Everton Independent Research Data


Everton 1, Aston Villa 1 (D,Post)
Nov 1 2004 By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
NOT content with shattering the preconceptions that followed Everton into this season, David Moyes is now training his sights on breaking the monopoly of the moneyed elite. It is a cause that would receive widespread support should his Everton team continue to embrace it. According to various reports on the state of English football recently, the game is in dire need of salvation from the greed and self-interest that pollutes the Premiership. Rocketing ticket prices, over-exposure on TV and title races shaped by the profit margins of a chosen few have persuaded thousands to stay away this season, falling attendances a reflection of the lack of genuine competition at the highest level. Moyes, despite longing for just an invite to the multi-million pound transfer industry, believes Everton can be a standard bearer for change if the hard work and genuine commitment that has taken the club to within three points of the top delivers real reward at the end of the season. Clearly his own supporters are following that message. Evertonians had real reason to join the disaffected this summer - "Rooney's move and the circumstances around it epitomise all that is wrong in a sport poisoned by an unseemly money culture," wrote Labour MP Andy Burnham yesterday - but the cheers that saluted Arsenal's dropped points on Saturday showed there is nothing like a welcome gatecrasher to revive party spirits. "Wouldn't it be great if a club could compete at the top without money?" Moyes encouraged afterwards, even if the two points Everton squandered against Aston Villa dampened his enthusiasm somewhat. "Everyone talks about having to spend money all the time but wouldn't it be great if someone could break the mould and do it without having any?
"I'm not saying we can do without spending any money at all, we still might need a few additions in places, but if we could even attempt to change the established order it would give hope to other clubs that there is a chance. "Of course, I would rather have bundles to spend because it would make my job easier but we haven't, so what do you do? You work in other ways.
"I never said we would be in this position but now we are desperate to keep it going and to do so with a smile on our faces and on the faces of our fans. "I am really excited and pleased about how we are doing. It is a big part of this business that people want to see signings and money spent but we haven't been able to do that as much as we'd have liked. "Instead, the players here have just knuckled down to their tasks and some of them are worth good money themselves. We are not talking about a poor squad here." Moyes finished his hopeful address with "anyway, I still just wanted the three points today", to remind everyone that Everton are not thinking of utopia just yet.
Meagre resources, which saw 18-year-old Academy graduate Daniel Fox called to the bench after a training ground injury to Joseph Yobo and Everton sorely miss the midfield influence of Lee Carsley, did not prevent Moyes's side delivering another encouraging display against Villa on Saturday.
But at the end of an open, entertaining game between two well-matched sides, the disappointment of the draw illustrated the confidence Everton now have in their own march up the table.
"We were all very disappointed in the dressing room afterwards because of the number of chances we had to have won the game and the high we were on before it. We expect to win these games now," revealed goalscorer Marcus Bent. To be fair Villa played very well. They were played off the park against Burnley but they set their stall out early on, they have a few brilliant individuals in their team and I will be very surprised if they don't finish in the top half again. "But we feel we should have won. Ossie had one or two chances, I had two or three chances and although they might all have only been half chances you do have to capitalise on them at this level." At £450,000 worth of relentless endeavour, Bent could almost symbolise Moyes's vision of breaking the mould with an unheralded, inexpensive side. By his own admission the striker should have taken Everton to within a point of leaders Arsenal with the amount of invitations that fell at his feet on Saturday. That assessment applied also to Leon Osman - who struck the post with Thomas Sorensen well beaten in the 67th minute - Kevin Kilbane, Steve Watson and Thomas Gravesen as Everton failed to capitalise on a dozen chances they created against Villa, for whom Mark Delaney twice cleared off the line. But Bent did convert David Weir's excellent throughball in the 32nd minute to bring Everton level and cancel out Lee Hendrie's spectacular opener with his third goal in three games. Not bad for a player ordered to become more clinical by his manager seven days earlier. Bent's confident chip into the roof of Sorensen's net came after Hendrie had given Nigel Martyn no chance with a curling shot into his top corner six minutes earlier. And it was just reward for a player offered more support than usual by Osman's advanced role but who still carried the side's main attacking outlet throughout. "What people have got to understand is that I'm playing by myself up there at the moment and there is a lot more to your game than scoring goals," explained Bent. "With two up front you can work off each other and work on the chances but as a lone striker you have to work extremely hard at chasing everything, making runs everywhere and bringing the midfield into play too. "I do complain about it and have a good moan at the gaffer but to be honest I am getting used to it now. When Duncan or whoever comes on later in the game it feels a bit alien, I'm getting used to giving everything for the team and getting what I can for it. "It's really hard but it is working as far as the team and my goals are concerned at the moment. I am buzzing with three goals in a week, it's what a striker wants. It's no good scoring one or two in a game and then going five without, you want to score every week. This week has helped push my tally up nicely and it is helping us win games and points." Villa always looked dangerous on the break on Saturday but Everton, with six decent openings within 15 minutes at the start of the second half, should have made the game safe long before it gave way to a flat finale. Bent admitted: "When we got back in the dressing room we looked at the Arsenal and Chelsea results to see the position at the top, not how things are developing beneath us, and we are disappointed to be three points behind them when we know it should be only one. "We might not be in a title race all season but that shows how motivated we are at the moment and you have to be that ambitious. Only time will tell if we can stay at the top but everyone knows their jobs now and we are full of confidence. If we do it against Chelsea on Saturday then I'm sure we can stay up there." The established order will have no choice but to take Moyes's threat seriously if Everton do preserve their unbeaten away record at Stamford Bridge.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Watson (Ferguson 66), Cahill, Gravesen, Kilbane; Osman (McFadden 84), Bent. Subs: Wright, Campbell, Fox.
BOOKING: Cahill (foul).
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Sorensen; De La Cruz, Delaney (Ridgewell 58), Mellberg, Samuel; Solano (Whittingham 77), McCann, Hendrie, Hitzlsperger (Davis 60); Angel, Cole. Subs: Postma, Moore.
BOOKING: Hendrie (foul).
REFEREE: Steve Dunn.
ATT: 37,816.

Everton 1, Aston Villa 1 (Echo)
Nov 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
IT IS becoming increasingly difficult to come to terms with Everton's league position. After six weeks, it should be easier to deal with the sight of the Blues in the upper echelons of the Premiership table.
Instead, with each passing game it is becoming more and more obvious that it is a false position the club currently finds itself in. Everton do not deserve to be third in the table, hanging on to the coat tails of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho. And if the side had gathered the points their performances really merited they wouldn't be in that heady position. They would be even higher. It may seem outrageous to suggest it, but if David Moyes' men had taken the points their superiority merited against Aston Villa on Saturday and Tottenham last month, then they would now be two points ahead of the Gunners rather than three points behind them. The consolation this time was that they did find the back of the net at least once, Marcus Bent providing a deft chip for his third goal in three games to equalise Lee Hendrie's thunderbolt - and net Everton's 300th strike against the Villans. That first-half effort was enough to secure the point which has maintained Everton's presence in the breakaway group at the top of table. But for how much longer? Logic dictates that the Blues have too small a squad, too many older players and too little firepower to survive in such a rarefied atmosphere. But English football needs Everton to stay up there for an extended period.
It would be an affront to the Premiership's money men and, as a result, hugely refreshing.

The myth that this is the greatest league in the world was created because of the millions pumped into the top flight by the formation of the Premier League. But all the money did was help make the top half dozen clubs filthy rich, giving them the financial clout to sign some of the game's finest players. With each passing year it becomes more of a procession, with Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, the only sides with any realistic chance of taking the title, getting further and further ahead financially. The sight of Everton in third place livens things up. It makes it more interesting for those supporters who dare to support clubs not involved at the top every season.
Everton are helping to prove that the Emperor has no clothes. Hopefully, everybody else will take note. Because one thing is certain; far from being a flash in the pan, the consistency of Everton's performances this season means they fully deserve their league position. They have been second best only once in the opening 11 games. And that was against Arsenal, the one side which genuinely is head and shoulders better than everybody else. But, nevertheless, there is still an expectation that, sooner rather than later, the bubble will burst and Everton will slip back into a more realistic position. It is an expectation which is helping fuel the players' determination to remain where they are. The curse of the Premiership is that nobody can now accept the prospect of a side battling at the top if it hasn't taken millions of pounds of investment to get them there. There is no doubt Everton do not have the same quality, player for player, of Chelsea, Arsenal or even a number of the clubs below them in the table. And it is certainly not inconceivable that Everton will hit a rough patch and sink back into mid-table. But if they can get lucky with injuries, then why shouldn't Evertonians dare to talk of Europe? As a unit Moyes' side, which has remained largely unchanged, has been consistent, honest and tough to beat. Villa discovered that on Saturday. Without Lee Carsley as the midfield enforcer, David O'Leary's side had more joy going forward than a number of the teams Everton have faced this season. But, thankfully, they didn't get as many opportunities to probe the Blues' penalty box as they would have liked because the home side enjoyed the lion's share of possession. Which is why it was a something of a shock when Villa scored, courtesy of a 20 yard strike from Hendrie in the 26th minute. Thankfully, it took the Blues just six minutes to take the smile off his face, David Weir staying forward following a corner to produce an outstanding through ball for Bent. His chip over the keeper was the finish of a striker who is growing in confidence with every passing game. And he was unlucky not to add a second quality goal after the break.
Once again, he was played through by a delightful pass from Weir - or the Kaiser as he was dubbed in the press box - but this time his chip over Thomas Sorensen landed on the roof of the net.
But Bent certainly wasn't the only player frustrated. Leon Osman came within a whisker of pegging back the striker in the race to be top scorer when he fired a half-volley against the inside of the post in the 67th minute. Alan Stubbs had a header cleared off the line and Thomas Gravesen was denied early on by a fine save. Kevin Kilbane found the side-netting in the opening period, volleyed wide when it seemed easier to score early in the second half and typified Everton's misfortune in front of goal in the 90th minute when, after controlling the ball superbly in a crowded area, completely miscued an attempted half-volley. The players left the field disconsolate and then sat in silence in the dressing room. That response tells you everything about why the side is where it is right now.
There is a focus, a unity of spirit within the dressing room which is arguably unrivalled in the Premier League. This weekend at Stamford Bridge we will learn if that spirit is more valuable than £200m worth of Europe's finest footballing talent. The money men will say no. But maybe it isn't such a foregone conclusion.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Watson (Ferguson 66), Cahill, Gravesen, Kilbane; Osman (McFadden 84), Bent. Subs: Wright, Campbell, Fox.
BOOKING: Cahill (foul).
ASTON VILLA (4-4-2): Sorensen; De La Cruz, Delaney (Ridgewell 58), Mellberg, Samuel; Solano (Whittingham 77), McCann, Hendrie, Hitzlsperger (Davis 60); Angel, Cole. Subs: Postma, Moore.
BOOKING: Hendrie (foul).
REFEREE: Steve Dunn.
ATT: 37,816.

Blues keeping new signings off agenda
Nov 1 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is urging his Everton players to help him put off his January spending spree. With £20m available from the sale of Wayne Rooney - and the proposed Fortress Sports Fund on the brink of completion - the Blues have been linked with a host of players in recent weeks. James Beattie, Scott Parker, Owen Hargreaves, Robert Huth and Louis Saha have all been linked with moves to the Blues. But after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, Moyes said: "It would be wrong to talk about other people coming in because the players we have here are performing. So there's no need to talk about anyone else while they keep performing as well as they are doing." He even admitted that unless he chooses his targets carefully, new arrivals could disrupt the powerfully motivating team spirit which has carried Everton to third in the Premiership. "I think it can happen if we don't bring the right personnel in," he added. "At this moment in time the players here are doing great. We were a little bit short on Saturday. "Joseph Yobo got some stitches in training on Friday following a clash of heads. Nick Chadwick had just hurt his knee, Gary Naysmith's out with his ankle and Lee Carsley was suspended. "None of them were really major injuries, but it can make us a little short. As you could see we were a little bit short on the bench. "I think we all felt bad about ourselves about the way we finished last season - and I think we maybe thought there were a lot of unfair things said and from that sometimes comes a strength. "The players' performances just now aren't down to Wayne Rooney leaving the club. "We only had a small group so we have become quite close knit. We don't have time for sulkers or for people who are unhappy because they are not playing, because we don't have many and they all play mostly."

Weir 'has chance of new contract'
Nov 1 2004 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has revealed the outstanding form of David Weir has forced him to reconsider the defender's Goodison future. The veteran centre-half was told he would not be offered an extension to his present contract when it expires at the end of this campaign. But after witnessing another man of the match performance from the 34-year-old against Aston Villa on Saturday, the Everton manager admits he will be tempted to extend Weir's five-year Goodison career if his present form continues. Moyes said: "Anything is still possible over Davie's contract. We will see what happens at the end of the season. Davie is an exceptional professional. His form has been great since he got in the team because of Joseph's injury and he is in there on merit at the moment." Weir turns 35 before the end of this season and is philosophical about Moyes's predicament. The defender admitted: "I didn't expect to be told I would be staying. I'm 35 this year and Everton are not in a position to be offering 35-year-olds new deals. "But I'm not really thinking about the contract at the moment. I just have to keep playing well to try and get a new deal and if it happens it happens."
Weir, meanwhile, was keen to divert praise on to Saturday's goalscorer Marcus Bent as Everton were held to a frustrating draw by David O'Leary's side. The £450,000 signing from Ipswich took his tally to five for the season with his third goal in three games to cancel out Lee Hendrie's superb opener. And Weir believes the striker and fellow summer signing Tim Cahill have been instrumental in Everton's climb to third in the Premiership. Weir said: "I didn't look at Marcus's price-tag when he came so I can't say he's exceeded expectations but the new signings who tend to make the biggest impact are the hungry players with a point to prove. Both Marcus and Tim have had a point to prove and it's showed. "Tim wanted to do it in the Premiership and having gone out of the Premiership with Leicester last season Marcus wanted the chance to show he could do it at this level. They have been excellent for us so far this season." Joseph Yobo, meanwhile, missed Saturday's game after collecting a head wound in training on Friday that required six stitches.

Moyes: Hunger is ensuring we remain up top
Nov 1 2004 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has revealed the hunger within his squad which is keeping Everton toward the top of the Premiership. The Goodison manager pinpointed summer signings Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent as examples of players having something to prove. "It's good to have hungry players," said Moyes. "Tim Cahill was hungry for the chance to show what he could do in the Premiership and Marcus probably needed a club that wanted him in their plans and would give him a real chance to show what he can do. "Neither of them was guaranteed a place at Everton, no-one is, but both have them have taken their opportunity and are holding down their places on merit." He added: "Marcus has paid his transfer fee back and fair play to him. When we signed him we still had Wayne and Tomasz. I thought they would stay and we could add Marcus to what we had and get him to do a few jobs for us. "I thought there would be more to work around Marcus but he has given us what I hoped he would and I will be keeping on at him to give us more. I am quite hard on him and I will keep on at him to do better. "I've been at him to keep his work-rate up and to put shots away earlier and in the last few games he's started to do that. He was unfortunate not to get more than one against Villa. "He has great athleticism and I want him to be more clinical with it. You need to take your opportunities at the sharp end of the Premier League but that didn't just apply to Marcus against Villa." Meanwhile, Aston Villa's unlikely goal star Lee Hendrie admits he is concentrating on scoring now because he believes he "can't tackle a fish supper". The Villa midfielder has hit four in five games Ð more than in the previous 18 months. Hendrie said: "It's all come in a bit of a rush. I have started to score from long range and every time I go on the pitch now I just think goals. "I know I am supposed to be a midfielder, but this is really my game, going forward. Everybody knows I can't tackle to save my life, I can't even tackle a fish supper I'm so bad." "There has been a lot of stuff flying about regarding me off the pitch, but people can say what they like. "I'm happy with my life and it's all making me a stronger person. "I know I should score more goals and I'm looking to do that. "I play that way in training but beforehand I haven't been able to do it in a match. But now it's coming out on the pitch. "I'm thinking naturally about shooting whenever I have the ball 20 yards out, that is the real difference in my play this season."

Blues just want to go to Chelsea - Weir
Nov 1 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S players are relishing the prospect of justifying their league position against Chelsea next weekend. That is according to David Weir, who has become a key figure in the side's climb up the table alongside Alan Stubbs in central defence. Everton will travel to Stamford Bridge for the top of the table clash just three points behind Jose Mourinho's second place side following Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Aston Villa. "Chelsea is a great opportunity for us to see if we have improved as much as the table suggests and as much as we hope we have," admitted Weir, whose excellent form has forced David Moyes into a rethink over extending his contract. "It is a big game for us and a tough game for us but one we are all excited about. You always want to play and compete against the best. "Every game brings its own test and in every game we want to show we deserve to be where we are. But there are not many harder than Chelsea. "We got a draw there last season so hopefully we can go one better this time." Weir was frustrated by the outcome of Saturday's game with Villa. He believes it provided further evidence that the side's high league position has led to opposition sides taking a different approach against them. He explains: "When you are near the top of the table you have to get used to the fact teams are going to come here looking for draws.
"That is something we have got to adjust to and make ourselves good enough to counter it.
"We have done that really, but we have been unlucky with the chances we have missed. "The majority of teams are a bit tighter away from home but that is something we have got to learn to exploit. "It is always two points lost if you draw at home. We are looking to win each one of our home games and we are very disappointed we didn't. "We were down after the game because we felt we had done enough to win it but it is important in games like that you don't go gung-ho and end up losing." It was the first time in the league this season Everton have been without Lee Carsley.
The midfielder was beginning a three-match suspension on Saturday after being sent off for violent conduct in the Carling Cup tie with Preston. "Lee Carsley has been our best player this season without a doubt and we missed him," added Weir. "We will miss him for the next couple of games as well. "It was frustration from him and the team has got to suffer for that but nobody will suffer more than Cars. But you are going to have to make changes and adapt from match to match."

Kaiser Weir playing at peak of his powers
Nov 1 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR was thought to be getting on a bit when he signed for Everton. And that was five years ago. But such has been the understated influence of the elegant Scot since his reintroduction to Everton's rearguard 10 games ago, that David Moyes refused to completely rule out a contract extension when his current deal expires at the end of this season - when he will turn 34. If anyone raises their eyebrows at the wisdom of adding another year or two onto a thirty-something's shelf-life, the words Watson and Gough may convince them otherwise. But that shouldn't be the reason for a sudden extolling of Weir's virtues. He deserves the highest possible praise because he is continuing to perform at the peak of his powers, regardless of the uncertainty surrounding his future. Some players sulk, pout and turn it in when an element of doubt surrounds their future even 18 months from the end of a contract - Tomasz Radzinski anybody? But Weir has always performed with a selflessness and a commitment to the cause which does him immense credit. And you can rest assured, fitness permitting, that he will continue to do so until the last kick of the season. Contract talks or otherwise. It's been well documented now that last season's under-achieving Everton players took grave exception to some of my words penned after the final match of last season. David Weir took the criticism worse than most, but he was also the only man prepared to discuss the issue personally. While we agreed to disagree, it was easy to see how a charge of unprofessionalism would hurt this most professional of performers. For what it's worth, Weir wasn't one of the individuals I had in mind when penning the piece, but such was the quality of his display on Saturday he was the easiest to single out and construct an article around. Defensively, he was exceptional. But it was further forward too that he showed the kind of skills he isn't often given credit for. Such is his quickness of feet he has been used in central midfield by Everton before - in a match the Toffees won at Blackburn - and five minutes after Aston Villa grabbed the lead on saturday he was The Kaiser to Marcus Bent's Gerd Muller. If you're too young to remember Beckenbauer and Der Bomber, ask your dad. Weir danced past one challenge, looked up deliberately and slipped defence-wrecking pass into Bent's path which invited the delicate finish he supplied. Another pass to the same player in the second half was even better, but this time Bent steered the ball past Sorensen and onto the roof of the net. That would have given the Blues a lead they deserved. Instead, a draw left the home team frustrated and down. There was no need. They are where they are in the Premiership on merit - and David Weir has proved an integral part of that.

More reasons to be cheerful.. even for David Moyes
Nov 1 2004 By Len Capeling, Daily Post
IS David Moyes ever satisfied by his soccer life? Rarely ever, it would seem, if his pained expressions are anything to go by. He can't hide a thing, David. His eyes flash like alarm buttons, his face is a vivid canvas on which frustration appears to sit more comfortably than sheer delight. You can still imagine him praising his players, but not too much in case they get the impression that he doesn't want - make that demand - a good 30% more from every one of them. His team are now a model of the man himself - honest, hard-working, on message - yet ever aware that what David Moyes desires is a consistency of performance that allows no-one to sit back and admire past endeavours. Everton sit high in the table because Moyes's credo that the game lasts 90 minutes-plus, not 45 minutes followed by a lie-in, is now firmly implanted in the players' psyche. Here his team didn't quite last the distance, but then they'd expended so much energy attempting to annihilate Aston Villa that the legs didn't quite have it - and the head of Duncan Ferguson proved, on this occasion, not to be a progressive option. Moyes, like the Everton supporters, will sigh over that one. So many openings, so little end product. They out-thought Villa for much of the match without finding the lethal finsh which is the hallmark of the best sides. Marcus Bent scored a true striker's goal with a clever clip over Thomas Sorensen, but, played into a similar one-on-one, he took too long and a grateful Mark Delaney dived in to scare the chance away. Bent was one of Everton's brightest, bringing a superb reflex save out of Sorensen, so criticism of his finishing needs to be tempered by recognition of the ground he covers as a target man in situations where he is usually outnumbered. But you can imagine his exacting manager wanting more, especially on a day when Everton needed only - what was it? - a 22-goal winning scoreline and an Arsenal loss to go top of the Premiership.
Back in the real world, any victory over Villa and bad results for Chelsea and the champions would have made Everton joint leaders. That was the script, anyway, but it wasn't one Aston Villa showed any keenness to read. Despite coming to Goodison straight after a humiliating performamce in the Carling Cup against Burnley, they refused to repeat that surrender, and, in flashes, offered some enterprise. Their goal was a gem, Juan Pablo Angel intelligently guiding Lee Hendrie into space on the right for a shot struck so sweetly that Nigel Martyn could only wave to it as it rippled the net at the Gwladys Street end. Hendrie is one of soccer's nearly men. He prefers living it up off the field to giving his all on it, hence the sharp rebuke from his manager, David O'Leary, about sorting out his priorities. Hendrie had a fair game here, annoying the crowd for starters and then allowing himself to be wound up into an attack on Tim Cahill that resulted in a booking he disputed loudly for 10 minutes afterwards. Bent soon straightened things for Everton, who continued to pour forward only to find a limp final ball, or dwell too long pulling the trigger. Villa had reason to be grateful to their man-of-the-match Olaf Mellberg for any number of interceptions, but Moyes - checking the match video with a magnifying glass - will wonder why, with all that possession, Sorensen enjoyed a relatively untroubled afternoon. His opposite number Martyn was even less involved as the outstanding David Weir - unsung creator of Bent's equaliser - and Alan Stubbs kept Carlton Cole and Juan Pablo Angel on the fringes of the action. Angel showed a few neat touches, freeing Hendrie for the opener, and then, with a sublime reverse pass, initiating the move that ended with a wildly skewed shot from Cole. But mostly blue waves broke on Villa shores and Thomas Gravesen, Kevin Kilbane, Stubbs and Leon Osman all agonised as hands, heads, bodies and, in Osman's case, the inside of a post enabled O'Leary to smile instead of whine about lack of playing strength. For his part, Moyes makes a virtue of a thin squad by inspiring his men to a hefty impact on the Premiership. A 30-goal-a-season striker is still top of the Scot's wish-list, one would think. But then it's a wish he shares with Jose Mourinho, whose Chelsea treasures Everton encounter in the absolutely unmissable match of next weekend.

The 'easy games' claim is rubbish
Nov 1 2004 View from the stands by Mark McKenna, Everton Supporter
IT still seems so ironic that Evertonians were looking at the games at Highbury and The Hawthorns concerned about the results for Arsenal and Chelsea rather than Southampton and West Brom.
Although disappointed, it still gives me a wry smile to say that had we got the victory we deserved against Villa, we would have been only a point off the top of the league. With Manchester United losing at Pompey and Arsenal only scraping a draw against the Saints in two fixtures Everton gained victories, the argument that we have only won 'easy games' goes further out the window. We really do deserve to be at the top of the table. In what was perhaps surprisingly a very entertaining game, Everton really should have got the three points out of this one. It was the unfortunate combination of poor finishing, bad luck and good defending from Mellberg and Sorensen in particular, which denied the Blues running out comfortable winners. A lot of the attacks which cut through the Villa rearguard were built on slick and dynamic passing. After his comments in the summer, I hope Tomasz Radzinski is keeping a close watch on the success of Marcus Bent this season. Bent's finish for the equaliser was of a quality the Canadian turncoat could only dream of, while Bent's all-round play really does seem to be improving with every game. If we are to get anything at Chelsea next week, however, we will need to improve on this performance, particularly in midfield where we never convincingly dealt with the loss of Lee Carsley. If fit, I would hope Moyes would use Yobo in the holding role, as we were wasting Tim Cahill's attacking instincts in that position.

Everton avenge cup tie defeat
Nov 1 2004 Womens football, Daily Post
EVERTON moved three points clear at the top of the National Division after they beat Bristol Rovers 3-2 and Charlton suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Birmingham. Everton and Rovers were locked together on 19 points before the game, butthey avenged a cup defeat earlier this month with a narrow win. Michelle Evans put Everton ahead inside 10 minutes before Trudy Williams equalised for the visitors. Everton went back into the lead with a Steph Curtis own goal and Fara Williams soon extended their advantage. Williams seized on a poor backpass to grab a second for Rovers but it was not enough to prevent and Everton success. Liverpool climbed off the foot of the table with a 6-2 win against Doncaster, who replace them at the bottom. For Liverpool, Lou Hastie scored a hat-trick, with the other goals scored by Cheryl Foster, Jo Traynor and Jade Thomas.

Moyes closing in on Norwegian defender
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 2 2004
NORWEGIAN defender Brede Hangeland arrived on Merseyside last night claiming he is on the verge of a move to Everton. The 23-year-old, who will begin a trial at Bellefield this morning due to last the remainder of the week, has been a long-term target of David Moyes. The Everton manager was first linked with the Viking Stavanger centre-back (left) more than two years ago. It is believed he failed in an attempt to sign the Norway international during the summer because his club was unwilling to agree the release of the player for a trial halfway through the Norwegian season. However, with the campaign now concluded in his homeland, the £1.7million-rated Hangeland will demonstrate his wares during training with the Everton squad this week. And if he impresses Moyes, a move could be pursued when the transfer window reopens in January and the Everton manager has his spending power bolstered by the proposed investment of the Fortress Sports Fund. Hangeland said: "I am going to Everton this week to meet with David Moyes and discuss things. "I will try to make a good impression on and off the field. I hope it is a nice club. "Everton have had a serious interest in me for quite a while and I have been waiting for their call. It would be a great step forward for my career and I am not afraid to take it." Hangeland has received a ringing endorsement from his current coach, former Blackburn Rovers manager Roy Hodgson. "David Moyes called me and asked if Hangeland was good enough for Premier League," said Hodgson. "Even though it will be impossible for me to replace him, I couldn't lie to my friend David. "Hangeland is definitely good enough for Premier League and I told David that." Moyes, meanwhile, has urged his current squad to continue their excellent form and prevent him from making any major signings in the New Year. "It would be wrong to talk about other people coming in because the players we have here are performing," he said. "So there's no need to talk about anyone else while they keep performing as well as they are doing."

Scotland 'should appoint Smith'
By Ian Doyle, Daily Post
Nov 2 2004
SCOTLAND have been urged to appoint former Everton manager Walter Smith as successor to departed national team coach Berti Vogts. The German surprisingly quit yesterday before he was sacked, with his two-and-a-half year tenure expected to come to an end later in the week when the 11 members of the Scottish Football Association board were set to convene. The SFA will now discuss possible successors at the meeting tomorrow. And Smith has already overtaken Gordon Strachan as the bookies' favourite to take over, with some bookmakers refusing to take any more bets on the ex-Rangers manager. Smith's claims have been backed by former Scottish international defender Gordon McQueen. He said: "Certainly when I was in Scotland at the weekend there was a lot of talk and it seemed to be that Walter Smith was the man that the majority seemed to be going for. "Any fans I spoke to would be perfectly happy with Walter Smith in charge - he certainly meets the criteria. He's Scottish for a start which I think is important, he'll have the respect of the players and the media and he's well thought of in Scotland. "I think everyone would be pretty happy if he was to take the job on board." Smith was sacked as Everton manager in March 2002, with his only subsequent employment in the game being at Old Traf-ford where he tempo-rarily resumed his former position of assistant to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson earlier this year.
Vogts admitted yesterday that he had little option but to quit as Scotland coach, blaming what he called "dis-graceful abuse". The Scottish Football Association confirmed last night that the German's resignation had been accepted by Scottish Football Association chiefs John McBeth and David Taylor.

Shapely Bent
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 2 2004
Shapely Bent
ANOTHER point keeps the run going. Marcus Bent was superb once more but praise must go to Duncan Ferguson. Anyone with any sense will have noticed his effort and dedication has been second to none this season and I for one am hoping that along with David Weir he gets another year at Everton for our assault on Europe
Dominic McHale, Widnes
Moyes' message
PUT Yobo back in the defence, and Watson should get his chance in Carsley's place. If they keep winning it's tough on Carsley and Stubbs but the message is clear from Moysey - do the business and you keep the shirt.
Paul Dent, Merseyside
Great Dane
FOR me, Tommy Gravesen has been the best player for the Blues since he arrived and without doubt this season. David Moyes should make it his aim to keep the Dane at Goodison. I'm sure Tommy wants to stay at this great club, especially the way this season is going, so come on Dave and Tommy get it sorted.
Jon Ashcroft, Huyton
Bring Joe back
I THINK we should start Yobo in a holding role just behind the midfield as that will give more space for Cahill to express himself more. I believe we have a great chance of doing Chelsea, but a draw would also be a good result.
T Newman, Skelmersdale
Lay off Ferguson
WHY don't people lay off Duncan? Is it his fault Smith gave him such a good contract? Would anyone turn it down? He does get injured but when he's playing he gives his all. Unlike Rooney he is a true Blue.
Si Murray, Formby
No to Owen
VILLA got away with it on Saturday - we should have stuffed 'em good and proper. Lots of names being bandied about regarding new signings but I cannot agree with wasting millions on Owen Hargreaves. I would much rather see us buy back Scott Gemmill on a freebie.
S Smith, Liverpool

Moyes backs Walter for Scots
Nov 2 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes his Goodison predecessor is the right man for the vacant Scotland job.
Walter Smith (right) has emerged as the clear favourite to replace Berti Vogts, who quit his post with the Scottish Football Association yesterday after two years in charge. Moyes would be delighted to see the man he replaced at Goodison being given the chance to manage Scotland. He said: "When you are a manager you understand how hard the job can be for other managers. "Whoever had the Scotland job would have found it hard and nobody likes to see a manager going but now Berti has gone I would like to see Walter given the opportunity. "He knows the system and how it works in Scotland and it would be a good move for the SFA, although it won't be any easier for him than it was for Berti. "I think it would be a good time to reshape Scottish football, and that is something Walter could do. "I know the people behind the scenes in Scottish football have put things in place to improve the national side's fortunes and Walter can work with that." Smith has not managed at club level since leaving Goodison in March 2002, but was assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United for the second half of last season. He has been eager to return to management and is a popular choice north of the border. Everton have current Scottish internationals James McFadden and Gary Naysmith in their squad, along with rising star Iain Turner and former defensive stalwart David Weir. As a result, Moyes admits it is important from Everton's perspective that the right man gets the job. He continues: "Walter would be a good appointment from our point of view. We have a number of Scottish players in our squad and it is always important to have a good relationship with an international manager if he is taking your players. "Too many friendlies, for instance, can impact on the players and the club. "But if you know a manager and can communicate with him it does make the situation easier. " Walter helped me when I arrived here. He gave me advice.
"I get on with him and he is somebody who has had success in Scotland and who can go into the job knowing exactly what to expect. That is something Scottish football needs right now." Meanwhile, Moyes welcomed young Norwegian defender Brede Hange-land to Bellefield this morning. The 23-year-old Viking Stavanger defender is on Merseyside for a three-day trial. Moyes said: "He is here for a couple of days so we can have a look at him." Stavanger are managed by former Blackburn boss Roy Hodgson, who has tipped Hangeland to become a success in England if Everton follow up their interest following the trial. Hodgson said: "David Moyes called me and asked if Hangeland was good enough for the Premier League. "Even though it will be impossible for me to replace him, I couldn't lie to my friend David. "Hangeland is definitely good enough for the Premier League."
Hangeland is excited by the prospect of this chance to impress the Blues. He said: "Everton have had a serious interest in me for quite a while and I have been waiting for their call. It would be a great step forward and I am not afraid to take it."

Blues boss is on a mission: to stand up for little guys
Nov 2 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON, under David Moyes, are on a mission which stretches beyond the parochial boundaries of Goodison Park. First base for the Blues' boss is to give the club back its pride. And almost a third of the way into the season, he can safely say his side is well on course. But beyond that, Everton are the standard bearers for a rewriting of the whole ethos of modern-day football - which says those who spend the most money reap the most rewards. Since the early days of the Premiership, title triumphs have been almost directly in relation to turnover. Those title-winning teams have then invested even more in their squads, to create a moneyed monopoly at the top of the table which only the arrival of Russian benefactors could break into. Even long-established giants of the English game like Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa have struggled to infiltrate the big-spenders.
Until this season. Following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa, Everton stayed third in the Premier-ship, just three points adrift of Arsenal and Chelsea, with a visit to both clubs - albeit in different competitions - next up.. Moyes mused: "Wouldn't it be great if a club could actually compete without money? Compete at the top? "Would it not change what we're all talking about? Where all you journalists write that we have to spend, everyone has to spend. "Wouldn't it be great if someone could actually change the mould on that? "I'm not saying we can do it because we think that we maybe need to make some changes at the right time. "But what I'm saying is if we could even possibly attempt to change that, it would give other clubs a feeling that maybe there is a chance that they can get it right. "I would rather be one of the ones with bundles to spend. It makes the job much easier. "But we didn't have that in the summer, so what do you do? We never said we would get to this position in the league, so what we are trying to do is keep it going and try and do it with a little bit of a smile on our faces. "But still I am really, really excited and pleased about how we are all doing. "People want to see signings, the supporters want to see signings. That's the business we are in - we know that.. "We have not been able to do that as much as we would like to. But the players we have here have been knuckling down." If Everton could continue to upset the established order - and remain in contention for a Champions League place - it would serve as the greatest possible tribute to the memory of Brian Clough, a maverick manager who took not one, but two unfashionable clubs to glory on a shoestring. Last summer David Moyes lost the most outstanding young talent in the English game, two forwards, an experienced defender and a Swedish international midfielder. He replaced them with a £450,000 front-man from Ipswich Town - who had just spent a year on loan at relegated Leicester City - and a 25-year-old midfielder from Division One, desperate for a shot at the big-time. Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill have already proved unqualified successes - and Moyes believes that is down to their own attitudes complementing the team's ethos. "If you don't want to work here we don't want to have you," he declared. "If you come here you know the rules. If you don't want to be part of them we will probably chase you on.
"Sometimes you need to get hungry players and Tim Cahill was certainly hungry because he wanted to prove himself in the Premiership and we wanted to give him that opportunity. "Marcus Bent felt as if he probably needed a home that wanted him, somewhere to give him a chance to show what he could do. "Both players came here knowing that nothing was guaranteed and they weren't guaranteed a start. They knew that if they wanted to come to a club that would guarantee them a place I couldn't do that. "But at the moment they are holding down their places on merit." The same can be said about Everton. And the longer that situation persists, the better it would be for the future of modern football.

Everton ask fans to Bridge distance
Nov 2 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are hoping to transport the Goodison Park roar 220 miles south on Saturday - with the second v third showdown at Stamford Bridge approaching a sell-out. The Blues took their full allocation of tickets for the clash, and still have some remaining. A bonus for visiting fans is they have lost their category A status from last season, which would have meant ticket prices of £48.
Instead the Blues fans will be charged £40 a ticket - exorbitant compared to Goodison's hugely competitive prices, but significantly cheaper than Liverpool fans were forced to pay earlier this month. Chelsea tickets are on sale now from the Park End Box Office.

Everton Reserves 1, Birmingham Reserves 2
Nov 3 2004
Daily Post
EVERTON reserves went down 2-1 to their Birmingham counterparts in the FA Premier Reserve League (North) despite a late rally after Nick Chadwick had pulled a goal back. The young Blues were under pressure from early on as the Midlanders nearly took the lead after just three minutes when Andrew Barrowman found himself clear on goal but put his shot wide. The returning Ian Bennett in the visitors' goal was quick off his line to deny James Vaughan as Everton pressed but City took the lead soon after from the penalty spot. The referee saw an infringement in the home box and pointed straight to the spot for Barrowman to calmly fire passed the helpless Ian Turner.
Vaughan continued to work well with Chadwick up front for Everton and went close firing just over the bar but it was the visitors who were doing all the attacking and it was no surprise when they made it two on the hour mark. Marcos Painter set Barrowman free and he chipped the advancing Turner with ease to get his and his team's second of the night. Again the Everton youngsters came back strong and it looked like a revival may have been on the cards when Chadwick halved the deficit on 76 minutes from the spot, but alas it was not enough. Barrowman should really have got his hat-trick, only being denied by a great save from Turner, but Andy Holden's side couldn't take any of the points on offer to improve on their ninth position in the table.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Hughes, Bosnar, Phelan (Anichebe 60), Seargeant, Harris (Boyle 82), Chadwick, Vaughan, Wilson Subs: Fowler, Gallagher, Wright.
BIRMINGHAM CITY RESERVES: Bennett, Parratt, Painter, Taylor, Oji (Hall 71), Alsop, Birley, Kilkenny, Barrowman, Curtis, Motteram (Till 71). Subs: Blake, Bagnall, Howland.

Fit-again Yobo can now go to Chelsea
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 3 2004
JOSEPH YOBO'S return to fitness has given Everton manager David Moyes a dilemma ahead of Saturday's trip to Chelsea. Moyes must decide whether to bring the Nigerian (left) back to fill the holding role vacated by Lee Carsley, who will serve the second game of a three-match ban for his red card against Preston last week. Yobo was due to be installed in the role against Aston Villa last weekend, but was forced to sit out the Goodison clash when he suffered a head injury in training on Friday that required stitches. Steve Watson came in instead and showed enough to retain his place in the 1-1 draw, but Moyes may well feel Yobo's greater defensive instinct will be more in demand against Chelsea's attacking thrust. Meanwhile Norway defender Brede Hange-land arrived at Bellefield to begin his three-day trial at Goodison. As revealed in the Daily Post yesterday, Everton are ready to make a permanent move for the £1.7million-rated 23-year-old in the January transfer window. Meanwhile, Moyes has given his backing to Walter Smith as the next manager of Scotland.
"I think it would be a good time to reshape Scottish football, and that is something Walter could do," said Moyes.

Moyes rules Li Tie out of China clash
Nov 3 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
CHINA'S hopes of having Li Tie available for a crucial World Cup qualifier this month have been dashed after Everton boss David Moyes revealed the player is still two months away from full fitness.
The midfielder (left) was today named in the China squad for their must-win World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong on November 17. But Everton have ruled out the prospect of the 27-year-old playing in the match. Tie returned to training two weeks ago but is still suffering with a limp after breaking his shin on international duty in February. The shin has healed but the midfielder is suffering with an ankle problem caused by an extended period in plaster following the break.
Moyes has warned it could be two months before Li Tie is capable of playing a senior competitive fixture. "Li Tie isn't ready to play a game," explained the Goodison chief. "It is such a big game for China that they are desperate to have him. We might let him go over to help with their morale because he is such an influential player for them, but he is not ready to play yet. "He looks as if he is still a good couple of months away from being fully fit. It is a cause for concern." Meanwhile, Joseph Yobo has given Moyes a boost ahead of Saturday's trip to Chelsea. The defender missed last weekend's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa after suffering a clash of heads during training on Friday.
The wound required six stitches and he was ruled out of the game against Villa after complaining of feeling groggy. But he has now been given the green light to resume training and is in contention for a place in the side at Stamford Bridge. The Blues are still without Lee Carsley for the trip to London as he is just one game into a three-match suspension for his red card against Preston in the Carling Cup.

Blues are winners on and off pitch
Nov 3 2004 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are enjoying a rich vein of form at the moment, but the plaudits shouldn't just be reserved for the men's first team. While David Moyes' boys bask in the glowing comments rightly afforded to a side of such high standing, Everton Ladies are blazing a trail in their own version of the top flight.
Nine games into the FA Women's Premier League season, Mo Marley's side head the division by three points. And while results on the field continue to raise the club's profile, away from it, three members of the team have turned from pace-setters to trend-setters. Channy Parry, Karen Boyle and Danielle Hill recently helped promote Footie Chick - the club's new fashion brand aimed at girls aged over 16 and currently available in both the Goodison and City Centre Megastores. The range includes t-shirts, sweatshirts, zip-tops and retro pieces with slogans such as, 'I told you it's a beautiful game' and 'I'm too hot to be substituted'. Girls aged between 5-15 will also have a chance to sport the latest Goodison fashion when the club launch their Footie Girl range later this month.
Meanwhile, Leon Osman, Kevin Kilbane and Alessandro Pistone joined members of the backroom staff to promote Everton boys' training range last week. To celebrate the success of Everton's sportswear range and to mark the launch of the Footie Girl line, we're giving you the chance to win one of five t-shirts from each range. Simply answer the following question and send your entry marked with the clothing range you desire (Footie Girl or Boys' Training Range)) and the size you require. Sizes for the Footie Girl range are available in 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13, while the training range tops come in SB, MB, LB, XLB. Who is the manager of Everton Ladies? Send your entries (on a postcard or sealed down envelope) to Everton Sportswear Competition, Jblue, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB. Closing date is Friday, November 12. Please include your name, address, and daytime phone number, in addition to your answer. Winners will be the first correct entries picked at random. Normal competition rules apply. * Jblue Platinum members will receive a £5 discount for the visit of Fulham on November 20.

The Sky is falling in
Nov 3 2004 Liverpool Echo
ALTHOUGH you would never have guessed it when the fixtures were first published, Saturday sees one of the biggest games of the Premiership season so far. Second plays third at Stamford Bridge when millionaires Chelsea take on paupers Everton. And the chances are, the ground will not be full.
That is a shame, but football only has itself to blame. Perhaps one or two might be stupid enough to believe David O'Leary's ludicrous words last Saturday and stay away for fear of wasting their money on watching a long ball team lumping the ball out of play high up the pitch. But more will no doubt be put off by the thought of paying £40 to sit in the away end. Sky TV has done a great job for Premiership football. But the danger now is that their coverage has become so good it is damaging the game it intends to promote. And it's a message other sports must heed next time TV comes calling at their door. Faced with the prospect of a long journey to London, and the thought of parting with so much of their hard-earned cash when they get there, many of those Blues lucky enough to have Sky - or a mate with Sky - might decide their best bet is to stay at home, knowing there's a good chance the game will be replayed in full that evening, or at worst they can see 55-minute highlights. Those that don't have it will probably figure there's a decent chance of seeing their side get the main match treatment on Match of the Day. Either way, they might conclude it's better off saving their money for a rainy day - or a cup tie. People have been pointing out for years how football has been pricing its fans out of the game. But the better - and more extensive - the TV coverage,, the harder some will find it to resist. Everyone knows that going to a match is more enjoyable than sitting in your living room, but the more expensive a seat in the stadium becomes, the less willing people will be to scrape the cash together. Everton fans can count themselves fortunate, too. Liverpool fans were charged £48 for the dubious privilege of a seat in the away end at Stamford Bridge. Merseyside fans like to look upon themselves as among the most passionate and knowledgeable in the country. But Liverpool were unable to sell out Anfield for the visit of the runners-up in last season's Champions League in September. Doesn't exactly bode well for a new 60,000 all-seater stadium, does it? Everton could not fill Goodison when Arsenal were in town.
And Sky themselves are suffering. With 138 Premiership games to be screened live this season - plus an endless number of cup, Football League, Conference, European and international matches - armchair fans are becoming more choosy about what they watch. Sky's viewing figures are on their way down - bad news when the vast majority of English league clubs rely on the satellite broadcaster to keep them solvent. It could have been worse. The European Commission wanted ALL Premiership games on live TV this season. That would really have hit attendances. No sport is as popular in this country as football, but others should sit up and notice the danger of overkill. TV coverage is a good thing for sport. The money it provides allows professional sport to develop and improve. But too much of a good thing . . .

Barrowman double sinks Blues
Nov 3 2004 Liverpool Echo
TWO goals from Andrew Barrowman were enough to send Everton to their first defeat in three games as a young Blues side struggled at Haig Avenue. The Blues found themselves under pressure early on and City took the lead from the penalty spot. The referee saw an infringement in the home box and Barrowman calmly fired past the helpless Iain Turner. James Vaughan continued to work well with Nick Chadwick up front for Everton but it was no surprise when Birmingham made it two on the hour mark. Marcos Painter set Barrowman free and he chipped the advancing Turner.
The Everton youngsters came back strongly and it looked like a revival may have been on the cards when Nick Chadwick halved the deficit on 76 minutes from the spot but it was not enough.
EVERTON: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Hughes, Bosnar, Phelan (Anichebe 60) Seargeant, Harris, (Boyle 82) Chadwick, Vaughan, Wilson.

In Moyes we trust (our cash)
Nov 3 2004 Echo Letters
In Moyes we trust (our cash)
EVERTON do need to reduce the average age of the squad but if Moyes can spot a quality player for a decent price, as he has done since he's been at the club, then let's spend wisely. He is the first manager in around 20 years who we can trust with our money. Spending wisely is far more productive than spending big.
Paul Mullally, Liverpool
Youth not on our side
I AM totally amazed and dismayed that Moyes is considering spending less than we expect in January if the team continues its great run. What about the future? We must get our average age down. We are too old now. Is no-one looking ahead at the club? We want to stay at the top, not lapse again after a good run this season. We need an average age of 27 not 30-plus.
Trev Lynes, Wrexham
Flaming good!
I HAVE just come back from a week in Liverpool with my 12-year-old son, who attended a three-day Everton in the Community Soccer Camp. We also had the distinct honour of attending the Preston and Villa games last Wednesday and Saturday. To say the squad was other than spot-on for both matches would be an understatement. This has to be the hardest-working bunch . . . they remind me of the 2003-4 Calgary Flames. Keep going Blues - hard work and dedication wins matches not money.
Jason Anderson, Calgary

China in crisis as Li Tie still ruled out
By Chris Wright Daily Post Staff
Nov 4 2004
EVERTON midfielder Li Tie remains two months away from first-team action, despite China naming him for international duty yesterday. David Moyes confirmed that, although he is prepared to let the 27-year-old meet up with the China squad, Li Tie is unable to play any part in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong on November 17. Li Tie has been back in training for a fortnight but he is still walking with a limp after breaking his shin while on international duty back in February.
Although the bone has healed, an ankle problem caused by being in plaster for such a lengthy period following the break is causing him some dis-comfort. Moyes said: "Li Tie isn't ready to play a game.
"It is such a big game for China that they are desperate to have him. We might let him go over to help with their morale because he is such an influential player for them. "He looks as if he is still a good couple of months away from being fully fit. It is a cause for concern. "We have offered Li Tie the opportunity to join up with his national squad and the decision is now with the player. But he knows he couldn't play. He may be ready for a reserve game in a month, but he is some way off full fitness."

Stamford stunned by Latchford winner
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 4 2004
WHEN Everton went to Stamford Bridge in December 1977, they went there as many people's championship favourites. Gordon Lee's League Cup finalists of the previous season had blossomed into an all-out attacking whirlwind of a team, with the deadly Bob Latchford regularly rattling in the goals. The previous week fellow challengers Coventry City had been walloped 6-0 at Goodison, Big Bob (newly-capped by England) had scored a hat-trick and Lee was manager of the month.
All looked rosy in the Goodison garden with the team unbeaten since the opening week of the season and only unfancied new boys Nottingham Forest above them. Newly-promoted Chelsea, meanwhile, were struggling to adjust to life in the top division. The main thing I remember from that day is out-of-favour striker Duncan McKenzie appearing on Noel Edmonds' TV show "Multi-Coloured Swap-shop". I remember frantically trying to phone him along with every other 12-year-old Blue. Like most I only got an engaged tone. Similarly, I entered his competition to win Latch-ford's number nine shirt and while I thought I could see my postcard in the packed bucket the following week, again I was unsucessful. Just who did win that shirt? I've often wondered.
On to Stamford Bridge. Star man was summer signing, the spectacular, but decidedly erratic Scottish custodian George Wood. On several occasions, the big blond keeper saved from the eager Chelsea strikers. Eventually the winning goal when it came, early in the second half, arrived from a familiar source. Dave Thomas, swung in a corner and Big Bob headed in another goal towards his famous 30.
Before the end, the Chelsea schemer Ian Britton hit the post from the spot but Everton kept marching on. At this point the title looked extremely likely. However, Brian Clough and Forest had the final say in one of the most exciting title races of the 1970s.

Stamford stunned by Latchford winner
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 4 2004
WHEN Everton went to Stamford Bridge in December 1977, they went there as many people's championship favourites. Gordon Lee's League Cup finalists of the previous season had blossomed into an all-out attacking whirlwind of a team, with the deadly Bob Latchford regularly rattling in the goals. The previous week fellow challengers Coventry City had been walloped 6-0 at Goodison, Big Bob (newly-capped by England) had scored a hat-trick and Lee was manager of the month. All looked rosy in the Goodison garden with the team unbeaten since the opening week of the season and only unfancied new boys Nottingham Forest above them. Newly-promoted Chelsea, meanwhile, were struggling to adjust to life in the top division. The main thing I remember from that day is out-of-favour striker Duncan McKenzie appearing on Noel Edmonds' TV show "Multi-Coloured Swap-shop". I remember frantically trying to phone him along with every other 12-year-old Blue. Like most I only got an engaged tone. Similarly, I entered his competition to win Latch-ford's number nine shirt and while I thought I could see my postcard in the packed bucket the following week, again I was unsucessful. Just who did win that shirt?
I've often wondered.
On to Stamford Bridge. Star man was summer signing, the spectacular, but decidedly erratic Scottish custodian George Wood. On several occasions, the big blond keeper saved from the eager Chelsea strikers. Eventually the winning goal when it came, early in the second half, arrived from a familiar source. Dave Thomas, swung in a corner and Big Bob headed in another goal towards his famous 30.
Before the end, the Chelsea schemer Ian Britton hit the post from the spot but Everton kept marching on. At this point the title looked extremely likely. However, Brian Clough and Forest had the final say in one of the most exciting title races of the 1970s.

Weir not tempted by Scots
Nov 4 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR today ruled out a return to international football despite the departure of Berti Vogts as Scotland manager. The Everton defender (right) made himself unavailable for selection following criticism of him by Vogts in the wake of a 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands in September 2002.
Earlier this week Vogts quit his job with the SFA after enduring increasing pressure to leave. But that will not signal a return for Weir, who is focusing on keeping his place in the Everton side at the age of 34. He said: "I haven't thought about a possible return to the Scotland team. Playing for Everton is great - and it is hard enough staying in this team. "International football is so competitive and it takes so much of your energy. I don't think that is the right thing to do." Weir's decision to avoid an international return comes despite the imminent appointment of Walter Smith as Vogts' replacement. It was Smith who brought Weir to Everton from Hearts for £250,000 in 1999.
"His profile and the things he has achieved make him the ideal candidate," Weir added.

Pushy Moyes is bringing the best out of me - Bent
Nov 4 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT believes David Moyes' strong-arm tactics are bringing the best out of him.
The Goodison boss has admitted pushing the striker hard since his summer arrival from Ipswich.
But that doesn't bother Bentwho admits that he produces his best when he is pressed. A goalscoring return of five goals from 10 starts already this season backs up that assessment. "I know the manager has been on to me to keep my tempo up, keep doing what I am doing and to keep trying to improve every week. It is all about working hard," revealed the 26-year-old. "The manager has said he is being hard on me, but I prefer it that way because it keeps me on my toes. "That helps me maintain my consistency. And that is why I came to Everton. "I have been lacking a bit of consistency and that is what I am aiming for and hopefully my game will keep improving as the season goes on." He is certainly doing enough to satisfy Moyes and the Goodison faithful. "He has given us what I hoped he would and I will be keeping on at him to give us more," said the Blues' boss.. "I am quite hard on him and I will keep on at him to do better. I've been at him to keep his workrate up and to put shots away earlier and in the last few games he has started to do that. He was unfortunate not to get more than one against Villa. "He has great athleticism and I want him to be more clinical with it." It is something Bent is eager to improve as well, despite already boasting an impressive strike rate. "I would say I have had more chances in the last few games," he said. "They have not been tap-ins, but I feel I have been getting more chances and that is a good position to be in. "The more opportunities you get the more confident you become. I just hope it carries on.
"It is nice to be going to Chelsea on Saturday on the back of three goals in three games, although it would have been even nicer if we had got the win against Villa. "That would have put us just one point behind Chelsea and Arsenal and would have given us a little bit more to go for. But we are still in a very good position to go there and we will be in a positive frame of mind. "A point away from home against Chelsea would be good, but we are going there to get all three." Bent believes the combination of Moyes' managerial style and the recent run of results has instilled in the Everton side a strength of character which will serve them well at Stamford Bridge. "We are working so hard for each other without really thinking about it because of what has been drummed into us as a team from day one by the manager," he explains. "As soon as we see somebody in trouble or out of position we are automatically just helping out or fitting in. It is not a conscious thing, we have just clicked into that way of playing and that is why we are where we are right now. "We keep saying it and I know it is getting boring, but we are not the best team in the league and we are not claiming to have the best players in the league but what we do have is great morale and everybody is consistently giving everything for the team and each other. "I don't think there are many other sides in the division who can say that. "That has given us a confidence which means we are not doubting ourselves or knocking ourselves down before we get to Chelsea." Far from it. Bent is positively relishing the prospect of getting to grips with the meanest defence in the Premiership. And, no matter how the match turns out, he is determined to make sure the opposition know they have been in a contest. "John Terry is one of the best centre-halves in England and that is the type of player you want to play against and prove yourself against," he adds. "I might go there and have the worst game of my life, but I will still be doing what I have done since I arrived here and that is doing my best and trying my hardest." It is that attitude which has made Bent such a popular figure with Evertonians. And, having now played for eight clubs in nine years, he wants to make sure it is a relationship he can develop in the years to come. "I have moved about since a young age and I don't think I have ever seen a contract out," he explains. "That is not because I have not wanted to, but because of various different circumstances I have found myself in. "I have started reasonably well since I got here. And if I can maintain that and keep it going, not just this year but for the three years I have got, let's hope I can see this contract out."

The Jury
Nov 4 2004 Liverpool Echo
"Enjoy the praise but laugh in their faces for proving these hacks wrong" - Ken Stewart
EVERYONE seems supernaturally happy and Mercurial Moyesy (no longer Dour Davey) appears to be glowing in his more frequent bouts of TV punditry. Our manager points out that "we have no time for sulkers". While agreeing in principle, I feel I have to put in a word on behalf of Nick Chadwick. I realise he has made the mistake of opening his mouth publically, but his current situation does bear some comparison with James McFadden. Neither are first-teamers, but McFadden has had countless opportunities to re-discover his form at the highest level. I like any player with genuine ability, but it's clearly not happening for him at the moment. Chadwick gets one chance on the bench and he comes on to score. Is the situation with Chadwick and McFadden entirely fair?
MY first reactions after Saturday's game were of disappointment and a little anger. But watching the evening's highlights I put these into perspective. The performance was near perfection. OK, maybe not perfection but it wasn't bad - slick passing (last season passing seemed alien), the movement, the presence of the defenders and the way they played with confidence was a joy to watch - on Saturday evening of course. So it proved with the press on Sunday and Monday. Some were practically drooling over the football we played and we're now seen in some quarters as an "example" to the rest of the Premiership. Don't read too much into this praise, they'll be putting the knives back in as quick as they're taking them out. Enjoy it, but laugh in their faces for proving these hacks wrong. I am.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
DESPITE another good performance on Saturday it is still pretty obvious we need to be scoring more goals. Bad finishing cost us against Spurs and we should have had at least three goals against Villa. If we had beaten Spurs and Villa we would be top of the league now - on merit, too! We need a goal-poacher to help take the burden off Marcus Bent. And even though David Weir and Alan Stubbs have been playing well, they may struggle against some of the more mobile strikers.
We're the only team in the Premiership still unbeaten away from home and we want to keep it that way. A point at Chelsea will do and if we win we could be level with them - something I didn't think I'd see this season!
IT says a lot for our progress that fans went away disappointed after Saturday's draw with Aston Villa. It is a measure of the expectation levels that are about at the moment. But what is so different from last season? Apart from two players, this is basically the same team that finished fourth from bottom last season. So credit has to be given to the players, and it is not surprising new contracts are being talked about for the likes of Davie Weir. But one player we have to keep is Tommy Gravesen - he is showing what a great player he really is now he's been given a bit more freedom. I'm looking forward to the next game - a top of the table clash on Saturday against Chelsea. If someone had said that to me at the start of the season I would never have believed them.

Weir not tempted by Scots
Nov 4 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID WEIR today ruled out a return to international football despite the departure of Berti Vogts as Scotland manager. The Everton defender made himself unavailable for selection following criticism of him by Vogts in the wake of a 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands in September 2002. Earlier this week Vogts quit his job with the SFA after enduring increasing pressure to leave. But that will not signal a return for Weir, who is focusing on keeping his place in the Everton side at the age of 34. He said: "I haven't thought about a possible return to the Scotland team. Playing for Everton is great - and it is hard enough staying in this team. International football is so competitive and it takes so much of your energy. I don't think that is the right thing to do." Weir's decision to avoid an international return comes despite the imminent appointment of Walter Smith as Vogts' replacement. It was Smith who brought Weir to Everton from Hearts for £250,000 in 1999.
"His profile and the things he has achieved make him the ideal candidate," Weir added.

Pushy Moyes is bringing the best out of me - Bent
Nov 4 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT believes David Moyes' strong-arm tactics are bringing the best out of him.
The Goodison boss has admitted pushing the striker hard since his summer arrival from Ipswich.
But that doesn't bother Bent, (right), who admits that he produces his best when he is pressed.
A goalscoring return of five goals from 10 starts already this season backs up that assessment.
"I know the manager has been on to me to keep my tempo up, keep doing what I am doing and to keep trying to improve every week. It is all about working hard," revealed the 26-year-old. "The
"That helps me maintain my consistency. And that is why I came to Everton. "I have been lacking a bit of consistency and that is what I am aiming for and hopefully my game will keep improving as the season goes on." He is certainly doing enough to satisfy Moyes and the Goodison faithful. "He has given us what I hoped he would and I will be keeping on at him to give us more," said the Blues' boss.. "I am quite hard on him and I will keep on at him to do better. I've been at him to keep his workrate up and to put shots away earlier and in the last few games he has started to do that. He was unfortunate not to get more than one against Villa. "He has great athleticism and I want him to be more clinical with it." It is something Bent is eager to improve as well, despite already boasting an impressive strike rate. "I would say I have had more chances in the last few games," he said.
"They have not been tap-ins, but I feel I have been getting more chances and that is a good position to be in. "The more opportunities you get the more confident you become. I just hope it carries on.
"It is nice to be going to Chelsea on Saturday on the back of three goals in three games, although it would have been even nicer if we had got the win against Villa. "That would have put us just one point behind Chelsea and Arsenal and would have given us a little bit more to go for. But we are still in a very good position to go there and we will be in a positive frame of mind. "A point away from home against Chelsea would be good, but we are going there to get all three." Bent believes the combination of Moyes' managerial style and the recent run of results has instilled in the Everton side a strength of character which will serve them well at Stamford Bridge. "We are working so hard for each other without really thinking about it because of what has been drummed into us as a team from day one by the manager," he explains. "As soon as we see somebody in trouble or out of position we are automatically just helping out or fitting in. It is not a conscious thing, we have just clicked into that way of playing and that is why we are where we are right now. "We keep saying it and I know it is getting boring, but we are not the best team in the league and we are not claiming to have the best players in the league but what we do have is great morale and everybody is consistently giving everything for the team and each other. "I don't think there are many other sides in the division who can say that. "That has given us a confidence which means we are not doubting ourselves or knocking ourselves down before we get to Chelsea." Far from it. Bent is positively relishing the prospect of getting to grips with the meanest defence in the Premiership. And, no matter how the match turns out, he is determined to make sure the opposition know they have been in a contest. "John Terry is one of the best centre-halves in England and that is the type of player you want to play against and prove yourself against," he adds. "I might go there and have the worst game of my life, but I will still be doing what I have done since I arrived here and that is doing my best and trying my hardest." It is that attitude which has made Bent such a popular figure with Evertonians. And, having now played for eight clubs in nine years, he wants to make sure it is a relationship he can develop in the years to come. "I have moved about since a young age and I don't think I have ever seen a contract out," he explains. "That is not because I have not wanted to, but because of various different circumstances I have found myself in. "I have started reasonably well since I got here. And if I can maintain that and keep it going, not just this year but for the three years I have got, let's hope I can see this contract out."

The Jury
Nov 4 2004 Liverpool Echo
"Enjoy the praise but laugh in their faces for proving these hacks wrong" - Ken Stewart
EVERYONE seems supernaturally happy and Mercurial Moyesy (no longer Dour Davey) appears to be glowing in his more frequent bouts of TV punditry. Our manager points out that "we have no time for sulkers". While agreeing in principle, I feel I have to put in a word on behalf of Nick Chadwick. I realise he has made the mistake of opening his mouth publically, but his current situation does bear some comparison with James McFadden. Neither are first-teamers, but McFadden has had countless opportunities to re-discover his form at the highest level. I like any player with genuine ability, but it's clearly not happening for him at the moment. Chadwick gets one chance on the bench and he comes on to score. Is the situation with Chadwick and McFadden entirely fair?
MY first reactions after Saturday's game were of disappointment and a little anger. But watching the evening's highlights I put these into perspective. The performance was near perfection. OK, maybe not perfection but it wasn't bad - slick passing (last season passing seemed alien), the movement, the presence of the defenders and the way they played with confidence was a joy to watch - on Saturday evening of course. So it proved with the press on Sunday and Monday. Some were practically drooling over the football we played and we're now seen in some quarters as an "example" to the rest of the Premiership. Don't read too much into this praise, they'll be putting the knives back in as quick as they're taking them out. Enjoy it, but laugh in their faces for proving these hacks wrong. I am.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
DESPITE another good performance on Saturday it is still pretty obvious we need to be scoring more goals. Bad finishing cost us against Spurs and we should have had at least three goals against Villa. If we had beaten Spurs and Villa we would be top of the league now - on merit, too! We need a goal-poacher to help take the burden off Marcus Bent. And even though David Weir and Alan Stubbs have been playing well, they may struggle against some of the more mobile strikers. We're the only team in the Premiership still unbeaten away from home and we want to keep it that way. A point at Chelsea will do and if we win we could be level with them - something I didn't think I'd see this season!
IT says a lot for our progress that fans went away disappointed after Saturday's draw with Aston Villa. It is a measure of the expectation levels that are about at the moment. But what is so different from last season? Apart from two players, this is basically the same team that finished fourth from bottom last season. So credit has to be given to the players, and it is not surprising new contracts are being talked about for the likes of Davie Weir. But one player we have to keep is Tommy Gravesen - he is showing what a great player he really is now he's been given a bit more freedom. I'm looking forward to the next game - a top of the table clash on Saturday against Chelsea. If someone had said that to me at the start of the season I would never have believed them.

Souness ready to fight with Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 5 2004
DAVID MOYES will face fierce competition from Newcastle in his attempts to bolster his in-form squad in January. The Everton manager has been linked with Chelsea defender Robert Huth plus Nottingham Forest pair Andy Reid and Michael Dawson as he draws up a wishlist of targets for the transfer window. But all three are in Graeme Souness's sights at Newcastle as the new St James' Park manager vies with Moyes for the brightest young talent in the country. Newcastle confirmed their interest in German international Huth this week only to be told the centre-half would prefer to stay in London. Moyes has already made alternative moves towards strengthening his central defence by bringing £1.7million-rated Norwegian Brede Hangeland to Bellefield this week. One stalwart of his current defence, David Weir, has meanwhile denied claims he is contemplating a return to international football even if his former manager Walter Smith takes charge of Scotland.
The 34-year-old defender has not made himself available for his country after Berti Vogts, who quit the post on Monday, criticised him after a 2-2 draw with the Faroe Islands in September 2002. And Weir admitted he has no plans to add to his 37 caps. He said: "I haven't thought about a possible return to the Scotland team. Playing for Everton is great - and it's hard enough staying in this side.
"I want to give 100% to this team. International football is so competitive and it takes so much of your energy and I don't think that's the right thing for me to do."

Blues must look to future
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 5 2004
Look to future
THERE have been some questions raised recently over Tommy Gravesen's long term commitment to the club. Well nice to see him turn up at Haig Avenue the other night to support the reserves. Only trouble was he brought his doppelganger Lee Carsley with him just to confuse us. We need to buy at least two or three more young players who are ready to go into the first team squad sooner rather than later. We need pace at the back and a playmaker in midfield as priorities. No more long ball stuff please! This Norwegian lad may make the grade as well as young Fox so we can bolster the squad with the few million we can spare. We have to build for the future seasons, not dwell on this one exclusively.
Trev Lynes, Liverpool
Bent lesson
I DON'T think Moyes should just buy for the hell of it. I agree big buys do not always mean good buys. Bent is one of the best out there and look what we paid for him.
Craig Smith, Huyton
Dead frog
I THINK that Weir should be offered another 12-month deal (how many other players shed blood for the club?). I hope that Duncan gets another year at least (even if he just gets wheeled on for the last 20 minutes). He can still shake up defenders and has the ability to get vital goals (eg Norwich).
Moyesie has done exceptionally well considering he's had 10 bob and a dead frog to spend. He may get more out of his current squad by threatening to splash the cash rather than actually spending it.
And as for Chelski, if they're cruising for a bruising we might just be the team to give it to them.
Paul Dunnery (via e-mail)
Bargain hunt
IF STUBBS and Weir keep this up Moyesie can concentrate on getting another striker and midfielder - but hopefully not Hargreaves or Savage as rumoured. Actually given his eye for bargains I'd back his judgement to use the £10million he's likely to be given to get as many as he can for it. Remember he got Bent, Cahill, Killa, Nige plus change from £5m.
Bernard Morgan (via e-mail)

Moyes: We won't have 'bundles' to spend in January
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 5 2004
DAVID MOYES last night revealed he will not have a massive transfer budget at his disposal in January. The Everton manager does expect to make significant purchases during the transfer window armed with a portion of Wayne Rooney's transfer fee and the proposed investment from the Fortress Sports Fund. But he insists reports he will have £15m-20million to spend after being deprived of funds for the past two years are an exaggeration. Moyes has drawn up a transfer wish-list to add to his high-flying squad in January with Southampton's James Beattie and Chelsea's Scott Parker prominent figures. But he has indicated that not all of the proceeds from Rooney's move and the proposed investment will be spent on new signings. Moyes revealed: "I have got an indication of how much we will have to spend but it is not as much as people are quoting. I don't think people should start thinking we have bundles to spend because we haven't." The Goodison manager, meanwhile, insists victory at Stamford Bridge today will issue the clearest signal yet that Everton can challenge the monopoly of the Premiership's wealthy elite. Moyes views his side's remarkable rise as an inspiration to every club without the financial clout of the leading few. And having led the Goodison club to within three points of Chelsea ahead of today's top of the table clash Moyes - who spent £2.4m on new players this summer compared to £90m by Jose Mourinho - believes Everton will receive widespread support for the "pauper v prince" contest at Stamford Bridge. Moyes said: "I suspect a lot of people around the country would like us to beat Chelsea because it would show you can still get great results without money. "It would be nice for the whole of football if that could be done. The league has become very money orientated these days and it would give people throughout the game a great deal of encouragement if you could make an impact at the top without it. "Given the choice of course you would take the money, because it means you can have the best players and therefore you're more likely to have good Saturday nights more often. Money does help you win more often, but that is not always true. "We know it's going to be very hard, but we are going there feeling good about ourselves and feeling very positive. We have no great fear of Chelsea. We have great respect for them yes, but fear? No." Everton could go level with joint leaders Chelsea if they claim their biggest scalp of the season so far this afternoon. And Moyes believes the club's elevation has already made them a more attractive proposition to would-be signings after the problems of the summer. He revealed: "Maybe people on the outside should start to see last season as a blip and that this is more like us. We did it the season before last too. "Good players will be attracted to Everton because they can see the club is making progress and that it has a terrific history which shows it has been there and done it before. "Players didn't want to come in the summer but people are indicating to us now that Everton is a good place to come and play." One player Moyes has confirmed an interest in is Parker. "He would certainly be a player we would be interested in," he reiterated yesterday. Moyes's own Everton future will be influenced by new investment coming into the club. A new contract offer has been on the table for several months but the Goodison manager is awaiting genuine signs of improvement before putting pen to paper. "The contract is getting much closer," he said. "It could be days or weeks now."
Everton FC

Mourinho is like a big budget Moyes
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 5 2004
EVER since the opening day mauling at the hands of Arsenal, Everton have produced creditable performances in every game they've played. In the games where they've wobbled a bit, such as at Bristol and Norwich, or at home against Southampton, they've still had enough about them to secure a win. On the other hand, in the games where they haven't taken all three points, at home to Spurs and Villa, and away to Manchester United, they've actually played some of their best football.
As a result, the team and the supporters are full of confidence, relegation is for other people to worry about, and even the manager is starting to hint that he's setting targets that would have seemed absurd in the summer. However, while we now expect to the Blues to win almost every time they take to the field - as proven by the disappointment felt around Goodison following the draw against Aston Villa last Saturday - tomorrow's trip to Stamford Bridge promises to tell us quite a bit about how far we've really come as a team. Defeat won't automatically undo all the hard work that the players have put in so far, although the experts will obviously take delight in telling us that we've finally been 'found out'. No one mentions Chelsea without reference to Abramovich's millions, but Jose Mourinho still deserves credit for the way he has gone about his task in west London. In many ways he is like a big budget David Moyes: focused, self-confident and determined to win. He has spent a lot of money, obviously, but he seems to have done so wisely, bringing in the players he wants to play his system, as opposed to simply signing big names for the sake of it. Compare that to his predecessor, or even Sir Alex Ferguson, and it becomes clear that the unshaven ex-Porto manager's job is perhaps not quite as easy as he's making it look. Despite Everton's excellent form of late, and goal-machine Marcus Bent's current hot streak, a draw would represent a very good result. Another player who will be key if we are to get any points tomorrow will be the creator of Bent's goal on Saturday, David Weir. He's playing out of his skin and it's no surprise that the manager is considering offering him a one-year extension to his present contract.

Where we belong
Nov 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES believes Everton will get a glimpse of the club's future when they take on Chelsea in a top of the table clash. The Blues are third in the Premiership table, just two points behind Jose Mourinho's joint-leaders. It may be an unexpected position after a summer of turmoil, but Moyes (left) is intent on ensuring it becomes the norm in the years to come. "It is where I hope and where I expect to be taking this team," Moyes told the ECHO. "I am very hard on myself in that respect and always want to be at the top, whichever club I have been at. "Going to Chelsea in the position we are in now is something I am relishing. We are feeling good about ourselves and enjoying everything that is happening right now. "It is great to be in the situation we are in and we are looking forward to it. "We are going there to try and compete with them and give them as good as we get. "It is a good test for us. Chelsea have always been a good team but they have added again to their squad in the summer and their ambitions are firmly set at being the top team. "They have got terrific forwards and we will have to be very good both at the back and going forward, but we have done that already this year. "Our lads will not be overawed because they have played there many times, but this time it is a little bit different because of the position we are in. We can be a bit more relaxed and confident. "We have a lot more self-belief. Being in the position we are in is liberating and it is helping us to maintain our good form." Moyes will have only a handful of absentees for tomorrow's game. Lee Carsley is still suspended, while Li Tie's recovery from a broken shin is taking far longer than expected. Gary Naysmith's ankle injury, which he picked up on international duty for Scotland last month, has still not healed. Moyes added: "It is taking longer than expected, which is disappointing, but he shouldn't be out for too much longer." Joseph Yobo will return to the squad after recovering from a blow to the head in training last week. He is expected to vie with Steve Watson for a place in midfield.

Now for the hard bit, Martyn warns Blues
Nov 5 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON travel to Chelsea tomorrow for a top-of-the-table clash with goalkeeper Nigel Martyn warning it will be harder to stay at the top than it was to get there. The Blues' last line of defence (left) has been delighted with how little work he has to do in the opening three months of the season - thanks to the solid protection he has received from his defence. Five clean sheets from the opening 11 league matches has been the bedrock of Everton's climb to third in the Premiership.
And while it is a position which may be unfamiliar to some members of David Moyes ' Goodison squad, it is not to Martyn. In his time at Leeds he was regularly involved in battles at the top of the table. And that has taught him it will be even tougher to stay there, starting tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. "It is nice to be up there again at this stage of my career, " admits the 38-year-old.
"But now is where it gets hard. You can get there on the back of some good results at this stage of the season. But to stay there it is about maintaining that consistently. "If you break up the season into blocks of six games you need to be looking at picking up 12 points from each block. "Putting a series of little runs together is what keeps you up there and that is what we are trying to do.
"Doing that breeds confidence. That is where we are now because we are all really looking forward to each game. "We are all excited about going to Chelsea. Maybe if this game had come at the end of last season we wouldn't feel like that. "We all wanted the season to come to an end and we had run out of steam a little bit because of the run of results." There is no danger of Everton being intimidated tomorrow. Martyn continues: "We want to play ourselves. It won't be 11 players behind the ball trying to hold out. We want to try and have a go at them when the time is right. "But we would be foolish to think we will be attacking them the whole time because the quality they have and the way they keep the ball means it will be tough. So when we do get it we can't give it away cheaply." It is an approach which has served the Blues well on their travels. Indeed, their away form has even managed to eclipse the results at Goodison. They remain unbeaten away from home and have only conceded three goals. Chelsea are the only side in the top flight that can boast a better defensive record away from home. It is a record which provides peace of mind to Martyn and the rest of the side, even if it is something of a surprise after last season's torrid form on the road.
"At Leeds we always had a solid defence with more or less the same players," added Martyn.
"But here it is strange because it is the same bunch of players as last season, when we conceded more goals than we should have done. "But I think the defence will be the first to say they are getting good cover in front of them because the midfield are working their socks off. "That has helped us become a hard team to break down. "And I think it definitely does help to have experience in those central defensive positions and in goal, particularly for a game like this.
"Experienced players have seen most situations before. " Alan Stubbs and David Weir are very good players who know this level of the game inside out. They have been fantastic all season to the point where I have had nothing to do in some games." But despite that form and despite the results, Everton are still not being taken seriously as a side challenging at the top of the table. Surprisingly, Martyn is happy with that. "Let people think what they want," he shrugs. "But it would be a wonderful position to be in if we were where we are now with two or three weeks to go. Then people might acknowledge what we have achieved. "But right now, you want to be left alone and you don't really want people making a big thing of it. "We are proud of where we are and think we deserve to be there. The whole team has really been putting in the work, particularly from a defensive point of view. "But it doesn't really matter if people are singing our praises. In fact, I prefer if we continue to be overlooked." If Martyn and co win tomorrow, there is little chance of him getting his wish. But taking three points from one of the most expensivelyassembled sides in football history would be fitting consolation.

Keeper is keen to stay another year
Nov 5 2004 Liverpool Echo
NIGEL MARTYN is willing to wait until the end of the season before talking about a new deal at Everton. The goalkeeper is in the final year of his contract. But the 38-year-old is not rushing to talk about an extension - although he admits he would love to stay at Goodison into a third season.
"If I am feeling as good as I do now at the end of the season and the club want to have me for another year, I would be delighted to stay," he told the ECHO. "I want to keep going as long as I can, but only as long as I feel that I can give something to the team. "At the moment I am working hard, I am enjoying it and I feel fit. I would like to play on as long as I could but that is out of my hands."
Martyn has maintained the form which made him last season's player of the year into this campaign.
He has kept five clean sheets in Everton's opening 11 Premiership matches, helping the club climb to third in the table. It makes Saturday's clash with Chelsea a top of the table encounter. "It will be a very tough game," admits Martyn. "I saw them against CSKA Moscow and they looked a very hard team to break down. They have got some great attacking players. "But we are going there full of confidence and determined to give them a game."

Blues pose tough test - Gallas
Nov 5 2004 Liverpool Echo
DEFENDER William Gallas admitted Chelsea cannot afford to drop points at home to Everton tomorrow as they look to put further pressure on leaders Arsenal. Having drawn level on points with the Gunners last weekend, they could steal a march by defeating Everton at Stamford Bridge, with Arsenal not kicking off until slightly later at Selhurst Park. However, Gallas appreciates that nothing can be taken for granted against an Everton side who are performing above all pre-season expectations. The French international declared: "There is always going to be that pressure because we know that, at this stage in the season, we cannot afford to drop any points. "It will be a very difficult match against Everton, because they are a very well organised team and have a great solidarity in the squad. They all seem to know what they are doing." Gallas is hoping to retain his place in the side, despite suffering a neck strain in midweek. Alexei Smertin is also doubtful, while Didier Drogba is still ruled out with the groin injury sustained during his side's win against Liverpool a month ago.

O'Leary suffers foot in mouth disease
Nov 5 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT wasn't just Ian Snodin's eyebrows which hit the Goodison press room roof when David O'Leary described the Blues as route one, aggressive, and more likely to play for throw-ins than a calculating through ball. Reaction of neutral observers was just as astonished, but it seems the Villa boss' inability to cut the blarney could work in Everton's favour. Both Villa and Everton covet the services of Southampton striker James Beattie - except Everton have kept schtum about their interest.
O'Leary now faces an FA charge of poaching, after admitting on Aston Villa's official website: "He (Beattie) has an opportunity to join a few people, but I think he sees the way we play as good for strikers, and will get a few goals." Strike one to Everton, but don't hold your breath waiting for FA punishment.

Chelsea 1, Everton 0 (D,Post)
Nov 8 2004 By Andy Hunter at Stamford Bridge, Daily Post
OUR dressing room looks like we have just won a cup final, not just another three points in the league." All those who believe there is not an ounce of modesty beneath the swarthy, stubbled features of Jose Mourinho should think again. The Chelsea manager monopolised the points at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and was therefore able to offer a touch of humility, but he wasn't the only one indulging in a course of reinvention. Top of the table Chelsea had good reason to celebrate their win over Everton as though it was a monumental victory. It was one. They had been forced to draw on every reserve of energy and skill their multi-talented and expensive squad possesses to edge out the slenderest of triumphs over David Moyes's side in a second against third contest that had matched its Premiership billing. Victory, and an outright lead over Arsenal at the top, under-standably sparked jubilation in a side that proved itself one of the top four teams in Europe last season and was then fine-tuned to the cost of £90million. But it was the justifiable disappointment that gnawed at Everton having squandered glorious opportunities to defeat them on home soil that provided the clear-est illustration of a club's improving fortunes this weekend. Defeat to Chelsea, hard on the heels of a frustrating draw at home to Aston Villa, could be read by many people as the signal for Everton to slide out of the elite's realm and back into obscurity. The 41,965 present at Stamford Bridge are unlikely to be among them. It was a single lapse in concentration and one moment of individual brilliance that separated the sides on Saturday, not the gulf in class Roman Abramovich would perhaps expect his money to bring. The Russian billionaire is right to demand a good performance for his generosity though and in that respect Chelsea delivered. Only Everton did too, with a style and conviction that continues to improve and illustrates why they have every right to believe this "flash in the pan" can keep burning for a good while longer. Injuries and suspensions, if and when they arrive, will take a heavy toll on Moyes's side. But while Everton are short on resources they are not lacking in spirit, attitude and, as has now been proved, quality.
Chelsea paid their worthy opponents several tributes long before Mourinho revealed the secrets of his dressing room, adding: "Everton are a very tough, good side. They made it very difficult for us and our goal came at just the right time." He was right. The 15-minute spell that preceded Arjen Robben's 72nd-minute winner saw Everton at their organised and inventive best, Mourinho's initial attacking substitution failing to give Chelsea the edge while the visitors began to play with a swagger and belief that could, and should, have seen them strike first. After the breakthrough came the compliments. Mourinho withdrew two forwards, Eidur Gud-johnsen and Damien Duff, for the defensive Geremi and Robert Huth and for the final 10 minutes Chelsea were content, anxious even, to get to the corner flags and play out time. Not that backhanded praise eased the pain of defeat among Moyes and his players afterwards of course. If there was an obvious difference between the sides on Saturday it was the unfortunate reminder that while Everton do have a quality unit they cannot afford explosive individual talents who can polish bright performances with that decisive touch. Chelsea, in a £18m Duff or a £12m Robben, do. And while the title race is still in its infancy they have the ruthlessness and feel of a championship winning team already. "If we had £12m to spend on one player then we'd have bought Robben. But if you can't afford Armani then you have to shop in Marks and Spencer's," was Moyes's honest assessment. Not that he has any cause to complain about his own version of M&S or offered any. His side took the game to Chelsea from the first whistle, Steve Watson breaking free inside the area within 20 seconds and claiming a penalty for handball when his low shot struck the diving John Terry. And in an absorbing game of few clear-cut opportunities it was Everton who created the finest and rued their failure to take any. Tim Cahill was first to provoke Moyes into head-in-the-hands exasperation on the touchline on 17 minutes when he ghosted onto the lively Kevin Kilbane's cross from the left and found himself with a free header at Petr Cech's goal. The Australian international connected cleanly but without the accuracy of Manchester City and Portsmouth he allowed Cech to clear at full stretch and the first golden opportunity had gone. Forty minutes later, and with Everton enjoying the most dominant spell of the game, came a chance Alan Stubbs will still be having nightmares about tonight. Thomas Gravesen and Leon Osman worked a short corner that allowed the latter to pick out the unmarked Stubbs with a delicate chip from the touchline. But facing an inviting goal, the otherwise excellent centre-half powered his header way off course and stared at the heavens in disbelief. Gudjohnsen, who had a first half shot smothered off the line by the outstanding Tony Hibbert, then wasted his own glorious invitation when he skied Terry's knock-down high into the former Shed End.
But with Robben a constant threat on his first Premiership start Chelsea always had the ability to conjure something out of nothing and so it transpired with just 18 minutes left. The Dutch winger may look like a reincarnation of Lee Harvey Oswald but there was no doubting his role as the assassin here. Everton, with their midfield sitting much closer to their defence than usual, had given Chelsea no room to work their way behind the visiting back-line all game. But as they pushed forward in pursuit of the opener from their own free-kick in the 72nd minute they offered space to Chelsea for the first time and were instantly punished. Ricardo Carvalho's clearance was cushioned by Mateja Kezman to Gudjohnsen, and his first time ball gave Robben the freedom to exploit the lack of pace in Everton's central defence, hold off the growing threat of David Weir, and lift a nonchalant finish over Nigel Martyn's dive. Martyn had earlier denied the Dutch international an even finer goal when his dipping volley from 20 yards, having lifted the ball over Weir's head and collected, was tipped onto the bar by the Everton keeper. It was Cech, however, who had to produce the final intervention to prevent Kevin Campbell winning a deserved point in the 85th minute when he pressurised the substitute into glancing a cross from the tireless Marcus Bent wide.
If ever the old cliche about taking consolation out of defeat was true, then it was here. Everton may have gained more reward at Old Trafford in August but Stamford Bridge witnessed the superior performance. Moyes's team are not only defying expectations four months into the season, they are improving too. Well they must be if Mourinho is an admirer.
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Babayaro; Tiago (Kezman 57), Makelele, Lampard; Duff (Huth 82), Gudjohnsen (Geremi 78), Robben. Subs: Cudicini, Cole.
BOOKING: Robben (dissent)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone (McFadden 84); Osman (Chadwick 89), Watson (Campbell 80), Gravesen, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent. Subs: Turner, Yobo.
BOOKINGS: Gravesen, Kilbane (fouls), Bent (dissent)
REFEREE: Mike Riley
ATT: 41,965
NEXT GAME: Arsenal v Everton, Carling Cup fourth round, tomorrow, 7.45pm

Cahill: We showed we belong with the best
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 8 2004
TIM CAHILL believes Everton proved they belong among the Premiership pace-setters on Saturday despite losing their unbeaten away record at Stamford Bridge. Arjen Robben's 72nd-minute winner took Chelsea to the top of the table after a closely contested clash that saw Cahill and Alan Stubbs miss glorious chances to extend Everton's remarkable rise. David Moyes's side remain third in the table, however, after Bolton were held at home by Middlesbrough yesterday. And Australian international Cahill insisted Everton should take heart from their impressive showing at Stamford Bridge as they continue to confound expectations. Cahill said: "We are very disappointed not to get anything. Chelsea played very well, they are a great side, but we definitely deserved something from the game and it was very disappointing not to get it. "We were very confident before the game. We have been playing very well and getting some great results. We are not third in the table for no reason. "Why can't we stay up there? We are not here to make up the numbers, we are looking to push on as far as we can. "We are showing great team spirit and playing some good football too, we just need to get the goals that can hurt teams a bit more." The midfielder added: "I know for a fact many people would have written us off coming to a place like this but we actually believed we could come here and get a result. Hopefully we've earned a bit more respect with the way we played and with how we rattled Chelsea a bit. "We are looking to go as far as we can and get as many points on the board as possible. The fact we didn't get any off Chelsea is very disappointing. It was a harsh result because we played well." Cahill admitted he should have given Everton the lead with a 17th minute header he put too close to Chelsea keeper Petr Cech. But he insisted he would not swap the individual talents of matchwinner Robben for the team spirit that has taken Everton so far this season. He explained: "It was a massive opportunity. I got up well but their player got up just a fraction earlier to put me off a little bit. The ball didn't hit the floor quickly enough and that enabled their keeper to scurry it away. "I missed a good one and so did Stubbsy and we were punished for our own misfortune in the end. "Duff, Gudjohnsen and Robben are so quick and they will punish you if you make any mistakes. Just one lapse in concentration saw us opened up and a great piece of skill by Robben gave them the points but we are left ruing the chances we missed. "Players like Robben can turn a game in a split second and maybe we don't have a player like that but I wouldn't change anything. We have a great team spirit here and I am just pleased to be a part of it."

Moyes eager to stay in touch
By Adrian Curtis, Daily Post
Nov 8 2004
DAVID MOYES is determined to keep Everton at the top with the leaders after losing for the first time on their travels. But he knows it will not be an easy task with a budget that is a fraction compared to the billions at the disposal of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho. Moyes (right) said: "If we had £12million then we would buy someone like Robben. But we don't have £12m. You buy what you can afford. "We never said we would be up at the top, but we are going to do everything we can to try and stay here." The one good aspect for Moyes is the fact that they appear to have coped with the departure of Wayne Rooney to Manchester United quite easily. "It's not been that difficult at all," he insists. "I think you can see by the performances and the way the team has been playing so well, that's it has not affected us. We've already had a better points return from our away games than we had last season." Moyes's Chelsea counterpart made it clear to the fans that they should not expect big changes to the squad in the January transfer window. The club have been linked with Real Madrid's David Beckham and Newcastle's Kieron Dyer recently but Mourinho said: "We will be linked with new players so I want to say that I am really happy with my squad. I have no reasons to wish big changes and I want everyone to trust these players." Meanwhile Chelsea's matchwinner Arjen Robben puts his new found scoring success down to living the quiet life off the pitch. Robben has opted to move into leafy Surrey, close to the location of the club's new training ground, rather than London and prefers to spend time playing pool instead of going to the bookies like some of his current teammates are said to do. "I wanted to be near the training ground and live outside the city. I like it quiet. It's good for your private life. I like to play pool, go on the computer or watch TV," he said. "I am just a normal guy."

Encouragement taken in defeat
View from the stands by Simon Ryan Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 8 2004
TWELVE games into the season and Everton lose their impressive unbeaten away record and miss the chance to go joint top of the league. The defeat comes from a team where almost every player is 'worth' more than our whole team put together, a team of superstars and a team who are now top of the league. Therefore, we must not feel too disappointed, but we are because that's how far Everton have come this season. The general feeling was that we could get a result at Stamford Bridge and that's what Moyes sent out his team to do. After a great start to the game Chelsea dominated possession and Everton put 10 men behind the ball for the majority of the game.
This tactic seemed to be working and, apart from a Gudjohnsen miss, Chelsea were restricted to long-range efforts. When Everton did get the ball they played some good football with Cahill in particular showing he can mix it with the big boys. At 0-0 Everton had two great chances to snatch a goal against the run of play through Cahill and Stubbs. If Everton are to remain at the top end of the league then chances like that must be taken. The top teams don't give you many chances. Although disappointed with the result the players actually performed well, especially the full-backs. Faced with potentially two of the trickiest and fastest wingers in the league they defended well. Hibbert's distribution was much better and Pistone was missing some of the slack play that normally blights his performances. Maybe it's time to make a slight change and bring back Yobo as his pace is one thing the centre-back pairing are missing. Overall, Everton played well but when you go to Chelsea you can't expect to see much of the ball. What we must do now is take encouragement from this performance and bounce back with a win at Birmingham.

Chelsea 1, Everton 0 (Echo)
Nov 8 2004 By Scott McLeod at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool Echo
THERE were 12 million reasons why Everton lost this game. But a lack of quality wasn't one.
The difference between the two sides proved to be Arjen Robben. He capped a mesmerising display with a goal of real class with 18 minutes of the match remaining. But when you cost £12m, more than the entire Everton starting line-up put together, you should be good. Moyes can only dream of making a signing like that. As the Everton boss pointed out after the game: "If you can't afford an Armani, then you shop at Marks & Spencer." By buying off the rail Moyes may have missed out on some of the continent's finest haute couture, but he has stumbled across a dapper, eye-catching ensemble. Stood alongside Jose Mourinho's Saville Row collection on Saturday it was hard to spot the difference. Chelsea's may have been the more eye-catching number, but it was Everton's with the greater substance. The home side had 12 corners in the opening half alone. But before Robben's strike, it was Everton who had created the better chances. Chelsea were left to settle for shots from distance - most of them from Robben - and half--hearted scrambles in the area. Only once was Martyn really called into action, acrobatically tipping a thunderous half volley over the bar from the Dutch master. Everton got less opportunities to probe forward but when they did they were far more incisive. As a result we can now look back and wonder 'what if' thanks to three glorious chances which were squandered. Tim Cahill and Alan Stubbs each missed with headers from close range when they were unmarked and Steve Watson was denied inside the opening 40 seconds by a block from John Terry. And then after falling a goal behind they mustered another, Kevin Campbell heading over from a Marcus Bent cross with the keeper bearing down on him. But if the finishing touches let down the outfit, there could be no criticism of the styling or the selection. When Tottenham went to Stamford Bridge a few weeks ago Mourinho (right) was livid at their ultra-defensive tactics. One or two in the press corps expected a similar tirade from the fiery Portuguese after this game. But, quite rightly, Mourinho chose to praise Everton for getting their tactics so right.
The visitors had set out to deny Chelsea the space they crave for their passing football, restricting them to mainly shots from distance. And when they did get the ball they were focused in their attacking play, stretching Chelsea's flanks, exposing their weak-spots and, in particular, the lacklustre Paulo Ferreira. The players executed their gameplan excellently. The fact they didn't get sidetracked or over-awed underlines exactly how much confidence there is in the camp right now. In the opening 10 minutes they were outstanding, pushing Chelsea on to the back foot and setting the tone for the game. And what a good game it was. It may not have been an end-to-end thriller, but it was top quality football. Actually, it was the kind of tight, focused, intense match you see from a lot of top-of-the-table encounters. This was supposed to be the game when Everton's league position was exposed as a false one. The result may suggest that, but the performance certainly didn't. And Chelsea knew it. Frustrated by Everton's solid defence, Mourinho threw on Mateja Kezman in the second half, pushing Robben and Duff further forward to switch to a 4-2-4. It gave Everton a tighter grip on midfield and, it seemed, an opportunity to really take control of the game. But Mourinho's gamble paid off courtesy of the kind of long ball, counter-attacking play you expect from an inferior visiting side. Ferreira launched the ball from right back, Kezman nodded it down for Eidur Gudjohnsen and he chipped another long ball over the top for Robben to run on to.
Having mesmerised in the previous 72 minutes with his fancy footwork, it was pure pace which finally broke Everton. He left David Weir in his wake and produced a deft chip over Martyn. And then the home side shut up shop. Duff and Gudjohnsen were withdrawn in favour of Geremi and Robert Huth as Mourinho protected what he had. A side that cost £200m to assemble had to baton down the hatches against Moyes' £15m men. That is a huge compliment to Everton and a reflection of how the game panned out. That is why the players left the pitch with their heads held high. And that is why there should be confidence about the trip to Arsenal tomorrow and Birmingham on Saturday. This is a very tough week. But the side showed at Stamford Bridge they have the mettle to cope. The one fly in the ointment is the increasingly worrying state of affairs over new funds for Moyes. Finally, it seemed the manager would be in a position to compete with some of his rivals at the top of the table in the transfer market when the window reopens in January. The prospect of the money raised from the sale of Wayne Rooney and the promise of a £30m two-phase investment from the Fortress Sports Fund has caught the imagination of fans. But on Saturday, for the second time in three days, Moyes warned that there isn't as much money available as people may think.
And after insisting the FSF deal was imminent following September's EGM, Bill Kenwright has still not been able to confirm the funding is in place. That money is vital to the side's progress. Everton can't buy on the never-never. But they must buy. And any obstacle to securing the money must be removed if it means it will give Moyes what he deserves - a chance to give Evertonians top-of-the-table clashes like this one on a regular basis. We will learn soon enough if one of those obstacles is Paul Gregg. But whatever the outcome, Moyes cannot be denied the chance to build on the outstanding foundations he is laying right now.
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Babayaro; Tiago (Kezman 57), Makelele, Lampard; Duff (Huth 82), Gudjohnsen (Geremi 78), Robben. Subs: Cudicini, Cole.
BOOKING: Robben (dissent)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone (McFadden 84); Osman (Chadwick 89), Watson (Campbell 80), Gravesen, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent. Subs: Turner, Yobo.
BOOKINGS: Gravesen, Kilbane (fouls), Bent (dissent)
REFEREE: Mike Riley
ATT: 41,965
NEXT GAME: Arsenal v Everton, Carling Cup fourth round, tomorrow, 7.45pm

Wright's twist of fate
Nov 8 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
RICHARD WRIGHT could be denied a return trip to his old Highbury stamping ground, by a bad back.
The Everton goalkeeper was all set to come in for Nigel Martyn in tomorrow's League Cup fourth round tie at Arsenal. But a jarred back sustained during the warm-up for Saturday's Stamford Bridge clash forced him off the bench and gave young Scot Iain Turner a place on the teamsheet. And Wright is racing against time to be fit for tomorrow night. "Wrighty's back was a bit easier yesterday," said boss David Moyes. "We will give him every chance to be fit, but at the moment I would only rate his chances as 50-50 at best." Steve Watson also took a knock during Saturday's defeat at Chelsea, while Leon Osman has a sore calf. But such is the lack of resources at Moyes' disposal that Gary Naysmith has been rushed south to join the 16-man squad, after recovering from the ankle injury which has sidelined him for a fortnight. "Gary has trained for a couple of days and he looks as if he could be okay," added Moyes.. "He's here if required." Joseph Yobo, James McFadden and Nick Chadwick are all likely to start, as Moyes uses what limited squad rotation he has at his disposal. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is already committed to starting with the reserve team which comfortably disposed of Manchester City in the last round. "I watched the tape of that match yesterday," said Moyes," and while they are a reserve team, I wouldn't mind spending the money some of them cost!" Lee Carsley will serve the final match of his three-game ban tomorrow and will be available again for Saturday's tea-time trip to Birmingham City.

Confidence is still high, says Kilbane
Nov 8 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
KEVIN KILBANE insists there will be no hangover from Saturday's defeat at Chelsea when Everton take on Arsenal tomorrow. The reverse at Stamford Bridge was the Blues' first away from Goodison this season. And it came just 72 hours before the Carling Cup fourth round tie at Highbury as the Blues contend with three difficult away fixtures in the space of a week. But Kilbane has provided reassurances by insisting the morale which was lifted to unprecedented heights by the side's impressive start to the season has not been dented by Saturday's defeat. "It is hard to take when you get nothing after playing so well, but we have picked ourselves up for the game with Arsenal," the midfielder told the ECHO. "No matter which side we are playing against, it is just eleven men. That is our outlook to every game right now. "Everybody is working for each other and off the back of that everybody is confident in each other's ability. "I think you can go to places like Chelsea and Arsenal and be beaten before you kick-off. "But we weren't intimidated at Stamford Bridge on Saturday because we knew we had the players capable of getting a result and putting in a good performance. "The result may not have gone our way, but I thought we did ourselves justice with our performance. We had some great chances in each half and it was just disappointing we couldn't score. "We went at them, we weren't frightened of them and we played some good stuff."
Kilbane has been disappointed by the lack of credit the Blues have received for the football they have been producing this season. "This is the best club side I have ever been a part of without a shadow of a doubt," added the Irish international. "And it is not so much the spirit. We have some very good players in this squad. "Everybody thinks we are just a hard working side that is hard to beat. And that is what every side needs to be first and foremost, but we have also got gifted players who can create things and get goals for us. "And the players we added in the summer in Tim and Marcus have given us a different dimension. "I think the quality of the squad is something that has been overlooked." Meanwhile, Richard Wright is struggling to be fit to play against his former club Arsenal tomorrow. The 27-year-old keeper was withdrawn from the 16 man squad at Chelsea half an hour before kick-off and replaced by youngster Iain Turner among the substitutes. Wright jarred his back during the pre-match warm-up and was not deemed fit enough to make the bench. He is receiving treatment in a bid to make the tie. Duncan Ferguson is unlikely to figure though after missing Saturday's match because of a thigh strain picked up in training on Friday.

Give credit to the way Blues raise their game
Nov 8 2004 Analysis By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE remarkable conjuring trick David Moyes has pulled off this season has even taken in the manager who claims to be the best in the world. "This was a special match against a special team," said Jose Mourinho. "They are the tallest and the strongest team I have seen in England." That's no mean feat with Tim Cahill, Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert and Marcus Bent in your line-up - collective height, knee-high to Gilbert the Garden Gnome. Such has been Everton's honesty, industry and willingness to work this season that they are continuing to appear greater than the sum of their parts. And they will continue to take in opposition managers - men who will use the words "work-rate," "aggressive," "physical" tags to damn them with faint praise and try to explain their own team's lack of success. To be fair to Mourinho, his praise sounded genuine - unlike David O'Leary's the week before when he labelled the Blues some kind of new-age Wimbledon. All utter nonsense, of course. Sure, Thomas Gravesen tosses in the odd long-throw, but the quality of the passing leading up to Kevin Campbell's late half chanct underlines just how good this Everton is - and how little credit they are being given for it. David Moyes need not worry. His team emerged from Stamford Bridge with credit - and will carry on regardless tomorrow night at Highbury.

Cahill: We lost match, but won respect
Nov 8 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON picked up no points from Saturday's trip to Stamford Bridge, but midfielder Tim Cahill hopes the Blues will have won some respect following their narrow 1-0 defeat. David Moyes' men enjoyed the better chances, but Arjen Robben scored the only goal of the game to take Chelsea top of the Premiership. Cahill said afterwards: "I know many people would have written us off coming to a place like this, but we actually believed we could come here and get a result.
"Hopefully we've earned a bit more respect with the way we played and with how we rattled Chelsea a bit. "We are looking to go as far as we can and get as many points on the board as possible. The fact we didn't get any from Chelsea is very disappointing. It was a harsh result because we played well." Cahill was denied by a plunging save from Petr Cech, while Alan Stubbs planted a free header wide with the scores still goalless. "Mine was a massive opportunity," added Cahill. "I got up well but their player got up just a fraction earlier to put me off a little bit. "The ball didn't hit the floor quickly enough and that enabled their keeper to scurry it away. "I missed a good one and so did Stubbsy and we were punished for our own misfortune." He went on: "Chelsea played very well. They are a great side, but we definitely deserved something from the game and it was very disappointing not to get it. "We were very confident before the game. We have been playing very well and getting some great results. We are not third for no reason. "Why can't we stay there? We are not here to make up the numbers, we are looking to push on as far as we can. "We are showing great team spirit and playing some good football too, we just need to get the goals that can hurt teams a bit more."

Martyn's eager to extend his stay
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 9 2004
NIGEL MARTYN has revealed he wants to extend his Indian Summer at Everton - delivering another blow to Richard Wright's Goodison career in the process. England international Wright (left) could be denied a rare outing against former club Arsenal in the Carling Cup tonight after sustaining a back injury before Saturday's defeat at Chelsea. And his Everton prospects are facing a more damaging setback with confirmation goalkeeping rival Martyn is seeking a new 12-month deal. The 38-year-old's two-year contract expires at the end of this season and his decision to further an outstanding Everton career is likely to be warmly received at Goodison Park. Martyn revealed: "I'd like to carry on here - I feel as if I could.. However, that decision is not in my hands, but playing well and consistently until the end of the season is - and that is what I am trying to do. "I will see where that gets me. I think the club has probably got more important decisions as regards players they might want to bring in and other players with longer left on their contracts who they may wish to keep here further. "But when it comes down to me, hopefully, if I stay fit and carry on doing well, I'll get another year. I'm happy to wait for the summer and see what it brings, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. "It has been great here. Coming here has given me a new lease of life and I've enjoyed every minute since. Everton has been wonderful for me." Martyn will continue in goal at Highbury tonight if Wright fails to recover in time with 20-year-old Iain Turner deputising on the bench.
Manager David Moyes said last night: "At the moment I would still only rate Richard at 50-50 for the game." Moyes continued: "We will give him every chance to recover but I'm not sure if he'll make it." Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson, who is also a major doubt for tonight's fourth round tie with a thigh injury, is the target of an audacious transfer attempt by Australian outfit Central Coast Mariners. The Mariners have qualified for next season's national A-League and have been alerted to the striker's availability at the end of this season by coach Ian Ferguson, a former team-mate of Ferguson's at Rangers. A club spokesman said: "We can't offer Duncan a lot of money but he has already earned plenty. We are hoping he would like a new challenge and a change of scenery."

Youth test is as tough as first team, says Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 9 2004
DAVID MOYES insists Everton have gained no advantage by Arsene Wenger's decision to give youth its chance in the Carling Cup tonight. None of the Arsenal players who started Saturday's drawn Premiership game at Crystal Palace have been included in the 16-man squad named for the fourth round tie. But Moyes believes that poses its own problems for an Everton side currently making a twopronged assault at European qualification. Attention to detail has become second nature to Everton under Moyes, with every opponent scrutinised through detailed video analysis in the week before a game. And though Arsenal's youthful squad will contain several established names at Highbury tonight - Edu, Jermaine Pennant, Robin van Persie and Everton summer target Matthieu Flamini among them - the Goodison manager admits the element of surprise, along with a Highbury squad schooled in Wenger's style of football, presents an obvious threat tonight. "We will respect any team Arsene Wenger puts out, we have to," said Moyes. "The side he put out at the City of Manchester Stadium won impressively. They are the champions and so have quality right throughout their squad. "Arsenal have a great conveyor belt of talent coming through and they went to City with those lads and won. "They are the best club in the country and have some fabulous players, and even behind those lads they have more fabulous players, and we will find we are up against some of them. "Any Arsenal we play will be tough and it could be even more difficult for us at Highbury in the sense that, if they do change their team around, we won't know as much about them as we would their more established side. "We have tried to learn everything we can about the players who started against Manchester City but Arsenal away in the cup, no matter what Arsenal team it is, is as tough as it gets." Wenger won't be the only manager implementing change at Highbury, however, as Moyes reshapes his side more out of necessity than luxury to protect key players for his Premiership campaign. He admitted: "We will treat this game with the same importance as any other. "We are going there to win but at the same time we have also got to be wary of having such a small amount of players to work with and I will be making changes too. A few players who have been on the bench recently are likely to play." That means a possible starting role for Joseph Yobo, James McFadden and Nick Chadwick (left), while Richard Wright and Duncan Ferguson are unlikely to recover from respective back and thigh strains. Leon Osman and Kevin Campbell are both nursing calf problems and Lee Carsley serves the final leg of the suspension collected in the third round win over Preston. Gary Naysmith, who has been absent for a month with an ankle injury, returned to training yesterday and may figure. But whoever starts, and for whatever side, Tim Cahill believes it will be Everton's attitude that holds the key at High-bury as they seek to respond to Saturday's slender defeat at Stamford Bridge. The Everton midfielder said: "Whether Arsenal play their first team or their youngsters it doesn't really matter. It is up to us to go there with the right attitude. "Arsenal will be tough no matter what team they put out. It is always a challenge to go to Highbury and get a result but why shouldn't we if we go about our work in the right way? This is a good competition and we want to go as far as we possibly can in it, as we do in the Premiership. And what better place to demonstrate that than at the home of the champions?"
Everton demonstrated at Chelsea that they do have the capacity to live with the Premiership's leading elite and, as such, Moyes insists there is no reason why the loss of their unbeaten away record should affect team morale. He added: "Saturday's defeat was disappointing but we can take some strength from it. We feel we delivered a good performance and except for missing one or two excellent chances we would have got a result there. "There were positives to take out of it. We are in a difficult period of the season now and we are aware we have to keep working hard to pick up more points and victories to keep our momentum going."

Merry Christmas?
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 9 2004
EVERTON did us proud at Chelsea and were unlucky not to have got a point at least. But I don't like the sound of David Moyes saying he won't have a lot of cash to spend in January. Okay we are not expecting megabucks, but he should be able to add two or three players comfortably to his weak squad, or has Father Christmas crossed us off his list once more?
Jonah Smith (via e-mail)
Lay off Kevin
I'M FEELING really frustrated and disappointed we didn't come away from the Bridge with at least a point. The boys played really well and deserved at least that. And all you Campbell knockers - leave him alone!! For the 10 minutes or so he was on for, he played a useful part and the guy is fearless - he'll happily go in for even half a chance, unlike a certain Mr Radzinski.
Janice Lime, Southport
Surprise surprise?
EVERTON'S old brigade are having a wonderful Indian summer in the twilight of their careers. But we all know that the likes of Martyn, Weir, Stubbs, Ferguson and Campbell are no longer Premiership cailbre. David Moyes has to bring in quality young play-ers and I am sure he will surprise us in January.
Paul Gilligan (via e-mail)
Huth? Not fussed
I HOPE Everton do NOT go for Huth, he is ponderous when I have seen him and looked completely out of his depth in the Chelsea team. We need pace, someone like Ledley King or John Terry.
I reckon Yobo may well blossom in the midfield as he could be another Vieira.
Trevor Lynes, Liverpool
Bring back Yobo
A VERY pleasing performance on Saturday, just a shame that we didn't get a point. I do think it's time for Yobo to come back into the team, though. Not that the lads at the back have played badly. Far from it, but it's just that he offers so much more and I think he could have prevented that goal Robben scored.
James Lysaght (via e-mail)

Yobo desperate to take chance
Nov 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo

JOSEPH YOBO will have the chance to stake a claim for a Premiership return when he plays against Arsenal's rising stars tonight. The Nigerian international will be in the starting line-up for the first time since the third round victory over Preston for the Carling Cup tie at Highbury. Yobo is set to come into defence for the game against the Gunners after recovering from a gashed head as David Moyes shuffles his squad. And he is eager to ensure it becomes a regular place after enduring an extended spell on the sidelines because of the impressive partnership between Alan Stubbs and David Weir. He said: "I can accept it when the side is doing well, but when you sit on the bench for so long you do wonder whether you will be there for the whole season. "I am very happy for the team because they are doing so well. But I have sat on the bench for too long and, obviously, I would like to be in the side." James McFadden and Nick Chadwick are also set to start. But with Lee Carsley still suspended and Leon Osman, Duncan Ferguson and Richard Wright doubtful because of injuries, David Moyes is unlikely to be able to make significant changes. The Goodison boss said of his Arsenal opponents: "They have a great conveyor belt of talent coming through and they went to Manchester City with a young team and won." Meanwhile, Duncan Ferguson is set to be offered a chance to continue his career in Australia when his Goodison contract ends at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old has attracted interest from the Central Coast Mariners.
* Kevin Kilbane has been named in the Republic of Ireland squad for the friendly against Croatia next week.

Keeper confident boss Moyes will treat him Wright
Nov 9 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THERE would be a certain poetic justice for Richard Wright tonight if Everton knocked Arsenal out of the Carling Cup. The last time the keeper was involved in a cup tie which included Arsenal, he was in Arsene Wenger's squad and not among the opposition. That was for the 2002 FA Cup final victory over Chelsea. Despite having played in all but one of the previous rounds that season, he had to settle for a place among the substitutes. And so it would be a fitting payback tonight if Everton could take a step closer to their first major cup final since 1995 at the expense of Wright's former employers. He explains: "I have never played in a cup final, although I did get to one with Arsenal.
"I was on the bench despite playing in the rounds leading up to the final. It was a similar situation to the Carling Cup for me this season in that the manager was shuffling his squad a little. "When we got to the final he put his normal team out. But I am sure if that happens this season the gaffer wouldn't do that to me! "I think the manager has looked at the squad and realised there are players who are there or thereabouts and really knocking on the door for the league games. "But because of the way the team is performing those players are struggling to get in, so when the opportunity comes along in the Carling Cup he is giving those players a chance. "It has been giving me a little boost. You need to keep playing games and so I am pleased we are progressing well in the competition. "Now I want to make sure we keep going so I can get more games. "Nothing has been set in stone that I will play against Arsenal, but I am keeping my fingers crossed after playing in the last two rounds." The great irony is that there is every possibility Wright will not play tonight, thanks to a back strain picked up during the warm-up at Chelsea on Saturday. Wright would love to be in the starting line-up at Highbury but if he is not - and he is rated at just 50/50 - he will be watching nervously from the sidelines, acutely aware of how tough a task it will be for the Blues. He has warned his team-mates they should not been lulled into a false sense of security by the prospect of facing an Arsenal side that will be unrecognisable from the team which has been marauding its way through the Premiership, but will still feature talented youngsters like Jermaine Pennant and Matthieu Flamini. "We were sat in the changing rooms after the Preston game watching the draw and when Arsenal came out our first thought was: 'They play kids in this competition'," he adds.
"But they will want to win this competition. Having been there I know the manager's mentality and we know how difficult a game it will be. "Whatever team they field we feel we can go there and get a result. "But we cannot underesti-mate the kids they have got there. I played a few reserve games and cup matches with them and they have got some very good players. "They may not be household names just yet but I am sure in a few years we will be hearing a lot more of them."
If Everton can progress beyond Arsenal ' s young stars, Wright will be delighted, both for the club and for his own development. And despite the frustration of constantly having to settle for a place on the bench in the league, the 27-year-old has no intention of leaving Goodison. "When you have had injuries and when you are not playing you do get down and you do want to be playing every week," he admits. "But I have enjoyed it here since I arrived, the fans are great and the lads are great. "I am not going to give up something like that. "I want to keep working away because I want to be the goal-keeper for Everton Football Club. "And so it is important for the Carling Cup run to continue from a personal perspective. "You play reserve games, but there is no comparison with first team games. "The reserve games help keep your eye in but the Carling Cup are crucial for me to keep plugging away because you never know when I may be called upon for the first team. "And I have to be ready to make sure that when that opportunity does come along I will take it. "At the end of last season I thought to myself: 'What can I do to give myself the best possible opportunity to get back in the team?' I thought the only way I could do it was to work all through the summer, which is what I did. "I made sure I kept my fitness up and kept working. And I came back fitter and stronger than I have ever done. I haven't missed a day's training since - until now." That sums up Wright's fortunes over the last 12 months. But a victory over his former club tonight, even if he is not involved, will give him another target to aim for.

Dream prize for Temple worshipper
Nov 9 2004 Liverpool Echo
BOB KENDALL was just 20 years-old when he watched Derek Temple score the winning goal in the 1966 FA Cup final at Wembley. He never dreamed that 38 years on, he would get to meet his hero.
Blues' boss David Moyes has made his dream come true after selecting Bob as the winner of the first Royal Liver Football Advisor competition. Bob, now 58, will watch the Fulham game on November 20 alongside Derek himself, after Moyes personally selected his comment from over 100 entries as the best piece of football advice. A lifelong Everton supporter since the age of seven, Bob - who now lives in Shrewsbury - says: "I can remember that day on May 14, 1966, as if it was yesterday. A coach-load of us had made a special trip and when Derek scored it was one of those moments you know you'll never forget. "Meeting Derek Temple is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. "I'm looking forward to sharing stories about that day and matches gone by. To have my advice chosen by David Moyes himself is also very flattering!" Bob, along with all other entrants to the competition, is also in with the chance of winning the top prize of £1,550 in a Royal Liver Tax Exempt Savings Policy and being named the ultimate Royal Liver Football Advisor. The Royal Liver Football Advisor competition is still open to fans until Friday, November 26. One more winner will be chosen from this month's entries. This time the prize is watching the Everton v Liverpool derby with Blues legend Graeme Sharp on December 11.
* To enter, simply click here... or write to: Royal Liver Football Advisor Competition, c/o Citypress, North Square, 11-13 Spear Street, Manchester, M1 1JU, including your name, address, daytime and evening phone numbers, date of birth and advice.
If I was Everton manager this week, I would: "Tell the team to keep on doing the same things they have been doing well so far - ie working hard for each other, putting pressure on the ball in all areas of the pitch and remain solid and fully focused at the back. When we get possession, get the ball to the wide players, try and get in behind the opposition and encourage the midfield to support the strikers in the box with late runs."

Arsenal 3, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Nov 10 2004 By Andy Hunter at Highbury, Daily Post
EVERY manager loves to be proven correct but the pre-match assertion Everton would not prosper from Arsene Wenger's youthful Carling Cup changes proved only an awful realisation for David Moyes last night. Not only did an Arsenal team with an average age of 19 years and eight months cut off a route to Europe before the quarter-final stage for Everton, they swept them aside with contemptuous ease to turn hopes of finally making an impression in this competition into a humiliating exit. Wenger's young Gunners produced a performance befitting their elder statesmen to reach the quarter-finals and to leave Highbury basking in a youth team that would be the envy of most Premiership clubs. Inspired by a virtuoso display from 18-year-old substitute Quincy Owusu-Abeyie Arsenal overturned Thomas Gravesen's seventh-minute opener and a strong Everton side to record a convincing win courtesy of the Dutch winger and two second-half strikes from Arturo Lupoli, his junior at 17. Moyes had highlighted the prevailing threat of Arsenal on the basis that, without recognisable superstars in the ranks, Everton knew little about an opposition outfit that in many respects represented Wenger's third team. But on the night they simply didn't know how to handle their youthful hosts who, regardless of age, showed they are already expertly drilled in Wenger's football philosophy and didn't know what had hit them on an excruciating night for Moyes's team. While the Everton manager called the game accurately beforehand his post-match insistence the contest turned on Alan Wiley's decision not to dismiss Edu for a two-footed challenge on eight minutes was wide of the mark. Yes, it was a wild lunge that could have encouraged red rather than yellow but it did not affect the result - Arsenal's excellent performance and Everton's failure to handle it despite the experience in their ranks did. Wenger advanced the progress of the next generation of Highbury talent by making 16 changes to the squad that drew at Crystal Palace on Saturday. Moyes, by contrast, only had 17 players to select from and two of those - Leon Osman and Gary Naysmith - were carrying slight injuries. Even so, the balance was tipped all in Everton's favour in terms of experience and belief. They were even given the perfect platform to exploit the anxiety of an Arsenal team desperate to impress when James McFadden was up-ended just outside the area by Johan Djourou. Gravesen accepted the free-kick responsibility in the absence of the suspended Lee Carsley and although from the same area as his fellow midfielder's strike against Preston in the last round he opted to keep his delivery low. Fortunately, thanks to a deflection off the heel of Jermaine Pennant, it produced the same result with Manuel Almunia completely wrong-footed and gave Everton in an early lead. Four minutes later Gravesen should have received an even clearer invitation to double Everton's lead from McFadden. Justin Hoyte's slip on the byline gave the Scottish international acres of space to attack the Arsenal goal but with the Danish midfielder waiting totally unmarked inside the area it needed a cut-back not an angled shot from McFadden to double the lead. Incredibly neither came, as the striker tried to work his way towards goal and was simply squandered possession - to the obvious fury of his manager and team-mates. It was to be another frustrating night for the former Moth-erwell man, whose decision making continues to defy belief, and from that point on Everton as their bright start soon began to disintegrate in the face of Arsenal's incredible speed and movement. Marcus Bent added to Moyes's concerns when, having suffered a knock in the opening seconds, he could last no more and was replaced by Nick Chadwick on 16 minutes. But it was the subsequent Arsenal substitution that had the most dramatic effect the contest thanks to the dazzling contribution of Dutch forward Owusu-Abeyie. The graduate from the famed Ajax youth academy is clearly a mouthful, but one everyone is going to have to get used to if this performance is any indication of the future. Before Owusu-Abeyie's arrival the Arsenal side already contained five teenagers, including three 17-year-olds. And while their exuberance was Everton's most threatening source at times, their tendency to over-elaborate in defence generated several visiting attacks, but their passing and movement off the ball mirrored that of their more illustrious seniors to leave Highbury safe in the knowledge they have a fine future. Moyes's men were left chasing shadows from the moment Wenger's enforced substitution lifted his side.
It would have been a painful lesson for any side, but for one as experienced as Everton's it was even more so. Owusu-Abeyie served notice of his intentions within three minutes of entering the field when he sprinted 30 yards with only one Everton challenge coming near him before forcing Richard Wright to save at full stretch. The wait for his first Arsenal goal lasted all of two minutes, however, and was a stunning way for any player to open his senior account in both creation and execution.
Pennant dissected the Everton defence with a piercing ball from midfield to send the left winger sprinting clear of Tony Hibbert before showing the composure to step inside Joseph Yobo and despatch a clinical finish inside the near post. The equaliser signalled the start of an excruciating spell for Everton as their hosts delivered an exhibition, but they managed to regroup to end the half strongly and almost regained the lead. McFadden forced a flying save from Almunia when he cut inside left-back Danny Karbassiyoon. A minute before the break the Scot sent Alessandro Pistone of all people scurrying into the Arsenal box and though he beat the keeper his measured left-foot shot struck the inside of the post and Djourou cleared off the line. Everton had recovered through pure persistence and determination than any fluency to their play, that was solely the reserve of Arsenal, and Pistone's effort was their last of any note as a front line of Chadwick and McFadden made no impact whatsoever. Instead it was the imagination and style of the Gunners that secured their young side a deserved place in the quarterfinals. Arsenal never recaptured the heights of that exhilarating first-half spell but that was of no consolation to Everton. They still managed to produce two more flowing moves and two more exceptional goals that could have been crafted by Thierry Henry himself. Inevitably, Owusu-Abeyie was the architect of both. First, on 51 minutes, he embarked on a slalom run past four blue shirts to the edge of the area. Instead of shooting, however, on this occasion he squared to the unmarked Robin Van Persie who in turn cut the ball back across goal for 17-year-old Italian Arturo Lupoli to tap home. Then with five minutes remaining the flying Dutchman collected Mathieu Flamini's pass wide on the right, dissected the Everton defence with a pinpoint cross to Lupoli, who again showed his predatory instincts to tuck the ball beyond Wright into the bottom corner. The scoreline added to the pain and embarrassment of a painful and embarrassing night for Everton. While they could take positives from defeat at Stamford Bridge the same cannot be said of Highbury. It was men against boys, and the boys won.
The only hope, at the end of a pivotal week in their season according to Moyes and Alan Stubbs, is that they are not totally deflated by the time they emerge at St Andrews on Saturday.
ARSENAL: Almunia, Hoyte, Djourou, Senderos, Karbassiyoon, Pennant, Edu (Larsson 65), Flamini, Smith (Owusu-Abeyie 20), Lupoli (Cregg 89), Van Persie. Subs: Fowler, Jordan.
EVERTON: Wright, Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Pistone, Watson (Osman 71), Gravesen, Cahill, Kilbane, McFadden, Bent (Chadwick 16). Subs: Weir, Naysmith, Turner.
BOOKING: Kilbane.
REFEREE: A Wiley (Staffordshire)
ATT: 27,791
NEXT GAME: Birmingham City v Everton, Premiership, Saturday 5.15pm

Referee's blunder cost us the game - Moyes
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 10 2004
DAVID MOYES blamed Everton's Carling Cup exit on referee Alan Wiley last night as his side were humbled by Arsene Wenger's youngsters at Highbury. The Everton manager's experienced side were torn apart by a youthful Arsenal team despite taking a seventh-minute lead through Thomas Gravesen. But Moyes believes the decision not to dismiss Brazilian midfielder Edu for a two-footed foul on James McFadden a minute later was instrumental in the defeat, which was orchestrated by teenagers Quincy Owusu-Abeyni and Arturo Lupoli. "They are a good team and it was a very good performance by them but for me the game turned on the referee's decision not to send Edu off," said Moyes.. "We were 1-0 up and had had two good chances when he made a two-footed tackle on James McFadden and he should have been sent off. "Instead, the referee only booked him and he went on to have a huge influence on the game. "Even afterwards we managed to hit the post and had a few more chances before the break but in my opinion a two-footed tackle over the top of the ball is a sending off offence and it changed the game. "Had they gone down to 10 men at that stage it would have had a big bearing on the game, but they grew in confidence from there and played very well in the end. "Our players were not affected by the decision, but it is my view it changed the game." Everton still led at that point as Edu, who later broke his foot, collected a caution. But they had no answer to young Arsenal's exhilarating performance thereafter as Everton were given their second painful lesson of the season by a Wenger team. Moyes added: "In my opinion this is a blip. We could have played better but the lads have done very well all season and I am sure we will move on from this. "We played everybody we had available. There is nobody else fit and available at the club who we could have played. "Arsenal have a lot of good players coming through but it was still 11 against 11 out there. "There is no point in me going over what we don't have at our disposal, the players here have done tremendously well all season. "We just were not quite at the races tonight. "This is a blip. It has gone now. "We can play much better and hopefully we will show that."

Arsenal 3, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod at Highbury, Liverpool Echo
FOR the first time this season Evertonians have been left to reflect on a tale of woe. David Moyes was justifiably seething after the game at Alan Wiley's failure to dismiss Edu for a horrific two-footed challenge on James McFadden early in the first half. The foul led to a 20-man confrontation, so incensed were the Everton players. But while the decision certainly had an impact on how the tie panned out, it is not the main reason this game was lost. Everton led 1-0, courtesy of an eighth minute deflected Thomas Gravesen free-kick, when Edu clattered McFadden. They should have taken a grip of the game after that early strike, regardless of how many opposition players were on the pitch. But, for the first time since the opening day defeat to Arsenal at Goodison, the Blues were second best for long periods in the game. The average age of the Arsenal outfield players was just 19 years and four months - and it would have been even younger if public enemy number one Edu hadn't been included. But what they lacked in experience, they more than made up for with talent.
There were spells in the game when Everton were simply torn apart by the quality and pace of their football. And yet, after 15 minutes, it seemed the Blues would have little to worry about. At first glance this Arsenal side looked to be a pale imitation of the real thing. They were making neat patterns on the Highbury turf with their passing but, Edu apart, were struggling to compete physically with their visitors. And when Gravesen netted it seemed there would be only one side celebrating with champagne after the match. But while many of the Arsenal players may be too young to buy a round, they certainly know how to produce an intoxicating blend of football.
The catalyst was Quincy Owusu-Abeyie. In the time it takes to pronounce his name, the 18-year-old Dutchman can sprint 50 yards. And he terrified Everton as soon as he entered the action in place of the injured Ryan Smith after just 21 minutes. Within four minutes his blistering pace had torn through the heart of the Ever t on defence and secured the equaliser. Played through by a great pass from Jermaine Pennant, he dragged the ball beyond Tony Hibbert and drilled a low shot inside the near post. It was a bitter blow, particularly for Richard Wright, who had frustrated his former employers with a stunning save to deny Arturo Lupoli minutes earlier. And having lost their lead, Everton's hangover lasted 15 minutes. In that time the Arsenal youngsters were like kids in a sweet shop. If it wasn't Owusu-Abeyie surgically cutting through from midfield it was the fleet-footed Robin Van Persie demonstrating why Wenger invested £3m in his services at the end of last season.
But slowly Everton gained a grip on midfield once again. And they should have restored their lead with the kind of flowing move the Arsenal faithful appreciate moments before the break. Neat control and a crisp pass from Nick Chadwick set the move off, finding McFadden whose through ball picked out a run from left-back by Alessandro Pistone, who wriggled away from Justin Hoyte and fired beyond the advancing Manuel Almunia. But his effort found the base of the post and rolled along the line before being cleared by Johan Djourou. It was a pivotal moment. The kids in red and white were clearly offended that their more experienced opposition were trying to play them at their own game. And six minutes into the second period a move of even greater impudence produced the strike which left Everton facing a mammoth task. Owusu-Abeyie surged from midfield beyond Gravesen and Alan Stubbs before taking Pistone out of the game by squaring to Van Persie.
With nobody left to beat, the Dutchman opted to play a reverse pass back across Pistone and Arturo Lupoli capitalised from six yards at the back post. It was hugely entertaining - and hugely galling.
Wenger has built a legacy at Highbury which will live long beyond the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires and co. By contrast, David Moyes' limited resources meant that his team selection last night was down to Hobson's choice. And when it came to drafting in young talent he could only call upon Chadwick and McFadden. The former is unlikely to remain at Goodison beyond next summer, and the latter undermines his undeniable talent with questionable decision making. And so by the time Owusu-Abeyie teed up Lupoli for his second with six minutes remaining Everton were down and out.
Not since the opening day of the season have Moyes' men been so out-classed. With so many of the men who fought at Stamford Bridge in the starting line-up, It was difficult to comprehend.
But in the cold light of day, maybe the greatest hammer blow came in the 16th minute when
Marcus Bent hobbled off. There is arguably no other striker in the squad capable of offering the same kind of mobility and physical presence as a lone striker.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Almunia; Hoyte, Djourou, Senderos, Karbassiyoon; Pennant, Flamini, Edu (Larsson 66), Smith (Owusu-Abeyie 21); Van Persie, Lupoli (Cregg 89). Not used: Fowler, Jordan.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Stubbs, Pistone; Watson (Osman 71), Cahill, Gravesen, Kilbane, McFadden; Bent (Chadwick 16). Not used: Turner.
REFEREE: Alan Wiley
BOOKINGS: Edu; Kilbane

We will bounce back - Watson
Nov 10 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
STEVE WATSON insists Everton are ready to leave their critics eating their words again, following the club's first back-to-back defeats of the season. David Moyes' men were knocked out of the League Cup at Highbury last night, just 72 hours after a 1-0 reverse at Chelsea. But Watson is defiant, claiming the bubble has not burst after the side's excellent start to the campaign. "We have had a lot of good things written about us this year, but we must take all the criticism that is thrown at us as well. "The Arsenal game, last night, was probably the first chance anybody has had to have a go at us this season, but we are very strong. "We proved after the home game against Arsenal on the opening day of the season that we are strong enough to take criticism and now we will do the same again." Everton must now contend with their third away game in the space of a week with Saturday ' s trip to Birmingham. But Watson said: "We have a very strong group and we have a good away record. "We have got to roll our sleeves up, see who is fit and get on with it. "We were written off in the summer, written off after the first game of the season and this result may give people ammunition to say the bubble has burst at Everton, but we know that it definitely hasn't." The Blues are licking their wounds after last night's 3-1 defeat, with Marcus Bent and Tim Cahill both doubts for Saturday.

Moyes: Ref's decision was crucial
Nov 10 2004
Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has slammed referee Alan Wiley for the decision which he believes has deprived Everton of a place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup. Moyes insists it would have been a very different outcome had Wiley sent off Brazilian Edu for a two-footed foul on James McFadden in the ninth minute when Everton were 1-0 up. "For me, the game turned on the referee's decision not to send Edu off," said Moyes. "We were 1-0 up and had created two good chances. "It was a two-footed tackle over the top of the ball and it should have been a red card. The game changed dramatically in that moment. "I haven't spoken to the referee about it and I won't be doing."
While the reverse was Everton's second defeat in three days, Moyes refused to aim any criticism at his players. He added: "We can play better but you have to think about how well the players have done this season. "Arsenal have terrific young players, but this game is in the past now and we will move on."

Nigel sure of Europe spot
Nov 10 2004 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON goalkeeper Nigel Martyn answers the Top Ten questions put to him by Jblue member Kieran Matthews, aged 11, from Stockbridge Village. Who is the best player you have ever played against? It is a tough one to answer as a goalkeeper, but the player who has scored more goals against me than anybody else is Ian Rush. Who is the best team you have played for?
That has to be England. What is the best ground to travel to? Is an away player it has to be Old Trafford. Is it hard to get into goal for Everton? t is very hard. The competition is very hot at the moment and Richard Wright is really putting in a lot of work in training to keep me on my toes. It is getting harder and harder with us pushing each other for that one place. Do you think Everton will get into Europe? In a word, yes. Do you like Everton's new signings? They have both settled in well and both have had an impact on the team since coming in. What did it feel like to get Everton's Player of the Year award? I was surprised. But it was great to get it because it meant I have got the collection now. I got the same award in my first season at Crystal Palace and my first season at Leeds. What do you think of David Moyes? Bearing in mind my contract is up at the end of the season, I think he is marvellous! Do you think Everton are one of the best teams in the country?
Without a doubt. Where do you think Everton will finish the season? In the European places.
* If you would like to know more about an Everton player, simply send in your Top Ten questions to: Blues Questions, Jblue, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
Please include your name, address, phone number, Jblue membership number and the person you would like your questions put to.

Wolves Reserves 5, Everton Reserves 0
Nov 11 2004
Daily Post
CHINESE international Li Tie's return after injury was one of the few positives as Everton Reserves crashed to a 5-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Premier Reserve League North at Telford last night. Midfielder Li Tie came on and played for the final 30 minutes for his first competitive action since breaking his leg while on international duty in January. Scottish international Gary Naysmith, who is also on the comeback trail, completed the full 90 minutes.
But neither could prevent Andy Holden's young side from going down to a disappointing defeat.
The home side had a much more experienced line-up and it showed with Leon Clarke scoring four times. But it was was Everton who had one of the first chances of the match, but Scott Phelan shot wide after just 20 seconds. Wolves soon hit back and opened the scoring after four minutes when Leon Clarke drilled home from close range. Keith Andrews scored a superb individual to double the home side's lead. And it was 3-0 on the half-hour when Clarke scored his second from the spot after he had been brought down by Everton keeper Iain Turner. Clarke scored his hat-trick right on half-time and two minutes after the restart he scored his fourth and Wolves fifth. Naysmith went close with a rising shot and Anthony Gerrard hit the woodwork in injury-time, but those efforts were the closest Everton came to salvaging anything from a disappointing night.
WOLVERHAMPTON RESERVES: Murray, Townsend, Rafferty, Andrews, Bjorklund, Craddock, Ki-Hyeon, Davies (Riley 75), Clarke (Stewart 85), Musson, France (Gleeson 62). Subs: Hennessey, Taylor.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner; Wynne, Fox, Bosnar, Gerrard; Phelan (Li Tie 60), Hopkins, Harris (Boyle 60), Vaughan, Anichebe, Naysmith. Subs: Gallagher, Wilson, Hughes.
ATT: 359

Bent may add injury to insult of Cup exit
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 11 2004
MARCUS BENT could compound Everton's Carling Cup misery by missing the weekend trip to Birmingham with a knee injury. Everton's leading scorer (right) suffered an early blow in Tuesday night's humiliating fourth round defeat at Arsenal before being withdrawn on 15 minutes as a precaution. David Moyes is anxious to protect the 26-year-old who has been instrumental in the club's Premiership rise with four league goals so far. But he is doubtful for the game at St Andrew's, leaving the Everton manager facing a serious striking shortage at the end of a disappointing week.
Both Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell are nursing thigh and calf injuries respectively while Nick Chadwick and James McFadden - who has emerged as a possible January target for Celtic - struggled badly at Highbury. "He is uncomfortable and sore, he wouldn't have come off otherwise, but my initial reaction is that it doesn't look too serious at this stage, though we would put him in the doubtful category," confirmed Everton physio Mick Rathbone after treatment yesterday. "We are still not certain what happened, though Marcus thought he got a knock or twisted it. Unfortunately it happened in the first minute of the game and the actual video footage didn't kick in until after 90 seconds." Steve Watson insists Everton are determined to use the Birmingham clash to prove their remarkable form has not been brought to a sudden halt by two defeats in four days. Everton's below-par display in the Carling Cup followed a narrow league defeat at top of the table Chelsea. But the midfielder said "We've had a lot of good things written about us this year but you must take all the criticisms thrown at us as well. "The Arsenal game was probably the first chance anyone has been able to have a go at us this season but we're very strong, we proved after the home game against Arsenal that we're strong enough to take criticism and we'll do the same again. "We've been written off in the summer, written off after the first game of the season. This may give people ammunition to say that the bubble has burst at Everton. "But we know differently and we're out to prove that in the very next game." Chinese international Li Tie made his first appearance since breaking his shin in January. He came as a substitute for the final 30 minutes of the reserves's 5-0 defeat by Wolves at Telford last night.

The day Howard's men turned a corner
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 11 2004
WHEN people hark back to Everton's remarkable success in the mid-80s they often recall certain games and events in the winter of '83-84 as turning points in the club's history. The most common is Kevin Brock's backpass, other fans point to the Stoke cup tie and Howard's famous team talk, which involved opening the dressing room window and making the team listen to the travelling army of Evertonians. The likes of Peter Reid have highlighted an earlier League Cup game against Coventry, when the team scored twice in the last 10 minutes. Another, less recalled possibility came at St Andrews on the January Bank Holiday. Everton went into the game on the crest of a slump. On the previous Saturday, millions of Match of the Day viewers had witnessed a dis-graceful goalless draw against Coventry which highlighted the chants of "Kendall out" and "What a load of rubbish" from 13,000 extremely disgruntled punters. Rumour had it that Howard was only days from the push.
Birmingham had plenty of problems themselves with a threadbare squad and mounting debts. Ron Saunders' strugglers would eventually fall through the relegation trapdoor. Just 1,000 Blues travelled and the gate barely crept through the five-figure barrier. With rain bucketing down amidst a howling gale, this meeting was never going to be one for the purists. Indeed it was dreadful. In the first half, Everton had to thank Neville Southall for two flying saves before their extra class eventually told. First Gary Stevens drove home after a scrambled corner before Andy King finished off a battling Birmingham with a late breakaway. The three points did not entirely let the Blues or indeed Howard, off the hook. They did however, boost confidence levels before the famous game at Stoke the following Saturday. Although, we didn't know it, good times were just around the corner.

We'll erase memories of Brum thrashing - Kilbane
Nov 11 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON will make amends for their first back-to-back defeats of the campaign at the site of one of the club's worst away performances of last season. That is the message from midfielder Kevin Kilbane ahead of Saturday's trip to Birmingham. The Blues were humbled 3-0 at St Andrews in February this year. It came just four days after the frustration of the 4-3 home defeat to Manchester United and marked one of the lowest points of the campaign. Everton return for a televised 5.15pm kickoff on Saturday still smarting from their first away defeats of the season, having lost 1-0 at Chelsea and 3-1 at Arsenal in the last week. And they could also be without influential striker Marcus Bent, who is doubtful because of a knee injury. But Kilbane insists the team spirit remains high and that the side are in much better shape than last season for the trip to Birmingham. "It is still early days in the season but you cannot underestimate how strong we are as a team when we work together," he said. "We have got to keep believing in ourselves and keep on going. Last year we went to St Andrews, were turned over and it was possibly our worst performance of the season. "That game probably echoed the way we were playing away from Goodison last season. We didn't play well but now we are not overawed for our away matches, as we showed at Chelsea on Saturday. That is the biggest difference this season." David Moyes will welcome back Lee Carsley, after the midfielder completed a three-match ban for his sending off against Preston. But the boss has problems in attack. Bent is doubtful, Duncan Ferguson is still struggling from a thigh strain and Kevin Campbell has a calf problem.
* Everton are unlikely to follow up their interest in Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland unles his club Viking Stavanger lower their asking price from £3m. The 23-year-old spent three days on trial at Bellefield last week.

Proud of Blues
Nov 11 2004 Echo Letters
Proud of Blues
I WENT to the game at the weekend with a Chelsea fan who was getting really rattled until they scored. I thought we competed very well and were unlucky not to come away with at least a point.
It was interesting to hear Mourinho's comments about how well the travelling Blues outsung the home support! Well done to Moyes, the team and the fans.
John Robinson, Knowsley
Just a blip
I WAS disappointed with Everton's result at Arsenal on Tuesday, but we have to move on and get a result against Birmingham. We can't let this affect how we've been playing in the league, which has been very good. Maybe some of our boys like Faddy and Kil-bane need to take a lesson from the young lads at Arsenal and pass the ball rather than trying to beat seven players.
Geoff Pugh, Wirral
January goal
ARSENAL'S young squad players are of good quality and many of them would walk into most other Premiership teams - including ours.. It was a monumental effort against Chelsea but to return to London three days later and produce something similar was always going to be hard. We need quality of our own to complement the work ethic. Roll on the January sales.
Frank Black, Liverpool
Moyes magic
AGAINST Chelsea, Everton showed they can mix it with the best teams in the country. We defended brilliantly and to finish just 1-0 against a £200 million team is great. Moyes has worked wonders with only a pittance to spend and it will be interesting to see what he does in January.
Neil Devlin, St. Helens

Blues crushed despite Li Tie return
Nov 11 2004 Liverpool Echo
CHINESE international Li Tie's return after injury was one of the few positives as Everton Reserves crashed to a 5-0 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Premier Reserve League North at Telford. Midfielder Li Tie came on and played for the final 30 minutes for his first competitive action since breaking his leg while on international duty in January. Scottish international Gary Naysmith, who is also on the comeback trail, completed the full 90 minutes. But neither could prevent Andy Holden's young side from going down to a disappointing defeat. The home side had a much more experienced line-up and it showed with Leon Clarke scoring four times. Keith Andrews was the other goalscorer, his superb individual effort putting the home side 2-0 up shortly after Clarke scored the opener in the fourth minute. Clarke's second of the evening came via the penalty spot after he had been brought down in the box by keeper Iain Turner. By half-time the Wolves striker had competed his hat-trick and added the fourth two minutes after the restart. Naysmith hit a rising shot and Anthony Gerrard hit the woodwork in injury-time, but those efforts were the closest Everton came to salvaging anything from a disappointing night.
WOLVES RESERVES: Murray, Townsend, Rafferty, Andrews, Bjorklund, Craddock, Ki-Hyeon, Davies (Riley 75), Clarke (Stewart 85), Musson, France (Gleeson 62). Subs: Hennessey, Taylor.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner; Wynne, Fox, Bosnar, Gerrard; Phelan (Li Tie 60), Hopkins, Harris (Boyle 60), Vaughan, Anichebe, Naysmith. Subs: Gallagher, Wilson, Hughes.
ATT: 359

The jury
Nov 11 2004 Liverpool Echo
Without the injured Bent leading the line we simply aren't dangerous - STE DALEY
EVERTON'S unbeaten away record has come to an end, but we came out with a lot of pride and respect. We played to our strengths and like a top side that had justified our league position of third. Difference between the two sides seemed to be money, and that was seen in Robben, who scored the only goal. Team spirit seems to be growing, we're becoming harder to break down and we're proving the critics wrong. Tuesday's Carling Cup result was a disappointment. I thought we would dominate the inexperienced Arsenal and progress in the cup. But, same old Everton. When we have a chance to grasp an opportunity to improve our season, we deny ourselves. On a positive point, it was good to see Chadwick make an appearance. With more opportunities to prove himself, I'm sure he'll establish himself as an excellent squad player in the near future.
BEN MCGRAE, Hunts Cross
TOMASZ RADZINSKI, among others, was quick to criticise the signing of Marcus Bent in the summer.
Yet on Tuesday, Bent limped off injured after just 15 minutes and his importance to the Everton team became too obvious. With Bent off the pitch, Everton were easily turned over by the youthful Arsenal team. Without his willingness to run after every lost cause and ability to hold the ball up, we were clueless when attacking. If Bent's injury is a bad one we are in big trouble. The team have done superbly, and that's down to all the players, not just Marcus. But without him leading the line, we simply aren't dangerous going forward. The squad is already painfully thin and the cracks are now starting to appear. Let's hope Bill Kenwright delivers on the promises he has made.
ALL championship-winning sides have a bad spell in the season! We all knew it would be a difficult couple of games and it's disappointing to get nothing from either, after playing so well previously. The second half against Arsenal seemed lifeless. More worrying than another early cup exit is the implication this week from Moyes that there might not be as much money to spend in January.
I trust Moyes not to waste money given to him, and I agree with him not wanting to bring in players that would disrupt the team spirit. However, what the Arsenal and Chelsea games proved was that we desperately need to add to the squad in January to have any chance of staying in a European place. The Arsenal performance must be put to the back of our minds and we have to focus on trying to get what Liverpool failed to do - three points against Birmingham!
IN a season of positive displays, Tuesday's defeat to a promising but inexperienced Arsenal will act as a reminder that to drop below the level we have played at will see us punished. It should also reinforce how vital the presence of Marcus Bent is to the current system. Without both him and the injured Ferguson, the comparison between the thrust and pace of the champions' attack and our own was not a flattering one. The return of Lee Carsley at St Andrews should afford the defence greater protection and allow greater freedom for other midfielders to attack. Jose Mourinho's ecstatic reaction at the final whistle at Stamford Bridge gave an indication of how winning against Everton is viewed at the moment - as did his praise for the visitors afterwards. There is no reason why the Blues should not still be third come Saturday evening."

Chinese star eyes Goodison challenge
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 12 2004
LI TIE cannot wait to step up his comeback from serious injury - despite seeing his first game in nine months end in a 5-0 drubbing. The China international (left) enjoyed a surprise 30 minutes of reserves action against Wolves on Wednesday night, his first appearance in a blue shirt since breaking his shin while on international duty back in January. Fortunately for the midfielder, the disappointing result suffered by Andy Holden's men was largely immaterial as he looks to regain fitness and provide David Moyes with much-needed cover for his threadbare squad. And while admitting that time is still some way off, Li Tie could not hide his delight at being back. He said: "I am looking forward to playing more games, whether that's with the reserve team or the first team. I am very happy because that was the first game I played since I got injured. "Being off the pitch for nine months was really a long and tough time, but fortunately I am back now. "I felt relaxed when I was on the pitch even though I hadn't played for a while. There wasn't any pressure, I just enjoyed every moment during my time on the pitch and it was a brilliant feeling. "I'd like to thank everyone who gave me very strong support during my tough time, the manager, Baz (Mick Rathbone, the physio), all my team-mates and the fans who wrote to me." The 27-year-old admitted his spell on the sidelines had been an immensely frustrating time, saying: "To be honest, it's tough on everyone when you aren't playing for such a long time. "You could lose your courage and confidence, but you have to get that back. You have to grasp each opportunity when it comes along. I know there is still a long way to go, but I am desperate to get my chance. "I am looking forward to playing more games, whether that's with the reserve team or the first team. I know I still need a lot of match practice before I can get a regular place in the Premiership, but I have already made the first step and I am looking to carry that on." Another player on the comeback trail is Gary Naysmith, and he also turned out against Wolves as he looks to return after a month out with an ankle injury suffered while on duty with Scotland. That setback has not helped Naysmith (right), who has seen Alessandro Pistone cement a regular place at left-back since the Scot was redcarded at Crystal Palace back in August. As he admitted: "It couldn't have happened at a worse time. I'd got a silly sending off at Crystal Palace and I'd lost my place in the team." Naysmith continued: "When the team's winning games it's very unlikely that the manager's going to make changes. "The defence has done well, they've kept quite a few clean sheets. The team's working hard and winning games. "I need to get myself fit to have any chance of getting in the team. Then once I'm fit it will be up to me to try and impress to get into the team. "It's important to get a few weeks' hard training with the boys, play a few reserve games and then hopefully I'll be there. "I still feel a good bit short of full fitness, I could tell that, and it's probably going to take another two or three reserve games to get my fitness levels up. "I was on the bench for the first team against Arsenal because we had a few injuries." Meanwhile, Everon target Scott Parker has signalled his intention to fight for his place at Stamford Bridge. Parker made his fourth start in Chelsea's past six games in their Carling Cup fourth round victory at Newcastle which set up a quarter-final clash at neighbours Fulham at the end of the month. And the former Charlton Athletic midfielder hopes he has started to win around manager Jose Mourinho. "I don't think the manager knew me or what sort of player I was when he joined the club," he admitted.

Lay off McFadden
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 12 2004
Lay off McFadden
I WOULD just like to point out that James McFadden (right) was one of the few players for Everton on Tuesday that was actually trying to make something from a poor game. And that has been his story all season. The only problem with him is his lack of confidence, which doesn't surprise me when so-called fans are jumping on his back every time he makes a mistake! Why don't we just cut him some slack as he is a player for the future. We will soon be reaping the rewards and witnessing performances the like of which he produces playing for Scotland.
Leanne Myers (via e-mail)
Youth needed
I THINK Everton played as well as they could on Tuesday. We tried our best, but the younger Arsenal side out-classed our older play-ers. We need more young fresh players in, so get rid of players like Campbell, Ferguson, Weir, Stubbs and Watson - there's half a team. They have been outstanding for us, but time comes when we need to move on. We have some really good youth team players coming through - let's see them shine now.
Paul Williams, Allerton
Not good enough
NOT good enough. For me, the 90 minutes by Everton against Arsenal said a lot more to me then the previous 12 matches in the league. Some people may call it a knee-jerk reaction, but it's simply not good enough for a Premiership side sitting third in the league to be destroyed by a second string line-up with an average age of 21. It highlights the fact that Stubbs, Pistone, Hibbert, Chadwick and Watson are just not good enough. We were made to look like a first division outfit and there is no way we are going to stay in the top five of the Premiership based on that performance. We need new players in January - and lots of them..
Shez Khan, Widnes

Past week won't undo all the good work
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 12 2004
TWO games, the same out-come, but very different emotions for Evertonians at the final whistle of each. Despite losing at Chelsea we did look the real deal: rock solid in defence, clever and patient in midfield and a threat on the break. Jose Mourinho's praise at the final whistle seemed genuine, not like the patron-ising pat on the head you get after obediently rolling over at Old Trafford, and his players' attempts to run down clock, along with their mad celebrations at the final whistle, showed just how tough the league lead-ers found the encounter. David Moyes then raised a smile when he made his Armani and Marks and Spencer analogy in response to a question about the pace and ability of Arjen Robben, the difference between the two sides. Unfortunately for Everton, on Tuesday Arsene Wenger wheeled out a team who, despite being Arsenal's second string, where the footballing equivalent of Paris Fashion Week. Despite Everton's fantastic start, they were facing an uphill task as soon as Marcus Bent left the pitch. We've known all along that we rely too heavily on the ex-Leicester man, but that's a legacy of the horrible summer. Up to now we've made light of losing so many players, particularly strikers, but if Bent is out for any prolonged period between now and January then those acrimonious departures could still come back to haunt us. It's actually questionable whether he would have made that much difference to the eventual result on Tuesday night though, even if he'd stayed on. Defending against pace is our Achilles heel, as demonstrated by Robben's clincher in the Chelsea game, and Arsenal had four or five players who were as quick as the prematurely balding Dutchman. However, on the plus side, we can console ourselves with the fact that there are very few individuals with that sort of quality outside the top clubs. Therefore we have to show our character in the face of the first real setback, and having already avenged last season's humiliation at Manchester City we could do with repeating the feat at St Andrews. Birmingham are a physical, combative side - like ourselves - and although they're no pushovers, as Liverpool discovered, they present more of the sort of challenge that we're equipped to deal with. Tuesday was disappointing, but it doesn't undo all the good work that preceded it. So keep your receipt, by all means, but it's a bit early to be asking for a refund from the Marks and Sparks team.

Moyes signs new deal
Nov 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has signed a new contract which will keep him at Everton until 2009. The Blues boss (right) has put pen to paper on a three year extension to his current deal, which still has 18 months left to run. It is a fitting reward for a manager who has guided a small Everton squad to third in the Premiership, defying pre-season expectations of a campaign spent battling relegation. Chairman Bill Kenwright today hailed the deal, saying: " This is the signing all Evertonians, including myself, have been waiting for. "David and I made a promise to each other in the early summer and I don't think either of us ever doubted today's announcement would happen. "I am thrilled that David has decided to pledge his future to Everton. "And I am certain that Evertonians all over the world will be similarly excited. "Since his arrival at Goodison, David has proved to be one of the most gifted young managers of his generation." Kenwright continued: "David has only enhanced his extraordinary relationship with Evertonians since that auspicious beginning. I feel certain that the People's Club is in very safe hands." Moyes is delighted to extend his stay at Goodison, having replaced Walter Smith in March 2002. The Scot said: "I am ever so pleased. The opportunity to sign a second contract at Everton doesn't come around very often, whoever you are. "I am delighted and extremely humbled to receive it because I realise that a big part in me getting this is because the players have performed well." The deal will also boost Moyes up the Premiership pay league, having previously been one of the lowest paid bosses, reportedly on £400,000-a-year.

We'll bounce back - Moyes
Nov 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has challenged his Everton side to maintain their grip on the Premiership's third place now they have no cup competitions to distract them. The league is all the Blues have to concentrate on for the next two months following the 3-1 Carling Cup defeat at High-bury on Tuesday. It was Everton's worst performance since the mauling by Arsenal at Goodison on the opening day of the season. But the Goodison chief insists the disappointment of that result has not impacted on the side's morale. And with no cup games to contend with between now and January, Moyes wants to see his players returning to the form which has taken them so high in the Premiership table, beginning at Birmingham tomorrow. "It is our job now to try and keep hold of third spot and, if we can, to go even higher," he said. "Tuesday night is in the past and there won't be a hangover. Overall, we have played well in the last month or two and that is what we are focusing on trying to maintain now. "Tuesday night was simply a situation where we used all we had. The game at Chelsea was very demanding, mentally as well as physically, and maybe it did affect us at Arsenal."
Moyes' men have had a day longer to prepare for the trip to Birmingham than they did the cup tie against the Gunners. But the manager still has a spate of niggling injuries in his squad to contend with. Marcus Bent (knee), Duncan Ferguson (thigh), Kevin Campbell (thigh), Alan Stubbs (foot) and Tim Cahill (hamstring) are having treatment. Cahill and Stubbs are expected to figure, but Bent is a major doubt. Meanwhile, contract rebel Gary Naysmith has vowed to earn a recall after making his first appearance in Wednesday night's reserve defeat against Wolves since recovering from an ankle injury Naysmith looks set to leave Goodison after snubbing the offer of an extension to his contract. He said: "I need to get myself fit to have a chance of getting in the team. Then it is up to me to try and impress." As reported in the ECHO, Naysmith declined a new contract offer last month.
While Everton are unwilling to substantially increase the deal, Moyes remains hopeful of keeping the left-back. "We have made Gary a really good offer of a new contract. He is a player we want to keep." Rangers have moved in to pole position to sign Naysmith after Celtic cooled their interest.

Cahill sings praises of Bruise brother
Nov 12 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL cannot wait to be reunited with his midfield bruise brother for tomorrow's trip to Birmingham. Following his arrival from Millwall in the summer, the Australian international (right) formed an impressive partnership with Lee Carsley. Working as part of a five-man midfield, they were the enforcers - the grafters who toiled to provide the likes of Leon Osman and Kevin Kilbane with the ammunition to blast the Blues up the Premiership. The partnership was temporarily disbanded following Carsley's red card for violent conduct in the third round Carling Cup victory over Preston. But tomorrow, following a three-game absence, the former Irish international will return to the fray. "We have definitely missed him loads, not least because you get used to playing in a certain system and I was used to having him there alongside me," admits Cahill. "Because he hasn't been around we have had to try different things. And the lads who have come in have all done a good job. "But Lee is sorely missed because he is a character and he brings a different dimension in midfield. "He is a witty, bubbly lad off the pitch and that helps in games as well. "But the most important aspect of having Lee back is the physical presence he brings us. He puts himself about, he puts his foot in where it hurts and that is great. "It is a part I like to play as well and when there are two players doing that it does unsettle sides. "We work well as a team with him around. "Maybe working hard to break up opposition play is something that can be overlooked. But it is important.
"We need to get a tempo going, we need to let the opposition know how we operate and when myself and Cars put ourselves about in the right manner it sets a good tone. "It is the right attitude for the players and the fans to see from the side. They know we are fully committed and will do anything to win - as long as it is in the right competitive spirit." It would be wrong to suggest Carsley's absence is the reason why Everton have not won their last three games. Against both Aston Villa and Chelsea the Blues were the better side and deserved more from the contests.
But, equally, there is no doubting the side has looked more susceptible without the 29-year-old patrolling in front of the back four. Cahill adds: "On the pitch he is very solid and disciplined. His job is to hold and break up play. "The work-rate he puts in is immense and he is a really good team player. "He thinks about the lads around him and there is great honesty in the work he does.
"It is a pleasure to play alongside him. "Without him, we have still put in some good performances. But the results have been disappointing - last Saturday at Chelsea in particular. "We should have got something from that game and that is very difficult to take because the lads put so much into to it. To not even get a draw was a big blow. "I was very disappointed because I missed a couple of chances. The first one in particular - the header in the first half - I should have scored. "That is the difference in games like that because you have to take your chances. We didn't take ours and so we got a result which didn't reflect our performance. "But against Arsenal we deserved to lose because we were complacent and we just weren't at the races. "The only way of forgetting both of those results is by beating Birmingham. "We want to stay in third and we need to win to do that. "We were upset after the Arsenal game. The gaffer made his feelings known, as did a few of the players, but that game is gone now. "And the best thing is that, as players, we know what we did wrong and what we need to do to put it right. "Winning at Birmingham will be a massive task, but it is the best way of correcting the last two defeats." A key factor in Tuesday night's disappointing collapse against a fresh and hungry Arsenal was the fact most of the team had given their all for 90 minutes at Stamford Bridge. It exposed the problems of such a small squad. But Cahill refuses to allow the exertions of the two games to become an ongoing excuse. He continues: "We were honest on Tuesday, but it just didn't happen for us. "After playing on Saturday in such a tough match there was a bit of fatigue. It caught up with us. "But what is so disappointing is that we came away from London with nothing after believing we had a great chance in both games. "That shows how far we have come this season when you are disappointed losing at Chelsea and Arsenal. "That says a lot about us as a squad and we have to keep pushing to get the best out of each other. "We can take a lot of confidence from the Chelsea game and that is the level we have got to be aiming at. "Jose Mourinho showed us great respect by saying we were one of the best teams he has played against in the Premier League. But that counts for nothing if we don't get a result this weekend. "I have a bit of a problem with my hamstring and a few other knocks, but that is inevitable when you are playing and getting stuck in. "When you go in for tackles you are not always going to come out on top, but that is the way I play and I am not going to change. "I just have to take care of myself between games because the matches are coming round fast right now." Indeed, after tomorrow's match Cahill will join up with the Australian squad for next Wednesday's friendly against Norway in London before returning to Bellefield to prepare for the Goodison clash with Fulham. When you are a midfield enforcer, such a hectic schedule can take its toll. But at least now he has his partner in crime back to help shoulder the burden.

Finances were key to Moyes contract
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 13 2004
DAVID MOYES pledged his future to Everton until 2009 after being assured the club has secured the new investment needed to revitalise its fortunes. The Everton manager revealed he turned down offers from several Premiership clubs to sign a new five-year deal at Goodison Park which will double his current salary to £1.5million a year. And he did so following guarantees from chairman Bill Kenwright that Fortress Sports Fund will complete their multi-million pound investment next month.
As the Daily Post revealed on September 11, Moyes would only extend his original contract - which still had 18 months left to run - once Everton's financial situation and long-term strategy on and off the pitch improved. Kenwright is expected to announce plans for an initial £12.9m injection by the FSF at next month's AGM. That figure could rise by a further £18m if the consortium takes up an option to buy a 51% controlling interest in the club. Moyes, who signed the deal at the club's training ground yesterday morning alongside chief executive Keith Wyness, revealed: "I am sure that what Bill has worked on all summer is in place and with the new chief executive there is a real opportunity to take the club forward. "I have spoken to Bill at length about the investment and I know the situation now, so yes, it is there. It was an easy decision once I got the reassurances that money was coming into the club. "The signs are that we are moving in the right direction and I want to be part of that, I want to make a good club great again. "I knew I could have taken other jobs if I wanted to do so but Everton is the right club for me." He added: "Everton is the right club for me because of what it is. It is one of the top six or seven clubs in the country with a proud history and that shows what can be achieved. "These jobs are very hard to come by and to be the manager at Everton is a terrific opportunity for me to fulfil my ambitions. "I've only managed two clubs, Preston and Everton, and I want to be someone who leaves a club in a better state then when I took over. I did that at Preston and hopefully I will have done the same with Everton when my time comes to leave here." Moyes has set Champions League qualification as his target for the next five years but admits his immediate end must be to end serial underachievement in the Premiership. "One of my goals is to make Everton a top 10 side more often," he said. Moyes continued: "The club has only been in the top 10 twice in 10 years and we need to redress that before we start talking about Europe. But we want to start competing if we can. "There are signs that we are moving in the right direction. With the support of the board and the money that is coming in behind them, there is a real chance that we can turn things around."

Ambitious Moyes outlines bold vision for the future
Nov 13 2004 By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
THE emphasis is firmly on the future at Everton after David Moyes signed the contract the club prized above all others yesterday. It required the promise of new investment and new strategies to convince the Goodison manager to commit himself to the club until 2009 and now, with a five-year deal in place, the vision he has always had of constructing a young team that can break the Premiership monopoly can finally progress with some financial support. Yet it is Everton's past that has shaped this future. Without the assurance of a proud and successful history that stares at him from the walls of Goodison Park it would have needed far more than the proposed riches of the Fortress Sports Fund to convince Moyes to stay. The Everton manager is fiercely ambitious, as he reminded everyone yesterday by following up his new deal with the pronouncement he hopes to deliver Champions League football within that time. Even with Everton sitting proudly in third place today that appears an enterprising target, but the fact the club has an established record of achievement encourages Moyes to believe it can be done. "Given what has happened over the last 10 years it is easy for people to forget just what a terrific history there is at this club," he explained.
"You only have to look at the pictures on the walls at Goodison Park to realise there have been many great players and managers who have achieved a lot at this club. I look up to them and hope that some day I will do something similar and be up there myself. "I would love to emulate the great Everton managers of the past but not for one moment would I put myself up there. Other managers before me have had exceptional records and success at Everton and my aim is to win something but that hasn't happened yet. "We have come through a rocky period, I think we have come through the worst of it now, and there have been some good parts to come out of it." Moyes's belief that Everton is one of the few clubs with a capacity for real success is based on the full houses at Goodison Park even though a generation of supporters have only one FA Cup triumph in 1995 to savour and, in the case of the under-10s, nothing. He admitted: "I hope we can turn it around, that is why I signed. I don't think any of our young supporters have seen Everton be successful and we have to change that. "We have got to make sure they see a good side in English football and not one at the bottom of the league. That has been the case far too often in recent years. "That is why I have signed a long-term contract. It suits both parties but it gives me a chance to have a period of time to build a good young team, get things in place behind the scenes, and hope-fully turn it around."
"There is a support out there that is craving success," Moyes added. "There are lots of Evertonians out there who are popping their heads up in the hope that this is finally the real deal and the club is moving in the right direction, off the field and on it. "Myself and the board are trying to do the right things for Everton and that extends to the Academy and the stadium as well as the team. We are trying to get as many of these components in place as we can. "The Academy and stadium were not part of my contract discussions but I know the board and Keith Wyness are trying hard to take those things on. There is a real business side coming through at the club now as well. That is not going to happen overnight either but things are starting to turn around. "I have got to a stage now where a lot of players are out of contract at the end of this season and have the chance to earn themselves new ones. And if anybody doesn't want to keep up with the challenge we have now then we are in a position where we have the resources to do other things. This is a big chance for our squad to pull through." Moyes's new deal delivers a further indication, as if third in the Premiership table was not enough, that Everton are putting a sour summer behind them with welcome haste. Now it is back to the mission the manager hoped to start as soon as he stepped into the club in March 2002 - developing young talent into a team that can threaten the established order. The people who support Everton can see there is a direction and strategy in place now and that we are building a young side that can compete in the future," said Moyes.. "We don't have the overall investment of other teams at the moment and what money we do get will help us take small steps rather than giant leaps. "But I think we're beginning to get into a situation where we're getting a bit of continuity at the club. "People now want to come and play for Everton. I can say that, I can tell you by the phone-calls and the people who are trying to push the players in there." With his future and a healthy pay rise sorted Moyes will return to his immediate task of eradicating Everton's image as relegation fodder at Birmingham this evening. And he admits: "My ambition for the next five years is to get Everton into the Champions League. "That is a long, long way off at present but you've got to set your goals high. Anything less wouldn't be enough for this club. "We do have a chance to achieve that and we are making plans behind the scenes to get there. First of all though we need to change finishing in the top 10 twice in 10 years to eight or nine times in 10 years. If we achieve that then we will be closer to the European places regularly." For Bill Kenwright yesterday's signature ended a process that started after the home defeat by Blackburn in April and on which so much rested. The Everton chairman said: "I am thrilled that David has decided to pledge his future to Everton and am absolutely certain that Evertonians all over the world will be similarly excited.
"Since his arrival at Goodison Park David has proved himself to be one of the most gifted young managers of his generation. "He won an instant place in the hearts for Evertonians when, at his inaugural press conference, he described us as the People's Club. "David has only enhanced his extraordinary relationship with Evertonians since that auspicious beginning. I feel certain that the People's Club is in very safe hands."

Everton learn price for Hangeland
Sunday, 14 November, 2004, BBC News
Hangeland has impressed his current manager Roy Hodgson
Everton will have to pay £3m to sign defender Brede Hangeland from Norwegian side Viking Stavanger. Hangeland, who has interested several Premiership clubs after his strong performances for Norway, spent last week at Everton. And Viking director Hans-Oyvind Sagen said: "Brede impressed Everton boss David Moyes very much. "We will meet with Brede and our manager Roy Hodgson to discuss progress with Everton." Hangeland has been linked with Everton for around two years and it seems a move in the January transfer window could follow. The 23-year-old centre back said: "I am very happy with the way my trial went at Everton. "It has always been my dream to play in the Premiership and I hope the clubs can reach an agreement. "It would be a great career move and I'm not afraid to take it. I've been waiting for Everton's call." Hangeland's current boss, ex-Blackburn manager Hodgson, has tipped him to shine in the Premiership. "David Moyes called to ask if he was good enough to play in the Premier League," said Hodgson. "Brede is definitely good enough for the Premiership. I told Moyes that. "Even though he will be impossible to replace, I cannot lie when one of my friends asks for advice." Li Tie back in Everton training Meanwhile, Everton's Li Tie has been recalled to China's squad for this month's World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong. Li has been out since breaking his leg in January.

Birmingham 0, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Nov 15 2004 By Andy Hunter at St Andrews, Daily Post
DAVID MOYES has established a fine present and, with his five-year contract now stored in the Goodison vaults, an enticing future for Everton, but laying the ghosts of recent history to rest still preoccupies his team's current agenda. With the dark nights here and Everton still third in the Premier-ship it is fair to say they have now defied expectations one and for all. The desire to make amends for last season's annus horribilis, however, remains as strong as it did when the season commenced on August 14. The City of Manchester Stadium and St Andrews witnessed arguably the two worst performances from Everton under Moyes last term in terms of attitude and application.
Now, before the benefit of hindsight of course, they could represent defining victories in their season. It was the 10-man victory at Manchester City on September 11, the day Moyes announced he would sign a new contract providing funds and plans were in place to avoid a repetition of this summer's nightmares, that enforced the effectiveness of his 4-5-1 system along with the depth of their determination to settle old scores. Two months on, and with the watching world awaiting the final blow to a bubble punctured by successive defeats, they delivered an identical result to open up a four-point gap on fourth place Bolton and, more importantly, announce they will not surrender their proud perch meekly afterall. Both Moyes and club skipper Alan Stubbs had predicted how the last week could shape Everton's season. If they had been granted only one wish for the three away games in store, then a win at Birmingham would surely have been it. Victory at Chelsea would have undoubtedly hastened the momentum of a confident team while youthful Arsenal in the Carling Cup represented a real chance of keep another door open to Europe. Not even a quality dis-play at Stamford Bridge or an "off night" at Highbury lessens the pain of those losses. In the final reckoning, however, it is distance Everton can establish between themselves and the middle-tier big-spending clubs, of which Birmingham aspire, that is likely to shape their reward for this remarkable start.
By demonstrating two consecutive capital defeats had dented neither their belief or resilience on Saturday they took another significant step towards that goal. As Stubbs said afterwards: "This is not the easiest place to come to and after their good result against Liverpool they were on a high. We knew we were going to have to be alert, give nothing away and come away with at least a point.
"That was our incentive. It was a close game. I thought we edged it in terms of clear-cut chances and all credit to the lads again. "We had a disappointing result against Chelsea, if not a disappointing performance, but it was a disappointing performance at Arsenal and people were starting to ask whether the bubble has burst? I think we've answered that today. "People are waiting for the bubble to burst. We didn't do well last season, suddenly we are doing well, and so people are wondering when it will end. "It's our aim and it's an incentive for us to keep them waiting. We've just got to keep going as long as we possibly can and at the moment it doesn't look like stop-ping."
The momentum hasn't stopped as, besides Arjen Robben, no-one has found a way to break Everton's outstanding regime away from Goodison Park. The source of their demise last season, Moyes's side have collected 16 points from a possible 21 on their travels this term with only Chelsea and Manchester United protecting the spoils. Founded on the formidable defensive rock of David Weir and Stubbs, who are defying age and their own impeccable Goodison careers with ever-improving performances - nurturing Tony Hibbert along the same path in the process, they are the embodiment of a side maximising its resources and ability. We are hard to beat, we don't give a lot away and we are nicking wins. If you can do that, then it's a good recipe," was Stubbs's matter-of-fact verdict. "After getting beat by Arsenal the win at Crystal Palace gave is the belief to go on. Suddenly you win away a couple away from home and you go to every away game believing you can win there. It's all down to confidence. "We started off with probably the hardest game imaginable in Arsenal and people wrote us off even more but it made us even closer, it brought us together.
"The spirit in the team is fantastic and it didn't take criticism to develop that. The lads are honest and you can't buy that." This was by no means Everton's most inspiring travelling display of the season but only those who believe championship style football should automatically arise from third place will bemoan how a fifth away win was achieved. The painful memories of last season's reverse at St Andrews were almost revived by Birmingham's dominant start when both Emile Heskey and the soon-to-be instrumental Muzzy Izzet wasted two good chances in the opening 12 minutes.
Everton, however, soon recovered their purposeful stride and with their back-line shackling Heskey and any other threat that ventured near them the now familiar platform for success away from home reappeared. Kevin Kilbane and Leon Osman almost capitalised on Maik Taylor's slip from a Thomas Gravesen corner in the 37th minute but with a scrappy, even game destined to be settled by the opening goal there was a recognisable look to the eventual winner too. So many of Everton's tense travelling victories have involved a set-piece and/or the forehead of Tim Cahill and this one originated through both. Following a 67th-minute foul on the isolated yet immaculate Marcus Bent by Matthew Upson, Gravesen delivered a pin-point free-kick towards the Australian international and his downward header forced Taylor into a scrambling save off the goal-line. The threat did not abate from the corner, however, and when it was returned towards the top corner of Taylor's goal only a stunning save from Izzet denied Lee Carsley a stunning opener. The Birmingham midfielder was perhaps inclined to use his arms having escaped with a similar indiscretion at Anfield a week earlier. But to be fair to Izzet he began to walk as soon as referee Rob Styles blew for a penalty, which Gravesen despatched with consummate ease for his fourth goal of the season. A tedious game had suddenly come to life, the ever-alert Hibbert cleared Heskey's powerful header off the line as 10-man Birmingham rallied while Everton, intelligently making their advantage count through possession football, should have scored a second when Osman shot just wide when played into space by the industrious Dane. After three trips in seven days tired limbs inevitably came into the equation and home substitute Dwight Yorke squandered a great invitation to equalise in the final minute when he blazed Robbie Savage's through ball high over the bar of the otherwise unemployed Nigel Martyn. Stubbs admitted: "With the size of our squad the manager has no choice but to play a full strength team in every game and that is how it is going to be all season I think. We haven't got a big squad and the players we've got here are all probably expected to play some part of the season, in the cups and in the league. "It's good in one way and not so in another. It's good because we are all behind each other and it helps generate the team spirit but it's a problem when players need a rest and cannot get one. "But you don't tend to feel the tired legs when you are winning. When you are a football player the biggest thing you want is to have that winning feeling." The same also applies to management. Moyes was the last to leave the field on Saturday night as he saluted Everton's travelling support with clenched fists, a double-your-money contract forgotten amidst the exhilaration of another banished ghost.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-1-1): Taylor; Melchiot, Cunningham (Yorke 73), Upson, Gray; Johnson, Clemence (Lazaridis 61), Savage, Gronkjaer (Anderton 80); Izzet; Heskey. Subs: Bennett, Clapham.
SENDING-OFF: Izzet (professional foul)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Osman (Ferguson 87), Graves-en, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent (Watson 90). Subs: Wright, McFadden, Naysmith.
BOOKING: Kilbane (foul).
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 28,388
NEXT GAME: Everton v Fulham, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm

Defensive duo earn praise from inspired Kilbane
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 15 2004
KEVIN KILBANE identified Alan Stubbs and David Weir as the bedrock of Everton's success this season after David Moyes's side recorded their fifth away win of the season at Birmingham.
Thomas Gravesen's 68th-minute penalty, following a deliberate handball that led to the dismissal of Muzzy Izzet, strengthened Everton's hold on third place after a hard-fought win at St Andrews.
Victory was secured with Everton's sixth clean sheet of the season with the veteran partnership of Stubbs and Weir outstanding once again. And Republic of Ireland international Kil-bane hailed the defensive duo as the vital components of Everton's Premiership rise. Kilbane said: "I thought Alan and Davie were magnificent at the back, as they have been all season. Heskey can be a real handful but they handled him superbly. "They have been the bedrock of our success this season, without a doubt. Everyone can see how well they are playing but it is the things you don't see, such as their organisational and communication skills, that are really outstanding. It is thanks to them that the whole team functions the way it does. "They are both in the last year of their contracts but I don't think they have anything to prove after what they have done. They give their all for Everton every week and ever since I arrived here they have been superb. "Davie didn't play as much as he would have liked last season but he has been fantastic since he came into the side and alongside Alan they are one of the finest partnerships around." Kilbane admitted Everton had a point to prove after suffering successive defeats at Chelsea and Arsenal before the trip to Birmingham. "This was a massive game for us after those two defeats, especially with the way we played at Arsenal in midweek," he said. "We didn't play well on the night and perhaps people were expecting us to roll over now but we proved that we are a good team and deserve to be third with this win.
"We knew we were going to get criticised after two successive defeats but I don't think the defeat at Chelsea was any disgrace with the way we played. The cup game was a one-off and we wanted to prove a point against Birmingham. "Our performances away from home are almost second nature now. We all know our roles but it was difficult against Birmingham. They really put us under the cosh for the first 20 minutes but once we came through that we looked sharper and we didn't give them anything." Everton's latest travelling triumph also helped erase memories of their last visit to St Andrews which, along with Manchester City, Kilbane rates as the worst performances of last season.
He added: "I've never won at St Andrews before or at Manchester City before this season. They have both been firsts for me. "We wanted to make amends for what happened last season but once the game starts you forget about that and just play your game. But we are going to places with a lot of confidence now and despite a difficult start I don't think Nigel had a save to make all game."

Everton likely to lose out on Ball windfall
By Jon West, Daily Post
Nov 15 2004
RANGERS manager Alex McLeish has confirmed the club has no intention of triggering a clause in Michael Ball's contract which would see Everton bank £500,000. The former England international (right) was yesterday named in the starting line-up at Hibernian for the first time this season, having not played a first team game since May. Ball is five games away from clocking up 60 for Rangers - which would mean Everton receiving £500,000 on top of the £4million the Ibrox club, then managed by Dick Advocaat, paid in the summer of 2001. With first-choice left-back Gregory Vignal out with a groin injury, McLeish opted to play Ball ahead of Paolo Vanoli, who has just recovered from a hamstring injury. McLeish said he was putting Ball in the shop window with a view to a January transfer out of Ibrox which would solve the problem once and for all. McLeish said there was no way Everton would be paid the full £500,000. He said: "I can confirm we are not going to do that. If we can come to a compromise with Everton then who knows? "It is an opportunity for other people to watch Michael in the first team. It is five or six games he has. I'm going to err on the side of caution and say five. "He starts because he has been looking very sharp in training and I can play him for the five games." Meanwhile Everton manager David Moyes is hoping that Everton can convince Thomas Gravesen to stay with them next season by securing a place in either the Champions League or UEFA Cup. Gravesen, whose contract runs out at the end of this season, has indicated that he wants to leave Goodison Park for a club who will be playing in Europe. And Moyes said: "Myself and Thomas speak regularly. We have a good relation-ship and we know how things stand. "He has made it clear he wants to play for a team in Europe. If he's going to go anywhere, it will be to someone who has a chance of doing that. "We are not shouting about such things but we might have as good chance as anybody of achieving that here." Moyes admitted there was no secret formula for Everton's success away from Goodison Park and vowed that ensuring Premiership survival was still his first priority.
He said: "There is no particular reason for the record. We have changed a little but. We have tried to be a little harder to beat. "But a lot of the players are close to their maximum every week and every manager would want to get his players up to that kind of level. "This was a big result for us after three away games in a week. We were well beaten the last time we came to Birmingham and now we can leave with our heads held high."

Boring has never looked so good
By Mark Mckenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 15 2004
I THINK I'm growing increasingly accustomed to these boring 1-0 wins. While we may not be most pleasing on the eye to the neutral, Evertonians will gladly settle for more of the same. The greatest aspect from watching against Birmingham was the confidence that Everton were never going to lose this one. How many times in recent history have we had that comfort? Following two defeats, the win at Birmingham and the news that Moyes has signed a long-term contract has lifted the whole mood at the club, and set us up nicely to sustain our place in the upper echelons of the league up till Christmas. While a defeat could have proved disastrous, Everton can now look to build on our success so far this season. Playing against a team with the same formation and also solid defensively, this was always going to be a tight game. The influence of the returning Lee Carsley was instantly visible. With Birmingham starting the game brightly, a few decisive interventions from Carsley changed the flow of the game in Everton's favour. As well as performing his defensive duties impeccably, little attention has been paid as to just how good his goalbound shot was which led to Muzzy Izzet giving his best Stephane Henchoz impression. Special praise must also go to Tony Hibbert, who completely wiped out the threat of Gronkjaer with his snappy tackles. Is there a better tackler in the Premiership than Hibbo? With the current successful combination of formation and personnel, I suspect Moyes will keep any new signings in January on the bench to start with at least. If we have a winning formula, why change it?

Birmingham 0, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 15 2004 By Scott Mcleod at St Andrews
THERE may have been times over the last decade when following Everton has seemed like a road to nowhere. But finally Evertonians have been provided with a tantalising glimpse of a worthwhile destination. Which is why those supporters who endured hours stranded in the jam on the M6 en-route to St Andrews on Saturday were still smiling when they arrived in the West Midlands.
They were in such high spirits because even before a ball had been kicked, the result of the weekend had already been secured. The 1-0 victory over Birmingham was merely the cherry on the cake following David Moyes' decision to sign a contract which will keep him at Goodison until 2009.
But it is not just the prospect of Moyes driving the club forward which has provided the lift.
The Goodison chief had put off signing a new deal for more than six months because he was keen to receive assurances that the club was not heading for a financial dead end. Bill Kenwright has not yet unveiled the money truck which has been promised. But the fact the manager has put pen to paper illustrates that he believes one will be rolling into Good-ison sooner rather than later. And that is why the road ahead suddenly looks so appealing. The promise of funds for the manager could not come at a better time. Despite their continuing excellent form, there is no denying the small squad is desperately in need of reinforcements. The limited number of options available to the manager for last Tuesday's trip to Highbury reaffirmed that. But, crucially, the prospect of attracting the players capable of adding even more quality to the ranks is sure to have been boosted by the fact the club has spent much of this season safely ensconced in third spot. The acid test of that new appeal will be Thomas Gravesen. The Danish international netted his fourth goal of the season, his second from the penalty spot, to take all three points against Birmingham and maintain the side's vice-like grip on third place. We are now a third of the way through the season and there is no sign of Everton relinquishing their place amongst the Premiership's elite. And now, maybe, the impressive league position will have also convinced the midfielder Everton is a club worth committing to. Like Moyes, the ambition to achieve things at the very pinnacle of the game has delayed Gravesen's decision.
And like Moyes, he has a passion for Everton which will surely play a key role in his final choice.
After putting pen to paper on his contract the Goodison boss talked of his hopes for the club.
He spoke of ending a decade of mediocrity, of leading the side back into Europe, the Champions League and even the possibility of challenging for the title once again. For such goals to be achieved, the manager will need players like Gravesen. He has genuine star-quality, although his mercurial talents mean he can thrill and infuriate in equal measure. But at St Andrews he was the player we want to see more of. And he was needed. Everton's bruise brothers of Tim Cahill and Lee Carsley were reunited in the midfield engine room. But, for the first time this season, they were beaten out of the blocks in the opening 10 minutes by their opposite numbers. That is no mean feat, but Robbie Savage managed it, drawing first blood with a couple of x-rated challenges which earned him a caution but which gifted the home side the early initiative. It was Gravesen's superior footwork which ultimately silenced the Welsh international. Time and again he was left redfaced by the Dane. Gravesen may have been woefully under par at Arsenal last Tuesday but this was him at his cool, arrogant best. Is it any coincidence that it coincided with the return of Carsley and the midfield partnership which has protected him so solidly this season? The graft of Cahill and Carsley slowly chipped away at the home side. And long after Savage's headless chicken approach had left the blond marauder running on empty, Everton's superiority was underlined in the final 20 minutes following Gravesen's strike. Everton had a hold on the game and they were not willing to let go.
If the first half had been about wrestling the initiative back, the second half was about making sure they didn't waste it. Birmingham may have created more chances in the opening hour, but it was Everton who deserved the lead. And when the goal came it was the culmination of a period of sustained pressure. Marcus Bent was tumbled over on the edge of the area by Matthew Upson. Gravesen swung the ball into the six yard box and Cahill's header was pushed around the base of the post by Maik Taylor. From the corner the ball found its way to Carsley on the edge of the box, who unleashed a fierce drive. It was destined for the top right corner before Muzzy Izzet leapt impressively to palm the ball over the bar. It was a great save. So good that referee Rob Styles advised the midfielder to head straight to the dressing room so he could watch it over and over again. On the pitch, Taylor couldn't match his teammate's acrobatics, wrong-footed as Gravesen neatly sidestepped the penalty kick into the bottom left corner. In the final 21 minutes that followed Birmingham mustered just two chances of note as the 10 men struggled to bounce back.
Tony Hibbert capped another outstanding display by heading off the line from Emile Heskey and then in the dying seconds Stan Lazaridis skipped past Gravesen and fed Dwight Yorke who blasted his shot high over the bar. That had been the story of Birmingham's night. They created chances but never tested Nigel Martyn. Even during their best spell in the first half he was a virtual spectator.
Everton spent much of the opening half battling for midfield supremacy, ensuring Bent didn't have the kind of support he has become used to. And yet they still did enough to make Taylor the busier of the two keepers - albeit with shots from around the edge of the box. It was a similar story after the break, with one particularly impressive curling effort from Leon Osman sailing inches wide of the upright in the 79th minute as Everton looked to kill off the game. But a two goal cushion was never really necessary. Steve Bruce may have spent millions in the summer, but his side can't buy a goal at the moment. When Moyes talks of disrupting the balance of his squad by bringing in new faces, he could use Birmingham as a prime example. The Everton boss needs to know that the players he signs are capable of fitting into a successful system. There are a number of players out of contract at the end of this season who are well worth keeping hold of. And Gravesen is possibly the most important of the lot. If he were to follow his manager's example by putting pen to paper, then it would be another important step towards the destination every Evertonian has now been given a tantalising glimpse of.
BIRMINGHAM CITY (4-4-1-1): Taylor; Melchiot, Cunningham (Yorke 73), Upson, Gray; Johnson, Clemence (Lazaridis 61), Savage, Gronkjaer (Anderton 80); Izzet; Heskey. Subs: Bennett, Clapham.
SENDING-OFF: Izzet (professional foul)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Osman (Ferguson 87), Gravesen, Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent (Watson 90). Subs: Wright, McFadden, Naysmith.
BOOKING: Kilbane (foul).
REFEREE: Rob Styles
ATT: 28,388
NEXT GAME: Everton v Fulham, Premiership, Saturday, 3pm

Kenwright calm over £42m debt
Nov 15 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have sent out letters to shareholders ahead of next month's AGM confirming the club's current level of debt as £42m. But the Blues point out that the figure does not include the money raised from the recent sale of Wayne Rooney, nor a potential cash injection from the Fortress Sports Fund. The figure, which was first highlighted at the club EGM in August, underlines the urgency of Everton's need to attract new investment. But chairman Bill Kenwright remains confident the Fortress Sports Fund investment will be completed before the AGM. "I am in daily contact with the Fortress people and we remain confident a deal will be in place by then," he said today. Everton's debt stood at £38m a year ago, but last season's poor performance in the Premiership, coupled with early exits in both cup competitions saw the figure rise. In the report, Mr Kenwright says that "everyone at the club must share responsibility." In an exclusive ECHO questions and answers session last May, Kenwright was asked why the club's debt had risen from £20m to £38 in four years.
He explained: "We've not made profits, but have still managed to support the two managers in bringing in new players and obviously, at the same time, increase the wage bill. "Consequently the debt can only build until success arrives and/or we receive major investment." Christopher Samuelson, the man behind the Fortress Sports Fund, has promised an initial £12.8m investment in Everton, for which the Fund will receive a 29.9 per cent stake. Samuelson will become a director - with an option to invest a further £17.2m, taking FSF's shareholding up to a controlling 50.1 per cent.
"We will start with £12.8m of new money in the first phase, with an option for another £17.2m," he said. "That all depends on the needs of the club. If the club needs the money we will bring the money in."

Stubbs fires warning
Nov 15 2004 Liverpool Echo
ALAN STUBBS has revealed the determination in the Everton squad to prove wrong the sceptics "who are waiting for the bubble to burst " after the Blues' fine start to the campaign. Stubbs was aware that the vultures were beginning to circle after Everton's unbeaten away Premiership record was ended at Chelsea. Then they crashed out of the Carling Cup to Arsenal's reserve side in midweek. But David Moyes' side showed their mettle when a Thomas Gravesen penalty secured a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City at St Andrews. Stubbs said: "We had a disappointing result against Chelsea, if not a disappointing performance. Then we followed that up with a disappointing show at Arsenal and I think people were starting to ask questions like 'has the bubble burst?' " They were saying 'that's two defeats, what can they do?' but I think we answered that at Birmingham. "People are waiting for the bubble to burst. They're all saying that they're not - but they will be. We didn't do well last season, now suddenly we are doing well. People are waiting for things to blow up. "It's our aim and it's an incentive for us to keep them waiting. We've just got to keep going as long as we possibly can and, at the moment, it doesn ' t look like stopping." Everton have now collected an impressive 16 points from seven games away from Goodison Park after notching up just 10 points on their travels in the whole of the 2003-2004 campaign. Stubbs added: "We are hard to beat, we don't give a lot away and we are nicking wins. If you can do that, then it's a good recipe. "We've gone away to Crystal Palace after getting beaten by Arsenal early doors, put in a good performance and it gave us the belief to go on from there. "Suddenly you win a couple away from home and you go into every away game thinking you can win. It's just a confidence thing. "We started off with probably the hardest game you can think of in Arsenal at home and people started writing us off." The big stumbling block to Everton's hopes of securing European football could be the lack of depth in the squad and the majority of the players turned out in the Carling Cup tie at Highbury as well as the league games with Chelsea and Steve Bruce's side. Stubbs said: "That's the way it is going to be all season for us I think. We haven't got a big squad and the players we've got here are all probably expected to play some part of the season, in the cups and in the league. "It will become an issue if we start losing games. "It won't become an issue when you are winning games because when you are winning you want to play in every game."

Why Carsley is the key to Everton's season
Nov 15 2004 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
HIS follically-challenged partner might have picked up the match-winner's headlines on Saturday night, but the return to the starting line-up of Lee Carsley had just as much to do with the return of the Premiership's most familiar travelling refrain - "One-nil to the Everton!" His precisely placed top corner-bound shot notwithstanding, it was Carsley's supremely disciplined contributions elsewhere which allowed Thomas Gravesen to make his eyecatching forays further forward. It has been the case all season. Carsley does the holding job without fuss nor fanfare, allowing Osman, Kilbane and Cahill to flood the box late and support the equally selfless Bent, while Gravesen has the freedom to pick up the ball anywhere and create as much havoc as he can. In the absence of Carsley for the last three matches - and the split scalp which prevented Joseph Yobo from showing he could do a similar job - Everton had nobody to fulfil that role as effectively. Now he's back, Everton look altogether more effective again. Carsley, and the opposite point of Everton's flexible 4-5-1 formation, Marcus Bent, are the most influential parts of the successful system David Moyes has developed. Gravesen may grab the headlines, but it's Carsley who has been Everton's unsung hero this season.

Losses won't prevent Moyes spending spree
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 16 2004
DAVID MOYES will have around £8m-£10million to spend in January despite confirmation of record losses at Everton in the last financial year. The Goodison manager penned a new five-year contract on Friday after receiving assurances about the level of investment that would be made in his squad in the transfer window. Moyes is reluctant to threaten the fierce team spirit that has taken Everton to third this season by making too many signings in January. However, he is also anxious to strengthen a threadbare squad in key areas to maintain its remarkable assault on Europe.
And with Southampton striker James Beattie, Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker and Viking Stavanger defender Brede Hangeland all on Moyes's wishlist the Goodison board are committed to a sizeable outlay in January - despite confirmation of their rising debt. Moyes told the Daily Post on November 6 that reports he would have between £15m and £20m to spend in the transfer window were a gross exaggeration. "People should not start thinking we have bundles to spend in January because we haven't," he said.. Instead, it is understood £8m-10m will be made available to Moyes once the proposed investment from the Fortress Sports Fund materialises. Everton shareholders have now received their annual report which confirms the figure of £42m debt that was initially unveiled at the September EGM. But that does not take into account the initial £10m down payment for the sale of Wayne Rooney to Manchester United or the proposed £12.8m investment from the FSF. Chairman Bill Kenwright is expected to announce a deal with Fortress at the club's AGM on December 7 which will see the group purchase a 29.9% stake. Kenwright said: "I am in daily contact with the Fortress people and we remain confident a deal will be in place by then." There is another £17m to come from the Rooney deal but that will take several seasons to realise, while there is also an option for a further £17.2m investment from the FSF that would increase their holding to 50.1%. The Fortress group was initially believed to be backed only by a Russian consortium, but it has since emerged that Swiss-based businessman Christopher Samuelson is the key mover and he will become an Everton director when the deal is finalised.

Shareholders shocked as losses hit £15m
By Bill Gleeson, Daily Post
Nov 16 2004
EVERTON'S financial position is worse than many shareholders expected, according to the club's annual accounts. The accounts, which landed on shareholders doormats yesterday morning, show the Goodison Park club ran up losses of £15.3m in the year to the end of May. That figure comes on top of a loss of £12.9m in the previous year. The club's borrowings have reached £47.9m, which is £10m worse than the previous year. However, while Everton appears to have had a tougher 12 months than anticipated, their troubles have been relieved for the time being by the proceeds from the sale of Wayne Rooney. Money from the £27m deal for the star player to Manchester United does not show up in these latest accounts as the transfer took place after the end of the club's financial year. The club saw its turnover fall due to a £5m decline in its share of the BSkyB television rights deal. The club's share fell due to its fourth from bottom placing in the Premier League last season. The club also lost £10m from player trading during last season. Prominent shareholder and leading business academic Professor Tom Cannon said: "These figures are worse than expected. They are at the upper end of our worries. There was hope that they might be better. "These figures show that the club is haemorrhaging money at a rate that even the sale of Wayne Rooney can't stop. "They have lost £15m last year and £12m the year before. You would need to sell a Wayne Rooney type of player every two years to cover that. Plainly, that isn't going to happen." Prof Cannon voiced concerns that the notice of the club's annual meeting, contained in the report and accounts, does not include a resolution to issue shares to the Fortress Sports Fund. He said that shareholders left September's extraordinary general meeting with an expectation the money would be ready in time for the club's annual meeting on December 7. Mr Cannon said: "They need to give 21 days' notice for the shares to be issued for the Fortress money." He added the report showed no sign of the promised dissolution of True Blue, the investment vehicle used by Bill Kenwright and Paul Gregg for their ownership of the club. "On the basis of what we see in these accounts, we will not be signing players like Scott Parker and James Beattie in the new year," he said. Jon Schofield, a corporate finance expert at Warrington-based Dow Schofield Watts and an Everton shareholder, raised the same concerns. Mr Schofield pointed to an unexplained debt noted in the accounts valued at £10m. This debt is in addition to the club's £5m overdraft facility and its long-term debt of £30m secured against season ticket sales. He said: "I suspect that this is some sort of short-term bridging loan that they needed because they were running out of money at the end of last season. "It isn't clear where it has come from. It could be from a bank or from one of Bill Kenwright's friends such as Philip Green. It has probably since been repaid with the proceeds from the sale of Wayne Rooney."
Nobody from Everton was prepared to comment.

Not just a Fad
Post Soapbox, Icliverpool & Daily Post
Nov 16 2004
Not just a Fad
I THINK we need to look back when we were all at school and remember what we felt like if a teacher called us a "no-hoper" or "you'll never amount to anything" type of remark. If McFadden is on the bench, I believe those of the fans who have the option of attending the home game against Fulham should chant his name or encourage him - because if he gets the chance of coming onto the pitch - watch what happens. If he feels the crowd, look out WR because I believe given the encouragement this young man will be a gem for us.
Tom Waiter (via e-mail)
Give them a run
McFADDEN and Chadwick should be given an extended run - playing breeds confidence. Also Moyes should start blooding some of the young reserves in the first team squad. So if injuries do happen they will have had first team exposure either playing or as a sub.
John Rice, Liverpool
Pathetic Gers
EVERTON should never do business with Rangers again with their pathetic, small-time attitude. Also, let's learn a lesson and never include any more clauses of cash for games played in contracts. Money up front or get lost.
Steve Burns, Liverpool
IT SEEMS as though Everton can bounce back from defeat, even one as difficult to take as the one at Chelski. To go to the blue half of Brummie land and win another away game is fantastic, especially as it cements our third place spot for at least another couple of weeks. However the game this weekend against Fulham is a must-win at Goodison. The Blues have shown a lot critics the door
Eddie Hunter (via e-mail)
Shoestring king
I CAN hardly believe that Dave Moyes has done such a fantastic job of turning the Blues around in such a short time and on a shoestring to boot! My congratulations in bucketfuls go to the manager, staff, and most of all to the players who are doing such a fantastic job to make true Blues all over the world so proud and happy, long may it continue. The camaraderie that exists at Goodison must be so great, I only wish I was there to be part of it.
Ken Banger, Huyton

Gravesen's Goodison future hint
Nov 16 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN has hinted he could be ready to commit his future to Everton. The 28-year-old midfielder turned down a new contract offer in summer, saying he didn't want to put pen to paper until he believed the club had the resources and players capable of battling at the right end of the Premiership. His current deal runs out at the end of the season, leading to widespread stories linking the Danish international with the likes of Aston Villa and SV Hamburg. But David Moyes has constantly said he has no intention of listening to offers for the midfielder. The club's extended stay in third spot, Moyes' decision to sign a long-term deal and a positive meeting between the player's representatives and club officials a fortnight ago have added to the increased sense of optimism about Gravesen's Goodison future. The player admits he is very happy with the way the season is going. "I think everybody is enjoying the recent success," he said. "When you are winning games and when you are having success it affects everybody around the place, from the fans to the players, and I am enjoying it as well, that is obvious. "It was difficult circumstances for the club at the start of the season as everybody knows, with the pre-season and all the rumours around the place to begin with. "But I thought we stuck together and tried to make the best of it. We know what we can do and we believe strongly in the team we have got. "All the Evertonians know what this team is capable of." Gravesen is the key playmaker in the Blues' 4-5-1 formation and a greater licence to get forward has already provided Gravesen with double the number of goals he scored last season, with four strikes from 12 starts. Gravesen added: "I haven't scored a lot of goals in my career but the manager has put faith in me and he has said he wants more goals from everybody at the club.
"He has given me a role that takes me forward more in the game and at the moment it seems to work. "But we are not getting carried away. We have a lot of difficult games coming up in December and January and we really need to be up for those games. "That is more important now than thinking about March, April and May."

Injury is new blow for Yobo
Nov 16 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO is praying for an end to the injury upsets which have plagued his season. Everton's classy defender (left) has not started a Premiership match since August - and this week saw an opportunity to play in a prestigious international friendly between Nigeria and South Africa denied by another knock. Yobo had been invited to star in tomorrow's Mandela Challenge - arranged in honour of former president Nelson Mandela. But an ankle injury picked up in last week's League Cup defeat at Arsenal means he did not travel. "We're hoping he will be okay in time for Fulham's visit this weekend," said boss David Moyes "but it's just indicative of Joseph's luck this season.
"He picked up an ankle problem in Arsenal which meant he wouldn't have been fit enough to play tomorrow." Yobo was first choice this season until a knee injury allowed David Weir and Alan Stubbs to resurrect their successful partnership with four successive clean sheets in the Premiership. Since then, rare opportunities to reclaim his place have coincided with freak injuries. In contrast, Chinese midfielder Li Tie is hoping to build on his fitness in an international in China tomorrow. He was not able to join in a full training session at the Guangzhou Stadium yesterday, but still hopes to play against Hong Kong. "I came back this time to shoulder the duty with everyone," he said. "It depends on the head coach whether I will play and, if I do, where I will play. I just have to show my best during training." Tie made his come back from almost a year's absence with a broken leg in a reserve defeat by Wolves last week.

Blues open new stores
Nov 16 2004 By Neil Hodgson, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are expanding their stores portfolio with a new opening in Birkenhead today and a fourth shop set to open next Monday in Ellesmere Port. The drive means the Blues have more UK stores than any other Premiership side said the club's acting head of commercial operations, Alastair Saverimutto, who revealed ambitions to open even more sites, said: "I want to drive the commercial operation forward." The club opened a second store earlier this year in city centre Ranelagh Street, which has not impacted on sales at its main Goodison Park megastore. "There has been no cannibalisation of sales from the Goodison Park site," said Mr Saverimutto.. "We are happy they are new sales at Ranelagh Street and we have exceeded our proposed sales targets. We are hoping for great things from the two new shops and I am hoping to open more. "The environment is right and the setting is right," he added. Everton's two new stores will create 10 jobs. The first opens in Birkenhead's Pyramid shopping centre today, the second next Monday at the Port Arcades in Ellesmere Port. Everton said they decided to give fans who live over the Mersey and in North Wales the chance to buy Blues' merchandise without having to travel to Liverpool. New club chief executive Keith Wyness is determined to maximise Everton's commercial potential to generate much-needed income. First team stars Marcus Bent, Steve Watson and Tony Hibbert were due to drop in at the new Birkenhead store at 1pm to sign merchandise for fans. Everton chairman Bill Kenwright revealed in the ECHO yesterday that the club has debts of £42m. Critics have accused the club in the past of failing to exploit its worldwide brand, but the club is now increasingly embracing new avenues such as internet and e-commerce opportunities.

Chinese whisper alarming Everton
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 17 2004
EVERTON are anxiously awaiting reports from today's World Cup qualifier between China and Hong Kong after Li Tie announced plans for an unexpected international comeback. Everton gave the injured midfielder permission to join the Chinese squad purely to help improve his morale after 10 months on the sidelines with a broken shin. But after arriving in Guangzhou, the midfielder - who Everton insist is still a month away from a Premier-ship return - revealed he is ready to play if selected. Li Tie has played only 30 minutes of football since suffering the injury while on international duty in January. But he declared: "I have come back to shoulder the duty with everyone. It depends on the head coach whether I play and, if I do, where I play. I just have to show my best in training first." However, that contradicts Everton's medical advice and it would provoke a furious response at Goodison if Li Tie did play. "In our opinion Li Tie isn't available to play in the game against Hong Kong," said head physio Mick Rathbone. "He's only had 30 minutes of reserve team football in the last nine months. "We know that the people connected with the national squad want him over there for morale. We're expecting him to train with them, but when someone's been out with a fractured leg for nine months it would be extreme to start an international fixture."
Gary Naysmith, meanwhile, has withdrawn from the Scotland squad for the friendly against Sweden in order to play for the reserves against Nottingham Forest tonight. The defender returned from an ankle injury in last week's reserve defeat at Wolves and has decided to improve his match fitness with a full appearance at Haig Avenue.

Cars quits Irish duty
Nov 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
LEE CARSLEY is set to call time on his Republic of Ireland career. The 30-year-old took a break from international football at the end of last season and has missed the Republic's last 11 games, including last night's 1-0 friendly win over Croatia. And now, after enjoying a run of fine form for Everton this season, he is ready to make the break permanent. It brings an end to an international career in which he earned 29 caps. "As far as playing for Ireland, I think that is probably me done now," he told the ECHO. "At the time it wasn't a decision I took lightly or one I rushed into. "I am still only 30, but one of the big things is when Kevin Kilbane and the rest of the lads are going away on international duty, I don't miss going. "That probably means it is time to call it a day, not least because I think it is benefiting me here as well. "I am not missing any training sessions and I am not getting up at silly hours to get planes back home after international games. "Taking a break from international football has given me a chance to get the right kind of rest and do the right kind of training. But the training we do now when the international lads are away is pretty tough, so it is not as if we have a holiday." Carsley took the decision to take a break in April so he could focus on his club duties and spend more time with his wife and family. Everton have reaped the benefits this term, with the midfielder's impressive form making him an essential player in David Moyes' plans.
By contrast, Carsley's team-mate Li Tie is on a collision course with the Blues after hinting he is ready to make a return to international action after nine months sidelined by a broken shin. The midfielder was named in the China squad earlier this month for today's must-win World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong. He was given permission to join the squad, but only to help boost morale. But after arriving in China, Li Tie suggested he would be willing to play. He said: "I have come back to shoulder the duty with everyone. It depends on the head coach whether I play and, if I do, where I play." Everton head physio Mick Rathbone said: "We're expecting him to train with them, but when someone's been out with a fractured leg for nine months it would be extreme to start an international fixture." Meanwhile, Kevin Kilbane captained Ireland for the first time in last night's win over Croatia, while Tim Cahill scored for Australia in their 2-2 draw with Norway. Iain Turner played for Scotland's Under-21s in a 2-1 defeat to Sweden in Falkirk.

Cars key for Blues
Nov 17 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
THE adage that you don't know what you have got until it is gone has been proved right at Goodison in the last three weeks. Lee Carsley's importance to Everton was underlined during his enforced absence through suspension. David Moyes' men failed to win any of the three games Carsley had to sit out following his red card against Preston in the Carling Cup. His return to the side last weekend coincided with the side's first win since the success at Norwich last month. But while his influence is only now being fully appreciated outside Bellefield, among his teammates the Irish-man's work has never gone unnoticed. Earlier this month David Weir cited Carsley as the club's best player this season. And Moyes has been equally impressed, saying: "When he has played he has done a great job and I am sure the boys at the back have been delighted when he has been in the side. "I am sure if you ask the players who they think deserves the most credit they would say Lee." Defensive midfielder is a position which Carsley admits brings the best out of him. "I am just glad I have been given a chance to play in that role," he admits. "I played there at Derby and played my best football in that position. "The system suits me. But it is not so much about me liking it, I think it is about everybody fitting in. "As a team we have clicked in this system and it suits the way we are playing. It gives Tommy Gravesen, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman and Kev Kilbane licence to get forward as much as they want." The fact they have failed to convert so many of the chances they have carved out means the Blues' 4-5-1 formation has been singled out for criticism, and they have developed a reputation amongst rival fans for climbing to third on the back of negative football. It is a claim Carsley refutes. "Arsenal and Manchester United play a very similar system to us a lot of the time, with just one out-and-out striker," adds Carsley. "But they don't get criticism for being negative because they score a lot of goals as well. "That is an area where we have to improve, because we are creating a lot of attacks at the moment. If we could start scoring more goals people would start saying 'what a great system'. "People might think it is quite defensive, but I don't think we have ever had as many people getting in the box when we are attacking, which is good. "And the most important thing has been the results we have been getting. If we hadn't been doing so well people might have been blaming the system or the fact we haven't been buying players. "What we have found in the last three or four games is that teams are changing their system to adapt to us. I recall the Tottenham game when they came to Goodison, put one man up front with Robbie Keane in midfield and tried to frustrate us. "It is a reflection of how far we have gone when teams are thinking about how they can play against us." And while Carsley is now beginning to get the credit he deserves, he is happy to share the praise - starting with the latest addition to Everton's midfield ranks. "I didn't realise how good Tim was when he arrived," admits Carsley. "I had played against him when he was at Millwall and maybe he wasn't in such a good team. "But he really is a very good player and his timing into the box is unbelievable. He has got that little bit of insurance to make those runs when he knows he doesn't have to break his neck to get back because I am there filling holes for him. " A lot of credit has got to go to David Weir and Alan Stubbs as well. Those two have been absolutely outstanding. "But, to be fair, everyone has. Tommy is playing really well and you would have to go far to find a better midfielder in the country than him at the moment. " Some of the positions he gets into are great and the amount of goals he sets up for the team shouldn't be under-estimated." Nor should Carsley.

Win a Mersey derby date
Nov 17 2004 Jblue, Liverpool Echo
IT'S one of the greatest events in the football calendar and you could be part of the action in our latest giveaway. December 11 will bring together Everton and Liverpool for a milestone Merseyside derby and two jblue members have a once in a lifetime opportunity to be the Blues Mascot or Toffee Girl for the day. Next month's contest will take on extra significance with it being the 200th meeting of the sides in all competitions, so to mark the occasion our lucky prize winners will get the benefit of:
* Four complimentary tickets to the game;
* Full Everton kit;
* Allow one guest to go down the tunnel with them;
* Official photograph from our photographers;
* Go in the players dressing room with the opportunity to take photos and get autographs;
* Run onto the pitch with the team captain and have a kick around.
To enter this exclusive competition simply answer the following question:
How many Merseyside derbies have there been to date? Send your entries (on a postcard or sealed down envelope) to Everton Mascot/Toffee Girl Competition, jblue, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB. As well as your answer, please include your name, address, daytime phone number, jblue membership number and the prize you desire - Mascot or Toffee Girl. Winners will be the first correct entries picked at random. Closing date is Wednesday, December 1. Normal competition rules apply.
* The winners of our Footie Girl clothing range competition are Samantha Mallon, Speke; Holly Morgan, Crosby and Zabi Thornton, Walton. Each win a training shirt from the new girls' range.
The boys training shirt winners are Adam McBreen, Aigburth; E & H Matthews, L13; David Murphy, Huyton; Charles Alexander, L23.
New club stores
BLUES fans across the river have the chance to check out the latest Everton goods with the opening of two official stores on the Wirral. The first was opened yesterday at Birkenhead's Pyramid Centre, while a store at the Port Arcades in Ellesmere Port will open its doors next Monday.
* The club are reminding jblue Platinum members that they can redeem their £5 discount voucher for the Fulham game this weekend. Also, half-season tickets are now on sale until December 17.
Questions for a star JBLUE members have the chance to put their Top Ten questions to an Everton player this season. If you want to be considered for this great opportunity, send your questions plus name, address, age and supporters' club membership number to: Jblue, Everton Questions, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.

Dragons in danger
Nov 17 2004 By Stuart Rayner, Liverpool Echo
THERE may not be a Wrexham Football Club for much longer. The Welsh club is facing extinction if a solution cannot be found to its current crisis. Yesterday Wrexham applied to the High Court for an administration order, with the Inland Revenue set to issue winding up proceedings for an unpaid debt of £800,000. It's a sticking plaster rather than a cure for the club's ills. The problems have arisen after Alex Hamilton, a property developer, bought the club and its historic home.
Now, Hamilton has served notice on Wrexham to leave the Racecourse Ground by July. It is thought he will then try to sell it on for around £6million. Hamilton has not found the club an alternative ground and shows no sign of doing so. It's hard to say for certain what Hamilton's precise motives are as he doesn't go in for public statements, but it seems pretty certain his only reason for getting involved in the League One club was to make a quick buck. If he is successful, football will be the poorer. The Racecourse Ground was sold to the club in 2002, only for the ownership to be Transferred to another of Hamilton's companies within hours. These do not sound like the actions of someone who has his football club's best interests at heart, to me. On the face of it, this might not seem to have any relevance to anyone who does not support Wrexham. But it does. All football clubs are faced with this sort of threat. For some reason, many of them seem to attract pretty unsavoury figures, perhaps lured by the prestige of owning the local club, maybe encouraged by the fact that no matter how badly they are run, there is always someone to haul them out of the brown stuff. Not since Aldershot has a Football League club actually been allowed to go to the wall. It's unlikely Wrexham will, either. But if football fans apathetically sit back and wait for a white knight, he won't appear. They may only be a lowly League One club, but as events at Old Trafford have shown recently, it can happen anywhere. And, if United fans had allowed it to, it probably would have happened there already. If Wrexham are allowed to go to the wall, predators such as Hamilton will only be encouraged to try it on themselves. Possibly with Liverpool - who were apparently considering an offer from one of the dodgiest prime ministers on the planet this summer - maybe at Everton, who will be open to offers if the prospective deal with Fortress Sports Fund fails to materialise, or perhaps at Tranmere or Chester - clubs which because of their uncertain financial positions have to sit up and listen whenever a sugar daddy comes calling. FANS United - a group which tries to highlight cases of clubs in crisis - is urging any fans not planning on going to a match on Saturday to turn up at the Racecourse Ground in their club's colours for Saturday's league game against Bristol City (3.00pm kick-off). Chester have no game that day, while Liverpool are at Middlesbrough. Those Tranmere fans not making the trip to Blackpool are also asked to go along. And those fans who will be supporting their own side that day are asked to show their solidarity in a different way - by "wearing red for Wrexham". If Evertonians can't bear to do that at Goodison on Saturday, then at least carry a red card - and stand up for the first 15 seconds of the game. Any support will be gratefully received and hopefully serve as a warning to those unscrupulous characters looking to take your club for a ride to think again. Possibly not. But it's bound to do more good than trawling around B&Q with your missus this Saturday.

Everton Res 0, Nottingham Forest Res 0
Nov 18 2004
Daily Post
EVERTON RESERVES recorded their third goalless draw this season despite dominating the latter stages of the play against Nottingham Forest in the FA Premier Reserve League Northern Section at Haig Avenue. The Blues had Gary Naysmith in their lineup continuing his comeback from injury, playing the full 90 minutes. Andy Holden's side were out to impress following last week's thrashing at Wolves and they should have been one up early on when Nick Chadwick missed a good chance, shooting wide on four minutes. Naysmith saw plenty of the ball in midfield, however Everton were lucky not to concede on the quarter-hour mark when Jonathan Wilmet broke free, thankfully Eddy Bosnar was on hand to prevent his run on goal. The Forest striker was causing more problems minutes later, forcing a tremendous save out of Iain Turner after again getting free of the Everton defence. The second-half performance was much better by Everton and James Vaughan, Chadwick and Anthony Gerrard all had shots on goal while Forest chances were kept to a minimum.
EVERTON RES: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Bosnar (Hughes 45), Naysmith, Hopkins(Seargeant 67), Harris (Vidarsson 62), Chadwick, Vaughan, Boyle. Subs: Anichebe, Gallagher.
NOTTINGHAM FOREST RES: Roche, Biggins, Doig, Beaumont, Hjelde, Tarka, James (Hughes 66), Perch, Bopp, Mullarkey, Wimlet. Subs: Hurren, Glass, Fernandez, Hand-bury.

Kilbane targets success at double
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 18 2004
KEVIN KILBANE has set his sights on a new year world and European double. The Everton midfielder (left), who captained the Republic of Ireland for the first time on Tuesday night, believes he can achieve glory with both club and country this season. As regular skipper Kenny Cunningham quipped following the 1-0 friendly success over Croatia, Kilbane can boast a 100% record with the arm-band - but the 27-year-old wants so much more. Kilbane played his part in ensuring Ireland ended 2004 on the right note in front of another expectant Lansdowne Road crowd, with manager Brian Kerr's side defeated just once this year in 13 matches. They head into next year as leaders of their World Cup qualifying group following the opening four matches, laying firm foundations on the road to Germany and the finals. But Kilbane would also love to help Everton return to Europe at the end of this season, which would be a remarkable feat after the troubled times of the summer during which there was board-room infighting, and in particular the Wayne Rooney saga. Despite the striker's £27million defection to Manchester United, Everton have not lost out on the pitch, with manager David Moyes' side riding high in third in the Barclays Premiership. "There was so much made of that in the summer, which wasn't good to be around, and I think it overshadowed the quality we have at the club," reflected Kilbane. "We were reading about what was happening in the paper every day, and when Wayne left we knew we had to stick together and fight each other's corner, which is what we have done. "Because there was so much against us, it made us work that much harder for one another and since returning from the pre-season tour to America, we have gone from strength to strength and come together collectively. "We've had a great start to the season. Every week we are going into games and people are saying 'is the bubble going to burst?' "We've had a couple of poor results, but everybody is thriving on their own performances this season. We just don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves," added Kilbane.. "We've 25 games to go, big times are ahead of us and we just need to maintain what we have done. We believe in ourselves to stay strong and get the right results. "Europe has to be the aim. We can't kid ourselves and say it's not. We believe we have a good enough team and squad to get into Europe. "We have to believe that because I certainly want to play there. Everybody wants it and I'm sure if we continue the way we are going then we will be all right." Kilbane's compatriot Lee Carsley has, on the other hand, decided to focus his efforts entirely on Everton's campaign. The tough midfielder has seen his domestic form blossom since asking not to be considered for international duty seven months ago, and has played a pivotal role in the Goodison club's revival this season. And he now accepts that he is likely to stick to that decision. "As far as playing for Ireland, I think that is probably me done now," he said. "At the time it wasn't a decision I took lightly or one I rushed into. "I am still only 30, but one of the big things is when Kevin Kilbane and the rest of the lads are going away on international duty, I don't miss going. "That probably means it is time to call it a day, not least because I think it is benefiting me here as well." He continued: "I am not missing any training sessions and I am not getting up at silly hours to get planes back home after international games. "Taking a break from international football has given me a chance to get the right kind of rest and do the right kind of training. But the training we do now when the international lads are away is pretty tough, so it is not as if we have a holiday."

The night Everton exploded into life
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 18 2004
IT IS ten years ago this week since Joe Royle made his emotional return to Goodison and a certain rangy Scottish striker became the new king of Goodison Park after an incredible derby win on a misty winters night. To set the scene, Everton were rock bottom going into November with Mike Walker's team looking clueless. After a dire goalless draw at Norwich, Peter Johnson used the ensuing international break to sack Walker and replace him with Royle. On a shoestring budget Royle had worked miracles with Oldham leading them into the top flight and now he had the opportunity to work some magic on the Blues. Royle's first test was the derby at Goodison. With Roy Evans' team riding high, Everton were given no chance. However this was the night that Joe Royle's 'Dogs of War' were born. Royle had two weeks to work with his demoralised squad and he developed a system that employed three hard-running, hard-tackling midfielders in Barry Horne, Joe Parkinson and John Ebbrell to chase the opposition. He also had a highly-rated, but boredlooking target-man on loan from Rangers and a full-back with a deadly left foot called Andy Hinchcliffe. On the night, the plan worked like a dream. The first half was suitably scrappy but it was soon apparent the Reds were struggling against the Blues powerhouse midfield. The game swung Evertons way when Hinchcliffe's booming corner was met by a bullet Duncan Ferguson header. It was the striker's first goal for Everton and a new hero was born. The goal knocked the stuffing out of Liverpool and just before the end Rideout scored the goal that took Everton off the bottom of the table. Goodison exploded and Joe Royle gave Evertonians their pride back. But no one could have predicted the eventual glory that season would bring.

The jury
Nov 18 2004 Liverpool Echo
"Gravesen's tracking back more, his passes seem to be going to our players and he's scoring goals"
AFTER losing two games on the bounce, it was great to get back to winning ways - especially with another away win that keeps us in third place. It was the ability to win 'ugly' that was the key to the victory over Birmingham and also a reminder to David Moyes ahead of January's transfer window that spending money, which Steve Bruce did in the summer, does not necessarily bring success.
I don't normally like to single out individuals but we have to make every effort to keep Thomas Gravesen. But the most pleasing factor surrounding this win was the fact that David Moyes has just signed a new contract. I hope it is an indication that the board have secured the new investment and have shown him that they have the same ambitions for the club that he has.
TOMMY GRAVESEN'S form since his arrival at Everton can be summed up with the words 'consistently inconsistent'. One moment he'll play a pass of sublime quality, but other times pigeons have to wear safety gear to feel protected from one of his 'off the mark' passes. But this season he's finally emerged as the class act he is. It took four years, but he got there. Maybe he's never felt like the main attraction. He's always had someone already in the limelight, such as Dunc, Kevin Campbell and our former number 18. But now he's got centre stage. Thankfully, we're reaping the benefits of this form and he is certainly the catalyst of the team. He's tracking back more, his passes seem to be going to our players and he's scoring goals. Finally, Mad Dog has more bite than bark.
KEN STEWART, Thatto Heath
THE weekend started off with the fantastic news that David Moyes has signed a new contract. It finished with another positive performance and three points. Reports of a £42m debt have dampened all of this. But I cling to the fact Moyes would not have signed a new contract if he thought the situation was that bad. It's been a long time since Everton have had a manager that the fans have so much respect for and can trust. We all believe one day Moyes will bring silverware to Goodison Park. Moyes, along with the players have proved so many people wrong this season and hopefully come this Saturday we can prove to Tomasz Radzinski that Everton is a club on the up.
Another win this Saturday will stretch our advantage on the teams below us and push us closer to European football.
MAYBE it's an Evertonian thing, but there seemed something ominous about last Saturday's game, what with Birmingham due a home win and an ex-Liverpool striker due a goal. But by now we should know better. David Moyes has proved a master of changing mindsets - the players have proved it and the fans are beginning to believe it. While Liverpool have specialised in winning games with penalties for decades, it came as a nice surprise for us to be handed a spot-kick, just when a draw looked a dead cert. Alan Irvine must also receive praise for making us one of the best drilled sides around. Goodison should be packed close to capacity on Saturday for us to try and widen the gap between us and fourth place. It will also be a nice opportunity to say a big hello to doubting Tomasz. I tell you what Radz, from up here in third place you look very stupid indeed.

Mido agent links Blues to Roma strike ace
Nov 18 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THE agent of Roma star Mido claims Everton are interested in the Egyptian international.
The 21-year-old is eager to leave Rome after failing to settle following a £4m move from Marseille in the summer. Southampton and Manchester City are believed to be leading the chase. But agent Christophe Henrotay has suggested David Moyes is waiting in the wings. He said: "He is not playing and he has not played for three months, so it is difficult for him. "I think right now he just wants to play football and he would like a move to the Premiership. He definitely won't go back to France.
"They (Manchester City and Southampton) are still looking for a striker, and there may be other possibilities. I know Everton manager David Moyes well and he knows of the player but we don't need to talk to each other every two minutes. "I don't think he will stay at Roma. I was not too keen for him to go to Roma because I knew it would be difficult for him to get a game, but he really wanted to go because they are a prestigious club." The Blues are keen to bolster their striking options, with Duncan Ferguson and Kevin Campbell set to leave at the end of the season when their current deals run out. But the Goodison chief's number one target is Southampton's James Beattie, with Porto's Benni McCarthy also high on the wanted list after a potential deal collapsed at the 11th hour on deadline day in August. Moyes is believed to have a £10m kitty at his disposal for the January transfer window.

New faces will step up challenge
Nov 18 2004 Echo Letters
New faces will step up challenge
DAVID MOYES must buy during the transfer window, irrespective of how well the Blues are doing.
It is fantastic to see them up in third place - and that position is an ideal opportunity to build on.
All the signs are positive that the Blues can maintain their position - we can also dream of them challenging Arsenal and Chelsea, too - but to ensure we maintain our progress we have to bring in new faces to step up the competition for places. Moyes has already earmarked certain players and they will prove an asset. Europe is certainly beckoning. Astute moves in the transfer market will ensure this is possible.
P. Franklyn, West Derby
Bright outlook
RE the financial figures revealed this week. They underlined the disasters of last season, but the future is brighter. This season's form, increased revenue from tickets sales, the release from contracts of several former players, the sales of Rooney and Radz, plus the Fortress fund investment, and you have a different feeling of where the club is headed. Last season's results, both on the field and off it, should not be forgotten. The board at Everton need to learn the lessons from that season and never repeat them.
Eddie Hunter, Brisbane
Call for Ball
RANGERS are a joke! To think they believe they should join the Premiership. Why not take Bally back if fitness is proven. Surely he's better than the Italian Stallion and Naysmith.
John Graham, Skelmersdale

Buy a striker

DEFEAT against Chelsea was no disgrace, but the way the Blues bounced back at Birmingham is an indication of the new resilience this season.

With Nigel Martyn behind them, the defence looks solid and the win in the Midlands was the fifth this season on their travels.

The success has been down to some hard work, determination to prove critics wrong after last season's dismal show and a team spirit that is second to none. David Moyes has played a key role in this reversal of fortune. The midfield, through Carsley and Gravesen, in particular, are doing an outstanding job, and the only drawback is the lack of goals. Hopefully, this can be rectified in January when Moyes is given some much-needed money. Then, who knows what the Blues can achieve . . .
Rob Daniels, Bootle
Wind 'em up
WHY don't Everton apply for a winding up order on Rangers?
The Inland Revenue seem to be able to do it on smaller clubs, and why hasn't Gordon Taylor, and the PFA not got involved.
John Summers, Merseyside
Shocked at value of half season tickets I WANT to express my disgust at the latest attempt by Everton to fleece fans. My friend and I had had season tickets for many years. This year, due to the huge increase in price, my friend (a student) could not afford the outlay in one go. We have, however, not missed a home game and had been getting the money together to buy a half season ticket in the next few weeks. I have just been on the official Everton website and seen the information for half season tickets. Obviously, 19 games a season means an uneven amount of games and I expected it to be nine games rather than 10. But the price - the cheapest adult one being £219 - is outrageous. Doing the maths, it actually works out at £24.33 per game, whereas buying matchday tickets in the same part of the grounds costs less at just £24. This beggars belief.
The only benefits to getting a half season ticket now could be to get cup priority vouchers.
My friend and I will definitely be hoping to regain our season ticket for next season. But we are worried that we may be beaten in the rush if we finish in the top six or so. I suspect that the club realises this.Would the prices be the same if the club had started the season poorly? I very much doubt it.
Ian Denson, Merseyside

Roo's actions 'disgraceful'
Nov 18 2004 By Petra Mann, Liverpool Echo
WAYNE Rooney was at the centre of a backlash today after tearing off his black armband worn in remembrance of Emlyn Hughes. The 19-year-old England striker then threw it to the ground after he was substituted in the game against Spain last night. Hughes, 57, was buried yesterday after suffering from a brain tumour. Hundreds of friends, family and fans paid their respects to the ex-Liverpool player at Sheffield cathedral. Today Hughes's ex-team mates branded Rooney's actions "stupid". Former Liverpool player David "super-sub" Fairclough, 47, from Formby said: "Emlyn's funeral yesterday was a very emotional day for all the Liverpool players. "I'm not making excuses for what Rooney did but he's a young player and perhaps he did not think about his actions. "It was a stupid thing to do." Rooney was pulled off the pitch 41 minutes into the game after a series of rash challenges. Ex-Liverpool defender Tommy Smith, 59, said: "He was obviously not playing up to standard and was frustrated. He's probably regretting it this morning." Liverpool FC supporters club chairman Richard Pedder said: "It was a disgraceful thing to do and in extremely bad taste.
"Rooney is in the public eye and needs to start thinking about his behaviour." Rooney's spokesman Ian Monk said: "We have no comment to make on the matter at this moment." The Spanish team won 1-0. England manager Sven Goran Eriksson said he took Rooney off the pitch because he had been given a yellow card. He said: "At the time maybe he did not think about the disrespect as he came off. "Maybe it was frustration. "Wayne will remember this game not because he scored any goals but for another reason. "He is young, will learn and was sorry after the game." The game was also marred by Spanish fans taunting England black players with racist insults. The Spanish Football Federation was today facing an official inquiry. Thousands of Spanish fans made monkey noises at Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole. The English FA is demanding action be taken by UEFA and FIFA.
Rooney was a 'silly boy'
FORMER Reds legend Ian St John said: "Rooney had to be taken off to have his nappy changed. He was a petulant and silly boy. "I don't think for one minute he meant to disrespect Emlyn's memory, and I don't think he thought about what he was doing. "He was just in a huge sulk and hugely frustrated. "I think he should come out and say sorry and that he meant no disrespect to Emlyn's memory. People would then say OK and take a different view but he has to say it and believe it.
"It would be a nice gesture for him to perhaps donate something to the charity set up in Emlyn's name."

Reserve run helps Naysmith in fitness bid
Nov 18 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Reserves erased some of the bad memories of their 5-0 defeat at Wolves last week with a goalless draw against Nottingham Forest at Haig Avenue. The Blues had Gary Naysmith continuing his comeback from injury and he played the full 90 minutes. Andy Holden's side should have led early on when Nick Chadwick missed a couple of good chances. Naysmith played in midfield, but it was defender Eddy Bosnar who was on hand to cut out the danger from Forest striker Jonathan Wilmet when he broke free. The Forest striker forced a tremendous save out of Iain Turner, but Everton's second half performance was much better and James Vaughan, Chadwick and Anthony Gerrard all had shots on goal, while Forest chances were kept to a minimum. A draw was probably a fair result, with both sides cancelling each other out for the most part, but Naysmith will have been pleased to get more match fitness as he looks to force his way into the first team picture.
EVERTON RES: Turner, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Bosnar(Hughes 45), Naysmith, Hopkins, (Seargeant 67), Harris(Vidarsson 62), Chadwick, Vaughan, Boyle. Subs unused: Anichebe, Gallagher

Moyes ponders Wilson transfer
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2004
0ShareDAVID MOYES is continuing to monitor Dundee United defender Mark Wilson as the Everton manager considers his transfer options for January. Moyes was linked with a move for the 20-year-old earlier this season - prompting United manager and close friend Ian McCall to place a minimum £1million price-tag on the centre-half. Everton's interest remains, however, and Moyes was at Falkirk on Tuesday to see Wilson in action for Scotland under-21s against Sweden, where he created the equaliser in a 2-1 defeat. The Goodison manager is running the rule over several young defenders, including Viking Stavanger's Brede Hangeland, as veteran duo Alan Stubbs and David Weir approach the end of their Everton contracts - albeit with the possibility of an extension on current form. Moyes has also been linked in Scotland with prolific Hibernian striker Derek Riordan, although he didn't play for the U21s on Tuesday and Celtic are believed to be preparing a £400,000 bid. Everton reserve keeper Iain Turner did play against the Swedes, however, and the Stirling-born stopper admits he may seek another loan deal to continue his development. The 20-year-old won a Conference championship medal during a brief spell at Chester last season and after watching fellow young Scots David Marshall and Craig Gordon establish themselves in goal at Celtic and Hearts respectively, Turner is confident he could follow suit. He said: "You do look at people like Craig at Hearts and David at Celtic and wonder what might be. It is a bit frustrating as I think given the chance I could take it. "They are both good keepers and are playing regularly for their clubs while I've just been playing reserve games so I wouldn't mind the chance to go on loan again so I can play some first-team football." Turner added: "I spoke to the manager about it at the start of the season but we only have two other keepers so if they get any injuries I will be recalled." Li Tie, meanwhile, has escaped any international censure from Everton by taking no part in China's World Cup qualifier against Hong Kong. "The midfielder's willingness to play in Guangzhou alarmed Everton officials who had only granted him permission to travel as a morale-boosting exercise after months sidelined with a broken shin. "China, minus Li Tie, won 7-0, but that did not prevent coach Arie Haan resigning afterwards as a result of their early World Cup exit.

Rooney keeping quiet as armband furore continues
By Mark Bradley, Daily Post
Nov 19 2004
ENGLAND striker Wayne Rooney has apologised to Sven-Goran Eriksson for his loss of self-control in Madrid. But the Manchester United youngster has stopped short of issuing a public apology to Emlyn Hughes' family for disrespecting his memory by flinging a black armband, worn in tribute to the former England captain, to the ground. Eriksson spent time talking to Rooney on the squad's flight back from Madrid, ensuring he was left in no doubt about the need to learn from his flashes of indiscipline. The 19-year-old striker was only prevented from being sent off by Eriksson's decision to remove him from the fray three minutes before half-time. Eriksson has nevertheless taken the view that Rooney realised his mistake and has apologised to him for his behaviour, including his failure to shake hands with his replacement, Alan Smith. "He's young and he's learning and he was sorry in the dressing-room afterwards to Alan Smith and me. That's good," revealed the England coach.
While Rooney would have been better served by apologising publicly for throwing the arm-band to the ground, Eriksson accepts he did not mean to cause any offence, least of all to Hughes's family.
Indeed, former Liverpool striker Michael Owen added: "I'm sure it was frustration with himself. I'd never label that against him. I'm sure he has got a lot of respect for Emlyn Hughes. "He must have been frustrated coming off and that's understandable. But I think if you asked him about that, he would say it was nothing to do with that." Eriksson was nevertheless joined by David Beckham in urging Rooney to learn to channel his fiery aggression in the right manner. Beckham, who had to learn to control his own hot-blooded nature, declared: "People have got to realise is that Wayne is only 19. He looks like a man, and holds himself like a man, but sometimes things like that happen when he is so young. "It's not about cutting it out of his game completely because that is part of his game and that's what makes him a great player and loved by so many people. "But by experience, and with the people he has got around him to help him, he will calm it down as he goes on in his career. "I think a few players - including myself - had a word with him on the pitch towards the end of the first half. "Wayne will learn for himself. But it is not going to change Wayne Rooney as a player because he is still one of the best forwards in the world." Eriksson was heartened by Rooney's subsequent apology to him, insisting that he has no long-term concerns. "I think it's almost the first time for England. It will be good as I think he has learned a lot," he added. "He needs to learn. I hope it will not happen any more but I'm not that worried about it, to be frank."

Give us Ball back
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 19 2004
Give us Ball back
HOW about Everton taking Michael Ball back from Rangers because he can cover centre and left defence (where we need it). If he's any use and doesn't get injured we take him off Rangers' hands for the £500,000 they owe us. Sounds like a deal to me.
J Longshanks (via e-mail)
Good riddance
WHEN Rooney left Everton for Man United, the media told the world that it was a great move for him as Alex Ferguson would bring out the best from him because he has "such a good record for developing young talent". Well after the past few weeks you can really see that influence. He can dive like van Nistelrooy, he is as petulant as Beckham, can kick a player up in the air like Keane and is as arrogant as Ferguson. After Wednesday's dis-play and disrespect to Emlyn Hughes, all I can say is good riddance.
Chris McKay (via e-mail)
Second thoughts
WHERE are you going Wayne? The doubts were put away on Wednesday. Surely Wayne must now realise that he was more disciplined and more respected as an Everton player. His form has dipped and even worse he looks to have turned into another arrogant United player who thinks he can do what he wants on and off the pitch - cue his behaviour on Wednesday. Second thoughts on the move yet, Wayne?
Amit Khan (via e-mail)
I AM so happy Wayne Rooney is no longer an Everton player. He is a disgrace to football.
Fran James, Croxteth

Keep it going and all glasses will be full
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 19 2004
HOW you feel about the events and announcements of the last week or so depends on whether you're a glass is half-full or half-empty type of person. The optimists will point at David Moyes's decision to commit his future to Everton and his team's further consolidation of their third place with yet another away win. Those of a less cheerful disposition, however, will dwell on the confirmation of the massive losses announced. The win at Birmingham just underlined what a great job the playing and coaching staff are doing at the moment. It was hardly a classic at St Andrews, in fact it was painful to watch at times, but it was still infinitely better than Everton's last visit there when they didn't compete and were turned over with embarrassing ease. The fact that we now travel to places like Birmingham expecting to win is why Evertonians were so delighted to hear that the manager has signed a new contract until 2009. He's forever being showered with accolades, but it's difficult to overstate how crucial he is to the club. The fact that he has signed a new deal would also lead you to believe that he has some concrete assurances regarding new investment. The cash received from Manchester United for the bizarrelycoiffured Wayne Rooney is obviously yet to be offset against the £40-odd million debt that was announced in midweek, but even that won't put us in the black. Therefore the money apparently promised by the Fortress Sports Fund is more vital than ever. Bill Kenwright seems confident that it will materialise, and if the Fund themselves were keen at the beginning of the season, when we were told that we were doomed, then surely they must be chomping at the bit to buy a stake now we are in an outstanding position to challenge for Europe. While our chairman has received lots of criticism in the past, for building up expectations and failing to deliver on promises, he simply has to deliver this time. After all, everyone else has done their bit, from the manager and the players who have lifted us up the league, to the fans who have supported them wholeheartedly in numbers. So we have to just cross our fingers and hope that the money does arrive, allowing Moyes to strengthen and make Everton even more competitive. Then perhaps everyone's glasses might even over-flow a little bit.

Radz surprise at Blues' form
Nov 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TOMASZ RADZINSKI has expressed his surprise at Everton's high-flying start to the season ahead of his return to Goodison with Fulham. The Canadian international was sold to the Cottagers for £1.75m in July, just weeks after earning a club fine for criticising David Moyes in an interview and insisting the Blues would spend the season fighting a relegation battle. Three months on and the striker has been proved wrong, with Everton now firmly established in third spot, having been there for over two months. "I am a bit surprised at how well they are doing," he admits. "It is an amazing turnaround for them. They didn't have the best of summers, with all the things that were going on, but it looks like everybody's pulling together and they're playing really good football." Radzinski is expected to start for Fulham tomorrow. He insists he is relishing the prospect of playing at Goodison once again, despite the prospect of a heated reception. "I'm definitely looking forward to going back," he adds. "They gave me the opportunity to come and play in England, and from the very first day the fans were fantastic with me. "They are a team who are hard to beat; they've been grinding out a lot of 1-0 wins. "I really feel we can break that chain of home wins up there. I hope Everton do well this season, but not on Saturday." Meanwhile, Viking Stavanger boss Roy Hodgson has revealed he expects Brede Hangeland, who he values in excess of £2m, to remain with the Norwegian club for the start of their new season in the New Year after Everton cooled their interest in the defender.
The 23-year-old spent three days training with the Blues at Bellefield a fortnight ago but since returning to Scandinavia the player and the club have received no further communication.
Hodgson said: "If David Moyes is interested in Hangeland we should have heard something by now.
"It is two weeks since he was at Everton. But at the same time I am glad for each day that passes without Everton calling because we want to keep the player." * Everton keeper Iain Turner, who was watched by Moyes playing for Scotland Under-21s on Tuesday night, believes he will benefit from another loan move. The 20-year-old enjoyed a successful spell with Chester at the end of last season. He said: "You can't beat playing first team football and while training with Nigel (Martyn) and Wrighty is helpful, it's not the same."

We're ready to turn top class efforts into goals
Nov 19 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
MARCUS BENT couldn't have asked for a better start to his career with Everton. The 26-year-old's hunger and desire on the pitch has made him an instant hit with fans. But it is that same hunger which has left the forward craving even more from the Blues' forthcoming contests - starting tomorrow against Fulham. Everton go into the game firmly established in the Premiership's top three, four points ahead of Bolton and having been there for the last nine weeks. And yet the plaudits for David Moyes' men have been muted. Bent believes that would be different had they turned their dominance into goals more regularly at Goodison. The Blues have netted just six goals from their six league games at home so far this season. "We have steam-rolled the majority of teams with our performances but we can't seem to put that killer punch in," said Bent. "We have been creating plenty of chances and we have been defending very well. We just need to step it up that little bit more and I am sure that is not too far away. "The confidence is there. Everybody was doubting us and suggesting the bubble had burst after the games against Chelsea and Arsenal but we bounced back last week. "We have come a long way in a short space of time. We are happy to be here and we are still working very hard to stay where we are. "And we probably would get more credit for the football we have been producing if we converted more chances and thumped somebody. "But we are not getting greedy. As long as we keep getting three points, even from 1-0 wins, then it is all good. "We are third in the league with a cushion over fourth and if we can maintain that everybody will be delighted. "But it certainly won't be easy this weekend. Fulham may not have been doing that well in the past couple of weeks but they have beaten Newcastle away and they have some very good players." Within that Fulham squad are former Blues Brian McBride, Mark Pembridge and Tomasz Radzinski. The first two are sure to receive warm welcomes from the home crowd. Radzinski's reception, on the other hand, could be much cooler. The Canadian international moved to Fulham for £1.75m in July, just weeks after incurring the wrath of the club and the fans by claiming in an interview that Wayne Rooney should be sold, the club would spend this season battling against relegation and that Bent wasn't the kind of signing Everton should be making. Three months on and Bent is in a very strong position to fire a broadside back, thanks to the contrasting fortunes of the two players at their new clubs. But the Everton forward's focus is on the future. He is keen to build on his excellent start and has been boosted by the news that Moyes has signed a new long-term deal which will keep him at Goodison until 2009. "The manager signing such a long deal means stability both for the boss and the club," he added. "I think it will work out brilliant for both him and the club. He signed me, so obviously I want him to be here for as long as possible. "From a player's perspective, no matter what position you play in you need confidence.
"They need someone who is going to back them and be behind them 100 per cent and that is what is happening right now, not just from the gaffer but from all the backroom staff and people around the club. "You probably see it every day, because the players are having a laugh and encouraging each other on the training ground. "The gaffer has pulled me aside a few times, more so at the start of the season, saying he was going to be on my case to push me along. That has been good for me.
"And it was nice to hear him praising me after last weekend's game at Birmingham because it shows I am doing my job. It did give me an extra boost."
* THE winner of our Orange competition is Ben Jenner from Raby Mere. He receives a pair of tickets for each of Everton's forthcoming home games against Fulham, Bolton and Charlton.

Derby defeat fires up Cole
Nov 19 2004 Liverpool Echo
ANDY COLE knows Fulham face a tough task as they aim to erase the memory of last weekend's 4-1 hammering by Chelsea. But he admits Everton will be difficult to beat. Cole said: "It's going to be a very, very tough game because they're flying at the moment. "I don't think anyone would have expected them to be in the position they are in. "They work very hard, they're very difficult to break down, so we know it's going to be difficult." The striker added: "Everyone at the club is very disappointed. "I don't think we played as well as we could have done and that's just really disappointing. I'm the first to look at my own performances, and I was disappointed with myself.
"To lose 4-1 at home, and to Chelsea, was not a good feeling." "We know they're a good team, but we could have made a better game of it than we did. "We didn't play to our potential. We know we would have to play very well to beat them, but we didn't get anywhere close to that."

You dirty Radz!
Nov 19 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALL, very occasionally, throws up the cruellest of ironies which can leave some individuals looking very silly indeed. Just three months ago, then Everton striker Tomasz Radzinski made the following bold statement. "I don't think it (Everton) is a good place to be, because next season we will be fighting another relegation battle when good players want to be testing and improving themselves by playing in Europe. "We have lost a lot of players this season and yet we have only brought one in and I am afraid I don't think Marcus Bent will be able to stop us from struggling again next season." Doh! Fulham come to Goodison Park tomorrow in 13th place in the Premiership, 12 points behind third-placed Everton. Double doh! Radzinski has scored one Premiership goal this season, Bent has four. Of course, doubting Tomasz will tell you he pulled his tripe out for Everton while he was there. Except, of course, while Walter Smith was manager. Radzinski's words again: "The atmosphere has improved 100 per cent since the new manager arrived. "At a certain point we, the players, didn't really give 100 per cent in training and in the games, which wasn't the great-est for everybody concerned. With the new manager there's a new spark of energy in us. We're giving that 10-20 per cent extra now and that wins you games." That new manager was David Moyes, the man Radzinski took to an FA tribunal for fining him for his pre-season outburst. The FA got that one right, ruling in Everton's favour. The club maintained a dignified silence. Radzinski enjoyed an excellent 2002/03 season - until he couldn't carry on with a groin strain and sat out the crucial last eight games of the season. What are the chances Radzinski develops another tight hamstring/calf/groin ahead of tomorrow's Goodison return? About as short as his honourable mentions in an Everton Hall of Fame.
Drinks on Roo
IT'S not been a good week for Wayne Rooney. But the Croxteth pariah did his old team-mates an indirect favour last weekend. When Dwight Yorke bore down on Everton's goal in the final minute at Birmingham, the press box was united in its conviction of the ball's ultimate destination . . . the back of the stand. Apparently, Yorke's legendary ability to party has resulted in a series of less than impressive performances. His drinking partner the weekend before? Wayne Rooney.

Smith expected to be unveiled by Scotland
By Jon West, Daily Post
April 20, 2004.
SMITH is expected to be appointed as the new Scotland manager on Thursday. The SFA have tried to play down speculation Smith had been offered the job on Monday but his appointment would come as little surprise. The 56-year-old has been widely touted as the man to replace Berti Vogts ever since the embarrassing 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Moldova signalled the end of the German's two-and-a-half-year reign. Vogts eventually resigned earlier this month to ignite the race for a new national manager. SFA chief executive David Taylor and office-bearers interviewed Smith earlier this month, although the former Everton and Rangers manager expressed surprise that details of the meeting had leaked. Gordon Strachan was touted as the populist choice for the Tartan Army, who chorused his name during the 4-1 friendly defeat by Sweden at Easter Road on November 17. Vogts' assistant manager Tommy Burns took charge of the team for that game and was also reportedly interested in taking the job on a more permanent basis. However, with a question mark hanging over the involvement of Smith's long-time ally, Archie Knox - who has been linked with a move to Livingston as number two to new manager, the former Everton defender Richard Gough - there may still be a role for the former Celtic manager. But the SFA were remaining tight-lipped on the increasing speculation that Smith had been offered the job yesterday. An SFA spokesman said: "We have got no comment to make on any speculation about the national team manager's position."
But Vogts' predecessor Craig Brown believes the possible appointment of Smith would be welcomed by the vast majority of fans in Scotland. Smith took over the unenviable mantle of Gers' manager from Graeme Souness, who had turned the Govan club into an all-conquering machine before moving to Liverpool in early 1991. But the ex-Dundee United player continued to take Rangers on an upward spiral which took the club within a whisker of the European Cup final and culminated in the record-equalling nine-in-a-row title charge. Brown said: "I will be delighted if he accepts the job and I think most people in Scotland would feel the same way. "We know his proven record with Glasgow Rangers and at Everton in difficult circumstances. "So he has an excellent reputation both as a coach and a gentleman in Scotland and beyond. "Walter's handling of players is superb and his man-management is par excellence. "Obviously, his tactical nous is very, very good. I don't think anyone can identify a weakness in Walter Smith's management technique and style as I am sure will be proved if he takes the Scotland job."

Everton 1, Fulham 0 (D,Post)
Nov 22 2004 By Andy Hunter at Goodison Park, Daily Post
HOW apt that a trademark Duncan Ferguson finish should separate Everton from Fulham on Saturday when it is the head and not the foot that explains why these clubs are now 15 points apart.
Contrary to popular belief - and Everton's slender winning margins - Premiership gulfs do not only exist between the wealthy few and the hangers-on, they can also divide the league's 'middle-tier' too. That gulf is defined by attitude. Neither manager at Goodison Park on Saturday would go so far as to lambast past and present flaws in their players' mental approach but you didn't need to look hard for clues as to what David Moyes and Chris Coleman believe are the causes for their outstanding or distinctly average seasons so far. After a cold mid-November afternoon had ended with his team celebrating as many victories this season as in the whole of last term Moyes, as is now the weekly tradition, was asked to explain the transformation of a team that flirted with relegation six months ago yet is now savouring closing the gap on Chelsea and Arsenal at the top of the table.
"I can't put the change down to any one thing but there is a real togetherness amongst the players now on and off the pitch," he replied. Attitude has improved along with results, and they in turn have bred a winner's mentality at Everton this season. Both Everton and Fulham employ similar tactics, formations and styles, especially away from home where the intention is to stifle hosts before hitting them with a clinical touch. The crucial difference, as both managers inadvertently revealed afterwards, lay in their strength of character. Coleman bemoaned "the lack of concentration" that led to Ferguson's 66th-minute matchwinner but saved his real anger for his international contingent who, both before and after national service calls, appear to amble through the motions. "Yeah Luis (Boa Morte) was injured but he wasn't at the races anyway," was just one rebuke from the Fulham coach. Contrast that to life at Everton where Moyes, unawares of his counterpart's criticism, was gushing in his praise of the commitment and appetite shown by his continental travellers. "Our international players could not give us any more, they have been superb," he said. "I would prefer them to play less in the internationals because we can't afford to give them a breather but they have never complained. "Tommy (Gravesen) travelled back from Georgia in midweek, got held up in Frankfurt and so didn't arrive back at Bellefield until late, but he ploughed on without a break. It is the same with Tim Cahill and Kevin Kilbane as well. We are asking a lot of them but they keep responding. "Tommy tired towards the end which is understandable and had to come off with a bit of a sore knee but I think he just wanted a clap to be honest!"
Though no longer of his international parish (and he must be wallowing in that decision given Scotland's indecent slide) Ferguson has also demonstrated the desire to give everything in the Everton cause this season. The 32-year-old is no longer in a comfortable predicament at Goodison Park with time ticking on his career and contract and every moment of Premiership action preceded by a place on the bench this season. But his have all been valuable contributions nonetheless. Within five minutes of replacing Leon Osman on Saturday he swooped to break Fulham's stubborn resistance with an awkward, diving header after Mark Crossley had only parried Kilbane's header from a Gravesen corner across the goalmouth. "Duncan has made a contribution every time he has come off the bench," said Moyes. "He will get an opportunity to start but at the moment the team is very settled and Marcus Bent is playing extremely well. No-one can afford to rest on their laurels though and there will be opportunities for Duncan at some point." Ferguson's precious touch ensured Everton took what they thoroughly deserved off a Fulham side for whom preservation and a goalless draw appeared the order of the day. Like the previous week's victory at Birmingham there was a turgid first half to endure before Moyes's team stepped up the pressure and pace after the interval to gain control of the contest. Cahill's towering header at the end of a trademark run into the box and flowing Everton move was the only moment of quality before the break. Tomasz Radzinski, given a predictable reception that does not augur well for you-know-who when he comes to town on April 20, almost silenced the taunts with a back-post header that drew a point-blank save out of Nigel Martyn on his 800th appearance in club football. The outspoken striker almost levelled matters in stoppage time with a toe-poke that rolled inches past Martyn's post but a draw would have been an injustice given Everton's elevated second-half showing and overall superiority, with Gravesen's midfield dominance and Bent's relentless effort key factors. "I am delighted for Everton," said a gracious Coleman. "They play the way we did today but were more effective. They are rigid in their formation, disciplined in shape and play with a high tempo. "I am delighted for Moyesy too. He took a lot of stick in the summer and lost some key players such as Rooney and Radz to us but he has got his team very well organised and they are continuing to prove people wrong. "They are third in the league for a reason - they are a good,, strong team." The irony,, of course, is that the excellence shown by Everton's players now could cost them their positions once reinforcements arrive in January. For now, however, Moyes is anxious to channel attention towards where it is deserved most. He said: "I thought we played well and there is no doubt we deserved to win. Fulham played the way we play away from home. They won 4-1 at Newcastle on their last away trip so we had no divine right to think we would win this game but we did so deservedly in the end. "We have won nine games so far this season, which is the same amount as the whole of last season, and we have beaten some very good teams. The performances and the attitude of the play-ers has been absolutely terrific. "They are doing it every week and giving us everything they've got. We want to entice the supporters to come back, we want the media to pay us a lot of attention and we want other players to want to play for Everton. There is no doubt we are looking to add to our squad but I am not going to talk about other players who are not at the club because that would be unfair on those who are here and are performing so well. "They have put us in a healthy position and that will attract people to the club. But Everton is a great club anyway and players should want to come here. People know what Everton has done in the past and hope-fully the signs are we are going in the right direction again. "The club has only finished in the top 10 twice in the last 10 years but if we do it again this season that will be twice in three years so hopefully that is a sign that things are changing." There is a long way - and Newcastle,, Bolton and Liverpool - to go before January though.
And Moyes admits: "November and December was always going to be a very tough period for us and I saw them as months when our small squad could be vulnerable. "But we have won two out of three so far and if we can keep it going through the busy Christmas period we will be in a good position when the transfer window opens in January. "Two seasons ago we won a lot of games 1-0. Now we are playing in a different way where we won't score bucketloads, although we still scored three away at Crystal Palace and Norwich. "The opposition make things harder at Goodison as well. They are all tough games at home and every game is so tight because, with the exception of the big boys, there is very little between most teams in the league." Except, it seems, when it comes to matters of the mind.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Osman (Ferguson 61), Gravesen (McFadden 88), Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent (Watson 82). Subs: Wright, Yobo.
FULHAM (4-5-1): Crossley; Volz, Knight, Rehman, Bocanegra; Radzinski, Malbranque, Diop (McBride 81), Pembridge, Boa Morte (Legwinski 53); Cole. Subs: Van Der Sar, Hammond, Pearce.
BOOKING: Fulham's Diop (foul)
REFEREE: Graham Poll
ATT: 34,763
NEXT GAME: Newcastle v Everton, Barclays Premiership, Sunday, 2pm

Ferguson desperate for key role in revival
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 22 2004
ALAN STUBBS believes Duncan Ferguson is desperate to end his Everton career on a high if this is to prove his final season at Goodison Park. The big Scot came off the bench to score his third goal of the season against Fulham on Saturday as David Moyes's team closed the gap on leaders Chelsea to just four points. The 32-year-old is unlikely to be offered an extension to his £2million a-year contract when it expires at the end of this campaign. But skipper Stubbs insists Ferguson's 66th-minute winner was another illustration of the striker's determination to have a pivotal role in this campaign - and perhaps earn a new deal at the end of it. "The one thing you can never question about Duncan is his pride in playing for this club," Stubbs said. "He wears his heart on his sleeve, that is what Fergie is all about, and he has a great affinity for Everton. You don't spend five years at a club, move and then come back without having a strong connection to it. "I don't know whether there is going to be a contract for Duncan at the end of this season but I know he is desperate to go out on a high if this is to be his last season at the club. "He is still Everton's highest goalscorer in the Premier League and that means a lot to him as well. If this is to be his last season he will want to make another big impression, that's for sure." Ferguson is yet to start a league game for Everton this season and Stubbs insists there is a desire among all the club's ageing players to bow out at the top.
He added: "It is hard to accept your career is coming to an end, it is something you have to sit down and think long and hard about because it is an issue a footballer never wants to face. "But you know yourself when your time has come and you can no longer compete at the highest level. You stop getting to things that came easily to you before, games start to pass you by. You don't need anyone to tell you when your time is up, deep down you will know yourself." Ferguson's second-half arrival helped Everton increase the pressure on Chris Coleman's side before he swooped with a diving header for his first Goodison goal of the season. And Stubbs added: "It was an ideal contribution from Duncan, exactly what you would want from him. "Initially he was brought on to give Marcus (Bent) a hand. It is not the easiest job in the world that Marcus has got and it becomes even harder when you are only feeding off scraps as he was against Fulham. "But Duncan gives us another option, when he comes on he is a defender's worst nightmare. I would hate to be the opposition defender who has to handle him when he comes running onto the pitch. "He is awkward, absolutely horrible to play against, and a real handful. "He took his goal superbly as well. If you look at it carefully the ball has gone past Duncan when he swoops to head it in and at first he must have thought it was coming to his feet, but it was a great centre-forward's finish." Saturday's success was Everton's sixth 1-0 victory this term. And Stubbs admits he will accept the slender scorelines providing they continue in Everton's favour. "All these 1-0s are not the way we would like it to be but they still represent three points and that is the most important thing," he said. "We are starting to feel as if we will win each game, although it's easy thinking that, the hard part is actually ensuring we do. But our confidence levels are sky high at the moment. "It was a frustrating, scrappy game at times but we always looked like the team who would score, we created almost all the chances and did most of the pressing."

Martyn's keen to prolong his Goodison life
By Paul Walker, Daily Post
Nov 22 2004
NIGEL MARTYN believes his retirement is still "a long way off" after marking his 800th game with another near faultless display on Saturday. Despite being in his 39th year and with a contract currently set to end in the summer, Martyn is arguably England's best current goalkeeper.
And the Cornish-man said: "I am still enjoying it all and I have no idea how long it will go on, I feel really fit and know I need to keep working but as long as I feel good - and I do - I will carry on playing.
"It is going to be hard to keep up with the top two in the league with the size of squads that they have, certainly as the season goes on. "Our lads will start tiring as the season continues, but we will certainly not be giving up on things and still aim to win every game we play. Much of our success is down to our back four, the defence has been superb all season." In front of Martyn are another couple of old hands, Alan Stubbs and David Weir who have played nearly 1,000 games between them. There is no substitute for experience at Goodison Park. Martyn adds: "I am enjoying this time of my career as much as anything I have done, and it is that bit special to be riding high in the league as well. "There's no cut-off point for me. Obviously one day I will wake up and realise that things are not going for me like they have been and then there is a decision to make. But that seems a long way off for me at the moment. "I only realised this week that the 800th game was coming up, and I can remember the first one still, a 3-1 win over Rotherham for Bristol Rovers in '87. "The time I could have stopped playing probably was when I lost the shirt to Paul Robinson at Leeds and didn't get it back. But I kept on working and hoping and that is how the chance arrived for me to move to Everton, and it has been great ever since. "But I have so much experience in front of me. David (Weir) and Alan (Stubbs) in particular have been tremendous all season."

Dour game but the right result
View from the stands by Simon Ryan Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 22 2004
IF THIS game had been on the TV then almost everyone would have switched off at half-time. A really poor game produced just the one goal but it was an Everton goal and that's all that matters.
The big man came off the bench again and scored the vital winning goal. From the first minute it was obvious Fulham had come for a draw. A great compliment to Everton but it did make a dour game for the spectator. Everton dominated with Cahill and Gravesen looking lively. Fulham never looked like troubling Nigel Martin apart from a close range Radzinski header. Fulham's away support was as poor as the performance on the pitch. The handful of supporters made little noise and this did not help the atmosphere within Goodison. If it hadn't been for Radzinski's welcome home boos then it would have been even quieter. However, it was a different story when the whistle blew for full-time and the three points were in the bag. Goodison erupted and it showed how much the points mean to the fans. Yes the display wasn't great but we won. A great display against Spurs recently saw us lose. Anyway, isn't that the sign of a good team? Winning a game when playing poor-ly. It's especially a great time to be an Evertonian. I'm sure I'm not the only one who checks the league table almost every day. We've got some tough games approaching but the difference now is that the team feel they can the win these games and the opposition fear us. How long can this last, the undits ask? When will the bubble burst? Who knows? All I know is that we are third in the league and only four points off top. I'll take that for now.

Everton 1, Fulham 0 (Echo)
Nov 22 2004 By Scott McLeod at Goodison Park, Liverpool Echo
AFTER the Carling Cup victory over Preston at the end of last month a group of supporters in one of the VIP lounges named David Moyes as their Man of the Match. It may have been a break from convention, but it is an accolade he should have been given far more regularly this season. Because short of getting a kit on and entering the action himself, the Goodison boss couldn't have done much more to turn some of this season's tight encounters decisively Everton's way. Forget the cliche about manager's being useless once the player's cross the white line. The quality of Moyes' substitutions and tactical changes have gathered a glut of extra points for the Blues from games which could have easily ended in stalemate - or worse.. And on more than one occasion this term, that telling contribution from the touchline has included the introduction of Everton's expensive luxury. At £35,000-a-week, Duncan Ferguson is the kind of costly super-sub Roman Abramovich is more accustomed to financing. Which is why this season is certain to be his Goodison swansong.
But, for the time being, he is a flash of decadence Moyes is not afraid to indulge in when the time is right. As with the victories at Portsmouth and Norwich, the arrival of the big Scot turned the tide Everton's way. Within five minutes of his arrival in place of Leon Osman he was stooping at the back post to head home after Mark Crossley could only parry a Kevin Kilbane header. But it wasn't just his goal which put Everton in the driving seat. His physical presence made him the focal point of the attacking play, providing fresh impetus to a side which was becoming increasingly frustrated by Fulham's defensive resolve. And it wasn't all about launching long balls from the four corners of the field onto the big man's head. Instead, Ferguson brought about a change in tempo from the home side which kept the visitors on the back foot and ensured the three points were never under threat in the closing stages. For that, the manager deserves a great deal of credit. The kind of credit which has been all too muted this season. If Everton played the kind of smash-and-grab, long ball football which David O'Leary accused them of last month then Ferguson's arrival on Saturday would have led to an ugly blitzkrieg of the Fulham penalty area. And that would have played right into the hands of a side which arrived on Merseyside seemingly intent on counter-attacking the life out of their hosts, just as they had done at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago. Moyes was never going to let them repeat that success at Goodison. When he introduced Ferguson and switched Bent out to the flank it was with the intention of stretching Fulham without over-committing and giving the likes of Steed Malbranque and Tomasz Radzinski a sniff of an opportunity. It worked perfectly. Just as the game of chess had done in the opening hour. It may have made for one of the least entertaining games Goodison has witnessed for some time but the Blues can surely be permitted a little Mach-iavellian football if it means maintaining a run of form which has made them the talk of the Premiership.
Besides, that opening hour wasn't completely devoid of entertainment. Radzinski waving to the Gwladys Street when he heard them singing his name, only to realise 'Tomasz' had been switched for something more, ahem, rural was worth the admission alone. As was the sight of a ballboy producing a stunning piece of control on the touch-line to trap a misplaced 40-yard pass. But in terms of footballing action, there was very little to speak of. By the 40th minute I had made just one note, jotting down the details of a 20th minute Tim Cahill header which sailed agonisingly over the bar, leading an over-eager scoreboard controller to hit the 'GOAL' button.. Those more superstitious members of the press box wondered if that would be an unlucky omen for the Blues. Thankfully, Fulham never looked capable of making those fears a reality - although Radzinski did shock everybody minutes before the interval when he ghosted in at the back post to connect with a Mark Pembridge cross. Nigel Martyn's point-blank save ensured the Canadian international didn't give Evertonians even greater cause to boo his every touch. The keeper wasn't troubled again - bar one Keystones Cops moment midway through the second half which almost invited Andy Cole in to score. By contrast, Crossley had to produce a couple of top class stops in the second half as Everton's patient approach began to pay off. Marcus Bent, who was outstanding, teed up Cahill for a second headed opportunity which the veteran keeper did well to hold low to his right. And minutes later the striker unleashed a sweet curling effort from 25 yards which was diverted away from the top corner by Crossley's fingertips. So it was left to Ferguson to break the deadlock with a far less spectacular effort from close range to set-up Everton's sixth 1-0 win of the season.
No doubt it is the kind of result which will feed the preconceptions of people like O'Leary. But those who have watched Everton regularly recently know there is far more variety and diversity to the side's football than they have been given credit for. Yes, Saturday was an afternoon when toil and tactical nous was required to secure a result. But that should not be condemned. After all, with Chelsea and Arsenal slipping up the Blues are now just four points off top spot. And for that fact alone, David Moyes deserved to be picking up a few complimentary bottles of Man of the Match champagne on Saturday night.
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbbert, Weir, Stubbs, Pistone; Osman (Ferguson 61), Gravesen (McFadden 88), Carsley, Cahill, Kilbane; Bent (Watson 82). Subs: Wright, Yobo.
FULHAM (4-5-1): Crossley; Volz, Knight, Rehman, Bocanegra; Radzinski, Malbranque, Diop (McBride 81), Pembridge, Boa Morte (Legwinski 53); Cole. Subs: Van Der Sar, Hammond, Pearce.
BOOKING: Fulham's Diop (foul)
REFEREE: Graham Poll
ATT: 34,763
NEXT GAME: Newcastle v Everton, Barclays Premiership, Sunday, 2pm

Kelly on target to save day
Women'S Football By Sam Peters, Daily Post
Ladies were held to a 2-2 draw by Charlton in the Premier League. After a quiet first half, the game exploded into life in the 51st minute when Enola Aluko scored the opening goal for the visitors. Fara Williams equalised for Everton in the 64th minute before Danielle Murphy looked to have sealed it for the visitors with her 73rd-minute strike. However, Kelly McDougall had other ideas, and she dramatically equalised with just two minutes left on the clock to take a share of the points for the home team. Bristol Rovers demolished Liverpool 5-1 thanks in part to a tremendous hat-trick by Trudy Williams. Annemieka Griffioen and Katie Holthan scored Rovers' other goals. Gail Formston scored a late penalty for Liverpool.

Moyes joy at tireless Blues
Nov 22 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has paid tribute to his long-haul high-fliers. Everton deservedly ground down Fulham on Saturday to close the gap on second-placed Arsenal to two points and leave leaders Chelsea just four points distant. But while Fulham boss Chris Coleman bemoaned the effect international football has had on his players, Moyes saluted the efforts of men like Thomas Gravesen, Tim Cahill, Kevin Kilbane and James McFadden. "All the players who played international football deserve an awful lot of credit," he said. "They are ploughing a furrow for us at the moment. "We don't have the biggest of squads so we don't have an opportunity to give them a rest. They had a game in midweek and did not really have any time to rest mentally or physically. "Tommy Gravesen was out in Georgia and after playing the game he was then delayed in Frankfurt coming back. He only arrived back late on Thursday. But he is ploughing on for us so good on him. "Tim Cahill is only just starting in the Premiership, and the week before we had three away games, then he had to disappear on international duty. They all deserve great credit." Fulham counterpart Coleman, however, moaned: "Our results always suffer before and after international weekends, so I wasn't surprised. But it's something we have to change." Moyes has no worries about Danish midfielder Gravesen, who limped off near the end. "I think he was more tired than anything," he explained, before setting a minimum top ten target for his side. "Everton is a great club, and there are signs in the last couple of years that we are moving in the right direction," he said.. "Twice in the last 10 years we have finished in the top 10. If it happens again this season we could say we are moving in the right direction. "But we want to be in the top 10 eight out of 10 years - or 10 out of 10. "There's a lot of 10s there, but that's the idea."

Blues' respect comes at price
Nov 22 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S Premiership success story may not be grabbing too many headlines but Leon Osman is all too aware the fine form has not gone unnoticed in opposition dressing rooms. The 23-year-old midfielder (right) has been one of the hits of the season, holding down a regular place in David Moyes' five-man midfield after years in the reserves. But he is finding that he and Everton are becoming victims of their own success. Alongside Thomas Gravesen, Osman is charged with offering the Blues a creative edge in the final third of the field with his deft footwork. Both players did their best to make the most of those qualities against Fulham on Saturday, only to be frustrated time and again by a side set up to nullify Everton's threat rather than cause any meaningful damage of its own. It is a situation Osman has come across increasingly in recent weeks as opposition managers attempt to combat a 4-5-1 system which has served Moyes' men well. Osman said: "It shows how far we have come when teams are coming to Goodison and thinking: 'We will defend what we have got and maybe try and nick a point.' "But that being the case, it is up to us to try and break teams down now and it was a frustrating game. "At first people thought we were up there because of a bit of luck and that we wouldn't last long and so they came here playing their normal formations. But now people are realising why we are up there. They are acknowledging the fact we are playing well and so they see a point at Goodison as a good result. "We have just got to keep finding ways of getting around that and taking the three points, as we did against Fulham." It was Osman who made way for Duncan Ferguson, the eventual matchwinner, shortly after the hour mark. He believes the arrival of the big Scot is another example of how diverse the options are in the current squad, despite a lack of numbers. He adds: "Dunc is a massive presence on the pitch and tremendous in the air. And I am sure even his reputation worries young defenders when they see him coming on.
"So to have that option can cause havoc for an opposition defence. "And that helped us because it was a difficult game. "They did a very good job of getting everybody behind the ball and stopping us playing. "The way they set up was to cut the balls out in midfield, leaving our defenders with the ball. It does get to you when you are not able to get the ball in the positions you want to have it.
"The onus is always on us to find ways of countering that and getting around it. "We are just happy to keep picking up points right now. "I wouldn't say we felt under pressure to get a result at home, but we are always putting pressure on ourselves because we want to be winning these games and we expect to be winning them. If we want to stay where we are we should be winning our home games." Skipper Alan Stubbs lauded Ferguson's performance from the sub's bench. He said: "All credit to him, he deserves it. He has done great to get where he is at the moment. "But when you work hard in training, as Duncan has, you usually get your rewards and he has got that. "When he comes on, the fans respond. "At the time, I think it was the right decision to bring him on. They were smothering Marcus and our midfield and it was difficult for us. "We had to be precise with our passing, otherwise they were intercepting possession, but Duncan, as he has done on so many occasions, always gives us different options."

Dunc cameo hauls Moyes out of soup
Nov 22 2004 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THERE were two perplexing questions testing the minds of Her Majesty's press corps during the half-time interval at Goodison Park on Saturday. Just what was solperino soup - the culinary delicacy served up by the good ladies of the press room? And of more urgent investigation, how could Everton adapt their hugely successful away formation, so it could transfer sizeable territorial advantage into a consistent goal threat at home? The answers to both were enigmatic. "It's blood and snow," was the curious response to the first question. The second was Duncan Ferguson.
The tartan totem is almost 33 and unable to provide the energy David Moyes needs to lead the line from the start as effectively and enthusiastically as the admirable Marcus Bent. But put a ball in the air within range of goal and he is still capable of match-winning finishes. His wonderful winner at Norwich was more old-style Duncan, towering above a straining defender to plant the ball back across goal and beyond a beaten goalkeeper's reach. Saturday's winner against Fulham was altogether different. He had to react, twist and guide Kevin Kilbane's parried effort into an unguarded goal - and did so impressively.. And it confirmed that Ferguson could yet play an influential role in what seems certain to be his final season at Everton. You get the impression the big Scot is content to see out his swansong occupying a sort of super-sub's cameo. He has never had the voracious appetite for goals - or football for that matter - of, say, a Shearer. But he will surely want to bow out with his reputation intact and the marvellous memories of derby-match screamers, flying headers past Peter Schmeichel and a priceless hat-trick against Bolton unsullied by a lacklustre final season. So far, he has added to those memory banks. David Moyes admitted his influence has been important. "He has come off the bench and made contributions in all of our games," said the Blues boss. "He is going to play games as well and start games, but at this moment in time the team is a pretty settled system." But if Moyes has solved the Ferguson conundrum, after last season promised an irrevocable split between player and club, the next big concern is how he spends in January. Everton have used fewer players than any other Premiership side so far, and that will take its toll in terms of burn-out, injuries and suspension as the season progresses. So reinforcements are needed. But does he add a handful of individuals who can slot comfortably into his effective 4-5-1 system? Or one high-priced star to improve the quality at his disposal - James Beattie or Robbie Keane, for example - but then be forced to switch to a 4-4-2? It's as difficult a question as solperino soup. Maybe the answer lies in using two different formations, one at home and one away. Everton were comfortably the better side against Fulham - as they have been in all bar one of their home games this season. But the Cottagers looked as capable of frustrating the Toffees as Tottenham, Aston Villa and so very nearly Southampton did before them, until Big Dunc's introduction. And, just in case you're consumed by curiosity . . . solperino soup is a sort of spicy tomato, and it must be good because it ran out

Everton keen on £7m man Keane
By David Prior Daily Post Staff
Nov 23 2004
EVERTON are keeping a close eye on the availability of Tottenham striker Robbie Keane as David Moyes prepares to go shopping in the January sales. The Republic of Ireland international has emerged as a leading target for the Goodison club, with Moyes prepared to spend around £7million of his expected £10m transfer kitty to secure the 23-year-old's services. Despite excelling for his country and in the Carling Cup, Keane has disappointed in the Premiership so far this campaign with just two goals. And although the struggling White Hart Lane club would want to keep him, they would consider an offer as new coach Martin Jol would then have funds to bring in his own players.
Long-term target James Beattie remains high on Moyes's wish-list for striking reinforcements come the new year, but the Everton manager would not be able to afford both the Southampton front-man and Keane. If one does move north in January, however, the other could follow next summer.
Meanwhile, Tim Cahill has warned of complacency creeping into the Goodison camp as their extraordinary season continues. "We've got to keep thinking game by game," he said.
Cahill continued: "The minute we start looking further than we are is the time that we start getting complacent. "It's best to keep our feet on the ground; the gaffer's done that well with all the lads so we're not getting carried away. Every weekend we're going to enjoy getting results and enjoy being where we are." James McFadden insists he has no plans to request a loan move in January despite fears his lack of first-team action may be harming his international prospects. The 21-year-old is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the Premiership this season as Moyes persists with Bent in a lone attacking role. Both Rangers and Celtic have been linked with a temporary deal involving McFadden, but the player himself has pledged to continue to fight on at Goodison. He said: "I've been involved in every game this season although most of the time I've been on the bench. "I can't complain about my situation because we have been playing really well and have lost only three games. It would be petulant to moan - it would take away from the good work the boys have done. "Going out on loan might be an option a lot of players would consider and they couldn't be blamed for doing so. However, I want to stay and fight for my place. I'm determined to do that." McFadden played the full 90 minutes for Scotland in their 4-1 home defeat to Sweden last week - a game Moyes travelled to. And the former Motherwell man added: "The manager has been saying I have to make better decisions when I have the ball at my feet."

More one-nils
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 23 2004
More one-nils
SO the big man comes up with the goods again - no surprises there but judging by the way we play you can see why we are so successful away from home. Us home supporters are going to have to be patient this year, I can see a few more one-nils and we are going to have to be as vocal as we can to make sure they are in our favour.
Dominic McHale, Widnes
Big D-eal
I THINK Big Dunc has earned at least a one-year contract - as long as he stays fit he's good for at least 30-45 minutes of football when Everton need another option. I do think that he will have to take a pay cut though, because if he moves on to another club he will have to. I know Big Dunc loves Everton and think he would love to stay for another year at least.
Howard Grundy, Wirral
Good riddance
LET'S have no more mention of that lad from Manchester who had the pleasure of wearing our number 18 shirt. We got a good deal by letting him go when we did - he and his agent were angling to leave in January when his price would have dropped, ensuring a bigger pay-off for both of them.
But what bothers me is given half a chance if the money had been right he would have gone to Liverpool. Good riddance to a bad memory - come on you Blues!
Paul Rotheram, Liverpool
You were right
WHEN Moysie signed Kilbane I thought he was mad, and when I heard that we had signed Bent I could not believe it. All I can say is that Moysie was right and I was wrong - whoever he signs in the future is all right by me as it proves that he can pick a player for a certain job and pick 'em up cheaply as well. Moysie, keep up the good work.
Dave Percival, Wrexham
Media bias
I HAVE noticed that with all the talent other teams are "supposed to have" they are not working as well as a unit as we are at present - maybe Arsenal cannot be included in that comment. But I do believe our boys are enjoying lifting their noses at the media. And still it goes on at the BBC - one comment was "Chelsea and Arsenal drop points this weekend, MU get an easy win, oh and we mustn't forget the team in third place, Everton, who had a 1-0 win".
J Houston (via e-mail)

Moyes' coaches to get deals
Nov 23 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have opened contract talks aimed at keeping David Moyes' successful backroom team together. The Goodison chief signed an extension to his Goodison deal 10 days ago which will keep him at the club until 2009. But he was eager to make sure his close-knit team of coaches were not left out. Chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed today: "The manager was keen to ensure his staff were kept in place." The talks are on-going but there are not expected to be any complications.
Moyes' coaching team is made up of assistant boss Alan Irvine, first team coach Jimmy Lumsden, goalkeeping coach Chris Woods and reserve boss Andy Holden. Meanwhile, contrary to reports, Everton have received no contact from Manchester United regarding Thomas Gravesen. One report today suggested Alex Ferguson had targeted the Danish international as he attempts to bolster his mis-firing midfield. Phil Neville was named as a possible makeweight in any deal for Gravesen, who is out of contract at the end of the season. But senior Everton officials have received no contact from United and remain confident of securing a new deal with Gravesen when talks resume in January.
Gravesen's agent John Sivebaek confirmed last week the 28-year-old is keen to remain at Goodison.
Brighton left-back Daniel Harding has also been linked with a move to Goodison. Withdean boss Mark McGhee is now resigned to losing the England Under-21 international in the January transfer window. He said: "We know there is interest from a number of clubs and we are trying very hard indeed to secure him on a longer contract at Brighton. "Unfortunately, Daniel isn't keen to do that at this stage and that might well mean we have to sell him in January." Everton have kept a close eye on the England Under-21 left-back, who could be drafted in as a replacement for Gary Naysmith.

Talks over an extension to the Scot's deal have collapsed and he has been strongly linked with a return to Scotland - with Rangers now the favourites for his signature. Everton have been widely linked with Tottenham's Robbie Keane, but the Irish international is not high on the Blues' wanted list. James Beattie remains the manager's top target as he seeks attacking reinforcements. Meanwhile, former Everton target Mark van Bommel has admitted his interest in a move to Tottenham.

McFadden ready to fight for place
Nov 23 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
JAMES McFADDEN is determined to fight for a starting berth at Goodison rather than ask for a loan move. The Scottish international has not started a Premiership match since the opening day defeat to Arsenal. It has been a frustrating campaign for the 21-year-old, who has still to score a competitive goal for the Blues following his £1.25m arrival from Motherwell last September.
But he doesn't believe he would benefit from a spell of regular football on loan. "I've been involved in every game this season, although most of the time I have been on the bench. "I can't complain about my situation because we have been playing really well and have lost only three games.
"It would be petulant to moan - it would take away from the good work the boys have done.
"It's not nice to train every day and have nothing at the end of the week. However, I can accept it better because we are winning most weeks. "I've never tapped on the manager's door to ask about the situation. When I spoke to him at the start of the season it was him who asked me into his office.
"We had a chat about what he expected from me and what I expected from myself. I told him I felt confident to come to his door about anything, but so far I have never felt the need. "Going out on loan might be an option a lot of players would consider and they couldn't be blamed for doing so. However, I want to stay and fight for my place. I'm determined to do that. "The manager has been saying I have to make better decisions when I have the ball at my feet and he has been on about this when he is talking to me."

England calling for Blue ace JP
Nov 23 2004 By Tim Johnson, Liverpool Echo
ONE year ahead of his team-mates, Fazakerley football ace John Paul Kissock is set to face Scotland for England under-16s - at just 14 years old. The Everton Academy forward, (right), a student at Archbishop Beck school, has been called up into the squad for the clash with the Auld Enemy at Blackpool's Broomfield Road ground on Friday (7.45pm) one year ahead of expectations - and one year ahead of fellow local internationals Ray Putterill (Liverpool) and Lee Molyneux (Everton).
He told Junior Xsport: "I didn't know anything about it, it came as a total shock. "Until last season I always played with my own age group, but last year I went up to the under-14s." "I also played for the under-18s in the Youth Cup at Goodison Park against Aston Villa and against Liverpool in a 1-1 draw. I really enjoy playing above my age, it's fantastic experience. The games are much faster and when I go back down I find things much easier." The striker is that rare animal in football - a genuinely two-footed player. And his abilities with both feet helped him notch nine goals in fifteen games for his club last season. He added: "I think my biggest strengths as a player are my dribbling, passing and work rate, although I have worked hard on my shooting and it has improved." The youngster, who signed for the Everton Academy at seven, started his career as a six-year-old with Key Ways, coached by manager Martin Waldron. "He was in the best team I have ever seen at that age group," said Waldron. "They won everything going. We used to take them away to tournaments and they would win. "Remarkably, five of the team are now at Academies. Charlie Barnett is at Liverpool, but John Irvine, Lee Molyneux, Kieron Kelly and John Paul are all with Everton. "Thankfully most of them had the good sense to sign for the Blues!" When he first signed for Everton, Kissock trained two nights a week and played one game. These days the work load has become much tougher as he strives to be a professional. "I want to play for Everton so I train five nights a week and I am also released from school on a Tuesday and Friday to train with the youth team," he said. "The school provides me with special mentoring sessions so my work does not suffer," he said. "The people who have helped me the most are my mum and dad, and my brother Lee who is 24 and plays for Runcorn. "Neil Dewsnip is the coach who has helped me develop as a player the most at Everton."

Spurs to challenge Moyes for defender
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 24 2004
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR are ready to challenge Everton for the signature of Norwegian defender Brede Hangeland. The Viking Stavanger centre-back spent a week on trial at Bellefield earlier this month as David Moyes ran the rule over the £3million-rated 23-year-old. No decision has yet been made on any possible bid as the Everton manager ponders his options for when the transfer window reopens in January. But if he presses ahead with a move, Moyes is almost certain to face competition from Tottenham after the White Hart Lane side were alerted to the availability of the Norwegian international. Moyes, who was yesterday again linked with Newcastle defender Titus Bramble, is expected to be handed a transfer kitty of between £8m-£10m in the New Year.
Striking reinforcements remain the primary concern for the Everton manager with Southampton's James Beattie his main target, but Moyes is keen to increase the overall depth of his threadbare squad. Everton retain an interest in Brighton's England under-21 international Daniel Harding, buoyed by the news Withdean manager Mark McGhee expects the left-back to depart the first division club in January. Meanwhile, Everton have opened talks over extending the contracts of Moyes's back-room staff.
* ANDY GRAY is at the Megastore by Goodison tomorrow (5.30-6.15pm) signing copies of his book.

Shortage of goals is no worry for Moyes
Nov 24 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists Everton's modest goalscoring return is not undermining their chances of maintaining a league position alongside the Premiership's elite. The Blues have won nine of their 14 Premiership games so far this season to maintain a place in the top three for the last 10 weeks.
That has been achieved despite a modest return of 16 goals. The key has been the Blues' superb defensive record. But Moyes believes their attacking play has warranted a better goal return, and has asked his players to provide it. "We have not scored as many goals as we would have liked, but we have certainly had the opportunities, " the Goodison chief said today. " After all, nobody can say we didn't deserve to get our result on Saturday or at Birmingham, or that we didn't deserve one at Chelsea. "The Tottenham game in particular stands out as a match where we created more than enough chances to take something from the game. "But despite that, we have still been getting the results and have reached a position based on what the players have achieved on the pitch.
"Obviously, we would have liked to score more goals, but we have still done enough in the games to get the results we have anyway. "The players are gaining a growing understanding of what is required to win particular games. "Saturday was the first time this season where I have played with just one striker up-front at Goodison. But it was something I felt was right for the opposition."
* Andy Gray will be at the Goodison Megastore tomorrow to sign copies of his new book, 'Gray Matters'. He will be at the store between 5.15pm and 6.30pm.

Put Dunc on pay as you play
Nov 24 2004 Echo Letters
Put Dunc on pay as you play

IF DUNCAN FERGUSON loves Everton as much as it's claimed he does, then the club should offer him an extension on his contract but only on the basis that he accepts a salary cap of £10,000 a week. Or follow Birmingham's lead with Darren Anderton - pay him and others on a 'pay as you play' basis. The likes of Weir and Stubbs could be offered such a deal. They only seem to have their best interests at heart and not the club's. The only three who are worthy of new deals are Leon Osman, Nigel Martyn and Thomas Gravesen.
Dave Peters, Liverpool
THE WIN against Fulham was another solid game. The more we play this system the better we look for it. At no point did we ever look like conceding against Fulham or Birmingham and if you don't concede then you don't lose. In every game we've played we have had chances to score goals so from a football and manager's point of view it's ideal. People complain about 1-0 score-lines, but they are as good as 10-0 routs - you get the same three points.
Martin Woods, Southport
Blues should knock back Grav offers
IF reports about Alex Ferguson's desire to give Everton Phil Neville in exchange for Thomas Graveson are true, I hope David Moyes and Bill Kenwright tell him where to go. The Dane is essential for the Blues at this critical time in their resurgence. It makes me sick to the stomach that United seem to consider EFC their exclusive recruitment area. If we're to believe the stories that Everton truly have ambitions to compete with the best they should demonstrate this to the fans by going all out to ensure that the club's best players will remain in the royal blue.
Jim Stephens, Liverpool

Jade even has a blue telly!
Nov 24 2004 jblue, Liverpool Echo
TRADITION dictates that blue is the colour for boys and pink for girls, but just try telling that to eight year-old Jade Burns. The dedicated Evertonian from Vauxhall and our first nomination for the jblue Young Fan of the Year, refuses to be seen in anything other than the colours of her beloved club.
"Jade's bedroom is blue, her telly is blue, everything about Jade is blue - even her clothes," said her mum Rhona. "She has been so dedicated to Everton since she was about three years old. "She has always gone to the games with her dad (Brian) and all his friends with their sons. She is the only girl among them but she knows all the players and sometimes knows more about the game than the young boys in the crowd." Such is her belief in the Everton cause, Jade even refused to be too downhearted when her hero Wayne Rooney swopped Goodison for Old Trafford. "When Wayne left everyone was upset, especially the kids," said Rhona. "But being the girl that she is, she just said 'well let's see how we get on without him' and unlike others, refused to call him names. "Jade has this CD called Forever Everton. She plays it all the time and her favourite is 'take me back to the good old days of Dixie Glorious Everton Park'. She sings it in the bath. "I would be very happy if Jade is considered as the Young Fan of the Year."
* IF YOU know someone who deserves to be jblue's Young Fan of the Year, write to us and let us know why.
Include both your name and the youngster you are nominating, plus addresses, phone numbers and, if possible, a photograph. Send them to: jblue, Young Fan of Year, Liverpool Echo Sports Dept, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
* JBLUE members have the chance to put their Top Ten questions to an Everton player.
Send your questions, plus name, address, age and supporters' club membership number to: Jblue, Everton Questions, Liverpool Echo Sports Desk, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.

Fears eased as Gravesen fit for Newcastle
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 25 2004
THOMAS GRAVESEN has allayed fears Everton may have to do without their midfield inspiration at Newcastle on Sunday. The Danish international limped out of another man-of-the-match display against Fulham last weekend after collecting a knee injury in a clash with Mark Crossley.
Despite manager David Moyes joking that Gravesen had come off "so he could get a bit of a clap" the 28-year-old has required treatment on the problem since Saturday. But he has now been declared fit to take his outstanding form to St James' Park this weekend where an Everton victory would see Moyes's team open up a 13-point gap on the Champions League hopefuls. Head physio Mick Rathbone revealed: "Tommy jarred his knee when he went in for a tackle with the goalkeeper. He just felt it a little bit and as a precaution we took him off straight away. He's recovered pretty well and he has resumed training." Gravesen's outstanding contribution has strengthened Moyes's desire to keep the former Hamburg star on a new long-term contract at the end of this season.
Despite being able to leave on a free at the end of this campaign the Everton manager will not entertain thoughts of letting the Dane leave for a cut-price fee in January. Moyes is braced for a round of speculation linking Gravesen with a move during the transfer window, with Manchester United the latest club reportedly interested this week. Everton, however, are unaware of any United interest and remain confident that their own remarkable pursuit of Europe - and some high-profile signings in January - will convince the popular midfielder they do have the ambition to match his own.

Robson denied after Nyarko inspires side
Post Past by Philip J Redmond Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 25 2004
WHEN Everton went to St James' Park in October 2000, not many people gave them much of a hope.
During the summer Walter Smith had spent £20million on Gravesen, Watson, Nyarko, Pistone, Alexandersson and Duncan Ferguson, and also brought in Paul Gascoigne on a free. However the team continued to look disjointed and disorganised and after a reasonably bright start had rapidly fallen down the table. Smith was unlucky in that teenage sensation Francis Jeffers had been sidelined with an ankle problem, however he was able to recall Kevin Campbell after a knee injury. St James' Park was also due to be the stage for the unveiling of the Scot's latest new signings in Gary Naysmith and Idan Tal. Newcastle meanwhile were looking good under Bobby Robson. After the trauma of the Dalglish and Gullit eras, the genial Geordie seemed set to restore glory at the home of his childhood heroes. But Everton duly tore up the formbook with a rare away win during a period of intense frustration for Blues fans. Onenil was the scoreline, but Everton were well worth the points on a day when Alex Nyarko had probably his best game in an Everton shirt while Gascoigne showed glimpses of his former glory on his return to the North East. Typically, Newcastle had most of the ball, but a disciplined Everton rear-guard action meant Paul Gerrard was rarely troubled. In the first half, Nyarko forced a brilliant save from the Newcastle keeper with a spectacular long-range volley. After the break Campbell missed a sitter after a great run and cross from Steve Watson. However he was not to be denied and finished off a brilliant Everton move about 10 minutes from time. Gascoigne had brought the ball clear from the Everton box before finding Nyarko with a clever backheel. The Ghanaian powered forward before finding sub Naysmith overlapping on the left. The young Scot was duly released before crossing for Campbell to slide home at the far post.

More than just a sub
Nov 25 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES insists Duncan Ferguson is far more than an Everton super-sub. The striker is 33 next month and in the final year of a lucrative £35,000-a-week contract. He has been used sparingly by Moyes so far this season, starting just two games - both in the Carling Cup. But he has made a match-winning impact as a substitute in Premiership games against Portsmouth, Norwich and Fulham, earning the super-sub tag. And after his match-winning appearance last weekend the big Scot is now in contention for a start against his former club Newcastle on Sunday. Moyes said: "We will start him in a lot of games this season - that will happen. "We have got more than one string to our violin. We can play in many different ways and there will be times when that could mean starting with Duncan. "We have been working on a number of different things in training and we are always looking at our options based on who we are playing. "We have got ideas for this weekend and if we feel we need to alter things we will. "Going to Newcastle is always hard but we will be going there with the players excited about how they are doing." Moyes has kept faith with the same starting XI for Everton's last two outings - and made just one change in the last eight to cover the absence through suspension of Lee Carsley. But that consistency of team selection does not mean the Blues have been playing in a regimented style. Moyes adds: "We have shown great adaptability because we have two or three players who can play in a number of positions. "We played with just one man up front for the first time this season at Goodison against Fulham because we felt it was right for the match." Moyes could be tempted to name both Ferguson and Marcus Bent in the starting lineup on Sunday against a Newcastle side which has looked susceptible defensively.
But it is more likely that the Goodison chief will stick with the same starting line-up, keeping Ferguson on the bench for a possible onslaught late in the game.

Blues history needs a home
Nov 25 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THE oldest collection of football memorabilia in the world is up for sale. But the ultimate resting place of a collection described by Sotheby's as having "no match anywhere in the football world" is shrouded in doubt. Dr David France, a lifelong Evertonian, has spent a lifetime putting together a remarkable collection of medals, programmes, season tickets and official ledgers. Failing health has forced him to put his collection up for sale, and both Christie's and Sotheby's believe it would fetch more than £750,000 if auctioned in separate lots. Dr France, understandably, is loathe to see his lifetime's work split up and has been negotiating for 18 months with Everton. But in a fascinating sub-plot, the curator of Liverpool FC's museum attended a private viewing of specially selected items last week and, according to Dr France, was "very, very enthusiastic." After all, the items up to 1892 are as much a part of Liverpool's history as Everton's - and for 30 years from 1902 to 1932 the clubs shared a programme. But programmes form just a small part of a collection which is truly remarkable. "It is the most comprehensive collection of memorabilia I've had the good fortune to catalogue," said Grant MacDougall of Christies. Graham Budd, of Sotheby's, went even further: "This collection has no match anywhere in the football world. It's a unique record of Everton's history - possibly a history unparalleled by any other club. "The collection offers a unique record of the evolution of British football and of the city of Liverpool." The memorabilia consists of an astonishing 10,000 items - dating back to the formative years of League football in this country. There are programmes, season tickets, medals, photographs, contracts, financial statements and other artefacts dating back to the pioneering days at Stanley Park, Priory Road and Walton Breck Road as well as letters, cigarette cards, postcards and international caps from the turn of the century.
And to top them off, there are the Everton Scriptures - a complete run of official club ledgers detailing the minutes of every board meeting from 1886 to 1964. The 29 volumes document some of the most momentous decisions in football history - including some 50 pages explaining the build-up to the famous split in 1892 which saw Everton FC torn asunder and a separate club - called Liverpool FC - formed.. So how did such an obsession start? Dr France tried to explain. "In 1953, when I lived in a small two-up, two-down in Widnes, a neighbour presented me with the matchday programme from an Everton versus Manchester United match. "It became my most prized possession. But soon after I was stricken with Scarlet Fever and was quarantined for a couple of months. "Everything in the house was incinerated, including my Everton programme. However, after my discharge from St Helens Isolation Hospital, my neighbour presented me with a replacement copy in mint condition. "I started to collect, putting my programmes in an old Bata shoe box. "When my folks moved to a house near Widnes North station, I was allowed to pilgrimage to Goodison alone - on condition that I showed my mother the matchday programme as proof that I had been to the game. "After 20 seasons of religiously following the Blues, I emigrated to the USA and must confess to having forgotten all about these keepsakes until my mother warned me of her plans to empty her attic of junk. "My knee-jerk reaction was to ask her to airmail the shoe box to me and one week later my now somewhat motley collection of Everton programmes arrived - much to the bemusement of my wife. "After browsing through these mementos of my childhood, I could not bring myself to dispose of them. Enquiries at Goodison revealed that the club did not have an archive of its own and so in 1977 I decided to assemble every post-war home programme. "This goal turned into every post-war away issue and so on. "As football memorabilia became more popular, I travelled to auctions across the UK in search of the more elusive items and, as a consequence, spent thousands of pounds - much to the chagrin of my wife." Liz France suffered in silence, until one fateful afternoon in 1995. "To be honest she had never uttered one word of disapproval," explained David. "Until 1995. We drove south to pick up some items which I had bought during a trans-Atlantic telephone call. "I clearly remember Liz's facial expression as I returned with a cardboard box crammed with numerous bits and bobs - including a dozen volumes of the club's ledgers. Her smile had evaporated. "First, she examined an old England shirt which had been worn by Tommy Lawton.
"She was far from impressed even though her mother had been a schoolfriend of the Everton and England legend. "Then she turned to the leather-bound ledgers and proffered the niggling question: How much this time? "I glanced towards her and proudly announced: They were a real bargain - only £78,000! I still have nightmares about her screams: Stop the car and take them back!
"It was only after Dave Watson lifted the FA Cup a week later that the frost thawed!" So where did the ledgers come from? David is unsure himself. "The facts are murky but it seems most likely that they were thrown out, allegedly when Peter Johnson's men supervised the refurbishment of Goodison. "Others have claimed that they were discarded during the preparations for the 1966 World Cup." Having rescued many of these items from obscurity, David is keen that they remain together. A joint bid by Everton FC and Liverpool City Council for Lottery Funding, however, in a bid to display the collection has failed. Dr France would love Everton to take possession of the collection once again - after all it is their history. But the club's financial position is still fragile. In the meantime, Dr France continues to add to the amazing collection. Last week on E-Bay he successfully bid £201 for a pre-season programme from the 1950s . . .
The France collection
THE David France collection includes a medal from every trophy won by Everton apart from the 1995 FA Cup success - modern players not having quite the same financial pressures as their predecessors.
The 1890/91 championship medal controversially features a Liver Bird - now Liverpool's crest!
Mind you, Anfield was Everton's home then.
Other pieces include:
* The very first Everton season tickets from the days Everton played in a corner of Stanley Park, through to Priory Road, Anfield and finally Goodison Park in 1892.
* Official tenders for the construction of Anfield.
* Shirts and international caps.
* A programme collection including every single home and away programme from the present day all the way back to the 1920s. The first League season of 1888-89 is complete and there are numerous pre-League programmes.
* The oldest known programme featuring Manchester United - then known as Newton Heath - belongs to the collection, as do the earliest known copies of Newcastle and Glasgow Rangers programmes.

Man United Reserves 3, Everton Reserves 1
Nov 26 2004
Daily Post
EVERTON Reserves slumped to a 3-1 defeat after taking the lead against Manchester United Reserves at Altrincham FC's Moss Lane stadium last night. Despite going in front after just two minutes through a strike from Victor Anichebe, three goals in as many minutes either side of the break saw Everton lose their third Barclays Premier Reserve League Northern Section match in their last four. It was the perfect start, though, for Andy Holden's side as 16-year-old striker Anichebe broke onto a through ball to coolly stroke home. Icelandic forward Bjarni Vidarsson almost made it 2-0, but from close range he couldn't get the right connection on Gary Naysmith's free-kick.
For United Sylvan Ebanks-Blake hit the woodwork with a powerful effort, and the visitors goal-keeper Richard Wright also denied Colin Heath. United had most of the pressure, but the Everton defence coped well with Anthony Gerrard and Daniel Fox in particular in good form. But with just two minutes to go before half-time the home side equalised as Ebanks-Blake back heeled through for Chris Eagles to score. Then in stoppage time at the end of the first half Wright clawed Kieran Rich-ardson's looped effort from under the bar, but David Jones volleyed home the rebound.
Within a minute of the restart Brian McClair's side scored a crucial third goal as Richardson's dangerous cross was turned into his own net by Everton's Australian defender Eddy Bosnar.
Everton had chances to get back into the game with Nick Chadwick going close. The Everton forward also has the opportunity to reduce the arrears from the penalty spot after 79 minutes after Mark Howard had handled. But Chadwick saw his spot-kick saved by United keeper Tom Heaton.
MAN UNITED RESERVES: Heaton, Picken, Lawrence, Howard, Spector, Heath (Timm 74), Eagles, Jones, Ebanks-Blake, Poole, Richardson (Collett 78). Subs: Crockett, Hogg, Calliste.
EVERTON RESERVES: Wright, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Bosnar, Phelan, Hopkins (Wilson 46), Vidarsson, Chadwick, Anichebe (Boyle 80), Naysmith. Subs: Harris, Turner, Hughes.
ATT: 668

Wright: I won't give up on fight for place
By David Prior, Daily Post
Nov 26 2004
RICHARD WRIGHT last night vowed not to give up on Everton - despite his absence from the Premiership now extending to 14 months. The goalkeeper is still finding himself sidelined by the outstanding late-career form of Nigel Martyn, who is virtually immovable in the Goodison goal as Everton continue their superb start to the season. Last night Wright (left) played for the reserves in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester United at Altrincham, but despite his appearances in a Blue shirt currently being limited to the second string, the 27-year-old insists he is not getting itchy feet.
He said: "I'm not going to give up, I'm not going to walk away. I'm just going to work hard and hopefully gain my first-team place back. "Initially when I didn't get in the team it did get me down, and I told the manager that and he's been great. "I don't accept not playing - I want to be playing - and I'm not learning to deal with it. I'm just dealing with it, if you like, because I don't want to ever learn how to deal with that." The former Arsenal and Ipswich keeper has appeared three times for Everton this season, but they have all been in the Carling Cup. The last time he actually played in the Premiership came way back on September 13, 2003, when he was forced off against Newcastle with a knee injury. That injury subsequently required surgery and, together with Martyn's form, ensured last season was a season to forget for the England international. Now fit again, Wright insists he is not getting downcast despite there being little hope of a recall with Martyn in current form. He added: "Chris Woods (Everton goalkeeping coach) has been great - I'll keep working hard in training, hopefully keep playing well in the reserve games and take it from there and wait for my opportunity. But it's frustrating. But hopefully the manager will see what I'm trying to do, and hopefully that will show him how much I want to be the first team." Wright continued: "I just have to keep myself ticking over. I'm not going to play every game, it's just to make sure that I keep concentrating so that I'm ready to go, which is the case at the moment. "You always feel a part of it because I've got to make sure I help Nigel - I know he would be exactly the same with me." Martyn last week chalked up the 800th league appearance of his career, and Wright joked that he had marked the milestone with some advice of his own. "I told him 800 games would be a great number to finish on," he said.
Meanwhile Moyes looks set to leave Duncan Ferguson on the bench for the 14th time this season at Newcastle on Sunday - but the Everton manager insists the striker will have a starting role to play in the future. Ferguson has come on as a second-half substitute in all but one of Everton's Premiership games. But with Ferguson pushing his claim in recent weeks Moyes is tempted to reward the rejuvenated Scot with a start on Saturday. Moyes said: "We have more than one string to our violin. We can play in many different ways and there will be times when that could mean starting with Duncan."

Here's hoping Santa bears desirable gifts
By Mark O'Brien Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 26 2004
THE time for gifts is almost upon us, for rosy-cheeked children who look forward to toys on Christmas Day, and for journalists who eagerly await the column inches afforded by the reopening of the transfer window in January. The Blues have always been good for a tenuous link - there is a certain class of mid-level player who will always be associated with moves to ourselves, Tottenham and Aston Villa - but with rumours rife that we're due a festive gift of our own, courtesy of a white-haired gentleman from a snowy country, it sometimes feels like we are currently the sole saviours of the slow news day. Apart from the longstanding associations with Scott Parker and James Beattie, the link with Brighton's left-back Dan Harding persists and new names are being thrown into the hat.
Robbie Keane seems an unlikely one given the probabale cost and his tendency to blow hot and cold, and hopefully there is no substance to the story that has us preparing to swoop for Newcastle United's Titus Bramble. It may be tempting fate given that we play the Geordies on Sunday, but surely we'd be better off with Wilfrid Bramble than the cumbersome ex-Ipswich 'defender'. An unexpected side-effect of our tremendous form is that our own players are also being linked with moves elsewhere, with one Sunday paper hinting that Alex Ferguson wants to reunite Thomas Gravesen with Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford. Rumoured deals between ourselves and the Red Devils always seem to involve us taking some of their dross, and this time it isn't David Bellion they're planning to unload, but Phil Neville. Given that David Moyes is set to see a lot of cash freed up as a number of hefty contracts expire in the summer, it seems unlikely that he would want to immediately commit a huge tranche of it to an uninspiring full-back. And who knows, he might even be tempted to offer some of it back to yet another of the players out of contract in May, Duncan Ferguson. Whenever it seems like we've seen the end of our big centre-forward he seems to bounce back and prove that there is still some life left in the old dog. His introduction against Fulham, just like at Carrow Road, provided the fillip that the Blues needed. His goal was obviously crucial, but his all-round play was exemplary. With games coming up against both his old club on Sunday and his favourite opposition in a couple of weeks, it is a great time for him to be coming into form.

Moyes' eye for bargain
Post Soapbox icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 26 2004
Eye for bargain
ANYONE who had any doubts about Moyes' eye for a good player only need look at Michael Essien of Lyon on Tuesday, who Moyes was after a year ago. He looked outstanding and ran the midfield.
Pablo Ibanez went to Atletico Madrid in the summer for £2.5million because we couldn't afford him and now he's in the Spain squad and rated at £10m! Steve Appiah at Juventus is another that springs to mind. I've no doubt whatsoever that Moyes is the man to pick a up a diamond or two with what money he has available.
Paul Mullally, Liverpool
Buy Benni
IF we want to lump it up to players then great, James Beattie is your man. Personally, if we are going to get into Europe and the Champions League then Benni McCarthy is our man, been there, done it, cheaper than Robbie Keane. Dan Harding sounds great or Matthew Taylor from Pompey as he cant get a game now Unsworth is there!
M Carr, Merseyside
Hail Ferguson
DUNCAN FERGUSON should be given an extension to his contact. He is a true Blue through and through and plays with his heart. And keep Tommy Gravesen at all costs.
T Rue (via e-mail)
Keep Yobo
THE rumour of Joseph Yobo going to Newcastle in January is very worrying. I know Weir and Stubbs are playing well, but EFC need to do everything possible to ensure Yobo stays.
B Smith, Garston
Winning role
MOST would agree that Duncan Ferguson is worth another season, to be used in the capacity he currently is: 20-30 minutess of the second half, to come on and shake up the opposing defence, cause them some problems and help in getting some goals, or to get them himself. It keeps him fit, prevents him getting to many knocks and is having a good effect! Well done Moyes for playing him this way, and well done Dunc. Despite constant injury setbacks (given the way he fights for balls and jumps for them and gets elbowed left, right and centre, no wonder), he keeps going!
N Bose, Wirral

Blues set for cash injection
Nov 26 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON moved a step closer to a £500,000 windfall last night when Michael Ball made a substitute appearance for Rangers. The former Everton left-back, who moved to Ibrox in a £6.5m deal in August 2001, made his third appearance of the season in the 3-0 UEFA Cup home victory over AK Graz. It was his 57th appearance for the Scottish outfit. As part of the original deal, Rangers must pay Everton £500,000 after the defender's 60th appearance. But the cash-strapped Scottish club have been in talks with the Blues aimed at re-negotiating the deal. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness has stood firm and it now seems the Gers are resigned to making the payment, with Ball having played three times in the last 11 days. He was in action in last weekend's 2-0 Old Firm derby and the 1-0 win at Hibernian a week earlier. If he plays in Rangers next three fixtures Everton will be due the payment after the league match at Inverness Caledonian Thistle on December 5. Meanwhile, Everton's start to the season is on a par with the club's title winning campaigns of 1963 and 1970. The Blues travel to Newcastle on Sunday having taken 29 points from the opening 42 available. That is better than any season since 1969/70, when Harry Catterick's great side gathered the equivalent of 34 points en route to the title. In '63 that total would have been 32. But despite the thrilling start to the campaign, with David Moyes' men winning nine of their opening 14 league outings, the players are keeping their feet on the ground. Skipper Alan Stubbs insists: "Reaching 40 points is, and has always been, our first target and once we get to that point then we can start concentrating on other things." Meanwhile, Richard Wright has vowed to fight on in his battle for the goalkeeper's jersey. He played for the reserves in last night's 3-1 defeat at Manchester United.
He said: "I don't accept not playing - I want to be playing - and I am not learning to deal with it.
"I'll keep working hard in training, hopefully keep playing well in the reserve games and take it from there. "I told Nigel (Martyn) 800 games would be a great number to finish on." Everton travel to Newcastle on Sunday with a fully fit squad for David Moyes to choose from.

Gravesen worth every penny of new contract
Nov 26 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT appears that Evertonians can look forward with some relish to an exciting second half of the season, especially if just half of their reported transfer targets are genuine. If some of the feverish minds of Fleet Street's finest are to be believed, from January 1 the admirable Marcus Bent can look forward to support from Louis Saha, Robbie Keane and James Beattie, no less. The redoubtable Stubbs and Weir can expect reinforcements from Robert Huth, Glen Johnson, Brede Hangeland and, steady yourself now, Titus Bramble, while Scott Parker and Owen Hargreaves will come rushing to add craft and guile to the Blues' midfield. Of course, if all these reports are true, then Evertonians should also expect the imminent departure of Thomas Gravesen - to Manchester United. Which is where the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Gravesen has been occasionally magnificent, but just as often anonymous this season. And when we are told that the Knight of a Thousand Games (copyright Sky) has targeted the Dane because he is "desperate to add some steel to his midfield," the argument breaks down. Gravesen can spot a pass three moves before most other players on the pitch, has the technical know-how to deliver it, can dribble, run and, when the mood grabs him, shoot powerfully. But, as for ball-winning, he struggles to tackle a particularly hearty roast dinner. His best games for Everton have come when the unsung Carsley and the eternally enthusiastic Cahill have picked up the defensive responsibilities for him. It's not a criticism of Gravesen. It's just the way he is - and he remains vitally important to Everton's cause. Perhaps the root of the United rumours can be traced back to the identity of his agent and the name of that agent's former club, yes, former Old Trafford full-back John Sivaebaek. What better way to prise more money out of Everton during difficult contract negotiations, than have it known that the country's biggest club, in terms of supporter base and bank balance, is interested in signing you.
For what it's worth, I think Everton should offer Gravesen what he wants. He would cost significantly more to replace than the bargain £2.5m Everton paid Hamburg for his signature. He has settled at the club and likes it - and he's a bloody good player. It would also end that long running jinx which has seen no foreign player ever commit himself to a new contract during his time at Goodison. It might also spike some of the more inventive Sunday tabloid speculation. Frustrated to the point of denial by the new transfer window legislation, it's only now that newspapers can begin to speculate wildly on potential January swoops - here's a couple to keep you going . . . Henrik Pedersen for Everton, Kevin Campbell to go on loan to Liverpool and Franny Jeffers switching to Blackburn. One has a grain of truth to it, which is a significantly better return than most Sunday papers, and it gets people talking.

Stefano steering clear of spotlight
Nov 26 2004 By Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
THERE may not have been a glut of signings at Goodison in the summer. But those David Moyes was able to make have proved a hit - and not just on the pitch. Stefano Marrone has been a regular at Bellefield since June, but his is a name most Evertonians are probably not familiar with. A specialist fitness coach, he was drafted in by the Goodison chief to work alongside former Academy coach Dave Billows as part of a new Sports Science unit. It was a step Moyes felt was necessary. And while the transformation in fortunes this term is certainly not down to one factor, there is no doubt the fitness work implemented by Marrone and Billows has played a part. Having arrived at Everton from Fenerbahce, initially for a six week trial during pre-season, Marrone is now to be a part of the Bellefield setup until next summer at least. His appointment is another example of Moyes' willingness to embrace new training techniques. "The gaffer is young but the most important thing is that he is open-minded," explains Marrone. "He is always ready to look at new methodology. And that helps, particularly when you are working with the same players for so long. "To change what you are doing in training all the time is very useful because it has to be interesting to the players.
"We are always thinking of different things. We even took the players to a ju-jitsu class last week.
"It was like a day off, but it was an active recovery for the players. "Even if the quality of work is very good, if it is always the same you kill the brain of the players. They get bored. "If I had gone to an Italian manager and said I wanted to do a ju-jitsu class they would have said I was mad." It didn't take much to convince Marrone to come to Everton. Having started his career in his native Italy, he moved to Turkey with Nevio Scala, his former boss at Vicenza, three years ago to work with Besiktas and then Fenerbahce. But his ultimate goal was always the Premiership. He adds: "Even though people view Spain, Italy and England as being the best football leagues in Europe, England is very different. It is a dream for every trainer, for every fitness coach or for every manager. "You realise it is the mother country of football. The passion is very different and the stadiums are always full.
"It was a dream of mine to come here and I have not been disappointed so far. "In England there is a warrior spirit so players give everything in every game they play because they don't want to lose, not even in training. "In Italy we are slaves to the press. And so there are times when a manager has to do work because he is scared of the press. "For example, if we have an international game, in England we give players time to recover. That is normal here, but in Italy it is not possible because if you lose the next game the press will blame the fact you have given players time off. " Our manager is very demanding, as he should be, and that allows you to focus on the small details to improve the performance." That focus is clearly paying dividends. By the time Moyes' men take on Newcastle at St James' Park on Sunday they will have been in the top three for 10 weeks. The manager has made just one change to the line-up in the last eight league outings - drafting in Steve Watson during Lee Carsley's suspension. That raises a number of issues. Firstly, how are the players maintaining their fitness levels throughout such a demanding run of games? And secondly, is it a coincidence that the number of injuries being picked up by the squad has dropped dramatically? Marrone addresses the questions. "To be successful you need a good cocktail," he explains.. "You must have good medical staff for massage and prevention, good fitness, good training, good nutrition and good recovery.
"What we have tried to do with the players' fitness is more individualised personal training because not all players are the same. "For instance, Leon Osman and Duncan Ferguson are like two extremes. As we have two fitness coaches and more than one physio who are coordinated by Baz Rathbone it means we can work in an individual way with each player. "In Italy to avoid injuries and to be in good shape the future of football is doing individualised work. "We try to work on the weaknesses of each player because the strength of every player depends on the strength of his weakest link. If you want to get stronger as a whole, you make the weakest link stronger. "We also have a very good and effective medical staff and so far we have not suffered any big injuries. "This is very important for us because we don't have a big squad. "If you find you have three or four players getting injuries to the same point it means you are doing something wrong. But if you find that when you do get injuries, it is a mix or it is down to tackles or things that happen in a match then you know it is the nature of the game." But it is not just the work which is exciting Marrone. He feels rejuvenated by the English attitude to football. It is an attitude he believes is the key to the popularity of the Premier League. "Famous players who have come here like Zola, Vialli and Casiraghi have all said that it is a very good country for foot-ball," he continues.. "If a striker goes into the box and then falls down without any serious contact, in Italy you are called clever for getting a penalty. "But here you are called a cheat. This is beautiful for England because the value of honesty is much more important here. "In Italy the tactics are more sophisticated. But the focus is to not concede goals. "The most important thing is to defend. Here the mentality is much more offensive. "It makes the games more entertaining."

Moyes giving bookies blues
Nov 26 2004 You Bet with Adam Oldfield, Liverpool Echo
AFTER witnessing more false dawns than an insomniac, Everton fans are finally beginning to live the dream. Once the Premiership's laughing stock, the Blues are now making opponents sit up and take stock, without the use of a gravy train. Instead, on a meagre budget, David Moyes has put together a runaway express where passengers are forbidden and momentum constantly gathers. He has restored the Toffees' hard centre,, with more heroic storylines than Marvel comics. Yet the villains of the piece are the myopic bookmakers. Although just four points behind leaders Chelsea, the industry odds compilers still rate Everton at 250-1 for the Premiership title. The league crown may well seem an unlikely prospect, but by taking up an each-way return at such outlandish odds, Blues back-ers should still make a tidy sum should they hold onto third place. Even on matchdays, Everton are odds-against when hosting inferior opposition. It's great news for punters, but only those willing to support the Blues with their wallets. Sunday's trip to St James' will probably see them desert Moyes' men yet again. But a point is by no means beyond the Blues and with an industry-best price of 23-10, it should be the cornerstone of your weekend accumulator. To take winnings past the £160 mark for a £5 stake with Gamebookers, add home wins for Fulham, Ipswich, Swansea and Torquay.

Summit over shared stadium
Nov 26 2004 Exclusive by Scott McLeod, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON and Liverpool officials will meet sports minister Richard Caborn to discuss a groundshare.
The meeting on Wednesday is part of continuing talks between the clubs. But this is believed to be the first time the sports minister has become involved in the controversial issue. Everton chief executive Keith Wyness confirmed today: "It is another one in a series of meetings related to that subject. "We will be attending with an open mind to listen to any ideas that are put forward." The clubs first met to discuss the prospect of a groundshare last year, with the promise of a £30m investment from the North West Development Agency fuelling discussions. But those talks failed to lead to an agreement. Liverpool have since pressed ahead with their own plans for a new state-of-the-art 60,000-seat home in Stanley Park, which the Anfield club insists remains on course. The project received planning permission in September, with building work due to start in spring 2006. The cost has risen from an estimated £80m to about £110m. The rising cost has not deterred the Reds, who have continually insisted they are not interested in a ground-share, citing a poll in which a big majority of fans came out against it. However, there have been further talks and the sports minister has kept a close eye on developments. Next Wednesday will be his first meeting with the two clubs. Since his arrival as Everton chief executive, Wyness has insisted that the Blues' offer to ground- share with Liverpool has remained on the table. But, while the prospect is on the agenda, both parties agree it is unlikely to become reality.

United hit back to sink Blues
Nov 26 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Reserves suffered their third defeat in four games as Manchester United came back from a goal down to win comfortably at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground. The Blues had Richard Wright and Gary Naysmith in their line-up and were ahead as early as the second minute through Victor Anichebe. Bjarni Vidarsson nearly made it two soon after but was denied on the goal-line after Gary Naysmith's free-kick caused problems. United had their chances and their pressure paid off as Chris Eagles finished past Wright. In a disappointing couple of minutes before the interval, United got their second with a David Jones header. Andy Holden's half time team talk failed to produce a positive return from the Blues as United once again beat the visitors defence, Eddy Bosnar turning the ball into his own net. The Blues had the chance to pull one back when Mark Howard handled but Tom Heaton turned Nick Chadwick's spot-kick away. Everton Res: Wright, Wynne, Fox, Gerrard, Bosnar, Naysmith, Phelan, Hopkins (Wilson 46), Vidarsson, Chadwick, Anichebe (Boyle 81).

Moyes lays down rules for January arrivals
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 27 2004
DAVID MOYES insists prima-donnas will not be allowed to disrupt the indomitable spirit that has swept Everton up the table when he conducts his transfer business in January. The Everton manager is anxious to maintain the harmony that has under-pinned his close-knit squad's success this season.
Moyes coolled his interest in two players due to doubts over their character in the summer even though the club was struggling to bolster his threadbare squad at the time. And he admits attitude will count as much as ability when he goes on a £8million-£10m spending spree in the transfer window. "The spirit has helped carry us through this season and anybody who comes to Everton will need to know what the ground rules are," said Moyes, who has no injury concerns ahead of the game at St James' Park. "But it won't be me who lays those rules down to them, the lads who are already here will let them know how much they have to muck in. "From the off we said we have to look after each other this season. I try and do the best I can for the players but in the end it is up to them to look after each other and they have done from day one. "You only have to look at Tim Cahill and Marcus Bent to see what we want from new players. They have added not only to our team but to the personality of our squad. They have settled in very quickly and if we can get more players like them in we will be very pleased. "A tight-knit group has worked well for us and it is a very happy camp at the moment but injuries and suspensions could take their toll on our squad so we know how quickly things can change. "But it is good to be attracting a lot of attention back to Everton as it is a reflection of the players' performances.. You cannot say it is a fluke now as we have gone 14 games and are third on merit." A small squad has brought Everton's squad together this season but Moyes admits the next six weeks will stretch his resources to the limit. He added: "We are doing well but we can't kid ourselves on, we have a smaller squad than the rest and that will be stretched over the Christmas period but at the same time I think we have a better spirit than the rest.
"You worry about saying you are doing well in football because fortunes change so quickly, but there is no doubt we have a very good points total for this stage of the season." Moyes is again likely to leave last week's matchwinner Duncan Ferguson on the bench against his former club. He revealed:
"He will get his chance at some stage but the system we have with Marcus at the moment is working really well."

Groundshare a bad idea, says Liverpool manager
By Mark Hookham Daily Post Staff
Nov 27 2004
THE manager of Liverpool FC last night said the football club would lose its identity if it shared a stadium with Everton. Rafael Benitez dismissed the idea after Sports Minister Richard Caborn announced he was planning to talk to both clubs over the prospect of them sharing a new stadium in the city. Mr Caborn will hold talks next Wednesday with officials from the Merseyside clubs.
But last night Benitez said both clubs would suffer from the arrangement. He added: "Talk of two teams sharing a stadium always causes problems and in my view it would not work. "It would not be good for the pitch, because obviously there would be double the amount of games played on it and it would not be good for the supporters of Liverpool or Everton. "Both are teams with lots of supporters and each have their own identity. By sharing a stadium with their rival team, they would lose that. "If the only option is to share then fair enough, but it is better to have your own stadium."
Liverpool have planning permission to build a 60,000-capacity stadium in Stanley Park which was originally estimated to cost £80m, but has since risen to £110m. Mr Caborn has become involved because regional and local authorities want to explore the opportunity of building a shared stadium in time for Liverpool's Capital of Culture year in 2008. However, Benitez, a former boss of Valencia, said his experience of European football had convinced him groundsharing does not work. He added: "I know from my time in Spain that groundsharing is not popular. "In Madrid, you have Real and Atletico, in Valencia you have Valencia and Levante, in Barcelona you have Barca and Espanyol, and in Sevilla you have Sevilla and Betis. "They all have their own stadiums. That is what the supporters want. True, Inter and AC share a stadium in Milan, but look at their pitch. It is not good.
"Also, in terms of atmosphere, it is better that a team plays in its own stadium. "In five years time. we hope to be playing good football in our own new stadium." The clubs first met to discuss the prospect of a groundshare last year, with the promise of a £30m investment from the North West Development agency fuelling discussions. But those talks failed to lead to an agreement. Keith Wyness, Everton chief executive, said last night: "We are going to see if there is a genuinely compelling business case there or not. "We have got to take into account what the fans are thinking. We will make a decision when we have all the facts. It has been such a moveable situation that it has been hard to make a balanced decision."

Newcastle 1, Everton 1 (D,Post)
Nov 29 2004 By Ian Doyle at St James' Park, Daily Post
DETERMINATION, character and resolve are the usual words reeled off when talk turns to praising David Moyes's latest Goodison revival. They are often delivered begrudgingly as a back-handed compliment from a critic uncomfortable with the sight of earthy Everton rubbing shoulders with the apparent upper-class Premiership clientele of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Skill? Well, maybe a little bit, they say. Yet while the aforementioned qualities were again in abundance at St James' Park,, the often-overlooked value of pure talent was what ultimately transformed potential defeat into another success story on their travels for the Goodison side yesterday. Lee Carsley's sublime 57th-minute free-kick was good enough to win any game. And although only a hard-earned point was the eventual reward from the midfielder's flash of inspiration, it further emphasised the message that is slowly seeping into the minds of the doubters. The time to start taking Everton's Premiership aspirations seriously has long since passed. While their joyous travelling support may be a little ambitious in their belief the title is on its way back to Goodison after an 18-year wait, the Champions League - or at the very least,, European qualification - must now be an attainable target for Everton this season. Even Moyes himself, although couching it with the inevitable rider of not wanting to place undue pressure on his under-appreciated players, let slip afterwards that Europe is gradually moving on to this season's agenda. Quite right, too. With a team spirit second to none and a squad as close-knit as any, Everton have as much right as any to take their place among the European aspirants. One glance at their results confirms their current standing is no fluke. Certainly, it's a view with which Graeme Souness concurs. Not many would have had this down as a key clash in the battle for the Champions League at the start of the season, yet the Newcastle manager was correct to surmise the encounter as such in his programme notes. That fact gives extra value to a richly-deserved point for Everton, who had to withstand a barrage of first-half Newcastle pressure in an increasingly fiesty encounter before imposing themselves during the second period.
Mind you, as Moyes admitted afterwards Everton have played a lot better this season. And when the manager is finally handed the readies the Fortress Sports Fund are promising come January, it won't be difficult to lure the talent sufficient to further improve his squad's potential. Success breeds success, so the saying goes, and now Everton are ready to reap their reward. Unsurprisingly, the Scot opted to stick with the starting XI which has ensured Everton's continued position among exalted company, while Newcastle handed a first league start to teenage full-back Steven Taylor in an attempt to shore up a defence which had shipped 13 goals in their last six games at St James' Park - by comparison, Everton had conceded 11 Premiership goals all season going into the game. The visitors sought to make inroads from the start and Marcus Bent tested the water with an early effort, sending a looping header across goal from a deep cross to the far post from Tony Hibbert. However, the encouraging opening was soon forgotten when Newcastle went ahead on five minutes with a goal which high-lighted the Achilles heel of Everton's defence and will have left Moyes disappointed with the relative ease with which it was created. An under-hit clearance from Newcastle goal-keeper Shay Given was helped on by Lee Bowyer on the halfway line to Craig Bellamy, who played a first-time one-two with Patrick Kluivert to find himself clear of David Weir and ran in on goal before producing a clinical finish past the helpess Nigel Martyn. Like at Chelsea earlier in the month, raw pace had proven Everton's undoing at the back, with the quick feet of Bellamy and Kluivert and speed off the mark of the former splicing open a defence which had been caught unusually high up the pitch. The goal prompted a period of prolonged home pressure and Martyn had to be alert on 19 minutes to palm wide a Jermaine Jenas shot after a neat give-andgo with Kluivert on the edge of the area had freed the midfielder inside the penalty area. Everton had the woodwork to thank on the half-hour when several failed attempts to clear their area ended with Alessandro Pistone inadvertently spooning the ball skyward and Jenas seized the moment by producing an acrobatic scissor-kick which crashed against the crossbar. Kluivert was the stellar performer of the first half and only the instinctive defending of Alan Stubbs prevented him from capping his 45 minutes by registering on the scoresheet. Newcastle once again got in around the back of the visitors' defence, this time Bellamy finding space down the Everton right. The forward's cross eventually fell to Kluivert on the edge of the area and the Dutchman's goalbound effort beat Martyn but not Stubbs, who had dropped back to hack off the goal-line. That narrow escape appeared to awaken Everton from their collective slumber and they ended the half the stronger. Much of their possession had been pretty to watch but lacked purpose, but eventually they began to make better use of it by earning a series of set-plays. A Thomas Gravesen free-kick from the left was headed back across by Weir and, after two bites at the cherry, Stubbs saw his effort deflected wide by Given's legs. Tim Cahill put a free header off target from a Gravesen long throw but not before a scramble in the Newcastle area ended with the Australian somehow backheeling wide from two yards out. The second half saw Newcastle rediscover their attacking verve and after Kieron Dyer shot into the side-netting, Kluivert wasted a clear opening by shooting well over from Bellamy's pass. Enter Carsley. The tireless Bent was fouled 20 yards out, and Kevin Kilbane stepped over the free-kick for Carsley - evoking memories of his goal against Preston in the Carling Cup last month - to expertly curl a shot around the wall and into the top corner. Given didn't even move. Bellamy attempted an instant response by exploding a 20-yard effort which struck the post, but with the home support inevitably starting to turn on their team and beleaguered referee Neale Barry - who infuriated them further by waving away penalty appeals after Dyer fell under the challenge of Kilbane - the balance of power had shifted towards the men in Blue, Kluivert becoming anonymous. And Everton should really have made the most of that advantage 15 minutes from time when a break out of midfield saw Gravesen play in Bent, who went around the advancing Given but rolled his effort into the side-netting. From not that acute an angle, it was a poor miss. Newcastle huffed and puffed but didn't get anywhere until two minutes from time when Pistone was in the right place to block a Bellamy shot destined for the back of the net, although there was still time at the other end for Leon Osman to force a fine save from Given with a low shot. So Everton are third, a point behind Arsenal and three ahead of Manchester United with Christmas fast approaching. Not a bad way for Moyes to commemorate his 100th league game in charge at Goodison. Here's to the next century.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Taylor, Bramble, Hughes, Bernard; Dyer, Jenas, Bowyer (Ameobi 82), Robert; Kluivert, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Milner, Ambrose, Brittain.
BOOKING: Bramble (foul)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Osman, Cahill (Watson 86), Carsley, Gravesen (Yobo 90), Kilbane; Bent (Ferguson 88). Subs: Wright, Watson, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Cahill, Hibbert (fouls) and Bent (dissent)
REFEREE: Neale Barry
ATT: 51,247
NEXT GAME: Everton v Bolton Wanderers, Barclays Premiership, Saturday, 3pm

Moyes setting sights on Europe
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 29 2004
DAVID MOYES admitted Everton have started to train their sights on European qualification after another courageous performance on their travels yesterday. Lee Carsley's sublime 57th-minute free-kick earned the Goodison side a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United after they threatened to be overpowered during a one-sided first-half. However, Craig Bellamy's fifth-minute opener was all the hosts were restricted to as Everton maintained their hold on third spot. And while careful not to put unnecessary pressure on his buoyant players, manager Moyes conceded that Europe is now an attainable target for his team. "We have got 30 points from 15 games now," he said.. "That's two points a game and people know what that kind of run can lead to. "We should try and aim for Europe. Why should we not be a team that can challenge for a place in Europe? We have to think that now. "But we are not getting carried away. I know it sounds boring to keep going on about it, but 40 points has to be our first target. I don't want to set anyone up for a fall." The result kept Everton 10 points clear of pre-season Champions League qualification challengers Newcastle, and Moyes said: "We are not at the level of Newcastle United yet but we are making a real go of it to get up there. "However, we have to start thinking we can possibly finish above Newcastle now. We have a long way to go and we are just starting our rebuilding process. "We went to Manchester United and drew, we went to Chelsea and should have got something from the game, so it should not have been a surprise to anyone that we earned a point here." Moyes added that it was high time his players were given the credit they deserve for their continued fine form this campaign.
"I'm always going on about the team spirit, but it is excellent and if anything it is getting better," he said.. "That comes from winning games and getting results like this. "The players are full of it in the dressing room and so they should be. Everyone should be praising the players for what they are doing." Everton have still lost only once away from home this season, and Moyes continued: "The players have given me everything they possibly can and we are doing really well. "It was a hard-earned point. We were up against the second-best goalscorers in the Premiership and we came here and kept them down to just one goal. However, it was nowhere near as good as we can play.
"We rode our luck a bit but then Newcastle did too when we missed our chances to score.
"The first half we started well and had a few chances but we got caught and, if anything, we were going for it too much. We had to batten down the hatches for most of the first half. "We had our chances at the end of the first half when we could have scored from both corners. "I thought November would be a tough month, with only one home game and away games at Chelsea, Birmingham and here today. But we have taken seven points from 12 and we were unlucky at Chelsea."

Moyes: Strike was practice made perfect
By Ian Doyle Daily Post Staff
Nov 29 2004
DAVID MOYES claimed that Lee Carsley's equalizing goal was just reward for the amount of hard work the midfielder has put in behind the scenes at Everton this season. The 30-year-old cancelled out Craig Bellamy's opener with a stunning 25-yard free-kick that left his former international team-mate Shay Given rooted to the spot. Moyes revealed afterwards that Carsley regularly stays behind after training at Bellefield to practice set-pieces and he is pleased on the Blues' unsung heroes is hitting the headlines. "He practises free-kicks very hard on the training ground every day and he deserved it that goal," Moyes revealed after his side closed the gap on Arsenal to just a single point.
"He is one of those lads who goes a little bit unnoticed and a little bit unsung but I don't think that will be the case now. "His performances have been great this season and he has gone about his job in a quiet and assured manner and he is a good man to have at your club as well as a good player."
Moyes was also quick to praise the rest of his team for the way they fought their way back into the game after the hammer-blow of conceding early on. "It said a lot about their character and what they are capable of," added the manager. "The way they went about from start was that they were coming here to try and win the game. "In the opening few minutes they put the marker down and maybe we were a bit too gung-ho and before we knew it we were a goal down. "Then for the next 30 minutes we had to take an almighty battering but that is what we are good at and I though we defended well and the goalkeeper made saves when he had to." Newcastle manager Graeme Souness could hardly believe his side's efforts had not been rewarded with a third successive victory and was furious referee Neale Barry had waved away appeals for an 84th-minute penalty after Kieron Dyer was felled by Kevin Kilbane. "Other than 10 minutes before half-time, we have played very, very well today," he said. "I think we have passed it around very well, we have defended very well and I think on another day, we would be going home with three points and no-one could argue with that. "There is a saying - I think it was a golfer who first said it - the harder you work, the luckier you become. "You can see why Everton are sitting third in the table. They work extremely hard and they enjoyed some luck that was going today. "I think it is a great shout for a penalty for us. I have just seen it on the television and if you do not get a penalty for that, you are not going to get a penalty for anything."

Suspensions a threat to revival
View from the stands by Mark McKenna Everton supporter, Daily Post
Nov 29 2004
WELL, I suppose we can have a break from our boring tag for just one week then? How this game finished with just one goal to either side is beyond me. Still, The People's Club have yet again gone to one of the most difficult away grounds and come away with smiles on Evertonian faces. While we did have the chances to win, particularly through Marcus Bent's open-goal miss, a win for either team would have been undeserved. In a throwback to the Kevin Keegan days, Newcastle showed how much quality they have in attack, yet were dreadful in defence. I always felt we were one long ball over the top away from conceding a goal throughout the match. For the first time this season, the weaknesses of Stubbs and Weir were constantly exploited by the pace of Newcastle. It would be entirely unfair, though, to criticise these Everton stalwarts after the service they have given us. Lee Carsley has definitely bought a new pair of boots for this season. Wherever he's got them from, they're working a treat. The thought of a Carsley wonder goal being used in future adverts for the Premiership just doesn't seem right does it? Beckham will be 'trying to do a Carsley' in training this week! After his cruel comments towards Bolton recently, Souness once again showed sour grapes in his post-match comments. To suggest that Everton were lucky, the referee didn't give the Geordies a penalty when Keiron Dyer went down is ridiculous. This was a marvellous game of football where both sides came out with credit, so just enjoy it. Although we've been lucky with injuries so far, we now need to be concerned that the competitiveness of our players has brought about bookings, which will soon result in suspensions. Suspensions to our key midfielders such as Gravesen and Cahill could hit us hard until the January reinforcements.

Everton Ladies held to a costly draw
Women'S Football, Daily Post
Ladies lost top spot in the Nationwide Women's Premier League when they were held to a goalless draw at Fulham. Charlton manager Keith Boanas saw his side win 2-0 at bottom club Doncaster Belles to take over at the head of the table. Despite dominating most of the game, Everton could not break down a dogged Fulham defence as chances were few and far between. "We didn't play to our full potential," manager Kieth Marley said. "Fulham defended well and we dominated but just couldn't break them down. That was the title over for us. "But we'll keep going and try to finish as high as we can. Hope-fully we can finish second." Arsenal have now moved within striking distance of the top two as they leapfrogged Bristol Rovers with a 2-0 win over their rivals. Bristol remain tied with Doncaster at the bottom but their superior goal difference may yet see them profit over the Belles and Liverpool. Birmingham won their sixth game in a row and edged Liverpool closer to a relegation scrap. Rachel Yankie's hat-trick set the Midlands side on the way to a 6-0 rout.

Newcastle 1, Everton 1 (Echo)
Nov 29 2004 By Scott McLeod at St James' Park
EVERTON are the gatecrashers who now look more comfortable at the party than the hosts.
For too long the Premiership knees-up has been a two-tier affair. But the Blues have now entered the VIP section at the expense of the likes of Newcastle and Liverpool, and are refusing to budge.
Yesterday they demonstrated, not for the first time this season, exactly why they deserve to be where they are. This was a point earned courtesy of all the qualities which have guided Everton to third spot. But it was even more impressive because they are no longer a surprise package.
Before this game kicked off there was a telling insight from Graeme Souness into the mindset of the sides gathering below Everton in the Premiership table. In his programme notes, the Newcastle boss stressed the importance of this fixture to the Geordies' ambition of securing Champions League football. "Being perfectly realistic, I would say two or perhaps three of the four Champions League places have effectively already gone," he reflected. "Given the pedigree of Chelsea and Arsenal, and perhaps Manchester United, then we may be talking about just one Champions League place remaining even at this early stage of the season." It underlined how tough a task it will be for Everton to stay where they are. But it also explains why this was such a fantastic result. And why the sides below them are starting to get a little anxious. Before a ball was kicked this year, the likes of Newcastle United, Liverpool and Middlesbrough were making bold claims about their European ambitions. Champions League was a target, continental football of some sort a must. Fifteen games on and Everton are proving the fly in the ointment. "Everton come here as one of the teams we need to overtake to achieve a Champions League qualification place and that means this is a particularly big game for us," Souness continued in the programme. "The likes of Everton will be looking at the Champions League spots and thinking they're in the box seat, and they do have a realistic chance - as do we." That is credit which has been earned. And it also helps to under-line exactly how tough a contest this was for Moyes' men. Newcastle, like some of the other bigger clubs who believe they have a divine right to occupy the upper echelons, are becoming increasingly anxious at the way in which the season is panning out. And yet it was Everton who started at lightning pace, so eager were they to take the game by the scruff of the neck. At the start of the season, Everton were going into games as the under-dogs. Now they are respected by their Premiership rivals, which brings a new kind of headache. But they are loving that limelight, and that pressure. While their rivals are feeling the heat of expectation, Everton are basking in the warm glow of defying expectations. And that is why, when placed in front of a partisan Geordie crowd and asked to claw their way back into the game from one goal down, they weren't found wanting. So let's gloss over the fact that the reason they were left to fight back from a goal down is because they may have been a little too bold in their opening salvo. Instead, let's focus on the Toffees' hard centre. It is built on self-belief, a sense of togetherness and a lack of pressure from the fans.

It is a position the majority of the clubs just below them, with the exception of Bolton, are not in.
And it is why Everton have no intention of going anywhere. A side with less grit and backbone would not have got this result. Craig Bellamy gave the home side the lead inside five minutes. There were echoes of Arjen Robben's goal at Stamford Bridge. A miscued clearance from Shay Given found Bellamy in midfield. A neat one-two with Patrick Kluivert and the Welsh international was away, showing the Everton defence a clean pair of heels before producing an emphatic finish. It was an horrific start to the game for the Toffees. And the contest didn't get any easier in the half hour that followed. The Magpies were taking nothing for granted. Indeed, they were so pumped up for this game that they created more chances in the opening half than Everton have had to deal with in any other away match this season. But, for all their eye-catching flair and attacking quality, they couldn't muster another goal. Jermaine Jenas saw one effort brilliantly pawed around a post by Nigel Martyn, then produced a stunning scissor kick which bounced back off the crossbar. And when Martyn was beaten again, this time by a Kluivert volley, Alan Stubbs was on hand to clear off the line. Newcastle had hit them hard, and then kept pressing. Yet the Toffees were not melting under the pressure. And having endured wave after wave of Newcastle attack, they finally produced some decent chances of their own on the stroke of half-time. All were from set-pieces, exposing a defensive frailty which has been common in Newcastle sides for a generation. Stubbs had a close range effort smothered by Given and a header blocked. But Tim Cahill was the most unfortunate, somehow back-heeling the ball wide from a yard in a crowded area and then heading high and wide after losing his marker to connect with a Thomas Gravesen long throw. But it provided hope for the second period. And that hope was justified. In the 56th minute Bent, who was outstanding once again leading the line alone, was fouled on the edge of the box. Instead of Gravesen, Lee Carsley stepped forward. Having netted a cracker in the Carling Cup against Preston, he produced another beauty, curling his right-foot effort over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards. It was inevitable that the home side would press hard for another in the closing third of the game. But suddenly their supply line started to dry up. Yes, much of Everton's football was limited to their own half as they tried to catch their hosts on the hop. But the Geordies couldn't find a way through.
Kieron Dyer, who has been asked to improve his goal ratio by Souness, fired into the side-netting, Bellamy shot wide and then had an effort from 12 yards deflected wide by Alessandro Pistone.
Other than that, Martyn wasn't tested too much. And the Blues continued to look capable of getting something on the break. Indeed, Bent should have rounded off another fine performance 15 minutes from time when Gravesen played him through. His pace took him around Given as the keeper came charging out but he was caught off balance as he attempted to guide the ball into the empty net and his effort from 18 yards skipped wide. That would have made a great day even better. But if the Blues have now forced their way into a battle for a European place, then this was more than good enough to maintain their advantage over the chasing pack. And doesn't that make you want to party.
NEWCASTLE UNITED (4-4-2): Given; Taylor, Bramble, Hughes, Bernard; Dyer, Jenas, Bowyer (Ameobi 82), Robert; Kluivert, Bellamy. Subs: Harper, Milner, Ambrose, Brittain.
BOOKING: Bramble (foul)
EVERTON (4-5-1): Martyn; Hibbert, Stubbs, Weir, Pistone; Osman, Cahill (Watson 86), Carsley, Gravesen (Yobo 90), Kilbane; Bent (Ferguson 88). Subs: Wright, Watson, McFadden.
BOOKINGS: Cahill, Hibbert (fouls) and Bent (dissent)
REFEREE: Neale Barry
ATT: 51,247
NEXT GAME: Everton v Bolton Wanderers, Barclays Premiership, Saturday, 3pm

Top form down to us, not Wayne - Gravesen
Nov 29 2004 By David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THOMAS GRAVESEN wants to finally banish the spectre of Wayne Rooney from Goodison Park.
The Manchester United striker was centre of attention while he was at Everton - and even now he has gone people are asking whether the Blues' upsurge in fortunes is down to his departure.
Gravesen, however, thinks the spotlight should fall on the players who are producing the goods.
"I don't think it is so much because Rooney left. I think every man has pride and, of course, that is no different here," he explained. "Everyone was saying we were no good and you don't belong in the league and that makes you want to prove them wrong - that is in every man's nature. "So I don't know if it is because Wayne left, all I know is that when you corner a guy he will do anything he can to get out of that. I think all the guys at Everton at the moment are now showing that a cornered person is stronger than a free one." Gravesen pinpointed pride as the reason behind another excellent away result for Everton. The Blues came from behind at St James' Park yesterday - and might have stolen their sixth away win of the season had Marcus Bent shown steadier finishing.
But Gravesen was satisfied with another point from the 1-1 draw. "We are very determined right now at Everton in going forward and actually making ourselves better," he added. "We are trying to bring in new faces and that can only be a positive sign. "It didn't look good with all the rumours in pre-season and after our first game with Arsenal it looked like it was downhill all season. "But the guys around the club have managed to turn it around." Gravesen would not be drawn, though, on his own uncertain future. "Rumours exist because of the game and we can't comment on every rumour. At the moment everybody here is focusing on the job," he said. Midfield partner Lee Carsley, meanwhile, received praise from boss David Moyes for his spectacular free-kick. "He practices free-kicks very hard on the training ground every day and he deserved that," he said..
"He is one of those lads who goes a little bit unnoticed but I don't think that will be the case now.
"His performances have been great this season and he has gone about his job in a quiet and assured manner. "He is a good man to have at your club as well as a good player."

Europe now our target - Moyes
Nov 29 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has tried hard to protect his Everton players from unnecessary expectations.
That is why, whenever he has been asked, the Goodison boss has always tried to sidestep the issue of Everton setting targets for European qualification. But he had to concede in the wake of the hard fought 1-1 draw at Newcastle yesterday that the excellent form of his squad means challenging for Europe is, at the very least, a possibility. After all, the point maintained Everton's grip on third place, leaving them three points ahead of Manchester United and five points better off than Middlesbrough. Moyes said: "Now we have taken 30 points from 15 games, which is an average of two points a match. I don't have to say what that kind of form means. "But we are not kidding ourselves. We are just a hard working group and just because we have come to Newcastle and got a point doesn't mean we are at the same level of Newcastle yet. But we are making a good go of it.
"I don't want to set myself and the players targets, but the players should be getting praised for what they are doing. Why should we not be a team that can challenge for a place in Europe? We have to think that we can. "We should try and aim for Europe." Moyes' confidence follows a run of fine form from a month he earmarked at the start of the season as the toughest of the campaign.
He added: "I thought this was the hardest month we had because we only had one home game in November. "But we have come through it with seven points from 12 available and having only lost once - 1--0 at Chelsea." That run of form, with just one away defeat all season, has fuelled the confidence in the Everton dressing room. "It says a lot that the players thought they were coming here to win. I could sense it in the dressing room and I had sensed it on the training ground all week.
"You could see that from the opening 10 minutes. If anything, we were going for it a bit too much.
"They scored a terrific goal and then we had to baton down the hatches for half an hour. But that is an art in itself, defending well in the face of pressure. "The players have given everything they possibly can. We were up against a fantastic team in Newcastle, the second top scorers in the Premiership. "We restricted them to one goal and got a very good result. We rode our luck a little bit, but they rode theirs at times as well. "We came back after that early Craig Bellamy goal and had some good chances ourselves. "We have now been to Manchester United and drawn, drawn here and only lost 1-0 at Chelsea. Maybe it wasn't that big a surprise for us to be down 1-0 at half time but to come back and get a draw." Despite the excellent outcome, Moyes still wasn't fully satisfied, so high are the standards he is now setting at Goodison. "That wasn't anywhere near as good as we can play but all the qualities and everything we ask of the players when we are not quite at it was there," he continued.. "The players are giving their best in every game and are always trying to do things the right way. If anything, the mood in the dressing room is getting better." There was one downside from the afternoon. The Blues will be without Tim Cahill for the home game with Bolton this weekend after the Australian international picked up his fifth booking of the season.

Polished performance
Nov 29 2004 Analysis by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
REGARDLESS of the £30,000 he reportedly splashed out at an upmarket Tyneside orthodontist (that's dentist to you and me), Craig Bellamy's gleaming grid was not the sight Evertonians wanted to see at the beginning and end of yesterday's clash. That they didn't, was down to Alessandro Pistone's decisive last minute block. Shame on you for suggesting the Italian fullback was trying to get out of the way of Bellamy's blockbuster. He didn't - and Everton gleaned another impressive away result.
Once again team spirit, desire and discipline were the key ingredients - plus a sublime free-kick from Lee Carsley. The Irish midfielder is almost a reflection of Everton's public perception at present.
But if the wider public believe tough tackling, honesty and endeavour are the only qualities he brings to the side - yesterday's strike and an even more controlled effort at Birmingham a couple of weeks ago should convince them otherwise. As their manager said recently, just keep looking at the League table. It doesn't tell lies . . .

WBA Reserves 1, Everton Reserves 1
Nov 30 2004
Daily Post
RONNIE WALLWORK'S late equaliser denied Everton Reserves all three points as they drew 1-1 with West Brom in the FA Premier Reserve League Northern Section at Kidderminster last night.
A youthful Everton line-up looked to be heading for a victory over their more experienced counterparts thanks to James Vaughan's first-half goal. But Albion, who had several players with first-team experience including £2.3million defender Martin Albrechtsen and internationals Junichi Inamoto and Jason Koumas, grabbed a point two minutes from time. Anthony Gerrard saw a low 30-yard drive grabbed by West Brom keeper Tomasz Kuszczak after 15 minutes, while in the early exchanges at the other end former Tranmere Rovers midfielder Koumas struck the post with a 20-yard free-kick. Rob Hulse also fired over before Everton fashioned two chances of their own - the second of which brought the opening strike. Keeper Kuszczak made a fine double save to deny Christian Seargeant and Chinese midfielder Li Tie, but the breakthrough came on the half-hour mark, the impressive Vaughan sliding the ball home from close range. After the break Everton had a chance to make it 2-0 as Laurence Wilson's volley wasn't dealt with properly by substitute goalkeeper Simon Miotto, but he managed to stop it from crossing the line at the second attempt.
West Brom continued to press for an equaliser but Everton keeper Iain Turner saved Inamoto's long-range effort and tipped over superbly from another well-struck Koumas shot with 10 minutes remaining. The Baggies hit the post again from Hulse's header but got their equaliser as former Manchester United midfielder Wallwork drilled home from 12 yards.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner, S Wright, Fox, Gerrard, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Tie, Vaughan (Anichebe 70), Vidarsson, Wilson. Subs: Gallagher, Hopkins, Phelan, Boyle.

Second's best for forward-looking Carsley
By Andy Hunter, Daily Post
Nov 30 2004
LEE CARSLEY last night revealed Everton are hoping to lose their 10-week grip on third place - and leapfrog Arsenal into second. David Moyes trained his sights on European qualification after his side took their tally to 30 points from 15 games with Sunday's draw at Newcastle. And goalscorer Carsley underlined the growing confidence at Goodison Park by insisting Everton are no longer content with third and are looking to add to the champions' growing Premiership concerns instead. "We're looking to carry on now," said Everton's unsung hero this season. "We've got past the stage when we're buzzing because we're third. Now we're looking to see if we can kick on a bit. "A lot of the teams around us are doing well, so we've got to keep on winning ourselves." Everton are only a point behind Arsenal after their defeat at Anfield and Carsley admits Sunday's hard-earned point at St James' Park was another sign of progress this season. He added: "Newcastle started well but we didn't collapse after their early goal and that shows how resilient we are. I think last season we may have struggled but we had a gameplan at Newcastle and stuck to it. "It was difficult for us because their goal gave their players license to go forward and take their chances. But we went in at half-time only one goal down and we fancied our chances. "Because of the good chances we created, I felt a draw was a fair result." Tim Cahill, meanwhile, is not suspended for this Saturday's home game with Bolton but will miss the following week's Merseyside derby if booked against Sam Allardyce's side. The Australian international collected his fourth booking of the season at Newcastle and is now just one yellow card from an automatic one-match ban.
* EVERTON'S Premiership trip to Southampton next year has been put back 24 hours. The game, originally scheduled for Saturday, February 5, will now take place on Sunday, February 6.
Meanwhile, the club's youngsters will entertain Charlton in the third round of the FA Youth Cup at Goodison Park on Monday, December 13 at 7pm.

We got lucky
Post Soapbox, icLiverpool & Daily Post
Nov 30 2004
We got lucky
IT WAS a good point on Sunday but in fairness Everton got lucky. Newcastle ripped us apart in the opening 30 minutes and Craig Bellamy should have scored in the last couple of minutes - the amount of room he got was outrageous. On the plus side, Lee Carsley's goal was pure class and we created a number of other decent chances. It will be interesting to see who Moyes signs in January but there is no way on God's earth that Robbie Keane is worth £7m.
Shez Khan (via e-mail)
Yellow fever
IT was another good point at Newcastle and if Everton can keep it going, Europe awaits. But what worries me is the yellow cards we pick up. The squad is thin before reinforcements can arrive in January so I hope suspensions don't cost us.
Jim Jones, Childwall
No groundshare
WHY does this ground-share nonsense keep cropping up? None of us Evertonians want it and neither do the other lot. I know we need more money but selling our identity is just stupid.
Brian Smith (via e-mail)

Star Blues walk derby tightrope
Nov 30 2004 By Scott Mcleod, Liverpool Echo
TWO of Everton's most influential players will be walking a derby day disciplinary tightrope against Bolton this weekend. Both Kevin Kilbane and Tim Cahill are one yellow card away from an automatic one-match ban. If either player is cautioned at Goodison on Saturday, they will have to sit out the 200th Merseyside derby seven days later. There were concerns Cahill's booking at Newcastle on Sunday had left him with five cautions but the FA have confirmed the Australian international is only on four, following his suspension earlier in the season for a dismissal at Manchester City. That means he can play against Sam Allardyce's side but, like Kilbane, if he picks up another caution between now and the end of February he will be facing one game on the sidelines. The nightmare scenario would be for both players to pick up bookings in the same game - particularly this weekend.
David Moyes is aware that the size of his squad means that a couple of suspensions or injuries will have a significant impact. He said: "We are doing incredibly well but we cannot kid ourselves. We have a smaller squad than the rest and it will eventually start to stretch us. "We need reinforcements because we really are right at the start of our rebuilding programme."
Moyes has been fortunate with injuries so far, with no key players having to endure a spell on the sidelines. That means despite having a senior squad of just 19 outfield players, the manager has not been affected by a shortage of options. He has managed to name the same starting line-up in each of the Blues' last three Premiership outings. The manager was buoyed last night by Li Tie's first start since returning from a broken shin. He played for the reserves in the draw at West Brom.
Head physio Mick Rathbone confirmed: "We have got reserve games coming up in quick succession and we are hoping Li Tie will play a part in each of them. But we won't be putting too much pressure on him or expecting too much." Meanwhile, Everton have announced two fixtures changes for February. The trip to Southampton has been switched from Saturday, February 5 and is now a 2pm kick-off on Sunday, February 6 to accommodate Sky. Likewise, the home clash with Chelsea a week later remains on Saturday, February 12 but will now be shown on Premiership Plus and will kick off at 12.45pm.

Late strike denies Vaughan the glory
Nov 30 2004 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON'S rookie reserves came within two minutes of snatching an excellent away win at an experienced West Bromwich Albion side last night. Ronnie Wallwork struck an 88th minute equaliser to deny the Blues, who had led through James Vaughan's first half goal. The Baggies fielded eight players with first team experience, including £2.3m centre-back Martin Albrechtsen and internationals Jason Koumas and Junichi Inamoto. Everton's only senior player was Li Tie, but the Blues started well. Anthony Gerrard tested goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak with a 30-yard drive which was smothered, before Koumas struck the base of a post with a 20-yard free-kick. Vaughan broke the deadlock just before the half-hour when he netted from close range. They came close to doubling their advantage when a speculative volley by Laurence Wilson was fumbled by substitute keeper Simon Miotto, but snatched before it could cross the line. The Baggies hit the post again, this time from a Rob Hulse header, before Wallwork finally drilled in an equaliser from 12 yards.
WEST BROM: Kuszczak (Miotto 45), Midworth, Holmes, Inamoto, Wallwrok, Albrechtsen, Koumas, Chambers, Hulse, Elvins (Patterson 60), Dyer. Unused subs: Smikle, Davies, Forsythe.
EVERTON: Turner, Wright, Fox, Gerrard, Hughes, Harris, Seargeant, Tie, Vaughan (Anichebe), Vidarsson, Wilson. Unused subs: Gallagher, Hopkins, Phelan, Boyle.












November 2004