deserved to win. Alex Ferguson said it after United, as did Ray Wilkins after Chelsea.
“It wasn’t as if we were winning on the back of them not playing well. So I am looking at my players and saying ‘I want you to show me this every week’, whether it’s one of the top teams or the bottom ones.” But would future investment make Moyes look at the transfer market differently? I think it would because I think I would take the opportunity,” he says. “I've put the foundations down and the building blocks are in place. We’ve got that now, where we could carry one or two of those match winning players. We’ve got that stability that means we could do that.
“Now we’ve got to look at price tag first and often that is in the sales rail, in comparison to what Man City would look at. That doesn’t mean we don't get as much out of them because we do, and that’s certainly not a disrespect to those players because look how well they’ve done at Everton.”

Mancini fears Lescott will miss most of the season
Mar 24 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER CITY manager Roberto Mancini has resigned himself to being without defender Joleon Lescott for most of the club’s bid to secure Champions League football, which he believes is still a four-horse race. Lescott has been ruled out for up to five weeks with a hamstring problem sustained in the warm-up before the 2-1 win over Fulham at the weekend. That means he will miss tonight’s clash at home to former club Everton and will more than likely still be out for games against Manchester United and Arsenal at the end of April. Lescott never missed a single game through injury during his three seasons at Goodison Park but has already had to sit out a dozen games this term for City – including the 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park in January. “Joleon went to see a doctor in London and he said it will be four or five weeks before he can come back,” said Mancini. “I think there is a good chance that Joleon could play in the last two weeks of the season. “We are unlucky because Joleon is an important player for us and we have lost him in a crucial moment, but that is football.” City have the chance to regain fourth spot against the Toffees, a match Mancini describes as “crucial”. But even though a win would put them five points ahead of sixth-placed Liverpool with a game in hand, he is refusing to rule out Rafael Benitez’s side. “I think Liverpool are a strong team with a good manager and I think we must fight with them, Aston Villa and Tottenham. I don’t think Liverpool are out,” said the Italian. “We always hope the other teams lose but it is important we do our job very well like at Fulham. “Everton are in good form and they work very well on the pitch and it is a crucial game for us. If we win we will have more chance of finishing fourth.” City have yet to lose at Eastlands this season, winning nine and drawing four, but Mancini insists they cannot rely on their six remaining home matches to see them through to fourth place. However, he believes 21 points from a possible 27 would get them into the Champions League next season.
“If we win seven games I think we go, but I think it will be difficult,” he added.
“If we want to get fourth spot we must win always. It will be important that we win at home and away. “In the last three games we have won in London twice, against Chelsea and Fulham, and drawn at Sunderland. “It is important we have the same spirit away as we do at home.” Mancini will not go for a more attacking strategy to secure those 21 points however, especially now his defence has been weakened by the absence of Lescott. “It is important the squad that goes on the pitch is balanced,” he added. The Italian said: “It is important when we defend the whole team defends, and when we attack they all move forward.”

Everton FC supporters letters
Mar 2410 20 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN’S skill against Bolton on Saturday was breathtaking. He has his critics but when he is fully fit the team goes to another dimension. Fingers crossed, no more injuries this season but with matches against some of the Premier League’s strugglers still to come, I’m doubtful. two bob A GOOD result in the end against Botlton. The Trotters were as usual ‘aggressive’ with everyone behind the ball every time we attacked making life very hard for us. We were very nervy at the back, Jags especially, in the first-half. The red card was the turning point and Mikel Arteta did the business brilliantly, as did Steven Pienaar. Too bad the Yanks settled their possible strike as we could have done with Landon Donovan for the run-in.
Three hard-earned points but very welcome. Blooper SATURDAY’S match against Bolton was mainly notable for the large number of misplaced and over-hit passes, and a lack of quality. However, only two defeats in 16 Premier League matches and the seventh consecutive home win – the best for 20 years – is statistically top four form.
Stewpot IT was frustrating for a long time on Saturday, but I suppose we should give some credit to Bolton. They’ve had some good results lately and they came to keep a clean sheet. And looked as though they might, until Arteta’s well-taken free-kick.
It wasn’t a patch on the Hull performance but if we can keep getting three points at home, we might sneak up the table a bit. We still want points away, obviously, and I’m feeling positive about the Manchester City match.
I AM pleased we got the three points against Bolton – I don’t care how at this stage of the season. We livened up in the second-half, but I still don’t understand why we play 4-5-1 against teams like Bolton at home (that’s no disrespect to Wanderers, incidentally). Pienaar’s goal – did I count about 15 passes by the boys in Royal Blue in the build-up before he slotted it home? Hopefully the Everton that took City apart at Goodison will turn up this week at Eastlands.
REGARDING the Blues possibly acquiring young Portuguese wonderkid Joao Silva, let’s hope David Moyes has found yet another bargain. Right age, right price and with two years development while he gets the best out of Louis Saha.It looks like good planning again from the manager. lexystar
KEEP up our winning form and we’ll definitely grab a Europa League spot for next season.

Everton FC boss David Moyes says beating Manchester City will make European prospect .worth discussing
Mar 24 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool
VICTORY over Manchester City would transform Everton’s European quest from fairytale to hot prospect, according to David Moyes. The Toffees boss has been reluctant to discuss his side’s chances of qualifying for the Europa League, despite a sizzling late surge in form after recovering from their injury handicap. But with Everton currently only six points behind sixth-placed Liverpool, the Blues can take some control of their fate by beating fifth-placed City at Eastlands tonight.
He said: “The first thing is for us to win before we can talk about the gap. If we win tonight then we might look differently at it. “At the moment we aren’t really making a lot of headway on the teams above us, but if we win tomorrow night maybe that would start to close things up. “I don’t think the teams above us will be looking back at Everton thinking we can catch them, we need to hope they falter and we keep winning games. “If I was one of those seven teams I wouldn’t be thinking Everton can get there, and that’s probably right. But if we beat City, they might just start thinking things are getting a bit closer.” The Scot believes his players are players are performing so well, anything less than an impressive finish should embarrass them.
He said: “If you consider yourself a player around the top, then you should be shamed if you don’t finish in the position your talent allows you to do. “I think the talent at Everton should be finishing higher up. The players have their own pride to show that with what we’ve got, we should be finishing higher. They know that, but know there are reasons for that.” However, Moyes still insists that there is more to come from his squad before the season draws to a close. He said: “I think we have a lot of confidence. There is a lot of belief and the results we have picked up. But I’ve been the one saying we can play better. “There have been moments in games, such as against Birmingham and Bolton, where I’ve not been overly happy but they have been very few and far between. “But the players know me, they’ll get a pat on the back but only at the right moment.” Meanwhile, Victor Anichebe should be fit for selection after he returned to training this week. The 21-year-old was stretchered off after a collision with Bolton’s Paul Robinson on Saturday. Marouane Fellaini is the only long-term injury lay-off, with Philippe Senderos expected to resume training tomorrow.

Manchester City 0, Everton FC 2: full time report
Mar 24 2010
Rival managers Roberto Mancini and David Moyes were involved in a touchline bust-up after Everton dented Manchester City’s Champions League qualification hopes tonight. Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta were both on target as fast-finishing Everton snatched a victory at Eastlands that denied City fourth place in the Barclays Premier League. City had dominated most of the game and the pressure on boss Mancini was evident as tensions spilled over when he and Moyes clashed in injury time. Mancini took exception to Moyes picking up a ball, apparently interpreting the Scot’s action as an attempt to waste time. It needed fourth official Howard Webb to intervene and referee Peter Walton sent both managers to the stand. Yet Everton boss Moyes will have cared less after watching his side maintaining their stunning late charge for a European place. The Toffees have lost just twice in 17 games while City, having apparently reasserted themselves as favourites for fourth place, let a golden chance slip. Mancini had made three changes for the game with Micah Richards, Stephen Ireland and Nigel de Jong coming in and Pablo Zabaleta filling in at left-back for the injured Wayne Bridge. Everton made two with fit-again top scorer Louis Saha replacing Ayegbeni Yakubu and Leon Osman coming in for Victor Anichebe.
Everton had a worrying moment early in the game as Steven Pienaar appeared to hurt his neck in a heavy, but fair, challenge from Richards. The South African required treatment but was fit enough to continue. City’s Carlos Tevez was booked in unusual circumstances after nine minutes as he dived towards Phil Jagielka in an attempt to block a cross but caught the Everton defender. After a slow start, City first threatened after 13 minutes as Kolo Toure burst forward from the back but Sylvain Distin dealt with the danger. Osman then had an opportunity for Everton but volleyed well wide.
City pieced together a good move with Zabaleta crossing for Richards to force a save from Tim Howard with a firm header. The hosts gradually began to assert their authority and Howard needed to be alert to prevent the onrushing Tevez getting in a shot from Ireland’s pass. Moments after thinking he might have had a penalty for a push in the area, Tevez was awarded a free-kick on the left. After Craig Bellamy’s initial cross was cleared, Adam Johnson clipped the ball back into the box for Tevez but the Argentinian failed to make firm contact. But Tevez continued to look dangerous and charged past Distin into the area on another break, only for Jagielka to get a foot in. Everton replied with Cahill firing narrowly over and then winning a free-kick on the right. Arteta took the set-piece quickly and laid off for Leighton Baines to whip in a cross for Cahill to turn in for the opener with a trademark header.
City suffered a further blow before the break as Ireland was forced off injured and was replaced by Shaun Wright-Phillips. Everton had the first serious opportunity of the second half as Osman’s long-range effort was deflected wide. Cahill then went close to adding a second as Walton played advantage following a crunching tackle on Arteta by Zabaleta. The midfielder picked up possession on the edge of the box and, having spotted Shay Given off his line, attempted a chip but his delicate effort floated wide.
Mancini responded by introducing the additional firepower of Roque Santa Cruz in place of Johnson and that appeared to spark a prolonged spell of City pressure.
Richards got clear, only to shoot well wide, and Wright-Phillips was also off-target after Santa Cruz left a Zabaleta cross to the England international. City continued to pile forward but Everton coped well by blocking a Bellamy shot and clearing a number of crosses. A brilliant turn by Tevez in the area then looked to have opened Everton up but again Howard was quick to smother at his feet. After withstanding the bombardment, Everton enjoyed some respite as John Heitinga got forward and had a long-range shot deflected over. City came back with Vincent Kompany threading through a fine ball for Santa Cruz but, off balance, the former Blackburn striker shot over. The hosts then paid for their profligacy as Everton stole forward again to secure victory with a breakaway goal five minutes from time. Substitute Jack Rodwell burst down the left and turned inside Kompany before pulling back into the box for Cahill, who sensed Arteta rushing behind and dummied for the Spaniard to score.
Tevez battled on for City but had another good run blocked by Jagielka.
The game was not quite over as trouble broke out between the managers on the touchline in injury time.

Jack Rodwell can mature into a Steven Gerrard-style attacking midfield role says Phil Jagielka after Everton FC stun Manchester City with another 2-0 win
Mar 25 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA believes Jack Rodwell could mature into a Steven Gerrard-style attacking midfielder after the teenager helped create Everton’s second goal in a vintage win over Manchester City. The Everton defender hailed the 18-year-old’s match-winning contribution when he burst down City’s right flank to set-up Mikel Arteta, and boost the Toffees’ European qualification hopes. Jagielka, who ensured the Blues kept another clean-sheet alongside Sylvain Distin, said: “We scored two fantastic goals, but the second one shows you how Jack is growing up. “He is coming on and playing important roles in games. A lot of people think that because Jack has played defensive roles all of his career that ultimately he will be more suited to that.
“But he’s a young lad and one of the better athletes in our team. His touch is immaculate, his vision’s good and he’s right and left footed. If we can get him running at teams as proven by the Manchester United game and tonight there are more dimensions to his game. “It took Steven Gerrard a couple of seasons to shrug off the defensive midfielder tag and become an all-round midfielder and now he’s obviously a goal-scoring attacking midfielder. Where Jack will end up I wouldn’t put any money on, but at the moment if we are positive with him we can put him out there. When he came on for Ossie in the Hull game he did fantastic again. “He is happy and if he is setting up goals and scoring goals, then he is going to be progressing very well.”
Meanwhile, despite his delight at victory David Moyes believes it is too much to ask for his side to finish above big-spending Manchester City in the league this season.
He said: “Those teams (above Everton) have got all the points in the bag and we need to do our talking on the pitch. It will be a big ask to finish above some of them.
“For the last two years we’ve finished fifth and that’s been a good achievement, although I’d like to have finished higher up than that. That’s why if you do that people see progress. “Anybody who is watching Everton at this present time will see they certainly have a good side that are doing well after having injuries which hindered them earlier in the season.”

David Moyes plays down Roberto Mancini touchline fracas
Mar 25 2100 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES and Roberto Mancini both played down their touchline fracas after Manchester City’s clash with Everton ended in explosive fashion. The rival managers confronted each other as a compelling Premier League encounter at Eastlands went into injury time with Everton leading 2-0. The remarkable incident was sparked by Moyes, who caught the ball ahead of making a late substitution. Mancini interpreted the Scot’s action as time-wasting and went over to remonstrate angrily. Fourth official Howard Webb intervened and after Mancini had finally been calmed, referee Peter Walton sent both to the stands. The FA will now await Walton’s report before considering whether further action is necessary. “I’ve spoken now with David and if I made a mistake I am sorry,” said Mancini, who is under pressure to deliver fourth place and Champions League football. “I wanted to get the ball because there was another five minutes at the end. “This can happen in a game but it is finished now.
“I was frustrated for the players because we played a good game and sometimes it can happen where scoring a goal is impossible.” Moyes defended his actions and claimed he might even have been doing City a favour. Moyes said: “Next time I might just let the ball run through.Moyes was delighted with the effort of his team who moved to within just three points of sixth placed Liverpool.
Goals from Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta either side of the break mean Everton have picked up 10 points from their last four games to guide them closer to a Europa League place “It was great tonight. The players did really well and deserved the victory for the way they went about it,” said Moyes. “There were a few scary moments but overall we had good parts of the game and played very well. We have won a really important game. Throughout the whole team we had people who performed really well. “We have said to the players that if we want to do anything at all we need to show it against the big teams. Our football at the moment is terrific and the second goal especially was a great goal. “Jack (Rodwell) did brilliantly for the goal. He has shown that attacking side of his game in recent weeks. He had a bit of a hamstring strain in training yesterday but he didn’t show it when he was running down that line and pulling the ball back. “We haven’t got lots of big players in the team so we have to show lots of imagi-nation in our football. And they showed that with the first goal.”
Victory provided consider-able satis-faction for Moyes after feeling badly treated by City over the transfer of Joleon Lescott at the start of the season. Moyes was highly critical of City as they vigorously pursued the England defender over several weeks and eventually signed him for £22million. Moyes said: “We had a terrible start to the season and a lot of that had to do with Manchester City. “I would rather come here tonight and show a bit of dignity with our result. What we should be talking about is the performance of Everton, which was outstanding.” Victory maintained Everton’s late charge for Europe but put a dent in City’s Champions League aspirations by denying them fourth. Mancini said: “It was a difficult game because Everton have a good squad but we didn’t deserve to lose this game. “I think we have a good spirit and we are a good team. If we believe in ourselves we can get the fourth position.”
“I caught it because I was making a substitution, I would have thought it would actually have helped him. “I was very surprised, I didn’t know what I had done wrong.
He added: “I thought he was picking on an old age pensioner because I think he is younger than me! I don’t know why I was sent off. I grabbed the ball and I was wanting to make a substitution. “I could have let the ball go down the line but that would have been even worse so I grabbed it and kept it, hoping to make a substitution.
“The next moment I think he was on top of me but these things happen in football. He was showing his passion for his football club and I have no problem with that.
“I have no problem with Roberto. He has apologised but it shows he is passionate about his club and he wants his team to do well.”

Manchester City 0 Everton FC 2 - European charge is on for Blues
Mar 25 2010 Liverpool Echo
THERE’S a line in The Smiths’ misery-drenched classic “How Soon is Now” which was played at the City of Manchester Stadium last night. ‘When you say it’s gonna happen now, when exactly do you mean?’ wails Morrissey. For some time now Everton fans have been waiting to hear when exactly their manager would admit they were in the race for Europe. The Scot insisted it was a long-shot after Manchester United had been put to the sword – and he was still reluctant to drop his guard after Hull and then Bolton were defeated. Well, now is the time. Moyes said before kick off that he would begin to believe if three points could be plucked from the grasp of Roberto Mancini’s fourth-place pretenders. So the professional and ruthless manner in which victory was achieved against a team so loaded with lavish playing personnel will have even the most pessimistic Blue double checking that their passport is still in date after August. City, undefeated at home all season, were well-beaten. The Mancunians’ impressive record at their stylish stadium is no coincidence. They are an intimidating prospect in front of their own fans, and dominated the majority of the first half. Steven Pienaar’s trickery earned the Blues an early corner. But the South African’s efforts singled him out to a combative opposition and minutes later he was crudely clattered by Micah Richards. Then Carlos Tevez was booked for more over-enthusiasm when he clumsily challenged Jagielka hunting down a lose ball. The stall was set out. Roberto Mancini’s team seemed intent on not allowing Everton space to play the mesmerising football which vanquished them at Goodison in January.
City’s flying start saw them go closest to opening the scoring. The lively Richards leapt to meet a Zabaleta cross, and planted his header firmly at goal. Tim Howard just touched the effort onto the bar and injured himself landing. The American recovered enough to make an impressive block as Carlos Tevez rampaged into the box moments later, as the home fans bayed for a spot-kick. But Everton were weathering the storm as their attacking options were increasingly limited. More last ditch defending from Jagielka and Distin was required to prevent Tevez from scoring after the Argentine twisted and turned in the box. But then, against the run of play, the Blues struck.
Tim Cahill took a pass from Arteta and tried to burst into the box until Gareth Barry bundled him over. Arteta cleverly rolled his free kick to Leighton Baines who swung a low cross into the area, and the Aussie did what he does best, slipping between City’s central defenders to head home. Perhaps it’s some form of Samoan sorcery born of the midfielder’s ancestry, because somehow he manages to ghost unnoticed in areas.
How many opposition managers must have hurled tea cups as they lambasted their defenders for leaving him alone? It’s not as if he doesn’t have a reputation is it?
The goal deflated City’s endeavour, and allowed the Toffees to catch their breath. Then another defensive mix-up let Saha through on goal and he held the ball up well before passing to Cahill who drew a foul on the edge of the box. It was an even better spot from where Arteta scored against Bolton, but this time his free-kick failed to beat the wall. Peter Walton’s ears were ringing as he headed for his cup of tea, the City fans furious with the free kick he awarded Everton in the build-up to their goal.
But Everton had another gilt-edged chance to double their lead just after the restart, when Osman’s low shot flew narrowly past the post after neat inter-play with Pienaar.
Then Cahill’s cheeky attempt at a lob drifted just wide of Shay Given’s goal after further astute Everton possession. The introduction of Roque Santa Cruz helped restore City’s potency and soon Everton were on the back foot again. Forced to defend deeper and deeper as their opponents pressed, Saha was sacrificed for the further defensive cover of Jack Rodwell. But once again the 18-year-old proved there is far more to him that. On 86 minutes he broke determinedly down the City right and whipped the ball across the box, Cahill cleverly stepped over and Mikel Arteta slid home his second goal in as many games to trigger raptures from the away support.
It was another classically taken counter-attack from a side which has not always enjoyed the best of away days this season. But Everton are undoubtedly the Premier League’s form team at present, and it’s an ominous form for their rivals.
Since January three of the richest and most star-studded teams in Europe; United, Chelsea and now City have been deservedly beaten. This latest win had everything. Clinical finishing, discipline, assured- ness, a bit of flair and most of all belief.
It was belief forged mainly from team spirit and experience as a unit – two qualities no Sheik’s money can buy. Roberto Mancini probably knows it too. The usually unflappable Italian’s frustration bubbled over and led to a late touchline confrontation with Moyes, which saw both managers sent off. But the smirk on the Toffees boss’s face as he strolled away was telling. He knows his side are right in the mix for a Europa League finish after completing the double over Manchester City.
Just three points behind Liverpool in sixth, and with all the momentum – now really is the time to believe.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Arteta (Yobo, 90), Cahill, Pienaar, Osman, Heitinga, Saha (Rodwell, 72).
Subs: Nash, Bilyaletdinov, Hibbert, Gosling, Yakubu.
Bookings: Heitinga, Pienaar,
MANCHESTER CITY: Given, Richards (Vieira, 74), Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta, Barry, Ireland (Wright-Phillips, 40), De Jong, Johnson (Santa Cruz, 56), Tevez, Bellamy.
Subs: Onuoha, Taylor, Garrido, Sylvinho.
Booking: Richards, Given
Referee: Peter Walton
Attendance: 45,708.

Everton secure vital victory away from Goodison Park
Mar 25 2010 Liverpool Echo
FROM setting records, Everton have now taken to halting them. While events at fortress Goodison can hardly be faulted, the completion of a Premier League double over Manchester City handed the Blues’ away form a massive shot in the arm.
In contrast to the seven consecutive home wins that have propelled David Moyes’ team up the table, this was only their fourth league success on the road this season.
That it inflicted City’s first defeat in all competitions at Eastlands this term made the victory sweeter. In front of an increasingly anxious support, City missed the chance to go fourth and press their claims on finishing the season there. Everton meanwhile moved to within just three points of Liverpool who, inadvertently, they have given a boost. That, though, is of no concern to the Toffees whose own European dream took a step closer to reality here. But if their city neighbours still harbour Champions League ambitions is it a nonsense for Evertonians to think likewise? David Moyes was quick to rule that prospect out afterwards, preferring instead to set his sights on the Europa League. Following Saturday’s win over Bolton, Mikel Arteta declared that six wins from the remaining eight games should be enough to achieve that.
The target is now five from seven. On current form, and considering Everton’s run-in, it is hard to bet against that happening. With just two defeats in their last 17 league games, the Blues are the Premier League’s in-form team. The kind of momentum that was lacking earlier in the campaign is now gathering pace towards what promises to be a grand finale rather than an anti-climax. It’s an incredible turn around when you consider the position Everton found themselves in before Christmas. Moyes spoke this week of the harmful impact Joleon Lescott’s move to City had on his team’s start to the season. “Damage was done by that transfer,” said the Everton manager.
“I think it had a lot to do with how we started the season. “It wasn’t just injuries. It took us a long time to recover.” Just 14 points from their first 15 games was some period of mourning, especially when you consider how Everton had picked up more than double that amount – 29 points – in the 15 games prior to last night.
Indeed, it has been a season of two halves for Everton but to attribute this to Lescott is to pay the defender too much credit. Ask yourself – are the Blues really much worse off for losing him? With funds to bring in Sylvain Distin, Johnny Heitinga and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, you would have to say no. The way in which Distin and Phil Jagielka combined against City was as good a central defensive partnership seen at the club for some time. Carlos Tevez was transformed from first half menace to second half passenger and, other than a Roque Santa Cruz effort with 10 minutes remaining, Roberto Mancini’s side were restricted to little by way of goalscoring opportunities after the break. It was at that point when the restless natives began to up and leave.
A mass exodus soon followed when Mikel Arteta capitalised on tidy play from Jack Rodwell to seal City’s fate. They’d seen enough. Much more of this and thoughts of Mancini from Abu Dhabi may follow suit. With a reported get out clause in his contract should things not work out by the summer, the Italian’s stay may be a short one. While David Moyes embarks on his ninth year at Goodison, City are on their fifth manager in that time. Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearce, Sven Goran Eriksson and Mark Hughes have all come and gone after a crack at one of football’s hottest potatoes. When David Moyes mentioned the passion within his Everton squad ahead of this game he was pointing to a togetherness that has been garnered over time.
This was on display in abundance against City who, for all their billions, could again fall foul of their own short-termism. For Everton, it’s just a shame there isn’t longer to go.

City 0 Everton 2
Stuart Brennan , Manchester Evening News
March 24, 2010
It had to happen sometime. It was just that City badly needed for it not to happen now.
The Blues have been unbeaten at home since April 12 of last year, turning Eastlands into a fortress. But Everton, with a little help from an errant referee and a classy Spanish midfielder named Mikel Arteta, stormed the citadel and blew a hole in the Blues’ Champions League ambitions. After a run of seven points from three away games, the Blues were rubbing their hands at the prospect of playing six of their last nine league games on their own patch. So it was an irony that could only visit itself on City’s head which dictated that after discovering their best away form for three years, they should capitulate at home. This was the “Game in Hand” which has almost passed into fable, so long has it been tucked at the bottom of City’s fixture list, marked “to be arranged”. It was originally scheduled for the first week of the season, until Everton’s Europa League commitments got in the way.
That game in hand has sometimes acted as a stick with which to beat fourth place rivals, and at others like a lifeline, keeping City heads above the tumult of the Premier League storm. Now it has gone, and City must battle away with Spurs, Liverpool and Villa – and maybe even Everton – in the remaining games. And that would have been the perfect time to play David Moyes’ men, as they were disrupted by the impending departure of Joleon Lescott, hit by injuries to key trio Phil Jagielka, Mikel Arteta and Yakubu, and shell-shocked by a 6-1 Goodison bashing by Arsenal.
As it was, they have recovered to the point where they took the field at Eastlands as one of the Premier League’s form outfits. In fact, in 2010 only United and Arsenal have a better record. Mancini is fast turning the art of shock team selection into an art form. Any Blues foolish enough to have tried to pit their wits against the Italian this season, by trying to second-guess his starting eleven will have come a few croppers.
And, cometh the big game, cometh the biggest surprises. In from the cold came Stevie Ireland and Micah Richards, with Sunday goalscorer Roque Santa Cruz and Patrick Vieira – who had a decent match at Craven Cottage – making way.
Of course, the fact that Vieira is still not quite 100 per cent match sharp, and Santa Cruz had a calf problem, played a part. But Mancini also dumped Javier Garrido and played Pablo Zabaleta, the only man he has played in every single game of his City reign, at left back. Perhaps he was mindful of the fact that in the 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park in January, Everton had targeted the left side of the Blues defence, in the absence of Joleon Lescott and Wayne Bridge. With those two again injured, he preferred the hard-nosed Argentine defiance of Zabaleta to the more under-stated abilities of the Spaniard. There has been plenty of bad feeling between these clubs this season, and there was always a danger of it spilling over in a game with such high stakes. That ill temper was fuelled, rather than assuaged, by an incompetent display from referee Peter Walton. He set an off-key tone in the early stages, booking Carlos Tevez for hurling himself bodily in front of Phil Jagielka’s clearance, which was reckless rather than criminal and posed no threat to the Everton man. And then, in the space of two minutes, he denied Tevez two penalty shouts, one clear and the other less so. The first came from an inventive Stevie Ireland lob which had the Argentine one-on-one with Tim Howard – the City man nicked the ball past the keeper and then tumbled over his outstretched leg. Tevez probably helped the ref by climbing to his feet and getting on with the game. Moments later, Tevez nipped in front of Howard again, this time to get in a header, and was again bodily checked by the keeper. Mr Walton stood firm in his frailty once more. All the hustle and industry had come from City in the opening half-hour so, naturally, it was Everton who took the lead.
It came from a free kick close to the City by-line, taken by Mikel Arteta. City failed to track Leighton Baines – Adam Johnson took the rollicking for it – and his left foot cross was glanced home by Tim Cahill. But there was still time for one last flourish of nonsense from the official, when Tevez was professionally fouled by Arteta as he led a cavalry charge into the opposition half. No card for Arteta, but a yellow for Shay Given – not normally given over to histrionics – who ran 60 yards to make the point that Arteta’s challenge had been cynical in the extreme. The unpleasantness unsettled City and at the start of the second half Everton threatened to take control, with Arteta pulling the strings and Johnny Heitinga sitting deep and denying City any space in which to work. That forced Mancini into a change, with Adam Johnson – rather unluckily – the man to make way for Roque Santa Cruz. By that point, Everton had something on which they could bite, and have started to harbour wild dreams that they could yet break into the chase for the Champions League. They held on grimly against City pressure which was more about desperation than guile. And with the minutes ticking away, they delivered the knockout blow. Sub Jack Rodwell powered past Vincent Kompany and crossed for Arteta – the best player on the pitch by a country mile – to side-foot the second goal. And to heap ignominy on the injury, Mancini was sent to the stands for barging into his opposite number in a bid to retrieve the ball in added time.

Man City vs Everton
Last modified 22:45 24/03/10
The Daily Mirror match report by David McDonnell
Roberto Mancini believes he will remain in charge of Manchester City next season, even if they fail to clinch fourth spot. On the evidence of this limp display, the urbane Italian's self-assurance would appear to be wildly misplaced. A touchline bust-up with Everton boss David Moyes, which saw both managers sent off in added time, compounded a miserable night for Mancini and City. Unbeaten at home all season before last night, City's top-four pretensions were exposed by Everton, who dismantled Mancini's men with a performance of brutal efficiency. On the eve of the game, Moyes taunted City by claiming their bunch of expensively-assembled stars had no passion or empathy for their club, unlike his players. And Everton's players proved as good as their manager's word, extending their remarkable second half of the season revival to 29 points from a possible 39. What wouldn't Mancini give for the spirit and unity Moyes has been able to generate among his tight-knit Everton squad?
For while Moyes and his players left Eastlands with their reputations further enhanced, Mancini and his players were left to count the cost of a wasted opportunity to seize control of the race for fourth spot. Away wins at Chelsea and Fulham suggested City had developed the necessary steel to seize the initiative in the four-way race for the coveted final Champions League spot. But City's familiar old failings came back to haunt them, their fragile confidence shattered once they went behind to Tim Cahill's 33rd-minute goal, from which they were never able to recover.
With five of their eight remaining games at home, City should be in pole position to win the race for fourth. But their inherent Jekyll and Hyde nature means their long-suffering fans cannot take anything for granted. Two points behind fourth-placed Tottenham having played the same number of games, City may well look back on this night as the one on which their hopes of Champions League qualification died.
City began brightly as Everton found themselves pinned back in their own half for much of the first half-hour, until the home side fell victim to a sucker punch in the 33rd minute. Gareth Barry fouled Cahill close to the byline and City were slow to react to Everton's cleverly-worked free-kick. Taken swiftly by Mikel Arteta, Everton's playmaker found Leighton Baines lurking unmarked on the edge of the City area.
Baines whipped a first-time cross into the congested penalty area and Cahill reacted quickest, his glancing header flying past Shay Given. If conceding was cruel on City, who had dominated up until that point, it was a classic lesson in the need to convert chances you create and the danger of collectively switching-off. Angered at perceived injustices, City keeper Shay Given was booked for racing from his goal to the halfway line to berate ref Peter Walton for failing to book Arteta for a foul on Tevez.
It was absurd conduct from Given, despite his and City's anger towards Walton, who was subjected to a torrent of boos at half-time, as well as a glower from Mancini.
Yet for all City's sense of grievance, they only had themselves to blame for trailing at the break, having lost concentration for Everton's opener. City put Everton under sustained pressure after the hour mark, but lacked the required conviction in front of the target to get back on level terms. And when substitute Jack Rodwell beat Vincent Kompany in the 85th minute to square the ball for Cahill, his clever dummy allowed Arteta to steer the ball past Given to seal the win. Then came the touchline bust-up which saw both bosses sent-off. Mancini, angered at what he saw as time-wasting by Moyes, tried to wrestle the ball from the Everton boss. Mancini barged Moyes and after the City boss continued to berate his opposite number, both were banished to the tunnel, where they stood sheepishly side-by-side. It was a dramatic end to a night which proved money is no guarantee of success. City have lots of it, Everton have very little, but only one side looked remotely like top-four material.

Everton's Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta cut Manchester City down to size
Andy Hunter at the City of Manchester Stadium
Wednesday 24 March The Guardian
If the aim was to divert attention from Manchester City's Champions League candidature then Roberto Mancini must be thrilled with the impact of his laughable altercation with David Moyes. It was to be his only tangible reward from a night when City's credentials as a top-four side were exposed as fundamentally flawed by ruthless, relentless Everton A first home league defeat of the season, the failure to usurp Tottenham in fourth place and, on the other side of the coin, another step forward on Everton's impressive late surge were all overshadowed by the stoppage-time incident that saw Mancini barge into Moyes and go eyeball to eyeball with the imposing Scot. And he twice came back for more. A possible FA charge awaits while psychologists consider whether the Italian's over-reaction is a sign of unbearable pressure. The immediate hysterics should not disguise from City's failings, however. Blunt in attack despite dominating possession, and vulnerable in defence whenever tested, this was not a performance to promote an application to the European elite. Everton were found wanting on neither score. "What you should be talking about was the performance of Everton tonight," said Moyes, who was sent to the stands with Mancini by the referee Peter Walton. "Spirit, quality football - that should be the only talking point." He has a point. In fact, with 29 from the last 39 available, the Everton manager has more than enough to resent a start to the season that was ruined by injury and, as he claimed once again last night, City's protracted summer pursuit of Joleon Lescott. This may have been a result to unite both halves of Merseyside, but Liverpool will not savour what is coming up given their current form. It should not escape Moyes, or City, that Everton's textbook away victory was based on the pillars of John Heitinga and Sylvain Distin, two men bought with the proceeds of Lescott's sale. Combined with the flair and penetration of Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta, who scored well-worked team goals in either half, the visitors possessed the ingenuity and solidity City lacked. With Manchester United, Arsenal, Villa and Tottenham to come for Mancini's team, they need to find both qualities fast. There was needle to accompany the incentive to this occasion even before the managers' tete-a-tete. Three former United players in the Everton ranks, Moyes' pre-match claim that City do not have the collective spirit he has engendered at Goodison Park, and a commanding Everton win when the sides last met in January made for a volatile atmosphere. Completing the explosive brew was the referee, whose laudable attempt to allow the game to flow unfortunately left him open to accusations of inconsistency - particularly from the home crowd and Mancini - once the yellow cards began to appear. Not that all the complaints were wrong, however, with Heitinga's challenge from behind on Stephen Ireland forcing the increasingly influential Irishman out of the game and signalling the end of City's dominant first-half spell. Tim Howard, the Everton goalkeeper, saved from Micah Richards, Carlos Tevez, who was booked for diving head-first into Phil Jagielka's leg as the defender cleared his lines, Craig Bellamy and Tevez once more as City's pressure appeared to be heading towards a breakthrough. Predictably, the team under siege got it. Walton infuriated the home ranks when he awarded Everton a dangerous free-kick on the left of the City area after a nudge by Gareth Barry on Cahill. Everton's prowess in such situations is well established and despite the seven sky-blue shirts packing the six-yard box, they produced once more, Arteta rolling a short pass square to Leighton Baines, whose driven cross was glanced home by Cahill. City were distracted by their own frustrations. Mancini brandished an imaginary card as Steven Pienaar escaped a booking for exacting revenge on Richards, a classless act that drew a furious response from Moyes, while Shay Given sprinted into Everton's half to demand similar punishment for Arteta when the Spaniard also failed to merit a mention in Walton's book. Given was rewarded for his 80-yard dash with a booking of his own. Of greater concern for Mancini was his side's inability to turn sustained pressure into openings. Indeed it was Everton who presented the greater danger and five minutes from time, with an exquisite move, they made victory secure. Jack Rodwell spun away from Vincent Kompany and had the presence of mind to pick out Cahill as he surged into the area. The Australian dummied, and Arteta arrived from behind to place a low right-foot shot through Given's grasp. All over bar the handbags.

Man City 0, Everton 2: Expectation rising for Blues European return
Mar 25 2010 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
IT IS a losing battle. The more David Moyes attempts to dampen expectations at Goodison, the more Everton make life difficult for their manager. Eager to ease the burden of hope on his improving players, Moyes has been at pains to play down talk of a late charge for European qualification. But surely this outstanding victory in inflicting a first home defeat of the season on Champions League-chasing Manchester City must force the Everton manager to reconsider his opinion. Certainly, trying to contain the growing excitement among Evertonians will prove a futile task with the Premier League’s in-form team now only three points adrift of sixth place and a Europa League berth. That it is neighbours Liverpool who occupy that position will act as further incentive to Moyes’s men during the final seven games of a season that still promises the tangible reward of a fourth successive European qualification.
The convincing manner of this deserved triumph over a City side harbouring genuine top-four aspirations will no doubt lead to the pondering of what might have been but for the travails of early season. But never mind the laments of ‘what if’ that have cursed Everton for much of the campaign. Here, right now, thanks to a run of only two defeats in 17 Premier League games, is an opportunity for this squad to make their impressive winter revival worthwhile. City must be sick of the sight of Tim Cahill. For the third time in six seasons, the Australian popped up to score in this fixture, his seventh goal of the campaign and, remarkably, the ninth goal in succession the Australian has scored with his head. His winners in 2004 and 2008 were both vigorously celebrated – the former so much that Cahill was sent off – but this may prove an even more significant strike, the midfielder later paving the way for Mikel Arteta to seal victory with a brilliant team effort five minutes from time.
Cahill was the pick of an impressive bunch. Tim Howard resolute in goal. Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka unshakeable at the heart of defence. John Heitinga indomitable in central midfield. Steven Pienaar and Arteta industrious and intelligent. Louis Saha hard-working in attack. Although having racked up a club record seventh successive home Premier League win with Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Bolton Wanderers, Everton had won only one of the last nine top-flight games on their travels before last night. Now this win can filed alongside those against Manchester United and Chelsea as a sign Moyes’s men are on the verge of making that final step to compete with the leading lights on a regular basis. There was a needlessly messy end to proceedings when Moyes was unlucky to be sent to the stands along with City manager Roberto Mancini after the pair clashed on the touchline during injury time.
But how the Scot will have enjoyed this victory, Everton’s third in a row at Eastlands and one that secured a league double over City following the similar 2-0 home triumph in January. The Goodison manager has always contended Joleon Lescott’s protracted, acrimonious departure in August contributed to his team’s poor start to the campaign, and he couldn’t resist further stoking the antagonism between the teams before the game by questioning whether City’s players had the passion to play for their club. Those comments raised City’s ire and helped set the tone for a fractious first half in which the home team and their supporters grew increasingly outraged at the performance of referee Walton, none more so than in the 33rd minute when Everton went ahead. Gareth Barry could consider himself a little hard done by to concede a free-kick on the left flank near the byline when tussling for possession with Cahill. Arteta lined up the free-kick but, instead of centring, cut the ball back for Leighton Baines to shoot into the crowded penalty area where, to rub further salt into City’s wound, Cahill diverted beyond Shay Given with his head. The goal came just when City had started to threaten after a cat-and-mouse opening quarter. Their first chance came on 17 minutes when, from Pablo Zabaleta’s left-wing cross, Micah Richards rose highest and looped a header that Tim Howard palmed away before thumping against the post. Stephen Ireland’s pass over the top then released Tevez but Howard did enough in his challenge with the striker to take the pace off the ball, allowing Jagielka to mop up. But City’s frustrations were encapsulated in first-half injury time when Arteta brought down a rampaging Tevez near the halfway line. Given sprinted more than 50 yards to protest at the Everton man not being booked – and was promptly shown the yellow card. The home side lost Ireland through injury shortly before the break, and their enforced reshuffle gave further impetus to Everton, who began the second half the brighter. After a Leon Osman shot was deflected narrowly wide following a poor City clearance, Cahill was only inches away with a sumptuous 20-yard chip that beat Given but dropped narrowly wide. City’s nerves were exacerbated by the anxiety of their supporters, which suited Everton who were content to sit back, soak up any pressure and look to hit on the counter-attack.
Indeed, Howard didn’t have a save to make. And the win was sealed five minutes from time when substitute Jack Rodwell raced down the right flank away from Zabaleta into the area and crossed low for Cahill to allow the ball to roll into the path of Arteta, who rifled in. “Lescott, what’s the score?” sang Everton’s fans to the centre-back, sat injured in the stands. He, like Moyes, knows Europe could yet come to Goodison again next season.

From The Times
March 25, 2010
Roberto Mancini and David Moyes see red in touchline tantrum as City slump at home
Manchester City 0 Everton 2
David Moyes may have played dumb but the Cheshire cat grin gave the game away. The Everton manager knew exactly what he was doing when, on the eve of this tempestuous encounter, he suggested that Manchester City’s players did not “know what it means” to play for the club and, in the same breath, claimed that they had yet to prove they were anything but a rich man’s plaything. The trap was set and City, like their manager, Roberto Mancini, walked straight into it. The ensuing result, a thoroughly deserved victory for Everton that showcased all their best qualities, raised fresh questions about City’s prospects of finishing in the top four while giving yet another boost to Everton’s dramatic late bid for Champions League football.
It was City’s first defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium since April and ended the Barclays Premier League’s only unbeaten home record this season. Mancini has cut a cool and composed figure during his three months in English football, but last night he lost it, the Italian’s angry beeline for Moyes in stoppage time providing the first evidence that the pressure of the run-in may be starting to take its toll on the former Inter Milan coach. “During the game there is pressure but it’s finished now,” Mancini said, after he and Moyes were sent to the stands for an unsavoury confrontation on the touchline when the Italian knocked the ball out of Moyes’s hands. “I’m sorry. The referee sent me off but I don’t think there’s anything in it.” Moyes was dismayed by Mancini’s attempts during the game to get his players booked by influencing the referee, Peter Walton. “Next time I might just let the ball run through me,” he said. “I caught it because I was making a substitution. I thought I was helping. I, by the way, wasn’t the one waving imaginary yellow cards around. I don’t know what I said that was supposed to have upset them.” After they were sent off, the drama turned to comedy when they were forced to wait alongside each other for a lift to take them to the stands that never came. Instead, both agreed to head back down the tunnel to catch the last seconds of a match that had threatened to boil over from the moment that Everton were awarded a dubious free kick from which they took the lead in the 33th minute. Gareth Barry dispossessed Tim Cahill as the Everton forward attempted to zip past him down the left, but Walton adjudged the tackle to be a foul. From the resulting free kick, Mikel Arteta played the ball short to Leighton Baines, who was allowed far too much time to whip the ball at pace into a mêlée of players and Cahill, with Vincent Kompany standing off, could not have asked for an easier header.
City had had the best of it until then, with Carlos Tévez shining, but as the game wore on, the home team began to lose their heads. Time and again they took exception to Walton’s decisions, with Shay Given one of several players booked after the City goalkeeper had raced 40 yards to remonstrate with the referee over one challenge by Arteta on Tévez. Moyes may have dismissed his team’s chances of finishing fourth this season, but given that only Manchester United have taken more points from the past 13 matches in the league, the chances of their causing a monumental upset cannot be ruled out. In many respects, they are a lowbudget version of the Chelsea team that José Mourinho built. Organised, disciplined and dogged but not without flair, City never seemed like breaking their resistance, despite playing much of the second half in a 4-2-4 formation. For all that money can buy, the kind of unity and team spirit Moyes has forged at Everton only comes with time. Micah Richards had a header saved by Tim Howard and Tévez was also thwarted by the American, but City created little else. Everton soaked up the pressure and Arteta scored after 85 minutes to seal the win. Job done.
Manchester City (4-1-4-1): S Given — M Richards (sub: P Vieira, 75min), K Touré, V Kompany, P Zabaleta — N de Jong — A Johnson (sub: R Santa Cruz, 57), S Ireland (sub: S Wright-Phillips, 41), G Barry, C Bellamy — C Tévez. Substitutes not used: S Taylor, N Onuoha, J Garrido, Sylvinho. Booked: Tévez, Given, De Jong.
Everton (4-1-4-1): T Howard — P Neville, P Jagielka, S Distin, L Baines — J Heitinga — L Osman, T Cahill, M Arteta (sub: J Yobo, 90), S Pienaar — L Saha (sub: J Rodwell, 72). Substitutes not used: C Nash, A Hibbert, D Bilyaletdinov, D Gosling, Yakubu Ayegbeni. Booked: Heitinga, Pienaar.
Referee: P Walton.

Howard Kendall: Everton FC’s Jack Rodwell reminds me of a young Franz Beckenbauer
Mar 26 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
ANOTHER game, another match-changing cameo from Jack Rodwell. The youngster is a real talent and David Moyes is nursing him along nicely just like he did with the wonder boy from Croxteth. I don’t doubt that one day he will be the first name on David’s team sheet. It’s vital people don’t put too much pressure on him. But having said that, he reminds me of a young Franz Beckenbauer. They have got similar physiques and Beckenbauer started off by proving himself in midfield before reverting to the role which helped him make such a massive reputation for himself.
I can see Rodwell following a similar path and his future is defensive for me – but at the moment he is having a very positive impact in the centre and getting forward. Long may it continue. He has proved that to go with all his other attributes, he can set up goals and chip in with vital strikes as well, especially against Manchester United.
What an option it is to have him sitting there hungry on the bench!
Game by game:Everton FC’s race for a Europa League spot analysed
Mar 26 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL Arteta summed up the magnitude of the task Everton face to qualify for Europe as he received plaudits for his spectacular free-kick against Bolton.
Asked by the Press whether he believed the Blues were in the mix for the Europa League, he declared they needed six wins from their remaining eight games. It was not feigned pessimism, simply an honest assessment of the facts. A stuttering start to the season with all its injury woe has left Everton outsiders for a top-six finish, despite their scintillating late form. Previous back-to-back fifth-placed achievements have come on the back of far more balanced campaigns, albeit both with slow starts.
But for a team that were still being spoken of as potential relegation candidates before November, Moyes’ men have gone on an outstanding run to even be in contention.
The possibility of finishing the season on a high remains tantalisingly possible.
The Scot has said that scraping into Europe once again would be among his finest achievements at Everton, given their other problems this season. Until now he has been reluctant to even talk about it, but his side’s latest victory – taking three points from Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City on Wednesday night – has got everyone in football sitting up and taking notice. Evertonians may be looking forward to next year as the time when a top four gate-crashing could happen again. But they should not to give up on this season just yet. Everton’s run-in includes only one encounter with a Euro rival, a tricky visit to Aston Villa, and although clashes with Fulham and Stoke will be far from easy, their last games are eminently winnable. The Blues play a Wolves side at Molineux on the crest of a wave. Mick McCarthy’s men will be on a high after their comprehensive victory over West Ham which all but ensured them an extended stay in the top flight. They have already been a thorn in Everton’s side this season, grabbing a draw at Goodison as the Blues stuttered back in October. The Toffees may be ready to go on an away run now though, and will hope to exploit the Midlanders less than water-tight defence. In-form Kevin Doyle could pose a threat.
The Hammers are fighting for their Premier League lives, with David Sullivan describing relegation as “Armageddon”. But the East Londoners will be smarting from the fortuitous win Everton stole at Upton Park in November, thanks to goals from Louis Saha and Dan Gosling. Gianfranco Zola’s side have tried to play their way out of trouble, so Everton may need to soak up their passing and hit them on the break.
So brittle is the Hammers’ confidence, that an early Everton goal could seal the clash.
This is the game when Everton can become masters of their own fate. Easily the most difficult fixture of the run-in, the Blues will have to be at their very best to get anything from Villa Park. Martin O’Neill’s side will be desperate not to allow themselves to be over-taken at the last gasp by the Toffees as they were last season.
Crucially Everton may have the psychological edge. If they have managed to get on level pegging points-wise with the Villains by then, they have the vital experience of clinging on under pressure. The trip to Ewood Park will be classed as one of the easier games in Everton’s run-in. Rovers are going nowhere – safe from relegation but unable to bother the top six. Sam Allardyce will have to use all of his motivational powers to keep his men focused, and Everton are bound to have the greater hunger.
Surely Rovers must present a sterner challenge than they did at Goodison in September though, when Everton enjoyed a rare early season highlight by whipping them 3-0. Concentration will be key so the Blues don’t slip-up. Fulham are on the same points total so far as Blackburn, but Roy Hodgson’s men are one of the league’s form teams. Their remarkable triumph over Juventus in the Europa League had Evertonians watching in envy, as the Craven Cottage side marched into the quarter-finals. Ironically, David Moyes will hope Fulham are distracted by Europe, and Everton are able to use a tasty Goodison atmosphere to roar them on to victory. Phil Neville in particular will relish the clash, after Dickson Etuhu’s tackle at Craven Cottage ruled him out for a chunk of the season. Stoke at the Britannia Stadium are one of the Premier League’s toughest prospects this season. The Potteries scrappers are all but safe again, but Tony Pulis is unlikely to let his bruisers relax. It will be the most physically demanding game of the race for Europe, and Moyes would probably take a point now. But the Scot may well hit the road needing the win and his own hard men like John Heitinga and Phil Jagielka must be as uncompromising as ever. Stoke forced a draw at Goodison and will fancy their chances. Any victory is likely to be by a short margin. Already staring a bleak future in the face Portsmouth are at a low ebb.
But with impending doom comes a degree of liberation. Avram Grant will tell his men to enjoy their football and reward their loyal fans with a spirited farewell to the top flight. Everton can afford no time for sentiment. They must set-out to crush Pompey like Chelsea and other top four sides have done. If the Blues need three points from this clash to qualify for the Europa League it will represent both a good opportunity – and a huge banana skin.

Howard Kendall: Everton FC can hit fourth spot next year
Mar 26 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
NEVER mind handbags, it was scarves at 10 paces when Roberto Mancini squared up to David Moyes on Wednesday. But the Italian’s frustration was clearly because he knew his side had been well beaten by a proper team. It goes to prove that you can’t solve problems that City have quickly, regardless of how much money you spend. Going out and buying expensive individuals is nothing like building a team when you’ve been given time to mould the players you really want. But Everton have not only got a strong first XI now. I was very impressed with the bench yet again against Manchester City. Tony Hibbert, Joseph Yobo, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to name just a few – genuine strength in depth. Earlier in the season it was just kids and they were being asked to come on and do men’s jobs; but now David can change games effectively as he has been showing. The start of the season was such a pity, but Evertonians should be very optimistic. Firstly, they have an interesting end to the season to look forward to when Europe is still on the table, but next season is all set to be very promising. It will be exciting times. I can see Everton challenging for fourth and hopefully winning a trophy as well. The way they are playing out this season shows they are as good as anybody on their day. You would like to think that Everton will not be as unlucky again with injuries as they have been this season.
The race is on for now though, and with them proving they can scrap when needed against Bolton and play as well, all bets are off.

David Prentice: Everton FC set for more twists and turns
Mar 26 2010 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WELCOME to Everton, the king of the plot twists. The Blues don’t like to signpost their successful sides. Like Bruce Willis’s ghostly realisation, Charlton Heston stumbling across a sand-blasted Statue of Liberty or Kevin Costner suddenly talking Russian in No Way Out (sorry if I’ve spoiled that one for you, but you’ve had 23 years to see it) it’s the Everton way to shock and startle. Who saw 1984 coming?
Not the appalled Evertonians who booed their team off the pitch on New Year’s Eve 1983 after the infamous Coventry bore draw. The Blues won more points in the following calendar year than any other team. What about 2005? Everton became the last team to break up the top four monopoly, after collecting the lowest effective points tally in the club’s history just three months earlier. Oh, and selling their best two players. Even the team Dixie Dean led to League and FA Cup triumphs in 1932 and 1933 suffered the ignominy of being the first Everton team ever relegated just 12 months previously. Not many predicted an Everton victory at Eastlands on Wednesday. Certainly not the bookies who went 3/1 on the away win.
But again Everton produced the plot twist. And there could be more to come.
David Moyes has consistently wished he could turn back the clock and start 2009-10 from scratch. But if he’s learned the lessons from the autumn of broken dreams, Everton could once again be on the cusp of a startling rise. Only Manchester United have collected more points than the Blues since January. So while 2009 ended like, well, like 1983, this year is rapidly resembling 1984. There won’t be an FA Cup win to celebrate, of course, while the Blues still have issues to attend to this summer.
They still look a striker short of a top class squad, with Louis Saha inconsistently available and Yakubu struggling to regain his once reliable goal threat.
The pace and directness Landon Donovan offered needs also replacing, while it is tobe hoped that Jan Mucha will be the promising young keeper who keeps Tim Howard on his toes. But there are also positives. Unlike many of their rivals, David Moyes will have key players watching the World Cup and resting rather than burning out. Tim Cahill, Steven Pienaar and Johnny Heitinga might have a long, arduous summer – but Mikel Arteta, Jack Rodwell, Marouane Fellaini and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov won’t. If Everton can enjoy a profitable pre-season, there’s no reason why they can’t kick-off 2010-11 the way they’re ending this campaign.
Of course there’s still seven games remaining for the Blues to convince us that they’re the real deal – but the fixture list doesn’t hold any hand grenades. Unlike Tottenham, who must face Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United – before a possible shoot-out with Manchester City. Or City themselves who have to play Manchester United, Arsenal, AstonVilla and Spurs. Or Villa who have to handle Chelsea, Birmingham and Manchester City. That little logjam suggests the Blues may just surprise us even before next season gets underway. But that’s the Everton way. The exception, of course, was Harry Catterick’s ‘School of Science’ which spent two seasons edging closer and closer to the summit before dominating 1969-70. But generally, the Blues are the unexpected interlopers who suddenly gatecrash a title-chasing party. In 1937-38 Everton produced a late flurry to finish 14th. Three months later? The Blues came out of the blocks like Usain Bolt with six successive wins and were never lower than second on the way to a famous title triumph. If 2009 lulled us into a false sense of expectation – with the humbling by Arsenal, the battering at Benfica and the undoubted nadir, the first-half horror at Hull – 2010 could be the year that catches us all unawares. So the lesson is clear. If you want a plot twist to take your breath away, either read James Ellroy’s 1988 crime noir masterpiece, The Big Nowhere....
...Or buy a Blues season ticket.

Everton FC star Leon Osman hails Leighton Baines as player of the season
Mar 26 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN today hailed Mr Consistent Leighton Baines as Everton’s player of the season after the defender’s latest assist helped topple Manchester City.
Osman believes his team-mate, who crossed for Tim Cahill’s opening goal on Wednesday, is one of the driving factors behind Everton’s late push for Europe. Baines has been an almost ever-present for Everton, playing all but one of the club’s 31 league games so far and contributing nine assists from left-back in all competitions. Osman said: “You’d have to say Leighton Baines has been the most consistent player. He’s played every minute of almost every game and when we were struck down with injuries he was there consistently every game. “He has put in the quality of performances which have now got him recognised by England, which is fantastic. He has been our best player in the season.” Baines was capped for the first time by Fabio Capello, playing the duration of England’s recent win over Egypt earlier this month. He also shone in Everton’s victory over Bolton last weekend, when Osman returned after missing one game through injury.He said: “Me being me I was disappointed to be on the bench for the Bolton game after missing one game.
“I understood why. I’d missed one and the team played really well so you can’t expect to get back in the team when we’ve got a squad like we’ve got now, but I was pleased to be involved on the bench and coming on and playing a part in the game.”
Meanwhile, American youngsters Cody Arnoux and Anton Peterlin have joined Motherwell on trial. The pair arrived on Merseyside at the start of this season having played in the US league. They have been playing for the Toffees' reserve side but Motherwell boss Craig Brown has decided to take a look at midfielder Peterlin and striker Arnoux. The pair played in a friendly win over a Celtic XI earlier this week, and Brown said: “The two lads from Everton coped well, particularly Cody, who led the line and caused them problems. “David Moyes is probably going to have to recall Lukas Jutkiewicz at the end of the season, so we're taking a look at these lads to see if they're worth a shout.” Moyes is also waiting to hear whether he will face any disciplinary action from the FA, after a touchline bust-up with Roberto Mancini.

Everton FC fan tycoon George Downing thrown out of Manchester City
Mar 26 2010 By Samantha Parker
EVERTON FC fan and Merseyside property tycoon George Downing was unceremoniously thrown out of a Man City directors box after the game on Wednesday. Mr Downing was a guest of Everton FC at the clash when he made a joke about fans singing “2-0 and we’ve spent f*** all” which appears to have been taken the wrong way by Man City chief executive Garry Cook. After the 2-0 Everton win at The City of Manchester stadium multi-millionaire Mr Downing and his wife were told they were no longer welcome in the box and they left. Everton’s chief executive Robert Elston demanded an explanation from Mr Cook as Mr Downing was at the match as guest of Everton. Mr Downing today told the ECHO that the matter is closed. It is understood that he has received an apology. Mr Downing is Liverpool’s largest commercial landlord. He owns the Port of Liverpool building and the Capital Building.

McCarthy taking nothing for granted
Friday 26th March 2010, The Express and Star
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has warned fans not to start popping the champagne corks to celebrate survival. The manager sends his cock-a-hoop side to face form team Everton tomorrow at an expectant Molineux, after seven points out of nine on the road which has left them seven points clear of the drop with seven games left.
While Wolves host Everton before a first trip to the Emirates to face Arsenal, Burnley have successive home games against Blackburn and Manchester City while Hull entertain Fulham before travelling to Stoke. But McCarthy insists his players daren’t contemplate the stylish football that swamped the Hammers without winning the battle first. He said: “I hope the fans were celebrating the result and nothing else, because how quickly could it turn around? “If Hull and Burnley win two games and we don’t get anything out of tomorrow and then go down to Arsenal, it could be so different. It’s dangerous ground that, because this is another game.
“We’re not getting carried away – do people think we’re quaffing champagne and smoking cigars? Do me a favour. Everyone is blowing smoke up our rears at the moment. “Once you start feeling like that outwardly, that’s when you get a slap. We could get our backsides kicked against Everton, because the Premier League is like that. “You can get results through style, but we’ve done it with hard work and if you get ahead that way in a game where the other team is suffering and the fans are giving them stick, you get that bit of confidence to pass it. “But you have to earn the right to do that. We’ll have to work twice as hard against Everton and then Arsenal.
“If you start off tomorrow like we did for periods against West Ham when we played with a bit of style we’ll get slapped. “If we start off doing all the negative, horrible jobs properly such as beating them up, winning the fight, being in their half and in their faces, turning them around, putting them under pressure, being solid, not giving anything away, we can get a foothold in the game. “But don’t start thinking we’re going out to play football otherwise we’ll get turned over.”

Everton top class foes for Berra
Thursday 25th March 2010,The Express and Star
Defender Christophe Berra has admitted Wolves will face “top-class” opposition when Everton threaten their unbeaten run on Saturday. Boss Mick McCarthy and his squad returned to Compton today anxious to transfer their fantastic away form of seven points from nine to Molineux, where they kick off four of their last seven games starting with the visit of the cock-a-hoop Toffees this weekend. David Moyes’s in-form side made it a third huge scalp with last night’s 2-0 win over Manchester City to add to their recent victories over title-chasing Chelsea and Manchester United and underline the scale of Wolves’ task. Berra said: “It was a massive three points against West Ham, but we’re back in today now and preparing for Everton. They’re a top class team who had a difficult start to the season but have picked up really well and are flying at the moment. “They’ve got some of their top players back like Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka, so it’s going to be a difficult game. The gaffer will be asking for us to carry on doing what we’ve been doing in these last few games. “If we can do that then I’m sure we can get something out of the game. There are 21 points left to play for and there’s still a long way to go. We’ve got to keep pushing to pick up as many points as possible and if we can do that hopefully it will see us safe.
“We’re still taking things one game at a time and so at the moment that’s Everton.”
Berra admitted the ease in which Wolves beat the Hammers 3-1 on Tuesday surprised him. He said: “It was a great away performance. We expected a tough game but with the way we played it ended up being quite comfortable. “West Ham have got some quality players and on their day Carlton Cole and Benni McCarthy can be deadly, but we handled them well and ended up disappointed to concede a goal at the end.”
The Scotland international revelled in some of the flowing football Wolves played at Upton Park. He said: “We started the game really well and kept them quiet and that gave us the chance to play some football. There was one move in the first half where there were loads of passes and it finished up with Jonah having a shot which went out for a corner. “And the goals we scored in the second half were both good moves from counter-attacks.”

Everton FC linked to Dinamo Zagreb striker Mario Mandzukic
Mar 26 2010 By David Randles Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON have been linked with a move for Dinamo Zagreb striker Mario Mandzukic. Manager David Moyes sent a team of scouts to watch the Croatia striker in Dinamo’s goalless draw with Hadjuk Split in the first leg of the Nogometni Cup semi-finals. Mandzukic is said to be attracting interest from a host of Prenier League clubs including Arsenal and Tottenham, while Bundesliga side Werder Bremen are also following his progress. The 23-year-old Croatian international is the second striker to come on to Everton’s radar recently with the club also interested in Portugal under-20s wonderkid Joao Silva. Any moves for a striker will cast doubt over Yakubu’s future at the club. The Nigerian international has struggled with form and fitness since returing from a lengthy injury lay-off after rupturing his achilles tendon in November 2008. Yakubu has scored just four goals this season and could be deemed surplus to requirements should Moyes bring in a younger striker to support Louis Saha. Meanwhile Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany has defended Robert Mancini’s role in a touchline fracas with David Moyes on Wednesday night. The City manager and Moyes were facing disciplinary action from the FA last night after an altercation in the technical area during injury time of Everton’s 2-0 win at Eastlands saw both men sent off. The FA were awaiting referee Peter Walton’s report from the game before deciding whether to act. Mancini and Moyes played down the incident afterwards, with the Italian admitting he has apologised to the Everton manager.
Midfielder Kompany believes Mancini let his desire to succeed get the better of him but was simply showing how much he cares. “Everyone at this club is passionate and wants to bring success so there will be times when emotion takes over,” said the Belgium international. “The boss showed how much he cares and I don’t see a problem with what he did. “We were losing and he wanted to get the ball back in play, that was all there was to it. I think too much has been made of it already.”

Joleon Lescott praises David Moyes and tips Everton FC for a strong finish to the season
Mar 26 2010 by David Randles, Liverpool Daily Post
WHETHER David Moyes has forgiven Joleon Lescott for leaving Everton high and dry last summer isn’t clear. He certainly hasn’t forgotten. In the lead up to Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Manchester City, the Everton manager laid bare his feelings about one of the summer’s most drawn out, if not messy, transfer sagas.
In a nutshell, Moyes fingered Lescott’s defection to the other end of the M62 for its impact on Everton’s poor start to the season. To lay sole blame at the wantaway defender’s door for a run that yielded just 14 points from 15 league games seems a little bit harsh. Of course, that wasn’t Moyes’ intention but rather how his comments were reported in certain quarters. The Everton manager went on to state how Lescott had been ‘a good fit’ at Goodison and was disappointed to see him leave. A Premier League double over Lescott’s new club will have gone some way to easing the pain, not that the former Everton player had any say in the matter. Injuries forced him out of this week’s encounter, as was the case in December when, again, Everton prospered 2-0. But to prove their are no hard feelings on Lescott’s part he has spoken highly of Moyes and his former club. As Everton prepare to face another of Lescott’s previous club’s, Wolverhampton Wanderers tomorrow, the England defender has tipped his old club for a strong finish to the season. “David Moyes has done a great job for them,” said Lescott. “He’s been the most consistent manager outside the top four. But people tend to underestimate what the players have done as well. “The players have played a massive part in what’s been achieved. They’re a great bunch to work with, and I know Moyes enjoys working with them every day.” Moyes concluded his thoughts by announcing the chapter is now closed. Just as we’ve seen with Wayne Rooney this season, time is a great healer. Although it ended on a sour note, Lecsott reflects on three seasons at Goodison that witnessed his transformation from Championship prospect to England international. He has a lot to thank Moyes for. “I’ve followed what’s been happening at Everton since I left,” says the 27-year-old. “ I had three good years there. I’ve got a lot of good friends there, not just football friends but friends in life. “They’re in good form but that’s not surprising. They’ve got great players. I didn’t think it would be too long before they started to do well. “The way they started the season, they were without Jags, Mikel Arteta, the Yak, and I’d joined City. “All four of us had played a big part in the previous year, so it was going to be a big loss. “But the players that came in hav done exceptionally well, and the injured players are back fit now.” It is no coincidence that Everton’s rise up the table has corresponded with the return of key players such as Arteta, who has been in tremendous form in recent weeks. His goal against City to double the visitors’ advantage was his fourth in as many games. The Spaniard will be looking to extend his tally at Molineux tomorrow where Everton face Wolves who will have their tails up from a comprehensive 3-1 win at Upton Park on Tuesday night. The win moved Mick McCarthy’s side four points away from the cash-strapped Hammers who, despite their recent takeover, are in all sorts of trouble just three points about the relegation zone. Everton paid Wolves £5m for Lescott before reluctantly taking City’s £22m for the player. Although Lescott opted to move on to pastures new, Moyes spoke this week of the continuity within his squad that has enabled him to develop a group of players who know and respect the values of playing for Everton. The Goodison outfit are by no means among the elite when it comes to financial outlay but at least there is a healthy stability, something that most Premier League clubs should envy. Not Wolves though, who have also created a sound footing for themselves by operating within their means, a point manager McCarthy has alluded to. “Does it help having stability off the pitch? Of course it does,” he said. “In any working environment it helps. You like to have a relationship which is stable and your working life is just the same. “I felt for Gianfranco Zola the other night. He has had all those issues going on and we’ve had none. “We turn up and we’ve had no problems with the board, no problems with administration, no problems financially and we can concentrate on football. I don’t think footballers should get wrapped up in it but they do and in the dressing room they start talking about it, chipping away at it, and it can have an effect on performances.” Moyes and McCarthy should have plenty to discuss this weekend. While just two defeats from their last 17 league games places Everton as the in-form team in the Premier League, Wolves too have been enjoying a decent run of late. The win at West Ham made it three games unbeaten for the Black Country side, who have picked up seven points from the last possible nine courtesy of a 2-1 win at Burnley followed by an admirable draw at home to high-flying Aston Villa.
McCarthy has been bouyed by the upturn in results which he sees as a sign of his players coming of age in the top flight. “You have to improve in this league if you’re in it – physically, mentally, technically and emotionally – all those things you get better at,” he said. “We came into the season with very little Premier League experience, some of them have got better and matured to the belief in themselves that they can play in the Premier League. Not just survive, but also compete against teams who are supposedly better than us.” Everton will be expected to beat Wolves to keep up their late charge on a Europa League place. However, a 1-0 win over Champions League hopefuls, Tottenham, last month prior to a close-run 1-0 loss to Manchester United suggest Wolves are up for the fight at Molineux. A 1-1 draw at Goodison in October will remind Everton’s travelling party that last season’s runaway Championship winners have every intention of extending their stay in the Premier League. Adds McCarthy: “If you’d have asked me whether we’d have got nine points from those three away games, I’d have said ‘no’ but if you’d asked if I’d settled for three, I’d have said ‘yes.’ “We still need some more points. I’ve congratulated the players on their performances, just the same as they get a flea in their ear if they don’t perform. “But there is still work to do. We can’t take our foot off the gas and think we’re a Premier League club for the foreseeable future, because we have to get more points. “We are all together in this, they have put good performances in and had fabulous results.”

Wolves v Everton: Bill Howell's pre match notes and stats
Mar 26 2010 The Birmingham Mail
WHO’S HOT: After seven points from three away games, they’re all smokin’.
WHO’S NOT: Does anyone remember Richard Stearman? No, neither do I.
WOLVES (4-5-1): Hahnemann; Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi; Foley, Mancienne, Henry, Jones, Jarvis; Doyle. Subs (from): Guedioura, Milijas, Castillo, Stearman, Mujangi Bia, Ward, Halford, Hennessey, Surman, Vokes, Keogh, Edwards, Iwelumo. Injured: Murray (knee), Kightly (ankle).
THE OPPOSITION: Just five points off a Champions League spot following their superb win at Man City, where David Moyes put Roberto Mancini in his place.
Referee: M Jones (Cheshire).

GREG O'KEEFFE: Tony Bellew and Everton FC are match made in Finch Farm
Mar 27 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IF TIm Cahill's’ corner-flag pummelling at the City of Manchester stadium looked a little sharper than usual on Wednesday night there is good reason. The Aussie has watched one of British boxing’s brightest prospects going through his paces at Everton’s training ground this year. Tony ‘The Bomber’ Bellew has been training at the Blues’ Finch Farm base since January, after Everton’s conditioning coach Dave Billows agreed to work with him in the run-up to his title fight at the waterfront ECHO Arena earlier this month. Dave, the man responsible for keeping Everton’s players in top physical condition, was given special permission to train the unbeaten Wavertree fighter by David Moyes who has followed his burgeoning career with interest. The set-up has obviously inspired 27-year-old Bellew, a passionate Evertonian, who boxes in royal blue shorts with the Everton crest emblazoned on them, and enters the ring to Z-Cars. He won what is likely to be the first of many titles, becoming Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion on the undercard of the Paul Smith – Tony Dodson fight. He wasted no time doing it either, looking in devastating shape as he blew away previously unbeaten Ghanaian Atoli Moore.
The so-called 'Deadly Spear' was no match for 6ft 3in Bellew, who is undefeated in 12 fights, and the referee stopped it in the first round. Bellew said: “It’s been an amazing few months for me, finishing with getting my hands on that belt. Thanks to Dave I was able to make the weight of 12 stone six pounds and I haven’t been that light in a long time. “I was popping into Finch Farm now and then around November last year but then I started training exclusively with Dave early January.” He adds: “He’s a brilliant coach. Probably the best strength and conditioning coach I’ve ever met and I’ve been away with England and Great Britain and come across some great coaches.
“All the best fighters obviously have a good trainer first and foremost but they all have a good conditioning coach too. “Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao use Alex Ariza but I wouldn’t swap Dave for anyone. “He has made a massive difference for me.”
Tony’s gruelling training programme involves 5.30am runs every day, then driving to Manchester for training. But every Tuesday and Thursday the highlight of his day is those afternoon sessions at Finch Farm. “It can be a bit surreal at times,” said the Goodison season-ticket holder. “I never get star-struck but the first time Tim Cahill came over to talk to me I was a bit in awe and tongue tied. “Now Tim and the other lads text me before my fights to wish me luck – and David Moyes is very supportive too.
“I actually met David 18 months ago and we had a good chat. He said Lee Carsley was a fan of mine and has been really friendly ever since. “The players just treat me like one of the lads.” Everton have had a good tradition of using boxing techniques to keep players in shape ever since popular former physio Les Helm first insisted that a punch bag was installed at Bellefield. The bag was a big hit with former stars Duncan Ferguson and Wayne Rooney, who had boxed as a youngster before joining Everton’s academy. Now the current crop can get tips from one of the best, and maybe fight fan Tim Cahill could show Bellew his trademark jab-cross celebration and ask for a few more combinations to mix it up in future. Bellew added: “I’m not only buzzing because of my title but at how well the Blues are doing. “The last month has been a whirl. After the fight at the ECHO Arena I even got the opportunity to go and meet Mike Tyson and have a meal with him. “I am just keeping everything crossed in the hope that we can finish the season on a high – and Dave can continue helping me become one of the best.”
FA show some common sense by not charging Everton FC boss David Moyes with mis-conduct
COMMON sense and the FA very rarely, if ever, go hand in hand. But they got half way there this week with the decision not to charge David Moyes with anything after the touch-line bust-up with Roberto Mancini on Wednesday night. Moyes did nothing wrong, and even displayed remarkable composure in the face of the passionate City manager’s theatrics. It appeared like the Scot secretly found the incident as amusing as Tim Cahill who was nearly wetting himself as it unfolded. There would only ever be one winner if the pair really went toe to toe – and it certainly wouldn’t be the stylish Italian.
Everton FC stars of 1995 FA Cup final reunited for Big Joe Royle
IT WAS touching to witness first hand the genuine affection and high esteem between David Moyes and Joe Royle at the 1995 FA Cup winners reunion meal on Thursday night. The pair chatted like old friends as they were waiting to be introduced to the hundreds of bluenoses who packed into the Adelphi to celebrate the last Toffees side to win a trophy. Moyes told Big Joe how impressed he is that the achievement at Wembley 15 years ago has ensured the team have remained close-knit and life-long friends. It was particularly pleasing to see that Anders Limpar, one of the most under-rated players ever to pull on a royal blue shirt, had even made the trip from Stockholm to take his seat alongside Dave Watson & Co on a rainy night in town. The biggest cheer of a night of several raucous cheers was when Waggy emerged carrying the cup, rewinding a few hundred memories back to watching him lift the old pot high above his head on that glorious May afternoon. Credit to Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines too for turning up to receive deserved awards for Young Player and Player of the Year Awards, courtesy of Bluenose promotions. Let’s hope that in years to come the pair of them are back for their own reunion night, celebrating more success.

BARRY HORNE: Current Everton side have got the same spirit as back in 1995
Mar 27 2010 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
Was fortunate enough to be at the Adelphi Hotel on Thursday night as part of the 1995 FA Cup winners reunion dinner. It was a tribute to that great Evertonian Joe Royle. David Moyes was kind enough to attend along with current stars Jack Rodwell and Leighton Baines who picked up the young player and player of the year awards.
It was a fantastic evening and it was great to see the likes of Joe Parkinson, Dave Watson, Graham Stuart, Matt Jackson, Neville Southall and, after travelling all the way from Sweden, a very fit looking Anders Limpar. It was a good turnout and the fact that people made so much effort was a sign of the respect and affection that everyone has for the manager and each other. I know David Moyes commented to Joe Royle about how close we all appeared and Joe spoke about “the team” – from physio Les Helm and legendary kitman Jimmy Martin right the way through to the manager himself. We were very much a unit. There was no room for slackers or fancy dans. Everyone’s strengths was appreciated and their weaknesses tolerated as long as everyone contributed something to the team effort. All successful teams have this quality and Moyes’ current Everton squad look like they have it in abundance.
That was evident with the way they stuck together during a very difficult few months earlier in the season. That can only be achieved if there’s “togetherness” and an “all for one” mentality. Moyes has assembled a hugely talented squad and now he’s able to call on more and more of them on a weekly basis. That team ethic combined with a fully fit squad should make us a force to be reckoned with from here on in.
While Europe remains a tall order, I’m confident we’ll give Liverpool, Man City and Villa a real run for their money.
FA must find a strong replacement for Ian Watmore
THE FA have had another bad week with Alex Ferguson’s criticism about their disciplinary process followed by the shock resignation of chief executive Ian Watmore. The fact that most people in football didn’t even know the name of the person in such a high profile position says a lot about the FA’s problems.
Watmore left under mysterious circumstances with reports about his departure littered with phrases like “hidden agendas”, “personality clashes” and “trying to change things too quickly”. I find it extraordinary that someone with a background in politics apparently misread the politics of football so disastrously. The FA is the governing body of football in this country, but it’s authority has been eaten away since the formation of the Premier League, who have found it far too easy to run roughshod over the FA. * WOLVES are on a fantastic run with seven points out of the last nine pulling them away from the drop zone. Kevin Doyle is having a splendid season up front and I like the pace and energy of Matt Jarvis, while David Jones is starting to fulfil the potential he showed as a trainee at Man United. It won’t be easy today but with our pace and quality I’m confident we’ll have too much for Wolves.

Phil Jagielka fired up for Everton's clash with Wolves
Mar 27 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
IT IS the classic tortoise and the hare scenario. Or to copy David Moyes, perhaps a topical Grand National analogy is more apt – think Amberleigh House in 2004.
The popular winner was held back off the chasing pack until right at the death, when he caught them on a turn and romped home to glory. Consider Everton and the ever-beguiling race for a European spot. Moyes said: “Those other teams have been in the top spots all year and it’s like the Grand National: can you stay out in front or are you going to get pegged back in the long race around the course?” Victory over Wolves today at Molineux could see the Blues draw level on points with Aston Villa, but Moyes remains keen to keep a sense of perspective. “If we can do that tomorrow from where we were that would be a great achievement because the players have come from such a far way away,” he says. “So it would be good. But how long would we be there? You would only know on the Monday how good it’s been. The big thing is to get the result really. “I think the points total for the teams in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions has been a high one, which in normal years might not quite be what it is.
“That might show the spending of Tottenham, Villa and Man City – it’s got them more points and it’s got them near the top. Those three teams have had a go at getting up there and they’ve closed the gap on Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea and it’s made it much harder for the other teams to get among them. “That might drop off before the end of the season, who knows? But it’s high at the moment.” Even Moyes is surprised at how his side have stacked points on the board since the start of the year.
“Somebody said we are three points behind where we were last season and we finished fifth,” he says. “You look at the start of the season and the way things have gone. We are not a hundred miles from where we were last year. “I feel we’ve had our bad spell and that’s gone. We’re confident. “Everybody would rather have the points in the bag, though, because it’s another game off and another one less that you have to win. “We know we’ve got a long way to come from behind. “The confidence and determination is there but we are realists. For us to do it would be some achievement, coming from where we are, but realistic- ally we will probably just miss out on a European spot and be short because of the start we had. “I think it’s still a long shot when you look at the other teams. We could be next to Villa tomorrow but they’d have two games in hand. We’ve got a bit to go.” While Everton may have a more favourable run-in on paper than their Euro rivals, Moyes insists they can barely afford to drop a point. He said: “I look back and, like everyone else, look at individual moments in the year and think ‘well maybe…’. Maybe Landon not getting an equaliser at Tottenham, when there was a chance. “At Liverpool we didn’t deserve to come away losers. We were 2-0 up against Birmingham. There are a couple of times I look back on even in this period when we’ve missed out. I think we could have been even closer but that shows you how well the players have done.” It is a sentiment shared by Phil Jagielka, who has returned to the side at a pivotal time in the season.
The England defender said: “After the Birmingham game we were a little bit disappointed to to just get the point after being 2-0 up, but maybe if you look back it wasn’t a bad point in the end. “We’ve put a couple of good performances in since and got results. “I think now if they show the race for European football they’ve got to put us in there. “It’s up to us now. If we continue to keep clean sheets and carry on winning we will be in with a shout. “We enjoyed Wednesday but with the unfortunate situat- ion we had at the start of the season, we might as well have started with negative points.”

Everton FC can mix Dogs of War with School of Science - Phil Jagielka
Mar 27 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
Phil Jagielka 300
PHIL JAGIELKA today warned their Euro-chasing rivals that Everton can mix the dogs of war spirit with the school of science flair. The England defender was impressed at how his team-mates matched Bolton Wanderers physically, and weathered the storm of Manchester City’s attacking to win both games with stylish goals. He believes that flexibility of styles is a progression from recent Everton teams.
Jagielka said: “We can mix it up. We played ugly when we had to against City but we can really play now too. “Maybe a couple of seasons ago we were a bit more one dimensional. We had flair players, but it was more about making sure there was a clean sheet and nicking an odd goal whereas now we are a bit more expansive, and it’s a bit more easy on the eye.” The centre-half has been forging a strong partnership with Sylvain Distin which has resulted in two clean sheets. And Jagielka insists that the communication gap between him and the Frenchman is shrinking too. He said: “My French isn’t too bad. We have a laugh and a joke. I’ve got a couple of phrases and I’ve promised I’ll learn French for him. “It’s not like we’ve trained together for months and months, and had lots of opportunities to play. “We’ve been chucked in at the deep end but he’s a big strong boy. I like playing alongside defenders like that, like Joleon and Joseph previously. It’s starting to look well. Two clean sheets now and we’ll take that as a positive and keep on trying to keep them going.” Jagielka will be hoping that Tim Howard passes a late fitness test ahead of today’s away clash with Wolves.
The American suffered a thigh strain during Wednesday’s victory over Manchester City, and was rated as a slight doubt by David Moyes yesterday. Victor Anichebe and Philippe Senderos are also expected to be passed fit to take part at the Molyneux.
Meanwhile, Moyes will not be charged by the FA in connection with a touch-line confrontation with Roberto Mancini on Wednesday. The Italian will be charged with improper conduct.

Wolves: Kevin Foley confident his bad luck will end soon
Mar 27 2010 The Birmingham Mail
KEVIN Foley believes his harsh luck in front of goal will end. The 25-year-old Irish international has scored just twice – against Norwich in September 2007 and Barnsley in December 2008 – since his move from Luton almost three years ago. Fortunately, Foley’s early rattling of the West Ham crossbar was quickly forgotten on Tuesday night. “I hit the bar at West Ham and the post at Bolton,” he said. “But the main thing about the other night was that the team won and managed to Scored three great goals.
“I couldn’t believe it when the ball came back off the bar and the woodwork’s not been kind to me recently. “Maybe it will be third time lucky?” Hardly a game goes by without Foley forcing a goalkeeper into a save – as seen by Blues’ Joe Hart and certainly Chelsea’s Petr Cech. “I’ve had a few chances now and have gone close and I don’t think I’ve caught a ball sweeter than the one that just missed at Hull,” he said.
“It doesn’t get to me. It would be nice to score, both for myself and the team, but I’d like to think I’m contributing in other areas as well. Playing in that (wide right) position I need to chip in with goals or provide goals but it’s also about helping the team to get decent results.” Kevin Doyle leads the goalscoring charts with seven, followed by Jody Craddock’s five and Matt Jarvis’ four. Dave Jones, Ronald Zubar and Nenad Milijas all have two. “We need goals from all areas and the likes of ‘Jarvo’, Jody and Ronald have been chipping in,” said Foley. “It was also good to see ‘Doyler’ on target the other night. He’s worked so hard for us all season and probably hasn’t had the rewards he deserves in terms of goals. Hopefully he’ll get a few more and maybe I’ll be on hand with one as well!” Foley believes Wolves are now reaping the rewards their efforts have deserved. “We’ve started to see results tie in with the performances,” he said. “The gaffer was always telling us that our luck would change sooner rather than later if we kept playing well. “We never got frustrated when we were playing well without getting results because we knew they would come.
“Now we’ve got a little cushion but there are still 21 points to play for and that’s the same for the other teams down there. We are nowhere near being home and dry.”
Wolves take on Everton seven points clear of the drop today but Foley warns: “If a team goes on a run and gets a couple of results on the bounce they can move a few places up the league and that counts for anyone.’’

Everton FC stumble with draw at Wolves
Mar 27 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON could only grind out a draw at Wolves as their top six rivals stumbled.
The Toffees failed to capitalise on Aston Villa’s shock thrashing by Chelsea, missing a string of clear cut chances in the 0-0 draw at Molyneux. David Moyes will rue his side’s lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, as Leon Osman, Tim Cahill and Louis Saha all wasted opportunities. Kevin Foley cut inside Leighton Baines to create the first chance for Wolves, before playing in Jarvis who was unable to test Tim Howard.
Then Everton fluffed an even better chance to take the lead when Pienaar did excellently in the area to slip the ball to Osman, but the midfielder’s snap shot was saved. Osman had another half-chance five minutes later when a Baines cross was not dealt with by Wolves and he narrowly missed out with his header. Excellent link-up play in midfield had Wolves panicking again, when Neville’s square pass on the edge of the area was cleverly dummied by Pienaar and Osman for Saha to fire a low effort as Everton enjoyed the better of the early possession. But Wolves can play, and Ronald Zubar turned Osman inside out on the right wing before firing a wicked cross into the area which required a brisk punch clear by Tim Howard. The home side followed up with some sustained pressure which got Everton nerves jangling.
But the pace of the game gradually lessened with chances for either side sporadic after the frenetic opening. Leighton Baines had a smart drive from 20 yards which flew straight at Hahnemann. But the best of the remaining opportunities, came from an enterprising turn by Saha who was denied by the cross bar with a rocket-fuelled strike from the edge of the area. The second half saw Saha waste a fantastic chance within minutes. Osman whipped a wonderful cross into the box and the Frenchman got his header badly wrong. Then Leighton Baines curving free kick took a deflection, and Tim Cahill went closet from the resultant corner. Wolves increasingly sat back and surrendered the ball to Everton as the game wore on. But they had a rare chance when Kevin Foley Wolves turned and curled an effort over the bar. Then the lively Zubar twisted and turned down the right before flashing a shot just over. Yakubu replaced Saha with 20 minutes left to try and add some potency to a wilting Toffees attack.
But it was not enough, and despite a late chance by Cahill and a flurry of corners, Everton were destined not to score.

Sylvain Distin draws consolation from Everton FC’s draw at Wolves
Mar 29 2010 Liverpool Echo
SYLVAIN DISTIN claims his side’s frustrating draw at Wolves could prove more valuable than first thought. Distin admitted he and his team-mates left the field disappointed after a fiery Barclays Premier League encounter at Molineux ended in a goalless stalemate. The draw appeared to be a setback to the in-form Toffees’ hopes of snatching a European spot but Distin feels it could still be regarded as a point gained.
What might particularly have cheered the Merseysiders was news of Aston Villa’s 7-1 thrashing at Chelsea, a result which means the top seven is now within their reach.
Distin said: “There is the goal difference and, mentally, I think that is going to affect them (Villa) as well. “It is not easy to recover after a defeat like that, so that is good for us. “There was a bit of frustration straight after the game for us but maybe when we look at it we will realise we are still on a good run. “We feel we have to keep the form like we are now until the end of the season and, if we deserve it, we will get it.
“Mathematically it is possible so, as long as there are enough games to do it, we will keep trying.” Victory would have put Everton level with Villa, a side who a fortnight ago were looking good for a top-four finish. Everton might have won had they taken any of a number of chances early and late in the game. Top scorer Louis Saha went the closest in the first half as he brilliantly controlled a long ball from Distin and fired against the crossbar. Leon Osman failed to make the most of three chances early on while Dan Gosling and Tim Cahill went close in the dying moments.
Nevertheless, Everton remain in fine form having lost just twice in 18 outings, a far cry from their injury-ravaged and insipid start to the campaign. “We started the season with something like 10 or 15 players out through injuries,” added 32-year-old Distin, who joined the club in August from troubled Portsmouth. “If you take that many players out from any team, even the top four, they are going to struggle.
“All the players came back one by one, so now we are a bit more consistent, playing alongside the same players week in, week out. That can help.” Wolves had their moments, not least when Ronald Zubar combined brilliantly with Kevin Doyle and then cut inside to fire narrowly over in the second half. But Marcus Hahnemann was the busier of the two goalkeepers and Wolves were certainly happy to take another point. It was their eighth point in four games – the other three matches having been away – and inched them closer to safety in their battle against relegation.
Mick McCarthy’s side are five points above the drop zone with six games of their campaign remaining. Wolves defender Christophe Berra said: “It was a difficult game and we rode our luck at times, but that is what you have got to do in the Premier League. “We had chances as well but it is a big point for us and we would have taken that any day. Overall it is really deserved. “Those three away games were massive – I don’t think anyone thought we would get seven points from nine. “With six games to go we have just got to concentrate on each game now. “We have got an easy game next week against Arsenal! “Nobody expects us to win there but, the way we have been playing away, hopefully we can keep that going and give them a tough game.”

Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Everton FC 0 - Blues draw a blank in midlands
Mar 29 2010 by Chris Beesley, Liverpool Daily Post
ALONG with the relief from the home fans at the final whistle, the biggest cheer at Molineux on Saturday was when the public address announcer declared that dance club diva Jaki Graham would have to cut short her ear-splitting half-time mini concert because the two sides were returning to the pitch. Bedecked in an old gold and black scarf, local girl Graham, 53, was an enthusiastic hostess, attempting to whip both sets of supporters into a frenzy with her soulful singing. But such was the power of her voice, she hardly needed the aid of a microphone – they must have heard her at the Birmingham-Arsenal match at St Andrews. The Black Country faithful, who mostly looked bemused during her performance, seemed much more comfortable singing along to their customised version of Jeff Beck’s High Ho Silver Lining. Before kick-off, Graham gave a high-volume rendition of her 1986 UK number seven hit Set Me Free – but there was no such joy on the pitch as David Moyes’s men were unable to break down a resolute Wolves side. Despite a fine 3-1 win at West Ham the previous Tuesday, the shackles were back on for Mick McCarthy’s troops on this occasion.
Gianfranco Zola’s Hammers were woeful on that night, but last season’s Championship winners netted some fine goals at Upton Park, with what could prove to be a watershed performance in terms of gaining self-belief in the Premier League.
Things at home are a different proposition though, and perhaps because he is still scarred by the meagre points return his last stint in the top flight brought with Sunderland, McCarthy seems determined firstly not to lose – especially against the division’s more talented sides, which Everton must now be regarded among.
Wolves have netted just 10 goals at home, and apart from a fortuitous bounce they always looked unlikely to add to the total in this game. Against much more gifted opposition three days earlier, Everton soaked up all the pressure their hosts brought upon them and expertly hit them on the break with a clever set-piece and a razor-sharp piece of counter-attacking football. However, with the onus on them to deliver against a less talented group of players, they were unable to find a decisive touch in front of goal. Although Moyes’s men were shorn of the majestic talents of in-form Mikel Arteta – who missed the contest as a precaution as he nursed a slight groin strain – with the likes of Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman in their ranks there was still plenty of creativity in the visitors’ line-up. This time out, there were none of the changes en masse McCarthy has become infamous for this season as the former Irish international named the same side that started against West Ham while Everton made just one enforced alteration from Eastlands with Jack Rodwell stepping in for Arteta.
The visitors started purposefully, displaying the kind of free-flowing intricate passing that has lit up their performances in recent weeks. Wolves were still complaining over a forceful header from John Heitinga in the centre circle when the visitors pushed forward swiftly with Pienaar playing a one-two with Louis Saha on the right-hand side of the area before squaring the ball to Osman but the midfielder’s shot was well saved by American keeper Marcus Hahnemann. The closest moment to a goal soon followed as Sylvain Distin opened up the home defence with a diagonal left-to-right long pass which picked out Saha, but after cutting inside past Scottish centre-back Christophe Berra, the Frenchman’s shot rattled the Wolves crossbar. After failing to capitalise on their bright start, Everton gradually let their hosts back into the contest but despite visiting keeper Tim Howard struggling with the thigh injury he had initially picked up in the second half at Manchester City – and having to delegate goal-kick taking duties to Phil Jagielka – the home side did not seriously test him. Back in the big time following the aftermath of Sunderland’s ‘beach ball goal’ against Liverpool at the Stadium of Light, Chester-born referee Mike Jones was increasingly agitating the Molineux regulars and their ire reached fever pitch when he booked his namesake David in the Wolves midfield for seemingly taking a free-kick ‘too quickly’.
Everton continued to buzz around the home penalty area but missed a string of good opportunities to score.
Saha headed over from a Leon Osman right-wing cross while an in-swinging corner taken from the right by Leighton Baines – who must have impressed watching England coach Fabio Capello along with Phil Jagielka who could yet earn a late call-up to the Italian’s World Cup plans in South Africa – was headed across the face of goal by Tim Cahill. As Everton searched for an opening, Moyes continued to shuffle his pack to try and make a breakthrough with not only Pienaar and Osman switching flanks but Cahill swapping positions with Rodwell at times with the Australian sitting back and the youngster pushing forward. The inevitable gaps produced a couple of openings for Wolves at the other end but a curling effort from Kevin Foley following Matt Jarvis’s left-wing cross was off-target along with a more explosive left-footed blast from right-back Ronald Zubar who had cut inside Heitinga. In search of the three points, Moyes introduced Ayegbeni Yakubu, Dan Gosling and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in place of Saha, Osman and Rodwell respectively. Gosling almost fashioned a winner when latching on to Cahill’s square ball across goal following a Distin pass upfield but Hahnemann, who is keeping highly-rated young Welshman Wayne Hennessey – a goalkeeper previously on Everton’s radar – out of the side, was on to the midfielder like a flash and pounced on the loose ball, flattening the Devonian in the process.
Despite being in discomfort, Gosling played on and Everton still had time to create another opening as an improvised overhead kick from close range by Cahill was hacked off the line by Jody Craddock. The roars at the end from the home fans suggested that a single point was welcomed far more by Wolves than an Everton side still attempting to ‘gatecrash’ next term’s European party. But given Aston Villa’s 7-1 loss at Chelsea, it’s Moyes’s men’s final visit of the season to the West Midlands on April 14 which will be the acid test for their continental aspirations.

Wolves 0, Everton 0: Blues can’t quite hit the high notes of the 1980s
Mar 29 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTONIANS need no excuse to sit back and reflect fondly on the Eighties.
The decade that spawned the most successful side in their history will always be a favourite. Not everything about that era was perfect though. Bosses at Wolves’ Molineux Ground reminded everyone of that by recruiting soul singer Jaki Graham to commit grievous bodily harm on 28,000 ear drums with a rendition of her 1986 hit “Set Me Free” on the pitch before Saturday’s game. Her enthusiastically awful performance set the tone for what was to unfold. For a side almost safe from relegation Wolves gave it their all, expanding every last breath in their lungs. But the end product wasn’t much to bother the producers of Match of the Day. Everton, for their part, were the better team but they needed all three points. If European ambitions are certain to be satisfied, their unenviable task is to win every remaining game.
Instead, far too many clear-cut scoring opportunities were wasted for a side intent on clawing back points on Aston Villa and Liverpool. During most 1980s daydreams, Blues usually get a nostalgic twinge for Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray.
What they would give for a centre-forward in the mould of either of those men now? A forward who could routinely convert the chances Everton consistently create, could be the difference to David Moyes’ ambitions. The only other times Everton have played on March 27 in their history, Dixie Dean, Bob Latchford and Graeme Sharp respectively, were all on target. In the Midlands such finishing was conspicuous by its absence. Louis Saha is a world-class front man but he missed the best chance of the match, failing to get his header on target when Leon Osman practically served the ball up to his forehead on a plate with side salad. It was a shocking miss. But Osman and Tim Cahill were also guilty. Even without Mikel Arteta, an infuriating loss during this season of abject injury misery, the Blues created several gilt-edged chances.
Victory would have seen them clamber over Aston Villa into seventh place, adding to the Villains trauma after that 7-1 demolition by Chelsea. Fabio Capello, present to cast his eye over Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville, saw Everton fluff an early chance to take the lead when Pienaar slipped the ball to Osman, but the midfielder’s weak snap-shot was saved. Osman had another half-chance five minutes later, when a Baines cross was not dealt with by Wolves and he narrowly missed out with his header. Then clever link-up play in midfield had Wolves panicking. Neville’s crafty square pass on the edge of the area was smartly dummied by Pienaar and Osman, for Saha to fire a low effort. Everton undoubtedly enjoyed the better of the early possession, but Wolves can play a bit too. Their impressive right-back Ronald Zubar turned Osman inside out on the wing, before bending a wicked cross into the area which Tim Howard had to punch away. Mick McCarthy’s men then exerted some sustained pressure which got Everton nerves jangling, but Kevin Doyle was feeding on scraps alone up front. The pace of the first half gradually deflated, with chances for either side becoming sporadic after the lively opening. With his usual blend of work-rate and alertness, Baines was doing his World Cup chances no harm. The left-back engineered a chance for himself near the break, his smart drive from 20 yards flying straight at Hahnemann. Then an enterprising turn by Saha resulted in a powerful strike from the edge of the area which struck the crossbar. He was unfortunate then, but the start of the second half heralded the moment which Saha won’t want to see again on TV. His header from that perfect Osman cross was woefully short of such deadly usual standards. Undeterred, Everton pressed on as Wolves increasingly sat back and surrendered the ball. Zubar threatened briefly, but Wolves’ focus was firmly on keeping the Blues out. Yakubu replaced Saha with 20 minutes left to try and add some potency to a wilting Toffees attack. David Moyes has strong substitute benches lately, and next he was able to ask Diniyar Bilyaletdinov to enter the fray and repeat his last-gasp strike against Wolves at Goodison in October. It wasn’t enough though, as Everton seemed destined not to score. The ruthlessness and efficiency which won the plaudits against Manchester City was conspicuous by its absence. It has been suggested that Everton’s remaining fixtures in the battle for European football are easier than most of their rivals. But places like Molineux, Ewood Park and Stoke are tough places to get three points from. Those sides may not be fighting for Europe, but they have managers who will ensure they scrap in front of their own fans.
Everton will have to take their chances against them. Their centre-forwards need to finish the season in far better tune than Jaki Graham, and maybe look to Sharp and Gray for a bit of Eighties inspiration.
EVERTON: Howard, Neville, Distin, Jagielka, Baines, Rodwell (Bilyaletdinov, 86) Cahill, Pienaar, Osman (Gosling, 82), Heitinga, Saha (Yakubu 73). Subs: Nash, Hibbert, Yobo, Senderos. Bookings: Pienaar.
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS: Hahnemann, Elokobi, Craddock, Berra, Zubar, Mancienne (Guedioura, 72) Henry, Jones, Jarvis (Ward, 90) Doyle (Iwelumo, 90) Foley. Subs: Hennessey, Ebanks-Blake, Keogh, Milijas. Bookings: Jones,
REFEREE: Mike Jones
ATTENDANCE: 28, 995.

Tim Cahill: Everton FC must take their chances to get into Europe
Mar 29 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL today warned his Everton team-mates to start taking their chances in front of goal or lose out on the race for Europe. The Toffees midfielder rued the misses which cost his side all three points against Wolves at Molyneux on Saturday.
But he insisted the draw has not knocked the Blues’ confidence, as their unbeaten run in the league continues. He said: “Me, Louis, all of us had chances. It was just a disappointing finishing display from us, but the run goes on and that’s the most important thing. We didn’t lose. “We’ve come away and kept a clean sheet, but the disappointing thing is we didn’t do enough up front.” Dan Gosling had a good chance to grab a win for Everton late in the second half, but was injured in a heavy collision with Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann. The England Under-21 international was set-up by Cahill but as he attempted to guide his second touch beyond the Wolves keeper the pair collided.Gosling will have a scan on his injured knee early in the week after the swelling has subsided, and Cahill said: “Dan was unlucky. Chances like that change the game “They are a strong team and play well. They grind you down and put you under pressure so a lot of credit has to go to them. “Every game is going to be tough. If you look at the run-in there are no easy games. I’d played at Molyneux years and years ago with Milwall, so I knew how tough it was going to be.”
Cahill insisted that going above Liverpool, who are five points clear of the Blues, is not a priority. He said: “We don’t really look at the league and whether we can still finish above Liverpool. For us, we’re on everyone’s’ heels and teams playing us are aware of what we bring. I don’t worry about Liverpool, what we’re doing is the thing to concentrate on. We’ve got a big game against West Ham coming up, probably one of the biggest of the season. “We know how important it is. We want to exploit their poor form and not kick-start their season again. We want to try and do something special at the end of the season.”

Wolves 0, Everton 0: Bill Howell's big match verdict
Mar 29 2010 Birmingham mail
THEY’ll pop down the road and be sick on the sofa, they’ll rip down the curtains and have a cheeky widdle in the kitchen sink. They’ll be knocking back cans of supermarket cider and stuffing the empties in the laundry basket, they’ll play AC/DC until the room shakes, they’ll stay up ’til well gone midnight and they’ll make sure the neighbours know it. They’ll brush their fringe down over their faces, they’ll refuse to tuck in their shirts and they’ll not even wash their hands after a visit to the said kitchen sink. But at home they’ll be clean, calm and responsible. They’ll do their maths homework in front of the fire, they’ll read Enid Blyton books to their little sister and brush their teeth before saying their prayers. Welcome to the world of the Wolverhampton tearaways who live the lives of hell-raisers on their travels but are churchmice at home. And who can knock it? Who can blame them? It’s working a treat. Why trash your own home when you can happily trash others? If they were a restaurant, they’d be preparing gourmet foods for home delivery – warm loin of Herdwick mutton, Jerusalem artichoke puree and honey & mint dressing – while leaving fish finger and chips to the eat-in diners. But those eat-in diners are stuffing their faces. Their bellies are full to bursting, they’re jumping on tables, smashing plates against walls and having a ball. The last goal at Molineux scored by a Wolves player was Billy Wright. I know that’s a fact because I’ve seen the black and white photograph. But who cares? In a season where Portsmouth have acted like a 13-year-old who nicked his dad’s wallet to impress his mates only to spend the party under a table after being violently ill on a £2 bottle of beer, and Burnley have acted like the school swot who refuses to join in with his pals by not buying anything for anybody until their mum comes to take them home at 9pm, then Wolves have got their season just about right. They’ve danced with the devil when they’ve needed, they’ve taken a sip or two of the strong stuff locked away in their parents’ cabinet when the opportunity has presented itself, and they’ve even stolen a kiss from the class sweetheart when Dutch courage has allowed. They’ll be tucked up in the right beds next season. Faces scrubbed, pyjamas aired and pressed and teddy bears beside them.
To think that at least twice this season Wolves were seemingly chucked out of the party, only to clamber back in through an upstairs window. Defeat to Blues at home led to utter despair. The manager was a clown, the players didn’t deserve to wear the shirt and the chief executive was out of his depth. Then Wigan at home. Richard Stearman’s season effectively ended, as did that of Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
A last roll of the dice saw a change in formation. Mick McCarthy picked just one up front and you could hear the howls of derision from the angry natives bemoaning his negativity. But it worked. Almost like a dream. A tinkering manager who seemingly couldn’t decide on his best selection became a manager where even the slightest change – except the quartet of Nenad Milijas, Adlene Guedioura, Michael Mancienne and Dave Jones who would vie for his attention – would seem completely unnecessary. There were never going to be the fireworks of West Ham. Never the excitement of Villa Park, never the drama of Burnley. This was all about building a platform and one not on marshland. And doing the ugly stuff is exactly what his older heads in the team are about. Marcus Hahnemann and Jody Craddock possess enough years between them to be part-owned by the National Trust with paying spectators able to walk around their gardens in the summer. But without them Wolves would be floundering relics. Likewise, Kevin Foley might have lost that youthful zest in his eye, but because of his workrate and vision Wolves supporters are now viewing matches through 1970s Elton John-type specs which spell out the word hope, and where you watch through rose-tinted lenses positioned in the letters O (for organisation) and P (for plenty of it). Jez Moxey came in for a fair bit of flak too, don’t forget, following the arrival of two loans from France, or Belgium, or wherever it was.
One would guess that as the CEO draws up that new offer for Hull’s Stephen Hunt, which is probably the 16th this calendar year, he is wearing a satisfied smile under that goatee-beard. After all the highs and lows, perhaps the Wolves blueprint was right all along.

Pictures from Wolves 0 Everton 0
Monday 29th March 2010 Express Star
Battling Wolves hung on to equal their longest Premier League unbeaten run with another priceless point towards survival against Everton at Molineux.
Watched by England boss Fabio Capello, Mick McCarthy’s side continued their solid form that has seen them earn seven points from the previous nine by making it four matches unbeaten. Hull’s victory over Fulham reduced the gap in the scramble for survival, but Wolves remain five points clear of safety with six games left.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between but Everton had the better attempts as the home side, who controlled much of the possession, kept a first clean sheet in eight games. But their search to improve their goal drought at home went on, with just one in seven games in front of their own fans and 10 for the season after seven in three on their travels. The home side rarely looked like breaking the deadlock and ultimately they had goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann to thank for superbly smothering from substitute Dan Gosling and Jody Craddock for clearing Tim Cahill’s overhead kick off the line. Wolves created the first chance when Matt Jarvis poked wide after three minutes. The home side then dominated possession until the midpoint of the first half, but it was Everton who had the chances. Leon Osman, who scored after three minutes into his debut at Molineux six years ago, had three attempts, the first of which was a major let-off after the impressive Steven Pienaar teed him up. Wolves looked a little shaky defensively to start with and Everton found gaps with Osman again finding room to fire into the side-netting. Osman’s third attempt was a deflected effort that thankfully for Wolves flew straight at Hahnemann, after Louis Saha’s deflected curler forced the American into a simple save. Leighton Baines also fired a firm drive into the arms of the goalkeeper, as clear chances remained at a premium.
But Saha broke the malaise with a superb rising shot that bounced off the top of the bar, after the striker held off Christophe Berra following Sylvain Distin’s fantastic pass. Tim Cahill also blazed over from Saha’s knockdown, as Everton continued to pose the bigger threat on goal, despite Wolves’ bossing possession.
The hosts finally had a couple of efforts on goal just before half-time when Jarvis’s goalbound shot on the run was blocked by Distin, before Jody Craddock volleyed over after Phil Neville’s poor header after Ronald Zubar nodded back David Jones’s corner. Saha wasted the best chance of the game on 53 minutes in crashing a header over from Osman’s cross, although Craddock did as much as possible to put him off.
Three minutes later Leighton Baines saw a dangerously curling free kick deflected inches over, hitting Kevin Doyle in the wall. Wolves created the next two chances but couldn’t threaten goalkeeper Tim Howard as first Kevin Foley curled a first time effort over then Ronald Zubar, looking to add to his first Premier League strike in Tuesday’s 3-1 win at West Ham, swept over. As the game opened up late on, Everton returned fire and Osman dragged wide from 20 yards after being given too much space before Pienaar saw a goalbound, bouncing effort deflected wide with Hahnemann at full stretch. Pienaar also crashed a volley into the ground from a superb position 15 yards out. In the dying minutes the game was there for the taking, as substitute Adlene Guedioura with an overhead kick over and Doyle with an over the shoulder volley fired over. At the other end, Hahnemann reacted superbly to smother from Gosling after the substitute was left free from Yakubu’s header across goal.
But Wolves survived to continue their march towards safety.

From The Times
March 29, 2010
Marcus Hahnemann stems choppy blue tide
Wolves 0 Everton 0
Ian Edwards
Marcus Hahnemann eased the suffering of Reading’s relegation by catching trout on Washington State’s Yakima River last summer. The fish is likely to taste much sweeter 12 months on thanks to far more positive issues to reflect upon from the solitude of his boat. The Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper performed on Saturday with a bravery that was typified by his late lunge at the feet of Dan Gosling, an Everton substitute, that helped to secure another point for Mick McCarthy’s survival fund. Hahnemann is likely to be angling for another Barclays Premier League contract next season and a place in the United States team for the World Cup finals in South Africa once the season ends. That Hahnemann is the third-choice US goalkeeper, behind Tim Howard and Brad Guzan, demonstrates a strength in depth that the watching Fabio Capello, the England manager, must envy. Howard played his part, too, with an equally fervent “thou shalt not pass” attitude for Everton that resulted in a stalemate. The draw pleased McCarthy more than David Moyes, his Everton counterpart. Everton’s disappointment at not enforcing their late Champions League claims was compounded by the injury Gosling sustained in the collision with Hahnemann. “There was more chance of it being none than three,” McCarthy said after Wolves extended their undefeated sequence to four games, the club’s longest in the Premier League this season. “I will take my point and I am absolutely thrilled,”.”
However, there will be no champagne placed in the fridge just yet, not with Arsenal waiting at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday. While Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa have been jockeying for position, Everton’s blind-side surge seems an improbable challenge with nine points to make up on Harry Redknapp’s team. “We are on everyone’s heels and they know what we bring,” Tim Cahill, the Everton midfield player, said. “Our next game against West Ham is the most important of the season. We have to capitalise on their poor form.” Stand by for more open letters from Messrs Sullivan and Gold.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-5-1): M Hahnemann 8 — R Zubar 6, J Craddock 7, C Berra 6, G Elokobi 6 — K Foley 6, K Henry 7, D Jones 8, M Mancienne 7 (sub: A Guedioura, 69min 5), M Jarvis 7 (sub: S Ward, 90) — K Doyle 7 (sub: C Iwelumo, 90). Substitutes not used: W Hennessey, S Ebanks-Blake, A Keogh, N Milijas. Booked: Jones. Next: Arsenal (a).
Everton (4-1-4-1): T Howard 7 — P Neville 6, P Jagielka 7, S Distin 6, L Baines 7 — J Heitinga 6 — S Pienaar 9, T Cahill 7, J Rodwell 7 (sub: D Bilyaletdinov, 88), L Osman 6 (sub: D Gosling, 83) — L Saha 7 (sub: Yakubu Ayegbeni, 76). Substitutes not used: C Nash, A Hibbert, J Yobo, P Senderos. Booked: Pienaar. Next: West Ham United (h).
Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 28,995.

Wolves 0-0 Everton:
The Daily Mirror match report
Published By Mike Walters
Everywhere he looked, Fabio Capello was haunted by American goalkeepers and clean sheets in the Blank Country. At one end there was Tim Howard, the man Capello’s England strikers must beat at the World Cup in Rustenberg 87 days from now. At the other there was Marcus Hahnemann, the biggest thing to come out of Seattle since TV shrink Frasier Craine. And here was a match to make Capello go and lie down on a couch in a darkened room. His Fabness went away from his scouting mission at Molineux impressed by Everton defenders Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines, but he would have had more fun telling a psychiatrist about his childhood.
Hahnemann’s brave plunge at the feet of Everton substitute Dan Gosling as time ran out was the closest either side came to cracking the safe code. “We finished in an untidy heap and it hurt a bit,” said the Wolves keeper, which neatly summed up a barren afternoon: it was messy and painful to watch. Hahnemann, built like a bull seal, has become a standard-bearer for USA keepers in the Premier League, where Uncle Sam stoppers were once figures of fun but where they are now in danger of outnumbering international-class Englishmen at Capello’s disposal.
He said: “When I first came to Europe, people would ask ‘Do you have gloves?’ They didn’t really know what was going on, but Brad Friedel and Kasey Keller broke new ground for us and now we have a really good reputation as keepers. “I had kind of set my heart on going fishing again this summer but the World Cup is the biggest event on the planet and I only have six or seven caps because I’ve been kept out by some top keepers like Kasey and Brad. “I’ve only been to one World Cup so I’m still hungry and I want to go to South Africa. I’ve got five days between the end of the season and meeting up with the squad, so I will get my boat on the Yakima River [in Washington state] for a few days of fishing.” Hahnemann was more than pleased with the stalemate which strengthens Wolves’s survival hopes. “It’s a good point for us – I’ve no idea how many we will need to stay up because I don’t even know how many we’ve got now, but I’m trying to do my bit for the team. “I think I came off best in that collision at the end – probably because I had 185 kilos of weight behind me and he had only 50. “That’s all part of the job, it’s what we do as goalkeepers. I’ve come off worse before, like the time I broke two bones in my hand and I needed 18 screws and two metal plates to put it all back together. “It didn’t really hurt, but it meant I couldn’t go fishing for about three weeks, which was a serious drawback.”
Everton’s neat football was almost a tribute to Sleepless In Seattle, the soppy flick set in Hahnemann’s home town. You always thought they were going to live happily ever after, but it never quite happened. At least they have improved beyond recognition in the five months since they were 3-0 down at Hull and manager David Moyes realised he was to blame for a team going nowhere. Moyes said: “I think the manager always looks at himself before he looks at his players, and after that night [at Hull] I had to make sure we did better because it just wasn’t acceptable. “I look at every area every week – can I become a better coach, a better man-manager, a better motivator? Can I keep good discipline and keep installing the belief I want the players to have on the field? Over the period it’s got better, but I’ve got a lot to do yet.” Everton’s point did little to nourish Bluenose aspirations of finishing above Liverpool in the table, but Aussie midfielder Tim Cahill insisted: “We don’t really look at finishing above Liverpool – we are on everyone’s heels and the main focus for us is to be consistent
“It’s a weird game sometimes – a clean strike would have done the job, but we did not hit things cleanly and they did their best to grind us down.” Wolves' Marcus Hahnemann shows Fabio Capello power of the New World Richard Jollyat Molineux The Guardian, Monday 29 March 2010 For Fabio Capello, the devil was in the detail. Watching an Everton defence containing three England internationals keep a clean sheet could have construed an enjoyable afternoon. That neither goalkeeper was beaten and both, Tim Howard and Marcus Hahnemann, are probable members of the United States World Cup squad, instead highlighted Capello's quest for a reliable shot-stopper. Ahead of another Anglo-American contest in Rustenburg on 12 June, procuring a point for the Old Gold was a victory for the New World as Wolves's Hahnemann ended the game as he began it, by thwarting Everton's Englishmen. Leon Osman and Dan Gosling encountered a display of defiance. Likely to be confined to the bench in South Africa, Hahnemann can testify to the excellence of American goalkeepers. "The World Cup is the biggest event around," he said. "I have been kept out by top keepers in my time, like Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel. I only have six or seven caps and I've only been to one World Cup before so I'm still hungry, I still want to go. We have three good keepers. We have Tim Howard, myself and Brad Guzan. When I first came to Europe people would ask: 'Do you have gloves?' They didn't really know what was going on. Now we have a really good reputation as keepers. I think Capello scouted me as well." The last aside was delivered with a smile; he is taking a laconic approach to Wolves's attempts to avoid relegation. "I don't even know how many points we have," said the 37-year-old. "All we have to do is win at Arsenal [on Saturday], which will be easy." His acrobatics and his crossbar, which was rattled by Louis Saha, frustrated Everton, but the result represented a continuation of their fine form nonetheless. Languishing in 16th place in November, a four-month spell that has included only two league defeats, has elevated them to eighth. A manager who then vowed to get more from his players has provided a response to his sternest taskmaster: himself. While self-analysis can be a painful process, for David Moyes, it has been a necessary one, for Everton a therapeutic course of action. An antidote to the blame culture that can fester in management, the Scot responded to his side's awkward autumn with a bout of introspection. Four months later, his brand of perfectionism helps to account for their revival. "I think it's got better but I've got a lot to do yet so hopefully I'm going to keep learning and get better every game," he said. "I look at all the areas every week: Can I become a better coach? Can I become a better man-manager? Can I become a better motivator? Can I keep on instilling the belief I want the players to have? Can I keep good discipline?"
Moyes's attention to detail almost yielded a winner. Gosling was a late introduction and was denied and crushed by Hahnemann in the final minute. "It's the 185 kilos I've got to his 50," said the keeper. "It's what's nice about being bigger.

Everton FC legends celebrate 25th anniversary of glorious 1984-85 season
Mar 30 2010
LEGENDS from Evertons most successful team were honoured during a glittering reunion at the at the ECHO Arena and BT Convention Centre last night.
Members of the iconic league and European Cup Winners Cup-winning 1984/85 team gathered at the black tie event, with Pat Van Den Hauwe flying in from his home in South Africa and Adrian Heath from the USA.About 1,000 supporters and VIPs attended the 25th anniversary meal, hosted by ITV football commentator Clive Tyldesley. They gave a rousing reception to former manager Howard Kendall, who delivered an emotional and amusing speech, giving his thoughts on each member of the historic line-up. Everton supporter Philip Stevens, 28, from Halewood, said: Im glad we dont take these players for granted. A lot of them still live in the area and are involved in the club, but it was superb to see some of the lesser-spotted legends come together. They seem as close now as they were then. evening had an apt 80s theme, with a performance by Go West, who played their classic pop hit We Close Our Eyes.

NIGEL MARTYN: Stalemate at Wolves is no setback as Everton’s Euro bid still on track
Mar 30 2010 Liverpool Echo
IT like felt two points dropped at Wolves on Saturday but a draw certainly wasn’t a disaster for Everton.We’re now unbeaten in five games and we’re a point closer to Aston Villa after the thrashing they suffered at Chelsea. The Blues certainly had their chances at Molineux and a win would have made the race for Europe even more interesting. However, Wolves are an improving side and with them fighting for survival it was always going to be difficult there. I remember getting turned over there in my career and a draw at least ensured our momentum is maintained. If someone had offered us four points from the two games away to Man City and Wolves we would have taken it. We’ve got six games to go and there’s everything to play for.
If Tottenham or Chelsea win the FA Cup then seventh place will be good enough to qualify for the Europa League. And that’s a very realistic target for us now that we’re only two points behind Villa. Martin O’Neill’s men are faltering and they also have an FA Cup semi-final to prepare for. It will be interesting to see how that hammering at Chelsea dents their confidence. They have got Bolton away this Saturday and that’s not easy by any means. The Blues’ trip to Villa on April 14 is going to be massive and by the time we go there we could even be ahead of them. However, knowing the manager as I do I know he won’t allow anyone to look that far ahead. The focus will be solely on the game against West Ham at Goodison this Sunday. The Hammers are struggling and manager Gianfranco Zola is under a lot of pressure. He’s had some criticism for giving his players three days off but he obviously believes a short break will do them good ahead of this weekend. Zola was a wonderfully talented footballer and he’s a very likeable guy – someone players respect and are keen to work for.
I just think he’s the right person at the wrong club. West Ham were in turmoil before he got there and he’s had to deal with all that in his first managerial job.
It’s a difficult place to cut your teeth. Things said have been said and written by the new owners which haven’t been helpful for either Zola or the players. I hope he turns West Ham around but only after this weekend. Our home form has been excellent with seven straight wins coming at the perfect time. We have to show no mercy and pile more misery on the Hammers.
Sylvain Distin has been key to Everton’s defensive strength
WHAT will really please David Moyes about our recent run is that we’ve now kept three successive clean sheets. Earlier in the season we had some problems and were leaking soft goals, but we’ve got back to the kind of defensive strength our success in recent years has been built on. Tim Howard will be delighted with that and his back four are protecting him well. Obviously the return to fitness of Phil Jagielka has been crucial but I’ve also been really impressed with Sylvain Distin. He has proved to be a great buy and has fitted in well during his first season. That’s meant Joseph Yobo has found his opportunities limited. That’s happened to him a number of times over the years and I remember when I was there he had to play second fiddle to David Weir and Alan Stubbs. Yobo has to stay focused and be ready to take his chance when it comes along. I’m sure he will have a part to play between now and the end of the season.
Doing the double over Man City was so sweet
EVERTON have had some great results this season but the 2-0 win at Man City is up there with the best of them. With everything that went on over Joleon Lescott’s move, the manager had the players fired up for the game and it showed. It was a tremendous performance and to become the first side to win there all season is no mean feat.
To do the double over City this season will be so sweet for David Moyes. A lot was made about the touchline bust-up between the two managers at Eastlands. I didn’t have a problem with what went on and it just showed their passion. Moyes caught the ball and wanted to slow the game down, while Roberto Mancini reacted like he did because he was desperate to get the ball back in play. It soon calmed down, although if it had gone further I’d have fancied Moyes with his Glasgow roots to come out on top! The FA charging Mancini with improper conduct is harsh. These are high pressure situations and a couple of warnings would have sufficed.

Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell relishing being given licence to thrill
Mar 30 2010 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
Jack Rodwell
EVERTON midfielder Jack Rodwell admits hes relishing being given a licence to thrill by manager David Moyes. The 19-year-old has been pushed further forward in recent weeks and has played a key role in the Blues late push for Europa League qualification. Rodwell was on target in the wins over Manchester United and Hull, while it was his classy run which set up Mikel Arteta in last weeks triumph at Manchester City. Its good and Im happy to play anywhere out on the pitch for the team, Rodwell said. The gaffer has given me bit more licence to get forward which Im enjoying at the moment. Its all good experience for me. Ive played defensive midfield for most of the season and for a couple of seasons before that I was a centre-half.
Its hard to believe Ive gone from that to attacking midfield now. Im enjoying it thoroughly. Ive been getting in the box a bit more and getting a few goals. Its all about getting in the right position which Ive been working on in training. The goals dried up for Everton in last Saturdays stalemate at Wolves and Rodwell admits it was a frustrating afternoon in the Midlands. However, Aston Villas 7-1 thrashing at Chelsea ensured the Blues moved a point closer to the European places and spirits are upbeat ahead of this Sundays home clash with West Ham. It was mixed emotions on Saturday as we played well but we wanted the three points, Rodwell added. Wolves are a strong side and their pitch wasnt the best, but we had chances and it was a bit disappointing we didnt take one. It was good for the goal difference with Villa losing but we wanted to take full advantage of that with a win. We know we have to dig deep now and finish on a high. Weve got six games left and we basically need about five wins.
"We're looking for fourth spot, if not, fifth. We've got to try and finish as high as we can now.

ACADEMY FOOTBALL: Sheffield stalemate knocks Everton under-18s off top spot
Mar 30 2010 by Chris Wright, Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON UNDER-18s were held to a goalless draw with Sheffield United at Finch Farm on Saturday and have been replaced at the top of the table by West Bromwich Albion. Neil Dewsnip’s side go in to the Easter break in good heart despite their frustrations at the weekend. They had chances to secure victory on Saturday in a game that was spoilt a bit by the windy conditions. Sheffield had the wind behind them in the first half and almost took the lead when they hit a post following a corner.
But Everton had chances on the break with Femi Orenuga twice going close.
In the second half, with the wind at their backs, Everton dominated but couldn’t find the breakthrough. Danny Murphy was denied by a superb save from the Sheffield keeper, while late on Hallum Hope saw an effort blocked. Dewsnip said: “It was very windy and conditions were difficult. It was a game of two halves as they say.
“They had the wind first half and hit the post which was a bit scary. We had a couple of chances but the keeper made a couple of good saves from Femi Orenuga.
“We fancied our chances in the second half but we huffed and puffed. The keeper made an absolute worldie (world-class save) from Danny Murphy. But we didn’t turn the pressure we had into chances. “It was real solid, defending from Sheffield. Yorkshire grit and determination and we couldn’t get through them. It is disappointing not to have won the game, but it is not the end of the world as we are still in good shape.” Everton may have lost top spot to West Brom, but they are still only a point behind the Baggies with two games in hand. Dewsnip’s side are next in action on Saturday, April 17 when they travel to take on Barnsley (kick-off 11am).
They now have seven games left of the regular league season. Dewsnip said: “Winning the title is still in our hands. “But it is difficult at this time of year because you don’t know what your own team is going to be and obviously you don‘t know what their team is going to be. “Circumstances dictate with international duty would affect everybody right now and also the reserves picture, which is a major issue for all youth programmes. “We will get on with and do our best to win the game.”
He added: “We have got seven games left and at the very least we will be involved in the title for a couple more of them and hopefully right to the end.
“It makes it exciting and it is good for the young players to experience that.”
EVERTON UNDER-18s: Davies, Thompson, Barkley (Barrow 60), Murphy, Barnett, Orenuga, Dobie, Donegan, Bidwell, Forrester, Hope. Subs: Roberts, Cummins.

Everton reserves hold Manchester City to a stalemate
Mar 31 2010 Liverpool Echo
A TIGHT game at Halton Stadium ended in stalemate as Everton and Manchester City were unable to make the breakthrough. For Everton it was a clear improvement from last week’s 4-1 defeat to Wigan and they made some early running when Cody Arnoux caused panic in the City rearguard but the ball got caught under his feet and the chance went begging. It took until the 27th minute for either goalkeeper to be seriously stretched, as Turner went down to his right to palm away Robert Mak’s stinging effort. Nathan Craig then went close with a free-kick but both sides went in at half-time hoping to spark after the 15-minute break. And it took an interception from Shane Duffy to prevent Nimely with a clear run on goal. Jake Bidwell then drilled the ball across the six-yard box, but there was no blue shirt to finish. Kieran Trippier’s mazy run ended with his left-footed effort being deflected over by a combination of Duffy and Akpan and from the resulting corner, Duffy headed the ball onto his own crossbar and over. Mak managed to beat Turner with 13 minutes left, but was denied by a great goal-line clearance from Duffy. Mak got through for a third time on 82, but this time his effort was high and wide of Turner’s goal. The Scot was tested from Deryck Boyata’s far-post header, palming it wide. Conor McAleny went closest to breaking the deadlock in injury time, but his curling effort was tipped over by Neilsen.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner, Nsiala, Bidwell, Wallace, Mustafi, Duffy, McAleny, Akpan, Arnoux (Donegan 22), Forshaw, Craig.

Everton FC fans letters: Striker must be Blues' priority in the summer transfer window
Mar 31 2010 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Echo
A HARD-EARNED point by Everton at Molineux on Saturday – but in reality it should have been all three points. One of our main problems this season has been clinical finishing – this is an area that must be a top priority this summer!
It is ironic that the statistics prove that we had as many on target efforts as Chelsea in their match – 13 – but they put seven in the back of the Aston Villa net!
Positives – three consecutive clean sheets; even without Mikel Arteta, we still had enough creativity on the pitch to have found that elusive winning goal with plenty of good movement up to the last third; also the defence gave an all-round solid display.
Disappointing? Yes. Disaster? No! Stewpot NO doubt it was two points lost by Everton against Wolves. Overall though, in the last 16 games we’ve won nine drawn five lost two, scored 28, conceded 12, points 32. If that form is maintained then it’s a top four place next season at a minimum. Solid defence – despite the changes at centre-half – goals scored is the obvious department to improve on. I’m sure David Moyes is looking at that. Signing Landon Donovan is a must with cover for Steven Pienaar on the left also a requirement Moyes must be thinking about. Three signings and it’s a squad to really compete at the top level. Meantime, 65 points now should get into sixth place with five wins and a draw. There’s still a lot to play for.
JACK RODWELL will be a great player – but right now it seems he’s only ready for cameo substitute appearances rather than starts. It’s too early to expect him to influence games but he does look good coming on when opposition legs are tired.
He still looks to me like he’s playing within himself, but hopefully his recent goals might change that. He really does need to look at how a young Steven Gerrard developed his game at Liverpool, because he’s got it in his locker to be as great.
MADE UP to see Jack Rodwell growing in stature with every game – his run, turn and finish to set up Mikel Arteta for the goal against Manchester City was a sure sign he’s going to have a fine future. I’m also pleased with the way manager David Moyes is letting him ease into the game. Too many people put pressure on young players these days to make an instant impression – and while I’m not sure Jack has the natural ability Wayne Rooney had – I like the way Moyes is protecting him from these outside pressures. I hope the likes of Jack, Gosling and the back-to- impressive Victor Anichebe continue to grow as players. Paul Simpson, Bootle

Keeping Steven Pienaar should be Everton's priority - Pat Van Den Hauwe
Mar 31 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON hero Pat Van Den Hauwe believes that keeping hold of Steven Pienaar should be the club’s summer priority. Van Den Hauwe thinks Pienaar has the potential to be one of the star players at the World Cup in South Africa, where he has lived and coached for 15 years. The popular former Goodison defender, part of the club’s most successful ever 1984/85 side, has watched Pienaar develop into the South African team’s number one man with interest. Van Den Hauwe, who advises young players in Capetown, said: “He’s a top class player. “I hope for his sake and Everton supporters that he does sign to stay for another three years. “For him to play for an English club like Everton is great, because he’s so good. “You need players like that and him being over in the UK doing so well, means he has great experience which can only help the South African team. “They need more players like him. I hope he has a great World Cup. “He is vital to Everton as well, but football is strange. If someone else comes in then he has an option.”Van Den Hauwe, who was back in Liverpool for a 25th anniversary reunion of the league and European Cup Winner’s Cup side, says Pienaar’s work-rate is outstanding. He said: “It’s his general all-round play for Bafana Bafana and Everton which captures my attention. He works very hard, he organises well, he scores goals and gets other people involved in the game. “He is one of the biggest stars in South Africa. One of their main guys. Him and Teko Madise in the middle for South Africa really complement eachother. “These two players will do very well in the summer.” Meanwhile concern is growing over Dan Gosling’s knee injury. The midfielder damaged his knee in a collision with Wolves keeper Marcus Hahnemann last Saturday, and has been on crutches since. There are fears he could have damaged ligaments, which would leave the 20-year-old facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines. James Vaughan is another Everton prospect facing further injury frustration. Vaughan joined Championship side Leicester on loan earlier this month and played half an hour of his first game as a Leicester player in their 1-0 win over Cardiff, but hasn’t featured for the Foxes since. Leicester assistant boss Craig Shakespeare said: “James has had a bit of an illness with a stomach upset and he has had other things, and he hasn’t been quite ready,” said Leicester assistant boss Craig Shakespeare. “We don’t want to ask him to do anything he is not capable of yet. He is one we will have to monitor before every game. “He is desperate to have an influence and be part of Leicester, and be part of what we are trying to achieve. “He is getting very frustrated but we have to try to keep his head up. He wants to do well, but we have to manage him.”

Mar 31 2010 by Greg O'Keeffe, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON midfielder Dan Gosling was today ruled out for nine months with knee cruciate ligament damage. A scan on the 20-year-old's knee, injured in a collision with Wolves keeper Marcus Hehnemann on Saturday, confirmed the Toffee's worst fears.
Gosling, who scored against Manchester United during the 3-1 victory at Goodison, is now unlikely to be able to play until January 2011. He initially tried to carry on after the incident at Molyneux, but eventually had to hobble off. David Moyes said: "I'm really disappointed for Dan. He's been making great progress here at Everton and we look forward to having him back as soon as possible." He becomes the third Everton player to be struck by serious injury to cruciate knee ligaments, after Mikel Arteta and Phil Jagielka both missed12 months with the same condition. The Devon-born former Plymouth Argyle midfielder joins Marouane Fellaini on the Blues' long-term casualty list, in a season which has been plagued by injury misery.




March 2010