Everton Independent Research Data


Magpies got away with Blue murder
Nov 1 2001 By Claire Gray, Liverpool Echo
I WASN'T the only one at Goodison Park on Saturday. So I can't have been the only one astounded by the mediocrity of a side that finds itself sitting comfortably in the top half of the table 10 games in. Arguably not by default, either. And I'm not talking about Everton. If you analyse the performances of the Blues' last four opponents then even the most pessimistic of Evertonians can afford themselves the slightest smile of satisfaction when assessing their prospects for the season (dare I speak too soon?). With the risk of sounding like that irritating American who spends most of his life either delving into other people's culinary creations or nosing around dodgy celebrity houses, let's look at the evidence. West Ham: At that point a team playing from within the depths of despair and subsequently hammered 5-0. Ipswich Town: Last season's high fliers and one time UEFA Cup contenders whose ability to convert one of over 50 crosses into the box on home soil was incomprehensible, not to mention worrying from their point of view. Aston Villa: A team arriving at Goodison Park guarding one of only two unbeaten Premiership records who, over 90 minutes, looked average and nothing more, yet still sit pretty at the top of the Premiership. Newcastle: 3-1 victors - somehow - and beneficiaries of some suspect finishing on Everton's part rather than a side as talented as their lofty sixth position suggests. Are Everton getting better or the rest getting worse? That's a question for another day. It's time we blew the whistle on inconsistent refs
I'VE got no untoward feelings for Dermot Gallagher. Granted, I haven't the same dislike of him as I have of many of his colleagues - although that's just a personal thing - but I have no specific love for the man himself. But his demotion from the Premiership due to his failure to dish out the appropriate punishment to Robbie Keane after the Leeds man pushed David Beckham last weekend smacked of double standards. Until, that was, referees' chief Philip Don publicly declared that he had told his proteges to minimise such mistakes which to his mind were unacceptable.
Thank God. I don't want to tempt fate by suggesting that we may finally see appropriate repercussions for the more - how shall I put it? - erratic officials. Don't get me wrong, the fact that referees are now visibly getting their come-uppance for dodgy decisions is as comforting as a pot of chocolate mousse (again, just a personal preference). You've got to start somewhere, after all.
But if Gallagher is to be relegated to the Nationwide League for a brief spell for apparently breaching the code of conduct of professional referees, then Don's words should not prove to be mere rhetoric come Saturday evening. From this point on, Gallagher should not be alone in being punished.
Yes, he failed to brandish a red card in the Leeds striker's direction when the player raised his hands to his opponent's face. But show me an official that has consistently interpreted the rules of the game this season and I'll show you a Manc that doesn't own an Oasis album. I was always of the belief that a two-footed tackle from behind merited a sending-off, that a Maricio Tarrico-type tackle deserved the sternest official response and that Duncan Ferguson should not be punished by a free-kick to the opposition every time he lifts his feet off the ground. Disappointingly, I've continually been proved wrong. Consistency. That's still all we ask for. Maybe that wish is about to be granted.

Simonsen is ready for first chance
Nov 1 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE SIMONSEN is ready to take his chance with both hands - if Walter Smith decides to finally hand the young goalkeeper a full Premiership debut on Saturday. The Blues boss has thought about introducing the 22-yearold at Bolton after Paul Gerrard's costly error against Newcastle last weekend. And Simonsen said today: "I came here to play Premiership football and obviously if I'm given an opportunity I'd be delighted. "The gaffer hasn't said anything to me yet but I've read the speculation in the papers. I'll just have to wait and see. " I've been here three years now so I suppose I have had to wait a long time, but that has been down to the form of Paul Gerrard and then Thomas Myhre before him. "I haven't made a fuss, because there's no point in that, but it has been frustrating." Simonsen was England's regular Under-21 goalkeeper when he arrived at Goodison in September 1998 for a fee advertised as a British record £3.3m. It later transpired that the majority of that sum was appearance-related and he had only cost a small fraction. Simonsen was handed two Worthington Cup appearances against Oxford in 1999, and came on as a substitute for 84 minutes at Southampton. Since then his only appearance was an injury-time cameo as a substitute against West Ham last season. " Getting regular matches has always been a problem, especially in my position," said Simonsen. "Reserve games don't come along all that often, although I've played a few recently - including one at Leeds in midweek - and my form has been okay." If Smith does decide to switch his goalkeepers, it won't be the only change. Kevin Campbell looks increasingly likely to miss out, Abel Xavier is definitely out while Steve Watson should be fit to return.

Turks tempt out-of-favour Myhre
Nov 1 2001 By Andy Hunter
GOODISON'S forgotten goalkeeper Thomas Myhre may finally find an Everton exit if Turkish club Besiktas follow up their reported interest in the Norwegian international. The former Viking Stavanger stopper has been frozen out of the Everton picture since failing to regain his place in Walter Smith's side last season. Myhre is desperate for first team football after seeing moves to AC Copenhagen and Bolton fail to materialise during the summer, but would consider reviving his career in Turkey if the opportunity arises. "It's new to me." said Myhre. "But I am not in a position to say that I would not be interested either." Myhre is free to sign a precontract agreement with a club in January as he approaches the end of his existing Everton contract next summer. Smith, meanwhile, believes Paul Gascoigne is now fit enough for a starting role after playing the full 90 minutes against Leeds reserves on Monday. Gascoigne has made two brief substitute appearances since straining knee ligaments against West Ham last month and could be in line for a return at Bolton as Mark Pembridge continues to struggle with a calf injury. "I think he's ready now," said Smith. "He's had a couple of reserve run-outs since coming back from injury and he'll now be ready for selection on Saturday." Steve Watson will be available again after missing the defeat by Newcastle with a knee problem while Abel Xavier is definitely ruled out after suffering concussion in the collision with Paul Gerrard. Idan Tal and Joe-Max Moore will also return to the squad after being kept out of the Newcastle game by international commitments and a virus respectively, but striker Kevin Campbell is still doubtful with a back strain.

Academy: Trotters' feat for Blues
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 2 2001
IT is the short trip to Bolton not only for the first team but both Everton Academy sides tomorrow.
Colin Harvey's under-19s and Alan Harper's under-17s visit the Trotters in the FA Academy Premier League ( kickoffs 11am). Harvey's side will be looking to build on two good performances that have yielded a win and a draw, the latest a 1-1 scoreline at Stoke City last Saturday. Even the 3-2 defeat the week before was a sign of the Blues' ability and with a bit more luck in front of goal they could be going into tomorrow's match with three straight wins. Bolton, though, will provide tough opposition, but they are up against a Blues side who are gaining in confidence.
Last season Everton registered impressive home and away performances at U19 level against the Trotters, winning 3-0 both times, while the U17s were beaten 3-2 away but they redressed the balance with a thumping 4-0 win at Bellefield. But as always at Academy level both sides will show a number of changes from last year, simply because players move on to the next level as they progress through the system. Academy director Ray Hall said: "Comparisons with teams are a bit difficult because of the changing in age groups. We only have one or two players left in each age group and they will probably be the same so comparisons are difficult-from season-to-season and sometimesweek-to-week." Bolton's U19s will be looking to bounce back from last week's 1-0 defeat at home to Manchester City and Hall has no doubts, whatever the line-up, the Blues will need to be on top form to win. Hall added: "Clubs' style of play varies with what players come into your programme each year so you can't necessarily say this Bolton side will play this way or that, it depends on their intake. "If they had three outstanding front players they may play with three up front. But most teams would encourage the right way of playing football and it will be another tough match." Franklyn Colbeck is still on crutches after his injury, but Robert Southern is back in training and the Blues are monitoring his progress in the hope that he can return within the next few weeks. Alan Harper's U17s had one of their brightest performances of the season last week before a cruel penalty decision saw their heads drop and they went down 4-2 against Sheffield Wednesday. With their side being made up predominantly of U16 players, they have found it hard to keep erformance levels going throughout matches, but on the whole there have been encouraging signs that they are more than holding their own in the north west section. They face a Bolton side who put four past Manchester City last week and the young Blues will need to continue their progress to get anything from the match.

Panto season starts
By Mark O'Brien, Daily Post
Nov 2 2001
THEY wore black and white striped jerseys and took what wasn't theirs. They weren't pantomime burglars, but Newcastle United. Although a big cry of 'he's behind you' might have come in handy as Craig Bellamy stole in for their first goal. It's frustrating when you dominate as long as we did last week, create so much yet fail to capitalise. However, it's infinitely preferable to not creating anything and still getting beaten, and that was reflected in the crowd's reaction at the end.
The Goodison faithful aren't unreasonable - as some people would have you believe - they can accept defeat when they've seen their side give their all and attack as they did on Saturday.
Newcastle rode their luck at times, and Shay Given was inspired in their goal, but we let ourselves down with some wayward finishing and defensive blunders. The most marked gaff was obviously Paul Gerrard's, which not only cost us an early goal but will also see us without the inspirational Abel Xavier at Bolton tomorrow. Now the perceived wisdom is that Gerrard will be paying for his comic capers by making way for Steve Simonsen at the Reebok. Many would probably welcome that decision - Gerrard's often justly criticised because of his propensity to dither on his line - but is it the wisest choice at this time? It was a bad error that he made, but that happens to all goalkeepers from time to time, and he actually recovered from it to play really well for the rest of the game.
Will Radzinski get dropped for his error when clean through? You wouldn't have thought so given as he's our best striker. By the same token, who is the best keeper at the club? If it's Steve Simonsen then why hasn't he been playing all season? Gerrard's had several unconvincing performances this season yet there's never been a suggestion of him being dropped until he made this particular embarrassing mistake. If he was the best keeper at the club before he collided with Xavier then he's still the best afterwards. Thomas Myhre's actually better than the pair of them, but he sadly doesn't appear to be an option as he sits and waits for his Bosman move. Hopefully if Steve Simonsen does come in he will prove that perhaps he is the best goalkeeper at the club after all. Another player who now has a similar chance to stake a claim for the starting XI is Alan Stubbs. There have been rumours that he has been less than happy with being dropped so soon after his move from Celtic, but with Xavier's injury and mandatory layoff the Kirkby man gets his opportunity to prove his worth to the side. Competition for places all over the park - who'd have thought it, eh? This game tomorrow is eminently winnable if we keep playing the way we have been. Bolton will have a go but we have the players in the likes of Alexandersson, Radzinski and Gravesen to punish them going forward ourselves.

No Turkish delight for outcast Myhre
By Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Nov 2 2001
EVERTON outcast Thomas Myhre is still left out in the cold at Goodison after the club ruled out letting him leave on loan. The out-of-favour stopper wants to make a quick Blues exit after being frozen out of the first-team scene. But Myhre's hopes of rekindling his career in Turkey received a blow when boss Walter Smith turned down an approach by Besiktas to take the 27-year-old on loan.
Smith confirmed: "We were approached last week with a view to letting Thomas Myhre go on loan there, which we weren't prepared to do. Nothing else has transpired since then, so I take it that it is now finished with." Everton are prepared to listen to offers of around £500,000 to offload the former Viking Stavanger stopper on a permanent basis. Myhre, who was subject of interest from AC Copenhagen and Bolton which came to nothing during the close-season, will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement for another club in January, with his current deal ending next summer.
Steve Simonsen, meanwhile, is ready to put three years of frustration behind him if Smith decides to hand him his full Premiership debut at Bolton tomorrow. The 22-year-old keeper is poised to take over from Paul Gerrard after his costly blunder against Newcastle United last weekend.
Simonsen said: "I came here to play Premiership football and obviously if I'm given an opportunity I'd be delighted. I've been here three years now, so I suppose I have had to wait a long time, but that has been down to the form of Paul Gerrard and Thomas Myhre before him." Simonsen arrived from Tranmere Rovers for a £3.3m British record fee for a goalkeeper, but the sum was appearance related and he has cost Everton a fraction of the advertised amount. His only appearance last season came as an injury-time substitute against West Ham. Simonsen added: "Getting regular matches has always been a problem, especially in my position. "Reserve games don't come along that often, although I've had a few recently, and my form has been okay." Kevin Campbell looks likely to miss out tomorrow with a back injury.

Blues robbed at the death (icLiverpool)
By David MacBryde, icLiverpool
Nov 2 2001
Just as it looked like Everton would record their first away win since the opening day of the season, up popped Michael Ricketts to cruelly deny them deep into injury time. Quite where referee Andy D'Urso found the excessive added time is anyone's guess. However, from a Ricardo Gardner corner, Gudni Bergsson's downward header was flicked on cleverly by the in-form Ricketts to equalise with the last kick of the match. It was a frustrating way to end proceedings, for Everton had given a good second-half account of themselves following a poor first period. Indeed, they started badly, conceding after only nine minutes. David Weir's foul on Kevin Nolan presented the Trotters with a free kick in a dangerous position. The quick-thinking Per Frandsen duly stepped up to strike the ball cleanly into the bottom of the net from 25 yards. Steve Simonsen - making his Premiership debut in the Everton goal - was a bystander as Frandsen's quickly taken set piece gave the home side the lead. Ironically, Bolton's first choice goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen suffered an injury in the pre-match warm up and was unable to take part, handing an opportunity to understudy Kevin Poole.
However, most of the action was in the goalmouth nearer to Simonsen, as the Trotters forced a series of corners in a number of minutes. The Blues' rearguard held firm though and Poole was soon tested as he saved a long-range effort from Niclas Alexandersson. Everton did rally though - and found an equaliser just before the break. A foul by Gudni Bergsson on Tomasz Radzinski gave the visitors a free kick in a promising position. Niclas Alexandersson rolled the ball to Paul Gascoigne, who held the ball up for Alan Stubbs to strike a fierce drive into the net to bring the Blues level.
It was Stubbs' first goal for Everton since joining on a free transfer from Celtic in the summer. That it came against one of his former clubs would have been even sweeter for the lifelong Evertonian.
Despite an encouraging end to the first-half, Walter Smith will undoubtedly have had a few words with his charges after witnessing some poor spells and general sloppiness. To their credit, Everton emerged in much better shape for the second half and took the game to the home side.
Indeed, they took the lead on 56 minutes after a Gary Naysmith cross was flicked on by Tomasz Radzinski, before Paul Gascoigne's right footed shot found the back of the net from the edge of the area. It was also Gascoigne's first goal for the club - enjoying only his third Premiership start this season. Certainly, it looked like it could be Everton's day, as the tempo picked up and it was Bolton who now chased the game. Thomas Gravesen - having looked uncomfortable in something of a forward role during the first half - was now sitting deeper and controlling the midfield alongside Paul Gascoigne. Simonsen was called upon to make important saves from Wallace and Nolan, but did so confidently, as the Blues defended in numbers at times. However, Everton did take their foot of the pedal, as the Trotters gradually began to wear them down. Bruno N'Gotty and Kevin Nolan both went close in the last fifteen minutes of the match, with Bolton picking up the pace. Walter Smith - desperate to hold on to the three points - made changes, with the recalled Danny Cadamarteri replacing Tomasz Radzinski, before Paul Gascoigne made way for Alex Cleland. With only three minutes remaining, Bolton substitute Djibrill Diawara saw red after his foul on David Unsworth.
It was his second bookable offence and referee Andy D'Urso - not enjoying his best performance - had no hesitation in sending Diawara for a slightly early bath. However, even with ten men, Bolton were able to rescue the contest, as they continued to press. On 90 minutes, Per Frandsen's corner was met by Dean Holdsworth, whose header cleared the bar - to the relief of the travelling Blues' contingent. Three minutes into injury time, those same fans were left dismayed as Bolton's pressure finally paid off as Rickett's goal brought the sides level. It was a cruel blow for Everton, after an improved showing in the second-half. Despite Bolton's noteworthy Premiership scalps so far this season, Walter Smith will no doubt look at this as two points lost, as his Blues' side failed to hang on at the death. Though there were firsts for both Stubbs and Gascoigne, it was not enough to bring Everton a much-needed away win, as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at the Reebok Stadium.

Double Act
Nov 2 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI will be asked to recreate the Little and Large striking partnership he revelled in at Anderlecht tomorrow as Everton seek to turn chances created into points. Everton go to surprise package Bolton tomorrow, with Radzinski set to partner Duncan Ferguson up front for the first time, with skipper Kevin Campbell unlikely to figure with a back injury. Physically, it would be a carbon copy of the successful partnership he enjoyed in Belgium with six foot eight inch Jan Koller.
"Duncan is not exactly the same type of player as Koller," explained manager Walter Smith, "but I'm sure Tomasz can play off him the same way, just as I'm sure that he can form an equally good partnership with Kevin Campbell." The Blues' skipper is suffering from a back injury and is almost certain to miss the trip to Lancashire. Ferguson himself has been receiving treatment for an ankle injury this week but is expected to recover in time to face the side he claimed his only Everton hat-trick against. "We need to discover a ruthlessness about our play," said Smith. "That doesn't apply only to the forwards, it applies to the defence and the midfield, too. "We must ensure that when we have games like the ones we had recently against Blackburn and Newcastle, where we play well, that we go on to win the games. "It's a collective responsibility, but we can't afford to let missed chances become a recurring theme this season." Steve Watson will have a fitness test before kick-off but should recover to reclaim his place. The Blues' boss is also contemplating a goalkeeping change, with Steve Simonsen in line to finally make his Premiership debut more than three years after joining the Blues from Tranmere Rovers.

Blues robbed at the death (icLiverpool)
Nov 2 2001 By David MacBryde, icLiverpool
Just as it looked like Everton would record their first away win since the opening day of the season, up popped Michael Ricketts to cruelly deny them deep into injury time. Quite where referee Andy D'Urso found the excessive added time is anyone's guess. However, from a Ricardo Gardner corner, Gudni Bergsson's downward header was flicked on cleverly by the in-form Ricketts to equalise with the last kick of the match. It was a frustrating way to end proceedings, for Everton had given a good second-half account of themselves following a poor first period. Indeed, they started badly, conceding after only nine minutes. David Weir's foul on Kevin Nolan presented the Trotters with a free kick in a dangerous position. The quick-thinking Per Frandsen duly stepped up to strike the ball cleanly into the bottom of the net from 25 yards. Steve Simonsen - making his Premiership debut in the Everton goal - was a bystander as Frandsen's quickly taken set piece gave the home side the lead. Ironically, Bolton's first choice goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen suffered an injury in the pre-match warm up and was unable to take part, handing an opportunity to understudy Kevin Poole.
However, most of the action was in the goalmouth nearer to Simonsen, as the Trotters forced a series of corners in a number of minutes. The Blues' rearguard held firm though and Poole was soon tested as he saved a long-range effort from Niclas Alexandersson. Everton did rally though - and found an equaliser just before the break. A foul by Gudni Bergsson on Tomasz Radzinski gave the visitors a free kick in a promising position. Niclas Alexandersson rolled the ball to Paul Gascoigne, who held the ball up for Alan Stubbs to strike a fierce drive into the net to bring the Blues level.
It was Stubbs' first goal for Everton since joining on a free transfer from Celtic in the summer. That it came against one of his former clubs would have been even sweeter for the lifelong Evertonian.
Despite an encouraging end to the first-half, Walter Smith will undoubtedly have had a few words with his charges after witnessing some poor spells and general sloppiness. To their credit, Everton emerged in much better shape for the second half and took the game to the home side.
Indeed, they took the lead on 56 minutes after a Gary Naysmith cross was flicked on by Tomasz Radzinski, before Paul Gascoigne's right footed shot found the back of the net from the edge of the area. It was also Gascoigne's first goal for the club - enjoying only his third Premiership start this season. Certainly, it looked like it could be Everton's day, as the tempo picked up and it was Bolton who now chased the game. Thomas Gravesen - having looked uncomfortable in something of a forward role during the first half - was now sitting deeper and controlling the midfield alongside Paul Gascoigne. Simonsen was called upon to make important saves from Wallace and Nolan, but did so confidently, as the Blues defended in numbers at times. However, Everton did take their foot of the pedal, as the Trotters gradually began to wear them down. Bruno N'Gotty and Kevin Nolan both went close in the last fifteen minutes of the match, with Bolton picking up the pace. Walter Smith - desperate to hold on to the three points - made changes, with the recalled Danny Cadamarteri replacing Tomasz Radzinski, before Paul Gascoigne made way for Alex Cleland. With only three minutes remaining, Bolton substitute Djibrill Diawara saw red after his foul on David Unsworth.
It was his second bookable offence and referee Andy D'Urso - not enjoying his best performance - had no hesitation in sending Diawara for a slightly early bath. However, even with ten men, Bolton were able to rescue the contest, as they continued to press. On 90 minutes, Per Frandsen's corner was met by Dean Holdsworth, whose header cleared the bar - to the relief of the travelling Blues' contingent. Three minutes into injury time, those same fans were left dismayed as Bolton's pressure finally paid off as Rickett's goal brought the sides level. It was a cruel blow for Everton, after an improved showing in the second-half. Despite Bolton's noteworthy Premiership scalps so far this season, Walter Smith will no doubt look at this as two points lost, as his Blues' side failed to hang on at the death. Though there were firsts for both Stubbs and Gascoigne, it was not enough to bring Everton a much-needed away win, as they were forced to settle for a share of the spoils at the Reebok Stadium.

Preview: Bolton Wanderers v Everton
November 02, 2001
Manchester Evening News
Sam Allardyce is set to ring the changes against Everton as Bolton bid to rebuild the Reebok fortress.
After losing three on the bounce at home against Southampton, Sunderland and Newcastle, and Bolton’s unbeaten away run coming to an end at Aston Villa last Saturday, it’s imperative that The Trotters return to winning ways at home. The omens look promising with Everton’s Mersey neighbours Liverpool being the last scalp taken at the Reebok, and Bolton will be bolstered by the return of Mike Whitlow and Jussi Jaaskelainen from suspension. Midfielder Paul Warhurst, who has been occupying the key position just in front of the back four, is also set to return from a back injury. And Japanese striker Akinori Nishizawa has forced his way into contention for a place on the bench following a star performance for the reserves in midweek. Last season: different divisions
Danger man: Tomasz Radzinski: Beginning to find his feet in the Premiership following a £4.5m move from Anderlecht. The 27-year-old striker possesses lightening pace and is capable of punishing teams on the counter-attack.

Bolton Wanderers 2 Everton 2
November 03, 2001
Manchester Evening News
MICHAEL Ricketts sent another ''Don't forget me'' message to England boss Sven Goran Erikson with a last gasp Bolton super saver at the Reebok Stadium. The 22 year old hot shot, the top Englishman in the Premiership goal chart, is undecided whether or not to try for an international future with England or Jamaica as he is qualifed for both countries. Manager Sam Allardyce is adamant he wants Ricketts to wait for an England call and the big striker's 9th goal of the season - and 8th in the Premiership - should add to the urgency for Erikson to give Ricketts some encouragement. Ricketts struck as Bolton mounted a late charge for the goal they needed so desperately to prevent their 4th home defeat in a row. Ricardo Gardner swung in an 89th minute corner from the right which was cleared as far as skipper Gudni Bergsson just outside the box. The Icelandic star powered the ball back towards goal where the lurking Ricketts applied the killer touch from 2 yards out. Bolton had taken the lead after just 10 minutes following a piece of quick thinking by their Danish World Cup man Per Frandsen. Wanderers were awarded a free kick just outside the box and, as Everton dithered, Frandsen asked referee Andy D'Urso if he could take the kick. He got the nod and sidefooted the ball just inside keeper Steve Simonsen's left hand post. It was the platform Bolton needed and with Kevin Nolan particularly impressive they should have increased their lead as they dominated most of the first half. But they were stunned a minute from the break when their former centre half, Alan Stubbs, equalised with a shot which was completely unstoppable following a free kick just outside the box. It was conceded by Bergsson, who was booked for a tackle from behind, and Stubbs caught the ball perfectly to give stand-in keeper Kevin Poole no chance. Paul Gascoigne gave Everton the lead after 57 minutes with his first goal for the Club and first since September 1999. He whipped in a cross from Gary Naysmith as Bolton were re-arranging their defence after losing Simon Charlton with a calf injury. Rod Wallace hit the bar after 62 minutes as a stung Bolton battled to get back into the game and he shot weakly 3 minutes later when a neat header by Ricketts put him through. Bolton's luck appeared to be out when Nolan had a goal disallowed after 75 minutes for a handling offence by Dean Holdsworth and they were reduced to 10 men 4 minutes from the end when Djibril Diawara was sent off for his second yellow card. But Bolton kept going for their precious point. Manager Allardyce said: ''We had to be satisfied with a draw after equalising so late in the game. But overall we were very disappointed after the amount of chances we created. We didn't have a good spell just after half time when it was important not to concede a goal but we did. It messed us up when we had to re-arrange with Simon Charlton coming off and Gascoigne scored. But the attacking play of the lads and the amount of pressure we put on Everton should have got us an equaliser before we did score.'' Allardyce, who takes his side to Marbella on Sunday for a five day break, added: ''At least this stops the rot at home. The way we came back with 10 men reflected very well on our players.''

Midfield ace sends apology to fans
Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Nov 5 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE scored his first Everton goal but then declared: "I'm sorry for the fans."
Gascoigne rolled back the years with a virtuoso strike in Saturday's 2-2 draw - his first for more than two years - to put the Blues ahead after Alan Stubbs had cancelled out Per Frandsen's opener.
But Bolton's Michael Ricketts grabbed a last-gasp leveller to cruelly deny the Blues victory in injury time. Gascoigne said: "Against Tottenham, Ipswich, Blackburn and Newcastle and now this game we did enough to win. "We created enough chances but we need to tighten up and be more ruthless to punish teams by putting away the chances we create. This feels like a defeat. "We could be in the top three. We have played well enough and the gaffer is frustrated. "If you look at the number of chances we've made over the last few games you have to stick them away. I'm sorry for the fans."
Gascoigne's 57th-minute strike broke his goal drought dating back to September 1999.
He said: "I'm pleased to set up chances and work for the team but I'm delighted to get on the scoresheet myself. "But I'm devastated we didn't win. We are giving games away rather than losing them. We must put the goals away." Gascoigne, returning to the starting line-up for the first time since limping off against West Ham on September 29, believes teams face a tough job beating Everton. He added: "I think we dominated against Bolton and teams have to do something out of the blue to beat us - as they did with a goal in the last few seconds. Teams will have to fight to beat us." Gascoigne paid tribute to debutant keeper Steve Simonsen: "I felt sorry for Simmo. He had a great game and pulled off some great saves near the end. He added: "Tomasz Radzinski had a chance and he was absolutely gutted." Fellow goalscorer Stubbs said: "It was a nice moment to score - I've hit one or two like that before - but it is depressing we didn't get a win. "It's happened a few times recently, that we've dominated the game and created chances to make it a comfortable victory. "Not wrapping up games has come back to haunt us. "We have 15 points but we should have 24 or 25 and that's being realistic. Having 10 points more than we have puts a different complexion on our season. "We have dominated games and not got the points we should have done. The bottom line is that has to stop sooner or later." Stubbs' 44th-minute strike - against his old club - was his first for the Blues since joining on a free transfer in the summer. The defender returned to Walter Smith's side with Steve Watson (knee) and Abel Xavier (concussion) ruled out. Stubbs added: "I didn't realise I had scored until everyone jumped on top of me. When you go back to a former club things have a habit of happening and it did for me. I have been out of the team but I didn't put extra pressure on myself." Disappointed boss Smith said: "Paul Gascoigne needs a couple of games to get back to match fitness." He also praised Simonsen, saying: "I though Steve acquitted himself well. He made some good saves."

Memory man rolls back the years (D. Post)
Jonathan Mcevoy, Daily Post
Nov 5 2001
PAUL GASCOIGNE could be excused a scratch of the head to remember his last goal. Trawling through the memory bank he put his finger on one he scored for Middlesbrough against Leicester three-and-a-half years ago. His mind was playing tricks on him. In fact, Gazza's goal - a clinical strike to round of a free-flowing move to give Everton a 2-1 lead - was merely his first for 26 MONTHS, which came against Chelsea on September 19 1999. Not many weeks ago, the doubters were declaring last rites on the Geordie's career while the vultures buffed their beaks at the prospect of picking through the pieces of his mercurial career. This performance - hard-working, inventive and capped by his first Everton goal - was, then, a two-fingered salute to the critics. Gazza struck what should have been the winner 12 minutes into the second half. Tomasz Radzinski, playing as a lone striker, set Gary Naysmith free and the Scot squared the ball for Gascoigne to apply a deadly finishing touch. It was the move of the match scored by the man of the match. Never one to under act, a beaming Gascoigne pointed to the name on the back of his shirt in a spontaneous show of relief and celebration. But the smile was finally wiped off his face as an old story repeated itself - the one where the Blues fail to win a game they should have done. Michael Ricketts dealt the killer blow with 15 seconds of four minutes of injury time remaining, back-heeling the ball home to spoil goalkeeper Steve Simonsen's full Premiership debut. It was hard luck on the 22-year-old stopper. He had waited three years for full debut - and he showed just why the Blues shelled out a British record £3.3million fee - even if the appearancerelated nature of the deal means only a fraction has been paid - to bring him across the Mersey from Tranmere with a string of outstanding saves.
But for all the sympathy you can summon up for Simonsen, you can't extend so much to his team-mates. How often can you say that Everton were in a position to win a game, but threw it away? On enough occasions already this season, that's for sure. Against Ipswich, Blackburn, Tottenham and Newcastle, we've heard the same record. Hard luck stories don't win you points - and Everton know they must learn that lesson fast. Ricketts was on hand in the ebbing moments of an absorbing game, capitalising on a Ricardo Gardner corner from the right helped on by Gudni Bergsson to snatch a draw. Wanderers' saviour was quick to pay tribute to Gascoigne, saying: "Paul Gascoigne is superb. He took his goal very well. He kept giving me tips on the pitch throughout the game. He said things like: 'Great lay-off' or 'Great pass' - and he wasn't taking the Mickey either! "He wanted to enjoy it. It was obvious. He got on well with the opposition players. I have never been on the pitch with him before - it was a privilege." At least Walter Smith must now feel vindicated in bringing Gascoigne's unpredictable talents to Merseyside. It's not all been smooth running - Gazza spent a spell in rehab over the summer - but at least for now the most famous crying footballer has plenty to laugh about on a personal level. Never mind hanging up his boots before his current deal expires in the summer, what about an extension? Of more immediate concern to Smith is his team's inability to finish games off. Everton were thrown out of their stride in the 11th minute when a harsh refereeing decision by Andy D'Urso - he who never plays advantage and had an erratic afternoon - gave the home side a freekick 20 yards out. David Weir was the supposed culprit for stopping Kevin Nolan in his tracks, though the midfielder appeared to slip on the wet turf. Per Frandsen stepped up and, with a smart piece of quick thinking while Simonsen was lining up the wall, detected and infiltrated a hole from 20 yards. One-nil down, and thrown out of their stride, Everton were under the cosh for most of the first-half as Sam Allardyce's team grew in confidence. Ricketts scared the home defence with a testing right-wing cross that just escaped the prying head of Gardner in the centre and was put behind for a corner by Alessandro Pistone. Simonsen had his hands warmed by a long-ranger from Frandsen while at the other end Thomas Gravesen's dipping shot just cleared the crossbar.
It wasn't until the 39th minute that Everton, disjointed in the first 45 mintues and unable to find Radzinski with any meaningful supply, forced their first corner before their much-needed in-road six minutes later. Scot Gemmill played a free-kick to Gravesen, who trapped the ball and Alan Stubbs, savouring a return to the Blues team against his old club, sent a venemous shot rippling into Kevin Poole's net. "The equaliser was a stunning and thumping goal," grinned Bolton chief Sam Allardyce. "It was a great goal. Stubbsie usually puts them over the bar!" But he could afford to smile after watching Everton seize the initiative in the second half without succeeding to capture victory.
Gascoigne was given a more forward role with Gravesen falling back and allocated more defensive duties after the interval. Gazza duly broke his Everton duck in the 57th minute while Radzinski should have made it 3-1 minutes later. Substitute Djibril Diawara failed to deal with a ball over the top and the Canadian international ballooned over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Simonsen was then called on to deny Rod Wallace with a reflex save, pushing the ball on to the frame of the goal and he later saved Nolan's header with a smart parry. Everton's best remaining chance fell to Radzinski, soldiering on without the injured Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson to partner him in attack, but he was slow on to the chance and it was snuffed out by Mike Whitlow.
Nolan found the back of the net in the closing moments only to be thwarted by the offside flag and Frandsen's free-kick found its way safely into Simonsen's clutches. All that before the fateful four minutes of added time. Gascoigne said afterwards he felt as though Everton had lost. An understandable sentiment. All too familiar - and something Blues want eradicated, now.
BOLTON (4-4-2): Poole; N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton (Diawara 55); Gardner, Warhurst (Farrelly 67), Frandsen, Nolan, Wallace (Holdsworth 75), Ricketts. Subs: Nishizawa.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Simonsen; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Alexandersson, Gemmill, Gravesen, Gascoigne (Cleland 89), Naysmith; Radzinski (Cadamarteri 87). Subs: Gerrard, Tal, Moore.
SENDING-OFF: Bolton's Diawara (two bookings).
BOOKINGS: Bolton's Gardner, Bergsson, Nolan; Everton's Stubbs, Gravesen.
REFEREE: Andy D'Urso.
ATTENDANCE: 27, 343.

Gazza - It felt like a defeat
Nov 5 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE was the most miserable marksman in the Premiership on Saturday. Gazza grabbed his first goal for more than two seasons to open his account for Everton. But he was denied a match winner as Michael Ricketts scored a 94th minute equaliser to give Bolton a 2-2 draw.
"I think my last one was Euro 96," said Gascoigne, slumped in the corner of the Reebok Stadium dressing room. "Actually, I scored one for Middlesbrough against Leicester three and a half years ago, but I would rather we'd won the game than me score. " I'm pleased to get on the scoresheet but I was more concerned with just making a contribution to the team. "We are giving games away right now, not losing them. You can class this with Tottenham, Newcastle, Ipswich and Blackburn.
"We have to start concentrating, and more importantly punishing teams. We could have been in the top three if we'd won the games we should have done. " We've certainly played well enough to be up there. The chances we have missed recently has been unbelievable and we have to start being more ruthless. "The gaffer and Archie were very frustrated afterwards and it wasn't a good dressing room to be in at the end. It felt like a defeat, to be honest. "Bolton have made a good start to the season but we dominated them and it was only at the end when they started knocking it into the box that we came under any pressure." Gascoigne praised debutant goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.
"I felt sorry for Steve because he had a great game," he said. "He pulled off two tremendous saves and to lose a goal at the end like that was a sickener." Gascoigne left the pitch in the 88th minute to a standing ovation from the visiting fans after an excellent personal performance. "I was getting forward and getting plenty of the ball," he said. "But my main objective was just to work hard for the team, which I thought I did. "I felt for our fans. They have been cheering all the way through and must have thought we'd won." Manager Walter Smith was furious that his side had not hung on to win. "That was a couple of points thrown away," he said. "We struggled to handle their set plays for a time when they were throwing everything in."

Simmo's agonising wait after debut
Nov 5 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
STEVE SIMONSEN waited three years for his full Premiership debut. Now he must wait a further frustrating fortnight to find out if Saturday's debut at Bolton was a one-off. "I was delighted to finally play," he said, "but unfortunately there's a big break now. I'll have to wait and see if I've done enough to get a run of games." Walter Smith gave few clues afterwards, although admitted "Steve did well." Simonsen's full debut came more than three years after his high profile switch from Tranmere Rovers and he said: "I only knew when the gaffer named the team at one o'clock and I was excited. "I don't really get nervous. I just went out there and tried to enjoy it. I was quite pleased with my performance, but there are things which need improving. "We'll have a chat about them next week, but I have shown the gaffer I am capable of doing a job on a regular basis now.
"I made a couple of stops, but they weren't brilliant saves or anything. But hopefully it will be enough to get me another run-out." Everton don't play now until Sunday, November 18, when Chelsea are the visitors for a payperview fixture. The gap should give the Blues time to get injured stars Duncan Ferguson, Steve Watson and Mark Pembridge back off the treatment table. All three missed the draw at Bolton with respective ankle, knee and calf injuries. Alan Stubbs did play at his old stamping ground, and the happy Wanderer celebrated with a goal. He said: "It's funny how something always seems to happen to players going back to their old clubs. They either score a goal or get sent off or something. "Fortunately, I managed a goal."

Myhre move still in limbo
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 6 2001
THOMAS MYHRE'S future remains uncertain after he returned to Everton yesterday without sealing his move to Turkey. The Blues goalkeeper travelled to Istanbul at the weekend and agreed personal terms over his proposed transfer to Besiktas. However, the two clubs have still not agreed a fee for the Norwegian international and the Blues were still awaiting a fresh approach from the Turks last night. Everton have put a price-tag of £500,000 on the 28-year-old while Besiktas have so far only offered £125,000 for a player who will be out of contract next summer. The Blues would drop their valuation to around £300,000 to push the sale through, with Myhre no longer in manager Walter Smith's plans. The Everton boss is still smarting at the loss of two more away points at Bolton on Saturday when Wanderers striker Michael Ricketts equalised in the closing seconds. Bolton old boy and Everton goalscorer at the Reebok Alan Stubbs said: "It was great to score but it would have been even better to have won the game. "It felt like a defeat after the game. We were devastated in the dressing room. We deserved to win and we've got to start coming away from these games with what we deserve. "It has got to stop sooner rather than later, but we can't keep saying that."
Everton now have a fortnight's break due to international fixtures before they entertain Chelsea, when Smith expects Steve Watson, Duncan Ferguson and Abel Xavier - who all missed the 2-2 draw on Saturday - to return. However, both Kevin Campbell and Mark Pembridge remain doubtful with back and calf injuries respectively.
* Everton's Goodison clash with Arsenal, originally scheduled for Saturday, February 9, 2002, will now be played on Sunday, February 10 and will be shown live on Sky (4pm).

Academy: Blues rue missed chances
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 6 2001
WAYNE ROONEY hit his seventh goal of the season but Everton under-19s had to settle for a point as they drew 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday. The Blues were a shade disappointing, although they had several chances to win the match, but again Colin Harvey's side failed to take them. Michael Symes and Wayne Rooney were both off target before Rooney struck a superb right-footed free-kick past the Bolton keeper on the half-hour mark to give the Blues the lead. Steven Schumacher had a shot well saved soon after and his England team-mate Steven Beck just failed to follow up on the rebound. The home side equalised just before halftime thanks to Bird's long-range effort that gave Everton goalkeeper Andrew Pettinger no chance. Symes thought he had put the Blues back in front just before the hour but his effort was disallowed. And both he and fellow striker Rooney missed opportunities late in the match. Academy director Ray Hall said: "It was a disappointing performance especially in the first half when we allowed them too much possession. "The second half was better. We came into the game more and with better finishing we could have won the match." It was better news for Alan Harper's U17s, who put up a brilliant performance to beat Bolton 3-2. The Blues raced into the lead inside the first five minutes when 15-year-old midfielder Colin Thorbinson scored. But some defensive indecision led to a Bolton equaliser just before the half-hour mark. But Thorbison, a pupil at Liverpool College, put the Blues back in front soon after when he finished well at the far post after the impressive Damian Martland crossed from the left. The Wigan youngster was in fine form and was a big threat to the Trotters all afternoon on the left wing. The game was virtually wrapped up early in the second half when Scot Brown broke through from Brian Moogan's pass to put the Blues 3-1 ahead. And although Bolton pulled a goal back late on, the Blues were deserved winnners. Ray Hall said: "It was possibly our best performance of the season. "Every player played their part in a good team effort with Damian Martland the pick of a host of good performances. "We were boosted this week by having two U17 players - Brian Moogan and Scot Brown - in the team and that gave us more pace and physique, which helped. "They added stability in the middle of the field and also pace up front which helped us enormously." Everton will travel to Upton Park to face West Ham in the third round of the FA Youth Cup, with the tie to be played on or before December 8. The last time the two sides met in the competition the Hammers knocked the Blues out at the semi-final stage before going on to win the competition, beating Coventry in the final in 1999. Ray Hall said: "Us against West Ham would actually have made a much better final because they totally destroyed Coventry after beating ourselves. "But it's a good draw and it gives us a chance to get revenge over them. "We also played them a couple of seasons ago over in Ireland in a summer tournament and we beat them."
The Blues have yet to make a final decision on the date of the match but are hoping to bring it forward to the end of this month. Meanwhile, defender Sean O'Hanlon has been placed on standby for England U19s' UEFA Championship qualifiers against Georgia and Hungary next week.

Gazza's reserve outing to keep in trim
Nov 6 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE will play his second match in 72 hours tonight - just months after being told he would never play again. The veteran midfielder has asked to play for Everton Reserves tonight, ironically against Bolton, three days after he ended a two-year goalscoring drought against the same club in the Premiership. " Paul will play again tonight," said boss Walter Smith. "He is keen to play matches to sharpen up his fitness, and with the international break this weekend he didn't want another enforced spell of inactivity." Gascoigne will be joined in the game at Widnes (7.00pm kick-off) by Idan Tal and Danny Cadamarteri. Gazza's infectious enthusiasm for football still burns brightly and he has already been praised for his attitude in reserve matches this season - by opponents! Earlier this season in a game at Aston Villa, young Villa star Richard Walker said: "He wasn't messing around. He just congratulated us if we did something right and told us where we were going wrong if we made mistakes. "I know it sounds strange, with him being on the other side, but it was superb gesture." The Blues, meanwhile, are negotiating with Turkish side Besiktas in a bid to finally end Thomas Myhre's miserable spell with the club. The Norwegian international goalkeeper flew to Istanbul at the weekened and agreed personal terms with the Turks, but Everton have thrown out a bid of £125,000. Myhre is out of contract next summer and could move for nothing, but the Blues are holding out for a fee in the region of £300,000. They have already declared that a fee of £3.5m would not persuade them to sell in-form Thomas Gravesen to reputedly interested parties such as SV Hamburg or Newcastle. The player himself seems perfectly settled.
Gravesen said before Saturday's trip to Bolton: "I don't know about any interested clubs.
"Why would I return to HSV now? I am fine here."

Smith will handle Steve with kid gloves
Nov 6 2001
IT MAY sound strange to talk about the right time to pull Steve Simonsen out of the firing line, so soon after making his Premiership debut, but that's a matter which will preoccupy Walter Smith right now. Don't get me wrong, I believe that Steve should now enjoy a decent run of first team fixtures. He did well at Bolton and will hopefully improve with the experience he can pick up.
But he is still only 22, and young goalkeepers do need protecting by their managers sometimes.
You need to know when the time is right to take him out of the side before he makes a mistake which could have a catastrophic affect on his confidence. Richard Wright dropped a huge clanger on Sunday, but Arsene Wenger decided the best way to get it out of his system was to play him in another match 24 hours later. Other managers prefer to pull the keeper out of the spotlight for a spell to allow them to rebuild their confidence quietly. That's what Howard Kendall did with Neville Southall after Ian Rush put four past him in an infamous Goodison derby. There was no suggestion that Nev was to blame for any of the goals, but the affect an experience like that could have had on a youngster may have been damaging. Nev was left out to sort out a toe injury, and then was allowed to join Port Vale on loan. In some respects it was the best thing that Howard ever did. In others it was the worst! Nev came back with a voice. Having been quiet and retiring beforehand, he was treated as something a bit special at Vale Park and came back a changed man. He never looked back. I am sure Walter has looked at the possibility of Steve Simonsen going out on-loan, but the problem nowadays is that clubs outside the top flight simply can't afford to pay Premier League wages. For now, though, Simonsen has earned his spell in the first team and will be aiming to stretch it for as long as possible. Walter Smith will be hoping Simonsen can become an outstanding young Premiership goalkeeper, but he'll also be keeping a wary eye on his progress during the months ahead. Gazza will have a lot to offer after he hangs up his boots THERE have been one or two suggestions recently that Paul Gascoigne is paving the way towards a career in management.
Several opponents this season have spoken of their admiration for the way Gazza has helped them out during games with tips, advice and encouragement. Of course there is a lot more to management than motivating players, but there's no doubt Gazza will still have plenty to offer the game even when he hangs up his boots. The important thing is to define what would be the best role for him. Management would be a huge step to take straight away, but there's no reason why Paul couldn't work as a coach or a right hand man to someone more experienced. There are signs that Gazza has finally undergone a lifestyle change --hopefully permanently. Some people often forget that at his peak Gazza was one of the top five players in the world. As a result he was always in the limelight and always in demand. Being a single lad he moved to London and, having no responsibilities, began to behave irresponsibly. He then moved to Rome where he was often isolated and had to spend too much time on his own. It can be difficult knowing when to go home if you don't actually have to go home. It seems that Gazza found it hard to get out that rut - and possibly only dragged himself out of it recently. His form this season is a testament to how hard he has worked --and there is no doubt his infectious enthusiasm is helping opponents as well as team-mates. Possibly one day he can use that enthusiasm in a coaching capacity. Only time will tell.

Blomqvist joins Everton
November 07, 2001
Manchester Evening News
Jesper Blomqvist has joined Everton after he was recommended to Toffees manager Walter Smith by Sir Alex Ferguson. The 27-year-old winger will sign a deal at Goodison Park until the end of the season, offering him the chance to rebuild his top -flight football career after two years of injury heartache. And Fergie has been instrumental in brokering Blomqvist’s deal with Everton manager Walter Smith. “ Alex phoned me to tell me the lad was now fit and available,” Smith told BBC Sport Online. “ He rated him highly but obviously had to bring cover in to fill his position when he was out injured for such a while. “But he still feels he has plenty of ability and he is also a player I liked myself when I saw him in the past.” Smith hopes that Blomqvist will flourish following the move and earn the right to be offered a longer contract, adding: “ The deal is a chance for him to revive his career at Everton…It is initially a deal to the end of the season, but if everything goes all right for both parties then we can certainly discuss things further.” Blomqvist had recently been told that there was no future for him at Old Trafford after staying at United despite being out of contract as he bravely battled back from a succession of knee problems. Since sustaining his initial injury in 1999, competition has increased for Ryan Giggs’ left wing berth with the arrival of Quinton Fortune and the development of promising youngsters Bojan Djordjic and Kieran Richardson. While acknowledging that Blomqvist would not be offered a deal at United, Sir Alex remained convinced of his quality, saying: “ He is a player who should be playing top football for a Premiership team – he is still capable of doing that.” After joining The Reds for £4.4m from Parma in July 1998, Blomqvist made 38 appearances before sustaining his serious knee injury.

Blomqvist in Toffees link
November 07, 2001
Manchester Evening News
EVERTON are set to hand Jesper Blomqvist a chance to resurrect his career, according to reports.
The United winger is available on a free transfer after fighting his way back to fitness after a two-year battle to overcome a serious knee injury. And realising that he has little chance of ever forcing his way back into the first team at United, the Swedish international is thought to be willing to take a pay cut in order to get his career back on track. The 27-year-old was a long time target for Sir Alex Ferguson before he joined from Parma for £4.5 million in 1998. In his first season he played 38 times and started in the Champions League final win over Bayern Munich before being replaced by Teddy Sheringham. However he hasn’t started a game since as injury struck in the close season and it is only now that he is getting back to full fitness. According to the report, talks will take place within the next couple of days and Blomqvist could then play in a reserve team game for the Toffees – ironically against United – before manager Walter Smith makes a decision

How the action unfolded on a dramatic afternoon at the Reebok
November 7 2001
Bolton Evening News
Gordon Sharrock's live reports from the Reebok reveal just what happened.
JUSSI Jaaskelainen and Mike Whitlow, available again after suspension, and fit again Paul Warhurst were all recalled as Wanderers looked to end a run of three successive home Premiership defeats.
But the changes did not end there with Sam Allardyce naming Rod Wallace in his starting line-up, dropping Bo Hansen and adding more attacking scope to his team that in those previous three Reebok encounters, had failed to register a single goal. Gareth Farrelly was dropped to substitute against his former club, joining Japan international Akinori Nishizawa on the bench along with veteran keeper, Kevin Poole, who was preferred to Steve Banks. Everton boss Walter Smith rang the changes after the 3-1 home defeat by Newcastle. The absence of Abel Xavier - sidelined after being concussed in the Newcastle game - meant a return to the side for ex-Wanderer, Alan Stubbs. Goalkeeper Paul Gerrard, who was involved in the collision that led to Xavier being stretchered off at Goodison was dropped, giving former Tranmere No 1 Steve Simonsen his first Premiership start. But the big surprise was the inclusion of former England star Paul Gascoigne in place of injured skipper Kevin Campbell, whose place was expected to go to big Duncan Ferguson.
Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton, Wallace, Frandsen, Warhurst, Nolan, Gardner, Ricketts. Subs: Poole, Holdsworth, Farrelly,
Diawara, Nishizawa.
Everton: Simonsen, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith, Gascoigne, Radzinski. Subs: Gerrard, Tal, Max-Moore,
Cleland, Cadamarteri.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Billericay).
15:14: FLASH
THE goalkeeping problems that have dogged Wanderers in recent weeks continued today when Jussi Jaaskelainen, named in the starting line-up and on the field with his team-mates in the warm-up, pulled out seconds before kick off with what was understood to be a back injury.
Kevin Poole, the veteran former Aston Villa, Leicester and Birmingham keeper signed on a month's contract as emergency cover last week, started the game leaving Wanderers without goalkeeping cover for the second successive home game.
Revised teams:
Wanderers: Poole, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton, Wallace, Frandsen, Warhurst, Nolan, Gardner, Ricketts. Subs: Holdsworth, Farrelly, Diawara,
Everton: Simonsen, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith, Gascoigne, Radzinski. Subs: Gerrard, Tal, Max-Moore,
Cleland, Cadamarteri.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Billericay).
PER Frandsen ended the Reebok goal drought when he put Wanderers ahead after just 10 minutes.
The Dane produced one of his trademark free kicks to beat Everton keeper Steve Simonsen from 20 yards after Kevin Nolan had been bundled over at the end of a surging run. Wanderers started the game with veteran Kevin Poole in goal after Jussi Jaaskelainen was injured in the warm-up. It was later learned that Steve Banks, who has originally been left out of the squad, was on the subs bench. The drama did not unsettle Wanderers, however, and they looked comfortable for much of the first half and went desperately close to stretching their lead when Paul Warhurst's sweetly struck volley from a Frandsen corner was blocked on the line by Simonsen.
Things appeared to be going well until the 44th minute when Gudni Bergsson was penalised and booked for a foul on Thomasz Radzinski and a short free kick
by Thomas Gravesen teed up Alan Stubbs, who hit a sensational shot into the roof of the net.
MICHAEL Rickkets came up trumps again with a last gasp equaliser to claim a well-deserved point to end Wanderers' three-match losing streak at the Reebok. The goal star poached his ninth goal of the seasdon in the fourth minute of overtime, stabbing the ball home from close range after Gudni Bergsson had climbed high to turn in Ricardo Gardner's corner. It was no more than Wanderers deserved for a fighting finish after squandering an early lead for the second successive Saturday.
Per Frandsen ended the Reebok goal drought when he beat Steve Simonsen with a trademark free kick on 10 minutes but ex-Wanderer Alan Stubbs equalised with a powerful drive a minute before half time. Paul Gascoigne - a surprise starter in a much-changed Everton line-up - took advantage of some poor marking to put Walter Smith's side in front on 57 minutes moments after Wanderers had lost Simon Charlton through injury. And that was how it looked like finishing, despite some strong Bolton pressure in which Kevin Nolan was twice denied an equaliser - first by a Simonsen save and then, having had the ball in the net, having the "goal" ruled out for an infringement.
Nolan and Dean Holdsworth were both off target and Rod Wallace hit the crossbar before Ricketts popped up to net his eighth Premiership goal. Wanderers, who started the afternoon with Jussi Jaaskelainen being injured in the warm-up, ended with 10-men after Djibril Diawara was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Wanderers: Poole, N'Gotty, Bergsson, Whitlow, Charlton, Wallace, Frandsen, Warhurst, Nolan, Gardner, Ricketts. Subs: Diawara for Charlton 55 mins, Farrelly
for Warhurst 66 mins, Holdsworth for Wallace 75 mins. Not bused: Nishizawa, Banks.
Everton: Simonsen, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson, Gravesen, Gemmill, Naysmith, Gascoigne, Radzinski. Subs: Cadamarteri for Radzinski 86
mins, Cleland for Gascoigne 90 mins. Not used: Gerrard, Tal, Max-Moore.
Referee: Andy D'Urso (Billericay).
Attendance: 27,343.

Hands Off!
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 7 2001
EVERTON are considering making an official complaint to UEFA after Thomas Gravesen's agent admitted SV Hamburg have made an illegal approach for the Blues midfielder. The Danish international's representative, former Manchester United player John Sivebaek, yesterday revealed directors from Gravesen's former club have contacted him with a view to taking the 24-year-old back to the Bundesliga. Everton are furious the Germans have moved for Gravesen without their permission and will monitor developments before deciding whether to pursue the matter with Europe's governing body. The Blues have no intention of selling the popular midfielder, who yesterday insisted he was happy at Goodison Park but revealed he wanted a pay rise.
But they are uncomfortable with Hamburg's interest just a week after Newcastle were linked with a move for a player signed for £2.5million two years ago. Gravesen said: "I am fine at Everton and have no direct interest in a change of club. Why would I go to HSV now? "I get enquiries from agents all the time but I always direct them to my advisor, John Sivebaek. " The situation would, of course, be different if Everton are one day tempted by an offer for me. Then I would be willing to look at it.
"I wouldn't mind earning more money than I do now." Bobby Robson had a tentative enquiry rebuffed by the Blues last week and whether the heightened interest in the popular Goodison star is linked to his financial desires is unclear. But Sivebaek admitted: "The Hamburg board have been in touch with me. "Thomas is ready to play for HSV again if the financial side can be solved, but I doubt that the two clubs can reach an agreement over the transfer fee. "I don't think anything will come out of it." Hamburg president Werner Hackmann confirmed his interest in re-signing Gravesen, who has been the Blues' most impressive performer this season. "Yes we want to have him," said Hackmann. "But there is an enormous gap between wanting him and getting him." Blues manager Walter Smith will not encourage any offers for Gravesen, who is now away on international duty for the Danes' friendly with Holland this Saturday. Thomas Myhre, meanwhile, is expected to end his Everton association today after the Blues agreed a £375,000 fee for the Norwegian with Besiktas.
Myhre accepted personal terms from the Turkish club on Friday but has been forced to wait as the two clubs negotiated his price-tag. Everton initially wanted £500,000 while Beskitas only offered £125,000, and if the compromise is accepted Myhre will return to Turkey today for a medical.

Blues hold on for win
Daily Post
Nov 7 2001
EVERTON reserves succeeded where their first-team counterparts had failed - by holding on to a 2-1 lead against Bolton Wanderers. As on Saturday, the Blues had to come from behind, after Bo Hansen had given the visitors the lead with a superb strike from the edge of the box.
It took Everton 65 minutes before they got on the scoresheet and it was Idan Tal who pulled them level with a good turn and shot. With seven minutes remaining, Danny Cadamarteri crossed and George Pilkington fired home the winning goal from close range. Paul Gascoigne produced an industrious performance in his second game in four days.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hibbert, Pilkington, Sauso, Clarke, Cleland, Valentine (Eaton 45), Gascoigne, Cadamarteri, Tal, McLeod. Subs not used: Kearney, Pettinger, O'Hanlon, Curran.
BOLTON WANDERERS: Banks, Hunt, O'Hare, Dootson, Livesey, Buchanan, Eckersley (Byrne81), Ryan (Hamlin 84), Hansen, Bird, Downey. Subs not used: Moran, Williams, Lyons.
Referee: Mr L Mason.

Blues are doing it the hard way
Nov 7 2001
NOT everyone thought Everton had surrendered two points to Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
Radio Four hadn't a clue, which is why, on their 6.15pm news and sports bulletin, they insisted Everton had won 2-1. If only, as Walter Smith might have muttered as another advantage was tossed away, this time with four minutes of added time all but ticked off. Early leavers, including the man from Radio Four, presumably thought Everton had bounced back from an unjust defeat by Newcastle in some style, only to find Bolton springing the kind of late surprise they'd previously reserved for Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United. But with 14 seconds left? That really is piling on the agony. No wonder Alan Stubbs said the Everton dressing room was full of stunned souls. Losing a goal like that makes it seem like a defeat, said the central defender. And to think that barely three weeks ago, after an exhilarating victory over Aston Villa, I was confidently forecasting a 20-point return from Everton's next nine games. One point from a further six has badly holed that particular prediction, although the arrival of Chelsea on Sunday, November 18 could still offer comfort of sorts if divisions within the Londoners' camp are to be believed. However, with Everton always likely to do things the hard way, the final moments of the match may stretch nerve ends to destruction.
* WAS I alone in finding Paul Gascoigne's encouragement of Bolton's Michael Ricketts a bit bizarre?
I thought you were supposed to distract the opposition, make their job as arduous as possible, shouting things like "miss it" or "did you really mean to hit the corner flag?". Yet there was Gazza apparently cheering on Wanderers' leading scorer, who reacted by nicking the overtime equaliser which plunged the Blues into such gloom. "Nice pass, Ricketts", "Great lay-off, Ricketts". What is this? And does it form part of the Walter Smith-Archie Knox tactical strategy? I think we should be told before Gazza catches sight of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who has no need of encouragement to score against Everton.

Blomqvist looks to resurrect career
Nov 7 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will offer Swedish winger Jesper Blomqvist a chance to revive his injury-hit career.
The Manchester United star's last competitive appearance was in the European Cup Final of 1999.
He suffered a knee ligament injury on a pre-season tour of Australia two months later and has not played a senior match since. Blomqvist has successfully completed four full reserve matches of his latest comeback, however, and is willing to take a massive pay cut to prove his fitness. Everton will offer him a deal until the end of the season, and he is expected to hold talks with Blues' officials at the end of this week. Blomqvist, a Swedish international team-mate of Niclas Alexandersson's, was Sweden's Player of the Year in 1993 before enjoying high profile moves to Milan and then Parma.
He joined United for £4.4m in July 1998 - and his only Premiership goal came at Goodison Park against Everton. Ironically, he was one of the players substituted at the Nou Camp in 1999, allowing Teddy Sheringham to write his name into Old Trafford folklore. "If Jesper can prove his fitness he could become a good addition to our squad," said manager Walter Smith. "We don't have a specialist leftwinger in the squad and he could fill that gap. "We will talk to him later this week, but he seems keen to join us." Goalkeeper Thomas Myhre could be an ex-Evertonian by the time Blomqvist signs. The Blues have finally agreed a £300,000 transfer fee with Besiktas for his signature.
The player has already discussed personal terms with the Turks and will hold further talks before completing the deal. Everton's Premiership fixture with Arsenal, meanwhile, originally scheduled for Saturday, February 9, will now be screened by Sky TV on Sunday, February 10 at 4pm.

Blues reserves get revenge
Nov 7 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON RESERVES last night did what their senior counterparts failed to at the weekend and held onto a 2-1 lead against Bolton Wanderers. Paul Gascoigne played his second game against Bolton in four days at the AutoQuest Stadium and although Everton once again had to come from behind there was no repeat of last Saturday's late equaliser for the Trotters. The Blues had Paul Gerrard in goal and the former England Under-21 man looked confident despite his recent demotion.
Everton had a few chances early on but it was the visitors who took the lead through Bo Hansen on 20 minutes. A quick passing move ended with Hansen recieving the ball on the edge of the box and he curled his shot passed the helpless Gerrard. Immediatly Everton responded positively and could have levelled when Israeli international Idan Tal tried a long-range effort which Steve Banks held well. Everton brought on David Eaton after the break and he seemed to liven things up. The youngster dummied cleverly to put in Kevin McLeod, but the winger crossed instead of going for goal himself. The home side finally got the equaliser through Tal after Alex Cleland played the ball in for the Irsraeli to turn and fire home. Cleland nearly got on the scoresheet himself a minute later with a fierce drive which the keeper did well to hold onto. But Everton were not to be denied. Danny Cadamarteri crossed on 83 minutes, Gascoigne just failed to get to it but George Pilkington was on hand to fire home the loose ball from four yards out. Everton were unlucky not to extend their lead as Clelland, Gascoigne and Tal all went close late on.
The game also saw the debut of Finish trialist Jukka Sauso and despite a shaky start he went on to show some good touches along side the confident Peter Clarke.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hibbert, Pilkington, Sauso, Clarke, Cleland, Valentine (Eaton 45), Gascoigne, Cadamarteri, Tal, McLeod. Not used: Kearney, Pettinger, O'Hanlon, Curran

Smith in for Blomqvist
Nov 7 2001 Daily Post
EVERTON are set to sign Manchester United's injury-plagued winger Jesper Blomqvist on a free transfer this week. The former Swedish international has not played a competitive game for United since their 1999 European Cup triumph because of a knee injury that threatened to end the 27-yearold's career. However, the former Gothenburg, AC Milan and Parma star is now on the way to a full recovery after spending preseason training with the United squad and recently made his comeback for the reserves. According to reports last night Blomqvist would relish the chance to relaunch his career in the Premiership and expects to complete his move to Goodison Park before the weekend.

Ladies in derby cup clash
Nov 7 2001 By David Randles, icLiverpool
REVENGE is on the cards tonight as Everton ladies look to complete what their male counterparts failed to do earlier in the season and beat the Reds. Derby fever returns to the city tonight as the Blues and Reds do battle in the second round of the FA AXA Women's Premier League Cup tonight.
Unlike the city's flagship teams, however, it is Everton Ladies who go into this one as favourites.
Currently third in the Women's Premier League National Division, the Toffees ran the rule over their bitter rivals last season in a campaign which saw Liverpool relegated to the first division.
But Reds defender and press officer, Dawn Kehoe feels the drop has given her side the chance to take stock of their weaknesses and re-group to become a better team this season: "At the start of last season we lost around nine of our better players to Everton and Tranmere which didn't help our cause," she said. "But this time round we've been able to mix a relatively young side with some more experienced players and that has been reflected in improving results and the chances we are now creating." As Everton proceeded to two victories (5-0 and 2-1) over Liverpool last term, Dawn is well aware of the threat they pose, but remains unfazed by the challenge: "We shot ourselves in the foot in the 5-0 defeat," she admitted. "After losing our best player, Shirley Oakford, after 20 minutes through injury we simply capitulated but were much better in the 2-1 defeat. Dawn added: "If you look at the league table, Everton are doing really well, but we've done our homework."
Indeed, Liverpool now boast four former Everton in their ranks namely, Jackie Bertie, Louise Ryde, Lisa Sandys and Andrea 'Spider' Worral who all used to don the Royal Blue of Everton and are sure to provide valuable insight before the cup clash. While 19-year-old Sandys is a former England U-18 international, Worral is Wales' first choice keeper at present and right-back, Emma Davies is also a Welsh international. Currently fourth in the first division, the Reds are finally finding their feet - something which Dawn attributes to new manager, John Williams who, like a certain Frenchman at Anfield, has incorporated a new training ethic and self belief in the girls. "Since John took over toward the end of last season, our team spirit couldn't be better," said Dawn. "We've been working hard all season on our tactical play and have definitely improved on last season." BLOB The derby cup clash kicks-off tonight (7.30pm) and will take place at the plush Liverpool Soccer Centre, Walton Hall Park. Admission is only £1 for adults (Accompanied children get in free), and just 50p for unaccompanied juniors, OAP's, and Everton and Liverpool season ticket holders.

Smith finds it is good to talk
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 8 2001
WALTER SMITH is confident Jesper Blomqvist can revive his injury-hit career at Everton after revealing Sir Alex Ferguson encouraged his swoop for the Swedish star. The Blues expect to land the Manchester United winger on a free transfer this week after the Old Trafford boss told his Goodison counterpart the 27-year-old could still deliver at the highest level. Blomqvist has not played a competitive game since the 1999 European Cup final due to a knee injury that nearly forced him to quit football and will take a massive drop in wages for the chance to revive his career in the Premiership. Both Hammarby and Blomqvist's former club IFK Gothenburg were keen to take the former international back to Sweden but Smith's swift move following a tip-off from Ferguson has paid dividends. The Blues boss revealed: "Alex phoned me to tell me the lad was now fit and available. "He rated him highly but obviously had to bring cover in to fill his position when he was out injured for such a while. "But he still feels he has plenty of ability and he is also a player I liked myself when I saw him in the past." Blomqvist, signed by Ferguson for £4.5million from Parma in July 1998, made 38 appearances in United's treble-winning season and scored one goal - ironically in a 4-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park. The ex-AC Milan man damaged knee ligaments on United's pre-season tour of Australia and seemed set to retire until a successful summer's training gave him renewed hope. After his latest run-out for United's reserve side he said: "I thought I was going to have to retire but the games have gone better than I ever could have imagined.
"All I need is a chance now and more games." Blomqvist is now out of contract at Old Trafford and will sign a deal to keep him at Goodison Park until the end of the season. And Smith, who could extend the midfielder's initial contract if he proves his fitness this season, believes the move can benefit both parties. The Blues boss said: "The deal is a chance for him to revive his career at Everton, and is an opportunity for us to add a player to our squad because his track record and the clubs he has played for shows he has undoubted ability. "He was a player I had seen quite a bit of when he was with Gothenburg and I rated him highly. "We have a fairly small group of players at Everton, so this deal is a chance for both him and us to benefit." Smith added: "We don't have a specialist left-winger in the squad and he could fill that role if he can prove his fitness. He has played four reserve team matches for United this season, and needs a couple more by all accounts.
"We have got a number of games coming up in December, so we are pleased to have greater numbers to the squad and we will see how he goes." Smith added: "It is initially a deal to the end of the season, but if everything goes all right for both parties then we can certainly discuss things further." Thomas Myhre is awaiting the results of a medical before sealing his move to Besiktas after Everton agreed a £375,000 deal with the Turkish club. Myhre has spent four years at Goodison Park during which he replaced the legendary Neville Southall as Everton's number one before a double-leg break in 1999 saw him lose his place to Paul Gerrard. "Thomas indicated to us that he would prefer to move on should an opportunity arise," said Smith. "And now he has that opportunity we wish him all the very best in his future career." Smith saw Paul Gascoigne come through his second game in four days on Tuesday night as Everton reserves beat Bolton 2-1. The former England star was again in impressive form and yesterday coach Andy Holden said: "The lads all worked hard from the back to the front but Gazza is a credit to his profession. "He approaches the game in the right way and was encouraging the young lads all the time."
* LAST NIGHT'S derby between Everton Ladies and Liverpool Ladies was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Post soapbox
Nov 8 2001 icLiverpool
Keep the faith
JUST read that Newcastle have put another bid in for Tommy Gravesen. If we sell him I'll lose any faith that I still have left for the club. He's been our best and most consistent player by far this season and we'd be completely mad to flog him for any amount of money. If he goes then we really need to ask some serious questions about where the cash is going at Everton because it's not being spent on players, the ground or anything else that I can see.
Adrian Lambert,
If only...
IF Everton had a fully fit Francis Jeffers up front we would be top of the league. Seriously.
We have lost 12 points this season through poor finishing and I suspect this is likely to be a problem all season. If he is fit then Kevin Campbell must play. We look a much better team when he is in the side, regardless of his own personal form. Ferguson is not mobile enough for the Premiership and his presence always results in a crude, long ball game.
Gerard Fox,
Go Gazza!
EVERTON definentley play better football when Gazza is in the team. We tend to keep the ball on the floor more and attack as a team with the midfield working as a unit. With Mad Dog Graveson alongside Gazza I think we have a decent midfield with plenty of fighting spirit which is needed in the Premiership. Over the last couple of seasons some teams often saw us as a soft touch because we didn't have any one-to-oen battles in the midfield, but with Gazza, Graveson and Gemmill coming into decent form we now have a more than an average midfield.
Micky Morris,
Blue revolution
PAUL Gascoigne still has it (well part of it, except pace). Gravesen MUST stay. He's our best midfielder by far. I think that it would be a great move if Everton sign Jesper Blomqvist from Man Utd unitl the end of the season. What a midfield: Alex, Gazza, Mad Dog & Jesper. We should kill off teams now!
R Hull,

Limpar backs swoop
Nov 8 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JESPER BLOMQVIST has been told he can revive his injury-wrecked career at Everton - by the last Swedish winger to bring glory to Goodison. Anders Limpar was an integral member of the Blues' 1995 FA Cup winning team. Now playing Third Division football in Sweden, he said: "When Jesper's fit and healthy, he's a good asset, very similar to Niclas Alexandersson in that he defends too. Why not take a chance? He's worth the gamble. He could do a good job for Everton." Blomqvist was today expected to sign a contract until the end of the season. At the same time, Thomas Myhre was hoping to rubber stamp his exit from Everton. The Blues finally accepted Turkish club Besiktas' £300,000 bid and the goalkeeper was undergoing a medical with a view to severing his four-year stint on Merseyside. Myhre made 82 appearances for Everton, the last of which came in the 2-2 draw at home to Middlesbrough in January.

Madrid mania
Nov 8 2001
WHEN two tribes go to war, what is the greatest showdown in the world of football?
Where is the colour, the passion and the rivalry at its greatest? If your football watching has been restricted to the English Premiership, you might be forgiven for believing that the great Everton-Liverpool affairs have no equal, not least because the Manchester derby has fallen victim to City's yo-yo existence. But the assumption was destroyed in my mind the day I watch a Celtic-Rangers game in Glasgow and experienced the explosive, ear-piercing atmosphere of the Parkhead "jungle".
The whole stadium was a pulsating mass of colour and noise, but the magic of the occasion was soured by the separatism that extends from the confines of the ground into the streets and city centre. While I admired and revelled in the Glasgow spectacle, I detested the hatred among the fans that had nothing to do with football. It increased my pride in Merseyside's epic showdowns and is one of the reasons why we must stand up against any attempts by small groups to undermine our great affairs. There have been one or two problems in recent times and these must not be allowed to fester and grow. We've still got something very special, but I return to my first question: What is world football's greatest club clash? Where previously we looked at the great internal derby affairs in Liverpool, Manchester and North London, we now consider the merits of equally passionate and in many respects more important showdowns between the current giants of the game. This is simply because the rewards for success soar into soccer's financial stratosphere. Liverpool v Manchester United, for instance, has become as pulsating and as powerful as anything else on offer during the season, simply because they are playing for such high stakes. But again, is it the greatest club clash currently on offer? I have to say no, if only because I have just had a close encounter with one that literally had the ground under your feet trembling like a mini earthquake - and I wasn't even in the stadium! I've just spent a few days in Madrid. Pleasure, not business! The trip coincided with the visit of Barcelona to the mighty Real in the soaring edifice that is the Santiago Bernabeu.
I was not among the capacity 75,000 crowd that witnessed a game that focused the attention of the whole of Spain. I had promised my wife a few days in Madrid to see the sights. Her guide book did NOT include a football stadium, even though the Bernabeu is the football equivalent of a cathedral.
And so at the very moment when Merseyside's very own Steve McManaman was setting off on his magical left wing run and clipping in the cross that would lead to Real's 23rd minute opener, scored by Morientes, I was temporarily oblivious to the action on the pitch. I was standing in the middle of the impressive Plaza de Espana, watching the world go by. It was remarkably quiet in the middle of the square for that time of evening, simply because the Madrilenos who were not at the stadium were banked around every available TV screen, thousands of them in the Plaza bars. It meant I did not need anybody to tap me on the shoulder with a personal goal flash when Morientes' header hit the net. Simultaneously, the roof lifted on every building. If you can imagine a Mexican wave with accompanying tidal wave of sound encircling an entire city and then roaring round for a second lap, you might gain some idea of the impact that goal had on the soccer mad locals. More significantly, it gave you a real feel for the importance of the fixture itself. Barca arrived in a position to challenge Deportivo and Valencia at the top of the table. Real, surprisingly off the pace and out of the top six, were fighting for their football pride. I rushed into the nearest bar to view the action replay. The noise had not abated, but a new roar would now go up as the pictures being shown on the screen became a total fuzz. I don't know if the bar manager had not paid his Pay Per View bill. I do know that he threw his TV control on the floor, screamed abuse at it and picked up the phone to give unimaginable grief to the service providers. I drifted back out into the square. I knew the score and I also knew that if Real scored again, I would not need a television for confirmation. The deafening roar would have been enough. As it was, Figo finally put Barca to the sword in injury time and the subsequent Madrid frenzy confirmed that these two tribes have a very special rivalry.
But is it the best inter club clash in world football? For now it's my number one. But the two tribes debate goes on.

Limpar backing Niclas to shine
Nov 8 2001 By Patrick Hart, icLiverpool
FORMER Everton hero Anders Limpar has handed a vote of confidence to Niclas Alexandersson, as the Swedish international prepares to face England at Old Trafford on Saturday. Limpar believes his compatriot is on the verge of becoming Goodison's new Mr Reliable - and is expecting another tidy performance from Alexandersson against Sven-Goran Eriksson's men this weekend. "He is a good team player with a lot of stamina," said Limpar. "He gets up and down the pitch well and puts in good crosses. "He's not a wizard in terms of technique. He's not the type to turn a game in the last few minutes, but he's doing a great job for Everton and Sweden." Injuries restricted Alexandersson to 20 appearances during a difficult first season on Merseyside following his £2million move from Sheffield Wednesday in July 2000. It has been a different story this term, however, with the 29-year-old ever present in Walter Smith's side. "You always know what you get from Niclas, he's always consistent, there are no peaks and troughs with him," added the ex-Arsenal star. The same could not be said of Limpar, a player for whom the term ' mercurial winger' might have been invented.
Now 36 and a parttimer with Brommapojkarna in the Swedish third division-he acknowledges the difference in styles between the pair. "I played a couple of games in the national team with Niclas, no more than five or six," said Limpar."We're so different he and I. It depends what the coach is looking for. "He's more hard working, while I'm more an out-and-out winger." Looking back on his own days as the Blues' resident wide boy, Limpar continued: "But I don't think Joe Royle could complain. "The Everton team with me and Andrei Kanchelskis produced goals for fun for Duncan Ferguson, Paul Rideout and Graham Stuart." It wasn't just goals that he brought to Goodison - Limpar was a key figure in the club's FA Cup win of 1995, their last trophy success. "I had a great time at Everton," he went on. "The FA Cup win in 1995 was the highlight - we had a good team under Joe and Willie Donachie. "Then we had a great team in 1995-96, when we finished sixth in the League. We had a midfield of John Ebbrell, Barry Horne and Joe Parkinson - they were very hard to play against and we beat some good teams. "I really liked to play in front of the Goodison crowd. They definitely know their football. They have seen great players in the past and demand players to be as good." Back to the future, and Limpar is confident of Alexandersson's place in the Sweden squad for next summer's World Cup finals in Japan and Korea. "For Sweden you couldn't say Niclas is a key figure, but they're talking about him playing at right full back," he said. "That's great for him because he can play anywhere. He's a good asset for the squad and always does a good job.
"I still follow Everton, although here in Sweden they tend to show Arsenal and Manchester United on television. But tell Niclas to keep his chin up." Alexandersson would do well to listen. After all, Limpar was in the Sweden team that reached the semi-finals of both the 1994 World Cup and the European Championships on home soil two years earlier --knocking out England along the way.
"I was on the bench against England a couple of times, including at Wembley in 88," he said. "The highlight, though, was the European Championships in Sweden in 1992. We were a good combination, and we had a great World Cup in 94 after that."

Swede signs cut-price deal
Nov 9 2001 By David Prentice
JESPER BLOMQVIST has accepted a cut-price pay-asyouplay deal at Everton - to prove he can recapture the form and fitness which saw him star for European giants such as Milan and Manchester United. The 27-year-old Swede signed in yesterday until the end of the season - and ironically will play his first match in Everton's colours against United, in the Reserve League next Tuesday. He has been handed the number 12 jersey and said: "For me this is a great move, but it doesn't prove anything. "I am not happy just to have secured a move to another Premiership club. I want to be playing regularly again." The Swedish international's last competitive appearance was the European Cup Final of 1999 and he added: "I am more excited now than I have been for a long time. "I knew that my time with Manchester United was nearing an end and that a number of clubs were interested in signing me, but Everton was very high up on my list. "I have seen them play once or twice on television this season and they look like a team which is capable of finishing in the top 10. "That's what I hope to be part of. "I have played four games so far. Two were not all that competitive, but two were very sharp and my fitness is okay. "Obviously I still pick up niggles in other areas while I'm improving my fitness, but my knee feels excellent. "It's difficult to say when I may be ready for a Premiership game again. Maybe a month. I don't know. It's difficult to say.
"Even when I start playing Premiership football again it may take a game or two to develop my match fitness, my match awareness and my confidence. But physically I feel good." Everton could feasibly field a twin-wing Swedish midfield, with Blomqvist a recognised left-winger and Niclas Alexandersson currently in possession of the right wing role. "I know Niclas very well," added Blomqvist. "We are good friends and I know some of the other players live in Cheshire near me.
"I also have good memories of Goodison Park. My only goal for Manchester United was there and if I remember right I also contributed a couple of assists that day. "Goodison has good memories and hopefully I can add to them."

Everton cut the deficit to below £20m
Nov 12 2001 By David Prentice
SHAREHOLDERS will be told Everton's famed overdraft is now below £20m at the club's annual meeting on December 3. Last year, the Blues made a smaller financial loss, down to £3.7m from £11.2m, but this was achieved on the back of increased borrowing - up to an enormous £29.7m from £15.2m. At its peak, this involved £1.6m in interest repayments. These figures exclude transactions completed after 31 May 2001 - the outgoing transfers of Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball and the signing of Tomasz Radzinski. These transfers have taken the Blues' overdraft below £20m, and a further £300,000 should be banked today by the completion of Thomas Myhre's sale to Besiktas.
The figures show the Blues' borrowing is moving in the right direction, but to achieve further reductions Walter Smith will not be allowed to spend on new players. His latest signing, free transfer Swede Jesper Blomqvist, will make his Blues' debut for the reserves tomorrow, lining up against former employers Manchester United at the Autoquest Stadium in Widnes. Smith will check on the fitness of injured stars Duncan Ferguson, Kevin Campbell, Mark Pembridge and Steve Watson today. The Blues have a further 24 hours to work on the players' injuries with this weekend's visit of Chelsea to Goodison Park scheduled for Sunday (2.00pm kick-off).

Academy: Symes' strike sinks Sky Blues
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 13 2001
MICHAEL SYMES was on target to give Everton under-19s' their second win of the season as they defeated Coventry City 1-0 at Bellefield on Saturday in the FA Premier Academy League.
The Blues weathered some early pressure from the visitors to claim all three points.
Colin Harvey's youngsters took control of the match as the first half wore on and began to create several chances. Just before the break Symes headed wide at the far post and shot into the side-netting from an angle, while fellow front-man Wayne Rooney also had a long-range effort saved.
The sides remained level at the break, but the Blues started the second period the better. Steven Schumacher headed just past the post early on. Then on the hour mark 16-year-old England striker Rooney saw another another long-range effort stopped before Symes forced the Sky Blues' keeper to pull off a tremendous-save from his powerful shot. Australian midfielder David Carney saw his inswinging corner cleared off the line, and it looked as if the Blues would be denied a victory again, despite their increasing pressure. But Harvey's side finally made the breakthrough after 70 minutes when Carney went on a run down the left and his cross was fired home superbly by Symes from 15 yards. It was Symes' fifth goal of the season. Academy director Ray Hall said: "I think it's fair to say that is as well as the team has performed all season. Everybody is delighted not only with the result, but the performance also. "Coventry started the stronger without causing us any real problems. But as the first-half drew on, we created the better chances. "In the second half we totally dominated and a scored a good goal. The only disappointment was we didn't score more goals that we probably deserved. "But it was a good all-round team performance. If I had to single anyone out it would be Michael Symes, who worked tirelessly up front and got his reward with a well-taken goal."
Alan Harper's under-17s didn't have the same luck as they lost 2-1 to Coventry City. The Blues went a goal down but despite equalising the Sky Blues went on to claim all three points.
After the 3-2 victory against Bolton the week before the Blues were disappointed not to build on that encouraging display. Ray Hall said: "Alan (Harper) was very disappointedas were all the boys. We lost to arguably a poorer side, in Coventry, than the Bolton team we beat so well the week before. "If first teams can be inconsistent, you have to take for granted that youngsters, many of whom are schoolboys, are likely to be as well. And that is probably our only problem at present."
Craig Garside and goalkeeper Alex Cole did not start the match due to injury but the Blues will be monitoring their progress ahead of next week's match at Blackburn. Meanwhile, Everton's FA Youth Cup third round tie with West Ham United will be played at Upton Park on Tuesday, November 27 (7pm). There will be no replays in the FA Youth Cup this season for the first time in the competition's history, so the tie must be settled on the night, with extra-time and then penalties if needed.

Blomqvist ready for reserves
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 13 2001
JESPER BLOMQVIST launches his Everton career and his bid to play Premiership football within a month tonight when he makes his Blues bow for the reserves in Widnes. Walter Smith's new capture will line up against former club Manchester United at the AutoQuest Stadium (kick-off 7pm) as the Swedish winger continues his rehabilitation from a careerthreatening knee injury. Tonight's match will be Blomqvist's fourth reserve runout since receiving the all-clear to relaunch his career, and his first since his free transfer switch to Goodison Park. And the ex-AC Milan and Parma star said: "It will be a strange feeling to play my first game against United. I have a lot of friends there and it will be good to see them on Tuesday. "Right now I feel good. I've been playing full games and everything has been feeling good. I've been able to train really hard for the last three weeks." Blomqvist added: "When I realised I had to leave United I made a list of clubs that I would want to join and Everton was at the top. It doesn't offend me if people see me as a gamble, but I think I just need a lot of games to sharpen up. I hope to be challenging for the first team within a month." Tomasz Radzinski, meanwhile, will end his four-year international exile tomorrow night when he returns to the Canadian set-up. The Blues £4.5million striker quit international football to concentrate on his club career but vowed to reconsider his decision if Canada played more fixtures in Europe.
Now Radzinski is expected to win his 14th cap tomorrow night when the Canadians take on Malta in Valetta and coach Holger Osieck hopes to convince the Polish-born star to commit himself to his country on a regular basis. Canada's German-born boss said: "I'm 100 per cent confident that when things go well and when he sees that our team is in pretty good shape and that the environment is working pretty well, that he will definitely commit not only for the one game but even to future games. He's really ready to play for Canada again. It looks very positive."

Blomqvist debut blow
Nov 13 2001 Liverpool Echo
JESPER BLOMQVIST'S Everton debut will be delayed tonight - by injury. The Swedish winger was due to play for Everton Reserves against Manchester United at the Autoquest Stadium in Widnes, but is out with a groin strain. The Blues do not want to take unecessary risks with his fitness. "This often happens when a player is working his way back from one injury," said boss Walter Smith. "He can pick up pulls and strains in other areas." Smith added: "Jesper will train this morning but may not be ready for the stretching involved in a match situation." Blomqvist has played four reserve games for Manchester United since recovering from a knee injury which saw him last involved in a competitive game during the European Cup Final of 1999.

Blues can't lose in swoop for Jesper
Nov 13 2001 By Kevin Ratcliffe
THE SIGNING of Jesper Blomqvist is another pointer to the position Everton currently find themselves in. More and more, Walter Smith is finding himself forced into picking up older stars on short term contracts, names like Paul Gascoigne, Richard Gough and now Blomqvist. Sometimes they pay off, and sometimes they spend more of their time on the treatment table, but that's a risk Everton have to endure. The signing of Blomqvist is hardly a gamble. He has cost nothing and his wages are, reportedly, minimal. I just hope Jesper is not using Everton as a stepping stone to prove his fitness and then secure a move elsewhere. Even if he does, though, Everton will have got some benefit from the deal. I've seen the signing compared to Paul Power's transfer in the mid-80s, but to me the only comparison is that they're both left sided midfielders. Paul was nearing the end of his career, but he was still one of the fittest players in the league and had nothing to prove. He was brought in as cover for Pat Van Den Hauwe and John Bailey - and ended up playing every match until the title was won. Jesper Blomqvist has been signed for very different reasons. If he can get fit and recapture his old form again, he could give the Blues a valuable dimension down the left.
If not, Everton haven't lost anything. It's a no risk transfer and certainly one well worth looking at. Such a relief to see Mark on the mend I WAS shocked to read in Saturday's ECHO that my old teammate Mark Higgins is recovering from a massive heart attack. Apparently Mark wasn't even aware of the seriousness of his situation until he was rushed to hospital two days after he started feeling unwell. That led me to wonder how many heart attacks I've had throughout my career!
Given some of the lads I've played alongside I wouldn't be surprised if I'd suffered several!
Seriously, you can't allow experiences like those endured by Mark, Gerard Houllier, Graeme Souness, Joe Kinnear and Barry Fry to affect your thinking. Football management can be a stressful occupation, but no more so than other jobs - as Mark Higgins' experience has showed.
In fact doctors say that it was only Mark's physical fitness that a career in football gave him which saved his life. Football bosses can't afford to spend their time worrying about their health.
It's obviously something they have to be aware of, but personally I'm more worried about what team I'm going to select for our FA Cup tie this weekend. In the meantime I hope that both Mark and Gerard get well again quickly.

Smith's plea to Canadians
Nov 13 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
WALTER SMITH has made an impassioned appeal to the Canadian FA in a bid to ensure he is not left without a strikeforce for the weekend visit of Chelsea. The Blues boss contacted the Canadians when he learned that striker Tomasz Radzinski had been pencilled in to revive his international career with half a match in Malta tomorrow night. With Duncan Ferguson still recovering from an ankle injury and Kevin Campbell already ruled out with a back problem, any further injury to Radzinski would leave Everton with threadbare resources. " O r i g i n a l l y Tomasz was due to fly to Malta to have talks with Canadian officials but it was then decided he would play in t h e friendly
against Malta," said Smith. "Obviously given our present situation here we would like to avoid any potential risk to Tomasz and we've asked the Canadians for their co-operation," he added.
The Blues have already survived one scare, when Thomas Gravesen limped off during Saturday's 1-1 friendly match draw between Denmark and Holland. "It was just to be cautious," said Gravesen. "I got a blow on the inner part of the knee and had some problems. However, the doctor says there is no ligament damage. I should be back in training today." Radzinski won the last of his 13 Canadian caps against Jamaica four years ago. He refused to play after that because of the long distances involved in travelling to represent his country. The match against Malta, however, is seen as a decision by the Canadians to commit to more games in Europe. Canada coach Holger Osieck said: "I'm a hundred per cent confident that when things go well and when Tomasz sees that our team is in pretty good shape and that the environment is working pretty well, that he will definitely commit not only for the one game but to future games. He's really ready to play for Canada again. It is all very positive." Thomas Myhre, meanwhile, has completed his move to Besiktas. Everton received £300,000 from the Turkish club, who have signed the Norwegian keeper until the end of the season.

Why I love the Blues by star Stubbs
Nov 13 2001 Liverpool Echo
THE Gwladys Street chant "Alan Stubbs is an Evertonian" swells the player's heart with pride.
He was a Gwladys Street regular as a youngster and would have loved to belong to a club like the JBlues. "I was about seven or eight when I first started going to Goodison," he explained. "My brother Ronnie used to take me and I would have loved to have been involved with something like the JBlues. "I always watched games from the Gwladys Street until I was about 14 or 15.
"When I joined Bolton I used to ask them to get tickets for me when Bolton weren't playing and I progressed to the Main Stand then. "I became a bit old for junior fan clubs then, but the present JBlues is a wonderful organisation. I would recommend young fans to join and get involved with Everton in a big way. It's a fantastic club." It's simple to join our new junior fan club and there are a tremendous number of benefits. Why don't you get behind the Blues now and show your support with your official membership card?

Striker light
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 14 2001
WALTER SMITH faces a nervous wait to discover whether any of his first-choice strike-force will be fit to face Chelsea this weekend. The Everton manager is already resigned to being without Kevin Campbell as the club captain struggles to recover from the back injury he suffered in last month's Goodison defeat by Newcastle. But Smith is also sweating on Duncan Ferguson's fitness and a response from the Canadian FA not to play Tomasz Radzinski in tonight's international friendly with Malta before he can finalise his plans for Sunday's televised game. Ferguson was scheduled to return to Everton's starting line-up at Bolton a fortnight ago, only to suffer an ankle injury that forced his late withdrawal and Smith to play Radzinski as a lone striker in the 2-2 draw.
The big Scot has still not returned to full training but has not been ruled out of the Goodison clash, while Radzinski could make his first Canadian appearance for four years in Valetta - though not if Smith gets his way. "Tomasz was originally due to fly to Malta to have talks with Canadian officials," explained the Blues boss, whose injury list swelled last night when new signing Jesper Blomqvist was ruled out of his Everton reserve debut by a groin strain. "Then it was decided he would play, but given our situation we need to avoid any risk to Tomasz and we've asked the Canadians for their co-operation." The Blues boss added: "It doesn't look as though Kevin will be available this weekend but we hope Duncan Ferguson and Mark Pembridge (calf) will be available for the game.
"But even with those two it is a case of wait and see and we are treading cautiously with them in the early part of the week." Given Everton's threadbare squad, manager Smith could hand Joe-Max Moore or even Danny Cadamarteri - a goalscorer in the corresponding fixture last season but now on his way out of Goodison Park - a rare start. h i s selection problems are mounting at one end of the field, Smith's defensive options have improved with the return of Steve Watson and Abel Xavier to his squad. Both were missing from Everton's last outing at Bolton but Watson has now recovered from the knee injury he sustained against Aston Villa while Xavier is free to play after serving the mandatory three weeks on the sidelines because of concussion suffered in the home defeat to Newcastle. Sunday's clash with Chelsea is not in danger of being called off - despite the threat of strike action by the Professional Footballers' Association. The PFA are threatening to boycott televised fixtures in the row over TV money, but the Blues' pay-per-view game against Claudio Ranieri's side is not at risk as the association has promised to give the Premier League seven days' notice before calling a strike. If the dispute does drag on, however, then Everton's home game with Southampton on December 2 and Liverpool's Anfield clash with Sunderland next Sunday will be in doubt. Goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, meanwhile, has now officially completed the formalities of his £300,000 switch to Turkish side Besiktas. The Norwegian star returned to Turkey at the weekend and looks set to make his debut against Antalyaspor on Sunday.

Gascoigne silver lining as Blues beaten
Daily Post
Nov 14 2001
PAUL Gascoigne played the full 90 minutes but could not prevent Everton falling to three second-half goals after taking the lead at the AutoQuest Stadium against a very young United side. The Blues deservedly went ahead on 28 minutes when the busy Tony Hibbert crossed; Kevin McLeod pulled the ball back and, with the help of Danny Cadamarteri's stooped header, David Eaton finished from two yards out. The visitors were a different side after the break, however, levelling on 48 minutes when Danny Webber's cross was headed home by Bojan Djordjic. Cadamarteri should have put Everton back into the lead on 75 minutes but it was a miss that he and the Blues would rue.
Further goals from Swede Djordjic and Jimmy Davies gave United their deserved victory.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Hibbert, Valentine, Pilkington, Clarke, Cleland, Tal, Gascoigne, Cadamarteri, Eaton, McLeod. Subs not used: Kearney, Pettinger, Curran, O'Hanlon, Symes.
MANCHESTER UNITED: Rachubka, Roche, Tierney, Clegg, Tate, Wallwork (Richardson 80), Fletcher (Wood 64), Davies (Muirhead 86), Webber, Nardiello, Djordjic. Subs not used: Williams, Heath.
Referee: Mr D J Birkett.

Everton Res 1 Man United Res 3
November 14, 2001
Manchester Evening News
UNITED'S young reserve side staged a fabulous second-half fightback to stretch their unbeaten run to seven games. Brian McClair's team looked out of sorts in the first half as Everton, with Paul Gascoigne in midfield, dictated most of the play. Idan Tal tested United keeper Paul Rachubka on a couple of occasions and also had a goalbound effort cleared off the line by Reds' defender Paul Tierney. Everton deservedly took the lead in the 28th minute with a goal from David Eaton after Tal and Danny Cadamarteri had paved the way. United's second-half revival began within three minutes of the restart when Bojan Djordjic headed home a far-post cross from Danny Webber. United gradually took command of the game and in the 77th minute they took the lead when substitute Neil Wood scored with a fine shot. Daniel Nardiello sealed the points when he nudged a Jimmy Davis free-kick past Everton keeper Paul Gerrard. UNITED: Rachubka, Roche, Tierney, Clegg, Tate, Wallwork (Richardson), Davis (Muirhead), Fletcher (Wood), Webber, Nardiello, Djordjic

Blomqvist injured again
November 14, 2001
Manchester Evening News
JESPER Blomqvist's much-vaunted Everton debut suffered a hitch last night (Tuesday) with the winger picking up yet another injury. Blomqvist was set for an emotional debut against former employers Manchester United, but picked up a groin strain hours before kick-off. "This often happens when a player is working his way back from one injury," Everton boss Walter Smith told the icLiverpool website. "He can pick up pulls and strains in other areas. "Jesper will train this morning but may not be ready for the stretching involved in a match situation." Blomqvist made 38 appearances for the Reds, the last of which came against Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League Final

Symes strikes to give Blues deserved victory
Nov 14 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON had to wait until 18 minutes from time to secure Youth Academy win number two of the season. But the narrow margin of the win did not reflect the superiority of the Blues' performance against Coventry City. "After a shaky start we played very well," declared coach Colin Harvey. "My only criticism once we got going was that we didn't convert more of the chances we created."
The chance which was taken was a clinical strike. David Carney escaped down the left flank and drilled in a cross which Michael Symes controlled and clipped past the keeper. "If I had to single anyone out it would be Michael Symes," added Harvey. " He worked tirelessly." The result boosted the Blues before this weekend's testing trip to Blackburn, but the under-17s were disappointed to lose 2-1 at Coventry. "Our passing, which has been good in recent weeks, was sloppy this time," said coach Alan Harper. "Coventry had a considerably taller and stronger side physically, but that has been the case with us all season. "We got back into the match after conceding in the first half, but the lads acquitted themselves well and I can't grumble too much." Triallist Chris Noone was the Everton marksman, turning on the edge of the penalty area to complete a seven pass move with a tidy finish. Everton's FA Youth Cup third round tie at Upton Park will be decided on Tuesday, November 27 (7pm). There will be no replays, with extra time and penalties used if necessary.
U-19s: Everton 1, Coventry 0 Everton: Pettinger, Penman, Crowder, Schumacher, O'Hanlon, A Moogan, Beck, B Moogan, Symes, Rooney (Brown 79), Carney. Subs (not used): Garside, Southern. Scorer: Symes.
U-17s: Coventry 2, Everton 1 Everton: Sly, Flood, Potter, Gerrard, Fox, M Jones, Thorbinson (Pennell), J Jones (Cain), Martland, Barry, Noone (Lynch). Scorer: Noone.

Jeffers injury could delay Blues' windfall
Nov 14 2001 Liverpool Echo
FRANCIS JEFFERS has been rocked by the news that he may need surgery on a troublesome ankle injury. The young Arsenal striker has started just two matches since his £8m switch from Everton this summer. The Blues are entitled to a further £2m when he makes a certain number of first team appearances at Highbury, but that windfall seems a long way off following this latest news.
Paul Gascoigne, however, came through another 90 minutes for Everton Reserves at Widnes last night. "Gazza likes to be kept busy and he's building his fitness levels with every game," said manager Walter Smith. The Blues boss is still waiting to hear whether his appeal for Tomasz Radzinski to be omitted from Canada's friendly in Malta tonight has been successful.

Wasteful Blues
Nov 14 2001 By Alan Myers
EVERTON reserves threw away the lead to eventually lose 3-1 to Manchester United at the AutoQuest Stadium. The Blues' new signing Jesper Blomqvist missed the game with a groin strain but Paul Gascoigne played his second full game in a week and worked hard in the home midfield.
The home side went ahead on 21 minutes when a great run and cross by the impressive Tony Hibbert was put back into the danger area by Kevin McLeod and with the aid of a stooped header from Danny Cadamarteri, youngster David Eaton fired the ball home. Everton nearly increased their lead three minutes later when Hibbert again sent over a cross but this time McLeod fired over from close range. The home side dominated the first half and the only real effort for United came from striker Danny Webber on 26 minutes. It was a different story after the break as Brian McClair's side came out fired up, and it wasn't long before they were level. Webber was again involved, crossing for Swede Bojan Djordjic to head past Gerrard at the far post. The visitors were soon pulling Everton apart and took the lead on 76 minutes when Djordjic got his and United's second. Danny Cadamarteri had a glorious chance to put the Blues in front moments earlier but sent his header wide from a few yards out. United were in the ascendency though and when Idan Tal brought down Webber just outside the box, United had another chance to score. From the resulting free-kick Jimmy Davis shot straight past the helpless Gerrard.
Everton: Gerrard, Hibbert, Valentine, Pilkington, Clarke, Cleland, Tal, Gascoigne, Cadamarteri, Eaton, McLeod. Subs not used: Kearney, Pettinger, Curran, O'Hanlon, Symes.

Nov 15 2001
Winging it
Seeing as Everton have little money to buy new players, Walter has to use what he's got. Although big Dunc has not been effective this year, if Smith is going to play him, then he should do so in conjunction with wingers. Ferguson can be a threat if the ball is being crossed into the box from wide positions. Remember when we had Limpar and Kanchelskis? It isn't a coincidence that Ferguson scored goals when we had them playing out wide. When will the players - namely Unsworth - realise this and stop lumping high balls up the pitch. Surley Smith must notice these long balls don't work against half-decent sides, so we need to play a passing game, even if Duncan Ferguson does play. A 4-4-2 formation seems to work well but the goalkeeper situation needs to be adressed ASAP.
David Jenkins, Liverpool
Striker needed
As an Evertonian, I think we should be looking for a new striker to partner Radzinski. Campbell is getting to old and Ferguson is nothing more than a folk hero. He should only be used as cover for injured younger strikers. I wonder if Arsenal will sell Jeffers back to us? He shouldn't have been allowed to move in the first place and it looks like he isn't being given a chance at Highbury anyway.
Chris Kendall, USA
Max power
Why does Joe Max-Moore never seem to get a game these days? Only two seasons ago, Moore could be relied upon to score important goals - and on a regular basis too. His workrate cannot be questioned and he does possess a turn of pace. He is always last in the pecking order however. Until recently, Ferguson has all but been guaranteed his place, despite a poor scoring return.
Campbell meanwhile, is past his best and ever since he secured a bumper new deal, has looked a shadow of his former self. Any coincidence? I hope not.
Steve Chadwick, New Brighton
Blues are back
Contrary to the usual merchants of doom that occupy chatrooms and letters pages alike, I belive that Everton have actually turned the corner. Remember that even until last season, our Premiership status was not secure until the last four or five weeks of the campaign. That's not mentioning the last day escapes of 94 and 98. This season will be different. Only Liverpool and Manchester United have outplayed us so far, despite some daft results. While the likes of Southampton, Derby, Leicester and Middlesbrough will struggle, we are now stronger than them and will finish somewhere near the mid-table comfort zone. Next season will bring further improvement hopefully, so hang in there! The future isn't that bleak.
Keith Falls, Broadgreen, Liverpool

Gascoigne carrot
Nov 15 2001 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
EVERTON are prepared to throw Paul Gascoigne another Premiership lifeline - providing the Blues midfielder proves his worth until the end of the season. The Goodison star's two-year Everton deal expires next summer when he is widely tipped to take up a lucrative offer to end his playing days in the United States. But the Blues will be willing to tempt the 34-year-old into a final topflight flourish with a contract extension if Gascoigne can maintain his fitness and form throughout this campaign.
Gascoigne has been plagued by injuries since his free transfer from Middlesbrough, making only 14 appearances last season, but has been in inspirational form when fit and still hasn't given up hope of making England's 2002 World Cup squad. And the former Lazio and Rangers hero will be interested in an Everton offer if he can see out the final seven months of his current deal in style. Speaking to the Daily Post recently, he revealed: "I'm not looking at this season as a chance to go out at the top level but a chance to earn myself a new contract with Everton. "I've been offered contracts in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and America. They are all options where I could just say 'Right, I'll pack this in and go and enjoy my football over there,' but no, I'm enjoying my football now at Everton. "I want to play in the Premiership and then who knows? All I need to do is speak to Walter (Smith) and Archie (Knox) at the end of the season and I'll do what they say. "If they told me to pack in I probably would. If they told me to go somewhere else I would and if they told me I deserved a new contract at Everton and should stay here then I would." Gascoigne is currently working his way back to full fitness, making two full reserve appearances in the past week since scoring his first goal for the club in his last senior outing at Bolton Wanderers. Ironically that strike came in front of spies from Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are the latest Major League Soccer side keen on taking Gascoigne to America when his present Everton contract expires. Everton's desire to keep hold of a fit Gascoigne will be heightened next summer when their small squad is reduced even further. Abel Xavier, Alec Cleland and Danny Cadamarteri are all out of contract at the end of the current season.

Smith awaits Radzinski decision
Nov 16 2001 By Andy Hunter
WALTER SMITH will attempt to keep Tomasz Radzinski in international exile if the Everton striker commits to Canada's defence of the Gold Cup. The £4.5million forward made his first international appearance in four years on Wednesday night with a starting role in the Canadians' 2-1 friendly defeat in Malta. Canadian officials are confident they have persuaded the Polish-born star to return to the fold, even though Radzinski retired from the international game to concentrate on his club career before he arrived at Goodison Park. Radzinski is keen to play in Canada's games in Europe but could now be calledup to January's Gold Cup tournament in America - which will deprive the Blues of their striker for four matches, which could include the fourth round of the FA Cup. Blues boss Smith said: "We knew he was going to play one half in Malta but he ended up playing for nearly an hour.
"It's too early to say what's going to happen about the Gold Cup, he hasn't decided whether he's going to play at international level again yet. "The reason why he went to Malta was to meet with the Canadian officials and discuss his international future. We'll have to wait until he makes a decision before we can comment further." Smith is still waiting to discover whether Duncan Ferguson will be fit to partner Radzinski against Chelsea on Sunday. "It's a case of wait and see with Duncan," he said. "He trained this morning but now we've got to see if he suffers any reaction. It's too early to say whether he'll be fit for Sunday. "Mark Pembridge is also back in training now and he will be included in the squad for Chelsea." Smith added: "Of our senior squad only Kevin Campbell has been ruled out. He went to see a specialist about his back injury last week and was told it could clear up quickly, but there's not a great deal he can do in the meantime."

Mr Cool is man to tame Hasselbaink
Nov 16 2001 By David Prentice
DAVID WEIR intends to play it cool at Goodison on Sunday, despite coming head to head with one of the most fiery forwards in the country. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was sent off during Chelsea's visit last season for elbowing Michael Ball. And he admitted this week he uses his volatile temper to give him an explosive edge in front of goal. "There are players who don't say anything before the match and, when the game starts, they explode on the pitch," he explained. "Then there are players who are very loud before the game and don't explode during the match. "I know that I have to play with my aggression. I have to approach the game how I want - everybody does. "I'm very calm before the game and I'm not aggressive then. But I want to win and sometimes I'm a little bit over the top.
"That's a point that I have to improve on. I'm trying to do that by being a little bit calmer at certain stages in the game." Blues' defender Davie Weir will come into direct confrontation with Hasselbaink on Sunday, but admits he uses a very different psychological approach. "I think I am a better player when I am calm and focused during matches," he said. "I try to keep my emotions in check because if I lose it I end up doing things which could get us into trouble. "There are a few players like Jimmy who like to channel their aggression during games, but I'm not like that."
Weir admitted, though, that Hasselbaink - already top of the Premiership scoring charts --will pose a considerable threat to The Toffees on Sunday. "He is as good as there is in the Premiership," he declared. "Give him just the slightest sniff of an opening and he can turn it into a goal.
"He is one of the best strikers around and if we are going to achieve anything we must watch him closely." Weir, with two goals to his own credit already this season, will be hoping to sneak a hattrick of his own. But he has a long way to go to match his personal best for a season. "I think I scored eight in a season once for Hearts," he explained. "I've got two from set-plays so far and it would be nice to add one or two more. But the most important thing is keeping a clean sheet."

Star Watson eyeing more heroics
Nov 16 2001 By David Prentice
STEVE WATSON once enjoyed success as an emergency striker at Newcastle. But the Blues defender has no plans to recreate the role - even if Duncan Ferguson joins Kevin Campbell on the injured list this weekend. It is more than six years since Watson was a front-runner, but he hasn't lost his eye for goal. He simply prefers to add to his growing goals tally from a traditional defensive berth.
"I love scoring goals, but I think my striking days are behind me," he explained. Watson has already struck twice this season. And it's a mark of the increased confidence the Blues are performing with that defenders have already contributed five goals to date. "Davie Weir has scored two from set plays and I've managed to get two from open play, which shows how we're playing with more confidence now. "Gary Naysmith is also constantly telling me he's given me two assists already and it's time I returned the compliment. "Alan Stubbs scored at Bolton in our last match and it's got to be good for the team if we can spread the goals about." Watson gives the credit for his increased output to a player who is still waiting to open his account this season. "I can get forward more this season because Niclas Alexandersson works so hard in front of me. "He has been as good as anybody this season. He's a quiet lad so doesn't get many headlines, but he works incredibly hard - on and off the ball. "He has goals in him as well. "He got some important ones at the end of last season and it was only a bad refereeing decision which prevented him opening his account against Spurs earlier on this season. "He'll get one sooner or later this season." Watson believes the same theory applies to Everton as a team. "The way we've been playing and creating chances we'll have another West Ham game soon where we click and score four or five," he explained. "But I think we'd prefer four or five scrappy 1-0 wins. "We have been performing well, but when you look at the points we've dropped we should have another five or six points at least. "Losing the last minute goal at Bolton was very, very disappointing. So, too, was not breaking Tottenham down when they had nine men. Then we played so well against Newcastle but got nothing and we also missed chances at Ipswich. "But it's time we stopped talking about 'might have beens' and started doing something about it - beginning with Chelsea." Watson hopes to be recalled for the Goodison pay per view clash, after missing two matches with a knee injury. "My fitness levels haven't dropped because I was still able to train even though I was injured," he explained. "It was kicking a ball which was giving me problems. "I trained the Thursday and Friday before the Newcastle game because I desperately wanted to play, but I probably did myself no favours doing that. "The international break came at a good time for me though and I'm fit and available again now."

Everton 0,Chelsea 0
Blues bore draw? (D, Post)
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2001
WHETHER this was a bore draw or a mouth-watering display of the defensive arts depends entirely on how you view the glass, half full or half empty? Beyond dispute, however, is the fact that a good few of them will have been raised to Steve Simonsen last night. The long overdue Goodison league debut for the former Tranmere man is unlikely to be remembered by many outside the Simonsen household but it could be of lasting significance for Everton - and the Prenton Park accountants - if the early signs are anything to go by. A commanding performance combined with a slice of necessary fortune on Simonsen's only error was the highlight of Everton's draw with Chelsea yesterday, when the Blues showed that while they lack the wealth and resources of their rivals they have the commitment and spirit Claudio Ranieri's mediocre team can only dream of. Maybe it's cruel to be hard on Chelsea, after all at least they had the decency to show up for this game. But had they been able to match Everton's relentless workrate, or more realistically had the Blues possessed a slice of their opponents' creative class, there would have been a clear winner at Goodison Park rather than stalemate. And without question it should have been Walter Smith's men.
Despite a tepid opening and an uninspiring second-half display, Everton had the chances and the sufficient edge to have built a commanding lead before Chelsea reorganised, regrouped and revived.
Ranieri's men were unable to capitalise on their brighter showing after the break because of Simonsen's form and the authorative central pairing in front of him, David Weir and Alan Stubbs.
That the Blues never profited was due to more wasteful finishing, one excellent Mark Bosnich save and, crucially, a lack of adventure and guile in the final third. Although that was not a major shock considering the forward line was led by a full-back. Duncan Ferguson was fit enough to make the squad but not Smith's starting line-up once again as the Goodison manager refused to gamble on the Scot, overlooked the claims of Joe-Max Moore and Danny Cadamarteri and went with the bizarre choice of Steve Watson as Tomasz Radzinski's strike partner. It must have been a surprise to Watson too, seven years since he last ventured up front in his Newcastle days and just a few days since he laughed off the possibility when it was mentioned at the Blues' training ground. The strangest aspect was that it worked, with Watson providing the necessary muscle to help the Blues unsettle their overhyped visitors and look the more effective if not polished team for the first 45 minutes.
Not that there was any shine to proceedings, however, as the most entertaining moment of the opening 20 minutes came when Mario Melchiot's throw-in fell out his hands. Chelsea started woefully and were there to be punished - but without the right instruments Everton couldn't inflict.
Acute flick from Watson sent Radzinski scampering clear only for John Terry to obstruct his run and escape without censure from referee Mark Halsey, a trick he later repeated when Thomas Gravesen played the Canadian through. Watson headed a measured Alessandro Pistone cross just over before Radzinski twice scuffed shots when well placed in front of goal, the first from Niclas Alexandersson's neat pass and the second when Scot Gemmill seized possession in midfield and put him clear. The Blues had full control of midfield - hence Ranieri's half-time reshuffle in that department - and it was Gemmill who came closest to breaking through when the admirable Watson stole the ball off Terry and laid it into his path only for Bosnich's flying save to keep the scores level. The Londoners' don't have the substance to merit a mention amongst the Premiership's leading contenders but they still have the star names, and the introduction of quality acts like Mario Stanic and particularly Boudewijn Zenden finally gave them the threat to trouble Everton. The early exchanges after the interval didn't augur well for the home side, with their midfield dominance diminishing as they were stretched by the two new Chelsea wide men and a sudden clumsiness creeping into their performance. Gianfranco Zola delivered the first warning when he tricked inside Pistone and Weir only to arrow his shot just over the exposed Simonsen's crossbar. If the new Blues keeper was furious with his defenders for that lapse, it was relief that swept over him when next called into action. More static defending gave the prominent Zenden acres of space outside the area and his bouncing shot appeared to be covered by the keeper only for a horrible fumble to present Zola with a rebound which, after being forced wide by Simonsen, he had blocked on the line by Stubbs' mid-riff. Zenden was the source of all Chelsea's promise and Everton fears, shooting straight at Simonsen and then sending an inviting cross onto the head of Stanic, whose effort towards the top corner was turned into a comfortable save by the Blues' keeper's positioning. Everton belatedly got to grips with the visitors' growing menace and rediscovered their own when Weir's header was tipped over from a corner by Gary Naysmith, soon after played through by substitute Ferguson's neat pass only to be denied at the last by Melchiot. In between, the Blues had a strong penalty appeal turned down when Radzinski's cutback clearly struck William Gallas on the arm and if the officials were not infuriating the home crowd enough, they made sure when Halsey penalised Naysmith for a clean tackle on the anonymous Frank Lampard with five minutes remaining. Zola sensed a steal and so nearly took it as he arched his free-kick over the wall towards the top corner, but the fingertips of Simonsen came to Everton's rescue when he pushed the ball onto the bar. A flurry of injury-time Chelsea corners revived painful memories of the Blues' last outing at Bolton but thankfully a commanding keeper saw there was no repeat. A clean sheet was the least Steve Simonsen deserved.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Simonsen; Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth; Alexandersson (Ferguson 74), Gemmill, Gravesen, Naysmith; Watson, Radzinski. Subs: Gerrard, Pembridge, Gascoigne, Xavier. CHELSEA (4-4-2): Bosnich (Cudicini 79); Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Babayaro; Dalla Bona (Stanic 45), Lampard, Jokanovic (Zenden 45), Petit; Zola, Hasselbaink. Subs: Le Saux, Gudjohnsen. REFEREE: Mr M Halsey.
BOOKINGS: Everton's Gravesen (foul) and Chelsea's Jokanovic, Melchiot and Babayaro (all fouls)
ATT: 30,555.

Smith explains Watson surprise
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2001
WALTER SMITH admitted Steve Watson was not his last resort striker as Everton drew a blank with Chelsea yesterday. Geordie defender Watson was plunged into a surprise centre-forward role at Goodison Park after Duncan Ferguson was restricted to the substitutes' bench by an ankle injury.
And the Blues boss confirmed the fit Joe-Max Moore and Danny Cadamarteri were overlooked against Claudio Ranieri's side because of their physical similarity to £4.5million Tomasz Radzinski.
Smith again bemoaned his side's lack of a cutting edge after the goalless draw which left the Blues 12th in the Premiership. And he admitted: "I did have other options to Steve Watson. "Duncan Ferguson was not fit to play from the start because of his ankle problem and Steve has played there before, or so he told me. It must have been in a previous life! "The other strikers we've got are very similar in stature to Tomasz Radzinski and we needed a physical presence up there. To be honest I thought Steve coped well." Smith was also full of praise for home league debutant Steve Simonsen, who survived one second-half scare to produce an impressive display in the Everton goal.
"He made an excellent save from Zola's free-kick towards the end," said Smith. "He had just the one slip that gave Zola a chance but his overall performance was very good." Both managers agreed the Blues had the better of the first period before Chelsea forced their way back into the game after the break with Mark Bosnich, who strained a thigh muscle late on, saving well from Scot Gemmill and David Weir. And Smith, who left Paul Gascoigne on the bench, added: "It was a tight game and I don't think either team could complain about the result. "There were very few chances, it was one of those tight, close games but with good defensive work from both teams. "It could have swung on a number of decisions but it wasn't to be and neither side could take the few chances when they came. "We had to work really hard in the first half to get on top. We shaded the first half I felt and they had the better of it at the start of the second. "We showed a tremendous attitude to the game but we lacked the cutting edge. "After losing a couple of goals late on in recent games I must admit the thought crossed my mind when the official said there was five minutes to go. But we had committed ourselves well and we were good mentally. "Obviously we hoped for a better result but I don't think we could have a legitimate complaint about the draw."

Gazza - I want to stay for good
Nov 19 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Paul Gascoigne wants to have one last hurrah with Everton. But the veteran star admits he will be guided by his mentor Walter Smith. Gazza has six months left of his existing Everton contract, but says he prefers an extension rather than a wind-down in the USA or Australia. "I have received bids from all over the world, but I would like to keep on playing in the Premiership," he said. "I need to speak to Walter and at the end of the season and I'll do what they say. "I've been offered contracts in various parts of the world, in places where I could just go and enjoy myself. But I am really enjoying myself at Everton and if the boss says I deserve a new contract and should stay here then I will. "As far as I am concerned, I'm now trying to enjoy as much as I have got left of my career and anything else is a bonus." Gascoigne has not completely ruled out an England recall. "I have got to prove myself again to everybody first and to the Everton manager that I am capable of being put in week in, week out. If Sven (Goran Eriksson) thinks I'm good enough to be in the England squad then brilliant. "I would like to think it is not out of the question." Gascoigne will not play f o r Everton's Reserves tonight at Sunderland, but Jesper Blomqvist will make his first start in an Everton jersey. Abel Xavier, Mark Pembridge, Idan Tal, Alec Cleland and Joe-Max Moore will also get match action.

Simonsen vows to seize the day
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Nov 20 2001
STEVE Simonsen has finally had a taste of the Premiership - and now he wants more. The former Tranmere goalkeeper, who spent more than three years trying to force his way into the Goodison Park first team after his £3million-plus move from the Prenton Park club, has finally made it.
And he has come to like the sort of praise he got following his man-of-the-match display, which clinched a goalless draw for injury-hit Everton against Chelsea. His magic moment came late in the second half when Gianfranco Zola curled a Beckhamstyle free-kick from outside the box towards the top corner. But Simonsen produced a magnificent save to touch the ball on to the bar and over.
When fans watched the giant TV screen re-run the incident seconds later, they rose to their young keeper for a second time. The likeable Geordie said: "Now I've got into the side I want more, I want a decent run. "I feel I am settling in. I've known all the lads for some time. I just hope that if I get a decent run we can all get to know each other better." And he is more than happy to re-live that wonder save. Simonsen said: "It was good to make that save from Zola. "I saw the ball late and I knew I had edged to my left a bit when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ran over the ball, but fortunately I was able to get across to my right and get a fingertip onto the effort and touch it onto the bar.
"I was also delighted with the reaction of the crowd, it's great to hear them behind you. "We could have won the game, but it's a big plus for me to keep a clean sheet against a side as good as Chelsea." Simonsen got his chance a couple of weeks ago after some poor form from Paul Gerrard saw him dropped from the side. Simonsen, who made only one mistake all afternoon and almost gifted Zola a goal, said: "I've been waiting for this chance for almost three and a half years so I am going to grab it. "This is something to build on for our game at Leicester next week. We were nice and solid and the lads in front of me did a great job. "I was a bit disappointed with the one I spilled almost at Zola's feet, but thankfully it didn't end up in the net. "But if you do something like that you have to put it behind you quickly, and that's what I did. "Thankfully, there was no harm done and I was able to make a couple of saves, particularly the one from Zola, soon afterwards." Boss Walter Smith added: "Steve was ready for his opportunity. He has waited a long time for the chance and he wants to stay in. "But like anyone else, he has to keep producing good form consistently. He's done that in his first two games now, so I want him to continue." Everton have managed to put together a run of only one defeat in six games and Simonsen underlined the growing optimism at the cash-strapped club. He said: "It has been good for the team to produce some consistent results, and a clean sheet. It will boost everyone. "We were being tipped as a relegation team before the season started, and everyone in the dressing room felt that was ridiculous. So now to be in the top half has proved a few people wrong. "I've been here a long time and Everton fans have hardly seen me play, now I want to show them what I can do."

Reserves rocked by Wearside fightback
Daily Post
Nov 20 2001
Sunderland Reserves 4, Everton Reserves 2
EVERTON conceded four secondhalf goals, having led 2-0 at the interval. On a night when Jesper Blomqvist made his first appearance in a blue shirt, Everton took the lead somewhat against the run of play when the former Manchester United player crossed to Danny Cadamarteri and his shot was fumbled by keeper Jurgen Macho, allowing Nick Chadwick to roll home the loose ball. The Blues went further in front four minutes before the break when Cadamarteri latched on to a through-ball to finish past Macho. David Bellion pulled a goal back on 55 minutes and eight minutes later Sunderland were level, Kevin Kyle heading home from former Everton player John Oster's corner.
Oster was involved in the home side's third when substitute Ross Marchant put through Paul Gerrard's legs after coming on just a minute before. Oster completed the rout on 83 minutes with a 30-yard drive. Sunderland could have got a fifth, had McCartney not missed a penalty with two minutes to go. The only bright spot was a committed performance by Blomqvist.
SUNDERLAND: Macho, Harrison, McCartney, Clark, Byrne, Medina, Bellion (Marchant 75), Dickman, Kyle, Butler, Oster. Subs not used: Kennedy, Sheilds, James, Mercimek.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Penbridge, Blomqvist, Tal, Moore, Cadarmarteri, Xavia, Hibbert, Chadwick (Eaton 78), Cleland, Pilkington. Subs not used: Curren, Valentine, Pettinger, Kearney.
Referee: Mr P Brittain.

Blues get shirty with Gascoigne
Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 20 2001
EVERTON have put a stop to Paul Gascoigne's shirtswapping antics as he is in danger of running out of kit. Gascoigne has become the most wanted man in the Premiership this season as fellow professionals queue up to exchange shirts with the Goodison star in what could be his final campaign in top flight football. But now he will have to curb his famed generosity after being asked for his Everton shirt after every appearance this season. Chelsea defender John Terry was the latest fan to request Gascoigne's number 18 top even though the midfielder didn't even play in Sunday's goalless draw with the Londoners. Liverpool's Gregory Vignal sought the 34-year-old out after the Merseyside derby at Goodison, while four Bolton players wanted their own piece of Gascoigne memorabilia after the 2-2 draw at The Reebok. The Everton ban is not for financial reasons but the unprecedented demand is in danger of leaving Gascoigne without a jersey in some games, with kit man Jimmy Martin forced to order fresh supplies from Puma every Monday since the former England star returned to the team. The rush for Gascoigne's kit could ease, however, after the Blues midfielder confirmed he wants a contract extension at Goodison Park when his current deal expires. Gascoigne has been linked with moves abroad next summer but, as reported in last week's Daily Post, will be offered a new deal by the club if he maintains his form and fitness until the end of the season. "I have received bids from all over the world but I would like to keep on playing in the Premiership," he said. Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson has reported no ill-effects after appearing as a substitute against Chelsea despite a continuing ankle problem.

Academy: Blues feel sucker punch
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 20 2001
A GOAL three minutes from the end denied Everton under-19s a point at Blackburn Rovers' Brockhall Academy on Saturday in the FA Premier Academy League. Colin Harvey's side went down 1-0 to a late free-kick in a close-fought match. Neither side could get on top through most of an evenly-matched contest and it seemed the match was heading for a goalless stalemate. Everton had the better of the opportunities in the first half through Wayne Rooney, Steven Schumacher and Michael Symes. And five minutes before the break, Steven Beck almost scored a fabulous solo goal after he broke from the halfway line but his long-range shot was superbly pushed behind by Blackburn keeper Robinson. Rovers hit the bar at the start of the second half but the Blues kept creating chances. Rooney shot wide 10 minutes into the second period and was again off target 20 minutes later, before Schumacher tried a spectacular overhead effort from just six yards with 10 minutes left but the home keeper saved comfortably. But the Blues were left pointless when goalkeeper Andrew Pettinger could do little about Rovers' winner direct from a freekick as Harvey's side tasted defeat for the first time in five matches. Academy director Ray Hall said: "The performance if not the result was good. Colin was reasonably pleased with the way things had gone and certainly felt we deserved something out of the game." Alan Harper's U17s also lost 3-1 to Blackburn U19s but the scoreline didn't reflect the Blues' overall performance. Blackburn took the lead after five minutes but the Blues came back and after an excellent move could have gone in level at the break. A neat passing exchange ended with Morgan Jones sending a cross into the box, which was met by Anthony Barry but his well-struck shot from 12 yards was saved by the home keeper with his legs. A harsh penalty decision and another defensive error put the game beyond the Blues in the second half but captain Danny Fox did manage to get a late consolation, when he came up form left-back to rifle home a free-kick into the bottom corner. Alan Harper was pleased with the performance and felt his side didn't get the rewards for their efforts. He said: "The 3-1 scoreline doesn't reflect how the game went. We passed it very well and despite being 1-0 down after five minutes the lads didn't let their heads go down. "They kept going but Blackburn got a very dubious penalty. It was a strange decision as the ball appeared to bounce up onto our lad's arm, but the referee gave it and that killed our lads a little for the next 20 minutes. "They hit a third but the lads kept going and we had few chances to get back into it. Anthony Barry had a couple of chances and so did Gavin Lynch.
"So it wasn't a bad performance and it was pleasing because Blackburn have a full range of U17s players." Ray Hall added: "It was as good as the boys have played. They kept possession well and were a little unfortunate to be beaten 3-1. "But they are gaining in experience and it is showing in their play." Meanwhile, Scot Brown and Wayne Rooney are with the England U17s squad for Thursday's friendly international with Poland at Peterborough's London Road ground.

Versatility uppermost in Smith's Blue squad
Nov 20 2001
SUCH is the size of Everton's senior squad at present, that quality is not the only prerequisite of a Walter Smith signing; versatility is another vital asset. With both his more physical strikers not fit enough to start on Sunday, Walter was forced into looking elsewhere for a forward. Neither Joe-Max Moore nor Danny Cadamarteri were considered strong enough physically to act as a foil for Tomasz Radzinski, so Steve Watson was given the nod. He did a good job, too, showing once again the importance of versatility to managers who don't have the financial firepower of other bosses.
Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Leeds all have four front line forwards to rotate.
Everton don't, which is why the likes of Steve Watson, David Unsworth, Abel Xavier and Alan Stubbs are integral to Everton's squad strength. We had a similar player at Everton in the 1980s and to this day I still don't know what Alan Harper's best position was. That's because he was equally talented at right-back, centre-half and all across the midfield. He even had a fondly remembered spell in goal before the FA Cup tie at Stoke when he saved a succession of shots from Big Nev to keep the fans amused! I think given a couple more inches in height, Alan could have become a top class centre-half because he read the game so well. But strangely I always felt that he played better when he was fresh to a role. After half-a-dozen games in the same position it was as if he started getting itchy feet to play elsewhere. But everyone at Everton appreciated his value to the squad and that was a squad of players, remember, which was challenging for every trophy for three or four years.
Versatile players are crucial, although I'm sure Steve Watson wouldn't want his role as a front-man to go on too long. Paul Warhurst made a similar switch a few years back and couldn't stop scoring goals for a while. But eventually he began to yearn for a return to his more accustomed role.
Steve Watson will do an enthusiastic job when necessary, but like all Evertonians will be relieved when Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson are fit again.
Gazza's not a gamble
ONCE again Paul Gascoigne's future has become the subject of some speculation in the newspapers.
To me, Everton have little choice in the matter. They do not have any money to spend on new players - and none seems to be forthcoming in the immediate future either. So as long as players like Gazza can prove and sustain their fitness, he should be offered a new contract. His age is irrelevant. Everton currently possess just 22 players with any sort of first team experience. Of that figure Danny Cadamarteri has already been told he can go, Alec Cleland and Abel Xavier are in the final year of their contracts, and Jesper Blmoqvist hasn't played for two years. That leaves Walter Smith worryingly short on numbers and to let another of that number go, a man who clearly still has an infectious enthusiasm for the game, would be more of a gamble than Gazza's fitness.
Six-point fortnight
IT'S a little early in the season to be categorising games as 'must-win,' but over the next fortnight Everton have two fixtures which fall firmly into the should win category. The Blues' performances have improved enormously this season, but the lack of quality in key areas means they have been unable to turn good displays into victories as often as they would have liked. That's why games against Leicester and Southampton are so important. Man for man Everton should have a little extra quality than either side. But if they continue to allow inferior sides to escape with points it will play on confidence levels. At present Everton occupy a relatively comfortable mid-table position. But that can change swiftly. That's why it's important they continue to build up that buffer zone and take full advantage of those next two fixtures.

Big Dunc op shocker
Nov 20 2001 By DAVID PRENTICE, Liverpool Echo
DUNCAN FERGUSON must have an operation on his injured ankle - leaving Everton desperately short of firepower for two big matches. The Scot will undergo surgery to remove a sliver of bone today, but a specialist says he should only be sidelined for a fortnight. That means, however, he will sit out Saturdays trip to Leicester and the televised visit of Southampton, just when the Blues striking resources are at their weakest. Kevin Campbell is still struggling to recover from a back injury, and against Chelsea on Sunday manager Walter Smith was forced to play right-back Steve Watson up front. "We are told Duncan should only be missing for a couple of weeks," said Smith. "He has been able to run and train, but was experiencing pain when he kicked the ball. "A specialist has discovered the problem and surgery should cure it." Watson acquitted himself well in his emergency role on Sunday, but Smith is more likely to bring back Paul Gascoigne to play the role he filled at
Bolton recently. Saturdays opponents Leicester, meanwhile, are trying to sign 33-year-old
striker Brian Deane from Middlesbrough in time to face the Blues.

Ferguson adds to strike problems
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 21 2001
EVERTON'S skeletal squad is in danger of being stripped to the bare bones after Duncan Ferguson underwent surgery yesterday and two Blues pondered their Goodison futures. Striker Ferguson (pictured) was forced to concede defeat in his monthlong fight against injury when he had a piece of chipped bone removed from his ankle. The big Scot is expected to be out for at least two weeks in a major blow to Walter Smith who rates Kevin Campbell as "extremely doubtful" for Saturday's trip to Leicester. And Smith's striking options could be further diminished as Joe-Max Moore is believed to want talks with the Blues boss over his Everton future after being snubbed for the draw with Chelsea. Moore, who has started only one Worthington Cup game this season and was recently linked with a return to Germany, was overlooked in favour of defender Steve Watson in attack on Sunday due to his similarity to Tomasz Radzinski. But the American international didn't even make the bench at Goodison Park as the one substitute striker's role went to the unfit Ferguson, who will definitely miss the trip to Filbert Street and the televised home clash with Southampton on December 2. Midfielder Idan Tal is also unsettled at Goodison after enduring a miserable start to the season and is considering handing in a transfer request. The Israeli winger's contribution this term has been limited to four brief substitute appearances and, like Moore, a starting role in the cup defeat by Crystal Palace. Tal said: "I am the best in my position at Everton and I thought I would be playing more this season after settling in here but, in fact, the opposite has happened. "The fans are asking me all the time if I am going to be playing but the manager picks Gary Naysmith, who is really a defender. I don't get any chances. I have not had any fights or arguments with Walter Smith and the atmosphere is fine, but I need to be playing. I may ask Everton if I can go, but I don't know if they will let me." Tal's chances on the left wing could be further limited by new signing Jesper Blomqvist, who successfully completed his first 90 minutes in more than two years for Everton reserves on Monday. The former AC Milan and Manchester United star admitted to feeling the effects of his long layoff with a knee injury after the 4-2 defeat at Sunderland but said: "I'm just pleased to have played my first 90 minutes for a long, long time." Blomqvist added: "I enjoyed it and I had plenty of the ball, although I can obviously do a lot better. But I intend to keep enjoying myself and I will improve on my performances. "I felt a bit sloppy and I felt that I missed too many easy passes when I got a bit tired, but that's not like me and I just need games now to get it better. "It doesn't matter how much I run without the ball in training, I will still be tired when I play games because I haven't played for such a long time. That's just the way it is. "It feels really great to be involved though, and although it wasn't good to lose 4-2 and I felt a bit stiff all over afterwards."

Blues chief backs Premier League
Nov 21 2001 By David Prentice
EVERTON are backing the Premier League in their battle with the PFA - even though their Sky Super Sunday clash with Southampton could be one of the first fixtures hit by a strike. The players' union last night took the unprecedented step of issuing strike notices to all Premiership and Football League clubs, after talks over their share of television revenue broke down. Industrial action looks set to now commence on the weekend beginning December 1 - with the Blues' due to entertain Southampton in a clash worth £200,000 to them the following day. Everton Chief Executive Michael Dunford said: "We are fully behind the Premier League's stance. "We believe the Premier League will seek an injunction to declare the strike illegal, and until then we will wait and see." Leeds Chairman Peter Ridsdale has warned his players their wages will be witheld if they strike.
"There's no dispute between Leeds United Football Club and our players about their contracts," he said. "We have no choice but to say you will not be paid because the wage money comes from TV money." Ridsdale is backed by Birmingham chief David Gold and Bradford counterpart Geoffrey Richmond. Gold said: "I find this whole thing extraordinary. Tell me one business in this entire universe which gives £25million to support a union. I find that absolutely extraordinary."
Richmond added: "The PFA has the highest paid union officials in the world. I'd be a lot more impressed and I think the public would be more impressed if footballers themselves actually funded this work." Regardless of a player's wage, PFA subscriptions are £75 a year. The Premier League, the Football League and the FA signed a new TV deal last summer worth £ 2,160m over three years.
The PFA have traditionally received five per cent of TV revenue - and originally demanded £36m a year. The Premier League's final offer was for £20m, with the proviso that they decide how £14m of that figure is spent. The union lowered their demands to £27m a year on the condition they could negotiate a longer term agreement. Neither was acceptable to the other side and the Premier League are seething that the strike notices were apparently despatched while negotiations were still proceeding. PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has blasted the Premier League's "patronising and arrogant" attitude. "We have been left with absolutely no alternative to consider strike action because of the very patronising and arrogant way we have been treated by the Premier League," Taylor told BBC Radio Five Live.

Idan slams quitting rumours
Nov 21 2001 By Claire Gray
IDAN TAL today hit back at claims he is looking to leave Everton. Reports in his native Israel implied that the 26-year-old is contemplating quitting the club he joined from Maccabi Petah Tikva just 13 months ago. But the left winger insists that he has no intention of asking for a transfer.
"I never said anything like that," declared Tal. "It is just that back home in Israel they do not understand why I am not playing. "But I have never said that I don't want to stay at Everton or that I am not happy here." Tal is yet to make his first Premiership start of the season with his only full 90 minutes having come against Crystal Palace in the Worthington David Unsworth and more recently Gary Naysmith have been preferred on the left hand side of midfield while the arrival of Swedish international Jesper Blomqvist from Manchester United last month has further stiffened the competition for that spot. Tal made 11 starts last season and 17 substitute appearances but has made the bench only twice in the last seven games. However, the Israeli is keen to point out that no matter how much he wants first team football, he is prepared to wait for his chance. "It is a natural thing to want to play because that is what I am used to," he said. "I played all the time when I was in Israel and I am a regular with the national team. "But I don't see any reason to leave the club.
"I am just waiting for my chance. Last season when I was a given the opportunity I think I proved myself, certainly in the games at Chelsea and Arsenal. "I like the fans here and I like the club. I am happy with everybody. I don't see any problems. "Everybody wants to play every week but only eleven players can play. Football is like that so I am waiting patiently. He added: "Sometimes I get down when I don't play but I never stop working. I am a professional player so I will always work as hard as I can even if I don't play. "I am still waiting for my opportunity and I am sure that it will come. "I will say it again, I will train even harder to prove myself because I would very happy if I was playing or if I get a chance."

Late Fox strike can't save Blues
Nov 21 2001 By David Prentice
TWO late free-kicks were converted in both Everton's Academy matches last weekend - but neither produced a win for the Blues. The Under-17s went down 3-1 at Blackburn Rovers, with Daniel Fox's late strike only a consolation, while a long range 87th minute effort undermined a solid Under-19 display at the same venue. "We deserved something out of it," said coach Colin Harvey.
"Blackburn certainly had more of the ball, but we created the better chances - and to lose to a free-kick so late in the game was a bit of a sickener. "That was the only time in the game they seriously threatened us." That Blackburn threatened so sporadically was largely down to the form of defender Sean O'Hanlon, who produced a resolute display. But the 87th minute free-kick, driven low past Pettinger, was the only goal of the game. Alan Harper's under-17s scored from a set piece, but by that time the game had already been lost. Despite the excellent efforts of 15-year-old centrehalf Mark Hughes, Everton found themselves threedown before Fox struck. "Our passing was a lot better than in recent weeks," said Harper "and 3-1 was probably a bit harsh on us. "But Blackburn were just that bit more ruthless." Scott Brown and Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, have been named in England's Under-17 squad for tomorrow night's friendly international against Poland at Peterborough's London Road.
Under 19s: Blackburn Rovers 1, Everton 0. Pettinger, Penman, Crowder, Schumacher, O'Hanlon, Southern, Beck, A Moogan, Symes, Rooney (Brown), Carney.
Under 17s: Blackburn Rovers 3, Everton 1. Scorer: Fox.
Sly, Flood, Fox, Hughes, Gerrard, M Jones (Noone), Barry, Pennell (Seargeant), J Jones, Martland, Lynch.

Latics snap up Jackson
November 22, 2001
Manchester Evening News
WIGAN have completed the signing of former Everton and Norwich City center back Matt Jackson.
A former captain of the Canaries, Jackson spent a month on loan at the JJB Stadium and impressed with his solid displays at the heart of a somewhat erratic defence. The transfer went through without hitches as Norwich boss Nigel Worthington was willing to let him leave on a free as long as he didn't have to pay up his remaining wages. It is thought that Jackson, who has signed on a two-year deal, will be on very similar wages at the JJB as those he enjoyed at Carrow Road. By signing Jackson before his loan expired he is removed from Wigan's quota of loan signings leaving manager Paul Jewell more leeway to bring in players at a later date

Blues play it tough
by Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 22 2001
EVERTON will take a hardline stance against their players if the threatened PFA strike becomes a reality at Goodison Park. The Blues' playing staff will be among the first in the country to have their union resolve tested when they entertain Southampton in a televised clash just 24 hours after the planned strike starts on December 1. And Goodison officials are believed to be ready to hit players with the maximum financial penalty of two weeks wages if they proceed and breach their contract.
Manager Walter Smith, Chairman Sir Philip Carter and Chief Executive Michael Dunford met with the squad recently to outlinethe club's position in the long-running dispute over TV money between the PFA and the Premier League. The club are supporting the Premier League in the row and have not ruled out the possibility of the strike being averted before the Southampton game, worth £200,000 in TV appearance money. Chief Executive Dunford said: "We are fully behind the stance taken by the FA Premier League and as a club we stand right behind the Premier League negotiators.
"We believe the Premier League will seek an injunction to declare the strike illegal, and until then we will wait and see." Meanwhile, Bradford chairman Geoffrey Richmond has threatened to break the strike by ensuring games go ahead by playing youth team and non-contract players. "The show will go on with or without the PFA," Richmond said. "We do not need to ask the PFA if we can play football. It's up to the PFA members and if they don't want to play I am sure we can find other players who are prepared to play."

Blues in mood to bridge gap
By Len Capeling, Daily Post
Nov 22 2001
IT WASN'T quite the clash of styles that some people predicted. Chelsea, £40m expended, looked ordinary and uninterested. Everton, £4m wrenched from a fire sale, looked competent, compact and committed, lacking only a route map to goal. Without Duncan Ferguson, Walter Smith's team try to play football and there were times in the first half when they outmanoeuvred Claudio Ranieri's timid troops. Chelsea came on strong after the break when the Blues found themselves, for whatever reason, unable to sustain the tempo that had kept the Londoners jittery. Lack of a proven finisher meant Everton's chances of scoring were seriously compromised. Having to play the willing Steve Watson up front didn't help, but Tomasz Radzinski has yet to convince at this level, and both Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell would be merely support strikers at a bigger club. But don't tell David Unsworth that. His eyes positively lit up when Big Dunc trotted on towards the end of the match. Suddenly, there was a reason for living. Suddenly, the aimless lump forward had its place in the Everton philosophy. Chelsea, meanwhile, got better without convincing any one that Liverpool or Leeds need fear a capital challenge as they launch a twin strike on the magic kingdom. As for the Blues, they look comfortable in 12th spot. The directors are beaming at the prospect of not having to find money for any silliness with championships or cup finals. Leicester on Saturday should strengthen Everton's proud, midtable strangehold unless Dave Bassett can somehow smuggle 14 players on to the pitch. fool.
SADDEST scene on Sunday had to be the sight of the talented Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink playing the One of the sweetest strikers of a football in the game, Hasselbaink did his best to give lie to his enviable reputation for goalscoring with a performance that was part stage-drunk, part outrageous drama queen. When he wasn't flying through the air and on to his backside, the Dutch international was imploring the referee to intercede after another imaginary assault.
Everton fans were probably happy to see him as fall-guy, but at £40,000-a-week imagine the thoughts of Chelsea's workaholic chairman Ken Bates.
DION DUBLIN for Everton? With Duncan Ferguson out, post-op, Kevin Campbell's back still twinging, and Joe Max Moore seemingly surplus to requirements, a move for the unsettled Aston Villa centre-forward - a target for Howard Kendall in the distant past - can't be ruled out.

Building for Blues' future
Nov 22 2001 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
BRICKS and mortar may not be the key to producing Premiership quality footballers, but it certainly helps. Everton's Youth Academy HQ's office is currently a Portakabin in the grounds of the club's Bellefield training ground, although training actually takes place at a site in Netherton, formerly owned by the Littlewoods Organisation. It pales in comparison with the grand Kirkby-based headquarters of the Liverpool Academy, but plans are in place to ensure the Blues have an Academy to match their ambitions. And, if you listen to Ray Hall, Everton's head of youth development, those ambitions are bold. "Football always has been and always will be about people, but a club's facilities have to reflect the club's ambitions and expectations," he said. "A grand Academy advertises the intent of the club and sells it to youngsters and parents alike. "The club is currently in the process of trying to improve facilities. The board have always supported the work of the staff in the Academy and what we have achieved. "But they appreciate that, while the facilities are suitable and still meet the criteria for recognition as an Academy, they are lagging behind. "It is vitally important that we look at improving those facilities, both for the Academy and for Bellefield. "When I first came to the club as a youngster 40 years ago Bellefield was state-of-the-art. But very little has changed since then. Everton is a club that has always led the way and the club are intent on doing that once again."
Indeed, Everton's commitment to youth development is not in doubt, particularly when you read the facts and figures on staffing levels in the last decade. When Hall was appointed as the club's Youth Development Officer in 1989, he had a part-time secretary, one youth coach, four local part-time scouts and two scouts nationally. Twelve years on and, since the formation of the Academy, the staffing levels have mushroomed, with Hall working alongside 17 full-time staff, with a further 120 working on a part-time basis. But he admits that continuing devotion to the needs of the Academy is not unique to Everton. "There seem to be fewer players being sought after by more clubs," he adds. "In the North West, for example, there are seven academies and over 20 Football League clubs and each one prides itself on having a good youth programme. Nowadays a youth system is essential, not optional. "Any decent youngster of seven or eight years of age will probably be recruited into his local team and it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit boys who have already been at clubs for two or three years. "Standards are improving all the time because of the competition. In the 12 years I have been here the standards have risen beyond all recognition. "Players who perhaps in previous generations would have played in our first team may not be good enough because the standards are so high. It takes a really special player to become a first team regular now."
In the last five years, Everton have produced 15 players who have tasted first team football of some kind. But of that 15, only four - Michael Ball, Franny Jeffers, Danny Cadamarteri and Richard Dunne, have made more than 20 appearances for the first team. Three of those have been sold for a combined total of £17.5m, with the possibility of it rising to £19.5m dependent on Jeffers' success at Arsenal. That money has been invaluable to a club that has been crippled in recent years by a mounting overdraft, but the sales of Jeffers and Ball finally seemed to have eased the financial burden somewhat. Hall admits that in the modern game a successful youth system can be invaluable to a club financially. He added: "Over the last few years our aims within the Academy have changed slightly. "The main aim is obviously to develop players for the first team, but as that becomes harder the next aim would be to develop players as saleable assets so they are making the youth programme self-financing in many respects. The system has developed players who have been sold for a combined figure in the region of £22m. In addition to Ball, Jeffers and Dunne, Gavin McCann and Michael Branch have also moved on. "It is always sad to see players go, but that is the nature of the game." There are 20 players who have risen through the ranks at Everton since 1996, earning a living from professional football away from Goodison Park. But attracting the youngsters capable of going on to play at the highest level is the major difficulty. The Liverpool Academy is a grandiose symbol of the Anfield club's standing in the game. It will inevitably make a good impression on youngsters and parents having to decide on the best club for them.
Being able to offer young players the best facilities around is a great selling point, and one Everton are eager to boast. But once you have the players at your club, it is the people that matter.
Hall concludes: "At the moment, our grass is as good as anybody else's. Although our bricks and mortar may not be, the most important aspect of any youth programme is the quality of the coaching. "We are in the ever-evolving process of putting together an effective, efficient scouting network. Once you have identified the players you need to recruit them, and the key to reaching the best players first is scouting. "Once you have those players, you have to put the best boys with the best coaches available and we have a super coaching staff here. The key is maximising the time you spend with the boys. "Give us 10,000 hours over a 10-year period with a young player and we will maximise his potential."

Gazza chance to stir Sven
Nov 22 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
PAUL GASCOIGNE could get the chance to restate his claims for an England recall on Saturday - on the same stage which saw him touted for an international comeback last season. Gazza produced a sparkling display in a televised match at Leicester last September, a performance which had some experts calling for Kevin Keegan to call him up for the Wembley World Cup qualifier against Germany. He was not selected. In recent weeks, however, Gazza has said again he hopes his international career has not ended --and he looks set for an Everton recall at Filbert Street.
With Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell both ruled out, manager Walter Smith must decide between using Gascoigne in the same role which brought him a goal at Bolton recently, or persisting with Steve Watson as an emergency centre-forward. "I am considering both options," he said. "I would not like to go there and sit back. We'll see how everyone looks in training." Despite the striker shortage, Smith has options in every other area with Abel Xavier and Mark Pembridge both fit again. Duncan Ferguson was back at Bellefield today on crutches after his successful surgery on Monday, and the Blues hope he will miss only two matches. Recent speculation linking Everton with Aston Villa's out of favour striker Dion Dublin, meanwhile, has been dismissed. The Blues have no funds to back even a modest purchase, and even if Villa allowed Dublin to leave he would command a fee of several million pounds.

Initiative like Ajax scheme
Nov 22 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have adopted a European blueprint for success as they strive to improve the flow of home-grown players into the Goodison first team. At the start of this season Ray Hall, the club's head of youth development, introduced a new schoolboy initiative aimed at giving the club's coaches more time to improve the skills of the youngsters on Everton's books. "Our schoolboy initiative is similar to the Ajax model," explains Hall. "No other club in the country operates an initiative like ours. We bus our boys of 13 to 16 into the Academy four nights a week after school to give us extra time with them. "On two of those nights we also provide education support to help ensure they have a rounded education. We are already starting to see the benefits of the initiative. "In the past in European tournaments we have played the best clubs on the continent and, up to about the age of 12 or 13, there is no difference in quality. In fact, as far as our club is concerned, we win most of the matches we play. "But something happens beyond the age of 14 and we believe it is about access. The Europeans have got a march on us because their school day finishes earlier in the afternoon.
"We can't change our school times, but what we can do is bring the youngsters in for an hour and half every day. Access and coaching time is the key, and the extra work is starting to give us an edge."

Insult to Paulo's great gesture
Nov 22 2001
HERE'S an interesting thought.
You are heading for work and running to catch a bus. You see a man fall in front of you. He is clearly in pain and holding his hand up to attract your attention. a. Pretend you have not seen him. Look away and continue your sprint for the waiting bus.
b. Stop mid-stride. Ask if is he is okay. Give him some emergency first aid and seek help.
I only ask the question because the bus was heading down the right wing at Goodison
Park on Sunday. The players were determined to get on board and decided not to see Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, prostrate in the box and clearly in agony after pulling a thigh muscle as he attempted to take a goal kick. I would have taken little or no satisfaction from Everton scoring in that situation and I will tell you why. Last season, ironically with London opponents in opposition at Goodison, Blues goalkeeper Paul Gerrard suffered a nasty injury in exactly the same Park End goal area. It happened in the very last minute with the keeper down in the area and clutching his knee.
The ball was played into the box and one Paolo di Canio had a wonderful opportunity to score and win the game for the visitors. Instead the Italian caught the ball to enable the prostrate Gerrard to receive t r e a t m e n t . The Goodison fans stood as one to applaud the Hammers star who r i g h t l y r e c e i v e d nationwide praise for his tremend o u s sportsmanship-Do you: I thought about di Canio as the Blues ignored Bosnich on Sunday and tried to capitalise on the Australian goalkeeper's injury. Of all the clubs who should have put the ball out of play in that situation it should have been Everton. I'm no particular fan of Chelsea and, like most people, I have had a wry smile on my face at times at Bosnich ' s almost comic attempts to clear either a moving or a dead ball. He seems incapable of making clean contact and it's one of the reasons why he will never be a truly top keeper. But he deserved better on Sunday. I just wonder what went through Paul Gerrard's mind as he watched from the bench. While I'm at it, both teams were guilty of mindnumbing pettiness on the two occasions when play was sensibly stopped midaction to allow a physio on.
Firstly, Everton's David Unsworth, on the halfway line and asked by the referee to give possession back to Chelsea, kicked the ball out of play within a few feet of the corner flag. It put Chelsea on the back foot and you knew what the repercussion would be. Later in the game, the Londoners were asked to return the ball to the Blues in similar circumstances and they also found touch near the corner flag with a kick that any rugby union star would have been proud of. Players are causing themselves obvious problems with such stupidity. You will not gain any advantage because your opponents will always react in good time in tit for tat fashion. I thought about giving Unsworth the benefit of the doubt for a mis-kick, but then that would make him a graduate from the same kicking school as the unfortunate Bosnich himself and I don't think he'd welcome that. The message to the players is a simple one. If you see a rival GENUINELY injured, put the ball out of play with the clear thought that later in the game it could be you or a team-mate lying there desperate for treatment.
Equally, any player who blatantly puts the opposition under pressure with a kick into touch when asked to return possession from a bounced ball on the halfway line should be booked for ungentlemanly contact. I suspect that Paul Gerrard for one, speaking for the Goalkeepers' Union, would back my every word.

Academy: Victory is aim for youngsters
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 23 2001
EVERTON'S Academy sides will hope to gain a boost at Manchester City tomorrow ahead of their FA Youth Cup third round clash with West Ham United at Upton Park next Tuesday. Both teams face Manchester City at the Platt Lane complex (kick-off 11am) in the FA Premier Academy League and after last week's two defeats will hope to score a victory to set them up for Tuesday's cup-tie.
Colin Harvey's under-19s lost to a late free-kick at Blackburn and his side will be virtually the Youth Cup line-up, as the team is made up of U18s players with the exception of defender Sean O'Hanlon and Craig Penman. Academy director Ray Hall said: "As we keep stressing it is performance that we are looking at. There is really only one result that matters at the weekend and that is the first team." Manchester City themselves have found results hard to come by, although they did beat Coventry 2-0 last Saturday to register their third victory of the campaign, one more than the Blues. Everton will hope Wayne Rooney and Scot Brown came through last night's England U17s international with Poland without any problems and they will monitor their fitness levels. Alan Harper's U17s will be hoping to get back to winning ways after two defeats, although last Saturday's loss at Blackburn disguised the fact they are progressing in an age group where most of the boys are at least a year behind many of the opposition players. Alan Harper said: "Manchester City are a big and physical side so straight away you are struggling height-wise and strength-wise. But we have found that the lads have begun to do quite well against teams like that. "Obviously we would like a few more wins and goals but they are doing okay at the moment." Ray Hall also thinks that the side are progressing with each week and believes the experience they are gaining will be invaluable. He said: "The boys are not downhearted even though the results are going against them. In fact the programme that we put in place where they attend training four nights a week and join Mike Dickinson, our education officer, on a Monday and a Wednesday is working well. "And if, as looks likely, the age groups stay the same next season they should be okay next year at U17s because this time next year they will have more experience. "The games this year are quite close and in terms of development, nobody likes getting beaten on a regular basis. "Beyond that, so long as the boys don't get downhearted - and we are not so why should they be - it should give them a good experience for next season."
Franklyn Colbeck is still out with his long-term injury while Craig Garside is missing with a calf strain.
Goalkeeper Alex Cole has shin splints and Martin Crowder has a knee problem but played on Saturday. Brian Moogan was ill last week, but the Blues expect a few of those players to be fit to return to face Manchester City.

Unsworth backs players' union
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 23 2001
DAVID UNSWORTH has backed his fellow professionals' right to strike - even though Everton players could be hit hard in the pocket. English football is heading for a standstill next weekend unless the PFA and the Premier League can reach an agreement over how much television money the players' union receives. A ballot earlier this month revealed that 99 per cent of players endorsed strike action, which would affect Everton's televised home clash with Southampton on Sunday week.
The Premier League and Football League last night launched legal action to block the players' strike, and Blues chief executive Michael Dunford has already warned his players they will be docked two weeks' wages should they proceed with the action as they would be in breach of contract.
But while Unsworth is keen to avoid such a walk-out, he is prepared to back the PFA's stance.
"Obviously in any dispute there are two conflicting opinions and the players have backed the union, which is totally right, because it is only fair that the PFA get a fair proportion of the money," said Unsworth. "I think I can speak for all the players here when I say I hope that it doesn't happen because a players' strike is not going to benefit anybody. "It is all a bit up in the air at the moment. We had a meeting with Michael Dunford and the chairman a couple of weeks ago and they put forward the club's side. "We then had a meeting with Barry Horne from the PFA and he told us what he knew. "Negotiations are taking place every day and we hope that a compromise can be reached before any strike action has to be taken, because it's in everybody's interests not to take industrial action." Should talks aimed at finding a compromise break down and the strike goes ahead, players would be faced with the prospect of not being paid by their clubs. Unsworth added: "We were told this by chairman (Bill Kenwright) and the chief executive (Michael Dunford), but the PFA said that wasn't case. "It is clearly evident that there are two conflicting sides and it is very, very complicated. In all honesty, we don't know what the implications will be. "But if a union decides to strike then you can't expect to be paid and it is a very difficult situation that we find ourselves in."
Blues boss Walter Smith, meanwhile, is pondering whether to continue with his makeshift strikeforce of Tomasz Radzinski and Steve Watson for tomorrow's trip to lowly Leicester City.
Kevin Campbell last night joined Duncan Ferguson on the sidelines after succumbing to the back injury which has kept him out since the 3-1 home defeat to Newcastle United. Smith also has the option of reverting back to the five-man midfield which came within a minute of securing victory at Bolton Wanderers three weeks ago. The Blues boss said: "We were hoping this season that we would have plenty of cover, but unfortunately both Kevin and Duncan are out which leaves us with a small problem. "The other strikers that we do have in our squad are on the smaller side and it is difficult to put them in the team together at the same time. We have to be careful with Kevin's back injury. It is a slow process in terms of the healing part and we just have to wait until he is ready before we decide to reintroduce him. We would be prepared to use Steve Watson again, but we do have other options," added Smith, who has strikers Joe-Max Moore and Danny Cadamarteri available. "A few weeks ago we had Tomasz up on his own with five players in midfield, so we can revert back to that for our away matches. I am considering both options but I would not like to go there and sit back."
* EVERTON have dismissed reports linking them with Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin and Rangers defender Tony Vidmar.

Unsworth backs players' union
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 23 2001
DAVID UNSWORTH has backed his fellow professionals' right to strike - even though Everton players could be hit hard in the pocket. English football is heading for a standstill next weekend unless the PFA and the Premier League can reach an agreement over how much television money the players' union receives. A ballot earlier this month revealed that 99 per cent of players endorsed strike action, which would affect Everton's televised home clash with Southampton on Sunday week.
The Premier League and Football League last night launched legal action to block the players' strike, and Blues chief executive Michael Dunford has already warned his players they will be docked two weeks' wages should they proceed with the action as they would be in breach of contract.
But while Unsworth is keen to avoid such a walk-out, he is prepared to back the PFA's stance.
"Obviously in any dispute there are two conflicting opinions and the players have backed the union, which is totally right, because it is only fair that the PFA get a fair proportion of the money," said Unsworth. "I think I can speak for all the players here when I say I hope that it doesn't happen because a players' strike is not going to benefit anybody. "It is all a bit up in the air at the moment. We had a meeting with Michael Dunford and the chairman a couple of weeks ago and they put forward the club's side. "We then had a meeting with Barry Horne from the PFA and he told us what he knew. "Negotiations are taking place every day and we hope that a compromise can be reached before any strike action has to be taken, because it's in everybody's interests not to take industrial action." Should talks aimed at finding a compromise break down and the strike goes ahead, players would be faced with the prospect of not being paid by their clubs. Unsworth added: "We were told this by chairman (Bill Kenwright) and the chief executive (Michael Dunford), but the PFA said that wasn't case. "It is clearly evident that there are two conflicting sides and it is very, very complicated. In all honesty, we don't know what the implications will be. "But if a union decides to strike then you can't expect to be paid and it is a very difficult situation that we find ourselves in."
Blues boss Walter Smith, meanwhile, is pondering whether to continue with his makeshift strikeforce of Tomasz Radzinski and Steve Watson for tomorrow's trip to lowly Leicester City.
Kevin Campbell last night joined Duncan Ferguson on the sidelines after succumbing to the back injury which has kept him out since the 3-1 home defeat to Newcastle United. Smith also has the option of reverting back to the five-man midfield which came within a minute of securing victory at Bolton Wanderers three weeks ago. The Blues boss said: "We were hoping this season that we would have plenty of cover, but unfortunately both Kevin and Duncan are out which leaves us with a small problem. "The other strikers that we do have in our squad are on the smaller side and it is difficult to put them in the team together at the same time. We have to be careful with Kevin's back injury. It is a slow process in terms of the healing part and we just have to wait until he is ready before we decide to reintroduce him. We would be prepared to use Steve Watson again, but we do have other options," added Smith, who has strikers Joe-Max Moore and Danny Cadamarteri available. "A few weeks ago we had Tomasz up on his own with five players in midfield, so we can revert back to that for our away matches. I am considering both options but I would not like to go there and sit back."
* EVERTON have dismissed reports linking them with Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin and Rangers defender Tony Vidmar.

Guess who giveaway
Nov 23 2001 by Matthew Chambers, icLiverpool
NO you are not experiencing sight difficulties icLiverpool have gone to work on one of the Everton FC squad. Can you guess who it is yet? If you answer correctly your name will be entered into the icLiverpool master computer and five lucky winners will receive a copy of Ally McCoist's Director of Football game for the PC. Include your name and address in your answers and mark in the subject field 'competition' to ensure that your entry is dealt with quickly and efficiently Watch this space for another 'Guess Who' next Friday when we will have five copies of Eidos' Championship Manager Season 01/02 to give away.

Blues' chaotic dressing room
Nov 23 2001 By Claire Gray, Liverpool Echo
EX- EVERTON defender Marco Materazzi last night launched a blistering attack on his former club.
The Italian international, at Portman Road with Inter Milan last night for the UEFA Cup clash with Ipswich, accused the club of chaotic pre-match preparations, while claiming he had only come to England for the money. He said: "While at Everton I soon had to learn how to concentrate myself before matches. I would go into the dressing room beforehand and disco music would be blaring out. "The kit men were booting tennis balls around me and my teammates would be wolfing down three bananas each five minutes before kick-off. "I remember a furious row between the manager and Don Hutchison. I thought he would never play for us again, but instead he was captaining the side the next weekend. "We used to train for two hours in the mornings and we can't have had more than a handful of sessions in the afternoon." Materazzi arrived from Perugia for £2.8m in July 1998, but spent just one season at Goodison before rejoining the Italian club. Meanwhile, another former Everton defender, Slaven Bilic, has been appointed coach of Croatian club Hajduk Split.
Bilic began his career at the club as a junior. Split are currently third in their league.

Ace Joe-Max hopes his time will come again
Nov 23 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOE-MAX MOORE has gone from hero to zero in little more than a month. Two goal star for the USA in their decisive World Cup qualifier against Trinidad, he hasn't kicked a ball since - and to add insult to injury he was ignored from Everton's starting line-up last Sunday for a right-back who hadn't played up front for six years. But Moore is insistent that stories of him slamming in a transfer request are wide of the mark. "There's been a lot of speculation and rumour about me putting in a transfer request which is rubbish. It's just not true," he said. "I've told Walter I just want to stay here and work hard to fight my way back into the team. "It's been hard to be honest. Since I scored those two goals for the USA I haven't played yet. "I was down at Ipswich on the bench, then I got sick for a couple of games and it's been a hard time for me. But I feel sharp now. I am feeling good in training so hopefully something will break soon." Moore first exploded onto the Premiership scene with an unlikely flurry of goals. After one start at Bradford and three substitute run-outs, a 92nd minute strike against Tottenham sparked a personal goal-fest. Another goal from the substitutes' bench followed a fortnight later and earned a place in the starting line-up, from which he scored four goals in four successive matches. A double against Watford 18 months ago, however, were the goals which saw the well run dry. "A lot of my games since then came in midfield and I think it was only my last appearance where I got the chance to play with the forwards," he explained.
"It's hard to say what more I can do other than stay patient. "That's what I've tried to do throughout my time here, but a lot of my opportunities this season have come in 10 and 15 minute bursts and it's very hard to come in and make an impression in that time. "Hopefully at some point I'll get more of an extended run. "I know coming up to the World Cup Finals everyone's going to have to be playing regularly and that will be an important time." With Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell both on the treatment table, Joe-Max's time looked like it had come last weekend. But instead Walter Smith sprang a surprise by asking Steve Watson to recollect a role he last enjoyed six years ago. "I spoke to Walter after the Chelsea game and he told me he just wanted more of a physical presence up front alongside Tomasz Radzinski," added Moore. "What can I say? It was just one of those things. I have to continue working and hopefully I can come in and score a goal and change everything. "My contract is up in the next year so I need something to change quickly.
"Maybe it will be Saturday at Leicester. I certainly hope so."

Blue swoop for Mols fails
Nov 23 2001 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S hopes of adding a new striker to their squad have hit a financial wall. Walter Smith has enquired about the possibility of taking Rangers' forward Michael Mols to Goodison on loan.
But the Ibrox club asked for a loan fee in addition to the player's £20,000 a week wages and Everton's interest died. The Blues have also been linked with Aston Villa's out of favour centre-forward Dion Dublin, but he would still command a sizeable fee. Meanwhile, Leicester City's hopes of tying up the signing of 33-year-old Brian Deane in time to face the Blues tomorrow look destined to fail because of contractual wrangling between the striker and current club Middlesbrough.
Everton even thought about intercepting Leicester's swoop for Deane, but he wants a two-year contract - and Everton already have two thirty-something strikers in Kevin Campbell (31) and Duncan Ferguson (30 next month) tied to long term contracts. Injuries to Campbell and Ferguson have sparked Everton's interest in a loan deal. Both are ruled out of tomorrow's trip to Filbert Street and defender Steve Watson may be asked to continue as an emergency striker. But elsewhere Smith has options, with Abel Xavier and Mark Pembridge both successfully coming through a reserve game on Monday.

Preview: Leicester v Everton
Nov 23 2001 By David Randles, icLiverpool
DESPITE the threat of a player's strike coming to an end this week, Everton's trip to Leicester brings a host of striking problems for Walter Smith. With club captain, Kevin Campbell still sidelined with a back injury, and Duncan Ferguson requiring surgery on a chipped ankle bone on Tuesday, the Blues' boss is facing a dilemma similar to that which restricted Everton's fortunes for most of last season.
In the goalless draw against Chelsea last Sunday, Steve Watson was thrown in as a makeshift striker to add muscle in support of Tomasz Radzinski. But with Danny Cadamarteri and Joe-Max Moore chomping at the bit for a start up-front, Smith is yet to decide if size really matters for the Filbert Street fixture. In last season's corresponding match, Paul Gascoigne made strides towards earning a recall to the England squad with an excellent man-of-the-match performance in a 1-1 draw. As Gazza has stated his desire to wear the three lions on his chest again, he will be hoping to relinquish such form if included in the first 11 for this one. Despite improved performances with a flat back four this season, Smith may endorse a five-man midfield similar to the one which nearly defeated Bolton the last time the Blues left Goodison on their travels. Having sent striker, Dean Sturridge to Wolves on a month's loan, Leicester boss, Dave Bassett will call on the services of Trevor Benjamin and under-fire Ade Akinbiyi up front. Fit again, James Scowcroft is likely to figure along with the transfer listed danger- man, Muzzy Izzett, while the Foxes major boost is Welsh midfielder, Robbie Savage's return from suspension. While Everton will be looking to improve on two consecutive draws to move them away from 12th spot in the table, Leicester will be hoping to move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Following eight defeats from their first 11 games, the Foxes have managed to salvage four points from their last three games, but having conceded 25 goals already this term, whoever plays up front for the Blues will be hoping to increase their goal tally.

Leicester 0, Everton 0
By David Randles, icLiverpool
Nov 24 2001
EVERTON'S trip to Filbert Street produced the Blues' second goalless draw in the space of six days.
But for two clubs who have finished level nine times in 13 Premiership meetings, the stalemate was always good for the money prior to kick-off. However, against a side which has conceded 25 goals already this term, and is struggling third from bottom, the travelling fans would not be unjust to feel short-changed after witnessing one of the most unappealing ties of the campaign thus far.
Restricted by injuries to Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson however, Everton were always going to struggle in front of goal, but if either side deserved maximum points it was the visitors as Leicester re-affirmed their position as relegation fodder. Indeed, the Foxes were there for the taking but as Blues boss, Walter Smith opted for an unchanged side to the one that drew with Chelsea last week, Tomasz Radzinski had to make do with the makeshift striking skills of Steve Watson up front.
Watson's role in attack appeared as a gesture to counter the physical presence of Frank Sinclair and Matt Elliott at the heart of the Leicester defence, but despite the Geordies efforts, it has become quite obvious that he simply isn't a forward. By holding the ball up well and flicking it on for Radzinski's runs, Watson measured up as the foil for the Canadian international's movement around the box, but his failure to reciprocate this off-the-ball play left Everton one dimensional when going forward. What Joe-Max Moore was thinking on the bench for the second week running is anyone's guess, but his consistent omission in light of the 'Bruise Brother's' prolonged absence must leave him as bemused as the fans themselves. To be fair to Watson, a player simply carrying out his manager's orders, his touch was good and his effort was never lacking, but as early as the 7th minute the fallibility of a pick-and-mix frontline was clear for all to see as he failed to make himself available for a quick return after some good link-up play with Radzinski. Everton's tactics seemed to revolve around lofting the ball up front for the flick-on, but the man-mountains of Elliott and Sinclair simply stood firm to clear the danger. After Simonsen proved his sharpness once more as Wise sent Marshall in on 12 minutes, Everton strode forth to produce the best move of the half three minutes later. After Gemmill won possession from Wise to find Unsworth, Naysmith's burst down the left found Watson in the box but his stretching attempt fell the wrong side of the post. At times, Everton's play was slick and sharp as, once again, they showed there is more to their game at ground level, but it was always the final ball that let them down. Naysmith and Unsworth provided the major plus through their link-up play on the left as the young Scot persisted to threaten on the overlap. Such was Naysmith's contribution here that he went in as the Blues' major threat at the interval. On 27 minutes it was he who went close after a Stubbs freekick rebounded into the danger zone, but Leicester keeper, Ian Walker produced a good save. Six minutes later it was Naysmith again who looked likely to score after some good work by Radzinski but this time the home side cleared their lines. As a midfield battle ensued, the Blues' closing down could not be faulted but it was Ade Akinbiyi who nearly broke the deadlock a minute before the break. But as Andy Impey crossed well from the byline, the underfire striker simply compounded his misery by heading wide of the target. If the first half was short on goalmouth incident, the second was as barren as an Afghan landscape. Following a last-ditch Naysmith goal-line clearance as Sinclair looked to have headed the home side in front on 51 minutes, Niclas Alexandersson broke on the counter only to see his shot hit the side-netting. Even Paul Gascoigne's involvement, as he replaced Thomas Gravesen on the hour, could do little to inspire the Blues into first gear as a draw seemed imminent. From here-on-in it was Leicester who went closest. On 78 minutes the relatively untroubled Simonsen proved his worth by getting down well to steer a Scowcroft effort round the post after some good work by Wise.
A minute later, the Foxes thought they had edged it after Benjamin, on for the ineffective Akinbiyi, scrambled the ball into the net but not before impeding Simonsen to earn himself a yellow card with the last real attempt on goal. Everton have only taken maximum points once on their travels this season - a 2-1 win at Charlton on the opening day - so depending on how you view it, a point away from home is better than none. There is a saying in football that 'if you don't concede you won't get beat'. And one man who will certainly back this philosophy tonight is Steve Simonsen. As the statistics show this result as only Everton's fourth clean sheet of the season, the stand-in keeper will be first to tell you it's his second in less than a week. And despite the performance, the reality is that although the Blues remain in 12th spot, they are currently only six points off a Champions League place. Now there's a thought!
LEICESTER: Walker, Davidson, Marshall, Elliott, Sinclair, Impey, Savage, Izzet, Wise, Akinbiyi, Scowcroft. Subs: Royce, Rogers, Oakes, Jones, Benjamin.
EVERTON: Simonsen, Pistone, Stubbs, Weir, Unsworth, Alexandersson, Watson, Radzinski, Naysmith, Gravesen, Gem-mill. Subs: Gerrard, Pembridge, Gascoigne, Moore, Xavier.

Leicester 0, Everton 0 (Daily Post)
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 26 2001
IN a week dominated by talk of strikes, it is ironic that the strikes that really do count were in such short supply on Saturday. Maybe the fans should have been consulted before the PFA and Premier League announced their latest love-in on Friday. Certainly, no-one could be blamed for wishing to sit out next weekend's round of games given the evidence of this Filbert Street yawn. A thriller it wasn't. In fact, there have probably been more exciting warm-ups. But for an Everton side minus their two main strikers, a point away to a struggling side is something boss Walter Smith would certainly have accepted beforehand. It extended the Blues' mini-unbeaten run to three games, gave the again impressive Steve Simonsen a deserved second successive clean sheet and continued Everton's slow transformation from perennial strugglers to stubborn, hard-to-beat travellers.
However, such improvement inevitable comes at a price on occasion. And on Saturday, against a relegation-haunted Leicester City, pretty football played second fiddle to pragmatism. With so little action coming from the players, supporters had to look elsewhere for entertainment and, not for the first time, referee Uriah Rennie proved the man for the small occasion. He baffled both sets of supporters with a string of strange decisions, with his erroneous officiating reaching its apex seven minutes before half-time - and probably prevented Smith's men from yielding maximum reward from the encounter. After another Leicester attack quickly fizzled out, Tomasz Radzinski raced away from the halfway line towards the home goal with only Frank Sinclair to beat. As the Everton man approached, Sinclair duly raised his arm and baulked the striker's run, knocking him to the floor.
What should have happened was that Sinclair was sent-off and Everton played the final 52 minutes against ten men. However, Rennie instead allowed the Leicester man to stay on and gave a free-kick against Radzinski for pushing. The visitors were bemused? Despite now being a first-team regular, Radzinski continues to provide more questions than answers. His searing pace is an asset the like of which Everton have sorely missed in recent seasons, and it gives a welcome outlet to relieve the pressure on the back four. However, it is once in those positions the Canadian continues to perplex.
Too often Radzinski spurns decent opportunities, either through dwelling on possession, a bad final ball or a disturbing lack of confidence in front of goal. A fine example of this came midway through the first half of Saturday's desperate encounter. A neat flick by Steve Watson sent Radzinski sprinting away down the right flank but instead of bearing down on Ian Walker and trying his luck at goal, Radzinski chose to check his run and play the ball inside to Gary Naysmith, who was hounded out by Robbie Savage. The chance was lost. His protracted move from Anderlecht now a preseason footnote, Radzinski's honeymoon period is over and fans and management alike will be expecting him to deliver the goods sooner rather than later. Clearly, the jury is still out. Admittedly, Radzinski was once more without a recognised strike partner on Saturday with both Duncan Ferguson joining skipper Kevin Campbell on the ever-increasing Goodison sick list. Watson again gamely provided a stopgap answer to the Blues' attacking shortcomings, but this only served to highlight the fact that, for all Watson's hard work, Radzinski needs a genuine out-and-out striking partner to bring the best out of him. Even the player himself has admitted he is finding life tough at present. He also needs service, which was another thing in short supply at Filbert Street. With Thomas Gravesen spending large periods of the game on the periphery - doing little to quell the nagging suspicion Mad Dog becomes harmless puppy when away from Goodison - and Scot Gemmill kept busy by Leicester's midfield duo of Dennis Wise and Muzzy Izzet, precious little was generated from the centre of the park. Not even Paul Gascoigne, a 61st-minute replacement for the disappointing Dane, could provide the spark, his early promise soon fading as if dragged down by the sheer mediocrity of the fare presented by the two sides. Instead, the main threat came from the flanks of Niclas Alexandersson and Gary Naysmith. Perversely, it was the latter - essentially a defender by trade - who proved the more dangerous, impressing with a couple of ranging runs and popping up at the right time in the Leicester penalty area, whereas his Swedish team-mate continued to flatter to deceive with his poor delivery from wide areas. Smith kept faith with the side which had held Chelsea to a goalless draw the previous week, resisting the temptation to pack the midfield and play Radzinski as a lone striker. A positive move, goalmouth action was nevertheless still at a premium throughout. Not that anyone should have been surprised given Leicester's appalling strike rate this season. With just seven Premiership goals going into Saturday's game, it is little wonder they are languishing at the wrong end of the table. Of course, much of this has been put down to the mercurial talents of one Ade Akinbiyi. Ridiculed from pillar to post, when Liverpool visited last month he was hounded by even his own fans. But what a difference a goal makes. Clearly buoyed after ending his barren spell in Leicester's previous home game against Sunderland, Akinbiyi - possibly inspired by the presence of future Hollywood 'star' and ex-Leicester and Liverpool man Stan Collymore in the stands - almost resembled a footballer on Saturday. Using his undoubted strength to his advantage, he gave Alan Stubbs - who spent a large part of the first half fiddling with his contact lenses - a tough time and twice created chances with surprisingly nimble footwork.
Akinbiyi's somewhat puzzling substitution 14 minutes from time was greeted by voices of discontent from the terraces - these, of course, being the same supporters who had jeered Dave Bassett's decision to keep the striker on the field as he plumbed the depths against Liverpool. Such is the fickle nature of the football fan. Akinbiyi provided the game's first chance six minutes in. David
Unsworth stood off the Leicester man, allowing him time to strike a 25-yard shot straight at keeper Steve Simonsen, who played well between the posts. Unsworth responded with a positive run before releasing the overlapping Naysmith to deliver a cross which Watson put wide at full stretch, while Akinbiyi again warmed the palms of Simonsen from inside the area after a neat turn away from Stubbs. The Blues centre-back was then involved in the best Everton opportunity of the match on 28 minutes. Awarded a free-kick some 35 yards out, Stubbs lined up an ambitious effort which Matt Elliott easily blocked on the edge of the area. However, Naysmith reacted almost instantly to lash in a powerful shot which Walker did well to tip over the bar. Ten minutes after the break, Naysmith was required at the other end when heading off the line after an unmarked Sinclair had met Dennis Wise's right-wing corner. From the same passage of play, a Naysmith-led Everton counter-attack ended with Alexandersson volleying into the side-netting. The visitors had started the second half the more lively but were ultimately grateful to Simonsen for ensuring a point seven minutes from time, the goalkeeper down quickly to block Trevor Benjamin's shot after a James Scowcroft flick-on had beaten the Blues' defence. Ultimately, though, a draw was the fair result.
Next up is the visit of rejuvenated Southampton on Sunday - and with the television cameras in attendance, Smith will be hoping he has the players available to him to make more of a spectacle of the game.
LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): Walker; Marshall, Elliott, Sinclair, Davidson; Savage, Izzet, Wise, Impey (Rogers 71); Akinbiyi (Benjamin 76), Scowcroft. Subs: Royce, Oakes, Jones.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Simonsen; Unsworth, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Alexandersson, Gravesen (Gascoigne 61), Gemmill, Naysmith (Pembridge 87); Watson, Radzinski. Subs: Gerrard, Xavier, Moore.
BOOKINGS: Leicester's Wise and Benjamin and Everton's Weir.
REFEREE: Mr U Rennie.
ATT: 21,539.

Blues in hunt for striking options
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 26 2001
EVERTON boss Walter Smith is pondering a swoop in the transfer market as fears grow over the fitness of Kevin Campell. The Blues skipper missed out on Saturday's goalless draw at Leicester City with a back injury, which is proving more of a problem than first thought. And with Duncan Ferguson sidelined for at least the next fortnight following an operation to remove a sliver of bone from his ankle, Smith's forward options are severely limited. Any foray into the transfer market, however, will be tempered by the financial constraints the Blues boss currently has to work under.
Loan moves for Rangers star Michael Mols, Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin and Middlesbrough target man Brian Deane collapsed last week due to lack of funds. And it is highly likely Smith will be forced to offload one of his current squad to facilitate any move - loan or permanent - to boost his strike force. "I don't know when Kevin will be back. He's got an awkward back injury," confirmed Smith.
Smith added: "He has a trapped nerve and it could free itself quite quickly, so from day-to-day we are not quite sure how it is going. We will just have to wait and see. "Obviously the longer that goes on, then we may have to try and think of getting someone in to help us in that department."
Smith admitted: "Joe Max-Moore could play up front and Idan Tal has played as a striker occasionally but they are of similar build to Tomasz. We don't have a physical presence with Campbell and Ferguson injured. "But Steve Watson has stepped in and filled the breach well without us getting the level of goals we might have had if we had had a more orthodox striker. "You can't blame Steve for that. He doesn't have the instinct of a forward being a stop-gap player, but we can't complain about the way he has gone about his job overall." Everton secured their second successive goalless draw in a disappointing encounter at Filbert Street following last week's shutout at home to Chelsea.
Blues defender Alan Stubbs admitted: "With the way Leicester have been going, we had been hoping to capitalise on that but we are reasonably happy with one point. "It was a game where there were not a lot of chances and I felt both defences came out on top." Stubbs played a part in Everton's best chance, firing in a low shot which eventually made its way to man-of-the-match Gary Naysmith, whose effort was tipped over by Leicester goalkeeper Ian Walker. "It wasn't really a game of clear cut chances," added Stubbs. "I think we just need a bit of luck in front of goal to get us going.
"We've been playing reasonably well but we need to capitalise now and start picking up three points instead of one." Stubbs was involved in an injury scare in the first half when he was caught by Foxes defender Lee Marshall as they both challenged for a high ball. "It was a sore one, he caught me right across the temple," said Stubbs. "As I was running back I didn't know whether I had blurred vision or a loose contact lens, so to be safe I changed the lens anyway."

Shot-shy Blues need a quick fix
Liverpool Echo
Nov 26 2001
THE humour was presumably unintentional but at least it dragged a smile from the pinched faces of a press room which had just witnessed a contender for stinker of the season. "Everton play a different style of football to Manchester United," said Dave Bassett, valiantly trying to explain why his Leicester side s display differed from that at Old Trafford a week earlier. It was a little like saying Graham Norton isnt quite as butch as Genghis Khan. But it takes two teams to make a football match, and neither were up to the job at Filbert Street on Saturday. Everton had the excuse that their two front-line forwards are still sidelined by injury. Leicester s desperation to improve the worst goals tally in the League is such that they are currently hailing 33-year-old Brian Deane as a saviour. Laughable though that may be, Everton need a short-term fix just as badly. They cant afford much even a bid to bring Michael Mols in on loan failed because Rangers demanded a tasty loan fee but just two on-target efforts all afternoon against a defence which has shipped 25 this season doesn t point to a December goalsfest. And this is a month packed with must-win matches if the annual relegation scramble is to be avoided. Southampton, Derby County and Charlton all come to Goodison, while trips to Fulham and Middlesbrough offer some points potential too.
But first you have to conjure up a goal or two. Worryingly, Leicester looked the likeliest team to do that on Saturday. Gary Naysmith hoofed Frank Sinclairs goalbound header off his own goalline, while Steve Simonsen added to the positive reputation he has already built with a smart diving block to parry James Scowcroft s close-range shot for a corner. That came seven minutes from time in what an eternal optimist might have described as a climactic finish to the game. Two minutes later Trevor Benjamin buried the ball and Steve Simonsen into the Everton net for a disallowed goal which earned him nothing but a caution. Otherwise the game was largely submerged in a morass of misplaced passes and suffocating defences. Evertons only genuine threat was a rising Gary Naysmith drive which Ian Walker athletically tipped over the bar. Thomas Gravesen turned in one of his away-match performances, but even his replacement, Paul Gascoigne, couldn't introduce any entertainment value to the match. Neither could the fans. Some Everton supporters get all high and mighty with me when I point out their occasionally boorish behaviour, so instead Ill just show how outsiders view Merseyside s two sets of fans by repeating a couple of paragraphs from the Sunday papers. First The Mail. "After an opening 15 minutes in which the only notable feature was Everton fans singing songs about Gerard Houlliers heart problems and racially taunting the home supporters. . ." followed by: "In their boredom the Everton thugs threw missiles at Wise."
And this from The Express. "Of course, we have long known that if you want to find the true soul of English football The Kop is a fine place to look . . . They can keep the game in perspective. Their genuine acclaim for Barcelona s brilliance was a wonderful moment in the bleakest of weeks for our national game." If you disagree with the sentiments (and thats as over-romanticised a view of The Kop as you re likely to read) lobbing meat pies at a munchkin and singing about Pakistani employment records is hardly likely to influence others to share your views. But listening to the spectators bait each other at least provided some distraction from a deadly dull football match.
An early left-flank raid by the Blues hinted at better things to come. But Steve Watsons finish, prodding wide from 12 yards, was more indicative of what we about to endure. Tomasz Radzinski played like a man whose confidence levels are low. He tried to find Naysmith with a 33rd minute pull-back rather than take on the last man and shoot. Savage got back well to smother Naysmith s effort. Uriah Rennie blocked his other opportunity. Seven minutes before the break Radzinski did try to outpace Leicesters last man, only for Sinclair to blatantly bodycheck him. The Sheffield kick-boxer copped out by bizarrely awarding a free kick against the Canadian. The second half was worse, Everton failing to trouble Walker once. Everton need to find some funds from somewhere, or get Quincy employed at Bellefield.
LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): Walker, Marshall, Elliott, Sinclair, Davidson, Savage, Izzett, Wise, Impey (Rogers 71 mins), Akinbiyi (Benjamin 76), Scowcroft. Not used: Royce, Oakes, Jones.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Simonsen, Pistone, Weir, Stubbs, Unsworth, Alexandersson, Gravesen (Gascoigne 60 mins), Gemmill, Naysmith (Pembridge 87), Watson, Radzinski. Not used: Gerrard, Moore, Xavier.
Referee: Uriah Rennie.
Bookings: Wise (27 mins) foul, Weir (39) foul, Benjamin (85 mins) foul.
Attendance: 21,539.
STAR MAN: GARY NAYSMITH: Lung burning work-rate, a timely goal-line clearance and unlucky not to score at the other end.

Stubbs to try his luck from distance
Nov 26 2001 Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS was egged on to go for the long distance goal of the season on Saturday.
And a near miss means he may be tempted to try again. The Everton defender was fully 45 yards out when he fired a free-kick at the Leicester goal on Saturday. But from his charged down shot Ian Walker was forced into his best save of the match from a Gary Naysmith drive. "I have to admit I was going for goal," said Stubbs. "When I first saw it I said to Scotty Gemill "It's too far out', but he said "Just have a go!' "He was encouraging me so I just decided to hit it. I think it got stuck under Watto and Matt Elliott's boots and from the deflection we got a chance. I think that's all you want. As long as you hit the target anything can happen and that was the case." That was a rare threat from Everton and Stubbs admitted that frustration was growing at the club. "We are not getting beaten and we are keeping clean sheets so the next step along the way is getting three points," he said. "Nil-nil was probably fair because I don't think it was a game of clear-cut chances. We're reasonably happy with some aspects of our performance but we just need a bit of luck in front of goal, whether it's a deflection or something else, to get us going. "I think we've been playing reasonably well, but we have to start looking at capitalising on performances now and picking up three points rather than just singles. "Duncan and Kevin are obviously going to be missed because they're both quality strikers, but I think Watto has done all that's been asked of him the last couple of weeks. "We all know he is a right-back, but he has been brilliant. However, the sooner we can get Duncan and Kevin back the better for the team. In the meantime, we'll just have to get on with it.
"It's two points dropped really. Leicester are down there and only got their first win a couple of weeks ago, so their confidence is not as high as it should be. "It's a place where we thought we had a good chance of taking three points, but we had to settle for one." "Even at 2-0, I never thought the game was over. At 2-1, it was nerve-wrecking but we brought out reserves of energy I never knew we had."

Ball in bust-up
Nov 26 2001 Liverpool Echo
RANGERS manager Dick Advocaat tried to play down his bust up with Michael Ball - but admitted that he was too angry to confront the defender after their 2-1 defeat to Celtic. The £6.5million signing was substituted during the second half for goalscorer Peter Lovenkrands. But the former Everton star reacted furiously to the decision and gestured and shouted at the Dutchman as he left the pitch which is sure to see him disciplined at Ibrox tomorrow. "He was angry," admitted Advocaat. "Players probably don't like being taken off. "He seemed to take it personally and he's probably not used to being taken off or whatever. I don't like reaction from players. They get paid enough, so I don't like that. "I will discuss it with him but I didn't think it was a good idea to speak to him afterwards." Rangers could not come back from Joos Valgaeren and Henrik Larsson's goals. With his side now 10 points adrift of their arch-rivals in the title race, Advocaat admits that catching the champions is almost impossible. He added: "Ten points is a lot and I don't think Celtic will drop too many points. But anything is possible." The Dutchman, however, refused to criticise referee Michael McCurry after some bizarre decisions and bookings. However, he hinted that Larsson had done his best to trick the official into awarding a penalty under the challenge of Bert Konterman.
Advocaat insisted: "There was nothing wrong with the result and it's not the first time that they have been given a crucial penalty. Henrik Larsson is a great player, but he's also a very clever player."
But he acknowledged that his side's inability to find the net in the first half had ultimately cost them.
Tore Andre Flo hit the crossbar and Celtic goalkeeper Robert Douglas pulled off great saves to deny Maurice Ross and Ronald de Boer. Advocaat admitted: "We played well in the first 45 minutes and when you play so well and don't score teams like Celtic will take their chances and that was the problem for us today." Martin O'Neill was delighted at what was the first time Celtic had achieved five successive win over Rangers for almost 30 years. "It is a great win for us. The players showed unbelievable determination."

Blues bid to keep Xavier
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 27 2001
EVERTON will offer Abel Xavier the chance to extend his stay at Goodison Park - just as the Portuguese international seemed set to leave on a Bosman free. The versatile Blues star is one of a number of players out of contract next summer and available to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club from January 1. But just a month before that deadline Goodison officials have made their move to keep Xavier, 29 on Thursday, in their diminishing squad when his present deal expires.
Chief Executive Michael Dunford confirmed: "Abel's contract expires at the end of the current campaign and we have opened talks with the player over the possibility of a new contract." Everton's initial reluctance to offer a new deal to Xavier, signed from PSV Eindhoven for £1.6million two years ago, stemmed from his horrendous injury and illness record that has limited the Mozambique-born player to just 39 starts. But it is believed the Blues will offer Xavier a pay-as-you-play deal similar to the one Paul Gascoigne accepted when he moved from Middlesbrough.
Manager Walter Smith is still scouring the continent for a short-term solution to his striking problems. Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell will again be missing when the Blues entertain Southampton on Sunday and Smith's search to find an affordable replacement has so far been without success. The Goodison boss, meanwhile, has singled out Gary Naysmith for praise after the Scottish international's man-of-the-match display at Leicester on Saturday. "Gary had an excellent match but he has been playing very well for us over the period," said Smith. "He was forward to good effect, especially in the first half, and was there to kick the ball off the line when Leicester proved very dangerous from a corner. "He gives us a good dimension playing on the left-hand side and he is not fazed by being pushed slightly further forward up the field."

Michael Bawl
Nov 27 2001 By Kevin Ratcliffe
MICHAEL BALL appears to have learnt little from his Everton experience of going head to head with managers. It was only last season that Ball embarked on an ill- advised attempt to take Walter Smith to a tribunal - after being fined for failing to turn up at training on New Year's Day. There is only ever one winner in a player versus boss confrontation - and predictably Ball was forced to climb down.
You would have thought Michael might have learned a chastening lesson from the experience.
So I was astonished to see his reaction to being substituted during Sunday's Old Firm derby.
Michael has only just forced his way back into Dick Advocaat's first team plans, and to show such public dissent at a manager's decision is hardly likely to guarantee him a prolonged run.
Walter Smith could be forgiven for allowing a smirk to creep across his face in recent weeks.
Forced to sell three highly promising young players in Ball, Francis Jeffers and Richard Dunne - he has seen all three make headlines for the wrong reasons since. Jeffers has hardly kicked a ball for Arsenal because of ongoing injury problems, while Dunne has been criticised by Kevin Keegan at Manchester City for missing too many training sessions. Now Ball has made a very public show of dissent to his manager. It's a very easy issue to resolve. The manager is always right. Michael will probably be fined a couple of weeks' wages, but must hope there are no further legacies surrounding his first team place. The media in Scotland can be very unforgiving. The appetite for football stories north of the border is as voracious as it is down here --but anything concerning Rangers and Celtic is subject to a intense scrutiny. Michael will have to get through that - and hopefully learn a lesson. Every player is entitled to have a moan and a gripe about being substituted - but not until you're back in the privacy of the dressing room. You can fight all you like with your manager there - but not on the touchline of the pitch when you're 2-0 down in a local derby.
I remember the satisfaction Evertonians took from seeing Bruce Grobbelaar square up to Steve McManaman in a derby match Everton won in the 90s. Hopefully Michael can put this incident down to experience because, from what I am told, he is not the troublemaker he might sometimes be portrayed.
Striking a balance
UNLESS Davie Weir or Abel Xavier have hidden talents as centre-forwards, Everton may have to go into a crucial month with Steve Watson doing his best to impersonate big Mick Lyons. The potential for points throughout December is high for Everton. They have home games against Southampton, Derby County and Charlton. Trips to Fulham and Middlesbrough are hardly scary while recent results have even offered hope from games that would normally appear to be hopeless at Leeds and against Manchester United. To transfer potential into points, Everton have to offer more threat in front of goal. I can fully understand the reluctance to pair Joe-Max Moore with Tomasz Radzinski.
Radzinski needs a physical presence alongside him to offer any sort of effectiveness, while Danny Cadamarteri has already ben told he can leave and his frame of mind would have to be questioned.
It looks like the Blues will have to battle and scrap for points until either Kevin Campbell or Duncan Ferguson are fit again, and even then they will probably have to be pushed back into action before they are match fit. Everton have coped admirably with the squad they have at their disposal so far - but they may need to go to the well a while longer. Everton could feasibly usher in the New Year on 30 points, which would be a highly satisfactory first half of the season. Anything significantly less would set alarm bells ringing again. Get well soon Kev and Dunc!

Fergie adds to injury torment
Nov 27 2001 By David Prentice
WALTER SMITH will watch the future of Everton Football Club at Upton Park tonight - perplexed by the present. The Blues' boss is in London for the Youth Cup clash against West Ham when he will check on the progress of his young guns. None are ready for senior action, however, and with Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell still sidelined by injury, and no breakthrough in the hunt for a loan signing, Smith is ready to tell Steve Watson to prepare for an extended run up front.
Ferguson's return to first team action has already been delayed by a further week. The injury- prone striker underwent ankle surgery last Tuesday, with a specialist saying he expected the player to spend two weeks out of action. But Smith revealed today that Ferguson would be on the sidelines for the next fortnight before he could even consider training again. That adds the trip to Fulham to his absent record, with the player also unlikely to be match fit for the visit of Derby County on December 15. Campbell ' s back injury is so tender that the player has been unable to train at all since sustaining the injury against Newcastle a month ago. As a result, when the injury finally does settle down he will be substantially short of match fitness. The only other options available to Smith are to use Paul Gascoigne in an advanced midfield role, recall Joe-Max Moore for his first Premiership start in seven months or hand a League debut to teenager Nick Chadwick. "It's frustrating," said Smith. "We are still scouring Europe looking to bring someone in on loan, but it's proving difficult."

Blue Pragmatists want points more than porn
Nov 28 2001 By Len Capeling
IT was hard to find a match that got worse write-ups. At least Dave Bassett saw the joke, commenting: "With so few goals in the Premiership, the television people will have to show the fans a bit of porn - that'll be our match." To be fair, Leicester v Everton was never intended as food for the gods. But to have seasoned soccer watchers praying for immediate strike action took some doing. Pragmatists - Walter Smith among them - will embrace the point gained and consign the performance to Goodison's Room 101, shunning the scribbler who wrote, incredibly, the start of the second half was even more terrible. What do these people want, entertainment? On Everton's budget? Those kind of aspirations may have to wait at least until Sunday when one of the league's relegation favourites, Southampton, make the long trip north to Merseyside. Last weekend, Gordon Strachan's strugglers got their first win at St Mary's - against Charlton - after a pagan priestess purged the new ground of 40 ancient, and possibly malignant, souls. It's not clear whether priestess Cerradwen Connelly will be numbered among the Saints heading for Goodison, though Strachan's sour response to the Welsh witch's cleansing ritual suggests she won't be asked to lock wands with the formidable Ms Gwladys Street. Two-nil to Everton. Or my name's not Harry Potter. (Title copyright J K Rowling and Bill Kenwright, 2001)
STRANGE that the Premiership's elite - Manchester United, Liverpool, Leeds and Arsenal - should have been absent from discussions about the possibly mythical Phoenix League. The alleged creation of nonentities from the first division, it would enable the have-nots to get their snouts back into the Premiership trough, while allowing Liverpool and the rest to partake of more exotic European fare. Sounds great in principle, but as the fingerprints on the masterplan appear to belong to the men who made such a hash of dealing with the players-over their legitimate strike threat, the possible consequences could be catastrophic. Mind you, they can always call in Gordon Taylor as mediator.
* AS the smoke cleared from the the European Championships, the disgraced Abel Xavier indicated that his sixmonth international ban would prevent him finding a club with real ambition.
In other words, not Everton. Now the Portugal international is being courted by the Blues, who see something in him that many fans don't. Funny old world, isn't it?

Blues step up search for striker
Nov 28 2001 By Andy Hunter
EVERTON'S urgent search for a striker has intensified as fears grow injury-prone Duncan Ferguson could be out until Christmas. The Scottish star underwent surgery last week on an ankle injury and was initially expected to be sidelined for just two weeks, with the away trip to Fulham on December 8 pencilled in as his return. However, Ferguson's recovery received a setback yesterday when he was told he is still a fortnight away from even training again, making him a major doubt for the Blues' hectic run of four games in 11 days around the festive period. Everton entertain Derby on December 15, then travel to both Leeds and Sunderland before facing Manchester United on Boxing Day. Ferguson could well be sidelined until the visit of Sir Alex Ferguson's side and with no clear indication of when Kevin Campbell will return from his back injury, manager Walter Smith will be left desperately short of firepower for a crucial stage of the season unless he swoops soon. Smith, in London last night to watch Everton's Youth Cup clash with West Ham, has opted to play Steve Watson as an emergency striker in the Blues' last two outings and may stick with that policy even though both games have ended goalless. Smith's quest to land temporary cover is complicated by the club's continuing financial restraints and last night the Blues boss said: "It's frustrating. We are scouring Europe to bring someone in onloan but it's proving difficult." Abel Xavier, meanwhile, is expected to reject the terms of Everton's contract offer. The Portuguese international has been offered a pay-asyouplay deal on top of a basic salary in light of his appearance record since joining the Blues two years ago. But Xavier, 28 this week, is believed to want a more secure long term contract as he approaches the end of his existing deal next summer.

Xavier wants secure future
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 29 2001
ABEL XAVIER wants to extend his stay at Goodison Park - but has not ruled out a return to Portugal if contract talks with Everton collapse. The Portuguese international started negotiations with Everton this week as the prospect of a free Bosman transfer looms when his current deal expires next summer. Xavier is ready to commit his future to the Blues, where he has spent the longest spell of his professional career, if they can provide him with regular first team football in the runup to the World Cup and a secure contract. That could prove problematic, however, as Goodison officials are only willing to offer the 28-year-old a pay-as-you-play deal due to his injury and illness record since his £1.6m move from PSV Eindhoven in 1999. The versatile Xavier was yesterday linked with surprise moves to both Arsenal and Liverpool, but it is believed a return to former club Benfica is more likely if his preferred option of a Goodison stay fails to materialise. "I am ready to listen to Everton but I have got options and the club need to make an offer," said Xavier. "I am ready to continue at Everton, I made the first moves and said I would give priority to Everton but I would like to see whether the club considers me important to their future. "I'll think about the offers on the table and decide my future in the next couple of weeks. "Everton are my club and I owe them my respect. I will take seriously any offer they make. "It is an important decision. Very delicate. I am 28 and, when I sign a contract, it will be for the next three or four years." Xavier has endured another frustrating season this term, with his impressive displays at centrehalf punctuated by illness and then the accidental collision with Paul Gerrard that saw him ruled out for three weeks with concussion. But he admits he needs to find regular first team football to assure his place in the talented Portuguese squad in Korea/ Japan next summer. He added: "Getting a place to go to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea is my main objective and I need to be playing in every game.
"That's important when it comes to deciding what to do with my plans for the immediate future and the rest of my career. "I'm not ruling anything out and I could well opt to go home. A return to Portugal has always been on my mind." Xavier has settled well on Merseyside and has played an increasingly important role alongside David Weir in Everton's defence, although earlier this month he indicated a return to Benfica was a strong possibility. He said: "There isn't a Portuguese player abroad who wouldn't like to return to his country at some stage of his career. "Benfica are a national symbol. If there's a club I know well, it's them. "I was there for some time and am aware, as much as anybody, of the greatness of the club. I was in the team that won the league title in 1993.
"I was happy to play for them and know what they represent for the country and for national football." When asked about Xavier, Benfica spokesman Joao Malheiro said: "We are open to some squad readjustments in December." Meanwhile, former Everton flop Slaven Bilic is planning to come out of retirement as a player with Hajduk Split, where the Croatian is now a coach.
Bilic enjoyed a successful start to his new role at the weekend against Osijek but now intends to play for Split as well, even though he was officially forced to retire from the game through injury last year. The former West Ham man said: "I will get the licence to prove that I am a member of the club's board so that I can lead the team from the dug-out and from the defence on the field."

Chadwick saves reserves
Liverpool Echo
Nov 29 2001
EVERTON reserves left it late to secure their passage through to the last four of the NatWest Liverpool Senior Cup. Nick Chadwick volleyed home an 84th-minute winner as the Blues finally made their territorial advantage count after missed chances. David Eatons 23rd minute shot had gone in off home sweeper Neil Whalley to give the Blues a lead but it was cancelled out by a superb longrange strike from sub Steve Latham nine minutes later. Whalley, Latham and Peter Ellis were all replaced due to injury however to give Runcorn player-manager Liam Watson a selection headache ahead of Saturday's visit of Farsley Celtic in the FA Umbro Trophy.

Blues' striker search goes on
Nov 29 2001 By David Prentice
EVERTON will intensify their efforts to add an onloan striker to their squad next week - as they prepare for a spell of nine matches in a month. Southampton's televised visit to Goodison Park on Sunday sparks a frantic fixture pile-up which will test the Blues' meagre resources to the full.
" We need to bring another forward in," said boss Walter Smith. "We are hoping to have Duncan Ferguson back before Christmas, but Kevin Campbell has a trapped nerve in his back and we have still not been given a realistic date for his potential return. "Up until January 5 we have nine fixtures and we need more options up front." Steve Watson is prepared to continue in that role against The Saints, while midfielders Thomas Gravesen, Niclas Alexandersson and Paul Gascoigne have all had spells there in the past. Joe-Max Moore is also itching for an opportunity to repeat his recent World Cup heroics on a Premiership stage. Southampton are trying to bring in a new striker themselves in time to face The Toffees. Brett Ormerod signed off for Blackpool last night with two goals in a 4 - 1 FA Cup win at Newport. The Saints are hoping to clinch a £1.5m deal in time for Ormerod to make his Premiership debut on Sunday. Gordon Strachan has already spent £3.5m on Ecuador's powerful centre-forward Augustin Delgado. The six foot two inch, 14-stone striker must recover from a knee clean-up operation, however, before he can becomes available.

Phoenix League sets Old Firm ears burning
Nov 29 2001 By Claire Gray
IT'S a ridiculous idea and if it comes off I'll run naked through the ECHO offices.
Well, maybe. Well, probably not. Rather than rising from the flames, I'd prefer to see the Phoenix league consumed by them and never heard of again. I'd like to think it was just another idea from one of modern football's many think-tanks that emerge because someone new has been given the job of pushing the pen that day. But it seems that several of the clubs are behind it. No, it isn't nice being stuck in the lower divisions without the clout to reach the top. But that's football.
Sheffield Wednesday, Coventry, Birmingham City and the like may have been top flight names in the past, but that was then and this now. Things change. I'm all for change but it has to be for the right reasons, and far too often it's not. Again it's all about money. Amongst all the revolutionary rhetoric, one thing genuinely excites me - the prospect of Celtic and Rangers linking up with the English league. On its day. the Premiership can be the most exciting league in the world but it also has the ability - as those who stayed awake long enough at Filbert Street on Saturday will testify - to make watching paint dry seem a fulfilling past time. More and more, it feels like it's gravitating towards the point that many European leagues have already reached, where the few lead the way and the rest clamour for the scraps left behind. If football is in need of another revolution, the addition of Glasgow's big two would be the best way of doing that - and I'm not just saying that because I fancy a couple of trips to Glasgow every season. I do, but that's not the reason.
There is no doubt the Scottish league would suffer from their departure, but surely if we are talking purely football then it's suffered enough already. Celtic and Rangers have outgrown Scottish football. They did so a long time ago. They are tailor-made for the Premiership. Their support has always been impressive and their stadia equally so. The idea of gifting two Scottish clubs a place in the Premiership by virtue of their status would, understandably, rankle among those lower league clubs battling hard to get theire on merit. But there is something about the thought of Celtic and Rangers fighting it out for domestic honours that grabs the imagination like no other revolutionary idea has so far . Any alliance would have to be formed properly - that goes without saying. But I, for one, would be prepared to wait until the 'i's were dotted properly and the 't's' perfectly crossed if it led to their inclusion. Revolution does upset people but if the outcome proves to be beneficial in the long run then those emotions will be quickly forgotten.
* SPECULATION has always followed Robbie Fowler as close as his own shadow. While the spotlight has finally stopped over Elland Road how Evertonians must have wished that Goodison Park could have been considered as a destination. Successive goalless draws have highlighted their desperate need for firepower as Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson keep each other company in the treatment room. But, as Walter Smith scours Europe for striking cover with a couple of buttons and a sweetie in his wallet, he must feel like his invite to the party got lost in the post. The future of one of England's few natural goalscorers seemed like it was being pondered upon by the world and his wife. But it's a while since they've been seen near Goodison.

Chadwick saves reserves
Nov 29 2001 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON reserves left it late to secure their passage through to the last four of the NatWest Liverpool Senior Cup. Nick Chadwick volleyed home an 84th-minute winner as the Blues finally made their territorial advantage count after missed chances. David Eatons 23rd minute shot had gone in off home sweeper Neil Whalley to give the Blues a lead but it was cancelled out by a superb longrange strike from sub Steve Latham nine minutes later. Whalley, Latham and Peter Ellis were all replaced due to injury however to give Runcorn player-manager Liam Watson a selection headache ahead of Saturday's visit of Farsley Celtic in the FA Umbro Trophy.

Academy - Blues earn their day off
By Chris Wright, Daily Post
Nov 30 2001
AFTER Tuesday night's superb FA Youth Cup third round victory against West Ham, Everton's youth sides have earned a rest this weekend. The FA Premier Academy League has an in-service training weekend when coaches, medical staff and scouts from clubs around the country visit Keele University for seminars on the game. But the Blues youngsters can rest easy going into the break after Tuesday's 2-1 win. Michael Symes' double in extra-time at Upton Park booked the Blues' place in the fourth round. It is just the lift the club needed after a tough start to the League campaign. And it is a timely boost as they face derby matches at under-19 and under-17 level against league leaders Liverpool a week tomorrow at Bellefield and Netherton respectively. Academy director Ray Hall said: "The boys worked extremely hard and there wasn't much in the game. We limited their chances to shots from outside the area and we created three or four of the best chances over the 90-minute period. "It went into extra-time and for a 15-minute period we played as well as we had done in the whole of the game. We scored two welltaken goals through Michael Symes. "They scored with about two minutes to go and it made for a tense last minute or so. "But over the 90 minutes I think neutral observers would think we just shaded it. "The performances have been good this season but the result hasn't always been what it should have been at U19 level. "Tuesday's performance was good and although you don't like to highlight anybody, because they all played their part, I thought the two front players worked very hard to make it defensively easier for us and our goalkeeper's handling was good - making important catches when he had to." He added: "The Youth Cup is probably the premier tournament in this country at U18 level but it would be silly to get carried away. It is nice to get the third round over because it lengthens the season. The next round is early in the New Year now so it just adds a little bit to the season." But with Walter Smith watching from the stands it was a timely reminder of the young footballing talent at the club. Hall said: "To go down there in a big stadium and win was great. It was also nice that our manager was there. For him to drive down to London it shows the support he has for the players as well."

What must our black supporters be thinking?
Nov 30 2001 by MARK O'BRIEN
RACIST songs and chants. In this day and age? What is the world coming to? It goes without saying that they are deplorable and cheap. Most of us were brought up to believe that being an Evertonian involves having a bit of class. Obviously not all of us, though. The question is often asked: "What do Everton's black players think about this?" It's a valid one. Even more relevant is: "What do Everton's black supporters think?" Could you face a black or Asian Blue when you've been singing and chanting about slaves, jungles and 'towns full of Pakis'? Have some respect, for yourself and for the vast majority of Evertonians of whatever colour who do not want to be embarrassed by such smallminded behaviour. Ignorance is so ugly and so dangerous, but if that isn't enough to make you stop and think - and it should be - then bear in mind the following: If you want to prove the Kopites right and be one of their 'Bitter Blues' then the best way to do it is to keep sinking to the level of singing racial slurs about one of their players. Saturday at Filbert Street was a bad day all round, with the aforementioned racist nonsense and a truly dismal game of football. Our lack of firepower up front was again notable as we failed to create anything of any real note against a poor Leicester side. Incredibly, there have even been a few murmurings about Tomasz Radzinski's recent performances, a little unfair given that he's playing up alongside a full-back. No doubt when he is again playing alongside Kevin Campbell we'll begin to see the best of him again. When that will be though is anyone's guess. We've not even been given a hint at a date for the captain's return and we all know that haemophiliacs heal quicker than Duncan Ferguson. The fact that Walter Smith is trying to bring in a loan signing for up front is an indication of how bad things must be.
Michael Mols would have been an exciting prospect and you have to sympathise with the manager when he can't afford whatever fee his ex-club wanted just to lend him out. I've only seen Mols a couple of times but he doesn't look the physical player that Smith seems to want. If he thinks the Dutchman could provide a foil for Radzinski then why not Joe-Max Moore? Dion Dublin would certainly fit into the target man mould, if age and fitness permit. That's if we could afford him. Three million quid has been mentioned but that seems a tad excessive. Maybe the French league is the place to look. It seems unlikely that Marseilles would be willing to loan out their freescoring Ivory Coast international striker but there is a chap named Madar who is apparently out of favour with his club. It was just a thought.

Smith ponders defender move
Nov 30 2001 by JONATHAN McEVOY, Daily Post
DAVID UNSWORTH is being lined up to play as a surprise striker against Southampton on Sunday.
Everton boss Walter Smith is considering drafting the defender into attack for the televised Goodison clash as the Blues' striking problems continue to bite. Unsworth, who played up front at schoolboy and youth level, could act as an emergency partner for Canadian international Tomasz Radzinski. Smith is still scouring Europe for a loan striker as Kevin Campbell and Duncan Ferguson continue to struggle with back and ankle injuries respectively - but the Goodison chief has so far drawn a blank. Financial constraints mean the Blues chief is realistically on the lookout for temporary cover as he faces up to a testing spell of nine games in four weeks. Alternatively, Smith would almost certainly need to offload from his squad before bringing in any replacement on a permanent basis. But with no signing imminent, Smith is likely to make Unsworth a makeshift striker against the Saints after experimenting with Steve Watson in attack for their last two games - goalless draws with Leicester and Chelsea. Smith could play Paul Gascoigne in an advanced role, recall Joe-Max Moore or turn to some of the less experienced reserve side while Idan Tal, Thomas Gravesen or Niclas Alexandersson could also be pushed forward. But Smith is set to reject those options because he wants a physical presence to dovetail with Radzinski. Campbell is struggling with a trapped nerve in his back while the injury-prone Ferguson is a fortnight away from returning to training following ankle surgery last week. Smith said: "Up until January 5 we have nine fixtures and we need more options up front."



November 2001