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Wolves 2, Everton 1 (D,Post)
May 3 2004 By Ian Doyle At Molineux, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES could do a lot worse this week than sit his players down to watch a video of Saturday's action at Molineux. Not the match itself, you understand. Instead, the focus should be on the half-time entertainment when a Wolves supporter demonstrated how to keep a cool head and deliver an expert finish under the most intense pressure. The fan in question was taking penalties in the hope of winning a car. And despite the attentions behind the goal of a man dressed as a giant crisp (yes, really) he converted each spot-kick before being taken on a lap of honour in his new prized possession. A lack of similar poise in front of goal meant a dominant Everton were at that point ahead only by the narrowest of margins following Leon Osman's spectacular start to his Premiership debut. And their continued failure to make the most of their chances ultimately proved their undoing again as in the second half Wolves belied their lowly Premiership position to produce some of the finest football of the season, earn themselves a rousing ovation from their home supporters - and were promptly relegated. It was that kind of afternoon. But understandably, Moyes failed to find the humour of the occasion. This was another day to forget for Everton in a season which everyone concerned with the club will want to wipe from their memory banks the minute the final whistle is sounded at the City of Manchester Stadium in 12 days' time. We've been here before, of course. The trip to Molineux can be filed alongside those to Fulham, Leicester and Southampton among others; all games which Everton dominated, created numerous chances but failed to come away with victory. No wonder Moyes has again been linked with a move for Russian striker Dmitri Bulykin. A creative midfielder remains high on the manager's wanted list in the summer, but what has become painfully apparent is the need for someone to actually turn any guile into goals. For all their qualities, neither Wayne Rooney nor Tomasz Radzinski are out-and-out goalscorers, while Duncan Ferguson remains as injury-prone as ever, Kevin Campbell is nearing the end of his career and Francis Jeffers is packing his bags for a return to Arsenal. Radzinski was the main offender on Saturday, three times finding himself with just Paul Jones to beat but on each occasion striking his effort straight at the Wolves goalkeeper. It was particularly infuriating as the Canadian had been the game's most dangerous performer in the first half with his pace tormenting the Wolves defence and creating good opportunities for Rooney and James McFadden. Someone like Wolves striker Henri Camara would do nicely for Everton next season. The Senegal international took time to adjust to English football but has been in fine form of late, and his direct style caused the visitors major problems in the second half with his 55th-minute equal-iser the standout moment of a highly entertaining encounter. Camara's agent has been making noises the player wants to remain in the Premiership next season, although whether Moyes will have sufficient funds to make a purchase is highly doubtful. However, at least the Everton manager will have a bit more to spend because of the rise in season ticket prices. Right? Moyes had warned his players beforehand they couldn't rely on others to secure their Premiership status, but with Leeds failing to beat Bolton Wanderers yesterday relegation is one less concern for the Everton manager, at least for this season.
But what is patently obvious, and has been for some time now, is that certain players are not helping themselves. With injuries leaving Moyes without several first-choice names, the fringe players have mostly been slow to respond to their opportunity. Certainly on Saturday, the central midfield was conspicuous by its absence during a second half when Everton were being tested by their increasingly desperate hosts. One of the very few highlights at Molineux for Everton was the performance of Osman. Having just returned from his three-month loan spell at Derby County, the midfielder was thrown straight into the side for his Premiership debut and within 100 seconds had scored his first goal for the club. The 22-year-old initiated an attack by winning possession to head into the path of McFadden on the right. The Scottish inter-national then lost the attentions of Isaac Okoronkwo and progressed to the byline before crossing the ball back for Osman to arrive before Paul Butler and nod in at the near post. It prompted a period of dominance for Everton, who should really have been four-up by the half-hour mark. Radzinski latched on to a woeful header back to Jones by Colin Cameron but shot at the goalkeeper's legs, Jones had to be alert to stop the Everton striker reaching the ball after an equally poor header from Butler and a cheeky chip from Rooney landed narrowly wide after a quick break involving Radzinski and Alex Nyarko. The action wasn't all one way, though. Camara curled wide and Mark Kennedy shot over, but Everton continued to create the better opportunites. McFadden had been urged last week by Scotland manager Berti Vogts to put away his chances, but he spurned another before the break when shooting at Jones when clear and Rooney missed an even easier opening by pulling his shot across the face of goal. Moyes's side were made to pay 10 minutes into the second half when without warning Camara struck a shot from 25 yards which sped past Nigel Martyn off the underside of the crossbar. The Everton keeper then had to be alert to turn around a Camara effort before Radzinski wasted his second one-on-one with Jones after another clueless backpass from the Wolves defence, Lee Naylor the guilty party.
Chasing the victory which could keep their survival hopes alive, Wolves had the initiative and only a superb parry over the bar from Martyn denied Camara a second goal before Lee Carsley almost turned a Shaun Newton cross into his own net. As the game became stretched, a cute pass from Osman put Radzinski in once more but his poor finish was easily gathered by the grateful Jones, who was then involved in a moment of controversy with Rooney. The striker - who had moments earlier been fortunate to escape a strong penalty claim for handball after blocking a Camara cross - caught Jones a glancing blow on the head when unwisely going in twofooted for a loose ball. As both managers conceded afterwards, it was a fair ball to challenge for but, on another day, Rooney could have caused the keeper serious damage had he connected, and been sent off. As it was, the youngster received only a booking and was no doubt relieved his over-zealousness had caused no lasting injury. At 18, he's still learning. Martyn then produced yet another brilliant save to deny Camara before he was finally beaten a second time seven minutes from the end, a dubious free-kick on the left being curled in by Kennedy for Carl Cort to head powerfully home. And that was that. Wolves took the plaudits despite losing their Premiership status. Ensuring their own top-flight place is no cause for celebration at Goodison, however. The season cannot end soon enough.
WOLVES (4-4-2): Jones; Irwin (Ganea 77), Butler, Okoronkwo, Naylor; Newton, Ince, Cameron (Rae 73), Kennedy; Cort, Camara. Subs: Oakes, Luzhny, Iversen.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Pistone; Osman, Nyarko (Campbell 88), Carsley (Jeffers 81), McFadden; Rooney, Radzinski. Subs: Wright, Stubbs, Linderoth. BOOKING: Rooney (foul).
REFEREE: Mike Riley.
ATT: 29,395.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Bolton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

Consistent form still the target for Moyes
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 3 2004
DAVID MOYES has admitted he must rectify Everton's inconsistency if his side are to avoid regular relegation scraps in the coming seasons. The Goodison outfit fell to a 2-1 defeat at lowly Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday, a result which still wasn't enough to save the Midlanders from relegation. With Leeds failing to beat Bolton Wanderers yesterday, Everton's own Premiership status is secure for another season. But the weekend defeat means Moyes's side have won only one of their last eight league games and passed up another chance to ensure survival by their own means. And it was a depressingly familiar tale for the manager at Molineux, where a dominant Everton failed to make the most of their opportunities in the first half before surrendering the lead and the initiative after the break. "I don't think there's been a good enough consistency to our 90 minutes in any football match we've had and we have to look at why," said Moyes. "But in the end it's down to the players and the manager. Other teams get it together for 90 minutes, so why not us? "We're in the bottom half, and it's not a matter of us underachieving." Moyes continued: "Everton have achieved this standard for many years before I was here. It was only last season that they did better." Leon Osman was handed his first Premiership start for the club after returning from a three-month loan spell at Derby County and headed Everton into the lead within 100 seconds. And Moyes has hinted the 22-year-old could play a key part in Goodison's future.
"We had a lot of players in the side on Saturday who are young," said the Everton manager. "Leon Osman, Wayne Rooney, James McFadden, Tony Hibbert and Joseph Yobo are 23 or under. Hopefully we can get a few more to go with them. We are trying to build a side for the future and those players will be involved in the future." Osman's performance was a rare positive on an afternoon when Everton's profligacy in front of goal again proved their undoing. Henri Camara equalised for Wolves in the 55th minute with a sublime strike before Carl Cort headed the winner seven minutes from time. "We're distraught that we missed so many chances in the first half and we should have been a few goals up," insisted Moyes. "We should have had the game won inside the first 25 minutes. We had enough chances to make it 4-0 by half-time but we only took one. At this level you cannot miss your opportunities. "We expected them to come back at us as they had to give their fans something to celebrate, but that is no excuse." Moyes added: "We had the chances in the second half too, even though we did not play as well." Moyes refused to criticise Wayne Rooney after the youngster caught Wolves goalkeeper Paul Jones with an unwise challenge for a loose ball towards the end on Saturday. "It was definitely a fair ball to go for," he said. "In Euro 2004, you would expect Wayne to go for a ball like that."

Moyes is planning to invest in youth
By Scott Mcleod, Daily Post
May 3 2004
DAVID MOYES is in intent on adding more youth to his Goodison Park squad in the summer. The Everton boss named a young starting line-up for Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Wolves, giving Leon Osman, his first Premiership start and returning Tony Hibbert to the side after a seven-match absence. Afterwards he admitted he wants to sign more young players to his ranks this summer - provided he is given the funds to do so. He said: "Leon Osman played well. We had Leon, Tony Hibbert, Wayne Rooney, Joseph Yobo and James McFadden who are all in their early 20s. "So hopefully we can get some more to go with them. We are trying to build a side for the future and some of those play-ers will certainly be involved in the future." The manager was happy with the first half performance of his side but infuriated by the wastfulness which ensured they only had Osman's second minute strike to show for their efforts at the break. Tomasz Radzinski and Wayne Rooney were the biggest culprits, missing four glorious opportunities to add to that advantage. He added: "We should have had the game won and wrapped up after five minutes. "We scored in the opening couple of minutes, then had another chance to make it two, another to make it three and another to make it four and we didn't take any of them. "The game gave us a chance to make us mathematically safe and we didn't do that." It didn't surprise Moyes when Wolves, who needed to win to keep alive their faint hopes of staying up, produced a battling performance in the second half to turn the game on its head. "You would expect a club that is on the verge of getting relegated to come out fighting," he added. "They had to give their supporters something and they had to show they were positive, which they were in the second half. "But we still had chances to win it. We didn't play as well in the second half." Once again, the manager had to field questions following a moment of controversy surrounding Rooney. The 18-year-old was played through by Osman in the 80th minute but was never likely to beat Wolves keeper Paul Jones in the race for the ball. But as the former Liverpool shot-stopper gathered the ball with his body Rooney slid in, attempting to take the ball but instead clipping Jones' head with his boot. It led to cries of derision from the home fans and a a long conversation between referee Mike Riley and his assistant referee before Rooney was presented with a yellow card. Afterwards Moyes insisted his young striker had every right to challenge for the ball. He said: "I was right in line with it and I didn't even think he touched the keeper. "It was definitely a fair ball for him to go for. You will want him to be going for it in the European Championships, so you can't have it both ways. "The referee is poor, so I wasn't sure what he was going to do with it but I never considered taking Wayne off."

Let this season finish please
View from the stands By Phil Connors, Daily Post
May 3 2004
WELL, at least we are safe for another season. But it is more down to the frailties of others than anything constructive from this Everton side. I just can't wait for this season to be over. At the end of last year we had the huge disappointment of missing out on a return to Europe, but I would happily take that than the way this season is petering out. Losing to the worst team in the Premiership when our safety was still in doubt is not good enough. I don't really want to dwell too much on Saturday's match as I am trying to forget it. But the day began well with Leon Osman finally getting a start and a goal. It is great to see Leon at last get a chance. After the perfect start, it went downhill fast. We missed a host of chances in the first half, but capitulated completely in the second.
And if it wasn't for Nigel Martyn - my player of the season - it could have been a lot worse.
The likes of Osman, along with Wayne, Tony Hibbert, and more young players hopefully coming through from Gary Ablett's under-17s side who have won their league, are the only bright spots of an otherwise dismal season. If the future is to be any different from the past decade or so, we will have to supplement those young players with quality signings. David Moyes has proved he can pick up the odd decent player on the cheap - Martyn, Kilbane and McFadden - but there still needs to be a lot more if we are to be involved in anything other than the perennial relegation struggle. But with no money, despite the extortionate season ticket hike, it could be some time before Moyes has the chance to give us a team we can be excited by.

Wolves 2, Everton 1 (Echo)
May 3 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON cannot afford to spend the summer papering over the cracks. David Moyes' squad needs some serious investment if the club is to avoid another season of frustration and disappointment like this one. But if the manager was only given a £5m spending kitty after leading the club to seventh spot, what will he have at his disposal this summer? There doesn't appear to be a white knight riding over the horizon with a sack load of cash for the manager. The rise in season ticket prices might help, but is that enough to give Moyes the kind of spending power he needs to transform a squad that is desperately in need of refreshing? The fact the club had to rely on a favour from Bolton this weekend to confirm their Premiership safety tells its own story. Had Leeds won yesterday, things really would have got twitchy in the last couple of games. Moyes has done his utmost to break Everton's cycle of mediocrity. And last season provided hope he could achieve that.
But with an ageing squad, a squad that lacks quality in depth, he is always going to be fighting a losing battle. The defeat at Wolves on Saturday was just another reminder of how big a problem the manager has on his hands. Fratton Park in December remains the only away win of the season. Had it not been for the decent home form, then this campaign would have ended in disaster. On Saturday Dave Jones' side had the greater hunger, the greater will to win. They fought back bravely in the second half to secure the three points. There is no doubt they wanted it more. That is understandable because they were drinking in the last chance saloon while Everton knew that, barring a nightmare, the club's top flight status is assured. But the game should have been over by half-time. Chance after chance was squandered. Leon Osman couldn't have given the side a better start, scoring with a brave near post header just one minute and 40 seconds into his full senior debut. He started the move himself and ended it by connecting with James McFadden's cross.
The young duo had shown their more experienced team-mates how to do it. But they didn't follow suit. Tomasz Radzinski had one of those days he would sooner forget. The Canadian international could not be faulted for his boundless energy and enthusiasm. He worked his socks off for the cause and would have landed the Man of the Match accolade, had he only managed to turn in just one of the three gilt edged openings that fell his way. Wayne Rooney didn't fare much better. He fired wide twice in the opening half with only the keeper to beat. That kind of wastefulness is why the Blues have never managed to get out of the bottom half of the table. It can mean the difference between the Champions League and the Nationwide League. Just ask Aston Villa. But if you make a habit of wasting your opportunities, then you deserve all you get. After failing to build on the early goal, the Blues collapsed in the face of a Wolves onslaught led by the irrepressible Henri Camara.
He scored a stunning equaliser and would have had more were it not for the acrobatics of Nigel Martyn. Camara was as fast and elusive in the second half as Radzinski had been in the first.
But he capped his display with a goal, his sixth in seven games. Having struggled to make an impression in the first six months of the season, the Senegalese forward is now playing like a man possessed. He didn't net the winner though. That honour fell to Carl Cort. It was his towering header seven minutes from the end which consigned the Blues to defeat. They paid the ultimate price for failing to take their chances.. Without the inspired signing of Martyn it is frighten-ing to think what the league table could look like right now. Moyes deserves credit for that superb acquisition, just as he deserves credit for bringing Joseph Yobo, Kevin Kilbane, Richard Wright and James McFadden to the club. He has proved he can spend what little money he is given wisely.
But now he is faced with a real headache. He has the chance in the next 12 months to radically transform his Goodison squad. Seven senior players are out of contract this summer, another 14 next. He has spent the last two years having to make do with a squad he inherited because he did not have the finances to bring in a host of new players to replace the ones he had but couldn't sell.
Now he can change things. But only if he is given the money to bring in replacements. There is no sign of a stream of quality youngsters coming through to ease his financial quandary. And he cannot allow his squad to get any smaller than it already is. Which means that this summer he will need to secure at least three or fou r qual ity signings. At the moment he has a polarised squad. Eleven players are 30 or over. Another 10 are 25 or under. On Saturday he opted to give youth a chance, giving Osman the opportunity to impress alongside Rooney, McFadden, Yobo and Tony Hibbert.
But Moyes needs more young players of proven quality if he is to fill the gaps left by the 30- somethings approaching the end of their contracts. Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell, David Weir, Alan Stubbs, Alex Nyarko, Steve Watson and Tomasz Radzinski are all over 30 and 12 months from the end of their current deal. Radzinski is in negotiations for an extension, but how many will join him? The answer to that question will be dictated by the board, and the amount of money they are willing to give Moyes to spend this summer. He cannot be allowed to keep treading water. He deserves more than to be asked to keep Everton safe with a squad which is getting older all the time.
The best young players don't come cheap. But the signs are that even resurrecting the Sean Davis deal might be too much to ask this summer. And if that is the case, then Saturday is a sign of things to come - keeping the wolves from the door is something we will have to get used to.
WOLVES (4-4-2): Jones; Irwin (Ganea 77), Butler, Okoronkwo, Naylor; Newton, Ince, Cameron (Rae 73), Kennedy; Cort, Camara. Subs: Oakes, Luzhny, Iversen.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Yobo, Pistone; Osman, Nyarko (Campbell 88), Carsley (Jeffers 81), McFadden; Rooney, Radzinski. Subs: Wright, Stubbs, Linderoth. BOOKING: Rooney (foul).
REFEREE: Mike Riley.
ATT: 29,395.
NEXT GAME: Everton v Bolton, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm.

Radzinski stalling on Goodison contract
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 4 2004
EVERTON have hit an impasse over Tomasz Radzinski's future after bringing forward contract talks with the Goodison striker. Club officials have offered the 30-year-old, a new two-year deal in an attempt to ward off interest from several Premiership rivals this summer. But Radzinski, who enters the final 12 months of his current contract at the end of this season, is holding out for a three-year extension. The Canadian international is keen to extend his three-year spell on Merseyside despite interest from Blackburn, Fulham, Portsmouth and Spanish outfit Real Valladolid. And while Everton want him to stay - offering him the fresh terms before their Premiership status was secured on Sunday - their finances, and the player's age, makes them reluctant to meet those demands. Everton have applied the same rationale to 30-year-old David Unsworth, who is out of contract this summer and now free to talk to other clubs after rejecting an initial 12-month extension offer.
Unsworth has now been approached with a two-year extension from Everton but is also believed to want a further year as he considers several alternative offers. Goodison officials hope to resolve their major contractual issues as quickly as possible, bar Wayne Rooney, with whom negotiations are unlikely to start until after Euro 2004. Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, will undergo surgery to repair a persistent hernia problem today. The Scottish international has played with the injury for almost three months and had been due to go under the knife in the summer. But with the ankle ligament injury suffered against Blackburn ruling him out for at least a fortnight, and Everton's relegation fears now over, the operation has been brought forward to ensure he is fit for preseason training in July. Naysmith said: "I've been playing with an ache for the past 10 weeks, but it has developed into a problem which requires surgery. "I had been putting it off until we were safe, but because I injured my ankle against Blackburn, and the fact that I'd miss out on the last two games with that, this is the time to get it done. "I just want to get it out of the way. Hopefully, there will be no problems with it and I can report back to pre-season training fit and ready to go."

Osman will need right attitude to make his mark
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
May 4 2004
DESPITE their defeat to Wolves on Saturday, Evertonians will have seen a bright spark in the play of Leon Osman. The attacking midfielder, - and boy, are Everton in need of an attacking midfielder - did well and scored to show that the positive reports coming back from Derby about his recent loan spell were not wide of the mark. He looks to have promise and given the paucity of creativity in the Blue ranks at the moment, he has a good chance to becoming a regular player. However, whether that happens or not is entirely up to him and I will be interested to see if he can take that promising performance on to the next level. There have been several players at Everton recently who have started well - explosively even - and then faded away, players like Danny Cadamarteri, Michael Branch and even Francis Jeffers. For whatever reason, it was almost as if they were satisfied with just making the team, but that is a dangerous attitude to have, as shown by the change in all of their circumstances. Osman has served his apprentice-ship now in the youth and reserve teams and at Derby on loan, but he has to put in the kind of performances which mean David Moyes cannot drop him. I believe Moyes will have been delighted that Osman has given him a new option, because I am also sure that since October he will have known Everton were not going to match last season's achievements. He must look at some of the players in his squad and know they are just not good enough, but he has had no option but to pick them week in, week out. Saturday's defeat at Wolves, however, could be a blessing in disguise. If the powers that be at Everton did not know that Moyes can only work so many miracles before, they will have seen it now. When they sit down for their planning meeting for next season, Everton's board must realise that while no-one wants them to wreck the club like Leeds, they must speculate to accumulate and back their manager if the situation is to improve.

Young Everton aiming to accept their reward
By Chris Wright Daily Post Staff
May 4 2004
IF they had tried to plan the season, Everton's Academy could not have done it any better.
Academy football is about developing young players who can go on to play in the first team. But if you can do that and get some tangible reward along the way, it has been a job well done.
Tonight, Everton under-17s take the first of their final two steps to try and earn that reward.
Having topped the FA Premier Academy League Group A table, negotiating a play-off quarter-final against Leicester City and a semi-final at Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa stand in the way of Gary Ablett's side being crowned National champions. Ablett said: "We have achieved the goal of getting to where we wanted to be. The difficult part is winning it now." But so far this season, winning has not been a problem. Only Blackburn, Wolves and Manchester United have got the better of Ablett's youngsters. Ablett said: "Most of the lads are riding on a high at the moment. It has been a tough season and most of them have played 30-odd games with playing in reserves game as well. "Hopefully we can take the positives from the season into these games and see the job through. As long as we don't get complacent, we will be all right. But to be fair to our boys they have kept their feet on the ground. They are a good set of kids." Earlier in the season they defeated tonight's final opponents Aston Villa. So at Villa Park tonight (kick-off 7pm) and at Goodison, now next Wednesday evening (7pm), they should have nothing to fear. But as always, they are taking nothing for granted.
Ablett said: "We played a very good game against them earlier in the season when we beat them
3- .1 "They are a very good team and look to play football. It is going to be a very close game between two good sides but it is a game we are all looking forward to." Villa will be smarting from their recent defeat in the FA Youth Cup final by Middlesbrough. Almost half of that side will be in opposition tonight. But Everton will also be keen to redress the balance a little after they lost to the Midlanders 4-2 on aggregate in the FA Youth Cup final in 2002. Everton have no injury worries for the match, and goal-keeper Craig Gallagher may return on the bench. Paul Hopkins and midfielder Laurence Wilson, who scored the winning penalty in the semifinal shoot-out at Spurs, have both returned unscathed from playing for England U18s against Sweden last week. However, Irish defender Alan Kearney has had to return to Ireland for family reasons and is likely to be missing.
EVERTON UNDER-17s (from): Lake, Wynne, Hughes, Wright, Boyle, Wilson, Harris, Seargeant, Phelan, Hopkins, Fowler, Kearney, Vaughan, Gallagher, Anichebe, Molyneux, Irving, Kissock.

Moyes eyes transfer targets
May 4 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has presented the Everton board with his wish list of summer transfer targets.
But the Goodison chief, admitted today that the financial constraints at the club mean he is unlikely to get what he wants. Everton's Premiership safety was confirmed by Leeds' defeat to Bolton on Sunday. Moyes has already met with the board of directors to discuss his plans to improve the squad in a bid to better this season's disappointing form. He said: "We are trying to win the last two games, but we are already looking forward to what we can do next season and trying to make plans for that. "I know exactly the players I would like to bring in - and the board know my feelings too.
"But I know things are tight and you don't always get what you want." Moyes has made a creative midfielder his top priority. The manager wants to add four quality signings to his ranks but chief executive Michael Dunford conceded earlier this season that the manager's spending kitty is unlikely to match last summer's fund of £5 million. Niclas Alexandersson has already left the club while Scot Gemmill, Steve Simonsen, Paul Gerrard and Francis Jeffers are all set to leave in the summer at the end of their current deals. And David Unsworth has still not agreed a two-year extension to his deal which expires at the end of the season. The manager is keen to ensure that he is not short of numbers next season but that could mean having to wheel and deal. Tomasz Radzinski has one year remaining on his contract and has been offered a new two-year deal. But if the Canadian international fails to agree terms he is one player who could be offloaded in order to boost the Goodison coffers, with Fulham, Blackburn and Spanish side Vallodolid interested in the 30-year-old.
Everton are continuing to keep a close eye on Russian international striker Dmitri Bulykin, who should be available for £2 million from Dynamo Moscow. Meanwhile, Leeds' defeat has allowed Gary Naysmith the opportunity to undergo the hernia operation he has been delaying for the last couple of months. The Scottish defender went under the knife today. He said: "I've been playing with an ache for the last 10 weeks, but it has developed into a problem which requires surgery.
"I had been putting it off until we were safe. I just want to get it out of the way. Hopefully there will be no problems with it and I can report back to pre-season training fit and raring to go."
* Leon Osman has set his sights on becoming an Everton regular after scoring on his senior debut in Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Wolves. The 22-year-old attacking midfielder said: "My aim coming back here was to figure in a game or two at the end of the season. "Now I've figured in the first one - and scored in it, my aim is to play in the next two as well. "I was always hoping that I'd get my chance. You never know what is going to happen, but you have to set yourself aims and try to achieve them."

Aston Villa U17s 5, Everton U17s 1
May 5 2004 By Chris Wright, Daily Post
IN almost a carbon copy of the 2002 FA Youth Cup final Aston Villa proved too strong for Everton in the first leg of the FA Premier Academy League National Play-off final at Villa Park last night, winning 5-1. The second leg at Goodison a week today is now almost academic as Gary Ablett's U17s saw their dream of becoming national champions dashed. As in the 2002 Youth Cup final, when even a Wayne Rooney-inspired Everton lost 4-1 at Goodison Park in the first leg, Villa have built up what is likely to be an unassailable advantage. Coach Ablett said: "We picked the worst possible game to put in our worst possible performance of the season. It is just very disappointing. "We were not four goals worse than them but we contributed to our defeat. It was our worst defensive display of the season. We had a hand in all their goals through poor decision making or mistakes. "To be fair in the second half we had a right good go. They just defended very well. We looked dangerous at times, especially after James Vaughan came on. He would probably be the only one who could hold his head up high." But despite their obvious disappointment Ablett's side can take great satisfaction from a season of rich promise and should look forward to an outing at Goodison next week.
Everton made the worst possible start when they went behind after just four minutes. Villa's Craig Gardner's left-wing corner was headed on to the post by Scott Phelan but the ball rebounded back into net off the unfortunate Stephen Wynne. Villa extended their lead on 34 minutes when centre-back Manus Troest glanced in a header. And the game was virtually over when a backpass nine minutes into the second half saw striker Agbonlahor nip in and hold off a couple of challenges to score from the edge of the box. Any hopes of Everton reigniting the tie and giving themselves hope for the second leg were snuffed out when Villa scored a fourth after 65 minutes when left-back Stephen O'Halloran scored in a crowded penalty area. Everton finally got their name on the scoresheet with 18 minutes remaining thanks to top scorer Paul Hopkins. The Walton youngster, who recently made his England U17s debut, forced his way past a couple of defenders before curling a right-footed shot into the top corner. But within four minutes Villa restored their four-goal advantage as Gardner scored with a curling free-kick.
ASTON VILLA U17s: Olejnik; Green (Tuohy 90), O'Halloran, Troest, Morgan; Williams, Kabeya (Edkins 82), Osbourne, Agbonlahor, Gardner, Macdonald. Subs: Edkins, Saunders.
EVERTON U17s: Lake; Wynne, Boyle, Wright, Hughes; Wilson, Seargeant, Harris, Phelan (Anichebe 76); Hopkins, Fowler (Vaughan 76). Subs: Irving, Kissock, Morrison.
REFEREE: Mr A Watts.
ATT: 298.

Yobo admits: We have let the manager down
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 5 2004
ShareJOSEPH YOBO last night confessed Everton's players have let down David Moyes this season.
Everton only secured their Premiership status when Leeds lost at Bolton on Sunday, after alarming defeats against Blackburn and Wolves dragged them into danger. The Goodison club's disappointing campaign is in stark contract to Moyes's first full season at the helm when they missed out on European football on the final day. Late lapses, wasted chances and only one away win all season have undermined Everton's progress and the Nigerian international, admits players must take responsibility for under-achieving. Yobo said: "The manager has done the best that he can do. I think as players we've let him and the coaches down a bit. "I don't think any team has outplayed us this season. It's very disappointing when you don't get the results that we've deserved - but I hope that next season will be a lot better. "Last season, we had a good run with six games unbeaten - and I think that run was the difference between this season and last season. "We haven't had a good run this season, we've lost games, we've drawn games that we should have won easily - and that's cost us lots of points. "But I couldn't tell you why we haven't been able to do that." The 23-year-old believes Everton's failure to turn dominance into points and their slide towards relegation affected confidence at a crucial stage. He added: "There were a few nerves around. "We've not done as well as we should have done in some games because some of the players were frightened because we were getting closer to the relegation zone. "When you're cautious, that's when you start making mistakes and I think that's what has happened. "It's just part of the game. People have missed chances that they should have scored, but we have an opportunity to put things right," he said.
"We haven't got a bad squad here, but we didn't take opportunities that we should have, so I hope next season the team will do better." But with their Premiership status secure Yobo sees no reason for Everton not to end a disappointing campaign with a brief flourish. "We knew that we had two games left and with the type of games we've got, plus the home game against Bolton, we knew that we could win those games," said the defender. "So we were not too worried, especially myself, I was very confident that we weren't going to be relegated. But when the news came through about Leeds, it was a relief, so now we can play with confidence in the final two games of the season. I think we'll do well in the last two games."

Moyes hopeful of funds injection
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 5 2004
DAVID MOYES last night revealed his confidence in Bill Kenwright finding the funds to inject fresh talent into Everton this summer. The Everton manager, has worked on severely limited funds throughout his time at Goodison Park, spending less than £3m last year despite leading the club to the brink of Europe and generating record season ticket sales. Chief executive Michael Dunford has warned the club may not even have that amount to spend this summer as Everton continue to struggle financially. Moyes accepts he won't have a major budget to freshen up an ageing squad that has only just secured its Premiership status with 39 points from 36 games. But he believes deputy chairman Kenwright will raise the revenue to help him reignite Everton's fortunes next term.
"I am hopeful the club will find some funds for us to do some work in the summer," said Moyes. "I know what Bill Kenwright is like, he is working really hard behind the scenes to make things happen.
"He has taken a lot of the responsibility for what goes on and he deserves a great deal of credit for that. "Anyone looking at the Everton manager, whether it be me or previous ones, would say they require some support and to be fair for the two close seasons I have been here the board have tried to give me that. "There is no reason to suggest they won't try and do it again. But we are getting to the point where the level of investment we need is getting greater and greater." Moyes is already working on his summer transfer plans and believes the team requires at least four quality additions to correct this season's worrying slide. But he has vowed not to repeat last summer's mistake when he landed four players on transfer deadline day after an exhaustive attempt to land top target Sean Davis collapsed. He added: "I don't want it to be the same situation as last year where new players came in four weeks after the season had started. "Ideally, I want players in place before we start back for pre-season training or, if not, I want them coming in during that period. "We didn't have much consistency about us until around Christmas time this season and I don't know how much of that is down to players coming in late and needing to settle. We were up in the air for the first few months of the season. "Myself and Bill have certainly learned from waiting for Sean Davis all last summer, although it was not our fault he suffered ligament damage and failed the medical," he added.

Kilbane facing up to ankle surgery
May 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has revealed Kevin Kilbane may require a summer operation to cure a persistent ankle injury. The injury has been causing the Republic of Ireland star pain whenever he kicks the ball and the manager is keen for the problem to be solved before the start of pre-season. The midfielder, who is currently sidelined by a hamstring strain, could miss the Republic of Ireland's summer friendlies because of the ankle problem. Moyes said: "Kevin may require a minor ankle operation because he is in pain when he strikes the ball. "That could mean he will miss games for the Republic. "He has been playing with the pain but we would rather get it sorted out."
A decision of whether Kilbane requires an operation will not be made until after the end of the season. It could mean him missing the Republic's home game with Romania on May 27, and the trip to Holland on June 5. Defender Gary Naysmith successful ly underwent a hernia operation yesterday and the defender will have recovered in time for the start of pre-season in July. Plans for a summer trip to Perth, Australia, have been cancelled because of financing problems with the organisers. The Blues are expected to announce an alternative destination in 10 days.
Kilbane facing up to ankle surgery
Meanwhile, Moyes has revealed he has faith in owner Bill Kenright finding the funds to aid his summer spending plans. Moyes said: "I am hopeful the club will find some funds for us to do some work in the summer. "I know what Bill Kenright is like, he is working really hard behind the scenes to make things happen. "He has taken a lot of the responsibility for what goes on and he deserves a great deal of credit for that. "Anyone looking at the Everton manager, whether it be me, or previous ones, would say they require some support. "And to be fair for the two seasons I have been here, the board have tried to give me that. "There is no reason to suggest they won't try and do it again.
"But we are getting to the point were the level of investment we need is get ting greater and greater." Moyes is keen to add four players to his squad and has vowed to make the new additions before the start of the season. The manager wants to avoid a repeat of last year's deadline date signings on September 1.

Stand still and Blues will suffer
May 5 2004 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
THE dream is well and truly over. Now the lessons will have to be learned. Everton's directors must have breathed a huge sigh of relief on Sunday afternoon. Not only did Leeds United's 4-1 defeat at Bolton ensure the Blues' Premiership safety for another season, it also gave them a perfect excuse for another summer of inactivity. You can guarantee that for seasons to come, every tight-fisted chairman in the country will tell his frustrated supporters he is not prepared to "do a Leeds" and risk losing everything, as Peter Ridsdale famously put it, "living the dream". But Leeds was not the only club to make a miscalculation this summer. And Everton would do well to learn from Leicester City's mistakes, too. When Leicester's relegation was confirmed on Saturday, manager Micky Adams was in no doubt as to the reason for his team's demise. "We have lacked quality in certain areas, but in the Premiership quality costs and we haven't had that investment," Adams said. Adams, it must be said, needed to transform a first division squad into a Premiership one in the space of three months.
But the present Everton squad was only a few points from being a first division one, and David Moyes is unlikely to get any more money than Adams did this time last year. Premiership squads do not get better by doing nothing. Every other team in the Premiership will be improved between now and August, so the challenge is to improve yours more than your rivals'. The bad news for Everton is that with only Leon Osman looking likely to force his way up from the reserves, that improvement will have to come in the transfer market. Nobody inside or outside of Goodison would argue that changes don't need to be made, but it's a difficult balance to strike. Things are already looking ominous for Manchester City who, like Everton, only just scraped to safety this season, but unlike the Blues, racked up around £60m of debt in the process. There are only two major differences between Manchester City now and Leeds a couple of seasons ago. Whereas Leeds squandered millions on young players who had a sell-on value, City have wasted theirs on players past their best and Spice Boys. Leeds - for the time being - own their own ground. City don't. Oh dear. But if, as expected, stroppy striker Nicolas Anelka leaves Eastlands this summer, then City will at least have a figure in excess of £10million to play with in the closed season. And if City continue to ignore the warning signs and store up problems for the future, it will be little consolation to Evertonians if the players they buy with borrowed money push the Blues closer to the Premiership trap door.
Certainly if manager Gary Megson has any say in the matter, West Brom will not be repeating the under-investment of their last spell in the Premiership and consigning themselves to an immediate return to the Football League. Tottenham, too, are making the right noises about handing their new manager some cash - although the White Hart Lane club has made a habit of failing to deliver grand promises - and Portsmouth are sure to wheel and deal, even if they do plead poverty with every new signing. This summer, Everton must only spend what they can afford. But they cannot afford to stand still.

We've got to be fearless - Yobo
May 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH Yobo has warned that Everton must become fearless if they are to avoid another season spent flirting with relegation. The 23-year-old Nigerian international, admits the side has let the manager down this year. But now that the club's Premiership security has finally been assured, with just two games of the season remaining, he has vowed to make amends next year. "There were a few nerves around," he revealed. "We've not done as well as we should have done in some games because some of the players were frightened because we were getting closer to the relegation zone.
"When you're cautious, that is when you start making mistakes and I think that is what has happened. People have missed chances that they should have scored, but we have an opportunity to put things right. "We haven't got a bad squad here, but we didn't take opportunities that we should have, so I hope next season the team will do better. But we have to look forward to the future, because you can't keep on looking back. "The manager has done the best he can do, I think as players we have let him and the coaches down a bit, but I don't think any teamhas outplayed us.
"It is very disappointing when you don't get the results that we've deserved." But despite the problems of this season Yobo, who has been in excellent form since returning from the African Nations Cup in February, is delighted the Blues have finally secured their Premiership future.
He added: "It is always good to know you are safe before the final game of the season. "Last season, we had a good run with six games unbeaten - and I think that run was the difference between then and now. "We haven't had a good run this season, we've lost games, we've drawn games that we should have won easily - and that has cost us a lot of points. But I couldn't tell you why. "But I was still very confident that we weren't going to be relegated. But when the news came through about Leeds, it was a relief, so now we can play with confidence in the final two games of the season."
* EVERTON'S hopes of winning the Under-17 National Play-off final are in tatters today after they lost the first leg 5-1 at Aston Villa last night. Everton hit their consolation in the 72nd minute via Paul Hopkins. The return leg is at Goodison next Wednesday.

Reds win in penalty shoot-out
May 5 2004 Liverpool Echo
A PENALTY shoot-out separated Liverpool and Everton in the Liverpool County FA Women's Senior Cup final at Anfield last night. Over 2,300 people witnessed a tense affair, which remained goalless both in normal and extra time. Bu t the Reds emerged 4-3 winners in the spot kick drama that followed. Generally, it was a typical derby, with neither side giving ground. Centre half Lyndsey Johnson was a dominant figure for the Blues and her display impressed watching National Women's team manager Hope Powell, while Welsh international Ceryl Foster had a good game for the Reds.
Liverpool clinched the trophy in the shoot-out through goals by Jo Traynor, Kelly Davies and Ceryl Jones, while Kelly Vaughan, Kelly McDougall and Amy Kane replied.
"We needed a game like this to parade our home-grown talent," said Mo Marley, Merseyside Women's Football Development Officer, "and it was a great advert for the game with plenty of skilful players on view."

Moyes embarrassed by Everton's lowly position
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 6 2004
DAVID MOYES last night admitted he is thoroughly embarrassed by Everton's brush with relegation this season. Everton could earn an extra £2m in Premiership prize money if they take six points from the final two games of the season and climb from 15th place to 11th. But Moyes, is desperate to finish the campaign with a belated flourish to restore some pride at Goodison Park.
Fears of another relegation fight only ended on Sunday when Bolton secured Everton's Premiership status by consigning Leeds to Division One. But Moyes admits he was too disconcerted by his team's predicament to feel relief at their survival. The Everton manager said: "I'm actually feeling embarrassed about the position Everton are in just now. To be manager of a club this size I feel I should have them much higher up the table than we are. "On Sunday night it crossed my mind whether I felt like previous Everton managers and that avoiding relegation was something to celebrate. But it's not. The Wolves defeat was still hurting badly and we should be much higher up the table. "When our position was secured, it was just a feeling of embarrassment." Everton will need an extraordinary set of results to reach mid-table by May 15 but it remains Moyes's objective after a worrying season. He added: "We have still got two games to play yet before I think about the summer. "I want to try and win them, I think the least we can do is to try and finish on a high and I will be preparing the players to try and make that happen." Kevin Kilbane, meanwhile, is set to miss the Republic of Ireland's four end-of-season matches when he undergoes surgery on a long-standing ankle problem. The midfielder's campaign has already been brought to a premature halt by a hamstring strain. And after Gary Naysmith underwent a successful hernia operation on Tuesday in a bid to be fit for pre-season Moyes is keen for Kilbane to follow suit. If Kilbane does require surgery after a month's rest he will be pulled out of the Irish squad for matches against Romania, on May 27, Nigeria (May 29), Jamaica (June 2) and Holland (June 5). Physio Mick Rathbone explained: "Kevin has got a chronic ankle problem, which has developed over the past three or four years, whereby when he really strikes a ball hard he gets pain deep in his ankle. "There are a couple of little pieces of bone which have grown in the past few years and they may need fishing out in the summer.
"What we are going to do is give him one month of complete rest and reassess the situation, so it is 50-50 whether he needs an operation." Moyes added: "He has been playing with the pain for some time and we would rather he got it sorted out before pre-season. "Kevin may require a minor ankle operation because he is in pain when he strikes the ball. That could mean he would miss games for the Republic." Joseph Yobo will be in the Nigerian squad for the end of season Unity Cup tournament with the Republic and Jamaica between May 29 and June 2. And James McFadden has been named in the Scotland squad to play Estonia on May 27 plus Trinidad and Tobago at Easter Road on May 30.

When the goalkeeper went a step too far
Post Past By Philip J Redmond Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 6 2004
WHEN Bolton came to town in January 1977 it was easily the biggest match I'd been to at that time.
Everton were slight favourites for this League Cup semi-final, but while the Blues were struggling a little in the league, Bolton were riding high in the old second division and looked a good bet for promotion to the top flight. In fact Everton were a club in crisis following the previous week's surprise sacking of manager Billy Bingham. This was the first time I'd known an Everton manager to be shown the door and I remember feeling shocked and upset, particularly as my 'Bingham's Boys' silk scarf was now redundant. Coach Steve Burtenshaw took temporary charge. On a freezing winter's night I was in the Main Stand with my dad as the Blues aimed to return to Wembley for the first time in nine years. As I remember, Everton dominated the first half and it was no surprise when Duncan McKenzie headed in a near post corner. For their part, Bolton, featuring future Blues Mike Walsh, Jim McDonough and the incomparable Peter Reid looked out of their depth and outclassed.
The second half though was a different story, with the Wanderers roared on by a massive following and growing in confidence with every passing minute. Everton, meanwhile, had lost their way and began to look desperate. With the game moving into stoppage time and the Blues looking to have escaped, the referee penalised keeper David Lawson for too many steps (the one and only time I ever saw this rule applied) and a Bolton striker smashed in a dramatic equaliser from the resultant free-kick. This appeared to give The Trotters a decisive advantage ahead of the second leg as most experts wrote off the Blues. Bob Latchford and the new manager, Gordon Lee, made them eat their words.

Martyn has kept us safe - Moyes
May 6 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes today hailed Nigel Martyn as one of his greatest ever signings. The 37-year-old keeper, is favourite to be named the club's Player of the Season and the Goodison boss admits that without him the Blues' league position could have been far more precarious going into the final two games of the campaign. Moyes said today: "I would reiterate that Nigel has been a terrific signing. "He has saved us on many occasions this year and when you look at how close we've been to relegation at the end of the season, it is hard to put into words the value of his contribution and what it has meant to have him here. "I would say he is one of my best signings as a manager because he came for nothing. He only had one year left on his Leeds contract but we took that over. "It meant a big pay cut for him to leave Leeds and sign a two-year deal with us. It has been a great piece of business and although he is 37 he certainly doesn't look ready for the knackers yard yet!" Added Moyes: "He is longer in the tooth than we would have liked but keepers do play until they are older and his experience has been invaluable. "When Nigel is getting nearer the end of his time with us we know we have got Richard Wright ready to come in." The Blues go into Saturday's game with Bolton safe from the threat of relegation. The manager is keen to end the season on a high but the added winnings provided by a higher league finish is unlikely to provide Moyes with a boost to his transfer coffers as the club budgeted for an 11th place finish this season.
Every Premiership placing is worth just over half a million pounds.

Everton launch new kit
May 6 2004 Liverpool Echo
HERE is the first picture of Everton's new kit. The strip will be worn in Saturday's final home game of the season against Blackburn but will not be on sale until July. The Umbro kit is part of a new ground-breaking five year deal with JJB Sports which is worth £10m to the Blues. The deal means that availability of Everton merchandise will increase throuought JJB's 448 stores nationwide.
Orders for the new kit, which is being modelled by Nigerian international defender Joseph Yobo, will be taken from mid-June at the club's megastore.

Steve gets shirty with hero Wayne!
May 6 2004 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
OUR search for the most loyal young Evertonian is nearing its end. Throughout the season we have been highlighting the JBlue members you feel deserve to be crowned fan of the year. This month we feature 15-year-old Stephen Kelly, who has been a regular at Goodison Park for more than 10 years.
He said: "My first match was against Sheffield United at Goodison on August 21 1993. We won 4-2 with a hat-trick by Tony Cottee. At half-time my dad and I got talking to a man who turned out to be Cottee's dad. I met and spoke to Cottee just a few weeks ago at an Everton dinner and he remembered the game. "My favourite match was the final game of the 1997/98 season when we drew 1-1 with Coventry to stay in the Premiership. I remember shaking like a leaf all morning, but seven minutes into the match after a cracker by Gareth Farrelly I broke down in tears of relief.
"I go to all home and most away games. My most memorable away match was at Anfield when we won 2-1 with both goals by Kanchelskis. "I also sat behind the goal that Paul Rideout scored in to beat Manchester United 1-0 in the FA Cup Final in 1995. Next day I stood on top of a fire engine in Scottie Road to watch the team bring the cup home." Stephen, of Upton, Wirral, is also the lucky owner of some very special souvenirs. He said: "My most prized possessions are my season ticket and my signed Wayne Rooney shirt and football boot. Also, my home shirt is signed by most of the team and David Moyes. One night last year I was shocked to receive a phone call from David Moyes after he had been speaking to my dad. "I am looking forward to seeing Rooney play for England when I go over to Portugal for Euro 2004. This season has been disappointing for Everton, but with some new faces and a bit of luck we can get into Europe next season."

Kilbane brother at 'Port
May 6 2004 By David Bassett, Liverpool Echo
FARRELL KILBANE, the brother of Everton star Kevin, has signed for Conference North newcomers Southport. The 29-year-old central defender has joined from Lancaster City, and delighted Haig Avenue boss Liam Watson insisted: "It is an excellent signing for us. "Farrell is a big, strong centre-half and also scores goals. He regularly gets 12 goals a season from set-pieces." Also joining Southport is midfielder Dominic Morley, who has signed from Runcorn to link up again with Watson, his manager at Halton Stadium before Watson's move to Southport last October. Morley, 26, was with the Sandgrounders four years ago, making 45 Conference appearances. He played an influential role in Runcorn's promotion to Conference North this season after his career had been seriously threatened by an accident at work last September, when he suffered horrific internal injuries. He returned to action just three months later. Watson said: "We have brought in two very experienced players in Farrell and Dominic, and their arrival is excellent news for Southport Football Club." The Haig Avenue boss is also hoping to complete what he describes as a "massive signing" in the next week. Meanwhile, Runcorn have dismissed rumours that their place in Conference North next season is under threat. Reports had been circulating that the club's future was uncertain because of financial problems, and that the Linnets would have to provide assurances that they could see next season through. But secretary Debbie Quaile insisted: "We have heard absolutely nothing about this and as far as we are concerned there is no truth in it. "We are not in a brilliant state financially, but what football club is?" Runcorn secured the final promotion slot for the new Conference North on the final day of the regular UniBond Premier Division season, despite losing 1-0 at Altrincham.

Relegation scrap has left Moyes feeling hurt
May 6 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted he is embarrassed by Everton's flirtation with relegation this season.
The Blues' Premiership safety was assured by Leeds' defeat at Bolton last weekend. But with two games of the season remaining the manager, insists he is feeling far from euphoric. He explains: "I'm actually feeling embarrassed about the position Everton are in just now. "To be manager of a club this size I feel I should have them much higher up the table than we are. On Sunday night it crossed my mind whether I felt like previous Everton managers and that avoiding relegation was something to celebrate. "But it's not. The Wolves defeat was still hurting badly and we should be much higher up the table. "When our position was secured, it was just a feeling of embarrassment." Meanwhile, Everton launched their new home kit today. The Umbro strip, which will be supplied by JJB as part of a £10m deal with the sports store, will be worn for the first time in Saturday's home game with Bolton. The kit will not be on sale until July, when the club is likely to have secured new sponsors after the Kejian deal runs out at the end of this season.

Former club's relegation upsets Martyn
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 7 2004
IT has been a bittersweet week for the man David Moyes believes has contributed more than most in maintaining Everton's Premiership status this season. Such has Nigel Martyn's impact been since arriving at Goodison Park last September, he is expected to be named the club's player of the year.
But his delight at the news Everton were safe from relegation last weekend was tempered by the realisation it was at the expense of his old club Leeds United. And with the pressure now eased on Moyes's side, Martyn admits it has been another underwhelming campaign. "It's disappointing where we are in the league," says the 37-year-old. "I think we'd all like to have been a lot higher.
"It is only a small fraction between us and teams in sixth and seventh place. We're in the bottom half of that group and the aim for us next season is to get into the top half." Despite the shortcomings, Martyn resists the call for wholesale changes among the squad of players available to Moyes. "Everton don't need a shakeup," he insists. "But the squad needs deepening and the manager has alluded to players who he would want to buy. Whether he can get them or not, only time will tell.
"We want as many good players here as we can to make it a better team." Martyn believes a lack of concentration towards the end of games has cost Everton dear throughout the season and made the run-in far less comfortable than it should have been. "If you look at the amount of points we dropped conceding late goals this season, you're probably looking at double figures," he continues.
"There were about five games in very quick time where somebody said we'd lost seven points through letting in late goals. "Then there have been other ones, including one last Saturday at Wolves. That was a poor performance from us, we shouldn't have lost that game. "We could have been three or four-nil up at half-time and it was disappointing, and it certainly got the manager annoyed. "It's been in our hands in many games and we haven't really followed it through and that's what has cost us points this season and why we'll finish where we'll finish." Everton's top-flight status was finally confirmed when Leeds lost 4-1 at Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, an situation Martyn - an Elland Road hero for seven years - could have done without. "I didn't want Leeds to go down," he says. "If I had a choice, they wouldn't have been the team I wanted to get relegated. In an ideal world we'd have both stayed up. "I had mixed emotions. It was sad to see because I was watching team-mates I'd been through thick and thin with on lots of occasions. "But you ultimately finish where you deserve to. The start they had on the back of the previous season meant there wasn't much confidence in the team. "People might say they've got this player and that player so they should be further up the league, but if the confidence is not in the team then it won't function as well as it can. "I've spoken to a few of the play-ers and they don't know what's happening now. They just want to get things sorted and know where they are in preparation for next season."
He adds: "It's important Leeds get things sorted as quickly as possible. "If they don't keep enough of the good players and bring some experience in then they could struggle. They have some good kids who are good enough but they need to blend them in with some older heads. "You get your energy in the team from the younger lads and you get the brains from the older lads. That's what any club needs." Martyn's outstanding form with Everton this season has led to calls for his reintroduction into the England fold. But he says: "It has been mentioned recently, but my thoughts haven't changed. It would be different if the England manager rang me and said I would be playing. "But to travel to Portugal and sit on the bench like I did in 2002 for the World Cup, you come back exhausted and last time at Leeds I ended up losing my place and not really getting it back again. "I have been given another chance here and I do not want to waste that. "I have got a fight on my hands with Richard Wright for next season, so I want to give myself the best chance I can."

The board must go
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 7 2004
THE FACT that David Moyes has decided to offer David Unsworth a two-year deal seems to suggest that he is going to have nothing to spend in the summer. Moyes has apparently ear-marked four signings, but has already accepted he won't get all of them. How long will this go on for? I've said it before and I'll say it again - Moyes is a fantastic manager and needs at least 3-4 years in the hotseat before we can judge him. The board have had more than enough time - time for THEM and not Moyes to go.
Shez Khan, Birmingham
Money for Moyes
AFTER a fantastic flutter with the Premiership's elite last season it's back to the almost now regular scramble for survival. This season we've played some decent foot-ball and very poor football. Money must be made available for Moyes to buy a midfield who can play Premiership football - with Kil-bane and Gravesen the exceptions to this.
Stuart Mulhall, Dublin
THE current state of Ever -ton is embarrassing. Look at the fixture list for the last seven games of this season, inclusive of the next two. Regardless of whether Moyes has had any money to spend or not, we should have been looking at picking up five or six wins against teams in the same ballpark as us.
Instead, what do we get? One win, two draws and two defeats with two more defeats to come.
Next season's prospects look decidely bleak unless some investment is found and new players come in to freshen things up.
Neil Colquhoun, Liverpool
Sell Rooney
I'M SICK of people blaming the board for everything, and fans saying "buy this player" or "buy that player". Hello everyone - do we want to end up like Leeds? We are presently IN DEBT. The board could be doing better, but they have a responsibility to try and balance the books. Should it be decided to sell Wayne Rooney, then most of that money should be used to clear the cuurent debt. That would be good! Why? Because we would stop having to pay millions in interest payments to the creditors - and in the long run that would equal more money for the manager and team.
We cannot take full advantage of Rooney's skills because our team is woefully below his level, but he could still do EFC a HUGE favour and wipe out the debt.
If I were him, I'd realize this and ask to be sold.
Paul Rogers, Bootle
Clearout time
I DON'T BELIEVE IT - offering David Unsworth a twoyear deal. Why are we even offering him one?!
Surely it is time to grasp this chance for a clearout to allow for new arrivals. I realise we are stuck with some players, but if we don't get rid when we can we'll never be able to change things around.
And if Radzinski insists on a three-year extension then sell him now - or else we'll be less the Toffees and more the pensioners.
Gary Lumsden, Walton

Safety assured, but points prove elusive
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
May 7 2004
THERE is a certain irony in the fact that tomorrow's opponents, Bolton Wanderers, ultimately ensured Everton's Premiership safety by beating Leeds United last Sunday. Despite the history between the two clubs - the one that crossed the line, etc - the Everton supporters have to be grateful to Youri Djorkaeff and company for sparing us a week of sleepless nights and chewed fingernails. Quite frankly, the way our team is playing at present it's difficult to see us picking up a point from either of our remaining matches. The game at Wolves, where we had the opportunity to safeguard our own survival, was indicative of our whole season. At times, particularly in the first half, we played some good stuff but wasted too many chances. Let's not forget, despite all the doom and gloom, there have been moments this season when we have recreated the type of foot-ball that saw us almost qualify for Europe with style last time out. Unfortunately those moments have been all too fleeting, and that was again the case at Molineux where that half time interval once again saw us transformed quicker than Mister Ben. A pacy, imaginative team went into the chang-ing room and then, as if by magic, they emerged for the second half looking like a bunch of meek little bunnies ready for the chop. As soon as Wolves had a bit of a go, certain experienced international players went missing while a number of the young lads were made to look a bit naïve.
In the wider context of the season the result didn't end up really mattering, but the worrying thing is that David Moyes will have to work with a lot of these less than impressive players - the ones who are barely going through the motions - next season. There's only so long you can look at the likes of Alex Nyarko and try to accentuate the positive aspects of his contribution. And if it's frustrating for the supporters, how must the manager feel? It must be driving him crackers, and it was notable that he publicly mentioned the need for investment this week. It's still heartbreaking that previous, lesser managers were given free rein to spend cash and dig us into the financial hole we're in, leaving a man like Moyes to beat his head against a brick wall as he continues to do his best with the bulk of the squad he inherited.

Four year deal Moyes
May 7 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES will be offered a new four-year contract at Everton this summer - as Bill Kenwright tries to secure the club's two most important assets. Talks will be held with Wayne Rooney after Euro 2004, but the Blues' boss is expected to sign an extension of his own before then. Moyes, has two years remaining on his current deal, but despite a disappointing second full season in charge he still has the full backing of club owner Kenwright. The Blues' boss declined to discuss his new deal today. "At this moment I am concentrating on our last two matches," he said. "There will be time for talking at the end of the season when we see what Everton's position is." But he did praise Kenwright's efforts to provide him with a transfer pot this summer - and hinted that the deputy-chairman should receive greater backing from his fellow board members. "I speak to Bill most days and the one thing I would say about him is that Bill Kenwright is genuinely out there trying to find investors to put money in," said Moyes. "I don't know all the ins and outs of that - my job is to concentrate on the football team and that is my immediate priority - but I have relayed what we need this summer to the board, which obviously includes Bill, but we shouldn't disregard the rest of the board. "They have to take responsibility together for trying to provide the club's long term strategy." Including youngsters, Everton have 14 players out of contract this summer - including seniors like David Unsworth, Scot Gemmill, Paul rard, Steve Simonsen and Peter Clarke - and only Unsworth will be offered a new deal. The defender has an achilles injury which could rule him out of tomorrow's final home match of the season against Bolton - a game which lights Everton's lack of playing resources. Gravesen and Kevin bane are already ruled out, while can Ferguson may return to the squad depending on his level of fitness. Osman, however, is in line for a full home debut following his coring debut at Wolves last weekend.

Martyn to earn another Everton deal
May 7 2004 Report by Ian Doyle, Daily Post
NIGEL MARTYN yesterday underlined his desire to remain at Goodison Park and earn himself a new contract. The 37-year-old has been Everton's player of the season since arriving from Leeds United on transfer deadline day last September. David Moyes has declared Martyn as one of his "best signings" and the goalkeeper's excellent form has seen him touted by many for a recall to the England set-up. And Martyn, whose current contract with Everton expires at the end of next season, has revealed he wants to extend his stay on Merseyside. I'd love to stay and carry on playing and help the team further up the table, but a new contract is something the manager would have to offer me," said Martyn. "I'm not going to set myself targets saying how long I want to keep on playing. It is a case of how I feel and at the moment I feel really good. I know I could do next season at a breeze. "I feel like I could go on forever but it will catch up with me at some point. But the way I am feeling now, I think I could play on for a couple more seasons yet." Moyes paid tribute to the impact Martyn has made this season, insisting his contribution had spared Everton from even greater relegation peril. "I would say he is one of my best signings as a manager because he came for nothing," said the Everton manager. "It's been a great piece of business and although he is 37 he certainly doesn't look ready for the knacker's yard yet. He has saved us on many occasions this year and when you look at how close we've been to relegation, it's hard to put into words the value of his contribution." Martyn arrived at Goodison after having spent an entire season on the sidelines at Elland Road, a situation which the goalkeeper believes has worked to his and Everton's advantage.
"This season I've not had an injury or a problem, touch wood," he said. "I really do feel fantastic.
It's a strange thing, but perhaps not playing at all last season might have been a good thing in the long run. "I do feel very fresh and I'm probably on of the few players who doesn't want the season to end." He added: "It was nice to come to a friendly, happy club like Everton and have a chance to play. "When I first came here, the manager was very straight with me and said Richard Wright was playing and if he did well he'd stay in the team, and he had to come out and I went in then I'd stay in. That's how it should be. "If I don't do so well, then he has the option to bring Richard back in. It's a great position for the manager to be in because he knows he has two goalkeepers he can rely on, and I was lucky to get a chance as quickly as I did and stay in the team." Meanwhile, Alan Stubbs missed training yesterday and is a doubt for tomorrow's game at home to Bolton Wanderers while David Unsworth is still struggling with an Achilles tendon injury. Li Tie will return to Bellefield next week to continue his rehabilitation from a broken leg. The Chinese international has spent the last three months in China, having sustained the injury while away on international duty.

Martyn: Staying up harder to do now
May 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THERE was a mixture of emotions in the Martyn household last Sunday. The 37-year-old goalkeeper, was delighted that Everton's Premiership safety was, at long last, assured. But it was at the expense of Leeds, the club where he spent seven years of his career. Their 4-1 defeat at Bolton consigned the Yorkshire giants to the drop. Twelve months ago that prospect would have been unthinkable.
And despite the financial meltdown which has torn Elland Road apart, they have still been able to boast the impressive talents of Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, James Milner, Dominic Matteo and Paul Robinson this season. That supports Nigel Martyn's assessment that life in the top flight has never been tougher. Tomorrow the Blues take on a Bolton team that includes a World Cup winner, a former Real Madrid star and one of the most gifted exponents of the footballing art in British football. And yet, like Everton, the Trotters have very little left to play for other than pride.
"The amount of real quality foreign signings means what is now an average, run-of-the-mill mid-table side is of a quality that a few years ago would have been good enough to challenge for a top-three place," explains Martyn. The quality has gone up. The whole standard has improved and that is making life harder and harder. "Every side has got great players, but you are also playing against great players. Three or four years ago you would identify a couple of players in most teams and know that if you could stop them you would have a good result. "But now there are four or five or six of those players in sides who can cause you problems and create or score goals. That makes it that much harder to do well. "Making a difference is all down to hunger and desire. You have got to want it more of than the sides you are playing against." That philosophy led Everton to seventh place last season. And it is that hunger which has made Martyn such a hit at Goodison this term.
He has been the shining light in a hugely frustrating season for the Blues, leading manager David Moyes to admit the keeper has been one of his greatest signings and the reason Everton have not followed Leeds out of the Premiership. "It is better to hear the manager saying that than him saying I am the worst signing he has ever made, put it that way," adds Martyn. "But there is always room for improvement. I have been happy generally with my form but you always analyse goals that go in and at times you do make mistakes. "My aim is always to try and be error-free for the whole season. Obviously that is not going to happen. Every goalie will make mistakes and if you are punished by conceding a goal it is even worse, but you have got to try and get those mistakes to a minimum.
"We never sit around and look back at good saves that I might have made. If I sit down with Chris Woods it is to analyse goals I have conceded to see if there is anything I could have done to prevent it. "You have got to take the good things for granted and anything you don't get spot on you have to get right for next time. If there is a secret, then I suppose that is it." And so when you ask Martyn to assess his first season at Everton he will not go further than reluctantly conceding it has "gone alright". He is much more forthcoming when he insists he has enjoyed it. After an enforced season on the sidelines in his final year at Elland Road, the keeper has been rejuvenated by the switch to Goodison. It was the draw of regular first-team football which convinced him to sign, despite interest from the millionaires of Chelsea. It is a decision he has never regretted. And his enjoyment of life on Merseyside has been made all the greater by the support he has received from the terraces. "It is nice to know they have taken me to their hearts," he adds. "It might not have worked out that way, with what happened in 1996 (when he chose Leeds ahead of Everton after leaving Crystal Palace), but I think they see that I am honest and try my best every game. "If you make the saves and do well, particularly in derby games, that goes a long way with the fans." That support is likely to earn him the fans' player of the season award. He can see no better way of saying thank you than by giving the fans something to smile about against Bolton tomorrow. "Hopefully, knowing that we are safe will mean there is no tension tomorrow and we can produce a good performance. It is our last home game of the season and we want to put on a show for the supporters because they have been there every week even when we have not been performing that well. "It would be nice to produce a repeat of the Leeds or the Tottenham game. "There have not been enough performances like that for us this season."

James turns down LFC visit in favour of day with Rooney
May 7 2004 By Scott Mcleod Echo Writer
JAMES Dunn ended up feeling blue when he was told he could meet meet Liverpool's stars - because he's a diehard Everton fan. But the 10-year-old who suffers from a painful and rare skin disease need not have worried because Wayne Rooney was lined up in their place. James had given charity organisers a cheeky response when he was offered the chance of a one to one with the players from the red side of the city. He told charity organisers: "OK, but I'll tell them what I think of them!"
James then talked his way into a meeting with his real hero. James's mother Leslie said: "The highlight of his day was meeting all the players, especially Wayne. And he is still his favourite.
"Everybody at the club was really good to him, and I thought David Moyes was brilliant. He can't wait to get back to school to tell all his friends." James's condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa, means his skin constantly sheds and tries to regrow, leaving his body covered in painful sores and blisters.
The youngster from Calderstones was treated to his Everton visit by the national charity DebRA which supports the sufferers and their families. Charity spokesman Tony Eckersall said: "I arranged a similar trip for James to Melwood last month to visit the Liverpool players forgetting he was such an avid Evertonian. "When I told him about that trip he said 'I will put my blue shirt on and tell them how rubbish they are'. "So we had to arrange a visit to Everton after that, didn't we?" * Further details and donations can be made at www.debra.org.uk The charity is also organising a charity dragon boat race in St Helens.

Roon for more
May 7 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
REMEMBER Jean-Marie Pfaff? Every Evertonian of a certain age will never forget him. The big Belgian was the Bayern Munich goalkeeper who ran to his near post like Dale Winton waving off his mum, giving Gray and Sharp tapins on Goodison's greatest night. Good news for Blues is they may see even more of him in the near future. Pfaff is the star of an Osbournes-style reality TV show in Belgium called "De Pfaffs" and he says: "I hope my programme comes to England. That would be great." The series is a big success in Belgium, but could it catch on over here? At Home With The Rooneys maybe?

Preview: Everton v Bolton Wanderers
Richard Frost
May 07, 2004
Manchester Evening News
BOLTON boss Sam Allardyce, ever the innovator, is reaping a rich reward for trusting his players to prepare for games the DIY way. Wanderers, who seek their fifth win in a row at Everton tomorrow, have been given most of the last three weeks off in order to spend extra time with their families and to rest after a gruelling schedule. The fatigue factor was setting into Allardyce's small squad so he reacted by telling them to stay away from the Reebok.
He has trusted them to look after themselves properly and the evidence that they have was provided by their best performance of the season in Sunday's 4-1 demolition of Leeds. Allardyce said: "The confidence that the players are showing is down to giving them the right time and space to get ready for the next game. "I've asked them not to be at the club very much but I've also asked them to be dedicated away from it. "Their dedication is being tested by the fact that they are not in our domain as much as usual. "But they have to focus on not letting themselves go in terms of not eating or drinking a bit more. "We haven't given them time off to start thinking the season is over. We want them to prepare for the next game in the right way and make sure they are 100 per cent ready physically as well as mentally. "To be fair to them, from what I've seen over the last three games, they've taken up the challenge and responded magnificently with their performances.
"That gives me more trust in them because it shows they are not abusing themselves or us when given extra time off. "It's a credit to them and shows their dedication."
Guns Blazing
Allardyce admitted recently that he couldn't see his side winning their last six games of the season but now, with four in the bag, he's demanding that his players go for it with all guns blazing. They finish the season at home to Fulham a week tomorrow and he wants his side to improve their already outstanding away record of seven Premiership wins at Goodison tomorrow. Improving on seventh place won't be easy but Allardyce is keen not to slip from what is a dizzy height for the Reebok club. He said: "There is no real pressure on either side tomorrow so it should be a game between two relaxed teams. "But I do want the players to take advantage of the situation by working hard and getting another good result away from home. "Everton have overcome a bit of a blip. I know they lost at Wolves last Saturday but we watched them and they should have been 4-0 up at half-time. "Last year they were putting their chances away. "But this season they haven't been the same while we've been converting more of ours. "Taking one more chance a game over a season can make the difference between finishing in the top four instead of the bottom four in the table." Wanderers have no injury problems and Ricardo Gardner will be back in the squad after suffering a cruciate ligament injury in January. Bolton skipper Jay-Jay Okocha and Everton defender Joseph Yobo, who will be rivals tomorrow, will team up for Nigeria to play Jamaica and the Republic of Ireland in the Unity Cup at Charlton's ground between May 28 and June 2. The tournament is to promote world peace.

Everton 1 Bolton Wanderers 2
Richard Frost
May 08, 2004
Manchester Evening News
TWO goals by mercurial Frenchman, Youri Djorkaeff, sent Bolton to their fifth win in a row, the first time since 1927 that they have achieved that feat in the top division. Djorakeff, who also scored twice last Sunday, put Bolton ahead after 13 minutes when he raced on to a neat through ball by Kevin Nolan into the left of the penalty box. Defenders Tony Hibbert and Steve Watson appeared to have the danger covered but Djorkaeff nipped between them to score with a low shot from tight angle. Bolton were completely on top for the rest of the first half but a tactical shake up by Everton which forced the speedy Tomasz Radzinski into the attack, put them on the back foot. Everton equalised after 68 minutes when a surging Radzinski run set up Duncan Ferguson to score from short range. But Bolton were not to be denied and Djorkaeff poached the winner two minutes from time. Left back, Simon Charlton, passed a fine display with a low cross from the left touch line which Djorkaeff slipped home from 6-yards, but he maintained a sensational end of season run for Sam Allardyce's side who still have an outside chance of qualifying for European soccer next season.

Everton 1, Bolton 2 (D,Post)
May 10 2004 By Andy Hunter At Goodison Park, Daily Post
APERFECT symbol of the state of Everton Football Club unfolded at Goodison Park on Saturday - and it was not the defeat by a Bolton Wanderers team now 14 points its superior. With the 16th loss of a demoralising campaign over it was time for the vanquished to conduct a painful lap of honour, custom rather than merit the overriding incentive. Problem was, no-one wanted to go. Players reluctantly gathered around the tunnel, one or two disappeared altogether, and it seemed only Bolton would salute their support until David Moyes strode forward and led his underachievers to accept one of the most undeserving rounds of applause Goodison has ever delivered. Throughout the lap of honour, or more accurately the walk of shame, Moyes paced yards in front of the pack, his players languishing behind like scolded children on a Saturday afternoon in Lewis's. And it was an image that spoke volumes. As Moyes led from the front, worryingly apart from the rest, the question leapt out: who at Everton is genuinely going to follow him? Certainly the Gwladys Street have an answer, and their response to the final act of another season to forget should act as a wake-up call to all those who work under and above the Everton manager. Moyes received a fervent show of support from the home faithful as he dragged suitably reluctant players around the pitch. Once the manager had passed, chants focused on Everton's other prize asset, Wayne Rooney, then man of the match Joseph Yobo's name rang around the old and decaying stadium. Moyes, Rooney, Yobo, what else? Tellingly, "Sack the board" came next, an illustration of the paucity of the heroes on the field and identification of those responsible for that fact. In the four years since taking control of Everton, "True Blue" - in danger of developing into a cruel anomaly of a title - have been unable to arrest its decline yet there has been no widespread unrest from fans desperate to see Bill Kenwright achieve that aim. That feeling remains to this day. Everton's current board of directors have benefited from the depth of ill-feeling towards the regime they replaced, even though most of them sat along-side Peter Johnson too, and escaped lightly over the Kings Dock debacle thanks to the fortunate distraction of last season's unexpected assault on Europe and the emergence of Rooney. Now, however, Goodison's patience is snapping. Even before the first signs of mass unrest against the present board were voiced, impatience was evident as Bolton passed Everton off the park to chants f "Ole! Ole!" - in the first half - and the home side promptly wasted possession as soon as they retrieved it. Which is the fault of the players of course, and more of them later. Criticism goes with the territory for a football club director, especially those who reside at Goodison Park, and it is not a new or entirely accurate response to blame them for Everton's alarming slide on the pitch this season. But they cannot ignore the warning signs any longer, especially while they still have an opportunity to act. The first calls for them to go arrived at the end of the final home game of the season, giving them the close season to stifle any revolt by attracting new investment - which Kenwright to his credit is desperately seeking - or to relinquish control - which he is not.
Everton's board - Sir Philip Carter, Kenwright, Keith Tamlin, Arthur Abercromby, Paul Gregg and Jon Woods - could even follow their own instructions to the club's season ticket holders and increase their financial input by 20%. Not even Moyes expects a dramatic transfer windfall this summer, just support for his plan to nurture a young side over the coming years and an opportunity to compete with the middle-tier Premiership clubs who are now leaving Everton standing. Surely that is worth a phonecall to Lord Grantchester or any outside consortium willing to invest in a club still rich in potential? Even on the final day of the season, when two teams with nothing to play for and who would be expected to stroll the season out were facing each other, over 40,000 people paid into Goodison Park. Forty thousand - a figure surpassed seven times this term and the only one required to show why this club deserves much, much better than for treading water to be the height of ambition. This summer will determine whether that remains the case or not. This summer could also deter-mine the long-term futures of several established players too and, just like Moyes's increasing exasperation at the business side of the Everton operation, his opinions do not bode well for them either. The one danger of harping on about a club's failings at board-room level is that it gives those on the production line a shield of excuses as Leeds, still blessed with many of the players who took them to the Champions League semi-finals three years ago, have proved. That said, Everton should be thankful for their demise as they cannot be trusted to secure their own Premiership status. The Goodison playing department - allegedly sent home from training on Thursday by a manager disgusted by their attitude - must share responsibility for the failure to maintain last season's progress. Saturday's galling defeat by Bolton was the latest example of under-achievement from Everton's players while Moyes's decision to recall Duncan Ferguson after six weeks of inactivity and his midfield line-ups in both halves - the tireless and inventive Leon Osman aside - baffled too. The home side started brightly, Ferguson, slipping over as a gilt-edged chance came his way from Steve Watson on the by-line, while Jussi Jaaskelainen was fortunate when he was adjudged to have been penalised before palm-ing the ball over his own line. But Bolton - with Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and even Ivan Campo and Kevin Davies giving their hosts a lesson in control, movement and penetration - gradually asserted control over a disjointed and directionless Everton team, taking a deserved lead on 13 minutes after James McFadden's horrendous crossfield pass was intercepted by Henrik Pedersen. Kevin Nolan threaded the ball into Djorkaeff's run inside the area, and although David Weir and Tony Hibbert both should have spared their team-mate's agony, the French World Cup winner danced between them both before sliding the ball under Nigel Martyn. Everton couldn't get near Sam Allardyce's collection of free signings and veterans for the remainder of a cringing first half, although a necessary reshuffle at the interval did inject more purpose into their play. Rooney dropped into central midfield and began testing Bolton's full-backs with a series of accurate long balls down the channels which McFadden and substitute Tomasz Radzinski prospered from. In the 68th minute the Canadian striker's pace once again proved a valuable asset for Everton as he cut through the Bolton left and picked out Osman on one of his many runs into the danger zone. The midfielder's shot was blocked by Emerson Thome but rolled kindly across goal for Ferguson to pounce and the revival looked on. Two minutes later McFadden swooped on another Rooney invitation and closed in on goal only to leave the final touch for Ferguson, who then appeared to be upended by the last man Thome. Paul Durkin signalled an offence and pointed towards the spot, but just as Everton began to celebrate a penalty award it transpired the official had bizarrely awarded an indirect free-kick for a back pass. From 10 yards out, Rooney's free-kick cannoned off the goalline wall. Everton lost their momentum after that and three minutes from time lost the chance to bid fare-well to Goodison with at least a point when Djorkaeff ghosted in at the near post to steer Simon Charlton's low cross beyond the stranded Martyn and Watson. Yet again it was too late for Everton to reply, but it is not too late for the custodians of the club to ensure the embarrassment felt by Moyes and shared by thousands is replaced by a semblance of hope this summer.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir (Campbell 90), Pistone (Radzinski 46); Watson, Osman, Nyarko (Carsley, 46 mins), McFadden; Ferguson, Rooney. Subs: Wright, Linderoth.
BOOKINGS: Weir, Carsley (fouls).
BOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Barness 81), Thome, N'Gotty, Charlton; Djorkaeff, Nolan (Gardner 84), Campo, Okocha; Pedersen (Frandsen 64), Davies. Subs: Poole, Giannakopoulos.
REFEREE: Paul Durkin.
ATT: 40,190.
NEXT GAME: Manchester City v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm.

Yobo: Everton must sign quality to compete
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 10 2004
JOSEPH YOBO insists Everton can return to the upper echelons of the Premier League next season provided David Moyes is allowed to make quality signings in the summer. Everton dropped to fifth from bottom on Saturday when their miserable campaign continued with defeat by Bolton in their final home game of the season. Moyes's team have won only three of 18 league matches this year, with the optimism fuelled by his first full campaign evaporating into unrest at Goodison Park.
Nigerian international Yobo, blames this season's slump on a lack of confidence and consistency within the Everton team. But he believes the squad must be strengthened in the summer for Moyes to have a realistic chance of pushing for Europe instead of fighting relegation. "I'm not in management but I think everybody can see we need more quality in the team," said Yobo.
"We need to add one or two good quality players in the summer to what we've got. If we do, I am sure we will be back up there challenging again. Apart from the top three places, I think fourth to sixth place is open to everyone. "It is hard to understand why we have had such a bad season. It is a good club, with good coaches, good fans and a good squad. "If you look at all the players individually we haven't got a bad squad here. We have a few top players as well and to see us struggling is very disappointing. "There are other teams in the league who haven't got as many good players as we have and yet they have done much better. I haven't seen a team outplay us once this season so I can't accept Everton being down at the bottom of the league." Yobo continued: "In some leagues there are teams that can completely outplay you and when that happens you just have to accept being beaten by a better team. But I haven't seen that with us this season." Youri Djorkaeff's 87th minute winner leaves Everton in danger of finishing just one place outside the relegation zone if they lose their final game of the season at Manchester City on Saturday.
And Yobo believes the failure to string a run of victories together this campaign has been a major factor in their struggle. "We have conceded too many late goals and this was another example," he said. "But for me the big problem has been our failure to put a good run together this season.
"We needed to have three or four games that would put us back up there, that would breed confidence and give us something to build on. That is exactly what happened last season, we started to win a few games and we were going out on to the pitch thinking we could beat anyone. "But we haven't done it this year. We haven't had the consistency and it has been difficult. "You only need to win two or three games on the run as a player and you start to think you are unbeatable. Football is all about confidence and when you start to win you have more belief in yourself and more belief in your teammates. But we have struggled this season and when the spirit is low it is difficult to turn it around." French veteran Djorkaeff struck either side of Duncan Ferguson's 68th-minute effort to put a 14-point gap between Sam Allardyce's side and Everton. And Yobo admitted: "It was very disappointing. With the pressure of relegation off us and it being our last home game of the season, I really thought we would play some good football and finish with a win. "But it was a bad end and we are all feeling the pain. "We should have done a lot better. After coming back well in the second half we should have at least held on to the draw. We should have gone on and won it. But we did neither. "We showed a lot of character and enthusiasm in the second half, but I am sad for the players and for the fans too. We really wanted to win this game and dedicate it to the fans because they've been behind us all season and deserve much better than what we've given them this season. It is very sad."

Money can make the difference for Moyes
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
May 10 2004
DAVID MOYES watched his Everton side slump to their 16th Premiership defeat of the season - then admitted he will need money to revitalise the Goodison club. And the Everton manager, is not prepared to meekly accept any more financial constrictions. Moyes said: "I hate to say that money means success in football, but at the level we are playing at in this day and age, it does.
"If we do not have it I will continue to try to get the best out of the players we have got. "But as everyone can see it is no coincidence that we have lost again against Bolton, we have lost too many this season. And I intend doing something about it." He added: "I used to think that money wasn't everything, that you could work with players and make them better. Some people have had money and it has not been well spent. "But I now believe that at this level of football, you do need money. Something will have to give here, I am not going to put the fans through another season like this. There is work to do here at the end of the season, and it will be done. "Something will break (on the money side) I am sure. I couldn't put the fans through this again. Everton as a club has to do better.
"The fans do not deserve what they are getting here at the moment. They probably do not deserve what they have been getting for years. It is a difficult one but that's life. "All I can say is a big thank you to them for their support, they have been terrific and it is not them who have let Everton down this year, it has been myself and the players." As if to emphasise the difference between the clubs, Bolton chairman Phil Gartside yesterday claimed he has received a fax from Rivaldo stating the Brazilian legend wants to complete a move to the Reebok Stadium. "The fax also says he doesn't want to play in Scotland, so we are still hoping to do something with him," he said

Some effort but lack of quality
By Rob Sawyer, Daily Post
May 10 2004
STOP me if you've heard this one before. Everton throw away a game with a soft, late goal. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Last season the team kept going for the full 90 minutes. Now, for whatever reason, we are consistently conceding goals late in the game and at some cost - this third defeat on the bounce will have the Goodison money men getting twitchy as vital prize money slips from their grasp. The latest roll of the selection dice saw Alex Nyarko partner the promising Leon Osman, in central midfield while Duncan Ferguson returned from his latest sojourn. Everton started brightly but Youri Djorkaeff bamboozled two defenders to put Wanderers one up. The boos at half-time, after an abject performance, were heartfelt and merited. By this time Alessandro Pistone had succumbed to another injury and then the offcolour Wayne Rooney was withdrawn to a midfield role to accommodate Tomasz Radzinski. Despite more effort from the Blues in the second-half, Bolton continued to threaten. It was against the run of play that Big Dunc capitalised on the best move of the match for Everton involving Radzinski and Osman. As we huffed and puffed towards an unlikely victory we were caught by a Djorkaeff sucker punch. It says a lot that for much of this game Bolton looked like an established and accomplished Premiership team while Everton had the look of promoted strugglers - all effort and endeavour but a lack of quality and composure when it was most needed. Relegation next year is a probability rather than a possibility unless significant investment, from whatever source, is made over the summer.

Celebrities in Goodison soccer challenge
By Sam Lister Daily Post Staff
May 10 2004
GOODISON Park became a celebrity battlefield yesterday as stars from the music and television world vied to win a charity soccer tournament. Everton's ground was awash with famous faces as the 16 teams took to the pitch for the Soccer Six event. Triple Brit Award winners The Darkness, dressed more demurely than normal in a black and orange football strip, were tipped as favourites to win and did not disappoint. Merseyside soap stars from Hollyoaks and the now defunct Brookside also turned out in force. It is the first time the event, which has been running for 10 years, has been held at Goodison. It has raised more than £1m for the Prince's Trust. Former Westlife star Bryan McFadden, husband of Warrington's queen of the jungle, Kerry McFadden, praised the ground and the crowds of spectators. He also revealed he is busy working on solo material since he quit the boy band. He said: "At the moment I'm just taking a few months to relax and spend some time with my family. "But I have been doing some writing. "That's as far as I have things planned at the moment.
"It's a great place Everton, it's one of my favourite grounds. I've played at Stamford Bridge and Upton Park but this seems to be the nicest atmosphere." Actor Ralph Little, who starred in The Royle Family, joined The Darkness's team alongside Liverpool striking great John Aldridge.
Little said: "John is just a complete legend. It's been great, everyone seems to be enjoying it.
"I won't be able to play any football at all this summer because I'm doing a play in the West End.
"I'm going to be Billy in Billy Liar, which is great but quite scary. It will either be great for my career or I'll be remembered as the one who messed up playing Billy." More than 1,000 spectators turned out to star spot at the all-day event. As well as Tony Hadley, former Take That singer Mark Owen and Liberty X, the crowd were treated to a few footballing tricks from ex professionals including Aldridge and Everton goalkeeper Neville Southall. John Barnes, former Liverpool FC winger and Channel Five sports presenter, played for former Take That star Mark Owen's team. He said: "It's a great day. It's such an important event because it's about giving something back. "People might see famous people and think all they care about is money but this is a chance to do something good. And it's a good chance for me to get out and play a bit of football, I don't get much chance any more."

Everton 1, Bolton 2 (Echo)
May 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod At Goodison, Liverpool Echo
LIKE all successful producers, Bill Kenwright is a man who understands the needs of the audience.
Offering David Moyes a new four-year contract at the end of a season in which Everton have under-achieved is a reflection of that. Like the club's owner, the fans know the blame for another season spent hovering perilously above the relegation zone should not be laid at the manager's door.
Moyes has said the right things, he has signed the right players and he has tried to ensure the team plays the right football. But he has yet to fulfil his potential because of something that has become a common problem at Everton - investment. Too often in the last decade there has not been enough or it has been misplaced. It has led to cynicism and pessimismon the terraces. Kenwright is passionate about Everton. He is doing his utmost to try to generate the funds which will provide a talented young manager with the tools he needs to justify the faith that has been shown in him by owner and crowd alike. But he can't do it alone. Too often the burden is put purely on Kenwright's shoulders. What about the rest of the board? As a group they need to provide Everton with the funds to match their Premiership rivals - being able to compete financially with Charlton, Birmingham and Southampton would be a start. Maybe that was the message from the crowd at the end of yet another lacklustre performance on Saturday. Not for the first time this season a poor display was punished by a killer blow in the dying minutes - this time from World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff. And it was no surprise that the final whistle signalled a chorus of boos. But the crowd's displeasure was not aimed at Moyes. Any such doubts were dismissed when the manager led his beleaguered squad around the pitch to applaud those supporters that had not made an early dart for the exit. The response? 'He's got red hair, but we don't care...' Walter Smith was rarely afforded such widespread support, especially after more than two years at the helm. But there is confidence in Moyes' ability. He is intent on building something lasting at Goodison. A new four-year deal will provide him with the basis from which to push on with those plans. But even Michelangelo needed paint. Let's hope Saturday's boos registered with those individuals who have the power and the cash to transform the club's fortunes. Defeat at Eastlands on Saturday will consign Everton to 17th place and the club's lowest ever Premier-ship points total. It isn't exactly the time to be telling the manager he hasn't got any money to spend, is it? Saturday's game illustrated exactly how badly in need of improvement the teamis. Moyes' squad is polarised. He has done his best to inject some youth. But the majority of the players he inherited are now in their 30s and past their best. He needs the funds to plug the gaps in between. A new sponsorship deal is set to be secured in the next couple of weeks. And the five-year kit deal with JJB which has provided the new Umbro strip worn for the first time on Saturday is worth at least £10m. But how much of that money will the manager see? He wants to add four quality players to his squad to replace the departed Niclas Alexandersson and the departing Scot Gemmill, Steve Simonsen, Paul Gerrard, Peter Clarke, Francis Jeffers and, possibly, David Unsworth. There are the foundations for a decent side already there. The spine is the key, with Nigel Martyn, Joseph Yobo, Thomas Gravesen and Wayne Rooney all in place. Add to that quartet the promising young players who provided the only bright points from Saturday's defeat and it is not all doom and gloom. James McFadden is a player with huge potential, as he showed with some moments of eye-catching skill against Bolton. Tony Hibbert's break from the first team seems to have benefited him and Leon Osman was far from fazed by the task of prowling the centre of midfield in his first Premiership start at Goodison. But Moyes needs more. With Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell 12 months from the end of their Goodison careers he needs fresh goalscoring support for Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski and, more than anything, he desperately needs to revamp his midfield. A major plus is that Osman has shown enough in the last couple of games to suggest that he has the potential to be a part of that new-look midfield. The 22-year-old is skilful and brave. He likes to get forward and score goals - something the Blues need more of from midfield. It was he who provided the impetus for Ferguson's goal on Saturday. He won possession and charged into the Bolton half, feeding Radzinski on the right of midfield. The Canadian international dodged two challenges and fed a neat pass into the path of Osman, who had continued his run into the box.
His first-time shot bounced off Emerson Thome's leg, bypassing Jussi Jaaskelainen and falling perfectly for Ferguson to tap home. That came in the 68th minute during a period of decent play from the home side. The arrival of Radzinski as a half-time substitute and the switch to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation, with Rooney in the heart of midfield proved the catalyst for a change in fortunes. But, as has been the case too often this season, that period of ascend-ancy did not translate into goals. Radzinski had a shot from point-blank range saved by Jaaskelainen, Osman volleyed over and McFadden ended a bold run with a shot which was well blocked by Simon Charlton. They only had Ferguson's equaliser to show for their efforts. But it was an improvement on an opening half in which the football was incoherent and the attacking threat minimal. The only move Everton could muster during that period ended with a Rooney cross being volleyed narrowly wide by Ferguson. At the other end Bolton were no more threatening. But their one chance fell to the classy Djorkaeff and he was clinical. He received a through ball from Kevin Nolan deep in the Everton area, side-stepped Hibbert and David Weir and poked a close range shot beyond Martyn.
The Frenchman had little else to do until the 88th minute, when he turned in a Charlton cross from close range to steal all three points. It was a cruel blow. But we should be well used to them by now.
It was a familiar tale. Everton were far from outplayed but, in the end, their opposition had that little extra guile and class. There is a fine dividing line in the Premiership between finishing in the top 10 and finishing in the bottom three. The best way of ensuring the former and avoiding the latter is good management and decent investment. One down, one to go.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir (Campbell 90), Pistone (Radzinski 46); Watson, Osman, Nyarko (Carsley, 46 mins), McFadden; Ferguson, Rooney. Subs: Wright, Linderoth.
BOOKINGS: Weir, Carsley (fouls).
BOLTON (4-4-2): Jaaskelainen; Hunt (Barness 81), Thome, N'Gotty, Charlton; Djorkaeff, Nolan (Gardner 84), Campo, Okocha; Pedersen (Frandsen 64), Davies. Subs: Poole, Giannakopoulos.
REFEREE: Paul Durkin.
ATT: 40,190.
NEXT GAME: Manchester City v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 3pm.

Poor show has affected players too - Watson
May 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON today insisted Everton's players were as devastated as the supporters after one of the most miserable seasons on record at Goodison. Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Bolton leaves the Blues knowing that defeat to Manchester City this weekend will put them 17th in the final Premiership table. After last season's seventh place finish the change in fortunes has been dramatic. And with more than a dozen senior players out of contract next summer there is just one season left for the current crop of players to prove last year was no fluke. Said Watson: "I have no idea why the squad which finished seventh last season has not got going this year. We are as gutted as everybody else and the fans have got to believe that. "We desperately want to go away with a win or some points after next week's game at Man City because nobody wants to be finishing fourth from bottom.
"We will be doing all we can to avoid that." Watson added: "Everybody is playing for their future at Everton. "I can only speak for myself, but I want to be a part of Everton's future and I am playing for that next season. "I have got to come back in pre-season and do everything I can to convince everybody at Everton I am worthy of a new deal. That is my main aim and there are a lot of people in the same boat as me. "I can understand people's frustrations at the club not spending in the summer. But from our point of view as players, we are the people here at the moment and despite some of the performances you will very rarely come across a more honest bunch of lads than the ones we have got here. "There may be new players in next season and there may be players that go but everybody that stays has got to have a mindset that it can't be the same as this season again.
"None of the players think this season has been good enough. We were all sitting in the dressing room scratching our heads. "There wasn't a great deal of confidence in our play like there was last season. We have got to get that back next season. In fact, we have got to get that back next week."
Watson believes the side can have no excuses for its lack of success this campaign. "Saturday's game followed the pattern of so many this season," he added. "We have conceded sloppy goals and certainly given away a lot of goals late in games but we have also missed an abundance of chances.
"And that has been from all areas of the field. You can't point the finger at the strikers or the midfielders, it is everywhere. We have got to take criticism as a team and there is no doubt we haven't been clinical enough. "It has come back to haunt us in a big way. "At the end of last season we said things can only get better and that hasn't happened, we have taken a step back. We realise that and we are all disappointed but we have got to assess things in the summer and put it right.
"We have learned some harsh lessons this season, especially from games we have seemed to have in the bag but we haven't taken points from. "It is no exaggeration to say we could have an extra 10 points now from games in the second half of the season alone."

Our fans deserve more - Moyes
May 10 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES called for action after Saturday's final home defeat of the season, to spare his club's loyal supporters another season of heartache. Moyes, said after Bolton's 2-1 victory: "Something will break. Something will have to. There's no doubt. "I couldn't possibly let those supporters go through what they've had to go through. As as person I couldn't do that. "At the moment they are supporting us like you can't believe - 40,000 people at the game, and we are giving them only average. They don't deserve that. "I'm not just talking about Saturday's game, because Saturday's game could happen any time. It could quite easily have been 2-1 to us as 2-1 to them. But in the end Everton Football Club have got to do better. "The punters are the one thing who do deserve a clap. It wasn't us who was getting clapped, we were clapping the supporters today." Moyes explained that financial investment from somewhere has to be the way forward. "I used to sometimes think that money wasn't the answer," he added, "that you could try to work to make your players better.
"You still have to look at your players and organise them and get the best out of them, you can. But at this level of football you do need money. But lots of people spend money and don't get it right."

Blues' best fans and worst team
May 10 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
ON an afternoon when statistics were largely irrelevant - Everton couldn't go down, Bolton couldn't reach Europe - two appalling stats remained to plunge Goodison's gloomy inhabitants into even greater depression. The Blues' failure to beat Bolton means, statistically, that this current group of players could go down as the worst in the club's history. That's right. In the era of three points for a win no Everton side has ever finished below the shameful, discredited, thoroughly wretched figure of 40 points in a season. And this current group only has 39 - a total usually enough in an average season to ensure at least a last-day relegation dogfight. Even if you apply a three-points system to every other league season the club has battled through - only once has Everton ducked under 39 points . . . in 1888-89, when they only played 22 matches. And while we're shaking our heads at statistics, here's another one. For the first time since 1973 the lowest league gate on Merseyside has been at Anfield, not Goodison. The deduction is clear. The worst team in Everton's history is being watched by the club's best supporters. And who do those fans blame for the whole, wretched mess? Clearly not the manager. The name David Moyes was shouted loud and clear during the dispirited farewell lap which followed Saturday's defeat. Closely followed by Joseph Yobo, Wayne Rooney . . . then a few grim choruses of "Sack the board." David Moyes called for collective responsibility from his board-room last Friday. On Saturday they couldn't even provide collective support. At half-time a line-up of the greatest Everton team of all-time was paraded on the pitch. Only Bill Kenwright bothered to watch. No Sir Philip Carter, no Keith Tamlin, no Arthur Abercromby, no Jon Woods and, of course, no Paul Gregg - his presence would have been an eye-opener given his absence from a first team match at Goodison Park for more than a year. These are the men shouldering the responsibility of leading Everton into a bright new future. And they are failing miserably. Bill Kenwright has been criticised on these pages before. But not this time. He is working frantically to try to generate cash for his manager - and rumours have filtered out of Goodison that this bluest of Blues has even offered to remortgage his home and theatre to provide a kitty of sorts.
If this is true, his hands must be tied behind his back and his cheque-book impounded. Unless he lives in Buckingham Palace, the cash a remortgage would raise would be negligible anyway - and the pressure that would place on the manager to spend it wisely would be intolerable. What Kenwright needs is better support, better ideas, better guidance from his fellow-directors - and a collective public acceptance of responsibility. If the men burdened with that responsibility are not up to it - then they should stand aside for men who are. Football has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. It is a multi-million pound business needing sharp, switched-on business minds - not a cosy gentle-men's club. Yet another capacity crowd at Goodison Park shows that the potential is there to generate money, but that potential is being wasted. The only avenue the current regime has considered, apart from hiking up season ticket prices, is the unacceptable one. Sell Wayne Rooney is one answer reluctantly being trotted around the message boards and the phone-ins. Except that even this, controversial last resort option wouldn't work. David Moyes was asked about it on Saturday - and his reply was revealing. "It would be a long story to go into the reasons why that wouldn't work if you were a businessman," said Moyes, suggesting the option had, at least, been aired. Those reasons, presumably, reveal exactly how destitute Everton are. If Rooney was sold for £30m, in order to avoid Goodison being torched and the directors run out of town, at least £25m of that revenue would have to be spent on four top class replacements - let's just say Alan Smith, Mark Viduka, Sean Davis and Joe Cole for argument's sake. Even at a conservative £30 grand a week, that's six-and-a-half million pounds a year on the wage bill, money Everton simply can't afford.
What is clear is that Everton cannot afford another season like this one. Next season the Premiership may not be as poor. A paltry 39 points would have seen a side replace West Ham in the relegation zone last season. Next time Everton may not be so lucky. Changes are needed in the state of Goodison - and Bill Kenwright is the man who must make them, for his own sake as well as Everton's.

New faces are needed - Yobo
May 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO believes a couple of summer additions to the Everton squad will be enough to ensure the club is battling in the top half of the Premiership again next season. Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Bolton has left the Blues needing at least one point in the final game of the season at Manchester City to break the 40-point mark normally seen as the point at which a side's Premiership safety is assured. It is a dramatic change of fortunes for a side which finished seventh last season and spent much of that campaign vying for a Champions League berth. The form of Yobo and England star Wayne Rooney has been one of the plus points of recent months. And the Nigerian international, (pictured), believes that with a couple of summer additions there is enough quality in the squad to emulate last season's form. "I am not the manager but everybody can see we need a bit more quality in our team," admits Yobo. "We need one or two good players to add to the ones we have got and I am sure we will be up there challenging. "This season I have hardly seen a team that has outplayed us. I cannot accept Everton being at the bottom of the league because when I have been playing I have not seen a team that has played better than us. "Sometimes in a league you can be outplayed and you accept the result. But this season we have worked very hard but the results have been disappointing. "The Premiership is a very exciting league and is a tough league to play in. There is always something to play for and you cannot underestimate any side. You can have top players in your team but when you go out on the pitch it is not easy to separate the sides, apart from maybe the top three. "You can see that everybody can go for a place in the top six, which makes it exciting." According to Yobo, the side's failure to challenge in the top half of the table this season is down to a lack of consistency. He adds: "It is very hard to understand why we are fifth from bottom because I think it is a good club with good fans and coaches. Everybody here is fantastic and we have a good squad. "Individually we haven't got a bad squad, which is why it is disappointing to see a team with top players struggling. "Other teams haven't got the players we have got but they have done well this season. "This year we have conceded late goals and we have struggled to put together a run. Last year we beat Arsenal and then we thought we could beat anyone and went on a really good run. "We needed to do the same this year but we couldn't do that. It is all about consistency and if we had been able to be more consistent we would be much higher up the table.
"When you win two or three games in a row you gain confidence. Football is all about confidence and when the team spirit is low there is not a lot you can do about it." Having failed to deliver all season, the defender admits the players were devastated at not giving the fans something to smile about in the final home game of the season. He adds: "It is disappointing because this was our last home game and after knowing we are not going to be relegated we wanted to play good football. I think we should have done better to at least get a draw. "The fans have been fantastic and they deserved better results than they have seen. It is very sad to lose the last home game because we wanted to win it for them."

Player ratings: Everton v Bolton Wanderers
May 10, 2004
Manchester Evening News
JAASKELAINEN: Well protected by his back four but was on his toes when Everton were on top 6
HUNT: Bolton have a gem here, so mature for a 20-year-old with so much still to learn 7
THOME: Essentially a stopper and the Brazilian made some crucial clearances 7
N'GOTTY: The big man was rock-solid when Everton got into gear after the break 7
CHARLTON: His support of the attack was rewarded when Djorkaeff scored the winner from his cross 7
NOLAN: Was very competitive but his hard work didn't earn any chances 6
CAMPO: Won a lot of possession, especially prominent when Bolton bossed the show in the first half 7
OKOCHA: Game and energy are back after his post-African Nations Cup blip 7
DJORKAEFF: Four goals in a week. How can Bolton not keep him next season? 9
DAVIES: Tireless as ever, deserved better from a peach of a ball to set up Pedersen with an early chance 7
PEDERSEN: Can't fault him for effort but what a great chance he missed 5
FRANDSEN (Pedersen 64): Did what you expect, tightened up the middle 6
BARNESS (Hunt 81): Steady at a tense time in the game 6
GARDNER (Nolan 85): Great to see him back after four-month injury absence 6
EVERTON: Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir (Campbell 90), Pistone (Radzinski 45); Watson, Osman, Nyarko (Carsley 45), McFadden; Ferguson, Rooney.
Match facts
Everton: Ferguson (68). Bolton: Djorkaeff (13, 87).
Everton: Weir (31), Carsley (76).
P Durkin (Dorset): Top man, yet made couple of odd decisions5

Players to blame, admits Naysmith
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 11 2004
EVERTON players must take responsibility for the club's alarming Premiership season insisted Gary Naysmith last night. David Moyes's embarrassment could deepen on Saturday when defeat by Manchester City would leave Everton on their lowest ever points tally since 1888-89.
Despite that appalling record, Goodison supporters blame the alarming slide on the club's board and their failure to invest in the transfer market for several seasons. But defender Naysmith, admits the players are culpable for not reproducing the form that took Everton to the brink of Europe just 12 months ago. "Obviously it's the players," said the Scottish international. "It's the same players that have played this season as last season, so for one reason or another we haven't produced that kind of form. "What that reason is, I just don't know. We train the same, we work as hard in the games, but something doesn't seem quite right. We need to try and put that right for next season. "If you compare results to last season, we sneaked a lot of games with 1-0 wins and when we were going away from home, we were defend-ing really well and hitting teams on the break and coming away with three points. "This season, when we've been creating the chances, we haven't been taking them and when teams have been putting a bit of pressure on us, we haven't been keeping clean sheets like we were last season. When you add the two things up, it's always going to be bad."
The 25-year-old - who underwent a hernia operation last week - admits he has not been satisfied with his own form this season. Naysmith added: "I think I've been average really. I wouldn't say I've had too many exceptional games and I wouldn't say that I've had too many bad games. "I want to be better than that and the team want to do better than that, but I'm quite happy that I've played the majority of the games. I think I've played over 30 games this season, so that's quite pleasing."
If the three points for a win system was applied throughout Everton's history then only once have they finished a season under the 40 mark - 1888-89, when they played only 22 games. But that unwanted record will stain the present team if they fall to a fourth successive defeat at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday. Nottingham Forest manager Joe Kinnear, meanwhile, has revealed talks are under way to turn Paul Gerrard's loan spell at the City Ground into a permanent deal. The Everton goalkeeper, who is out of contract at the end of this season, has been impressive in Forest's recent climb from the first division relegation zone. And Kinnear, who is also in talks with Gareth Williams, Eoin Jess and Leicester loanees Andy Impey and Alan Rogers, said: "I'm trying to keep or sign all five of those players. "I've spoken to them already and received good reactions so I'll be disappointed if we don't manage to keep them." Meanwhile Kevin Keegan has called on his under-achieving players to "be honest with themselves" ahead of their game against Everton on Saturday at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Bolton show Everton the courage to thrive
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
May 11 2004
SATURDAY'S disappointing defeat at Goodison Park just highlighted the difference between Everton and Bolton Wanderers. Whereas Everton seem to be constantly struggling with financial restraints, Bolton have cleverly showed how it is possible to build a team around some quality imports and homegrown talent for not too much money. Sam Allardyce has done a tremendous job when you consider he took over the club in the first division, brought them up and, after an initial struggle, he has now established them in the top flight. You only have to see that they are on the verge of signing Rivaldo to see how high their stock has risen. He will add to the quality players they have at the club already like Jay-Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo, as well as Kevin Nolan - the type of quality Everton are sadly lacking. All of the signings have been brought in for next to no money as well and while they may be on good wages, I am sure Bolton do not mind paying them as long as they continue to deliver. The players that David Moyes brought in via the same method are all talented - and, in the case of Nigel Martyn, absolutely top class - but they don't have the star quality of Bolton's free signings. On top of that Everton are ham-strung by having a few high earners on the wage bill already, ones who have not really performed for the club - or at least not the same way as Bolton's rich list have. It is no secret that Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson are the highest paid players at Goodison Park, but what have they contributed this season? Just as you don't mind paying money to players who consistently deliver, it is hard to accept shelling out when someone doesn't even play. Ferguson at least has played and scored a few goals, but if they are your big guns, you need an awful lot more from them than that. The fact they are on long-term contracts instead on two years or so at most has really hampered Everton because they haven't been able to look at other potential big earners. That means David Moyes has had to make do and mend quite often, with the likes of Steve Watson, David Unsworth and Alessandro Pistone all having to play in more than one position. Unless Bill Kenwright comes out in the summer and offers £10million to have a real go, then I fear Everton's predicament will only get worse next season and relegation will become a real threat, despite the best efforts of Moyes and his players.
Everton need better quality players at the club, but without the money to bring them in, or young players of sufficient calibre coming through, I do not see how they will get them. Or rather I do see how they could, but it would be at a tremendous cost to the club and it would take a lot of courage to go down that route.

Blues relegation form
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 11 2004
Relegation form
WE have been truly awful and over the last month showing relegation form - even Wolves and Leicester have shown more bottle. This squad needs seriously strengthening or else the financial meltdown will be from assured relegation if nothing is done. I don't think Moyes escapes unscathed - team selections, substitutions - but the board is sleep-walking us into oblivion.
T Brown, Waterloo
Duncan dreadful
DUNCAN Ferguson was abysmal on Saturday. No effort, no passion, from someone who is supposed to be a True Blue, and was supposed to lead the team. He did everything but. There is no way in the world he deserves the ridiculous wages he's on.
Get it sorted.
Steve Downes, Chester
IF you know your history... fine.
But the endless parades of Goodison Greats, anniversary dinners, celebrations of yesteryear etc appear to serve as a blue-tinted smokescreen behind which hides an inept side. A currentlyflailing manager and a board who individually and collectively would struggle to land jobs as deckchair re-arrangers on the Titanic.
Guy Hastings (via e-mail)
Radzinski's good
I DON'T understand all these people making it sound like Radzinski does absolutely nothing. His pace is fantastic and his effort is more than 100% every time I've seen him play but people jump to the defence of Gravesen because he finally scored. Without Radzinski's goals we'd be in a very serious situation or even the first division.
Joanne Edwards,Liverpool
Sell Radzinski
AS much as I like Radzinski I would cash in on him and keep Jeffers. Okay he has upset a lot of Blues fans with his attitude but everyone knows he is capable of scoring 20 goals a season when his confidence returns. We don't want to give Radzinski a new deal for three years and we end up with another player in his 30s collecting a big fat salary and not performing.
Moyes is trying to build a young team for the future.
Peter Booth, Liverpool

Unsy is off to Bolton
May 11 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID UNSWORTH is set to join Bolton in the summer. The Everton defender, is the club's longest serving player but will reject a new two-year deal at Goodison in favour of a three-year contract at the Reebok. The defender has been reluctant to sever his ties with the club after more than 10 seasons with the Blues. But Bolton's longer deal also provides the defender with better personal terms. Everton initially offered Unsworth a one-year extension to his current deal on reduced wages before Christmas. After the player rejected that proposal the club upped the deal to two years earlier this month, but contract talks have stalled after Unsworth made it clear he would prefer a three-year deal. Sam Allardyce sees Unsworth, 30, as the ideal replacement for Brazilian defender Emerson Thome, who is out of contract and yet to agree fresh terms. Allardyce admitted last month: "Somebody with his experience would be very good for our club. "Anybody who has played Premiership football and is available would interest me if they fell within our wage structure and would be happy with the length of contract we would be prepared to offer him." The prospect of playing alongside Jay Jay Okocha and Brazilian star Rivaldo has also tempted Chorley-born Unsworth.
Bolton assistant boss Phil Brown revealed at a club function last night that he is convinced Rivaldo will finally sign for the Premiership club this week. The 32-year-old has been stalling since meeting Sam Allardyce and chairman Phil Gartside in Manchester two weeks ago but is expected to reject an offer from Celtic in favour of Bolton. Meanwhile, Everton defender Gary Naysmith has joined the growing chorus of Everton players admitting it is their failure which has left the club languishing in 16th place in the Premiership table. The 25-year-old said: "Obviously it is the players. It's the same play-ers that have played this season as last season, so for one reason or another we haven't produced that kind of form. "What that reason is, I just don't know. We train the same, we work as hard in the games, but something doesn't seem quite right. We need to try and put that right for next season."
* Paul Gerrard has opened talks with Nottingham Forest boss Joe Kinnear over making his loan move to the City Ground permanent. The Everton keeper is out of contract in the summer and has not been offered fresh terms by the Blues. He has impressed during two months on loan at Forest and is keen to remain at the club. Kinnear is also in talks with Gareth Williams, Eoin Jess and Leicester loan signings Andy Impey and Alan Rogers. Kinnear admitted: "I am trying to keep or sign all five of those players. I've spoken to them already and received good reactions."

Permit problems may force Nyarko out
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 12 2004
DAVID MOYES'S limited transfer funds will be further depleted this summer if Everton are forced to bring Alex Nyarko's controversial Goodison career to a premature close. Everton expect a decision this week on whether the Ghanaian international, will be allowed to continue playing in the Premier-ship next season. The 30-year-old's work permit expires in July even though he has a further 12-months remaining on his Goodison contract. Nyarko signed a five-year deal with Everton when he was signed for £4.5million in July 2000 but was only entitled to a maximum four-year permit at the time. Goodison officials are confident a change in Department of Employment rules, which now grant permits for the full length of a player's contract, will see the midfielder granted an extension.
But if the DoE reject Nyarko's case Everton will have to release the player on a free transfer in the summer and pay off the final year of his lucrative salary. Nyarko has made 14 appear-ances for Moyes's side this season after the Everton manager was saddled with the former Lens player last summer. But he spent the two previous seasons plying his trade in France - with Monaco and then Paris Saint Germain - after infamously vowing never to play for Everton again and that could have a bearing on the DoE's final decision. David Unsworth's agent, meanwhile, has confirmed the long-serving defender is close to agreeing a summer switch to Bolton Wanderers. The 30-year-old is available on a free transfer at the end of this season after rejecting Everton's offers of a one and then a two-year contract extension. Sam Allardyce's ambitious side have offered Unsworth, a veteran of 350 appearances and 40 goals for Everton, a three-year contract. And that looks certain to sway the Chorley-born defender towards a move to The Reebok. Unsworth's agent, Haydn Evans, revealed: "It is a little premature to say a deal has been done but we are currently in talks with Bolton and are hopeful of some-thing being sorted out. "He was offered two years plus the option of another year at Everton but he has turned that down. "It was nothing to do with money, just that there was no guarantee of a third year at Everton, which David wants." Bolton have declined to comment.
* Goodison Park will tonight play host to the second leg of the FA Premier Academy League National Playoff Final between Everton's under-17s and Aston Villa. Gary Ablett's side face a mammoth task to overhaul a 5-1 first-leg deficit. But, after a fine season in which they won the Academy League Group A title, the youngsters are hoping for a fitting send-off tonight (kickoff 7pm).

Kenna praise for impressive Osman
By Graham Chase, Daily Post
May 12 2004
DERBY defender Jeff Kenna is far from surprised with the impression made by midfielder Leon Osman in the Everton first-team. The 22-year-old was outstanding for the Rams in a three-month loan spell at Pride Park, playing a major role in helping George Burley's strugglers stay in the first division. Osman found the net three times in his 17 appearances for the Rams - one earning a point in a 2-2 draw with Cardiff and scoring the crucial goal in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. They made the difference for Derby, who eventually stayed in Division One by finishing a single point above the relegation zone. And he has carried that form into the Premier-ship, as one of few positives to come from a miserable few weeks for Everton, a period that has seen them beaten three times in five games without a win. David Moyes had no hesitation in throwing Osman in at the deep end, with Kevin Kilbane and Thomas Gravesen both injured, the youngster scoring inside three minutes of his first Premiership start in the 2-1 defeat at Wolves. He impressed once again with his willingness and work-rate in the weekend's 2-1 defeat against Bolton. Burley admitted Moyes would be unlikely to let go of the promising youngster and Kenna, who joined the Rams in March from Birmingham, has also revealed he would love to see Osman back at Pride Park. "I was very impressed with him," said the former Republic of Ireland international. "I don't know what the situation is with him at Everton but he would be a great acquisition for us. "It was no surprise to see him go into the team at Wolves and score. There is no reason why he can't establish himself in the Premiership. "From what I've seen, in the games I played with him, he's very comfortable on the ball, can pick a pass and he certainly knows where the goal is. "Obviously I don't want to put the mockers on things for him at Everton but if he ever came back, their loss would certainly be our gain."

Youngsters look to restore pride with final victory
By Chris Wright Daily Post Staff
May 12 2004
IT may be an uphill task but Everton under-17s go into second leg of the FA Premier Academy League National play-off final confident of ending the season on a high. After last week's disappointing 5-1 first-leg defeat it would appear Ablett's side's chances of adding the national crown to the North West Group A title they would appear slim. whatever happens at Goodison Park tonight (kick-off 7pm) they will be keen to end the season with no regrets. Victory, even by a margin not enough to overturn the first-leg deficit, is the aim. Ablett said: "It is going to be difficult and there is no getting away from the fact that we are 1-5 down after the first leg. "It was a very disappointing result for everyone after what we have done this year. But we have had a couple of heart-to-hearts with them and given them a chance to express their opinions and we've expressed ours. "We are still in it together and hopefully on Wednesday we can do well. Whether we can score enough goals to win the whole tie is one thing, but I think we can win our home leg and restore a bit of pride." And every since that defeat Everton have been analysing what went wrong and trying to make sure they put things right to give themselves a chance of restoring that pride. Ablett added: "We have looked at the video from the other night and we have come to the conclusion that they were no better than us. The stats will say we had more of the ball than them. "It is just that we didn't defend particularly well on the night and we have been working on that to put it right. If we have done that, we will hopefully go out and win the game and who knows from there. "The boys are very confident that we can go out and win the game once we address the problems that cost us." But while eradicating the defensive errors that cost them at Villa Park will be a big priority, the need to add more goals to the single strike from top scorer Paul Hopkins last week will shape tonight's tie. Ablett said: "If we manage to get a goal in the first 20 or 25 minutes anything might happen. We are confident we can score goals. They had six efforts on goal and five went in. "We had six efforts on goal and one goes in, so we know we can create chances and we know hopefully we can take some of the them. And we have worked on the defending so we don't get caught out." But whatever happens tonight Ablett and his side can take plenty of positives from the season and can look ahead to their second year when the Academy League moves to just one under-18s division. Ablett said: "We have worked tremendously hard the last 10 months. We were all new at the start - the coaching staff and the players - so we came in not knowing what to expect in a way. "But the effort and the commitment the boys have shown has been top class. And we hope we can go out with a bit of a bang and not a whimper, which would be unfortunate considering how well we have done." Irish defender Alan Kearney is still unavailable after returning home due to family reasons, but Craig Gallagher is pushing for a recall in goal after he returned to the bench last week after more than a month out. Ablett added: "The only thing with Craig is that he hasn't got match fitness. But he deserves included and involved in everything because of the fantastic season he has had for us."
EVERTON UNDER-17s (from): Lake, Wynne, Hughes, Wright, Boyle, Wilson, Harris, Seargeant, Phelan, Hopkins, Fowler, Vaughan, Gallagher, Anichebe, Molynuex, Irving, Kissock.

Blues to open new megastore
May 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will open a city centre superstore before the end of the month which could double the club's retail revenue. The club has secured a site on Ranelagh Street outside Central train station which will open its doors on May 22. It is expected to increase the club's retail revenue from £3m to £5.5m. Stan Aspinall, the club's head of retail, revealed: "What we have been doing is listening to the supporters and what they have been telling us is that a club of this size should be represented in the centre of Liverpool. "We have been able to get a prime location which is in the heart of the city in Ranelagh Street. What we are looking to do is more than double our current sales.
"From a financial perspective the Everton merchandise retail operation combined is anticipated to rise from just over £3m to £5.5m." The 2,000 square foot store, formerly Dixons, has been secured on a 12 month lease. But the club has already began planning a move to a purpose built location.
Aspinall adds: "We are testing the market in some ways initially with a 12 month contract and there is a very good chance that we will be moving across to purpose built units in Willamson Square."
The store will open in time to stock the latest range of club dise from Umbro, vided as part of the retail deal with JJB Sports.

Bulykin moves rely on appeal
May 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S continued interest in Russian striker Dimitry Bulykin could rest on the out-come of today's appeal by the Welsh FA against Russia's participation in this summer's Euro 2004 finals.
The Welsh FA have taken their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after UEFA turned down their request for Russia to be thrown out of the tournament because Igor Titov tested positive for drugs after last year's play- off decider in Cardiff. If the Court of Arbitration finds in Wales' favour and UEFA are forced to expel Russia from the tournament Bulykin, is unlikely to earn enough international caps to make him eligible for a work permit, ruling out a summer switch to the Premiership. The Blues are keen on the 24-year-old Dynamo Moscow striker, who could be available for £2m. Tonight's second leg of the Under-17s FA Premier Academy League national play-off final against Aston Villa at Goodison Park is free admission. The match kicks-off at 7pm, with Gary Ablett's side trailing 5-1 from the first leg.

Yobo seeking a top six lift
May 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH Yobo insists he will not be satisfied with anything than a top six finish with next season.
The 23-year-old Nigerian international, been one of the pluses of a torrid season at Goodison.
Since returning from the African Nations Cup he has been on top form, but that has not stopped the Blues to 16th place in the Premiership. But Yobo said: "This is my second season here and it would be very bad for me if I'm here next season not getting in the European Cup or the UEFA Cup for Everton, and not getting into the top six. It is very important for me to be playing European football because that is what I wanted and that is why I made the move to the Premiership. "I've been looking to do that since been here and I will be training for that next season. So I am looking forward to playing in European competition. "I have played in the World Cup for my country, so I think it is time for me to take another step and play in the European Cup and UEFA Cup and see what it is like." But while Yobo insists that he would not be happy with anything less than European qualification next season, he is confident Everton can achieve that goal. "I think with the manager and with the squad we have got we can achieve a European place," Yobo told this month's Evertonian magazine. "I have set a target that I want to play in a European Cup and finish in the top six and that's what the club and the manager want as well because to have another disappointing season after doing so well last season would be bad. "We've slumped again this year, but hopefully we can now take the good and the bad times and roll them together as one for next season.
"We've got a good squad of hardworking lads and team spirit is very good and that keeps us going, even when things are not working out very well. "The manager keeps things working to the best that he can and making sure that everybody is happy. "Hopefully, with a few lads coming in and a bit of competition that would be great for us. Next season we need a run of consistency. We need to be winning five or six games in a row to put us up there." Yobo signed a four-year contract with the Blues last summer after impressing during his season-long loan from Marseille. The £5m signing has played 56 games for the club in two seasons.

Fan's 340-mile trip for haircut
May 12 2004 By Matt Slater Echo Reporter
AN EXILED Everton fan reckons a city centre football barber shop is a cut above the rest - so he makes a 340-mile round trip every time he wants a trim. On his latest visit John Robertson got the shock of his life, coming face-to-face with former Goodison hero John Bailey. Mr Robertson, 30, moved to Milton Keynes from his native Liverpool after landing a job as a shoe shop manager. But he still travels to Scissor Kicks in his home city when he needs a haircut. When John made his last visit he was amazed to see John Bailey in the next chair. He said: "I started coming here when it opened a couple of years ago and even after going to Milton Keynes I carried on coming back.
"Seeing John Bailey here was fantastic because I remember him from the glory days in the 1980s.
"He was always a bit of a joker and was great fun when I met him. He had loads of stories to tell and it was dream come true for an Everton fan." John Bailey, famously remembered for his post-match celebrations when Everton lifted the FA Cup in 1984, said: "I always come in here for my haircut and there is always football on the TVs and plenty of other things to look at." Marty Langan opened Scissor Kicks in Hackins Hey, off Dale Street, almost two years ago, packing it with soccer memorabillia including signed pieces from Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Ronaldo.

Trotters track Unsworth
May 12, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Bolton have confirmed they are holding talks with Everton defender David Unsworth. Unsworth is out of contract at Goodison Park this summer and has rejected a new two-year deal. Trotters boss Sam Allardyce today confirmed his interest in the 30-year-old defender, who was born close to the Reebok Stadium in Chorley. Allardyce said: "David Unsworth is a quality player who does interest me. We have opened talks with his representative and I would be keen to sign him. "He has proven Premiership experience and he would fit in well with our talented squad." Unsworth has had two spells at Everton and also played for Aston Villa and West Ham.

Aston Villa U17s 1, Everton U17s 1
May 13 2004 By Chris Wright, Daily Post (Villa Win 6-2 On Aggregate)
DESPITE making the perfect start with a goal after 10 minutes Everton under-17s drew with Aston Villa in the second leg of the FA Premier Academy League National Play-off finallast night. Already trailing 5-1 from the first leg at Villa Park, the draw meant Gary Ablett's side had to concede defeat in their attempt to become national champions as they went down 6-2 on aggregate. Although Everton were hoping to end the season with at least a solid victory, it was still a pleasing performance. They made a bright start and only a superb onehanded save from Villa keeper Robert Olejnik denied James Vaughan from a header after Paul Hopkins' right-wing cross. But within two minutes Everton took the lead to at least give them hope of over-hauling the huge first-leg deficit.
It was Everton's top scorer Hopkins who was the provider and after getting past the Villa full-back, Victor Anichebe was on hand to side-foot his low cross past the visitors' keeper. But before Ablett's side could think of building on their lead, Villa drew level on the night. Within a minute a long ball through the middle forced Everton keeper Sean Lake off his line to try and gather, but Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor nipped in ahead of him to score into the open goal. Everton's youngsters continued to press, but had little to show for their efforts Everton almost claimed a deserved victory deep into second-half injury time. Schoolboy striker Anichebe, from Sacred Heart in Crosby, headed Boyle's cross powerfully down, but again Villa keeper Olejnik got down to push the ball away. Despite the aggregate defeat Ablett's young side can be proud of their efforts for the season and will look to build on them next season when the Academy League changes from two age groups to just an under-18s competition.
EVERTON UNDER-17s: Lake; Wynne, Boyle, Wright, Hughes; Wilson, Seargeant (Kissock 80), Phelan, Vaughan; Hopkins, Anichebe. Subs: Fowler, Irving, Molyneux.
ASTON VILLA UNDER-17s: Olejnik; Green, O'Halloran (Saunders 77), Troest, Morgan; Williams, Kabeya (Edkins 64), Osbourne, Agbonlahor, Gardner, Tuohy (Bridges 77).
REFEREE: Mr P Bankes
ATT: 1,323.

Denmark in call for injury-hit Gravesen
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 13 2004
THOMAS GRAVESEN received a welcome injury fillip last night when he was named in Denmark's squad for this summer's European Championships. The Everton midfielder, has not kicked a ball since being forced out of the home defeat by Blackburn on April 24 with a knee ligament injury.
But his importance to Denmark's Euro 2004 campaign was underlined last night when he was one of four Premiership-based players called up by coach Morten Olsen. Gravesen, Aston Villa goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, Charlton's Claus Jensen and Chelsea winger Jesper Gronkjaer are all included in Olsen's squad for Portugal, where the Danes face Italy, Sweden and Bulgaria in Group C.
Sam Allardyce, meanwhile, has confirmed his interest in signing David Unsworth on a free transfer this summer. The 30-year-old is looking to quit Goodison for The Reebok when his Everton contract expires after rejecting the Goodison club's offer of a new two-year extension. Allardyce said: "David Unsworth is a quality player who does interest me. We have opened talks with his representatives and I would be keen to sign him. He has proven Premiership experience and he would fit in well with our talented squad." From around the web:

How to sign a season off in welcome style
Post Past By Philip J Redmond Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 13 2004
THIS Saturday is not the first time that Everton have finished an ignoble season with an away game against Manchester City. Eleven years ago things were remarkably similar, as a cash-strapped outfit struggled all season, flirted with relegation and then after achieving safety went into freefall, culminating in a dismal defeat in their last home game. United had ensured their safety at Goodison earlier in the week and Howard Kendall's side travelled to Maine Road determined to end the season on a note. Again, in a situation very similar to their present predicament, City themselves were out of form and the annual 'Swales Out' demonstrations were in full swing. As it turned out, on the day the large Everton away support had plenty to celebrate as a previously shot-shy attack went positively goal-crazy. Peter Swales, meanwhile, was pelted with eggs by disgruntled City fans.
Matt Jackson drove the opener home from a half-cleared corner early on, and with City's debutant keeper Martyn Margetson having a nightmare, Peter Beagrie and Peter Beardsley soon made it three. The hapless young custodian was unceremoniously hauled off at half-time, despite David White pulling a goal back for the home side. Into the second, and with the travelling Blues in party mood, Preki curled in a beauty from 25 yards. Keith Curle slotted a penalty past Everton's substitute keeper Jason Kearton before Beagrie grabbed his second with another shot from range.
So there it was, Evertonians were given a rare away win and a little glimmer of hope for the next season. Let's just hope the 21st century Blues can follow suit this weekend.

Blues keen to keep hold of Radz
May 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are determined to keep hold ofcd Tomasz Radzinski despite growing interest from Fulham. The Cottagers have inquired about the striker's availability, but have been told he is not for sale. The 30- year- old was offered a new two-year contract by the Blues last week. Negotiations are on going, with the player believed to be holding out for a three-year deal. The delay has alerted Fulham boss Chris Coleman, who was linked with Radzinski during the January transfer window.
The Londoners are believed to be willing to offer £2m for the Canadian international, but Goodison boss David Moyes is keen to keep hold of him. However, if the club fail to reach agreement with Radzinski over a new contract they are likely to have no choice but to listen to offers as there are only 12 months remaining on his current deal. He is one of more than a dozen Everton players who could be out of contract next summer, but only he and Thomas Gravesen are in negotiations with the club. Gravesen was one of four Premiership-based players named in Denmark's squad for Euro 2004 yesterday.

Moyes targets weekend victory
May 13 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID Moyes has vowed to ensure Everton avoid the worst points total in living memory. Defeat at Manchester City on Saturday would leave the Blues with 39 points for the season and consign them to 17th spot in the final Premiership table. But, if you adopt three points for a win throughout the club's history, it would also constitute the lowest points total since the 1888/89 season, when the club played only 22 games. While the Goodison chief,insists that tag would not fairly reflect the season Everton have had this year, he insists he is determined to avoid that unwanted statistic.
"It is hard to compare one season with another," said Moyes. "If we had gathered the points we got last year this season, we would have qualified for Europe. "It has been much of a muchness throughout this season, with body beating each other outside the top three. That has made the table much tighter and is why sides have been gated with fewer points than in the past. "We certainly don't want to end the season with the tag of the lowest points total for such a long time." In the last three matches alone late goals conceded against Blackburn, Wolves and Bolton have cost the side three points. Two points were dropped at Leicester and Southampton, and points were conceded by late goals from Manchester United and brough in February and March. In total that equates to 10 points in the club's last 15 matches dropped because of goals in the final 10 minutes of a game. Moyes adds: "We have lost a lot of points late in games, wh ich has changed the picture for us dramatically. It could be down to stamina, ntration or the manager. "I am hard on myself and I expect the players to be the same. I work hard and I am honest and expect the same from my players. "We must all stand together and be judged together. "We want to end the campaign."

Life for pub knife killer
May 13 2004 By Gregg Fray Echo Reporter
AN Everton fan has been jailed for life for stabbing to death a drunken West Ham supporter who chanted: "I hate Scousers". Terry Deans, was hit with beer glasses and knifed repeatedly by Graham Johnson, 34, as he lay helpless on the floor. Recommending Johnson serve a minimum of 14 years, Judge Stephen Kramer, QC said Mr Deans had been making a nuisance of himself by drunkenly and offensively shouting. "But that was no excuse for what you did." Fellow Everton fan Vernon Wood, 55, was cleared of murdering Mr Deans after he said he threw a glass but did not intend any serious harm. The Old Bailey heard Wood, who ran a local cafe with his wife, was a fanatical Everton supporter who had amassed 27,000 football programmes. He had also only missed 39 home and away games in 40 years following Everton. Regulars at the White Horse in Green Lane, Goodmayes Ilford, were fond of Mr Deans who enjoyed a drink but was "harmless". On the night of July 9 last year, he began making loud comments about football. Michael Lawson, QC, prosecuting, said: "He was beginning to chant and say he hated Scousers." The defendants approached him and told him: "Don't take the p*ss out of Scousers." Mr Deans, who was three times over the drink driving limit, tried to fend off the attack with a pool cue but was repeatedly stabbed. He clapsed bleeding in the street. A six-inch stab wound punctured his lung, he suffered stab wounds and lacerations to his thigh, chest and face and died two days later. Johnson, of Kings Road, Ilford, Essex, and his friend Wood, of Langdon Crescent, East Ham, east London, denied murder. Wood was cleared after he told the court he took no part in the stabbing.

Blues church on wed alert
May 13 2004 By Mary Murtagh Echo Reporter
REDS fan Maureen Ash hopes she won't be shown the yellow card when she ties the knot in Evertonian church St Luke's this summer. The 31-year-old lifelong Liverpool supporter will be carrying red flowers and accompanied by bridesmaids in red when she walks up the aisle to marry GrahamMcElligott. Football-mad Maureen grew up in the shadow of Goodison Park stadium and counts St Luke's, nestled in the corner of the ground, as her local church. Presiding over the nuptials on July 3, will be Everton FC chaplain the Rev Harry Ross. Dental hygienist Maureen said: "Liverpool is such an important part of my family's life. It is ironic that I am getting married in an Evertonian church - I grew up by Goodison Park - but it will be decked out in the red of my club. "I have been getting some stick from my friends who are Liverpool supporters. The priest isn't happy but I can't wait!" Crystal Palace fan Graham, 32, said: "I don't think I would be allowed to have my team's colours! I think what Maureen is doing is nice." Maureen went to her first game with her father when she was 14 and has been a season ticket holder since she was 18. She has not missed a home game in 13 years and regularly attends reserve and youth matches. Her dedication to her team landed her the Barclaycard Fan of the Month Award

Radzinski keeps Everton in the dark
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 14 2004
FULHAM are likely to up their interest in an approach for Tomasz Radzinski with the Canadian international apparently stalling on the offer made to him by Everton two weeks ago. The 30-year-old, is entering the final year of the contract he signed after moving to Goodison from Anderlecht in 2001. He has been offered a two-year extension by manager David Moyes, who is keen not to lose a striker who has scored 36 times in 84 starts at the club, but Radzinski is yet to submit an official response. Fulham manager Chris Coleman is believed to be interested in acquiring Radzinski's services and may now feel the time is right to tempt the player - and Everton's desire to keep him - with an offer in the region of £2million. Meanwhile Steve Watson admitted his team-mates "desperately" wanted to end with a victory at Manchester City tomorrow after admitting Everton had let down the fans this season. Moyes's men finish the campaign with a battle to avoid fourth from bottom, with City currently occupying that position a point behind Everton. And Watson, although admitting that not even a win would paper over the failings of this season, did want to give the "excellent support" something to cheer about. He said: "The season isn't over. We've got three points to play for against Manchester City. We desperately want to win. We don't want to finish fourth from bottom and we'll be doing all we can to do that. "We're under no illusions. We're not going to go away next week thinking we've done all right this season. "We've all got to have a look at ourselves individually to see where we can improve and come back in pre-season and try and do that. There may be some new faces, maybe some of the lads won't be here." The 30-year-old added: "The fans deserve better." Everton will at least get the chance to regain a bit of pride tonight when their under-18s take on Liverpool U18s at Goodison for the NatWest Senior Cup (ko 7pm).
Adult entry is £3 with concessions £1. Everton are defending the trophy they won against Tranmere.

Squabbling support sums up our plight
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 14 2004
PERHAPS we could see some entertainment tomorrow if both sets of supporters try to out-do each other by make a slight change to the old refrain and see who can chant "Boo your hearts out for the lads" with the most gusto. Given that they moved to a brand new stadium and spent a considerable amount of money on players, it's probably safe to say that Manchester City are just about the only side avoiding the drop to be more disappointed with their season than Everton. And while it would be nice if our players could at least put the semblance of a show on for the supporters making the trip up the East Lancs, no-one's going to be holding their breath. In front of a full house, they had a chance to sign off a poor campaign in style on Saturday but many of them looked affronted that they were expected to put in a day's work. Good season or not, Bolton are hardly the stiffest opposition, and it is intensely disappointing when Everton players don't have at least enough professional pride to be upset when they're getting walked all over by Simon Charlton and big, fat Kevin Davies.
If there were any supporters wavering over their decision to renew their season tickets following the big price hike then surely that 'performance' will have ensured that the region's riverbanks and golf courses will be absolutely packed on Saturday afternoons from August. The worst thing of all about being rubbish is how it divides the fans. No-one could be blamed for being frustrated at the final whistle but the atmosphere almost felt like that of the late Johnson-era as supporters squabbled among themselves over whether to applaud the team or scream abuse at the board. Those not booing were actually clapping the devastated-looking David Moyes and the players who have regularly put decent performances in this season, and amid the recriminations we must remember that there have been some. No, honestly. To hear the manager so downhearted after the game was even more dispiriting than the actual events on the field. We can only hope that he's able to make some changes to personnel in the summer and give himself a fighting chance next season, but just where the cash is going to come from for him to do that is anyone's guess. Unfortunately for us, we haven't got anyone offering us Asian taxpayers' money to invest in the squad.

Squabbling support sums up our plight
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 14 2004
PERHAPS we could see some entertainment tomorrow if both sets of supporters try to out-do each other by make a slight change to the old refrain and see who can chant "Boo your hearts out for the lads" with the most gusto. Given that they moved to a brand new stadium and spent a considerable amount of money on players, it's probably safe to say that Manchester City are just about the only side avoiding the drop to be more disappointed with their season than Everton. And while it would be nice if our players could at least put the semblance of a show on for the supporters making the trip up the East Lancs, no-one's going to be holding their breath. In front of a full house, they had a chance to sign off a poor campaign in style on Saturday but many of them looked affronted that they were expected to put in a day's work. Good season or not, Bolton are hardly the stiffest opposition, and it is intensely disappointing when Everton players don't have at least enough professional pride to be upset when they're getting walked all over by Simon Charlton and big, fat Kevin Davies.
If there were any supporters wavering over their decision to renew their season tickets following the big price hike then surely that 'performance' will have ensured that the region's riverbanks and golf courses will be absolutely packed on Saturday afternoons from August. The worst thing of all about being rubbish is how it divides the fans. No-one could be blamed for being frustrated at the final whistle but the atmosphere almost felt like that of the late Johnson-era as supporters squabbled among themselves over whether to applaud the team or scream abuse at the board. Those not booing were actually clapping the devastated-looking David Moyes and the players who have regularly put decent performances in this season, and amid the recriminations we must remember that there have been some. No, honestly. To hear the manager so downhearted after the game was even more dispiriting than the actual events on the field. We can only hope that he's able to make some changes to personnel in the summer and give himself a fighting chance next season, but just where the cash is going to come from for him to do that is anyone's guess. Unfortunately for us, we haven't got anyone offering us Asian taxpayers' money to invest in the squad.

Market better in China
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 14 2004
Market better
IT'S not just about bringing in players rather the whole corporate structure needs a massive overhaul at Everton. Firstly the directors must go. Next up the marketing department have to be lined up and shot. A billion people in China, and if 10% of them were Everton supporters that would make a hundred million supporters. And if each of them purchased some form of memorabilia with a profit of £1 each that's £100 million.
B Fish (via e-mail)
Lucky Moyes
LET'S do a review: Moyes seldom made full use of his own signings: Jeffers and McFadden were seldom given chance to play, and the old deadwoods were always preferred to the youngsters.
We can be leading but still lost the game in the last 10 minutes. Moyes is very lucky because everybody puts the blame on the board, but even with £5million given, he does not know how to use it. Big Sam Allardyce can get all the class players for free: Campo, Okocha, Djorkaeff and now Rivaldo. But we have not got even one great player.
S Boon, Liverpool
Wrong tactics
I APPLAUD David Moyes for getting the best out of some average players for two seasons now but his tactics away from home are wrong. He thinks we can win every game when in truth there is only about five of six away places where we even have a shout - Anfield obviously being one of them. Our plan in the others should be not to get beaten. I love the man but he needs to get real until we have a team that can truly compete.
Sheila Jones, Liverpool

Market better in China
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 14 2004
Sell Radzinski
I WOULD opt for the selling of Tomasz Radzinski as opposed to killing the golden calf just yet.
By law of averages as a speedy player, he must be on the verge of losing his extra yards of pace and that makes him sellable. In a few years we definitely couldn't expect to sell him and he would probably leave on a free. Whereas Rooney, who is our most saleable asset, will see his value remain high and increase. Plus imagine what selling him would do for the morale of the club. I can hear the desperate wailing in the streets now.
Scott Darlett, Merseyside
Gutless display
I'VE been an Everton supporter for 40 years and last Saturday's showing was one of the most gutless displays in memory. I urge Bill Kenwright to find finacial backing immediatly before we end up in the Nationwide. The following players Must go: Gemmill, Jeffers, Weir, Unsworth, Campbell (should have gone last year)and Clarke. We should do everything possible to secure Joe Cole on loan, then rip off Leeds for Harte, Matteo and Bakke - all players who've done it in the Champions League.
Do something Mr Ken-wright, and I don't mean selling the boy, or Evertonians will quickly lose their already damaged faith in you.
D Ledgington, Liverpool

Moyes turns down Radz bid
May 14 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have rejected an official bid from Fulham for Tomasz Radzinski. The Cottagers tried their luck with a cheeky £900,000 offer for the 30-year-old. The Blues are determined to keep hold of the Canadian international and are awaiting a response to their offer of a new two-year-deal for the striker. His current contract expires in 12 months and he is believed to be holding out for a three-year deal from Everton. Despite the stalemate, Everton are determined to resist Fulham's advances and value the player at £2.5m. The Blues are optmistic they can extend Radzinski's stay on Merseyside, along with Danish midfielder Thomas Gravesen. The 28-year-old has also been offered fresh term and Everton are awaiting a response as he too approaches the final year of his current deal. Gravesen is one of eight senior players unavailable through injury for tomorrow's final game at Manchester City. He is joined on the sidelines by Gary Naysmith (hernia), David Unsworth (Achilles), Alessandro Pistone (ankle), Kevin Kilbane (hamstring), Duncan Ferguson (groin), Alex Nyarko (ribs) and Francis Jeffers. Meanwhile, David Moyes has made mid-field recruitment his top priority this summer. The manager believes there has been an over-reliance on Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane this term. The duo have missed the defeats to Wolves and Bolton because of injury. Moyes said: "Losing Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane in the same game was a blow. They have probably been our best two outfield players this season but we have not made an issue of losing them. "We try not to talk about injury problems and just go with the players we have got. But we have always known that we needed to strengthen in one or two areas. "But we have never whinged about not having players available, and we are not going to start now."

Moyes can count me as new signing roars Osman
May 14 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN is intent on saving Everton a summer dip into the transfer market. The 22-year-old, has been the silver lining as the dark clouds have gathered over Goodison in the last couple of weeks. Two points from the last 15 available mean the club go into tomorrow's final game at Manchester City in need of at least a draw to avoid the lowest points total by an Everton team in living memory. But amidst the gloom, Osman has provided one reason to be cheerful. Since returning from a loan spell at Derby County, the former reserve player has produced two eye-catching performances in his first league starts for the club. After scoring on his debut at Wolves, he impressed against Bolton last weekend. Now he is hopeful of being given the chance to shine at Eastlands tomorrow as he seeks to convince manager David Moyes that the club has already secured one summer addition to the senior midfield ranks. "I certainly hope I can save the club some money by proving I can do a job in the side on a regular basis," admits Osman. "I want to play in the centre of mid-field for the club. I have been here for so long that it feels like my home and if the manager thinks I am good enough to play there without going to buy somebody else then that is really great for me and probably good news for the club. "But every club is hoping to improve over the summer and we will see how that goes." Osman's chance to shine follows a successful three month loan spell with Derby in the first division, where he made 17 starts and scored three goals. His performances earned him hero-worship from the Rams' fans and helped save George Burley's side from the drop.
"I came back thinking it was a good time to be back, with only three games remaining and the possibility of getting a chance," he adds. "There is a group of young players developing in the side and I wanted to prove I can play alongside those people and develop with them. I didn't want to wait until next season. "I was hoping to figure in one or maybe two of the games. But I got a chance in the first match at Wolves and it started well. After that my aim was to figure in all three of them. "I will just have to see if that happens on Saturday." The impact he has made since returning from his loan spell has helped justify the player's request to get some more first team experience away from Goodison, despite having just one full season of his Everton contract remaining. He explains: "From the start of the season until Christmas I was hoping to figure a lot more than I did and I was really disappointed I hadn't really been involved. I knew I needed to get a bit of football, so I asked the manager if I could go out on loan. "I was able to go out and get some first team football. I was happy when Derby came in for me and I figured in every game. It couldn't have gone better for me." Is the transformation in his Everton fortunes down to the confidence boost regular first team football with Derby provided or did the quality of his performances in the first division convince the Goodison coaching staff that he can cut the mustard at a decent level? "It is probably a bit of both," replies Osman. "I always believed I could play at Premiership level and it was just a matter of being given the chance. "Going to Derby definitely improved my confidence, but I thought I could do it anyway to be honest. "George Burley believed in me and played me in the centre in most games. The middle is my favourite position and the manager (David Moyes) knows that. "I was pleased that he showed faith in me as well by playing me in that position last week. "There have definitely been points where I have felt down and disappointed over the last few years. "But you never think it is not going to happen, even when the injuries are slowing down your progress. I have always believed in myself and always thought that my chance will come. "I knew I had to be patient and when that chance came along, no matter how small, I had to be ready to take it." Moyes has made no secret of his desire to add to his midfield options, with a creative influence his top priority. Osman fits the bill. But there remain doubts about his long-term future because of his size - he is only 5ft 7ins.
"There is nothing I can do about my size and my height," he responds. "So when people say I can't do it because of my height it is frustrating sometimes because I am sure I can make up for it with a tackle and a header. "I have just been waiting for the chance to show my size doesn't matter. I don't think I have done that yet, as such, but I believe I can do it. "It is not something that should hold me back. Taller midfielders can probably cover the pitch easier because of their long strides, but that doesn't mean a little fella isn't going to get around. "It is all about the individual and I have confidence in my ability."

May 14 2004
Manchester Evening News
David Unsworth could be on the verge of joining Bolton, according to the player's agent Hayden Evans. The 30-year-old defender looks set to leave Everton in the summer after rejecting a two-year deal with the option of a third season. Evans told www.skysports.com: "We are currently in talks with Bolton and are hopeful of something being sorted out. "He was offered two years plus the option of another year at Everton but he has turned that down. "It was nothing to do with money, just that there was no guarantee of a third year at Everton, which David wants."
Bolton have declined to comment.

Preview: Manchester City v Everton
May 14, 2004
Manchester Evening News
STEVE McManaman is set to miss the final day clash with boyhood heroes Everton after failing to recover from a hamstring strain. The former England winger has not featured since limping out of the home defeat to Southampton a month ago and has now virtually accepted that his season has come to a premature end. Michael Tarnat is expected to make his final Blues' appearance after being told his contract will not be renewed, while Robbie Fowler and Trevor Sinclair have both recovered from minor knocks. With boss Kevin Keegan keen to beat the Blues and ensure another '500,000 by finishing one place higher at 16th, there is again little chance of the youngsters getting a lengthy run out. The Blues boss will stick with his favoured back four, though he has choices in midfield with Claudio Reyna, Paul Bosvelt, Joey Barton, Trevor Sinclair and Antoine Sibierski for the three places alongside Shaun Wright-Phillips. Paulo Wanchope's goal against Middlesbrough could see him retained alongside Nicolas Anelka, Robbie Fowler and Jon Macken having to make do with the bench at best. Everton have been equally disappointing this season, but with changes planned in the summer a number of players will be keen to impress. Francis Jeffers will hope to get a rare start before returning to Arsenal's reserves, while Wayne Rooney will again be the star attraction in what could, conceivably, be his last appearance for the club.
Last season: Manchester City 3 Everton 1
Key opponent: Wayne Rooney - will hope to finish the season on a high
Prediction: Manchester City 2 Everton 1.

Manchester City 5 Everton 1
Dominic King
May 15, 2004
Manchester Evening News
FIVE-star Manchester City ended a season of misery in fine style with a crushing victory over hapless Everton. With their visitors from Merseyside seemingly throwing in the towel, Kevin Keegan's men took full advantage of the opportunity that was presented to them and gave their supporters something to cheer about after so much suffering over the winter. Paulo Wanchope was the star man, scoring twice in the first half, but there were also major contributions from Nicolas Anelka, Shaun Wright-Phillips and, keeping the midfield ticking over, Paul Bosvelt. But it will be the Costa Rican who steals the headlines and rightly so, given the way he terrorised Everton's defence and took his recent run to four goals in his last three appearances. On 15 minutes, Anelka weaved his way into the Everton area and prodded a shot towards goal. David Weir tried to intervene but his tackle lacked meaning and the ball fell to Wanchope, who made no mistake in beating Nigel Martyn from eight yards. It came as no surprise when Wanchope scored for a second time on the half-hour. Claudio Reyna's charge down the left caused havoc and he freed Anelka before anybody could get a telling tackle in. The Frenchman inadvertently turned the ball into the path of his strike partner and Wanchope needed little invitation to smash the ball beyond Martyn for his sixth goal of an injury-ravaged campaign.
Returning the favour
Wanchope turned provider just before half-time, ushering Anelka into Everton's area with a deft ball. There was still much to be done but a deft side step sent Tony Hibbert sprawling leaving the way clear for him to curl a wonderful effort past Martyn. Everton made a fist of things in the seconbd half and a Tomasz Radzinski shot caused some alarm for David James - who had been nothing more than a spectator in the first 45 minutes. And the Toffees threatened a comeback when Kevin Campbell rose high to smash a header between James and Sylvain Distin on the hour.
However, that simply stung City into life and they roared back in tremendous style at the end. Antoine Sibierski scored a well taken fourth after being picked out by fellow substitute Jon Macken.
The best, though, was saved for last. Wright-Phillips - head and shoulders City's player of the year - charged at the Everton's defence before unleashing a shot that fizzed into the bottom corner and sent Blues supporters home happy for the summer.

Man City 5, Everton 1 (D,Post)
May 17 2004 By David Prior At Eastlands, Daily Post
WHEN David Moyes said no final-day result could gloss over a season's shortcomings, he probably hadn't contemplated the one that would brutally expose them all. What a grim afternoon. With one race for fourth prematurely settled, two clubs who had rivalled each other for anticlimax and underachievement all season could wallow in gallows humour and stage their own race to avoid it. Fourth from bottom, that is. But only one of them seemed in any way interested in retrieving some pride from their season of disappointment. Only one of them gave their fans one iota of hope to carry them through the summer. Perhaps it was a bit much to expect Everton to change the habit of the past nine months and deliver a performance away from home. Perhaps it was a bit optimistic to hope Everton, released from any lingering worries of relegation, could turn on the kind of style that so illuminated their last victory, against Tottenham way back on April 9. Looking back, it was slightly unrealistic to imagine that this season of frustration and unfolding misery could end in any other way than what unfolded, particularly in the first half at the City of Manchester Stadium. A proud and emotional man, five o'clock on Saturday represented the nadir of Moyes's season, perhaps of his entire 26 months as Everton manager. Never one to hide his true feelings, he could barely speak afterwards. He sat in the press conference with the demeanour of a man genuinely offended by what he had just seen. Simmering, shell-shocked rage. But there was also an air of certainty about him, a feeling that the previous two hours had borne out everything he has been talking about these past few weeks. It was there for all to see, shortcomings as crystal clear as they've ever been. Failings that made Manchester City, a side with just four wins out of 18 at their superb new ground before Saturday, look like super-slick world-beaters. An abject lack of creativity we all knew about, but at least this season there's been a reasonably reliable wall of resistance to fall back on. Not on Saturday. There were some key players missing, sure, but the blame cannot be laid on those who weren't there. Most worryingly, the absence of ability was compounded by an attitude that screamed 'we're here for the taking' almost from the first whistle. "I'm shocked because I thought we had more about us," said Moyes. "We've picked a side from the players Everton have with the intention of trying to win the games, but as we could see today, it was nearly a mismatch. "The team has to reflect a manager and I won't shun my responsibility. It was my team that I put out."
Moyes needn't have been so hard on himself. He prepared his players diligently; they let him and the fans down. The one consolation for the fans heading for the exits after goal three was that they weren't in Portsmouth. The players may as well have been during a first half that, impossibly, out-did St Andrews and White Hart Lane among others in its sheer pitifulness. It had in fact started with some decent attacking play by the visitors. Tomasz Radzinski, who will not have seen much to convince him to accept the two-year contract offered to him by the club, was blatantly tripped by Richard Dunne at the end of a spirited run to the edge of the penalty box. Referee Steve Dunn, however, waved play on. Wayne Rooney and James McFadden were initially afforded considerable space on the large pitch and the Scot should have at least troubled David James when Rooney's low ball found him completely unmarked inside the penalty area. The early optimism soon gave way to a more familiar pattern, however. With 16 minutes on the clock, Everton's complete inability to clear the ball - with Joesph Yobo and David Weir the chief culprits - allowed Paulo Wanchope to attach a gangly leg to the loose ball and beat Nigel Martyn. Rather than dissolve immediately, Everton did for a few minutes suggest they were still ready to make a fight of it. Leon Osman was showing some nice touches in midfield and McFadden forced a save out of James with a low volley. Lee Carsley ballooned high into the crowd when prompted to shoot by McFadden's long throw. Wanchope was proving an ungainly handful though and it was he who struck again just after the half-hour. Claudio Reyna's ball was glanced on intentionally by Nicolas Anelka, fell fortuitously for the Costa Rican to hold off Tony Hibbert and find the back of the net. By now City were buoyant, and increased their advantage to three a couple of minutes before half-time when Anelka turned inside Hibbert and picked out the far corner with a low shot. Changes were anticipated at the interval but Moyes made just the one, withdrawing McFadden and bringing on Kevin Campbell. For a time there did seem to be a belief among the players that all was not yet lost, but only the most wishful of terrace thinkers could honestly foresee Everton's increased urgency translating into goals. Campbell did at least pull one back, beating Sun Jihai to a near-post header after Rooney's corner, but this time it was more consolation than comeback. Substitute Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright-Phillips added two more late on with clean strikes against a by then dejected Everton. As the home fans sang as if all their worries were forgotten, Evertonians could at least console themselves with the thought that there could be no more days like this, at least for three months. Moyes does not want another day, or season, like this again. He wants his ambition to be realised at Goodison, his plan matched by an investment that will enable him to take the club forward. Now, Everton are effectively back where they were when he took on the job two years ago. And at the current rate, if Moyes' worst fears are realised next season, Everton will be relegated. After all, if the side that can miss out on Europe by a point one year can fail to muster the basic 40-point target the next, when will the slide stop?
"Everybody can see the job facing me," Moyes said after the game. Everybody certainly can, and surely that includes the board.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): James; Sun, Dunne, Distin, Tarnat; Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton (Sibierski 85), Reyna (Jordan 82); Wan-chope (Macken 80), Anelka. Subs: Arason, Fowler. BOOKINGS: Barton (foul).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert; Watson (Chadwick 72), Carsley, Osman, McFadden (Campbell 46); Radzinski (Linderoth 86), Rooney. Subs: Wright, Clarke. BOOKINGS: Rooney (foul).
ATT: 47,284.

Moyes: We have got to change
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
May 17 2004
DAVID MOYES made an emotional plea for summer change at Everton after watching what he called a "mismatch" at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday. The Scot, cut a shellshocked figure after his side had ended the Premiership campaign fourth from bottom, displacing Manchester City after Kevin Keegan's side had handed out a comprehensive beating. Two goals from Paulo Wanchope began the rout with Nicolas Anelka, Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright-Phillips ensuring Everton finished with their worst points total in over a century. And Moyes said: "If we are looking for positives, then it was there for all to see - there have to be changes. "There were many things wrong. We've probably lacked a lot of ability this year. Today I would say it's got a lot to do with our overall commitment, so that's why we didn't get the result. "I think everybody can see the size of the task. I have been planning for a long time, so hopefully some of the plans will come to fruition. I need to be confident they do happen because there's no way we can go again next season like that.
"It's not just the ones who played in this game. We've another lot (referring to the many players sidelined) who are just as much a part of it. "But it's not about the players and it's not about me, it's about us altogether because in the dressing room I talk about we. But I take my responsibility with them. They're hurting as much as I am. We are sore. There's no doubt about that." Asked if he thought Saturday's game had further increased the urgency of investment in new players, Moyes added: "I think so, but we'll have to wait and see whether we can do it or not. "I don't think it's the size of the squad, it's the quality of who we've got in the squad. I've never talked about periods when we've lost players through injury, but I think we lost both Thomas (Gravesen) and Kevin Kilbane in the game against Blackburn, which we lost, and the run has continued from there.
"We've not got many top players and we can't afford to lose the ones that have been doing well for us this season. "If we don't invest over the summer it's going to be the same again next year. The expectations will have dropped which is not some-thing I'll be pleased about because I want to raise the expectations at Goodison, but it's been a disappointing season and we can't hide that fact.
"I'm just glad it's the last game, I'm pleased that we've stayed in the Premier League and from now we can try and be positive about what we do. I think we're in need of some changes. I knew that we'd done very well last year, but I still expected us to do very well this year." Asked if he had contemplated the idea of Wayne Rooney being sold in the summer to finance the strengthening of the squad, Moyes gave a flat "No".

Things must change, say rival managers
By Ian Parkes, Daily Post
May 17 2004
EVERTON manager David Moyes and Manchester City counterpart Kevin Keegan both face a tense summer in which their patience and resolve will be tested to the limit. The fortunes of the two managers have followed a similar path over the last nine months as expectations were high at both clubs heading into the campaign. Moyes, was hoping to build on a remarkable first full season at the helm when Everton finished seventh, while Keegan went so far as to predict a top-six finish.
However, both have dramatically underachieved. The two clubs have flirted with relegation, with Everton finishing just one place off the bottom three, and with City fairing little better as only two wins in the last three games has given them a semblance of respectability. Moyes and Keegan know a shake-up is needed during the close season but money is an issue at both clubs and the two men have been told to wheel and deal. It could result in star names such as Wayne Rooney and Nicolas Anelka being sold to help ease the financial distress at the two clubs, and who knows what effect that could have on the managers. There is speculation neither will be around come the start of next season, with Everton supporters fearing Moyes will walk if he is not backed in the transfer market, or if Rooney is sold over his head, while Keegan is seemingly under threat following City's poor showing. Everton were humiliated by two goals from Paulo Wanchope and Anelka's 24th of the season before the break, added to by substitutes Antoine Sibierski and Shaun Wright-Phillips in the last two minutes after Kevin Campbell had pulled one back on the hour. Such a vibrant result and performance, though, cannot mask a miserable season for City. "I've told people I won't stay beyond my contract," confirmed Keegan. "We are trying to finish in the top six, but it doesn't matter if we win the league, I won't stay. I would like to hand this club over to somebody in a better state than it is now and that will be my challenge. If I cannot do that, then I have failed trying to do the job properly." But Keegan is already thinking ahead to next season, adding: "I'm looking forward to giving it another crack next year. "My enthusiasm has not waned one bit. I'll be more determined, but I don't want another season like this and I don't think my players do. The fans certainly won't want it. "I know the summer could be a difficult one for me, though, so I think we will have to be a bit cleverer in the transfer market and look to loan players. But the fans have to know we gave it our best shot, we just haven't been good enough - all of us, as a club."

Everton denies making a bid for Thai PM's millions
By Laura Davis Daily Post Staff
May 17 2004
EVERTON Football Club denied last night approaching Thailand's prime minister for investment.
A spokesman for Thaksin Shinawatra claims other Premiership teams have already contacted him to see if he would consider a funding deal if his existing bid for a £65m stake in Liverpool FC fails.
However, Everton said there had been "no contact made from either side". Thai spokesman Chakrapot Penkay said the politician will consider the new offers if talks break down over Anfield.
He added that Mr Thaksin is expecting to have confirmation that his tender for a 30% share in Liverpool FC is successful by the end of today. "It is not just Liverpool we are interested in. Our desire is to pursue any British soccer team. "We are still pursuing Liverpool. There is someone in Britain who initiated the meeting between the club and the Prime Minister so there is mutual interest, it was not a one-sided approach. "Thailand wants to be involved in another quality institution like the Premiership. "Some other clubs have already approached us, and more than one team. I hope there will be a conclusion at the end of this week." Confusion still surrounds the source of the funding needed for the venture. Mr Thaksin stated yesterday that public money would not be used for the bid. However, Mr Chakrapot last night hinted that the people of Thailand could yet foot the bill. He said: "Shinawatra is a billionaire. Let's say that, if it was a private deal, then he has the finance for it. "But it's narrow minded to look at it just like that. Public funding would enable the people of Thailand to be involved. "A recent poll said 85% to 90% of those questioned would like us to buy Liverpool." A rival £73m bid by Liverpool-based property magnate Steve Morgan was rejected by the club on Thursday after a board meeting at Anfield. LFC said Morgan's bid implied a current value of £61m for the entire club which they described as a "substantial discount" of its true price. However, the Redrow Homes founder said the response made "no sense" and denied he was attempting to buy the club outright. Thailand's dubious human rights record has prompted criticism of Liverpool's willingness to do business with Shinawatra, but Mr Chakrapot dismissed the disapproval. He said: "Our judiciary issues are improving. We would be happy for Amnesty International to launch a full inquiry into our country and would offer our full co-operation."

Slow and stilted in every area
View From The Stands By Rob Sawyer Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 17 2004
ABJECT, embarrassing, heartless - I am running out of adjectives to describe recent performances.
Surpisingly David Moyes put Tony Hibbert at left-back for the first time that I can recall and switched our outstanding centre-back, Joseph Yobo, to right-back. This left the whippet-like (irony alert) Alan Stubbs and David Weir to beat Nicolas Anelka and Paulo Wanchope for pace in the middle. The result - 0-3 at half-time and a number of dejected Evertonians already well down the M62. The introduction of Kevin Campbell, (left), for the second period saw a brief revival and his first goal of the season (hurrah!). This was our only attempt on target all afternoon. Two late goals (again) signalled capitulation and the shame of failing to reach the 40-point mark this season. We lacked the ability to keep possession, never mind threaten the City defence. Lee Carsley was anonymous, James McFadden not at the races and Steve Watson was still lacking sharpness. Leon Osman didn't see the ball enough to punish the opposition while Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski were largely ineffective. Only Yobo could leave the pitch with head held high. Where do we go from here? The club and its once great stadium are living on borrowed time (and money). Only an infusion of footballing talent, business acumen and finance can revive the old lady before it really is too late.
The phrase 'most important summer in the club's history' has been overused but this year holds truer than ever.

Man City 5, Everton 1 (Echo)
May 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
APPARENTLY a picture says a thousand words.
But nowhere near that many were needed to accurately reflect the thoughts of David Moyes as he entered the press conference at Manchester City's Eastlands Stadium in the wake of Everton's heaviest defeat of the season. His face was a picture of controlled anger. He had left the waiting press as long as possible in order to gather himself. But still he was seething. His answers followed long pauses and were brief and surly as he tried to resist the urge to really say what he thought.
He was embarrassed by the performance his side had produced, just as the few thousand hardy souls who made the trek down the East Lancs had been embarassed. But, as usual, he refused to let his players take the sole blame. "We should all be judged together," he explained in a slow, measured manner. The question is, should they? The manager insisted that the play-ers in the dressing room had been hurting as much as him after the match. But that pain hadn't been reflected on the pitch. A side hurting would have been defiant in the dying minutes of the final game of the season. Instead, they capitulated further, allowing Kevin Keegan's City to hit them with two late goals to transform a bad scoreline into a horrific one. By that stage of the game, the major-ity of the travelling fans had packed up and gone home. Evertonians know when they are being short-changed - they have had plenty of opportunity to work that one out in the last decade. Everton arrived in Manchester one point ahead of their hosts in the Premiership table and aware that they needed to avoid defeat to ensure they did not end with the club's lowest points total in living memory.
And yet they were outplayed in every department by City. It was agonising to watch. The ease with which Paulo Wanchope scored his brace of goals in the opening half was shocking. The Blues' squad may have been depleted by injuries, but the defence still boasted such experienced heads as Alan Stubbs and David Weir, and the talented young duo of Joseph Yobo and Tony Hibbert. They were made to look like a group of teenage debutantes by the spritely partnership of Wanchope and Nicolas Anelka. Not even Player of the Season Nigel Martyn could keep the scoreline down this time. And so the statisticians will now tell you that, in terms of points gained, this Everton side is the worst since 1889. Just 39 acquired in a 38 game season. There is quality in the squad, but not enough. Nowhere near enough. The loss through injury of Thomas Gravesen and Kevin Kilbane has exposed the lack of depth in mid-field. Leon Osman deserves to be given more of a chance next season, but he is still in need of experience. Lee Carsley did himself no favours at all, while on the left flank James McFadden struggled to find the right balance between defence and attack and on the right Steve Watson looked jaded and off the pace. The lack of quality was compensated last season by passion, desire and a never-say-die attitude. Those qualities were nowhere to be seen on Saturday. They have been in short supply all season. Last year Everton made a habit of scoring late goals to snatch victories and draws. Indeed, they came back from a goal down to clinch three points on more occasions than any other side in the division. This year has been dramatically different. In the last 16 matches Everton have dropped 10 points because of conceding goals in the final 10 minutes of games. It may be an issue of stamina in a squad which has 11 players over the age of 30. Or it could be desire. And if the current group of players are seemingly unwilling to run through walls for the manager, then he will need to find others. This squad has demonstrated in the last 10 months that they are no longer good enough. It is a fact which Moyes is intent on rectifying.
And if he can't, then expect to see the bookies slashing the odds on the Blues being relegated next season. Not even a talented and driven manager like Moyes can work miracles. He can't carry out a dramatic overhaul without a cash injection of some sort. At the moment, it seems he has virtually no money to spend. Even £2m signings could be beyond his budget. But, thankfully, he remains adamant the cash for a rebuilding programme will not come from the sale of Wayne Rooney.
And his logic makes sense. Letting the prize asset go for £30m would send the fans into uproar.
The manager would have to be given at least £25m of that money to reinvest. But bringing in the four top quality signings needed to appease the supporters would push the club's wage bill into the stratosphere. And none of those new arrivals would have a passion for the club to compare with Rooney's. He was the last player off the pitch on Saturday. His red face and hunched shoulders told you he was going through the same pain as the fans heading back to Liverpool. You couldn't say the same for far too many of his teammates. Lets hope each and every board member -even Paul Gregg - was present to witness the match. Because if the message hadn't got through before, it must have done on Saturday. The next three months could prove to be the most important of the last decade. The response from the money-men to the huge disappointment of this campaign will dictate where the club goes next season. The fans are becoming increasingly agitated by the situation. A group entitled Evertonians For Change has been formed, while there were also leaflets being handed out at Eastlands urging supporters to avoid buying new season tickets until the manager is given a reasonable transfer kitty. And the lacklustre performance of the play-ers means the board has no get-out, no escape route. They must address the situation or prepare for life in the Nationwide League. As for Saturday's match, there is little point in going into too much detail. Wanchope scored two close range efforts after sloppy defending, Anelka produced a touch of class to make it three before the interval. Everton rallied briefly at the start of the second period and netted a consolation through substitute Kevin Campbell - his first of the season. But in the closing minutes, with the Blues' thoughts seemingly already on the prospect of a nice long summer break - very few of them will be hindered by taking part in Euro 2004 - City added two more goals. First a counter-attack led by Jon Macken ended with Antoine Sibierski slotting home unmarked eight yards out. And then Shaun Wright-Phillips blitzed his way down the right flank and unleashed a thunderbolt from 18 yards. By that stage, those few Evertonians still in the ground probably missed that cracker because their heads were already in their hands.
MANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2): James; Sun, Dunne, Distin, Tarnat; Wright-Phillips, Bosvelt, Barton (Sibierski 85), Reyna (Jordan 82); Wan-chope (Macken 80), Anelka. Subs: Arason, Fowler. BOOKINGS: Barton (foul).
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Yobo, Weir, Stubbs, Hibbert; Watson (Chadwick 72), Carsley, Osman, McFadden (Campbell 46); Radzinski (Linderoth 86), Rooney. Subs: Wright, Clarke. BOOKINGS: Rooney (foul).
ATT: 47,284.

Gravesen demands support
May 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has told Everton he will not sign a new contract until he sees investment being made to improve the squad. The Danish international, has been offered a new two-year deal with a third year option, but he has become increasingly concerned by the club's dramatic loss of form this season. Saturday's 5-1 defeat by Manchester City left the Blues 17th in the final league table with just 39 points from 38 matches. Now Gravesen, who will be playing for Denmark at Euro 2004, wants reassurances there will be improvements made to the squad. Manager David Moyes can understand the player's frustration, saying: "Tommy has told me he will sign for Everton, but he wants to see that he will be involved in a squad capable of challenging for Europe. "I support him in a lot of ways and will be trying to make signings that will help convince Tommy to stay. "I'm intent on making changes and I certainly won't be accepting what was given by the players over the weekend. I wasn't even happy finishing seventh last year. "This club should be challenging for Europe and involved in Europe. Maybe the players were happy to settle for seventh and are happy we have maintained our Premiership status this year, but I am far from content." Moyes has confirmed that the Blues will not be taking up the option to sign Francis Jeffers permanently now his season-long loan from Arsenal has come to an end. He joins Scot Gemmill, Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen, Michael Symes and Alan and Brian Moogan who have all been released by the Blues.
However, former England Under- 21 international Peter Clarke may not have played his last game for the club after being offered a new one-year deal. The manager was sickened by Saturday's defeat. He added: "If we are looking for positives then it was there for all to see - there has to be changes."

'We need to bring in fresh signings'
May 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN CAMPBELL has warned that Everton's Premiership status will be under threat next season if the squad doesn't improve over the summer. The 34-year-old striker, netted his first goal of the season in Saturday's game at Manchester City. But it was merely a consolation on an afternoon when the Blues capitulated, falling to a shocking 5-1 defeat - the heaviest of the season and the worst of David Moyes' time in charge at Goodison. That result consigned the club to 17th place in the final Premiership table, having gathered only 39 points from 38 matches. Campbell's assessment is simple: "If there is a positive to be taken out of being so awful it is that we haven't gone down. "If we don't improve then we are going to be in big trouble. We need to get to where we were at last season. "We need to get aggressive, go at teams and remember that reputations count for nothing when they play Everton football club." If the players representing Everton don't do that next season, then another relegation battle is on the cards. After the seventh place finish last year, the transformation in the club's fortunes is dramatic. But Campbell insists that the players are as concerned as the fans, and that Saturday's lacklustre display was not a reflection of a lack of desire from the squad. He adds: "The players are miffed. I have been in the game a long time and this has baffled me. From last season to this one, nobody can put their finger on what has gone on.
"We have prepared in the right manner for every game like we did last year but this season we haven't performed. It is a bitterly disappointing season for everyone and we just can't believe it.
"The players are bitterly disappointed, the management are bitterly disappointed, the fans are bitterly disappointed and we have got to buck our ideas up. "We want to push up there and we need to improve and I am sure we will. There is a lot of character in the squad and when we have needed a result we have got a result. "The season has petered out and the lads will go away for the summer massively frustrated but they will all have the bit between their teeth when they come back." Campbell also apologised to the club's loyal fans, who ensured the average attendance at Goodison rose this season to the highest in the club's Premiership history despite the side's struggle for form. "As usual the supporters have been tremendous," he adds. "We haven't given them the performances they deserve. They know it and we know it. "I wish them a good summer and hope we can perform better next season."

Big decisions facing Blues
May 17 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IF David Moyes had wanted any further evidence of his doom-laden prophecy that Everton will struggle to avoid relegation next season, it came overwhelmingly at the City of Manchester Stadium.
Everton achieved the well-nigh impossible. They made Manchester City look good There has been rumour and innuendo for some time that some players have fallen out with their manager's attitude.
That has clearly been the case in recent weeks, and it's an utter disgrace. They don't like the boss. So what? Does professional pride and the £20 grand-a-week some of them are stealing off the supporters count for nothing? Cancerous cells infect healthier organs - and there is something rotten about Everton at present. David Moyes has some big decisions to make this summer - and the club will be all the healthier for them.

Player ratings: Man City v Everton
May 17, 2004
Manchester Evening News
DOUBLE JOY: Paulo Wanchope celebrates his second against Everton
JAMES: Hardly a save of any note to make but kept his defenders on their toes throughout 6
SUN: Solid performance from the Chinese star who will spend most of his summer playing for his country 6
DUNNE: Won every header after being lucky to survive a rash early challenge on Radzinski 7
DISTIN: Like defensive partner Dunne has hardly had a less stressful afternoon all season 6
TARNAT: Great way to say goodbye. Never put a foot wrong and will be missed by the fans 7
WRIGHT-PHILLIPS: Wonder solo goal capped another sparkling performance for Eastlands' favourite son 8
BOSVELT: Was magnificent in the first half tidying up and doing tireless unheralded work 8
BARTON: City must get him to sign a contract as soon as possible. Tireless and talented 7
REYNA: Had plenty of the ball and used it well from a position he cannot have played too many times 7
ANELKA: Terrific link play with Wanchope augers well for next season - if Keegan can keep them both at the club 8
WANCHOPE: Irrepressible contribution from the striker whose four goals in three games have lifted the end of the season 9
MACKEN (Wanchope 80min): Set up fourth goal 6
JORDAN (for Reyna 80): Handy ten minutes 6
SIBIERSKI (for Barton 84): Scored with virtually first touch 6
Not used: Arason, Fowler
City: Barton (19)
Everton: Rooney (68)
City: Wanchope (16 & 30), Anelka (41), Sibierski (89), Wright-Phillips (90)
Everton: Campbell (61)
Attendance: 47,284
Referee: Steve Dunn (Bristol): Easy game to referee6
Everton: Martyn, Watson (Chadwick 72), Stubbs, Weir, Radzinski (Linderoth 87), Rooney, Yobo, McFadden (Campbell 46), Carsley, Hibbert, Osman.

Fulham set to up offer for striker
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 18 2004
FULHAM will test David Moyes's resolve to keep Tomasz Radzinski this week with a new and improved offer for the Everton striker. The Londoners had a derisory enquiry for the Canadian international, rejected last Thursday but are set to return with a £1.5m offer within days. Radzinski has been offered a new two-year contract extension by Everton in keeping with Moyes's policy for players aged 30 or above, but is holding out for a three-year deal. Despite the lack of transfer funds at Goodison Park Moyes is prepared to keep the striker for the final 12 months of his existing contract and risk losing him on a free than give in to the player's demands. But Fulham's determination to prise the former Anderlecht forward from Everton will test that resolve, and could see Moyes accept a compromise deal to settle Radzinski's future on Merseyside. "He is a player I want to keep and I have no real intention of letting him go," said Moyes on Friday. "He is still under contract with us next season so he will stay until it gets to a stage where I feel we cannot take it any further." Francis Jeffers, meanwhile, will lead a Goodison Park exodus after Moyes confirmed the departure of at least 12 Everton players this summer. Jeffers has endured a dreadful season on loan at boyhood club - making only five Premiership starts - and his return to Arsenal was sealed after a furious row with the Everton manager five week's ago. Moyes announced the £8m striker's exit yesterday along with 11 other players on his annual release list. And with Thomas Gravesen threatening to reject a new contract offer unless significant investment is made this summer, Everton's underachieving squad is under severe pressure. Of the departing dozen Jeffers, Niclas Alexandersson and Sean O'Hanlon have secured alternative employment at Highbury, IFK Gothenburg and Swindon respectively. But nine other Everton players are now available on free transfers. They are: Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen, Scot Gemmill, Alan Moogan, Steven Schumacher, Michael Symes, Brian Moogan, Craig Garside and Scott Brown. Everton's two remaining out-of-contract players, David Unsworth and Peter Clarke, have been offered new deals. Unsworth has received a two-year extension offer, but is expected to join Bolton on a three-year deal, and Clarke is considering a 12-month extension. "Whatever else happens, these players still made up our squad so we are going to be short," said Moyes. "We need players just to replace those who are leaving."
The Everton manager is anxious to retain Gravesen. But the Danish international has told Moyes the club will have to make quality additions to their squad before he considers a new deal. "Tommy wants to sign for Everton," said Moyes. "But he wants to see that he will be involved in a squad capable of challenging for Europe. "I support him in a lot of ways and will be trying to make signings that will help convince Tommy to stay."

Rooney's thirsty to taste real success
Exclusive By Ian Dayle, Daily Post
May 18 2004
WAYNE ROONEY is thirsty. But as a staff member is sent scurrying through the corridors of Liverpool's Crowne Plaza hotel in search of his favoured beverage, it's obvious liquid refreshment is not all the Everton youngster is eager to taste. The start of Euro 2004 is mere weeks away and we're here to discuss England's prospects in Portugal, where Sven-Goran Eriksson's side have been tipped by many to end the country's wait for success on foreign soil. For Rooney, the kick-off cannot come soon enough. The prospect of playing against the best the Continent has to offer at an age when most footballers would be content with a first-team appearance for their club side is something the striker wasn't even contemplating as he watched Brazil end England's World Cup hopes 23 months ago. But then Wayne Rooney isn't your average footballer. Just ask the Evertonians who have been amazed by his achievements. The defenders bewildered by his outrageous talent. The England fans intoxicated by the promise and expectation he offers. Despite having made only 56 starts as a senior professional and yet to play a full 90 minutes for his country, Rooney has been touted by observers as astute as Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson in having the potential to become the brightest new star to emerge from next month's European Championships. Not that such talk bothers him, of course. The nonchalant ease at which he has met the challenges his embryonic career has so far handed him means his broad shoulders have grown accustomed to carrying the weight of expectation for both club and country. "It does not affect me," shrugs Rooney. "I just like to go out there and play my football. It's nice to have Arsene Wenger or whoever saying things like that about me in the papers, but I just concentrate on my own game and get on with things. "It might give me a bit of confidence reading these things, but it isn't going to change the way I play or the way I am."
That said, there's no denying the opportunity he has been afforded by Eriksson, who as expected named the Everton striker in his squad for Portugal yesterday, is one which causes the fire within to stir. "I'm very excited and can't wait," enthuses Rooney, a point he makes more than once. "Obviously it's a big tournament for everyone involved with England, but I'm still a young lad so I'm particularly looking forward to it. "I remember watching past tournaments at home and thinking how big the games were and how nervous you'd feel going out to play in them. I never imagined that I'd be going out there playing in a tournament like that myself. "I definitely didn't think I'd be playing for England at such an early stage in my career. It's all happened so quickly, but I'm just glad to be involved. "In some ways I have been surprised by my progress with England. I was surprised when I was named in the squad for the first time, but since then I've been there I've done well for England and stayed in there on merit." That last comment provides a telling insight into Rooney's mindset. Level-headed, confident but without unnecessary arrogance, such qualities have helped elevate him to the international stage in record time. And records are what Rooney's time with England has been about. He was his country's youngest ever player when he came on as substitute against Australia in February 2003, and then became the youngest goalscorer with his equaliser in the 2-1 Euro 2004 qualifying victory in Macedonia last September. Scoring my first goal for Eng-land has been the highlight so far," he says. "It was an important game and we were trailing 1-0 at the time and we needed a goal to get back into the game. I scored just after half-time and we went on to win." Rooney has certainly played his part in helping England reach Portugal. He made his competitive bow in the away win in Liechtenstein, started at home against Turkey, then followed his goal in Macedonia with another in the return game against Liechten-stein and, with Michael Owen injured, led the forward line in the qualification-sealing goalless draw in Istanbul. It hasn't come easily, however. The exuberance of youth has led to a few too many run-ins with officialdom, while he reported back for pre-season training at Bellefield last summer after having clearly enjoyed his time off a little too much. However, dressed in casual jeans and T-shirt, Rooney is now looking as lean as he ever has and appears in prime physical condition for the test which awaits him next month. And what's good for Rooney is good for Everton, too. "I feel great," he insists. "Euro 2004 will be the biggest challenge for me individually in my career so far. It's the biggest tournament I will have played in and I'll be playing in the biggest games I'll have played in. I just hope I can rise to it and do well. "You want to play against the best players to improve your game. I'm going to learn from doing that. "But the main thing for me is that it will be a big experience for me, something I've never done before. It will be good for my future. I remember watching past tournaments at home and thinking how big the games were and how nervous you'd feel going out to play in them. I never imagined that I'd be going out there playing in a tournament like that myself. "Hopefully I'll be able to show how far my game has progressed." When it comes to the one player Rooney is looking forward to playing against more than any other, his response is almost immediate. "Zidane," he says. "I think he's a great player and some of the stuff he does is unbelievable. His skill, strength and awareness are things any player would wish they had as part of their game." Ironically, it's the man he has ultimately replaced in the England squad who Rooney admired most for his country during his formative years. "Watching the tournaments at home, I'd look up to the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Michael Owen and Alan Shearer as players I'd admire," he reveals. "But Shearer is the one who I'd most model myself on. "He's a great player, has good strengths and has scored loads of goals during his career and is still doing so." Rooney also has the highest praise for Liverpool striker Owen, who he hopes to be lining up alongside when England kick-off their tournament against France in Lisbon three weeks on Sunday. "It's brilliant playing alongside Michael," he says. "He is a top striker, and you dream about playing up front for Eng-land in the same team as many great players. To be playing alongside Michael for England is a great achievement for me." Eriksson's will also come up against Switzerland and Croatia in their Group B matches, but it is that French opener which Rooney believes could deter-mine the success or otherwise of England's journey to Portugal. "I've played against a lot of the French players already in the Premiership, but France are a great team and we'll have to be focused and do the best we can to win that opening game," he says. "I think that game against France will be the key one. The result from that will determine how the rest of the group goes and could have the biggest impact on whether England can go through or not. But there's no reason to fear France or any other team. We have enough good players in our own squad."
And can England go all the way? "We're there to win," Rooney states firmly. "We can definitely go all the way and win the tournament. Hopefully I can get a few goals along the way. "Nobody will fancy playing us, so there's no reason why we can't win it if we play to the best of our ability." Interview over, that drink still hasn't arrived. But don't be surprised if there are more than a few glasses raised throughout the country in salute to Everton's brightest young thing next month.

Moyes won't sign contract without assurances
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
May 18 2004
I HAD an hour chatting to David Moyes last week when we caught the same plane back from Heathrow, and after that chat it is plain to me that he is Mr Frustrated at the moment. Even before the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City, he knows where the trouble lies at Everton and that the players he has are not good enough - he is a realist. However he is also a pragmatist so he understands the financial plight of the club and that he is not likely to be handed a massive transfer kitty to play with in the summer. He doesn't want that though - he just wants enough to be able to change things around for next season, and if he doesn't get it, then relegation becomes a massive threat.
It is already a looming presence around Goodison Park given the end to the season they have had and the points total they have recorded. As we've seen at the likes of Leeds and Sunderland recently, teams who finish a season poorly can often start the next one just as poorly and if Everton do that, the writing would be on the wall. David Moyes is not the type of man or type of manager to just sit by and let that happen, but by the same token, he cannot just shake the money tree or conjour up some cash from nowhere - he needs help to save Everton. Until he knows just what that help will be - or how much it will be - I would not expect him to sign the contract extension Everton have offered him.

Blues go for Thai
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 18 2004
Blues go for Thai
THIS is what we've been waiting for. Liverpool are stalling on the foreign sugar daddy and we need to get in there or you can bet there'll be plenty of others that will. He obviously wants nothing to do with the running of the club so what's the problem. Not being involved is not going to alter the human rights issue (if there still is one now - he says there isn't obviously) as he'll just put the money elsewhere anyway.
B Duncan, Everton
Used right
IN response to the letter from S Boon (14/5/04). "Moyes seldom made use of his own signings".
I'm sorry, but I've never heard so much rubbish in all my life. Okay, so James McFadden and Francis Jeffers haven't played every match, but what about Joseph Yobo? Nigel Martyn? Kevin Kilbane?
Probably our three best and most consistant performers this season, and I have a nagging feeling that they were signed by Moyes.
J Mellor, Birkenhead
McCartney cash
THE City result was a shocker. Why didn't Moyes give Peter Clarke a go at the centre of defence?
Time for big clean out Bill. Get the chequebook out or get someone like Paul McCartney to invest in the club. We might have history but we will be history if something doesn't happen soon.
Geoff Wells (via e-mail)

£1.5m to improve squad
May 18 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has been given just £1.5m to improve an Everton side which achieved its lowest points total in 115 years this season. Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Manchester City consigned the club to 17th place in the final Premiership table and a points total of just 39 - the lowest since 1889.
It led the manager, to insist drastic changes need to be made, but he has been given a slender £1.5m budget with which to do that. That figure includes money for wages, which means Moyes can only really consider free transfer signings. The club budgeted to finish 11th in the Premiership this season. The final position of fourth from bottom has created a £3m shortfall, leaving the manager with little room for manoeuvre. Owner Bill Kenwright and his fellow board members are working to try and generate further funds for the manager. And Moyes could raise money by off-loading players who are surplus to requirements. But the majority of his squad now only have 12 months remaining on their current contracts. West Bromwich Albion have made an undisclosed offer for 30-year-old midfielder Steve Watson but it has fallen well short of the club's £500,000 valuation.
Fulham are also chasing striker Tomasz Radzinski and are preparing to table a new £1.5m offer for the Canadian international after having a £900,000 bid turned down last week. The forward has been offered a new two year deal but is believed to be holding out for a three year contract.
He is valued by the club at £2.5m and Moyes is reluctant to let him go. The other players in the final year of their deals are Alan Stubbs, David Weir, Gary Naysmith, Kevin Campbell, Duncan Ferguson, Alessandro Pistone, Nigel Martyn, Alex Nyarko and Nick Chadwick. Many of those players are over 30 and would not attract significant transfer fees. Naysmith is expected to be offered a new contract. Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo has pulled out of the Nigeria squad for the Unity Cup, which will be played at Charlton's Valley ground between May 27 and June 2. The 23-year-old defender is struggling with tendonitis in his knee, although he is set to be fit for the World Cup qualifier against Rwanda on June 5.
* EVERTON'S new city centre megastore on Ranelagh Street will open its doors on Thursday, two days ahead of schedule. Blues legend Graeme Sharp will be the guest of honour to cut the ribbon for the grand opening at 9am. The store is the former Dixons outlet outside Liverpool's Central Station. The club have secured a 12 month lease but are expected to relocate to a purpose-built store in Williamson Square next summer.

Blues fans call crisis meeting
May 18 2004 Liverpool Echo
ANXIOUS Everton fans have called a crisis meeting tomorrow night to discuss ways of lifting the club from its current predicament. The Everton Independent Blues will meet at the Blue House, on the corner of Goodison Road, from 8pm. The theme of the night is simply: "What can you do for Everton today?" with all Evertonians welcome. Ian MacDonald, vice-chairman of the Independent Blues, said: "This is not a rabble-rousing night. "We simply want supporters to raise ideas in a positive fashion. "We need to come together to discuss what options we have to save Everton. "We are all in this together. This cannot continue!" The club's dreadful campaign, mounting debts and deafening silence from the board-room have led to more and more supporters demanding action.
A group of fans have launched a new website called "Evertonians For Change" and will host its first public platform meeting on Tuesday, June 1 at the Casa on Hope Street, starting 7.30pm. The first platform of Evertonians for Change will be agreed. The group is asking Evertonians to use their messageboard to let them know how they would like to see Evertonians for Change move forward.
All concerned Evertonians are welcome.

Blues change for the worse
May 18 2004 2003-04 Season Review By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WHAT a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago fans were queuing around Goodison Park to get their hands on season tickets. On Saturday, the Evertonians couldn't get out of the City of Manchester Stadium quickly enough after the heaviest defeat of the season consigned the Blues to 17th place. The optimism of last summer evaporated long ago. It has been replaced by doubt, pessimismand apathy. And there is little chance of the mood changing over the summer, with David Moyes unlikely to be given the funds he needs to radically overhaul his ageing squad. The signs were there early on, with the collapse of the Sean Davis transfer and a stuttering start to the season.
The same players may have spent most of last season in the top five, battling for a Champions League berth. But that counted for little once the new season got underway. A number of telling moments have provided insights into the problems facing Moyes this season. The first came in the Goodison derby in August. The tide turned against the Blues at the end of last season with a 2-1 home defeat. They had an early opportunity to make amends. But Everton slipped to a 3-0 defeat. Two days later the new faces arrived. With the exception of Francis Jeffers, who has had few opportunities, they have had a positive impact. And, unlike last season, Duncan Ferguson has been fit and available for much of the campaign. But it is the players who delivered the goods last year that have failed this term. Tomasz Radzinski has not matched his player of the season form, especially away. The loss of Joseph Yobo for a large chunk of the season because of injury and African Nations Cup duty deprived the manager of a hugely influential figure at the back.
Wayne Rooney suffered the second season blues, only rediscovering his true form in the last three months. In midfield, Steve Watson was lost after just 12 games with a hernia injury. He has lacked sharpness since returning, but the manager has had no other options. There has been no obvious candidate to partner Thomas Gravesen. Tobias Linderoth has been the most effective, but Moyes seems to doubt the Swede's overall ability. The key has been the lack of confidence. Last season victory over Arsenal in October buoyed the side. This season there has been no result to compare.
It could have come against Chelsea in November, when the millionaires were played off the park.
But the failure to turn chances into goals proved crucial and the Londoners snatched all three points.
That hit the side hard - as the abysmal displays which followed against Blackburn and Bolton illustrated. The early season lack of form became something more telling, more permanent, as a drop into the bottom three confirmed. The manager's response was to work his players harder. Theirs was to lose confidence. Stories of disharmony began to leak out of the dressing room.
It was only after Christmas that the manager finally hit upon a settled starting XI. Premiership safety was secured thanks to a run of one defeat in nine games between February and April. But even then, ten points were dropped in the last 16 games because of late goals. Moyes must cut loose the deadwood if the woes of this season are not to be repeated. The lessons must be learned, or next season could be even worse. Player of the season: THAT this honour goes to a goalkeeper tells its own story. Nigel Martyn has been exemplary. Reliable, consistent and, at 37, as acrobatic as ever. He should be Sven Goran Eriksson's number one keeper. Best Performance: NOT surprisingly, there are not too many candidates. The 4-0 hammering of Leeds in September was thrilling entertainment but the quality of the opposition should be taken into consideration. The 3-1 trouncing of Tottenham in April against a more talented outfit was a throwback to the best moments of last season. That just edges it. Biggest disappointment: THE 3-0 defeat to Liverpool highlighted the side's failings, but at least there was effort. The same can't be said for the trip to City last weekend.
What now? AN overhaul of an ageing squad is desperately needed. But without the funds needed, Moyes is in a sticky situation. He remains popular with the fans. But they will not tolerate another season like this one. A leaf out of Sam Allardyce's book may be the answer. Season-long loans and some astute free-signings could provide a short-term answer to a problem which requires a long-term solution.

Rooney ready for Portugal
May 18 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney has told England boss Sven Goran Eriksson he can cope with the pressure of playing in Euro 2004. The 18-year-old Everton striker, was named in Eriksson's 23-man squad for this summer's finals in Portugal yesterday. The manager has already admitted the striker will be in his first-choice starting line- up alongside Liverpool's Michael Owen. But Rooney is not overawed, insisting: "I don't find it difficult to deal with the expectation. "When you're away with the team you don't see anyone else apart from the manager, coaches and other players. So you just shut the rest out. "To be honest, I am not too bothered by all the other stuff. I just go out and do my job - and it is good having people around you who you have grown up with." Eriksson agrees that Rooney is "mentally ready" to take Euro 2004 by storm. He said: "We all know what Wayne Rooney is capable off. He is an exciting talent and I am sure he is mentally ready for the summer. "Physically he is ready, of course, but I am sure that men-tally he is also ready for the big tournament ahead. He will be important for us." Rooney added: "It will be such a big disappointment if we do not come back with the winners' medals because I think we are a big team. "All the fans expect us to go far and so do the players. Let's hope neither set will be disappointed this time. "Everyone knows everyone at home is behind them and when we are out on the pitch warming up, there are always a lot of shouts like 'Lets do it for the fans'. "I remember watching past tournaments at home and thinking how big the games were and how nervous you'd feel going out to play in them. "I never imagined I would be going out there playing in a tournament like that myself. "I didn't think I would be playing for England at such an early stage of my career. "I was surprised when I was first named but since then I have done well and stayed there on merit."

We can win it says Rooney
May 18, 2004
Manchester Evening News
Striker Wayne Rooney believes England have what it takes to win Euro 2004. The 18-year-old Everton forward was yesterday named in Sven-Goran Eriksson's 23-man England squad for next month's tournament in Portugal. He told The Sun: "It will be a big disappointment if we don't come back with winner' medals, because I think we are a big team.
"All the fans expect us to go far and so do the players. Hopefully, neither will be disappointed this time. "I think it would be a big blow if we didn't come home with a medal. "Obviously, we would just have to get on with it. But I believe we have the strength to win the tournament. "A few new faces have come in and the squad has got better over the years to the extent that everyone is fighting for their place now."

Academy plans on track for 2006
Daily Post
May 19 2004
EVERTON Football Club's plans for a new £10m training academy in Halewood are on track for a 2006 opening. The club has been granted planning permission to build the complex near the Great Lakes UK factory, Lower Road, it emerged last night. But the plan hinges on the club selling its current Bellefield training ground as a housing development. Chairman Philip Carter has now applied for planning permission for Bellefield to be re-designated as suitable for development as a housing estate. It is currently classed as suitable only for sports facilities. It is hoped the sale will fund most of the £10m cost of the training academy. The Halewood academy will be home to the Everton senior squad, as well as facilities to nurture new talent. Plans include 10 full-size football pitches, two mini pitches, administration offices, classrooms, kitchen, and parking for up to 171 cars and coaches. The site, which according to the club's website should rank among one of the best in European football, will boast an "ultra-modern" pavilion with indoor gym. In a statement to the club's website, Sir Phillip said: "Things are moving in the right direction. "It's like most things in life when planning is required, it does take time. "But as far as the new site is concerned, we've actually acquired that and we've acquired planning permission for it." A spokesman for the club said Everton is "confident" it will sell the Bellefield site, where the club has trained for almost half a century, and raise enough funds for the academy. Sir Phillip added: "Hopefully planning permission will be at the latest August. But when that comes we can go out to tender, get all the appropriate people in and we'll have the whole thing done by 2006. "It is a tremendously exciting development and one that we're all keen to see completed."

Board under fire as supporters call for change
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 19 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT and the Everton board are coming under increasing pressure from disgusted supporters to correct the lack of invest-ment in David Moyes's squad. A new supporters group - Evertonians for Change - was formed last week to promote debate on the state of the Goodison club and high-light the growing concerns of the club's despairing fans. Saturday's 5-1 capitulation at Manchester City meant Everton finished one place above the relegation zone and with their worst points total for 115 years. Deputy chairman Kenwright, who is expected to address supporters' concerns on the club's website this morning, is facing increasing calls to address the club's decline.
Evertonians for Change, who have received over 3,000 hits on their website since its launch a week ago, will hold its first public meeting in the Casa on Hope Street, Liverpool, on June 1 (7.30pm) while tonight the Everton Independent Blues are hosting a meeting at the Blue House on Goodison Road (8pm) entitled: "What can you do for Everton today?" In a statement, the EfC group declared: "Evertonians for Change calls upon the Board of Directors of Everton Football Club to take immediate and effective action to halt the decline in the club's fortunes. "The immediate priority should be to secure additional investment into the club so that sufficient funds are made available to the manager for much-needed squad strengthening. "This season's final league position of 17th and points total of 39 is completely unacceptable. This season the club has recorded it's highest-ever Premiership home game average attendance. "Evertonians for Change calls on ALL members of the board to match the support and investment given and made by the club's supporters. Those board members unwilling to do this, for whatever reason, should consider their positions." A spokesman for EfC, Carl Roper, added: "There can be no more wasted summers at Everton FC. If the disaster of relegation to the Nationwide League next season is to be avoided, the board needs to respond to the demands and concerns of the club's supporters by acting decisively and immediately."
* Evertonians wanting to join the debate can contact: www.evertoniansforchange.com/

Moyes will wait for investment before signing
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 19 2004
DAVID MOYES will not sign Bill Kenwright's offer of a new four-year contract until his struggling squad has been reinforced. Everton's deputy chairman has approached Moyes, with an extension to his existing deal - which still has two years to run - despite a dreadful Premiership campaign.
But the Goodison manager believes his contractual situation is not a top priority after a season that produced Everton's worst points tally for 115 years. And he wants the club's limited resources spent on urgent additions to his ageing and weakening squad instead. Moyes revealed: "I'm not really doing anything on the contract at the moment. "I've still got two years left on my contract and I am fine with that. I just want to get on with the more important work we have to do first." The Everton manager is anxious to compete with Premier-ship rivals in the transfer market as quickly as possible.
And though Kenwright last night described reports of a miniscule £1.5m transfer budget as "utter nonsense", a current lack of investment is likely to curtail those hopes. Moyes added: "I want us all to move on together. I want us to try and show we are looking to progress. I am sure we will do that.
"We are going to try and make some moves. Clubs will be moving fast in the transfer market this summer and we have contacted one or two people already about coming in. Hopefully we can make things happen as soon as possible. "We just need to try and come up with the money to do that."
Moyes has been linked with a loan deal for Joe Cole and a bid for Celtic defender Bobo Balde as he attempts to rebuild this summer. But he insisted: "We are going to be linked with every Tom, Dick and Harry which is strange for a club with very little money. "But I won't lie to supporters, I will let them know exactly what is going on and if they don't hear it from me then I hope they understand it is probably not the truth." The Everton manager confirmed the release of 12 out-of-contract players on Monday and has few saleable assets to increase his transfer fund. Fulham are considering a £1.5m bid for Tomasz Radzinski but Moyes is reluctant to lose the Canadian international or Thomas Gravesen, who is also awaiting signs of squad rebuilding before signing a new deal at Goodison.
Steve Watson could be off-loaded as he approaches the final year of his contract. The midfielder is wanted by West Bromwich Albion but an opening offer by the Premiership newcomers fell way short of Everton's £500,000 valuation.

Rooney kick-off for giveaway
Daily Post
May 19 2004
WAYNE ROONEY was chosen by Coca-Cola as the face behind the launch of their biggest ever giveaway. One million footballs are being handed out in the build-up to Euro 2004 with special promotion cans, bottles and multi-packs. The red ball, branded by official Euro 2004 partners Coca-Cola, is sutiable for all weathers and people will be able to tell instantly by looking under the ringpull or bottle cap if they are a winner. The Everton forward kicked off the campaign in Liverpool while Arsenal's Thierry launched the initiative in London.

'I just got in there and threw plenty of leather!'
Exclusive By David Randles, Icliverpool
May 19 2004
EVER since a precocious 17-year-old stepped up to score the winning goal against Arsenal just over 18 months ago, football fans everywhere have remembered the name Wayne Rooney.
That is what sports commentator Clive Tyldesley urged a nation to do as the Everton turned England star curled a last minute 30-yard wonder goal beyond David Seaman on a sun-soaked Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park. But as the ensuing hysteria saw pundits, fans and, of course, Europe's elite clubs alike, clam-ouring for a piece of the new kid on the block, Blues boss David Moyes has rightly wrapped his prized asset in cotton wool under a blinding media glare, insisting instead that Rooney should let his feet do the talking. Until now that is. Courtesy of boot sponsors Nike, Rooney has now given his most candid interview to date, providing the most discerning insight into what makes him tick both on and off the pitch. And given his grounded upbringing, it is no surprise that, give or take the odd tenner, the kid from Croxteth is no different from you or I. As a late substitute in that epic 2-1 encounter in October 2002, it took Rooney just 10 minutes to formally introduce himself to the Premiership. Since then, the teenager's face emblazoned across every red top, broadsheet and magazine you can think of has ensured his image, broad shoulders and all, is firmly implanted in the mindsets of a nation whose hopes will no doubt be resting on him as England begin their assault on Portugal for Euro 2004 in under a month's time. Of course, Rooney's emergence as a talent to behold was the worst kept secret on Merseyside after the youngster almost singlehandedly guided his beloved Blues youth team to the FA Youth Cup final in the 2001/02 campaign. In keeping with his modest persona, the chances are he would never admit to this, and despite what has been a disappointing season for his club, Rooney holds dear the ethics of teamwork and solidarity. When you are travelling together all the time, team spirit is important and luckily we've got a good balance of characters in the squad," he revealed. "There are one or two jokers around Everton, and there's a good group of Scousers among the staff and players.
"We all get along with the foreign lads as well. Like any workplace, some people hang around together while some others don't join in as much, but everyone is made to feel welcome. "On the pitch everyone rallies round and works for each other." After becoming the Premier-ship's youngest ever goalscorer before Leeds' James Milner scooped that honour a few weeks later, the accolade of being his country's youngest-ever player was wholly inevitable. Not satisfied with that record as he gained his first senior England cap as a substitute against Australia in February 2003, the diehard Evertonian endeared himself to the Gwladys Street further by taking Kop idol Michael Owen's mantle as the country's youngest scorer, hitting the equaliser in the 2-1 Euro 2004 qualifying victory over Macedonia last September. "One of my prized possessions is a framed photo of me celebrating my first goal for England," said Rooney. "All the players have signed it. Michael Owen wrote: 'That's another one of my records you've broken' while Stevie Gerrard went with 'Well done ugly a--e!"
As Rooney looks to the likes of Gerrard and Owen for guidance while away on international duty, the superstar has another friend when closer to home. Having recently moved to the luxurious Victoria Road in Formby - dubbed locally as Millionaires' Row - with fiancée Coleen McLoughlin, Rooney may have all the trappings akin to his growing status as one of Europe's most renowned footballers, but it is another true Blue and fellow Scouser who is ensuring his talented feet stay firmly on the ground.
"Our neighbours in Formby include snooker player John Parrott, and Duncan Ferguson and Alan Stubbs also live nearby," he said. "I'm quite close to Stubbsy. There's a bit of an age difference, but he's a Scouser too and when I first got into the first team, I couldn't drive so he gave me lifts to training and helped me to settle in." Rooney's close friendships with the likes of Stubbs and Gerrard may be something to do with their strong working class links. While Stubbs hails from Kirkby and Gerrard from the tough Bluebell estate in Huyton, the Everton striker spent much of his child-hood nurturing his skills on a council estate not far from the De La Salle school where he began to make a name for himself. While all three command the utmost respect on the pitch through a shared no nonsense style, Rooney's tough edge can also be attributed to his second love in life, the noble art of boxing. His Uncle Richie is synonymous with the amateur game in Liverpool, having run Croxteth ABC for many years, the club from which Rooney's younger brother Graham became a North West Counties school champion last year. He added: "Boxing is the second sport in our family. My dad used to box as a kid and I used to go down to train at our local gym, the Red Triangle in Croxteth.
"I wasn't much of a stylist in the ring - I just got in there and threw plenty of leather!
"I was okay, though, and I did knock a few people over in sparring." With Rooney being tipped to be one of the main stars in Portugal next month, it is likely that no punches will be pulled as he aims to help England lift their first major trophy since 1966. But of course, he won't remember that.
* A Week in the Life of Wayne Rooney is available in full in the exclusive magazine 'Goodbye Hoof, Hello Nutmeg' compiled by sports giants Nike.
To order your free copy log onto the website www.nikefootball.com/uk

Youngsters following in Wayne's footsteps
Football In The Community, Daily Post
May 19 2004
EVERTON'S young fans got to fulfill their dream and play on the Goodison Park pitch on Sunday.
The wannabe-Wayne Rooneys took part in the club's community day, a one-off soccer camp on the hallowed turf. Around 80 six to 13-year-olds took the chance to receive some coaching from the club's community coaches, as well as take part in penalty competitions and small-sided games between 10am and 3pm. The lucky youngsters also took home an Everton goodie bag to remember their day. Following on from the training camp, Malvern Primary (Huyton) played Our Lady of Walsingham (Netherton) in the final of Everton's Inter-School Community Cup. The tournament was for year five (under 10s) and open to all primary schools across the region. The score was 1-1 after full time and ended 1-1 after a golden goal period with the trophy now shared by both teams for six months each. That final was followed by the culmination of Everton's community youth football development centre. Around 80 boys, who were spotted by the club's coaches throughout the year, have been training together with a view to a possible academy trial. Their final training session was on the pitch in front of friends and family as a thank-you to the players for their efforts. For more information on Everton's football in the community programme, look on the club website, www.evertonfc.com/

I am here to stay - Moyes
May 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has reassured Everton fans he has no intention of walking away from the task facing him at Goodison Park. There has been growing concern among Evertonians that the manager would walk away after finishing 17th in the Premiership and with little money available to strengthen the squad. His admission in a radio interview after Saturday's 5-1 defeat at Manchester City that "I may not be here next season," had raised those concerns. However, Moyes, insists the comment was not intended as a threat he could walk away but an admission that his position could be under threat after such a disappointing league campaign. He told the ECHO: "Just because things get hard I am certainly not going to turn my back and not try to correct the situation we find ourselves in. "Everybody understands we are in a position we shouldn't be in, nobody more so than me. I intend to do something about it, but I can only do that with help. "I am willing to go through the difficult period ahead and we are working hard to make things better, but I can only do it if I get help from the board." The ECHO understands the manager currently has a £1.5m budget to work with over the summer. It includes cash for wages, effectively restricting him to free transfer signings. He could bolster his coffers with the sale of players, and owner Bill Kenwright is continuing to work around the clock to increase the budget. Moyes' focus on adding to his Goodison ranks has led to him stalling on signing the new four-year deal on offer. He adds: "I'm not really doing anything on the contract at the moment. "I've still got two years left on my contract and I am fine with that. I just want to get on with the more important work we have to do first." Two meetings are being held by concerned Evertonians to discuss the club's current predicament. New supporters group Evertonians For Change has received more than 3,000 hits on their website since its launch a week ago and will hold its first public meeting in the Casa on Hope Street on June 1 at 7.30pm. There is also a meeting of the Everton Independent Blues at the Blue House on Goodison Road tonight from 8pm.

Blues admit interest in Chelsea star Cole
May 19 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted he is interested in bringing Chelsea's Joe Cole to Goodison on loan next season. The Everton chief is working hard to improve his squad despite a tight budget. And constant speculation regarding Cole's future at Stamford Bridge has alerted Moyes. "He is one of several players I am interested in bringing in on loan as this may be the market we have to work in," Moyes admitted to fans during a webchat on the Everton website this morning. Cole has made 35 appearances for Chelsea this season, but in 33 of those games he has been a sub or been replaced.
The midfielder f its Moyes' criteria in that he is a young, bold attacking midfield player of international quality. But Moyes has admitted he is keen to finalise his summer rebuilding plans as quickly as possible. He explains: "Hopefully we can make things happen as soon as possible. "We just need to try and come up with the money to do that. I want us all to move on together, to try to show we are looking to progress. I am sure we will do that. "We are going to try to make some moves. Clubs will be moving fast in the transfer market this summer and we have contacted one or two people already about coming in." Moyes, who has also been linked with Celtic defender Bobo Balde, also revealed that the club is close to securing deals to bring promising youngsters Danny Szetela and Bjarni Thor Vidarsson to Merseyside. American Szetela and Icelandic Vidarsson would be added to the club's academy set-up to bolster the youth ranks. Szetela is 17 and Vidarrson 16. They are deals which will compare with the transfer of Italian Patrizio Pascucci last summer.

Legends line up for Bluekipper night
May 19 2004 By David Randles, icLiverpool
LEGENDS: (L-R) Martin Dobson, Joe Parkinson, Duncan Ferguson, comedian Sean Styles and Kevin Sheedy A star-studded line-up turned out for the Bluekipper.com annual presentation night.
In a major coup for the popular Everton fans website, the guest list at Croxteth's Stonebridge Inn read like a who's who of Blues players from past and present. Among the host of stars in attendance was defender Joseph Yobo who picked up the fansite's Player-of-the-Year award, but a rare public appearance from Goodison hero Duncan Ferguson was the highlight for the 300 plus Evertonian's at the sell-out event. Organiser, Steve Jones said: "Even though both Kevin Kilbane and Nigel Martyn have excelled this season, I agreed with the decision to give it to Joey. "For the past two seasons, he has been our most consistent player. It cannot have been be easy for him to settle here but he has adjusted admirably well and has become a great favourite of the fans. "We are delighted to make Duncan the first ever recipient of the True Evertonian Award and to have him here is great for us."
Wayne Rooney picked up the Young Player-of-the-Year award for the second year running, which was collected by his mother Jeanette who was joined by husband Wayne Snr and sons Graham and John. Following the theme of great midfielders, were representatives spanning three decades. While Martin Dobson recalled the 1970s, Kevin Sheedy heralded the 80s and Joe Parkinson was on hand from the 90s. The Toffees most successful captain, Kevin Ratcliffe completed a quality line-up who took part in a question and answer session and signed memorabilia that was auctioned for local charities before comedian Sean Styles entertained the crowd. "This is our fourth year now and our biggest turnout so far," added Steve. "We're just five Evertonian's running a website and although Bluekipper.com started as a bit of fun, we're getting around 95,000 hits a day. "There are plenty of good websites out there such as icLiverpool, Toffeeweb and the likes, but we see ourselves as the unofficial voice of the fans online. We try to be as hands on as possible and get photographs of fans on the site which our users love to see and we're going from strength to strength each year." Bluekipper's next big event will see Joe Parkinson team up with former club captain Dave Watson once more for the 1995 FA Cup Final Winning Experience. Fans are invited to join the former players at the Lighthouse Sports Bar in Formby on Thursday June 10 as they watch the match again, commenting on various parts of the game. Tickets are £10. To book your place and for more from Bluekipper.com's 4th annual presentation night

Sell Rooney to bridge gap
May 19 2004 By Tommy Smith, Liverpool Echo
MONEY occupies the thoughts of both our big clubs as they contemplate a summer of major decisions. Sadly, there is a huge gulf in the financial aspirations at Goodison and Anfield, with the Blues board offering their manager a measly £1.5m to spend, while the Reds weigh up multi-million pound options that should provide extra revenue to strengthen the squad. The Reds will have more cash whichever offer they accept - the Thai one or Steve Morgan's (why not both?) - while the Blues, simply, are skint. Rumours have circulated that David Moyes may consider his future if sufficient funds aren't forthcoming. This season has been disastrous, but the purse strings have been tied tight - a bit like Moyes' hands! To put £1.5m in front of him for next season is an insult and some players have already warned they may go if there is a lack of investment. While I hesitate to suggest it, the sale of Wayne Rooney, may be the only answer. I can almost hear the outrage now . . . but the club is in financial trouble. If the squad isn't improved and quickly the threat of relegation is definitely on the cards next season. And the England teenager is one of the club's few saleable assets whose transfer could bring in mega-millions. What's the point of keeping Rooney - and I know the Blues do need him and want to keep him - and not being able to invest in their squad? Drastic steps are needed. We've seen what has happened this season. Is it likely to get any better if Moyes cannot strengthen sufficiently to at least reach mid-table? The only way to raise a huge sum is to sell your best player. Whether the Blues can survive without him is another matter. They almost didn't this season with him! Rooney is playing on one of the big stages this summer at Euro 2004. He is developing into a fine England star, who could command a £30m-plus fee. You cannot tell me the Everton board does not have Rooney on its agenda.

Bill on the spot
May 19 2004 Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT will answer the questions all Evertonians are asking - in the ECHO tomorrow.
According to eye witnesses, Kenwright, was visibly taken aback, as indeed were several Manchester City supporters, when he was presented with a copy of the leaflet drop which went round the Eastlands Stadium before Saturday's game against Manchester City. He told the Echo: "In the four years since we took over from Peter Johnson, I have never dodged a single question nor shirked an issue - whether it be at an AGM, fans forum, outside a football ground, on a train platform or even on the streets of Liverpool, London or New York. "I totally accept Evertonian concerns about the way the season has gone and obviously share their pain. "There's little I can say that I have not said several times before, but I will address all of the questions on the leaflet openly and honestly in the hope that I can try to reassure worried fellow Blues."

Moyes in attack on players' effort
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 20 2004
ShareDAVID MOYES last night identified a lack of effort as the fundamental cause of Everton's alarming slide towards relegation this season. The Everton manager, believes the work-rate of his players paled in comparison to that of his first full season in charge when the club just missed out on a place in Europe. And Moyes admitted reports of unrest within the Everton squad stemmed from his desperate attempts to fire his underachieving players into action. The Goodison manager was quizzed by supporters on the club's website yesterday and when asked what the main difference between this season and last replied: "I think the overall work-rate of the players last year was much greater." Everton's coaching staff have had several run-ins with players this season and Moyes is reported to have sent the entire squad home from training before the Bolton game due to a perceived lack of interest. "When things are going well nothing is heard or said and when things are going badly you hear different stories," added Moyes, who confirmed his interest in Chelsea's Joe Cole. "I will say though that I won't accept losing and if that means falling out and upsetting players, so be it." The Everton manager confirmed he wants Cole on loan at Goodison Park next season despite the financial constraints at the club. The England midfielder could be on the fringes of the Chelsea squad again next season if, as expected, club owner Roman Abram-ovich embarks on a fresh round of squad strengthening. Moyes said: "He is one of several players I'm interested in bringing in on loan as this may be the market we have to work in. "We certainly need midfield players but I also feel that we need strengthening defensively and possibly another forward if the right one becomes available." One player who is close to joining Everton is highly-rated American midfielder Danny Szetela, who has been offered a place at the club's Academy. Szetela is expected to join 16-year-old Bjarni Thor Vidarsson at Goodison after the Icelander signed terms yesterday. Academy graduates Anthony Gerrard and Daniel Fox both signed professional contracts yesterday and will join Moyes's senior squad next term.

Everton target Balde ready to commit to Celtic
By Chris Roberts, Daily Post
May 20 2004
EVERTON target Bobo Balde insists he is happy to sign a new four-year contract with Celtic - whether manager Martin O'Neill remains at Parkhead for the full duration or not. The giant defender, one of the players believed to be on David Moyes's wanted list, has more than a year left on his current contract but has been locked in negotiations with the club over extending his deal. He refused to say too much ahead of the Tennent's Scottish Cup final with Dunferm-line but admitted he would be ready to commit his long-term future to the champions following Saturday's clash. Balde said: "I am now just waiting and I don't want to talk too much about my future. Of course I want to stay because I know the club want me and I am happy with this club. "I play every week in front of 60,000 people and the people are very nice with me so I'm happy." Balde, who cost £900,000 from Toulouse in 2001, admits O'Neill has made him an accomplished defender, but said that even if the manager, who is constantly linked with a move back to England, leaves he would be happy to stay at Parkhead under a new boss. "I am a better player now," he explained. "For me it is good when you go somewhere where the manager wants you. "For me that's the most important thing. When you sign for a club you want to know that the manager wants you. When he saw me he said that he wanted me to come to Scotland with him and things have gone very well since. "It's important for me that the manager is here with me. If he goes away and another manager comes in then you don't really know about your future at the club and what he thinks. I would rather he stayed because he brought me here and I would be happy for him to stay as long as I play for Celtic. "If I go and sign a four-year contract I would hope that the manager stays here. But I will still be happy to stay here for those four years if he does move on and I'll have to work hard to show my football to the next manager if that does happen." Balde wants to concentrate his efforts this week on winning the Scottish Cup in honour of departing team-mate Henrik Larsson.

Fever pitch: the tale of two great teams
David Charters reports on two new exhibitions to remind Liverpool and Everton fans of happier times, Daily Post
May 20 2004
IMAGINE a washing tub in which a blue shirt and a red shirt are whirling around at an ever- increasing speed, with their arms reaching out at crazy angles. Suddenly, the dye starts to run and the water turns purple, the traditional colour of emperors, kings and bishops. And for generations of Evertonians and Liverpudlians, football has provided an alternative religion, in which skinny boys grew muscles and skills and high ambitions by kicking balls or cans along the cobbled alleys.
And for 90 minutes on Saturday afternoons they were the princes from the streets and high-rise flats, worshipped by thousands of devotees at Goodison Park and Anfield. It is difficult to remember after this season of disappointments and acrimony at both clubs that Merseyside was once Britain's football capital because the success of the two big clubs was matched by the unrivalled passion and wit of their fans. Sadly, these days you are more likely to hear complaints about the directors and the fancy players with the swimming pools in their gardens, who seem remote from the experiences of the dads and the lads, the pies and pint men, squeezing out enough money to buy a ticket for the big match, the most important event of their week. Perhaps it is timely that National Museums Liverpool and Sport Media are staging two exhibitions in the city to celebrate the heritage of both clubs as part of the build-up to 2008 European Capital of Culture. Both run from May 28 to September 19. But, in that spirit of never mixing the two colours, they are being held at separate venues - the red Kop's Last Stand at the Museum of Liverpool Life on the Pier Head and blue Everton's 80s Heroes at the Conservation Centre in Whitechapel. It is worth reminding the rest of the country, including the Reds of Arsenal and Manchester United, that Liverpool has been by far the most successful British football club. Evertonians should block all sensory organs while this record is read out. Liverpool have won the First Division (now the Premiership) 18 times, the FA Cup six times, the League Cup seven times and the European Cup (now the Champions League) four times.
However, with nine League championships, five FA Cups and a European Cup Winners' Cup, Everton, too, have been very successful. In some ways, both teams have been the victims of their past glories, breeding spectators who demand victories. History has been Everton's reply to Liverpool's great run which began under Bill Shankly's leadership in the 1960s. It is the older club founded in 1878, 14 years before Liverpool. For much of the 20th century it was the richer and better supported team. Goodison's biggest attendance is 78,299 (against Liverpool in 1948) while Anfield's is 61,905 (against Wolves in 1952). In William Ralph (Dixie) Dean, who scored 60 League goals in season 1927/28, Everton had a player of such stature and power that his presence still haunts the halls of Goodison Park, where his name is still whispered with awe and reverence. But all neutrals would accept that the post-war years have belonged to Liverpool, except for one period in the mid-1980s when, to the surprise of almost everyone outside Goodison, Everton drew level with Liverpool and perhaps even nosed ahead. So it is appropriate that the Everton exhibition should concentrate on that period when Howard Kendall was manager and the team included Neville Southall, Andy Gray, Gary Lineker, Graeme Sharp, Peter Reid and Kevin Sheedy. The Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo have supplied about 60 images of the players and supporters to join memorabilia at the exhibition, which is based on the book Everton's Z Stars by Ken Rogers (published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media at £17.50). TV's Z Cars' tune, based on the folk song Johnny Todd, is played at Goodison when the teams run on to the pitch. In 1984 Everton defeated Watford in the FA Cup Final. The following season they won the League Championship, the European Cup Winner's Cup and were runners-up in the FA Cup. In 1986, they were runners-up in the League and the Cup.
In 1987, they were champions again. Thousands of Blues took over Rotterdam before their team's 3-1 victory over Rapid Vienna in the Cup Winners' Cup final. Billy Butler of Radio Merseyside led the singing and chanting in the city square, as the fans played football with police officers.
It all seems a long time ago. "This exhibition highlights the fabulous rapport between Everton's manager, players and supporters," says Kay Docherty, assistant curator at the Conservation Centre.
Seasoned campaigners would advise novices against smoking long cigarettes on the world's most famous football terrace, lest the red tip should contact the neck of the chap in front during one of those sways, which carried you off your feet. Such lapses in decorum could result in sharp exchanges of words among the the multitudes who swore and cheered and belched and sang on Liverpool's Spion Kop, where the tin top trembled to the dreams and prayers of those penned below.
SATURDAY was for football supporters and 25,000 of them could stand on the Kop.
The Liverpool exhibition is dedicated to this terrace which was converted to an all-seater 10 years ago. For many, supporting the Reds has never been quite the same since. But the decision to end standing areas in football grounds resulted from the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were killed. Fifty images will be on display with memorabilia, charting the Kop's history from its opening in 1906. A roof was placed over it in 1928, greatly increasing the volume of the singing, which would be heard at its best in the 1960s when the crowd would entertain with Beatles' medleys and, of course, Gerry and the Pacemakers' version of You'll Never Walk Alone, which is still heard there today. Wonderful players were encouraged to even greater efforts by the roar swelling from the Kop, which Shankly reckoned gave his men the equivalent of a one goal advantage.
Tears salted the ground when the old Kop closed after the last home game of 1994 against Norwich.
John Garner, a devout Koppite ran onto the pitch and kicked the ball into the net. The boot he was wearing is one of the exhibits. The display is based on I Am A Liverpudlian and I Come From the Spion Kop by Chris McLoughlin (Trinity Mirror Sport Media, £20). "This is a wonderfully evocative exhibition which perfectly captures the raw excitement and energy generated in the Kop," says Museum of Liverpool Life curator, Jen McCarthy.
Historic argument
HAD there not been a dispute between Everton and John Houlding, committee member and landlord at Anfield, there might not have been a Liverpool FC. But the row persuaded the majority of Evertonians to move to Goodison Park. Houlding tried to retain the Everton name, but when this
failed, he founded Liverpool Association FC on March 15, 1892. So began one of the keenest local rivalries in British football.

Cole: Give me a chance and I can deliver for England
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 20 2004
CHELSEA midfielder Joe Cole has ambitiously set his sights on making his mark on a major tournament - just like Michael Owen and Paul Gascoigne. While Gazza starred in Italia '90, Owen was the figure to emerge at the 1998 World Cup with his memorable goal against Argentina.
Cole - who is wanted by Everton manager David Moyes on a season-long loan - accepts he is still a fringe member of the England squad, but stressed he has grown in mental and physical strength this season due to his struggle to impose himself at Chelsea. He is therefore hoping to play a vital role in inspiring England to success at the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal this summer. Cole declared: "I want to go out there and give everything. Like I've shown when I've played for England before, if I get the opportunity then I've shown that I won't let them down. "It's a great way to make your name. Players like Michael Owen and Paul Gascoigne have made their names and become legends at major tournaments. "It's the place to do it and I really want to go out and make my name by helping the team win the tournament. "I think we can win it. There's probably about three or four teams with the capability to win it and we will need some luck, our fighting spirit and a bit of flair as well, but then we stand a really good chance." Cole took several months to attain a regular place at Chelsea, but was a regular feature in the final weeks of the season, ensuring that he held off team-mate Scott Parker's challenge for an England place. "I was confident of making the squad, because I bring something different to the party and thought I could play a part," he argued. "I'm fresh and the good thing about it is that I've been in the Chelsea team for the past six weeks and been playing regularly so I'm in perfect shape. "You constantly improve all of the time as a player. I've enjoyed my time at Chelsea, I've broken into the team now and I want to stay and establish myself both for Chelsea and England. "Maybe playing in the Champions League has helped, as playing against Monaco was great for me. I'm confident there will be more of that in my Chelsea career as well.
"You've got to be mentally tough as a player because there's so many people out there trying to knock you or hold you back," he added "The one thing I've really learned is the one person that really matters is yourself and how you do. "That's put me in good stead and I think I've grown in stature as a person and as a player because of my experience this season." Cole, 22, may have started just twice for England but he has made 13 appearances, scored twice and has often been used by Eriksson in a bid to turn a game. "I'd love to get my chance, I've never let England down before and I'll take my chance when it comes," he insisted. "I will play anywhere for England, I love playing for my country and I'm ready."

Blues swoop for £7m Smith
May 20 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON today tabled a substantial bid, believed to in the region of £7m, for Leeds striker Alan Smith. Blues boss David Moyes has been targeting high profile reinforcements for next season and said: "We have made an undisclosed but substantial bid for Alan Smith. "It would be an exciting partnership with Wayne Rooney and we would have two of England's best young strikers." Club owner Bill Kenwright confirmed Everton are in the chase for the 23-year-old striker, now available after the Elland Road club were relegated from the Premiership. The player's agent insists the striker's number one destination is Old Trafford, but Moyes is a big admirer of the England star and the club have contacted Leeds with an official offer. Kenwright confirmed: "David Moyes and I have been closely monitoring the Alan Smith situation for two weeks now and it is true to say that we have been in contact with those involved during the last 24 hours. We would like Alan Smith to be an Everton player next season." Leeds have claimed that Everton have tabled a £7m bid for Smith. Director Peter Lorimer said: "We've had lots of bids for Alan, the latest being around £7m from Everton. "But we want to get the best offer possible for the club, while Alan's agent has stressed he wants to go to Old Trafford."

Why crucial decisions need clear vision
May 20 2004
By John Thompson, Liverpool Echo
CLOSE season . . . what close season? Rarely, if ever, in the history of Merseyside's big two can the action on the field have been so swiftly and spectacularly followed off it. Liverpool and Everton are at different, but equally critical crossroads. And where they go from here will determine whether there is to be a resurgence in the fortunes of two of Britain's greatest clubs, or whether a period of decay and decline will set in. The route they choose is crucial not only to the clubs and their fans, but to the city too. Football is that synonymous with Merseyside that the thought of Liverpool having to re-evaluate their mighty expectations and the prospect of Everton being relegated next season, could actually change the emotional landscape of Liverpool. This game, these two enormously proud clubs, mean that much to the people. Liverpool's current dilemmas are painful and complex. The news that Gerard Houllier's future is now at serious risk only adds to the ongoing saga regarding Thailand investment proposals, Steve Morgan's counter-bid and the futures of key players like Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard. No decent supporter will enjoy seeing Houllier, a man who has done so much for Liverpool, who loves the club and almost lost his life at Anfield, going through this. Ultimately, all roads lead to chief executive Rick Parry, Liverpool's directors and chairman David Moores. And their verdict is awaited with increasingly bated breath by Kopites who understand the need for patience when there is so much at stake - but who are desperate for news which will renew the hope in their hearts for next season. Liverpool may have a range of problems - but there are obvious signs there may be answers just around the corner to many of them. It is at Everton, where the issues at Anfield have perhaps diverted attention, which are even more worrying. Today, Blues owner Bill Kenwright begins to answer as frankly as he can the questions upon which the fans are demanding clarity. But Kenwright, for all his love of Everton and all his incredibly hard work for the club, does not have the solutions in his gift. The fact that David Moyes has so little to spend next season, when Everton have some-how survived this one with 39 points, tells us the club is in a close-season crisis which, barring another miracle from Moyes, could see the unthinkable happen. When 3,000 terrified fans express interest in a new group called Evertonians for Change, it is as good a sign as you will get that Everton need some radical thinking. The club must embrace the mos t modern methods around and use whatever expert help it can to get out of here before it is too late. There must be a way back for the Blues - even if it means tough decisions and the sort of sea-change in attitude and approach which many fans are crying out to see. Otherwise all hope is lost and that is just unforgivable defeatism. Rarely, if ever, have the stakes been so high for both our clubs at the same time. Moores and Kenwright - the men ultimately in charge and huge fans at heart - need the help and support of true friends right now to help them find the right path and reach decisions which could have historic impact for Liverpool and Everton.

I'm a Blues fan and I want success as much as any other fan
May 20 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BILL KENWRIGHT has delivered a brutally frank assessment of the problems facing Everton following one of the most wretched seasons in the club's history. The Blues' deputy chairman, has responded to the "Open Letter to Everton Football Club," a leaflet dropped around Manchester City's Eastlands Stadium on Saturday. A group of disgruntled Evertonians posed 10 key questions they wanted answers to, from the Blues' board of directors.
And Kenwright's answers make compelling reading for all Evertonians.
1. Where are the funds for David Moyes?
This question probably assumes an earlier question - will there be funds available for David Moyes in the close season. The answer to that is there has to be! With regard to the actual question - as the club has carried a debt for a long time, it is obvious that any funds have to come through the bank facility. Player sales can also generate income but that is totally the manager's prerogative. This board will never dictate to the manager what players he should or should not sell.
2. How much will be available?
It is imperative that we have new faces in the close season, and as we talk, I have assured David that the minimum we are looking at would be the £5m that we had last summer. Make no mistake, we want that sum to be bigger, and we are currently working on ways not only to stabilise the club, but also to take in new investment. If we are successful, then fans can rest assured that David will receive a bigger pot. Since we took over we 've always supported the manager and the strengthening of the squad. It is my belief that this has to continue, but we are obviously very wary of over-stretching ourselves to a point that would leave us in the kind of trouble that other Premier League clubs have found themselves in recently. David is totally in agreement with me on this.
3. What role does Paul Gregg play at EFC?
Paul is a member of the Board and as such has a keen interest in ensuring the future prosperity of the club. He has always said that he is not a football fan - and I give him much credit for that - but he wants desperately for this club to succeed - and not just because he and his family have invested £7m. More specifically, throughout this season, Paul has been working constantly by my side to try to stimulate new investment.
4. Was Paul Gregg brought in by Bill Kenwright solely to acquire the King's Dock?
A resounding and unequivocal NO. For starters, Paul Gregg was not "brought in by Bill Kenwright". Paul asked me if he could get involved, because he saw the club as "a sleeping giant of football" that he wanted to help take back to its former glory. Secondly, the first time I heard the King's Dock mentioned was several months after we had acquired the major shareholding.
5. Has the board ever discussed the sale of Wayne Rooney, and if so, why?
6. Is there any real ambition, or possibility of investment by this board of directors? I personally find the first half of this question insulting. Why do you think we acquired the club in the first place? Do you not remember how long it took me to find the money and the circumstances under which we took over? Do you really think anyone lacking ambition would give up a huge proportion of their life like that? Surely supporters don't have memories that short? On the day we took over I personally said we were only custodians of this football club until someone with more money, more ideas, and more passion came along. That person (or those people) simply do not exist. Or if they do I haven't met them - and I've met a great number of people. All have proved to be big on talk, and small on action. The board of True Blue is currently in talks to help secure the club's overdraft, and in so doing free up money for the manager.
7. What has happened to the Youth Academy? It has been talked about for 4 years. A 63 acre site has been acquired in Halewood and planning permission obtained to build a state of the art Youth Academy. The project remains on track to be completed by the summer of 2006.
8. Wasn't the money from the sale of Ball, Jeffers and Dunne used to pay off debt?
No! In the two seasons that those three players were sold, we purchased Watson, Pistone, Gravesen, Nyarko, Alexandersson, Tal, Radzinski, Linderoth, Carsley and Ferguson. Where do you think that money came from? Obviously, in hindsight the three sales have represented excellent business for Everton, but the excellence of that business has only been reinvested in to the playing squad.
9. The debt when the Kenwright consortium bought the club was listed at £20m, it is now £38m, why? Simple - we've not made profits but have still managed to support the two managers in bringing in new players, and obviously at the same time increase the wage bill. I will try to keep things simple - for starters if a, say, £20m debt is where we begin, with no other activity, at the end of four years that debt would be closer to £30m after interest alone! So we decided to securitize our debt (ie. take on something rather like a mortgage), We borrowed £30m in a securitization fund, to be paid back yearly just like a mortgage. This is called a long term debt and we pay over 25 years.
On top of that we have a £5m over-draft facility at the bank. It is this overdraft facility that we constantly have to watch. Several of you reading this will have overdrafts, and you will all know that you have to be extremely diligent with your bank in order to keep your facility, and indeed to, maintain a good relationship. We have an excellent bank and an excellent relationship. But it is difficult for any business where the general clamour is to invest money that is not in the bank on new players. I am an Everton fan, and believe me I want success just as much as any fan on the planet - but we have to live within our means. And that is becoming more and more and more difficult as the gaps between the haves and have nots in football seemingly grow larger - and as the clubs at the top receive 10s of millions of pounds more than the rest. Now you could say let's chase them! But that's exactly what Leeds did and look what happened there. The last two seasons, for instance, we've spent £14.5m on Wright, Yobo, Li Tie, Rodrigo, Jeffers, Martyn, McFadden and Kilbane. We have received £1.5m on Pembridge, McCann (sell on clause) and McLoud, plus a small loan fee for Nyarko. A deficit of £13m. This year we will also be £7.5m down on our income from last year based on league placings and TV income. Consequently the debt can only build until success arrives, and/or we receive major investment. We constantly search for both.
10. Would the Board be willing to meet a delegation of Everton fans to discuss these matters?
The club already holds a network of regular meetings with official supporter groups and the Shareholders Association Committee. We've also held successful fans forums, and both Ian Ross and Graeme Sharp seem to constantly deal with fans' queries.

Leeds want money up front for Smith
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
May 21 2004
EVERTON must make a firm cash offer to Leeds United for their audacious £7million move for Alan Smith to become a reality. Bill Kenwright yesterday confirmed Everton have joined Liverpool and Manchester United in the race for the England striker, just days after it was reported David Moyes only had £1.5m to spend this summer. Kenwright and Moyes have been working on a deal for Smith for a fortnight and are prepared to pay around £7m for the 23-year-old. It is unclear where Everton will get that sum from without fresh investment, although extending the club's overdraft facility is a possibility. But Everton could only pay £7m in instalments - and that is not an option for relegated Leeds as they fight to secure their future at Elland Road. Leeds's new owners gained control of the club thanks to a £15m loan that must be repaid by mid-June otherwise the interest increases by 25%. And if they default on the repayments the club stands to lose the Elland Road stadium that was used to secure the loan. The troubled Yorkshire club are therefore desperate for straight cash payments for their prize assets - as proven by the cut-price £2m sale of Paul Robinson to Tottenham.
And they will hold out for the highest straight-cash offer they can get even if it falls short of Everton's £7m bid. Manchester United are currently favourites to land Smith, who has expressed a preference for a controversial switch from Leeds to Old Trafford, and they could better any initial sum Everton are able to pay. United had bids of £3.5m and £5.5m rejected by Leeds this week and have already held talks with Smith's representatives, as have Liverpool, although not Everton.
Middlesbrough and Newcastle are also pursuing the 23-year-old but Everton have stolen a march with the £7m approach that demonstrates Moyes' ambitions for the club this summer.
The Goodison manager, who has confirmed his interest in a loan move for Joe Cole, said: "I can confirm we are making a substantial offer for Alan Smith. "My hope is to partner Alan Smith and Wayne Rooney in my Everton team next season." Deputy chairman Kenwright said: "David and I have been discussing Alan Smith's situation at Leeds for two weeks. "I can confirm that in the last 24 hours we have had contact with those involved in the hope that Alan Smith might be an Everton player next season." Everton are expected to lodge a formal bid for the Leeds striker today.
Leeds value the player closer to £10m and director Peter Lorimer revealed: "We want to get the best offer possible for the club, while Alan's agent has stressed that he wants to go to Old Trafford.
"If Manchester United are happy they want him, then that's fine. But they have to make us happy too with a better offer."

First class season for last line of defence
Daily Post Everton player of the season award 2003/04 By David Prior
May 21 2004
WHEN David Moyes brought in four new players on a hectic transfer deadline-day last September, the name Nigel Martyn hardly had the fans buzzing with excitement. He was a safe bet and an undoubted bargain, but at 37 was surely past his best - and somewhat at odds with Moyes's stated youth policy. Martyn's fellow arrivals all seemed to bring with them a bit extra. There was James McFadden, the bright young thing; Kevin Kilbane, some much-needed width; and in Franny Jeffers, the supporters had their returning - if tainted - hero. Even Moyes, for all his attempts to plug his new goalkeeper, could offer him little more than an assurance he would be merely bolstering the competition for Richard Wright's first-team jersey. "To start with, Nigel is here to work alongside Richard Wright, Steve Simonsen and young Iain Turner. We needed more competition for Richard's place," said the Scot soon after Martyn joined. Nine months on, it is testament to the ease with which the Cornwall-born stopper assumed and then retained the gloves with such distinction all season that the Daily Post names him Everton player of the season, based on our man of the match tallies. Frequently this season, post-mortems on another substandard Everton performance have preceded the add-on 'Martyn was alright though'. He was alright nearly every game; and quite often, if not always a match-winner, certainly a match-saver. Never more was that true than on January 31, the day of the Anfield derby, a game that can make heroes just as easily as it can break them. In a breathless game that somehow remained goalless despite a blur of chances for both sides, Martyn brilliantly denied Didi Hamann, Steven Gerrard (twice), Harry Kewell, and even a Tony Hibbert own goal. Even with Liverpool encamped in the Blues' final third for much of the second half, it was going to take something special to beat the Everton goalkeeper. It never came - and at the end it wasn't just the visiting fans who were in awe. Martyn said: "There was a guy in the Kop behind me and he just said 'well played today, congratulations' and I thanked him.
"Jamie Carragher came up and said something along the lines of you lucky so-and-so. I just said the harder I work, the luckier I seem to get. "With the tradition and stuff, Anfield is a great place to come and play, for Everton players it's even more special, especially to keep a clean sheet.
I can remember being told to clap the Kop on my first visit here with Crystal Palace because they always give a good reception to goalkeepers, as they still do today." There were other memorable performances, too, including one at Elland Road that must have made the powers-at-be at ailing Leeds wonder why on earth they had so nonchalantly allowed their former employee to leave.
Soon after, Moyes offered something of a reappraisal of his D-day landing, elevating Martyn as one of his best buys ever. He said: "I would reiterate that Nigel has been a terrific signing.
"He has saved us on many occasions this year and when you look at how close we've been to relegation at the end of the season, it is hard to put into words the value of his contribution and what it has meant to have him here. "I would say he is one of my best signings as a manager because he came for nothing. He only had one year left on his Leeds contract but we took that over.
"It meant a big pay cut for him to leave Leeds and sign a two-year deal with us. It has been a great piece of business and although he is 37 he certainly doesn't look ready for the knackers yard yet!"
Added Moyes: "He is longer in the tooth than we would have liked but keepers do play until they are older and his experience has been invaluable." Happily, Martyn is also keen to prolong his Indian summer at Goodison, even beyond the end of next season when his current contract is due to expire. "I'd love to stay and carry on playing and help the team further up the table, but a new contract is something the manager would have to offer me," said Martyn. I'm not going to set myself targets saying how long I want to keep on playing. It is a case of how I feel and at the moment I feel really good. I know I could do next season at a breeze." Few Evertonians, not least David Moyes, would fail to be cheered up by that.
Martyn's man of the match performances
MIDDLESBROUGH (A) (Carling Cup) Dec 3 0-0. Andy Hunter said: "Provided the platform for a morale-boosting performance."
FULHAM (A) Jan 10 1-2. Ian Doyle said: "Saves at crucial periods allowed Everton to remain in the game."
LIVERPOOL (A) Jan 31 0-0. Ian Doyle said: "Made a string of excellent saves to keep the home side at bay."
ASTON VILLA (H) Feb 28 2-0. David Prior said: "An-other commanding performance from the veteran."
LEEDS UNITED (A) Apr 13 1-1. Andy Hunter said: "A supreme example of coming back to haunt someone."
BLACKBURN ROVERS (H) Apr 24 0-1. David Prior said: "His goalkeeping deserved better reward from his team-mates."
WOLVES (A) May 1 1-2. Ian Doyle said: "Produced a series of saves."
Everton Man of the Match Totals
NIGEL MARTYN 7, Wayne Rooney 5, Gary Naysmith 4, Thomas Gravesen 4, Kevin Kilbane 4, Duncan Ferguson 3, James McFadden 3, Joseph Yobo 3, Tomasz Radzinski 2, Alex Nyarko 2, David Unsworth 2, Richard Wright 1, Steve Watson 1, Tony Hibbert 1, David Weir 1, Kevin Campbell 1

Youth needed to go forward
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 21 2004
Youth needed
WE WILL still support Everton no matter what, and the board know it. We have no money so we must give our kids a chance from the start next season. Rooney must be getting fed up playing with guys twice his age. Give him Hibbert, Osman, McFadden and Yobo as regulars and blood some more on a gradual basis to displace our aging slowcoaches. Buy or get on loan whatever Chelsea players are available if they will come to Merseyside!
Trev Lynes, Liverpool
Change to what?
AS MUCH as I hope Evertonians for Change will make some difference I don't hold out much hope. So the board resigns - what then, where's our Russian sugar daddy? The club is massively in debt, with a crumbling stadium. We need a cash injection of more than £100 million to get us back on track and that isn't going to happen.
Dave Ryan, (via e-mail)
Helping hands
AN IDEA to raise funds. Let the club issue 40,000 125-year celebration certificates with embossed badge and owner's name at £100 each. This should raise £3.5million after set up and operational costs (£500,000) are deducted. This money only to be allocated for new players. Judging by the feelings of all of us long-suffering Blues have expressed, I am sure most would like to help our club to improve sooner than later.
J Jones, Liverpool
Cash query
IF AS stated in the Daily Post, that Wolves got £16.6million for finishing bottom, then Everton must have received about £17m. Where is this money going? We have filled the ground every home game. And all Moysey was offered was £1.5m. Either all Evertonians need to be counselled before renewing their season tickets, or an American tycoon with billions to spare saves our club.
Keith Hardman, Crosby
Wait and see
LET'S reserve judgement until we see exactly what does happen over the next few months before getting all suicidal in response to some very confusing and conflicting messages. Wheeler-dealering can still be effective (just like last August) and if some rumours prove right - eg Joe Cole coming on loan and Bodo Balde on a deferred payment - or some other similar deals which get us over our current lack of cash then all may not be lost. Despite the crass timing of the announcement the new training ground/ academy is actually good news - our only realistic long term future lies in youth development.
T Booth, Waterloo Smith shock
I AM as big an Evertonian as anyone, but I will be amazed if Alan Smith comes to Goodison Park, even to watch a game. From nothing to £7million in a few days - it's all a PR stunt to placate supporters in the summer.
Danny Jones, Liverpool

Breathtaking apathy shows lack of respect by players
By Mark O'Brien Everton Supporter, Daily Post
May 21 2004
HAVING money doesn't necessarily mean that you will have success. However, it does mean that you will have choices, and as this historical season ends, it becomes clearer by the day that a lack of money, and the resultant lack of choices, spell a turbulent summer for Everton. The capitulation at Manchester City - although no real surprise - was a disgrace nonetheless. The fans weren't happy, the manager quite clearly wasn't happy, but too many of the players really didn't care. They've been ever so nonchalant and lackadaisical for much of the season, especially away from home, but, ever since Leeds guaranteed our survival in the Premiership, their apathy has been almost breathtaking. A lack of talent we can forgive - we've had plenty of practice - but such a pronounced lack of effort? No. What are the choices though? How does David Moyes make the changes he so desperately desires? What is he meant to do with the sort of players who are willing to fight at Bellefield but not at Goodison or Eastlands or wherever? Players who were apparently put out because they were expected to train properly and actually put on professional performances once relegation was avoided. Do they think that the fans got in those last four matches for free? The manager obviously wants to replace the likes of Alessandro Pistone and Duncan Ferguson, so-called senior players who contribute almost nothing but keep on taking, but the money isn't there. We can all ask questions until we're blue in the face about 'where did it all go wrong?' but apportioning blame is the easy part. It's coming up with ways to go forward, raise money and give ourselves choices that is more difficult, and ultimately so frustrating. Sack the players! How? Sack the board! How? And anyway, then what? If there are mystery investors waiting in the wings, as the rumours keep suggesting, then why don't they make themselves known and put pressure on the existing board? Show us what you're made of. As the choices are narrowed they become more difficult. Faced with a repeat of this season, or worse, there seems the real prospect of the people with something to offer Everton - the likes of David Moyes, Wayne Rooney and even Thomas Gravesen - considering the biggest choice of all, not to come back after the summer.

Blues locked in shirt auction
May 21 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have two companies battling to secure a new shirt sponsorship deal with the club. The current deal with Kejian ran out at the end of the season. Although the Chinese mobile phone giants are likely to remain Platinum sponsors of the club, they are not in the running for the latest shirt sponsorship deal. Andy Hosie, Everton's head of commercial operations, has revealed that the new deal will "significantly eclipse" the £1m a year Kejian deal. Hosie said: "Fortunately, because of the size of the Everton brand and the popularity of the English Premier League abroad, we are in a strong tion where we have two parties competing for the sponsorship. "My job is to secure the most money possible for the club and if we need to take some time to do that without delaying the kit launch, I will. "The main shirt sponsorship deal is a high proportion of the commercial revenue and you have to get it right. "One of the companies is from the Far East and th e oth er is international." Negotiations are set to be concluded by June 10, in order to tie in with the production of the club's new strip from Umbro. The new strip, supplied by JJB Sports as part of a unique retail partnership, will go on sale in July. Meanwhile, Everton are still waiting for a response from Leeds having bid £7million for striker Alan Smith. As reporter in later editions of yesterday's ECHO, Blues deputy chairman Bill Kenwright has found the cash to try to tempt Smith to Goodison, though Manchester United remain the favourites to clinch his signature.

Taking the p***!
May 21 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
BY a happy coincidence, the individuals this article is aimed at will be back in Blighty just in time to read it. If they can be bothered. A large group of Everton's players, you see, returned home from Marbella yesterday - hopefully with a deep Mediterranean tan to disguise their red faces. They jetted out a week ago. Just 12 hours after becoming the squad of play-ers responsible for the lowest points total in 115 years of football at Goodison Park, 14 players flew to Spain for what is politely termed an end of season wind-down. It should be more accurately called a p***-up - because the p*** is exactly what those players were taking. I've nothing against professional footballers letting their hair down and enjoying themselves. Particularly when they have behaved professionally.
But hands up how many Evertonians think that is the case with many of the players whom their season ticket cash supports? There are some people closely connected to those players who didn't just fear Everton would lose at Manchester City, they knew it. And they knew it because those same players had let it be known they had no time for their manager. So what crime has David Moyes been guilty of that his players should decide to end their season one match - or maybe that should be four games - early? Has he adopted a carefree attitude to training, letting the players come and go as they please? Was the energy drink those blue plastic Lucozade bottles carry switched for lager during a pre-season friendly? Is he tactically naive? All three are 'crimes' some Everton managers have been guilty of in the past 10 years. Not David Moyes. No. It appears his crimes have been threefold: He trains the players too hard; He never speaks to them outside of training sessions; He is unapproachable and bears grudges. Well boo hoo hoo. Pick your ball up and go home to count the 20 grand a week you're stealing from the fans who pay your wages. An almost identical group of Everton players finished seventh just 12 months ago. The reason for the dramatic decline in Everton's fortunes would not, therefore, appear to lie with the manager. The players should take a long hard look at themselves rather than blaming their boss. Moyes is a young manager finding his way in the game - and he has undoubtedly made mistakes. But more often that not he has a point.
Three months ago I tried to suggest to Moyes, picking my way as carefully as a mountain goat on a precipice, that he was pushing his players too hard. He listened to the suggestion, then shot down the argument in flames. Everton had just produced a wretched performance at Birmingham and been beaten 3-0. He pointed out that just four days earlier a group of those players had featured in a Sunday newspaper following an incident in a Manchester nightclub. They had been celebrating a team-mate's birthday - while the following weekend there was no match. Contrast that to the behaviour of Arsenal's players at the recent Football Writers' Dinner, when the season had all but ended. The beer and wine flowed at every table - bar one. And when Thierry Henry was asked why he and his teammates weren't celebrating his Player of the Year award, he replied: "I am a professional footballer." There is still room in the game for the old-fashioned, laissez- fair attitude to management. Sam Allardyce admitted this week he tells his players "keep winning and you won't train." They kept winning. But Bolton are the exception to the rule. Everton's players have got it easier than they think - and it's time they started accepting responsibi l ity themselves. Those that are still around at Goodison Park next season that is . . .

It's not as if there's a pot of money we are withholding
May 21 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PART TWO of our exclusive series with Blues' deputy chairman Bill Kenwright, answering the questions Evertonians have been asking in the wake of one of the worst seasons in living memory at Goodison. Chief Sports Writer David Prentice asks the Blues' owner: What has gone wrong at Everton?
1. Do you personally think it was right to raise season ticket prices this season? I have fought long and hard to keep the season ticket prices down for many, many seasons now. In the main we have really succeeded in this. Last summer I read in the ECHO a couple of letters omplaining that by NOT increasing prices (to aid revenue streams) we had shown a "lack of ambition". A no-win situation if ever there was one. I decided then, and indeed after the best season we've had for years, to support a price increase. We had to get closer to other Premiership teams. Timing is, inevitably, one of the most important things in life. The fact that we have put our prices up, after a wretched season, is very difficult for fans to take - but this was a step that simply had to be taken.
2. Why is the club in such a weak financial position? Are we still recovering from the mistakes made in the past? Of course mistakes have been made in the past. What club, or indeed what busi-ness, hasn't made mistakes? I personally don't think we have ever truly recovered from what must have been a £15m downside on Williamson and Bilic - but there is no point in looking backwards. Unless it's to learn from your mistakes. We are obviously 'in such a weak financial position' because we have not got enough money in, and let too much go out. It can only ever be that simple. This is something that is constantly under review. The restrictions of Goodison Park have long since been debated, so I suppose the next word I constantly have on the 'hit list' from fans is 'marketing'. There is no doubt, as other clubs have shown, that there is money to be made from clever, smart and professional marketing. Our head of marketing, Andy Hosie, has spent the last 12 months or so assessing the club's needs and effecting changes in personnel policy to meet those needs. Things are changing - for the good - in terms of marketing commercial bonds, and I honestly believe that it will not be too long before we start to reap the rewards.
3. Is the share issue not being considered simply because you do not want to dilute your own shareholding? Absolutely not. We have looked, and continued to look, very closely at the possibility of a rights issue. This isn't quite as straightforward as it might sound. A rights issue, first and foremost, would have to be underwritten by somebody. If we launched an issue to raise, say, £15m (as was suggested some months ago) any shortfall would have to be picked up by underwriters.
Now that, clearly, represents a major financial gamble for all but the wealthiest of people, and institutions. The other problem is, I'm told, during the time that this would take, we would not be in a position to explore any of the other avenues for financial investment that we are now. So, in short, I'm advised by people I trust that right now it is not the best option for Everton, but a share issue has to be a possible option.
4. David Moyes and Wayne Rooney are the future of Everton. What is being done to secure their long-term futures at the club? Regarding David, I strongly doubt there is a mutually more supportive and open relationship in football than ours. David Moyes is a special man - I realised that the very first time I met him. He wasn't born an Evertonian but he has now been bitten by the bug - and he certainly has the passion. Like any manager, David suffers the frustrations, but I honestly believe that he is totally determined to set this club back on to the right course. He's intent on staying around long enough to complete the task he has started. Yes, we have sat down and discussed an extension to his contract - something which pleased us both at the time - and I know that when the time is right we'll both say 'let's continue that conversation'. With regard to Wayne, I think I'm correct in saying that not once since he burst on to the scene has he ever indicated a desire to leave Everton. Wayne is a blue through and through. As everyone knows Wayne still has two years left on his current deal; I have what I believe to be a good relationship with Paul Stretford, and I believe Paul when he tells me he too wants to see Wayne stay at Everton. Without any doubt we will be sitting down during the summer to continue talks on extending Wayne's contract.
5. Have you ever seriously considered your own position? Have you ever considered stepping down?
I consider my position every single day and night! There isn't, in all honesty, a day that goes by without me considering what it is I'm doing for the club. Not a day when I don't ask could I do more. Not a day that I don't ask whether I should stay or go. If there was someone better out there I'd move aside.
6. Are there any major problems you have difficulty dealing with?
Yes - the pain of the fans, and the Merseyside rumour factory. This week alone I have heard that David is going to be sacked, Wayne has definitely signed a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United, and that I won't speak to potential investors. All three statements are garbage. I know that Evertonians worry themselves sick when they hear them. I had an early morning phone call from a female Evertonian on the Wirral who told me that she had been crying all night because of them!
I also heard that a certain newspaper had announced that David was getting 'A meagre £1.5m cash injection for new players next season'. That didn't help much either! When I told my morning caller that the main part of yesterday had been spent meeting an investment bank and a financial house in the city in the morning; talking to a Liverpool lawyer about 'a consortium' (abortive) at lunchtime; talking to half a dozen fans who 'know somebody' in the afternoon; sharing several phone calls with Paul Gregg about a potential investment; even more with David about the squad and finally ending up at midnight with a real plus - a successful Evertonian now living in LA who seemed interested in investing - she seemed a little happier.
7. You must be asked questions all the time. Which is the one that puzzles you most?
"Where does the money go". It's as if those who ask that think there is a hidden pot of money somewhere that we are deliberately withholding from our fans. That we are not spending every penny of income (and more!) on the football club, and that there is some hidden draining mechanism that is taking all of the season ticket money, and the Sky money, the merchandising etc. etc. away from where it belongs. For once and for all - this is simply not true. Every penny that comes into our football club remains in that football club in some way or other. The grand portion, obviously, goes on to footballers' salaries and transfer costs. I also don't know of any other Premiership club where not one director receives one penny in salary - and where three directors buy season tickets for their families. Having said all of this, though, it is obvious that everyone connected with the club should consider their performance in this current predicament. No-one, including me, can sit back and not question themselves. Things have to be improved. I don't want to over simplify but all income and expenditure has to be reviewed (what more can we make - what more can we save) and we have to continue to explore all avenues. We all know that no matter what strides we might make elsewhere (our Football in the Community department this year was correctly heralded as the best in the league) what matters at any football club above all else is what happens during the 90 minutes of the game. It's that 90 minutes we are all here to support. And it's success on the field that brings fans, players, management, staff and directors ultimate happiness. I hope we can achieve this together.

Irvine backing Rooney in Euro
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
May 22 2004
EVERTON assistant boss Alan Irvine insists Wayne Rooney will not suffer burnout at Euro 2004 this summer. The 18-year-old striker has made more appearances than any other outfield player for Everton this season, notching up 40 games. And he will be an automatic first choice for Sven Goran Eriksson when England kick-off in Portugal on June 13. But Irvine has faith in the forward coping with the physical demands of fulfilling that role. He said: "It has been a long, hard season and maybe the players could do with a rest but they don't have that chance. "I am sure Wayne will cope physically. People talk about how demanding our league is and there is no doubt the players will not be as fresh as they would like, but nobody can do anything about that. "The players going into the championship may be tired now but when the championships come around I am sure Wayne and the rest of the lads will be raring to go. "Wayne finished the season well. He got a few goals and was looking sharp and lively. "But it was never going to be a surprise to see him included in the squad, regardless of how he ended the season. Sven has made it clear he has been delighted with how he has played for England. It is a great achievement for Wayne. "Some people have said that England shouldn't be having to pick an 18-year-old, but when that 18-year-old is as good as Wayne is, then why not? "He is a strong lad and he has shown he can cope with the demands of playing at Premiership and international level. "We have a few lads involved in Euro 2004 and while we are pleased to see them involved, we will be keeping our fingers crossed they don't pick up any injuries."
Rooney was used sparingly by manager David Moyes last season as he adjusted to life in the Premiership. But this year the manager has been much more willing to include him in the starting line-up on a regular basis. Last weekend's final game at Manchester City was Rooney's 40th match of the season, putting him ahead of Thomas Gravesen and Tomasz Radzinski and behind only Nigel Martyn in the appearance table.

Kenwright adamant Rooney is staying
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Sports Editor
May 22 2004
EVERTON deputy chairman Bill Kenwright last night moved to assure fans that Wayne Rooney is still a part of the club's plans for next season. Manchester United had been linked with a £30million move for the teenage striker and given the club's parlous financial state many Evertonians feared the England international could be sacrificed to help raise a transfer kitty for manager David Moyes and ease the burden on the Goodison Park debt. But Kenwright is insistent that talks will open this summer aimed at extending Rooney's stay at Everton, echoing the thoughts of manager Moyes who declared after the final game against Manchester City that he had no intention of selling his biggest asset In a question and answer session on the club's website, Kenwright said: "As everyone knows Wayne still has two years left on his current deal; I have what I believe is a good relationship with Paul Stretford and I believe Paul when he tells me he, too, wants to see Wayne at Everton next year.
"Without any doubt we will be sitting down during the summer to continue talks on extending Wayne's contract." However it seems highly unlikely Rooney will be joined on Merseyside by fellow England striker Alan Smith, who is on standby for Euro 2004. Despite Moyes announcing his desire to pair Rooney and Smith at Everton and the club lining up a £7m payment for the Leeds player, Manchester United remain firm favourites to win the race for his signature. United face Millwall in today's FA Cup final, which means their efforts to sign Smith have been put on hold. United had bids of £3.5m and £5.5m rejected on Tuesday, but as the 23-year-old's agent, Alex Black, has indicated to Leeds that Smith's preferred choice is Manchester United, the Red Devils have the upper hand.
They are expected to marginally increase their offer after the weekend, with the hope Leeds will then crack given their need for cash to pay off impending debts. The scope of Moyes's dealings in the transfer market this summer depend on the funds made available to him, with Kenwright dismissing reports of a transfer kitty of just £1.5m and insisting they were working hard towards releasing up to £5m. But Kenwright ruled out an immediate share issue as a speedy remedy for the club's problems. He also defended the decision to raise season ticket prices. He said: "Last summer I read letters complaining that by not increasing prices (to aid revenue streams) we had shown a 'lack of ambition'. A no-win situation if ever there was one. The fact that we have put our prices up, after a wretched season, is very difficult for the fans to take - but this was a step that simply had to be taken." Kenwright said efforts to attract new investment were continuing daily and that he would be prepared to stand aside if someone else could take the club on further. He said: "Not a day goes by that I don't ask whether I should stay or go. If there was someone better out there I'd move aside - that is still the case."

Rooney rumours won't stop - Stubbs
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 24 2004
ALAN STUBBS claimed issue of Wayne Rooney's future "would never go away" after Everton laughed the latest outlandish report linking the 18-year-old with a move away from Goodison. A Sunday newspaper yesterday appeared that Rooney, had already signed for Manchester United in a £40million deal. Everton deputy chairman Bill Kenwright quick to douse this latest speculation surrounding the England striker, saying: "It is always difficult to respond to rubbish. David Moyes and myself have discussed a combined response and it is - the article is laughable. "No deal has ever been discussed, set up or agreed with Manchester United or, indeed, any other foot-ball club on the planet." And Rooney's team-mate Stubbs reckoned such speculation was now inevitable given the teenager's talent and profile. He said: "It's a question that's never going to go away. I don't think Wayne would want to go now, but tomorrow there could be another story in there. "It's because he's such a great player, there's always going to be speculation." The defender added: "If someone came along and put such and such amount for a bid in, it's hard for clubs to knock back. "At the moment there's a lot of speculation and rumours about where he's going to go, but they're only there because Wayne's such a good player." David Moyes has frequently said that Rooney will not be sold this summer, and only last Friday Kenwright said: "I think I'm correct in saying that not once since he burst on to the scene has he ever indicated a desire to leave Everton. Wayne is a blue through and through. "Wayne still has two years left on his current deal; I have what I believe to be a good relationship with Paul Stretford, and I believe Paul when he tells me he too wants to see Wayne stay at Everton. "We will be sitting down during the summer to continue talks."

Let's start to talk over Everton's future
By Richard Williamson Daily Post Sports Editor
May 24 2004
A NEW Everton supporters' group has called for Bill Kenwright to engage in a public debate over the future direction of the club. Last week the deputy chairman attempted to ease fans' concerns after David Moyes's side had finished just one place above the Premiership relegation places by releasing a question and answer session on the official club website. Evertonians for Change have welcomed the initiative, but says the answers did not go far enough in dispelling worries about the "desire of the board to effect substantial and lasting change." Kenwright's answers dealt with a number of issues raised on a leaflet distributed at the final game of the season, the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City. But EfC saw the format of the Q&A meant that too many points were left unchallenged.
Spokesperson Carl Roper said last night: "It would be churlish of us to criticise Mr Kenwright after he has attempted to answer the questions, but given the heightened concerns among Everton fans and the level of detail in the replies it was not a particularly satisfying outcome. "The questions were dealt with in such a way that it was not possible to seek further detail or clarification of the answers.
"This is nothing personal against Bill Kenwright. He is the man the majority of Evertonians would want to succeed in his ambitions to take the club forward. But there were a number of things that did not sit easily together in the replies. "For example Paul Gregg was described as not being a football fan, yet it was said he approached Bill because he saw Everton as a sleeping giant he wanted to reawaken, which are not the actions of a non-football fan." EfC believe Kenwright should face the fans in a forum where there can be some debate over his replies. "A radio phone-in, for example, properly conducted to ensure reasoned and measured debate would give fans the chance to pose questions and then add supplementary questions once they have heard the reply," added Roper. "With the time delays they can build in, they can make sure the debate does not get out of hand."
He added: "Evertonians for Change is not about getting rid of people, but changing things for the better. "If the present board can do that we would be delighted. "But we have heard nothing substantial. The fact that we were in for Alan Smith suggests the money can be cobbled together to make signings, even if it is on HP. "There needs to be some way for Everton fans to come together so we can have a say and are heard by the people who run the club. "We welcome Mr Kenwright's efforts in the past week, but there are still lots of unanswered questions and doubts, not about Bill Kenwright, but the people who have shares or money and the direction they want the club to take.
"It is clear that the debate on the future of Everton F.C. needs to continue and that ordinary supporters need to devise a way of holding the Board to account." Evertonians for Change are holding a public meeting, which has been switched to June 8 at The Casa, Hope Street (7.30pm) to discuss the latest developments.

Thais to talk with Goodison officials
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
May 24 2004
THE THAI Prime Minister could switch his allegiance to Everton if his plan to invest millions of pounds in Liverpool FC falls through, it emerged last night. Everton are on a shortlist of three Premiership clubs to which the Thais are looking to turn their attentions if a deal cannot be concluded with Liverpool. The Thai chief negotiator Pongsak Ruktapongpisal yesterday arrived in the city and will this week meet Liverpool FC officials in an attempt to speed up the country's floundering plan to buy 30% of the club. But the Daily Post understands Mr Pongsak will also use the opportunity to visit Goodison Park. An Everton spokesman last night declined to comment but sources close to the club and in the Thailand camp confirmed that Everton, along with Manchester City and Fulham, are to talk to the Thai negotiator. A source close to Mr Thaksin said: "These three clubs are on a longer list of clubs we have spoken to. Clubs have come to us with bids. Some clubs have come to us with a full package of proposals." One club - believed to be Fulham - has even submitted a bid which would see Thai money used to fund a new stadium. Mr Thaksin's spokesman, Jakrapob Penkair, said: "I can confirm that we have been talking to several clubs at the moment. "He (the Prime Minister) is aiming for Liverpool but he has high regard for all Premiership teams "He wouldn't mind any Premiership team at all, ultimately I have to say that any team would be fine." On Friday, property magnate Steve Morgan withdrew his offer to invest in Liverpool FC after his third offer was turned down. Negotiations with the Thais are believed to have stumbled on the issue of seats on the board - Mr Thaksin wants two seats while the club are offering only one. Meanwhile, Everton has been linked with an attempt to sign high-profile deal broker Trevor Birch as chief executive of the club.
As a 16-year-old he was Bill Shankly's final signing as Liverpool manager but after five years in the reserves and spells at Shrewsbury and Chester he hung up his boots to study accountancy.
After progressing with Ernst & Young, he left to join Chelsea in April 2002 where - despite an almost £100m debt - he held out from selling top players and helped get the club noticed by Roman Abramovich. He was then ousted to make way for ex-Manchester United chief executive Peter Kenyon, and moved to Leeds where he rescued the club from the threat of bankruptcy. He helped negotiate the £22m takeover of the club by Gerald Krasner's consortium before leaving in March.

Blues in the wings for Thailand cash
May 24 2004
By Tony Barrett Echo Reporter
THE Thai consortium trying to buy into Liverpool FC raised the stakes today by admitting they are ready to talk to arch rivals Everton. Sources close to Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra revealed he is willing to speak to the Blues should a proposed deal with Liverpool fall through. A Thai delegation arrived on Merseyside last night and is expected to meet Liverpool officials later today. It is understood representatives of Thaksin have not held preliminary discussions with Everton deputy chairman Bill Kenwright or anyone else from the club. The Thai bid for a stake in Liverpool stalled last week over a demand by the consortium for two seats on the Reds board in return for their £65m offer. Fulham and Manchester City have also been mentioned as possible partners. A source close to Thaksin said: "Clubs have come to us with bids. Some clubs have come to us with a full package of proposals." Thaksin's spokesman, Jakrapob Penkair, added: "The prime minister is aiming for Liverpool but he has high regard for all Premiership teams. He wouldn't mind any Premiership team at all. Ultimately, I have to say that any team will be fine." Mr Penkair's comments may be aimed at urging Liverpool into sealing a deal or it could be a genuine expression on the Thai position. Either way, it will only serve to heighten the worries of Liverpool supporters who have already shown concern that Thaksin does not have their club at heart. Everton fans, on the other hand, will be hoping that Thaksin's tentative interest in their club turns into something more concrete and can reinvigorate their flagging finances to help manager David Moyes. Meanwhile, a leading Thai politician has launched a campaign against Thaksin's plans to invest in Liverpool. Paiboon Wattanasiritham, of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council, said: "I don't mind if it's the prime minister's personal money. "But to launch a lottery with huge prizes is tantamount to exploiting people's susceptibility toward gambling and vice - a very detrimental approach."

Rangers star eyes Goodison
May 24 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
RANGERS defender Craig Moore has hinted he could be on his way to Everton this summer, as the Blues once again denied transfer rumours involving Wayne Rooney. The 28-year-old Ibrox man saw talks stall on a new deal with the Scottish giants last week. The Australian international has just one year remaining on his current deal and Alex McLeish is believed to be ready to offload the player if fresh terms cannot be agreed. Moore was asked live on Australian TV over the weekend whether Everton was set to be his destination this summer. He replied: "Well I cannot comment at this time. You will have to speak to my agent. Look, I really can't say anything, let's just leave it at that." Moore is believed to be available at a knockdown price of £2m. Meanwhile, Everton have reacted angrily to a report suggesting Manchester United have agreed a £40m deal to take Wayne Rooney to Old Trafford. Deputy chairman Bill Kenwright said: "It is always difficult to respond to rubbish. David Moyes and myself have discussed a combined response and it is - the article is laughable.
"No deal has ever been discussed, set up or agreed with Manchester United or, indeed, any other football club on the planet."
* Trevor Birch, the former chief executive of Chelsea and Leeds, has been hotly tipped to take up the same role at Goodison. Current chief executive Michael Dunford is out of contract this summer and he is expected to be replaced. Birch is expected to have been given the mandate of bolstering the club's transfer coffers. Moyes is pressing ahead with his summer rebuilding plans despite currently having a modest transfer budget available to him.

Birch could hold key
May 24 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TREVOR BIRCH is a man who has built his reputation by putting financially floundering football clubs back on to an even keel. His work at Chelsea and Leeds in recent years has raised his profile within the game. But if he takes over at Everton his task will be slightly different. He is hotly tipped to replace Michael Dunford as the chief-executive at Goodison within the next week. Dunford's Goodison contract expires this summer and is not expected to be renewed. If Ormskirk-born Birch comes into Goodison, then team rebuilding will be top of his agenda. The club's sizable £30m+ debt is already tied up in a long-term securitization loan. And, unlike Leeds, where he was appointed last November to steer the club away from financial meltdown, administration is not on the horizon at Everton. But there is the prospect of a revolution if David Moyes is not given a decent transfer kitty this summer. Birch will be asked to come up with £10m - to appease the manager, the fans and to keep the vultures away from Wayne Rooney. Last week's bold £7m bid for Alan Smith was a reflection of the confidence the club has in increasing its modest £1.5m kitty to something far more significant in the coming weeks. Birch became chief-executive at Chelsea in March 2002 at a time when the club were £80min debt. Alongside Ken Bates he tied up the deal with Roman Abramovich and oversaw last summer's £110m spending spree by Claudio Ranieri. He was replaced by Peter Kenyon in October and was asked to stay on in an executive capacity but chose to walk away.
He was tracked by Leeds and Aston Villa - and there were even suggestions Everton had made contact with him - before he finally plumped for the not insignificant task of saving Leeds.
He took over a club with pre-tax losses of £45m for the year ended June 30, 2003, the largest ever by an English club. And they were on top of the club's £78m debt which had already been accrued despite selling players such as Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane and Harry Kewell for a total of £42m.
Administration was an inevitability, but he trimmed the club's costs, slashed the wage bill and tied up the deal which saw a new consortium led by former Bradford chairman Geoffery Richmond saving the club. He made his name as a partner with Ernst & Young Accountants. He turned his eye to business after retiring from football at the age of 23. His footballing career began at Liverpool, and he was an unused substitute in the 1978 European Cup final. After failing to earn a regular place at Anfield he moved on to Shrewsbury and Chester before hanging up his boots.

Everton turn to Birch for revenue
By David Prior, Daily Post
May 25 2004
EVERTON will look to Trevor Birch's proven negotiation skills to attract greater investment when he takes over from Michael Dunford as chief executive. The former Liverpool player, an unused substitute in the 1978 European Cup final, will this week succeed Dunford with the Good-ison club hoping he can generate revenue with the same skill he showed when in the same role at Chelsea and Leeds. Dunford's contract at Everton expires this summer and is unlikely to be renewed.
Ormskirk-born Birch has forged his reputation within the game since joining Chelsea in March 2002.
He kept the club afloat despite debts of £90million and negotiated the takeover by Roman Abramovich last summer. In November he moved to Leeds, where he kept the club from administration and resisted the sale of players while avoiding relegation was still possible. He left Elland Road in March after playing a major part in the takeover by Gerald Krasner's consortium.
Everton will hope Birch can swell the transfer kitty to allow David Moyes to improve the quality of the squad over the summer. As it stands, deputy chairman Bill Kenwright has said he hopes there will be at least £5m available.

McClaren anticipates Rooney tour de force
By Damian Spellman, Daily Post
May 25 2004
STEVE McCLAREN is convinced Wayne Rooney can have the same impact for England at Euro 2004 as Michael Owen did at the 1998 World Cup. Owen, then just 18, exploded on to the international stage in France after finally being given his chance and scored a stunning goal in an epic encounter with Argentina. Still only 24, the Liverpool hitman will carry the challenge for his country once again in Portugal this summer, this time as the senior man and with another precocious teenager rather than the vastly-experienced Alan Shearer at his side. Rooney, like Owen before him, has been catapulted on to the big stage but has looked accomplished at international level and McClaren, who met up with Sven-Goran Eriksson and his squad for the training camp in Sardinia on Sunday, has few doubts that the youngster can produce the goods when called upon. "I think that's possible," he said. "He's certainly got the ability and the talent. I think he's made that impact in the games that he's played. "The emergence of Wayne Rooney has been very timely and given Michael Owen a little bit more support, not just relying on the likes of Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell and other people." Eriksson and McClaren will begin their preparations in earnest in Sardinia before the final warm-up games and rekindle a relationship which proved so productive at the 2002 World Cup.
The Middlesbrough manager feels he will have even more to offer the Swede after two more years in club management, but is confident that every member of the party will have benefited from their experiences since Japan. "I would say everybody is two years on," he said. "I would say Sven is better, the staff, the whole structure. "And I would put myself in that and say, yes, the experience of Japan was fantastic and in the meantime, the experience of managing and coaching in the Premier League has also improved me." McClaren's relationship with Eriksson is one which blossomed during their time working together, and the Yorkshireman admits he has learned much from the Swede, as well as the other men under whom he has worked to mould his own coaching style.
"You learn everything from everybody, don't you?" he said. "I think I've learnt a lot from him. He has a different approach to managers I've worked with previously. !I've tended to work with very passionate, heart-on-the-sleeve managers before in Alex (Ferguson) and Jim Smith, and with Sven, it's obviously a completely different approach, a more relaxed approach. "The contrast is very good and it's worked for him. But the one common denominator is a fierce competitive drive inside which you only know when you work very closely with people. "Both have an immense trust in the players and that's the big thing I've learnt from Alex and Sven. "It doesn't matter on the outside how you get it across, it's trusting your players when they go out."

Birch could be answer to Goodison prayers
By Mark Lawrenson, Daily Post
May 25 2004
excellent appointment. I count myself as one of Trevor's friends in football and am well aware of what he has done at Leeds and Chelsea, to help them out of the financial morass they were in.
At Chelsea, they were four days from going out of business when Trevor found Roman Abramovich to come to their rescue. At Leeds, who were in a terrible mess, he somehow found a path through their problems to keep them alive long enough for a new board to come in. While no-one is suggesting that Everton are in that sort of desperate situation, getting Trevor in now would be a positive step. He brings enormous financial acumen as well as experience in football and a real knowledge of players that ensures he is well aware of people's worth. One or two people may say he is a former Red, but that doesn't matter. What does is he has a track record of helping clubs become stronger financially and as everyone would agree, that can only be good news for Everton.
Of course, his first act could be to put the seal of approval on a deal with Thaksin Shinawatra, given that his representatives will be meeting with Everton in the near future. I have always thought that this is a dodgy deal from the first time I heard about it being offered to Liverpool and nothing has changed my mind, because it is still unclear just where any money would come from and what strings are attached to that. In Everton's position however, I don't think they would have any option but to say yes if a massive amount of money was offered to them, whatever the source, although they would have to get certain guarantees in writing. Mark Lawrenson was talking to NEIL MACDONALD

board in shake-up
May 25 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are planning a major boardroom reshuffle - as Bill Kenwright bids to revive the club's fortunes. And chairman Sir Philip Carter could be the biggest casualty. The man who has presided over the most successful spell in the club's history, plus some of the lowest points in recent years, was reported today to be stepping down. Chief executive Michael Dunford is also expected to follow, along with long-serving director Keith Tamlin. Sir Philip said today he was unaware of any proposed changes. "I know nothing about it," he said. Bill Kenwright, however, is expected to spearhead a new board of Paul Gregg, Arthur Abercromby and Jon Woods. Rumours of changes at the highest level inside Goodison have circulated for weeks. But there has been no confirmation so far. Trevor Birch is reported to be ready to take over as chief executive from Michael Dunford - but Mr Dunford will continue to execute his duties at least until Thursday's scheduled board meeting.
Sir Philip Carter joined the Blues' board in 1975 after a successful spell as senior executive at Littlewoods. He was chairman from 1978 to 1991, and was reappointed to that role on December 1, 1998 following the resignation of Peter Johnson. He also served as president of the Football League from 1986 to 1988. Kenwright has so far not been available for comment. The theatre impresario has been frantically trying to unlock funds for manager David Moyes to spend in the transfer market this summer - and boardroom changes could be part of that quest. The last major reshuffle of the Blues' board took place in December 1998, when Peter Johnson resigned as chairman and Cliff Finch followed him out of Goodison. The latest changes could signal increasing influence in club affairs by Paul Gregg. The former European director of SFX joined the Blues' board as part of Bill Kenwright's True Blue Holdings group. But he was believed to be trying to off-load his shares in recent months and has not been seen at a first team fixture home or away for more than a year.

Football focus
May 25 2004 Janet Tansley takes a sneak preview of a special clash of the titans
MERSEYSIDE'S two premier league football clubs will compete in a special summer derby.
National Museums Liverpool will feature two exhibitions featuring Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs. Everton's 80s Heroes are the stars scoring at The Conservation Centre's photographic collection - which will open from May 28 to September 19. Meanwhile, The Kop's Last Stand will raise cheers from fans running at The Museumof Liverpool Life over the same period. "The decision by National Museums Liverpool to run two major exhibitions based around football will tell you how vibrant the game still is in this city, despite mixed campaigns for both of our big clubs," says Trinity Mirror Sport Media Executive Editor Ken Rogers. "Although the season is over, fans can still revel in some famous football memories throughout the summer by visiting either the Museumof Liverpool Life or the Conservation Centre. "Both exhibitions are based around significant anniversaries and two exciting new books. "The Kop stood for the last time 10 years ago and we were determined to mark this milestone. "Our staff spent months searching the Liverpool ECHO archives for previously unseen pictures and we have unearthed some fantastic images. "The end product is the Spion Kop publication which will stand as the definitive record of this world famous bank of terracing with stories and memories from fans and former players." And not to leave blues fans out, he adds: "Evertonians have been starting to celebrate key anniversaries of their own, linked with the start of the most successful period in their history, the famous mideighties. This is when Howard Kendall led his team to two Championships, the FA Cup and the European Cup Winners Cup. "The club recently staged a major re-union for their former stars. Again, we wanted a book that would encapsulate this famous era and so Everton's Z-Stars was produced with Howard's full support.
"He provides fans with a fascinating insight into the dressing room secrets of the Eighties and, again, the book is packed full of fantastic pictures that form the basis for the Everton exhibition."
Both exhibitions will use photographs from the archives of the Liverpool Daily Post and ECHO.
In Everton's 80s Heroes exhibition The Conservation Centre will show many jubilant scenes from the 1984-87 seasons. It features the legendary fans 'invasion' of Rotterdam before the club's 3-1 victory over rapid Vienna to take the European Cup-Winners' Cup. Stars pictured include Gary Lineker, Andy Gray, Adrian Heath, Graeme Sharp, Peter Reid and Kevin Sheedy. At the Museumof Liverpool Life, Liverpool FC's legendary Kop is remembered 10 years after its rebuilding. The original all-standing Kop stood from 1906 to 1994 and played a key part in the history of the team. The earliest of the 50 images in The Kop's Last Stand display dates from about 1906, while another shows the Kop before its roof was built in 1928. The Championship years from 1960 looks at the rela-tionship between the supporters and the Kop, where thousands of fans jostled and swayed as they sang, chanted and cheered. Fencing is seen being put up in 1977, which remained until the Hillsborough tragedy in 1989. Five years later the Kop was rebuilt as an allseater stand. Liverpool greats pictured include early stars Don Mackinlay and Harry Chambers, later heroes Kevin Keegan and Steve Heighway, along with legendary managers Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.

Thais switch back to Reds
By Tony Barratt Echo Reporter
May 25 2004
A DEAL allowing the Thai Prime Minister to buy a stake in Liverpool FC could be sealed within weeks, it was revealed today - just days after the Thai consortium held talks with Everton chiefs.
An impasse between Liverpool and the Thais had held up the deal and stopped it from being brought to a swift conclusion. But the major sticking point - believed to be the number of representatives the Thais would have on the Liverpool board - looks to have been resolved. Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra today revealed he is looking for his £65m investment to be approved by the club inside the next six weeks. He said the subject of representation on the club's board "is no longer a problem", before adding: "The next step is to get teams of professionals to analyse financial and legal issues." Today's revelation comes soon after Mr Thaksin issued Reds' chiefs with an ultimatum to bring matters to a head. News of a possible agreement will come as a blow to rivals Everton who had held tentative preliminary talks with Mr Thaksin's they atives at the weekend.

Kenwright to be chairman in boardroom reshuffle
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
May 26 2004
BILL KENWRIGHT looks set to spearhead a new chapter in Everton's boardroom history. The theatre impresario, currently deputy chairman at the Goodison club, will take over from chairman Sir Philip Carter in changes expected to be announced after Thursday's scheduled board meeting. Kenwright, is instigating a reshuffle, which will also see Trevor Birch replacing Michael Dunford as chief executive and director Keith Tamlin stepping down, as he attempts to lead a revival in the club's fortunes. The new board, which has been muted for weeks, is expected to be composed of Paul Gregg, Arthur Abercromby and Jon Woods. Carter joined the board in 1975 and served as chairman from 1978 to 1991, before being reappointed to that role following Peter Johnson's resig-nation in 1998. The club's latest on-the-field changes, meanwhile, have been well received by manager David Moyes. Last week, Carter revealed that planning permission had been granted for a new state-of-the-art academy at Hale-wood. Moyes has been champion-ing the cause for new training facilities since his arrival and it now seems likely that the club will move from their present home at Bellefield in two years' time. The new academy will also be home to the Everton senior squad, giving Moyes a bigger hands-on role in the club's young talent. He said: "Internally, I think that Bellefield has run its course. Hopefully we'll be able to see more of the younger players at Everton, which I want to do.
"I want to have them around me and we can't do that at Bellefield because of the size," he added.
"I know that we'll certainly miss the surfaces that we train on every day, but hopefully we'll have as good at the new training ground - and more of them. "It's good news and it's something that I've been keen to get off the ground since I arrived at the club. "Hopefully now we can drive forward and move forward. It's important that we lift all the standards at Everton."

Rooney signs up for crisps campaign
By Clare Usher Daily Post Staff
May 26 2004
CRISP firm Pringles is using Premier League footballers to go head-to-head with Walkers crisps in a summer advertising campaign. The snack company has put together a dream team of players from all over Europe including Everton's Wayne Rooney, and Liverpool's Stephane Henchoz. However, the promotion flies in the face of advice from the Food Standards Agency which recommended that celebrities should not be used to promote snacks that are seen as unhealthy. A competition to meet and train with some of the footballers, who are described in the promotion as "ultra fit", is being run alongside the adverts. Promotional packs promise that some customers will have the chance to play "keepy uppy with Wayne Rooney". Eleven of Europe's finest were brought together for a day to film an advert for the snack, which will air from June 1, with the whole campaign costing more than £1m.
In March this year, the Food Standards Agency drew up a set of guide lines that said celebrities should not be linked to unhealthy food products, but should be paired with foods that promote a balanced diet. Research from the FSA showed that 9% of six-year-olds and 15% of 15-year-olds are obese. Medical journal The Lancet has also condemned well-known faces for the practice of advertising junk food, saying "they should be ashamed". It called upon the Department of Health to introduce legislation to cut out stars pushing unhealthy products to children, but they refused to carry out the request. The report added: "One of the most invidious techniques used by junk food advertisers is to pay sports and pop celebrities to endorse foods -especially bizarre since sports celebrities need a properly balanced diet to achieve fitness." The Pringles campaign follows Walker Crisps adverts in which former football striker Gary Lineker ditched his nice guy image and stole the snacks off children. He is tied into the Walkers contract until 2006 and has been given the Greedy Star accolade in the Children's Food Awards. Lineker has dismissed claims that he should not be endorsing salty, fatty snacks by saying that the problem of obesity in the young is not to do with crisps, it is because "many people are simply not exercising". Pop group S Club 7 were criticised when they plugged the Sunny Delight soft drink and Britney Spears currently appears on adverts for fizzy pop brand Pepsi.
The Pringles Dream team
Fabien Barthez (Marseilles) Stephane Henchoz (Liverpool) John O'Shea (Man Utd) Guti (Real Madrid) Miroslav Klose (Kaiserslautern) Ryan Giggs (Man Utd) Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) Ruud van Nistelrooy (Man Utd) Rui Costa (AC Milan) Barry Ferguson (Blackburn) Wayne Rooney (Everton)

Moyes out to bolster squad
May 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES expects to add to his first team squad within days. But he has warned Evertonians to expect quantity rather than quality. Everton publicly bid £7m for Manchester United bound Alan Smith last week and have also been linked with Chelsea's England star Joe Cole. But Moyes, may have to lower his sights this summer in a bid to prop up the club's depleted squad numbers.
He will meet with relegated Leicester striker Paul Dickov later this week - with the 31-year-old available at a knockdown £100,000 - and other cut-price deals could follow. "Dickov is just one of a number of players we will be speaking to," said Moyes. Blackburn have already spoken to the Scottish international, while Birmingham, Portsmouth, Norwich and West Brom have also expressed interest. Moyes has lost David Unsworth, Francis Jeffers, Scot Gemmill, Niclas Alexandersson and Paul Gerrard, with Steve Simonsen expected to follow. He said today: "Yes, there will be players coming in because we are very short both in quantity and quality. "We don't have the resources to buy a great deal of quality, but we will certainly be looking to bring players in, in the hope that they will improve on where we finished last year. "We have tried to bring Alan Smith here, and people can say whatever they like about that bid, but I wouldn't have gone for him without thinking we had a proper chance of signing him. "We would also be interested in bringing Joe Cole here on loan if Chelsea would allow him to leave. He is one of several players we are talking about bringing in on loan."

Moyes needs fresh blood
May 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON desperately need an injection of fresh young blood if they are to avoid suffering another dismal season, believes Goodison hero Graeme Sharp. Like the fans, the former striker has been left deeply frustrated by a season in which the Blues scraped their lowest points total in 115 years.
All acknowledge that Everton cannot afford to stand still. Sharp said: "It has been very disappointing given how we finished last year. I did think it would be a struggle this season. The players were fantastic last year, but to get them to do it two years in a row consistently was always going to be hard. "I didn't think it would be as much of a struggle as it was, though. Everyone is glad the season is over and can look ahead to the next. "We cannot afford another season like that. The punters will become disillusioned. They were not happy with what was served up last season. Hopefully there will be sufficient funds in the summer for David Moyes to bring in one or two players. "I would like to see some new players come in. It's an ageing squad. There are a lot of players in the squad over 30. When David Moyes first came in he said he wanted to build a young side. "If you look we have the talent of Wayne Rooney, Joseph Yobo, Tony Hibbert, James McFadden, but there are too many on the older side. "Once you get to over the 30 mark it's downhill. David would like to have some younger players in his squad. We have to build for the future." There are a number of reasons given why the Blues have struggled to repeat their form of the 2002/03 season, when the club finished seventh in the Premiership. Recently, many Evertonians have pointed to a lack of commitment from some players, exemplified by the 5-1 defeat at Manchester City on the final day of the campaign.
"The punters will accept a lot of things, but what they won't take is a lack of commitment and passion from those in an Everton shirt," noted Sharp. "They may have questioned that in some of the games. "It was an awful performance at Manchester City. I was embarrassed. That's the memory Evertonians who went to that game will be left with. They need to see something changing for next season. "Last year we won a lot of games 1-0. That has not happened this time round, for whatever reason - missed chances, concentration, injuries, no consistency. The team now needs investment in terms of David Moyes being able to bring new players into the squad. "A lot of Evertonians were pinning their hopes on Wayne, but he is only 18 and you cannot afford to rely on one individual. The team needs to gel. We need a striker who can get 15 or 20 goals a season. That really moves you up the table."

Duncan's blue heaven
May 26 2004 By Kirsti Adair Echo Reporter
HE may be the hard man of football but Duncan Ferguson is a big softie when it comes to his family.
Looking tanned and relaxed, the £35,000-a-week Everton striker was seen rushing into the waves with his two children Cameron and Eve. He strolled hand in hand with his wife Janine along the white sands as the family enjoyed their sunshine break in Barbados. The holiday will be a chance for him to put his footballing troubles behind him and no expense was spared as he booked his family into the island's exclusive Sandy Lane resort. Guests pay up to £2,000 a night for a suite at the luxurious hotel with stunning sea views. The exotic location has been a favourite destination of the rich and famous throughout the world for many years. Jackie Kennedy, Greta Garbo and Elton John have all soaked up the sun at the celebrity haunt which describes itself as the Caribbean's premier address. It is not the first time Ferguson, a former Glasgow Rangers player and ex-Scottish international, has shown his softer side. After his team's humiliating 5-1 defeat by Manchester City on the last day of the season, he paid for the players to go on a week's holiday to Spain. But this time it was a special treat for the family and he certainly seems to have scored a winner as far as they are concerned.

It was third time lucky, says new Everton chief
By Bill Gleeson, Daily Post
May 27 2004
EVERTON'S new chief executive is famous for being Bill Shankly's last signing at Anfield. As an apprentice with Liverpool, Trevor Birch, cleaned Kevin Keegan's boots and was an unused substitute in the European Cup final against FC Bruges in 1978. However his career as a footballer didn't flourish and after five years he left the game to study for a degree. Mr Birch, 45, said last night: "I needed to grow up and that's when I went to Liverpool Poly to study an accountancy degree."
On graduating, he signed up for the Liverpool office of accountancy firm Arthur Young, now part of Ernst & Young. While there, he met fellow trainees Rick Parry, now chief executive of Liverpool, and Mark Palios, now chief executive of the Football Association. Both Mr Parry and Mr Palios also showed initial promise as footballers. Mr Palios played for Tranmere Rovers, while Mr Parry had a trial for Everton. "Arthur Young had a great five-a-side team," recalls Mr Birch. Mr Birch gained invaluable early experience in dealing with troubled football clubs as a junior accountant in his firm's Tithebarn Street office. He said: "I was part of the first administration of a football club when we sold Tranmere Rovers to Peter Johnson." He came to prominence nationally two years ago when he took the job as chief executive of Chelsea. After selling the debt-ridden club to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, he became immersed in a frenzied period when Chelsea was attempting to buy up most of Europe's top football talent. After he left the London side, Mr Birch was quickly snapped up by Leeds United to rescue the Elland Road side from the brink of financial collapse. On the day he joined, Leeds revealed annual trading losses of £50m and had debts approaching £80m.
He succeeded in selling Leeds to a syndicate of Yorkshire investors just a few months ago, but that was not enough to prevent relegation. And now, after Chelsea and Leeds, he is with Everton. "It was third time lucky. I had other offers but Everton is a big club. I hope I can stay at this one a bit longer," he said. Mr Birch acknowledged that one of his first jobs would be to find new money for Everton. "All Premier League teams need money," he said. He added that he had not heard of any plans to sell the club, but indicated that there might be some potential buyers lurking in the wings.
He refused to be drawn any further. Nor was he prepared to comment on whether the club would sell Wayne Rooney or share a stadium with Liverpool. After five years away from the city Mr Birch added: "I'm delighted I'm moving back to Merseyside with the family." Steve Stuart, a former colleague, said: "This is a very good appointment for Everton. The reputation he has built in football is that of an astute guy."

Our Smith offer was serious, insists Moyes
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
May 27 2004
DAVID MOYES has insisted Everton were serious about their bid to bring Alan Smith to Goodison Park. Smith last night completed his expected £7million move from relegated Leeds United to cross-Pennine rivals Manchester United. Everton had lodged a similar offer last week as Moyes signalled his determination to place the 23-year-old alongside Wayne Rooney in attack. Given their apparently limited transfer budget, Everton's multi-million pound bid for the England international came as something of a surprise. But Moyes said: "We have tried to bring Alan Smith here, and people can say whatever they like about that bid, but I wouldn't have gone for him without thinking we had a proper chance of signing him. "We would also be interested in bringing Joe Cole here on loan if Chelsea would allow him to leave. "He is one of several players we are talking about bringing in on loan." However, Moyes has admitted he will be forced to lower his transfer sights as he attempts to bolster a squad short on numbers. The Everton manager will meet with Leicester City striker Paul Dickov later this week in the hope of brokering a cut-price deal with the Scottish international. Dickov, who has had talks with Blackburn Rovers and is also interesting Birmingham City, Portsmouth and promoted sides Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion, is reportedly available for a fee of £100,000 following Leicester's relegation from the Premiership. Moyes said: "Dickov is just one of a number of players we are speaking to. "Yes, there will be players coming in because we are very short both in quantity and quality. "We don't have the resources to buy a great deal of quality, but we will certainly be looking to bring players in, in the hope that they will improve on where we finished last year."

Fresh start for Blues
By Richard Williamson And Bill Gleeson Daily Post Staff
May 27 2004
EVERTON Football Club last night made the first move towards a major overhaul by appointing Trevor Birch as their new Chief Executive. The club's board meets tonight, and is expected to appoint club owner Bill Kenwright as chairman in place of Sir Philip Carter. Mr Birch, who has been chief executive at both Leeds United and Chelsea, is believed to be coming in with a brief to broker major new investment in the struggling club. He will take over from current Everton chief executive Michael Dunford on Tuesday. Mr Dunford's contract is not being renewed and he leaves after ten
years at Goodison Park. Mr Birch has established a reputation as a major deal broker, having most recently helped negotiate the £22m takeover of Leeds by Gerald Krasner's consortium before leaving in March. His arrival at Goodison will be seen as a strengthening of the Board's attempts to attract substantial investment to a club which finished just one place above the relegation places in the Premiership last season and has debts of around £30m. Speaking to the Daily Post last night, Mr Birch revealed he turned down job offers from several other Premier League clubs to join Everton.
He said: "I'm delighted. It was third time lucky. I had other offers, but Everton is a big club.
"I hope I can stay at this one a bit longer," added Mr Birch. Long-serving Everton director Keith Tamlin is expected to stand down at tonight's board meeting, along with Sir Philip. This would leave a Board consisting of Mr Kenwright, Paul Gregg, Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby but leave room for potential investors to be brought in. Whether the changes mean a more influential role for Mr Gregg will be closely monitored by Evertonians, desperate to see manager David Moyes being handed more money to be able to compete in the transfer market this summer. Mr Kenwright says he is working hard to release up to £5m for the manager to spend. Mr Gregg was a key member of Kenwright's True Blue Holdings, which took over the club from Peter Johnson, but has not been seen at an Everton game in over a year. Sir Philip joined the Board in 1975 and first served as chairman from 1978 to 1991. He took over the role again in 1998 following Johnson's resignation. Last night, Mr Kenwright said Mr Birch's knowledge of the footballing world would be a major asset to the club. "Trevor is an administrator with a far-reaching knowledge and understanding of football as both a sport and as a business," he said.

Birch pledge to Everton
May 27 2004 EXCLUSIVE By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TREVOR BIRCH has pledged to take Everton back into the 'big five' of English football. Goodison's newly appointed chief executive, will take up his post next Tuesday, replacing the departing Michael Dunford. He arrives at Everton boasting an impressive track record at Chelsea and Leeds in the last two years. He is the first of a series of changes in the upper echelons of the club made by owner and deputy chairman Bill Kenwright. A board meeting at Goodison tonight is set to lead to a major reshuffle, with chairman Sir Philip Carter and director Keith Tamlin expected to step down. Birch's arrival is seen as a strengthening of Kenwright's attempts to attract substantial investment to the club. The Blues finished fourth from bottom of the Premiership this season and David Moyes is eager for a significant transfer pot to radically overhaul his ageing squad. Birch is keen to lead the club back to the top of the English game, but has warned it will take time. He said: "Bill (Kenwright) is a good guy and I get on well with him and hopefully we can take the club forward. "I had other opportunities, but coming home was a big draw to work at such a big club. "Twenty years ago Everton were one of the big five. The club has slipped from that position but we have to have a plan to get it back up there. "It is not going to be quick. We have got to wait for next cycle of football to come around because in the next couple of years the game is going to be dominated by the top three and Liverpool. "We have got to have a long term plan to get us back to the top where we belong. "There's the ground, the new training ground to build and the fanbase. They are all building blocks we can use to improve the club." Birch arrives at Goodison having forged an impressive reputation within the game over the last two years. He was appointed by Ken Bates as chief executive at Chelsea, charged with the task of saving the debt-ridden London club from financial meltdown. He achieved that aim and oversaw the deal with Roman Abramovich which transformed Stamford Bridge. He switched to Elland Road last November and guided the Leeds club away from administration, negotiating the £22m takeover by Gerald Krasner's consortium. He is now determined to stay at Goodison for the long term, safe in the knowledge he is joining a club that is not in the same financial predicament. He adds: "It has gone well so far, so let's hope we can consolidate and I can build on that experience I have had in the last couple of years, building on it at Everton. "I was a professional player for seven years and so I feel I have a better understanding of that side of the game. "I was in the last group of apprentices signed on by Bill Shankly, but with a little poetic licence I was his last signing for Liverpool. "Looking back now, it was the most successful time in the club's history and there is no doubt the time I spent at the club, seeing how things worked behind the scenes, has been a big advantage to me."

True Blues are holding the aces
May 27 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TODAY'S major reshuffle in the Goodison Park boardroom is set to be led by the two men with the real power base at Everton. There may be six directors attending the proposed board meeting, but only Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg wield any real power when it comes to control of the club.
It was their partnership which finally brought an end to the Peter Johnson era at Goodison in March 2000. And they will be key figures if there is a shake-up of the upper echelons in the next 24 hours.
The duo founded True Blue Holdings in 2000, the company which bought the club from Johnson at £850 per share. Ownership of the club is spread across 35,000 shares, with 72 per cent of those covered by True Blue. Ownership of those shares within True Blue are split up between Gregg and his wife Anita, Kenwright and fellow directors Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby. Gregg and his wife possess 36 per cent of True Blue, Kenwright 32 per cent, Woods' company 25 per cent and Abercromby seven per cent. That means the shares owned by Kenwright and Gregg as part of True Blue give them 51 per cent of the club. Added to that, Kenwright also owns 556 shares independently. By contrast, current chairman Sir Philip Carter is recorded as owning just 721 shares in the club's Annual Report for 2003. That equates to two per cent of the club. He has been on the Goodison board since 1975, but the power he wields in terms of shares is minimal. It is a similar story for Keith Tamlin, who was re-elected to the board in September 1998. Charged with the task of overseeing the club's Youth Academy, Tamlin owns 119 shares. Both are now expected to stand down from the board. And the changes are set to lead to a more hands-on role for the men in True Blue, with Kenwright tipped to become the new chairman. Trevor Birch, who was last night confirmed as the club's new chief executive in place of the out-going Michael Dunford, is set to take a place on the board of directors. He will be asked to fulfil the ambition of the new-look board to provide greater investment for team rebuilding. The departure of Carter and Tamlin will leave the boardroom solely in the hands of the investors in True Blue. Professor Tom Cannon, the head of Kingston Business School, believes that may provide cause for concern. He explains: "One of the issues that is becoming central to the whole situation is the relationship between True Blue Holdings and Everton. "The critics of True Blue will say they are acting as a board within a board. "If that is the case, then there is the question of whether they are acting in the club's best interests. "There is potentially a big question regarding conflict of interests, because the best thing for True Blue Holdings may not be the best thing for Everton." Any board shake-up will be aimed at helping the club generate more revenue. Kenwright is eager to find fresh investment following a torrid season in the Premiership. Throughout the last four years he has struggled to overcome the financial problems left behind by the sizable debt Johnson created. Kenwright vowed last week that he was doing everything in his power to transform the situation. That has included an injection of fresh blood and fresh ideas. Birch is a specialist in transforming the fortunes of financially struggling football clubs. Some see him as an asset-stripper. If the good ship Everton can be streamlined, then the benefits could be passed on to a manager who is desperate for the funds to build a team capable of achieving far more than mid-table mediocrity.

Dunford ends era in 'dreamjob'
May 27 2004 Liverpool Echo
MICHAEL DUNFORD has overseen nine of the most turbulent years in Everton's history. The Blues' departing Chief Executive arrived from Derby County as club secretary in January 1995. Within months he was organising ticket arrangements for an FA Cup Final, club record transfers for Andrei Kanchelskis and Nick Barmby - and soon after, a severence package for manager Joe Royle. Mr Dunford oversaw the departure of three Blues' bosses - Royle, Howard Kendall and Walter Smith - one club Chairman, Peter Johnson, plus scores of players. He succeeded long-serving Chief Executive Jim Greenwood at Goodison, and ultimately inherited Greenwood's Chief Executive mantle Following Johnson's tumultuous departure in November 1998 and the True Blue Holdings takeover, confirmed on Boxing Day 1999, Dunford effectively ran Everton Football Club. He admitted it was a dream job. When he arrived from The Baseball Ground early in 1995 Dunford said: "It is an excellent career move for me - this job is the next best thing to playing. "A lot of players would say they hoped to play for Liverpool or Manchester United. "Well, from an administrative point of view, I always had the vision of Everton and Arsenal, as they are the two best run clubs in the country.
Mr Dunford never had need to take up that offer and departs with a glowing tribute from deputy Chairman Bill Kenwright. "Michael has worked tirelessly on behalf of Everton Football Club for the best part of a decade and we are all very grateful for the dedication he brought to his post. "We part company as good friends and everyone at Goodison Park wishes him every success in the future."

Everton boardroom reshuffle on hold
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 28 2004
EVERTON have put their anticipated boardroom reshuffle on hold after Thursday's board meeting was cancelled. The board was expected to appoint club owner Bill Kenwright as chairman in place of Sir Philip Carter. But that and a series of other changes within the upper echelons of the club have now been temporarily shelved. No firm date has been pencilled in for the next board meeting, and taking into consideration summer holidays and possible absenteeism, it could be weeks before the Goodison board reconvene. However, it is still expected both chairman Carter and director Keith Tamlin will stand down from the board, with Carter likely to be handed an honorary title at Goodison similar to that of club president. The reshuffle would leave control of Everton in the hands of Kenwright and directors Paul Gregg, Arthur Abercromby and Jon Woods. All four are investors in True Blue Holdings, the company founded in 2000 by Kenwright and Gregg which bought the club from former chairman Peter Johnson. The arrival this week of Trevor Birch as the club's new chief executive in place of Michael Dunford was the first of a series of high-end changes Kenwright believes necessary to strengthen his attempts at attracting substantial investment to the club. Birch, who will take up his post on Tuesday, has revealed he has arrived to help elevate Everton back into the 'big five' of English football. He said: "Bill Kenwright is a good guy and I get on well with him and hopefully we can take the club forward. "Twenty years ago Everton were one of the big five. The club has slipped from that position but we have to have a plan to get it back up there. "It is not going to be quick. We have got to wait for next cycle of football to come around because in the next couple of years the game is going to be dominated by the top three and Liverpool. "We have got to have a long term plan to get us back to the top where we belong. There's the ground, the new training ground to build and the fanbase. They are all building blocks we can use to improve the club." Meanwhile, Everton have denied reports they have received a £1.5million cash offer from Fulham for Tomasz Radzinski. The Canadian international is in the final 12 months of his contract and has yet to respond to a two-year deal made by the club. Fulham manager Chris Coleman is a known admirer of Radzinski, who joined Everton from Anderlecht in a £4.5million deal three years ago, and is expected to make a move for the player over the summer. But Everton manager David Moyes said: "These latest reports are completely untrue." Everton remain hopeful young American star Danny Szetela will join this summer after he revealed a deal is 'probable' when he returns from the USA under-18's current tour of Argentina. The Goodison club look poised to beat Manchester City, Tottenham and Inter Milan for his signature after impressing the 16-year-old on his visit to the club last month. He said: "I probably will sign with Everton when I get back from Argentina."

Chance for Mersey football supporters to reminisce
By Scott Hesketh, Daily Post
May 28 2004
FOR football fans on Merseyside, the Kop and the Gwladys Street have provided some stirring memories for the Liverpool and Everton faithfuls. And from today fans can relive some of those moments as two exhibitions - 'The Kop's Last Stand' and 'Everton's 80s Heroes' - get underway in Liverpool. 'The Kop's Last Stand' chronicles the illustrious history of the legendary all-standing Spion Kop, from its opening in 1906 to its closure in 1994. Running concurrently with the Liverpool FC exhibition, is 'Everton's 80s Heroes', a celebration of the Goodison club's most successful period.
Evertonians can see photographs of their heroes at the Conservation Centre, near Queens Square while Liverpudlians can enjoy the Kop exhibition at the Museum of Liverpool Life at the Pier Head.

Sign Earnshaw
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
May 28 2004
Sign Earnshaw
I THINK David Moyes should make a move for Robert Earnshaw. The 23-year-old is a proven marksman and could maybe replace Radzinski, who seems reluctant to sign another contract.
Everton need an injection of youth to look to the future. Paul Dickov and Radzinski are in the twilight of their careers.
Peter Edwards (via e-mail)
Spine right
I AM the coach and manager of a lady football team in Kampong. To me a successful team must have the spine: Goalkeeper-stopperplaymaker-striker. Now we have Wright-Yobo-Rooney, so all we need is a real good playmaker. Many fans mentioned Aimar. If we can get him will be fantastic, if not then we need some good one like Cole, Ballack, Okocha, Coco or Mendieta. Get any one of them and we can be real good.
A Arina (via e-mail)
Lay off Campbell
WHY does everybody have it in for Campbell, remember he saved us from certain relegation. It's not his fault he got offered a load of cash each week, what was he supposed to do, say no?
T Offo (via e-mail)
Child's play
MARTIN Keown, Paul Dick-ov, Gary Breen... hmm building a young squad I see. I heard if Peter Reid hadn't become Coventry manager he was the man to replace Gravesen Come on Moyes give the kids a chance. What harm can it do? After all it couldn't be much worse than last year.
Mark Cam (via e-mail)

Rooney can be as big as Pele, claims Zico
By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
May 28 2004
WAYNE ROONEY has been told he can become as big a player as Pele - by Brazilian legend Zico.
Everton's 18-year-old striker has been tipped to become a star of Euro 2004 by the 54-year-old former Samba superstar. Zico is now the national coach of Japan and will get a first-hand view of what Rooney is capable of when England play host to them at the City of Manchester Stadium a week tomorrow. A star of the '78 and '82 World Cups, he believes Rooney can emulate the greatest player Brazil has ever produced. "Wayne is a young player who excites me," admitted Zico.
"It is clear that he has so much talent and, for someone so young, he shows a maturity way above his years. "Pele had all the ability in the world. But one of his great qualities was that he could take anything and any situation in his stride. "From the little I have seen of Wayne, he can do that too. He can be a big star in the Euro 2004 finals. "The fact that it is his first major tournament as an England player will not faze him a bit. "Great players have the habit of always being able to rise to the biggest occasions. Like Pele used to do, they puff out their chests and show the world who is in charge. I expect Rooney to be able to do that in Portugal. "I think he has shown already he can cope with pressure situations. Just look at how he performed against Turkey in the European Championship qualifier at Sunderland last year. "It was one of Wayne's first games for his country - yet he performed like a veteran who had already picked up 50 caps. At 18 we are still talking potential here. But anyone who has watched him play will know he has a great future in football. "The biggest thing I can say about Rooney is that he has the potential to be a legendary player. He is, of course, dangerous in front of goal, but he is a good all-round footballer as well. "He has all the qualities I admire in a striker and, on top of that, he seems to have an old head on young shoulders." Rooney lines up for England at Old Trafford on Tuesday night for the first of two matches against Iceland and Japan.

Moyes on the lookout to boost thinning ranks
May 28 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE majority of Everton's players may be away sunning themselves this week, but the manager is working harder than ever. David Moyes' holiday plans will have to wait as he scours the transfer market for signings to bolster his thinning Goodison squad. Six senior players have departed the club in the last three months. Niclas Alexandersson was the first to leave, released from his contract early to complete a move to Gothenburg. He has been followed by Steve Simonsen, Paul Gerrard, Scot Gemmill, David Unsworth and Francis Jeffers. The majority were surplus to requirements, although Unsworth opted for Bolton ahead of a two-year extension offered by the Blues. But the departures leave the squad painfully short of cover. So Moyes has little option but to spread his modest transfer budget as thinly as possible.. Moyes has only confirmed his interest in three prospective signings: Joe Cole, Alan Smith and Paul Dickov. Russian Dmitri Bulykin, a long-term target, could arrive after Euro 2004. The bid for Smith was doomed because of Manchester United's determination to sign the Leeds ace. And the future of Cole, who Moyes would like on a season- long loan, will not be known until Jose Mourinho has settled into his Chelsea hotseat. But Dickov could be a Blue within weeks. The £100,000 release clause in his Leicester deal has made him an obvious target. The 31-year-old Scot will holds talks with Moyes this weekend but Blackburn, Portsmouth, Birmingham and West Brom are also keen to exploit the value-for-money deal. Dickov would provide competition to Wayne Rooney and Tomasz Radzinski, with Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell both entering the final year of their contracts. However, it is in midfield and defence where Moyes' priorities lie. As a free agent, Martin Keown fits the bill financially. But, at 37, he is deemed too old - even though the ex-Blue is felt to be keen on a return. With Alan Stubbs and David Weir both in their 30s and with just 12 months of their contracts remaining, youth is a priority.
Centre-back Martin Laursen fitted Moyes' plans ideally. But Aston Villa stumped up the £3m fee and the Dane is now bound for the Midlands. At 26, Rangers' Craig Moore is also the right age. The Australian international gave a huge hint that Everton are chasing him by unconvincingly side-stepping the question live on Aussie TV last weekend. Talks on a new Ibrox deal have stalled and he would be available for £2m. Moore is a far more realistic target than Daniel van Buyten - linked with the club but out of their price range. Mario Melchiot, the Dutch defender released by Chelsea has been ruled out because of wages. Birmingham's out-of-favour Darren Purse would welcome a switch to Goodison. But a more likely target is PSG centre-back Jose Pierre-FanFan. The prospect of paying £2.5m for a 24-year-old ex-Monaco defender could tempt Moyes. In midfield, the manager is equally keen to add youth and aggression. Sean Davis may be in talks to extend his Fulham contract, but reports suggest Davis, who was within hours of a £5m move to Everton last summer, could be available for a cut-price £3m. Chris Coleman's interest in Radzinski has heightened speculation, but Moyes is keen to keep hold of the Canadian - unless he makes it clear he will not sign the two-year contract still on the table. Nicky Butt is an alternative after failing to secure a regular first-team place at Manchester United, and the 29-year-old has made it clear Everton would be a welcome destination. But the club would be unable to match his hefty pay packet. That is a problem set to dog Moyes throughout the summer. He is working around the clock to balance his need to add quality with his need to do so on a budget. The manager wants new faces sooner rather than later. But the Moyes family will probably have to wait for a break in the sun.

Faddy: I'll repay the faith
May 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
SCOTLAND striker James McFadden has vowed to continue to repay Berti Vogts' belief in his talents with more decisive goals. The Everton forward, who has yet to establish himself as an automatic pick at Goodison, netted the only goal of the game in Estonia last night. It was his fourth goal for his country and his third in the last six games - when no other player has found the net. McFadden said: "The manager has shown a lot of confidence in me because I have still been in the squad when I have not been playing at club level. "It has been like that since day one with the manager and I would like to think I am starting to repay his confidence. "And if I can get my performance to a higher level, I can repay him a bit more." Until McFadden scored in the 76th minute, both he and strike partner Kenny Miller were repeatedly denied by Kaalma.. But McFadden, who has previously been utilised on the left of midfield by Vogts, made it clear that he prefers the striking role.
He said: "I want to score in every game I play in and I want to prove I can do it at this level. "I feel more confident playing through the middle. In that position, you might not be having your best game but you can still pop up and get the goal that makes the difference. "You have got to be on your toes all the time out on the wing. I want to play up front. If the manager wants to use me on the wing it is no problem, but playing as a striker is my preference."

Thanks for the truth
May 28 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
I CAN safely say that in 17 years of reporting the times trials, and tribulations of Everton Football Club, only three men in authority at Goodison Park have told me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. David Moyes and Joe Royle are two. Michael Dunford was the other. He was always available, regardless of the hour. And if he couldn't tell you the truth, he wouldn't tell you anything - which is all any journalist can ask. Whilst accepting the administrative acumen, business brain and unparalleled experience Trevor Birch will bring to Goodison Park, I'll be sorry to see Michael Dunford leave. The solitary untruth which blotted Walter Smith's copybook? "No, Prentice. Nick Barmby is not joining Liverpool Football Club!"

Just like the old days!
May 28 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
NOT since Peter Johnson promised a "world-class manager" - then had to turn to Howard Kendall for the third time - have Evertonians been so non-plussed. Promising Alan Smith, then offering Paul Dickov was the footballing equivalent of losing a fiver and finding a pound. Actually, make that finding a penny. One of those old predecimalisation ones you can't spend any more. Dickov is a spiky, thoroughly committed, 100 per cent professional. But he's not very good. Like John Spencer with a side-part, and Evertonians thought they had left those days behind.

Blues delay reshuffle
May 28 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S board reshuffle has been put on hold after last night's scheduled board meeting was cancelled. The board was set to convene at Goodison, with the meeting expected to lead to the departure of chairman Sir Philip Carter and director Keith Tamlin. Owner and deputy chairman Bill Kenwright (right) has been tipped to take on the chairmanship, with Carter expected to be given an honorary title to reflect his 30 years of service as an Everton board member. But the changes have now been delayed, with no alternative date pencilled in for the next board meeting. The changes are part of a reshuffle by Kenwright aimed at modernising the club. Trevor Birch has been appointed as the club's new chief executive and will take over from the departing Michael Dunford next Tuesday. The chief executive's role is set to be given greater prominence as part of the proposed changes. Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby will remain on the board.

Savage puts Everton on transfer alert
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
May 29 2004
EVERTON were put on alert last night after Robbie Savage stalled on a new contract at Birmingham City. The 29-year-old Wales international believed to be unhappy at the current three-year offer on the table from the St Andrews club. Savage is understood to be upset the wages offered to him fall below those handed to new signings Emile Heskey and Muzzy Izzet. And Birmingham's current refusal to meet Savage's demands could prompt David Moyes into making a move for the midfielder, with the Everton manager a known admirer of the boyhood Blue. An offer of around £2m could be enough to force Birmingham manager Steve Bruce into talking business with the Goodison club.
Fulham, meanwhile, will test Everton's resolve once again next week by making a fresh move for Tomasz Radzinski. Goodison officials rejected a bid for the striker of less than £1million from the Cottagers earlier this month, and were forced to deny speculation the Londoners had made an increased cash offer for the 30-year-old on Thursday. However, Fulham manager Chris Coleman will lodge an improved bid of around £1.75m next week in an attempt to lure David Moyes into parting with Radzinski, who joined Everton from Anderlecht for £4.5m three years ago. Radzinski has been offered a new two-year contract extension by Everton in keeping with Moyes's policy for players aged 30 or above. But with the club refusing to meet his demands, Radzinski is prepared to move away from Goodison in search of the long-term security he is seeking. With his attacking options limited, Moyes had planned to keep the striker for the final 12 months of his existing contract and risk losing him on a free transfer. But a lack of transfer funds may force the Everton manager's hand should Fulham return with what he considers a substantial enough bid. Blackburn Rovers, meanwhile, have stolen a march on Everton by tabling a bid for Leicester City striker Paul Dickov.
Moyes has already held talks with the Scottish international as he looks to bolster his forward line.
But Blackburn chief executive John Williams confirmed: "We've had some discussions already, and we hope to be able to talk to the player later this week." Portsmouth are also interested in the 31-year-old, who is believed to be available for as little as £100,000. Moyes's attempts to bring Joe Cole to Goodison on loan have been hampered by the player insisting he wants to stay at Chelsea and fight for his first-team place. "I really want to make it work at Chelsea," said midfielder Cole. "They are a club who are really going places and I really want to be part of that. "There looks as though there could be a new manager in place and I want to be given a chance at both club and international level. "My real wish is to play at the top of a diamond formation. All I've ever wanted is a manager to say 'go and play there and show what you can do'. "It's been a settling-in time at Chelsea. Towards the end of my time at West Ham I was playing in an unfamiliar role and again, when I first went to Chelsea, things were different and I had to adapt. "In time, though, I began to play more and more and I didn't want the season to end. "Now I must pick up where I left off and make sure I am in the starting line-up for the first game of next season." Thomas Gravesen is winning his battle to be fit for Euro 2004 after reporting no reaction to the knee injury which ruled him out of the last three matches of the Premiership campaign. Gravesen is suspended for his country's opening game against Italy, but should be available for Denmark's second Group C game against Bulgaria on June 18. "Since joining the national squad, Thomas has been in full training every single day," said Denmark spokesman Lars Berendt.

Harvey backing Moyes to keep Everton on the up
Daily Post
May 29 2004
hareCOLIN HARVEY believes that the modern Everton can make further progress under David Moyes, despite the disappointments of last season . But whether a modern league championship can be won again without a massive injection of cash is highly unlikely. Everton, with Harvey's coaching skills and Howard Kendall's managerial expertise, won two titles, the FA Cup and European Cup Winners Cup in four sensational years between 1984 and 1987. Those trophy successes were achieved without breaking the bank, but the game has changed dramatically in recent years.
Daily Post columnist Harvey said: "It is going to be very difficult for any club these days to make the kind of progress we made without having serious money to support that challenge. "Of course, football throws up remarkable stories, even now. We have seen a small club like Bolton almost win silverware. We have also seen Charlton Athletic rise from the ashes to a position in the Premiership that has surprised many people. "But when you talk about winning the really big prizes, as we did in the 1980s, it's virtually impossible to do it without spending a fortune. We did dig deep when we had to. I remember we paid a club record fee for Adrian Heath. But other influential players like Peter Reid and Andy Gray were captured for comparatively small fees. We picked up Derek Mountfield for next to nothing from Tranmere "When you look back, we built the side without massive spending. But it's virtually impossible to win the title these days down that route.
"There is now a gulf between the top flight and the first division. To bring in top quality, you need to invest massively. "What I would say is that Ever-ton still have the potential to be one of the game's great clubs. You only have to look at the average attendances which are regularly over 40,000.
"The fanbase is there and the supporters started to believe again in the 2002-03 season when David Moyes turned things round to take the team extremely close to a European qualification. His reward was a Manager of the Year award. But being in a position to take the next step is the important thing, especially while you are in the ascendency. It didn't happen last season and we all hope that it was just a hiccup. "I think what it has hammered home is that managers need support to keep building and David will be looking to the changes being made internally at Everton to help him regain that impetus." Harvey was speaking at the launch of an exciting new exhibition entitled "Everton's 80s Heroes" which will be open to the public next week at the city centre Conservation Centre in Whitechapel. It features tremendous photography from the most successful era in the history of Everton FC and fans who attend can also listen to interviews with some of the great players from that period, men like Trevor Steven, Neville Southall, Graeme Sharp, John Bailey and Derek Mountfield. The exhibition has been inspired by a brand new book - "Everton's Z-Stars, the men who made history 1984-1987" - which has been written by Ken Rogers who followed the club home and abroad during the 1980s as a journalist with the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo. Colin, of course, had a lifetime's involvement with the Blues as a playing hero, coach and manager. Until recently, he worked with the younger players at the club's Academy and had a big influence on the progress of Wayne Rooney. These days, Colin's only involvement with Everton is as a committed fan, although he continues to play a role in the game as scout for Ipswich Town who are managed by another former Goodison great, Joe Royle. He said: "Everton remains a special club. When you speak to ex-players they always want to know what is going on. "There is a tremendous amount of love and respect for the Blues out there. For me, I'm proud that Everton has been such a big part of my life."
* "Everton's 80s Heroes" runs at the Conservation Centre, Whitechapel, until September 28, free admission.
* "Everton's Z-Stars, 1984-1987" by Ken Rogers is published by Trinity Mirror Sport Media at £17.50.

Blow for Moyes in chase for Cole
May 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES' hopes of bringing Joe Cole to Everton on a season-long loan have been undermined by the player's insistence he wants to prove himself at Chelsea. The Goodison chief admitted last week that Cole is on his summer wish-list, although a loan was the only way of bringing the England international to Merseyside. Cole made 35 appearances for Claudio Ranieri's side last season, but rarely completed a full 90 minutes. Despite that, the 22-year-old is keen to remain at Stamford Bridge and prove himself to the new manager, who is set to be Porto chief Jose Mourinho. "I really want to make it work at Chelsea," he insists. "They are a club who are really going places and I really want to be a part of that. There looks as though there could be a new manager in place and I want to be given a chance at both club and international level." But Cole is also eager to prove himself in the Premiership playing in his preferred position at the pinnacle of a midfield diamond formation.
He is unlikely to be given that opportunity at Chelsea. Moyes could be more conducive. Cole adds: "All I've ever wanted is a manager to say 'go and play there and show what you can do'. "I have never had that at club level. It is going to be my best position, I am sure, and I have to find a manager who will put his trust in me and give me a run there." Meanwhile, Thomas Gravesen has recovered from a medial knee ligament injury and is set to prove his fitness for Denmark in the next seven days. He will play in one of his country's final Euro 2004 preparation games against Estonia tomorrow or Croatia next week. If he comes through unscathed, Gravesen will be an automatic selection for the starting XI in Portugal, although he is suspended for the opening match against Italy on June 14. Lars Berendt, Denmark's press officer, has revealed: "Since joining the national squad Thomas has been in full training every single day, so we are expecting him to be fully fit, not only for Euro 2004 but also for the two friendlies."

Kenwright delighted with Birch appointment
May 29 2004 Liverpool Echo
TREVOR BIRCH will take up his new post as Everton's chief executive on Tuesday with the praise of owner Bill Kenwright ringing in his ears. The theatre impressario has drafted Birch in place of the departing Michael Dunford and has backed him to lead the club back to the top table of the modern game. Birch and Kenwright have drafted a five-year plan to restore Everton's fortunes from a club with a hefty £30m+ debt into one capable of challenging the top four for honours. Kenwright said: "Trevor enjoys an unparalleled reputation within the British game as an administrator with a farreaching knowledge and understanding of football as both a sport and a business." Birch's appointment is the first in a series of anticipated changes by Kenwright. He is set to take on the chairmanship from Sir Philip Carter at the club's next board meeting, which has yet to be rescheduled after Thursday's cancellation. Keith Tamlin is also expected to leave the board. Paul Gregg, Jon Woods and Arthur Abercromby will remain. Each of those directors is a shareholder in True Blue Holdings, the company founded by Gregg and Kenwright in 2000 to purchase the 68 per cent share of the club from Peter Johnson. True Blue now holds 72 per cent of the club. We reported earlier this week that 36 per dent of True Blue was possessed by Gregg and his wife Anita.
However, Gregg's holding is just 32.6 per cent, with Kenwright owning the largest portion with 32.8 per cent. That, added to his independent holding of 556 shares gives the Everton chief a 25.1 per cent stake in the club. Woods owns 25.6 per cent of True Blue and Abercromby 7.3.

Owen backing Rooney for Euro 2004 glory
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
May 31 2004
MICHAEL OWEN has tipped Everton striker Wayne Rooney to make a spectacular impact at this summer's Euro 2004 finals - just as he himself did at the 1998 World Cup. The Merseyside pair are expected to line up together in attack for England's opening group game against France in 13 days' time. Much is expected of 18-year-old Rooney, who has just 11 caps coming into the tournament, but Owen was even less experienced before France 98. He was two months younger than Rooney is now, had just six caps and was not even a regular in the England side. Glenn Hoddle nevertheless promoted him ahead of Teddy Sheringham in the third group game against Colombia after scoring as a substitute against Romania. And 16 minutes into the sec-ond round game against Argentina, he made the whole world aware of his talent with his famous strike. Asked whether Rooney could repeat the feat, Owen insisted: "Let's hope so. We all hope he's that sort of player who does things like that. "Some players are just lucky and do rise to the occasion. It's a bit of an unknown with Wayne because we've never seen him play outside the Premiership, apart from a few qualifiers for England. "But the early indications from the games he's played in so far are that he does like to score spectacular goals. Let's hope he can do it as well in the big games. "He can be anything he wants to be. It's up to him how he wants his career to pan out and how much he's willing to sacrifice everything else." Rooney has already scored three times for his country, two of them in competitive games against Macedonia and Liechtenstein, as well as a friendly against Denmark. He has largely taken his rapid rise to fame in his stride and Owen does not believe that his new strike partner will feel the pressure in Portugal. "He's had a decent season with Everton, probably not as good as he would have liked, but every time he plays for England, he plays really well," he said. "Even though it's a new tournament and there'll be a lot of pressure on him, I still think it'll be fine." Owen added: "He knows nothing else except going out and having a game of football." England will still depend on Owen to provide their main supply of goals and while he has not been in prime form for Liverpool this season, he insists that he is raring to go. Indeed, he believes that his injury-interrupted season could actually work in England's favour, as opposed to the 2002 World Cup, when his fitness levels dropped as the tournament went on. "I started off flying this season, getting something like 10 goals in 10 games, and then I got a freak injury. It kept me out for a couple of months and that knocked me about," he added. "But I'll take the positives out of it - everybody else has probably played a full, hard season in the Premiership. "I'm coming in as a fresh player who's only played 35 games or something compared to some players who've played 50 or 55 games. "Unfortunately for Liver-pool, I haven't been able to play the full amount of games but hopefully it will work in England's favour. "I love being the person that people say 'you need to score'. It's a great responsibility. I've played over 300 games in my career and every one has had pressure, because you're playing for one of the top teams in your league or for your country, where expectations could not be higher. "But you just get used to it. I never go on to a pitch thinking 'there's so much pressure on me'. "I expect to do well and I hope everyone else expects me to do well because that's what gives me that drive." England skipper David Beckham has also hailed Everton youngster Rooney, likening him to Alan Shearer. "Wayne Rooney is young but he plays like a player with Alan Shearer's experience," said Beckham. "He doesn't care about who he is playing against. He'll compete against the toughest defenders and that is a great testament to someone of his age. He's not just a goalscorer, but he's got a lot of heart there." Beckham, meanwhile, has also insisted tournament favourites France are not unbeatable. "People will always look at the France team and say they're unbeatable but they are definitely beatable," he declared. "We're looking forward to the game and we're not scared of any team."

England skippers past and present unite to salute Rooney
May 31 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney insists he will not let the pressure of being England's young hope at Euro 2004 get the better of him. The 18-year-old Everton striker has been compared to Pele, Alan Shearer and Zinedine Zidane by some of the biggest names in world football in the last four days, including ex-Blues' striker Gary Lineker. But Rooney remains unaffected by the growing hype surrounding him with the kick-off to Euro 2004 less than a fortnight away. He will play against Japan at the City of Manchester of Stadium tomorrow night in the penultimate friendly before England jet to Portugal.
He said: "It is always nice when people write good things about you. "When you see positive stuff in the papers it can give you a boost, but this isn't about one player. "As long as we all stick together and play as well as we can, we will be alright." Zico likened Rooney to Pele in the ECHO on Friday. And over the weekend he has had further praise from England skipper David Beckham and former Everton striker Gary Lineker. Beckham said: "Wayne is a young player, but doesn't play like a young player. He plays like an experienced player - like an Alan Shearer. "He will go and compete against the toughest defend-ers and that, for a player of his age, is a great testament. "He's not just a goalscorer, there's a lot of heart there." Lineker added: "Rooney is potentially the England player of my lifetime. "We've had Bobby Charlton and since then people like Bryan Robson. They were world-class, but not what I would call a true great like Michel Platini or Johann Cruyff. "Wayne is young and you can't be sure what he will achieve in the game. But he could reach that Zinedine Zidane level. The natural ability is there." Meanwhile, Everton boss David Moyes is on the continent this week continuing his search for players. The manager has not yet been given the full details of his summer transfer budget but is pressing ahead with his plans in the hope owner Bill Kenwright will find the funds to back his plans. Talks have been held with Leicester striker Paul Dickov, available for a cut-price £100,000. But Blackburn are leading the chase and expected to hold off Moyes and other com-petition from Portsmouth, Birmingham and West Brom, plus a new Leicester offer. West Ham's failure to over-come Crystal Palace in Saturday's first division play-off final has alerted Everton to Michael Carrick's availability. They are likely to face competition from Charlton. Carrick is believed to be available for £2.5m. A bid could boost Everton's hopes of bringing former club-mate Joe Cole to Goodison on a season-long loan. Fulham have yet to up their offer for Tomasz Radzinski from £900,000. Southampton are now believed to be interested in the Canadian. Everton may be forced to consider offers for the forward if the stalemate over his contract extension continues. The player has been offered a new two-year deal but he is believed to be holding out for a three-year contract.
The situation is expected to progress after Trevor Birch's arrival as the club's new chief executive tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Blues are set to unveil their new shirt sponsors at the end of the week, with a major Thai company favourites to secure a deal which will significantly eclipse the £1m a year Kejian deal, which has now run out.
















May 2004