Everton Independent Research Data


Tim Cahill's injury not serious says David Moyes
Nov 1 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have allayed fears that Tim Cahill's latest foot injury is serious.
The hugely influential Australian has broken bones in his feet on three separate occasions and came back from international duty last week suffering suspected plantar fasciitis. The painful condition affects the underside of the heel, and is the same problem which eventually ended Danny Williamson's short-lived Everton career almost a decade ago. But Blues boss David Moyes said: "I think rest will cure it. He was a bit doubtful in midweek and only played 25-30 minutes and that made it sore again so we'll have to see how he is and give him a fitness test in the morning.
"Are we worried? It's worrying because he's got an injury and we want him. But he got it while he was away playing with Australia." Blues medical staff confirmed that the problem was nothing more sinister than a bruised heel after wearing different studs in his boots. Cahill initially sustained a metatarsal injury at Sheffield United in March last year, and then aggravated it on his Everton comeback in a friendly against Werder Bremen at the end of July. In March this year he limped off against West Ham at Goodison Park with a third separate incident of the same injury and underwent surgery to cure the problem. This latest concern is not linked to his previous foot injuries.

Marouane Fellaini free of his bad image - Moyes
Nov 1 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES is confident record signing Marouane Fellaini's bad-boy reputation has not followed him to England - despite the Belgian being suspended already.
The six feet six inch midfielder will miss next Saturday's trip to West Ham after collecting his fifth yellow card in eight Premier League appearances on Wednesday night at Bolton - for over-celebrating a 90th minute matchwinner. When he quit Standard Liege in the summer, Fellaini claimed he was forced out by card-happy referees. "One reason why I’m pleased to be leaving the Belgian League is I had a reputation for getting stuck in a bit too much," he said. “I think the referees are a bit too whistle-happy over there. "I got too many cards and, hopefully, here the referees will let things go a little bit more.” Blues boss Moyes said yesterday: "I don't think his reputation is following him. “I think his bookings here have all been for minor things and maybe the speed of the Premier League has caught him out a few times.
"I don’t think any of them have been bad tackles." But Moyes was angry at the award of the yellow card in midweek. "That was disappointing because that one was harsh," he added. "He stayed on the green part of the pitch. “He didn't jump the barriers and I watched Match of the Day in midweek and there were people celebrating in the crowd and people going up to supporters. "Marouane didn't leave the green part of the pitch, but he was booked and we can't do anything about it."

Everton v Fulham: David Moyes eyeing repeat display
Nov 1 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has urged his Everton side to try and repeat the rampaging run which carried his side to UEFA Cup qualification last season. After 10 games last season the Blues boasted just 13 points. Despite a slow start to this season the Blues are only one point worse off, and Moyes said: “We knew if we got a result in midweek we’d be only one point behind where we were last year. “We went on a fabulous run round about this time last year losing two games in 18 in the Premier League, so we know we’re not too far away and we’re beginning to get back a little bit of form, a little bit of confidence. “And there’s a lot more to come from the players, I’m sure of that.” Moyes also pointed out that the experience of the 2005/06 campaign, when the Blues recovered from a dreadful start to finish 11th, would also stand them in good stead. “I think our experiences from three years ago when we started the season not too well makes us understand that you have to keep your nerve, keep doing the right things and it will come right,” he added. “I don’t know how far up I’m looking because I want to make sure I get a couple of results. “I’m not going to start saying we’re looking right up there after winning one game. “I won’t do that until we’ve got a decent number of points. “I’m definitely looking to catch one or two teams above me. That’s the first aim, but you can only do that if we win the games and at the moment we haven’t won enough games. “Once we get a base of points then we can start thinking about what we’re going to do.”

Dominic King's Royal Blue: Time to give Phil Neville credit where it's due
Nov 1 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THINGS are changing at Goodison Park. Everton are winning again, those who were once regulars are not guaranteed a starting place - and Phil Neville is no longer the subject of mass derision. Everton’s captain is a player who has polarised opinion among supporters in recent seasons. He is either perceived as a man who gives his all and valuable to have around or the person to blame the moment things start to go askew. Cast your mind back to the opening day tussle with Blackburn and think of the moment he was forced to play a back pass from the halfway line. Remember the voluble grumbling which accompanied that move? Having seen some of the flak he receives on internet message boards, one fully expected another year of reading emails about Neville “being a fraud” or referring to him as “the worst captain in history” but an incident at the end of that match suggested the tide had started to turn.
Win, lose or draw, Neville will be the first to applaud the crowd which has meant that after some heavy defeats, he has been the first to receive the bird but against Blackburn supporters actually clapped him back. Happily that trend has, by and large, continued - even during particularly low moments, such as defeat in the derby, going out of the Carling Cup and squandering points against Newcastle, Neville has not been targeted by the boo-boys. A measure of the rapport that he now apparently has with supporters came during last weekend’s tussle with Manchester United.
When the ball went into the paddock for a throw, Neville thought he had an opportunity to refuel. However, there were no Lucozade bottles nearby and he asked, more in hope than expectation, whether anyone had a bottle of water with them - that prompted one fan to start frantically shouting “quick, get the lad a drink!”
Within seconds, the request was met and away he went. Moments later he produced the tackle on Cristiano Ronaldo that lifted up the atmosphere in Goodison by several notches. Not long ago, there is a chance that drink would have been squirted at him.
There is, of course, a reason. Neville may be a fine ambassador for the club and relish the responsibilities that come with being captain, but he is equally aware that the only way to keep criticism at bay is by raising the standards of his performance.
He has done that and more. Man-of-the-match in the first two fixtures of the campaign, Neville’s display against United was one of the best he has produced since moving down the M62 three years ago, and was given a gloss by the cross he put on Marouane Fellaini’s head. He is never going to be held in the same esteem on the terraces as, say, Mikel Arteta or Tim Cahill, but Everton’s team would be poorer without Neville in it and David Moyes - not known for handing out lavish compliments - certainly appreciates that. “Phil never shirks anything, he always takes responsibility,” said the manager. “He always wants the ball and sometimes I’ve had to say ‘look, don’t try and do it all on your own’ “He probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves because he always wants to take responsibility, whether it be taking a free-kick, crossing a ball or making a tackle. He’s the one who wants to do it and that means you are always drawing attention to yourself. “He does it with the team’s best interests. He’s the first to text the boys before and after international games. He’s on the phone, making sure they know what’s going on and he’s regularly involved in things in the area. “He’s a great ambassador for Everton Football Club. For someone who’s not been here that long he’s done a really good job. He is really good for us in a lot of ways.” And maybe - just maybe - a wider audience are starting to appreciate that. Time, then, to give credit where it’s due.
Marouane Fellaini has been harshly treated by Premier League refs
RESPECT may still be the FA’s current buzz word but maybe it’s time for them to think up a new initiative - common sense. Haranguing match officials has never been something that Everton’s players have done yet, for some reason, they continue to fall foul of some preposterous decisions by the men in the middle, the latest being Marouane Fellaini’s yellow card at Bolton. Emotions tend to run high when last minute goals are scored and Fellaini had every reason to be overjoyed when his header thumped a post and beat Jussi Jaaskelainen but he certainly did not exceed the boundaries of good taste in his celebrations. He didn’t leave the pitch and vault into the visiting section, nor did he take his shirt off and start whirling it around his head.
Fellaini didn’t even run to Bolton’s fans and start kissing his badge to goad and provoke them. Yet Phil Dowd felt compelled to book the Belgian. Utter madness. Now, of course, he is suspended for next week’s trip to West Ham. When he joined Everton, Fellaini admitted he was relieved to leave Belgium as he felt certain referees had an agenda against him - but he could soon be thinking the same about Premier League officials. The 20-year-old has picked up five bookings in his last seven appearances without even committing a bad tackle. Heaven forbid he ends up being targeted simply because he stands head and shoulders above the crowd.

Tickets on sale for Ronnie Goodlass’ Everton-themed charity night
Nov 1 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
ANY Evertonians wishing to wallow in a night of nostalgia may be interested to know that tickets still remain for the charity dinner to promote Ronnie Goodlass’ charity, Health Through Sport. The event will be held on Friday, November 28, when the Blues’ most successful skipper Kevin Ratcliffe will be guest speaker at The Devonshire House. Sean Styles will provide the comedy and Willie Miller on MC duties. Two prizes will also be presented – the Brian Labone Corinthian Award and the Alan Ball ‘Ball of Fire’ award. Tickets cost £40 each or £450 for a table of 12. Info from 0151 254 6600 or website www.healththroughsport.co.uk

Everton v Fulham: I have blank ready for Andrew Johnson - Tim Howard
Nov 1 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD is one of the more affable members of Everton’s squad but he has been selective as to who he has answered calls from in the past few days.
It will, of course, be a case of friends reunited at Goodison Park today and Andrew Johnson is sure to receive a warm welcome on his return, not least from Howard, a man with whom he struck up a great affinity during his time on Merseyside.
The Fulham striker, however, will have mischief in mind once referee Lee Mason gets matters underway at lunchtime and his main aim will be to wreck Howard’s hopes of keeping back-to-back clean sheets for the first time since March. With Johnson rediscovering his shooting boots in midweek – his goals against Wigan were his first since his £10.5m move to Craven Cottage in August – he has been eager to let Howard know that he intends giving him treatment similar to Chris Kirkland.
Wisely, then, Howard has been screening the numbers flashing up on his mobile and will only speak to his pal at the final whistle – when, he hopes, Everton will have another three points and Johnson has drawn a blank. “I’m sure he will be looking to double up but I’ll be looking to do something similar,” said Howard who, like Johnson, moved to Goodison in the summer of 2006. “AJ is a good friend and I think he did really well for Everton. We were sad to see the back of him but now is the time to play him. “You know what football is like. Players come, players go. He was very productive for us and was a good guy to have around. “He never had a bad word to say and it was tough to see him go but he is not my friend today. He’s been trying to put me off but I haven’t answered his calls.” There was, not surprisingly, a smile on Howard’s face as he uttered those words and it was for good reason, things are starting to settle down again after a hugely disappointing start to the campaign.
True, they may not be playing with the verve and swagger which characterised their play at the corresponding stage of last season – victory at Bolton was achieved thanks to persistence rather than panache – but, as Howard points out, it is all about moving in small steps now. Once confidence has returned to their play, only then will they begin to take giant strides but the Blues will get closer to that objective if an encouraging week can be ended on a high with a victory over the Cottagers.
“Okay, we didn’t play well at Bolton but we got a win – that’s all that mattered,” said Howard. “Now we have got to make sure we get a good result at the weekend and really cap things off. Everyone is gung-ho and looking forward to it. We have got to keep the drive behind us. “We got into training on Thursday, licked our wounds and we are ready to go again now. We want to get up and running again and make sure we are bang on the money every Saturday from now. We have got to start climbing the table.” If results go their way this weekend, Everton could find themselves leaping up to as high as seventh place in the table and the fact they have been on the move in the past seven days has been down to the exploits of Marouane Fellaini. His headers against Manchester United and Bolton have been worth four priceless points and Howard has been thrilled that the club record signing is now begin to show why David Moyes chose to invest £15m on him before the transfer window shut. “Marouane came here to a team that needed all hands on deck,” said Howard. “It was a team that needed to roll its sleeves up and fight and I can imagine that he probably didn’t expect that. It will have taken him by surprise. “But he showed a little bit against Arsenal what he is capable of and what his strengths are. In the last three games he has made great improvements and we are starting to figure out how he likes to play and that can only be a good thing.” Though they have a lamentable record at Craven Cottage, Everton have won their last 15 fixtures at Goodison against Fulham and Moyes will be able to choose from a full-strength squad as they seek to make that a sweet 16.
Having started the campaign by naming a bench that compromised mostly untried teenagers, the Blues have a much more robust look about them and Leon Osman expects that to be shown in results from now. “Competition is only a good thing,” said Osman. “We have got near enough everyone fit now and with the manager only able to put 11 names on the team sheet every week, it’s going to make things interesting for everyone. “We are all just desperate to get another good result. Everyone here knows what a good striker Andy is and it will be nice to see him back. But we need to carry on what we have started. We are starting to improve and are heading in the right direction.”

We'll give Andrew Johnson warm welcome - David Moyes
Oct 31 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has promised Andrew Johnson he will receive a rousing reception at Goodison Park tomorrow - but wants his first return to ultimately end in disappointment. After spending two seasons on Merseyside and scoring 22 goals in 74 appearances, the former England international was sold to Fulham earlier this summer in a deal which could earn Everton more than £12m. But he left under something of a cloud after he refused to play in a pre-season friendly at Preston North End and the striker has since said he wanted to move as he was “no longer enjoying his football” with Everton. Moyes, however, has no intentions of giving a man for whom he broke the club transfer record in May 2006 the cold shoulder. “Of course we will welcome him back,” Moyes said today. “I enjoyed working with Andy when he was here and he was a great lad to have around the club. “He will be made more than welcome by me – obviously we don’t want him to score any goals – but I will be delighted to see him.
“I got on really well with Andy. I’ve got no problems with him, he played a big part in our rise during the last couple of years and he was really good for us.” The hand of friendship, though, will not be extended during the lunchtime kick-off as Moyes wants Everton to finish a productive week on a high by beating Fulham to secure back-to-back wins for the first time this season. Having kept their first clean sheet of the campaign in Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Bolton, Moyes now wants to see the Blues bury another damning statistic by registering a first triumph in front of their own fans.
“We want to try and build on a couple of results but what we really need to do is turn our home form around – let’s see if we can start here,” said Moyes, whose career as Everton manager began with a 2-1 win over Fulham in March 2002.
“We want to get that first home win. Hopefully the players will have taken a bit of confidence from this week. They certainly should for what they did against Man United. “You can see our confidence is coming back. We are getting competition for places and I’m starting to make one or two decisions, which I’ve not had chance to do this year.”

Louis Saha: I’ve lit blue touch paper - Everton latest
Nov 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MATCHWINNER Louis Saha today admitted a weight had been lifted from his shoulders after he finally brought his scoring drought to an end. Everton’s number nine got on the scoresheet for the first time since his summer move from Manchester United and he could not have picked a better time to grab it. The France international’s header gave the Blues a crucial 1-0 win over Fulham and sent David Moyes’ side back into the top half of the table. Saha believes that will give the squad an injection of confidence but, more importantly, he feels much better after halting a barren run that stretched back to February 23. “There is always some doubt creeping into your mind when you haven’t scored,” said Saha. “If you are a striker, you ask yourself why and you think about opportunities. “But you have to adapt. It is a different club, a different team and the way we play is a bit different. But it is coming. I was grateful the chance came my way. “The confidence is getting better and the clean sheet is proof that we are improving. “It is definitely harder for teams to play against us. We won and that was the main concern.” Of his goal he added: “It was a great ball. Every striker expects crosses like that to give you easy tap-ins.
“It hadn’t been the case so far but sometimes you have to wait. We all worked so hard.” Though he was troubled by injury for most of the time he spent at Old Trafford, Saha has not had any major fitness issues since moving to Merseyside.
He has been training every day and has fully recovered from the calf problem that forced him to wait three weeks to make his debut at Hull after signing before the deadline. “I feel a lot better physically,” he said. “It’s been a concern that I haven’t started many games lately. “But I feel a lot better now, so I am happy. This is huge for me. “It was a great opportunity for us to get the win and now there is competition for places. It has been very difficult but I’m sure the performances are going to come.”
Moyes chose to start with Saha on the bench after a laboured performance at Bolton but that decision worked a treat and the 30-year-old has now promised his best is yet to come. “I’m not a negative person,” said Saha. “I’m not playing that good. I know that. But I am happy to be on the pitch, I’m working hard to improve. “It is step by step. It’s a bit slow at the minute but this is the beginning. Hopefully we are all going to improve from here.”

Leon Osman is Everton's Mr Consistent - David Moyes
Nov 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has paid a glowing tribute to the player he has labelled Everton’s ‘Mr Consistent’. Leon Osman may not be the type of player who regularly hogs the headlines, but he has long been a valued member of the Blues’ squad and proved his worth once again in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Fulham. With Everton looking as if they were going to squander two points, Osman conjured up an inch-perfect cross for Louis Saha to head home and put the gloss on another typically industrious performance.
Moyes gave Osman his Everton debut in January 2003 in a 4-3 defeat at Tottenham and though he has made sweeping changes since then, the midfielder has remained a constant. But that has come as no surprise to his manager. “Ossie has been so consistent,” said Moyes. “He does all the jobs, plays anywhere, he is someone who I think is one of the boys at Everton who I would rely on. “I expect him to do what he does because of the standards he sets. I don’t think he has ever had many bad games for Everton He is terrific. He has great feet and ability to score goals himself.
“He created the goal here. He has had to change a little bit with Fellaini coming in. He can play wide if we need him to, he can play up front. I can honestly say in the six years I’ve been here I’ve never thought we were moving on from Ossie. He is a real club man.” Victory over Fulham enabled Everton to cap an encouraging week in the best possible manner and they now occupy a more familiar position in the table, after the last three games yielded two wins and a draw with Manchester United.
Slowly but surely, Moyes believes Everton are starting to find their stride again and now hopes that key players such as Ayegbeni Yakubu and Mikel Arteta start to raise their own performances. “The fitness of players was a problem at the start of the season,” said Moyes. “But we are grinding out results and we did that for long periods of last season as well. Sometimes it is good when you win without playing too well.
“I thought Yak played better in the first half. He was a bit more lively, and in fairness you rarely want to take him off as he has a goal in him. That’s what he does. You always want to try and keep the goalscorers on if you can. “We know that Mikel can play much better. He is aware of that as well and we have no doubt he can respond. It’s just a dip by his high standards.”

David Moyes: We knew Louis Saha would flourish at Everton
Nov 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
A NUMBER of glowing recommendations convinced David Moyes that bringing Louis Saha to Goodison Park would pay fruitful dividends. Everton’s new number nine grabbed the first goal of his career on Merseyside against Fulham, much to his manager’s relief. But even though Saha had gone eight games without troubling the scorers, Moyes knew he would eventually come good as he had been given so many good reports. “I spoke to Carlos Queiroz about him,” Moyes said. “A few people who had been around him gave me incredible shouts about his ability and what he could do. “Obviously his injury problems have been the thing, but with him not costing too much I knew it would be worth the gamble. “I think he played around 18 games for Manchester United last season and I thought if I could get the same out of him it would give me a better chance of winning 18 games.” Saha is gradually finding his feet around Goodison and maybe he had a bit of extra fire in his belly when coming on as a second-half substitute after being dropped to the bench. “I have found him a really pleasant lad,” said Moyes. “He has just come to a new club as well and he hasn't played much over the last six months. “I think he is happy with the chance we have given him. He is enjoying his stay. “We hadn’t created many chances at Bolton in midweek and I thought we’d take Louis out and try another way of getting goals with Tim and Fellaini coming from behind.”

Everton 1 Fulham 0
Nov 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Phil Jagielka: If he maintains this form, his coronation as the club’s Player of the Year will be a formality. Once again, he never put a foot out of place. Phil Neville was solid, too, while Louis Saha made a difference when coming on. THERE comes a point every weekend when, as results filter on to television screens, exasperated groans will be emitted from households up and down the country. Inevitably they will come immediately after the most shocking, unexpected scoreline of the day is announced and leave those who have had a football wager shaking their heads in utter disbelief. For those who are unaware, that result is known as the ‘coupon buster’.
Without fail, it will come in the match that punters believed was an absolute certainty when making their selections, the game which was supposed to be the cornerstone of all those six and seven-fold accumulators that would yield a substantial windfall.
Happily - or wretchedly, depending on your point of view - this weekend’s shocker came in the Potteries, with Arsenal succumbing to Stoke City, but for 87 minutes at lunchtime, it appeared that Everton would be the team central to the toasts of bookmakers. We can expect a number of things to happen during the course of the season and one event by which you can set your watch is a comfortable Everton home win against Fulham. After all, you have to go back as far as 1959 to discover the last time the Cottagers came to these parts and left with something to show for their efforts. Regardless of how the Blues are playing, they can be counted on to brush Fulham aside. True to form, that was the case again on Saturday but Everton made heavy weather of it. Laboured and lifeless, David Moyes’ side did little to captivate another far from capacity Goodison Park crowd until they staged a last-gasp rally.
“I always care how we perform and it wasn’t a good performance,” the manager said afterwards. “But, at this present time, the result was really important to us. That’s two wins in a week and I’m really pleased about that. “We have kept another clean sheet - albeit with a bit of good fortune - and we had one or two chances. We were a bit wasteful in the first half, but we got there in the end and the last minute goal was a real boost.” Very true. Not even the world’s most optimistic Toffee would say their side is playing with a swagger, but the one thing you must give credit for is durability and the second late show inside four days has transformed the appearance of the Premier League table. Thanks to Marouane Fellaini using his head at Bolton Wanderers and Louis Saha doing likewise against his former club, Everton are up to seventh with 15 points accrued from 11 games - at the same stage of affairs last season, their tally was 16. When you take into consideration that Everton have only played to their full potential for 45 minutes thus far - in a barnstorming second period against Manchester United - that must augur well for the future. Why? Because Everton are a momentum side. Once they start to build up a head of steam, you expect them to build up a long sequence of unbeaten matches and that has been true every year Moyes has been in charge. Equally, they are team that finds it difficult to get out of a rut, which is why it doesn’t really surprise when they go five, six or seven matches at a time without a win. Like the little girl from the nursery rhyme, they are either very, very good - or horrid. It must be hoped, then, that back-to-back wins which were secured thanks to perspiration rather than inspiration have set the wheels in motion on another one of those runs which enable them to make giant strides.
What we can certainly expect in the future is entertainment levels to improve, as what was served up here vindicated the decision of more than 5,000 Blues and 2,500 followers of Fulham to stay at home. With neither goalkeeper over extended, a crowd of 31,278 - the lowest Premier League attendance at Goodison during the Moyes years - were subdued to the point of stupor through a ghastly opening 45 minutes. Matters hardly improved after the break. Indeed, Fulham rattled the frame of the Gwladys Street goal twice during a spell in the second half that did little to ease the anxieties of home fans and, in all probability, a side with more verve would have punished Everton’s lethargy. Fortunately, the backdoor remained shut thanks to grit, good luck, determination and another command performance from Phil Jagielka, the one model of consistency in a campaign of fits and starts. While Fabio Capello continues to get favourable headlines from all and sundry, he cannot be doing his job thoroughly as it is clear from each squad he has named since August that he nor any of his scouts have seen the Blues play this season. Had they done so, Jagielka would surely have added to the sole cap he received against Trinidad & Tobago - is Matthew Upson honestly a better player than Everton’s number six? - but, all being well, that anomaly will be reversed in the not too distant future. If Jagielka has been showing international class consistently, we have only seen flashes from Saha, but his header which settled this contest in the dying moments was the stamp of a poacher supreme. He made a big difference when replacing Fellaini. In the right place at the right time to bury Leon Osman’s inch-perfect cross past Mark Schwarzer’s flailing hand, that first strike since his summer move from Manchester United will have done wonders for his confidence. The same can be said for the team. It has been a painfully slow start to a campaign that had promised so much but the fact they almost doubled their points haul in the space of seven productive days must be a catalyst. Nobody, of course, is going to start making bold declarations, but November offers a number of gilt-edged opportunities. Perhaps, at last, Everton are ready to take advantage.

Everton 1 Fulham 0: Charge of the late brigade
Nov 3 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THERE comes a point every weekend when, as results filter on to television screens, exasperated groans will be emitted from households up and down the country.
Inevitably they will come immediately after the most shocking, unexpected scoreline of the day is announced and leave those who have had a football wager shaking their heads in utter disbelief. For those who are unaware, that result is known as the ‘coupon buster’. Without fail, it will come in the match that punters believed was an absolute certainty when making their selections, the game which was supposed to be the cornerstone of all those six and seven-fold accumulators that would yield a substantial windfall. Happily - or wretchedly, depending on your point of view - this weekend’s shocker came in the Potteries, with Arsenal succumbing to Stoke City, but for 87 minutes at lunchtime, it appeared that Everton would be the team central to the toasts of bookmakers. We can expect a number of things to happen during the course of the season and one event by which you can set your watch is a comfortable Everton home win against Fulham. After all, you have to go back as far as 1959 to discover the last time the Cottagers came to these parts and left with something to show for their efforts. Regardless of how the Blues are playing, they can be counted on to brush Fulham aside. True to form, that was the case again on Saturday but Everton made heavy weather of it. Laboured and lifeless, David Moyes’ side did little to captivate another far from capacity Goodison Park crowd until they staged a last-gasp rally.
“I always care how we perform and it wasn’t a good performance,” the manager said afterwards. “But, at this present time, the result was really important to us. That’s two wins in a week and I’m really pleased about that. “We have kept another clean sheet - albeit with a bit of good fortune - and we had one or two chances. We were a bit wasteful in the first half, but we got there in the end and the last minute goal was a real boost.” Very true. Not even the world’s most optimistic Toffee would say their side is playing with a swagger, but the one thing you must give credit for is durability and the second late show inside four days has transformed the appearance of the Premier League table. Thanks to Marouane Fellaini using his head at Bolton Wanderers and Louis Saha doing likewise against his former club, Everton are up to seventh with 15 points accrued from 11 games - at the same stage of affairs last season, their tally was 16. When you take into consideration that Everton have only played to their full potential for 45 minutes thus far - in a barnstorming second period against Manchester United - that must augur well for the future. Why? Because Everton are a momentum side. Once they start to build up a head of steam, you expect them to build up a long sequence of unbeaten matches and that has been true every year Moyes has been in charge. Equally, they are team that finds it difficult to get out of a rut, which is why it doesn’t really surprise when they go five, six or seven matches at a time without a win. Like the little girl from the nursery rhyme, they are either very, very good - or horrid. It must be hoped, then, that back-to-back wins which were secured thanks to perspiration rather than inspiration have set the wheels in motion on another one of those runs which enable them to make giant strides.
What we can certainly expect in the future is entertainment levels to improve, as what was served up here vindicated the decision of more than 5,000 Blues and 2,500 followers of Fulham to stay at home. With neither goalkeeper over extended, a crowd of 31,278 - the lowest Premier League attendance at Goodison during the Moyes years - were subdued to the point of stupor through a ghastly Indeed, Fulham rattled the frame of the Gwladys Street goal twice during a spell in the second half that did little to ease the anxieties of home fans and, in all probability, a side with more verve would have punished Everton’s lethargy. Fortunately, the backdoor remained shut thanks to grit, good luck, determination and another command performance from Phil Jagielka, the one model of consistency in a campaign of fits and starts.
While Fabio Capello continues to get favourable headlines from all and sundry, he cannot be doing his job thoroughly as it is clear from each squad he has named since August that he nor any of his scouts have seen the Blues play this season.
Had they done so, Jagielka would surely have added to the sole cap he received against Trinidad & Tobago - is Matthew Upson honestly a better player than Everton’s number six? - but, all being well, that anomaly will be reversed in the not too distant future. If Jagielka has been showing international class consistently, we have only seen flashes from Saha, but his header which settled this contest in the dying moments was the stamp of a poacher supreme. He made a big difference when replacing Fellaini. In the right place at the right time to bury Leon Osman’s inch-perfect cross past Mark Schwarzer’s flailing hand, that first strike since his summer move from Manchester United will have done wonders for his confidence.
The same can be said for the team. It has been a painfully slow start to a campaign that had promised so much but the fact they almost doubled their points haul in the space of seven productive days must be a catalyst. Nobody, of course, is going to start making bold declarations, but November offers a number of gilt-edged opportunities. Perhaps, at last, Everton are ready to take advantage.

David Prentice: Louis Saha can take his rightful place on cloud nine
Nov 3 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON fans have waited a long time for a ‘proper’ number nine’s header – and not just the 87 unedifying minutes on Saturday. Once seen as an inspiration, the number nine jersey has become something of a jinx at Goodison Park in recent seasons. The Blues invented the number-nine wearing centre-forward.
But the shirt patented by Dixie Dean in 1933, and turned into a symbol of goalscoring greatness by Lawton, Hickson, Young, Royle, Latchford, Sharp and Gray has threatened to become obsolete – a relic of a bygone age like Brylcreem and sweat bands. It used to be a prized possession, but last season no-one even wanted it.
And prior to that it had threatened to become a mill-stone. James Beattie managed a sum total of two penalties with the club’s most iconic number on his back, Duncan Ferguson scuffed in a solitary rebound from a missed penalty, while Kevin Campbell’s last two campaigns as a once swashbuckling centre-forward produced a consolation in a 5-1 hiding and a spot-kick in a penalty shoot-out. Louis Saha is now the proud possessor – and on Saturday he finally produced a header worthy of its history. Mind you, if Saha’s ferocious flying header – into the same goal that Dean planted his 60th – was impressive, Leon Osman’s sublime cross was from the same wing-school as Kevin Sheedy, Dave Thomas, Johnny Morrissey and Ted Critchley.
Saturday’s visit of Fulham was a bit like that. Such was the scrappy fare on show, it left you wistfully harking back to great days at Goodison. But even the best teams Everton have ever produced had to scramble the occasional victory. And, to their credit, that’s just what the Blues did. Once again, the manager deserves as much praise as his players. The timing of David Moyes’ substitutions are often a cause for consternation amongst fans. Even after last weekend’s impressive pointsaver against the champions, there were moans that James Vaughan should have come on earlier.
But no-one could complain about the ambition of Moyes’ switches against Fulham – or their end-results. Marouane Fellaini had performed impressively but was just starting to run out of steam, when he was replaced by the eventual matchwinner.
The crowd seemed surprised. So, too, when Steven Pienaar, struggling with a knee injury, was replaced by Victor Anichebe. Then with Goodison becoming increasingly desperate, James Vaughan replaced Yakubu. As ever in football, the ends justify the means, and Saha’s flying header was all the Blues boss needed to point to afterwards. It’s a remarkable statistic that even despite a horribly wretched start to the 2008/09 season, that goal means the Blues are just one point worse off than at the same stage of last season’s UEFA Cup qualifying campaign. A fixture list offering up visits to West Ham and Wigan and a home match with Middlesbrough shouldn’t give anything but cause for optimism that a similar run can at least be embarked upon. But while the Blues aren’t clicking as consummately as they did last winter, when only Arsenal and Manchester United beat them in a 19 match league run, there are still optimistic signs. Phil Jagielka is performing magnificently alongside Joseph Yobo, Tim Howard has thoroughly earned back to back clean sheets, Fellaini is looking as assured as he does dangerous . . . and the Blues finally have a number nine who looks like he isn’t frightened by the ghosts of number nines past. Goodison celebrated a ‘proper’ number nine’s header on Saturday. And Louis Saha could become a proper Everton centre-forward.

Leon Osman: I'll settle for Everton winning ugly more often
Nov 4 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEON OSMAN has happily admitted he would accept ugly football from now until the end of the season – so long as Everton maintain their winning ways.
The Blues have shot up the Premier League table after back-to-back victories over Bolton and Fulham that owed much to their perseverance and determination.
There is little doubt that Everton will play better between now and May but, for the time being, Osman insists such feisty performances are doing wonders for confidence.
Everton have made themselves difficult to beat again and now the midfielder is hoping for more of the same when they tackle West Ham on Saturday.
“We did not play as well as we know we can but that is going to happen every now and again,” said Osman. “We won the battle and won the game. That’s the important thing. “Not every match is going to be about nice passing and easy on the eye football. There are going to be games that we will need to grind results out from and work hard. “We have won our last two games by nicking late goals but we would be happy to do that in every game until the end of the season. “We hope we’ve turned the corner but you can never say for sure. But we have won our first home game and are now unbeaten in three. We’ll take the positives and move on.” Manager David Moyes paid Osman a handsome tribute after he had set up Louis Saha’s winner against Fulham and the 27-year-old, like his team, looks to be coming into form.
He has caught the eye playing in a central role and seems sure to be asked to fill that position once again at Upton Park this weekend. Osman, however, is taking nothing for granted and with competition for places intensifying, he realises the need to maintain the standards he has been setting. “Competition is definitely a good thing,” he said. “We have got near enough everyone fit – only Lars (Jacobsen) is missing – so competition for places is only going to improve us. “We have started keeping clean sheets again and that shows we are improving in more than one area. The whole thing is starting to come together. “We are moving in the right direction and we are hoping to build on these wins in the next few weeks by getting a few more and moving up the table again.”

Blackburn Res 2, Everton Res 1
Nov 4 2008
Liverpool Daily Post
A BRYAN HODGE goal two minutes from time saw Everton Reserves slip to a 2-1 defeat against Blackburn Rovers at Christie Park in the FA Premier Reserve League Northern Section. Despite going behind on 11 minutes to another Hodge effort, Andy Holden’s side hit back to seemingly grab a point thanks to James Vaughan. But Hodge’s late effort denied them. Lee Molyneux saw his free-kick pushed away by the home keeper early on, but Everton fell behind on 11 minutes when Keith Treacy’s cross from the left, was headed down by Matt Derbyshire and Hodge fired home.
Everton pressed for the equaliser but had to wait until 20 minutes into the second half.
Dan Gosling’s superb right-wing cross was headed home by Vaughan, from 10 yards.
Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell was lucky not to be sent off as, after being cautioned for a off-the-ball incident, his late challenge on minute Julio Santa Cruz could easily have seen the referee book him again. Thankfully he was let off with just a stern warning. As the match entered the final moments Hodge lobbed home the winner from the edge of the area.
BLACKBURN ROVERS RESERVES: Bunn; Marrow, Mokoena, Gunning, Khizanishvili, Hodge, Doran, Judge, Tracy; Santa Cruz, Derbyshire. Subs: Bussmann, O’Keefe, Flynn, Haworth, Fowler.
EVERTON RESERVES: Turner; Irving, Barnett, McCarten, Molyneux; Gosling, Rodwell, Castillo, Jutkiewicz; Vaughan, Anichebe. Subs: Stubhaug, Kissock, Wallace, O’Kane, Agard.

NIGEL MARTYN: Winning formula so vital for Everton
Nov 4 2008 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
A HAUL of seven points in seven days has guaranteed that Tottenham are hogging the headlines, but don’t underestimate what a similar return has done for Everton.
Suddenly, the league table has a look of normality about it and everyone will be breathing that bit easier. After not being in the greatest of places, we can start to look forward once again and I’m sure we’ll start collecting a lot of good results now.
But it just goes to show how important it was to draw with Manchester United. If we had been beaten by them, in all likelihood we would have now been occupying a position in the bottom three. Without the confidence gleaned from that tussle, I doubt we would have ground out a battling win at Bolton, while it’s unlikely that we’d have grabbed another last-gasp victory over Fulham. True, they might not be the best teams in the world, but they are not the worst either. Some may have grumbled about the entertainment – of lack of it – in each of those games but that’s what you have to expect. Bolton, for example, are notorious for not letting sides play against them and suffocated Manchester City on Sunday. So, when you put our result in the context of that one, you appreciate how good it was to take three points at the Reebok and, at the minute, we have got to be concerned about winning matches rather than doing it in style. We would all love to play like Arsenal at their free-flowing best but that’s not possible just yet and, in all honesty, it’s better to be winning games with what you have rather than getting a drubbing every week when you are trying to follow an ideal.
Look at what happened to Leeds. The team in which I played had three top five finishes on the spin playing at a high tempo but, because some fans started getting restless, the board changed the manager, the tactics (and the goalkeeper!) and Leeds were eventually relegated. That’s why there is absolutely nothing wrong with what Everton are doing. Endeavour and spirit has helped us climb into the top seven and now sights can be set on overhauling the teams immediately above us.
Hull City must be the first target and, fingers crossed, a good result at West Ham will take us a few points nearer to them. We have, after all, been masters of winning 1-0 – so why try to do something different when the tactics that have been employed for so long are so successful?
Jags could suffer from Carra factor
PHIL JAGIELKA has been Everton’s star performer this season and it has been no surprise to hear him mentioned as an England candidate once again.
Tough and consistent, you can count the mistakes he has made on the fingers of one hand and there is no question he is a better player than the one who arrived at Goodison Park 18 months ago. However, I have a fear for him. His England ambitions could suffer - like Jamie Carragher - because he is not the biggest around. Jamie has been a fantastic player for such a long time but the fact that he is not 6ft 3ins has probably cost him 20 caps and more. Week after week, you see Jamie not putting a foot wrong yet he was never first choice when Rio Ferdinand and John Terry were fit and, in all honesty, I was not surprised when he decided to call time on his international career. I am as patriotic as they come but, believe me, I know exactly what goes through a player’s mind when you keep getting named in international squads but know deep down that you will never play in big games - the frustration you feel is acute. I’ve also been in football long enough to know what managers think and they want big, imposing central defenders. Hopefully I will be proven wrong on this matter - indeed, nothing would give me more pleasure - and if Jags keeps playing as he does, Fabio Capello.
Striking dilemma awaits Moyes
GOOD to see that Louis Saha’s goals tally is finally up and running and the header which won Saturday’s game had the stamp of quality. He is a top player and it was only a matter of time before he started to show it. Without question he will become an ever bigger threat the longer the season progresses. But with Tim Cahill available, Marouane Fellaini scoring goals and Ayegbeni Yakubu not to be forgotten, David Moyes will be asking himself one question: can I play them all together? It will be intriguing, then, to see how he solves that riddle.

Steven Pienaar needs support - David Moyes
Nov 5 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today urged his midfielders to ease the burden on Steven Pienaar and start chipping in with more assists. The South African midfielder was Everton’s most productive supply line last season - he was responsible for creating 14 goals - and has started the new campaign in a similar vein. Though Pienaar missed the first six weeks with a broken big toe, he has showed there have been no ill-effects by making goals for Leon Osman (at Arsenal) and Marouane Fellaini (at Bolton).
That has delighted Moyes but he is also aware his other midfielders have a responsibility to do likewise and has challenged Mikel Arteta and company to follow Pienaar’s lead. “Steven was an important player for us last year and he is proving that again for us this year but we have got to be careful not to put too much emphasis on him,” said Moyes. “There is no question that he is an exciting player. We brought him here to be a part of the squad but suddenly he became a real focal point of our team.
“We know he can make goals and we know he is a great player to have in the team. Steven always does a good job for us. But I would definitely like to see others start chipping in now.” Though Pienaar enjoyed a terrific first year on Merseyside following his move from Borussia Dortmund, Moyes was eager to see whether he could combat “second season syndrome.” Judging by what he has seen in recent weeks, however, Moyes has no doubt that Pienaar will flourish for the Blues once again. “We knew he could handle it (playing in the Premier League) because he is a good footballer,” Moyes pointed out. “We are delighted now that he is back in the team with us once again.” Meanwhile, Segundo Castillo is poised to make a return to Everton’s first team squad once again after recovering from a hamstring problem.
The Ecuador international has not played since the 1-0 Carling Cup defeat against Blackburn Rovers on September 24 and has only been on the bench once in the past four weeks. Castillo, though, played for the reserves in a 2-1 defeat against Blackburn on Monday and Moyes confirmed he is back in his thoughts. “He is fine now,” Moyes said of the on-loan Red-Star Belgrade midfielder. “Segundo did okay in the games he played, it’s just I have been looking for something different recently.”

Everton Academy: Andy Holden gutted as reserves lose to Blackburn
Nov 6 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
RESERVES coach Andy Holden admitted his side’s 2-1 defeat to Blackburn was tough to take. James Vaughan’s goal looked to have secured a point before Bryan Hodge struck two minutes from time. “I’m gutted about conceding late on because one or two of the boys put a good shift in,” he said. “Everyone wants to win but the biggest thing is that we are getting boys through and giving them an education.”
The major positive for Holden was Vaughan continuing his recent hot streak.
“It’s no coincidence that the goals are coming for James because he’s had a good run of fitness,” he said. “The more minutes you get the more you become street-wise.”

Everton academy profile: Lukas Jutkiewicz
Nov 6 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
Name: Lukas Jutkiewicz
Born: Southampton 28/03/1989
Signed for Everton in 2007 for £500,000 after helping Swindon Town win promotion to League One. Went straight into Everton’s first team squad on his arrival and marked his first appearance for the Blues with a goal in a 1-1 draw at Bury.
Has yet to make his senior debut but has been on the bench on a handful occasions.
Though he was born in Southampton, he has chosen to represent Poland, where his grandfather was born.

Nov 6 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed Joseph Yobo’s return to form and believes he has banished the memory of the most difficult summer of his career. Yobo was dropped for games this season against Standard Liege, Newcastle and Arsenal but reclaimed his place in the recent 1-1 draw with Manchester United and has not looked back.
Everton have subsequently kept two clean sheets thanks, in part, to a big contribution from Yobo, and Moyes feels the Nigerian is getting back to his best. Yobo missed a chunk of pre-season due to international commitments – and then having to deal with the kidnap of his older brother in Nigeria. Nornu was abducted from outside a nightclub in Port Harcourt on July 17 and following 12 days in captivity was released unharmed. Yobo remained with his family in Lagos to help deal with the matter at the time. Moyes, however, thinks the 28-year-old is firing on all cylinders again and now wants to see him reproduce his last two performances on a more consistent basis.
“Joe has started to play much better in the last couple of weeks,” said Moyes.
“He had a long summer playing for Nigeria then he had those problems with his brother. “He was then probably put back into the team sooner than we would have liked but we had no other option as we were really short of players. “But when he came back in, he had not got his fitness levels right and his concentration wasn’t what it should have been but I have seen a big improvement recently. “He’s doing much better. Joe has been one of our most consistent players and we want him to start showing the really strong form he has produced over the last couple of years.”
While Yobo kept himself in good physical condition, during his enforced spell away from the club in July, Norum’s situation clearly had a psychological impact.
It placed a different demand on Moyes’ man-management skills but things turned out fine and he has seen enough at Finch Farm to suggest Yobo is over the experience.
“Of course we understood how difficult things were for the boy and it was an unusual situation for us to handle - all we could do is give him support,” said Moyes.
“An issue like that is bound to have an impact and prey on your mind but everything turned out well and I think Joe has refocused on things now.” Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed Lars Jacobsen is making good progress in his bid to recover from a dislocated shoulder but won’t put a time on when he will be fit again. “Lars is working really hard just now,” adds Moyes. “He is a model pro in the way he looks after himself but it’s too early to say when he will be ready.”

Goodison Greats: Alan Stubbs drinks in his first love
Nov 6 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVEN the biggest caffeine addict would agree there is only so much coffee you can drink and it didn’t take long for Alan Stubbs to appreciate that notion.
The idea of spending time as a man of leisure appealed to a degree after injury forced him to call time on his distinguished career, but the reality of watching the world from his cafe bar in Formby was completely different. While some would have relished an opportunity to catch their breath after spending 18 years in one of the most cut-throat industries around, it didn’t take long for Stubbs to get restless - nor for a dream to come true. Before he had even started to gather his thoughts on how he might occupy his time, Stubbs received a phone call that, at first, seemed too good to be true but was just what he wanted - namely the chance to return to his first love. So, less than six weeks after playing his final game for Derby against Doncaster, Stubbs was left pinching himself. After all, this staunch Blue was back where he belonged - at Everton. “Sometimes what you want and what you get are two completely different things,” said Stubbs. . “I always hoped I would be back here. Did I think it would happen so quick? No. Did I hope it would happen so quick? Yes, of course.
“I spoke to one of my friends and he said it was the quickest retirement ever. He had everything planned for us to go away with our families at Christmas. But then it all went out the window. “Everything happened so quickly. I had about a month where I had been finished and, towards the end, I was thinking ‘I can’t keep going for coffee every morning’ It was starting to get on my nerves. “It’s the same for everyone, no matter what job you are in. “If you are out of work for three or four weeks, of course you love the rest. But there is nothing worse than sitting at home watching TV.
“I was coffeed out, becoming a caffeine junkie! So when a couple of phone calls came, it couldn’t have been timed better. “I get on really well with (reserve manager) Andy Holden. He asked me about my feelings over coming back to help him out. I told him it would be brilliant but I didn’t want to build my hopes up if it was only a shot in the dark. “A few meetings took place - I know Taffy spoke to the Gaffer - and then it all came about. I had to pop into Finch Farm one day and, while I was there, the Gaffer pulled me. “We spoke and he asked me about my plans. He then said there was a position available. “He stressed it would be working with the under-18s and reserves but that didn’t matter. Some people go years without getting a chance like this, so I know how lucky I was to get this chance so soon.” Little wonder, then, that it didn’t take long for him to come to terms with being forced to hang up his boots but Stubbs - who left Goodison for Pride Park in January - had an inkling from mid-summer that he might not get through what he’d planned as his final campaign.
After an arthroscopy to clean his knee out in June, Stubbs was always playing catch up during pre-season with Derby’s squad. The more he pushed, the more he knew all wasn’t right. After lengthy consultations with Derby boss Paul Jewell and his medical staff, he faced three options to try and prolong a career which had begun with Bolton , took him to Celtic and saw him captain Everton during the season they finished in the top four. “The options were resting for four to six weeks to see how things settled down, a cortisone injection - which I was not going to have - or an operation,” Stubbs added. “That meant going out to see Dr Richard Steadman, having my knee opened up and being out for six months. If I was 20 or 25, then that would have been the option. But not at 36. So basically, I was down to one option. “I could have left it for six weeks and see how things went but I knew the situation might not have changed at all. So I then spoke to my family and friends. “It’s always easier to make a decision when your destiny is in your own hands. The fact I called it a day and didn’t have to have someone do it for me probably made it easier to take. “I was very comfortable with the decision. There were no ‘what ifs’. “I knew from day one it was the right thing to do. Part of making the decision was down to what I want to do next.” That, of course, is coaching. He is in the process of finishing his UEFA ‘B’ Licence, has applied to take his ‘A’ licence next summer and, in the future, wants to have his Pro Licence so he can fulfil his ultimate ambition of becoming a manager. “At the end of the day, I will be my own man but I’ve worked under a few managers and I’d like to take bits from all of them,” said Stubbs. “Taffy is great to learn from and the manager is the perfect role model to pick points off. “But I feel as if I’m like a little kid again. My football career has finished but my coaching career is just starting. I’ve got to work hard now.”
Clear to see, then, those lazy mornings spent perusing papers with a mug of coffee can keep. 'Our young stars are fired up for success'
ANYONE who has seen Everton’s reserves play in recent weeks will know Alan Stubbs has thrown himself into his new role as Andy Holden’s assistant.
And the man himself says things have been made much easier by the standard of the young players who have helped the Blues’ second string make a solid start to their campaign. “That’s probably been the most pleasing thing,” he said. “Jack (Rodwell) is the one who has kicked onto the first team, while Jose (Baxter) and James Wallace have had a little taste too. “It’s up to them now to keep progressing and we will do all that we can to help them. But the main bit has got to come from them. “They’ve got to have the drive and want to learn. There are some other great lads in the reserves and their attitude has been spot on. “Whether it happens for them is another thing. If they have to leave here, they will leave with the great experience and be better players for it.” But while his thoughts are centred on the second string, he is also keeping a keen eye on how David Moyes’ men are progressing and he believes the tide has turned.
“It looks as if it is becoming harder for the opposition to score against us and that’s great,” he said. “So even though we have had an indifferent start, we still find ourselves in seventh place. “There is still everything to play for. It’s been a test of character but it has shone through and now I think we are coming through the other side.” Alan Stubbs factfile
Born: Kirkby - 06/10/71
Everton appearances: 191
Everton goals: 7
Club honours: SPL 1998, 2000. Scottish League Cup 97 , 99 1997,1999.
July 1990: Signs for Bolton Wanderers as a trainee.
Sept 1 1990: Bolton debut v Bradford City.
April 2 1995: Captains Bolton in Wembley League Cup final vs Liverpool.
Aug 1 1996: £3.5m deal to Celtic.
July 5 2001: Signs for boyhood club Everton on free transfer.
Nov 3 2001: First goal for Blues v Bolton at The Reebok Stadium.
May 2005: Helps Everton finish 4th in Premiership to qualify for the Champions League.
Aug 2005: Signs for Sunderland on free transfer
Jan 20 2006: Re-signs for Everton on free transfer.
Aug 14 2007: Last goal for Blues v Spurs at White Hart Lane
Jan 31 2008: Signs for Derby County on free transfer.
Sept 2008: Joins Everton as coach.

David Moyes: Joseph Yobo is back to his best - Everton latest
Nov 6 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed Joseph Yobo’s return to form and believes he has banished the memory of the most difficult summer of his career. Yobo was dropped for games this season against Standard Liege, Newcastle and Arsenal but reclaimed his place in the recent 1-1 draw with Manchester United and has not looked back.
Everton have subsequently kept two clean sheets thanks, in part, to a big contribution from Yobo, and Moyes feels the Nigerian is getting back to his best. Yobo missed a chunk of pre-season due to international commitments – and then having to deal with the kidnap of his older brother in Nigeria. Nornu was abducted from outside a nightclub in Port Harcourt on July 17 and following 12 days in captivity was released unharmed. Yobo remained with his family in Lagos to help deal with the matter at the time. Moyes, however, thinks the 28-year-old is firing on all cylinders again and now wants to see him reproduce his last two performances on a more consistent basis.
“Joe has started to play much better in the last couple of weeks,” said Moyes.
“He had a long summer playing for Nigeria then he had those problems with his brother. “He was then probably put back into the team sooner than we would have liked but we had no other option as we were really short of players.
“But when he came back in, he had not got his fitness levels right and his concentration wasn’t what it should have been but I have seen a big improvement recently. “He’s doing much better. Joe has been one of our most consistent players and we want him to start showing the really strong form he has produced over the last couple of years.” While Yobo kept himself in good physical condition, during his enforced spell away from the club in July, Norum’s situation clearly had a psychological impact. It placed a different demand on Moyes’ man-management skills but things turned out fine and he has seen enough at Finch Farm to suggest Yobo is over the experience. “Of course we understood how difficult things were for the boy and it was an unusual situation for us to handle - all we could do is give him support,” said Moyes. “An issue like that is bound to have an impact and prey on your mind but everything turned out well and I think Joe has refocused on things now.”
Moyes, meanwhile, has confirmed Lars Jacobsen is making good progress in his bid to recover from a dislocated shoulder but won’t put a time on when he will be fit again. “Lars is working really hard just now,” adds Moyes. “He is a model pro in the way he looks after himself but it’s too early to say when he will be ready.”

The Jury: Everton fans on a great week for the Blues
Nov 6 2008 Liverpool Echo
Mike Williamson, Chester
LET’S be honest – we were lucky to get three points on Saturday and most Blues left the ground feeling a strange mixture of relief and bewilderment. The performance was flat and devoid of inspiration. Where was the team that played with such spirit in the second half against United? A win is still a win though and the points are welcome. One major positive this season has been the form of Jagielka, who was again outstanding on Saturday. Howard was also back to his old self but the enigma that is Mikel Arteta needs to be addressed by Moyes urgently. We cannot carry anybody this season, whatever their past glories, and he is simply a shadow of the player who lit up Goodison a few seasons ago. His body language is very negative and if he wants to return to Spain, we need to accept it and get the most we can for him.
Let’s push on to get points on the board.
Tony Scott, Walton
PLAYING badly and winning isn’t the sign of a good team any more. It's the sign of a team who ride their luck and who will eventually come unstuck. Everton fans won’t settle for that. Performances lately have drastically improved from Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini and Louis Saha, with Phil Jagielka being consistently brilliant. James Vaughan is my favourite striker. His attitude towards playing for Everton is astonishing and he must surely be close to a start at West Ham.
It wasn’t good to see the lowest attendance for six years at Goodison on Saturday, so a few notes for Kenwright and Elstone: 1 Lower ticket prices for working class fans; 2 Spend some money on the team to bring fans in; 3 A lower price for a pint of lager.
Lee Molton, St Helens
IT’S such a good sight to see the Blues back in the top half of the league.
It’s been a fine week for them, taking seven points out of nine and, with the table tight at the moment, it is important for us to keep picking points up. It was good to see Saha get off the mark and hopefully this will help him go on a scoring run. The Yak also needs a goal for his confidence, and hopefully this will come against West Ham. The absence of Castillo is puzzling fans. Is Moyes saving him until the team starts winning again and then playing him, or does he not rate him? The form of Fellaini and Osman will keep him out at the moment, anyway, with Fellaini unlucky not to score again on Saturday. This weekend is another chance for the Blues to pick up three points and challenge the top six. We won’t mind winning ugly!
Cole Fraser, Litherland
SO we have finally managed to notch up not one, but two wins, after an eight-game winless streak. Those wins have not been a walk in the park, though, but ugly, scrappy games with late winning goals. I'm not complaining but, like most of us, I am willing to accept any three points we can grind out. West Ham will be a bigger threat than our previous two opponents and I can see it being another ugly game. If we are to win then several players have to pick up their performances. Mikel Arteta's distribution has been poor and Leon Osman's contribution has been minimal. Joleon Lescott, also, has shown only a fragment of his talent so far this season. Once again, the side will look to Jagielka, Fellaini and Pienaar (our most consistent performers) to get us through. When used correctly a substitution can be a weapon. David Moyes needs to realise this.

Blue watch: Peter Reid gets off to a flyer with Thailand - but rain stops play
Nov 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
PETER REID got his reign as Thailand boss off to a winning start – but it came at a price. The Blues legend took his squad to Vietnam last week for the T&T Cup.
When Reid tried to leave the country it was discovered that he had overstayed his 30-day tourist visa and he was fined 15,000 baht (£270). It proved to be an eventful trip for the former Sunderland boss. His side beat World Cup hopefuls North Korea 1-0 but their final match against Vietnam was abandoned after floods in Hanoi killed 18 people. Two days of rain left the city under three feet of water. “It was incredible,” said Reid. “We had concerns once the rain began because it was so heavy. We hadn’t been able to leave the hotel for days.” Reid took his team back to Bangkok and the game has been rescheduled for November 16. He will be back in the dugout this Saturday when the Thais take on Saudi Arabia in a friendly in the Middle East.
The match is part of their preparations for next month’s Suzuki Cup when Reid’s men will be up against Malaysia, Vietnam and Laos. Reid signed a four-year contract to manage the national team with the ultimate goal of qualifying for the World Cup finals in 2014.

Blue watch: Neville Southall steps up in Margate
Nov 6 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
NEVILLE SOUTHALL has taken on the role of assistant boss at Ryman Premier Division outfit Margate. The Blues goalkeeping legend, who lives in Kent, was football development officer at the club before being asked to make the move up by new manager Terry Yorath. Former Welsh boss Yorath, who was once a penalty kick away from taking Wales to the 1994 World Cup, is delighted to have Southall on board. “What can you say about Nev? Well, he has got plenty to say for himself, that is for sure,” said Yorath. “He brings great enthusiasm with him and is really well known around the place.”

Everton Academy: Under-18s need a ruthless streak - Neil Dewsnip
Nov 6 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
UNDER-18s coach Neil Dewsnip wants his young Blues to develop a ruthless streak.
Last weekend’s point at Crewe was their fourth straight 1-1 draw in Premier Academy League Group C. “We’ve gone ahead in all four matches and to only draw again was very frustrating,” he said. “The players can’t try harder – the effort and attitude of the lads has been magnificent, but we’re not converting enough chances. We have to be more clinical in front of goal.” The Blues opened the scoring after just two minutes when great work from George Krenn down the right created an opening for Danny Redmond to fire home. Crewe got back on level terms after 10 minutes when they hit the Blues on the counter attack. A slip by centre half Shane Duffy left keeper Lars Stubhaug exposed and when he parried a shot, Crewe made no mistake with the rebound. The Blues should have restored their lead before the break but Lewis Codling struck the bar from close range and Duffy blazed over. In the second half Luke Powell forced a good save from the keeper, while at the other end Stubhaug had to be alert to save with his legs. “We couldn’t have asked for a better start last weekend and it was disappointing we didn’t build on that,” Dewsnip added.
“Unfortunately as well as our general defending seems to be, we’re making the odd mistake which gets punished. “We had the majority of chances in the first half and didn’t take them but the second half was more even.” The Blues are back in action on Saturday when they entertain Manchester United at Finch Farm (11am). Dewsnip said: “Games between the two clubs are exciting at every level and I’m sure this will be more of the same. Hopefully we can break this run with a positive result.”

David Moyes on quest for Premier League hat-trick - Everton latest
Nov 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today challenged his Everton players to extend their winning streak to a third game - with a vastly improved performance against West Ham.
The Blues’ position in the Premier League table has been transformed by back-to-back victories over Bolton and Fulham and they make the trip to Upton Park in seventh position. But they way in which they took maximum points from those games was laboured and Moyes feels it is time for Everton to put a sparkle and swagger into their play. He is, however, delighted that a rot which started in September and carried through October has been stopped and hopes it is a sign that his players are gaining a head of steam. “I hope that we are going to build up some momentum now as we really want to be getting ourselves into a strong position in the next few weeks,” said Moyes. “We know that we haven’t played as well as we can do and the one thing I will be looking for is an improvement in performances. “But I’m pleased that we have started picking up points again and we hope that can continue. When we played West Ham last year, we were on a roll. “We picked up two important results against them (in the space of four days) but I don’t think what happened then will have any real effect on the game tomorrow. “What matters to everyone is getting three points again and we know that things are looking much better after the last two results we have had.” The games Everton played at Upton Park last December epitomised the confidence that was spreading through the team and came when their fixture list was packed. This time, though, Everton have only league points to play for and Moyes has admitted to casting envious glances towards the sides who have had European assignments this week. “The mood has definitely improved and you can see that is being reflected in what the players are doing,” said Moyes. “I still think we have got that (going out of Europe) hanging over us and it is weeks such as this we really feel the disappointment of not going through. “But everyone is feeling much more positive and there is certainly more belief.” Moyes will have to make at least one change to his starting line-up as Marouane Fellaini serves a one-match ban but “a few knocks and bruises” may force him into a few more. Tim Cahill, for one, is “still struggling” with a foot problem, while Mikel Arteta missed training earlier in the week because of illness but both will be given every chance to prove their fitness.

West Ham United v Everton: Joseph Yobo wants to make up for European disappointment
Nov 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LAST year Nuremburg, this year MTV. Joseph Yobo was confronted by a battery of paparazzi flashbulbs last night but he would much rather have faced a flashy European striker. It is, after all, almost 12 months to the day since Yobo and Everton’s squad were given an ovation in Germany by an army of travelling Blues that was as memorable as it was inspirational, a moment that many players still talk about now.
Unfortunately, this year’s UEFA Cup adventure had no happy ending and the feelings of frustration which stemmed from falling at the competition’s first hurdle were exacerbated yesterday as they came to terms with another blank midweek fixture list. Seeing Beyonce was no solace. “That night was so special - the support we had was exceptional,” Yobo recalled. “But we can’t keep thinking back, we’ve got to look forward and see what we can do to put it right to get the results that take us back into Europe.” Given what followed after a similar fate befell them in 2005 - that season basically imploded and they never got back on an even keel until after Christmas - it was easy to envisage something similar happening this time, thus dashing all hopes of a third consecutive UEFA Cup campaign. There has, however, been indications in recent weeks that the slide has been arrested. Nobody is making rash declarations yet but certainly, a third consecutive win would add weight to that feeling. “We didn’t start the season very well and we were conceding silly goals,” said Yobo ahead of tomorrow’s trip to West Ham. “But we always felt it wouldn’t be long before we became tough to beat and the first two clean sheets have showed we’re getting that way again. “We have more belief now and we want to keep going. The first clean sheet was important because it had become a big issue. We were wondering what we could do to put things right and everyone was a bit nervous. “I’m getting back into it slowly but I still believe I can do a bit better. I’m going to step up my game - so is everyone else - and the main thing we have to keep focused on is getting good results for the team.” The significant aspect of that last statement is the reference to his form; a number of factors - most notably the kidnap of his older brother Nornu - meant that Yobo was left playing catch up in pre-season and was short of peak condition when the season started.
An own goal against former club Standard Liege at Goodison was a particular low moment but nowhere near as bad as the jolt that followed in Belgium when he was axed for what should have been an emotional return to the ground where it all began for him. “When the manager first left me out it was difficult,” said Yobo, who spent the 2000-01 season with Liege. “It hurt. I had really prepared for that game and wanted to go back there to show them what I could do and how I had improved as a player. “But, you know, football is not always like that. You don’t always get what you want. The important thing was the team and I understand that the manager was thinking about what he could do to get us a clean sheet. “He told me he just wanted to change things around. Then when I got back, I was very ill as I picked up a bad virus. I struggled through it but I feel good again now and I’m looking forward to the games that we have got coming up.” First on the list is an assignment at Upton Park, which was a particularly happy hunting ground for the Blues last season, as victories in the Carling Cup and Premier League within four days proved. When you consider how West Ham have played in the past month - their last five matches have yielded four defeats and a draw - there is every reason to believe Everton’s wins against Fulham and Bolton can be supplemented here. Yobo, though, is taking nothing for granted and knows Gianfranco Zola’s side are more than capable on their day, which is why he knows the Blues will have to remain as difficult to beat as they have been in the past.
“It’s going to be a very tough game, a different atmosphere from last year,” said Yobo, who is set to make his 216th appearance for Everton. “But we have kept two clean sheets and are not struggling now. “They are playing at home and will come out with all guns blazing. That’s why we have got to put in a team performance, fight together and work together. It will be tricky but we are on the back of two 1-0 victories. That’s typical Everton and it give us real belief.”
Joseph Yobo factfile
Born: 6.9.1980
Appearances: 186
Goals: 6
Started his career at Belgian side Standard Liege before moving to France with Marseille. Signed for Everton in the summer of 2002, initially on loan but completed a £4.5 million deal a year later. Has made more appearances for Everton than any other foreign player. In 2007 he set up the Joseph Yobo Charity Foundation to help underprivileged children in Nigeria. Yobo also started a football academy in the Ogoni region of Nigeria and runs football camps in Lagos, in conjunction with Everton Lagos F.C. He played every minute of every Premier League game in 2006-07, the first Everton player to do so for 20 years.

HOWARD KENDALL: Louis Saha’s star quality starting to shine
Nov 7 2008 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
MANCHESTER United do not spend money on duds and we finally got a glimpse of Louis Saha’s star quality last weekend. The towering header that secured three points against Fulham put the gloss on an energetic substitute performance and, in my view, should ensure that he is given a starting role at West Ham tomorrow. Slowly but surely, I think supporters are starting to warm to him and once he gets fully attuned, the jury won’t be out on him for much longer because it’s quite evident to see Saha is a top quality player. And the way he will go about proving to David Moyes that he should be starting regularly is by scoring lots of goals; if he does that, he will deserve to be first choice and it would be terrific to think he could recapture the sparkle that persuaded Alex Ferguson to spend £12.8m on him. But what does that mean for Ayegbeni Yakubu? In my opinion, he isn’t doing enough to warrant being first choice and a run of a nine games without a goal hardly adds weight to the argument that he should be a regular starter. His overall contribution has not been brilliant since his last goal came against Standard Liege, whereas Saha has been getting better by the game. That said, David Moyes will not be making that decision lightly. I never liked taking goalscorers off during the course of a match, regardless of how poorly they were playing, as I always felt that they could pilfer a goal, and I’m sure David will be thinking the same way, as Yakubu knows where the goal is. However, you have to go with the man in form and that’s why I feel Saha should get the nod. He vindicated his manager’s decision to be bold in the dying moments against Fulham and should be rewarded.
Bullard for the Blues
WITH the January sales creeping into view, David Moyes will surely have a list of players who he wants to bring in to strengthen Everton’s hand. And I’m pretty sure a holding midfielder will be top of that list. Leon Osman has done well sitting a bit deeper than normal but is a natural attacker, while Marouane Fellaini also has the ability to get forward. He may have been seen as Lee Carsley’s replacement but is more of a ‘box-to-box’ man, can ghost into dangerous positions and covers the ground at his own pace. We have been okay in recent weeks but it is only a matter of time before it shows how much we are missing in that department. It also shows when other teams lack an ‘enforcer’ Liverpool miss Javier Mascherano, Arsenal have never replaced Patrick Vieira and Chelsea certainly miss Claude Makelele. What about Jimmy Bullard? He did well at Goodison, has something about him and would slot into the team. He’s one to think about.

Moyes on quest for premier hat-trick
Nov 7 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today challenged his Everton players to extend their winning streak to a third game - with a vastly improved performance against West Ham. The Blues’ position in the Premier League table has been transformed by back-to-back victories over Bolton and Fulham and they make the trip to Upton Park in seventh position.
But they way in which they took maximum points from those games was laboured and Moyes feels it is time for Everton to put a sparkle and swagger into their play.
He is, however, delighted that a rot which started in September and carried through October has been stopped and hopes it is a sign that his players are gaining a head of steam. “I hope that we are going to build up some momentum now as we really want to be getting ourselves into a strong position in the next few weeks,” said Moyes.
“We know that we haven’t played as well as we can do and the one thing I will be looking for is an improvement in performances. “But I’m pleased that we have started picking up points again and we hope that can continue. When we played West Ham last year, we were on a roll. “We picked up two important results against them (in the space of four days) but I don’t think what happened then will have any real effect on the game tomorrow. “What matters to everyone is getting three points again and we know that things are looking much better after the last two results we have had.”
Moyes adds: “The mood has definitely improved and you can see that is being reflected in what the players are doing.. “I still think we have got that (going out of Europe) hanging over us and it is weeks such as this we really feel the disappointment of not going through. “But everyone is feeling much more positive and there is certainly more belief.” Moyes will have to make at least one change to his starting line-up as Marouane Fellaini serves a one-match ban but “a few knocks and bruises” may force him into a few more. Tim Cahill, for one, is “still struggling” with a foot problem, while Mikel Arteta missed training earlier in the week because of illness but both will be given every chance to prove their fitness.

Goals which turned heroes into villains
Nov 8 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Goals which turned heroes into villains
THEY are the goals that every football fan dreads, the strikes which are like a dagger to the heart and cause utter disbelief.
When a terrace idol comes face to face with the club he once served with distinction, he can normally be guaranteed a generous ovation but, more often than not, they also end up providing a painful reminder of their talents.
Fulham supporters know exactly what Louis Saha can do in front of goal, so they must have feared the worst when David Moyes introduced the Frenchman into the action at Goodison last Saturday. So it proved.
That was the fourth time in seven matches since leaving Craven Cottage in January 2004 that Saha has found the net against Fulham but he is not the only player who has enjoyed great success against his former club.
1 IDOLISED by the Stretford End and a key member of Manchester United’s great side in the late 1960s, ‘The King’ returned to Old Trafford in April 1974 with Manchester City for a derby of enormous significance.
United needed to win to avoid relegation but Law sent them down with arguably the most famous back-heel in football history. Distraught at the ramifications, he never celebrated, was substituted straight away and retired shortly after.
2 LIVERPUDLIANS always maintain that Beardsley was sold in haste by Graeme Souness in August 1991 and the fact that he was bought by Everton added a new dimension to the deal.
Beardsley was idolised by all Blues and his popularity was guaranteed to last a lifetime the moment he picked up possession during a frantic Merseyside derby in December, weaved past a couple of challenges and smashed a drive into the Park End net to seal a 2-1 win.
3 HAVING played a starring role for Walter Smith during 1999-2000 campaign, Barmby guaranteed he would be vilified by Evertonians until the end of time when he asked for a move that summer - to Liverpool.
It was inevitable, then, that after going 10 league games without a goal, Barmby would break his duck in a Merseyside derby, his header sending Gerard Houllier’s men on the way to a 3-1 win. To make matters worse, he scored in front of the visiting fans.
4 PLUCKED from Paris St Germain on loan to provide Liverpool with a cutting edge in December 2001, Anelka quickly became a favourite on the Kop but despite doing well, Gerard Houllier passed up the chance to sign him permanently.
How that decision came back to haunt him. With the Reds needing a win at Anfield in their final match of the 2002-03 campaign to qualify for the Champions League, Anelka wrecked those dreams with a last-minute volley into the Kop.
5 FEW players command as much affection amongst Liverpudlians as Fowler does but he showed that football has no sentiment when playing for Manchester City in December 2003.
With the Reds feeling they had secured three points at Eastlands when taking a 2-1 lead in the 80th minute, they should have remembered Fowler was on the pitch. His late tap-in meant Gerard Houllier’s side squandered two vital points.
6 McALLISTER had a profound influence on Liverpool’s push for three trophies and a place in the Champions League in the spring of 2001 and he popped up with a number of vital goals.
The former Scotland international celebrated most of them wildly but he was notably sombre after bending a free-kick into Coventry’s net - which effectively condemned the Sky Blues to relegation. That, though, was no surprise given that he had spent four years at Highfield Road.
7 HE was the young boy who should have been revered for evermore, the Evertonian who was capable of turning dreams into reality. But his acrimonious £23m move to Manchester United in August 2004 guaranteed Rooney’s stock in these parts plummeted.
Though he was overawed by the occasion on his first two returns to Goodison Park, he was a different proposition for visit number three in August 2005 and did what Evertonians had feared he would, scoring United’s second in a 2-0 win.
8 HERE was a player who, if proof were needed, highlighted the many foibles of Howard Wilkinson as a manager. Having been instrumental in helping Leeds win the title in 1992, Cantona was sold to Manchester United... after Alex Ferguson had rebuffed a bid for Denis Irwin.
Moving across the Pennines ensured Cantona became public enemy number one in Yorkshire but that didn’t bother him in the slightest and he reminded Leeds fans of what they were missing when completing the scoring at Elland Road in a 4-0 romp in September 1996.
9 THOUGH it seems hard to believe when you see all the posturing, preening and self-promotion, the Manchester United winger also has a humble side.
When he returned to Portugal in September 2007 for a Champions League tie against his old club Sporting Lisbon, Ronaldo knew he would be guaranteed a warm welcome, so when he scored the only goal of the game, he apologised for any hurt he may have caused.
10 A player who can only be described as a goal machine, Larsson has enjoyed great success wherever he has played but the Swede will forever be associated with Celtic.
Idolised on ‘The Jungle’ for all he did during a seven-year stay at Parkhead, Larsson was given an incredible ovation when he returned with Barcelona for a Champions League tie in September 2004 and was even clapped when he scored Barca’s third in a 3-1 win.

DOMINIC KING: Why David Moyes will keep the faith with Yakubu
Nov 8 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Why Moyes will keep the faith with Yak
NO position in a team causes a manager more headaches or guarantees more dilemmas than that of the centre-forward. If a club’s main supply of goals is struggling with injury but not totally unfit, the man in charge must decide whether to gamble the forward’s long-term fitness in the hope that he scores when it matters.
Equally, when an attacker is going through a barren run, more often than not his boss will persevere with him, sensing that all it takes is for a shot to take a deflection to get the side’s focal point up and running again. Here, then, is the puzzle with which David Moyes is currently confronted. Does he keep faith in Ayegbeni Yakubu or has the time come to take the Nigerian out of the firing line for a short spell? Decisions, decisions. Having started the season like a house on fire, Yakubu in the past month has been slovenly, sluggish and – bar his efforts against Manchester United when he hit a post and bullied Rio Ferdinand – not looked like he could hit a barn door.
What’s more, there has been the occasional flash of temperament when he has been substituted, notably in the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal; he pushed Phil Neville out of the way on marching off the pitch before blanking Moyes. Had Yakubu been a midfielder or a defender, there is every chance he would now be looking at a lengthy spell on the bench. Not even his biggest fan could say the Nigerian has shown enough over the past month to warrant a place in the side. With Louis Saha getting his scoring tally up and running seven days ago, coupled with the fact that James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe are pressing for a chance to shine, there could be no complaints if Yakubu is left out. Yet, equally, Moyes will be wondering if it is too big a risk to leave out a man who, last season, became the first Everton striker since Peter Beardsley in 1992 to score 20 goals in a campaign and vindicated his decision to pay Middlesbrough £11.25m for his services. “I thought Yak played better,” said Moyes, referring to his efforts against Fulham. “He was a bit more lively, and in fairness you rarely want to take him off as he can get a goal. That’s what he does. You always want to try and keep the goalscorers on if you can.” Exactly. He might not be the quickest but, when in the groove, Yakubu invariably finds himself in the right place at the right time and rarely misses the target; at his rampaging best – consider the home game with Portsmouth in March – he is unplayable. Perhaps a return to Upton Park will galvanise him. It was at West Ham’s home last December that he scored twice in the space of four days to secure back-to-back victories for the Blues, the end of a hot streak which yielded nine goals in as many games. Some, however, may well be wondering if we have seen the best of Yakubu in an Everton shirt and his critics will point to the fact that he doesn’t tend to stick around at the same club for too long.
With that in mind, it was no surprise to see last week that his name was linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur; the alliance of Harry Redknapp and super agent Pini Zahavi is, after all, one that he knows well. Redknapp, don’t forget, was Moyes’ biggest rival when Middles- brough reluctantly agreed to let Yakubu leave, which is why it would not be the greatest surprise if that link continues to run all the way through to the opening of the transfer window. This, it must be stressed, is not an article that is designed to get Yakubu on his way. Far from it. He is a top striker and Everton are all the better when he is firing on all cylinders, plus he is also a popular figure in the dressing room. But, given that he has appeared to be going through the motions in recent weeks, it would be reassuring to see him spring back into life again and go on another flurry. And why Moyes will, more often than not, place his faith in him.
Kazan move for Pienaar nothing but wild rumour
IT was only a matter of time before one emerged but, seven weeks before the window opens, finally we have the first wild transfer story regarding Everton. The man at the centre of it is Steven Pienaar who, according to reports that came out of Russia earlier this week, is wanted by Rubin Kazan. For those of you who are unaware, Rubin Kazan have just usurped Zenit St Petersburg as champions of Russia and include in their squad Sergei Rebrov and the current Russian captain Sergei Semak. Now, apparently, coach Kurban Berdyev has picked out Pienaar as one of his primary targets as he plots his side’s first Champions League campaign. “Last year we had talks about Pienaar,” Berdyev told Russian paper Sport Express. “He is now at Everton but he doesn’t always play and he may be thinking about our offer.”
Unlikely. Russian football maybe awash with money but there are a number of things to factor in. Kazan is not one of Russia’s most picturesque towns; it is twinned with, among others, Kabul in Afghanistan and the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.
But, putting that to one side, David Moyes would simply not consider letting one of the most important members of his squad leave in January and only this week talked up the value of a man who made 14 goals for Everton last season on these pages.
What’s more, contrary to Berdyev’s declaration, Pienaar is a guaranteed starter when fit, settled in the area and, by all accounts, happy with his current lot. Kazan, at this moment, can wait.
Howard hopes for US player of the year award
FINGERS will be crossed in Tim Howard’s household this Tuesday that a string of faultless performances finally get their rewards. Howard has been shortlisted to be named the USA National Player of the Year and he faces competition from LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey of Fulham for the award.
Since arriving at Goodison Park, Howard has improved immeasurably as a goalkeeper and it would be entirely fitting if his compatriots were to acknowledge that.

BARRY HORNE: Ugly or not, it has been good week for Blues
Nov 8 2008 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
IT’S been a fantastic week for Everton, both in terms of the results we have secured and ones from elsewhere. Tottenham Hotspur may have had a similar return of points from the games they played and Thursday’s victory over Dinamo Zagreb in the UEFA Cup shows they are resurgent again under Harry Redknapp. But we have put ourselves into a striking position for a top six place and it has got be a tremendous boost for everyone at the club. It’s clear to see that our season has a real chance of coming alive again. We now face a run of three eminently winnable games, starting this afternoon against West Ham United. I feel the biggest cause for encouragement is the fact that we beat Bolton Wanderers and Fulham without playing well – and without any luck.
You could not say we were fortunate in either game. All the Blues did was dig in and that enabled them to emerge with maximum points from two poor matches.
Performances surely will start improving from here, once the likes of Ayegbeni Yakubu, Mikel Arteta, Joleon Lescott and Tim Cahill start to fire on all cylinders again. Clearly there is much more to come from Everton as a unit and our position in a month’s time could be particularly strong. If we are jostling in and amongst the top six, that won’t do us any harm whatsoever as the transfer window will soon be opening and I don’t think I will be alone in feeling that Everton will be one of the most mentioned clubs during January. The only teams I would expect to be real players then are Tottenham and Newcastle. Harry is going to want bring in fresh faces, while it could be all change at St James’ Park with possibly a new owner and new manager in place. Surely, though, it would be too much to expect either of those clubs to be pushing for a UEFA Cup place in the New Year and hopefully Everton will have opened up a gap by then. That would mean we would have a better chance of bringing in good players. Talking of Newcastle, it is has been interesting to see that Keith Harris is quite confident of finalising their sale before the new year; at Goodison Park, meanwhile, the silence has been deafening about potential new suitors.

David Moyes eyes revenge for moment of Gianfranco Zola magic
Nov 8 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Moyes eyes revenge for moment of Zola magic
THE last time David Moyes crossed paths with Gianfranco Zola, he – like so many managers before him – was left speechless by the Italian’s magical ability. April 21, 2003 was the day in question and another Everton defeat at Stamford Bridge was sealed when Zola scored a wonderful goal to make the final score 4-1. That defeat played a contributing factor in the Blues just missing out on an UEFA Cup place. But now Moyes hopes for some form of revenge, as he looks to maintain the momentum behind his side’s recent revival. Moyes takes the Blues to Upton Park today, where Zola has found it difficult to reproduce the wizardry he used to show during his playing days from the West Ham dugout. With the Hammers struggling for form, Moyes wants Everton to take full advantage and put together a sequence of results that will banish the memory of their abject start to this campaign. “We have got results not playing as well as we can,” said Moyes. “That’s a good sign. “There’s maybe a similarity with what happened last year. The only difference is that we are out of both cups. But we are starting to get there. “I’ve not had dealings with him (Zola) since he left Chelsea. The day that he scored that goal (voted one of the best Chelsea have ever scored) would be the last time I have seen him but he was a top player. It is different going into management and he will find that but, nevertheless, I think he has got the credentials to carry it off. “We know we face a tough game and we will need to be at our best to get a result.” With Marouane Fellaini, serving a one-game suspension, Moyes will have to make at least one change to his starting line- up at Upton Park and that means the onus will fall on Tim Cahill to provide a threat from midfield.
The manager has raised some concerns in recent weeks about the Australian – who has broken the fifth metatarsal in his left foot three times – still feeling some pain in the area where he suffered that injury and the club are working tirelessly to find a solution. So, too, is the player. Cahill – who is four goals short of a career century – immersed himself in books during the summer and has taken on yoga to alleviate the discomfort but it is clear to see he is still short of peak match fitness. His situation was not helped by picking up a red card in the 2-0 defeat against Liverpool on September 27 but, now that ban has been served, Cahill is looking forward to finally getting into the groove again. “I’m still having alterations to my footwear and getting used to that, so it’s not all plain sailing,” said Cahill. “I’ve probably still got some way to go to get match fit. “I need to make sure that my feet are feeling okay and a lot of the work has been centred towards prevention of injury rather than normal treatment. “I came back at Stoke and had a run of scoring a couple of goals, which was the value for all the hard work I’d put in. “So the sending off stunted progress. But I’m raring to go again. I was really disappointed to get sent off the way I did against Liverpool but now that ban is finally over and I can look forward to playing again. “Now it’s all about getting into the swing of things.” Sentiments which also apply to the team. The shoots of recovery have started to appear since Everton held Premier League champions Manchester United to a 1-1 draw last month and their position in the table has been vastly improved by back-to-back wins. So, having beaten Bolton and Fulham inside the space of four days, Cahill and company have their eyes fixed on bringing up the hat-trick against West Ham and he feels the Blues have rediscovered their belief.
“It has been a pretty average start,” he conceded. “But we are starting to come together and the biggest plus was that we got a result against Manchester United, who are one of the strongest teams in the Premier League. “A win at Bolton then took us into the Fulham match and once you start to build on good results, it helps breed confidence and provides a great platform. We’ve tried so hard to get results that we have probably over-analysed things. “Now we have looked at it, put our heads together and dusted ourselves off. “We have started doing the ugly stuff first instead of playing the nice football. Sometimes that is just what you have to do.”


Everton boss David Moyes: Joleon Lescott can be our Mr Versatile
Nov 8 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Joleon Lescott in action (158)
DAVID MOYES has urged Joleon Lescott to embrace the concept of being Everton’s ‘Mr Versatile’ – to improve his chances of playing for England. Lescott has made no secret of his desire to be classed as a central defender and saw Moyes during the summer to say that he felt his international claims would be damaged if he played at left-back. His manager, however, has stressed that his ability to play as a left-back would stand him in good stead and Moyes believes his form in that position was second last year to only Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. The pair have spoken again in recent weeks and Lescott has played the last three matches on the flank as opposed to in the middle – but that has coincided with an improvement in his form and Moyes feels that will come to Fabio Capello’s attentions. “At the start he was worried how it would affect his England claims playing in both roles but I actually felt it would enhance his possibilities,” said Moyes. “To be able to play at left-back and as a left-sided centre-back is a great thing for any manager to have. I have stressed that to him and thought it could work for him. “If England get close to qualifying, people who are versatile and can do different jobs are going to be priceless. Joleon is now happy to play any role and has made that known. “He has proved that he can play in both positions. He is a top centre-back but, on last year’s form, I would only have put Ashley Cole ahead of him as far as left-backs go. “In many ways, I thought he was as good. What he has got to do now is get back to the levels that he has set. He was propelled really quickly into the England team. “But that was down to his performances for Everton. He has settled down a little bit and I’m sure his confidence took a knock earlier in the season but he is a big player for us.” Lescott was capped for the first time last season against Estonia but never played in the recent World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus. He will be hoping for a recall in the friendly against Germany in Berlin on November 19. And Moyes thinks he will enhance his chances by getting on the goal trail again – Lescott scored 10 times last season but has yet to hit the target during the current campaign. However, there could be no place better to address that than against West Ham today. “Joelon has set himself high standards,” said Moyes. “He scored a lot of goals last year and it’s important that he gets another couple. “He comes up for a lot of corners and free-kicks, so he needs to get his foot or a head on one. He can play better and I think he will get better.”

Everton star Jack Rodwell in line for a new deal
Nov 10 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have set the wheels in motion to secure promising midfielder Jack Rodwell on a new-long term deal. The 17-year-old signed his first professional contract in March and that is not due to expire until the end of next season, but David Moyes has confirmed talks have started about an extension. Rodwell made his debut as a substitute in a UEFA Cup tie against AZ Alkmaar last December and went on to play twice in the Premier League. This season, though, the Academy graduate has found himself being used more by Moyes and he replaced the suspended Marouane Fellaini in Saturday’s 3-1 win at West Ham. Moyes is not putting a timeline on when the deal will be completed but it is evident that he holds Rodwell in the highest regard. “With Jack only being 17 and Fellaini just 20, I think we’ve got two really exciting prospects for the future,” said Moyes, who checked on CSKA Moscow striker Vagner Love last Thursday with a view to a January swoop. “There will come times when we have to take a step back to develop them and maybe in three or four years’ time, Rodwell could become a central defender.” Rodwell made his eighth appearance of the current campaign at Upton Park and once again caught the eye in patches before he tired during the second half. Though he was off the pitch when Everton staged their spectacular late rally, Rodwell had an inkling that a comeback was on the cards and he almost set the ball rolling with a header that went just wide.
“West Ham were on top in the first half but we were the better side after the break and I always felt that we were going to get a goal,” said Rodwell. “When they scored, it was a little bit against the run of play as we had just started to get on top and the character in our team is so strong that it was only a matter of time before we scored.
“I’m only young, so hopefully I’m only going to get better. As long as the team is winning, that is all that matters. It’s good to be involved and I’m getting more experience. “I’m just taking every game as it comes and enjoying being in the squad. I love being at Everton. It’s a great club with a great history and I’m just happy to be here.” In the end, Louis Saha was the difference between the two sides. He set Joleon Lescott’s equaliser up before scoring twice himself and Rodwell could not hide his admiration. “Louis is a world class player and if he stays fit, he could do great for Everton,” said Rodwell. “He is always capable of scoring goals. You can learn from his character on and off the pitch.”

West Ham 1, Everton 3: Doing business in a flash
Nov 10 2008 By Nick Smith at Upton Park
DAVID MOYES reasoned last week that even if he could only manage to get 18 to 20 games out of Louis Saha it would be 18 to 20 games he would stand a better chance of winning. But perhaps it’s only 18 to 20 minutes that the Frenchman needs to make a crucial difference given the quickfire nature of his impact – not just on individual matches but to the shape of this season as a whole. A week after a late cameo that showed little sentiment for former employers Fulham, Saha broke more stubborn London resistance with a devastating two-minute spell that inspired Everton to a most unlikely victory. If you’d bet your house on them winning them 3-1 with eight minutes of Saturday’s game to go, you’d have been evicted swifter than Jonathan Ross from the TV and radio schedules. But then Saha’s excellently drilled cross for Joleon Lescott exposed West Ham’s defensive vulnerability and the former Manchester United forward then stepped in with a double strike that sealed a third consecutive victory for Moyes’s men and continued their recent renaissance. The previous two victories of the current run had coincided with their first two clean sheets of the campaign, and although they fell behind to Jack Collison’s superb opener, their new-found defensive confidence prevented it from being much worse. Compared to the Hammers, Everton have started the season like George Graham’s Arsenal. Gianfranco Zola has inherited a defence whose confidence is sapping by the week – Liverpool were the last visitors to the Boleyn Ground that they prevented from scoring, way back in January. But credit has to go for Everton for the way they capitalised on that uncertainty and edginess to the full. The stadium was already emptying even at 1-0 – those punters must have sensed what was to come – but the Everton fans certainly didn’t and they will have been as surprised as anyone that they were not only outcheering the home fans by the end, they were probably outnumbering them as well.
Yet closer analysis suggests it is not perhaps as shocking a comeback as it first seems.
Make no mistake, Everton were second best for most of this game and it was only in those dramatic late stages that they finally found some rhythm and shape to their attacking play. It was also the spell that contained their only serious efforts on target in the entire game. Despite Jack Rodwell’s admirable efforts, the midfield lacked a pivotal driving force the like of which Marouane Fellaini has become in recent weeks and it resulted in an agonising lack of cutting edge in the final third. Scott Parker was allowed too much room throughout, particularly when his back-heel teed up Collison for the opening goal in the 63rd minute, while Craig Bellamy fizzed about like the past week’s fireworks, shining every bit as brightly. Freddie Sears also showed he is living up to the promise shown on his Goodison Park appearance in March, with only Tim Howard’s brilliance preventing him giving his side a deserved first half lead.
And given that it was the 18th- minute replacement for West Ham’s best defender, Matthew Upson, who gave the home side the lead, all the signs back north were pointing to a long journey home with no points to show for it. But Everton overcame the adversity to prove that it’s not just Lescott getting back among the goals that draws the parallels with last season. Moyes suggested everyone should forget last year’s Upton Park success, when his side plundered both Carling Cup and Premier League goods in a successful four-day raid on the East End. But if that week in December can be held up as a symbol of all that was good about last winter’s season-defining unbeaten run, then there’s no reason why another victory at West Ham can’t be just as significant. After all, it underlines the progress the team have made since the end of that harrowing transfer window a little more than two months ago, reflected in the fact that Everton have now lost just once since crashing out of the UEFA Cup in September. It’s unlikely that Bellamy, Sears and the rest would have been kept at bay as diligently as they were if this game had been played back in August. But since then, the nerves have given way to nous and the embarrassing mistakes seem so far back in time, a historical DVD charting their infamous rise to prominence is probably being pressed in time for Christmas. Phil Jagielka and Phil Neville are back to their commanding best, while Lescott will be far more encouraged by the return of his concentration and confidence than his goal touch. But surely the most important aspect of last season currently working its way into the side is the belief. The belief that at 1-0 down, the game was not only not lost but was there for the winning, despite the fact that some, including Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta weren’t enjoying one of their better afternoons, albeit due to perfectly understandable circumstances.
Recent events, however, mean that hardly matters. Fellaini kicked off the current winning spell with a 90th-minute winner at Bolton and Saha headed the winner with three minutes left against Fulham to provide footnotes to unconvincing performances.
It’s the kind of refusal to give in and ability to produce class and quality at the right time that means Everton are now in their rightful place as European contenders once again. And the chances of them nowkeeping it up and building a similar launchpad to the one that fired up last season during November and December have to be good.
Moyes need no more convincing of this than looking at the strength of the squad he now has at his disposal. Fellaini, Yakubu and Steven Pienaar all missed the trip to West Ham yet there was still enough in reserve to close out the three points.
Small wonder then that the Scot singled out Victor Anichebe for praise, as his attitude and application on a rare start summed up the team’s levels of energy and enthusiasm that are key to maintaining a challenge over 90 minutes. Anichebe had a largely frustrating day but his reward for the endeavour came when he built on the momentum gained by Lescott’s equaliser. His ball in from the right picked out Saha with five minutes left and he slid in what looked like the decisive goal with the help of a deflection. Only for Saha to then plump up a cushion and make the victory even more comfortable with a rasping right-footed drive that left Robert Green as floored and stunned as the rest of us. Moyes has always insisted that signing Saha was no gamble and he’s been proven overwhelmingly right in the past week. And the way things are looking, keeping him in at the expense of Yakubu when the Nigerian recovers from his heel injury won’t be too much of a risk either. So forget this tightening belts in the credit crunch nonsense – these are luxurious and highly profitable times indeed for the Everton manager.

West Ham United 1, Everton 3: Smash and grab raiders
Nov 10 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IF David Letterman made The Late Show famous and Gay Byrne was synonymous with The Late, Late Show, David Moyes must now be the face of the Late, Late, Late show. Football supporters, as a breed, have their foibles and one in particular is the habit of some people to get up and leave a game with 10 minutes remaining so, for instance, they can beat traffic or get to the bar at their favourite hostelry before the crowds. Such a trait has always amazed. Unless a film was particularly dire, you would never make an early exit from the cinema nor would you walk out of a theatre in a play’s final act, so why do certain people feel compelled to depart while a match is in its last throes? Evertonians, however, are unlikely to be beating hasty retreats from grounds any time soon as their team is currently making last-gasp smash-and-grab raids look an art form - and how it is transforming the shape of the campaign.
The sum total of the minutes Everton have been in front during the last three matches may add up to less than the time it takes to cook good quality pasta. But it says everything about this squad’s spirit that they are grinding out improbable victories.
Had this sequence of fixtures against Bolton, Fulham and West Ham happened, say, six weeks ago, there is every chance they would now have been looking at a haul of two points from nine as opposed to a maximum return. As was the case at The Reebok Stadium and again seven days ago, Everton did not play free-flowing football nor did they particularly entertain but why complain when they are displaying such a ruthless streak? In all honesty, West Ham should have been out of sight by half-time. They passed with guile, played with pace and ensured that Tim Howard never had a moment’s peace - the only thing their efforts missed was a goal. But while the home side dominated, it would be wrong to say Everton led a charmed life. Howard may have made two fine saves from Freddie Sears but he didn’t rely on good fortune and it took a wonder strike in the second half from Jake Collison to beat him. Despite having vast amounts of possession and moving the ball around in an easy-on-the-eye fashion, it was West Ham’s bad luck that they came across Everton’s defence - which was marshalled quite superbly by Phil Jagielka - in one of their obdurate moods.
Joseph Yobo never buckled despite being twisted and turned throughout by the pace of Craig Bellamy, Phil Neville continued his outstanding form on the right flank, while Joleon Lescott enjoyed his best performance of the campaign to date.
So even though Gianfranco Zola was left scratching his head afterwards in a state of utter bewilderment, he will have looked at the qualities which ensured Everton pilfered the spoils and wish his own team had a fraction of them. It is indisputable that good sides win games when they are not playing well, so Moyes has to be particularly encouraged that the Toffees have taken 10 points from the last 12 without hitting top gear. He could not dispute that the lacklustre performances through August and September, coupled with the befuddled efforts in the transfer market, gave reason for many to doubt whether Everton had the capabilities to fight things out in the top six again. Yet thanks to grit, determination and sheer bloody mindedness, all of a sudden they are within one victory of being back in the zone where they have spent much of the last two years and they gave an inkling at Upton Park that a lengthy unbeaten run is in the offing. It would be easy to get caught up in the euphoria that was felt at the final whistle - there is no feeling quite like winning a match in the dying moments - and start making bold predictions but experience demands we exercise caution.
That said, there are a number of aspects which only give grounds for optimism, not least the match-winning efforts of Louis Saha, whose Goodison career has exploded into life inside the last seven days. Bill Kenwright comes in for enormous flak from certain fans but surely even his biggest critic would have to hail the business acumen that saw Andrew Johnson sold in a deal which could net Everton £13m and Saha signed from Manchester United for a fraction of the price. Harsh this may seem but Johnson could not keep up with the development Everton were making as a club and while he scored some wildly celebrated goals, not even his biggest fan would suggest he has talent to match Saha’s. True, the Parisian was quiet for 80 minutes on Saturday but look at the damage he did when deciding to turn it on - if his cross for Lescott’s goal was sublime, the two shots he swept past Robert Green to seal victory were the hallmark of an ace predator. He might not be at full speed yet but his efforts so far have been responsible for securing Everton seven points - think of Saha’s impact at Hull, against Fulham and now West Ham. In other words, he’s the difference between them being seventh or in the drop zone. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this victory, though, was the fact it was achieved without the injured Ayegbeni Yakubu or Steven Pienaar and the suspended Marouane Fellaini, and without Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta being in tip-top form. They, of course, are all going to be hugely important players between now and May 24 but Yakubu, for one, certainly has a fight to get on his hands to get back in the team next week against Middlesbrough as, aside from Saha, Victor Anichebe caught the eye here. A word, too, for young Jack Rodwell, who once again refused to be flustered by the hurly-burly that was going on around and him will derive great benefits from the run-outs he has had in the past month against Arsenal and West Ham. Rodwell, certainly, will get better and better and so, too, will the Blues. It has taken a while for the lethargy to be banished but, suddenly, they appear transformed. And that is something, you would agree, is better late than never.

David Moyes hails battling Everton's form
Nov 10 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES hailed Everton’s battling qualities as perseverance earned them their third consecutive win. Though the Premier League is currently compact with only nine points separating 13 clubs, the Blues have transformed their position by taking 10 points from the last 12 available and are now within striking distance of the top six.
Everton will certainly play better than they did during Saturday’s 3-1 victory at West Ham but all Moyes is concerned with at present is getting points on the board.
“The word result is probably one that you will hear in most of my sentences,” Moyes said. “Looking at the table results are so important because it is going to be tight.
“You need to get wins to make sure you are not at the bottom end. But if you get a string of wins like we are getting at the moment it could quite easily propel us to the top end of the league.” Not surprisingly, the manager was quick to pay tribute to the efforts of Louis Saha, who has now scored three goals in his last two appearances and showing signs he is ready to hit top form. Moyes added: “At times some of the things he does are strange, but we are getting to know Louis and he is getting to know us. But if he keeps playing like that he will find himself scoring plenty of goals.
“He would tell you he doesn’t think he is playing as well as he can. But goals get goalscorers going and then the performances come.”

Everton striker Louis Saha admits to 20-goal target
Nov 10 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA has ambitiously set himself a 20-goal target as he promised to stay true to the ethos of Everton’s number nine shirt. Just as was the case against Fulham seven days earlier, Saha was his side’s matchwinner at West Ham on Saturday as he scored twice and set up the other for Joleon Lescott as Everton came from behind to snatch an astonishing 3-1 win. It has taken time for Saha, who rejected a move to Upton Park in favour of Goodison to find his feet at Goodison Park, top find his feet following his summer switch from United. But he is now up and running and intent on a goal haul that would have the legends who previously wore his jersey nodding their heads in approval. “It would be nice to get 20 goals - that is a good target,” said Saha. “I have been really hard on myself in scoring goals and if I am on the pitch, hopefully I can do that. “The move to West Ham didn’t happen but I made a great choice, which is the main thing. I have no regrets at all. It was such a hard time in the summer to leave a great club but I am now in a great team and I am enjoying myself. “It is hard to predict how we will do but I hope to be very close to the top four. I think we have the team and we are now playing better.” David Moyes was forced to make three changes to the side that had beaten Fulham. Saha replaced Ayegbeni Yakubu, who had injured his heel, Victor Anichebe came in for Steven Pienaar (knee) and Jack Rodwell deputised for the suspended Marouane Fellaini. The last two certainly played their part in the come-from-behind victory, with Anichebe providing the cross which Saha turned past Robert Green to put the Blues in front and the 30-year-old was thrilled with both the comeback and his young team-mates. “It was great to come back. West Ham played well but it was a brilliant win and I’m feeling pretty happy,” said Saha, who signed a two-year deal in the summer. “I do feel the young players here show maturity and I am pleased with them. “I do think me and Yakubu will be a good partnership. I am confident about it. He is injured right now. But when he comes back, he will score goals.”

Everton fans thinking pink urged to move fast
Nov 11 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON are urging any supporters who wish to buy a limited edition pink replica shirt - and help a worthy cause - to move quickly. The shirt was released for the public to buy on Saturday and the club are set to raise more than £75,000 for charity
A contribution from each kit bought will be made to the Breast Cancer Campaign and Everton’s nominated charities for 2008/09 - The NSPCC and Everton in The Community. Due to the club receiving a huge number of pre-orders , there were only a certain number available to buy in the Megastore but there are still some left.
The Blues raised cash for the Breast Cancer Campaign through the sale of the shirts as part of the club’s highly successful Ladies Day campaign - which was held for the visit of Middlesbrough last September. “Last season was a hugely successful campaign but this time around we want to make a bigger splash with our fundraising efforts,” said Ian Ross, Blues head of PR. “The launch of the new pink shirt gives us the opportunity to give something back to the community and hopefully make a difference to the work these charities undertake on a daily basis.”

Tim Howard in line for USA player award - Everton FC latest
Nov 11 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed Tim Howard’s return to top form as the Everton goalkeeper waited to discover whether his remarkable consistency would be rewarded.
Howard is on the shortlist to be named the US Player of the Year and will find out whether five clean sheets in eight internationals is enough to win him the award for the first time tonight. LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey of Fulham are his rivals, but neither man has been able to match Howard’s exploits at club level over the past 12 months. He was instrumental in helping Everton qualifying for the UEFA Cup and being beaten once against West Ham on Saturday helped him to another club record. The former Manchester United stopper’s first 100 games between the posts for the Blues have resulted in him conceding 99 goals – three fewer than Neville Southall conceded. And Moyes believes that Howard will enhance that record in the coming weeks and months as he has become a commanding figure in the penalty area once again. “Tim Howard is nearly back at the form which he has shown consistently for us over the last two years,” said Moyes. “In the last couple of weeks, he has really helped us. He has kept us in games with important saves and did that again on Saturday. It was a big achievement for us to get three points. “You need your goalkeeper to do that if you want to have a chance of winning games. And he certainly did that against West Ham. He is vital for us.” Ayegbeni Yakubu, could come back into contention for Sunday’s televised Goodison clash with Middlesbrough after responding to treatment on a heel injury. The Nigerian striker missed the 3-1 win at Upton Park, as did Steven Pienaar, but did some light work yesterday and Everton’s medical staff will keep a close eye on him. “Yak has had a badly bruised heel for three or four weeks and we’ve kept it going but we knew eventually he would have to miss a game,” said head of physio Mick Rathbone. “He’s been doing some light training and having missed the game against West Ham he feels a lot better now. He has a 50/50 chance of playing. “Pienaar had a knock on the side of his knee in the last game against Fulham and wasn’t even close to playing against West Ham. We’ll have to see what he’s like for Sunday.”

Phil Neville backs Louis Saha to keep up hot streak
Nov 11 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE has backed a rejuvenated Louis Saha to maintain his hot streak and prove that he is over the injuries which have blighted his career. When David Moyes signed the France international before the most recent transfer window closed, Everton’s skipper knew exactly what ability Saha would bring to Finch Farm, but was unsure whether he had the physical well being to carry it off. Saha, after all, arrived with a badly damaged calf that he had sustained during United’s pre-season.
It was the latest in a long list of ailments and left many wondering whether Moyes had taken a gamble which was unlikely to pay-off. But, since Saha was given the all clear to start full training, he has proved his doubters wrong and in the last two matches, his Everton career has taken off, thanks to winning goals against Fulham and West Ham.
It has left Neville confidently predicting that the Parisian’s best is yet to come and he feels Everton will be a significantly better team the longer that Saha – a striker capped 18 times by his country – is fit and available to lead their attack. “When Louis first signed, everyone was unsure due to his injury record. But we were certain of his ability,” said Neville. “He is getting fitter and has not missed a training session.
“If he is on the pitch, you have a chance of winning a game because he can produce something out of nothing. “He scored twice, but you have to remember his cross for the first goal was world class. Almost single-handedly, he won us the game.
“The only thing that let him down at United were his injuries because his goalscoring record was fantastic. “All United fans will say he is an outstanding talent.
“He is now at a club where he is a slightly bigger fish in a slightly smaller pond.
“Our younger players are looking up to him. He is thriving on that opportunity. The more he trains, the fitter he will get. “With him and Yakubu, we have a great strike force. “We can cause defenders a lot of problems. “He has scored three goals. If he plays, he gives us a chance of winning.” Saha’s goals have been particularly well received, as they have come at a time when his strike partner, Ayegbeni Yakubu, is suffering a dip. But Neville believes it would be folly for anyone to suggest the pair cannot play together. “Yak got 21 last year and he did not start scoring until late October early November,” Neville pointed out. “We hope Louis can follow the same path. If he plays games consistently and we give him service, he will score goals.
“Left foot, right foot, with his head. He is world class on his day. “He likes being the main striker, similar to Anelka, where they like to make their own goals. “He does not totally rely on the wings and can create something out of nothing “He is looking really good.”

NIGEL MARTYN: Late dramas are not simply down to luck
Nov 11 2008 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
SOME will be saying the gods are smiling on Everton, but you do not keep winning games in the dying minutes with only good fortune. It is indisputable that West Ham played well on Saturday, but Everton’s defenders showed how important it is to be settled and they were able to cope well with everything that was thrown at them.
That’s why we were able to stage that smash-and-grab raid. Another point it proves is the fitness levels of the squad are close to their peak, as you simply can’t keep going until the final whistle if you are lacking condition, and perhaps that shows why West Ham eventually wilted. Do not underestimate what that result at Upton Park will do.
I know from experience, Finch Farm will be absolutely buzzing this week.
All the backroom staff will be in high spirits and that outlook rubs off on the players.
You start counting down the hours until your next assignment and feel that you can beat anyone, which is why it’s never a surprise to see Everton put lengthy sequences of positive results together. Once we get on a roll, it’s very hard to stop us.
That said, this is exactly where David Moyes will earn his spurs. Of course he will be thrilled things are ticking along nicely and he will revel in seeing the players in high spirts, but he will be just as concerned about keeping things in check. The worst thing in the world now would be for one or two lads to start getting over-confident and believing that we will only need to turn up to roll Middlesbrough over, so the manager is guaranteed to spend a few days preaching about the dangers of complacency.
As a squad, though, Everton are extremely reliable and there should not be too many worries about them losing focus. If anything, they will be doubly determined to maintain this winning spree and improve the position in the table further.
And with Louis Saha in such terrific form, anything is possible. It was pleasing to see he has set himself a target of scoring 20 goals. And there is no doubt he is capable of reaching such a figure, especially if he stays free from injury. Saha has made the decision to buy him look smart business and when he is on song, I would rate him as one of the best in the business. Just like the team, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ran up an impressive sequence between now and Christmas.
Tim Howard's influence is so important
WHILE Louis Saha captured the headlines at West Ham, it would be wrong to overlook the influence of the man who stood between the posts. Tim Howard made a couple of outstanding saves in the first half to keep Everton in the game and had either of Freddie Sears’ shots beaten him, it would have been difficult for us to come from two behind late on. His efforts also ensured that he set a new record for goals conceded in his first 100 games – and the fact that his tally stands at 99 shows just how consistent he has been since he arrived from Manchester United. As a goalkeeper, you aim to average conceding less than a goal per game but, more often than not, it doesn’t quite work out that way. So I take my hat off to Tim for what he has achieved in all competitions in the past two and a half years. He’s been a great buy and the fact he is only 28 shows his best years are still very much in front of him – and that will be to Everton’s great benefit.

David Moyes baffled by Blues 'link' with Emad Meteb - Everton latest
Nov 12 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes admits he is baffled by reports claiming Egyptian striker Emad Meteb would be joining the Blues in January. “I travelled to England a week ago to agree on the final details of the contract with Everton,” the player’s agent, Mohamed Hamid, said yesterday. “We agreed on everything.” Moyes, however, said: “I don’t know anything about it. I’ve never heard of him. “I might have seen him play, but the name doesn’t mean anything to me.” Moyes also made it clear the future of top scorer Yakubu was not for discussion, despite weekend reports claiming the player’s old Portsmouth boss, Harry Redknapp, wanted to take him to Tottenham in January.
The Nigerian has endured a lean spell since opening the season with four goals in five games, but the Blues boss still has faith in last season’s top scorer and would not encourage any interest. Moyes was in Russia last week to watch CSKA striker Vagner Love, but after a remarkable four-goal burst in Monday’s Moscow derby – a feat which made the Brazilian the highest-scoring foreign player in the Russian championship of all time – Love committed his future to CSKA. Goalkeeper Tim Howard, meanwhile, was runner-up in the US Player of the Year voting for 2008.
Los Angeles Galaxy striker Landon Donovan was voted top US player, becoming the only five-time winner of the Honda Player of the Year award. He totalled 297 points and Howard 249.

Don't lose hope over Everton FC sale says deal maker Keith Harris
Nov 12 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
KEITH HARRIS, the merchant banker hired to sell Everton, today denied reports that Merseyside's big two clubs face a bleak future. But he admitted that both clubs must address pressing short term issues. Speaking at an International Football Arena in Zurich last night, Harris admitted that he was making “no progress” in his bid to attract new owners to Goodison. “The demographics of Liverpool as a city are not hugely compelling,” he explained. “It is not a very wealthy city. Everton share the city with another club which arguably has been in the vanguard for the last decade, and they both have a stadium to build. So the economics need a lot of looking at.”
He clarified his comments today exclusively to the Liverpool Echo. “As regards the sale of Everton, there are certainly grounds for optimism,” he said. “It’s a terrific club and having Bill Kenwright as chairman is one of the club’s strongest selling points.
“I did not say there was no hope of selling Everton – there are plenty of people having a serious look – what I did was compare the situation with Newcastle “Everton is a club with great history and tradition, and most importantly has won things.
“To buy a club which has won nothing, and then expect them to start winning things, is difficult. “Newcastle, for example, hasn’t won anything for 50-odd years. Everton, clearly, has won things. “But then you look at the other side of the coin and Newcastle have the stadium, no immediate competition from a Newcastle City or a Newcastle Dynamo and 50,000 supporters every week.” Harris also admitted he had concerns about the ability of Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks to refinance their £350m loan in January, but added: “Do Everton and Liverpool have bright futures? Absolutely. They are two of the fixtures of the football landscape, past present and surely in the future.” The £350m owed to the Royal Bank of Scotland and Wachovia by Liverpool, includes £185m borrowed by the American owners to buy the club.
Due for repayment in January, Liverpool have an option with RBS to possibly extend the loan by a further six months, then, in July next year, refinance the loan or find a way to repay it. “The banks are two of those that have suffered, so whether they want to lend it again or not, they may not be able to,” added Harris. “What normally happens in business is, if the banks won’t finance, you have to raise equity.”
But even if the Reds cannot raise cash to repay or reduce their borrowings, and the banks are not happy about remaining exposed to the tune of £350m, the risk of repossession remained low. “If they cannot find equity,” Harris suggested, “well, it’s a brave banker that would repossess Liverpool Football Club.”

Everton FC star Tim Cahill up for new test
Nov 13 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL today insisted he is ready to embrace the challenge that Marouane Fellaini’s emergence as goalscoring midfielder has provided. Having been the man in Everton’s engine room most likely to score during the past four years, Cahill has seen Fellaini show many similar qualities during his first few months at the club.
But rather than have his nose put out of joint, the Australian believes Everton are fortunate to have a player of Fellaini’s ilk vying for a starting place. The Blues’ club record signing will come back into contention for Sunday’s Goodison Park clash with Middlesbrough after serving a one-game ban last weekend. It could leave manager David Moyes with a difficult decision, but Cahill feels the onus is on him to prove he deserves to keep his place in the starting line-up. “I’m all for it. I think the best thing for me is to welcome players like Marouane with open arms,” said Cahill, who is four short of a century of career goals. “I’m happy for him because with a price tag like that people expect him to come in and do things straight away. It’s up to us to help him settle and make sure he scores more goals.” Cahill has had a fragmented start to the season, battling his way back to full fitness, but has started the last two games against Fulham and West Ham. Everton, of course, took maximum points in both those games to make significant strides up the Premier League table and are now pushing to reclaim a place in the top six. For the time being, though, nobody in the squad is getting carried away, or making bold predictions, but Cahill says the aim at present is to just keep on picking up points. “Our aspiration is to finish in the top eight and then build on it,” he added. “The sooner we get near to the top of the table then anything can happen. “As you can see, everyone is beating everyone. I feel that everyone wants to win something and everyone wants to do well. “So of you are anywhere in the top eight in the next three to four months, then anything can happen.”
l EVERTON still have tickets remaining for Sunday’s game and they are on sale from the Park End Box Office, which is open from 8am-6pm and, on Saturday, from 10am-4pm. Alternatively, seats can be purchased by calling 0871 663 1878 or online at evertonfc.com.

Blue watch: Everton's rich history of success is attracting interest - dealmaker Keith Harris
Nov 13 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT has been 13 long years since an Everton captain last raised significant silverware above his head. But that fifth FA Cup success, together with nine league titles, could be the key to selling Everton in the future says merchant banker Keith Harris.
Harris is a football finance expert, an investment hunter tasked by the Blues to find an investor who can help the club challenge for the trophies which make up such a considerable part of the club’s heritage. He has also been hired by Newcastle United in a similar role. But while two concrete investors have been found expressing firm interest in the North-east under-achievers, the hunt for investment in Everton has, so far, been fruitless. Harris, however, has a positive message for Blues fans.
The Magpies have a stunning stadium, a 50-000 fan base and no immediate geographical rivals – but they have singularly failed to land silverware in the modern era. And Harris believes that could prove crucial in his hunt for investors.
“I’ve seen reports saying we’ve made no progress with Everton,” he said.
“That’s not what I said. “What I was asked to do was compare Everton with Newcastle, the two clubs I am publicly associated with, and I said Everton is a club with great history and tradition – and has won things. And that’s very important.
“To buy a football club and make it win things when it has never won them is quite tough. Newcastle hasn’t actually won anything for 50-odd years, when Everton clearly has.” So why is Everton struggling to attract investors? Harris uses the Newcastle comparison again. “When you look at the other side of the coin, Newcastle has a fabulous stadium, it has wonderful support and Newcastle supporters do not have the distraction of whether they go to Newcastle United or Newcastle City or Newcastle Dynamo, there’s only one Newcastle for them. “That’s not the case in your fine city.
“In Liverpool the fans have a really good choice between two clubs, and if they like lower division football they have another choice in Tranmere Rovers as well.
“Then within a short spit they have all that wealth of football cream in the north west, too. That all offers a multitude of choice. “Everton also has a stadium issue. You can’t stay at Goodison for all the reasons that are well rehearsed. This goes beyond the debate as to whether it should be in Kirkby or anywhere else. “Then there’s the history of the issues surrounding where it should be, and over your shoulder there’s the knowledge that Liverpool are in exactly the same boat. “The model that Arsenal used when it moved from Highbury to the Emirates, going from 38,000 to 67,000 and immediately filled it with corporate seats, was done at a time of substantial corporate wealth, and done at a time when levels of wealth in the south were higher.
“That’s not quite so straightforward anywhere in the north. “The big cities outside London don’t have that level of personal income and don’t have that number of companies clamouring for boxes . . . and it was also four years ago.” But Harris insists that the outlook is not bleak for the Blues. “There have been good talks regarding Everton, but what I said was there is nothing advanced at the moment. “I didn’t say there was no hope. I didn’t say that at all. “But there are plenty of people having a serious look at it. “There are certainly grounds for optimism. It’s a terrific club. And irrespective of your allegiances everyone respects Bill Kenwright for his fantastic support. “Arguably he’s the club's biggest supporter. “But he realised a long time ago that money runs through the veins of all football clubs, and big money, so it needs the support of a financial investor. “There’s got to be some change in the case of Everton and the change is a real challenge today rather than an opportunity. “They are the issues confronting the club.” Liverpool have their own financial issues to address, but despite a couple of hysterical headlines following his address in Zurich on Tuesday night, Harris does not believe the Reds run the risk of suddenly going under.
“The one thing that was very accurately quoted was when I was asked if I saw Liverpool being repossessed. “I said that it would take a very brave banker that phones up a football club and says ‘we are calling in your debt.’ “Many years ago, when I had just joined up as Chief Executive at HSBC, which incorporated Midland Bank, the Midland were thinking of pulling the plug on Tottenham Hotspur. “They were going to do it and were dissuaded when someone on the board pointed out ‘do you know how many Tottenham supporters there are who are customers of this bank?’
“I say it’s unlikely, but there’s not the easy solution now. “In the world in which we are currently living refinancing options don’t get the automatic tick they used to. But both football clubs have bright futures, absolutely. “They are two of the features of the football landscape, both past and present and surely future.”
Keith Harris factfile
KEITH HARRIS is chairman of investment bank Seymour Pierce.
He is a Wembley National Stadium Ltd director. A former Football League chairman, he quit in 2002 in the wake of the ITV Digital debacle. Harris has acted as financial broker on takeovers of five Premier League clubs:Chelsea. July 2003: A £17m acquisition by Roman Abramovich. Aston Villa, August 2006: Harris brokered the £62.6m takeover by Randy Lerner. West Ham, November 2006: The Icelandic banking crisis has hit Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, who bought the club for £85m.
Hull City, June 2007: Adam Pearson sold Hull for £10m to three businessmen.
Manchester City, June 2007: “It went wrong,” Harris said, of the deal by Thaksin Shinawatra, guilty of criminal corruption charges.

Blue watch: ‘Shared stadium is still worth consideration’ - Keith Harris
Nov 13 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOOTBALL finance chaser Keith Harris believes that a shared stadium could be the answer to Everton and Liverpool’s financial problems. With Everton awaiting the outcome of a government inquiry into their stadium plans, and Liverpool’s stadium project put on hold during the worldwide credit crisis, Harris believes that a San Siro style shared stadium offers a perfect solution. “The controversial thing to suggest, which no-one will do, is the notion that maybe the city of Liverpool could have one stadium,” he said. “Why not? “Technology today can turn a stadium from blue to red in the flick of a switch. “Why not have a Liverpool-Everton stadium and allow them to share? Then you take away with one stroke one of the big issues, which is how do you finance £300m of new stadium build? “And I tell you it is a very, very difficult financial world right now and unless there is someone out there with a much better crystal ball than myself that isn't going to be solved at the flick of a switch. “I know there are loads of issues about how the revenue is split, but a shared stadium would make the prospect of investment in either club much clearer. “I was brought up in Manchester and the notion of ground sharing in Manchester is out of the question. The mutual antipathy of the fans rules that out. “But my impression from going to Liverpool – and I’ve been to both grounds many times – is that the fans there may have a bit of banter, but there isn’t that in-built hatred.”

The Jury: Everton fans on the Blues' upturn in form
Nov 13 2008 Liverpool Echo
Michael Drummond, Speke
Well, what a difference a few weeks can make! One month ago we had a manager yet to sign a new deal, a number of injuries and near enough zero confidence. Then, a point against the European champions proved to be the platform to kick-start our season. We have been winning ugly, and by the skin of our teeth, but I don’t think any Evertonian will complain. I was pleased that Joleon Lescott got off the mark. That should restore his confidence and we'll now see the same form that was witnessed last season. Louis Saha deserves a mention. His signing was a big risk due to his injury record but his quality is there and he can be as prolific as anyone! Credit must also go to David Moyes. His faith in his players has never been in question – and my passion for Everton has been restored.
Debbie Smaje, Upholland
THREE wins in a row have suddenly propelled us up the table. Strangely, though, the performances haven’t really improved. One thing in common with all three victories, as well as most good things we have done this season, is that when we have played good football we look great going forward. The general standard of football has not been good this season, but when we keep the ball on the floor, we look as dangerous as anybody in attack. There have been definite positives, though. Louis Saha’s three goals in two games finally look to have lifted his confidence, and shown him to be the player we all know he can be. Some special praise, too, for Victor Anichebe. While many still doubt whether he can be effective as anything but an impact substitute, he put in a strong performance at West Ham, and lifted us every time he had the ball.
Richard Knights, West Derby
I’M getting UEFA withdrawal symptoms – that sense of ennui; feeling listless mid week; what is the meaning of life? Alkmaar, Bergen and Nurnberg weren’t exactly Madrid, Milan or Barcelona, but when you’ve been living in a desert for years even a small oasis is welcome relief. Our European tour was a chance to make home-made banners, imbibe the local lagers and generally paint the town blue. Now that we’re motoring up the table a UEFA spot is within our sights and if any of the ‘big four’ do a Timo Glock on the final lap, the Champions League is a possibility. We are scraping results, some players are still struggling for form and fitness, so it’s a good job that Jags is playing out of his skin week in, week out. Middlesbrough won’t be a pushover, but we need another dose of UEFA.
David Wallbank, Huyton
IT is a refreshing change writing this week after a turbulent start to the season.
Everton have ridden their luck and managed to gain some needed points in the past few weeks. The football played hasn’t been fantastic, far from it! But it is nice to see the Blues finally get the rub of the green! Praise needs to be heaped on the two Phils in defence. Both Jagielka and Neville have been outstanding, and on form should both be in the England squad. This weekend sees a Middlesbrough side full of confidence after digging out a surprising result at Villa Park. This is a game Everton need to win to push for that fifth place finish. It will be tough, but I get the feeling somebody will be on the end of a thrashing from Everton soon. The Blues haven’t really got out of first gear yet, but teams will not be looking forward to playing against them.

Blue watch: How on-loan keeper Espen became a real City slicker
Nov 13 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
FOR a man who only made one league appearance for Everton, Espen Baardsen figures more often in Evertonian conversations than his record would justify.
Perhaps it was the nature of that appearance – a last minute stand-in for calamity keeper Richard Wright who had injured himself in a White Hart Lane warm-up.
Or the fact that he conceded four goals on that solitary appearance – Everton lost 4-3.
On that January afternoon in 2003, Baardsen played like a man who believed his football career was soon to be behind him. Weeks later it was. “I got bored of football,” he said. Once you’ve played in the Premier League and been to the World Cup, you’ve seen it and done it. It was dictating what I could do and when. I felt unsatisfied intellectually, I wanted to travel the world. “I had finished with Watford, been on loan at Everton and had just started at Sheffield United. I had been living out of hotels and suitcases for months. “It was in a Tesco in Sheffield that I reached my lowest point. I went into Neil Warnock’s office to negotiate my wages and he offered me less than what a tube driver earns. I turned it down. I was young and had my life to lead, and it didn’t have to be football.”
Baardsen now works for asset management fund, Eclectica, but he didn’t move straight into the City. “After I quit football I went travelling for 18 months,” he explained. “I came back and got involved with Eclectica in 2005. “Football is stressful. Try playing in front of 40,000 crazy fans who are happy or sad for their whole weekend depending on how you perform. Never mind all the people criticising you on TV. Don’t get me wrong, there is pressure to make money in this job, but it’s different and something about it suits me better than football ever did.” Reid setback
EX-BLUES midfielder Peter Reid suffered his first defeat as Thailand’s national coach when Saudi Arabia beat them 1-0 in their friendly clash in Riyadh.

Everton academy profile: George Krenn
Nov 13 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
Name: George Krenn
Born: Austria - 04/10/90
l The midfielder joined Everton from Austrian side Admira Wacker in the summer of 2007. l In November 2007, he signed a professional deal with the Blues to stay until 2010. l An ankle injury disrupted his first season at the club, but he has since become an important part of the academy team.

Everton Academy: Dewsnip hopes to draw line on missed chances
Nov 13 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
IT WAS Groundhog Day for Everton under-18s coach Neil Dewsnip as his youngsters could only take a point from their clash with Manchester United at Finch Farm.
The Blues were left to rue a number of missed chances after their fifth successive 1-1 draw in Premier Academy League Group C. “I think we’re going for the world record for 1-1 draws,” said Dewsnip. “It’s incredibly frustrating because over the 90 minutes we created a lot more clear cut chances than them. It was very disappointing to only come out of the game with a point.” The Blues started sluggishly and fell behind after 10 minutes, but the goal fired them into action. They equalised midway through the first half when central defender Cory Sinnott nodded home Tom McCready’s corner.
The Blues grabbed the initiative but they couldn’t make their dominance count.
Lewis Codling failed to take the opportunities which came his way, while Danny Redmond was denied by a great save from the keeper. Dewsnip added: “United started better than us and it wasn’t until they scored that we woke up. It was a poor goal from our point of view with two defensive errors. “After that, we dominated possession but couldn’t put our chances away. “In the last 10 minutes United came back at us and probably finished stronger. “Overall, I’ve got to be pleased with the performance, but the fact is we have to start putting teams away. “We’re not taking enough of our chances, while at the other end we’re making defensive errors and gifting teams goals.” Newsnip admits his young guns are eager to put things right on Saturday when they face rivals Liverpool at Kirkby. “The boys are looking forward to it.”
BLUES youngster Eunan O'Kane has been called up by Northern Ireland's under-21s.
The 18-year-old has been selected to play against Scotland on November 18 in Hamilton. O’Kane has been at Everton for just over a year, playing for the under-18s, reserves and even the first team during friendlies this summer.

No talk of Easy Street - Everton star Joleon Lescott
Nov 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON’S position in the table may be soaring, but the feet of the players who have produced a dramatic change in fortunes remain rooted to the ground.
Having been left standing while their rivals sped out of the starting blocks, three consecutive wins have thrust the Blues back into a familiar position and left many thinking that all might not be lost after all. It is also worth remembering that victory against Middlesbrough at Goodison on Sunday would give Everton a better points tally than at the same stage last season and, in all likelihood, ensure they are back in the top six at the close of play. Given the feelings of frustration and anger that were so commonplace during a ruinous September, it’s understandable supporters are now tentatively suggesting they may have European football to look forward to once again.
At Finch Farm, though, caution is a word being used as much as confidence. Nearly every member of David Moyes’ squad has been around long enough to know that the wheels will come off if maximum concentration is not kept. That’s why Joleon Lescott will not entertain any ideas that all Everton have to do to get the better of Middlesbrough is turn up but, equally, he is excited about what the future holds for him and his team-mates. Everton’s outstanding run of form last season really caught fire after they had beaten Birmingham City in their 12th league game with two late goals and, coincidentally, last week’s late show against West Ham was also the 12th match of this campaign. “That would be nice if we could do the same as last year,” said Lescott. “The key is to make sure we keep our feet on the ground. There are still times when we are not playing as well as we can. But if we keep building on these performances, I’m sure results will come. “It’s disappointing that we have got so many blank midweeks but maybe it can be a blessing in disguise. We can get players fit and that means we’ll have a strong 11 with a strong bench as well going into games. “Maybe if we were playing in Europe, we’d be picking up knocks and stuff like that, so it can affect your squad. But, of course, we want to be playing in Europe again, whether it’s by getting fourth spot, fifth spot of whatever. “We lost a little bit of momentum last year when we got knocked out by Fiorentina and it deflated us a bit. But we have got no excuses now. We are only playing one game a week, but if we keep on getting results like we did at West Ham that will just breed confidence.”
Confidence is certainly a quality Everton’s defence has in abundance at present and that, in the main, is down to the influence of their goalkeeper. Tim Howard may have missed out on being named the United States Player of the Year but his stock at Goodison remains high. Howard proved last week once again the importance of having a top-class performer between the posts, as his saves from Freddie Sears in the first half kept the Blues in the game, as was the case during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last month. Add in the fact that Louis Saha has really found his stride in the past couple of weeks, it is easy to see the grounds for Lescott’s optimism.
“We are not always going to play well at the back, but we stuck at it,” said Lescott, who scored his first goal of the year at Upton Park. “When someone gets beyond us, we know that Tim is there to make great saves. He did that against West Ham with important stops at vital times. “It brings confidence to us defenders knowing that we have a keeper behind us who we can rely on. With performances like that, you can see why he was up to be named America’s Player of the Year. “I know he’s kept a lot of clean sheets for them over a period of years – just as he has done for us.
“We are really confident with him behind us and hopefully he is confident with us in front of him. “The previous two games we had scored late goals and managed it again here. There was only six minutes left when I got mine and then ‘King Louis’ stepped up with another two. When he was coming in during the summer, everyone was excited. “I was more like a fan than a player when I heard he was signing and he has shown with his performances and goals that he can change games and win them for us.” Thankfully the situation is getting back to normal and the picture will look even brighter if Gareth Southgate’s men are sent packing, but don’t expect any bold predictions from Lescott and company just yet. “The key now is not to get over confident and believe that we have won games before we have even played them,” he said. “We knew West Ham was going to be tough. “But we have shown that we can dig in and get results. “I’m sure we’ll have it just right for Middlesbrough.”
Joleon Lescott Factfile
* Arrived at Goodison Park in June 2006 for £4m from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
* Voted Wolves Supporters Player of the Year for 2005-06, Lescott was a firm favourite at Molineux, having progressed through the clubs’ Centre of Excellence, making his first-team debut at 18.
* In his first season for Everton, Lescott' started 36 games and scored two goals.
* He was rewarded for his efforts with the Players’ Player of the Season award.
* Made his senior England debut against Estonia on October 13 in a 3-0 win. His first start came against Russia five days later in a 2-1 defeat.
* His most recent appearance, his first under Fabio Capello, came in the 1-0 defeat to France on March 26

Do lucky escapes make David Moyes a lucky manager?
Nov 14 2008 David Prentice
IS David Moyes a ‘lucky’ manager?
He’s certainly enjoyed a couple of lucky escapes in recent seasons, as headlines this week testified to once again. After tracking Jo’s progress for months, the Blues boss wanted Bill Kenwright to find £18m for the Brazilian’s signature last summer. Bill was experiencing a credit crunch at the time, so Jo went to Manchester City . . . where he has scored one league goal and just been fined for calling in sick the day after going out on the lash in a Manchester nightclub. Then there was Joey Barton – seriously considered, but ignored because of his problem potential. What a decision that turned out to be. Mikael Forssell and Sean Davis both failed medicals; Barry Ferguson thankfully chose Blackburnn. Then there was Craig Bellamy, the poor man’s Tomasz Radzinski who happily preferred Ewood.
Help should always be available
Karl Coppack is the living embodiment of the Anfield anthem You’ll Never Walk Alone. He’s an ordinary fan who decided to make an extraordinary sacrifice in support of his idol. After hearing of the plight of Ray Kennedy – a Parkinson’s Disease sufferer – he launched the Ray of Hope Appeal. In 11 months the appeal has raised almost £40,000 – funds which were vital for an Anfield hero who admitted: “Things were becoming very difficult for me and I was struggling to pay my bills.”
Coppack’s efforts – and his band of dedicated friends and fellow fund-raisers – deserve the utmost praise. But it also begs the question, why have they had to make such a sacrifice? Across the park, Everton has its own designated charity to help former players who have fallen on hard times. The Everton Former Players’ Foundation, created by that visionary Evertonian Dr David France, raises hundreds of thousands of pounds every year . . . and spends every penny on deserving causes.
Gordon West admits he was a recluse with knackered knees, until the Foundation gave him a new lease of life. Gordon Watson delivered a speech to bring a tear to a glass eye after receiving help from the Foundation. Wally Fielding knew where to turn when the loss of his wife plunged him into depression. And Mick Buckley has spoken in glowing terms of the support he received in his battle with the bottle.
But why doesn’t Liverpool have a similar support body? There are clearly Anfield idols in need of support . . . and at the moment it’s the fans who are picking up the baton. To help Ray Kennedy PayPal donations can be made to rayofhopeappeal@hotmail.co.uk or direct contributions can be made to the Ray of Hope Appeal c/o HSBC account 21817299 sort code 40-03-27. Paying this way avoids paypal commission.
JOE ROYLE once offered a novel explanation as to why he preferred to play Earl Barrett at centre-half rather than right-back. “It’s so that when he slices the ball clear,” said the always entertaining Blues boss “it stays on the pitch rather than going into touch”. Jamie Carragher might have unearthed another reason for avoiding right-back duties last weekend. And the more eagle-eyed spectators at Anfield might may have spotted it. Midway through the first half against West Brom, Carragher paused as he was carrying the ball out of defence, and fired a volley of words at the Centenary Stand. He wasn’t asking for advice . . . A Reds fan sat nearby described the incident.
“A lad in the crowd had shouted some abuse at Carra for clearing the ball and not carrying it out. “A minute or so later Carra did carry the ball out, but he turned and shouted: ‘They’ll be carrying you out of here in a minute!’ or something like that.”
Carragher is used to idiots tossing insults and occasionally coins at him up and down the country. But insults inside Anfield? Let’s just say the Centenary Stand moaner got what was coming.

HOWARD KENDALL: Everton taking the initiative again
Nov 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PLAYERS end up in the strangest positions on a pitch when they are so desperate to turn seemingly hopeless causes around. I’ll never forget an FA Cup quarter-final in 1985 when we were trailing 2-1 against Ipswich Town with only a couple of minutes remaining but my left-back Pat van den Hauwe popped up to provide a cross for Derek Mountfield, a central defender who had decided to play as a forward.
When I saw what was going on, I was on the verge of turning to the bench and asking, in not so many words, what they were up to but before I had a chance, Derek turned the ball into the net and we had ourselves a replay, which we went on to win.
That scenario flashed through my mind last Saturday afternoon, when the Blues staged a smash and grab raid at Upton Park, the impetus given to them by Joleon Lescott’s header after he had decided to stay upfield following a set piece.
But that’s exactly what happens when players decide they simply do not want to lose. It’s got nothing to do with coaching or instructions, occasionally some will seize the initiative and that approach will yield great dividends. And make no mistake, beating West Ham United was absolutely massive in the course of Everton’s season. It shows the confidence that is running through the squad. After a poor start, things are looking much healthier and I’m sure we will now start to go from strength to strength - I certainly don’t envisage us having too many problems against Middlesbrough.
They are a good, solid team and have Premier League class players in Afonso Alves, Stewart Downing and David Wheater but this is another good opportunity.
That sinking feeling . . .
EVERY now and again, there comes a time when you wish you had kept your mouth shut and I’m sure Ray Wilkins will be feeling exactly like that now. He said before Chelsea’s Carling Cup tie against Burnley that he thought Arsenal had tarnished the image of the competition by using so many of their young players in games, but just look at what happened. Arsenal’s kids were fantastic in the way they went about dismantling Wigan Athletic, while you could argue that Chelsea deservedly got their comeuppance for thinking they only had to pick a side full of big names to dispose of their Championship opponents. I have to say that Arsenal’s performance was as good as I have seen in a long time, particularly when you think Wigan named a full strength side. How long, however, has the Carling Cup got left before someone decides enough is enough? I think perhaps two knockout competitions is too much to accommodate in the fixture list.

Joseph Yobo: We're all backing Yakubu - Everton FC latest
Nov 14 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOSEPH YOBO today backed the most expensive striker in Everton’s history to rediscover his goal touch as he urged: “Don’t forget about The Yak”. Having started the season with four goals in five matches, Ayegbeni Yakubu has not hit the target since the Blues drew 2-2 with Standard Liege on September 18. A bruised heel meant he missed last week’s 3-1 win at West Ham, but while he should be fit for Sunday’s tussle with Middlesbrough, the Nigerian is not sure to be recalled. Louis Saha’s match-winning efforts mean he is in pole position and Yobo knows the team’s form is David Moyes’ priority rather than that of any individual. However, Yobo senses his compatriot - who cost £11.25m when he joined the Blues from Boro in August 2007 - is ready to get back in the groove and says Yakubu has got his fire back.
“He hasn’t scored for a few weeks but I think he is doing okay,” said Yobo. “The most important thing is the team. We are scoring goals and keeping clean sheets.
“Yak is one player who when he gets a chance he takes it. Right now it has not been happening for him, but it’s like the defenders when we weren’t keeping clean sheets.
“We know football is always going to change. I’ve spoken to Yak about things and he knows that as long as we are winning, it doesn’t matter who is getting the credit.
“We are aiming to get back into Europe. But as soon as we get on a run, he is going to have that belief and confidence and it will make all the difference. “Yak on his day is a handful. I know him well and he will be feeling better now that we are starting to show what we are about.” The Blues could reclaim a place back in the top six this weekend if they stretch their winning run to a fourth game, and Yobo does not expect them to miss this chance. He can see parallels with the run Everton enjoyed last season. That is why he hopes their form at Goodison Park will now go from strength to strength. “We are on a good run and this is typical Everton,” said Yobo. “We are playing at home in front of our fans and we desperately need the result. “Middlesbrough are a good side but, no disrespect, we need to be winning our games at home. The confidence and the belief is a lot stronger. “The Premier League is starting to take shape now and we believe we can still do better. “If we can be strong at the back, we always know we can nick a goal.”

Everton boss David Moyes rallies Goodison support
Nov 15 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has challenged his players to take their performances up another level to provide an incentive for supporters to come back to Goodison Park.
Premier League crowds have been steadily dropping so far this season and that has been especially true at Everton, where the ‘house full’ signs have only been used once.
The attendance of 31,278 against Fulham was the lowest league figure during Moyes’ reign, while there are still seats available for tomorrow’s clash with Middlesbrough.
There are, of course, a number of reasons why fans are finding other ways to watch Everton play rather than going to Goodison but Moyes knows his players can do their bit to start filling the spaces. If he can fashion a winning team that plays slick football demand for tickets will grow again, so the manager feels it is important for the Blues to set the tone on the pitch. “I have got confidence that we will get back on the winning track at Goodison,” said Moyes. “We have got to get the crowd behind us a bit more than we have been. “I think some of the games we have had have been early kick-offs, so that hasn’t helped. The players need that backing from the supporters.
“But I have been to a couple of games in the past week and I’ve looked around the grounds and you can see that people aren’t coming to games at the moment.
“I think people are looking and saying it is difficult. When games are on television, it’s maybe having an impact.” Three straight wins have improved Everton’s league position dramatically and Moyes feels he has seen signs that things are starting to fall into place. “I’m impressed because we have got into a good position and the players have started to perform really well. We are trying to get the right balance,” said Moyes. “We have come from behind in a couple of games too, so that has been good. But, at the same time, I would hope that our performances are going to improve.
“We want to get back up to the level of last year but I don’t think we are too far away from it. The players have got lots of confidence.” Marouane Fellaini is available after a one-game ban, while Steven Pienaar (knee) and Ayegbeni Yakubu (heel) are fit, having missed last week’s 3-1 win at West Ham. As ever, though, Moyes will not make any decisions on the identity of his starting line-up until after training today.

BARRY HORNE: Everton's chance to cement spot in top positions
Nov 15 2008 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have enjoyed a fantastic fortnight, a heartening second half against Manchester United followed by three wins out of three, coupled with every other result falling exactly the way we wanted. That has enabled us to leap right up the table and given us the opportunity to cement a place in the top eight with some more winnable matches looming. In addition to the successive victories, a number of key players have had an enormous confidence boost. Louis Saha has not only scored and created goals, he has had probably more minutes on the pitch than he has managed for a long time. Joleon Lescott’s obvious delight in scoring the goal at West Ham last weekend said everything about how much that meant to him personally.
And there is now evident competition for places and the sight of a competitive substitutes’ bench – a far cry from earlier in the season. Off the pitch, however, things have not been as heartening. Would-be power broker Keith Harris took time out from speaking at a conference in Zurich to effectively devalue the name and brand of Everton Football Club, belittle the status of Liverpool as a city and effectively describe the Blues as unsaleable. Even the other, highly successful football club in the city, didn’t escape his keen analytical eye. He later expanded his thoughts, and backtracked somewhat, when he gave a full interview to the Echo on Thursday, but by then a lot of damage had already been done to Everton's worldwide image.
Of course Mr Harris might have been playing a very clever game, buying himself more time in his bid to attract investors to Everton. But in delivering a negative message about the financial weakness of Everton, he has effectively strengthened the status of Bill Kenwright as someone who has done a remarkable job in keeping Everton in the higher echelons of English football from an apparently highly unfavourable situation.

Why Everton hitman Yakubu will soon be back in big time
Nov 15 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AYEGBENI YAKUBU hasn’t scored a goal for nearly two months and has found himself this past week linked with a move away from Goodison Park.
Such a mixture could leave a manager fretting but David Moyes was noticeably relaxed as he faced the assembled media at Everton’s Finch Farm training base yesterday afternoon, particularly so when discussing his shot-shy striker.
A school of thought that is swirling around suggests that it won’t be long before Yakubu – who has had something of a nomadic career so far – decides he fancies another move and, not surprisingly, Tottenham have been mooted as a possible destination. Moyes, however, is as certain that Yakubu will be under his care come the closure of the next transfer window as he is about the Nigerian rediscovering the sparkle that made him such a popular figure during his first season on Merseyside.
Having recovered from a bruised heel to take his place in the squad for tomorrow’s visit of his former club Middlesbrough, Yakubu should return to action at some point after missing last Saturday’s 3-1 win at West Ham United. And it would come as no surprise to his manager if he marked the occasion by finding the target for the first time since September 18, thus helping Everton keep the momentum behind a three-game winning run. “I’m not aware of anything,” said Moyes. “Am I worried about his goals or about him being linked elsewhere? No I’m not. I know his goals will come and I’m not worried about the link because I’m not letting him go and nobody has spoken to me.” It is no wonder that Moyes has no intention of letting Yakubu go. At this stage of affairs last season, he exploded into life, scoring nine goals in as many games but it was in matches against Manchester City and Portsmouth that he really showed his true worth. The £11.25m man terrorised Richard Dunne and Sol Campbell respectively and showed himself to be the complete package, that’s why Moyes is sticking to the adage of form being temporary but class being permanent. “I think centre-forwards can go through periods of not scoring,” said Moyes. “There are some real top players who can have periods when they won’t score. At the start of the season he was ticking over and got a goal or two. “But his performances weren’t what he wanted. I’ve seen signs in the boy that he is looking and feeling much better so maybe the goals aren’t that far. I smile when I see his record and I trust Yak to come up with goals. “He has got that (bullying central defenders) in him so he would be the first to admit that he probably hasn’t reached that level. But I have seen glimmers in training of him getting back to that.” Can he, though, work with Louis Saha? On paper they would look to have everything a top class partnership requires and granted a bit of time, their manager believes they can make that come true. “It can take time if you are looking to form a partnership,” said Moyes. “Yak has got himself in really good physical condition. He would probably say he is as fit as he has ever been – maybe that’s why the goals aren’t coming! “But to work together and play together is something that takes a bit of time. I see those two having goals in them. Will I always play them together? Probably not. But we have done it on a couple of times and it has been good, like against Manchester United. “Other times it has not worked, so I’ll need to pick and choose. That’s why it is good that I have got a squad that is back to full fitness and I have got some opportunities to change things. “You have got to remember that he is still a young boy. But he has been in this country a while and he has been a big success. There will a maturity that comes from him with years and I thought at times last season you were seeing the all-round centre-forward.
“There was his link-up play, his goals and he could bring people into the game. There was his effort for the team. I thought he brought more than just goals last season.”
Mikel Arteta, meanwhile, has promised Everton won’t be taking their foot off the gas as they look to secure their fourth win in a row and take another giant step towards securing their place in the Premier League’s top six. “We need to keep winning at home,” said Arteta. “It’s going to be a tough game. If somebody thinks we’re going to go out there and win easily, it won’t happen. We may need to be patient.
“Heading and set pieces is something we’ve been working on. I think we’re going to score even more because last weekend we could have scored another two or three. When you’re not playing great football you can’t really pass your way past teams.”

ROYAL BLUE: Missed chance to recognise Tim Howard class
Nov 15 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AMERICA never ceases to amaze. Just when you expect them to do the thing that everyone has been waiting for, the opposite comes true. Having been a model of enduring consistency, Tim Howard had every reason to believe that he would be named the US Player of the Year earlier this week but, somehow, was pipped by LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan. Now this article is not meant to disparage Donovan. He is clearly a player of talent and as he has indicated that he wants to leave California to further his career, there is sure to be a clutch of Premier League clubs interested in signing him in January. Quite how he managed to beat Howard in the voting to be named his country’s top performer, though, has to be a source of some debate, particularly if you consider their respective achievements at club level over the past 12 months. LA Galaxy, for a start, failed to make the MLS play-offs, whereas Howard played a huge role in helping Everton record their highest ever Premier League points tally and the best goals against column in almost two decades. Who knows? Maybe he suffers in the eyes of the Americans for the fact he plays in the least glamorous position on ‘the field’ and is never going to command headlines, as perhaps they do not see goalkeepers directly winning matches. Nonsense, of course. Any Evertonian who witnessed Howard’s performance at Upton Park last week will know that the 29-year-old was responsible for keeping his team in the game and his first half saves helped break West Ham’s fragile spirit. Had Howard not kept Freddie Sears out twice in the space of 10 minutes, the Blues would not have had the opportunity to stage the smash and grab raid that has significantly improved their position in the table.
Likewise, the comeback against Manchester United last month would not have been possible if Howard had not got his hand to Nemanja Vidic’s bullet header, or the drive from Ryan Giggs that came minutes after Darren Fletcher had opened the scoring.
“We are not always going to play well at the back,” Joleon Lescott pointed out. “But when someone gets beyond us, we know Tim is there to make great saves. He did that against West Ham with important stops at vital times. “It brings confidence to us knowing that we have a keeper behind us who we can rely on. With performances like that, you can see why he was up to be named the American Player of the Year.”
Being goalkeeper for Everton means, rightly or wrongly, that comparisons are always going to be made with the greatest number one of them all, and many in the past 12 years have found the burden of living in Neville Southall’s shadow too much.
Paul Gerrard, Steve Simonsen, Richard Wright and Thomas Mhyre all tried and failed to make the position their own, and only Nigel Martyn came close to matching the standards that Southall set. When Martyn retired in the summer of 2006, David Moyes feared he had an onerous task trying to find a replacement.
News emerged that Howard would be taking over the gloves.
He may have enjoyed a solid first year with Manchester United after joining from New York/New Jersey Metrostars, but his form dipped dramatically at Old Trafford to the extent that some feared Moyes had made a mistake.
Since then, though, Howard has done nothing but impress. As Lescott says, his performances have helped the defenders play without fear.
He was not at his best in the opening stages of this campaign but, in the past month, he has started to look more commanding and is not fazed by coming for high balls when a crowd is in his way – an aspect at which he has occasionally looked vulnerable. The sprawling save from Vidic appears to have done wonders for his confidence and he is showing why he has the best goals conceded to games played ratio in the history of Everton’s goalkeepers. He is top class. So it’s a shame, then, that his compatriots did not feel compelled to acknowledge his wonderful displays.
Every hope that Akpan can make a big impact
JACK RODWELL and Jose Baxter may be the best known of Everton’s latest crop of young talent, but they are not the only names emerging from the Academy.
It may have come to your attention earlier this week that a 17-year-old named Hope Akpan signed his first professional contract, and it is certainly worth keeping an eye on his development. Though he is tall, gangly and physically unfurnished, Akpan clearly has something about him and his performance as a substitute in the recent mini derby proved that emphatically. He provided the cross for James Vaughan’s first goal, then won the free-kick from which Lee Molyneux equalised with a rampaging run that was crudely brought to a halt, and his presence on the pitch coincided with Andy Holden’s team being galvanised. Of course, Akpan has a long way to go and he only has his sights set on playing for the Under-18s and reserves at the moment. But he is moving on the right lines and more is expected to be heard of him before the end of season.
Keane’s order of the boot for silly questions
ROY KEANE has never been one to hold back if something has irked him and his views regarding Sky Sports will have struck a chord with many football supporters.
Each week, the powers that be at Sky HQ in London send their local reporters a list of questions that they want managers to be asked, and you simply would not believe some of the things they come up with. For example, seven days ago they wanted Premier League managers to be quizzed about whether coloured boots are the sign of a poser – a question, you will agree, that came straight from the David Brent school of thinking. “I wouldn’t trust these people to walk my dog,” fumed Keane. “People say it’s good for the game, but it’s not.” David Moyes once tried to sign Keane three years ago – it’s safe to say his views would have made compelling reading had they made these pages.

Everton 1, Middlesbrough 1: Yakubu finds his touch as others lose theirs
Nov 17 2008 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
HOW typical that on the day Yakubu rediscovered his goalscoring touch, his team-mates should lose theirs. Not even an early birthday celebration from the Nigeria international could prevent Everton from marking David Moyes’s 250th league game in charge in a manner that has become worryingly familiar this season.
Once again, the groans and grumbles reverberated around Goodison at the final whistle after an afternoon in which home comfort remained frustratingly out of reach for Evertonians. But recent late shows against Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and West Ham United have perhaps brought greater reward than performances merited, the opposite was more the case yesterday. Moyes could be justified in expressing his disappointment afterwards that Everton failed to record a fourth successive triumph and only a second home win this season from a low-key encounter. This was better from his team. Responding admirably to Gary O’Neil’s shock eight-minute opener, Everton battered at the Middlesbrough door only to spurn the eventual chances their enterprise fashioned. Yakubu was as guilty as most when denied by Boro goalkeeper Ross Turnbull after being sent clear during the first half, his unconvincing finish every inch that of a striker suffering a nine-game goal drought. But the forward, who turns 26 this coming Saturday, ultimately rediscovered the scoring touch to prevent his former club leapfrogging his current team-mates in the Premier League table.
It may not have been the most elegant manner in which to end his barren spell – the striker diverting Mikel Arteta’s inswinging free-kick home off his back – but it was maybe the touch of fortune Yakubu needs to kickstart a campaign that has stalled after four goals in his first five games. And it was as much a relief to the team as the player with Everton still struggling to heed Moyes’s call to turn Goodison back into a fortress. While only the top two can boast a better away record in the Premier League, Everton have now dropped an alarming 15 points from the 21 available at home.
That’s not good enough, particularly given the difference a couple of more home wins could have made to their standing in a congested league table. Indeed, victory yesterday would have moved Everton to within two points of Arsenal and a Champions League qualification berth. That poor Goodison form isn’t going unnoticed. For the second successive home game, the attendance was the lowest league gate during Moyes’s reign although, as against Fulham a fortnight ago, the kick-off time, live television cameras and a meagre travelling support undoubted contributed. The confidence generated by three successive wins persuaded the Goodison manager to select an attacking line-up, with Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill starting together in central midfield for first time. Moyes declared himself pleased with the initial findings and, with Everton’s injury list clearing, the Goodison manager now has genuine options at his disposal, evidenced by Steven Pienaar restricted to a late substitute cameo despite returning to fitness. Since their 5-0 thrashing at home by Chelsea last month, Boro have been unbeaten and had secured an impressive win at Aston Villa in their previous outing. Gareth Southgate’s side were admittedly gifted victory last week, and they were again indebted to a touch of fortune for their eighth-minute opener yesterday. Breaking down the Everton right, a series of deflections ensured the ball fell kindly for Tuncay Sanli, with another lucky ricochet off Joseph Yobo allowing the Turkey international to then feed the incoming O’Neil on the right. With left-back Joleon Lescott having been dragged towards a covering central position, the Boro midfielder had enough time to produce a neat finish off the post to Howard’s left. Didier Digard, impressive in the Boro midfield, fired an angled drive narrowly wide soon after for the visitors but otherwise the first half was a tale of Everton’s profligacy. Yakubu was particularly at fault in the 13th minute. Sent clear from Louis Saha’s flick on, the Nigerian showed strength to hold off Emanuel Pogatetz but couldn’t find a way past Boro goalkeeper Ross Turnbull who saved instinctively with his left hand. Boro were prepared to put bodies on the line to defend their lead, none more so than midway through the half when, after a hopeful Lescott cross from the left floated over Turnbull and struck the inside of the post, Pogatetz blocked Fellaini’s goalbound effort. Yakubu later went down in the area as he challenged with Turnbull for a loose ball but claims for a penalty were rightly waved away by referee Howard Webb. Everton, though, should have been level shortly before the break when, after a Leon Osman shot was deflected behind off Chris Riggott, Arteta’s resultant corner was headed horribly wide at the near post by an unattended Cahill. The second half saw more of the same. Osman shot straight at Turnbull and Saha sent a diving header wide after Arteta’s clever chipped pass had given Phil Neville space to cross. Everton’s equaliser finally arrived in the 65th minute when, after being fouled by Digard on the left, Arteta – far livelier yesterday than for some time – dusted himself down and delivered a dangerous cross that Yakubu somehow diverted beyond Turnbull off his back. Although rarely out of their own half, Boro did remain dangerous on the break and one such sortie ended with Digard striking a shot from the edge of the area that Howard turned against his post before clutching the rebound off Phil Jagielka. The openings dried up for Everton after drawing level with Boro content to play for a point, and indeed it required a crucial challenge from Jagielka on Tuncay during injury time to prevent the visitors leaving with greater reward. But there was to be no late winner this time.

Everton 1 Middlesbrough 1: Home comforts vital
Nov 17 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
HOME, they say, is where the heart is but Goodison Park would appear to be at the centre of Everton’s travails this season. Matches in this corner of L4 usually guarantee a steady stream of points during a Premier League campaign, and you only have to look at what the Blues did to those teams outside the top four last year to appreciate that. In 15 games “against the rest” Everton won 11 times and drew the other four, which ensured they had a strong foundation to build their push for a European place. Basically, it was an inhospitable, unwelcoming environment for visitors.
If only the same was true today. The Blues have now played more than a third of their quota of Goodison games for the current campaign but only once – against Fulham – have they taken maximum return and the tally points squandered now stands at 15.
A cause for concern? Not for David Moyes. He, for some weeks, has been saying the tide will turn and it is only a matter of time before the Old Lady will be kind to his team. His mantra was the same following this latest 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
“I keep saying that come the end of the season we will have a good amount of points,” Moyes, who needed an unorthodox finish from Ayegbeni Yakubu to ensure his side grabbed a share of the spoils, predicted in assured, confident tones. Meetings with Middlesbrough are rarely, if ever, described as being ‘classics’ and it was clear to see long before kick-off that this latest renewal was going to follow suit – the vast number of empty Blue seats told their own story. Something, clearly, needs to be done to address the issue of falling attendances. For the second match in a row, a new record was set for the lowest crowd during Moyes’ reign, a fact that was aided by the visitors only bringing a coach load from the north east. In these difficult financial times, it is understandable when supporters are selective as to which games they will attend. When faced with the option of having, say, a £70 day out or watching events on television for a fraction of that price, which would you choose? Maybe, then, there is something Goodison’s marketing men can come up with to ensure numbers are bumped up, as there is an eerie feel to the place when it is nowhere near capacity. It’s even worse when those who have attended arrive with a phlegmatic attitude.
The one thing, however, which will guarantee that the turnstiles spin with increasing regularity – as Moyes alluded to during his pre-match press briefing – is a successful team, playing an attractive brand of penetrating football. Unfortunately during the first 45 minutes, there was little evidence of that, as Everton passed the ball sideways and backwards but rarely forward, despite them having six attack-minded players in midfield and up front. If anything, that bold formation left the impression early on that Everton were unbalanced, so it came as no surprise when Gary O’Neill fired the visitors in front, making full use of being given too much time and space in the penalty area.
True, Middlesbrough enjoyed a slice of good fortune in the build up. Phil Jagielka thought he had cleared the danger with a crunching tackle on Tuncay Sanli but the ball fell to Stewart Downing, who in turn fed O’Neill to do the rest. When the Toffees did threaten, they invariably found Emmanuel Pogatetz in the way - the Austrian did enough to put Yakubu off after he had wriggled clear and was then in the right place at the right time to block Marouane Fellaini’s shot from six yards. A sense of frustration continued to build when Cahill, who was asked to play in the alien position of holding midfielder, missed the kind of chance that one normally expects him to gobble up, his header from Mikel Arteta’s corner bouncing well wide. Fortunately it was a sign that Everton were starting to build up a head of steam and the second half began with them building pass after pass to try and create an opening. Leon Osman made Boro keeper Ross Turnbull work when he cracked a shot at him from inside the box, while Fellaini fizzed a shot wide. Yakubu also went close with an angled drive.
Of the front pair, the Nigerian looked more likely than Louis Saha to find the target and so it proved when he diverted an Arteta free-kick past Turnbull with his back - maybe this will be the impetus for him to go on another spree. Sadly, he didn’t feel inclined to share his thoughts with anyone after the game but it is safe to say Yakubu will be relieved that a barren run which had stretched back to September 18 is now finally at an end. Clearly he is going to be someone who does his scoring in fits and starts and perhaps the best ploy would be to enjoy the runs when they happen, rather than fretting unduly about him when he is not hitting the target. Fretting, though, is something all Blues will be doing if Fortress Goodison is not set up shortly, as failing to make home advantage count is costing Moyes and his players dearly at the moment.
Thankfully, Everton have been excellent on their travels thus far so it wouldn’t be too much of a shock if, by the time everyone reconvenes for the Villa game on December 7, another six points were added to the haul. Yet winning on the road cannot be taken for granted. Goodison needs to become an inhospitable, fruitful cauldron once again.
Man of the match: Phil Jagielka
His efforts were summed up with a thunderous tackle in the dying minutes. How did he not make the England squad? Phil Neville, again, gave a solid performance.

Battle lines drawn as Everton stadium inquiry prepares to start
Nov 17 2008 by Kevin Core, Liverpool Echo
BATTLE lines are being drawn as all sides in the Everton stadium inquiry prepare to fight for the club’s future. Tomorrow sees the start of a costly public process, which could last a year, to decide the fate of the club’s planned move to Kirkby.
The club insists that the £400m project is the only viable option for the club, delivering a stadium in partnership with Tesco for £78m. Ahead of the 10am inquiry at the Kirkby suite in Cherryfield Drive, opponents Keep Everton In Our City (Keioc) are preparing to deliver a presentation to be considered by government inspector Wendy Burden. Keioc’s Dave Kelly told the ECHO: “We have held a public meeting which outlined our objections, including the views of the Liverpool One architect Trevor Skempton. “He believes that the redevelopment of Goodison is possible, but the will has to be there. “Also, we know that the major financial institution Morgan Stanley has a template for investment, and the criteria they require is an established institution with a loyal fanbase. “Everton fits that bill perfectly and we know discussions were held with EFC. “On the eve of this happening it’s pleasing to think that, 18 months ago, if you’d have suggested there would be a public inquiry, I’d have taken your hand off. “As time has passed, more and more people have come on board.
“Liverpool city council supports some of our objectives and that’s a reflection of the professional job we have done over the last 18 months. “ “If the secretary of state allows this it would turn this country into the wild west, running a coach and horses through planning legislation.” The decision in August to call in the Kirkby scheme could cost Everton £36m in escalating building and material costs and lost revenues.
So far, Tesco has been unable to say if it could meet extra costs. Find out the latest on the Everton stadium inquiry in our special section here

DAVID PRENTICE: Everton no closer to midfield balance
Nov 17 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
IT was a pre-match question to test the sharpest minds of both clubs’ press departments. Can you remember an entertaining Everton v Boro clash?
There weren’t many offerings. A 5-0 win under Walter Smith was suggested, memorable if only for its shock value – the Blues having ground out almost a dozen goalless draws before the Teessiders came to town in 1999. A 1990s League Cup tie was suggested which ended 3-2 to the Toffees. Then someone tossed in the opening match of the 1988 FA Cup treble. But generally, when Merseyside and Teesside collide, you get the footballing equivalent of mainlining Mogadon, with a couple of Horlicks chasers. Yesterday’s clash wasn’t. There were goals, near misses, a couple of shots rattling the woodwork and a respectable level of excitement. Not a classic by any means, but certainly more entertainment than we'd anticipated. So perhaps a more relevant question should have been ‘who can play the holding role at Everton this season?’ Leon Osman, Marouane Fellaini, Phil Jagielka, Jack Rodwell and Segundo Castillo have all filled Lee Carsley’s boots with varying degrees of effectiveness.
Yesterday it was Tim Cahill’s turn. It was an interesting choice. Asking the 96-goal Australian to play a holding role is a little like asking Amy Winehouse to keep hold of the keys to your drinks cabinet over Christmas. Both might have the best of intentions, but ultimately they will always, eventually, fall prey to temptation. Cahill played well, creditably so when it was revealed afterwards he had only taken to the field with a pain-killing injection in the foot problem which has troubled him this season.
But neither he nor Fellaini look totally at home in a holding role. David Moyes said afterwards he had asked both players to decide when to bomb on and when to drop off. It looked an uneasy alliance. Promising going forward, but always vulnerable on the counter. There was certainly no doubting the ambitious nature of the Blues' set-up.
Yakubu and Saha led a positive forward line, Cahill and Fellaini formed a very attack-minded central midfield unit, and they were flanked by the equally adventurous Osman and Arteta. It was a forward thinking system which started promisingly, a slick and incisive passing move threatening to carve Boro open. But when Osman’s low, driven cross was cleared Everton were caught spectacularly short-handed on the counter and Gary O’Neil took ruthless advantage. It was a pattern which was repeated time and again all afternoon. For such an attack-minded system to pay off, a team has to take its chances – score two for every chance they give up if you like.
Everton singularly failed to do just that. Yakubu missed one glaring opportunity, Cahill another, Saha spurned a reasonable chance of his own and Fellaini was denied from barely six yards. But while Everton were frittering chances at one end, Middlesbrough were always threatening on the counter. Their seventh minute strike came from a classic counter-attack, and they might have had others, Didier Digard’s deliciously curved effort touched onto a goalpost by Tim Howard and Jagielka scrambling the ball uncomfortably back into his grateful goalkeeper’s arms.
"We said to Tim and Fellaini, when one goes one sits, and vice versa. We want to be able to play the two of them and I thought Tim, especially, played very well," said Moyes afterwards. "We put out an attacking side to try and win the game."
They tried, but ultimately came up short. After exercising David Moyes’ mind all summer, the Carsley conundrum is still no closer to being solved. But at least it’s offering up some entertaining football matches. Even Everton versus Middlesbrough.
But we don't appear to be any closer to finding that right balance in midfield.

Everton 1 Middlesbrough 1: David Moyes concern at Tim Cahill injury
Nov 17 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL played through the pain barrier at Goodison Park yesterday – but boss David Moyes admits the midfielder's foot injury is causing concern. Cahill jetted off on international duty with Australia last night, despite requiring an injection in a foot injury which enabled him to play against Middlesbrough. The Blues star has been suffering from a painful foot condition since his last international trip and was a doubt up until kick-off. But he completed 85 minutes of the 1-1 draw, and immediately left for a World Cup qualifier in Manama against Bahrain. Moyes admitted afterwards he was concerned. "He has a foot injury which is causing us problems," he said.
"He took injections because he was desperate to play and that's what we like about him, he always wants to be in the team. "But he definitely has a problem. It's like you're standing on a marble all the time. We think it might be to do with the insoles he wears now after his metatarsal injuries. It changes the mechanism of his feet."
The problem is unrelated to the metatarsal injuries he suffered, but causes severe pain.
While Moyes has concerns about his midfielder, however, he was delighted to see Yakubu finally end his two-month goal drought with yesterday's equaliser.
"I'm pleased for Yak because he also had a good chance in the first half to score," added Moyes. "He's a striker so he'll enjoy the goal and I thought he and Louis Saha did better today. Overall it was a better performance. "I think it was important for him, because centre-forwards need goals and at the end of the day you score how you can, whether it's your backside or whatever – and I think today's was off his back, but he'll take it. "I think the disappointing thing is that we were at home and hoping to take the three points, but we didn't quite have enough. "We did make opportunities. Tim had a header, Yak's through, Fellaini had a chance as well so we created chances.
"But their goal set us back a little bit. We kept at it and on another day we'd have got the goals. Today we didn't." The Blues boss went on: "I thought we were the better side and missed opportunities. We went a goal down on the counter attack and there was always the chance they would do it again so we had to be careful about that.
"But give the lads credit. They kept trying to do it. "We found it difficult to score but in the end we got one and were maybe a little bit unlucky not to get a second goal.
"They had a lot of space on their goal, but that's what counter-attacking football does.
"When you're attacking at one end, the pitch can open up very quickly."

Mikel Arteta: Yakubu will go on Everton goal spree
Nov 17 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA today predicted a Yakubu goal spree – but admitted Everton must buck up their ideas at Goodison Park. The Nigerian striker hit the target for the first time since September 18 and his unconventional finish – he scored with his back – ensured the Blues drew 1-1 with Middlesbrough yesterday. That, however, was the sixth time in seven fixtures at home that Everton have squandered points and it meant they missed a gilt-edged opportunity to move back into the top six. It is a record which Arteta recognises needs dramatic improvement but he believes that a fired up Yakubu can ensure that normal service will be resumed shortly. “If we get Yak scoring goals and playing at his top level, he really makes a difference to this team and I think something good is coming for him,” said Arteta. “He is starting to form a partnership with Louis Saha and they are understanding each other better. They created chances with flicks and other things. “We need to learn to play around them. He looked very sharp in training last week and was much more like how we expect him. “When he is scoring goals, he is happy and motivated. When he is not scoring, he isn’t as happy as he should be. “He likes to enjoy his football and when he is on form, he’s a magical player.” Yakubu and Saha were the focal point of the adventurous line up David Moyes named but, despite having vast amounts of possession, Everton failed to press home their advantage. As a result, Fulham remain the only side that the Blues have beaten on home soil – and that, coincidentally, is the only time they have kept a clean sheet at Goodison. Things could have been worse for Everton had Phil Jagielka not made two last-ditch tackles late in the game and Arteta knows where improvements need to be made. “When you keep conceding goals, it is hard to keep coming back,” said the Spaniard, who created Yakubu’s goal with an inswinging free-kick. “I think we controlled the game better than the last three that we had won but they scored with their first counter attack. “It was always going to be a gamble because we played a very attacking team and we knew it could be dangerous if we were going forward. “After they scored, we defended better. “But we created enough chances to score three or four goals and that’s why nobody is satisfied that we only got a draw.”

David Moyes named North West Manager of the Year - Everton FC latest
Nov 18 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES was celebrating today after being named the North West Manager of the Year for 2008. The Everton boss was chosen for the award by a select panel including PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor and Manchester United director Maurice Watkins for his achievements at Goodison Park. He beat off competition from Sir Alex Ferguson – who led United to a Premier League and European Cup double – Rafa Benitez and Mark Hughes. Moyes led the Blues to fifth place last season, collecting a club record Premier League points haul of 65, as well as guiding them to semi-finals of the Carling Cup and the last 16 of the UEFA Cup without being able to call on the finances of his rivals. It is the third individual award Moyes has received during the six-and-a-half years he has been at Goodison – he was named the LMA’s Manager of the Year in 2003 and 2005 – and he was thrilled to have gained further recognition. “It is a reward for the team and how well they performed last season – a record points total for Everton in the Premier and great performances,” said Moyes. “It was a good season, so it is a reward for the players really. I would always rather have a team award but it’s nice to be recognised and have people think you are doing a good job. “We saw some other awards going to Everton for sponsorship for example – there are good things going on at Everton which is pleasing to see.
“I have been grateful to the directors at the Club. They have allowed me to put down some foundations. “Other clubs may panic when times are difficult but the chairman and directors here have been very good. People can see Everton are a Club making progress and we want to continue that.” Moyes’ award capped a fine night for the Blues. Jill Scott was named Female Player of the Year, while the club won Best Sponsorship of the Year, having been shortlisted for the award with Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers. Acting chief executive Robert Elstone said: “A lot of hard work has gone into delivering value to the sponsor. It takes two to make a successful partnership and Chang have been very loyal to Everton.” Meanwhile, Moyes was set to discover his punishment today after pleading guilty to an FA charge of improper conduct. Moyes requested a personal hearing after he was sent to the stands by referee Alan Wiley during the Blues’ 3-2 win at Stoke on September 14. Wiley subsequently called Moyes to explain why he failed to award a penalty during that game at the Britannia Stadium.

Phil Jagielka: Everton home form is key to push for Europe
Nov 18 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA believes Everton are putting their hopes of making a return to Europe next year in jepoardy with their faltering home form. Though the Blues have clambered back into the top seven after a stuttering start to the season, their position would have been infinitely better had they not squandered 15 points at Goodison Park, with the latest setback coming against Middlesbrough on Sunday. Only Blackburn and Wigan have worse records at home than the Blues, and Jagielka – who surprisingly failed to win an England call for tomorrow’s friendly in Germany – knows an immediate improvement must be made. Everton face Aston Villa and Chelsea at Goodison before Christmas and Jagielka feels the time has come for the players to give supporters something to shout about again. “One win in the league here all season is not good enough,” said Everton’s outstanding performer of the campaign. “Middlesbrough was the sort of game we would have expected to take three points from. The fans are a bit quiet because we are not giving them much to shout about – for the home draw with Manchester United, the place was electric. “So it is up to us to provide the fans with something that excites them. We are realists. We know it is up to us to pick up our home form, and that will then get the crowd going. “The way this division is at the moment, if you lose a couple you are in a relegation fight.”
Despite not hitting top form, Everton are unbeaten in five games and will be looking to extend that run when they travel to the JJB Stadium next Monday. David Moyes’ side have won their last two visits and Jagielka sees no reason why they can’t do something similar – particularly if they show the same kind of attitude and commitment as they did in drawing 1-1 with Boro. “It took us a long time to get back into the game,” he said. “But the reaction to going behind from the lads was impressive. “We had some chances, then you start thinking that it can be one of those days. But then Yak got on the end of a free-kick, a fantastic finish!”

NIGEL MARTYN: Capello’s omission of Jagielka just baffling
Nov 18 2008 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
IF I was left baffled by the the latest England squad, how on earth did Phil Jagielka feel? Michael Mancienne maybe a young player of considerable talent but I’m still trying to work out how he has been chosen to board the plane to Germany ahead of someone in prime form and being tested by better strikers every week. Phil is likely to keep his thoughts to himself but is sure to be immensely frustrated as his performances for Everton this season have been pretty much faultless; in fact he is probably playing the best football of his career. Normally you would expect that to be rewarded but the thing I find so puzzling – as will he I’m sure – is the fact he was called up for one game, did everything asked of him yet he hasn’t been sighted since.
I only hope there has been a phone call from Fabio Capello to explain the decision; it’s the least he owes Phil and it may go some way to appeasing him but, then Capello can’t have used the fact Mancienne is taller than Phil – he isn’t – or that he has played more games consistently so far this season – he hasn’t – or has a greater understanding of European football – he doesn’t. At least David Moyes can use that to Everton’s advantage, urging Phil to use his frustration to take his performances up another gear and get more out of him; if he does, it could embarrass Capello. Still, it’s hard for players when they keep getting overlooked and Phil could end up feeling exactly like Jamie Carragher. It’s too early for him to do anything rash but I know the kind of thoughts that will be going through his mind. During my career I was probably called up for between 80 and 90 squads, went to the European Championships twice and two World Cups two years late but I only played 23 times and it used to become hard at times. My big rival was David Seaman and though I’d often get told I was having a better season than him, he used to play well for England when selected. There was nothing I could do but accept it. Phil will be finding his omission from this squad hard to accept and all he can and keep doing is what he has been for the Blues; hopefully, then, it will only be a matter of time before Signor Capello takes note.
Time to create an electric atmosphere
THE atmosphere - or rather the lack of it - at Goodison Park is becoming as contentious an issue as Everton’s results when playing there. Sunday afternoon games like the one against Middlesbrough are never going to be remembered for the ground being shaken to its foundations and there is little doubt that when it is quiet, it affects the players. But I’m looking at the situation in two ways. Firstly, the players have responsibility to take the initiative by making a challenge, harassing their opponents or scoring a goal to provide the spark that those in the crowd need. Secondly, though, the supporters will occasionally have to get themselves going for games other than the ones against Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea as Goodison is an eerie place when it is quiet. Home form is costing Everton badly and it is a big surprise that we have only won one of our seven games so far here. David Moyes will know that the tide needs to turn.
Yak can start a goal spree
IT was only a matter of time before Ayegbeni Yakubu ended his scoring drought and nobody will be surprised if he goes on another spree now. Equally the fact that Everton avoided defeat against Middlesbrough has to be seen as another positive and hopefully we can build on the result at Wigan next week. They are a good side and I have a lot of time for Steven Bruce but the onus will be on them to attack and we have the players to profit.

Everton blind footballers prove the beautiful game is for all
Nov 18 2008 by Paddy Shennan, Liverpool Echo
A FOOTBALLING revolution is gathering pace on Merseyside – and war hero Craig Lundberg and three-times World Cup winner Steve Johnson are at the heart of it.
Craig, who lost his sight while serving in Iraq, and Steve, a former World Amputee Footballer of the Year, are among those flying the flag for the recently-launched Everton In The Community blind football development programme. Everton is the first club in the country to operate such a programme, while Southport-based Steve, the club’s disability manager, also established the first regional disability football league in England. The 44-year-old, who was recently inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame, lost his left leg after colliding with a glass door in a sports hall whilst playing football in 1985. He naturally feared his playing days were over, but soon discovered amputee football and went on to claim 130 international caps for England, win three world cups and, in 1999, be named World Amputee Footballer of the Year. Now he has joined up with others to turn his attentions to blind football, with weekly training sessions for the city’s first few pioneering players now being held at St John Bosco Arts College in Croxteth. Steve says: “We linked up with Dave Kelly of (Liverpool-based disability awareness organisation) Daisy UK which offers sporting opportunities for blind and visually impaired people, and went on a few courses at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC) in Hereford, where we worked with Tony Larkin, the coach of the England/GB blind football team.”
The aim is to soon field a team whose players, in later years, will be able to say they were there at the forefront of the new league being developed by the RNC.
Craig Lundberg, 23, from Aintree, isn’t just keen to compete in a league, he’s determined to be selected to play for his country in the 2012 Paralymics in London.
The former lance corporal in the Duke of Lancaster Regiment was blinded during a rooftop battle with insurgents in Basra in March last year, but says: “Sitting around doing nothing would do my head in.” He adds: “I got involved with a group called Actioneers, helping blind and visually-impaired children get into all kinds of sports, and met up with Dave Kelly of Daisy UK. I asked where there was a blind football team I could sign up for and he said there wasn’t one, although there were plans to set one up.”
The Liverpool fan now trains three days a week at the Blind Football Academy at the RNC before heading home – to join the weekly Everton session. He says: “I’m a Red, but I recognise Everton’s disability programme is massive. They are a ‘people’s club’ because they’re very people-orientated – this is the proof. “I picked it up quite quickly. I think it’s a confidence thing more than anything, while I always throw myself at everything 110%. I’m determined to be at the 2012 Paralympics.” The role models in the national side include Liverpool-born, Worcester-based Aj Ahmed, who captained the team to fifth place in this summer’s Paralympics in Beijing. But there is probably no greater role model in life than Craig, himself. The man who received a commendation for his bravery earlier this year, says: “I’m not bitter and twisted. I had a boss 21 years as a sighted person and now I think I’m in a position where I can give more back than I take.” With an attitude like that how could he – how could anyone – fail?
How do you play?
PEOPLE who take part in blind football are classified, according to their level of sight, as B1, B2 or B3. Players in the B1 classification are considered blind (those rated B2 and B3 are classified as visually-impaired or partially-sighted).
RULE ADAPTATIONS FOR BLIND FOOTBALL: The five-a-side game is played on a solid surface, predominantly indoors, with a football containing ball bearings so that it makes a noise when it moves. There are boards at the sides of the pitch.
The goalkeeper is sighted and gives information to players in his third of the pitch, but he cannot leave his area. A sighted coach gives instructions from the halfway line and another from behind the other goal. No one else watching should speak.
There are no off-side rules. For more information, go to www.disabilityfootball.co.uk

’Job loss’ row on Everton’s £400m Kirkby plan
Nov 18 2008 by Marc Waddington, Liverpool Echo
MOVERS and shakers behind the new Everton FC stadium in Knowsley have dispelled rumours of company closures and job losses being circulated by angry market traders. Leaflets have been passed around in the town by the Kirkby Traders Association ahead of the beginning of today’s public inquiry into the planned £400m development. They claim that council offices, shops and Barclaycard’s base in the town will be demolished, resulting in about 2,000 job losses. They suggest only 700 new jobs will be created as a result of the project. But the claims have been rejected across the board, with accusations of scaremongering. Knowsley chief executive Sheena Ramsey “categorically” denied the rumours and said she had assurances from Barclaycard that it was committed to staying put. She added: “It is most unhelpful on the eve of this process for such incredibly inaccurate and scaremongering ‘statistics’ to be circulated. “The council has previously explained to the Kirkby Traders Association that their figures are incorrect so we feel it is extremely irresponsible for them to continue quoting them. “We can categorically state that the council has no plans to close its offices in town and will not make any redundancies as a result of any development. “The leaflet also falsely claims the town’s market will close with the loss of jobs. In fact, if it goes ahead, the market will be improved to help secure jobs and develop its potential.” The leaflet suggests 300 council jobs will go, along with 900 from Barclaycard, 200 from market managers In Shops and 600 from other retailers, including the market. Everton FC spokesman Ian Ross said: “This leaflet is inaccurate and deliberately misleading.
“It states that Everton Football Club has confirmed that any relocation to Kirkby would definitely not result in the creation of new jobs – that is incorrect, we have said no such thing. A spokesman for the Kirkby Traders Association was unavailable for comment. A spokeswoman for Barclaycard said: “We are completely unaffected by the proposed Kirkby regeneration programme. “The story that our centre in Kirkby is to be demolished and jobs lost as a result is untrue.” Everton’s acting chief admits stadium move will have ‘major impact on Kirkby’ THE acting chief executive of Everton Football Club has acknowledged the club’s planned stadium move would have a “significant impact” on Kirkby. At a briefing yesterday Robert Elstone insisted the potential for regeneration and growth outweighed any negatives. He said the prospect of 3,000 jobs for Knowsley presented a unique opportunity – as well as a chance to halt the Blues’ slide into the financial doldrums. Mr Elstone said: “The wonderful stadium that we have at the moment was not designed with 21st century football in mind. “If you compare Everton’s income to the average Premier League side we are 33% behind – five years ago that figure was 19%. “Every time Arsenal play at the Emirates it earns the club £3m – we earn £800k. “The fans will see that it’s getting harder and harder for us to compete and for the manager to strengthen the squad. “There are emotive issues here, we have a wonderful heritage and for some fans Goodison means more to them than any place in their lives. “That has to be listened to and understood – we disregard it at our peril.” Mr Elstone said the club had an open door policy to potential investors and that sale was a possibility if the right person made themselves available.

Everton Reserves 1, Newcastle Reserves 0
Nov 19 2008
Liverpool Daily Post
EVERTON Reserves got back to winning ways in the Barclays Premiership Reserve League Northern Section last night as they beat Newcastle 1-0 at the Stobart Stadium.
Lukas Jutkiewicz scored the winning goal but Andy Holden’s side has two goals disallowed in the first half. A strong Everton line-up which included first-teamers Leighton Baines, Tony Hibbert and Victor Anichebe were too strong for the visitors.
Anichebe had an effort disallowed before Jutkiewicz – who had another goal ruled out – headed home Hibbert’s cross on 24 minutes.
EVERTON RESERVES: Nash; Hibbert, Barnett, McCarten, Baines; Wallace, Gosling, Castillo, Kissock; Jutkiewicz, Anichebe. Subs: Stubhaug, McCready, Agard, Molyneux, Nsiala.

Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar in race to face Wigan - Everton FC latest
Nov 19 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
MAROUANE FELLAINI and Steven Pienaar are facing a race against time to be fit for Everton’s trip to Wigan next Monday. The Blues’ record signing has been forced to miss Belgium’s friendly with Luxembourg this evening after his country’s medical staff discovered a groin problem that needs treatment. And Pienaar – who was embroiled in a club versus country row yesterday – could be facing a spell on the sidelines after he pulled out of South Africa’s tussle with Cameroon. Fellaini initially told Belgian officials he wouldn’t travel on Sunday. But in a move similar to the issue which has caused tension between Liverpool and England over Steven Gerrard, the Belgian FA stressed they wanted their own medical. He flew out to Belgium yesterday and they discovered a genuine issue with his groin, which means the 20-year-old now requires intensive treatment if he is to face Wigan. Pienaar aggravated a knee injury after coming on as a substitute in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough.
The 26-year-old was pulled out of South Africa’s squad straight after that game, which led to the Bafana Bafana criticising Everton for the way they handled the matter. South Africa manager Sipho Nkumane said: “We are not impressed because they informed us very late. This was obviously done to make it difficult for us.
“We have requested a medical report, then we'll make a decision.If he's injured, as they allege, he can’t play in their next match.” However, Moyes – who was yesterday fined £5,000 by the FA after being sent to the stands during Everton’s win at Stoke – hit back. “Steven did not start our game against Middlesbrough on Sunday because he wasn’t fit to do so,” said Moyes. “We brought him on in the second half but it was clear he was uncomfortable. We notified their FA immediately and will continue to monitor him. We couldn’t have told them any quicker.”

Germany v England: Everton's Joleon Lescott sets his sights on new mission
Nov 19 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
JOLEON LESCOTT has told Fabio Capello he is “raring to go” for tonight’s clash with Germany - as the England coach reassured Phil Jagielka about his place in the national squad. Though the run-up to the friendly in Berlin has been littered with players dropping out injured and claims that it is a nuisance, pointless fixture, Lescott sees things differently. He could win the seventh cap of his international career in the Olympic Stadium, and while there is nothing other than pride at stake, the Everton defender is relishing the occasion. England go into the game on the back of four straight qualifying wins, which have allowed them to take a massive step towards qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It is England’s last fixture of 2008 and Lescott hopes he gets to play some part in a game that will be held in one of the world’s great sporting venues. “It’s massive between the two nations and we are great rivals in all sports, but in football even more so,” he said. “They’ll be looking to get one over us as much as we are to do the same. “Any game that you’re involved in for your country is massive, but a fixture like this is one that you probably look forward to more than most. “I’m excited to be involved in this game. I’m raring to go if the manager needs me.” Lescott was given his international debut by Steve McClaren in a European Championship qualifier against Estonia in October 2007, but Capello has continued to call on the 26-year-old. The Italian struck a chord with Lescott when he first met him before the friendly with Switzerland in February and he says working with him is helping devlop his game. “He (Capello) has great experience and personally it’s great to be working with someone like him,” Lescott said.
“The experience he and his coaching staff have from a defending point of view is great for me to have. “Confidence is a massive thing in football and the year is definitely ending on a high anyway, especially with four wins from four in the qualifying. “The last time I was one of the less experienced players, so this time I’m a bit more experienced than some of the lads and it’s quite a strange feeling.
“It’s a great squad and everyone helps each other out and we’re all pushing in the same direction.” Capello, meanwhile, has moved to ease any worries that Lescott’s clubmate Jagielka may have had following the decision to call up Chelsea’s Michael Mancienne. Jagielka has been in outstanding form for the Blues this season and Capello has hinted that it won’t be long before he is representing the Three Lions again. “Jagielka is always in my mind and he is playing very well,” said Capello, who gave the Everton man his sole cap against Trinidad & Tobago in June.
“But on this occasion I picked Mancienne because he is young. He has been playing very well for the U21s.”

Everton Reserves 1, Newcastle Reserves 0: Lukas Jutkiewicz strikes as Blues get back on track
Nov 19 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
LUKAS JUTKIEWICZ grabbed the only goal as Everton Reserves bounced back from their defeat to Blackburn to overcome the challenge of Newcastle’s second string at the Stobart Stadium. Andy Holden named a strong side, with Leighton Baines, Tony Hibbert and Victor Anichebe in his starting line-up and the margin of victory could have been greater, with the Blues having two goals disallowed in the first half. Newcastle’s Andrew Carroll should have scored early on but he completely missed his kick in the six-yard box. That chance sparked Everton into life and Anichebe had an goal disallowed for a foul on Mark Donninger before an effort from Jutkiewicz was ruled out for handball. Holden’s side got what they deserved on 24 minutes when Jutkiewicz connected with Hibbert’s cross and his powerful header into the bottom corner gave the keeper no chance. In the second half Anichebe almost doubled Everton’s lead but his shot forced a good save from Fraser Forster.
On 67 minutes James Wallace won the ball just outside the Magpies' box and played in Gosling but his shot hit the bar.
EVERTON RES: Nash, Hibbert, Baines, McCarten, Wallace, Gosling, Castillo, Jutkiewicz, Anichebe, Kissock. Subs: Stubhaug, McCready, Agard, Molyneux, Nsiala.

Trophy success for Peter Reid and Thailand
Nov 20 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
THAILAND boss Peter Reid has landed his first trophy in international management, and he’s now battling to learn the lingo. The former Blues midfielder led the Thais to glory in the T&T Cup after they followed up a 1-0 win over North Korea with a 2-2 draw against hosts Vietnam. It was the perfect confidence-booster ahead of next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup to be held in Thailand and Indonesia, when Reid’s side will face group matches against Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos. Reid said: “The lads were brilliant and the whole team celebrated by standing on the touchline and bowing their heads as a mark of respect to the King’s sister, whose funeral was at the weekend. They’re very patriotic and it was touching to see.” The ex-Sunderland manager has signed up for four years and is determined to learn the language. “I’ve been quite pleased with myself,” he said. “In training, all you can hear is ‘beep, beep, beep!’ or ‘ying, ying!’ which mean ‘squeeze’ and ‘shoot’. “It sounds more like Noddy in Toyland than Reidy in Thailand. I’m shouting like a lunatic and they’re all dying to laugh, but they have too much respect for the coach. “We have a translator and interpreter in the dressing room, so the messages get relayed.”

EFC Academy: Time to bounce back after Bolton defeat - Dewsnip
Nov 20 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON Under-18s coach Neil Dewsnip is demanding a response from his players in Saturday’s clash with Bolton at Finch Farm (11am). The Blues’ run of five successive 1-1 draws in Premier Academy League Group C was ended last weekend by a 2-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool. Dewsnip’s youngsters failed to perform in the derby showdown and have now gone eight games without a win. “I’m hoping last Saturday was a one-off because our performances have been very good this season,” he said. “The players have set high standards but against Liverpool we didn’t reach those levels. “I was disappointed with the score but even more disappointed about the way we played. “Mentally we need to regroup and try to rebuild our confidence. I’m looking for a big improvement against Bolton.” Cory Sinnott forced a fine save from keeper Martin Hansen early on but two goals in the space of five minutes left the Blues facing an uphill battle. The visitors improved in the second half but Tom McCready and Karl Sheppard were both denied by the keeper. “It’s difficult to put your finger on exactly where it went wrong,” Dewsnip added. “We didn’t get out of first gear and it was a poor game. We gifted them two goals and at 2-0 down we had a mountain to climb. The game didn’t get any better after that. “With it being a derby everyone was really up for it before the game but we just didn’t transfer that into our performance.” The Blues’ academy set-up has been the victims of its own success.
With talented youngsters such as Jack Rodwell, Jose Baxter and James Wallace being promoted, it’s left Dewsnip’s side depleted, but he has no complaints. “The academy is here to provide players for David Moyes and it’s been a really positive year for us so far,” he said. “Jack, Jose and James could have played in our game last Saturday. When any team loses its best players you are looking for others to step up to the mark.
“We’ve played some schoolboys this season and it’s a learning curve for them but we will carry on doing that.”

Phil Neville tips blues pair to strike it off
Nov 20 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL NEVILLE today predicted Louis Saha and Ayegbeni Yakubu are ready to start producing the fireworks that will take their fledgling partnership up another level.
Everton’s main strikers have started five games together since Saha arrived from Manchester United and Sunday’s meeting with Middlesbrough was the only time they have played 90 minutes together. Despite that slow start, Neville has seen signs in training over the past week that suggest things are starting to fall into place and believes they will reap the benefits of the time they have spent working together at Finch Farm. Now the captain says the onus is on the club’s creative players to start providing the ammunition for Yakubu – who ended his nine-game goal drought last weekend – and Saha to ensure Everton’s climb up the Premier League table continues.
“If we can get our final third players firing – especially our strikers – then I think we can be a match for anyone,” said Neville. “All the ingredients are there for Louis and Yak to take off. I’ve watched the Middlesbrough game a couple of times in the last few days and you can see lots of good things between them.” “Good teams can play in many ways,” Neville added. “Now we have got players who can give us different options and with the threat of (Marouane) Fellaini and (Tim) Cahill, we are a real powerhouse team.” With Fellaini undergoing treatment on the groin problem that forced him to miss Belgium’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg last night, Cahill will be assessed by Everton’s medical team on his return from Bahrain.
The 28-year-old, who has been suffering with a heel problem, played 87 minutes as Australia won 1-0.

Alan Irvine - Everton still in my heart
Nov 20 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PINNED to the wall of Alan Irvine’s crammed little office at Preston’s training ground is a piece of paper that he occasionally looks at to provide peace of mind.
It is a Championship league table based over a 16-game period from mid-January to April and the team sitting proudly at the top – ahead of Hull and Stoke – is Preston.
Irvine, quite rightly, has reason to feel proud when he looks at the digits in front of him. After all, many felt he had joined a sinking ship when took over from Paul Simpson in the hot seat at Deepdale, given their perilous position upon his arrival.
But, thanks to combination of diligence, perseverance and talent, Irvine coaxed and cajoled a run of form from his players which banished the spectre of relegation and, above all, proved emphatically that he had the wherewithal for management.
Strange to think, then, that 12 months ago promotion and relegation were the furthest from his mind. His thoughts were consumed with an imminent scouting trip to Russia that had been booked to help Everton’s UEFA Cup campaign. Then came the call which turned his world upside down. Having spent five and a half years as David Moyes’ assistant, Preston’s offer left endless questions swirling around his head. The piece of paper hanging on the wall is proof he answered them correctly. “I had never thought about leaving Everton,” Irvine recalls. “I loved working with David. The job I had was as safe as safe can be. This was a massive risk because we were in big, big trouble and looking like we were going to go down. “On January 12 we were bottom of the league, three points behind the nearest team. We had to win nine games from 18 but we ended up getting safe with four games to go. We actually won nine out of 14, automatic promotion form. “But it was an enormous gamble. I could easily have been a manager in League One now. Or I might not have been a manager at all…”
The 50-year-old Scot, humble, self-effacing and loyal, enjoyed enormous popularity at Goodison Park and those qualities explain why he excelled in his role as Moyes’ trusted assistant and why he is guaranteed the warmest of receptions whenever he returns. “When you say it is a year, you think ‘that can’t possibly be right’,” Irvine said. “It seems like only yesterday I was planning to go out to St Petersburg to watch Zenit. “I was actually scheduled to go out and watch them the week that I came here. But, on the other hand, I feel that I have been here for a significant amount of time. It has been enjoyable. Obviously I loved every minute of what I was doing before.
“Everton is a fantastic club. I’ve been back a few times – not as many as I would have liked because of the demands of this job – and it is terrific when I do go back because the welcome I get is really a humbling experience. “But, if I had to do it again, I would still make the same decision. It was the right one to make, as I felt I had to try my hand in management. Things have gone all right so far but I’m hoping that it goes better. “It was really hard to walk away, harder than it has been to walk away from anywhere else. I have been very fortunate in that I have had good times everywhere I have been through my career. “But nowhere has been the same as Everton. That’s why walking away was unbelievably hard. I could quite easily have seen myself being with David for the rest of my career – or as long as he wanted me anyway! I could see it being at Everton as well. “Do I miss Everton? Yes I do. I was so happy there. But if I hadn’t taken this, I would have always questioned myself. I’d have always thought, ‘have I stayed for the right reasons or am I just taking the easy way out?’ That was the overriding thought.” The thoughts after his first game in charge, though, could easily have been ‘what have I done?’ Preston were beaten 2-0 by Charlton Athletic at Deepdale on the same day Everton put seven past Sunderland. “I’d always told everyone that I was the creative and expressive one,” said Irvine, who is now able to smile broadly at the comical irony of the situation. “For five-and-a-half years we had hardly won a game by more than one goal and as soon as I leave that happened! Needless to say I got some ‘nice’ text messages off a few lads and the backroom staff. Basically they were all telling me that I was holding them back.” Happily, things turned out exactly as Irvine, who still picks up the phone to Moyes every couple of days, hoped they would and he is now working overtime to turn Preston into candidates for a play-off place. Only time will tell whether that is a bridge too far this season – after topping the table early on, their momentum was checked by injuries – but one dream he is clinging onto is the prospect of Preston and Everton being paired together in the FA Cup. “That would be absolutely fantastic,” he said. “It’s almost a no lose situation. Obviously I’d want a Preston win but I’d love to think that we could both have good, long runs in the FA Cup and then meet each other at Goodison.
“A big part of me will always belong to Everton. I had a special time when I was there as a player and it was a special time when I was assistant manager. The club caught the imagination of my family and it is that kind of place.” Judging by the ovation he was given when the sides met in a pre-season friendly in July, Irvine would be guaranteed the warmest of receptions. It is always the same when Evertonians welcome back one of their own.
They are just getting into a rhythm
ANXIETY was the overriding emotion which consumed Evertonians during the summer – and Alan Irvine was no different. With injuries and a lack of new arrivals having an enormous impact on David Moyes’ plans, it was no surprise that the Blues were left behind at the start, despite the best efforts of the young players who were drafted in to bolster the squad. Now, though, things are back on an even keel and a five-game unbeaten run suggests Everton are going through the gears again. Irvine – whose Preston side returned to winning ways at Blackpool last week – has no doubts they are equipped to make another bold showing. “I expected Everton to go from strength to strength at the end of last season and I think they will do,” he said. “But, at the same time, I was a wee bit concerned by the fact that David hadn’t been able to get a proper pre-season done. “The pre-season was fantastic for all the young boys. They got a taste of training with the first team every day and playing in all these games. They will have benefited from that without any question. But it wasn’t good for the senior players. “Nobody could do anything about it. Players were away on international duty, others were injured. David just had to get on and do the best he could. If you haven’t got all your senior players training every day, the quality drops.
“That was my one concern. I knew how many players weren’t there. “But the results in the last four games have been great and they are now back into a rhythm. What I see now is Everton starting to get going again.”

Inquiry quiz on Everton's £400m Kirkby dream
Nov 21 2008 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
THE quality of Everton FC and Tesco’s £400m plan for Kirkby has come under fire at a public inquiry. A planning inspector questioned yesterday whether the Destination Kirkby scheme, which includes a new stadium for the Blues, was based on “sound urban design principles”. Paul Jackson, who deputised for the unwell Wendy Burden, referred to a judgement by a Knowsley council officer, which was put before its planning committee in June. Mr Jackson read the conclusion of the committee report, which said: “Officers are disappointed the design does not incorporate stronger urban form based on sound design principles. “Within the development, the design and quality of the landscaping and public realm, while creating some points of visual interest, disappoints when measured against sound urban design principles.”
He then asked planning expert John Francis, in his third day as a witness for Everton and Tesco: “Weren’t you concerned by this? Do you accept there are setbacks in terms of urban design?” Mr Francis said it was just one viewpoint and was not accepted by the club or supermarket giant. Mr Jackson then asked whether the criticism levelled at the scheme by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) was accepted. Mr Francis said: “The comments were given without knowledge or key understanding of Kirkby’s needs. I don’t accept their comments that this is a wasted opportunity.” Mr Jackson pointed out a significant part of Mr Francis’s evidence, as well as the opening statements supplied by Everton and Tesco, spoke of the “rundown” and “disjointed nature” of the existing town centre. He questioned whether the regeneration plans would materially change that. Mr Jackson said: “You have talked about a lack of heart in the old town, but where will the heart be once the redevelopment has finished?”Mr Francis pointed to a crossing which would be developed between the new development south of Cherryfield Drive and St Chad’s Square in the current shopping centre. He said the new superstore and stadium would be visible from there, marking a change in the town’s appearance. But Mr Jackson said: “There doesn’t seem to be any relationship in an urban design sense to the old town centre. “They [the landscaping features and layout of the junction] don’t seem to relate to the importance you say this junction has.” Mr Francis argued the crossing would become a focal point. He said the design would revitalise Kirkby’s appearance and help create a vital link between the new development and the revamped old town.
The public inquiry is expected to last about six weeks, with communities secretary Hazel Blears MP having the final say whether the scheme should be allowed.

David Moyes: Lars Jacobsen is up and running - Everton FC latest
Nov 21 2008 Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES today hailed the exemplary attitude that Lars Jacobsen has adopted to try to shave weeks off his return from serious injury. The Denmark international became Everton’s first signing of the summer when he arrived as a free agent but has yet to kick a ball in anger for the Blues. That is because he dislocated his shoulder playing for his country two weeks after putting pen to paper on a one-year deal at Goodison Park. Jacobsen required an operation to cure the problem but his arm is now out of a sling, he has started running again and it won’t be long before he returns to full training. And Moyes – who first attempted to sign the 29-year-old in January 2007 – has been quick to praise the way Jacobsen has gone about his rehabilitation.
“Lars is working really hard to get himself into contention and we are pleased with how he is doing,” said Moyes. “He is a model professional in terms of the way he has looked after himself while he has been out and we hope he’ll be available soon.”
No date has yet been set as to when he will be available but few would begrudge the former FC Nuremburg right-back a change in fortunes. Moyes had been poised to give him his debut in the 3-2 win at Stoke on September 14, only for disaster to strike in a World Cup qualifier in Lisbon. Happily, Jacobsen has put the incident behind him and hopes it won’t be long before his career on Merseyside is up and running. “It’s still too early to say when I will be back,” said Jacobsen. “After the surgery, I was told between 12 and 17 weeks. Of course I hope I can be back in 12 weeks. “I’d only trained with the lads five times and then went away with the national team. Coming back injured was the worst thing that could have happened. “I hadn’t really started here and to get injured like that was horrible. When it happened, I immediately knew something was wrong. “I was a little bit shocked when I heard I had to go through surgery. I have just had to get over it and get fit again as soon as possible.”

Everton boss David Moyes launches attack on the FA over Stoke fine
Nov 21 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has called the FA’s disciplinary policy into question – as he expressed bewilderment over their decision to punish him over his touchline spat with Alan Wiley. Moyes was fined £5,000 and warned about his future conduct after he pleaded guilty to a charge of improper conduct. It related to him being sent to the stands by Wiley during the 3-2 win at Stoke on September 14. That decision, though, has left him perplexed and it is not difficult to see why. A few days after the game, Wiley rang Moyes to apologise for failing to award Everton a penalty when television replays showed the official had erred badly. Moyes subsequently did likewise for the way he reacted yet the FA still felt it necessary to haul him over the coals and he sought a personal hearing to put forward his views on the matter. In it, Moyes met a four-man panel who agreed he was more sinned against than sinner yet still felt it appropriate to hit him in the pocket – effectively punishing him twice.
It begs one question: If The FA agreed with Moyes that he had been hard done by, have they simply administered the fine because they needed to save face and be seen to take some sort of action? It is easy to see why Moyes is so baffled and why he – along with so many others – feels utterly dismayed by the way by the beaks at Soho Square are running affairs. “The problem, as I see it, is with the FA and the way the disciplinary side of things is run,” said Moyes, choosing his words carefully. “The way I was dealt with was a classic example of that. “The panel I saw admitted the referee had made a mistake and accepted I wouldn’t have been sent off if the error hadn’t occurred – yet they still hit me in the pocket. “It doesn’t help that the disciplinary panel sitting before you, acting as judge and jury, are largely from within their own ranks. There was one person you could call independent – an ex-manager – out of four on the panel.” You may expect such a panel to be made up of high profile, influential figures but the reality is that it is commonplace for county FA officials to decide the fate of Premier League managers, as was the case here. “That is something which needs looking at,” Moyes agreed. “We are talking about one of the most professional and big-business leagues in the world, but there seems to be a lack of common sense in the way it is run, at times. “They accepted the referee had got it wrong and realised he would not have sent me off otherwise, yet still they chose to fine me. Players, managers and referees are doing everything they can to make this ‘Respect’ campaign work.” The irony in all this, of course, is that Everton were actually praised last week by referee Howard Webb for their behaviour and Moyes is a manager who comes down heavily on his players if they harangue match officials.
That said, Moyes has made it clear that he will continue to fight ardently for his team and fans if he feels they have been wronged against, as was the case when Leon Cort handled in the area under pressure from Ayegbeni Yakubu during that 3-2 win at Stoke. “There have been instances of managers being sent to the stands, but generally people are being careful with their choice of words,” said Moyes. “You have to be passionate about what you are doing, though. “In any walk of life, if you are in charge of a group of workers, and they are being badly treated, you stand up for them. My workers were badly treated with some of the things going on at Stoke, so I stood up for them. “Thousands of our supporters travelled to that game, and are you trying to tell me they would want me to sit there twiddling my thumbs while we’re getting the rough end of some key decisions? “I have to show I care about that, and that is something I will continue to do. “If the FA want the respect idea to work, shouldn’t the right course of action have been for them to say: ‘Right, David, the referee made a mistake. We can see that and understand why you were so frustrated. Don’t do it again. Away you go.’? “Instead, it’s like being hit for a second time, punished with a fine over a decision they accept shouldn’t have gone against us. “I pleaded guilty to the charge, because there’s no getting away from the fact that I was sent off.
“But the mitigating circumstances surely should have counted? The job isn’t being done properly, as I see it. If it was, they’d have turned round and said: ‘This was a mistake by the man in charge. He didn’t mean to get it wrong, but that’s what happened. That’s it.’”

HOWARD KENDALL: Time for Mikel Arteta to rediscover spark at Everton
Nov 21 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
WHEN you lack pace, it’s vital you have guile and that’s why it’s time for Mikel Arteta to get back to his brilliant best. For all the possession Everton enjoyed against Middlesbrough, too many passes went sideways or backwards, the play was slower and that meant it became easy for the visitors to defend and launch counter attacks too. It’s at times like that when you need gifted players such as Arteta to seize the initiative with a bit of skill to beat a man, or start dictating play in the middle of midfield. He’s improving but the Spaniard is not quite back to the levels we know he can produce. He was Player of the Year two seasons in succession but at present you would be hard pressed to say he is a contender this time around. I don’t think you can say injury is affecting him any more because he looks to be moving a lot better than he was. He has been able to get an unbroken run of games under his belt, so you would imagine he is firing on all cylinders physically. His delivery from set- pieces remains good but what we want to see from him now is the spark that enables him to drift past defenders as if they are not there and get the crowd on the edge of their seats again.
Arteta is absolutely vital to getting Everton playing at a certain level and it would be great to see him explode into life against Wigan on Monday, a ground where he won a game single-handedly two years ago. They will be difficult opponents but with Yakubu rediscovering his shooting boots, there must be hope that he can go on a run – and Everton’s unbeaten sequence can continue.

DAVID PRENTICE: Dai decides to drop off his collection
Nov 21 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAI DAVIES was always a bit different.
He was the first footballer to become a Bard in 1978, he runs a natural healing clinic in South Wales – and he once wrote an autobiography in Welsh with the wonderful title ‘Hanner Cystal a Nhad’ (Half the Man My Father Was), shamefully changed to ‘Never Say Dai’ for its English publication. So his motives for putting up his medal and cap collection for auction this week were also different. He didn’t cite hard times, he didn’t blame the credit crunch, he explained that he just wanted to “de-clutter” his life. “I’m not a material man,” he said. “I’ve never been that much of a collector and I would rather they are bought by people who will really treasure them.”
Evertonians have their own memories of Dai the Drop. I’m not sure how treasured they are, though.
LIVERPOOL Football Club were not trying to trademark the city’s iconic Liver Bird symbol – just the version used on their club badge. The Liver Bird image is one which transcends all civic barriers. Just look at these football medals. There’s the first ever league title medal minted in 1891, a beautiful league championship medal from 1914 – and a Central League medal from the 1920s. All were presented to Everton footballers – and all clearly carry the Liver Bird image. The Liver Bird belongs to the city of Liverpool.
That’s rich, that is
KEITH HARRIS claimed last week he was struggling to sell Everton because Liverpool “is not a very wealthy city.”
His banking colleagues beg to differ.
A recent survey by Barclays lists Liverpool as 61st in the list of Europe’s richest cities, one place below Barcelona, with Birmingham, Newcastle and Manchester just five, four and three places higher.
IT wasn’t a universally successful week for former Everton goalkeepers.
Diego Maradona’s return to the scene of his first international goal meant that Georgie Wood was reminded of the ridiculous dummy he bought from the young genius.
At least the TV bosses didn’t screen his 1977 display against Newcastle, the day Ally McLeod came to check him out.
That’s why Wood had to wait until 1979 for his first cap.
DAVID MOYES got it wrong when he openly criticised an Alan Wiley decision at Stoke. It cost him five grand. Alan Wiley got it wrong that day, too. His ‘punishment’ was a lucrative assignment at Manchester City the following weekend. Who said referees are accountable?

DAVID PRENTICE: Dai decides to drop off his collection
Nov 21 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
DAI DAVIES was always a bit different.
He was the first footballer to become a Bard in 1978, he runs a natural healing clinic in South Wales – and he once wrote an autobiography in Welsh with the wonderful title ‘Hanner Cystal a Nhad’ (Half the Man My Father Was), shamefully changed to ‘Never Say Dai’ for its English publication. So his motives for putting up his medal and cap collection for auction this week were also different. He didn’t cite hard times, he didn’t blame the credit crunch, he explained that he just wanted to “de-clutter” his life. “I’m not a material man,” he said. “I’ve never been that much of a collector and I would rather they are bought by people who will really treasure them.”
Evertonians have their own memories of Dai the Drop. I’m not sure how treasured they are, though.
LIVERPOOL Football Club were not trying to trademark the city’s iconic Liver Bird symbol – just the version used on their club badge. The Liver Bird image is one which transcends all civic barriers. Just look at these football medals. There’s the first ever league title medal minted in 1891, a beautiful league championship medal from 1914 – and a Central League medal from the 1920s. All were presented to Everton footballers – and all clearly carry the Liver Bird image. The Liver Bird belongs to the city of Liverpool.

Days that have left a mark on football world
Nov 22 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
THIS week’s top 10 highlights our favourite 10 dates, as plucked from the pages of Scott Murray and Rowan Walker’s entertaining new volume “Day of the Match.” An entertaining story for every day of the year. Here are our favourites . . . 1 July 31, 1999 THE day Clydebank drew the lowest ever crowd for a paid for first-team fixture.
Just 29 paying punters wanted to watch the visit of East Stirling. The excuse offered by the host club was that the fixture clashed with the Tall Ships race starting that day in Greenock. The real reason? Fans were boycotting the fixture in protest at a new ground-sharing arrangement with Greenock Morton. 2 January 18, 1977THE date that Lazio midfield star Luciano De Cecconi was killed in a prank which went tragically wrong. The Lazio team of the 1970s made Wimbledon’s Crazy gang look like cheeky scamps. And in 1977, De Recconi, nicknamed ‘King of the Big Blind Ones’ entered a Rome jewellery shop with two pals and decided to play a practical joke. He screamed: “Stop! This is a robbery!” They were his penultimate words. His last ones were “It’s a joke! It’s a joke!” after the storekeeper spun round and shot him. 3 January 1, 1940CONFRONTED by the mother of all pea-soup fogs, Hibernian officials decided not to postpone the wa-time fixture in case it alerted the Germans to weather conditions in Edinburgh (the match was being broadcast live on radio). BBC broadcaster Bob Kingsley was ordered to commentate, but couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. So he invented a fictional match packed full of thrills and spills. The real match, however, was even more entertaining than his ad libs. Hearts scored a last minute 6-5 away win. But the 14,000 crowd couldn’t see a thing! 4 February 26, 1997THE date Danny Baker made the most majestic of anti-ref rants. “Most of them need a good slap round the face . . . hacks should doorstep this man (Mike Reed) like he’s a member of Oasis . . . that worm should be on the phone now.” Baker was sacked a week later. How times change at the BBC . . 5 March 22, 1986CHELSEA won 1-0 at Southampton, and Manchester City pulled back a two-goal deficit to draw at Manchester United . . . 24 hours before they played in a Wembley final! The leg-weary players then played in the first Full Members Cup Final, which ended 5-4 to Chelsea. 6 May 31, 1970THE day red and yellow cards were introduced at the 1970 World Cup finals. Former ref Ken Aston had the idea driving down Kensington High Street. Repeatedly stopped by traffic lights, he thought: “Yellow, take it easy. Red, finished! That’s how to overcome language barriers in international matches.”
7 August 22, 1964DATE of the first Match of the Day, featuring Liverpool against Arsenal “from Beatleville!” 8 September 4, 1955THE first ever European Cup match ended Sporting Lisbon 3 Partisan Belgrade 3. Chelsea were the English champions, but they declined to enter under pressure from Football League dictator Alan Hardaker. 9 September 12, 1885ARBROATH beat Bon Accord 36-0 in the Scottish Cup for a world-record win. The same day the referee in the Dundee Harp versus Aberdeen Rovers Cup tie thought the game had ended 37-0. But the club secretary was convinced ONLY 35 goals had been scored, so that score was registered . . . giving Arbroath the place in the record books.
10 November 3, 1970RANGERS lost a penalty shoot out to Sporting Lisbon, but went on to win the 1971 European Cup Winners Cup! Rangers had won 3-2 at Ibrox, lost 4-3 in Lisbon, then went out on penalties . . . until referee Laurens van Raavens was told he hadn’t applied the new ‘away goals rule’ – and Rangers were actually through!
l “Day of the Match”, published by Boxtree £12.99.

Merseyside derby action from a long-gone era
Nov 22 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
Multimedia Background image for 'merseyside derby sept 02'
FOOTBALL fans can now sit and watch Match of the Day . . . Edwardian style!
The earliest surviving footage of a Merseyside derby has been restored, and is available to watch on the next page. The film features the Goodison derby from September 1902, and clearly shows Everton legends like Jack Sharp and Alex ‘Sandy’ Young and Anfield icons Alec Raisbeck and Sam Raybould. It lasts two minutes and nine seconds, and while the film is poor quality, all four sides of Goodison Park can be clearly seen, including shots of the Edwardian crowd sporting flat caps and the occasional bowler hat. An estimated 40,000 spectators watched the game.
The Daily Post report of the time noted: “Excellent as the electric car service is, it could not effectively accommodate the converging masses; and at the Landing stage terminus particularly, such pushing and pulling and rushing and crushing was never seen before.” “The more opulent spectators chartered hansoms and growlers and for once in a while Cabby admitted good business and his equine partner pricked back his ears and wondered had ‘old times’ come again.” Everton went into the match with just a point to their credit after the opening four matches of the 1902-03 season, while Liverpool had three points from one game less played. Everton went level with their rivals after three first half goals in quick succession – two of them clearly captured on film – by John Brearley, Alex ‘Sandy’ Young and Walter Abbott. Liverpool pulled a goal back from the penalty spot by Sam Raybould. According to the Post’s report of the clash, “Brearley got the coveted first goal for Everton after nearly 20 minutes play and was received by tremendous cheering by the crowd.” The second goal came within seconds. “The ball was centred like greased lightning, Young shot up like an arrow from a bow and before the unfortunate Perkins realised the situation the doughty Evertonians were two goals in front.” Abbott made it three, before referee Mr J Lewis awarded a penalty, dispatched by Raybould. The footage is courtesy of the British Film Institute and comes from the famous Mitchell & Kenyon Collection.
Mitchell & Kenyon was a late Victorian and Edwardian film company based in Blackburn. Best known for minor contributions to early fictional narrative film and fake Boer War films, Mitchell and Kenyon also made real-life documentaries which were stored for many decades in two large barrels following the winding-up of the firm. In 1994, during demolition work in what had been Mercers shop in Northgate, Blackburn, two workmen were clearing out the basement when they found three metal drums like milk churns, and looked inside to see hundreds of small spools of film.
On their way to the Lethbridges Scrap Metal Processors was Magic Moments Video which did cine to video transfers, and the workmen dragged in a churn and asked the proprietor, Nigel Garth Gregory, if the films were of any value. Happily he immediately recognised their historical worth and the BFI was contacted to restore and research the programmes. Under the trade name of Norden, the company was one of the largest film producers in the United Kingdom in the 1900s, with the slogans of “Local Films For Local People” and “We take them and make them”. The recent introduction of Saturday afternoons off work had made sporting events into popular mass entertainment and a number of sporting events were screened by the pioneer film-makers. The teams for the 1902 clash were: EVERTON: Kitchen; Henderson and Balmer; Taylor, Booth and Abbott; Sharp, Brearley, Young, Sheridan and Bell.
LIVERPOOL: Perkins; Glover and Dunlop; Parry, Raisbeck and Goldie; Goddard, Livingston, Raybould, Morris and Cox.

DOMINIC KING: Kirkby inquiry struggling on the same old hymn sheets
Nov 22 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TWO groups to provide a soundtrack to the most contentious issue in the history of Everton Football Club – The Verve and The Animals. After months of waiting, the public inquiry which will ultimately decide whether Everton can leave Goodison Park for a new home in Kirkby began when Inspector Wendy Burden opened proceedings in the town’s civic suite at 10am on Wednesday. In one corner, we have Everton’s acting chief executive Robert Elstone leading the fight for the club and the obvious tune to back his arguments being the one penned by The Animals in 1965 – “We’ve gotta get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do.” Then there are myriad factions – among them Liverpool City Council and KEIOC – in opposition, as well as traditionalists who may have noted the lyrics from The Verve’s latest offering: “I’d rather be here than be anywhere, is anywhere better than here?” Unfortunately, the answer to that is rapidly appearing to be ‘yes’ and the reasons articulately outlined by Elstone earlier this week are enough to send shivers down the spines of all Evertonians, regardless of their stance on Kirkby. This article will, no doubt, be dismissed by many as yet more club propaganda, a vehicle that gives Elstone a chance to promote the Destination Kirkby project as some sort of nirvana for all Blues and ignores the concerns of others. Well, it’s not. Its point is to illustrate a number of facts that show, above all, Everton cannot allow themselves to fall behind their Premier League rivals by standing still due to their inability to generate enough money.
“We have been looking hard for at least 10 years,” Elstone pointed out. “We have looked at what we can do at Goodison, we’ve spoken with Liverpool City Council and have looked to see if we can make Goodison a modern, 21st century stadium with 50,000 seats. “That hasn’t proven to be the case. We revisited the situation and found it would be very expensive to do it and with minimal returns. We asked the council a few years ago prior to signing the exclusivity agreement with Tesco if there were sites which we could revue. “We had done our homework but the answer was ‘no’ before we signed up to Tesco and Knowsley. “We have not been able to see a site that comes with the financial support that the Kirkby Project does. “There have been pieces of land that have been floated but none of them have had any glimmer of hope that they would be commercially viable for us. At the moment, we are heavily exposed to the performance of our manager.” While that shows David Moyes in the best of lights, he and his players clearly need support and given the way money makes the modern footballing world go round, a packed ground is imperative to that happening.
Just look at the figures between Everton and Arsenal. The Blues, on the very best of days, generate £800,000 from Goodison Park, whereas the Gunners’ get a return of £3m per match at The Emirates Stadium. Elstone’s presentation at the EGM in September showed ways in which Goodison could be redeveloped but it proved the cost is astronomical, the inconvenience maximum and the returns they would get in the long-term minimal. The arguments put forward by KEIOC, however, are just as persuasive and their chairman Dave Kelly is eager to emphasise that they are not standing in the way of the club’s progress – all they want is their beloved Blues to stay within the city boundaries. If there was a suitable plot of land, so would Bill Kenwright. If his pockets were deep enough, this probably wouldn’t be an issue but the fact of the matter is Everton need to move ground to maximise their earning potential. Everton can’t keep going with cap in hand every summer to the bank manager, bumping up their borrowings to bring in new faces as it only takes one wrong season to spell catastrophe – just look what happened to Leeds United.
Equally, they cannot run the risk of losing at the public inquiry as that will inevitably lead to comparisons with the King’s Dock saga and leave those who have been fierce in their criticism screaming ‘why there was no back-up plan?’ It promises, then, to be an intriguing couple of months – a period of time that will decide if Everton can keep moving forward or force them to take a step back.
Neville lets his guard slip as kids turn up heat
MARTIN BASHIR and Jeremy Paxman may be two of the world’s great interviewers but they have nothing on primary school children – just ask Phil Neville. The Everton skipper paid a visit to the NSPCC Centre on Great Homer Street earlier this week to promote an anti-bullying campaign and, after being shown round the outstanding facility, he took part in a question and answer session. As you would expect, Neville replied to every query in a diplomatic and sensitive manner, offering advice to those children who wanted to know if he had ever been bullied and enlightening those who were desperate to know about all things Everton. Of course, it was inevitable the innocence of youth ensured he was asked how much he earned and which of his team-mates had the best car but, ever the professional, Neville remained unflustered.
Then, though, he dropped his guard. “B*****y hell, kids, that was worse than a normal interview!” he said without thinking after the last question. Cue the instant sounds of startled gasps from his audience and a red-faced Neville frantically back-pedalling to apologise.
Lawro misses the funny bone – once again
MARK LAWRENSON has been trying for years to cultivate a reputation as a funny man but the pundit’s attempts at humour fell flat on their face once again this week.
At the North West Football Awards earlier this week, David Moyes was asked to present a gong to Sir Tom Finney and took part in some banter with Lawrenson on stage before the Preston great was called up. Typically, though, Lawrenson went a step too far and when he told Moyes in front of a 300-strong audience that he was a “crap” player, the ‘joke’ was met with the sound of tumbleweeds, rather than laughter.
And, if anything, Moyes was able to have the last laugh. Not only was he later named Manager of the Year, Sir Tom’s first words on stage were “actually, I thought David was one of Preston’s better players”. Touché.

BARRY HORNE: David Moyes' reaction deserved FA rap
Nov 22 2008 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
AT the time of David Moyes’ dismissal by Alan Wiley at Stoke City, I found the referee’s decision harsh. When we then discovered the Blues boss had not used foul language to the officials, my view was reinforced. Having said that, I was perplexed and a little confused by Moyes’ reaction to the fine he received. Having pleaded guilty, surely the Blues’ boss expected some censure? The panel will have been aware that a fine of £5,000 was hardly going to hurt a Premier League manager, but David was still upset. I have sympathy with him regarding his concerns about the make-up of the FA disciplinary panel, but on other issues I am less understanding. David described the FA as “a law unto themselves.” When you use a phrase like that it is usually to describe somebody who is acting out of their jurisdiction. But as far as football matters are concerned in this country the FA are the law, so you can say yes, they are a law unto themselves. Their decision to fine Moyes came at a time when their much vaunted Respect campaign is in danger of disappearing in a puff of smoke.
David’s sending off at Stoke was for dissent. Whether the decision was right or wrong is irrelevant. That is the point of the campaign. Referees should not be overly pressurised by players or coaches even if they get a decision wrong. I was booked many times throughout my career, but never for dissent. I always saw that as being a waste of a booking. The Respect campaign was set up for individuals at the top of the game to set an example for everybody else all the way down to the grass roots of the sport. Whether we like it or not, youngsters copy the behaviour they see on Match of the Day on a Saturday night – whether that be diving, feigning injury or questioning referees. The only way to overcome that is to follow the FA’s Respect campaign.
Blues should have out-thought Boro
LAST Saturday I said that Middlesbrough are “rarely thrilling.”
That proved to be an understatement. Middlesbrough came to Goodison with a point as their first priority, and were given a massive boost when Everton’s back four went AWOL in the first few minutes. That gave Gareth Southgate’s men an added incentive to hang on to what they had and a draw was probably a fair result. I’ve defended Everton’s right to go to big four clubs and play like that and it’s up to teams presented with obstacles like that to prove they are tactically astute enough to overcome them.
Even if Yakubu had converted his first half chance I’m not sure Everton would have gone on to win, but while a draw was disappointing it still extends the unbeaten run to five matches, which has to be a positive. If Everton win at Wigan on Monday, their points haul from six matches will be absolutely fantastic.

Everton FC move will breathe new life into Kirkby - expert
Nov 22 2008 by Liza Williams, Liverpool Echo
Artist's impression of Everton's proposed new stadium in Kirkby next to the retail park (320) BUILDING Everton’s stadium in Kirkby will bring residents back into its town centre and aid regeneration, according to one planning expert. Jeremy Williams also said the development would not affect towns close by. The partner at planning company DPP was speaking yesterday at the inquiry into proposals put forward by the football club and Tesco. He said the town was in great need of a superstore and that the creation of such a shop would not happen without a wider development plan.
He said: “In my view the proposed development at Kirkby will not result in adverse impacts on surrounding town centres, but will give rise to significant wider regeneration benefits, including enhancing the profile of the town, physical regeneration of the existing town centre, the creation of employment, the delivery of economic regeneration in the town and social inclusion. “As such it will lead to wider social, economic and environmental benefits.” Opponents have repeatedly claimed the stadium superstore plans do not comply with Knowsley’s Urban Development Programme and neighbouring authorities have accused Everton and Tesco of hijacking the normal large-scale development process. They have also claimed the development is too big and will have a detrimental effect on places such as Skelmersdale. But Mr Williams refuted the argument and claimed the plans would stop residents leaving the town to shop, without having a significant impact on other towns. He said many people within Kirkby, including “socially excluded groups”, needed access to a large supermarket: “Without a substantial intervention Kirkby town centre will continue to under perform and will continue to decline. It will only be used out of necessity by less affluent and less mobile local residents. He added: “The reality of the last three decades is that there has been no meaningful investment attracted to Kirkby town centre despite the council’s efforts. “Even though there was an existing superstore permission the investor market clearly did not perceive Kirkby as a viable investment proposition until the current proposal.”

A chance will come for Leighton Baines - Everton boss David Moyes
Nov 22 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
LEIGHTON BAINES will be greeted by a string of familiar faces when he returns to the JJB Stadium on Monday but he is set to be denied an on-field reunion. The former England Under-21 international became the most expensive defender in Everton’s history when he left Wigan in a £6m deal in August 2007, but his dream move has turned into anything but. A succession of injuries, coupled with the outstanding form of Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott, has meant Baines has spent much of his time at Goodison on the periphery rather than in the thick of the action. David Moyes can understand why Baines may be feeling disappointed and, possibly, disillusioned by the lack of minutes he has had on the pitch in recent weeks. Baines has not started a game since the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal on October 18 and the sum total of his involvement during Everton’s five-match unbeaten run adds up to four minutes, as a substitute in the 3-1 win at West Ham on November 8. Given the happy times he enjoyed with Wigan, this is one game that Baines wants to play in more than any other but, equally, he will be aware that Moyes is unlikely to reshuffle his defence while results are going well. A place on the bench is the best he can hope for. That said, Moyes has been taken by the way the 23-year-old has buried any frustrations and has urged him to remain positive. “Leighton will certainly be involved,” said Moyes. “He will be in the squad. “He came into the side and did okay in the games he played. I had to try and find a way of getting some results and that’s why I went back to the boys who played in defence last year. “It has given us a solid base. But Leighton is a good player and he has trained very well and got on with his work. “He is doing himself no harm whatsoever at the minute. Of course he is disappointed. He came here to play.
“In the bigger picture, when he arrived, we were not envisaging Joleon Lescott being a left-back. But Joleon’s form at left-back and in the middle, plus Phil Jagielka coming into the team over the last year, has made the competition defensively very tough.
“He is doing nothing wrong. But I have got to say the boys who are playing in the team at the minute are not doing anything wrong either. “They have been quite solid in recent weeks. “Sometimes you just have to wait for your opportunity and when it comes along, you have got to be prepared to take it. “You never know when that might happen in football.”Also likely to be sitting next to Baines on the bench is James Vaughan, who played for England’s Under-21 side in their 2-0 win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night but has been limited to bit part appearances for the Blues this season. Having spent so much time on the sidelines in recent years, the one thing Vaughan – and Moyes – will want now is regular games. But Everton’s manager will continue to resist the temptation to send him out on loan. “He has been playing in the reserves and I don’t have the numbers in the squad to let him out on loan – not at the moment anyway,” said Moyes. “I was pleased that he got in and I was also pleased that he got another good standard game. “What we want to do is keep bringing him on and bringing him up to speed.” The vagaries of the fixture list mean Moyes and his players must wait another 48 hours before tackling a Wigan side who number former Blue Kevin Kilbane in their ranks, and that has ensured the past week at Finch Farm has been, at times, painfully slow. At least Everton went into the break on the back of a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough, and Mikel Arteta hopes they can build on that performance at a stadium which has been kind to them in recent years. “We are five games unbeaten, so that is a real positive,” said Arteta. “It’s been a long week.
“It was a massive thing to be knocked out of Europe because we want to be playing every three or four days. “Now it is just a long week followed by another long week. We have to prepare for games as well as we can and make sure we keep winning.
“It will be tough against Wigan but we have got to be confident. “Wigan is hard place to play. The three years we have been there it has been raining and cold and they are a really strong side physically to play against. But we have done well there and we want that to continue. “It will be nice to see ‘Killer’ again. He’s a really good lad but he won’t enjoy playing against us. “He still comes back to see us from time to time. This is a club where, even if you leave, you will always have friends.”


Steven Pienaar injury blow for Blues - Everton FC latest
Nov 22 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Steven Pienaar (158)
STEVEN PIENAAR will miss Everton’s trip to Wigan on Monday after failing to recover from a knee injury. The South African international missed his country’s clash with Cameroon earlier this week after aggravating the problem during the Blues 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough. He is now being assessed by Everton’s medical team, who now hope that intensive treatment will enable Pienaar to be fit for next Sunday’s game at Tottenham. It has been a stop-start campaign so far for the 26-year-old, who was sidelined for seven weeks at the beginning of the season with a broken toe.
Pienaar returned as a substitute in the second leg of the UEFA Cup clash with Standard Liege and, given his importance to the team, he reclaimed his starting place soon after. That’s why Blues boss David Moyes will be hoping this latest lay-off does not prove to be too serious and a week’s therapy will enable him to travel to White Hart Lane. The news surrounding Marouane Fellaini, however, is much brighter and Everton’s club record signing should be given the all clear to play at the JJB Stadium.
He missed Belgium’s 1-1 draw with Luxembourg with a groin strain but has responded to treatment at Finch Farm and he should be fine to face Wigan. “Fellaini has a very slight groin strain which he felt in the game against Middlesbrough,” Everton’s head of physio Mick Rathbone confirmed. “He then joined up with the Belgium squad but they agreed with our assessment and sent him back. He’s now having treatment ahead of the game against Wigan.” Fellaini’s availability and the expected inclusion of Tim Cahill means Leon Osman will likely be asked to play out wide as Everton bid to extend their unbeaten league run to a sixth game. He has shrugged off a number of fitness issues to play an important role for Everton in recent weeks and that has not gone unnoticed by his manager. “Ossie has done a great job for us,” said Moyes, who is bracing himself for a tough night on Monday. “The boy is a really good player, he is always consistent and reliable. “We know what he gives us. I think it will be hard game against Wigan. “They have been unlucky at times and I’m certain they will be a Premier League team next year.”

Everton boss David Moyes in salute to Phil Jagielka
Nov 24 2008 Liverpool Echo
EVERTON boss David Moyes has praised the contribution Phil Jagielka has made to the club’s recent resurgence. The Merseysiders are on a five-match unbeaten run and Jagielka’s defensive performances have played a large part in pushing Everton up to seventh position in the league. He has been an ever present in the back four so far this term and Moyes now believes the former Sheffield United defender is fulfilling the potential that convinced Everton to pay £4million for him last July. Everton visit Wigan tonight and Jagielka is sure to be at the centre of things once again.
“He has played very well and I think for the good part of a year now he has been in really consistent form,” said Moyes. “We have been really pleased by him and I think now he is finding his feet at the club and is feeling more settled he is one of Everton’s best players.” And Moyes is tipping Jagielka to become an even better performer now that he realises he is an integral member of the Goodison Park set-up.

Fresh belief has Everton daring to dream of glory
Nov 24 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Fresh belief has Blues daring to dream of glory
TANTRUMS at Arsenal, sides slipping up at the most unexpected junctures – suddenly the top four’s grip on the Champions League places appears to be loosening.
Another weekend of Premier League action has produced more baffling and bewildering results, meaning nine points separate fourth-placed Aston Villa and Roy Keane’s Sunderland, who currently occupy the number 15 spot. It would seem, then, that the side capable of putting together a long, unbeaten sequence of results has a prime chance to take advantage of the civil war which threatens to rip Arsenal’s squad apart. And whose credentials are better than Everton’s? Consistency has been one of the Blues’ best traits over the past couple of seasons and they have shown glimmers in recent weeks that they are poised to go through the gears again; it has even left some players talking tentatively about the top four. Skipper Phil Neville, of course, would love nothing more than to help this Everton squad emulate the class of 2004/05’s achievements of securing a Champions League place and, as he points out, there is nothing wrong with daring to dream. Realism, however, dictates there will be no bold claims yet. The Toffees, after all, have two difficult away tests this week – against Wigan, tonight, and Tottenham – and Neville knows performances must improve dramatically for them to be taken seriously. “It would be stupid for us to start saying now that we are going to finish fourth,” he says bluntly. “I don’t think we are playing well enough at the minute to finish in fourth place. Even though we have been winning games, our levels of performance need to get better. “I think people were surprised to see us start the season so poorly but I also think they are surprised by the position in which we now find ourselves. “We have crept up on a couple of teams and we need to keep chipping away and getting results. “We know we have got to improve. The players have been told and the manager knows that. “We went up a notch against Middlesbrough but we didn’t get the victory we deserved. Now against Wigan we are going to have to put that right.” But that is easier said than done.Wigan might be hovering just above the drop zone but there is a common consensus that their position is false and manager Steve Bruce is winning plenty of admirers for the way he is going about his job. Neville knows better than most what Bruce’s attributes are from the time they spent together at Manchester United but he will not show any mercy this evening at the JJB Stadium, as Everton aim for the win that will enable them to leapfrog Hull. “Steve was a father-figure,” said Neville. “He was one of those captains who would die for his team and sacrificed a lot of his own personal time and attributes to make sure that the team improved. That's what stuck out for me when I first got into the team. “He wanted everyone to be happy. When we went on nights out, he’d make sure that everyone got there safely and left for home on time. He was a warrior. “I was a left-back at the time and he was a central defender. If he thought someone was going to rough you up, or you were going to Wimbledon or Crystal Palace where you could expect a bombardment, he would come over and take a hit for you. “You would want him on your side in the trenches. “But as much as I have got so much respect for him, he is on the other side of the fence now. “He is doing well as a manager and everyone speaks highly of him. He saved Wigan from relegation last year. But we have got to get the better of him.” This will be Everton’s fourth visit to The JJB Stadium and they boast an unbeaten record at that ground, having followed up a 1-1 draw in January 2006 with a 2-0 win 12 months later and another 2-1 victory earlier this year. Given the way his team played in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough eight days ago, David Moyes is unlikely to shuffle his pack too much but, even though Steven Pienaar will miss out through injury, the manager has plenty of options. Belief, clearly, has flooded back through the ranks and it is no surprise when Neville says the atmosphere at Finch Farm is unrecognisable from earlier in the campaign, the product of a run that has them earmarked as possible European contenders once again. “When you get on a run like this and the confidence comes back, all of a sudden you find that everyone is fit,” said Neville. “The niggles that kept people out two or three months ago have disappeared. “People are running the barrier again and players do not want to lose their places because they know it is going to be difficult to get back in. “There is a real competition for places. It started with us keeping clean sheets. “The only thing that is missing is a bit of quality in the final third but I’m sure that will come. Wigan have got some real quality now and we always know that when we face them it is going to be one of our toughest games of the season. “The pitch is always heavy and difficult and they always make it a battle. But our results have been good there and we need that to continue.” dominicking@liverpoolecho.co.uk

'Let's keep up away day form' - Everton boss David Moyes
Nov 24 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
Multimedia Background image for 'moyes 201108 '
DAVID MOYES today challenged his players to maintain their terrific away form and get the win at Wigan tonight that will thrust them back into the top six. The Blues’ record at Goodison Park has been hit-and-miss but they have enjoyed great results on the road which has enabled them to take 13 points from a possible 18. The JJB Stadium has been a happy hunting ground in recent years and Everton have never been beaten at Wigan’s home. If that record is to stay intact, however, Moyes – who rates Wigan highly – feels his side will need to improve on the efforts which secured a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough. Said the manager: “We have been doing okay on the road in recent seasons. We need to keep it going but we have got two difficult away games coming up. “I think Wigan are a better side than their position suggests. I know it will be a really tough game. “They have got some really exciting players – Palacios, Valencia, Zaki and Heskey to name a few – and their is squad is very good. Steve Bruce has got a good group there. “We have had some good results there but every season brings a different challenge and we will need to be at our best to get another one now.” With the exception of Steven Pienaar and Lars Jacobsen, Moyes has a full strength squad from which to choose but is likely to keep faith with the 11 who faced Middlesbrough as the Blues seek a fifth win away from Goodison. Moyes is puzzled why results have been poor at home but is pleased Everton have been able to express themselves on their travels. “Maybe the pressure is off a bit,” he accepts. “The way we played last year, maybe teams are thinking ‘Come on then, come and show us what you can do’ and we have had to attack. “We have set up positively at home but we’ve ended up losing goals on the counter attack. But you have to remember where we were at the start of the season. “We were short of players and had a number of young boys in the team on the opening day. We certainly were not physically ready. “I don’t want it to become a problem but until we start turning draws into wins and defeats into draws, it will get talked about.”

Louis Saha to prove top buy for Everton - Peter Reid
Nov 24 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
Saha to prove top buy
PETER REID believes the signing of Louis Saha could prove to be one of the best bits of business in the Premier League this season. The former Everton midfielder has been impressed by the ex-Manchester United striker, who arrived at Goodison for an undisclosed fee in August. After missing the start of the campaign, the 30-year-old Frenchman has shown his class in recent weeks and has netted three goals in the Blues’ last three games, ahead of tonight’s trip to Wigan. “Saha has real quality and is proven at the highest level,” Reid said. “Manchester United paid £12million for him, but Everton managed to get him for next to nothing. “The challenge facing Everton is keeping him out on that pitch because I think if Saha stays fit he will prove to be a fantastic buy. “He’s in great form at the moment and hopefully this is just the start for him at Goodison.” Reid, who is now boss of the Thailand national team, has been delighted by Everton’s recent resurgence. The Blues are unbeaten in five games. Victory tonight would lift David Moyes’ side into the top six. “Confidence is high and things are going well, especially away from home,” he added. “I was at Wigan last season when Everton won 2-1 and they played well. Hopefully, we’ll see a similar display. “Wigan have been very inconsistent this season, but Amr Zaki is a real threat and with Emile Heskey alongside him they could cause some problems. “I was concerned earlier in the season about the amount of goals Everton were conceding, and the manner of them, but they seem to have tightened up now. “I wouldn’t be surprised if Everton just nick it 1-0.”

Wigan 1, Everton 0
Nov 25 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AWFUL shirts, horrible performance, bitter criticism. On a night when Everton produced a display as wretched as their strip, David Moyes and his players discovered the patience of some supporters is wearing desperately thin. Occasionally in football you will miss a game, see a scoreline the following day and think to yourself things were close but - if you were fortunate enough to be spared seeing Everton’s contest with Wigan Athletic - don’t fall into that trap. Only one goal separated these sides at the final whistle but to say the Blues deserved anything from their trip down the M58 would defy logic and it would take a brave man to try and defend them.
Quite simply, this was as bad an Everton display as there has been in a long time but, if we are brutally honest, it is not the biggest surprise that they have served up an offering which was dreadful. Though they were unbeaten in five matches prior to arriving at The JJB Stadium, they had not convinced that all was well and, judging by the hostility which was directed at Moyes as he headed for home, some have clearly been waiting to vent their spleen. A small throng of angry Evertonians had gathered by the team bus and when Moyes emerged to sign a few autographs, he was clearly taken aback by the views of those who had stuck around to make their feelings known. “You should have left Fellaini in Belgium,” screamed one, another claimed that anyone “could see Tim Cahill can’t play in that midfield”, while the one which will have hurt him most of all was the cry of “have we got to put up with another four years of that?” Emotions, clearly, were running high and those who were representing Everton against Wigan are not naive enough to think they could have just come out and say “sorry” for fluffing a glorious chance to make progress in this concertina of a Premier League. Victory would have thrust the Blues into the top six and, normally, you would have expected them to have blown Wigan’s challenge away without too much fuss. But the reality was as unedifying as it was alarming. Lacking balance due to the foibles of their midfield quartet, Everton were never able to place Wigan under the kind of pressure which would have seen them crack and have only themselves to blame for not heaping more misery on Steve Bruce’s men. The first half was a puzzling spectacle in that Everton started much the brighter, zipping the ball around with purpose and moving with intent, yet they owed their goalkeeper a huge debt of gratitude that the scores remained level at the break. Louis Saha could have fired Everton into the lead following a rapier counter-attack - he shot straight at Chris Kirkland after being teed up by Ayegbeni Yakubu - while there was also a plausible shout for a penalty when the Nigerian was bundled over. It was exactly the kind of assured, confident start that Moyes would have hoped for but, they could not build on the foundations laid and Wigan sensed an opportunity to cause trouble. They didn’t need a second invitation. A couple of quick breaks caused some alarm among Everton’s defenders, not least when Lee Cattermole was able to skip through a couple of flimsy challenges and fire a shot that Tim Howard did superbly well to push around the post. But if that was good, the save he followed up with was even better - possibly one of the best he has produced during his time at Goodison - an instinctive parry which denied Paul Scharner a certain goal from six yards. Given they had ended the half on a low note, the interval should have allowed them an opportunity to re-gather their thoughts and composure but, infuriatingly, Everton began the second period in a similarly slovenly manner. Predictably, they were suitably punished; Michael Brown’s terrific cross-field ball put Joleon Lescott into trouble, Antonio Valencia capitalised by twisting and turning him and his centre was bundled in by substitute Henri Camara from six yards. You would have expected that jolt to kick Everton back into life but the opposite was true. With no conviction or courage in their play it meant Wigan were never put under the kind of pressure that would have seen them crack.
It’s at times like these in games when you look for one individual to grab hold of matters by the scruff of the neck, set the tempo and inspire a fight back; great players do it regularly but the man whom Evertonians hope could just that is way below par.
Mikel Arteta is, at his best, a wonderful footballer but he is simply not producing the kind of form that made him such a potent force two seasons ago; some are even starting to suggest - rightly or wrongly - that he is lacking commitment.
Delivering the occasional inch-perfect set piece is not enough and one craves to see the moment he gets his anger back and starts tormenting defenders as he used to; he is much, much better than what he showed here. Too often Arteta’s passes missed their intend targets, too often his free-kicks and corners failed to beat the first man - even when he was switched into a central position as Everton frantically chased an equaliser, his impact was negligible. He needs to improve - quickly. Sentiments which also apply to the team. Tenacity enabled them to start being talked of as possible European contenders during their five-match unbeaten run but there has not been a real persuasive argument offered to back things up. No. The long and short of it is that Everton are desperately struggling for form and they look distinctly average when things fail to click into place, meaning they run the risk of suffering further defeats like this. Should this effort be reproduced during over the next month, one that will shape the destiny of this campaign, the flak is only going to get worse. That alone should be enough to ensure ideas are bucked up.
WIGAN (4-5-1): Kirkland; Taylor, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa; Valencia, Cattermole, Brown, Kapo (Camara 46), Palacios; Heskey.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard; Neville (Baines 86), Jagielka, Yobo, Lescott; Cahill, Osman, Fellaini, Arteta; Yakubu, Saha (Anichebe 65).
Referee - Rob Styles. Attendance - 18,344

Wigan Athletic 1 Everton 0: David Moyes left to rue Blues’ lack of creativity
Nov 25 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
A DOWNBEAT David Moyes conceded his side has to start performing better.
Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was rarely troubled as Everton slipped to a 1-0 defeat at the JJB Stadium, and the Blues boss said: “It was a poor performance. I was hoping for more from us. “I thought we started the game quite well, but in the end goals are what matter and they got the one at the start of the second half.
“I hoped we would create better opportunities. We got round the box a few times but we were wasteful and gave things away. “I thought for periods we controlled Wigan, but the longer it went on Wigan got stronger and took advantage of the way we were playing.” Moyes added: “Our performance wasn’t as good as it’s been in recent weeks. We got one or two chances late on, but it wasn’t to be. “You have to give Wigan a bit of credit. They’re a tough team and they made it difficult for us.
“I thought in the first half, especially early on, we played some decent stuff when we were looking to try and score, but not so much in the second half. “We didn’t create enough chances and we never really put them under enough pressure.” Yakubu and Louis Saha were given another opportunity to work on their partnership.
The duo have started six matches in tandem now, but Yakubu’s goal against Middlesbrough is the only time the Blues have scored with the pair on the pitch together. But Moyes said: “Yak had a chance early on and there was some good play from them in the early part of the game. “The longer it went on it dwindled away a little bit, but I think there’s goals there and I think they’re both very good players.
“We had been on a decent run, so hopefully we can pick up again.”

Wigan 1, Everton 0: Lacklustre display proves costly
Nov 15 2008 by Ian Doyle, Liverpool Daily Post
WIGAN chairman Dave Whelan turned 72 yesterday, but David Moyes would be forgiven for probably feeling that age after this Everton performance.
A goal from Henri Camara six minutes into the second half was enough to bring the recent revival from Moyes’s side to a shuddering halt at the JJB Stadium last night.
Camara, who had only come on as a substitute at the interval, was on hand to turn in Antonio Valencia’s cross to halt Everton’s five-game unbeaten run. It meant the Goodison Park outfit missed the chance to move up into sixth place and close to within two points of the Champions League places. Everton have produced some impressive comebacks in recent weeks, but there was to be no late show on this occasion with Tim Cahill firing over their best chance in injury time.
Indeed, only the heroics of Tim Howard, the highlight of which was a truly world-class save from Paul Scharner, prevented Moyes’s side from losing by a greater margin. News of another lengthy spell on the sidelines for the luckless James Vaughan and the sight of Louis Saha hobbling off clutching his hamstring will have only darkened the mood around Goodison this morning. Wigan manager Steve Bruce conceded after the game that this was perhaps his team’s worst display of the season.
Certainly, a succession of misplaced passes, wayward shots and ineffective tackles did little to warm those – including a once again packed away end – that braved the bitterly cold weather. But what does that say about Everton’s effort? A bright opening period apart, the visitors lacked verve and imagination, too many of their players falling well short of the standards they have set themselves in recent weeks.
In particular, Mikel Arteta’s form is now becoming a concern. The Spaniard has, by his own admission, been far from his best this season but this was as worryingly an ineffective performance as he has produced. With Arteta on the periphery on the left and Cahill starting in an unaccustomed role on the opposite flank, Everton were desperate for genuine width and creativity, the injured Steven Pienaar a major miss.
Arteta, though, wasn’t alone. Joleon Lescott was at fault in the build-up to Camara’s winner while there were lacklustre individual performances throughout. Once Everton went behind, they never really convinced they would equalise. Other than Howard, the only real positive was the display of Marouane Fellaini, passed fit after recovering from a minor groin strain and encouragingly busy in the centre of midfield.
History had favoured an away win. Everton had never lost at the JJB Stadium while Moyes had been on the losing side just once in 11 previous meetings with Wigan manager Steve Bruce.Everton were seeking to build on an away record that could only be bettered by Chelsea, Liverpool and surprise package Hull City. By contrast, Wigan had not won in seven games and results over the weekend had seen them drop into the relegation zone. That poor form ensured an understandably cautious start from the home team, and Everton almost capitalised during a bright opening quarter-hour from the visitors. A succession of early corners led to Cahill nodding over one Arteta delivery from the left before Yakubu, under pressure from Titus Bramble, was only inches from connecting to Cahill’s tempting cross with a diving header.
Everton came closer still in the 14th minute. Clearing a Wigan free-kick, Fellaini’s strong header allowed Yakubu to race down the left on the counter-attack and play the ball across for Louis Saha to unleash a shot Chris Kirkland did well to beat out.
That finally sparked the home side into action and, after Howard held an angled Maynor Figueroa drive, dead-ball expert Ryan Taylor, formerly of Tranmere Rovers, clipped the top of the crossbar with an ambitious 30-yard free-kick.
Cahill then landed a looping header on to the roof of Kirkland’s net, but Wigan ended the half the stronger. The visitors should really have scored 10 minutes before the interval when Heskey nodded the ball intelligently across goal for Olivier Kapo to cleverly set up Wilson Palacios who headed wildly over from five yards.
Howard then dropped to his right to clutch Heskey’s header before the Everton goalkeeper produced heroics twice in the final minute of the half to keep his side level. First, a brilliant, slaloming run from Lee Cattermole saw the Wigan midfielder twist his way beyond Osman, Phil Neville and Josepo Yobo before his curled effort was expertly turned behind by a sprawling Howard. The American topped that from the subsequent Valencia corner, his strong right hand somehow keeping out Scharner’s header from point-blank range. Howard may not have known much about it, but his positioning and reflexes were such that it cannot be considered anything other than a fantastic save. However, there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to prevent Everton falling behind six minutes after the break. After a searching diagonal pass from Michael Brown found Valencia on the right, the winger advanced and cut inside Lescott far too easily before slipping a clever pass across for Henri Camara to slide home his first Premier League goal since December 2006. Yakubu was hounded out at the far post as Everton pressed for an immediate response, and later curled an ambitious effort off target. Wigan were happy to play on the break, and one such move ended in another flying save from Howard to repel a Valencia shot.
With Titus Bramble in the opposing defence hope is never lost, and the defender duly delivered on 74 minutes. Yakubu’s in-swinging cross from the left should have been left for Kirkland, but Bramble intervened with a slashed clearance that gave Cahill, loitering on the edge of the area, a free shot at an unattended goal only for his shot to be blocked by Scharner. The Australian then missed a great chance in the second minute of injury time when he blazed over from 12 yards, but that would have been undeserved reward for Everton on a night they will want to quickly forget.

Wigan 1, Everton 0: A failure to dazzle
Nov 25 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
AWFUL shirts, horrible performance, bitter criticism. On a night when Everton produced a display as wretched as their strip, David Moyes and his players discovered the patience of some supporters is wearing desperately thin. Occasionally in football you will miss a game, see a scoreline the following day and think to yourself things were close but - if you were fortunate enough to be spared seeing Everton’s contest with Wigan Athletic - don’t fall into that trap. Only one goal separated these sides at the final whistle but to say the Blues deserved anything from their trip down the M58 would defy logic and it would take a brave man to try and defend them. Quite simply, this was as bad an Everton display as there has been in a long time but, if we are brutally honest, it is not the biggest surprise that they have served up an offering which was dreadful. Though they were unbeaten in five matches prior to arriving at The JJB Stadium, they had not convinced that all was well and, judging by the hostility which was directed at Moyes as he headed for home, some have clearly been waiting to vent their spleen. A small throng of angry Evertonians had gathered by the team bus and when Moyes emerged to sign a few autographs, he was clearly taken aback by the views of those who had stuck around to make their feelings known.
“You should have left Fellaini in Belgium,” screamed one, another claimed that anyone “could see Tim Cahill can’t play in that midfield”, while the one which will have hurt him most of all was the cry of “have we got to put up with another four years of that?” Emotions, clearly, were running high and those who were representing Everton against Wigan are not naive enough to think they could have just come out and say “sorry” for fluffing a glorious chance to make progress in this concertina of a Premier League. Victory would have thrust the Blues into the top six and, normally, you would have expected them to have blown Wigan’s challenge away without too much fuss. But the reality was as unedifying as it was alarming. Lacking balance due to the foibles of their midfield quartet, Everton were never able to place Wigan under the kind of pressure which would have seen them crack and have only themselves to blame for not heaping more misery on Steve Bruce’s men. The first half was a puzzling spectacle in that Everton started much the brighter, zipping the ball around with purpose and moving with intent, yet they owed their goalkeeper a huge debt of gratitude that the scores remained level at the break. Louis Saha could have fired Everton into the lead following a rapier counter-attack - he shot straight at Chris Kirkland after being teed up by Ayegbeni Yakubu - while there was also a plausible shout for a penalty when the Nigerian was bundled over. It was exactly the kind of assured, confident start that Moyes would have hoped for but, they could not build on the foundations laid and Wigan sensed an opportunity to cause trouble. They didn’t need a second invitation. A couple of quick breaks caused some alarm among Everton’s defenders, not least when Lee Cattermole was able to skip through a couple of flimsy challenges and fire a shot that Tim Howard did superbly well to push around the post. But if that was good, the save he followed up with was even better - possibly one of the best he has produced during his time at Goodison - an instinctive parry which denied Paul Scharner a certain goal from six yards. Given they had ended the half on a low note, the interval should have allowed them an opportunity to re-gather their thoughts and composure but, infuriatingly, Everton began the second period in a similarly slovenly manner. Predictably, they were suitably punished; Michael Brown’s terrific cross-field ball put Joleon Lescott into trouble, Antonio Valencia capitalised by twisting and turning him and his centre was bundled in by substitute Henri Camara from six yards. You would have expected that jolt to kick Everton back into life but the opposite was true. With no conviction or courage in their play it meant Wigan were never put under the kind of pressure that would have seen them crack.
It’s at times like these in games when you look for one individual to grab hold of matters by the scruff of the neck, set the tempo and inspire a fight back; great players do it regularly but the man whom Evertonians hope could just that is way below par.
Mikel Arteta is, at his best, a wonderful footballer but he is simply not producing the kind of form that made him such a potent force two seasons ago; some are even starting to suggest - rightly or wrongly - that he is lacking commitment.
Delivering the occasional inch-perfect set piece is not enough and one craves to see the moment he gets his anger back and starts tormenting defenders as he used to; he is much, much better than what he showed here. Too often Arteta’s passes missed their intend targets, too often his free-kicks and corners failed to beat the first man - even when he was switched into a central position as Everton frantically chased an equaliser, his impact was negligible. He needs to improve - quickly. Sentiments which also apply to the team. Tenacity enabled them to start being talked of as possible European contenders during their five-match unbeaten run but there has not been a real persuasive argument offered to back things up. No. The long and short of it is that Everton are desperately struggling for form and they look distinctly average when things fail to click into place, meaning they run the risk of suffering further defeats like this. Should this effort be reproduced during over the next month, one that will shape the destiny of this campaign, the flak is only going to get worse. That alone should be enough to ensure ideas are bucked up.
WIGAN (4-5-1): Kirkland; Taylor, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa; Valencia, Cattermole, Brown, Kapo (Camara 46), Palacios; Heskey.
EVERTON (4-4-2): Howard; Neville (Baines 86), Jagielka, Yobo, Lescott; Cahill, Osman, Fellaini, Arteta; Yakubu, Saha (Anichebe 65).
Referee - Rob Styles. Attendance - 18,344

NIGEL MARTYN: Everton need to return to a system that suits our style of play
Nov 25 2008 by Nigel Martyn, Liverpool Echo
SOMETIMES there is nothing wrong with sticking to what you know best and maybe Everton need to revert to the system that has served them so well. It’s not hard to see why David Moyes wants to play with two strikers at the head of his team as, on their day, Louis Saha and Ayegbeni Yakubu can be unplayable. But it seems we have lost our shape trying to accommodate them. I’m not suggesting that it’s either one or the other because, in the long run, I’m confident they can strike up a fruitful partnership but the main factor that needs considering is getting performances back up to an acceptable level. You can’t keep relying on late goals to win games and we paid a heavy price last night against Wigan; though we created a couple of chances, it would be stretching things to say we deserved anything.. The manager’s mood will not have been helped by seeing Saha limp off midway through the second half but, quite possibly, it could work to his advantage in the short term as it could give us the opportunity to return to playing 4-5-1. A trip to Tottenham is next and I’m pretty sure David will, first and foremost, make us difficult to break down by putting Phil Neville, or possibly Segundo Castillo, in a midfield holding role. Everyone knows what is expected of them in that formation, it brings the best out of Tim Cahill and counters the fact we do not have genuine width; at times last night, we looked very narrow. Everton’s success has been based on utilising one front man with support coming from the engine room yet, despite packing the middle of the park, I don’t think anyone could ever say it was a negative approach. Think of some of the dazzling displays last year - the 7-1 against Sunderland and the destruction of Manchester City at Eastlands - it shows how effective we can be when 4-5-1 is used properly.
That’s why it would be awful if we had to take a step back because we were trying to find another way of playing even though there was nothing wrong with the original blueprint. Perhaps the most disappointing thing about losing to Wigan was that we missed the chance to jump into the top six; with the table so tight, every chance should be taken and it was hugely frustrating that the Blues fluffed their lines.
Perfect spur to what can be achieved
IT IS a long time since the league table has been so tight. If Everton needed an incentive to bounce back straight away then it is in front of them in black and white.
Thanks to a catastrophic start, Tottenham were being spoken of as relegation candidates at the beginning of the campaign. But, if they were to win on Sunday, they would close the gap on us to a point. That doesn’t necessarily mean Spurs are suddenly among the favourites to qualify for the UEFA Cup next year, nor does it suggest that we should start anxiously looking over our shoulders at the drop zone.
What that does prove, however, is consistency will get spectacularly rewarded this year – teams have the chance to make ground quickly – and anyone who gets stuck in a rut runs the risk of being sucked into the danger zone. That won’t happen to the Blues, but we are facing a crucial month now with games against Tottenham, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Fingers crossed for James Vaughan
MY heart sank last night when I heard James Vaughan had suffered another knee injury, and I can only hope he makes a speedy comeback. The early diagnosis about his lay-off is that he will be out for anywhere between six weeks and three months and that is dreadful news for Vaughany. He’s already had to deal with more injury heartache than most players do in a lifetime. Fingers crossed, then, he returns better than ever.

DAVID PRENTICE: Time for Everton to stand up and be counted
Nov 25 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
MIKEL ARTETA has been called many things during his four-year love affair with the Everton faithful. Cultured, classy, influential . . . exciting. But never anonymous.
That was the charge levelled at the best little Spaniard Blues know on a bleak November night in Wigan. When Phil Neville was replaced five minutes from time in a desperate bid to add some extra attacking impetus, it was Arteta who slipped the captain’s armband around his bicep. It was a symbolic moment – because Arteta needs to accept more responsibility in an Everton jersey. But he’s not alone. It would be wrong to point the finger of responsibility on a lacklustre evening simply at Arteta.
He chased 40 yards to win back possession in the 85th minute, although he’d given it away in the first place. The responsibility was collective. Everton were flat, uninspiring and ultimately well beaten. Their garish new away strip is described in the advertising brochures as Neon Yellow. A dazzling, fluorescent kit, the idea is presumably to help footballers find each other more easily. But the visitors would have struggled to track each other down with a Sat Nav and a spotlight last night.
Too many men went missing. The poverty of Everton’s performance was summed up afterwards by Steve Bruce. “It’s arguably one of our worst performances if I’m being brutally honest,” said the Wigan boss. “We gave the ball away far too cheaply.”
So Wigan turned in one of their worst performances, and still Chris Kirkland could have been forgiven for putting a coat on to keep himself warm. In a deceptively bright start Louis Saha forced the Wigan keeper to scramble to his left to parry a well directed drive, but it was the only action he saw all night. Wigan snatched their lead just five minutes after the break – and Everton didn’t trouble the home goalkeeper once in the 40 minutes which remained. That’s a damning indictment. The men who collate such data are pointing out that Everton’s shots on target ratings this season are wretched. Only Stoke lie below them in that particular chart. Arteta was the focus of some fans’ ire last night, if only because his standards are so uncommonly high – and his deadball expertise appears to have abandoned him. After opening the season with a flurry of assists – Blackburn, West Brom, Stoke and Liege – the free-kick which ended Yakubu’s drought last weekend was very much the exception. When he over-hit another free-kick into the huge ranks of massed fans behind Kirkland’s goal last night, the reaction was unsavoury. But he wasn’t helped by another uncomfortable looking midfield formation. Tim Cahill’s roving commission took him to the right flank last night. He gave it his usual 100% application – and even managed to drift infield to produce two of Everton’s closer efforts at goal – but again the set-up didn’t look quite right. Marouane Fellaini flattered and too many other performances were inconsequential. And worryingly, it’s been the story of much of this season.
The recent impressive run of results has masked a poor run of form. Everton haven’t played well since the second half of the Manchester United match more than a month ago. And with a teak tough quartet of fixtures now looming – a visit to a revitalised Spurs, then Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea – the potential to slip back down the table again is a more real possibility than nudging into the top four or five.
White Hart Lane has been the stage for a symbolic rebirth of the Blues in recent seasons – how Everton need another performance like that on Sunday.

Tim Howard: I don't know why we fell apart at Wigan - Everton latest
Nov 25 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
TIM HOWARD pulled no punches today when he admitted Everton’s display at Wigan was unacceptable – as James Vaughan faced up to another spell on the sidelines. The Blues had the chance to jump back into the top six last night but, instead, served up one of their worst performances of the season and were beaten 1-0. . Not surprisingly, that ensured they came in for fierce criticism from supporters who travelled in vast numbers – Everton sold their allocation of 4,900 tickets – even though the game was live on TV. But Howard, who kept his side in the match with two spectacular saves, says his team-mates are just as upset after failing to do themselves justice, and is at a loss to explain why they played so badly. “It was a bad night all around,” said Howard. “We expected big things and wanted to keep our run going but it didn’t happen. We have got to do a lot better. “We wanted to be hard to beat and we looked fairly comfortable. We had a great chance with Louis (Saha) early on, but in the second half we fell apart. “We didn’t really look like ourselves. We weren’t composed and it’s difficult to put a finger on why it happened, as I thought we played pretty well in the first half. “All of a sudden – bang! We were under pressure and ran out of ideas, which was very disappointing. Even during our little five-game run, we knew things needed to improve. “When you lose a game, maybe it’s easier to sit down and assess it. We’ve now got to lick our wounds and get back up– starting at Tottenham.” As Howard and the rest of Everton’s squad prepare for the post mortem, Vaughan is facing up to the prospect that he could need an operation on his right knee – the opposite joint to the one that has previously caused him so much trouble.
He was injured at Finch Farm yesterday and will be out for between six weeks and three months. The American keeper is distraught for his colleague. “I’ve spoken to Vaughany and obviously everyone wishes him all the best,” said Howard. “He will run through a wall for you and that’s not a cliché. “Unfortunately, sometimes he has been hampered by that. With some players you can’t get them to work hard enough or stick their heads in where it hurts. “He does it all the time. The unfortunate part is that he hasn’t been rewarded. We are all gutted for him but he will bounce back. He always does.”

Everton cut ticket prices at Goodison
Nov 26 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON have announced a cut in the price of match tickets.
From December, match-going Blues will have £1 knocked off the price of all tickets.
The cut goes beyond the government’s decision to lower the rate of VAT.
Acting chief executive Robert Elstone said: “We're very conscious of the economic climate and the potential for tough times ahead and felt it was right that the club go beyond the VAT impact and pass on a greater saving to the fans.” Half season ticket prices will also be dropped to reflect the new rate of VAT – and the Blues promise to make cuts in other areas of the business to reflect the VAT change. In his pre-budget report this week, Chancellor Alistair Darling announced that VAT will be cut from 17½ per cent to 15 per cent for 13 months. Any ticket purchased on or after Monday, December 1, for games at Goodison Park will be at the new reduced price.
The Blues have two very attractive home games before Christmas, against Aston Villa and Chelsea. Everton have traditionally offered amongst the cheapest tickets in the Premier League. Prices before the £1 cut were £35 for Main Stand tickets, £36 for the Park Stand and £30 for the Gwladys Street – falling to £19 and £17 for under-16s.
Meanwhile, an inexperienced Everton Reserves side missed the chance to move up to second in Premier Reserve League North as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at Wigan last night. The Blues took the lead from the penalty spot nine minutes before the half-time interval when defender Dan Gosling converted after being brought down by Latics goalkeeper Richard Kingson. Wigan equalised on the stroke of half-time courtesy of a close range finish from Craig Mahon but the Blues should have restored their advantage in the second half. Kieran Agard’s header from Gosling’s cross bounced down off the bar but Lukas Jutkiewicz somehow blazed over. Gosling and Jose Baxter both went close before the Blues were undone by Matty Hampson’s free-kick five minutes from time. Jutkiewicz could have equalised in injury time but he miscued a shot from close range.

Tim Cahill: I want to stay at Everton for years
Nov 26 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
TIM CAHILL hopes to be at Everton for years to come, and the Blues midfielder has rubbished suggestions he is planning to wind his career down in Australia. Reports Down Under claimed yesterday that Cahill was planning to return to his home country to sign for South Coast FC when his current Everton contract expires in 2012.
He was quoted saying: “Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to round off my football life playing for a team I’m convinced will get a licence to join the competition sooner rather than later.” But Cahill has stressed that comments he made to the Australian media have been taken completely out of context. “Everyone knows that I am fiercely proud of my roots and that perhaps one day I may play club football back home but to say that I will be doing it at the end of my current deal is simply not true,” he said. “I am 28 years old and, with all due respect, when my contract expires I would hope that I will still have a few more years left at this level of the game.”
Cahill takes a huge interest in football in Australia and has plans in place to establish a soccer academy but he added: “The English Premier League is the best in the world and it has the best players so I have absolutely no plans to move on.” Blues striker James Vaughan, meanwhile, will undergo surgery on his knee injury and will be ruled out until the new year. The problem, sustained in training on Friday, is not the left knee which troubled him earlier in his career. “James Vaughan twisted his right knee last Friday,” said Everton head physio Mick Rathbone. “He will be out until the new year. The only saving grace is that it is not the knee he has had so much trouble with in the past. It’s a terrible shame for James after all the problems he's had in the past.”
On Louis Saha, who was substituted at Wigan on Monday as a precautionary measure, Rathbone added: “Both of Louis’ hamstrings were tight and he’ll be assessed over the next few days.”

Everton Kirkby stadium would ‘end shops dream’
Nov 26 2008 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
PLANS for a new shopping centre in Merseyside will be abandoned if Tesco and Everton’s plans for Kirkby go ahead, a public inquiry heard. Developers have permission to build a retail park on Tesco’s current site in St Helens, part of a proposal to help St Helens rugby league club move to a new stadium. Yesterday, Roger Lancaster, representing St Helens council, told the inquiry into the £400m Destination Kirkby scheme that the Chalon Way development was at serious risk.
He said: “Chalon Way will not go ahead in these circumstances because the Kirkby proposal will directly compete and take away the appropriate tenants from St Helens.”
It is understood Saints’ stadium bid will still go ahead, but St Helens council is angry a section of the town centre could be left undeveloped once Tesco moves out.
But Tesco’s retail expert Jeremy Williams said he did not think the Kirkby proposals would have an adverse effect on St Helens regeneration plans. He said he thought the town was a vibrant centre in its own right. Mr Lancaster repeated his claim that St Helens was just one of three town centres which would be hit by the £400m proposal.
He argued shoppers from Skelmersdale and Bootle would be attracted to Kirkby, as well as any retailers looking to invest in Skelmersdale. Mr Lancaster also claimed plans to upgrade Bootle and Skelmersdale went through the full range of local planning and development stages, while Everton and Tesco “cut corners”.
But Mr Williams said: “I do not consider the predicted levels of trade diversion will lead to problems – it will be very limited.” He also did not accept the accusation Tesco failed to look at alternatives to building the superstore south of Cherryfield Drive. Mr Lancaster said Tesco-owned land at the north of the town centre was a decent alternative for a similar-sized store, rather than the “out of town” option.
He claimed there was no evidence Tesco had tried to find alternatives.
But Mr Williams said: “In order to alter the perception and the type of retailers required to regenerate Kirkby, you do require this sort of development.”
He repeated Tesco’s claim that a “critical mass” of shops were needed, and said no other option was viable and was therefore not looked into in enormous detail.

Phil Jagielka promises Everton will fight back
Nov 27 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA today promised that Everton will come out fighting after the lacklustre defeat at Wigan on Monday night. A large travelling army of supporters followed the Blues to the JJB Stadium – and were unimpressed with what they witnessed as David Moyes’ side were beaten 1-0. But Jagielka – one of the few players to do himself justice against Wigan – has vowed there will be an emphatic response at White Hart Lane on Sunday. “With the sort of players we’ve got in the squad we’re going to come out fighting for the Spurs game,” said Jagielka.
“It’s not a case of us thinking ‘oh no’ we’ve got another game to come. We want to bounce back. I don’t know what went wrong at Wigan. We started off quite well then just lost impetus. “We weren’t as composed as we should have been on the ball and I think it was just one of those nights really. “But we’re just thinking about Tottenham on Sunday now. They’re on fire at the moment and it’s probably not a good time to be going there. “We’ll be underdogs which will probably put a bit less pressure on us and hopefully we can get the same kind of result (Everton won 3-1) as we got last season.”
The trip to Tottenham kicks off a run of four tough looking fixtures – Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea – in the run-up to the festive programme. And Everton’s Player of the Month believes the Christmas clashes will be more significant than usual this season. “The Premier League is ridiculously tight,” Jagielka said. “But I think the Christmas programme is going to be important. “Once you get that out of the way you’ll see teams settling into where they should be.” Meanwhile, James Vaughan has flown out to Colorado for surgery on the knee he damaged in training last week and will once again be operated on by Dr Richard Steadman. The 20-year-old has cartilage damage but is in the best hands – Steadman performed surgery on his left knee earlier this year.

World Cup the Eastern mission for Everton legend Peter Reid
Nov 27 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
PETER REID always loved a challenge but his Far Eastern adventure is surely the biggest of his career. The Blues legend is three months into his new job as manager of the Thailand national team. Reid has signed up for four years and his daunting mission is to secure qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The size of the task facing the 52-year-old from Huyton is highlighted by the fact that the Thais are a lowly 116th in the FIFA world rankings – below the likes of Haiti, Cape Verde Islands and Guatemala. They have never reached a World Cup finals, and crashed out in the first qualifying group stage for the 2010 competition, finishing bottom in a group consisting of Japan, Bahrain and Oman. But having waited three and a half years for the right job offer to come along, Reid jumped at the chance to get off the pundit’s couch and try his hand at international management. “Over the past few years nothing had really grabbed me,” he said. “After leaving Coventry in 2005 a number of opportunities came up in England but none were my cup of tea. I got offered the Iran national job but I didn’t fancy going there. Then Thailand got in touch and this is one I really fancied. “It’s international football. Okay, it’s not as good as in Europe but it’s still a decent level. “I’ve been over here since August and it’s smashing – very different but a really great experience. “My job is to build a side capable of getting to the World Cup in 2014. “It’s going to be tough because in the Asian qualifying we’re up against the likes of Australia, Japan and South Korea. But there are great possibilities here.” Reid has got off to a successful start, leading the Thais to glory in the T&T Cup in Vietnam courtesy of a 1-0 win over North Korea and a 2-2 draw with the hosts. Those two matches were sandwiched by a first defeat in a friendly away to Saudi Arabia, and the ex-Sunderland boss is now busy training his squad for next month’s AFF Suzuki Cup, when they face group games against Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia. It will be the fanatical fans’ first chance to see Reid in charge on Thai soil.
He said: “I first came over here in 1984 after we won the FA Cup at Everton. Howard Kendall took us and we played two games at the end of the season. “The likes of Bolton, Manchester City and Everton have come over in recent years and they are very passionate about their football here. There’s massive interest in the English Premier League and also in the national team. “When we got our first bit of silverware with the T&T Cup you would have thought we had won the World Cup! “I’m away on camp with the players at the moment and that’s the most enjoyable part – trying to develop the younger players. We’ve got Vietnam on December 6 and that will be my first home game.” Reid has been impressed by the ability of the Thais but knows exactly where they need to improve. “They are very good technically but too often they try to walk the ball into the net,” he said. “I need to get them organised and get a killer instinct. “I also need to build up their strength, and Sam Allardyce has helped me out with fitness programmes he employed in the Premier League. “You have to accept the Thai boys are never going to be 6ft 7ins but you can build body strength.
“Look at what South Korea achieved, getting to the semis of the 2002 World Cup. I’ve got to get that mentality.” Reid is based in Bangkok and admits life in the bustling capital city has been something of a culture shock. But he is battling to learn the language and has even tried his hand at some of the locals’ favoured pastimes.
“The culture is very different and it’s fair to say I am broadening my horizons,” he said. “They are very patriotic and the King is held in very high esteem.
“Bangkok is lively – it’s certainly a lot different to a night out down at the Pier Head.
“They got me on the karaoke after a couple of glasses of red wine. It was some kind of initiation and I belted out a few Andy Williams numbers but singing isn’t my forte.
“I’m doing my best with the language. I can count and say things like ‘how are you?’ and ‘thank you’ in Thai but it’s very tough to learn. “There are five tones and the way the girls speak is totally different to the boys. “I’m having lessons and I’ve got all the books because it’s important to have a go but I’m bottom of the class at the moment.
“An interpreter helps me out to ensure I get my messages across to the players.”
Reid might be 6,000 miles from home but he is never far away from a fellow Scouser.
His assistant is former Tranmere goalkeeper Steve Darby, who has managed clubs in nearby Singapore and Malaysia. “Steve knows the Asian scene back to front and that’s been a real bonus for me,” he said. “It’s nice to have him alongside me and Steve has been a great help. “I’ve bumped into a few Evertonians, one is an ex-pat who runs a bar over here. He’s been looking after me and to be fair the Liverpudlians have also been good – consoling me after that derby defeat. “I see more Premier League football over here than I did when I was at home and I watch every Everton game.
“I recently met up with Everton’s commercial director Peter Trembling who was over talking to the club’s sponsors Chang. “We met up at one of the national academies and there were 400 kids aged between six and 16 all dressed in Everton kits – that was smashing to see.”
Right blend the key to Moyes’ engine room
PETER REID was delighted when David Moyes finally penned a new deal, but he believes the Blues boss is still searching for the right balance in his side. The uncertainty over Moyes’ future coincided with Everton’s poor start to the campaign, but they had gone five games unbeaten prior to Monday’s disappointing defeat at Wigan. “Stability in any club is vital,” Reid said. “Speculation about any manager is bad and is bound to affect people so it was good to see all that get sorted out.
“David Moyes has been there six and a half years and it looks like he is building another decent side. “I can’t say Everton have been playing brilliantly this season. They have struggled through in games and grabbed some important late goals.
“But on the plus side they’ve picked up points without really playing that well which is a good sign. “I was concerned earlier in the season about the amount of goals they were conceding and the manner of them. “But things seemed to turn with that second half performance against Manchester United. After that draw they played with more confidence and belief. Hopefully, what happened against Wigan was a one-off.
“It’s all about getting the right blend in midfield. I don’t think Marouane Fellaini is the quickest, but he’s good in both boxes. “But when Fellaini and Tim Cahill play they do need to sort out the balance of the team. “If you go with two up front with Yakubu and Louis Saha it’s difficult to have an attacking midfielder. “The good thing is that David does have options and can always change it to 4-5-1, with Cahill playing just behind a front man.”
Peter Reid factfile
Born: Huyton, Liverpool - 20/06/56
Everton appearances: 222
Everton goals: 13
England caps: 13
l Signed professional forms with Bolton in 1974 and helped them win the Second Division title in 1978.
l Joined Everton for a cut price fee of £60,000 in 1982 after a run of injuries.
l Played a crucial role in England’s World Cup campaign in Mexico in 1986.
l Signed for QPR on a free in 1989.
l Stayed for just one season before signing for Manchester City.
l Appointed player-manager at City in November 1990, but was sacked in 1993.
l Resumed his playing career with a brief spell at Southampton under Ian Branfoot. Moved on to Notts County and Bury before hanging up his boots.
l Returned to management in March1995 with Sunderland. Kept them up and the following season they were promoted to the Premier League.
l Suffered relegation, but two years later took them back to the Premier League.
l In October 2002 was sacked after nearly eight years with the Black Cats.
l Appointed Leeds boss in March 2003 after the dismissal of Terry Venables. Kept them up but was sacked in the November.
l Took over at Coventry in May 2004 but they struggled and he lasted just eight months.

Everton's Jack Rodwell looks to step it up for England
Nov 27 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON teenager Jack Rodwell is hoping to force his way into the England Under-21s set-up. The 17-year-old from Birkdale, who made his senior debut for the Blues in Alkmaar last season, has been a regular in David Moyes’ squad this term and the midfielder is also a key member of the national under-19s team. “Everything is going well and I am enjoying my football,” he said. “We have got a good squad here and I realise I am going to be in and out of the team. I have just got to be patient.
“I am young and I have got to learn. I have got to keep doing well for my club and England Under-19s and maybe then I will get a chance for the under-21s.”
FORMER Everton striker Michael Branch is hoping to make a name for himself Down Under. The 30-year-old father-of-three recently moved his family to Australia and is on trial with A-League outfit Queensland Roar. “We love it here on the Gold Coast and we’d love to stick around for a bit longer, so it would be great if I can get a game or two with the Roar,” he said. “I’ve only got a couple of years of playing left in me before I get into the coaching side of things so I thought I may as well try to get a game while I still can and maybe score a few goals while I’m at it. “I know a couple of the Roar players down here like Craig Moore and Charlie Miller, and Kevin (Muscat) has told me all about the A-League so I decided to give it a crack.” Liverpool-born Branch made his Premier League debut for the Blues against Manchester United in February 1996. He was a regular in the 1996/97 season but fell out of favour and was loaned out to Manchester City, Birmingham and Wolves over the next five years.
Branch’s move to Wolves was made permanent in 2000, but after spells on loan at Reading and Hull, he moved on to Bradford City in 2003. He stayed there for a season and then had two years at Chester before a short spell at Halifax last season.

The Jury: Everton fans give their view on the Blues' performance at Wigan
Nov 27 2008 Liverpool Echo
Debbie Smaje, Upholland
ZONAL marking, no defensive midfielder, no fight, no closing down, no urgency. There is just so much wrong with Everton at the moment, I’m not sure where to start.
David Moyes has supposedly always been an advocate that if you’re playing well, you keep your place, if you’re not, you’re out. Why then do Lescott and Arteta continue to be picked for every game, even after putting in months and months of poor performances? Lescott has cost us countless goals this season, and did so again on Monday. Arteta is supposed to be our creative heartbeat, but he looks like a man who just doesn’t want to be here any more. The midfield, as against Boro, was shapeless and confused, the standard of football makes route one look cultured.
Richard Knights, West Derby
WIGAN was a game of two halves – in the first half we were terrible, in the second we were abysmal. It was so embarrassing that Timmy Mallett could easily have slotted into the side. No-one would have noticed the difference. The Everton cause wasn’t helped when Mikel Arteta was kidnapped just before kick-off. He gave the ball away at every opportunity and hit the first man from free kicks and corners.
Late on, when Phil Neville was substituted, apart from Jagielka and Howard who kept us in the game, any one of nine could have slunk off the pitch in disgrace. Streaky results (Fulham and West Ham) can’t obscure the fact that Everton are under performing and David Moyes needs to make tough decisions – Arteta, Lescott and Yakubu should be dropped and Castillo, Baines and Anichebe given a chance.
David Wallbank, Huyton
HISTORY repeated itself on Monday night.
Unfortunately for the Blues, the sorry defeat to lowly Wigan was a duplicate performance to the one I witnessed not too long ago against Blackburn in the Carling Cup. I was part of the huge travelling support at the JJB, but we were offered nothing to cheer about from the first whistle to the last. The only plus point was Tim Howard, who was superb. The injury-hit Latics battled for every ball and, with players like Cattermole running the show, I had to pinch myself to believe what I was seeing.
Sixth place was the prize for a win at Wigan, but the players in luminous yellow failed to glow in a miserable performance. They knew they had let every Evertonian down.
NO guts, no fight, no passion and certainly no chance of winning a single match until David Moyes solves Everton's most unbalanced midfield ever to take to the football pitch. Some 5,000 disgruntled Evertonians were there on Monday night to witness the horror show the team served up. The board, the team, and the management don’t deserve such loyal support we give. Some big egos need dropping from the side like Lescott, Arteta, Cahill, Osman and Yakubu. I think what is hurting Everton fans even more, is that the league is very poor this yea,r not any of the top ten winning last weekend. Moyes's body language just doesn’t look right, and with no money to spend in January it looks as if were set for another Everton roller-coaster season.

Bellefield plan ‘essential for new Everton stadium in Kirkby’
Nov 27 2008 by Richard Down, Liverpool Echo
EVERTON FC’s plan to build homes on its old training ground was “essential” for the club’s proposed Kirkby move, an inquiry heard. An appeal hearing into Liverpool council’s decision to refuse planning permission for the Blues’ scheme to build 74 family homes on Bellefield was told it would stop the site being “left to languish”.
If Everton convince the hearing to back its plans for the old training ground, they will net 10% of the funds they need to help pay for the £400m Destination Kirkby project.
But some West Derby residents claim the proposed estate would significantly increase traffic. But Frances Patterson, QC, told the appeal hearing at the Holiday Inn, in Lime Street: “The concept is to realise the value of Bellefield through a sale of the site with planning permission for residential development and deploy the proceeds of the sale into the new stadium. “It is an essential part of the capital contribution on the part of the club – just over 10% of the capital required by Everton.” Miss Patterson argued the regeneration benefits to Kirkby were enough to allow the development. But the council argued developing land in West Derby to help kickstart regeneration in Knowsley was “not on”.

Blue boys: Baxter comeback as Codling lifts gloom
Nov 27 2008 by James Pearce, Liverpool Echo
COACH Neil Dewsnip believes the hard fought 1-0 victory over Bolton at Finch Farm will finally kick-start the under-18s’ campaign. The young Blues had gone eight games without a win, but finally ended their barren run in Premier Academy League Group C, thanks to a solitary strike from forward Lewis Codling. Dewsnip said: “It wasn’t a great game but we were delighted with the win. “The first half was very ordinary, but in the second half we improved and had a number of chances to score a second goal which would have killed Bolton off. “We had got ourselves in a rut and confidence has been low so I’m sure that win is going to be great for us. “It’s given everyone a lift and hopefully we can move forward from this.” The Blues’ spirits were raised by the inclusion of striker Jose Baxter, the youngest player ever to appear for Everton’s first team. It was Baxter’s first appearance of the season for the under-18s and the 16-year-old, from Bootle, is on the comeback trail after injury.
He was partnered up front by Codling, who recently signed his first professional contract. Dewsnip said: “Jose had been out for three weeks and the senior staff decided it would be in his best interests to have an hour to boost his fitness.
“Having Jose in the side certainly provided a feelgood factor for the rest of the team and it was also good for him to be around his own age group. He came through unscathed and I’m sure he will be better for it.” The deadlock was finally broken 10 minutes into the second half when Codling fired past the keeper from the edge of the box. The Blues went close to extending their lead as both Conor McAleny and Tom McCready struck the woodwork. There are no league fixtures this weekend but the Blues will entertain Motherwell in a friendly at Finch Farm on Saturday (1pm).
Shock troops for Goodison
EVERTON’S FA Youth Cup third round encounter with Nantwich Town will take place at Goodison Park on Monday, December 15 (kick off 7.30pm).
The UniBond Premier Division club’s youngsters produced a shock 2-1 win over Macclesfield Town in the second round.
Youth Profile
Name: Shane Duffy
Born: Northern Ireland - 01/01/92.
l The young centre back made a big sacrifice to join the Blues, leaving his home in Northern Ireland in November 2007 to follow his dream. He was offered a place as a first year scholar in the summer of 2008. l Strong in the tackle and dependable in the air, Duffy is a classy ball-playing defender.

Masters football show is a sure fire hit with fans
Nov 27 2008 by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo
THE Masters football tournament returns to the ECHO arena in 2009. The world’s most popular legends football tournament, which entertained crowds this year, will be back on June 27 for heat four of the 2009 Masters Cup. The grand final will also be held at the ECHO Arena on September 6. The Mersey Masters event features legends teams representing Liverpool, Everton, Tranmere and Wigan. Masters Football marketing manager Will Rogers said: “The inclusion of Liverpool as one of the venues for the Masters Cup had long been our intention and the 2008 Mersey Masters proved that the appetite for fast-paced, action-packed legends football is alive and well in the city.” Tickets for both dates go on sale tomorrow at 9am from the box office on 0844 8000 400 or on www.accliverpool.com They cost £15 for adults and £10 for children under 16 and are subject to a handling / booking fee.

Victor Anichebe urges fans to stand by Everton
Nov 28 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
VICTOR ANICHEBE today urged frustrated Evertonians to “stick with the team” as they bid to get back to winning ways against Tottenham. David Moyes’ side came in for intense criticism after Monday night’s flop at Wigan, and Anichebe was aware of how disillusioned fans were after that performance. Those feelings, however, are not just confined to the terraces and the young Nigerian striker says the players know better than most how much they let everyone down. Yet, at the same time, he has stressed there is no point dwelling on what happened at The JJB Stadium and believes the squad are ready to deliver an emphatic response at Spurs. “This is a massive game for us,” said Anichebe. “It has been a slow season but if you look at how we compare with our points at this stage last year, it’s not too bad. “It’s quite hard to understand what is going on in the league. Everyone is beating everyone and a couple of victories can send you flying up the table. “It’s been hard to get good momentum going. We thought we had it during that little five game unbeaten run, but we lost it against Wigan. “I can understand why everyone was frustrated but we need the fans to stick with us and hopefully we will get through this little patch.” White Hart Lane has been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons, with Everton winning both their previous games emphatically. “Tottenham are doing well at the moment, so we know it is going to be a good game,” said Anichebe, who is pressing for a starting place.
“We haven’t played to our best and a number of things have built up – injuries and international call-ups – to take a toll. But we’ll get back to our best soon.”
Moyes could be given a boost by the return to action of Steven Pienaar. He has responded well to the treatment received on the injury that sidelined him last week.

Everton's Phil Jagielka set for a return to place he earned his spurs
Nov 28 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
PHIL JAGIELKA made his Everton debut at White Hart Lane – although an 80th minute substitute for Victor Anichebe wasn’t exactly what he’d had in mind when he signed from Sheffield United. But, 15 months, on he’s going back there as one of the first names on David Moyes’ teamsheet. Jagielka’s progress from nervous newcomer to reassuringly reliable defensive lynchpin has been one of the good news stories of the last 12 months at Goodison Park. He was voted Everton’s Player of the Month this week, which came as absolutely no surprise to anybody who has witnessed his resolute displays at the heart of the Blues’ defence this season. What did come as a surprise, though, was his omission from Fabio Capello’s England squad for the friendly in Germany last week. Despite a promising start to international life on the end of season tour to the Caribbean – he won his sole cap as a second half substitute in the 3-0 win against Trinidad & Tobago – an on loan Chelsea defender who hasn’t kicked a ball in the Premier League was preferred. David Moyes raised an eyebrow at the preference for Michael Mancienne – a 20-year-old currently playing in the Championship with Wolves – but refused to spark a new club versus country row.
“It’s hard enough picking my own team to try and tell someone else what to do but Jags has been playing as well as I’ve seen him,” said Moyes after watching his £4m man excel in the 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough earlier this month. “Put it this way – he’s playing as well, if not better, than he was last year when he was included in the England squad. He has been our most consistent player this season, and his athleticism, pace and strength have been impressive.” Jagielka, naturally, was disappointed not to be asked to board the plane to Berlin, but he was not shocked by the snub either. What’s more, he also received some reassuring words from Capello.
“Jagielka is always in my mind,” said the Italian, when asked about his decision. “He is playing very well.” That has helped the 26-year-old look at the situation pragmatically. So while he longs for the day when he can represent his country again, performing well for those who pay his wages is at the forefront of his thoughts.
“People told me (Capello) had said a few nice things about me which was good to hear,” Jagielka noted. “But it wasn’t a big shock to be left out. It’s not like I’ve been in lots of squads. I’ve only been in a couple. I’d have loved to have been in there, but there’s not much I can do.
“If I’m playing well for Everton I’ve got half a chance. If I’m not playing well for Everton, it’s pointless even thinking about it. So at the moment I’ve just got to get the first bit right. “I need to play well for the next few games, help us keep a couple of clean sheets and win some matches and if the England call-up comes again, brilliant. If not, I can deal with it.” With high profile matches looming against Spurs, Manchester City, Aston Villa and Chelsea, the opportunity to catch the England coach’s eye is likely to present itself sooner rather than later. A trip to White Hart Lane on Sunday is a testing assignment, but Jagielka has been the model of consistency and will need to remain that way as the Blues seek to blunt the goalscoring form of Darren Bent and Roman Pavlyuchenko. “It’s gone quite well for the last six to eight months now,” said a man who spent his first couple of months at Goodison occupying a variety of positions in defence and midfield. “It’s been well documented that it took me a while to get in there, but I had a decent end to the season and I’ve just tried to keep that going this season. “Thankfully it’s worked out quite well. Being played in the same position obviously helps, but I’m at a massive club now and it’s not a case of me doing a job here, there and everywhere. “We have specialists for every position, so it’s nice to tie down that position and get to play with more or less the same people all the time. That makes life a lot easier.” Life, however, won’t be easy for Jagielka in the capital this weekend but his form means Everton do not have to spend any time on the journey south fretting about Pavlyuchenko and Bent. He kicked off his Everton career by celebrating a 3-1 win at a stadium that, after years of misery, has become kind again. A repeat would be a wonderful way to confirm his emergence as a fixture in the Toffees’ line-up.

HOWARD KENDALL: Balance just so important
Nov 28 2008 by Howard Kendall, Liverpool Echo
GOOD balance is essential if a team wants to make progress but that was the one thing which Everton sorely lacked at Wigan on Monday. To put things mildly, the performance at the JJB Stadium wasn’t the best and the manner in which we folded in the second half was especially disappointing. Quite simply, we never got a foothold in the game. What, then, does David Moyes do? It’s imperative that he gets the right blend and he is going to have to have a long look at getting someone in to do the dirty work, as Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill are not that type of player. I also don’t think it makes sense to have your team captain playing in a position out wide, so maybe it’s best to kill two birds with one stone and restore Phil Neville to the centre of midfield – organisation and leadership has certainly been lacking in that area.
When you are playing wide on the right and there is a problem on the other flank, you are miles away and it’s difficult to have any input – that’s why I was always so opposed to having David Beckham as England captain. Shifting Neville back into the middle, then, would mean he is in a better position to contribute and give us the angry, experien- ced body that was so evidently missing against Wigan. Those qualities are certainly going to be needed in the next four matches. The games with Tottenham, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Chelsea are going to shape the season and that’s why Wigan was so frustrating. Take nothing away from Wigan – they are a well organised, powerful side – but they went into the game out of form and I felt they were there for the taking.
Baines may spur Moyes
TOTTENHAM may be in blistering form at present but that could actually work to Everton’s advantage this weekend. There is bound to be a good atmosphere at White Hart Lane and Harry Redknapp has done a terrific job turning things around yet a game that demands maximum concentration should trigger a positive response from the Blues. Of course, it would have been preferable to have tackled Tottenham when Juande Ramos was manager but there is no point moaning. It remains to be seen what David Moyes does with his starting line-up but it may be worth playing Leighton Baines to combat the pace of Aaron Lennon; they are players of similar stature.
* WILLIAM GALLAS was stripped of Arsenal’s captaincy this week after criticising his team-mates in the press and he left Arsene Wenger with no other choice.
The issue reminded me of a time when Tony Cottee chose to vent his frustrations in print about the lack of service he was receiving and he asked the question: “How am I supposed to score?” I told Tony: “You’re either training with the kids or you go downstairs, apologise and buy the first team squad a Chinese,” I told him. Let’s just say the issue was resolved over prawn crackers!

DAVID PRENTICE: Dilemma that David Moyes is yet to solve
Nov 28 2008 by David Prentice, Liverpool Echo
LOUIS SAHA is giving David Moyes a problem this season – and it has nothing to do with tight hamstrings. Quite the opposite, in fact. It is the fragile Frenchman’s robust fitness and promising form which has created the dilemma. Moyes has been trying to juggle Saha into the same side as Yakubu and Tim Cahill all season – but in this particular conundrum three into two won’t go. The wonderful balance which was part of the team which raced to a deserved fifth place finish last season has been sacrificed in a bid to accommodate Everton’s best players. Moyes bit the bullet last season – and Andrew Johnson was the unfortunate victim. But the arrival of a £15m midfielder and an international class centre-forward have made that decision more difficult this season. And, so far, Moyes has fudged it. Cahill is comfortably at his most productive playing behind a solitary striker in a midfield five but this season he has been used right, left and centre. The holding experiment against Middlesbrough failed. So, too, did the trial runs on the flanks. Cahill is the kind of professional who will always give a hundred per cent, even if he’s asked to play full-back. But there’s little doubt where he is most effective – and that’s not where he’s been playing recently.
Saha, Yakubu and Cahill are three of Everton’s most influential performers – but whether all three can play in the same side is a different matter altogether.
Everton price cut is to be applauded
THE reaction to Everton’s decision to cut their prices for home matches was predictable. “A pound? Big deal.” Maybe not. But it’s a saving Everton didn’t need to pass to their fans. Everton were the first Premier League club to pass on the government’s VAT cut - followed 24 hours later by their neighbours.
That’s a huge tick in the Blues’ PR box, when football clubs need to encourage fans as best they can.

David Moyes: No January spending for Everton
Nov 29 2009 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
DAVID MOYES has admitted he will be shopping for loan signings when the transfer window opens for business in January. Though Everton’s squad is thin in terms of numbers, the chances of the manager bringing in permanent reinforcements are slim.
Having spent a club record £15m on Marouane Fellaini during the summer, as well as bringing in Louis Saha, Lars Jacobsen, Segundo Castillo and Carlo Nash, Moyes’ kitty has run low. He could conceivably sell existing members of his squad to raise funds, but the reality is Moyes would like to bring in extra bodies to increase competition – something he accepts is currently lacking. But Moyes also agrees there is more to bringing about improvement in form than just going out and spending – that’s why he is looking for big performances at Tottenham tomorrow. “We haven’t got a massive squad of players,” said Moyes, ahead of the trip to White Hart Lane. “With that it makes it difficult to have a squad where you have great competition.
“I look at other teams and they have players costing £8m, £9m £10m, and there is maybe three or four of them on the bench. We don’t have that. “The other day (at Wigan) it was very difficult for us to make changes. That lack of competition means you are continually putting people out to get their form back, if you don’t feel what’s there is any better. “We are actively looking at what will make a difference, but I don’t think I will be able to do much in January. I am more likely to be looking at loans. “Anything the club have got they will give me. But that doesn't mean to say I am not out there looking for loans or Bosman signings or anything else that can help us. “I don’t think we will be selling because we don't have the numbers. We are short at this present time and that limits what I can do off the bench “Sometimes I say to the players, ‘come on, if you have got big reputations stand up and be counted’. It is something I have to do as a manager. You have to take responsibility.” One man to whom Moyes will be looking for a vast improvement is Mikel Arteta who, after a bright start to the campaign, has been noticeably below par in recent weeks.
Moyes, however, has faith that the Spaniard will be back on song and expects to see him go through the gears soon. “Mikel knows himself. He is a very conscientious,” said Moyes. “He is a big influence. “His talent is unquestionable and it is always noticeable when someone with that talent isn’t playing to that max. It will return when you are that good with that ability.”

We will pull together and fight all the way - Everton boss David Moyes
Nov 29 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
IF David Moyes cut a frustrated figure when watching Portsmouth tackle AC Milan on Thursday evening, he was not the only Evertonian left thinking what might have been. Tim Howard, like the majority of his team-mates, spent that night wishing Everton had a similar occasion to look forward to, rather than spending the weeks leading up to the festive period kicking their heels in frustration. During a season of terrific disappointments, nothing has hurt as much as going out of Europe and Everton have not really shaken off the hangover that defeat against Standard Liege induced. Apart from an exuberant 45 minutes against Manchester United, they have been unrecognisable. But if they want to have the opportunity to compete in the UEFA Cup again next year, Moyes and his troops are going to have to rouse themselves, as a sequence of fixtures beckon that have the potential to make or break their campaign.
Trips to Tottenham and Manchester City sandwich a home tussle with Aston Villa, before Chelsea arrive at Goodison three days before Christmas – even at the best of times, that would represent an exacting test. It may be enough to leave some Blues cowering in trepidation and fearing the worst, but it is reassuring that such feelings are absent in the squad. Howard, for one, is not in the least bit fazed by what awaits.
If anything, the opposite is true. He sees the next few weeks as a real opportunity for Everton to make a statement, regain some form and show they are no back number, and he can’t think of anywhere better to start than at White Hart Lane. “I don’t think it is anything that is going to frighten us,” said Howard. “I know it’s a tired old cliche but you just don’t get any easy games and Tottenham away was never going to be easy. “We are facing up to another tough run, but we want to put a bit of fear into some people. If we play the way we have done over the past month or so – and get similar results – then there is every reason to believe we can do that. “But on the evidence of what you saw on Monday, we have got to do a lot better. It was frustrating to miss out on a top six place. We were excited by the possibility and even more so after the way results had panned out. “Nobody likes playing on a Monday night but the advantage was that we knew what we had to do, so it’s disappointing that we missed an opportunity. "A few weeks ago, we were down in the bottom half, but got ourselves into the position we want to be. “The good thing is that when you are in seventh place or sixth, you are just a hair away from climbing that little bit higher. We are relatively happy with where we are now, but we are all determined to keep climbing. One defeat won’t shake our confidence.” Should they need an incentive to kick-start things again, a look at the table should suffice. Tottenham started the season abysmally, yet a victory over Everton tomorrow would leave the two teams separated by a point. On the other hand, though, a third Everton win at White Hart Lane in three seasons would give them an outstanding chance of moving into the top six. At present, the lack of space between those outside the top four and above the relegation zone is suffocating. “It has been tight since the beginning,” Howard noted. “Everyone was beating everyone else. Is there a danger? Sure. There is always a danger in this league, but I don’t think just because we didn’t get a result against Wigan there is more danger. “We will pull together at Spurs. We will fight, scrap and turn it into a battle. They are going to want to play a bit but, when you go away from home, it’s up to them to entertain. It’s up to us to stay tight and hit them whenever we can.”
That is all well and good, but if they plumb the depths of Monday evening, the only thing Everton will return home from ‘The Lane’ with is more fierce criticism and question marks hanging over them. Moyes knows, then, it is time for the squad to deliver. “We are looking for improvement generally,” he said. “You would have expected Spurs to pick up with the squad they have got. Harry (Redknapp) has made a real difference. He has gone in during a really difficult period when they have had some really hard games. “You need to play well at any time to get results and they have. They have a squad that wasn’t set up to finish just outside the relegation zone. They are built to finish maybe just outside the Champions League spots.
“I cannot hide how disappointed I was with Monday, but when you have good players they realise that. “I cannot bury my head in the sand and not think about it, or the reasons why, but we have spoken about it and moved on.”

BARRY HORNE: A dreadful end to a promising start for Everton
Nov 29 2008 by Barry Horne, Liverpool Echo
FOR 20 minutes at least on Monday night I was heartened by what I witnessed at Wigan. Everton looked bright, kept good possession and for a team playing away didn’t look threatened. But for the final 70 minutes I don’t think any neutral could disagree that Wigan were the better side. Disappointing though the result was it didn’t have a significant effect on our league position. Five or six weeks ago we’d have taken our present league placing, given the way we started the season. But it undoubtedly represented a missed opportunity to leapfrog Hull and means the teams below us are now compressed tightly and within striking distance. More disappointing, however, was the failure of our so-called ‘big-hitters’ to spark once again. Players like Joleon Lescott and Yakubu failed to recapture the thrilling form we have seen from them in the last 18 months. Added to that was the concern of a possible lay-off for Louis Saha who was just looking like recapturing the sharpness and strength of his Manchester United days. David Moyes obviously took a calculated gamble on his signature in a bid to build his squad during the summer, knowing an injury was almost inevitable. Saha has had a career already – he has played for a big club, won honours and enjoyed international recognition. But James Vaughan, however, though still young and in other circumstances still considered a prospect, has suffered a variety of injuries which is worrying for both him and the team.
James desperately needs a run of games. He has the potential to be a really big player for the team and I am sure everyone will wish him well. Perhaps my biggest concern on Monday , however, was that Everton looked tired. That was a particular worry bearing in mind the Blues probably had fewer players involved in midweek internationals than many other clubs – Tim Cahill was the only player I can think of who played – and that they enjoyed a Saturday off. But at the JJB Wigan constantly looked sharper, while one or two individuals looked like they were treading water.
An evening which had started promisingly, ended with a growing number of worries and concerns.
Tried and trusted formula required
EVERTON travel to Spurs tomorrow with their confidence knocked.
But with striking resources possibly limited by the injuries to James Vaughan and Louis Saha, it might be a chance to get back to the 4-5-1 formation which has served the Blues so well. Spurs are buoyant at the moment and midfield is the one area where they have flourished. Aaron Lennon was devastating last time out and Tom Huddlestone appears to be playing as if a weight has been cast off his shoulders following the departures of Keane and Berbatov. They are two players Everton will need to keep a close eye on, and they can do so by using more bodies in midfield.
The 4-5-1 system has always suited the personnel Everton have available – especially so this weekend if Louis Saha is missing – and it could be the way to get through a tricky looking clash.

DOMINIC KING:Why Everton striker James Vaughan deserves to bounce back
Nov 29 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
THERE is never a good time for bad news but the information which David Moyes delivered about James Vaughan this week was done so against an appropriate backdrop. After an utterly wretched performance at the JJB Stadium, Moyes shuffled into his post-match press briefing looking as if he had the weight of the world on his shoulders and it was not hard to understand why. If it wasn’t bad enough seeing his team struggle to raise a gallop or string two meaningful passes together in a game they should have won, his dark mood was exacerbated by the fact that young Vaughan had suffered another injury setback. Some will be thinking he is cursed. Ever since he announced his arrival with a goal on his debut as a 16-year-old against Crystal Palace, Vaughan has endured many troughs but not enough peaks. Consider for a moment what he has been through: three operations to cure significant damage to his left knee, a dislocated shoulder and a severed artery in his ankle that some medics compared to what is seen after motorcycle accidents. The vast majority of footballers go through their careers without experiencing a fraction of the fitness that Vaughan has had to deal with, so one cannot imagine what impact such travails have had on him psychologically. Imagine his dismay, then, at this latest setback. Having worked hard through the summer to get himself up to speed – he had come on in leaps and bounds since his comeback against West Brom – disaster struck at Finch Farm.
All he did was twist slightly in one tackle and his cartilage was damaged to such an extent that another visit to Dr Richard Steadman’s surgery in Colorado is required; it has got to be an enormous concern for both player and manager. “We are all really disappointed for the boy,” said Moyes. “He was just beginning to get back and get regular training under his belt. He looked much fresher and was moving with freedom again, better than he had been doing for a while. “Thankfully it was his other knee, so it’s not as much of a worry as if it had been the one which has caused him so much trouble. But it’s a shame because he has been in and around the squad this season and we hope he will back soon.” Vaughan is not the most skilful player in Everton’s team but he has a special quality that few can match – boundless enthusiasm. When he is pitched in, more often than not he helps galvanise the team. Think of what happened against Reading at Goodison Park in February. A humdrum game which was drifting towards a goalless draw suddenly became transformed when the whirlwind that is Vaughan was unleashed. Similarly at West Ham earlier this month, his energy and pace swung the pendulum back in Everton’s favour, and had he been available for duty on Monday evening at the JJB, there is every reason to believe the same would have happened again. It is a cliche to say that a player would run through a brick wall for his team but Vaughan literally would if that is what was asked of him. If anything, his bravery has meant he has been more susceptible to picking up knocks than any others. Football is a game littered with sad stories of young players picking up injuries that prevent them from fulfilling their potential and some will no doubt be wondering just how many more – if any – setbacks he can take. Vaughan, however, is a resilient character and whenever he has spoken to this column in the past couple of years, he has always had a pragmatic view about injuries. Rather than dwell on what has happened, he always prefers to look to the future. No doubt he will be thinking the same again in Colorado this week. There will be no wallowing in self-pity nor moaning about his lot, just a steely determination to get back in business again so he can give Moyes a selection headache. Time, too, is still on his side, so assuming all goes to plan, Vaughan could be up and running come the middle of February – and, all being well, that will signal the end of these maddening lay-offs once and for all.
It’s a laugh as ‘Gerrard’ makes good impression
FOLLOWING the bitter disappointment at the JJB Stadium, you would not be surprised to learn that laughs were few and far between at Finch Farm this week.
However, the mood among the players was lightened considerably on Thursday afternoon when Steven Gerrard did a stand up routine in the canteen after training. Allow us to explain. You will know by now that Darren Farley has become famous for his ability to do impersonations of Liverpool’s squad and he went through his repertoire at Everton’s training ground after he was given a tour of the complex with his brother Peter, uncle Dean and niece Ellie.Though he is very much a Red, Darren once spent some time on work experience with Everton’s kit man, Jimmy Martin, at Bellefield and was invited to Finch Farm to have a look around. Not surprisingly, he ended up giving an impromptu performance of Gerrard for Everton’s reserves.
“We had a fantastic time and I can’t thank everyone enough for making us all so welcome,” said Darren. Rumours he has now added impressions of David Moyes and Phil Neville to his repertoire are not confirmed.
* EVERTON’S players have got their letters in the post for Santa Claus – and hope they can bring under privileged children some Christmas cheer. The NSPCC has launched its ‘Letter from Santa’ fundraising appeal where it can be arranged for a personalised letter from Santa to be delivered to a child’s front door. NSPCC corporate fundraising manager, Lizzie Pickup, said: “We’re delighted that Everton are joining forces with the NSPCC to raise money for vulnerable children on Merseyside.
“Letter from Santa is a brilliant way to create the festive spirit and make a child’s Christmas very special. “For a suggested donation of just £5, they will receive a personalised letter, flown all the way from Lapland by Santa’s trusted reindeer, Rudolph.” To receive a letter from Santa for a child you know, you can order online now at www.nspcc.org.uk/santa or call 0870 325 9012.
Alternatively look out for a Letter from Santa order postcard in your local Debenhams or SPAR store or at your local ODEON Cinema.

Everton's Nuno Valente suffers new injury blow
Nov 29 2008 by Dominic King, Liverpool Echo
NUNO VALENTE’S stop-start Everton career has hit another temporary halt after David Moyes confirmed the defender has undergone knee surgery. The former Portugal international was signed by Moyes after a glowing recommendation from Jose Mourinho in August 2005 in a £1.4m deal from FC Porto. Since then, though, Valente has been plagued by a number of fitness issues that have restricted him to making just 60 appearances for the Blues. He signed a one-year contract extension during the summer but Valente, 34, is not expected to be available for selection again until the middle of February at the earliest. Moyes would not go into detail about exactly what damage Valente has done but reported that the procedure was successful and he has started rehabilitation at Finch Farm. “Nuno had an operation last week,” Moyes said. “It will probably keep him out for three months. It is a difficult one. It is not a cruciate or anything like that. “It is just wear and tear that he felt has been coming on for a while. He went away to have the operation done, but he’s back here with us now.” Moyes, meanwhile, has backed James Vaughan to get over the latest crushing disappointment of his career by returning from knee surgery better than ever.
The England Under-21 international’s spirits have understandably been low since he sustained cartilage damage in training last week. He will fly out to Dr Richard Steadman in Colorado for surgery at some point in the next couple of days and Moyes hopes this will be the last time he faces a lay-off. “He is very down,” said Moyes. “He must be thinking ‘what have I done to deserve this sort of luck’. He twisted it in a small game in training and played on.” “We only realised when we checked it that he had done damage. It is unfortunate for him. He has missed a lot, but his attitude will stand him in good stead. “I am confident he will get over this and come back. There was a lot of talk about putting him out on loan, but we wanted to get him right first. We won’t put him at risk in any way. “Next week he will have the operation in America. It could have happened at any time. It is the other knee and because of that I am not fearful over his future. It is just bad luck and unfortunate he has had to go through so much so early.”

November 2008